Links 3/10/2020

Yves here. I am adding this note after Links launched.

1. I apologize for the thin original posts because my service crashed last night and took a while to get back.

2. And a bleg!!! Can anyone do light audio editing, of an MP3? I have just a couple of short bits I need cut out or to have white noise put over them. Entire audio only 20 mins and I think only at most 4 places where meddling is needed, and I would time stamp them. I was hoping I could get this help pronto (as in the next day or so). If you are in a generous mood and have the time and skills, please e-mail yves-at-nakedcapitalism-dot-com with “Audio editing” in the subject line. Thanks!

A California woman cared for her ‘perfect’ succulent plant for two years. Then she found out it was fake. USA Today

Markets Walked Off the Cliff. Will They Look Down? Bloomberg

Bank investors confront a new fear: oil company defaults FT

How this market crash is different from 2008, and the same FT


From a well respected friend and intensivist/A&E consultant who is currently in northern Italy Thread Reader (MR). For whatever reason, Italy failed to flatten the curve:

Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for 30 minutes, Chinese study finds South China Morning Post. On a bus: “It can be confirmed that in a closed environment with air-conditioning, the transmission distance of the new coronavirus will exceed the commonly recognised safe distance.”

People ‘shed’ high levels of coronavirus, study finds, but most are likely not infectious after recovery begins STAT (original). n=9. From the abtract: “Active virus replication in the upper respiratory tract puts prospects of COVID-19 containment in perspective.”

* * *

One chart shows how many coronavirus tests per capita have been completed in 8 countries. The US is woefully behind. Business Insider

The Dangerous Delays in U.S. Coronavirus Testing Continue The Atlantic

Tourism flows and death rates suggest covid-19 is being under-reported The Economist

* * *

It’s Not Panic; It’s Reality The American Conservative

With Coronavirus, ‘Health Care for Some’ Is a Recipe for Disaster Editorial Board, NYT. But #MedicareForAll? Fuggedaboutit. Even though one might imagine that universal coverage free at the point of care would be helpful in the midst of a pandemic.

How countries around the world are battling coronavirus FT

WHO Official Says Coronavirus Containment Remains Possible NPR

The death rate is NOT a biological constant. Dr. Melvin Sanicas, Threader (MR).

* * *

More Than 20 Colleges Cancel In-Person Classes In Response To Coronavirus NPR. You can see it coming. When things return “to normal,” the administrators will cancel them permanently and fire a lot of adjuncts.

Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Why Closing Public Schools Is a ‘Last Resort’ NYT. “For [750,000 children who are poor], school may be the only place they can get three hot meals a day and medical care, and even wash their dirty laundry. The situation has been starkly different thus far at some of the city’s elite private schools, where the student bodies tend to be much whiter and wealthier than they are in public schools.”

Detroit to restore water service to unpaid homes to allow people to wash their hands to avoid coronavirus Detroit News

What Do We Do When the Coronavirus Bankrupts the Health Insurance Industry CEPR

Coronavirus: Italy extends emergency measures nationwide BBC

The Koreas

Pay Close Attention to South Korea’s Apparent Success Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo. “[T]heir model is one that should be adaptable to the US, at least from a technological and civil liberties perspective.” But no mention of single payer, which South Korea has Heaven forfend!

Korea (like Taiwan) has #SinglePayer. Thread:

Korean right wing politicizing epidemic Asia Times

[Interview] Looking back on a life as a revolutionary Hankyoreh


‘The new normal’: China’s excessive coronavirus public monitoring could be here to stay Guardian. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Even mask-wearers can be ID’d, China facial recognition firm says Reuters

The Word from Wuhan LRB. “Schools are suspended until further notice. With many workplaces also shut, notoriously absent Chinese fathers have been forced to stay home and entertain their children. Video clips of life under quarantine are trending on TikTok. Children were presumably glad to be off school – until, that is, an app called DingTalk was introduced. Students are meant to sign in and join their class for online lessons; teachers use the app to set homework. Somehow the little brats worked out that if enough users gave the app a one-star review it would get booted off the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk’s rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4.”

They write songs:

Venezuela fire: Thousands of voting machines burned BBC

Trump Transition

Trump Floats Payroll Tax Cut After Market Plunged on Virus Fears Bloomberg

Melania Trump cancels fundraiser, cites scheduling conflict AP

Securities and Exchange Commission asks D.C. employees to work from home after coronavirus scare WaPo

ICE rigged its algorithms to keep immigrants in jail, claims lawsuit The Verge

New court documents explain reasoning behind JEDI stop-work order Federal News Network


Democrats and Their Media Allies Impugned Biden’s Cognitive Fitness. Now They Feign Outrage. The Intercept

Poll: Majority of Democratic voters say US economic system is unfair The Hill

Dallas County election officials asking for Super Tuesday recount KSAT. “Election officials discovered thumb drives containing ballots from 44 precincts.” Oh.

Long voter waits in Ann Arbor, East Lansing on eve of Michigan primary Detroit News. For college students. Of course.

The Desert Town That’s Home to U.S. Drones and People Smugglers Bloomberg

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew has ‘shut the door on Jeffrey Epstein probe despite very public offer to cooperate’, US Attorney claims Daily Mail

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Trial of Programmer Accused in C.I.A. Leak Ends in Hung Jury NYT

Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect. NBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Awkward Ambition of Elite British Private Schools Abroad Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Yanis Varoufakis: “Syriza Was a Bigger Blow to the Left Than Thatcher” Yanis Varoufakis, Jacobin

Corruption In U.S. Military Academies Is Harming Our National Security The American Conservative

The Cultural Problem of Cheating & Lying Consortium News

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. JM

    I wonder how long it will take before someone in authority is going to realise that touch screen voting machines and Covid-19 is not going to be a good combination?

    1. Carolinian

      Touch screens/touch pads are everywhere now. Perhaps instead of masks we should all start carrying a touch stylus or disposable gloves–assuming they aren’t sold out of course.

      1. shtove

        I discovered the past few days that supermarket touchscreens do not respond to my cycling gloves. Rather than take the gloves off, I called the assistant over. Now, I just bump with the back of my wrist, but what’s the point? Plus the mushroom section is constantly out of paper bags.

        George is getting angry!

        1. hunkerdown

          Do what the glove makers do. Get some conductive thread and build up a low 1/8″x1/8″ bump onto the tip of the finger.

      2. WhoaMolly

        Stylus sounds like a pretty good idea. I still have six or so lying around from the ‘early days’ when the first touch screens began to appear.

        Here’s one that gets good reviews. It also has a cap for covering the ‘dirty’ tip. The cheap ones do not have a cap. Cap sounds like a very good idea.

        1. bob

          A lot of pens these days have little black rubber things that look like erasers on them. They are for touch screens.

          Someone just informed me of this. I though they were crappy erasers, which wouldn’t even make sense for a pen. I’m slow.

          1. Carolinian

            For awhile Dollartree was selling those for a buck. And they worked. Haven’t been in there lately.

            You could grab a cap off some other used pen.

            Office supply stores doubtless sell them.

            1. bob

              A gotten quite a few passed to me as salesman swag. I’ve seen these 2 types .

              Black bulb toucher at the other end of a twist pen.

              The other is a click type pen that has the black thing at the pen end. If you click the pen back, you get a toucher.

              I can’t believe how long I’d been looking at them and not realized what they were.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “WHO Official Says Coronavirus Containment Remains Possible”

    (Starts to formulate a comment. Stops. Looks at headline again. Starts to type again. Stops. Shakes head and walks away while muttering and thinking dark thoughts involving a shovel, bags of lime and a roll of carpet.)

    1. Louis Fyne

      lost in the headlines over the weekend, new cases in South Korea have been decreasing and it looks like the worst is over.

      obvious caveat: the US isn’t South Korea.

      (imo) healthy adults are overreacting, American seniors and those w/compromised immunities are still too complacent.

      The media is in love w/footage of panicked Costco shoppers—presumably cuz there’s fewer footage of panic at Walmart as one needs money and room for a spare pantry to hunker.

      1. Sutter Cane

        I have friends in Italy. One works in a health clinic. Two weeks ago, they were telling me “This is overblown, people are freaking out for no reason. This is ridiculous.” I talked to them yesterday and they had both totally changed their tune, saying that they were now quite unnerved.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, the key point is that the Italian hospital system is falling apart. Despite making unprecedented efforts to separate Covid cases from the regular hospital operations, it seems likely that there will be a huge surge in mortality from other causes, simply because people can’t get treatment. This is precisely why it is vital to prevent the ‘ramp up’ in cases – its so the hospital system can cope. This is a pretty simple concept that the more advanced countries in Asia have grasped (possibly exempting the Japanese, who seem more concerned about the Olympics), but the US and Europe have not.

          The correct policy for most northern hemisphere countries seems clear – do everything possible – even if it means shutting down your economy – to stop a major ramp-up in cases in the next 2 months or so. If that’s possible, in most climates this should give breathing space to make preparations for another surge of cases come the winter.

          1. Biologist

            >The correct policy for most northern hemisphere countries seems clear – do everything possible – even if it means shutting down your economy – to stop a major ramp-up in cases in the next 2 months or so.

            Precisely. I do think it’s possible, even with the incompetent leaders we have, but acting now is critical.

            1. MLTPB

              It would seem shutting down is key, more so than testing.

              AEP of the Telegraph wrote about letting it run its course, and there were some who thought simliarly.

              Regarding Italy, Taiwan in the beginning of February, complained that it should not be included with China in Italy’s travel restrictions.

              It might have turned out to be a blessing in disguise, just like the kid with a horse. He broke his leg and was not able to fight, in the film, Wilson’s War.

              Looking at all the cases in Europe and here in the US, so many trace to people returning from Itay, directly, or indirectly.

              I think that had a lot to do with Taiwan’s Teaching the world how to fight it.

              And also likely why there have not been more ‘second strain’ cases in China – due to Italian travel restrictions on these places.

            1. MLTPB

              It seems reasonable that more testing would show more cases. The question is how much more testing…1,000,000 a day, 1,000 a day, for what size population, the current number of local transmission cases, etc.

              It could be that Japan does not have that many cases. It’s the optimist case.

          2. WhoaMolly

            We have cancelled family gatherings, and our yoga and pilates classes. I expect we will be doing long walks in the sun for the next 90 days. I will continue going to gym because my schedule is flexible. When I normally go, the place is empty. (I need to be more diligent of my wipe-down of equipment before handling weights, etc)

            We are continuing our monthly payments to the gym yoga and pilates studios, as a way to do our little bit to support the businesses so they might be there when we return.

            We are doing this for two reasons. One, to do our tiny bit to help ‘slow the spread’ and Two, we are both in the “kill zone” because of advanced age and prior health issues.

            1. WhoaMolly

              Without access to a gym or yoga class, home exercise habits suddenly become extremely important. In the past, forming a home exercise habit has been one of the hardest and least successful activities of all.

              Fortunately, Stanford scientists have discovered how to form new habits at will. It turns out the brain is wired to form new habits in one particular way.

              Stanford behavior lab has codified this process into three basic steps. I’ve tried their process and it works. My wife and I changed our previous habit of “morning coffee on the recliner” to “walking every morning at sunrise” painlessly and easily.

              I have zero willpower for this kind of thing, so this change still amazes me.

              The link:

          3. Stephanie

            Has anyone heard how hospitals in the region are handling births or what the recommendations are for those immanently expecting? A friend of a friend is expecting a baby in Seattle in the next week and I am wondering what will happen there. She has other health issues, so under normal circumstances a home birth would not be recommended. Now?

          4. Cuibono

            “This is precisely why it is vital to prevent the ‘ramp up’ in cases – its so the hospital system can cope. This is a pretty simple concept that the more advanced countries in Asia have grasped (possibly exempting the Japanese, who seem more concerned about the Olympics), but the US and Europe have not. ”

            I can tell you that many here are arguing against this approach in meetings I have been in the last 24 hours

            “Its too late for that” We are not S. Korea” “We are a free Society”. This from the mouths of doctors and public health officials

          5. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The correct policy for most northern hemisphere countries seems clear – do everything possible – even if it means shutting down your economy – to stop a major ramp-up in cases in the next 2 months or so.

            Flatten the curve. Which Korea (and China) have done successfully (and let us hope not temporarily). There is a lot to be said for 19th century methods like washing hands and social distancing (particularly, it seems, in enclosed spaces (and even moreso in enclosed spaces, which increase the distance the virus travels). Being alone in the hot sun on a breezy say seems like a good starting point!

            Cancelling political rallies

      2. Winston Smith

        One of the main weakness of the US approach to COVID-19 is the confusion that exists at the very top of the US govt and the spreading of that confusion into the general population. The president obviously “doesn’t get it” and seems only concerned about his reelection prospects. He sends out surrogates claiming that containment has been achieved. The backdrop is an array of experts who declare in clear concise language that containment is no longer on the table and that serious mitigation measures must be implemented to avoid overburdening the health care system-for those who can use it. Let’s not even talk about testing

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          What do you mean by mitigation measures? I may be missing something but I can’t see any measures being other than hit or miss without comprehensive broad testing. That has been a key feature of the S. Korean approach which seems to be working.

          1. Winston Smith

            Basically, it means that the virus is spreading through communities and that a strategy of detecting and isolating infected individuals is no longer sufficient. Mitigation can take the form of telecommuting, canceling large events, closing schools etc It certainly does not mean that comprehensive broad testing is no longer essential. However, the US does not yet have that testing capacity, according to experts.

            1. JTMcPhee

              The other mitigation is the stuff that the people staffing the horrific medical structure will be confronted with trying to do. The front-line nurses and doctors who, like the Italian doctor whose new reality was noted here yesterday, and the desperate caregivers he is working with. To try to do what they can, even as they themselves get the disease, to prolong the lives of the people who “enter the system,” both Covid and stroke, cardiac, broken bones, insulin crisis and all the rest.

