Links 3/28/2020

Scientists Find Bacteria That Eats Plastic EcoWatch (David L)

The 5 techniques of science denial Cranky Uncle (Bob H)

Scientists find a way to extract color from black PhysOrg


Coronavirus fears spark prison unrest worldwide New York Magazine (resilc)

‘Help us’: After deaths on coronavirus-hit ship, guests clamor to leave Reuters (furzy)


Florence Nightingale: a pioneer of hand washing and hygiene for health The Conversation (J-LS)

Immunization with SARS Coronavirus Vaccines Leads to Pulmonary Immunopathology on Challenge with the SARS Virus PLOS One (dougie). Hoo boy….

Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure Asia Times (J-LS, Chuck L)

Asymptomatic Carriers Are Fueling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Here’s Why You Don’t Have to Feel Sick to Spread the Disease Discover (David L). Note the “mild cases” is still a hypothesis…and we are how many weeks into this diseases?

Duke University uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide to clean N95 face masks for reuse TechCrunch (David L)

Cat contracts coronavirus FROM sick owner in new case of human-to-animal transition RT (Kevin W)


China Shuts Down All Cinemas, Again Hollywood Reporter


India’s sudden lockdown threatens food supply chains Financial Times. You heard it here first! Jerri posted on this issue yesterday. See also: Farmers warn over food supply with harvest workers shut out

As coronavirus cases spike, India begins preparations for Stage 3 LiveMint (J-LS)

Amidst a Lockdown, Why Must Cops Wield the Lathi With Such Impunity and Callousness? The Wire (J-LS)


Covid-19: Why the EU is haunted by the euro crisis divisions Tony Connelly, RTE. PlutoniumKun: “Very important article on the arguments within the EU over a fiscal response to the virus.”

Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive BBC


Brazil Undone London Review of Books. Gah.


US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 The Hill

The New York Times Releases Its Dataset of US Confirmed Coronavirus Cases New York Times

Millions of Americans are about to lose their health insurance in a pandemic Guardian (resilc)

Teen Who Died of Covid-19 Was Denied Treatment Because He Didn’t Have Health Insurance Gizmodo (martha r)

House panel warns coronavirus could destroy Postal Service by June Politico. Important.

Rhode Island cracks down on visitors from New York Houston Chronicle (BC). I doubt the effectiveness of asking, but license plates speak volumes. Confirmed in a later sighting by martha r: Rhode Island Police to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge Bloomberg

Elicker slams Yale for lack of cooperation Yale Daily News (Johan L). Wow, this manages to make Harvard look less bad.

Bailout Bill

Read the $2 Trillion Economic Stimulus Bill (Kevin C)

The COVID-19 stimulus bill: Here are the ugly details Fast Company (martha r)

The CARES Act’s aid to state and local governments isn’t enough to shield vital public services from the coronavirus shock Economic Policy Institute

The Newsonomics of the Mnuchin money and the bailout’s impact on America’s press Nieman Journalism Lab (TF)

Ocasio-Cortez blasts coronavirus stimulus package as ‘shameful’ on House floor The Hill

Shortages/Supply Chain

Cuomo pushes back on Trump over ventilators: ‘I operate on facts’ The Hill. I noted in comments that on 3/25, I had the misfortune of seeing a full Tucker Carlson show, which really put to rest the notion that he is some sort of friend of the left save intermittently., It was full race-baiting, Commie bashing, praise of gunz, and a two minute hate against Harvard. Note I have said Harvard deserves to be bashed big time for its conduct in this crisis, making all sorts of people pay (in this case contract cafeteria workers who were dumped with no warning and no stipend), but the way Carlson lathered on the venom was…instructive. In any event, this show gave prominent play to Trump’s self-praise to getting a few ventilators to NY, with Trump declaring Cuomo to be “happy” and to attacking the press for pointing out that Trump’s PR for chloroquinine as a possible remedy had led to deaths via attempted self-medication. Trump in typical Trump fashion doubled down Thursday night.

‘We’re supposed to be a first-world country’: Doctor leaks video from packed ward of New York hospital amid coronavirus surge Independent (Kevin W)

Trump: Let Them Breathe Cake American Conservative

Demand for online ordering leaves grocery stores scrambling, customers waiting Washington Post (J-LS)

Truckers Wary of New York Deliveries Create Headache for Grocers MSN

Political Responses

Coronavirus: Trump delays call with China’s President Xi for 90 minutes to phone Fox News instead Independent (Kevin W)

Coronavirus Is A Defining Test And American Government Is Failing It HuffPost (UserFriendly)

The Novel Coronavirus has a Well-Known Left-Wing Bias Juan Cole (furzy)

Pentagon will order some former service members to active duty to assist in coronavirus response Washington Post

Trump says he told Pence not to call governors who aren’t ‘appreciative’ of White House coronavirus efforts CNBC (Kevin W)

Will Trump’s Fumbling of Covid-19 Lead to His Exit in Weeks? Ian Welsh (furzy). The problem is the lack of a mechanism by which Trump exits. Unless he dies, he’s not at all the type who would resign gracefully, plus Pence is just as culpable.

‘Holy Crap This Is Insane’: Citing Coronavirus Pandemic, EPA Indefinitely Suspends Environmental Rules Common Dreams (furzy)

SEC Gives Investors Another Thing To Wonder And Worry About DealBreaker (J-LS)


Red April: What happens on the first of the month when residents, restaurants, and retail stores don’t pay rent? Slate (Dan K)

a href=”″ rel=”nofollow”>These People Are Evil’: Drivers Speak Out Against Uber’s New Coronavirus Sick Leave Fund OneZero

The Helicopters Are Coming Willem Buiter, Project Syndicate (David L). For those of you who found NC during that other crisis, Buiter was one of our favorite commentators.

For the Class of 2020, a Job-Eating Virus Recalls the Great Recession New York Times (resilc)


Trump admin’s $15 million bounty on Maduro triggers explosive confession of violent Guaidó plot Grayzone Project (Chuck L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Farewell To Sanctions American Conservative (resilc)

Trump Transition

How Popular Is Donald Trump? FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment. ProPublica


How Corporate Media ‘Factchecked’ Biden’s Calls for Social Security Cuts Into Oblivion FAIR (UserFriendly)

Joe Biden’s Embarrassing Media Tour Failure Path Forward (dougie)

Insiders tell how Sanders lost the black vote–and the nomination slipped away Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits Earthjustice (martha r)

N.S. judge agrees with Mi’kmaq band, requires further talks on Alton Gas project CTV News. Martha r: “From earlier, still germane. a good week for indigenous fossil fuel action.”

Guillotine Watch

‘My Friends Can’t Get Their Nails Done,’ Fox News Host Laments While Acknowledging ‘People Are Dying’ From COVID-19 Rolling Stone (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Pat H:

Here is a pic of my Maine Coon Cat located about an hour West of Lambert in Sebec Maine. It was one of her first days outside of the house after a pretty cold spring. Still lots of snow up here. Plenty of social isolation here if you want it!

And a bonus video (Chuck L):

And another:

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  1. notabanker

    I was wondering if that United Airlines story would make the links here.

    Literally hours after they get the bailout passed, the CEO is saying it’s not enough and workers will go as soon as the October deadline is passed.
    This is all going to end very badly.

    1. Portlander

      The lobbying for the next bailout, circa October 2020, begins now!!

      Notice this is just before the November election. The pressure to disgorge even more largess will be immense!

      1. Billy

        We got an email from them. Here’s part of their hypocritical screed:
        “…I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.”

        “This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.”
        Like cancellation fees, luggage overage, no drinks, no food, no leg room, broken guitars?
        When do we get to fly for free as taxpayers?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Never. That’s when we get to fly for free as taxpayers. Never. Ever.

          About United’s layoff-action, is there a way for disturbed individuals to get diffuse revenge in a diffuse manner if we get back to a normal with some air travel in it?

          Ideally, after the return to normalcy, zero people would fly a United Plane ever. Ever. So many extermicott-United flyers would defect to other airlines that those other airlines would be able to hire all of United’s ex-workers to handle all of United’s ex-bussiness.

          Can there be such a thing as “diffuse distributed solidarity”?

          1. Skip Intro

            Start the boycott now, so they have time to reconsider, and pour encourager les autres..

        2. MLTPB

          Ideas are openly debated here.

          One is this: still flying = total failure. I can understand a little.

          I think there is too much flying, mass tourism.

          Personally, i would avoid it whenever I can, free or not.

      2. Tom Doak

        It must be that. Otherwise why would they announce layoffs for six months from now, immediately after getting the bailout confirmed? They certainly know what bad press that is, and it’s not like it’s going to get “overlooked” this weekend.

  2. Wukchumni

    You can sense that food scarcity will rock the world to its core, especially so in these United States where 3 squares a day were a given to so many of us.

    I’d mentioned the need to go back to the future in the Central Valley by planting the 19th century staple crop grown here @ the time-wheat.

    A friend is a retired bigwig in Big Ag, and I asked him about the prospect, and his mind was still operating under the old aegis of profits uber all, but he gets it.

    “it’s too unprofitable. However all the infrastructure is still in place, with the exception of the Harvesters. All it would take is a bump in price. We could oversupply the state and probably the nation in one or two years.”

    1. aleric

      My guess is you could do the same by taking a tenth of the land devoted to corn and beans in the Midwest destined for animal feed and redirect it to food crops.

      1. divadab

        Well corn and beans ARE food crops for humans also – just take the animal out of the equation!

        1. xkeyscored

          Not until they’ve built the infrastructure to turn the corn into ethanol to burn to power the processes that convert the beans into artificial meat!

        2. David B Harrison

          The corn and beans(soybeans) raised are not for human consumption unless they are processed.Edible corn and soybeans just need to be cooked.

        3. Anon

          The corn being grown for CAFO’s is not the same corn that one eats on July 4th. While soy beans are processed into a wide range of human edible products, it’s also processed into animal feed.

        4. The Rev Kev

          They could quit growing food crops that are turned into fuel for cars. Fuel is getting cheaper and you can’t travel anyway so why a demand for ethanol now? So who needs it?

          1. pricklyone

            I don’t suppose anyone is growing sweet corn for ethanol production, ???
            My understanding is that the same corn you see grown by the hundreds of acres in the midwest, for animal feed, is the ethanol source.
            Am I wrong?
            The corn I saw harvested for delivery to ethanol plant in MN looked like field corn (feed corn).
            It’s stlll a silly idea, and not “green”, just another farm subsidy. And current admin is pushing that hard! DT must be really conflicted.

        5. groover

          it’s all GMO saturated with glyphosate grown in soil where there are no other organisms: it’s dead. Help yourselves. I say rip it out and let the prairie come back.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        What about letting the prairies come back and sustainable wild maize, squash, turkey, potatoes and buffalo? Deer as a royal meal.

        1. Shonde

          Check out Chronic Wasting Disease and deer will no longer be considered a royal meat. And if I understood epidemiologist Michael Osterholm correctly, mutations in CWD could potentially lead to human infection.

          We really aren’t that different from China since too many hunters eat the meat without proper testing being done first.

                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  But, somehow, one cannot accuse the punster of being an instagator.


                  Dear moderator: In-stag-ator. Stag is a male deer.

          1. BlakeFelix

            IMO we should wipe out chronic wasting disease, at some point, after all this nonsense dies down…

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If people thought of it as mad deer disease, they would see the danger it poses.

    2. divadab

      The other advantage of wheat is it does not need nearly as much irrigation as other, more profitable crops like tomatoes and Almonds, which are both exceptionally water-hungry. The 19th and early 20th century wheat crops in the Central Valley were “dry-land” farmed i.e. not irrigated.

        1. Wukchumni

          I have a feeling that those that’ll come out of this worst, are those individuals who have so pigeon holed themselves into only eating certain foods and nothing else.

          1. MLTPB

            In Theravada Thailand, monks eat what they receive in their alms bowls…no discrimination…meat or no meat.

            Interestingly, a 2018 NY Times article was headlined this way about Thailand, ‘Obesity in Our Monks is a Ticking Time Bomb.’

    3. PlutoniumKun

      One huge problem I think its the loss of farming skills. I’ve plenty of farmers in my family and I’ve witnessed the way my fathers generation, who knew how to grow potatoes and apples and cabbages and raise some pigs in addition to dairy and beef for money, have passed on to their sons who know one thing – how to follow instructions sent to them from commercial dairies in how to boost milk outputs. And most know their way around a spreadsheet. That really is it. I know more about how to grow a cabbage than they do, quite literally (and I’ve never grown a cabbage in my life). Those farmers who show an interest in old style techniques or organic growing are seen at best as eccentric, or occasionally seen as greenie radicals who will force all farmers to wear hemp trousers and grow kale shoots and ride donkeys to market.

      If its necessary to go back to more traditional ways of farming, I think the main constraint will be farmers.

      1. xkeyscored

        We do still have Youtube, Zoom, and so on. Those eccentric greenie radicals might get quite an active following in coming months if they want to pass on a little wisdom, though of course the seasons won’t wait for people to realise what may be coming.

      2. Shonde

        Lots of that old fashioned growing knowledge here in Minnesota. South eastern Minnesota where I now live had lots of hippy communes back in the days who learned from the old farmers. Frankly since moving here I have been pleasantly surprised by the mixed culture.

        1. mrsyk

          Here in northern New England as well. I would hazard an opinion here that big ag is the biggest constraint to moving back towards sustainable farming.

          1. Leroy R

            With special thanks to Monsanto maybe. Like Minnesota, you probably have plenty folks in Vermont who actually can farm, although the climate leaves a bit to be desired. And picking rocks was always one of the kids big favorites (/s) on the dairy farm in Pownal before my sister’s husband died and she sold the cows.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps there will be enough “healthy-food customers” in each major city and town to be able to support a bunch of small-scale farmers in the Near Countryside around the town. Those farmers will be supported by the customer dollar in the work of re-learning the skills to grow many multiple kinds of things.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, I picked the worst year possibly in my lifetime to have lost fat. I’ve joked that with my metabolism, I’d survive an apocalypse, but not with insufficient body fat at the outset.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Don’t be hard on yourself! I’ve read a few reports hypothesising that obesity could be a very high risk factor, so it may well have been worthwhile.

          1. Jason Boxman

            Thanks! That’s good to know. I was actually at what is considered, at least in this era, a healthy weight.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                It may be useful to be fat before the famine so everyone can see you losing weight during the famine.

    4. D. Fuller

      Back in 2012, food stocks in the United States were at two weeks. USDA provides a report (or did) detailing how many days or weeks that the US has in food supply.

      It is also interesting to note, that according to the USDA, farmers recieve half of the money of the sale price back than they did in the 1970’s, producing food. Back then, farms received around $0.40 back of the sale price. That is about half now. This is also from the USDA.

      Never mind that farm bankruptcies related to the trade war since 2017 reached or exceeded those of the 1980’s. However, one can expect that Big Ag, flush with bailout cash from farm aid, was able to purchase those farms on the cheap. Further consolidation.

    5. Kurt Sperry

      My family had a large and famous flour mill in Stockton using wheat grown in the CV without any irrigation. There is a ton of money to be made in California’s CV, even without irrigated agriculture. That company, Sperry Flour, also pioneered loaning the farmers the money and material necessary to farm in exchange for a right to buy their crops under pre-arranged conditions. It worked out well for most involved, wheat takes a lot of land but little else and can be extremely profitable to grow, mill, and market.

  3. Steve H.


    I’m not finding the video with sound enhanced, but the President wasn’t happy when Pompeo invoked “live exercise.” The VP didn’t bat an eyelash.

    My concern is the recollection that Cheney was the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces on 9/11. Pompeo and Pence are (imo) both Dominionists and that makes me very nervous. Does anyone have more specifics about what “live exercise” means?

    1. xkeyscored

      If you ask me the guy’s an evil idiotic menace, but in this case I think he just means “This is not a drill.” Of course more sinister conspiratorial meanings can be read into it, much as this comment could be used as evidence I’m a fan of his.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There have been rumours floating about that Pompeo is trying to persuade Trump that this is the perfect time to attack Iran. Now i don’t think even Pompeo is that stupid, but I do wonder whether they’ve been wargaming some sort of scenarios behind the scene and this was a bit of a slip-up.

      1. edmondo

        Half this country is about to suffer from coronavirus effects and they think “now” is a good time to attack another country? Are they really that stupid?

        1. Steve H.

          They may be Dominionists. Different value set. Lawrence Wilkerson has spoken to this in the past.

        2. rd

          A subset are – similar subset as the group that thought invading Iraq in 2003 was a good idea.

        3. pretzelattack

          yes, or that demented, or that fanatical. however you want to describe it. warmongers.

    3. Jonhoops

      Live exercise usually means that some govt. or military simulated event like a large war game is taken live. The exercise is the cover for the real thing, if they flip the switch “take it live” then the exercise becomes real.

      This is usually how coups are run because you can hide large troop movements under the cover of an exercise. Same goes for invasions, which is why the N Koreans are always nervous when the US has its annual war games on their borders.

      In the covid-19 context it makes suspect things like Event 201 held in October which simulated this very scenario.

      1. Steve H.

        In this case, all troop movements have been shut down:

        > Pentagon orders halt to all overseas movement for US forces for up to 60 days over COVID-19 Task and Purpose


      2. xkeyscored

        It might be hard to persuade US troops or their proxies to invade Iran at the moment, at least with the necessary enthusiasm. Iranians could simply leave masks, clothes, used tissues and so on lying around everywhere, and they’ll wish they were back in their own countries, where at least sanctions aren’t impeding the response to COVID-19. Let alone if the items, or those kids they’re selflessly saving from theocracy, actually are infected. Have they practiced kicking down doors and waterboarding in full protective gear?

        1. rd

          Who needs IEDs when all they have to do is have C-19 positive people mingle with the troops? What infantry would want to enter a village or city?

          1. aletheia33

            infectious diseases have always been a huge problem for armies, going back into premodern times.

            more troops died that way than in battle, i don’t remember whether it was WWI or WWII, or both, and/or other wars.

            plus, of course, long marches in crappy boots.

            1. Leroy R

              And of course the American Civil War during the 1860s, when city boys met country boys in close quarters and found out who was and who was not immune to what was being shared in the camps.
              Estimates suggest two-thirds of the 620,000 who died in the Civil War died of disease.

            2. LifelongLib

              My understanding is that WW1 was the FIRST war in which more soldiers died from combat than from disease. Don’t know though if disease prevention was really that much better than before or if the huge number of combat deaths from artillery, machine guns etc just swamped the disease numbers. The U.S. was only in the war for a year and a half and IIRC U.S. military non-combat deaths exceeded combat ones.

  4. fresno dan

    So, in an effort to keep abreast of how covid-19 was affecting the adult websites, I came upon something I had never seen before – an advertisement for an apparently legitimate filter for personal use (for air pollution and viruses). I have never seen an advertisement on an adult website for anything but other adult material. I didn’t think to click on the ad because I was so surprised to see such an ad. Unfortunately, its one of these ads that you have to click on immediately or it goes away and doesn’t reappear. As non-adult businesses won’t advertise on adult sites, I would be curious about the company.

    1. SufferinSuccotash

      Really? A few days ago I received a call advertising a home test kit for COVID19. After hanging up and then using caller ID to call back, I got a “not a working number” message.
      Grifters gotta grift.

    2. Jomo

      When you see what Trump has said and done over the past few weeks per Covid pandemic, the inescapable conclusion is that at some level he desires to kill and inflict harm on his fellow Americans. He is well informed. The actions and statements are deliberate. The USA is managing the crisis worse than any nation on the planet. What is going on here? I am not being political with this observation.

      1. New Wafer Army

        See Morris Berman’s Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline

        “Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of “hustlers” to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country’s expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise
        Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman’s trilogy on the decline of the American empire. In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase. In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy.

        In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the “why” of it all
        Probes America’s commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history
        Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country’s purpose finally did our nation in
        Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passe, socially divided, and culturally adrift. It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman’s study of American imperial decline.”

        1. workingclasshero

          I don’t see much evidence of “imperial decline”.the crisis scenarios these people claim are weakening american dominance more often in my humble opinion strengthen and extend it.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Last I checked we had bases in troops in a metric F ton of countries…

            1. curious euro

              Exactly those bases and troops in foreign countries are one of the clearest signs of decline.
              All those troops cost money to supply. They are generally a cost center, not a profit center. In most of these countries there is not enough profit to sustain the occupation.

              There are many clear signs of decline of empire, starting directly after WW2, but it is a very slow decline, or at least slower than many doomsayers claim.

      2. Synoia

        The economy, the money, is recovered more quickly by NOT flattening the curve.

        Don’t have to spend the money on medical facilities & equipment, and the money game restarts more quickly.

        By Easter.

        Trump’s fortune is tied up in the tourist trade. If leverages he stands to loose much of it.

        The Trump enterprise cash flow, Golf Courses and Casinos must be very bad at this time.

        1. MLTPB

          That’s a risky bet, I think.

          Tourists come from all over the world. If one place is not ok, they will go to other places.

