Links 3/17/2020

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Also, a reader note: As you may have noticed, our comments levels are very high these days, and we are gratified that so many of you are coming here to share your views and information.

However, what you may not have noticed is the fractiousness has also risen. In some cases, newbie readers (and even a few established readers) have taken overmuch to Making Shit Up. It’s one thing to speculate or offer something on memory and label it as such, and another to offer information confidently as fact when it’s not true, or inaccurate enough to be misleading.

As a result, our main comments DJ, Jules, who pitches in 7 days a week, is overstressed. Please be considerate to reduce the load. The toxicity is vastly more wearing than the volume.

And I am sorry for the lack of original posts. I need to make sure I get enough sleep.


The WHO has changed its position on coronavirus and pets Quartz. Olivier L: “Have you ever seen a more regal cat?”

North America Has Lost More Than 1 in 4 Birds in Last 50 Years, New Study Says Audobon (Dan K)

Scientists Discover Ice Age Structure Made From Bones Of 60 Mammoths Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Restore soil to absorb billions of tonnes of carbon: study PhysOrg (David L)

4 Reasons Why Airplanes Don’t Fly Over Tibet Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

Lego bricks in the ocean could take 1,300 years to degrade Independent (Kevin W)

The UK is scrambling to correct its coronavirus strategy MIT Technology


Coronavirus: Trump says coronavirus crisis may last all summer BBC (J-LS)

U.S., World Leaders Step Up Efforts to Slow Spread of Coronavirus Wall Street Journal

‘Don’t stop’: When Carnegie Hall canceled, show went on Associated Press (David L)

12 things to know today about coronavirus The Hill

Nine Thoughts On COVID-19 And What’s Coming Caitlin Johnstone (J-LS). Note the bit about increased censorship of YouTube

Divorce cases spike in China after ‘couples spend too much time during coronavirus quarantine’ Daily Mail


White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll New York Times

Boffins claim HIV and malaria drugs could ‘cure coronavirus Birmingham Mail

Study finds COVID-19 spread in China fueled by “stealth transmission” New Atlas (allan). This is actually important news if confirmed. Offers support for the “mild cases” theory. However, this is not based on finding any actual very mild cases. I wonder if superspreaders (not just by # of contacts but by being even more infectious than the norm) would also explain this pattern.

Coronavirus spreads quickly and sometimes before people have symptoms, study finds Science Daily (Kevin W). Different study that the one above.

How to treat Coronavirus infection COVID-19 Scott Humor (Bryan W)

Can hot weather, like in Malaysia, stop coronavirus? The Star (David L)

Thermo Fisher ships coronavirus tests, aims to produce 5 million tests a week by April CNBC (David L)

Ventilator Maker: We Can Ramp Up Production Five-Fold Forbes (martha r)

Italian hospital saves Covid-19 patients lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices 3D Printing Media Network (Adrien F)

Encephalitis Lethargica Disease, Portrayed in the Movie “Awakenings”, Accompanied the 1918 Spanish Flu Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)


UK coronavirus crisis ‘to last until spring 2021 and could see 7.9m hospitalised’ Guardian

The UK Only Realised “In The Last Few Days” That Its Coronavirus Strategy Would “Likely Result In Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths” BuzzFeed (Kevin W)

New data, new policy: why UK’s coronavirus strategy changed Guardian. Vlade: “Looks like 180.”

Emmanuel Macron on coronavirus: ‘We’re at war’ Politico. France’s lockdown.

Coronavirus: Spain nationalizes all private hospitals, enters lockdown Business Insider (martha r)

Dutch embrace ‘herd immunity’ as dire death warning prompts UK to change course Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W)


Hong Kong to quarantine arrivals from all foreign countries South China Morning Post

New Zealand launches massive spending package to combat Covid-19 Guardian


Coronavirus package hits roadblocks amid GOP opposition and House passes corrected coronavirus bill The Hill

Cash Handouts to All U.S. Households Gain Support in Congress as Virus Fix Bloomberg. Andrew Yang’s run may have been productive after all, even as a quick, big shot of adrenaline as opposed to a lasting program.

Coronavirus Showed That America Wasn’t Up to the Task Atlantic (resilc)

Call to Action to the Tech Community on New Machine Readable COVID-19 Dataset White House (David L)

Lockdown is Here: Bay Areawide ‘Shelter in Place’ Orders Go Into Effect at Midnight SFist

Virus Prompts Early Release of Inmates in Southern California Bloomberg

Andrew Cuomo Is the Control Freak We Need Right Now New York Times (resilc)

Colorado Suspects Virus Cluster in Ski-Resort Region Bloomberg (David L). Confirming reader Wukchumni’s concerns.

Tragedies starting:


From a connected reader:

There is a catastrophe developing in the life insurance industry. They sold trillions of variable rate annuities tied to the S&P 500. No one, not even the Fed, knows what their actual level of reserves are because they are regulated by the states. Each state has different reserve requirements. And they don’t have to disclose the actual aggregate amount. There is more to it, some of which is terrifying.

Yves here. I don’t have the foggiest as to how these products are designed, as to whether they have embedded futures, options, or both. Did the insurers really write what amounted to long-dated derivatives themselves? If so, they deserve to have their heads handed to them. The 50,000 foot rule of pricing custom derivatives is you have to know how to hedge the risk in order to price it (and that price would in turn be reflected in the product terms). But no hedge is perfect. Were they the insurers rolling shorter term contracts as hedges and the rollover price blew out? Or alternatively, did they not try to hedge the risk in house but instead entered into customized trades from Wall Street..and opted for cheaper variants that were known to be less than perfect matches for the insurers’ exposures, and that’s now biting them?

‘We Call It Uninvestible’: Views on Markets After Another Rout Bloomberg. Lead story. But: U.S. Futures Gain After Worst Stock Rout Since ‘87: Markets Wrap Bloomberg. And I do know one person who was buying a bit yesterday.

Airlines Seek $50 Billion Aid Package Wall Street Journal

Coronavirus Capitalism — and How to Beat It The Intercept

The Pandemic Stress Test Raghuram Rajan, Project Syndicate (David L)

This Is How the Coronavirus Will Destroy the Economy New York Times (resilc)

Trump says Google CEO Sundar Pichai called to apologize TechCrunch (resilc)

New Cold War


Watch the full CNN-Univision Democratic debate from Washington, DC CNN (Kevin C)

Judge denies request to delay Ohio primary election until June over coronavirus Cleveland (allan), followed by Coronavirus: Ohio election called off by health director, despite judge’s ruling Columbus Dispatch (martha r)

Tesla Begins Model Y Deliveries CNBC

Brave Browser Files GDPR Complaint Against Google CoinTelegraph

New York, California Want More Power Over the Financial Sector Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour: Paul R says this photo has been circulating as “total eclipse of the cat”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    I apologize but I need to rant a bit. About 20 minutes into “Morning Joe’s” expert exhortations to get onto a war footing, regular contributing genius Jon Meacham found time to criticize any governor who dared to cancel a primary election scheduled for today. “Lincoln didn’t cancel 1864,” he intoned with his well-practiced pomposity. Scarborough himself chimed in with criticism of Dewine specifically, and promised they’d get back to talk about some more.

    The 1864 analogy is obviously idiotic. Where was the election held? The North. Was there combat going on in the North at that time? Outside of the far west, no. So Lincoln was not asking people to walk through a fire zone to vote. And yet, the rest of the show is devoted to telling us that we’re living in a war zone and must act accordingly.

    I know many are ready to throw in the towel with Bernie, yet in the midst of this extraordinary crisis, the Washington morning show takes time out to bash a Republican governor for making the responsible decision to shut polling places today. Stopping Bernie remains a priority among our ruling classes in the face of all the other challenges to their grasp on power.

    One recognition is dawning on the high and mighty: nothing will be the same after this. Ending Bernie’s campaign is seen as a still-critical mission because the battle is now over what will come after.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think that Sanders’ mission to mobilize a “political revolution” among the young will continue after the primary, whatever the outcome. If Sanders is not the D nominee and is induced to campaign for him/her, I think he will be campaigning for… the same policies that he’s campaigning for now, dragging the nominee to the left the way he seems to have done thus far with candidate Biden.

      And in 2021, even if not in the White House, I think that Sanders will still be in “campaign” mode. I think that he may (and now aided by extraordinary circumstances) have built his own “bully pulpit” that can carry on mobilizing people in any circumstance ($$$ may be a concern at some point). OTOH, if not a campaign, he could lead a public advocacy non-profit that would not be donations constrained (but would probably still be mostly small donor funded)

      This has been an extraordinary year. Yang’s proposal is being embraced (at least in a one-off sense) by some Senate Rs. Sanders has dragged the debate on health care to the left at surprising speed.

      The elites are doubtless busy sawing the rungs of the “chaos ladder”; perhaps their instruments will break in their hands.

      1. pretzelattack

        i agree that sanders could be effective in this role, and it will be needed because the democratic party is just not responsive to the needs of its voters.

        i don’t believe he is actually dragging biden to the left, though. he is, imo, dragging biden to temporarily pay lip service to some center left positions, which biden or his replacement would promptly jettison as soon as feasible after hypothetically being elected.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Biden is an evil man who has skated by because he simply didn’t exist for many Americans until august 2008. The “others” never held the electable mantra despite not having been as odious or causing direct harm to millions of Americans, but the “others” haven’t existed as background characters for years and faced more scrutiny.

          It’s important the would be Bidens don’t become background characters who can cause trouble later.

          1. nippersmom

            There are so many people who cannot or will not understand that #neverbiden isn’t about hurt feelings. It’s about not perpetrating and validating polices we believe are evil.

            1. L

              During the debate Joy Reid of all people tweeted this:

              Does anybody honestly care, at this stage, how these two lifetime politicians voted 30, 20 or even 5 years ago? #DemocraticDebate

              She has since been sending pat on the head messages to everyone who pointed out how wrong she was. It amply illustrates the goal, just erase Biden’s past and move on because he’s so “electable”.

              I guarantee you Brad Pasquale knows that many Americans do care about those votes, particularly the ones that put them over their heads in debt and sent their children off to die.

              1. Adam Eran

                In Italy, plutocrats control a smaller portion of the mainstream media than in the U.S. I should say “plutocrat” since it’s Sylvio Berlusconi.

                With that power, Berlusconi can elect parliaments friendly enough to forgive him for crimes he committed retroactively! Wow.

                “Hey, that’s so 15 minutes ago Sylvio! So you embezzled money! So what?”

                The even-more-concentrated U.S. media promises to take the opportunity to censor future possibilities, moreso than Sylvio’s press.

            2. Kurt Sperry

              When I explain that for me healthcare as a citizen’s right is a moral issue, like slavery or civil rights and I can’t vote for anyone who is on the wrong side of that, they often stop bullying. It’s obvious I won’t be moved off my position framing it that way.

        2. Oh

          Sanders’ “good friend” Biden is just faking it. He will keep doing what the neoliberal DNC wants him to do. I’m not too optimistic about Sanders being effective in any kind of bully pulpit especially after he has told the world that he would support Biden.

        3. Terry Humphrey

          As did “Hope” and then “Nope” Obama. False promises seem to be a feature with Democrats rather than a bug.

      2. Fraibert

        I think Mr. Sanders has had his time in the sun and has proven that either circumstances aren’t quite ripe or he himself is not the right person to push forward. His campaign was extremely well funded and seemed capably run, but apparently the young still didn’t show up. As a result, I just don’t see him as being particularly effective going forward unless he miraculously wins the nomination.

        Moreover, if Mr. Sanders does what you suggest after the election, I would not put it past the Democrats to (as is their right) remove him from the Senate Caucus. He would not be viewed as a “team player.”

        I do agree the elites are taking advantage of chaos.

        However, with all that said, I am still expecting candidate Trump 1.0 to appear in the near future (current Mr. Trump is like a buggy alpha version). The 1.0 will be competent, will be nationalist and generally anti-trade, will push for comprehensive national health coverage (not m4a–I hate that branding because Medicare is very incomplete in coverage), will fight big tech, will be for heavy immigration restrictions (as it is incompatible with the health program), etc. Mr. Trump’s various rhetorical points over the years seem to me to point towards a candidate with this general outline as being a winner–he is, after all, fantastic at reading the social mood–and I do think this person will appear as power hates a vacuum…

        1. pretzelattack

          the young didn’t show up because their votes weren’t counted or suppressed, the system is rigged nine ways to sunday.
          trump didn’t read the social mood too well on the virus.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Someone should study the numbers, photos of crowds, etc.

            Maybe the young did show up and the anti-young showed up even more. Maybe Republican ratf*ckers voted in large numbers for Biden to give Trump the most defeatable candidate possible.

            Maybe many of the showing-up young gave up after waiting hours in line to be denied a right to vote . . . and then couldn’t wait anymore.

            And vote suppression and digital vote-switching and vote-faking and count-faking.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The young showed up. The real problem was the MSDNC crowd who don’t usually participate decided they needed to fight Trump by picking a name the recognized as some kind of “electable uniter” effectively guaranteeing a Trump reelection or the inaugural of Tom Cotton in 2025.

          They won’t remove Sanders from the Senate. They still need a certain amount of work done. Sanders has had plum positions despite no leverage because those same positions require work.

          1. T

            Indeed. Yet to see any credible data that “the young” didn’t show up and that’s with all the young who were turned away or up against new laws that supressed the student vote.

            Right up there with nine superpacs.

          2. Big River Bandido

            A Senator’s power comes from the office, not the party. Plenty of Senators have made their careers as “lone wolves”, operating independently and some times at cross-purposes from their own party. This is the special power of a Senator.

