Links 3/26/2020

Much as we love links from the commentariat 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. Thank you!

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Once again, I apologize for too many links; we are all curating as best we can! I hope that by throwing links into buckets, we’re helping you to skip what you don’t want to read about. –lambert

Mr. Sherman, Little Tokyo’s 23-year-old feline ‘mayor,’ keeps purring along Los Angeles Times. Mr. Sherman:

IT services sector faces armageddon as COVID-19 lockdown forces project cancellations – analysts The Register

ECB shakes off limits on new €750bn bond-buying plan FT

Stimulus Deal

Full text of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill released USA Today

Stop the $6 Trillion Coronavirus Corporate Coup! Matt Stoller, BIG. Incredibly, the Democrats are cheerfully enabling disaster capitalism in exchange for a few tattered fig leaves for workers. Fighting for! Fighting for!

Democrats Are Handing Donald Trump The Keys To The Country Zach Carter, HuffPo

What’s in the historic $2tn US stimulus deal FT

Here’s what’s in the $2T stimulus package — and what’s next Politico. “People who don’t pay taxes, such as those with very low incomes, may be hard to reach the way the program is designed.” Here’s why:


Oh well:


You’ll have to pry means-testing from the Democrat Establishment’s cold, dead hands….

Column: The coronavirus bill is a big step toward stimulus that helps you, not corporate bigwigs Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times. However: “[T]here don’t seem to be provisions granting the [bailout] overseer subpoena power or any method of enforcing a request for documents other than filing a complaint with Congress. That’s not enough.” Let the looting begin!

Cuomo: ‘Numbers don’t work’ in ‘terrible’ Senate stimulus package The Hill. Cuomo: “We’re not a big-spending state. I cut taxes every year. I have the lowest growth rate of the state budget in modern political history. We are frugal and we are efficient. I’m telling you these numbers don’t work and I told the House members that we really need their help.” So playing the austerity game didn’t work out, then?

Woman Responds To Companies Failing Because Of Coronavirus By Saying The Same Things Poor People Hear Bored Panda. “Why doesn’t Boeing have money saved up for emergencies?”

When I hear “stimulus,” I think of this dytopian artwork from Simon Stålenhag:

(Look at the sign.) Mood….


The science:

How the Pandemic Will End The Atlantic

Wuhan doctors plan long-term look at coronavirus impact on male sex hormone SCMP. Too bad this news didn’t get out before Spring Break…

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Social distancing:

Former FDA chief Gottlieb has dire warnings about hitting the brakes on social distancing measures FierceHealth. Because it works:


The effect of control strategies to reduce social mixing on outcomes of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China: a modelling study The Lancet

Social Distancing and Contact-Intensive Occupations The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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Materiel shortages:

Critical Supply Shortages — The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 Pandemic NEJM

How 3M Plans to Make More Than a Billion Masks By End of Year Blooomberg. “Surge capacity.” Who knew?

How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask MSN

Doctors scramble for best practices on reusing medical masks during shortage LiveScience. From researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Evidence Service, For N95 masks: “70 C / 158 F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30 min, or hot water vapor from boiling water for 10 min, are additional effective decontamination methods.” Not CDC endorsed.

Swabs, Stat! Bloomberg

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Many of you asked what it was like in the ER right now. Craig Spencer MD MPH, Threader (MR).

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Coronavirus carriers with no symptoms could spread disease, Italian study shows SCMP

Think Exotic Animals Are to Blame for the Coronavirus? Think Again. The Nation

Our Monoculture Food Supply Is A Potential Coronavirus Calamity The American Conservative

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Economic effects:

The Sky-High Cost of Disinfecting American Businesses Bloomberg. Go long biohazard remediation.

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Political class response:

Trump’s Irresponsible Rhetoric Is A Menace To Public Health The American Conservative

Fauci: ‘You don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline’ on relaxing public health measures CNN

America’s Diseased Politics The New Republic. “If you fit into social unit x, then you will be eligible in some circumstances to receive benefit y.”

The World Can’t Beat the COVID-19 Pandemic Unless the G20 Gets Its Economics Right The Wire (J-LS).

Coronavirus: What You Need To Know National Governor’s Association. A good dashboard/aggregation of state efforts.

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Corporate response:

The U.S. Government Has Mobilized Private Companies to Face Crises Before. Here’s What to Know Time

Social Media and Emergency Preparedness in Response to Novel Coronavirus JAMA

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Remedies and ameliorations:

How To Eat Safely During The Coronavirus Crisis: Tips, Resources, FAQs NPR


Contagion Giorgio Agamben. From Italy.

LATEST: Spain passes China’s coronavirus death toll as number of victims rises to 3,434 The Local

Emmanuel Macron’s Shock Doctrine Jacobin

Why is Germany’s COVID-1 death rate so much lower than other countries? LiveScience. One theory:



Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus Sidney Morning Herald

Julian Assange denied bail in UK after claiming ‘high risk’ of catching coronavirus Guardian

Too early or too late? David Runciman, LRB


What Lies Behind Russia’s Coronavirus Containment Effort Wilson Center.

Russia does have a handful of advantages in the face of a possible onslaught. Largely owing to the enduring legacy of an output-driven Soviet system that prioritized quantity over quality, it has plenty of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel: 4.04 doctors per 1,000 population, over 50 percent more than in the United States (2.6 per 1,000) and 70 percent more than hard-hit South Korea (2.34). Russia’s advantage in hospital beds is even greater: 8.05 beds per 1,000 people, almost three times that in the United States (2.77) and Italy (3.17).

As any fan of the Bearded One knows, quantity can change quality.

Mr. Putin’s nationwide address on the corona virus epidemic Gilbert Doctorow

COVID-19: Russia to ground all international flights from midnight Channel News Asia


US puts pressure on Saudi Arabia to end oil price war FT

Commentary: Facing a two-front COVID-19 assault, Saudi Arabia pulls out the sledgehammer Channel News Asia


AP Photos: India’s vast railway system closes to passengers AP

Lockdown: The heroes on the frontline of India’s coronavirus war BBC

The Koreas

How South Korea Flattened the Curve NYT

BTS Launches Web Series to Help Fans Learn Korean Rolling Stone. While isolating…

Japan coronavirus task force may set stage for state of emergency Japan Times


Yes, Blame China for the Virus Foreign Policy

Trump Transition

The Postal Service’s Surprising Role in Surviving Doomsday Wired


I don’t think this will change any Democrat Establishment minds, because if their guy does it, it’s OK. Exhibit A: BIll Clinton.

However, IMNSHO this is a shot across Sanders’ bow from a segment of his base. The message: Don’t campaign for Biden (and here’s one good reason).

How blood from coronavirus survivors might save lives Nature. “Convalescent plasma” now allowed by FDA as an “investigational treatment.”

Health Care

Coronavirus hospital bills: A look at the costs for Americans Yahoo Finance (Re Silc). “‘That’s the great thing about private health insurance — you always have to say it depends on the plan,’ Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Unclogging Toilets at $400,000 a Flush Hits Navy’s Costs Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

Bill Ackman claims firm made $2.6bn betting on coronavirus outbreak Guardian

Class Warfare

Billionaires Want People Back to Work. Employees Aren’t So Sure Bloomberg. It’s almost like the 1% is really worried the working class might withhold its labor….

GOP Urges End Of Quarantine For Lifeless Bipedal Automatons That Make Economy Go The Onion

Workers Are More Valuable Than CEOs Jacobin

Emergency Nation: It’s only an emergency when the elites say it is Security Policy Reform Institute

Arizona delays evictions for renters quarantined due to coronavirus The Hill

It is Better to Have Loved Chris Arnade

Antidote du Jour (via):

Showing off!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Richard H Caldwell

    I am officially done with the Ds.

    Bernie should declare his independent run today, right now.

        1. zagonostra

          Reminds me of Vito Marcantonio – who cast the sole vote in opposition to the Korean War

          Marcantonio is perhaps most widely remembered because of his repeated insistence that the Communist Party was “An American political party operating in what it considers to be the best interests of the American working class and people.” Especially during the postwar witch-hunt, he defended Communists as “the first victims of Fascism,” and repeatedly argued that anti-Communism was a device to divide and defeat “the progressive forces.” Although he was never a member of the Communist Party, their political positions were often closely aligned. In the postwar period, on the floor of the House, he fought the prevailing bipartisan foreign policy as “Wall Street imperialism” and as “war measures [intended to] buttress a decadent capitalism.” Simultaneously, he led an increasingly lonely battle against the political repression of the Left. Ultimately, he cast the sole vote in opposition to United States intervention in the Korean War…

          In 1951, he successfully represented the then eighty-five year old Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, who was indicted as an unregistered agent of a foreign government because of his sponsorship of the Stockholm Peace Petition.

        2. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, but perhaps a better example is Rep Vito Marcantonio, the most successful Left politician in US history, who cast the sole vote against fighting in Korea.

          Marcantonio is still revered among old timers in East Harlem, for his combination of support for labor rights, Puerto Rican independence, and getting people’s apartments painted.

          If there’s ever going to be a real Left (again) in this country, people should read Gerry Meyer’s Vito Marcantonio: Radical Congressman.

          1. Frobisher

            A contrasting strategy would be that of Wright Patman as described by Matt Stoller in his book Goliath. I don’t know if Wright patman could have pulled off what he did in the internet age.

        3. dearieme

          Perfectly sane about WWI. Daft about WWII: Japan had chosen to attack the USA – how could the USA not be at war with Japan?

          1. Kilgore Trout

            The Pacific war came after a period of economic sanctions against the Japanese by the US, that effectively diminished its access to oil. If memory serves, the US knew the sanctions would likely lead to armed conflict between the 2 nations.

        4. dearieme

          Perfectly sane about WWI. Daft about WWII: Japan had chosen to attack the USA – how could the USA not be at war with Japan?

          1. ambrit

            Did you miss the part about where America kept ratcheting up ‘sanctions’ and ’embargos’ against japan before WW-2? The Japanese had a clear choice thrust upon them: go to war or knuckle down as vassals of the West. As “bad” as the Empire of Japan was, it did seed the anti-colonial movements of the late forties onward. Japan showed that the “White Man” could be beaten. I’m convinced that ever since the naval battle of the Tsushima Straits in 1905, where the Japanese Navy beat the Russian Navy, the power brokers of the West had it in for Japan.
            Now, we risk making the same mistakes in regard to China. Note that the Chinese today have a powerful weapon not available to pre-war Japan, economic might.

            1. JBird4049

              All true, but Japan’s extremely brutal invasion of China was a reason for the public pressure for the embargoes on oil and scrap metal. If the United States had kept on selling that stuff to Japan, it would have given the American government’s approval of Japan’s actions.

      1. John Wright

        The vote count is somewhat surprising.

        I would have expected at least a handful of left/right politicians would vote against the bill simply to have bragging rights if the bill proves to be a disaster for the voters they will need next election.

        If the rescue bill, somehow, were to work well in the future, the No voting senators could simply say that they miss-judged the bill and they would have voted “Yes” in retrospect..

        A vote for the bill makes one appear to be a rubber-stamp politician who can be pushed around by party leaders/business lobbyists/wealthy donors.

        The Democrats stand to lose the most if the bill proves to be a disaster, their voters nominally expect them to care somewhat for their needs, while Republicans, consistently, seem concerned about the wealthy and business class.

        The Repubs voted as they would be expected, so they played it safe with their voters/donors.

        The Democrats run the risk of looking like they, again, blindly let another non-critically thinking Republican President push them to harm the country (as with the Iraq War).

        That is unprincipled followship, not leadership.

      2. Felix_47

        They tied it to the immediate relief part. If Biden was not the nominee and Bernie was you can be sure Trump would have leaned on the Repubs and blocked that. Trump is aware Bernie would beat him. Trump would have pushed to the left to counter him. Now the Repubs can do what they want. Political funding reform is dead. M4A is dead. Why Bernie does not run with the Greens is beyond me. He has the fundraising capability. He does not need the Dems. He wil not get the black leaders in the South and those that depend of their patronage all of whom survive on PAC money no matter what he does. But in a general they are irrelevant.

    1. jackiebass

      I agree 100%. I’m 78 and have been a registered democrat since I turned 21. I’m done with the corrupt DNC and I am going to register as an independent. I’m tired of the Democratic Party being just another version of the Republican Party.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I think in the fullness of time the “stimulus” vote will be seen as the Iraq War vote. 10% in crumbs for actual people while Corp pigs thrust their snouts all the way in. When it Does.Not.Work we’ll be told they “did all they could”.

        What a reminder of 2008. Q: What do you do when you rob a bank, are leaving with a wheelbarrow full of loot, and nobody stops you? A: You go back in and fill it back up again.

        Sauve qui peut

      2. GF

        I stay registered as a Dem in order to vote in the primaries in the off chance that a true progressive will somehow pull it off. I vote Green in the general elections.

    2. Noone from Nowheresville

      Sanders went on the floor of the Senate and rallied for the bill. That makes him part of the system.

      How can you claim to want a revolution when you don’t see that you’ve only minimized the carnage (there will be major delays, people will most likely be forced to go back to work or the neoliberal go die rule), while losing the war against the billionaires, the financial class (pick your warriors here) which you are railing against. From what’s being said, this bill hands them the keys to what remains of our “empire.”

      Sooner or later, the people will realize how they’ve been shock doctrined or disaster capitalized. What then? Do you think that Sanders will still have any legitimacy since he used his political capital in support of coming gutting? People will still believe that he cares – I do – but that he doesn’t understand power and how to utilize or wield it enough to take on the system. Or okay, maybe he understands it but this is all he can manage which is more than most of us are capable of.

      If we had no choice but to give away the keys (I really don’t think we were at that point YET), then rather than having crumbs “granted” to us, we should’ve tried to extract a real price. No, I don’t know how it could’ve been done.

      All I’m left with is that the jackpot is coming and the spice must flow.

      1. JohnnyGL

        He ran on a Job Guarantee….but settled for a couple of months of unemployment benefits.

        Bernie used to be the guy who had the courage to stand alone, apart from all his colleagues, because he knew the legislation was crap….Patriot Act, Iraq War, Iran sanctions votes, etc.

        He’s not that guy anymore. He effectively acted as Schumer’s muscle on the vote.

        Squad….you’re up next….do the right thing. Your mentor’s time has passed.

        1. Edr

          People really needed that help.

          Should young poor families with kids be the ones to pay to maybe couldbe possibly someday get the government to maybe might create real corporation governance preventives?

          If the continual failures of the financial sector don’t provide incentive enough then …….

        2. Democrita

          Not enough time to wait for The Squad to ripen!

          The next president either deals with climate change aggressively or … doesn’t.

          Unless it’s the former, we’re screwed. We might be screwed already anyway.

      2. Krystyn Walentka

        Agreed. The fact that no one in the senate or house wanted to separate these bills (one for the people one for the corporations) just screams that they are all in on the grift.

        Jimmy Dore had a great segment with Dylan Ratigan last night that spoke on this:

        Probably going to be a lot more people sharing my homelessness in the next year…

        1. The Historian

          They wouldn’t have been able to pass a bill just for corporations alone – think of how angry the populace would have been – so they threw in a few crumbs for the rest of us – and if you actually read the bill that is all they are – crumbs. I’m about a third of the way through that bill and I am already disgusted. Just reading through that part about unemployment benefits made me want to cringe. Yes, there are some good things, but the main beneficiary will be corporations like Amazon who want workers now, no matter if it means that they are exposing themselves to Covid-19. So, if you get sick, you get unemployment, but if you are not sick and your family members are not sick, then you’d be better be looking for work and taking anything that is offered. So much for social distancing. Haven’t seen anything about medical payments if you get sick, but maybe I just haven’t gotten that far in my reading yet.

          1. The Historian

            Nope, nothing on helping average people pay their medical costs due to Covid – there is some help for insurance companies though!

            There is a lot of room spent on OTC drugs – they seem to have a particular fascination for sunscreens for some reason – I guess that is much more important than providing adequate medical coverage.

            I want to hear Yves and the other tax experts talk about what the corporations get v. what small businesses get – that ought to be interesting.

            I cannot figure out why Bernie went for this – there is absolutely nothing in this bill that corresponds to anything he’s been saying for the last three years.

            1. JBird4049

              I wonder too. His speech on the actions of the Senate Republicans was just brutal. No insults or threats. Just a recitation of what was attempted or actually completed in voice in a nearly contemptuous manner with a bit of rage added.

              I liked the bit where he described how the test for COVID-19 would be covered, if you could find someone to test you, but only if it showed you actually had the virus, and treatment would not be covered at all.

              So maybe the test would be paid for, or maybe not, and no treatment of any kind.

              Like I said in another comment, it is just confounding.

              I guess he thought that was the best deal he was going to get for now especially with fools like these. So he voted for it.

              1. GF

                The Dems epitaph: I guess he thought that was the best deal he was going to get for now… How often has that BS been used to “justify” selling “slaves” down the river?

            2. jsn

              This has bought the plutocracy a few months. The front page of the New York Times, below the masthead, had the unemployment chart with the towering bar to the far right that eclipses every recession since the Great Depression. Just above it, over the line, was the S&P, green and up 4.3% at that moment along with a bright little sun symbole for the weather today in New York.

              Above the line, sunny and good! At least for the moment, the financial economy is totally and completely decoupled from the real economy and with the Fed’s new authorizations it can float that reality until some actual thing in the world intervenes.

              Below the line, the real world and all it’s integration with the economy is being crushed. Each week of this will have discontinuous effects, where capabilities that existed last week will no longer exist in whatever is reconstituted. The longer the plutocracy pumps itself up with seigniorage the worse the real situation will be when the illusion of stability the bubbled elites live with finally bursts.

      3. John

        This is a 5 trillion dollar bailout of corporations.

        After the election both parties will be cutting every benefit the America people get from the Federal government because there’s no money.

        1. MLTPB

          I have a question regarding this.

          I read that corporations have recieved $4trillion, or some such figure from the Fed.

          If so, they can likely get more, no?

          Why do they need to put another trillion or two through a vote?

          Can’t they get much more from the central bank (not a technically correct term)?

          1. jonhoops

            The 2 trillion through congress is the theatrical show put on for the benefit of the Proles. They could, of course, just funnel all of the money through the fed but the optics would be bad.

            They also could have made the congressional piece something that actually helps the common folk, but hey grifters gotta grift.

      4. lyman alpha blob

        Here’s Bernie on the Senate floor –

        What he’s saying is not nothing. People need money now and Sanders understand that. I’m sure this isn’t the last relief legislation Sanders will get behind. From what I saw yesterday people overwhelmingly endorse his plan to give people $2k per month and not just a one time payment. But he can’t do everything himself. The corporate media isn’t going to promote his ideas, they aren’t going to highlight his fireside chats or anything good the man does. He needs help. Not me, us. So where are all of the other supposed liberals and progressives? Why aren’t they backing him?

