2:00PM Water Cooler 3/20/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Key dates coming fast now, so I added some counters:

Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)

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We encourage readers to play around with the polling charts; they are dynamic, and there are a lot of settings, more than I can usefully show here. Here is a link to alert reader dk’s project. You can also file bug reports or feature requests using the same contact process as for Plants, below. Thanks — but no promises!

Two days and we have no new polls, whether national or state, as of 3/20/2020, 11:00 AM EDT.

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Biden (D)(1): Profile in courage:

Pinkie swear!

Biden (D)(2): “‘Writing a Check to Joe Biden Is Not a Major Priority’: The Pandemic Is Complicating Biden’s Fundraising Just When He Needs It Most” [Vanity Fair]. “There are urgent life-and-death worries facing the country and the world right now, so political fundraising is barely on the list. But Biden will likely be running a general election campaign very soon, and the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic collapse could blow a hole in his efforts to mount a fair spending fight with Trump. Veteran political money people are crossing their fingers. “I’ve never seen anything like this, where the presidential race isn’t even in the discussion right now, in mid-March,” a Democrat with deep connections in New York’s financial community says. ‘aIt’s the pandemic, it’s the Wall Street performance, it’s the economic slowdown. All that combines into tremendous uncertainty. It’s your health and your finances that are on the line. So writing a check to Joe Biden is not a major priority.'”

Bloomberg (D)(1): “Bloomberg gives $18 million to DNC in lieu of starting his own group to beat Trump” [Bloomberg]. ” Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is transferring $18 million left in the accounts of his now-defunct presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee and forgoing, for now, creating his own independent political group to help Democrats in November…. Bloomberg will also offer to transfer campaign field offices the billionaire’s campaign set up and paid for to local state Democratic Parties as in-kind contributions. His staff, some of which were planning to transfer to work for Bloomberg’s independent entity in six battleground states, are all being laid off…. This differs significantly from the message the Bloomberg campaign pushed since his entrance into the presidential race in November. The plan, if not the nominee himself, was to fund a sizable campaign effort through the general election working to elect the Democratic nominee, paying his large staff and keeping a sizable amount of offices open. Bloomberg spent more than $400 million on his presidential campaign and is worth an estimated $50 billion, according to Forbes, so $18 million is a relatively small amount for one of the richest men in the world.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!! Did the Democrats believe him?

Sanders (D)(1):

I have seen the CNN clip from Sanders saying that postponing the primaries just past would be a good idea. The message was hardly crisp. I would have preferred a full-throated demand for a halt from the Sanders campaign, if for no other reason than to draw a bright line between the sociopaths in the Biden campaign and the DNC from the Sanders campaign. What the Sanders campaign did say:


Adding, I like that Sanders is now using The List for Coronavirus relief (although in principle I believe that NGOs are poor replacements for a functioning State). That’s not sociopathic. But between Ali decking his opponent and setting up a charity, and Ali setting up a charity, I prefer the former, thank you very much, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Trump (R)(1):

Turns out means-testing wasn’t the winner the Democrat Establishment thought it was going to be.

Realignment and Legitimacy

Clinton comes out in favor of Vote By Mail (VBM):

I figured Clinton’s endorsement meant the Democrats had figured out a VBM election fraud method. Here’s one:

Privatize the counting. Note that the list Clinton gives allows that.

“Coronavirus Plunges 2020 Elections Into Disarray: ‘BradCast’ 3/17/2020” [BradBlog]. “”The entire primary and elections process is going to have to be re-examined, given this crisis,” [ION SANCHO is Leon County (Tallahassee), Florida’s former longtime Supervisor of Elections tells] me. “This pandemic provides a challenge like no other in my lifetime. Mail ballots may be the way out of this, but mail ballots require machinery. Mail ballots require high-speed counting devices. It can be done, and it can be done excellently, but it can’t be done cheaply. So if that’s something we’re going to need to go to, we’re need to prepare for that.” He warns that voters, many of whom do not bother to change their address on their registration when they move within a county, should check their registration record to assure it’s up to date immediately, or else they risk not receiving a ballot at all, when and if states begin moving to VBM.”

* * *

“Yesterday’s Elections Were a Disgrace” [Jacobin]. “On Tuesday, despite urgent pleas from public health experts for postponement of the balloting, voters reported being forced into unsanitary environments and jumping through arduous hoops to vote. The culprit was the party that believes in science and voting rights.” • Well, for some definition of “believes.”

“The Corrupt Senators And Coronavirus” [The American Conservative]. “Burr and Loeffler appear to have broken the law, and they did so to enrich themselves in the middle of a public health catastrophe. Rather than doing their duty and telling their constituents what they knew, they were more concerned to take their profits before the market crashed. At the very least, neither of them should be a senator and neither should hold an office of public trust again. If there were any other members of Congress that tried to use this information about the outbreak for their own profit, the same goes for them. Loeffler has not yet been elected in her own right, and she faces Georgian voters for the first time this fall. Somehow I doubt that voters in Georgia will appreciate being lied to and endangered while one of their senators put her portfolio ahead of their interests.”

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Honey for the Bears: “13 March 2020 ECRI’s WLI Growth Rate Moves Significantly Deeper Into Contraction” [Econintersect]. “In essence, economic growth will decline 6 months from today. Please note that the coronavirus is a black swan event and the decline likely is more immediate and not lagging off six months.”

* * *

Retail: “Amazon halts grocery orders to restock amid surging demand” [Reuters]. “Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said on Thursday it has halted its Prime Pantry delivery service in the United States to restock groceries, following a surge in online orders by shoppers worried about the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Amazon Pantry is not accepting new orders at this time while we work to fulfill open orders and restock items following increased demand,’ a company spokesperson said. The service, which sells non-perishable groceries from cereals to soaps, has seen huge demand despite consumers thronging supermarkets and grocery stores for everything from toilet papers and canned foods. Amazon did not say when the service will be back, but said it was working with partners to get the items back in stock as quickly as possible.”

Shipping: “China’s ports are finally starting to move more containers out to the trading world but they’re sending the goods into highly uncertain Western markets. While China is returning to work, … concerns are growing that U.S. and European ports won’t be able to handle a flood of imports as coastal cities face shutdowns and economic disruption” [Wall Street Journal]. “Port of Los Angeles chief Gene Seroka says he doesn’t foresee the sort of virus disruptions that crippled China’s megaports last month, when boxes piled up as workers were either sick or quarantined. But the Port of Houston suspended operations at its two main container terminals this week after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, and shipping companies are wary of bigger disruptions. The U.S. ports may be bracing for a sudden rush of containers in coming weeks, with liner companies now deploying their biggest ships on trans-Pacific lanes.”

Manufacturing: “Manufacturers are trying to build new supply chains for medical equipment that is suddenly in critical demand. Traditional suppliers of ventilators are racing to boost production for the equipment needed to save the lives of many coronavirus patients… and companies that don’t make medical devices may join the rush” [Wall Street Journal]. “General Motors and Ford are exploring turning idled automotive plants toward making ventilators. That could help ease the crunch, but it isn’t coming fast enough to keep up with mounting demand. One industry official says “available inventory on the shelf is gone.” New producers will join a field of companies from food suppliers to retailers remaking supply chains on the fly to meet the fast-changing landscape. Companies across the West are retooling operations, making hand sanitizer rather than perfume and hygienic masks instead of car parts in response to the health crisis.”

Supply Chain: “The Modern Supply Chain Is Snapping” [The Atlantic]. “We’ve built a global supply chain that runs on outsourcing and thin margins, and the coronavirus has exposed just how delicate it is. ‘I guess we’ve done a good enough job within the health-care supply chain of getting pricing down to the point that the vendors don’t have a lot of extra margin or slack to play with,’ [Doug Watkins, who oversees the supply chain at the Medical University of South Carolina health system] said. So when demand spikes, everyone feels it. The Institute for Supply Management, which conducts monthly economic surveys, found that nearly 75 percent of the companies it contacted in late February and early March reported some kind of supply-chain disruption due to the coronavirus. And 44 percent of the companies didn’t have a plan to deal with this kind of disruption. “That is a little surprising in this day and age,” ISM’s CEO, Tom Derry, said in an interview. ‘However,’ he added, ‘you have to realize that there’s almost no industry sector—and when I say that, I mean manufacturing and nonmanufacturing—that isn’t reliant on China in the United States.” • So how’s that globalization thing workin’ out for ya?

Supply Chain: “Will coronavirus affect food supply? First problem: A possible shortage of workers” [Los Angeles Times]. “California’s nearly $50-billion agricultural industry is bracing for a potential labor shortfall that could hinder efforts to maintain the nation’s fresh produce supply amid the widening coronavirus outbreak. The immediate concern centers on a backlog in the recruitment of foreign guest workers because of the virus-related shutdown of consul offices processing agricultural H2-A visas in Mexico. The expected bottleneck in recruitment of temporary agricultural workers arises weeks before harvest time for crops such as strawberries and lettuce that heavily depend on the foreign crews along the state’s central coast and in Salinas Valley, according to growers and labor contractors.”