        3. WJ

          I think this is a fantasy. Right now the U.S. is threatening war in Iraq and *increasing* its economic pressure on Venezuela. It looks like things are swinging in a neocon direction, which is incompatible with the mode of governance you outline above, and on which Trump ran his 2016 campaign. If he *wants* to be reelected and is in charge over his own administration’s policy, then I agree that your proposed course of action makes the most sense. But I have thought for a long time that Trump either doesn’t want to be reelected, or is not in charge of his own administration, or both.

      3. Noone from Nowheresville

        Sanders also needs to drag supply chains and manufacturing to the left. We should be mobilizing. Not to beat the FDR drum beat again too much. Sanders needs a much fuller narrative. Not just health care justice and economic justice but what does that look like and how do we implement it now during this crisis?

        Yes, it will take place outside of Sanders but Sanders or his people need to understand the levers of the health care system in place not just the theory of everyone has the universal right to health care.

        I did like his comments about looking at how we got here and what kind of world we want going forward. He didn’t hammer that hard enough and he wasn’t prepared to show how Biden was a part of those policy decisions. Just like he wasn’t prepared to hammer Biden on the bankruptcy law. But those comments how and what were excellent. I think they could become ear wigs if repeated enough.

        Biden conveyed strength, assertiveness and confidence at the beginning. I can see where people want to trust him. Lies, all lies. Yep.

        Sanders needs some of Biden’s ability to reassure the public. He needs to convey that he understands how the system works and that he could mobilize a response. Get some experts at the theory level like Stoller and then find small or medium sized business people to figure out how they quickly scale up and roll out solutions to the immediate crisis. The how could the theory be put into practice now as an incremental step to get to the world Sanders envisions.

        More and more will hit the fan in unexpected ways. Sanders needs Biden’s what can we do now with his own concern and morality for actual people and their outcomes. That should be added to his fireside chats.

        It will be interesting to see the lines today, the exit polling and which polls station or machine break. Will older citizens be out voting? How will younger voters respond? How will it be covered?

        It’s the end of the world as we know it. Yep REM. But I don’t feel fine yet.

      4. Felix_47

        Bernie needs to announce he will run as a Green. With two extremely weak candidates he would have a shot. He would need to upgrade his campaigning and go after Biden. He has his own faithful and his own funding. This crisis might be the catalyst that could lead to significant improvement in our political system. If he stumps for Biden I will be very disappointed. This crisis could be a catalyst to cut the defense budget massively. The troops could be paid but the procurement process could be stopped. All salaries higher than an E7 could be lowered to an E7 level. This crisis should be a catalyst to normalize relations with Iran and Russia and Syria. Instead it seems we will have the democratic lawyer grifters running a shit show.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Sanders did better and worse in the debate than I wanted. He didn’t seem practiced. If he’s to use the bully pulpit, he needs a lot more to his spiel. One liners. Inspiration. Narrative. Only enough details to convey the narrative. I really liked “the same place we found the 1.5 Trillion for the markets bit from above.

          Sanders said something in a similar vein in support of Medicare for all. But as a defense on tv it would hit harder.

          Fireside chats. Getting people to listen while they are stuck at home. I think there might be an outside third-party shot, given upending of the world, if Sanders could utilize his time getting ready and the Greens would let him run.

          The questions are: 1. What, if anything, could he be injecting into the new proposed emergency legislation that might help ordinary people? 2. How much time is that taking out of his schedule? 3. Will he be allowed to inject of significance?

          He’d have to have the ability to go after both parties and their policies without holding back on “his friends.” His reasoning for 3rd party: both parties are betraying American citizens and taking advantage of the crisis. Shock doctrine for the rest of us.

          a lot of ammunition in the how we got here and so shall we continue narrative.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The parallels with FDR are uncanny. The D Party, the press, and all of Wall St against him running up to the convention. Ample skulduggery and dirty tricks. FDR’s rhetoric soared however. He saw himself in a grand sweep of history and swept people up with him. Bernie bless his heart especially after 40 years in the gentlemanly and collegial Senate just does not have that in him.

        2. michael c walker

          Great comment. Sanders should run as a Green. Only one thing Sanders doesn’t possess though. Courage.

          1. Geoffrey Dewan

            Run as a Green. Brilliant. Then, when Biden loses to Trump, the DNC will have its next giant excuse for failure…”If only Bernie hadn’t sucked all those votes away from Joe we woulda won for sure!..”

          2. HotFlash

            This is so hard to figure out. Bernie has been a successful politician, ie, getting elected and then getting his agenda carried out, since Mayor of Burlington back in 1981 (here is part of Vermont Public Radio documentary on youtube The people who are criticizing him (and I certainly have my druthers as to what he is should do and isn’t), we — journalists, pundits, accountants, numismatists, investors, and even jag-off comedians — we have not accomplished what he has accomplished. He has his methods, they have worked for him to date, and perhaps he is right to trust them. We saw what happened to Liz Warren when ‘somebody’ advised her to change her approach and ‘go after’ Bernie. We saw what happened to Amy and Pete when they took out the knives. Bernie may know what he is doing, or at least trust his own political instincts and experience. Perhaps we should, too.

            Another thing that I know is that Bernie back in the day was a successful long distance runner, specifically cross-country (ie, long distance, uneven terrain). The WaPo has a story here, but I am paywalled — perhaps you are not.

            In long-distance running (the man had a 4:37 mile in high school — not too shabby!!) the point is to cross the finish line first. It is not same a prize-fighting, MMA, or roller derby where you want to take out your opponents. Bernie was good at crossing the finish line first, or at least pretty first.

            For me, this has become a matter of faith, a thing with which I a uncomfortable. I do not know if he is right, I just know that he has done the unbelievable and may do it again, his way. And no, positively no Sinatra for you! But I’ll be sending him a few more bucks.

    2. MLTPB

      Good or bad.

      Cancelling for today, ie postponing, not cancelling altogether, buys time to anyone is trailing in the polls today, most likely.

      On the other hand, it could lead to the whole post-6 inning-game being called, with the most current score entered into the record book, ‘due to rain.’

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Maybe the better question is: “To whom will the “Us” carry the torch?

    3. rd

      Its also a primary. It could be rescheduled to a week before the convention. Heck the Convention could be moved to September if necessary.

      I would not want to see the November federal election re-scheduled, but primaries etc. are all floating days that get moved around for political reasons.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Can hot weather, like in Malaysia, stop coronavirus?”

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Malaysia is fighting a helluva outbreak at the moment according to an Asia Times article. Unless proven otherwise, I am going to assume that this tough, little b****** of a virus can survive in the cold of Antarctica, the hot sands of the Saharan desert, the humidity of Sri Lanka and for all I know in space itself-

    1. russell1200

      Yesterday had a good link reviewing the thinking on why the flu “disappears” in Spring. It appears that the corona virus has at least some of the same structures as the flue virus and a handful of the many cold viruses.

      But it also noted we have various immunities to the typical flu strains and that all bets were off with a virus that we had absolutely no immunity to.

      I guess cross our fingers and hope Spring at least slows it up.

      1. Mike

        Seems it’s time to buy copper futures- the virus is said to last a minimal time on copper surfaces, but I’d be leery of such “cures” as you can be sure viral evolution will find an answer. Although, with our stampede mentality, the rush might make Chile and Arizona richer in the meantime.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Mrs Bunny has been asking me for a while to get my worn copper pans re-zinced. Impossible to find a place that does it without costing as much as a new set.

          I now have an excuse to keep using them, which is nice.

          1. flora

            Yep. I’m thinking of a new subheading called “Cheap, Efficient, and Deadly”. (Yes, yes, too overblown a claim, I know. But in this case not necessarily wrong. …)

          1. Synoia

            No Silver will NOT work better. It is less reactive than copper, even while in the same periodic column as Copper, and Gold.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I like the term Peak Prosperity has been using for it – the Honey Badger Virus. Its just like a Honey badger – super tough and unbelievably tenacious.

      thats worrying about Malaysia. There seems to be mounting worries in the Philippines and Indonesia, although my Phil friends say nobody is quite sure whether or not the virus is being used as an excuse for a military/political crackdown. If it goes loose in those countries at the rates we’ve seen in cooler climes, millions will die.

      1. xkeyscored

        “Malaysia reported a further 125 coronavirus cases on Monday – bringing its total to 553 – the highest in Southeast Asia. Many were linked to a single event at a mosque.”

        And here,
        PHNOM PENH: Cambodia reported 12 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, doubling its tally to 24.

        Of the new cases, 11 were people who had travelled to Malaysia for a religious event at a mosque, a statement from the Ministry of Health said.

        [Nearly all the previous 12 have been international travellers.]

        1. The Rev Kev

          Just to add to your point about a religious venue – in this case a mosque – being an infection point, here is a story from far away Israel-

          ‘Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in Israel’s Haredi Jewish community, said that suspending Torah study even for one day would be more dangerous than contracting Covid-19, a ruling that has seen many yeshivas (religious education institutions) and Torah schools stay open despite the government having ordered the closure of schools and other educational institutions.’

          When you consider how there are tens of thousands of Haredi students attending, this is a self-inflicted disaster in the making-

        2. dearieme

          On the subject of the Far East, in one of my early comments on the pandemic I said I wondered what would happen to the Uighurs in the concentration camps. I’ve seen virtually no mention of them since then. Any news, anyone?

        3. MLTPB

          Which strain in Malaysia?

          The first or the second?

          Similarly, is the strain in Seattle (from China, I understsnd) different from the strain in the eastern states of the US, like NY?

          Even here in SoCal, there are cases of people who travelled from Italy and other European countries.

        4. Tim

          Was the mosque air conditioned? The temp at the point of transmission is all that matters. Lots of A/C around the world these days.

          That could be the only reason we see transmission occuring in hot climates. Central and Southern Hemispheres should consider A/C only to 80F to minimize transmission.

          1. Objectivefunction

            I speak on no authority at all, but artificially cooled/ dehumidified environments do appear to create a favorable condition for CV persistence on surfaces.

            But I’m unsure to what extent people spending more time in fresh air will slow the spread of CV, given its virulence. Time will tell, I suppose.

            I certainly don’t want to add to any agnotology blob, but I note that body temp is a humid 37°C, and it seems CV lives just fine inside us. So if a carrier sneezes in a overcrowded open-sided jeepney in Manila, they’re still going to infect via airborne droplets, even if the temp inside is a hotbox 40°+. It may be those temps will effectively cook the virus off surfaces it lands on over time, but that won’t help the other passengers.

            1. xkeyscored

              CV ‘lives’ inside us in a different way to outside. Outside, it’s that blob with spikes we’ve all seen, doing nothing, except perhaps ‘die’, until it makes contact with an ACE2 receptor. And in that phase of its ‘life’, it doesn’t seem to like high temperatures. Inside our 37°C cells, it’s just the RNA and bits of protein and wotnot being made and assembled. The spiky bits get abandoned like a spent bullet case.
              But spluttering and sneezing in over-crowded tuk-tuks and jeepneys does sound risky to put it mildly, regardless of temperature and UV.

      2. Wukchumni

        If it goes loose in those countries at the rates we’ve seen in cooler climes, millions will die.

        This is us, and we’ll soon be playing ‘Reindeer Games’.

        In 1944, 29 reindeer were introduced to the island by the United States Coast Guard to provide an emergency food source. The Coast Guard abandoned the island a few years later, leaving the reindeer. Subsequently, the reindeer population rose to about 6,000 by 1963 and then died off in the next two years to 42 animals. A scientific study attributed the population crash to the limited food supply in interaction with climatic factors (the winter of 1963–64 was exceptionally severe in the region)] By the 1980s, the reindeer population had completely died out. Environmentalists see this as an issue of overpopulation. For example, ecologist Garrett Hardin cited the “natural experiment” of St. Matthew Island of the reindeer population explosion and collapse as a paradigmatic example of the consequences of overpopulation in his essay An Ecolate View of the Human Predicament.

    3. Kevin C. Smith

      Because nCoV-19 binds with 10,000 times the affinity of SARS to the AT2 receptor, I think this very high binding affinity will to some extent offset the effects of increasing temp and humidity. Best guess: the pandemic will, if the world is lucky, moderate somewhat with the onset of warmer weather, but it is very unlikely to back off to a useful degree unless we practice strict social isolation and handwashing.

      1. Ignacio

        The difference you signal explains most clinical and epidemiological differences between those closely related viruses, for the good (typically less harmful infections in the upper respiratory tract that only in a percentage of cases develop severe pneumonia but gives time for immune response) and the bad (too easy transmission) but I doubt this makes any significant difference between these virus regarding their stability at different temperatures and air water content. The reason that increasing both temp and water content won´t probably suffice to stop virus spread is, apart from the high infectivity, the fact that we still are all susceptible.

        I just cannot imagine keeping strict isolation for so long and to extend it throughout the summer. This would result in collateral damage well above of that of Covid-19 disease. Also, the summer could be the season that allows for the least damaging spread of the virus: reduced vulnerability, stronger immune response and reduced viral stability outside are good reasons to think this. I believe, or at least I want to believe that we will find ways to relax isolation measures to the point of letting most activities recover.

      2. Carolinian

        Best guess

        Please don’t guess. In fact, no offense to all but I’m not sure any of us who aren’t doctors should be venturing opinions on this.

        Up in links the “How to treat Coronavirus infection COVID-19/Scott Humor” is one I tried to link yesterday from another source. It’s a translated interview with a Russian doctor who has some very medical things to say about what the virus does inside your body. He does think the virus will fade with hot weather–similar to the flu–and at least his opinion is more informed that, say, mine. This may of course become a critical question for the US when it comes to “flattening the curve.”

        1. Robert Hahl

          Practical non-Rx advice from that article:

          Q: What would you recommend to a person who finds himself… Well, we have already agreed that the virus is in the general population. We can’t really control it anymore.