        Sanders is relentless and has been for half a century. He needs everyone else to have his back.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          I’m sorry, lyman alpha blob, I can’t go there with you.

          This was the time to fight for what wasn’t in the bill. A protest vote against the coming gutting was more important than the crumbs handed out.

          Just look at the Unemployment Insurance piece from a systems perspective. Each state has a different system which is currently crashing under sheer numbers. Not only are we changing percentage amounts for assistance, bumping extra payments into the checks, we are also expanding coverage to workers not normally considered unemployed.

          That means coding, policy and procedural changes at each individual state. You’d either have to hire more people or bid it out to third parties. How much time does that take?

          The one time Federal checks might start going out in May. Lots of people missing from assistance there. Plus people above a certain income, assumed to have resources. Means testing = easily gutted.

          You can go through each piece and most likely find this legislation is mostly for show or for pet/niche projects.

          With the Senate supposedly adjourning until April 20th, that means that most workers will be forced to go back to work. If ever there was a time to hold the Senate hostage and force the separation of bills and to keep them in session, it was now before the peak of the first curve arrives.

          The bill would’ve passed without Sanders support. So what was more important, trying to tell people the truth about the financial coup and extracting a real price for the “keys handed over” or simply highlighting the crumbs everyday people *might* receive and saying sorry that’s the best “we” could do?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I’d seen the Sanders clip I posted before reading about the bill. Now after reading a little more about what was passed I think I agree with you, especially if what David Carl Grimes mentions below is true and Sanders could have blocked the bill on his own. It’s just so [family blog]ing frustrating. If Sanders had voted ‘no’, the entire Mightly Wurlitzer would have been aimed at him until he relented, and he would have never been given a chance to explain his position to the American people. We don’t do nuance or discussion or real debate anymore if we ever did – it’s only the 5 second gotcha sound bite that gets noticed. I mean, how many people even realize Sanders used his own base to try to help with the pandemic by raising funds that were not for his campaign?

            I really think Bill Hicks was right.


            1. Noone from Nowheresville

              If Sanders had voted ‘no’, the entire Mightly Wurlitzer would have been aimed at him until he relented, and he would have never been given a chance to explain his position to the American people.


              But maybe if Sanders had started a rallying cry and exposed the show, others might have jumped more forcefully onto the bandwagon. You already had some journalists and pundits out there. A lot of people already know they won’t be getting checks or treatment. Crucial workers who know that their probability of dying has increased by virtue of being on the front lines.

              Maybe it would’ve given House members more incentive to buck Friday’s vote and force the House back to DC. If workers have to risk their lives then Congress should be do the same and lead by example.

              So so many possible outcomes with so many unknown inputs. Everyday ordinary people might have surprised all of us if they had something real and tangible to rally around. A leader who could wield power on their behalf. A leader who I’d be proud “to have his back.”

              Maybe you’re right and it’s just not possible. I still wish Sanders had at least publicly tried because the stakes are too high.

          2. Oh

            Methinks that the only sensible thing to have done is to have given regular payments to workers until the crisis is well past. This bill gives handouts to corporations but it’s the workers who can spend money to boost the economy (assuming this to be true).

      5. David Carl Grimes

        Couldn’t he have blocked the bill to get more concessions for workers? Like $2K a month? or free hospitalization? rent and mortgage moratorium? no evictions? Matt Stoller said that the vote had to be unanimous. Bernie alone could have blocked it and rallied his base to support it.

      6. Aumua

        It’s amazing how ready this board is to turn on Sanders and bury him. I mean the guy is far from perfect, but come on. If you watch his update here:

        you will see that he pretty much lays it out and says that the sad reality is that no bill is going to pass the senate and white house that is not laden with all the corporate grift that this one is, and this is not the bill that he wanted, but it’s what we got. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure he could not register a “protest vote” here without clocking the bill altogether. Should he do that? Maybe, but I still give Sanders credit, not as a savior or a champion but as a senator who has worked tirelessly his whole career to move an extremely massive rock a little bit to the left.

        1. Cuibono

          I agree. reading my local sentiment i can tell you that if he blocked this bill the general public would simply hate him and all he stands for.
          The total control of mass media is a pwerful weapon.

          1. Felix_47

            That is why he caved. And now that Biden owns the nomination Sanders has no leverage. One populist in this country is paying attention and that is Donald Trump. If Sanders was in the lead or even even Trump would have forced the Repubs to split the bill or make it fair. Why? Because he knows Sanders would beat him easily. On the other hand he knows the congressional leaders and Democratic establishment have chosen a candidate he can beat easily who poses no threat to their PACS, their corporate masters, and the PMC. So unless Sanders is willing to run as a Green or independent his opinion means nothing to Washington….just like his opinion on Iraq. And if there is a huge social cost and Sanders is the one vote against every single influencer and politician will come out and attack him. Elections have consequences even primaries in the South. And people who vote on who looks more presidential will never learn. Revolution could well be in the future. If COVID 19 was just a little more toxic it might have been the catalyst. Most voters, though, will have mild symptoms. I found the article in today’s Times on the health care issue laughable. It was all about Joe Biden’s effort to get national health care coverage. Hardly a word about Sanders. comments were cut off at 59. If Sanders has anything left he should run as a third party…..he would have a good shot against perhaps the two weakest candidates in history.

      7. Procopius

        Sooner or later, the people will realize how they’ve been shock doctrined or disaster capitalized.

        You’re more optimistic than I am.

    3. allan

      But, but … they write sternly worded tweets:

      Sherrod Brown @SenSherrodBrown
      Now our job is to hold the Trump Administration accountable. If President Trump uses this crisis as an opportunity for more Wall Street giveaways, Americans won’t stand for it.
      11:53 PM · Mar 25, 2020

      Giving new meaning to “won’t stand for it.”
      Clearly would be Dem VP caliber material, except no idpol boxes checked. Oh well.

    4. carl

      Yeah, I think the Ds make actually cause me to stop being interested in politics at all. Worse than useless, they provide an illusion of opposition to the Daddy Warbucks party. Their insistence on means testing is one of their most loathsome traits. “Fighting for,” indeed.

      1. jax

        What if the Dems have no power? They can decry all they want, but they can’t get anything through the Senate without capitulating to the GOP.

        And there you have it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          How did the minority Reps manage to force so much of their preferred policies through the sausage making machinery for many, many years? They understood, and used, the mechanisms of power, from the arcana of chamber rules to log-rollling to the efficacy of assisted lobbying and direction of campaign contributions. Not to omit the drip-drip-drip of cronyism, and the appeal to bipartisanship.

          Simple fact is that the Dem thing is just like the pigs at the “Animal Farm,” who drink whiskey and dine with the Men. Dems don’t even make much of a show of “decrying” any more. Let alone “fighting for.”

          1. Cuibono

            True. Same as it ever was. But the average american still cant see that. Not qute yet.
            The use of fear here is a display of incredible power. simply in awe actually

        2. judy2shoes

          I remember when the dems had control of the house, senate, and presidency under Obama. I remember Obama choosing to fill his cabinet with people not tied in with wall street. I remember how hard dems fought to get single payer health care and to protect SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and workers’ rights. I remember how they bailed out the people first and then gave a little help to wall street. I remember how Obama saved 10 million families from foreclosure and losing their homes and kept small businesses afloat with interest-free loans. I remember how Obama and Biden put on their comfortable shoes and walked the picket lines with the teachers in Wisconsin. I remember how obama’s justice dept. prosecuted the wall street gang responsible for the great recession. I remember how Obama protected whistleblowers like Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning. I remember that when democrats ran into obstruction by the republicans, they stood firm on their principles and fought for the american people. {{{alarm clock}}} Wait, what? (wipes eyes) I had a dream….

          1. newcatty

            Sorry darling ( hat tip to Maeve in West World), but you just entered that World in your dream state. You’re Back, Back to the USA.

          2. Procopius

            I wish you would tell us exactly when that was (that the Dems had control of …). This fantasy is a particular bugaboo of mine. How many Senators were Democrats, how many Senators were Republicans, and how many were Other (actually called Independent) in each month of 2009? How many affirmative votes were needed to end a filibuster? Have you forgotten that in 2009 alone Republicans conducted more filibusters than in the entire previous history of the Republic? Do you remember that Al Franken was not certified by Wisconsin until June 30, 2009? Until then there were 57 Democratic Senators and 2 Independents who usually voted with the Democrats. Senator Ted Kennedy passed away on August 25, 2009. After that there were 57 Democratic Senators and 2 Independents who usually voted with the Democrats. One of those Independents was the loathsome Weepin’ Joe Lieberman. I get angry whenever I see that assertion, “I remember when the dems had control of the house, senate, and presidency under Obama,” because I sure remember events differently.

  2. Steve H.

    > The Postal Service’s Surprising Role in Surviving Doomsday Wired

    About that:

    > US Postal workers for my neighborhood refuse to deliver or pick up mail from local post boxes, fearing #COVID19 . Unclear how we can get mail. The last time @USPS workers went on strike was 1970.

    [Laurie Garrett;]

    1. mrsyk

      It’s only a matter of time before post offices have to deal with in-house cases. How badly this disrupts service is up for debate. Sure would be nice if we had widely available rapid testing.

        1. carl

          You go to war with the healthcare system you have, not the one you wish you had.
          Seriously, if this doesn’t get people to understand how bad the US healthcare system is, nothing will. And I’m betting on no change.

          1. We're all better off when we're all better off

            March 26, 2020 at 8:43 am
            There’s this via Crain’s Detroit Business (Beaumont is the big suburban “health system” in metro Detroit):

            At Beaumont, CEO John Fox …said he told Whitmer earlier in the day that some hospitals have more COVID-19 patients than others, and hospitals need to share the load in an organized way.
            Fox said the state needs to use its powers to coordinate care across the eight medical regions in the state.
            “That coordination is critical. It exists in many other industrialized countries that have their health care more under government control,” Fox said.

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          Must be nice to live in a country in which “healthcare” system and “public health” system aren’t mutually exclusive.

          Underfunding remains a core component of the failure.The Association of Public Health Laboratories, whose members are on the front line of local testing, wrote earlier this year that, despite a modest CDC budget increase, it is experiencing “a worrying, long-term trend of public health underfunding.” It identified a $4.5 billion gap between its budget and what is needed to provide adequate public health services.

          This in a nation that spends double what the next-highest-spending nation spends annually on “healthcare” and counting.

          The corona virus crisis will not be resolved until the “investment opportunities” it provides are identified and implemented as they have been in the diabetes, obesity, cancer and opioid “industries,” so let’s just get on with it and get back to “normal.”

      1. Eureka Springs

        It’s easy to imagine postal, amazon, wal-mart employees coughing all over packaging.

        1. Shonde

          My postal clerk niece is worried about customers bringing in packages that have been coughed all over.

          With no hand sanitizer being provided, begging for gloves in the right size, protective barriers now on order but waiting for centralized maintenance to install, postal workers are going to be in trouble. And without masks, when workers might be in early stages of the virus, they could be passing it on to millions of customers without realizing it.

          They may be essential workers but are being treated like expendable workers.

          1. Louis Fyne

            As something is better than nothing, bandanas or scarves. Cotton flour sack cloths make good bandanas.

            Aim is block the spittle/breathing of others. And don’t touch your own eyes or mouth.

            Again not hospital-grade, something better than nothing

        2. cnchal

          Amazon warehouses and delivery networks are a multi dimesional array of coronavirus spreaders.

          Yesterday morning the news was that there were at least six where the employees tied to the whipping post were testing positive and yesterday evening the number jumped to nine. I don’t wonder what it will be tommorow, but for sure, moar. Oreos don’t deliver themselves and when they arrive on the doorstep, is one daring enough to open the package?

          @ Shonde

          For sure, your niece is in a very bad spot, so are the clerks at UPS and FedEx. Profits over people.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus”

    This is quite a very valuable data-point this. No, not all the film clips where Charles is mingling elbow to elbow with scores of people with not a mask in sight. No, not that. We now have proof positive that Coronavirus is actually heir-borne.

      1. vlade

        There were rumours for a long time that the Queen thinks it would be better if the crown skipped Charles and went to William.. Maybe she suggested Charles goes and visits some hard working doctors and nurses?

        1. polecat

          Ah, but have Charlie and Queenie had any close encounters of the ..’cough’.. spiky kind recently, or has she been in isolation .. holed up in a tower somewhere ??

    1. John A

      His wife Camilla went to the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival, 70,000 people at the racecourse, at a time when Boris was still suggesting brits take coronavirus on the chin.
      The couple are now self-isolating (except for a myriad of minions) in Scotland. Only last week, the scots suggested that rich londoners should not try to escape the plague by heading to their scottish estates.

    2. D. Fuller

      Reminders of Nancy Reagan and AIDS. Not until famous people began dying from HIV infections did the wealthy and political classes begin serious efforts to address the crisis. Until that happened, the deaths, many politicians (and anti-gay activists, etc) werre a “homosexual” problem. I still remember from the 1980’s how many were crowing about how HIV and AIDS would cull the homosexuals from the world. A wholly despicable and evil attitude.

      Covid-19 is not AIDS, being much faster acting. Imagine the response if Covid-19 were not fast acting, instead operating on a timeline similar to HIV and AIDS.

      We have our response to Covid-19 anyway: Open the economy. From Trump saying it to the Congressional corporate pig trough that is their answer to the virus. With all the efforts to aid Big Business, totalling $14 trillion to date. That is in Fed backstops, loans, the Congressional pig trough legislations, etc.

      Even in my State – Pennsylvania – when you call the Covid-19 hotline? You get the State Economic Development Board. Some people are praising Gov. Tom Wolf. He’s done a lot more than some. I can tell you that the lockdown ordered for my county? Really isn’t that bad. People are going out less, that is about it. However, try contacting local or State health officials. Endlessly ringing phones and even one fake “this number is not in service” on a voicemail. And the testing so far? It can and will take longer to receive the results from Covid-19 testing than the incubation period for the virus.

  4. flora

    re: Stimulus Bill. It passed 96-0. Oddly, or not, my interest in the Dem pres primary has just dropped to 0. All the Sen. candidates who are or were running voted for this bill. Watch all the soon to be ‘I’ll fight to make the bill better’ handwaving.

    1. flora

      This twitter thread is good.

      ‘The stimulus plan does not stimulate most people. It is a corporate bailout that reflects no understanding of the financial catastrophe most people are facing. It does not offer student loan, rent or mortgage relief. It does not help people with no income. It is a cynical bill.’ – Roxane Gay

      Note in the comments that Canada is providing her citizens much better financial support during this pandemic.

      1. xkeyscored

        Even Cambodia, hardly the most developed of countries, has policies that may prove fairer and more worthwhile than the USA’s. This article from The Diplomat is pretty critical in tone, but the country’s policies may prove better than those of the Benighted States.

        “The National Bank of Cambodia, the rather competent central bank, did impressively move quickly earlier this month to ease restrictions on borrowing, which means banks and other financial institutions can borrow at lower rates, giving them enough liquidity to accept suspended payments from customers. More capital should also allow banks to lend more freely, which, one hopes, will spur investment and consumption.

        Less palpable is the government’s offer of a stimulus package. Hun Sen [the PM] announced on March 10 that his government has put aside between $800 million to $2 billion to help the economy weather this crisis. The latter figure applies if the global COVID-19 outbreak lasts until the end of the year, Hun Sen said. Granted, it is relatively large. It represents a quarter of the government planned state budget for this year. But, at present, it appears to be a back-of-an-envelope figure, with little indication of just how it will actually be spent.

        The clearest element to the relief package is state-contributions for garment workers who are made to take enforced leave if factories close because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government says they will receive 60 percent of minimum wage, which rose to $190 per month this year. A third of that will be paid by employers, and two-thirds by the state. And it is better than current laws which state a worker should only receive 40 percent of wages under similar circumstances. Though affected work can now earn $114 per month, many say is simply not enough to live on for months, especially as they won’t receive overtime pay either.”

        So far, little news of support for those outside the garment and tourist sectors, two mainstays of the economy (and for tourism, support mainly for hotels and the like, not the employees so far).

    2. Katiebird

      Dumb question:

      Wasn’t Sanders bound to vote for it if the bill had his expansion of unemployment to gig workers and the self employed?

      Was that taken out? Because otherwise I don’t see how he could justify not voting for it.

      1. John

        Looks like the Dems let Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama, (who won’t be reelected anyhow) be the one to let the bill move forward.

        They didn’t have to. But why not? Eh? The corporations couldn’t survive without the 5 trillion coming their way in the bailout.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Who were the 4 who didn’t vote, and what is it they want to be able to say they saw coming during their re-election campaign when the whole thing goes south?

      joe biden’s tortured “explanation” of his vote for the Iraq war cannot have escaped everyone’s notice.

  5. xkeyscored

    Coronavirus carriers with no symptoms could spread disease, Italian study shows SCMP

    From an article in Nature about the same study,

    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. … 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.”

    “25 March 01:00 GMT — The outbreak in Italy went undetected for weeks” (currently third item on page)

    and the study in question:
    “The early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in Lombardy, Italy” (24 authors) (abstract) (full)

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I have been far too busy to dig around in methodology, funding, or overall trustworthiness of any of the more sciencey headlines of late….but this looks somewhat hopeful, nevertheless:

      and I offer a strong second to the growing sentiment that Bernie should just tie off his umbilical to the Demparty and go big with shadow government/ Independent campaign…grasp this crisis/crises with both hands and go ahead and go all Old Testament Prophet(somewhere between Isaiah and Sirach/Ecclesiastes.)
      the Right(including the pelosi wing) will certainly take advantage of it….the Left should too…and we have the Moral Ground.
      They have lost any moral standing, if we could only get the word out.
      how crazy of us to not capitalise on this(“capitalise”—sigh)

      wife and i are fixin to begin the trek to San Antone…packing a lunch, carrying water, masks and gloves and sanitizer and gas and new tires.
      I do not look forward to today….a 12 hour slog on a good day.
      bright side is that i expect far less traffic than usual.
      best of luck to us all.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Stay safe, Amf & Mrs Amf. Just treat your visit like if you were going into an area under biological warfare attack. And don’t touch nuffin. It may be overkill but after your visit, perhaps you both should have a set of clothes to change into in sealed plastic bags ready to go.

        1. xkeyscored

          On a related note,

          “If you are doing delivery, you may want to opt for “no contact” delivery, where the delivery worker leaves the food at your door or other desired location indicated in your online or phone order. But don’t forget to tip. These people are doing important work in trying times. Same principles apply for grocery delivery.