Supply Chain: “A Covid-19 Supply Chain Shock Born in China Is Going Global” [Industry Week]. “The world’s supply chains are facing a root-to-branch shutdown unlike any seen in modern peacetime as efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak hit everything from copper mines in Peru to ball bearing makers in Germany’s industrial heartland.In the last few days, a supply chain crisis that began earlier this year with Chinese factories has spread into key industries elsewhere that had weathered the impact until now. The shutdowns are contributing to the growing conviction that the world has slipped into its first recession since the financial crisis more than a decade ago…. Compounding the blow for companies, the initial supply shock has become interwoven with a demand crisis in Europe, the U.S. and other major economies as workers and consumers are ordered to stay home.”

The Bezzle: “The End of Starsky Robotics” [Medium]. “There are too many problems with the AV industry to detail here: the professorial pace at which most teams work, the lack of tangible deployment milestones, the open secret that there isn’t a robotaxi business model, etc. The biggest, however, is that supervised machine learning doesn’t live up to the hype. It isn’t actual artificial intelligence akin to C-3PO, it’s a sophisticated pattern-matching tool.” • Well worth a read for robot skeptics.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 8 Extreme Fear (previous close: 7 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 5 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 18 at 12:56pm. Haven’t ever seen the needle pinned at zero. Last updated Mar 20 at 1:16pm. Still moving up, albeit slowly.

The Biosphere

“Why did nearly a million king penguins vanish without a trace?” [Science]. “It was early 2017. Colleagues had sent the seabird ecologist aerial photos of Île aux Cochons, a barren volcanic island halfway between Madagascar and Antarctica that humans rarely visit. The images revealed vast areas of bare rock that, just a few decades before, had been crowded with some 500,000 pairs of nesting king penguins and their chicks. It appeared that the colony—the world’s largest king penguin aggregation and the second biggest colony of any of the 18 penguin species—had shrunk by 90%…. [The team] suspects that changes in the surrounding ocean forced the penguins to swim farther to find food…. During the longer foraging trips, hunger might force the parent left back at the colony to leave the nest to feed—leaving chicks vulnerable to predators or starvation. The longer swims might also make the adult penguins more vulnerable to deadly stress and predation.”=

“Meet the Ecologist Who Wants You to Unleash the Wild on Your Backyard” [Smithsonian]. “The land is ten gently sloping acres in rural southeastern Pennsylvania, at one time mowed for hay, with a handsome farmhouse that Douglas Tallamy bought around 20 years ago. It isn’t much to look at, by the standards most Americans apply to landscaping—no expansive views across swaths of lawn set off by flowerbeds and specimen trees—but, as Tallamy says, “We’re tucked away here where no one can see us, so we can do pretty much what we want.” And what he wants is for this property to be a model for the rest of the country, by which he means suburbs, exurbs, uninhabited woods, highway margins, city parks, streets and backyards, even rooftops and window boxes, basically every square foot of land not paved or farmed. He wants to see it replanted with native North American flora, supporting a healthy array of native North American butterflies, moths and other arthropods, providing food for a robust population of songbirds, small mammals and reptiles. He even has a name for it: Homegrown National Park.” • Nice framing. Lovely photos, too.

Health Care

“Covert coronavirus infections could be seeding new outbreaks” [Nature]. “As coronavirus outbreaks surge worldwide, research teams are racing to understand a crucial epidemiological puzzle — what proportion of infected people have mild or no symptoms and might be passing the virus on to others. Some of the first detailed estimates of these covert cases suggest that they could represent some 60% of all infections. … Many scientists have suspected that there is an undetected pool of covert cases showing limited to no symptoms because an increasing number of infected people cannot be linked to known COVID-19 cases or travel to epidemic hotspots. Most people with mild infections would not be ill enough to seek medical help, and would likely slip past screening methods such as temperature checks, so the extent of the phenomenon and its role in virus transmission has remained elusive… But probably the best-documented evidence for asymptomatic cases has come from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had a COVID-19 outbreak in early February while in Japanese waters, says Cowell….. Cowell’s modelling study3, published on 12 March in Eurosurveillance, shows that about 18% of some 700 infected individuals on Diamond Princess never showed symptoms.” • Yikes. That’s an argument for a complete shutdown.

“Hospitals, Cities Hit by Surging Interest Rates in 2008 Echo” [Bloomberg]. “On Wednesday, as a hospital system in Memphis, Tennessee, was preparing for how to combat the spreading coronavirus, the havoc the pandemic was causing on Wall Street rippled down with its own financial hit. Investors were rapidly hoarding cash as the economy grinds to a near halt, creating an exodus from the corner of the municipal-bond market where the health-care provider had raised cash. With short-term yields surging, U.S. Bank more than doubled the interest rate on $124 million of variable-rate bonds issued by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare to 5% — threatening to add almost $4 million a year to its annual debt payments.” • Guess we’ll have to take those interest payments out of the ventilator budget…..

This is why we love our insurance companies:

The lightbulb goes on:

It’s stunning how many people want #MedicareForAll (here, “free at the point of care”) but only for this one pandemic.

Personal testimony:

Leveling up my dog game…


“Amid coronavirus fears, here are 5 simple, social games that can restore your faith in humanity” [Los Angeles Times]. “[W]hile most people have at least heard about “Fortnite,” not everyone is a game player and able to jump into the deep end of that popular arena. So for those on the prowl for a game that’s social, friendly and doesn’t require much prior experience with the medium, here are a few of the relatively simple and inviting ways to interact via play. And if none of the below strike your fancy, don’t forget about the joys of “Mario Kart,” which is now available for mobile phones.” • Reviews.

“Canceled Soccer Game Played In Front Of 60,000 Fans (On Twitch)” [Kotaku]. “Spanish sides Real Betis and Sevilla were supposed to play each other in real life on Sunday night, but La Liga’s covid-19 lockdown put paid to that. Not to matter, since both sides just picked one player each—their champion—and had them play the match on FIFA 20 instead…. The game was an absolute banger, with Betis winning 6-5 at the death. Amazingly, the winning goal was scored by Iglesias playing as himself.”

Department of Feline Felicity

Something to do at home with your cats:

These cats seem to have been trained. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

“Cats unprepared for all the extra attention” [Daily Mash]. “Cats around the country have confirmed that while they do sometimes like a stroke in the evening, during the day they have stuff to do and do not need the hassle. Roy Hobbs, a five-year-old cat living in Wimbledon, said: “How long is this meant to last for? Because it’s already bugging me.”

“We Spent 24 Hours Searching for the Elusive ‘Butthole Cut’ of Cats” [Vanity Fair]. “When reached by Vanity Fair via email, a spokesperson for Universal said that this was their ‘favorite email of ALL TIME’—adding, unfortunately, that they could not comment on the rumors. ‘Hopefully that will add to the magic and mythical nature of the cinematic treasure,’ they added.”

Groves of Academe

“America needs to talk about the new book that says lacking a college degree might kill you” [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Inquirer]. “OK, so most people agree that it should be easier and less expensive to attend college, in an economy where a diploma is frequently demanded as the price of admission. But not going to college in today’s America could kill you? To a lot of folks, that’s going to sound a little crazy. But that’s the explosive premise of a new book called Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, which was written by the married Princeton University academics Anne Case and Angus Deaton and comes out on March 17, right in the middle of the 2020 primary season. Based on the advance write-ups, the perfectly timed tome could reshape America’s political debate much as another academic work, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, altered the way we looked at income inequality.”

University administrators:

Class Warfare

“Essential Workers”:

Whole Paycheck:

“The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism” [The Atlantic]. “For those with caring responsibilities, an infectious-disease outbreak is unlikely to give them time to write King Lear or develop a theory of optics. A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis). Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic. Purely as a physical illness, the coronavirus appears to affect women less severely. But in the past few days, the conversation about the pandemic has broadened: We are not just living through a public-health crisis, but an economic one. As much of normal life is suspended for three months or more, job losses are inevitable. At the same time, school closures and household isolation are moving the work of caring for children from the paid economy—nurseries, schools, babysitters—to the unpaid one.”

“Parental diet affects sperm and health of future offspring” [Medical Xpress]. “The developmental origins of health and disease is a school of thought that focuses on how prenatal factors such as stress and diet impact the development of diseases when children reach adulthood. Experimental evidence indicates that environmental factors that affect parents do play a role in reprogramming the health of their offspring throughout their lifespan. In particular, parental low-protein diets are known to be related to metabolic disorders in their children, such as diabetes. This phenomenon is thought to be regulated through epigenetics—heritable changes in which genes are turned on and off without actually changing an individual’s DNA. However, until now, the details of this process were unknown. In their study published in Molecular Cell, a team led by Keisuke Yoshida and Shunsuke Ishii at RIKEN CPR tackled this question in a mouse model and discovered that a protein called ATF7 is essential for the intergenerational effect.” • So that would seem to complete the logical chain on epigenetic; not for cranks any more! “prenatal factors such as stress and diet” is delicately put; what seems most obvious to me is that for the first time we have an intergenerational, biological account for multigeneneral issues driven by class.

News of the Wired

“Smart.” There’s that word….

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (petal):

Into the woods…

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. fresno dan

    The Corrupt Senators And Coronavirus” [The American Conservative]. “

    Whether Epstein was murdered, the fact that he died while in custody says something about the care, rigor, and competance of the authorities. Somehow, for some inexplicable reason (need I put the sarc sign) I don’t think any of these senators or would be senators will spend even one night in jail…

      1. steve

        Exactly why it’s a thing to begin with. If real consequences, like going to prison, were the result this would rarely happen.

