Links 4/28/2020

Pentagon formally releases 3 Navy videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena” CBS. I think the “2020!” showrunners need to rethink this plot twist. It’s all too much.

UBS profits jump 40% as wealth unit performs robustly FT

Less Than a Third of the World Can Feed Itself From Local Crops, Says Study Modern Farmer


The science:

Aerodynamic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in two Wuhan hospitals Nature. From the abstract: “[W]e propose that SARS-CoV-2 may have the potential to be transmitted via aerosols. Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols. Future work should explore the infectivity of aerosolized virus.”

Nobody Knows What Is Going On Mark Manson

* * *


Virus Likely to Keep Coming Back Each Year, Say Top Chinese Scientists Bloomberg

What we could learn from the coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt Los Angeles Times

At least 12 UK children have needed intensive care due to illness linked to Covid-19 Guardian

* * *

Treatment and Vaccine:

The Pandemic-Era Emergency Dep’t: Weirder, Wilder & Emptier Than Ever Matt Bivens, Medium

New York City ER medical director, 48, takes her own life after telling her family about the trauma of witnessing patients dying from coronavirus before they could be taken from ambulances Daily Mail

* * *


Masks as an example of rapid innovation in apparel:

* * *


Coronavirus testing increasing, but still not good enough Axios

READ: Coronavirus Testing Guidelines From The White House NPR

* * *

Economic effects:

Tyson Foods takes out full-page ad: ‘The food supply chain is breaking’ The Hill

The Lost Spring: Coronavirus Shuts Down Nearly Every School for Academic Year Education Week

* * *

Elite response:

The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19 WSJ. Reads like a Gibson novel, and I don’t mean that as a compliment:

A dozen of America’s top scientists and a collection of billionaires and industry titans say they have the answer to the coronavirus pandemic, and they found a backdoor to deliver their plan [a report, below] to the White House.They call themselves Scientists to Stop Covid-19, and they include chemical biologists, an immunobiologist, a neurobiologist, a chronobiologist, an oncologist, a gastroenterologist, an epidemiologist and a nuclear scientist…..

This group, whose work hasn’t been previously reported, has acted as the go-between for pharmaceutical companies looking for a reputable link to Trump administration decision makers. They are working remotely as an ad hoc review board for the flood of research on the coronavirus, weeding out flawed studies before they reach policy makers.

Great. When the aliens land, we can hand the first contact problem over to these guys. And:

No one involved with the group stands to gain financially.


Steve Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and the co-chairman of Bain Capital—as well as one of Dr. Cahill’s investors—helped copy edit drafts of their report, and he passed a version to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive David Solomon. Mr. Solomon got it to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

No possibility of front-running here! Here is their report (and whatever “the science” might be, you can bet the backers have other things in mind. The word “patent,” for example, is conspicuous by its absence). It’s only seventeen pages long. Reader comments welcome.

* * *

Political response:

Coronavirus apps: the risk of slipping into a surveillance state FT

Round 2 of Paycheck Protection Program starts. Better hurry CBS

Trump Faces Off With the WHO: Sorting Through the Allegations Just Security

A New Org Chart Won’t Stop the Next Pandemic Bloomberg

Who Deserves a Relief Check? It Doesn’t Matter. Bloomberg

Multi-millionaire Trump donor is top recipient of funds intended for struggling small businesses Popular Information

* * *

Exit strategy:

CDC compiles new guidelines to help organizations reopen CBS

Abbott’s coronavirus order nixes Austin’s enforcement of face mask mandate Statesman

Texas Will Allow Stay-At-Home Order To Expire Thursday, Letting Some Businesses Reopen HuffPo

A five-layered defense for workplace reopening Harvard Gazette. For employers and building managers.

* * *

Remedies and ameliorations:

Five handle hacks for hands-free door opening Dezeen (Re Silc).

How to avoid Amazon: the definitive guide to online shopping – without the retail titan Guardian. UK-centric, but some US firms. Perhaps readers can add suggestions.

Coronavirus and Travel in the United States CDC

National Archives makes its entire digital archive available for free Ian Visits


Our Latest Sinophobia Fest Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News

How a pandemic led the world to start shopping on Alibaba FT. “The Chinese tech giant has emerged as a key supplier of PPE.”

Coronavirus: how will China’s role in the global economy change when faced with pandemic backlash? South China Morning Post

S’porean man charged in court for leaving home 30 minutes before quarantine ended to get breakfast Mothership (Re Silc).

Malaysia’s deputy health minister fined RM1,000 for breaching coronavirus restriction rules Straits Times

Exclusive: More than 2,200 Indonesians have died with coronavirus symptoms, data shows Reuters

300,000 coronavirus masks sent to pregnant women in Japan may be faulty: reports Reuters

Inside Taiwan’s Response to COVID-19 Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Coronavirus: New Zealand claims no community cases as lockdown eases BBC

Thailand shelves Asia-Pacific trade pact membership decision amid growing opposition Reuters

Is the US-Philippines Alliance Obsolete? The Diplomat


Work from home: Professionals complain of stress, insomnia, anxiety Times of India


Egypt extends state of emergency on virus, security fears Agence France Presse

Chile’s Going Ahead with the Coronavirus ‘Release Certificates’ the WHO Warned Against Vice

Trump Transition

Tensions emerge among Republicans over coronavirus spending and how to rescue the economy WaPo

Trump’s Politicization of U.S. Intelligence Agencies Could End in Disaster Foreign Policy. After a gaggle of former intelligence officials mutated into high-paid talking heads on CNN during Russiagate Come on, man.

Labour report reveals how Jeremy Corbyn was sabotaged from within (podcast) Pushback with Aaron Mate. Not new, but useful in Podcast form.


A former neighbor of Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade has come forward to corroborate her sexual-assault account, saying Reade discussed the allegations in detail in the mid-1990s Business Insider. Far more evidence than the Blasey Ford story, which dominated the news for weeks. Odd.

Biden Goes Postal: The Vice President’s Conspiracy Theory Is Given Credence By The Media And Democratic Leaders Jonathan Turley. Maybe if the Democrats are worried about canceling elections, they shouldn’t be cancelling Presidential primaries? Just trying to help out on the optics, here. (For those who came in late, the Clinton campaign claimed that Trump wouldn’t accept the election results of 2016, too, and when Clinton lost, loyalists promptly floated trial balloons for overturning the results in the Electoral College using a “faithless electors” strategy.) Come on, man. We need a word that goes beyond “hypocrisy,” in the same way that “bullshit” goes beyond mere lying. Doublethink?

Health Care

What the Coronavirus Crisis Reveals About American Medicine The New Yorker. “[T]he medical infrastructure of one of the world’s wealthiest nations fell apart, like a slapdash house built by one of the three little pigs.” There are more than three pigs. And they aren’t little.

Putting A Stake Through The Heart of Public Health’s Eeyore Complex Health Affairs


The System Works: Deputy Who Randomly Fired His Gun Through His Windshield Into Rush Hour Traffic Fined $2 TechDirt (JBird4049).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Globalism: Lysol-Huffing For Elites The American Conservative. Don’t try this at home.

Guillotine Watch

Foreclosure sales continue in Bay Area during coronavirus crisis San Francisco Chronicle (WCL). Awful:

Yet outside of courthouses and city halls across the Bay Area, one obscure legal proceeding continues to unfold: the auctioning off of foreclosed properties. Every week more than a dozen such auctions are taking place from San Francisco to Redwood City to Oakland, as auctioneers holding iPads rattle off addresses and prices, and would-be investors gather around and bid for a chance to take ownership of a home where the previous owner has fallen behind on loan payments.

The persistence of these privately run, extrajudicial auctions — San Francisco has two a week, Alameda County has five, and San Mateo County three — has prompted criticism from elected officials who argue that selling foreclosed homes is not an essential service.

And some who are defaulted on their loans and face losing their property argue that the auctions should be put off because legal avenues typically available to delay such sales — court-ordered enjoinments — are not available because of the health orders.

An open letter to the Poetry Foundation regarding their COVID-19 Response Statement Spect (EG: “The Poetry Foundation is sitting on a rather large endowment, several hundred million, with a well-compensated leadership, but is helping with peanuts at a time when the livelihood of, quite possibly literally, the entire art form is at risk.”

Class Warfare

Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality NYT. “The pandemic recession has knocked millions of the most economically vulnerable Americans out of work. Rushing to reopen their employers could offer them a financial lifeline, but at a potentially steep cost to their health.” I love the reframing of “wage labor” as “economically vulnerable.” Just when I think liberalism has peaked…

Amazon should try this in its warehouses, to help with union-busting:

The “Father of Environmental Justice” on Why He Isn’t Surprised by COVID-19 Health Disparities Texas Monthly

Whose coronavirus strategy worked best? Scientists hunt most effective policies Nature

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Links on by .

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. flora

    Good read from Stoller. Could be filed under C-19 govt response (or lack of), or guillotine watch.

    Antitrust After Corona Virus

    ” In other words, the coronavirus has clarified that our government is weak, but the political reaction is to just accept the weakness of state institutions, and throw taxpayer money and political legitimacy at private institutions who govern in their stead. ….

    “Who else has stepped into the coordinating role that state actors used to play? Matt Levine of Bloomberg had an interesting observation about giant asset managers, noting that “BlackRock, Fidelity Investments, Aviva Investors, Janus Henderson and Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager” are telling drug companies to stop competing. Asset managers, who wield the pension money of the world, control large chunks of virtually every corporation, so in effect, this is private allocators of public capital taking a direct governing role. …

    “There’s nothing wrong with mobilizing social resources in a crisis. But what is fascinating is that it is not the United States or EU governments doing so, but the United States of Asset Managers. …”

    1. xkeyscored

      “the political reaction is to just accept the weakness of state institutions”

      May Day may prove Stoller wrong there. I haven’t noticed much acceptance of this weakness here on NC either.

    2. Off The Street

      Acronym is USAM, where citizens didn’t even know that they cried Uncle, or an unnamed party did it for them, before the proceedings began. After all, the work was a secret about which they did not need to know.

    3. MLTPB

      About the last setemence – does it mean Germans, for example, do not include Russia in their USAM world?

    4. Biologist

      That’s very interesting, thanks for the link.

      Re: “Who else has stepped into the coordinating role that state actors used to play?”
      One thing that comes to mind is Amazon. Here in UK, they are delivering whatever you need, including fresh groceries, usually within a day or so. Of course, in a parallel universe, we would treat it like the utility it has de facto become, i.e. nationalise, increase pay to workers, put them on permanent contracts, give them the protection they need, prioritise delivery of things that are important, etc.

