Links 12/31/2021

The happiest of Happy New Years, dear readers! [sounds of confetti, noisemakers, champagne corks popping, etc.] –lambert

Orchid hunting has come a long way. In 5 steps you can join a national research effort The Conversation

‘Rascal’ dog lures rookie cop into Oklahoma lake under pretense of needing rescue Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cats caused more than 100 house fires in the past 3 years, South Korea officials say CNN. For pity’s sake, give the cats what they want!

Drugmaker Teva fueled opioid addiction in New York, jury finds Reuters

Tesla undertakes its largest-ever voluntary vehicle recall FT 475,000. “The total is comparable to the 499,550 vehicles that Tesla delivered in 2020.” Didn’t Musk — who has been looking oddly bloated, recently, and has taken to wearing some sort of dead animal on his head — unload a lot of stock recently?

A Robot For the Worst Job in the Warehouse IEEE Spectrum

Humanity’s Final Arms Race: UN Fails to Agree on ‘Killer Robot’ Ban Common Dreams

#COVID19

A COVID Vaccine for All Scientific American. Corbevax, from the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development:

The central government of India has already ordered 300 million doses. And BioE, the company manufacturing [Corbevax], plans to produce 100 million or more doses per month starting in February. Approximately 150 million doses have already been produced and are ready to roll out. In addition to what the company is supplying to India, BioE plans to deliver more than one billion additional doses to other countries.

What this means is that Corbevax will soon vaccinate more people than vaccine doses donated so far by the U.S. government or any other G7 country.

And:

Corbevax is made using technology that has been employed worldwide for decades, meaning that manufacturing processes are generally already well-known and won’t require a steep learning curve like the one needed for the scale-up of new technologies such as mRNA, adenovirus and protein particle vaccines.

Or, to put this another way, Corbevax isn’t an enormous medical experiment. Good news for the New Year.

* * *

US children hospitalized with COVID in record numbers AP. Mild commentary:

Plexiglass. Two years into the pandemic.

No HEPA filter visible, no Corsi box, no windows cracked. Maybe the New Jersey Education Association should give consideration to undertanding how Covid actually transmits?

* * *

The CDC’s Defense of Its New COVID Guidelines Is Complete Nonsense Slate. How California improved on CDC:

CDC processes. The conclusion of a copy-editing epic (read the whole thread):

I am vociferously in favor of copy editing and style guides. But good copy editing can be done at speed. The CDC seems to think speed is not important. I don’t think CDC has a lot of good will left on the balance sheet among professionals, at least disinterested ones. This story is surely unique only in that the author risked blowback by telling it.

CDC changes to quarantine, isolation advice took local health officials by surprise CNN. CDC probably couldn’t get the copy editing done on time.

* * *

Intranasal inhibitor blocks omicron and other variants of SARS-CoV-2 Research Square. Mouse study. From the Abstract: “[T]here remains a need for SARS-CoV-2 blocking agents that are more economical to produce in large scale, while less vulnerable to mutational variation in the neutralization epitopes of the viral Spike glycoprotein. Here we describe TriSb92, a highly manufacturable trimeric human nephrocystin SH3 domain-derived antibody mimetic targeted against a conserved region in the receptor-binding domain of the Spike. TriSb92 potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern, including Delta and Omicron. Intranasal administration of a modest dose of TriSb92 (5 or 50 micrograms) as early as eight hours before the challenge with SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 efficiently protected mice from infection.” If true, more good news.

Investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) Variant Cluster — Nebraska, November–December 2021 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC. “Travel history of the index patient and phylogenetic analysis of the secondary cases indicate an international introduction of the Omicron variant, consistent with other early cases identified in the United States.” It’s a good thing the Biden Administration’s travel policies have allowed us all to get back to “leading our lives.”

* * *

The Forever Virus Foreign Affairs. Understandably, our political class is deeply invested in the idea that Covid is permanent, and always would have been, inevitably.

The Third, and Last, Covid Winter Begins Peggy Noonan. The last paragraphs are a spectacular channeling of West Wing brain.

Going Out and Worried About Covid Safety? There’s a Calculator for That. NYT (Re Silc). Naturally, not a word on ventilation (only proxies like indoors v. outdoors, and room size). Here is how a society that really wants to help you assess risk does it:

None of this should be hard.

MTA Suspends 2 Train Lines Because Of COVID-Linked Staff Shortage Patch New York City

China?

Year in Review: How Evergrande Shook China’s Real Estate Sector to Its Core Caixin Global

Xi’an: Cries for help and food in quarantined Chinese city BBC. If the Western press weren’t so heavily invested in selling the notion that Zero Covid is and always was impossible, I’d give this report a lot more credibility.

New bishop unlikely to upset the apple cart South China Morning Post

Myanmar

Myanmar court jails celebrities who supported democracy protests Channel News Asia

India may be walking a diplomatic tightrope but is dangerously close to recognising the Myanmar coup Scroll.in

India

An Unlikely Success: Demonstrations against Farm Laws in India ACLED

UK/EU

Billionaire Peter Thiel Hires Austria’s Disgraced Former Chancellor Bloomberg. Sebastian Kurz.

New Cold War

‘Serious’ talk between Biden and Putin sets stage for diplomacy Reuters

What the US Misunderstands About Russia Project Syndicate

Cutting Russia off from SWIFT would become common problem, since Russian exports would not be waived – Siluanov Interfax

Biden Administration

The crack public relations team in the West Wing seems not to undestand that deaths lag cases, and reported deaths lag actual deaths:

Although they do understand a sketchy y-axis!

Reading Defense Contractor Ads Bracing Views

Supply Chain

Container shipping heads to court: Who’s suing whom? Freight Waves

Health Care

Patients won’t have to fear as many surprise medical bills come January CNN. CMS. Good, but “as many”?

Our Famously Free Press

Silicon Valley Should Not Restrict Public Discourse About Covid Measures Which Affect Everyone Caitlin Johnstone

Unsealed! Judges often can’t say no when reporters show some interest Francine McKenna, The Dig

Democrats en Deshabille

Clinton: ‘It is a time for some careful thinking about what wins elections’ The Hill

Realignment and Legitimacy

The Pentagon has streamlined the process for sending National Guard troops into DC Military Times (Re Silc).

Feral Hog Watch

A rogue wild boar charged at a surfer on the water in Hawaii San Francisco Chronicle

New Year’s Pre-Game Festivities

The Numerology Of 2022 Is Telling Us That The New Year Is Going To Be A Happy One Refinery29

What prediction markets suggest will happen in 2022 The Economist

21 Predictions for Crypto and Beyond in 2022 CoinDesk

Top lithium stories of 2021 and what to expect in 2022 Mining.com

6 Ideas for a Stylish New Year’s Eve at Hom NYT

Class Warfare

You’ll pry two-tier out of management’s cold, dead hands:

Buffett rejects Bernie Sanders’ call to intervene in strike AP

Record number of minimum wage increases set for 2022 Axios

From treatment of gig workers to tip transparency, the app-based economy could see key changes in 2022 MarketWatch

The Cruel Failure of Welfare Reform in the Southwest Pro Publica

NASA Paid Priests to Figure Out How to Deal With Aliens The Byte (Re Silc).

