2:00PM Water Cooler 3/25/2020

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


At reader request, I’m adding this daily chart:

The data is the John Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site. (If readers can suggest a better visualization, have at it, but this one seems very simple and clean to me.)


“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!

We have two new national polls from Ipsos and YouGov, and no state polls, as of 3/25/2020, 12:00 PM EDT.

Biden’s loss is not Sanders’s gain; perhaps the undecideds are what Cuomo sees…. And the numbers:

It does seem that the strategy of keeping Biden out of the public eye pays off. Earlier in the year, we often had occasion to comment on the mysterious strength of the Biden Juggernaut, on display here; but it’s also true that Biden’s ups and downs have been of much greater amplitude than other candidates. As today!

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Biden (D)(1): “Time’s Up Said It Could Not Fund A #Metoo Allegation Against Joe Biden, Citing Its Nonprofit Status And His Presidential Run” [The Intercept]. “The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund was the recipient of an outpouring of donations over the past two-plus years, and is set up as a 501(c)3 nonprofit housed within the National Women’s Law Center. It was launched in December 2017 and was the most successful GoFundMe in the site’s history, raising more than $24 million. Among the accusers backed so far by Time’s Up are some of those assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, as well scores of others with allegations against executives in male-dominated industries. The group has committed more than $10 million toward funding cases…. By February, [accuser Tara Reade] learned from a new conversation with Time’s Up, which also involved Director Sharyn Tejani, that no assistance could be provided because the person she was accusing, Biden, was a candidate for federal office, and assisting a case against him could jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status…. Ruling out federal candidates marks as off-limits any member of Congress running for reelection, as well as President Donald Trump. Ellen Aprill, a professor of tax law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said that Time’s Up’s analysis is too conservative, and the group wouldn’t be putting its tax-exempt status at risk by taking a case involving a candidate for federal office as long as it followed its standard criteria for taking on cases… The public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.” • I know liberal Democrat NGOs aren’t used to thinking of themselves as mafiosi, but maybe a little criticism/self-criticism is in order…

Biden (D)(2): “Joe Biden’s business allies are pushing Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar as potential VP picks” [CNBC]. “Since Biden announced earlier this month that he plans to pick a woman as his nominee for vice president, leaders of Wall Street, Silicon Valley and other industries have been reaching out to him and his presidential campaign about whom they think should join him on the ticket, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter… The names being floated and pushed to Biden by this group include Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, two of his former rivals in the primary; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; and Florida Rep. Val Demings, these people added…. Notably absent from the names mentioned to CNBC is Stacey Abrams.” • And Elizabeth Warren.

Biden (D)(3): Biden, like Trump and Warren, is a serial fabulist:

One more to add to the list.

Biden (D)(4): “It Takes More Than Malarkey for Joe Biden to Fire You” [The Daily Beast]. “Biden, [staffer Louisa Terrel said], instilled in all of his staff that it was better to just be truthful. ‘Don’t lie,’ Terrell said. ‘Say what you don’t know.'” • So Biden holds his staff to a higher standard than he holds himself?

Biden (D)(5): “Biden: I don’t want to be in a political fight with Trump over coronavirus” [The Hill]. • Oh.

Cuomo (D)(1): “Could a ‘Draft Cuomo’ Movement Be in the Democrats’ Future?” [National Review]. “It’s not out of the question if Biden keeps looking out of touch and irrelevant. Democrats are publicly talking about “contingency options” for their July convention in Milwaukee in case the coronavirus persists in being a public-health threat. But privately, some are also talking about needing a Plan B if Joe Biden, their nominee apparent, continues to flounder. Some Democrats are openly talking up New York governor Andrew Cuomo, whose profile has soared during the crisis, as a Biden stand-in. Yesterday, a Draft Cuomo 2020 account on Twitter announced that ‘Times have changed & we need Gov. Cuomo to be the nominee. Our next POTUS must be one w/an ability to lead thru this crisis.’ Charles Pierce, the politics blogger for Esquire magazine, wrote a piece headlined ‘With Two Words, Andrew Cuomo Established Himself as the Leader This Country Needs Now.’ He enthused that Cuomo’s news conference last Friday ‘essentially (shutting) down the economy of his state . . . was a master class in leveling with the public.'” • Charlie Pierce, Schwärmer. What a shame.

Cuomo (D)(2): “Andrew Cuomo shows how to lead during the coronavirus crisis” [Editorial Board, WaPo]. “[New York’s] needs — for equipment, hospital beds, personnel and expertise — are as daunting as the scale of the outbreak. So is its need for effective, tough-minded, compassionate leadership. Fortunately, that is what Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been providing. When the pandemic’s history is written, there will be long chapters detailing the mistakes made by leaders. Some of those, inevitably, will be Mr. Cuomo’s. But what’s notable is what he is getting right as a communicator, priority-setter, admonisher and empathetic voice of reason.” • Sounds like an endorsement, to me (and nobody’s floating Cuomo’s name for VP, either.) Can it possibly be that these buffoons didn’t know Joe Biden’s condition when they foisted him on the voters? Or, worse, they did? I must say, I’m enjoying the picture of Obama taking Biden aside and telling him that he’s done. But holy moley, what an election season….

Sanders (D)(1): “Sanders camp signals his presidential campaign will go on” [NBC News]. “But Tuesday, Sanders appeared to signal anew that he is in the race for the long haul: His campaign announced a full organizing effort ahead of New York’s scheduled April 28 primary, and a spokesman said he would participate in a debate with former Vice President Joe Biden — if there is one.”

Sanders (D)(2): “Bernie Sanders Should Retool His Campaign to Lead the Charge Against Coronavirus” [Jacobin]. “The campaign now faces a harrowing choice. If Sanders drops out, as mainstream media and centrist liberals are urging him to do, Biden and the establishment won’t budge an inch, and a generation of socialists and progressives is demoralized. If Sanders stays in, his campaign is severely limited without the ability to hold big rallies or canvasses because of the pandemic, in addition to the many other enormous hurdles he faces. There is another option, though: stay in the race, but make a wholesale transition from campaigning for the nomination to campaigning for Bernie’s coronavirus policy — not just redirecting some donations to charity or sending text messages to encourage social distancing, but transforming the entire organizational apparatus of the Bernie campaign into a virus-fighting machine.” • Maybe, as long as it’s along the lines of Non-Violent Method #198: “Dual sovereignty and parallel government.” I would frame it as a shadow government, and it would need people of substance “in office” (and if that can’t be done, best know that). Right now, Cuomo is beginning the muscle in on that space.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(3): “Sanders wins Utah in final presidential primary results” [KSL]. “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Utah’s March 3 Democratic presidential primary with just over 36% of the vote, according to the final results released by the state elections office Tuesday. The front-runner nationally, former Vice President Joe Biden, earned 18.4%. Third place in Utah’s Super Tuesday primary went to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren… Sanders received 16 delegates from Utah; Biden, seven; and Warren and Bloomberg, three each.” • Any readers from Utah know why the count took 23 days?

Trump (R)(1): Biden may not want to attack Trump, but Brock sure does:

Fascinating that not only Bush the Elder but Bush the Younger are positioned as successful “leaders.” But then that does appeal to suburban Republicans, and anyhow, Bush the Younger gave Michelle candy. So it’s all good.

Trump (R)(2): “Bill Gates on Trump call for quick end to lockdown: It’s tough to tell people ‘keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner'” [MarketWatch] • To be fair, America has always been rather good at ignoring piles of bodies; it just depends on which corner they are in.

Trump (R)(3): “Minnesota on the edge: ‘I’ve voted Democrat my whole life. It’s getting tougher.'” [Politico]. “A place that once gave Democratic native sons Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale 4-1 voting wins and considers the late Sen. Paul Wellstone a local hero has begun to embrace a president who bears little resemblance to them, except that he reversed the “injustice” of an Obama-era order that would have brought the nickel-copper project to a 20-year standstill. On top of that were the 25 percent tariffs Trump imposed on most foreign steel, which provided an initial boost to the 5,000 miners still employed in the region’s numerous iron-ore mines that have served as the backbone to the region’s economy.” • Surely there’s a way to avoid the devestation that mines bring, and keep the jobs? Say with a Green New Deal or a Jobs Guarantee? Something liberal Democrat NGOs never seem to think about?

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.

Shipping: “Trucking Industry Growth Improved In February 2020 – No Obvious Coronavirus Impact” [Econintersect]. “The CASS index is inclusive of rail, truck, and air shipments. The ATA truck index is inclusive of only trucking industry member movements (ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight). Even so, CASS breaks out trucking and claims it is down 7.5 % year-over-year and up 6.2 % month-over-month Vs. up 2.6 % year-over-year and up 1.5 % month-over-month for the ATA. I put a heavier weight on the CASS index which is consistent with rail and ocean freight. It is not logical that truck freight goes up when industrial production and ocean freight decline – not to mention the continuing effects of the trade war and the coronavirus. Econintersect tries to validate truck data across data sources. It appears this month that the truck employment rate of growth continues to slow.”

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Retail: “Companies that haven’t embraced e-commerce or sell nonessential items such as fashion are crumbling as sales plummet… while soaring online sales at general-merchandise stores have sellers like Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. struggling to keep up with demand” [Wall Street Journal]. “One survey found one-third of households said they used online grocery pickup or delivery during the week ending March 13, and 40% of those tried it for the first time, eating up delivery slots for groceries. Even retailers that have fledgling e-commerce businesses like Rite Aid Corp. are seeing huge growth. Meanwhile, footwear and apparel isn’t selling and some nonfood retailers are discounting to clear out excess goods.

Shipping: “Another swath of cargo capacity may disappear from aviation networks. Major U.S. airlines are drafting plans for a potential voluntary shutdown of virtually all passenger flights across the U.S…. as travel demand withers and the nation’s air-traffic control system continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus contagion” [Wall Street Journal]. “U.S. airlines have already eliminated the vast majority of international flying and have announced plans to cut back domestic flying by as much as 40%. The passenger planes provide a significant portion of domestic airfreight capacity. Most of it serves bulk-loaded, smaller shipments but the large number of daily flights give the airlines an important role for expedited goods. One option to keep cargo shipments flowing would be a decision to call up portions of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, which enlists commercial jets to help the Pentagon with logistics during national emergencies.”

Employment Situation: “COVID-19: Which Workers Face The Highest Unemployment Risk?” [Econintersect]. “Of the 46% of workers employed in occupations at “high risk” of a layoff, the largest share is in food preparation or serving-related occupations. This is followed by sales occupations, which in this case are predominately retail salespersons. The occupations at the highest risk of unemployment also tend to be lower-paid occupations. The average annual earnings of the low-risk occupations are $64,600, about 75% higher than earnings in the high-risk occupations, at $36,600. This indicates the economic burden from this health crisis will most directly affect those workers who are likely in the most vulnerable financial situation.” • So everything’s going according to plan?

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 18 Extreme Fear (previous close: 13 Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 5 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 24 at 12:42pm. The chorus of “put American back to work” must be gratifying to Mr. Market. As is the likely passage of the stimulus bill.

The Biosphere

“The therapeutic value of the garden in trying times” [WaPo]. “The mark of a true gardener is a person who does not see a finished landscape but a series of tasks that need to be tackled.” • Yep! And: “Do set aside a cozy place to sit; all you need is a flat area, a couple of garden chairs and a table, and perhaps an umbrella against the sun.” • Sitting in the garden is one of the great pleasures of life (though to me, “a couple of garden chairs” seems… crowded).

“Coronavirus: ‘Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief” [Guardian]. “[Inger] Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said the immediate priority was to protect people from the coronavirus and prevent its spread. ‘But our long-term response must tackle habitat and biodiversity loss,’ she added. ‘Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to pass from wild and domestic animals to people,’ she told the Guardian, explaining that 75% of all emerging infectious diseases come from wildlife. ‘Our continued erosion of wild spaces has brought us uncomfortably close to animals and plants that harbour diseases that can jump to humans.'”

“Bush-fire smoke linked to hundreds of deaths” ‘[Nature]. “Researchers estimate that smoke pollution probably killed more than 400 people during the unprecedented bush fires across southeast Australia from November to February. Thirty-three people were killed in incidents directly related to the fires. Air-pollution researcher Fay Johnston at the University of Tasmania in Hobart led a team that collected data on the average number of emergency-department admissions, hospitalizations and deaths on any given day. The researchers mapped detailed data on air-pollution levels from 1 October to 10 February and modelled how these would have increased the emergency admissions.”

“Scientists plant ‘sentinel trees’ to warn of devastating pests” [Science]. “It’s become an all-too-common tale: An introduced insect takes hold in a new home and then spreads, wreaking havoc with ecosystems and economies. Take, for instance, the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle first spotted in North America in 2002; researchers estimate it has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees and caused more than $10 billion in damage. Now, in a bid to prevent such catastrophes—and get an early warning of which exotic pests are likely to cause trouble—researchers from the United States, Europe, and China are trying a new approach: planting ‘sentinel trees’ from their own regions in distant nations, and then observing which insects attack. The findings should help authorities more quickly recognize and snuff out threatening introduced insects if they show up in the trees’ native countries. Sentinel trees are ‘the new frontier’ in fighting forest pests, says entomologist Jiri Hulcr at the University of Florida. Already, groves of North American and European trees planted in China have enabled scientists to identify and start to study more than a dozen insects of concern.”