          A: Are you asking for some simple recommendations? First of all, take a good care for the nasal mucosa and oropharyngeal area.

          Q: To wash it with saltwater?

          A: Yes, wash it thoroughly. But “lors” – non-prescription medications and sinus cleaners to stop running nose and for an effective lavage. That is, the feeling of free unobstructed breath should come after all. The second thing is the oropharyngeal area behind the uvula. And there, too, you need to make a good lavage of the oropharyngeal region.

          Q: So you don’t just have to squirt it up your nose, you have to gargle it deep down your throat?

          A: Yes, and rinse it out. And don’t be lazy. Do do it until you get a feeling of clean, good airways. Of all the ways, this is the most effective. I would advise those people who can afford to buy a nebulizer or…

          Q: Do you mean, it’s aerosol, right? With ultrasound?

          A: Yes. And it allows the hygiene of the upper respiratory tract to be brought to a good state. When a cough starts, it is desirable to still apply the medications that we prescribe for patients with bronchial asthma. This is either Berodual, or Ventolin, or Salbutamol. Because these drugs improve mucociliary clearance, relieve spasm.

          Q: You mean expectorant?” Mucolytic ACC?

          A: Yes, ACC and Fluimucil. And what you can’t do is use glucocorticosteroids. This virus replication is rapidly increasing by them.

      3. Krystyn Walentka

        COVID19 attacked to the human AGTR1 receptor but many things effect receptor fucction that can inhibit infection through this route. Resveratrol is one of them.

        I do not understand why people this it is so hard to figure out what will help…

        Although the results were not statistically significant, the trends suggested that resveratrol and pterostilbene do promote the activation of AGTR1. Since this is the first time that the effect of resveratrol and pterostilbene on AGTR1 has been examined, more studies will need to be conducted at the receptor level to understand the compound’s ability to regulate receptor activity.

        Stilbene derivatives have wide range of activities. In an effort to find other potential activities of this kind of compounds, 17 derivatives, including resveratrol, were synthesized. Twelve of them were evaluated for their antiviral potential against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-induced cytopathicity in Vero E6 cell culture. The result showed that SARS virus was totally inhibited by compounds 17 and 19 ( ≤ 0.5 mg ml–1) and no significant cytotoxic effects were observed in vitro.

    4. xkeyscored

      I’d agree with this from the article. We can still hope warmer weather slows the virus, but it’s unlikely to stop it.

      “At best, warm weather might influence the spread but it will not see the end of it,” said Dale Fisher, chair of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by the World Health Organisation.

      “What is important is how effectively countries are isolating cases, removing people from communities. That’s the biggest factor, not the weather.”

    5. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve also seen on twitter that the Thai government has ordered the closure of bars and massage shops. This indicates I think that they are getting quite worried – lots of rumours that they’ve been hiding cases under the general classification of ‘viral pneumonia’.

    6. Charles 2

      The problem of Malaysia, and to a larger extent singapore and Brunei is aircon, which prevents air recycling and allows the virus to linger longer in the air and on surfaces.
      When one reads the narrative of Singapore cases, one often meets “10% class” people, who routinely travel internationally and are likely to jump from one aircon space to another.

      1. Charles 2

        Banning air-con in public places would seem an obvious thing to do, as it would reduce the persistency of the viruses in surfaces and would prevent people to stay too long in public places (if it is 30-35 degrees C into a shopping mall, one tends to quickly do the shopping and go).
        It is unfortunately politically difficult, as air-con is a prosperity marker in ASEAN. The father of Singapore Lee Kwan Yew cited aircon as one of the main factor for the transformation of singapore from third world to first. He was himself an air-con fanatic, requesting setting temperatures to 17 degrees C wherever he worked !
        In Muslim SE Asia, like Malaysia, another issue is that air-con has also enabled Wahabi inspired attire for women (tight headscarf covering the neck area, often coupled with a hat inside, double layers of clothing like long dresses with pants) that is completely unsuitable to the hot and humid climate. Middle class women would be unhappy if aircon was shut and they are the swing voters. If they were to drop the headscarf and dress the way their grandmother dressed 50 years ago, that would remove a significant community marker in a society where religious and cultural differences are quite flammable. The last thing the Malay Muslim phallocracts want is that their wife and daughters realize that, absent the clothing distinction, they are very much alike their neighbours of Chinese origin. I cannot count the times where my Malay wife, because she dresses like a westerner, is considered as a Chinese even by the Malay themselves…
        For a newly installed government, which for the first time in the history of Malaysia, is 100% Malay dominated, and is so unsure of its majority that it doesn’t want to sit the parliament BoJo style, a lockdown based shock doctrine is a more attractive proposition.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s broad swaths of the USA where if you look at a population map from 1950, there’s hardly anybody there (hello! Arizona) and then A/C shows up and makes wickedly hot places in the summer no big deal.

          When i’ve been in Phoenix in the hellish months (some would claim all 12 of them are like that), it’s kind of the opposite of being in northern Minnesota in the dead of winter, you go from one A/C to the next, warding off 114 in the shade.

          They’ve been bat shit crazy politically in Az to the right of right, and it was sort of a testing ground for what kinds of malarkey the GOP could pull elsewhere, and comeuppance see them sometime.

          1. Copeland

            And there is a not insignificant number of people who split their (remaining) time on this beautiful orb in only Arizona and Minnesota.

          2. Anon

            Umm, AZ has not been “bat shit crazy” politically to the right of right. Since AZ has been electing a State governor (1911) there have been more Dem governors than Repubs.

            While Barry Goldwater (1960’s) and Joe Arpaio (recent) are on the edge of sanity, state wide elections (governor) have produced predominately Dem governors over its history. It’s not the heat that makes the state crazy. It’s the air conditioning that allows initial snow-birds (winter visitors) to live there year round (through the Great America BakeOff).

        2. xkeyscored

          Many modern buildings here, and probably in Malaysia, are designed with the assumption of air-con. Without it, they rapidly become ovens.

          Vann Molyvann
          , arguably Cambodia’s greatest architect, was designing low-tech buildings with all sorts of passive cooling back in the 1960s. His work is now seen by many as quaint and outdated, as are the traditional kampong houses on stilts, which allow air to flow beneath the slatted floor, and provide a shaded area below for hanging out during the day.

          1. Charles 2

            Setting the aircon temperature to say, 30 degrees C, and combining it with a few ceiling opening would do the job in 80% of cases. It is a political problem, not a technical one.

          2. Charles 2

            Singapore high rise public housing, because they were designed for people who could not necessarily afford the electricity cost of air con, often have a ground floor with just pillars, where “hang out” areas, very appreciated by the retirees, are provided.
            Also, more often than not, the corridors are exposed to the outside, which is why the Singaporeans call their public housing “pigeonholes”. A lot of people install a grill door in front of their door so that they can open their door while preventing entry in their apartment. This allow for powerful natural air flows in the flat.

          3. Synoia

            I grew up in a house in Appapa (A suburb of Lagos) in Nigeria, 5 degrees N of the Equator, Tropical, with 80%+ humidity all year round. Our un-air-conditioned house was built of concrete, faced South, and had no direct sun, ever, on any window.

            The ground level of the house was about 2ft higher than ground level, to keep the snakes out of the house.

            The Upstairs, the sleeping area was screed to keep the bugs out, not air conditioned, with ceiling fans.

            The US in the south had similar designs of housed with verandas and porches to keep the sun off the living areas of houses.

      2. Charles 2

        I should add for good measure that hot and humid conditions are not a 100% shield against the coronavirus. Coronavirus combined with recklessness always win. To give you an idea of what the “super spreader” incident that triggered the coronavirus was like, check this linked article. It is truly Darwin Award grade…

  3. Tim

    B E K I N D

    B E S M A R T

    B E S A F E

    F E L L O W H U M A N S

    if somehow you’re still not paying attention – grow up

    1. Merf56

      I usually roll my eyes at posts like this, being the cynic I am. But thanks for this one.
      And if I may add a feel good – I read a story posted on Twitter ( it has been reposted several times so you all may have encountered it) about a family (in NYC?) having a bar Mitzvah blowout party. They had to of course cancel the party but not the caterer. Instead they had the caterer, at the family’s expense, repackage the food and gave it out to the needy and elders who were afraid to leave home to shop and asked friends who they knew needed help. It’s a small thing I know but it got to me…. Most people would threaten the caterer with a lawsuit to make sure they got their money back…
      I actually got tears in my eyes when I read it. I don’t ever do that.. sometimes the smallest humanity just knocks me out….

  4. floyd

    Re: Ventilators

    Another problem is that ventilators need consumable “circuits” which also need to be ramped up significantly. Until recently anyway the CDC used to pay ventilator companies to keep some ventilators in storage and test them from time to time to make sure they’re operable. But like a lot of things this money probably dried up for another bombing run in the Middle East.

    1. dearieme

      Do ventilators need skilled operators? If so will training them be the rate-limiting step?

      1. Alex morfesis

        Free online training available from various sources… Duck Duck “mechanical ventilator training” …15 yrs ago did training and prepared for in law who was in hospital on machine to bring her home to live her last moments in her own bedroom…

    2. Bill Carson

      ISTM that if Foxconn can make 10million or more new-model iPhones very quickly, that they can retool to make ventilators.

    3. Wukchumni

      The last F-35 flyover was about a fortnight ago here, I wonder if i’ll ever hear the loudmouth of the skies again, and what a colossal waste of money when it could’ve been spent on anything else, just one of those stupid planes would’ve bought all the n95 masks the entire country needed.

      1. Bill Carson

        We can’t stop making them now—-“It’s the economy, stupid.” (Thanks again, James Carville.)

      2. dearieme

        I still hope against hope that Boris will cancel the preposterous HS2 railway. This is the perfect chance.

    4. MLTPB

      Citing the article, 62,000 uptodate machines immediately available, and 99,000 obsolete ones that can be pulled out of storage.

      That gives reasons for hope, and to act now as well.

      Judging by his modus operandi, if the US is buying, it is not likely to be in the news.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        for those of us that care; I recently had a harebrained thought that it would be a great idea to get an oxygen concentrator for my family’s potential needs. I checked them out online and found that refurbished units are available for a reasonable price. ONE major problem.
        Oxygen requires a prescription. My doctor said that becaue I don’t have hypoxia, he can’t give me a prescription for a concentrator.
        So with functional oxygen concentrators that could go to the public now outlawed by the FDA, I have to ask; The instructions for using an Oxy concentrator are, set the liters per minute and clean it (much like a cpap machine) regularly.
        So my fellow Americans, we have resources that could be in the community rapidly, and the manufacturers would then need to make more to handle the vast spread of a virus that is known to affect the lungs. But our health isn’t important.
        One has to wonder when the people are going to get mad about this kind of treatment.

        1. Liberal Mole

          Used ones are for sale without a prescription. I have one for flame working glass and got it off craigslist. I recently bought tubing and a mask just in case, my spouse has pulmonary issues and already nebulizes twice daily. I don’t think this concentrator is certified but were talking about dealing with possible disaster. I know its putting out O by the blue quality of my flame.

    5. Samuel Conner

      Are the “consumables” discarded because contaminated, or actually “consumed”

      I read that some companies have in recent years been “refurbishing” heart catherization catheters, which at first had been “single use, then discard” by sterilizing them. It reduced the cost significantly. Perhaps this is possible with other medical devices.

      It’s conceivable to me that this might be feasible for some of the medical tech and perhaps even PPE if resupply cannot be ramped up quickly enough. I earnestly hope that someone (many someones) at the mid-levels in the health-care system (the top levels being, like Boeing, populated with financial types rather than subject matter experts) is looking in to this.

      1. pasha

        yes, they do sterilize and re use them. unfortunately, many hospitals have recently merged, failing to expand their sterilization facilities.
        a friend had a heart catheterization for a minor procedure, at a recently merged hospital; the catheter hadn’t been properly sterilized. she went into toxic shock and died. oops.

        there was a reason they were originally one use only: human stupidity and cupidity

  5. General Jinjur

    The NYT has an opinion piece that some readers may find interesting since masks for prevention have been discussed on this site.

    Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks – really interesting and basically confirms some info that NC has been providing over the past months. Here’s the link :

      I had exactly 2 masks. A kind soul in India gave them to us and we wore them as soon as our plane landed in Paris and on the way home in the cab. Now I am resorting to scarves and a Damart ski mask if I have to go to the grocery. I can’t find masks in France.

      Also, on the ground situation in Normandy: food stores are out of a lot of basic provisions. No chicken, eggs, butter, tomatoes, olive oil, liquid soap, red wine, baker’s yeast. I was planning on baking to get us through the next few weeks. Hope stocks increase.

      On the lockdown: Mrs Bunny kindly went to the drive thru at the local Carrefour and the pharmacy today (I’m terrified because I have asthma). She had to write out her reasons for leaving the house on a signed attestation and bring it along. In Rouen, the police set up checkpoints and are pulling people over. The fine for violations is €135. Pharmacists were properly kitted out in gloves and masks, grocery workers, not.

  6. hemeantwell

    Re the Johnstone article, point 5 is very much worth considering. Is this a point in time when China, more capable of both containing the virus and extending aid to other countries, reprises important aspects of the US’ role in the mid 20th c?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      China is very much deciding not to let a crisis go to waste. They are now officially spreading the rumour that the virus was started in the US (not just for domestic consumption, Chinese embassies have been spreading it), and they are going large with munificence on sending out medical supplies around the world. So they certainly see it as an opportunity, and certainly in the US and Europe the governments have been far too slow and stupid to react, so they are gifting China this opening.