Don’t forget to declare income from stolen goods and illegal activities, IRS says NBC. News you can use!

Antidote du jour (via):

Mr. Onion.

For those who gave a Lego set, or got one:

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.

200 comments

      1. ambrit

        When something is socially acceptable, it does not stand out. You might want to lower your standards for “evidence” in this case.

        Reply
  1. TaxBillionairesToThousandaires

    Didn’t Musk — [snip] — unload a lot of stock recently?

    Just the week before he sold just over $1B of Tesla stock. Coincidence I am sure.

    Reply
    1. Roger

      Its called insider trading, but Musk should have been in legal problems so many times already it seems that somewhere “up there” is looking after him.

      Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    “NASA Paid Priests to Figure Out How to Deal With Aliens”

    Might turn out to be a good idea. Might not. Saw one fictional example of having a priest make first contact and it did not go well. Washington being Washington, their next idea would be to send in the military but that might not work out either-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5H4yK_tiGI (4:11 mins)

    Reply
    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Any alien civilization capable of deep space travel will have realized that humans are incapable of sustained reason.

      Reply
        1. ArvidMartensen

          Global warming – existential threat – action uncoordinated and ineffective shown by rising CO2 in atmosphere, increasing floods and droughts, extreme temperatures
          US response to pandemic of deadly SARS-CoV-2 disease – disjointed, ineffective, shown by huge number of Covid infections and deaths compared to rest of world.

          Will stop there.
          Click. Whirr. Humans incapable of sustained reason.

          Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        I’ve met a lot of people who make this generalization, but oddly they invariably believe themselves to be capable of sustained reason even though they are humans.

        Indeed, it is usually the failure of other humans to arrive at the same results they reach that prompts the generalization in the first place.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I agree.

          See Sandberg, A. & Bostrom, N. (2008): “Global Catastrophic Risks Survey”, Technical Report #2008-1, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University: pp. 1-5.

          There is an estimated 19% chance of complete human extinction by 2100.

          We may find out soon enough.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            I believe that humans are smarter than most believe, and certainly wiser, but that lust for power, status, and money have given us an elite that sees no problem with making us stupid. With fear, if nothing else. Then there is the continuing crapification of learning. It is hard to be wise, or even just smart, never you mind sane, with both the fear/hatred and the deliberate belittling and denial of an education.

            In any case, people become smarter and wiser with they are with other people instead of alone with they can get deluded with how smart they are. Notice how isolated people are? The checks on the crazy ideas and the foolish actions, along with the brainstorming you get with the bad, burnt afternoon coffee, the beer after work, the Sunday barbecue, or the services at church, mosque, or temple. All this kept us leveled. Now, we’re suppose to fear going outside/indoor/quarantine/something else every damn week. I would just about kill to be able to go to go see the Giants play even if I could only afford the nosebleed seats, but who knows whats Gov. Newsom’s latest diktats will be by then, or if some other problem via Covid will arrive to ruin our day.

            There is truth, and often great wisdom in crowds, but I ain’t seeing any crowds. Just an atomized of scared individuals and small fearful cults going increasingly tense and crazy, which seems to be the goal of our elites; I think that they truly are crazy, if only driven so with their only marvelousness.

            Reply
      2. troutbum

        Yes,
        exhibit #1 The movie : “Idiocracy”, looking at America in the future
        exhibit #2 The movie: ” Don’t Look Up” looking at America now.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      There’s a great book called The Sparrow about Jesuits making first contact with aliens. It turns out to be a very bad idea, at least for the priests.

      It’s more comparative religion/philosophy than scifi and it’s really one of the lesser known gems. Highly recommended. If you really loved the biblical book of Job, this is right up your alley.

      Reply
        1. Michaelmas

          Thank you, David.

          Both novels are good. But the Blish is a product — alongside the likes of Miller’s A CANTICLE OF LEIBOWITZ, Keyes’s FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, and Pohl & Kornbluth’s THE SPACE MERCHANTS and GLADIATOR-AT-LAW — of the classic age of American SF in the 1950s. It should not be forgotten.

          Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        Have to give a shout out to Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. The alien there is an intelligent ocean that can read minds. He has two other books of a similar nature, His Master’s Voice – about an alien signal that can’t be deciphered, and Fiasco – about aliens who really don’t want to reply to us at all. So naturally start bombing.

        Lem has other books about robots who make fun of humans and stuff.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          Solaris was very good and spooky. I always worry I am living in a reality like was portrayed in Lem’s The Futurological Congress. I liked the Ijon Tichy character and his adventures. It was also a thrill to read these books in the 1970s considering the conditions Lem was writing under.

          Reply
      2. Soredemos

        So, having invented a god in their own image, the religious berate those who actually expect that god to do anything for them as arrogant and deluded.

        Reply
    3. the last D

      Maybe the priests only wanted to spend all their time hearing the aliens confessions. Mortal and venial sins brought to eager hearts and ears from light-years away. But hey, I feel like an alien in an alien land, happy New Year to all!

      Reply
  3. Roger Blakely

    Naked Capitalism snatches the news-you-can-use brass ring today. That 8:11 p.m. Tweet from the California Dept. of Public Health is what we have been waiting for. With Omicron sweeping the state, is the CDPH’s revision to the policy on the time frame for quarantine and isolation big news? It’s huge news. And it missed the news cycle. No mainstream media is running the story this morning. Not even KNX News Radio is running the story. On California’s go-to political news aggregator site, http://www.rtumble.com (as in rough and tumble) the story is nowhere to be found.

    Reply
  4. Michael Ismoe

    The Third, and Last, Covid Winter Begins Peggy Noonan.

    I am so tired of this Bipartisan bullshyt. Can someone point out one bill where the Republicans added anything of value that improved a bill (for someone other than their donors)? Can someone please tell me how you negotiate with people who only say No?

    Why is it the only time we crave bipartisanship is when the Dems have control? (And look how well they handle that responsibility.)

    Reply
    1. Carla

      Seems to me that bipartisanship would be the Republicans in the Democrat “party” working with the Democrats in the Democrat “party.” Apparently ain’t gon happen.

      And the largest group of voters in the country, the unaffiliated, including a smattering of 3rd party voters like me, must just party on, engaged in the business of real life as we are.

      Reply
      1. lance ringquist

        it took a democrat, bill clinton, to full fill reagans trickle down dream and now we have trump: China, NAFTA devastated the U.S. manufacturing sector and the middle class with it creating the bust of 2008

        https://evonomics.com/how-neoliberal-economics-created-donald-trump-komlos/

        How Trickle-Down Economics Ruined the Economy and Helped Trump Win
        The establishment was good at making big promises, but in the end, they left few crumbs on the table for the middle class

        Reply
      1. Michael Ismoe

        He’s a Mormon. They each have 15 kids. It’s a natural pickup. Why Chuck Schumer doesn’t know this is criminal.

        Reply
    2. Arby

      Bipartisanship is ever evident. Just look at that Pentagon budget bloom or the ripening of the billionaire tax provisions. It is Springtime in Deep State land.

      Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      I am told by reliable sources that astrologers say the exact opposite, that it will be the end of empire for the US and pharmas’ and bankers’ outrageous behavior will be off the charts compared to what we have already seen.