      Contrast Amazon’s efficiency with the shambles that is UK’s testing infrastructure:
      “The alarm was sounded when doctors and nurses complained that test results never arrived, or that they had been sent someone else’s results. In other cases, the test centre, which is about 12 miles south-west of central London, was unable to ring through with the diagnosis because of a failure to record correct phone numbers.”
      But guess who is running some of that testing infrastructure? Deloitte.

      Nevertheless, as I believe Col. Smithers remarked the other day, no doubt will the debacle that is UK’s Covid-19 response be used to justify further offloading of basic state functions to the private sector.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > offloading of basic state functions to the private sector

        Or we are looking at a new form of State.

        Note that the existing State

        1) Still holds the monopoly on violence and

        2) Still is the currency issuer

        Pretty big powers, even if “code is law”!

    5. mpalomar

      what is fascinating is that it is not the United States or EU governments doing so, but the United States of Asset Managers. …”
      Similar to the The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires linked story.
      “Top scientists and a collection of billionaires and industry titans… found a backdoor to deliver their plan to the White House…the eclectic group is led by a 33-year-old physician-turned-venture capitalist…has enough lofty connections to influence government decisions in the war against Covid-19… describe their work as a lockdown-era Manhattan Project, a nod to the World War II group of scientists who helped develop the atomic bomb… buy medicines not yet proven effective as a way to encourage manufacturers to ramp up production without worrying about losing money if the drugs fail…
      A major concern… was the FDA….In a group call afterward, one… said, of the FDA: “They’re the problem here.”….

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ” In other words, the coronavirus has clarified that our government is weak, but the political reaction is to just accept the weakness of state institutions, and throw taxpayer money and political legitimacy at private institutions who govern in their stead. ….


      1) “our government is weak” yes, and by design, starting with Federalism, ending with neoliberalism

      2) “the political reaction is to just accept” I would need to read further into the article, but that formulation is a bit vague

      3) “throw taxpayer money and political legitimacy” Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending.

      My initial impulse is to accept the thesis, though… But to question the nature of the state. Nobody said that the State wasn’t adaptive. (Because the Senate was weak didn’t mean that Augustus did not become strong.) These same people would be running the world with ISDS under TTP/TTiP after all.

  2. Timmy

    avoiding amazon, in internet searches

    [search term],
    [search term][comma][space][minus sign][]

    usually the first item of the search results is an ad from, yep, amazon

    1. Off The Street

      Wondering if there were a way to identify which search results were due to paid versus unpaid. [Family blog] Google isn’t likely to divulge, but are there others that may somehow?

      1. xkeyscored

        Qwant claims it “allows the whole Web to be visible without any discrimination and with no bias.

        Our sorting algorithms are applied equally everywhere and for every user, without trying to put websites forward or to hide others based on commercial, political or moral interests.”

        Hmm. Does sound familiar …

      2. Daryl

        If one considers manipulation of the results to be a form of paid advertising, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily go into the search engine’s pocket, then almost all of the results you see in the first few pages are.

    2. dcblogger

      incomplete list of Amazon alternatives:
      Ace Hardware – hardware, garden supplies, appliances, some housewares, some electronics – seeds, plants, garden tools, soil, seeds – garden supply
      Bad Bath and Beyond – sheets, towels, housewares
      Barnes and Noble – Books, DVDs
      also search on the name of your local independent book store, Red Emmas and others ship or – groceries, right now 2 week wait on delivery, but at least the drivers and warehouse workers get union wages

    3. Billy

      After using Amazon to research, review and compare products, search for the name of the manufacturer. Sometimes, they have their own website, or one linked to them that is not Amazon, you can have the the product shipped directly to you or via a local shop, that gets a percentage, and where you pay cash of course.

      Also, if one is going to order through Amazon, click on the Amazon link from within “good websites” so that the website owner gets a cut;
      i.e. Of Two Minds, Charles Hugh Smith

      ” While the stock market euphorically front-runs the Fed and a V-shaped recovery, the reality is the crash has only just begun. To understand why, look at income and debt. Income–earned and unearned–is in free-fall, while debt–which must be serviced by income–is exploding higher. Bailouts are not a permanent substitute for income…”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > After using Amazon to research, review and compare products, search for the name of the manufacturer

        I do that a lot. It’s a little-recognized fact that Amazon is in fact an enormous content provider through its product reviews (which they are self-destructively allowing to be spammed, and so sorting out the spam comments from the real ones is part of the art of using Amazon as a research tool).

        What’s amazing to me is how bad Amazon’s search function is. The best way to use Amazon IMNSHO is with a model or SKU number derived elsewhere. Search on that, do the research, then order from a legitimate source that really needs you as a customer.

  3. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Coronavirus and Travel in the United States:

    The CDC guidance in the link says “Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there may be a risk of getting COVID-19 if you are seated within 6 feet of someone who has the virus.

    I will admit that there’s a lot about airplane engineering that I don’t know, but this seems completely unlikely. Is the air on an airplane that good, or is this a backdoor handout to the airline industry? The way that section is worded, it sounds like plane travel is safer than car travel.

    And I note it says nothing about the risks of standing in long snaking lines of people waiting to get through security.

    1. voteforno6

      I think it’s based on the air filters used on airplanes. That guidance might actually be correct – my guess is that there does need to be a lot of air circulation in the cabin, if only to keep air pressure constant. So, if they do have good filters built in, then that could minimize the spread of viruses on planes, unless an infected person is seated near you, as I can personally attest to. I did once catch a bad cold from another passenger, who was in the same row as me.

    2. KB

      They use HEPA air filters in their air circulation….same as hospital settings…capable of trapping virus’ and bacteria….but, like the CDC states anyone within 6 feet of you coughing etc. still puts you at risk. Airplane travel is indeed safer than other transportation without the air circulation plus filters.

      1. pricklyone

        Some reading I did few wwks ago suggested that newer planes use fresh air intake primarily, rather than recirculating a large portion, as older aircraft did.
        I would have to re-research for links, and am tied up now..

    3. MLTPB


      I have been mulling over the ‘your health vs our liberties’ dilemma.

      Your liberty, in the future, to fly to London vs our health?

      Your freedom to Cambodia vs our the planet’s health?

      1. Monty

        Forget about whats best for health and ask, “Is there anyone with the power to enforce their wishes? If so, what way will they lean?”

        1. MLTPB

          Ideally the government.

          Too many survivalist, libertian ideas, useful for each of us, like growing vegetables, fishing for protein, how to make a mask, etc.

          But not all of us are rugged individuals…fewer still , I assume, for those over 70.

          1. BobW

            Not easy to garden in an apartment. My own situation – only two windows, and receive only a few minutes of sun daily because of the outside landing overhead and a hill to the west.

    4. Bsoder

      “Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there may be a risk of getting COVID-19 if you are seated within 6 feet of someone who has the virus.” As a NIH director that news to me. I might believe the FAA but not CDC, not now. In general the rate of new air to existing being exchanged is anyway from 10% to 30%. HEPA filters – I don’t think so, this is wishful thinking. Based on this type of thinking than no one arriving by plane on either the West coast or coast should have been able to pass a virus on. But they do, they did, and will continue to. Trump says drink bleach this is more if the same.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Coes not follow. Transmission would have occurred in the airport (used to be terribly crowded) or even taxis, hotels, etc. Or, of course, to those seated close – 5 or 6 people, at least.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Trump says drink bleach

        That this false claim — false on two counts! — has propagated so widely and is now an unquestioned fact — after a mere 24-hour news cycle — is a testimony to the brilliance and power of the (mostly liberal Democrat) professional media class. Here, Democrats definitely control the high ground. (I think that’s why the Biden campaign believes that on-the-ground organizing is not needed.)

    5. JTMcPhee

      Here’s video of a simulation of the spread of virus particles from a sneezer in the middle seats: I don’t like flying anyway, but this gives me one more reason not to get packed into a tight aluminum or composite tube with a bunch of other humans, many of whom ascribe to that “My right to travel trumps your right not to be infected with whatever diseases I am carrying and exhaling.”

      I think it assumes removal over time by passing air through that “HEPA filter.” HEPA filters will trap particles up to the point that they hit a breakthrough point if not properly serviced and replaced.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > HEPA filters will trap particles up to the point that they hit a breakthrough point if not properly serviced and replaced.

        I would want to know how often the filters are changed. I would also like to know if the airlines are skimping on maintenance in the current crisis and not changing them as often. Not that I’m foily.

    6. Synoia

      Air on Pressurized on Planes:

      Cabin Air is drawn from after the first turbine impeller (that’s the pressurization part), and evacuated out of the tail. As far as I know there is no recycling of the air.

      Why do I know this? I was friendly with a Hamilton-Standard engineer in the ’70’s. and we had many discussions about this, especially after the Douglas plan crashed from pressurization failure.

      In the ’90 I was on a 750 or 767 flight from Phoenix to Dallas, and there was a loud roaring nose of air escaping under the floor, where I was seated near the leading edge of the wing. I brought this to the attention of the flight crew, and we return quite quickly to Phoenix, and after we switch planes the co-Pilot cam an thanked my as the maintenance crew had found a large hole in the A/C system of the original plane.

      I have flown most of my life, as a passenger. I estimate 3 to 4 million miles. I’m moderately ashamed of my carbon footprint.

      1. Yves Smith

        American says it’s filtered: Via e-mail:

        Our HEPA air-filters remove 99.97% of airborne particles in the aircraft, working to ensure the air you breathe is clean.

  4. Amfortas the hippie

    the Mark Manson bit about Socratic Ignorance is depressing and refreshing simultaneously(another indicator of how weird everything has become?)
    That’s where i’ve been, in my heart of hearts, since mid-february.
    every time i go a-wandering through the more sciency news, it’s worse.

    and the way the gooberment is responding is atrocious…and worse than even pessimists like me expected.
    The Economic Model is fubar…dead and gone. No “Consumers”= No Economy(tm).
    I’ve been expecting Doom for most of my life…first as intuition, increasingly over the decades as a Likely Outcome, with every new data point supporting worse and worse scenaria.
    But I find myself shocked by how bad it’s gotten so quickly

    1. Krystyn Podgajski

      If people do not know what is going on it is because they focus only on science and the empirical.

      We think that something has “gone wrong”! Ha! No. Everything is going as it should.

      Like you, I could not help but predict the doom; seeing the bad that is always linked with the good. And we have had so much good it was inevitable it would get this bad.

      So just relax and watch the spectacle. Everything is unknown, we were just kidding ourselves.