    1. Skip Intro

      Looks like DiFi also cashed in… I think she counts as as a Gramscian Morbid Symptom.

      1. Anon

        If true, that would be pathetic. DiFi is a multi-millionaire married to a billionaire. The depth of greed is beyond the horizon.

          1. Procopius

            I understood the company whose stock was sold was a company connected with health care that will likely be going up in the near future. Not that I want to defend DiFi.

            1. John Wright

              The SF Chronicle had an article about the stock trade.


              I find Feinstein disgusting for her middle east war-mongering, her pimping for the military/intelligence/security state, her helping George W. Bush get re-elected via her pro Medicare Part D vote, and her cynical suggestion that Edward Snowden would get a fair hearing if he turned himself over to the US authorities.

              But she may be blameless in this case.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The political climate itself may be sour about anything to do with Coronavirus in Georgia for Loeffler. A Senator named Brandon Beach mixed with his colleagues even though he was showing symptoms. Yep, he has confirmed Coronavirus so now the whole, complete entire Georgian Senate is in self-quarantine along with their families. Loeffler may find the whole atmosphere hostile on this particular subject now-


  2. epynonymous

    A sign advertising federal Census work just appeared on the telephone pole of the corner of my street. What made it unusual is that hand-written in the corner was the wage. $27.50

    Now, my memory is imperfect, but quite recently that job was going for 15 dollars an hour I believe…

    I’d nearly forgotten the census, but if they have raised the wage that high, it seems someone in government didn’t! If they can’t get workers (and who would want that job right now) that badly, there’s a potential sign that people ‘just won’t eat the dog food’ anymore.

    Serious potential for disruption in the labor markets on a scale unprecedented outside of war-time. Surely the government would completely panic if people organized, but after years of tucking inflation under the rug, what can you expect when your shitty 9-to-5 job becomes potentially suicidal?

    Still, if you find yourself in financial distress and can tolerate the risk, that’s a chance to work from march/may to june/whenever-it’s-over and then get your unemployment in order.

    I have friends who can’t even qualify for unemployment ($5,100 a year) after taking time to care for ill family members.

    Might be a life-line for anyone out there who needs it. $27.50 still ain’t bad, and with unemployment in it’s current state for god knows how long, 3 months might keep you comfy for 12 extra months. <3

    1. Samuel Conner

      I would have thought that by now Google would simply send sensor-equipped cars around to face-identify everyone peering out of the windows.

    2. Eureka Springs

      I got a surprisingly short census form in the mail this time which asked if I own my home, anyone else live here, and 147 check box choices for my ethnicity. I wrote in American.

      The day after I sent it in I got letter from census telling me to expect my form soon.

      1. gary

        My wife did our Census online. The questions were slight and more concerned with ethnicity than practical considerations.

    3. Another Scott

      I don’t know where you saw the $15.00 an hour, but that’s considerably lower than where I live. In November/December, I remember seeing $25.00 an hour outside of the Tip O’Neil Building in Boston, but by the beginning of the year, it was $27.50. Wages for other positions, including supervisor were higher. I don’t know what type of requirements they have, but it didn’t seem outlandish. I also heard from people that the entire process was a pain and took forever, although it sounded like an unfortunate modern job application process

        1. pretzelattack

          that’s my understanding. also the process has been undermined by outsourcing various duties to outside contractors, particularly software, but also hiring. trump trying to make the census a vehicle for tracking immigrants also slowed it.

    4. Harold

      My partner applied, and they said there would be a deduction from his pension, so he didn’t take the job.

    5. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

      I applied for an Enumerator position. After passing the background check and filling out the necessary employment documents, I received an email yesterday telling me that “all census operations will be halted for two weeks until 04/02/2020.” At this point I was waiting for my training but “ALL training is on hold.” Furthermore, “[t]his is all the information we have at this time.”

      By the way, I was [will be?] going to make $18 an hour.

      1. epynonymous

        Thanks all. I did do some further reading, and appreciate the correction.

        Read the Mass state website and it said that census work was protected to not interfere with foods stamps, TAMP, TAMF, or WIC, but that census work will still count against your income cap for Mass Health.

        Oh well!

      2. pretzelattack

        they shut down the local office when someone came down with the virus. who knows if there will even be a non online census this year.

    6. Billy

      I refuse to go to their website and enter a code. The site can be hacked and how do I know once digitized, data won’t be sold? With the unemployment rate as high as it is now, I will wait for a human being earning a paycheck to come to our house and I will talk to them, through the window.

      1. pretzelattack

        i think the data is given away to businesses etc. i’m not sure you will get the human coming to your house. as far as your personal data, there are penalties, but then there are penalties against insider trading, in theory.

        1. aleric

          The aggregate data is made available to the public, grouped by census unit, with small response sizes blanked out. (For example, stats won’t be reported for Asian-Americans if there are only 3 living in a particular census unit). The detailed data will be kept secret for 100 years, then it is made public and become a primary resource for historians and genealogists. This is what they have always done, and they take security seriously.

          1. pretzelattack

            the names etc are kept secret for 72 years. they do take security seriously, but stuff happens and they are moving more and more to online surveys, which can be hacked.

  3. clarky90

    Re; “Parental diet affects sperm and health of future offspring”

    Kelly Hogan talks w/12-year Carnivore and Zero Carb guru, Charles Washington


    “Ten year Carnivore, Kelly Hogan, talks with long-time friend and fellow Facebook moderator, Charles Washington. Charles has been a complete Zero Carb Carnivore for twelve years and began the ZC Carnivore group “Zeroing In On Health” back in 2008. He has helped many thousands of people over the past twelve years as they have started a carnivore diet”

    A change to a carnivore diet has resulted in three children for Kelly Hogan, who had previously been infertile.

    This discussion, by two dear friends, may challenge a few preconceptions (narratives)? In a very sweet way.

  4. shinola

    Re: the tweet about the stressed out cashier at Whole Foods – wifey & I went to our local supermarket yesterday for our regular every-other-week grocery shopping; the cashier who checked us out, a normally cheerful lady, seemed to be just about in tears and, uncharacteristically, complained bitterly about rude customers -. mostly people who ignored signs about limits on certain high demand items and then threw hissy fits when told at check-out they were not allowed to buy more than “x” amount of those items. We really felt sorry for her.

    On the other hand, a neighbor who lives a few houses away from us went up & down the street with a box of home made cookies, each in a little bag with a card attached with her name, phone no. & an offer to drive anyone who needs it to appointments, etc. or do grocery shopping for those who can’t/shouldn’t get out themselves. How nice of her.

    Situations like this really bring out both the bad & good in people.

    1. MLTPB

      That nice neighbor can’t be an American. We typically don’t know if people abroad eat bread, or something like that.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Management writes these policies to give itself credit for something. Then management de-supports the cashier to try “enforcing” the policies all alone.

      If management cared, which management does not, management would hire enough bar bouncers to violently eject every customer who violates a “limit-per-person” rule on something. And when I say violently, I mean so violently that every piece-of-sh*t in the store can see that they will answer to a very violent bouncer if a cashier requests bouncer assistance.

      1. lordkoos

        I shop at Whole Paycheck only very occasionally, but I can easily imagine the typical privileged customer being mean to the help.

      2. Aumua

        I put the odds of national guardsman and/or regular military personnel filling that bouncer role at some point in parts of the U.S. at better than 50%. I can’t say it is something I would be really glad to see, so hopefully we can start acting decently enough before then.

  5. Phillip Allen

    The Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, has ordered the CT primary postponed to June 2. Note the statement about how this move “makes it mathematically impossible for Joe Biden to clinch the nomination before May.”

    From the AP, via the Register Citizen newspaper:

    “Connecticut governor moves primary from April 28 to June 2
    “Updated 5:18 am EDT, Friday, March 20, 2020

    “HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut has decided to move its presidential primary to a later date to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    “Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Twitter the April 28 primary will now be held June 2. Connecticut is the latest state to postpone primary elections amid the global pandemic. Maryland, another state that was part of the April 28 primary, dubbed the “Acela Primary” or “I-95 Primary,” also moved its primary to June 2.

    “The other states to postpone are Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio.

    “Merrill said moving the primary date is a “good first step” toward insuring Connecticut voters can have a say in the selection of presidential candidates while ensuring they’re safe at the polls. She said it will also give local election officials more time to prepare.

    “Changing an election date is not something we do lightly – it’s a recognition of the severity & nature of this crisis, and more steps may be necessary to guarantee that every CT voter has an opportunity to cast their ballot,” she wrote in a tweet.

    “Earlier this week, the presidents of associations representing local registrars of voters and town clerks sent letters to Merrill, asking her to call on Lamont to postpone the primary by using his authority under a recently enacted state emergency order.

    “Connecticut’s change makes it mathematically impossible for Joe Biden to clinch the nomination before May.

    “The delay of the primary comes as Connecticut officials warn there will likely be more positive cases of the coronavirus in the coming weeks. Officials announced the state’s second death on Thursday.

    “COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, has stricken thousands across the globe but usually presents only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For older adults and people with other health problems, it can cause complications or sometimes death. Most people recover.


    “The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.”

    1. Samuel Conner

      perhaps it will also delay the spread of the D establishment political moronovirus.

