Links 4/2/2020

P.S., Mushrooms Are Extremely Beautiful JSTOR (Micael)

Humanity’s Origin Story Just Got More Complicated Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Geologists say recent earthquakes not tied to Yellowstone Caldera Star Tribune (David L)

Antarctica was warm enough for rainforest near south pole 90m years ago Guardian (Kevin W)

New X-Ray Technique Images Soft-Tissue Tumors Clearer Than MRI New Atlas

Zantac products should be pulled from market immediately, FDA says CNN (furzy). Hoo boy.


Tips from someone with 50 years of social distancing experience MPR. My kind of guy!

Co-workers realise their friendship was entirely based on proximity Daily Mash


Comments on COVID-19 Cathy O’Neil (David L). Important.

Be Wary of a Model That Shows a Decline in COVID-19 Deaths Nautilus (Micael)

Coronavirus update- TB vaccine in childhood may offer Covid-19 protection: Researchers Hindustan Times (J-LS). Consistent with a friend’s thesis that serious cases look an awful lot like latent TB kicking into active, including very sudden onset, ground glass X-ray images, etc.

US scientists link BCG vaccination with fewer COVID-19 cases, Indian scientists hopeful but cautious Economic Times (J-LS)

Families try to access Gilead’s drug remdesivir The Washington Post (furzy). Note the treatment they diss, chloroquine + azithromycin, appears to be the most successful in combatting serious cases, based on reports out of Italy.

Can you kill coronavirus with UV light? BBC (furzy)


Coronavirus: Artania cruise ship stand-off continues in Australia BBC (furzy)


UK concerns over testing as global cases near 1m BBC

COUNCIL REGULATION on the establishment of an European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE) following the COVID-19 virus outbreak European Commission


Tokyo wrestles with possible lockdown Asia Times (Kevin W)


Will the Coronavirus Threaten Our Food? New York Times

Coronavirus lockdowns and stay-at-home orders across the U.S. NBC. 12 states still not participating, including Alabama.

As COVID-19 Crisis Escalates in Capital Region, Governor Hogan Issues Stay at Home Order Effective Tonight Maryland (BC)

Coronavirus creates emergency in nursing homes The Hill

Nursing homes overwhelmed by coronavirus: ‘It is impossible for us to stop the spread’ NBC (furzy)

Coast Guard: Cruise ships must stay at sea with sick onboard Associated Press

Not sure about this Kinsa….1 million bought or given away, supposedly representing 2 million US households out of 128 million. This may be indicative but a sample of <2%, when there is bound to be sample bias, is far from robust. I would never use a thermometer that spied on me.

At least one data point suggests social distancing is having its intended effect in Minnesota MinnPost (Benjamin B)

28 Students Have Coronavirus After Spring-Break Trip New York Magazine

Cerabino: A rough draft of Florida’s eventual apology to the rest of the country Palm Beach Post (resilc)

Amish parochial schools adapting to closures Wooster Daily Record. Phillip H: “The item discusses some of the problems for the Amish relating to the mandatory school shutdown. It doesn’t deal with any great global issues, but does highlight just how truly local some aspects of the pandemic can be.”

Putin Sends Military Plane With Coronavirus Aid to Help U.S. Bloomberg (furzy)

After 42 Test Positive for COVID-19, Nurses in Western PA Walk Off Job Mike Elk

Political Responses

How It Starts Craig Murray (TVH). Important.

Social Security recipients who don’t usually file tax returns will automatically get $1,200 payments, Treasury says Washington Post (furzy)

As Coronavirus Surges, ‘Medicare for All’ Support Hits 9-Month High Morning Consult (martha r)


What If a Shrinking Economy Wasn’t a Disaster? JSTOR (Micael)

COVID-19: Winners and Losers Baseline Scenario

US jobs picture darkens as large employers axe staff Financial Times

Stronger pandemic response yields better economic recovery PhysOrg (Robert M)

Banks stand to make billions from US small business rescue Financial Times

Gilead forsakes monopoly status for its experimental Covid-19 drug – STAT. Dr. Kevin: “Got caught with their hand in the cookie jar …”

Cash App Scammers Are Using Coronavirus To Exploit People Quartz

The $2 trillion coronavirus aid package is just a start. Here’s what Congress needs to do next to help Americans through the Great Pandemic. Business Insider

BA expected to suspend 36,000 staff BBC


Teardown of Huawei Flagship Phone Finds US Parts Despite Blacklisting ars technica

China’s economy has yet to reach bottom Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The ‘S’ in Zoom, Stands for Security Objective See

Microsoft President Calls Washington State’s New Facial Recognition Law ‘a Significant Breakthrough’ GeekWire. If Microsoft likes it….

Trump Transition

Oil Price War: Is It Game Over For Trump? OilPrice

“The Campaign Panicked”: Inside Trump’s Decision to Back Off of His Easter Coronavirus Miracle Vanity Fair (Dr. Kevin)

Fauci given security detail after receiving threats The Hill


End of the republic? We’re No. 1 in voter turnout — for a reason the president thinks is ‘crazy.’ Seattle Times (furzy)

Never mind the pandemic, when are you dropping out? Bernie Sanders gets a raw deal on ‘The View’ RT (Kevin W)

How Much Water Do Google Data Centers Use? Billions of Gallons Bloomberg (martha r)

Nature Scores a Big Win Against Fracking in a Small Pennsylvania Town Rolling Stone

Pakistani Court Overturns Murder Conviction in Killing of Wall Street Journal Reporter Wall Street Journal

Pakistan, China and Russia decide to conduct trade in local currencies skip dollars Business Recorder (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus video. Marhra r, from the YouTube summary:

During a fortunate opportunity as part of a research team studying population ecology of Weddell seals in the Antarctic, Jessica Farrer and myself were able to record this video of one of the seal pups, recently weaned by its mother and on its own to learn how to survive. A pup must first get in the water to be successful as a seal!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Samuel Conner

    What a shame that US government didn’t figure out early that the pandemic would increase public appreciation of the value of M4A. An early realization of that might have induced them to take the pandemic more seriously — in view of the enormous ‘downside’ risks to insurance industry profits. /s

    1. anEnt

      Bernie’s reply should have been: “I’ll drop out in exchange for material concessions for my supporters’ issues. E.g. I’ll drop out in exchange for M4A.” If he wanted to be sly, he could say “just for the time corona virii are a threat” which is indefinitely.

      On another note, Craig Murray’s piece seems pretty libertarian to me…

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        @deplorado thank you for that link. Will forward it to anyone I ever hear calling democrats the “party of smart people and professionals”

        The disdain for working people is going to result in a pendulum swing sometime this decade. It will not be orderly or peaceful.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    A couple of lines from the le Guin translation of the Tao te Ching that struck me as applicable these days:

    People whose power is real fulfill their obligations;
    people whose power is hollow insist on their claims.

    Newsom is not the only governor thinking of his state as independent entity. Dewine in Ohio is announcing that state’s striking out on its own when it comes to testing (our hospitals and academic labs will run the show), PPE (may actually mandate in-state manufacture) and even food distribution policy. While Republican Dewine doesn’t openly criticize Trump, he does voice frustration at the federal government’s repeated failures in providing equipment and their poor social distancing policies.

    1. MLTPB

      The early Daoists argued hard with Confucians, mocking what the latter deemed virtuous.

      So we read something like the highest virtue is no virtue, or when virtue is known as good, it becomes evil.

      It would seem that they would be beyond interpreting that quote above to mean evil people whose power is real fulfill their obligations. Not for them, though, for us, maybe we concern ourselves with those unfortunate cases when evil people have power.

      But to those early Daoists, either they were beyond virtue and evil, or they thought differently from us about virtue and evil.

      It’s hard to say much about this, with words.

      1. Mel

        I think you can cover part of the meaning with the principle that Any System Can Be Gamed. When you’ve specified, as the Confucians did, exactly what Virtue is, you’ve opened the door to all kinds of weasel-worders and logic-splitters aiming to prove that their own favorite scams are virtuous.

        1. MLTPB

          That’s a good point.

          The quote about when virtue is known as good it becomes evil also refers to another situation, where when one thinks one is good, one is already not good (not good from being vainglorious, by thinking one is good).

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I have zero training in Taoism, but let me give this a shot. You may be thinking of verses like the following from the TtC #2:

        Everybody on earth knowing that beauty is beautiful makes ugliness.

        Everybody knowing that goodness is good makes wickedness.

        Classifying things as beautiful or good is a human trait that is almost irresistible to us. We name, organize, classify. That’s what humans do.

        But as Grace Slick noted:

        the human name doesn’t mean shit to a tree.

        We mistake the map for the territory, believing our mental processes are what’s really real, not the infinitely complex, paradoxical, mystifying universe around us.

        And when it comes to making value judgments like “beautiful” or “evil,” we try to turn what is really complementary yin and yang into dualistic antagonists. The “ugly” is as necessary and valuable as the “beautiful.” The “evil” is the complement to the “good;” neither would exist without the other.

        To follow the Way is to control this tendency to classify and judge so that we can better live in the flow of the universe, observing, humbly submitting and relying on non-ado rather than striving to control the uncontrollable.

    1. Paul O

      Now I get why I am seeing some bears in some of the windows around here (small town UK). Nice!

      Need to see if we have one in the attic.

    2. GF

      We don’t have a teddy bear but have a black and white cat that sits on the window sill facing the street in order to catch the warm sun rays whenever the sun is out. Have seen a few families walking but mostly adults.

  3. xkeyscored

    What If a Shrinking Economy Wasn’t a Disaster? JSTOR

    On a related note, but with less emphasis on degrowth, Nature had this short article recently:
    “Climate vs coronavirus: Why massive stimulus plans could represent missed opportunities
    Economic bailouts could bolster green growth — or delay action and boost emissions.”

    Perhaps not as radical as some of us would like, but significant nonetheless.
    “We are going to be urging governments not to solve one economic crisis by exacerbating another,” she says.
    “Simply letting emissions bounce back to business-as-usual makes the climate crisis worse,” she says.

    1. mle detroit

      Yes, it does seem a little illogical to relax air pollution standards just when many “recovered” CV-19 citizens will be living with newly compromised lung capacity.

    2. MLTPB

      There are those who believe the way to go is with less population growth and less consumption.

      The large drop in air pollution recently shows what less consumption can do alone.

      1. Olga

        Kinda a no-brainer that we need less consumption, much less. It often feels like we’re living in a dictatorship of consumption (and/or money). But humanity won’t do it voluntarily, thus doom.

        1. MLTPB

          Unfortunately, to too many shoppers from Moscow to Shanghai to Milan and all over the world, they dont think it’s a no brainier.

      2. jef

        For more than 10 years I have been talking about the converging conditions of collapse and pointing out that there is no solution where we all get to keep doing what we are doing. Invariably someone asks “so what can we do?. I always say LESS! The response has always been that that could never happen.

        Well here we are and it ain’t that bad. 10,000 less deaths per week. Now all we need is to forgive all debt, everyone lives in the house they are now or if they need one they will be granted one. No one can own more than one house. If you have a viable small business you own the building you are in. Free health care. Free education for life…. oh well…..