      1. Bsoder

        Ah, which people would these be: “people do not know what is going on it is because they focus only on science and the empirical”. The same ones who don’t believe in Covid-19 or Those that don’t believe in climate heating, or those are anti-vaxxers? You think we focus on science or the rational in this country/ Great job with Katrina, Clear water horizon, sandy hook, how awful the stare of rail in this country, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, China, etc., Not only aren’t rational we have lost any ability to get things done. I find it hard to be amused by the number of people dying because the president can’t read or write. Rant/off.

    2. Oregoncharles

      The Manson (ironic name) article goes through what works and what doesn’t. Crashing the economy doesn’t help. I thought it was encouraging – if, that is, various authorities can be persuaded to do what works.

      I think it’s already clear that we’ll have to use the first vaccine that proves effective, and abbreviate the safety testing. It will probably be superseded, but if the risk is well under %1, I’d try it – I’m old enough to be high risk. Real problem is that we won’t know what the risk is.

      I do agree that the “Economic Model is fubar” – but that’s been obvious for a long time. It’s the reason you’re out there trying to support yourself on a small farm, and that I’ve hung onto our land and make a point of shopping at the Co-op and thrift stores.

  5. Louis Fyne

    —Nobody Knows What Is Going On Mark Manson—

    I beg to differ. We know exactly what’s going on (fog of war in science—particularly with a new virus is standard) but the media is TDS-obsessed with a 23/7 Trump-oriented narrative instead of being part of the solution. (in my opinion)

    Media obsesses over every Trump gaffe instead of asking questions like:
    why aren’t we copying the Korean playbook? (population 50+ million, less than 11,000 cases, less than 200 deaths)
    why are we still importing PPE instead of ramping domestic capacity?
    what is the true effectiveness of ventilators? is oxygen therapy for most patients?
    and so forth, etc.


    1. Winston Smith

      Add to that the importance of testing testing testing testing and still more testing..There are a fair number of known unknowns relating to whether exposure to the disease can confer immunity, the development of prophylactic therapies, a more serious second wave of infections in the fall (such as in the 1918 Spanish Flu) and yes the vaccine timeline. If anyone thinks developing a vaccine is just a matter of time think again. Listen to this interview of Dr Paul Offit (Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine.)

      1. tegnost

        It doesn’t need to wait til fall, as soon as restrictions are lifted it’s game on again. The privatized effort to turn this into a profit opportunity practically ensures failure. It will take, as in the case of samuel pepys, death among the wealthy to get through the fog of selfishness that is the hallmark of post reagan usa.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Quite a few minor celebrities have died (John Prine, sadly), and a number of politicians have had it. We’re getting there quickly.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my prophet beard tingles thus:
            there will be very few celebrity deaths due to covid.
            Great swathes of the Poor and the Precariat will be swept away, however…

            I hate everything about my country/civilisation.

        2. Procopius

          Was it Pee Wee Herman who said, “Making predictions is hard, especially about the future?” A lot of the problems we have now are because we made decisions based on predictions because we didn’t know. This has only been going on for four months, even though it feels like forever. We don’t know what’s going to happen when restrictions are lifted. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall. Heck, we don’t know if recovering (whatever that means) confers immunity. We don’t knowif a vaccine is even possible. But, boy howdy, your last sentence is sure on the mark.

    2. MLTPB

      Looking up Wikipedia*, it say S Koreans have access to a universal healthcare safety net, but 70% have private insurance, per a survey,

      Will their model work here?

      *under Healthcare in S Korea

      1. JTM Phee

        Yeah, us Medicare folks have the existing Basic Part A and Part B fee-for-service paid by the government per CMS rates (fraud and all). But we have the “private option “ of
        ‘Supplemental” or “replacement” insurance coverage. My Plan F from United Healthcare (AARP as shill) is $206 a month, on top of what I pay for A and B. A is “free” with lots of limits, B is $145 a month, $198 deductible and 20% copay plus a lot of limits and conditions. I guess it’s a bargain, about $4,000 a year for health care coverage, compared to the various Obamawhacks or private health UNsurance I might qualify for with my condition.

        Too bad Bernie flamed out when he did. Might have been a chance for a concrete material and universal benefit in the form of actual health care, no charge at the point of service. (As noted in comments here, using the “free” descriptor probably cost him a lot of following and votes.)

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Eat them up and Nationalise them.
            Bernie should jump immediately back into the race…it’s as if he left public life just as soon as this pandemic ensued.
            He could quickly gain the Moral Standing to deal with all this…his policy was made for all this.
            Where is it?
            Where is he?
            Lost online, and totally absent from the Media, small and large.
            This crises is Made for Bernie Sanders.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              He couldn’t even get his #2 Nina Turner on Biden’s meaningless “task force” to “figure out solutions”.

              But Tara Reade may be the perfect way for The Blue Nobility to ditch Biden. They don’t have to admit they are unbelievable mis-managers, that Saint Obama destroyed the party, that their policies over decades gave us Trump, that their side are the ones who blocked UBI, or that the man’s brain is visibly leaking out of his ears. Oh, no. They can simply shuffle him away in a huffle of virtue signalling…even if Hilary the First did endorse him. (I will miss Joe, after the endorsement he said he “looked forward to having economic intercourse with her”. Comedy gold).

    3. Monty

      Put aside the media’s Trump bashing. I think that is just a cover story, whilst the Trump admin carries out the oligarch’s wish list. It seems to me that the US media are in on it, at the behest of their oligarch owners.

      Phase 1: Pandemic from deadly novel virus in China. Tens of millions locked down.
      Media PR- Deny the virus is a threat for almost 2 months, whilst oligarchs sell stocks. (Just a flu!, CCP bad! LoL @ Iran)

      Phase 2: After Oligarch stocks liquidated at ATH.
      Media PR – Hype the virus to panic everyone and give cover to Congress, so they can hand out trillions to oligarchs. (TP!!!, Empty Shelves, Great Depression, Millions will die, Bailout Kabuki)

      Phase 3: Bailout secured. Oligarchs buy back stock at 30% discount.
      Media PR – Convince Americans it is their own idea to get back to work. (Just a flu and besides you had it already, Reopen Protests, Beach Goers)

      Phase 4: …

      1. Oh

        Phase 4

        Scream “Austerity” and cuts all public funded programs such as medicare, medicaid, etc. Big corporations buy up smaller companies that have been weakened/bankrupted by economic disaster.

        1. Monty

          Phase 4 b: If the “Reopen” campaign goes poorly, I would expect them to re-crash the stock market and get the thumb screws on Congress for more bailouts. It would be rude not to!

          We need a real time tracker on Kelly Loeffler and Dianne Fienstein’s brokerage activity, so we can get the timing correct.

    4. Goyo Marquez

      Where are the tests, is my biggest question.

      And, “listen to the scientists” doesn’t have a lot of weight when scientists whose specific job it is to produce tests, failed miserably at it.

      Scientists being constantly wrong about everything doesn’t produce a great deal of confidence either.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > And, “listen to the scientists” doesn’t have a lot of weight

        “Listen to the scientists” doesn’t carry a lot of weight when it’s politicized; liberal Democrats, for example, don’t listen to the science at all on electronic voting. machines. Or health care policy. And of course, we have classes that claim the mantle of scientists while being tiresome quacks, like eugenicists or mainstream macro-economists.

        However, I remain impressed with the diligence and creativity of many individual scientists world-wide, and with the production of “science” as such, however corrupt. (In the same way that health care is horridly corrupt, the Hippocratic oath and an ethic of care still motivate many, many people. Same deal with “the scientific method.” Of course, neoliberalism is trying to root out all that, but it still has not succeeded.)

    5. Procopius

      why are we still importing PPE instead of ramping domestic capacity?

      A short answer is provided by the guy who makes face masks. In the H1N1 crisis he ramped up production, bought the old Kimberly Clark factory, and hired a bunch of new people. After the crisis all his customers, who had promised to stick with him (“a promise is not a contract”) went back to buying from China, and he had to fire 150 people. Not gonna do that again. One of the features of the Defense Production Act is that the government is able to make financial guarantees and provide protections from liability, and Trump has not been willing to do that. Also, it’s only been a couple of months and making physical changes to factories and machines takes time.

  6. Wukchumni

    National Parks:

    Seeing as the President kept them open far longer than they should’ve been, there will be much effort to get them up & going soon.

    The big difference will be a pretty much complete lack of visitors from overseas-which was about 40% of visitation here @ Sequoia NP, although i’d expect rank & file Americans to pick up their considerable slack.

    The main attractions here are The Sherman Tree & Moro Rock, which always attracts throngs of tourists way too close to one another, in cheek by jowl fashion. As usual-99% of visitors go to 1% of the NP, it’s what they do. Ideally, you’d want to stop access to these 2 places, but it’s akin to the Louvre saying you can’t see the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo anymore.

    Car camping would be ok as there’s sufficient social distancing in campgrounds, but the aged toilet facilities are too few and too small for the few million that typically visit a year.

    To give you an idea of how it varies from NP to NP, the mens toilet @ the Ash Mountain visitor center (always a busy place) was built in the late 1950’s as part of ‘Project 66’ and has 2 toilets & 1 urinal. Dimension wise, said facility is about a dozen feet wide. It’s easy to feel claustrophobic in there.

    A few years ago we were @ the visitors center @ Bryce Canyon NP and their restroom had half a dozen toilets & urinals, all of the electric eye variety, no touching anything aside from TP. It was only a year or 2 old.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I was just thinking how you use to talk about hiking up to places where you would share a pool of water with friends and strangers. I guess that, along with ski lodges, that is out at the moment. They would be like human petri dishes. But actual hiking and camping in the woods would be still OK, wouldn’t it?

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s over 400,000 acres in Sequoia NP, almost everybody is content with seeing a few dozen acres of it.

        That leaves an awful lot of social distancing possibilities in the 399,964 acres for the rest of us who as a rule never tend to be that close to each another, as one of the reasons to be in the back of beyond, is to avoid humans and celebrate the natural world.

    2. tegnost

      Here in the san juans whale harassment, oops i mean whale watching is the economy, every vendor has been getting bigger and bigger boats. You should see some, 4 350 outboards on one, I see them at the fuel dock and wonder how they make any money…easier now because gas prices, harder because no customers. Add in the air b’n’b jerks and this feels like a washaway scenario. Nice for those of us here regularly, though, very quiet, I’m sure the whales would like it too but they aren’t here yet and may 5th is reopening fishing and increased ferry service is coming up. There is concern among shop owners. Physical separation from the mainland has kept the numbers down.

