Links 4/3/2020

Tiny picnic tables for feeding squirrels in style Boing Boing (JBird4049).

Ocean Creatures Have Been Protecting Us From Millions of Viruses This Entire Time Science Alert

What’s a virus, anyway? Part 1: The bare-bones basics Stanford Medicine

CSU Predicts Busier-Than-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season in 2020 Weather Underground

The hilltop fortress town that cut itself off from the world — and coronavirus CNN. As I write, billionaire concierges checking for a helipad…

#COVID19

The science:

Aerosol emission and superemission during human speech increase with voice loudness Nature (nvl). From 2019, still germane. A possible avenue of research into superspreaders.

Stability of SARS coronavirus in human specimens and environment and its sensitivity to heating and UV irradiation. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences. From 2003, still germane. From the abstract: “Viruses stayed stable at 4 degrees C, at room temperature (20 degrees C) and at 37 degrees C for at least 2 h without remarkable change in the infectious ability in cells, but were converted to be non-infectious after 90-, 60- and 30-min exposure at 56 degrees C, at 67 degrees C and at 75 degrees C, respectively.” This is SARS, not SARS-COV-2.

* * *
Potential treatment:

News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine PNAS

Can a century-old TB vaccine steel the immune system against the new coronavirus? Science (re-upping this from March 23). See also The BCG World Atlas: A Database of Global BCG Vaccination Policies and Practices PLOS One (BCG being the TB vaccine). Handy map:

Key. A: The country currently has universal BCG vaccination program. B: The country used to recommend BCG vaccination for everyone, but currently does not. C: The country never had universal BCG vaccination programs.

Inoculating the world may mean reviving old curbs on patents Economic Times of India

* * *
Materiel shortages:

Key Medical Supplies Were Shipped from U.S. Manufacturers to Foreign Buyers, Records Show The Intercept

Buying Face Masks and Other PPE from China Just Got a LOT Tougher China Law Blog

The great mask controversy:

White House expected to recommend Americans wear cloth masks to prevent coronavirus spread STAT. On masks, thread:

 

Lifesaver or false protection: do face masks stop coronavirus? FT

COMMENTARY: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data CIDRAP. Note sponsors at right… .

Inside America’s mask crunch: A slow government reaction and an industry wary of liability WaPo

Amazon blocks sale of N95 masks to the public, begins offering supplies to hospitals CNBC

* * *
Spread:

COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing through May 2020, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. National peak resource use is projected as April 15:

The drop-down at top center gives the projected peak date for your state. Lots of other setttings to play around with.

Map Reveals Hidden U.S. Hotspots of Coronavirus Infection Scientific American (JT McPhee).

Coronavirus Is Rising Around US Military, Defense Infrastructure, Analysis Shows Defense One

Special report: The simulations driving the world’s response to COVID-19 Nature

* * *
Press:

Tips and Tools for Reporting on COVID-19 Knight Science Journalism, MIT

* * *
Political response:

The Paycheck Protection Program: An introduction AEI

Dire feelings on Main Street on eve of small business lending program launch CNBC

Memo: Some in US may not get stimulus checks until August AP. OTOH, a shred of decency: “The checks will be issued in reverse order of adjusted gross income, meaning that people with the lowest income will get payments first.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like The Week. “Stop slobbering over Andrew Cuomo already.”

Can OSHA Protect Medical Whistleblowers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic? POGO

FACT CHECK: Money-To-Hospitals Plan To Treat Coronavirus Patients Could Face Problems NPR. I have to say this sounds more sensible than opening the horrid ObamaCare exchanges again.

What NASA is doing to keep COVID-19 off the space station Astronomy

* * *
Corporate response:

Insurers knew the damage a viral pandemic could wreak on businesses. So they excluded coverage. WaPo (dk).

Corporate Media Ignore International Cooperation as Shortcut to Coronavirus Vaccine FAIR

* * *
Travel:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo orders Americans to return home ‘immediately’ due to COVID-19 saying he cannot guarantee charter flights once commercial planes cease to operate Daily Mail

* * *
Remedies and ameliorations:

Coronavirus – What Are the Best Alternatives for Self-Care? Organic Consumers Association

Man Tries to Ram Train Into U.S. Navy Hospital Ship, Doesn’t Even Come Close Gizmodo

Europe/UK

Labour contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn finally ending as voting comes to a close Mirror

Germany’s biggest department store chain files for creditor protection FT

Tragedy unfolds as virus deaths rise in Europe’s homes for elderly FT. Deaths not in hospital are not counted.

Coronavirus: strategic failure EU Referendum

China?

Witnessing Wuhan Project Syndicate

Japanese Naval Ship Involved in Collision With Chinese Fishing Vessel in East China Sea The Diplomat

Japan

Testing in Japan. Thread:

 

Malaysia’s indigenous people flee into forests to escape coronavirus Jakarta Post

India

The world’s largest coronavirus lockdown is having a dramatic impact on pollution in India CNN (J-LS).

Syraqistan

After ignoring warnings, Israeli ultra-Orthodox hit by virus AP

Mossad officer describes covert global battle to obtain ventilators at all costs Times of Israel (Re Silc).

Similar issues to Xinjiang? Thread:

 

Chilean telescopes that explore galaxies brought down to earth by coronavirus Reuters

Trump Admin’s Bounty on Venezuelan President Triggers Explosive Confession of Violent Plot Consortium News (Furzy Mouse).

US Escalates Warmongering Against Venezuela Because Of… Drug Trafficking? Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

2020

Democrats postpone presidential convention until Aug. 17 Politico

Bernie Sanders isn’t making it easy for the Democratic Party NBC. That’s a damn shame.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

‘War Dialing’ Tool Exposes Zoom’s Password Problems Krebs on Security (BC).

The Inspector General’s Disturbing FISA Memo Lawfare. “It appears that the facts presented in a lot of FISA applications are not reliably accurate.” No!

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Blob Sucked Away Your Public Health And Gave You War Instead The American Conservative

The tragedy of two failing superpowers Martin Wolf, Straits Times

Space War College struggles to find applicable Clausewitz readings Duffel Blog

Boeing

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent ‘misleading data’ being shown to pilots The Register

Guillotine Watch

Exclusive: How elite U.S. college students brought COVID-19 home from campus Reuters

Class Warfare

Virus Lockdowns Confront Billions Working in the Shadow Economy Bloomberg

Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate’ Vice

Exclusive: Amazon to deploy masks and temperature checks for workers by next week Reuters

Virus hits NYC hardest in a few working-class neighborhoods AP

Legal Sex Workers And Others In Adult Industry Denied Coronavirus Aid HuffPo

The Coronavirus Class War Has Already Started The Nation

Good Guys with Guns Harpers

Now the world faces two pandemics – one medical, one financial Robert Shiller, Guardian

How a debt jubilee could help the U.S. avert economic depression (transcript) Michael Hudson, Marketplace

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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About Lambert Strether

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

274 comments

  1. fresno dan

    Ocean Creatures Have Been Protecting Us From Millions of Viruses This Entire Time Science Alert

    https://www.npr.org/2011/05/06/136057352/carl-zimmer-explores-the-weird-lives-of-viruses
    Mr. ZIMMER: Yeah. It’s funny. There used to be a time when people thought the oceans are pretty much virus-free.
    ===============================================
    Yup, that’s true. Per the aphorism, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
    The thing of it is, even the most rudimentary knowledge of biology and evolution, and applying a modicum of thought, would tell you that it was crazy to believe that there were no or very few viruses in oceans.
    If only all illogical beliefs could be dispelled so quickly and throughly…

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Shipping Routes and Ballast Pumping: A Virus Diffusion Pattern

      I see a few dissertations being written, in social isolation, of course. If Zebra Mussels got their turn, why not a few viri?

      Reply
        1. rd

          Mussels are oblong with purplish colored thin shells and hang onto rocks. Cockles look like small scallops with thick light-colored shells and tend to burrow in sand or silt like clams.

          Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      About viruses, here’s a bit of interesting and slightly heartening information:

      “Not all viruses are enemies — It’s time to dig deeper into the human virome”
      There’s been quite a bit of attention focused on the microbiome. Since the 1940s, it has been defined as the community of all microbial living organisms within a particular habitat. But over the years, the scope of the term has contracted to mean for the most part only bacteria. It’s not really a surprise as most work to understand the microbial environment within each environment, including the human body, has focused on this one branch of the tree of life.

      But the human body has a wide assortment of other microorganisms including viruses, fungi, protozoa and for some, worms. They all have adapted to the human biological system and found ways to survive, reside and thrive. But little attention has been paid to them either due to a lack of technology or funding. In the case of viruses, most work has focused on those causing infections and disease.

      Yet, there are many species inside us that are either harmless, or may even provide us some benefit. This latter group, also called symbionts, has received remarkably little attention. Last month, a researcher from Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Marilyn Roossnick, published a piece to show support for these particular beneficial species in nature and indeed, in us. …

      https://www.popsci.com/our-viral-friends/

      Reply
      1. eg

        In terms of individuals, families, communities and civilization, this pandemic is catastrophic.

        On the species level, this is biological business as usual. Viruses are a feature, not a bug. In some ways the JFK quote is applicable: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

        Please do not misinterpret this to mean that I am with those who promote a “do nothing” response to the pandemic. The individuals, families and civilization all have value, and we must defend them as best we can, beginning with robust, publicly funded health care and public health systems.

        And because there WILL be more viruses, we MUST make systemic change to our culture (by which I mean our way of life, especially our political economy) in order to prepare for them and respond accordingly.

        Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “The BCG World Atlas: A Database of Global BCG Vaccination Policies and Practices”

    My wife saw a post on Facebook this morning so I will more or less repeat it here. Take a look at all the mass deaths, the economic chaos, the mass unemployment, the lockdowns, the stranded people on ships and in countries overseas and think about this. For all those anti-vaxxers everywhere – this is what your world looks like without vaccines.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      I don’t think that BCG vaccine will be as effective as touted but let’s see these random trials and how it works but yet such trials must be huge to prove anything The 1000 thousand nurses in the Netherlands does not suffice IMO. The trials should include dozens of thousands if we want to see results in a few months. In my mind his goes to the hype & hysteria (large) group of news until real proof is shown. The protection rate may vary a lot depending on the age of subjects and if this works in children and young it doesn’t mean it will work for the elder. We will see.

      Reply
      1. Krystyn Podgajski

        I mention in the comments yesterday that the BCG might only be helping by inhibiting either latent TB or TB like bacteria that reactivate when our immune system is busy fighting coronavirus. This is actually kind of old news.

        Influenza A Virus Impairs Control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Coinfection Through a Type I Interferon Receptor–Dependent Pathway

        This is why we never find cures for diseases. They see a virus and just want to get rid of the virus instead of seeing how the virus interacts with the body as a whole.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        Like most Irish people, I received the BCG vaccine as a child (most older Irish people have a horror of TB, Ireland damp climate made it the perfect country for the bacillus). But based on the crude figures available I see no clear evidence so far that the disease is spreading at a lower rate here than in other countries with comparable lockdowns. So I suspect that if there is a protective effect, its marginal, and probably only helps those who have had the vaccine recently (i.e. children).

        Although one thing can be seen from a very quick look at the JHU figures is that Ireland and Portugal (both countries with vaccination) seem, at first glance, to have very significantly lower death rates from the disease than countries which don’t, such as the UK, France, and Spain, (so far, anyway). So just maybe if its having an effect its in preventing the worst cases. Time will tell.

        Reply
        1. KB

          I too received a BCG vaccine in the United States during the TB epidemic as my mother contracted TB as an RN…My twin and I both received one right after birth as we were born in a tuberculosis sanitarium. Back then they were institutionalized for 18 months. So mine was given to me in 1952 as part of that special population.

          I was wondering if as one of the articles states the vaccinations changed over time, ie. different strains added, if there is a difference in potential protection level depending on the year/years one received it…
          BTW, I rarely have had many upper respiratory virus’ in my lifetime, late 60’s. But always got a routine yearly flu virus, so there’s that?

          Reply
      3. D. Fuller

        An interesting historical footnote regarding the Spanish Flu, sorry if it does not seem related.

        The Relationship between Tuberculosis and Influenza Death during the Influenza (H1N1) Pandemic from 1918-19
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405656/
        The epidemiological mechanisms behind the W-shaped age-specific influenza mortality during the Spanish influenza (H1N1) pandemic 1918-19 have yet to be fully clarified. The present study aimed to develop a formal hypothesis: tuberculosis (TB) was associated with the W-shaped influenza mortality from 1918-19.

        The link tag doesn’t appear to be working.

        Reply
        1. Krystyn Podgajski

          It is very related. Just think of TB infection (and similar strains of the bacteria) as a preexisting condition.

          Do not assume that the TB vaccine interferes with the virus in anyway.

          Reply
          1. D. Fuller

            Do not assume that the TB vaccine interferes with the virus in anyway.

            Of course not. TB infects the lungs. Early reports indicated smoking increases chance of serious illness and death in Covid-19 cases (smoker, here).

            Another interesting tidbit? Pausterization of milk reduces TB. Turns out, there is a form of TB from dairy that is not processed. Fascinating stuff. So, if people are drinking unpausterized milk? Reconsider.

            Reply
            1. Susan the other

              My son in law got his degree in biology but not his job. So hearsay: he told me that every day 40% of the bacteria in the ocean is killed off by viruses. There’s a battle going on between viruses and bacteria – so when it come to a bacillus like TB that infects the human lung it could have weapons of mass destruction specifically for its competition which is a virus. Just thinking. Our scientists could be looking in all the wrong places.

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > a bacillus like TB that infects the human lung it could have weapons of mass destruction specifically for its competition which is a virus.

                As long as we don’t kill off the good virusus (the symbionts).

                Reply
            2. Procopius

              I remember reading about cases of people suing the states which forbid drinking unpasteurized milk. There are people who consider raw milk superior in the way that “organic” produce is supposedly superior, and claim that pasteurization destroys vital nutrients. They are at risk from tuberculosis.

              Reply
      4. Phacops

        Exactly. The magnitude of the effect may be small enough that statistical proof will require enormous power that only comes from large sample sizes.