      1. Laughingsong

        Can I steal that one? Soooo good..

        I got Moron-D3 2020 (d3 = “dirty dyin’ disease”).

        1. Samuel Conner

          “moronovirus” is not original to me — was in a cartoon, recently. IIRC a patient in ICU, with every horizontal surface stacked with rolls of TP.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      It’s over, this is Pearl Harbor without the need for a coordinated PR campaign. Terrifically bad time for any triangulation. Whoever turns this panic into determination towards a goal wins, and somebody has a bully pulpit.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, has ordered the CT primary postponed to June 2. Note the statement about how this move “makes it mathematically impossible for Joe Biden to clinch the nomination before May.”

      That’s a damn shame. Good catch, thanks!

  6. DJG

    (although in principle I believe that NGOs are poor replacements for a functioning State)

    Lambert Strether: Thanks for this. We shake our heads in wonder at IndyGoGo campaigns for John with brain cancer, but the whole complex of NGOs ends up being a giant inflated IndyGoGo campaign, with plenty of skimming.

    Further, the religious edifice of this country includes the thought from Jesus, which is among the odder teachings of the bible:
    Mark 14:7 King James Version (KJV)
    7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

    I guess that Mr. Big already had compassion fatigue. So the poor are always there, with needs that can never be fulfilled, and the NGOs are only too happy to have a class of poors there all the time to deal with but never lift out of poverty. Because that would mean handing over money.

    I have been thinking about how plagues in the past have provoked revolts by the peasants. What are people willing to start demanding? The debate over how much to charge people for testing during a pandemic is truly rich.

    “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is just another slogan.

    I have been thinking that the whole inflated structure of NGOs, consultants, influencers, agents (of various kinds), patient advocates (yikes!), advertisers and public relations types–the whole inflated baroque of courtiers and servants that we now live in, but may not thrive in–may be overdue for deflation. The question is whether we are ready.

    1. notabanktoadie

      Mark 14:7 is NOT an inevitability but an INDICTMENT of that generation since the Old Testament makes it clear that poverty is a result of economic injustice:

      However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. Deuteronomy 15:4-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      1. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

        Thank you for the verse from Deuteronomy. I find that Biblical quotations often lack the context to make sense of them.

      2. Procopius

        But Deuteronomy 15:11:
        “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

        Despite the language, not considered a Commandment.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I have been thinking that the whole inflated structure of NGOs, consultants, influencers, agents (of various kinds), patient advocates (yikes!), advertisers and public relations types–the whole inflated baroque of courtiers and servants that we now live in, but may not thrive in–may be overdue for deflation

      Deflation? Only if we plow it all under and then salt the earth afterward. The Trillbillies have many mordant comments on the NGO industrial complex; I can’t find the one with the close reading of a grant application, because you can’t [family blog] search on podcasts, but this one is pretty fun.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        This sounds like an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone to create a Podcast Search if such a thing is technologically possible.

        Or at the very least a Podcast Catalog of all organizations and entities doing podcasts and what the general subject areas of each entity’s podcasts are.

  7. Cuibono

    “shows that about 18% of some 700 infected individuals on Diamond Princess never showed symptoms.” • Yikes. That’s an argument for a complete shutdown.”

    I agree it MIGHT BE: but what about Singapore then? No complete shutdown there but intense contact tracing has worked. Why?

    It might be that in some locales we need BOTH.



    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If Biden is still alive at the convention and is the nominee, will he be the first major party nominee to be included with the “others running” category?

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Probably only if they want to tip their hands that they think he’s destined to be in the same “no coverage except ‘also ran'” category usually imposed on alternative-party candidates. . . .

    2. clarky90

      The centre of the COVID-19 crisis, in Northern Italy
      Sky News, Mar 19, 2020

      Reporter, “People keep describing it as, “like the flu””
      Doctor, “No, it’s totally another thing…….”


      “The crisis gripping the town at the centre of the global COVID-19 crisis in Italy has been witnessed by Sky News’ Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay.

      Italy has hit a grim milestone in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and authorities there want to send a warning to the rest of the world”.

      1. Bill Carson

        Forget toilet paper, I think we all should be provided with a gun and at least one bullet.

        1. ambrit

          “When I hear “petrie dish culture,” I reach for my revolver.”
          Attributed to various ‘fascist’ personalities, but really a line from a German play, “Schlageter,” by Hanns Johst.
          Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanns_Johst
          A classic instance of Art imitating Life imitating Art…..ad infinitum.
          (The life of Johst is fascinating in how it delineates the Zeitgeist of the Era.)

    3. MLTPB

      Both, I agree.

      Is mask wearing popular there?

      I looked for Italian travel restrictions on China, Taiwan, HK, but did not see Singspore on the list. So, I can say they have lucked out.

      There was a Wall Streer Journal article 3 days earlier that Singapore, Taiwan and HK face a second wave.

      Like the rest of the world.

      Whether their responses are better than ours, or others’ will be severely and appropriately comparably tested by this second wave.

  8. OIFVet

    Re “Yesterday’s Elections Were a Disgrace” [Jacobin]. Per the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker will issue a shelter in place order for the entire state of Illinois at 3pm central. Pritzker and Joe Biden should be held accountable for criminal negligence in not only not postponing Tuesday’s primary, but actively encouraging people to go out and vote.

    PS Biden is beyond done now.

    1. Eureka Springs

      For a the last week or so Biden tweeted frequently something like “I believe in science”. I want to know what *scientist said, hell yes Joe, get people in long cold lines for hours, then in crowded rooms touching nasty screens?

      *political science does not count

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “I believe in science”.

        This is the answer to the question. Liberals who “believe” in global warming, science, and evolution simply recognize these are virtue signals they need to embrace. I don’t “believe” the sun will rise in the East, I know this.

        They hold science in such low regard they treat it like Khristians and faith.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Those, including Biden, who “believe in science” have no understanding of the scientific method. Therefore, all is magic. Even record players.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          That “belief in” formulation may be due to the extreme Puritan and other Christianist influence on the basic roots of anglophone American culture.

          1. Alfred

            Yes, exactly. A major problem, often overlooked. Science is not “a belief” but rather an alternative to belief. The common formulation you quote always strikes me as pandering.

            1. ambrit

              I would differentiate between Science with a capital ‘S’ and science with a lower case ‘s’. The capitalized versions of words, at least in the Latin derived tongues, imply a higher ‘status,’ or interpenetration with Divinity.
              True ‘science’ is a methodology. All else is political posturing.
              If I have understood the subject correctly, (the real scientists in the commenteriat, whom are legion, correct me please if I stray too far from the slopes of Parnassus,) real science denies the existence of any definite ‘Truth.’
              Jacob Bronowski, in one of the latter episodes of his television masterwork, “The Ascent of Man,” makes just this point whilst sifting through one of the ash piles at Auschwitz.
              See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ascent_of_Man
              (I have two copies of the book version hiding out in the Midden of Symbols, ie. library, of our house. Time to hunt one out and re-read it.)

            2. drumlin woodchuckles

              I think the problem goes deeper than that. When people say they “believe in global warming” . . . they are thinking in religionistic terms inherited from the Puritan and Evangelical and Holy Roller ( the Great Awakening, the Burnt-Over Country, etc.) part of anglophone-America’s cultural roots.

              One would have to actually jam-reboot peoples’ brains, one brain at a time, to get people out of that ” I believe in . . . ” speech-center/ deep-brain” mindset.

              I am thinking: if I ever get asked if I “believe in” global warming, I will try to reply with some version of : “No. And I don’t believe in gravity either, even though I keep falling down.”

        3. MLTPB

          One has to believe because no one can be sure

          1. A scientific explanation will not be replaced by a better one tomorrow.

          2. The scientific method will not be replaced by a better method yet.

          The observation that the sun rises in the west is just an observation, and is only a step in practicing the S. Method. It turns out that we evolve around the sun, more than it rises and sets around us. That new observation fits in with the most current theory of gravity.

          We believe the theory (as well as the inductive observation of us going around the sun) will hold till tomorrow, but that is not guaranteed.

      2. Samuel Conner

        I think that JB believes that mentioning science from time to time can serve useful rhetorical purposes.

      3. richard

        what an utterly worthless man
        what use can we the people make of him?
        he will veto m4a if it gets to his desk
        the core issue of the entire sanders movement and he has said that even if it somehow gets to his desk through every knife out there, he’d veto it as it stands now
        i didn’t think the establishment could throw up a bigger middle finger to reform than hrc and tim kaine in 2016. I will be proven wrong. Lower than you think, then two flights down, then down underneath the sub basement, that’s where you’ll find the voter murdering democrats.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Millions of Jonestown Clinties and Black Zombies for Clyburn will vote for Biden. The only way to make SURE that Biden is done would be to get both Sanders and Gabbard onto all 50 state ballots as independent no-party names.

      If there are not enough independent minded refugees from the Sanders and Gabbard movements to do it, then I hope squads of deep-cover Republican ratf*ckers are sent to get Sanders and Gabbard names onto all 50 state ballots.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The candidate hermself? This is the law? In every state? Then there is much less hope of drawing votes away from Biden in such a way that after the election, the politicians and the pundits can read the measure of the peoples’ displeasure.

          If you are correct, then the only choice people will have is Trump, or Catfood Democrat, or some sad and frivolous little vanity parties, or leaving the President line blank.