              Unkind, but maybe if BoJo and Trump and Pence and Pelosi and Biden and the Clintons and Obama, can’t forget him, and Dimon and the rest get the disease? Might prove clarifying. Especially BoJo, who is apparently ok “just letting this thing work through the population. “

              Remember “The Masque of the Red Death.”

              And I’m 73, history of pneumonia, immune not so strong, and my wife is also in the most-likely group.

              1. xkeyscored

                Unkind? Next you’ll be saying soap, alcohol and hand sanitiser are unkind to viruses.
                Many of us’ll die smiling knowing that lot are with us for once.

              1. Cuibono

                He is wrong according to WHO :
                “As long as you have these discrete outbreaks … there is the opportunity to control them — to get on top of these and contain them and prevent a lot of disease and ultimately death,” says Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization. “That’s the big message we saw in China — and one of the big surprises.”

      3. Carolinian

        I’m told by a friend who visited Walmart this past weekend that they were out of everything virus related including bleach.

        1. Bill Carson

          I visited a local Walmart last Friday and took pictures of the empty toilet paper/paper towel aisle and the empty bleach section. If we could share photos here I would post it. To their credit, they did have some packages of TP left, but it was on a pallet in the main aisle and not on the shelf.

          1. Carolinian

            Of course out here in the heartland the first place people turn to is Walmart. The reason reports from up north talk about Costco is likely due to fewer Walmarts (none at all in NYC).

            I didn’t even bother with Walmart but did find some rubbing alcohol at Lidl.

            1. Old Jake

              The local Walmart seems to have an ample supply of rubbing alcohol, though the more expensive 91% is deeper on the shelf than is the 70%.

              But a friend has advised that we pick up sugar if we see it, as it’s disappearing fast. Albeit I use it for hummingbirds and not for human consumption.

        2. crittermom

          On a recent visit to a Walmart they were sold out of TP & hand sanitizer but at the pharmacy desk they had a display of original Listerine mouthwash stating it’s just as effective as sanitizers.

          A few blocks away the Safeway store had plenty of TP in stock. Go figure.

          Relieved to be once again living rurally in Colorado, continuing my years-old habit of stocking up & thereby shopping as little as possible. Happy to be a homebody!

          1. katiebird

            So good to see you Crittermom!! I missed you very much.

            I too have a shopping update. Aldi, which used to advertise as “Your stock up store” is doing a pretty good job. Lots of paper products: Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins no empty shelves. They have those disinfectant wipes. The only things we didn’t find were hand sanitizer and canned French cut green beans. We got frozen though.

    2. Biologist

      Did you read the article?

      The WHO official interviewed in the article is studying the Chinese response, to learn lessons for the rest of the world. His two main takeaways are:

      1) China has been very successful in reducing the number of new cases, both in Wuhan / Hubei province and the rest of the country.
      “The number of daily new cases in China went from around 2,000 just a few weeks ago to less than 100 in recent days.”

      2) Other countries are learning the wrong lesson from that success, by focussing on Wuhan (where extreme measures were needed) and missing the dozens of other major cities and provinces (comparable to e.g. large European countries) where an initial outbreak did not develop into a full-fledged epidemic, thanks to other, less extreme but equally crucial methods.

      From the article:

      “… other countries may be taking the wrong lesson from China by attributing its success to the government’s unprecedented restrictions on daily life in several cities, most famously Wuhan. There, the government has suspended transportation out of the city and for the most part required people to remain in their homes — with only brief forays permitted to stock up on food and other supplies.

      “China has 31 provinces, thousands of cities,” notes Aylward. “And it was only a few cities where they took those draconian measures. In the vast majority of them, they … really went back to fundamentals of public health.”

      These included ensuring that there was enough testing capacity to quickly identify cases, isolating infected patients, tracing anyone who had contact with them and, when necessary, placing those contacts in quarantine facilities so they wouldn’t get infected by the sick person or spread the disease further. Also, in places where clusters of cases were emerging, authorities prohibited mass gatherings.

      “That’s how they stopped it in the areas with over 1.3 billion people,” says Aylward. “We spent two weeks on the ground looking at the data. Every other province [beyond Hubei, where Wuhan is located] had hundreds, if not thousands, of cases, not unlike the situation you see in European countries or in the U.S. These are massive provinces with tens and even a hundred million people in them.”

      In short, Aylward says, “it wasn’t a lockdown everywhere. That’s the wrong way to portray China’s approach to the disease. And that’s leading to some fundamental confusion and failure to do the right things.”

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        direct from Beijing? To believe what the Chinese say about the response and what little we know of what really happened is stretching it rather a lot don’t you think? With honor and glory on the line, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to say that the cases are going down? Then consider it is the WHO repeating this. When have they been honest or forthcoming during this entire exercise?
        When asked to believe, run.

          1. urdsama

            Hardly. China has a very poor record of being open and honest when it comes to disease outbreaks. I don’t have the links handy, but after the SARs outbreak in the early 2000’s, later research showed the Chinese government had hid cases from international research teams. And even the early info coming out for COVID-19 were, to be kind, suspect.

            The WHO has also appeared more concerned about the economics of the current pandemic than the health threat.

            I think we need to be careful not to jump to racist based speculations, but we must also be open and frank about what is going on.

          2. witters

            It is, Olga. Its deep reflex it seem in the US. Perhaps a last reflex of an increasingly ludicrous exceptionalism (“Our Govt might lie, but there’s is the Biggest Liar of All Time!”).

            1. jonboinAR

              Dear Lord, it has nothing to do with anti-Chinese prejudice! People bash on the US government and other power centers all the time without being accused of anti-white racism. Governments, including ours, behave as the Chinese one is being accused of all the time, and get called out. Take it easy with the racial over-sensitivity.

        1. Biologist

          Well, of course the Chinese government (like many governments I would say) have an incentive to lie about the severity. But let’s run through the numbers, imagining nothing had been done to contain, and instead they had let the epidemic run loose (making some simplifying assumptions).

          I’m very simplisticly extrapolating form the beginning of the epidemic in China, when the number of cases increased from ca. 1000 to 10,000*. This took about one week (Jan 24-Jan 31). Assuming a) the virus doesn’t run out of new people to infect, and b) nothing is done to contain (either by people themselves or the state). In this case, the number of cases will increase exponentially, with factor of 10 every week. By now, 5.5 weeks later, we should hit 3 billion infections, with tens of millions dead.

          Obviously these are absurd numbers, which points to our assumptions being too simple. Let’s start with the first. Even if unmitigated, the virus will burn itself out and run out of people to infect simply because many people would die, or recover and become immune (though we actually don’t know that much about immunity), or because some simply wouldn’t be susceptible. However, this would likely happen at a stage after a massive fraction of the population has been infected. Though I’m no epidemiologist, my order-of-magnitude guess would be a substantial fraction, maybe 20-50% or so. That’s 260-650 million Chinese, which would correspond to millions dead.

          There is no evidence for such a high number of infected and fatalities, unless you think the Chinese government is almighty. I really do not believe they would be able to hide so many more cases. Do you have evidence for orders-of-magnitude more cases and fatalities than the 80k and 3k they currently report? I agree they have some incentive to downplay the numbers, and it may well be double, or triple that amount. But lying by three to four orders of magnitude? Could that really be hidden?

          * Data here:

          Hit the bottom right graph, toggle the Y axis to a logarithmic scale, and look at the orange line, depicting China.

          1. Bill Carson

            Don’t be silly. Numbers of the infected cannot increase exponentially ad infinitum. Otherwise, we’d all be making millions selling Amway.

            1. Biologist

              > Don’t be silly. Numbers of the infected cannot increase exponentially ad infinitum.

              That’s my point–they increase exponentially until they don’t, and the latter is because they’ve run out of susceptible hosts to infect, or because of mitigation measures (e.g. isolation).

        2. Bill Carson

          I agree with you, Brian. I don’t find the numbers coming out of China to be credible, and I am disregarding them. Neither do I trust the numbers out of Iran or the United States.

          1. Biologist

            So how many people do you think are infected in China? 1 billion? How does knowing those numbers affect your behaviour?

            In most countries we are at the start of an exponential increase in cases. In absence of a vaccine, only our behaviour (whether individual or imposed by governments) can postpone and spread out the case load towards numbers that our health care systems can cope with.

            If there is evidence for successful strategies, we should pay attention.

            1. Bill Carson

              I don’t know how many cases they have and I won’t speculate, but it should definitely be more than the 17,512 active cases presently showing on China’s numbers have barely moved in the past week. Are they simply successful in their efforts to contain the spread? They may be mostly successful, but I don’t believe they could possibly be this successful. It defies credulity.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Yeah I read the article but my comment stands. We had a whole goddamn month in the west to prepare for Coronavirus after watching what was happening in China and we blew it. Italy is a preview of what to expect and more. A whole country quarantined? Yeah, just like the flu! /sarc.

        There are countries that are trying to cover their infections up like Iran, Thailand and the Netherlands (apparently) and others trying to deny that it is happening by refusing to do wide-scale testing but that will not stop it coming. The damn thing spreads so fast! Containment is already in our rear vision mirror so whatever measures we undertake now-

          1. The Rev Kev

            Of course we should not give up. What we should be doing is what they are doing in places like South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong but our leaders refuse to. I sometimes think that the plan is what Boris Johnsone wants. Just let it run wild and get it over and done with. Those with money will be able to afford to avoid it or to have top quality medial healthcare if they do catch it. But the economy must be saved at whatever cost.

            1. Biologist


              People I’ve spoken to (UK, Europe) seem very complacent, comparing it to the flu, and any kind of realistic assessment of what needs to be done (at society level) is ridiculed for being panicky and damaging the economy. They even let football matches (with audience!) continue, ffs. Well, that’s where Italy was a couple of weeks ago.

              1. thoughtful person

                Yes, my doctor friends (*not* epidemiologists) insist “its like a bad flu” that “the flu is much worse, 32 million infections, 20,000 deaths in US alone” (as of 29 Feb in US per CDC)… when I try to suggest rates look actually worse with covid19 (Ro, fatality rate, and esp hospitalization rate) they say souces unreliable etc etc. Don’t panic don’t blow this out of proportion.

                Reality imho is that all these countries can’t all be lying. As in Italy a couple weeks ago vs today, and the reality will be hard to argue with. Even the countries that are most transparent and are actively testing as much as possible like S Korea have rates worse than flu.

                By putting our heads in the sand we increase the likelihood of worse outcomes.

              2. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, people seem unable to separate the need to be calm and realistic on a personal level (assuming you are healthy and under 70), and the need for urgent action on a societal level.

        1. Biologist

          >There are countries that are trying to cover their infections up like Iran, Thailand and the Netherlands (apparently)

          By the way, do you know more about Netherlands? People seem to be complacent but I don’t know much about coverups.

          1. epynonymous

            I was just about to complain that the Boston region is asleep.

            Some progress has been made though.


            Attendance estimates from 2016 were 600K to 1 million participants.

            However, private conventions and events are still being planned. In fact, the AnimeBoston facebook group has decided to lock all posts attempting to discuss the coronavirus. Almost 30K persons attend.

            The convention organizers are still claiming it will be on as scheduled from april 10-12.

      3. Brooklin Bridge

        The key seems to be extensive testing, appropriate isolation and tracking (also, I note from the article, “Corona Virus can travel twice as far…”, that face masks work and are encouraged throughout China). That doesn’t, however, exclude lock-downs when appropriate, it simply puts a better perspective on it as a measure of last resort.

        The word, lock-down, seems to be the new, gasp, “socialism.”

        Regardless, the problem we are facing in the US is that we still don’t know what the extent of the spread is nor the geography of it, nor are we willing to extend the resources necessary to deal with it (such as mfg. face masks), which is exactly the sort of weakness that can allow massive contagieon and overwhelming of medical facilites. If we keep this ignorance is bliss (and good for re-election) up we are more likely than not to have cities or areas where avoiding lock-downs is worse than not and could promote persistent and un-managable spread of the disease.

        1. Wukchumni

          Yeah, it looks bad, but think of all the money ‘Shut-Influencers’ will make online, sharing tales of being under voluntary house arrest.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          Here is a taste of things to come from the commentariat of Dr. John Campbell (Tuesday March 10):

          I’m in the US and I just had a horrible experience with my son. On Sunday, March 1st, he got a cough. Monday, March 2nd, got a fever. I took him to the doctor that day. Flu tests and strep tests were negative. They sent us home with nothing. He spent the next 4 days with fever reaching as high as 104. I took him back to the Dr Friday, March 6th. They flu tested him again, tested for strep again, but all was negative. They finally sent us to the ER where he was X-ray’d and tested AGAIN for flu and strep. It wasn’t until then they discovered his pneumonia. Gave him a broad spectrum antibiotic and sent us home. He was sick for an entire week before anyone thought to check his lungs…coughing so hard he would vomit. I asked for him to be tested and was told no because it “isn’t in our area yet.” I tried 3 different places. The pure arrogance and negligence of our system here is going to be very, very bad. There is a stigma of sort surrounding testing. They make you feel like an idiot for asking about it, even when you have a child as sick as mine.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Note, I can no longer find this comment on Dr. Campbell’s site for today. Possibly I got it mixed up with a different session.

          2. Old Jake

            At that point is it irrelevant whether the kid had Covid19 or not, the treatment is symptomatic: likely inhaled steroids for inflammation, nebulizer delivered levalbuterol if there is small airway obstruction, blood gas testing and pulmonary (lung) function testing. If testing shows issues then possible oxygen or even intubation depending on gas exchange capabilities (by this time he’s in the ICU), active suctioning of mucus buildup in lungs, possibly prophylactic antibiotics or else periodic culturing to watch for bacterial invasion which is common when viruses affect the pulmonary tissues.

            Can you tell my wife is a retired respiratory therapist? A little knowledge can be dangerous but at least we know enough to engage a pulmonary specialist when breathing-related issues arise.

      4. Cuibono

        I can tell you from a friend in A major Chinese city : He is allowed out of his apartment once a week with a pass. Going in and out fever checks are mandatory

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        > really went back to fundamentals of public health.”

