Links 3/14/2020

Wild Video of Sloth Giving Birth Shows Baby ‘Bungee-Jumping’ With Umbilical Cord Science (Ian P)

Madagascar’s mysterious, lemur-eating cats started as ship stowaways Science (martha r)

Exclusive: ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries National Geographic (Chuck L)

Monsanto Secretly Funded Glyphosate Studies, Watchdog Finds EcoWatch

How sperm unpack dad’s genome so it can merge with mom’s PhysOrg

#COVID-19. In Alabama, the governor declared a state of emergency at 5:00 PM on Friday. The governor admitted only to two confirmed cases, one in Montgomery, one in Jefferson County (the later had come back from abroad, no country reported; I bet the Montgomery one picked it up in Washington DC at the CPAC or AIPAC conference). Fox at that time said three others being tested; right after, a contacts with an MD daughter who had not heard the news said were are three cases at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham’s medical complex) but they didn’t want to say to the public. Now six confirmed cases; reporting one in Tuscaloosa. All K-12 schools will close for 2 and a half weeks starting end of day Wednesday. Also heard from an MD contact that UAB is refusing to test members of their system (they run a large HMO) unless they are inpatient. Drive up testing starting tomorrow at a private lab in Vestavia, however. More details here; note number of performances closing (and not closing….). Also note other areas starting to get drive by testing: Local hospitals launch drive-up COVID-19 testing Albuquerque Journal

Trump declares US national emergency for coronavirus Financial Times. Subhead: “Markets soar as president authorises actions including large purchases of oil”

CT-Scans and X-Rays Display the Damage to the Lungs of COVID-19 Patients Interesting Engineering. A question of incentives. Nevertheless: “A recent study of over 1,000 patients, published in Radiology, discovered that CT scans were the best method for diagnosing coronavirus at an early stage and that it should be the primary screening method.”

The Guy Who Wore a Giant Donut in Public to Enforce Social Distancing Is the Hero We Need Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Mass monkey brawl highlights coronavirus effect on Thailand tourism Guardian

Govt makes surgical masks and hand sanitizers ‘essential commodities’ Times of India (J-LS). To prevent price gouging.

South Korea’s coronavirus response is the opposite of China and Italy – and it’s working South China Morning Post (David L)

Europe Is Now the ‘Epicenter’ of the Coronavirus Pandemic, WHO Says CNBC

European countries search for ventilators as virus cases surge Financial Times

U.S. hospitals brace for ‘tremendous strain’ from new virus Associated Press (martha r)

Failed State Yasha Levine

Coronavirus: Why systemic problems leave the US at risk BBC (resilc)

How Many Adults Are at Risk of Serious Illness If Infected with Coronavirus? KFF

Coronavirus vaccine clinical trial starting without usual animal data STAT (martha r)

Biohackers Are on a Secret Hunt for the Coronavirus Vaccine DIY biologists propose creating a public domain SARS-CoV-2 vaccine with $25,000 in funding. Reason (JTM)

How one company made $208m on an untested coronavirus vaccine STAT (martha r)

Cancelations and Rising Confusion: This Week’s Coronavirus News Undark (martha r)

Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch Departures (David L)

Coronavirus: Survival of the Richest! Jonathan Pie, YouTube

You can now take up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer through airport security The Verge (resilc)

Baltimore Neighborhood Quarantine Response Teams GoogleDocs (Chuck L)

‘We are not cattle’ Albuquerque Journal

Seattle Symphony Announces Free Video Broadcasts and Livestreams Seattle Symphony (furzy)

#COVId-19 Politics

House will vote Friday on coronavirus relief bill, Pelosi says — with or without Trump’s backing Washington Post. Furzy: “Um, how about free health care if you ARE sick?”

What are the health coverage provisions in the House coronavirus bill? Brookings. Important.

Responding to Coronavirus Pandemic, Trump Eliminates Interest on US Students Loans Politico

Trump’s Coronavirus Presser Was an In-Kind Contribution to Joe Biden’s Campaign Charles Pierce, Esquire

Trump condemns CDC for lack of coronavirus testing, blames Obama NBC (J-LS)

The former director of the CDC is calling for an investigation into coronavirus testing failures: ‘Something went wrong’ Business Insider (David L)

Jerry Falwell Jr. says coronavirus is North Korea-China weapon to hurt Trump The Hill

US Intel Agencies Played Unsettling Role in Classified Coronavirus Response Plan Mint Press (Chuck L)

Contrary to Trump’s claim, Google is not building a nationwide coronavirus screening website The Verge


China’s rise may not be inevitable Asia Times (Kevin W)


Brussels places fishing rights at heart of draft trade treaty with UK Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Judge Releases Manning After Suicide Attempt, Effectively Fines Her Supporters $256,000 Caitlin Johnstone

Trump Transition

Pentagon ‘Wishes To Reconsider’ $10 Billion JEDI Contract Given To Microsoft CNN

US-Mexico border: Pregnant woman from Guatemala dies after fall from wall BBC


Young People Aren’t Apathetic. They’re Facing Major Voting Obstacles Vice (furzy)

Ballot-mailing blocked in Maricopa County; Biden not tested for coronavirus Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Louisiana Shifts Presidential Primary Back to June 20 Amid Rising Coronavirus Concern Frontloading HQ (UserFriendly)

Nobel prize winning economist Robert Shiller says this economic disruption is different Quartz (David L)

Elon Musk reportedly told SpaceX employees they have a much higher chance of dying in a car crash than from the coronavirus Business Insider. Kevin W: “Well, maybe more so in one of his cars.”

Private Equity-Backed Nursing Homes Are Bad for Patients, Research Shows Institutional Investor (Chuck L). Quelle surprise!

Apple Closes All Its Stores Outside China Over Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

Delta Cuts Flights by Most Ever, Seeks U.S. Aid Amid Coronavirus Bloomberg

Bayer Advances Toward Resolving Roundup Litigation Wall Street Journal

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – The End of the Beginning – Crash of 2020 Jesse

Class Warfare

Notes on the Myth of Working Class Racism (2) Policy Tensor (UserFriendly). Today’s must read.

From Dan K:

Antidote du jour. Lee: “The Leisure Class”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. WheresOurTeddy

        the silence on the “whoops we found 44 precincts in Texas we didn’t count” story has been deafening.

        especially in left media.

        1. Dan

          I’ve come to believe that a large portion of left media is in on the conspiracy. I imagine a lot of left media personalities are somehow involved with intel. I have no proof of this.

          The best way to defeat the opposition is to lead it.

    1. Vastydeep

      If we believe the stats on Github (roughly 1% fatality rate, cases doubling every 4.5 days, 5% of cases require ICU, and 22.7 days from contact to decease) and from the Johns Hopkins map (7 fatalities yesterday), then those 7 fatalities indicate about 173,000 active cases in the US today. That many cases would eventually require 8,600 ICU beds, or about 9% of 95,000-bed our national ICU capacity.

      Of course all of these numbers are estimates, and loosely assume uniform (not clustered) incidence of outbreaks. But if such a model is roughly correct and we reach a day with 23 fatalities, then the cases that produced those 23 fatalities will put us at >100% of national ICU capacity.

      These are just models, and there’s a lot of wiggle in all these numbers. But errors and inaccuracies aside, this really is a “not me, US” outbreak. The best we can do now is make that “days to double” number get big with social distancing. That might keep our healthcare system below capacity, and produce time for a vaccine for our most vulnerable. Partying on will bring us that “illimitable dominion” thing that Poe wrote about.

        1. epynonymous

          Radio reports in MA said that our hospitals here are reguarly at 75% capacity.

          Interviewee declined to state is certain hospitals are reguarly above that threshold, and said the above stat is the recorded average for the commonwealth.

          1. blowncue

            I have a friend outside of Boston who is doing well for the moment but was told he would be waitlisted for testing from MA DPH. I was on the phone with multiple entities trying to find someone who could collect samples and get them to Quest or LabCorp.

      1. Lee

        Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant states in podcast I linked below that current modeling indicates that for a prolonged period of time 20% of the U.K. workforce will be too too ill with Covid-19 to work.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Do not propagate disinformation. It is a violation of our site Policies.

        We have said REPEATEDLY that naive computations of the death rare are incorrect when infection rates are rising.

        China’s CDC says the case fatality rate is 3.4%. WHO broadly confirms.

        A data nerd put up a piece and it shows big difference in case fatality rates between countries that had SARS (and thus respond quickly enough to flatten the curve and be able to treat a high % of serious cases) v. the rest.

        1. Vastydeep

          Indeed, I do not wish to claim any validity on any data or findings. But we all wonder — just how widespread is COVID-19? There’s a very simple model that you may consider: it’s fine for calculating bacteria in agar – but caveat emptor for US cases.

          So if you can determine that some “n_people” people died in the US of COVID-19 yesterday, you can guess the number of active cases in the US with the following guesstimates and equation:

          Active_Cases = (n_people / fatality_rate) * 2 to_the_power_of (number_of_days_from infection_to_death / doubling_rate_in_days).

          I’ll offer that it’s remarkable that so many things have shut down so quickly. Two “data nerds” were probably helpful in moving this forward: First: Trevor Bedford, and the Seattle Flu Study, who back on Feb. 29 tweeted “I believe we’re facing an already substantial outbreak in Washington State that was not detected until now due to narrow case definition requiring direct travel to China.” Second: Tomas Pueyo, whose “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now” apparently got 72 million views in 72 hours after publishing and may have helped get some wheels turning as well. There are lots of different factors and none of us really knows what the numbers are, so (via the precautionary principle) let’s all stay inside…

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            You presented a vastly too low a death rate. Of countries with significant numbers of cases, that has only been achieved in South Korea (most people discount China’s claims for the death rate outside Hubei). Reading between the lines of comments from doctors in South Korea, that is because they have the bandwidth and the willingness to make full bore efforts to save anyone with a bad case. Italy by contrast isn’t treating any old people now as part of their triage (except Berlusconi, wonder how that will go over). I anticipate other medical systems won’t expend much energy trying to save old people.

            We don’t even know how many people died of COVID-19. Readers have said in Germany they are pretty sure the death #s are low due to classifying a death as anything else if there was a serious co-morbidity (say someone with COPD). Old people die of pneumonia all the time, most of all during the regular flu season. Some of those deaths in Feb may have been COVID-19 and not caught.

          2. flora

            How wide spread? Hard to tell, what with the Covid-19 virus test so hard to access in the US at present. And that (a failure to confirm or deny) is in itself is somewhat the point of current statistical failings, n’est-ce pas ?

  1. Judith

    Thanks Yves for your dedicated coverage of the coronavirus. I imagine it is incredibly stressful for you to focus so intently on this. I appreciate all the helpful information I am finding here.

    1. Tropos

      Seconded. There is no way we would have prepared here and warned people so emphatically if it weren’t for this blog’s coverage.

      1. The Historian

        Thirded! I am so glad that Yves was on this early with good information. Because of NC I was able to prepare early for this epidemic and am not now scrambling trying to figure out what to do!

        1. Wukchumni

          Yes indeed!

          The constant flow of stories allowed me to mentally and physically prepare for an onslaught of onerous news so far ahead of the curve, so I could go about getting things done in a leisurely fashion, as opposed to attempting to do so after the crowd finally figured things out for themselves.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Same here. All the stories that Yves has put up convinced me that this was not some sort of panic about nothing on my part but a reaction to something that has not been seen in a century. Many thanks.

        2. katiebird

          I know! We are as ready as can be ( I am sure something was forgotten) to stay hunkered down for a while.

          Now I just have to worry about my kids and siblings who have to go out to work.

          1. Mason

            You guys picked up the ball so much faster than main-stream media. Keep up the fight and thanks Yves for the great content!

            2 1/2 months of food and limited PPE equipment, will try calling hospitals and see if they need volunteers. Otherwise might deliver food for the elderly who knows.

        3. Aumua

          Even up to 5 or 6 days ago you can find me on here saying “it’s all overblown and stupid”. But then it kind of dawned on me.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            TBH i still do but my grandparents are in Lambeth House in New Orleans which is a swanky retirement community in the Garden District. My grandma is in Independent living where there are 3 confirmed cases. She seems to be ok. My grandpa is in the assisted living facility located adjacent to the independent living section. He’s 84, had a stroke 2/3 years ago, and susceptible to infection I believe.

            My grandpas my hero so if anything happens to him I’ll be absolutely devastated. Thinking about it makes me tear up.

            Dr. Joe Park Poe MUST LIVE!!!

      2. Janie

        Echoing, our family appreciates your reporting. We have been preparing for a couple of weeks and are now hunkering down. Best wishes to all in the NC community.

    2. Chris

      Yep, I’m grateful for the coverage too. There were enough posts and news articles and suggestions collected here that I could make my own decision about what was reasonable to do to prepare for the quarantine and social shutdown. Not many other places were offering the same level of information and discussion.

      1. Dalepues

        Exactly. NC has had the best coverage of any “news” site.

        My home is in Mobile, Al, but I am currently in Medellín Colombia, lodged in a hotel with mostly international travelers. So far no one has fallen ill. We were told this morning by a very alert receptionist that if we do suspect we are becoming ill or are showing symptoms, the hotel will contact the authorities and they will send someone to administer a test here.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      agree, the info has been invaluable in shaping the response of my workplace to the situation. others seemed pretty oblivious before I started sharing links.

    4. BobW

      Yes I was able to do some level of prep and so social isolate, since in an at-risk group (over 65, COPD).

    5. Susan the other

      Yves, it’s that you know what not to ignore. You didn’t dismiss all this as covid-19 hysteria. I think a test for knowing what not to ignore could be a useful test for everyone in the media. Followed closely by knowing what to definitely just ignore. NC never wasted a minute of my time. Ever.

  2. Wukchumni

    Exclusive: ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries National Geographic
    Very reminiscent of the book The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit and Death by Steven Naifeh.

    In the early 80’s, a fellow named Mark Hoffman in Salt Lake City kept coming up with early Mormon documents-amazing stuff, the only problem being that he had made them all himself, and the ultimate one was called ‘the White Salamander Letter’, which had Joseph Smith being led to the golden plates by a cold blooded reptile, which is never good for your dogma, so the LDS wanted to buy it and bury it, while the jack Mormons were interested for just the opposite reason. Hoffman was clever to a point, but things started unraveling, and he planted bombs in SLC and killed and wounded some folks including maiming himself.

    1. MLTPB

      I’m reminded of a possible missing Leonardo painting, La Bella Princepessa.

      Is it genuine, a19th century forgery, or something else?

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Frankly, I’d expect anything called “Museum of the Bible” to be a grievous source of superstitious malarkey and misinformation.

  3. Ignacio

    Another case of sheer stupidity: dozens of thousand of Madrilenians (epicenter of epidemics in Spain) flee to their second houses in the coast or the countryside. These are not being welcome for good reason.

    1. Carl

      This happened in Italy too; the Lombardians fled to their second homes in Liguria. Lesson: close everything at once.

      1. MLTPB

        Time between an announcement and its effective date.

        In Wuhan, millions left in that time.

        With the US travel bans on China, the gap was 2 days. This time on Europe, around 48 hours, or less.

        I think that is one of the reasons for secrecy. More might have come in with leaks while they deliberated.

        1. rusti

          Denmark just closed its borders, according to the press here in Sweden they didn’t provide officials here with any advanced notice.

    2. Lina

      This is happening in the US too. I live on Cape cod and am seeing lots of Bostonians in town with their kids. Just fantastic, with that cluster going on in Boston. (Sarcasm)

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m practicing SoCal distancing, wouldn’t want to be anywhere near all those people all glommed together.

      2. skylark

        I’m on the Cape too, and I noticed this morning that many of the summer people in my neighborhood are all down. Many schools on the Cape are now closed for one to two weeks.

        On a lighter note, a friend sent me a picture that’s going around of a bottle of gin, a packet of Emergen-C, and a martini glass full of orange liquid– a “quarantini”. Made me smile.

        1. Lina

          Yes schools here are closed for minimum of 2 weeks. I feel with about 80% certainty that school won’t reopen this year (meaning until fall 2020)

      3. tegnost

        same in san juan islands, most of the vacation home owners are elderly and seem to be here indefinitely

    3. MLTPB

      Ot jus these days, Americans dream of escaping, fleeing or moving to some better countries, too.

      Do they want us?

    4. Wyoming

      Oh this is interesting! My neighborhood is about 25% second homes (people come here to hide from the summer heat in the Valley (Phoenix, etc). I will have to pay attention and see if they start filling up.

        1. Wyoming

          I’m in Prescott.

          We (the wife and I) are not yet fully recovered. She is close and I am getting better.

          The Doc said to test ones lungs by taking a deep breath, holding it for 10+ seconds and then blowing it all out. He said they were basically cleared if you can do that without coughing. The wife can do it but I cannot. One annoying thing is that I must have pulled some of those little in between rib muscles while coughing. It hurts like crazy to cough now – so no more of the docs tests today for sure lol.

          Best of luck to all.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Good to know that you are both on the mend. Take it slow but keep on self-isolating remember.

            1. kareninca

              But that article addresses the question of whether breath-holding works as a test for the coronavirus (apparently not). Wyoming is doing it to see if he is over a respiratory ailment. It appears to be useful for that purpose.

            2. GramSci

              As I read the thread, Wyoming *did* test positive and the 10 second test was only a test for *recovery*. I believe the rib pain may be diagnostic of a lower pulmonary infection.

    5. GramSci

      GramShe and I have been in Spain for a few months on our annual winter mission to our wayward daughter.

      We felt lucky that we got out of Málaga on our first leg to Oslo at 06.00, before the state of emergency that Spain announced yesterday could close the airport.