      1. Youngblood

        I think Gabbard’s political stock has fallen to junk bond status after she endorsed Joe Biden. She failed the integrity test.

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Bloomberg

    Perhaps, Bloomie has seen the fabled Biden. $18 million might not seem like a lot yesterday, but right now…

    1. jashley

      Heard that some of the main Bloomie campaign workers may have been exposed to Cv19 due to a worker testing positive within the last week.

      Then bloomie DUMPS them even though he had promised to keep them on through at least NOV.

      What a scummy billionaire.

        1. Harvey

          Yep, if you define good as being so addicted to money so that you will do anything to get it and keep it. Like money is the Oxycontin of the billionaires.

  10. zagonostra

    >Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

    American Exceptionalism at its finest.

    … Askini saw her temperature spike and drop dangerously, and she developed a cough that gurgled because of all the liquid in her lungs. After two more trips to the ER that week, Askini was given a final test on the seventh day of her illness, and once doctors helped manage her flu and pneumonia symptoms, they again sent her home to recover. She waited another three days for a lab to process her test, and at last she had a diagnosis: COVID-19.

    A few days later, Askini got the bills for her testing and treatment: $34,927.43.


    1. carl

      From the article:

      “There’s no way I could afford to pay out-of-pocket for care. What can I do?

      The U.S. health care system doesn’t have a good answer for you, and it’s a problem.”

      I find the bland acceptance of this horrendous system almost worse than the system itself.

    2. Bsoder

      I don’t believe any of it. Not a word. Who’d Time get sold off to? Who benefits from this nonsense? I don’t doubt greed but I do operating so stupidly.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I don’t doubt greed but I do operating so stupidly.

        The threads on horrific insurance company billings and the resulting comedy of dealing with them are so frequent on Twitter as to have become a genre. KHN is running a whole series on them (“Bill of the Month”). I don’t know where your experience is coming from, but others have no doubts about operating “so stupidly” at all.

  11. turtle

    Regarding masks, I don’t know if the following 2008 study has been posted or discussed here before. In essence, it shows that breathing masks (of any kind, even home made, and even poorly fitting) protect the wearer from respiratory infections to a varying extent, and compares the efficacy of three different types (N95/FFP2, surgical, or “tea cloth”).

    It seems to me that the whole “no need to wear masks, they don’t help” story was either out of ignorance or an attempt to prevent shortages for healthcare workers. Either way, it’s not the message that should have been given.


    Short term inward protection experiment

    All masks provided protection against transmission by reducing exposure during all types of activities, for both children and adults (Table 1). Within each category of masks, the degree of protection varied by age category and to a lesser extent by activity. We observed no difference between men and women. Surgical masks provided about twice as much protection as home made masks, the difference a bit more marked among adults. FFP2 masks provided adults with about 50 times as much protection as home made masks, and 25 times as much protection as surgical masks. The increase in protection for children was less marked, about 10 times as much protection by FFP2 versus home-made masks and 6 times as much protection as surgical masks.

    1. Bill Carson

      We should have all known, as soon as we saw the reports that masks are ineffective, that we were all screwed.

        1. Bill Carson

          I mean that they knew there was going to be a shortage and they were trying to keep the public from hoarding them.

    2. Matthew

      Pretty sure the message preceded the mask shortage, at least in the US, so that wasn’t the reason.

      1. Bill Carson

        TPTB knew we were going to have a mask shortage well before the shelves started emptying.

      2. turtle

        So pure ignorance then? I saw this being repeated by various doctors and public health officials. Did they perhaps foresee what would happen, especially given what had already been happening in Italy?

        Saving the supplies for healthcare workers is a worthwhile goal, but I think they could have handled it better. If they had said save the N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers (and in fact, commandeered most of the stock and production of the same for them) I would have understood. They could have at least told people to go ahead and wear masks, even homemade ones, and it could have had some effect in slowing down the spread.

        1. urdsama

          Even if the masks referenced are effective, which I’m not sure is proven by the link you provided, the eyes still need to be protected..

          Unless one is going to wear a properly fitted gas mask, the masks being discussed aren’t going to cut it. And they may make it worse by giving people a false sense of safety.

          1. turtle

            That’s a bit of all or nothing thinking. There are degrees of protection that you can deploy. If I have something available that helps improve my chances by 50%, I will take advantage of that. It’s the same reason why I take a flu shot every year, despite them being only about that effective, on average (from what I recall).

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            What about face shields? That solves the eyes problem.

            I don’t think disposable masks are any kind of long-term solution and we may be masking for quite some time. Consider the disposal problem.

    3. Louis Fyne

      Saw news footage from Japan,Korea—near universal mask usage, whether handmade or factory produced.

      And coronavirus did not metasatize in Japan/Korea like Western Europe.

      Masks (and heavy contact tracing) saves lives by lowering the R0 value—-virus transmission

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      Last month we were in a world where the good was the enemy of the perfect. If it wasn’t a silver bullet it wasn’t worth it. Whole lot of recalibrating going on. We may have to start looking at ‘every little bit counts.’

    5. Bsoder

      “Surgical masks provided about twice as much protection as home made masks, the difference a bit more marked among adults. FFP2 masks provided adults with about 50 times as much protection as home made masks, and 25 times as much protection as surgical masks.” – so chicken wire and a hanky aren’t going to cut it. Alas this is just one study not a meta study of all studies, which at NIH show a specific user case were masks are helpful. This isn’t it. I’d suggest acquiring an O2 mask that climbers use at high altitudes.

    6. Sancho Panza

      Social custom/conformity is a huge barrier in the US to wearing masks. If you have one, wear it when you go out, even if you feel odd or other people won’t wear one. We have to change the social expectations.

  12. Phacops

    My read for today, picking up my old copy of Rats, Lice and History. Then for the lighter (or stranger) side of perseverence I pulled out Max Brooks’ The ZOMBIE Survival Guide.

        1. richard

          How so?
          Are they super entitled and owning 0% of it? Full of white privilege? Blind faith in a faultless leader?
          Or are they republican in some other way?

  13. albrt

    S&P 500 closed the week below the 2018 lows (around 2400).

    Next potential support level is the early 2016 lows (below 1900).

    Technical analysis is probably BS, but the traders don’t have much else to go by next week.

  14. madarka

    Long time lurker here, occasional commenter.

    Things are heating up in Latin America. Around here in Dominican Republic cases are starting to double, curfews have begun but there’s no way to enforce a complete lockdown as in China. There’s too much poverty: inadequate housing, informal workers that need to be on the street to be able to eat. Also, tourism has been obliterated and massive layoffs are begining. Coupled with very low capacity in the public health system and we’re in for a very nasty ride.

    1. MLTPB

      As in China…

      Which China? The one before a top security guy was sent in, or after?

      Countries will have to greatly empower their leaders, and monitor internet discussions.

      1. Billy

        Free, democratic Taiwan is doing very well.
        Oh, and they have had universal healthcare since 1994.

        1. MLTPB

          It believe Taiwan luckec out when Italy included her in their Chinese travel restrictions, just around Feb 2, 2020.

          But Formosa faces a second wave, like many others.

    2. gsinbe

      Thanks for the update. Brazil was in the news briefly, but haven’t heard much about how the rest of the Americas are doing.

  15. Bill Carson

    Regarding the numbers coming out of China, which show only 39 new cases (supposedly derived from people returning to China from abroad) and only 3 new deaths in the past 24 hours….

    ….are we certain that China has not already developed and distributed a vaccine?

    Because I’m at a loss to explain their performance in light of what we are seeing in the rest of the world.

    [Pardon me if this falls into the category of MSU.]

        1. MLTPB

          WHO says there are 20 vaccines in development (I forgot to say in development, implied, when I said not distributed, my fault). CNBC

    1. urdsama

      I think the more important question is can we trust the numbers coming out of China?

      Previous behavior says no, not without serious independent verification. And to be honest, the WHO does not count in this case.

      1. Larry Y

        I don’t trust the numbers, but the facts are obvious when you see what’s happening in Beijing and Shanghai vs. Wuhan.

        That’s extensive social and population monitoring easily extended/repurposed from the security apparatus, including smartphone tracking, coupled with extensive testing, and face masks.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I have read that China has aggressively contact-traced (with testing of contacts to identify infected contacts) in every province, even in Hubei province where one might have guessed that they would have given up on containment. China had 9000+ people working on contact tracing in Wuhan. If the numbers are credible, the persistence in conventional bog-standard epidemic control (contact trace, find the infected, and treat or quarantine them) worked.

      US appears to have given up on containment because it lacks the tools needed for effective contact tracing — not enough tests to determine which contacts are infected, and cannot quarantine every contact of a contact of a ,,, contact of known cases. By the time we are able to test every contact of known cases, the number of cases may greatly exceed the capacity of the trained public health experts to trace all contacts.

      If the numbers out of China are believable, they may be able to eradicate the disease within the country (but will always face the risk of a new epidemic from visitors from out of country). It may be too late in US to pursue the same aggressive strategy — perhaps we could train an army of tens of thousands of contact tracers in time to still get it under control relatively quickly, or maybe we will be contact tracing for years and only gradually get it under control. Or maybe we’ll just accept that the disease is endemic in US. Perhaps the world will impose a permanent quarantine on US. That would be a rich irony.
      Perhaps it will become known as “the Trump Embargo”

      1. MLTPB

        Treat or quarantine them?