Health Care

“Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful” [The Atlantic]. “The structure of the virus provides some clues about its success. In shape, it’s essentially a spiky ball. Those spikes recognize and stick to a protein called ACE2, which is found on the surface of our cells: This is the first step to an infection. The exact contours of SARS-CoV-2’s spikes allow it to stick far more strongly to ACE2 than SARS-classic did, and “it’s likely that this is really crucial for person-to-person transmission,” says Angela Rasmussen of Columbia University. In general terms, the tighter the bond, the less virus required to start an infection. There’s another important feature. Coronavirus spikes consist of two connected halves, and the spike activates when those halves are separated; only then can the virus enter a host cell. In SARS-classic, this separation happens with some difficulty. But in SARS-CoV-2, the bridge that connects the two halves can be easily cut by an enzyme called furin, which is made by human cells and—crucially—is found across many tissues. “This is probably important for some of the really unusual things we see in this virus,” says Kristian Andersen of Scripps Research Translational Institute.” • This is really good on the virus itself. Well worth a read. I wonder if we have an virologists in the readership who could comment?

“The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS ’74) Speaks About COVID-19” [David Ho, CalTech]. On testing:

[Ho:] Now in terms of the U.S., we obviously are undergoing exponential growth. The 10,400 confirmed cases is a gross underestimate. The lack of testing is embarrassing. It’s an outright failure in leadership….

What are the tests we need to detect coronavirus infection?

Everybody’s talking about testing and that’s actually referring to PCR [polymerase chain reaction] testing, looking for viral RNA to determine whether a person is infected. But there’s still no talk of antibody testing to determine which people have had it and are immune, and that is another crucial tool we need to combat this epidemic. Many research labs throughout the country—I’m sure at Caltech too—could be running antibody tests right now to survey the population and tell us what the real penetrance of this pathogen is in our communities. We are, on a research basis, embarking on that to understand the degree of infection in New York City and outside of New York City.

How long before the U.S. sees test availability similar to what South Korea has implemented?

The PCR testing, which is the one that’s approved, is now ramping up very, very rapidly in state and local labs as well as in academic medical centers and in the commercial sector. Their production will grow tremendously. Roche has a machine that will run 1,000 samples at a time. If you go to a commercial lab, they take a swab, they package it, they quite often send it to another facility somewhere else. The turnaround time is typically 72 hours. In that period, it’s very, very hard to manage patients and their contacts. It’s a nightmare for the healthcare worker.

We need point-of-care tests. Those kinds of tests are available for HIV and for many other diseases; you use a finger stick, drop the blood on a small device, and have a readout in 15 minutes. These tests measure antibody response to the virus and are extremely useful. Yet we don’t have a single test licensed in the U.S. In China, in South Korea, and in Europe, those tests are used. The manufacturer for this rapid test is producing a million a day. It’s there. But in the name of protecting the public, the FDA has moved very, very slowly. That delay, in my view, has caused more harm than good.

“Coronavirus may have infected half of UK population — Oxford study” [Financial Times]. “The new coronavirus may already have infected far more people in the UK than scientists had previously estimated — perhaps as much as half the population — according to modelling by researchers at the University of Oxford. If the results are confirmed, they imply that fewer than one in a thousand of those infected with Covid-19 become ill enough to need hospital treatment, said Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, who led the study. The vast majority develop very mild symptoms or none at all. ‘We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys — antibody testing — to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,’ she said…. The research presents a very different view of the epidemic to the modelling at Imperial College London, which has strongly influenced government policy. ‘I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” said Prof Gupta.'” • That doesn’t mean that health care capacity won’t be overwhelmed, though. But perhaps there’s hope:

“New York hospitals treating coronavirus patients with vitamin C” [New York Post]. “Seriously sick coronavirus patients in New York state’s largest hospital system are being given massive doses of vitamin C — based on promising reports that it’s helped people in hard-hit China, The Post has learned. Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island, said his intensive-care patients with the coronavirus immediately receive 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C.” • As usual with treatment posts, this is a data point, not a recommendation!

“How to make a Face Mask” [Deaconess Hospital (judy2shoes)]. “While fabric masks are not to be used in the care of COVID-19 patients, according to the CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. Fabric masks can also be helpful in other areas of patient care as supplies of PPE are depleted. ‘Prior to modern disposable masks, washable fabric masks were standard use for hospitals,’ said Dawn Rogers, MSN, RN, FNP-C, Patient Safety & Infection Prevention Office. ‘We will be able to sterilize these masks and use them repeatedly as needed. While it’s less than ideal, we want to do our best to protect our staff and patients during this pandemic.” • Here is a PDF of instructions, with pattern. Here is a video:

Our Famously Free Press

“Researchers are tracking another pandemic, too—of coronavirus misinformation” [Science]. Interview with two founders of the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public founders, sociologist Emma Spiro and crisis informatics researcher Kate Starbird:

Q: Why is misinformation so pervasive during a crisis?

Kate Starbird: Historically, a lot of misinformation is a byproduct of the natural response that people have to a disaster event. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the impacts of the event and what actions we can take to respond to it. That uncertainty contributes to anxiety, and in those conditions of high uncertainty and anxiety, people try to come together to try to make sense of what’s going on, to participate in what we call collective sensemaking. Rumoring is a part of that, as people try to find the best information. Sometimes rumors turn out to be false, but rumors can also turn out to be true.

Emma Spiro: It’s important to emphasize here that the process Kate was describing does help alleviate some of the anxiety people feel, because people can take actions and make decisions that are based on some communal group level understanding of what is currently happening. The other thing I would add is that sometimes the cost of not passing along information, even though you’re not sure whether it’s true or false, can be really, really high. You know, if there’s a flash flood warning and some town has to [decide whether to] evacuate, you want to err on the side of caution.

K.S.: For a lot of people, participation in the process is altruistic. We’re seeing that happen a lot in this current crisis as people pass along information because they think they can help their friends and family.


“Crowdsourced virtual supercomputer revs up virus research” [MedicalXpress]. “Gamers, bitcoin ‘miners’ and companies large and small have teamed up for an unprecedented data-crunching effort that aims to harness idle computing power to accelerate research for a coronavirus treatment. The project led by computational biologists has effectively created the world’s most powerful supercomputer that can handle trillions of calculations needed to understand the structure of the virus. More than 400,000 users downloaded the application in the past two weeks from “Folding@Home,” according to director Greg Bowman, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Washington University in St. Louis, where the project is based. The ‘distributed computing’ effort ties together thousands of devices to create a virtual supercomputer…. “Our primary objective is to hunt for binding sites for therapeutics,” Bowman said.” • Any readers participating?

Hoisting this comment from alert reader maria gostrey:

a week or so ago, my son stopped by & we watched this delightful video of irving finkel, a curator at the british museum, explain a game played 4,000 years ago in mesopotamia:

afterwards, my son drew the board on cardboard with a sharpie &, for markers, we used pebbles & shells picked up on our travels. the game was so much fun, we played for well over 2 hours. he won 2 games & i won 1, so i am eagerly awaiting his return to exact my revenge.

even if you dont want to try to play the game, irving finkel himself will make you happy, as will the other fine curators at the BM who post video at “curators corner”.

And adds:

…i should have added that my son figured out how to play watching this video (in which our hero irving finkle takes on a competitor):

Pretty neat!

Class Warfare

“Sara Nelson Says People Are Ready for Solidarity” [Sarah Jaffe, The Nation]. “Who died on 9/11? It was front-line people and our passengers. Who suffered in the bankruptcies that followed? It was me and my friends. They took our pensions, they slashed our pay by more than 40 percent, diminished our health care, cut our jobs. They put it on our backs. For a lot of people, that meant real personal loss of our homes and cars and stressed marriages and divorces and the pain of telling our kids that they had to do without. We’ve seen this before, and we know exactly what didn’t work. We won’t stand for it again. We won’t let that happen to the rest of the country.” • Jaffe would obviously have a place in a Sanders adminsitration. Perhaps in his shadow government?

“Britney Spears calls for wealth redistribution, general strike on Instagram” [The Week]. “”Queen of [the] proletariat,” cheered on one fan in the comments.” • Well, celebrities. Interesting straw in the wind, though.

News of the Wired

We’re not the only ones thinking of knitting:

(I’m really listing this because I think it’s a very funny account.)

“In this ___ I will be…. ” is a snowclone! As the thread shows:

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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 (SS):

SS: “Very excited clematis in SW Oregon….” I’m not sure how to tell if Clematis is excited, but the scent must be quite pleasing coming out by that door…

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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. Samuel Conner

    A number of seed companies whose sites I visited today to place orders for a family I am inducing to take up backyard gardening report that they are experiencing elevated demand and are low in stock on some varieties. Expect delays in order fulfillment.

    I wish I had ordered open-pollinated varieties earlier in the year. Hopefully it won’t matter.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      If I suspect I may have had or be in the downturn of symptoms, should I get tested? I was in a space during the incubation time where I suspect a high number of people could have had it. I feel fine, too fine, as in I didn’t notice how bad I felt until today.

      1. Carolinian

        Best of luck whatever you decide.

        Down here in SC things are still quiet with only four known cases in my county and seven deaths in the state–all elderly or in nursing homes.

          1. Carolinian

            Thanks for cheering me up. You can be assured I’m taking my “social distancing” seriously.

            I do live in a place where nature is ready to hand with little in the way of people if you know where to go. Perhaps mockingly it’s the time of year when that nature is bursting with life. Is CoV our punishment?……

      2. petal

        I’ve read that there can be a bit of a whiplash-you start feeling better and then it snaps back a day or two later. Be vigilant. If a few days pass, you’re probably on your way out of it. Try to get some rest, and eat well.

      3. Wyoming

        From what we have seen here on NC if you are not really ill then no one will test you anyway. That is the way it works where I live. So take care of yourself and if you get pretty sick then call your MD and see what they say or call the ER and ask what to do. If you are older and have other health issues as a factor then it may be worth getting pretty pushy with them.

        I may have had it as well as I was sick for several weeks with the symptoms but not sick enough to have to go to the hospital. My son had the coronavirus almost certainly as 3 of his coworkers tested positive and he was around them for days while they were sick and then he got the exact same symptoms. But he is fairly young and just fought through it and never went to the doctor – and likely infected others just like he got infected. And so it goes.

        1. polecat

          What if calling ‘your MD’, whatever that even means .. is like, unobtainium ???

          I can’t help but think that that is the state that most of the mopes find themselves in, delirious for help/intervention should the need arise …. but dead to rights in trying to some … let alone maintaining some semblance of financially solvency in the process.

          I know not of these Herr Docktor-things everyone yaps on about. To me, they are but ghosts of times long past !
          The only ‘doctors’ that I ever see, are bureaucrats in high castles, dropping LOTs of confusing bureaucratic stickyballs with their siege-engines powered by hubris.

      4. OIFVet

        I am in the same boat, I feel like sh!t today after couple of days of mild cold-like symptoms. I suppose I could go to the VA and insist to be seen and tested, but I would rather stay put in isolation unless it really goes bad. Frankly I don’t give a sh!t at this point, except not to spread it if I do have it.

        1. 3.14e-9

          OIFVet, you cannot insist that the VA test you, as they have the same rules as everyone else. Moreover, when you check in now, the first question you are asked is whether you have symptoms of cold or flu. An affirmative answer will set off the alarms and you will be instructed to stay where you are (failing to do so may result in a police “escort”) while administrators decide what to do with you. Info here:

          It is not possible to be this incompetent. I’ve contacted my congressman, who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, but it’s kind of a low priority right now. The two biggest issues I have are the VA’s instructions to use Secure Messaging to contact your doctor or to request a telehealth appointment:

          To access Secure Messaging, you need a premium MyHealtheVet account. I don’t know if they’ve changed the rules, but when I signed up in 2014, I was required to go the VAMC records office in person and show them my DL. And for all that, it can take 24 hours or more to receive a response to Secure Messages.

          For telehealth, you need to test in advance to make sure it will work with your computer system — piece of cake when you’re gasping for breath and can barely move. Again, I don’t know if they’ve changed the process, but I’ve done several telehealth appointments in the past two years and had to schedule a test run with tech support before the appointment with the provider. Further, telehealth appointments are like any others: you have to make them in advance, subject to availability. Lastly, I live in a rural area with limited Internet speed — even worse, now that everyone is home. The connection was so bad for the two most-recent telehealth sessions that we had to disconnect and continue by phone.

          Veterans experiencing life-threatening symptoms are instructed to call 9-11 or go to the nearest ER. But “we ask that you contact us first.” Alternatively, you can use Secure Messaging… [insert code for loop]

          1. OIFVet

            The VA called me last week and this week to cancel several appointments. Very understandable AFAIK, but what really grates me is that they quietly removed from their website the part of their mission statement that states that the VA system is supposed to be part of any national emergency response. I hope the VA is gearing up to help if needed rather than to play deaf and dumb. That said, I would rather stay home than go into any hospital right now, no matter how serious my condition might turn out to be. I suppose the next several days will tell. Stay healthy.

            1. jonhoops

              You need a lot of apples to get the dose of quercetin needed. In the antiviral animal studies on SARS and Ebola I think the dose was the equivalent of at minimum 1 or 2g in humans. You can buy it in bulk powder form online.

        1. Joey

          Whatever I’ve had (worst cold in years with copious rhinorrhea day 7 preceding a productive cough and an odd sense of fullness in left chest on day 10- no fever) responds to zinc and recurred with the attempted weaning on day 9.

      5. mrsyk

        If you’re not on death’s door don’t bother trying to go see a doctor. You almost certainly will be turned away. The test you want would be the antibody test (would tell you if you’ve had it/are now likely immune to it) which you will be hard pressed to get, please see the David Ho interview above.
        Important: If you have had COVID-19 you can still pass it along well after you have started feeling normal again.

        1. Phacops

          Exactly. By the time you feel symptoms, immunoglobulin M will probably be present. Only later will you have IgG and the cell line that confers immunologic memory.

          Don’t know why SARS CoV-2 ELISA for IgM and IgG are not getting expedited review?

          1. Briny

            From everything I’ve read. it’s the FDA and it’s NIH (Not Invented Here) attitude at work. South Korea and PRC are producing these tests in the millions per day now that they’ve ramped up.

      6. richard

        Hang in there, NTG. Sleep, hydrate and rest and treat it like any old virus, which it very well might turn out to be. I always appreciate your posts, btw.