          After you get the takeout or delivery dishes, treat packaging as you would any surface out of your control by wiping it down, washing or discarding it, and washing your hands again. Again, all professional workers are supposed to be trained in safe food handling, but these are special times. Transfer food into your own clean dishes and enjoy.”

          1. Susan Mulloy

            How do you tip if there is no option to do this on the ap/order form etc. and cash is too risky to use (even if you had cash on hand)?

        2. amfortas the hippie

          we’re here. early
          early sunday morning style traffic at 10 am thursday
          went to heb in more affluent area
          cool bread fruit and tp
          no apparent supply issues, but rationing in place( 1 pack tp only)
          cashier says other stores are having restocking problems
          oncology clinic half as busy as normal
          drove through giant south texas medical center
          empty parking lots, few folks around
          no triage tents or any other outward signs of weirdness

          1. amfortas the hippie

            and… i’ll spray her with lysol, lol, since she’ll have a pump and tubing and can’t shower or even undress really
            she sprayed me after my store run
            ill get naked and use the outside shower when we get home

      2. Massinissa

        I’ve got a fever. I *think* its just the flu. Still trying to stay away from my age 65+ parents that I live with, which is hard, because its a small house. I’m pretty much self quarantining in my room all day. Only one bathroom in the house, which normally isn’t a problem, except now, when theres a pandemic going on… I remember when the CDC recommended using a second bathroom…

        I don’t think its the coronavirus (Among other things, theres no cough whatsoever), but if it is, I’m sh*t up a creek since I don’t have health insurance. My parents and I were reliant on my father’s income as a senior architect, but he got laid off, coincidentally just a couple months before coronavirus hit. Good luck finding an architecture job in this economy. If I, or worse, my parents (though they are insured), have to go to the hospital even for a moment, we would probably have to take on debt that we probably can’t afford.

        I do so love to live in the land of the free. The 1980s Soviet Union is almost starting to look good at this point. They may have only pretended to pay people there like that old joke goes, but at least they didn’t pretend to give people health care…

        1. DJG


          Be well. Keep us posted. I certainly value your opinion and presence here among the groundlings.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Massinissa. I hope that things work out for your family. I know that is going to be tough in your house, especially with only one bathroom, but whatever you have will only last a fortnight or so and from what I understand, it will be safe to be with your parents again. Take care.

      3. Woodchuck

        As much as I’d like to see it, I don’t think Bernie can do this. From all we saw from him during this primary, he is a movement leader certainly, and a good one at that, but he is not a revolutionary. He’s not going to burn down the house to replace the corruption, he wants to convince people to work with him cause he’s right.

        He IS right, on many accounts. And he has a big following. But the people in power will not play ball if they’re not forced to, and he doesn’t seem to be willing to force them to. They absolutely do not care if he’s right or not, so convincing them is a wasted effort.

        Considering his age, I think someone other group of progressives need to capitalize on his movement and work on moving it forward and taking the fight to a party they do not feel some sort of loyalty/affiliation with the way that Sanders (although he’s been an independant for a long time) seems to.

      4. Oregoncharles

        Best of luck, good voyaging. Report back, please. (Sorry, others already copped the more poetic versions.)

  6. Toshiro_Mifune

    IT services sector faces armageddon

    The article’s title is burying the lede. IT services forced to work from home in AMERs and most of EMEA, not a big deal as lots were doing that part time anyway. All that stuff that got off-shored to Bengaluru? That’s a different story now, isn’t it. Maybe moving NetOps off shore wasn’t the greatest of ideas.

    1. xkeyscored

      Yes, the infrastructure is buckling under the strain in places, with so many working or whatever from home. But doesn’t this equally open up opportunities for IT, not just to save itself, but to allow the world to continue, even if not as usual?
      From the final paragraph:
      “In the longer term, IT departments will review the performance of the cloud providers and adjust their strategies accordingly. Performance monitoring tools such as Splunk’s AWS workflow monitoring software could see increased demand, as could remote learning software.”

      1. rtah100

        The situation in one €bn revenue IT services company: strong Q1 booked; Q2 looking fine but some practical trouble delivering (e.g. cannot get secure laptops insisted on by a client to the consultants); Q3 looking difficult because sales are in lockdown. Bright spots in cloud, remote working, networks, automation; darkness rising in retail, travel, etc. No particular issue with Asian workers but not a big part of their offering (using Eastern Europe instead).

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          Yeah, new sales has definitely taken a hit. However, existing contracts that were set to expire are now being extended since no one wants to change anything.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Been to Bengaluru lately? 4g coverage everywhere, never less than 3 bars. I’ve personally heard that a call center worker carried their laptop out of the building while keeping the headset on and grabbing an auto to get home.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’ve been watching “Rising” a lot lately. And am kind of sickened by the unavoidable ads for Qualcomm pushing the “5G” thing, how transformative it will be. Can’t help but think of all the DC insiders who are getting 30 seconds of Qualcomm propaganda injected into their brains between each segment of Krystal and Saager.

        Everything connected to everything, and Qualcomm And others collecting the tolls. This is going to be “The Internet of Sh!t” to a higher power…

        1. Oh

          The idea is to steal more of the frequency spectrum for profit. 5G is another way to make current equipment obselete under the guise of improvement.

          1. ambrit

            Right. As in our olde style 3G phone carrier ‘warning’ us that we “must” upgrade to a 5G phone if we want to continue getting “service.” Guess what? Absolutely no ‘olde style’ phones available on the carrier’s replacement phone list. (We refuse to get an iPhone, period.)
            A good fieldwork test to try: tell a check out worker or store “customer service specialist” that you do not ‘do’ apps because you don’t carry a phone. Watch their reactions. Especially the face. At one retailer, I may have as well come in to shop wearing animal skins and carrying a flint tipped spear asking: “Where Mammoth section?”

        2. Hoppy

          The real scam is how much Americans already pay for cell phone data plans compared to the rest of the world.

          It’s worse than the markup on medical prescriptions.

      2. Toshiro_Mifune

        I work with India every day. Cell coverage might be great but I can tell you their physical circuits are a different story and those are what you use to support a call center/Ops center. In question would be that 4g connectivity once a sustained load has been put on it with a significant number of people quarantined.
        Then we come into different issues with working from home which I don’t think American based IT usually account for or isn’t an issue here;
        1) Can you physically? Do you have the space to do it? I know a lot of people in our Hong Kong office can’t. The apartments are too small and they don’t have room. Yes, they can bring home a laptop, but a lot of IT support requires multiple monitors. Right now I’m running 3 27 inch monitors and will probably get a 4th. I don’t mean, its much nicer to have multiple monitors, I mean you cannot effectively do your job without them. Do they have space for that? I’m cheating because I already know the answer; they’re like Hong Kong.
        2) Do they actually have the equipment to work from home with? Hell, even EMEA falls under this. Large numbers do not have home PC/laptops to work with and don’t have company provided ones. They have phones/tablets for internet access at home.Especially outside of AMERs that is very common. I’m not talking about the call center, just reading from a script, types without home PCs**, I mean DBAs and Linux support people.

        **Putting security issues aside for now.

  7. zagonostra

    >Secessions of the Plebs.

    A little over 2500 years ago the same dynamics where being played out in Ancient Rome as are now playing out on your screens, however, with the difference that all roads to “secessions” are blocked by bureaucratic, technological, economic conveniences of modern day life.

    The secession was initially sparked by discontent about the burden of debt on the poorer plebeian class. The failure of the patrician rulers, including the consuls and more generally the senate, to address those complaints, and subsequently the senate’s outright refusal to agree to debt reforms, caused the issue to flare into a more widespread concern about plebeian rights. As a result, the plebeians seceded and departed to the nearby Mons Sacer (the Sacred Mountain).[

    One more thought if you’ll pardon my quoting of Nietzsche so early in the day, it seems to me that the “noble race” is now let loose and on the prowl.

    A thriving upper class accepts with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings, who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings, to slaves, to instruments… One cannot fail to see in all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Why is Germany’s COVID-1 death rate so much lower than other countries? LiveScience

    Intensive and widespread testing. Aggressive track and trace and quarantine. Its early days, but this seems to be the key elements in successfully tackling the disease in its early days. It looks like Germany did track and trace the old fashioned way (detective work), not using intensive mobile phone tracking like South Korea.

    Only time will tell which methods are best, but so far it looks like Germany is leading the way in Europe. But it may be that they’ve gotten lucky so far that the disease has mostly hit the young.

    1. The Rev Kev

      It could be but looking at the page at I see that the entry for Germany states that they only have 23 critical cases out of 35,000-odd active cases. Peak Prosperity mentions it too. That works out as 1 critical care case out of every 1,520 active cases when at the very least you would expect there to be a number about 5 times that.

    2. TroyIA

      Are the experts pulling numbers out of thin air at this point? Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London first said the UK would have 500,000 deaths and 12-18 months of a lockdown. His new prediction is 20,000 deaths and a peak in 2-3 weeks.

      UK has enough intensive care units for coronavirus, expert predicts

      The UK should now be able to cope with the spread of the covid-19 virus, according to one of the epidemiologists advising the government.

      Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London gave evidence today to the UK’s parliamentary select committee on science and technology as part of an inquiry into the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

      He said that expected increases in National Health Service capacity and ongoing restrictions to people’s movements make him “reasonably confident” the health service can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in two or three weeks. UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, he said, and could be much lower.

      1. Jules

        I believe the imperial college study concluded the number of fatalities for u.k would be as high as 500,000 if NOTHING was done.

    3. Carolinian

      An article on ZH site this morning says that the US has the second lowest per capita death rate and that ours is similar to Germany. It said it’s still second lowest when compared to countries that have had at least one announced case for the same length of time. Our death rate per capita is vastly lower than Italy and Spain’s (which is moving up).

      What the article doesn’t say is that lifestyle factors here are likely “flattening the curve” regardless of what the government is doing. Which is to say we drive around in cars rather than take crowded public transportation, live in sparsely populated suburbs, spend a lot of time staring at screens rather than interacting personally. And it’s also possible that the disease has been around much longer than previously thought in those hard hit countries whereas here not so much. They are now saying that Italy may have had it for several months but misdiagnosed.

      Of course that latter, if true, is good news in a way because the wider the unknown spread the lower the “case fatality rate.” The fatality rate cannot be judged by those bubble charts because they only tell about those who have been tested for the disease.

      1. Jules

        I think you are alluding to the oxford study arguing that herd immunity has already occurred in places like u.k. They argue half the u.k has already been infected. This would mean the mortality rate is wayyyyyy lower. This does not add up to me. I guess we will find out soon enough when widespread antibody tests take place.

        1. Carolinian

          Here’s the original link for the ZH article. I won’t vouch for the agenda of the source but statistics are statistics.

          And I don’t recall where I saw the article about Italy having the disease early and unknown. It wasn’t the one you mentioned.

          To me the point about lower “case fatality rate” is not so much herd immunity as that it lowers the odds of any one of us, even if older, being done in by the disease. Of course having the virus at all is not a good thing and may have unknown after effects. But surely the driver of our current “world turned upside down” is to keep people from dying.

        2. The Rev Kev

          I thought that I heard that the number of infected in the UK is doubling every three days which I can believe. If that study says that half the population of the UK was already infected, then that means that three days after that report was done the whole, complete, entire population of the UK has already been infected. So in a few short weeks, all the UK hospitals will be emptying of Coronavirus patients. I’m calling bs on this.

      2. Monty

        It could be different case definition standards around the world.
        e.g. How does your system classify the person with chronic heart disease, who’s heart stops working whilst they have the virus, or the person with acute emphysema who needs a ventilator in ICU whilst they have the virus?

        1. Cuibono

          It is known that this is the case in Italy.
          It is not the only factor but might just be the biggest.
          Add in demographics (Italy old), social habits, ICU capacity, testing strategies

    4. Greg Taylor

      Something’s badly amiss with the German statistics. 229 deaths and just 23 critical cases? If true, their death rate per critical case must be much higher than elsewhere.

        1. Oregoncharles

          They’re testing a LOT – detecting asymptomatic cases is the main reason their death rate is lower.

          Probably an issue with the reporting.

      1. MLTPB

        That 23 critical cases could be the current total, and 239 cumulative – my guess just off the top. Like you, the numbers seem unusual.

  9. notabanktoadie

    re: “People who don’t pay taxes, such as those with very low incomes, may be hard to reach the way the program is designed.” Here’s why: lambert

    Also the unbanked which are just two of manifold reasons, including moral imperatives to not oppress the poor, that ALL citizens should have inherently risk-free accounts at their Central Bank itself alongside those of the banks and other private depository institutions.

  10. Tom Stone

    Richard, do the right thing.
    Die quietly and try not to stink the place up.
    A message from your betters…

  11. Kevin C. Smith

    From John Authers, Bloomberg:
    For those interested, I recommend this paper by Philip Thomas, head of the risk management department at the University of Bristol. Using the “J-value” mathematical technique developed for measuring the cost-effectiveness of safety measures in the nuclear power industry, he models the number of lives that can be expected to be saved by different forms of economic shutdown. It finds that by far the most effective option would be an early 12-month lockdown with widespread vaccination at the end using a newly developed vaccine. This would limit deaths to a number below what might have been expected from flu in a typical year — but at a massive economic cost.

    This is when Thomas introduces the “J-value GDP constraint.” He shows that the Great Recession of 2008-09, which saw real GDP per head fall by 6%, led life expectancy for 42-year-olds to be at least three months shorter than it otherwise would have been. In a country of more than 60 million, this is a huge loss of life.

    Using his mathematical assumptions, the lives saved by a year-long lockdown would be more than counterbalanced by a later fall in life expectancy, if the total hit to GDP were 6.4% or more. His conclusion is that the challenge for the U.K. and other governments is to manage interventions so that the recession isn’t significantly worse than in 2008-2009.

    I am not a good enough mathematician to question the assumptions in the paper, which is awaiting peer review. I urge any good mathematicians reading this to take a look.

    Nobody should be asked or expected to sacrifice themselves. We don’t have that right. But it is unfair to characterize this as choosing money over old people’s lives. Recessions end people’s lives too.

    1. jackiebass

      Many people don’t realize that the assumptions made can drastically influence the conclusion.

    2. notabanktoadie

      But it is unfair to characterize this as choosing money over old people’s lives. Recessions end people’s lives too. Kevin C. Smith

      Karl Denninger has been strenuously* making this point and others wrt the coronova virus; he’s worth a listen/read in my opinion.

      *Karl is the epitome, imo, of a truthful and kind person but with very rough language. His intelligence is also not to be doubted.

      1. Doc Smith

        Physician here

        I too listen to Denninger. His economic musings are usually right on.

        However, I would very much caution you to be very careful with his current commentary about this pandemic.

        To wit, I was in a virtual grand rounds yesterday from my medical school. Some of the best minds in infectious disease in this country and epidemiologists in a large panel discussion.

        They actually used Denninger’s various articles and musings over the past few months to demonstrate how very intelligent people can come to very dangerous conclusions.

        First his push was this was a bio weapon.
        Then it was not but all is well because it clearly is only going to affect Asians genetically – it was so obvious you see.
        Then Iran happened and all of a sudden it had everything to do with the toilets and sewer systems that China and Iran share and it is so obvious, don’t you see, that this is clearly fecal oral. (It turns out that Iran and China have completely different sanitation – Iran having very clear Muslim cultural differences in that area – and although fecal oral is possible it is very minuscule in practice.
        Then Italy happened – and did you not know Italians are just as filthy as the Chinese in their defecation habits. ( I have spent weeks in my life in Italy and it is not filthy unless you think New Jersey is filthy)

        Then Seattle happened and it was nursing home patients and clearly that is fecal oral because people have to clean them up after defecation. And clearly the nurses doing that are foreign and are not cleaning them the American way so the disease is spreading.

        Now France and Australia and NYC are happening. Clearly not fecal oral – but that is because all are filled with filthy immigrants.

        And lately let’s look at data from Iceland – ICELAND – and extrapolate to the whole world.

        These experts shot that down in about 30 seconds.

        I love reading Deninger. I am afraid his most base and worst instincts of racism, class hatred, and overgeneralization are coming out in the worst way.

        We all need to take that into account when reading his stuff

        My two cents as a trained professional.

        1. notabanktoadie

          Much more than two cents! Thanks.

          Btw, I don’t think Denninger is a racist but a culturist; that is that some cultures are better than others.

          As for class hatred, I don’t see that he hates any class. Which class(es) would that (those) be that he hates?

          Anyway, from an economic viewpoint I look forward to engaging with Denninger when the current crisis is over and after I’ve read his book since he’s a worthy opponent that I might learn from, imo.

          1. ewmayer

            “Btw, I don’t think Denninger is a racist but a culturist” — Years ago, when I still read him, he had an article about a poor-quality monitor he’d bought, made in China. He traced te problem to some under-sized capacitors, then went into a long rant which opened with “Hey, Chinaman…”. The last straw for me was went all-in on the Obama birtherism, remote-analyzing pics of the birth certificate, and treating Michelle O’s words to effect of Barack being “Kenyan” as damning admission. And he insta-bans anyone who dares disagree with him on his site/blog.

      2. New Wafer Army

        I think the fact that a clown and charlatan like Denninger is considered intelligent says a lot about the gullibility of Americans. It always amazes me that the land of the hustle so many people are still so easily fooled. Iraqi dinars, anyone?

        1. notabanktoadie

          Well, we’ll see. Nor does he appear to be a charlatan unless pumping his daughter’s paintings count, which I don’t see as anything but parental love and pride. And I see no adds except for his book.

          So his site appears to be a labor of love/conviction/passion from a man who’s comfortably retired with no need for additional income.

          Not to say I agree with his economic policies (haven’t read his book yet) but he appears to be a decent, sympathetic man but who clearly doesn’t spare anyone from criticism.

          1. Monty

            Is he still a deficit scold and far right, Tea Party enthusiast, or has he changed his tune?

            1. notabanktoadie

              He does appear to be a deficit scold but I hope to change his mind by pointing out that the inherently risk-free debt of a monetary sovereign like the US should return no more than ZERO percent minus overhead costs with the shorter maturity debt costing even more (more negative yields/interest).

              “So Karl, the debt of the US, should and could* be a revenue EARNER, not a revenue consumer.”

              As for taxes, he appears to readily concede they are necessary for public health, etc.

              And I’ve heard him criticize anti-homosexual talk. And he seems capable of accepting criticism (“I get it that …”) and learning from it.

              He’s an interesting and likable character despite (somewhat because of?) the rough language.

              *as Mr Market verified just today with negative yields on some US debt.

              1. Monty

                He always struck me as a bit of an American Nigel Farage. Nigel has a radio show on LBC in London, where he is affable enough, if that’s your cup of tea. Like Karl, he slips the occasional “common sense” truth(*) in between the far-right wing talking points.
                *Max one per day.