        That is the key sentence. That may still be possible for us. It may be that the testing SNAFU made it impossible to implement social distancing in time.

    3. D. Fuller

      I think people are looking at bureacrat’s – The Administration’s – response the wrong way. Look at it like a business – since these are the people who are running the government.

      Mask of the Read Death, by Edgar Allen Poe, is what the Administration’s response reminds me of. The wealthiest locked themselves away to party while Death remained outside.

      1. Covid-19 is not a money-maker. There is no product to sell. To spend money when no money is to be made? Does not make any sense to a business person. Add to that, that they are already losing money on their stock portfolios, etc.

      2. The political dimension. The corporate Democrats are pushing Biden. Trump and his Administration expect an easy win in November. Despite any deaths. Coronavirus fears may persist well into next year. Driving down voter turn-out.

      3. The wealthy business person will have access to medical care. The NIMBY crowd of wealthy people are expecting to receive their medical care. They will probably be put to the front of the line – their chances of survival will be much greater. Wait, some bankers have already had their testing. They already are at the front of the line.

      Cost-benefit analysis – taking into account losses already – says to let Covid-19 run its course (see 1. and Boris Johnson’s statements in England as to what to expect from this Administration). The poor will bear the brunt of the costs and deaths (see 2.). The poor will probably bear the costs of the recovery, also. Just like after the GFC from 2009 on.

      The Administrations response is what it is today. Expect that to continue, with minimal efforts being made to put forth the appearance of doing something. Also, Congress and The Administration cooperating on a $300 billion “health” package? That’s just more gravy in the pockets of corporations. Treat any spending by Congress as another bailout of the wealthiest.

      Also? The aftermath – as in a recovery – will be a business opportunity for those in position, with access to the powerful and rules-makers. Disaster Capitalism at its finest.

      In America, your life is only as valuable as the amount of money you have and can spend. The more wealth you have? The more money you can spend? You are worth more in our society than people who can not. If one is poor in our society? Consider them throwaways.

      We are all equal. Some are more equal than others. Don’t forget, “one death is a tragedy. A million? A statistic.”

  3. pretzelattack

    i do hope that those detroit residents who have had their water temporarily turned back on aren’t in moral hazard.

  4. SubjectivObject

    Corona virus and who pays;
    Karl Denninger makes the point that any emergency funding for coronavirus testing is at taxpayer expense, and which begs the question as to why then testing is not free?
    What say Bernie?
    [I interpret Trump has not yet been told what he should say about it]

    1. Scott D

      Karl is on fire this morning. If financialization hadn’t ramped up the cost of basics like housing and healthcare relative to wages, perhaps people could stay home and heal or watch their kids, but if it’s that or eviction, working is the answer.

      My friend brags about how much his house has appreciated, then in the next sentence complains about how his 2 kids pushing 30 are still living off of him.

      1. Monty

        You know it’s a real crisis when you start finding Karl’s “Tea Party” blog interesting. Has he changed much since 2008?

          1. Wukchumni

            I always reckoned Denninger & Alex Jones would probably spontaneously combust at some point.

            Both are wound tighter than a two bit watch…

            1. Massinissa

              The difference between the two is that for Alex Jones its just a persona he plays on tv.

              1. Tim

                We owned the same car and chatted on message boards about mods. He authetically intense 24/7 in his online persona and how he runs his personal life.
                I respect him even if I don’t agree with him 100%.

                It is ironic that both the left and libertarians hate neoliberalism. Is that intersectionality?

                1. Wukchumni

                  I wonder if that car was the one Alex Jones got nailed for a DUI this morning, while driving?

      1. jashley

        We are facing a public health crisis: We MUST

        cancel any event larger than 500 people.

        Pay hourly people to stay home in the hardest hit areas.
        Call out Nat. Guard/HomelandSec anything Fed/state to do the following:
        setup mobile testing sites around all large areas
        setup ICU units around the large cities.
        triage to relieve hospitals of the surge of infected.

        Implement travel bans from outside the country.
        urge people to stay home no matter sick or not.

        The items detailed in Sanders above are as useless as Trumps.
        You don’t have time to haggle with Dims to get bills passed.


      2. Katniss Everdeen

        What say Bernie?

        Same thing he’s always been saying.

        What say uncle joe?

        Who the hell can tell.

    2. judy2shoes

      What say Bernie?

      At Bernie’s round-table discussion on coronavirus yesterday, he brought this up and said all testing should be done for free (short version). At the end of the panel discussion, it was opened up to questions reporters in the audience. Predictably, one of the questions was “how you gonna pay for it?” Starts at about 44:53 into the video. The whole thing is worth the time, IMO, but the answer to the question made me clap and yell.

      1. judy2shoes

        Adding, WA State has decided to err on the side of incaution in terms of personal-protective equipment for front-line medical personnel dealing with COVID-19:

        I asked a friend and neighbor (who is a nurse practitioner) what she thought about the new guidelines, and she stated unequivocally that she would not work in infectious conditions without the highest level of protection. The head of the nurses’ organization who was on the panel yesterday told a few horror stories, like nurses in hospitals regularly having to get PPE from locked cabinets because administrators were more concerned about dollars than lives.

        1. flora

          Where is most of the ppe made? China? Is China keeping most of what they make for themselves to combat the virus there? ( China now makes almost 90% of our medicines or pharma precursors. What if they decide to now keep most of what they make to combat the virus there, instead of selling it to other countries? )

          One question about WA state or any that decides to ignore CDC guidelines: was the decision made because the devices and medicines aren’t available in the amounts needed to follow the CDC guidelines?

          1. Wukchumni

            When France fell to the Nazis, the UK was cut off from importing wristwatches from Switzerland, so they had to come up with a plan B and make em’ themselves.

            I’d guess it’s one hellova lot easier making stupid n95 masks, that we are incapable of doing presently.

          2. judy2shoes

            Good questions. I read a day or so ago that India was not exporting masks for the reason you outline. China is one of our big suppliers, too, I believe, so it’s highly likely their production is down and perhaps they are retaining their supply for themselves like India.

            As for lack of ppe in WA, I posted a link a few days ago detailing how our medical system has been severely strained because of an outbreak of hepatitis providers had been struggling to contain. Calls to the governor’s office and the Dept. of health for more funding were apparently answered by crickets. Cutting the funding for public health has been going on for a while, but I’m not sure just how long. I don’t know how much of the problem stems from defunding (meaning supplies likely not sufficient for double whammy), hoarding by citizens, import constraints, or all three.

        2. m

          It is not dollars, there is a lack of supply. Regular people buying masks and having everything made in China.

          Also health workers that may have it being denied tests by CDC, yet banksters where somehow tested per the papers

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > nurses in hospitals regularly having to get PPE from locked cabinets because administrators were more concerned about dollars than lives.

          PPE = Personal Protective Equipment:

          Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

          Right, because the workers are going to take home a full body suit to clean the kitchen.

          On the other hand, private equity gets a smidge more on its bottom line. So all things work together for good.

      2. Phil in KC

        To make it shorter, I’d just say, “it gets paid for the same way we’ve paid for the Asian wars of the last two decades. Next question.”

  5. QuarterBack

    Re Biden’s “cognitive health” drama (and the 2020 cycle) I feel like I’m watching a prequel to “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, except maybe the apostrophe is misplaced: “The Emperors’ New Clothes”.

    1. Oh

      Yes, we’ve had a long line of naked emperors perceived by many to be wearing tuxedos, starting with Reagan.

      1. polecat

        If we’re going to compare empiric poohbas, less threads .. starting with 20th Century ’emperors, then I’d begin with Wilson.

        1. JTMcPhee

          They’re all bad, bad news. Why do anything other than excoriate the whole bunch of bastards that somehow have brought out the worst in way too many of us.

          Why’s it seem that this is the best our species can manage?

    2. antidlc

      If Joe Biden Wins The Nomination But Suffers Cognitive Decline, The DNC Could Get Their Coronation Afterall

      Consider how the Democrats fill vacancies on their tickets:

      “Filling a Vacancy on the National Ticket: In the event of death, resignation or disability of a nominee of the Party for President or Vice President after the adjournment of the National Convention, the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall confer with the Democratic leadership of the United States Congress and the Democratic Governors Association and shall report to the Democratic National Committee, which is authorized to fill the vacancy or vacancies.”

      So, to be clear, the vacancy would be decided by Tom Perez (a 2016 Clinton superdelegate), Steny Hoyer (a 2016 Clinton superdelegate), Jim Clyburn (a 2016 Clinton superdelegate), Chuck Schumer (a 2016 Clinton superdelegate), Dick Durbin (a 2016 Clinton superdelegate), and the DGA will decide on their own who will be our Democratic nominee.

      Is this true?

      1. Another Rev

        In 1972, George McGovern’s running mate, Sen Tom Eagleton, left the ticket after his psychiatric treatments were disclosed. McGovern chose Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver as his replacement, which was formally approved at a special session of the DNC. The Eagleton fiasco ended what little chance McGovern had of winning. In any case, it seems the same procedure for replacing someone on the national ticket is still in place.

      2. Matthew

        Lol. I so hope they do this. The only advantage Biden has is that he isn’t as widely despised as Hillary Clinton, who has spent the last four years not even bothering to hide what an awful person she is.

        1. JTMcPhee

          She called millions of people like me “deplorable.”

          Why do we not get smart and call her what she and all the trash that surrounds her what they are”


          I don;t know, would that be hashtaggable, as in #despicables?

      1. QuarterBack

        My plural possessive reference refers to our governance choices for some time now, with an increasing number of candidates, and their staffs, being seemingly divorced from reality. It’s also not limited to politicians. I can’t put my finger on a cause, but in my observation, the Federal government has had a growing bull market for delusion and incompetence since at least 2006.

        1. skk

          Thanks. I get it now. I quite agree. Institution after US institution associated with technology and science show up as incompetent and/or corrupt – wayy back , UL and NIST over 9/11, the NHTSA over Tesla until very recently, FAA over Boeing, NOAA over Trump’s sharpie line, FDA over pharma bias and now the CDC over COVID-19.

          This is quite separate from the multiple transgressions of various financial regulators.

          Its quite awful.

    3. KFritz

      Does anyone else think that the Democratic establishment is going to elbow Biden aside at an opportune moment and nominate whom-they-damn-well-please (in a ‘brokered’ convention) to run against Trump, after having made sure that it won’t be Bernie Sanders? Given that they’ve absolutely made sure that ‘it won’t be Bernie,” it would actually be immoral to allow a senile person to run against Trump, let alone be elected and assume office. The next few months will be very interesting–and does anyone else think that a consensus, compromise candidate might wind up to be Hillary Clindon? Please don’t faint if this happens.

      1. hunkerdown

        Of course they’ll swap Biden out like any other broken part somewhere along the way, preferably (in their eyes) after the voters have had their say, because they’re a private corporation and they can do whatever they want (effectively).

        I do wonder about those pushing the HRC redux CT, as if she were still not uniquely bad after 4 years and would not trigger the very same flight to Trump (again) as in 2016. Who even wins under that scenario? As much as I would like to see HRH HDR lose again and again and be seen experiencing that tragic loss, along with the rest of her little machine… there are other things that need to be dealt with out in the great yonder and the blue lady dotard adds nothing to the experience or trajectory that the blue lord dotard won’t provide. In other words, Clinton World is going into the light and Obama World is being born, and attachment to the personalities of the past won’t bring the old days back.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Pay Close Attention to South Korea’s Apparent Success Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo. “[T]heir model is one that should be adaptable to the US, at least from a technological and civil liberties perspective.” But no mention of single payer, which South Korea has Heaven forfend!

    I’d add another element to South Koreas approach – SK has kept very close control of its social media giants – in fact, it deliberately fostered domestic competitors to Google and FB, etc, with very significant success (Naver, Daum, etc). I’m not sure the details, but its clear that the government has been working very closely with those companies to very rapidly and accurately track the movement of infections. While this has very obvious implications for civil liberties and freedom, at least they are open about it, and at least it seems that the domestic social media companies are firmly in the control of the government, and not vice versa.

    1. xkeyscored

      I’m sure the USA, what with its NSA, FBI, Google, Facebook, etc etc, is perfectly capable of tracking most of its citizens. It’s a question of what you term ‘civil liberties’, or how much they want to let on about their surveillance abilities.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The “civil liberties” argument is a howler, let’s be clear: they know who you are, how old you are, where you live, what car you drive, what you like to eat, what you buy, whether you have diabetes, and everything you wrote in a email or Tweet or text message. Then there’s the fiction of the FISA Court, they go to this rubber stamp kangaroo process and are never denied access, and access means they can also spy on anyone the target contacts. One FISA approval ended up with more than 25,000 people being surveilled.

        Barn/close door/horse already gone

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for 30 minutes, Chinese study finds”

    That can’t be right. According to New York’s City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city’s “disease detectives” have found that the Coronavirus does not linger for long periods of time on surfaces like metal subway poles or seats, they said. “It’s only a matter of minutes before the disease dies in the open air,” Mr. de Blasio said. “This is a disease that requires a very direct level of contact.”

    So who are you going to believe? A commie or a capitalist?

    1. Dan

      I don’t believe either of them outright. I gather what information I can and follow my own intuition.

      1. MLTPB

        Here, framing it as a choice between a commie or a reactionary capitalist pig diverts attention, mine for sure, maybe not others’.

        Upon recovery, I recall, if correctly, also reports of longer than 14 day incubation period.

        Have we reached a definitive, non political answer to that?

    2. Darius

      Subway poles are covered in skin oils. It seems fairly likely the virus would survive longer in that medium.

    3. Expat2uruguay

      Note: The study at the centre of this article on the transmission of the coronavirus was retracted on Tuesday by the journal Practical Preventive Medicine without giving a reason. The South China Morning Post has reached out to the paper’s authors and will update the article.