    3. Andrea

      The Club of Rome book, The Limits to Growth is almost 50 years old.
      The first manifestation of their philosophy, with ongoing practical solutions that ever was on the internet is now at least 25 years old. Thanks to that, I started a garden decades ago, made it a point to be debt free and am relatively unscathed thanks to a comfortable simple lifestyle.

      Overcoming Consumerism

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        took me a long time to actually get ahold of that book( finally got it in 2010 or so), but the essence of it has been in me since i was little…due to grandparents’ stories about the Great Depression.
        civilisation is a thin patina, and is entirely ephemeral.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    things i’ve been reading this morning:

    about COG(continuity of government), which is NOT a “conspiracy theory”…and is both a rational precaution and a terrifying prospect.
    another on COG:

    and Ted Rall in fine form:

    3+ years later, and I still find myself doing a double-take: Donald Frelling Trump is POTUS.

    and two from a couple of my favorite Pagans:

    “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.”
    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

    we’re making a dump run today…both to survey the metal pile, as well as because i have not yet had time to implement our very own trash sorting ops…i think selling aluminum is gonna be a thing, again…and glass…and copper…
    and I’m thinking of how to sequester the cardboard and paper we still, somehow, generate, for use in TP production(this is stupidly easy, compared to using plants,lol)
    the contours of the world that’s being so painfully born are far from clear…contingencies within contingencies…it’s difficult to plan ahead without getting too scattershot.
    good morning, to all.

    1. JTMcPhee

      If you are following Counterpunch, maybe you saw their explainer on where at least $29 trillion went out in the last “bailout” ( I hate that weak-kneed euphemism for “mugging”):

      “The dark secrets of the Fed’s last Wall Street bailout are getting a devious makeover in today’s bailout”

      “Bailout,” has been given a coating of Bernays sauce and a whole new meaning..,

      1. JBird4049

        Well, that is only $87,000 for every single man, woman, and child in these United States (counting a population of 330 million) regardless of their status or wealth.

        So the “Job Creators” (bwahaha haha!!) gets this free money because they were so greedy and incompetent they came to within hours (IIRC, an afternoon really) of freezing solid the economy of whole world.

        But the average person, the lower middle and working class, the poor, and the homeless, all of those disposable Americans, can do fine with a single $1,200 check (if they can be found, and if they can get a bank account). Or maybe they can go die.

    2. Rhondda

      Really and sincerely enjoyed chewing on your links and esp. this from ‘the Pagans’. Thanks for these deeply penetrating walking-around thoughts for the day, AtH.

      “This last part is where the conspiracy theory becomes important, because as LaGalisse points out, those who engage in such theories or buy into them all possess a kind of pre-political sense of how the world “really works.” That is, their conclusions aren’t important (or correct), but their unstated certainty that powerful people conspire to fuck them over is both vital and anyways completely correct. Again, that’s what governments are: conspiracies. The people who influence governments (from within or without) are engaging in conspiracy. And those who attempt to overthrow governments via revolution (be they from the “left” or “right”) conspire with each other towards that end.

  5. bwilli123

    Re Craig Murray How it starts

    …”It is incredible to me that the UK is willing to throw away some £220 billion and rising on Trident against a war scenario nobody can sensibly define, but was not willing to spend a few million on holding stock of protective clothing for the NHS against the much more likely contingency of a pandemic. What does that say about our society?..’

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think what the examples he gives illustrates is less a desire for more authoritarian control by the Tories, is the stupidity of significant sections of the British police. The manner in which it seems some forces have tried to implement the controls is bizarre and lacks any common sense. I’m no fan of the police here in Ireland, but at least, with similar rules in place, they are taking a common sense line, permitting a reasonable amount of movement and only stopping people when things are getting out of control (like when everyone decides to drive to the same remote walking spot at the same time).

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        Around the Thames valley, policing and public have been sensible. Less so in London, one hears from colleagues on our daily calls.

        Speaking of Murray, his blogs have had interesting contributions on MMT in the past fortnight.

        1. Olga

          Speaking of CM – this is what happens, when one crosses the MSM and their bosses:

          “The key point is not one mainstream media journalist has even attempted to refute the facts of my article J’accuse. It is packed with facts. Might not the political editor of the Daily Record better spend his time researching the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, rather than threatening an independent journalist for the crime of doing journalism?”

        2. JTMcPhee

          Doesn’t the “Met” have a long-deserved reputation for corruption and abuse of authority? One among lots of articles on the subject:

          “Metropolitan police to be investigated over dozen more claims of historical corruption”

          I recall other stories on abuse of that vast CCTV system that the propaganda in all those police procedural TVshows says is instrumental in almost all investigations of heinous crimes.

      2. paul

        As Craig says:

        It certainly does not justify banning jury trials,


        That and the removal of corroboration from Scot’s law are extremely authoritarian moves by the Scottish Government, and highly likely prompted by the acquittal of Alex Salmond.
        He is being retried daily in the media here.

        Altogether a filthy business.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not sure about how the isles are in regards to neoliberalism at the local level, but one flaw with the police is the expectation they have to “produce” and be measured. The individual police and stations see advancement and funding through the eyes of arrests and successful convictions. Subsequently they train themselves to find people who can be arrested and find people to arrest to keep those numbers up. On top of the natural behavior of the people most likely to become cops, there are bound to be problems.

        If there is no pandemic, those face masks didn’t make much money for a vendor and are just deadweight on a budget. It’s the same with the police.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Much of that was put in place by New Labour under Blair – targets for police the NHS, schools & likely the rest of the public sector. According to Adam Curtis hospitals took the wheels off trolleys bearing patients in corridors, so that they could class them as beds & teachers were & probably still are forced to concentrate only on getting kids through tests.

      4. Basil Pesto

        I’m inclined to agree. Good to hear that police in Ireland are taking a sensible approach. The other thing worth bearing in mind is that hastily drafted legislation and implementation thereof means that the legislation can be rough around the edges, and its provisions may be poorly communicated to both the public and the police meant to enforce them, thereby compounding any inherent stupidity, as you put it, of either of those two groups. In Australia for example there’s an ‘exercise’ exemption for going outside, but it’s unhelpfully vague. I predominantly walk for exercise, so we’ll see how that goes.

        It’s worth pointing out that Europe, with a more robust system of Human Rights Law, is rather well protected from government overreach in the curtailment of liberties, although this is obviously a novel situation with limited prior jurisprudence to go on. All the major articles in the European Convention on HR have exceptions for, inter alia, public health, which suggests that the measures currently being taken in reaction to a public health crisis were absolutely foreseen by those who drafted the convention – which in turn suggests the court will be sufficiently nuanced to determine if and when Council of Europe states are trying to take advantage of the pandemic to curtail civil liberties beyond the scope of the pandemic itself. In any case, it will be interesting to see what jurisprudence emerges from the
        court related to CoViD-19

        I’d be interested to check if there’s any scholarly writing/CoE guidance on the subject that predates the current pandemic, and I may research this in the next week or so.

      5. flora

        It seems, now that I think about it, the over-reaction of police forces, sanctioned by government indifference or encouragement, reflects the level of vanity in the elites.

  6. zagonostra


    I don’t understand why people watch the View (let alone any Television). The only time I’ve paid attention is when Tulsi or Sanders go on, and when I see the link like the one above that tells me the harpies on the show accuse Bernie of “politicizing this pandemic to push his agenda of Medicare for All.”

    What the heck could be more political than petitioning the government to use my taxes they take out of my soon-to-be-gone pay check to provide healthcare? Truly those who give these people a platform and eyeballs and ears to be commodified are perverted, shows like this are a putrid stink on the body politic.

    1. Oh

      Our first order of business should be to dismantle the media conglomerates. Only then can we stop this endless propaganda that influences many people to act against their own interest.

      1. John Zelnicker

        April 2, 2020 at 10:26 am


        Back in the pre-Reagan days there were limits on the number of TV and radio stations that could be owned by one company. Just one more de-regulation that has led to monopoly power in the media industry.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          we can thank good ol’ democrat BillyJeff for that one

          My deceased grandfather: “2 of the most effective republican presidents of my life were Clinton and Obama.”

  7. xkeyscored

    I came across this coronavirus book for children today. The author’s father is a prominent UK virologist who’s vetted it for factual accuracy.
    It’s free to download, but donations are welcome.
    (Page 12 is a little specific to the UK.)
    “A Message From Corona – Free E-Book download”

    “Charity Tedder (25), a dental student at Plymouth University and daughter of a leading virologist, haswritten an e-book to help children cope with Covid-19.

    A Message from Corona, illustrated by talented Kent-based artist, Leighton Noyes, explains vividly and engagingly how the virus has travelled around the world, and why hand-washing, social distancing and lockdown are so vital. It can be read to children as young as 3-4 or self-read by ages 7-8 and above.

    Charity is the daughter of eminent virologist Professor, the Hon, Richard Tedder, who is at the forefront of research into the coronavirus. He has endorsed the book and helped to ensure that all text provided is correct and informative.

    The e-book has been passed to her local member of Parliament in Kent, Adam Holloway MP, and shared with colleagues, in Public Health England, the World Health Organisation, the UK Science Media Centre, The Royal College of Pathologists, The Royal College of Physicians, Plymouth University and Well Connected SW.

    Funds raised from the e-book will be put towards fighting the Covid-19 crisis.”

  8. Richard H Caldwell

    “Coast Guard: Cruise ships must stay at sea with sick onboard” — this is so wrong in so many ways, and such an abnegation of our supposed values as a people and nation. It’s a near-exact reprise of our reprehensible policy of turning away European Jewish refugees in the 1930s. In effect a death sentence delivered with a shrug of heartless indifference. These are humans, many of them fellow citizens, as if citizenship mattered in a case like this.

    What an ugly reflection of what brutish choices we can so easily revert to. Scarcity thinking in an ocean of abundance. The knowledge that this is a part of what I, of we, are capable of when feeling under threat is disheartening and saddening.

    1. Carolinian

      Let’s see–1930s: Jewish refugees, after having been stripped of all property in order to be allowed to leave Germany, are denied entry even though in the lens of history everyone would have been a lot better off if the opposite decision had been made.

      Cruise ships: mostly wealthy people floating in a luxury hotel where the whole point is to be coddled and pampered and who now feel they should be exempt from maritime law regarding quarantines.

      Yes those two things are just alike.

      Cruise ships are notorious breeders of disease but usually it’s things like food poisoning. After the dust settles deluxe ocean voyages may revert to a pastime of those with their own yachts.

      1. Milton

        I agree that cruise ships are a huge waste of resources and should have no place in a world confronting the disaster that is global warming and that the passengers in the 30s are probably not applicable to the present ones-however, a person in peril is a person in peril. We should do everything we can to help those in dire need; even it the person happens to be wealthy. I might add that not all aboard are of means and some may have scrimped and saved for this “trip of a lifetime”. Also imagine, some of the rooms onboard the liner have no windows. It is just walls and a door to a long galleyway. Now imagine being locked 24/7 in a closed cell, not allowed to leave, not knowing when you can get off the ship or even out of the room to see blue sky. I guarantee you, any person staying in a room like that is not wealthy.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes I’ve been on a cruise ship–didn’t have windows either.

          Just saying: they are not alike.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          More than 10% of all of the cases in Australia are from *one* cruise ship where the passengers were permitted to come ashore without testing.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        On cruise ships, depending on how glam they are, anywhere from 25% to 45% of the people on board are crew: cooks, cleaners, the pilots, entertainers. They aren’t all rich passengers.