      Reply
      1. NotThePilot

        Interesting… I’m in a no-man’s-land with astrology:
        * I don’t believe any mechanism I’ve heard for how it would work
        * I realize it’s likely just largely interpreting what you want into vague statements
        * And yet I’ve seen times where it seemed way too precise to be a trick

        The tie-breaker for me is realizing that it arguably has more explanatory power & rigor than a lot of other ideas still accepted in the social sciences. So overall, I’m pressed up against the fence but actually on the credible side.

        Anyways, it can’t be any sillier than my own back-of-the-napkin RTToAT, which says the average American may have a better first-half to 2022, but beyond that is still indeterminate.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          Again, Wall Street runs on sex and psychics….

          I believe the sophisticated gloss is not that the position of the sun and planets influence or dictate human affairs, but that they reflect bigger energetic forces at work, so you can read them by reading those patterns.

          Reply
      2. JBird4049

        Off the charts? Wow. I’m getting more of a misanthrope and cynic, but the actions of the past two years seem hard to beat.

        Reply
  5. Michael Ismoe

    NASA Paid Priests to Figure Out How to Deal With Aliens The Byte (Re Silc).

    Funny how we have no money to relieve student debt but ….

    Perhaps if all those student debtors met in front of the White House, had an exorcism in front of Jumping Joe, maybe they might get some relief. Better yet, why don’t we all tell Joe that Beau wants us to cancel the student debt? I’m sure Joe talks with him daily.

    Reply
    1. BeliTsari

      Nah, that’d clearly be insurrection to our media. To gather for a redress of grievances or participate in free speech, coordinated dissent or any attempt to petition Congress or the executive branch would most likely result in a hail of depleted uranium slugs, drone swarms, robotic attack dogs & Harris unleashing Boogaloo Boi agents provacateurs to justify employing 2nd Amendment patriot militia, to incarcerate survivors as 13th Amendment fire jumpers?

      Reply
  6. Tom Stone

    Nooners is always so moderate, so reasonable, so caring about the little people while keeping the big picture clearly in sight.
    Gosh, she’s…..wonderful.
    Now I know how to feel!
    And I feel Gooood about myself and this wonderful,wonderful country.
    If only we had someone so SENSIBLE in charge life would be perfect.
    Is it too early for another Xanax?

    Reply
    1. Nikkikat

      I love the sour and sad face Nooners always wears. But did she include at least one heart warming memory of her beloved Ronnie and how he would have handled all of this while wearing his flag pin.

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    First off, my hat is off to the people that put together that LEGO Mega Factory video. Brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed and it must have taken them months of planning alone. There is something that I do wonder about and that is the juxtaposition of that video below that of Mr. Onion the Cat. In real life, I’m not sure that that is a good idea that-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7vML9C3PZk (5:32 mins)

    Reply
    1. polar donkey

      Gave my 7 year old son some Star Wars Lego space ships for Christmas. He worked 8am to 8pm building them, then got up the next morning and started back at it 730. They’re broken on the floor now. The new wore off.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        I got so frustrated with stepping on Lego blocks (painful), that my children and I would glue the Lego Castles together, and my children would then play with castles for months.

        I treated the Lego’s as a one time building opportunity.

        Reply
    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I checked the video at youtube so I could share the link with a friend. From the youtube “the Brick Wall” creator: ”
      “An insane idea becomes reality. It took 83 days of planning, dreaming, building and filming. At the end, I was waiting for a perfect snow day and just one day exactly!”

      Reply
  8. Milton

    Just asking anyone if they can tell me the difference between what is happening in Myanmar vs. the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and the installation of Sisi. I seem to recall countries having no qualms recognizing that military dictatorship.
    For a more contemporary example one needn’t look further than Sudan and the West’s support of that illegitimate regime.

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      The difference is that the military in Myanmar is seen as too friendly with China and therefore not as reliable as the opposition might be.
      Also, Egypt had a neighbor considered a most important US ally and that ally did not trust the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      The elevation to power of G W Bush here in America by the Supreme Court in 2000 qualifies as a coup.
      Considering all of the ‘popularly elected’ governments around the world America has facilitaed the oveerthrow of over the last one hundred years, “Bush 2000” and then “9/11” are blowback.
      We now live in a quasi-legal police state. How’s that for “progress?”

      Reply
    3. lambert strether

      Completely different geopolitical situation, different culture, different religion, different political system, different approaches to “the national question,” presence of ethnic warlords, country-wide insurgency albeit by gifted amateurs, genocidal army…

      Does this help?

      (We are clear that the “color revolutions” frame is a procrustean bed that gives the States much too much credit for competence?)

      Reply
      1. Milton

        Not at all. Those are reasons as expressed through the lens of our neoliberal/imperialist narrative. Just once, I would like to see an opposing viewpoint re: Myanmar.

        Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Both were flogging color revolution re the Hong Kong protests and that was dead wrong.

              MOA does know the Middle East very well but gets way out over his skis everywhere else.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                Yes, MoA embarrassed himself over Peng Shuai. Both Greyzone and MoA rely on very poor and selective sources for their commentary on China. In my new favourite Lambert quote, ‘you can’t reverse engineer the truth from bullshit’.

                The US (and maybe others) were certainly trying to influence events in HK, but there is no evidence they were doing anything but trying to boost a few naive younger activists and probably did them a lot more harm than good. There has been a very long and continuous history of organic and often violent protest in HK going back half a century at least – first among those opposing colonial influence and then Chinese influence. A very large percentage of HKers see themselves as a distinct people/nation with strong Chinese and British and other influences and valued the quasi democratic system the were left by the British. They don’t like being told what to do by either. For some reason, a lot of US leftists seem to lose their mind and all critical thinking when it comes to China/Taiwan/HK.

                Reply
  9. Anders K

    Thanks for the links – really hope we get more widespread recognition of the importance of ventilation in dealing with covid soon.

    But a Happy New Year everyone (mostly Australia atm) – here’s to hoping for a better year ahead!

    Reply
  10. Milton

    Yesterday, Downtown LA and the airport received around 1/3 of its annual rainfall as the Southern California Bight (the curvilinear coastal feature) caused a spin up of a low– dropping copious amounts of moisture along a narrow band in the metro area. So everything’s hunky dory in Cali as we have well-above average rainfall throughout the state (far north excepted) and snowpacks verging on the unprecedented entering the New Year.
    However, being a Californian my entire 60 years–split between the Bay Area and San Diego, I’ve seen this played out many a times. With the exception of 97/98 and 82/83 (maybe 90/91) , the tendency for extreme precip in the state before the new year, is to give way to gorgeous skies and glorious temps the remainder of the rainy season, with nary a drop of much needed water. I’m sure Wuk can attest to this. My hope is that by writing this here, I will jinx the established pattern and bless Cali with more of that precious resource for the next four months.

    Reply
    1. jim truti

      Been in SoCal for 15 years and have the impression winters are getting colder and colder.
      This seems to be the case in other countries too and read a report that pointed to food shortages and lower yields because of colder weather generally, dont know if there is any truth to it.

      Reply
      1. Kouros

        The older one gets, the more sensitive to cold one becomes…

        It would be easy to check the historical temperatures….

