“They Really Are Trying to Kill Us”

The headline above has become a recurrent theme in our Covid brain trust. Here’s one example from December, the approval of Merck’s Covid treatment molnupiravir, which showed only 30% effectiveness and will generate Covid mutations:

The entire thread is worth reading but the sections above make the key point.

In case you need more persuading, how about:

And we now have the testing fiasco: there aren’t enough and so hospitals and doctors are flying blind. IM Doc, who practices in a very affluent area, has been distraught. From recent e-mails:

I am quite literally in the middle of a tsunami.

This AM we had 109 cases from the night and day before – rapidly falling way behind and there is no end in sight.

I can no longer call them COVID, however, we simply have no testing. I have 24 that have actual positive COVID testing – the other 85 we are doing sheer guess work.

Please remember – we were griping about busy days just a few weeks ago with 20 or so COVID patients. Just imagine what it is like here now. I have one staff out on quarantine. And the other one is just frazzled and overwhelmed and emotional after days of this. The other two have been pulled to other critical areas because they have zero staff. There was a time when we would all be on quarantine because of the exposure. I do not have adequate test kits to waste on testing them though.

The private home tests have completely dried up. Many patients have plenty that they have hoarded apparently – but not willing to share. People are being requested to stay home with mild symptoms – and so all I have is guess work on Zoom or the phone….

I have never felt so helpless or out of control in my life.

On top of this is all the usual stuff every day in a busy practice – abnormal mammograms, glucoses going off the wall, chest pain, infected toes – you name it.

I feel like I am drowning.

And how about masks? After having treated not wearing a mask as a sign of vaccinated virtue last May, and not bothering to communicate that the quality of masks matters, let alone not using the National Production Act to ramp up output of N95 and distribute them for free, only now do we see the press clear its throat and show how much they can help:

Yet as Lambert has pointed out, the CDC is still discouraging the use of N95s, despite the lack of evidence of any shortages (unlike early in the pandemic, when mere procedure masks were hard to come by). On top of that, when I went to the hospital when my mother was dying, I didn’t see a single N95 mask among staff or doctors, and even worse, mainly badly worn cloth masks.

How to explain this grotesque level of official negligence? Sadly, the most parsimonious explanation is the desire to minimize disruption of existing institutional and power relations. A contributing factor is laziness and lack of imagination.

Scientist GM has been relentlessly criticizing the pandemic response. Hoisted from his comments over last weekend:

There was only ever one option and it is to do exactly what the Chinese did in Wuhan and have been doing ever since.

If your country is not doing that, then we enter the socioeconomic and political sphere, in which there are two possibilities:

1. Your country is incapable of doing what has to be done. In which case it is a failed state, by definition — it is failing at its most basic duty of protecting the life and wellbeing of its citizens.

2. The ruling class of your country does not want to do what has to be done. In which case that ruling class is guilty of premeditated mass murder on a scale never seen since WWII.

Those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive — it is clear that quite a few countries are both incapable of doing actual public health the way it’s supposed to be done and have leadership that does not want it anyway.

But there are clear examples where the virus was contained and then it was deliberately let loose.

Australia right now is the most striking such case since the beginning of the pandemic, but the same was done previously in quite a few other countries.

Anyway, because we have a socioeconomic and political problem that makes it impossible to apply the already worked out purely technological solution to the medical crisis, we have to first solve the socioeconomic/political problem.

But that takes us back to our current overlords carrying out a deliberate program of physical extermination against their own population;

I don’t see how that gets resolved without the population understanding that and launching a counterprogram of physical extermination of the ruling class 1917-style. The population has the advantage of raw numbers, but it is hopelessly misinformed and divided.

Where the vaccine features in this story is that it allowed the ruling class to pull the wool over the eyes of society and first, make it seem that it is doing something to solve the problem, and second, that its “solution” is sufficient.

But it is not, and that was known to everyone who understood the situation already in 2020. This is not measles, smallpox or polio, it’s a respiratory coronavirus, and we knew immunity against those is fleeting and unreliable.

At best we had a window of a few months in early 2021 when the short-lived protection from infection could have been used to help with an elimination program before major vaccine escape had evolved.

But that would have required the kind of NPIs that the vaccines were used as an excuse not to implement…

To help illustrate the problem better, what happened before vaccines?

The following countries completely eliminated the virus, many of them multiple times:

China, Taiwan, Australia, NZ, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong, Montenegro, and several others in Eastern Europe got it down to 5-6 cases a day.

Again, that was before vaccines.

In 2021 we had vaccines, and what happened?

All of those countries except for China and Taiwan abandoned containment, which has resulted in a lot of deaths in many of them, and they are just getting started. NZ has not yet experienced it, but will inevitably have the opportunity to enjoy the experience unless it reverts back to elimination.

We don’t know how exactly the decision making went in most of those cases, except for NZ and a little bit in AU — in NZ the scientists all of a sudden were left out of the loop and the government announced it is abandoning elimination. Clearly against their advice.

And you see what is happening now with Omicron — absolute records of infections all around the world.

So what has the net effect of vaccines been?

Kind of negative in terms of public health outcomes.

For which the vaccines themselves are not to blame, but again, they were used in order to provide and excuse for the policies that brought us to where we are.

As we’ve said, the “Let ‘er rip” policy means every man for himself. Take heed.

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203 comments

  1. Cocomaan

    Seems like the US government vacillates between profound inaction or profoundly stupid and bullheaded action. The action taken always has a stakeholder (pharma in this case) and usually benefits a small slice of people.

    In January of 2020, it was clear there was a virus starting to spread, but the excuses flew about why nobody should pay attention. In the early 2000s it was the FBI letting some watch list Saudi guys train to fly planes one way.

    In September 21, it was requirements to vaccinate which probably won’t stand up in court and which don’t deal with the problem. In 2003 it was an unrelated war in Iraq.

    Now it appears the government is sitting back and shrugging again. Whocouldanode at play.

    What happens six months from now is anyones guess. Some other scheme. The best predictor is probably looking for whoever will make the most money.

    Reply
    1. tiebie66

      But it is your government, no? You (collectively) elected those people. You tolerate them. You cheer for this bad side and you cheer for the other bad side. You breathlessly watch presidential debates with word-for-word commentary despite having had numerous previous outcomes that amounted to nothing. I do not understand why there is no stronger impetus to reform the system. With that I do not mean tinkering with nobs on a mechanism that is broken. But perhaps there is a movement to reform the system root and branch and large numbers of people are devoting their energies to it? I’d like to know about it. And do you vote, time and time again, for the same corrupt people because a broken education system has ill equipped you to make better decisions? The same education system that is more concerned about personal pronouns and micro aggressions than inculcating a sense of responsibility, personal agency and an ability to think independently and clearly? An education system that produces persons incapable of reading, reckoning and reasoning?

      How is the whining going to help? I understand that it is easier to speak than to do, but perhaps we can brainstorm here or somewhere on how to address these problems.

      Reply
      1. Elsie

        It would take a revolution to fix this. Are you willing to do what it takes to fix this instead of calling others out?

        Reply
        1. greg

          Still time for a Constitutional convention.

          Of course, the concept of ‘civic duty’ will have to be introduced. As well as the understanding that there is only so much freedom to go around, and that big money is buying it all up.

          Also: The ‘Rule of Law’ is unaffordable in an unequal society.

          Reply
          1. albrt

            I don’t think we actually need to address any difficult philosophical questions at a constitutional convention. We just need to recognize that the United States is ungovernable, which should be obvious to everyone. The United States should break up into 6-10 smaller countries where the people have have enough in common to form a workable government.

            The new countries would probably be much nicer to live in, and would be too small to get away with sending soldiers overseas to commit war crimes in the rest of the world.

            Reply
            1. lance ringquist

              and all 6-10 countries would be at each others throat. see europe. millions would be stranded from their families in other countries. all of the countries would try to out compete each other in a race to the bottom. the u.s. was quite governable under the new deal and trumans gatt, it was nafta billy clinton that wiped that all away.

              Reply
          2. rob

            it’s too bad that if there was a constitutional convention, it would be ushered into existence by those in power now, and it would be done like the koch bros, and ALEC, wanted.
            Their (federalist society)supreme court would give it their stamp of approval .
            And to not be outdone; both wings of the establishment bird, the republicans and the democrats with their council on foreign relations enablers and media hype machines would provide the opinions for the “public” to have… and then we would be right where we are now… screwed.

            Reply
          3. lance ringquist

            no constitutional convention, the libertarian fascists are drooling to have that one.

            the same dim wits that sold us out to wall street and the chinese communist party, are the same dim wits that will be running the new constitution. you can only imagine how that constitution will be constructed. see the free traders pinochet constitution.

            ben franklin called our constitution the high wage constitution. nafta billy clinton completely side lined the constitution, and turned our governance over to corporations. there is your problem.

            Reply
      2. jimmy cc

        I don’t think advocating violence is allowed.

        But one could look to how Los Pepes struck against Escobar for ideas.

        but do we have the stomach for it? It certainly wont be ‘moral’ to do.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          The Stockholm Syndrome is strong in the land of the free.
          Really don’t see a solution.
          This will not end well tho.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I find this sudden influx of “encouragers” of ideational violence to be suspicious. These are new “handles” to me and follow a fairly straightforward strategy of attempting to ‘shame’ some of the more “outspoken” commenters into committing to ‘actual’ plans and actions.
            This reeks of the FBI’s standard playbook of ‘sponsoring’ “anti-social” plots and then acts in order to gin up some “righteous credit” for their “defense of the Realm.”
            Real Revolutionaries do not commit to anything over unsecured channels of communication. Successful Revolutionaries do nothing ‘serious’ outside of a limited circle of direct contacts.
            Is this the next step in the Elite’s plans for the suppression of dissent?
            Stay safe! Hull down.

            Reply
            1. ChrisRUEcon

              > Real Revolutionaries do not commit to anything over unsecured channels of communication. Successful Revolutionaries do nothing ‘serious’ outside of a limited circle of direct contacts.

              Shhhhhhh … ;-)

              Reply
      3. rob

        Whining might not help, but you have to start somewhere.

        We need a “truth and reconciliation commission”.
        Or even an open source project of some kind where people can dish all the dirt of history. All the stuff that keeps getting censored by the “central scrutinizers”… as to being too irrelevant to include…. but really a global picture in real time.
        After all so many of the bad actors in this world know each other, go to the same clubs, marry their kids to each others families…And they benefit from the same lies being told about reality.

        And there would need to be multiple pages about the scams and incompetence and “business models” of these covid years. Many stories of abuse and corruption , for sure.

        Reply
        1. lance ringquist

          this is what i advocate,

          We need a “truth and reconciliation commission”.