      7. John k

        In Ca it’s tough to get tested, imo most have substantial symptoms. 1/7 of those tested test positive.

        1. Bill Smith

          CA tested 68,000+ on Wednesday. A week ago Wednesday, the entire country tested 22,000. Testing is certainly on the upswing.

      8. Darius

        I hope you feel better, NotTimothyGeithner.

        I always look forward to your comments. I think of you as kind of an authority. You always seem to know what you’re talking about and have a perceptive outlook, and a good BS filter. I suspect a lot of people around here feel the same way.

      9. Darius

        Definitely call your doctor and describe your symptoms. Don’t wait to see if symptoms get severe. They should know you suspect you have it, even if testing is unavailable. I hope you have people that can take care of you. Let your friends know you are sick in case an emergency arises that you are incapable of handling.

        1. farmboy

          working alternative remedies for years, antiviral Immunitone Plus with vit D and A for three days is a good knock out punch, careful with the VitA. Also Fungi Perfecti concoctions although I haven’t tried them.

  2. ambrit

    “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
    Events ‘on the ground’ make comment surperfluous.
    Now, for “Events” to overtake the schemes and machinations of the Elites.

  3. Lambert Strether Post author

    Sorry for the delay, patient readers. I had a WiFi outage just as I pressed the submit button. (I believe one outcome of worldwide “sheltering in place” –vile phrase — is increased load on The Intertubes, which I imagine, like everything else, have had all the slack optimized out of them; network engineers please corrrect.)

    1. jo6 pac

      True U-Tube and all other live streaming services have slowed things down to not overload the inter-tubes. I can’t find the link

    2. Big River Bandido

      My institution of so-called higher learning has instructed us to record *ALL* of our classes in Zoom, and post them online. The video files average to about 250MB.

      Oh, and they’re telling us to post said videos on Google Drive, within 24 hours. What could *possibly* go wrong?

      1. mrsyk

        Mrs Syk gives her lectures live on Zoom. Also uses it for yoga, and we have family meet ups on it as well. Our digital infrastructure is being tested these days.

      2. richard

        we’ll start using Zoom for 2nd grade class meetings next week. I anticipate a lot of practice with the mute button, with my gang of blurting and excitable young citizens.

      3. Skip Intro

        The good news is that they can just replay those videos next semester, without troubling you at all!

    3. rd

      The “work at home” claims from the tech sector are being tested. Their bluff has been called. I would say they are coming up with a Full House, but not a Royal Flush by any means.

  4. Bill Carson

    Regarding the article about shipping and the loss of passenger flights impacting the freight delivery services, are you telling me that airlines charge so much for bags not because the extra weight causes the plane to use more fuel, but because my bags are competing for space with Amazon? i.e., the airlines find it is more lucrative to sell excess cargo space to freight delivery companies and large retailers???

    1. Synoia

      Yes, and you are lucky to get a seat. If the airline could work out how to make you stand, or pedal for extra thrust, you would be doing that as well. /s

    2. Stephen

      Not exactly. I am in the airfreight business and have firsthand knowledge of how this works.

      Generally, passenger baggage is carried in the bulk cargo holds. Freight is loaded into a different section of the belly. Baggage is prioritized over cargo, per IATA regulations.

      Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. There is a high likelihood I know more about air freight markets than any other NC reader.

      1. HotFlash

        Thank you, Stephen. And thank you, Yves, Lambert, for NC and the wonderful commentariat.

  5. Louis Fyne

    Not Lambert’s fault, gold star to anyone who takes the lead covid chart and adjusts it to per capita.

  6. Bill Carson

    Regarding the FT article positing that “CV may have already infected half of the UK population,” that study and the underlying reasoning were debunked by Chris Martin in the most-recent of the CV video series. Here is a link. The discussion of the Oxford study begins at the 27:52 mark.

    The Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Leaders To Decide: Save Lives Or The Economy?

    Bottom line: If CV has been circulating so widely for so long, which is the basis of the Oxford report, then WHERE ARE THE HOSPITALIZATIONS? Where have all of the symptomatic people been? The lack of symptomatic cases easily debunks the idea that the virus has been circulating for two months without being detected.

    1. Aumua

      True, but clearly there are more people who have the virus than are known, and in some places there may be many more stealth cases. This does have a lowering effect on the actual death rate.

      1. Cuibono

        The BEST data we Likely have is from the Cruise ships. High levels of asymptomatic well documented.

        1. thoughtfulperson

          Yes, but remember the Diamond Princess was early in the pandemic. Hospitals not yet filled up. The numbers in that case may also be still evolving as each case proceeds to its resolution. Now up to 11 fatalities per Wikipedia page, I get a rate of 1.54% so far. 712 cases, 410 were asymptomatic. Apparently 125 are still active or resolutions have not been reported. Interesting more than half asymptomatic.


        2. Heraclitus

          According to Atul Gawande in the New Yorker, only 18% of those who tested positive but were asymptomatic on the Diamond Princess did not develop symptoms over the next fourteen days. This is in the third paragraph from the end of the article below. The rest has some very good advice to avoid infection. Not a single health care worker in Singapore has become infected.


    2. Cuibono

      Not so fast. I agree that is the reasonable first glance but from where i sit in fact the hospitals HAVE been full since at least Dec.
      And we had no way to test those folks.
      And Corona viruses associated with the COMMON COLD have been found to have as high as 8% mortality in the elderly.

      I am not saying this is theright explanation, only that is s not as easy to dismiss as some suggest.

    3. Bsoder

      Bottom, it hasn’t been circulating for so long. Consider the those from the UK on vacation or doing business out of the UK, show the same rates of hospitalization and rate of death. I suggest work the problem backwards from reality forward and then ask what is going on.

      1. curlydan

        I like the one you have linked to above the most. It has a very good selection of graphs.

        The NCov2019 does give a good “raw data”/Excel-like listing of cases, deaths, and recoveries. It doesn’t seem very visual.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Exactly. I like the graphing because it’s a quick way to assess the trajectories of interest (still asymptotic or flattening). But I do like NCov2019 because I can also just look at the numbers in the table and see state by state breakdowns for the US – plus they’ve recently added a daily % increase column. 91-DIVOC is actually quite good as well. I will share forward to friends and family.

  7. doug

    Re: any personal payments that might be coming
    How soon before the payday lending folks offer a deal that takes half or more of it when it finally arrives?

    1. Wyoming

      That never occurred to me, but I would bet money that you are right about that. Gosh I wish I was running things some times- or at least in charge of the guillotine.

  8. Noone from Nowheresville

    David Sirota with examples of text and commentary on the emergency bill. I haven’t seen anything from Sanders directly on this. Where’s Sanders vocal leadership resistance and gathering of a Senate/House group on this?

    And if Warren is really for the “little” people then she knows her addition / compromise to get oversight is weak tea BS at best.


    It’s so telling that the waiver authority is literally the VERY NEXT SECTION after the “we’re seriously getting tough!” bullshit.

    They just don’t care — the very deliberate, calculated corruption is right out in the open.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Here’s a 12 minute interview w/David Dayen at The Hill from this morning.
      It’s not a bailout, it’s corporate robbery

      Talks about the differences being offered to small businesses vs. large corporations. Anticipated corporate consolidations. Limited protections to workers. Oversight committee, Treasury’s discretion and stock buybacks a year after “loan” repayment etc., etc.


    2. Carla

      It will only take ONE Congress Critter to stand up and say “NO” and the House can’t pass it “by acclamation.” Will it be Katie Porter? Justin Amash? AOC?

      As I have posted elsewhere in Comments, see Matt Stoller’s blog “Big” for more on this.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        From Sanders twitter: Don’t know why he’s only targeting the $500 Billion bit. There’s an image of the official statement.


        Bernie Sanders
        Unless Republican Senators drop their objections to the coronavirus legislation, I am prepared to put a hold on this bill until stronger conditions are imposed on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund.
        2:29 PM · Mar 25, 2020·Twitter Web App

    3. Iowan X

      There is a Tweet by a guy named Kurt Hackbarth that says Bernie got an amendment guaranteeing 100% of salary for laid off workers up to $75K and including gig and tipped workers. If true, that’s something pretty good.

      1. Stephen V.

        Thanks for this! Am now following Sirota on Twitter who re-tweeted this.
        But I’ll be hanged if I could find the text of this legislation. Trying to be patient.

      2. urblintz

        does not address the 500 billion wall street giveaway leveraged by the fed to 5 trillion

        they get the unlimited cash

        we get the unlimited debt

    4. Skip Intro

      Here’s is Bernie’s address (2.5 hours old) on the details of the bill. It starts at 17:27 for some reason, but the link should jump there.

      Even better is Bernie’s discussion with Rep. Jayapal and some public health experts and doctors. It also includes some folk songs by Sarah Guthrie (yes, that Guthrie), This Land Is Your Land at 56:31 and an updated version of Which Side Are You On at 1:50:00. Highly recommended for the sheer competence and fact level of the shadow cabinet.

  9. furies

    Ah, the lovely Clematis armandii–I miss it so much! Just checked the zone toleration and it says 6.

    Moved from zone 8 to zone 7 almost four years ago and shocked by the lack of ‘choice’ at the local nursery here in far northern Cali.

    Somehow can’t see this doing well with our snowy (sometimes) weather.

    Thanks for the jolt of recognition/nostalgia Lambert. :)

    1. petal

      furies, I believe there are clematis varieties with different hardiness zones, so you would likely be able to find one for your zone. A lot of the ones I see are 4-9, some are 6-9. Also, giving it a good mulch and protection(a burlap cover) for winter or cold snaps might be an option. Worth a try. Plenty out there online.

    2. Carla

      It looks like what we call “autumn clematis” here in NE Ohio because it blooms in September. Lovely stuff, but can be quite invasive.

    3. Oregoncharles

      If that’s evergreen clematis, which indeed smells heavenly, it’s hardy here, with occasional snow and hard freezes; I would expect it to do fine in zone 7/ N. Cali – unless you’re way the heck up in the mountains.

    1. Carolinian

      Interesting about Cuomo. Would he at least be better than Biden or just as bad?

      And a local fabric shop has gotten together a sewing circle to make masks for the hospital. The hospital system also asked for mask donations and got 10,000 from various sources such as the now closed school system and local big name textile company.

      And re ventilators the controversial (around here at least) Larry Johnson says you don’t just need the ventilators but also the trained ventilator technicians to operate them and monitor for malfunction. He says he knows this because he once was one.

      So if that’s true then more ventilators would be like more airplanes without pilots.


      1. Synoia

        Depends if you have Platinum, Gold, Silver of Bronze heath care pain.

        Platinum: You get skilled nurses and technicians and an MD on attendance
        Gold: You get skilled nurses and technicians and an MD on Call
        Silver: A set of instructions and a Nurse once an hour
        Bronze: DIY
        Nothing: walking directions to the morgue, and an immediate fine if you die on the way.

        And you believed this “metal ranking” was about costs and copay. Silly you /s

      2. mrsyk

        It isn’t about whether or not Cuomo would be better than Biden (surely an improvement). It’s about precedents. It’s about corrupt political parties. It’s about our sham of a democracy.
        The sun is over the yardarm people.

      3. Big River Bandido

        The choice between the neoliberal Biden and the neoliberal Cuomo is a matter of flavor. The prior is the preference of Obama neoliberals; the latter, the Clinton neoliberals.

        Which would you choose?

        1. Hepativore

          So, I am curious, how would Cuomo be chosen? Does he simply enter the race and then Biden simply drops out and hands Cuomo all of his accumulated delegates? I thought that there is actually a deadline for new candidates entering the primary race, and that it has long since passed. However, I know that the DNC makes up the rules as they go along, so even if there is one, that does not mean much of anything at this point.

          Or, would the strategy be to simply have Cuomo as the surprise pick for the convention in Milwaukee, delegate counts being considered irrelevant by the DNC? It would make a lot of people very angry, but the DNC might figure that they would not have to face a large angry mob gathered in public because of fears of the virus and social distancing. Still, it would make it clear to everyone that the whole Democratic Party primary was a big waste of time as the DNC would be saying to everybody loud and clear that your votes were pointless.

          1. MK

            If Biden doesn’t get 50% + 1 delegate on the first convention vote, the floor is open for the next round(s) of delegate voting, with super delegates voting starting round 2. And anyone able to throw their, or anothers name into the ring after the first vote.

          2. Big River Bandido

            The way it would work is a three step process:

            1) Biden withdraws and endorses Cuomo or a candidate of his choice.
            2) Democrat convention ratifies the theft.
            3) 2016 redux, with Republicans re-capturing the House.

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        This kind of dirty little switcheroo on top of engineering the bandwagon railroad for Biden to begin with is so disrespectful to DemParty-identified citizen-voters that I hope enough of them revolt to defeat the Catfood Democrat ticket in all 50 states. And to defeat every Catfood-type Democrat downticket. ( If the Sanders Movement stays intact, they could come up with ways to assign relative rankings to Democratic officeseekers at all levels of government. And they could give image-style rankings too. The best could get ” 3 Sanderses” which would be 3 little pictures of Sanders. The worst could get ” 3 Catfoods” which would be 3 little pictures of cans of catfood.)

        I am beginning to suspect that the Catfood Democrats are not just prePARED to lose. They are planning and SEEKing to lose, ON PURPOSE. And if they do not feel confident in losing the election fair and square, they will THROW the election to MAKE Trump win it.

        Why would they do that? In their tiny little minds the grand strategery is this: That 4 more years of Trump will leave the deplorables so desperate and unhappy that they will vote for any can of catfood the DemParty gives them if it can convincingly promise to take them ” away from all this.”

        1. Late Introvert

          I have been a registered Democrat for 38 years, but I’m registered Green as of last week.