        2. cnchal

          Hold on there. Charlatan or not, his thoughts on carbs made a difference in my life, perhaps even saved it.

          When diagnosed with diabetes I cut out all carbs and my results are: No carbs = No Diabetes

          I agree with Doc Smith though. I am willing to read what he writes but at some point the logical inconsistencies add up. For me, the fact that it is spreading like wildfire in New Orleans after Mardi Gras and now there are reports of partiers coming back from spring break in Florida with coronavirus and spreading it makes me wonder. Is it spreading because Mardi Gras revellers and spring break youths are not washing their hands after taking a crap and touching each other, or might there be another way to transmit it?

          The economy is already cratered, firing it back up too soon will probably crater it moar. Not a fact, just my opinion.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      But it is unfair to characterize this as choosing money over old people’s lives.

      In the West & especially in the US, more than old people die or require ICU. Potential lung damage for those who recover. Possible sperm damage. We don’t have a clue as to what else this virus does to those with minimal symptoms vs. those requiring ventilators.

      If you aren’t one of the people on the front lines most likely to get infected (aka you can work remotely from a safe haven and minimize your exposure), then how much hazard pay do you think front liners (warehouse workers, poultry & beef workers, migrant farm workers, grocery store worker, etc., etc., etc) should receive for their efforts to keep the economy going while I’m assuming the same extraction policies remain in place?

      I mean if we’re really talking price and the spice must flow then surely there’s a price tag for such lowly hourly at will, potentially zero to 80 hour a week, worker service? Perhaps full medical coverage for ICU if you get covid? hazard pay? guaranteed hours? life insurance benefit?

      If there’s nothing and no shared risk or sacrifice then tell me why anyone should volunteer to keep the economy / system going?

      1. JTMcPhee

        A “price for hazard” just equals zero, if the people living the hazard have no way of negotiating, enforcing and collecting that price.

        Absent an enforceable remedy, there’s no such thing as a “right.” Appeals to conscience and ethics and morality are meaningless to the sociopaths who rule.

    4. Steve H.

      I find no link to the primary source.

      I’ll simply suggest, that decreased life expectancy was related to the five to ten thousand suicides attributed to the recession. Those suicides were heavily weighted to the working class. The ten million forceclosures had a mortality rate with better correlation than GDP.

      GDP takes working class liabilities as assets, called debt. If this causal link is not explicit in the paper, the conclusions are flawed. Bail out the working class, GDP could fall while the mortality rate remains unaffected.

      1. xkeyscored

        I think this is the paper Kevin C. Smith is referring to.

        The new coronavirus infection will continue to pose a very severe challenge to the UK
        and to all countries around the world for the next 12 to 18 months. An epidemic model
        has been developed to explore the range of possible actions open to the UK and other
        nations to combat the virus. A “business as usual” policy would lead to the epidemic
        being over by September 2020, but such an approach would lead to a loss of life in the
        UK little less than that it suffered in the Second World War. Using the J-value without
        constraint suggests that exceptionally high spending would be justified for the three
        strategies that could reduce significantly the numbers of cases and deaths compared with
        the unmitigated epidemic. However such high spending is likely to come up against the
        J-value GDP constraint, whereby the measure should not so decrease GDP per head that
        the national population loses more life as a result of the countermeasure than it gains.
        The challenge for the UK Government (and other governments around the world) will be
        to manage its interventions so that the recession that is now inevitable is not significantly
        worse than that following the 2007 – 2009 financial crash.

        1. xkeyscored

          From the Conclusions, offering a degree of hope to less developed nations:

          “Less developed countries do not have such good public health systems, but on their side is the fact that their populations contain high proportions of young people who have been observed to be much less vulnerable to severe effects. By contrast, the developed countries have better health systems, but on the other hand much higher percentages of
          older people who are more likely to be badly affected.”

        2. JTMcPhee

          Got to love the way economists categorize and think, right? Marginal utility seeking equilibrium in service to wealth.

            1. Petter

              Yes, and his latest Sorry We Missed You. Going into debt to take part in the new independent contractor economy. Guess how it ends?

        3. Steve H.

          Thank you.

          The math is easy, and it’s not quite so offensive. The main point is that a year lockdown (without vaccine or increased bed capacity) has as many deaths, and the financial consequences of the lockdown as well.

          There’s not a lot here, the contagion model is already underestimating within the paper. I don’t know that I would publish it as written…

    5. Skip Intro

      Choosing money over peoples’ lives is SOP in our neoliberal paradise, someone should clue that putz in to a slice of reality. Just because it has now been more-or-less explicitly stated as a policy goal doesn’t make it less true, it just makes apologists and flacks scramble for some handwaving cover.

    6. Oregoncharles

      The economy is not “just money.” That is the error of misplaced concreteness, mistaking the map for the territory. The economy is everybody’s livelihood, and too frequently their sense of self-worth. We’ve already talked about this, in the context of the opioid epidemic. A bad economy has a death rate, potentially a severe one, to say nothing of the misery.

      So the cure really can be worse than the disease, in terms of human casualties. And I say this as a high-risk individual (I’m 74). Actually, wife and I are old enough that we can self-quarantine, to protect ourselves, at minimal cost to ourselves or others. That would not be true if we were still working, or if we were in a “care center.” But when you (eg) close restaurants, a lot of marginal people are suddenly unemployed, with potentially catastrophic effects. And so on, right through the economy.

      That doesn’t mean we can do nothing. It does mean we should look at models, like Germany or S. Korea, where the response was effective but much less disruptive. Unfortunately, a lot of our problem is a severe loss of organizational capacity, both bureaucratic, which I ascribe to decadence, and political. Hard to say what we can do about that.

  12. Robert Hahl

    Opening businesses will not guarantee enough customers to make a profit, it might just raise costs. I am certainly not going out to dinner and a movie for the next few months, maybe years.

    1. Arizona Slim

      You aren’t the only one.

      Yours Truly has been spending a lot of time at the Arizona Slim Ranch. And I’ve been working on upping my culinary game. And the gardening game.

      I’m finding my desire to “go out” isn’t what it used to be. Don’t know if it will return to previous levels.

      1. amfortas the hippie

        lol. we just drove by our Luby’s on our hospital recon
        i have never been hungrier for a square fish

        and here i am in a half empty parking lot
        for once i’m not the only one sitting in the car
        city sounds are muted
        noticeable and weird

        boys are fishing with cousin at neighbors stock pond
        overstocked with catfishes we’ll see how that goes, lol
        i told them to save me the guts for the gardens

      2. Massinissa

        I think the reason Trump and the elites are wanting people to go back to work so quickly is they realize that its progressively harder to turn the switch from ‘off’ to ‘on’ the longer the economy is turned off, especially if its for six months or more.

        Personally I’m half hoping they can’t resuscitate the economy ever. Then maybe we can kick the usurers and money changers out of the temple.

  13. jackiebass

    I wonder if the check people get will be considered income on next years taxes? It wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

    1. Katiebird

      I’m pretty sure it will be. We had to declare the checks Bush sent out as income. I can’t remember. Did Obama send out checks?

        1. edmondo

          There was nothing left for us after the bankers got theirs. Deja vu all over again.

          But he was the best African-American president ever!

    2. The Historian

      From what I’ve read, it is a one time tax rebate on your 2019 taxes. If you itemize, it might be something you need to look into to find out how it will be handled next year.

  14. Louis Fyne

    That NYT article downplays the role of masks in Korea (and East Asia) .

    universal mask usage….even if not every mask is hospital-grade. Then throw in quick contact tracing,testing and quarantines. It looks like you need all of these

    The Seoul area (30+ million) never shut down, no runs on toilet paper or food.

    Been watching the local over the air Korean language TV station, interesting stuff even if everything isn’t subtitled inti English

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve been reading as much as I can on masks and its all very confusing – the evidence is very ambiguous. I’m quite surprised at how many people I know with some expertise in the area who are quite adamant that they have little or no merit outside the hospital environment. I think they see it as a form of ‘virtue waving’. But there are certainly meta studies that point to some community benefits for flu and other viruses.

      Personally, as a matter of courtesy I wear a buff scarf everywhere and put it over my face when in a shop or passing people. I have a few masks (bought at a ridiculous rip off price in a Chinese shop), which I wear anywhere I’m face to face, like in a checkout queue. I’d like to think that the staff think I’m being respectful, but given the looks I get some just think that I must be a confirmed carrier.

      1. fresno dan

        March 26, 2020 at 9:03 am

        Personally, as a matter of courtesy I wear a buff scarf everywhere and put it over my face when in a shop or passing people.
        I wear a paper bag over my head, but the ugly was so strong I needed two. I haven’t gotten sick, so maybe it helps…

      2. Louis Fyne

        it’s easy for most of East Asia to switch to universal mask wearing as they already have a lot of local capacity for masks used for ultrafine air pollution.

        However in the West—for all this fetishizing about “flattening the curve” I’m at a lost how no one in the western (medical and media) establishment is talking about basic (thick) cotton fabric masks.

        Clearly the data from East Asia shows that it doesn’t hurt. And in the video footage from East Asia, literally no civilian has a N95 mask or respirator—-they are all ordinary cotton masks, basic paper masks, or cotton masks with inserts for disposable cotton filters. Nothing fancy. All the supplies are available at the local fabric story or grandma’s sewing nook.

        Just don’t get it. I guess the West knows the best, wants to reinvent the wheel and —family blog off— everyone else.

        1. amfortas the hippie

          bandanna for me
          like a train robber
          better than nothing
          and i wasn’t in the store for ten minutes, didn’t stop moving til checkout
          avoided the usual bovine traffic jams with sprezzatura
          just had a conference call with wife and oncologist
          ” just listen to your husband”
          contingencies forthcoming for if we can’t come down here next time

        2. rtah100

          Look up Wu Liande, who supposedly founded the Chinese CDC (he certainly founded a lot else). He investigated the pneumonic plague outbreak in Manchuria (respiratory droplet transmission, ~100% fatal!) and recognised the need for masks (five layers of cotton gauze and wadding), the forerunner of the N95 mask.

          It looks like cotton and wadding masks could be effective (although plague bacteria are magnitudes bigger than viruses, the droplets are not). The efficacy could be improved by dousing in Lugol’s solution (iodine and potassium iodide, generating free iodine species) – “the forgotten weapon against influenza”

      3. Ignacio

        About masks:
        – To be used in closed environments with human traffic (shops for instance). Outside doesn’t make sense except in overcrowded spaces (and yet there may not be good protection and there aren’t overcrowded spaces outside when events/meetings are forbidden). HC staff in hospitals/clinics have to change masks very, very, very often. They need them the most. Their life is at risk.
        – Designed for transient use, not repeated use (unless those that can be washed between uses). Use, discard, use discard.
        -Don’t touch them with bared hands after exposure.

        Yes, wearing a mask will certainly spell danger for others. But as epidemics progresses this also changes.

        1. Billy

          As to the recommendations about ovens and boiling water vapor, what if that’s not available, like in a job trailer on a site somewhere?
          What about microwaves? Every cheap hotel room in Wyoming seems to have one to heat the cheap chicken in a plastic tray sold in the lobby.

          The mask’s metal staples have to be removed and replaced later, or substituted for something else if microwaved. It’s the thin rubber bands that go first, or break at the staple, fatter rubber bands, tied in a series can replace that with a dab of glue–don’t make a hole in the mast to connect rubber band ends. You can reuse old veggie rubber bands tied in a series to make them long enough.

          We microwave our hand towels that might harbor virus. When steaming hot, nothing’s alive on them.

          1. Billy

            Arggghhh! From post below:
            “Microwaves melt masks…”
            For how long a run? Also, would the emergency use of a microwave, negate the beneficial static charge in them?

            Not mentioned, masks inside up in sunlight under a clear plastic dome, like salad comes in…raid those recycling bins!

          2. clarky90

            I spray my used mask with alcohol, and seal into a zip lock bag. The next time I use the mask, I just air it out to evaporate the alcohol before I put it back on.

            So far, so good……

          3. ewmayer

            Blast of hot air from a hair dryer should suffice to get that temp over 70C. I’ve also been using on e.g. package deliveries.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        If it became the custom to wear facemasks in public in the U.S. — what would happen to Homeland Security’s face recognition programs? Isn’t Security much more important than any possible public health benefits of of wearing facemasks?

      5. coboarts

        I’ve just attended a webinar put on by Bay Area Council in San Francisco. A doctor from Sutter explained their policy for wearing masks “6 & 10.” If you are within six feet of someone for 10 or more minutes, mask.

  15. cnchal

    > Bill Ackman claims firm made $2.6bn betting on coronavirus outbreak Guardian

    In yesterday’s Water Cooler was a tweet thread with an image and caption “it begins” from unemployed elizabeth.

    Slightly further down is an interesting take on the “trolley problem” with the image of a trolly bearing down on a bunch of people tied to the tracks with the caption:

    You can stop the trolley at any time, but doing so would disrupt the trolley service causing the company to lose profits

    Were the first person on the tracks Bezos, the second, Buffet, the third Blankfein, the fourth Dimon . . .

    would you stop the trolley?

    If that was you on the tracks, do you think any of the elite would stop the trolley?

  16. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Readers, not just those in Borislavia, will be delighted to hear that it’s not all gloom and doom in Borislavia. The rich and powerful are cashing in, so us plebs can expect some trickle down. When, I have no idea.

    Let me summarise from well placed sources:

    Tory and Brexiteer donor, Sir James Dyson, has just been given a contract to build ventilators, likely to be built in his Malaysian factory. Dyson, who was at school with NC’s Synoia, has amassed over 50,000 acres of farm land in East Anglia, the Thames valley and West Country, getting ready for the disruption in food supplies from the continent. His holdings surpass the Queen innEngland. That disruption of farm production has been signalled a bit in France, but not picked up elsewhere. My parents and I are aware due to our small holding overseas. Perhaps, Arizona Slim and other farming readers can chime in.

    Tory MP and former minister, Liam Fox, collects £100,000 pa in dividends from a firm selling covid 19 test kits at £120 apiece.

    Private hospitals have about half of their beds reserved for NHS patients. As non emergency operations have been postponed, these hospitals, which are overrated according to my military doctor dad, were looking at big losses. Their use by the NHS in this emergency is a bail out by stealth.

    Yesterday, two dozen children were taken into emergency care in Buckinghamshire alone. All of them are being placed through investment firm intermediaries. Depending on the child’s needs, the firm, often a hedge fund based in Mayfair, can collect £500 – £5000 per week and give the individual carer a tenth of that. These activities are kept under the label “special situations” funds. Corporate welfare / socialism for the rich is alive and kicking.

    The CEO of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, was at Balliol College, Oxford, with Johnson. After Oxford, he joined United Health in the US as a lobbyist. According to the civil service grape vine, at crisis committee meetings, the pair are often ashen faced, look lost, seem out of their depth and wondering what they signed up for.

    The supply of escorts is down. Why? About a quarter of escorts are nurses. Another quarter are teachers.

    Last, but not least, and the icing on the cake, the Blairites will be back in charge of the Labour Party next month. That nice remainer Sir Keir Starmer is funded by, amongst others, the vultures who want to loot the NHS and other public services. Labour’s health spokesman, Jonathan Ashworth, speaks of “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”. Although not a colonial, the colonials here will recognise his cringe. He was one of the jerk offs undermining Corbyn, but Corbyn did not have the nous or courage to attack his enemies. The vultures are smart enough to get / co-opt Labour to do their dirty work and not push through a full privatisation, so the process will be gradual and by stealth. Get ready for the MSM narrative that the state failed when the crisis has eased and the public wants answers.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thank you for this sitrep, Colonel. There is one thing that I was wondering about though. You mentioned ‘Sir James Dyson, has just been given a contract to build ventilators, likely to be built in his Malaysian factory’. I am given to understand that about 75% of the latex gloves in the world are made in Malaysia so that makes sense on the surface of it.

      But Malaysia is also southeast Asia’s worst virus-hit nation from what I have read. That supply line may not be so stable if workers get sick in that factory or Malaysia brings out a law banning the export of medical equipment until local needs are met first-

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        That is a good point about Malaysia. I don’t know if Dyson has other sites apart from higher cost Borislavia.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Slim.

        We have a third of an acre at home in Buckinghamshire for gardening, including forty varieties of grape vine, and have begun planting. That and mowing the lawn is therapeutic.

        It’s lambing season here.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Grass clippings make excellent mulch/fertilizer, and will kill grass and weeds if piled on thick.

    2. rtah100

      My Tory friends think I am a tinfoil hatter when I point out that, in a crisis, Boris has turned to:

      – Dyson, run by a billionaire tax exile (Malta then Singapore) and farmland tycoon (taking advantage of subsidies, until CAP runs out post-Brexit, and 100% inheritance tax exemption)
      – JCB, run by loyal Brexit Tory supporting billionaires, the Bamford family
      – Babcock – defence welfare queen
      – a consortium of High Value Manufacturing Catapult research group, coordinating efforts from Airbus, Meggitt, GKN, McLaren, BAE Systems, Ford, Inspiration Healthcare, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, Thales and Ultra Electronics – er, where do I begin, other than to note that a camel is a horse designed by a committee and this group will presumably produce a ventilator capable of VTOL with a low radar cross-section and cross-ply tyres.

      And today we learn that the NHS’s vital administration and deployment of ventilator capacity is going to be based on some AI-powered woo-woo from, wait for it, Amazon, Microsoft, Palantir (!) and some AI outfit. Whatever happened to NHS / Department of Health competencies?

      If it weren’t serious, it would be funny.

      On the flip side, I think Dyson is going to take a punching on the farmland (which, Colonel, I believe is mostly in Lincolnshire):
      – not enough labour to harvest the crops this year, as no Eastern Europeans (Brexit) and no other foreigners (Corona) and no Britons (lockdown!)
      – lamb prices have collapsed (restaurant demand died, oversupply – this is according to my NFU newsletter)
      – beef prices expected to do the same, now McDonalds has shut its UK restaurants

      Of course, the shop prices won’t change, just the farmer’s income. :-(

  17. xkeyscored

    Doctors scramble for best practices on reusing medical masks during shortage LiveScience. From researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Evidence Service, For N95 masks: “70 C / 158 F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30 min, or hot water vapor from boiling water for 10 min, are additional effective decontamination methods.” Not CDC endorsed.

    Both these articles relate to masks in a hospital setting.
    From the second link,
    “One area of concern was a misunderstanding about using home ovens 70C to disinfect masks and other equipment. None of us should take any contaminated materials home or leave them near food or drinking water as they present a risk to family and loved ones.”