        I think they quarantine the whole province, the whole city, the whole block, the whole building. Not just those tested after contact tracing (when everyone is already qurantined in his apartment, why?)

        Also in China, government hauled away people, from their homes, forcibly. Thats where the top security came in handy, I think. NBC News Feb 8, 2020.

        1. Samuel Conner

          I think that the lock-down in China slowed spread enough that the contact-tracing and treat/quarantine procedure — standard public health methods to counter epidemics — could gradually catch up to all of the infected people.

          US has locked down, partially, as a mitigation measure to “flatten the curve”. It’s half of the Chinese playbook (assuming that my understanding of what they have done is valid). But within the lock-down regions, without the rest of the “play-book”, the epidemic simply runs (more slowly due to the social distancing) and patients are treated as they fall ill. This will reduce mortality but not contain, and certainly not eradicate, the epidemic.

          The Chinese appear (if one can believe the reported numbers) to be within reach of eradicating the disease within the country. They won’t be able to let guard down, though, since it appears destined to become endemic in rest-of-world. Perhaps every visitor will have to quarantine for weeks and submit to multiple rounds of tests to be certified safe to travel within the country.

          What a mess we have made for ourselves with our lack of preparedness for mass testing..

        2. Samuel Conner

          I don’t think that they simply locked down to wait for the thing to burn itself out.


          From this link:

          “The Chinese Government mobilised 1800 teams of epidemiologists, with 5 members per team to track tens of thousands of people that had been in contact with a confirmed case every day. A high percentage of people who were identified as having been in close contact with an infected individual had to complete a medical evaluation. (If tests were mandatory, this explains those videos of people being seemingly kidnapped from the street by police)”

          It looks like they were doing standard epidemic control: trace contacts and confirm if infected, treat/quarantine. rinse and repeat for contacts of the newly identify cases.

          1. MLTPB

            Use force to get people tested?

            That contrasts with pleading online to be tested. Something is off here.

          2. Bsoder

            Verified by three known be true sources? Or is this like Boeing and self certification? Currently C-19 comes in two variants “S” & “L”, with a newer one emerging now. Most of China’s case involved L & S. The rest of the world “L”. This makes extrapolation of data even if true and accurate from China impossible. In science it’s show me the math or show me the physcial proof. Three degree inductions are useless.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think they quarantine the whole province, the whole city, the whole block, the whole building. Not just those tested after contact tracing (when everyone is already qurantined in his apartment, why?)

          There are CCP apparatchiks all the way down to the neighborhood level (which I think means to the apartment complex level). We have nothing like that.

  16. turtle

    Another message I’ve seen repeated in the last couple of weeks has been that no supplements help against this virus and essentially there’s nothing we can do to protect ourselves beyond social distancing. This meta-study suggests that vitamin D helps protect the lungs against severe damage caused by various infections.


    This review paper summarizes 11 studies on vitamin D and risk factors conducted between 2009 and 2016. The studies included animal and human patients and assessed vitamin D status and its many associations with ATII cells. This review highlights the sparse data on many factors, particularly doses. The tables presented above show research in animals with many different contexts, but further research is necessary both in humans and in animals. Vitamin D deficiency affects lung structure and function by lowering oxygenation and reducing the survival time in preterm neonates. In addition, vitamin D can effectively improve lung maturation, lung volume, and ATII cells; it can also induce respiratory distress syndrome in preterm neonates. In future studies, the optimal time periods for vitamin D supplementation should be further explored to determine the relationship with prophylaxis or treatment.

    The results of our summary suggest the benefits of vitamin D supplementation at doses of 250–1000 IU/kg in animals. More evidence-based information and additional studies are necessary to confirm the therapeutic benefits of vitamin D supplementation in humans and animals and to describe the molecular pathways of these mechanisms. Furthermore, more evidence is necessary to determine the best therapeutic use of vitamin D, particularly regarding doses, optimal time, protein expression, and toxicity in humans and animals. Additionally, the optimal dosing strategies for specific types of risk factors in the lungs must be clarified to confirm the therapeutic efficacy before it can be recommended for broad clinical use.

    1. lordkoos

      Vitamin C and Zinc help with many viruses. The Chinese were having good luck with giving vitamin C via an IV drip.

      As I suffer from SAD in northern climes, I already take 10,000 units of D in the winter, 5000 in the summer.

  17. T

    Marc Elias had an editorial in WaPo on the 16th concern trolling about how hard, difficult, complicated, and confounding mail-in ballots are with not a peep about how they might be counted.

    1. MLTPB

      Will, say, to use a most recent showdown, Russia and Turkey have mail in battles?

      The idea is probably more suited for a sci fi film.

  18. fresno dan


    The Russian trolls are back — and once again trying to poison the political atmosphere in the United States ahead of this year’s elections. But this time they are better disguised and more targeted, harder to identify and track.
    DARN!!! I thought switching from my pink antenna in bunny ears slippers, to camo bunny slippers, I would disrupt your elections undetected. Hard to slip anything by those guys at CNN…

    1. urblintz

      I stopped trying to hide it, started posting in Cyrillic script and signing off with a hammer and sickle logo… they still can’t find me!

      Kakalin kakalin kakalin kamaya!

          1. OIFVet

            I grew up in Eastern Europe ;) Might just add the 1984 Soviet anthem to my playlist, it might just take me back to a pretty decent childhood. Two weeks of free camp on the Black Sea, back home for a week or two, and then back to the Black Sea for the two week family vacation. The West’s petty bourgeois could die of envy, but mostly we would sneak into their dining areas and nationalise their chocolate supplies, at least until they learned to lock the door. Took them a while to learn, stupid westerners ?

        1. furies

          My father was a Russian immigrant via China; I grew up with this song. My parents named me after Catherine the Great, aka Katyusha.

          Ah yes, the memories of all that good Russian culture/food in an otherwise white bread suburban void…

    2. The Rev Kev

      You can’t fool a CNN reporter. Remember the time one of their reporters sniffed a bag and thereby determined that it had been affected by one of Assad’s chemical weapons?


      I can see it now with the present crisis. A CNN reporter goes to work on a story, sniffs a school bag, and says yes, it is definitely Coronovirus present.

    3. Balakirev

      Not to worry. Natasha and I will kill Moose and Squirrel. You keep Biden disguise on Mr. Big, all will be ours!

  19. Tom Stone

    For those who want some light reading I can recommend “The android’s Dream” By John Scalzi and “Monster Hunter International” by Larry Correia.
    Pure escapist fiction, the former has the first literary depiction of an assassination by flatulence that I am aware of…

    1. John

      I find all of Scalzi’s work enjoyable. Android’s Dream is a fast read full of odd twists and turns, which if you continue reading Scalzi, you find to be a feature.

  20. WobblyTelomeres

    Went to the local Kroger this morning to get a loaf of bread and some salsa verde (wife said if I’m going to make her eat beans, I had to get some salsa verde). Shelves were largely back to normal, although the dried beans and rice shelves were still bare. Grocers are going to prosper if everyone cooks at home for months on end, versus eating out.

    Told the nice though harried lady working the self checkout line, “Thank you for your service.” She brightened right up. I must have been the first to say that to her, the phrase being overused in this largely military town. Don’t forget those keeping the wheels turning.

    The Kroger is a union shop. Are they all?

    1. MLTPB

      Were you able to social distance?

      (A trip to the grocery store is like going above ground, outside the underground santuary).

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Sort of. The store wasn’t very crowded, just older people, like me, milling about. FWIW, I keep sanitizer in the car for before/after. Wipes were everywhere for use.

        Did have to ride an elevator today, with three others. We were wedged into the corners. I worked the buttons for the others with my umbrella.

        On the home front, my wife is slowly getting used to telework. She has coopted my lava lamp.

    2. Carolinian

      Most if not all Krogers are union I believe. Perhaps for that reason you won’t find any in my town although they are quite common in Atlanta. The company also owns other grocery chains such as Fry’s which can be found in AZ.

      My trip to the store this morning showed large sections of frozen foods had been cleaned out. I did find some milk. I see Costco has said they won’t take back certain items like toilet paper and disinfectant. Apparently–unbelievably–some customer are buying huge quantities on the expectation that they’ll be able to take back to the store when the crisis is over.

      And locally the giant BMW plant has now said that they will close for most of April if not longer. Lack of demand for cars is cited as one reason.

  21. Barbara

    Sorry to be off-topic, but the contact instructions don’t give an email address.

    I am looking for a very good article on MMT that you had a little while ago that discussed how MMT assessed the stresses on the economy – where they were coming from and why and, thus, when to support/or remove support for various segments of our economic structure: business, workers, etc. It was very clear and I regret that I didn’t snatch it with my tagspaces app. I don’t remember the title.

    If you know which article I’m talking about could you send me the link. Or publish it again?

    The Tcherneva article is not it.

        1. Barbara

          No, I searched both on MMT and Modern Monetary Theory. I made myself a link list and went through every title. It may be that it was an article that I read someplace else.

  22. TB14

    So I have a question..

    This looks bad :


    At what point do we start seeing this in American hospitals in Seattle and Nyc? I’m surprised I haven’t seen any media outlet do this kind of visual reporting on the hospital capacity issue. I mean all the anecdotes I hear from friends in NY are there are already not enough masks,etc.