    2. Darius

      Look at the shallow curve of Japanese cases. About one quarter of the angle of the US. in the Johns Hopkins data. Japan is reporting 114 new cases, while New York, alone, is reporting almost 4,500. Almost all because of physical distancing, general cleanliness, and everyone wearing masks in public. Such a simple thing, yet so powerful. But Americans and Europeans would never think of it, apparently.

      In a rational world, everyone would be saying, “What is Japan doing? Let’s do that.” Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are similar. Perhaps, Westerners assume that because it’s Asia, it’s foreign, and doesn’t apply to them.

      1. carl

        What you see in China, Japan and South Korea is the power of a unified society. The opposite of what we see in Western countries (or, as my partner refers to it, the “degraded Occidental”).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Hopefully we will have examples of the “non-degraded Occidental” to compare with . . . such unified-society countries as Finland and Iceland. They might be the gold standard of best Western response. And the other Occidental countries will reveal their level of effective degradation through the numbers and percents of people who get corona and who die from it.

          A ranked gradient list could probably be made after this is all over.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I would be more imitating South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan than Japan. I suspect the numbers there are a bit wobbly due to them wanting to have the Olympics go ahead. Now that they are not perhaps their numbers will change.

      3. Carolinian

        According to the article in this morning’s links they are showing a low number of new cases because they go out of their way not to test for CoV. It said the Japanese health care system is just very good at treating pneumonia. If you come in with symptoms they will CT your lungs and not even bother with the CoV test–just set out to cure you.

        a Japanese official who gave an off-the-record briefing to Asia Times suggested that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy, based on minimal testing and buttressed by information massage, has been quietly emplaced.

        That may sound opaque – even inhuman. But it has ensured national calm and continued economic activity. It has kept the medical system from being overwhelmed and rests on a strong foundation: world-class treatment of the disease’s main symptomatic killer, pneumonia.


        1. Darius

          Given official Japan’s anemic response, it’s all the more remarkable that the disease is progressing slowly. Even with their emphasis on treating pneumonia, a galloping infection rate would overwhelm the hospitals just like everywhere else.

          While it is likely the outbreak is more extensive than they admit, Japan still has all the signs of having it under control. And what’s the downside of everyone wearing masks. It’s like a no-regrets policy.

          Incidentally, I understand the Czech Republic has instituted universal mask wearing and that it has been remarkably effective.

      4. Big River Bandido

        In all of those countries you mentioned, every citizen gets all the health care they need, as a matter of right. That falls under your “cleanliness” tag. The lack of such basic protection is going to be a far more significant factor in the spread of the virus in the United States. We are about to see a demonstration of how the very inequality of our corrupt healthcare system is a danger to the public health.

      5. Acacia

        As has been pointed out before, Japan hasn’t been testing, so the numbers have been low. But that will probably change now that the Olympics have been called off (no connection, of course, of course).

        Wednesday evening, Tokyo Governor Koike called upon residents to stay home this weekend. (Thursday AM, predictably, panic buying has begun, with long lines appearing in local supermarkets.)

        In the same lackluster presser, Gov. Koike also mentioned that Tokyo has only 118 ICU beds available. Many on Twitter have been alarmed by this, and especially as it seems many of those beds are already full. So, the biggest city in the world has only 118 ICU beds available, and is now thinking that, you know, maybe more might be a good idea? It might be worth letting that sink in before saying “What is Japan doing? Let’s do that.”

        Some information sources (frequently updated):

        Coronavirus Cases in Japan by Prefecture

        COVID-19 Japan (in Japanese)

        On the latter page, notice that Aichi Prefecture (愛知県) has more than Osaka. Why is that? Apparently because they are doing more testing.

        For evaluating all of this, I found Ignacio’s article here at NC (“Covid-19: A Tale of Three Regions“) very helpful.

  10. David Carl Grimes

    Any news on the bailout? Matt Stoller calls it a $6 trillion bailout. It seems that Bernie Sanders has been drowned out of the discussion. He hasn’t been able to pull it leftward.

    1. Carla

      I just read Stoller’s blog “Big” and sent the following email to my family and friends:

      Subject: Stop the $6 Trillion Coronavirus Corporate Coup!

      PLEASE call your Congress Critter today and say you expect them to stop this.

      As Stoller says: Congress will pass the Main Street help that is in this bill because they HAVE to. People are dying, they themselves are starting to get sick, and they must act.

      Insist that they strip out the $6 to $8 trillion of graft, and come back next week with a bill that gives LEGITIMATE aid, with reasonable safeguards against abuse, to essential industries that the entire economy depends upon. Wall Street will be just fine.


      I should have added: It takes only ONE member of Congress to stand up in the House of Representatives and say “No!” to stop this horrible bailout of the richest and most powerful Americans.

      Katie Porter, hope you’re in D.C. today!

        1. flora

          The dem estab already have the knives out for her, as of mid-February she has 5 dem primary challengers. She can show her progressive bona fides by voting down this bill, or she can go with the flow, vote for the bill, and show herself willing to keep the dem power dry. imo.

          Yes, opposition will demagogue that as denying aid to hospitals. As if congress can’t strip out the wall street give-aways in this bill and pass a hospitals/states/small business/unemployment package by itself; then congress can create a second bill for wall street goodies.

          There’s no reason for both to be in the one bill, except to hold the public welfare hostage (again) to wall street getting what it wants.

          1. Shonde

            AOC in a discussion with Chris Hayes said she has lots of small businesses in her district that are hurting and since the small business aid has an application process, her district’s businesses will be belly up before they even get any money or won’t be able to repay any loans since their profit margins are already small.
            A little hope?

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          She would be very brave to risk the assassination likely to follow upon the successful prevention of 6 trillion dollars to the Overclass.

          Hopefully she would be in a position to make very clear that she has a movement of gunned and ammo-ed and militarily trained supporters ready to kill hundreds or thousands of visible pro-rich person targets if she is killed. Because if she doesn’t have that, she will be assassinated for such a step if it succeeds.

      1. Shonde

        The bill itself is not $6 trillion. The bill is about $2 trillion.

        The other $4 trillion Stoller was referring to will appear without legislation or oversight since it will come from a keystroke by the Federal Reserve which says it needs to maintain liquidity in the system. Apparently the Fed will even be buying up junk bonds/corporate debt and no doubt at 100% of face value just like in 2008/2009.

        So corporate USA/Wall Street is being given a double bailout with the $500 billion slush fund in the legislation plus the Federal Reserve bailout.

        The general public of course is just focused on the legislation so the biggest bailout will never cause political problems.

        1. edmondo

          This is Dodd-Frank in action. The way they got Dodd-Frank passed was to tell the Congresspeople that they would “never have to vote for another Wall Street bank bailout again” because Dodd-Frank gave the Federal Reserve the authority to act “independently” and to whatever degree they found necessary. They don’t have to ask for permission. They can just do it.

          This is just another gift of the Obama Administration.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Part of the difficulty of Sanders going virtual is that there’s no story to cover. Voting against the bailout would be a plus.

      I keep reading rumors that he made the UI section better, but nothing concrete. Can anyone confirm?

      1. bob

        None of his surrogates are saying much new either. I’m really disappointed.

        10 years after the wall st bailouts and little if anything has changed. There is still not even the hint of the beginning of an organization to stop this coup.

        1. David Carl Grimes

          I don’t see the anger on media, even social media. Maybe people don’t understand it. Maybe the surrogates don’t understand it at all.

          I don’t even see the government commandeering 3M or a plastics manufacturer to ramp up production on face masks, face shields, PPE. All I see are “market-based” solutions.

          I just have this feeling that the entire system has to collapse first before people realize the need for Medicare For All, MMT, etc. And by collapse, I mean millions have to die. If the trend continues, there will be 100K cases in NY alone in a week. By April 8, there could be a million cases.

          It’s Time to Establish a New Reconstruction Finance Corporation

            1. Shonde

              Maybe a realization of the generalized population anger is why most of the corporate/Wall Street bailout ($4 trillion) is being done out of sight by Federal Reserve keystroke.

              1. judy2shoes

                I thought that, too. People remember what happened last time; hopefully, they aren’t missing this sleight of hand.

        1. flora

          Sen. Sanders,
          I say this as as longtime supporter: do it. Put a hold on the bill.
          Wall St. has held the public welfare hostage long enough. Wall St. will buckle and agree to a second bill before it will let all its wished for goodies get entirely away.
          Best Regards.

          1. Lou Anton

            Sounds like “I’ll vote for it if you remove your hold” from Bernie. I don’t get it…if we’re not standing up to graft like this now, we never will again.

            Stoller is right, how can Bernie be on the wrong side of this?

            1. flora

              I know. Both Sanders and Warren on the left, and Hawley and Cotton on the right need to shut this bill down if they’re as progressive as they claim to their voters. Otherwise, (and I hate to say this for what it implies), posturing is cheap politics – on both sides.

              1. Lou Anton

                Maybe MAYBE the quietness is a sign of them not wanting to expose their positions…since the bill text has still not been fully released I don’t think. My probably-silly hope is that a band of Senators (and reps in the House) are planning to push back with force.

                Guess we’ll see…rent is still due on the 1st… time for the populists to put up or shut up.

                1. flora

                  Senate passed the bill tonight unanimously, 96-0. Sanders, Warren, Brown, Hawley, Cotton…. all voted for it. No hold was placed.

                  The House will no doubt pass it on voice vote.


            2. flora

              And, about Steve Mnuchin, who’s going to be at the center of the bailouts – from a year ago:

              The stock market is not the economy, as long as jobs and paychecks continue to be strong. This was an unforced error that temporarily snagged the 10 percent of America that own 84 percent of all stocks. But Mnuchin’s boneheaded actions reflected his dominant characteristics. He is a sycophant willing to debase himself, no matter how strongly, at the altar of Donald Trump. The president has convinced himself that the Federal Reserve is ruining his economy (and, like a stopped clock, he’s not totally wrong), and Mnuchin’s pronouncement of financial stability made no sense outside of a vain need to show his boss that everything was actually fine — or, at least, that Mnuchin was doing things.


    3. judy2shoes

      David, I posted a link below to the latest Bernie virtual townhall in which he starts out discussing what he managed to get into the Senate bill, with the caveat that the Senate debate was going simultaneously with his townhall.

  11. zagonostra

    >Stock Buybacks – Wolf Street

    Since the beginning of 2012..companies have bought back $4.6 trillion…of their own shares.

    Share buybacks were considered illegal market manipulation until 1982, when the SEC issued Rule 10b-18 which provided corporations a “safe harbor” to buy back their own shares. The only thing that share buybacks are supposed to accomplish is to manipulate up share prices.

    But aside from generating fees for Wall Street, share buybacks do zero for the economy. What would have happened in the US economy if that $4.6 trillion in capital that companies incinerated by buying back their own shares since 2012 would have been invested in equipment, structures, expansion projects, and people, or would have been used to reduce debt so that companies, such as Boeing and the airlines, wouldn’t be in such a precarious situation today?


    1. flora

      Nope. But there’s just enough in it for headlines and msm stories that sound all progressivey and good.

      TARP on steriods.

  12. Louis Fyne

    Re. That Bill Gates quote

    H1N1 killed at a minimum 16,000 worldwide in 2009 (with true numbers likely much higher). Just saying.

    Obviously not advocating being reckless with restarting the economy

    1. Bsoder

      True number? One could then argue the “true numbers for C-19 for hospitalization and death rate are also “much higher”. Trump has ordered CDC not to release daily testing results. Why?

  13. Jason Boxman

    You know, having states complete with each other for lifesaving equipment is not without precedent; Obama had states complete for public education funds with Race to the Top, despite what one would think is a broad consensus, even among Liberals Democrats, that education is a necessity. (But only if your state wins the contest, I guess.)

    Lately, I’ve concluded that these people are actually fing insane. Full stop.

    Meanwhile the House had recessed indefinitely. Seriously?


    A quote from Edge of Tomorrow comes to mind:

    Watch your back out there, sir!
    (chorus) No one else will!

  14. Lambert Strether Post author

    I added some more material, especially on “Cuomentum.” Please refresh your browsers.

    Query for the readership: Is Cuomo a serial fabulist? My thought is no.

    1. coats & linen

      Well for one, as the MTA (NYC‘s transit authority) sank deeper and deeper into crisis and dysfunction over the last few years, he repeatedly and shamelessly claimed that he has minimal power/oversight over the agency, when in fact he has pretty much absolute fiat power over it. I don’t know that I’d call him a serial fabulist, but he is a practiced and unblinking liar.

      1. coats & linen

        In other words, I don’t think he’s a pathological liar, but rather a pragmatic and instrumental liar. He lies to manipulate the media and get what he wants.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Does he also hate, loathe and detest mass transit? Does he wish to see it destroyed, especially if it runs on rails?

          I ask this because years ago I remember reading about plans to repair the Tappan Zee bridge north of New York City and design plans included making it future-railroad-ready in case it was ever decided to build out passenger rail that far north of the City. I also read in that same place that Cuomo reached out and personally forbid these plans from going ahead and decreed that the repaired Tappan Zee Bridge must never ever be permitted to carry trains. Never. Ever. And the designg capability was stricken from the designs.

          Is my memory faulty? Or did that actually happen?

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Sorry, passenger rail to and from where? Used by whom?

            Opening up the sparsely settled west bank of the Hudson and far north NJ would be a developer’s/local pol’s wet dream, but they’ll just stuff those hills and hollers with more McMansions, whose 1%er residents drive their SUVs over 20 miles a day to school and shop, along asphalt ribbons.

            Shortening the midtown commutes of those folks is wayyyy down Maslow’s hierarchy.

            Maybe try bringing the existing subways and commuter lines into the late 20th century, forget the 21st. And strengthen the towns that already exist, to draw people, especially millenials, back in.

  15. Daryl

    > I wonder if we have an virologists in the readership who could comment?