  9. GramSci

    1/4 tsp. of baking soda before bed, and no heartburn for 15 years. N of 1, but I’m not the only 1.

    1. John Beech

      I’ve been transitioning from Omeprazole (Nexium) to ranitidine for the last year because the purple pill leads to bone density loss. Worse, getting off of it is HARD to do. As hard as heroin? I don’t know but I quit smoking and that proved possible whilst quitting Nexium cold turkey proved impossible. Anyway, while it’s been a tough slog, having this occur just as I got to 2-days of Omeprazole and 5-days of ranitidine per week just stinks! Meanwhile, I’ve asked my physician to write a prescription for fanitidine, instead. Will he? Dunno. Will it work as well? Dunno that either. Anyway, good for you being able to get by on 1/4 tsp of baking soda.

    2. Mark Sanders

      Just an anecdote here. I had severe heartburn for years and downed quite a lot of tums and milk to control it, though I never took a PPI. I went on a silly diet several years ago that didn’t work out well, but it involved cutting out grains from my diet. After 4 or 5 months I quit the diet but then realized that I hadn’t had any heartburn in a long time. At that point I was able to pinpoint wheat as the problem — if I ate wheat I got heartburn, if I didn’t eat wheat then no heartburn. I did it several times until it became apparent. Since then I don’t do wheat and I don’t have heartburn. This is not to say this is the answer for everyone, but perhaps people should consider that the heartburn may be caused by something like their diet. It may be a pain in the butt to figure this sort of thing out, but then again I’m happy not to have to take a pill that may have bad side effects down the road.

      1. Lil’D

        Most cases of heartburn are due to diet.

        Check out Dr. MacDougall, Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Greger
        Dean Ornish

  10. Lee

    Well, this is confusing. Am I missing or misunderstanding something?

    Coronavirus update- TB vaccine in childhood may offer Covid-19 protection: Researchers Hindustan Times (J-LS).

    BCG vaccination significantly increases the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, specifically IL-1B, which play a vital role in antiviral immunity.

    “BCG vaccination has been shown to produce broad protection against viral infections and sepsis, raising the possibility that the protective effect of BCG may be associated co-occurring infections and sepsis-related deaths,” said Dr Ganguly.

    OTOH, from Pub Med:

    Induction of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) is a critical component of lung inflammation during influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.


    Cytokine storm during influenza virus infection is recognized as a predictor of morbidity and mortality. To verify the cellular effects of influenza-induced cytokines in primary normal lung cells, human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) and lung fibroblast cells (MRC-5 cells) were infected with influenza virus H1N1. H1N1 infection induced the transcription of various genes encoding cytokines and chemokines such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8, IL-12A, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5) in both endothelial cells and lung fibroblasts. Among them, IL-1β induction by influenza infection increased the inflammation of lung cells; conversely, blockade of IL-1β signals with an IL-1β receptor antagonist or a neutralizing antibody alleviated influenza-driven inflammation. In conclusion, these data suggest that secreted IL-1β by the endothelial cells contributes to influenza-induced inflammation, and blockade of IL-1β signals is a potential treatment or therapeutic target for influenza-induced inflammation.

    1. CuriosityConcern

      I don’t understand the cytokine storm process and this is just a guess, but i imagine both ideas can co exist as the first might pertain to reaction of viral defense systems at first, and the second describes what happens after established infection.
      I hope someone more knowledgeable will correct if I made an error.

      1. Dean

        CuriosityConcern: Yes I think you are right. Cytokines are needed to activate and regulate the immune system. If the immune response is not fast enough or robust enough cytokines such as IL-1beta produced by infected cells will activate other cytokine production leading to an overactive cascade now called cytokine storm. For respiratory viruses the cytokine storm causes massive fluid buildup in the lungs impeding oxygen transfer.

        My understanding in the case of TB, BCG triggers release of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines by well-known mechanisms. These in turn attract, activate, and amplify immune cells (antigen presenting cells and T helper cells) to prime the system to handle any infections. A faster and stronger production of viral-specific antibodies and cytolytic T lymphocytes in vaccinated individuals could prevent the virus from infecting too many cells. Which would then avoid cytokine storm.

    2. Krystyn Podgajski


      The point of a vaccine is to induce a controlled immunity. IL-1B (a cytokine) will be released anytime we have a viral infection. It is just that higher levels of IL-1B will lead to a cytokine storm. even when we have immunity from a virus, when we are infected with it again we will release IL-1B, just at much much lower levels. The antibodies created during an infection will inhibit IL-1B in the future.

      And the BCG vaccine is used to fight a bacteria. So it might just be that people with latent TB, or a similar strain of the same bacteria, have a worse time with COVID19 because they are now fighting two infections.

      1. Ignacio

        Yeah but I find the theory and the correlations as very, very doubtful. In fact I don’t give a damn on this theory. It should have been discovered before reduced mortality with flu or RSV for instance. They forget to mention differences in the population age structure which are very big. Also, there aren’t really big differences in the clinical manifestation of the disease in China or Italy. It is basically the same, so explain that. The incidence of latent TB is not nearly enough to explain the big differences seen in mortality which basically are that old people die.
        I classify this report in the Hype & Hysteria folder. May be PR to help going with such vaccination program.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Fauci given security detail after receiving threats”

    People get crazy in times like this and Fauci should get a protection detail. How crazy can it get? When the US Navy Hospital Ship Mercy docked in Los Angeles the other day, some idiot tried to ram it with a train! Yeah, he was as crazy as a bag full of rats but he was actual a qualified train engineer. Crazy times indeed-

          1. petal

            PK, that is one of my favourite episodes out of everything. 2 pints, 2 pints. Never fails to make me laugh!

    1. Lemmy Caution

      The problem is we have 28 days to go to the next re-evaluation of the stay-at-home directive. Meanwhile millions have ample time to puruse the web and engage with an endless parade of Covid-19 conspiracies, misinformation, speculation and outright fear-mongering. You know what they say about idle hands, so the virus may not be the only thing we have to fear as the virus turns minutes to hours.

  12. timbers

    Coronavirus update- TB vaccine in childhood may offer Covid-19 protection: Researchers Hindustan Times (J-LS). Consistent with a friend’s thesis that serious cases look an awful lot like latent TB kicking into active, including very sudden onset, ground glass X-ray images, etc.

    Another reason why MedicareFor All, now, and getting control of immigrant labor.

  13. Biologist

    UK / Covid19 / tests / volunteering:
    A week or so ago someone asked about how researchers with molecular lab experience could volunteer to join the effort for testing. Some folks are now making a database of people who’d be interested in contributing, and their skills:
    (I just came across this, don’t know these people, so this is not an endorsement, just a link for people to check out if they’re interested).

  14. Jane

    Re: TB Vaccine. Childhood May Offer Protection

    If this is true Cdns in born in the ‘50’s and 60’s should have a lower infection rate, we were all vaccinated in school (and have the scars to prove it). Not sure when they stopped but it was definitely before 1984 as neither of my kids received TB vaccines in school or otherwise. And god help me if one of them gets ill and this is true since it would mean I am the one who should be out getting their groceries and not them running around getting mine.

      1. edmondo

        I remember getting a TB Tyne test was a requirement before heading off to college back in the early 70s. Remember those? Remember the 70s? Remember college?

      2. OIFVet

        Perhaps that depends on the virus strain used in the vaccines, and different countries use different strains. That can possibly account for some of the lower infection rates in Eastern Europe (and Japan), as they used and continue to use different strain for their TB vaccines compared to Western Europe. For example, see the difference in COVID-19 infections between Eastern and Western Germany. Or it could be a function of lower testing rates in Easter Europe. Or a function of both. In any case, I am rather thankful to have been born in Eastern Europe right now. Here is my anecdote regarding vaccine efficacy over time: prior to our deployment to Iraq we were all given smallpox vaccination. I had already had that as an infant, being Eastern European, most of my American mates had not ever had it. They developed the typical big sores with bleeding and puss, I only had a small inflammation at the vaccine site. I had been given the vaccine 26 years earlier. Again, just an anecdote, but in any case I can’t see how TB vaccinations, even older ones, wouldn’t be of at least some use in moderating the symptoms. Perhaps I should try a booster shot :)

    1. Cuibono

      Nope. you did no get bcg in the USA
      the US has never used mass immunization of BCG, relying instead on the detection and treatment of latent tuberculosis.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      The astonishing increase in new claims suggests the unemployment rate shot up to around 10% at the end of March from an official 3.5% rate in February that marked a 50-year low. Never before has the unemployment rate risen so much so quickly.

      “Astonishing.” “Shot up.” “Never before.” “So much so quickly.”

      Is there anyone with two functioning brain cells who didn’t anticipate this? Why all the panic-inducing hysterical rhetoric?

      If I didn’t “know better,” I’d say that somebody, somewhere was trying to soften up the economic ground for something. A lot of something.

      This could be a clue–well-dressed, comfortably-“sheltered” ceo after well-dressed, comfortably-“sheltered” ceo is parading via skype across the cnbc landscape repeating the mantra, “WE’RE gonna need MORE.” I wonder who this “we” is, and what they’re going to need more of.

      Guess I should rev up my own functioning brain cells and figure it out.

      PS. Dow up 250 points on this astonishingly horrible news.

      1. Toshiro_Mifune

        Dow up 250 points on this astonishingly horrible news.
        Expectations of more bailouts.

        Is there anyone with two functioning brain cells who didn’t anticipate this?
        What do we do about it though? UBI for the duration of the crisis? That would help for the essentials. I don’t know how to offset the lack of demand globally, even if we would do UBI. The prospects (near certainty) of a global depression as a result… well… That is certainly grim given what the last global depression produced.

        1. BlakeFelix

          I think that a sufficiently high UBI can keep demand up. If people have money and want stuff there is demand. I would be concerned about inflation as demand outstripped the supply chain issues if it got too high, but it’s current value of zero is WAY too low. A lot of stuff breaks at this rate I fear.

      2. Carey

        >Why all the panic-inducing hysterical rhetoric?

        An excellent question, KE; one of the important questions that can be asked
        right now, IMO.

    2. Glen

      Apparently, there were provisions put into the CARE bill to provide grants to companies that use the money to keep people on the payroll. The provision was put there so that people could stay employed, and have healthcare for the duration of the crisis, and that this would be the most efficient means to distribute money to those already employed. However, provisions stuck in the bill at the very last are allowing Mnuchin to dictate additional terms for this grant (which means it is no longer a grant). He’s brought in his hedge fund buddies from Wall St, and they are picking winners and losers. Of course, the advisors are the guys that make money on Wall St by destroying companies. More here:

      Anybody know any more about this? Shoving everybody onto the unemployment rolls and losing healthcare at this time is very bad, but we also lose the opportunity to re-purpose companies to provide goods and services that are urgently required.

      Part of the reason we are in this fix is because American CEOs willingly sent factories, jobs, and technology to China to please Wall St. It would seem that protecting and enhancing our companies and industrial base would be best for the country, but it looks like Wall St will step in to profit off further destruction of jobs, companies, and American capability and know-how.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It’s very simple, we used to have the concept of “the public purse”. That is now gone. What used to be the public purse, with spending decisions controlled at least to some degree by representative democracy, is now privately-held and managed. To accomplish this a concocted hedge fund combining the functions of the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve (a “special purpose vehicle”) was put in place and $4.4 trillion was materialized into it. Your and my money, to the tune of $450 billion, provides the collateral, and also takes any losses first. This entity, which I have proposed naming The Faustus II Fund, in turn will decide which companies fail and succeed in the American “economy” by controlling the terms and access companies have to credit.