    On a brighter note, if bright is an appropriate word for coping with a shortage of essentials,
    “In this materials science study of N95 face masks, two disinfection methods which do not reduce the filtration efficiency of the meltblown layer after an appreciable number of treatment cycles were found:
    •Method 1: 75°C Hot Air (30 mins) for 20 cycles
    •Method 2: UV (254 nm, 8W, 30 min) for 10 cycles
    Steam treatment causes filtration efficiency to drop to ~85% after 5 cycles, and ~80% after 10 cycles.”


    “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major shortage of N95-level facial masks, especially in the healthcare environment. We have investigated three promising disinfection methods that may be applied to the recycling and reuse of facial masks: hot air (75 °C, 30min), UVlight (254 nm, 8W, 30 min), and steam (10 min). Using a N95-level meltblown filtration fabric, we determined the following:
    1) Hot air applied over 20 cycles did not degrade the filtration efficiency (>95%).
    2) UV treatment over 10 cycles did not degrade the filtration efficiency (>95%).
    3) Steam treatment requires caution, as the filtration efficiency can be maintained (>95%) within 3 cycles, but the efficiency will degrade to ~85% after 5 cycles, and finally will drop to ~80% after 10 cycles.
    With respect to the hot air (75 °C, 30 min, 20 cycles), we found that an N95 mask did not suffer any mechanical deformation and the earstraps retained proper elasticity required for use.
    Note: We would like to share our results with the community as soon as possible.Be mindful that this report is our work in progress, including some of our speculation. We will have more results in the coming days and weeks.”

    1. xkeyscored

      And from the first link,

      “DO NOT use alcohol and chlorine [bleach]-based disinfection methods,” they wrote. “These will remove the static charge in the microfibers in N95 facial masks, reducing filtration efficiency. In addition, chlorine also retains gas after de-contamination, and these fumes may be harmful.”

      Microwaves tended to melt the masks and render them useless.

      Hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet radiation [but see above] appeared to be at least somewhat more effective, they wrote, “but it is not known if they would retain filtration, material strength and airflow integrity with repeated use.”

      Autoclaves, 320 F [160 C] ovens, and soap and water soaking, all appeared ineffective, they wrote.

      However, they wrote, “70 C / 158 F heating in a kitchen-type of oven for 30 min, or hot water vapor from boiling water for 10 min, are additional effective decontamination methods.”

      1. Shonde

        In the meantime in California per the Intercept:

        “Nurses at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics in California could be fired immediately for wearing their own face masks, according to unions representing nurses at the facilities. The news comes after nurses were ordered to reuse disposable protective gear to save supplies in the face of shortages brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.”

          1. Wukchumni

            A trash bag that fits over you backpack or turns into a vapor-barrier shielding off rain and keeping warmth in if you cut room for your head and arms, and is one of those light things one must carry that means so much in the back of beyond, similar to a mosquito headnet. Both weigh in @ almost nothing.

            Here’s a tip for everybody.

            Hardly anybody smokes cigarettes anymore, and we’re pretty dependent on stoners to have a lighter or matches, and who knows whats coming, but I see the supply chain breaking bad, including lighters & matches, which might become very scarce, and nobody seems to have noticed as there are ample supplies available, so buy some.

            Another tip: A magnifying glass on a sunny day will start a fire much easier than rubbing a stick. Learned that trick when I was in my pyro pre-teenage years.

            1. amfortas the hippie

              zippo and flints and fuel
              and flint and steel for when that runs out
              like a bow drill, it takes some practice
              try to be safe with fire…especially all those who don’t do it all the time like i do
              ie don’t start a fire in a dry hayfield or next to a gas can
              best to try to think it through and build good habits in your head aforetime

              1. BobW

                Yeah, when I was homeless we (3 tents) had a good location on a wooded hill in town. Nice clearing no grass, good drainage. Built a rock-lined fire spot, and then a drunken visitor used all our hard-collected dry wood just because he wanted to see how large a fire he could build. Of course it attracted the law. Some people.

    2. Phacops

      A very strong caveat was given regarding UV treatment as this cannot gaurantee sterility of the interior surfaces because of shadowing and loss of power.

      I’d like to see if vaporized hydrogen peroxide impacts the charge on the filter material and reduces efficiency.

      Regardless, what strikes me is that the efficiencies are so low that they are merely delaying infection in contaminated settings.

      1. xkeyscored

        UV light will lose its effectiveness if filters are stacked such that the light cannot penetrate into all of the mask material.

        2.2Disinfection method 2: UV1)Prepare 3 pieces of meltblown fabric (15 cm ×15 cm, each).2)Placesamples into a UV sterilizer (Figure 3, 254 nm wavelength,8 WUV light bulb).3)Irradiateunder UV light for 30 minutes.4)Take out the samples and let stand under ambient conditionsfor 10 minutes.5)Repeat Steps 3-4, for a total of10cycles.6)Test the filtration efficiency and pressure drop via TSI 8130A.Figure 3.Sterilizer Cabinet With UV, CHS-208A, 110V/60Hz, 254nm [I’m not sure how that translates into sterilising actual masks.]

        Re H2O2:
        Vaporized hydrogen peroxide
        VHP has been shown to be sporicidal at temperatures ranging from 4 to 80°C, with sterilant concentrations ranging from 0.5 to <10 mg l−1 (Joslyn, 1991). VHP decontamination for a single warm cycle did not significantly affect FFR filter aerosol penetration or filter airflow resistance. The only visible physical effect on the FFRs was a slight tarnishing of the metallic nosebands. The VHP process used in this study has a short cycle time (55 min) and a usable processing volume of 3.5 ft3 (0.1 m3) (Advanced Sterilization Products, 2007). Although the 55-min cycle time is short compared to the lengthy EtO total process time, the throughput capability of VHP processing is limited by the fact that cellulose-based products (e.g. cotton, which may be present in some head straps or some FFR layers) absorb hydrogen peroxide and can cause the STERRAD® cycle to abort due to low hydrogen peroxide vapor concentration. Significant levels of residual hydrogen peroxide vapors off-gassing from FFR materials following the STERRAD® process are unlikely and not of concern because the vapors decompose readily into water vapor and oxygen, both of which are environmentally benign (Advanced Sterilization Products, 2007).

        I’m not clear what you mean by the efficiencies being so low. Have you seen Table 1 on page 8 of the Stanford thing? In any case, in the absence of billions of masks suddenly being available worldwide tomorrow morning, delay is better than nothing.

    3. grayslady

      From a 1941 article studying the survival rates of streptococci:

      “The most important finding seems to be that daylight, on clear or cloudy days is a potent lethal agent for streptococci….Our studies indicate that daylight and direct sunlight probably play an important role in the suppression of streptococcal and other infections of the upper respiratory tract.”

      According to the study, bacteria indoors, but exposed to sunshine, whether blue sky or gray sky, were 50% neutralized within 50 minutes for long-chain bacteria (more time required for short-chain bacteria). This study would seem to support the UV sterilization claim. It could be that 3 or 4 hours on a clothesline outdoors would decimate a lot of germs (for those who don’t have access to UV lamps).

    4. MLTPB

      Someone kindly suggested microwaving the mail.

      I appreciate this, but I have the concern mentioned above – too near to food.

      As for reusing masks, is leaving them out in the sun sufficient?

  18. The Rev Kev

    “When I hear “stimulus,” I think of this dytopian artwork from Simon Stålenhag”

    Aren’t they 5G Cell Towers in the background?

  19. John A

    Apropos Emmanuel Macron’s Shock Doctrine Jacobin:
    I watched Macron’s speech on TV last night. He kept saying we are at war, under attack etc., etc. What immediately sprang to mind was Goering’s famous Nuremburg quote about why ordinary people support war when it is almost never in their interests:
    “All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    While I am not for a moment belittling measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus, although very handy to stymy the gilets jaunes, Macron has been at war against the French people ever since being elected, to destroy their pensions, their employment rights etc., all in the name of neoliberal dogma and to enrich the 1%. It will be interesting to see, if and when the restrictions on movement are lifted, currently we are only allowed out for 1 hour per day for essential shopping, or physical exercise, walk the dog etc., and have to take ID and a form stating the reason for being away from home – max 1km from home address – and state the date and time you left home. Gendarmes enforcing this, whether the crushing of employment rights in the emergency legislation, will somehow remain in force.

  20. Lemmy Caution

    Another incredible twist to the relief check requirements is this:
    If you’ve already filed 2019 taxes and your adjusted gross income is below $75,000, then you get a check.

    If you haven’t filed yet, however, then they look at your 2018 adjusted gross income. Whether that is above or below the cut-off determines whether you get a check.

    Personal anecdote: I just sent all my 2019 tax info to my accountant yesterday, so I don’t know if my returns will be filed on time to meet this requirement. Hope so, cause my 2019 adjusted gross income is well below the cut-off.

    Comical kicker: My 2018 adjusted gross income was the highest ever in the 23 years since I started my business and it is above the cut-off income to qualify for a relief check in any amount.

    Sad trombone epilogue: Even though my 2019 AGI qualifies me for a relief check in the full amount — I may not get a check at all!

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        Probably not. And nothing for people on disability either, which I can mostly understand and not feel bad about. But to me trickle up is the way to go so the more money the give people who need to spend it the better IMHO.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I for one do feel bad for people on means-tested disability, and on that temporary means-tested thing called “workers comp. Here are some numbers:

          Here’s a primer on how SS disability works, MAX benefit is $771 a month. Can a person live on that?

          And workers comp? That’s a self-extinguishing “benefit” that lasts only a limited time for most injured workers, until “maximum medical improvement” is reached. In FL, MAX monthly benefit is $917 a month. Can a person live on that, when rent in the county I live in for a 1 bedroom (interestingly, less than for a studio) is around $1300 a month? At least it looks like rents are maybe going down a bit as “market forces” come into play. Heaven forfend that there should be rent control…

          As you know, the basic takeaway is that there are a whole lot of people with not enough income to subsist, let alone live on.

          1. furies

            I live on my measly retirement (shoulda not have stayed home with those ungrateful shits) and the rest is SSI. After many years of living in substandard housing (storefronts, shacks) I have a comfortable cabin and was fortunate to land in a caring community.

            The news in December that Trump plans to review us to death (see Britian) had me in a state…cuz you know, I’m looking at being homeless again (the divorce from hell), at my age and in my present f***ed up condition.

            Kept begging them for the ‘black pill’ and looks like they’ve served up this age-related virus instead. Just want some morphine to ease some of the worst of respiratory distress…

            O but now, *now* there will be lots and lots and lots of us.

            And all those weird intuitions that “they” want me dead is proven for everyone to see. This is not easy to live with.

            USA USA USA!!!

            1. Krystyn Walentka

              Sorry furies. I have been in your same position for the last 10 years so I know.

              Supposedly there is $4 Billion in that bill for the homeless, but most of that will be siphoned off by the people who are supposed to help us.

              It’s no so much that they want us dead, but they wish we were dead. My plan is to stay alive just to rub it in their face. Somehow I still have joy in my heart most of the time and it grows more each day with practice. I quickly understood that their is no social safety net so i figured I would drop slowly to the bottom and land in place I do not need one. It lessens the shock and deconditioning. If I could manage to live like most of the homeless do I would be the luckiest person on earth.

              1. furies

                Unfortunately, Krystyn, I don’t have a van to live in. I did without a car in a very rural county for 11 years. I was recently able to buy a cheap beater with a crappy camper shell (that leaks). I’m surrounded by wilderness but gas money will be a huge issue and if my vehicle breaks…bootstraps bootstraps. I’m too old to do this again.

                I managed to regain my composure since December, but the news of what this bail-out entails and the lost momentum for any real change has me circling the drain once again. Apologies for being so self-involved…

      2. Mel

        Being retired, I expect my usual checks to come in as mechanically as they always do. I can’t imagine any excuse for disrupting the usual purely financial arrangements that people are depending on.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        We’ll see what happens. As always — some go to Happyville, some go to Pain City. It’s all up to timing and luck1

    1. Arizona Slim

      Why don’t they just send everyone a damn check? If a recipient doesn’t need the money, well, maybe-just-maybe the local charities do.

    1. panurge

      Lee (R-UT), Not Voting
      Romney (R-UT), Not Voting
      Paul (R-KY), Not Voting
      Thune (R-SD), Not Voting

      Why did they not vote? Did they abstain or were not present?

      Bonus (for the nerds):
      – all are Rs
      – 100% UT senators did not vote (coincidentally, they are both mormons)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Isn’t Rand Paul under self-quarantine? He got a test for the virus but kept on working at the Capital until it came back positive a week later. And I read that as a result, Lee and Romney also put themselves in self-quarantine-

        And I just read that Thune flew back home sick and while wearing a mask

        So at the very least 4% of the Senate in sick with Coronavirus. You will find out how many more in the next fortnight.

      2. Ghost in the Machine

        Lee and Romney are in self quarantine. I believe Paul actually has corona virus.

  21. NotTimothyGeithner

    I can’t wait until our leaders in DC act stunned when people start to steal for food because that is coming.

    1. John

      A friend told me he saw police guarding a trunk unloading at a supermarket on Monday.

      Yes, imagine, our tax money being spent on police guarding food instead of being spent on feeding people.

      1. Wyoming

        Another view point.

        The police and your tax dollars WERE spent ensuring that the food was equitably available on the shelves for everyone. This is what police taking care of their community are for – to stop wrongdoing. So the money WAS spent on feeding people.

        If you don’t like the situation then get your rear down to the store and provide the security yourself. You see people show up who don’t belong there you man up and challenge them. Then call the police if necessary. You can be the neighborhood watch volunteer.

        1. Massinissa

          You forgot the /sarc tag.

          Also, I’m sorry, Walmart and other chains pay next to no taxes, if they want armed guards they can pay for them themselves.

          1. John k

            Just my view, but I’d like to see the stores re stocked safely whether th store pays taxes or whether they don’t.

        2. amfortas the hippie

          cops everywhere in san antone today
          even more than usual
          at doors to heb and at least 2 wandering inside

          1. newcatty

            Be safe and sending good thoughts of comfort for Mrs. Hippie. Re guards ( cops) at the door: this is personal for us. Our close and beloved relative works on the front lines at a grocery store in CA. She is a manager and works long hours and days without a time off. If NTG proves to be right and the upper social econ classes start to hoard food, and /or bribe for it, then people like our family member will be in possible harm’s way. I felt concerned for her health and well being from the beginning of our collective “crisis”. Now, the awful reality is that she can be at risk from people stealing food. Already: grocery stores, in general, are limiting amounts of each item sold ( it started with toilet paper then went on to bread and wine). A grocer in my local store told Mr. Catty yesterday: All of stores ( throughout country) are making sure that we have equally distributed the hot items. So, have the limits of two items per customer. OK… helps prevent plebs and others from “hoarding”. But, what is really going on in supply and transport chains??? Mr. Catty did score some paper towels. And, yogurt, too.

            1. Billy

              “the awful reality is that she can be at risk from people stealing food.” People routinely eat in the store, or walk out with items and are not even challenged by clerks in progressive parts of California.

              “California law defines petty theft as the theft of any property with a value of $950 or less. Most petty thefts are charged as misdemeanors. Petty theft is a misdemeanor if the theft is a result of the shoplifting offense and the offender has no prior criminal record, or if the value of the stolen property is $950 or less. A misdemeanor conviction for petty theft in California carries a sentence of up to six months in county jail, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. (Cal. Pen. Code, § 490.) However, if the property has a value of $50 or less, the prosecutor can charge the offense as an infraction, so long as the offender has had no other theft-related conviction.”

              San Francisco’s new D.A. has stated he will not prosecute these and other “quality of life” crimes. Merchants are screwed.

  22. dcblogger

    we need a general strike. I have never before endorsed such a tactic, only because I did not think that it could be pulled off. but in the present situation it is the only thing that will penetrate our elite. The teachers of West Virginia showed the way.

    1. John

      General strikes won’t happen until the magic $1200 dollars runs out. Along with any unemployment. By this time next year there may be strikes as the next thing up in January after the election will be major, major cuts to all Federal benefits. This bill was passed only to save the corporations.

        1. Tvc15

          Yes, the crumbs for the peasants won’t last long. This is obviously the sequel to 2008’s brazen wealth transfer to the ruling class. The theft is in plain site, yet the propaganda keeps most of the working class pacified. They really are working for us! /s

          1. Monty

            The only detail my wife had heard about the bailout, was that The Democrats wanted to add 2 “diversity members” to any bailed out company’s board. They would be responsible for enforcing .gov mandated Diversity Quotas going forward. Not sure where she picked that up, but i imagine there is a serious amount of disinformation and propaganda surrounding this event.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Unless you are set up for direct deposit, the problem will hit sooner than realized.

        The leaders in the Senate are taking off for a month.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Well, dcblogger, you swiped the words right off of my keyboard. Methinks that Friday, May 1, 2020 will be a very interesting day.

  23. Samuel Conner

    > As any fan of the Bearded One knows, quantity can change quality.

    I believe in BO’s own words, it was “quantity has a quality all of its own”

    To paraphrase Napoleon, ‘God is on the side of the bigger public health system’

  24. tegnost

    Re Back to work. Today is the first mandatory suggested (?) stay home day in washington. My cali boss has been here for about one contagion cycle (11 days). Yesterday, upset that I planned to honor the suggestion, he said “My factory in L.A. is running, we just have to keep them 6′ apart.” Hmm I thought. He then went in to do phone work, it’s all calls now, and I then recalled to myself how when he arrived cali had shut him down, but he said then, he wasn’t worried, his lawyers told the state they wouldn’t comply so the state (I’m guessing they don’t want to impose martial law) admitted they could not stop him from continuing but gave some conditions (I do wonder about this 6′ thing) they should follow if they insist on going forth. Paging Dr. rick santelli. I’m thinking the decision, made privately, of course, in the Great Halls of our (whose?) land was get it into the herd and let god sort them out. Later in the day a gulfstream, fancy, with the retractable wings, came over the house on approach and I yelled out “Plague Ship!”, but I don’t think anyone heard me. And yeah boss has a dry rasping cough he tries to suppress. I try to keep my distance and carry three pairs of gloves everywhere, one for work, one for the store, and one for the boat. Try to stay safe folks. The ones who caused it are working from home while us plebes develop immunity or die. Fun times. I usuallly get along good with the boss but this is causing some strain…but I’m going to work today, sorry Gov…

    1. sd

      Announced this week (Ill have to look for the announcement) Non essential businesses in Los Angeles that remain open will have water and power cut off to shut them down.