        Reply
    2. Socal Rhino

      Have seen the same pattern here in Orange County. December rains get us hopeful that we’re off to a good start, followed by no rain in the new year. Mrs. Rhino and I were discussing this yesterday. Still, the deep snow in the Sierras seems like legitimately positive news for 2022.

      Reply
    3. Roger Blakely

      I am freezing in my SoCal house today. For two years now I have been needing to fix my heater. But then again, if I can just get through this week, I won’t need my heater again for another year.

      Reply
    1. Keith in Modesto

      There’s a reason that guillotine memes are popular online. You can even buy guillotine jewelry on Etsy.

      Edit: this comment is not nor is it intended to be an endorsement of using guillotines.

      Reply
  11. Keith in Modesto

    In “The Third, and Last, Covid Winter Begins” Noonan opens by acknowledging the growing crisis in New York and remarks that ” I am not an epidemiologist, and it’s foolish to make predictions in such a fluid and unknowable environment…”, but then goes right ahead and offers a fairytale version of how a virus evolves and spreads and how to combat it. Really. It really is a fairytale:

    “Everything living wants to live, including this stupid little virus. It will shape-shift, find new entry points—anything to stay alive. But what we’re seeing now is the pandemic in its death throes. It’s going at everyone’s throats, in a frenzy, but it’s weaker than it was and knows it. It’s desperate where it used to be discerning (targeting the old). In its dying frenzy it will reach everyone; in the end we’ll all have had some variant. And then it will give up and slink away. Because while it got weaker, we, with vaccines, boosters, therapeutics and natural immunity, got stronger.”

    If this reflects elite thinking in this country, we are doomed. But we already knew that.

    Reply
      1. BeliTsari

        It’s the, “we’re all in this, TOGETHER” Idiocracy that makes me regret selling that Czech VZ-58 Bayonet that fit over the cleaning-rod lug?

        https://mobile.twitter.com/DrEricDing/status/1476799723080146945?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=

        https://www.thecity.nyc/missing-them/2021/11/23/22798521/coping-with-covid-loss-grief-during-holidays-and-beyond

        https://readsludge.com/2021/12/15/real-estate-and-private-equity-billionaires-set-to-profit-from-ny-clean-grid-investments/

        Reply
  12. floyd

    re: Nooners

    The centrists have proven that Washington doesn’t work any better with the “adults in the room” than with Trump. It’s also amusing (depressing) that Zero Hedge is to the left of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to insider trading. That would be a great bi-partisan accomplishment: eliminating the ability for Congress to invest in anything other than index funds while in office.

    Reply
    1. Screwball

      IMO, they shouldn’t be able to trade anything, anytime, ever, while in office. If they don’t like that rule – don’t run.

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Centrism” is a childish philosophy that promises easy answers. There is the occasional odd duck, but for the most part, “centrists” are cosplaying political thrillers.

      One of the Obama administration memoirs by the staff had two chapters to dedicated to writing jokes for the Al Smith dinner.

      Reply
      1. redleg

        “The Center” is also mobile. As both D and R careen rightward, so does “The Center”.
        That term needs to go away. Call them conservatives.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If they were small c conservatives, they wouldn’t be so bad. The problem is they fancy themselves at the center and are always reacting both to Republicans and the perceived electorate.

          The stories about Reid stand out. Obama was always reacting. Reid despite being quite conservative knew lines had to be drawn. I tend to see our “centrists” as nihilistic more than anything.

          Reply
      2. MRLost

        Lloyd Doggett, looong time Democratic US Representative from (Central) Texas, memorably commented that the only thing in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos.

        Reply
  13. diptherio

    Re: what the numerology of 2022 is telling us
    Smart numerologists know to keep their bases covered…

    The energy that the number six gives us is kindness and stability, Vermilyea says. Because it’s a little over halfway between the one-to-nine spectrum, it also indicates “gaining some wisdom and being prepared to use that knowledge to move forward,” he explains. “It can also indicate challenges with responsibility, carelessness in relationships, and a lack of stability.”

    Reply
  14. jimmy cc

    Hillary Clinton demands serious thinking about what wins elections.

    You know, that thing she didnt do 5 years ago…

    she is a joke

    Reply
    1. Mildred Montana

      Two-time loser Hillary (I include the 2008 loss to Obama) giving election advice?

      Isn’t that sort of like John F. Kennedy Jr. giving flying lessons?

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Consider her opponents. It’s not like she lost to say a sitting VP. She lost to a vapid freshman senator and a game show host and almost lost to Sanders despite having more advantages than when she ran against Obama.

        She tried to reschedule the 2008 primary and may have cost her a huge win in Michigan. She encouraged the media to pimp Trump know the GOP primary. She has demonstrated no knowledge of delegate allocation or how the electoral college works.

        The malpractice and gross incompetence on display is still draw dropping, even for Team Clinton.

        JFK Jr at least had a pilot’s license. I checked his pilot status. It’s been a while, but this from the wiki is just hysterical:

        “President Bill Clinton gave his support to the Kennedy family”

        Did Bill add that himself?

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Russians. Republicans. People not voting in their (the Clintons) interests, killer bees, people not clapping loudly enough. These are all the many things that have foiled the Clintons.

        After all, she picked human dynamo Timmy Kaine to be her running mate. How can you suggest she isn’t the great genius in ever? Now you may be asking yourself, who the hell is Tim Kaine? So is everyone else, then they remember it’s that dolt. Mark Warner without the charm.

        Reply
            1. Mildred Montana

              If Hillary is as smart as she thinks she is, she will decline to run in the 2024 presidential election. Even in the unlikely event she were to succeed in getting nominated, people (who otherwise have short memories) remember odors well, and she still carries the stench of Obama.

              In her favor however is her age. In 2024 she will be 77. Trump will be 78 and Biden 82. Given a woman’s longer life-expectancy (and presumptive better health), she would have a distinct advantage in this possible “Clash of the Geriatrics”. (Are geriatrics capable of 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨?)

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Yeah, but don’t count out the fact that she might be on a prescription for ‘Coumadin,’ a very dangerous substance.
                Her physical stumble and near fall in the campaign was noticed and might have cost her votes. Biden’s team took note and hid their candidate from public scrutiny for as much as they could.
                Seeing as how much of Biden’s campaign and later administration is shrouded in secrecy, I feel comfortable in calling him the “Crypto President.”

                Reply
      3. Carolinian

        But, but “she worked so hard” (Lena Dunham). Perhaps the diff from those past presidential losers is that the media are giving a big platform to the psychodrama.

        Reply
      4. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m just hoping that whatever election advice hillary’s giving, democrat party members running for reelection are taking.

        Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      I’m hoping to see Hillary run again in 2024, purely for the amusement value.
      And if she runs with Ms Harris it would be even better.
      It’s a broken system or we would not be where we are, a little slapstick is the best we can hope for.

      Reply
      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        This is where I’m at on this as well. Change isn’t going to come from the system that depends on it not changing. At least give us something to laugh at.

        Reply
        1. Michael Ismoe

          Hillary vs. Trump Part Deux

          I’m starting Mandarin lessons in the new year. Someone has to be able to talk to our new leaders.