      1. Ignacio

        But on the other hand governments around the world are painfully realising how stupid was to become so dependent on China for supplies and there is no chance that Chinese driven rumours get any motion except may be in a few South Asian partners. The example of Italian 3D printers allowing to skip dependence on Chinese supplies could be the first of many examples on how to regain some control on the supply chains. I don’t think that Chinese PR efforts are going to be effective counteracting the realisation that it is not good to depend on all on China… or may be yes given climbing stupidity levels these days).

        1. Bill Carson

          If China is smart, they will move some of their manufacturing capabilities around the globe.

          1. ObjectiveFunction

            Already well underway. Chinese enterprises have long been keen to diversify out from under Beijing’s thumb for many of the same reasons multinationals always have.

            It’s a growing club, but you still ain’t in it….

      2. David

        I think there are many areas of the world where the Chinese rumors will be instantly credible: many parts of the Middle East and Africa, for example, where conspiracy theory is the normal method of political analysis, even among the educated. After all (applying the same logic we see on MoA for example), who benefits? Which were the two countries first and worst affected? China and Iran. Can this possibly be a coincidence? Obviously not. It’s clear that this was a CIA/MI6 operation to destroy the Chinese economy and overthrow the regime in Iran, mumble mumble Vietnam, mumble mumble Gulf War mumble mumble Syria, mumble mumble Skripal, mumble mumble 77 Brigade. If you won’t accept that it just shows you’re a CIA asset yourself. By contrast, of course, the opposite conspiracy theory that it was a leak from a Chinese military project, will seem obviously true to lots of others. I mean, there was the only BioSecurity Level 4 containment establishment in the whole country just down the road, and you’re telling me that’s a coincidence? Come off it.
        That said, I don’t think the Chinese will exploit this situation in a blatant and aggressive fashion, as the US might. Indeed, it’s hard to explain to people that the US mode of international neo-imperialism is rare, if not unprecedented, in history, and that other nations don’t necessarily want to adopt it even if they could. This, incidentally, is why I’ve stopped reading Johnstone: I often agree with her, but at the end of the day she only knows what she reads, and chooses to believe, in the media. Here, she’s in the embarrassing situation for one accustomed to spreading conspiracy theories, of saying that, er, this particular one isn’t true.

        1. xkeyscored

          the opposite conspiracy theory … will seem obviously true to lots of others.

          Umm. I noticed, on another site, the very same commenters switching from one version to the other in a couple of days, berating anyone who didn’t wholly accept the story of the day as a stooge of whoever.

        2. Clive

          Yes indeed, reminds me of the last U.K. Foot and Mouth disease outbreak caused by, drumroll please… the Foot and Mouth virus testing laboratory

          (irony fans will note, if they read the article, the problem was suspected to be a drain line which was known to be defective, but there was a budget-holder wrangle about who should pay to fix it! laugh? I almost died guffawing — you can see how we’re the country which brought you Monty Python and Fawlty Towers…)

          1. Ignacio

            But Foot and Mouth disease is caused by an extremely stable agent and research has to be confined within the best biosafety standards. So it is not that weird there was an escape. For instance, it was long ago found that veterinarian’s cars visiting different farms could spread the disease in the wheels of their vehicles. So, these have to be sanitized before leaving a farm with suspected cases. And veterinarians must go with full protective clothing (including shoes) that has to be discarded properly.

            1. Clive

              Yes, you’re absolutely right of course. I was was more jesting that with all the conspiracy theory nonsense that gets flung out, the far more likely cause is cock-up or just bad luck / happenstance.

        3. PlutoniumKun

          Last week I was really surprised when two people I knew – both science trained, both very educated, both asked me what I thought about the ‘theory’ they read on the internet – and both recited one of the now familiar (and generally disproved, if you can disprove these things), conspiracy theories about the virus.

          People are always (and I’m no exception) ready to accept a theory that matches my priors. The ‘leak’ theory wasn’t so outlandish to me as I know people who worked in Birmingham University when the notorious escape of smallpox occurred many years ago. And of course, as a good anti-imperialist, I’m always ready to buy into the notion of US nefariousness.

          With this virus, I think its very clear that its a genuine natural occurrence, accelerated by the incompetence and corruption of the Chinese authorities, who have been warned for years about the dangers in the wet markets and wild animal trade. But then again, western authorities have been ignoring warnings for years about the overuse of antibiotics in our farming, so nobody is innocent in this.

          But on the subject of the Chinese, they know well the value of a consistent narrative. Once a significant number of people buy into the notion that it was all a US plot, they are on their way to creating a narrative (which like nearly all narratives, has some grain of truth), that China was a victim on this, and out of the goodness of its heart, it is saving the day for countries around the world by sending out consignments of masks and ventilators and who knows what. To everyones surprise, Xi could well come out a big winner from all this.

          1. Wukchumni

            We grow a veritable shitlode of food here in the golden state, and all of the water is moved via electric pumps, and when the power gets turned off, all of that largess dies off within 3 weeks if not sooner. We’re talking about 500 million fruit & nut trees.

            And by the way, that means none of it gets exported to Asia, who used to count on it being there, along with soybeans and everything grown that needs electricity/gas.

            This also means the delivery system of imported freshwater to SoCal will be compromised big-time, yikes!

          2. WJ

            “With this virus, I think its very clear that its a genuine natural occurrence, accelerated by the incompetence and corruption of the Chinese authorities, who have been warned for years about the dangers in the wet markets and wild animal trade.”

            China–or Chinese sources–claims that there were documented Covid19 cases prior to the outbreak at the wet market. If this is true, then the conventional narrative of COVID19 originating from within the wet market can’t be true.

            I don’t *believe* China. I also don’t *believe* the US. All I know is that people are getting sick and dying, etc.

            1. Ignacio

              So what? The fact that the disease was first noticed in the wet market (though the real origin of the zoonosis is widely thought to have occurred before) is very telling about the absence of hygiene in places like this. Do you think it was by chance? Think twice. Regarding the origin, that may never be elucidated there are still some data that are quite suggestive on the potential origin. A recent paper showed that SARS CoV 1 and 2 both cluster within the Sarbecovirus subgenus of which all members identified to date infect bats and the rest have been isolated in civets (that have been shown to be the intermediate host for SARS CoV 1) and humans (Both SARS species). The isolate most similar to SARS CoV 2 has been, to my knowledge, identified in a Chinese bat species from Wunnan. It is also known that bats have commercial use in China and they are used in obscure Traditional Chinese Medicine practices. It might be the case this one passed to humans without the help of an intermediate host but as a consequence of this bat trafficking.

            2. skk

              As soon as someone sneers at theories as ‘conspiracy theory’. I just skip on down. since its very unlikely they will lay out the facts of those theories let alone their variants. Its classic ‘ad hominem’, and progress of any discussion is likely to take the path somewhat like ‘Godwins Law’ – ending up with analogies to “flat earth”.

                1. skk

                  In addition to ad hominem then one also gets “when did you stop beating your mother ?” arguments. Also known as “loaded questions”.

            3. rtah100

              The WHO mission report confirms that four out of five first cases had no connection with the wet market and the SCMP claimed a few days ago to have evidence of Chinese records of patients with COVID19 in mid November (which matches the back-projections done by epidemiologists).

              Currently (unless I have missed an udpate) there is a single strain tree, leading back to two identical infections in Wuhan and Chongqing. There have been no subsequent introductions of independent strains, suggesting that there is no zoonotic reservoir of infection.

              Finally, there is a second virology institute a few hundred meters from the wet market with a significant recent publishing record of gain-of-function experiments in “SARS-like bat coronaviruses”, to characterise the public health risk they pose. There is a well documented history of biosecurity concerns in China, including infection incidents, hazardous waste disposal and the sale of laboratory animals. Given the West’s history of leaks / biosecurity failures (Pirbright foot and mouth, Birmingham smallpox, Marburg for the eponymous virus), a Chinese research lab containment failure should not be discounted.

              Frankly, it’s irrelevant which bottle the genie came from as long as we put it back in one. We can never know its origin but we can control its spread, even at this late hour.

              1. WJ

                Can you provide a link to the source of your claim that there is a single strain tree? This is not a hostile question. I’ve read several different reconstructions of the transmission history of the virus in the past few days, and am just trying to collect reputable primary sources at this point. I suspect that we are still some time away from having a definitive, agreed-upon history of transmission for this virus. But this assumption may already be out of date, hence the request for your source. Cheers!

                1. xkeyscored

                  Have you seen this? Info up to March 11. With interactive graphics.

                  This phylogeny shows evolutionary relationships of hCoV-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) viruses from the ongoing novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This phylogeny shows an initial emergence in Wuhan, China, in Nov-Dec 2019 followed by sustained human-to-human transmission leading to sampled infections. Although the genetic relationships among sampled viruses are quite clear, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding estimates of transmission dates and in reconstruction of geographic spread. Please be aware that specific inferred transmission patterns are only a hypothesis.

                  We gratefully acknowledge the authors, originating and submitting laboratories of the genetic sequence and metadata made available through GISAID on which this research is based. A full listing of all originating and submitting laboratories is available below. An attribution table is available by clicking on “Download Data” at the bottom of the page and then clicking on “Strain Metadata” in the resulting dialog box.

      3. hemeantwell

        Did China initiate the blaming, or were they responding to Trump’s story with one of their own?

        1. MLTPB

          The conspiracy theory about a lab in Wuhan circulates in both China and the US, I recall, if correctly, among private citizens, including Falwell, and one senator or congressman spoke of it a few times, though it is not the official position of the US.

          The latest row started with an article written by the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, linking it to the CIA. If that is not the official position of China, Beijing can clarify.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The rumour has been circulating since I think January on Chinese social media (I don’t read mandarin, but a Chinese friend asked me about it). It struck me at the time as significant that it wasn’t being quashed by the censors as stories like these usually are. I think they were allowing it to circulate on the basis that these are useful, and so when Trump put his foot in it, it went ‘semi-official’.

    2. xkeyscored

      Absolutely. We knew the US can’t make safe planes, can’t make missile defence systems that protect their Saudi gangster friends’ assets, etc. Now we see they can’t make WURS test kits, and want Germany to give them exclusive access to a vaccine under development. (“Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD.)

      Not to mention what we might see in the US in coming weeks.

  7. David

    As of a few minutes ago, France is effectively under house arrest. Everybody with a mobile phone received a message from the government this morning with instructions to stay at home except for a few defined purposes. There was a link to a form which you have to print and fill in each time you want to go out, or write out in manuscript. One hundred thousand police and gendarmes will be deployed to enforce this policy, which in the first instance will last for two weeks.
    Macron’s speech last night – the second in less than a week – was not particularly well received. From a technical perspective, I thought it was badly constructed and unconvincing, probably written in a great hurry. For example Macron spoke of a state of “war” seven times, but also said that these measures were unprecedented “in peacetime.” These are the sorts of contradictions that experienced speechwriters pick up, but the Elysée seems to have missed them. There was lots of vacuous rhetoric, but much less direct information. It was left to Castaner, the Interior Minister, to fill in the gaps at a news conference later;
    The reason why the speech was broadcast last night is probably that the government realized very quickly that the decision to go ahead with the first round of the municipal elections last week was a mistake, and it was therefore necessary to cancel the second round on Sunday. But a government can’t just say “sorry, we made a mistake”, so other things have to be added as well, probably measures that were going to be announced in a few days anyway. Rather like Johnson, Macron has discovered that this isn’t quite the job he thought he was applying for.
    You’ll probably see pictures of the Champs Elysées deserted at midday, but that’s not where the problems are likely to come from. They will come from two sources, possibly echoed in other countries as well. One, the major concern, is the banlieuex, the rough suburbs around Paris and the major cities. There, the population is mainly of immigrant origin, sometimes first generation. Many older people don’t speak French: quite a few, especially the young, are illiterate, many are there illegally, and whole extended families of 8-10 people live crowded together in one apartment. Over the last fifteen years, the State has pretty much given up on these areas: no serious attempt, for example, is made to oblige parents to send their children to school. The social and educational services are overwhelmed, the police are largely absent for fear of provoking conflict and even the emergency services rarely go into some areas for fear of being attacked as representatives of the State. Power at street level is held by drug traffickers and Salafist preachers from the Gulf who are taking over the mosques, and at local level by politicians (often white and some of them allegedly left-wing) who make accommodations with these caids in return for votes. So we’ll see, but let’s just say that there are parts of France, where millions of people live, in which enforcing these edicts is going to be tougher than enforcing them in a chic arrondissement of Paris or Bordeaux. Likewise, there are areas of several cities where there are large groups of illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe, living in tents (if they are lucky) with no running water or sanitation. Most of them are happy if they get to wash their hands once a day. Such encampments may well be ground zero for any sustained outbreak, and it’s not helped by the fact that there are already other relatively rare diseases reported from such areas.

    1. Ignacio

      Oh man, what you wrote about the debilitation of the state to almost non existing/enforcing in these areas is shocking, coming from France. If they leave them up to their destiny it will be an epic failure that could be compared with wartime ghettoes. Am I exaggerating? Probably yes but yet this would be a shame.

      1. xkeyscored

        It’ll be a bit different to what happened in wartime ghettos. It’ll spread beyond.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you and well said, David.

      I watched the speech live and was equally staggered.

      With regard to camps, there’s one across the road from the side entrance to Auteuil racecourse, by the bus stops to and fro Porte Maillot. From a distance, one can’t tell if the residents are local homeless or migrants from eastern Europe. There are camps in the forests around Saint-Gatien and Ouistreham, Normandy, and around Calais and to the east, just shy of the Belgian border.

      There are mounted police patrols as some of the terrain is awkward for vehicles, but the camps remain and the occupants wander around with, apparently, little to fear.

