Links 3/25/2020

Much as we love links at NC, given the volume of material we are now getting, it would be really really helpful to the moderators, and would also improve comment quality, if well-intentioned readers didn’t simply dump links, but explained the qualifications of the source, and ideally gave a quote. This goes double for YouTubes and videos generally. Think of it as informational hygiene.

Supreme Court rules states are immune from copyright law Ars Technica

Destroying Indonesia’s virgin forests to protect the climate? Qantara


Self-Isolated Woman Going So Crazy She’s Started Talking To Her Spouse The Onion

Man’s supportive tweets and posts getting on everyone’s tits Daily Mash

This pandemic is changing how my family eats Treehugger

Coronavirus: Denver mayor forced to reverse lockdown of alcohol and marijuana shops following panic buying Independent


Countries Are Starting to Hoard Food, Threatening Global Trade Bloomberg

UN SG issues call for global ceasefire given battle against COVID-19 Jurist

Trump and Bolsonaro see coronavirus more as a political hassle than a public threat WaPo

Coronavirus: Reopening the US by Easter ‘a beautiful timeline’ BBC

‘Imaginary clock’: Governors reject Trump’s virus timeline AP

Slow Response to the Coronavirus Measured in Lost Opportunity NYT

The People in Charge See an Opportunity Atlantic

How location data could play a role in managing the coronavirus crisis The Verge


Widening coronavirus crisis threatens to shutter doctors’ offices nationwide LA Times

Doctors Are Hoarding Unproven Coronavirus Medicine by Writing Prescriptions for Themselves and Their Families


Doctors threaten to quit NHS over shortage of protective kit Guardian

More than 170,000 volunteer to help UK fight coronavirus Reuters

SFO needs urgent fix to fight Covid-19 fraud FCPA Blog


Doctor’s Note: What does having the coronavirus feel like? Al Jazeera

Which Covid-19 drugs work best? MIT Technology Review


Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’ NYT

Brady Sluder said he has realized he’s not invincible after all.

— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) 24 March 2020


“Everybody’s Scared”: Panic At Immigrant Detention Center After Positive Coronavirus Test Marshall Project

New York to release 300 nonviolent Rikers inmates amid pandemic The Hill


Japan’s winning its quiet fight against Covid-19 Asia Times


Coronavirus: Italy’s cases 10 times higher than reported, says emergency chief Straits Times


Modi Orders 3-Week Total Lockdown for All 1.3 Billion Indians NYT

India’s migrant workers flee cities and threaten the countryside FT

Coronavirus: Did India rush into a full lockdown without planning? Or did it have little choice? Scroll

Why 21 days? Experts guess Telegraph

Modi’s Silence on Essential Supplies During 21 Day National Lockdown Sets Off Panic The Wire

Coronavirus: Is this textile city set to be ‘India’s Italy’? BBC


As virus recedes in China, anti-Xi revolt spreads Asia Times

Thousands of covert coronavirus cases go under the radar in Wuhan, Chinese-led researchers say SCMP


The untold origin story of the N95 mask Fast Company. Fascinating read.

UPDATE: Luxury Brands Make Masks To Fight Global Medical Supply Shortages Jing Daily


Woman Responds To Companies Failing Because Of Coronavirus By Saying The Same Things Poor People Hear Bored Panda

Amazon’s Bezos, Other Corporate Executives Sold Shares Just in Time WSJ

‘The US of Amazon’: how the coronavirus has created a governance vacuum the tech giant is quickly filling Guardian

Pay People A Living Wage To Stay Home Caitlin Johnstone

Jared Bernstein on Combating the Viral Recession Capital & Main. Interesting, if you can stomach the last paragraphs – a shameless pander for a job in a future Biden administration. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Senate, White House reach $2 trillion stimulus deal to blunt coronavirus fallout WaPo.

Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package The Hill

Deal on a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package reached between the Senate and White House, including cutting checks to Americans Business Insider

US congressional leaders agree on $2tn stimulus deal FT

Tokyo Olympics

Olympics: Tokyo 2020 postponed until 2021 over coronavirus outbreak Independent


Why Did Joe Biden Disappear Right as the Coronavirus Pandemic Exploded? Jacobin

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. divadab

    Re: Cannabis and Alcohol stores an essential service: As the Mayor of Denver discovered, they are. How could any sentient being think they were not? It’s medicine, dude. Not just cannabis – for an alcoholic, alcohol is also an essential medicine.

    I have friends, an older couple both with underlying conditions that increase their risk with covid-19, who only go out to buy liquor, and that during “seniors only hours” – all their other essentials are delivered. If this thing truly goes endemic, which it appears already to have done, absent an effective vaccine, they will have to live like this for the rest of their lives. Maybe with a hiatus in the summer when the virus goes quiet. Strange times.

    1. David

      Not just in the US. In France, a Prefect (and teetotaler apparently) tried to ban all alcohol sales in the Department, because of worries about the threat of increased violence, especially within the home. He’s now done a rapid about turn, after being advised that alcoholics could die and become seriously ill in large numbers (there are roughly 50,000 deaths a year in France from alcohol related illnesses anyway). There was also a high risk of robbery and other attempts to obtain alcohol irregularly or violently. Oh and life has been made much more difficult for drug users. I wonder how many users of heroin and cocaine are quietly going mad even now. When the first book about the reactions to the epidemic is written, it could well be called “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

      1. xkeyscored

        There does seem to have been a sharp uptick in domestic violence. Whether more alcohol should be drunk, or less, I don’t know. See here for example:

        “Many countries around the world have put social distancing and isolation measures in place. This is because of the coronavirus pandemic. China was one of the first countries to do this. It reportedly put 760 million people in isolation, confining them to their homes. The Italian government called in the army to enforce its citizens’ isolation. France and Spain are both on lockdown. But a side effect of this has been an upsurge in women reporting domestic violence.
        The reported figures from various countries show an increase in domestic violence. For example:
        In some parts of China the number of domestic violence cases has been three times higher since the pandemic started.
        A support service in Oregon, US has seen the number of calls it received double.”

        1. Craig H.

          I either have to take more of it or less of it. Can’t quite figure out which one. — some anonymous person during an interval of sober reflection

        2. lordkoos

          I read about a spike in domestic violence and child abuse in Dallas after people were asked to stay home.

      2. Clive

        Yes, for alcoholics — especially late-stage ones — sudden withdrawals are highly dangerous:

        Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

        If you’re dependent on alcohol, you can experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop drinking.

        Withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological
        Physical alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

        hand tremors (‘the shakes’)
        visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not actually real)
        seizures (fits) in the most serious cases

        Psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

        insomnia (difficulty sleeping)

        Severely dependent drinkers usually experience very strong alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes people drink to avoid these symptoms, a pattern known as ‘relief drinking’.

        Medical supervisory support is recommended for these reasons. Seizures can be fatal and the risk from suicide ideation is very real.

        Forcing people to go “cold turkey” without access to a therapeutic environment isn’t anything other than telling someone with a broken leg not to bother getting a cast but to try and hobble around as best they can.

        1. xkeyscored

          Yes, I’ve inflicted all those on myself bar the seizures.
          On the other hand, more alcohol is likely to result in more domestic violence.
          No, I don’t have the answer.

      3. New Wafer Army

        As an Irish person living in France it amazed me how much the French drank. In France, there is a drink for every hour of the day. People might have a liqueur at 7am on the way to work. A few glasses of wine with lunch. Then some pastis after work. Then beer as an aperitif. More wine with dinner. Cognac for digistif.. Maybe a few whiskies if meeting friends in the evening.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘Cannabis and Alcohol stores an essential service’

      Not only dope and booze. All around America gun stores have been designated as essential. A San Diego Sheriff, for example, said gun shops provide a “valuable public service.” The firearms industry is also lobbying state and federal officials to have gun stores be categorized as essential businesses. No word on gambling being designated an essential service yet.

        1. lordkoos

          Thankfully, but I think too late, most interested people have already bought their guns and ammo.

      1. AllTogetherNowPeople

        Pac’s will have every business in America open within 3 months, money talks and it’s the only language politicians understand.

    3. D. Fuller

      Here in PA, beer distributors were deemed an “essential service” when Gov. Wolf ordered non-essential businesses, closed.

      Also note, that drug and alcohol use increases when the economy worsens. And with increased alcohol consumption comes increased domestic violence.

      Dallas, TX, hospital already reports an increase in child abuse victims, one of whom has died.

  2. Biologist

    For UK readers, can I please draw attention to Richard Horton’s twitter:

    He’s editor-in-chief at the Lancet in London, one of the main medical scientific journals, and has been vocal in drawing attention to the huge problems the NHS (National Health Service) is facing, such as lack of appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), lack of testing, and generally being asked to serve as disposable peons under deluded generals (my interpretation). These problems were predictable, and in fact predicted.

    He is actively asking NHS staff to message him with their concerns, and he tries to amplify them, for instance here:
    “Totally inadequate PPE. No N95 masks. Being sent like lambs to the slaughter.” “Could you please highlight that there is still not enough PPE.” “The current policy of PPE triage is unreliable and not fit for purpose.” And this: expired supply.

    My impression is that UK media is failing miserably in holding the government to account, even with articles like this one:
    The international verdict on Boris Johnson and his zigzag handling of the pandemic has been damning, with responses ranging from bafflement and disbelief to anger.
    Many consider the prime minister’s initial laissez-faire approach to the crisis, followed by contradictory signals about his government’s strategy, as an inexplicable bout of British exceptionalism.
    “Boris Johnson had gone out publicly and essentially asked Britons … to accept death,” said the Greek newspaper Ethnos. It declared him “more dangerous than coronavirus”.

    The tone to me almost comes across as ‘Johnny Foreigner upset about our strategy’. But perhaps I’m too cynical. And apologies for the rant.

    1. Louis Fyne

      Not excusing Boris or Trump, but no PPE —- it’s a multi-decade, bipartisan failure.

      NHS sources its gloves from Malaysia and surprise, they instituted an export ban. You can’t convert a car factory to make hospital-grade masks overnight.
      Though ventilators are relatively easy.

      Like most disasters, covid is a failure of multiple nodes—too late border closings, Boris-Trump, outsourcing of the supply chain, awful state of public health contact tracing in the West, etc.

      (Real-time experiment, compare-contrast Russia’s covid count and the West—–unless of course one says Russia is lying about covid too)

      And of course the media is playing up the Boris-Trump angle and ignoring the supply chain angle

      1. Joe Well

        >>compare-contrast Russia’s covid count and the West—–unless of course one says Russia is lying about covid too

        I was listening to NPR two days ago and they were in fact saying that Russia was not testing for Covid-19 and so those deaths were just being listed as viral pneumonia. Who to believe?

        1. AllTogetherNowPeople

          Putin is Trumpishly ignoring and suppressing science on COVID. Of course Russia is deeply infected. Even a blind dyslexic squirrel like NPR finds a nut occasionally.

      2. vlade

        I have talked to Russians, and no-one I spoke with trusts the govt numbers.

        For example, a lot of people find it unbelievable that the extremely permeable Siberian border would be infection free (Chinese companies log wood there illegaly on massive scales, bribing the local officials).

        1. vlade

          “Russian president rolled out a series of emergency measures to limit the health and economic impact of the spread of the virus in Russia . While asking Russians to stay home, the Russian president stopped short of issuing a mandatory quarantine or state of emergency.