          Reply
    3. Sutter Cane

      Did the press ever ask John Kerry, Bob Dole, or John McCain what their parties needed to do to win elections? Has a losing candidate ever had this much influence over their party after losing? Well: Trump. We we ever be done with either? Covid is with us forever while the 2016 election repeats forever.

      Save us, President Xi!

      Reply
  15. Keith in Modesto

    More Noonan, who is apparently a horrible person:

    “And I wonder if a lot of people aren’t worrying that there’s been some quiet but fundamental shift in expectations set in place during the pandemic—that you don’t really have to work anymore, or if you don’t like your job you don’t have to stay until you get a better one; you can just leave and one way or another get the support you need through benefits, programs and government assistance. People are wondering right now about the implications of the Great Resignation. More freedom, more enjoyment of life, less scrambling in a rat race—maybe that’s the right direction. But is it sustainable in the long term? Will it have some effect on what used to be called the national character? As a people we’ve always known how to grit through and suffer when history takes a turn. What will we be like when we don’t, and history gets more demanding?”

    Shorter Noonan translation: “If the government helps the commoners, it will destroy the country!!! Sorry peasants!”

    Reply
    1. Andrew

      Did it spring from a single decision marked by a memorable sentence that we’ll be reading about in memoirs down the road? Something like, “You think it’s 2021, but it’s 1933, and this is our moment to complete the New Deal.”

      Absolute pablum as usual from Lady Noonington. The West Wing did catastrophic damage to whole generations of pundits.

      Reply
    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      This would be funny if it didn’t display the deep disconnect of this POS. How can anyone say this when healthcare workers are screaming at the top of their lungs about the state of their work situations. Not only the long hours, lack of adequate staffing, the lack of resources, and then patients who they are trying to help, yelling at them, spitting on them, it’s downright inhumane.

      What Madame Peg and all the other POS as*holes fail to see is there is a war going on, one they refuse to acknowledge and those who are in the trenches are not going to forgive them.

      Reply
    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Had to read this paragraph several times to satisfy myself that it wasn’t sarcasm:

      Or—in what really would have been the most consequential political statement of 2021—did anybody stand up and say, “My friends, big ambition is admirable but we don’t have the margins. We don’t have FDR’s House and Senate, our control is razor thin. The path for us is easy does it, day by day, smaller bills and plenty of outreach to Republicans, whose increasingly populist base doesn’t mind spending as long as it doesn’t seem insane. The progressives won’t like it, the Squad will hate it, but we can use them as a foil, as a useful illustration of what we’re not. We’ll use their criticism to underscore our centrism. We don’t need them. All we need to be popular is a) not to be Donald Trump, b) to provide steady leadership that delivers modest but regular improvements, and c) to do this in a way that leaves people saying, ‘My God, someone made Washington work again.’ That’s the path.”

      Kinda makes hillary clinton’s giving “advice” on “how to get elected” not such a fool’s errand idea after all. Still seem to be some pretty big fools out there listening.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          “What are we going to do tomorrow night West Wing Brain?”
          “The same thing we do every night Slinky, try to take over the world!”

          Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        I had to reread it also, Katniss.
        My guess is she took part in too many “nooners” when she was supposed to be listening and thinking. In other words, she’s f**ked up.

        Reply
  16. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: A Robot For the Worst Job in the Warehouse

    After a lot of throat clearing about how hard and dangerous it is to unload trucks (no disagreement on that), we get to the money quote: “Blankespoor explains that Stretch isn’t meant to replace people entirely; the idea is that multiple Stretch robots could make a human worker an order of magnitude more efficient. Where we want to get with Stretch is to have one person unloading four or five trucks at the same time.”

    Now that statement is nonsense: Stretch is specifically designed to replace the person who is unloading the boxes. It does not make a human worker more efficient — it makes the receiving department more efficient. One worker may be able to oversee 4-5 units, but ultimately 3-4 people will not be needed in the receiving department. I often see this phrasing that pretends the worker is the beneficiary, whereas it’s the overall process or system that really benefits.

    Reply
  17. HawHaw

    I don’t trust a single news story about China by the Western press. Nearly every single one omits key details and facts mixed in with outright lies and errors.

    Reply
  18. Lee

    “Student Workers of Columbia Testimonials
    @SwcTestimonial
    Shaina is a Computer Science TA, hired as an hourly worker.”

    I guess I’m going to have to work harder to overcome my aversion to vocal fry if I’m going to listen to today’s young women. It will be difficult because I strongly associate vocal fry with insufferably smug upper class toffs.

    Reply
  19. flora

    Tiabbi’s latest, about the general MSM coverage of the virus. No paywall.

    TK Mashup: “Omicron DEATH!”
    Pandemic scare-coverage reaches new heights, or depths, or something

    For a while now it’s been clear the primary objective of most pandemic coverage is to scare the socks off mass audiences. Good news, bad news, boring news, interesting news, news that’s more of a wash in the final analysis, news that’s a net plus overall: it’s all presented as terrifying, more signs of the Apocalypse. There’s no better example than the stampede to advertise the “first death from Omicron” in the United States.

    Matt Orfalea does a hilarious job of stitching together an homage to the latest moral panic.

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/tk-mashup-omicron-death

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      But as one comment on the Substack noted:

      “Talk about burying the lede:

      “Covid in any variant and at any degree of initial severity infects nearly every organ of the body. And about half of those who come down with Covid — again with any degree of severity — end up suffering Long Covid, a months-long or years-long affliction that’s basically a combination of advanced Alzheimer’s and severe black-lung disease. There may be no cure for this and it may last the remainder of a lifetime.

      “So. There’s the lede. Fixed it for ya’.””

      At some point this singular focus on deaths from Covid almost becomes deceptive. If what we’re learning about Long Covid bears out, the consequences are pretty much incalculable. So it’s odd that so little media and official attention is focused in this direction. Are they unaware? Seems unlikely. So what may a reasonable, informed person conclude?

      Reply
      1. flora

        From your substack unnamed commentor’s quote:

        And about half of those who come down with Covid — again with any degree of severity — end up suffering Long Covid, a months-long or years-long affliction that’s basically a combination of advanced Alzheimer’s and severe black-lung disease. There may be no cure for this and it may last the remainder of a lifetime.

        Where’s the data for this claim? It’s a hella claim.

        And your question: what may a reasonable person conclude?
        my answer: skepticism regarding MSM reports and claims by interested parties is a reasonable position. This isn’t to say ignore what’s said, it’s to suggest double-checking, cross-referencing, and tracing stories back to the source might be a good idea.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          Where’s the data? It’s out there but I don’t think it’s being as vigorously publicized in the MSM because the symptoms are less obviously dreadful than being dead. Also, that people who are either asymptomatic or mildly ill can go on to suffer long term debilitating disease is an abyss to dark and dreary to contemplate at the moment what with everything else that’s going on.

          Incidence, co-occurrence, and evolution of long-COVID features: A 6-month retrospective cohort study of 273,618 survivors of COVID-19 Plos Medicine.

