Links 3/13/2020

Building blocks for life on Earth arrived much later than we thought, billion-year-old rocks show PhysOrg (Kevin W)

Fast-charging damages electric car batteries TechXplore (Robert M)

Scientists Find a Way to Make Hydrogen Fuel Production 25x More Efficient Science Alert (Chuck L)

Statins starve cancer cells to death MedicalXpress (Robert M)


People of my hometown #Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian #Covid_19 gyfcat (martha r)

Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test New York Times. Apparently true in Germany too. A friend of a friend has symptoms yet can’t get tested.

Why the U.S. is so far behind on coronavirus testing Axios (David L)

Coronavirus expert: ‘War is an appropriate analogy’ YouTube

Trump now makes the case for Namaste in the time of coronavirus Times of India (J-LS)

Israeli Research Center to Announce It Developed Coronavirus Vaccine Haaretz (David L)

How Does the Coronavirus Test Work? 5 Questions Answered Scientific American (David L)

Coronavirus: some recovered patients may have reduced lung function and are left gasping for air while walking briskly, Hong Kong doctors find South China Morning Post (martha r)

First Covid-19 case happened in November, China government records show – report Guardian (vlade)

Satellite images show Iran has built mass graves amid coronavirus outbreak Guardian (Kevin W)

How Europe is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Subhead: “POLITICO’s country-by-country guide to health, travel and economic measures.” And the latest: Belgium closes schools, bars and restaurants Politico

Coronavirus school closings: Ohio, Maryland, Michigan become first states to shut all K-12 schools USA Today

American Airlines Pilot Tests Positive for Coronavirus Bloomberg

Coronavirus Shows Us America Is Broken New York Magazine (resilc)

Coronavirus leads to Boston Marathon’s only postponement in 124 years: 2020 race pushed back to fall MassLive (martha r)

‘It’s hell in there:’ NYC food stores mobbed amid coronavirus fears New York Post. Here in Birmingham, the CVS was unusually busy for the evening (as in not empty) but all that seemed to be sold out was hand sanitizer and alcohol. Toilet paper supply (which is not big at this CVS, it’s smaller than the average CCS) depleted but not exhausted.

No, New York City Is Not Shutting Down Over the Weekend, Despite What That Viral Text Message Said NY1. Now getting over the top rumors. Mind you, NYC will likely have to go into quasi shutdown at some point, but I don’t see how you do a full shutdown. Among other things, you need to keep the hospitals going. Old people dependent on food deliveries would starve and rot in their apartments. No staff allowed in to handle building ops. Etc.

As coronavirus becomes pandemic, scientists ask if lines on the map hold the key to contagion’s spread South China Morning Post (David L)

Coronavirus could force ISPs to abandon data caps forever TechCrunch. A tiny silver lining.

Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware Krebs on Security (Brian C)

#COVID-19: Markets

Coronavirus trade disruption could start a ‘dash for cash’ Gillian Tett, Financial Times. Important.

Lagarde is right: we’re heading for 2008, or worse Richard Murphy

Congress Nears Stimulus Deal With White House as Wall Street Suffers Rout New York Times

History says stock market unlikely to be rescued by emergency interest rate cuts MarketWatch (resilc)

Oil prices keep tumbling, with no sign of stopping CNN. Kevin W: “Conclusion: There will be cheap fuel for your car. But with lock-down you won’t be able to drive anywhere.”

Bitcoin Drops 50% in Epic Two-Day Tumble Bloomberg


U.S. Strikes Iran-Backed Militias in Iraq Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Federal Judge Orders Release of Chelsea Manning teleSUR English

Imperial Collapse Watch

Are We Nearing the End of the Supercarrier? Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Trump Transition

Poll: Trump gets low marks on handling coronavirus The Hill (resilc). But not much disapproval. But taken before his awful speech and Thursday’s rout.

Inside the Oval Office, a Fierce Fight Over Trump’s Virus Speech Bloomberg. Vlade: “With advisers like these, who needs testing?”

White House Knew Coronavirus Would Be A ‘Major Threat’ — But Response Fell Short NPR (Bob K)

How Trump Made America Far Less Prepared For Coronavirus Vanity Fair (resilc)

Exclusive: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations – sources Reuters (Chuck l). In case you missed it.

Donald Trump is the very worst person to handle the coronavirus crisis Guardian (resilc)

GOP chairman cancels Hunter Biden-related subpoena vote The Hill (UserFriendly)


Bernie Asked About Biden’s Dementia At Town Hall Jimmy Dore. Dore clearly unhappy but per UserFriendly: “I think Bernie’s answer struck just the right amount of diplomatically calling him demented.”

What Bernie Sanders Has That Joe Biden Doesn’t Jonathan Turley (Chuck L)

Why is Corporate Media trying to erase Tulsi? Fox

Saudi Arabia Strikes Back At Russia In Key Oil Market OilPrice

Two CFOs tell a tale of fraud at HealthSouth CFO Magazine (Chuck L)

Google’s Android TV terms hurt Amazon’s Fire TV efforts Protocol. Chuck L: “In a war between Google and Amazon, the comment of Kissinger regarding the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s comes to mind: ‘The ideal outcome would be that they both lose.'”

Guillotine Watch

Super-rich jet off to disaster bunkers amid coronavirus outbreak Guardian (Chuck L)

Class Warfare

How to know if artificial intelligence is about to destroy civilization MIT Technology Review

Antidote du jour. Crittermom: “Photo capture was taken at just under 9,000′ elevation in the Rockies.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. CBBB

    So much for the bitcoin store of value in times of crisis. Of course I see Bit Coin fanatics on Twitter now insisting that they never claim BitCoin was supposed to ever be a store of value.

      1. Leroy R

        I recall reading that Conestoga wagons crossing the continent to settle the West put a silver dollar in the water barrel. It wasn’t for luck.

            1. Wukchumni

              Earth Abides would make for good reading right now, one of my favorite books in the dystopian genre, by one of my favorite authors!

              George Stewart could write about everything from Pickett’s Charge to the Donner Party, natural disasters or the nascent ecological movement, with an amazing grasp of diverse subjects.

    1. Wukchumni

      I mean the damn thing is called cryptocurrency, and it begins with cry, so advocates of online money that really isn’t any better than the usual fiat stuff aside from scoring some heroin or other nebulous task, are natural born moaners.

      1. skippy

        Come on Wuk all national currency is fiat, no different to the inception of markets.

        Inanimate objects only have the agency that social psychology affords it, be it esoteric or other, where right back to Bernays like suggestions about stuff having human signifiers.

        But that’s not to say all the illegal currency trading during the east inde corps day was not a indicator of what environmental notions bequeath on its victims … do have a care with iconography …

        1. Wukchumni

          All fiat currency is faith based, and as long as people believe its all good.

          What’s all this east indie corps claptrap?

          1. skippy

            Sorry law is not based on faith, its force, think you have the agency 180 degrees opposite E.g. gold got its start as a religious bit of iconography before became a physical token of the state [religious].

            IEC reference is to illegal trade in coin, ships Captain to lowly deck hand. Every IEC shipwreck anthropologically studied shows it.

            “Claptrap” – still can’t figure out why someone such as yourself has such a stake in the ground on this matter. Evidence is not supportive of it, necessitates crafting of a ex ante narrative – too force the pieces together.

            Sorry off to work, replies later.

              1. skippy

                Sorry Wuk … but the archeology on ships is conclusive, yes it was banned by the company, never the less everyone and their dog was engaging in it.

                The question many ponder is it was so egregious that the company had to know, yet turned a blind eye.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Sorry skippy, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, the idea that there was money on a boat doesn’t float mine.

                  1. skippy

                    The issue is people [everyone] were blatantly smuggling coinage in full disregard to company law.

                    Its not hard to search up and the physical evidence can’t be dispelled by ideological arguments.

                    My point that coinage is still dictated by law, how its administered and used by people is another story about humans operating in an environment – not the physical object itself.

    2. chad

      Yeah, claiming that bitcoin was never supposed to be a store of value is dumb. I mean…they were so successful in that narrative nobody even has to look it up. Bitcoin fell in precisely the market conditions that it was supposed to succeed in.

      So what DID happen? Why did bitcoin start crashing at the moment the supply chains started breaking down? Do cryptocurrencies hold an unnoticed place in the modern supply chain? I’d assume through drugs if that were true…have the black market supply chains broken down too?

      I’d have a lot of respect if the crypto people went “We were clearly wrong, maybe this is what was happening?” But yeah, this whole “nobody ever said that, honest!” is just shameful.

      1. Susan the other

        great photo crittermom, that pelican looks graceful – they probably take off better in the water when they can just swish those lovely big feet and push themselves out of the water – dispels the trite image of them being klutzy on takeoff.

      2. John k

        You do more than everything in creating a place to find out what is really happening.

  2. WobblyTelomeres

    Re Fast-charging damages electric car batteries

    Suggest a new title: “UC Riverside discovers Battery Tender, files patent”

    1. MLTPB

      Without the patent holy grail, would researchers still have done the same work, with the same energy?

      Maybe. I would hope so.

      Though, they might not have chosen the same career, thus, not have been in the same position to do that work. They might have chosen another field, say, finding new ways to make the world more progressive. It’s all about how we determine rewards ( money or work itself, or fame, etc), and to whom we give the rewards.

      1. xkeyscored

        Occasionally, researchers patent their idea solely to ensure some corporation doesn’t get there first, either to kill it outright or to make it unaffordable to most.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Do you know what a Battery Tender is? You can get one at any auto parts store, WallyWorld, Amazon, with a temperature sensor if you want.

          I’m a big fan of research (two patents, ty, for which Mother Motorola gave me $2), but they are reinventing the wheel. The USPTO will, hopefully, go “Um, no.”

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              I agree with your points. Just wondered if I was presuming knowledge about the specific technology.

          1. hunkerdown

            Almost all “smart” chargers for lithium-type batteries I have seen or heard of lately are simple 3-step devices that apply:
            * a constant conditioning current (usually) 5-10% until voltage rises to a lower safety limit, then
            * a constant charging current of 100% until voltage reaches an upper limit, then
            * as much current as necessary to maintain that voltage until that current drops to (usually) 10% of the constant charging current, then
            * stop. (Lead-acid batteries don’t much mind being float-charged once full. Lithium-ion batteries hate it, and most lithium charge controllers won’t resume charging until the state of charge declines a few percent.)

            Note that the only variables measured and considered by the existing charger are battery voltage vs. thresholds, and charging current vs. an envelope based on battery voltage and fixed limits. Some existing chargers will also consider external cell temperature to slow or stop charging when temperature conditions are unfavorable. But that temperature measurement represents an integral of the battery’s past inability to accept charge, confounded by the ambient environment, and by the time there is anything to see in the temperature readings, wear damage has already occurred.

            It is interesting and not necessarily obvious to the Person Having Ordinary Skill In The Art (patent law’s “reasonable person”) that a better and more immediate reading of the battery’s ability to accept charge instead of generating heat can be obtained by measuring resistance than by measuring the heating effect on each cell’s enclosure surfaces.

      2. John Wright

        The societal value of patents may be exaggerated.

        A lot of development has occurred without the lure of patents (and by ignoring patents, see below)

        One could also suggest that some valuable research may not be pursued because it cannot be patented, which could be viewed as an “opportunity cost” of the patent system.

