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The issues with imposing quarantine for COVID-19
 and blunders made in the process

Neoliberal MSM dance around human mortality and fearmongering to get more revenue  provoked real panic. The USA government did not have a plan for coronavirus outbreak and improvises as events unfold 

News Programmers and sysadmins health issues Recommended Links  COVID-19 prevention measures The threat of "Coronavirus recession" COVID-19 hoarding epidemics COVID-19 as a bioweapon hypothisis
COVID-19 fearmongering COVID-19 epidemic as the second stage of the crisis of neoliberalism  COVID-19 epidemic handing in the USA Absurdity of bureaucracies US Presidential Elections of 2020 Trump's impulsivity and incompetence The Real War on Reality
Media as a weapon of mass deception  Stability is destabilizing: The idea of Minsky moment Manufactured consent Groupthink The importance of controlling the narrative Trumpcare scam Nation under attack meme
Soft propaganda Nineteen Eighty-Four Casino Capitalism   Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

The over simplification is a tool lockdown advocates are using to ignore the basic reality. The question of "Lockdown: Yes or No" ignores the devil in the details.

Health Dept. told care homes they could conserve PPE if necessary. Care homes decided that meant PPE is optional, so withheld it from care home workers and claimed to be following the rules. The rest of society says, "Oh well, they are following the rules, so it's all good. Dead residents are just "God's Will" and Mother Earth's revenge."

If "Western" Dear Leaders really wanted to stop the epidemic, they could've asked the Chinese, who were trying to tell all they knew. Whether by design or by incompetence, we are well and truly f'd.

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[Jun 22, 2021] Eric Clapton shares his feelings candidly about the past year of Covid lockdown

Jun 22, 2021 |

ghost of q.mensch , says: June 17, 2021 at 1:37 pm GMT • 5.3 days ago

Eric Clapton shares his feelings candidly about the past year of Covid lockdown, in this 25 min YT (06/14/21):

He talks about the flip-flops in policies and actions of British political and public health officials throughout the the entire pandemic that frequently set off his "bullshit radar", and:

-How he has been surprised to have been attacked/labeled a Trump supporter (within England ?!) for his public statements during the the pandemic.

-Talks about his own frightening symptoms after receiving the two-jab, AstraZeneca spike protein-coding DNA-adenovector type experimental gene therapy vaccine agent.

It's YT, so the video may not be up for long .

Robert Dolan , says: June 17, 2021 at 6:13 pm GMT • 5.2 days ago
@ghost of q.mensch

Love Eric Clapton ..disturbing about his reaction to the jab.

He once gave a fabulous slightly drunken rant regarding the foreign invasion of England, and of course he was labeled a "racist."

[May 28, 2021] Immunity to the coronavirus may persist for years, what it could mean for vaccination efforts

The USA vaccination efforts were badly thought out and badly implemented, resulting in dramatic economic losses for non-existent public health gains. Looks like governments suspected that "the genie is out of the bottle" -- pathogen escaped from biolab in the USA or China and badly overreacted, creating unnecessary economic losses and mass unemployment comparable with the Great Depression.
There is no need to vaccinate people who already have had COVID-19. Natural immunity is much better than a vaccine that was rushed through the FDA.
Also many people are naturally immune to COVID-19 due tot he fact that they have previous coronavirus infection. This issue is completely ignored in neoliberal MSM/
Notable quotes:
"... Obviously, you not only got immune to the Wuhan virus, but also to the globalist/collectivist and state propaganda. Those of us who lived in Soviet socialist "paradise" get it back in the USSR while protecting our mind and soul from state propaganda and government statistics. ..."
"... So more of the lies are being exposed, the lies that some who want to be in control have told are so bad, and yet some believe them. Why was SARS not a continuing pandemic, if it is the same base virus ..."
"... This is too funny. So at some point is anyone going to ask why this report is being featured on yahoo FINANCE? The answer is in the reference to the publicly-traded, pharmaceutical companies named in the Dr.'s interview. ..."
May 27, 2021 |

Dr. Adrian Burrowes, Family Medicine Physician &CFP Physicians Group CEO, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss the latest on covid-19.