        Reply
    2. Redlife2017

      Indeed about anti-vaxxers. I know one who thinks that the only reason why life-threatening illnesses were brough to heel was due to better sanitation standards. Whilst partly true, the fact that my parents were able to tell me about the awful polio outbreaks of the early 1950s before the vaccine, certainly made me a believer in vaccination (my child got all of theirs).

      And if I may add a bit about the UK’s status as not recommending the BCG. That actually isn’t entirely true. It depends on the local council / NHS trust. I live in one of the most dense parts of the UK (Islington) and we actually have issues with TB. So my child was automatically scheduled to get their BCG at the age of 6 weeks (and he got the shot!). So there are people who still get the BCG in the UK in the places where Covid-19 could be at its worst (high density living). We’ll see how that pans out.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think its true what you say about memories about polio. Anti-vaxxers are thin on the ground in Ireland – I suspect one reason is that horrible polio outbreaks have taken place within living memory. I can remember my parents shuddering with horror at the mention of polio – our neighbours child had it in the 1950’s, but fortunately she wasn’t crippled (my mother used to attribute it to my neighbour spending hour upon hour massaging the girls legs and back to help her get her strength back). As a teenager I did voluntary work with children from the travelling community – up to the 1970’s they would often refuse to get their children vaccinated. I knew several crippled from polio and scarlet fever and other generally forgotten diseases. All the ones I knew are long dead now.

        Reply
      2. ewmayer

        Re. better sanitation standards – Polio is especially interesting, as it went from being a ubiquitous environmental pathogen to being much less prevalent *because* of better sanitation standards, namely clean municipal water supplies. As a result the developed world’s populace lost its herd immunity. No one in their right mind is arguing for a return to unsanitary water practices because the overall health benefits are innumerable, but that particular sanitation innovation came with a hefty price tag in terms of lives.

        Reply
        1. rtah100

          Yes – and scarlet fever never had a vaccination programme and just disappeared as a disease. It seemed quaintly Victorian – and now it has come back in the UK, with outbreaks in the last decade or two. And nobody knows why.

          Re the UK, we conducted BCG vaccination until 2005. It eradicated TB. So much so that the cost accountants looked at the programme, calculated how much it was costing against the minimal risk that any one individual developed TB and required treatment and cancelled it. Seriously! This is not even neoliberalism, it is just stupidity – of course an effective long-term vaccination programme is not preventing lots of short-term active disease, that’s the whole fucking point!

          However, TB is endemic in immigrant and HIV patient populations, so people with high exposure to these groups are still vaccinated. Quite what the rest of us are supposed to do is not clear – avoid curry houses and Pride?

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          Re. better sanitation standards – Polio is especially interesting, as it went from being a ubiquitous environmental pathogen to being much less prevalent *because* of better sanitation standards, namely clean municipal water supplies. As a result the developed world’s populace lost its herd immunity.

          Do you have a link for that? I ask, because Wikipedia’s History of Polio says, “Over millennia, polio survived quietly as an endemic pathogen until the 1900s when major epidemics began to occur in Europe.[1] Soon after, widespread epidemics appeared in the United States. By 1910, frequent epidemics became regular events throughout the developed world primarily in cities during the summer months.” It would seem it became epidemic after clean water supplies were common. I was surprised to learn that there is still one type of polio virus that has not been eradicated — yet.

          Reply
          1. ewmayer

            Sure – you were close, but you want the main Wikipedia ‘polio’ entry:

            Before the 20th century, polio infections were rarely seen in infants before six months of age, most cases occurring in children six months to four years of age. Poorer sanitation of the time resulted in a constant exposure to the virus, which enhanced a natural immunity within the population. In developed countries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, improvements were made in community sanitation, including better sewage disposal and clean water supplies. These changes drastically increased the proportion of children and adults at risk of paralytic polio infection, by reducing childhood exposure and immunity to the disease.[134]

            Reply
          2. ewmayer

            @Procopius: I posted a link/excerpt ~3 hours ago, which appears stuck in moderation limbo. More briefly, go the main Wikipedia Polio article and search-in-page for “Before the 20th century”.

            Reply
    3. OIFVet

      This link has interesting comparisons between East and West German infection and death rates, and that is probably informative due to their different TB vaccination policies prior to 1989. It also has comparison maps for vaccines using different strains. Keeping in mind that correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, the BCG-Japan, BCG-Russia/Bulgaria, and the BCG-Brazil vaccines may be particularly effective in mitigating the COVID-19 spread and death rates compared to other BCG vaccines using different strains.

      Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      That’s interesting. Tapping my inner-Ian Welsh. It’s hard to understand why/how developing countries are the way they are without looking at elite ties to the rich world. https://www.ianwelsh.net/free-trade-is-elties-betraying-their-own-populations/

      It’s hard to understand Latin American elites without understanding that a ton of them attended Harvard and have crash-pads in Miami and NYC. Same is true in Africa.

      The term ‘Globalists’ comes from an often unhinged right wing, but I actually think it’s a really useful and accurate description of how elites think across a number of countries. ‘Class solidarity’ doesn’t really describe it. It’s not just that they all share a way of thinking and understanding, they often share the same geography…same schools, same hospitals, same vacation spots, same conferences, etc.

      One clear lesson that’s being hammered home is that “borders matter”. Whatever fantasies elites in developing countries had, it should be clear to them that they’re not as protected as they may have thought. Elites in a lot of countries are realizing they can’t trust one another in a crisis.

      Where this leads us, I can’t say, but something is definitely changing. Elite solidarity across countries does seem to be crumbling. That might be a good thing, or might not. Probably a mixed bag.

      Reply
      1. Monty

        My bold prediction: Whatever valuable lessons that could be learned from this crisis will go unlearned, if they cant be used by the people you describe, to further enslave us and enrich themselves.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The term ‘Globalists’ comes from an often unhinged right wing

        I can’t think of a better term (I used the closely akin “globalizer”*) or I’d have used it.

        The unhinged right is often a Fun House mirror, but it’s sometimes possible to reverse engineer something useful out of the cray cray.

        NOTE * At least “-izer” refers to (social) function, where “-ist” refers to (misdirects to) ideology.

        Reply
      3. eg

        Oh yes — local elites are always and everywhere complicit in the exploitation of their fellow countrymen, whom they will always betray in service to the internationalist/Davos club of which they are members.

        Reply
  3. zagonostra

    >General Strike

    Maybe I’m watching too much Jimmy Dore. He had Danny Haiphong on his live stream last night, and the point that Jimmy has been hammering for the past week, besides that the Squad, Tulsi, and especially Bernie have been swallowed up whole by the Dem-Blob, is that we need a General Strike.

    I haven’t seen many links here on NC about union organizing for a General, or any other type of strikes, The point JD is driving home in his inimitable (hard to take for many I know) way is that this is a once in a generation opportunity for workers to demand healthcare, living wages, PTO, etc….

    The strikes and work walk-outs that are occurring are mainly wild cat strikes and run counter to Union Leaders’ wishes. The rank and file is way ahead of the leadership – nothing new there – on standing up to management. If I recall my labor history, strikes flared up the most when the country was at War. We are at war, so where are the Unions?

    As an aside it is also curious to note the division taking place on Y-tube shows like The Jimmy Dore with Tim Black and others. There is a whole universe of shows, like Secular Talk, TYT, David Packman, and there is a real battle going on right now where most are lining up with backing Biden against Trump, like TYT, and renegades like JD. It’s heating up.

    Reply
    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      I wish there was a real leader to rise up. Maybe the on-the-ground workers, renters, health care medical and facilities workers, etc. will have to start something. Then maybe they can get some national “celebrity” to garner some coverage. Has to be big enough and loud enough in multiple locations so that it can’t be ignored. Alt media would have to have a plan to force old media’s hand. Tuff wars would need to be secondary to needs on the people on the ground because food banks are already pegged, rents can’t be paid and the corporate bailout is just beginning.

      We need to use Trumps techniques to generate momentum and conversations but for the people. Use Trump’s ego to facilitate the people’s needs rather than battle against it.

      I listened to Glenn Greenwald last night and read the Huffpost article on the Sanders campaign. Agree & disagree. I also know that there’s a lot more there wasn’t said that been discussed at length at NC. I’d like Sanders to win the presidency rather than Trump or Biden but I have to believe that he can wield power.

      To me that means, that he and his advisors read those articles and do something to develop a real plan to grab power in this crisis. No more abstract politics. It’s doable but extremely difficult and would require adaptability, building coalitions and being willing to go after the players as well as system. To me, there will never be a better time to be an opportunist and grab the ring.

      Anyway, there’s a huge opening for someone.

      May the force be with real people and their needs this time.

      Reply
      1. David Carl Grimes

        A very angry Jimmy Dore calling for Bernie et al to call for a #rentstrike #generalstrike. It was hard to watch but I feel it’s warranted. Bernie has been feckless and impotent. The economy is collapsing and voters now have every reason to back his policy platform (Medical For All, paid sick leave, jobs guarantee) and yet Biden (who can’t complete a sentence) somehow still polls on top by huge margins??? He says Bernie has nothing to lose now. He’s basically lost the election if the trend continues. He’ll be too old to run again and if people don’t get behind him now in a time of a health and economic crisis, they never will.

        I’d actually want him to go further than this. I want him to drop out and run third party with the Greens who have the lega infrastructure to get on the ballot on many states. Even if he doesn’t win and gets blamed for fracturing the Democratic Party, he’ll have way more leverage with both Democrats and Republicans to get concessions on his policy agenda.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSoz5Wu1mI

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          The Green Party recently invited Sanders to run for president in the party, but I doubt very much he will accept.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > A very angry Jimmy Dore calling for Bernie et al to call for a #rentstrike #generalstrike. … He says Bernie has nothing to lose now.

          If the Sanders theory of change had proved out in this election, no question Dore would be right. It did not. If the canvassers, as a body, have no organic relation to the working class* — if, to put it crudely, too many of them are from Brooklyn — than a call by Sanders for a general strike would (and should) fall flat, and the credibility of his movement as a whole would be destroyed.** (That’s why I pick a middle ground of funding the workplace and rent strike organizers as opposed to charity.)

          I wish Sanders could say “My theory of change worked, now let’s escalate!” But I’m not sure he can; I’m not sure his canvassing operation has the operational capability. Dore is a symbol manipulator. As we know from, say, the work of MBAs at Boeing, symbol manipulators are often detached from material reality.***

          NOTE * An important fact nobody knows.

          NOTE ** However, thinking in idpol terms, I wonder if there’s a Latin tradition of general strikes, as opposed to this country, where they are not.

          NOTE *** I think many, including me, may have underestimated the degree to which the Democrat Party is actually hated, by the back row kids to whom the Sanders campaign sought to appeal.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I wish there was a real leader to rise up. Maybe the on-the-ground workers, renters, health care medical and facilities workers, etc. will have to start something.

        Sara Nelson would be ideal. At the same time, she runs a business union, and I’m not sure a general strike is in their thinking.

        Reply
    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      There is a whole universe of shows, like Secular Talk, TYT, David Packman, and there is a real battle going on right now where most are lining up with backing Biden against Trump, like TYT, and renegades like JD. It’s heating up.

      This is exactly what happened in 2015 with Hillary. I stopped listening to TYT because Jimmy Dore was the only person there not shilling for HIllary. It was rather…clarifying and I’m not shocked at all that it’s happening again.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        There’s suggestive evidence that JD were / are sheep-dogging. AOC is certainly doing so now. Silicon Valley donors…

        Reply
        1. Massinissa

          If JD is sheepdogging, then that means there is literally nowhere to go. Literally nowhere.

          Also JD has been denouncing AOC for alot lately, so I’m not sure conflating the two is wise. Just because shes sheepdogging doesn’t mean he is.

          He might be, he might not be. But if he is… I give up. If that’s the case then this country is like the novel 1984 where all the opposition to Big Brother is secretly a Big Brother honey trap for dissidents.

          Reply
    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I do not believe that established labor unions will ever take part in a general strike. The closest any came in recent history was when a regional Wisconsin AFL-CIO council voted a general strike on the urging of some Wobs in their uprising in 2011. Taft-Hartley would allow the financial dismantling of any union that sought to lead the strike. That’s very unlikely to happen with the current union bureaucracies and leadership.

      On top of that, the idea of a general strike for demands of benefit to the general public is not something labor has ever considered outside of the IWW. Labor organizations are about getting a better deal for the employees in their bargaining units, and even within that narrow scope, only wages, benefits, discipline and working conditions are within the purview. Otherwise, the business has complete control of operations. So our current labor organizations would consider the idea of striking for the benefit of their parties to be incomprehensible.

      There is no question that a ripe time approaches for a general strike. The old anarcho-syndicalism of Spain’s CNT and the IWW seems plausible now that healthy workers are in short supply and the market is failing miserably to distribute goods as needed. With participation from health care workers, transportation workers, food retail workers, food production workers, utility workers and ISP workers, a general strike could bring our ruling elites to the bargaining table with a much improved attitude. Add the rent strikers and others, and a Rose Luxemburg-style mass strike could bring great pressure.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        I’d say your appraisal of established labor is accurate and I’ll point to the response to the wildcat teacher strikes last year by the AFT national: Randi Weingarten (salary $300,000/year) did everything in her power to undercut and end those strikes, in order to channel that energy toward the elections. Great.

        But here’s the thing: the national *almost* lost control of those strikes. And I wish they had. So, just because the established unions will oppose, does not mean they cannot be forced.

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          They’re just structures that will be lost if labor makes the move toward wildcats, generals, sit downs, etc. The Wagner Act structure, when combined with Taft-Hartley and the interpretation of the courts, is more about corralling unions then enabling worker power, and those who step outside those bounds risk whatever assets they have. If new, more radical labor movements are ready to use those out-of-bounds tactics, then the kind of established structure of the current labor movement, aimed as it is primarily at electing centrist Democrats, will be more of an encumbrance than a tool.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Song I vaguely remember: “Freedom’s just another word for ‘notnin’ left to lose'”.

            ETA: I’m not there yet.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              The line is from the Kris Kristofferson song; “Me And Bobby McGee.”
              We’re all there now. We just don’t know it yet.