        If it all sounds familiar that’s because it is. It’s called national socialism.

      2. jrkrideau

        American CEOs willingly sent factories, jobs, and technology to China to please Wall St.
        Now that is unfair. They sent jobs to half the UN, where ever costs were lower.

  15. timbers

    From….Oil Price War: Is It Game Over For Trump?

    “The U.S. government is trying to convince Russia and Saudi Arabia to end the price war, but the Trump administration has few tools at its disposal.”

    A very frustrating sentence, boxed in probably by the group think, establishment bubble the writer is trapped inside of. There are hundreds of things Trump could offer Russia. A short list:

    1). Terminating the hundreds of illegal economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

    2). Returning Russia’s property rights to her in the illegally seized embassy.

    3). Apologize to Russia for insulting her with false accusations of election meddling and explain that it was the U.S. government, not Russia, that did the meddling.

    4). Stop the illegal efforts to stop Nordstream II.

    5), Offer monetary compensation for the illegal sanctions Washington imposed on Russia.

    6). Apologize to military bullying of Russia and reverse the aggressive encirclement and buildup on her boarders.

    Even if none of these can get past Congress, the constitution says the President conducts foreign policy. Let him conduct and let the Congress and the corporate media go into meltdown. And if none of these were to come to pass due to opposition, the Russians are sufficiently nuanced to at least appreciate the effort.

    In it’s own small way, Russia has turned the tables on America has us over a barrel (no pun intended).

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Unfortunately I don’t think the US can conduct foreign policy beyond bullying for some time. The US became agreement incapable (demonstrated it was) under Obama. Iraq/Libya, the various spying scandals (scandals happened when Obama was President too), and the price and ineffective nature of our weapon.

      Now with the exposure of how decrepit the US really is, I imagine the US will quite reduced on the world stage if it’s Biden v Trump. It won’t be Russia in the 90’s by any stretch. Can Disney pump put a few more Marvel movies before everyone realizes they are still dull because DisneyWood is all we have left for international clout not based on killing brown people?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        and we can’t even make tylenol or condoms.
        or cotton on a stick(nasal swabs)
        half(?) the stuff in the national stockpile doesn’t work or is dry rotted.
        Cuba is managing to export doctors and nurses and medical equipment…and we’re getting aid from russia and china,lol.


        my brother is still in denial about our TP/bread/etc shortages/outages…even when our mother says the same things.
        they were still taking his girls for playdates as of saturday.
        when it gets bad enough down there(north houston), they’ll pile in the car with a bunch of frou frou useless crap and head this way…i told him that’s fine, but expect to stay in the barn and pee in a bucket for 2 weeks.
        some lenses are harder to let go of than others, i guess.

        1. wilroncanada

          Maybe the US can repurpose Ford or GM to do it–make Tylenol, condoms and swabs, that is. Maybe, though, it doesn’t have the precursors. The first and last need skill in mixing chemicals and measuring wood, but could be auto-mated. but the second would have to be a hand job.

      2. xkeyscored

        ” I don’t think the US can conduct foreign policy beyond bullying for some time. ”

        At least its bullying will be somewhat curtailed for a while. The navy is hard hit, and troops might not relish an invasion before a vaccine is available.

        1. Olga

          Well, bullying may very continue, as it costs nothing and Foggy Bottom must have something to do – vid Venezuela and Iran – but action may be slow to follow. Which will just add more proof that US is a giant on clay feet.

      3. Oh

        Now with the exposure of how decrepit the US really is, I imagine the US will quite reduced on the world stage if it’s Biden v Trump.

        The alphabet agencies and the MIC are too strong to help any President overturn the dumb US policy fo aggression against Russia and other nations for the sole sake of oil grab and money grabs. SUch is our foreign policy.

      1. jp

        The current narrative on oil doesn’t make sense. A look at a long term chart, say 50 years, shows a correlation between cheap energy and economic expansions. The current BS coming out of Trump/wall street is that cheap oil is bad for the economy. Trump yoyoed the market today by saying “optimistic” stuff to buoy the price of oil. This is just left over Bush/Cheney effort to bring home the oil industry to exert pressure on the Saudis. The fracking industry in the US needs to die, not be bailed. The fool here might be Trump. The Russia/Saudi price war is a win win for those guys if it kills the US fracking industry. However, I don’t know that the demise of fracking wouldn’t reinvigorate the tar sands extraction, which is probably far worse for the global climate.

        That said, the world still runs largely on oil with a slight move to natural gas. I would think any re-evaluation would be to use oil if it is cheaper then solar. I assume that’s what you mean.

        1. John k

          Trump buddies are big oil. They dabble in fracking, but won’t miss it if losing it gets the price back up.

    2. anon in so cal


      Yet, even as Russia sends assistance, NeoCons and their MSM allies spin it to condemn Russia. Trump is not even allowed to attend Russia’s May 9 Victory Day celebration (which will surely be canceled), even though Russia lost > 25 million soldiers fighting the Nazis, fought and won the decisive WW2 battles, and saved the world from Hitler through unimaginable sacrifice.

      1. montanamaven

        Trump mentioned the Russian WWII losses two days ago on “Fox and Friends” when Brian Kilmeade went on and on about how bad Russia was and how Putin poisons his opponents and they kill journalists and they support chemcial warfare of Assad. Blah, blah, blah. What was interesting was that Trump took a pause… then said how he had put more sanctions on Russia than anybody (of course he is #1 at everything). But then he went on and on about the sacrifice Russians made in WWII and what a great ally Russia had been. Kilmeade just harumpfed and glared.

        1. anon in so cal

          Well that’s encouraging that T at least acknowledge Russia’s sacrifice. Perhaps the only person on Fox or the entire MSM how has a sane and informed stance toward Russia is Tucker Carlson.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Teardown of Huawei Flagship Phone Finds US Parts Despite Blacklisting”

    This is interesting this and I see three possibilities for why this is so. Those companies could be selling China those parts using cut-out intermediaries to avoid sanctions and this happens with weapons all the time. Then again, maybe the US government is giving a wink and a nod for this to happen for purposes of their own in a kind of don’t ask, don’t tell. Finally, it may be that the Chinese stocked up on US parts before sanctions kicked in and as their home-made parts come online in production, this may be an easy way to dispose of these US parts.

    1. xkeyscored

      IIRR, a Yemeni missile that Saudi Arabia and others made much of for containing Iranian parts also contained a US-made component (inertial guidance chip? – from highly dubious memory).
      I just tried a Google search for a link, but everything seems to be about the Iranian connection. Should I be surprised? Or did I imagine it?

      1. The Rev Kev

        No, I remember that story too. They had the remains of the missile on display and were keenly pointing out the Iranian parts while overlooking the US one. But nobody really asks about such things. Do people ever ask how ISIS manages to get ahold of US-made Anti Tank Guided Missiles at all? The Syrians have captured so many of them they they gifted two container loads of them to Hezbollah.

        1. Trent

          Another example of the US government lying to everyone that’d i’d almost forgotten about. Indirectly funding and supplying ISIS!

        2. Olga

          Yeah, no one asked where Isis got hundreds of those gleaming white pick-ups. Do not recall any sanctions on Toyota, though they sure looked like they just rolled off an assembly line.

          1. Trent

            Yep, and remember how they handled that Olga. Showing us videos of people being beheaded and trying to scare the hell out of us (weren’t those beheading videos also debunked?). What more recent event really has a similar feeling?

      2. Mel

        Let us not go thinking that inertial guidance chips have to be something super-special. As low as $4.95 mounted on a board and ready to install. Naked chips will cost even less. (I don’t work for Adafruit. Just a fan, and there are lots of other good vendors as well.)

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        If words written about that could be found anywhere, they MIGHT be found in comments on the relevant posts on Sic Semper Tyrannis. I remember at least 2 or 3 posts were written about the missile attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, and somewhere in those or soon-thereafter threads might be commentary on something like ” American parts in those missiles).

  17. PlutoniumKun

    Tokyo wrestles with possible lockdown Asia Time

    Japan seems to have gotten itself in quite a mess over this. Even the normally pretty docile population know full well the government has been lying to them about the number of cases and deaths. Abe was widely mocked on social media over his ‘two masks for every household’ announcement yesterday. Japan Times is reporting a fairly confused situation on the ground with local governments unsure if they even have the power to carry out a lockdown.

    The longer term consequences for this could be very severe for the government – the Japanese have a tendency to go into long periods of introspection when the country takes a knock (Haruki Murakami has written a lot about this in his books on the sarin attacks and the Kobe Earthquake). It will be particularly humiliating for the Japanese establishment if they are seen as having done an inept job in comparison to the South Koreans. The South Koreans will certainly not be slow to rub it in.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And coming after the Cluster Fukushima delivered by that same establishment some years ago, another such forkup might motivate Japanese to try burning the current establishment down and building a new one.

  18. Steve H.

    > Pakistan, China and Russia decide to conduct trade in local currencies skip dollars Business Recorder (Chuck L)

    Qiao Liang in 2015:

    Because money is the measure of values, if one does not use the dollar, how can one also trust other currencies? For example, between the yuan and the ruble, Russia (then the Soviet Union) says, if you do not recognize the ruble, we do not recognize the yuan, and then one can only continue to take the dollar as a medium of exchange between us.

    If the Northeast Asian FTA were formed, it would have a ripple effect dividing the world in three. If only a third of the global money is in the hands of the dollar, how can the US currency maintain its leadership? Could a hollowed out United States, left without monetary leadership, still be a global leader?

    China not only doesn’t see the necessity to fight a war but believes that a war directly or indirectly against America would be against Chinese national interests. It thinks that Washington will not fight Beijing for the next ten years, but to make sure that in ten years the US doesn’t change its mind, China must set its affairs in order and internationalize its currency, the RMB.

    1. xkeyscored

      It’s been brewing for a while, but COVID-19 adds an unexpected stimulus.

      And it’s not just those three countries involved, despite the title.
      “Representatives from the finance ministries and central banks of China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will attend the SCO conference in Moscow.
      In addition, Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are the observer countries of the SCO who wish to become a regular member of the organization.”

      Is the demise of US hegemoney imminent?

      1. Steve H.

        > hegemoney


        The US ain’t exactly looking antifragile at the moment.

        I’d bet big, there’s a conversation going on amongst strategic leaders over there right now. Rabid generals probably see this as a moment to strike, with US forces immobile. The smarter play is probably choking the supply bottlenecks to increase social instability in the US.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          why should they bother, per Szun Tzu…”if yer enemy is killing himself, let him”
          we’re doing a fine job…beautiflu job!…of undermining ourselves.