      This disclaimer is at the top of the actual article

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the Coronavirus does not linger for long periods of time on surfaces like metal subway poles or seats, they said. “It’s only a matter of minutes before the disease dies in the open air,” Mr. de Blasio said. “This is a disease that requires a very direct level of contact.”

      I don’t think the use cases are the same. The “use case” (as it were) is an air conditioned bus. There is a handy seat map in the article, and it shows how which passengers in which seat were infected by the original suffererer, and the distance is greater than usual.

      It is completely plausible to me, having done my share of long-distance bus travel, that the virus would travel farther in an enclosed space like a bus, borne along by the moving air from the air conditioning — or by the blowers pointed at one’s face! (It’s also plausible to me that aerosols would travel farther.)

      In the generic case, I believe De Blasio is correct; we seem to have reasonably good data for survival on metal surfaces. But an enclosed, air conditoned environment — especially one where people sit for a long time, unlike the subway — is a different use case.

      So I think the cases are different; it’s not a case of “who are you gonna believe.”

  8. Carla

    Bernie and Joe need to cancel live political rallies NOW. They both have rallies scheduled in Cleveland for tonight.

    Last night, the first three Ohioans tested positive for Covid-19, all of them in Cuyahoga County, which encompasses Cleveland. Of course, testing only started in Ohio a couple of days ago, so there are undoubtedly many, many more cases. To bring thousands together in indoor auditoriums is just madness.

    C’mon, Bernie and Joe, be the grown-ups in the national room, and CANCEL live rallies for the foreseeable future NOW.

    1. katiebird

      I agree. I have been looking forward to seeing Sanders for years but, when he announced a visit to KC (since cancelled) last week I decided not to go. A huge theater filled with people from all over the region? Adding in campaign staff from all over the country.

      What a terrible idea.

    2. farragut

      I think we should be prepared for some combination of Trump, Sanders &/or Biden (and potentially some elders in Congress) succumbing to Covid-19. Then what?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Celebrations, for most of that set? But hey, if Trump and Pence go, Nancy and her clacque will finally have their VICTORY! Recalling the corpdems’ Grand Impeachment Strategy ™ that she told me about in all those fundraising emails she sends me…

    3. campbeln

      Butbutbut… that’s how they’ll get Bernie off the campaign trail!?!

      (Please, god, let this be a joke and not prophetic…)

    4. Carla

      I am relieved to report that Bernie and Joe both did the right thing and cancelled their Cleveland rallies at about 4:30 p.m. today.

      Sincere thanks to both campaigns.

  9. PlutoniumKun


    A question here for those with more biology than me:

    I’ve heard from two moderately reliable sources (but not linked to any peer reviewed papers), that some authorities, especially in Japan, have become convinced that the virus finds it much easier to penetrate to the upper respiratory tract if the mucus membranes are dry. This implies that you should stay in as moist an atmosphere as possible and focus on staying very well hydrated.

    Is this credible?

    1. KLG

      I’m sure Titus will jump on me because I am not a virologist (but I can read and I have published in virology journals with a colleague). Short answer is yes, maybe. The epithelial cells in our respiratory tract are coated with a covalently attached layer of complex carbohydrates that are highly hydrated. This may (tend to) prevent the protein in the virus membrane from gaining access and binding to its protein partner (not receptor; we do not have receptors for pathogens!) in the plasma membrane of host (us!) cells. Good hydration may also keep the cells that produce mucus happy, and the more mucus, the more “stuff” to sequester virus particles. But viruses are small and cunning little things…Still, this may help at the margin. The dose makes the poison, so to speak, so every little bit might help.

      1. xkeyscored

        True in a technical way, we don’t have receptors for pathogens. But it does seem almost certain that SARS-CoV-2 hijacks the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for its own nefarious purposes – getting in. So it’s not too inaccurate to call it the virus’s receptor.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The epithelial cells in our respiratory tract are coated with a covalently attached layer of complex carbohydrates that are highly hydrated. This may (tend to) prevent the protein in the virus membrane from gaining access and binding to its protein partner (not receptor; we do not have receptors for pathogens!) in the plasma membrane of host (us!) cells. Good hydration may also keep the cells that produce mucus happy, and the more mucus, the more “stuff” to sequester virus particles. But viruses are small and cunning little things…Still, this may help at the margin.

        Shorter: We have snot for good reason.

    2. Lee

      FWIW, I’ve heard this in reference to rhinoviruses. There is a paper on the topic, which from a quick look seems to indicate that this is the case. Whether or not it’s applicable to Covid-19, I have no idea.

      From A Decrease in Temperature and Humidity Precedes Human Rhinovirus Infections in a Cold Climate

      A sudden decrease in temperature and humidity could be related to altered airways function, increasing the susceptibility to viral agents. For example, inhaling larger volumes of air with low AH while exercising dries the mucosal membrane [12]. This can even lead to epithelial damage, depress ciliary movement in the respiratory tract [13] and increase the susceptibility to infections. Even cooling of the body surface could elicit a reflex of vasoconstriction in the nose and upper airways, inhibit the respiratory defense and convert an asymptomatic subclinical viral infection into a symptomatic clinical infection [15]

      1. JTMcPhee

        Old people shoveling snow, frigid dry air. Not the best activity, aside from virus attack. Help your older neighbor.

      2. xkeyscored

        Most days, I go from a fairly high temperature – 30-35, 41 today – into 25 at work with the damned air-con. And I feel the shock in my nostrils and airways. Is this likely to be what the article’s on about?

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’d say yes, and air conditioned buildings often have little turnover of fresh air, so pathogens can hang around longer. Recall the steps needed for an isolation unit include negative air pressure with the pathogen-carrying air discharged “ outside, away from people, wherever “away” is any more.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Yes, this sounds like a very good reason to avoid (the laughingly named) air conditioning. There is also the additional issue of how often the filters are changed.

    3. MT_Bill

      Can’t answer about lung membrane permeability, but have read numerous published studies on how the influenza virus breaks down more rapidly and is less infectious in moist air.

      Staying hydrated is always good.

    4. Ignacio

      It is more than credible, take it for granted. That is why summer is low season for infectious respiratory diseases. Then, i think in summer only the most severe cases will manifest if this virus persists. Because it is more difficult for them to infect the upper respiratory tract infections could occur only in the lower tract that could be more severe though less frequent. In summer Covid-19 could resemble SARS more than in winter, for the good and for the bad.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        The Italians have reported that the killer is bilateral Interstitial pneumonia & I reckon at 0.3 microns it would be difficult to stop the virus getting down & dirty in the lungs, but I would have thought that being well hydrated is a good idea anyhow & perhaps it might help enough to at least lessen the impact.

        Dehydration from too much booze is probably not a very good idea, even just immune system wise – relieved Paddy’s Day has been cancelled.

    5. xkeyscored

      Is this credible?

      From what I can make of it, and as commenters above have noted, yes it is credible, if not more likely than not.
      I was a bit confused earlier about the effects of humidity on the virus. From what I think I’ve since figured out, low humidity helps it infect us, but higher humidity helps it survive on surfaces etc..

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Humidity here in Northern Ireland is running at around 72%, yesterday it was 96.

      2. Expat2Uruguay

        That’s odd, I thought I had read that high humidity also makes it die quicker on surfaces.

        1. xkeyscored

          Research results are a bit messy, and mostly based on other coronaviruses (who wants to spray this one around and leave it there for a week?). No-one seems to have checked out 90%+ humidity like in Northern Ireland.

          Reviewing the literature on all available human and veterinary viruses within this [coronavirus] family, encompassing 22 studies, researchers have found that the human pathogens can persist on surfaces and remain infectious at room temperature for up to nine days.
          “Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan,” says physician Günter Kampf at the Greifswald University Hospital.

          In addition it was shown at room temperature that HCoV-229E [a coronavirus] persists better at 50% compared to 30% relative humidity.

          The influence of humidity on persistence has been described inconsistently [but this is for various non-coronaviruses]. For entero- [32] and rhinovirus [33], high humidity was associated with longer persistence. HSV [34] and HAV [35] can persist longer at low humidity. For adeno- [32,34], rota- [36,37], and poliovirus [34,35], conflicting results were reported.
          For most viruses, such as astro- [38], adeno- [34], poliovirus [34], HSV [34], and HAV [35], low temperature is associated with a longer persistence.
          Inconsistent results are also reported for the influence of type of material.

          1. Synoia

            “Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan”

            Low temperature and high humidity is the definition of a Winter’s day in the UK.

            A strong NE wind at 40 deg F on a open field in December for a game of Rugby was considered just the best experience for making Men from Boys at my school.

  10. Watt4Bob

    IMHO, all three of the articles under the Class Warfare heading are today’s must reads.

    From the Consortium News article;

    Therefore, one should not be surprised that a good part of Donald Trump’s “base” is a reactionary force in this war: white, racist and culturally traditionalist. As to the last of these positions, many of Trump’s backers are religious ideologues who wage a societal war against same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ civil rights protections. These are the same “Godly” folks who think evolution is wrong and science a suspect anti-religious enterprise. Simultaneously, they turn a blind eye to Trump’s criminal inclinations. They will support him because they think he is a tool, albeit a lying and cheating one, in some genocidal divine plan.

    There is a unfortunate vein of right-wing populist will that tends toward ‘eliminating’ what they see as our country’s problems.

    The one thing I never thought I’d see coming from an American president is encouragement of that terrible notion.

    Which brings to mind Mark 7:21;

    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

    1. Geo

      “The one thing I never thought I’d see coming from an American president is encouragement of that terrible notion.”

      Bush Jr: “God told me to invade Iraq”

      Reagan: believer in imminent end times prophecies

      Eliminationist beliefs are as American as apple pie. A large portion of our society is driven by the pious notion that they will not just be the victorious “chosen ones” within their lifetime, but that they will have front row seats looking down on the torment and persecution of all is heathens for eternity. And many of them would be (and are) perfectly fine doing “the Lord’s work” enacting that divine justice themselves.

      I have a book in my collection from 1856 that was written for Slave owners to teach their slaves the Bible and all chapters focus on how this is their (slaves) lot in life for sin. Much of the oppression of women in history is justified due to “original sin” justifications.

  11. Brooklin Bridge

    Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for 30 minutes, Chinese study finds

    “The researchers also found that none of those passengers in the two buses who wore face masks were infected.

    They said it vindicated the decision to ask people to wear a face mask in public.” [E.M.]

    The above article took place on a bus where one passanger infected several others over a 4 hour trip several rows apart. Not only that, another passanger got on board after the carrier got off and still got infected (droplets floating in air). Researches were able to study this due to the fact that cameras are installed in all buses [ugg] and thus the trip was recorded.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        It offends the western state of mind, probably the eastern one as well, but comes in awfully handy in the event of a pandemic.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Years ago I was reading how in the US, not only do some buses have video cameras but that they also have active microphones. They keep on shrinking that private space, don’t they?

      2. petal

        Our local buses had cameras installed recently because drivers kept getting threatened and nearly beat up by riders.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The guidance on mask use is contradictory. Close reading of some of the recommendations suggests to me the real concern is that there are not enough masks to go around and healthcare workers and those caring for the sick at home have a far greater need for the masks. Either way — in the U.S. — we should follow the guidance on masks offered by our health agencies. If they do not help people without the infection or they help but must remain available for care providers it makes sense to leave face masks for those who most need them.

      After the Corona flu has run its course I believe many questions should be raised again and care taken to document and act on lessons learned. The Corona flu is not the first nor will it be the last infectious disease we must better prepare for.

      1. Bill Carson

        We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t ramp up US mask production to 1billion per day. How the mighty have fallen.

          1. Bill Carson

            Yes, I know that we don’t produce the masks anymore, but there has to be some manufacturer of medical equipment who is capable of manufacturing n95 masks. How hard can it be? It’s a piece of fabric with an elastic string to go around your ears.

            How are we suddenly able to produce a million specific test kits? That, to me, seems like a much harder task than masks.

            1. flora

              Neoliberal market worship bites the govt …

              Interesting comments from CDC Director Robert Redfield:

              “I guess I anticipated the private sector would have engaged and helped develop for the clinical side … I can tell you, having lived through the last eight weeks, I would have loved the private sector to be fully engaged.”


              Govt needs to act like a govt again, instead of like Wall St.’s hand maiden. imo.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            That’s quite a good article, excoriating the powers that be for not taking this high potential risk into account (all for money of course since just in time supply is an MBA’s must).

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            I would like to extend the right hand of good fellowship to all neoliberals, of both parties, who moved our manufacturing to China, thereby making it impossible for us to respond to a pandemic originating in China. Gives new meaning to IBGYBG. Well done, all.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I agree that health care workers (doctors, nurses, etc.,) should have priority, and that we should avoid face masks to help out with that. I simply reported what the article said – none of the people with masks on the bus got the disease, even those closer to the carrier than those who did get catch it.

        I’m also saying, however, that we might not be judged too unpatriotic or irresponsible if we were to feel that mass availability of face masks, as well as safe available testing for whether or not we have it, should be possible in a country of our size and capacity. Nor would it be, I hope, too selfish to suspect that based on China’s experience, it could be a valuable tool, added to the others for cumulative effect, if everyone wore them to reduce case loads and thus lessen the agony and risk our doctors and nurses have to face.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I do not disagree with either point you made. If face masks were only effective at blocking the exhalation of the flu virus contagion — what is so very different about the filtering mechanism for exhalation versus inhalation? Reading “Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu” [p. 31]
          “Some N95 filtering facepiece respirators have exhalation valves placed
          near the mouth of the wearer. Exhalation valves bypass the filter media and
          significantly reduce the effort required to exhale and also increase the
          wearer’s comfort as there is less heat and moisture buildup. A disadvantage
          of this configuration is that if a nonsymptomatic, but infectious wearer is
          exhaling a virus or other pathogen, the virus or pathogen may bypass the
          filter, be emitted to the outside environment, and possibly infect individuals in the immediate vicinity (CDC, 2003).” [“Reusability of Facemasks During an Influenza Pandemic: Facing the Flu”, Institute of Medicine 2006, p. 31] []
          This was the only difference I found between the filtering mechanism for exhalation versus inhalation.