        1. wilroncanada

          chuck roast
          New Brunswick seems to have handled Covid19 better than much of the rest of Canada. Maybe a lot more places like St Stephen, and a few small cities–St John, Moncton, Fredericton, and not many more.

          The San Juan Islands, Washington State”s version of the BC gulf islands, can more easily isolate because islands. BC gulf islands farther north, along with the west coast of Vancouver Island, had both official politicians and citizen groups stopping traffic on or before arrival, asking prople to return home. The last thing isolated communities or islands need is tourists to arrive bringing communicable diseases to overburden the limited health care available, not to mention the food supply, just because they want to “get away from the city.”

          Yves and others have written about the same in respect of New York. .

    3. Keith

      The parks and campgrounds are closed? I was hoping to sneak out this weekend and hike some trails, hoping to get pics of the wildlife.

      The national forests are “closed” in WA state, but you are allowed on the trails. It looks like they just closed the large parking areas and bathrooms. They say their are other opportunities to use the forests, you just need to social distance.

      1. Keith

        For anyone wondering, it looks like the big parks are closed, Glacier, Yellowstone, etc, but some of the smaller ones are open.

        As for the Nat Forest Service, according to the website, it looks like a lot of campgrouns are open. From the sites I have been to in the past in WA state, bring your own water and physical waste disposal, as they do not really provide it, sometimes there is a nasty outhouse, but that is about it.

        1. Wellstone's Ghost

          As the rural areas continue to be hard hit by the economic circumstances we face, I highly recommend leaving your car unlocked at trailheads with nothing that you wouldn’t want “permanently borrowed” inside.
          One personal anecdote, and this was almost 30 years ago, a roommate of mine went to Bagby Hotsprings near Estacada, OR outside of Portland to spend an evening in the tubs. When they arrived back at their car (a Honda sedan) the next morning, it was stripped of all four wheels, both front seats and the stereo. It was a long walk out from there.
          Mt. Hood National Forest, if I remember correctly, had the highest crime rate of the National Forest system back in the 90’s. Much of it related to the huge Meth problem in rural Oregon.
          Crime in the national forests has been bad enough in recent years, I don’t think the present circumstances bode well for an improvement on this front.

          1. Keith

            If I recall correctly, back in the 80s or 90s, the most assaulted federal LEO were the park rangers. I can believe the federal parks having higher crime than state ones, at least, as the federal ones do not seem to have much of a presence. I camped a lot in FL and WA state parks, and they do patrol, although enforcement is lax. In the federal parks, it seems like anything can go. That being said, crime can follow you anywhere. I think the parks further away from urban centers are likely to be better, aside from the crazy hippies/hillbillies in their meth/lcd vans, that is. Saw one of those in OR over the weekend while exploring parks near Hermisten. Also saw zero masks and social distancing there, too.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Of the federal Wildlife Refuges near town, one is closed because there’s a gate (didn’t try the other end, a county road); the other is open, in effect, because a public road runs through it. It offers lots of room for social distancing (former military base, grid of roads sprinkled with ruins, rapidly going back to nature – pretty interesting but not wilderness); we’ll have to try it again. Last time it was crowded, at least at the parking areas, because the state parks were closed. Haven’t checked on that, but the roomier ones really ought to be open so people can get out with space between – like the backcountry Wuk is talking about.

        1. Keith

          WA state closed all their parks, but I did find one open, and it was due to public roads going through it and no way to secure it. The result was they closed the picnic table. I got a good chuckle out of it. The parks area Mt. Adams in WA are similar, which is why I think many of them are open, no real way to close them, plus I never really see rangers out there enforcing anything, with people setting up shop where ever they want.

  7. fresno dan

    Globalism: Lysol-Huffing For Elites The American Conservative. Don’t try this at home.

    As Carlson points out in the exchange, that’s true: almost all the experts at the time (the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s) really were saying that globalization was a great idea, and that US corporations should take advantage of cheap overseas labor. Peter Walker is telling the truth. And this wasn’t just a Republican thing; the Clinton-era Democrats were big globalists too. Our entire expert class promoted this stuff, signed it into law and policy, and executed it. Only marginal figures like Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader, widely regarded by the mainstream as fringe weirdoes, warned that it would come back to bite us. And now look.

    Where else in the mainstream media, aside from Carlson’s show, are you going to see a TV journalist laying into the Davos Men who built the system? Where else are you going to see the experts shown up like this, and made to own up to their own mistakes?
    So the question is: Was Perot nuts, or was he MADE to look nuts? (i.e., a concerted viewpoint of all right thinking elites, that just by a coinkydinky happened to advance their economic fortunes, meant that anyone with Perot’s viewpoint would have been pilloried). Who could I vote for that was against it?
    As I always assert, US politics is like professional wrestling, with much strum und drang, but everybody following the script: the rich get richer…

    1. John

      Am I wrong to think that the current economic model has been exposed for a humbug? Does the evidence that shipping the bulk of manufacturing halfway round the world exposes one to deficiencies in times of crisis? Is an economic model that depends on everything working just as you wish it to as foolish an idea as it appears? Is there really any question that Capitalism is not self-regulating but consumes itself; that capitalists are by nature greedy and self-destructive and thus must be restrained by prudent regulation? (After all we teach our children to look both ways before venturing into the street. Surely we can do the same for adults.)

        1. MLTPB

          Should people have to grow their vegetables just to survive, all over the world, it’d be more than just the political systems, I think.

          Maybe overpopulation, , over-industrialization, over-developing, etc.,

            1. MLTPB

              I don’t remember if haikus were cited in both versions, b&w or color, of Ozu’s Floating Weeds, but I like them.

      1. Monty

        Look into my eyes, my eyes, not around my eyes, my eyes… You’re under! …

        You now believe the current economic model is working perfectly, and you will forget all those negative thoughts regarding capitalists, whom you will henceforth refer to as “generous philanthropists”.

        3,2,1… *clicks fingers* You’re back in the room!

      1. Procopius

        James K. Galbraith, The Predator State, subtitle: “How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too.” Copyright 2008. Trivia, did you know the Eurodollar was invented by a Soviet bank? Anyway, he points out things like why we can’t even reduce our trade deficit. Since the US Dollar is the replacement for gold, and is the world’s reserve currency, every country that cannot print dollars MUST sell stuff to us to get the dollars they MUST have. And we MUST buy from them or the US Dollar cannot continue to be the world’s reserve currency and the world trade system will break down, at least temporarily. Good stuff, based on Thorstein Veblen’s analysis of The Leisure Class.

  8. zagonostra

    >Biden/CNN/Tara Reade

    I knew that CNN did not find clips in its own archives supporting Tara Reade’s sexual abuse allegations against Biden, but I had no Idea they purposely deleted the clip featuring Reade’s mother calling in and then renumbered all of their archives to hide information.

    This should be enough to sink CNN, but with the CIA so heavily embedded in all they do, I doubt there will be many repercussions.

    Wow! @cnn has surreptitiously deleted the August 11 video containing alleged evidence of @joebiden’s misconduct AND went the extra mile to re-number all episodes to appear as if there was nothing missing! #electioninterference

    Biden has been officially declared off-limits by the massive political machine that whistleblowers at CNN and elsewhere have acknowledged controls what stories make it to air and what languishes on the cutting-room floor. As the establishment circles its wagons around the Democrats’ 2020 pick – now armored in the endorsement of former President Barack Obama himself – the pretense of “believing all women” has crumbled into dust./em>

    1. John

      Is the political purpose of the drip, drip, drip of the Tara Reade revelations intended to set the stage for Biden being shuffled aside for a candidate chosen by the DNC? Was that not what happened when Eagleton was replaced as the VP candidate in 1972?
      The conventions have become nothing but spectacles signifying nothing anyway. I am sure the great minds of the DNC could do a much better job than primaries (sweaty proles) or convention votes. Why not have the ‘super delegates” choose the candidates? You know the adults in the room.

      1. Fox Blew


        Funny, I was thinking the same thing (Eagleton) after recently re-reading Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing..72. :-)

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        I agree, but I also think it’s having a bit of a trial balloon effect. When you have people on Twitter proclaiming “Joe Biden could rape 100 women and I’d still vote for him”, that sends a message to TPTB. I guess it all comes down to who “they” actually want to be the nominee. Obama pulled the strings to get Biden this far. There’s got to be a reason for that.

      3. integer

        Is the political purpose of the drip, drip, drip of the Tara Reade revelations intended to set the stage for Biden being shuffled aside for a candidate chosen by the DNC?

        If that was the case the liberal media establishment would be reporting developments in the story, rather than trying to sweep it under the rug. Also, Clinton just endorsed Biden, which suggests the D establishment remains committed to Biden.

  9. xkeyscored

    Nobody Knows What Is Going On Mark Manson

    This piece, especially the first section which purports to explain why exactly “Nobody has any idea what the f*** is happening,” is little more than an incoherent rant with liberal use of the f-word throughout. For example, “we know that the virus is highly contagious, but we still have no clue how contagious.” We do have a clue (he even specifies a range of possible numbers in the very next sentence), and we’re homing in on a better idea of just how contagious all the time. Or “Hydroxychloroquine was supposed to be a successful treatment.” According to whom? The tabloid press, social media, Donald Trump? Is it really newsworthy that such sources frequently haven’t a clue what they’re talking about? Reputable sources I’m aware of presented it as a possible treatment, as they did with remdesivir, about which he makes the same claim.

    And how does having no idea what is happening square with the author’s assertion that “This is definitely worse than the flu.” Huh? We haven’t a clue but we can be definite about it? Or “Until there are reliable therapies and/or a vaccine, our lives will continue to be disrupted, we will continue to socially distance, we will continue to stay home.” Three unqualified ‘will’s in one sentence sound like he thinks he has a lot more than a clue, and it’s rubbish anyway. Many of us are not staying home, some are not socially distancing, and even if we were all doing both (utterly impossible), it’s hard to imagine us continuing to do so if no reliable therapies or vaccines are available after a few years, which remains a worrying possibility.

    I’d take what he says with a hefty dose of salt. There’s something to be said for many of his points, but there’s a great deal of exaggeration and over-simplification here.

    1. Chromex

      Well he did specify a “range” but his point was that the range was so wide as to be useless, which as far as I can tell is true. I am not sure he should have been so definite in his statement that it is worse than the flu but there does appear to be some evidence that it is worse than the flu and something to avoid catching.

      1. xkeyscored

        There’s a lot in it that is more or less true, but “No one has any idea what the f*** is happening or what we should do about it,” an idea repeated throughout, is a gross exaggeration.