      But, as soon as they opened the departure gate for our flight leaving Oslo for Fort Lauderdale, the first thing they told us was that the flight was canceled. They told us to get our bags from the baggage claim and proceed upstairs to the customer service desk to rebook our flights.

      In the meantime Norway declared a state of emergency. So after we got our bags, the Norwegian Army would not let us out of the baggage claim. If we didn’t have a flight out of Oslo, the army was going to put us in hotel quarantine for 14 days!

      It’s a civilized country, Norway. They would have paid for our quarantine. But while in the airport “jail”, they did give us free wifi. We booked a flight to Gatwick late tonight, and then the army let us go upstairs, and after a three hour ordeal, the customer service desk finally took care of us.

      We’ll be tired, so we considered spending a day or two in Oslo or London. But then we thought, “if we don’t leave Gatwick tomorrow, we could wind up quarantined in London…

      We live in interesting times.

      1. Monty

        Wow. I hate travel at the best of times, but this sounds like Stress Level 100! An overly dynamic situation. I hope you get home safely soon.

        1. GramSci

          Thanks, Monty. For the first time in my life I was prescient, what with el Trumpo extending the travel ban to include the UK. Now if only our flight from Oslo to Gatwick isn’t canceled….

    6. GramSci

      Why aren’t coronavirus stars reported as percent of population affected? Our Oslo adventure, recounted above, forced us to realize that although Norway has only some 1,000 cases, Norway has only 1/10 the population of Spain. On this metric Norway is the second worst-impacted country in Europe.

      1. MLTPB

        A agree with you.

        For people living there, this way of looking makes a great difference. You see it and say ‘we are worse.”

        It’s the same in every country. Here, in the US, we (Americans or even non Americsns who nevertheless care about our welfare) of course agonize or scream (everyone is different) over the smallest might-have -beens.

        Never mind China might have 1 week or 1 month too late in doing this or that.

        Americans are more important, to us Americans. The same for other nations.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the update.

      Showing my biases in assuming the Montgomery case was politically related. But community contagion from Illinois isn’t an obvious vector.

    1. Michael

      Right on!
      Following Friday the 13th…Does that happen often?
      In 2015 it was Super Pi Day (3.14.15) also a Saturday following Friday the 13th.
      Then back to 2009 but that’s enuf…
      Happy Birthday Albert Einstein.
      RIP Steven Hawking

    2. MLTPB


      Let’s also remember this is an artificial construct. The number pi exists in it’s own world, like a perfect circle; Pi Day…only in the world of humans.

      A year can be marked by days 1, 2, 3,…365, etc.

      The months came in as our ancestors watched the month, I think.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Brings to mind my old math team cheer –

      3 point 1 4 1 5 9!

    4. John Anthony La Pietra

      See, I have a rhyme assisting
      My feeble brain, its tasks ofttimes resisting.
      Efforts laborious can, by its witchery, grow easier —
      So hidden here are the decimals all of circle’s periphery. . . .

  4. Carl

    Lifted from an aquaintances FB post (her parents were on the Grand Princess):

    Life in the barracks day one:

    Things aren’t great today. Mom and Dad were assigned to go to the marine barracks in San Diego (my aunt and uncle were flown to GA); they arrived late last night. The barrack they’re in is dirty. Their luggage was taken by personnel before they left the ship and they were asked to just keep 24 hours of clothing and toiletries. Long story short, my mom’s luggage was lost (now it’s been found) along with my Dad’s CPAP machine, which he has to have to be able to sleep – so they’ve been trying to track it down all day today without success. There’s not a lot of helpers to help them. Mom says there are four people on duty to help all the people in their group. Those people are swamped. They’ve been calling a help line as well all day trying to get the CPAP.

    Next adventure, they arrived to breakfast this morning only to find out everything was gone. They said people who went ahead of them had brought bags along and had taken extra food to hoard. At lunch, those in charge learned their lesson (no, you CAN’T trust adults to portion food selflessly in a crisis) and they distributed pre-portioned lunches. They said that’ll be the norm here on out. Dinner tonight was pretty good they said, they even got a brownie.

    As far as testing, they say they can’t get anyone to tell them anything as to “when” it will happen. No one knows anything. Once they do get tested, it’s a 72 hour turn around. Those who are negative go home, while those who are positive stay for 14 days. Mom and Dad are nervous one will be positive and the other will be negative so they’ll have to be separated.

    They said that my Aunt and Uncle’s set up in GA is a lot better, not dirty at least. Also, they have a washer and dryer. Their luggage got lost as well, it was found in San Diego, so they’ll have to wait for it to get mailed to them.

    The TV in their room isn’t working, so they’ve been playing cards (Phase 10 and seven card no peeky…their favorites) and later they’re going to try to see if they can find a show to watch using their phone.

    Tomorrow hopefully will be a better day!

    1. Arizona Slim

      A dirty Marine barracks? Wow. I thought the Corps would have ordered the Marine rank -n- file to make that place spotless!

      1. RMO

        They don’t do that any more. All contracted out to the usual suspects (Haliburton, KBR subcontractors of same) who take in large amounts of money and then spend very small amounts of money on hiring civilians to do those sorts of jobs. I wouldn’t be surprised if a contractor was paid to keep the barracks clean and then just didn’t bother, finding it far less expensive to bribe someone instead.

        1. epynonymous

          The Marines like the new ‘boots’ to have to clean the place up themselves, it builds camaraderie.

      2. Glen

        The DOD is so flush with funding that they outsource everything including cleaning, cooking, etc. It’s not your Dad’s Army anymore. It’s just a giant money suck used by the elites to get rich.

        Hint: Think stories of degradation of Roman legions at the fall of the Roman empire.

  5. Wukchumni

    I got an e-mail from Vail Resorts, which owns 37 ski resorts, and you get the feeling that ski resorts will be next on the list of things to close down, or maybe not as the season only has a month or less left, who knows?

    The measures against Coronavirus they are taking are interesting, in that while segregating skiers/boarders on chairs by known knowns, it does nothing about the lift lines, where you’ll be in homing range of contracting the virus with typically dozens of others for a little while or much longer on a busy weekend. And the over 60 thing hits squarely at my cadre of over the hill enthusiasts.

    We will ask guests to ride on chairlifts and gondolas with their parties only. We ask for our guests’ patience while we implement this new protocol.

    We continue to ask our guests and employees to follow public health officials’ guidance of frequent handwashing and to stay home if they are feeling ill. Health officials advise that people at higher risk of severe illness, including those who are 60 years or older, should stay home and away from larger groups of people as much as possible.

    1. jefemt

      Looks like they are giving full redeemable credit for 365 days forward.

      Will we be on wave 3 of covid 19 by then?

    2. Milton

      Just got back from surfing as I needed to get away from the growing frenzy of grocery store purchases. Even in my neck of the woods where there are only neighbor shoppers the usual items (dry beans, canned goods, paper products) are sold out.
      I took in my session like I haven’t in a long while-treating it as an almost spiritual experience and for a few moments I felt as if everything was “normal”-pre covid. I was attuned to the sounds and smells of the ocean in a way that some psychologists describe how terminal patients see the world post-diagnosis.
      I’m very nervous about what is going on, not so much the disease but what I perceive to be the beginnings of societal collapse. I hope my feeling is only an exaggerated sense but with this country’s leadership-from federal down to local there is no reason for me to feel otherwise.

      1. Lee

        Outside of supermarket spats, I haven’t seen much in the news about looting, riots or other forms of social unrest. But this is America with all its anomie and guns and its early days yet.

        1. polecat

          Not a good time to be living in a large city going forward, would be my guess. But then, how things play out with this pandemic will be rather scatter-shot at best.

        2. ambrit

          “…it’s early days yet.”
          There it is, in a nutshell.
          Since Monday, the State of Mississippi has extended Spring Break for University students by a week and then will go to all tele-learning. Nothing from the local “authorities” yet. Grocery shelves still pretty much stocked, but refill times are lengthening. The local small grocery store has reduced their fresh fruits and vegetables on display by roughly one half. “Supply chain problems” was the answer I got from my ‘source’ in the back rooms of the emporium. “Stock up now,” was the advice she spontaneously gave me. “Things are going to be hard to find in a month.” Hmmm….???
          Luckily, thanks to this site and some others, we have prepared for about three months of “lock down.” The not knowing is the hardest part.

    3. Susan the other

      Ah, yes, the Epic Pass. Go to any of our resorts and stand in line for 10 minutes in the cold, dry air breathing in everyone else’s breath cloud; ride up the lift behind the breath cloud hanging in the air the entire way – just for you.

      1. Wukchumni

        It does seem remarkably reckless to keep ski resorts open, now that you’ve eloquently put it that way…

      2. newcatty

        Susan the Other,
        Thank you for some timely observation of the priorities of some people in our country. When noting the impact of “the virus” on all peoples’ lives in every city, hamlet, town and village in the country the closing of resorts, cancelled travel plans for pleasure or business, restaurants’ customers staying away, closure of theaters ( OMG, a dark Broadway), museums, and other sources of funding and enjoyment are sad and stressful. But, they are not essential to the health and well-being being of people. Indeed, fun, pleasure and the enjoyment of these sources of enriching our lives is an important aspect of a society’s common good.

        I know close family and friends who struggling, now, with elemental aspects of their lives. Very real things like their work and personal lives either being more demanding ( examples: grocery stores, closure of children’s schools from elementary to college levels, spouse’s or partners being laid off of work, health care workers, etc.) Many people, of course are losing their jobs as a resort closes or a restaurant cuts hours, etc, This is awful, of course. But, for any person who is concerned that he or she has to be saddened or upset that a ski resort or a theater is not open for their entertainment …really?

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s every walk of life on here from homeless to people of vast wealth, and one of the nice things is we all have something to say and generally get along despite the wide gulf, please respect that.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            I know all my Saenger Theatre bartending/usher buddies are struggling in New Orleans.

            I know that if I had the choice of self isolating and starving cuz no money or working and getting tips to buy bread at the risk of infection, then I’d pick the latter.

            Don’t change, Wuk!

  6. urblintz

    The guy with the donut is doing more to stop the spread and protect public health RIGHT NOW than any amount of TESTING(!) or freaking out about TESTING(!) can possibly accomplish. Gay men were practicing safe sex for years before a TEST(!) was developed. They have known isolation and social distancing (virus barriers) is basically the ONLY way to stop the virus.

    No matter the result of a TEST(!), negative or positive, each individual is responsible for protecting their own health and the health of others. It is well known what that requires. It does not require a TEST(!).

    1. Lee

      As an older person with underlying chronic health problems, I know what to do. I’m self isolating to the degree possible.

      I have a pension, retirement savings, and friends and family who are helping me. I can order a lot of stuff online because I’ve got credit cards and good credit. I can financially carry my son and his friend who both live with me so they don’t have to go to work and risk exposure to themselves and then me. How many of my fellow Americans are in my relatively fortunate position?

      Given that there are many whom the disease affects mildly or even asymptomatically but who can transmit the disease to the more vulnerable, It seems to me that if nothing else testing provides a useful indicator to differentiate between those who should isolate either individually or as groups, and those who can safely go about the business of keeping the world ticking over.

      1. urblintz

        nothing I wrote suggested that testing is not important. But one can not simply wish away the fact that testing hasn’t been done in time to control this. The unfortunate truth, of your situation economically as opposed to those without, does not change the protocol for protecting the population for you or for them. It does reveal, however, the nature of our “pretend-to-care” culture (get insurance!) for those less fortunate and how it has utterly failed them.

        No test can correct that. A vaccine won’t help either.

        1. tegnost

          My basic worry comes from the report yesterday that “the private sector will fix this” at some trump speech. Yeah, sure they will…like they’ve “fixed” everything else, to their own enrichment…

    2. MLTPB

      100% tested, all (including the nurses and lab technicians running the tests) at the same same, with immediate isolation.

      Otherwise, 500 or 20,000 (not at the same time, but in a day) tests, randomly, won’t do much. Even some kind of targeted testing is no guarantee (maybe the person was on several buses, down several street blocks, in a mall, etc.)

      You miss one, you have a potential problem,

    3. WJ

      On Sputnik’s great Loud & Clear program with John Kiriakou I learned that Dr Redfield, head of the CDC, made his name in the 80s by seeking to combat HIV by quarantining all gay men and demanding from them a list of their sexual partners. He was opposed to developing an HIV anti-viral and blamed AIDS on, of course, gays, single parents, and the breakdown of the traditional family.

      He now runs the CDC.

      1. urblintz

        We didn’t listen to him then either… we started using condoms. yes, social isolation is more difficult than wearing a condom, but it’s what’s required, alas, and “quarantine” can easily be used as a scare word that implies fascism. It was used against Castro’s “quarantine” of infected gay men to buffer the “American-democracy-freedom-beacon-of-light bs” that asserts our superiority in spite of the facts. read this:

        “240 Cubans–171 men and 69 women–have been placed in the camp, where they are required to spend the rest of their lives.”(!!!!!)

        then read this:

        “The decision to confine citizens in the name of public health is fraught with ethical considerations. Many decried Cuba’s quarantine for villainizing AIDS patients and stripping them of their liberty. Others rightly noted that isolation was an extreme step to take for a virus that does not spread through casual contact.

        But there is more to the story. Based on over 40 interviews we conducted with Cuban AIDS patients (including both former and current sanatorium residents), epidemiologists and activists, it is clear the Cuban government took genuine steps to minimize the impact of the quarantine on residents of the sanatoria.

        Our research found the Cuban government paid the salaries of residents, provided luxuries such as air conditioning and color TV, offered health education, and facilitated visits from religious leaders and entertainers. By 1996, Cuba spent nearly $24,000 per year for each of its quarantined residents, a staggering figure for an island crippled by widespread poverty amplified by the U.S. embargo. In fact, hundreds of young Cubans went so far as to infect themselves with HIV in order to be placed in quarantine.

        Many sanatorium residents resented their lost freedom, and some endured harsh treatment by staff. Yet Cuba’s quarantine saved lives.

        Facing an epidemic spread of a disease about which little was known at the time, the government took the proactive step of isolating…

        The Cuban quarantine ran from 1986 to 1997, during the early days of a global AIDS epidemic. At the height of the quarantine, around 10,000 people with HIV were isolated in hospital sanatoria, similar to what was done with tuberculosis patients in the United States in the early 20th century.”

        Yeah yeah I know, the surviving Cuban “inmates” were told what to say by the big bad “Jefe” under penalty of death because that’s what Castro does! It’s all a big lie. We can’t trust THEIR statistics, commies, blah blah blah blah. They are lying!!!

        We are already being sold stories that S. Korea’s “freedom enhanced” approach to the virus was “better” than China’s and frankly I don’t think we know enough about the virus itself to be making such bold predictions yet.

        “The Cuban quarantine ran from 1986 to 1997, during the early days of a global AIDS epidemic. At the height of the quarantine, around 10,000 people with HIV were isolated in hospital sanatoria, similar to what was done with tuberculosis patients in the United States in the early 20th century.”

        My partner died of the AIDS virus in 1996. He had contracted it before we met and before “safe sex” became the order-of-the-day.

        The day before he died he was feeling great, ready to be released from the hospital the next day… and then his heart stopped. We were speaking on the phone at the time preparing for his arrival back home.

        Yesterday I saw an interview with a passenger from the Diamond Princess still in “quarantine”, 28 days later, never got sick, completely asymptomatic, feeling totally fine and is still testing positive… 5 tests every 2 days and total isolation… he is still testing positive… We know that HIV drugs are being used against COVID19, with some success, drugs designed to block the receptors which allow the virus to enter through the cell wall. I’m not convinced we know all the critical facts about this virus. Extreme caution is the better part of valor.

        1. anon

          Deepest condolences.

          One of my brothers died of it in 1993. His partner committed suicide a year later. I am glad you survived.

          1. urblintz

            thank you. I was one of the lucky ones and, honestly, I can not say that safe sex alone saved me as I too, like Glenn, had plenty of the unsafe variety before we met, before “we” knew. But I have never – never – had unprotected sex since. The choice to do so was not specific to the test results that came back negative many years later.

          2. urblintz

            my initial response to your soulful comment was way self absorbed.

            I am so sorry for your loss.

          1. urblintz

            Thanks Rev… in the moment it was more surreal than tragic. The tragedy was felt later. Now I have memories.

            “Time loses power when remembrance redeems the past.” (Marcuse)

        1. Wukchumni

          Evangs are pretty nutty about the rapture, if the shit hits the fan with the virus, will they turn the march of events into reasoning for the power prayers in DC @ the highest levels who did nothing to stop its spread, here was their chance to do an assisted rapture, and they’ve all earned the appropriate number of brownie points anyhow on this good orb awaiting the better place to come, so they’re in like flint, Come fetch me, lord!

  7. Tom Stone

    Between Total Information Awareness and our militarized police there shouldn’t be any problem keeping the rabble in line.

    1. MLTPB

      In S Korea, or maybe China, you are informed when you are near a case.

      Is is possible here? Will there be opposition here?

  8. Lee

    Coronavirus: Bracing for a Global Pandemic

    On this week’s episode, Ray Suarez talks with Larry Brilliant, a renowned epidemiologist, credited with playing a major role in eradicating smallpox, and Pulitzer Prize-winning global health journalist Laurie Garrett. We also get dispatches from Rafael Suarez in China, Christopher Livesay in Italy and Peter Kenyon, who recently returned from Iran.

    Radio worth listening to. Laurie Garrett’s critique of mistakes made is scathing and informative. Her segment begins at minute 33.

    1. MLTPB

      From what I see and understand, mistakes have been made

      1, nations of the world
      2. Prevailing economic and trading systems
      3. Over poplulation, leading to
      4. Perpetual growth.