          Speaking on television, the Russian president announced a nationwide weeklong holiday in order to slow the spread of coronavirus through Russia. The holiday would extend from 28 March until 5 April, he said. Workers across the country would be guaranteed to receive their salaries, he added.

          He also announced a series of economic initiatives, debt relief for those diagnosed with coronavirus, support for the unemployed, additional benefits for families with small children, a tax holiday for small businesses, and a moratorium on some bankruptcies.

          In a direct appeal to Russians, Putin said: “Don’t think this can’t happen to me. It can happen to anyone.” He told the country to stay home.

          The address came one day after a senior Russian official told Putin that government tallies underestimated the number of coronavirus victims in the country and that the Kremlin needed to take urgent measures to address the virus’ spread before it turned into a crisis.

          Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Putin on Tuesday that the rate of coronavirus “growth is high; a serious situation is developing”, and warned that the healthcare system may be overwhelmed at the virus’s peak.

          Guardian, granted, but still.

          Putin delayed the plebiscite to turn him into a president-for-life, and in the speach to do so was quite

            1. jrkrideau

              Он яркий as he once said about Trump.

              I had been reading a couple of comments from Russia (in English) suggesting that there was under-reporting to regional authorities so that the Russian Gov’t were not getting clean figures. So this would not surprise me.

              The Russian figures of a couple of days ago looked too low.

            2. Procopius

              He wore a full hazmat suit which showed everybody just how dangerous this virus is-

              Well, it’s a PR stunt, so it really doesn’t show how dangerous this virus is. It shows he wants to demonstrate to his supporters how brave he is. He’s the chief of state, so you really don’t want him taking unnecessary risks. On average (i.e., across countries) what’s the R0? I usually see 2.5-2.7, but of course that varies widely among individuals. I’ve read that some (how many?) of the spring breakers are now showing symptoms. Some of them are going to have severe symptoms. We still aren’t getting enough information. I trust the people who say that physical (aka “social”) distancing helps, but there’s no doubt the cost is high.

        2. Maxwell Johnston

          I agree that the Russian govt is under-stating the true number of cases (the denominator). But I have yet to see any spike in the death rate (the numerator), or even any anecdotal info that hospitals are overcrowded. To his credit, VVP closed the China border back in January. The Russians have been quite low-key in their response so far, but they’ve been pretty good at checking arriving air passengers from “affected countries”, contact tracing, and ordering 14-day quarantines. Believe what one will about their testing protocols (some sources say they’re testing a lot, others say they aren’t, others say they are but they’re fudging the denominator): I think they’ve been testing vigorously, fudging the numbers to avoid panic, but taking reasonable steps to protect the public at large. I’m not a member of the VVP fan club, but so far I think Russia has struck a reasonable balance between protecting public health on the one hand and maintaining a semblance of normalcy on the other. Much like South Korea. We’ll see how it plays out.

          1. VietnamVet

            The low mortality rate and less explosive spread in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, China outside of Hubei Province, and Germany have two things in common; intensive contact tracing and social cohesiveness.

            Already the deaths are skyrocketing in the USA. “Survival of the Fittest” ideology is the culprit. There is no mention, no demand, for a national public health service to conduct universal paid virus testing, to do tracing to identify the infected (asymptomatic and ill) and quarantine them at home or in safe facilities, and to clear the healthy to join the workforce. The thousands/millions of deaths in the West will be directly due to neoliberal oligarchs who dismantled government to lower their taxes and end regulations.

      3. a different chris

        >Though ventilators are relatively easy.

        Um, yeah that’s why they cost 35->50k. People are just gouging /s

        1. D. Fuller

          Is the price that high now? A few days ago, it was $11K. For a product someone manufactured on a 3D printer for $1.

        2. Louis Fyne

          point being it’s much easier to convert a car factory into making ventilators than nitrile gloves—-as many parts of an HVAC system can be “MacGyver-ed” into a ventilator system.

          whereas for gloves you have to start from scratch—make hand molds, get the nitrile/latex, setup a line-quality control, etc.

          Making hospital grade-gloves and masks isn’t as simple as much of the capacity to make the raw materials for those items aren’t even in the US/UK.

        1. Oregoncharles

          The rest of the world would be so relieved.

          Autarky is never complete, of course; humans are inherently dependent on each other, and there are things we can’t produce, or can’t produce enough of (diamonds, anything tropical) in the US. But it’s important to at least make sure our behinds are covered – or our faces, in the event of an epidemic.

          I’m hoping this is the end of “globalization,” at least its legitimacy.

      4. Oregoncharles

        @ Louis Fyne – Hmmm. Russia has been forced by sanctions to become much more self-reliant. Probably they couldn’t import PPE, so were forced to make it. That also meant they had much less trade to interdict – although a lot of it would have been with China.

        Something to be said for it.

        Looking relentlessly for a silver lining: the coronavirus has gone far to completely discredit corporate globalization. Strategic autarky really is valuable. We already knew this – “self-reliance” is a traditional American virtue – but having it drilled in may help. If we survive all this (someone will.)

        Feature or bug? It’s going to do in a lot of the people with long memories. On the one hand, “science advances one death at a time.” OTOH, reckless behavior returns about the time the people who remember the last time retire or die. 2nd-hand history just doesn’t have the same impact.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      The UK MSM is where Johnson and his colleague Gove come from and with whom they live and fraternise with, so there won’t be any holding to account.

      My civil servant mum and her friends speak of briefings from the civil service, including security services, health care professionals and police before the Christmas get away and as the first cases occurred in Italy being ignored. NB the first cases in the UK were about the same time as in Italy, Chinese tourists in York. The early advice from the professionals that was ignored would have bought time. The figures from the first week or so of reporting were massaged downwards. Yves has an email from me from around that time.

      One hopes that Harry chimes in as he may know health minister Matt Hancock from theif days at the Bank of England.

          1. xkeyscored

            And thank you, Colonel. One of your most interesting snippets. I do hope we get to hear more about this in due course, if not from yourself then from others who were briefed or briefing before Christmas.

  3. zagonostra

    >COVID – (non)Testing

    I’ve heard from several people who live in Pittsburgh that when they went to a MedExpress type clinic to be tested for COVID, they were denied.

    Even though you have the symptoms and think you have contracted the virus, you may not be tested unless you’re in serious/critical condition or meet some other criteria that, at least as far as I know, has not been made public. Or maybe the denial of testing may be is a function of the scarcity of testing supplies.

    Who knows how many people in the U.S. are actually infected since the virus affects people differently and has symptoms common with other maladies.

    1. Phillip Allen

      In Connecticut, testing is limited to those with a doctor’s order, which will not be given unless a fairly restrictive list of qualifications is checked (foreign travel, known contact with another infected person, etc) or if you present to the ER with high fever, non-productive cough. This is, I’m sure, driven by the lack of testing capacity. #AmericaIsAlreadyGreat

        1. D. Fuller

          It takes 7-10 days right now for test results to come back, where I am at. The person I know who had the test, will receive results back in 13-16 days after possible initial exposure, concerning the virus that has an incubation time of 2-14 days.

          By the time the results are obtained, it is already too late.

          In South Africa, one can results in 1 DAY. The tests may be available in The US? The reagents to process the tests appear to still be in short supply.

          1. Frobisher

            I just got tested this AM in CO. They told me 4-5 days for results. Last week they were saying 5-7 days.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      both my stepdad’s nurses who come every day say that the drive through test 20 miles north is only testing the obviously sick.
      because of lack of tests.
      they are angry about that lack, and both reckon that “it’s already here”.
      as in, the virus is already percolating among the population of this far place, and that the next week or two will see the effects of that presence.
      both independently reported(without prompting) that when their shifts are over, they strip naked in the foyer or back yard, put their clothes immediately into the wash and then go directly to a hot shower.
      and the fear in their eyes as they said this…fear that it ain’t enough…says a lot.
      they also both independently show a lot of anger towards the state government…and for the general population…who are still out wandering around licking each other.
      me and cousin are the only ones who go out…attempting to obtain the List…of things we’ll need as the supply lines further deteriorate.
      a lot of the List has been on my Master List for Autarky for at least a year…but labor and capital,lol.(now i have abundant and bored labor…capital is still an issue, although a little bit more forthcoming)
      will a 2 x 4 be obtainable in a month?
      a T-Post?
      wife’s chemo drugs?

      and this is not just a major health crisis….the way our entire economy is incestuously intertwined with the casino and global capital flows…all that hypercomplexity the bosses built in to hide their rapine….

      we’re lucky, out here…in spite of cancer and all the rest.
      i’ve been able to plant an acre plus…and rapidly scale up and even more rapidly fill in some of the blanks…
      and we’re isolated, and pretty used to food storage and other Depression Era habits.
      most folks are not.
      most people can’t get close to our rapidity.
      I worry about that a lot.
      But i’ve worried about that for decades….I know exactly which tree to fell to cut off vehicle access to this place.
      40+ years of austerian mindf^ck and hollowing out, and we’ve set ourselves up to be the opposite of “ready” for something like this.

      1. Carolinian

        Supposedly when NY set up its drive through test site 90 percent tested negative. And of course the test is just a snapshot in time so the same person could test positive a few days later, requiring another test. Now that the virus is out among the general population it’s not unreasonable to put some limits on who is tested, even if we had more tests.

        1. bob

          “Now that the virus is out among the general population it’s not unreasonable to put some limits on who is tested, even if we had more tests.”

          Anytime you see ‘reasonable’ it’s nothing at all like that. “not unreasonable” is how you sound important and ‘reasonable’. Now that more people than ever before have the virus, we have to limit who is tested, even if we have more tests?

          On what planet does this make sense?

          1. Carolinian

            In a world where you actually think about what I just said and not turn up the high dudgeon.

              1. edmondo

                What’s the point of the test? You are supposed to stay home and self-isolate regardless. Isn’t that the point of “stay in place”? What are you going to do differently if your test is positive?

                1. Frobisher

                  If my test is positive, that’s a clue that I could crash 10-14 days after start of symptoms. It also let’s people know it’s not a hoax. I know plenty of Death Cult members who were doing poo-poo to the max about the danger. a few weeks ago. Also you g people who take longer to get it. AND we need more data about how this virus ebbs flows moves around a population. After the 2020 death jackpot, we’ll see it regularly.

            1. Anon

              Yes, in a country (US) with generally disjointed, expensive public health services and unprotected healthcare workers, limiting Covid-19 tests to those with obvious symptoms is essential “triage”.

              When tests become easier to perform and results more immediate, then widespread dispensation can occur. Widespread testing without coordinated action for quarantine and control of the virus is a diversion of resources.

          2. Procopius

            We still don’t have “more tests.” Or, at least we don’t (in most places) have enough more tests. There are still (many?) places where people in ICUs cannot be tested because no tests are available. After every clinic in the country has enough tests to test all patients who are showing symptoms, we can consider whether it’s worthwhile to test others. After all, if you test positive what are you going to do differently? You’re already physically distancing yourself, aren’t you?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Yeah, but what about South Korea? I mean, have you seen what they can do with testing in South Korea? It’s just better if you do more tests. I hear they don’t tell anybody “No” in South Korea, and they’re right next to North Korea! We really should be more like South Korea because South Korea is so much better than we are.

          1. Anon

            South Korea is fundamentally different than the US. They have universal healthcare, a population practiced at “social distancing”, and developed methods for contacting/coordinating their population that tests positive. They were prepared for the pandemic.