    Are we just not at this point yet? Are the quarantines currently working such that were avoiding this?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is the anecdote of the woman with a $34k bill from the hospital. Plenty of people will simply be too afraid to seek help.

    2. jonhoops

      It’s all in the numbers. Expect the boom to happen within a week. The quarantines just happened so they won’t affect anything for the next 10 to 14 days which is the incubation period. All the infections currently in the pipeline will play out over that period. I’m sure the reason the Governors acted is that they see the storm coming. Remember the report from the Italian doctor that got everyone’s attention mentioned how it was calm with very few cases in the week before it hit, and that they didn’t see the need for setting up tents in the parking lots etc. Then it hit and they were overwhelmed almost instantly.

    1. Oregoncharles

      A number of viruses can sometimes cause that, as well as mini-strokes or brain damage. Not surprising.

    2. Parker Dooley

      I have almost routinely experienced anosmia whenever I had a “common cold”. Anyone else with this experience? I think I recall a (different) coronavirus being a cause of “colds”.

  23. richard

    Thanks for the cat video, Lambert! I shared it with my 2nd grade students as we all quarantine, with some questions attached to make it seem like schoolwork.
    Hey, if anyone is wondering how j. dore is reacting to tulsi’s endorsement of biden, here is his take. He thinks she may have tried to endorse Sanders first. He has no confirmation on that from anyone in either campaign, so take that as you will. He also points out the many times gabbard has had sanders back during this primary, and his campaign’s refusal to acknowledge her.
    All I know is that the dem establishment can fight like terriers when it comes to protecting their horrible f(*&ing party. But they are compliant little lambs for the repubs, and that’s all that matters, and that’s what gabbard just endorsed, and jimmy just needs to let that sink in a little more.

    1. urblintz

      as someone who contributed to both campaigns, while always a Sander’s voter, I can attest to at least a few of her supporters who told her specifically not to endorse Sanders, that it would hurt him… I think they were right…

      Has Biden expressed his gratitude for her endorsement? Does he think Gabbard is a commie stooge. like his pal Hillary? Will Hillary and Tulsi embrace publicly in an “all’s forgotten” moment so big they won’t even be accused of a secret lesbian relationship?

      Stay tuned…

        1. richrad

          You had better parlay your original Two Mommy bet, to incorporate this new possibility, in order to hedge your liability, and what have you.
          Myself, i am laying 3 to 1 that Trump annihilates Biden (100 electoral votes or more). Even with covid i offer these odds, so certain am i of biden’s unelectability. I say this even if he picks one of the mommies as his vp. Maybe especially if he does.
          With two mommies i can offer no action, i am sorry to say (does his best nathan detroit)

          1. ambrit

            Oh man! A Damon Runyon citation! Da bois and goils down at da jernt will be crackin wise bout dis!

  24. elkern

    From the Starsky article, explaining why their VC dried up:

    “We also saw that investors really didn’t like the business model of being the operator, and that our heavy investment into safety didn’t translate for investors.”

    Safety didn’t “translate” for investors.

    This is ultimately why Humanity must kill (or at least subdue) the Corporations: because they will kill (too many of) us. The Coronavirus pandemic and the coming Depression provide plenty of other stories to prove this.

    I’m no Communist; not even sure I’m a Socialist; I’m a Green, willing to consider various economic systems as long as we recognize that any Economy exists inside of a larger Ecology. I’m not sure where to set the optimal balance between entrepreneurship & regulation; but it seems obvious that Big Money has overwhelmed all our other control systems. Positive feedback (lobbying + campaign donations => laws tilted towards greater concentration of wealth) has run it’s course, and that system is blowing up now. It’s a shame we let it go this far, and that it took a freakin’ plague to wake people up.

    We’re running/falling into an inflection point in history. The USAmerican Empire will not survive this; that’s a Good Thing, but fraught with really big dangers (nukes, famine, etc) for us, for Civilization, for Life on Earth. The USA faces a big and painful choice: accept a smaller piece of The Pie, or smash it all.

    Scary times; our recent (and not-so-recent) electoral choices indicate little willingness to live as one-among-many. It’s “We’re Number One (and screw everybody else)”; Bernie proffered a better, sustainable vision, but not enough people were willing to look up & see it.

    But hey, it’s not (ever) over. All y’can do is do what y’can, eh? We’re headed for “interesting times”.

    1. cnchal

      A should read. I have always had doubts about AV but considered limited use to be viable. That article is an eye opener.

      . . . While this is a lower margin business than software’s traditional 90%, we expected to be able to get to a 50% margin in time.

      It took me way too long to realize that VCs would rather a $1b business with a 90% margin than a $5b business with a 50% margin, even if capital requirements and growth were the same.

      And growth would be the same. The biggest limiter of autonomous deployments isn’t sales, it’s safety.
      Safety engineering is the process of highly documenting your product so that you know exactly the conditions under which it will fail and the severity of those failures, and then measuring the frequency of those conditions such that you know how likely it is that your product will hurt people versus how many people you’ve decided are acceptable to hurt.

      Doing that is really, really hard. So hard, in fact, that it’s more or less the only thing we did from September of 2017 until our unmanned run in June of 2019. We documented our system, built a safety backup system, and then repeatedly tested our system to failure, fixed those failures, and repeated.

      The problem is that all of that work is invisible. Investors expect founders to lie to them — so how are they to believe that the unmanned run we did actually only had a 1 in a million chance of fatality accident? If they don’t know how hard it is to do unmanned, how do they know someone else can’t do it next week?

      Our competitors, on the other hand, invested their engineering efforts in building additional AI features. Decision makers which could sometimes decide to change lanes, or could drive on surface streets (assuming they had sufficient map data). Really neat, cutting- edge stuff.

      Investors were impressed. It didn’t matter that that jump from “sometimes working” to statistically reliable was 10–1000x more work.

      My better half told me about this news show she saw a couple of days ago, extolling the inevitable arrival of self driving trucks, by a company called Starsky.

      AV, the cold fusion of motoring.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Next to be assimilated – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is already halfway there going by when she tweeted after Biden “beat” Bernie a week ago-

      I do not attribute the loss on voter suppression.
      Biden bested the night, fair & square.

      Fair & Square she said. Resistance is futile – even by members of the Resistance.

    2. Harold

      She seems to have chosen exactly the wrong moment to endorse Biden — if there ever was or is going to be a right moment.

      1. The Rev Kev

        If Bernie is getting ready to endorse his old friend Joe, then it may not be a bad time to do so. Especially in light of reports that Bernie refused Tulsi’s endorsement when first offered.

          1. curious euro

            My guess is, this was an offer she couldn’t refuse.
            Her primary results are bad all around, due to the relentless attacks, she is probably pretty burnt, even with her home base.

            What does Mrs. Gabbard want to do in the future? Even if she goes into private business she might need contacts the democratic party can provide. If she wants to stay in politics, she probably need to kiss some ring so her home state party won’t disown her. Washington has a long arm in every congress primary race. E.g. they can simply put up a challenger in her primary for congress and then shower him/her with money. AOC’s primary win is the exception, not the norm.

  25. allan

    From Boris Johnson’s lips to Chuck Schumer’s ear:

    Jeffrey Stein @JStein_WaPo
    Schumer demands on expanding unemployment, as jobless claims skyrocket nationwide:

    — 100% wage match 4-6 months
    — Big increase in benefits w/ each check
    — Incentives for states to eliminate wait periods
    — An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded UI
    — Automatic UI triggers
    7:23 PM · Mar 20, 2020

  26. shtove

    Anyone for a bit of Karl Denninger? Reasoned speculation that this is the second go-round for the virus, and that the antibodies are already largely present: https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=238562

    I find this interesting because my brother, my father and I all got hit with heavy respiratory infections in November/December (UK) with different outcomes – my brother ended up in hospital with pneumonia, my father has a history of steroid treatment for lung problems but managed to cough his way through this course, and I suffered muscle aches for the first time in decades. But we didn’t connect the cases.

    1. ambrit

      Interesting speculation. Phyllis and I had a similar experience between Christmas and New Year’s this winter. So have several of the neighbors, up and down the street. One set of direct neighbors, a thirty something couple next door, are suffering through a “low grade flu like infection” right now.
      This pathogen is going to become endemic to the population, world wide.

    1. skookum red

      At the minus 35 minute mark of the Sanders round table Sara Nelson makes some very progressive proposals.
      no corporate bail outs – experience is they do not work.
      propose worker relief package.
      do not need federal government to be the HR solution.
      keep paychecks going keep people in their jobs.
      we use company payroll systems but money is earmarked for workers.
      in past subsidies go to corporations and they decide how to spend it so then they go to unions and say we can’t make this work so we need union concessions – with unions there is a least discussions, but if no unions, the workers are forced to take the concessions. We don’t want that.
      Stock buybacks – we have apposed every time.
      There should be strings attached to the corporate loans –
      no stock buybacks, no dividends paid out, seats on the board, bankruptcy protection so contracts cannot be broken.
      The idea of Federal buyout of companies and turning over to the employees is not helpful now, too long to implement.

      Insightful that she attacks the bankruptcy hammer used to break union contracts and raid union pensons.