              Reply
      2. sd

        Union member. Our contract actually has a clause that forbids general strikes. I assume this is the norm and not the exception.

        The United States is extremely anti-labor and has been for quite some time.

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          If a general strike is forbidden and yet people go ahead and do it anyway, it’s rather unclear what the powers that be would do about that…

          Reply
          1. Massinissa

            They’ll do what they always do when pressed, like with Occupy Wall Street. They’ll call in the Boys n Blue and if that doesn’t work, the boys in green, the national guard, SWAT, the whole works if they need to.

            But at this point we may have no choice.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Problem is just how does one force people to work if they refuse? Put them in jail or prison? Still not working.

              If the government ships money by the trainload all over Wall Street, the question then becomes why are they more special than the other 329,000,000 people in the country?

              Reply
        2. Big River Bandido

          Most of the teacher strikes in 2019 were illegal, but happened anyway.

          Non union members (the bulk of the US labor force) are not bound by union contracts.

          Reply
          1. Noone from Nowheresville

            Will teachers still have jobs next year or will the push for tele-education start dismantling the public school systems piece by piece?

            Same question could be asked of the medical field except that they will lose personnel due to death and job loss either voluntary (PSTD, physical disability due to lung damage, retirement, etc.) or hospitals / private equity cutting overhead. Tele-medicine is also a solution here for dismantling.

            I’d be curious on medical personnel contracts (I know too many different ones) whether or not they can sue as a group or if they have to go individually to arbitration given that their employer didn’t have proper equipment except for just-in-time inventory even though they had notice via WHO & China by the end of December of the possibility of something happening?

            Don’t expect an answer. More just wondering out loud.

            Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        The obvious response to “financial dismantling” would be to make the strike permanent, until the dismantling is reversed. That’s what a general strike is all about: it’s political. But it’s a risky move, takes guts.

        And as several commenters said, that isn’t what contemporary labor unions are about – aside from the Wobblies, who are primarily a political org. like DSA, and have no financial to dismantle.

        Reply
        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Even the modern Wobs get tempted. A few years back, a proposal was put before the national convention by the leadership to buy a building in Chicago to serve as headquarters. That struck me as utter madness. What does a radical labor union think will happen if it’s putting pressure where it hurts? They’ll see their building seized.

          When the mainstream unions started building their big office buildings in DC, that was the beginning of their end.

          Reply
    4. Ed

      Whoever is running the country seems perfectly happy to shut down all retail and entertainment, close most offices, and layoff a third of the workforce. How is a general strike going to work?

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        “How is the general strike going to work?” by cutting off your access to food, gas, healthcare and all the “essentials.”

        To hell with entertainment, I’m happy to play my guitar and provide my own, but unlike amfortas the hippie, I’m not in a position to grow my own food or makeshift TP.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          It would not have to be long or untargeted. A few days or a week aimed at the well off. Imagine if all the serfs at and near the Hamptons took a brief vacation. Or perhaps all the food delivery people took a day off nationally.

          Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      Interesting. The Oregon Pacific Green Party just got an email from a member hoping to organize resistance to the CARES Bill (which was certainly very clarifying) and looking for the party to take the lead. I assume he isn’t the only one. We’re normally pretty focused on elections, but we’re also activists, so this is an attractive proposition.

      My problem, which I hope to see discussed here, is how a general strike could be effective when so many people are already out of work, and the remainder are essential workers. I’d hate to see the staff at the Co-op out on strike, for instance; or doctors and nurses. Something similar goes for rent or mortgage strikes – so many people are already unable to pay that your strike might be invisible (alternatively, it might be multiplied).

      Of course, the party can argue that a logical response to Dem support of CARES is voting Green – assuming we manage to get on the ballot, a challenge when we can’t petition. But a more dramatic and less self-serving leadership role would be very attractive. Calls for thought; I’m glad the guy wrote to us.

      Reply
    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      > we need a General Strike.

      I’ll say again that “General Strike” is a vague incantation absent an organization to call it, demands, and ideally a strike fund, akin to “the streets” as a sort of fetish.

      Trying to think through the role of the Sanders campaign movement, they’re the only organization remotely capable of making the call, but unfortunately, this would be their second chance to make their Theory of Change work. They are not building on an initial success. Suppose it falls flat? No problem for an accelerationist, I suppose… .

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I’d say that the emerging conditions are perfect for fomenting a “direct action” movement. Yes, those groups would need some organizing philosophy with which to develop target lists. That general philosophy can come from either extreme of the political spectrum. There’s the real danger. The old bugbear of the “Police State” could become a formal reality under such conditions. It could be either Right wing or Left wing and would function the same, either way.
        What exactly is a fetish anyway? It’s a symbol, standing in for an unseen power, supposed to have non-rational effects on physical reality. As such, it is a focus for deep seated psychological wishes. Wishes such as: the control over the conditions of one’s life, freedom from fear, and a general sense of personal worthiness to exist. A fetish is thus a very powerful socio-psychological organizing tool. To the extent that a fetish is something of either personal belief on up to a general faith, it’s power is indexed.
        Now, as with ‘movements’ in general, a unifying object or goal is needed around which to structure the actual “ground game.” The American Civil Rights movement may have had high sounding philosophical underpinnings, but the real work was done at the ground level. Actual people had to go and sit at those segregated lunch counters and suffer the often violent consequences for an extended period of time. Specific goals, subsumed under the umbrella of a general movement are needed to focus the endeavour. King developed and titled one of his major policy writings as the “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” It cemented his bona fides as a genuine leader of a movement. It also legitimized the tactic, or more properly, the outcome of a tactic, that resulted in incarceration for movement activists. Such a sense of solidarity enheartened the rank and file of the movement to willingly suffer for the “cause.”
        So, to tie up this collection of loose ends, I’ll say that any strike action contemplated and carried out in the near future here in America will need to be framed as part of an overall movement with not only a general philosophical framework, but also particular ends, which is where the actual strikes and “actions” come in. Make the “actions” small enough and focused enough to be easily comprehensible from a cursory examination, but also easily judged as to their effectiveness in moving the general movement forward. In this way, even failures can be propaganda ‘successes.’
        The above is what I hope that Sanders is trying to accomplish this time. If he and the movement can articulate specific policies, Lambert’s concrete and measurable benefits, then win, lose, or draw, they can propagandize the outcomes either as successes for activism, or examples to show why the extant political establishment has to be overthrown. This is crucial, for, as many have observed, no progress will be made until the status quo faces the actual destruction of their world. To this extent, violence, either actual or psychological, is legitimate. The elites have to learn to fear the masses. Then change will come. Managing that process of change will be the tricky part.
        Oh well. Thank you for allowing me to rant this morning.

        Reply
  4. Kevin C. Smith

    GREAT links, today and every day.
    NC is on fire!
    I donated some money this morning, and encourage the rest to help out as best they can.

    Reply
    1. Feelinthebern

      The Chinalawblog posts are really informative. Great writing too, clear, concise and fun to read when it is a rather dense subject.

      Reply
  5. Noone from Nowheresville

    Actual small businesses will get pushed out by the forms alone compared to chains which have dedicated people for that. Can’t even begin to imagine how quickly this fund will go.

    Stimulus aid for ‘small business’ will go to some big chains
    By RYAN J. FOLEY

    The law specified that all food service and lodging businesses qualify as long as they do not have more than 500 employees at a single location. It also declared that thousands of franchises recognized by the SBA — like multilocation restaurants, hotels, gyms and hair salons — will qualify regardless of their revenue and ties to large corporate parents. Many nonprofits, which are normally ineligible for such aid, also qualify.

    The law says the maximum loan will be $10 million. But lobbyists representing chains are asking that the cap apply to each location — rather than each owner.

    https://apnews.com/d37120d6ed5450bf59433e4393b17531

    Reply
    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Complimentary to chains getting part of the $350 billion, venture capital-backed startups are also getting in on the action.

      Kevin McCarthy: Startups will be eligible for coronavirus stimulus loans
      Dan Primack

      https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-vc-startups-small-business-loans-6ae9e125-fbbb-4349-9d67-ce68d4a5ac57.html

      Venture capital-backed startups will become eligible for $350 billion in small business loans guaranteed by the federal government, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told the Axios Pro Rata Podcast on Thursday: “I just got off the phone with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and this is going to be solved.”

      Reply
      1. MLTPB

        A loan is a loan.

        What is better is free money.

        With debt jubilee, these loans become free money.

        Should they be included?

        Reply
        1. periol

          I helped my mother apply for her non-profit today, and from what I can see of the terms right now, the loan will be forgiven as long as 75% of it goes to payroll and payroll-related expenses. For her, it works out perfectly, because that’s right about the ratio of payroll to overhead for her organization.

          Also, I noticed that the maximum annual salary that can be covered in full and still apply for forgiveness is $100k.

          Not going to lie I was pleasantly surprised by what fine print I could find while walking my mother through the process.

          Reply
          1. periol

            I should mention my mother is a diehard evangelical Republican who toyed with the idea of voting for Sanders because she wants a debt jubilee (it’s in the Bible!) and Medicare For All. We talked about how shockingly good the terms of her “loan” are, and also about Trump possibly implementing some sort of nationalized health care.

            I said if he implemented M4A he would bury the Democrats forever, and she was positively gleeful in her agreement…

            Reply
    2. D. Fuller

      SBA loans for large corporations is a feature, apparently, from 2016…

      Giant Corporations Are Reaping Billions From Federal “Small Business” Contracts
      https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/fortune-500-corporations-federal-small-business-contracts-administration-lawsuit/

      Verizon Communications is the largest wireless provider in the United States, with 178,000 employees and $91.7 billion in sales last year, and yet it somehow managed to wrangle more than $107 million in federal “small-business contracts” last year through the US Small Business Administration… the SBA counted contracts with 150 other Fortune 500 companies in its fulfillment of the federal government’s small-business contracting obligations.

      Reply
    3. D. Fuller

      Okay, I must admit that I do peruse Zerohedge just to keep an eye on the more unhinged. However?

      There was an interesting tidbit that does pan out. Here is how banks are pushing out small businesses…

      From Bank of America…
      https://about.bankofamerica.com/promo/assistance/latest-updates-from-bank-of-america-coronavirus/small-business-assistance?cm_sp=SBC-_-PPP-Article-Redirect-_-PPP-Article-Redirect

      Small Business clients with a business lending and a business deposit relationship at Bank of America are eligible to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program through our bank…

      …Small Business owners who do not have a business lending and business deposit relationship with us should contact their current business loan provider as soon as possible, if they plan to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

      From Chase…
      https://recovery.chase.com/cares

      You must have a Chase Business checking account as of February 15, 2020.

      The original interest rate on the SBA loans was to be 0.5%. However, that has been raised to 1% to satisfy bank’s desire for some profit.

      The Paycheck Protection Program… perhaps the new “HAMP I & II” program rife with waste, fraud, abuse, and pure profiteering.

      Reply
    4. Katniss Everdeen

      From the cnbc link “Dire feelings on Main Street on eve of small business lending program launch:”

      Questions were asked on a variety of issues including if banks would be incentivized to lend at 0.5% interest rates.

      On Thursday evening, Mnuchin said the interest rates were being raised to 1% after hearing concerns from banks.

      If I were a small business owner, I’d be thinking more than twice about taking a “loan” with my business forced closed by the government and generating zero revenue, and no idea when I’d be able to reopen or under what circumstances, from a bank whose primary concern is not my business’s survival but what’s in it for them.

      Can’t help thinking that this is pretty much the same philosophy behind borrowing yourself into oblivion for a “prosperous” future with a student loan, and we all know how well that worked out. Remember that great student-loan-forgiveness-for-public-service program?

      Maybe biden will stumble into the presidency where he can update his bankruptcy “reform” act to catch all those deadbeat small business corona virus scammers trying to pretend that they borrowed in good faith and their loans should be forgiven.

      Too many potential financial landmines and too much water under the bridge for my taste.

      Reply
      1. D. Fuller

        With Chase and BofA restricting PPP loans to their customer base? Great marketing material for after.

        Eventually when Covid-19 is contained, such behavior from banks in restricting loans to their customer base will have other small businesses reconsidering who their bank is, in the event of another crisis.

        Covid-19 has now become marketing material for banks to attract customers, in a roundabout way.

        “Be prepared for the next crisis. Open your account today! Our bank and The SBA are here serve you! Don’t be caught uprepared with those ‘other’ banks!”

        Reply
      2. periol

        I posted this above, but from what I could make out actually applying, the forgiveness terms are quite generous and should be easy to achieve as long as small businesses actually use most of the money to pay their employees. I was genuinely surprised at how easily it would be forgiven. I think for most companies this will end up a grant rather than a loan, unless there’s a bait-and-switch down the line.

        Reply
      3. Susan the other

        I thought that too. It’s just another bait and switch – tell them it is a forgivable loan to get them interested, then raise the interest rate (why?) so the banks can have even more money and … what comes next? Another interest rate rise; maybe conditions on the forgive clause; and extra qualifications to even open your account? And by the time you get the first money it’s already a lost cause. In the EU they (Germany?) just gave SMEs direct infusions for the duration of the epidemic – no strings attached, much like the post here last week suggesting we do the same in order to maintain employment and consumers’ and prevent foreclosures. We just don’t really give a shit.

        Reply
        1. periol

          Many of the things you said here are not true.

          The thing with the banks is at least understandable. If you are a functioning business in the USA in 2020, you have a bank account somewhere. Banks are simply saying that this government loan should go through the bank where you already have an account. My mother’s non-profit banks with BofA; it wouldn’t have made sense for her to go to Chase for the loan – for her company or for Chase. BofA already has all the payroll records for her company, so this means less work for my mother and for the bank. Honestly, this doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me.

          I can’t speak for other businesses, but this is really going to help my mother’s non-profit. Her biggest expenses are payroll, payroll taxes, and rent. This will cover all of that for the next 8 weeks, and will be forgiven as long as 75% went to payroll and associated payroll expenses.

          The interest rate is for companies that do not use 75% of the loan for salary, or more specifically, 75% of the loan has to cover salaries of people who make less than $100,000 a year. More than that can not be applied to the % for forgiveness. So if companies don’t use this money primarily for payroll, but for other purposes, it’s basically a 1% business loan.