        In my experience, patents may be used as bargaining chips by large corporations as cross-licensing deals are pursued with other large corporations.

        But patents held by small developers sometimes cause misery to the patent holder.

        See the Wikipedia entry on Edwin Armstrong, the inventor (and patent holder) of FM radio.

        He ended his own life.

        “After his death, a friend of Armstrong estimated that 90 percent of his time was spent on litigation against RCA”

        Another example may be in the Wright Brothers Patent War which has this claim

        “The Wrights’ preoccupation with the legal issue hindered their development of new aircraft designs, and by 1910 Wright aircraft were inferior to those made by other firms in Europe.”

        Also see how the USA ignored British patents during the 19 century.

        “But the Americans had no respect for British intellectual property protections. They had fought for independence to escape the mother country’s suffocating economic restrictions. In their eyes, British technology barriers were a pseudo-colonial ploy to force the United States to serve as a ready source of raw materials and as a captive market for low-end manufactures. While the first U.S. patent act, in 1790, specified that “any person or persons” could file a patent, it was changed in 1793 to make clear that only U.S. citizens could claim U.S. patent protection.”

        See also “The Tragedy of the Anti-Commons” for an argument that patents can inhibit the development of new technology because new researchers can’t economically assemble critical patented technology they need in their new and novel developments.

        1. c_heale

          Definitely in music, copyright has been detrimental to the development of new musical forms. But then the problem is how composers/musicians get paid.

  3. Wukchumni

    People of my hometown #Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian #Covid_19
    Siena was an up and coming city with fabulous architecture when the Black Plague came calling, and kind of got wonderfully stuck in time. They might have sang the same songs during that epoch.

    …past isn’t necessarily prologue

    It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

    1. a different chris

      I was going to note earlier that my favorite Italian city is Siena, not Florence. Somehow seems less tourist-mobbed, the people there seemed a bit warmer. I dunno I could have just been there on a good couple days.

      Just loved sitting in the plaza, the name which escapes me at the moment. Can’t imagine horses charging around that small space, but I guess they did.

      1. chuck roast

        In my dotage I don’t remember the name of the plaza either, but I’ll never forget the nocci that I ate there…molto belli!

  4. FreeMarketApologist

    Scare quotes du jour: “‘It’s hell in there:’ NYC food stores mobbed amid coronavirus fears ” and “she braved the crowds at Trader Joe’s

    Article quotes shoppers at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Costco. 2 yuppie/millennial food fantasy paradises, the other a wet dream for suburban hoarders and bargain hunters.

    I have never been in a Trader Joes in NYC that wasn’t always mobbed. It’s wildly popular, and for good reason – they’ve got good products. The local Morton Williams (60s, east side, not at all a nexus for cool products and shoppers) was a picture of normality last night, with the shelves all well stocked. Fewer customers than usual perhaps, but it was nearly 8pm. Maybe this evening I’ll survey the other ‘regular’ grocery store nearby, Food Emporium, to see how ‘crazy’ their patrons are.

    For a population of people who are concerned about transmission of a virus, why are they mobbing together in a store? The lack of common sense is just astounding.

    Everybody is buying water. What do they think comes out of the tap? And, unless you live above the 6th floor, it does it all by itself, without any assistance (NYC water pressure is all gravity fed from upstate higher altitude reservoirs). If you don’t have H20 in your apartment (even in a high rise), there will be problems that your food stash won’t solve.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      There is no logic in simultaneously hoarding bottled water AND toilet paper.* But when I went to Costco this past weekend, every cart (except mine) was filled with those two things.

      *Do they not understand how their toilets fill?

      1. katiebird

        My husband, who spent several summers in Ecuador, says that most families fill the bathtub everyday to use for flushing the toilet during the hours that tap water is unavailable.

        Not that this will happen here.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I had visions of all the urbanites fleeing NYC for the hills and digging trench latrines willy-nilly with serving spoons. My eyes were rolling nonstop at Costco. Lots of sighing. “Let it go, Wobbly, just let it go.”

          1. MLTPB

            It could be that those fleeing were ones who had ignored the contagion for months, busying with denigrating progress or candidates they opposed, but now fervent converts (most zealous) and survival experts.

            Better late than never.

      2. Winston Smith

        I think if you worry about water supply(?!) it would make more sense to use storage containers with your tap water…

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Or like katiebird’s husband’s experience in Equador, fill a bathtub. But, bottled water makes no sense for 99.99% (number pulled straight from my nether region) of the US/Canada, etc. Flint, sure, but for most of us, the water in the plastic bottles is more dangerous than the stuff coming out of the tap. If you have bad water, buy and install a reverse osmosis filter ($99 at Costco or Amazon, installs in minutes if you can handle an adjustable wrench or slip-joint pliers) or just buy a Brita like everyone else. Cheaper than bottled water and less plastic to guilt ya.

          Civilization is not ending. Like Yves says, the goal is to minimize the number of times you have to venture out. If you have to venture out for work, such as working at the water company (!), just practice basic hygiene. Wash your hands, wear gloves if you can, don’t touch your face without first washing your hands, maintain social distance, wash your hands, if you feel Ill, stay home. And if you have to visit a physician, don’t touch the magazines. And wash your hands.

          Don’t overthink it. Y’all have got this.


          1. Off The Street

            Ominous staycation trend?
            They can have my remote when they pry it from my cold, dead hand?
            Radical idea, people could play board or card games, sing, converse, exercise, read, cook, eat, pray, live, do those things that our ancestors did.

              1. Winston SMith

                As someone put it in the Frontline doc on Bezos Inc, “we are the dat stream”, consumer and consumed

          2. orlbucfan

            When storm season starts down here in FL, we mentally review precautions. The main one is making sure we have enough big containers for water/flushing the toilet, etc.

          3. Jason Boxman

            Based on the reviews I’ve read, a water filter that actually filters much of anything is quite expensive and requires a variety of simultaneous filters for heavy metals, bacteria, and so forth. I’d decided it’s probably better just to drink the tap water as it is.

        2. Procopius

          Minor quibble: I have been lucky enough my whole life that, when I lived in a place that had tap water, it was drinkable. I gather there are now thousands of towns in America where this is not the case.

      3. Oregoncharles

        “Do they not understand how their toilets fill?”

        Once (50 years ago, but little different now) got quite a lesson in that: I was staying at friends’ apartment in an old building, right after the pipes had frozen. To flush, you took a bucket down to the basement and turned on the water, at which point the basement filled up with spray; you selected the biggest spray and filled the bucket from it.

        We don’t get freezes like that very often, but when we do there’s hell to pay.

    2. carl

      Down here; in Texas, the grocery store I went to in the middle of the day, in a pretty well-off part of town, was completely overcrowded and resembled the day before Thanksgiving. Many shelves of staples (rice, beans, spaghetti sauce, etc) were almost empty. Lots of shoppers had full baskets. Saw one Asian woman wearing a stylish looking mask, but no one else was wearing either masks nor gloves. I’m guessing it wasn’t a coincidence that Trump’s speech was the night before. Agree on the water/toilet paper, although our local utility apparently felt compelled to announce that it would be providing services throughout any lockdown. Our annual event, Fiesta San Antonio, is still officially happening, but it’s clear to almost anyone who’s been paying attention that it would be ridiculously irresponsible to encourage people to gather in huge crowds.

      1. flora

        Same here. Went to the supermarket at noon yesterday to shop. Always quiet there on a Thursday noon. The place was packed, as if a huge snowstorm was in the forecast and people were stocking up.

        At my usual morning coffee place yesterday the surrounding chatter included a lot of corona talk, people suddenly taking it very seriously. Prior to yesterday, I heard no mentions of the virus in the surrounding chatter. If T’s talk did nothing else it at least focused everyone’s mind that this is real and serious. (Sanders, imo, had the best talk about what we as a nation should do to combat this pandemic.)

        1. Jason Boxman

          I’ve been picking up stuff every few days for the past 10 days. While I’ve noticed some items picked over, and somewhat more people, it’s not been a complete run on the stores here in Somerville, MA, Davis and Porter Square areas.

      2. Wukchumni

        I like to watch, and it has been interesting to observe people panicking and buying toilet paper in particular, or the results of their pillaging and empty shelves left in their wake.

        When something becomes desirable and you can’t have it, we tend to want it all the more.

        Why would anybody give a damn about Coors beer, it’s pisswater. And yet, because it wasn’t available east of the Rockies in the 70’s, it gained cult status and a sixpack was worth about double that in Denver.

    3. NoOneInParticular

      I’ve seen FB pics from friends showing empty shelves in stores in NYC, and at a Brooklyn Trader Joe’s specifically. In my immigrant corner of B’lyn, however, I have seen no signs of shortages in the local food stores (which are generally not that great in normal times but are at least adequate). So maybe the panic does come from the yuppie/millennials, as FreeMarketApologist put it.

      1. Schmoe

        Upper West Side has some things disappearing. The only canned bans in the organic floor of Fairway were black-eyed peas. Three different brands of them. I guess we know the least favorite legume. First floor also had no canned beans.Yesterday the line outside Traders Joes was ~ 80 people; never saw that.

        1. BobW

          Black-eyed peas is my favorite bean! I have been doing a sort of slo-mo prep for the last few weeks, buying two or three extra cans every few days, and did get some of them. Yesterday was the first time I noticed a shortage – no bleach.

          1. orlbucfan

            Down here in east central FL, there has been no real hysteria to report in the grocery stores. I was scheduled to canvas for Bernie tomorrow and that was cancelled. Hubby works part-time for a NBA team, and the schedule is suspended. I hope all the hysteria is worth it as I hate the Yellow Press!

    4. Chris

      It occurs to me that this is a phenomenon with heavy class overtones that aren’t being widely discussed. If you live in a small apartment you can’t really hoard too much. You can’t take advantage of large bulk buying. And the stuff that has good shelf life and is stable for long periods of time tends to cost a little more and/or taste weird.

      But if you have a 3 car garage, and extra refrigerators, a deep freezer, land to plant crops, your own well water instead of city water…well, you don’t need to be in New Zealand bunker to stay relatively well off compared to your average hourly wage earner.

      It also occurs to me that people worrying about water shortages aren’t worrying about the wrong things.

      Processing facilities of all kinds have reduced their on site staff dramatically in the last 20 years. Some water treatment facilities in smaller municipalities don’t even have local staff. They have contracts with other companies for workers to service their areas on a rotating, as needed basis. And there aren’t that many people who have those skills and training to do the work. It wouldn’t take that many of those people getting sick to start causing a big problem.

      And then you also have all the pollution/contamination issues with places like Flint combined with people who have been conditioned by the market to think tap water is dirty.

      I think we’ll be OK when it comes to power plants and ISPs and fuel facilities. But I wouldn’t be surprised if lots of places find they’re having water issues. Both with processing waste and making sure those on city water have adequate supply.

      P.S. a few nights of semi inebriated discussion have revealed that the ideal medium for a Klobuchar and Buttigieg buddy road trip scenario is a comic strip. Work continues on the dream :)

      1. Billy

        Learn about the SODIS system:

        A clear, not colored, #1 plastic liter bottle, with labels removed and a cap, can act as an emergency water purifier. Put it in full sun for one day, or two cloudy days, and every living thing in it, bacteria and viruses will die.

