Links 3/15/2020

Patient readers, Links today is too long (though I hope not without interest). I had a household emergency, and I could not cut the material down to its usual length. Hopefully the links are organized well enough to you can skip what you don’t want to read. –lambert

How the world’s fattest parrot came back from the brink Guardian

Dalio caught flat-footed with big losses at Bridgewater fund FT (DL). “That’s a damn shame” (hat tip, Sturgill Simpson).

American Airlines to suspend nearly all long-haul international flights starting March 16 Reuters

Opinion: Moving Our Pharmaceutical Factories Overseas Was A Huge Mistake Buzzfeed

Make America Autarkic Again William Upton, American Mind. Claremont Institute.

#COVID-19

The science:

Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus Sunnybrook Research Institute (research and teaching hospital with the University of Toronto).

COVID-19 Incubation Period: An Update NEJM Journal Watch

Age-Specific Mortality During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Unravelling the Mystery of High Young Adult Mortality PLoS One. “Using historical records from Canada and the U.S., we report a peak of mortality at the exact age of 28 during the pandemic and argue that this increased mortality resulted from an early life exposure to influenza during the previous Russian flu pandemic of 1889–90. We posit that in specific instances, development of immunological memory to an influenza virus strain in early life may lead to a dysregulated immune response to antigenically novel strains encountered in later life, thereby increasing the risk of death.” A thread inspired by this link:

Reinfection could not occur in SARS-CoV-2 infected rhesus macaques bioRxiv

* * *

Potential treatment:

Coronavirus: Chloroquine yields positive data in Covid-19 trial Clinical Trials Arena

Convalescent plasma as a potential therapy for COVID-19 The Lancet. Interestingly, the Chinese team that went to Italy brought plasma.

* * *

Materiel shortages:

US hospitals are already starting to run out of respirator masks crucial for coronavirus protection Live Science

The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them — But Has Been Hoarding Them. NYT. Too bad we can’t make them ourselves. How did that happen?

Mouse Hunt: Lab Races To Grow Mice For COVID-19 Research NPR

Why Even A Huge Medical Stockpile Will Be of Limited Use Against COVID-19 NPR

* * *

Testing:

Testing in U.S. CDC (dk). Finally, a regularly updating central source.

Albuquerque Hospital Launches Drive-Up COVID-19 Testing AP

* * *

Spread:

Worst-case coronavirus models show massive US toll The Hill. Some back-of-the-envelope calculations. Thread:

From Containment to Mitigation of COVID-19 in the US JAMA

Multiplication, not addition (1):

Multiplication, not addition (2):

* * *

Economic effects:

Commentary: Do not let economic globalization fall victim of pandemic Xinhua

The main point of this thread from a computational biologist is seasonal resurgence, but this is an interesting argument in economic effects.

* * *

Political response:

There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill Editorial Board (!), NYT. Well done, all:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday night celebrated the coronavirus legislation that passed early Saturday as providing paid sick leave to American workers affected by the pandemic.

She neglected to mention the fine print.

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.

“If you are sick, stay home,” Vice President Mike Pence said at a news conference on Saturday afternoon. “You’re not going to miss a pay check.”

But that’s simply not true. Sick workers should stay home, but there is no guarantee in the emergency legislation that most of them will get paid.

Pelosi’s response:

“…they should already be providing.” It would be hard to find a better example of the ideological and moral collaose of our two major parties. Still, they got good press for a news cycle, before anybody could read the fine print. So there’s that. (If you want to read a truly suberb example of Establishment Democrat smugness and delusion — one can only hope written before the above from the Times was published — try this from WaPo’s “Monkey Cage.”)

How the Senate Paved the Way for Coronavirus Profiteering The Intercept

* * *

Corporate response:

We get email (1):

A letter from Andrea Johnston, Chief Operating Officer of OpenTable

Our thoughts are with you as we all work to navigate this challenging time. As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to make headlines, even the best-laid plans are up for last-minute changes. Those changes are hitting restaurants hard as they struggle with the effects of reduced travel and government calls to avoid large gatherings.

Looking at comprehensive data from restaurants on our platform — across online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins — we note sharp declines over the last week. In the United States and United Kingdom, we see a 20 percent reduction in total seated diners vs. last year. Mexico and Canada are down 15 to 17 percent. At the city level, diners are down approximately 45 percent in Seattle, 40 percent in San Francisco, 30 percent in New York, and 25 percent in London, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (All declines cited here are on a year-over-year basis.) …

To support the restaurants we all love, we’d like to share a few simple things you can do to help your favorite restaurants weather this storm:

If you have a change of plans, please let the restaurant know as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly. Even cancelling the same day is better than not showing up.

  • Order take-out or delivery. It gives the restaurant business and keeps you well fed. Many restaurants that don’t usually offer these options are making exceptions.
  • Re-book for a future date—it will give everyone something to look forward to.

    Consider purchasing restaurant gift cards if they’re offered.

  • Tip generously if you can afford it. Tipped workers are some of the first to suffer in times of economic distress.

Everyone’s health and safety are our first concern. We urge everyone to stay informed (the Centers for Disease Control regularly updates their site) and to take the recommended precautions. If you have questions or concerns about a reservation, ask the restaurant about their specific practices.

I hope all of you stay safe and healthy.

Thank you – Andrea

We get email (2). Via:

* * *

Travel:

Travelers stuck in long lines at DFW due to CDC questionnaire and enhanced screening, airport says Texas Tribune. And so:

Trump Is Extending The Europe Travel Ban To The UK And Ireland As The Coronavirus Pandemic Escalates Buzzfeed. Crowding airports further, no doubt.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Social distancing (1):

Social distancing (2):

Social distancing (3):

And in two weeks’ time, near those weekend homes….

Bartending In The Time of Coronavirus Medium

You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus Pro Publica

Metropolitan Opera to Offer Up ‘Nightly Met Opera Streams’ OperaWire

Porn site allows Italians to watch all of its content for free during the country’s coronavirus lockdown Daily Mail

Coronavirus: What are the British up to? RTE vs. Why Britain’s Coronavirus Strategy is Literally One of the Most Insane Things in Modern History Umaq Haque, Medium

Factbox: Spain’s coronavirus state of emergency measures Reuters

China?

China goes on the offensive to control global coronavirus narrative FT

China may have prevented 95% of virus cases if it enacted measures after silenced whistleblower’s warning Hong Kong Free Press

Coronavirus: from gyms to hair salons, many Hong Kong small business owners asking where’s the financial help? South China Morning Post

The Koreas

Many a true word spoken in jest:

India

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

Hindu group offers cow urine in a bid to ward off coronavirus Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump says he has the right to dismiss or demote Fed Chairman Powell MarketWatch

DOJ opens antitrust probe into credit score giant Fair Isaac Politico

Trump tests negative for coronavirus, extends travel ban to Britain, Ireland Reuters

Bolton defends decision to shutter NSC pandemic office The Hill

Trump vs. “disease X” Vox. From 2018, still germane.

2020

Lambert here: We’ll have a live blog for the Democrat debate, firing on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 7:30PM ET.

Bernie’s Last Chance Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. “If this “quarantine debate” is to be his last stand, he should make it count.” Today’s must-read.

Sanders taps Rev. Jesse Jackson as campaign advisor The Hill. Hard to imagine Jackson came on board to a campaign that’s gonna throw in the towel.

There Are Things That Scare Me More Than Donald Trump… The Bigger Picture

Elite Media Dismiss Voter Suppression on Grounds That It’s ‘Complicated’ FAIR

Georgia delays presidential primary due to coronavirus pandemic Atlanta Journal Constitution

Russian election meddling is back — via Ghana and Nigeria — and in your feeds CNN. I’ve never understood why we simply haven’t hired the Russians, since they’re so good. And now the Russians have outsourced the job. Can’t somebody in our vaunted intelligence community buy off the Ghanians and Nigerians? It’s almost as if somebody wants to keep this story alive, for some reason.

Health Care

“Access” to “affordable” care:

Guillotine Watch

Cheeky boy makes £9 charging kids to use his hand sanitiser – but school isn’t impressed Mirror

‘We’re hustlers’: Amid coronavirus fears, this couple has made more than $100,000 reselling Lysol wipes The Star

Tennessee man sitting on almost 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer says he’s doing ‘a public service’

Robberies by suspects wearing medical masks reported in multiple states The Hill

Class Warfare

Piketty’s Latest Charge Willem Buiter, Project Syndicate

Episode 52: Love in the Time Of Corona (podcast) TrueAnon. Recommended by Greenwald.

‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries National Geographic. Fragments that mysteriously appeared on the market in 2002.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

468 comments

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I looked at the dates in the CDC’s “Number of specimens tested” table, and read the notes. Both look live and written by humans, albeit lagged. That’s a good volunteer spreadsheet though, especially the descriptions of the state data.

      Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      also, since that page was the source of the revelation that only 8 tests were done last Tuesday, which led to considerable outrage during congressional hearings, it now has a new feature: shading of the last 4-5 days indicating that the numbers are subject to change.

      I have been very disappointed with the CDC as a source of information: their map with total # of cases and deaths always lags at least a day or two behind other sources and there is a lot of self-promotion.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        for example, as I write this, per NCDPH cases have doubled since Friday as of this morning from 15 to 32.

        CDC website still shows NC in 10-20 case category with 15 cases.

        pathetic

        Reply
    3. Dexter Edge

      The CDC page for “Cases in U.S.” currently has (as I write this on Sunday, 15 March, ca. 1:30 PM EDT):

      Total cases: 1,629
      Total deaths: 41

      According to the site: “This page will be updated regularly at noon Mondays through Fridays. Numbers close out at 4 p.m. the day before reporting.” Which implies that these are the figures from last Thursday afternoon, and which I guess means that (theoretically) they will be posting the figures from 4 PM today tomorrow at noon, by which time they’ll already be far out of date…

      According to the most recent summary about an hour ago at the CNN live feed on the virus, there were at that point 3010 confirmed cases in the U.S, and 61 deaths.

      Reply
    4. ahimsa

      Best advice:

      “Most people have a fear of acquiring the virus.
      But, I think a good way of doing it is to imagine you do have the virus.
      Yeh, and change your behaviour so you are not transmitting it.
      Don’t think about changing your behaviour so you won’t get it.
      Think about changing your behaviour so you don’t give it to someone else.”

      Graham Medley
      -Professor of infectious disease modelling

      https://twitter.com/i/status/1238475687830355970

      Reply
  1. Bill Smith

    “Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus”

    Hasn’t this been done before? Australia a few weeks ago? “Australian Lab Cultures New Coronavirus as Infections Climb” back on January 29th. If it is different how so?

    Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        True, but it looks to me like the race is still on for clickbaity headlines. I can’t see, from these articles, any significant differences with the Melbourne team’s work in January.

        Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Agreed entirely, but the headline did look like this was a first, making me wonder if I’d misremembered the previous thing. I welcome the research, but not the over-hyped headlines.

            Reply
        1. The Historian

          I’m sorry, but clickbaity headlines aren’t all that important – what is important is that scientists are verifying the earlier work and trying to get a handle on this virus – and its possible mutations. Like Lambert said, this isn’t a race. That kind of competitiveness has no place here.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            The headlines aren’t all that important, but we could do with less confusion, not more, and this one, and the article itself, from a research institute, not a tabloid gossip rag, left me confused until I googled the January stuff in Melbourne.

            Reply
        2. danpaco

          This article is a press release from Sunnybrook which is a research hospital in Toronto. Considering the 9/11 like vibe currently in the city I think our civic leaders wanted to send something out that was positive.

          Reply
      2. DJG

        Lambert Strether: Thanks.

        So far, I have read that Chinese scientists isolated the virus fairly early–January, I believe.

        A team of Italian scientists reported isolating the virus in February.

        This Canadian group is more good news, in a sense: Just isolating a virus can be a major undertaking. Now we have centers of research that can experiment with treatments and vaccines. The Chinese and the Italians also had isolated the genome of the virus, which will come in handy with very specific treatments.

        What we have to keep in mind here is that, for some diseases, it took years to isolate the agents. Consider the career of Pasteur.

        Reply
      3. Susan the other

        Maybe a little tidying up is in order – because way back in January the Thai’s were using a cocktail that cured several patients based on some research (I think it came from India and there was a clear effort to suppress it.) revealing HIV-like splices in the RNA of the virus – that would then be the SARS CoV-2 virus we are all talking about, which causes Covid-19. How did this get so jumbled up?

        Reply
  2. Henry Moon Pie

    I enjoyed Bernie’s fireside chat last night, and am further cheered by his commitment to keep doing them. Compared to Trump’s awful hucksterism in the midst of crisis, it’s quite reassuring to watch, though it would be much more so if Bernie were actually President.

    The frustration with Bernie’s unwillingness to attack Biden personally is understandable, but it’s not at all clear that getting down into the mud will achieve Taibbi’s “knockout.” Biden’s approach to politics and governing is what got us to this disastrous point, and Bernie promises in the fireside chat to expose that fact regardless of where any moderator attempts to lead the discussion away from substance and toward Bernie Bros and Castro. It’s also clear that Bernie is pushing for this to be just the first debate of several.

    The world is going to look very different to people in another few weeks. Bodies piling up, people desperately trying to gain admission to full hospitals and food shortages because of transportation problems will tend to do that. Many of us Bernie supporters already feel that Bernie and his movement may be the only way out of this hell. My guess is that many others will join us in that view over the course of the next few months.

    Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I find people; we…, tend to dig in and cling like hell to our core beliefs during even an extended crisis, somewhat on a different or detached level than the assumptions implied by our intense cries for help when up against a wall -as if a compassionate world suddenly overrides dog eat dog and yet can effortlessly coexist as soon as danger’s past. It’s only afterwards, when the devastation is still undeniable that we can open up for a brief periods to closer approximations of truth and even then it takes time to digest. Obviously in this case, I am speaking of a particular more self absorbed though still quite general group of “us” even if we all share some of those traits.

      Will the devastation be enough for a sort of general wake up? I’m not sure history is much of a guide here. We have never had such levels of globalization before, nor such density in the technical means of perpetuating them. I suspect the MBA’s of the world, particularly those who have taken over health care, and their tightly controlled mouth pieces, the MSM, in this country are working hard and very proactively right now to prevent that which is why they can’t be bothered with testing or any of the WHO’s recommendations to save lives.

      Reply
      1. martell

        Arguably, the black death documented by Boccaccio and others played a significant motivational role in bringing about what we now call the Renaissance. The plague served to discredit long-standing authorities. They proved powerless to stem the tide of contagion and death, all too obviously because they did not know how to do it. Their incompetence invited criticism as well as that creative “cultural appropriation” for which Renaissance figures are well-known: the return to sources (non-Christian) of European civilization with the hope of building something better.

        Additionally, a worthy hypothesis concerning domination and exploitation has it that those who are dominated tend to accept their condition for the reason that elites are perceived as supplying some service or other in exchange for whatever it is that subordinates offer up. Feudal lords, for example, supposedly provided the services associated with law and order to a subjugated peasantry. Peasants, “in return,” would feed and clothe and house their betters. Nowadays capitalists supposedly provide the services of technological innovation and “job creation” to wage-laborers. The latter, in return, rent themselves out to the former, for whatever uses the bosses can make of them. Large scale failure of elites to effectively address serious, widespread problems faced by subordinates tends to undermine the idea of a reciprocal exchange between dominating and dominated. If those on the top cannot protect the rest of us from untimely death, then what exactly are they good for?

        But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the jig is up Those on the bottom of the hierarchy need to be able to at least imagine a world in which “the bosses” have been eliminated. And they need the intellectual means (concepts, theories) to be able to see through the facade of reciprocity. Lacking one or the other or both, they’re likely to just wish for betters who are better than the current lot. For example: kinder, gentler billionaires.

        Reply
      2. Ignacio

        Given that Sanders’ central ideas focus on the common good, being too aggressive for his part could be correctly seen as hypocrisy. He is fighting for a country in which not all must be fought, for instance a decent common HC service. Many disregard this as “buenismo” in Spanish I don’t know what would be the correct English term for this. To avoid this he should try some populist takes and he probably does. I couldn’t hear the fireside chat unfortunately.

        Reply
        1. Alfred

          What an interesting word — “buenismo.” I checked it on one of my favorite sites, https://www.linguee.com/spanish-english/translation/buenismo.html It seems to have a straightforward meaning (“goodness”) but often to be used with irony (hence “paternalistic attitudes”). One of the ironic senses might be akin to the expression, “virtue signaling,” which turns up often here on NC? Or perhaps along the lines of “do-gooderism”?

          Reply
    2. sd

      I’ve now watched several different online videos of Biden speaking. It’s beyond sad. He’s clearly been impacted by a serious brain injury that interferes with his ability to communicate clearly.

      Its no wonder Obama has not come out to endorse him.

      Trump is going to eat Biden alive in one tweet.

      At this point, seeing how pathologically stacked the establishment is against Sanders, I’m just happy to see his ideas get out there. $15 minimum wage, job guarantee, Medicare For All, etc. so the more people hear those ideas and like them, the better. Though I would prefer Sanders get the nomination, getting those ideas into the main stream is an important win.

      Reply
        1. sd

          Biden is going to take a whole bunch of people with him when he goes down.
          “Representative Clyburn when did you first realize Joe Biden was not fit to serve as President?”

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Many of these people are at the age where they aren’t particularly sharp. Though Clyburn’s disappearance in 2009-2010 is a fair demonstration of what he is about.

            Pelosi was a mean dumba@@ during the Shrub years. She’s just 10 years older now.

            Reply
            1. Hepativore

              It still amazes me that Biden has such a cult-like following among the older demographics when it has been shown that he would like to cut social security and medicare severely. I know that many people who are on those programs think ot would not affect them since they are already receiving the benefits, but I would not be surprised if the cuts are going to be made retroactive.

              Still, at the rate Biden is mentally degrading, I would be surprised if he even is able to make it through the general election let alone the first year of a presidential term. Trump is going to beat him like a drum in the election.

              Still, I think that there is a very good chance that during the Democratic convention, the DNC pulls a “bait-and-switch”. They force Biden to withdraw due to unspecified reasons and appoint a new candidate such as Sherrod Brown or Hillary Clinton to go against Trump in the general election.