          (i left the typo…universe tapping the shoulder,lol)

          as for Xkey’s decline of hegemoney(!)…we’ve been busy uniting the world for at least 20 years…and prolly more like 60…
          uniting them against the usa.
          well done, all!
          iraq, iran, libya and russia have all at least toyed with the idea of an oil bourse, denominated in Not-Dollars…and the recent moves to get around things like swift, etc…
          i reckon the rest of the world, save for maybe UK…and maybe Germany…have wanted to do something different for a long while, but were afraid we’d retaliate…either softly or hardly, depending.
          and now, here we are, showing the world just how hollow all that bluster and hubris has been all along.
          it’ll be painful…and there’s plenty of room for other kinds of hegemony to emerge…but i think it’s a good thing.
          the best part…if there is one among all the suffering and death…is that perhaps the american people can finally see, en masse, what we’ve been all along.

          1. xkeyscored

            uniting them against the usa

            I think “uniting them despite the usa” would be better phrasing. Much of the world doesn’t want enemies, especially at this time.

      2. MLTPB

        Not likely the US will need to peg the dollar to the RMB.

        Should that happen, though, can the US still print endless MMT money, and maintain the peg, with or without capital controls?

      1. MLTPB

        Days or weeks ago whether China could do something similar was discussed here.

        I thought, then, that if Beijing could get oil from there, they could do other stuff as well.

    2. Procopius

      I’ve recently been re-reading Jamie Galbraith’s The Predator State. He points out that the dollar, after 1971, essentially took the place of gold in world trade. The reason we call it the global reserve currency is because for a time all other currencies were defined in terms of US Dollars, and it’s also the only currency universally accepted as stated above. Because of this, all other countries must have dollars, just as they used to need to have gold. That means the U.S. must provide them with dollars, and to do that we must buy their goods and pay in dollars, and we must buy more than we sell to them, otherwise the dollars all come back to us and they have none. There simply is no way the dollar can be the world’s reserve currency and the U.S. not run a trade deficit. The fact that oil used to be priced in dollars is irrelevant. The fact that so many economists have missed this simple fact of life for so long is a damning indictment of the economics profession. It’s a great book, by the way. Everyone interested in economics should read it.

      1. Steve H.

        > we must buy more than we sell to them

        But what have we got to sell? iirc, China has bought a lot of US bonds. That was okay while they were taking our industrial base. But since, say, 2000 they’ve become an economic rival to the US. Why continue to fund a rival, once on par as a percentage of world GDP?

  19. Synoia

    Antarctica was warm enough for rainforest near south pole 90m years ago

    Right…was Antarctica at the south pole 90 million years ago? Or was it at a more tropical latitude?

    1. Productive Citizen

      Let’s not forget the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PET-M) when ice disappeared from this planet and temperatures were very toasty at the poles then too, a mere 55 million years ago.
      How many centuries (1?,2?) or even decades (not geological time) will it take for the planet to return to those temperatures? As Ban Ki-Moon said “Capitalism is a global suicide pact.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Never mind the pandemic, when are you dropping out? Bernie Sanders gets a raw deal on ‘The View’ RT ”

    Normally I try to avoid making a comment on a link that I have suggested but will make an exception here. If ‘The View’ was not already vile enough with their partisanship, they had AOC with them recently. Meghan McCain, in talking to her, was labeling all Bernie supporters as ‘Bernie Bros’ and talked about how they were misogynistic, abusive, violent, sexist, harmful, etc. towards women. She was in full flight.

    Oh, and AOC? She went along with the whole thing and never disagreed or gave his supporters the benefit of a doubt.

    1. Trent

      in regards to AOC, if you look at the comments when she first came on the scene, you’ll see my cynicism on her paid off. Change is not going to come from the federal government, a top down solution is not coming to fix our never ending crisis. Politics is like the stock market, and we haven’t bottomed yet. Until we do i will be cynical to all newcomers that virtue signal.

    2. Harvey

      The only time there’s ever real change away from the money-grubbing, poor-extinguishing politics of “free markets” is when there is a credible threat to the powerwealthocracy.
      So prime example is the rise of FDR in the Great Depression, when it looked like the US population might, might, emulate the Russian peasants and rise up with bloodshed and win against their tormentors.
      So FDR got the gig as the soft answer where he would assuage the unemployed and desperate US citizens without, you know, going too far. He was a US aristocrat so all in all a safe pair of hands in desperate (for the oligarchy) times.
      Would Bernie fill the bill is times get desperate in the US? I think probably not because it’s too early in the catastrophe and he’s too old to keep going and going.
      Also the tools available to the police force of the powerwealthocracy in terms of surveillance, and out and out murders, means this time round the minds of the population can be much more easily controlled.

  21. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: As Coronavirus Surges, ‘Medicare for All’ Support Hits 9-Month High Morning Consult (martha r)

    Though it remains to be seen whether the growing enthusiasm for a single-payer system will outlive the trenches of the pandemic, the poll suggests progressive lawmakers may have an opportunity to sway key demographics — support for Medicare for All grew among people in the $50,000-$100,000 income bracket, voters between 45 and 54 years old and black voters by roughly 10 points each.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    This is one “crisis” that “progressive lawmakers” are going to WANT to “let go to waste,” but hopefully they’re going to have to do some pretty fast talking in order to squander it.

    If “providers” have the balls to send big bills to beleaguered, recently unemployed and newly impoverished americans for “healthcare” during the shutdown, or insurance companies raise premiums by 40% as they’ve already said they anticipate doing, a national healthcare system will be primed for acceptance as never before. Not even a dementia patient would expect a “people love their medical insurance companies” disinfo campaign to be taken seriously under those circumstances.

    So here’s a thought–Bernie should become our Tommy Douglas, regardless of who is “elected” president. The results of the 2020 election, if it happens at all, are always going to be suspect under the circumstances. Bernie is uniquely qualified to sustain the movement for national healthcare regardless of which missing link ultimately assumes the office. I’d venture to say that he could be far more effective without the encumbrance of the presidency.

    Respect for and the legitimacy of the office of the presidency has been mercilessly eroded over the past several years, and the trend continues with the apparent nomination of a freakin’ Alzheimer’s patient as a “plausible” candidate for “most powerful person on the planet.” This virus is presenting a once in a lifetime opportunity for desperately needed, historic change. The medical-industiral complex is busy having its legs cut out from under it, and Bernie’s the guy to take advantage.

    I’m not religious at all, but I really appreciate the idea that “When god closes a door, he opens a window.”

    1. Eureka Springs

      Here’s how they do it, each and every time.

      Ro Khanna
      ‏Verified account @RoKhanna

      We are in a health care crisis. We need to provide health care. 30 million Americans may lose their jobs. The next stimulus, at least, should provide the unemployed with Medicare during this time. If it costs $50 billion a month, that’s still cheaper than the $500 billion bailout

    2. remmer

      I wish you were right, Katniss. But I don’t think Bernie can be America’s Tommy Douglas. My knowledge of Canadian political history is spotty, but iirc Douglas created Canada’s first single-payer health care system as premier of Saskatchewan — as a head of government who had the backing of his political party. Bernie isn’t the head of anything, and he has no organized political support. He inspired a movement as a presidential candidate, but how long will that movement last when he’s no longer running for president?

      Bernie’s defeat by the DNC, despite his popularity and the popularity of M4A, shows that strong political organization counts for more than popular opinion. Political scientists found out years ago that Americans largely support policies that are opposed by the politicians they vote for. It’s nice to know that 55% of people support M4A and that 76% of Democrats would vote for a socialist. But none of the people in either group have a socialist or M4A supporter to vote for, so what 90% of them are likely to do is vote for Biden. Bernie may be able to boost popular support for M4A. but without a Democratic party committed to making it happen, public opinion doesn’t count for much.

      1. MLTPB

        Do you think Sanders can be the governor of Vermont and start M4A from that state first? (Reading about Canada’s history above)

        Six years is a long time (2014 to 2020).

        1. remmer

          A previous Vermont governor actually did get a modified single-payer law enacted 10-15 years ago (private insurers were still allowed to operate). But it was repealed after a few years, largely, iirc, because small businesses didn’t like the increased taxes. The medical industrial complex is deeply entrenched here, and I suspect it’s a much bigger obstacle than Douglas faced.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          No. Already been tried and failed. It needs to happen at the national level.

    3. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      April 2, 2020 at 9:43 am

      If there can be any silver lining to the coronavirus catastrophe, it is that it exposes the abysmal health care “system” (scam) and is the impetus for reform. I hope so, but the part of me that lives in reality fears that this country is irredeemibly corrupt.

    4. MyFunnyIdeas

      Speaking as a Saskatchewan native living in the Netherlands: Bernie Sanders is no Tommy Douglas, not by a longshot. Tommy Douglas was a man of integrity who stood for his principles. For instance he was one of only two politicians who voted against the War Measures act during the FLQ crisis in Quebec in the early 70s against all prevailing opinion and received all manner of opprobrium for his stand. Douglas was a scrapper who understood from hard experience why universal healthcare was necessary. If you come from the tough environment of the Prairies you know you need your neighbors to survive. This is one of the reasons why Saskatchewan was the first province to introduce universal health care and all kinds of co-op organizations sprang up there.

      I don’t understand the American left’s fascination with Bernie Sanders. When push comes to shove Sanders has no backbone and he is in no sense a leader. A leader stands for his principles. Sanders supported Clinton after being screwed by the Clinton DNC, calls Joe Biden a friend and voted with the rest of Senate last week to loot the American taxpayer again to name but a few glaring examples. Sanders is a coward and doesn’t deserve to stand in Tommy Douglas’ shadow. Jimmy Dore was exactly right in his rant about the so-called “progressives” in Congress and the Senate. The current American political, economic, social constellation is unsustainable, change is coming but it most likely won’t be pretty.

  22. Toshiro_Mifune

    One of my coworkers who lives in Queens just tested positive. Her mother had tested positive yesterday and then she came down sick.

  23. epynonymous

    From a friend in Hungary.

    “A blackout would require the government to announce the highest state of national emergency. Matovič called it the Wu-Han way.”… crucially the action is not being considered unilaterally, but only if a successful referendum in support could be achieved. (article speculates this is an attempt to shift the blame/responsibility to the populace.) This referendum system appears to be an integral part of the conservative’s leadership style, and has been applied elsewhere. Matovič runs a center-right coalition which ran on a populist anti-corruption platform.

    However, education and empathy is not an equally distributed good as the article concludes “Former PM (1998-2006) Mikuláš Dzurinda considers publicly pondering about a blackout ‘inadequate and out of place’. A blackout should be applied if absolutely necessary and only locally, where the infection nests occur.”

    1. Olga

      Matovič is the new Slovak PM – so perhaps an update from Slovakia… (I know they are close and kinda all blend together :))

      1. epynonymous

        That’s what I said, and I checked the dates on wikipedia.

        I was originally gonna lump Matovič with the polish, german christian right, but took the time to sort it out. The quote just didn’t restate the articles’ identification as current PM.