      1. John A

        In my small village in Herault, there has been one confirmed case of coronavirus but people were maintaing a reasonably normalish existence until Macron’s speech. Now the mood is one of hysteria dialled up to the maximum and total panic. The local tabac has forms you can pick up to fill in to explain why you are not at home if you can’t do this online.

        1. epynonymous

          My brother reported from central america, and said that everything yesterday there was party all the time.

          Also, reports on FB said that internet providers are going to extend free service to those without, so they can attend online schools? (Again, turns out they could have just done this the whole time, as a public good and a utility… but right now who’s gonna do the wiring and distribute the modems, etc??)

          Unrelated, the world’s chess leagues will be continuing, with the players all being tested twice a day in the interim.

          “Let the Sun Shine In” – Aquarius

        2. MLTPB

          It’s tricky.

          Too early, it causes panic. Too late, there is a price to pay.

          When we first read about an eraly case in N Italy, three customers of the bar owned by the father of a patient got it there.

          Governments could have closed down bars in various infected countries then, or soon after.

          But would that been criticized as panic causing?

          When the governments waited until certain numbers of cases, did they act too late?

          1. Massinissa

            IMO, better too early than too late. What is the worst that happens from panicking too early? People buy too much toilet paper and frozen meals?

    3. JTMcPhee

      What are the odds of mass deaths in the banlieus and “encampments?” Maybe some ministers cynically hope that these obscure challenges to the order of things will “self-rectify?” As some here in the US, by their policy responses and public silence, appear to be hoping? Ignoring such potential concentrations of virus shedders could be bad for the upper crust who apparently get off on living near the poor. Poop on the streets equals uncontained transmission, etc.

      1. Wukchumni

        The buildup of homeless in our state was something to see, along with pride of gun ownership, and if we were to lose our humanity, it would come at the expense of these ‘useless eaters’, who have nothing in food reserves and will be not getting any handouts from here out, and will get increasingly desperate, as anybody in their position would.

        1. Billy

          “The buildup of homeless in our state”
          Everyone who is threatened by the situation you describe at least has the escape to go back where they came from.

          Immigrants have Central America or Mexico. Free flights for illegals who turn themselves in, zero border controls southbound. Midwesterners, or people from small town America, “getting a fresh start here” have Greyhound. At the local level, Gay youth, 1/3 of San Francisco’s homeless, the mentally ill, another 1/3, with overlaps, have relatives and home towns, no matter how onerous.
          Problem is, after self segregating in “communities” likely to be exposed, who will allow them back in?

      2. David

        Considerable, I would think, but it’s not just that. The problem (Ignacio and others might like to chime in here) is that it would be very hard to keep any outbreak confined to one area. Most of the people in the encampments are in a desperate situation, and resort to anything to survive. Many of the young men have what the French call a “petit boulot” – a job in the informal sector that brings in enough to stop them starving. Sometimes this is relatively legal – washing dishes in restaurants, delivering parcels – and sometimes it’s in the service of organized crime, which is the only law in most of these places. In the last few years, the Police have been dismantling organized robbery and begging gangs in different parts of France. The MO is usually that children are sent out to steal (in the Paris Metro, fo example) and women and children to beg. They are given quotas, anecdotally €100 per day, and beaten if they don’t perform. The point is that all this brings them into contact with people in the formal economy and in other areas of the major cities. Hurrah for globalization.

        1. Ignacio

          Indeed, when you are trying to enforce isolation these encampments may act both as reservoirs and origin of outbreaks outside.

          1. Monty

            6666 cases in france now, doubling every 3 days give x 512 in 30 days from now.
            r.i.p les banlieuex

        2. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, David.

          When working for Barclays on Avenue Friedland and across the road from the Arc, I came across the same “family” daily by the office. Also next door to Vivendi. As I stayed nearby, I used to get to the office early and watch them being dropped from, of all vehicles, a Mercedes S Class, get a last minute talk and then take up position. For a strange reason, they would always greet me in Arabic, which is not what they speak amongst themselves. I don’t know how the adult couple could keep a babe in arms outside on cold days.

          One recognises similar modus operandi around Marylebone and Baker Street in London.

          Near the Eiffel Tower, one could observe Mr Big watching his “team” beg and harass from a distance. The police did not bother with him.

          The gangs would also operate on the Metro. There they “steam” through carriages.

      3. MLTPB

        Maybe people in or near San Frsncisco can add to that last sentence about the streets.

        Did that partially motivate the shelter in place order yesterday? I think NY is also considering that.

  8. xkeyscored

    Restore soil to absorb billions of tonnes of carbon: study PhysOrg

    Great idea, but overall we’re still heading in the opposite direction. Less land devoted to crops to feed animals grown for meat, perhaps?

    “Most of the ongoing destruction of these ecosystems is about expanding the footprint of agriculture, so slowing or halting that expansion is an important strategy,” said Deborah Bossio, principal study author and lead soil scientist for The Nature Conservancy.

    There is simply not enough space to feed 10 billion people by 2050 and limit catastrophic climate change, its 1,000-page study warned.

    Agriculture already contributes as much as a third of all greenhouse gas emissions and vast amounts of food are wasted, driving global inequality.

  9. JacobiteInTraining

    Interesting – Ventec Life Systems, one of the ventilator manufacturers in the article on ramping up production is very near me, almost within walking distance.

    I checked their website/careers and I only see 9 named positions open…but the types of positions hint at the very early phases of rampup/preparing perhaps?

    – Senior Test Automation Engineer, Test Tech, Customer Service Engineer, CS Manager. Also Clinical Liaisons – looks like the kind of people who train others to use the ventilators. And a position for a Senior Accountant and Sales Executive because….well because of course.

    I happen to already work in distance learning/IT in a job that was 100% work-from-home before this all started…but I may just wander back to their careers section from time to time to see at what point the positions open page ever starts including line personnel. Then again, I assume prod/assembly of these things is never gonna need the kind of Rosie the Riveter peeps as in wars previous….but I could see (if we had our s**t together in the US) a new ‘National War Labor Board’ assigning priority to places like this.

    1. hunkerdown

      “Careers” are the diametric opposite of industry, to hear Veblen tell it. They might hire line personnel through a staffing firm so that management doesn’t have to be responsible for it.

  10. TMoney

    All this isolation should be put to good use. I don’t thing the current approach will stop the corona virus. We should be actively infecting and isolating a portion of 18-40 year olds who live in a household with no compromised people (over 50). Then two weeks later we have a cardre of people with antibodies, who can’t infect anyone – who can help. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The current approach only delays most of the infections – important for sure (see China and Italy).

    I worry about China getting a resurgence as the lockdowns are lifted. The current approach could work if we are locked down enough for all the cases to die out. One infectious person on a plane and we are back to square one.

    NC readers is that realistic ? I don’t think so but I’m certainly not qualified to say that !

    1. TMoney

      For the record, as the horrible person suggesting this, I would be the first person deliberately infected.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          There will be a concerted rush to get away from those asking us to voluntarily meander into the rotating knives. No country appears to have elevated “a” doctor specialized in public health, to a position where they set the rules, rather than a politician being in charge whose whole world revolves around confustication, prevarication and facial excrement delivery. That would be too too civilized.

      1. integer

        Ames corrected his tweet to people under 60 (after NYT corrected their article), and the cases are supposedly linked to anti-inflammatory drugs. Read the whole thread. One tweet in the thread says the French government is now advising against the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

          1. SKM

            a propos of this idea that NSAIDs reduce our capacity to fight this virus, I heard a virologist on a German tV station today classify this as fake news! He was very clear about it and said the notion had started in France. Tomorrow I`-m going to try and find what this is all about.
            I too listened to Macron live and wasn`t a bit surprised to hear prof Grimaldi voice the disgust of the medical community at M saying the hospitals were ready etc after all the austerity that had been ruthlessly applied to them. They all say they are NOT ready and are all exhausted before the onslaught. this link gives a good brief summary of their position for those of you who read French. The other galling thing was how he more or less chastised the population for carrying on as normal – this after clear signals from the govt and media until yesterday that this was ok – subtext always being was that the Italian situation and response was nothing that could happen in France. Also why do we have to be told repeatedly we are “at war”???? To say nothing of Boris and the British idiocy and volte-face….. as some-one said here “who is in charge”?

            1. PlutoniumKun

              Its certainly not fake news – there is a genuine difference of scientific opinion over this – why it should be so extreme I’ve no idea. Quite eminent doctors have been saying for many years that as a fever is a natural body response to a viral infection no drugs should be taken that interfere with its mechanism – and this includes all anti-inflammatories. Dr. John Campbell (actually a PhD in nursing) strongly expouses this view. I personally know at least one hospital consultant (emergency medicine) who has always insisted that only paracetamol should be taken for minor non-specific illnesses, anti-inflammatories should only be taken for obvious inflammatory problems.

              However, most medical authorities say there is no evidence for this, although why some are so vociferous about this I really don’t know. But given the very high quality of the French medical system, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be saying this if there wasn’t a very good reason.

              Since these drugs are only for relieving symptoms, not actual treatment, then on a personal basis, I will only now take paracetamol if and when I get the virus. But that’s a persona decision.

        1. Cuibono

          based n absoltely ZERO evidence but a paper proposing a theory that this could be the case in Lancet unless i am mistaken

    2. MLTPB

      Deliberately infecting young people is way different from seeking therapy help from those who have recovered.

  11. xkeyscored

    Then two weeks later we have a cardre of people with antibodies
    – but a smaller cadre than before. Younger people are less likely to get it bad or die, but some of them will. Even assuming they’d let themselves be actively infected (in the US – 2nd amendment?).
    Also, there has been talk of possible re-infection, with it being more serious second time round. I’m not sure if that angle’s been decided either way yet.

    1. Lemmy Caution

      The talk of possible re-infection that produces worse outcomes than the first go-round is terrifying. Just like the number of infected cases here doubles every 2-3 of days, the grimness of the pandemic situation seems to double at about the same.

      Considering that a week ago here in Michigan we were still in the joking-to-uneasy mode and now we have all schools and non-essential businesses and organizations closed down, I wouldn’t be surprised if next week we have troops roaming the streets to enforce curfews.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been mentioning cutting off gas supplies to stations to force people to shelter in place, but cutting off electricity would get the job done as well, and here the power companies already have experience from cutting power off in a wildfire scenario, so it’d be dead easy. That means this missive or maybe tomorrow’s or the next day’s one might be the last you’ll hear from me, or you.

        No internet, and people will go shit stir crazy.

        1. cnchal

          > . . . but cutting off electricity would get the job done as well . . .

          Got a fridge? Got an oven? Got a sump pump?

          You might want to rethink that. It is not about keeping the power sucking data centers going so one can watch porn when there is nothing better to do.

        2. Carolinian

          We’re already stir crazy. As a movie fan it’s bizarre to watch the world turn into a bad movie plot.

        3. Eureka Springs

          Cutting off electricity/refrigeration would prompt people with guns to go anywhere and everywhere in search of food much sooner and in greater numbers.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Dr. John Campbell thinks the odds are low that people will get re-infected. at about 1:20. He points out that it turns out a lot of people who look like they catch it twice are really just taking a longer than usual time to fully recover. He explains it (see video I just linked at 1:20) better than I.

        That doesn’t speak to mutations. Last I heard about that topic, again from Dr. Campbell, other than the first mutation ( I believe to a less virulent form), the virus has remained relatively stable of mutations that would get around antibodies AND fit the receptors. But still, mutation might be a more worrisome concern than not making successful antibodies. I could be wrong.

  12. Michael

    “”Dollar General says it plans dedicate the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers.

    The retailer says it wants to provide the at-risk group with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods. “”

    Walmart, Target, Costco to follow?

    1. pretzelattack

      i wonder if they card you at the door.
      acceptable forms of id will include medicare cards and drivers licences.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The report on the ground from Woolworth’s was not good, the mood was very scary indeed. Very long lines at opening times, seniors grabbing supplies from disabled people, shoving people aside. The one security guard thankfully did not check IDs at the door for age, he just let the thronging mass in.

    2. Phillip Allen

      Stop & Shop has instituted reduced hours, I think chain-wide, and at least locally has started a seniors-only shopping period from 6-7:30 am. Which is grand, as far as it goes. In my little town in northwest CT, public transportation that would allow those of us without cars to get to the grocery store doesn’t begin service until 8:00 am at the earliest.

    3. John

      A good idea, I suppose, but I do not use any of those stores so it is null as far as I am concerned, but it does show a degree of concern for those of us who appear to be the most vulnerable.

  13. Wukchumni

    Colorado Suspects Virus Cluster in Ski-Resort Region Bloomberg
    In retrospect, the perfect storm of events.

    Anywhere from .01%’ers to 10%’ers, with a wide mix of jet setting nationalities thrown in for good measure, all breathing in each others air in lift-lines, on the chair lift, @ warming huts & restaurants.

    Seeing as most flew in to DIA, that’s compromised big time as well, and will be laying waste to the Rocky Mountain state, wow, it’s like a horror film and the virus is Jack Nicholson…

    Here’s Johnny!

    1. The Rev Kev

      Going by that story about that virus cluster in that Colorado ski-resort, I’m glad that you bailed out of that ski trip that you mentioned a few days ago. Otherwise you may have found yourself quarantined in some other ski-resort and away from everything that you have built up for yourself at home.

      1. Bill Carson

        It was reported two weeks ago that Colorado’s first announced case of CoV was a guy who flew in from Italy, where he had been skiing, to DIA, then he went skiing at Vail and Keystone.

        I’ve been telling people around here—-if you had malicious intent you couldn’t have done a better job of spreading this virus into the heart of America. All those other skiers from all over the States and the world come here, get infected, and fly back out to all regions.