              Reply
              1. John

                The Masses aren’t shown Biden saying time after time over the decades he is going to cut Social Security and Medicare.

                The Masses are shown Biden saying right now he will protect Social Security and Medicare.

                Reply
              2. neo-realist

                A bait and switch to Hillary Clinton, I believe, is a sure loser in the general election: A neo-liberal dem needs some of the left to vote for him or her to win. Clinton will get none of it after her bashing of Sanders. Independents and Never Trump Republicans like or can live with a senile Biden, but hate Clinton with a passion and would vote for Trump; as a matter of fact, Clinton would be a source of boundless material on Trump’s campaign trail and would be a great GOTV motivation for the republican base, even more so than 2016.

                Reply
      1. doug

        I suspect Biden knows the questions he will get in the debate and is practicing the answers.
        Anything else would be un democratic …because DNC…

        Reply
        1. Librarian Guy

          It does seem to be Bernie’s last stand, hoping he will hammer Biden for his awful record and point out the Dem Surrender “Bipartisan” relationship with ReThugs dooms us all even more with a national pandemic spreading.

          It may already be too late. As that crazy, lefty rich-boy “radical” (haha) J.F. Kennedy once observed, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

          Obviously, we could be at that point pretty soon, unless Americans completely surrender to Neoliberal New Feudalism– which seems equally possible.

          Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Last I heard still running but the media black-out campaign has effectively silenced her. Nobody called out the DNC when they changed the rules to deliberately exclude her from the upcoming debate and Sanders will come to bitterly regret not calling them out for this. Being the good soldier that she is who swore an oath to protect the country from all enemies foreign and domestic, she would have shanked good old Joe in the same way that she shanked Kamala Harris’s Presidential campaign.

        Reply
        1. montanamaven

          Bernie should be ashamed at not fighting for Tulsi. She left the DNC hierarchy to endorse him in 2016. I heard her on Jimmy Dore talking about fighting for her constituents to get Coronavirus testing. Oh to have a leader like Major Gabbard speaking with a strong clear voice for $1000 per month for Americans until this crisis is over. She instills confidence. While all the old white guys blather on.

          Reply
          1. Geo

            I like Tulsi a lot. She’s one of the strongest voices challenging mainstream narratives about foreign policy and other important issues. She was the first candidate I gave a donation to this year.

            But, she’s never polled above single digits. You’d think her military service would have taught her that in a fight against an overwhelming enemy going alone isn’t the answer. Why is she still campaigning by herself and not for the movement?

            Reply
          2. Billy

            Bernie Sanders announcing that Major Gabbard agreed to run as his Vice President would flabbergast the establishment and help him to win the military vote as well as sufficiently more voters to bury Trump. Plus, it would protect him from “Wellstoning” once he were in office.
            https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2019/10/paul-wellstone-in-retrospect/

            I urge all of you to donate One Dollar to the Democrats so that you are on their mailing lists, phone,Twitter lists, if you are not already, and can thus can exercise your condemnation of Biden and praise for Sanders in communications with them.
            We’ve been polled 5 times by some nice ladies in Florida calling for the DNC. Each time we praised Sanders and demonized the party if they were to not nominate him.

            Reply
            1. John

              Clinton and her cadre’s did their hatchet job on Gabbard.
              She’s poison now to the middle of the road voting democrats.

              Though when she started in the debates I said that only she or Sanders could beat Trump.

              Reply
          3. Oh

            Perhaps senility has been catching up with Bernie – he’s been running against himself from the time he failed to support Ms. Teachout’s editorial against the demented and deranged Biden.

            Reply
    3. integer

      The world is going to look very different to people in another few weeks.

      I doubt it, but I guess we’ll find out one way or another in a few weeks.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        The optimist in me hopes people will have the fog lifted after this. The pessimist feels a people who have never seen clearly before will not comprehend the world as it is even when presented in all its tragic clarity before them and simply wish for things to “go back to normal”.

        Reply
    4. Deschain

      I think at this point Biden could sit there and drool for an hour on the debate stage and it wouldn’t matter. The 60+ crowd has decided on Biden and that’s that. They’ll figure out a way to rationalize away any reason not to vote for him.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Since its seated, I just assume he’ll fall asleep. My uncle kept rough and unusual hours between his business and job, so he would fall asleep ato random intervals during family gatherings. Not to compare the two, but Biden can barely keep up a minimal campaign appearance schedule. Thinking takes real energy.

        Reply
        1. katiebird

          It isn’t seated. I just saw a news segment (no idea which network) showing the 2 podiums. And they were really far apart.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            “Look at Bernie Sanders sliding away with his podium and somehow dragging Biden’s podium along too. Now, he’s moved the whole stage, so Biden can’t even be seen.” -the moderators when Biden inevitably wanders off.

            Reply
      2. Carey

        I’m 60+ and won’t be voting for Biden, or any other corporate Dem.
        Same with my friends, and most of my neighbors.

        Sanders 2020

        Reply
          1. Knot Galt

            I am still a Sanders fanatic. I voted and will send money to Bernie all the way through the convention and beyond if there is a scintilla of promise that Sanders policies will take hold. That’s how I have felt since 2016 when the fix was obviuosly in.

            The difference was that I doubled down by voting for Trump hoping a shock to the system would wake the DNC. Boy, do I feel stupid now.

            It’ll be a sad day if Biden becomes the challenger. He’ll need every vote he can get.

            And me. I regret voting for Trump once. Something less than a dead corpse, or really, a dead corpse, is going to get my vote this time. My new fear is that I am an outlier.

            Reply
            1. John Wright

              >The difference was that I doubled down by voting for Trump hoping a shock to the system would wake the DNC. Boy, do I feel stupid now.

              But if HRC had been elected, validating her politics, we might be even worse off (war in Syria, war with Russia) with the DNC day of reckoning even further postponed.

              In my view, Trump was to be a catalyst for DNC reform, instead the Democrats did “Russia, Russia,Russia” and Trump impeachment (over an incident involving the presumptive Democratic nominee’s corrupt son).

              I hope the USA can avoid more wars in the Middle East, but fear that whatever party is in the White House will find a way to justify war with Iran.

              If the Democrats succeed in getting Biden as their candidate, they will find their party membership shrinking more as their supposed willingness to counter Trump and provide material benefits to the voters looks like more hot air..

              Reply
            2. Massinissa

              Voting for Trump, and having him win, would make me feel the same as you do.

              However, I believe voting Biden and have him win, would ALSO make me feel the same as you did when you voted for Trump and he won.

              Although now that I reread your comment, maybe you feel the same. I can’t tell if by voting for a dead corpse, you mean Biden, or literally voting for Huey Long or something. (At least, that would be the dead person I would write in were I to write in a dead corpse. Feel free to insert your own corpse here.)

              Reply
      3. edmondo

        The Biden ads in Arizona this week are attacking Bernie for continuing his run against “good old Joe” and asking us to vote for Biden to send a message to Bernie to end his campaign and for “all Democrats to come together.”

        Nice friend you got there, Senator Sanders.

        Reply
        1. Samuel Conner

          Perhaps that’s what JB meant when he said (when asked about the “full of sh*t”/slap threat interaction re: 2nd amendment) that he was surprised that Sanders was “joining” Trump. Trump is running against JB. How dare Sanders do that too!

          If JB is the nominee, the Party will deserve what it inherits.

          Reply
      4. integer

        Hmm, by and large the same 60+ crowd that is vulnerable to coronavirus. Hypothetically, considering Biden’s role in the student debt crisis and other legislation that has disproportionately affected younger generations, it stands to reason that the 60+ crowd’s refusal to vote in the interest of anyone but themselves could factor into some younger people’s willingness, or not, to take the spread of the Boomer Remover, er, coronavirus seriously.

        “You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.”

        Of course most have older family members that they care about, and understand that not all of the 60+ crowd are unsympathetic to the issues that they face. Still, it’s interesting to note that coronavirus has created a situation in which younger generations appear to hold the upper hand for once.

        Reply
        1. Riverboat Grambler

          Washing my hands and staying at home to preserve the lives of old people who will inevitably show up to vote against my class interests. Lovin’ it

          EDIT: I know, I know, #NotAllBoomers. Still though.

          Reply
        2. Anon

          Yes, the OK Boomer Revenge (Covid-19) is likely to change voter demographics. While there are 60+ voters who support Bernie (me) most of his supporters are much younger. Biden’s supporters are largely older (and comfortable).

          While younger voters usually have elders they care about, the reality of Covid is that their elders assets may be passed to their progeny sooner rather than later. The realities of this pandemic are enough for me to change my POD financial accounts to younger beneficiaries. They are more likely to be alive and in need of the funds

          Reply
        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since Biden has always wanted to cut or destroy Social Security and Medicare, how are 60 year old voters for Biden voting in their own interest?

          It will be interesting to see how many Youngers embrace your logic and decide to become Typhoid Juniors.

          Reply
      5. upstater

        The 60+ vote will almost certainly be depressed because of COVID-19 fears and social distancing.

        One can hope for different results on Tuesday.

        Reply
      6. Nobody

        Don’t fall into the trap of blaming seniors considering how this entire primary season has been such a ridiculous series of fixes, propaganda and lies. Pitting old against young just leaves the door open for even more ongoing fixes, propaganda and lies.

        Reply
        1. Deschain

          Just looking at the exit poll data. 80%+ over 60+ voting Biden, 80%+ under 30 voting Sanders. Problem is latter cohort is much smaller than former.

          Reply
    5. Pelham

      I agree that attacking Biden is far from a sure tactic for Sanders. But at this stage it’s at least worth trying, since it’s just about all that’s left.

      I hope you’re right that people will see Sanders as the only hope of escape from the horrid mess of our economy now compounded by the virus. And about that point, the shambolic virus response is actually a good argument not for Medicare for All but for something even more ambitious, an entirely nationalized health care system.

      Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      And “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,”
      should read ” “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest in.”

      Reply
    2. montanamaven

      Bernie should hit this fact of what he tried to do and failed because of Crony Capitalism.

      The move was controversial, and a House member from Vermont, independent Bernie Sanders, offered an amendment to reinstate the rule. It failed on a largely party-line vote, 242-180.

      Then in 2000, Sanders authored and passed a bipartisan amendment in the House to reimpose the “reasonable pricing” rule. In the Senate, a similar measure was pushed by the late Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.

      Americans actually do hate cheaters and being cheated. Bernie should say over and over that our tax dollars went to find drugs and cures and the deal was that we then got back those drugs and cures at reasonable prices. We got shafted. We are sick of bailing out the crooks i.e. Credit Card Joe and his ilk. Bernie doesn’t have to mention Joe by name.
      He can talk about credit card debt that mushroomed in the late seventies and early eighties when wages stagnated and the federal usury laws were abolished (by Democrats in 1979).
      I’ve just come from the PriceChopper in Upstate NY and the sad but determined looks on people’s faces and the fear in the eyes of the oldsters as they put Hamburger Helper and a piece of meat into their carts was heartbreaking. The working class does not deserve this.

      Reply
    1. MK

      More ‘he who must not be named is evil’ from a member of the resistance. That he is from uberliberal Hawaii is no surprise. Saves himself the membership fee though.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        “The only constitutional freedoms ultimately recognized may soon be limited to those useful to wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males— and the corporations they control. This is wrong. Period. This is not America.”
        My only quibble would be the final sentence. This is the USA.

        Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Stuart Newman tweet.

    I think this is very important, because its becoming quite clear that this is the strategy the UK is following – and also possibly Sweden. So in 6 months or so we’ll be able to see who is right.

    But even if ‘in theory’ Newman (and the UK) is correct, I simply can’t see it working in reality. To reduce mortality, it is implied that you need to allow the virus to run its course through the ‘healthy’ population, while keeping the over 70’s and those with underlying illnesses separate, until herd immunity builds up. Quite simply, I don’t see how this is in any way possible. How do you prevent a staff member bringing it into a nursing home? How do you care for an elderly or sick relative in your own home without exposing them? What about all those grandparents who look after kids for their own children?

    Plus, there is the issue of many younger people who may be vulnerable for one reason or another. A good friend of mine, a otherwise very healthy woman in her early 30’s, is undergoing cancer treatment and has a very low immune system. Her family are beside themselves with worry, how on earth can they keep her from exposure without locking her in a room for months? There must be many thousands, maybe millions of people in her situation.

    There are also other built in assumptions – what if herd immunity does not build up? What if exposure to the virus makes people more, not less prone to other infections? (see the PLoS1 article linked above on Spanish Flu for an explanation of how this can happen). What if it turns out (as some have speculated, with some data from China), that obese people are particularly vulnerable? Just check out obesity levels in the US and UK.

    This type of thinking strikes me of the classic form of scientific failure when someone with a bright idea simply ignores all the variables that might interfere with his nice pure theory in order to make it work. Its unsurprising that it seems to me that behavioural economists are behind this type of thinking.

    Reply
    1. Clive

      I think you’re entirely correct in the underestimating of the downsides and the endless number of possible loopholes and difficulties inherent in the herd immunity response.

      I would though also offer that the consideration of what to do if that’s not the answer is highlighting a societal phenomenon which I’ve increasingly observed both personally and professionally over the last decade or so. Which is: both an individual and institutional inability to take two (or more) not-good options and then to be able to, collectively, pick a least-worst.

      Rather, vast amounts of physical, mental and emotional energy is expended in a combination of inaction, indecision and a futile search for an “ideal” answer. Or, probably more observed in the political realm, the seizing upon of a big-impact impressive-sounding and, to coin a phrase, shock-and-awe response which is almost destined to promise more than it can deliver.

      I’m certainly not-at-all convinced the lockdowns we’re seeing in Italy, Spain and China are sustainable or have demonstrated long-term efficacy.

      Reply
      1. David

        More precisely perhaps we have lost the traditional trust and confidence between experts and policy makers which would have made the situation easier to manage. There are understood rules and procedures for this kind of thing, which include a willingness to accept expert advice even if it’s unwelcome on the one hand, and an ability to present complex issues fairly in a way that politicians and thus the public can understand on the other. We’re paying the price now for more than a generation of treating politics as essentially a game, with no serious consequences, where all that really matters is presentation and spin. We’re also seeing the results of at least as long a period of selecting senior specialists for their willingness to give the advice that Ministers want. And now, when you actually need the system to work properly it won’t and probably can’t. The rot isn’t so advanced in France, where serious technical expertise is still valued, and the rumour is that Macrons somber address to the nation on Thursday night was the result of a technical briefing earlier in the day that scared him shitless.
        Dealing with this crisis is going to require unlearning an awful lot of things.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’d add to this that there is a search for ‘smart fixes’ rather than solid advice and management. To me, this is where this ‘herd immunity’ notion has come from – a politician (or advisor), demanding some ‘lateral thinking’ and ‘good science’, and ending up adopting a very dubious and untried theory rather than accepting the unknowability of the situation and managing it intensively instead. I’ve no idea what’s been going on in the UK, but I know from a relative who is involved at a high level in the Health Department here that there has been a frenzy of activity for at least 6 weeks, all independent of government decision making and advice. Most of it has been about the nuts and bolts of keeping the health system ticking over and managing the situation. This is what bureaucracy should be all about of course, the nuts and bolts of just keeping the show on the road.

          I was reading a little about a major polio outbreak in Ireland in the 1950’s. It caused much terror (it was attacking children of course), and there were frequent media attacks at the time on the authorities for ‘doing nothing’, and there were just as many conspiracy theories floating about as today (just not as fast I would guess). But the histories of the time suggest that the authorities did a reasonably good job in balancing the science with the need to reassure the public and avoid panic, and for the most part people accepted the restrictions on their lives. With diseases at the time like measles and polio and of course TB, there was a general acceptance that you did what the experts told you, even if with hindsight they were often at a loss at what to do, and generally just fell back on tried and tested policies of isolation and shutting down transport.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            I have been thinking on this and my conclusion is he is trying as you said in the first comment a risky social experiment that would be the opposite of the other harsh social experiment that has been China. As a discharge for Chinese leadership it can be argued that they probably tries their best in the heat of the moment and with scarce data informing decisions. This is not the case for UK or Sweden, they have decided to try to manage the epidemics to shorten the epidemic development trying to prevent the collateral of prolonged quarantines. This looks pretty much as a risky wizard apprentice approach.

            I think that the authorities all around Europe might be using the FluNet to obtain informed data on the real evolution of the epidemics and in many cases decisions are based on these epidemic data rather than the widely published data on confirmed data. At least this is what I would try if I was head of the HC system and wanted to track the epidemics (knowing that data would be revealing infection progress with a lag equivalent to the incubation period). IMO the Spanish government decreed emergency on the basis of such epidemiological data (no proof for this). So whether to decree emergency and general isolation when incidence is 1% or 5% or 20% is well beyond the pay grade of even the brigthest epidemiologist.

            But again, if by the moment you decree the end of emergency, isolation and quarantines, if there are still many susceptible (not already infected, not resistant) the risk of a second outbreak is big. I don’t think anybody has a good solution.

            Reply
            1. Ignacio

              What if the NHS is overwhelmed? Badly overwhelmed? Today, in our second day of isolation I witnessed something I probably won’t do again. At 8:00 pm everybody showed up at their terraces and windows with an intense applause for the HC personnel. It was awesome. Later we have received via whatsapp a video from a Hospital with physicians, nurses and other personnel giving thanks for this. They are our heroes. Not those on the private hospitals and clinics but the Public Health System is what is sustaining this fight. We may talk about lack of ventilators, rooms etc but the human factor is by far the most important now.

              Reply
        2. notabanker

          I was listening to a homeland security “expert” on the radio this morning. The message was although you may have “friends” that are policeman, or work at hospitals, you should listen to the elected officials and obey their instructions. They are the ones held accountable when they get these things wrong.

          It was beyond satirical. No one in their right mind believes this.

          Reply
      2. The Historian

        I’m looking at the death rates per numbers tested and while I know it is early days yet and these numbers may not be accurate, what I am seeing is that both Germany and South Korea are keeping the death rates per numbers tested below 1%, which is not what I’m seeing from other countries like Italy and Spain, etc. What are Germany and South Korean citizens and governments doing that the other countries aren’t doing? There might be some things to learn here to help our citizens make better choices.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          My understanding is that the WHO believes that the difference in death rates is entirely down to two factors:

          1. Whether intensive care facilities are overwhelmed (as happened in the first few weeks in Wuhan).
          2. whether the initial infection hit a vulnerable population first (as with Italy).