          FDR did it, Truman did it, and the nurumberg war crime trails did it. and so can we.

          Reply
  2. NN

    The ‘incredible helpful graph from @WSJ’ puts the time to infection when both people do not wear any mask at 15 minutes. That may be optimistic. “Three metres are not enough to ensure protection. Even at that distance, it takes less than five minutes for an unvaccinated person standing in the breath of a person with Covid-19 to become infected with almost 100 percent certainty. ” Source: https://www.mpg.de/17916867/coronavirus-masks-risk-protection . This is a ‘research news article’. It shows a reference to the underlying paper on left-hand side of the page: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2110117118 (Published in PNAS Dec 7th, 2021.)

    Reply
    1. Mantid

      They’re optimistic and WSJ also made a mistake. “Even at that distance, it takes less than five minutes for an unvaccinated person standing in the breath of a person with Covid-19 to become infected with almost 100 percent certainty.” They accidentally put the word unvaccinated in the sentence. Of course everyone knows that both vaxed and un vaxed spread and receive the virus, the vaxed even more so. Perhaps it was MSword’s auto-insert. It’s as bad as spell check sometimes. They need better editors. Just thought I’d help.

      Reply
      1. Silent Bob

        “Of course everyone knows that both vaxed and un vaxed spread and receive the virus, the vaxed even more so.”
        Everyone but the Supreme Court, evidently

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Yes, and since when has the Supreme Court hewed to any standards of logic or scientific accuracy in their decision making?
          The Law is, after all, a commonly agreed upon set of made up rules.

          Reply
        2. SES

          “Of course everyone knows that both vaxed and unvaxed spread and receive the virus, the vaxed even more so.”

          Is that really the case? I thought that the problem was that there was little difference in viral spread by the vaxxed and unvaxxed, but that the vaxxed assume that they don’t spread the virus?

          Reply
          1. Futility

            To my knowledge, infected vaccinated people excrete the virus for a shorter time with similar peak levels but faster drop off, thus the likelihood for spreading it is lower but definitely not zero. The prevalent opinion of the vaccinated that they cannot spread it, exacerbates the problem.

            Reply
  3. Larry

    Our government is totally beholden to a web of private profiteering orgs. Biden could have used powers to ramp up tests and put price controls and distribution limits on them. Instead you see them hoarded and price gouged. If vaccines are so magic, they should have been fully nationalized and made available globally. And a program for pandemic vaccine developments should have been developed. And because financialization has so decoupled gains from the real economy, a bubble can enrich enough people so that a narrative emerges that we’re doing the best we can.

    But reality has a way of rearing it’s ugly head. Eventually business demand drops and labor price skyrockets because we’ve killed and maimed too many people. What then? The decision makers won’t care, because like Obama they’ll be counting their gains on the Vineyard and hangin’ with cool dudes like the Boss.

    Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    ‘Australia right now is the most striking such case since the beginning of the pandemic’

    Got that right. I saw on the news a few hours ago that Australia now has a higher rate of infection than the US per million (We’re number one! We’re number one!). The States and people are demanding that the government supply free tests so that people can know their status but Scotty from Marketing has dug his heels in saying that the government just can’t give stuff away for free (unless you are a defence contractor that is). I think that he has adopted Trump’s idea that if you don’t test for the virus, your numbers will go down and make you look good.

    But by my count, 1,400 people have died since they opened up and the numbers are accelerating. He may be doing the bidding of businesses opening up but that has now blown up in his face as whole sectors of the workforce are out sick or isolating. National spending levels have dropped off a cliff and supermarkets are being stripped. Deliveries are a mess as so many truck drivers are down as well and it may be that the schools may stay closed after the holidays are finished. And as the old Carpenter’s song went, ‘We’ve Only Just begun.’ People are now voting with their feet – by sitting back and digging themselves in at home-

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/retail-and-hospitality-suffer-spending-hit

    In passing, China is still holding the line by fighting this virus but I have noticed more and more stories over the past few weeks how China should get with the program and let ‘er rip. So you will have a Hong Kong doctor say that we have to learn to live with the virus and people in quarantine there also talking about what a hard life they have in their quarantine hotel. Give us a break.

    Reply
    1. upstater

      Rev, Is West Australia still closed to the rest of the country and international travel?

      (Booked a 3 week trip in late 2019 for November 2020, in/out of Perth, but Covid had other ideas :-( for my retirement explorations

      Reply
      1. GM

        WA is scheduled to reopen on February 5th.

        The hope is that they will reconsider. We desperately need more successful examples than China of life without COVID.

        In WA they don’t even wear masks, which is a luxury they can’t afford in most of China because virus is leaking into China from everywhere so they have to be remain on guard

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Yep. They still have the border slammed shut. They had a handful of people infected but today there were no new cases. In fact, they are easing some restrictions like indoor mask-wearing at indoor venues and at outdoor events. Meanwhile, NSW had nearly 40,000 cases today, mine had nearly 11,000 and Victoria over 20,000 cases. Every State that has opened up is in chaos right now with their medical services pushed to the wall. And it has not even peaked yet. Imagine my surprise-

        https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-update-western-australia-mask-wearing-scrapped-for-indoors-and-major-outdoor-events/73515de5-54fd-4084-9705-0e6ea0d2e1b8

        Reply
  5. Henry Moon Pie

    The liberal news media has now magically disappeared the virus. No counts. Little discussion other than “experts now say it’s time to learn to live with the virus.” Otherwise, it’s 1/6 and the sanctification of the Cheneys.

    As always in ‘Murca, we let the businessman decide, and what he has decided is that he wants to make money no matter what.

    Now our nation is in a sailboat race. Nearly all boats are on the same course, but a few have tacked and set out in a different direction. Do these few boats know something the crowd doesn’t? When we approach the finish line (let’s say in 5 years), which group of boats will be winning? Which boats will still be afloat?

    Covid is steadily, relentlessly, creatively pouring sand into the gears of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism can only work at all in a Holocene setting, everything stable, everything favorable. It is lacking in resilience. A system capable of flexibility would already have adapted given the level of death, the uncertainty of after-effects, the steady grinding away at “normality.” But the system has proven incapable of bending in order not to break. It has opted to remain rigid until the last moment when it collapses completely.

    It it can happen quickly enough, that’s going to entail a lot of chaos, but it is definitely good news in the longer run.

    Reply
    1. GM

      Neoliberalism can only work at all in a Holocene setting, everything stable, everything favorable. It is lacking in resilience

      That is correct, with one additional important requirement — constant expansion is necessary. So that the upwards transfer of wealth is absorbed by the growth without making everyone else worse off.

      Otherwise the system will become destabilized by widespread resentment. Unless your propaganda and mind control techniques work really well to force people into accepting the situation.

      Once you can no longer maintain growth, it has to be the expense of everyone else.

      And that has been true for the last couple decades after conventional oil peaked around 2005 and the gains from the transfer of wealth from the former Eastern Bloc to the West were spent.

      But now we have gotten to the point where it is not just the financial expense of everyone else, but literal blood sacrifices are demanded — COVID was a stress on the system that could have been absorbed either by the rich sharing some of their wealth with the poor or by the poor dying so that the rich don’t have to do that. The latter was chosen.

      Reply
      1. Skunk

        GM, I agree with you about the link between energy and the economy. Despite ticker tapes, interest rates, the money supply, etc., at a deeper level the economy is an outcome of thermodynamic realities that are much more hard-headed than the economic theories bandied about by the economists.

        Up until the 1970s, the United States had plenty of light, sweet crude. The low cost and availability of each barrel of oil provided low-cost energy for manufacturing, transportation, etc. The booming U.S. economy was typically attributed to many other things, but in another way, it was a direct outgrowth of low-cost, dense energy.

        All of the rhetoric and dazzle of business schools, economic training, etc., is in some ways smoke and mirrors. “Growth” requires a continual input of energy. Without the ready inputs of low-cost, dense energy, growth will not occur.

        Reply
        1. jonboinAR

          That reality of declining gobs of nearly free energy is the factor we so often to include in our discussions of “what should we do next”, but it’s as critical as anything there is. I think we don’t factor it in as needs to be done, if we’re really trying to head off any coming disaster, because it hasn’t actually hit us in the face, yet. I. E., gas is still under $4 per gallon. I’m guessing that on Easter Island there were some who mentioned that they seemed to be running out of food. They were probably answered with “This is how we do things.”

          Reply
    2. Brindle

      “Otherwise, it’s 1/6 and the sanctification of the Cheneys.”….
      Yes, exactly. The big production 1/6 is supposed to keep us riveted to the TV screen as Pelosi and Schumer create lame high school level entertainment. The leaders are incapable of seeing beyond the veil of neoliberalism. Thatcher’s “there is no alternative” is in full operation. It’s “all engines on full” as the iceberg rips a larger and larger hole in the Titanic.

      Reply
  6. Basil Pesto

    And how about masks? After having treated not wearing a mask as a sign of vaccinated virtue last May, and not bothering to communicate that the quality of masks matters, let alone not using the National Production Act to ramp up output of N95 and distribute them for free, only now do we see the press clear its throat and show how much they can help:

    I should be grateful that the Overton window is being shifted piece by piece on this but frankly it infuriates me. Sometimes as well the angle is ‘oh we need these for Omicron’ when it was true of ‘delta’ as well. The press were being informed of this constantly, but now that vaccine magic-bullet thinking is on the wane as it inevitably had to be (with a bare minimum of reflection or humility), they’re quietly trying to normify N95s.

    Perhaps I’m being churlish; it’s certainly better late than never. But the other infuriating thing as you say is that this messaging is not coming from the top. But would it even matter? The CDC is so discredited that it’s hard to say

    A mask mandate was reinstated in Victoria last week as cases skyrocket. I’ve written before how masking standards slipped in the long 2021 lockdown here as vaccines were introduced at the same time and people were apparently buying into ‘vax and done’. Mask use in 2020 by contrast was very good (and the transmissibility was lower so it seems source control w/ lesser masks was enough to bring case numbers down). Now, though, for the few people who are out and a out, more people are just brazenly ignoring the latest mandate. Partly probably due to ‘vax and done’, probably also in part due to the ‘we’re all going to get it + have to live with it’ messaging of the federal and some state governments. Partly also because I suspect not many people understand that Covid is airborne and what that means for their risk mitigation efforts. Oh, and actual enforcement of the mandate is now non-existent. Meanwhile Melbourne and Sydney are now in de facto lockdown – traffic very diminished the past week or so. Spending down so ~the economy~ suffering. It is an absolute shitshow up and down the country, except WA, where life remains pretty much 2019 normal. They still remain scheduled to ‘reopen’ on Feb 5. Will be interesting to see if that happens.