          Again, I can only speak for my mother’s small non-profit in California, but this loan/grant will cover rent and keep the non-profit and all the employees whole and allow them to be ready to go when 8 weeks are up.

          I’m very pleasantly surprised. I was expecting the fine print to tell me there was no way this loan would end up actually being forgiven, or that it would only benefit larger companies and not a small non-profit.

          Reply
  6. fresno dan

    The Inspector General’s Disturbing FISA Memo Lawfare. “It appears that the facts presented in a lot of FISA applications are not reliably accurate.” No!

    Today, the inspector general began answering this question. Unfortunately, the emerging answer may be something of a worst-case scenario. No, it’s not political spying on the Trump campaign or anything like that. Notwithstanding the idiotic Justice Department statement on Tuesday—which claimed that the FBI’s FISA abuse “resulted in one of the greatest political travesties in American history”—there’s still no evidence of political abuse of FISA. Rather, the problem is a far more general one: It appears that the facts presented in a lot of FISA applications are not reliably accurate.
    ======================================================
    1. My bonifides as a Trump hater are well established – but the dismissal of the possibility that there was in fact a political conspiracy at the DoJ and FBI and who knows where else, against Trump, does not give confidence that the author is really objectively looking seriously at the situation.
    2. I get to use one of my favorite aphorisms twice in one day – absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Evidence that there was a conspiracy has not been developed – yet. Maybe it was all pure coincidence…and this is mind-boggling, but it is POSSIBLE: could Trump actually have been dissuaded from pursuing prosecution of people involved for his own pollitical benefit (better not to antagonise too many bureacrats) or …GASP…the good of the country? Than again, maybe I need to cut back on the LSD….
    3. Not to be too tin-foily, but is incompetant admistration of FISA a cover for when actual nefarious schemes are implemented against targeted opponents of the administration? Nice excuse to say we abuse everybody’s rights without regard to political affiliation….
    4. All these “Woods procedures” were implemented because….previously the FBI couldn’t be trusted. So the solution will be….more new and improved procedures. OK than…

    Reply
    1. rd

      I think the Carter Page FISA affair was useful in shining a spotlight on the FISA process. It appears the IG took it seriously and figured out the whole system was rotten which I think was the whole point in having the secret process in the first place….

      Reply
  7. Tom Stone

    Thanks for the link to “Good Guys with Guns”, I wasn’t aware of the SRA although I have friends who were instrumental in founding a chapter of the “Pink Pistols” in the SF Bay area.
    I got my first gun on my 10th Birthday, a .22 rifle as was traditional at the time.
    I wasn’t allowed to handle it until I had taken a hunter safety course.
    Since that time I have continuously owned firearms and have had several hundred hours of professional instruction.
    When you pick up a gun one of the lives you hold in your hand is your own, make a mistake and it can cost you your freedom and everything you own.
    California Law is very clear, the only time lethal force is justifiable is when there is an IMMINENT threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself or another innocent person.
    If you decide to buy a gun please be responsible, get training.
    Claude Werner’s blog has several posts about common mistakes gun owner’s have made and the tragic consequences, they are sobering.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      In addition to getting training, be prepared to practice your marksmanship on a regular basis. At least 50 rounds a month at the range. That was my father’s rule, and it was and is a good one.

      Reply
      1. Jack

        My last weapons training was 55+ years ago. I did think that practicing marksmanship was part of that training.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          My experience in the Army was that they were a little careless about maintaining marksmanship skills for those of us not in combat arms specialties. Not that I’m complaining, but in 1969 our troops in Europe were conducting field exercises be shouting, “Bang, bang,” because of the shortage of ammunition to include blanks. It was all going to Vietnam.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Your comment put me in mind of an old cartoon called Rick O’Shay many years ago that featured a gunslinger named Hipshot Percussion. In one cartoon, he was doing shooting practice and bemoaning the rising price of bullets. In the last panel he complained that the price of insurance was going up all the time! –

        http://www.my-west.com/books/tag/hipshot-percussion

        Reply
  8. Ignacio

    Our canary in the mine, Italy, has reached today day 25th after general quarantine though in Lombardy it started a few days before. If median contagion-to-casualty is 25 days the peak in daily casualties must have passed but still for a couple of days it may be high due to statistical variance and possibly home contagions. Stay tuned because this will say how quarantines work. Hospital staff must be somehow relieved.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Stay safe Ignacio. I have been keeping watch on the figures for Spain and I can see that you guys are being absolutely hammered at the moment. Hopefully it will peak soon and your health professionals will be able to get back on top of it. But what a terrible cost.

      Reply
    2. MLTPB

      Thanks Ignacio.

      It would be interesting to see how your model works out.

      Here in CA, the peak is predicted to be mid May, according to one source (CBS Pitsburgh reporting).

      Reply
      1. periol

        Really? Just yesterday I was reading April 28. That’s scary that they keep pushing it back, even though we are supposedly social distancing. Every time they hedge or push back with this stuff my personal defcon level jumps a notch.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Here in Oz there has been talk of about 90 days of restrictions while others say the peak will be in September. And my wife & I are getting sick and tired of this ‘We are in it together” message that they keep pumping.’ In any case, I look for other signs of how serious it may get and I found one.

          There are large numbers of overseas backpackers in Oz still who have had their working permits extended. But I note that they say they are going to find out how many of them are nurses and offer them a special work permit to work as nurses in our hospitals. Now that is a telling sign in my opinion as to how serious it can get.

          Reply
      2. periol

        I have looked thoroughly and been unable to find anything about this – peak in CA being mid-May. Any chance you have the source? Were they talking about CA or were they talking about PA?

        Honestly, I have a very hard time believing the peak will be that late, looking at how this virus works. I would be shocked if the peak in CA is later than the end of April. It does look to be slowing down in Italy and Spain.

        Reply
    3. rtah100

      I know I posted this before but I lose track of where.

      My colleague’s spouse is a doctor in the Bergamo main hospital. The latest update a couple of days ago was:
      – ER is empty
      – ICU has increasing numbers of spare beds
      – the exponential wave has broken (in Bergamo at least)
      – the hospital is preparing for the wave of cases that will be sent up from the south
      – for the moment, they get to rest a bit. And treat some normal patients – the cardiology ICU has ten beds reserved for cardiology patients and they have all been empty, everybody with chest pains preferred to stay home the last few weeks! Or died there of COVID…. :-(

      Reply
      1. Pat

        Perhaps not. Some businesses here actually paid or gave partial pay though the end of March, original time period for home isolation policies. Others disqualified their workers by saying they were furloughed.

        There is also a probable delay as processing is backed up.

        Reply
      2. rd

        The data was only through mid-March. The carnage started the following week. The April report is going to make the Great depression numbers look like a picnic. But they didn’t have unemployment insurance then, which will help buffer the economy.

        Reply
    1. GF

      The survey was only through March 20 I think so most of the high numbers won’t appear until the end of April’s report.

      Reply
  9. New Wafer Army

    > Legal Sex Workers And Others In Adult Industry Denied Coronavirus Aid HuffPo

    I know it will upset the wokerati, but I don’t think sex “work” should be normalized. The normalization of the degradation of people through pornography and prostitution is an example of the corrosive effects of neoliberalism which seeks to commodify even the most intimate aspects of our lives. Give these people real jobs and educations with real benefits.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Oh good because the people calling for protection aren’t calling for jobs and benefits…

      Like anything, the vaunted Obama Recovery (Since Carter) has led to an increase in sex workers. It’s like going to war with the army you have.

      Reply
    2. rob

      I wouldn’t want to “argue” for “sex workers” in general. since there is no way to tell who is being exploited and coerced….which is wrong…
      but for the “independent contractors” out there who are just filling a niche(no pun intended), they are a part of society, and always have been.
      Any new world cannot cover up the realities of life,as has been done forever.
      Since the days 1000 years ago when the catholic church ran convents to be the “prostitutes” for the clergy… long before and ever since … men exploited women, and boys, and girls, and probably everything else at one time or another…..This is a human trait, we cannot ascribe to “neoliberalism”, We also shouldn’t pretend we are puritans who are “shocked” this is happening, and would render those who do all these “unsavory” deeds, for all the “respectable” clientele whose place in society is at every rung of social stratification…and every neighborhood; as “them” . All the holier than thou folks who pretend…. they are “better”.. are most likely the ones who aren’t.
      But at this moment. “civic” responsibility needs to be shown to all. Without a “morals” clause…
      Just sayin’

      Reply
    3. Spring Texan

      Sex work is never going to cease to exist. Many who do it are immigrants or they have mental/physical disorders that make it hard for them to go to a job that demands a good attendance record (so they choose it because you can work when you feel like it).

      Measures to treat immigrants better or to have a UBI could help this not to be people’s best choice, but “not normalizing” it just hurts people.

      Reply
      1. Snake Plissken

        We should all read up on New Zealand’s prostitution laws. I believe that they’re one of the few if only country in the world that actually asked sex workers what they wanted to be a law about their line of work.

        Reply
    4. xkeyscored

      Give us all real, useful jobs and beneficial educations, and cut the commodification of everything crap. In the meantime? Billions in the informal sector around the world are facing no income with no safety net.

      Reply
    5. HotFlash

      I know some very smart, educated, talented, and otherwise ‘not dregs’ people of several genders who make their living providing sexual services on a fee-for-service basis. I reason, if it is legitimate to, say, eat restaurant meals rather than cook at home, why not have sex out? Although I understand that certain cultures differ on even restaurant meals *. A former landlady supported her two children by providing services to a clientele of gentlemen (mostly) who had needs/desires that their spouses could not or would not provide, or for which they were reluctant to ask. I am sure many of us can think of things which are legitimate to want that we would not want the person that we live with to know about or at least would be awkward to ask for.

      One of this lady’s regular clients, a well-to-do businessman from a well-known family, would arrive every Thursday night at 5:30. She would greet him at the door with a fond kiss, wearing an apron (no, no, she was fully clothed under that). She would give him a nice home-cooked dinner and listen attentively to how his day had been. His own pillar-of the community wife was very busy with her church activities (Anglican, of course), symphony auxilliary, IODE meetings, art gallery volunteering, etc. etc.

      * Anecdotes: For instance, you can tell a really good Chinese restaurant by the number of Chinese families eating there. Chinese traditionally celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, with a restaurant meal for the whole family at a big round table. When I asked an Indian friend why I rarely see Indian people in even very good Indian restaurants, he replied, “Why go to a restaurant when the food is so much better at home?” He did admit that unmarried, young Indian men living away from home might sometimes eat in an Indian restaurant, but mostly they would did takeout or learned to cook. But for festivals and celebrations, it’s a big family meal at home.

      Reply
      1. chuck roast

        The Boston Globe reports today that Robert Kraft (Mr. Kraft to you pal!) owner of the Champion New England Patriots just flew the Pats jet to China and came back with a large load of PPE. Way da’ go champs!

        Kraft (Mr. Kraft to you pal!) was popped coming out of a message parlor in North Palm whilst the Pats were preparing for their fabulous 3-28 super bowl victory over the Falcons. He was excoriated in the local press for the job of a hand that was not his own. He has since kept a low-profile. It was his ever-sanctimonious-a$$holery that bothered me, so his absence was a blessing. The boy…sorry…”Mr. Kraft”, did the right thing.

        Reply
      2. newcatty

        Hmmm…I don’t, FWIW, consider myself as a “prude” or “better” than a “sex worker”. The question:” Why not have sex out?” Really…It did not seem your question was sarc. Part of the problem with that belief or rationalization is inherent in the question itself. Marriage is an individual and intimate relationship between the couple. Everybody knows that all relationships have stresses and difficult circumstances. When having “sex out ” is seen as “legitimate” as eating meals out then we have the complicit agreement that if a partner in a relationship has the choice to have sex out as conveniently as going for his or meal out. Separations and divorces are available in most societies. In existing relationships, it is not helpful to make sex as being comparable to going out to a restaurant. And, the tired and tried excuse: but, he is a man! Biology rules. BS. If it’s an open marriage , it’s their business. In relationships that are not, it is infidelity. It’s usually betrayal, lies and corruption of the relationship. The whole let’s be woke and cool aspect of condoning and winking at infidelity is a manifestation of the degradation of society’s moral and caring structure. It is not a stretch to tie this to the fact that porn, sex trafficking of vulnerable, abused, neglected women, girls and boys is all around us. It is also tragic that the “smart” not a “dreg” woman decided to protitute herself to support herself. Since, her “client” is married she is complicit in his infidelity. It does take two to tango.

        Reply
    6. Oregoncharles

      Hmmm – I think sex work is considerably older than neoliberalism.

      Yes, offering ” real jobs and educations with real benefits” would be the right way, and doubtless the most effective, to minimize sex work – to say nothing of the universal benefits. But that does not mean that those who choose sex work should be penalized. That merely maximizes the harm. It’s also an inappropriate political intervention in people’s sexual choices. In a word, cruel. We need less cruelty in our lives.

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “After ignoring warnings, Israeli ultra-Orthodox hit by virus”

    I can understand a lot of people’s frustration in Israel, especially the secular part of the population. Although the ultra-Orthodox are only about 12% of the population, they are currently taking up 60% of the hospital beds simply because of their own reckless behaviour. So that means that the other 88% of the population, if they come down with Coronavirus, will find that there are no beds for them and that some of them will die as a consequence. This will have to have long term consequences this.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The Ultras have a cultural death grip on Israel. They don;t do military service, they get paid to spend their days at Yeshivas. Lots of reasons. But that “frustration” has simply not resulted in any significant reaction or compelled them to abandon their “tradition.” Like a lot of things not just in Israel, people with privilege are not about to relinquish it.

      Reply
      1. John k

        The 7/8 could stop it in a heartbeat if they chose. If they see it as life threatening they might so choose.
        Army going to get sick helping them… run out of beds, vents… doctors nurses get sick treating this non productive minority…

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The alliance between the “normal looking” right wing and the funny hat right wing is alive and well. The Orthodox behavior is tolerated because they are part of the tourist image. Quaint instead of the obvious settler colonial construct.