          1. curious euro

            Right now, no one will go anywhere. If they would, all international airlines wouldn’t cry as much.
            2020 is dead for tourism, and 2021 depends on how and especially where the pandemic still lingers.

            For example the worst hit part of Italy is South-Tirol which is one of the most important tourist regions, the most important by far for winter tourism. It was the ground zero for infection of northern Europe: people went there to ski and party and when they went home again, they took the infection with them. All first cases in Germany except one can be traced there for example.

            No tourist will go there this year again. None. And next year is very doubtful too.

        2. Harvey

          And the poor and aged and disabled who just suck up money without producing anything you can make a profit from, will be winnowed. What’s not to like.

    3. rd

      N95 to N100 masks get used for a lot of industrial applications as well as home use for environments with dust (silicosis), asbestos etc.

      The problem with masks in viral environments is that improper handling can infect you and defeat the purpose. That is different from dust and asbestos. So you can’t re-use them safely unless there is a way to disinfect and just the action of taking it off can cause you to be infected, so the protocols are precise and require training. This is similar to hazardous waste and chemical environments work where you don’t want your skin to come in contact with whatever is on the PPE, which is different from just dust.

      1. Portlander

        Big problem with masks, as I see it: n95 is good down to 1 micron; n100 good down to 0.3 micron. Covid-19 is smaller still–0.12 micron.

        The virus is transmitted in air via aerosols, i.e. tiny droplets, 90% of which are greater than 0.3 micron. But as you breathe, the viruses trapped by the mask are apt to pass through anyway as the droplets evaporate. Virus can remain viable while residing on surfaces for several hours or longer.

        I suspect the masks do help but are no guarantee. The idea of frequent sterilization with hydrogen peroxide by health workers, e.g. several times per day, per the article linked above, might enhance the effectiveness of wearing these masks tremendously.

        Health workers on the front lines without effective PPE and testing are the real heroes of this crisis. Leaders who didn’t see to it that stockpiles would be adequate due to cost/other have put the health system in peril.

        As usual, Congressional action to remedy these now-obvious shortcomings via long overdue funding is too late for this crisis.

      2. Qrys

        The real problem with N95 masks is, since they are designed to seal onto bare skin, even one time removal and reuse will slightly weaken the cloth/paper structure and also repeatedly stretching the elastic bands weakens them. Multiple ‘cleanings’ cannot repair the structural damage to the outer ‘ring’ of the mask over repeated uses.

  5. zagonostra

    COVID – (non)Testing

    Found out that someone I know tested positive for COVID-19 that lives in Pittsburgh. He is a professional and apparently they had no problem tested him. When his room mate, a bartender tried to get tested earlier in the week, they denied her and just sent her home, even though she probably gave it to him. A third roommate has all the symptoms as well, but has no insurance to get tested and would probably be denied anyway.

    There doesn’t seem to be any systematic approach the State is taking in testing for the virus and the Healthcare providers seem to be primarily concerned that the person seeking testing has insurance.

    The number of people who are actually carrying the virus is most likely many many multiples of what is being reported. All three of these people are young, and one is now asymptomatic but Lord knows how many folks they have come into contact in the densely populated area of Pittsburgh they live in.

    Do any other NC’ers know of people who have tested positive?

    1. Stephen V.

      I’m aghast but here goes. In wmt land AR the gf of my biz partner had a coworker (single mom) come to work with symptoms. This came to light on 3/18. Said coworker was tested on that day and my biz partner and gf have been in self quarantine ever since. The kicker: 10 days out and NO test results. Biz partner went to VA and was told they are waiting for tests! AR is doing a lot of *screening* and not much testing! Rationing by any other name. Criminal.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      that lends itself to the whole Culling thing floating around out there.
      gells with the (Still Anecdotal) phenomenon of more affluent areas getting restocked in a more timely and adequate fashion.
      and the not so anecdotal phenomenon, per W. potter, of millions of people fixing to lose their healthcare because it’s tied to employment.
      add all that to the insane and shameless corporate bailout, and it starts looking like a pattern.

      this was on our “local” news last night:

      1. HotFlash

        and the not so anecdotal phenomenon, per W. potter, of millions of people fixing to lose their healthcare because it’s tied to employment.

        OK, that’s an insurance company bailout. Next?

    3. xkeyscored

      Healthcare providers seem to be primarily concerned that the person seeking testing has insurance

      Is that a new development in the USA’s ‘health’ system? Sounds like business as usual to me, though I’ve never been there.

  6. Jen

    Just spitballing here:

    Let’s say United has 135K employees, and is paying them an average of 100K each including benefits.

    100K/12 = 8,333 per month x 135K employees = 1.12B per month * 6 months = 6.7B

    So by my rough calculation, they could pay all of their employees for almost 2 years with 25B.

    Where’s the rest of the money going? Perhaps we should ask.

    Phone number for investor relations at United Airlines investor relations:



    If anyone has additional and or better contact information, please share.

      1. FreeMarketApologist

        It could be. Per their 2019 annual report: ” At December 31, 2019, the Company had approximately $14.8 billion of debt and finance lease obligations, including $1.5 billion that are due within the next 12 months. In addition, we have substantial noncancelable commitments for capital expenditures, including the acquisition of new aircraft and related spare engines. As of December 31, 2019, our current liabilities exceeded our current assets by approximately $6.7 billion. However, approximately $7.3 billion of our current liabilities are related to our advance ticket sales and frequent flyer deferred revenue, both of which largely represent revenue to be recognized for travel in the near future and not cash outlays.

        Of course, a big chunk of those advance ticket sales dropped off the liability side of the ledger this month.

        I don’t advocate any sort of bailout without taking a significant equity position (which could effectively nationalize them).

    1. ewmayer

      “Where’s the rest of the money going?” — good question. Share buybacks in order to boost the stock price and thus the executive comp, maybe?

  7. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    By coincidence a Parisienne friend sent me a link in regard to the subject of Chloroquine from Valerie Bugault’s twitter feed as covered by the Asia Times, which I then passed back to Benjamin to which he replied :

    ” I mostly agree.
    The only discrepancy I would have is the focus on Sanofi.
    1- Sanofi is funding Raoult’s institute so it would be their interest to push Chloroquine
    2- My focus is more on Gilead, they produce Remdesivir and it is a new drug, so not in the public domain as Chloroquine (which is thus very cheap). Some major critics of Raoult have ties with Gilead and Abbvie (for Kaletra also tested in Discovery).
    See this article from the Intercept about Gilead in the US : ”

    1. xkeyscored

      I doubt 1 has that much to do with it. Chloroquine is cheap and off patent, so would anyone stand to make a fortune from it?
      2 seems much more pertinent. From what I can gather, there’s some evidence that chloroquine, remdesivir and lopinavir–ritonavir (Kaletra) are or may be effective, but not much to suggest any of them are better than the others in combatting COVID-19.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I think the problem lies in the possibility that Gilead would try & replace chloroquine with Remdesiver with the aid of a government official at the usual Big Pharma mark-up, while the former drug is being held back from being used at all, despite the fact that in China & through the study linked above in can have a good effect on patients who are at an early stage of infection. I don’t know the validity of the above, but it is not as if these practices have not occurred before & perhaps at least it bears watching, if only for the inquest when all of this is hopefully over.

        Benjamin is & has been very clued up on how French hospitals have been degraded, privatisations of public infrastructure, the pension reforms & his own participation in the Gillet Jaune movement & I happen to trust his on the ground experience.

        1. David

          Have a look at this article from today’s Le Monde which seems to me to give a reasonably coherent account of the background and in particular the feuds between the various figures. As the article says, conspiracy theories of all types have been doing the rounds in France.

        1. Qrys

          JAMA Network just posted this today on that subject

          Covers azithromycin as well. Toxicity data seems robust for both dosage risks and long-term complication risks on each drug seperately. Less robust but inferred drug interactions are discussed.

  8. Louis Fyne

    the NYT is finally questioning the American/Western European, WHO-CDC narrative about wearing masks.

    (versus the East Asian practice of universal mask usage—even if the mask isn’t hospital-grade)

    Maybe (in my opinion) masks are one of the many reasons why NYC is on a pandemic lockdown while Seoul, Korea never shut down and has a semblance of normalcy

    “As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, experts have started to question official guidance about whether ordinary, healthy people should protect themselves with a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf.

    The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to state that masks don’t necessarily protect healthy individuals from getting infected as they go about their daily lives……

    “If everyone in the community wears a mask, it could decrease transmission,” Dr. Fishman said. “But unfortunately I think that we don’t have enough masks to make that effective policy in the U.S.”

    find A SEWING MACHINE and some fabric, or a scarf for family blog’s sake! :0

      1. AndrewJ

        I may be too inspired by the mythology of the London Blitz, but I simply do not understand the failure of our leaders in requesting any able-bodied persons with a sewing machine and excess bedsheets to make these.
        I’m spooling up for a goal of 300 based on the superb Taiwanese anaesthesiologist’s design. (Thank you NC!!!) Turns out the best, cheapest source for fabric is not Joann’s but a king sheet set from the Seattle monster.
        I wish I had a connection to a network of like-minded and capable crafters so I can share that lesson-learned, a few others, learn new things, share resources, inspire, etc… but it’s flippin’ crickets!!

    1. Lee

      My own inexpert opinion is that masks are at least somewhat effective but that they are in short supply.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Short in supply on Oz as well. But instead of saying that they are short of them and could people let the doctors and nurses have them instead, at least one story has been planted saying that they are not effective. When supply catches up with demand, then it will be mandatory for everybody to wear them.

        For the past week when we have gone shopping, we only see one or two people in the supermarket wearing them – usually old – though yesterday I saw one smart, young girl wear gloves there. From this weekend, the local supermarkets are offering customers the use of hand sanitizer solution before grabbing a trolley.

        1. xkeyscored

          Most shops here have had hand washing or sanitising facilities outside for a couple of weeks now. Not too sure what exactly is in the sanitiser spray bottles. I use them all, and avoid going inside where possible (the staff are more than happy to bring my order ready bagged to the street), but act like my hands have become contaminated, and wash thoroughly on getting home.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I have used a surgical mask and the Venezuela- style mask made (in my case) from disposable washcloths, as in thin fabric. You don’t need to sew. You need the right size and you cut holes to go over your ears so you have a bandit mask that covers your lower face.

        I way prefer the bandit mask. Surgical mask does NOT cover the full face plus as I suspected, you wind up touching your fact a lot to adjust it. To me, the big point of a mask to prevent touching your face and secondarily to way reduce droplet spread if you cough or sneeze.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Anecdote here – despite authorities here not requesting mask use (almost certainly I think because of a shortage), but in the last few days I’ve seen a very significant increase in people wearing them out and about on the street. A week ago, without exception every mask wearer I saw was Asian (my Japanese friends being a notable exception). Its now quite a common sight.

      I think that if it turns out that masks would significantly decrease risk (I’m neutral on this, I still think the evidence suggests that hand/face hygiene is far more important), then serious questions will have to be asked about scientific advice. Its one thing to say that we should trust experts, but if it turns out that they’ve been lying in order to prevent panic buying or stocks, then this seriously undermines public faith in scientific advice.

      1. Lee

        If only the experts would declare toilet paper ineffective there might still be some left on store shelves.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “In fact, the empty shelves could even lead to a surplus of paper products— once supplies hit stores, “nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you got a year’s worth sitting in your garage,”

          sounds pretty reasonable.
          I’m cooking fajitas tonite, so i’ll have a fire…so i’ll try the bamboo thing again, just in case,lol.
          depending on if the ash hopper worked.

          here’s another take, by someone upset that TP prices aren’t rising through the roof.

          “they broke their backs lifting Moloch to heaven”

          1. David J.

            One thing is for sure: There’s not enough toilet paper in the universe to clean up the mess caused by the volcanic explosion of Mont Pelerin.

      2. aletheia33

        in pandemics, governments lie.
        this is spelled out very clearly in the great influenza, which is a great read and highly informative about the situation today.

          1. Briny

            Sign up at and check it out from there. Internet Archive has opened wide their access to all 1.2 million+ books for the lock down. And no, The Authors Guild likes it not at all!

        1. The Rev Kev

          During the first great flu pandemic, President Wilson had people locked up for talking about the effects of the flu and the deaths involved. I am not sure, but the law that he introduced to be able to do so I think is the same one that is nowadays has been resurrected to go after whistle-blowers.

          1. Amfortas the hippie


            “The Sedition Act covered a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds.”

            I’m for a more robust First Amendment, especially in times of crisis.
            a la Jefferson, it’s my frelling Duty to criticise MY government during such times.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Would you believe that Australia brought in its own Sedition Act? In 2005? It was the Coalition government that brought it in so like Wilson’s act, can be used forevermore and a day. If I read it right, if I work for Australia to be a republic I could be charged with sedition for bringing the Sovereign into hatred or contempt. Yeah, the Queen! English Royals-


    3. xkeyscored

      Here in Cambodia, masks* were quite popular well before this crisis, even more so now. People pull them up and down and re-adjust them, thereby touching them and their faces with their hands, so if the masks have got virus on them …
      And then they get hung on door handles and the like when not in use.
      Of dubious benefit, I’d guess, with a distinct danger of a false sense of security or of infection via the masks themselves.

      *Ordinary thin cotton and cheap, maybe good in normal times for keeping dust out (and there’s plenty of dust here), but not coronavirus.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I wish that people could understand that the first and last thing about a mask. Here is a list of people that wear them whenever there is the possibility of infection when helping a patient; Doctor, nurse, technician, support staff and any one that is in the same area. that “area” has now been expanded out of the medical situation and encompasses all environments with other people.
        Masks prevent the spread of the droplets, sputum, nasal discharge and slow down the intake and exhause of air.
        For anyone to suggest that they don’t work indicates they are lying. It doesn’t matter why they are lying. It does indicate that this person is either so stupid that they can not function in society or that they are paid to lie. This person making such a statement is in reality suggesting mass infection and murder are acceptable to the speaker. Those that believe the speaker of garbage have to be used to and in favor of being lied to about mortal danger. You know, morons.
        The argument against masks is made by killers and morons. Belief is a dangerous thing when trying to work around reality.

        1. Louis Fyne

          i agree with you. The US/Western European medical community is burning years of past and future goodwill and trust with their current mask recommendation

        2. xkeyscored

          I repeat my opinion that cheap (US25c) masks, as used by many in Cambodia, probably don’t work. But I may be proven wrong, homicidal moron that I am.

          1. BlakeFelix

            I think that they don’t work well, but I suspect that they will are better than coughing or sneezing on your hand or elbow. To my understanding they are mostly theater, but if everyone wears them it can reduce the R value. I wonder by how much…

            1. shtove

              If they’re mostly theater, then how can they be effective? Just wash your hands with soap and water every time you exit a touchy situation.

        3. Bsoder

          And that too is lie. No one wants anyone to die. Masks in most situations don’t work. And last for a limited amount of time.

          1. The Rev Kev

            But nations that habitually wear masks are far more successful in flattening the curve than those that don’t. If you are infected, it helps stop you spreading it to others and if you have one on, you are constantly aware of being health conscious.

      2. Louis Fyne

        you have a reasonable hypothesis. my anecdote…. as i have been using a made in Korea mask obtained from a family friend when I go to the grocery store,

        after the realization that I casually adjusted my mask on the first trip to the grocery store, it got seared into my head how nonchalantly we all touch our faces in normal times.

        ever since I have been exceedingly conscious about keeping my hands down. My hypothesis is that universal mask usage (even if not hospital-grade) lowers viral transmission/flattens the curve.

        Just saying, my anecdote, not data

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i, too, find that wearing a mask…in my case, a bandanna…makes me acutely aware of the otherwise automatic and unnoticed face touching…enabling me to lessen that behaviour…which, to my knowledge, is still regarded as the main vector for transmission.
          so, yes to a mask of some kind…but i don’t think the general public needs to hog all the sorts of masks that the doctors and nurses need.
          a scarf will do, unless you’re gonna crowd into a phone booth with ten other people.
          our oncologist agrees with this assessment, btw.
          THEY need the “real” masks…not us.

          1. xkeyscored

            I found that keeping the tips of my thumbs and first fingers together helps with not touching my face.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              The one I wore which for once got me noticed, is just a fancy dust mask of the type I use when sanding, engraving etc. I had what I think was a cold last week with some dry coughing & the occasional sneeze. I just figured that it could possibly be you know what & wore it when entering shops, because it might help me not to infect someone else, if only a little bit which is better than nothing IMO.

              I also have a 3m half mask respirator which I use very rarely & it is incredibly uncomfortable to wear. I failed in my attempt on the web to find what particle size it blocks, as the actual specs I have found might as well be in Greek. I don’t think i could wear it for very long unless desperate & I don’t want to scare any little old ladies when turning a corner at the end of a shopping aisle.

    4. rd

      I don’t believe it is about protecting yourself. It is so that you can go outside when you are asymptomatic and dramatically lower the probability you infect others if you are actually infected and contagious. The Asians are wearing the masks largely to show others that they are being thoughtful of others. There is a self-protection component, but much of it is about not infecting others.

      I think the West is fundamentally misunderstanding the Asian use of masks because we are focused on the “I” instead of the “Us”. So we need to focus on protecting ourselves because the others are not focused on protecting us from them.

      Regular surgical masks are the same – it is more to protect the patient from whatever the medical staff might be exhaling.

      However, the coronavirus is changing this because the medical staff have to get up close and personal so N95 masks become important in protecting the staff from the patients. But they do need to be changed regularly, or disinfected, so they don’t simply become a reservoir for the virus to be picked up later. PPE has a very specific order and technique for taking off to prevent contamination/infection of the wearer as well as not spreading it outside of the exclusion zone.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Before COVID, nurses and staff caring for patients with nasty transmissible infections like Methycillin-resistant staph aureus, Ebola nd active HIV wore the full set of PPE on entering isolation areas. The mask, gloves, gown and eye protection are at least as much to protect the caregiver from infection, and to reduce the chances of spread, as to protect the patient from diseases the caregiver might bring into the presence of the patient. CDC on the subject, for those who want to inform themselves:

        1. rd

          Yes. Medical staff need to wear masks etc. for their own protection when they are with patients that are likely to have airborne infectious diseases or where they may come in contact with droplets from the patient (e.g. dental staff).. But a lot of medical staff do not wear masks in their normal work, but things like C-19 require that to change.

      2. MLTPB

        good points.

        1. Fallacy of composite. It might still work for the whole, even if it doesn’t work for each, as an individual.

        2. Experts. Scientific findings are always tentative, to be evaluated against each new evidence.

        2a. It’s ok to against it yesterday, but for it today. That’s openmindedness.

        3. Reusing masks. Is exposing to sunlight sufficient for reuse?

        4. Is It the custom in some Asian countries, Korea, Japan, China, etc for people to bath in the afternoon after work, and only wash the face and brush teeth in the morning? Is it better to clean that way, after returning from the outside world? We’ve talked about removing clothes coming home from work. This is more here.

        4a. The above is an addition to leaving shoes outfront.

        1. Bsoder

          “Experts. Scientific findings are always tentative, to be evaluated against each new evidence.”. No not all. E=MC² is true will always be true. Each new evidence? You mean data? Facts are facts. Look those that believe masks provide a magic cure by always means use them.

          1. MLTPB

            Sorry for not being more precise. I mean hypotheses (leading to theories), not findings. The energy mass equivalence example is a principle, not a theory.

            As for evidence, or data, as relating to masks, I would like to see more studies.

      3. Cuibono

        Yep. the masks work to protect others, not yourself. That is why we never see them in Merika

      1. Phillip Allen

        The CDC denied this later today.

        “CDC does not have updated guidance scheduled to come out on this topic. See current CDC guidance regarding the use of facemasks.”

    5. clarky90

      “You Need To Listen To This Leading COVID-19 Expert From South Korea”

      “We want to thank Professor Kim from Korea University Guro Hospital for sharing his insight. Subscribe to his channel here:

      Prof Kim is the brains behind the Korean response to the corona virus. It is an opportunity to sit at the feet of a master physician. He knows what he is talking about, and the infection and death statistics from Korea prove the efficacy of this approach!

      1. threeskies

        At this time, the above two links get me to:
        This page isn’t available. Sorry about that.
        Try searching for something else.

      2. Oregoncharles

        They also didn’t have to lock down the country. They did, however, do a huge amount of testing – as Lambert noted, “how a FIRST World country operates.” Near-universal mask wearing is part of th eplan, too. Must make law enforcement a bit nervous.

      3. xkeyscored

        I don’t get it. I watched the first few minutes of the first video, and he appears to be saying one reason for South Korea’s relative success is the widespread use of masks. This spoken to camera in the street without a mask. He then proceeds to an interview with Prof, Kim Woo-Ju in an office for thirty minutes, facing each other around 1.5 metres apart, with neither wearing a mask, even though the interviewer at least clearly has one.