      Today, it’s this virus. Before, it was Ebola, or others. Tomorrow, there will be something more unforgiving.

        1. MLTPB

          One might be tempted to think, oh this will clear away the older generations for the younger ones.

          ‘More housing,’ for example.

          1. Young people grow old, eventually, if lucky.

          2. The next jackpot is likely more formidable…think progress, evolution from the opposite perspective.

          3. It will be more challenging for those who are young now, but older, more frail then.

          1. Isotope_C14

            The vanishing aerosol masking effect could very well be causing us to be at or over 2C right now.

            Should be a very interesting summer for crops, if it’s cool enough to grow any.

            Probably the jackpot for everyone.

    2. Procopius

      I haven’t watched/listened to the episode or whatever it is one does with podcasts, but I’m suspicious. How old does this Larry Brilliant appear to be? Smallpox was declared to be eradicated in 1980. If he “played a major role” in that achievement, he must have been middle-aged by then, which would make him well north of 80 now. Does that sound right? Of course just because he lied about that (if he did) does not mean he’s wrong about a global pandemic. I’m expecting that already.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus Politics”

    To meet the new demands of the Coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has today announced the formation of a new department to be under under the US Department of Homeland Securtity and it will be called the US Department of Thoughts & Prayers. It’s job will to be send text messages to all those that have fell sick in order to let them know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of their government. The NSA will take care to send this department a list of everybody in the United States and what their mobile numbers are – including the ones that they do not want their partners to know about.

    Giving this Department leaders with a fresh new perspective, US Senators will be recruited that will include Dianne Feinstein, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Grassley. The new Department has already announced a new motto based on an online suggestion box and the winning entry was “Sauve qui peut.” “We’re not sure what it translates to”, said Dianne Feinstein, “but since it is Latin, who cares?” The winner of this competition, a Mr. Phour Chan, will be sent a cheque for $100,000. When asked who he was, Dianne Feinstein said that it was probably just some Asian guy.

    Manning this new department will be deserving Americans who, through no fault of their own, have suddenly found themselves unemployed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Thus they will be recruited from Washington lobbyists who now face dire times being unable to canoodle with politicians. As they are mostly lawyers, they will all be paid at lawyer’s rates plus full health benefits as well. If more people are needed, their partners will be recruited as mostly being social climbers, social distancing have left them nothing to do except to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and “The “Bold & the Beautiful” on daytime TV.

    To get their message through to children, the new Department has already selected an animated character to engage the children with – Carony McCaronyface – and it is hoped that children everywhere will become familiar with him. Carony already has his own new theme ( to get with the spirit of the times.

    1. The Historian

      Thank you for this. I needed a laugh!
      “sauve qui peut” – yea, that pretty much describes our government’s response to this!

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        “but since it’s Latin…” Great touch :-)

        It’s like the quip about George, the little bush, saying, “The problem with France is they don’t have a term for entrepreneur.” I loved that one, (only to find out Bush probably hadn’t said it – but as you say, who cares ? – it’s so perfect).

        1. paul

          When we have two perfectly suitable equivalents in english:
          middle man
          I admit they do not have the same romantic pull.

      2. BoyDownTheLane

        Good questions about the disbanding of the White House team responsible for coordinating responses to pandemics. It’s time to be precise about who.

        Snopes — whose reputation is highly questionable — says it was Bolton.

        WaPo agrees: As does the Poynter Institute:

        “… Multiple Democrats, including Bloomberg and Biden, have criticized Trump for getting rid of a pandemic response position on the National Security Council. The position was eliminated, although John Bolton, then-national security adviser, was the person directly responsible…..”

        Here’s a coherent explanation:

        “… So was this just another redundant bureaucracy that we could afford to 86? Apparently not. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Cameron clearly detailed what we lost by making government small enough to drown in a petri dish:
        In a health security crisis, speed is essential. When this new coronavirus emerged, there was no clear White House-led structure to oversee our response, and we lost valuable time. Yes, we have capable and committed global and national disease-prevention and management organizations, as well as state and local health departments, all working overtime now. But even in prepared cities like Seattle, health systems are struggling to test patients and keep pace with growing caseloads. The specter of rapid community transmission and exponential growth is real and daunting. The job of a White House pandemics office would have been to get ahead: to accelerate the response, empower experts, anticipate failures, and act quickly and transparently to solve problems.
        And here’s what her former team would have worked on, had they been allowed to keep their jobs:
        A directorate within the White House would have been responsible for coordinating the efforts of multiple federal agencies to make sure the government was backstopping testing capacity, devising approaches to manufacture and avoid shortages of personal protective equipment, strengthening U.S. lab capacity to process covid-19 tests, and expanding the health-care workforce.  
        The office would galvanize resources to coordinate a robust and seamless domestic and global response. It would identify needs among state and local officials, and advise and facilitate regular, focused communication from federal health and scientific experts to provide states and the public with fact-based tools to minimize the virus’s spread. The White House is uniquely positioned to take into account broader U.S. and global security considerations associated with health emergencies, including their impact on deployed citizens, troops and regional economies, as well as peace and stability. A White House office would have been able to elevate urgent issues fast, so they didn’t linger or devolve to inaction, as with coronavirus testing in the United States.

  10. Samuel Conner

    Regarding student debt,

    DJT could “mint The Coin” (a beautiful coin, a perfect coin), order Treasury to purchase all outstanding student loans (an asset swap, presumably could be structured in a way that would not transgress the appropriations authority of Congress), and waive interest for the duration of the crisis. Afterwards, long-term means-tested very-low-interest workouts, implemented through the tax code (a jobs programs for the tax accountants; a two-fer). Going forward, apply these parameters (long-term means-tested very-low-interest workouts) to all loans for public colleges and universities — a partial step toward Sanders’ proposals.

    The President could govern to the left of nearly everyone in the current D party, both the neolibs and even some who present as being more radical, and crush the Party in November.

    I much prefer Bernie, but I prefer him because I prefer his policies.

    DJT could still save his presidency, me thinks. If he does it through this kind of policy, I will be inclined to cheer.

    1. Wukchumni

      What you’re asking for is in a movie from 1933…

      Gabriel Over the White House is a 1933 American pre-Code political fantasy film starring Walter Huston as a genial but politically corrupt President who has a near-fatal automobile accident and comes under divine influence—specifically the Archangel Gabriel and the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. Eventually he takes control of the government, solves the problems of the nation, from unemployment to racketeering, and arranges for worldwide peace, before dying of a heart attack.

    2. Kasia

      I’m not holding my breathe, but it would great if Trump took advantage of the situation and instituted a populist jubilee. One idea would be a moratorium on credit card interest — that hits a broader part of the population than student loan debt. Be interesting to see Biden’s reaction to this…

      As soon as this crisis started, Trump should have appointed Stephen Miller as CoronaCzar and gone on an anti-globalization tirade. Travel bans, borders and ports closed, he could have demanded a trillion dollar Manhattan Project to re-industrialize the US and making it a law that all vital medical supplies and drugs be produced in the US. Instead he muttered, “just the flu, bro” and listened to the globalist Jared. Trump still has time to change are really fight what some young people are calling The Boomer Remover!

      Yesterday Bernie Sanders gave one of his old anti-globalization rants in response to the WuFlu. He could have cartwheeled to the presidency on anti-globalization but instead he opted for woke ethnocentrism and Koch brothers Open Borders and has failed miserably.

      1. Arizona Slim

        This: Yesterday Bernie Sanders gave one of his old anti-globalization rants in response to the WuFlu. He could have cartwheeled to the presidency on anti-globalization but instead he opted for woke ethnocentrism and Koch brothers Open Borders and has failed miserably.

        Kasia, in one paragraph, you summed up my misgivings with Bernie’s current campaign. And permit me to add this thought:

        Whoever told Bernie to say that he considers Biden a friend, and that he thinks Biden could win the general election, should be fired immediately.

        By saying those two things, Bernie is torpedoing his campaign. Insulting the hard work of his volunteers. And antagonizing his donors, many of whom don’t have much money, but they’ve been giving to Bernie 2020 anyway.

        1. Randy G

          Arizona Slim — And really a shame that Sanders did not make a serious fuss over the DNC changing their rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard.
          Unlike the timid Sanders, Gabbard would have certainly kicked the living hell out of Biden based on his execrable record as a dishonest and totally bought servant of the plutocracy. The DNC was rightly terrified of that prospect and made sure it didn’t happen. Perfect opportunity for Bernie to get some serious help when he’s being beaten to death by the oligarchy. And typically squandered.

          Tulsi (and Jill Stein) may never have a chance at the White House in a nation as demented as this one, but I find both of them, generally, more courageous and tougher than Sanders.

          1. clarky90

            Why is Corporate Media trying to erase Tulsi?


            Tulsi, “I’m continuing to run for the same reason I originally began this race: to bring about a sea change in our longstanding foreign policy of carrying out regime change wars, end the new cold war & nuclear arms race, and invest the trillions wasted in such wars, into the American people.”

            I am not a supporter of Tulsi, or even a “Democrat”. I live in NZ and I vote Christian, populist, Conservative….but..Tulsi would make a great USAian president, imo.

            Open secret; The Dems specify a check list for their “perfect” candidate….A woman? check;… diverse ethnicity? check;…. healthy/vital? check;…. articulate/smart? check;….A peacenik? check……Strong/brave/leader? check……..

            However, the MSM send Tulsi to Coventry, (TPTB, acting as a tiny (but powerful) occult, cult, shun Tulsi! They forbid their apparatchiks from speaking of, or even acknowledging her existence.

            So, “Sleepy Joe Biden” will be the Democrat Champion going against Trump in the coming, Big Event.

            Interesting aside, I had to search using the exact title of this YouTube to find it. It is not just out there and easily found. Hmmmmmm?

        2. Nancy Boyd

          Go woke, go broke. It’s a shame Sanders hasn’t paid more attention to what’s befallen the Labour Party in the U.K.

          I expect at some point there are certain Republicans who will change the Democrats from the left — though not on social policy. We will be presented with a choice of accepting social conservatism in exchange for re-industrialization, a reining in of predatory financialization, and a curb on military adventurism.

          1. Billy

            i.e. Josh Hawley from Missouri, the same state that gave us Truman.

            “When Josh Hawley was Attorney General of Missouri, he was an (extremely selective) firebreathing trustbuster who used his office to chase Google up and down the state, investigating the company’s anticompetitive action and the potential for public harm represented by its market dominance and size. ”

        3. KLG

          Edited experimental reprise of a comment lost in moderation. Apologies if this is a duplicate.

          Whoever or whatever the reason, that was the moment Bernie revealed he was not serious about winning. In the first place, that Joe Biden is really his friend can only be questionable. Biden might have been tolerant in the forced and fake bonhomie of the US Senate as Bernie toiled in the wilderness as the one true democrat in the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” (sic), but friends? OK, who knows, maybe. In any case, whether Biden is his friend is absolutely, totally, and perfectly irrelevant in a contest as essential as this. The statement was also a sharp slap in the face of every one of Bernie’s supporters, most/many of whom contribute money that they actually miss. $27 is a lot of money in a world where so many cannot afford a $400 emergency. I don’t begrudge a dollar I have contributed to him, in 2016 or 2020; his “revolution” is worth it and I can afford it. For now. But the proper response to the “stuff” Bernie has endured at the hands of continual DNC “shenanigans”, Pelosi Schumer Clinton & Obama LLC manipulation of the levers they hold with a death grip, MSDNC, NYT, NPR et al. nonsense is, as they say in these parts, “’Family Blog’ All Y’all!” In an indoor but unmistakable voice, of course. We know it works! Just look at The Donald, who has only an outdoor voice.

          1. Hepativore

            I realize that Sanders is inherently good-natured and means well, but Biden has clearly shown that he does not consider the “friendship” mutual. With friends like Biden, who needs enemies?

            Plus, as Biden’s friend, Sanders should realize that the DNC is dragging Biden along like a useful idiot to serve their own ends and that Biden needs to be at an assisted living facility enjoying the rest of his twilight years to manage his cognitive decline. Friends do not let friends who have dementia be president.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            “My friend” is just a trope. If that triggered you, you REALLY do not get it. It’s in the same category as “With all due respect” which is elite-speak for “Fuck you, you moron”.

            What matters is what he does and what followed the formulation, not the ritual. Those may have been too weak, but all “My friend” signals is that any attack would be of the shiv in the ribs sort, and not a more visible but less effective punch to the jaw.

            1. Tom Bradford

              In lawyer-speak ‘my friend’ or ‘my learned friend’ usually precedes a vigorous attack on his/her argument or position, intended I suppose to indicate that it isn’t personal.

            2. Aumua

              “My friend Joe” can be forgiven on those grounds, but what about making it clear that he thinks Biden has what it takes to beat Trump? Pretty hard to defend that at this particular juncture.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I agree that Sanders appears not to have figured out how to go after Biden except for attacking some of his policies, which is the right angle. But WTF can he do when, for instance, Sanders goes after Biden on his horrible record about Social Security and Biden lies back, and the press prints it like it’s true?

                And if Sanders gets what could be depicted as personally aggressive, he’ll be depicted as the Bernie Bro in Chief.

      2. tegnost

        Open borders is a hillary clinton/goldman sachs private position, probably held also by joe biden.

        1. Aumua

          “Open borders” is a right wing dog whistle that they like to apply to any hint of compassion for undocumented immigrants, or anything less than an actual wall.

      3. kiwi

        Since you aren’t aware of this, Trump has been well aware of trade deficits and the impact on employment in the US for decades, as has a small handful of policiticians here and there (Ross Perot).

        The US has been sold out by politicians for decades in the name of globalization, decades before Trump even came on the political scene.

        “he could have demanded a trillion dollar Manhattan Project to re-industrialize the US and making it a law that all vital medical supplies and drugs be produced in the US.”

        Geez, do you have any idea how long politicians have talked about such things and not gotten it done? Do the words “shovel-ready” mean anything to you? How about “those jobs aren’t coming back?”

        Do you realize that Trump’s efforts to revitatlize the US have been rabidly opposed by the dems? What were the dems doing in October through February? Oh, impeachment. A complete waste of time.

        This ignorance is astounding. It is like you were born yesterday and read a few newly published news articles today.

        1. Wukchumni

          Fearless leader is going to supply a few million ‘shovel-ready-jobs’ within a year or 2…

        2. pretzelattack

          is cutting the payroll tax as a proposed mitigation of the corona virus an example of an effort to revitalize america?

          1. workingclasshero

            From repub playbook on hoobling social security/medicare.norhing more nothing less.and how’s it going to really help anyone getting laid off?and i’d bet the house there will be no federal help for shoring up state budgets for unemployment benefits.

        3. Kasia

          I think you are slightly missing my point. “opposed by the Dems”? CoronaChan should be Trump’s Reichstag fire. Why is a supposed crypto-fascist downplaying his one chance at martial law and absolute power? America is not going to be reindustrialized by bipartisan compromise. I mean he may not be able to pull it off but shouldn’t he be at least trying?

          1. Tom Bradford

            Given that Trump’s only concern is his re-election I fear that when his mind finally creaks into operation he will realise that this emergency is the perfect opportunity to buy votes left right and center – lashings of dosh to business to ‘preserve employment’ and temporarily cutting payroll tax to show his ‘concern’ for the common man, who unfortunately is likely to respond like a Labrador offered a tid-bit.

        4. Aumua

          Back with some more rudeness and insulting language eh? You can make your point just as easily without resorting to name calling, you know. Although when I see you speaking that way to people it kind of makes just tune out of whatever you were saying, tbh. It’s a habit that comes from hanging out on some very trollish forums.

        5. Yves Smith Post author

          Your abusive tone is a violation of our written site Policies and your comments on Trump’s trade policy are Making Shit Up, another policy violation.

          His tariffs have hurt American workers. Tons of stories on that.

          His abusive policies towards immigrants gave sensible immigration reform (which could help American workers) a bad name.

          His tax cuts showed what his priorities are: massive boost to the super rich, crumbs to everyone else.

          Oh, and Trump had a majority in both houses till 2018, so this “blame the Dems” business is ridiculous.

          One more comment like this and you will be blacklisted.

    3. a different chris

      Why “means test”? Unless you think its necessary make-work for underemployed bureaucrats.

      If you spend money on college (useful for society!) you should get the same treatment regardless of your social position. And I’ve kindof noticed that Steve Munchin and Bill Gates haven’t actually been pursuing further education.

      Tax Mr. Gates for making college free to people he didn’t pick whilst charging his, and everybody he knows, kids full bore is a good way to make a powerful enemy. He’s going to at a minimum decide that he should be the one to pick the “free college” kids and start spending money to make it so. Not a good thing.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Agreed with the fundamental concern. The thought behind that suggested provision was to make it less difficult to enact.

        OTOH, having solved the “economic problem” (aggregate output), one way to help resolve the “distributional problem” is “well paid make work”. One would like the work to be productive, but even pointless work puts income in people’s pockets and so is stimulative.

        But I agree with your principles.

      2. hunkerdown

        The Democrat establishment believe they are innately entitled to be held superior to others and to dispense moral instruction and fate to their inferiors. Means-testing is the price they demand to allow anyone beneath them to have nice things.

    4. rd

      I love these student loan programs announced with pageantry and trumpet fanfares….then reality sets in.

      Many of the initial loans are not held by the federal government and so are ineligible for these types of waivers or forgiveness (e.g. public service 99% rejection rate for forgiveness).

      Also, to get lower interest rates, people consolidate loans and that may switch them from being a federal loan to a private.

      So many student loan borrowers think there is a chance to benefit from some sort of program, but then they discover they are not eligible.