          Reply
    2. rd

      Segments of the ultra religious around the world have played a major role in the pandemic.

      Half of the cases in South Korea were tied to one church.

      Spread in some US states is being helped by some churches still holding services (many churches are very responsible about this, some are not)

      And Israel is clearly having its issues.

      Reply
    3. ewmayer

      I love the shameless hypocrisy of ignoring modern science and medicine when it comes to pandemic protection, but eager embrace of it by way of filling up hospitals when said ignoring ends up having predictable consequences. I say turn ’em away and tell ’em, “you consider yourselves God’s uniquely chosen, let Him cure you.”

      Reply
  11. fresno dan

    COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing through May 2020, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. National peak resource use is projected as April 15:

    It is wise to prepare for the worse and hope for the best.
    There does seem to me to be an emphasis on the higher projections. The potential is serious and demands attention. And I can understand that some would view reporting of the lesser number of possible fatalities as providing excuses to those who want less precautionary actions. (I don’t think emphasising the higher estimate is anti Trump bias as much as MSM proclivity to be seen as advancing public health, as well as the media’s need to drum up drama)
    If one looks at the death projections, the lower bound is for a total of 40K.
    The CDC estimates the number of flu deaths per year
    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

    It is possible (I am NOT saying it is probable) that there could be fewer corona virus fatalities than influenza deaths from past flu seasons. The low rate of corona fatalities, if it were to occur, would be assuredly due to the precautionary actions taken, but I would bet donuts to dollars that there will be those that would say that Trump predicted that corona virus was just another flu and all our problems are due to the bad, bad media….

    Reply
    1. TroyIA

      I have been following the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and their estimate of an early June end to the epidemic. What I can’t find is what the plan will be after that. Do we continue to practice social distancing and rolling shelter in place orders? How long do they estimate that will last? This virus is all over the world so do we keep foreigners out indefinitely?

      Since the fight against covid-19 is likened to a war what will be the definition of victory?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        You think that we are doing it tough with social distancing at the moment? Then pity poor Panama. Officials in Panama have decreed that women can only leave their homes to get necessities on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays while men can go outside for the same on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Everyone must remain at home on Sundays. Panama also has had a curfew, preventing residents from leaving their homes between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and with the new rule, it will begin even earlier, at 5 p.m. This is social distancing with a vengeance. I don’t know what the young guys are supposed to do over there under this setup except to tie it in a knot-

        https://www.businessinsider.com.au/panama-gives-women-men-different-coronavirus-lockdown-days-2020-4?r=US&IR=T

        Reply
        1. MLTPB

          Tough is relative.

          Some cultures are more verbal or expressive, perhaps.

          Others follow their superiors more readily.

          Reply
      2. Monty

        These projections seem very optimistic to me, I hope they are right!

        They answer your question in the FAQ. Since a vaccine is unlikely, and Keystone Kops at cdc.gov will be running the show, expect many smaller outbreaks and lock-downs whilst the other 97% of the population move to the resolved column.

        Why do your estimates only go until July? Does that mean the outbreak will be over then?

        Our model says that social distancing will likely lead to the end of the first wave of the epidemic by early June. The question of whether there will be a second wave of the epidemic will depend on what we do to avoid reintroducing COVID-19 into the population. By end the of the first wave of the epidemic, an estimated 97% of the population of the United States will still be susceptible to the disease, so avoiding reintroduction of COVID-19 through mass screening, contact tracing, and quarantine will be essential to avoid a second wave.

        http://www.healthdata.org/covid/faqs

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          We are the experts who brought you the insanely expensive, 47th best “healthcare” system on the planet and we approved this message.

          Reply
    2. D. Fuller

      I am always laughing – more of in a grim manner – when I enter a big box grocery store or Wal-Mart, both of which I tried to avoid like the plague.

      6′ of social distancing requires 12′ of aisle width. Lidl and Aldi’s comes close to where I am at.

      Checkout lanes. No way to maintain 6′ of distance between you and the cashier. Then…

      Debit card machines. Lots of people touching them, they are plastic, and viruses should love those plastic surfaces. No cashier I have spoken to knows how to override the chip reader to enable swipe-only credit processing.

      And yet, the speakers blare “Social distancing is…”. Pure idiocy.

      The nursing home here in Eastern PA that tried to conceal one Covid-19 case, now has over 12 Covid-19 cases since last week. I just gave a CNA a 3M P100 mask to take to work with her since. While they are providing N95 masks for staff working directly with infected patients while shuffling those infected patients to rooms. Only to move uninfected patients out of those rooms and into the old rooms of the infected. I understand that decontamination of the rooms of the infected patients is… well… lacking.

      Reply
      1. John A

        Most stores in France now have lines taped to the floor showing the distance to stay apart. Many have signs in door saying ‘only 1 or sometimes 2 persons in store at any one time, please’. People diligently queue outside at prescribed distance. The supermarket has a bottle of hand sanitiser for you to use on yourself and your basket/trolley. They limit the number of poeple in store at any one time, one out, one in. If you use a card, the cashier sprays the keypad before you enter your code. The cashiers also have perspex screens up.
        I met a friend in the street the other day, he immediately went to shake my hand and then we both throught again, withdrew our arms and laughed. This time last year we would have kissed each other 3 times on the cheek. Admittedly I live in a village on the coast, but people here are taking social distancing seriously.

        Reply
        1. D. Fuller

          Local Staples is allowing 10 people in the store at a time. I was the only customer in there, two days ago.

          Local big box grocery store, a subsidiary of course, has the tape.

          And the keypads are not sprayed. With wipes, what is the time on being effective? 10 minutes? Given the narrowness of the aisles in just about every store in America, there is no way to effectively maintain a 6′ difference and tape on a floor is not going to negate that. Especially as that makes lines longer and customers have to pass through those lines while shopping.

          Walmart is now funneling people through one door, in-and-out. Which brings people closer together. They are doing great business, lots of people with no limation on people inside (at least where I am at), even more than usual.

          It’s a PR stunt to show that the stores are doing something – except for the limation of numbers allowed inside which is common sense. I wouldn’t doubt that lawyers have reviewed the situation in regards to legal liability.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Strangely enough, our little half-horse town got on the ball early and instituted mandatory distancing and occupancy limits at public groceries, etc. three weeks ago. Now the State is mandating the same as of this evening. The local WalMart had the six foot apart tape lines outside the single entrance, and running down the front of the building for a good fifty yards. When I was waiting at the front of the queue, I asked the door ‘minder,’ a big husky young man, about what happens when it rains. He laughed and replied, “Then everyone gets wet!” Even I had to laugh at that display of Ironic Pragmatism. Inside, a team of workers was spraying down and wiping off the grocery carts as they were returned to the entrance. The usually once an hour parking lot cart collections were now continuous and I was told that the carts were being used to meter the flow of people in and out of the building.
            Still, little mask or glove use yet, I being often a lone outrider of the coming storm. Local liquor stores are classified as “essential businesses” and kept open. The South knows all about the uses of calmative agents to diffuse social tensions. (The number of cannabis users around here would astound you.)
            Local stores began limiting sales per customer of “essential products” back when the local authority imposed the Pandemic Rules. Only two packs of toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant products, even bottled water allowed per customer.

            Reply
            1. michael99

              Yes, and staff wipes down shopping cart handles with disinfectant before giving them to each customer as they go in. They are also disinfecting the card payment machines.

              Reply
              1. rtah100

                UK supermarkets have largely lifted their shopping restrictions in store. Online ordering for delivery still restricted, to reduce delivery sizes and thus increase delivery slots.

                Flour and yeast are in short supply. None came in our order. Butter is limited. We ventured to a shop (a shop!) for the first time in weeks and took the car out to a local watermill-cum-bakery to buy their stone-ground flour and live yeast and butter. It was a useful trip, to make sure car battery did not go flat and to check what’s happening in the centre of town: too many people! only three in masks, one an Asian lady in a surgical mask and a young couple in cycling masks. A big crowd of homeless drunks drinking on the main street :-( It had the added benefit that the way home was past the sea so we took the kids for a long walk on the (surprisingly empty) beach.

                Tomorrow, back to the bread oven!

                Reply
      2. HotFlash

        6′ of social distancing requires 12′ of aisle width.

        Not necessarily. My local FreshCo has changed their aisles to one-way, the folks were taping red directional arrows on the floors ystrday. They have two portable hand-wash sinks, a fountain arrangement with a big round bowl and soap dispensers, at the entrance and exit along with a sign urging “Wash your hands every 15 minutes”. Payments by card are ‘preferred’. Security guards at busy businesses (chain groc stores, liquor store) are metering customers allowed in and marshalling lines outside to 2M. Liquor store is batching customers, once that batch has cleared staff wipes down their registers and counters before next batch is allowed in. Small stores are limiting customers inside, most have taped 2M lines for checkout, many have plexiglass barriers betw customer and staff at the cash.

        Only about 1/2 of customers and maybe 1/8 of store staff wearing gloves or masks of any sort. Mixed bag re who does or doesn’t. Quick observation, stores w/best protection are owner-operated or have strong unions.

        Reply
        1. Retaj

          I would like to see arrows established at my local Publix as well. I have to do a dance to stay away from people browsing in the narrow aisles.

          There is a sign on carts outside which says to use carts inside which workers are sanitizing.

          I noticed that their IT department has finally deployed contactless payments on their card readers which will allow me to reduce potential exposure.

          Reply
        2. D. Fuller

          One-way aisles have not been introduced in my local area. Metering people in and out is not happening here except at Staples.

          The use of bank notes, credit and debit cards; presents a low risk for transmission. That would depend on cleanliness; the presence of a person to contaminate the surface through coughing, sneezing, etc.

          While some businesses such as Freshco are taking measures, Staples is the only store to restrict number of customers in my area. They don’t have a security guard to enforce that rule though most people will respect it.

          Other than Staples? No one way aisles, customers in close contact, no wipes in between use of hand carts and debit machines – most disinfectants take time to work (10 minutes).

          Please note that as of a few days ago, the State of Pennsylvania’s “Covid hotline” was being redirected to the State Economic Development Board instead of State health agency. Which indicates what the true concern is of Governor Tom Wolf(D) and the legislature.

          Reply
      3. rd

        Self-checkout lines are a good solution. The stores I go to near me (about once per week now) have the person in charge of the self-checkout area spraying every self-checkout and wiping it down with disposable paper toweling in between customers.

        In general, people have been good about staying out side of each others way. If somebody is in the aisle, people tend to avoid it if they have to go past.

        Reply
        1. lordkoos

          I was shopping the other day and used the self-checkout. Something I scanned flagged the young attendant so he comes over and stands right next to me. I politely but emphatically told him he was too close and to back off, which he did, but I could tell from his expression he wasn’t taking the whole thing seriously. Made me pretty angry.

          Reply
          1. periol

            I’ve had similar experiences, and have fully given up on assuming others care about this. Had a transaction at self-checkout the other day where the computer failed to find three different items. Once the person started coming over, I moved far away from the register until they left. It’s the only way.

            Mask, gloves, sunglasses, and a stick or key for the pinpad. (As far as my safety is concerned the eyes are a possible viral entry point.) Clothes that are easy to shed before I step in the house and shower.

            Reply
      4. ewmayer

        “6′ of social distancing requires 12′ of aisle width.” — No, it doesn’t. 7-8′ is enough if people passing each other stick to opposite sides of the aisle.

        Reply
    3. Kael

      IHME COVID-19 Projections:

      They do a sparse explanation of their model (in the appendix), but don’t publish the code. Also seems to not be on the preprint server anymore and only on their web page. Many have glomed on to this work, but AFAICT it’s just a set of pretty (awful) pictures. Especially the tails; come on.

      Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      From Nature today:

      Abstract:

      We identified seasonal human coronaviruses, influenza viruses and rhinoviruses in exhaled breath and coughs of children and adults with acute respiratory illness. Surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like”

    And this is what real Coronavirus leadership does not look like. ‘Georgia’s governor claims he didn’t know asymptomatic people could spread the coronavirus ‘until the last 24 hours.’ Doctors have been warning about it for months.’

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/georgia-gov-says-he-just-learned-about-asymptomatic-spread-coronavirus-2020-4

    Obviously then Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is not a reader of Naked Capitalism.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Well I read a link here a couple of weeks ago that said asymptomatic spread is not a thing. And it’s still unclear just how infectious asymptomatic people are since “viral load” seems to be a factor in whether you will be infected or not. Your immune system can handle tiny amounts of exposure.

      So let’s not get on our high horse about who knew what when. The key word describing this disease is “novel.” Nobody seems to know anything with absolute certainty and that’s making the disaster worse. It’s also the rationale for universal lockdowns and the possible mask requirement which will block virus exhalations from those who may not even know they carry the disease.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Seriously? Not asymptomatic? Did the WHO say that? Because anybody dealing with it knew better. Hey, I’m just a jaggoff commenter and I knew damned well that Coronavirus was asymptomatic several weeks ago and that this is what it gave such an ability to spread so fast. It has a greater reach than the six degrees of Kevin Bacon and that is why Asian nations went full fave masks and got on top of this beast. And it is only now, two months (!!!!) after getting a heads up on how quickly it spreads, that we start to say, duh, maybe we should start to wear masks now. Here, try this brief 7 minute video explaining it-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkN8yCWSGus

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          I didn’t say not asymptomatic. Please read carefully. I said asymptomatic transmission and that is still under some debate. And even if there is such a thing from, say, a family member to whom you are exposed constantly you are still in far more danger from people who do have active symptoms.

          We need to be careful about this because talking up how infectious the disease is without precise information will just feed public fear about being around other people, going to stores, carrying on with the necessary functions of life.

          Reply
          1. Monty

            What do you make of this study?

            Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)

            Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections ([46%–62%]), yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.

            These undocumented infections often experience mild, limited or no symptoms and hence go unrecognized, and, depending on their contagiousness and numbers, can expose a far greater portion of the population to virus than would otherwise occur.