        3. Drake

          I have yet to hear a word about how reliable these tests are. I don’t think any result is meaningful unless you know what the false-positive and false-negative rates are. Are these even known at this point? I doubt it. I wouldn’t trust any single test result I got right now. I’d need about five before I felt like I knew anything, and then not much.

          1. JohnMc

            according to seheult at medcram the sensitivity is only 60 to 70 percent, meaning a good 30 percent can be false negatives. not sure about the specificity.

              1. Cuibono

                false positives? Anytime you see that you know your source is not trustworththy.
                One Chinese study awaiting peer review showed massive false positives.

                Still, i think that the implications of false negatives here are much more problematic: false reassurance to folks that they are not contagious

          2. Brian (another one they call)

            Since January, I haven’t seen any evidence that these tests comply with some of the basics. Are they uniform? if not, are there various approaches being used to find a working test platform? Are they being manufactured under some existing knowledge about the coronavirus? (which seems minimal but slowly improving) Is the test in Wistful Vista different from the one in Podunk? Are these being supervised by competent med pros or money grubbing pharma CEO wankers?
            If there is a lack of universality to the tests, that shows we are working in the dark, with handcuffs, and that the results are not going to be repeatable.
            Is there any actual data on what each of these manufacturers are working with? I haven’t heard the emperor mention anything, hence disbelief abounds.

            1. Phacops

              I have yet to see these test’s compliance with ICH Q2(R1) Validation of Test Methods. Though I’d expect the FDA to require that as a minimum.

        4. Old Jake

          90% negative. Does that imply 10% positive? If so, it won’t take long for that to reverse.

          Given the treatment at this time is symptomatic with nothing specific targeting the virus itself, testing to determine course of treatment is pointless. Testing therefore is for epidemiology, to see how the virus is occurring in the population. For that end, preliminary screening (where have you been, do you know you have been exposed) is pointless. That points to the testing that is happening as being theater, like our TSA presence in air terminals.

      2. Oregoncharles

        It’s a wonder we hear from you at all – I’m not trying to do nearly so much. I appreciate it; please keep it up.

        And I hope you get the luck you’ve earned.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Thanks, Charles.
          i think about y’all, here, all the time.
          it’s been a roller coaster…and the urgency, which has been there for at least 20 years, is acute, now: must get chicks…must get goats and sheeps…must make a big barnraising of a trip to the metal pile at the dump…must, must must…and sooner, rather than later….because what’s next week gonna be like?
          I’ve been to town more in the past 2 weeks than i ever have,lol>
          because me and cousin are the only one i allow to leave the place(wife does ride=alongs, sometimes, but stays in the truck)
          I happened to see a 50# sack of pinto beans today,lol.
          snatched that up…likely a fema type thing, because there’s never that kind of quantity available any more.
          I’ll plant a third of it.
          i might be feeding a good part of this county in relatively short order, after all…because i am more ready than most for just this sort of event.
          with knowledge, especially.
          and as i was skinny dipping in the cowboy pool this evening, drinking a tall boy…cold, cold water making my joints feel a bit better…i noticed that the birds are back…they’re everywhere, after having disappeared for 3+ years(coincident with our 3year grasshopper plague)
          the trees and bushes are full of song and activity and squabbling and mating(hard to distinguish)
          save for the suffering, this is how humans should be…not stuck in cubicles and “apartments”.
          I think of you all often.

          1. Oregoncharles

            50 pounds? In my experience, they only come in 20 pound bags. That’s regional and organic, though. Only oatmeal comes in 50, for some reason. 50 pounders are a bit hard to manage.

            You must have significant acreage there.

    3. temporal

      I’ve come to the conclusion that this exercise in the US might be labeled “The Great Culling”.

      In NYC anyone who lives in a relatively rich neighborhood, has a car and shows symptoms has a chance to be tested. Nearly everyone else in the city and state gets to enjoy not being tested, having become recently unemployed, or having lost their business. All the while fearing getting tested for the disease simply because they can’t afford the hospital stay. The poor and those that previously were low wage earners have nothing to hope for but a lack of susceptibility. Self-quarantine and surviving without an income over a long period of time are mutually exclusive.

      Herd immunity doesn’t come from a bunch of animals getting over the disease and thus not passing it on to the rest. Herd immunity comes about when the survivors make more new immune offspring after the susceptible ones die off. This is clearly the path our elite have chosen for us.

      Professor Orange now broadcasts that this will be over by Easter. He should drive out to his old home town, stand out on the street and tell that to those that are not immune to this novel virus. Oh, and shake as many hands as possible.

      1. Mike

        Uh, your tds is strong. Herd immunity DOES come from enough of the population developing immunity through either having been infected and recovered or vaccinated. Once sufficient population has this immunity the spread will slow or eventually cease

        1. furies

          I don’t think we *know* whether or not immunity if formed, and if it is, for how long.

          Unknowns all over the place…

          1. Phacops

            That is why having an ELISA test for antibodies is going to be important. The seroconversion from IgM to IgG will be the important event during infection for what you want to know..

        2. D. Fuller

          Until another mutation occurs, rendering herd immunity… useless.

          The Republican mantra is best exemplified by Lt. Governor Tom Wolf – who agrees with Pres. Trump – sacrifice for Wall Street.

          The cost is only 500,000 to 5,000,000 dead. As a way to comprehend that? Take the population of Texas and eliminate 1-in-52 (500,000 dead) to 1-in-6 people (5,000,000 dead).

          As for another example of the failure of “American Capitalism” and “American Exceptionalism”? Testing in South Africa for Covid-19 takes one day. At this time? In The US, testing take 13-17 days to produce results on a disease that has an incubation period of 2-14 days, where I am at. I have direct experience with this.

          Part of that problem is the failure of leadership. Trump is part of the problem, because he is the nominal leader of The United States who has powers he could use to accelerate testing and containment to flatten the curve – yet fails to exercise those powers. And we know if Obama were President, that Republicans would be discussing a “2nd Amendment” solution.

          1. lordkoos

            I wouldn’t say “part of the problem”, I would say a huge part of the problem is the failure of leadership.

      2. Stillfeelinthebern

        Maybe he should just go back to doing his rallies and even step up the pace. The rest of us will stay in isolation and wait it out. A new kind of preppers we be. Election in November could look really different.

    4. D. Fuller

      I had to drive a CNA working at a private nursing home for Covid-19 testing yesterday. The nursing home is concealing a patient with Covid-19, citing adverse publicity and potential adverse financial consequences. The nursing home also failed to inform their lower staff in violation of worker contract and (IIRC) state law. It was by accident that the CNA was made aware of the case.

      Testing results will be available in 7-10 days. The Covid-19 patient at the private nursing home was tested 6 days ago. Add 7-10 days to that number. With Covid-19 having an incubation period of 2-14 days.

      If the CNA has Covid-19, she will most likely know before the test results come in unless she is asymptomatic.

      Testing in America like this in PA? Is a joke. Window dressing to fool the public into believing that something is being done.

      As of yesterday? If you attempt to contact PA health authorites? My county health coordinator is not taking calls. The regional State health office has a voicemail with a fake message, “This line is not in service”. If you attempt to contact the State health department in PA using the number provided on the State government website?

      You are directed to the State Economic Development Board.

      You can see what the priority is of Gov. Wolf in a “Purple State”.

      1. smoker

        Actually, Blue State™ Private Nursing Facilities are no better, California has a notorious reputation, just as they do for unsheltered homelessness. Last Spring, The California Department of Public Health™ scandalously broke California’s own laws regarding such facilities, 03/04/20 DPH Approves Staffing Waivers for Hundreds of Nursing Homes

        The Department of Public Health (DPH) has posted lists of the California nursing homes that it has approved to staff at levels below California’s minimum staffing requirements. Nursing homes with approved waivers are allowed to staff below the daily minimum 3.5 direct care service hours per resident requirement or the minimum 2.4 certified nursing assistant (CNA) hours per resident requirement, or both.

        Much like you, I’ve found California’s Governors and County Health Authorities (right along with State Reps, and horrid Hospitals who surreptitiously discharge patients to horrid Private Nursing Facilities.) totally uninterested in correcting the injustice, and notorious for not responding to calls.

        It’s a National scandal which is likely about to be increasingly revealed in a disastrous manner. Click on the main page from the last link above and there are numerous links regarding the State of US Nursing Facilities that you and the CNA may find of value. So very sorry for what has happened to the CNA..

    5. Jules

      Trying to get my head around some numbers.
      Please correct me if im misunderstanding something.

      Currently ny is saying they need 140,000 beds for hospitalizations and another i believe 40,000 icu. Roughly 15-20% infected need hospitalizations. So if go with 20%, this means ny currently believes about 700,000 ish ny’ers are infected?
      They had 3,234 hospitalizations and 210 deaths thus far. Thats about 6.5% mortality rate for those hospitalized. This is when they have all the resources they need for the current influx. Clearly the mortality rate for those hospitalized will be much higher when the state is spread thin in 14+ days.
      Ny metro area has 20million people, with 8 million using the public transit system weekly. So if , according to Dr birx its been spreading in Ny for several weeks, isnt 700,000-1,000,000 currently infected and needing 140,000 beds a dreadfully low estimate? I think im missing something?

      Even with 140,000 Hospitalizations , fully staffed with everything they need. We are looking at roughly 10,000 fatalities in ny in the next few weeks. Again assuming they have all the resources they need and ending up with a 6.5 % mortality rate for those hospitalized. This being best case scenario?

      What happens if the real number of infected is 2-5 times the estimates they are planning for? Realistically Ny will be stretched thin with even 140,000 hospitaliztions , based on 700,000 to 1,000,000 infected. If the real number of infected in ny metro area is 2-5million in the next few weeks. The mortality rate for hospitalized would skyrocket, and incredibly large numbers of people will die without making to a hospital bed?
      Folks, please tell me im missing something here.

      Then you have some people saying half the population in new york area will be infected in the next few months. Im afraid to do the math, thats hundreds of thousands of fatalities just in ny area? With half the population infected you need a million beds. However, dr Birx did mention at one of the briefing that when people talk about 50-75 % population being infected, that is something that wont happen till the virus goes through the population in multiple cycles. Which would be 12-18months. That is something i dont quite understand. Is that if we quarantine and practice social distancing over the next year?

      1. John Steinbach

        Don’t think you’re missing anything. The authorities are flying blind on this. Strict self isolation will help. The magnitude of the disaster will be apparent in the greater NYC area in a week or so. In Mid-Atlantic, where I live, perhaps around Easter.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      It’s too bad Great Britain doesn’t have a “Defense Procurement Act” like we do here in the u.s. Apparently when that law is invoked, some magic beans are released which convert car or washing machine factories into rubber glove and ventilator factories within a few days, with “unskilled” manufacturing workers easily switching from one product to another immediately since those jobs have to be easy enough for any dummy to do.

      Luckily here in the u.s. we have some tough members of the house of representatives who are going to force the bad orange man to release the magic beans because, for some reason, he hates the american people and just won’t do it on his own.

      PS. This whole mess is only temporary. We can forget about any globalization-induced critical shortages whenever this crisis calms down, and get back to stressing the benefits of cheap, imported infection control supplies to the best “healthcare” system on the planet because capitalism.

      1. edmondo

        The more they hate the Bad Orange Man, the more power they give him. The Democrats are amazingly useless.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Your PS seems an apt and certain outcome of the CoV-19 (Corona) virus flu pandemic — no lessons learned … at least in matters of public health or supply chain fragility.