          This excerpt was suggestive: “With adequate time and planning, stockpiling or ramping up production, or both, would ensure that there would be enough respirators or medical masks for all those who may need them, but with limited resources and time, supplies are likely to be insufficient.” [p. 57]

          Filtering masks — like surgical masks and N95 filters — as assessed using standard testing techniques are not 100% effective at filtering contaminant particles or contagion. “It is hypothesized that most of the contaminants enter through faceseal leakage rather than filter penetration.”
          However — I suspect a powered air-purifying respirator [described on p. 27] built-in to bus or hospital or similar settings might eliminate or greatly reduce the possibility of contagion by aerosols. Perhaps air filtration systems should be enhanced and modified to incorporate better air filtering mechanisms.

          [This is one of many reports available from the National Academies Press discussing pandemics — and the only one I’ve examined. There are of course later reports. It might be interesting to compare the findings and recommendations with reports at various points in time.]

  12. Richard H Caldwell

    “What Do We Do When the Coronavirus Bankrupts the Health Insurance Industry?” — great headline, interesting premise to consider, but very thin gruel on the back end.

    My take would be, never let a crisis go to waste, which I imagine would also be in the playbook of healthcare industry players. So it could go either way, though more likely ending in nice gifts to C-level teams and shareholders for valour and service to the throne.

    1. Monty

      Luckily for the insurers, they cant pay for more ICU care once the hospitals are full to capacity. You’ll have to tough it out at home, at no cost to them.

      Last I checked they don’t cover funeral costs, and has anyone checked their Bronze Plan’s small print for “Pandemic or Act of God clauses”?.

      “What Do We Do When the Coronavirus Bankrupts the Health Insurance Industry?”
      I picture that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi where the Ewoks are all dancing and having a big party with fireworks. How about you?

    2. Susan the other

      Clinics and hospitals could go bankrupt first – which would be better for M4A moving into the vacuum when insurance companies simply stop paying. What better proof does society need than seeing them for what they are. It will certainly be difficult to reward the “health insurers” for failing to insure anyone and everyone – and also for causing hospitals to go flat-out bankrupt. Under their rules of operation, the insurers, must first guarantee shareholder value, right? This is gonna be good.

      1. Susan the other

        Just to help them out, when states declare a state of emergency they get federal funding for all of the services they must provide (act of god stuff; logistics); but that doesn’t do anything to help out health care insurance companies because… capitalism. funny funny funny

  13. Louis Fyne

    anecdote about traveling…

    Yes, Korea has single-payer. family friend (American) visited Korea. Got a stroke over there but did not have travel insurance and Medicare does not cover outside-US travel. His condition post-ER did not allow him to travel so he had to pay out of pocket $$$$$$$ to continue care.

    Moral of the story, if you’re over a certain age, get travel health insurance with a repatriation benefit.

    Don’t be expected to be treated like a citizen of a host country’s health care system when you aren’t.

    1. Clive

      This should be a “pinned tweet” level of advice for any traveller.

      I’ve had during my time at my TBTF more sob stories cross my desk than I’ve had hot dinners featuring people who travelled with either no insurance or were underinsured and had medical problems. Sometimes they assumed reciprocal arrangements meant they didn’t need to do anything (not true — you can still face significant out-of-pocket expenses which you won’t be familiar with if your home country has a Single Payer or a free at point of delivery system). Sometimes they simply took a risk.

      I usually get involved because there may be contingent liability rights under U.K. legislation where a card payment is involved in some way. These are almost invariably straws being clutched at by desperate family members looking at £50-100,000 losses due to — as you say Louis — trying to arrange for medical repatriation. But sometimes they’ve merely has a minor RTA in a high-cost high-civil-liability country like the US and the hospital is literally threatening to throw them out on the street in their hospital gown.

      And, with things like COVID-19 (not that it’s just that) you absolutely must declare everything relevant to your insurance cover to your travel insurance carrier, no matter how trivial or routine. If you’ve been specifically advised to self-isolate, have visited a country with COVID-19 in circulation or even have decided of your own volition to self-isolate due to prevailing national guidance TELL YOUR INSURER before you travel and make sure you’re still covered under the policy for the premium you previously paid.

      1. Monty

        Do you think this is correct? If you have an annual travel insurance plan, and no pre-existing conditions, would you will be covered if you have catch it abroad, or do they often have a pandemic clause in the contract?

        Coronavirus: Travel insurance ‘not’ valid says Simon Calder

        Good Morning Britain guest and travel expert, Simon Calder, says that for those looking to cancel flights or accommodation due to the Coronavirus will ’absolutely not’ be covered by travel insurance.

        1. Clive

          As with all these things, it will depend on the Terms and Conditions of the particular policy, but by-and-large this is a standard exclusion. You don’t usually need wade through the entire Policy Document to tell — it will be in the “Key Facts” summary (NOTE ! This only applies to UK policies covered by UK Insurance Regulations — although I suspect EU Member States have similar because a lot of UK Insurance Regs were derived from EU Directives) so check there.

          Here’s a fairly typical insurance carrier’s stance (just a random example I found in a search; insurance providers have to make sure their policy terms are easy to find so it shouldn’t be too tricky to look up a policy which a reader has):

          FCO & WHO directive

          You are not covered to cancel or cut short your trip as a result of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) or other regulatory authority issuing a directive against all but essential travel to/from your travel destination for reasons other than earthquake, fire, flood or hurricane, unless you have the Optional Travel Disruption cover added to your travel policy.

          If, then, we’re taking Italy as an example, the FCO country advice has just been updated to advise against all but essential travel, however, note the rationale given by the FCO (my emphasis):

          The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Italy, due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) and in line with various controls and restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities on 9 March.

          So, because the reason isn’t “earthquake, fire, flood or hurricane”, your travel insurance won’t cover the cancellation. If your airline or tour operator is still running on the route you’ve booked, you have to take the flight or, if you are a no-show, you have to stand the loss. If your flights are cancelled, tough luck.

          Most insurance providers do have “bolt ons” like Travel Disruption cover (as mentioned in this example policy I’ve picked). It is costly, but I’d always pay out for it. No-one has to take an overseas vacation. To pay hundreds or even thousands for overseas travel, then to nickle-and-dime on the insurance, seems a dumb thing to do to me.

          1. Merf56

            We collected a full refund ( minus the insurance cost of course) on our boilerplate travel insurance policy for our African safari last March when spouse’s sister Died of cancer AND then sister’s spouse died a week later. All we needed were the obituaries naming my spouse as a survivor for both. Not even death certificates. Not a fancy policy, just the boilerplate one.
            Ironically we are booked to leave on the same safari this March 26. So far it’s still going. And we get no refund if we cancel ourselves due to corona. Only if the company cancels or state department declares it a level four zone. If a level three zone – we can rebook for after or next year or book different trip …. no refunds through insurance.

            1. Clive

              Yes, death of an immediate family member or other dependent is usually covered by a policy benefit (the family member will usually need to reside in your home country, but usually the insurer will extend cancellation cover in most special circumstances, like, say, your parent dies abroad).

              But as you found, a boilerplate policy won’t typically cover against you wanting to cancel because of COVID-19.

              It is always worth talking to your insurer and/or travel company. They may have special one-off arrangements in place. But as a right, you don’t have, usually, anything.

              (Yes, that’s a lot of “usually’s”! but, as the saying goes “Terms and Conditions apply” :-) on this subject)

              1. Susan the other

                Just captain obvious here – “terms and conditions” will be the end of us all unless we can come to terms under any conditions.

    1. Lee

      Many events cancelled here in the SF bay area. Some school closures. My daughter is keeping the munchkins home from grade school in Oakland. A friend of mine and I have stopped meeting for coffee at our favorite local cafe. Now we have coffee at our respective homes and complain to each other about all and sundry while formulating our master plan to fix the world over the phone.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I was just saying to my wife that Australian football’s Grand Final (sort of like your Superbowl) will be playing to an empty stadium come September. Come to think about it, so will your Superbowl – and maybe the UK’s FA Cup Final as well.

        1. nippersmom

          Since the next Super Bowl isn’t until February of 2021, it’s quite possible the virus will finally have run its course by then.

          1. The Rev Kev

            It could be but I think that more likely that it will still be impacting us next year as well. This will not be a one-season wonder but something that will take two or more years to play out. The games will still be played and you may have the entertainment portion canned and playing from days earlier. It will just be all playing to an empty stadium.

            1. Titus

              Even, then I doubt it. This virus has all the makings of a yearly outbreak, requiring a new vaccine, as with the flu, every year. There’s at least 3 separate and distinct versions of this virus. As the northern hemisphere gets warm (which should help – the virus in all forms is sensitive to heat) the Southern Hemisphere gets cold. I’m not optimistic.

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Kev.

          Don’t forget the Eurovision song contest, featuring Australia and taking place in the Netherlands, in May.

          It’s the Cheltenham (jump racing) festival this week. The aftermath will be interesting as the flat season begins later this month and big races, flat and jumping (various Grand Nationals), are scheduled over the spring.

          1. xkeyscored

            And Cheltenham is going ahead, with hand sanitisers.

            “Royals and aristocrats rub shoulders with reality TV stars, City types, farmers, gamblers and drinkers out to sink as many pints of Guinness and glasses of champagne as possible.
            By the time the first race had begun at 1.30pm, tens of thousands of people lined the course and the roar that greeted the first winner seemed just as loud as ever.
            In the meantime, the Cheltenham bars, restaurants and the shopping village were doing well.
            Last year, more than 130,000 people used Cheltenham Spa train station over the four days and 80,000 travelled in the shuttle bus service between the town centre and racecourse. Fifty staff coaches a day from as far afield as London, Swansea and Coventry converge on the site.

      2. Wukchumni

        Had coffee with a friend who manages around 25 AirBnB/VRBO short term rentals here, and the cancellations for near term rentals started slowly about 10 days ago, and in the past few days, longer term rentals a month to several months out have been getting canceled.

        You can say goodbye to the sharing economy, stick a fork in it.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I am wondering if Colonel Smithers will be joining the estimated 250,000 attendees at this years Cheltenham Festival which also involves lots of horsey type to & fro from Ireland & back.

        2. Lina

          I’ve never stayed at an Airbnb and you can bet I definitely won’t after this craziness. I’m going to trust the house has been cleaned properly?? No thank you!

      3. MLTPB

        Last I read, a day ago, there were 300 million students, if I recall correctly, and not adding an extra zero, at home, worldwide.

      4. Tom Bradford

        “A friend of mine and I have stopped meeting for coffee at our favorite local cafe.”

        So when it’s over your favorite local cafe will no longer be there.

            1. Wukchumni

              Its hard to say what qualifies as overreacting…

              A group of 14 people in LA all contracted Coronavirus @ a ski resort in Italy-3 of them are in critical condition, and i’m torn between going to Mammoth next week, or not.

              Right now, I think i’ll go, but ask me in 5 days from now…

  14. Toshiro_Mifune

    Prince Andrew has ‘shut the door on Jeffrey Epstein probe

    Just out of curiosity; what happens should he be indicted and extradition is asked for?
    I mean, I know the UK probably wouldn’t allow it, but still.

    1. xkeyscored

      There are superb isolation units available in HM Prison Belmarsh for those such as Andy who pose a high flight risk. He might also find himself at less risk of contracting COVID-19 awaiting trial in solitary confinement, or fighting his extradition from within a sealed box.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, TM.

      It has been suggested that either Andrew or Assange are swapped for Anne Sacoolas.

      I note the Mint Press has a recent feature on Epstein and Bloomberg. The UK MSM dare not mention the connections as hacks wish to work for him. I imagine it’s the first same in the US.

    3. Monty

      I don’t think sleeping with a 16yr old is illegal in UK, not when I was a lad at least. So they wouldn’t extradite anyone for that. He probably enjoys diplomatic immunity wherever he goes anyway.

  15. Ignacio

    RE: Active virus replication in the upper respiratory tract puts prospects of COVID-19 containment in perspective.

    IMO, the best study so far I’ve read on the new virus that clearly explains differences with SARS of clinical and epidemiological importance. Though the number of patients examined was small and all except one had mild symptoms the results are important. It explains why the new virus is more infectious and less severe than SARS: because it has tropism for the upper respiratory tract while SARS didn’t. The virus can replicate there and shed infectious particles while SARS infected only the lower tract and infectious particles are only detected in sputum. This is clinically relevant because early upper resp. tract infection is milder and elicits immune response reducing in many cases against the development of more severe infection in the lower respiratory tract (LRT). It also analyses the immune response that in all except one of the patients resulted in the production of neutralizing antibodies. In the remaining case antibodies were detected but where not neutralizing (a somehow faulty immune response). The article speculates that a mutation in the spike protein compared to SARS could explain higher affinity to ACE 2 (the human receptor) and tropism for the upper tract where ACE 2 expression is much lower compared with the LRT. The virus can replicate also in the digestive but they do not detect infectious particles in feces suggesting this route of transmission has very low probability between humans.

    The authors suggest that droplet contagion can be more important than fomites-led contagion. Important for behaviour. They also suggest longer time for discharging hospital cases because in these, viable viral particles are detected in sputum for longer times.

    1. Lee

      Lots of viral shedding from the throat and upper respiratory track even when asymptomatic or only mildly ill that continues even days after recovery, producing a high rate of airborne contagion. Please tell me I’ve misread.

      1. Ignacio

        No, after recovery, in mild cases there is no virus shedding, or at least not detectable by in vitro infection assays in cultured cells, though viral RNA is detected in swabs. Only in cases with pneumonia there is extended virus shedding for up to 20 days after symptom onset not in swabs but in sputum. Quite the same as with SARS1. Studies like this should have been done since the very beginning in Wuhan and would have been clarifying. The Chinese should have asked for international collaboration even if this meant they do not have the research quality you find in this example in Germany.