        (And I entirely agree with him that it’s worse than flu; I just don’t get how he can say that ‘definitely’ when he says he hasn’t an f’ing clue. Fine in private conversations; sensationalism and clickbait when presented as journalism or whatever)

    2. MLTPB

      The same with statements about, say, Californians, Angelenos, or Usians.

      There’s something, but with a great deal of exaggeration and over simplification.

      Not every one in LA is an actor/actress, or vegetarian, for example.

      1. Wukchumni

        >Not every one in LA is an actor/actress, or vegetarian, for example.

        But all of the waiters & waitresses are laid off, so there is that commonality…

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      While I agree that much of Manson’s rant is way over-the-top, gross exaggeration, and overly fond of crude language I agree with his conclusion that no one knows what is going on and I would add that no one knows what will happen after Corona. I quit reading most of the scientific papers on Corona after concluding most of them worked hard using statistics and uncertain data to reach immediate conclusions and recommendations. I have little doubt that is probably what those who fund the many contracts for these studies want to see. But I believe Science does not know enough about the workings of the Corona virus or the workings of viruses and the human immune system to arrive at immediate results other than statistical studies and conjectures about how the Corona virus spreads and conjectures about what to do about it. I do understand the need for immediate policy and treatment options and best guesses about which to apply and how. But no one really knows what is going on. I hope some of the money going toward Corona research will somehow find channels to support more basic research. There is too much we don’t know about so much and we are so close, so close to great discoveries in many areas of Science if only Science could free itself from the Neoliberal Market. Even the War machine which funded so much Science before the ascendancy of Neoliberalism was more generous to blue skies and basic research. … Of course I very much doubt more basic research will be funded especially as we move into the coming age of harsh economic austerity.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Q: What do Chernobyl, Covid, and The New York Federal Reserve Bank have in common?

        A: Over-clever humans doing things at the absolute frontiers of known physical and financial science messing with forces they do not understand, where those forces and the results of their tinkering have the potential to end life as we know it.

        “..and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the gaa-aa-aa-rrr-den…” CSNY

    4. Tom Bradford

      I waded through it without finding anything novel and came out unenlightened. I might have been interested in the ‘free book’ with its three ideas that would change my life to see if it might fill a couple of hours of lockdown, but if it’s anything like the article and filled with unnecessary obscenities I wouldn’t get through a page of it.

      Using obscenities as he does is just like using nudity and sex to get people to watch third-rate movies and TV shows.

  10. timbers

    “Trump’s Politicization of U.S. Intelligence Agencies Could End in Disaster Foreign Policy. After a gaggle of former intelligence officials mutated into high-paid talking heads on CNN during Russiagate Come on, man.”

    This headline could be re-worded:

    “Politicization of U.S. Intelligence Agencies caused the Trump Disaster”

    Among so very many others.

    1. Off The Street

      Identifying the headline and article bias, another useful reader tip.
      That follows the evergreen NYT tip of reading from the bottom up to find out the buried lede.
      Readers need their Diogenes lamp, and some unique spectacles, to find honest journalism.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus: New Zealand claims no community cases as lockdown eases”

    I has not been generally thought about but we may see a different configuration for the world. In the months to come we may see two different types of countries in the world – those that have eradicated this virus and those that have not. So imagine this. Before long, and through a heroic effort, New Zealand eradicates the virus from their borders. Not long after, and in spite of the best efforts of Scotty from Marketing, the same happens for Oz.

    Not only can people travel freely between in their borders but also between each other and this has already been discussed between the two countries. Soon they get joined by countries like South Korea and Taiwan. You get the picture? You are now building up a loose confederation of countries where travel is free internally and between each other. Countries like the US, France and the UK would be off limits but this scenario appears to be happening slowly. This could get interesting.

    1. jsn

      Yes, a realignment between good (competent) government and bad (incompetent government): goo goo vs boo boos to ride out the Jackpot.

    2. Musicismath

      Or … Scotty from Marketing & Co., or the clueless Nats in NZ if and when they get voted back in in September, open the doors again to China and other COVID countries under pressure from the tourism, farming, and university sectors (after receiving “assurances”) and the whole infection cycle starts up again (but in a way, of course, that “nobody could’ve predicted”).

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe, but yesterday China asked Hong Kong to open up for them and Kong Kong said: “Aw, hell no!” If you take a look at the economies of Oz and NZ, both had an oversized tourist sector. Ocean liners visiting Oz alone brought in $1 billion a year I heard but that is all gone now. Farming and mining still continues though.

        The costs of dealing with Coronavirus have been staggering and my own State in Oz has spent $4 billion fighting it. No way will such countries be opening up to countries still fighting their own infections as the billions gained would be offset by several hundred billion fighting it all over again. I suspect that any people going to such countries will be required to spend a mandatory two weeks in quarantine or else it is no dice.

        Even Scotty would understand that.

      2. HotFlash

        It sounds like a country might be well positioned for a post-covid-19 future if they had a sensible, competent government and their own island. I, however, am in Canada and share a 4,000mile border with a country which has none of the above.

        1. thoughtful person

          As they would say to the South, “poor Canada, so far from God, so close to the United States”

    3. MLTPB

      It could be a month to month world configuration.

      This past Jan, it could have been Wuhan and the rest of the world.

      Next month, maybe….perhaps, Russia plus Singapore, and the rest of the world…maybe.

    4. HotFlash

      It sounds like a country might be well positioned for a post-covid-19 future if they had a sensible, competent government and their own island. I, however, am in Canada and share a 4,000mile border with a country which has none of the above.

    5. MarkT

      Fingers crossed. I don’t trust Scotty from Marketing any more than I do the NZ Nats. However, open borders for travellers between Oz, NZ and the South Pacific (and possibly some E/SE Asian countries) is a real possibility. Local media has reported that NZ government has also been talking to Singapore government, though it wasn’t clear what about. I would guess trade more important than tourism. However, tourism sector had grown enormously and has now completely collapsed. Queenstown has become a ghost town. Am sure getting some sort of tourism flows going again will be a top priority. Domestic first, then trans-Tasman? Look out for lots of tantalising television ads tempting you to visit “clean, green NZ”? *wink*

      1. Tom Bradford

        Resumption of trade, surely, depends on a country getting its internal economy functioning. Most major trade is sea-born, so any virus on goods or containers would die off during the voyage, perhaps with a period of quarantine in the receiving port. Similarly air-born freight could be quarantined on arrival with minimal disruption.

        Most New Zealanders of my acquaintance would be quite happy if the tourists didn’t come back – once we can travel again I’d love to visit Queenstown again – I haven’t been there for 30-years because of the tourists and resulting crowds, and prices – and even visit Hobbiton if there’s no-longer a 45-minute queue to have your photo taken in front of the Baggins’ front door.

        The loss, of course, would be the foreign exchange tourists bring with them, but I think (hope) most of us would be willing to give up that mess of pottage.

    6. Dirk77

      That is an interesting thought. If your local region is ok with living an isolated life, then closing borders and locking down seems the way to go. You wait a few months or so for the virus to be purged, then you open again and things are fine internally. I assume that has worked in the past if you were willing to wait until the virus had burned itself out beyond your borders.

      But my guess is that no country will be willing to wait it out. So the virus will return again to an unexposed populace. I could be wrong – as I have been about a number of things lately. As anyone can be wrong at this point. But right now my money is on Sweden.

  12. timbers


    One way to avoid Amazon, it to search the Amazon market place seller to find if they have a direct online “store” which allows you to bypass Amazon. Many market place sellers on Amazon do, and often their prices are better as they aren’t paying Amazon any commission.

    Those same sellers are likely to be on Ebay, too.

    Example: Eden Foods an organic food company in Michigan. Buyer beware though, I believe Eden Foods has right wing political views. But they have a great product and reasonable prices, such as organic dried beans. I always buy in bulk, such as cases of boxed dried beans instead of just boxes, etc…orders always looked like I was “hoarding” long before Covid but that’s just how I but stuff I know I’ll always use.

    They have been swamped with orders because Covid. They say they are working 4/2/2020 orders now.

    1. Wukchumni

      Of all the freeze-dried foods out there, we like the Mountain House brand the most for backpack trips. Typically 2 serving courses in 1 bag cost $6 or 7 not that long ago.

      Now on Amazon they are more like $10-15 per bag, and many offerings have none in stock or ‘only 4 left’.

      Isobutane fuel for backcountry stoves is similar. An MSR 8 oz canister cost $6 or 7 a few months ago. There is but one seller on Amazon @ $6.95, plus $65 for shipping!

      1. Carla

        The Post Office needs to acquire Amazon. Make Bezos underwrite the postal employees’ pension fund and then disappear. (He can keep $1 billion to fly to his New Zealand get-away as long as he never pops up anywhere else in the world again.) And THEN the USPS immediately needs to provide free Internet and public banking services.

      2. fwe'zy

        Yes on the Post Office nationalizing Amazon and then providing state-of-the-art internet and banking! So much consolidation already achieved: it’s a turnkey solution. [Auto-correct just typed “suction” at the end there. ;)]

    2. Keith

      Sad thing is, a lot of Mom’s and Pop’s do not really have that online presence, especially with regards to the shipping issue. The longer the lock down extends, the less of them will be left.

      As an anecdote, the local fish store is by appointment only, whereas Petco is wide open. The big box has more floorspace, while the small indy store has a much larger selection, but smaller footprint (and better service and knowledge than the minimum wage kids at Petco). Which do you think has a better chance of survival the longer this lasts?

      1. sd

        Big Box stores are nothing more than warehouses or distribution centers that allow you to shop in them.

        1. Keith

          And ship their goods to you home much more cheaply. They can also purchase in bulk and dictate to their suppliers and distributors. And now, with the govt on their side, they can be able to close the mom and pop competition.

    3. lordkoos

      I’ve always preferred ebay to Amazon, I find the service is better and more responsive, as you can directly message sellers which you cannot do with Amazon, and delivery is often faster as well. Sometimes Amazon is cheaper for certain items but usually not by much. There are far more mom & pop sellers on ebay. The only time I use Amazon is if I have built up enough points on my AMEX card to get free stuff.

  13. xkeyscored

    The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19 WSJ

    I can’t get that link to work. “Internal Server Error” is all the WSJ will tell me. Does this relate to the “Secret” in the headline?

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Reads like an executive summary of a lot of things that have been posted here at NC. Things that have pretty much already been decided by TPTB. Especially regarding end of lockdown. Takes antibodies as a given.

      Lots of talk about Gilead.

      Nothing new for me. Probably useful to whomever they sent it to at Goldman for some ka-ching.