            Reply
            1. Susan the other

              There’s this too – China revised it’s symptoms to include diarrhea in 50% of the cases (previously they said only 7%). From those 50% some 80% go on to get a cough and worse – but there is approximately 10% that do not progress to the respiratory illness. So that raises another question because that’s a lot of people that were previously not accounted for – Can you be a carrier for the respiratory infection if you only suffered the stomach flu? That virus is in your entire system either way. I’m pretty sure both Bill and I had Corona flu – worst intestinal flu I ever had – and it lasted almost 2 weeks; he was a week behind me so I’m assuming I picked it up at the post office or the grocery store. I came down with it the last week of the Sundance Film Festival – there was a cohort here of people from China as usual, as well as all sorts of hitchhikers of the universe. I still wear my face scarf because for all I know I’ve got some residual infection going on that takes time to eliminate.

              Reply
              1. Monty

                Actually super easy, barely an inconvenience!

                I think it’s a mathematical model, with the parameters tweaked to best explain the facts that were seen in the real world.

                Reply
                  1. HotFlash

                    When you know what the result should be, it is easy to fit the data. Eg, ‘adjusted’ exit polls.

                    Bless you, Sister Evangela, for teaching us back in high school chemistry how to fudge experiment results, came in really handy in university.

                    Reply
      2. xkeyscored

        Any article, linked to here or elsewhere, “that said asymptomatic spread is not a thing” is wrong, or at the very least making a claim not yet proven right or generally agreed, or even with much evidence to suggest it might be true.
        Asymptomatic spread looks likely, and most certainly hasn’t been ruled out. Though it does definitely look like those with more and worse symptoms are more likely to be more infectious, putting health workers and care givers at higher risk, those without may be ‘under the radar,’ taking fewer precautions and spreading it unwittingly to the unsuspecting.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          I remember that article, too, though it was the only one. I think it went back and forth a bit in the beginning; the consensus now is that asymptomatic transmission is important, but it took a while to form.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            We don’t need to know that asymptomatic transmission is important, though the more knowledge the better. The fact that it may be important should be enough to take it seriously until we know for sure it isn’t.

            Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      To be contrarian, pretty much NO governor (D or R) did a good job.

      as contact tracing at the state level appears woefully inadequate (in my opinion, especially when compares to places like Korea.

      And incompetence at the federal level does not excuse incompetence at the state level.

      For the record, inslee downplayed covid when it appeared in Washington

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/21/china-coronavirus-outbreak-cdc-first-us-case-washington-state/4532063002/

      Reply
      1. J.K.

        I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment on devastatingly anemic response from the dems. I agree the states should themselves should have done more to mobilize earlier. But the states could not engage in any widespread testing on their own. And that seems to be one of the biggest issues. The states were waiting on the federal government for the tests ( cdc). I dont even think the states could have legally ignored the federal government and built its own tests. Without having the ability to have widespread testing the states were handicapped.
        In other parts of the world where they have strong healthcare systems, people are much more likely likely to go the hospital for the flu. And most of these nations have a robust tracking system for monitoring flu like outbreaks. So when these numbers started to go up in hospitals the relevant authorities had a better chance of recognizing a potential problem and mobilizing quickly in the area affected and to contain a potential unknown outbreak. In the u.s far too many people cant afford to go to the hospital even when they have severe flu symptoms. And apparently our systems for tracking and monitoring flu like symptoms is a joke compared to other nations.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          We still haven’t heard the name of the company that provided the faulty reagent to the CDC for their tests. The one that caused all the tests for the first three weeks to be wrong. Will we ever?

          Reply
  13. marcyincny

    The Coronavirus Class War Has Already Started The Nation

    When I read that earlier this week I was sorry to see he hadn’t included the one celebrity twitter feed I follow. I’ve found it (Sam Neill) comforting the past couple of weeks: https://twitter.com/twopaddocks

    Reply
  14. fresno dan

    Not indicative of anything, other than being tired of writing about coronavirus, I saw a Harold Lloyd movie last night – Safely Last – with the iconic scene where he hangs from a clock face – it is the first time I saw the whole actual movie. I have read so much and seen movie documentaries about that scene that are contradictory – some say he was never more than 2 stories about ground, some say he really was 12 stories up. Being so afraid of heights myself, I could scarcely look at parts of the movie – it was scary, thrilling, and awsome! The movie commentary actually explained what happened. They built fake facades on the TOP of other buildings, so that Lloyd was never more than 3 stories (which is much higher than I would want to be) above the ROOF of the building the facade was built on, but was 12 or more stories up from street level (CDC fact: 50% of people who fall off a 1 story roof die). They had mattresses under him on the roof, and they brought a dummy of his size and weight and threw it off to test the mattresses I guess – the dummy bounced off the mattresses and plummeted nine stories to its death (well, I guess the dummy was never alive, so it couldn’t die). The commentators didn’t address if they built a fence around the mattresses…

    Reply
  15. Louis Fyne

    For family blogs sake……no one pro-mask is saying that masks are magic bullets, worst case scenario: a (basic, non-hospital grade) mask lowers the chance one infects someone like a cashier. Best case, wearer is (somewhat) protected from the infected.

    For all the pearl clutching about masks, the real issue about creatimg risk is hand sanitizer! People don’t use enough and for too short of a time. (In my opinion)

    And hand sanitizer should only be an option when there is no access to soap and water

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I use 70% alcohol, when hand washing with soap and water is not an option. It feels like I’m washing my hands with snot when I use hand sanitizer.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      ……no one pro-mask is saying that masks are magic bullets….

      “Funny” isn’t it, how that handy old saw “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” is conspicuous in its absence in this situation.

      Reply
    3. HotFlash

      Risk calculation: an event that has a chance of being 95% catastrophic but only a 5% chance of happening is equal to an event that is 5% catastrophic but 95% likely to occur.

      A mask is a tiny, tiny inconvenience compared to drowning in your own decomposing lungs, however unlikely you think it, and with the extent of our ‘knowledge’ of how it is transmitted, we *just don’t know*. Most of the conclusions WRT masks is that they are more likely to prevent the spread than protect the wearer, it probably can’t hurt. I wear a mask in public to show my respect for *other* peoples lives, and to set an example so they might mask-up and respect mine. Besides, I always wanted to be a ninja.

      Reply
    4. J.K.

      There are studies that show that mask are actually more effective that constant use of hand sanitizers.
      Here is screen grab of a study from someones twitter account.
      Im certainly not downplaying proper hygiene. it is beginning to look like the use of wide spread use of masks has helped immensely is Asia.
      https://mobile.twitter.com/DrSidMukherjee/status/1243565999439347713

      A more definitive study reinforcing importance of widespread use of masks.
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2

      Reply
  16. Lee

    File under Yikes!

    «The real death toll for Covid-19 is at least 4 times the official numbers» Corriere Della Sera

    Two men, a mayor and a medical administrator crunched some numbers in certain localities. They noticed that total numbers of current deaths were considerably higher than the before Covid-19 but that only some of them were officially attributed to the disease. An obvious inference is that there are more Covid-19 deaths than are being counted as such. Their conclusion:

    Our suggestion, therefore, is to take the data of the individual municipalities where there have been at least 10 official deaths due to Covid-19 and check if it corresponds to real deaths. Our fear is that not only the number of infected people have been largely underestimated due to the low number of swabs and tests carried out, and therefore the number of asymptomatics from the statistics have «disappeared», but that the case is also – through the data of the Municipalities – that of the dead. We are in the midst of an epoch-making event and to fight it we need credible data on the reality of the situation, disclosed transparently among all the experts and people who have to manage the crisis responsibly. Based on these data we can understand and decide what is right to do when it is required.

    Claudio Cancelli is the Mayor of Nembro
    Luca Foresti is the CEO of Centro Medico Santagostino

    Reply
    1. skk

      I’ve been looking for something like this – From above link ( translated ):

      in the period January – March. Nembro should have had – under normal conditions – about 35 deaths. 158 people were registered dead this year by the municipal offices. That is 123 more than the average.

      In the process of building a log-linear # of deaths in US model I looked quite extensively for exact definitions of deaths and confirmed cases in the John Hopkins Corona virus DB. This of course matters. I couldn’t find any.. Without that, another path for more certainty was the one you’ve mentioned: that is

      “Are there (statistically signficantly) more deaths in this CV period ( say March for the US ) than a ‘normal’ year ? ” is an essential starting point. Now we can and should argue over what normal is but there are statistical methods for this that work for me. But I can’t find historical ( 2019, 2018.. ) daily death counts for the US. I’ve heard mentioned that weekly counts exist so I will chase that down.

      Until your report I hadn’t seen any news reports of official govt studies on this matter. So its good to see.
      Separately, moving from this year on year comparison to “does coronavirus cause/account for this difference ?” is still a careful task – one needs to start with David Hume’s “Causation and the Problem of Induction”.

      On the problem “how many deaths compared to other periods”, Yves Smith’s recent comment about obit notices in a North Italian newspaper recently compared to the number of obit notices in January definitely struck me.

      Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      How sewage could reveal true scale of coronavirus outbreak
      – Wastewater testing could also be used as an early-warning sign if the virus returns.
      https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00973-x

      “More than a dozen research groups worldwide have started analysing wastewater for the new coronavirus as a way to estimate the total number of infections in a community, given that most people will not be tested. The method could also be used to detect the coronavirus if it returns to communities, say scientists. So far, researchers have found traces of the virus in the Netherlands, the United States and Sweden.

      But to quantify the scale of infection in a population from wastewater samples, researchers say the groups will need to find out how much viral RNA is excreted in faeces, and extrapolate the number of infected people in a population from concentrations of viral RNA in wastewater samples.

      Wastewater monitoring has been used for decades to assess the success of vaccination campaigns against poliovirus, says Charles Gerba, an environmental microbiologist at The University of Arizona in Tucson. The approach could also be used to measure the effectiveness of interventions such as social distancing, says Gerba, who has found traces of SARS-CoV-2 in raw sewage in Tucson.”

      Reply
  17. JTMcPhee

    To go with the rest of the frightening news and in connection with policy, it appears that ventilators are not much use for most seriously affected CV patients. Once you are put on a vent, your chances of recovery are pretty small.

    Although at the time I wrote this over 33,000 people had died from COVID 19 infections worldwide, the numbers of patients dying in intensive care units and on mechanical ventilation is unknown.

    We have some early published data on percentages which vary widely. A paper from China involved 710 Covid-19 patients; 52 were admitted to an ICU. Of the 22 who eventually required mechanical ventilation, 19 (86%) died. Another early study reported 31 of 32 (97%) mechanically ventilated patients died.

    Medical ventilators awaiting use
    I posed the following question on Twitter: “What is the mortality rate for [COVID-19] patients who require mechanical ventilation?” and received answers ranging from 25% to 70% from people who have personal knowledge of outcomes in their hospitals.

    Probably the best published information we have so far is from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center (ICNARC) in the UK. Of 165 patients admitted to ICUs, 79 (48%) died. Of the 98 patients who received advanced respiratory support—defined as invasive ventilation, BPAP or CPAP via endotracheal tube, or tracheostomy, or extracorporeal respiratory support—66% died.

    Compare that to the 36% mortality rate of non-COVID patients receiving advanced respiratory support reported to ICNARC from 2017 to 2019.

    An article in The Guardian said this about the ICNARC study, “The high death rate raises questions about how effective critical care will be in saving the lives of people struck down by the disease.”

    We know nothing about the survival rate of COVID-19 patients who have undergone cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

    Why do we need to know the mortality rate of patients who are on mechanical ventilation or suffer cardiac arrest?

    If the number of critically ill patients exceeds the current supply of intensive care beds and ventilators as occurred in Italy, it would help intensivists to triage. And if CPR is ineffective in these patients, we should not be subjecting caregivers to the risks involved in resuscitation.

    The possible need for ventilator triage is no longer theoretical, and the ethical issues are being discussed by hospital committees and others. For an in-depth look at the problem, I recommend this article from Undark, a non-profit digital magazine. If we run out of ventilators, “American medical teams, too, will soon face the hardest possible decisions over who lives, and who dies, when not everyone can be treated.” https://www.physiciansweekly.com/mortality-rate-of-covid-19-patients-on-ventilators/

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Probably the best published information we have so far is from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center (ICNARC) in the UK. Of 165 patients admitted to ICUs, 79 (48%) died. Of the 98 patients who received advanced respiratory support—defined as invasive ventilation, BPAP or CPAP via endotracheal tube, or tracheostomy, or extracorporeal respiratory support—66% died.

      So that’s 34 percent who didn’t die which is bad but more than “pretty small.” But surely you are right that too much emphasis is being placed on ventilators or the lack thereof. Plus Larry Johnson in SST has said that you need not just the ventilators but also the ICUs and the trained personnel.

      Reply
    2. MT_Bill

      In a press conference 2 days ago Andrew Coumo stated that only 20% of patients put on ventilators in NYC were recovering.

      Seems like our preliminary numbers line up

      Still curious why the German numbers are so much better overall. My sister in law, who lives in Germany but works in France as a doctor, says it’s just a time lag.

      We’ll see. If they have better treatment regimens, let’s hope they are widely published.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        I can’t figure out what the heck that linked article was trying to say. It was like “Ventilators don’t seem to make any difference…omg we better be prepared to triage patients when we run out of them!”

        ?????

        I read it twice, but still may be missing something. I hope so.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          It’s a little complex but you have the gist. The narrative has concentrated on the availability of ventilators as a big deal, and the lack of huge numbers of ventilators (profit centers for a few corporations who have contributed to scaricity) as a BIG DEAL. The developing clinical picture seems to show that vents may help at the margins, but even with vent treatment, 80 or more percent of CV patients getting to the critical stage are not going to survive. (One item that is going to get more attention as this progresses is what kinds of morbidity survivors even with vent treatment are going to display. I’m guessing that is going to be another ugly picture, it already is for vent patients before coronavirus.)

          Medical professionals are going to have to treat the growing flood of sick and dying as best they can, out of personal commitment to caring but also out of liability concerns. Lawyers look for situations where medical professionals have not “met the community standards of care.” If there’s even a 14 percent chance of a non-mortal outcome, and of course if a ventilator is available, the doc is best advised to go ahead, intubate and do the best they can trying to manage the changing state of the patient’s living function.