Thomas 2 hours ago

I had Covid twice. Once in 2020 and once this year. The first time I had it I coughed for two whole months. I had a fever off and on and I had to sleep with an extra pillow. I was miserable but I thought it was the flu because we didn't know the virus was here yet. It was only after I was tested for antibodies several months later did I learn that I had it.

This past January, I got it again after some co-workers came down with it and we all were tested. I was quarantined for 10 days. During this 10 day period, I was only sick for 1 day with a slight stomach ache and diarrhea.

The rest of the time I was out doing yard work and cutting dead limbs out of my trees.

I told my wife that if my T-Cells had that good of memory to protect me that well, I probably won't get the shot. After all, what can the shot do for me that the virus hasn't already.

Mike -> Thomas 38 minutes ago

Obviously, you not only got immune to the Wuhan virus, but also to the globalist/collectivist and state propaganda. Those of us who lived in Soviet socialist "paradise" get it back in the USSR while protecting our mind and soul from state propaganda and government statistics.

With the time, I hope enough Americans will develop the same herd immunity to propaganda masquerading as news, unhealthy "guidance" from government health agencies and corrupt intelligent agencies' deceptions that serve self-centered bureaucrats and political operatives, not the country. G-d Bless!

Ed 3 hours ago

So more of the lies are being exposed, the lies that some who want to be in control have told are so bad, and yet some believe them. Why was SARS not a continuing pandemic, if it is the same base virus, and did not have a vaccine. and yet you hear nothing about it, could it be that people gained immunity and so it is not a horrible thing as this engineered virus. and remember that SARS started in the same area of the world as this covid 19.

AB 3 hours ago

This is too funny. So at some point is anyone going to ask why this report is being featured on yahoo FINANCE? The answer is in the reference to the publicly-traded, pharmaceutical companies named in the Dr.'s interview.

[May 28, 2021] Immunity to the coronavirus may persist for years, what it could mean for vaccination efforts

The USA vaccination efforts were badly thought out and badly implemented, resulting in dramatic economic losses for non-existent public health gains. Looks like governments suspected that "the genie is out of the bottle" -- pathogen escaped from biolab in the USA or China and badly overreacted, creating unnecessary economic losses and mass unemployment comparable with the Great Depression.
There is no need to vaccinate people who already have had COVID-19. Natural immunity is much better than a vaccine that was rushed through the FDA.
Also many people are naturally immune to COVID-19 due tot he fact that they have previous coronavirus infection. This issue is completely ignored in neoliberal MSM/
Notable quotes:
"... Obviously, you not only got immune to the Wuhan virus, but also to the globalist/collectivist and state propaganda. Those of us who lived in Soviet socialist "paradise" get it back in the USSR while protecting our mind and soul from state propaganda and government statistics. ..."
"... So more of the lies are being exposed, the lies that some who want to be in control have told are so bad, and yet some believe them. Why was SARS not a continuing pandemic, if it is the same base virus ..."
"... This is too funny. So at some point is anyone going to ask why this report is being featured on yahoo FINANCE? The answer is in the reference to the publicly-traded, pharmaceutical companies named in the Dr.'s interview. ..."
May 27, 2021 |

Dr. Adrian Burrowes, Family Medicine Physician &CFP Physicians Group CEO, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss the latest on covid-19.

Thomas 2 hours ago

I had Covid twice. Once in 2020 and once this year. The first time I had it I coughed for two whole months. I had a fever off and on and I had to sleep with an extra pillow. I was miserable but I thought it was the flu because we didn't know the virus was here yet. It was only after I was tested for antibodies several months later did I learn that I had it.