    6. YY

      The Japanese practice of public wearing of masks go back at least 50 years. It is seasonal as the colder months are when colds are common and in recent years it has extended to the warming months as cedar pollen counts increased over the years (due to what some say is misguided forestation) for those who suffer allergies. Pollen counts are part and parcel of Japanese weather forecasts as is forecasting schedule of cherry blossoms. Pollen allergy more than anything else has increased the, already accepted as not strange, wearing of face masks. As someone who has lived both in and out of Japan and never got into the cosy habit/fetish of wearing masks it has struck me as a strange habit. There however is no general misunderstanding about the effectiveness of masks. Japanese will tell you if they are not protecting from pollen that the masks are to keep from infecting others. It is not understood to be to keep from getting infected (though common sense will tell you there has to be more than zero effect).  There are other advantages of masks in the function of hiding one’s face, a psychological thing that probably deserves a more informed and knowledgeable comment. The fortunate byproduct is that there are no people spitting directly into the air virus borne particles.

  9. dcblogger

    I was at Frager’s Hardware store yesterday picking up some Basil and other plants and seeds. The cashier asked me to be patient while we waited on her terminal to bring up the correct screen. I told her to take her time, and thanked her when she completed the purchase, told her that everyone at the store is doing a great job. She was so happy to be thanked. People are so tense about this and so focused on getting their errands done they are forgetting about the people who make it possible. Which is worse, to be unemployed with no idea how you are going to survive? Or be employed as a retail clerk, delivery driver, hospital worker, or someone else on the front lines and overwhelmed?

    1. doug

      Simple graces of life go a long way these days.
      I emailed someone and thanked them for something yesterday. A quick note.
      My goodness. I got a reply that was so grateful….
      Good luck to all.

    2. Stephen

      One of the very interesting externalities of this event is, I think, the sudden realization by so many white collar workers that they are disposable, while the garbage men, retail clerks, delivery drivers, and warehousemen they encourage their children to not be are the actual backbone of modern life. I saw a wsj article to this effect – the headline writer used the word “unexpected heroes”. At which I thought, unexpected to whom exactly?

      1. MLTPB

        Many of the heroes of our modern life backbone did not go to college nor do they vacation in far away places.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        do you really think that this is the lesson the PMC will take from this? they, after all, are mostly still getting paid to safely WFH.

        seems more like the grocery store workers are considered disposable.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Jobs like grocery clerk weren’t outright dangerous until the epidemic came along. The co-op is providing hazard pay and other sweeteners, especially paid time off, for the duration, and cancelled capital projects so they could take care of the staff – who really ARE the business, of course.

        I’m pleased with myself that I asked about that before they made any announcement. I’m something of a fixture at one of the stores, in every day till this happened, so it may have had an effect. Rather miss shopping, but there’s no way. We’ve paid a young woman to get stuff for us, and will again soon. Things that don’t keep well, or that we forgot. Like stamps. Some of it is still on the back porch, till we get around to de-virusing it.

    3. Briny

      I’ve been making it a specific point to thank my bus drivers and clerks for being there. It does seem to surprise them which is pretty sad, in my book.

  10. timbers

    The 2 trillions package Congress just passed, revealed a lot. Put more dramatically, to paraphrase a character in X-Men Apocalypse:

    “All is revealed.”

    No structural changes as we had with the New Deal, FDR. Healthcare is almost entirely un-touched. How can that be? How can we not fix that at a time like this?

    Don’t like to say this, but IMO the U.S. isn’t capable at this time of responding to the Covid crisis in an effective way because our leaders and institutions are too corrupted/incompetent. A Third World healthcare system and a Third World government. This will it’s course and we’ll get through it of course. I hope it doesn’t get so far as to causing shut downs in basic necessities like water, electricity, heat, food supply.

    I am wondering weather at some point, if our President will become more vocal about ending lockdowns because it’s hurts his economy and stock market, and take the position we must let this run it’s course.

    He could find a receptive, pent up, angry audience that supports that, if things continue as they are and Washington continues to focus on protecting Wall Street and corporations instead of people.

    1. Samuel Conner

      This is unfolding a lot faster than GD#1.

      And Hoover/Mellon dithered for multiple years after the ’29 crash got their attention.

      That our rulers appear to not be “decisive action in the public interest capable” adds to the woes.

      Dig those “Virus Gardens”; maybe we can do as well as a “draw”; “victory” might be out of reach.

      1. Monty

        It’s a horrible bill, but I think they needed to get out there quickly and show the vultures that they are prepared to defend the Ponzi economy with the presses. Failing to do this would cause a cascading series of bankruptcies and defaults which would collapse the entire global financial system and plunge us into an even worse situation of scarcity, unrest and starvation. There is nothing except ideology stopping them from ordering more distributions as needed. Maybe the regular folks will get more of a look in the next one?

        1. Cat Burglar

          Will the next one come in time to pay rent next Wednesday?

          The Dems have been saying that “the next bills” will have substantial benefits for most people. We will not have to wait long to find out if they do, if there are any. An Oregonian article today touted Senator Wyden’s role in expanding unemployment benefits as a reform his staff had long been planning, but also reported he caved on sunsetting it and on the size of the benefit increase. You have to wonder what other priorities he had that were worth the tradeoff.

          When the amount of people suffering rises to an amount that an opportunist can exploit politically, then the likelihood of some more aid coming down to us increases. But as I have been telling everyone, it will take longer to get my $1200 dollar check than it took to invade Afghanistan.

              1. Late Introvert

                I can pay bills for about 6 months, longer with unemployment and gummint check(s). But I will commit my family to said strike on May 1st, and rally any and all around me. Time to shut it down people. Richie Rich needs to feel real fear.

            1. Monty

              I just think everyone’s problems may well multiply if they let it all collapse. I don’t see how it would improve anything.

    2. Screwball

      I’ve been trying to find a comprehensive article on what is actually in this bill, who it benefits, and who it doesn’t. I have only found bits and pieces, but they all seem to have the same conclusion.

      The gold mine went to the usual suspects, and the people who need help the most, got the shaft. A feature, not a bug, I know.

      Some extra UI money and $1200 will not be enough, and won’t last very long. The lack of, or maybe I should use the word, failure, of our so-called leaders to help the people in this crisis has the potential to cause more death and destruction than the virus itself.

      At least we helped Jamie Dimon.

      1. lordkoos

        I’m reading that most people will have to wait up to 4 months to get their $1200 check… what’s the point if they can’t do it faster than that?

        This crisis has made me even more determined to spend my final years somewhere other than the USA.

        1. MLTPB

          Looking at how people of Rhode Island or Florida reacting to New Yorkers, or Arizonians to Californians, I just hope we Americans can be exceptionally welcome in places outside the USA.

          ‘Go fix your own problems at home. Don’t bring them here.’

          Hopefully we don’t hear that when we need their hospitality.

          1. Late Introvert

            Are those regular folks who are in real trouble, or frightened clueless rich folks in a mad rush to their 2nd or 3rd home, willing to spread the virus as they flee the cities they’ve ruined over the past decades?

            Not just willing to ship jobs away and pocket the profit, but spread disease now too.

  11. Ignacio

    RE: Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure Asia Times (J-LS, Chuck L

    Took a look at the paper link inside on the effects of hydroxychloroquine with or without azythomycin administered in day 4 after symptom onset. Looks promising but yet much more research is needed and it is certainly ongoing in many countries. So far looks like the best candidate at hand to fight Covid 19. A quick search in gave up to 25 hydroxychloroquine sulphate providers mostly in Mexico, Brasil, Colombia and China but this is just the the tip of the iceberg. In Spain there is only one manufacturer now ramping up production under government control. The Spanish government, like the French, controls production, stocks and distribution which is only allowed for chronic patients, clinical trials and pneumonia patients in hospitals. Is this “pillage” as Escobar says in his article or is this rational control of something that can be critical preventing Covid-19 associated deaths? I camp in the second side. In fact I find this quite an overheated article. And it neither looks as a Big Pharma saver. Regarding Azythromycin there are also several providers.

    1. notabanker

      I talked to a senior physician at one of the monster hospital conglomerates here in the states two weeks ago and this was exactly how they were going to treat it, chloroquine and zpak. They had over a week of conference calls with China and Italy. France is hiding nothing, this is clickbait.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think this is sensible stockpiling, not for the first time Escobar is calling out conspiracy when there are simpler explanations.

      1. David

        Yes. It should also be seen in the context of massive criticism of successive governments for having run down large stocks of masks and protective suits purchased a decade ago to almost nothing. Stockpiling is generally agreed to be the way to go.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I have been thinking about how governments let their stockpiles run down without replenishing them and can only think of one explanation. What I think happened was that they were not worried about this occurring as they were expecting only a regular virus outbreak somewhere like with Ebola. Then they would only have to have to order more gear as needed. What they were betting not to happen was a world-wide pandemic which would hit the medical supply chains. Bad bet.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I don’t even think their thinking went that far. I know from a consultant in my family that most hospitals have over the years gone from having a few months supply of supplies on campus to ‘just in time’ deliveries without consciously changing their policies. I think this is a case of gradual incremental changes, mostly drive by ‘efficiency’, undermining resilience, with nobody calling ‘stop’, because it was nobodies job to call ‘stop’.

            1. David

              This is exactly what seems to have happened in France, according to the stories now coming out. In pursuit of the MBAisation of everything, hospitals were pressed to have “zero stocks” available and “zero beds” free at any on time, so that demand and supply were precisely balanced. This included medical supplies. Interestingly, the stocks I mentioned were bought after the SARS episode, and the government was fiercely criticized for wasting money in a massive stockpile that most people (taking SARS as a model) assumed would never be needed. That was then.

              1. Petter

                Same in Norway – even prior to the pandemic, the hospitals were full – no empty beds, supply shortages.
                BTW David, I thought of your informative post of a few days ago as I listened to Dr. John Campbell’s daily update on YouTube. In today’s update, when discussing France, he stated that while France is in total lockdown, the suburbs of Paris don’t seem to be complying with the social distancing – direct quote from the update:
                “I have heard some distressing reports from France that in some suburbs around Paris the lockdown is not being obeyed where the police have difficulty enforcing things.”
                I also thought of your post when I saw a drone overflight of Paris and the empty streets. Why no drone flights over the suburbs?

                1. David

                  Because they might see the lockdown (“confinement” here) not being observed. For the moment the authorities seem to have given up trying to enforce it, partly for practical reasons – cramped housing, small shops, a population that often doesn’t speak French well – but partly also because any attempt to enforce it would probably lead to violence. The Police simply don’t have the manpower the enforce the confinement against active resistance. So as I mentioned yesterday, Seine St Denis, the poorest of the suburbs, is now the new epicenter of the epidemic.

              2. Bugs Bunny

                Bachelot was criticisible for many things but her health ministry acted in a very reasonable way during the earlier scare. She was laughed at, widely. I hope she has a few bottles of good champagne on hand to go with the cold dish she should be savoring today.

                1. Bsoder

                  She isn’t happy to see people dying or dead. No one is. It’s sort of a test of wether you are human or not.

              3. MLTPB

                Stockpiling medical supplies – stockpiling personnel.

                The latter – does it mean unemployed pool of workers?

                No, I believe, but perhaps government paid reserve workers. In that case, is it UBI, for these reserve backups?

              4. Amfortas the hippie

                “In pursuit of the MBAisation of everything, hospitals were pressed to have “zero stocks” available and “zero beds” free at any on time, so that demand and supply were precisely balanced.”-David

                Neoliberal Efficiency Fetish.
                gonna kill us all, because that outcome looks like an Elegant Solution from within the Model.

                Luckily, i took my grandparents Depression Induced Habits to heart and “Put By” various things.

    3. xkeyscored

      So far looks like the best candidate at hand to fight Covid 19.

      Especially for less developed economies.

        1. xkeyscored

          Thank you for that!
          When I said CQ/HCQ look best, I meant in terms of cost etc. If they don’t work, they don’t work. And that study does sound like maybe they don’t.
          More studies and trials are ongoing, I believe. Can but hope.

      1. shtove

        The Russian pharma industry seems interesting – can anyone link a non-deranged assessment of it?

        1. Bsoder

          Need to read the exact bio-chemistry of the drug on the body. Makes no sense to as either anti viral, agent to attack rna, or stop protein growth in a c-19 taken over cell. That it might treat secondary effects before you die or recover maybe, but that would likely be because of being infected with something else. Something larger than a virus.

    4. Chris

      My understanding of anti-malarial drugs like hydroxychloroquinine is that in an anti-viral dosage they’re prescribed in amounts much greater than for RA or lupus. And even then a side effect you have to guard against is loss of vision. I think a lot of people are overlooking the difference in dosage and waving away the potential side effects. I think that’s why people are so hopeful about this and why so many doctors are cautious and mentioning the toxicity.

      1. Bsoder

        Look if I have C-19 in a Petri dish and and add hydroxychloroquinine and it doesn’t kill it & Nor the same setup in rats, nor in patients in different days of an assumed 14 day disease cycle, any place in the world by different teams of experts then I’d say it doesn’t work. To date the alleged results can’t be replicated. At 3 places with n=37, 41, 51, 14% of patients say they felt better. Placebo effect is higher. No animal Studies anywhere n=1049 have replicated anything but dead animals.

  12. Tom Stone

    I read yesterday that many Police Departments are no longer responding to property crimes in person unless shots are fired.
    At the same time that the income streams of criminal gangs such as the “Black Gangster Disciples”, MS-13, Bloods, Crips, etc are drying up due to the Corona Virus and social distancing.
    Diversification seems to be their next move, just as bootleggers diversified their income streams once prohibition ended.
    Estimates of Gang membership are all over the map and undoubtedly inaccurate, 100-150K for Chicago, 300K for California, 45K for NYC.
    I’m glad I moved out of Oakland and I’m glad Yves left NYC.

    1. Jules

      I can speak for chicago. Its well understood that those numbers are wayyyyy over blown. There have been various civil rights organizations fighting the city in the way they blacklist young men in these massive databases.
      Im not saying its not a real problem, but the numbers are not reliable.

    2. lordkoos

      There was a funny meme out there about gangs switching from producing narcotics to producing sanitary wipes, the new profit center.

  13. Otis B Driftwood

    Because the world has people like Andrew Cotter and Grace Spelman in it, I cannot help but remain hopeful.

    1. xkeyscored

      But some of the proposed SARS-CoV-2 vaccines work a different way (plasmids encoding viral proteins) to the ones tested in this 2012 study, which is a bit more encouraging.

      1. Ignacio

        Yes. There is still hope. There are several different strategies, not everybody trying the same.

      2. Phacops

        Whether you use plasmids for protein amplification, adjuvants with purified proteins or attenuated live virus, the immunologic response is to the glycoprotein resting on the surface of the capsid. Among other things, the Th2 response results in the production of Immunoglobulin E. This sits on the surface of histamine producing mast cells just waiting for an antigen. The result of subsequent challenge with virus was a runway allergic reaction.

        Unless there is some way to direct the seroconversion to IgG, then the safety of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will need extensive and large scale testing, further delaying any vaccination.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I recall reading before that some of the experimental SARS vaccines probably caused more deaths than they saved. Its a big problem of course for rolling out a vaccine rapidly if there are known issues like this.

      Mind you, the way things everyone in the US and Europe are going a vaccine won’t be needed as we’ll get immunised the hard way.

      1. xkeyscored

        Should scientists infect healthy people with the coronavirus to test vaccines? – Nature (not too long or technical)

        “As hundreds of millions of people, maybe billions, avoid social contact to spare themselves and their communities from coronavirus, researchers are discussing a dramatic approach to research that could help end the pandemic: infecting a handful of healthy volunteers with the virus to rapidly test a vaccine. …

        It might seem as though anybody volunteering to participate in such a study lacks capacity for rational decision-making or must have misunderstood the informed-consent form. However, human beings do many important things out of altruism. And, as I said, although the study introduces risks, it also removes risks. And the net risks, while unclear, are not clearly extremely high. So, it is actually potentially rational — even from a selfish point of view — to participate in such a study. …

        I happen to be a bioethicist who doesn’t have huge objections to attracting study participants by offering financial incentives. But I think in this study, ensuring a high level of public trust is important, and I would advise researchers not to attract volunteers through high payments. This would have the advantage of making sure that the study doesn’t prey on the poor.

        Do you worry that countries with authoritarian governments could conduct such studies on vulnerable groups, such as prisoners or members of persecuted minorities?

        We would only recommend conducting the studies in an ethical fashion, with fully informed consent. Vaccine makers want to sell their product to other countries. They want to publish their scientific articles in prestigious journals and there would be many obstacles if their trial doesn’t adhere to widely accepted standards.”

        But yes, the hard way looks likely. Could we keep up rigid social distancing and so on for a year?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Back when some UK advisors were suggesting that the ‘herd immunity’ hypothesis was the way forward, Nicholas Taleb in his own inimitable way suggested that those scientists should be the first volunteers for initial infection, whether they wanted it or not.

        2. a different chris

          >and there would be many obstacles if their trial doesn’t adhere to widely accepted standards.”

          Wow, what world does he live in? If the standards violated were of proper data collection and analysis, that would be an obstacle.

          I consider myself an exceptionally humane person, but if somebody in my family needed a drug that was proven to work by scientific standards, I would want it even if the selection of the test group was done in a way I found personally horrifying.

          And he says he is in generally OK with that, so I don’t know what he thinks he thinks but he needs another look in the mirror or two.

          1. BlakeFelix

            I always feel like there is a special place in hell for wealthy people who are morally opposed to giving poor people money to take risks because the poor people might desperately need the money. Doesn’t seem to slow them down paying for stuff produced by coerced labor, or collaborating with people who kill tons of the poor. But whenever any budget they are near looks like it might compensate a risk for someone that needs the money they jump in all “This money can only ethically go to people who don’t need it!” Much like them, coincidentally… Not that they should go all Camp 731 or anything, obviously.

        1. xkeyscored

          Yes, I’m unaware of deaths from experimental SARS vaccines, other than in ‘sacrificed’ (I think that is the jargon) lab animals.

          1. Harold

            I don’t know if this is too long a quotation, but Michael Osterholm talking to Joe Rogan had this to say (transcipt):
            Michael Osterholm: (01:31:04)
            Immune response is really destructive. And in fact, there was just a couple of years ago, a major recall of Dengue vaccine, type of vaccine we use from mosquito infection in the Philippines where kids who got the vaccine actually made just a little bit of antibody. And when they got the real disease it made them a lot sicker. And so we found with the 2003 SARS vaccine that there was an ADE component to it when we made it in animals. And so we’re going to have to really study this to be sure it’s safe. And as you said earlier, we can surely make mistakes. We need to do everything we can not to. And so I think between getting the effectiveness and the safety data together, we’re years out. I mean, maybe two years. Yeah. This is not going to happen soon.

            Michael Osterholm: (01:31:48)
            It’s wishful thinking. You know, every time… I mean, I go back to SARS in 2003 and look at every event, Zika 2015, and we said, “Oh, we’ll have a vaccine for no time.” Here we are five years later, we have no vaccine. And so this is one of the challenges we have. We have to complete the job. You know, it’s like we start on something and then we forget that it’s important because it kind of goes away for a while but only to come back. And so this is part of that picture we talked about and this is what Peter Hotez talks a lot about. You know, we got to finish the job on these things. You know, I worry that we’ll get through this situation and then people say, “Oh, we’re done.” And then we’ll forget until the next one comes along. And so, this is where vaccine research and development is really important.

            Joe Rogan: (01:32:30)
            How do they test for safety? So once they come up with a potential vaccine, how do they make sure that it’s safe?

            Michael Osterholm: (01:32:37)
            What you do it gradually. First of all, you put it into animals to see and you know enough about them, how their immune responses, what do they do? Then you put it into a few humans, 30 humans. They volunteer willingly knowing to see what kind of reactions they have.

            1. Harold

              But he also said earlier that even an imperfect vaccine, like the ones we have for flu that are only 50 % effective, would be a big improvement over nothing, which we currently have now.

              Michael Osterholm: (01:33:07)
              Yeah. So anyway, the bottom line though is that then they gradually work their way up to larger studies where you know, if something happens, one every 1000 people. You have to study a lot of people before you know that the chance that you might find that. You can’t do it in 30 people. So that’s why it’s going to take awhile. And you know, they’ll test it on more and more people and they’re going as fast as they can. It’s not like there’s anybody dragging their feet. It’s just that… I jokingly say it’s like if the Iowa farmer wanted to harvest his corn in half the time, it doesn’t mean by planting twice as many acres, he can do that. You know, planting in April, you still can’t harvest until October.

              Joe Rogan: (01:33:40)
              That’s a good point.

              Michael Osterholm: (01:33:41)
              That’s what this is. It’s going to take us as long to get this vaccine.

              1. Phacops

                And, there are problems that really don’t show up until a vaccine is used in the general population. The first rotavirus vaccine is a case I remember. RotaShield went through all three IND phases, but when used in the general population it caused bowel blockage (intussusception) in some infants and was taken off the market by Wyeth.