        1. MLTPB

          Looking at a recent case map, with all the eastern states worse hit than California, per capita, I think while we focused on China, the thing spread from Italy, to us and many nations. In that sense, the Atlatic article could be about the whole world, not just us, is not up to task. Of course, we want to be tougher on ourselves, which is true of any nation or group.

      2. Wukchumni


        Just a week ago, I was going-no doubt about it.

        …things change

        I doubt very much if i’ll ever ski @ a resort again~

        1. Wukchumni


          Seeing as it’ll never happen again, this was a day in the life for me, any old day really. 41 years of skiing @ resorts in the US, NZ & Europe.

          I was fortunate to meet through a friend, an amazing group of talented skiers who were very much my equal in ability-carbon copies you might say. They all hailed from San Diego, skiing capital of the world not exactly. One was pushing 60 on the lower end and 70 on the other end. Everybody had 40-55 years of skiing under their boots.

          Where people get killed in resorts was usually skiing/boarding through the trees, and they’re really like big steel girder beams, they ain’t got no give.

          I’d never ski through the trees with skimp cover, but with nice powder, yeah, i’m in,

          We’d do 23 to 25 runs a day, with an hour and a half to catch Coronavirus and/or lunch in between runs.

          Almost all blue runs, and in say a 4 day trip with 7 of us skiing together in tandem (we’d get off a chair, and somebody would say, down to Broadway, and off we’d go, arriving within a few minutes of each other at the bottom, and between us, 3 or 4 falls of no consequence in the 4 day span.

          The last 4 years were the best best skiing years of my life, what fun!

    2. temporal

      re: Colorado Suspects Virus Cluster in Ski-Resort Region of State

      The Colorado National Guard is preparing to conduct field tests in the Telluride area on Tuesday, Scott Bookman, state health department incident commander, said in a conference call with reporters.

      Fields tests are different than drive-up tests in that they are aimed at tracking the velocity of the virus spread.

      So does this mean that the National Guard will be testing for the virus at road blocks or testing the viability of road blocks?

    3. curlydan

      The Kansas Dept of Health issued a warning yesterday saying that anyone returning from those 4 “ski counties” in Colorado needs to quarantine themselves for 14 days. I had some friends staying in a cabin in Summit County. They were going to stay the week, but they left yesterday. If you’ve got to quarantine for 14 days, might as well start it now.

      1. Bill Carson

        I love Summit County and hate to see this. Your post reminded me to check in to the local Summit County newspaper, and I can tell just from scanning the headlines that things are looking grim.

        Summit Daily

        1. MLTPB

          Deceived by thinking one’s back to Nature, being outdoor, and far away from bad news out of China, Iran, Italy, etc.

          I note the neighboring farm-country states with relatively low numbers of cases.

          How would Mark Twian respond to or update his own quote, recited by Joseph Resendo, in his travel shows, that travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness?

          Instead of travel, only appropriate, limited , well planned, occasional travel, by a number that is less than mass, as in mass tourism?

      2. MLTPB

        Again, it seems this thing is infiltrating on the backs of well to do people all over the world, spreading to hobbits who rarely venture out of their shire.

        And to mitigate, many of us are single-using bags, gloves and masks.

  14. Mikerw0

    Per your comment about variable annuities, unless something changed since the last two times these products got into trouble you should assume they are not hedged.

    Most of these products have market step-ups built into them that are too expensive to hedge (and besides markets only go up, right?). Also, as the insurer pays the sales commission in cash on sale they create a large deferred acquisition cost account that they amortize. These accounts sunk Equitable, Skandia and Conseco.

    Lastly, a close friend is the Chief Investment Officer for a large life insurer. He told me over the weekend that they spent last week trying to call down their revolvers to have $1.5Bn in cash to work with. Telling.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’ve a very good friend who is taking “comfort” in the fact that her annuity is “guaranteed” and has “nothing to do with the stock market.”

      I’m inclined to believe that one of the as yet unacknowledged casualties of the present situation will be the word “guarantee.”

        1. human

          It appears that gold continues to be manipulated as witnessed last week with a smackdown as it broached $1700 during a period of increased demand.

            1. human

              Reviewed the data available at

              I keep an eye on precious metal prices and demand.

              1. Clive

                You’ve established effect. I’m still waiting for your proof of cause.

                That said, I can’t be hypocritical here, there is something in my mind and intuition that I can’t quite shake that all this is a little like that scene in The Matrix where everything shimmers and someone or something has reset the parameters and, while everything looks the same as it was before, there’s a plot-twist being intentionally introduced.

                But to go back to my first line, suspicion isn’t proof.

                1. human

                  Then, a large position (or several) caused a 10% drop in price during a period of increased retail demand.

                  Another example of basic economics disconnect.

                  Point taken. Just reporting my observations.

          1. Massinissa


            No thanks. Can’t eat gold, can’t drink it, and it would make an ineffective mask.

            1. eg

              Always find it amusing that the loudest and most persistent “buy gold!”voices are those who, wait for it, SELL gold.

              I mean, if it’s such a great time to be buying (and with them, that’s all the time), why are they always selling it?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Nothing to see here.

            Happened all the time during the crisis. Investors dumped gold as their least distressed position to meet margin calls. This is bog standard expected behavior.

    2. Drake

      MetLife is one of the stocks I’ve been following regularly because it’s so often recommended as a safe high-dividend stock, well-run, well-capitalized, yadda-yadda. It’s been negative all morning while the S&P is up over 4%. I haven’t yet seen any good reason for this, but will be following this thread with interest. Prudential has gotten quite a shave as well recently. Both are down roughly 50% from highs, considerably more than the average.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The criminals geniuses at the Fed have held real interest rates at zero with unemployment at 3% . This of course euthanizes savers, pensions, and insurers. Eventually it also euthanizes banks, as the CEOs of the four biggest Eurozone banks have already publicly stated.

        They have sown the wind and are now reaping the etc etc. Sauve qui peut.

  15. MT_Bill

    Good Morning Commentariat,

    I hope this finds you all well. I’m trying to compile I list of actions and precautions thar could be enacted at state through local levels in addition to what the CDC is already providing.

    I’m thinking along the lines of special hours for seniors at the grocery stores if they must shop for themselves, front-line responders who need to be tested but might be overlooked like the meals-on-wheels delivery people, etc.

    Asking for a friend. Seriously. They work for the state health services and are trying to do the right things but are completely overwhelmed by the volume of information out there.

    I figure a lot of this information has flowed through NC. Just wondering if there are some already aggregated sources out there.

  16. Wukchumni


    Thanks for being there for us, and I really appreciate the keen work you do, in being our editor…

    1. Carla

      Yes, all props to Jules, Yves, Lambert, Jeri-Lynn… and other, more “silent partners” who keep the Naked Capitalism community going. WHATEVER would we do without you? I surely hope to never find out…

      Going to the Tip Jar now…

    1. The Rev Kev

      You know what I’d like to hear sometime? When someone asks Bernie “How are you going to pay for it” when he talks about healthcare for all, that he says something like “From the same damn place that they got that 1.5 trillion dollars to give Wall Street, that’s where!”

      1. John

        Yes indeed, from that place! The same place from which there is always plenty to bail out the already too fat cats, to prop up their failing endeavors and save them from their greed. Alas, last time, 2008 (but who remembers that far back in the past), they used the largess to pad their already lined pockets. There is always money for the defense and intelligence budgets and always money for protecting our financial “wizards”. Why do we do it? What does a hedge fund add to actual well-being? How does private equity promote the general welfare? Who benefits from a publicly funded stock buyback? How did clever cost cutting at Boeing produce a safer 737? And why has China become our point source of failure but to stuff already stuffed pockets? We are going to find out the very hardest of ways that greed kills.

        1. jefemt

          Bernie has been citing the Lancet report often.

          He needs to lay it out in black and white numbers. Including the revenues that will still flow to care providers, and the medical industry. My bet- the money saved by NOT feeding insurance would more than offset and accrue perfectly to the population receiving no to too little care. None of his opponents are speaking to the immorality of the whole issue.

          He needs to remind folks that they will NOT lose access to care, they will simply lose the monthly premium to 5th wheel parasite insurers that add not one iota of value to the care equation.

          He needs to emphasize that while it not only saves money, that it will get every single American, regardless of age, access to care, including dental and vision, something that (50? 70? Who knows) million Americans presently lack. So that, while saving money, it additionally gets EVERYONE care.

          But it does need to be shown in black and white.

          And yes, he doe need to mention political will. We sure will see political will exercised in the next few weeks. Helicopter money to the wealthiest, who, with the benefit of fractional reserve banking, will scoop in and pick up for pennies on the dollar all of the business, personal and real estate assets that are about to be lost by the least-among-us and Main Street.

          Sorry, but a one-time check of $1,000 to $1,500 is an insensitive, disconnected insult. Man.

          By the way, in self isolation, this community and form is a balm. Thank you, Yves, and one and all.

          If any of you are in the Northern Rockies and get jammed up, reach out, OK? Its US, right?

          1. Billy

            Shorten, simplify and appeal to people’s self interest as well as their common sense.

            “Your personal savings with Medicare For All; Everything you spend on insurance and medical bills.”

            No one ever mentions that money is after-taxes, or, the 29% credit card interest one pays on it.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        I’ll add. I wish when Biden said we have to keep people in their homes. Pay their mortgages or some such crap. I wish Sanders would’ve said, you mean like you and Obama did during the foreclosure crisis.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Along those lines it would be “prudent” to realize that, “thanks” to corona virus, there will be bailouts. Who do you want to have the biggest megaphone in structuring those–I vote for Bernie.

      If you didn’t get a chance to read this link from yesterday’s Water Cooler comments, do yourself a favor and do so to educate yourself on the art of the “possible.” I’d add a few of my own rules for bailouts like a $15 minimum wage with REAL cost of living adjustments, labor representation on corporate boards, and no interference with union organizing.

      This could be the most sweeping opportunity for reorganizing the “economy” ever conceived, and it can’t be left to that corporatist, globalist bum / hack biden or whoever will be running the place in his demented stead. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

    3. Oh

      Impressive ad but I don’t know why he uses “one of us” rather than name Biden. It may too late now since he already opened his mouth and said that Biden would beat Trump and he supports Biden.

      Someone charismatic needs to pick up the ball and run in the Green Party so we can deal a real blow to Biden and Trump.

        1. Massinissa

          I mean, I vote Green every presidential election anyway. Probably would vote for Lord Buckethead if he came over from the UK to be the nominee. But sure, I’d vote for Tulsi same as I voted for Jill. Twice.

          Didn’t do much good, but its better than the two alternatives. (Three if you count the Libertarians I guess)

  17. Blinky the Fish

    Some of the comment about variable annuities is true, much of it is not. Variable annuities have huge capital markets exposure (both equity markets and interest rates) and every company hedges this to some extent. The extent to which they hedge the market risk of the guarantees varies, however.

    Is the insurance industry state-regulated? Yes. Are the reserves secret? No. Statutory financial statements are publicly available and are posted on most companies’ websites. Statutory accounting principles are coordinated across states by the NAIC (Nat’l. Assoc. of Insurance Commissioners) and there are consequences for states that diverge significantly. Also the NAIC recently revamped the reserve and capital requirements for variable annuities effective this year, which is generally regarded as making them more meaningful. The reserves for variable annuities under GAAP are also specifically identified in stock insurers’ 10-k filings. That said, it is generally ageed that the GAAP reserves for these products are not economically meaningful and fail to capture the true magnitude of the liability or risk.

    The more subtle risk for these products is that the reserves are generally “principles based” which means that companies set their own assumptions for the anticipated behavior of policyholders. This is an extremely important factor in valuing the guarantees as the benefits are often due 10-20+ years out and a superficially small difference in rates of policy lapsation or other inefficiency compounds to a very large discount in value over time. There is less transparency over how companies set these assumptions and how appropriate they are.

    The larger risk for the life insurance industry as a whole (regardless of whether a particular company heavily into variable annuity products) is simply the very low level of interest rates, which impacts a wide range of products through low returns on future reinvestment of reserve-backing assets and reduces companies’ ability to write profitable new business. Generally you should not think of this risk as thoroughly hedged and it is a big reason life insurers’ stocks have crashed through the floor in recent weeks. The very low interest rates are also very bad news for long-term care products, another one of the industry’s high-profile blunders of the past couple of decades.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      One drawback to the annuities issue; The currency is regularly devalued. Some might say daily or hourly in this day and age. So how do you pay an annuity benefit? with less value than when it began. Much like social security, the benefit doesn’t keep up with inflation. But fear not, that is how it was designed to function.
      It has been a scam/ponzi ever since they began devaluing the currency in 1913. It sounds rather like the model CalPers has embraced.

      1. Massinissa

        I mean, a low rate of inflation is genuinely better than alternatives like deflation or hyperinflation.

  18. Ignim Brites

    Re: UK course correction (MIT Technology). The money line. “Unfortunately, the report also suggests that isolation and social distancing might have to remain in effect until a viable coronavirus vaccine is produced, which could take as long as 18 months. ‘The only exit strategy is really vaccination or other forms of innovative technology,'”

    18 months! Can anyone see the ’74 lows on the DOW in this? It is not just that Harvard will have to cancel the next academic year. It may never reopen if its endowment is sufficiently destroyed.

    1. MLTPB

      We can look the countries that experienced first, and get some ideas how long it will take,….countries with various degrees of curve flattening.

      1. Ignim Brites

        All curve flattening can reasonably be expected to accomplish is slow the rate of increase and protect the health care system’s ability to respond. It can reasonably be expected to prolong the duration of increase. And it also leaves open the possibility (probability) that each relexation of “social distancing” will bring a renewed surge; albeit possibly less steep due to more of the herd being immune.