    I’m not a virologist, but I am a computer programmer, so… (1/749)

    1. Bsoder

      My speciality – cellular systems biology, includes virology. As to the physcial chemistry of C-19, sounds right. All viruses need to find some receptor to attach to, to get inside of a cell, inject rna and start making proteins. In this case twenty. That is neither here nor there, the issue is how infectious is C-19 and exactly how morbid per variant. The reporting of data world wide even state and county wide is not uniform and full of co-variables. Making it hard to develop public & medical policy about. With regard to the type of receptors it attaches to and then unlocks the cell membrane many more of these are found in lung tissue then in the rest of the body. Destroying these cells is what kills people. Ventilators can only help up to a point. A ventilator can not force oxygen into cells that are dead. Could a heart/lung machine keep you alive – sure. But, not forever, or even very long, as a small percentage of red blood cells are deformed reducing oxygen pickup. I suppose some billionaire could use one and blood transfusions to ‘try’ to keep themselves alive, but we’re talking mad science here.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If, in pure theory, the body and its infected lungs could be kept alive “long enough”, would the lungs eventually grow new lung surface cells as the body eventually “learned” to “recognize” and kill the virus? In pure theory?

    1. MLTPB

      I stopped going to the gym around Feb 1.

      Even last weekend, the local beaches were crowded.

      Maybe those postcards will reach and help some. CA shelter in place started last Friday. I got a card yesterday, probably sent out Monday or last week. It’s what it is. I thought NY should have tissued their stay home order at least when Santa Clara declared their.

      It’s simliar all over the world.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The fields of fools are growing ripe and ready for the harvest. The Great Darwin should be well pleased. Pray some of those fools are Overclass people with Overclass social-power comrades to take the corona to.

  16. Kurt Sperry

    I’m not sure how to tell if Clematis is excited, but the scent must be quite pleasing coming out by that door…

    I adore Clematis, but few are fragrant. I have a pink-flowered Clematis montana that climbed from an arbor to a nearby Douglas Fir however than has a subtle sweet vanilla-ish fragrance, but you really have to stick your nose right up to the blooms to appreciate it.

  17. Noone from Nowheresville

    Looks like no more debates. Biden’s learning a lot about how to get the message out via the Internet since he’s not being covered by the media or some such thing.


    Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said it’s time for the Democratic primary to draw to a close and signaled a disinterest in participating in a final debate against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

    “My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now,” Biden said at a virtual press conference. “I haven’t thought about any more debates. I think we’ve had enough debates. I think we should get on with this.”

    Looks like the Senate floor has opened up for discussion. A Republican is speaking now. There’s not a name on the live stream on two different networks so I don’t know who this senator is. But he’s not talking about the actual bill. Just equated Trump to Churchill. Must prepare ourselves to restore the economy after the curve is flattened.

    Okay, 2nd senator. Rubio is speaking now.

    ETA: Talking WWII and FDR and how he battled his own party and lost seats in House / Senate. Dumped his own vice president. How he promised not to go to war. Prominent voices such as Lindbergh spoke up against FDR. The college movement against war and FDR. Now Pearl Harbor. America was not ready for war. FDR & conspiracy theories.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Rubio: There is nothing worse that can happen than our inability to act. He honestly doesn’t know what will happen if this bill isn’t passed tonight.

      I guess that’s it as no one else is there to speak at least right now.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        New Mexico (d) Sen Udall speaking now

        Actually speaking about the bill. Paycheck to paycheck. Small businesses need to survive. Everyone is taken care of and can

        Loans us to 10 million dollars to small businesses under 500 employees IF employees kept.

        Telling us that 4 months instead of 3 months for unemployment (gee, 2008 gave us 99 weeks of unemployment or am I mis-remembering that) Increases max benefit by $600 per week. self employed. 11,000 NM claims now 7,000 claims per day.

        Reps & Dems working together. This is what we do as Americans. Continue to do this is a UNITED fashion. Vice Chair on Indian Relations. Ensuring that tribes have the resources they deserve. 8 million relief fund with flexibility. Bipartisan agreement on this. Over billion dollars for tribal health services for tribal. $700 million to go to Bureau of Indian Affairs.

        Must live up to our tribal treaty agreements. Tribes are the most vulnerable. Make sure Indian country

        Heinrich & I fought hard. National labs. New Mexico creative community must not be left behind. $75 million for the arts. Exceeding difficult times.

        Now giving us how to contain COVID-19.

        NM is under stay at home. Commends governor.

        If we let this virus runs it’s course without interfering, there could be 1 to 2 million dead. Must monitor,

        Working together. We will meet and beat this crisis.

        Must pass this bill without delay. This is a good compromise.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Leahy (d) Vermont Highlights:

          Earlier this week, we faced with a prospect of a bill that was very one-sided. Reps & Dems had not done what we do best: sitting down and putting it together. We were given an almost a take it or leave it bill. Applauds Schumer who said let us come together and find a better bill.

          Sen Shelby & I worked together to have something of the majority of the appropriations committee could agree on. None of us got every single thing they want. No bill is perfect. We are at a point where reality has to overcome rhetoric. We have to stand up and be the conscious as we have been in the past….

          America will get a lot more than it has now. A lot more than it has now. Let’s do this for America. Let’s pass this bill. Let’s vote on it.

          As Americans we should say it’s reality time, not rhetoric. Reality trumps rhetoric every day.

          That’s my last one. Sorry if that took up too much space. It is very interesting to see the rhetoric used. What the Reps talk about on the floor vs. what the Dems talk about as it pertains to the upcoming Senate vote on this bill.

          Don’t know if 2 on each side is enough of a sample. I am curious so maybe when I have more time, I’ll listen to more. Would be interesting to see the key words / phrases used by each side. Whether or not the playbook is that Reps tell narratives while Dems talk compromise and how this is better for the American people.

        2. flora

          It is odd, is it not, that our congress critters (or maybe they’re Wall St’s congress critters) can talk themselves into a ‘this or nothing, zomg’ state of mind. Stepping back even half a step would show it’s not all or nothing. Maybe the congress critters have a Wall St.-centric ouija board that we normal, main street voters are not privy to. /s

            1. flora

              Much shorter: the fight against jim crow laws and it’s enforcers has been won for the most part. The fight against Wall St predations on Main Street – a Main Street that’s idpol inclusive – is just starting.

              1. Arizona Slim

                Which may be why the NC comment sections are getting so lo-o-o-ong. I mean, look at it this way:

                If neoliberalism has been getting on your nerves, this is your place.

                Or, if late-stage unfettered capitalism has been keeping you up at night, welcome aboard.

        3. neo-realist

          I remember the subsidized COBRA in 2008-2009 (80%?). A bright spot of that recession legislation in spite of the banks being made whole and escaping prosecution.

    2. Billy

      The ideal ticket for Biden who says he will pick a woman vice president:


        1. flora

          er… Joe Biden – Madame Defarge. / ;) Not really a way out of the current impasse, but oh so schendenfraud.

    3. Hepativore

      At this point, Sanders or his surrogates should pointedly call out Joe Biden for being a coward both for hiding away in his mansion during the epidemic as well as being unwilling to have his ideas scrutinized in detail. If Biden wants to be president, then he should stop running away from conflict.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        But Biden is Sanders’s friend. Sanders has said so and I assume Sanders really believes it and feels it.

        So Sanders is not going to embarrass or shame Biden in any way for avoiding debates.

        Too bad. So sad.

  18. judy2shoes

    Regarding Bernie Sanders and his campaign, this link goes to the video of his latest virtual townhall discussion of the CV crisis. This looks like it happened on the evening of 3/23, when there were still ongoing deliberations in the Senate about the infamous [understatement] corporate/wall street/stick-in-the-eye-to-the-peasants bailout bill. Bernie is clearly in his element: he looks well and he’s showing the type of leadership during a crisis that I haven’t seen in a long time, if ever. I haven’t been able to watch the whole thing yet, but I have watched Bernie’s introduction, as well as Pramilla Jayapal’s input. It starts at around the 36:18 mark:


  19. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Shadow Government seems like a neat concept. But I wonder if the actual words ” Shadow Government” would play in Peoria. . . . .

    I have read that the words Shadow Government are specifically British, most specifically Englandish. People there are used to the meaning of the meaning of Shadow Government.

    Here it would sound deeply sinister. It sounds like a semi-conspiracy lurking in the shadows. “Shadow Government” goes along with “Deep State” in American English ( Ameringlish or Gringlish if one prefers).
    There should be a better more sunny more uplifting name for it. Like “Alternative Government in Training” or “Better Administration in Training” or something).

    1. Synoia

      In the UK Shadow Cabinet is a putative set of Cabinet members in the opposition.

      “The Establishment” is the “Deep State”

  20. alex morfesis

    HAPPY NEW YEAR every1…(ask ben franklin and george washington and jefferson too…) and also, happy greek independence day….199 years ago, the neoliberal 10 percenters inside the Ottoman empire working as overrlords against their fellow Greeks didnt like the skim the central office was taking and decided to have a conversation with Moscva and others about reducing the skim if they were still allowed to be the HNIC overlords…not exactly the version of the average ellene child gets fed in kindergarten, but it is not unique…most “evolutions” are from someone in the “royal court” or “other insiders” not happy with their share of the financial slavery overlord/neoliberal game…

    there are some reasonable history books gathering dust somewhere which would suggest saul of tarsus was a PE manager who was buying tax certificate collection rights at a discount and didnt like the results of his arbitration ruling with the folks at HQ and decided to create another reality…

    and welcome to the great unwinding/ the great disruption…the only constant is change…

  21. Oregoncharles

    ” “One survey found one-third of households said they used online grocery pickup or delivery during the week ending March 13″

    There are almost certainly local young people looking for odd jobs like food delivery/shopping for you. My wife found one (there were several) on the local Unitarian church’s “Discuss” list. And we aren’t even Unitarians (a lot of our friends are – even the witches meet there.)

  22. Utah

    About the Utah count: we vote by mail here, so the totals released day of were in person votes and the ballots that had been received and counted. Ballots are counted if they are postmarked by our voting deadline. So it can take some extra time. Usually by Friday of that week the vote is pretty much set, but the extra two weeks are for people who need to verify their signature or address for their vote to be counted. Also, in the other primaries it allows for recounts when margins are slim. Every year there is usually one general or primary decided by 15 or so votes.

  23. Roger C

    NYT has a death toll tracker here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/21/upshot/coronavirus-deaths-by-country.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=744002994&imp_id=234545821&action=click&module=Most%20Popular&pgtype=Homepage The death toll is, of course, a lagging indicator to cases, but surely more accurate because increasing case counts are partly real and partly an artifact of increasing testing. How long is the lag? I defer to medical experts, but maybe 2-3 weeks? The beauty of the log plot in the NYT tracker is that it shows when measures taken in the past have started to bend the curve toward flat.

    1. MLTPB

      People have commented about how causes might have been lumped or taken out, in various countries, and in the US, maybe in various states.

      It feels like the whole world is experiencing the fog of contagion.

  24. Lambert Strether Post author

    That’s the stuff to give the troops:

    I imagine Stoller is pleased (at least in principle). Now do it to the Democrat Establishment

    1. OIFVet

      No offense Lambert, but this is weak tea. Trillions for the corporations, fake oversight provisions, one time payment $1,200 for the rest of us, delivered sometime in the next 6 weeks, UI that will do nothing for people like me. The whole thing must be thrown in the trash.

    2. MLTPB

      Senator Sanders is saying here, if I read the above correctly, he is OK with giving money to corporations, i.e. baling them out (the defition is to give money to a failing company), if the stronger conditions are imposed.

      I think sometimes we shorten things for convenience., and we say, no corporate bailout. But here, in detail, the senator rires he will go with a bailout, with stronger conditions. Technically, still a bailout.

      I believe many are opposed to corporate bailouts, period.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        “I believe many are opposed to corporate bailouts, period.”

        by their own rules—you know, the rules they tell us little people are handed down from god—many of those gigantic businesses should fail utterly.
        That they never seem to tells me all i need to know about “Free Market Capitalism” as currently practiced.
        I’m thinking right now about all the eternally unprofitable shale drillers, etc out in the permian…they should have all been living in cardboard boxes some time ago….again, by their own rules.
        wall street ten years ago, same thing.
        let them use all that non taxed jack stashed in the caymans.
        perhaps the ceo’s could sell a yacht or two for some grocery money.

        it’s the rest of us that need a bailout…even without the plague.

        1. notabanktoadie

          Not only do the banks hold us hostage via our ONE AND ONLY payment system (besides grubby coins and FRN’s) that MUST work through them or not at all, so do large companies hold us hostage because of the wage slaves they employ.

          Hold me hostage once, shame on you. Hold me hostage time after time and we seem to have a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.

  25. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: “Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful”

    I have been looking at the Furin enzyme. Interesting to me since I have a mood disorder and changes in that gene which inhibit its function are linked to schizophernia. I am homozygous for that rs4702 risk allele so that would most likely lower the virus splitting for me.

    That enzyme needs the calcium ions per subunit to act as a cofactor. So I would guess that a diet high in calcium would stimulate that enzyme and increase the chances of popping open the virus.

    I also think the ACE2 and ADAM17 enzymes should be increased by very high doses of zinc. This increases the rate that ACE2 sheds from the cell surface and also will increase intracellular zinc when ACE2 is brought into the cell by SARS2

    1. Oregoncharles

      You might want to translate that, esp. for any newbies – I think I about half understood it. Wish I had zinc supplements on hand – one thing we don’t have, and I’d rather stay out of stores.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        I wish I could Oregoncharles! But let me try…

        Zinc might help because it makes ADAM17 take the ACE2 receptor off of the cell (so now it is called soluble ACE2). The virus then attaches to the soluble ACE2 and cannot get into the cell.

        The other way Zinc might work is that when the virus attaches to ACE2 and is brought into the cell, the Zinc contained in ACE2 is also brought into the cell. Once the zinc is in the cell stops the virus from replicating. If someone was zinc deficient it might be that the ACE2 does not have a lot of zinc in it and so the virus can replicate more easily.