    Oh and RATs have been a sideshow, and are veering into
    ‘pernicious distraction’ territory. The Victorian government has bought a lot to distribute gratis to citizens. That’s good (and Vic is a currency user not issuer; it’s a minor scandal that the federal government isn’t paying for them – they’ve been pressured to subsidise RATs at the national scale too, after Morrison this week said no because “not everything can be free”. They’re sold out everywhere.) as far as it goes. The problem is it doesn’t go very far. With all the false positives it won’t make a dent in case numbers. And neither the state or feds are funding N95s, which actually will. Cloth masks still abound. What the fuck? The RATs are simply being ushered in as a replacement for the PCR testing system, which has collapsed from demand this past week.

    Hospitalisations are up. Hospitalisations lag cases as we know. Deaths lag hospitalisations. The obvious question is “why are we doing this?” but people seem disinclined to ask that and would rather heap (justifiable) scorn on the inept federal government. But people seem to think this is a party politics thing, and that the other guys would be doing things better. Doubtful. We’re all a bit guilty for buying so uncritically into using the vaccines as a rationalisation for allowing the virus to take control. As GM rightly points out, they have been the difference as policy, for the worse. Without them, we’d be continuing our initial successful measures, if not improving upon them.

    From the world’s best to among the world’s worst (albeit not yet in terms of CFR or excess mortality… fingers crossed that holds). So stupid, so unnecessary.

    Reply
    1. GM

      Spending down so ~the economy~ suffering. It is an absolute shitshow up and down the country, except WA, where life remains pretty much 2019 normal. They still remain scheduled to ‘reopen’ on Feb 5. Will be interesting to see if that happens.

      What is the feeling on the ground about whether they will indeed open up?

      MacGown was talking about how NSW is an example of what not to do as recently as a week ago. It would not make sense to do so if he intends to then do exactly what NSW did.

      I also can’t imagine that more than 15-20% of the population in WA is in favor of opening up.

      And then there is the question of what happens to the global economy when the WA mines have to shut down because everyone is sick with COVID (and I kind of doubt the medical facilities are top notch in the middle of nowhere). So this might be a situation a bit like China’s — China is sticking to ZeroCOVID because that is good for China, but in fact the rest of the world should be thankful for that too, because if China shuts down again, which will happen if they let it rip just by the force of the virus, then the world is in big trouble given how it’s already on the edge with the supply chains.

      There is no rational argument in favor of opening up on the 5th. But the time to announce the postponement is approaching and it that has not happened yet, which is very worrying.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘and I kind of doubt the (WA) medical facilities are top notch in the middle of nowhere’

        Not just there. So some time ago, that Dr. John Campbell was interviewing a doctor in Perth, the capital of Western Australia on his channel. According to that doctor, the hospital are badly stretched when they have a bad flu season requiring people to be hospitalized – and Perth is not exactly famous for its cold winters.

        Reply
      2. Dio

        I’m based in Western Australia, returning here after the Dot com boom/bust. The last two years here have been 99% normal. We’ve experienced a few short sharp lockdowns, the longest was 6 weeks and travelling out of WA with the expectation of getting back in has been difficult but otherwise the rest of life has been pre-Covid normal, indeed better in some ways as the economy has boomed on the back of good mining and good agricultural commodity prices and yields. Locals are watching the train wreck on the east coast with some trepidation, there has been a huge surge for booster vaccinations at the State organised vaccination hubs this week. I recently had my third vaccination and despite booking waited for hour. Our shops are showing signs of either supply disruptions and/or pantry stocking probably both.

        Perth local hospitals have had many issues in the last two years even without Covid as there has been a sustained period of under investment in hospitals and our population has tripled in the last fifty years with Perth’s population rising from 760,000 to 2.1m). We’ve seen regular ambulance “ramping”, a series of capacity constraint issues (code yellows and the like) and they have been short staffed as they relied heavily on importing overseas trained Doctors and nurses to plug gaps in local training, some of which is Federally funded. ICU bed capacity of ~125 is the worst in the country, on a per capita basis, and it is always 90% full of the usual heart attacks/strokes/car crash victims etc. That said without Covid elective surgeries have mostly carried on normally and the standard of medical care is usually good, a family relative had a quadruple bypass and was surprised by the quality care.

        McGowan knows his hospital sector is weak and has tried to boost it but the best protection has been the hard border. There has been a sustained campaign of attack on McGowan by local business lobbies through the agencies of local radio, tv and our local newspaper. Being so isolated means this media still carries a lot of weight. The news paper has run articles on “skilled staff shortages” daily. Most of the time this is nonsense as the industries complaining are hospitality, tourism, universities/colleges, agricultural horticulture, labour hire companies etc which have all exploited temporary labour like backpackers and international students. The lobbies are still pushing for WA to be opened which makes no sense as business is getting slaughtered on the east coast. As has been shown over and over the performance of the economy is negatively correlated to the presence of the virus!

        I’m praying that the border controls stay. If east coast hospitals really crash and burn then McGowan will have some obvious evidence upon which to change his stance.

        Reply
      3. Janet

        Premier McGowan is monitoring the results in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the NT before he does or doesn’t change our opening date here in WA. Once NSW and Victoria opened up, unfortunately at the beginning of Omicron here in Australia, it was and is a disaster for them. Today’s paper here in Perth gives the percentages as 53% wanting McGowan to keep the border shut, if necessary, 23% wanting us to still reopen on 5th of Feb and 12% undecided.
        Other than missing family and friends and being able to travel freely (like, where would we go?) and those are big hurdles for many of course, we’ve had, if memory serves me right, four lockdowns in WA since Australia first locked down in 2020. The initial one,when the whole country locked down, and three much shorted periods, like two weeks or less. Personally, my friends and I are dreading the opening of the borders because life in Western Australia has been fairly normal for all of us and we feel very grateful for that.

        Reply
    2. GM

      Without them, we’d be continuing our initial successful measures, if not improving upon them

      In retrospect, it was clear you were doomed from two things

      One is the refusal to build dedicated quarantine centers. If there is a country with the space to do that, it is Australia, and you could have easily built one in the middle of nowhere with a couple new runways for arriving airplanes (which would not be that many so you don’t need a proper complete Sydney International-level airport). Nothing of the sort was ever seriously discussed, which means the plan at the federal level was never for a Fortress Australia.

      Second, you never set up mass testing. Which was the first thing the Chinese did during their initial lockdown — they brought it to zero with harsh restriction on mobility, but during those weeks in February, March and April 2020 they worked hard to set up mass testing. So that they could be ready to find all infections in case of new outbreaks (which they clearly knew would be introduced from abroad). The Wuhan lockdown was concluded with the first real-life test of that system, and without that they would never have been able to control Delta outbreaks in mere weeks.

      But neither Australia nor NZ made any effort to develop that capability.

      Which also indicated no real commitment to maintaining a COVID-free status.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘the refusal to build dedicated quarantine centers’

        Only because Scotty from Marketing absolutely refused to go this way but said that There Is No Alternative but to use leaky hotels located in the middle of our biggest cities. In fact, he threatened States that wanted to go this way and used the government to work against any State wanting to do so using legal and financial measures. In the early days of the pandemic. they used the Quarantine centre on Christmas Island to bring people home as it was ideal there but it disappeared from the news so I assume that they quickly shut it down so that hotels could be used instead.

        Reply
      2. Skunk

        China has done some things right, but also bears a lot of responsibility for the emergence of this virus as a worldwide pandemic. Even if you believe the virus emerged naturally as zoonotic spillover (which I don’t), SARS-like illness was initially covered up in China during the period when it would have been easiest to achieve potential containment. This decision harmed the entire world. There is a window of efficacy for acting to contain emerging pathogens. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s difficult to put it back in. This is one of the basic principles of emerging infectious disease response, and indeed it is the reason for the many surveillance programs that exist worldwide to detect emerging infections at any early stage.

        Of course, China was eventually able to put the genie back into the bottle within its borders, but was too late for the world. With Omicron, it may also prove to be impossible for China to maintain containment within its borders.

        The striking thing to me is that a crucial body of knowledge existed well before SARS-CoV-2 to contain emerging viruses from spreading across the world. Yet, with very few exceptions, this expertise was completely suppressed and downplayed by political functionaries. I believe it might have been possible to have avoided a worldwide pandemic. Of course, we will never know. The triumph of political interests over public health interests created a pseudo-narrative of this pandemic. Ironically, these politicians actually acted against their own long-term interests, because economies would have been much better off if the virus had initially been contained through decisive and realistic political action.

        Reply
        1. Roland

          Yeah PRC screwed up first.

          Everybody else has screwed up since, screwed up worse, and with less excuse.

          If the the world had done as the PRC, this whole thing would have been over a long time ago.

          It is frustrating that we are getting beaten so badly in this war, when at no point has humanity been more than a few weeks away from complete victory. But did we ever think of victory? Did we ever plan to win?

          Reply
  7. Hanna

    How to alienate 93% of the nation, get them to ignore your message and get the disease to spread.

    According to the makers of that unattributed graphic of how to wear masks properly, only black women get Covid? Therefore all you white and Asian people, plus black males, don’t exist and can ignore this graphic?

    Subtext is that black women are too stupid to wear masks correctly?

    Reply
    1. CanCyn

      If you look for it, you’ll see it. Sometimes a graphic is just a graphic. I did not see that chart the way you did and I am glad of that. There is enough shit going on in the world without digging up more.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      ‘Sarcasm Alert’
      Get with the Plan Hanna! That reductionist icon of a Black Woman is to show that Covid is Inclusive! Thus, under ‘normal’ IdPol terms and conditions, Covid is “Virtuous” since it works hard to make America a multi-racial, multi-cultural, dystopia.
      (I would here include a ‘Sarcasm Off’ message, but I suspect that it is going to be one of “Those” days.)
      Stay safe!

      Reply
    3. TBellT

      Think you’re missing the forest for the trees here. The graphic is wrong, people should be wearing N95’s. Who cares about subtext when the text is wrong?

      (TBH I don’t even understand you’re reading on subtext, there’s a clear variety of skin colors on both sides of the do and don’t column)

      Reply
  8. Steve H.

    I’ve commented before about how the State induced health care staffing shortages through Disemployment: Aug 11, Oct 27, Nov 15.

    Our friend Larry is a wonderful nurse who retired to Carolina recently, broke his leg a couple of days ago. Fifty people ahead of him on the wait list for a room, he spent all his time in a hallway and a curtained ward with five other patients. Coughing etc, but his housemates already came up Covid positive. The system has already collapsed, an engineered demolition, and we’re in the dust plume blowout.

    We’re thankful every day Janet retired from nursing a few months ago. This is what Sixth Generation Warfare looks like.