      1. Ignacio

        Yeah, so far I have only read the “first wave of actions” which relies 99.9% on remdesivir. Does not look precisely like a comprehensive review on what has been done and what is going on. Doesn’t look promising read but I will go on with this later. Too many promises and very few caveats. The vaccine section will prove if they are just charlatans.

        1. xkeyscored

          The vaccine section does at least recognise there’s a world outside the USA with other things to do besides manufacture medicines for US use. Even here, though, “We propose that the federal government appoint an empowered council that will work with U.S. and global stakeholders to coordinate the required development and investment actions in an efficient, time-sensitive, and non-partisan way.” So the federal government will be in charge of worldwide vaccine development (and presumablly use), if this group gets its way.

          As for antibodies being taken as a given, “Antibodies can protect healthy critical workers, as well as “high-risk” individuals.” I’d agree if they’d said ‘might’, but ‘can’ seems way over the top.

          1. Winston Smith

            I have worked in a biotech setting on therapeutic antibodies (analyzing structures for sequence liabilities) and can attest that the development of therapeutic antibodies is a not a trivial process. Furthermore, mass production of these therapeutics is laden with difficulties that take time to iron out. Analytical methods have to elaborated tested and validated to monitor the manufacturing process accurately. stability studies performed to ascertain the correct formulation etc etc. This is a time consuming process

            1. xkeyscored

              I thought as much, and a bit more.

              But according to them, “American biotechnology companies have already cloned antibodies against COVID-19 virus from recovered patients and mice with human immune systems, and determined which antibodies are especially effective at neutralizing the virus in petri dish experiments. These monoclonal antibodies can now be used both to prevent COVID-19 like a short-term vaccine, and to treat COVID-19 patients.” Can? Now? Prevent? I hear intravenous disinfectants may be worth investigating too.

            2. xkeyscored

              Sounds like they didn’t consult you. They claim “These monoclonal antibodies can now be used both to prevent COVID-19 like a short-term vaccine, and to treat COVID-19 patients.” If that were true, we’ve already found a solution to COVID-19; all we need to do is implement it.

              1. xkeyscored

                Sorry for the double post. Moderation appears to be taking exception to mention of Trump’s potential remedies.

        2. Winston Smith

          just read through the vaccine section quickly…not a specialist but it sounded vague to me. The main point was centralization of effort-not necessarily a bad point. What struck me was the “Plans must be put in place to distribute and administer the vaccine”: no mention of providing the vaccine free of charge or who will pay for it.

          1. lordkoos

            Maybe they can send each of the participating pharmacy companies a $1200 check to help with expenses.

          2. Ignacio

            They propose an “empowered (international) council”. That’s not going to happen given the current political landscape. Why do they not even mention the WHO in this coordination effort and instead mention the CEPI anf the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Sounds disingenuous. Everyone would fear political intromission in such council and with good reason. ‘America First’ Trump will not give any empowerment to any council that is not under his control and will be more than reluctant to provide any funding to any project that does not involve US companies. On the other side of the pond expect something similar. They ask for transparency… Transparency (and cooperation) is not just needed, it is a must at least in Phase III trials. Nobody will trust any vaccine that has been obscurely developed, particularly the crucial phase III trials that involve many thousands of vaccine recipients and will inform on the efficacy besides safety. China is in no good situation to do Phase III trials in their territory today if, as their statistics suggest, they have very few new confirmed cases. Phase III trials should be initiated before November 2020 (and before Phase I and II results are completed) if we want results for next summer and will have to be done in regions where contagions are not so few as to have too small numbers in the analysis.

        3. stefan

          Most striking to me is the absence of discussion as to how poverty and crowded or unsanitary living conditions are correlated to Covid-19 fatalities. I think we will see this even more clearly as the virus spreads through less wealthy nations. If we are going to have a healthy society, we need to do more to improve the education and living standards of the less affluent. It will not be possible to be a healthy place if people generally do not share in prosperity.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            While we are destroying Western Civilization fighting something that has killed 200,000 in 3 months maybe we can mount a global Manhattan Project for the 25,000 people who die of hunger *every day*?

            (Oh, I forgot, they’re mostly brown. Nevermind. And I’m sure the lovely BillG looked at it already but couldn’t find an easy way to monopolize or grift it).

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I jumped to the list of symptoms all employees and students must certify they are not experiencing — and report daily via a smart phone app?

        I have sinus allergies and have had them since I was little guy. Pollen and spore counts are increasing as the climate warms. I could report four or five of the “symptoms” in this list at least a few days out of every week, and now that pseudepherine is ‘difficult’ to keep around my symptoms are a little more frequent and irritating. I for one would not be very pleased if these ‘scientists’ succeed in their efforts.

        1. JBird4049

          Just because you need a current ID and someone to get you the locked decongestants that are often out of stock…

          We must’t let those evil meth dealers win. Any inconvenience for the cause is worth it!

    2. Winston Smith

      Remdesivir proposed as a repurposed therapeutic in the report, has already failed in trials for COVID

    1. Scotty

      Hey Stephen V — thanks for the link to the Rosenwald Fdn case study.

      Edwin Rogers Embree spent much of his early life with his grandfather, John G. Fee, the founder of Berea College. See Edwin Rogers Embree : The Julius Rosenwald Fund, Foundation Philanthropy, and American Race Relations by Alfred Perkins.

  14. Wukchumni

    A friend was a professional protester of sorts, occasionally i’d go to this or that event with him, and you got to know all of the hundred or so people who could be expected at such events, sometimes you’d get asked if you were going to be at next week’s protest regarding animal testing, that sort of thing.

    Was watching a video of re-open protesters in tony Pacific Beach in SD, it’s the same 100 people-a variation on the theme, rebels way too close to one another and protection, fughetaboutit!

      1. xkeyscored

        I’ve occasionally been made to feel almost unwelcome at some protests. Partly, I think, because I wasn’t at last week’s one against something entirely different, and partly because I don’t always subscribe to whatever underlying values and ideology ‘the hundred’ share. For some, I think, protests are just how they usually spend their weekends and catch up with friends; anyone else is a gate-crasher.

      2. gc54

        If you want to baffle “progressives” protesting something substantial, bring a large US flag on a pole. Those I’ve walked with including during the unsuccessful Iraq war 2 protests do not understand media optics so will get worried expressions because you are surely supporting the current evil government (which is not what the flag means). Earth flags, drums, and other paraphernalia don’t help. News cameras will frame the smaller, flag bedecked counter-group then show a compressing long shot of a far larger 2D mass. Sticking up some US flags de-symbolizes the counter-side (and may protect you if cop beetles come clubbing). It was amusing to see counter confusion as the flag flapped by.

        1. JBird4049

          Some side or another always tries to claim the flag as theirs because they are patriots and the other is un-American scum. It does belong to all Americans and yes, it might help you escape the police beating.

  15. Alternate Delegate

    We need a word that goes beyond “hypocrisy,” in the same way that “bullshit” goes beyond mere lying. Doublethink?

    Double standard.

    It’s a core element of any and all competitive strategies. When winning is all that matters, none of the “players” can afford to be held back by … well … anything. Competition itself is the problem.

    This is what politics and economics have always been in the past, but our future doesn’t have to look this way. That realization – plus sheer material need – helps to put us into a revolutionary situation.

    1. John Merryman.

      Given it’s reached the stage the entire system resembles nothing so much as a scab slowly separating from the underlying tissue, how about, “scabbiness?”

  16. shtove

    JSTOR also provides free access to its catalogue for the lockdown, through June I believe. Set up a free account, and you get 100 articles, with a renewal early May.

  17. Redlife2017

    The FT are doing some amazing work on excess deaths. Today after the ONS annouced some very shocking numbers (deaths on average up to 13 April, which were registered by 17 April), they have updated their model.

    Some quotes:

    “The coronavirus pandemic appears to be killing more than twice the number of people recorded in daily figures from hospitals, according to the latest official death statistics for England and Wales.

    The data suggest the extent of the crisis is deeper than previously thought, particularly in care homes — where a third of all deaths were recorded in the week to April 17.”

    “The official figures verified Financial Times modelling that suggested 41,000 had died by last Tuesday either directly or indirectly as a result of coronavirus, with the death registrations higher than expected by the FT’s model.

    With almost 30,000 excess deaths by mid-April across the UK, approximately two weeks ago, the number of total deaths now is likely to be in excess of 45,000 according to the FT model.”

    Conservatively there will be 50,000-60,000 excess deaths by the end of the beginning.

    Hospitals and care homes are Covid -19 death traps. Richard North has some VERY choice words about this.

    FYI this is no flu…(in the UK every year 17,000 die from flu)…

    1. MLTPB

      Will people, when allowed again, take their 70 and over* parents back from care homes (1/3, for one week, per above quote)?

      *Are they useless, as some seemed to suggest recently? A 40 yrs old disabled person can be irresponsibly deemed as useless as well, for those cold hearted calculating people. Do they abonimably classify disabled people together with those over 70? Aren’t they as precious as healthy or young ones? If 70 is the cut off today, will 30 or 18 be the new limit tomorrow?

    2. Monty

      I have been following the ONS reports for the last month or so. Very troubling and extremely hard to explain for the ‘mass hysteria/hoax’ crowd (so they will just ignore it).

      If only the UK government was half as good at preventing deadly epidemics, as they are at publishing detailed statistical data in a timely manner!

    3. Monty

      Full report for week ending 4/17 is here:

      Comes out every Tuesday with a 2 week lag. 100% above normal. Eye watering stuff!

      “The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 17 April 2020 (Week 16) was 22,351; this represents an increase of 3,835 deaths registered compared with the previous week (Week 15) and 11,854 more than the five-year average; this is the highest weekly total recorded since comparable figures begin in 1993.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      As has been stated by Jimmy Dore, Trump is not really the problem. He is the symptom of a larger problem that produced him.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were lucky to have FDR to stymie the Great Depression, while up in Canada they suffered through a PM named R.B. Bennett, who managed to be kind of the polar opposite, and was much loathed by the populace.

        We had CCC camps, by far the most popular of FDR’s alphabet soup organizations, while in Canada they ‘Relief Camps’ which were horrible in comparison and paid 1/5th as much, plus living conditions & food were awful. It was more of a way of getting homeless men off the street, than teaching them any skills.

        We have the worst case scenario leader in place now, and expectations are lower than a limbo stick poised an inch above the ground.

        1. Off The Street

          Pogo, meet FoMo.

          The past few decades make me think that there must’ve been done with some mad CERN stuff, to annihilate positive vibes and replace them with anti-vibes.

    2. Winston Smith

      I have a creeping sense that this country will keep sinking further into the doom-laden madness and malfeasance of an HP Lovecraft story with Trump impersonating Nyarlathotep.