        The other way zinc might help is by stimulating ACE2 to lower levels of Angiotensin II in the lungs.

        Once the virus is in the cell it uses another enzyme called Furin to break apart. Furin needs a lot of calcium to work and that calcium need to be in the cell. (Note that Influenza has been inhibited by calcium channel blockers.)

        1. furies


          are you saying “mental illness” can be diagnosed via gene analysis?

          I don’t think so…

          1. Alternate Delegate

            For the love of dog, Walentka didn’t say that. Go look at the paper abstract.

          2. Krystyn Walentka

            No, that is not what I am saying.

            I will say that genetics will raise the risk (predisposition) of some people having mood disorders. And since my family has a history of mood disorders going back three generation, and that I have about 12 genes with SNPs that are highly correlated to mood disorders (like CACNA1C), I think I can say I see that genetics plays a large role in my families mental health issues. Mood disorders are polygenetic disorders, so it makes seeing the inheritance more difficult.

            For some it is nature, for some it is nurture, for others it is nature and nurture.

    2. Zar

      Note to speedreaders: it’s possible that having more Furin and ACE2 enzymes will promote COVID infection, so casually popping zinc and calcium lozenges may be inadvisable.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        You read too fast. I said more calcium would most likely be bad.

        And the evidence for zinc inhibiting all corona-viruses is pretty clear.


        and https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/10/4/696/5476413

        An abundance of evidence has accumulated over the past 50 y to demonstrate the antiviral activity of zinc against a variety of viruses, and via numerous mechanisms.

        And I never told anyone to take anything.

        1. Zar

          You said calcium “increases the chances of popping open the virus.” My first thought upon reading that was “oh, that’s good, right?” (Maybe it’s been too long since my last biology course.) Thus my comment to readers like myself, to advise pausing before popping pills.

          I came back to post some factoids in favor of zinc, so I’m not going to argue with you there.

    3. Bsoder

      Possibly, but that isn’t a statement of good science. Don’t @me with grief. I’m working with people to find an anti-viral, we need to have something proven to work. N=1024. And Not be toxic. A series of conjectures make a fact not.

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Science starts at hypothesis and that is all I provided. I cannot afford to do the testing. Just trying to get peoples juices flowing. I have tried the hypothesis on my self, which is not very scientific, but it seems to work.

        Why not test my hypothesis? Is there no merit to it?

        (The following is philosophical) To me anti-virals miss the mark. The virus does not want to kill us. And treating it that will do more harm to the host IMHO. SARS2 is looking for a viable host in which to replicate safely. Maybe if we became a host that could support the virus it could pass through the population unnoticed. Maybe being a good host means having a healthy person with a lot of zinc in their diet?

        1. urdsama

          Umm, the virus just is. If I remember correctly, some researchers don’t even consider it a living organism. This isn’t some type of parasite that could be changed in to a symbiote. There is no real goal of the virus but to replicate. The host living or dying is of no consequence.

          I understand you are being philosophical, but going down the road of anti-virals missing the mark because of this idea is a dangerous, and deadly, path.

          1. Krystyn Walentka

            I do not see life, just movement. But we have a long history of virii intermingling with our DNA. I have no idea what is going on with that but, wow. Is nature trying to reprogram us? Is the virus analogous to us walking in front of the pearly gates to be judged whether we are worthy?

            You will never find me saying I know how the complete mechanisms of the universe works.

  26. chukjones

    Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, who led the study. Theoretical Epidemiology? Anybody know what that is?

    1. Bsoder

      Ya, people who use math and models v. People who shoe-leather it out by tracing all known contacts, do the physcial exams and autopsies.

  27. MLTPB

    Argentina reported 84 new cases, their biggest daily jump.

    Weather there? 72 F or there about, in Buenos Aires.

    It’s not really hot, maybe a bit cool…summer just over.

    In Siberia though, it’s like 22 F, in Omsk, for example. People are likely indoors, and if no social distancing is in force, that can’t be good.

  28. cripes

    “Section 2101. Short TitleThis title is called the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus ActSection

    2102. Pandemic Unemployment AssistanceThis section creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.”

    “Affected” define please.
    WTF does this actually mean?
    Gig workers will get a Coronavirus test to determine eligibility?
    Only gig workers who lost work after a certain date will be eligible?
    Do they have to be “ready and available” for work that doesn’t exist?
    A letter from Mom?

    “Section 2201. 2020 recovery rebates for individuals.
    All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. This is true even for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits. ”

    Well, includes SSI. What about SSDI or SSA retirement benefits?

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      I’ll give you an example for the 2102. Hairdressers. Most of them in my area lease a chair. They are sole proprietors, thus not paying into or eligible for unemployment. In my state they were shut down completely a week ago. They are totally screwed. I think we should give them payments until they are allowed to open up again. AND today the full closing of all but “essential businesses” went into effect. I heard the local Joanns was still open.

  29. jen

    Made a brief excursion to the local coop this afternoon. The whole experience was surreal. Almost no cars on the highway. Very few cars in the parking lot. Customers largely avoiding each other, grimly searching for the items on their shopping lists. The staff, especially those working the registers (now outfitted with glass sneeze protectors) looked terrified.

    I asked my cashier if things were calming down. She said it was quiet yesterday but busy today. She thought there were a lot of people in shopping for older neighbors, and relatives.

    Be well is the new have a nice day.

    On a more positive note – lots of people out walking and spied a couple of old yanks playing croquet in the snow.

    1. MLTPB

      We are all, or many of us are, experiencing a challenge to our way of life, not necessarily one that we want to keep the same. Many have wanted to improve it, but never thought it would be dictated by this tiny lifeless thing.

      Little by little, day after day, for months and perhaps years, we are being transformed. How we see the works will change, among other things.

      For some, maybe many, the uncertain wait to the end of the tunnel is too much to bear. Perhaps psychologically it’s easier to manage to be told that there will be a review in 3 weeks, a month, etc..

      1. Jen

        Yep, and at the same time the ground is shifting beneath our feat minute by minute, which means that what we’re telling people one day won’t be true the next. Vermont is now on shelter in place, and 30% of our employees live there. Unclear whether Sununu will follow, though I hear the state’s public health people are urging him to do so.

        Our border is porous.

    2. petal

      I went this morning, around 9-930ish. It was busy, lots of cars in the parking lot. They hadn’t put up the plexiglass yet but were starting to. Staff seemed tense. Can’t blame them.

    3. carl

      Today was the first day of formal “quarantine” in San Antonio. Wish I had something more to report than we walked the dogs in the morning and I spent about four hours in the backyard garden, which I have now taken to referring to as “the little farm.” Last week, I ordered five yards of mulch, garden soil, decomposed granite and river pebbles for outdoor projects, which I think will keep me busy throughout the summer. In December, I ordered a seed bank from some prepper site which claimed it was going out of business, and so we now have about one hundred or so different varieties of seeds to plant. I find that my state of mind improves as I spend more time outside, in the garden or doing other activities and so I’d encourage others to get outside as they are able. Spending a big part of the day on the computer tallying the latest stats from CVid and the responses to it, is not good for my mental state.

  30. Wukchumni

    Pictures from the edge\

    Despite Sequoia NP being closed, there’s been quite a bit of action on the AirBnB/VRBO front, as greedy local landlords fall for the persuasion of profit in renting to from what i’ve heard, mostly SoCal types that wanted out of dodge and be somewhere quiet, and can’t say I blame them, I wouldn’t want to be in LA on the Day of the Locust, but none of these 200 rentals come with food, and today, in our supermarket, there was 1/5th of what should have been in canned foods, pasta about the same percentage, and 3/4’s of the bread was raptured. So, when you combine owners of vacation rentals bugging out here also, and the guests that will all more than likely be ‘trapped’, we’re talking about 300-500 mouths that’ll be wondering where the next meal comes from in a month, and do you think locals will be keen to share their food that’ll barely get them by, with begging strangers nobody knows? (I can see the plea now: “I made elaborate sets for Hollywood and my name was known coast to coast in the right circles, and just one can of Campbells would suffice my entire family of 6 tonight, I won’t bother you again if you come through for me, you have my word!”)

    The past week has been interesting, zombie-like homeless people have been seen walking the roads, we were always too far away from the big city to attract them, and crime?

    Our mercantile store had a rock go through the front door window in the wee hours and in the thief came, out with 6 chainsaws & 3 weedwhackers he went. Not far away is a series of rental cabins along the river, maybe 5 of them. They were broken into as well, and all the toilet paper was taken, nothing else though.

    I’m getting used to the new normal, my favorite being a group of 3 people together talking. It’s a Mexican Standoff sans hand cannons.

    1. Wukchumni


      Also hanging out in AirBnB’s are a good many stateless foreigners unable to return home, whose vacation here, has turned into residency.

      1. carl

        If you know, why can’t the foreigners return home? No flights? Are they overstaying their visas?

        1. Wukchumni

          I only know there are at least a handful unable to get a flight back home for whatever reason, no different than a stuck American overseas somewhere.

          In their favor though, it’s at about peak pretty here, the colors!

          Redbud is actually violet to purple looking and a big one is about a dozen by a dozen feet wide & tall, and for 11 months a year ho hum, a thin branched waif of a tree, but in that 12th month-they are so resplendent, a feast for the eyes. There are many thousand trees growing naturally around these parts.

    2. Krystyn Walentka

      AirBnB should be wiped from the planet. Sorry it has done that to your community.

  31. Amfortas the hippie

    ran across this:

    i think it’s important…especially when you’re looking at empty shelves.
    this article sounds like me on a normal day…except that i put a lot more emphasis on the fragility, unhealthiness and, ultimately, stupidity of the current “system”.
    I also tend to yell a lot more about the plight of “farmers” under this “system”….sharecroppers and indentured servants…one instance of bad luck(like a pandemic) from good old fashioned Manorialism…but with an immortal fiction as Lord of the Manor.
    the farmers I know…and a bunch of former farmers…understand what i, and she, are saying perfectly, without much elaboration.
    but hardly any americans actually know a farmer any more.
    So I’d ask that y’all add it to your quiver of things to talk about with folks you know.
    Know yer Farmer.

  32. Carey

    ‘A Swiss Doctor”s coronavirus update for today:

    March 25, 2020

    German immunologist and toxicologist, Professor Stefan Hockertz, explains in a radio interview that Covid19 is no more dangerous than influenza (the flu), but that it is simply observed much more closely. More dangerous than the virus is the fear and panic created by the media and the „authoritarian reaction“ of many governments. Professor Hockertz also notes that most so-called „corona deaths“ have in fact died of other causes while also testing positive for coronaviruses. Hockertz believes that up to ten times more people than reported already had Covid19 but noticed nothing or very little.
    The Argentinean virologist and biochemist Pablo Goldschmidt explains that Covid19 is no more dangerous than a bad cold or the flu. It is even possible that the Covid19 virus circulated already in earlier years, but wasn’t discovered because no one was looking for it. Dr. Goldschmidt speaks of a „global terror“ created by the media and politics. Every year, he says, three million newborns worldwide and 50,000 adults in the US alone die of pneumonia.
    Professor Martin Exner, head of the Institute for Hygiene at the University of Bonn, explains in an interview why health personnel are currently under pressure, even though there has hardly been any increase in the number of patients in Germany so far: On the one hand, doctors and nurses who have tested positive have to be quarantined and are often hard to replace. On the other hand, nurses from neighbouring countries, who provide an important part of the care, are currently unable to enter the country due to closed borders.
    Professor Julian Nida-Ruemelin, former German Minister of State for Culture and Professor of Ethics, points out that Covid19 poses no risk to the healthy general population and that extreme measures such as curfews are therefore not justified.
    Using data from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, Stanford Professor John Ioannidis showed that the age-corrected lethality of Covid19 is between 0.025% and 0.625%, i.e. in the range of a strong cold or the flu. Moreover, a Japanese study showed that of all the test-positive passengers, and despite the high average age, 48% remained completely symptom-free; even among the 80-89 year olds 48% remained symptom-free, while among the 70 to 79 year olds it was an astounding 60% that developed no symptoms at all. This again raises the question whether the pre-existing diseases are not perhaps a more important factor than the virus itself. The Italian example has shown that 99% of test-positive deaths had one or more pre-existing conditions, and even among these, only 12% of the death certificates mentioned Covid19 as a causal factor.


    1. MLTPB

      Thank you for posting this, a view from the opposite side, I suppose.

      I note that an Italian doctor or professor has said of unusual symptoms way back last year, in Italy. That has intrigued many in China about an Italian origin, instead of Wuhan…perhaps even dropping the American conspiracy theory.

      1. Carey

        You’re welcome. Not sure what to believe, but in my region at least there seems to be a facts v frenzy gap, with the very large Corps set to benefit as we speak. Odd.

        We’ll see how it goes.

      2. Carolinian

        Wherever the truth lies I think it’s safe to say that some rather drastic decisions are being made on the basis of inadequate data and that this is being justified in the name of caution. Of course there’s nothing wrong with caution as long as you are willing to change your mind and are taking steps to acquire that necessary data. By politicizing the situation many in the media are drawing battle lines that cause correct decision making to be harder.

    2. urdsama

      More of this?

      I’m sure the fact that a third of the world is essentially in lock down conditions is completely due to panic, and not at all due to the hot spots that area appearing daily.

      I’m all for looking at opposing viewpoints, but this is the equivalent of taking flat earthers seriously. And it gives sociopaths like Elon Musk ammo to keep their operations running which endangers thousands, not mention tweeting to 30 million plus followers that this is “just the flu”.

      Family blog this.

  33. zagonostra

    >Unemployment web sites unresponsive

    I’ve logged onto Virgina unemployment site and when a “chat” box came up and I typed in a question it said “unavailable at this time.” I also noticed that in Florida people are having problems filing unemployment claims.