    Reply
  9. VietnamVet

    The structure of the current economic political system that mirrors the Gilded Age is based on the extraction of wealth from workers and the earth to increase the wealth of the rich with no regard to the consequences. This is bound bring about a collapse. Today it is pretty much following the path of WWI and the Spanish flu which led the collapse of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires. The 21st century Western Empire is done for. China is on the rise along with Taiwan and Japan who all have a zero COVID policy.

    VP Kamala Harris was on NewsHour last night. The Empire has loosened the reigns on the media after the Fall of Kabul and there were almost to the point questions about the floundering Biden Administration. She couldn’t answer them. She couldn’t even dodge them effectively. She is rather an unappealing woman who clearly doesn’t grasp what’s going on.

    You can say you’re on your own but it is frightening to watch healthcare, education, and logistics collapse and people go out of control. Unintentional or not, the VP made it clear that the US federal government won’t help. To stay in power clearly, Multi-nationals, their Overseers and Democrats will scapegoat a significant number of Americans to coverup their own failures.

    More Americans have died with COVID (855,843) than in all of the 20th century wars (616,640) but an emergency has not been declared and the nation has not gone on a war footing to combat the virus.

    Reply
  10. John Siman

    “How to explain,” Yves writes, “this grotesque level of official negligence? Sadly, the most parsimonious explanation is the desire to minimize disruption of existing institutional and power relations.” And even more sadly, we are thus logically led to contemplate a most ghastly explanation, that “[our] ruling class … does not want to do what has to be done. In which case that ruling class is guilty of premeditated mass murder on a scale never seen since WWII.” We must contemplate, in other words, the possibility that “our current overlords [are] carrying out a deliberate program of physical extermination against their own population.”

    Could we really be living in such a nightmare? Well, I personally, merely out of an instinct for self-preservation, have been making my recent plans from what I feel is the very practical assumption that my government in my enemy. And what do I, striving to be practical, striving, that is, to avoid terrible sickness and death, observe of my government? Well, it seems that when members of Congress contract COVID, they are very often treated with a protocol that includes Ivermectin, even though Ivermectin is *officially* condemned as a treatment:
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/10/26/joe_rogan_says_dr_pierre_kory_treated_200_members_of_congress_with_ivermectin.html
    So I have been keeping a stash of Ivermectin (prescribed by a physician) in the fridge for the eventuality of my contracting COVID.

    Which eventuality has arrived. For it seems I’ve just gotten the Omicron variant — i.e. upper respiratory complaints only — the doctor told me yesterday that my lungs sounded clear. So I’ve started my course of Ivermectin, and a friend is bringing me some Quercetin today. And the Ivermectin seems to be working: As I rise this morning, I feel only a little off, like I have a cold, and I sneeze occasionally.

    So I’m assuming I’ll be back to normal in a couple of days. But I’m also continuing to assume that my government would prefer that I not treat my symptoms, that I risk extreme illness, hospitalization, intubation, and death.

    Reply
    1. Brian Beijer

      my government is my enemy

      This is what I’ve been feeling since March 2020. There hasn’t been one single action the Swedish government has taken to seriously reduce the spread of this virus. In fact, since the very beginning, the government stated publicly on numerous occasions that their goal is to acheive herd immunity… even if it kills all of “us”. I say “us” because based on “glorious leaders” actions in their private lives, they seem to have no fear of the virus themselves. Our king and queen were diagnosed with Covid on Wednesday. For some reason, I highly doubt either of them will ever see the inside of a hospital despite being 75 and 78 respectively. I wonder what it is they know that the rest of us don’t? Maybe the better question would be, I wonder what it is that they have access to that the rest of us don’t? I guess one could raise Boris Johnson as a counter example. If I were Boris, I would be worried that perhaps I was considered one of the expendables after all…

      Reply
      1. GM

        The elites are not homogeneous in their attitude towards COVID.

        Some are clearly in complete denial of the danger.

        Others are still living like hermits but hermits with the resources to make that a very comfortable experience.

        And then there is the category that understands the dangers but is happy to accept a somewhat reduced life expectancy for themselves (moderated greatly by the access to the best treatments they have) as long as, as Fauci slipped last week, the “structure of society” is preserved.

        There is no real solution to the problem that does not involve threatening the status quo in terms of who is on top of society. You need downwards wealth redistribution to defeat the virus, that is a necessary condition.

        But the elites are in this for the long haul, where the “long haul” is defined on a multigenerational time scale.

        The reaction to COVID tells us that that they see shaving a few years off their own life expectancy as long as their progeny remains in control of society and even strengthens its positions as an acceptable tradeoff.

        Remember that what they get in exchange is almost nobody else getting to retire (because everyone is dead before they get to their mid-60s from the consequences of repeated COVID infections) and all that entitlement spending being redistributed to them. That’s many many trillions.

        They also get a complete defeat of labor and a return to 19th century norms of ruthless brutal no-protection-for-the-regular-man exploitation of the plebs.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          I get that “they” don’t give a fig about us, but this is not like other forms of exploitation. It is a flipping infectious, occasionally deadly, and often injurious or crippling disease that easily mutates; it has already shown the ability to dodge both vaccines and medicine. There is no reason to believe that it will not become a much more deadly disease that is just as infectious. Perhaps something that has the infectiousness of measles and the deadliness of smallpox.

          True, it might not, but who knows? And the more it is allowed to exist, poorly treated, in entire countries, the more likely it will become something like that. That makes this all the more puzzling, if not plain insane. Maybe I should increase my efforts to get The Drug That Shall Not Be Mentioned, but it is like trying to score weed or smack back when, which is also just crazy.

          Maybe I should reread King Leopold’s Ghost, which is a history of the Congo after its conquest and brutal colonization exploitation by King Leopold of Belgium. Or The Heart of Darkness , which is just a fictionalized, but accurate, description of the Belgian Congo. I have the sense that our beloved leadership is thinking in King Leopold’s terms.

          Reply
            1. GM

              It spreads faster, it is not yet more infectious.

              Not the same thing.

              The generation time of Omicron is much shorter, which is why it spreads faster, but that is not the same as raw transmissibility (R_0).

              Not that it matters much in practice, of course

              Reply
        2. JMM

          > But the elites are in this for the long haul, where the “long haul” is defined on a multigenerational time scale.

          I disagree with you here. I think the “long haul” is gone. The amount of shit hitting the fan from different directions is so huge that only very short term projections work now.

          Reply
        3. Joe Well

          Dr. David Sinclair, geneticist at Harvard who believes we are on the cusp of achieving immortality, this week has started a podcast about how to extend the human lifespan.

          I listened to it. He is beyond optimistic. Not a word about covid. One of the most surreal experiences I’ve had during this whole pandemic.

          Some of our betters are indeed in it to win it.

          Reply
          1. flora

            adding: Dr. David Sinclair, geneticist at Harvard who believes we are on the cusp of achieving immortality,

            It’s the PMC’s class religion. It also disconnects the livings’ lives from whatever afterlife they imagine. Tech will save us, to heck with the real analogue world of real peoples as we live it, as we are bound by it. My 2 cents.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Actually, we might just be able to stop death by aging soon, which would certainly make the Oligarchs and their courtiers, pettifactors, and enforcers happy (plus a few deluded serfs thinking of spending their eternity as thralls a good deal), but death by everything else including civilizational collapse, not so much.

              Maybe, just maybe they should spend some of that dreaming on saying the world; what is the use of living in a Hell of their own creation? Worse, one that their children have to live in?

              Reply
          2. PlutoniumKun

            He is undoubtedly a brilliant scientist, but he’s become increasingly a peddler of snake oil so far as I can see (its possible though that his many scientific critics are motivated by jealousy). He’s making a fortune selling various supplements that seem to work well on mice, but not much else.

            Reply
    2. Mantid

      John, get well soon. There are many many people doing exactly as you. They hope they don’t get it, try to avoid it (masks, distance, et al) and unfortunately with Omicron – get it. I’m glad you got some Ivermectin. We scrounged a few pills (literally) and I have a couple tubes of paste and so are about as ready as can be. Nice weekly podcast from the FLCCC about yet another study on Ivermectin’s efficacy. If you want to feel a bit better about your chances, watch it: https://covid19criticalcare.com/
      About a half page down: Brazil Research Studies

      Reply
        1. Mantid

          Thanks for the link. After starting to hear about it’s many properties, including as an anti inflammatory, I’m going to try it for my aging knee that gets tired and swells a bit. Of course, it’s being blocked at customs and everyone thinks I’m a trumpoid when I bring it up, but I’ll keep trying. It’s tuning out to be quite the compound. It’s up there with garlic and oranges (not at the same time) for overall health.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            >>>Of course, it’s being blocked at customs…

            If you don’t mind my asking, just what are customs excuses reasons?

            Reply
  11. Adam1

    More recently I’ve started wondering what the longer term political and social consequences will be given the magnitude of abject failure and chronic lying/PR spinning our governments have been deploying. Many historians feel it was Chernobyl that exposed the same types of rot within the Soviet system and eventually lead to the fall of the Soviet Union. Will Covid set in motion the groundwork for a similar upheaval in the west?

    Reply
    1. GM

      Many historians feel it was Chernobyl that exposed the same types of rot within the Soviet system and eventually lead to the fall of the Soviet Union

      Chernobyl exposed the rot because it was allowed to happen, but it was actually handled very well from an objective disaster management point of view (Western propaganda has made it so that few people understand that) — the state let the engineers call the shots while providing all the necessary resources, and the reactor was sealed as quickly as possible.

      It’s quite similar to how the Chinese extinguished their own COVID epidemic.

      The Western reaction to COVID is on a whole different level of societal degeneration.

      The USSR would never have allowed COVID to become endemic even in the 1980s, let alone in prior decades. It would have reacted similarly to China.

      You simply cannot accept that as it goes fundamentally against the foundational principles of a communist state and it loses all legitimacy if it allows uncontrolled spread of something so dangerous when it is eminently controllable through collective effort.

      In fact we are deeply unfortunate this is happening after the collapse of the USSR. Or rather, one reason it is happening is that the USSR does not exist.

      If the Eastern Bloc was still around, there would have been a very large COVID-free area in the world, spanning all of it, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and probably a few other countries too.

      Not just China that can be easily painted as a totalitarian hell by the propaganda machine.

      And it would have been much much more difficult for anyone to claim we have “to live with it”.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        Post Soviet Union, the US system has been allowed to evolve into one where medicalized death is profitable.

        The further “corporate management” and financialization penetrate into (what to call it, you can’t really call it a “health care system” anymore so lets call it) the medical industry, the more ways management creates to profit from disease, dysfunction and death.