        The water may still have chemical contaminants in it, or taste horrible, but it will be drinkable.

          1. Billy

            Maybe, the plastic allows wavelengths of light to pass through that glass blocks? Research it, if you are going to bet your life on it.

          2. Old Jake

            It depends on the transparency to ultraviolet light, which is the disinfection agent. If you have Transitions(R) lenses in your glasses, perhaps you’ve noticed that they don’t get dark while you are in a car. That is because the glass is opaque to uv light. Glass pop and beer bottles are likely the same. Here is a case where PET is clearly better.

          3. deplorado

            I found this helpful info in the SODIS manual:

            Box 7: SODIS with glass bottles
            • Different types of glass have different chemical and physical properties.
            Certain types (e.g., quartz glass) have a very high transmittance for UV
            radiation, while other types (e.g., window glass) effectively filter out this
            part of the solar spectrum. All commercial glass bottles used for beverages that were tested so far at Eawag had a UV transmittance comparable to PET bottles, and were, thus, suitable for SODIS. No differences
            were found in studies of glass and PET bottles that compared their SODIS effectiveness ( (Asiimwe et al. 2013).
            • It is possible, however, that certain glass bottles available in target countries have different UV transmittance properties, and we recommend
            testing UV transmittance of locally available bottles before promoting
            them widely for SODIS use. Glass bottles also have certain disadvantages compared to PET bottles which include their greater weight and risk
            of breaking, limited availability in suitable sizes, and the lack of reusable

          4. Oregoncharles

            Glass is a pretty good UV filter, and UV is the most potent sterilizer.

            That’s why you can’t get a tan through a window, unless it’s open. And one reason for covering pictures with glass.

        1. Wukchumni

          Why not just buy a water filter for $75?

          I suggest a Katadyn Hiker Pro, the one I use in the backcountry.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, I’ve been wondering about curb-side trash and recycling pickup. Years ago when I unfortunately lived near Orlando/Florida, the county had switched to a waste collection company (obviously non-union) with trucks that had a single worker, with one of those mechanical arms to pick up the trash. I bet they don’t have much in the way of staff.

      1. flora

        My local story was out of hand sanitizer wipes and purell weeks ago, before it the virus was confirmed in this state. I’m starting to think there are a lot of Milo Minderbinders everywhere. ;)

    5. lordkoos

      I have to marvel at people hoarding toilet paper and water – it’s a virus, not an earthquake.

        1. jrs

          Might be an indication of how many people had the corona virus remind them “oh family blog, not only do I not I have pandemic supplies, I have no earthquake supplies either! Doh! Bad things can happen!’ Yah especially if you live in the ring of fire.

    6. rd

      They can’t tell the difference between a pandemic, hurricane, or earthquake. The Northeast urban areas have very good reliable water supplies. I make sure I have some things available, but bottled water is very low on the list because civilization would virtually have to end before our public water supply would stop functioning. We don’t live in an area subject to hurricane, tornado, or earthquake risks which are what would make me stockpile some water on a permanent basis.

  5. rusti

    Why is Corporate Media trying to erase Tulsi? Fox

    So far Gabbard has gotten 0.1% of the pledged delegates. I donated to her campaign early on and still get daily emails asking for donations with intermittent “woman of color” identity politics stuff sprinkled in. It seems disingenuous to continue asking supporters for money considering she is rapidly approaching mathematical elimination at approximately the same speed as say, Beto O’Rourke. She announced last year that she’s not running for re-election in Congress, so what exactly is the game plan here? I could get behind her message but it’s staring to smell like a grift.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Anyone traveling around talking about MIC, Assange, FISA the way Tulsi does, even if preaching to the choir is far from a bad thing. That said, I dropped support for her candidacy like a hot potato with her public/private option BS. She could have been a contender had she simply embraced and sold Jaypals M4A bill. A bill she signed onto but probably shouldn’t have since she doesn’t mean it.

      1. JohnnySacks

        They just can’t make the sale, it’s disheartening how they refuse to even make an effort to drive the narrative, manufacture the consent, all hands on deck, whatever is needed. A leadership anti-pattern if you will.

    2. Oh

      You don’t have to donate if you don’t want to. Her message is powerful and she’s an honest person. I admire her for her courage. She’s not a grifter.

      1. lordkoos

        I’m really glad Tulsi has stayed in the game, her voice adds a lot IMO. It’s a shame the DNC changed the rules so that she couldn’t participate in the upcoming debate with Bernie and Biden. But then she could have demolished Joe’s campaign in short order — can’t have that!

    3. jrs

      Well she can’t legally keep the money. It will go to the Dem party if it’s not used. Make you smile? Honestly I doubt she’s hauling in much anyway.

  6. Wukchumni

    Why the U.S. is so far behind on coronavirus testing Axios (David L)

    This is just so biased, we managed to pull off 77 Coronavirus tests last week, and while that’s only 1 for every 4 million of us, it’s a start!

    1. Ignacio

      I think it is now too late to complain in the US about tests. As a matter of fact, more testing could even be more harmful if you have to go to a risky place (a hospital). If you want R0 going below 1 isolate yourselves. NOW, not tomorrow. Restaurants, cinemas… everything but the essential shops for needed supplies should be closed. Avoid travels etc. The sooner the better. Denialism and fear aren’t helpful.

      1. MLTPB

        It seems Europe is in worse shape than the US.

        Just the total of Germany, France and Spain is about 10,000. This does not include the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and of course Italy.

        Europe or Western Europe, as a whole, is simliar (order of magnitude wise), in size, population, etc. to the US.

        1. vlade

          There’s no chance that the US has only the ~1k reported cases.

          With the US healthcare/social system (or rather lack of it), I’d not be surprised if a very large number was misreported. You’d have to look at the per-month mortality rates vs “usual”, but data for that won’t be available for a while.

          1. MLTPB

            So far, and things are changing fast, I think there are a total of about 40 US fatalities from covid19.

            Do you know if that total is off by a lot, or even just off by some?

            1. Ignacio

              You will all be surprised when, sooner rather than later, you start to be surrounded with illness. It is already there in WA, and very close in CA, NY or CO. First typically in largest cities, WA is exceptional.

              1. Oh

                What do you mean by “… very close in CA, NY or CO. ” Do you have a factual basis for this statement? And what’s very close?

                1. Ignacio

                  about 1 week or so. Unless you guys practice strict social distancing. Then it may take longer.

                2. Oregoncharles

                  In my particular case, “very close” means an old folks’ home (Veterans!) about 10 miles away. We go to that city all the time.

                  Oregon doesn’t have a high number, yet, bu tit’s also out of tests. The ones we have are sprinkled liberally around the western (populated) half of the state.

                  Good time to be a rancher.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Good time to be a rancher.

                    Hear, here.

                    I’m practically surrounded by 40 million people, and yet there aren’t many around aside from neighbors, on the all cats & no cattle ranch, with a huge buffer zone.

              2. Winston Smith

                The big healthcare companies/corporations have AI folks modeling this as they now have more than sufficient data…they know what is coming. In 2-4 weeks the situation will be radically different than it is now and not for the better…

            2. The Historian

              There is just no way of knowing how many cases there actually are in the US. The CDC website is still reporting 1215 cases and 36 deaths.


              I’ve been watching that Johns Hopkins website and even it is no longer accurate. For instance, earlier this morning it had 1701 cases in the US and 40 deaths. But when I just checked it, it is now saying 1268 cases and 33 deaths.


              The Johns Hopkins website wasn’t working correctly yesterday so I couldn’t get numbers until after 5 PM.

              Other sites are reporting as high as 1832 cases and 41 deaths.

              1. katiebird

                In Kansas, we’ve 5 confirmed cases and one death (COVID-19 was confirmed after death so he never showed up as a confirmed case in life)

                Yesterday Th Johns Hopkins dashboard showed 4 cases but today, none at all.

                So they have garbled something. Might be too much data coming in. And viewing during updates

              2. Winston Smith

                I must apologize in advance but when one mentions the number of cases, it would be useful to use a more accurate terminology-especially in the US where testing capabilities are inadequate. Perhaps reported/confirmed cases? I wonder what the pandemic specialists do in this case…

                1. MLTPB

                  Contrasting reported or confirmed cases with fatalities.

                  Is it not as likely for the latter to be undercounted?

          2. The Historian

            My state is one of the few not reporting any cases. The city I live in has very close ties with Seattle and the San Francisco area so you know Covid-19 must be here already. Our state health department has strict guidelines on who can be tested and, according to our local news, they have done about 90 tests, all apparently negative, which to me seems odd. This is in a state with 1.72 Million people.

            There has been some talk about social distancing and a few events have been shut down, but the Universities are still open as are all the schools and churches. My children have not had any communication from their bosses about what to do if Covid hits their companies and so far, nothing from the schools about any Covid preparation, except “wash your hands”.

            1. OlWillRogers

              I live in Seattle, and travel regularly to work in Alaska. Not knowing if I’m an asymptomatic carrier, and not being able to get tested, makes me leery to make my next trip to Alaska. My work requires face to face contact in some institutional settings, where a virus could spread like wildfire. The state has only one reported case so far, and no institutions (other than schools) have changed their access or contact policies. It’s a sign of the unique times we’re in that I have to worry that I might be a disease vector for a large population when thinking of a ‘routine’ business trip.

      2. Oregoncharles

        A lot of the staff at the local Co-op, where I’m about to do some more stocking up, are friends, and I worry about them. They’re face-to-face with the public all day, and probably not making that much.

        Of course, the same applies to any store, including some with a far more random clientele (not that that ultimately matters.) But it’s an essential job; they deserve hero badges – and protective gear.

      3. Wukchumni

        To put things in a rather awful perspective, the CDC tested 77 Americans last week, while the Utah Jazz tested 58, and found 2 players with the virus.

    2. urblintz

      Hasn’t it been known for quite a while that the best way to flatten the curve is isolation, social distancing and hygiene? Shouldn’t the MSM have been emphasizing that as much if not more than the 24/7 screeching about the tests which weren’t available and often didn’t work?

      Before having a test we are told to isolate and practice the hygiene that can best protect us. If one gets the test and is positive but not sick, they will be instructed with the same isolation and hygiene advisement. Getting the test is inconsequential to the action an individual can take, it’s the same advisement either way.

      I know that testing is important for important reasons. But lacking them, rather than screaming 24/7 about testing “failure” shouldn’t they have been screaming “stay home and away from other people?” And since it is State and local governments that can impose quarantines, etc shouldn’t they have been doing so whether tests were available or not?.. and therefore isn’t it true that the reason our leaders did not immediately shut things down before things got out of hand was… money?

      1. Monty

        I think this incompetence act is just a plausible defense tactic for the actual policy that is, “[family blog] you and your mom, we need to get it over with asap”. At least Boris Johnson is honest about the desire to get herd immunity. He is saying UK needs 60% infected asap.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            I watched that as well. It strikes me Dr. Campbell has been read the riot act. Yesterday, he was all for exhaustive testing as in S. Korea and how control was a legitimate part of delay. Today, he didn’t mention “be proactive” once and was all about self isolating regardless for the good of all.