        1. Susan the other

          makes sense. when a virus knows it’s under attack it multiplies like crazy; it manages to get holed up in protected tissue (lung) and the rest of the human immune response is distracted and doesn’t move quite fast enough to head Corona off at the pass – keep it away from the lungs or any other cubby hole. Why don’t we come up with medicines that are cell-specific, that seek out ACE2 receptors and protect them (like ace2 BP meds). After 2 or 3 weeks of treatment wouldn’t Corona run out of gas?

    2. xkeyscored

      I think another study did detect it in faeces, which may be a problem in places with large homeless populations.

      1. Ignacio

        The article says that in feces only RNA was detected in the study not infectious viral particles. Chinese articles that I have read never analysed virus shedding by in vitro infection assays. A failure probably because they don’t have in most laboratories capacity to maintain cultured human cells .

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > IMO, the best study so far I’ve read on the new virus that clearly explains differences

      [lambert again blushes modestly]

      > it has tropism for the upper respiratory tract while SARS didn’t. The virus can replicate there and shed infectious particles

      Am I right in thinking this implies that one should indeed wear a mask at all times? (Against previous advice, but science evolves.)

      1. Ignacio

        I don’t think so. (Wearing masks at all times). But it would be advisable for short times in risky environments. Think of, in the middle of the pandemic, a crowded supermarket. Put it on just before entering the supermarket, fill your chart, pay, go outside, discard properly the mask to a bin, wash your hands with a wet paper towel and back home. If you keep it on for longer it is the mask what turns your worst enemy.

  16. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Cultural Problem of Cheating & Lying.

    I remember the immense amount of cheating that occurred when I was in college and that was 20 years ago. I imagine that it is even worse now that competition for the shrinking number of good careers is reaching insane levels. The sad thing is that I can understand why some people cheat. Being poor or even working class in this society is often a miserable experience. There are fewer and fewer options for “ordinary” people, meaning people without top credentials. So there is powerful incentive to cheat.

    This is one of the reasons why I think working-class people should practice nepotism among themselves. The upper class cheats and practices blatant nepotism but expects regular people to live in a Social Darwinist jungle that they call the “meritocracy.” Sorry, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I don’t approve of extreme dishonesty but working-class people need to lose some of their illusions about fair play because at this point it is just shooting yourself in the foot.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      From my experience, the greatest level of cheating occurred in fraternities and sororities. They would keep copies of every test written by every professor/instructor for every course; a massive resource unavailable to the average schmo.

      1. JEHR

        I am puzzled by those who cheat because it takes a lot of practice and studying to be a successful cheat, so why don’t cheaters just learn the original material (and become more knowledgeable at the same time) and they will not have to cheat. When you cheat, your knowledge becomes how to cheat, not how to learn successfully. Knowing something useful is much more agreeable than uselessly cheating.

        1. xkeyscored

          If you’re thinking of a career in modern business or politics, perhaps knowing how to cheat is exactly what you need to learn.

    2. Laughingsong

      The “misery index” you describe for working class is indeed real, and would understandably incentivize cheating. However I read the article as describing more of the elite cheating we have been seeing, or at least the phenomenon of our leadership normalizing it, through chutzpah, media control and wagon-circling.

      The problems I see with your recommendation are 1) accelerating the society’s race to the bottom, and 2) it’s riskier for the working class due to the uneven application and interpretations of the law. In short, they’re more likely to be “rung up”, especially if they cheat the wrong people.

      And of course if everyone does it, it will hasten the disintegration of these communities as trust disappears.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I hate to scuttle Trump’s plan but can we address this please? He says he is going to offer payroll tax deductions. Wow. Give everyone a payroll tax deduction that are now out of work as a result of their workplace having to close due to contagion. Sure is a relief to the treasury that they won’t have to pay the pipple when they are working so hard to fill dumptrucks full of money for the banks now that they have become insolvent again, publicly, but not shown on TV.
        Yet another ridiculous response from our veg in chief. Maybe Hungry Joe can chime in? He can translate anything into gibberish.
        Comedy is fast becoming our last line of defense.

  17. Anonymous 2


    Although six days old, this looks like a reasonably sane take by someone who has relevant expertise from working on HIV (although not a trained doctor). I think he is South Africa based so his advice needs to be read as applying to people there, if I have understood correctly.

    1. Carolinian

      From your link

      One crucial question for planners is how linked is the epidemic to weather? In other words, is this like seasonal flu and incidence will decrease as the temperature rises. This might happen for two reasons: first the virus may not survive for as long outside the human body, and second people are more likely to be outside in fresh air. If it is linked, then northern hemisphere incidence should decline as southern hemisphere infection rates increase.

      Seems like so far we are hearing much less about this from South America (a few cases announced) and Africa. Will the weather save us north of the equator?

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        According to Wikipedia, as of last night there were 88 confirmed cases in South America

      2. Expat2uruguay

        According to Wikipedia, as of last night there were 88 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South America and one death. Although I couldn’t confirm for all of the cases, 95% of them were from either Travelers or contacts of Travelers.

    1. Stephen V

      Exactly BobW. But what of private sector action? I can’t unsee the images of DRIVE THRU testing setup by SKorea! Is there time for us to mimic SK instead of, as some are saying, Iran?
      Local word is WMT is laying off half of home ofc bcz
      Wait for it…they’ve decided they cannot compete with Amazon. Long story made short.
      Some WMT’s have urgent care clinics. Why not drive thru Corona testing at every store? Who else is positioned to do this?
      A boy can dream.

        1. Shonde

          One healthcare group in Minnesota has started drive thru testing.

          “M Health Fairview wants patients to call ahead and be screened over the phone for COVID-19 testing, and to then drive when possible to one of four clinics. Masked health care workers will meet them outside, collect nasal or throat swabs from them while they are in their cars, and send them home to remain in isolation and await results. Those samples will then be sent to the state public health lab for testing, with results often coming back within a day.

          “You can literally drive up, get swabbed, and drive right home,” said Laura Reed, Fairview’s chief operating officer.

          The approach limits contact between the potentially infected patients and the clinic’s workers and other patients, and is an example of the social distancing measures that health officials said are needed in Minnesota at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

          Hopefully we will see more like this but nothing is said in the article about criteria for testing being allowed.

          1. Expat2Uruguay

            This sounds great for the us, but I wonder about other countries where car ownership is not so Universal. I don’t own a car. What would I do? Sit in a taxi or call an Uber?

    2. MLTPB

      I think, take Seattle for example, if it were wider, there would more than a or two stories of people coming or returning from there coming down with it.

      It is not possible to show, for the country, there are no orders of magnitude more cases, unless we test 300 million plus people right away.

  18. a different chris

    I had the identical “fake plant” experience! I mean you could basically substitute me in every line – had it, just like the one in the picture, for about 2 years, decided to repot, and found that it was just plastic on a stick.

    And “planted” it with an array of real succulents anyway. What the heck, I figured. It looks nice there.

  19. Tom Stone

    I took a look at the clips of Joe Biden posted by Caitlin Johnstone and they are damning.
    O’l Joe may be an utterly vile and viciously corrupt warmonger, however what is being done to him is a clear cut case of elder abuse.
    Who has standing?
    It’s not an area of Law I have any familiarity with but I do believe some statutes allow an intervention in cases of clear cut abuse.
    I’m sure someone in the commentariat can give an informed opinion…

    1. Carolinian

      Greenwald in the Intercept link above.

      But, as the Democratic establishment has united with creepy speed and obedience behind Biden in order to stop the Sanders candidacy, those who now raise these concerns instantly come under a withering assault of insults and attacks from Democratic Party operatives along with their crucial media allies: thinly disguised pro-Biden reporters who continue to insist on wearing the unconvincing and fraudulent costume of neutrality. They are invoking the classic Orwellian formulation from the novel 1984: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

      However the current situation seems to suggest that the Democratic party at the moment, rather than under the thumb of an all powerful Big Brother, is populated by people who are flailing without a clue. First there was the inane impeachment and now a front runner who may not even make it to the convention. If there is a plan you wonder what it could be.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Occam’s Razor: they really are that corrupt and venal and depraved. They most definitely do have a clue and the swiftness and coordination of The Great Bidening was a thing to behold. Crooked is waiting in the wings, as is Michele, Mini Mike, even Liz The Snake, and it’s child’s play to manufacture whatever consent they need.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Occam’s Razor: they really are that corrupt and venal and depraved. They most definitely do have a clue and the swiftness and coordination of The Great Bidening was a thing to behold.

          I don’t have a crisp formulation of this, but as individuals they are stupid and depraved. I mean, just listen. to them. However, the Hive Mind of which they are a part is quite smart (as witness the “swiftness and coordination”).

          Sanders tried to smoke out the hive and harvest the honey. Perhaps the time has come to kick the hive over, come what may.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      How many elders did Biden want to abuse by destroying their Social Security? Let Biden be elder-abused.

    1. Wukchumni

      Airbnb creates $1 million competition to build fantasy homes [AP]

      What a classic, just as the sharing economy is about to crumble from Coronavirus, they’re holding a fantasy home competition!

      1. wilroncanada

        What would an Airbnb home look like? A 5000 square foot imperial mansion for the owner, with a wing of 300 berth/drawers for the “guests”, along with similar size storage drawers for their possessions. The possessions lockers would have locks on the outside, with master key access by the owner. The “guest” lockers would also have locks, accessible only from the outside.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > What would an Airbnb [fantasy] home look like?

          It would look like a party house where the cops never come, which doesn’t need to be maintained, and which doesn’t have to meet the health and safety standards of a hotel. Ka-ching!

  20. Samuel Conner

    Perhaps the rich will start demanding Medicare for all in order to keep their employees and customers healthy and alive, not as an end in itself, but as a means to preserving the value of their (ie, the rich’s) assets.

    I’m feeling a bit snarky as I write this, but I think that this is not a snarky comment. It’s just the world we are living in.

    1. xkeyscored

      They’ll certainly have a think when they catch it from their maids and drivers, who couldn’t afford to get tested or take time off work, or who were too scared ICE would get them. Or their survivors and heirs will have a think.

      1. HotFlash

        Their survivors and heirs will think, “Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have an inheritance tax?”

    2. MLTPB

      Ita possible or I can imagine, under the current administration, to see free health care, for one specific illness, for all.

      For example, that was China did , not initially, but when they were further along in the mitigation phase.

      And that would be at least a good start.

  21. .Tom

    Re virus contagion, I volunteer at a community veterinary clinic doing, in effect, front-desk duties but outdoors. After my shift yesterday I was thinking about how we handle the paper forms that clients complete. There are some obvious ways we can make the procedures less risky. The clipboard and pen that clients use can be sanitized but I’m not sure what to do about the completed paper form that we take off the clipboard.

    I tried web search looking for best practices since this must be a very common problem, especially in hospitals, but, surprisingly, I found nothing. (I’m not good at thinking of search keywords.) Can anyone here help?

    1. The Rev Kev

      How about using a tablet? But when you hand the tablet to the customer, it will be in a disposable plastic bag. When the data is complete, use WiFi or Bluetooth to transfer the information to your office computer. When that is done, put gloves on to get rid of that tablet’s plastic bag (and dispose of it & the gloves), then put on a new plastic bag and seal it. Maybe something to consider.

      1. .Tom

        Yes, I would like to do that but it will take time to develop and deploy the changes to the shelter’s systems. I’m interested in what we can do immediately.

        1. ForFawkesSakes

          My vet uses ‘the form’, but it’s laminated and marked using a dry erase pen, so it can be cleaned and used again and again. How they collect the data, i can’t say, but i presume much of it must be digitized.

    2. The Historian

      Just a suggestion: plastic sheet protectors.

      Have the client fill out the paperwork and place each page in a separate sheet protector. You can read or copy it while it is in the protector if you need to and the sheet protector can be wiped down with alcohol or a disinfectant. After a certain amount of time, whatever time is deemed “safe”, you can remove the paper and file it, and reuse the sheet protector.

  22. a different chris

    Aha! Somebody more experienced than me has, speaking on a different political subject but with the same thorny issues, has explained why I think Sander’s general outlines of Medicare-For-All were* way better than Warren’s zillion-page documents. From Yanis Varoufakis in the linked article:

    “If you want an operational plan before every revolution, then no revolution will take place.”

    You can plan stuff to death but it just never really goes quite the way you expected. Now, if you’re a military planning D-Day yes culturally you have to have massive plans. A lot of material and people have to be somewhere near where it turns out to be needed. There has to be a few hard assertions (“we are going to fool the Germans”). But going into a deep level of detail is helpful, in fact necessary, for moral and focus, but not much specific use when battle is joined.

    Shorter me: useful for miltary operations but not for the reasons you think, not useful for political operations because you simply look bad when you deviate and you will deviate.

    I don’t know why people like Liz Warren don’t understand that but they don’t.

    *might as well start using the past tense. Sigh.

    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t know why people like Liz Warren don’t understand

      My guess is that she had very little intention of carrying out her plans even if elected, so she compensated by making them look very detailed. Sanders on the other hand laid out his core intentions plainly, leaving the details to be thrashed out later.

      1. judy2shoes

        My guess is that she had very little intention of carrying out her plans even if elected, so she compensated by making them look very detailed.

        Obfuscate with details – sort of like your credit card agreements. Eyes glaze over and brains go numb…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Obfuscate with details – sort of like your credit card agreements

          That’s very funny. Warren knows all about requiring credit card agreements, mortgages, and other such documents to be written in plain English and not obfuscated; that’s one of the things that the CFPB was supposed to do.

          So, with her campaign, Warren put obfuscation to use; but for good!

      2. periol

        Your guess is probably accurate, and it makes me chuckle imagining the meetings where they first planned out that they were going to build an elaborate lie, then the meetings where they built that lie. I’m sure some catering companies were well-paid for providing the sustenance needed to muscle through and pull it all together.

        It gets tiring having cynicism be a required part of American life in 2020.