      3. Synoia

        The UK does not need a Defense Procurement Act. The Government has the powers of the Sovereign, including the power to take (Ownership) without compensation.

        The Sovereign is immune to lawsuits.

  4. xkeyscored

    It appears pangolins may have had a role in this after all.

    A part of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, or its RNA, is 99% the same as that of a pangolin coronavirus, while the rest of our new virus is 96% the same as a bat’s, suggesting the two have crossed over, or recombined, somewhere along the line.

    “RaTG13, isolated from a bat of the species Rhinolophus affinis collected in China’s Yunan Province, has recently been described as very similar to SARS-CoV-2, with genome sequences identical to 96 percent.
    However, the coronavirus isolated from pangolin is similar at 99 percent in a specific region of the S protein, which corresponds to the 74 amino acids involved in the ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2) receptor binding domain, the one that allows the virus to enter human cells to infect them.
    In addition, these genomic comparisons suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the result of a recombination between two different viruses, one close to RaTG13 and the other closer to the pangolin virus. In other words, it is a chimera between two pre-existing viruses.” [24 March]

      1. xkeyscored

        From what I can gather, taste is a matter of taste.
        For some, it’s entirely a question of price.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            In my irresponsible youth, I learned you could set off a flame war on any forum with enough participating Brits and ozzies by firing up a Marmite vs. Vegemite thread.

    1. Ignacio

      The article doesn’t add much. For recombination to be demonstrated two parental-like strains have to be identified and the proximate recombination sites located. This is not done in this study and similarities between Pangolin and Human strains in the receptor binding domain of S-protein though strongly suggest a common ancestor may also be the result of evolutive convergence if human and pangolin receptors are similar. When a virus species jumps host lots of changes occur as the virus adapts to the new host. I hope this is investigated in detail and relevant information is obtained to asses how coronavirus jump hosts and, in case recombinations occur, which is the host where this happens. I believe bats are the most probable candidates to have mixed infections of coronavirus.

      1. Ignacio

        SARS-CoV viruses have been identified mainly in bats of the family Rhinolophidae and a few more in Hipposideride bats. These have been isolated in several provinces in China including Hubei but SARS CoV viruses with receptor binding domains appropriate to bind human ACE2 have been identified only in Yunnan province so there could be the origin of the disease, though the place where the virus jumped species (intermediate or not) could have been any given bat trafficking for traditional Chinese medicine.

    2. The JE

      Given the horrible things humans are doing to Pangolins, I see this as just desserts for humans.

    3. mpalomar

      This seems similar to an earlier article from Consortium News
      “In addition, these genomic comparisons suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the result of a recombination between two different viruses, one close to RaTG13 and the other closer to the pangolin virus. In other words, it is a chimera between two pre-existing viruses.”

      1. Ignacio

        But, but but, wait! Forget about genome comparisons. This all started in a dinner in some island in the Pacific where Mr. Putin was meeting with Comrade Bolton, Comrade Rees-Mogg, Comrade Puigdemont, and a few more I cannot name, and showed them a bat in a cage. “This is it”, Putin said, “the solution to all of your aspirations, all of our aspirations!”

        1. mpalomar

          This is it”, Putin said, “the solution to all of your aspirations, all of our aspirations!”

          But perhaps not all of our future respirations.

    4. Ignacio

      I regret to say that you have no idea of what you are talking about. No frolic is needed for a virus to jump host. Bats rest in caves and trees and their depositions go to the ground where many other mammals pass through smelling and touching. Bat feces (CoV are generally intestinal viruses) contain lots of CoVs plus other virus that transmit in this way to other species and this has been demonstrated more than once, more than twice more than…. Also you are citing scientific work by Baric el at. that was done precisely to demonstrate that there are bat coronaviruses in nature that have the potential to adapt to humans and infect them. This commentary is IMO disingenuous and idiotic.

    5. cm

      Don’t forget the Chinese scientist caught trying to smuggle weapons-grade virus from Canada’s level-4 facility:

      A researcher with ties to China was recently escorted out of the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg amid an RCMP investigation into what’s being described as a possible “policy breach.”

      Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng and an unknown number of her students from China were removed from Canada’s only level-4 lab on July 5, CBC News has learned.

      A Level 4 virology facility is a lab equipped to work with the most serious and deadly human and animal diseases. That makes the Arlington Street lab one of only a handful in North America capable of handling pathogens requiring the highest level of containment, such as Ebola.

    6. Bill Carson

      I’d never even heard of a pangolin until I read this comment and the replies. Had to google it. I see they are like Asian armadillos.

      1. Fellow Minnesotan

        Would have been in the same boat, had not the kids been addicted to Wild Kratz, a kids’ nature show on PBS in the US. Learned about Pangolins for the first time last year!

  5. JohnMc

    re: the n95 mask. while covid19 isn’t the flu, there is this:

    A study published last September found that surgical masks were as good as N95 respirators for flu and respiratory virus protection in healthcare workers.

    The four-year study, which was conducted at 137 outpatient study sites at seven U.S. medical centers during the typical 12-week peak of viral respiratory illness, involved approximately 4,000 healthcare workers. The workers’ average age was 43 years, and most were women (83 percent). Roughly half of the workers were randomly assigned to wear the N95 respirator, and the other half were assigned to wear regular medical masks.

    At the end of the study period, the authors of the study noted no statistically significant differences in the number of influenza infections or other respiratory illnesses between the two groups, suggesting that the two masks provided similar levels of protection.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Did the study go on to give a value the effectiveness of either mask in keeping the health care workers from developing respiratory illnesses.

      It appears that a whole lot of direct-contact health care workers still got sick with viral illnesses:

      In the end, 207 laboratory-confirmed influenza infections occurred in the N95 groups versus 193 among medical mask wearers, according to the report. In addition, there were 2,734 cases of influenza-like symptoms, laboratory-confirmed respiratory illnesses, and acute or laboratory-detected respiratory infections (where the worker may not have felt ill) in the N95 groups, compared with 3,039 such events among medical mask wearers.

      “The takeaway is that this study shows one type of protective equipment is not superior to the other,” she said. “Facilities have several options to provide protection to their staff — which include surgical masks — and can feel that staff are protected from seasonal influenza. Our study supports that in the outpatient setting there was no difference between the tested protections.” Ibid.

      There looks to be a statistically significant smaller number, 2734, of workers wearing N95 masks developing disease compared to those paper “surgical masks,” 3095. No indication of diligence of proper use of either kind of mask, and I’ve observed plenty of half-a$$ed fitting and use of these masks of both types, by health care professionals — in some cases, a kind of “I’ve got to put it on, but they can’t make me use it right” attitude, compounded by “I have so much else to do to meet my metrics that there’s no time to give the PPE the proper attention and diligence.” Also: No indication of relative rates of infection between mask-using subjects of the study, and exposed people who did not have any respiratory protection. No control for illnesses initiated by non-workplace exposure is shown.

      And I think that “FEEL” is the operative, PMC-comforting verb in this study.

      Would not see this study as any kind of basis for grand PPE policy.

      1. Cuibono

        sure but this might then in fact approximate real world conditons. And now with no supplies it is largely a MOOT point

  6. timbers

    “Supreme Court rules states are immune from copyright law Ars Technica”

    Did the Supremes legalize socialism and incentivize a reason for it with this earlier 1999 ruling?

    If I read this write, this means a state could legally produce among other things, patented drugs?

    Might it occur to a state instead of giving tax breaks to corporations to locate in their state on the promise of in-state jobs that often don’t materialize, it would be smarter to open state owned factories and sell at better prices than Big Pharma?

    “The most directly relevant precedent here was a 1999 ruling saying that individuals couldn’t sue states for patent infringement.”

    1. Paradan

      Isn’t there a law against the state owning property? And if true, who owns our carriers, etc.?

    2. Fraibert

      It’s a clever idea but I think it may be possible for pharmaceutical companies to sue private purchasers of the state-manufactured drugs (e.g., hospitals and clinics) under a theory of indirect infringement. The companies might be able to pursue that suit in the form of a class action, effectively suing large numbers of purchasers at once, too. (It’s not common to talk about but the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do permit certifying a defendant class.)

      This is not heavily researched but just some quick thoughts.

  7. xkeyscored


    Has China’s National Health Commission started watching the movie Contagion*, but not seen the end yet?

    “It prescribes both modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as treatments for the disease. As the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) highlighted, one of the TCMs it recommends in the advice is “Tan Re Qing” (Tanreqing) injections.
    According to one 2017 study, Tanreqing is:
    a traditional Chinese medicine injection, whose composition are goat horns, bear gall powder, honeysuckle, forsythia, Huang Cen, with the efficacy of detoxification, eliminating phlegm sedative”

    *In the movie, ‘forsythia’ is touted as a cure, but turns out not to be.

  8. allan

    Shot: Coronavirus cases confirmed in at least six US Amazon warehouses [The Hill]

    The coronavirus outbreak has impacted at least six Amazon warehouses in the U.S. as the retail giant works to address a surge in shipments as thousands of Americans are confined to their homes.

    Employees at Amazon warehouses in New York City, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma City have tested positive for COVID-19, …

    Chaser: Delivery drivers face pandemic without sick pay, insurance, sanitizer [Reuters]

    On his delivery route through Orange County, California, Joseph Alvarado made 153 stops one day last week for Inc (AMZN.O), touching the inside and outside of his van, more than 225 packages, and dozens of customers’ doors and gates. …

    Now we know what the arrow logo means.

    1. cnchal

      Shipping Oreos and Cheetoes makes the world go round.

      Don’t worry about finding a crushed Oreo, returns are free. Just go to UPS and they will take care of you.

      Crack that whip. Bezos’ pile depends on it.

  9. Off The Street

    Here is a visual display of CV growth in different countries, from Real-World Economics. The graphic includes some handy aids showing ranges of doubling rates, and has brief annotations about summary steps taken by various countries.

  10. Dr. John Carpenter

    Re: Hidin’ Biden. It’s interesting to me to remember back in this 2008 race when markets were collapsing how McCain got slaughtered in the media for how he was acting but Biden, the presumptive Democrat nominee, has been invisible and they’re telling us it’s no big deal. Not that I have any good feelings for McCain at all, but the contrast is telling.

    1. Lee

      I believe there is a move afoot among the usual suspects to cancel the debate between Biden and Sanders scheduled for April. This is consistent with their calls for Sanders to drop out. I’m wondering if the current TP shortage is attributable to Biden Democrats as come they to terrible realizations as to the fitness of their candidate.

      1. a different chris

        The don’t care about the fitness of their candidate, at least not in the sense I think you are saying.

        They just want to prop him up for the next year or so. He simply needs to stay alive. They have plenty of people to do the actual work, as they see it – might not agree with how you and I see it.

        These people already know, and have for a long time, what you call a “terrible realization”.

        1. Hepativore

          The sad thing is that even if Sanders were the front runner right now, Tom Perez would probably use the “nuclear option” and refuse to give the nomination to Sanders, they hate him that much.

          Still, there is a faint glimmer of hope in this mess, as the outbreak seems to be slightly working in Sanders’ favor as he has been using his campaign to help COVID-19 management efforts, in addition to pressing for more aid to workers. I am not sure if this has had much of an effect on polling numbers, as no new polls have been released in awhile because of the outbreak.