            The problem with that, particularly the US, is that some people really really need to know. Imagine, for instance, the working stiff who barely has 400 dollars to his name and is trying to support a family. He thinks he might have come down with something. Should he self isolate even though the financial consequences are horrible to even contemplate? Or should he go to work anyway and risk infecting others. How is he to know? If he could go to a drive-through for free, he could find out and if he then tested positive, he would have a lot more motivation to self isolate. Without easy accessibility, he is much more likely to go to work out of necessity and infect others. Multiply that by enough and you overwhelm the system. And it only gets worse from there.

            Some say it can’t be done? Then why is S. Korea doing it?

      2. urblintz

        “Travelers disembarking a plane from Rome to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City on Tuesday said they were not told that they needed to stay home for two weeks, despite a clear policy by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying they should. A woman exposed to the coronavirus at a New York wedding was told by state officials she didn’t need to go into quarantine, even though county officials said she did. In fact, they thought the venue had already called and told her.”

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        Agree completely.

        This pissing and moaning about test kits smells massively political. It’s absurd to insist that more “testing” will somehow provide some sort of a resolution while continuing to jam people together on the subway in ny to keep the “economy” going.

        You can’t have it both ways. If this virus is really the existential crisis that’s being claimed, the only way to get a handle on it is to shut the country down for a month or so. It’s telling that whenever this is suggested by some “scientist” being interviewed on cable, it is immediately torpedoed as too economically devastating. “Public health” concerns are fine as long as you can “work from home.”

        msnbs is hammering on crisis management through the provision of “information.” Well, here’s a piece of vital information for ya. The “healthcare” system in this country is one of rationing to the most “worthy.” There’s nothing “public” or universal about it, and that’s what its defenders love about it. Some get more and better than they deserve, many get nothing, and you can’t change that overnight because all of a sudden sick people are messing up your profit and loss statement.

        Live by the sword, die by the sword.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I don’t think it’s pissing and moaning. I think what people mean, and remember they are frightened and confused or in denial, is some logical approach such as that safe testing (drive-throughs for ex.) should be part of any comprehensive delay program to determine where medical resources should be moved around and applied based on density and degree of infection and need. And that goes equally for crafting the implementation and degree of social distancing needed in different areas and for getting appropriate resources to people who need them, especially here in the US where many simply don’t, repeat DO NOT, have the financial means to self isolate.

          1. urblintz

            I am not arguing against the test, I am arguing for the measures that we know work. Seems to me that no one really has the “means” to self-isolate for longer than their last paycheck so indeed, money is the reason why they have not asserted the only thing that can stop this while screaming about test “failures.” If we don’t have the means to do the testing, that fact cant be wished away and so everyone should be in lockdown because that will slow down what everyone is screaming about testing for. Of course we would want to know through testing how to best administer resources but the tests aren’t there. Yet people are screaming that tests will make the difference. I dont buy it. If money is scarce (it isn’t of course – deficits don’t matter) then money spent on testing now would better be spent building hospital beds and PPE for the people who weren’t told to isolate but to wait for a test instead. They can drop 1.7 trillion on the bond market but can’t come up with pennies for the poor that might make self isolating easier…

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              Well, we all feel strongly one way or another. But it is certain that without “screaming,” as you put it, particularly in the US, we probably won’t get either; testing or new hospital beds.

              I think testing, lock downs when absolutely necessary, and moving medical personnel resources where needed in such a large country might be considerably cheaper (not to mention more practical) than building new hospital units and trying to staff them, not that new units aren’t needed. Staff is something else. We can’t easily increase medical personnel everywhere at once, but space is more realistic and would work hand in hand with knowledge of where to focus such resources – assuming we have ways – that is testing- of determining that.

              1. urblintz

                I do not disagree but since we dont have the testing people should be locked down, seems to me…

                … and it is uninfected and low risk individuals who should be locked down the most: “A very simple toy model (SIR w/ high- & low-risk subcategories) captures this idea. Low-risk individuals are a majority & protective measures for this group can be critical for public health.”


                I am all for “screaming” at people to “stay home and don’t go near other people” whether they have been tested or not…

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            No one is suggesting that everyone in the u.s. be tested or that testing be done of statistically significant nationwide samples, both of which could conceivably provide information useful in determining the actual extent / progression of the disease or the deployment of scarce medical resources.

            Instead, the hysteria is because those who “want” the test or think they “need” it because they may have been exposed cannot get it. Aided and abetted by a mercenary media, this leads to epidemiologically worthless, headlne-grabbing, panic-inducing, whack-a-mole reactions like the national guard lockdown of New Rochelle, NY while public transportation in nyc continues to operate.

            There are concerns that while swabbing people is relatively easy, accurately analyzing those samples is not, and there may be a shortage of testing reagents as a result of our decades-long policy of deindustralization. Obviously those should not be squandered.

            My point was that the american “healthcare” system has never been about a “healthy” population, and it cannot turn on a dime to make it so. Current commentary is still lamenting the “death” of the cruise ship industry in the same breath as horrified proclamations of a global pandemic, which is what would be expected in a society that treats “healthcare,” first and foremost, as an investment opportunity.

            In order to deal with this crisis, we are going to have to make “healthcare” / economic choices that are diametrically opposed to the ones we have been making and justifying for decades. So far it doesn’t look like we’re willing to make them.

            1. urblintz

              Say it!!!!

              “the hysteria is because those who “want” the test or think they “need” it because they may have been exposed cannot get it. Aided and abetted by a mercenary media, this leads to epidemiologically worthless, headlne-grabbing, panic-inducing, whack-a-mole reactions like the national guard lockdown of New Rochelle, NY while public transportation in nyc continues to operate.”

              1. flora

                I have a different take, not so much on the media issue but on the public response part.

                All the economists who think markets solve problems so only minimal govt needed, all the politicians to believe in tiny govt, all this neoliberal belief system for the past 40 years, still, in the back of their minds thought the govt could step in and do what a decently functioning govt in a large rich country was able to do 40 years ago (before the neolibs slowly defunded the govt). They are shocked to learn the defunding has defunded the parts of govt they suddenly need. The anger and hysteria is twofold: that their neoliberal ideology has possibly lethal real world consequences; and they themselves will suffer the consequences. That’s my 2 cents.

                (There’s a reason libertarianism and neoliberalism are both described as a juvenile philosophy.)

                1. eg

                  I think you are right on in your analysis of what has happened to the country over those 40 years; I am less convinced that those economists have learned anything

            2. Brooklin Bridge

              I have to agree in the main, you make perfect sense. You sound like you know a good deal more than I do, but it would seem to me that of all the possible tools we might have or want to have for dealing with this, testing, would be the cheapest. I have to wonder why can S. Korea do it and not the US? And as to accuracy, it has been stated fairly convincingly that even relatively accurate tests would go a long way to bringing down the case load, since no mater what anyone says, a shot gun approach to self isolation is going to be very very hard to extract from large segments of the population and to ask that of people with few or no resources without even knowing if it’s really needed or not is going to be self defeating.

              I’ve said more than enough on the subject and apologize. I’ll stop here.

        2. Oh

          Even if they have more testing than currently, these jokers will cry that it’s not enough; or they’ll complain that the tests are not good. There’s too much misinformation being spread around and it’s hard to discern fact from fiction.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            In the US we have almost NO testing. It’s hard to sustain accusations of cry baby under those conditions.

            1. jrs

              It may be too late for tests to matter much. But of course there were real problems with tests when it mattered.

          2. Wukchumni

            What if we parceled out the Salk vaccine to 77 people a week in the 50’s, would anybody have been upset by the idea that Polio was lurking and the possibility of living out your life in an iron lung loomed large?

          1. urblintz

            respectfully, it’s already too big of an issue in minds that were led to believe it was some sort of panacea…

        3. Tim

          Look, disruption has to have a valid rationale for people to volunteer it. We lack that rationale without the testing.

          Health scientists are clearly stating that the lack of testing has made us too slow to react and it will increase the number infected, and correspondingly the number that die.

          Criticism of the lack of test is not political, people will die because of it, but I do acknowledge it will have political reprocussions.

          If hindsight shows that 100,000s of people died because we were too slow to react due to the lack of testing it will not go unoticed at the polls.

          And for every individual that dies of this, that the testing was intentionally or unintentionally delayed, the CDC was underfunded, the international pandemic support was disbanded, that will be responded to at the polls.

      4. jrs

        Well the test could have enabled containment maybe, now it’s just going to spread and the only question is not overfilling the hospitals. Its’ pretty bleak.

  7. allan

    Trump passes coronavirus test with flying colors: Goodwin [NY Post]

    Just dropping this Michael Goodwin op-ed from Murdoch-land yesterday because it gives a clue to the
    wall of slavish sycophancy that Trump is surrounded by.

    Big and bold, optimistic and compassionate. President Trump’s Oval Office address was exactly what America needed to hear

    This is what it looks like when a president rises up to meet a crisis head-on. …

    Trump probably really does think that anybody who needs to be to tested,
    and everybody entering the country, is tested.

    1. xkeyscored

      I thought for one disappointed moment Trump had been tested for the virus and been pronounced negative. No, the article says his message about tests is wonderful. We can still live in hope.

  8. Dita

    Thanks for pointing out how unlikely it is NYC will be cut off. The way people are acting you’d think supplies will be airdropped into Central Park and we’ll all have to fight for it

      1. Dita

        “Survivor” would be a good title for that show, but it’s already taken.
        Have you seen Escape from New York?

  9. Samuel Conner

    Canada’s “First Lady” confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis:égoire-trudeau-canadian-prime-minister-justin-trudeaus-wife-tests-positive-for-coronavirus

    NYT has a recent (minutes ago) item titled virus “reaches into halls of power around the world”

    Even DJT ought to be in isolation, given his contact some days ago with a now-diagnosed case in Brazil.

    (The thought occurs that DJT sounded like he had something “upper-respiratory” going on during “The Speech” Wednesday… Perhaps the entire WH team will be infected. That would concentrate minds.

    Perhaps leaders will start taking public health seriously, and will notice the objective value (to them) of having a medical system that can keep the entire population healthy. Or maybe it’s the 10% who will take notice; they can’t afford concierge care and a sicker population is more likely in a pandemic to “break” the health system that they will need to be functioning well for their own sake.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Poking around the JHU pandemic dashboard last night, it looks to me like there may have been some data revisions in the “recovered” category in China (or else my fat fingers mistyped Wednesday’s data), but the China ex Hubei proxy for mortality rate ( #died/(#died + # recovered), which is rapidly turning into a retrospective case fatality rate as the number of unresolved cases is rapidly declining) is still, at ~0.9%, looking hopeful compared with the ugly numbers in the regions whose medical systems were overwhelmed.

      Singapore is an interesting case: approaching 200 confirmed cases, of which almost 100 recovered, and no fatalities . I think that Singapore does not have a single-payer style system, but whatever they are doing (presumably aggressive social distancing), it is working really well.

      Comparing Canada with US ex Washington State (to exclude the nursing home cluster which has a very high mortality rate), as of 9PM Thursday night, the “fatality rate in cases with known end state” was about 19% for US and about 11% for Canada. These ratios are sure to eventually fall as more cases reach the “recovered” state (it has been consistently falling even in the calamity zone Hubei, China) and the comparison is iffy at the moment because the numbers are small (for example, the Canada numbers are 8 recovered and 1 death).