          Vents have got a whole lot of variables, like O2 concentration flow, supplied pressure with inspiration and expiration, sensing of inspiration demand and resistance and more. Here’s the “pocket version,” https://pocketicu.com/index.php/2017/02/24/mechanical-ventilation/ As lung tissue degrades and O2 transfer is compromised, these settings need to be varied, and that requires a depth of understanding. Caring for th intubate patient without either getting sick yourself (a real risk, especially absent proper PPE — and doctors and nurses are being fired for complaining about that, for God’s sake — is very intensive. Not attending to cleanliness (hard, in this sputum-heavy, very overworked, high-adrenaline and burnout-generating setting) can lead to infections by other organisms, among other problems.

          We’ve got to applaud the efforts of docs and McGyvering med staff to try and have one vent serve multiple patients via some octopus hookup, and in the absence of lots of ventilators, that may be the best that can be done in that situation. But even with the best of care and sufficient vents and clinical staff to monitor the patient and manage the vent, it looks like Covid-19 is so nasty for the most susceptible people (apparently a relatively small fraction all cases) that maybe 70 or 80 percent of ventIlated Covid-19 patients die, despite the best possible efforts.

          I haven’t come across anything yet that gives clinicians any good indication of who is not likely to survive, so the pressure will be to intubate and ventilate everyone possible. When there are not enough vents and the staff to supervise them to go around, triage is going to be inevitable — some people will only get some supportive care if staff is available, some are going to “just die.” And a lot of people, looks like millions worldwide, are going to just die because they lost the genetic or lifestyle-mediated susceptibility lottery, and by bad luck or personal stupidity get exposed and develop the disease, and are maybe in a combination of a living in a location where med resources are simply overwhelmed or inadequate or non-existent to begin with, and where insurance company Or conglomerated hospital owner death panels give them the thumbs down because they either don’t have “coverage” or some functionary arbitrarily or under the insurance contract terms,

          I think you are reading that right: Vents “save” only a fraction of patients, though they can prolong the lives of some, and when they med professionals run out of vents, as they get close to that point, they are in fact going to have to apply some kind of triage protocols to try for the best outcomes.

          There’s so much to be outraged and terrified of in this situation, not the least that the rich sh!ts who have offshored “made efficient” and “austeritized” whole national structures and demolished resilience by externalizing it are able to jump the line and get vents and quality medical care before “lesser breeds.” There’s little satisfaction that the mortality numbers appear to apply pretty uniformly across the class spectrum, including for people who do get the vent treatment.

          Reply
    3. ewmayer

      I’d like to further see those numbers broken down by age – if it proves that younger people have better odds of recovery with ventilator assistance, that is a crucial triage consideration.

      Reply
    4. Susan the other

      On one of the news shows last nite (PBS Newshour or Democracy Now) they showed an emergency ward in which the critical patients were turned over on their stomachs for a while – an old method for clearing the lungs.

      Reply
    5. Carla

      Something else: if you survive mechanical ventilation for Covid-19, chances are high you will have suffered significant and irreversible cognitive decline:
      https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-019-2546-y

      I have directed my Healthcare Power of Attorney: do NOT allow me to be put on a mechanical ventilator; if supplemental oxygen is not enough to keep me alive, just let me go. I have informed other family members as well.

      Reply
  18. xkeyscored

    Coronavirus Is Rising Around US Military, Defense Infrastructure, Analysis Shows Defense One

    It looks increasingly like the US military won’t be up for many invasions any time soon.

    The area includes many bases that house troops and weapons that would be essential in wars against Russia and China — preparations for which are prioritized by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. So are warplane and missile assembly lines and the coastal shipyards and ports that transport weapons to forces overseas.

    “When you think of things like training forces and conducting maintenance and deployment functions and things like that, if everyone is consumed with the virus and falls in the infected category or is out of completely out of commission not just teleworking, then [there’s a] major readiness impact there,” Dougherty said.

    Reply
      1. Olga

        $700 billion…?!
        Try multi-trillions of $$ spent just in the last 20 years.
        So this virus has a silver lining?

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          Besides, while the pilots may be based in the Fatherland, the drones themselves often live in Asia and Africa, and need teams on the ground for maintenance, repair, refuelling, re-arming and wotnot. Teams who need resupplying. And protecting from infection. And …

          Plus, on a related note, many NATO countries are calling for the organisation to help in the COVID-19 response, and apparently ignoring US pleas for a war on wherever.

          Reply
  19. Tomonthebeach

    Masks for Everybody? Is it Friday the 13th Part IXIXIX?

    This is elitist public health. Not only is there no science or medical consensus on such a policy, it is unworkable! I don’t suppose the Trumps shop at regular stores – including drug stores and home improvement stores. Otherwise, they would know that they have been out of all masks – even Holloween for weeks. Bandanas? We do not all live in Texas. So, whatchagonna do when you need groceries? Nobody has a clue.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The make your own mask site said that even a scarf over your mouth offers some protection against inhaling virus and probably a lot more protection when it comes to the real reason for the masks–exhaling the virus. Of course scoffers such as yourself will resist the undignified if not downright comical wearing of a mask in public but in the much touted South Korea this is what people are doing. Korea is also letting stores stay open and not making people stay in the houses. The mask idea is a plan B to allow economic activity to continue.

      Reply
      1. Marieann

        I made my first mask this week…for my husband on his thrice daily walks.I used a tightly woven cotton as a lining and a tee shirt knit as the outer fabric. I added a pipe cleaner to help it cling at the bridge of the nose. He says it is a good tight fit. The elastic goes around the back of the head.

        Reply
      2. CRAdams

        Flexibility is key, Tom. All you need to make a mask from a t shirt is scissors; no needle and thread needed( youtube video shared above). Perhaps protecting other people can be your motivator, or at least reassuring the poor checker that you are less of a threat to her/his health than the unmasked. The other nice thing about wearing a mask is that if you are for some reason embarrassed to wear one, it’s a mask! Nobody can identify who you are! Most people I know in my shelter in place community are shopping every 2-3 weeks, minimizing their trips and being careful to follow the rule about the 6 foot social distancing, masked or not.

        Reply
    2. edmondo

      They should have told us that unicorn spit cures coronavirus. You have as much chance finding one of those as finding a face mask after the last two months. Maybe the medical personnel at our teaching hospital might supply me with a few right after they take off their Hefty trash bags they are using to protect themselves from the virus. America is a slum.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Depends what you mean by “face mask” – N95 respirators, def. in short supply, those should be reserved fro front-line medical staff and those diagnosed with the virus, if for some reason they must venture outside the house. Earloop masks, OTOH, I just ordered some from Evil-Ecomerce-Behemoth-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named, though I had to do some digging to find ones with a non-egregiously-far-out estimated ship date.

        Reply
    3. td

      What is trending widely on the web is the making of homemade masks, largely from cotton. There are many designs on line, and a good cotton mask appears to be about 70% as effective as a purpose-built one and can be better still if carefully made.

      Many of the masks you see Asian people wearing are of the simple and inexpensive variety.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        I plan to wear a N-95 mask, with a shop rag over that bandana style .. as I don a beard .. in future shopping/foraging excursions. Perhaps, as an example, a random stamping of skull-n-crossbones on the outer ‘mask’ .. to induce extra spacing for triple protection ..

        We have enough shop rags (tight-weave cotton blend??), that several kinds of patterns could be, um … executed. I tend towards the humorously macabre …

        Reply
    4. HotFlash

      Pul-ease!!! Once again, easiest home-made mask ever, from a t-shirt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai1dvrMBLaQ Many of us non-elites own a Tshirt, even several. Takes abt 30 seconds to make, Tshirt is not damaged, you just wash it afterwards. Cannot find if laundry soap kills corona virus, but most clothes dryers are hot enough to destroy corona virus or a day or two line-drying should cut it.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I’ve read that soap is effective against viruses because it breaks down their fatty outer layer and that’s why you should always wash your hands with soap.

        Reply
        1. Old Jake

          Most virus have a protein coat, but the coronavirus have a lipid shell which is disrupted by soap or detergent AND WATER (the water is important, just like the water with alcohol, and for the same reason). So yes, hand (and face?) washing is vital, and washing the tee in hot water and detergent solution will definitely do in the coronavirus.

          Now I have to go dye my green hoodie black.

          Reply
      2. Monty

        That’s perfect! I’m going to start wearing one, whilst playing the Miami Connection OST on a bluetooth speaker.

        My first foray will be into the nearest dystopian Walmart. I will let you know how long it takes for armed guards to escort me out!

        Reply
          1. Monty

            Currently in Miami, awaiting a short hop to the Guantanamo resort and spa in Cuba.

            I’m wondering, if I fake some Covid19 symptoms, perhaps they won’t risk taking me.

            Reply
          1. Olga

            And anything else, for that matter. With that on, social distancing will not be a problem. And … one could visit KSA with no issues!

            Reply
        1. ambrit

          Man! That is loud! Gives a potentially new meaning to “head banging music.*”
          *Depends on who is doing the banging.
          Send us a video of the “experiment” and we’ll try to Go Fund You some bail money.

          Reply
  20. The Rev Kev

    “Key Medical Supplies Were Shipped from U.S. Manufacturers to Foreign Buyers, Records Show”

    There is a lot of this beggar-thy-neighbour policies going on at the moment and I don’t know how much international cooperation exist right now. I have read of instances where countries are seizing or gazumping the shipment of medical supplies. As an example, France ordered a shipment of medical supplies and the plane was on the tarmac ready to take off when the US paid a higher offer of cash so that plane took off for the US instead, The French were not happy about that at all-

    https://www.rt.com/news/484723-us-france-face-masks/

    Another one was where China was shipping medical supplies to Italy and the Czech police seized all 680,000 masks and ventilators from a warehouse north of Prague and I never heard if they were sent on to Italy or not-

    https://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/3076346/coronavirus-confusion-chinese-masks-bound-italy-end-czech

    Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          For younger readers, we heard a lot about ‘winning hearts and minds’ from the US during its war on Indochina, at the same time as Agent Orange rained from the sky and massacres like My Lai were carried out on the ground. Vietnamese villagers report that they never knew what to expect from the next bunch of soldiers showing up in their neighbourhood. Would they offer food, water and medical help, as some did? Or go on a berserk killing spree? (Many didn’t stick around to find out.)

          Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      Maybe they were the faulty ones that were rejected by Canadian examiners and returned to China.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      It just happened again but this time with Germany. ‘A delivery of 200,000 masks left a 3M factory in China this week and arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, from where they were supposed to be sent to the German capital. The masks never got to Berlin, and police in the city told Der Tagesspiegel that the shipment was instead bound for the US.’

      That story also mentions it happening to Canada. ‘In Canada last week, Le Journal de Montreal reported that a shipment of masks bound for hospitals in the city was diverted to the US state of Ohio. Shipping firm DHL later attributed this to a “computer error,” but Montreal hospital supplier Fan Zhou claimed his order eventually arrived 10,000 masks short.’

      https://www.rt.com/news/484935-us-takes-masks-germany/

      Reply
  21. The Rev Kev

    “Man Tries to Ram Train Into U.S. Navy Hospital Ship, Doesn’t Even Come Close”

    About those two hospital ships. They look great but both both of them need replacing. They were built before disco died in the 70s as super-tankers and were converted to hospital ships in the mid-80s but in any case, they are about half a century old and getting hard to maintain. In any case, the line of thinking is that they are also too large and smaller ships would do the job better-

    https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/04/01/the-us-navys-hospital-ships-in-the-covid-19-fight-badly-need-replacing/

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      We could always increase the Defense Department budget. They never seem to have enough money to do God’s work.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Just saw this. That hospital ship in New York? ‘Despite being tasked with easing the medical burden of New York City hospitals during the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, the US Navy’s emergency medical ship is reportedly only 2% full with patients.’ That means only 20 patients. What is going on here? It sounds like they are only taking patients that are not Coronavirus related-

        https://sputniknews.com/us/202004031078825039-its-a-joke-only-20-patients-being-treated-aboard-1000-bed-usns-comfort-in-nyc/

        Reply
  22. a different chris

    >Aerosol emission and superemission during human speech increase with voice loudness

    I haven’t read yet, but we’ve all noticed that close talkers also for no known reason also seem to be loud talkers. Which is just great if we all want to die.

    Reply
    1. skk

      re: loud talkers
      Reminds me of the reputed advice to the Victorian Englishman abroad when talking to natives : Speak in English but slowly and LOUDLY.

      Reply
    2. Shonde

      I am hearing impaired. I am told I talk loud. Obviously I can’t hear the volume of my own speech unless I am wearing my hearing aides. If not wearing those aides and sometimes even while wearing my aides, I also have to be close to the person I am speaking to.

      Sorry about that folks. It ‘s our adaptation to compensate for hearing loss. Maybe all hearing impaired need to wear masks?

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Don’t apologize to me! Some of my favorite people fit your description — I do remember a marketing guy (ok, most of them were marketing guys come to think about it) who I liked a lot but always tried to somehow make sure we were going to have a phone, not personal conversation.

        He was like a foot taller than me so that made it even more uncomfortable. Really nice guy, again.

        Reply
  23. NotTimothyGeithner

    I see Senator Kaine has introduced a bill to get those future rebates to 17 year olds. Its really great to see the Senator shut the barn door after most of the barn has burned down.

    Reply
    1. Off The Street

      Old Salesman: Always Be Closing
      New Politician: Always Be Pandering

      Kaine’s Gambit is another move in attempting to pack the voting rolls. Didn’t work for 16 year olds, so why not refine, stare thoughtfully into the middle distance for a decent interval, and then raise to 17?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        When Kaine was governor of Virginia, one of his first actions was to make a deal with the Republicans to eliminate the estate tax. He claimed the GOP made a deal with him to fund a new transit bill, and the GOP went “what deal?”.

        For this and a few other reasons, Kaine is easily the worst of Virginia’s state wide Democrats which includes more than one former black face aficionado and Mark Warner.