          Meanwhile, Biden’s absence has even been noticed by CNN, and various memes about him hiding have been trending on Twitter, and when he has appeared, he has come off as a bumbling fool.

          Still, I hope that the Boomer demographic can finally pick up on how incompetent Joe Biden really is, as any appearance by him at this point is spun by the corporate media as a resounding success. It is not just a matter of winning the election, as it is literally a matter of life and death on who gets the presidency at this point, and Biden is certainly not leadership material.

          1. wilroncanada

            I don’t know much about MSNBC, because our cable package doesn’t include that (not something I’m sorry for). CNN, which I do spin through sporadically, has never mentioned Sanders, except as an epithet. It certainly, to my knowledge, has never mentioned his display of adulthood in dealing with “the virus”, as compared with the President or the would-be President.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Japan’s winning its quiet fight against Covid-19 Asia Times

    This is really interesting – the Japanese are taking a very different approach it seems, even to the extent of quite openly suppressing real figures of illness and deaths. I wonder if they think they can avoid the exponential explosion phase, or whether they think they can adjust when it happens. I doubt if what the Japanese do is replicatable elsewhere, but if they succeed it does show that there are a range of different wants of dealing with this.

    1. Acacia

      40+ new cases reported in Tokyo today, so Mayor Koike called a press conference Wednesday to… wait for it… ask citizens of the megalopolis to not go out this weekend. Because two days of unenforced “self-restraint” will no doubt make all the difference. Yup. Meanwhile, many people on Twitter wonder whether the sudden spike in cases might not be related to the Olympics now almost certainly being postponed.

      1. Hoppy

        I was in Tokyo in last month. They were way ahead of NYC or the rest of the USA with masks/sanitizer.

        But people were coughing everywhere.

        Same with Vietnam, coughing everywhere in January. But while there were more masks than the usual for pollution, definitely not the same attention to sanitzer/hand cleaning.

        Maybe this blows up everywhere in a month. But in my experience some things are not adding up.

        There will be some interesting post-mortems done after this about how this spread and what caused such vast differences between Japan and Italy.

        What about Thailand and Vietnam? Without widespread testing of the general population, who is to say it didn’t already blow through the population with effects mitigated by the ave. age of the population and the temperature?

        Too many unknowns at this point but there will be hell to pay which ever direction things go. Seems we have to choose sides.

    2. Monty

      Do you think this could be true?
      Generally speaking, there is a small minority pool of the public, “the at risk group”, who are just waiting for any trigger for The Grim Reaper to take them during the next 12 months. Covid19, being so widespread, will act as this trigger in a lot of their deaths this year. However, when you add up the numbers in 12 months from now, it will show that these deaths happened instead of whatever would have killed them anyway.

      1. Aumua

        We should probably just take all those people who are at death’s door anyway and line them up and shoot them. Skip the middle man, ya know? Or maybe there is a more efficient way to put them out of their misery, I don’t know.

        1. Hoppy

          Did he say that? No.

          But maybe we don’t need to go into a Depression yet still try to protect those most vulnerable from a virus without a vaccine in sight.

        2. Monty

          Not what I was driving at! :-) I am not advocating anything, I am trying to understand what the bean counters at .gov are seeing, if they think we can all go back to work after Easter. My suspicion is they have modeled many less “excess” deaths than the worst case indicates.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            If Hilary was our Dear Leader she would have to balance the path toward Depression and economic annihilation against the urgent need to fight the additional deaths from this new virus. It is a balancing act. She would be required to show resolve and yes, optimism. Her job would be to remind us of the light at the end of this tunnel.

            But when The Orange Man does this of course he is completely excoriated and ridiculed. OK, Twitter-breath, what balance would you recommend? Recall that your words can make the difference between a short-term economic shock and Mad Max.

      2. Frobisher

        I don’t think any commenters are qualified to play God. I have chronic health conditions but if I manage them with rigor, could get me to my grandson’s high school graduation. And yes, a meteor could crash into my house.

    3. John k

      28% of Japan pop over 65 vs Italy 23% (no.2), us 16%.
      Maybe not testing… and maybe not reporting actual cases or real cause of deaths so far bc olympics. If so, might hear a different tale soon.

  12. fresno dan

    PornHub is now StayHub…
    don’t worry, its still a naughty site. Uh…a commenter on another blog mentioned it.
    I looked around for … reporting purposes. The site asks you to commit to self isolation or to practice social distancing.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘The site asks you to commit to self isolation or to practice social distancing.’

      So, PornHub is recommending a hands-on approach?

      1. Treadingwaterbutstillkicking

        That is one position, but probably not the only position they are recommending…

          1. Bill Carson

            You came across that site by accident when you caught your step-sister looking at it? She was so naughty that you had to give her a spanking?

      2. fresno dan

        The Rev Kev
        March 25, 2020 at 8:47 am

        Actually, I think they’re recommending you keep your hands to yourself…. ;)
        though I imagine with the proper training, sanitation, and protective gear, one could come ….within 6 feet of someone else.
        Now, in the interest of reporting, I checked the website for masks – there is a surprising amount of videos that feature respirators – but this was even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic….according to my friend….

    2. Teejay

      FD, Yeah I know, I know as a service to the greater NC community. We thank you. You did the “investigating” so we wouldn’t have to. You’re an example to us all. America salutes you. I’ll dash off a letter to der Fuhrer recommending the Metal of Freedom. He’s running low on smoke and mirror distractions.

  13. YY

    Re Japan Coronavirus
    I’ve yet to see any main stream reporting that actually explains why there may be a very good reason for the “lack of testing” in Japan. Usually it is accused of being statistical manipulation in the interest of the Olympics or other political objectives. The authorities have done no great job in explaining even the apparent under-utilization of the limited testing capacity existent, while at the same time touting increased and quicker testing. Then you also have the reporting anecdotes of postmortem discovery of infection as if that proves the efficacy of testing.

    It needs to be stressed that testing is not the end all nor the most important means of saving lives. Testing is not a vaccine. Clearing a test one day is no guarantee that one would not be infected the next day. Testing the entire community is near impossible and to what end? Testing ties up medical and quasi medical personnel at the same time putting them at risk of, if not own infection, spreading infection should the odd infected sample end up in the line of people waiting for tests. Most importantly testing yields sufficient false positives and false negatives that make the results very dangerous if not useless. While the Japanese medical establishment collectively is making potential test subjects jump through hoops to get a test, they are probably right in doing so as mere testing is no cure. The approach of testing to confirm what is already suspected and apparent (and immediate close persons) makes a lot more sense then creating traffic jams of drive thru testing which will result in demands for hospital bed space by those who are not at all near death.

    1. Biologist

      But testing a random subset of the general population in different locations and of different ages provides key information to monitor the spread of the virus in different parts of the country and across different groups of people, as well as get better estimates of mortality rates. That this is hardly being done seems very surprising to me, even if capacity is limited.

      1. YY

        Yes. Korea shows a lower mortality rate because of higher sampling while having more deaths. (The religious cult does not help the numbers) Japan will show less infection but the ceiling limited by testing. Mortality rate may be higher but number of deaths lower. Unless testing is done to reflect the sampling of the entire and average population the statistics will always skew. The academic and PR exercise will not save lives but will simply put the illness accurately in a context of the entire country. It would appear, despite the infection increase of some 40 odd in Tokyo yesterday, the bet is still on the ability to trace and identify reasons/routes/sources of infection. Failing that there will be lock down. The Japanese system relies upon patients seeking medical help as trigger as opposed to authorities looking for the sick. It seems to work. Arrivals at airports are checked, however.

  14. Seth Miller

    Why Did Joe Biden Disappear Right as the Coronavirus Pandemic Exploded?

    Because his meds wore off after the debate.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This reasoning ignores Biden’s character which is viable explanation. He’s neither a leader or knowledgeable enough to have opinions to unfolding crises.

      Its possible he is ill, but he was a performative Senator who served as a key Democratic vote for the credit card industry. Obama’s stance on gay marriage only changed because Biden saw how it made Obama look. It was after that hideous amendment in North Carolina passed, but this is the extent of Biden’s “leadership.” Other than that, Biden’s 50 years in public life amounted to a promise to moon shot cancer. Talk about bold leadership. He’s opposed to cancer, such a courageous stance.

      Now as the presumed nominee and the person handing out goodies, he’s being looked at to lead and is probably woefully out of his depth knowledge wise (he’s not very smart) and has rarely demonstrated more than water carrying. Biden is probably ticked he has to make decisions. After all, Obama put Libya up to a vote of his advisors.

      Based on his reaction to Tapper, I sort of suspect Biden is being overwhelmed and is getting huffy about being asked to practice good hygiene.

      1. sj

        It looks worse than that to me. His Senate days are long past and utterly irrelevant to today. That is, if you don’t look at the lasting harm he has done in his career.

        In my snarky moments I have opined that whatever he was given to keep him upright in the last debate had severe blow back resulting in a stroke of some sort. And that his handlers are too busy trying to keep him alive to worry about something as trivial as policy that affects millions of people.

        But truly, he looks and sounds even worse right now than he has lo these many months.

  15. Maff

    Re: Countries Starting to Hoard Food, Threatening Global Trade

    “If governments are not working collectively and cooperatively to ensure there is a global supply, if they’re just putting their nations first, you can end up in a situation where things get worse,” said Benton of Chatham House.

    Well, I guess thats a complex problem in game theory that further depends whose Utility you have been elected to maximise.

    [Right, Julia?]

  16. Lee

    Countries Are Starting to Hoard Food, Threatening Global Trade Bloomberg

    Of the three big three: air, water, and food, lack of the latter represents the greatest threat to public safety and order. Starvation kills you slowly enough and leaves you with enough strength for a long enough time to get up to all sorts. In a country such as the U.S., with so many armed citizens, its food self sufficiency and abundance is a real plus. Only in a well fed country could people become desperate over possible shortages of toilet paper.

        1. newcatty

          Beware of Access for me, but not for thee. If elites are hoarding medical supplies through their concierge docs and practices, buying “access” to tests with their wealth, escaping to their “second homes” out of the cities and suburbs, still playing golf in AZ ( its an essential business), still being benevolent job creators ( my personal entourage of assistants and “help” are now receiving my generous “access”to tests before entering our home, daily). Its an interesting thought of what could come…

  17. stefan

    A little bit of science:

    Hospitals in New York City are gearing up to use the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 as a possible antidote for the disease. Researchers hope that the century-old approach of infusing patients with the antibody-laden blood of those who have survived an infection will help the metropolis — now the US epicentre of the outbreak — to avoid the fate of Italy, where intensive-care units (ICUs) are so crowded that doctors have turned away patients who need ventilators to breathe…..As early as next week, at least two hospitals in New York City — Mount Sinai and Albert Einstein College of Medicine — hope to start using coronavirus-survivor plasma to treat people with the disease…

      1. ewmayer


        Artificially acquired passive immunity is a short-term immunization achieved by the transfer of antibodies, which can be administered in several forms; as human or animal blood plasma or serum, as pooled human immunoglobulin for intravenous (IVIG) or intramuscular (IG) use, as high-titer human IVIG or IG from immunized donors or from donors recovering from the disease, and as monoclonal antibodies (MAb). Passive transfer is used to prevent disease or used prophylactically in the case of immunodeficiency diseases, such as hypogammaglobulinemia. It is also used in the treatment of several types of acute infection, and to treat poisoning. Immunity derived from passive immunization lasts for a few weeks to three to four months. There is also a potential risk for hypersensitivity reactions, and serum sickness, especially from gamma globulin of non-human origin. Passive immunity provides immediate protection, but the body does not develop memory, therefore the patient is at risk of being infected by the same pathogen later unless they acquire active immunity or vaccination.