        Like burning the earth for profit, which we can’t seem to imagine stopping ourselves from doing, what mechanism exists to stop us from profitably exterminating ever growing segments of the population? There will come a point when it becomes no longer possible, but when? And after what percentage of the population has died? “Sadly, the most parsimonious explanation is the desire to minimize disruption of existing institutional and power relations. A contributing factor is laziness and lack of imagination.” And no effective mechanism exist as yet to disrupt these power relations or concomitant laziness.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        I can’t find a link to it, but many years ago I read an interesting paper on population dynamics comparing communist authoritarian countries to at least nominally free market ones. It found that while mortality rates were fairly similar there were striking differences in the patterns. In simple terms, countries like China were tolerant of famines and mass deaths where they could be geographically isolated (in other words, they could shield news from the people who matter in the big cities), but were intolerant of preventable illness and death among the general population, hence they invested a lot in local healthcare. Countries like India were the opposite. They were intolerant of mass death as (presumably) an open media meant it could not be hidden. But they were perfectly tolerant of mass morbidity from a wide variety of preventable disease.

        I’m not sure if this sort of study really does tell deeper truths, but I do think that the political system matters in response to a pandemic. For whatever reason (and it may well have been at least partially accidental), the Chinese staked Beijings reputation on winning the war on Covid. For whatever reason, the US and other countries have leaderships who have decided that its not worth the effort.

        Reply
        1. GM

          There was only one inexcusable famine in the USSR — the one in the the early 1930s.

          The one post-WWII was in a ruined country, the one post-WWI was in the middle of a civil war and before there was a USSR.

          After 1946 there was no famine.

          And in the other Eastern Bloc countries there was no famine or malnutrition at any point.

          So I am not sure we can speak about tolerance towards mass deaths once the system had consolidated and stabilized.

          Also, it was not just preventable disease from infectious disease that was unacceptable. You had no homeless, beggars, unemployed, etc. And it wasn’t just a pretense, there really were none.

          Reply
  12. bwilli123

    This article is a month old. Not seen anyone making a fuss about it in the MSM, funnily enough.
    …”Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found elevated levels of a biomarker related to blood vessel damage in children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, even if the children had minimal or no symptoms of COVID-19. They also found that a high proportion of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection met clinical and diagnostic criteria for thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). TMA is a syndrome that involves clotting in the small blood vessels and has been identified as a potential cause for severe manifestations of COVID-19 in adults.

    https://www.chop.edu/news/chop-researchers-find-elevated-biomarker-related-blood-vessel-damage-all-children-sars-cov-2#:~:text=Researchers%20at%20Children's%20Hospital%20of,no%20symptoms%20of%20COVID%2D19

    Reply
    1. JMM

      Our governments are fighting a disease with unknown long-term implications with extremely short-termist approaches (“how fast can we get ‘back to normal’ and get you all to spend money after this wave?”). This can only end well.

      Reply
      1. jsn

        And look at who has “gotten back to normal” and how they did it.

        There is a set of functional states who are recognizing one anther right now who I expect will begin acting in that recognition shortly.

        The western neoliberal core has stigmatized itself as diseased. It may take a few years, but the healthy will start to identify with like while the diseased will continue to reinfect, setting themselves apart and back. I expect this to be a logarithmic process starting slowly now. And hope to be wrong. And am working to make myself wrong to the extent I can figure out how, no great luck yet on this front!

        Reply
    2. K.k

      NC had a link to this when it it was first published over a year ago when it was effectively ignored in the msm. And has been mentioned in the comments before, but worth a mention again , especially in the context of the current struggle against unsafe school openings.

      Reply
  13. Michael

    The chart is not science if you follow the T feed, but may be common sense helpful.
    Why? Symmetry and source not found.

    Reply
  14. Roger Blakely

    For nearly two years I have been proudly wearing my homemade cloth face covering. I had cut up an old pair of underwear and stapled rubber bands to the corners. This week Los Angeles County Public Health has decreed that I wear a blue store-bought surgical mask. So sad.

    Reply
    1. GM

      This is one case where you do have to trust the big corporations, in this case 3M, and go with their products, because they are the only reliable protection

      Reply
      1. albrt

        Any thoughts on Honeywell? Their local facility started producing N-95s in 2020, and they are now readily available and cheap, at least in Arizona.

        Reply
        1. GM

          I have both a Honeywell and a 3M P100 gas masks. The Honeywell one is complete garbage — it is flimsily made and leaks air on the sides. The 3PM P100 is top quality in contrast.

          I can’t comment on the N95s, I have not tried any Honeywell ones

          Reply
    2. LawnDart

      I have been proudly wearing my homemade cloth face covering. I had cut up an old pair of underwear and stapled rubber bands to the corners.

      That seems oddly appropriate.

      Reply
    1. jsn

      Amnesica the beautiful.

      Yves “parsimonious” explanation is also quite charitable.

      “Limits To Growth” came out about the same time. Plu ca change..

      Reply
  15. Lee

    For a real treat watch Leana Wen go all tiger mom on the absolute necessity of getting kids back to school right now. Okay, everybody, fun’s over, time to get your noses back to the grindstone.

    https://www.trendsmap.com/twitter/tweet/1478911204986966017

    To which I offer in response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG1fgCHvDNQ. Not completely appropriate in that a lot teachers actually do want to “leave the kids alone” at least until the air clears, as it were.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Ah, Leana Wen: alumnus of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders, class of 2018.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that. / ;)

      Reply
      1. AJB

        It is quite concerning seeing who has been part of the WEF Global Leaders program. Schwab has targeted specific governments into which he places his plants. People need to wise up to who is pulling the strings.

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            As one reads all of Feigl-Ding’s tweets, one must ask: are they expressing support for “stop the spread” or support for “spread it everywhere” ? I admit I have not read them all thoroughly, but the ones I have skim-read seem to support ” stop the spread” . . . . at least to me.

            If my impression is correct, then my guess is that Feigl-Ding has not been brain-polluted merely by having been inducted into the WEF Global Shaper Club.

            Reply
  16. Gumnut

    Combining covid with the sequel of climate/ecological overshoot and taking the working assumption of ‘the powers to be are trying to kill us” one is left with the question of whether the ‘trying to’ is the alluded to late-romanov-incompetence, calculated malintent (getting rid of you for my direct benefit, something WEF-conspiracy style) or delusional malintent (getting rid of you for some greater deity – S.cience, P.rogress, G.rowth, etc.). Clearly at least of combination of these, but one is left wondering how to respond to the working assumption. Flee, hide, prep? Non-violent civil disobedience and speaking out? 3d-print your militia supplies?
    What a bunch of choices that is.

    I put my not-well-founded hopes on the delusional, mass formation-esque explanation as it at least provides a workable situation ‘on the other side’. If ‘they’ are more along Idiocracy or Don’t look up lines…the gods help us.

    Reply
  17. Tom Stone

    I think our reptilian overlords are simply letting Nature take its course, with a little help here and there.
    Overpopulation is a problem and if Covid removes 40% of the weakest and least desirable members of America’s populace it is a net plus.
    And since it is also increasing the concentration of wealth and power in worthy hands complaining about it is awfully close to criticizing God’ swill.
    Plagues and the like are manifestations of God’ swill according to many evangelicals and I expect that line to be pushed real hard.
    I do foresee a couple of potential bumps in the road…one is the assumption that this Virus will not continue to mutate or that if it does it won’t become much more deadly.
    The second is that a whole buncha people are going to catch this sucker at the same time, a million or more a day for several months seems likely.
    Which might have an effect on things like the water supply, garbage pick up and food deliveries.
    Forget healthcare, that’s toast.
    And those effects might be magnified by an almost total loss of belief in the legitimacy of our Government because it is very clearly doing its best to kill us.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t trust Badass Joe Biden or rely on the competence of “The People’s Choice” Harris

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lihop

      i’ve mentioned LATOC many times…”life after the oil crash”, a remarkable peak oil forum i was a part of, 02 or so-09.
      distributed lay think tank.
      NC is like that, which in my universe is high praise, indeed.
      at latoc, we often discussed the various and sundry doom scenarios…often with the now-hallowed darth cheney as a sort of stand in marker for the evil cabal.
      ie: “what would darth cheney do?”
      it was acknowledged that the root of most of the planet’s existential problems…from climate chaos to peak resource to the failure of the infinite growth model…was too many humans on the planet…too many for the biosphere to accommodate.
      the number that sticks in my head was that, if everyone lived the way a moderately poor usa amurkin did, we’d need 5 (FIVE) Earths.
      unsustainable, even in Bubbleworld.
      so surely the PTB, given their access to unfiltered information, and all, were aware of this….and, seeing themselves as herd management specialists, would want a plan to deal with it.
      so we ran all manner of scenarios: if we were the PTB, how would we accomplish herd reduction, but preferably without getting blamed for it by the remnant?
      the answer was pretty much what we’ve seen, prior to pandemic…just let the pollution and healthcare crises and idiocy and internecine low intensity conflict over sports and queers and brown people “invading” continue apace, and much of the little people would naturally die off.
      the one scenario we rejected was an engineered pandemic…because of the very real potential for it to blow back on the PTB themselves.
      even with some sort of dna targeted virus, it would very likely splash all over the masters, too.
      so, too frelling risky, unless they actually knew more about disease than sciam, etc let on at the time, and had a vaccine or something, ready to go for themselves.
      IOW, we thought that such an action would be the last tool in the toolbox for herd management, to be used only at the uttermost end of need.

      of course, this all implies a level of competence and acumen and even a degree of unity among the PTB class that i see very little evidence for…still.
      (incompetence and smoking their own stash were the ready arguments against any of these scenarios.)
      my spidey senses have been tingling since the middle of january 2020.
      “Doom, Doom, she cried…as she was carried out of the walmart foyer”

      Reply
      1. LAS

        This is more complicated a game than you imagine … We’ve ALSO got to maximize the population of unborn by restricting birth control and outlawing abortion. It’s a two prong survival code: dramatically thin out the extant herd of people while simultaneously bringing in the whole of the unborn one. Because the unborn are simply better people than us.
        (I’m losing it today)

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i agree the antiabortion(and contraception = abortion, and the whole quiverfull lunacy) seems to contradict the general theme of thinning the herd…however, i see the entire 50 year screaming fit about reproductive freedom as a separate endeavor, meant to rally small c conservatives and right leaning non-engagers, as well as religious folks in general, into the gladio-esque electoral army.(and more or less limited to the usa)
          which has allowed the last 50 years of rightward lurch in mainstream politics.
          without that lurch, and the fear, uncertainty and doubt(FUD) and the hypercomplex generation of confusion it enabled, we wouldn’t…perhaps…be in this situation in the first place.
          roe was taken up as a “Deus Volt!” right around the same time that things like Limits to Growth were being talked about in high brow publications.
          also, if you lurk in those quiverfull spaces, like i did, a bit(2 duckblinds there), they see themselves openly as the Holy Remnant, like in Revelations.
          see: Bertram Gross for some of the nitty gritty(abundant footnotes) of the then-abornin’ righty counterrevolution, writing in 1980, no less.

          whatever the case, the current chaos sure looks like lihop, to me.

          and, tinfoil not necessary: i’ve bumped into too much high weirdness in my time to NOT believe that there’s “plans within plans within plans”.
          the “Leadership” we see, and marvel at for their obtuseness and idiocy, is not the leadership that matters.
          aside from a handful of narcissists(trump, kochs, adelson, etc), the truly powerful don’t go on tv and announce their hatred of humanism and the enlightenment.