        Source: The Slovak Spectator (english language)

        Oh well. :)

  24. Eureka Springs

    I have blooming forsythia, redbud, dogwood, and lilac all at the same time this year. That usually spreads over 4 to 6 weeks. All trees, even the latest of oak are leafing out. The forest canopy never competes with blooming redbud and dogwood here in the Ozarks. One 20 degree or lower night could put the hurt on a whole lot of plants this month. The kind of cold snap which often happens well into May.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Cerabino: A rough draft of Florida’s eventual apology to the rest of the country”

    Not really helpful this. When the Second Great Flu Pandemic finally sputters to an end, each country and each State is going to have to look at how they performed in this period. Did Florida make a mistake in having Spring Break? Sure they did and now they are paying for it in cases. Louisiana also held Mardi Gras too and is now saturated with cases as well. Every State will have to do a lesson-learned exercise about this period of what they did and what they should have done. Of course those States that refuse to examine their actions will just set themselves up for the next disaster-

    1. orlbucfan

      Florida has been a political joke for over 40 years. Talk about institutionalized corruption. FL is (in)famous for the 2000 POTUS final result. FL is also a major international tourist destination, both by air and cruises. This state had c-virus showing up in December-January. It didn’t make waves cos of the above reasons. I am in the highest risk category: over 65yo, and immuno-compromised. I did a bunch of research and hubby and I are fine–no c-virus signs. My point is simply Medicare For All. Hope Medicare 4 All and Bernie win next week n WI.

    2. MLTPB

      Perhaps New York. They put in shelter in place later than others, including Calif. Would they go along with quarantining the three states?

      Or Hubei or Wuhan.

      Maybe NSW in Australia. Perhaps for being too trusting.

  26. anon in so cal

    Corona virus: Blood on the hands of Trump and other U.S. political leaders:

    “U.S.: first case-Jan 20
    * no early testing
    * no quarantine
    * no DPA, lack of supplies
    * 215k cases
    * 5,100 dead
    * adding >1,000 deaths/day

    South Korea: first case-Jan 19
    * testing 10k/day 1st week
    * mass quarantine
    * 9.9k cases
    * 165 dead
    * adding <5 deaths/day"

    —Amy Siskind

    Farm Workers:

    "You Can’t Harvest Over Zoom

    More than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts are grown in California. Shelter-in-place orders in California exempt the estimated 420,000 farmworkers as essential employees. But many are undocumented, lack health insurance and don’t qualify for unemployment insurance or federal COVID-19 relief.

    For workers on the Central Coast, this could be the worst possible time to face a health crisis. With peak strawberry season next month, pay switches from hourly to piece rate, and pickers are incentivized to work hard and fast. And as one farmworker advocate says, “You can’t pick strawberries over Zoom.”

    1. Carolinian

      And what were the Dems and the media talking about in January? (starts with an i)

      Blood on their hands?

      1. xkeyscored

        Not wishing to defend either, they’ve enough blood on their hands as it is, but what were we talking about in January?

        1. MLTPB

          Some of us might have over reacted, back then, 2 months ago, but those of us discussing this thing in January were looking at a quadratic equation, and wondering if the manipulation was based on that simple formula, or something less detectable.

          Not many of us talked about locking down Italy or New York in Jan.

      2. anon in so cal

        Yes, Dems are equally to blame. They are not absolved in any way. They’ve squandered the past three years with their protracted psy ops.

    2. MLTPB

      South Korea, per Wikipedia, has been praised for ‘not using the drastic measure of quarantining entire cities.’

      They traced and quarantined those who had contact. Was that ‘mass quarantine?’

      Personally, I see different nations respond differently, and with so many countries. currently locking down regions, whole countries, and cities, see Moscow for example, I think quarantining New York should have been considered earlier.

      Up until Feb 18, things look manageable with their containment in S Korea. Then they had the cluster around that church in Daegu.

      Not sure about 10k a day, first week (first week of Jan 19, or 1 week of Feb 18?). I don’t think they tested that many in the week of Jan 19. More likely selected testing in Jan.

      As for blood on hand, we have to ask what we, of the nation, were doing in Jan and Feb.


      The Superbowl?

      The debates?

      Other than imposing travel restrictions on China, that is. We did do that during the containment phase, and that order came after reports of the task force being secretive. To those who had to scramble to return to the US, it came as a surprise. Inconvenient, perhaps, but it should be viewed in light of the millions who left Wuhan before their lockdown.

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t think trying to blame all this on Trump is going to fly with the general public and is mostly preaching to the converted. Guess we should be glad they aren’t blaming it on Putin (or are they?)

        1. MLTPB

          Some members of the media may have come late to this, but they make up with their sonic volume.

        2. Monty

          Until very late in February, the CDC rules actively forbade the testing for the virus in cases that did not meet its very narrow definition. Unless you traveled from Wuhan during a particular time window, it was illegal to test you for the virus, no matter what your symptoms. Epidemiologists had thousands of samples they wanted to test, but were not allowed to by the executive branch of Federal .gov.

          Now the revisionist historians ride in to try and shift the blame away from the Feds and what was (and continues to be) a homicidal disregard for American lives. If the ‘general public’ had the facts, I am sure they would have no problem blaming Trump and the US government. Whether it was malice or incompetence doesn’t matter, because either way, they failed in their #1 duty.

          1. MLTPB

            I mentioned a few weeks back that Italy had reached, I thoght, a similar stage where we imposed travel restrictions on China.

            The transition from containment to containment plus mitigation seemed late.

            To my knowledge, no one offered the same or other suggestions at the time. I don’t remember anyone questioning whether we should restrict travels to and from Italy. I remember specifically asking for alternatives in order to strengthen our criticisms today.

            And we didn’t recognize the potential breach in containment. we could not move to adding mitigation to that.

              1. MLTPB

                You have to have both containment and mitigation.

                Before that second phase, it was just containment. I thought and commented on travel restrictions on Italy (to contain) before they were eventually ordered. And I dont recall anyone else adding to that. If people did, my apologies.

              2. Cuibono

                Containment and mitigation are not mutually exclusive as Korea proves
                Germany too for that matter.

          2. chuck roast

            Yes, and let us not forget that Hero of the People Fauci presided over the long hollowing out of this part of the public health sphere. I hope he keeps his job, because if Il Douche cans him then his multitude of failings will be totally papered over by the ravings of the corporate propagandists. He was a doctor before he became a celebrity.

            1. MLTPB

              Dont know if there was much Dr Fauci could do regarding masks, cloth or otherwise, and the CDC position on that.

              Even US surgeon general is asking the question.

              It’s still not too late to recommend that, I think.

              We, those in the field or not, seem to have a lot to learn in this, and being able to change is valuable.

    3. ewmayer

      Not to let Trump off for his early gross underplaying of the viral threat, but imagine the response had he reacted the way the revisionist historians would have him, do, lock down most of the US weeks earlier, when the case estimates were still low due to nearly-no testing being done. MSM would’ve been screaming “Trump assumes dictatotial powers!” in unison and calling for a second final round of ImpeachImpeachImpeach.

      1. Monty

        If they had made an effort to carefully limit, track and test the people entering the country, and anyone presenting symptoms, it would have never got out of control in the first place.

        1. J.K.

          Exactly. s Korea population of 50 million. New york state , close to 20 million. S Korea’s first case was jan 21 (?). To date , s Korea has less than 200 fatalities. Ny has over 2300 and climbing. The central government in s Korea mobilized immediately. The state along with private business using state funded research quickly built its tests. They used testing aggressively early along with other techniques to contain it . Yes, they had some cultural advantages such as common use of masks. I think they alerted the population early , encouraged use of masks and physical distancing. They managed to contain the different clusters without shutting down any of their cities and most business was unaffected. Whats our excuse? How did they have enough time and u.s. didn’t ?

          1. Procopius

            Early testing was made impossible by the CDC insisting on only using their test, which didn’t work because of a “faulty” reagent. I’d still like to hear the name of the company that provided that reagent and the name of the majority stockholder(s). That was at least three weeks lost, right there.

  27. Hoppy

    Good Joe Rogan interview with Dr. Peter Hotez on the virus & public health.

    Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Comments on COVID-19”

    Mathbabe is right. China and Iran’s counts are off by at least an order of magnitude and a lot of other countries counts are off because of lack of testing or not recognizing a lot of home deaths as being caused by Coronavirus. Mathbabe’s article reminds me of something that Robert Heinlein once wrote. He said that numbers are sharp things but when you try to juggle them you end up cutting yourself.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Thank you Yves for that Mathbabe link. I’ve seen a lot of dubious looking statistics recently coming from people who don’t understand math and I think she summed it up well –

      Long story short, being a skeptical data scientist means not trusting the data whatsoever. The best we can do is use the data and our real world knowledge to ballpark what might actually be happening. We will never know the true numbers.

      And thanks Rev for the Heinlein quote. And there’s always the old saw – figures lie and liars figure.

    2. MLTPB

      If mathbabe is right, we can ask another question.

      Can people in China or Iran comment there that their counts are off by at least one order of magnitude?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Help me. Did you miss that the Internet is heavily censored in both countries? NC isn’t accessible in China (so I have been told, it has been true but not sure if now).

        And re Iran:

        Beginning on November 17, 2019, in response to the 2019 Iranian fuel protests, an internet shutdown reduced internet traffic in the country to 5% of normal levels.The internet is now being gradually reactivated in some areas.

        Nevertheless, Chnese were saying so contemporaneously. I am a bit annoyed to have to put up this link YET AGAIN:

        More than 2x as many desperate pleas for help from people at home told to fend for themselves than confirmed cases. And you can probably attach a multiple of how many sick people this represents, since Chinese households, at roughly 3 people per, are large by world standards.

        So assume each plea = one person in a household. Others likely to get sick, so assume each plea means 1.5 ultimate infections. So just from Weibo you have ~3x the official infected not being included in the official reports of infected, as well as not treated, meaning the total in Hubei was at least 4x the reported total.

        And the article also mentions the active censorship of social media, so the Weibo results almost certainly understate facts on the ground.

        Also there are reports from the US of probable Covid-19 cases in nursing homes not being reported so as not to scare off the staff. And as indicated by Mathbabe, lots of reports of nursing home deaths not included in the tally. No one will waste resources to autopsy them, so it’s easy to pretend a high % are not Covid-19.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: Artania cruise ship stand-off continues in Australia”

    There is a whole story behind this simple article. The Artania is docked in Fremantle in Western Australia and I believe that there are at least two other liners parked off the coastline wanting to come in. Meanwhile, off Sydney, there are nine other ocean liners that have a combined crew and passenger count of about 8,500 people. Altogether there are 21 ships carrying tens of thousands of people around the entire Australian coastline wanting to come in. The reason why they are there is simple. Their owners, like Carnival, want Australia to deal with all those people and treat all their sick for them for free so that at most they are only up for docking fees.

    But it can’t be done. If attempted, the numbers would overwhelm our health system with sheer numbers but these ships refuse to go to their home ports. A spokesmen for Carnival said “It is bitterly disappointing that short term responses have put an industry, jobs and people at risk” but it is not that simple. It is trying to make their problems somebody else’s problem which is why they ordered their ships to sail to Australia. In fact these cruise line companies have also been lying by saying that they have no sick aboard when in fact they have hundreds. The Police have just visited one liner in full bio-hazard gear to find out what the actual situation is aboard.

    If this sounds hard, it is a common feeling here because of something that happened a fortnight ago. A ship called the Ruby Princess was allowed to dock in Sydney and apparently they told NSW health they had no sick aboard and so 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark. These people scattered to all around Australia as well as overseas and they took infection with them. More than 400 Coronavirus cases – 10% of Australia’s total – came from the Ruby Princess cruise ship and they have caused Coronavirus hot-spots in places like airports, South Australia, Customs officers, etc. and they are still trying to deal with that mess. They had to bring soldiers in as tracers due to the numbers involved. It was a massive c***-up. I believe that the US too is experiencing this problem and they ordered one ocean liner away. When this is all over, I think that countries are going to be visiting these cruise line companies and their relation to laws as they see to think that they are a law unto themselves.