          Reply
        2. Jessica

          I have read that the pool of the infected in South Korea skews young because that church that has been the primary epicenter skews young. No idea about Germany.
          The more testing one does, the more one is going to pick up very mild cases. Has Germany perhaps done more testing? The South Koreans certainly have.

          Reply
        3. Clive

          If a patient is being kept on a ventilator then there is almost total discretion about when the clinicians — usually in consultation with family members — can decide to throw in the towel and risk withdrawing mechanical ventilator treatment and just seeing how the patient recovers. Germany and South Korea have reasonably numerous ICU and ventilation machine availability so these decisions might not, up until recently, have been particularly pressing.

          Under normal circumstances relatives are given as long as they need to come to an evaluation as to what they want to do, clinicians will, certainly in my experience, suggest diplomatically that the longer a patient if being ventilated the worse the prognosis but refrain from making should-do directions or must-do instructions. This would explain why the mortality rate in Germany stayed at zero for so long.

          To put it bluntly, patients didn’t die unless someone opted to pull the plug on them.

          With increasing pressure in healthcare, these up-until-now “take your time with your decision, there is no hurry and you have to do what you feel right” discretions may have, now, become a little more pointed.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            From what I’ve seen and read, some hospitals in Italy at least have given up putting some people, the elderly in particular, on ventilators and so on in the first place, keeping them instead for those more likely to benefit from them.

            Reply
            1. Wyoming

              This. Is triage.

              In the overwhelmed hospitals in Italy:

              60+ and critical or going critical you are NOT treated but rolled into a ward and allowed to expire. This is because you are already going to die or your demand on resources would be so severe that treating you would result in greater numbers dying than if you are allowed to die.

              Less than 60 with serious underlying health problems and critical or going critical. The same as above.

              Triage is treat those who can be saved by treatment, do not treat those who will survive on their own, do not treat those who are going to die anyway as you will lose a larger number of those who could be saved. Being the person making these decisions is being on a road to PTSD.

              Here in the US we are on the road that leads to this situation and will arrive there if we don’t get serious like right now. I was talking to a friend this morning who is a doctor in my community. Our surrounding area is about 120,000 people and the total number of ICU and surgical suites (which can be converted to ICU beds) is well under 50. And our population has about 2 times the average number of 60+ people as a similar sized city for the US. You can see where this could end up.

              Reply
              1. TheHoarseWhisperer

                not “could” but rather “will”. Wyoming may be spared but the metro area hospitals will look like war zones in a couple of weeks. time series is seriouscases x10 every two weeks.

                Reply
              2. neo-realist

                I hope the ones allowed to expire are at least getting pain medication to make expiration a little easier, e.g., Morphine drip.

                Reply
        4. CBBB

          I can tell you that in Germany people are out and about and not really taking many measures. Some companies are doing forced home office and schools are being closed but overall no major measures are being taken.
          It is a very interesting question as to why it seems to be more deadly and also spreading more in certain countries.

          Reply
        5. Yves Smith

          Readers said early on that the German death figures were suspect, that for patients with existing conditions (think COPD), the death was attributed to that, not coronavirus.

          Germany has not been making tests all that available either. A friend of a friend was denied a test despite trying for days, now hospitalized for what is almost certainly coronavirus. This was an academic, so high functioning as well as reasonably connected.

          Reply
        6. Oregoncharles

          testing essentially everyone, as S. Korea has been doing, greatly raises the number of people confirmed to be infected. That’s the denominator, so the percentage goes down. If you test hardly anyone, as here, the number of “infected” is low; but the number of dead is harder to suppress. So, high percentage.

          An older population, as in Italy – or WA state, where it infested 10 nursing homes; or Linn County, OR, where it occurred in a Veterans’ Home, also inflates the percentage that die. These are statistical artifacts, not changes in reality. That might depend on the number of ventilators available.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            That isn’t the general assumption as to why the SKorea death rates are low. Morality rates are properly stated as “case rate fatality” as in how many infected people die.

            The reasons attributed to SKorea’s low death rate so far:

            Young average age of the big cluster (the cult members)

            Early and aggressive treatment. Between the lines, I read the SKoreans are more willing to to heroics for older patients and ones with underlying conditions than other systems would.

            Sensitive tests that tend to produce false positives more than false negatives

            Reply
      3. Cuibono

        Long term efficacy: BUYS TIME!
        THat is all we can do: BUY TIME>
        Time for vaccine, time for treattment, time for more vents to be built.

        MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, time for SPRING and SUMMER

        Reply
    2. c_heale

      The UK government is only interested in protecting the economy, not the people. They are too stupid to realise that the people are the economy.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        Unless governments are prepared to nationalise pretty much everything, this bland and knee-jerk false separatism of “the economy” (which is used here as a handy label for everything bad in our societies from inequality to elites subsuming democracy) from “the people” (another stick-on moniker for all that’s nice and worthy and sacrosanct) is, I’m sorry to admonish since I suspect you do genuinely mean well, simplistic lefty Twitter-mob style platitudes.

        “The economy” encompasses not just Jeff Bezos ripping your face off, but also supply chains stocking up your local supermarket, factories producing your toilet paper, chemical plants producing chlorine for your potable water supply treatment, power companies keeping, well, the power on so you can read this, retirement homes trying to keep gramps fed and looked after and, yes, little old me trying to make sure your card payments go through and you can get cash out the bank.

        Not all of those economic actors are altruistic. Not all of them are even composed of groups of very nice people. But unless you want to do an in-situ ground-up re-engineering of our entire societies and all the while combatting COVID-19 as effectively as possible I’m of the opinion that more nuanced consideration should be applied before thinking that everything should be overthrown and the populous is best served by — what, exactly? — some mass outpouring of civil disobedience?

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Portraits from the edge…

          Made one last supermarket run, and there’s about 30 shopping carts ahead of me in line to checkout, and a 30’ish woman was in front of me, holding less than double digits in $ worth of ‘prep’ in one hand, and we got talking about the crisis and she tells me how her 8 year old daughter already misses school-not that its happened yet, and she’s caring for her 10 month old son, and her husband who’d been laid off 3 months prior-got rehired 3 weeks ago only to be laid off due to Coronavirus shutting everything down. I fished a Jackson out of my wallet, and told her to go buy more food and off she went while I held her place in line, and she came back with a beaming smile, a bit more porridge for somebody obviously poor.

          A friend is the father in law of a Tulare Co. sheriff, and were not far from disorder making law enforcement redundant is the feeling I get, yesterday @ Costco in Visalia, apparently the proles were close to fisticuffs over lack of ‘friggin shopping carts, and what happens when our just in time supply of food runs out and/or the food service employees decide that working Black Friday-like shifts every day serving an army of conquering ants isn’t all that, and split?

          I’ve seen law enforcement give up before during the Rodney King riots, looters just went about taking whatever they felt like, and sometimes cops would be watching from a few hundred feet away, still armed-but disarmed in terms of doing anything, neutered.

          The only fruit ripe on trees now is citrus, and orchards in the Central Valley rarely have fences around them, and the trees are loaded if they haven’t been picked yet, and its not uncommon to see 20 or 30 fallen soldiers on the ground, along with hundreds of oranges on the tree, and Vitamin C is supposed to be good in countering the virus, so a win-win for the locusts that will plunder said trees within a week or 2, is my guess, right in the middle of the virus smacking us down hard.

          So, there is a food option here for hungry denizens, what about a place like SoCal where there’s 20 million human beans and hardly any food grown there anymore, because it made more financial sense to build houses where vast citrus & avocado orchards used to hold sway when I was a tyke?

          Soon, the 87 octane spice will not flow anymore as the plague bears down on us, and really nobody has any stored gas, so whatever is in their tank in their jalopy is their extended range, that’s it.

          Unlike Italy, nobody is singing from the balconies in the CVBB, but there’s always The Masked Singer on the telly, as an ad hoc solo choir.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            what happens when our just in time supply of food runs out

            Or when folk start using guns to try and get medical services …

            Reply
            1. Billy

              A Hispanic friend watches telenovelas and pointed out that in them, cartel members often tell surgeons, “Save my wounded soldier or you and your family die.” I’m sure that would lead to some radical and temporary medical procedures.

              As to “I’ve seen law enforcement give up before during the Rodney King riots, looters just went about taking whatever they felt like, and sometimes cops would be watching from a few hundred feet away, still armed-but disarmed in terms of doing anything, neutered.”

              https://www.npr.org/2012/04/27/151526930/korean-store-owner-on-arming-himself-for-riots

              Reply
              1. skippy

                During the LA riots the cops just did road blocks to nicer areas – to keep it from spreading.

                The joke back then was if they want to loot and burn their own back yard so be it.

                Reply
          2. tegnost

            In my call to mom in San Diego last week she was remarkably unconcerned, but hopefully I got a message to be more careful through somehow. Mid 80’s and really committed to her weight room activities so I’m worried. I checked the union tribune yesterday and it looks like realization has made it’s way there. I’ll see later today how she sees it now…

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              I’ve told friends in SoCal to be gassed up to the hilt in their rides, and it wouldn’t be a bad time to invest in a 5 gallon container or 2 and fill em’ up.

              The only way to stop Coronavirus is to stop mobility, by not delivering gas to stations, be ahead of the curve on this one, all of you in the SoCalist movement down under.

              Now where you ‘escape to’ is a bit problematic, as everything around you is desert with little in the way of just desserts to devour.

              Reply
          3. Lee

            it made more financial sense to build houses where vast citrus & avocado orchards used to hold sway when I was a tyke?

            Same with the Santa Clara Valley, now Silicon Valley. In my lifetime four hundred square miles of some of the most fertile soil on earth with fruit orchards as far as the eye could see now buried under pavement.

            Reply
        2. notabanktoadie

          I’m of the opinion that more nuanced consideration should be applied before thinking that everything should be overthrown … Clive

          Agree; Mrs. Thatcher was only partially wrong to say TINA with ethical finance being an outstanding and longstanding example of what is missing.

          Reply
        3. Petter

          A data point from Norway: my brother in law has a business – supplier to the fish and meat industry, selling everything from gloves to machines – everything. A significant portion of what he sells comes from China. Normally when he reorders the delivery time is three months, now it’s year. A year.
          He’s in contact with colleagues and associates in the food business and it’s the same for them. So what happens when the butchers, slaughterhouses, fish farms go empty for gloves, masks, aprons, etc? Which is definitely going to happen. They’ll have to shut down. According to my brother in law, the factories that supply him from China, when they open again, and they may already be in the process of reopening, their first priority is to resupply China, and that may take a year. Europe is going to have to wait.
          One last point – my brother in law is already getting calls from want to be customers who are out of supplies, and he’s turning them down. He has to.

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            There will be ongoing crash courses in wartime-rationing-style reuse and refurbishment. Having worked in the Alaska seasonal fisheries in my college days, I’m familiar with the kind of gear you describe. The woven-cloth “grippy even when slimed” gloves can be washed and reused until they wear out. They are also not terribly hard to manufacture. The latex gloves we used to wear underneath them, those are 1-use only and, like medical gloves, will be tough to alternate-source. Rubber boots and rubberized aprons and arm protectors last fairly long and can be hole-patched to some extent. Machinery will have to be used and maintained and fixed in the field, with no replacements in sight. All that will buy time, time which should and hopefully will be used relearning the self-sufficiency lessons decribed in the “autarky” article in today’s Links. Undoing the most toxic effects of decades of untrammeled globalization will not be easy, to be sure – but no better time to start than the present.

            Reply
        4. The Whom

          As a fellow UK resident (actually a dual US citizen), can I just say I’m grateful, as always, to Clive for his always calm, rational comments on topics which have to do with my adopted home.

          Reply
        5. coboarts

          Thank you Clive! I will be using your concise and extremely well stated statement, and always crediting you and NC for where it comes from.

          Reply
        6. Susan the other

          thanks Clive, “false separatism of the economy” – very good phrase. Even Paul Craig Roberts (who most people think of as a goofy old Reagan functionary in the Treasury) has advocated socialism. Yes, he used the word even and said he had decided it was the only solution for the mess everything has become – Covid-19 just being the last straw.

          Reply
        7. rtah100

          Never let a good crisis go to waste. If there was a moment to nationalise industry, it is now.
          – airlines
          – railways (hurrah!)
          – factories
          – services
          – banks

          Attlee never had it so good….

          I’m only half joking, government needs to put the economy on a drip of fiat, making sure it gets to the people as opex and not blocked in the banks or corporate shareholders, while it puts the population on oxygen….

          Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        To be honest, I don’t think this is the core of the UK’s thinking. I do think they are in thrall to a sort of false scientism the notion that once you can quantify something, a correct ‘answer’ will emerge from a computer. I also think that there is an arrogant assumption that they know more than those countries who have actually been dealing with this longer than others (lets not forget that the HK/SK/Japanese reaction was informed by their experience with SARS).

        I also think that they are far more obsessed with actual power and control than the economy itself. ‘Fuck business’ as a certain PM would say.

        Sometimes – to address Clives comments above – it is best to muddle through. Which in this context means, hold off the exponential take off point and minimise infection for as long as you can – the longer we can do this, the more likely we are to be rescued by summer and then have time to adopt better long term strategies to deal with a disease that looks like its going to be a problem for years.

        Reply
        1. TroyIA

          Is there evidence that coronavirus is affected by summer weather though? When SARS broke out in 2003 it started in February and lasted for 6 months. It was stopped by isolating sick patients and quarantining wider areas when necessary. And MERS affects the Middle East where it is hot.

          Where covid-19 is different from SARS is it seems to be more easily transmissible because patients have a higher rate of viral shedding before symptoms appear. So in order to contain covid-19 we will have to continue to practice social distancing and a near stand still of society and the economy.

          Our economy will go into a recession and if it lasts too long and I am not ruling out a depression. A recession will have ramifications on health not to mention the effects of a depression. At that point we will really have to ask which is worse from a health and mortality stand point, widespread covid-19 outbreak with overrun hospitals or job loss and increased poor health as people with only $400 in savings slip into destitution?

          Can we contain the COVID-19 outbreak with the same measures as for SARS?

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            So far as I’m aware, WHO is saying that there is no clear evidence that hot weather will slow it down – but there does seem to be a general assumption that these viruses don’t like heat and humidity – it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as contagious in SE Asia or Africa or India (so far).

            Reply
            1. xkeyscored

              Duterte’s put Manila under lockdown, starting tonight I think. Latest figures: 140 confirmed cases.

              I’ll keep hunting for info on how many locally acquired infections happened in air-con environments, where the Philippine’s weather (max today 31, min expected tonight 25) may be irrelevant. It does look like most cases there have been either international travellers or people having contact with them, exactly the sort who might live their lives in near permanent air-con.

              So I wouldn’t give up on the hope it doesn’t like it hot, but I wouldn’t bank on it either.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, I’ve friends in Manila who have been pretty much under lockdown for a week. Mind you, that sounds to me like regular life in Manila where you take your life and health in your hands venturing outdoors.

                Its a good point about air con. I think the transition from heat to super cooled rooms can’t be good for health and may well help the transmission of the virus. It would be ironic if in some of these countries this ended up ripping through the elites while regular folks in their fan-cooled homes were ok.

                Reply
                1. xkeyscored

                  Do your friends in Manila have any better info on who’s falling victim to the virus, air-con types or fan and outdoor types?

                  I looked through a list of confirmed cases in Singapore a week or so ago, and they mostly looked like the former, plus a couple of clusters associated with churches.

                  Reply
                  1. PlutoniumKun

                    So far as I’m aware, there is little evidence of community infection so far, which would indicate that its mostly travellers. The problem of course in a country like the Philippines is that it could be ripping through poor areas without it being noticed (until too late).

                    Reply
                    1. xkeyscored

                      Thanks. Keep us posted, and I’ll ask around a bit tomorrow.
                      Cambodia, stinking hot of late, still no news of community spread, though two new cases, a Belgian and Canadian who work for an international organisation and an international school respectively, both recently returned from abroad. (The teacher didn’t return to campus after his trip.)

            2. TroyIA

              Just adding a few links for anyone who is interested.

              Seasonality of SARS-CoV-2: Will COVID-19 go away on its own in warmer weather?

              Marc Lipsitch, DPhil
              Professor of Epidemiology and Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

              (tl;dr) Probably not.

              Several people, including the US president, have suggested that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19, will go away on its own in the warmer weather that will come in the Northern Hemisphere in coming months. Some have even suggested that the experience with SARS in 2003 provides evidence for this assertion.

              The short answer is that while we may expect modest declines in the contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2 in warmer, wetter weather and perhaps with the closing of schools in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, it is not reasonable to expect these declines alone to slow transmission enough to make a big dent.

              How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?

              What do these comparisons with influenza A and SARS imply for the COVID-19 epidemic and its control? First, we think that the epidemic in any given country will initially spread more slowly than is typical for a new influenza A strain. COVID-19 had a doubling time in China of about 4–5 days in the early phases.3 Second, the COVID-19 epidemic could be more drawn out than seasonal influenza A, which has relevance for its potential economic impact. Third, the effect of seasons on transmission of COVID-19 is unknown;11 however, with an R0 of 2–3, the warm months of summer in the northern hemisphere might not necessarily reduce transmission below the value of unity as they do for influenza A, which typically has an R0 of around 1·1–1·5.12 Closely linked to these factors and their epidemiological determinants is the impact of different mitigation policies on the course of the COVID-19 epidemic.

              That Lancet article is a depressing read. Basically governments have to choose between an epidemic or a recession. How long will the recession last and how long will the population tolerate it are the million dollar questions.

              Reply
              1. xkeyscored

                I suspect governments are faced with both, whatever they do now.
                But if warmer weather does slow it, that buys us some time.

                Reply
            3. Stephen V

              What if the causation runs in both directions? Some medical personage a couple of years ago used the Seed (virus, bacteria ) vs. Soil analogy. The latter being our immune system.
              Apologies for my woo woo tendencies. I’ve noticed that I am susceptible to certain things only at certain times of the year.
              I hope that in this tsunami of expert advice and govt inaction we also learn to pay attention to the soil side. Just because our precautions are not a “cure” for Covid doesn’t mean they have no value.