          Reply
    2. Mantid

      If Omicron and its descendants turn out to be mild and the current epidemic slows to a crawl, they will just sneak in the backdoor of their ol’ stomping grounds in Wuhan and whip up some new version of Covid tar tar. Easy peasy.

      Reply
  18. Randy

    We can’t be surprised by this since our “betters” have already shown they don’t care about how their neglect and disinterest led to countless deaths from despair. They’re already killing us with policies that hollowed out America and were making life expectancy trend downward even before the pandemic. For them COVID-19 is just an annoying distraction from whatever insane, decadent nonsense they’re actually interested in. They’ve gambled that if people won’t rise up to stop the state from killing them through sheer neglect then they’ll probably take COVID and love it as well, and I don’t actually think they’re wrong.

    Reply
  19. eb

    It seems that the Federal Gmt. has, groping for straws, fastened onto “herd immunity”….so the inadequate response is baked in…..for some portion of the population. And our President has become “Trump with a mask”…..is that what we’ll “learn to live with”?

    Reply
  20. Tom Stone

    This cynicism is appalling,look,sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good,the long term success of the species.
    This may appear to be the behavior of self centered psychopaths who only care about power,but it’s really about tough minded realists who are doing what’s best for the long term.
    Men like Badass Joe Biden, Scotty from Marketing and BoJo the clown can lead us to a future of peace and prosperity if we just have faith!
    These are the kind of men who can inspire multitudes to follow them to the very gates of Disneyland.
    We are blessed.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I get The Sarcasm, but I must quibble with your end thought. I see us being ushered up to the gates of a giant, FEMA run, Jonestown. Oh, if only Heaven’s Gate were open and beconing!

      Reply
      1. John

        I first realized my government was trying to kill me when I received my US Army draft notice in Sept 1968 for a one way ticket to Vietnam. The overlords have been pretty consistent since then.
        The death orgy with the virus is just the latest iteration.

        Reply
        1. John Mc

          Possibly even before that, where the administration was falsifying data about the enemy troop levels and what it would take to win (bombs and more bombs). The Phoenix project and its predecessors have been targeting foreign and domestic populations for 70 years, via weapons, drugs, debt, sugar, and individualism – this is what we export and import.

          Reply
    2. Mantid

      Exactly. We might as well enjoy each other’s comic relief as this plays out. I’ve stopped “suffering fools” and am making quite a few enemies in my neck of the woods – by sticking with the truth during conversations. A local Jazz club is insisting on passports for entry and I’ve called their BS and refuse to participate with either playing or listening. I’ve entered the early stages of “what is there to lose if you have nothing?”. As a musician and public performer, there’s no way in hello that I’m getting into a small, smokey Jazz club to play for pennies. Luckily “I’ve Had My Fun if I Don’t Get Well No More” but I feel for people who are younger and struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, I’m in good enough shape and have enough files to sharpen and help carry their pitch forks. I think it will come to that.

      Reply
    3. Samuel Conner

      Maybe there’s a “world peace” faction at work behind the scenes in the US public health establishment.

      Just tryin’ to get military combat readiness low enough that there won’t be any new foreign adventures.

      Reply
  21. Mikel

    They don’t want to recommend proper masks because they want to say masks don’t work. Then more people will continue to spread the virus.
    They have beaten it into heads that masks don’t work and know that most people are going to choose to hear the meassage that resonated with themselves. They will block out the corrected info.

    In other words, this establishment has people right where they want them when a more deadly contagion hits.

    And I’m suck of the BS “natural immunity” phrase being thrown around in relation to Covid. It’s ignorant. “Temporary protective anti-bodies” , no matter how they were generated, is not “immunity.”
    And when people say it they’re engaging in wishful delusions.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      Cellular immunity, which is present after recovery from infection, is longer lasting, but not promptly protective on reinfection.

      My worry is endemic CV circulating forever and causing incremental long COVID effects with each reinfection. Cellular immunity will reduce the likelihood of death due to acute infection, but over time the accumulated long COVID effects will degrade health. It’s hard to believe that life expectancy will not be reduced.

      Maybe we can manage to live long enough that new therapies will go off patent. Or maybe live even longer than that and repurposed currently off-patent drugs will be allowed to be mentioned.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Cellular immunity basically = T cells.

        We have debunked this repeatedly with respect to Covid. Please don’t talk it up.

        First, Covid attacks at the periphery of the immune system, the nasal mucosa. It’s already got a good head of steam going by the time it hits any of the lungs, the digestive system, or some other way into the bloodstream to elicit an antibody response. By the time the T cells swing into action (T cells are a secondary immune response system), it’s too late to be of much benefit.

        But even worse, severe and/or repeated Covid infections result in T cell depletion and derangement. That means way more cancer risk. T cells are your body’s first line of defense against cancer.

        Reply
        1. Basil Pesto

          To be fair, I believe Mr Conner was referring to that with “but not promptly protective on reinfection”

          but, if I’m reading Leonardi correctly, another concern is that the T-cell response to SARS2 infection can be deleterious as well (the T cell immunologist hive mind seems to be talking about ‘T cells in the brain’ found in autopsied C19 patients, though I won’t pretend to fully or even partially understand the implications of that). Here’s one example: https://mobile.twitter.com/fitterhappierAJ/status/1476012865224069121

          Reply
  22. antidlc

    RE: Masks
    From March, 2021:

    https://www.rollcall.com/2021/03/01/covid-19-n95-respirator-masks/

    Masks stack up in US warehouses as nurses reuse N95 respirators
    US mask makers say they can make enough for every American

    U.S. manufacturers say they have enough high-filtration respirators like N95s in their warehouses for every American adult, and they are calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise guidance that discourages the general public from getting them.

    “The U.S. has ample supply of masks and meltblown material to protect the entire workforce and public with high-filtration masks,” wrote a new coalition of 49 American manufacturers in a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

    The letter, dated Monday, is addressed to President Joe Biden, COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, National Institutes of Health senior official Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

    Silly me. I thought that profits for 49 American mask manufacturers might mean something to this administration.

    Reply
    1. Samuel Conner

      I wonder if the “piss off the people” phrase in a future uprising might be:

      “Let them wear procedure masks”

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      It might, but spreading the disease and stealth-killing as many people as possible means more.

      That doesn’t stop respirator-minded individuals from buying respirators and recommending respirators to everyone they know who has eyes to see and ears to hear.

      If the government tries to outlaw individuals from buying respirators, then the agenda is not even stealthy any more. I hope the government doesn’t become that open about its intentions.

      Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Unlike procedure masks, N95s can be reused for quite a while. So healthcare workers were likely wasting N95s by tossing them after a day of use, or thinking they ought to.

      Reply
        1. Skunk

          Just get a UV baby bottle sterilizer. Drop the mask in, run the cycle, turn it over, and run it again. The mask should be sterilized.

          Reply
  23. marcyincny

    Is anyone seeing any numbers on reinfection? I’ve been taken aback by the casual comments I’ve seen from people who are getting Covid for the second time. A couple of comments to the effect ‘not as bad as the FIRST time…’ and one of the racing cyclists, Peter Sagan, reports that he tested positive this week after having Covid last spring.

    Even without vaccine-evading coronaviruses it seems like we will still see successive breakthrough waves and wear masks forever.

    Reply
    1. GM

      The record I have heard so far is 5 times, but that is not published

      In an official publication I have seen at most 4 times.

      Reinfections are greatly skewed by vaccination now — most of them are breakthrough reinfections, so it is hard to judge the severity. And Omicron is not as bad as Delta.

      But prior to that they were skewing more severe if symptomatic.

      In any case, this is a game of Russian roulette that people will be playing every year from now on under current policies.

      And one well known aspect of Russian roulette is that if you keep playing it, you are guaranteed to eventually lose…

      Reply
      1. Kris Alman

        One has to wonder if index cases of new variants are indeed breaththrough reinfections from a compromised individual who is harboring persistent Covid. This case report is one of many that has demonstrated that possibility.

        COVID-19 in an immunocompromised host: persistent shedding of viable SARS-CoV-2 and emergence of multiple mutations: a case report
        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971221008298

        Another reason why the vax only approach will simply not work (and possibly increases evolutionary pressures on the virus) in a global economy mired by stark inequities that occur with wealth and income inequality.

        Reply
          1. GM

            Yes, indeed.

            And that could have been controlled much better too, but hey, who cares if 40% of people in Swaziland are infected and life expectancy has fallen by two decades, it’s way out there, not here…

            And we are just starting to enter the era of the globalization-related pandemics, so you can expected HIV to intersect in a similar manner with the future ones too

            Reply
      2. Joe Well

        Like playing Russian roulette except instead of blank chambers there are pellets, and so even if you win, you’re losing. You might eventually die of too much winning.

        Reply
  24. chris

    The weirdest thing about recent CDC and Federal government pronouncements is how they’ve fed the narratives that no one knows what they’re talking about and you can ignore the experts. We received a plea from the head of the county teachers association to send emails to our county leaders to ignore the latest CDC guidelines and implement our own more stringent standards. Our school leaders and the state of Maryland health department adopted the latest guidelines and did their best to make testing more available to everyone to support them. Now the union wants us to ignore the CDC. This is now unfolding predictably along the lines of “I thought we were supposed to follow the science?!” Vs. “The CDC isn’t science right now” and people are starting to ask “Why only now?” The equine drug that must not be named is being mentioned a lot. We’ve scattered responsibility to each school in the district with their own case counts and standards for outbreaks. So it is entirely possible we’ll see a near term result of wealthy schools able to stay open and poor schools being closed due to lack of staff because of the virus.

    What a family blogging cluster $#$&.

    Reply
  25. William Hunter Duncan

    I’ve been wondering why I took a vaccine to prevent hospitalization and death with 95% efficacy, when it was like 99.99+% likely that I would not end up in the hospital or dead? Am I an idiot?