    2. amfortas the hippie

      re:”one hand for the boat”

      i walk with a stick (cut push broom handle with a “rubber”)
      so my stick hand is for me( the inevitable itch upon entering public space), the other for the world(door handles,etc)

  25. Skip

    Re: How blood from coronavirus survivors might save lives

    I think I contracted an early version of the virus when I was in China in October, including in the countryside not far from Wuhan. Quite ill for a month with respiratory issues before I finally kicked it, though a dry cough lasted for months.

    Now I’d like to see if I carry the antibodies so I can offer my plasma/blood to be used for treatment, but calling around it seems there are currently no options in DC to get tested with the goal of donating plasma for treatment of those suffering from the virus. I know limited test availability gives priorities to health workers and patients. But if this plasma theory pans out, I hope tests designated for that come about shortly. One would think DC would be in the vanguard for such an approach, but apparently not.

    If anyone knows an avenue local to the DC area for tests related to plasma donations, suggestions are welcome.

    One piece of good news – I’ve regularly donated blood to Children’s National for a couple decades, and just checking in, was told they’re getting loads of blood donations, booked now for over a week ahead. So that’s a bright spot for the kids that I hope continues.

    1. Phacops

      Several companies have filed with the CDRH (the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health) for ELISA tests. You would need that test for Immunoglobulin G titer.

      I have not heard that the FDA is expediting review.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Since we live in a society where everything has a price, what should a recovered CV person get paid for their antibody-laden blood or plasma? I used to donate blood regularly, several gallons over the years. I learn retrospectively how much the Red Cross “earned” on my donations. Kind of sours the impulse to generosity.

      I don’t count the mandatory Vampire Moments while I was in the Army, where some fresh young second lieutenant becomes the “blood officer” whose promotion depended on getting blood from every standing GI. Did not cavil at losing a pint every couple of weeks so fellow GIs might have a chance at surviving injuries incurred in wars of choice that enrich the Few…

      1. newcatty

        Ooo, “blood officer”. Grok that you felt no problem with your losing blood for fellow GIs. The Vampire Squid image takes on a new rendition.

  26. David

    Giorgio Agamben’s article first appeared (in Italian) a month or so ago, but even then readers might have been surprised to read that

    “One of the most inhuman consequences of the panic that they are attempting to spread in Italy, on the occasion of the so-called coronavirus epidemic, is the idea of contagion itself, which is what grounds the exceptional emergency measures that have been adopted by the government.”

    As the article makes clear Agamben (a well-known writer and philosopher) is arguing that the health threat doesn’t really exist and the Italian government is trying to frighten people by claiming that individuals are spreading the virus and so need to be confined. Well, how about that.
    Le Monde had an interview with Agamben a few days ago, and they put it to him that his assessment had been, shall we say, wrong. Agamben attempted to change the subject, brushing aside the criticism by saying he wasn’t an expert and was just repeating the common wisdom. Except of course it wasn’t the common wisdom. What’s going on here?
    It’s an example of the tunnel vision we are seeing in the case of this epidemic. Agamben is known as the author of two (excellent) books, one (State of Exception) about emergency legislation and the advance of government control, and the other (Homo Sacer) about the identification and punishment of outlaws. So, perhaps invited to give his ideas about the crisis, and not being an expert, he falls back on what he knows, essentially pushing ideas from his two books. This is becoming typical of the way that the pandemic is being approached, rather like the Indian story of the wise men and the elephant.
    It’s the same as the Jacobin article on Macron. In fact, Macron has not had a particularly good crisis – he’s come in for a lot of criticism for sending the French off to vote in the local elections ten days ago. But more importantly, the world is changing so quickly and so radically, that these sorts of considerations won’t matter much soon. It’s not that Macron is about to become a nice man or have a tearful conversion from neoliberalism. it’s more that the situation is rapidly changing in a way that will render these sorts of arguments academic. But again, if your Jacobin, with someone who writes about French politics from a certain perspective, then that’s what you’re going to write about, whatever the situation.

    1. WJ

      Agamben’s response to the crisis is overdetermined by his political theory, specifically by his Hobbesian-Schmittian account of the fundamental importance of the “state of exception” in organized political life. The virus is an excuse for the Italian state to exercise extralegal control over the bodies of its citizens. This is exactly what you’d expect Agamben to say, and imo it is one of many reasons to discount the usefulness of his political theory.

      1. JTMcPhee

        That’s not to say it isn’t true that “the state” is happy to have this excuse to double down on extralegal control over the mopes. Shock Doctrine and disaster capitalism are real things. read the PATRIOT Act and related legislation lately?

          1. JTMcPhee

            “I try to be cynical, but I can’t keep up.” I think that was Lily Tomlin.

            Anyone else remember “Laugh-In,” long before Jimmy Dore? Ernestine the Telephone Operator calls General Motors,”, and a wonderful bunch of other “Tell it like it is” skits… “Milhous” of course is Richard Nixon, for you youngsters out there…

        1. rl

          And this is more or less what Agamben (at least in his own Italian) has said. The content and tone of his three (quite brief) published comments on the epidemic do not read like an allegation, based on his theoretical perspective, that “It’s a hoax!” so much as a reiteration of that theoretical perspective in context (correct or incorrect, a scholar’s tunnel vision or no). Namely that the Italian state, and ~the State~ writ large, is unlikely to ever relinquish the emergency powers it has accrued to itself at every turn of this contagion. His claim is instead that *if* the Italian state can be expected to end the legal emergency once the practical emergency is somehow resolved, it should also be expected to do so only after incorporating the contents of the “emergency powers” into the normal laws.

          But this isn’t an unprecedented forecast, and given the (only somewhat labored) analogy to the “potential terrorist,” he is almost certainly recalling how the French government prolonged its state of emergency post-Charlie Hebdo etc. for years, and by the time it was lifted, it turned out that permissions and rights allowed to the government only under martial law had in the meantime been legislatively incorporated into the normal law, meaning *these* powers would remain with the government in perpetuity. Fancy that.

          Essentially: the man just said that the emergency state won’t go away when the emergency situation does, but will take measures to persist “covertly.” And indeed few if any of the powers that be are making the ritual promises to lay down emergency powers ~when order is restored~. In my own (USian) state, the legislature voted not to vote on whether the emergency powers given to our governor would be set an expiration date. They did not vote against an expiration date; they voted against voting on an expiration date. Agamben’s perspective seems rather more on the ball in that light.

          Then: Spooky quotes on “covertly” because the emperor has taken up lifestyle nudism, and the other thought that (according to Agamben) informs these comments is that Agamben believes most of the public does not particularly mind oiling the emperor’s naked body, so long as his ugliness suffices to protect them from fear, wrath, danger, necessity. Agamben believes that this is a terrible bargain, because the ultimate effect is or will be that “the neighbor is abolished.” But the allegation that actually follows is not quite conspiratorial tunnel vision. When Agamben allegedly downplayed the severity of the virus, he was not citing “common knowledge” but the then-current advisory by the Italian National Research Council. And for the rest, he does not even go so far as to accuse of opportunism the leaders who precipitate the state of emergency, as is regularly done here at NC; more like irresponsibility born of foolishness.** “That which concerns me is not so much or not only the present, but the thereafter (Quello che preoccupa è non tanto o non solo il presente, ma il dopo).”

          There is a tone of genuine surprise in these comments. Frankly, they seem to me far less the blind evangelism of an academic possessed by his own theory than an intelligent old man’s expression of sincere unease at seeing a problem he had examined intellectually actually come to life in a way, to a degree, and with a suddenness that he didn’t quite expect to witness in his lifetime. Now I’m *not* an intelligent old man, but I can sympathize.

          **Which is consistent for him; for Agamben, ~the state~ does not really even serve the interests of its supposed leaders and they are at least as prone to playing its ideological dupes as any of us proles; this is one reason why he compares the state to a gigantic machine revolving around a void. If he makes a mistake, it may be in attributing *too little* personal agency to the cogs in that machinery.

    2. Clive

      An important observation. In any event, immediately it is written or commented upon, it almost inevitably moves — because the reality is transcribed into commentary — into a myth or myths.

      Already, we’re drowning in myth. The myth of prevention. The myth of what government could have done, should have done. The myth of understanding and how unknown events are understandable — as applied, here, to COVID-19

      And so, as you say, the myth factories which already exist can really do nothing else but create or amplify and then distribute the myths which they are — like they sausage making machines they emulate — already configured to produce. The Daily Telegraph with its itchy itch, that it is trying to hold off scratching for the moment but eventually it will get the better of it, that government intervention and unprecedented support for the economy and, oh, the awfulness, the workers must be rolled back as soon as possible — if not before. The Guardian with it’s all Boris Johnson’s fault. The BBC with its nation coming together (if I hear the word “community” mentioned one more time, I’ll throw a rock at the screen) tropes — variations of a myth which it’s been running, off and on, since WWII.

      With our media, it’s like we’re trapped in an endless Enid Blyton storybook. Maybe it’s the Famous Five. All the players are friendly and familiar but the author (or authors, here) won’t ever let them develop as realistic, evolving characters. The BBC is like Julian, responsible, reliable but staid and traditional — useless when you need someone who can understand radicalism, which he is incapable of, even if it’s just slapped him in the face. CNN is like Dick, he wants to be stolid and part of the constellation of worthies, but is too prone to fits of giggles at the wrong thing at the wrong time. George is like the Guardian, too obsessed with gender identity issues to have to go to the trouble of finding out where the secret door is located. Anne is the Daily Telegraph, frightened of unfamiliar confined ideological spaces but, of course it keeps finding itself locked in an unfamiliar confined ideological space and ends up crying. Boris Johnson is Timmy the dog.

      All inhabit in an unperturbed perpetual state of high Summer and days at the seaside. It never evolves, all challenges are overcome in the same way they’ve always been overcome. Mainly because all the new challenges are really just variants on previously-encountered challenges.

      So as you suggest, expecting, say, Jacobin to come up with something subversive — or any of the other mainstream media actors for that matter — is like expecting Enid Blyton to have written in a plot twist involving Uncle Quentin running a crack house.

      1. David

        I love the use of the Famous Five, though I think Timmy the dog would resent being compared to Boris Johnson: Timmy, as I dimly recall, was a sympathetic and public-spirited animal.
        More seriously (and responding to a couple of the comments above) the point is not that these things have happened in the past, which they obviously have, but that, even if there are evil intentioned people who would like to use the current crisis to make further inroads into liberties, that’s not the real issue. The real issue is a paradigm shift which will mean that any such plans, even if anyone tries to implement them, will be lost in the noise of massively greater changes. But if you’ve spent the last twenty years writing angry articles about civil rights, then that’s all you’ve got to talk about, even f it’s only a tiny shard of the present problem.

        1. Clive

          Yes, sorry Timmy. What I alluded to was a slur on your good canine character. If Johnson was a dog, it’d be the sort who’d pee on your rug. Then again, if Macron was a dog, it’d be the sort who’d pee on your rug, but he’d pretend he hadn’t then chastise you for spilling your champagne.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Al Gore’s dad once quipped the classic backhanded compliment about a rival: “he has all the qualities of a dog…except loyalty”

    3. Ignacio

      This. Examples of the same are everywhere. Tunnel vision. How to escape from this? Difficult should I say.

    1. fresno dan

      March 26, 2020 at 9:12 am
      Not only are they not (yet) seeing atypical rates of fever, they’re waaaaaay below where Kinsa’s historical data would project them to be in a normal year. What’s happening here, one would think, is that the social distancing being practiced by locals is sharply reducing the total number of seasonal infections caused by all “influenza-like illnesses.”
      At some point, the infection and mortality rates are going to be known. We live in a highly polarized society now – imagine if covid-19 turns out to be a little less or about the same as influenza mortality. Indeed, even if it is twice as bad, I can imagine the recriminations and partisan ship will be much, much worse.

    1. Jules Dickson

      Hah! I could’t check if Lambert was being particularly playful today, so I fixed the link to the original American Conservative story. Thanks!

    1. WJ

      Boeing execs eating avocado toast and buying smart phones and color TVs when they should have been putting their money in CDs or investing in a fuel efficient car for their side-earning Uber gig.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Damn corporations should get up off the sofa and go get a job! And all those trillions that they are demanding – “How are they going to pay for that?”

    2. notabanktoadie

      Why should Boeing save when its (up to now, that is) so-called “credit worthiness” enables it to legally net steal from the lessor and non so-called “credit-worthy?”

      I recall when Yves said that issuing new shares in equity was an expensive form of finance. Apparently, so is saving when compared to legally stealing purchasing power/investment opportunity.

  27. Tom Stone

    I was thinking about Biden’s treatment of Women over the decades and his inability to distinguish between his Wife and his Sister…perhaps the family he was raised in wasn’t entirely healthy?

  28. Katniss Everdeen

    stephanie ruhle of msnbs, commenting in her most dire voice on the “soaring” jobless claim numbers announced this morning, said the dow was “spooked” by the numbers. The graphic at the time showed the dow opening UP 500 points. (She later “apologzed.”)

    Workers? We don’t need no stinkin’ workers.

  29. xkeyscored

    High street fashion chain Next is offering staff a 20% boost to their pay if they turn up to stores on Wednesday, despite government warnings to stay home.

    The retailer is asking workers to travel to shuttered sites and pick clothes for online orders “to keep the company operating”, according to a letter seen by the PA news agency.

    But worried staff have questioned whether picking clothes is an “essential” job at the same time the government has called for all non-essential workers to temporarily avoid unnecessary travel.
    Perhaps Next will argue that clothes can be cut up to make PPE instead of being binned as usual?

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Yes, Blame China for the Virus”

    People will be glad to hear that the House, while taking a break from shoving trillions of dollars to Corporate America, took time to take in a resolution that will condemn China for it’s handling of the Corona virus-

    Between Trump insisting on naming it the China virus and Pompeo trying unsuccessfully get the G-7 to label it the Wuhan Virus, the US-China confrontations will not end any time soon.

    1. WJ

      The virus must on the one hand not have significant enough social economic effects to ruin Trump’s re-election chances and on the other hand must have significant enough social economic effects to warrant our righteous denunciation of China for “causing” it.

      So are we now supposed to be at war with Eastasia and not Eurasia? Or have we always been at war with Eastasia?

      1. MLTPB

        Many in China are very curious if this was in Italy early last year.

        This alternate origin theory from an Italian doctor (per Quartz) or professor (SCMP).

        First step, I think is to remove Spanish from Spanish flu, and generalize that to eliminate referencing nations completely.

        Otherwise, this could possibly change to Italy Flu.

        1. Billy

          Ignore the 50,000 Chinese sweatshop workers in the clothing producing part of Italy, some of whom flew home for Lunar New Year and returned to their more lucrative Italian jobs?
          Call them “Chintalianos”

          ‘As if we were the disease’: coronavirus brings prejudice for Italy’s Chinese workers
          Xenophobia and job losses prompt textile industry staff in Tuscany to consider returning to China”

    2. John A

      Yes, the opening para could have been written by Pompeo or Bolton calling for regime change in China NOW!

    3. John

      I see the US side confronting China with sophomoric playground insults. I read SCMP and Global Times. I do not see similar confrontational statements. This confrontation, Cold War 2.0 looks one sided.

      1. WJ

        As Sun Tzu–or is it Machiavelli– notes: When stealing from the people to benefit your patrons, it is wise to channel their frustrations toward a foreign enemy.

        1. Shonde

          Sun Tzu was so right but you don’t need an actual war just a war over who should be given “free” money.

          Lots of fighting in comments in my local newspaper are people arguing over who should actually be benefiting from the lousy one time $1200 in the corporate looting bill for “we the people”.

          Maybe that’s due to people not understanding the methods of the corporate Trillions being looted for bailout.

          Anybody know anything about massive derivative exposure for our beloved banks due to the fall in oil price? Is the real reason for this bill the possibility that our financial system was once again on the brink of failure ala 2008?

          1. HotFlash

            Jay Gould is supposed to have remarked that he could pay half the population the kill the other half. Doh, he could have gotten them to do it with a few twitter and FB bots!

    4. Ignacio

      I missed this comment and added something on this later. The House is running wild with resolutions.

    5. amfortas the hippie

      again, the pandemic part of all this is squarely on the plates of those who fly in and out of china all the time
      aside from chinese tourists, who is that?
      it ain’t the min wage gramma at the beer store, and it ain’t the undocumented field hand
      it ain’t any of the usual targets of elite disdain
      i haven’t even hardly driven by an airport in the last 20 years

      1. periol

        it’s the exact same people fleeing the cities with their Range Rovers loaded to the gills buying out the foo and tp in the rural markets and hunkering down in their vacation homes. after spreading the virus in town.

        1. Shonde

          People in a rural northern part of Minnesota who live there full time are trying to tell more affluent folks coming up there to their second homes on a lake that there is only one ICU bed in the local hospital and the nearest larger city with more capacity is 100 miles away.

        2. lordkoos

          That phenomenon is certainly happening in upper Kittitas county here in WA state where many wealthy Seattlites have built large vacation homes.

          In the small mountain town of Cle Elum someone alerted a bunch of their friends in North Bend (a Seattle satellite community about 50 miles away) that the supermarket in Cle Elum was plentifully stocked. So the next day a caravan of 20+ cars drove over the pass and cleaned out the store. The locals are so pissed off, people have started asking shoppers for ID to see if they actually live in the area or not. Strange times.

    6. xkeyscored

      Is it too early for us all, including most USians, to congratulate the USA on its magnificent and outstandingly effective response to this pandemic?

      1. MLTPB

        For anyone, any country or territory.

        That’s what they are saying in Hong Kong, as they battle their Third Wave (2nd, to me, but they count community spread as their second wave, I believe).

        They are currently imposing again earlier measures, after having relaxed them just very recently.

        We say the same about China, Singapore, us, etc.

  31. Carla

    From Zach Carter in Huffpost:

    “Final text of the bill has not been released, but according to a legislative draft, the new law would establish a $4.5 trillion corporate bailout fund overseen by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, with few substantive constraints. Some outlets are reporting this as a $500 billion fund, but $425 billion of that can be leveraged 10 times over by the Federal Reserve, resulting in a multi-trillion-dollar program.”

    Now that the final text HAS been released, can anyone find this stuff in it? I tried to look, but I just couldn’t figure it out.

    1. Dirk77

      Stoller has a similar take, but again not the final draft. This bill should not be passed until everyone in the country has looked at it in detail, and probably not even then.

  32. Wukchumni

    The French government has called on employees who are on temporary lay-offs to make themselves available to help farmers with seasonal harvests. But such ‘agricultural patriotism’ does not go well with the tightening of containment measures

    We need to go back to the future in the Central Valley, and on the double!

    The dominant crop in the 19th and early 20th century was wheat (The Octopus by Frank Norris is all about farmers battles with the railroad) and no reason it couldn’t be grown again here, but there’s a slight problem, Houston.