  11. Steve H.

    > Notes on the Myth of Working Class Racism (2)


    Several times in the last day or so, sensitivity in testing has been discussed. I would like to focus on the class difference which this article highlights.

    Absence of Evidence has been the public policy. No testing = no data = no Evidence. However, this has been unequally distributed between classes.

    Rudy Gobert is a person, but his contract is an asset worth $102 million. Dozens of people were evaluated on a four-hour turnaround when the Jazz and Thunder were tested. Data is good but private in the asset class.

    > We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization

    This would indicate another dimension to model, the time since vector was present. Much more complicated.

    The professional class is already dumping some of its members. Calling up retired doctors, tautologically older and thus at higher risk, is treating them as soldiers willing to die for a higher cause.

    Pandemic Panic has implications on ecology (birth/death) and on economy. If Coronavirus is airborne, events can be interpreted as buying time for resequestering elite resources, measured in hours/days/weeks, not months/quarters/years. I would happily recalibrate that perspective if someone gave me some evidence to do so.

        1. Anon

          I stand corrected. I inaccurately typed the findings of the UCLA study. 3 hours, not 30 minutes, is the correct finding of the study. I’m thoroughly chagrined. This novel coronavirus is contagious in many ways.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Re the looters re-sequestering their cash, here is a description I came across of “The City,” that curious Thing in the UK that undeniably exists, but seems to lack any documentation of its legitimacy — other than long-fingered strangler’s hands around the throat of the world’s commerce:

      “ Sugar and Spice and Everything Vice: the Empire’s Sin City of London.”

      I have no idea how accurate this dissection of “The City of/in London may be. In the vein of never letting a crisis go to waste, would this period of huge vulnerability and disruption be a good time to unwrap the mummy and drive a shittim wood stake through its heart?

  12. timbers

    Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking when reading Robert Schiller on war narative vs pandemic narative? That our elites being as they are might decide on another war to change the narrative… because good for Mr Market? “The other example that comes close is the 1918 influenza pandemic, but that wasn’t exactly the same narrative because it came right before the Armistice in World War I. So the peak month for talk about the influenza pandemic was October 1918. And the Armistice was signed in November 1918.

    So there was a recession, but the stock market didn’t take a big hit back then. The narrative was different. The overriding narrative then was the war. So we don’t really have another example.”

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Wow — dean of University of Washington medical school is asking qualified graduate students to pause their research and instead help run COVID-19 lab tests.”

    This is just the start. When Coronavirus gets going, you may find that in some places, that you will have senior medical interns running whole wards or maybe just the nurses.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      The janitors would probably do a better job of managing the whole thing than states and Fed.

      1. sleepy

        Absolutely. My son has had many hospitalizations for a genetic disorder, and the nurses make or break the stay.

        But for me since I’m 69, to paraphrase some wag elsewhere, just give me a bed, a blanket, and some morphine.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I would far prefer nurses running things in a care setting. I get the feeling that they truly care. Just feeling that is a remedy in itself.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Many nurses do care. A lot of new nurses seem to be just in it for the paycheck, paying off tuitions that can be $40,000 to &100,000 per year. And it’s hard to care when you are being lashed and driven by the Spreadsheet Simon Legrees with their metrics whips, brought in by neoliberal vulture business models.Nurses are often being on the ragged edge of malpractice as well as endurance, with too many patients even before this horror show, and constant fear of committing a deadly career-ending mistake. Medical errors being the third leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer — 250,000 dead per year, and many more injured,

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Your comment is too true and presents another often forgotten cost of Neoliberal medicine.

      1. clarky90

        And already, Doctors, nurses, technicians, cleaners….All over this infected World, are getting sick, being irreparably scarred and even dying as a result of keeping under-staffed, under-resourced hospitals, going.

        There are too few clinicians, and they often do not have access to personal protective equipment (masks, gowns, booties, googles….) and this is at the very onset.

        Prepare for walk-outs (strikes) by hospital and nursing home staff.

  14. Stillfeelinthebern

    CT scans expose the patient to a large amount of radiation compared to simple x-ray. “The effective doses from diagnostic CT procedures are typically estimated to be in the range of 1 to 10 mSv. This range is not much less than the lowest doses of 5 to 20 mSv estimated to have been received by some of the Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs.” Typical x-ray effective dose is 0.02 mSv.

    1. jm

      Per the article, “If you combine the natural risk of a fatal cancer and the estimated risk from a 10 mSv CT scan, the total risk may increase from 400 chances in 2000 to 401 chances in 2000.” The risk is real but low, and must be balanced against the benefit of improved diagnosis.

  15. urblintz

    And now the opinion creators on TV are talking about the “side effects” of social distancing.

    I know what the “side effect” of not wearing a condom can be…

  16. The Rev Kev

    “The Guy Who Wore a Giant Donut in Public to Enforce Social Distancing Is the Hero We Need ”

    A giant donut? Bit awkward getting in and out doors with one on. I bet that I could get far better social distancing by wearing a mock-up flame-thrower on my back.

    1. urblintz

      except that you’d probably be arrested for terrorism… a donut is not a threat, at least not yet.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That can’t be right. Flame-throwers are legal in 48 States in the Union. If guys can wear assault rifles into supermarkets and Walmarts under open-carry, why can’t you open-carry your own flame-thrower? Or even one of those flame-throwers that Elon Musk was selling not that long ago?

        1. urblintz

          because you’d be fighting the good fight… that’s enough reason to take you out. We’ll have none of that! It’s one thing to take out a bunch of kids with an assault rifle, second amendment and all that, it’s another thing entirely to scare people into thinking about their own health. That has to stop now!

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          “Hey, now, step aside and let me sterilize that for ya! Been told I’ve got a light touch.”

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Ha! I did some firewalking on the Black Rock. Wasn’t Burning Man, though. A bonfire, some really good Aerostich motorcycle boots, and a great flood of Bruno’s red wine had something to do with it.

              1. Wukchumni

                I went from 2003 to 2009 and then called it quits, it was time to ride into the sunset.

                Drugs were kind of everywhere, but nowhere if you know what I mean and I think you do. A campmate got busted smoking a reefer by the narcs and that was a $537 how do you do.

                It was more about your basic visuals: ‘shrooms, acid, ecstacy, but not really cocaine so much.

                A campmate in his RV coming in got busted in 2009 in a Nevada HP stop right by Bruno’s, and it escalated to a search and then they found his stash, and onto a school bus with a bunch of other busted Burners and off to Reno jail they went. My friend made sets for Hollywood, and this was on Monday and he’s one of 500 Burners in gaol, bay-bee, and he gets bailed out and turns up on Thursday with a tale of woe and in the end a $13k lesson I learned that he paid the tuition fee for me, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.

                I thought 2007 was kind of like how it must’ve felt being in Haight-Ashbury say in 1966-at its height of cool, and I have a number of Burner friends that still go, one has been to every event since 1995, and it really is a big part of their lives, and not limited to the big wahooza in Black Rock City, as there are regional Burns all over the USA & world.

                I’m more of a backcountry hermit pecking away on my qwerty behind the lines, so social distancing is no biggie, but Burners socialize and like to hang out, so Coronavirus is going to put the hurt on their ways & miens.

  17. Laputan

    It’s criminally negligent to whitewash Biden’s obvious drift toward senility like this. It was not due to “technical difficulties” that Biden wandered off camera in the middle of a maundering, lying answer at which point they cut the video and pasted his logo on the screen. He’s not fit to be in front of a camera for more than 5 minutes without showing everyone he’s sundowning. And yet if you scour the news sites, there’s only one other article I found. Talk about collusion.

    1. TroyIA

      I learned 2 medical terms today.

      Aphasianoun Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write. Aphasia is always due to injury to the brain-most commonly from a stroke, particularly in older individuals.

      Vascular dementianoun Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.

      Luckily Joe Biden just has a “stuttering condition” so all of you Bernie Bros and Russian trolls can stop spreading lies. /sarc/

      1. JBird4049

        The Democratic Party is murdering what is left a man’s mind for their benefit.

        I loathe Joe Biden, but what is being done to him is not just wrong, or cruel; it is evil done for the sake of maintaining power, wealth, and status. Who knows what is wrong with Biden’s mind, but often under the right medical care, people make amazing recoveries. Political campaigning is just very likely to make things worse, and far more quickly, than it otherwise would be.

        The Democratic Party should just go the way of the Whigs. Hopefully, a new and better party, like the Republican Party did, will emerge from the remains. The Democratic nomenklatura should also be changed and tried. Somehow, I cannot believe that all the crap that they have pulled recently is legal. Just like with the bankers in 2008, there were plenty of criminals, but the government refused to charge them.

    2. pretzelattackd

      no crap, my only hope, and it’s a faint one, is that biden does something like this during the debate, assuming the dnc doesn’t manage to scuttle the debate entirely.

    3. antidlc
      Ryan Grim
      About a minute and a half into here, he gets asked about trophy hunting and starts talking up his non-existent sponsorship of the Endangered Species Act

      video at the link
      “I was one of the sponsors of the Endangered Species Act,” Joe Biden said today at this virtual town hall, in selling his environmental record.

      That’s either a lie or he’s misremembering. Delaware’s Republican senator was a sponsor. Biden was not.

      Biden not listed as co-sponsor.

      1. Monty

        Facts Schmacts.

        If Coronavirus is as bad as it looks, Trump is probably going to lose, because he failed at job#1: keeping us safe.. The donors are going to love a braindead President Biden. He will do as he is told.

        1. MLTPB

          Grading on a curve?

          How many for the leader to earn a not passing?

          How many for a C or A grade?

          Is Xi successful or not?

          Is the S Korean team in the finals?

          Narrative for the short term is a prize for all sides. Long term, good future historians will have a chance to earn their fame.

          A leader can look bad in the beginning of the beginning like FDR after Tora Tora Tora and still come out fine.

    4. curious euro

      Biden is the ideal president. For some
      This way, whoever is in his inner circle has the actual power since he is obviously unable to hold a thought from now to 2 seconds after. His wife, is Veep (three guesses who that will be), etc. they will all make out like bandits.

      Usually, when this happens, it’s a disaster for the country in question. Last time seen with Yeltsin in the1990s, Mugabe in 2010s, Mandela early 2000s I think. However, for the aforementioned inner circle it’s a bonanza of unimaginable monetary profits for corruption and awesome amounts of power.

    5. Aumua

      You know, speaking of Concern Trolling… I do see the point of expressing our great care for Biden’s health, but at the same it does kind of make me roll my eyes a little every time I read something along the lines how negligent it is to let him keep campaigning.

        1. dcrane

          Nearly 240k now. Restores a bit of my faith in humanity.

          Can’t help but wonder if we will eventually see rules imposed to prevent this sort of nullification of state power/intimidation.

  18. gsinbe

    I’m a bit leery of posting a link, but recommend doing a search for “Coronavirus and the Sun”. Very interesting article on how “open-air therapy” was an effective treatment for the Spanish Flu in the days before antibiotics. Has convinced me to spend as much time outside as I can, and take a beach chair out if I start feeling feverish.

    1. MLTPB

      Depending on one’s location.

      Here in CA, it will be rain most days for the next 10 days, when a while back, it was warm and sunny for a stretch.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Get out there and dig the biggest garden you have ever dug. Try not to break your spading fork.

      Merlot lettuce is gorgeous and is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. And it is slow to bolt.

      Invert terra-cotta pots and lay a plank on top for a bench to hold potted leafy greens. The will help to confound the slugs, though not the cabbage moths.

      1. Oregoncharles

        spading forks generally bend the tines, not break; handles can break, though, but are theoretically replaceable – as in it’s a pain in the rear to do.

        Main reason for bending is catching on a tree root, but too big a bite of hard soil can do it, too.

    3. Lee

      Laurie Garret, author of The Coming Plague, in the interview cited in mine above notes that Vietnam with its low tech was the nation most effective in stopping SARS within their borders.

      The Vietnamese removed SARS patients from their more medically advanced facilities to a previously abandoned hospital and simply placed them next to open windows. So far I haven’t found any data as to SARS patient outcomes in Vietnam as opposed to Canada, the second most effective country in stopping SARS transmission, with its more advanced medical technology.

      However, valiant invasive efforts including intubation often do put health workers at much greater risk of infection and therefore of spreading the disease to others. Perhaps if I get Covid-19 I’ll opt for a room with a view, readily and an open window rather than a ventilator, which might not be available here in the U.S. anyway.

    4. flora

      Vitamin D3 produced in the skin with sufficient sun exposure. Is it the D3 production that’s useful ?

      1. Cuibono

        That has long been a theory. Sadly the evidence is not conclusive.
        But I doubt it can hurt

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          British Medical Journal study shows positive results in Vit D helping to reduce the effect of respiratory infections, particularly for those like me who are under Northern Skies where the sun struggles to get a look in. The darker your skin the more it helps apparently & fairly cheap here at £3.65 for 90 with plenty about unlike other items as over the last 2 days things have gone a bit mad to say the least.

          There is an effort to have it introduced into staple foods in the UK, which I believe perhaps incorrectly, is already the case in the EU.

      2. Stephen V

        Flora: this guy does medcram / corona updates on YouTube–

        Many of us are low on D. Since it is more of a hormone produced by the body –merely taking D3 may not help.
        I’ve been aided greatly by a combo of D3 and Chinese Yam (aka Lightroot). Along with sunbathing.
        Woo woo alert: I think artificial light tricks the body and subverts our metabolism of natural light.

  19. allan

    It’s still primary season, and voter suppression never goes out of style:

    Fewer poll workers, coronavirus, spark fears of election day woes in Ohio Democratic primary [Reuters]

    Nearly a quarter of Ohio’s counties are deploying fewer poll workers for the state’s Democratic primary on Tuesday than they have in previous presidential election years, raising concerns from voting-rights advocates who say the reductions could lengthen lines at the polls. …

    The cuts will affect polling stations across 20 of Ohio’s 88 counties, impacting 7.8% of Ohio’s electorate but more than half of voters in the affected counties. …

    The planned reductions represent a modest 3.4% decline in overall poll workers statewide compared to past elections. But some counties have chosen to cut significant portions of their previous poll worker force, with eight counties losing more than 30%.

    Among those planning the biggest cuts is rural Greene County in southwestern Ohio, home to the state’s two historically black universities: Central State University and Wilberforce University. Greene County election officials halved the number of poll workers at all 32 voting locations in the county compared to what they were in 2018 and earlier.

    Registered Republicans make up a majority of voters in all 20 Ohio counties that reduced poll workers. Eighteen of the counties reduced poll workers only in certain precincts. In most of those 18 counties, the precincts affected by the reductions have higher rates of registered Democrats than the precincts that remain unaffected, according to a Reuters analysis of Ohio voter data.

    Not to mention the tens of thousands of college students whose living situations have been disrupted
    by the coronavirus closings and might have a hard time voting.

  20. David Carl Grimes

    Has anyone seen Biden’s Virtual Town Hall? It was a disaster. The sound was bad. Biden spoke for four minutes. He forgot what year it was. He wandered off-camera right in the middle of the town hall.

    I’ve seen Youtubers do a better session from their garage. Biden looks senile. And why did he have to speak into a cellphone?

    1. Jessica

      Who is running Biden’s campaign that they keep on releasing videos that make him look demented?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe they should send those videos over to George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic to see if he can digitally improve Biden. Don’t fancy his chances though.

        1. xkeyscored

          I’ve no wish to defend Biden whatsoever, but he didn’t appear at all senile in this video to me. His answers were no less coherent than most politicians’ when confronted with these topics, and distinctly more coherent than Trump’s.

          1. Geo

            Biden 2020
            “More coherent than Trump”

            This is the best the DNC can do? This is what the voters have chosen? If true (and it looks like it is) then our fate is sealed and a swift decline is ahead of us.

            In 1980 it was “Morning in America”. In 2020, whichever side wins, it will be “Sundown in America”.

              1. Geo

                Of course it was.

                So was “Hope & Change”, “Compassionate Conservatism”, and “Make America Great Again”.

                The only one I can think of that was honest in my lifetime was “A Thousand Points of Light”. Just didn’t know it was meant as a descriptor of the missiles falling on Baghdad.

          2. Susan the other

            That’s what I thought too. I’m no fan of Joe but this answer was really good. It didn’t find it “incoherent” – just rushed through. I got the feeling that he could have told us much more about his own environmental efforts.

            1. xkeyscored

              I did not find his answer good. It sounded like drivel, and probably lying drivel at that. Just not demented drivel.

      2. pretzelattack

        those are the best ones, probably. the dnc is probably freaking out, just hoping to somehow get him to the convention.

    2. christofay

      Cool Joe is just doing what the millennials do walking around phone held by fingertips perpendicular to the body. That’s the way to communicate today. Don’t you do it that way?

    3. flora

      The best way to stop any investigations into Hunter’s or Joe’s brother’s or Joe’s financial, uh, questionable dealings is to make Joe the president, even if he’s mentally unfit. And, once you start really tugging on those threads, who knows how many other Dem estab characters get drawn in to the investigation. Gotta stop that from happening. /foil hat off.

      1. Susan the other

        That could well be one reason they are stealing the election for him. But, like secret war plans if they exist, this plan too needs the right vice president. I thought when Joe jumped in that he was just assigned to be the spoiler for Bernie. The DNC would do anything to prevent Bernie. So at least 3 good reasons to elect Biden. He can always step down.

  21. John

    Trump blames Obama for the inadequacy of testing. Did Obama also not fix the problem in the last three years? Was it Obama who continued to cut the CDC budget in particualr and public health spending in general for the last three years. Grow up and take responsibility. You have f***ked up you self-centered moron.