    And now I am wondering, did they certify molnupiravir because Covid isn’t deadly enough?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The “real” tinfoil hat wearers amongst us are speculating that the ‘approval’ of molnupiravir is to “crash and burn” Medicare. I know that Phyl and I saw an increase in our medicare annual ‘buy in’ which I have read was a direct result of the anticipated high costs charged for that substance.
      (I usually have ‘issues’ with The Intercept, but on this, they seem to be doing good work.)
      See: https://theintercept.com/2021/10/05/covid-pill-drug-pricing-merck-ridgeback/

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Addendum: The real high cost drug recently ‘approved’ by Medicare is the anti-Alzheimers drug, Aduhelm. I somehow conflated it with molnupiravir. Sorry. (Then again, this could be part of a multi-pronged assault on the financial ‘health’ of Medicare.) [Whenever faced with a choice of maleficient inducements to evil, the default position for we cynics is “Go For The Gold!”]
        See: https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/20/politics/aduhelm-alzheimers-drug-cost-what-matters/index.html

        Reply
        1. mrsyk

          A good point none the less. Big Pharma gets yet another government teat so suck on one way or the other as the bulk of us bear the cost.

          Reply
        2. William Hunter Duncan

          It has roughly the same efficacy as molnupiavir, which is to say negligible. But preying on peoples fear, both are guaranteed to be lucrative, which is what public health led by the likes of Walensky and Fauci is all about.

          Reply
  26. Mikeyjoe

    Our local school district in NYS was using 10 days for quarantining students and staff who test positive for covid or were in close proximity to someone who test positive. The school board talked to the County DOH and the quarantine is now reduced to 5 days.
    I do not even trust the DOH now.
    Remote learning is not because some teachers are sick and/or are caring for a sick family member.

    Reply
  27. JanJ

    In mentioning countries that have successfully contained Covid, why were Indonesia and the state of Uttar Pradesh, India (population about 240 million) omitted? Maybe because they made low cost early treatment available? It speaks volumes that these situations have not been studied more and instead have remained largely unreported.

    Reply
    1. MonkeyBusiness

      I don’t know about India, but I happen to know a couple of things about the Covid situation in Indonesia. Some Western websites have been attributing the steep decline of Covid cases in the country to the widespread use of Ivermectin. There is no strong proof of this. What these sites always inevitably failed to mention is that the Government instituted a lockdown when cases spiked dramatically last year. The lockdown a.k.a. PPKM (Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat) has three levels, and the government determines the level for each area based on the severity of the pandemic. PPKM is actually still in effect until now.

      I am not against the use of ivermectin, and knowing Indonesia, it could be the case that some medical personnels have been prescribing it to treat the virus. Also, Indonesia’s infrastructure is a bit lacking. When it comes to data collection and testing, I am not sure how much you can trust the data coming out of the country. My friends did tell me that hospitalizations are way down though. In fact many hospitals have been able to carry out normal activities.

      Herd immunity? https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/indonesia-survey-finds-85-population-have-covid-19-antibodies-2022-01-06/

      Last but not least, the population of Indonesia skews young. We are looking at a country where 60% of the population are 41 years old or younger.

      Reply
  28. mrsyk

    In NYC the policy of keeping schools open at any cost comes from the very top, Governor, Mayor and Mayor Elect. It would seem that the structual integrity of rice bowls belonging to Chancellors, school Supers and the like depend on toeing the line.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      The new Chancellor is a huge charter school honcho. He and Adams have been making it absolutely clear that schools will not be closing no matter what.
      The new school testing quotas are a complicated equation of percentage of non vaccinated who have a signed consent form which is how random test of a school with 375 enrolled students can say that 20% is 12 students. The new standard also has any students who were in a class that was exposed to go home with a test and come back the next day with a negative result, no consideration of the infection timeline to be considered.

      Supposedly keeping schools open is approved by right and left alike. Wouldn’t you know the only popular policy any politicians follow through with would be stupid. I don’t have any data to back this up, just proclamations by media pundits here in NYC. I do believe that Hochul believes it to be true, because she needs the city in her upcoming election, and p#sing off parents would not help. Personally I think this will backfire on all three of them if enough kids get sick, and with these policies they will.

      Reply
    2. anon y'mouse

      if it’s anything like school district i attended on the west coast, funding is entirely tied up in student attendance.

      how can you count that when people are at home doing work on their own time?

      Reply
      1. sharron

        Last year schools were paid on the attendance rates from the year before, so everyone was still able to be paid while they did school online. This year they have chosen to abandon that policy.

        Reply
  29. Jen

    The latest from my humble institution:

    https://www.thedartmouth.com/article/2022/01/dartmouth-presses-forward-with-in-person-classes-and-move-in

    Among my favorite quotes from someone who is not an MD: “We are beginning to recognize [COVID-19] isn’t going away,” Mills explained in an interview with The Dartmouth on Jan. 6. “This isn’t, ‘we’re going to wait it out,’ and we need to start to move forward on a path toward being able to operate with COVID being endemic rather than pandemic.”

    Current case count among the students: 273, up from 113 yesterday.

    And some prankster is putting up signs directing students to the center for creative eschatology.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      “The Center for Creative Eschatology?” I think I’ll apply for Director of the CCE. I’m highly qualified. Do you know where I should send my application?

      Reply
    2. Samuel Conner

      > And some prankster is putting up signs directing students to the center for creative eschatology.

      Is there a linkable news report on this? I’d love to forward it to a friend.

      Reply
        1. Jen

          And yes, the irony of library staff asking if there is such a thing as the Center for Creative Eschatology is not lost on me.

          Reply
          1. Samuel Conner

            To my ear, it isn’t as bizarre as it sounds, but I’ve been chortling at intervals since I read your comment.

            I really like this ‘blog:

            https://www.postost.net/

            there’s a post there today ruminating on implications of Jesus’ thinking about eschatology for present-day church people whose looming crisis is not an unwinnable war with Rome, but the collapse of the ecosystem.

            So “Center for Creative Eschatology” was highly apposite.

            Thank you so much. I think this will provide me with a generous supply of giggles for the next several days while I wait out my CV quarantine.

            Reply
    3. Taurus

      Yep. Cases are spiking throughout the Hanover school district as well. This seems correlated with the return of the Dartmouth kids to campus.

      Reply
  30. MonkeyBusiness

    The CDC is really incompetent. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-06/u-s-to-revise-singapore-travel-advisory-after-covid-data-flap

    “The move comes days after the CDC earlier this week reclassified its Covid advisory for Singapore and said the situation there was “unknown”. At issue was a lack of testing findings the CDC previously obtained from aggregator Our World in Data, according to a separate statement from CDC to Bloomberg at the time.

    That designation surprised officials in Singapore. The city-state maintains far stricter testing and social distancing measures than in the U.S., and its Ministry of Health posts detailed virus statistics, in English, online every day.”

    Reply
    1. Skunk

      MonkeyBusiness,

      The CDC is not actually incompetent. Their Global Disease Detection team (the team tasked with surveillance and analysis of emerging infections) is highly competent.

      The problem is that the CDC leadership has not drawn on this competence in its public statements or policies. Clearly, some other part of the CDC is doing the decision-making and representing the public face of CDC, but it is obviously not the part of CDC with the most expertise in emerging infectious disease.

      Reply
  31. LAS

    It is not just “government” as a monolith; it is individuals (many of them doctors) in government service providing public health guidance. Many of them have said very stupid things while thinking themselves great purveyors of information and science. They are just totally unprepared scientifically and politically and in terms of understanding the population. All their professional lives they’ve been sheltered in a way — thinking themselves great authorities, when they are not making sense to ordinary at all b/c they have failed to explain basic facts about how viruses behave.

    Last night I attended a meeting of doctors with community members and the doctors came so unprepared and unaware for the questions and skepticism they faced.

    Reply
    1. urblintz

      It goes beyond lack of preparation and unawareness. One need only remember the commonplace collusion between doctors and the policemen whose unjustified and ghastly physical abuse of citizens (often innocent of serious crime or any crime at all) lead to hospitals (and coroners) and a white coated wall of silence not unlike the blue wall of cops protecting their own…

      or the esteemed psych’s who rubber stamped, perhaps even designed, the cruel tortures of Gitmo and beyond (securing tenure for John Woo at Berkeley).

      power protects itself best when the professional class it feeds understands who butters their bread.

      Reply
  32. ks

    Suppression of information on no-risk preventative measures (e.g., Vitamin D supplementation) and low-risk early treatments was one of the worst by-products of Pharma’s determination to make us dependent on highly profitable vaccines. I’d like to see some of the energy that’s going into avoiding Covid go into de-industrializing the food system, which is our first line of defense against viruses. Right now the busy bees at Chemical Ag are thinking about how to slip their version of “regenerative” agriculture (GMO’s) into resistant markets under cover of a food crisis. So I hear, anyway.

    Reply
    1. Peerke

      Is there any country on this good earth that has recommended a decent dose of quotidian D? I know Ireland recommended to up the dose but it was still too little. What about China? China probably makes the stuff by the tanker full. Another thing that gets me is removal of the NAC supplement approval by FDA. What the actual family blogging family blog is that about? Does anyone know if quercetin can still be had? Don’t see that anymore.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        I see it at the online seller Swanson Vitamins. It looks dearer than I remember; perhaps there’s a lot of demand.

        Vitacost has it too, but it seems even dearer there.

        Reply
  33. EGrise

    I look at things like this:

    – BBB being sunk before it ever even left the skids
    – reneging on the extra $600 stimulus
    – refusing to cancel student loans and gearing up to resume payments no matter what
    – the quiet expiration of eviction moratoriums
    – mandatory IRS reporting of $600+ transactions, which among other things illuminates side hustles and “gray market” employment for potential future crackdowns
    – stopping enhanced unemployment and making it clear that’s never happening again
    – not to mention no effort whatsoever on NPIs like improving ventilation in schools, because that would cause disruptions with sending the little beggars back to their state-provided babysitters (not to mention costing $ that would be better spent on F-35s)

    …and all I can conclude is that the government of “our” democracy is chiefly concerned with cracking the whip to get the proles back to the workplaces regardless of the cost in lives and long-term health.

    I may be wrong on the details, but to me the trend is pretty clear: “return to normal”/”living with it” = “get back to work you lazy bums”

    So yeah, they’re trying to kill us. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “mandatory IRS reporting of $600+ transactions, which among other things illuminates side hustles and “gray market” employment for potential future crackdowns”

      first i’ve heard of this. linky?
      i’m pretty much cash only, but $ does sometimes find it’s way through the bank.