              Reply
        2. skk

          >Sometimes – to address Clives comments above – it is best to muddle through.

          I’d want to make the term “muddle through” sound more high-falutin’. How about the “precautionary principle ? “. Nassem Taleb put out a note, meaning something short of a peer reviewed paper but not a tweet, on its applicability to this pandemic recently:
          https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b68a4e4a2772c2a206180a1/t/5e2efaa2ff2cf27efbe8fc91/1580137123173/Systemic_Risk_of_Pandemic_via_Novel_Path.pdf

          That was at the end of Jan. We have more data now so I look forward to reading his updated considered and formally stated views.

          Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          One of the purposes/advantages of a parliamentary system is the ability to throw out PMs that do something unforgivable.

          Does Britain still not have a parliamentary system (any more)?

          Reply
    3. Nax

      In particular Stuart Newman’s argument seems farcical.

      It goes something like this:
      In 1918 Spanish Flue killed so many young adults (28ish years old) because people in that age range had contracted a caronavirus as children which resulted in a massive over-reaction in their immune response.

      Today older people are dying in such large numbers because they were exposed to a coronavirus in their youth and their immune systems are over reacting.

      Therefore we must expose all our children to this cornavirus so that they will, er…, die in droves to the next one?

      I mean… Just… What?

      Reply
      1. Clive

        No, that is absolutely not what is proposed at all.

        The intention is to avoid quarantining once and then having to quarantine all over again, with a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the second (and subsequent) quarantines. And to avoid having to quarantine for a totally implausible three months.

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=nl6tTwxzCi8

        “The reason is, it’s not callousness or eugenics or social Darwinism…”

        [Clive again] or Boris Johnson or Brexit or people who want to bring back fox hunting.

        Reply
    4. Kasia

      They would never admit it but in my opinion the UK and Sweden are employing a “Logan’s Run” strategy of more or less intentionally killing off the unproductive elderly and weak in order to save the economy for the relatively young. Call it the Corona Cull.

      Reply
          1. Monty

            Pragmatic bank I.T. staff, unemployed northerners and Millwall fans will make up the difference. Just as long as they get Brexit done!

            Reply
        1. enzica

          Scatological humor always makes me lol. Thanks for a good laugh. I’ve sent a page to escort you out just in case you didn’t self remove.

          Reply
    5. Krystyn Walentka

      I think he is partially right but dangerously wrong because he is making the correlation = causation mistake with regard to his previous infection theory. Yes, as I have been yelling at everyone it is not because you have a weak immune system that you get sicker from C19, it is because you have a unbalance and over-reactive immune system. I feel this immune imbalance comes from a zinc/copper imbalance. (Copper pipes anyone?) Low plasma zinc is also associated with obesity and old age as well.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407988/

      His suggestion will cause a lot of people to die for sure. Because immunity will only come to those who survive and those who die will have died because they had a zinc deficiency. Well, his plan might work but it is sort of like eugenics, weeding out those people with poor zinc transporter genetics.

      I was tested for serum zinc which was low even though I ate oysters at least once a week and ate zinc lozenges often. Zinc has always been a part of my health regimen that has helped me fight my autoimmune (again, over-reactive immune system) issues. I have not had anything but very slight flu symptoms for 15 years now.

      Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          IMHO Yes, but save them and take them only when symptoms are present. Taking Optizinc tablets when they are not. The reason for this is that the zinc ions directly inhibit replication of the virus in the upper respiratory tract. I usually take the lozenges three to four times a day at the start of symptoms. The tablets will also raise serum zinc and balance it with enough copper to avoid a total copper deficiency and will help lower the chances of a cytokine storm. (Not a doctor).

          Reply
                1. Massinissa

                  I heard a joke one time, where one person says “Part of white privilege is having a pronounceable name”, and someone replies, “Not if you’re Polish!”

                  At least your first name is easy to pronounce, albeit with the chance of westerners misgendering it.

                  Reply
        1. Krystyn Walentka

          AWESOME! Thanks for that. It is really hard for people to believe me because I do not have a white coat and a suffix to verify my intelligence so any one that does only helps my case.

          Reply
          1. Anon

            KW, it’s not that you don’t have a white coat, it’s that every body is different. And that your clinical trials have an n=1. Specific mineral depletion/accumulation is variable in the human population, so your recommendations should be seen as a, “Hey, this works for me, but YMMV.”

            I have some zinc tablets that a may try if the pandemic gets to me.

            Reply
      1. Lee

        Yes, as I have been yelling at everyone it is not because you have a weak immune system that you get sicker from C19, it is because you have a unbalance and over-reactive immune system.

        This is an important point. Your immune system can kill you. According to the prevailing theory, I have an over active immune system response causing a chronic inflammation of the central nervous system. I feel like I’m coming down with the flu much of the time. On good days, if I over do it, which one is inclined to do after several down days, my immune system triggers, if not a cytokine storm, then a cytokine squall that knocks me down hard for days. My immune system is over reacting to the presence of viruses that are part of the normal human viral load, which in most people are well tolerated asymptomatically. This was probably triggered by a particularly nasty respiratory infection I had back in 2006.

        Reply
      2. turtle

        Just a quick note to point out that high intake of zinc is linked with an increase in prostate cancer incidence (and, supposedly, so is a low intake, which means that there’s an ideal medium). A naturopathic doctor who specializes in prostate cancer (Geo Espinoza) recommends no more than 30 mg daily. This only affects men, obviously.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          When I take too much zinc my body quickly tells me so, via quick and pronounced nausea. 45 mg/day is my max, short-term only.

          Reply
    6. xkeyscored

      I don’t know about everything Newman says; some of it may turn out to be true.

      But this most certainly is not: “#COVID19 is essentially innocuous in anyone under 50.”
      It can kill under 50s, and it can mean a lengthy period on respirators and wotnot.

      Reply
      1. Clive

        It’s not the point that some people who get sick with COVID-19 recover but then, perhaps, go on to get sick again. That’s just the way immunology works. There was always some kid in class when I was at school who said (often bragged) they’d got, say, chickenpox twice.

        It’s also not the point that it affects some people under 50. Of course it will affect *some* under 50.

        The point is whether or not having COVID-19 exposure gives a sufficient number of the population subsequent immunity through a developed immune response. This will lower the R/0 value. If it lowers it enough, you will get meaningful herd immunity. This datapoint will need to be combined with accurate data about how many under 50 or 60 get very serious illness.

        This is exactly the same way vaccinating works. No vaccine is perfect and certainly no vaccination programme works perfectly in terms of uptake. The question is always whether it works enough. Similarly, there’s always a risk of side effects, for a tiny proportion of the population with particular susceptibility, of any vaccine.

        No-one here — and possibly no-one anywhere — knows for certain. It is, though, potentially something which is worthy of proper scientific evaluation from an evidence base. As this is a new virus, this will almost certainly entail a study of a large population.

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          True.
          But my point was about, and only about, Newman’s pronouncement that “#COVID19 is essentially innocuous in anyone under 50.” Which is just plain wrong, as far as I can see.

          Reply
          1. Clive

            Yes, that is definitely correct and it’s true even lower down the age group range. Anyone who tries to claim it “only” affects this- or that- age group need to choose their words far more carefully.

            Reply
          2. Jack

            Maybe we need a better definition of “essentially innocuous”. My take on this is: the younger you are the less severe your condition when (if) you get the virus. There seems to be enough data showing the opposite: older people get sicker and older people are dying at a higher rate. I have a lot more confidence that my children and grandchildren will survive a virus contraction than I will.

            There’s some talk – valid or not – that lots of people had the virus and recovered before testing was done. These folks had passed it along to people who became more seriously ill. It’s suggested that those who passed it along were younger.

            Reply
            1. xkeyscored

              All true, except that I think we all have a pretty good and shared idea of what essentially innocuous means.
              It means basically harmless, which is garbage. Young people can become seriously ill and sometimes die, as well as pass it on.

              Reply
              1. BobW

                Recovered people may have permanent lung damage too, according to news reports. There is a study by the Radiological Society of North America (rsna.org) and probably others. Yes, far from harmless.

                Reply
                1. Bsoder

                  Indeed this is true. And I’d add C-19 is like the flue in that since it’s discovery it has mutated at least once, becoming deadlier. In is entirely possible this becomes an ongoing yearly event that requires yearly vaccination.

                  Reply
            1. Cuibono

              this sort of snark doesnt help imo. sure, we get it, none of us really admire Harvard. Please debate the merits of what the man is saying!

              Reply
              1. Clive

                The snark is more that this is a typical Harvard-esque statement/theorising.

                The writer makes an implicit, unstated — but nevertheless unavoidable — requirement that either an army of slaves are conscripted or maybe some parallel universe of immune people step in so that life can continue, the learned Dr William Hanage can have food in the refrigerator, gas deliveries made to his local Exxon, his kids looked after (or his aged parents or whatever) and maybe even the maid still stop by to clean his office and, natch, his salary get covered by student fees while at the same time the population is all quarantined for potentially several months.

                If someone can tell me how these mutually exclusive things can both happen, I’ll be both well chuffed and impressed at the ingenuity demonstrated. I certainly can’t see how we can all be both quarantined yet functioning in essential roles in society, from the great to the humble. But then again, I’ll bet I couldn’t get into Harvard. Let alone teach there.

                Reply
                1. Cuibono

                  So you dont think Korea is perhaps managing this better than say Italy>
                  How about Hong Kong?

                  “Even if it’s not possible to fully stop the spread, he says, “you can still slow it down and protect the vulnerable populations and limit the amount of damage that this disease can do.” David Aylward WHO

                  We are talking about flattening the curve here.

                  Reply
                  1. Clive

                    South Korea is still reporting 100+ new cases per day https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200314-sitrep-54-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=dcd46351_6

                    That is despite on-demand testing an a draconian lock-down. How long will the lockdown be able to retain public adherence when a) the consequences of the lockdown start to really bite and b) it hasn’t done anything to eradicate a pool of COVID-19 infectious population which will result in a renewed spike in transmission as soon as the lockdown is lessened?

                    And South Koreans are way, way more trustful of and compliant with government edicts than the typical US or U.K. citizen is.

                    You get one shot — just one — at using th quarantine weapon before the consequences of using it limit its effectiveness.

                    I — and the Harvard talking head I presume — can, if needed, quite happily never do another day’s work in my life and never have to leave the house if I don’t want to, being able to draw down on a pile of cash in the bank. Unlike the good doctor, I appreciate not only how lucky and unusual that makes me, but also how far, far removed that option is from 98+% of the general population.

                    Reply
                    1. Cuibono

                      How does a 100 cases a day compare o italy>> Whose medical system is being overrun?
                      Are you advocatiing for Bors Johnson approach here?

                2. Bsoder

                  Clive, with respect to Yves, and to you, you absolutely would get in and you absolutely hate that you did.

                  Reply
          1. Watt4Bob

            Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s latest Tweet;

            Under such conditions it becomes selfish, even psychopathic to act according to what is called “rational” behavior – to make one’s own immediate rankings of risk conflict with those of society, even generate risk for society. This is similar to other tragedies of the common except that there is life and death.

            IOW, both our supposed ‘leaders‘, and those young partiers ignoring the advice to hunker down are putting society at greater risk by their selfish behavior.

            And both groups think their decisions are entirely ‘rational’

            Reply
            1. Harvey

              Rationality depends on the end goals. If the prime goal is to save lives then what South Korea is doing is rational.

              If the prime goal is to waste as little as possible money on the economically useless who are draining government coffers (aged, sick, disabled) then maybe Boris’s (non)actions are rational.

              Reply
              1. Watt4Bob

                I’m having some difficulty understanding where you come down on this issue?

                In my little corner of the universe psychopath’s rationalizations don’t count.

                In fact, In my little corner of the universe there would be a bounty on psychopaths.

                Reply
                1. Harvey

                  If you want to defeat your enemy, you first have to know them.
                  People are getting exercised about how can Boris and Trump be doing so little, its so irrational. But that’s the wrong argument and a waste of 5 mins of everyone’s time.
                  It’s better to point out that their motivation is probably not to waste money on budget-draining non-economic units (eg aged, disabled).
                  If everyone shouts this loud and clear in the media persistently then the elites(bwahaha) can’t hide.
                  But while everyone is handwringing about how they confused they are by the non-response, this lot just hide and do their evil work.

                  Boris is a bit like the coronavirus really, disable the country by stealth to start (using confusion), then enable destruction in the country once it becomes defenceless by having almost no available hospital care.

                  Reply
              2. Bsoder

                Harvey, @NC MMT is part of the codex. Governments may waste money but never run out (if they control the presses). Save lives? The constraint is ventilators, which also means hospital beds. Anywhere from .2 to 9% of those needing them will die, but in due course. So the real question becomes saving which lives? How do you decide? A 50yr old year father of 3, or an 83 yr old with cancer? In Italy right now such decisions are being made. Younger live, older die. This sad calculus is going to felt most places sooner than later. I am not a child. I know these things. Still, I am, heart broken.

                Reply
              3. Foy

                Re the economically useless…

                To quote Dr John Campbell

                “There are no higher stakes than human life. That’s what civilisation is, we need to protect the vulnerable, we protect the weak”

                Reply
        2. DJG

          xkeyscored and Clive: The problem with anyone asserting that a virus is “innocuous” (harmless) is that we don’t know the long-term effects of this virus. HPV is an example of a virus that was thought to be mild yet causes cancer.

          It may be that under-thirties will show up with lung disease in five years.

          Which is why no one should be risking any part of the population.

          Reply
          1. MLTPB

            As we humans still don’t know enough about it, perhaps we don’t speak of correct or incorrect handling, blunders or not blunders, like Newman did with his tweet, but remain open to react quickly, to change tack when needed.

            Reply
        3. ewmayer

          I think until we know with some certainty whether Covid-19 reinfection is rare – and the data I’ve seen so far appear to belie that – allowing the virus to run free among the younger cohorts is an exeedindgly dangerous idea. Here’s why – OK, the young tend to get milder symptoms, which makes them all the more likely to want to stay in school and continue normal interactions, thus rendering them potentially highly effective transmitters. Same reason you can save more lives among the older cohorts with seasonal flu by vaccinating the young, so they will be less likely to catch it from the school and playmates and pass it on to older relatives. This underscores the importance of mass school shutdowns and social distancing.

          Reply
    7. dearieme

      So in 6 months or so we’ll be able to see who is right.

      Why six months? I’d say more likely a couple of years, maybe even five. It may be a marathon not a sprint. But nobody knows.

      Reply
    8. skk

      The Grauniad has an article on this from William Hanage;
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/epidemiologist-britain-herd-immunity-coronavirus-covid-19
      Tag line: “Vulnerable people should not be exposed to Covid-19 right now in the service of a hypothetical future”

      It makes many of the points you’ve made and that I agree with.

      Who’s William Hanage ? He’s “an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the department of Epidemiology, and a faculty member in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics {Harvard School of Public Health}.

      That looks like high relevant experience and study of the issues at hand.

      Reply
        1. Cuibono

          We are clearly beyond containment I think. But mitigation :
          Even if it’s not possible to fully stop the spread, he says, “you can still slow it down and protect the vulnerable populations and limit the amount of damage that this disease can do.”

          Reply
        2. VietnamVet

          This is the tragedy of today – throwing up your hands and saying it is too late for contact tracing, universal coronavirus lab tests and quarantining confirmed cases. New York, Miami and Seattle are not the whole of the United States. To stop containment and mitigation now is a conscious decision driven by ignorance and ideology. That is overwhelming the healthcare system and the death of a million or more Americans is of no consequence. Not spending the money to get federal and state governments, the Department of Defense, and public health systems up to speed to mitigate the national novel coronavirus pandemic is class cleansing by billionaires.

          Reply
    9. Noone from Nowheresville

      Isn’t this basically the same plan the US has embarked on without saying it out loud? Well, except for putting certain people into quarantine.

      Reply
      1. carl

        Whether they are intending to do this or not, the effect seems roughly the same. Tragic incompetence or malevolence, we may never know.

        Reply
            1. Cuibono

              Yes from insiders I know this was the decision. never totally explicity and always with plausible deniability.
              and if you follow that train of thought logically (and the author of that post does not) tell me where is ultimately leads you?

              Reply
              1. Alfred

                I read your comment as a call for mindfulness even in the smallest room, and reply: Yes, of course it is. The use of toilet paper is cultural and therefore mutable (though not easily so).

                Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Age-Specific Mortality During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic”

    An interesting paper though I do wonder if the confusion as to the source of this flu’s lethality may actually be due to different strains circulating at different times. Whatever the reason, I do find these charts and statistics a bit on the dry side. With that, I went looking for the doco on this 1918 flu that sparked my interest several years ago and encouraged me to read up on it.

    People here may be familiar with the American Experience documentaries and they did one called “Influenza 1918” and here is a link to the doco if you wish to see what our grandparents were living through. If you do not want to watch the 51:31 doco itself, there is also a link to a pdf transcript of this episode-

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/influenza/#part01

    We have recently here read accounts from doctors fighting Coronavirus in Italy and other places. Here is one from that site of a doctor fighting the 1918 flu outbreak at Camp Devens-

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/influenza-letter/

    Reply
  5. Pat

    Dear Nancy Pelosi,

    Remind me which party had super majorities and the presidency in recent history? Remind me when Big business as a whole did the right thing for workers without being required to do so. Now look at your statement regarding the clear failures to protect workers overall in your vaunted Corona virus legislation. Rather than your
    Indignatnt response perhaps you should apologize for not requiring those businesses that can clearly afford to do the right thing when you could and admit it will never happen because they own you and your fellow hypocritical representatives of the People.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      But you don’t understand!
      Pelosi and her mob want to do the right thing, but gradually, and without offending anyone (important).

      Reply
      1. Lost in OR

        Pelosi and her mob want to resist doing the wrong thing.
        They have no idea what the “right” thing would look like.
        That would require having morals and values and meaning.
        There’s no market for that.

        Reply
    2. Pelham

      Excellent points.