    1. Monty

      The message probably wasn’t aimed at you. I have met many MAGA types over the last few years. AZ is full of them. They think Obama caused the 2008 financial crisis too.
      They ignore any source other than Trump, Qanon, Rush, Ted Cruz etc I have noticed it’s fingers in ears, “la la la” time, if they hear anything contradicting the myths they believe.

      1. edmondo

        The Democrats seem to have the same reaction whenever you criticize Obama. It’s all about which team you are on.

    2. Watt4Bob

      google “history CDC budget cuts”

      You’ll find the CDC being cut continuously since at least 2005, articles every year detailing the gradual process of de-0fund and privatize.

      And a large portion under Obama.

      Trump isn’t being totally honest, but not totally wrong either.

      1. KLG

        Ditto for the NIH budget. The plaint from the Obamabots in his Administrations to complaints that our biomedical research budget was on a serious downward slide was, “You’re getting $36B, so shut up!” No matter that adjusted for inflation, down, down, down…

  22. Mark

    I’m a scientist at a biotech company who feels the need to clarify a few points on the Corona test itself. qRT-PCR is not an exotic assay sitting on the cutting edge of medical science. It’s very basic, routine and a cornerstone of basic research through drug development. The key requirements are the selection of specific primers and probe sets, and the inclusion of appropriate reference material. The primer/probe set sequences do not need to be created out of thin air, but can be transferred, wait for it, by email from anyone in the world who has already sorted it out. The synthesis can be performed in bulk, on the cheap and rapidly (a day for something urgent, I think we’d agree this rises to that bar).

    The assay itself can be scaled into high throughput plate formats, and run with automation by a marginally trained technician. It does not take 2-days. It takes a few hours. Yesterday we received an email from a local world famous teaching hospital requesting RNA extraction kits so they could start picking up the slack for state run laboratories that are apparently incapable of performing this basic function (which of course we provided). It’s endearing to see post-docs snap into action, but alarming that our institutions are caught with their pants down and incapable of performing this function as though they are being asked to crack some new brain teasing mathematical theorem.

    Science is weird. We all got into it to be part of something productive for society. We knew the pay would be less, but academic and public institutions are woefully underfunded (meaning the toys you get to play with are decades behind) and the pay is so paltry that anyone but the most pure of heart or incompetent eventually has to make the call to jump to industry so that they can live a reasonable lifestyle. This is the manifestation of that, and many other forces, and it breaks my heart. This is game day for the scientific community and the apparatus is simply not up to the task thus far. In the end I trust that the community will fill the space and competent people will simply take the reigns. I’m rooting for it and will look for the opportunity to chip in.

    1. KLG

      Thank you, Mark! Yes, RT-PCR. Primers cost ~$6 each and a typical batch can be used for thousands of assays. A kit to complete the tests is cheap. The technique has been a standard, routine thing for 20+ years for anyone who has done any molecular biology in the lab, by graduate students, postdocs, technicians, and precocious undergraduates (though I would not turn the typical Principal Investigator loose with a PCR kit and thermocycler). No good reason that >100 tests at a time, times 10 with the proper robot, controls included, should take more than 2-3 hours. Anywhere.

    2. Susan the other

      Wow. Thanks for this info. It doesn’t surprise me, when I think about it, because the corrupt pols running the show are on the take from big pharma and who knows who else – so naturally they are stalling looking for the most profitable angle for their major sponsors. Stalling explains a lot of what appears to be unbelievable incompetence. Somebody should research recently filed patents.

    3. petal

      Mark, from an academic scientist, thank you. Bang on. I(and others in my lab) can’t understand what the big problem is with doing a qPCR. It boggles. I won’t start on the RNA extraction kits. Can’t wrap my head around it.
      Just had a 30+ year old TC hood die on us, and quite a bit of my time is spent keeping other ancient equipment going instead of spending that time on my research project. It’s frustrating. At some point in the very near future, I’ll have to jump to industry because I can’t afford to keep living like this(low pay). My pay would more than double(and I wouldn’t even have to move to another geographic area). I can’t even afford an apartment to myself, have always had to share one with multiple others. A house(let alone kids) will always be out of the question unless I make the jump. I will feel guilty about selling out, but one has to live. Why sacrifice myself?

      1. flora

        Petal, when people point to pictures of downtown Havana from 20 or 30 years ago and say, “See, this failure to thrive and progress is what *that* system brings”, I keep thinking “if only they knew what our current private-profits-over-everything-else system brings.” What our current system brings, imo, looks (invisibly to most people) something like the old Havana street pictures of antique cars. Our publicly funded academic and public health sciences are in the same badly defunded state today, sadly. And there’s no good reason for this destruction of science for the public good caused by market-worship defunding. (WS profits are not a good reason.) My 2 cents.

        1. JBird4049

          Oh heck, you can always compare the streets of today with that of ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. The now empty storefronts and the disappearing book, stationary, furniture, clothing, and department stores; the proliferation of coffee shops, dollar stores, payday loan, and pawn shops. Add the homeless, and people living in their vehicles, and you have a nice encapsulation of how rampant capitalism and the rentier economy has changed the prosperous economy of the past into the near dystopian and hollow economy of today. It is not just governments and schools that have been destroyed.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Suppose you were empowered to requisition the use of currently existing apparatus and equipment to implement testing. Suppose you could requisition the technical and scientific help required to run tests. Now suppose there were public officials with the authority and Wisdom to make it so, and handle the widespread collection of test samples and their transport to the crash test facilities and handle notifications of results followed by action to compel isolation of those with the virus.

      Where are the necessary apparatus and equipment most readily available? Is there a ‘grapevine’ in the Scientific community for locating and activating the necessary technical and scientific help? Most crucial — are there officials in the State or local government with the authority and Wisdom to make it so? Is it possible some of the inaction of our State and local governments can best be explained by their lack of knowledge and ability to formulate a plan of action?

      I suspect that if one locale creates and implements a plan of action for doing widespread testing other communities might follow their lead. I also suspect other nations may have plans of action which could be used as templates for creating a plan suitable to our U.S. particularities.

      This statement at the tail of your comment is most poignant to me and a terrible indictment of the U.S.:
      “We all got into it [Science] to be part of something productive for society. We knew the pay would be less, but academic and public institutions are woefully underfunded (meaning the toys you get to play with are decades behind) and the pay is so paltry that anyone but the most pure of heart or incompetent eventually has to make the call to jump to industry so that they can live a reasonable lifestyle.”

    5. Foy

      Thanks Mark. It’s amazing how NakedCapitalism always has an expert on every topic lurking in the commentariat ready to pop up when required to provide even greater insight. I love this blog.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      There was some sort of falling out among the management there. It was mentioned here a while back but can’t put my finger on a link….

      1. Olga

        NC wrote about the “falling out” (more like a wholesale coup d’TRNN). Wonder, though, where is he now. Also, there was something similar going on at the Truthdig. (I guess if you cannot co-opt them then destruction is the next step.)

  23. tongorad

    AOC Backed Away from Sanders Campaign after Joe Rogan Endorsement –>>

    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) declined multiple pleas from the Bernie Sanders campaign to stump for the Vermont senator’s candidacy after the Iowa caucuses, according to HuffPost.

    Ocasio-Cortez was heavily involved in the campaign’s buildup to Iowa, headlining seven rallies for Sanders in Iowa over the weekend of January 24 to January 26.

    But the progressive New York representative disagreed with the campaign over its decision to promote the endorsement of Joe Rogan, the popular podcaster who has been criticized by LGBT activists for opposing puberty blockers for gender-confused children. He has also spoken out against the participation of biological males competing in women’s sports.

    1. Geo

      I was wondering where she disappeared to. Good to know female-identifying kickboxers are more important to her than M4A and a Green New Deal.

      1. Wukchumni

        Why has the Donkey Show gone all out on trans issues, that dingbat Warren started falling apart in the polls once she embraced the concept…

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaking at a presidential campaign stop at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said that she would only appoint a Secretary of Education that a 9-year-old trans youth she met would interview and approve of.

        “Because it came from a young trans person who asked about a welcoming community and I said it starts with a Secretary of Education who has a lot to do with where we spend our money, with what gets advanced in public schools, with what the standards are,” Warren said.

        1. Geo

          I’ve been an ally for the trans community for my entire adult life. At 19 a close friend was “coming out” and would bring me as his security friend as he ventured into the gay scene and later through his transition to “her”. Worked for a trans-owned business back in 2001 and became close with the owner who, at the time, was an elderly black trans woman. Have done marches alongside trans people for their cause and more. I’ve seen their struggles and tried to support the movement.

          All that said, I’m with you. Placing trans issues above issues that impact the wider population is political suicide. Most people’s don’t know the difference between drag and trans (that drag acts in TV make it look like a clown show doesn’t help), don’t understand the variants of the gender identities, and the pronoun avalanche has become a punchline amongst even many in my “woke” circles.

          Doesn’t mean their issues should be sidelined but considering Dems have done next to nothing for larger communities facing worse issues such as Native Americans, it’s annoying how righteously they flaunt their virtue signaling. Maybe fix the plumbing in Flint before worrying about the gender signs on the bathroom door?

          1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

            There are plenty of issues that fully 5% of people care passionately about. Some of them are very divisive social lightning rod issues. I continue to believe that the neo lib monsters react with glee when we focus and pivot and divide ourselves on them. Can we focus on class please and stop making it so incredibly easy for the neo con neo lib monstocracy to devour us.

            1. JBird4049

              Identity politics is done precisely because it works at destroying the greater society‘s or community’s cohesion and therefore its ability to make the true reforms necessary to enable everyone to have a good life.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Very disappointing on AOC’s part, although I do take it with a grain of salt coming from The National Review. I’m sure they would like nothing better than watching the left self destruct right when it seems like they have a slim chance of making some real gains.

        The Democrat party, were the wokesters to emerge from liberal la-la land, might be very surprised to find that the vast majority of the American population agrees with Joe Rogan’s take.

        1. John

          I guess what she’s thinking is she doesn’t want to back a “loser”.

          She’s folded on getting rid of her Chief of Staff and voting for Pelosi as Speaker so it’s clear that she plays the game of Washington politics already.

          Not that I’m blaming her too much. With all the top Ds trying to make sure she’s defeated in the next election she knows it’s about survival for herself at this point. .

          1. edmondo

            She’s obviously a good politician or she wouldn’t be in the House. Perhaps what she saw of the Sanders’ campaign is what everyone else saw weeks later. I can’t blame her for not campaigning for “Joe Biden’s friend.”

            1. John

              Let’s get real. The elites turned up the anti-Sanders propaganda to Def Com 10 in the last few months.

              That had way more to do with manipulating the voters’ perception of Sanders than any “failings” of his campaign did.

        1. EGrise

          I read this as the National Socialist Review trying to throw an anchor to a drowning enemy (Sanders) by sowing confusion, knowing that he’s far more dangerous to them than Biden.

    2. Billy

      In other words, woke broke idPolitics gets us four more years of Trump.
      Somewhere a tavern is missing an idiot.

  24. xkeyscored

    How one company made $208m on an untested coronavirus vaccine STAT

    Is this right? “Inovio’s approach relies on injecting synthetic DNA that codes for protective antibodies.”
    Would this DNA make its way into our cells and be transcribed into antibodies? Or is that not how it works?

    1. Susan the other

      something I’ve been wondering this morning: is it now not particularly useful to do animal studies on tolerance, effectiveness, and toxicity of a vaccine formula because the vaccine is a designer vaccine using human DNA? … if they test it on mice, etc. we could get sidetracked. But then again, if they go straight to human test subjects, we could get crazy sick from it for unknown reasons.

    2. xkeyscored

      I’ve found the answer. They think they can get the DNA into cells.

      INO-4800 is a DNA vaccine candidate matched to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease in humans. Inovio’s proprietary platform hand-held smart device called CELLECTRA® is leading the way forward for activation immunotherapy. This one-of-a-kind platform delivers optimized DNA into cells, where it is translated into proteins that activate an individual’s immune system to generate a robust targeted T cell and antibody response.

      CELLECTRA uses a brief electrical pulse to open small pores in the cell reversibly to allow the plasmids to enter. Once inside the cell, the plasmids begin replicating, thereby strengthening the body’s own natural response mechanisms. Administration with the CELLECTRA device ensures that the DNA medicine is delivered directly into the body’s cells, where it can go to work immediately mounting an immune response.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        What could possibly go wrong?©

        “Optimized*” is one of those “whenever I hear it, I reach for my gun” PMC consultant wahk words. (One of many in this puff piece)

        And I say that as an OR practitioner (hence my handle).

        * in (mal)practice, it means in effect: cut slack variables (i.e. safety margin) to zero and pretend you are a genius. Receive bonus and promotion, advance to Go.

        1. xkeyscored

          The DNA may have been optimised for making money. On the other hand, I’m glad people are trying. Who knows, it may be a ‘magic bullet’.
          “Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO), a drug company that has existed for four decades without developing an approved product, has made $208 million thanks to a coronavirus vaccine that hasn’t been tested on humans.
          According to the company’s latest financials released Thursday night, Inovio sold more than 43 million shares between Jan. 1 and March 11. Issuing that many new shares is usually bad for a company’s valuation, as it dilutes existing investors. But Inovio did it through an at-the-market agreement, or ATM, which is a pre-existing deal that lets the company mete out new stock to investment banks that then sell it on the open market.”

          PS What is an OR practitioner? Google won’t tell me.

          1. Susan the other

            thanks for this link, xkeyscored. It is amazing. The one tiny possible glitch is that Inovio is assuming that if they treat soma cells with this vaccine and cause those cells to create T cels and antibodies that this adaptation will only have an effect on those soma cells and not on germ cells-not on the genome. I’m pretty sure, just from being a lifelong skeptic, that geneticists might disagree as they have long known that Lamarck was right and that clearly, in instances of immunology, the acquired characteristic is passed on to the genome. Other instances are harder to find (things like simply adapting to the environment on a natural timescale, etc.)… So this is impressive technology. Perhaps it would not matter if the INO 4800 did actually change our genetics, but god only knows at this point exactly how, over time. Brave new interesting times.

  25. Wukchumni

    You can see where this is all going in the USA, statistically everybody has a gun, and unofficially i’d guess, very few people have prepared for what’s coming by having enough food on hand, and it wont be long before employees of supermarkets realize the grave danger they are putting themselves in by merely being there, same with restaurant employees.

    We’ve gotten used to the violence that accompanies hand cannons, heck a mass murder under double digits ain’t no big deal in the scheme of things, were used to it by now.

    Tom mentions ‘militarized police’ up thread, what about a militarized populace with hunger pangs?

    1. pretzelattack

      i think guns are somewhat like the future, unevenly distributed. better distributed than backup food supplies, though.

    2. Geo

      Was hearing about all the wiped out grocery stores around town (I’m in Los Angeles). Freak outs over empty shelves at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Ralphs, etc. Talk of toilet paper, soap, and sanitizer shortages.

      Went to a small local grocery in my much-less-than-affluent neighborhood and they had everything (except black beans). A full shelf of TP and soaps.

      Odd that people will go full Mad Max before venturing into a non-Corporate chainstore.

      1. pretzelattack

        i found toilet paper, finally, at a dollar general after striking out at trader joe’s, aldi, tom thumb and walmart.

            1. Kurt Sperry

              I don’t think the supply side is the issue. People being selfish and sociopathic panic buying or hoarding appears to be. “Cleaning out a store” is the ugliest sort of rugged individualism.

        1. Carla

          Thanks to NC, I stocked up on T.P., paper towels, rubbing alcohol, zinc lozenges and elderberry extract two weeks ago. We’re hunkered down at home.

              1. pretzelattack

                get this, their policy is to limit checking out e-books. something to do with the publishers insisting on it.

            1. katiebird

              Some have ebooks available in a variety of formats. Like HTML or PDF even.

              Also Project Gutenberg

              1. katiebird

                Our library just announced they are closing till the end of March. I would be surprised if they opened before the end of April. At least.

      2. human

        20 percenters are loathe to shop at bodegas and dollar stores. These stores are simply not in their worldview.

        The rest of us see no option other than to behave, somewhat, rationally while going on about our normal mode of business and family.

      3. xkeyscored

        Odd that people will go full Mad Max before venturing into a non-Corporate chainstore.

        Where did they go in “Dawn of the Dead”? – The mall.

      4. Billy

        There is a 2 day supply of food in the Los Angeles basin.
        If the freeway overpasses and railroad bridges into it are blocked by an earthquake, there’s no way to get food to the distribution warehouses, nor to truck it from those to the markets on damaged freeways, or, if enough truck drivers were to call in sick. The Watts and Rodney King riots give a nice preview of how people would cooperate and share in such a circumstance.

        That is why anyone who is prudent has at least a couple week’s worth of food stockpiled, plus medicine, and the big one, water.
        Those people are sitting pretty now.
        If you are too poor, or don’t have enough space to do that, making friends with those who have might be a good idea. Facebook “friends” ™ don’t count.

      5. FluffytheObeseCat

        Try an employee owned operation. Winco kicked a** this morning. Everything was being restocked at warp speed. The check out line snaked to the back of the big box and curled around…. but was in constant motion. I was out in under 20’. They had bleach, toilet paper, tissues, cleansers, and piles of food.

    3. Dita

      I stocked up, but not more than normal since I buy bulk items every 3-4 months anyway. Anxiety I understand, but why do people think there will be NO food or water? Italy, China, etc all still have food and water weeks later…

      1. Monty

        Because the flip side of “personal responsibility” is “every man for himself”. They have met their neighbors and don’t trust them to be civic minded in a crisis.