    Most of the good acreage around these parts on the fruited plain has gone nuts with a harvest date in September, there are literally vast seas of almond & pistachio trees that dominate, as that’s where the money was @ $3 a pound soon to be exported to Asia, versus growing summer fruit which ripens in June-July, and apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches eat al only garnered maybe 50 Cents a pound to growers, and you had to be Johnny on the spot in picking it and distributing the goods, as they went bad on you pretty quick, no wonder everybody preferred nuts, much easier to deal with and worth so much more.

    A good many young trees were planted in a rush during the drought in 2015-16, and these orchards need to be ripped out asap, as there are plenty of mature 20 year old orchards to provide food, the ground tilled and ready for wheat planting.

    This is not to say that a lot of summer fruit isn’t grown here, and we need to bolster our canning/bottling capabilities to use every last piece of fruit on the trees, no waste. None of this ‘size matters’ bs we used to gauge fruit by.

    Here, both Navel & Valencia oranges are grown extensively-lemons as well-but not as much, one orange is a winter fruit and the other is a summer variety.

    Vast orchards all over the CV are rarely fenced as its costly to do so, and would’ve made it much more difficult for the Mexican-American workers to get around driving small Ag vehicles doing their thing, and who steals from an orchard anyway, there’s often as many as 50 oranges underneath a good sized tree, and you drive by a week later and maybe it’s up to 55 now.

    This would be a really good time for gringos to learn the skill-set those Mexican-Americans know like the back of their hand, and as far as i’m concerned-they have an affinity with soil, i’m amazed at their work. They’ll start dropping like flies in due course, and we need many willing to step in and take their place.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, Wuk. I can easily see the Coronavirus Pandemic lasting not only all this year but all of next as well. Would agricultural interests in your region be able to re-orientate themselves to the new reality this quickly or would they just hunker down and wait for things to go back to ‘normal’?

      Before I forget – I was thinking about your AirBnB problem. Maybe you should introduce your AirBnB neighbours to some local customs where you live. How about Wal-Purge-is Night?

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend was a bigwig @ J.G. Boswell (please read The King Of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of A Secret American Empire by Arax & Wartzman to get an idea of how huge this company’s Ag holdings are not only in California, but also extensively in Australia) and i’ve pitched him on the idea of diversifying and re-orienteering crops, and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.

        They’ve grown a couple of different varieties of cotton for nearly a century, as that’s what brought J.G. Boswell here in the first place from the south, where he was chased out by the boll weevil. No reason to grow cotton now, make it all wheat instead.

    2. Ignacio

      Yep. Agriculture in San Joaquin Valley is mostly a Mexican-American thing, but market contempt for the agricultural activity, which is valued accordingly (very low in labour and production income) extends well beyond California. I make a parallel between ag distr. companies and bandits as in “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) exploiting the peasants. I saw this film yesterday and its strength comes from the respect this movie distils for the peasantry.

      1. HotFlash

        John Sturges’ Hollywood knock-off of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. If you get a change, do see the original.

        1. Ignacio

          O yes I have seen it a few times but by coincidence TM7 was yesterday on TV so I had it fresh.

        2. rowlf

          I always thought Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai would have been a lot shorter film if someone had remembered that samurai were supposed to be pretty good with a bow and arrow.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Japan coronavirus task force may set stage for state of emergency”

    Now that the Olympics have been cancelled, que the Japanese announcement that they have a Coronavirus pandemic problem in 3, 2, 1…

  34. Brooklin Bridge

    Doctors scramble for best practices on reusing medical masks during shortage

    A practicle question: Can one not simply store them for 72 hours at 70 degrees F? Supposedly the virus can’t remain potent for longer than that at 70 degrees F.

    It was again pointed out in the article (on the subject of home use) that the masks are not as good for protecting the wearer as they are for protecting others FROM the wearer.

    I don’t understand this always being used to imply or suggest wearing an n95 mask is somehow less worthwhile*. Isn’t it John Kennedy that said, “Ask not what your N95 can do for YOU; ask rather what wearing it can do for your country.”?

    *Assuming of course that they were available in abundance and not in greater need by medical personnel. (It would be nice to have a button that would just stick that in).

    1. xkeyscored

      72 hours at 70 degrees F probably helps, and sounds like a good idea for masks used at home by hopefully uninfected people. 100F would be better, but perhaps not feasible for all.

      “The new coronavirus has also been found to persist for days on surfaces. Last week, a team led by Vincent Munster at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana published research suggesting the virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.

      But other research suggests that SARS and MERS, which are similar coronaviruses, can persist on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to nine days*. And on Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control published a report suggesting traces of the new coronavirus could be present on surfaces for even longer – RNA from the virus was detected on surfaces in the cabins of people who had vacated the Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days earlier, including those passengers who hadn’t shown symptoms. [RNA may not mean ‘live’ virus.]

      This doesn’t necessarily mean these virus particles could still infect other people, says Lednicky. On the one hand, virus particles coughed or sneezed out may be covered in a protective layer of mucus that helps them survive. But plenty of other factors also come into play. Ultraviolet light can destroy the ability of some viruses to reinfect people, for example. And heat and humidity can also inactivate viruses.”

      *IIRR, the SARS and MERS research into this was done at 21-23C, or around 70F.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Is this the study that, at 70 degrees F., the virus can last 3 hours in the air, 72 hours on hard surfaces such as stainless steel and plastic, 4 hours on copper and brass, 12 hours on paper?

        Agree that the idea might be better for personal use, but this is just opinion and NOT meant as a recommendation.

        My idea was that since medical personnel are having to use masks over again and that is inherently unsafe, if letting them simply sit for certain periods wouldn’t be safer, while getting close to or equal levels of sterilization, than disinfecting techniques that might damage the internal structure over repeated iterations. Unfortunately, the process would come up against the issue of volume vs. time required to sterilize, and that alone might obviate the whole idea. I suspect they have considered it and rejected for what ever reason or it might have been mentioned in the article.

        1. xkeyscored

          For once, I feel lucky to face 100F with strong UV most days. I make plentiful use of the sunshine.

    2. ewmayer

      “Can one not simply store them for 72 hours at 70 degrees F?” — ITYM 70C, as 70F is room temperature.

  35. exdeadguy

    I’m curious about a provision in the bill that seems to allow for small businesses to receive money to pay employees for 4 months. If I am reading SEC. 1102. 7(a) LOAN PROGRAM and SEC. 1105. LOAN FORGIVENESS correctly. (

    Looks like a business can get a loan from the SBA for the total of payroll, rent, mortgage and loan servicing for the previous four months. Receive forebearance during the next four months (so not have to pay), then receive forgiveness for money spent on payroll costs and salary.

    Some hoops to jump through, but does anyone know if this is correct? Basically a grant to small businesses for employees under $100k and maxing out at $1MM?

    1. jo6pac

      I find it sad that corp. Amerika get money for nothing and small companies have to get a loan. WTF

      1. exdeadguy

        Agreed. Although the way it is worded the SBA loan seems to be a grant by another name since they are forgiving the loans.

        Much more restrictions than what they gifted to the corporate behemoths however! 4 months of payroll only, and gotta fill out all those forms or you’re paying it back, limited to $1,000,000 and single employee to $33,333.

      2. newcatty

        Jo6pac…Dire Straits is their fave band. They got it: Money for Nothing and the slaves for free. Catchy tune; but always hated the lyrics ( yes, true, but another example of disdain and contempt for “chicks”).

    2. Oregoncharles

      FWIW, here is the explanation of the bill from Sen. Jeff Merkley’s constituent e-mail. I dropped the glad-handing at the beginning, but kept the end:
      ” First, the bill provides $349 billion in fully forgivable loans to small businesses, the self-employed, independent contractors, and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees. These loans, to be available through banks or directly from the Small Business Administration, will be guaranteed by the government so borrowers are not required to put up their own money in this uncertain time. Provided small businesses use the funds for personnel expenses, rent or mortgage, or utilities and continue paying their employees, the SBA will fully forgive the loan.

      For people who have lost their jobs or seen their incomes fall, the bill increases unemployment insurance benefits by $600 per week, enough to replace the average worker’s full paycheck. It also temporarily extends unemployment insurance for the first time to gig workers, people who are self-employed, and part-time workers, and also extends unemployment insurance benefits by an additional 13 weeks. In addition, most working and middle-class Americans will receive emergency checks of $1200 per adult and $500 per child.

      This legislation will also make $150 billion available to state, local, and tribal governments to maintain health, education, and other services in the face of collapsing tax revenue. It provides over $30 billion for local school systems and colleges and universities to continue to educate students, and affordable housing and homeless assistance programs will be granted $7 billion to help the hardest hit Americans keep roofs over their heads. The bill also recognizes that the health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other essential workers who work hard to keep us safe are juggling their own family responsibilities — and provides states with $3.5 billion to provide these Americans with child care assistance.

      And critically, the bill provides $150 billion to help hospitals and health care providers meet the surge in coronavirus cases as they work to keep Americans healthy. It also includes my bill with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to support and train nurses, who are at the forefront of our health care system always, and especially in this pandemic.

      As we continue to battle this public health crisis, we can’t forget that any choice between our lives and our livelihoods is a false choice, because we can’t have one without the other. I’m going to keep fighting for an aggressive approach that will protect our health, our jobs, and our businesses, and provide the health care workers at the frontlines of this crisis with the tools they need to fight this pandemic.

      In the coming days I will do my best to keep all Oregonians informed as these efforts to respond to the crisis begin to be implemented. Please visit for more details and regular updates.

      In the meantime, please keep washing your hands and staying home as much as you can. Together, we can flatten this curve and save lives.

      All my best,

      I was struck by ” we can’t forget that any choice between our lives and our livelihoods is a false choice, because we can’t have one without the other,” because I just finished writing a comment to that effect.

      Incidentally, “Jeff” does the populist aw-shucks, down home boy routine, in person, better than any other politician I’ve ever seen in action, even DeFazio.

  36. a different chris

    So the thumb-sucking among the billionaires and the like continue.

    It is always amazing to me that they take it as a given that The Economy is a Law Of Nature. “More people will die if…(blah, blah)…. see I’ve plugged it into this equation”.

    No it (family blogging) isn’t a law of nature. Can we supply enough food for a year? Can we keep homes heated (or cooled in the Deep South) for a year? WTF does this “economy”, presented like TINA, have to do with it? It’s a tool that somebody made. A hammer is great when you have a nail. If you need to turn a screw, you need a screwdriver.

    Make one.

    1. amfortas the hippie

      related in spirit: “class is defined by men as they live their own history…”-ep thompson

      just started it today and had to stop and watch trees and birds for a while upon reaching that line
      read my local paper earlier and there’s a lot of solidarnosc afoot in mason, texas….which doesn’t surprise me.
      but it will be fascinating to watch what sociological effect all this has going forward
      feels like a pretty big wrench in bau
      i hope we’re up to the task

    2. Oregoncharles

      That’s a good point. The real economy is very distinct from the financial and ownership arrangements imposed on it.

  37. Ignacio

    RE: Yes, Blame China for the Virus Foreign Policy

    IMO, much to dislike in this article. It is true that China is to be blamed on the appareance of the disease but not exactly the leadership. The Original Blame goes to bad traditional practices on traditional Chinese medicine and/or traditional wild animal markets as the origin can be traced to Yunnan bats having SARS CoV strains able to bind human ACE2. The article states erroneously that this virus could have been controlled if Chinese authorities had reacted earlier ignoring all epidemiological facts knowns so far: easy contagion and mild cases as reservoirs. Once this started human-to-human-spread it was almost certainly impossible to stop but only to put a break on its spread. Chinese response was quite sharp and fast (in fact faster that current responses in Western countries) but even so they reacted too late. Then we can shift blame to the leadership for opaque management and too controlled info and lack of cooperation though when there is lack of cooperation all parts have to be blamed. Did any Western country offer sincere support to China? I doubt it.

    1. MLTPB

      ‘Sharp and fast…even so…too late.’

      As Carolinian writes above, maybe it has been around longer than last Nov.

      Based on what most say today, it is not that old, and if instead of Jan 23, or so. the Wuhan lockdown had been a week or so sooner, the first Italian patient would not have made it back to Italy.

      In that case, I tend towards the too late side.

      1. MLTPB

        I should add, the last I read, a few weeks back, the first Italian case was thought to have returned from China around mid Jan.,

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Excellent points! There is blame to go around, but indeed, China has aquitted itself quite well considering. Italy alone has just about caught up to it with an even higher death rate, and by tomorrow I expect the US to surpass it.

      I find it hard not to be angry particularly at the US, epicenter of corruption and soon of COVID-19, much less so at China however, though I do think the leadership could have done more regarding sanitation and animal practices at markets as the country became more integrated with the rest of the world. But their subsequent handling of this epidemic was pretty amazing even if some aspects might have chaffed with American and European temperament. So far, it’s worked.

  38. The S

    Yeesh, that Foriegn Policy story on China was such a sick sinophobic joke that I thought Matt Stoller wrote it.

  39. rowlf

    Concerning the Russia story by the Wilson Center:

    Largely owing to the enduring legacy of an output-driven Soviet system that prioritized quantity over quality,…

    Is it quantity over quality or Russia not having artificial market influences restricting the number of doctors and hospitals? Does the US medical system actually achieve any quality benefits for patients over the Russian system?

    1. Olga

      Yes, that sounded like yet another “never miss an opportunity to bash USSR” comment. Or a way to divert attention from the terrible situation in the US. Either way, pathetic.

  40. Ignacio

    I have a comment in support to the moderation here at NC: GOOD JOB!!!

    In Yesterday links a comment appeared with one of these “conspiranoid” theories of Covid-19 lab origin. I replied to it barely being able to contain my angriness about the disingenuous comment. My comment did not appeared because the former comment had already been deleted. Excellent! It is time when millions of people are suffering the disease in any of its forms and thousands are dying daily and many millions are enclosed at home plus some more just suffering anonymously in the streets. Shortages of all kinds are coming. No stupid noises wanted! No imbecile reactionary attitude needed! Help is needed, not stupidity. I already know of a few that have passed away because Covid-19 and it is an insult to their memories to watch all these stupid noises.

    1. zagonostra

      Careful Ignacio, those “stupid noises” can be clarion calls to exercise new radical thinking about events. I defer to the NC moderators to call the shots on what to post and what not to post

      Just keep in mind that for many many millions of folks, their wold view is shaped/formed by the likes of Alex Jones, Drudge, Limbaugh, etc…it’s worth listening to what they are listening to just to know what you are up against. I make a point to listen to watch Trump’s rallies and see for myself how he gins up the crowd, I listen to Info Wars as I also read the NYT, WaPo and most importantly, center my views based on NC’s content and comments.

      1. Yves Smith

        I appreciate that point of view generally but agontology is not on and that “virus got loose” meme has been roundly debunked.

        Keep in mind we do sometimes run “hold your nose” links for the reason you expressed. And I have to say some of the less “out there” news sources are pretty rancid. I happened to be stuck last night when Tucker Carlson came on. There was no sign of the “WTF a voice of sanity on Fox” to be seen. He had Ben Carlson telling us everything was gonna be fine with the coronavirus, that lots of people were getting immunity and drug treatments for it were just around the corner. He attacked the MSM generally once for criticizing Trump for touting chloroquinine and blaming him for deaths from taking similar compounds. He fiercely criticized the Dems for being “out of step with the mood of the country” for opposing the stimulus bill and trying to slip in provisions about board diversity (and that I agree was asking to be lampooned). He also reported that Cuomo was supposedly all happy with the (nowhere near enough) ventilators that the Feds were getting to NY.

        Oh, and he had a clip of the head of the WHO praising China’s response to coronavirus and went after it. I could readily see “Wait,. South Korea has had the best response” or “Do we believe China’s numbers?” But instead he and a guest went on about China being communist and having no freedoms and we Americans don’t want that.

        But his bit was priceless: he showed a segment of a clip from a Walgrens with two black men cleaning out a shelf and dumping the contents into large tote bags and walking out, with a person in a mask standing by. He attributed the lack of police enforcement to left wing policies and then immediately criticized some states letting prison inmates go while also shutting down gun stores so “law abiding citizens” could not longer defend themselves. The message was clear: black criminal hordes are coming to your ‘hood.

        1. zagonostra

          I read Gramsci in my college days (Prison Notebooks) and I am well acquainted with his theory of Cultural Hegemony as well as Plato’s “divided line,” but not agontology. This is a new word for me and my spell checker, thank you…

          Also some of those “hold your nose” links on and on the origins of COVID-19 are fairly well documented and sourced based on my very limited (actually non-existing) knowledge of epidemiology.

    2. human

      Some of us understand that we have to just weather this storm because of our actual helplessness. All virus news and commentary all the time will get us nowhere within this choir.

      There are several coincidences that have transpired: Lackluster economy, rising populism, oil price wars, imminent failure of a national icon (Boeing), Presidential primary with obvous shenanigans: that I look forward to discussion regarding how all these interplay.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      Do you have any good links that clearly outlines the science behind the origins of the virus in a simple to understand manner? A lot of sincere friends of mine, especially Chinese ones, are spreading stories (which I have no doubt are being deliberately encouraged by Beijing) promoting the ‘theory’ that the virus has its origin in the US or Canada. I simply don’t have the time or the skills to devote to systematically showing why these don’t fit current knowledge.

      1. Ignacio

        2019_nCoV/SARS‐CoV‐2: rapid classification of betacoronaviruses and identification of Traditional Chinese Medicine as potential origin of zoonotic coronaviruses

        Evolutionary history, potential intermediate animal host, and cross‐species analyses of SARS‐CoV‐2

        Evolutionary history, potential intermediate animal host, and cross‐species analyses of SARS‐CoV‐2

        A bit of context on Chinese Bat Sarbecovirus, well before SARS CoV 2 and after SARS CoV 1 (Wonky):
        Geographical structure of bat SARS-related coronaviruses This is from 2019 and it notes that in Yunnan (and only in Yunnan) Bats with SARS CoV with potential ability to bind human ACE2 had been identified.

        And then this paper might be misused as an origin of lab virus:
        A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.
        Baric et al made a recombinant coronavirus using an infectious clone (I can explain more on this if someone wishes) adapted for mouse infection to demonstrate that recombinants with bat-origin receptor binding proteins could infect cells with human ACE2. The abstract from this paper published in 2016 is prescient and ends with this phrase: Together, the work highlights a continued risk of SARS-CoV reemergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.