      The number of diagnosed cases in Canada is rising significantly more slowly than in US; US numbers hard to interpret due to the inadequate testing regime.

      A prior remark about the Dandekar tweet comparing US with Italy, that wondered what US government was doing that would lead one to believe that US confirmed cases would not exceed 3000 by Saint Patrick’s day, is starting to look optimistic.

      1. urdsama

        My only concern with using China’s data as any indicator of COVID-19 behavior is they were not honest and up front in the beginning, so it is hard to trust their data now.

        The data from Singapore is encouraging, but they are such a unique case in so many ways I’m not sure how well it tracks. Also, if I remember correctly, they are essentially on the equator which adds the warm / hot weather factor (which may be COVID-19’s biggest climate based weakness).

        I’d be curious to see the same type of data sets out of S. Korea.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Places like Qatar are getting slammed pretty hard by Coronavirus and they are not noted for their cold climes.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I never got that far north, but Cairns is humid. Sydney even when stinking hot, not. Australia is largely a desert.

            Thailand is stinking hot all the time, humid too, tons of tourism with China (which they discretely cut way back early on, barred all the cheap tours that bring lots of Chinese in) and they have had comparatively few infections.

            Also even when you have very hot days, unless you have a prolonged heat spell, the night temps often drop to 70 degrees or lower.

            So you may need heat + humidity.

    2. Rod

      (The thought occurs that DJT sounded like he had something “upper-respiratory” going on during “The Speech” Wednesday… Perhaps the entire WH team will be infected. That would concentrate minds.

      Glad to see you noted this. I was listening instead of watching and noticed the labor in his breathing also, turned to watching, and thought the same. Maybe because he was mouth breathing?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        He was trying to read and breathe at the same time? My wife remarked that he was using some large words…

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        I try to keep my screen in color bar compliance, but the cheeto looked like it was painted orange and I had to check my settings. Never seen anything like it outside of George Hamilton’s early attempts at a winter tan.

  10. The Rev Kev


    Happy to see so many people in Water Cooler already locking themselves down and actively using to use the time to enrich themselves. But I feel that I have to say something that may make me a Debbie Downer. If this flu pandemic follows the normal pattern, then we will be seeing two or three waves of it until a vaccine is developed to fight it.

    That being the case, what I am saying is that the present first wave should be treated as a “full dress rehearsal” for the next wave in the northern hemisphere when flu season arrives again. With mutations, this second wave may be even more lethal like it was a century ago. Our flu season is still about three months off in the southern hemisphere so it will be our turn in the barrel before then.

    Thus it might be an idea to have a notebook or computer text file for “Lessons Learned” to capture everything that we have learned and what we would be doing different in the next wave and what we would be doing more of. This is not an assignment but just a suggestion of what to do. And who knows? Such a booklet may become a valued family memento in the years to come.

    1. katiebird

      My brother and I have been talking about this likelihood. Wondering about how to manage sick leave. Other issues. He’s a Seattle bus driver and home for two weeks. So he’s giving it all a lot of thought.

    2. Krystyn Walentka

      Yes, and it seems this virus could have a worse second wave like the Spanish flu did. Note the Spanish flu’s first wave was not as deadly and started in January. The second wave that came in the fall was much much worse. We need to make sure people do not get complacent.

      1. Monty

        As predicted, Global cases (ex china) doubled to 50,000 in the last 6 days, even with the very low amount of tests. 100,000 expected by next Wednesday evening, 200,000 the following Tuesday. etc. Extrapolate the trend to July and everyone that’s going to get it has got it, or had it. After that it has got nowhere to go. The survivors clean up the mess and the global economy reflates.

        1. urdsama

          Nowhere to go? Even Yves has pointed out chances are good it will be in the Southern Hemisphere for their winter, and possibly rebound back to the Northern Hemisphere for the next winter in the north.

          7 billion plus people gives COVID-19 a massive target size.

          1. Monty

            Run the numbers, its so infectious at that 6 day doubling rate 50,000 will include everyone by August. That’s 23 doublings from now.

            One penny doubled every day for 30 days gives you $5,368,709.12

            1. urdsama

              I don’t think the math on that is correct based on how different areas are showing different infection rates.

              The biggest hurdle to dealing effectively with COVID-19 is the lack of solid data. Right now I don’t think anyone is able to project how this will play out with any confidence.

              1. Monty

                Global cases (ex china) are doubling every six days even with inadequate testing. That is a fact. At some point, an intervention or change in behavior may reduce the growth in new infections, and the doubling will slow. Left to its own devices, with no change in our behavior, you can extrapolate 6 day doubling period until the virus runs out of hosts.

                1. urdsama

                  How can it be a “fact” if we can’t validate the data (i.e. inadequate testing)? We can’t do any useful extrapolation if the underlying data is incomplete / faulty. One can’t predict when doubling will slow because actual pockets of COVID-19 and “non” pockets of COVID-19 are not properly understood or tracked. One can’t extrapolate the 6 day doubling period because we don’t know which areas are already compromised.

                  Garbage in, garbage out.

                  1. Massinissa

                    Look, if we aren’t testing enough people, and its still having this kind of effect, chances are the outcome will be worse than the projection, not better. Its basic math.

        2. ambrit

          If this is something that can be caught multiple times, or it mutates like the “common cold” and presents in each “season” with a new version to be fought off, then this pathogen will become endemic. A sort of “Super Flu.”
          One thing that this pandemic is showing up clearly is the generally low level of governmental competence around the world.
          The loss of faith in “public” institutions will be profound.

            1. Monty

              Lets cross that bridge when we come to it. Psychologically, it’s important to focus on getting yourself to the light at the end of the tunnel, instead of conjuring extra monsters to worry about, especially ones you are powerless to overcome.

  11. Burns

    That New York Magazine article about broken America is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever read. It makes a solid argument for doing your deep research and emigrating to a country that just works on a fundamental level. Do you think “I’m a refugee…from the United States” is a valid argument?

    1. AndrewJ

      And where would that be? Turns out most other nations don’t actually want your average (i.e. poor, non-accredited) Anerican citizen moping about looking for the same work and social support their people are looking for. Funny how that works. We’re “supposed” to be the shining beacon on the hill, a safe and welcoming destination for refugees regardless of talent, but flipped around, the rest of the planet sure don’t look that way to those of us who realize how broken our national government and culture is and want to get out of it.
      I don’t think emigration is an option.

      1. Burns

        I agree, emigration isn’t really an option for the vast majority of Americans. It’s not viable for most, either financially or culturally.

        I was mostly just being cheeky at the idea that someone could claim refugee status as a citizen of the failed American state.

      2. xkeyscored

        Surely the Mexican drug gangs’d let you use one of their tunnels, in exchange for a fee, of course? You could then make your way to a nice job picking fruit in Central America.

    1. lordkoos

      I can’t recall the source but I read that if it’s like SARS, I think it was 30% of severe cases went on to have permanent damage to lungs and immune system. Pretty scary.

  12. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: “Statins starve cancer cells to death”

    So glad this is finally seeing the light of day, but not for obvious reasons. You see, berberine, found in many herbs like Goldenseal Root acts like kind of like a statin and has been shown to inhibit cancer cells.

    Also, the tumor suppressor gene they mutated, PTEN, it uses Magnesium as a cofactor so, yeah, magnesium might help fend off cancer as well. I have great PTEN genetics which is probably why only one person in my large lineage has had cancer.

    I wish these doctors would spend less time researching cures for cancer and more time on prevention.

    1. Oh

      Prevention will not help their pocketbooks. Where will they get money for their new Mercedes Benz or BMW?

  13. MT_Bill

    Germany – my brother-in-law skyped with us yesterday and told us that in downtown Munich they had drive-thru testing available. Maybe it varies by state?

    Montana – panic shopping finally took hold. TP is gone, some cold meds were out, and of all the horrors, I could not find a single bag of tater-tots in the entire store. We’re keeping the kids out of daycare and working from home. We’re having widespread influenza and RSV at the moment, so prudent for multiple reasons.

    Can’t remember if I read it here or at ZH, but “2 weeks from now, what will you wish you did today” is our current organizing principle.

  14. Krystyn Walentka

    I think I might have found a good place to park my mobile house for now. I arrived in Charleston, SC a few days ago and read today that MUSC now offering drive-thru sample collection in Charleston for coronavirus-like symptoms!


    You need to have a doctors note, but better than nothing. Charleston is money, big money, so this is no surprise.

    On another personal note, I am kind of stuck right now. No idea what will happen to me and all the others living in vehicles when a lockdown happens. A friend who is on a bunch of AirBnB forums said owners are reporting a huge spike in cancellations. I can only hope that it means cheaper housing might be available soon. But it might get difficult to find a bathroom or take a shower if the Starbucks and Planet Fitness’s start closing. There are several national and state parks near the Chapel Hill area so I might just squat in those. It is also a place where I have many friends and they already offered their facilities. So yeah, community is crucial. Always remember that. I just can’t imagine what people are doing who do not have the social support.

    I have been hearing nothing in any bills put before congress that mention anything about the homeless, so eugenics for us I guess.

    1. Michael

      I wonder if AirBnB is going to refund any cancellation fees. Some deadlines for partial refunds occur long before travel may take place esp overseas. Otherwise your $ is gone.

      We had to book AirBnB in San Sebastian for June trip as availability for anything was very limited. Still wondering about flying into Madrid in 3 months. Usually use or a few others due to free cancellation policy.

      Any one cancelled a booking and received any messages regarding fees?

    2. anon y'mouse

      full service truck stops have showers. you have to rent them, but they have them. you can frequently get a membership card that will give you free showers after so much outlayed in purchases (gas, not sure about other merchandise).

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Yeah, I use them, but if they close I will have to break in. Plus they are $12 a shower. I have a Planet Fitness membership as well. But again, if they close…

  15. Tom Stone

    ret news about Chelsea Manning, she is an impressive woman and the way she has been treated is a National disgrace.

    1. Expat2Uruguay

      I am very happy to hear about this as well. But Chelsea Manning is not a woman. She’s transgender.

      1. Joey

        Current usage does not require the qualifying T word to be used. It’s wordy, and unnecessarily specific save those seeking reproductive interactions.

        1. Billy

          …Go ask Darwin, I think he’ll know,
          when logic and proportion are a no show,
          let the recently minted words show…

          My dog demands we treat him like a human,
          but he can’t raise the kids,
          breast feed them or tie a knot.
          He does like Lady Gaga, just like Bradley.

    2. xkeyscored

      The judge ordered her immediate release, I believe. Yet she appears to still be incarcerated. Do any lawyerly types understand this? Does immediate mean imminent, as in possible at some point down the road?

  16. timbers

    Bernie Asked About Biden’s Dementia At Town Hall Jimmy Dore. Dore clearly unhappy but per UserFriendly: “I think Bernie’s answer struck just the right amount of diplomatically calling him demented.”

    Watched this, didn’t turn off youtube as I multi tasked, it went directly to Tucker Carlson explaining Bernie has only himself to blame for being weak and losing to his Dementia opponent.

    Frustrating you have to hear this type of truth so often from Republicans.