        OTOH, using blood plasma (where the antibodies live) of recovered patients to help sick patients fight the virus while their own immune system ramps up antibody production could work – I just don’t know how labor-intensive such treatment is, especially the antibody-extraction part. But might be something that could help the sickest patients.

  18. Otis B Driftwood

    Anyone with the nerve to tweet Biden had a “good performance” in his debate with Sanders needs to be reminded, as rudely as possible, that he told multiple lies during the debate that were challenged only by Sanders himself.

    Absolutely no follow up by moderators and the broader media at large. It’s a disgrace. In an honest democracy, one not hellbent on manufacturing consent for a doddering lying old fool, Biden’s “good performance” would be disqualifying.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Ok, I’ll update my comment a bit. That Tweet from Sandy was actually an awkward attempt to point out that by focusing on Biden’s many gaffes the media and the public it is supposed to serve is overlooking the multiple lies Biden spews.

      On that point, I completely agree.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Lies, yes. Is anyone surprised? Lying Joe Biden isn’t anything new.

      My concern is that all the rumors of Joe being significantly impaired by cognitive decline lowered the subjective bar for him clear in the head-to-head debate. I was expecting Joe to fall to pieces or have senior moments, and instead he seemed relatively normal (for Joe at least).

      In this way, I believe that those rumors being spread had the dual effect of significantly helping Biden in his public perception, and of eroding the credibility of those spreading the rumors— again working in Biden’s favor.

  19. Krystyn Walentka

    See this interview a doctor who seems to be treating people successfully with Chloroquine and 200mg of Zinc Sulfate.

    The article does not mention Zinc Sulfate at all for some reason. There is a blindness out there that zinc ALONE might actually work and I cannot figure out why. Are we that indoctrinated by Big Pharm?

    I have found more evidence that ACE2 will be brought into the cell
    even if the enzyme is not functioning. This means zinc would not enter the cell either if one is zinc deficient since the ACE2 emezyme contains zinc in its protein structure.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      My wife told me about her grandmother, who was 10 years old during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918. Her grandmother told her that their doctor game everyone in his care quinine in order to raise the acidity in their bloodstream. Whether or not this was what made the difference, but no one in her family got sick.

      With the same goal in mind, my wife has been giving me a gin and tonic before dinnertime just about every day since our shelter in place order came down. I like gin and tonics, so I don’t dare dispute her grandmother’s account.

      1. Anon

        There is something about the 1918 Spanish Flu that needs to be understood. It’s cause was unknown at the time. Prominent doctors thought it was a bacterium. Not until later (1930’s) was it determined to be caused by a virus; of which , little was known in 1918. Doctors recommending quinine was palliative psychology, not medicine.

        Getting sick during the 1918 flu epidemic was the reverse of Covid-19: it was the young who were most affected. My mother, 5 y.o. at the time, lost her 8 y.o. sister but no other members of her family of seven (Catholic parents).

        1. Wyoming

          My grandfather died in the 1918 epidemic. 25 years old. First symptom to dead in 24 hours. Left behind a 2 yr old (my father) and a 1 yr old and my grandmother. They had a hard life.

          1. Anon

            Now, think about that. Your grandfather was then born in 1893, My grandfather was born in 1897 and died 100 yrs. later. He came to California in a covered wagon at the age of five. experienced the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake at nine and survived the Spanish flu at twenty-one. History is not that far away from us all.

        2. LifelongLib

          My grandfather’s brother died in the flu epidemic, aged about 20. But (according to a family story) he’d also had rheumatic fever as a boy which had damaged his heart.

    2. Louis Fyne

      — Are we that indoctrinated by Big Pharm?—


      to plagiarize-paraphrase a comment I read somewhere else—their hypothesis/assertion is that the US medical system has squeezed most of the initiative and “Rube Goldberg clinical-scientific curiosity ” out of doctors and that a big chuck of the current two generations of doctors won’t deviate from established procedures (a.k/a whatever their pharma rep says).

      And as there is no US established procedure re. covid, many US doctors are reluctant prescribe drugs off-label, incorporate clinical evidence from other countries, even consider the efficacy of zinc, etc.

      again just paraphrasing what I read somewhere else, your mileage may vary

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe a doctor can be found guilty of malpractice if harm results from deviating from standard practice. I am not a physician so I have no idea how the standard of practice is defined these days. I would not be surprised to find that “established procedures (a.k/a whatever their pharma rep says)” might be deemed a component of standard practice — although I suspect you should modify that to read — whatever the pharma and FDA approved literature states about a drug.

    3. SKM

      reply to Krystyn Walentka: good point re zinc, the better your blood levels of zinc the more likely chloroquine will work against sars-cov2 because it seems that Zn inhibits RNA polymerase and hence stops viral replication. Zn ions are positively charged and can`t just get into the cell because you take zinc supplements. However chloroquine turns out to be a zinc ionophore meaning it opens the cells “gates” and allows zinc to concentrate in the cytoplasm. All this is well explained by Dr Seheult in his brilliant coronavirus updates on youtube.
      Re the article about Italian real cases being 10x those declared – this applies everywhere. It is by now widely understood that real case rates are from 10 to 20 times (I`d guess even more from some of the data slowly accumulating) those detected – anywhere.
      Has anyone any thoughts on what a game changer it will be when (I imagine fairly soon) an antibody test is rolled out? How will that be managed? I think how that will be managed will be crucial to the way this whole crisis is handled going forward and so to everything that follows…..
      Into 3rd week of lock down in Italy and hoping all of you stay safe!

  20. mpalomar

    Regarding Secretary General suggests global cease fire.
    UN Secretary-General António Guterres called Monday for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.”

    Amidst the global chaos and psychotic behaviour, not just as regards covid-19 but the unblinking general carrying on of pointless wars and known promotion of climate and environment catastrophe (including the leftish AMLO’s apparently disastrous denial of covid-19 in Mexico) a voice of reason is heard and then… likely ignored.
    While we’re at it, how about including a call for a cease and desist on the criminal sanctions as well?

  21. Shonde

    Matt Stoller, in his Big newsletter today, said, “We can fight this bill. Remember, Congress is going to pass a bill with a lot of important stuff for workers, hospitals, cities and small business, and to address the pandemic. That’s inevitable. If we do stop it, Congress will simply pass the same bill, strip out all the slush funds, and take that stuff on in a few weeks. This is a crisis, they are getting sick, and they know we have to act.”

    Stoller said that including all the Federal Reserve “slush fund” the bill actually is about $6 Trillion and counting.

    He does think we have a chance to stop this if we can get one representative such as Amish or AOC to object under the unanimous consent rule.

    Contact every nurse you know and tell them to call/contact their congresspeople immediately. And then you call too.

    1. John

      Many in Congress has closed their offices in Washington and their offices in their home states.

      Not taking any calls.

      Unbelievable FAIL in the age of technology.

      I suspect they don’t want to hear from the people they are screwing by bailing out these corporations with trillions of our tax dollars.

      1. Trent

        Still think its the perfect cover for a bailout

        “never let a crisis go to waste” be they authentic or created on purpose

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          As events unfold each day, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether this is like some apocalyptic scifi movie where a cabal of billionaires concerned about climate change unleash a virus to cull the herd or if it’s a tragicomic Keystone Cops silent flick.

    2. JTMcPhee

      I saw that Stoller piece yesterday, and called Rep. Charlie Crist’s office and gave an earful to his home-town legislative aide. Who actually said out loud I was right on all the points about how money should not be going to big corps and the Casino, but to all the ordinary people who are the “Boxers” (see “Animal Farm”) who power the economy and dragged it out of the last collapse by working and working. Including direct payments to all the unemployed, not some crap about “unemployment insurance” which in FL is a weak sick joke.

      I mentioned that Crist could kill the scam using the Stoller suggestion of withholding unanimous consent and asked if Crist had a position on the pending “deal,” he said no, but keep watching Crist’s web page for news. Crist was a Rep before he switched Dem, takes a lot of corp campaign money, not looking for him to stand up and be brave on this.

      I should have mentioned that this is a heck of an opportunity for a politician of ambition to hop on the populist train and make a name for himself by standing up to the Bigs (and low risk, because Pelosi and Schumer will ultimately sleaze their way to voting up the bill anyway, and unlikely to take much vengeance against the naysayer.) Probably a better act for Rand Paul, if he is up to it — I think the “progressives” seem to be “keeping their powder dry” on this one, despite the obvious need and righteousness of money to people, not to corporations (again.)

    3. anonymous

      I sent an email to my congresswoman, although it won’t make a difference.
      I had the TV on for a long time yesterday evening, switching back and forth between MSNBC and CNN, and almost all the program time was spent interviewing anyone and everyone about Trump’s comments about opening the country up by Easter. There was almost nothing about the bailout bill. I wondered whether Trump’s idiotic comments were made deliberately to distract from the bill, with the added benefit of pleasing the Christian right when he talked about the beauty of Easter.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Try []. Everything after the ‘?’ is tracking data — no telling what it means.

      Matt Stoller seems to think we still live in a democracy[?].

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        from less than 20 minutes ago. I’m not getting the good “feels.”

        Here’s Stoller:

        We are getting an object lesson that there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans or progressives and conservatives. In a crisis everyone does Wall Street’s bidding.
        11:33 AM · Mar 25, 2020·Twitter Web App

        Here’s Ball
        The more I learn about the corporate bailouts the more enraged I am. Democrats folded and are now complicit in handing these corporations trillions in exchange for the same kind of oversight that they got in TARP. How did that work out?
        11:34 AM · Mar 25, 2020·Twitter Web App

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Countries Starting to Hoard Food, Threatening Global Trade”

    Coulda guessed that this was a Bloomberg story. I am sure that they would have approved the decision for Ireland to continue with food exports during the Great Famine in which a million Irish men, women and children starved to death. Contracts are sacrosanct after all. But when this article said ‘As governments take nationalistic approaches, they risk disrupting an international system that has become increasingly interconnected in recent decades.’ they are restating what Ireland was forced to do during the famine.

    In a hint of irony, Russia may do well during this food hoarding by countries. The reason is that after several years of sanctions, they have been forced to learn to grow everything that they need in lieu of the food imports that they used depend on and lost access to. A side effect is that they are the world’s leading wheat exporter now by far. Maybe every country should learn to be more self-sufficient with their own food demands. To show my heresy here, I would like to introduce the good people at Bloomberg to an alien concept and here it is-


    Noun: autarky; noun: autarchy
    economic independence or self-sufficiency.
    “rural community autarchy is a Utopian dream”
    a country, state, or society which is economically independent.
    plural noun: autarkies; plural noun: autarchies

    1. Off The Street

      Make America Autarkic Again

      maaa, said the goat in upvoting rurality, or was it just hungry?

    2. xkeyscored

      The Khmer Rouge were very keen on autarky, or at least the idea of it.

      In practice, they imported various things, including anti-malarials I believe – chloroquine, maybe?