  27. WillyBgood

    An update on California Amtrak. Despite the entire state now being under a shelter in place order Amtrak is still moving people all over the state, especially still on the capital corridor train, San Jose to Sacramento! “Essential” (?) travel across county lines violating the order?!

    1. Carey

      It’s, um, all a little confusing™, isn’t it. ;)

      Fifteen cases here in SLO County CA, all “recovering at home”. None in hospital, let alone ICU. Meanwhile, the car traffic in this normally quiet place is in a near-frenzy.


    2. MLTPB

      I saw the same this morning, and wondered too.

      My guess is, along with the bus I saw later in the morning, is people need them to get around for important surviving purposes.

  28. a different chris

    >Instead, the consensus has become that we’re at least 10 years away from self-driving cars.

    ROTFLMAO. And we always will be.

    >It’s widely understood that the hardest part of building AI is how it deals with situations that happen uncommonly, i.e. edge cases.

    No, the hardest point is understanding that real human intelligence makes mistakes. It gets things right 80, 90, 95% of the time. The difference is when Sally misses the red light and puts Old George into an early grave, Sally pays for it. If GoogleAI does it, Google pays for it. And probably also gets sued by everybody who bought a GoogleMobile because it “has been demonstrated as dangerous.” And maybe everybody who doesn’t want to share a road with the GoogleMobile…

    And that’s what holds the whole thing up. Human Intelligence not only is imperfect, but it arguably uses imperfection to get many jobs done.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Maybe Joe Biden was shown the internet and discovered porn.

      “I don’t even need to go to the newsstand!” -Biden

  29. The Rev Kev

    Biden: “I am calling on every CEO in America to publicly commit now to not buying back their company’s stock over the course of the next year.”

    Translation – This is just temporary boys and after this all blows over, we can all go back to the normal way of doing business.

    1. urblintz

      The Corona Waltz (to be sung to the tune Of Tom Lehrer’s “Alma”)

      The first one to drop out was Butti
      found out voters don’t vote for snooty
      then stealing his thunder came Amy
      who knew she’d get more press on Monday
      and joining hands, speaking of unity
      Tom’s hammer came down with impunity
      the blowout for Biden was certain
      even better ’cause the commies are hurtin’!

      Then came corona
      Dems stuck with Joe, now it’s ovah
      now that we need a new biz
      where are Butti and Amy and Liz?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Gotta find work for all those out of work Uber drivers to keep the profits rolling in.

  30. John

    Why the hell can’t we get alcohol, masks, hand sanitizer and gloves restocked in the stores?

    Trump’s America = FAILURE

    1. OIFVet

      Trump is standing on the shoulders of the giants that preceded him, particularly Barry 0, Dubya, Bubba, and Ronnie. To give him all the credit is to minimize their hard work.

      1. John

        Washington is about to see what 40 years of their neoliberal policies have done to this country.

        It is going to be a sight to behold.

    2. Billy

      “Trump’s America = FAILURE”
      Trump is not why we have little manufacturing capacity left.
      Start with Israel–United States Free Trade Agreement (includes Palestinian Authority; 1985)
      Bill Clinton’sCanada North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (includes Canada and Mexico; 1994)
      Jordan–United States Free Trade Agreement (2001)
      Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (2004)
      Chile–United States Free Trade Agreement (2004)
      Singapore–United States Free Trade Agreement (2004)
      Bahrain–United States Free Trade Agreement (2006)
      Morocco–United States Free Trade Agreement (2006)
      Oman: Oman–United States Free Trade Agreement (2006)
      Peru: Peru–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (2007)
      Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (2012)
      United States–Colombia Free Trade Agreement (2012)
      United States–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (2012)

      1. John

        See my comment at 9:05pm

        Like I don’t know about the last 40 years.

        But culmination leads to where we are right now:
        Trump’s America = FAILURE

      2. MLTPB

        Failure, I believe, is the way we interact with Nature.

        And this thing is from Nature.

        We need to step back, not progress forward deeper into Nature the way we have done.

        We might say, Man’s World = Failure.

    3. What?No!

      I don’t disagree with = FAILURE, but it’s the same in Canada and just about anything with the word “wipes” or “sanitizer” isn’t in stock from any North American source (retail, online, industrial, warehouse). I think there’s a couple of things going on here: 1 is that SOOOO much of absolutely everything comes from China and just isn’t available, and 2 it seems like our supply chains are going through that thing where cars on the freeway are driving too close together and no one can move except in tiny stop & start jerks — a temporary demand spike that will take so long to refill that by the time we do everyone will have run out again.

      Hopefully we get enough of a breather before we do this all over again, maybe more successfully, in the fall … but I doubt we’ll get it together.

  31. dcblogger

    data point, I decided to buy seeds instead of plants from my local hardware store to maintain my social distancing. only to find this message at RareSeeds:

    Due to an unprecedented increase in order volume our website and farm are temporarily closed to restock inventory and disinfect our workspace. We have scaled back our operations and staffing to ensure the health and well-being of our employees, our customers, and the community at large. We understand that during these trying times food security is more valuable than ever. Our remaining crew here on our Mansfield, Mo. farm is diligently working to deliver your orders and restock the shelves. We will be back online as soon as possible! If you have questions about your order email us at seeds@rareseeds.com. Thank you for your patience with us, and for the belief you share with us that gardening makes us all more human and more whole.

    We will Be back online Monday 3/23/2020 at 4:00pm CST.</blockquote?

  32. Kurt Sperry

    Epidemiologically, it might make some sense to give the State of Florida to the under-30s and pay for the beer, condoms, and tacos. Just clear *everyone* out over 30 and throw up a DMZ and a marine perimeter. Going by the mortality data from Italy, fewer than one in a thousand will die and the rest will have strong herd immunity. Let them all out in a year, and they will be immune. And can do all the important things that non-immune people cannot. I might be kidding, but I’m not sure.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        You want as many to join in the year-long beach party as possible, and you don’t want them trying to leave. Known-to-be immune young people will be a precious resource until an effective vaccine is rolled out.

    1. Bsoder

      “L” type C-19 infects 80% of all 20-55, causes hospitalizations in 38% in in Europe & US death rate at 4%. Other than that a great idea.

        1. Stephen The Tech Critic

          And we need to recognize the context and limits of our data. Italy is already having to make triage decisions, and younger patients are more likely to receive treatment than older patients. Hence, they are being “selected” for survival to some extent.

          Also, other health factors may come into play in other countries that could be very important. One fear I have is that chronic nicotine vaping, which I understand to be pretty widespread among young adults and teens, may predispose those people much higher mortality.

  33. John

    Why Washington talking about giving Americans money when it’s just going to go the landlords?

    Make the landlords that a rent cut.

    Are they sacrosanct?

    1. MLTPB

      I understand an alternative is to make it $2,000.

      Does it mean the person is proposing to give even more to landlords?

    2. skippy

      If a mortgaged IP they can’t, income flows determine the assets value and reducing rent means reducing the value of the asset, hence a margin call that is more punitive than a near term cut in rent.

  34. VietnamVet

    The Prez says we are at war with an invisible enemy and then in the next breath says its up to the States to fight the virus. He is not a shipping clerk. This is ludicrous. The War Department didn’t plan in 1941 for the Hawaii Territorial Guard to fight Imperial Japan.

    It isn’t just supplies. To come out the other side with the fewest casualties there must be universal lab testing for the virus, contact tracing and quarantine of the infected, especially the 47% or more infected that are asymptomatic.

    States have budget limits, can’t hire new employees, stopped contact tracing and don’t have laboratory capacity. Only the federal government can do this plus contract out. The census takers and the newly unemployed baristas can be deputized. Troops brought home to provide support and logistics. If not, every death in the overwhelmed healthcare system is on the President and his virus czar, the Veep.

  35. Carey

    What Will the Post-COVID-19 Global Economy Look Like?, by Marshall Auerback:

    “..There is also a risk that this virus could actually delay the transition from “rentierism” to a “national developmentalism,” as I suspect all sorts of goodies will be passed on to the rentier class under cover of dealing with the coronavirus. That’s already happening: lots more quantitative easing has been announced, and bailouts are being rapidly targeted to industries adversely impacted, such as the airlines, but a lot less to help has gone to the people who work in those industries. Had today’s rapidly emerging depression-like economic state occurred because of another financial crisis a la 2008, it would have been less politically feasible to deploy the same policy matrix we used in 2008. So while it is laudable to see fiscal stimulus proposals growing in proportion to the growth of the pandemic, it is important to consider the distributional aspects of these stimulus measures in the months ahead. We must avoid a situation like the last crisis, where the vast bulk of the gains were quickly funneled to the top 1 percent with minimal political scrutiny, exacerbating the current situation we have today..”


    Meanwhile, why so much stampede-journalism, like this breathless Grauniad stuff:


    Live! Updates!

    So far, the only decently reliable numbers I can find are that all of 150 people have died
    coronavirus-related deaths in the USA. Who benefits from the frenzy?

    1. Jonhoops

      Worldometers.info for the latest stats

      Also the Johns Hopkins corona virus map


      US currently at 275 dead, if the current trend continues expect similar numbers to Italy in 2 weeks. NYC is at around 2500 cases, in 2 weeks it will explode to 25000. They only have 2100 ICU beds in the city. If only 10% need ICU they are already maxed out.

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