    1. anon in so cal

      Trump will allow Holland America cruise ships to dock in Florida….

      It is astonishing to read about the large number of cruise ships still in operation on various oceans. Some of them at least had to have initiated the trips after the pandemic was in full swing.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      regarding ships and The Law(tm)…aren’t a lot of them Domiciled in Liberia, or somewhere?
      that’s not by accident.

      yet another example of “Personal Responsibility” for us little people…and no responsibility for the captains of capitalism(sic).

      1. Phacops

        Before giving them permission to dock too bad those foreign flagged vessels are not required to pay the yearly taxes that would have been assessed as if they were American flagged.

  30. Jeff N

    re: how common was routine BCG vaccination back in the day

    The first studies on BCG

    By the late 1940s, several studies had appeared providing evidence for the utility of BCG in protection against tuberculosis. Tuberculosis had emerged as a major concern in the aftermath of World War II, and BCG use was encouraged, stimulated in particular by UNICEF, by the fledgling World Health Organization (WHO), and by Scandinavian Red Cross Societies. The campaigns spread to the developing countries over the next decade. Also in the 1950s, major trials were set up by the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom and by the Public Health Service in the United States. Soon it became evident that the procedure employed in the United Kingdom (a Copenhagen strain BCG, given to tuberculin negative 13-year-olds) was highly eficacious against tuberculosis (19) whereas that in the United States (Tice strain, given to tuberculin negatives of various ages) provided little or no protection (20). On the basis of these results, the respective public health agencies recommended BCG as a routine for tuberculin-negative adolescents in the United Kingdom, whereas BCG was not recommended for routine use in the United States but restricted to certain high-risk populations. The majority of the world followed the lead of Europe and the WHO and introduced routine BCG vaccination according to various schedules (e.g., at birth, school entry, school leaving), whereas the Netherlands and the United States decided against routine BCG use and based their tuberculosis control strategy upon contact tracing and the use of tuberculin to identify individuals for preventive therapy.

  31. jef

    “Humanity’s Origin Story Just Got More Complicated”

    Even more complicated is where the hell did it go?

    1. Zagonostra


      There is a quote from Kurt Vonnegut on how it’s embarrassing to be a member of this species after seeing how destructive it is, or something to that effect… I forget the exact quote.

      1. MLTPB

        Thank you, though no quote is ever as impressive as those realizations one experiences directly.

        It’s so bad, so pervasive, many of us know about what we, as a species, really are doing.

  32. fresno dan

    Tips from someone with 50 years of social distancing experience MPR. My kind of guy!
    Barr starts early. He wakes up around 3:30 a.m. or 4 a.m., and stays in bed until about 5 a.m.

    “Up until a week or two ago, I would listen to the news every morning so that I could start every day either totally depressed or furious. That’s always a good way to start the day,” he said.
    That’s me! Except when I wake up, I get up. And I don’t LIKE being depressed or furious, but that is how current policy is making me….
    AND StayHomeHub is back to being PornHub – no idea of why they changed their name back – maybe people looking for porn don’t google “stay home”

  33. smoker

    RE: Coronavirus creates emergency in nursing homes The Hill

    “It’s like California has declared war on nursing home residents. The state knows that forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients will cause deadly outbreaks, and will kill residents, but is doing it anyway,” Connors added.

    See also, this piece from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform [CANHR], which [Mike] Connors (both CANHR and Mike Connors are referenced in the Hill article) works at.

    03/31/20 California Declares War on Nursing Home Residents – State Orders Nursing Homes to Admit COVID-19 patients

    After weeks of warning Californians about the deadly threat the coronavirus poses to nursing home residents, the State of California has now ordered California nursing home operators to bring the virus into their facilities, knowing full well it is likely to kill many residents.

    A March 30, 2020 directive from the California Department of Public Health to skilled nursing facilities states: “SNFs shall not refuse to admit or readmit a resident based on their status as a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.”

    California issued its directive while coronavirus outbreaks are spiking in dozens of nursing homes throughout the state, including Laguna Honda in San Francisco, the state’s largest facility. The state is refusing to identify nursing homes with outbreaks, cruelly leaving residents to worry that they are at immediate risk of infection and death.

    COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe, the state of Washington and elsewhere have swept through nursing homes, infecting and killing large numbers of residents. The New York Times reports today that nursing homes account for one in four coronavirus deaths in New York City.

    “Sacrificing the lives of beloved nursing home residents is beyond unconscionable” said Patricia McGinnis, CANHR’s executive director. “California’s directive is nothing less than a death sentence for countless residents. The State should instead look to alternative locations such as hotels and conference centers as much safer places to send COVID-19 patients for care.”

    For those who have less sympathy for those assumed to be mostly 70 and older, regarding the current pandemic, it’s important to note that Nursing Facility premises generally contain Skilled Rehab Facilities where patients of most ages (sans babies) can end up temporarily.

    The main page, and now their Covid site are also good Assisted Living and Nursing Facility (Skilled Rehab or Permanent) resources for those who don’t live in California, as they diligently track and advocate regarding both Federal and California issues.

    1. wilroncanada

      British Columbia has had 25 deaths from Covid-19 as of yesterday. Of those, 75 to 80% have been in care homes, half from one Vancouver area facility where a staff person returned from overseas and immediately went back to work.

      Ontario yesterday reported 40 deaths from one facility, a rural care centre, surprisingly.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, I’ve looked at quite a few nursing homes, in Alabama, NY state, and a very good one in North Carolina. They do NOT contain skilled rehab. They might have an Alzheimers’ wing, which is not at all the same.

      In fact, this article confirms that they are typically not part of nursing homes. “Long term care facility” = nursing home. Patients are sent back once they are in better shape:

      Skilled rehabilitation centers or nursing facilities help patients transition from a hospital setting back to a home environment or long-term care facility. Patients are typically referred to such centers by doctors or social workers, or through positive word of mouth from family and friends.

      Having seen the (comparatively few) nurses in nursing homes and their skill levels (they are most assuredly NOT trained in physical therapy, nor have I encountered any nursing home touting having any in-house physical therapists), I find your claim to be a stretch.

      I similarly know a few people who sustained bad injuries in other states and needed protracted post surgical rehab. Those facilities were not part of a nursing home.

      Don’t make shit up. It is a violation of our written site Policies. Or provide a link showing that it’s different in CA.

      1. garden breads

        With all respect, you may both be right, due to peculiarities of certification and licensing of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The CA directive refers to SNFs specifically.

        CMS Medicare certification does not recognize a distinct facility type of “residential rehabilitation therapy” and certifies such facilities as SNFs. Similarly most states do not license “residential rehabilitation facilities” as such – they are licensed as SNFs. Nursing facilities – i.e. Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs/NFs not SNFs) – typically do not offer serious rehabilitation, but some facilities offer both ICF and SNF level services. SNF/NF combined facilities are very common in some but not all parts of the country. In CMS Nursing Home Compare one can see the staffing metric “Physical therapist staff hours per resident per day” and in some facilities it is substantial whereas in most it is unreported or only a couple minutes per patient per day.

        Some SNF or SNF/NF facilities provide a large proportion of their patients “Ultra High Rehabilitation Services” (RUG category RUx) which is a minimum of 12 hours professional therapy per week, defined as:

        Residents receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech-language pathology services while a resident. •Ultra (U)-720+ minutes; 2 disciplines (one 5 days; second at least 3 days)

        So in some areas people would expect a nursing facility of good size to also offer rehabilitation services. Some also have very specific rehabilitation services – trauma, cardiac etc. The numbers of patients with ultra high rehab services can be found in the CMS Medicare SNF cost reports.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Thanks but we are still talking past each other. My issue was SPECIFICALLY with smoker’s claim about nursing homes normally providing rehab services.

          I have looked at quite a few nursing homes (including high end ones), not just getting brochures but by screening them on the Medicare site, and overwhelmingly, they don’t offer these services. Nursing homes, even in their “warehouse the aged infirm but make it look better” incarnation are money losers. Nearly all require large $ buy-ins and even then require residents to get in at the “independent living” stage, which is where they make money. Even with the limited “nursing” in nursing home, they lose money.

          The reason appears in part to do with Medicare reimbursements. It does not cover post-operative rehab in a facility. I had a friend who shattered her leg in a fall and needed three months in a rehab facility, and she was hit with a large bill. That is consistent with this write-up:

          Medicare does not cover custodial care. If your care includes any of the following services: 24-hour care, meal delivery, homemaker services, personal care (unless it’s included with HHC plan) Medicare will not cover the cost. Medicaid sometimes pays for services to keep seniors in their homes

          It is hard enough for nursing homes to make a buck on fixed-income retirees. Admittedly, some long-term care policies do cover physical therapy, but all long-term care insures are in serious financial trouble and are fighting to reduce payouts.

          A quick look at the CMS site shows that the “Total number of licensed nurse staff hours per resident per day” national average is one hour 33 minutes, and the national average for physical therapist staff hours per resident per day is 5 minutes. That confirms that nursing homes with meaningful rehab services are in a decided minority.

          I have also seen the sort of “physical therapy” typically provided to elderly people. A depressingly high proportion of the time, it’s just generic exercises listed on a sheet that the “therapist” takes them through. It falls way way way short of customized rehab. I suspect in most facilities, this is what it amounts to. It might even include exercise classes led by a physical therapist or even a nurse who had also gotten certified as a trainer in that state.

          Now there are obviously SNFs that are not nursing homes that offer serious rehab services. But the CA order looks to be directed at the nursing home variety of SNF. The use of the word “resident” in the order is a strong indicator that this order is directed at nursing homes, and not at SNFs that are primarily rehab facilities.

          It does not seem likely that someone was admitted to a rehab facility (where the admission was understood to be time-limited, which is not the case in a nursing home), discharged, and then (since the onset of Covid-19) wants back in and ALSO has a Covid-19 infection. The denial of readmission due to Covid-19 issue would seem mainly if not entirely to apply to patients the nursing homes attempted to discharge and the State is saying that is not on.

          And that is what I am objecting to in smoker’s claim, that the order is putting people in SNFs that are rehab facilities and serve a broad age range at risk. smoker needs to back up that assertion.

  34. urblintz

    the latest evidence (CNN) apparently suggests that we are at risk from simply “talking” to another person, that the virus suspends in the air and that “just breathing” is dangerous. Talking I can do without, breathing…

    Song (Is it dirty) – Frank O’Hara
    Is it dirty
    does it look dirty
    that’s what you think of in the city

    does it just seem dirty
    that’s what you think of in the city
    you don’t refuse to breathe do you

    someone comes along with a very bad character
    he seems attractive. is he really. yes. very
    he’s attractive as his character is bad. is it. yes

    that’s what you think of in the city
    run your finger along your no-moss mind
    that’s not a thought that’s soot

    and you take a lot of dirt off someone
    is the character less bad. no. it improves constantly
    you don’t refuse to breathe do you

    Garcetti says everyone in LA should wear a mask…. that should have happened decades ago but better late than never. The downside is celebrity facemasks…

    I am a retired opera singer… it’s possible my art form has at last encountered something worse than wretched singing… not singing…

    masks… the possibilities are endless.