            2. Cuibono

              Dont read this if you want to sleep but the same mechanism that accounts for this risk might account for what happens when this thing does a return trip have slightly drifted

          2. Oregoncharles

            Did the vaccines even make it to human trial? They wouldn’t, if the animal trials looked dangerous.

            It’s a dilemma of sorts: human immune systems might be much more co-operative.

  14. sd

    I’ve managed to ignore Trump as much as possible, but game playing with ventilators this week crossed a line. Accusing Cuomo of asking for too many, saying they weren’t needed and then turning around and blaming GM of dragging their feet…that’s not Leadership. That’s unhinged.

    If Trump keeps it up – never accepting responsibility, the incessant narcissism and constant blame that everything is everyone else’s fault to deflect any role he might have had – there’s going to be a coup. He’s literally f*cking around with 300 million American lives.

    People are being cooperative. It would be a huge mistake to assume that will last.

    1. The Historian

      Wait until that $1200 is gone – and it will go fast and it won’t go as far as Americans imagine that it will. Then we will see how cooperative Americans will be. Right now they are just thrilled that they are getting what they think is free money.

      1. Lee

        I’m wondering just how long the fear of congregating will keep people from banding together and taking to the streets.

        1. Carla

          The fact that since bringing about the end of the Vietnam War, Americans have never again effectively and consistently taken to the streets —all the times when there was no fear of congregating—doesn’t give me hope.

            1. GF

              This time the 300+ million guns will be out. US standing military strength with reserves (most of which are overseas), police etc., will be no match.

              We live about 95 miles from a large metro area. Our area has maybe 100,000 people compared to 5 million 95 miles away. Last week hordes of these millions descended on our area and, besides cleaning out the grocery stores, cleaned out the 30 independent gun stores of guns and ammo – almost completely. I now see maybe 400 million guns available for fighting off starvation. It ain’t going to be pretty and will happen pretty soon as the chump change delivery looks pretty far away and another 50 million loosing insurance will add to the mix.

              One saving grace is that most butt holers have taken the virus with them and they and theirs too will perish.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                even way out here, we’ve started locking our doors and closing gates.
                we had a crazy neighbor prowler problem for a long while(he dead) and i put up pretty comprehensive nightlights to counter him…they’ve been mostly unused on my part of the place since he died…now,we’re lit up like an airport until about 3-4 am when i get up.
                and i turn off the fans in my room at night…the better to hear the ravaging hordes with.
                (nobody ever comes down this road at night, save for the odd deer hunter during season. so I notice the anomalous car or truck)
                we’re armed to the teeth…not from any ideology or gunnutness(well…maybe my cousin,lol)…but from prudence: might see a rattler or a coyote or a rabid coon doing his dance in daytime(2 days ago, for this latter, in fact)
                I usually have a firearm close to hand.
                I carry around a hammer in the Falcon(ranch golf cart), too…doesn’t mean i see everything as a nail.
                in light of all this, i should probably be taken off any invasion lists.

                (Mexican Mafia thinks I’m a Brujo)

                1. The Rev Kev

                  I swear to god Amf that if America ever collapsed, that after few years word would get back that a region of stability and prosperity would have arisen in the south called the Protectorate under the benevolent rule of Amfortas the Warlord. :)

        2. Oh

          I wish people would do that but I have no hope; it’s not fear of congregating but the fear of getting arrested and fear of doing something.

          1. Jules

            Can u imagine that …..filling up jails with protestors for violating social distancing protocols. Protestors wearing masks, practicing social distancing?

            1. Oregoncharles

              6 feet apart would make a march really huge. Not a bad idea.

              Can someone make a Guy Fawkes mask that doubles as a medical one?

              V, with coughing.

      2. Eureka Springs

        The trickle time line of 1200 dispersing over a month or two and the limits on who will/won’t get it won’t buy time at all, imo.

        I also think Feds deciding not to pay everyone to sit still while freezing rent/mort., utilities bills etc., makes everyone who does sit still moot.

        Friend who works in hospitals in central Arkansas says they are expecting things to get real bad in 5 to 7 weeks. She’s on half schedule now since no one else is coming to the hospital. But expects she will have to live at the hospital, be unable to leave in 5 to 7 weeks. Some of her co-workers, other friends of mine already have it.

        There is no way most people sitting still now can afford to remain hunkered down, weathering this storm for near that long, much less beyond that as would be needed.

        2 trillion, 6 trillion, whatever… the biggest decision in that bill which is ignored, – Spread the virus – force people to go back to work and or riot and loot for survival.

      3. aletheia

        @historian, above:

        i doubt very many people are “just thrilled” about getting that paltry $1,200.
        i don’t think too many americans imagine that it will go very far toward what they will need (not just want) to get by.
        the moniker “the 99 percent” has been, as it were, “earned”.

      4. lordkoos

        I don’t think too many people are “thrilled” about a measly $1200 that they likely won’t see for months.

        I fail to see the purpose of the 25th amendment if it cannot be used to remove a president who is a clear danger to public health.

    2. Carolinian

      He’s literally f*cking around with 300 million American lives.

      So we’re all going to die? Probably not.

      Without a doubt NYC is in big trouble and maybe the also posturing Cuomo should have cracked down on St. Patrick’s day partying, those mobs hanging out in Central Park etc earlier. But the truth is that a place like New York is an ideal breeding ground for this plague and the sudden appearance of more ventilators isn’t going to change the dynamics of the crisis. I linked this article before that says mere machines aren’t enough. You also need the skilled technicians to run them and keep them clean.

      As for Trump–yes he’s a boob and what else is new? But while it’s popular to point to other much smaller places like Singapore and say “why not us?’ the USA is not them. Most of the other countries are having the same problems as we are (or worse). The most important thing is not to panic. And, at least where I live, people aren’t–not yet anyway.

      1. Jonhoops

        The old the US is to big to be compared to other smaller places canard. What bunk. China is 4 times as big and they have controlled it.

        I would say NYC could easily be compared to Singapore.

        And the assertion that most of the other countries are having it worse than the USA is not what the numbers are showing. The US still doesn’t have a coordinated Federal response, we are lucky some governors are ignoring the woeful federal response and actually doing something.

        The fact that we have plenty of examples of how to fight this and yet they are still being ignored is telling,

        1. Carolinian

          Look upstairs. The Chinese are closing movie theaters again. What you mean to say is that they claim they have controlled it. We don’t really know the truth.

          And it’s not the size of the place but the nature of the society. Singapore society is very strictly controlled by its government. Americans are anti authoritarian (all those New Yorkers defying Cuomo in Central Park)

          And the assertion that most of the other countries are having it worse than the USA is not what the numbers are showing.

          Italy, Spain per capita compare to the US? Get real.

          1. Prodigalson

            Give it a few more weeks and we’ll see if you feel the same way. Remember Italy is a few weeks ahead of us. The footage of a priest in italy walking down a rows of coffins to bless them is our near future.

            I’m seeing many, many examples of Americans stuck in denial or bargaining. America has the largest infection size and it’s just getting started, many cities are just beginning to see it gain steam.

            In the last 24 hours ive seen two different news stories of Baptist pastors who treated this like a joke, promptly got it, and died before it even got rolling.

            You need to take this more seriously.

            1. Carolinian

              You’re right. I don’t know what this is all about. But here’s the thing and my point: you don’t either. In fact nobody does and we won’t know until it’s all over and actual scientists can do the analysis.

              But I do know that it’s utterly inappropriate to make comparisons between this country and others and assume they are going to be the same given the many variables of population age, health, climate, pollution, number of smokers, state of medical system etc. There was a story the other day in the LA Times comparing the state of covid in New York versus Los Angeles where the disease was spotted earlier but where there are far far fewer cases so far than NY.


              The message is that places like Los Angeles–which has a car centric lifestyle closer to where I live–may simply be less dangerous or at least slower to infect with more time to come to term with solutions.

              In short, I think this whole situation is far more complicated than a talking point.

              1. Jules

                The thing i do know is since march 3, to march 27 there are 519 fatalities in ny. Deaths have been doubling every 2-3 days. Hopefully thats not the case till the peak. Or else, well, you can do the math.

                1. Carolinian

                  I wonder whether, long term, this crisis will dim the glow of NYC v2. I lived there during the “Ford to NY-drop dead” era. Turns out for all the cultural advantages there’s one circumstance where you may be better off in the sticks.

              2. urblintz

                well said…

                and not just because I was born in Charlotte or that the seat of the family clan is in Spartanburg… so I’ve got you covered north and south and have appreciated your focus on what isn’t known yet, which will be critical to understand it all when it ends, if it ends.

              3. jonboinAR

                We won’t, of course, end up exactly as Italy does as we go through this, but there’s a really good chance that much of our experience will be pretty similar.

              4. ChiGal in Carolina

                and the thing I know is that yes not new that Trump is a boob but now his narcissistic posturing and inability to see events except through the filter of his own self-interest is costing lives.

                get him out of the driver’s seat, by any means necessary

              5. Yves Smith Post author

                PlutoniumKun pointed recently to a 19th century pandemic that got all over the Northern hemisphere in 4 months.

                Don’t be so confident regarding the suburban lifestyle offering protection. Even here in Alabama, the governor is treating shelter in place as a “when,” not and “if”.

            2. YY

              I wonder whether the notion of Italy being ahead is actually true. They maybe ahead in featuring death in the news but they are probably not ahead in time in the beginning of the virus infestation. The Italian deaths, without being flip, is mostly among those who have reached the ages that Americans generally do not reach. So comparison of death rates may just be a comparison of life expectancy where the statistics for similar age Americans will not exist.
              Given the general understanding that the virus originated in Wuhan (at the tail of 2019), and given the movement of Wuhan residents/returnees with the Chinese new year, there is probably no time difference (except flight times) of the virus reaching all parts of the world. If this is true, Europe and America are at least 8 weeks behind East Asia in understanding that the virus must be dealt with. Given the size of the problem now in Europe and America and the non-uniform solutions in East Asia, despite which there is some uniform success for the time-being, I get the impression that timing is everything.

              1. Uwe Ohse

                The Italian deaths, without being flip, is mostly among those who have reached the ages that Americans generally do not reach.

                the age pyramid of italy is almost the same as that of germany, and germany has a quite low death rate.

                There has to another reason (most likely: there has to be a mix of other reasons).

                And timing is not everything. Timing is simple: do it yesterday.

                Deciding what to do, and how long to do it, is much harder, and i think the correct solution depends on the people, culture and style of living. In other words, there may not be one correct solution for every country.

                Having said that, i think the countries of the west have lost a lot of time due to sheer arrogance. Why should we care about a infection hitting china? They work on rice fields, live in hen houses, and burn so much coal that the have smoke like we did 50 years ago. Of course they get sick.
                That’s what i read in germany, 9 to 10 weeks ago.

          2. MLTPB

            In China, when Wuhan and Hubei province itself were both lock down, a few millions left before the effective date.

            After that, no one entered or left, more or less.

            In other provinces, people from Hubei had to register, be monitored, and often discrimnated.

            Nothing like that in Europe for a while, until borders started to be closed.

            In the US, no one state nor the federal government has refused entry of other Americans.

            I would think China, in this case, is largely Hubei, whose population is about 60 million, and order of magnitide wise, comparable to NY state and Italy.

      2. rusti

        I have to say, Colonel Lang’s blog has really turned into the worst kind of garbage in the past year to the point where I only browse it out of a sense of morbid curiosity. The consensus there seems to be that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax, Biden and Pelosi are Marxists, Brexit will be a brilliant win for the British economy, and Spain/Italy will be case studies in the failure of socialized medicine as the lean, mean US system shows the superiority of the free market.

        Watching their reactions to COVID-19 developing has been an interesting case study in confirmation bias and mental gymnastics to avoid facing facts that threaten their world view. Some frequent commenters were sure that it was going to “burn itself out” when the exponential growth curves seemed to be breaking in some countries, now it’s absurd that “the media” is getting people all worked up over a bad flu.

        Seems like some of the people who were thoughtful contributors like TTG have faded into the background.

        1. pretzelattack

          i left when he wouldn’t publish my comments on one of the climate change posts over there–i didn’t see any other comments critical of the content, either. typical right wing site in many respects, useful information on russiagate and the syrian war propaganda.

        2. Prodigalson

          What’s ironic is Lang himself is an old dude, in a red state, and is the prime demographic in the crosshairs of this plague.

          I’m glad im in Ohio were our governor took this seriously and locked us down early. There will be some interesting case studies when this ends for how states responded and the results, though their will be a lot of data noise on all the unique variables in regions/states.

          1. lordkoos

            People in Seattle seem to have reacted quickly, the curve in WA looks much better than in most other states.

            I saw some stats that showed the Trump/red states are doing worse than the blue states.

            1. MLTPB

              People are people, and there are blue people in red states, as there are red people in blue states.

              In New York and Washingtion, it’s tough now.

              Dense urban areas, the same.

              Hoping for better days soon, regardless of whether they are blue states or otherwise, urban or rural.

        3. Swamp Yankee

          Yes, it’s sad to see Lang’s site become more kookishly right-wing. I still read it on subjects he knows something about, but stopped commenting after getting in an argument with him about the Civil War (another one of his massive blindspots).

          I wonder how much of it is aging, how much something else.

          FWIW, Juan Cole has gotten much better now that he’s not chasing every Mueller-ball under the couch.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      People are being cooperative. It would be a huge mistake to assume that will last.

      People are fully engaged with the multiple semi-scripted reality tv shows. It’s a huge mistake to assume that most of them won’t continue to be.

      For those who aren’t and see clearly… well, they already know techniques to neuter those or keep others from knowing about them like those deployed for the anti-war protests, Occupy Wall Street, Madison spring, heck Arab Spring, yellow vests, etc.

      If all else fails, people can be forced by circumstances to simply go back to work while the virus and our fragile safety nets / supply chains do their work. Right now it helps to keep them isolated at home and worried as well as flooded with real / semi-true / fake information. Then they can see which narratives took hold.

      The powder could still be ignited but they probably expect that whatever form it takes can be easily managed. Sorry to be so cynical now – the emergency legislation was ground shaking. But look how well they’ve accomplishing their goals so far and how little resistance has been offered in return.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Indeed, we seem far afield from the 1999 WTO protests, for example, or even Occupy. Or worldwide Iraq War (2!) protests.

        1. Carolinian

          The frog is nicely boiled–ready to be eaten.

          Actually the public will rise up, perhaps when its too late. But wasn’t it already too late and they should have arisen in 2008? Americans just aren’t very big complainers as long as they personally are comfortable and this is still a wealthy country. Those who make comparisons to the 1930s or the Gilded Age may not understand what it was really like back then. My parents lived through the Depression–could tell you all about it.

          1. Oh

            Americans just aren’t very big complainers as long as they personally are comfortable and this is still a wealthy country.

            Au contraire, Americans love to complain even if they’re not comfortable but they don’t do anything but sit on their butts. Armchair QB’s.

            1. Carolinian

              Americans love to complain

              Guess I mean the pitchfork kind of complaining versus the risk free sitting at home kind. Once lives and incomes are at stake that’s bound to change. You’ll notice on the Gilead story that they withdrew their application for Covid drug exclusivity out of fear of the public.

            1. lordkoos

              I suspect that the managerial/white collar class is at least as indebted as the working class, likely more, as they tend to spend a lot of money to keep up image and status… so it will be interesting to see what happens if millions are laid off.

      2. LawnDart

        “…People can be forced by circumstances to simply go back to work…”

        What work will they be going back too? The “economy” was on the verge of tanking before the virus hit. Crumbs for the little people and a massive corporate bailout in an effort to kick the can further down the road might not be enough this time (for the 99%).

        Occupy demonstrated, if nothing else, that peaceful protest is ineffective in the USA.

        As you noted, the misleadership continues to accomplish their goals with no repercussions.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You are incorrect regarding Occupy. It was perceived as such a threat that after a mere two months in NYC (and less time in other cities), it was subjected to a 17-city, coordinated paramilitary crackdown. If protest was so ineffective, the aggressive response never would have happened.

          1. pricklyone

            With respect, the fact that they blew in with the thugs, and shut the whole thing down, without any backlash from the public, kinda makes his point.
            If they did perceive a threat, and resolved it so easily, in plain sight, and the bulk of the public(at least that was my impression here) seemed to sympathize with the cops, what was accomplished?

            (I have been around here long enough to remember your Occupy banner, so don’t beat me!)

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Huh? Who is the “they”? I watched the crackdowns in real time. They were done overnight, in NYC with the police establishing a wide cordon and pushing non-Occupiers, particularly the press, away so there were no witnesses of exactly what happened at Zuccotti Park (including bulldozing dogs into garbage trucks).

              1. It had already caught on with the public, given that the 1% monicker has become a widely used meme all over the world.

              2. It took vastly longer than two months for civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protests to get a bigger following. The fact that Occupy was getting national press (despite initially being only in NYC) and quickly spread to 16 other cities said it was in fact getting more adherents, and with pretty good speed.

          2. ian

            Yves, this fact seems so absent from most Americans’ minds, probably (in my thinking) because it was never reported in the US mainstream press. A similar gap in common US citizens’ knowledge is of the financial rape (no other word seems to be appropriate) of Russia by the “Harvard Boys” after the fall of the Soviet Union. One great source of the latter story is a chapter in a book the title I’m failing to remember [written by a female academic, “Elite” was in the title]. Has any author written a definitive account of the federally-coordinated crackdown on the Occupy movement? Has there been any FOIA requests put in by any news organization(s)? Asking the commentariat… “inquiring minds would like to know”!

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              The Shadow Elite by Joanne Wenig. Matt Stoller deemed it to be the single best book on modern power structures in the US. But her chapter in that book was not about Russia how people in Poland adapted to life after the fall of the USSR.

              Populism, which is what Occupy is about was never one of her interests.

      3. ShamanicFallout

        There is no way that Americans will be able to keep a stay at home/ quarantine thru May. Probably not even April. There will be no jobs or businesses to go back to. $1200 in 4 months (if your’e lucky)? A little extra UI (that is, of the state’s systems can handle the sudden surge)? No health insurance because they were laid off?
        The message on that Senate bill is clear- “You will get nothing. You are on your own. No get back to work!” People are going to be in desperate situations and our leaders will do nothing. Sanders included. (please see the Matt Stoller interview on the Jimmy Dore show on youtube now, where he calls Sanders a weak coward and grandstander re: the coronavirus ‘stimulus”)
        If most Americans do not even have $400 for an unexpected expense, how the h*ll will they be able to quarantine for any length of time without massive state support? As a commenter here (I think) said, ‘if good men and women suddenly are not able feed their kids or take care of loved ones, the sh*t will really hit the fan.’

    4. Socal Rhino

      Just anecdotal but working class friends i know are directing their anger at Congress not the executive.

    5. skk

      Given Trump’s narrowing, i.e improving, disapprove/approve rating, as per Nate Silver’s 538 website. I can’t help going along with Ian Welsh’s piece regarding what will happen if Trump goes for “Back To Work” :

      Anyway. Let’s say half a million deaths[ ASSUMING he does do “Back to Work”] in under two months from now. Nothing like that has happened in living memory. It will be completely undeniable. Unspinnable. And it will hit the Trump base hardest of all. And the market impacts will dwarf anything we’ve seen so far. It will, quite simply, blow any consensus currently keeping Trump in power to pieces. The money people will need him out, so they can try to restore some confidence and recoup losses, and his political base will be dragged under by a wave of ill or dead constituents. There will be no rallies–that would be abject insanity. No one will be listening anymore to his pronouncements, as they will be manifestly, grotesquely, false. There will probably not even be White House briefings at that point. He might try to start a war, but I simply do not believe the military would go along with that. There might even be a coup if he tried.

      All one can hope for is that Trump’s “Back to Work” only applies to states, demographics that are his base.

      We’ll see. That’s all one can do, until the boneheads that are Trump’s base learn – the hard way sadly, and there will be collateral damage too.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        That assumes death count numbers are accurate. I’ve already seen articles stating that California and New York’s aren’t from the doctor’s perspective. Plus with no “real” testing can easily mean not official COVID death. It can be spun, especially if your news source comes from national tv media or pundits in service of the machine.

        As someone said we still don’t have accurate death totals from Katrina and that was a tragedy.

        Someone else said it only becomes a crisis when the elites are part of the death toll. How many elites have died so far in the Western world or just the US?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Speaking of elites and death, here’s a schadenfreude piece from the LA Times:

          At a nursing home for L.A.’s wealthy, coronavirus diagnoses stir anger and questions

          A man recently admitted to the upscale Silverado Beverly Place nursing home tested positive for coronavirus shortly after his arrival. Since then, a second resident and an employee have also come down with the virus, angering relatives of residents at the home.

          In a get-what-you-pay-for-world, the families of Silverado Beverly Place expect a lot.

          The posh nursing home near the Fairfax district styles itself a geriatric luxury resort with 125 dementia patients offered gourmet meals, yacht trips, art shows, live entertainment and, as described by one pleased customer, the regular aroma of baking cookies.