      This type of weak, deceptive, piecemeal legislation is a prime example of why clear, simple action is needed and why a temporary UBI, such as that advocated by Yang and Gabbard, is required. If only we had a breed of white-collar professional capable of investigation, writing about or discussing events in an informed, unbiased manner and conveying the results to the public at large via some medium of mass communication, maybe this supremely sensible legislation would gain some attention leading to passage …

      Reply
    3. Susan the other

      I get the feeling that Nancy is using her firm position against subsidizing corporations who in turn subsidize their workers as a way to screw the workers and everyone else out of M4A. Because can’t let those generous ideas get their toe in the door, right Nancy? Hey, maybe it’s almost 6’s to subsidize the corporations so they can subsidize labor. So I can only conclude that it is too dangerous an idea for your big pharma donors to allow you to entertain. Nancy has always reminded me of Mars Attacks. I almost laugh when I watch her funny walk. But she’s absolutely humorless. And notice the way she couldn’t control her inflection when she was announcing subsidizing the cost of testing and treatment for Corona when she said “even for the uninsured.” As if it were being overemphasized because congress had a choice – what baloney. Congress has no choices at all.

      Reply
  6. Zagonostra

    -Sheep dogging

    I think I first encountered the term sheep dogging in the 2016 election reading an article in the Black Agenda Report. It was made in reference to Sander’s bid against HRC.

    At the time I thought it was unfair, now I’m not so sure, especially after reading the Tabbi piece.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ll repeat a comment I made the other day simply because the movie “Gattaca” is playing on the TV right now. For Bernie, it is now or never. He has to put down Biden like a dog and re-establish his lead or just give up and go back to Vermont – or retire as another could-have-been. At this point, he should forget about saving anything for the swim back-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyUiPN2HS5c

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If Taibbi’s article is any indication, Bernie’s ability to “sheepdog,” if it ever existed, has been severely diminished. This crap about “uniting” the democrat party is a massive joke.

      Bernie’s truly disappointing refusal to fight fire with far more, well-deserved, abundantly-available fire, has, unfortunately, only succeeded in damaging his personal standing among the faithful.

      As people like Jimmy Dore and Krystal Ball come to grips with Bernie’s apparent feet of clay, I don’t think the reco will be to follow him down the biden / dem establishment capitulation path if that’s the direction he chooses to go.

      I could be wrong, I guess, but I don’t think so.

      Reply
      1. ShamanicFallout

        I know. I watched the fireside chat last night and I couldn’t really believe his take on Pelosi’s bill et al. He said stuff like ‘it’s not enough’ and ‘it doesn’t go far enough’ and ‘it lets big companies off the hook’. No! Say “This legislation is a murderous bi-partisan monstrosity! They are completely comfortable with your suffering and dying. They do not care. They hate you. This are your so-called leaders.” Please Bernie. Joe may be your friend but he is most definitely not ours.

        Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for the NYT link. If not the “must read” this may be the most useful link of the day. A key takeaway is that there are still only 119 known cases listed under “Personal contact in U.S” with the others traceable to foreign travel, that Washington nursing home, the one “patient zero” in Westchester etc. In my own state there are still only 19 “presumed positive” cases–up from 13 yesterday.

      One should also point out that there are still some unknown variables about the disease such as will the weather and season affect it. And one big difference from earlier times like 1918 is that at this point everyone in the world must know about Coronavirus. Anyone in public coughing or sneezing is going to be treated like Typhoid Mary even if it’s just Hay Fever. It does seem possible that this can be kept in check long enough for a vaccine or better treatments to come online.

      Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Please fill me in. While I have scripts enabled on my browser that button doesn’t work for me.

          And I think the main point is that if the virus is already widespread and has a two week course then this country of over 300 million would have a lot more deceased by now. Either that or the lethality has been overstated. Alternately another conclusion might be that it is not yet widespread and there’s a danger from panic as supermarkets empty their shelves.

          Reply
          1. carolinus

            expanding the list shows several more lines:

            Grand Princess cruise in March 21
            Travel in China 15
            Connected to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 4
            Hospital in Vacaville, Calif. 3
            Nursing facility in Stanwood, Wash. 3
            Travel in South Korea 2
            Travel in Iran 2
            Connected to Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. 2
            Unknown 2,176

            I don’t know why the category with by far the most cases gets filed at the end of this list. But it does fit the the following paragraph:

            But most U.S. patients — and more every day — have now been diagnosed without any history of overseas travel, signaling that the illness has been circulating widely within the United States and that people were being exposed in schools, offices and medical facilities. Among the latest cases: A middle-aged woman in Kansas with ties to a community college and a resident of a long-term facility in suburban Chicago.

            i would offer that another possibility to those you have suggested (by my read as 1) the wave would have already crashed or 2) maybe it’s a small wave 3) are there sharks about?) is as epidemiologist have cautioned- we could be facing a crisis similar to italy in the days to weeks ahead, where mortality has spiked to over 6% due to lack of ability to provide care in the crunch from unchecked transmission and not so flattened curve

            Reply
              1. carolinus

                Here are the lines that were visible without the expansion:

                HOW VIRUS WAS CONTRACTED CASES
                Personal contact in U.S. 119
                Cluster connected to a community in New Rochelle, N.Y. 113
                Travel overseas 76
                Nursing facility in Kirkland, Wash. 57
                Travel within the U.S. 50
                Diamond Princess cruise ship 43
                Travel in Egypt 41
                Travel in Italy 37
                Business conference in Boston 30
                Grand Princess cruise in February 21
                Show more

                Reply
                1. MLTPB

                  Thanks. This is useful information.

                  The total US case number is around 3,000, as of now. Earlier this week, the discussions were using 1,000 or so. It could be that the testing is moving along, and we are seeing a temporary jump. It might turn out that a few days ago, it was about 3,000 to 4,000 cases in fact, and not 9,000 or 10,000.

                  If the claim is is ‘has been circulating widely within the United States,’ it would be helpful to know the locations of those unknown 2,176 cases.

                  Are they mostly close to the known hot spots, and not widely, as in everywhere you go?

                  Of course, the German leader is saying up to 2/3 there will get it, or might get it. That would fall very short of the Chinese experience, thus far (emphasis here). For what reasons? Does Germany require a dictator, as in ancient Rome, to do what the Chinese have done?

                  Reply
                  1. bsoder

                    Roman dictators had to do 3 things or they were ‘out’. Provide food, maintain the roads, & protect its’ borders. Disease control, at least according to the UofMichigan Medical History department – not so much. Meaning they didn’t do it well.

                    Reply
            1. Carolinian

              Thanks. I believe of the 19 cases as of this morning in my state only two or three fall under “unknown cause.”

              Of course there could be many more cases and likely are more as people probably only get tested if they already have a fair inkling that they have the disease. But it has also been suggested that there were far more cases in China than were reported which would bring down the estimated death rate among those infected considerably. What does seem to be agreed upon is that the course of the disease is two or three weeks in most cases. So therefore I conclude that if the virus is already widespread among the US population then there should be a lot more mortality being reported as that, at least, is not something that would be “silent.”

              Bottom line: it may be time to panic just, for most of us, not yet (IMO).

              Reply
              1. carolinus

                You are totally right, there is no need to panic at this time. My point is that this is absolutely the time to make every effort not to sustain the transmission of the virus that would ensure panic in the near future. Up here in the Northern Carolina the local news outlets continue to emphasize that there are no cases in western north carolina. I heard the ladies at the register in my local garden shop talking about possibly needing to close the shop if the virus makes it to WNC. And as I’ve seen pointed out in many places, crowds abound in local restaurants and bars. These stances and behaviors would only be appropriate in the setting of very widespread testing. People in Italy were calm and confident 10 days ago.

                Reply
                1. Monty

                  If you are going to Panic, Panic early. (e.g. weeks ago)

                  Seems too late to panic now, but something set off the retirees in my part of AZ this weekend, big time. My mother in law was tipped off by a few friends to rush to the stores asap. They were like a plague of locusts! I imagine it was local TV news ramping up the fear.

                  Reply
  7. Richard H Caldwell

    RE: Dead Sea Scrolls fakes — I only hope no legit. researchers have been basing work on these. I’m just getting around to finishing M. Hudson’s “…and forgive them their debts” and would hate to think research like this may have been compromised. What is wrong with human firmware that leads people to do this kind of thing? I think we may be doomed by our very design.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      What is wrong with human firmware that leads people to do this kind of thing?

      In this case it is willfully ignorant squillionaire Christians hoping to convince the rest of us that the world is 6,000 years old and distorting the antiquities market by paying exorbitant sums for ancient artifacts to the point that forging Biblical relics becomes extremely lucrative.

      Ain’t capitalism great?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        A fellow cabin owner got in on a late cancellation to follow his dream of a 21 day raft trip on the Colorado River, and he had a blast, and somewhere along the way, he encountered some evangs that were looking for just the right 6,666 or so year old bit of geology to cherrypick to document and show to the true believers back home on deranged, and he told me he was laughing his head off, surrounded by billions of years that made the big ditch in the first place.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        to the point that forging Biblical relics becomes extremely lucrative.

        Umm…isn’t there a joke about how Jesus must have been 20 feet tall to carry the cross based on how many pieces of the true cross are in the world? Anyway Saint Helena would be consider these people to be rank amateurs.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Modern ‘religious’ icons fetch absurd amounts of money, a Beatles 1966 ‘Butcher Album’ signed by John Lennon sold for around $250k.

          Reply
  8. Kevin C. Smith

    Coronavirus: Chloroquine yields positive data in Covid-19 trial

    Early data from clinical trials being performed in China has revealed that chloroquine phosphate could help treat the new coronavirus disease, Covid-19.

    China National Center for Biotechnology Development deputy head Sun Yanrong said that chloroquine, an anti-malarial medication, was selected after several screening rounds of thousands of existing drugs.

    Xinhua reported that the drug is undergoing clinical trials in more than ten hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong province, and Hunan province.

    Chloroquine data from Covid-19 trials
    Data from the drug’s studies showed ‘certain curative effect’ with ‘fairly good efficacy’.

    According to Sun, patients treated with chloroquine demonstrated a better drop in fever, improvement of lung CT images, and required a shorter time to recover compared to parallel groups.

    The percentage of patients with negative viral nucleic acid tests was also higher with the anti-malarial drug.

    Chloroquine has so far showed no obvious serious adverse reactions in the more than 100 participants in the trials.

    The China National Center for Biotechnology Development head Zhang Xinmin said that chloroquine is one of the three drugs that have a promising profile against the new coronavirus, reported China Daily.

    The remaining two drugs are anti-flu medicine favipiravir and Gilead’s investigational anti-viral candidate remdesivir.

    Favipiravir is currently in a 70-patient trial in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, while remdesivir is under evaluation at more than ten medical institutions in Wuhan.

    WSJ noted that remdesivir’s trials are progressing slower than expected due to the lack of eligible coronavirus patients. Around 200 of the trial’s target of 700 participants have been enrolled after ten days.

    Japan to trial HIV medication
    Japan chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has announced plans to conduct clinical trials of an existing HIV medication for the treatment of Covid-19.

    Suga was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We’re currently preparing to start clinical trials using HIV medication on the novel coronavirus.”

    The chief cabinet secretary did not comment on the time period required for the drug’s approval. Similar studies are already underway in China.

    Reply
      1. Susan the other

        northern europeans inherit a mutation for hemochromatosis. must be a reason for that, prolly just one more example of immunity passing from soma to germ cells.

        Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Chloroquine is cheap and has already been widely used and studied. (It’s an anti-malarial.)
      Remdesivir and favipiravir are pretty new and expensive.
      I wonder which the US government will go for?

      Reply
      1. skk

        Chloroquine got a bad rap because some people have side-effects of suicidal thoughts. Every two years I visit an area for 3 weeks where malaria is prevalent so I take cholorquine, once a week for 8 weeks or so, so 8 tablets in total – for $50 or so. I don’t get those side-effects.

        Reply
        1. Wyoming

          Back in the 80’s I was working in Africa for extended periods of time. I had to take the stuff and hated the effects of it. As did the majority of the people I was working with. Most of us just decided we would rather take our chances with malaria and quit taking it. We did not find that side effects were rare but more the norm.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            I’ve used it, and didn’t like the side effects, though I wouldn’t say I hated them.
            But the other two – remdesivir and favipiravir – have side effects too, and wouldn’t you put up with some side effects if you got this virus bad?

            Reply
          2. Cuibono

            we are not talking about taking it and staying on it. The trials underway i have seen use it for a week

            BUTtake them with LARGE GRAINS OF SALT: it never worked well in other vial diseasess

            Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I took it for remote SE Asia travel, the label side effects include “visual disturbances”. Yep, at one point I looked down at my arm and it was covered with a seething mass of imaginary ants. Stopped taking the med right away, I thought if I’m gonna get visual disturbances (this was back in the day) it will be with a mandala blotter or a bluish fungus lol

            Reply
      2. Roland

        I thought it was Mefloquine that caused the mental symptoms.

        I took Chloroquine without any problems, on a two-month African trip in ’91. At that time, Chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum had started to appear in West Africa, so I carried some Fansidar (sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine) as an emergency backup. Now that stuff came with some scary warnings: toxic epidermal necrolysis, yikes!

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          Chloroquine Side Effects
          Anxiety.
          attempts at killing oneself.
          blurred or decreased vision
          continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
          feeling that others can hear your thoughts
          feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
          https://www.drugs.com/sfx/chloroquine-side-effects.html

          – and that’s just a few of them.

          Mefloquine’s no more fun, though some get no side effects (and no link to COVID-19):
          Mefloquine Side Effects
          sudden headache, ringing in your ears, dizziness, loss of balance, or problems with coordination;
          severe anxiety, depression;
          paranoia, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real);
          confusion, unusual behavior; or.
          thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
          https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/mefloquine

          Reply
  9. xkeyscored

    Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus Sunnybrook Research Institute

    Didn’t an Australian team at a Melbourne lab do this about six weeks ago? Can anyone clarify?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the Independent:

      Researchers from Sunnybrook Research Institute, McMaster University and the University of Toronto, all in Canada, isolated the virus from two specimens and then cultivated it in a secure containment facility….

      It is not the first time the virus has been isolated. Chinese scientists first did so, and research teams in Australia and Italy are also among those who have isolated and grown samples of the virus in laboratories.

      However:

      [A]s viruses continuously mutate and evolve, there are now several strains of the coronavirus, which are collectively known as Sars-CoV-2.

      But each isolation of the virus allows scientists to see how quickly the Sars-CoV-2 virus is mutating, and what the implications of the mutations may be for humans.

      Dr Arinjay Banerjee, of McMaster University, said the research the team has conducted will inform scientists studying the virus round the world.

      “Now that we have isolated the Sars-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork,” he said.

      “The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.”

      Again, the more the merrier.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        The sole reason people can even get sick from this virus is due to a series of mutations. So yeah, keep hitting it.

        Reply
  10. xkeyscored

    The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them — But Has Been Hoarding Them. NYT.

    WTF? I thought if China, with its lack of free markets and unfair government intervention, produced anything and sold it abroad, that was good reason for a trade war, if not a full-on war. Now the US wants something all is forgiven and we really meant the opposite of what we said and will China please export what it needs itself to a nation that sees it as an enemy? Surely Trump and his advisers should be praising this attempt by China to bring manufacturing back to the USA.

    Reply
    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Alas, this isn’t the first time such nonsense has come up. Take, for example, the rare earths trade dispute. The US, EU, and Japan sued China in the World Court because we thought China was being overly stingy with exports of their rare earths.

      I remember thinking that the Chinese could do with their rare earths whatever they damn well pleased. After all, they were mined in China by Chinese companies that employed Chinese workers. They were Chinese materials. Who were we to tell them how much they must sell to us (and at what price)? This criticism about masks has a similar feel.

      If we’re dissatisfied with Chinese performance on supplying us with masks, we have four choices: [1] Entice them by offering to pay more; [2] Buy from somebody else; [3] Make our own; [4] Do without. These are basically the four choices that always exist when dealing with an uncooperative supplier. Whining is not a valid fifth choice.

      Reply
      1. Grumpy Engineer

        And in this particular case, China is probably holding on to extra masks in case there is a resurgence of the virus. Which sounds like a prudent decision to me. After all, the primary responsibility of the Chinese government is to look after the people of China. Not people in other countries.

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          I think some USians think China’s – the whole world’s – primary duty is to Make ‘America’ Great Again. Anything else is treason against the World’s Superuberepimetapower (which can’t make masks…).

          Reply
        2. MLTPB

          China goes on the offensive to control C. narrative, FT.

          Holding, here more than rare earths, regardless of unfair government intervention, lack of free market, concerns for not yet existing resurgence, does not help with the narrative offensive.

          Beijing mounts that, not for nothing. It is essential.

          Also, note it’s the world needing them.

          Not just the US perspective.

          Reply
      2. JBird4049

        I generally agree with this, but I do have to mention that the reason we have this epidemic is because of the irresponsibility of the Chinese government; they allowed the well connected and wealthy owners of the wet markets (from where the virus arose) to stay open, ignoring the existing knowledge that they were the cause of previous epidemics. They then silenced as well as arrested the whistle blowers during the early days of the epidemic.

        Demanding that a country that allowed a deadly, planetary pandemic to happen because of greed, corruption, and stupidity to make available medical equipment to prevent the disease’s spread is very, very reasonable.

        In some ways, we really lucked out. If the disease had had the lethality of the Spanish Flu, forget about something like the pneumonic form of the Black Death, we would not be talking about hoarding or stocking food.

        Reply
        1. Grumpy Engineer

          Oh, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a fan of the Chinese government. They’re an authoritarian regime that routinely suppresses citizens and hides the truth to paint themselves in the best light. Their failings are legion.

          But making sure their citizens have enough masks? I won’t fault them for that.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Me neither, and for much the same reasons as Grumpy.
            But if you change planetary pandemic to epidemic, I think the whole of your (JBird4049’s) penultimate paragraph applies equally to the USA. I’d love to see its citizens demand that their country start serving them, and all of us.

            Demanding that a country that allowed a deadly epidemic to happen because of greed, corruption, and stupidity to make available medical equipment to prevent the disease’s spread is very, very reasonable.

            Reply
    2. John

      What is the evidence that the report is accurate? Is hoarding the correct designation?

      Why was all production sent to China in the first place? Forgot! Because markets and its corollary; Go die.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        And even with the evil Chinese stealing US production of masks, why wasn’t the CDC hoarding them? They could have bought them on the cheap by the zillion a year ago, I bet.