This past January, I got it again after some co-workers came down with it and we all were tested. I was quarantined for 10 days. During this 10 day period, I was only sick for 1 day with a slight stomach ache and diarrhea.

The rest of the time I was out doing yard work and cutting dead limbs out of my trees.

I told my wife that if my T-Cells had that good of memory to protect me that well, I probably won't get the shot. After all, what can the shot do for me that the virus hasn't already.

Mike -> Thomas 38 minutes ago

Obviously, you not only got immune to the Wuhan virus, but also to the globalist/collectivist and state propaganda. Those of us who lived in Soviet socialist "paradise" get it back in the USSR while protecting our mind and soul from state propaganda and government statistics.

With the time, I hope enough Americans will develop the same herd immunity to propaganda masquerading as news, unhealthy "guidance" from government health agencies and corrupt intelligent agencies' deceptions that serve self-centered bureaucrats and political operatives, not the country. G-d Bless!

Ed 3 hours ago

So more of the lies are being exposed, the lies that some who want to be in control have told are so bad, and yet some believe them. Why was SARS not a continuing pandemic, if it is the same base virus, and did not have a vaccine. and yet you hear nothing about it, could it be that people gained immunity and so it is not a horrible thing as this engineered virus. and remember that SARS started in the same area of the world as this covid 19.

AB 3 hours ago

This is too funny. So at some point is anyone going to ask why this report is being featured on yahoo FINANCE? The answer is in the reference to the publicly-traded, pharmaceutical companies named in the Dr.'s interview.

[May 28, 2021] Scott Atlas -- Lockdowns Not Only A Heinous Abuse Of Power, They Also Failed To Protect The Elderly

May 20, 2021 |

Authored by Isabel van Brugen and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times,

The lockdowns implemented to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in the United States and across the globe have not only been a "heinous abuse of power," but they have also failed to protect the elderly and vulnerable, according to former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas .

In an interview for Epoch TV's " American Thought Leaders ," Atlas, a public health policy expert, suggested that the consequences of lockdowns, which he believes have been largely fear-driven, will be felt in the country for decades to come.

"We will have a massive price to pay for what was done in the United States," said Atlas.

"The consequences of the lockdowns have been enormously harmful and they will last for decades after this pandemic is completely finished."

In November 2020 Atlas resigned as former President Donald Trump's special adviser on the White House pandemic task force. He is a senior fellow for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

A large failure on the part of public health experts, Atlas said, has been the approach to stop COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus , at all costs, disregarding the consequences of the policies that were implemented in an attempt to do so.

And while he believes that imposing initial lockdowns during the onset of the pandemic last spring was an "appropriate" response, that was only because the world was reacting to extremely "imperfect knowledge," including an estimated fatality rate that was higher than what the world knows now.

Further, the restriction of movement orders implemented last year as the virus began to spread across the country were initially pushed as short-term measures to prevent the overcrowding of hospitals and health care facilities, he said.


Soon, Atlas said, rational thinking and critical thinking disappeared, and lockdown measures were driven by fear. No longer was the goal to prevent the overcrowding of hospitals, but it gradually shifted to stopping COVID-19 cases altogether.

"Fear is very powerful, and it was really shown how powerful fear is during this pandemic. They [Americans] bought into it because it was temporary, because [people] thought that would be a very small price to pay to get things sort of under control, and have some handle on how to proceed," Atlas said.

The public health policy expert suggested that a "frenzy" took over out of fear, out of a lack of leadership by the faces of public health to put things into context and perspective, and to recognize immediately what the consequences of these lockdowns would be.

"There's a big reason why lockdowns were never recommended in prior pandemics," Atlas added.

"And those rules, those simple rational logical assessments, were thrown out the window."

Protecting the Elderly, Vulnerable

Lockdowns have ultimately failed, Atlas said, as they failed to protect the elderly and high-risk individuals in the early months of the pandemic last year. Meanwhile, countless others have suffered due to diversions of medical resources.