    So not only has Federal Gov’t’s response been an abysmal failure and unable to match other country’s responses such as that of S.Korea, but local State agencies can’t even process an unemployment claim.

    A costly online processing system has never handled a high volume of calls well. Recently, with low unemployment, that wasn’t a problem. But the agency went from 28,000 calls the first week of March, to 224,000 calls the next week. It’s only getting worse.


    Has anyone filed an unemployment claim? If so can you share your experience. If you work remotely or have lived in multiple States, do you file with the State where your company resides or where you reside. It also looks as if you haven’t lived the State for 18months straight it gets complicated.

    1. furies

      I tried to call my congress person about the bail out…suspending payroll taxes being dangled as incentive for businesses…and setting up the destruction of Social Security.

      Busy signal for hours.

      If only I had the millions to make my voice heard, eh?

    2. Savedbyirony

      I have not filed, but in Ohio day-after-day during the Governor’s briefings reporters ask about unemployment filings and tell the officials that they are being flooded with messages from people that they are unable to file due to a faulty website; to which comments the Lt. Governor basically gives them(us) the run around.

    3. sd

      You typically file in the state where you are a resident. The application will ask you if you have worked in another state in the recent past (typically 12-18 months) what they are looking for is which state do you actually have the most benefit hours accrued in as unemployment is a state program. Unemployment varies state by state. Read everything you can on the state website.

      Unemployment will be looking for W-2 income. (I don’t know how the new federal spending bill will help gig workers. In California, self-employment used to be a disqualifier for EDD benefits, dont know if that is still the case)

      If there’s a paper application available, download it, fill it in, and send it off by fax or mail. Make sure you keep a copy. If you have multiple employers, it’s helpful to keep track of them with a spreadsheet, start and end dates of employment, rate of pay, payroll address, physical address, supervisor name, etc.

      Hope this helps.

  34. marym

    Statement from [Cuomo’s] Communications Director Dani Lever on Senate Stimulus Bill

    “The Governor suggested today that the Senate bill is “terrible” for New York State. Here are the facts that justify that assertion.

    “Based on initial reports, New York State government gets approximately $3.1 billion. As a percent of our total state budget — 1.9% — it is the second lowest amount in the nation. Literally 48 states get a higher percentage in funding than New York State. For example, South Dakota gets 17.9%.

    “Compounding this inequity is the fact that New York State contributes more to the federal government than any other state in the nation. It is just another case of politics over sound policy.”


  35. Partyless Poster

    I would like to make a longer personal comment having to do with everything.
    I have been a contractor at a large aerospace company for the last 6 years, 5 months ago I was told the contract would not be renewed with my company.
    As this is the only job I’ve ever made more than $16 an hour I was panicked that i would have to go back to that. After a while it became apparent that the aerospace company would keep me on, so I stopped looking, in the mean time my wife lost her job due to a nasty boss, (she had always made more $ than me)
    so that was scary but things seemed ok for me so we could deal. About a month ago I started getting on their case to finish the deal, they found a different contracting company that I could work with and I would actually get a huge raise. So I was feeling better about things and then the pandemic hits. Now my wife can no longer even look for work, (were in SoCal) but apparently aerospace is an essential service and did not close so I’m still going to work even though one of the buildings actually had 2 people test positive.

    I started reading 1984 a week or so ago since I’ve always meant to and
    it seemed somehow appropriate, yesterday I got to the nastiest part of the book, the torture scene and the part where they mention that cruelty is the whole point of “winning”. I stopped there and came back to the office where a supervisor told me that the aerospace company had just instituted a hiring freeze and that I had to make a list of duties to try and save my job.
    I come in the next day (today) and after lunch when I finished 1984,
    I run into supervisor again that tells me there’s nothing they can do it came from corporate HQ and that I would not be hired. (this after submitting all paperwork even doing the pee-test)

    I cant begin to tell you the devastation I feel right now and I’m not posting this for any kind of sympathy as there are people in even worse spots right now
    But this combination of events has spelled out just how prescient Orwell was.
    Its the boundless levels of cruelty that humans are capable of.
    As I’m typing this our government is deciding how many billions of dollars our biggest corporations will get (especially aerospace) and these same companies will take that money and fire you anyway.
    I have 3 working days left before I’m unemployed and quarantined and all just because some of the suits (in a 30 billion dollar company) are nervous.
    So I’m posting this as a warning never trust this system, never underestimate human greed.
    Orwell was right “a boot stomping on a human face forever”

    1. Jason Boxman

      And the bill is held up because Senator Graham (and three others) is afraid the unemployment benefits are too generous, and people might get ideas.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      Pretty grim. I hear a lot of people, working from home, are getting extra harassment from their managers right now.

      It’s power trip time for managers. They know how much more dependent workers are on keeping their jobs right now. And since the managers don’t do productive work anyway, this just gives them that much more space to work out their cruelty.

      Stay tough and keep going.

    3. Zagonostra

      You might enjoy reading Jack London’s ‘Iron Boot’ , if I’m not mistaken it inspired Orwell…

    4. ambrit

      Sorry to hear about the “runaround” you were subjected to, but this has been the “normal” in commercial construction for years now.
      The older I get, the more cynical I get, (if such can be believed.) I am beginning to understand that it always takes “blood in the streets” to get any meaningful change in favour of the working classes accomplished.
      It probably is not a fair comparison, so apologies in advance, but your story very strongly reminds me of the plot of the 1993 film “Falling Down.”
      Stay safe and be vigilant.
      “Falling Down”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falling_Down

      1. Hepativore

        You also might enjoy watching the 1980’s movie, Brazil, by Terry Gilliam. It is a dark satire about a near-future dystopia in which the UK is run by a government that is both authoritarian as well as grossly incompetent.

        Not only are the government officials in Brazil brutally sadistic, but they are also bumbling idiots.

  36. Gregorio

    “Joe Biden’s business allies are pushing Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar as potential VP picks”
    Great idea, one of the candidates soundly rejected by voters will surely push him over the top.
    Maybe instead he should consider Katie Porter, that’s one who would get him my vote. It would be worth it to see her destroy Pence in a debate

    1. Eureka Springs

      One problem with that is Obama selected Biden for VP when Biden had, once again, not won a single delegate in ’08 primary. This was back when Dems where so fond of crying “fail forward” about Republicans of the Bush Cheney era.

        1. JBird4049

          But in a country with tens of millions of old white dudes, he had to pick a topnotch corporate fellator? (I’m not going to call him a prostitute or a sex worker; they do honest work for a living. and are often living a hard life especially in times like now.)

          I just answered my own question, didn’t I? They are probably thousands of qualified, honest leftist, liberal, and conservative politicians who would have been an excellent VP, but they were not the personal shills for the finance industry.

          I have gotten to where I almost do not care what the ideology of a person is, but only that they are honest, competent, and diligent for whatever position they are in; that should not be an unreasonable desire, but the Professional Managerial Class acts as if it is so.

          1. Pat

            I always thought Obama picked the old white guy acceptable for the donors as VP, but who nobody would really want to take over as insurance against being taken out with a bullet.

    2. Billy

      Kamala Harris? I would get out my checkbook and write a fat one to the Trump campaign in that case. Harris took a campaign donation bribe from Mnuchin for not prosecuting his Onewest bank’s tens of thousands of illegal California foreclosures, (including ours.)

      Nothing that the DNC could do would stimulate more support for Trump than putting Harris on the ticket.

      “The officials who played meaningful roles the mortgage settlement negotiation should be run out of public life, rather than failing upwards, as Harris has. Hopefully, the millions who lost their homes to foreclosure will vigorously oppose her Presidential bid. But being a successful politician apparently means having no sense of shame.

      Background: Why the National Mortgage Settlement Was a Bank Enrichment Scheme at the Expense of Homeowners and the General Public

      In fact, as we and many others, like Dean Baker, Matt Stoller, David Dayen, Marcy Wheeler, Tom Adams, and Abigail Field recounted at the time, the settlement was a sellout to banks, a “get out of liability almost free” card. Due to widespread and probably pervasive corners-cutting during the mortgage securization process, it appeared that the overwhelming majority of mortgages that had been securitized since the refi boom of 2003 had not had the mortgages conveyed to the securitization trusts as stipulated in the pooling and servicing agreements that governed these deals. Because these deals were designed to be rigid, for the ~80% that elected New York law to govern the trust, there was no way to straighten out these securitizations after the fact. Georgetown law professor called these agreements “Frankenstein contracts” and argued that what had happened was “securitization fail,” that the securitizations had never been properly formed and thus the investors had bought what amounted to legal empty bags. Mind you, someone did have the right to collect the interest and principal from the mortgages, but that “someone” didn’t appear to be the servicers acting on behalf of the securitizations.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the DNC believes what you say putting Harris on the ticket will do, and they do it anyway, that would support the theory that the DNC ( and DemParty leadership in general) are conspiring to throw the election, just to make SURE they lose it.

        But how can we know what the DNC secretly believes putting Harris on the ticket would do? If we can’t know what the DNC is secretly thinking, we can’t know the secret reasons the DNC does what it does.

    1. Monty

      Nice area. I have been hearing anecdotes that CA hospitals have been so far underwhelmed by Covid19 patients. I think outside a few metropolitan area, the density just isn’t there to spread it far and wide. Same in AZ.

      1. Carey

        Per the link, there only been 315 tests done here, but the hospitalization numbers say something. For reference, we’re halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a population of around 270,000.

      2. MLTPB

        According to our governor, we have 90,000 beds, and he wants another 50,000 more.

        So far we have 3,000 tested positive.

        In LA county, 799 cases, with 160 hospitalized (ever), per county public health dept.

        Not sure what ‘ever’ means here. Perhaps it means not all of them at this time. Could be only 60, 100, 120 at the time, and not all 160.

        The population density is not like that of New York city.

  37. bob

    Are we onto the stage where the bill is an orphan? No one knows where it came from, and for who it was written…..but why won’t you think of the children!?

    bought and paid for representative- Things are bad, we need to act now!

    Talking head- Some say there isn’t enough in the bill for people who need it.

    bought and paid for representative- Why are you being unamerican? And mean to children and puppies!?

  38. Annieb

    Re: “It begins” by unemployed Elizabeth
    In case not everyone got the literary reference, in A Tale of Two Cities Madame Defarge knits the names of aristocrats scheduled for the guillotine.

    1. curlydan

      “If we assume that case fatality rate among individuals infected by SARS-CoV-2 is 0.3% in the general population — a mid-range guess from my Diamond Princess analysis — and that 1% of the U.S. population gets infected (about 3.3 million people), this would translate to about 10,000 deaths.”

      Not quite sure I understand where he gets his 1% of the population getting infected. Is that with extreme social distancing or a “let’s go back to work if you’re young” scenario?

      1. John Steinbach

        He isn’t clear about where he gets his numbers. He considers The Who mortality numbers absurdly pessimistic.

        In essence, he’s very skeptical about the dangers of Covid-19 & very skeptical about the value of self isolation & quarantine.

        This is a scholarly argument for modified BAU to protect the economy. IMHO, probably an important part of Trump’s playbook.

        1. Carey

          He sounded quite a bit more balanced to me that how you’re portraying him.
          The “Trump’s playbook” framing is also.. sketchy, IMO.

        2. Cuibono

          I have followed his work for many years. He is considered one of the finest minds in epi in a generation at least.
          As you can see he does not ever say we know somehting is 1%: he like to create a reasonable range.

    2. urdsama

      A trusted voice?

      I’ve fail to see how he can predict this as Italy is already past 7,500 with a total population of…60.5 million. And it’s quite likely China is being less than honest about its numbers

      I understand there are a variety of factors that go into why certain areas/nations are getting different outcomes, but it beggars belief that this person should be taken seriously based on current trends.

      10,000 deaths in the US might be possible, if we go on immediate, extreme lock-down for the entire nation for 2-3 months. Even then, it’s a stretch (re: the Hammer and the Dance).

      I’m happy to be wrong, but if this type of “research” pushes governments to let up before prudent, can we track these people down and hold them accountable for those who died unnecessarily?

  39. Carey

    Boeing stock continues to rocket upward, and one of their major suppliers is now talking
    of restarting production *next* month.

    The Boeing Company (BA)

    NYSE – 158.73 +31.05 (+24.32%)

  40. MLTPB

    Lambert, thank you for that chart.

    I think a similar chart with cases per million would move the various national curves up or down.

    Since the US is a big country, a curve for New York state alone will likely match up closely with Italy’s.

  41. John k

    Avoid mining devastation with GND…
    GND calls for widespread e cars with massive subsidies. They will need a lot more of nickel and copper than IC cars, exactly what that mine produces.
    I accept the idea some of this should be produced here, where environmental protections will be much tougher than in a third world mine.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I listened to it via the tube. I’m left discouraged.

      Sanders did the Dem compromise spiel but laid out the good and the bad.

      I get the limit the carnage now to fight another day. But the way Stoller, Dayen and others talk about this is that this is a decisive battle which essentially ends the war and the people lose.

      Is there a reason to think that this bill will really limit the carnage even in the immediate future?

      I expect administration to delay releasing the funds. People who are the most desperate won’t qualify or will have so much paperwork or won’t get their paper checks for months so to them the whole thing will be a farce. Will the monies released to the state be done in a timely fashion? Will it cover the numbers in the hardest hit states fast enough? etc. Or will people be forced to go back to work by Easter unless the governors say screw it and try to keep people at home.

      Why can’t someone draft a simple straight forward bill for the immediate needs and screw the corporate pieces for now. I’d hope that if the war really could be lost now that someone would be willing to play political chicken to at least get better surrender terms.

      I know: The spice must flow.

      1. marym

        Yes, people getting the unemployment benefits or small businesses getting the loans will be slow if it happens at all with the workforce to process them not able to work. Sanders spoke for a few minutes in the Senate tonight and touched on it, and there’s a few in the House who would want just bill for immediate needs, but tonight’s vote (and eventual House rubber stamp) are truly horrific.