        Oh! I know. They might have been bugged.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Looking at the now, and not back, to have (what is necessary ), while others around the world lack, looks bad, and is hard to justify.

          Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Elite Media Dismiss Voter Suppression on Grounds That It’s ‘Complicated’”

    ‘the primary breakdowns apparently reflected snafus more than malign intent.’

    As Jimmy Dore says, it is remarkable how the mistakes all go one way – in favour of those with power.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      like those “random” coin flips in iowa. oh and “mistakes” in vote counting software. just snafus, we promise things will get better next time. are you marks ready for some more 3 card monte?

      Reply
    1. The Historian

      Only if you want to trust your healthcare to your ability to get “volunteers”. This really is no different than the GoFundMe approach.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Really?
        I don’t get the impression I’m consolidating my stranglehold on the economy and polity when I chip in for a John Pilger documentary or something.

        Reply
        1. human

          To paraphrase The Historian, “Only if you want to trust your healthcare to those partially responsible for your lack of healthcare.”

          Reply
          1. foghorn longhorn

            Pretty sure it is folly to expect the same people who have spent their entire lives creating this system, to effing fix it.

            Reply
        2. farmboy

          Will this scale? Some political leadership exhibited here. This goes well beyond healthcare, maybe some prodding to give back in a way that matters. Highlights the existing deficiencies.

          Reply
          1. human

            Some bought and paid for political “leadership” here. Why don’t employees of these world class economies already have world class healthcare?

            Reply
      1. tegnost

        reads like a press release to me
        “Microsoft has huge capacity in predictive analytics and machine learning, with particular expertise in the medical area. Coupled with the expertise of the University of Washington and others, we will build the capability to more skillfully predict the trajectory of COVID-19 using the increasing volume of data assets” explained Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.”

        that and free amazon prime. It amazes that this transmission vector is ignored by the 20%er’s.
        Never let a crisis go to waste…

        Reply
  12. Krystyn Walentka

    Reporting on the economic effects of COVID19 in (wealthy, neoliberal, university town) Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC.

    Large coffee shop usually packed on Sunday mornings, traffic way down but a lot of non-homeless idiots still think it is a good idea to gather together. I will not be sorry if nay of these people get sick or if their parents die. They have homes, they do not need to be out here.

    I have been checking AirBnB regularly because I am homeless and will eventually need to shelter at some point. Prices are WAY down! Yippie for me! Last week the lowest prices for a bedroom was averaging $40, today I checked and it is closer to $25 a night.

    Traffic is way down as well and yesterday I saw a gas station selling regular gas for $1.82.

    I have been sleeping in my van at a WalMart. I went inside and told them my situation and they said stay as long as you like. Awesome. But they said they will not be open 24 hours anymore.

    Food is still plentiful in the coop.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      yeah i think walmart is reducing hours at 24/7 stores nationwide. gas here is about the same. traffic generally is much lighter, stores still lacking paper goods, fewer cars at the movie theaters. reporting from north texas.

      Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Trader Joe’s is cutting back their hours at their stores to 9AM to 7PM starting Monday 3/16 as well.

          Reply
    2. urblintz

      sending good thoughts your way (!) and thanks for the insights about what we should be doing ourselves to enhance immunity.

      Reply
  13. timbers

    Have an annual medical checkup this week, as allowed by my so called beloved health insurance. Doc’s called to screen me, asking only if I had a fever or coughing, and had I’d traveled to Asia recently or been in contact with anyone who has. I’m thinking of rescheduling. Work office at J&J just told everyone to work from home.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Just me but I wouldn’t go anywhere near a doctor’s office, hospital or pharmacy unless I absolutely needed to. I’m also being extra vigilant driving (always a good idea in France btw). An accident involving injury could lead to all sorts of problems and those beds need to be kept free.

      Reply
      1. katiebird

        Yes, I’m cancelling 2 doctor appointments for next week. They just aren’t worth the risk. I hope the worst is past before we HAVE to see the doc to get prescriptions renewed.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          That is a tough decision for many of us.

          I am thinking of postponing, rescheduling for later dates, like some states with their primaries.

          Reply
      2. curlydan

        I know what you mean! I went in a CVS a couple days ago looking for a finger splint for my son’s jammed finger and practically got the shivers from being in there. I have two boys who spend everyday like it’s WrestleMania, and I tell them the last place we want to be is the emergency room fixing a broken bone from their rough housing.

        Reply
  14. John Anthony La Pietra

    Re: Multiplication, not addition (2):

    This reminds me of — and gives a new insight into — this old quote:

    “But in the new approach, the important thing is to understand what you’re doing — rather than to get the right answer. . . .”

    https://www.reppeat.com/watch/?v=Vetg7vWitTU

    (A new and darker insight . . . how often do people understand what they’re doing, but not worry much about giving others the right answer?)

    Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “American Airlines to suspend nearly all long-haul international flights starting March 16”

    I would say that it will not be long before we are treated to images of fleets of ocean liners tied up at wharves unused and airports covered with parked aircraft waiting until there is a need again for passenger aviation.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      Well, try and look at the bright side…no doubt Nancy’s on board with not requiring 80% of companies like Amazon to pay sick leave is her way of letting us know she’ll take the same approach of denying bailouts for the biggest & best of corporate America. And we all know that’s gonna come up. One can dream.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I’d mentioned yesterday that it has the feel of the beginning of WW2, with formerly friendly foreign frontiers closing all along the watchtowers around the world, deciding to keep something wicked this way comes from entering.

      We need to do one thing in particular here in the land of little public transport where everybody drives a car, and that is to stop delivering gasoline to gas stations, you ain’t going nowhere once the real spice stops flowing.

      {intermission}

      You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere Bob Dylan

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQK6nBnZHLE

      Of course it does come with complications in that so many of us have allowed ourselves to be in such awful physical condition, that just walking to go and find something to eat is a herculean task in itself, oh and did I mention guns?

      A good many of the hoi polloi went out and got armed & dangerous since 9/11, and most of em’ have probably never ever fired their hand cannons, so the carnage asada could count up quickly.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Usually events that we write about on here have scant connection to my little world, but Coronavirus is putting us all in the spotlight, and I wonder how it transpires in places where guns are largely absent, such as Japan or the UK, Do you take a flathead screwdriver and grind it down to a concertina edge, ersatz samurai?

          Reply
    3. Bugs Bunny

      I’m worried about massive redundancies. Unemployed people can’t care for themselves. Things could get very ugly, very quickly.

      As David noted, we are for the most part governed by spinning incompetents. As much as I dislike Macron, I shudder when I reflect on what a President Le Pen might do in this situation.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Social distancing”

    Yeah, about that. Scotty from Marketing in Australia has his own ideas on this. He has decided to keep all the schools open based upon the opinion of Britain’s chief medical officer with the backing of our own chief medical officer Brendan Murphy who says it is “too early” to close the nation’s schools. But then he went on to say that he expected students to socially distance themselves from each other, which means staying 1.5m (about 4 feet). Unless each class is held in the school hall, I do not see how they can distance themselves in a normal classroom. Even at playtime, it is typically not possible for students to distance themselves at such distances without spilling out over the school’s boundaries-

    https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/lifestyle/health/coronavirus-australia-schools-across-the-country-to-stay-open-pm-scott-morrison-says/news-story/87fa3b42a8b0a91fe41bf8bcb41069ea

    Reply
      1. John

        I teach in a private school and we do not have that kind of space but we do have sexuality discussions. Skin curling? Eye and ear of the beholder.

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          Eye and ear, but not brain. Is there some disconnect here, or mere double standards?

          “That’s why I want to protect the independent schools to ensure they can continue on providing at least that choice. When it comes to public schools … how about we just have state schools that focus on things like learning maths [and] learning science.”

          Morrison said it was “one of the reasons” he sent his children to a religious school.

          Reply
    1. John

      Did the Chief Medical Officer not attend school himself? Does he have children of his own? How do you make five-year-olds understand that they must be at the center of 3m of clear space assuming they know what a meter is. That is obtuse.

      Reply
      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Judging from the photos in the “social distancing” section of links, it’s not only five-year-olds who don’t understand or embrace the concept.

        Maybe social media should start doing what it does best and shaming, with a capital S, those who are clearly not getting their sorry, obsessed-with-carousing asses with the program. Trump came through for kim kardashian when she advocated for a pardon for Alice Johnson. How about she and her influencer ilk return the favor by calling out those young invincibles who can’t be bothered to take anything but their own partying seriously, and don’t care who knows it.

        Maybe someone can find a few bucks to throw their way to make it worth their while. Probably more effective than incessantly harping on whether there are enough respirators or ventilators or icu beds to save the unknowable number of americans who will need them.

        Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for that excellent link. I like what Graham Elwood (?) says at about 3:50 in, in particular. No one at a bigger-audience level talking about vote rigging/suppression at all.

      dog that didn’t bark

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    Just to show readers that it is not only America and the UK having chaotic approaches to dealing with Coronavirus, here is a story from Australia. Scotty from Marketing announced on Friday that from Monday on, there will be a ban of ‘non essential’ public gatherings of 500 people. It is a bs number but I will let it pass for the moment. People thought that it was because he wanted to attend one last game of his favourite football team but he bailed from that. There was another factor.

    Now Scotty also belongs to the evangelical Hillside Church who are actually a bunch of “happy clappers” and do the whole raising their arms in the air routine. Hillsong has cancelled its services Australia-wide while Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s home congregation told its worshipers that health and safety “is an expression of love that honours the lord” amid Coronavirus fears. They will be having their services over the internet from now on. OK, smart move. But here is the kicker.

    The Hillside has just had thousands of worshipers attend a conference in Sydney. Not only have they had people flying in from around the country but also from around the world. They will be flying back again of course. Thus the suspicion is that he delayed the ban on large crowds until his church had had it conference as it would not be affected. My god, this is like that Christian Shincheonji Church in South Korea all over again-

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8111417/Worshippers-gather-Sydney-Hillsong-conference-Scott-Morrison-introduced-ban-mass-events.html

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      You bring up an interesting thing Rev, in how did a Englishman leave Düsseldorf and go back home when they were on vacation in early September when war was declared?

      Nobody is going to be detained in this ‘war’ they’re more like stateless tourists whose window of opportunity to go home has closed.

      We have stuck foreigners here i’m sure, they make up about 1/3rd of Sequoia NP’s visitors.

      I guess they’d be a perfect fit for suddenly desperate for business AirBnB’s in town, but they don’t come stocked with a couple weeks to a month worth of food typically, do they?

      Reply
    2. integer

      from Monday on, there will be a ban of ‘non essential’ public gatherings of 500 people

      That is precisely the same response as the Chilean government (assuming you meant “more than 500 people”). I can’t see people here paying much attention though; I was in the main area of Santiago city a few days ago and there were what appeared to be 100’s of 1000’s people out and about, although it’s hard to make a reliable estimate at that scale. I’ll go and have another look in a couple of days and see if the ban has had any effect, although people walking around the city, sitting in malls and cafes, shopping, etc, is not really a gathering per se. There are also some protests planned in the near future so I will probably go and have a look at them too. The protest I stumbled into a week ago had at least 120k people in attendance. The following is just one of the first articles that came up on DuckDuckGo:

      International Women’s Day: Clashes, Coronavirus And Women Prepare To Strike NPR

      In Chile, there were several reports of clashes with police and a handful of arrests. In the capital Santiago, reports of crowd size conflicted, with organizers saying 2 million marchers flooded the streets while police said it was only 120,000.

      The march happened amid ongoing tensions in Chile. Sometimes-violent anti-government protests over social inequality began in October and continue sporadically. Marchers on Sunday decried abuses they said Chile’s security services carried out against women during those protests.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        5,000, 1,000, 500, 250, 100, or 50?

        Different numbers by different governments.

        Whatever the number, all seem kind of arbitary.

        The draconian one is the one we heard from Wuhan…every family inside with a memver allowed to go out once every two days.

        Reply
  18. urblintz

    UFB! Check this out…. snafu or malign intent?: “While announcing that over a third of polling locations in Maricopa County, AZ will be closed, the Election Day Director says “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” and walks off the podium. Notice his nervous demeanor.”

    https://twitter.com/Fiorella_im/status/1238975008304582657

    someone needs to find that guy and offer 24/7 protection… and not from COVID19

    Reply
    1. Cuibono

      In case ANYONE here doubts the fixing of hte PRIMARY..

      But honestly, why would any of us doubt that? Even Bernie must have known that would happen. so he fights not to win the primary but to waken as many people as possible.

      Reply
  19. chuck roast

    “Make America Autarkic Again”

    Headline of the day! And a discussion of the crazy aunt in the attic…industrial policy. Of course we have had an industrial policy for 50 years. That would be deindustrialization. Make the same product cheaper elsewhere > ka-ching > crush unions > ka-ching > drive down wages > ka-ching > buy off the newly poor with cheap imports > ka-ching > reemploy newly poor > ka-ching > monopolize the remnants to maximize > ka-ching > rent anything and everything that’s left > ka-ching and ka-ching!

    Why is it that we increasingly have to click on conservative websites to find these tid-bits of understanding? And when you have to go to Teen Vogue to get a rational political discussion, then you are well and truly beyond the pale as the ancestors used to say.

    Reply
    1. JacobiteInTraining

      “…when you have to go to Teen Vogue to get a rational political discussion…”

      I am sooo with you on that one — a long time ago, mainly through links here at NC – I became cognizant that there was a trend of *really* good articles I was looking at from a magazine I would have previously put into the category of tweener fluff, like ‘Teen Beat’ or something.

      Now I go there on a fairly regular basis to see what good stuff they have. Its like a cadre of good journalists got fired from somewhere, needed to get employed again managed to find new jobs in an intelligent editorial environment, and decided…well, OK. Lets start the new journalistic revolution from here.

      Sort of like Roosevelt Jr. on Utah beach when the landings were too far south: Opting to fight from where they had landed rather than trying to move to their assigned positions, Roosevelt’s famous words were, “We’ll start the war from right here!”

      Reply
    2. MLTPB

      It’s a reminder that we can enter the Way anywhere, anytime.

      ‘See the bird flying south?’

      ‘Have a cup of tea.’

      Reply
    3. Hoppy

      Hell I’d be happy with “Make America Authentic Again”

      Most American’s won’t need a dictionary to understand even if its a little less on the mark.

      Reply
      1. Hoppy

        Haha, and my favorite shirt at a recent Dead show (what’s left of the band)

        “Make America Grateful Again”

        I got a few smirks that then turned to smiles wearing that shirt in public.

        Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    The march of events has made talk of a faraway political event of no importance. In essence no need to obsess over who is going to be the the gold medal winner in the shot put in the 1940 Tokyo Olympics.

    it’s kind of like we’re lined up against the wall arguing over which caliber bullet is being chambered.

    Reply
  21. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Make America Autarkic Again

    Today, we must look to protect what remains of American industry from the manipulations of state-backed industrial sectors in China.

    Well sure, but wouldn’t a better reason be to stop frying the planet by burning millions of barrels of fossils fuels to unnecessarily ship products from one end of the earth to another just so some rich [family blog]er can use labor arbitrage to cut costs and pocket the difference for themselves?

    Reply
  22. Deschain

    ‘I don’t support U.S. taxpayer money subsidizing corporations to provide benefits to workers that they should already be providing.‘

    ‘I don’t support U.S. taxpayer money subsidizing corporations’

    ‘U.S. taxpayer money’

    AHHHHHHHHHHHH I can’t take it anymore. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS! Austerian economics will be the death of us all

    Reply
    1. John

      I do not support subsidizing corporations unless there is a clear national purpose and priority involved and only then after gimlet eyed scrutiny of the entire operation including the compensation for the top management. For example, why subsidize when the CEO and other C_Os are receiving millions, tens of millions.

      It’s like giving tax breaks to “attract” a company to your area. The jobs don’t materialize. The tax base is undercut. The added infrastructure burdens the community, not to mention that the hints of competition for a new Universal Widget factory is an unsubtle form of extortion.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Until hoi polloi is no longer tasked with paying any form of national income tax whatsoever, that may not be the entirety of “how it works”. but it is still the predominant component of same. Taxes are not the limiting factor in the national budget the austerians make them out to be, but they are nonetheless the majority component of the budget on the “in” side of the ledger. And just because the government could in theory conjure up as much fiat as it likes for whatever purposes it finds suitable, doesn’t mean it should start abusing said power as some kind of “get out of spending-prioritization jail free” card.

      Note that my saying the above does make Speaker Pelosi anything other than a shameless hypocrite, however – look no further than her uncritical “we have to pass this bill to see what’s in it” support of the Big Insurance and for-profit Big Med subsidization bill which is the ACA.

      Reply
  23. rd

    Re: Pharmaceuticals made overseas

    One of the interesting things I was seeing in the late 90s and early 2000s was that the new-fangled medicines the big pharma companies were working on were very sensitive to any sort of outside contamination impacting their research and manufacturing processes. So their old plant sites dating back decades were generally too contaminated to build new facilities at – even the underlying soil and groundwater was too polluted.

    So they opted to simply build new greenfield sites away from historical contamination. Once they had to uproot themselves from their historical facilities, they could just look for the cheapest places in the world to set up shop, which they did.

    Reply
  24. Bernalkid

    What is this back of the envelope thingy? Is it an AI unicorn subtly investing the twitterati? And the envelope, so real. I have never seen one, just have a little icon at the bottom of the screen. Rumor has it that giant machines used to produce envelopes in America and they all got shipped to China. Maybe China is ahead now in the back of the envelope race. Perhaps all the deplorables stuck at home can be trained to hand craft artisan envelopes for their betters so that we can catch up in the race for the back of the envelope. And they all need order the latest envelope printer from Amazon, so win-win-win, ad infinitum . . .

    Reply
    1. human

      I remember when Air Mail was pricey and the inside of a tissue thin Air Mail envelope was used for the communication, then folded, sealed, stamped, and mailed. The back of the envelope often had a “kiss” or other personal remark on it in order to make the most of it.

      Reply
      1. General Jinjur

        You’ve brought back memories of years ago and writing to my parents who were in Persia (Harvard Advisory Group) while I and several siblings were in a convent boarding school in England. I can almost smell the ink and feel the thin paper stationery.

        Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.