"We saw even in March, April, May [2020], the lockdown policies were number one, failing to protect the high risk people""people were dying, they were elderly. The nursing home deaths made up 40 to 50 percent of all deaths," Atlas explained.

"And it was through many of our states; at one point in Minnesota, 80 percent of the deaths were [in] nursing homes."

Americans were also skipping chemotherapy treatments, while people who had suffered acute strokes and heart attacks were too afraid to call an ambulance as they didn't want to be in a medical setting, and the majority of live organ transplants weren't conducted during the onset of the pandemic, Atlas said.

Meanwhile, child abuse and domestic abuse skyrocketed, opioid deaths and suicides surged, and there has been a dramatic rise in young people suffering from depression and anxiety, he added.

"I think that it is still somehow held by many people that OK, the lockdowns are an economic harm, but we're saving lives. No, you're destroying families, you're destroying lives, and you're literally killing people with the lockdowns," Atlas said.

Citing June 2020 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlas said that one in four young adults contemplated suicide.

"The lockdowns failed, they still failed to protect the people who are high risk, and the lockdowns destroyed and killed," Atlas said.

"Many other people destroyed families, sacrificed our children out of fear for adults""even though the children do not have significant risk. And we didn't care as a country. We kept them out of school."

He added: "It's a disgrace. It's a heinous abuse of the power of public health experts to do what was done."

yerfej 4 hours ago

Funny how 78% of those who were hospitalized or died of "covid" were obese, and everyone else was old or comorbid. BUT the progressive lunatics in government demanded schools be shutdown...

NIRP-BTFD 4 hours ago

He added: "It's a disgrace. It's a heinous abuse of the power of public health experts to do what was done."

Atlas should replace Fauci asap!

Dabooda 47 minutes ago

Actually, keeping the kids out of government schools is probably the best thing that you could do for them, unless you really WANT them to turn into brain-dead propagandized drones of indeterminate sex. Homeschool them for about $200 (for a full 12 year curriculum.

chunga 3 hours ago

The facility where my wife works as an RN has not seen much of a pandemic materialize over the last year and a half. Dystopia Virus was not the leading cause of death or sickness but the staff spends a huge amount of time (almost all) on that at the expense of everyone else. She tells me just as many died from extreme "treatment" for Dystopia Virus and that they are not doing that anymore. One was a last ditch cancer treatment.

Of all the science not followed, the medical community has earned a great share of this.

TightLiner 3 hours ago remove link

Guy I know is an ICU nurse. They quit using ventilators when 80% of people on them died. He said, once you're on a ventilator you're not coming off alive.

chunga 3 hours ago remove link

All the ingredients for a pandemic are there, except the pandemic itself. Where my wife works they are still occupying themselves largely with meetings and filling out Dystopia forms. Corporate management is trying to bribe the staff to get the experimental injections with bonuses and perks. That figure is right around 50/50 who've refused.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy 3 hours ago

The reptilian viciousness of hospital administrators is on full display for all staff to see. Nobody would forget opening their front door and finding a saltwater crocodile.

Al Jolson 4 hours ago

Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Against Use of COVID Vaccine in Children

The case will challenge the EUAs for the injections on several counts, based on the law and scientific evidence that the EUAs should never have been granted, the EUAs should be revoked immediately, the injections are dangerous biological agents that have the potential to cause substantially greater harm than the COVID-19 disease itself, and that numerous laws have been broken in the process of granting these EUAs and foisting these injections on the American people.

Portal 4 hours ago remove link

Covid is a Trojan horse that brought Fascism to the western world. Just like Hitler, "emergency powers" become permanent fascism.

When the Saints start getting dragged to jail you know your country is turning fascist. "3rd Canadian pastor arrested for holding worship services violating COVID-19 orders"

jammyjo 3 hours ago

Atlas was pilloried, but he was the man we needed instead of Fauci. Atlas had a more balance perspective. Fauci was scared of his own shadow, and maybe even corrupt since he was a life long government hack.

strych10 2 hours ago remove link

The only reason such power was granted is because the country is chock-full of obese, poorly educated morons who were easily frightened into ludicrously unworkable "solutions" by a profit driven media and idiotic, power hungry politicians.