    3. Bsoder

      Evil. Delusional & evil. It’s not bad enough he doesn’t care who dies, he is deliberately in the way of those trying to lives.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I hate him more than you do! I pray every moment that he will just 777&7777! I proudly hold up my TDS Society Charter Member Card!

        1. flora

          lol. +1. Is T worse than Reagan? nope. Worse than W? nope. Worse than Nixon? Well, he’s not a crook, afaik. He hasn’t started new wars, and the neocons hate that. /heh

    4. a different chris

      My word that “goes beyond all words” is… drumroll… stupid.

      Sorry if that seems cheap. But: It’s just the worst. They say you can’t negotiate with the Devil but you can at least try. When you have to deal with somebody who is door-stop dumb you simply cannot even pretend to yourself that you are getting anywhere.

  18. fresno dan

    Yes, their wealth will do great things for the world (whether they pay their “fair share” of taxes or not), but this example illustrates that you can’t listen to what somebody says, only what somebody does.

    In economics this concept is called revealed preferences, and it can be one of the most valuable ways to learn about the world.
    This same tactic is used by society when referring to people as “heroes” instead of paying them for the true value they provide. While the status associated with being a hero is commendable, I bet that many of the hourly workers currently risking their lives on a daily basis would prefer the tangible benefits of a higher wage.

    1. hunkerdown

      Recognition is a symbolic good, one that the service class has been denied for countless decades. Symbolic goods can be created endlessly for almost free and used to buy real goods and services. What’s the ROI on a makeshift stand posted outside a medical block covered with a vinyl wrap reading “#HealthcareHeroes”? Ultimately, under these conditions, existential.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “The Secret Group of Scientists and Billionaires Pushing a Manhattan Project for Covid-19”

    ‘This group, whose work hasn’t been previously reported, has acted as the go-between for pharmaceutical companies looking for a reputable link to Trump administration decision makers.’

    I’ve seen this before. About twenty years ago in the lead up to the Iraq invasion and occupation when the neocons set up the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon. Normally information would be reviewed by the professionals in US intelligence but by “stove-piping” all sorts of crap direct in to this Office, the professional never had a chance to cull the obvious rubbish in these ‘intelligence’ reports. And of course Bush and Cheney were taking their intelligence from this Office.

    It sounds like that the pharmaceutical companies are creating their own stove-pipe straight to Trump. Given two studies which shows that two drugs show promise in treating or even preventing Coronavirus – but that one is cheap and the other astronomically expensive – guess which drug may be pushed up to Trump and which might get obscured?

    1. xkeyscored

      Looking through the report, I notice an undue focus on the USA’s perceived interests.

      Regarding remdesivir, “The government should take steps to facilitate large-scale manufacturing of remdesivir by other U.S. drug companies in addition to Gilead. For example, the government could identify companies with manufacturing capabilities suitable for remdesivir synthesis at scale and begin discussions with those companies to clear any regulatory hurdles needed to repurpose those capabilities for remdesivir production.” If remdesivir works against this virus (which may not be the case), the decent thing to do would surely be to ramp up production worldwide, and not just withing the fatherland, perhaps even cancelling Gilead’s patents on it.

      And under the heading antibody therapies, “For example, the FDA could quickly approve new or overseas plants for the production of other medicines, so that U.S. plant can be devoted entirely to manufacturing COVID-19 treatments. Similar manufacturing assistance should also be offered to all U.S. companies well-positioned to pursue the monoclonal antibody approach.” So the US would manufacture COVID treatments, outsourcing its other medicines to India and China if they aren’t already?

      I’m disgusted, but not at all surprised, by this group’s apparent desire to corner any treatments for the USA and let the rest of the world watch and wait.

      (PS The Rev Kev: I take it the two drugs you’re referring to are (hydroxy)chloroquine and remdesivir. So far as I know, both are cheap to manufacture. The high price of the latter is due to Gilead’s patents.)

      1. The Rev Kev

        I wasn’t really thinking of a specific drug but you bring up an important point I had not thought of. Choosing a drug may not depend so much on the cost of a drug but may be heavily influenced by the patents on any such drugs. Good catch that.

  20. Tom Stone

    We live in a world where Rachel Maddow is paid $10MM a year to “Speak Truth to Power” by Comcast and where the Democratic Leader who is going to save us is Joe Biden, who chose Larry Summers as his chief economic adviser.
    Even stranger, there’s no shortage of airplane glue.

    1. Bs

      Brian Roberts of Comcast was just paid $36.4 million for last years work. And will Seattle the same for this year.

    2. Off The Street

      Her camera operators must get hazard pay, what with flecks of spittle everywhere. How do the lenses survive the heavy sterilization? ;p

  21. Dr. John Carpenter

    Someone needs to remind our show runners many people feel The Flintstones jumped the shark when they introduced The Great Gazoo.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Flinstones didn’t jump the shark as much as embrace the children’s cartoon aspect abandoning the satire with the introduction of the Great Gazoo. It’s similar to The Simpsons abandoning satire and moving towards parody and sit com style comedy with a larger budget. Even The Simpsons predicted the decline of itself would be the introduction of Gazoo which marks parody and outlandish adventures taking over. Outlandish plots were possible (Homer in Space), but they lost satirical elements that made the show relevant.

      Even in Happy Days, an alien showed up, and I believe this was before the Fonz showed a shark what was up. The writing became less tight, the new characters weren’t adventures charming, and the shows run out ran the setting.

      1. CuriosityConcern

        Did Mork & Mindy have a jump the shark episode?
        How about Laverne & Shirley?
        Bosom Buddies?

        1. ambrit

          For “Mork and Mindy,” I’d say the shark jump occurred with the addition of Jonathan Winters to the cast for the last season. Counterintuirively, that cast change made the show better. The show was so much better that the base fans couldn’t make the transition to the new full blown Goon Show format.
          “Laverne and Shirley” was a post shark jump project from the beginning. Two single women living alone together in 1950’s America and not coming off as overt sluts? (You had to be there to understand the strength of the Middle Class Narrative. Neo-Victorian Propriety was a core belief of the time.)
          “WKRP” probably did not jump the shark, just fade away.
          “Bosom Buddies” and “Alf” I never watched.
          Of more import here is the question of exactly when did the Democrat Party “Jump the Shark?” As evidence of that, look around you. Today, we are swimming in the “Shark Tank” society.

          1. Clive

            I’m still trying to get over the trauma of my beloved Kate & Allie (which I doubt anyone else will remember apart from me) jumping the shark when Allie got married and ruined the whole sixth season.

  22. boydownthelane

    As we are all sequestered inside our mini-palaces replete with video playback, perhaps it is a good time to rent and watch “House of Sand and Fog”.

  23. Alex

    The modern farmer article title is misleading

    Title: Less Than a Third of the World Can Feed Itself From Local Crops


    Researchers looked at a variety of crops, and discovered just 27 percent of the world’s population had access to temperate cereal crops, such as wheat and barley, within a radius of less than 62 miles. This proportion was 22 percent for tropical cereals, 28 percent for rice and 27 percent for pulses. For maize and tropical roots, researchers calculated the amount ranged from 11 to 16 percent.

    It’s impossible to calculate precisely, onsidering the overlap but it’s way more than a third


    Most areas in North America and Europe could satisfy their needs for temperate cereal crops within 310 miles, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, this distance increases up to 3,100 miles.


    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t get you. Considering the overlap, 28% (rice) could be close to the upper limit on how many can feed themselves on local crops.

      1. Alex

        My point was that rice and tropical cereals mostly don’t overlap (consider China with rice growing South and wheat growing North) so it’s likely that over 50% of population has access to one of them

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Jon Hilsenrath and Nick Timiraos of the Wall Street Journal put an absorbing post up yesterday about the Fed’s interventions into new categories of credit in an effort to address economic effects of the pandemic, including providing financing to state and local governments, junk bonds and CLOs. The Fed has reportedly used Hilsenrath in the past as a conduit to inform the public about policy shifts. Questions in my mind include the longer term implications of lack of legislation to support these Fed initiatives.

    The link and money quotes for me:

    …”The Fed took a hit to its reputation when it was seen as having facilitated the 2008 bailout of Wall Street and leaving Main Street un-helped,” says Vincent Reinhart, former Fed economist and now chief economist at asset-management firm Mellon. “They’re not going to do that again.”

    …”Many private-equity funds added debt to their portfolio companies before the crisis in the junk-bond and CLO markets. By supporting junk bonds and CLOs, the Fed could be helping private-equity funds that made their portfolio companies vulnerable before the crisis with heavy debt burdens.”

    …”The Fed’s $600 billion Main Street Lending Program will be its most complicated task, current and former Fed officials say. For the first time since the Great Depression, the Fed will lend directly to small and midsize businesses, offering loans of up to four years through banks. It is trying to reach firms too large to qualify for Small Business Administration loans, but too small to issue debt on Wall Street.”

    …”The Fed doesn’t want to lend to businesses that aren’t viable, says Ms. Mester, the Cleveland Fed president. It also doesn’t want to let viable ones fail because cash flow is temporarily cut off. Distinguishing between the two is the challenge—especially now. With Americans unable or unwilling to engage in commerce, nothing more than the passage of time may be needed to turn illiquidity into insolvency.”

  25. MLTPB

    The world to start shopping on Alibaba…FT.

    Relying on Cui Bono reasoning, C theorists can easily come up with ideas about how this got started or who initiated.

    The US is more divided today – thus, the Russians released it last year. For example.

    Another one – the super power benefits from protests in HK. Therefore, that’s it.

    In all cases, it is not sufficient to think that way.

    1. xkeyscored

      How long before Pompeo et al. start telling us that Alibaba is an evil Chinese spy agency, and Free and Democratic Nations should ban it or risk excommunication?

      Hell, they openly advertise backdoors on their website!

      1. MLTPB

        It is not sufficient and not necessarily wrong, whoever’s the messenger.

        One issue, or big issue here would be the size.

        Does it have many giant warehouses, for another example of what to look at?

        1. xkeyscored

          It’s planning more warehouses, which I guess will be huge, and they’ll have AI, robots, and Internet for Things:

          “Cainiao Network Technology Co Ltd, the logistics arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has trained its sights on international delivery of goods through overseas warehouses and international freight.

          Cainiao’s latest efforts include leading a $1.5 billion investment to build a logistics center at Hong Kong International Airport in June.

          The hub will cover a gross floor area of 380,000 square meters and have the capacity to handle tens of millions of parcels and add 1.7 million metric tons of cargo volume per annum.