  42. The Rev Kev

    I’m not on Twitter but every now and then you see a tweet that is an absolute zinger. In that Tweet stream of Matt Casey there were many good ones but there was one that really summed it up. It said-

    Josie duffy rice
    Today has made it very clear how many people would have absolutely justified slavery because “the economy”

    I mean damn! She is absolutely right. It took a war to get rid of slavery and bypass all those that would have wanted to keep it.

    1. Carey

      Yes. A satisfactory-to-me retort: “whose economy, exactly?”

      It’s the elites and their ten-percenter minions v everyone else, now.

      “Hope Ashley and Marcus are ok..”

      1. JBird4049

        One of the reasons given for not ending slavery before the American Civil War (or for that matter, slavery in the British Empire) was the expense of compensating for the loss of the “property” of all those slave owners. The Antebellum South was the richest part of the country at the time due to its productive use of its property including as collateral for loans. The whole thing is rather vile.

        Roughly one million Civil War dead or injured, military and civilian, out of a population of thirty one million or just over 3% of the pre-war population was expensive too.

        1. Paradan

          Probably one of our nations biggest mistakes was to give amnesty to the Confederate leadership after the war. It set the precedent that elites were unaccountable for any crimes they might commit, including treason and waging war against the US.

          1. The Rev Kev

            No, they made the right decision. Actual war criminals were hanged at the end of the Civil War but it the Confederate leadership were hanged, it would have set up fracture points in America that would have never healed. They would have become “martyrs” to the Cause. As it was, most just went on to rebuild their own lives and eventually faded away. Doing it the way they did made the following events possible-


          2. JBird4049

            I am going to get pedantic here. Sorry.

            Yes, there was a strong push by many in the Republican Party to do just that. And honestly, some like General Nathan Bedford Forest could have used a good hanging.

            However, President Lincoln’s intended to have a very forgiving peace, which included a general amnesty, was known at the time of his assassination. Think of it as his final request.

            It was why Generals Grant and Sherman offered generous terms to the various surrendering Confederate armies. And after all, those armies could have kept right on fighting starting with guerrilla units consisting of the former Army of Northern Virginia. It was only by the expressed desire, perhaps even direct order of General Lee that officers did not split up the army and slip the smaller units through the Union lines. The intent was to take the entire army up into the hills and fight a guerrilla war. Perhaps for several very bloody decades.

            So the main points are:
            A) The uniformed armies that surrendered under terms
            B) of an elected government
            C) created by open declaration
            D) with the expressed desire to succeed from the Union (admittedly to indefinitely maintain slavery which was then still legal)
            E) but not to otherwise undermine the Republic,
            F) and that fought fairly cleanly a civil war, which tend to get really ugly even for a war.
            G) The legal question of whether a state was an independent state (Not a province or territory. There’s a difference.) that could leave was only settled by the war.
            H) All of this makes punishing even leadership problematic. They had after all done much like the Continental Congress although the colonists did not initiate the fighting and even at first tried to negotiate a settlement and not seek independence.
            I) The Confederates did leave without negotiation after firing the first shot.
            J) So legally one could say that they were treasonous, but one could easily make a good argument against that it was not.
            K) So after one million dead, wounded and missing both military and civilian. Men, women, and children.
            L) The losers had surrendered mostly under the agreed terms of swearing not to fight again and going home.
            M) Many, perhaps most of them, were still armed albeit quickly back at home.

            So the question becomes do you start the mass arrests of the Southern leadership and very likely re-start the civil war only this time as an even worse guerrilla war? Or do you not, except for President Jefferson Davis and a few others, and try to cleanly end it? IIRC even Davis was not tried.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Not pedantic at all and agreed with you assessment here. The day of the Confederate surrender of arms was something altogether and it was lucky that the man on the spot was General Joshua Chamberlain of Gettysburg fame. Rather than describe it, here is a page that talks about it and it may be best to start with the paragraph saying-

              “And just then the glad news came that General Lee had surrendered.”


              It was Union soldiers welcoming Confederate soldiers back into the Union.

  43. deplorado

    >> Jaffe would obviously have a place in a Sanders adminsitration.

    Don’t you mean Nelson?
    Also, Nelson didn’t endorse Bernie – or I may have missed it?

  44. The Rev Kev

    Every day in in Water Cooler Lambert posts “Some of the next primaries. (I picked the major dates; here is a complete calendar.)”

    The date is April 28 but you honestly wonder how they are going to be held. Will the Democrats once more urge their voters to attend them in a Somme like charge? Will it be entirely mail in? And who gets to handle all those envelopes? Or will the DNC announce “We have an app for that.” Shudder!!

    1. JBird4049

      Nah, just require everyone to vote online in a completely honest vote, of course. Everyone must have access to the Intertubes, right? We’ll get the complete results before polls closed. So, that’s good

  45. hunkerdown

    Stay home. Read ebooks. Immediately.
    The Internet Archive


    To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

    During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

    1. pricklyone

      I cannot figure out what they have done, here. Why did anyone have to join a waitlist to read digital form material?
      I thought this was all public domain material?
      What is different between this lot and Gutenberg project?

    1. Daryl

      Seems like when Democrats were pearl-clutching about people doing “oppo” on Bernie, they should’ve been worried about someone coming forward to accuse Biden.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Democratic pearl-clutching about people doing “oppo” on Bernie was not real pearl-clutching. It was concern pearl-clutching. As in concern trolling.

  46. Pat

    Cuomo. The more effective evil. Here’s a New Yorker neoliberals and corporate conservatives can rally behind. He has often worked better with Republicans than with Democrats. Oh sure Mitch will pose, but behind the scenes…

    And as Dems rally around faux people friendly policies what is left of the protections and safety net that does still help them will be shredded. Well except for the few that actually support low wage employers. And even they will be made as small and mean spirited as possible

    1. urblintz

      I may now have seen a slightly more interesting side of him well hidden before (and I lived in Manhattan for 30 years so I know Cuomo) but there’s no chance I will vote for Andy… for anything

      1. Pat

        I think it is the circumstance more than another side of Cuomo. He has always played the “I am in charge” role in every emergency. Most of the time it has been annoying for anyone with a clue about his motives and ethics. And most of the emergencies, even the worst, haven’t been uncharted territory. But this….whole new ball game. It took days of those briefings AND contrast to Trump’s to make him look different this time.

        1. urblintz

          well said… and in my defense I left NYC before Andy but did have some admiration for pere Mario which lingers and colors…

  47. urblintz

    Bernie talking on the Senate floor cspan2

    It’s the Bernie we admire but we’ll see what the final outcome is

    he touched on it a bit but the neolib dem attack dogs are avoiding the 5 trillion wall street giveaway… They just don’t see that elephant… or is it a rhino?…

  48. bob


    Because the senate announced they are only sending 1,200 once, not many people pay rent next week.

  49. VietnamVet

    In the West the skyrocketing Novel Cornonavirus Pandemic is a result of Social Darwinian ideology proceeding unhindered towards killing millions until the gold mine treatment is found. Italy was left on its own. The USA federal government was intentionally flushed down the drain and public health is left to 50 states.

    The mortality rate of 6% or higher is associated with the Novel Coronavirus getting into the healthcare systems. Wuhan city, Iran, Italy and Spain are all cases of this. Seattle’s nursing home hotspots are a more localized case. The low death rates, China outside of Hubei Province, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Germany are all associated with intensive virus testing and contact tracing. The only way for the USA to end the pandemic now is to do what Asia and Germany are doing; restore the national public health system, require universal paid virus testing, quarantine the infected (asymptomatic and ill) and release people from quarantine with two consecutive negative tests. Buy empty apartment buildings and motels to house the infected if they don’t have safe shelter.

  50. Skorn

    Promising preliminary IV Vitamin C data from China. The dosing appears to be much higher than the Northwell Health patient protocols. Something to keep an eye on.


    “All serious or critically ill Covid-19 patients in the Shanghai area were treated in Shanghai Public Health Center, for a total of 358 Covid-19 patients as of March 17th, 2020.

    Dr. Mao stated that his group treated ~50 cases of moderate to severe cases of Covid-19 infection with high dose IVC. The IVC dosing was in the range of 10,000 mg – 20,000 mg a day for 7-10 days, with 10,000 mg for moderate cases and 20,000 for more severe cases, determined by pulmonary status (mostly the oxygenation index) and coagulation status. All patients who received IVC improved and there was no mortality. Compared to the average of a 30-day hospital stay for all Covid-19 patients, those patients who received high dose IVC had a hospital stay about 3-5 days shorter than the overall patients. Dr. Mao discussed one severe case in particular who was deteriorating rapidly. He gave a bolus of 50,000 mg IVC over a period of 4 hours. The patient’s pulmonary (oxygenation index) status stabilized and improved as the critical care team watched in real time. There were no side effects reported from any of the cases treated with high dose IVC.‘

  51. judy2shoes

    I know this is long, but I wanted you to see what Senator Scott from South Carolina said about the unemployment benefits in the little-people’s bailout bill. I wonder what Senator Scott’s constituents would think if they read this:


    Senator Rick Scott from Florida said the same thing. I doubt they have any problem with the “perverse” system of bailouts for corporate america which has taught them that they can keep coming back to the trough – just because..

    Link to C-Span proceedings:


  52. judy2shoes

    On a related note, I wonder how people will be expected to handle the job-search requirements if there aren’t any jobs and people have to stay at home because of CV restrictions on movement.

    1. Daryl

      I suspect we’ll be revisiting this soon.

      A lot, lot sooner than these people think, actually.

        1. Daryl

          I think the House dems will do what they do best and roll over.

          I think they’ve gravely misunderstood the scope and the nature of this problem.

  53. Ed Miller

    Apologies in advance for sarcasm, but I couldn’t resist.

    Tonight’s COVID-19 cumulative infections numbers: China 81,726 / Italy 74,386 / USA 69,018

    Tomorrow USA overtakes Italy to move into #2. On Friday USA almost certainly moves into #1 according to the official numbers reported. We all have our thoughts on China’s number, but let’s stick with official numbers.

    Friday night we can proclaim USA! USA! #1 …… Neoliberalism rules!

    Not where I want us to be. Pathetic and sickening. Definitely not the fault of the doctors and nurses who are really working hard for us.

  54. The Rev Kev

    In something that will probably be used to justify having the economy start up again, a study came out of Stanford that said according to their models, the true death rate is off for the Coronavirus by magnitude of orders. They reckon that the real fatality rate is 0.06% which is a fraction what your average, everyday flu is. This study was carried in the Wall Street Journal because it was so legit-


    So please ignore all those stories coming out of Italy, Spain & Washington State and how New York has said that they will run out of space in their morgues by next week. Stanford is saying it ain’t so.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Peak Prosperity youtube channel did a pretty good demolition of this article (its not really hard).

      Its really quite a disgraceful article for academics to write, as it is a very obvious example of cherrypicking data, that shouldn’t be acceptable in a first year undergrad essay. There was a similar one a couple of days ago in the FT, also written by an epidemiologist, but it was full of very obvious flaws.

      Given the wildly varying experience so far of countries from Japan to Germany, Italy to South Korea, you can prove pretty much anything you want by focusing in on one narrow set of data or anecdotal experiences. While I’d be the first to criticise WHO and the various national governments, pretty much all the major authorities agree that this is worse than even a bad annual influenza by several orders of magnitude. I’ve not seen anything that challenges this conclusion.

      1. vlade

        Also, fatality rate as a percent is a rather unhelpful metrics, really (as percent ever is, unless you provide the absolute data).

        say 1m dead in the UK would 1m dead regardless of whether it was 10% fatality of 10m infected, or 1.6% of 60m infected.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Even then of course the ‘fatality’ rate might be different from overall national mortality rate. Many of the covid deaths might be of people that are likely to die anyway this year from other causes. But conversely, the disruption to hospitals could well spike other causes, such as from cancer. I wonder what the impact will be on traffic accidents (less traffic should mean fewer deaths, but in my area, a lot of drivers are taking the opportunity to speed).

      2. The Rev Kev

        Peak Prosperity is where I originally saw it too and went chasing for more info as it was so outrageous. How can Stanford let that pass? Or did they get some goodies to let it past? The work those two guys did would fail even on a high school level.

        Been watching Peak Prosperity for mentions of Oz and there are getting more and more. I won’t detail them but we have had some major cluster**** in the past several days. I think that Chris Martenson has it right from what I have seen – we are on our own.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think some unscrupulous academics see this as an opportunity to air their particular bugbears, often to their detriment (a lot of very intelligent people make terrible fools of themselves when they step outside their narrow range of expertise). Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if some were indulging in a bit of publicity seeking – being seen as a naysayer against public consensus can be very lucrative with so much Koch money still floating around.

  55. Carey

    >how New York has said that they will run out of space in their morgues by next week.

    Got a link for that? NYT today:

    “..New York City is building a temporary morgue to deal with an expected influx of deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.

    The Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Tuesday that the refrigerated structures and mobile command center going up in Manhattan were meant to provide emergency capacity if the city’s permanent morgues fill up.

    A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said as part of the city’s state of emergency, the medical examiner’s office was enacting “emergency contingency plans to help prepare for every possible outcome” of the public health crisis.

    The medical examiner’s office has used temporary morgues in the past, including in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death..”


  56. The Rev Kev

    I just noted something about that John Hopkins CSSE data on their website. You can adjust it by country but there are two missing from that list – Singapore and Taiwan. Two countries that have really gotten on top of their Coronavirus outbreaks through heroic efforts. I wonder why John Hopkins omitted them.

  57. Amfortas the hippie

    +1000 on the chris arnade.
    I’ve known those people all my life.
    and even though i’ve managed to educate myself,I’ll always be one of them.
    I speak that language.
    I can hear them.
    well done.

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