    Lafayette

    Reply
  26. Wukchumni

    The ski resorts finally gave in and called it quits, just as Mammoth is getting a nice storm system and the first snow of any consequence since December, oh well.

    I get the idea that our lives will be so much different by the time next winter rolls around, and I might just have done my last skiing at a resort ever, last month.

    …goodbye to all that

    Reply
  27. smoker

    The fine print of the monstrosity:

    H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Pelosi matches Feinstein in her contempt for a majority of US citizens, and a majority of her California constituents. Looks like she even further wants to bump up the shameful US & Territories homeless count; along with that obscene – National State Record – California unsheltered homeless count.

    Reply
    1. RMO

      What I find interesting is that anyone who succeeds in providing at least minimally competent and effective actions to deal with the pandemic is likely assured with receiving whole hearted support from the public for years to come. If the Trump administration (somehow) accomplished this he would be assured of reelection, the Republicans would have a majority in both houses for years and whoever was picked to be Trump’s successor would surely serve two terms. If the Democrats manage to do something worthwhile they would get the White House and probably have both houses for themselves.

      And yet the leadership of both parties is, as yet, not really doing that.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        “doing that” would be the equivalent of heresy to the reigning ideology of Neoliberalism. They’re scared to death of accidentally passing something that helps people over the wealthy and corporations, so they do shit like providing ‘exemptions’ for giant corporations.

        They don’t work for us, even though we (theoretically, at least) have the power to kick them out. I mean, they’ve certainly gotten away with it so far.

        Reply
  28. notabanktoadie

    The formerly self-possessed Fed is turning into Trumpian mush under Powell. Trump bullies to reduce interest rates unnecessarily and shreds small savers income by billions annually. Now the Fed is weakening big bank regulations. Anything to juice the speculative stock markets – Ralph Nader from Trump says he has the right to dismiss or demote Fed Chairman Powell MarketWatch [bold added]

    Well, no one, including small savers, has a legitimate right to a positive risk-free return anyway, Mr. Nader.

    BUT, what individual citizens DO have a legitimate right to is an equal Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending for the general welfare.

    Reply
  29. TroyIA

    Fed may announce commercial paper facilities Sunday – BofA

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve may announce measures on Sunday night aimed at bolstering liquidity in the commercial paper market, used by companies for short-term loans, analysts at Bank of America wrote.

    The bank’s analysts said they believe the Fed will announce a Commercial Paper Funding Facility, an operation previously used in 2008 in which the Fed buys commercial paper from issuers directly, and a Commercial Paper Dealer Purchase Facility in which the Fed would buy commercial paper from dealers directly.

    The measures, if taken, would be aimed at buffering the market ahead of potentially large outflows from money market funds in coming days, analysts at the bank wrote.

    “We believe it imperative the Fed roll out these facilities on Sunday night given the looming expected prime (money market fund) outflows and necessity of their ability to sell (commercial paper) in order to raise cash,” the report said. “If the Fed waits too long the (money market fund) outflow pressure could mount and the risk of a large scale (money market fund) run could increase.”

    Now the money market is at risk of seizing up. As the global economy grinds to a halt we have to realize however slim it may be there is now a chance of a bank holiday. What is the point of the stock market being open if everyone in the economy is quarantined? ( puts on tinfoil hat and heads to basement with cases of toilet paper and hand sanitizer)

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      People are questioning how to handle paper forms at work, and mail.

      Another is about paper and coin money.

      Do we need paper money? China printed a while bunch, at one time, during the peak of their battle, I recall.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        I mean, it WAS China that invented paper money back in the Song dynasty in the 11th century. Most of the west first found out about paper currency in Marco Polo’s famous travelogue.

        Unfortunately the Song dynasty also invented hyperinflation. I personally prefer fiat currency over gold and silver backed currencies, but currency in any form carries risk of some type or another. Among other problems, the vast majority of currencies seem to facilitate the rich getting richer in some fashion.

        Reply
  30. Michael

    Anyone hearing or people requesting rent reductions from landlords? Esp large complexes owned by REITS?
    Can they claim to keep them clean? If you can’t pay the rent and squat, then what?

    No large gatherings allowed in eviction court (as someone said the other day about Traffic court).

    The great resetting in RE part deux?

    Reply
  31. John Anthony La Pietra

    Just setting up for tonight . . . one source of details on the one-on-one-(with-one-shoved-outside) D debate. Changes in location, moderators, etc. — but it’s going on, starting at 8pm EDT. Sponsored by CNN (whose DC studio is now the site), Univision, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

    I presume with so much curtailing of travel there’ll be a lot of us keeping track of this tonight. And it could be very important, given that the only other debate listed on the schedule hasn’t ever had a date beyond “April” IIRC.

    Speaking of that . . . if tonight goes badly for Biden, does that give the DNC more incentive to cancel the “April-somethingth” debate, or to give him a chance for a do-over and schedule it on a key date? Say, either before Wisconsin on April 7 or after that (to judge how much he was hurt by tonight’s debate) but an appropriate amount of time before the big “East Coast cluster” primary April 28 (CT, DE, MD, NY, PA, and RI).

    Reply
    1. urblintz

      I just saw a tweet – and I don’t know if it’s true – that said the “debate” will be taped at 1:30 and then aired tonight…

      If it’s true I’m sure the tech wizards will be able to make Joe look presidential over the many hours they’ll have to edit the tape.

      Reply
      1. John

        All the Biden gaffes will be gone.

        And they will make Sanders so red in the face Vegas will be betting on him blowing a gasket during the debate.

        Reply
      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        Urblintz . . . certainly that tweet is believable in the context of this year’s shenaniganza. But can you please post a link to that thread, so we can look into it starting from the source?

        (If that is happening, the corporate media are keeping it a secret so far, based on my limited one-man-watching-a-5-year-old-daughter-at-the-same-time research. The only mention I’ve been able to find yet of another time is C-SPAN’s rebroadcast tomorrow at 11:05am and 10pm.)

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          It was in a tweet posted in today’s comments I think. I just read it above too, couldn’t tell if it was true, and now after seeing your comment I went looking for it again and can’t find it…

          It’s around here somewhere in today’s ‘links’ post though. IIRC there was no link with the claim though – just some random person’s say so.

          I’d like to know if it’s true too – I certainly wouldn’t put it past the DNC at all.

          Reply
          1. urblintz

            yes I believe it was linked here in a comment and should have stressed I have no idea how to verify the claim.

            Reply
          2. John Anthony La Pietra

            Hmm. Just searched this page for all appearances of “debate” or “tweet” with no luck. Maybe yesterday’s Links?

            Reply
            1. John Anthony La Pietra

              No luck with “tape” or “edit” on either page; they only appear in this sub-chain of posts.

              Is it time to ask our hosts to check the comment history to see if they can find the one that urblintz and lyman alpha blob saw?

              Reply
    2. MLTPB

      Two states are postponing- GA and LS, both with Joe leading when last polled.

      One would think the DNC not wanting to take points off the board.

      Is this things happening organically, higher dimensional machinations, someone slacking off, etc?

      Reply
        1. MLTPB

          The higher dimensional chess is one I’m not clear with. If that kind of chess is the case here, it is not good.

          Reply
      1. jonhoops

        I think the play here is to delay until the peak of the epidemic hits, then just cancel the primary altogether with Biden then being declared the winner.

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Those 2 states likely will put points on the board for them, and will help the narrative that ‘it’s over at this rate, look at the differential, and so we shouldn’t risk more people gathering to vote.’

          From that view, its puzzling assuming they are omnipotent.

          Reply
  32. richard

    k. kulinski here gives the last word on warren as a serious person. Some of his best if you like the fire.
    How petty our great people are
    how small they are compared to the times we live in

    New Dem motto: Tireless Defenders of Hurt Feelings

    Reply
  33. Telee

    In my neck of the woods, central PA. hand sanitizes and alcohol have been sold out and are not available. No need to worry, the market will always come up with the best solution.

    Reply
  34. Billy

    Open Table’s APPlication speaks:

    “Consider purchasing restaurant gift cards if they’re offered.”
    And when they close you’re screwed and have a worthless piece of unrecyclable plastic and your money is gone.

    “Tip generously if you can afford it. Tipped workers are some of the first to suffer in times of economic distress.”

    How about supporting your local restaurants and fellow workers by calling to reserve, speaking with a live human being, dining and then paying your tab and tipping in cash, so that the restaurant and waiter get 100% of it instead parasitizing Apphole intermediaries like Open Table and the credit card bankers?

    Reply
  35. xkeyscored

    Mouse Hunt: Lab Races To Grow Mice For COVID-19 Research NPR

    Again, why the silence from all those who so fervently opposed all forms of genetic engineering not so long ago? Are they having a rethink, realising it’s not that straightforward, or indulging in a bit of hypocrisy while it suits them?

    Reply
  36. David

    Germany has announced that it will close its frontiers with its neighbors as of 0800 CET tomorrow.
    That was the ghost of Schengen you just saw.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      Makes the US look prescient (I think Russia acted simliarly a day or two later). The EU was not happy.

      The other time, in late Jan., our government also looked farsighted, ahead of other nations but after Moscow, imposing travel restrictions on China, with Beijing complaining of scaremongering

      Reply
    2. Carey

      Looking forward to Mr. Varoufakis weighing in.

      “It’s important to keep freedom of movement, we’re internationalists and we do not want to see borders. The idea that foreigners are a problem is a toxic idea and it’s completely wrong. I reject wholeheartedly the argument that no borders serves the interest of capital because migrants compete with the local working class. This is a pathetic argument, it’s wrong, that never happens. Migrants create jobs – in aggregate – they do not take jobs away.”

      -Y. Varoufakis, who lost my support the instant I read that.

      Reply
  37. Craig H.

    > Porn site allows Italians to watch all of its content for free during the country’s coronavirus lockdown

    Ha ha Lambert you got your post up and you overlooked to delete this plum.

    The way to get effective social distancing pronto and cheap is for all the deluxe internet add-ons like netflix, World of Warcraft deluxe options, and premium incest-necro-copro-porno to be offered to all for a limited time only for free on the government tab. The entire country will be super-glued to their computers and nobody will go out.

    Real time on the spot report: at the Safeway at 8:00 A.M. with large Chinese American percentage . . .

    1. plenty space in parking lot;
    2. 3 masked people out of a couple hundred;
    3. only a few bare shelves. For some reason I did recognize one of them. It was the wheat thins / triscuits shelf. I don’t know why I recognized this shelf as I do not eat or buy that garbage, ever;
    4. there were 4 people ahead of me in the checkout line and the standard routine 8:00 Sunday A.M. number is zero.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Internet for free. That’s an absolutely excellent idea, and it’d probably have exactly the effect you predict.

      Reply
    2. rd

      Grocery stores around us closing midnight-6 am for deep cleaning and restocking so they have reduced aisle blockage during the day.

      Our grocery stores are geared for regular restocking as they get a constant high-volume flow of staples and fresh foods through. They couldn’t keep up with disinfectant wipes, pasta, and soup though…. beer and wine supply were just fine.

      Reply
    1. ewmayer

      “Biden: coronavirus shows the problems with Trump” — because all the multidecadal legislative carve-outs to permit monopolistic cartel behavior on the part of the medical-industrial complex were not a bipartisan project, but rather are all Orange-haired Satan’s fault, right? Perhaps Joe would be better at unleashing the power of the private sector™ here – after all he has lots of “contacts” there:

      Bernie Sanders Challenges Joe Biden to Stop Taking Money from Pharma and Health Insurance Executives | RealSludge — Biden, who opposes Medicare for All, got large donations from at least 15 top executives of pharmaceutical and health insurance companies from April through June.

      Reply
  38. Mark K

    Another potential problem with Stuart Newman’s Spanish flu analogy: One thing that John Barry’s The Great Influenza — a great book, by the way — makes clear about the Spanish flu is that there were two distinct time courses to fatality. Some people, especially the elderly, died with in a day or two of being infected. Others, especially the 20-somethings and 30-somethings, appeared to be getting better, but subsequently succumbed to secondary pneumonia. All this was understood at the time, but the medical community had no effective way of dealing with it.

    The secondary pneumonia is now understood to be a hyperimmune response, which is what Newman is concerned with. But do we know if it is the only source of fatalities, or is there also evidence that COVID-19, like the Spanish flu, is sometimes capable of killing (especially older) victims directly?

    Reply
    1. Cuibono

      it is NOT clearly understood as hyperimmune response. In fact most flu epidemiologists deny this theory (not that they are neccearily right) .
      It could well be . I favor that theory based on dengue. But dengue is a different virus family.

      Reply
    2. rd

      Bad pneumonia was largely a death sentence in those days before antibiotics. Secondary pneumonia infections and deaths should be reduced today due to antibiotics and pneumonia vaccine (for people who have had it).

      COVID-19 does generate some nasty immune system responses in the respiratory system as well as renal failure.

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        C-19 causes extreme scarring in the lungs = no blood oxidation = death. Nothing an antibiotic can cure. The virus gets into the the deepest lung tissue, replicates and destroys the cell in came from. Do this enough times and nothing short of a heart-lung machine is going to save you. I suppose a billion dollars will buy you one, but ‘time’ on is a problem.

        Reply
        1. rd

          That is the primary response that is causing death. The fact the death rate is so how for this one is pretty scary because it indicates the disease itself is very nasty.However, we have had major advancements with antibiotics etc. that should prevent the secondary infections that were a major cause of death in previous epidemics. Otherwise we could be seeing much higher death rates.

          Reply
    3. HotFlash

      I keep hearing CoViD-19 compared to the Black Death, the Spanish Influenza, the Great Depression, SARS, AIDS, etc. , but only more or less convincingly. To my mind, the best comparison is to the Irish Potato Famine. There was a potato blight throughout Europe, but it was only a famine in Ireland, and that was due to (English) government policy.

      Reply
  39. EoH

    Regarding Pelosi’s defense that her plan covers only 20% of workers, and her claim that doing more would merely subsidize the private sector – horse pucky.

    Ms. Pelosi seems to have no qualms when large corporations pay so little – 1/3 of bank tellers are on public assistance, as are a greater percentage of Wal-Mart workers – that their employees can only afford to work for them if their incomes are supplemented by public assistance. That’s a direct taxpayer subsidy to the private sector.

    The whole point is that the hole can and will only be filled by government; the private sector never will, even at a time of such desperate need. Pelosi knows that. She seems unwilling to do anything about it. A good reason to look for new leadership.

    Reply
    1. Jason Boxman

      Indeed, she and the rest of the Democrat leadership uselessly proffer callous disregard for the people of this country. As an avowed capitalist, surely Pelosi knows full well that our theory of shareholder value precludes offering such basic measures of human decency as paid sick leave, for funds for that rightly belong to shareholders and shareholders alone!

      This pandemic will be clarifying.

      Reply
    2. bwilli123

      There is a large slowdown in business and consumer activity coming. Entire industries, Entertainment, Dining and Tourism, for example will be severely curtailed. The gig economy and zero hours contracts will only exacerbate this. The amount of money circulated by consumers will fall dramatically; snowballing effects everywhere.
      In order to avoid a Depression the money previously circulated by consumers needs to be replaced, and there is only one entity that can do it, the Federal Government. Probably by way of a no-fault income, such as an expanded Unemployment Benefit or UBI.
      The current proposed legislation barely fritters at the edges.

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        I have repeatedly encountered a counter argument to UBI that the landlords will just make rents higher.

        If true, can’t that be used against higher min. wages as well?

        ‘The extra money will be rent extracted by your landlord.’

        Reply
        1. Grebo

          Yes, but…
          Minimum wages only affect a small number of people. Raising rents on it is a gamble. UBI goes to everyone, so raising rents is a sure thing and landlords know exactly how much more their tenants can pay.

          Reply
      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        WWL.COM has a local story up in New Orleans about the NOPD busting up a crowd that had gathered to celebrate St Patrick’s at Tracy’s, which just so happens to be a few blocks from where I lived in Uptown New Orleans.

        I think New Orleans French Quarter Workers should boycott and figure out a way to get concessions from Big Restaurant!

        Reply
  40. Cuibono

    Re; Flu 1918 and Covid.
    One not go that far back to hypothesize about this “original Antigenic sin” hypothesis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_antigenic_sin)
    Read up on Dengue and DHF.
    That would at least partially account for high mortality in the old and low in the young. We can easily imagine similar epidemics of corona virus have occurred in the past without being recognized…

    So far my contacts at NIH and USAID and CDC don’t seem to be interested in my rantings about any of this…

    Reply
    1. rd

      The US has decided to repeat the Philadelphia 1918 parade inside US airports just to see what happens: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/3/15/21180336/coronavirus-airports-screening-crowds-europe

      Trump panics everybody into rushing back to the US, US puts in new screening criteria, and then doesn’t staff for either. The Illinois governor is pissed that a huge press of people is standing together in tight quarters for hours waiting to get through customs at O’Hare and then will simply spread out into the city or get on other airplanes.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        The TSA is mostly just (political) security theater. The goal is to appear to be Doing Serious Stuff For Our Safety instead of actually keeping us safe. Whenever there is a test, the TSA screeners find less than half of the test bombs, guns, and knives. So generally, the pre 9/11 security of a single metal detector, one or two screeners and a very few questions by someone would be just as effective as the current Kabuki Theater, but just where is the profit in that? So pre 9/11 it took five minutes from cab at the curb to airplane door. Admittedly, I was moving very fast as I was late and almost missed boarding. Now, I can’t remember anytime less than thirty minutes and usually much, much, much longer. Still don’t feel any safer.

        Reply
  41. Cuibono

    But David Newman DANGEROUSLY misses the point in his thread above about hurrying the young to get herd immunity!
    All those infected youg will come into contact with the at risk old and in short order.

    What we want is to FLATTEN THE CURVE!!!

    Reply
    1. sd

      What baffles me is that the Queen strikes me as someone who would be in the high risk category for whom herd immunity would not work.

      Reply
    2. integer

      Maybe it’s in the long-term interest of the young to gain herd immunity, rather than face another outbreak of the virus later in life.

      Reply
      1. Cuibono

        There is absolutely no evidence that it works that way.
        Mind you I am not saying it is not that way. Just NO EVIDENCE

        Reply
        1. witters

          I’m puzzled as to what ‘herd immunity’ means when the thing, of its nature, constantly mutates. We got ‘herd immune’ to the ordinary flu? Surely we need a vaccine, though it’ll presumably be about as good as ordinary flu vaccines?