NoPension 2 hours ago remove link

Still the best.....

Local TV reporter addressing a group of Amish leaders..." Why hasn't covid seemed to affect the Amish?"

Amish leader... " the Amish don't have tv"

[May 11, 2021] Professor Explains Flaw In Many Models Used For COVID-19 Lockdown Policies - ZeroHedge

May 11, 2021 |

MAY 11, 2021

Authored by Andrew Chen via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Economics professor Doug Allen wanted to know why so many early models used to create COVID-19 lockdown policies turned out to be highly incorrect. What he found was that a great majority were based on false assumptions and "tended to over-estimate the benefits and under-estimate the costs." He found it troubling that policies such as total lockdowns were based on those models.

" They were built on a set of assumptions . Those assumptions turned out to be really important, and the models are very sensitive to them, and they turn out to be false ," said Allen, the Burnaby Mountain Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, in an interview.

People walk past empty patios in Jacques Cartier Square in Montreal on May 7, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)

Allen says most of the early cost-benefit studies that he reviewed didn't try to distinguish between mandated and voluntary changes in people's behaviour in the face of a pandemic . Rather, they just assumed an exponential growth of cases of infection day after day until herd immunity is reached.

In a paper he published in April, in which he compiled his findings based on a review of over 80 papers on the effects of lockdowns around the world, Allen concluded that lockdowns may be one of "the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada's history."

He says many of the studies early in the pandemic assumed that human behaviour changes only as a result of state-mandated intervention, such as the closing of schools and non-essential businesses, mask and social distancing orders, and restrictions on private social gatherings.

However, they didn't take into consideration people's voluntary behavioural changes in response to the virus threat, which have a major impact on evaluating the merits of a lockdown policy.

"Human beings make choices, and we respond to the environment that we're in, [but] these early models did not take this into account," Allen said. " If there's a virus around, I don't go to stores often. If I go to a store, I go to a store that doesn't have me meeting so many people. If I do meet people, I tend to still stand my distance from them. You don't need lockdowns to induce people to behave that way ."

Allen's own cost-benefit analysis is based on the calculation of "life-years saved," which determines "how many years of lost life will have been caused by the various harms of lockdowns versus how many years of lost life were saved by lockdowns."

Based on his lost-life calculation, lockdown measures have caused 282 times more harm than benefit to Canadian society over the long term, or 282 times more life years lost than saved.

Furthermore, " The limited effectiveness of lockdowns explains why, after one year, the unconditional cumulative deaths per million, and the pattern of daily deaths per million, is not negatively correlated with the stringency of lockdown across countries ," writes Allen. In other words, in his assessment, heavy lockdowns do not meaningfully reduce the number of deaths in the areas where they are implemented, when compared to areas where lockdowns were not implemented or as stringent.

Today, some 14 months into the pandemic, many jurisdictions across Canada are still following the same policy trajectory outlined at the beginning of the pandemic. Allen attributes this to politics.

He says that politicians often take credit for having achieved a reduction in case numbers through their lockdown measures.

"I think it makes perfect sense why they do exactly what they did last year," Allen said.

"If you were a politician, would you say, 'We're not going to lock down because it doesn't make a difference, and we actually did the equivalent of killing 600,000 people this last year.'"

You wouldn't, he said, because "the alternative is they [politicians] have to admit that they made a mistake, and they caused multiple more loss of life years than they saved."

Allen laments that media for the most part have carried only one side of the debate on COVID-19 restrictions and haven't examined the other side . Adding to the concern, he says, is that views contrary to the official government response are often pulled from social media platforms.

He says he has heard that even his own published study has been censored by some social media sites.