          The price tag can run north of $15,000 a month….

          1. pricklyone

            That only conjures up visions of heirs rubbing their hands together as they contemplate big paydays…If the virus gets the heirs before they can collect, might be a O’Henry moment..

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          not enough tests for the already dead.

          If you die of Covid19, but were never tested, ***you’re not one of the ones who died of Covid19 in the stats.***

          We’re going to have to look at death rates year over year for every county and state. My guess is this will be the worst season for “death by flu” in human history.

        3. skk

          You are quite right – that’s why at the moment my log-linear model only models deaths ( not confirmed cases or recovered ) – I’m reasoning that that endpoint is pretty definitive whereas recovered and confirmed cases are quite fuzzy. But you are right:

          What is death ? Nope that is not an existential question although that one is worth contemplating but yeah,what is a CV-19 death ? I can’t find John Hopkins’ definition. worldofdata just adds the word “confirmed” to death, which seems rather redundant. I need to find a nice diagram that tracks the process by which a person dying ( somewhere in the US ) ends up adding a 1 ( or not ) to the John Hopkins DB of USA deaths for that day ( or day + 1). A schematic of that would be useful.

          Quit a tedious task but essential and grist to the mill for data scientists – at least it should be.

        4. John k

          Death counts vary depending on the level of healthcare for the 20% that need hospital. If the hospitals refuse sick people bc overloaded maybe most die.
          And older people that get sick already more likely to die than young.
          20% of us pop is a big number. Half that is big. If it’s just the 29 states, probably mostly red states, that aren’t socially distancing, it’s a big number.
          And stories of too full morgues cannot be hidden.
          Our oligarchs calling the shots are mostly old, some will get sick, already happening in congress and administration. They will get best care, but many they know will not if hospitals are rejecting.
          And stories of the many that lose their jobs and healthcare dying bc lack of ins will spread fast.
          If this doesn’t have lasting change, nothing will.

    6. oliverks

      Getting GM to make ventilators is also a mistake. Car manufacturing lines are high specialized by now, and you can’t just convert them to make ventilators. I asked someone I know who use to run GM’s innovation group whether GM could do this. She said it would be really hard.

      The correct strategy is to get Contract Manufactures (CMs) to make ventilators. There are plenty of small CMs who can turn quickly to get units built. At the same time you want to start ramping the big CMs, such as Sanmina and Foxconn. Both have big operations in the US, however they will take time to ramp.

      Simultaneously you need to hire Engineering Design Services (EDS) companies, and Mechanical Engineering (ME) houses. You need these to help the CMs produce the ventilators. You will be amazed how often a part is not available. So the EDS and ME outfits can work with the CM to find suitable replacement parts. In some cases, a redesign might be needed if a critical part can not be substituted. Once again the EDS and ME firms can manage this.

      Then when first articles get produced the EDS and ME outfits can help debug why stuff is not working for the CM and help validate the performance of the units. Typically both EDS and ME groups can go onsite at the CM to help work through these issues quickly.

      If there was true mobilization, we could probably start getting ventilators off the line in less than month at impressive volumes (say more than 1K a week ramping to 20-50K/w fairly quickly).

      I don’t mean to knock GM or GM workers here, but I really doubt they could make ventilators much faster than in 6 months. I think people might be watching too much history channel rather than understanding how you build products these days.

      Just my 2 cents, not that anyone will listen.

      1. Robert Hahl

        Wondering what the survival rate is for people on ventilators. If they mostly die anyway, we might have enough of them already. This could explain the lack of urgency about ventilator production issues.

        1. lordkoos

          As they have already done in Italy, people over 60 will be triaged and taken off the ventilators, and even with that there will not be enough unless they get them soon. There are definitely not enough of them for what is coming. There is no “lack of urgency” among health care professionals — the want of masks, gloves and ventilators seem to be the main worries.

        2. pasha

          i’ve read — can no longer remember where — that only 14% of europeans over 60 survived the ventilator experience, hence the decision to use them on the under-60s if a choice needed to be made.

      2. sd

        Ventec Life Systems and GM Partner to Mass Produce Critical Care Ventilators in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic


        GM will also begin manufacturing FDA-cleared Level 1 surgical masks at its Warren, Michigan manufacturing facility. Production will begin next week and within two weeks ramp up to 50,000 masks per day, with the potential to increase to 100,000 per day.

        Ventec and GM are working around the clock to meet the urgent need for more ventilators. Efforts to set up tooling and manufacturing capacity at the GM Kokomo facility are already underway to produce Ventec’s critical care ventilator, VOCSN. Depending on the needs of the federal government, Ventec and GM are poised to deliver the first ventilators next month and ramp up to a manufacturing capacity of more than 10,000 critical care ventilators per month with the infrastructure and capability to scale further.

        1. oliverks

          I am happy GM is trying, it is better than nothing. I guess we will know in a month how they are doing. I stand by my assessment the CMs are the correct place to go, and the government should be pressuring them to crank up production not GM.

        2. pricklyone

          Doesn’t FDA clearance require at least samples of the product from a new facility?
          How can they have clearance for something that no one has seen made, yet?
          Jeez, I hope I don’t get sick enough to put me on a GM ventilator. Probably catch fire…

      3. pricklyone

        I think you are quite right, of all the manufacturing businesses which could have been enticed to take the giant giveaway, the auto industry is probably the worst fit imaginable.
        I suspect, however that GM and the other car co’s will be making sheet metal parts, and machined parts, both of which they are set up to do.The electronic controls, pneumatics, and assembly are probably contracted out to Asian firms already, no? Or Mexico, maybe.
        I LOL’d at “History Channel”. “Ford made tanks and planes”!!
        Your description of “how you build products these days” is a brilliant exposition of why the U.S. is now an undeveloped country, the real third world.

        1. oliverks

          Actually you can do everything here in the USA. We have good board fabricators and board assembly houses. They can turn very quickly. At the kind of volumes we would need for ventilators, you would even need to go to that big an operation.

          There are several good CMs here as well with experience in building complex medical devices. The problem is someone needs to take ownership of the situation and corral all these resources together.

          I would be happy to get people ramped, if someone tossed me a budget and told me to go make this ventilator.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “‘My Friends Can’t Get Their Nails Done,’ Fox News Host Laments While Acknowledging ‘People Are Dying’ From COVID-19”

    I think that her tanty about her friends not being able to get their nails done is just a cover story. What Ainsley Earhardt is really worried about is that her circle of friends are only a few short weeks of finding out what each other’s true hair colour actually is.

      1. a different chris

        This is interesting because I was just watching an old Twilight Zone – which also coincidentally was one of the “post apocalypse” ones, circa 1962 I think – and there was this exceptionally beautiful woman in it. Exceptionally beautiful very dark haired brunette.

        I was shocked to find out as the end credits rolled – and believe me I was paying rapt attention!, that it was Elizabeth Montgomery. Soon to rise to fame in Bewitched as a stunning blonde.

        I think the hair thing will work itself out.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          When Elizabeth Montgomery played her mischievous cousin Serena on Bewitched she was in a brunette wig.

          Bugs is a big fan. And Elizabeth Montgomery was a really decent, kind person, blonde and brunette.

          So yeah, hair color will work out.

      2. wilroncanada

        Mentioned yesterday.
        The old folk song–for old folk like me…
        “Black Is the Color of My Love’s True Hair”

        The news reader on a Vancouver Island TV station said a couple of days ago, “Another couple of weeks and I’ll be able to show my real hair colour for the first time in years.”

    1. David

      You may laugh, but in some countries this is a serious problem. In France, hair is taken extremely seriously , especially by women but by men as well. Even villages generally have hairdressers, and in the cities you fall over one every hundred meters or so. Old fashioned barbers (barbier = beard trimmer) have recently become very popular. Most French women over 35, according to the national hairdressers’ association, have their hair colored every couple of months. In many cases, they keep this a secret from their husbands, who will therefore be in for a bit of a shock. Facebook pages have apparently been filling up with mordant witticisms from the currently unemployed coiffeuses along the lines of “99% of blondes in the country will disappear over the next two months.” The social consequences of all this will be profound.
      You have to laugh, I suppose.

      1. Ignacio

        My mother (88 yo) needs feet finger nail cutting at least once a month and done by someone experiences with proper tools.

      2. Frobisher

        Cosmetology is a high contact occupation and it’s practitioners are particularly at risk. Read about all the others here. This is dedicated to all my hairdressing peeps and Telluride who just got laid off. And most of them were 1099 employees anyway so they’re not eligible for standard unemployment insurance. That’s what happens when you choose occupations to pamper the rich.

        1. wilroncanada

          I’m going to have to shave off my beard for proper fit of the N95 mask I have. Was never important when I used one for DIY projects around the house. As for hair–I cut my own for about 35 years, so I’ll just have to get back in practice. I bought a hand mirror today to reflect on my future. Of course, at that time I had a lot more hair. what I have on top now is mostly disguised as skin.

          1. eg

            I’m growing a “there are no playoffs” beard

            I’m DNR — no masks here

            Oh, and my grey hair is all mine — I earned every one, just like my wrinkles

      3. Kurt Sperry

        In Italy, all the men young enough to not be gray have black hair, yet two-thirds of the women are blonde!

    2. Arizona Slim

      Yeah, and I need a haircut! Darn hair is getting in my eyes.

      Oh, look. Over there. It’s a hat.

      Slim puts hat on. Hair problem solved.

      1. HotFlash

        Fortunately for my family, I own scissors. None of us has had a professional haircut in over 30 years, but we do get compliments.

        1. marieann

          I have cut my husband’s hair for 40 years and nary a complaint is heard, however I go to a hairdresser for mine…..but I don’t really bother about how it looks, I went gray years ago. As gardening season arrives I feel I’ve done well if I can keep my fingernails clean

  16. 2020 - The Lost Year

    “Rhode Island Police to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge”

    Yes, it’s true, state police will go door to door starting today making a list of out of state people with out of state license plates who have taken refuge in their coastal summer houses. They will also tell them they must self quarantine, which, frankly, is a good idea. As a Rhode Islander with a deep understanding of the local scene I can safely say that for many of the hateful, ignorant racists among us, and there are plenty of them around here, calling someone a New Yorker is code for saying they’re Jewish. Sadly, we have come to this.

    1. Lemy Caution

      If you can make (it out of here) you can make it anywhere

      Your comment reminded me of Florida Governor DeSantis’ alarm 4 days ago over the mounting exodus of New Yorkers to Florida (my emphasis) :

      “There’s over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to the state of Florida, and I would reckon given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who is positive for COVID-19,” DeSantis said. “And so as we are working to stop it in the state of Florida, you’re consistently having people come in from one of the top hotspots in the entire world. We don’t have people coming from Wuhan (China), we don’t have people coming from Milan (Italy), yet you have a flood of people still coming from New York City.

      I fear the skies have been full of burning embers for weeks now, and as they land they start smoldering away prior to starting new hot spots.

      1. MLTPB

        Can a state or the federal government ban entry of people from other states?

        What is involved here, constitutionally?

    2. chuck roast

      Journal of the Plague Year
      by Daniel Defoe

      …at the other end of the town their consternation was very great: and the richer sort of people, especially the nobility and gentry from the west part of the city, thronged out of town with their families and servants in an unusual manner; and this was more particularly seen in Whitechappel; that is to say, the Broad Street where I lived; indeed, nothing was to be seen but waggons and carts, with goods, women, servants, children, &c.; coaches filled with people of the better sort and horsemen attending them, and all hurrying away; then empty waggons and carts appeared, and spare horses with servants, who, it was apparent, were returning or sent from the countries to fetch more people; besides innumerable numbers of men on horseback, some alone, others with servants, and, generally speaking, all loaded with baggage and fitted out for travelling, as anyone might perceive by their appearance.

      1. shtove

        I think in that same book he describes how his uncle buried a giant wheel of Dutch cheese in his garden, to preserve it from the Great Fire. It was there when he got back, but a bit stringy from the heat.

  17. Richard H Caldwell


    Beautiful (visually and rationally) and necessary work; thank you! I agree with your thesis that there is great benefit in being able to cite a taxonomy of tactics like you have developed in order to precisely, consistently, and repetitively call out these tactics when they are slipped into discourse.

    I have similarly threatened to construct such a taxonomy to “call out” the various bullying tactics employed by Donald Trump, since normal, non-bullying people (i.e., non socio- osychopathic) are also intrinsically credulous, and so too easily affected (infected?) by them. If all of us were able to annotate a Trump emission with precision, i.e, “name-calling” or “ad-hominem attack”, rather than the generic “lying”, I think it would be analogously powerful as your techniques.

    I think really you are providing leadership in the development of Media Literacy v2.0, in that the incredible explosion in the sheer number of channels reaching the average person make this education critical to individual and societal health. We are seeing the dangerous and noxious effect of the use of these techniques over the last 40+ years in neoliberalism, climate change denial, and political discourse generally.

    1. xkeyscored

      It seems to be aimed at helping us not be duped, but is it effective in changing the minds of those who are? I got most of the questions in the two quizzes right, suggesting I can identify the tactics being used by agnatologists and the like, but can I persuade them climate change is real and serious? I wish. I just get a headache trying.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “An emergency room physician who made pleas for more safety equipment and more urgent measures to protect staff at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center was fired on Friday.”

    Not really a problem. All that physician has to do is put himself into lockdown for a fortnight to make sure that he is clear of the virus and when he comes back, he will find hundreds of hospitals screaming for his services. In baseball terms, this is only the first innings this.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I agree. But he should insist they triple his salary and sign a non gag agreement allowing him to say whatever he wants whenever he wants to whomever he wants.

      I can’t believe how successfully the public at large is being kept in the dark as to what their government including Trump is and isn’t doing.

    2. flora

      per the story:

      “I got a message that said, ‘Your shift has been covered,’” Lin told The Seattle Times. He phoned his supervisor and was told, “You’ve been terminated.” Lin said he was told he would be contacted by human resources staff from his employer, TeamHealth, a national firm that contracts with PeaceHealth’s emergency department.

      And now (as Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story…

      TeamHealth, the Dr’s employer, is owned by private equity firm Blackstone. PE buying up medical groups is hurting medical care in a big way.

      This isn’t the first story of PE shortchanging hospital supplies to increase revenues, or even stories of stock buybacks to boost share prices during this pandemic while their hospitals are left wanting for basic materiels to cope with a surge of patients.

  19. QuarterBack

    Re the science denial article, I would suggest that Science Denial is only a proxy war within the much larger conflict of Authority Denial in general. Faiths in institutions of all kinds have been on a steady decline for decades whether it be politicians, insurance, healthcare, banks, news organizations, the courts, law enforcement, or others. These crisises of faith are beginning to reach critical limits with us in the hoi polloi, and, like the coronavirus, is being experienced across the globe at the same time. When crises of faith take hold, the publics scramble to find enemies (and their “collaborators”), so conspiracy theories abound. This leads to eventual intellectual and sometimes physical conflicts, and in times of these conflicts, FLICC is weaponized under the banner of “what goes around, comes around“. Remember too “all’s fair in love and war”.

    There can be no doubt that inequality of wealth and power has been accelerating since the 1970s, and rightly or wrongly, growing numbers of the public have chosen neoliberalism and globalism as the enemies. The Internet and social media have quickly educated the masses in the tactics of propaganda (fake news), and the power ratcheting mechanisms like the shock doctrine, which have been employed in crisis after crisis to implement stronger weapons of institutional power. Some of the largest that come to mind are 911, the 2008 financial crisis, and hurricane Katrina. Now we see the shock doctrine in full display with the coronavirus “rescue bill” and its plethora of waiting-in-the-wings ear marks. Is it any wonder that some in the traumatized public are fearing that our great institutions, and science itself, are just (willing or unwilling) co-conspirators of our enemies?

  20. Ignacio

    A bit of background on coronavirus origins and why it is so important:

    All known coronavirus infecting humans (so far up to 7 including SARS CoV 2) can be traced to other animals and are almost certainly of zoonotic origin. Of these 5 can be traced to bats species which are considered the main reservoir of coronavirus. In bats these are mainly intestinal viruses that can spread to other species through faeces. The other two are of rodent origin. Three of these were known before SARS CoV 2 to be endemic in humans. There is a wealth of info about the molecular evolution of these virus and their clinical properties (how and when these were aquired) and I am following here a review that was published in Trends in Microbiology in 2016. After MERS CoV and SARS CoV 1 a lot of attention was given to these including some many studies assessing the potential risk of new zoonotic CoV diseases and particularly about SARS-like CoVs.

    The three human endemic CoV previously known are:

    HCoV-Nl63 (alphacoronavirus): Mild cough. Shares a common ancestor with a BatCoV identified in a North American Bat that can be traced to about 600-800 years ago by molecular clock analisis. The intermediate host is unknown.

    HCoV-229E(alphacoronavirus): Mild cough and pneumonia in immunocompromised patients. Diverged from Bat CoV about 200 hundred years ago and is closely related with camelid CoVs. It is possible through not demonstrated that its capacity to infect humans was adquired in alpacas or in another mammal that was common intermediate host for humans and alpacas.

    HCoV-OC43 (Betacoronavirus A): Cough and ocassional mild pneumonia. Origin in rodents about 120 years ago. Possible intermediae host: cattle.

    After SARS CoV 1 another HCoV was identified in a few patients with pneumonia HCoV-HKU1 also belonging to Betacoronavirus A and most probably from rodent origin whose unknown and probably extint ancestors could have originated in the 1950s. This spells that we already haven’t identified all possible human infecting coronaviruses.

    SARS-CoV 1 (Betacoronavirus B): appeared in 2002 from civets and have a common ancestor with bat CoVs that can be traced to about 1980s (up to 17 years before the outbreak.

    MERS-CoV (Betacoronavirus C) that was identified in outbreaks originating in the Arabic Peninsula from camels in 2012. Has an origin in bat CoVs that can be traced to 2006, then jumped to camels and evolved adquiring capacity to infect humans. There is no reason to think that new MERS-like outbreaks could occur. So a surveillance on this is in place.

    Finally SARS CoV 2 (betacoronavirus B) responsible for Covid 19 whose intermediate host has not been identified and shares common ancestors with bat CoVs isolated from bats in Yunnan. More extensive research is needed to identify the closest bat relative and the putative intermediate host. Similarities with pangolin CoVs in the S gene may be due to evolutionary convergence or some unidentified and very difficult to prove recombination event in some unknown host.

    Coronaviruses have shown high capacity to jump hosts and those arguing that this is not possible. Not to mention that cats and dogs have been shown to be readily infected by SARS CoV 2, this shows how easy is for this virus to jump species and why is so important to establish international surveillance systems for coronavirus emergence instead of spelling stupid conspiranoic theories. Too late for SARS Cov 2, but necessary for the future.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for this informative comment. It helps establish the big picture. When you said ‘All known coronavirus infecting humans (so far up to 7 including SARS CoV 20)’ I take it that scientists regard it as only a matter of time until more appear in the pipeline rather than a mutation of the seven ones that you mentioned.

      1. Ignacio

        Yes. A mutation (a few mutations) occurred in MERS when it travelled to South Korea, the largest outbreak outside the Arabic Peninsula. These changed the clinical and epidemiological development. So mutations occur as they adapt to the new host with unpredictable outcomes. This explains why SKans have been so bold with the latest CoV.

        I wrote a few things with mistakes. There are many reasons to think new MERS variants could jump to humans resulting in new outbreaks.=> Surveillance

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks, very interesting and informative. The misinformation and conspiracy theorising around this has really gotten out of hand. Even the normally very solid Elijiah Magnier tweeted one out yesterday.

    3. xkeyscored

      Re: MERS-CoV
      “There is no reason to think that new MERS-like outbreaks could occur. So a surveillance on this is in place.”

      Did you mean to say no reason to worry about further outbreaks?

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t know how many people have pet ferrets — but ferrets seem to be very susceptible to flu viruses. I ran across a Chinese study that used ferrets to test the spread of flu viruses by airborne particles. I got the impression that ferrets were commonly used as a model animal for testing flu viruses.

      1. rtah100

        During a brief but joyfully hazy period, working busdev for a UK start-up in days and spending a lot of time on Route 101, going between the Valley and the City (hmm, sounds like a lost Arthur C. Clarke novel), a college friend who was an associate professor at Berkeley (in computational genomics) invited me along to party on Treasure Island (which had just been decommissioned as a US Navy base). Amid the weird white-picket fence suburbia, implausibly in the middle of SF Bay (with an alarming exit from the bridge to get there, apparently plunging to nowhere), I met a rum crowd, including Dan the Automator (sometime DJ) and a guy who had a ferret on his shoulder. He was the toast of the ladies, who were enthralled by the cute and musky creature (and I guess they liked the ferret, too). I was surprised – ferrets are an old man’s game in the UK – and he proudly replied that the ferret is the third most popular mammal to keep in the USA. Unfortunately, he then went on say he knew a lot about ferrets because his family were the biggest breeders in the US, principally for vivisection, at which point he was merely toast with the ladies.