          Reply
  42. carl

    Reasons Not To Take a Cruise, Part 2 (lifted from FB friend’s posting on her parents, who were on the Grand Princess and are now in quarentine):

    My parents are have yet to be tested or even have their temperature taken since being sent to Miramar Air Base in San Diego after disembarking the Grand Princess cruise ship. They have been told they’d have a case worker to check in on them days ago and haven’t seen anyone. Fortunately they were able to find my dads c-pap machine (🙌🏻), but the barracks are understaffed and dirty and they have no supplies to clean their room with as they wait and try to watch their own symptoms. No one working there has any answers for them when they ask questions. They are feeling forgotten and scared and want to go home.

    They’ve asked us to try to get the word out in sharing their video— any sharing or help is appreciated, ESPECIALLY if you’re from *IDAHO* we’re asking if you would contact your government officials, asking them to do something to at least bring them home to be tested. 💗

    Reply
    1. Billy

      Just look who your poor parents were handing their money to:

      https://crew-center.com/top-8-richest-people-cruise-industry-2018

      Besides foreign billionaires owning them, cruise lines often treat their third world below deck crews like slaves, holding their passports, underpaying them etc.
      The smiling faces the passengers see are young exploited and chosen for their looks.

      Paying their taxes, safety and responsibility?
      https://www.cruiselawnews.com/2011/04/articles/flags-of-convenience/flags-of-convenience-avoiding-taxes-safety-labor-regulations-and-justice/

      Cruises are a cultural blight in their ports of call, an environmental disaster, and a good way to kill the ocean’s ecosystem, as when they dump raw sewage or garbage into pristine waters.

      The bunker C oil that powers them is responsible for huge amounts of air and water pollution.
      https://www.cruiselawnews.com/2019/09/articles/pollution/smoke-and-mirrors-cruise-line-scrubbers-turn-air-pollution-into-water-pollution/

      Reply
      1. carl

        Well, they weren’t my parents; as I said, a friend’s FB post. I’m very well aware of how corrupt and exploitative the cruise industry is, and I’d personally never take one. It’s destroyed countless coastal communities, turning them into stupid tourist traps for stupid people. I also think these people showed some poor judgment taking the cruise in the first place. My purpose in posting was to point out the “everything is like CALPERS” aspect to the quarantine.

        Reply
  43. ewmayer

    In some happy weather-related news, SF Bay Area finally got a decent overnight soaking rain last night – the first measurable rainfall in 2 months (!), last was 16 January. We will not be able to backfill that gaping 2-month hole in the middle of what is normally our wet season, but every little bit we get between now and summer is useful. High Sierras got anywhere from 1 to 5 feet of snow, cooler temps through the coming week will help that stick around a bit. Bone-dry and highs ~80F like we’d been seeing on a regular basis earlier this month is just nuts, even by crazy feats-or-famine CA standards.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      We’re finally getting some rain in San Luis Obispo County, as well- along with a first confirmed coronavirus case. Glad for the rain, anyway.

      Reply
  44. Cuibono

    I think the Governement should track down ALL LARGE orders of PPE to non health care facitilities and pass a law (maybe not needed in ergency settingn) to recover it.

    Reply
  45. ewmayer

    Re. Sanders-Biden Debate Is Bernie’s Last Chance | Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

    Not holding my breath for a change in tactics by the leader of the Polite Revolution™. (But I remain open to being surprised.)

    Was amused to see the following headline in the “Trending” box beneath the article: Mexico Considers Border Restrictions as U.S. COVID-19 Cases Rise. LOL, Trump may get them to pay for that wall after all, just to keep the gringos out: ¡ ¡La sola ‘Corona’ que nos quieren en Mexico es la cerveza!

    Re. Sanders taps Rev. Jesse Jackson as campaign advisor | The Hill. “Hard to imagine Jackson came on board to a campaign that’s gonna throw in the towel.” — As Taibbi notes in his RS piece, boxing analogies are well-suited to the situation. I suggest Team Bernie have not thrown in the towel – rather they have made a deal with the crooked fight promoter (DNC) to have their likeable underdog (Sanders) put up a good show for the first few rounds. Trouble was, the underdog actually started landing a few real shots, at which point the promoter and several of his goons approached Sanders’ handlers at ringside between rounds to remind them what would happen should their man continue to deviate from the script. So start of Round 3 (Super Tuesday) Sanders gets into a clinch with the promoter’s golden boy (Biden), says “sorry, man, my blood was up and I forgot myself, y’know?”, then comes out of the clinch and drops his guard, allowing golden boy to nail him with an uppercut that knocks him off his feet. But team underdog only gets paid by the promoter if their guy lasts at least 3 rounds before letting himself get KOed, so underdog back on his feet, still dancing and pretending to put up a fight (tonight’s debate), before letting himself get taken out for good at start of next round, at which point his handlers throw in the “I support the nominee of our party” towel. Jackson is the well-intentioned cut man for one of the other fighters in Team Underdog’s stable who fought in the previous bout. Cut man, seeing Sanders get uppercutted and, thinking he really wants to continue but needs all the help he can get, rushes to ringside with some smelling salts, not realizing the fix is in. “Keep hope alive, Bernie! You got this guy, just keep dancing, but don’t get cocky and stay out of his wheelhouse, OK?”

    Reply
    1. rd

      Sanders last chance is:

      1) if he is the last man standing (literally); or
      2) People realize he is the only person who has been making sense on health care 2 months from now when the US health care system is exposed as an expensive charade.

      Reply
      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        If Sanders doesn’t stay on his feet (if he gets knocked down — or sits down) for much longer, the “last man standing” making sense on health care may be named Hawkins, or Hunter, or Lambert, or Lochocki, or Mesplay, or Moyowasifza-Curry, or Rolde, or Wilson. . . .

        Reply
        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          (Forgot the change from the, um, standing order of debate arrangements up to now. Okay, make it a metaphorical sitting or being knocked down. . . .)

          Reply
  46. OIFVet

    Matt Stoller:When this is over I want a truth and reconciliation commission. What we’re seeing is mass murder by our government. As much as I respect him, I will never agree to reconciliation with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism kills, and I think we are about to see it do so in such volume and in so many different ways, that the only answer can be to kill IT. Forever. We will come through this, and it will be our duty to see to it that a system that values profits over human lives, community, and our planet, is not allowed to exist ever again. Do make sure to tell the 10% liberals that. The m****F***s that I know are blind as bats to what everyone else is about to face.

    Reply
    1. Billy

      Everyone who gets outrageous medical bills should take part of them to your local small claims court. Tie up the system and make them lose out. Remember, their lawyers can’t participate in small claims court cases.

      Add the tag line, “All Rights Reserved” along with every one of your financial responsibility signatures.

      Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      The 1% are going to face it themselves. It’s Masque of the Red Death time and they are utterly oblivious. Second home flight did nothing for this class in northern Italy and will do nothing for them here.

      Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Didn’t Reconciliation Councils help end Civil Wars in Latin America?

      Or did those always favor the US side after Coups?

      Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Any idea how much ethanol is produced daily to mix in with the gasoline? Cargill? Must be millions of gallons of production capacity, partially idled I suppose.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      On my big stock-up day Friday, I discovered the one place that still had high-proof alcohol was…the liquor store! A bit on the pricey side, since it’s drinkable, but quite a bit of it still.

      Incidental, that local “hand sanitizer” would be drinkable, too, if a bit gooey – the thickeners they’re using are both edible. I got drinkable Aloe gel to mix with the Everclear – it was all that was left.

      We should think about a meetup in Eugene – I’m nearby. Once this blows over, that is.

      Reply
      1. Unfinished

        It may be quite a while before things blow over here in our state as Gov. Brown diddles and ponders an “Oregon way to do this.”
        Stay safe.

        Reply
  47. Quentin

    Tonight the Netherlands shut down nearly completely, except for supermarkets, food stores, pharmacies, etc. No restaurants, schools, gyms, universities, bars, movies, museums, etc. for the foreseeable future. An eerie silence has descended on Amsterdam.

    Reply
    1. MLTPB

      I think the still not-numerous hot spots in the US keep that option in mind.

      And I think the decision can be a local one.

      I hope I’m not the first or only one to think in this mode.

      Reply
  48. Portlander

    RE:

    Pelosi’s response: I don’t support U.S. taxpayer money subsidizing corporations to provide benefits to workers that they should already be providing.

    I think Pelosi did the right thing. Doing otherwise would set a bad precedent and a moral hazard for next time. Large companies have the resources, don’t let them off the hook. And, Bernie has decried socialism (bailouts) for the rich and large corporations, remember?

    Reply
    1. OIFVet

      Fine. Give these corporations two days to decide: 80% tax, or they immediately implement oaid sick leave and keep the old tax rate.

      Reply
    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Similar to: Hilary going to Wall St and telling them all to “cut it out”. Yeah that’ll work.

      The system far and wide is already a giant tsunami of moral hazard, from fossil fuel subsidies to no-bid Pentagon contracts. Insolvent banks propped up by daily doses from the money gusher. Pelosi’s “actions” will just ensure there will be no moral to the hazard that workers will go broke and die. Thanks Nancy, hey show us that hand clap again, mm-k?

      Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      Treasury should pay the sick leave, to get it started ASAP, and claw it back from the corporations through the tax code.

      Times are changing. The new world is not yet born, but perhaps we are witness birth pangs.

      Reply
    4. hunkerdown

      Making people suffer and die because they happen to have taken a job with a large corp is the right thing to do?

      Good one, Nancy, now do the ACA.

      Reply
  49. MLTPB

    I got this from USA Today (published March 15, 2020):

    Researchers are conducting a full-court press to develop treatments for helping patients suffering from the virus. With no vaccine expected soon, treatments are crucial to saving lives, especially high-risk patients such as the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.

    Robert Kruse, a doctor in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, says the quickest option could be the use of antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients. It could turn out that serum from one recovered patient is only enough to save a single sick one, he acknowledged. “It’s a logistical challenge to put it together, but at the very least there are no (federal) hurdles to producing the therapy.”

    – Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Reply
      1. MLTPB

        In the beginning, with few cases, there are even fewer recovered.

        In China now, recovered patients are about 70, 80 % of the total accumulated. That is, more recovered patients than active cases (100% accumulative cases minus recovered accumulative, minus deaths). So if 70% have recovered, with 3% fatal, that leaves 27% active. There will be enough for all.

        Reply
  50. none

    Someone on reddit points out that the UK “herd immunity” plan (just let everyone get infected) sounds designed to destroy the NHS. How conveeeeenient.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      I don’t think that this is true, but right now I find it very difficult to cynical and jaded enough. Any day now I expect to have someone in government or business to seriously bring up “A Modest Proposal” as a partial solution to feeding oneself while in quarantine.

      Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      It’s progress; suggests that JB is feeling the pressure from the left.

      Perhaps he’ll gradually add more and more of Sanders’ proposals.

      First Buttigieg, then Warren, now JB: “What Sanders is doing, but with me instead of Sanders at the head of the ticket!”

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It’s progress; suggests that JB is feeling the pressure from the left.

        Not what “What Sanders is doing” but “What Sanders is saying.” Biden has no skin in the game at all.

        It’s a gesture that will prove meaningless. Even if you trust Biden, the Democrat Establishment does not have the operational capability to deliver. Remember the ObamaCare site rollout? Losing 1000 seats? The pathetically inadequate response to the Crash?

        Think of it this way: Everybody who was clinking champagne glasses with Hillary Clinton as her campaign plane flew toward Brooklyn on election eve will get a prominent place in a new Democrat Establishment administration.

        We would do better to lock a large number of under-employed adjuncts in all fields in a room with some computer terminals and access to the Internet. Like a new FDR brains trust, many of whom were not Ivy Leaguer but came from state or obscure schools.

        Reply
    2. Massinissa

      “whose income is below $125,000”

      BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Family blog him!!! More neoliberal means testing!!

      This is NOT Bernies plan!!! Make it universal or no deal.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        I also hate the ‘For families’ part, because under 125k sounds good right? Few single persons make that much.

        But nah, its by family, so both parents. So if you have two parents that work non poverty wages you get excluded. Great, just great.

        Lastly, if wages were to undergo any inflation, it would become a progressively less progressive program over time.

        Reply
  51. antidlc

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-faces-crucial-decisions-to-alleviate-virus-shock-11584303662

    Fed Slashes Rates to Fight Coronavirus Slowdown
    Bank also will purchase $500 billion in Treasury securities, $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities

    The Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate to near zero on Sunday and said it would buy $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage-backed securities in an aggressive bid to prevent market disruptions from aggravating what is likely to be a severe slowdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reply
    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      That looks like full-on panic mode. I’m guessing the FRB got numbers on the drop in monetary velocity.

      Reply
    1. carl

      Given the response of my fellow citizens, strongly inclined to believe NYC and the rest of the country are going to be the next Italy. There is no “doesn’t have to be.”

      Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Lets be real, they’re probably afraid of illegal immigrants coming for their toilet paper. With knives they snuck across the border or something I guess?

      Reply
  52. Oregoncharles

    “Make America Autarkic Again

    William Upton”

    Good article. This is actually the issue that brought me into politics, dating back to the Battle of Seattle. A few points:

    First, as framing I prefer “self-reliance”, a traditional American virtue, over “autarky,” a technical term most people won’t recognize. “Self-reliance,” going back to Emerson, appeals to both sides of the aisle. We all know that dependency is dangerous.

    Second, the ideology of globalization is bunk; bad, dishonest economics. It’s usually based on Ricardo’s theory of “comparative advantage,” which depends on production factors being relatively immobile – which they are not; dishonestly, it’s used to justify free movement of capital, precisely what is forbidden by the theory. Only absolute advantage – geography – is real.

    3rd, and most important: what does this mean in practice? I'[m old enough to remember when the US levied a broad, low tariff; it was about 10%, as I remember, with exemptions for tourists (small amounts) and for items we didn’t or couldn’t produce (tea, is the one I remember being affected by – though we can grow that; coffee is a better example). It’s enough to give native production an advantage, without raising prices too much. That was an extremely prosperous time in the US, though possibly for other reasons.

    The other requirement, mentioned in the article, is an industrial policy. We probably had that, too; certainly we had purchasing requirements, and subsidies, often through the military, for new technologies. But I was less aware of that side of the policy.

    Although it’s mostly too late, it would also make sense to forbid outsourcing; American companies could be forbidden to move production overseas, or merging with foreign companies. And we could restore federal financing for research, with requirements imposed on companies using the results. Doubtless there are other approaches that would help; the article is a starting point.

    Reply
    1. Billy

      “companies could be forbidden to move production overseas,”
      i.e.No let them, but no tax destructibility for any such expenses and immediate voiding of any preexisting government contracts to supply goods to the taxpayers.

      Reply
  53. Zzzz Andrew

    One-hour-old anecdote from the virus-testing front:

    My wife is a physician, currently on call, at a hospital in downtown Boston. It was finally announced today that testing is available for hospital staff, so when she went downtown to check on patients, she also went to get tested. She hasn’t had fever or cough, and so probably doesn’t have the virus, but has also had headaches, body aches, deep sore throat, and fatigue for a week or so, and naturally wanted to get checked. (She says that staff at the hospital have been good for the last week about reducing exposure to/from patients, but stupidly cavalier around one another — lots of coughing, no masks, etc.)

    Came home a little while ago and said that she couldn’t get tested because

    – the test would have taken 5 to 7 days for results to be provided by the DPH.
    – anyone getting tested would be automatically placed in quarantine until the results are available.

    Apparently the rationale is that only people with obvious symptoms should be tested, and anyone with such symptoms needs quarantining. The hospital can’t administer the tests themselves to speed things up, for reasons that weren’t clear.

    In our just-in-time medical system, the idea that a hospital physician can just disappear for 5-7 days without consequences for patients is insane; so in the end she declined to be tested.

    I want to emphasize, given how much of this story doesn’t make sense to me, that it comes through a chain of two people, and maybe there’s a transmission error. But if not, it’s pretty messy.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Just because the cold, influenza, and the coronavirus can all cause symptoms similar to each other at times especially if you take in all the different strains of each…

      It made sense to someone, but to someone who did not think of the whole situation, or who wanted to appear to Be Doing Something. Perhaps panic is the reason.

      Reply
      1. Bsoder

        The word ‘appear’ as Lambert would say is doing all the work here. The reality is the same everywhere with tests and testing. It’s as if someone wants there to be a very low infection rate to report. As if they believe that is the truth of the matter. Reality is going to strike many as very harsh indeed.

        Reply
    2. Ford Prefect

      Testing capacity is still low for lots of reasons. Still rationing. Trump Administration thinks its solved and it is not.

      Reply
  54. Samuel Conner

    A second Congressional staffer has tested CV positive; it’s bipartisan now. Multiple legislators have voluntarily self-quarantined after discovering that they were in recent contact with persons subsequently confirmed to be infected. It’s hard to be confident that the virus is not circulating on Capitol Hill.

    Can Congress function in the midst of the emergency if a significant fraction of the legislators and staff become infected and quarantined?

    Reply
  55. Drake

    Elite Media Dismiss Voter Suppression on Grounds That It’s ‘Complicated’ FAIR

    Russian election meddling is back — via Ghana and Nigeria — and in your feeds CNN.

    Funny how the first is pretty simple but always ‘complicated’, and the second is pretty complicated, if not twisted into gordian knots, and yet always so simple for our intrepid journalists. Almost as if complicated and simple are just stand-ins for inconvenient and convenient.

    Reply
  56. rtah100

    Re the DFW immigration lines story, with no PPE or hygiene measures – I caught swine flu on my one visit to DFW and the CBP deliberately broke my passport (flexing the lamination to force it to delaminate) in front of me.

    Good memories.

    Reply
  57. Procopius

    The theory is absurd. Herd immunity does not “build up.” Herd immunity is the result of vaccinating the entire population. If you doubt this, please figure out why the human race never developed herd immunity to smallpox, or polio. They ravaged whole populations for centuries. The earliest known smallpox epidemic was recorded in 1350BC. If someone contracts a disease and is lucky enough to survive it they may or may not develop immunity to that disease, but how is that transmitted to other people? It’s not.

    Reply

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