        1. Dita

          I think that is encouraged in our culture, even our entertainment is about surviving each other. What a show like Walking Dead is about really surviving in the wake of a pandemic.
          In Italy they’re singing, in the US we’re loading up the guns.

          1. MLTPB

            It’s not all bad here in the US.

            We share pictures of cute dogs, even if we don’t sing.

    4. skk

      Having known the aphoris6/m “Don’t Panic… Panic FIRST” for ages and also listening to Chris Martenson’s 6 days/week 30 min Corona Virus podcasts for the last 7 weeks or so and because of Earthquake preparedness we are well stocked up..
      Still I went to Costco to pick up my 90 day prescription and was shocked at the lines just to get into the store and the piled-up carts. People are still pretty well behaved, I could even cut in line since I was only going to the pharmacy but its not hard to imagine that the next stage is going to be “Mumbai locals at rush hour”.
      And in a country with guns…. I’ve booked my wife and I into a shotgun training class – to add to my proficiency in a semi-automatic.

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Fake Dead Sea Scrolls

    From the article –

    And how had the forgers managed to fool the world’s leading Dead Sea Scroll scholars and the Museum of the Bible?

    Well with regards to the latter, they do also believe the world is 6000 years old. And that the word “gullible” is not listed in the dictionary.

    1. Wukchumni

      As per the Mormon saga with bogus documents, believers in dogma go to extraordinary lengths to be accepting of information that promotes their cause.

      1. MLTPB

        Science advances one xxx at a time.

        It’s the same with almost everything we humans do, whether some are more upfront, like a certain political party, and even preferred by some, going by a few comments by fellow posters here, or others who claim rationality.

  27. Off The Street

    Yves, Lamber, J-LS and team,
    Thank you for introducing me to the Policy Tensor website (and so many other great sources and comments).
    I’ll send an NC contribution shortly.

  28. Geo

    Just about every article and news report lately has brought this quote to mind:

    “Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.”

    I used to get a little laugh from it thinking it was a pessimistic yet often truthful take. Now, I’m not so sure we’re even capable of it. If it takes global pandemic for even half-baked attempts at valuing human lives to even be discussed as options (then buried because it will be bad for markets), at what stage will Climate Change need to reach before serious action is taken?

    A while back a buddy made the mistake of asking me what I thought it would take for any real systemic change. I told him the last time it took two world wars, a genocide, and a Great Depression. He was depressed after I said that but looking at the current state of affairs, how many millions will need to die before we, as a society, decide paid sick leave and some form of universal healthcare are not a communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids? At the very least, will this wake enough people up to the importance of leadership that a game show host or a corrupt dementia sufferer are not suitable presidential material?

    1. norm de plume

      ‘Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources’

      not sure who said that but it put me in mind of one of Churchill’s zingers:

      ‘Americans will always do the right thing, but only after they have tried everything else’

  29. dearieme

    The felines could be the feral descendants of the domestic cat Felis catus brought to the island several hundred years ago by Europeans

    I was amused at the air of slight disappointment that these wild cats couldn’t be blamed on Europeans.

  30. Mikel

    I’ve been working on a project with a friend. We live in LA and I have a job that has set a work from home policy. He does not and gave up his car a couple of years ago, only uses the buses and Uber.
    When I suggested we work via other communication devices for a while, he actuallh got angry. He believes (or wants to believe) that this is some “plot” to control people.
    I told him that makes no sense because people are already controlled, doing things they don’t like without question, not knowing why they do things that they do, etc.
    He doesn’t think any of it is real because there are no names of the dead, no funerals.

    So I just try to be understanding. I have to wonder, if for some, the idea of it being fake is more comforting than being in a position were there is no concern being shown for their well-being in a time of possible great crisis. “You work in an office,” he said to me. “We’re all working from home,” I told him. That was the point were the conversation devolved.

    But we are still friends and working on the project via other communication channels. But I don’t want social distancing to jeopardize my friendships.

    1. Billy

      But not Jared Kushner’s bailout from the Russian bank for 666 Fifth Avenue. Also, he got help from the Kuwaiti Sovereign Fund. American troops probably died in exchange for his bailout. Dirty Money on Netflix, second season has hour long video on him and his foreign policy dealings, among other things.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Europe is now the ‘epicenter’ of the coronavirus pandemic, WHO says”

    I suspect that the idea of an ‘epicenter’ for the Coronavirus pandemic will be a bit of a “moveable feast”. It used to be China and now it is Europe. In a few months it could be America, Africa, South America or god knows where. I am still amazed at how quickly it is spreading and the rapid inroads that it is making in so many countries.

    1. MLTPB

      The Italian cases trace back to mid Jan, I understand.

      Up in Seattle, I first thought the source came from S Korea. An article I read recently said Jan 14 or 18… can’t recall exactly.

      In ant case, the lockdown in Wuhan was around the 23rd or so, of Jan.

      A bit late.

      Yesterday, an article in the links mentioned the November origin of the contagion.

      1. Eclair

        Per the blog at the Bedford Lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute in Seattle, the first appearance was from a traveller returning from Wuhan in mid-January: “The first case in the USA was called “USA/WA1/2020″. This was from a traveller directly returning from Wuhan to Snohomish County on Jan 15, with a swab collected on Jan 19. This virus was rapidly sequenced by the US CDC Division of Viral Diseases and shared publicly on Jan 24 (huge props to the CDC for this). We can zoom into the tree to place WA1 among related viruses …..”

        Then, nothing until the end of January: “Last week the Seattle Flu Study started screening samples for COVID-19 as described here. Soon after starting screening we found a first positive in a sample from Snohomish County. The case was remarkable in that it was a “community case”, only the second recognized in the US, someone who had sought treatment for flu-like symptoms, been tested for flu and then sent home owing to mild disease. After this was diagnostically confirmed by Shoreline Public Health labs on Fri Feb 28 we were able to immediately get the sample USA/WA2/2020 on a sequencer and have a genome available on Sat Feb 29. The results were remarkable. The WA2 case was identical to WA1 except that it had three additional mutations.”

        By studying the genome of these two separate viruses, and determining they were related, the inference is that the virus had been spreading, undetected, in Snohomish County (and dog knows where else!) for 6 weeks.

        Back of the envelope calculations by virus researchers estimated that, as of 1 March, there were probably about 600 cases of CoVid19 in the area. Of course, this is a rapidly changing scene, with more information coming in by the minute.

        NB: The website has a really cool map of the spread of the virus, color coded. All it takes is one infected person, dropped down (or flown) into a susceptible population. I was particularly fascinated by the virus appearing, early on, in Illinois and Arizona. And, of course, California.

        1. MLTPB

          Thanks, Eclair.

          Agree that all it takes is one infected person.

          I note that the first person was tested for flu. What was the result?

          I believe if it was not flu, in some metro areas, then they would test for this one. Was Seattle not included at the time? In hindsight, the city is closer to Asia than CA, due to the Great Circle, I believe. Thus, flights from here usually go up through there.

          Being close to Vancouver also makes it a candidate.

        2. Eclair

          Rapidly changing scene it is. At 1:30 PM Saturday, the Seattle Times posted Trevor Bedford’s twitter thread from last night. He is estimating, based on the ‘seeding’ of maybe 60 travellers from the Wuhan area arriving all over the US in mid-January to mid-February, that there might be as many as 10k to 40k cases in the US. With almost all of these being spread by ‘locals.’

          Here’s Bedford’s twitter link:

          1. MLTPB

            I hope not.

            1. Initially all focus was on China.

            2. Then S Korea and Italy came along. In particular, many returning from the latter were reported fairly quickly.

            It would seem if we were not catching most of the first, we would not have caught as many as the latter.

            And if we have 40k from China, there are probably more from Italy.

            3. The evacuation from the first cruise ship was not handled well. What is the situation with that? How many cases from that?

        3. Foy

          Great link thanks Eclair.

          “We now believe that the Seattle area seeding event was ~Jan 15 and we’re now ~7 weeks later. I expect Seattle now to look like Wuhan around ~1 Jan, when they were reporting the first clusters of patients with unexplained viral pneumonia.” (From 2nd March).

          He has a very interesting hand drawn diagram and estimate that on 2 March (when he wrote the post) he thought Seattle was like Wuhan was on 1 Jan. Wuhan went into lockdown 3 weeks later. So today Seattle spread would be approximately one week from where Wuhan went into lockdown by his estimates.

          I’m going to use this as a countdown (T-minus days and counting) to see when the US and Seattle react, how many days before or after Wuhan lockdown to get some idea how bad it will be there. As we all know the Wuhan lockdown was severe but had public cooperation, can’t see the same happening in the US…

  32. chuck roast

    Yep, same prediction this week as last week. Monday’s head line…

    “Fed Begins Massive Purchase of Failing Corporate Bonds”

    It will happen. The only question is when. At the risk of sounding like Harold Stassen I’ll be making the same prediction this time next week. Stassen had a day of fame every four years when he announced that he was running for the Presidency. He did this nine times. The USians were all united in a good laugh.

    1. Samuel Conner

      With effective nationalization of these companies, there might be opportunities to reorganize them in the public interest.

      “chaos is a ladder”

      one hopes it is leaned against the best wall.

      1. human

        “With effective nationalization…”


        Back in the ’08 crash, Citi was considered to be valued at $20B yet had $200B in obligations. It was bailed out with no change in management. As a matter of fact, taxpayers complained when $400M was paid to name the Mets home stadium Citifield!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, 60-70% alcohol takes about ten seconds for most viruses including influenza on surfaces:

      That stuff is so nasty that I now have irritation in my trachea from spraying it and having to let it sit the 10 seconds or more and winding up inhaling the fumes.

      Bleach takes longer and is much worse fume wise.

    1. MLTPB

      It’s possible to read Levine’s Fail State here in this country, and likely in the West if articles like Failed EU, or Failed Australia, etc, existed.

      In some repressive countries, it’s not possible.

      Falwell speaks as a private citizen. The US did nothing when that story was first floated on the net weeks ago (a month and half, I consider weeks. For me, months is more like 3, 8 or 10 months). This is about the spokesman of Beijings Foreign Ministry. The same ministry, after the Feb travel restrictions, accused the US of spreading fear and panic.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Evangelicals are taking a chapter from the Alex Jones Bible of how to attract cash customers (followers?) who are too dumb to reason. Not only is Falwell on the prowl to keep his free endorsements from Trump, but Ken Copeland has a Youtube where you can press your hand against the monitor as if touching his holy (and sparkly?) hand while he essentially calls on God to cast out your COVID-19 demons.

      One thing is clear from the pandemic. Lots of people, esp politicians, do not want to waste a good disaster to promote their self-interest.

    3. ewmayer

      U.S.: Random right-wing religious nut spews CT

      China: Foreign-ministry spokesman spews CT

      Sorry, failing to see the equivalence there.

  33. Geo

    Yves and the NC team,

    Joining the others here in thanking you for your excellent efforts to keep us all informed. Not only in the CV pandemic these past few months but so much more. So much talk right now is about supply routes and reminds me of your piece a while back regarding the amount of vital military equipment made in China too. You and the whole team are always so far ahead of the curve that if America was truly a meritocracy NC would be a major news network and MSNBC would be a blog.

    Thank you.

  34. chuck roast

    Bogus Dead Sea Scrolls

    No biggie. The cultist will continue to line up for the cool aid. Maybe they should follow the example of the phony Pilgrim Chair and show the fragments as forgeries.

    I first heard about this in the early 70’s from a charming coke-head who was in on the scam. LaMontagne was a very talented fellow. He is best known for carving the statue of Ted Williams outside Fenway

  35. John

    I worry about the supermarket workers.
    Low pay for most of them and still expected to keep the shelves stocked and the stores open during this.

    What in the bill that was passed helps them?

    1. MLTPB

      Aren’t there automated supermarkets that were recently introduced?

      In today’s ‘every other human is a potential host’ world, shopping at 3 am in one of those can be a less risk chioce.

          1. John

            I don’t shop at Walmart.

            I don’t want to make one of the richest families of inherited wealth, the Walton heirs, in the US richer by subsidizing them with my tax money that goes to support their low paid workers.

            1. pretzelattack

              they are the only grocery stores open all night. none of the chains pay their workers well except costco. i dont want more unregulated capitalism, but i notice i live in a capitalist culture. most people i know have cars, which means they buy gas, which causes climate change, at retail outlets that also don’t pay their workers well, and make the koch family or some equivalent even more obscenely rich.
              the two chains where i usually shop for food have also been cutting workers (aldi’s and trader joes).

              1. You're soaking in it!

                Many of the old line supermarkets in Western PA are unionized, and have relatively good benefits and wages. I believe both Giant Eagle, Foodland, and Shop’n’Save.

            2. marcyincny

              Sad to say but at this point it’s the only place poor Americans can afford to shop and in many cases find a job.

            3. Dita

              As objectionable as I find Wal-Mart’s policies, it has hired people i know when absolutely no one else would…

          2. Tom Bradford

            My local supermarket introduced scan-it-yourself machines a year or so ago. I have refused to use them, preferring to stand in line for a human check-out in the no-doubt futile attempt to preserve her job (it’s usually a her working while the kids are in school).

            However I wouldn’t blame all those hers for refusing to risk catching a virus for a miniscule wage, so I suspect one consequence of all this will be the final triumph of the supermarket chains training us all to do her job so’s they can save a few more dollars laying her off.

    2. Oregoncharles

      They’re also in danger, exposed to a large random sample of the public.

      I just raised this with the manager at the co-op where we do most of our shopping (set a record expenditure yesterday; we’re pretty well set until some of the fresh stuff runs out.) She had actually been working on it; the cashiers, at least, are wearing gloves, and there’s sanitizer everywhere. Some of those people are my friends, so I was glad to hear the store was on it. Arranging to make deliveries to shut-ins, as well.

      It’s one of the jobs that cannot be done remotely.

  36. John Beech

    A follow up . . . I just cast my vote for Bernie here in Central Florida. First time to vote Democrat since 1976! Maybe Joe’s gonna give him a whooping here as the polls suggest, but I’m not especially inclined to let anybody do my thinking.

    1. Dita

      1976! How did it feel? I feel the same way, going for Bernie even if I have to write him in. I simply will not vote for Biden, who is clearly addlepated.

  37. Wukchumni

    Why am I not surprised Patagonia is doing the right thing, while others are doing nothing?

    What a stand up company that makes quality goods & has quality people!

    1. Jackson

      +100. Patagonia is a “B” Corporation. Their products and customer service are exceptional. The only other company that rivals them in product and customer service is Zimmerman’s out of Ann Arbor.

      1. hunkerdown

        I haven’t heard of them. Do you mean Zingerman’s, the fine foods family enterprise? The one with the always-crowded deli on the north side of downtown?

  38. Wyoming

    Interesting data point.

    I just was out for a walk and got to talking to a friend who is 78. Yesterday he got real dizzy and his vision went blurry. So his wife called 911 and they took him to the hospital in Prescott, AZ. He ended up being there for 3 1/2 hours before he was seen by a doctor they were so busy. He said that none of the emergency room personnel had on gloves or masks that he saw. The patients in the emergency room lobby area were not being kept separated a safe distance. He said the emergency room and hallways he saw clearly needed cleaning. The previous week in Phoenix he had ended up in the Banner Health hospital (a high end facility) and he said it was so clean you could eat off the floor and everyone was fully kitted out with masks and gloves, etc. He also said he asked one of the attendants if they were really busy because so many people needed testing for COVID 19 and the guy would not answer him.

  39. Carey

    ‘Ohio official backtracks on claim 100k people in state already carry coronavirus’:

    “Dr Amy Acton’s shocking claim that 100,000 Ohioans are already carrying the Covid-19 coronavirus was just “guesstimating,” she said a day later, noting that the actual number of confirmed cases stood at just 13.

    At least one percent of the population carries the virus, Acton had said at a press conference on Thursday. “We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly.” Her comment quickly went viral, so to speak.

    By Friday, however, she was walking that back, saying that she was only “guesstimating” the numbers. The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed only 13 cases in the state so far, with 159 more awaiting test results and 50 confirmed negatives. Another 333 people are being monitored..”

    1. Susan the other

      I’ve been thinking the same thing. There are @ 2% of people who are atypical – (last night on Democracy Now) – 50% begin to show symptoms by about 5 days; some 47-8% by 12 days … so that leaves around 2% that can simply be carriers. Which could explain why there seems to be a lag time involved in the virus taking off like wildfire – before the general public can even recover there is another wave, sort of continuously reinfecting people. So that even if we caught all the people who come in for testing who are shedding the virus, we’d miss those who think they are healthy, but are also shedding the virus. And it is a little dissonant to assume the usual 5 or 14 days when in the very beginning (before the wet market nonsense) in November in Wuhan it took a good month to build up to what looked like an epidemic. When people started dying.

    2. Carolinian

      Enough with the “guesstimating.” The Arstechnica article Lambert linked the other day said the only way they’ll really know the facts is by testing a random sample of the population after the virus has passed through and check blood for antibodies that indicate the individual had been infected.

      1. MLTPB

        The US total fatality number was around 40 a day or two ago.

        The number of reported or confirmed cases is less reliable, at this time, than that, it seems to me. We don’t have 100s or 1000s of covid19 fatalities unreported. That seems unlikely.

        My guess is the number of cases associated with that is not 10,000, though I could be wrong.

        1. Carolinian

          And many of those fatalities are clustered around that Seattle nursing home situation where the doctors at first didn’t know what it was and the medical staff themselves may have infected some people. Logically, given the so far low number of deaths in the US, you have to conclude that some are dying and being misdiagnosed as from a different disease, the disease is already widespread but the actual death rate is much lower than previously thought, or the disease is not yet as widespread in the US as many fear. Public fear and “social distancing” may be slowing this.