  21. Jesper

    About: Bosses are panic-buying spy software to keep tabs on remote workers
    To me it shows that many bosses care more about controlling their workers than about results and outcomes. If they cared about results and outcomes then they’d monitor the results/outcomes.
    Once upon a time bosses led, organised and delegated work but now it seems that many bosses believe that they should (or are forced to) just wield the whip and focus on the KPI. I suppose a culture of teaching for the test has created bosses who will do the same when they boss – work to the KPI…
    Ah well, if the monitoring software is bought then maybe some bosses who do nothing but wield the whip might end up unemployed. If that were to happen then the people who hates it if other people are not working would then themselves be without work. Would they then change their minds and suddenly support unemployment benefits?

    1. curlydan

      hopefully, a lot of workers could take their work laptops home. Then you do work on your laptop and browse on your home computer :)

    2. BobW

      Once I fruitlessly tried to convince a middle manager that frantic activity was the opposite of productivity. Got tagged as not a team player.

    3. adfa

      Not just bosses. For online teaching in replacement of in-person instruction, schools and universities are trying to force spy software on students.

  22. David

    The RTE article is indeed very interesting, and typically well researched, but I’m tempted to say that, if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. The C19 crisis has exposed an underlying and fundamental problem with EU funding which doesn’t have a solution.
    Consider: the first iteration of the EC (at 6) was the Benelux countries, France, Germany and Italy. All were wealthy (Italy, remember, was set to overtake the UK in GDP) and all had functioning states. Adding the UK (and somewhat less Ireland) to the mix improved things. Arguably, the rot set in with the accession of Greece in 1981, which established the principle that small, poor countries culturally and geographically distant from Western Europe and with poorly functioning states could nonetheless join. Wealthy and functional states like Finland and Austria, once they joined, were too small to make a significant difference to the inbuilt structural problem that, to simplify, a relatively small number of wealthy western states are effectively subsidizing a lager number of poor eastern ones. Nobody seriously believes the Rumania (2007) for example, with its dysfunctional economy and gangster politics, will ever be anything more than a burden for the other EU nations.
    In part, this is an element of the UK’s poisonous legacy to the EU. The UK was not, of course, the only state keen on enlargement, but it supported enlargement quite cynically as a way of diverting effort that might otherwise have been used to build deeper and more ambitious structures, and also creating a structure that would be too big to function properly. It was christened “out widening the deepeners” in London. Now, of course, the UK, with its large economy and (relatively) functional state has gone.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a bit off topic, but I could never understand why Ireland back in the 1990’s supported the accession of weaker members. I think there was a thinking that lots of smaller countries could counterbalance the Franco-German-UK axis, but it weakened the structures for everyone. Of course, in some cases it did work – Ireland itself developed immeasurably as part of the EU as did Portugal, another former basket case, now a modern well functioning state. As to why some countries succeeded while others didn’t, well, thats fertile ground for a few PhD’s.

      But yes you are right – the motives for including countries like Greece were a peculiar mix of noble and cynical, but it was always going to weaken the EU (which of course is why the UK was in favour). But less remarked as well is that some smaller northern States are even more implacably opposed to helping weaker countries – Finland was the hardest line against helping Greece, even more than Germany, and now it appears that the Netherlands sees their job as strengthening the German spine when it comes to dealing with those feckless Mediterranean types.

      In reality though, I suspect that opposition to a Coronabond will start to evaporate when German car manufacturers and Dutch flower growers start to squeal (I’ve seen clips of tonnes of Dutch tulips shovelled into incinerators this week). Churchills dictum about American doing the right thing when all other options are exhausted could well apply even more so to the EU, given the necessity of eliminating every last hold out before progress can be made.

      1. Olga

        Wouldn’t Ireland itself been one of the “weaker states” back in the early 1990s? Perhaps the support was out of solidarity? And EU without Greece would have made little sense – seems to me. The problem likely is not the EU, but the constraints the euro system imposed on all – EU and the euro zone are two different things.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, Ireland was probably the poorest State by some degree on joining the EU. I don’t think it was considered a big deal by the other members at the time because it was small enough not to matter economically. I recall reading years ago a diplomatic history at the time where Irish negotiators realised that most of their German and Dutch and French counterparts were more interested in reminiscing about their backpacking days in the 1950’s and 60’s when they’d hitchhiked around the West of Ireland than in driving a hard deal – it was a reminder to them of the huge importance of soft power, and they’ve never forgotten it (one reason why Irish embassies are legendary for their alcoholic generosity).

          There may have been an element of solidarity with ‘weaker’ States in Ireland stance, but I suspect it was more likely a calculation (wrong, I think), that more economically weaker States would tilt the balance of power away from the Franco-German axis. I think back in the 1990’s even hardened diplomats had quite a naive view of the eastern fringes of Europe.

    2. lou strong

      The RTE article is interesting and informative, but I’d add a fact which is never quoted,there and elsewhere, and that I find at least paradoxical, if not tragicomic.The ESM has been funded by member states increasing their own sovereign debts pro quota. The ESM fund has never been wholly engaged, so in the meanwhile all that money has not been put under the mattress , but invested in Eurozone sovereign bonds of the highest rating, if I have to believe a K.Regling’s declaration made a few time after the ESM establishment . As far as I can understand it means that all the states such as Italy, France, Ireland and so on have financed pro quota along these years the public debts of Germany and Netherlands, I guess.

    3. Olga

      From the perspective you describe, the EU would have been doomed before it even started. European countries are all very different; the one commonality they share is that they are all packed into a fairly small land mass (and that most of them – sans the Slavic contingent + Romania – got rich off their colonies). The geographic closeness suggests a union, but historical, economic, and cultural differences do not. What is one to do? To eu or not to eu? And euro’s structure has only made things worse.
      If there is no agreement even during a serious crisis, such as this one, there really is little hope for the subcontinent’s unity.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I hear that if they show up driving a luxury import vehicle with at least two Louis Vuitton bags on the roof rack you can take them down. Domestic with an empty rack, you have to let them go.

        1. MLTPB

          I don’t agree with the idea that you are not sufficiently contrite, if you can still stay calm and accepting while being criticized, which is also different from arguing back against every criticism.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        And in California, we’re begging the governor to close the border with Arizona as your governor is a moron and a breathtaking % your populace believe whatever the president says.

      2. lordkoos

        In Washington, we also feel the same way about Californians, and in eastern WA we feel that way about people from Seattle.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I saw in a cartoon that the primary purpose of Oregon was to keep all but the most determined of Californians from reaching Washington State. The cartoonist is originally from Washington so perhaps that explains his sentient.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Apropos of nothing in particular, except they were New Yorkers:

      Sometime around 2004 I was on a re-supply mission from a village on Admiralty Island (SE Alaska) to a small cabin on a lake, and we had lots of groceries and whatnot to cart, skiff, backpack, and generally schlep over the trails and lakes. At one point we took a break and did some fishing for Dolly Varden. This was middle-of-nowhere, on the way to the back of beyond, on a barely known trail to…well, literally nowhere. This is a place where the population of grizzly bears is *substantially* higher then people.

      As we were sizzling up our fish, we hear a hearty ‘hi ho hello!’ from the brush and these two gentlemen (mid 40’s? early 50’s?) come galumphing out of the woods. Naked, bare-ass naked except for boots, socks, walking sticks, backpacks and floppy hats.

      They made small talk, asked us what we were doing, let on they were on an ‘adventure’ and were from NYC. I don’t really remember much else except for me and my buddy and my buddy’s dad just being *totally* weirded out. Like, carefully – but surreptitiously – checking holstered .44 mag & lever action marlin 45/70 were both ready in case they turned out to be, I aliens or convicts, or wall street bankers something.

      It was truly that weird. What made it worse was that there was zero self-awareness by these guys that maybe, just maybe, being buck ass naked on the trail when hanging out with a couple of locals in bush Alaska was not the slightest bit…odd.

      We tried to not stare at wedding tackle, we did our best to be friendly, we even offered them some fish and cheese, and just kind of waited until they eventually moved on.

      New York City people? Sheesh. It’ll take a lot more samples of ‘normal’ people from NYC to *ever* start flattening out that curve in my perception-dataset of them.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Great story. I had a similar run in with New Yorks while camping next to a remote glacier high in the Canadian Rockies. Suddenly a helicopter was overhead and we heard it land a km or so away. We hiked over to where we’d heard it land and a very well equipped couple were setting up a lovely camp with the help of their pilot. Just spending the night and then off to Seattle for something else, la di da.

        Ruined our trip.

        1. John

          Did the pilot stay or fly off to come back the next day?

          Just wondering about the details of the lives of the rich work

      2. pretzelattack

        aren’t there lots of flying parasites in alaska–black flies and mosquitos and such?

      3. lordkoos

        You’d think the mosquitoes would put a quick end to that buck-naked-in-the-wild thingy.

    3. Big Tap

      What if the New Yorkers are from Buffalo or the Finger Lakes area. They’re from nowhere near New York City. What about north Jersey? Hopefully the police find out where they live.

  23. Wyoming

    So the link on SARS vaccine development says (if I read it right) that after almost 2 decades of research we have been unable to create a usable vaccine because all the candidates cause lung disease – they kill the virus but also eventually kill the patient?? After near 20 years of research?

    Not to mention that after some 15? years we have not created a MERS vaccine either?

    An awful lot of presumptions about our near to medium term future are being based upon a vaccine for Covid 19 being available in 12-18 months. Given the above information about Covid 19’s cousins I am just a bit curious about how confident we should be about these ‘assumptions’.

  24. Mareko

    Greetings from Botswana, everyone, one of the last places to have zero confirmed Covid cases to date. I hope we are all staying as strong and keeping as well as possible. Thank you to the good hosts of this wonderful haven and to the splendidly well informed commentariat for all your wit and wisdom. Thanks to NC I have at least had the chance to mentally prepare for this, and keep my family informed. But it’s still a traumatic experience for all of us, as the tone of some recent comments here indicate. I empathise: I exhibit in sudden random sentimentality rather than anger, but I’m luckier than many.
    Landlocked Botswana has been taking Covid seriously for a while but we are still not on lockdown. The fear is now palpable, though few wear masks. Rumour has it we will go into a strict quarantine as soon as the first case is confirmed. All new arrivals are being moved to very variable quarantine facilities for two weeks. And they closed all the bloody bottle stores and bars. Our puritan masters are determined to punish the alcoholics with drastic cold turkey, perhaps to reduce the numbers susceptible to the virus. I’m unfair: more likely it’s to stop people congregating and do something to help tamp down domestic violence. Here we are braced for the storm and trusting in Apollo of the healing sun. It is a slim trust with our limited health facilities and long, long supply chains.
    Good luck to all of us!

    1. David

      Greetings to Botswana, a country I never managed to visit in all of my trips to that region. Can you tell us how, if at all, your experience with AIDS is influencing what the government is doing now? At one point, if I remember correctly, you had one of the highest rates of infection in the world.

      1. Mareko

        Thank you David. The AIDS experience, which was devastating as you suggest, means that we have a pretty effective health system, given its limited means. My only recent travel was a wedding in Namibia. On the way out, 21 Feb, all was normal. On our return on 23 Feb our temperatures were measured at the airport in Gaborone. We know the system is fragile so we took it seriously early. Let’s hope it helps.

        1. Ignacio

          Some good comes after the bad! Take care in Botswana! Looks like the “first world”, sorry, the richer countries, are lost in their problems and not helping at all anywhere else. I have some hope that a possible remedy now being studied might be made affordable all around the world. But given how nationalistic is everybody turning…

          1. Mareko

            Thank you Igantio, I am in some awe of your knowledge of epidemiology, after thinking you were merely a world class expert in air conditioning. You are one of the reasons why I love the NC commentariat.
            I think our best hope is in China, which is busy building on existing dependencies to far surpass American or European influence here.
            We are praying for Spain, my brother lives in Asturrias, his son in Madrid. The numbers there make me very unhappy. I think of John Donne’s cliched words, which have a nice Spanish resonance:
            No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee

    2. xkeyscored

      Hi from Cambodia, Mareko!

      I’m hoping, but in no way trusting, in Apollo. Our temperatures this month have ranged from 23C minimum (most nights more like 26) to 40 maximum, a bit warmer than yours, usually high to extreme daytime UV, and so far 99 confirmed cases, nearly all imports, and the others from close contact with imports. So far no known community transmission. Not that it’s at all proven that high temperatures do slow this thing down; we may just have been lucky so far. (Health services and supply chains none too wonderful here either.)

      I still hope UV and high temperatures can help keep us safe, but only in addition to other measures. For example, I go out, when I need to, at the hottest time of day and do my best to stay out of the shade – the exact opposite of usual – and dump everything I’ve picked up in the sun to bake for the rest of the day and stick it back outside the next morning. (And wash hands each time I move it around, etc.) However, you’ll be in winter before long. Pray that global warming delivers a surprise sustained heatwave?

      Best wishes for you and your country. Zero sounds great.

      1. Mareko

        Yes it’s already cooling off here, unseasonably early. So global warming isn’t working out too well for us so far this year. But we usually have 25 degrees C most winter days, and very little cloud, so we can adopt your sensible use of sunlight. Perhaps it will help. We do tend to live in our own plots here, however small, so we also possibly have the advantage of relatively low density, around 2m people in a country larger than France. But the poor in the cities live crowded in and we have a lot of underlying ill health, not least from immuno suppressed people with HIV and TB.
        God speed us all through this.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Your writing has a beautiful rhythm and elegance. I hope to see more of your comments in the future.

  25. Amos

    The Chris Hayes comment is unwarranted and hyperbolic. In terms of per capita, while the US is indeed way ahead of China in both cases and deaths per capita, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland are off the charts.

    Country / Cases / Deaths as of yesterday
    Switzerland / 1,505 / 27
    Italy / 1,433 / 151
    Spain / 1,360 / 105
    US / 282 / 4.7
    China / 58 / 2.3

      1. Ignacio

        But think the US and others are catching up. It is a question of days. New York City is feeling the heat. Rural areas lag.

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Rhode Island Police to Hunt Down New Yorkers Seeking Refuge”

    ‘Rhode Island…has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.’

    Civil liberties advocates from New York perhaps? Still early days yet so I am waiting until we hear about American towns that have shut themselves off from the outside world and have established picket lines to ensure that no ‘infected’ visitors come seeking refuge in their towns. To be sure that might offend some people but if the death toll rises across the country then some towns will say enough is enough. An article or tweet appeared hear a few weeks ago talking how some place in China had actually barricaded the entrances to their village. Read about the same happening during the Black Death as well so would not be surprised if this happens in some western countries.

    1. Lee

      This sounds like martial law, which is within the power of each state governor to declare.

      Alameda CA is an island, separated from the poors of Oakland by three bridges and a tunnel. I’m recalling an incident during Katrina, when a bridge between the haves and have nots was blockaded by police defending the haves. In our case, I imagine Oakland would have us outgunned.

    2. Carolinian

      The states surrounding mine have issued stay at home orders but so far SC hasn’t although Charleston has city wide. Of course these are just voluntary and notional since people still have to buy food and go to their jobs if they still have one. In my town the local cops don’t even enforce the traffic laws much of the time so the idea that they are going to start pulling people over and asking for their travel permits is dubious in the extreme.

      Rhode Island though is tiny so maybe they think they can hold back the tide. More likely it’s just a fakeout to scare away the New Yorkers.

      BTW the SC governor has said that any New Yorkers who come here are supposed to self quarantine for two weeks (Cuomo said they should too–before they leave NY).

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        We saw yesterday where loony McMasters is refusing to call a lockdown and his AG is declaring the Charleston lockdown illegal. Maybe McMaster can send the state troopers down there to take control Trump-style. Then the state that began the civil war can broach new levels of insanity by having an intra-state civil war with the shooting beginning within eyeshot of Fort Sumter.

        This is going to be quite a shake-up for the southern worldview.

        1. Carolinian

          Send the state troopers to force people to leave their homes? I think this is more of a jurisdictional dispute than virus denialism. McMaster did give law enforcement the authority to break up gatherings of more than three people. I don’t think there’s going to be another Fort Sumter in the home of Fort Sumter.

          And I don’t particularly agree with a lockdown anyway. I’ve been out this morning and the streets are deserted voluntarily. It all has to be voluntary and the people most in danger need to look out for themselve by staying at home and taking extra precautions. Meanwhile cities can and are closing parks and other places that encourage large crowds and mingling.

          1. MLTPB

            What Rhode Island, Charleston, and other hypothetical American towns are doing here is that they are saying national total number of cases is not relevant to them.

            I think, they look at their own areas, and if they look like Singapore, or other less risky areas, they would like to keep it that way.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Pinellas County is supposed to be under a “shelter in place” directive. I drove my doggie for a ride to the community post boxes, winding through our subdivision. There was a lot of scent of barbecuing meat in the area, and at least five houses out of maybe a hundred in our bit of Heaven had six or ten vehicles (mostly big pickups and SUVs) parked all over in front of them.) So much for social distancing. There are a lot of dumb people in Florida. Of course a lot of them come from other places, like all the young people whooping it up for Spring Break, sharing a growing roster of social diseases, and all the folks who relocate here. It’s said that a native Floridian, any more, is someone who’s lived here more than 10 years.

            I heard that a true native Floridian’s favorite sight would be a New Yorker headed north with a Canadian under each arm.

            No man is an island, but some seem oblivious to that…

            1. Carolinian

              Headed north to SC or NC. We have “bouncebacks.”

              And you illustrate the problem nicely. It’s best medical advice versus the human need to socialize. I wonder which one is going to win? That virus has us figured,.

              1. JTMcPhee

                Around here the ones who leave FL after coming here from NY and MI and WA and such, heading back for “four seasons” in TN, NC, SC GA, are known as “halfbacks.”

    3. David

      There’s a documented tendency in a number of European countries for the wealthier to leave the cities and head for second homes or family homes in less afflicted areas, often rural. Orange, one of the largest mobile phone providers in France, did a study last week suggesting that, in total, there might be a million people normally in the region of the Ile de France around Paris (total population 12 million) who had left the region and who were elsewhere(or at least their phones were). This worried quite a lot of people, and there have been attempts to stop it. It’s not just that they bring the risk of infection into areas where there is currently none, but more importantly, the medical infrastructure in many of these areas is seasonal, and could not cope now with even a small outbreak of CV19. Access has been forbidden to all the islands off the western coast of France, for example, because, especially out of season, their medical facilities are very limited, and an outbreak would be a nightmare if one were to happen.

      1. rd

        General supplies are also seasonal. The grocery stores etc. will be on a winter footing with a small percentage of supplies being delivered compared to July. This is the same issue as in the Hamptons and Montauk. If NYC people discovered the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks, the same issues would arise there as many restaurants and stores are either closed for the winter or are significantly limited in supplies.

        So NYC people better be healthy when they go these places or they may find themselves sick in a place with virtually no resources to support them, including doctors, hospital beds, pharmacies, food delivery, etc.

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      We seem to be lucky enough to live in a state run by the hospitals. Cleveland Clinic seems to have more say about policy than any other institution, and they and their sister hospitals are not that interested in being destroyed by Covid-19. Consequently, Ohio’s governor was almost as early as Kentucky’s governor in closing schools, bars and restaurants and declaring a “soft” stay-at-home. CC’s current projections are that we will stay below the rapidly expanding hospital capacity even at the apex.

      The hospitals’ power might seem strange considering how other parts of the country are letting their hospital staffs get trashed because there were other priorities like spring break cash or a bizarre devotion to the Great Invisible Hand, but it makes perfect sense in Cleveland where two Top Ten hospitals are the reason Cleveland didn’t go the way of Detroit.

      Our son happened to be doing a music therapy internship at the other big hospital in town, but he’s at home now because non-essential personnel are no longer allowed in the cancer building where he was working. He continues to work with his hospital colleagues on putting together the software and hardware combination that will allow live, interactive remote visits with patients with the patient using an iPad or similar device. While remote visits by clergy, social workers, etc. are already being used, the set-up that allows the use of electronic instruments and pre-recorded music requires something more complex.

      One problem: my spouse reports seeing yesterday that we’re a destination for the NY diaspora because of our hospitals and sane governor.

      1. rd

        Upstate NY is similar. The major upstate NY cities have major hospitals in them that are integral to the community employing a pretty high percentage of professionals. Upstate NY generally shutdown within a day or two of the first documented case, so our cases have not gone up a lot which is good now but makes us really susceptible to a second wave infection later. However, I think people will generally be fairly smart about maintaining social distancing to the extent practical over the next year.

        We have cold weather still, so folks from NYC etc. have not been rushing to come here. Besides, I don’t think they know we exist and wouldn’t know what to plug into Google Maps to find us.

        1. Eclair

          Likewise in Chautauqua County in western NY, rd. We’re keeping up with news from there because we spend summers with my spouse’s family. Chautauqua County shut down early, before they had any cases. His brother, who works on the County road crew, is working half days, but most of the crew is ‘at home.’ Most of the rest of his family are farmers. It’s pretty rural and there is no public transportation system, so physical distancing is not a problem.