          How many people get ‘long COVID?’ More than half, researchers find. Penn State

          Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact EClinicalMedicine, The Lancet

          “Public discourse on COVID-19 has largely centered around those with severe or fatal illness [[1]]. However, recent studies show that a growing number of patients with initially mild COVID-19 will experience prolonged symptoms [[2],[3]], the profile and timeline of which remains uncertain [[2],4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Early in the course of the pandemic, patients identified this trend, referring to themselves as “Long-Haulers” and the prolonged illness as “Long COVID”[[10]]. There exist few systematic studies investigating this population, and relatively little is known about the range of symptom makeup and severity, expected clinical course, impact on daily functioning, and expected return to baseline health [[11]].”

          Reply
        2. Lee

          Where’s the data? It’s out there but I don’t think it’s being as vigorously publicized in the MSM because the symptoms are less obviously dreadful than being dead. Also, that people who are either asymptomatic or mildly ill can go on to suffer long term debilitating disease is an abyss to dark and dreary to contemplate at the moment what with everything else that’s going on.

          Incidence, co-occurrence, and evolution of long-COVID features: A 6-month retrospective cohort study of 273,618 survivors of COVID-19 Plos Medicine.

          How many people get ‘long COVID?’ More than half, researchers find. Penn State

          Characterizing long COVID in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact EClinicalMedicine, The Lancet

          “Public discourse on COVID-19 has largely centered around those with severe or fatal illness [[1]]. However, recent studies show that a growing number of patients with initially mild COVID-19 will experience prolonged symptoms [[2],[3]], the profile and timeline of which remains uncertain [[2],4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Early in the course of the pandemic, patients identified this trend, referring to themselves as “Long-Haulers” and the prolonged illness as “Long COVID”[[10]]. There exist few systematic studies investigating this population, and relatively little is known about the range of symptom makeup and severity, expected clinical course, impact on daily functioning, and expected return to baseline health [[11]].”

          Reply
          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Here is the last sentence of your twice-posted comment in response to the question “Where is the data?”

            …There exist few systematic studies investigating this population, and relatively little is known about the range of symptom makeup and severity, expected clinical course, impact on daily functioning, and expected return to baseline health [[11]].”

            Anecdotes and data.

            Just sayin’.

            Reply
          2. Gerd

            From the paper….

            The researchers conducted a systematic review of 57 reports that included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through March 2021. Among those studied, 79% were hospitalized, and most patients (79%) lived in high-income countries. Patients’ median age was 54, and the majority of individuals (56%) were male.

            I am not downplaying COVID, I certainly don’t want to get it. But the 50% is of a defined population, primarily unvaccinated and hospitalized..

            The most visible COVID survivors are professional athletes. There have been a few that have suffered long term consequences but the majority have returned to play. I do not believe that 50% of ALL who catch COVID will have long COVID.

            And to repeat, I don’t want to get it and take the risk myself.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              20% of asymptomatic cases get long Covid.

              A recent decent sized study out of Arizona found that 63% of symptomatic cases got long Covid.

              Studies go both ways on the question of whether vaccines reduce long Covid frequency and/or severity.

              Generalizing from male athletes, who’d get the pricey monocolonal antibodies within two nanoseconds of being diagnosed? Aside from also being young (robust immune systems) and super healthy? Seriously?

              You dismiss it at your risk.

              Reply
      2. Samuel Conner

        I’ve noticed that Automatic Earth never (in my reading, in recent months) mentions long Covid. Today’s Angry Bear item likewise has an optimistic forecast for 2022 that overlooks the problem of widespread long Covid in “endemic CV” scenarios.

        I don’t know how to interpret this other than willful ignorance or/and intentional elision.

        NC is one of the few places (the only one I know of) where long COVID has been a central population health concern from very early.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Whether from a left or right perspective, the ‘let it rip’ or ‘live with it’, or ‘let it go endemic’ arguments can only be sustained if you ignore long covid. Which of course they all do – or at least all the ones I’ve read.

          Med preprint just out on brain imaging from before and after Covid sufferers. Its not peer reviewed but is written by some heavy hitters in neurology.

          Using both hypothesis-driven and exploratory approaches, with false discovery rate multiple comparison correction, we identified respectively 68 and 67 significant longitudinal effects associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the brain, including, on average: (i) a more pronounced reduction in grey matter thickness and contrast in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (min P=1.7×10-4, r=-0.14) and parahippocampal gyrus (min P=2.7×10-4, r=-0.13), (ii) a relative increase of diffusion indices, a marker of tissue damage, in the regions of the brain functionally-connected to the piriform cortex, anterior olfactory nucleus and olfactory tubercle (min P=2.2×10-5, r=0.16), and (iii) greater reduction in global measures of brain size and increase in cerebrospinal fluid volume suggesting an additional diffuse atrophy in the infected participants (min P=4.0×10-6, r=-0.17). When looking over the entire cortical surface, these grey matter thickness results covered the parahippocampal gyrus and the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and extended to the anterior insula and anterior cingulate cortex, supramarginal gyrus and temporal pole.

          Reply
      3. BeliTsari

        Don’t waste your time. It’s worsening, each time our betters unleash these speciously gullible critters’ mutant strains on our kids, coworkers, neighbors (or, HCW) on the rest of us? To those of us, without recourse to Gault’s Gulch upstate “vacation cottages” with $24K gelato freezers:

        https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2784918

        https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210511/Study-reveals-acute-immunologic-changes-in-children-with-long-COVID.aspx

        https://www.postalley.org/2021/08/30/long-covid-slow-disaster-in-the-making/

        Reply
      4. Skip Intro

        And the kicker is still missing: If you aren’t physically reduced by this bout of covid, just wait a year and roll the dice again! What are your cumulative odds of survival? Paging N. N. Taleb to the glowing red phone…

        Reply
        1. eg

          Yeah, one glaring example of the unthinking where Covid outcomes is concerned is the assumption that you only contract it once.

          Good luck with that …

          Reply
      5. NotThePilot

        This is pretty much the take I’ve continually converged towards as this pandemic has gone on.

        Obviously there are tons of reasons to take precautions and do everything we can to end the pandemic. But where I live, most people don’t really seem to have a concept of social obligations to others anymore.

        They don’t have much to say though in reply to “I know I probably wouldn’t die or go to the hospital if I get it. But the media never talks about long covid and all the ways it can indefinitely screw you up. The ‘rona is bad news, and I don’t want it!”

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Taibbi continues his run as possibly the greatest metaphor maker evah:

      It was the world’s loudest record-scratch when the WHO in the first week of December said the ominous “Omicron variant” of Covid-19 had been detected in 38 countries, but without any known deaths.

      Also appreciated this comment:

      Jrod3 hr ago
      Relax comrades, the first 22 months of 14 days to flatten the curve are the toughest.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The problem here is that WHO has no credibility at all (at least to anybody who pays attention).

        Nobody would be happier than I would be if the death count (whether in percentage terms or in absolute terms) didn’t soar along with the case count (and pediatric hospitalization is already problematic). But when every propagandist in the world is screaming “Mild!” and the policy is “Let ‘er rip,” common sense is to “hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.” I didn’t find this Taibbi piece to be especially helpful.

        Reply
        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Can’t say I agree with you that “every propagandist in the world is screaming ‘Mild!’ “

          Lots of use of the word “death” in Orfalea’s video by the same people who, eight or ten months ago, would have sworn that it was andrew cuomo who was born in that manger.

          But, c’mon. “The world’s loudest record-scratch” was pretty damn clever, didn’t you think?