          The new facility will complement another three exist-ing fulfillment centers operated by Alibaba’s partners in Hong Kong. Cainiao has already unveiled plans to open five hubs around the world, in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Liege in Belgium and Moscow.”

    1. MLTPB

      Balance is key.

      People decry anti China propaganda and Sinophobia. Rightly so, if that’s the case.

      Fortunately I haven’t see it here, but the other over reaction is Beijing/CPC apologists!!! Though, again, if that is the case, then they can be described so, even if I would personally try to avoid it.

    2. Olga

      A pro-austerity ad, based on Sinophobia … how appropriate.
      But I think this is clearer:
      The main point to be remembered, going forward:
      “And he stresses the point in myriad ways, showing how, in the party slogan, “Chinese” is way more important than “Communist”: “Unlike the Soviet Communist Party, [the CCP] is not riding on an ideological wave; it is riding the wave of a resurgent civilization … the strongest and most resilient civilization in history.””
      (And if you’ve not listened to this guy – Kishore Mahbubani – I highly recommend him. His admiration of the west, and deep criticism, meld together like a river of honey, flowing quietly, yet urgently. He’s on y-tube.)

  26. JEHR

    Today’s NC links started with silly cat tricks and ended with a big cat; in between, there were a lot of articles each sillier than the one before. I stopped reading. The real world has become so weird that I think I will stop participating for now.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’m concerned about the upcoming wildfire season-and potential lack of firefighters, and we can still do burn piles here, so that has stolen my thunder.

      You can only read about so much incompetence in the news regarding the virus, as its more expected than not these days.

      1. lordkoos

        Me too — I’m praying for a not-so-hot summer up here in the northwest. Last year was OK but the previous four years were brutal – not the heat, but the smoke.

        1. Oregoncharles

          We’re getting late rains, at least here in the Willamette Valley. Those should help, although they’re a problem if you’re trying to grow fruit – I already have to start spraying for scab on pears. Until the rains started, we were well into drought. Might still be short of snowpack, but timing is important, too.

      2. wilroncanada

        Three years ago Fort McMurray burned–80000 evacuated. This week it flooded–500000 evacuated. Part of the city not burned down 3 years ago, the downtown area, now has been flooded.

  27. steve

    Re.: A five-layered defense for workplace reopening Harvard Gazette. For employers and building managers.
    “Engineering controls, including healthy-building strategies such as increasing the flow of outside air, using portable air purifiers, and swapping existing filters in air circulating systems for ones that can capture smaller particles.”

    While these suggestions sound straightforward, they are in fact anything but.

    “Increasing the flow of outside air”:

    This will range from difficult to impossible. Large, typical HVAC installations have very little flexibility for this. If not properly done this can have negative consequences on air balance, forcing air from areas into adjoining spaces that it previously did not. HVAC air balancing in your average commercial office space is a manual affair requiring specialized equipment and training and a thorough understanding of the mechanical and control aspects of the individual systems. It often will expose underlying weaknesses in the system that can be quite challenging to identify and correct and leads to increased heat/cooling loads the system can’t compensate for when operating at design limits. While people aren’t cognizant of air flows so much they are keenly aware of temperature/humidity levels.

    “swapping existing filters in air circulating systems for ones that can capture smaller particles” :

    Sounds so easy doesn’t it? Well, if that’s all you do, change the filters out for higher rated ones (especially HEPA ones) you are guaranteed to have problems. Higher rated filters have higher resistance and if the fans and controls (really the whole of the Air Handler) aren’t designed for it then you substantially reduce your overall air flow, effect air balance and reduce heating/cooling capacity (plus more but I will spare you the minutia).

    “using portable air purifiers”:

    This suggestion most likely has the least potential for negative consequences but I don’t think its very practical, or effective, except in limited situations. If you are considering filling a large open space with these you are going to increase your heat load considerably and they tend to be noisy and they do require routine maintenance.

    A brief note on the state of the HVAC industry: Being involved in this industry for many years and playing the role of last resort troubleshooter and Diagnoser of Problems, I have low expectations of all involved, from the engineers to the maintenance personnel. Over the years I have witnessed a steady decline in competent and qualified people in the field. Companies once maintained in house staff that was well trained and intimately familiar with their systems, but no more. These positions have been extensively contracted out and Building Managers are no more than contracting officers now. One of the Bean Counters favorite moves is to cut any maintenance oriented expenses as deep as possible.
    Contract and staff personnel simply don’t have the opportunity or incentives to develop the intimate and detailed knowledge to make changes like these any longer and engineers, whether staff or contracted, seldomly excel at this sort of thing. In short, I expect the majority will do nothing and the rest to cause a cascade of problems whose ultimate resolution will be to undo whatever they did, if possible.

    1. Oregoncharles

      So masks and hand sanitizers it will be. And more sick days.

      Any experience with hospital HVAC systems? And we were just reading that airliner systems should do pretty well. They better – very cramped quarters.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I guess you are saying the existing HVAC systems in US buildings are not fit-for-purpose — if filtering fine particles from the air is added as a new requirement. I don’t know a lot about HVAC but it seems obvious that the existing systems cannot be cranked higher to increase air flows. I have been in enough buildings where the air flow was so bad that by the end of the day I often felt like I was in a submarine in silent running. Your assessment of the quality of HVAC contractors, engineers, and maintenance staff does not surprise me after watching some of the slap-dash construction in the commercial buildings that went up when I was a young adult many years ago. The Market has not kindly treated any form of workmanship in the intervening years.

      Clearly the Harvard recommendations come from a distantly tall shiny white ivory tower. But if we must adapt to the Corona virus, or other viruses that will come along, and if it may be necessary to filter out the increasing amounts of mold spores, and pollen, and perhaps deal with seasonal dust storms in some locales — are the Harvard recommendations for interior air quality impossible to meet — or just expensive, and difficult?

    3. Clive

      I follow HVACR Videos on YouTube if only for nostalgia reasons to see a guy do things like they used to be done (and should be done but aren’t as it’s crappification everyday everywhere in everything from everyone). But the things I see on his channel of the bodgery that goes on. Jeeeze. I’m constantly surprised we aren’t all going down with carbon monoxide poisoning never mind COVID-19.

      Here in the U.K. the entire industry is aghast and despairing at the nonsense and misdirection coming out of China

    4. steve

      Oregoncharles, Hospital HVAC was my thing in another life, before that it was USAF crazy HVAC.

      Jeremy Grimm, as a practical matter, most owners will find it impossible due to the expense. But, given the men and the money…

      Clive, thanks for the YT link. I follow several auto mechanics, and I hate working on cars, just because of the work ethic they display. The report from China wasn’t a serious undertaking from the point of engineering or science so I’m left with your conclusion of nonsense and misdirection, but it seems amateurish at even that. Despite all that, HVAC systems move air around and if the object of your concern can survive the trip, HVAC is great at mixing it all up for you.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I believe HVAC will grow in importance as the climate changes. It may be too costly to condition large spaces … but it could become critical to condition small spaces large enough for a person or a family. For the US Northeast, I believe dehumidifying air could become as important as some cooling. I also wonder about possibly need to learn a great deal more about mining, air flow, and proper shoring for a space.

  28. David B Harrison

    Thank you.As a person who was a caregiver for many years and raised on a farm(tobacco,cattle,hogs,hay,gardening,and still live on the farm)I am well acquainted with how disability can wreck the plans of mice and men( and women).Physical labor is needed for food raising therefore disability can destroy your ability to feed yourself and others.We need each other to survive and that will be the only way forward.In reply to MLTPB April 28,2020 at 11:30 am.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “Nobody Knows What Is Going On Mark Manson” –
    Conclusion: “Lockdowns Don’t Work.” This is the study I was waiting for, because it goes through and compares the results of different approaches, including both severe lockdowns, like Italy, vs. countries that successfully controlled the virus without a lockdown (as he defines it), like Hong Kong, where Manson actually lives. He emphasizes the measures that DO work; I won’t list them, because I want you to read the article; it’s essential. One is closing schools. The little darlings may be cute, but they’re Typhoid Marys, precisely because they don’t get sick, or not very. (And why is a VERY interesting question, with no obvious answer.)

    Caveat: the whole analysis is dependent on his figure for the average time from infection to death (when death occurs). He has that at about 20 days; the point of his graphs is that a sharp decline in deaths occurs BEFORE lockdown has had time to show up, suggesting that the decline is caused by other measures, probably social distancing and closing schools. The element of his evidence that does NOT depend on that timeline is the countries that didn’t lockdown but had low deathrates: two in Europe, Sweden and Netherlands, and three in Asia: Hong Kong, Taiwan, and S. Korea. All islands, socially (S. Korea) if not geographically. Islands have a big advantage because it’s easy to stop long-distance travel, one of the measures he says work.

    I have no idea how reliable this guy is, but he’s asking the right questions.

  30. anon in so cal

    “Secret group of scientists and billionaires” apparently includes Michael Milken…..

  31. marym

    Workers’ Memorial Day
    “In 1989, the AFL-CIO declared April 28 “Workers’ Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of working people killed and injured on the job every year. April 28 is the anniversary of the date the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 went into effect, and when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed (April 28, 1971).”

    “Trump to Order U.S. Meat Plants to Stay Open Amid Pandemic
    President will invoke Defense Production Act after closures
    At least 6,500 workers sickened or in isolation, union says”

    McConnell wants to tie further state aid to “limit[ing] the liabilities of health care workers, business owners and employees from lawsuits as they reopen…”

    “White House-allied conservatives band together to support economic reopening

    The leaders of the new coalition include conservatives who have offered support to demonstrators who have protested stay-at-home orders around the country in recent weeks. For instance, officials with FreedomWorks, a Washington group with ties to the Tea Party movement, helped provide technical support and promote some of the protests, Brandon, the group’s president, told CNN on Monday.”

    Pence didn’t comply with policy to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic.

  32. juno mas

    RE: Nobody knows what’s going on.

    Yes, for sure, we’re flying blind! NONSENSE.

    Is it any wonder that there are competing theories (ideas) attempting to characterize a novel virus that is killing people around the world. No! That is what scientists do; some better than others. Have initial prognostics been “innaccurate”? No. They have confidence levels that are broad, because they are projecting models with many known “unnowns”.

    The Internet has allowed non-scientists to hear about things they don’t undersand and able to critique. That’s what peer review is for. (The Stanford study referred to was “slammed” for its’ shortcomings immediately on pre-publication.

    Maybe Mr. Manson would like to follow the lead of those assured Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro and go blythly into the good night looking for a “miracle” to end the pandemic.

Comments are closed.