        1. MLTPB

          When Apple reopened their stores in China, I wondered about that.

          But they did. And we can now observe and see what will happen.

          1. Ignim Brites

            I am guessing that in Wuhan the penetration of the virus was so extensive that substantial herd immunity has been acquired. In other parts of China, i could not hazard a guess. Since China is a one party state, if they decided to prioritize getting the economy back up versus saving lives they could although they might still want to fudge mortality stats. Italy will give us a much better test.

  19. Wukchumni

    I had a look at the future this morning. We have fed out cats too much their entire lives, only 1 of them hunts pretty much, the rest can’t be bothered, their hunt comes from a can or a bag of dry food.

    We realized this yesterday as events are rapidly unfolding not to our favor in terms of time, and took away about 25% of it, and they are waiting by the food bowl this a.m., in a cat cargo cult kind of fashion, if we only lurk, why the food will come back surely!

    Time by The Alan Parsons Project

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Cat cargo cult! Love it. Now if I can just imagine such an applicative allegorical alliteration for my dogs, who give me the business every morning.

    2. OIFVet

      Describes my two fatties too. Made a bonito flakes run two days ago, but it is being strictly rationed and their withdrawal is evident. One of them is pushing 18 pounds, and when this global nightmare is over she will need to be under 18 to fly in the cabin to Europe.

      I have always tried to be prepared for anything, but this pandemic has made me realize all over what it means to be owned by cats. I can’t bring myself to even think of leaving them behind. OTOH I don’t think anyone knows what the airlines and border authorities will allow in terms of moving my pets with me once travel resumes and I can make my way to Europe.

  20. LawnDart

    Re: UK Scrambling–

    “The aim now is not to slow the rate of growth of cases, but pull the epidemic in reverse,” Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College, told reporters Monday. “Hopefully there will be tens of thousands of deaths. Maybe just a few thousand.”


    1. CoryP

      Yeah that’s really not something you want to hear. But of course he is comparing to the “up to 250 000”. Still. O_o

  21. The Rev Kev

    The best part of @TomPerez
    lobbying for states to hold elections tomorrow (going against CDC guidelines designed to stop people from dying) is that he’s a Democrat, unlike Bernie.

    Seems self-defeating to me long term that. By doing this, a lot of older voters may get infected using those voting computers in use and may not survive. Would they not be missed come voting time in November? Or is this part of a plan or something? Something else too.

    I remember that someone commented last year that viewers of TV networks such as CNN and the like were very much at the old age of the spectrum. Based on how this pandemic is playing out, that would suggest a change in how many people will still be watching those stations this time next year. And that would effect where a lot of people get their information from.

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      The great culling of Social Security, Medicare with some savings from Medicaid, SSI. We can save all that money while increasing the speed of the economic dive. Plus more bailout money for industries like casinos and cruise lines!

      A two-fer.

    2. Big River Bandido

      If true, that would also change the tone and approach of the network itself. No news outlet wants to be in disagreement with its own consumers.

  22. Wukchumni

    While not a complete Luddite (i’m on here, YO!) i’ve really never been into technology. My head spins when it gets discussed, i’m just not wired that way. I’ve never sent or received a text, and know nothing about apps et al. I’ve got a smart phone, but it hardly got used. When I finally broke down and bought one, a young friend in his 30’s told me nobody uses the phone to talk anymore, it’s all texts and instagrams, tweets, etc.

    All of that is going away, and i’d always fantasized what it would be like if high tech got wrecked and those curious black rectangles that always resembled the monolith from 2001-A Space Odyssey no longer functioned, and people had to talk to one another again?

    1. Toshiro_Mifune

      a young friend in his 30’s told me nobody uses the phone to talk anymore, it’s all texts and instagrams, tweets, etc.

      My general assumption is that any incoming call on my phone is either an emergency or some sort of sales call. I have talked to my wife maybe once a month via phone for the past several years, everything else is text

      i’d always fantasized what it would be like if high tech got wrecked … and people had to talk to one another again?

      Excepting wife/family (and not all of my family) other people are over rated. I know there are many here who lament the social distancing of the information age, but I’m not one of them. I mean, if you are a social person and are isolated by technology then I’m sorry.
      However, for some of us this has been very nice. Far less conversations with people I don’t really ever want to have a conversation with, no more pointless small talk that just gives me a headache, txt/email gives me a chance to actually think about a response before I send it, I can have a txt conversation while doing something else.
      I work in IT, maybe I’m the exception. I actually get annoyed at people who I deal with at work who insist on phone calls. Inevitably its a 15 minute conversation to relay 2 lines of actual information that could have been emailed or messaged. And with the later I have a reference to go back to if needed, a trail for issues that can go on for a while, etc.

        1. a different chris

          Me too, pretty much match your post.

          We should get together and figure out ways to avoid each other! :D

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Prior to widespread texting, phone calls were often made with the expectation someone was actually available or willing to pick up. I believe there is a Curb Your Enthusiasm about Larry calling Julia Louise Dreyfus as 930pm on a Sunday to give her an update. The episode revolved around phone manners, but with text messages and phones on silent and vibrate (for the days of novelty ring tones), texts can be sent anytime to be addressed in due time and with no confusion about what was left on a message.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’m so not up with times having flown only twice domestically since 9/11, that the last time we flew to Florida 5 years ago, the nice lady at the gate @ Fresno Airport informed me that our bags required another $75, how would you like to pay?

          I told her, ideally i’d like it to be included in the price of the ticket.

        2. eg

          Before the advent of the answering machine when I was still a teen, my father would bewilder me by ignoring the phone ringing at home. When I asked him why he would do such a thing, he replied, “there’s nobody calling that I want to talk to.”

          When carphones became a thing in the 80s and I asked him if he wanted to get one, he said, “why would I want another way for work (Nortel) to get hold of me?”

          There must have been some wisdom in that rocky New Brunswick farm soil where he was raised that my soft suburban life never gave me …

      2. Voltaire Jr.

        A person after my own heart. Voice is slow and prone to error [Reading is 10x the speed of speech] — the same as video is slow and prone to error [like facial expressions, gestures, pauses, etc.]

        I learned in my mid-60’s that I was Aspergers. This helps illuminate my focus on HW/SW for 50+ years.

    1. flora

      Thanks for that. That was back when the US had the right stuff, to quote Tom Wolfe. What do we have now? DC pols who, in the face of a pandemic, are still more interested in scoring political points than in doing what needs to be done. /disgust

  23. xkeyscored

    North America Has Lost More Than 1 in 4 Birds in Last 50 Years, New Study Says Audobon

    Another story for our incredulous great-grandchildren. “Long ago, actual living things used to fly around, not just drones and warplanes.”

    1. polecat

      We’ve had several ‘possible stray/neighborhood gatos lurking in/around our domicile, as of late. I need to make slingshot, Stat !
      Both the resident and incidental neodinosaurs will be much appreciative.

      Roaming cats, whether fixed or not, are my bane !

  24. OIFVet

    I voted in IL this morning around 9am local. My polling place is usually has steady traffic throughout the day, but it was nearly empty, with me and one more person voting. Some of the polling workers had masks and gloves, others did not. None seemed happy to be there, and I really didn’t want to ask. I’m in Hyde Park, and with UChicago being in the neighborhood the streets are usually lively, but there are few people out and about for such a sunny day. Amazon Prime trucks are more prominent then ever. All in all, people seem to be stoic but one really gets a sense of foreboding. And then there was the phone call from UChicago Hospital cancelling my mother’s follow up next week for a surgical procedure from the end of January, to be rescheduled at some indefinite point in the future. It wasn’t unexpected and I had my reservations about going to a hospital unless absolutely necessary, I only hope it’s a sign of caution rather than a sign that they expect to be overrun at some point soon.

  25. jef

    “We’re going to do everything we can to get cash into the hands of affected workers & families as quickly as possible so they can continue to pay money to their owners” There I fixed it.

    1. xkeyscored

      Airlines Seek $50 Billion Aid Package Wall Street Journal

      To be clear, this is just US airlines.

      “Senior leaders at Boeing Co., meanwhile, have been in talks with congressional and White House officials about financial assistance for the plane manufacturer and its suppliers, as part of a broader aid package for the aviation industry, a company executive said Monday.”
      Will such a broader aid package include loosening the onerous and unnecessary safety regulations that have so unfairly impacted this noble corporation?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Betcha Boeing is already working on a way to spin off BDS (defense, space, as one part or two). Perhaps a DoD mandated merger with LockMart? They are already joined at the hip in the space sector with ULA.

    2. Samuel Conner

      I hope the bailouts take the form of debt that is convertible to equity on terms that are favorable to the debt-owners (the Feds). It could be a way of migrating to public, and ultimately, employee ownership of many businesses that are probably better thought of as utilities (the airlines, for example).

      Yes, there will be consequences for current owners of equity shares (myself included). But we’re experiencing that already, with probably worse to come.

      I think that Scandinavian style social welfare of a generation past is going to start looking awfully good to an awful lot of people.

      1. chuck roast

        Hear, hear…

        Euthanize the Airlines

        Really. Do we need to take airplane rides or do we want to take airplane rides? Do our airplane rides contribute inordinately to global warming? Would alternative modes of transportation be consistent with a Green New Deal?

        As long as we are stopping for a moment…literally…then maybe we can take a bit of time to ask these questions and have an actual discussion about this issue. And it is an issue.

        What the hell. If we can kill the Corona typewriter, we can kill American Airlines, and Boeing is on it’s death bed anyway.

      2. cnchal

        Exactly. The airlines remind me of the Wall Street criminals that caused the GFC and then got bailed out while the peasants were used as runway foam.

        With this disaster, the airlines are the super spreaders, and again the peasants are going to be used as runway foam, while the airlines proclaim innocence. The top ten percent of airline management deserve to live in a cardboard box, rooting through garbage for food, but with a massive bailout those at the top will continue to grab multimillions of it, just like the banksters. No justice, ever.

        Still flying = Total Fail

      3. Massinissa

        I say we nationalize them. If people need to do air travel, let the Government take care of it. And mothball/take apart 3/4 of the airliners to discourage non-essential air travel. Maybe people can take trains or take vacations on their own continent again. Would be better for the environment.

  26. fresno dan

    New Cold War Aaron Mate

    Just a little non corona virus stuff for variety.
    Here is the actual link to the opinion

    For many of the reasons already discussed—in particular, the lack of any evidence of bad
    faith—the Court will refrain from imposing any punitive sanction at this time and, consistent
    with other courts, will instead adopt a policy of “progressive discipline.”
    Although it is nice that the reality that this indictment was ridiculous FINALLY comes out, the legal/prosecutor complex that prevents any actual sanction against incompetence or WORSE continues on. To believe the original indicment was minor, understandable, and not in bad faith is exactly what the problem is. To find a “lack of evidence of bad faith” is ASTOUNDING.
    Trump is loathsome – but to have the legal system manipulated in what really is a FLAGRANT abuse of prosecution is extremely disheartening. It is a system DESIGNED to prevent getting to the bottom of things…and preventing accountability.

    1. fresno dan

      fresno dan
      March 17, 2020 at 11:34 am

      With regard tothe ruling.
      I was gonna say something about a certain mustachioed guy, who during WWII, who led a certain European country, and coming to the conclusion that there is no (written) evidence that he was involved in a war crime – but that would get my comment deleted.
      So, I would say the judge coming to the conclusion that there is no evidence government attorneys DID NOT act in bad faith is like that chapter in Moby Dick where in extensive detail Melville puts forth the reasons why a whale is not a fish…And than he concludes that a whale is a fish.

  27. fresno dan

    My volunteer job at HICAP is on hiatus during this coronavirus thing until further notice…. Although it is only
    on Monday and Friday, it really frames the week for me. My other big human interaction event is going to restaurant bars, and although I have only refrained from that less than 7 days, I have to say I am getting antsy.
    Sure, reading NC and Aaron Mate fills up a lot of time, and I jog (I was about to join a gym) and gardening is nice solitary activities, and talking to myself isn’t too concerning…its the recent answers that I worry about…

    1. montanamaven

      I hear you. Me too. It’s those “Great Good Places” where I’ve met people in occupations totally different than mine. It’s where I found help with some electrical problem. It’s where we debate the beauties of “Wheel of Fortune”. Perhaps we could suggest , in these times, not just a 2PM Water Cooler, but maybe a 5PM Happy Hour.

    2. eg

      We have neighbours returning from Roatan this week. Thinking maybe we’ll do some drinking “with” them via Skype during their 14 day self-imposed isolation when they get back

  28. Howard

    “Federal Reserve launches crisis-era commercial paper funding facility.”
    “Boeing seeks US aid.”
    “Casinos ask Congress for emergency aid”

    My brother was laid off last week from his semi-gig job. He has all of $800 in the bank with bills and rent coming. There are millions just like him and our feckless government seem to be only concerned with making sure the wealthy and powerful land on a soft pillow. Here’s hoping that the anger that most of us feel can be channeled into a positive political movement that can clear away these corrupt and cynical a-holes.

    1. lordkoos

      Every musician and performer I know has had their gigs and tours cancelled until further notice. Wonder when we will get a bailout.

    2. xkeyscored

      Casinos? I’d missed that one.
      No doubt we can take them at their word when they say, “Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees.”
      After all, they are close to the administration, which must surely have our best interests at heart. “Casinos could also receive additional scrutiny given the close personal and professional ties that Trump, a former casino developer and owner, has to the industry. Steve Wynn, a top GOP donor, has known Trump for years and was vice chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee. After Trump entered the White House, Wynn was named chairman of the Republican National Committee’s finance committee before stepping down after sexual harassment allegations.”