          Reply
        2. flora

          I think this Taibbi piece is primarily a criticism of the MSM again going for either alarmism (and clicks) all the time, as they did with the russiarussiarussia “the walls are closing in” stories he criticized for the same reasons, or for reciting “press releases” of the official narrative, instead of reporting more nuanced facts and information. I think Taibbi is trying to help the MSM win back its old prestige and audience ratings by being better than all-alarm-all-the-time about important stories. The MSM hasn’t gone over to yellow journalism yet. There’s a reason the MSM is losing its audience, however. I think that’s Taibbi’s point. My 2 cents.

          Thanks for all the links left above about long covid data and studies. Seems like that would be worth the MSM reporting carefully (instead of hysterically or indifferently), but I haven’t seen much there on the topic.

          Reply
          1. K.k

            Is the media creating fear and panic all the time around the pandemic? Really? They sure were not when there had been an average of a thousand covid deaths a day in the u.s for over three months before the arrival of Omicron on the international stage. Thats over 100,000 people. I remember when a thousand a day were losing there lives under Trump admin and the outrage. Yet over the last fews months thanks to the way the media has spun it most aren’t even aware or accept it as those dyeing as ignorant anti vaxers who had it coming. Never mind the increasing number being hospitalized in some areas being Vaxed.
            Do we have to hit 2000, 3000 deaths a day before its considered non alarmist for Taibbi and co to be upset about whats been unfolding in the u.s this past year. Clearly a thousand a day, for a few months out of the year seems acceptable in their cost benefit analysis.

            Reply
  20. Tom Stone

    Omicron is hitting Kids especially hard and this is an important change in several ways.
    Most significantly it is beginning to kill and cripple Kids named Bradley the 4th and Muffy,not just kids named Tyrone or Sareeta.
    The members of the PMC and their children are part of “Us”, not “Them”.
    They are people who matter.
    And THEIR kids are being tossed into the flaming maw of Moloch to appease the Gods of the Market, just like the brats infesting the parts of town good people only venture into to buy drugs or rent hookers.

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      And judging from what I read, it’s the parents themselves who are doing the tossing. Their kids need to be “socialized” by a return to schoolrooms (most without decent ventilation).

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        Yup, the parents of Bradley and Muffy know in their bones that they are special, that they and their spawn will be protected, they know that there will be no adverse consequences for them and theirs.
        When they find out different the first reaction will be denial and the second will be incandescent rage
        I give it six months,more or less.

        Reply
        1. Samuel Conner

          Maybe it’ll take immiseration of the PMC to produce the political will for “universal concrete material benefits”.

          Reply
          1. LifelongLib

            If by “PMC” you mean people with 4 or more years of college, I’ll bet there’s plenty who are already for “universal concrete material benefits”. Who do you think gets excluded by means testing?

            Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Dunno if your read on this is accurate. Or AP’s for that matter.

      Here’s 41 seconds of fauci, the expert’s expert, from yesterday, throwing shade on the scourge of child covid hosptalizations. On msnbs no less. He weighs in on the “with covid / from covid” debate that’s been going on for two years and comes down on the side of possibly “overcounting” cases.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4oJ0wryPxg

      It would seem that the younger the child, the more resistant parents become to genetic experimentation. And with midterms fast approaching, the guy seems to finally recognize a political liability when he starts becoming one.

      Reply
      1. Joe Well

        So, child hospitalizations are going up and the denialists think it has nothing to do with covid. It’s just a coincidence?

        Reply
    3. Michael

      From our friends @ ZH:

      In a Thursday appearance on MSNBC, America’s top Covid official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, admitted to a distinction between the number of children hospitalized with Covid as opposed to “because of Covid.”

      “And what we mean by that: If a child goes into the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID and they get counted as a COVID-hospitalized individual, when, in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that. So it’s over counting the number of children who are, quote, hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID,” said Fauci.

      Fauci: “If you look at the children that are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with Covid, as opposed to because of Covid.” pic.twitter.com/57Rdx8gPg3

      Reply
      1. adamsmithsuncle

        is it just me or are we supposed to be getting whiplash from the sudden MSM talking heads pivots this past week?

        Reply
      2. lordkoos

        This matches data from South Africa, which shows that for many hospitalized with Omicron COVID, the virus is incidental, ie they were not originally hospitalized because of the virus.

        Reply
      3. lambert strether if

        Fauci “admitted” nothing, because admission implies some regard for the truth.

        Rather, Fauci deploys a trope, formerly used by the right as a minimization tactic, on behalf of the Buden administration, which he now services, since they now have an interest in minimization as well.

        I can’t believe people are talking this seriously.

        Reply
          1. Michael King

            With respect, you shouldn’t. He’s not an MD and often reverses his position. Yves has commented on him previously.

            Reply
          2. HotFlash

            I also listen to Dr. Campbell and regard him as trustworthy. Although he is not an MD he is a (retired) professor of nursing which in my book counts for a lot. Betw you and me, I would trust a nurse’s medical advice over an MD’s in most instances. I have found him to be right most of the time — can’t think of any faux pas since I have been watching. Like Yves, he calls events way ahead of the MSM and gets them right. He is non-hysterical and well-documented, science-based, if you will. When he is not sure or is giving his own opinion he says so. His arguments are measured. He is circumspect but firm WRT discussions that might get him deplatformed (eg, that out-of-patent drug which must not be named) and I regard him as a legitimate source. YMMV.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              This is false. Dr. Campbell has presented ample misinformation and he is slow to correct errors. He is not a reliable source. Do not represent him as one.

              From GM:

              Campbell has been uncritically drinking various flavors of hopium from the start.

              For example, there is a very long series of videos over 2020 where he talks about reinfections as something impossible

              What he does is that he takes the mainstream view and propagates it without doing his own research. I don’t think he does it intentionally but he just does not go to the right sources to get accurate information and he is not an expert on the subject already

              Then he corrects himself eventually, but that is often many months later.

              In South Africa there is tremendous pressure to downplay the situation because of the travel bans. A lot of the economy depends on tourism, and the tourist season there is right now — winter in the northern hemisphere, summer there, so you usually get hundreds of thousands of wealthy tourists the northern hemisphere heading south for holidays. But there was no tourism last year because of B.1.351, and they are absolutely desperate to not let that happen again. Also, they are letting it rip internally so that is also a major reason to downplay it.

              One has to interpret any anecdotal statements coming from South Africa with that information in mind.

              The raw data shows tripling of hospitalizations week on week over the last three weeks and they do a lot of backfilling later so the last two weeks are not complete.

              And yes, most of the infections are reinfections so that will make some of the cases milder but it will also make others worse.

              Reply
    4. Keith Newman

      @Tom Stone, 10:42
      “Muffy”!! Hahaha! Great name. I have a 1/4 sized model sheep (yes, really) that roams around on the second floor of my house. I think I’ll call it Muffy.

      Reply
  21. Ned

    “Or, to put this another way, Corbevax isn’t an enormous medical experiment.”

    Nor is Nobel Prize winning for inventors, 4 billion doses given away for free, Ivermectin which with other practically free prophylactics, prevents people from getting Covid to begin with.