      Reply
        1. Skunk

          The loud claim that there is a bogeyman under every bed has been the pretext for most surveillance. Do you believe this is the reason for snooping into our bank accounts? If you do, then maybe you also believe that a terrorist attack is a likely eventuality in your everyday life. You are far more likely to be killed by a car accident.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the $600 reporting is likely intended to sweep up the gray economy…workers in the “great resignation” who have gone on a de facto general strike, yet somehow survive by raking leaves(i suppose) or doing under the table handyman or even consulting work.
            i doubt irs has the smash anymore to pursue what is sure to be a tsunami of red and pink flags that would ensue.
            a year ago, a guy i sometimes get weed from asked to be paid in cashapp(i had to look it up).
            i said “hell no…cash only”.
            but like the domestic surveillance(a la the east german stasi), the threat and opacity is all that’s really necessary….don’t need millions of informants, if common wisdom thinks you have millions of informants.

            Reply
  34. Blue Duck

    I feel like I am drowning.

    My wife is a physician at the tip of the covid spear. She is burned out, and it is hard to know how to help anymore than I already am. Further more, I sent out kids to school this week, and they’ve had an exposure already. I feel like I made the wrong choice for their health and wellbeing. I hate what is being done to my family. I hate it I hate it I hate it. If the political tides ever turn and I get my chance to tear down the world, I will take it.

    Reply
    1. Jen

      So sorry, Blue Duck. That absolutely sucks. Be kind to yourself. No one should have to make these choices.

      Much as I have joked about our “contagion vectors” at my college, I hate what the administration is doing to these kids and their families. I hate what it says to our medical students. I hate that the people who are in positions of authority, and know this is wrong won’t say anything.

      I think there are a lot of people who will be looking to tear down the world.

      Reply
      1. petal

        I hate what it’s (and they’re)doing to my mental health, my personality, my physical health. I hate how it’s making me feel and what it’s turning me into. Nobody deserves this. Be good to yourself, Blue Duck. You’re doing the best you can and your heart is good and in the right place.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          we, here, are pretty much spectators to the big decisions and things moving around under the carpet…in my case, i’d say i’m in the nosebleed section, tucked up under the skybox, and can only see the spilled beer dripping down from there(weird: sudden memories of astrodome oilers’ game when i was 7)
          so, i recommend doing what i do when it all gets to be too much: walk away.
          turn off the screen and go sit under a tree(yeah, it’s cold here, too)
          or watch some david attenborough thing.
          winter is always the worst time for my mental health(averse to holidays, cold, football, hunters)…so i go dark, and find something to do on the farm, instead of paying attention to the trumps and pelosis of the world.
          after all, creatures like that thrive on attention…so you can think of it as a radical act to deny them your attention.
          i spent almost an hour today in the chicken house…didn’t let them out, today, due to the cold and my aversion to rounding them up in that cold.
          so we chilled…looking at each other…and they may have got a contact high in the process(wink)…they were certainly more docile than usual when confined in a house with a large mammal…even with one they once thought of as “momma”.
          we spoke of many things, and they seemed grateful for the scratch grains and rotten kitchen waste i dumped out in there.

          like my youngest says, sometimes, without explanation :”touch grass”.
          I’ll add my usual “and read Marcus Aurelius” to that.
          hang in there, regardless.

          Reply
            1. Blue Duck

              The best moment I had this week was working with my wife to replace the nesting boxes in our run and dumping the contents of our run floor into our vegetable beds.

              Reply
              1. Mikeyjoe

                I understand how you feel. I do not want to send my children to school which has had many covid cases. The best thing this week was when the school closed due to snow. I played with my sons in the fluffy white powder.

                Reply
    2. Julie

      If this can help, in Europe (much smaller countries i.e. densely populated) schools have seen huge numbers of positives at each wave (its now number 5). And no one died in the kiddies age group. If a few teachers did, sorry but that could happen also with the flu.
      China has good reason to do what its doing because you vant deal or even vaccinate a pop of more than 1 billion in a few days, but in other places it make no sense (but neither does it to let planes fly without special precautions and quarantines).

      Reply
  35. Tom Bradford

    New Zealand isn’t quite ‘lettin’ er rip’, and the Government isn’t ‘ignoring scientific advice’, but there are realities to be faced that are not the concern of the scientists.

    The border is still closed, and the tourism industry which is a major part of the economy is on the verge of collapse. The, again not insignificant, fruit and market-garden sectors saw product rot in the fields or on the ground for want of a temporary work-force of back-packers and shoe-string tourists to harvest. New Zealand citizens stuck abroad and pleading to return – as they have every right to – can’t get places in quarantine. As a nation we hate it but largely support the Government’s digging its heels in.

    Covid – not Omicron – did get through quarantine in August but selective limited lock-down measures as and where it popped up seem to have stopped it ‘taking off’. From a peak of 180 daily cases it’s down to 20-30 day with 37 presently hospitalised and (off the top of my head) 2 deaths. Whether it can be eliminated again remains to be seen.

    Some British waste of space – apparently a popular DJ let in to host a pop-concert somewhere – decided he was too important for the rules to apply to (shades of tennis “stars” elsewhere?) and left quarantine before his last test came back positive. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to have spread it (it might just be coincidence that two brothels in Auckland have now been named ‘places of interest’) but we missed a bullet. We’re not always going to be so lucky.

    But the reality is that it’s now established in the rest of the world, so are we going to keep our borders closed for ever? Short of that, the reality is it’s inevitable that we’re going to face it sooner or later.

    What the Govt. bought us, as in few other place, is time. 95% of the population >12 has had one vaccination, 92.4% has had two and boosters are being rolled out. The health service has been geared up and we can benefit from the hard-won experiences of others when it does come.

    Had the rest of the world done we we did at the start of this thing and lock down hard it would all be over now. It didn’t happen and we, now, have to live with it. Yes, vaccination isn’t the magic bullet but short of turning New Zealand into a Trappist Monastery I, and the scientists, don’t seem have any other options. If you’ve any advice, let us know.

    Reply
  36. Peerke

    I remember back in the halcyon days of Feb 2020, when our only care was what Pres T would say next on the Twitter, I remember sitting in the ornate cafeteria at my hi tech place of employment, chatting about what I had been reading on NC and (I am ashamed to say) ZH. I gave the opinion that we were headed for lockdowns like China and it would be an almighty family blog up. Additionally I said I thought this is a dress rehearsal for when the Real SHTF. That is the coming jackpot(s). The PTB have done us a favour – we know where we stand if we didn’t before.

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  37. Mak

    Thank you for an article that has made me stop and think. And thankyou for all the good comments. This outlook is contrary to my present outlook but we all need to challenge ourselves by questioning our own views.

    I’m open minded but still not convinced that locking out COVID now is sustainably feasible. Sure nipping it in the bud 2 years ago would have been great but that time has long gone. With plenty of hard work local/national elimination is possible but global elimination? It isn’t going to happen from what I can see. Which leads us to the end game that is having it become endemic and how that is managed. The alternative end game of living the foreseeable future with strong infection disease control is not desired by most people, but maybe most people are naïve.

    In Australia we’ve had most of 2020 and 2021 covid free, playing whacamole with a couple of cases here and there. We looked on at the rest of the world suffering while we lived healthy lives largely without fear of catching covid. But we also looked on at the rest of the world travelling and holidaying and enjoying their lives while we locked ourselves up in Fortress Australia. After two years of this, and the introduction of vaccines that reduced the severity of the illness, we are sick of it and we do want to open up and ‘let it rip’.

    If this is folly, we will likely soon find out as cases truly are rocketing in extreme levels. The health system, logistics and political decision making in Australia is well and truly creaking under load we have not experienced. I suspect the fact that our political leaders are literally on holiday is part of the reason for inaction, though half the media and political opposition that would hold them to account is also on holiday.

    At the moment it is every man and women for themselves. I think the majority are still probably happy with this outcome. If you are in an at risk group however it is completely understandable to be fearful.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Oh? Did “we” shoot JFK? Did “we” shoot Malcolm X? Did “we” shoot Dr. King? Did “we” shoot Senator Kennedy?

      Those shootings, and many more, helped shape the government and society we have. If “we” did not do those leadership-decapitation strikes, do “we” deserve the society which the Paperclip Nazi deep state conducted those strikes to help bring about?

      Reply
      1. mistah charley, ph.d.

        The Lone Ranger says to Tonto, “It looks like we’re surrounded by hostile Indians.” The reply: “What you mean we, kemo sabe?”

        Reply
      1. ambrit

        Uh, you wouldn’t be referring to the basement of the Headquarters of the North American division of the Bundeswher, would you? (The German military has about 1500 troops ‘stationed’ in America.)
        Otherwise, no “right thinking” American would have any idea of your reference. [That the main highway there is named after a Dulles sort of gives the game away.]
        Hey, look up! We’ve already ‘jumped through the fire’ for the New Year.

        Reply
    1. lambert strether

      I am not sure. Since downloading a post page also downloads the comments, it would be work to remove them.

      Reply
      1. Alice X

        Well, as we know. what can be voted in, can be voted out hence the dictatorship of the proliteriat.

        What comes after?

        What must come before is an education, in its purist forms, of the proletariat as to class relations. Class must be abolished.

        The chicken and the egg. A conundrum.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Yes. The first institutions to be taken in hand after a coup are the means of communication, propaganda, and education.

          Reply
  38. Pat

    Fauci did an interview with a local NBC reporter. He was asked what parents could do to protect their children under five with the growing threat to them. Fauci talked about hope that vaccine would be approved soon.

    That the media is in on the go die standard becomes obvious when that was the only clip played AND said reporter didn’t go that wasn’t what you were asked, so let me rephrase it so you understand. If you had a six month old what would you do to keep them safe right now?

    Reply
  39. Yves Smith Post author

    Bullshit. The difference in CFR so far appears to about 1.2 for Delta v. 0.9 for Omicron. However, it is ALSO coming in as worse in the US than RSA due presumably to our much older population.

    Omicron is so far more deadly than wild type. The fact that victims don’t die slowly and dramatically by gasping to death does not make it a nothingburger. For instance, we ran a link that 100% of the Covid cases across all pre-Omicron variants show auto-antibodies. From GM:

    Among 177 healthcare workers, ALL of them had persistent self-attacking antibodies that persisted at least 6 months after infection regardless of illness severity

    This is very unexpected

    https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-021-03184-8

    All Covid variants cross the blood brain barrier, with the result of TCells in the brain, where they do not belong and are usually a sign when they do of serious pathology. All Covid variants so far produce significant levels of long Covid, even in asymptomatic cases. There is zero reason to think Omicron is different.

    We won’t have a good idea until we have data from the UK, which both performs serious population-wide surveys and performs very high levels of sequencing. And Imperial College has very pointedly been saying we in fact cannot yet deem Omicron to be mild.

    Reply

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