    1. The Rev Kev

      You want worse? Here is another Jimmy Dore 10:36 video (some swearing) that I mentioned in Water Cooler called “Bernie Declares “Biden Can Beat Trump!” WTF!?!?” Seriously, Bernie actually said that. You can see the pained expressions on Jimmy Dore, Graham Elwood & Stef Zamorano’s faces-

    2. integer

      Well, on the bright side it looks like I’m going to win the $20 bet (at +400 odds) that I placed last October on Biden becoming the D nominee.

      1. RMO

        I don’t think Sanders ever had a real chance to win the nomination no matter what. The DNC has made it clear as day that they don’t need to run a fair contest or even follow their own rules and they don’t want him to win. If he had picked up a lot more delegates the party would have needed to pull of such a glaringly obvious cheat to deny him the nomination in the end which would have made it clear to millions of voters just how corrupt they really are but that would have been the only difference.

        1. urblintz

          “…would have needed to pull of such a glaringly obvious cheat…”

          i think they did just that…

  17. David Carl Grimes

    Has anyone tried to compare and contrast Biden’s Coronavirus plan with Bernie’s? I keep on hearing that it sounds very Presidential but the news reports provide almost no details. I can’t stand to watch Biden by myself without throwing up in my mouth but maybe someone here has the intestinal fortitude to do so.

    1. carl

      Other than the free testing, he was pretty vague compared to Bernie. Spouted off a lot of platitudes about relying on science and experts. I frankly didn’t finish the last seven minutes of it because it sounded so typically “politicianish.” And of course, put in a plug for his website (which he has, apparently, learned to pronounce).

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Short on tongue-tying, brain-taxing details, but long on boldness and compassion for the paycheck to paycheck crowd. I got the impression there’s plenty of money laying around for boldness and compassion as long as it’s not Bernie’s idea.

  18. Samuel Conner

    Gardening suppliers not letting the crisis go to waste.

    An email from Hoss Tools (no financial interest to declare) pointing out the resilience value of growing one’s own food.

    I’ve mentioned it in the past, but perhaps is worth noting again — it’s time to start digging (though the mild winter in many places probably never froze the ground hard)

    The most robust spading fork (all metal, fork welded to the handle) I have encountered (I have stack of old forks broken at the fork/handle join) is the Lesche “King of Spades” spading fork.

    Here’s an image (and a better price than I have previously found)

    unsurprisingly, they are “out of stock” at the moment. The maker is domestic US; wonder if their parts supply has been interrupted.

  19. Mikerw0

    I would be most interested to see a serious discussion start here, and what would be an excellent post by Yves, on what the economic response should be.

    I have concluded that anything short of just immediately sending cash to every citizen is the only answer. And by cash I mean their median income by state. We need a large scale blunt fiscal response to get through this. Then people can service debts, leases, etc. Similarly, every business below a certain employment size should get the same treatment.

    Washington incrementalism, parsed as targeted response, won’t work.

    1. MLTPB

      Some sort of basic income, not job guarantee, in this case.

      Yang would be the guy.

      He’s out now.

      1. tegnost

        Your landlord (if you have one) would be super excited if you got a basic income as s/he would certainly raise the rent.

        1. MLTPB

          In this case, when people can not get out when self isolating, what other options do we have?

          Send people money. Likely they keep all. Maybe rent control. Maybe hard for all landlords to raise all at the same time. Maybe grocery stores raise prices, and not landlords. Maybe SAT pre schools raise. Maybe parking tickets get more expensive. Perhaps hand sanitizers.

          Or dont send money. And people don’t keep anything from what might have been.

      2. Billy

        The downside of UBI?

        “Sure we’ll give you a UBI, but you will not get a check, you’ll get a credit to a special bank account that can only be accessed via an implanted chip. Oh, and we’re getting rid of cash, to guarantee everyone’s UBI, fight terrorism, cartels and to obtain higher taxes to pay for the UBI.”

        What could go wrong?

        1. notabanktoadie

          The “666” argument? In that case, you’re a Bible believer and in that case you should be advised that we are REQUIRED to do justice and what is just about government privileges for a usury cartel that allows the systematic looting and oppression of the non-rich?

          So the population is DUE restitution along with reform of the finance system along ethical lines.

          This is not to be taken as an endorsement of a UBI but of an equal Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare.

          1. Billy

            I’m an atheist, not a bible thumper. They are chipping employees, dogs and all the technology exists.

            “Wouldn’t it be nice” vs existing technology and financial, power and control motivations. Guess which one comes first?

          2. Wukchumni

            When we were really primitive and afraid of the dark, the number 13 was considered so unlucky that presently you’ll not find a 13th floor on many hotels, and even the letter ‘B’ was quite sinister, as it resembled 13.

            Worrying about 666 is kind of similar to 444 if you were Chinese, as it translates in their numerology as Death-Death-Death, but means bupkis to us.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I have been thinking the same in terms of the necessity of broad fiscal stimulus aimed at the base of the economic “pyramid”, the consumers. It’s not hard to intuit that there is going to be a large “expenditure multiplier” effect from the reduction in activity, starting with consumers.

      MMT may “come into its own” this year out of necessity. Perhaps DJT will authorize “The Coin” and order the Fed to accept it in exchange for reserves credited to the Treasury reserve account at the Fed. This would be an obvious way for DJT to both productively respond to the economic crisis, help to buoy the equities markets, and govern to the left of both Biden and Sanders.


      Any GOP operatives reading this?

      1. Socal Rhino

        Not a GOP operative — I think Naomi Klein has the game plan worked out. It will be a buying opportunity for those few able to pounce on it.

    3. Samuel Conner

      Perhaps the States will get in front of the Federal government on this (as they have already done in terms of social distancing), but as they (unlike the central govt) are indeed fundamentally budget-constrained, it will take a less effective form.

      I read yesterday that NY is offering zero-interest loans to small businesses; I think the point is to help them sustain employment in order to avoid a collapse in income leading to a collapse in consumer expenditure and so on downward.

    4. Kurtismayfield

      A postponement, refinancing of every mortgage in the country for 6 months to a year.. postpone the payments and have the Fed’s pick up the interest.

      A property tax holiday with Federal support for locals and states.

      And Social security for all for the next 6 months.

      1. MLTPB

        Mortgage postponement relateds to homeowners, directly.

        Property tax holiday…homeowners as well, directly. Will landlords pass it on, seeing they don’t hesitate to raise rents with basic income.

        Social security for all….that sound like basic income

    5. eg

      The Canadian Federal government announced today a 10 Billion $CAD credit facility for businesses affected by the coronavirus — I would guess that the US equivalent of such a thing (given that it’s about 10 times our size) would be in the order of 70 Billion $USD

      That’s in addition to a second 50 basis point cut by the Bank of Canada, bringing the benchmark rate to 0.75%

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Are We Nearing the End of the Supercarrier?”

    I just had the thought a little while ago that these supercarriers are the equivalent of the Floating Fortresses as described in the book “1984.” Would you believe that two years ago the Wall Street Journal actually suggested converting supertankers into Floating Fortresses to bolster America’s naval power? I went looking for the passage describing these Floating Fortresses in the book “1984” and will quote the whole passage that it is embedded in as it is so remarkable-

    ‘The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another. By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter — set him in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call ‘the proles’. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.’

    1. xkeyscored

      One of his less prescient passages. Do our elites live “an austere, laborious kind of life”? Do the 10% count themselves lucky to possess a lump of horseflesh?
      But yes, war and its attendant industries do divert resources we might otherwise do something useful with.

      1. notabanktoadie

        But yes, war and its attendant industries do divert resources we might otherwise do something useful with. xkeyscored

        But jawbs!

        Hence the folly of a focus on wage labor rather than on justice.

    2. orlbucfan

      How about putting all the wasted monies on this war garbage into rebuilding our poor country!!?!

  21. jfleni

    RE: Are We Nearing the End of the Supercarrier?

    If not, we should be! These tubs have mesmerised Uncle Sam’s
    canoe club for almost a century; time they were gone, especially
    in the age of drones which can do everything without pilots and their supporting $$$$$$$ tubs.

    1. Bill Carson

      “Everyone agrees that big carriers are good, so if the money is there then the Navy will continue to build Ford-class carriers after the USS Doris Miller.”

      I don’t agree. I think they’re obsolete now, as evidenced by the fact that the U.S. Navy is the only country on earth that has a fleet of them. USN has eleven nuclear-powered supercarriers and about as many of the smaller attack ships. The only other navy in the world with a nuclear-powered supercarrier is France, and they have ONE. Russia has one non-nuclear aircraft carrier and it is in very poor condition. China will soon have two, built in the mold of Russia’s.

      The United States continues to build for the last war it won—WWII—which ended 75 years ago.

      It is time that someone conducted a genuine study of the real threats facing the USA and redesigned the DoD to address those threats. Threats like the Coronavirus. Threats like unfettered asylum-seeking immigrants caused by global instability caused by the USA fighting the world as though it were still fighting Admiral Yamamoto.

      The United States does not need 450 aerial refueling tankers when the most that any other country on earth has is something like 20.

  22. eyebear

    Regarding tests in Germany

    If your doctor – a GP in most cases – doesn’t use the “right” wording on a prescription, he is sending a hidden sign to the authorities, that it’s not necessary to test you, because you seem to be visitor from the planet hysteria. If the doctor uses the right wording, you are offered the test immedietly and without arguing.

    1. MLTPB


      What kind of right wording?

      How much are planter hysteria visitors impacting truly needed testing?

      1. urblintz

        and if you get the test and pay $1000+ for it and test positive, what will they tell you to do? Go home and isolate… the same thing they tell you to do without the test.

        People think a negative test will allow them to carry on as normal and that is sure to spread the virus more. It’s people who are not infected and not at high risk that should be quarantined the most: “A very simple toy model (SIR w/ high- & low-risk subcategories) captures this idea. Low-risk individuals are a majority & protective measures for this group can be critical for public health.”

      2. eyebear

        Don’t know the price for private labs – a number of 300,- euros is coming to my mind; but that’s not for sure. The price for the public health insurance is a little bit below 54,- euros. Just saw the number and thought it seemed appropriate for the moment.

        If you are privately insured a doctor is allowed to invoice six times the price of the public health insurance. You have to be informed about the price before the treatment begins.

        The private labs are kept secret in the moment – a GP or the local health authorities take the swab and send’s it to a lab.

        The GP is the entrance everyone has to go through. Only in a case of a sudden need you would call the emergency services.

        1. vlade

          Thanks. In the Czech Republic, the private test costs ~25USD. That is, until the govt closed the lab because it was testing the people that the GPs refused to send for a test (due to the testing policy in place then), and came up with a few cases (later confirmed by other labs).

          Apparently, the public healthcare test there costs closer to 200USD to the state, so someone’s making a big buck somewhere.

  23. a different chris

    Aircraft carriers are so over. But we’re still going to build more! Gotta feed the MIC. But this quote, and I’m sure it was given to the writer by some full-bird Colonel’s PR hack at least, takes the cake:

    Larger carriers are more efficient at generating flying sorties than smaller carriers, and more sorties means more more aircraft in the air—and meaning wars are won quickly.