      3. Susan the other

        I really like/liked Liz. She’s smart and capable and efficient. But the problem she carved out for herself politically was a future of endless negotiations. She was a devotee of “the market” and a firm believer in “capitalism” – but she didn’t actually “have a plan” for either of those two big problems. Interesting. Her underlying assumptions were same old. The market and capitalism (undefined – no problem) will solve everything. Been there done that. For almost 3 centuries. Still, I think she has remarkable talents – just by comparison to Biden she is/would be an absolute societal (? what word) genius and an effective executive.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > the problem she carved out for herself politically was a future of endless negotiations.

          Well, for female donors, lawyers were top for Warren, Walmart workers for Sanders.

          So there you are.

          “endless negotiations” = billable hours, so PMC-friendly.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You can plan stuff to death but it just never really goes quite the way you expected.

      “Everybody has a plan until they get hit.” –Mike Tyson.

      (True for the Sanders campaign too, I might add…)

  23. a different chris

    Man the Rich love them some “payroll tax cut”. And why not?

    1) Costs them nothing
    2) Drains SS so they can freak out about it even more loudly
    3) Hurts workers when re-instated

    Why don’t we tax the heck out of them and give the rest of us the money?

    1. curlydan

      and it’s still early in the year, so many of the rich haven’t hit the payroll tax cut max.

      It’s like a wonderland for grift. Plus for health insurance companies, few people have met their deductibles.

      1. a different chris

        >Plus for health insurance companies, few people have met their deductibles.

        Oh, and on this completely different subject, deductibles are even more of a scam than I first thought.

        I had, for the first time ever, a really bad year medically. Well our medical system tries to bill you for everything they can think of, and this effort of course puts as much sand in the wheels as anything. So I am getting billed up to 9 months late (!) for some things I barely remember.

        The thing is — I thought my “yearly deductible” applied to stuff that was done, well that year. But no, it applies to when I get the bill!

        This works out magnificently for the insurance companies, because what seems to you to be simple say 1 week hospitalization plus followup pretty much any time after mid-year can be spread across the year boundary. Thus you can wind up hitting your yearly deductible *twice* for something that from your perspective was well bounded in one year!

        Great country we live in.

        Does anybody think I can fight that? I think I have to try just on first principles. Note: I haven’t (hey though maybe more surprises coming, it’s only March!) got more than a few hundred billed this year, but if I was in the hospital just a few weeks later …

        1. Old Jake

          I wonder if that is something your insurance company cooked up on their own, which is yours? I don’t recall mine (Aetna) doing that. Might be state by state too, I’m in Washington.

  24. antidlc


    “Let’s flash forward, you’re president,” O’Donnell began. “Bernie Sanders is still active in the Senate, he manages to get Medicare for All through the Senate in some compromise version, Elizabeth Warren’s version or other version. Nancy Pelosi gets a version it through the House of Representatives. It comes to your desk, do you veto it?”

    “I would veto anything that delays providing the security and the certainty of health care being available now,” Biden said, somewhat cryptically, sine Warren’s plan, for example, would immediately cover all children for free as well as all families making at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. “If they got that through by some miracle, if some epiphany occurred, and some miracle occurred and said ‘OK, it’s passed’ then you got to look at the cost. I want to know how did they find $35 trillion?”

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Markets Walked Off the Cliff. Will They Look Down?”

    Just started to listen to a 49:14 video by the same guy who does the Peak Prosperity videos and it is called “The Coronavirus Breaks The Stock Market” i.e. it is all about the economic effects of all this. From what I have heard so far, there are a lot of bs companies that will be hitting the wall and he brought up a figure of how 1 in 8 companies are “zombie” companies where they lose more money than they make-

    1. The Historian

      I do wish the current administration was paying as much attention to saving lives as they are in saving Wall Street.

      1. urblintz

        you just noticed?

        the current administration?

        haha… hahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        I can not stop laughing….

        1. jrs

          Well the current administrations handling of the pandemic is particularly bad, and everyone has noticed it who has been following the news recently. But sure to a lesser degree it’s always policy.

          1. urblintz

            that “lesser degree” is why the pandemic could be particularly bad…. it’s called neoliberalism and it’s been around since Jimmy Carter.

  26. NoOneInParticular

    Re payroll tax cut — if I’m hourly and lose work because of the epidemic and don’t get a paycheck, how exactly will a payroll tax cut help me?

    1. jrs

      No sick leave (maybe) but a payroll tax cut. Although Trump has hinted at paid sick leave too. Well I will believe that when it happens.

      Where we might ACTUALLY have a tiny bit of leverage is emailing STATE representatives and pushing for sick leave on the state level – oh yes this can happen and has already in some states, just even the states where it has, it’s insufficient time, 3 days off may be better than nothing, but it doesn’t really cut it. We need more and should push for it. Write state reps!

  27. allan

    Partying like it’s 1877: the AA mayor of Kansas City, MO, is turned away at the polls:

    Mayor Q @QuintonLucasKC
    I made a video this morning about the importance of voting and then got turned away because I wasn’t in the system even though I’ve voted there for 11 years, including for myself four times! Go figure, but that’s okay. We’ll be back later today! #Vote #KCMO

    1. katiebird

      I was just going to post this!! Also, they have shown various polling sites through the morning and barely a person is voting so far. Just empty rooms. Does that mean anything?

      1. Tom Doak

        I voted in Michigan this morning. Very quiet at my polling place, although maybe 11:00 am is a slow time of day for it.

      2. thoughtful person

        Perhaps people are scared of mixing in crowds, plus media implies it’s already decided etc. Just speculating.

  28. Samuel Conner

    Change in data presentation at the JHU CSSE pandemic “dashboard”

    As of late March 9, the US data was presented at county level. So, for example, one could see that in PA, there was one confirmed case in Delaware County and four in Montgomery County.

    As of late AM March 10, the US data is aggregated by State. In PA there are 10 cases, but there is no longer any granular detail about where the cases were at the time of diagnosis.

    I don’t notice a change in the descriptive survey of the dashboard, which mentions US city and state health data

    This might be simply a change in the data management to simplify or “uniformitize” the way the data is handled internally. Maybe there are changes behind the scenes in how the new cases are being reported that make it harder to maintain a county level of granularity.

    My “adverse outcomes” anxieties lead me to also wonder whether this might be to provide less data to the US public in the interest of managing public perceptions. “Somewhere in my state” may be less alarming than “in the county adjacent to mine”. OTOH, if the local news reports continue to provide locality information for newly detected cases, people who are concerned about the local geographical distribution will still be able to discover that.

    Not sure what to make of the change.

    Maybe they’re still maintaining the distinctions internally and a “premium” version could be offered to those who have real need for the more granular detail.

    1. thoughtful person

      With thousands of cases expected it’s a lot of work to input the data by county. My guess.

    2. MLTPB

      I doubt John Hopkins is trying to manage public perception.

      Excellent point about one’s natural tendency to focus locally, county vs state.

      The one conspicuous hot spot currentl is Seattle.

      If the WU medical center can quickly up their testing to 4,000 a day (NPR a few days ago), they will sufficiently help a lot, for the locals.

      Another point to keep in mind is to separate local community person to person transmission cases, vs, say those returning from Italy. I dont know if JHopkins is doing that.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > As of late AM March 10, the US data is aggregated by State. In PA there are 10 cases, but there is no longer any granular detail about where the cases were at the time of diagnosis.

      That is very bad. One not, for example, fly to a state. One flies to an airport. County-level data is key!

  29. Lina

    I just had a conversation with someone who thinks this CV is all “hype” and the media is way overdoing it. Her take is yes, wash your hands but the flu kills more people.

    She then went on to say, we (the US) must be doing something right and Italy doing something wrong because look how bad it is in Italy and it’s not that bad here, etc.

    I replied with various things (death rate is higher for CV than flu, if same # of people get CV, etc…) and also said the big difference is that Italy is testing broadly and we are not so we don’t know the true extent. She said it didn’t matter to test – if people were sick and flooding hospitals, they would test or not and they are not in the US.

    I *think* it’s because Italy is a couple weeks ahead of us in the transmission of this thing. I don’t think this is hype, I think it’s serious. Perhaps the media is overdoing it some, as they do for readership/money… but wanted to ask this group of smart people your thoughts. How do you respond to people with this outlook? Why is Italy so much worse than the US?

    1. Samuel Conner

      See the Ajai Dandekar tweet reproduced in the links just below the #COVID-19 heading.

      It is, just as you say, that Italy is further along (but, from Dandekar’s chart, it seems only by about 1 week) than US is. Italy didn’t implement social distancing measures soon enough and it may be that US has not either.

      1. Lina

        Thanks. At least I’m thinking clearly. Schools need to close now, in my estimation. I’m wondering how much longer until I take my daughter out on my accord to play it safe.

        1. Bill Carson

          My wife and daughter are school teachers, and I worry about the same thing. Only a few more days until Spring Break….

          1. Lina

            My daughter doesn’t have spring break until late April. It’s going to be in full force (or a bust) by then.

            And my partner teaches at a State University – I’m wondering when they will close? I’m concerned about him bringing it home.

              1. Lina

                Harvard, UMass Amherst and Smith College closed here in MA. Hurry up and close the rest is my opinion on this matter.

                And the elementary schools – I’m concerned for my daughter, even if she doesn’t get sick badly, if she carries and spreads to my parents who watch her on occasion.

                What a mess!

      2. MLTPB

        Adjust for poplulation.

        The US is about 5 times more (320 vs 60 millions, apprx).

        The current US cases total of about 700 would be equivalent to about 140, which Italy had around 2-26-2020.

        That would put the Italians about 2 weeks ahead.

        1. Lina

          That’s exactly my thought – about 2 weeks behind based on nothing but an assessment from reading the news….

        2. Samuel Conner

          I’m not sure that “adjusting for population” captures the concern in the Dandekar tweet. Community spread from an initial uncontained outbreak does not, I think, depend on the size of the larger country within which the localized outbreak is occurring. It depends on the properties of the disease, the local population density and habitual practices of the population, and the measures taken to limit community spread in the affected region. If Italy were 10 times its actual geographical size and population, the progress of the initial outbreak in the affected regions would be much the same, I think.

          The date offset in Dandekar’s tweeted chart is 9 days.

          Of course, it is entirely possible that an even larger effect than “daily incremental spread” is the question of how badly under-sampled the already-infected population may be, and I don’t know how US and Italy compare in that regard, though it would not surprise me were it later to be determined that US is doing a significantly worse job of testing than Italy has been.

          1. MLTPB

            Do we compare Italy and the US?

            Or, if I read the comment correctly, it is more relevant to compare N Italy with the Seattle metropolitan area which has fewer than the US total of about 700.

            As for testing, link above from Business Insider, comparing 8 countries show few tests in Japan. Do they have more cases undetected because of that? We dont know for sure. The same article shows more tests, all per capita, for Italy. The question is, was Italy testing to the extend before the outbreak, or as a result of it? Most likely the latter. That is due to human nature, I believe. The same with S Korea. Lots of testing after the church cluster, not before.

            So testing almost everywhere reflects the situation of the moment. Washinton state has about 7 million. Seattle metro, 4 million. If UW Medical can up their testing to 4,000 a day quickly, perhaps even now, it compares favorably with Italy at simliar stages.

      1. xkeyscored

        They completely botched the first lot of test kits, and they’ve only confirmed 749 cases so far. And they’ve appointed Prof. Pence to oversee their response, under the watchful eye of Dr. Don.
        Which leads me to believe they may succeed in not confirming 3,000 cases by next week.

        However, on Saturday (March 7), Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, FDA Commissioner, said that 1,583 people in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19 through the CDC tests.

        Italy has conducted a substantial number of tests — more than 42,000 as of Saturday (March 7), according to Al Jazeera.

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s so Soviet Union of us to claim we’ll have a million tests done in a week, and then 10 days later we’re 997,000 short of our goal, thanks to the Covid Czar.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > so Soviet Union of us

            We seem to have put the Soviet Union in charge of our voting systems, as well. When they can take time away from running the CDC.

    2. MLTPB

      Washining your hands…

      With the current, worldwide life-learning lesson in hygiene, do we see fewer cases of cold and seasonal influenza, as a collateral benefit?

      1. thoughtful person

        Yes, see article linked yesterday about Hong Kong experience. Flu season over 2 months early it was said.

  30. urblintz

    The Democrats need to be prepared for another scenario that isn’t discussed much: what happens if COVID10 proceeds as a best case scenario? What happens if it slows and causes less harm than imagined in a worst case scenario?

    I’m not intending to contradict those here who are scientist and know way more than I. I myself am terribly concerned and prepared… not panicking.

    But, there’s a macabre sense, never stated, which I get from the talking heads on CNN that suggests some part of them hopes for the worst because it will certainly bring down Trump. I feel their pain…

    Whether or not covid is a mega-killer, I know the illness itself might not impact as many people as the measures used to contain it, which are already challenging people in ways to which they are unaccustomed and it’s likely to get worse. Measures that are far beyond mere inconvenience. This is a very serious situation…

    But if millions of people don’t die, and if Trump just bribes everyone, corporations, businesses and people, with cash in their pockets, if the Plunge Protection Team not only saves but further inflates the market… and does anyone believe Trump doesn’t understand that “deficits don’t matter?” He used a business literally “built” on deficits and bankruptcies into a 15 billion dollar lifestyle leading all the way to POTUS, He knows how to save his wretched *ss.

    If 7 million people don’t lose their homes, their hopes and their jobs while the rich get richer as happened in 2008 and for which the govt offered zero relief, well

    There are many ways Trump can save himself and crush whomever the Democrats offer up in November.

    I acknowledge my scenario is as unlikely as the end of the world scenario our elected Dems seem oddly to be cheering for. But all speculation has two sides and to remain blind to a different future than wished for can leave people woefully unprepared for what eventually happens.