"In some sense these are private platforms. They can do what they want. But on the other hand, I feel kind of sad that we live in the kind of a world where posing opposing opinions is either dismissed, ignored, or name-called, [and] in some ways cancelled," Allen said.

[Jun 02, 2020] Unnatural end of social distancing: Where do this week's riots leave 'social distancing'?

Jun 02, 2020 |

We were told for months we'd never gather in public again 'because Covid-19.'

...Media, politicians and celebrities who spent the past three months lecturing Americans about the importance of staying home and keeping at least six feet away from all other humans lest they catch or spread the deadly coronavirus have suddenly pivoted on a dime – seemingly as one – to cheering on those Americans defying their advice to pour into the streets and join nationwide protests...

[Jun 02, 2020] Nobel Prize Winner Lockdowns Are A Huge Mistake by Michael Levitt

Jun 01, 2020 |
Authored by Edward Peter Stringham via The American Institute for Economic research,

Michael Levitt is Professor of computer science and structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

He has been a close observer of the pandemic and the response from the outset through its movement to Europe, the U.K., and the U.S.. Last month, speaking to the Unherd podcast and youtube channel, he offered some compelling thoughts and observers, and a striking conclusion.

Below is a transcript of the parts I found most relevant.

Q: So you noticed that the curve was less of an exponential curve than we might have feared, in those early days?

A: In some ways there was never any exponential growth from the minute I looked at it, there were never any two days that had exactly the same growth rate -- and they were getting slow of course you could have non exponential growth where every single day they're getting more than exponential -- but the growth was always sub-exponential. So that's the first step.

Q: [In the UK] we talk endlessly about the R-rate -- the reproduction rate -- and apparently that began very high, maybe as high as 3, and [we've now] got it down below 1 in the UK. Intuitively, if there's a high reproduction rate, you should see that exponential curve just going up and up.

A: Well no, wait, okay. The R-0, which is very popular, is in some ways a faulty number. Let me explain why. The rate of growth doesn't depend on R-0. It depends on R-0 and the time you are infectious. So if you are twice as long infectious and have half the R-0 you'll get exactly the same growth rate. This is sort of intuitive, but it's not explained, and therefore it seems to me that I would say at the present time R-0 became important because of a lot of movies -- it was very popular -- talked about R-0.

Epidemiologists talk about R-0 but, looking at all the mathematics, you have to specify the time infectious at the same time to have any meaning. The other problem is that R-0 decreases -- we don't know why R-0 decreases. It could be social distancing, it could be prior immunity, it could be hidden cases.

Q: You've been observing the shapes of these curves and how the R-0 number tends to come down and the curve tends to flatten in some kind of natural way regardless of intervention. Is that what you are observing?

A: We don't know. I think the big test is going to be Sweden. Sweden is practicing a level of social distancing that is keeping children in schools, keeping people at work. They are obviously having more deaths in countries like Israel or Austria that are practicing very very strict social distancing but I think it is not a crazy policy. The reason I felt that social distancing was unimportant is practicing very very strict social distancing, but I think it is not a crazy policy.

The reason I felt that social distancing was unimportant is that I had two examples in China to start with and then we had the additional examples. The first one was South Korea (yeah), and Iran, and Italy. The beginning of all the epidemics showing a slowing down, and it was very hard for me to believe that those three countries could practice social-distancing as well as China. China was amazing, especially outside Hubei, in that they had no additional outbreaks. People left Hubei, they were very carefully tracked, had to wear face masks all the time, had to take their temperatures all the time, and there were no further outbreaks.

So this did not happen in either in South Korea or in Italy or in Iran. Now, two months later something else suggests that social distancing might not be important, and that is that the total number of deaths we're seeing in New York City, in parts of England, in parts of France, in northern Italy -- all seem to stop at about the same direction of the population so are they all practicing equally good social distancing? I don't think so.