  23. geoff

    In contrast to the Asia Times’ “Japan’s Winning It’s Quiet Fight Against COVID-19”, I saw this morning in The Guardian that Tokyo has experienced a large rise in covid cases and the government is requesting everyone to stay in place. It had seemed like Japan was on the downside of the crisis, but maybe not. I guess the really concerning thing about this is that it looks like the government and public got complacent about their “success” in reducing cases of coronavirus and now it’s roaring back.

    Details are at the Japan Times’ English website.

    1. Louis Fyne

      to nitpick w/Max—states share blame as well. irrespective of Trump, all the governors have no excuse for sitting on their hands in January.

      Sure the governors couldn’t close borders, activate FEMA, etc….but they could ramp up efforts within their own states: equip local first responders, activate/coordinate local public health contingency plans, etc..

      1. Jules

        Or at the very least the states could have been quietly stockpiling the medical supplies that would be necessary . Im assuming some were, just no where at the scale necessary for places like NY. Im embarrassed to be an american when we currently have different states trying to outbid each other in acquiring said supplies.

    2. cnchal

      When Tucker Carlson goes to Mar A Lago to grab Trump by the ears and shake his head, just to get him to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, it was too late.

      Tucker Carlson: “politicains are mostly stupid” is the operative principle.

      Still flying + delivering Amazon crapola = Total Fail

  24. Katy

    Is there a primary source for the Senate bill? I was looking on and, but I’m not sure whether the full text is there. I don’t have access to WaPo or FT. From other news organizations I’m seeing things like “up to” a $1,200 check per person, but previous versions of the bill provided smaller amounts of money to low-income people (let’s kick them while they’re down!). Thanks!

  25. Craig H.

    > Amazon’s Bezos, Other Corporate Executives Sold Shares Just in Time

    Exactly backwards!

    The stock market plunged when the brainquarters told all the big shots to sell. Looking forward the opposite of this factoid is also going to be true.

  26. Jomo

    If I survive I can use the $1200 Government check to buy a new IPhone, but tell me again, how much is it supposed to cost to have Medicare for all? Seems like a National Health Service in the USA would be a good idea, but I hear the new $2 trillion dollar Congressional Bill doesn’t even address that.

    1. The Historian

      I’m still waiting to read the text of that bill. Apparently we aren’t supposed to know exactly what is in it until it has been voted upon by the Senate, ergo, no calling our Senators to in any way to object.

      From what I’ve heard on other sites, the Democrats are satisfied with it because they got more “oversight” of how $500 Billion of that $2 Trillion is going to be spent. Does that mean that there are going to be more foxes to guard the henhouse?

      1. Jomo

        The oversight requirements are there because the White House has failed to produce documents and witnesses in response to Congressional inquiries. The Congress is saying we will give you money for the emergency but only if you agree in advance to actually cooperate with oversight on how you spend it. This seems a very reasonable and prudent measure on the part of Congress.

      2. urblintz

        the bill includes a 500 billion slush fund to Wall Street with “oversight” but no one is talking about how the Fed kneecapped the Dems with its own 4.5 trillion slush fund over which the Dems will have no control (not that many would object to however it is used….).

        We thought 2008 was the largest transfer of wealth upwards in the history of man… we were wrong.

        And the Dems are just fine with that!

        1. The Historian

          I know, but there is nothing you or I can do to influence the Fed one way or another. We should be allowed to have some influence on the bills that are passed by our representatives, however. [I know, I’m dreaming.]

          One reason it is so important to see the text of that bill is to look for the loopholes. When a bill is rushed through, especially if it contains items that the business community doesn’t like, there are usually loopholes big enough to drive a Freightliner through – so that what you think the bill says is not going to be the way the bill is implemented. I would bet that there are some serious loopholes in this bill.

      3. cnchal

        Blackrock is not a fox, it’s a greedy monster.

        You have been mesmerized by the shiny $2 trillion bauble, while the $4 trillion FEDs no billionaire left behind bailout hides in plain sight.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        I am curious how many pages the bill will contain. I suspect it will be a package lke a DoD funding bill loaded with peripheral and often mysterious giveaways to complement the main event.

      5. xkeyscored

        1 a mistake or omission, especially one made through a failure to notice something.

        Chambers 21st Century Dictionary

      6. Aumua

        I assume the reason there is so little discussion of the bailout is because we don’t know what it really contains yet?

    2. urblintz

      I guess we all know now how Bernie could have funded m4all and I guess no one will be asking that question anymore. Insurance companies saved.

      1. Aumua

        Hahaha wrong. What we will probably hear instead down the line is “We just spent all this money on the coronavirus thing, so we really need to tighten our belts now and work hard to reduce that deficit.”

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Olympics: Tokyo 2020 postponed until 2021 over coronavirus outbreak”

    I am finding such stories as very suspect and perhaps they are just trying to help the Japanese save face. If anybody thinks that Coronavirus will disappear in about a year’s time I have news for them and it is all bad. The earliest they might, repeat, might get a vaccine is sometime next year so you can forget a 2021 Tokyo Olympics. My own guess is that it might have to be held either before or after the 2022 Winter Olympics but I have seen nobody talking about that yet.

  28. fresno dan

    So I actually made my first foray into the world since the shelter in place thing happened here in Fresno – the Fresno order took place a day before the CA shelter in place order. So typically I grocery shop on Sunday at 6 am.
    So I was running a little low on supplies and was kinda bored. So I went to Vons (aka Safeway) but it is not typically where I shop.
    As I am out on the road at 6am very rarely during the week, it is hard for me to judge traffic amounts, but it was not as light as I expected. The grocery store also seemed to have more people than I would have thought on a day at 6am. There was only one small section of frozen prepared food that was empty (I don’t know what it was, and it may have been due to a sale) – other than that the store seemed fully stocked. I expected the donut case where you can reach in and get an individual donut not to be stocked because of the virus – likewise the olive bar.
    I did not anticipate that the plastic bags that I typically reuse could not be touched by the check out clerk, so I got new plastic bags. I have found that these bags pretty much last forever, so by the time this is over I expect to have a zillion of them. I saw only one person wearing a face mask – but no one seemed to pay him any mind. 30ish I would judge Asian male that did not strike me as being ill, for what its worth. People seemed aware of the distance between themselves, but not paranoididly so.
    The traffic home didn’t seem out of the ordinary.

    As of yesterday, there are 18 cases of Covid-19 in Fresno with no deaths reported so far.

    1. Ignacio

      Your comment reinforces a caveat I have for county-by-county reporting. This occurs also in Spain, in provinces, counties, municipalities that have not yet been hit hard by the disease there is a sense of safety and relax that will almost certainly be detrimental in many cases. I don’t know what is the % of tested/infected in the US (it will vary a lot amongst counties), neither the median time between contagion and testing but I guess somewhere between 8-16 days after contagion. This time period from contagion to detection is crucial to stop the epidemics before it does a lot of damage and a few days to response can make a big difference.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Really minimal traffic here, but I haven’t been out at 6 AM. I’ve been working, since I can prune trees with no one getting close to me. But we aren’t going to the store; had a young woman do the last shopping for us (we could get by for a month or more on what we have, but it’s nice to have fresh stuff from time to time.)

      4 confirmed cases in my county (city of 50,000). No deaths. 3 of the 4 are health care workers (unspecified) who were infected on the job, so it’s out there. Very little testing here.

  29. BobW

    I once saw a coffee mug with a cartoon on it of a man being run over by a locomotive. The caption read “this too shall pass.”

      1. JTee

        Analogy compares two things using the word “like” or “as”: Her eyes were like gleaming diamonds.

        Metaphor says one thing is another thing: Her eyes were piercing diamonds ….

        Or something like that. So, the answer is neither? Either? Depends.

  30. Billy

    Something missing in the headline?

    “White House, including cutting checks to Americans Business Insider”

  31. Mikel

    Can it even be mentioned? Staying tuned for your 2pm Water Cooler election coverage. I normally don’t, but the electoral farce has reached epic proportions.
    You know who’s interview with Nicole Wallace should be required viewing.
    It’s such a strange mix of sycophancy and derangement.

  32. Dalepues

    Nursing homes in Spain are especially vulnerable under new ownership:

    “…nursing homes have mushroomed across the country over the past two decades, with multinationals and investment funds entering the lucrative business.

    Miguel Vázquez, the president of Pladigmare, an association that fights for better conditions in Spain’s nursing homes, said the virus pandemic has forced a spotlight on the lack of personnel and resources that the wave of profit-seeking private investors has brought to the business of running the facilities.”

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      It’s the same in the UK and often the same investment firms.

      It’s not just care homes for the elderly, but adoption and fostering and other forms of care for children.

      To give an idea of the profiteering, a private intermediary firm, often a fund based in Mayfair, earns £5000 per week to care for a minor, but pays a couple £500 per week to do the caring.

      Brexitannia based readers will be delighted to hear that as the crisis gathers force, the impact on families and carers is gathering force equally. There has been an uptick in children being taken into care or evacuated from older carers. The children are left unsupervised in council offices during the day and taken to care homes reserved for adults and older children with behavioural problems at night. Fantastic, eh!

      My mum is a finance ministry official and involved with education and social services.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Correction suggested: earns collects L5000…

        Thank you so much for your contributions to the collective wisdom and memory of NC.

        1. Procopius

          Thank you. I think that the Libertarian economists like Milton Friedman and Robert Rubin have erased the designation “unearned income” from their fables. I sometimes will quibble with use of the word “earned,” because I think “Count” Alfred Korzybski was on to something about language and sanity, but it’s complicated. One translation of a Confucian saying that I’ve liked for many decades is, “If the proper words are not used, then what is said is not what is meant, and the people will stand about in helpless confusion.” I think that’s why they tried to erase the concept of “unearned income,” so we can’t use the correct words.

  33. Brian (another one they call)

    I believe that it is time to get some psychological input on the hoarding of toilet paper. Since toilet training was never brought up in the 5 or so PSY courses I finished, I have no idea, only wonder at the need to have enough TP for years in advance. Why do some people feel happy with having enough for a month, and others need 10 or 20x the amount?
    Is this about toilet training? I just can’t put my head around the idea that folks would prefer TP to food and water. At first sight of hoarding overload at the market I wondered why folks purchasing little to no food with their full measure of TP weren’t putting the cart before the cess.

    1. Louis Fyne

      as a layman, i’ll throw out fear-induced irrationality/not doing the math + mimicry (if everyone is running for the TP, they must know something I don’t).

      supposedly one gold standard in fight-flight situations is: OODA, observe–orient–decide–act.

      —which I guess sounds easy until I find myself at the Costco parking lot queued with 1000 other agitated people.

    2. alex morfesis

      future cash value of unavailable bathroom hygiene products…toilet paper hoarding…you cant eat gold, you might be able to sell bullets and canned goods, but most people will pay a fortune to not have to go back to nomadic days of having to clean rags in the same way disposable diapers replaced diaper laundry services.

        1. JTMcPhee

          For a bit over $30 I got a little toilet enhancement , a bidet sprayer. Fits under the back of the seat, cleans the peccant parts, is pretty easy to plumb into the supply line. Supposed to help with hemorrhoids, too. And grandkids love it (just once…)! Search “bidet sprayer” at Amazon.

  34. NotTimothyGeithner

    The people at Kaine and Warner’s office don’t sound abused. You need to call your Senators.

    Its time to speak to the manager.

  35. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “The untold origin story of the N95 mask” —
    This article skirts significant alignment between interests in and contributions to air filter designs and certain government agencies.