    Let’s hope Bernie at least wins Michigan… which he probably will but which we’ll never know because the unauditable electronic fix is in and can not be defeated… there are no tests or vaccines to remedy that deadly virus…

    1. Samuel Conner

      I have similar thoughts, but the prospect of “breaking” the health care system — more patients requiring critical and supportive care than the system has capacity to serve — is much more alarming to me than the prospect that excessive concern and strong actions now makes us look overcautious should a bad scenario not eventuate.

      Yesterday I poked around the internet looking for information on the typical monthly trend of the annual influenza epidemic, and it appears to me that there is about a 10-fold “swing” in new cases between the peak and trough of the epidemic.

      If COVID-19 behaves similarly, there is going to be significant morbidity and some mortality through the warm months with a strong upswing late in the year (possibly after the election). And as this seems likely to become endemic and part of the annual cold season epidemic, until vaccines are developed I think we have to prepare for bad-case scenarios and live with the side-effects.

      OTOH, the crisis could provide powerful underpinning for expansion of “universal concrete material benefits”, the most obvious being “free at point of service health care”.

      At some point, unless they find ways of doing without the rest of us, even the wealthy are going to want their employees and customers to be reliably healthy. Ongoing epidemics of diseases that disrupt the for-profit economy are not good for the prices of many kinds of assets.

      1. rtah100

        That’s a bullshit article that needs refuting. I think its author is just being reflexively contrarian.

        It is not even clear what Machiavellian plot he sees the manipulators of the crisis pursuing. The US government is clearly asleep at the wheel, unless the true tinfoil hat belief is that they will let the situation explode deliberately and then declare martial law forever under the glorious Cheesy Wotsit.

        This is a real crisis, western healthcare systems will collapse and high numbers of elderly people will die prematurely and high numbers of all stripes of human will have poorer outcomes (including death) because hospitals will be dishing out battlefield medicine for everyone during the epidemic. The germaphobe in chief is going to horrified when he realises there’s no bluffing Nature.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > But, there’s a macabre sense, never stated, which I get from the talking heads on CNN that suggests some part of them hopes for the worst because it will certainly bring down Trump. I feel their pain…

      Yes, absolutely. (I have yet to see anybody saying “You must love Trump” in response to a proposal for improving our situation, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time.) This would be the #Resistance version of accelerationism, I suppose.

  31. Olga

    Speaking of changing the subject… an interesting take on Erdogan:
    “Idlib province is the most advanced post of irregular Turkish troops (jihadists) in Syrian territory. In his defense of these terrorists, the Turkish autocrat invoked security and even “humanitarian” reasons, hundreds of inhabitants of these provinces who had fallen under the yoke of theocratic totalitarianism who could flee the war and take refuge in Turkey, like the 4 million Syrians already exiled to the country. Erdogan’s deception is useless because it is himself who prevents Syrian refugees from returning to their villages, and who keeps them as a bargaining chip and leverage over Europe. Before carrying out his threats, Erdogan justified his plan to occupy Syrian territories by making Europeans believe that, rather than being invaded by thousands of Syrian refugees, it would be better for them to entrust Turkey’s neo-Ottoman mission to confine these refugees to Idlib and Aleppo.”

  32. Zagonostra

    Just deplaned from a flight to Huston on a business trip. Waiting to check-in to hotel, I see several flight attendants also waiting to check in. If the virus was in the plane then I can only imagine how quickly it will spread to the rest of the country. Everytime someone coughed I involuntarily held my breath…

    To trace where all the people on board came from where they are going to who they will be coming into contact with would be damn difficult. If the mortality rate was higher then COVID would/will be seriously thinning the population.

  33. Wukchumni

    Had a Covid-19 meeting with our neighbors on either side of us, and we’re all friends despite being ideologically different politically, one set of neighbors has Fox News on the tv all the time, the other is pretty liberal.

    The Fox News neighbors get it-a shitstorm is coming our way, while our liberal neighbors think i’m overreacting to the situation.

    I wonder where the virus stands, from a political standpoint?

    1. thoughtful person

      Gut answer is it’s a class response – top 10% esp top 5, the quite entitled, think its like the flu, no worries.

      Below that, worries…and more worries. And count on the entitled to avoid quarantines etc (since it’s just like the flu).

      1. Dan

        I don’t think so. A lot of working class folks roll their eyes at media hype, and they often laugh at their financial betters who have everything they could materially want and more, yet are still constantly anxious about life.

      2. jrs

        Only the rich can truly self-quarantine (ie not go to work at all, because they don’t need to work etc.).

        However in this case it’s probably not about actual facts on the ground, but a mindset. It’s why they don’t panic about climate change. They are used to money buying them an out and protecting them from whatever the world can throw at them. So it won’t register to them that climate change is an emergency, we need to act now and drastically, to preserve a chance at survival. Because they are used to always being safe. And probably the same with corona. They are wrong of course, the rich can truly self-quarantine for corona, they can’t.

    2. HotFlash

      I wonder where the virus stands, from a political standpoint?

      That’s a hard one. My guess is that the virus itself is no respecter of persons, but suurviving it — testing, treatment, mitigation — is highly means-tested. So, I’d say centrist Dem.

    3. jrs

      wow the cognitive dissonance of the Fox news watchers, must make their heads explode. But at least they got a tax cut, am I right?

    4. danpaco

      I’m sure the production of covid hoax and false equivalency memes have fallen off a cliff in Italy.

  34. antidlc

    ‘I can’t do it in seven minutes’: Sanders knocks Biden over short speeches

    But the Vermont senator avoided “personal attacks” on the former vice president’s mental capacity.

    Bernie Sanders on Monday evening confronted head-on questions regarding Joe Biden’s fitness for the presidency — declining to directly attack his rival’s stamina, but suggesting that brief speeches last week by Biden on the campaign trail were insufficient to address the nation’s problems.

    The remarks from the Vermont senator targeting the former vice president came at a Fox News town hall for Sanders, where a participant charged that Biden’s answers “don’t make sense” and asked Sanders whether it was “acceptable” for a White House hopeful to answer questions “like Joe Biden does.”

  35. JL

    Well at least there is one silver lining in a Biden versus Trump campaign, its so slogan ready: Dementia versus Demented. Sorta like the Mummy versus Frankenstein, may the best corpse win!

    1. urblintz

      I wrote the DCCC an email asking why people would switch from one demented perv to another. Dance with the demented perv that brung you!

  36. Synoia

    Form the article about West Point etc admissions:

    First, let me pre-empt: The men and women who attend the academies and go on to serve the country should be recognized for their service; the performance of many is extraordinary

    Why? The military is a secure job, where only about 10% are threatened by active service in a combat zone, They are no longed drafted, why the grovelling tone in “Thank you for you service,”?

    A better service would be to house the homeless, educate or teach the poor, or protect the environment. Or run program to house and feed those damaged by Imperial Ambitions.

  37. fresno dan

    This column at least has a somewhat more subdued title: What Bernie Sanders Gets Right About the Media. And what Sanders “gets right” about it is that the corporate, for-profit media has its own agenda aside from needing to show a profit. And that agenda leans toward a more stable, comfortable and, above all, moderate form of progressivism.
    If there’s one thing those outlets almost universally hate more than everything else, it’s conservatism.
    If only we could know what conservatism is…. I could link to dozens if not hundreds of polls, that show that M4A or universal healthcare is supported by a majority of Americans, as well as any number of other “liberal” policies. The whole problem with tribes and using “conservative” or “liberal” as epiteths, is that it permits assertions that with a modicum of examination would be revealed as either untrue or senseless. But as Taibbi has pointed out, maybe vague
    branding of your supposed opponent is the whole point of modern media …
    For example:
    Is Trump’s peace plan in Afghanistan liberal or conservative (red or blue)?
    Was Trump striking Syria and Iran liberal or conservative? (didn’t all those “liberals” phrase Trump for bombing Syria)
    Is keeping NATO red or blue?
    Is negotiating with Russia liberal or conservative (red or blue)?
    Is believing in law enforcement, prosecutors, FBI and CIA red or blue?
    Does Russia try to influence US elections a red or blue belief? Is Russia trying to influence US policy important, a red or blue belief?
    Is fresno dan a Russian dupe, undermining US preeminence by expressing cynicism about the US military and intelligence services, red or blue?
    Is fresno dan a left wing hippie dippy, undermining US preeminence by expressing cynicism about the US military and intelligence services, red or blue?
    Does Israel or China or any other country try to influence US elections – liberal or conservative? Does China influence US policy more than Russia? is that red or blue
    Is free trade red or blue?
    Is believing Obama helped corporations as much as, if not more than Bush, a red or blue belief?
    Is the NYT liberal or conservative a red or blue belief?
    I think a dispassionate analysis of the above would show that the NYT may be more “conservative” than Trump. But so what – how does the label add to whether the policy is good or bad.
    My point is that labeling ANY of those questions is in no way helpful to actually determining what the ACTUAL answer is to the question. Designations of liberal or conservative are there to signal that something is acceptable to a group or not without any thinking – kinda like laugh tracks so people know that something is funny in a comedy show…

  38. Wukchumni

    SF to use RV’s, vacant hotels to quarantine homeless, at-risk residents. (SF Chronicle)

    In the aftermath of the SF earthquake in 1906, the city constructed 5,000 small wooden cottages, but now all they have is used recreational vehicles and run-down motels.

  39. Wukchumni

    Locker rooms are going to be off-limits for reporters after pro games, and that’s nice but if we persist in believing that athletes can’t get Covid-19 from one another, we’ll just have to be ok with that fantasy for the time being.

  40. Winston Smith

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is accepting a recommendation to shut down a 1-mile radius in New Rochelle. Schools and other “large congregate facilities for gatherings” in the containment area will be closed and sanitized.
    The National Guard will enter the area to deliver food but people are free to enter and leave the zone. Facilities, not people are the target apparently!?

    1. MLTPB

      A lot can be done at the state or local level.

      In the delay stage, adequate testing can not make up inadequate social distancing.

      Compensating social distancing, on the other hand, was done in Wuhan to make up for insufficient testing (families ordered to stay in, even for those thinking of getting tested).

      1. Winston Smith

        “A lot can be done at the state or local level.” Indeed. One might add, a lot HAS to be done at the state or local level-given the seeming incapability of the president to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

        1. MLTPB

          Compared Seattle with New York, it would seem a lot should be done at the local level.

          I haven’t read of any one mile radius news out of the state of Washington. And I think they can, and should do something similar.

          A lot of the social distancing measures have been announced locally, such as school closings, not allowing large gatherings, etc as they should do.

          Testing and CDC are improving, and deficincies there can be madeup with compensating or overcompensating social distancing by situation. counties, etc. Its better than doing nothing, in that situstion.

          Additional travel restrictions – that’s the federal government’s call. I think we can use improvements there.

          One more note – the situation in the US can be estimated by travel restrictions placed on us, by other nations.

          Russia is pretty prompt and thorough. China will not hesitate.

          So far, not much from them about restricting Americans.

          We can take that into our deliberation.

  41. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    It appears that Italy is realising the hard way, or is being forced to follow in China’s footsteps. Scrolling down this last page of direct news from Italy which includes many prison riots, appears to portray something that is potentially getting out of control as the health system fails to cope :

  42. xkeyscored

    Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official ‘safe distance’ and stay in air for 30 minutes, Chinese study finds South China Morning Post. On a bus: “It can be confirmed that in a closed environment with air-conditioning, the transmission distance of the new coronavirus will exceed the commonly recognised safe distance.

    “Note: The study at the centre of this article on the transmission of the coronavirus was retracted on Tuesday by the journal Practical Preventive Medicine without giving a reason. The South China Morning Post has reached out to the paper’s authors and will update the article.”
    Published: 10:44pm, 9 Mar, 2020
    Updated: 7:29pm, 10 Mar, 2020

    1. MLTPB

      It spreads faster than the thing in 1918.

      Already it went around and is back in China in the form of a second strain.

      It could go round the world again before year end.

        1. MLTPB

          I searched under ‘China cases from Iran,’ came up with one article from the Star, and one from Reuters, both from 5 days ago (Chinese province reports 11 new virus cases from Iran flights.’ On the first page.

  43. Anon

    RE: Audio trimming

    Haven’t read the comments, so I don’t know if this has been covered already, but here’s a link .

    I’ve used it to strip out emcee intro’s to live recordings. May be usefull.

    1. epynonymous

      requires an upload to a third party server.

      Still a useful link, but maybe not for this purpose.

  44. Dirk77

    Re: Yanis and Syriza: I was hoping someone would comment on this, though a different chris does relate it to Warren. Anyways, I gather Syriza folded under pressure from the Troika for the same reason everyone else folds against free market bullies: in their heart they are capitalists too. TINA. This will end when the wreckage of capitalism equals that of communism? Do we need to reach that point? It’s a circle: totalitarianism -> communism -> socialism -> social democracy/mixed economy -> capitalism -> fascism -> totalitarianism and around again or the reverse. I suppose until proponents of some middle way between socialism and capitalism gain the high intellectual ground, nothing will stop the march toward totalitarianism from either end. I’m glad Yanis’s approach is practical appeal at least.

    1. Synoia

      People talk about left and right as if politics was scored on a sheet of paper, a flat surface.

      To me its more like a sphere. I don’t see much practical difference for the average person caught between the extreme totalitarian left and the extreme fascist right.

      That covers the horizontal axis.I forget what I assigned to the vertical axis.

    2. Susan the other

      I liked YV’s new style of clarity about Syriza and Tsipras; he even credited Schaeuble with correctly understanding the mess the EU was making at the time. The best stuff was about how the vultures in the Greek oligarchy bought up all the foreclosed houses and further impoverished the country, without a care in the world. Like our dear sec. of Treasury, Mnuchin.

  45. Savita

    The best audio editing software, apparently equivialent to a mixing desk in a studio, is Audacity. It’s completely free, for reasons I don’t understand. It does take some time to learn but the complexity of such also depends on what you need it for. I have mostly used it to manually dissect a single MP3 file into countless individual files, and I learnt that technique quickly.
    It’s arguably the benchmark piece of software in this field

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