          And, he says the same thing about NYC folks; they don’t even know the place exists! Well, except for the liberals who hang out at Chautauqua Institute. But that doesn’t open until summer.

        2. 3.14e-9

          Trust me, the governor knows we exist. Part of their plan is to transfer downstate cases upstate if/when hospitals there are overwhelmed. He showed a map at this morning’s briefing.

          IIRC from the PP slide, there are now only two counties in NYS with no known cases. I, too, live in an upstate county, in a very rural area, and we have only a few positive tests so far. With everything shut down, there’s almost no effort needed for social distancing, except when I go into the city for groceries, and I’ve kept those trips to an absolute minimum. And as much as local businesses have been hurting for so long and would welcome the tourist dollars, there’s not a lot here to attract city people.

        3. Anarcissie

          At one time (late 19th, early 20th century) Saranac Lake was a famous center for the treatment of tuberculosis. Possibly some New York City people knew about it then. I understand some of the facilities have reopened because of the reappearance of tuberculosis as a public health problem. Possibly some of that history has come down to the present in the form of hospitals and other evidences of civilization and learning strangely planted in a area where only a few decades ago the Adirondack Park Agency was held to be a branch of the Soviet Union.

          But still the city folk should stay away. Nothing to see, chilly climate, lots of blackflies and mosquitoes, surly inhabitants.

          1. wilroncanada

            I worked summers my last two years of high school at a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario,. One of the buildings on the ‘campus’ was a tuberculosis hospital to which many Eskimos/Inuit were flown for treatment. I had to have a chest X-ray when I started and again when I left to return to school.

    5. Swamp Yankee

      North Haven, an island off Maine, voted in its Town Meeting to keep non year-round residents off the island.

      Ditty Block Island off Rhode Island.

      There was armed vigilante action against Jersey guys on Vinalhaven Island, 14 miles off Rockland, Maine.

  27. Samuel Conner

    Not that it matters, but I have a clearer idea of why I think that the background in JB’s “home studio” broadcasts is probably either a digital background in green-screened video or perhaps more likely even a projection, from behind, onto a translucent screen.

    Here’s a still from a recent webcast

    * There are few shadows in the background to give an idea of the source of illumination, but at upper right there are some books projecting beyond the level of the shelf, and a clear shadow.

    I’m not skilled in scene lighting, but it feels to me like JB and the background are not being illuminated by the same set of light sources.

    * the background is obviously out of focus; foreground (JB) is in focus. But the out-of-focus-ness of the background seems pretty uniform, even though it is clearly slanting away from left to right. I would expect the right to be more poorly focused than the left if that is a physical background behind JB.

    * the dimness and fuzziness of the background reminds me of the look of a background setup (years ago) in a photo studio that used a translucent screen to project different backgrounds. It’s hard to avoid that look with that kind of setup; green screen background can be as crisp and vivid as the video editor wants it to be. Back-projected translucent screen is very “old school,” but perhaps JB’s tech contacts are, too.

    1. Monty

      Thanks for the analysis. His campaign probably paid millions to set that up too. It looks terrible, but maybe it looks better than ‘reality’?

      Did you read the hagiographic text on the article? e.g. The sub-heading, “Joe Biden: He’s just like the rest of us”. Are MSN and CNN working for his campaign? This read like a campaign press release.

      Gut churning!

      The only person I know that looks at MSN is my 70-something mother in law. There was a little survey at the bottom (45k respondents), in which Biden was voted more likable than Sanders by a massive margin. 65% vs. 12%. (facepalm)

    2. Paradan

      To me it looks like the scale is off. The camera that took the background photo is closer to the bookshelf then it would be if it was the same camera we are viewing through. This effect can be accomplished with a telephoto lens, like when they take a picture of the moon on the horizon, and its huge, but to do that they’d have to have the camera way far away from Biden. Just how big is this room he’s in?

    3. Skip Intro

      I’m not sure the back projection explanation would account for the very static noise on the background compared to the foreground, or the edge artifacts. I think we can agree that the production value was pretty lame. I guess in an organization built on grift and graft all the way down, there aren’t many resources left for actual work.

        1. Skip Intro

          I feel if the static background were captured live in the video, it would have more moving noise. For it to be perfectly static suggests to me that the moving, captured video was composited over the still background picture. The streaming codec may be causing it, but I tend to think not.

  28. urblintz

    Have there been any reviews of last night’s Joe Biden Hour on CNN? Did the drugs kick in to make him appear lucid? Did he say anything stupid?

      1. urblintz

        yikes!!… thnx for the link rev! and if you can stomach it watch the next video, it’s a segment of “Hannity” (yeah I know, I took dramamine before listening) showing Trump taking down Biden on the dementia front. Biden, and frankly the Democrats, don’t stand a chance in November… adding that covid19 is the most unpredictable and dangerous candidate now for us all.

      2. xkeyscored

        Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be doing too well, from the standpoint he can’t … Huh. It’ll be very interesting …”

        I wonder if Trump was about to say “from the standpoint he can’t finish his sentences“, something he seems to see as a failing in others?

  29. TroyIA

    The hits just keep on coming. Rolling lockdowns until a vaccine becomes available?

    Effective transmission across the globe: the role of climate in COVID-19 mitigation strategies

    The ability of SARS-CoV-2 to effectively spread globally, including in warm and humid climates, suggests that seasonality cannot be considered a key modulating factor of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility. While warmer weather may slightly reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, there is no evidence to suggest that warmer conditions in northern hemisphere summer months will reduce the effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to an extent that few additional interventions are needed to curb its spread.

    1. rd

      Accuweather did an interesting analysis that speculated that summer UV radiation explains seasonal variation more than temperature. So sitting together indoors or outside at night would have similar transmission rates as winter but being outside in summer reduces lifespan of virus on exposed surface during daylight hours.

      1. MLTPB

        Another question that can be asked is if human immunity itself varies in different weather conditions.

        Is it weaker when it’s colder?

      2. Synoia

        South Africa has both High altitude (much UV) in Joberg, and is hot in Durban and Richards Ray. It is in lock down.

        It appear to be the neither UV nor near tropical temperatures affect the virus’ progress.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I found about high UV rates in South Africa when I was walking in Natal once and got a ferocious sun-burn. Found out later that whole British Regiments were knocked out of action after arriving in Natal as reinforcements during the Zulu War of 1879 as they got sun-burned. I forget the Boer term for the British but I think that it was something like roi neks which means red necks due to this happening to them.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “Brazil Undone”

    Bolsonaro will end up getting a lot of Brazilians killed through his idiocy and this may shape the future political landscape in that country. And at a terrible cost. But he is not alone here. I happened to come across a news story about the situation in Mexico and you can tell that it is going to be bad – real bad – down there. Here is a 3:38 video clip explaining it-

    But some Mexicans are not happy about the whole situation and have tried to block cars from entering Mexico from Arizona until the travelers have been screened-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      In many ways that article is a good news story. I have a friend in Brazil in quarantine (ironically, she returned home from her home in north Africa because she thought Brazil would be safer and she wanted to be with family), and she said that Brazil is rife with rumours that Bolsonaro was deliberately stirring up conflict over the virus so he could persuade the military to enact martial law and make himself president for life. Given Brazils history, if that happened, then the next stage would be a massacre of his opponents and anyone deemed to be a leftist.

      But if this article is right then it seems that he has proven too unstable even for his military and establishment friends. It seems they are anxious to remove him and replace him with someone a little less obviously crazy and a little more competent (the latter not being difficult).

      1. Mel

        Couldn’t the money people vet these guys better before they install them? I mean, like, you had one job, and you gave it to yourself yourself, and then you did this!

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          The skill set to win elections, i.e. “salesmanship” including skillful lying, divide-and-conquer manipulating and shameless hypocrisy, is not the same as the skill set for governing effectively. It’s pretty much the opposite.

            1. pretzelattack

              it used to be lying and sucking up to corporate wealth, now it’s appearing lucid for brief intervals, with the right drug cocktail.

    2. Arizona Slim

      When Mexico doesn’t want us, you know it’s bad. Cross-border commerce is huge. For both countries.

      1. newcatty

        Yes, looks like some Mexicans value health and life over money. Imagine. Here in Nortern AZ the major towns are already flooded with virus escaping refugees. It used to be a lament about CA refugees coming in to buy up houses and cabins as “second homes” or “Summer homes”. As major Phoenix metro region exploded with people moving into it, then the inevitable siren call to escape summer screamed to those of means: get your place in the cool country. It’s always been a fact that tourists and CA people are economic engines. Now, with the virus here and everywhere, the summer folk are already hunkering down. AirBnBs and second homes are occupied. Short-term term rentals have gone long, or are adequate for their owners as a refuge. Spring is the new summer. We are not that different from upstate NY, Rhode Island or the Cleveland hospital metro area. With the added bodies here in Northern AZ towns and country be an added burden and challenge for our healthcare workers and hospitals?

        BTW, Lee. Appreciate your, imo, wise comments about AZ opinions about Californians. Our dearest and not so nearest relatives live in So Cal.

        1. skippy

          Kinda curious considering the reality shift Californians would experience, seems some family social media in AZ is indicating a Old Testament mentality on the rise, including tendrils out into flyover country.

          Similar to the first gulf war experience, but this time its not just some far away country or esoteric beef, its about exceptionalism or bust on a global scale.

    3. xkeyscored

      How refreshing to hear that flight attendants newly arrived from the United States can walk around carefree. apart from the knowledge they might already be exposed, more likely on the plane than in Mexico.

  31. Lee

    Under martial law powers I’m assuming such action can be taken by a governor.

    Alameda CA, where I live is an island, separated from the poors of Oakland by three bridges and a tunnel. I’m recalling an incident during Katrina, when a bridge between the haves and have nots was blockaded by police defending the haves. In our case, I imagine Oakland would have us outgunned.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Had a sister used to live in Alameda. Whenever anything got real they’d blockade the bridges and the tunnel with cops to keep the undesirables away from the gentrified areas.

    1. Wukchumni

      The key to releasing Benjamins into the wild from on high is to make sure you take the band off, creating flutter effect and most importantly-fair dispersal to outstretched arms below yearning to be free money.

  32. Jason Boxman

    I’ll be interested to read any stories about our failing state unemployment web sites. I imagine these have all been outsourced to the lowest bidder, probably with grift involved. Who are the service providers? Why can’t these sites scale?

    Ideally, software in the public interest would be completely open source, and hosted free of charge by law on one or more cloud providers, or some kind of national computer infrastructure provider. It’s not a question of technology; scaling web applications is a solved problem. Indeed, only the largest states may require any serious scaling expertise, and Google and Facebook demonstrate it can be done.

    So what are the failures here? This is worse than the ObamaCare Web site debacle.

  33. NoOneInParticular

    The general White House attitude leads me to a truly horrid conclusion.  Look at things such as telling governors in need of ventilators that they should find them themselves, saying we should get everyone back to work by Easter (a little bone thrown to the God squad there, he could have said mid-April), the appeal to self-sacrifice and patriotism (the idea that a few people dying would be a reasonable price to pay to keep the economy going), the lack of cash for people in general (noting Sirota here – for $2 trillion you could send $500 billion to health care facilities and send $10,000 to every worker in the U.S., (or more simply, $4,500 to every person regardless of age or employment), the handouts to corporations instead (see the United Airlines layoffs), and the millions of poor without insurance.  Look at all of this plotted against a map of the outbreak as it stands now.  Giant red blobs of disease on places like NYC and other big cities.  What they’re doing is sending tens of thousands to their deaths.  And right now those being culled are political opponents.  City-dwelling Democrat voters, with a heavy proportion of people of color.  They are willfully creating a new Holocaust.  They probably see this as a great opportunity.  Trump’s approval ratings are better than ever.  Independents, for whatever reason, are breaking in his favor.  This is the situation now.  As Ian Welsh says, in two weeks, things may shift as the disease takes root in red America.  Until then, the trains will keep rolling to the liberal death camps.

  34. Jason Boxman

    It’s also interesting, given how many working class people – that are now jobless – donated to Sanders, that he isn’t still fighting for the nomination. That’s money that a lot of us would love to have right now. Oh well. I stopped getting texts from the campaign weeks ago; his campaign seems essentially suspended anyway, much like the Democrat primary election.

    1. Skip Intro

      This is wildly false and thus irresponsible (dis)information. The campaign is making large number of calls into the upcoming primary states, as well as doing calls for solidarity with Amazon workers, and covid19 info calls. The campaign is raising millions from its donor base for a number of worker-centric covid charities, and Bernie is doing almost nightly livestream roundtables, like the one tonight:

      Bernie is going live again tonight at 7pm ET!
      Bernie will be joined by doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic – Dr. Jeff Zilberstein, MD, FCCP, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Critical Care at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, N.Y., Esti Schabelman, MD, MBA, who serves as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Sinai Hospital at Lifebridge Health in Baltimore, and Zenei Cortez, RN, who is President of National Nurses United.

      Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Lissie will provide music during the stream.

      Livestream available at at 7pm ET and our regular social channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc All of our livestreams are also archived on YouTube if you’re not able to join at 7pm

      I guess the Bernie blackout is really working…

      P.S. NY just moved the primary to June 23. Not sure of they lose delegates, and whether ratface Andy wants it that way.

      1. Jason Boxman


        I was getting tons of emails and texts constantly from the campaign; texts went completely dark.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        Datapoint: I still get text messages from the campaign, though the frequency has diminished.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      You know everyone here seems to forget that Sanders has a day job. As senator, representing the State of Vermont. He has been notably active in the upper chamber this past week.

      I don’t have a problem with an old guy doing his job during a national crisis. Sanders IMHO, looks like a champ compared to our other famous, elderly politicians.

      1. Jason Boxman


        He managed an enormous amount of campaigning, including even when he was forced to stay in DC for the sham impeachment show trial.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          See nippersmom below. Sanders only had to warm a seat during the impeachment kabuki play. Last week he was active in crafting legislation.

          Have any of you engaged in any U.S. retail politics? Chaired a caucus? Sat on a school board? Attended a town meeting? Anything?? (Buehler?) It is invariably more demanding than internet comment section bellyaching. Even when it looks like you “did nothing” in the detach view of the perennial bellyachers.

          1. Jason Boxman

            And I haven’t gotten any texts lately; during the campaign my phone wouldn’t stop blowing up. Guess I was unfriended.

            I get emails. The character of the emails is completely different. That’s great that they’re focusing on trying to protect people in dangerous work environments.

            But campaign emails of the character from January, they are not.

            1. Lee Christmas

              I know personally, here in Southern California, some of the Bernie volunteers have splintered off into mutual aid and local support groups.

              The texts and calls come from volunteers, and are directed to upcoming primary states. Still going.

              Also, volunteers such as myself are short of work and long on time, and scrambling to find ways to bring in some money to stave off the coming darkness. I imagine other volunteers are reeling with the shock to their personal live–taking care of relatives, working, self-quarantining–and have a hard time committing to campaigning right now.

      2. nippersmom

        And Sanders pretty much single handedly got expanded UI benefits included in that otherwise horrible bailout bill. I know Lambert doesn’t think that provision has any real value, but I suspect the 3.5 million people who filed for unemployment benefits last week, as well as all the contract and gig workers who otherwise would not have been eligible for anything, would disagree.
        In Georgia, regular UI benefits range from $44 to a maximum of $330 per week. 100% of salary up to a rate of $75,000 per year will make an enormous difference.

  35. edmondo

    Am I supposed to feel sorry for people who are so stupid that they got onto a freaking cruise ship in the middle of a pandemic that thrives in that environment? “Help me?” Help yourself.

    1. rd

      I felt sorry for the people who trapped early on Diamond Princess etc. However, anybody boarding a cruise ship after Diamond Princess made the news will simply need to deal with the consequences.

      Cruise ships always make the claim that they are subject to international maritime law, not local laws, so they are discovering what that means. “Quarantine” the word comes from the Italian word “quarantina” which means 40 days which is how long the port of Venice required ships to not come to the pier if they were suspected of having disease (usually bubonic plague) on board. So the cruise ships are simply returning to the Middle Ages but with air conditioning and better food and drink. Pandemics make us all live in the 1400s for a change.

    2. xkeyscored

      The two USians whose cruise became a vacation in a Cambodian hotel complete with ants, bugs and lizards, much to their horror, have now tested positive.

      They also complained of being housed in a “filthy” and “dilapidated” hotel, with “ants, flying insects, little lizards.”

      “There are dead bugs everywhere – and also live bugs,” said Theresa Gordon-Knapp, one of the two passengers quoted in the article.

      Hun Sen [PM] took umbrage to the article Wednesday morning and mocked the American couple for saying the Cambodian government had put them in a “lizard place.”

      “The [two] American nationals are the ones who said we put them in a lizard place,” Hun Sen said.

      “They are rich and they want to stay at five-star hotel,” he said. “If we listened to them, maybe the five-star hotel would be destroyed.”

      1. John k

        I know a couple in the group… they were reasonably happy given the constraints, really liked the food they were served while there. Did not mention any issues with the room except they were separated, each in their own room. Now in a 14 day quarantine back here on a mil base.

      2. lordkoos

        The lizards are no doubt geckos, which are harmless and eat bugs. We routinely saw them in our Chiang Mai apartment as we preferred open windows to air conditioning most of the time. It wasn’t hard to become accustomed to them, although they do make some funny sounds now and then. Americans are kind of a joke.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

          They do make funny sounds, and I can imitate the call of Laotian ones well – if I call, they respond to me. Doesn’t work anywhere else I’ve tried it other than Laos.

          Geckos gobble mosquitoes, so if one’s in a a part of the word where mosquito-borne illness- dengue, malaria – is endemic, one should encourage these critters to stick around. As geckoes are cold-blooded, I always leave a light on when the temperature starts to drop and I’m traveling through gecko country.

          1. xkeyscored

            I’d never heard that about Laotian geckos responding. I’m going to see if ours do!

        2. The Rev Kev

          We have Asian geckos in my home from time to time. They are pretty harmless, except to spiders this is, and do make weird sounds.

    3. The Rev Kev

      A big problem those cruise liners. A week ago I heard that there were some 3,000 Aussies on cruise liners around the world. One off the South American coastline had a huge contingent of doctors and dentists who you think would have know better to go on one during a pandemic. Western Australia is having a huge problem as they have three liners off their coastline and I think that NSW has about five. Western Australia let one dock to refuel but had police and customs at the dock to make sure nobody left that ship. Obviously they are parked there so that they can send their sick to Australia as they develop.

      The one that refuled is strange. It has about 900 German tourist aboard. From the two week delay in repatriating them, I assume that the German government did not want them back to deal with. Now they are having those passengers land to go straight to the airport for chartered flight back to Germany but if they had done that earlier it would have been better for all involved. Any person arriving in Oz now has to spend a fortnight in a hotel that the government is paying for but there are a few moaning about this and you know that if they went their own way, that they would feel entitles to wander around to go shopping and whatever and would not self-isolate.

  36. McWatt

    The Helicopters Are Coming Willem Buiter,

    The MMT reference is a good one. However, remember what MMT also says; it’s not only the creation of new money that is important, but what it is spent on is even more important.

    Looks like the government only borrowed half of the MMT premise.

  37. ObjectiveFunction

    The Wire piece on uddanda (literally, wielding a big stick) in India was interesting, many thanks, although it did ultimately amount to an extended lament about why cops don’t exercise better judgment. (umm, cuz well, cops)

    On my visits to India, I noticed that in both urban and rural areas, public order is maintained not by the threat of lethal firearms, but by ‘men with sticks’. The sticks are either rattan canes (lathis) or longer quarterstaves approximating a rake handle. Either can swiftly inflict a painful blow on a human or animal, compelling compliance without (usually) hospitalizing the victim. Rough justice indeed, but effective, having seen it in action.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Also ask whether they tested positive because of virus that hid away somewhere in their bodies [where did it hide?] or virus from outside their bodies — a new infection.

    2. rd

      It can also be false negative test. The testing is generally being developed so fast that it is unclear if accuracy is well understood yet.

      1. MLTPB

        Spain said Chinese testing kits not reliable, a couple of days ago (Guardian, Nikkei, Fox, etc).

      2. Samuel Conner

        There is an item (perhaps linked at NC today or recently) that a shipment of test kits from China was yielding only 30% positives in known infected patients, which implies 70% false negatives.

    3. Cuibono

      Thing is this: PCR tests for viral particles.
      Viral Cultures test for live virus and are much more difficult to do.
      Only viral cultures can sort out your question

    4. mnm

      I would add the link but you can find it on youtube-medcram his corona series. This MD keeps uptodate on most info, the tests done are 60-70% accurate.

  38. Jeremy Grimm

    Happy for how long? — assuming they actually receive the money. How happy are people with this new 800 page CARES bill and who says they are happy?

    1. Jules

      Yes, i reckon for far too many that 1200$ is spent the moment it shows up in their account or mailbox.