    “The 1952 Handbook on Air Cleaning, published by the u.s. Atomic Energy Commission
    (USAEC), contained one of the earliest descriptions of the newly declassified high-efficiency filter.” [HEPA FILTERS, Melvin W. First Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    Journal of the American Biological Safety Association, 3(1) pp. 33-42, 1998]

  36. Eclair

    My daughter, who works for one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, reported this morning that work has been incredible depressing and stressful. She manages benefit programs for corporate clients, including health insurance. She says that clients are calling her about laying off workers. She’s is, however, feeling secure in her own job prospects, in a grim sort or way, at least for the immediate future, as she help clients navigate through the wreckage.

  37. NotTimothyGeithner

    Biden has come out for Trump’s slush fund. Yep, this will really resonate as a powerful message.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Eerily similar to Obama suspending his campaign to fly to the Bush White House and support Paulson’s TARP, beating McCain by hours.

  38. Otis B Driftwood

    Lest anyone in CA get complacent, I’ve just grabbed this from the Governor’s coronavirus website regarding testing:

    Testing in California

    As of 2 p.m. PDT on March 23, approximately 27,650 tests had been conducted in California. This includes the latest numbers California has received from commercial and private labs. At least 15,554 results have been received and another 12,100 are pending.

    Either there are no test kits or few people have sought out testing due to becoming symptomatic. Hoping, of course, that it’s the latter. In any case, I reckon limited capacity for testing factored into Newsom’s decision to shutdown the entire state.

    More info here for those interested:

  39. Cuibono

    “Privacy concerns have limited the use of location data for anti-coronavirus efforts in countries such as the United States”

    UFB!!! Privacy Concerns?!!!
    So no problem if Google, FB, Apple all have and use that data everyday in a million ways but heaven forbid we might use it to save lives.

    War is Peace

  40. Jeremy Grimm

    The CDC recommendations on face masks continues to bother me. I had trouble sleeping last night and began looking for more information on filtering and face masks, and as I did so, I arrived at a conjecture which might explain the CDC advice.

    People who are infected with CoV-19 spread virus loaded particles via their exhalations. If the infected wear a face mask, that face mask will be more effective at reducing the spread of the virus than a face mask worn by someone who is not infected. A face mask worn in areas with high concentrations of virus loaded particles will be more effective at reducing the spread of the virus than a face mask worn in areas with low concentrations of virus loaded particles. The CDC’s advice makes perfect ‘sense’ if you properly understand the notion of “more effective at reducing the spread of the virus”. However, I can also arrive at another conclusion. If many people who are infected and spreading the virus do not know that they are infected — and assuming we actually had enough face masks to go around or at least the ability to quickly make more — it would be a more effective public health measure to advise everyone to wear a face mask than to follow the current CDC recommendation.

    The CDC recommendation tends to call attention away from the uncomfortable conclusion that there is no good excuse for the scarcity of face masks, or the lack of ability to quickly make more if need should arise [this is but one of numerous inexcusable scarcities]. It requires a tremendous stretch of my credulity to believe the CDC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State and Federal Governments were completely unaware of the risk of a flu or other pandemic. I also tend to conclude that our CDC and other health agencies have neither the good of our personal health and safety, nor the Common good, nor even the National good, as their motive force. The Imperial good — which seems to differ from the personal, Common, and National good — is their motive force.

    1. Cuibono

      You are surely not just coming to that conclusion are you?
      Regulatory capture has been the main part of CDC for at least 20 years.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I was attempting to make sense of the CDC recommendations. The CDC capture does not identify that besides personal, Common, and National good there appears to be an Imperial good with drives and motives that still remain mysterious to me. The idea of an Imperial good was an idea that Chomsky suggested in his explanation that mistakes were NOT made in Vietnam or Afghanistan or other conflicts — rather the true motives and goals were achieved and the projection of failure and mistakes was just a way to hide those goals.

        1. Cuibono

          Capture is in the direct interests of the imperial good isnt it?

          CDC recomendations are a joke. That much is easy to see.

        2. Oregoncharles

          That logic omits the likelihood of incompetence. Ellsberg had a better explanation: each President, in turn, thought it was in his interest to put off the evil day when Viet Nam “fell” – even knowing that what they were doing was, in reality, a failure, and an extremely bloody one.

          Do you remember when McNamara came out, decades later (and coincident with publishing a memoir) with a confession that he knew all along it was a disaster, but played along out of “loyalty” to Johnson. Or Omerta, to put a finer point on it. Made me stark raving furious, and I didn’t even have to go. Anyway, it was a glimpse of how the system really works.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Chomsky argued that the who point of Vietnam was to stomp out a Vietnam developing free and independent from U.S. Imperial control and exploitation to make sure the ‘infection’ didn’t spread. He said the Vietnam War accomplished that goal. The message was made plain to other restive elements of the Pacific Imperial region. Chomsky pointed to similar reasoning motivating King George III’s efforts to stop the American Revolution. He didn’t manage to stop the American Revolution but he did send a message to make clear what the rest of the Empire might expect if they tried anything like that. Chomsky contended that the errors, “mistakes were made”, and incompetence served to cover the true motives involved. I’ve watched McNamara in “Fog of War” several times. That McNamara was a clueless tool seems less surprising and of little consequence for assessing those who used McNamara. McNamara’s sadness is a little like a weak echo of J. Robert Oppenheimer. (I am badly recalling from “Noam Chomsky: America Has Built a Global Dystopia by Robert Scheer Jan 10, 2020 [])

  41. JTee

    Well, since no one has mentioned the antidote du jour (that I’ve seen), allow me…

    Alexandrine parakeet, one of the largest of parakeets with a corresponding powerful voice. Male is differentiated from the female by a red ring around the back of the neck, if I remember correctly (so, female or juvenile male in photo). Native to the forests of South Asia mostly. Best appreciated with their long tail visible, otherwise they seem a little top-heavy with that massive bill.

  42. xkeyscored

    The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was in Northern Italy as early as 1 January. – Nature (not from Links)

    An epidemiological analysis of Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy, reveals that the first onset of symptoms in the country occurred weeks before the disease was reported there on 20 February. The study looks at nearly 6,000 laboratory-confirmed cases to track how the outbreak unfolded in the region. It was posted to the arXiv preprint server on 20 March.

    The undetected spread in January is “very striking”, says Michele Tizzoni, an infectious disease modeller at the ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy, who was not involved in the work. “At that time we were probably still talking about Wuhan.”

    Instead, by the time the first case was detected in Italy, the virus had already spread to most towns and cities in Southern Lombardy. Over the next several weeks, nearly half of the patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalised; about one-fifth of those required intensive care.

    The new picture of the outbreak in Lombardy makes it clear that “aggressive containment strategies are required” to stop the spread of the virus, the authors write. Although public activities and gatherings in the region were banned just 3 days after the first positive test, the undetected spread in the weeks prior meant that the virus had already taken hold, with cases doubling roughly every 3 days.

    These data will be vital to other countries and public health organisations getting ready to face their own outbreaks of the pandemic, Tizzoni says. His advice to them? “Be prepared. Even if you don’t see much.”

    and the study in question:
    The early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in Lombardy, Italy (abstract) (full)

    1. Cuibono

      Does anyone have links to good studies looking at retrospective testing of Samples taken in nationala surveilance samples for ILI?

      I am hearing from lots of people that had COVID lik illness in January in the US

      1. Peter from Georgia

        I am fairly certain my kids and I suffered it in late January after a cub scout trip to the USS Yorktown in SC. We all had light fevers and coughs – the kids disappeared in a few days while I coughed for about 5 weeks.

        Interestingly, does anyone recall the scare about vaping related lung infections from last fall? Has this been with us for longer than we think?

        1. whazzup

          Yes, February 12 through March 15 or so.
          Low oxygen, treated with nebulizer, fluid-filled lungs, dismissed as seasonal flu, no followup.

          With every encounter, I am less and less impressed with medical science.
          As practiced in US anyway

    2. SKM

      thanks very much for that ….. we`ve been waiting for this information ( the epidemiology of what happened in Lombardia)

  43. Carey

    Sacramento County CA coronavirus statistics here:

    “As COVID-19 testing continues to increase, there are more confirmed COVID-19 cases within the community. Sacramento County has 113 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and five who have died from complications of COVID-19. The five individuals who died from complications of COVID-19 were either older than 70 or had underlying health conditions..”

    Sac County seems to me a good one to watch because of 1) proximity to the Bay Area, and its linkage to China, and 2) bad Valley air.

  44. Tom Bradford

    No-one’s commented on:

    So Trump and Bolsonaro are taking similar approaches to Coronavirus. In Brazil Bolonzaro’s approval ratings have plumetted and “residents of the country’s major cities under lockdown have started banging pots and pans and chanting for the president’s ouster.” In the US, a Gallup poll reports that 60% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, and 49% approve of his Presidency generally.*

    Presumably the population of the US is still enjoying its exceptionalism as it patiently waits for its promised bread and circuses.


      1. Tom Bradford

        NZ? Day one of total lockdown. Now 283 known cases, 7 hospitalised and no deaths yet tho’ there’s been a case in a nursing home which doesn’t bode well.

        If you mean politically no pot-banging or calls for anyone’s resignation yet – the opposition (right-leaning) is pretty much on board and supporting the Govt. tho’ the PM’s just announced the formation of a committee with a 2/3 opposition majority “to hold the Govt. to account” while Parliament is in recess. Unless things go downhill badly I suspect Jacinda’s going to come out of this with her halo untarnished – particularly as the Christchurch shooter’s back in the news pleading guilty to the killings which has reminded everyone how well she handled that. All-in-all I think the Govt’s doing the right things for the right reasons and competently and from my own local tasting on the net it seems most folk agree.

        Had to queue 10-minutes to get into the supermarket for milk and parrot-food yesterday (50 customer limit) but mood pretty relaxed and jokey. What it will be like after 28 days remains to be seen. If, as seems possible, it turns out that a lack of testing globally exaggerated the death rate to a lot more than ‘normal’ flue I think there might be grumbling.

  45. hunkerdown

    Some local observations from the edge of downriver Michigan:

    * Soaking up vitamin D for a bit a few minutes after 5pm, I saw a fair bit of traffic out of the subdivision, about a car a minute. People working from home, getting dinner, okay. A few minutes later there was perhaps one car per couple minutes entering the subdivision, where usually around this time there might be bursts of 3-4 cars coming in. every minute or two. Traffic on the major thoroughfares is down by more than 1/2, probably due most to Ford employees working from home or on furlough. Birds are singing louder than cars.

    * My long-standing (and currently sole) client of several years called to suggest I pick out some numbers and start designing my permanent position with the company, to make it easier for them to get me paid timely and regularly. We have been talking about this move for a few years. Government payroll supports and grants were mentioned as one reason there is finally some urgency to move on it. Lambert was right: “Anything to preserve the wage relation.”

    * One nearby Walgreens is clean out of zinc supplements, but had a fair stock of vitamin C supplements. No paper products, no surprise. The cosmetics section had been mostly removed (stock, testers, etc.). The checkout line was about 6-8 deep, with 1-2 registers running. A couple of older people still don’t seem to be trying very hard on this social distancing thing. My regular Mexican restaurant, a most essential site of industry indeed, is still offering car-hop to-go service, but slacking a little bit on quality lately.

    🎗 Reminder: the CDC recommends you keep garrotte wires at least 12′ long to protect your comrade and yourself!

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