          1. MLTPB

            The other indirect clue concerns people getting it after travelling from the US.

            I read Cambodia put the US along with many other countries from Europe on their no entry list. They are the only one I am aware of. Perhaps other nstions will follow Cambodia. Russia followed the US closing its borders with nations in Europe. When Moscow adds the US to the list, Beijing will likely do the same. So far, nothing.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          She is being a scientist.

          Vaccine is 12 to 18 months away at best.

          So the only way it stops is for so many people to have gotten it that they (presumably) have immunity and the R0 drops below 1 because there aren’t enough people left to become sick. That happens after 60% to 70% have gotten infected.

          1. Anon

            “presumably” is doing a lot of work there. There is no certainty that this novel coronavirus will impart continued immunity to the population. Herd immunity is best imparted on humanity through a tested, viable vaccine; not the wildly scary program proposed by the British.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Please don’t attribute to me what Merkel is implicitly saying.

              However, the herd immunity scenario is the best we realistically have. A vaccine is at best a year away, more like 18+ months. That means even if you flatten the curve with extreme social distancing, the disease will come back until enough people have gotten the disease and have herd immunity.

              And if getting the diseases does NOT confer immunity, a vaccine won’t work either. A vaccine creates herd immunity the same way being infected and surviving hopefully would, that getting the disease (with a vaccine, in a way manageable to the body) enables you to create the antibodies that will fight off a future infection by the same disease. See for instance:

              Herd immunity (or community immunity) occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness)


              What is irresponsible about the UK is the delusion that they can get only the young sick and ramp up hospital capacity quickly enough if things start to spiral the wrong way. Both legs of their line of thinking is nuts.

  40. bondsofsteel

    This is a local news story from Seattle at the nursing home where the majority of US COVID-19 deaths occurred. You need to watch it.

    Two weeks after the first confirmed death. No testing. No quarantine of exposed staff. No one is in charge… and they are still letting people visit!

    This is a complete failure of all levels of government. It’s going to cost us lives, time, and our economy.

    1. flora

      Who owns Life Care Centers (of America )? It appears to be a chain. Does a PE outfit own it?

      1. Wyoming

        Ask and ye shall receive.

        Life Care Centers of America is the largest privately held long-term elderly care company in the US, with facilities across 28 states, and the third largest in the US. It is headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee.

        It was founded by Forrest Preston in 1970, and he remains the sole owner, chairman and CEO.[1]

    2. MLTPB

      The city itself is closest to check it.

      Also the one to feel the consequences fastest and deepest.

    3. judy2shoes

      This looks to be an older story. From Seattle Times today:

      12:00 p.m. Public Health Seattle & King County on Saturday released updated numbers for Life Care Center of Kirkland employees tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

      As of Saturday morning:
      47 employees tested positive
      24 tested negative
      1 test inconclusive
      5 pending results

      The nursing home has been the center of the outbreak in Washington state.

      There are a total of 95 out of 180 employees showing symptoms of the illness. The health department said it still needed to collect 18 more samples for testing.

      Link to article (need to scroll down page to get to what I posted above):

      1. Tom Bradford

        From what little I know of the US, if your ailing Grandmother died in a nursing home from a virus caught from an employee, wouldn’t you be able to sue them for $billions?

        Seems to me a pretty powerful incentive to try to disguise cause of death to something ‘natural’.

  41. Pelham

    I’m seeing a lot of images of healthcare workers wearing clear plastic face shields in addition to masks. Unless they’re rated N95, masks for the healthy are worse than useless. Plus I understand that N95 masks are nearly impossible to breathe through.

    However, what about the clear face shields? Should we be wearing these in public? It appears they would prevent any (or most) coughed or sneezed air from reaching the face. And they might serve to discourage facial touching.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Wyoming

      Plus I understand that N95 masks are nearly impossible to breathe through.

      Umm nope that is not accurate unless you have a badly compromised respiratory system. I have used up a couple of hundred N95 masks and the people around me at those times in the thousands. They are not hard to breathe through.

      The next one up, however, really is. This is the one with screw on canisters (canisters are selected for the specific filtering need). These masks anyone can buy but it tells you in the instructions they are not to be worn by anyone who does not have prior approval by a doctor that you are physically capable of the strain they put on your body. I have worn these also and they are not kidding. One is very limited in what they can do in one of them before you are gasping for breath and your chest muscles will get very tired with their extra effort in trying to help you get enough air through the filter.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I told you to stop saying this. It looks like you are using yours incorrectly. Your claim is at odds with that of MANY healthy users.

        There are NUMEROUS reports from MDs trained on how to wear them that they require so much effort to breath through them that they can be used continuously for at most an hour because the sense of being asphyxiated is so strong.

        This is from a 2011 study in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene:

        Breathing discomfort due to increased breathing resistance is known to be a problem with the use of N95 respirators but there is a lack of scientific data to quantify this effect. The purpose of this study was to assess objectively the impact of wearing N95 face masks on breathing resistance. A total of 14 normal adult volunteers (seven males and seven females) were recruited in this study. Nasal airflow resistance during inspiration and expiration was measured using a standard rhinomanometry and nasal spirometry. A modified full face mask was produced in-house in order to measure nasal resistance with the use of N95 (3M 8210) respirators. The results showed a mean increment of 126 and 122% in inspiratory and expiratory flow resistances, respectively, with the use of N95 respirators. There was also an average reduction of 37% in air exchange volume with the use of N95 respirators. This is the first reported study that demonstrates quantitatively and objectively the substantial impairment of nasal airflow in terms of increased breathing resistance with the use of N95 respirators on actual human subjects.

        If you say this again I will ban you. I am not tolerating disinformation related to coronavirus. This topic is way too important.

    2. Paradan

      There not that bad, its mostly just hot. Its like having a little room attached to your face that heats up to 90 degrees and tropical levels of humidity. The rest of your body is in the generally cool dry hospital air. I wear em when I’m in my garage doing various Dremmel things to rocks and wood for hours at a time. Its a relief to take em off, but not torture to have em on.

  42. Wukchumni

    We get an ant invasion like everybody here, starting around June and it goes through to around October and if you left so much as a tiny amount of spilled Dr Pepper on the counter, there’d be a conga line of hundreds of them coming and going with their prize…

    …why am I seeing ants today in the middle of March?

  43. montanamaven

    Must see Tucker Carlson episode last night. I read NC every day and watch Tucker every night. He was talking about the Wuhan flu in January where nobody on MSM was. Last night he replayed his concern in a January episode about the coronavirus while everybody else was fixated on the impeachment of which everybody knew the outcome. He also had a guy on last night that called into question the CDC woman’s blatherings about adequate ventilators and where they have them hidden.

      1. MLTPB

        How many cases so far in China, with1.4 billion people? 80,000 cases? 100,000 cases?

        62,000 ventilators for the US, in that perspective, thanks for quoting that.

  44. montanamaven

    Oh and as of last night, Montana now has 4 cases so they cancelled the High School basketball tournaments.

  45. tegnost

    “Uber and Lyft driver Julie Davis pulled up a calculator on her phone and started doing the math to see whether she could afford to pay $2,295 rent on her Licton Springs apartment.”

    2,295 per month rent. This gets ugly fast, actually it’s already ugly but most people haven’t figured that out yet…

    1. Wukchumni

      The idea of a ‘sharing economy’ in the midst of a pandemic seems like something out of Poe.

      1. Wukchumni


        Tale of slow from a friend…

        “I’ve been working with only one day off in the last seven but that hasn’t out numbered the corona cancellations that keep pouring in.”

  46. Oso

    question for people here smarter than me :) (english my second language)

    i read the tweet from the doctor that covid-19 isn’t like the flu, 30 times more dangerous and twice as contagious. to me that sounds like no hope, unless a scare tactic. what i mean is, when a family member has the flu, its very difficult not to catch it, especially if you have small kids. but its doable, being diligent about precautions. washing steadily, use of hand wipes, super hygenic. same with precautions outside of the home, during flu season being careful to avoid crowds and basically washing/wiping things clean. but thirty times more dangerous? is this some kind of mathematical thing?
    thanks for reading.

    1. skk

      Before one can get to the math level of precision one needs to be specific. I’d want to understand what dangerous meant and what contagious meant in the phrase “30 times more dangerous and twice as contagious “. Also not specified is to whom is it dangerous and to whom and from whom is it contagious…

      So as specified its not some mathematical thing. Its a tweet.

      1. Oso

        thank you. I’m reasonably well informed, understand about the soap/lipid thing, the bonding to receptors in lower respiratory tract, etc. helps that it was unclear to others as well. some tweets treated with more gravitas than most tho, the enthusiasm and retweets given to this one by an apparent expert underscore that.

        1. skk

          So Prof. Akiko Iwasaki is Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale School of Medicine.

          So – a full prof. Which is just fine and respect worthy. But she is commenting on an COMPARATIVE epidemiology angle of coronavirus which is not her domain and the way she commented on it is terrible and showed that its not her domain. She could have said – “let me point out what my colleague – a comparative epidemiologist – reckons and quoted it in ALL ITS FULLNESS. She must have colleagues who are comparative epidemiologists right ? Or at least epidemiologists ?

          A quick google finds this paper on comparing MERS to SARS. So its not exactly difficult to know that this is a trodden territory and find and quote the people in that domain.

          “Comparative Epidemiology of Human Infections with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronaviruses among Healthcare Personnel.”

          Her type of fly-by doesn’t help, IMO.

          1. ewmayer

            Her background makes her fully qualified to comment on such matters – her point was precisely the dire comparative-epidemiological numbers based on known worldwide case data so far. Death rate 30x that if seasonal flu, 2x as catching to boot, she wants everyone to take the need for social distancing with utmost seriousness.

            And gotta say, LOL – you start with what amounts to “OK, full professor of Immunobiology, but yo, like *ratios* are totally outside her field of expertise”, then you, with your random-poster-on-some-place-on-the-internet expert background, dig up a link on MERS v SARS and present that as being more credible & pertinent. Take about fly-by!

            1. skk

              Some “random-poster-on-some-place-on-the-internet” ? Which is you of course. Let’s be polite to each other.

              1. ewmayer

                Without knowing each other’s backgrounds, yes, we should assume we are equally random-internet-keyboard-warrior in the regard. But only one of was saying “this actual expert really isn’t, so here’s some link comparing 2 viruses most people have no experience whatsoever with to each other which is more relevant to the current pandemic”.

                So please explain to us why her comparing the case fatality of of Covid-19 to seasonal flu is not *precisely* the kind of information useful to hoi polloi. How is comparing MERS vs SARS at all useful to the general public outside of the middle east and asian regions affected by the latter 2 viral strains?

                1. Oso

                  I posted earlier what began this part of thread, i finally understand what the tweet was saying by googling the percent of flu fatalities which i had thought was larger. so the mistake is mine.
                  so many already struggling, one new burden on top of so many already there, got to tell them no, its 30 times worse than they thought.
                  appreciate you and skk response.

          2. Oso

            skk, thanks again, i appreciate the effort and your thoughts on this. I agree with your opinion as well.

    2. Wyoming

      I have read multiple comments from MD’s and scientists containing the type of information you mentioned above. What they were all talking about is the ‘death = dangerous’ rate of the flu as compared to that of COVID 19. The basic numbers they provided (there is some variation depending on how they are comparing the two as there are differences in flu’s to chose from) are the following: flu has a death rate roughly between 0.1% and 0.025%. COVID 19 is somewhere in the region between 1% and 4% (no one knows exactly what it is until the epidemic is over of course). So this gives numbers that COVID 19 is from 10 to 100 times a deadly as the flu. Determining the infectiousness requires similar estimations.

      The fundamental thing to understand from all of this is that COVID19 is much worse than the flu. How much worse we are not going to know until it is over. But be careful.

  47. Wukchumni

    I’ve mentioned previously that the collectible market was due to take a huge hit, because mainly its all Baby Boomers that own the stuff-and they’re all net sellers, plus Club Milennial could care less, nor do they have the means to make it happen as far as buying Boomers junk.

    It’s one thing if you enjoy owning collectibles from a it gives you great joy kind of thing, but if you’re in it for the money, i’d expect with all of these people out of work all of the sudden, a veritable shitlode of stuff is going to come on the market depressing prices even further than they’ve been beat down as of late, so be quick and get rid of them asap!

      1. timey

        You can find fashionable used clothing very easily online, and at prices much lower than brand new — about 20% of the original price is pretty common. You can find vintage clothing made to higher quality than current standards, in very good condition, and that is fashionable — though this takes more patience and time because a lot of vintage clothing is not very fashionable. I have switched to buying many of my clothes as vintage and used condition.

      2. Olga

        Absolutely… much of it is timeless. I have a huge collection, 1920s-1960s. Lots of hand-sawn stuff. The fabrics are wonderful, not made anymore. Many styles are classic… used to wear them to work in a very professional setting. All considered “elegant.” I can barely look at clothes today… but like Asian styles (and fabrics).

  48. Jeotsu

    I’m surprised this hasn’t been covered yet.

    New Zealand announced radical measures to combat Covid-19 last night:

    In short as of last night (Saturday) all cruise ships were barred from docking, as of tonight (Sunday) all arrivals from overseas (except the pacific islands) must undergo 14 days of quarantine. They’re also cancelling events, and more announcements/advisements about social distancing are forthcoming early next week. They’re also rolling out big financial support packages for the affected chunks of the economy – as this completely kills overseas tourism, which is one of the biggest earners.

    Our CV case count stands at 6, and no known community transmission yet.

    It’s kind of weird to see decisive, courageous leadership. It’s so rare nowadays.

    And I was joking with friends how Friday morning I sent a letter to the minister of health, and 36 hours later all my recommendations were adopted! A few weeks ago I sent a similar letter to the minister about direct flights from China, and again it was also only ~36 hours before those restrictions kicked in. Maybe I’m just in tune with the local political zeitgeist. Or who knows, maybe the letters had an impact? We’re a small country, and I’v found in past events reasoned letters to elected officials can actually be effective here. (5 years ago I was part of a small team that blocked a 250-million dollar road project, mostly by briefing elected officials who often as not told us that we provided the best information they’d ever seen about the project… most critically we provided the information that the roading agency had missed.)

    Regarding Covid-19 again, it is somewhat weird. Am I feeling optimistic? Might we weather this storm? I still feel dread for my friends in the US and Europe, as unfortunately our PM doesn’t get to set their policy.

    1. Wukchumni

      Guess i’ve visited NZ about a dozen times, and i’ve always been impressed with your can do spirit, and i’m not surprised one bit the immediate measures taken, good job!

    2. xkeyscored

      I heard about NZ’s recent measures, and couldn’t help wondering how they will affect the mega-rich who haven’t made it to their bunkers there yet. Will they be refused entry? They did acquire these facilities for emergencies, after all. I wonder how that’ll pan out.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        However, they sound like superb candidates for quarantine facilities! Perhaps, a national emergency could justify such repurposing?

  49. EGrise

    The announcement by the president of the University of Texas here in Austin was particularly poignant. Here are the first two paragraphs:

    As you know, today we canceled classes at UT and closed the university. My main concern at this time is the health and well-being of UT students, faculty, staff and community members. We took this action because the first case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) within our UT community was confirmed this morning.

    It is difficult for me to write this because the person who tested positive is my wife Carmel. And a second member of my family (who works at UT) is presumed to have COVID-19 as well. I have now been tested for the virus, and the three of us are in self-isolation.

  50. marym

    NYT: [Some] Families First

    In fact, the bill guarantees sick leave only to about 20 percent of workers. Big employers like McDonald’s and Amazon are not required to provide any paid sick leave, while companies with fewer than 50 employees can seek hardship exemptions from the Trump administration.


    1. marym

      Some twitter questions as to whether this is accurate. Apologies for possibly posting too soon. We’ll see as more people read the text of the bill.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I think the Senate took the weekend off, so nothing will happen until Tuesday at the earliest.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          More cogitating. McConnell has been taking grief for sending the Senate home for the weekend. I think he needed time for the lobbyists to review the House bill, write their versions, and unload the Brinks truck. Greatest deliverable body is a euphemism for show me the money.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Here’s another, paywall-free report on the bill — HR 6201 — saying employers of 500+ are exempt, and employers of 50+ can request exemptions:

        What’s in the new US coronavirus relief bill?

        I see a few mentions of the 50-employee threshold; the 500-employee level must be covered by reference to some existing legislation.

  51. antidlc

    So it turns out there is a loophole in the sick leave bill.

    Gee, are we surprised?

    Behind paywall but this claims

    The bill that the House passed last night only guarantees paid coronavirus sick leave to ~20 percent of American workers.

    Republicans insisted on an exemption for companies with more than 500 employees, and Democrats caved.

    McDonald’s, Amazon, and pretty much any other company that you’ve ever heard of — THEY ARE EXEMPTED.

    And that loophole includes 54 percent of all workers.

    I repeat: Most workers still aren’t guaranteed paid sick leave.

    Read the whole thread.

    1. Massinissa

      So much for the Republicans caring for small businesses and ‘entrepreneurs’.

      Or the Dems, for that matter.

    2. Jason Boxman

      What’s really shocking is the Editorial Board whining about it. I doubt anyone on that board suddenly sprouted a conscience, so I can only assume they’ve realized that in fact there will not be any ICU beds available for them and theirs, either, given the potential scope of the crisis.

      The moral degeneracy of the Times Editorial Board is a sight to behold.

  52. MLTPB


    Is the latest finding that dogs can get it, but can’t pass it to humans? I know that was a question being asked a while back.

  53. MLTPB

    EU migrants.