    What was the last war we won quickly? Grenada? This nearly made me snort my coffee out of my nose. The cancellation of the draft plus the “thanks for your service” insanity put our military poobahs in a world of their own. Wish we didn’t have to pay for it.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I was wondering about the potential of carriers becoming carriers in a cruise ship style.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Trump now makes the case for Namaste in the time of coronavirus”

    Why adopt Namaste? We already have something in western tradition that is available. Remember seeing in those films how in earlier centuries the elite would give a slight bow to each other? Why not re-adopt that again. I am not saying that we bring back the curtsy for women as I see no reason why women cannot bow either. No contact necessary like the ridiculous elbow bump, for example, which could still spread flu viruses.

    1. JTee

      Why not use the still in use hand raise, with or without accompanying “hey” or the slight head nod of acknowledgement. Too bumpkiny? Both are simple, easy, traditional and still widely practiced, at least in these United States. Namaste? Um, no thanks.

    2. xkeyscored

      It was only a few days ago, IIRR, that NC had a link to a story about Namaste being illegal in Alabama, or at least its schools, along with yoga, as they “would amount to a tacit endorsement of a “non-Christian” belief.” Will The Don become the latest POTUS to tackle civil rights in the deep south?

      “Under the proposed law, the introduction of yoga would be at the discretion of local school systems. It would be stripped of its spiritual aspects and non-English terminology. So while various stretching poses would be allowed, “namaste” would remain verboten, as would using chants or mantras.”

  25. Expat2uruguay

    So I consulted the latitude map of the world and see that Uruguay is within the 30 to 50 latitude danger zone. I have been considering a migration strategy of avoiding the Coronavirus and my top candidates are Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. I would appreciate any thoughts people have on how to research these countries in terms of quality of life, Healthcare, political and economic stability, Etc. The sources I used to select Uruguay were the CIA Factbook and international living articles. (I now realize that international living articles are a useless source.) This is an encouraging article about Peru:

    1. xkeyscored

      Have you seen anything ‘official’ or ‘scientific’ about this “30 to 50 latitude danger zone”? It’s been my hunch for a while, but the scientific consensus appears to be “we still don’t know.”

    2. lordkoos

      There are many websites that cater to expats or wannabee expats if you search around. I have a friend living in Peru, older guy who married a Peruvian woman. He likes it there but doesn’t like the politics much… of course that is a problem in most places. I have another friend who moved to Ecuador with his girlfriend two years ago and they seem pretty happy there, living near Loja, a smaller city. They both have gotten permanent residency (green card). Uruguay probably is one of the most stable countries in S.A. but more expensive than Peru or Ecuador. Columbia might be OK too.

      Can someone expand on this “latitude zone” thing? It’s the first I’ve heard of it.

    3. Trick Shroadé

      Finding a place you want to live is only half he battle. The other half is finding a place that wants you to live there. For example Portugal is happy to welcome you and give you a golden visa if you invest $500k. So what can you bring to the table?

  26. urblintz

    “The Malthusian power elite of Big Capital used to talk like this only in the privacy of their country clubs. Now they just write it openly. Here’s Jeremy Warner, “business” writer for The Telegraph: “From an entirely disinterested economic perspective, COVID-19 might even prove mildly BENEFICIAL in the long term by disproportionately CULLING elderly dependents”.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I hope that Jeremy is aware that Coronavirus is only one mutation away from targeting the young and the healthy like its predecessor did back in 1918. He wrote about the 1918 flu pandemic in that “Telegraph” article but forgot to mention that aspect of it. Idjut.

      1. Larry Y

        Don’t even have to go back that far. There’s a virus much closer in time and in genetics: the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 vs. SARS-CoV-1).

        1. jrs

          The millenials need therapy. They have too many mommy and daddy issues, which is what the boomers are. Maybe helicopter parenting was a bad idea. Maybe they are all about the inheritance and can’t wait.

          1. notabanktoadie

            Maybe they are all about the inheritance and can’t wait.

            Who can blame them since they were screwed over by the processes (e.g. unethical finance) that created those inheritances in the first place?

          2. Massinissa

            As a millennial, I for one love my parents, thanks. And I don’t want them to die from this family blogging virus.

  27. russell1200

    Katie Porter gets us free testing:

    from a text response I got from someone involved with Consumer Protection issues when I send them the link above:

    “Yes! Katie Porter’s a professor of consumer protection law and a real rock star!! She’s grilled CFPB director Kathleen Kraninger numerous times and made clear that Kraninger didn’t understand APR (annual percentage rate) interest in the context of the Truth in Lending Act, which is a staple of CP law and one of the fundamental laws CFPB enforces.”

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus leads to Boston Marathon’s only postponement in 124 years: 2020 race pushed back to fall (report)”

    At least with this interruption to the Boston Marathon, you won’t have the police going house to house looking for Coronavirus victims and forcing everybody to come out of their homes at gunpoint with their arms in the air.

  29. PlutoniumKun

    Latest news – Bolsonaro has tested positive for the virus. Just a week ago he was describing it as a hoax. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

    And of course he was standing right beside Trump just a few days ago.

    1. vlade

      Did he cough a few times?

      You know, I’m a bit sad that it had to come to this for my “The laws of nature always win” to catch up with people like Bolsonaro, Trump and Johnson. We got a whole generation of people – not just leaders – who believe in magic in the sense that if you ignore it hard enough and wish for something else, it will happen.

      You can’t sweet talk gravity to stop working.

    2. Samuel Conner

      One wonders if the President will submit to testing. He sounded like he was having respiratory symptoms during “The Speech” Wednesday — I was listening but not watching and he seemed to me a bit breathless and sniffly.

      As of yesterday, there seems to be resistance to the idea that US executive branch senior leadership has been exposed:

      I guess we’ll know in a week or two.

      I miss “The President Show” — there is so much new material for AA to work with.

      1. carl

        Totally agree with your take on Trump. I watched and he seemed completely different from the way he normally sounds. Maybe part of it was trying to project gravitas, which is foreign to him, but my partner and I both thought he might be ill as well.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Bolsonaro – “couldn’t happen to a nicer person”? I can do you one better. The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, tested positive on Friday. He is the chinless wonder that helped topple the previous Prime Minister so that he could grab power for himself. A real hard-right politician who nobody would ever vote for.

      And the cherry on the topping here? He got it in America as he had just returned from there – days after meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr and Ivanka Trump.

    4. Wyoming

      And now the Brazilian govt is saying that he is negative.

      Probably going to be a lot of this. Just like the administration saying that they have not tested Trump – that would be malpractice pretty much.

  30. antidlc

    Ep. 50: What They Know About Uncle Joe RUMBLE with MICHAEL MOORE

    There is one reason why Joe Biden has emerged as the Democratic frontrunner – the concept of “electability.” While all of the exit polls show that Bernie Sanders’ policy ideas are the most popular among voters, Joe Biden is winning races on the strength of his perceived ability to defeat Donald Trump. But is he really the “safe” and “electable” choice?

    Michael Moore discusses the major flaws behind this thinking, including revealing conversations he’s had with Democratic officials and media insiders.

    They know about Joe. But that’s OK. He’ll have a smart “brainiac” woman as backup.That’s the plan. Campaign being pressured to announce VP quickly.

    Listen to the whole thing.

    1. lordkoos

      Prediction: Kamala Harris, woman of color, young, etc. The fact that she’s a corporate tool will not make any difference with never Trumpers

  31. tongorad

    It appears that all local colleges and unis here in San Antonio, TX have been cancelled next week, and will be going to online instruction after that.
    I work for the largest public school district in the area, and we’re back to class on Monday.
    San Antonio is the 7th largest city and the US, and supposedly there’s no cases of the virus yet. Of course, with no testing, who knows?
    My local supermarket was sold out of TP and paper towels, and I noticed empty shelves throughout the store.
    I guess a lot of people are planning to sit at home for a while, staring at their stacks of TP, as I got off to my virus incubator/classroom on Monday. Yay!

    1. carl

      Denial is strong right now among the PTB in San Antonio, while the people are getting the message more quickly.

    2. amfortas the hippie

      we’re at the oncology clinic in san antone
      oncologist told wife to stay home, and also said that we’d prolly not have to worry about such decisions, since she expects statewide school closures by monday
      they’re questioning folk at the door about fever etc and limiting you to one accompanying person

      meanwhile, boys are cleaning the quarantine cabin(a room in the delapidated trailerhouse/library) for cousin and his kid coming from houston
      strange days

      nothing obviously weird about san antonio, save for more early traffic outbound than usual
      more clinic people in masks

      1. amfortas the hippie

        sitting in the car waiting for gov abbott to speak at noon
        news station has rush limburger in the interim
        says that coronavirus is a chinese weapon hoax to bring down america
        millions of people listen to that guy even now
        hurts my ears

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        All the best to your wife, and of course you too. Much admiration for your spirit in trying times. The updates are much appreciated!

      1. pretzelattack

        some dallas grocery stores completely out of certain products like toilet paper. trader joes with empty shelves in frozen food and refrigerated food. not many wearing masks, but today’s traffic was light even at rush hour.

    1. judy2shoes

      make it illegal for cities like South Bend & Indianapolis to enact paid sick leave for its residents

      Yep. Nip the spread of compassion in the bud.

  32. Kurt Sperry

    If DNC liberals were in charge, paying for Covid-19 tests would involve complex eligibility and means testing requirements, Kafkaesque bureaucratic gatekeeping, and at the end of all that, the benefit as a tax credit rather than an actual reimbursement.

    1. Jason Boxman

      What I respect about Republicans is their response is simply: “go die”. At least they’re honest and upfront. They didn’t even want to pass any kind of stimulus bill at all, even weak sauce!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Liberals and Republicans are both deathly afraid of helping people who desperately need help by giving them “free stuff”. The Republicans are honest and basically clear that they want people to go quietly die, whereas the liberals want to subject them to an endlessly bureaucratic, means-tested hellscape guarded by an army of well-paid, college degreed, civil service workers or private insurance bureaucrats whose only reason to exist is to deny people help before they go die.

  33. Expat2Uruguay

    When one of my local friends told me Cuba had developed a Coronavirus vaccine I was incredulous. Then she sent me an article.
    I tried to do my own research on this but nothing would come up. I was able to find another example of Cuban medical innovation, a treatment for lung cancer that’s is similar to a vaccine.

    Maybe someone who has better internet research skills can find some more information?

    1. Youngblood

      The first site you linked is a little misleading. What Cuba is providing to China is not a vaccine, although they describe it as such in the headline and beginning of the article. Cuba is supplying Interferon 2B, which is a signalling protein that is known to boost the human immunoresponce to viruses.

      This particular biopharmaceutical was discovered in a European academic lab and its commercial production was developed by a US company (Biogen). Not sure if Cuba’s international charity of providing the drug to China comstitutes patent violation.

    2. xkeyscored

      It appears they are developing a vaccine, and are producing a drug which is being used in China, apparently with good results.

      Worldwide, public and private laboratories … are investing in the development of a vaccine capable of protecting the population against coronavirus. But although they have not yet reached a fully effective immunizer, Cuban laboratories are the ones that are in the most advanced stages of testing.
      Cuba has also created a drug, Interferon alfa 2B (IFNrec), produced since January 25 at its Chang-Heber factory, located in the city of Changchun, in Jilin province, China, as a way of supporting the Chinese government in fighting the coronavirus .
      So far, the drug has managed to cure more than 1,500 patients and is one of 30 drugs chosen by the National Health Commission of China to cure the respiratory condition.