  39. Matthew G. Saroff

    In terms of equipment sterilization, there is a room temperature gas sterilization system that leaves no residue, NO2. Full disclosure, I worked at the company that does this, Noxilizer.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        12% of Dutch are obese – they have the lowest level of obesity in the OECD.

        If those figures above are correct, then thats seriously bad news for the US – I believe the rate is something like 40%.

        1. rtah100

          Cuibono wins a prize!

          This obesity misapprehension needs correcting now or a lot of fat and happy people will be needlessly worried.

          I read the UK report of the first coupe hundred ICU cases (bad news – 50% died). The standout fact was that 70% of cases are men. However, there was a comment on the fact that 70% of cases are overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Even the saintly Dr. John Campbell emphasised this as a worry.

          I was driven to look at the Public Health England obesity prevalence data.

          Lo and behold! The age structure of overweight and obesity in men is:
          16-24 – 35.6% overweight or obese
          25-34 – 55.2%
          35-44 – 67.6%
          45-54 – 76.4%
          55-64 – 81.8%
          65-74 – 79.3%
          75+ – 74.6%

          So, the 70% overweight and obese cases in ICU merely reflect the general population and the age structure of COVID-19 patients, mostly elderly and not many young skinny types.

          1. MLTPB

            Thank you for posting that.

            The 66 to 80% range refers to Dutch cases. PK writes 12% in that country are obese. Not broken down by age. Still, that 12 is far below 66 or 80.

            1. rtah100

              This late reply will probably never been seen but PK’s comment that 12% are obese is not inconsistent with the Dutch comment that 66-80% are overweight. Overweight is a superset of obese.

              In the UK (same dataset):
              – 12% are obese (18-244)
              – rises to 36% by age 45-54
              – c. 30% in the deciles 55 and above.

              So, obesity has higher incidence in UK population than in Dutch population but overweight is broadly the same. If obesity was worse than overweight for ICU risk, we would expect to see lower % in Dutch cases. We do not, so risk appears not to be proportional to bodyweight and the bodyweight structure of ICU patients is merely the bodyweight structure of the population.

  40. cm

    I think this Jimmy Dore interview of Matt Stoller trashing Sanders may have been posted yesterday, but it deserves wide coverage.

    1. curlydan

      wow. that was harsh, but a lot of harsh truth in there. this would have been an easy bill for Sanders to vote against purely on the principal of breaking up the “people” vs the “corporation/biz” parts, but it didn’t happen.

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Yes and his constantly telling us about fighting ‘billionaires on Wall Street’. Ok, well, there was your chance. Seriously demoralizing. And also note that Stoller says Sanders had nothing to do with getting extra anything for workers in that bill. He actually credits Shumer for that! Calls Bernie a weak coward, and that he just wants to be friends with Chuck et al. Wow! I guess this answers our questions about whether Sanders has the killer instincts to go after Biden and to go after power. Answer? No

  41. HAL

    Check this out:

    Passing the $2t bailout by acclaimation/voice vote requires a quorum. Does that look like 218 people to anyone?

    Pretty outrageous that they’re not even bothering with the pretense of democracy.

    The WaPo on the stimulus passage mentions in passing that this sort of thing is done all the time/quorum is casually disregarded when the people in charge feel like passing laws.

  42. 3.14e-9

    NYS presidential primary postponed to June 23, Cuomo announced at this morning’s COVID briefing.

  43. Lil’D

    Not being active Twitterly I was boggled at the thread under Chris Hayes tweet. So much rhetorical energy channeling hate.

  44. ChrisAtRU

    “Insiders tell how Sanders lost the black vote–and the nomination slipped away “

    Every time I read one of these, I eyeroll … the words “young” and “youth” don’t even appear in the article itself, because of course, Bernie has been winning the youth vote (50-) across all demographics. I am not a campaign strategist, but to the degree that as a technologist, one starts troubleshooting at the source – for example: if the server seems slow, then hey, start checking the server – it seems to me that #TeamBernie never felt they had to specifically address the problem at the source which is older voters across all demographics. Perhaps it’s too late, but I still believe that the focus on any outreach at this juncture should be on Bernie winning over his age group: 50+/65+.

    1. John k

      Bernie would be doing great if votes in states that have no chance of voting blue in the fall were disregarded.
      Or if only the ten states that were close in the last election were counted.

  45. Wukchumni

    A house here got TP’d yesterday, and I can’t remember the last time i’ve seen a domicile & trees clad in 2-ply. Looks as if the paper hangers used 2 or 3 rolls, what a win for the home owner!

  46. Jason Boxman

    Have there been any #diedforjoe or similar sightings on the Twitter, given Biden and the DNC encouraged voters to hit the polls the other week? Enough time has probably passed for people to be getting sick now.


    More than a dozen other states have rescheduled their primary elections as the campaign calendar has been upended by the outbreak, citing guidance from health officials who have urged people to avoid gathering spots, including polling places. Some of those states have switched to voting entirely by mail and have extended deadlines for doing so.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Totally agree. I started watching him after some of the more-intelligent analysis noted on NC and Hill Rising, but quickly ran into commentary such as you describe and had to shut it off. That said, I haven’t had the impression that anyone here was promoting him as a media personality, but simply was noting, with disbelief, that the Dems were so out of touch that a right-wing Fox commentator had a better grasp of reality, on that particular subject, at that time.

      1. Aumua

        I certainly agree about the Dems being that out of touch, but I think I see both that being pointed out and also “Well old TC ain’t that bad…” kind of comments. He really is that bad.

  47. 3.14e-9

    Updates from Cuomo’s daily COVID briefing:

    Began with ventilators, said he’s been hit with questions about why he needs so many (projected 30,000). Repeated a point made previously that COVID is a RESPIRATORY ILLNESS, meaning that the worst cases need ventilators. Also – and this is a point needing emphasis (my opinion) – when he talks about projected need for hospital beds and ICU beds, an “ICU bed” is simply a bed with a ventilator. Put another way, any hospital bed can be turned into an ICU bed by adding a ventilator, and it can be done quickly. Of course, you also need the staff; more about that below. Per guv’s experts (running caveat, so won’t repeat), COVID patients also need to be on ventilators longer. Non-COVID patients typically are on ventilators for 3-4 days versus 11-21 days for COVID patients, so the slower turnaround time means you need more machines. The 30k figure is the projected need at the apex of the curve. Overall goal is to flatten the curve, but Cuomo says he has to plan for the worst. Still projecting the apex is 14-21 days out.

    Anticipating the possibility that they won’t have all of the equipment in time, they’re working on backup plans, including splitting one ventilator between two beds – not a good solution, but better than nothing. Guv has said that the longer patients are on a ventilator, the greater the odds that they won’t survive, leading me to wonder whether they’re talking about reserving the split option for patients still needing a ventilator after a certain number of days. Given the incredible knowledge base on NC, there no doubt are readers who can address that possibility better than I.

    The state also has started looking at bag valve masks. Cuomo produced one from under the desk, demonstrated how it works (frightening). Needs to be manually squeezed 24/7. He said they’ve bought 3,000 and ordered 4,000 more. Also talking about training National Guard to do the pumping. His general opinion on the devices was, “No thanks.” However, in addition to the scarcity of ventilators, the demand has driven up the cost per device to $45k from $25k, and the state is paying for them, when it’s already broke. Cited all of the foregoing as evidence that the state “has no interest in inflating the need” for ventilators.

    Regarding staff, FEMA field hospital units will come with ventilators and trained staff. Also, the state Department of Health has been contacting retired and otherwise non-working healthcare professionals and so far has identified something like 70,000 volunteers (was taking notes but forgot to write down the number, sorry). Anecdote: My massage therapist, who can’t work right now due to the mandate to close, is a licensed physical therapist and likely will sign up. Although she doesn’t have ICU training, she has basic nursing skills that could free up staff who are trained in critical care. Also, gov pointed out that requirements are loosened in an emergency.

    There’s more, will continue in a new comment…

    1. rtah100

      The mid-century Copenhagen polio epidemic saw the medical students take shifts to pump the bags of patients on the wards, to keep them alive. Unfortunately SARS-CoV-2 is a much more infectious disease than polio, so it all has to be done in full PPE….

    2. JTMcPhee

      ICU beds usually have a lot more than a ventilator around. There’s a cardiac monitor, and all the stuff listed here: Note that a lot of descriptions of what is going on in treating critical COVID patients is referred to as “reanimation.”


      also, resuscitation), the measures taken to revive a person in a state of clinical death or to restore the functions of vital organs suddenly lost or impaired as a result of accident, disease, or complications.
      Reanimation is studied by a new branch of medicine, reani-matology. As this field has developed, reanimative measures have come to include not only direct revival but also ways of controlling acute metabolic disturbances involving water and electrolytes and gas exchange disturbances, methods of combating acute circulatory, pulmonary, hepatic, and renal insufficiency, and ways of restoring impaired functions following surgery. Other terms often used in the sense of reanimation are “intensive therapy” and “intensive care,” but they are understood differently in various countries and by different specialists.
      In reanimation, two factors are taken into account: the general principles of treating terminal states and clinical syndromes that threaten the life of a patient regardless of the etiology of the disease, and the nature of the pathological process. Various types of equipment are used, including electronic monitors, defibrillators, and electrostimulators, as well as drugs and such surgical techniques as tracheotomy and puncture and catheterization of major vessels. Such methods as closed cardiac massage and manual artificial respiration are used by medical personnel regardless of the physician’s or paramedical worker’s own specialty. These procedures are also carried out by specially trained persons in other occupations: rescue and highway squads and the police. First-aid personnel are also effective in reanimation since they are provided with specialized equipment and machines and are able to summon specially trained antishock, infarction, and toxicologic teams.
      The full range of reanimation measures is provided in specialized departments and centers and in intensive care units. These facilities treat patients whose vital functions are impaired or are likely to be impaired because of brain injury, poisoning, severe burns, myocardial infarction, acute renal failure, or tetanus or following extensive operations. When departments providing reanimation treatment are based in cardiological, surgical, neurological, and other centers, they specialize in cardiology, toxicology, postoperative care, and respiratory or renal complications. When such departments are nonspecial-ized, they function in major oblast or city hospitals.

      There’s not a lot of actual intensive care resources available to treat the people who are worst affected by COVID. There are a lot of nurses and doctors that are applying the kinds of inventive adaptations and work-arounds and all the stuff that actual caregivers do to try to keep people alive through the horrors of this disease. Like using one ventilator to provide respiratory support to two patients, or maybe more, like up to nine in one case —

      Not ideal, since there are pretty strict sanitary precautions that need to be taken to avoid secondary infections in vent patients.

      1. 3.14e-9

        > ICU beds usually have a lot more than a ventilator around.

        He’s not talking about “usually.” He’s talking about added hospital capacity and emergency offsite “surge” capacity for a pandemic, when “usually” no longer applies. The limiting factor is the ventilator, due the cost and unavailability. Other critical care equipment, isn’t an issue, as far as I can tell — certainly less of a concern than adequate supplies of masks and gowns.

        But, not to dismiss your point, the FEMA units have compact portable monitors. Here’s a photo from Javits Center:

        Lots more photos with the article here:

        I haven’t had a chance to finish typing up notes from today and probably won’t get to it tonight, but had planned to include a note just for you, based on your comment a day or two ago about non-COVID patients going to a hospital and being exposed to the virus. Cuomo announced today that his team found three locations in NYC, with a total of 600 beds, that will be used exclusively for COVID cases. It’s only a fraction of the total capacity, but they did acknowledge the obvious problem you described.

        Lastly, FWIW, I’ve been in an ICU, covered in needles and tape, wires and tubes attached to multiple devices, with staff looking in every 5-10 minutes. Some patients at some hospitals might be getting that now, but the closer cities get to peak infection, staff and supplies will be stretched beyond capacity and will make my experience look like a high-end suite at a VIP hospital.

  48. Noone from Nowheresville

    probably mostly red states

    We need to stop this. It’s a divider phrase.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        If you want to sharpen contradictions, play devil’s advocate and do the blue state blame game for this virus tragedy. It’s pretty damned ugly if one wanted to go there and all that. At this point, it’s uglier than the narrative for the red states.

        Red, blue, purple… citizen or resident The virus doesn’t care which host it infects, kills or simply damages.

        1. MLTPB

          Let’s hope for better days, for all, regardless the color of the state, as, after all, people are people.

  49. BoyDownTheLane

    Speaking of states, GoogleNews has several articles about Rhode Island and Massachusetts concerns (I ‘m not standing on I-95 so I can’t be sure) about New Yorkers bringing themselves and the virus northward. Also:

    Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City shares information in a Mar. 22 Zoom call with family and friends on empowering and protecting families during the COVID-19 pandemic. [57 minutes]

  50. Tom Bradford

    Pandemic diary of a naked capitalist. Week 3.

    Portfolios recovered 3% last week, now only 19% below all-time high of only 5 weeks ago.

    Utilities have come back, which isn’t surprising as they of all businesses have the best guarantee of a continuing income stream in the weeks and months to come. Best bounce, tho’, is in the retirement sector as the bright boys on the Top Floor have clearly decided that we’re not going to have everyone over 70 queuing outside the crematoria awaiting rapture like the over-21s in Logan’s Run, nor will tattered curtains be flapping in open windows or tumbleweed rolling down the silent mews and avenues of the nation’s retirement villages.

    Commercial property has picked itself off the floor as well (at least I hope it was the floor.) Businesses, tho’, are beginning to gripe about having to pay rent when they can’t trade. As an investor with a foot in both camps I’m hoping the Govt’s pending business relief package will address this as while I appreciate shareholders should bear the losses from bad management or a change in public tastes I think it inequitable that I should be wiped out where a business is unable to trade by order in an ‘unforeseeable’ event. Yes, pandemics are foreseeable, as are wars, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and meteor impacts but if investors are required to allow for them who’s ever going to invest anywhere in anything?

    As a taxpayer I support the Govt. paying 80% of the wages of laid-off workers as this isn’t their fault either, but what’s the point of that if the business is going to go under because it can’t pay the rent. As an investor I want the businesses I’m invested in to hang onto their employees so they can get up and running asap, and as a citizen I want, as soon as this is over, for said businesses to be back in the High Streets and Malls bringing light, life and a buzz back to the world rather than the empty shops of bankrupt businesses.

    The US, of course, is throwing blank cheques onto boardroom tables and looking to the CEOs and Directors to do the right thing. Churchill observed that you could rely on the US doing the right thing, after it had exhausted every other possibility but I wonder if that’s still the case under a venal moron like Trump. A fish rots from the head.

    So on paper we’re better off than we were a week ago and in fact back to where we were when even I thought the market was over-valued – and that was in normal times. However our value-on-paper doesn’t really bother me one way or another. New Zealand’s universal Super for the over-65s is enough to live on, albeit frugally, if you don’t have rent or a mortgage to pay out of it. For us our income from investments lets us put butter and jam on the bread rather than just marge, and a bottle of wine on the table. As long as that’s the case our worth on paper is meaningless.

    The queue to get into the Supermarket this morning was short and still good-humoured, and the shelves were well stocked. Most Kiwis know there’s food to go around and more as long as the center holds, and for that reason the center is likely to hold tho’ it helps that the Govt. has stepped up to the mark and the PM is respected and trusted.

    So hopefully we’re in for a few nasty months after which the world can pick itself up, dust itself off and start picking up the pieces. The world, that is, apart from the US which under an arrogant and incompetent President will likely still be digging itself into an ever deeper plague pit. I wonder if, by the end of the year, we’ll have the sight of Mexico and the rest of the world having to build walls to keep Americans out!

    1. JTMcPhee

      AMLO does not seem to be running Mexico all that well, especially regarding plague response:

      “Mexico under international criticism for coronavirus response“

      International observers and opposition leaders are warning that Mexico’s government is failing to take the coronavirus crisis seriously, risking a major eruption just as the rest of the world takes drastic steps to recover.

      The country’s hands-off approach has already sparked tensions with El Salvador, whose president blocked a flight Monday from Mexico City to San Salvador, citing subpar sanitary safeguards in Mexico.

      In a discussion played out over Twitter, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele and Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard debated the Mexican government’s capacity to immediately diagnose several of the plane’s passengers.

      The discussion ended with Bukele “begging [Mexico] to take drastic and overwhelming measures amid this pandemic, Mexico is a very big country and so should be its responsibility.”

      “Otherwise, in 20 days the epicenter of this pandemic will not be Europe, but North America,” added Bukele. “Stop looking at this as something normal, please.”….

      1. Tom Bradford

        Looks like North America won’t need Mexico’s help to become the center of the pandemic! I haven’t heard how Canada is coping, or whether there are any problems on the US/Canada border with the rich fleeing to perceived safety – in either direction.

        I’m guessing Peter Thiel has dusted off his bought-and-paid for New Zealand passport and is cowering in his hole not a million miles from where I type this. After all, this is precisely why he made the investment.

  51. Paul Jurczak

    “The Zaandam departed Argentina on March 7” – I feel their pain, but who in their right mind would embark on a cruise early March with so many known cruise ship mishaps already?

  52. VietnamVet

    Grover Norquist got his wish. The federal government has been so emptied out it is suffering from delirium tremens. The US Public Health Service is a vacant hulk not ever mentioned by corporate media. If funded and hiring, the public health service could mitigate the pandemic’s impact by testing, monitoring, tracing, and isolating the infected both the ill and the asymptomatic as done in other nations that have low mortality rates.

    Even crazier is instigating a war against Iraqi militias and not lifting the sanctions on Iran and Venezuela to save the lives of the victims there of the pandemic. This is the very definition of pathological evil. The US military too has a big problem. Aboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt at least 23 sailors tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The ship has been directed to a port and will administer tests to all of the more than 5,000 sailors aboard. DOD has stopped all military movement. The virus is so contagious that if isolation fails, 20% of the military will need to be hospitalized. The casualty rate for the Union Army at Gettysburg was 28%.

    The government has been so parasitized by oligarchs it keeps doing one thing; giving more money to the the leeches no matter how many Americans are killed.

  53. flora

    Bailout: cross finger while promising to keep employees on payroll, take the money and run, break promise. That some Pres Hoover level trust in the ‘good faith’ of the big corporate promises. The parallel is nearly exact. (Hoover invited leaders of large corps and banks to the WH as the Depression took hold, explaining the importance of keeping people employed and earning wages. Asked leaders not to fire workers. Leaders agreed not to fire then went back to their offices and promptly fired workers in droves.)

    Kennedy Center abruptly lays off entire orchestra hours after receiving $25 million taxpayer bailout

    The bailout was designed to “cover operating expenses required to ensure the continuity of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and its affiliates, including for employee compensation and benefits, grants, contracts, payments for rent or utilities, fees for artists or performers,” according to the law’s text. The arts organization decided that the relief did not extend to members of the National Symphony Orchestra, its house orchestra.

  54. ChristopherJ

    People are scared, S. The MB blog here in Australia is doing over a 1000 comments on the weekend, and 500 on a weeknight. Yet, there is no reason for this to morph into abuse in this place. Shut it down if it gets unmanageable.

    People need to be civil in the online space. When you are angry there is only one sensible response. Or, as my Mother used to put it, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We are all in this together and have biases and wrong view points. No need to be rude to others.

    BTW the asteroid meme is going ape…. all around the intrawebs. April 1. Hunker down everyone

    1. epynonymous

      Had a negative reaction, and thought for a bit.


      Reopen when you feel well.

      Love you.

      Seriously, that’s an impulse, and there’s few things I hate more than a comments shut-down. I’m not perfect, in fact I don’t know why this is a response…

      However, as much as I try to be useful in my commentary, go ahead and take the time you need to recover.

      If something is ‘crucial’ we will let you know when you are back in shape to listen to us.

      Also, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Just go ahead and shame us instead of the alternative if you’re willing to take a more loose approach.

  55. Mattski

    Just want to–carefully–note that what Biden is accused of doing (and it’s important to note that however convincing I may find Reade’s testimony these are accusations) is rape as per the updated/amended DOJ definition of Jan 6, 2012.

    I think these things need to be called by their right names, as many people pointed out as the recent MSU gymnastics story–biggest serial rape case in US history by some way under the definition–also showed. Joe Biden is accused of raping Tara Reade. Yet I have not seen a single news story bearing such a headline.

    A lawyer friend told me that the DOJ and US lagged a number of countries in admitting such penetration to the legal definition. But if you hear Reade describe what she says happened to her on both Halper and Krystal and Saagar’s shows. . .

    As a side note I want to add if it has not been observed here already that the accusation has unleashed a kind of vitriol on social media of a kind I am not sure I have seen before. I have a stake as a Bernie supporter who adds Reade’s (to me) convincing testimony to a long list of reasons not to vote for Biden. But to me some of the responses mirror so completely those of Christian right-wingers in defense of everyone from Trump to various church and other officials accused over the years that I am shocked by the lack of self-awareness. To scream Russian bot, etc. and not be willing to actually hear the testimony is to me not a tenable response.

    I no longer feel that there is a political tent big enough to admit their views and my own.

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