    Will Turkey, Russia and others cooperate to help those from Syria return home, where there seems to be less fighting, more sunshine, though not completely covid19 free?

    And will those from Africa wanting to return to their warmer, less a covid hot spot like Europe, home countries be helped?

  54. Daryl

    > Apple Closes All Its Stores Outside China Over Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

    Somewhat fascinating that they closed stores *outside* of China. Confidence in China’s containment? Complete and total dependence on the Chinese market?

    1. lph

      My friends with family in China say the virus is under control — total lockdown of much of the nations for 7-8 weeks seemed to do it, if I understand correctly.

    2. Foy

      I believe that they had closed some of their stores in China in early Feb and now that the rest of China has few new cases they have gradually reopened them. But have now closed their stores in rest of world. Tim Cook did say two weeks ago “it feels to me China is getting coronavirus under control”

      I guess “feels” is good enough to open stores again.

      It’s going to be interesting to see if it starts spreading again in China….

  55. KFritz

    Re:Thai Monkey Brawl

    The moment when the concentrated brawl coalesces resembles the moment when the bullpen contingents arrive and a baseball fight reaches full intensity.

    1. SKM

      On France 2 telly news just now the whole tone has changed from something similar to the UK to the announcements of measures 2 days ago considered drastic – bars, restaurants will be closed from midnight. There was more but you get the picture……Here in Italy it is incredible to watch other countries dragging their feet, being stimes a bit sniffy about what has happened in Italy KNOWING that they would end up in short or shortish order having to follow the Italian example. We`re now waiting on the UK…… (and of course the US, but….?)

  56. JacobiteInTraining

    OK, so in the grand scheme of things this is just a silly observation, but I was killing time with my last cup of coffee before getting busy on some house cleaning and I poked around reddits ‘The_Donald’ subreddit. (For those not aware of it, it is a pretty toxic place where Donald Trump is feted as our God Emperor, QAnon is respected, immigrants and anyone not-white – hint hint – is hated with a passion, libs must be pwned at every step, and just generally filled with the types of people who think Fox news is maybe too darn librul)

    Anyway – in a cursory 5 minutes of scanning threads by volume, and by newness, I didn’t see any about the coronavirus. Just a chaotic riot of posts about some new policy reddit implemented to get rid of their old moderators, and replace them (apparently) new mods….I guess a bunch of them are jumping ship for somewhere else? I can’t stomach more then 5 mins of that, and I don’t have my full personal-protective-equipment handy so….I chuckled and closed my browser.

    Not necessarily a laughing matter, but I guess I have a somewhat M*A*S*H-esque black humor going on for once they are slowly but inevitably introduced to the Darwin Awards Group Effort/Honorable Mention category.

  57. Kurt Sperry

    Latest mortality data from Italy. Bottom line: if you are under 50, there is really very little to worry about from Covid-19, at least as far as mortality goes. Even 60-70, your odds of surviving are very good if you contract it. But 70+, things quickly get very, very dire.

    1. allan

      Just to be clear, in the age 60-69 bracket, the Case Fatality Rate of 2.7% still makes it 25 times worse
      than most seasonal flus, and very comparable to the 1918-19 flu.
      And there is some evidence that many survivors of COVID-19, as for SARS, will be permanently disabled.

    2. Massinissa

      Well, I have also heard that some, in China at least, who survive the virus have permanent lung damage, like around 30% reduced lung capacity, so even ‘surviving’ this might be less ideal than not having it in the first place, if that is true.

      1. MLTPB

        I wonder if Telegraph’s AEP will reconsider his article about saving the economy and letting it through.

      2. Daryl

        There was an article some time back about the last few people who need iron lungs due to polio. Would be crazy to be in a time again where large groups of the population need respiratory therapy.

        1. Wukchumni

          I heard this saying in Aussie in the 80’s and always thought it was pretty funny…

          ‘Wouldn’t work in an iron lung’ = lazy

    3. The Rev Kev

      At 70+ they park you out the back and spend their time with patients that have a greater chance of recovery. Wartime triage.

    4. Foy

      Mmmm…to quote Dr John Campbell today:

      “There are no higher stakes than human life. We need to protect the vulnerable. That’s what civilization is.”

      If under 50 there is a lot to worry about , at least as far as everything else goes…

    1. urblintz

      I hope you showered in disinfectant before posting.
      Speaking of a community that should be quarantined…
      there just ain’t no vaccine possible for many of the permanently infected there.
      You can tell which ones, they are carrying pom-poms and wearing blinders…

      You are a better man than I, Glen.

      1. Hepativore

        Does anybody dare to venture forth and do something similar over at the liberal bedlam that is Balloon Juice? The place reminds me of the infected people in that 1973 film, the Crazies. In this case they are suffering from a particularly severe form of Clintonavirus Obamalotus.

    1. Hoppy

      We should definitely analyze Biden’s during the debate. He’ll be hopped up on something.

  58. Dita

    I ran out to pick up olive oil and every place is jammed with the usual brunch crowds. Le sigh.

    1. MLTPB

      The same this morning when my brother and I went on our weekly Sat morning grocery shopping.

      We formed a line, with other shoppers and their carts, inside the store, and were let through to begin as others left after paying, with many self bagging, which we have always done ourselves.

  59. David

    As of midnight tonight France is effectively closed. The Prime Minister has announced that all non-essential places where people gather, including restaurants, bars, cafes clubs and discotheques will close, as will most non-food shops. Places of worship will stay open but all functions are cancelled. Anyone on holiday or a business trip in a hotel is stuffed.
    Philippe was clearly irritated by the fact that the French have largely ignored pleas not to socialise and are out in large numbers in the spring weather.
    The nation is in a state of shock: how this will play out is very unclear.

    1. MLTPB

      Only markets, pharmacies, pet supply stores, banks, clinics, and work?

      Similar plan in Spain.

    2. Billy

      At least they have national health care. Wonder how our pickup driving, anti socialist free marketeers are doing tonight after their 30 day supply of essential meds runs out and the line of cars at the Walmart or Costco pharmacy is backed up to the freeway?

      Any and every mention or discussion of the cornavirus, panic shopping, quarantines, is an excuse, an entrée, a motivation and an opportunity to subtly, or blatantly, elaborate on the advantages of Medicare For All, National Health Care, Universal Health Care, whatever you want to call it. In states that have not voted, Bernie Sanders is the only option.
      The non-partisan approach works better IMHO.

    1. Daryl

      Dropped in for a bit, he has about 33k viewers at the moment. On Twitch, home of video game streaming (also happens to be owned by Bezos).

      Have they done this before? Seems like it should’ve been going on all along.

    2. ewmayer

      I would much rather see him giving such chats as holder of the same office as their originator, but he alas forfeited that prospect out of fear at off-putting his BFF, Joe Biden. “Because I believe this country desperately needs progressive change – but only if it can be done without stepping on the toes of the same establishment crooks who are doing their utmost to keep that from ever happening.”

      The Polite Revolution™ lives on!

      1. Buckeye

        I love the scene in the movie “1776” where the Declaration of Independence is being edited to remove offensive sentences. John Adams says, “It’s a revolution, dammit! Where going to have to offend someone!”

  60. Carey

    France closes bars and restaurants over coronavirus:

    “France has tightened its restrictions in response to the rising death toll from coronavirus, ordering all non-essential shops and services to close.
    Announcing the measures Saturday evening, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said supermarkets, newsstands and pharmacies will be the only retailers allowed to remain open.
    Restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas and nightclubs will have to close.

    “We must absolutely limit movement, meetings and contacts,” Philippe said. He added that the government had no choice but to make the move because too many people were still out in the streets and not abiding by earlier measures, including keeping a safe distance from each other..”

  61. Wukchumni

    One last run to fill up the deep freeze, and I knew it was gonna be weird when there were no shopping carts where there should’ve been 100-150 of them as usual @ the supermarket entrance, and I had to wait until another customer had unloaded the contents into their car before I could procure one.

    I was there for frozen foodstuffs and no shortage of anything in that regard, but the checker told me they ran out of bottled water and TP within an hour early in the game this morning.

    Ever wait in a stretched out line of about 30 shopping carts @ the supermarket, when checking out?

    That was different!

  62. chuck roast

    Cruised down to my coffee shop today on funky Broadway. All the bars on the street were overflowing with the-wearin’-o-the-green. I can remember when I was similarly indestructable and would certainly live forever. All headaches and sneezes for this lively crew…“and dig a great hole in the meadow and in it put Roisin the Beau…”

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      NOPD cracking down on celebrating crowds in the French Quarter….

      This ain’t no Hurricane Party….

  63. Noone in Nowheresville

    What I want from tomorrow’s debate:

    I desperately want Sanders to get rid of all the Democratic Party framing / language in his spiel. No id-pol framing. No twitter bandwagons. No Bernie Bros. That’s BS anyway.

    Make Biden run to catch up with him in unexpected ways that not even the moderators anticipate. Make Biden account for his role in the purposeful decades long in the making policy decisions.

    If Sanders plans to fall on his sword for some personal morality then tell the unvarnished truth. We are a gutted nation. We need to change directions and rebuild. These were purposeful policies decisions.

    To me: The worst possible thing Sanders can do is say the words, Biden is my friend (no, he’s really not) and he can beat Trump (no, I don’t believe he can. If he did, he wouldn’t change a thing beyond rhetoric).

    The best I can hope for right now is a Sanders presidency. The possibility of health care justice, economic justice, not allowing “them” to use the crisis as a shock doctrine.

    I’m more than a spreadsheet number to be burned through and sacrificed to their “sacred” market gods. I know them by their names: vultures, vampire squids, parasites. Never leaders.

    That’s what tomorrow’s debate is about for me.

    1. John

      I think Sanders has to attack Biden on his horrible 40 year record. Just attack him one horrible vote and bill at a time. It’s really appalling if you go over all the ways Biden has hurt the American people.

      Smash the fake “lunch bucket” Joe meme on national TV.

      People who know nothing about him except he was Obama’s VP need the ice bucket of truth tossed over them.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Yes! I especially want him to flag Biden’s role in spiking bankruptcy for student loans,
        so many people still don’t know about this.
        And really go after Joe on his repeated efforts to cut social security. Older voters need to hear that.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe Bernie can stop getting in his own way and seize control of that debate. After it goes along for a little while, he should say-

      “Look, we can talk about this and that but I know for a fact that what everybody wants to know about is what we intend to do about the Coronavirus epidemic that has everybody worried for their lives. And don’t you moderators tell me that that is not important as you know that is the reason that we are not debating in front of an audience. Joe, you want to tell everybody what your plans are?”

      At that point, Bernie would step back and let Joe self-immolate in a word-salad of confusion.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Nice thought, but the moderators will ask Sanders about his plan straight off so that Joe can then go: “what he said, but more bipartisan, we need unity blahblahblah”, which he’s still able to do at a brainstem level. Off the hook again.

        Pundits nod heads, approvingly, bleat “Unity gooood! Orange Man baaaad!”

        Sanders might simply parry with: “With all due respect©, I’d like to hear first from my Good Friend© Senator Biden what he would do.” But he won’t, of course, cuz Bernie, and not me, us!

        One home truth I’ve learned the hard way in life is that in any conversation, the one who asks takes an inherently superior position to the one who answers. To be the answer guy is to be the servant.

        Even mansplaining or other forms of aggressive ‘know-it-allism’ won’t overcome someone who knows how to ask with authority.

        Trump understands that, viscerally. So did Obama. Bernie, bless him, never will.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          … I should say, interrogation. Obviously, asking the pretty girl in the bar for a date puts the shoe of authority on the other foot.

  64. skk

    On US shortages:
    JMBullion – my goto for precious metals – has this crawler in red :

    NOTE: Due to extreme order volumes, please expect shipping delays of 5-10+ business days. We also have a temporary $299 order min. Click to learn more.

    But the price per oz of Gold bars and coins and the spot price of course has dropped by $150 per oz from its recent high ! No sign of that rising today – still $1531 / oz for spot gold – as per JM Bullion. So we have high order volumes and drops in prices from recent highs !

    But I checked ammunition and shotguns at Dicks and Big Five – they still have sales – ( SALES, $50 OFF, no rationing or delays ) on shotguns – online at least. I’ll go down tomorrow to check.

    1. Wukchumni

      Could be a bit maddening if you were a daytrader-and for decade traders-no biggie, but it’s fun to watch people invested in 3 letter montes blowing off the one thing that’s incredibly liquid in their portfolios, and then they won’t be a bother anymore.

    1. VietnamVet

      Clearly, the Holy Western Empire has lost the mandate of heaven. The four horsemen are loose. Joe Biden making to January 21, 2021 to be inaugurated as the Last Emperor is becoming highly unlikely.

  65. allan

    U.S. internet well-equipped to handle work from home surge [AP]

    The U.S. internet won’t get overloaded by spikes in traffic from the millions of Americans now working from home to discourage the spread of the new coronavirus, experts say. But connections could stumble for many if too many family members try to videoconference at the same time. …

    “if too many family members “. How about hundreds of thousands, if not millions of college students
    trying to attend class virtually. The server farms will look like the lava lake at the bottom of Kīlauea.

  66. Martin Oline

    Oh boy! Less than one day before Bernie Sanders gets to debate Chance, or Chauncey Gardiner as he is often known to the upper class. I hope it’s a good debate because we all know that Chance prefers to watch. I bet his handlers wish that he was just watching too.

  67. Lobsterman

    One branch of my family is white working class. Their commitment to racism is total — they regularly spread myths to one another, fantasize about murdering POC in public, and categorically refuse to fund public goods that would help them if POC have access.

    We live in a both/and world.

  68. Jeremy Grimm

    I sent my daughter an email telling her to stay home until the Corona flu runs its course. She turned extracts from it [and a few word changes] into a poem:

    “IT IS … WHAT IT IS” …

    to the U.S.
    infection and death are
    U.S. workforce. might find it very
    beneficial to stay at home quiet down
    Keep healthy,

    DO take this flu seriously. It is not the Black Plague
    but it is also not

    a Corona joke

    “quarantini”. Made me smile.”

    luv dad

    I matched her spacing and line returns — but Skynet packed them in a little.

    1. albrt

      The county recorder used to be in charge of elections. When a democrat got elected in 2018, the republican county supervisors forced the democrat to accept supervision from the board. They appointed this guy to keep an eye on the democrat.

      The county recorder tried to send ballots to all registered voters because it was clear they weren’t going to be able to staff all the polling places. The republicans got a court order to stop that from happening. Not sure why – I don’t think the local republicans have much insight into whether suppressing votes will help Sanders or Biden, and I don’t think they have a consistent view as to whether they’d rather see Biden or Sanders on the ballot.

      This might turn out to be an interesting story from a personal perspective, but from what I’ve heard all the spineless local democrats are stampeding toward Biden just like they are everywhere else, so who cares?

  69. Tom Bradford

    Just had my weekly dose of financial porn revaluing our share portfolio. Down 17% from its highest ever, two weeks ago. Is now pretty much where it was exactly a year ago.

    I don’t buy or sell, just sit on what I have and add a few here and there if I’ve cash needing a home. Have been thinking of perhaps winding back on the ‘growth’ tranche for a few months but didn’t and it hasn’t cost me much as the ‘balanced’ tranche suffered much the same losses. Bonds have held up.

    Was a bit surprised that among the biggest hits were ‘retirement home’ groups – looks like the ‘experts’ are anticipating carnage among the over-65’s and lots of vacant villas. Power generators, too, took a bigger hit than I would have expected given that they pay out good dividends and I can’t see the lights going out all over the country.

    Seems to me there must be a lot of cash sitting around in bank accounts earning bugger-all interest, and I suspect it will be sloshing back and forth between the banks and the exchanges like the water in our pool after the Kaikoura earthquake a while back.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Years ago I was reading about the greatest transfer of wealth between generations. What they were talking about was that as the Greatest Generation passed away, the Baby Boomers stood by and collected all those inheritances from them – all too often to pay off debts and credit cards that they had racked up. I wonder if this might end up being another great wealth transfer as deaths of Baby Boomers are brought forward due to this virus to the benefit of who, Generation X?

      1. epynonymous

        It’s all going to go to the hospitals, housing wealth included.

        Everybody wants to live forever…

  70. drumlin woodchuckles

    Jimmy Dore has just delivered an epitaph or an elegy or a pre-mortem or whatever on the Sanders debate tomorrow and on Senator Sanders’s own personal approach in the Sanders campaign.

    It is sad, but might as well watch it to get oneself ready . . . .

    So if it ends up being bad in general, even if not quite as bad as what Jimmy Dore fears and expects, where do people go from here? Ideally the “Sanders” movement would stay organized and coherent long enough to become a post-Sanders movement and start practicing various things to see what works.

    Getting the Sanders name and also the Gabbard name on all 50 state ballots would be a good thing to do regardless. It would give citizens a chance to vote for something better than Blue if that’s what they feel like doing.

    “We can do better than Blue. Sanders or Gabbard, take your pick.”

    1. Daryl

      > So if it ends up being bad in general, even if not quite as bad as what Jimmy Dore fears and expects, where do people go from here?

      Start primarying Democrats. One element that was missing here vs Trump’s successful takeover of the Republican party was clearing house. This campaign cycle, Democrats were driven purely by fear of what would happen if Sanders was elected (end of the gravy train). Next one they need to be scared of what happens if they don’t support policies that the majority of Americans want.

      1. albrt

        Democrats are not driven purely by fear of Sanders.

        Democrats and their adjacent consultants and NGOs are in the best fund raising environment of their lifetimes. The best way to continue the gravy train is 4 more years of Trump. The second best way is to have a corrupt dementiacrat like Biden in office.

        Biden is the ultimate win-win for them.

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