        Reply
  24. smoker

    Yves, regarding my comment about Nursing Facilities on yesterdays links, see more backdrop here, regarding firsthand experience I’ve had. It includes with my now deceased parent who was discharged to a skilled rehab/nursing home facility which was sued by the DOJ for elder abuse; the parent of a loved one on the east coast, who was discharged to and then criminally died at such a facility run by the now liquidated Nationwide Beverly Care; and currently a loved one who’s been in two such rehab/nursing home facilities in the last year and is still at threat of being discharged into yet another by the hospital after repeated screwups and negligence. One of the facilities they were discharged into for rehab is owned by an entity that owns fifty or more such facilities across three western states. If I survive the year I (my emotional and physical well being is now shattered as I helplessly witness my loved one being put through so many botch ups) I may take action against those two facilities, so am not willing to provide a link, nor offer any more of the horrid detailed information which may reveal my identity on a site which is read by numerous Californians.

    However, I can provide this link regarding the now nationally known Life Care Center of Kirkland, in Seattle, Washington, where a minimum of 19 died of coronavirus, Life Care Centers of America – Life Care Center of Kirkland , emphasis mine:

    Positioned near Juanita Bay and northeast of Seattle, Washington, Life Care Center of Kirkland is the perfect choice for patients and residents seeking skilled nursing care, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and short-term and long-term care in a premier nursing home. Our team carefully crafts plans tailored to each patient and resident to achieve the maximum possible level of independence restoration using state-of-the-art therapy techniques and equipment such as the Biodex Balance System SD and the VitalStim® therapy system.

    I would not make such things up, the experiences have been utter nightmares I’ll never recover from wholly.

    (My increasingly horrid connection speed does not allow me to nest this comment on yesterday’s link page, due to the amount of comments on it, the page won’t fully open to the point where I can hit the reply button.)

    Reply
  25. Chris Hargens

    Regarding the Payroll Protection Program, it’s not very helpful for tipped employees if it doesn’t include tips as part of the payroll calculation. This is especially the case for employees earning minimum wage or less. I tried to find info regarding this, but to no avail.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There are so many issues at play. The only way for this to work is to Wild West it and get anything back in taxes.

      -business owners who are on month to month. This applies to longer term businesses. At what point, do they consider walking away? What is the stress of trying to restart worth.

      -seasonal problems. How many owners are coming out of this in their duldrums? That’s a whole other issue. Sure, costs were covered, but oh yeah…how many people were expecting to hit these periods with money in the bank or having money to prepare for their seasonal haul?

      -contracted labor. Especially ones that were there for future contracts over the Summer.

      -then there are state and local government vendors. What does that look like as the year progresses?

      -people hitting the employment market.

      -gig workers. Yeah, like they are going to be able to do this.

      -I’m quite bright and have access to my dad who was a corporate attorney with relevant experience, so I can get first class advice by calling the house. Most people can’t. I’m not asking someone who I believe does family law.

      I posted about Tim Kaine signing on to legislation to extend the future tax return money of 1200 to 17 year olds. When you get down to it, the limited understanding of how the economy works is staggering.

      Reply
  26. chuck roast

    Michael Hudson keeps talking about a Debt Jubilee, and that makes a lot of sense to me. But as long as the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States is on the job there is zero chance that this will happen.

    Let’s keep in mind that the Fed is at least an odd a creature as a virus. And like viruses, it’s the Fed’s world. We simply live in it. It’s not a government agency and it’s not a private business. It’s more like a banking co-operative that operates in the interests of it’s constituent members…”the banks.” Here, in a system of advanced rentier-capitalism where, the very raison d’etre of “the Banks” is to rub two nickels together to make a quarter. The Fed will “do whatever it takes.”

    On my trip yesterday I noticed a brand new bank branch; the Webster Bank. Who the hell are they? Where did they come from? I guess that they are just a bunch of guys with money who were chatting on the 5th fairway and figured could they create a good deal more cash for themselves if they created a bank and printed some money. After all, the Fed has made money free, at least for the rich guys. For the rest of us, not so much. Why not incorporate and start a bank…immediate FDIC…ka-ching.

    If you go bust. It’s OK. Like any corporation the Fed exists to pick up the pieces. You know…the SPIVS. The MMFLF, PCDF, PMCCF, SMCCF, TALF blah, blah, blah. You’re lawyer and account will fit you in their somewhere. I could be inconvenient, but really, it’s only a minor annoyance, and the wife and 2.3 kids are safely ensconced in the second house which is owned by an LLC so it’s all good.

    We know that the Fed may be in actual possession of literally all the debt soon. OK fine. Let’s play 18!

    Reply
    1. antidlc

      https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/blab2p

      The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry

      Updated Edition
      By William K. Black

      Now updated with an extensive afterword that reveals how the bank failures of 2008 resulted from the lack of regulatory oversight discussed in this book, here is the acclaimed insider’s account of how financial super predators brought down an industry by massive accounting fraud.

      Reply
  27. Mattski

    Query: Lambert either created or posted a list of the current promising medical efforts at coronavirus vaccines and other meds. Where can I find it? Tried a search, tried looking through recent selections of links. . .

    Can use for our local mutual assistance group. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  28. Pelham

    Re AEI’s Paycheck Protection Program: Sounds more like a program to protect businesses that may or may not keep paychecks going to their employees while keeping those non-essential employees chained to their unnecessary jobs.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the currency issuer (the federal government) to simply and directly guarantee paychecks to employees based on, say, their 2018 tax returns? Maybe at 90% of their pay level. Then we could finally detach people’s livelihoods from the fickle, precarious and cruel nature of the private economy and maybe begin to think again about which jobs are really necessary and valuable and how we could better deploy our workforce to address real needs — such as greening the economy and at long last doing something about repairing infrastructure.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      Sounds good, but just try undoing it and getting people back into wage slavery, after the crisis abates! The Calvinists and Ayn Randians in congress would never allow it to happen.

      Reply
  29. Pelham

    Re face masks: Why is it that a cloth face mask can prevent a Covid-infected wearer from transmitting the disease to others but the same kind of cloth face mask worn by a non-infected wearer won’t protect him?

    It seems the same tiny droplets that would be stopped by cloth on an outbound journey should be stopped by cloth on an inbound journey. Is it a matter of the cloth mask not fitting tightly to the face?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The make your own mask site said that various cloth masks are effective against inhaling viruses but may only be 50 percent effective rather than 95 percent like the n95 mask. Doctors need the more effective mask because they spend a lot of time with sick people in enclosed spaces.

      The main reason masks are now being pushed is to keep those who have the disease from spreading those droplets and getting them all over everything in the store if not 6 feet away you. They probably aren’t 100 percent effective at this task either but certainly far better than no mask.

      Reply
      1. Adam Eran

        I’ve heard the big reason for masks isn’t so much their effectiveness, but the way they prevent people from touching their own face (a primary conduit for spreading the virus). Either way, it looks like wearing a mask is a good idea.

        Reply
    2. rd

      They provide a lot of resistance to air flow and provide filtering. Exhaled air can’t go as far, many droplets get absorbed, and there is some small particle filtering. So the halo of contamination around the wearer is much smaller with less viral load in total to spread to others. The wearer is already sick, so handling the mask won’t make them sicker.

      The unsick wearer is sucking air in, so any small viruses can get through the cloth or gaps in the seal with that inward gradient. Since there is a lot of resistance but you need to inhale just a much air, the air velocity through gaps can be significantly higher than what would normally come into your mouth which can help pull small aerosols in. Also, the mask will absorb viral load on the outside. so handling the mask can contaminate the wearer long after they passed through the cloud of viral particles. Touching the mask and then touching near the eyes can transmit the virus while wearing the mask. As a result, there are multiple pathways for the virus to get past the barricade.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        But once again the point of this new order, if it happens, is to keep that exhaled virus out of the air and therefore off of surfaces that the uninfected might touch. It will apply to everyone because anyone not wearing a mask in a grocery store will be quite conspicuous. We may even start seeing signs saying “no shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service.”

        Hey the opposition keeps criticizing Trump for not being like Korea and this is what Korea does so where’s the objection? It turns out that the “don’t wear a mask” advice from the WHO was mostly to save rare masks for the doctors but these are homemade or improvised nose and mouth coverings so that doesn’t apply. And yes you may get virus on your hands when you take the mask off so therefore you should then wash your hands. For the same reason you should change and wash your clothes if you’ve been in a crowded store.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > halo of contamination

        That’s a good metaphor (though it implies viral emission is equally concentrated, 360° around each person, which I don’t think can be true.

        I would imagine it’s more like a comet’s trail — I’m walking, and (heaven forfend) I sneeze. The sneeze goes forward, but I am walking forward and through it, and soon all the particles are trailing behind me.

        Reply
    3. Mel

      The physics is quite interesting. Richard Feynman covered it in one of his little books (not the Lectures) but I can’t find it to cite. TLDR: suction and blowing are not opposites — they are completely different things.
      Short answer: when you exhale into a mask, the breath, droplets, vapor, etc. are blown directly from your nose and mouth into the mask, and can be caught there. When you inhale, you breathe ambient air that finds its way through or around the mask any way that’s available. More of the air takes the less obstructed routes.

      Reply
    4. HotFlash

      Why would that be, you ask? Lessee…

      Outgoing: It seems that droplets are/can be trapped by (some/much/whatever) ordinary cloth. The droplets will (most likely) be large enough to be trapped by YOUR mask. If viri FROM YOU are trapped in YOUR mask, no harm done, eh?

      Incoming: It seems that once the those tiny droplets (from exhaling, sneezing, coughing) evaporate, individual viruses FROM THEM can be left that are so light they can continue to float in the air indefinitely. EG, dust particles (much bigger and heavier) can be *seen* to do so in many environments (cue more than you ever wanted to know about sneezes and droplet size here (some royal society) and
      here (wikipedia).

      Conclusion: Incoming ‘floating’ viri, while smaller than droplets, are likely to be more dispersed than outgoing droplets — YOUR cough, sneeze, or conversation will probably have more droplets => more viri/cubic cm/inch, if you have them to shed, but sagely contained in your mask/scarf/bandana/Tshirt, than would be coming at you from Out There, esp if *everyone* distances. Volume vs radius kind of math, pretty intuitive. So not as many inbound viri as outbound, esp *everybody* masks and distances, therefore less chance for you to get one up your nose.

      Still more info so you can make up your own mind:

      “The COVID-19 (around 125 nano meters) is a bit larger than the flu virus, but still less than 1/2 the size of the openings in an N95 mask. (source).”

      So, catch ’em *outgoing* while they’re wet and heavy seems to be the best option. Wash the mask, use fresh cloth, coffee filters, whatever. You can figure that out on your own.

      Reply
  30. antidlc

    Trump Administration Plans to Pay Hospitals to Treat Uninsured Coronavirus Patients

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-plans-to-pay-hospitals-to-treat-uninsured-coronavirus-patients-11585927877

    The Trump administration is expected to use a federal stimulus package to pay hospitals that treat uninsured people with the new coronavirus as long as they agree not to bill the patients or issue unexpected charges, according to two people familiar with the planning.

    The plan, which could be released Friday, comes as the White House faces mounting

    Single payer … it can be done for all medical,not just uninsured with coronavirus.

    Reply
  31. antidlc

    My apologies if this has been posted. I have not been able to keep up with everything posted on NC.
    https://twitter.com/DavidBegnaud/status/1245841458323771393

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

    Video at link

    https://twitter.com/DavidBegnaud/status/1245847275659821059
    Basically, this is not going directly to the states. It’s going to the middleman and then the state has to be the highest bidder in order to get what the middleman has in its inventory. And if there’s leftovers, then the next state in line gets it.

    (sorry… I posted this on yesterday’s links. Re-posting for today.)

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > we are sending tons of supplies: It’s going from the federal govt to commercial distributors who then deliver to the highest bidder: states!

      Because markets

      Reply
  32. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Blob Sucked Away Your Public Health and Gave You War Instead

    Decent article, but of course being from the American Conservative they just couldn’t resist throwing in some nonsense about M4A that they heard from CoronaJoe Biden –

    Some on the left may nod and say: “yes, let’s not spend all this money on the Pentagon; let’s have Medicare-for-All.” There is a one-word reply to that argument: Italy.

    When did anyone ever claim that M4A would prevent people from getting sick or dying?!?!? The point isn’t that you’ll never get ill, it’s that you won’t go bankrupt and lose your home and livelihood if you do.

    Is that really that hard to understand?

    Reply
    1. Olga

      The author also throws in defense of big pharma… they are good guys, well ‘cept for that lil’ opioid crisis, and a few other things, but overall, they are stellar guys!

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Italy? How utterly inane an attempted analogy. For starters, Italy has neither its own sovereign currency nor a massively bloated ‘defense’ budget. And I’m guessing those getting treated there aren’t losing their homes and life savings to pay for it.

      Reply
  33. ChristopherJ

    Re card reader machines and not wanting to touch them, yesterday the Australian banks have relaxed the $100 limit above which you need to enter a pin. No matter the amount, just touch and go now

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      To tell you the truth, it feels like the opening chapters of “World War Z” by Max Brooks. The way that it spread internationally, the effect that it had on the economy, etc.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_Z

      Worth reading if you have the time and absolutely nothing like the shallow, crappy movie that came out of it.

      Reply
  34. MarkT

    BCG theory: VERY interesting!

    A friend and I have long been scratching our heads about the strangeness of infection rates in different parts of the world. Initially it was that Caribbean countries and South Africa didn’t seem to have the sustained take-off in cases experienced elsewhere. (India and many other “third world countries” seemed to fall into the same category.) New Zealand has done very well too … but then here we have a very well observed home quarantine (or “lockdown” as the media and government insist on calling it) which is probably better than most other countries can manage. According to the reports I’ve gotten my hands on (sorry no link) the numbers of tests being administered in South Africa is way higher than in New Zealand. Which added to the mystery. Until this came along: https://fortune.com/2020/04/02/coronavirus-vaccine-tb-deaths

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

    Reply
    1. MarkT

      (Italy and the USA have never had universal immunisation. China has had since 1976. Much of Europe used to have it. But gave it up at some point. This is important data in case BCG is relevant)

      Reply
  35. Glen

    My wife, the RN, is finding multiple incidents on line where ER docs are stating that the death numbers ARE BEING UNDER REPORTED BY THE COUNTIES in the south.

    Holy $hit!

    Heard about how China was suppressing the count? Well, yeah…

    Reply

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