      Interferon alfa 2B is not a new drug. According to Fiocruz, it has been used in patients with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, leukemia and others. According to UOL, in his Twitter account, Díaz-Canel celebrated the day before the use of the Cuban medicine that has been produced since January 25 at the Cuban Chinese factory Chang-Heber, located in the city of Changchun, Jilin province, China .
      [‘fake news’/overhype/misunderstanding in that URL and the article’s title]

  34. The Rev Kev

    “How to know if artificial intelligence is about to destroy civilization”

    We will know that when artificial intelligence on a computer gets to the point that it learns to laugh!

    1. xkeyscored

      I have noticed a distinct lack of the usual comments here lately about the dangers of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, both of which have been used for research into SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

      Has this virus changed people’s minds? Will we cease to see “Technology caused climate change so we mustn’t use it to combat climate change”?

      1. MLTPB

        Perhaps this – technology enabled mass travel.

        We mustn’t have more of that.

        What has changed, in people’s minds, I guess, is that now, everyone else, even one’s friends, can have something that is not healthy to you.

        ‘Stay back!! Not 5 feet. More.’

      2. Aumua

        Technology notwithstanding, I’m more of mind to say that “Capitalism caused climate change so we shouldn’t try and use it to combat climate change”.

    2. Susan the other

      maybe when AI can laugh till it cries… my first thought is, It isn’t AI we should worry about, it is all the propaganda AI is fed. If we had an AI computer dedicated to a clean environment – dedicated like a Puritan – we’d get some interesting advice – “If you do that Dave, you will kill off the micro biome. And then you will die.”

  35. marym

    “Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services.

    In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs.”

        1. MLTPB

          Thanks. I’m going to read up more on the declaration.

          The headline of months into crisis declaring emergency is, I think, well, unrealistic.

          The declaration can be argued to be a few days or a couple of weeks too late, not months. (The timing is Ok by me, and I am glad to see it.) And the crisis itself is only one here after the Italian outbreak, some time after Feb 1, 2020.

          Recall this was not an issue for many at the time of the debate before New Hampshire, after the government.

  36. RubyDog

    Some facts for your perusal –

    1) Official deaths from Covid-19 over approximately 3 months = 5065

    2) Average DAILY deaths from motor vehicle accidents worldwide = 3287

    #1 = Worldwide panic

    #2 = Total complacency

    One could make a credible argument that the social distancing and reduced travel as a response to the pandemic will actually save more lives from reduced accidents than will be lost from the virus.

    It’s not my intent to minimize the seriousness of Covid-19, and the potential for ongoing and future harm is certainly substantial. It does seem a lot of worst case scenarios are being constantly floated, but no one really knows or can predict the ultimate outcome.

    1. Wukchumni

      It has been well over a century, and we’re used to the risk-reward ratio of driving and potentially dying in car wrecks, it comes with the territory, an ode to the road if you will-a known unknown that doesn’t faze us.

      1. RMO

        There’s no “total complacency” regarding automobile accident deaths. Over the past several decades there has been a massive push worldwide to enact new standards and regulations, redesign roads, redesign cars, act to reduce drunk driving, increase seatbelt use etc. and it has paid off with a large reduction in injuries and deaths despite the increased number of vehicles on the road.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Of course, the motor vehicle fatalities do not include those badly injured but saved because the health care system was functioning as it normally does.

      If the health care system in any region becomes overburdened with COVID-19 supportive and intensive care patients, there will be less (or perhaps even no) spare capacity to deal with other emergencies and one can expect the death rate from every other cause to rise for that reason.

      I think that “alarm” and aggressive measures are entirely appropriate. China avoided a mass casualty event (imagine Hubei’s ~2% case fatality rate multiplied by a notional 70% infection rate of China’s population) by its strong measures. I hope that US and Europe and rest of world can do as well.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Another way of thinking about this is that, at least in US, the health care system is intentionally “right sized” to not have a lot of under-utilized spare capacity (“spare capacity” being “investment that does not provide return”). One really can’t, or shouldn’t, compare conventional mortality causes with an event that would undermine the premises on which the conventional mortality expectations are based.

        Fatality rates per auto accident (and for every other medical incident requiring inpatient intervention, and perhaps even outpatient) would rise if the medical system were for any reason to run out of capacity to provide care.

    3. lordkoos

      I see these kind of comments frequently online. It is still early days for this pandemic, and what happens next winter is a giant unknown.

      1. Monty

        Yes, I’ve seen it too. It’s a woefully bad take. Car accidents are not likely to grow x512 in the next 60 days.

        Watch what happens as you double 1c.

        Day 1: $.01
        Day 2: $.02
        Day 3: $.04
        Day 4: $.08
        Day 5: $.16
        Day 6: $.32
        Day 7: $.64
        Day 8: $1.28
        Day 9: $2.56
        Day 10: $5.12
        Day 11: $10.24
        Day 12: $20.48
        Day 13: $40.96
        Day 14: $81.92
        Day 15: $163.84
        Day 16: $327.68
        Day 17: $655.36
        Day 18: $1,310.72
        Day 19: $2,621.44
        Day 20:$5,242.88
        Day 21: $10,485.76
        Day 22: $20.971.52
        Day 23: $41,943.04
        Day 24: $83,886.08
        Day 25: $167,772.16
        Day 26: $335,544.32
        Day 27: $671,088.64
        Day 28: $1,342,177.28
        Day 29: $2,684,354.56
        Day 30: $5,368,709.12

    4. ewmayer

      Really? The immense human effort and sums of money spent over the past century-plus on the development of traffic signals, lane markers, guard rails, center medians, retaining walls, water/sand crash-absorption barriers, signaling lights, seat belts, airbags, crumple zones in car frames, roll-cage construction, child safety seats, anti-DUI enforcement, antilock braking systems, etc, strike you as “Total complacency”?

      And comparing absolute numbers is silly – it’s about *trends*. How many Covid-19 deaths were there in November, December, January, February and so far in March? There were probably idiots like you making similar “arguments” – just not online – in the early days of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

      And after minimizing the seriousness of Covid-19 via a “car accidents kill more people” comparison, you close with “It’s not my intent to minimize the seriousness of Covid-19…”. Any more inanities you care to share with us this fine day?

    5. Massinissa

      This is why people need to be taught math in school. Too many people havn’t seen graphs before and don’t know what ‘exponential growth’ means.

      Look at an exponential growth graph, ANY exponential growth graph, pretend it says ‘Coronavirus first six months’ on the bottom or something, and pretend the first half is the first 3 months and the second half is the last 3 months, and notice how the second half in the graph is NOT a linear progression from the first half.

      I don’t mean to be rude here, I really absolutely don’t, but this is just beginning to get super aggravating to me. I’m not even good at math myself, but this is so basic.

  37. Expat2uruguay

    What is the density of Physicians and hospital beds in different countries? My research for a migration strategy to combat Coronavirus led me to an interesting set of data from the CIA World Factbook. The first number is for the number of Physicians per 1,000 people, followed by the year of the assessment, and the second number is the number of hospital beds per 1000 people, followed by the year of that assessment.

    Germany 4.21 during 2016, 8.8 during 2013
    France 3.23 during 2016, 6.5 during 2013
    UK 2.81 during 2017. 2.8 during 2013
    Italy 4.09 during 2017, 3.4 during 2012
    China 1.79 during 2015, 4.2 during 2012
    US 2.59 during 2016, 2.9 during 2013
    India 0.78 during 2017, 0.7 during 2011
    Iran 1.14 during 2015. 0.2 during 2014
    Uruguay 5.05 during 2017, 2.8 during 2013 Costa Rica 1.15 during 2013, 1.1 during 2014

    Wow! There’s some huge differences in those numbers, and India looks super scary!
    According to the World Health Organization on hospital bed density:

    This entry provides the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people; it serves as a general measure of inpatient service availability. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In most cases, beds for both acute and chronic care are included. Because the level of inpatient services required for individual countries depends on several factors – such as demographic issues and the burden of disease – there is no global target for the number of hospital beds per country. So, while 2 beds per 1,000 in one country may be sufficient, 2 beds per 1,000 in another may be woefully inadequate because of the number of people hospitalized by disease.

    And on physician density:

    This entry gives the number of medical doctors (physicians), including generalist and specialist medical practitioners, per 1,000 of the population. Medical doctors are defined as doctors that study, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness, disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans through the application of modern medicine. They also plan, supervise, and evaluate care and treatment plans by other health care providers. The World Health Organization estimates that fewer than 2.3 health workers (physicians, nurses, and midwives only) per 1,000 would be insufficient to achieve coverage of primary healthcare needs.

    (notice that that the WHO recommendation of 2.3 health workers, includes nurses whereas the numbers given in the table are for Physicians only.)
    I guess the number of hospital beds can be ramped-up if you can procure the supplies. Also, some of these assessments are 7 to 9 years out of date. :(

  38. John k

    ACBL hosts three bridge nationals each year at rotating cities, typically brings together a few thousand players from all over the world for ten days, spring version scheduled to begin end March in Columbus, Oh, and now cancelled bc Oh gov banned gatherings over 100.
    Was going to attend bc young grandkids not far away, changed mind before announcement.
    Local club still open though some closing for duration.
    Time for my hermit act.

  39. Susan the other

    Two links. Richard Murphy conferring with Prof. Stephanie Kelton – a good dynamic duo. She says we should anticipate a doubling of the US deficit to 2Tr$ as we spend our way out of this pandemic. The pandemic itself, imo, will cure the economy (of gross hoarding and greed) if infusions of money are therapeutic. And it seems they are but we need to make sure the majority of this money gets to the grassroots – otherwise we’ll have a complete implosion of “free marketeering” because there won’t be enough trees left to cut down to turn into paper to print money. Or enough electronic digits to mine. We managed to get ourselves into a blind spot where we thought it really didn’t require lotsa liquidity – just enough for the elite – so we let them loot and hoard. But in a world of 8 billion people when the elite logjam the “liquidity” while juicing prices, the water behind the dam builds up exponentially… as the vast majority of people are ignored. Enter Gandalf. (Stephanie Kelton). Lovely that Richard Murphy understands MMT like he was born to it. And the other link: Johathan Turley. What’s not to love about JT? Why are there so few people willing to simply tell the truth? He is both rare and priceless. And so is Bernie.

  40. cripes

    Payroll tax relief disproportionally benefits high income earners and undermines SS trust fund while offering nothing to the unemployed, underemployed, low wage and “independent contractor” gig workers who will be decimated by layoffs and demand crash.

    Same with airlines, cruise ships and hoteliers/

    $2000 to every head of household in US costs $246 billion and will provide income for a couple of months as this thing unfolds and jumpstart economy

    By all means, employ means testing to ensure it gets to those who need it most and will spend into the economy!

  41. John Anthony La Pietra

    If anyone’s interested, the page shown below has a link to a statement by a Green Party Presidential candidate on what to do about the coronavirus situation in the US available via. As I write this post, that link is at the top of this news-list page:

    I give this general news page rather than the link to the specific post partly because it’s probably a good place to see positions from other candidates as they come out. (Also, I’ve just been elected the Green Party of Michigan’s Elections Co-ordinator for this year, so with that bigger role in the Green Party “establishment”, I’m extra-cautious about playing favories.)

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