  35. BoyDownTheLane

    “… ”What we’re seeing is the result of many things in the supply chain that have not been prepared as they should have been. There is not a lot of safety stock at any link in the supply chain and the Strategic Sational Stockpile cannot be the sole answer.”….”

    Why not? This paper has been online for 15 years:

  36. Skip Intro

    I can no longer find the tweet, since #rentstrike is blowing up, but I found an article which tells most of the story.

    Property management accidentally helps its tenants organize rent strike

    Basically, the landlord for multiple apt. buildings in LA sent out an email to all the tenants warning them to pay their damn rent, but didn’t use BCC, so all the tenants had all the emails of other tenants, and immediately used that to organize a rent strike. Karma is moving very quickly these days, and apparently the landlord not only helped their tenants organize against them, but also violated California’s data security law, and is liable for penalties for the exposure of all those emails.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Thank you so much for that bit of hopefulness.

      I don’t do twitter or those other things — is there any kind of hashtag for “general strike” or “rent strike” doing the rounds?

      Seems to me we have a de facto but sadly non-intentional general strike of “nonessential workers” going into its third week. I note the implicit and unfortunate notion that all those people are, from the Rulers’ perspective, “non-essential.” Glad to see that some of the “essential” workers are organizing and exercising their likely short-lived leverage. Nurses with no PPE working maybe 80+ hours a week, PMC-slaves doing delivery and order picking.

      Maybe that kind of exercise will become a thing, since obviously Pelosi and McConnell that bunch are only going to complete the looting with the tiniest crumbs for the working class…

      1. Skip Intro

        #rentstrike was so busy, I couldn’t find the tweet I was looking for. #generalstrike, somewhat less so. It is international, people hand white sheets out their windows as demonstration and solidarity flag…

  37. fresno dan

    COVID-19: Winners and Losers Baseline Scenario
    The business sector will become more concentrated. Inequality will increase. The fundamental trends that have reshaped the American economy over my lifetime will accelerate. The survival of capitalism depends on a large enough proportion of the population having a stake in its survival. For how much longer?
    Those things happen because we ALLOW those things to happen. Inequality is not because of evolution, or physics, or the movement of continents or stars. We don’t have to advantage the 0.1% we can advantage the bottom 90%, we just have to WANT to, and disregard the baloney that the 0.1% are our betters…

    1. c_heale

      COVID-19 Winners and Losers Baseline Scenario. Not sure this is the case. Think COVID-19 is going to sweep away our current way of life and probably most of the political class around the world. We’re already looking at food shortages happening…

    1. Dalepues

      Thank you. I was getting my info from, but wkrg has better all round coverage. I heard this morning on NPR about a website that would give you specific information, especially regarding location and origin of active cases. I think that would be useful information. It would be helpful to know, for example, if there have been any cases originating from the Winn Dixie store at Government and Catherine……

  38. JTMcPhee

    Microsoft’s president OUGHT to like that “model legislation” on facial recognition. His lobbyists had a big hand first, in killing a prior bill that was more protective of personal rights (note: “more”), and apparently in the current law:

    “ The privacy risks of unchecked facial-recognition technology”

    The Washington state Legislature this session took up what would have been a landmark bill to put a moratorium on the acquisition and use of facial recognition technology by government agencies. Drafted by the ACLU — and in line with other proposals around the country — this bill would have temporarily banned government use of facial recognition technology and given Washington voters a chance to stop, breathe, and have a serious and fair discussion about the role of pervasive surveillance technologies like facial recognition in our world.

    But as the now-dead House Bill 1654 progressed through the Legislature, various interest groups gutted it and rolled back the moratorium entirely. Among those involved were law enforcement groups and tech behemoths like Amazon and Microsoft that stand to gain the most (and lose the least) from its implementation. Now, those same groups are pushing to include permissive provisions in a consumer data privacy bill, Senate Bill 5376, that would allow for public and private use of facial recognition without meaningful restrictions.

    I had a little run-in with a cousin of the facial recognition machinery. FL has a bill-by-mail system on various toll roads (of which the legislature, in the face of screams by the public at large, just approved a whole new slew of private toll roads). I got a “ticket by mail” claiming I had not stopped to pay at an automated collection station at the exit from a road I have never driven on. Included was a grainy photo of a pickup truck, a Ford F-150 with a tonneau cover over the bed. I drive a nineteen-year-old Ford Ranger with a full topper. Patently not my vehicle. The license plate was not legible in that photo, and obviously the automated machinery had failed the simple task of reading the number plate.

    The type face for the numbers FL number plates has supposedly been optimized for “machine readability,” done years ago for the on-board surveillance cameras in police cars, which routinely scan every vehicle they encounter (where they get a rear view, since we only get rear plates here.)

    This was “only” a $3.20 charge (the $0.75 toll plus fine and processing fee for the corporation that does this) but I was not just going to put up with this rank injustice.

    I struggled with the on-line process of appealing their error, since the instructions to lodge an appeal did not correspond with the UI presentation. You can attach photos as evidence to prove it wasn’t you, but only in “old-fashioned” format — images from recent Apple products are not accepted. I left my “trial brief” where I could in the site, on a Friday, and called on Monday and got actually a very decent treatment from the call center guy who quickly figured out from their better-resolution picture that my registered vehicle was not the same one in the picture, and zeroed out the ticket. The difference on the plate was one number — the machinery read a 5 as a 6, pretty fundamental flaw. He declined to say how many false positives he encountered every day.

    Technology and progress march on…

    1. Procopius

      Not exactly the same, but I have been baffled for years as to why OCR is so bad. I dunno, maybe the newest programs are better, but if facial recognition can differentiate between thousands of people who look very much alike, why can’t OCR tell the difference between an ‘p’ and a ‘q’? If you have ever scanned a document and run it through an OCR program you will know what I mean.

  39. lordkoos

    Re the Google data centers & water use — can’t the water be reused? The article did not mention what happens to the water once it is used for cooling, but it seems to me that it could be reused with the proper infrastructure and that it might not have to be expensive.

    Google has a massive server farm near Quincy WA, located there for the cheap hydro power (the same reason there are so many crypto-mining setups in the same region). The regional climate is semi-arid, and WA agriculture totally depends on irrigation from the Columbia river. If the water is wasted, that seems very shortsighted.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      No. The water cannot be reused. In the photo, it is evident that Google is using evaporative chillers to provide cooling water for their servers. This greatly reduces the energy consumed by the overall cooling system (which is a genuine benefit), but water is evaporated as part of the process and blows away with the wind. If you try to recapture the water vapor and re-condense it, you get back the heat that the evaporating water absorbed in the first place, which defeats the purpose.

      Even worse, evaporative chillers work better in dryer climates where water is typically more scarce. With a big enough system, you can cool water down to almost the local web bulb temperature, which is typically just a few degrees above the dew point.

  40. Oregoncharles

    Craig Murray is a gem, isn’t he? That someone like him would make his mark on history by RESIGNING from government is a black mark on the system – in his case, Britain’s, but it applies here, too.

  41. Oregoncharles

    “Coronavirus update- TB vaccine in childhood may offer Covid-19 protection: Researchers Hindustan Times (J-LS” – this, plus an antimalarial and an antibiotic being effective, is quite a WTF. How does this work? It isn’t at all what you’d expect. One caveat: all of these seem to be mostly symptomatic, rather than addressing the virus itself. But the impact just of keeping people out of hospitals would be huge.

  42. JBird4049

    On that tweet about using an internet connected thermometer… I just have to ask whyyyy? Do you need to have total strangers know your body’s temp?

    1. MLTPB

      That’s a good question.

      I shows, I think, how countries even today are different.

      In some, I can see more acceptance about this. Other countries, less resistance, if this is imposed.

      Here, many will understand why you are asking the question, and do ask the same themselves.

    2. Cuibono

      in this case it might actually be providing useful public health information. Might i say. too much is unknown

  43. michael99

    Sorry if this has been posted already.

    The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has this website updated daily with projections for when COVID-19 peaks will be hit in each state. Shows beds, ICU beds and ventilators needed versus available, and deaths per day peaks. There is quite a lot of uncertainty though as the charts show.

    According to these projections California and a number of other states may succeed in flattening the curve enough for the healthcare system to handle it assuming full social distancing through May 2020.

    1. periol

      There are some charts at the website linked below trying to extrapolate the untested cases around the country. By any benchmark, both WA and CA are both missing large numbers of active COVID-19 cases, and, anywhere from 50-80% of the cases in each state are unidentified. WA is off the charts bad. Also, as of yesterday in CA there were over 59,000 tests waiting for results (almost all with Quest Labs) – and reporting from the LA Times and The Atlantic indicates that most of those will be abandoned without results because they are already too old to be useful.

      The reported data definitely paints a rosier picture than the reality on the ground in each state.

  44. garden breads

    Mortality rates probably will be much much higher than the often cited U Washington estimates because of a glaring omission from their model. They model resource use (beds, ICU beds, ventilators) per diagnosed patient from data for New Zealand which had sufficient beds, ICU beds and ventilators for all its patients.

    NY example: model projects peak utilization in just 7 days requiring 76,130 beds (patients requiring hospitalization), 11,782 ICU beds, and 9,427 ventilators (patients in acute respiratory distress) which means 63,120 patients unable to get a hospital bed, 11,064 who can’t get a needed ICU bed and over 8,000 who need a ventilator to breathe but cannot get one.

    But the model projects deaths to peak the following day at only 855.

    The big difference in mortality rates between Korea (1.7%) and Germany (1.43%) versus the enormous rates in Italy (12.1%), Spain etc. is that these latter countries can only treat a small portion of the seriously ill patients. This dwarfs artefacts of mortality and morbidity reporting and testing of the population.

    If their prevalence and resource demand models are correct that will be the case in NY next week and mortality and disease progression may be many times higher than they expect.

  45. antidlc

    My apologies if this has been posted. I have not been able to keep up with everything posted on NC.

    This is so important for everyone to understand. This explains why Governors say: I’m not getting the supplies I need – yet @POTUS
    says we are sending tons of supplies: It’s going from the federal govt to commercial distributors who then deliver to the highest bidder: states!

    Video at sure to watch it
    Basically, this is not going directly to the states. It’s going to the middleman and then the state has to be the highest bidder in order to get what the middleman has in its inventory. And if there’s leftovers, then the next state in line gets it.

  46. MarkT

    BCG theory: VERY interesting!

    A friend and I have long been scratching our heads about the strangeness of infection rates in different parts of the world. Initially it was that Caribbean countries and South Africa didn’t seem to have the sustained take-off in cases experienced elsewhere. (India and many other “third world countries” seemed to fall into the same category.) New Zealand has done very well too … but then here we have a very well observed home quarantine (or “lockdown” as the media and government insist on calling it) which is probably better than most other countries can manage. According to the reports I’ve gotten my hands on (sorry no link) the numbers of tests being administered in South Africa is way higher than in New Zealand. Which added to the mystery. Until this came along:

    I wouldn’t laugh this theory off. Wait to see what the coming weeks bring.

    1. MarkT

      From what I have been able to gather: USA and Italy have not had universal immunisation. Much of the remainder of Europe had, but phased it out. The rest of the world has immunised most at birth.

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