    Reply
  22. David

    From the Grauniad, of all places, finally a balanced treatment of the “Vaccinate the world” meme.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/commentisfree/2021/dec/31/world-health-organization-who-we-can-vaccinate-the-world-against-covid-by-mid-2022

    The argument, by somebody who knows what they are talking about, and based on the views of local actors, is that the 70% target of the WHO is feasible, but not easy. As a number of us have argued, and as one of the workers on the ground says:

    “There are enormous challenges in getting medicines to the last mile…. It is very hard to reach people who are most affected since they are vulnerable, often marginalised, and live in remote locations with poor roads and infrastructure.” “And this” adds the story “is exacerbated by the fact that these vaccines require cold (or ultra-cold) chain logistics infrastructure that is often nonexistent in these areas.”

    Well, will “freeing up intellectual property rights, often cited as a possible solution, bridge the widening gap?” Short answer, no. “Countries like Kenya have begun this journey by targeting the final filling of vaccine vials locally which is still quite challenging given the need for state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plants that will guarantee safe production with no chance of contamination. A lot more will be required in terms of technology transfer and building the expertise needed to fully produce vaccines locally, these cannot be achieved in the short to medium term.”

    So yes, by all means, gets vaccines into the arms of as many people as possible, but this is one of those problems that doesn’t have a quick solution from throwing money and technology at it.

    Reply
    1. c_heale

      Seems like he’s worse than Trump in most ways, the exception being that he seems so out of touch that he wouldn’t even know what Twitter is.

      Reply
  23. Jason Boxman

    State and local health officials say they are struggling to make sense of the new Covid-19 isolation and quarantine guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    They say the CDC released the updated advice, which cuts in half the recommended times for staying away from others, with little consultation or preparation.

    LOL, no. The CDC consulted with Delta Airlines, and thus is fulfilling its mission to protect the health of neoliberal capitalism. It makes perfect sense from that perspective, and most of the last two years as well. Now it’s time for year three of “go die for capitalism”. So expect more pronouncements from the CDC that otherwise don’t make sense.

    Reply
  24. KLG

    Regarding the intranasal SARS-CoV-2 binding antagonist, the research looks sound as far as a quick reading of a preprint goes. The target of the antibody mimetic is very well chosen and should hold up against viral evolution. This is exactly what the biomedical research communities around the world should be doing (not an accident that I did not see one obvious credit to Big Pharma or Biotech in the Acknowledgments from this largely Finnish group). Shots that are not vaccines for coronaviruses are a fool’s errand. I’m looking at you, Biden, Walensky, and Fauci et al. And Pfizer. On the other hand, shots or intranasal sprays that are vaccines absolutely should be in development, but those that actually work as vaccines rather than as cash cows for their dissemblers are likely to come later.

    This is a strange time, but Best Wishes to All at naked capitalism as the calendar flips to 2022!

    Reply
  25. Jason Boxman

    “It’s just so heartbreaking,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious-disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It was hard enough last year, but now you know that you have a way to prevent all this.”

    The next four to six weeks are going to be rough, he said: “This is a virus that thrives in the winter.”

    Wait, what? I thought seasonality was not established. Or perhaps he means in the north eastern US this time of year, which makes more sense?

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      I interpret “seasonality” as “any time it’s not comfortable to be outside or have your windows open”. In much of the U.S. that’s summer as well as winter.

      Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      The U.S. is exceptional in being the only major power on two isolated continents. Unlike Britain we can’t be blockaded. Unlike Germany we don’t have often hostile and allied major powers on either side of us. Unlike Russia we’re not wide open to invasion from the west. We can’t grasp what it’s like to be in those situations for decades or centuries.

      Reply
  26. lance ringquist

    the nafta democrats complete nonsense of Its New COVID Guidelines Is typical out of the free trade mentality,

    ” Anthony Fauci, currently the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, was even more frank: “The reason is that with the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with omicron, one of the things we want to be careful of is that we don’t have so many people out,” he explained on CNN. That is, we need people to get out of isolation so that they can get back to work.”

    his job is to make sure americans stay healthy, his job is not to make sure nafta billy clintons ships full of cheap junk made under horrendous human and environmental degradation get unloaded.

    Reply
  27. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “US children hospitalized with COVID in record numbers”

    And:

    “The Forever Virus: A Strategy for the Long Fight Against COVID-19”

    “At least three and a half million people have died. Many more are suffering from lingering effects of the disease. The financial toll of the pandemic has been estimated at some $20 trillion.”

    The only thing that truly matters, for a subset of the population is, that the stock market is at an all time high and the already wealthy have benefited enormously from central bank monetary policies.

    The corporate/state “drift net plan” [Bob Wiseman] requires sacrifice. See, for example,

    “Ritual sacrifice is no less a part of contemporary society than it was ancient Greek society. . . . .
    Capitalist society precisely structures inequality so that those on the bottom have the least wealth, the fewest resources, the fewest opportunities, the worst schools, the worst healthcare, the unhealthiest neighborhoods, are destined for the worst jobs, for social marginalization, mass incarceration, political disenfranchisement, and for an early death.”

    “Capitalism as a Form of Human Sacrifice: The Comedy of Innocence and The Comedy of Guilt”

    https://www.hamptonthink.org/read/capitalism-as-a-form-of-human-sacrifice-the-comedy-of-innocence-and-the-comedy-of-guilt

    SARS-CoV-2 infects and attacks every organ in the body even as long COVID presents itself in both children and adults. As such, the long term social and individual “costs” of the current viral plague have not yet been fully expressed, let alone fully realized and accepted, as the can is kicked further down the road.

    Reply
  28. lance ringquist

    paul wellstone the great anti-free trade senator was most likely rubbed out by free traders

    nafta billy clinton: “China will open its markets to American products from wheat to cars to consulting services, and our companies will be far more able to sell goods without moving factories or investments there.”

    nafta billy clinton: free trade with China as “a hundred-to-nothing deal for America when it comes to the economic consequences.”

    nafta billy clintons Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, “Economically, America gives nothing in this deal. All we agree to do is maintain the same open markets and policies toward the Chinese products(here is what the criminally incompetent nafta democrat said)that have already expanded choices and lowered prices for U.S. consumers.”

    Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton (and again in the Obama/Biden Administration), said China’s market opening to the U.S. was a bonanza. “The agreement we negotiated with China is a one-way deal.” YES IT WAS NAFTA TRAITOR!

    denying the poor medical care free traders are responsible for this, The U.S. had no face masks, ventilators and limited hospital gowns in the middle of the worst pandemic since the Spanish Flu. They are mostly made in China.

    the protecting the poor with tariffs Trump Administration basically told the WTO to go pound sand.

    starving the poor free trader nafta joe biden resurrected nafta billy clintons fascist W.T.O., SENDING PRICES TO THE POOR THROUGH THE STRATOSPHERE!

    Sep 18, 2020,11:34am EDT|2,633 views
    This Is The Vote That Changed China Forever
    Kenneth Rapoza
    Kenneth RapozaSenior Contributor

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2020/09/18/this-is-the-vote-that-changed-china-forever/?sh=3fd893139dca

    Reply
  29. MarkT

    In truly heart breaking news, war criminal Tony Blair has been awarded one of the highest awards possible. Arise Sir Tony!

    Reply

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