        1. Ignacio

          Let me expand on “infectious clones”: Many labs around the world working with viruses use “infectious clones” as a tool. Specifically for viruses whose genome is made or RNA, an infectious clone is a plasmid (a circular DNA) that can be easily replicated in growing bacteria and isolated. These have a DNA sequence that represent complete genomes of RNA viruses inserted in the plasmid in a way that allows for “in vitro” transcription. Using isolated DNA you set a reaction in Eppendorf tubes where RNA copies representing exactly or almost exactly de RNA genome of a virus. You can infect cells with such RNA if you have a method for efficient inoculation of the RNA into cells.

          Because you can easily introduce changes (also “in vitro”) into this plasmids, these are powerful tools to analyse the functions of the different genes, non coding regions etc. You make a change, obtain new modified RNA genomes and assay “in vivo” how this behaves. For instance, in the paper by Baric et al. they had a clone representing a mouse-adapted coronavirus, and made a recombinant S gene (the one encoding the protein that binds the cellular receptor, so key for host range) that had the relevant part from bat CoVs. This was a new “recombinant virus” (The Monsteeer). They first infected a line of cells to produce true recombinant viral particles with this recombinant genome inside and these were tested for infection in human respiratory cells (in vitro cultures) with ACE2 receptors and showed that some recombinant virus were infectious there demonstrating that Bat coronavirus S-proteins had the potential for infecting humans through ACE2 binding.

          If one wants to demonstrate that some virus is the product of technologies like this it has to do so on the basis of “lab prints” that these recombinants have. No one has so far demonstrated that SARS CoV 2 could come from any of the pre-existing known infectious clones. (imagine this that mostly represents a CoV adapted to mouse cells). If this fails, they have to resort to the “theory” that some lab made it hiding the results because ya knaaaaw, biooologicaaaal weaaaapooons. This is stupidity based on ignorance. It would be extremely difficult, apart from idiotic, to do it and lab-made viruses tend to be bland bugs that have difficulties to survive in the wild, not to mention compete with wild type bugs that come from natural selection and not an overheated malign brain planning the pandemics of the century.

          1. zagonostra

            Ignacio – Your analysis above is beyond my layman capacity to understand. If you tell me that articles like the ones linked below are bunk based on your expertise in the subject, that would be valuable because I’m getting more and more links with articles like this and I don’t have the requisite knowledge to do the the debunking.

            Yes, it could be a natural infection jumping species from bats to humans with a probable intermediate host, under conditions of human encroachment into world habitats. It is actually most likely to have been that, except for the strain differences being observed. That leads one to believe if it is in fact true, and I have no reason to doubt the Chinese on this, that it originated outside of China and it seems likely to have originated in the US. If, in fact, the US has 5 strains currently and China only one then it must have been percolating in the US for some time before it arose in China. Likely, deaths in the US were attributed to other diseases such as influenza and only retrospective sampling will determine this. It would be interesting to do a combination GPS-Molecular biology tracking of strains over time and distance. Also, a definite genetic analysis of strains over time would also be beneficial and can be done easily on every isolated strain. This would have value in attributing the course of the disease over time as part of a natural history study of the virus. We would need access to all samples of every lung disease related death for the past 12 months to be certain to track all potential deaths. NBACC is the key to figuring out what nefarious stuff was being funded.


            1. xkeyscored

              except for the strain differences being observed.
              I think it goes off the rails at this point (haven’t read the full article, only your quote). What are they getting at? I’d suggest looking at this (good, easy to take in, interactive graphics – hover on a branch for data to pop up). It may not be 100% accurate in the details, as they admit, but I don’t see anything suspicious, and everything from the mainstream scientific community I’ve read indicates it emerged from some animal once and once only.

              “This phylogeny shows an initial emergence in Wuhan, China, in Nov-Dec 2019 followed by sustained human-to-human transmission leading to sampled infections. Although the genetic relationships among sampled viruses are quite clear, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding estimates of transmission dates and in reconstruction of geographic spread. Please be aware that specific inferred transmission patterns are only a hypothesis.”

            2. Ignacio

              The paragraph you pasted is good example of blah blah-ing without showing proof of anything.

              it is likely to have been that except for the strain difference being observed
              What difference between which strains? Blah blah without pointing anything specific.

              in fact, the US has 5 strains currently and China only one then it must have been percolating in the US for some time before it arose in China

              Bullshit! Bullshit! As if strains “percolate” from labs. More molecular biology labs in the US than in China doing work on MB of virus is proof of nothing but that there are more advanced labs in the US.

              GPS-Molecular biology tracking
              This made me laugh.

              1. Ignacio

                Lot’s of labs in the world have “infectious clones” of a large variety of virus and many were made long time ago. It is quite straightforward for a lot of virus and it has been for a long time now the most powerful tool to study the molecular biology of these. Only quite difficult for virus species that in order to be infectious require something more complicated than simply synthesising in vitro full-length genomes. Not the case of Coronavirus. So yes, there are lots of infectious clones around the world, so what? Are they percolating as intended or unintended biological weapons? No, nature is several orders of magnitude more efficient than labs generating year after year new varieties of virus with new pathogenic properties but we don’t notice most of the times.

                1. Ignacio

                  A single cave in Yunnan where bats spend the day has many, many, many more, let’s call them, “infectious clones” of SARS-CoV-like virus than all laboratories in the world together. A single bat in that cave probably has many more variants in its intestines than all laboratories in the world, with the advantage that these varieties are “tough bugs” that survive in the real world, “know” how to enter cells protected with barriers, survive immune responses, and are enough stable to “jump” to other individuals, and in a few cases, to jump species. There is little chance that a lab creature can survive this.

      2. xkeyscored

        I don’t know of one, and I doubt it would work anyway. There are epidemiological and phylogenetic studies that point to an origin in Wuhan in November or December, but the science isn’t simple or even certain, and they could easily continue believing it was manufactured in wherever and released or escaped or whatever. There’s even a paper from a couple of years ago, I think, about an experimental virus that turned out to be more infectious than they’d thought, which is being bandied about by conspiracy theorists who apparently haven’t read to the end, or have but don’t believe it, but I’d expect any ‘science’ approach to be met with ‘science’ rebuttals, just going round in circles.
        If they think it was deliberately introduced to China from the US or Canada, maybe ask them why these nations might want to do so, when they have no vaccines, treatments or much of anything themselves. And if it had natural origins in the West, then so what?
        Good luck. It reminds me of climate change deniers/supporters.

      3. xkeyscored

        And if they think it originated naturally in North America before it got to Wuhan, you could ask them where the medical whistleblowers are. Someone in some clinic or university will surely have been looking at old cases of pneumonia and so on, sometimes with samples they’ll have had another look at. That phylogenetic tree thing‘s pretty confident about the genetic relationships too.

    4. xkeyscored

      I had exactly the same experience a while back, and I too was glad to see my reply vanish along with the comment it referred to. Thank you, NC moderators, for keeping this site sane and relevant.

  41. antidlc

    Series of tweets by Wendell Potter on health insurers’ profits.

    As a former health insurance exec, I don’t think any story better illustrates my old industry’s racket than the one I’m about to tell you: Right now, as we enter the worst public health crisis of our lifetimes (#COVID19), health insurers are still raking in record profits.

    1. xkeyscored

      Two or three weeks ago, I started seeing ads follow me round the internet for cheap hotels and cruises. A week or so ago they morphed into ads for health insurance.

  42. antidlc

    Can somebody help me out here, pls?
    Tarrant County judge changed course on stay-at-home order in one day. Here’s why.

    Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley had a telephone conference call on Sunday with hospital executives.

    He said he asked them: “Are we ready to basically say stay home?”

    The answer that day, he said, was no.

    That’s why Whitley said he wasn’t ready to issue such an order, even as nearby Dallas County officials were, with the goal of slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

    That was Sunday. On MONDAY MORNING “Whitley said hospital officials had changed their minds.” They said, “we’ve got to do this”, and then a stay-at-home order was issued.

    Any guesses as to what really happened here?

    1. Ignacio

      The typical reaction: this is a clinical thing, let’s ask hospital executives. But these have no f&c%ing idea on epidemiology and as a result: BAD ADVICE. They react when they see herds reaching the hospital and that means late.

      1. antidlc

        I was wondering why in the *&^$ did they ask “hospital executives”?

        So did they see a surge in cases overnight?

        I did find this link for confirmed cases by city in Tarrant County. I don’t see any history, though, that showed number of cases on Sunday vs. number of cases on Monday.

    2. Daryl

      On a broader scale:

      Every executive is scared to order lockdown because of ~* the economy *~. Thus it keeps getting pushed backwards and downward (in Texas, it’s still being done at the county/city level and therefore will be entirely ineffective) until 1) things are so bad they can no longer be ignored or 2) they find some way to deflect responsibility.

    1. notabanktoadie

      Reminds me I should put some contact info in my wallet for my own demise or Rapture. And write a will and send it to next of kin. And keep the apt cool to hinder the smell. And organized my stuff for easy disposal or reuse.

      Dying is such a bother if you do it right…

        1. Oregoncharles

          In all seriousness, I’ve been gradually briefing my son on some of the stuff around here – partly as a by-product of some of his projects, which involve dragging the stuff out of storage. Now any disposal plans are on hold till the epidemic blows over.

          My parents put a lot of effort into preparing their estate for our and my siblings’ benefit, which in fact paid dividends after their deaths. I thought, and told them, that this was both brave and generous. A lot of people avoid thinking about their own demise. One factor was that my father, a retired investment manager, treated the estate as a hobby.

          One person’s mess is another’s treasure. I got to help my mother clear out her mother’s house, which was large and a treasure trove. Despite the sad overtones, it was rather thrilling; and much the same in going through Mother’s own place, after her death. Makes you appreciate your ancestors.

  43. Judith

    In the spirit of the crow antidote, and for a little break:

    Crows and their relatives — among them ravens, magpies and jays — are renowned for their intelligence and for their ability to flourish in human-dominated landscapes.

    That ability may have to do with cross-species social skills. In the Seattle area, where rapid suburban growth has attracted a thriving crow population, researchers have found that the birds can recognize individual human faces.

    John Marzluff, a wildlife biologist at the University of Washington, has studied crows and ravens for more than 20 years and has long wondered if the birds could identify individual researchers. Previously trapped birds seemed more wary of particular scientists, and often were harder to catch. “I thought, ‘Well, it’s an annoyance, but it’s not really hampering our work,’ ” Marzluff said. “But then I thought we should test it directly.”

  44. ObjectiveFunction

    From the Nation piece on Covid origins:

    This process of transforming animal microbes into human pathogens is accelerated today, but it is not new. It began with the Neolithic revolution, when we first cleared wildlife habitat to make way for crops and yoked wild animals into servitude. The “deadly gifts” we received from our “animal friends,” as Jared Diamond put it…

    I too remain highly skeptical about CTs re CV being human engineered. But I also wonder why it took some 100 years — from 2018 to now for a virus once again to spread so far so fast. This is hardly the dawn of globalization.

    Understanding that there are many many moving parts here, I’ve been a little in Diamond mode myself. A thumbnail follows for those interested (feel free to quibble and correct, I claim no authority at all here):

    1. Since the invention of agriculture, only a tiny proportion of humanity ever went more than c25 miles (2 days walk) from their place of birth.
    The minority who did: hunters, herders, vagabonds, traders, soldiers and sailors, and their camp followers and animals, are thus the main vectors for spreading disease beyond the localities whence it arose.

    2. Long distance Eurasia caravan trade has existed since at least 2000 BC, with shorter distance trade since the last Ice Age. Seaborne trade exists for a similar period. There is also constant migrations of steppe, boreal and desert peoples (and herds), both shaking up and homogenizing gene (host and immunity) pools.

    3. From 600 to 1500, Islam and the Turco-Mongol invasions greatly enlarged the volume of interaction across the Eurasian axis. Islam also upscaled travel into Subsaharan Africa and the SE Asian archipelago.

    4. Around 1500, Western and northern Europe took bulk shipping and colonization fully global, to the mortal sorrow of peoples not previously exposed to the Eurasian stew. Besides resettling substantial gene pools in environments they weren’t evolved for, whitey also brought warband culture and affordable substance abuse (drinking, smoking, bad diets). Smallpox, VD and insect-borne fevers could now go global too.

    5. Unprecedented concentrations of wealth fed, and were fed by, technology development and diffusion. Nation states and large enterprises led to large mill and trading cities. These nurtured waterborne bugs such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery etc., which also went global in the traders’ guts.

    6. Nationalist-capitalist pursuit of Groaf led to overland infrastructure (canals and roads). This extended the global shipborne web into rural hinterlands, where the bulk of humanity still lived. Villages got more visitors: traders, priests, officials. So bugs had more paths in and out.

    7. This went parabolic in the 1700s. It became economic to sail thousands of migrants across oceans to settle open frontiers, and work plantations and factories (in overcrowded, unhealthy and malnourished conditions). In the 19th century, we add railroads and steamships, driving costs of mass transport right through the floor. Typhoid, TB and influenza, come on down!

    8. Starting in 1930 aircraft displaced rail as the fastest way for elite traders and others to take germs comfortably from one air conditioned end of the planet to the other.

    9. And since about 1980, budget air travel enables millions of sedentary people of all genetic heritages, often elderly, smokers and eating awful diets, to gather in large crowds in cruise ship buffets and worldwide tourist traps. There they share poorly recirculated air and are ministered to by underpaid migrants coming from places that don’t use toilet paper. Quite a tasty stew we’ve cooked up here now, from the viewpoint of the microbes….

    So it’s actually quite amazing it took this long.

    One further observation: The rugged and humid borderlands of southern China/Laos/VN seem tied with the Great Lakes region of central Africa as the origination point of countless viruses, from falciparum malaria to bird flu to SARS and now Covid19. Consumption of bushmeat and primitive conditions of animal handling may be one common vector here, but I strongly doubt that’s the only factor at play.

    1. notabanktoadie

      So it’s actually quite amazing it took this long.

      Reminds of the highly renowned scientist who studied the Minuteman missile system and concluded that only Providence had prevented an accidental (and non-abortable) nuclear attack on the Soviet Union from power line fluctuations.

    2. xkeyscored

      So far as I understand it, apart from point 4, those are mainly factors influencing how fast a pandemic can spread, not factors making one more likely.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Noted, but isn’t the very definition of ‘pandemic’ about the rate of spread? If a bug kills anyone who gets it in 48 hours, it tends to go extinct in the locality where it arises as nobody survives long enough to transmit it.

    3. HotFlash

      The “deadly gifts” we received from our “animal friends,” as Jared Diamond put it…

      Mercy! And they didn’t get any ‘deadly gifts’ from us? Go ask your bacon.

  45. David

    The latest hotspot in France for the coronavirus is the famous 93rd Department, Seine St Denis, just north of Paris. It’s the poorest Department in France, and has a very high concentration of immigrants, many illegal, many not speaking French. Medical resources at the the three hospitals are now overwhelmed, in part because it’s impossible for the Police to enforce social distancing rules without starting a riot. This was highly predictable (indeed I predicted it a week ago) but nonetheless very bad news. Separately, a charity which looks after the Rom in France has warned that, of the 19,000 estimated Rom in the country, 80% live in encampments with no running water, many just outside, or even inside, major cities.

  46. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Wuhan doctors plan long-term look at coronavirus impact on male sex hormone” —
    This link includes a link to the associated research paper, which is open-access.
    “Except for the respiratory symptoms such as cough, fever and even acute respiratory failure, evidences of SARS-CoV-2 attack to multiple organs such as digestive, cardiovascular, urinary systems have been reported. Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is considered as the receptor for binding and entry into host cells by SARS-CoV-2. Theoretically, any cells expressing ACE2 may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to the online database The Human Protein Atlas portal, testes shows the highest expression level of ACE2 protein and mRNA in the body.”
    This study has not been peer-reviewed and the sample sizes are small. I believe the results and supporting rationale of this study might be regarded as cautionary. [This article appears to use SARS-CoV-2 interchangeably with COVID-19(?)] I am a poor layman mystified by the flutter of jargon — but it would seem that a virus with ACE2 as a receptor, and I recall from comments from the last several days that ACE2 is expressed by many types of cells in the human body, and “Theoretically, any cells expressing ACE2 may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.” and “evidence[s] of SARS-CoV-2 attack to multiple organs such as digestive, cardiovascular, urinary systems have been reported” … taken together these observations at least suggest the impacts of COVID-19 may not end once its spread comes to an end.

  47. Barbara

    My poor old eyes had to take the dystopian image into photoshop to see the joke. So a run-down hotel to draw in the old with pleasingly figured angels of death? At a senior discount, ha ha. I do hate the word senior.

    Memories of Edward G. Robinson: “They’re eating people. Soylent Green is people.”

    Hell, no, we won’t go.

  48. Dirk77

    Re: “Stop the $6 Trillion Coronavirus Corporate Coup!“ Can someone please work with Matt Stoller to tighten up his piece? Again, I’d like to forward it, but it’s too rambling at the start. He should begin with paragraph 10, “Here’s how you can tell…” and even edit that. Last time I ended up going with James Galbraith’s article. Hopefully, he has done a follow up.

  49. Tomonthebeach

    Nobody is likely to read this, but I find it shameful that economists are not telling America what the fallout will be if we do not return soon to producing stuff. All we hear are wild-ass guesses from physicians who admit to having no useful data. People have no way to estimate the cost/benefit ratio of risking their lives to stay home vs to work.

    Soon we will run out of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. People will start dying not only from Corona but from curable diseases and injuries. After 3 months of living on unemployment checks, what percentage of Americans will start to suffer foreclosures and repossessions? Is the risk of staying shut down till May day worth the downstream cost (relative to mortality) or will we all wind up broadcasting Mayday pleas when there will be nobody able to respond?

    1. Carolinian

      I suspect that at the end of the day this is not going to be up to the politicians but rather to the public. As time passes the fate of the people they know as well as the famous who have the disease and are constantly reported about will shape their perception of the danger and therefore the need for extreme caution, They will also undoubtedly have acquaintances who have had the disease and can give a first had account of what it is like.

      And I also suspect that period will be shorter rather than longer–particularly if it turns out that those under 40 are not in much of a threat. In SC 9 people have so far died–all of then elderly and often with underlying conditions.With or without more scientific investigation a true picture of what the epidemic is about will emerge.

  50. pricklyone

    I haven’t heard anyone comment on this, but heard Pence on the radio yesterday…
    Why DOES Apple have 9 million masks in a warehouse?

    >>>”Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook had promised the iPhone maker would donate 9 million medical masks to combat the dire medical equipment shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    “At this moment in time Apple went to their store houses and is donating 9 million N95 masks to healthcare facilities all across the country and to the national stockpile,” Pence said at a press conference.

    The announcement came as reports poured in across the country of nurses and medical personnel pleading for more personal protective equipment, including masks, as they struggle to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.” <<<<<

    I heard it on NPR in the car, and found the quote on DailyBeast.

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