  29. lordkoos

    Regarding the youtube censorship being due to less personnel on site – I think it is a bulls**t excuse. I would think that if ever there was a job that could be done remotely, reviewing youtube videos would be one of them.

    The pessimist in me says that as with 9-11, this crisis will be another excuse to further push towards a fascist/big brother state. Increasing online censorship, putting the military on the streets, etc etc.

  30. xkeyscored

    Re. UK schools, which were still open last time I checked:
    The Canary:
    UK students prepare to walk out over coronavirus

    Students in the UK are preparing to walk out of schools, colleges, and universities over the coronavirus threat. It comes as the government has still not committed to shutting down education. So, young people are taking matters into their own hands.

    The morning of 20th March. If nothing has been put properly in place for our country’s system then we as young people will leave our schools and self isolate.
    Lockdowns ineffective? Just look at the rest of the world for once.#WhereIsBoris#covid19walkout#ClosetheSchoolsuk
    — Eloise Buttery (@ButteryEloise) March 15, 2020

    If nothing is done by the 20th, we are walking out of our schools. #CloseTheSchools #WhereIsBoris Keeping 1.5 metres apart? Have you been to a high school?!
    Get it trending:#covid19walkout
    — Leyla (@LeylaBatman) March 15, 2020

    And from the Daily Mash:
    “Schools are institutions that shift their function according to government instruction and community need, and right now the government is instructing us that the community needs to get the coronavirus.”

      1. Massinissa

        I mean, the Capitalists always claim socialists are on a ‘witch hunt’ against them. Guess we could get some pyres ready in Times Square, that would probably scare them onto their private planes to their bunkers in New Zealand… Then afterwords we could imitate the Guy Fawkes tradition and burn some straw effigies of the Wall Street Masters of the Universe.

  31. FluffytheObeseCat

    and talking to myself isn’t too concerning…its the recent answers that I worry about…

    You are great. We are so fortunate to have you posting here.

  32. Oso

    we’re shelter in place in the bay, these are some links from a group which i don’t know much about, think they were formed to help hiv/aids afflicted people. they offer some suggestion for those providing homecare to covid-19 quarantined or infected folks, as well as shutins who need precautions.
    “The following pages are built specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be updated continuously and rapidly and with the approval and oversight of qualified medical professionals, until the pandemic is over, whereupon they can be safely ignored”.

    1. xkeyscored

      Or, on a slightly different note, there’s this (Windows and macOS):

      Your Computer Can Help Stanford Researchers Fight The Coronavirus. Here’s How

      The main focus of this project is protein folding – a biological process which describes how a protein arranges its shape inside a cell. Learning more about how that process happens in particular viral proteins can in turn help to develop treatments for specific diseases.

      In the case of COVID-19, infection occurs in the lungs when what’s known as a spike protein (the red bits in the image above) binds to a receptor called ACE2. Blocking that connection is potentially one way of stopping the disease, and computer modelling is one way of figuring out how to go about keeping the protein and receptor apart.

      “These calculations are enormous and every little bit helps,” says Bowman. “Each simulation you run is like buying a lottery ticket. The more tickets we buy, the better our chances of hitting the jackpot.”

      1. skk

        Hey thanks !
        While the article says “{app} (for both Windows and macOS)” – when I checked it also offers the app for Linux variants Debian / Mint / Ubuntu / Redhat / Centos / Fedora.

        I’ll download it and see what’s what. Now that my sports betting model improvements are stalled boy have I got spare CPU cycles ! And GPUs. Though depending on the app that may not be useful.

      2. ewmayer

        Great, but as a longtime coder-for/participant-in another well-known DC project ( I wanna see performance/watt-hour stats for their software running on various comoon kind of CPUs and GPUs. Little point enocouraging folks to burn out their laptops’ typcially undersized fans crunching, if a well-tuned newer-model GPU gives 1000x the throughput. (A ratio which is certainly in the realm of the possible – the aformentioned prime-hunting runs 400x faster on my Radeon VII GPU than on my 2010-vintage Core2Duo macbook.) Especially given that online access is gonna be more crucial than ever in the coming months due to mass sheltering-in-place.

        1. xkeyscored

          eumayer & skk

          Please let us know what you find out. I am not a computer geek, and the technical ins and outs are a bit beyond me.

  33. Bill Carson

    I don’t know if this has been posted yet, but it is well worth the read.

    America Is a Sham
    Policy changes in reaction to the coronavirus reveal how absurd so many of our rules are to begin with.


    “All over America, the coronavirus is revealing, or at least reminding us, just how much of contemporary American life is bullshit, with power structures built on punishment and fear as opposed to our best interest. Whenever the government or a corporation benevolently withdraws some punitive threat because of the coronavirus, it’s a signal that there was never any good reason for that threat to exist in the first place.

    “Each day of this public health crisis brings a new example. People thrown in jail for minor offenses? San Antonio is one of many jurisdictions to announce that, to keep jails from being crowded with sick citizens, they’ll stop doing that. Why were they doing it in the first place?

    “The federal government charging interest on loans to attend college? Well, Donald Trump has instructed government agencies who administer loans to waive interest accrual for the duration of the crisis. But why on earth is our government charging its own citizens interest anyway?

    “Broadband data caps and throttled internet? Those have been eliminated by AT&T and other internet service providers, because of the coronavirus. But data caps and throttling were really just veiled price hikes that served no real technical purpose. Why did we put up with them?”

    1. Oh

      Link to a good article. Thanks. All these rules are there because the public puts up with this nonsense. A few other ones are: Can’t cancel or transfer an airline ticket. Can’t bring your own refreshments to a ball game. Paywalls on web pages, especially newspapers. Use of web page cookies “for your ease of use”.
      People have to man up.

  34. Larster

    Watching Trump right now as he attempts to rewrite history in real time. Unbelievable to hear him call it a pandemic and state that he has thought that is was a pandemic for some time. Is this the same guy who predicted it would simply disappear when the weather warms up. He has relegated the czar, Pence, to the back row at the presser, unless he has the need for a statement from the nearest toady.

    He is still crowing about closing the borders. If you think he can manage a crisis, simply look at this performance.

      1. Oh

        I’m not so sure after this crisis but Biden is another equally bad evil. I’m voting green.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I always see predictions about the GOP voter leaving the GOP candidate and it never happens. Maybe this will be the time, but I doubt it. Biden might lose 40 states.

          Team Blue couldn’t manage to connect the Shrub family to the Saudi Plantation.

  35. WAtt4Bob

    I can think of no reason that a debt jubilee wouldn’t be the quickest way to save our economy?

    Of course TPTB want to be first in line when it comes to bailouts, but giving that relief to folks at the bottom instead, would have the same effect, eventually, considering how well trickle-up works.

    Forgiveness of student debt alone would be an amazing shot in the arm.

    1. MLTPB

      Companies will sell, including German ones, and the US will buy, with MMT money, that which seemingly will work.

      1. Watt4Bob

        It’s a firm that purchased Theranos’ patents;

        Back in 2018, the disgraced biotech company Theranos sold its patent portfolio to Fortress Investment Group, a division of Softbank. Now two of those patents have wound up in the hands of a little-known firm called Labrador Diagnostics—and Labrador is suing a company called BioFire Diagnostics that makes medical testing equipment.

        Follow the link in my comment above.

        1. antidlc

          Biden called it the “laboratory of the future” after a “fake” visit:’

          Vice President Joe Biden, right, speaks as Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, left, listens during a visit to Theranos manufacturing in Newark, Calif., July 23, 2015.
          Vice President Joe Biden, right, speaks as Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, left, listens during a visit to Theranos manufacturing in Newark, Calif., July 23, 2015.Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group/TNS via Getty Images

          After his visit, Biden called Theranos a “laboratory of the future” during a health care roundtable discussion, and added, “You can see what innovation is all about just walking through this facility.”

          But one employee says there was a problem with the vice president’s visit.

          “That was completely fake,” former Theranos chief design architect Ana Arriola told Jarvis.

          Also, this:

          That same year, former President Bill Clinton even interviewed her on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative.

          “Don’t worry about the future, we’re in good hands,” Clinton told the audience, gesturing at Holmes.

          Just posting info on Theranos. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

          1. Watt4Bob

            No harm, no foul.

            The whole story is such multi-dimensional evil that it beggars the mind.

  36. Carolinian

    Re Study finds COVID-19 spread in China fueled by “stealth transmission” New Atlas

    The model ultimately showed the total spread of the virus throughout China in January could not be explained by just accounting for confirmed cases. In fact, the model suggests 86 percent of infections across that period of time went undocumented.

    So doesn’t this mean the lethality percentages of the virus need to be brought down considerably–perhaps more in line with regular flu?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Perhaps, the issue isn’t so much the lethality of the flu in a population of 100 people versus other strains but how this flu will hit everywhere all at once.

      Lets be optimistic about this. Even in bad flu seasons, caregivers and supplies can be moved to handle problems. A couple of years ago during a particularly bad flu season (so much for the vaccine cocktail that year) the local hospital was able to move patients to other hospitals to receive care. The other side is its still cold and flu season in heavily populated areas (I would almost argue baseball should be good to go at least for the fans. There are dozens of us.) When I had the flu (I’m a very bad patient), I was just powering through and I had it before everyone else had it. I had good days, so did I pass it? I wasn’t hospitalized or anything, but the local hospital system was under stress. They had to bring in nurses from other systems.

      Even with the normal level of hospital patients, you are reaching a point where those patients and their caregivers will be exposed to something that will make them sick. Besides death, we are looking at chronic problems in the surviving population who will continue to represent a strain on a creaky system (besides the point of sale problems, the U.S. has a ton of problems with healthcare delivery).

      With the economic damage, I’m not kidding, but we are approaching a point where this can be described as multiples of 9/11. The rise in crime as people try to grab Kamala’s $500 fun bucks (yes, Mittens is the hero thanks to Team Blue) to make ends meet for another month will be an epic crisis in of itself.

  37. Oregoncharles

    “I need to make sure I get enough sleep.”
    Please, everybody at NC, take good care of yourselves. You would be missed, even if you just had to take time out to recover – and Yves has to make sure her mother isn’t exposed.

    Some of us are already staying home; two cases in my county, as of this morning, so any expeditions will have to be very, very carefully done. Don’t know about Alabama, but I’m pretty sure there are cases in NY and Maine. Stay home, take care.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Alabama didn’t have any cases (or the associated panic buying) until Fox News told us. Then the flood. Now we have over 30, with doubling of confirmed cases expected daily. A local biologic testing research facility has announced a new test with same day results.

    2. Wukchumni

      We’re staying put as of today, and it feels like France in May 1940, spring has sprung and is so beautiful. One native tree we have in abundance here is Redbud-which is really somewhere between lavender and purple in the color scheme, there must be thousands of them going off, and the predominant wildflower-Fiddlenecks, which create fields of gold everywhere.

      Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy

  38. Oregoncharles

    “Restore soil to absorb billions of tonnes of carbon: study”
    (Preening) Pretty sure I was the first to introduce this idea at NC. Very nice to see more official confirmation.

  39. Oregoncharles

    “Divorce cases spike in China after ‘couples spend too much time during coronavirus quarantine’ ”

    Many years ago, an acquaintance told me she’d been “happily married for 7 years; hadn’t seen him in 6.” (He was in prison.) At the same time, I was especially impressed with married couples who also worked together – watching a pair of glassblowers coordinate their movements so they didn’t get burned, for instance. Seemed to get along just fine. Not everybody.

    1. ChrisPacific

      I once worked with a guy who was a consultant specializing in global engagements. He seemed to spend most of his life living out of hotel rooms (he used to lament the rigid travel policies of his employer that prevented him from getting a short term rental instead). He looked to be in his late 50s/early 60s, and had been married for decades, with adult children. I definitely got the sense that his regular absences were a feature and not a bug.

  40. flora

    re: 4 Reasons Why Airplanes Don’t Fly Over Tibet – Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

    In WWII, Allied air forces flying over the Himalayas (Tibet) to supply Chiang Ki-Shek’s nationalist Chinese forces fighting Imperial Japanese forces, aka Flying the Hump, to deliver supplies was the deadliest air route in history.

    “When fully loaded, Douglas DC-3s could not climb high enough to clear all the peaks and were forced to weave a perilous path through the mountains, a task that was virtually impossible when the treacherous Himalayan weather closed in,” Pike writes.


    Beyond the inefficiency of flying the Hump, it was incredibly dangerous. More than 1,000 men and 600 planes were lost over the 530-mile stretch of rugged terrain, and that’s a very conservative estimate. It was dubbed the “Skyway to Hell” and the “Aluminum Trail” for the number of planes that didn’t make it.

    The above two links are a long way of saying that ever improving technology and engineering do not cancel out the realities of the analogue world which they are trying against.

    1. flora

      See also: BarbaraTuchman’s Pulizer Prize winning book “Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 “. The chapters about the ‘flying the hump’ in WWII are exactly about this point about the dangers of flying over the ultra high altitude Himalayas.

      Very much shorter: there is no “app for that”.

    1. MLTPB


      A view from someone outside.

      Maybe not the whole US is bad. I would only add, that on a cases per million people basis, the top six are, as of very recent, as things are moving fast, WA, NY, LS, MA, NJ and CL.

      If CA is to be included, SF Bay Area is the candidate…geographically, it’s far away from SoCal.

  41. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    I reposted the Gizmodo article Scientists Discover Ice Age Structure Made From Bones Of 60 Mammoths to Facebook earlier today. This afternoon I got an email telling me that Facebook had hidden it because it “goes against our Community Standards.” I’m not sure what standard is being protected, but I’m guessing the standard against using Mammoth bones in building.

Comments are closed.