The problem I think is outbreaks occurring in different regions. I think social distancing that stops people moving from London to Manchester is probably a really good idea. My feeling is that in London, and in New York City, all the people who got infected, all got infected before anybody noticed. There's no way that the infection grew so quickly in New York City without the infection spreading very quickly. So one of the key things is to stop people, who know that they're sick, from infecting the others. Here again, China has three very, very important advantages that are not high-tech that don't involve security tracking of telephones.

What they involve is, number one, the tradition in China for years, of wearing a face mask when you're sick. As soon as the coronavirus started everybody wore a face mask. It doesn't have to be a hygienic face mask it just has to be a face covering to stop you spraying saliva, micro droplets of saliva on somebody you talk to. The second thing in China is that because they were so scared of the SARS epidemic in most airports, stations where you pay tolls et cetera, there are thermometers. Infrared thermometers that that measure your temperature. So having your temperature measured at every single store entrance -- either with a handheld thermometer or with something mounted on the wall -- is something completely standard in China. And the third thing is that almost all payments in China are made not using a credit card, so in some senses it is very much easier there to practice social distancing. Of course, in addition they know where people are.

Q: What's your view of the lockdown policy that so many European countries and states in America have introduced?

A: I think it is a huge mistake. I think we need smart lockdowns. If we were to do this again, we would probably insist on face masks, hand sanitizers, and some kind of payment that did not involve touching right from the very beginning. This would slow down new outbreaks and I think that for example they found as I understand, that children, even if they're infected, never infect adults, so why do we not have children at school? Why do we not have people working? England, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, are all reaching levels of saturation that are going to be very, very close to herd immunity -- So that's a good thing. I think the policy of herd immunity is the right policy. I think Britain was on exactly the right track -- before they were fed wrong numbers and they made a huge mistake.

I see the standout winners as Germany and Sweden. They didn't practice too much lock down, they got enough people sick to get some herd immunity. The standout losers are countries like Austria, Australia, Israel that actually had very very strict lockdowns but didn't have many cases. So they have damaged their economies, caused massive social damage, damaged the educational year of their children, but not obtained any herd immunity.

I think in many ways the European countries are fine. They didn't need to have lockdown but they have all reached a high enough level of infection not to have to worry about further future attacks of coronavirus. The United States seems to be heading that way, they're certainly that way in New York City but they still have a long way to go

Q: What you're saying is that, you believe success -- as we are currently measuring it which is as few cases as possible and as small a spread of the virus as possible -- is actually failure?

A: I think if you really control your epidemic, for example, California, it's now had lockdowns for six weeks, and wants another four weeks, they have so far less than a hundred deaths, that means they don't have more (let's say a hundred thousand) in people, that is not enough to give them significant herd immunity. They didn't need to do all that lock down.

The lockdown is particularly hurtful in countries that don't have good social infrastructure, countries like the United States and Israel . Many, many people have been really really hurt -- especially young people. You know I think that everybody panicked -- they were fed incorrect numbers by epidemiologists and you know this I think led to led to a situation.

There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdowns will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor. One very easy way to see this is, and again I am getting into a sensitive territory here, but economists have a very simple way of looking at death. They don't count people. They come to the conclusion that if you're 20 and you die that's a greater loss than if you're 85 and you die. It's a hard issue, but in some ways are we valuing the potential future life of the 20 year old? Are we valuing the loss of more senior persons by what's called daily disability-adjusted life years. Basically if somebody is in their 80s, has Alzheimer's disease, and then dies from pneumonia (perhaps due to corona) that is less of a loss than if a 15 year old is riding his motorcycle bike and gets run over. This is an important way of looking at death.

It's also you know, right now, the number of excess deaths is around 130,000 up to yesterday, [May 1st]. This is for all of Europe, for a population of around 330 million people. So an excess of 100,000 for this whole year, is actually not that much. In some of the worst flu epidemics we get to those kinds of numbers -- sometimes it's a bit more, sometimes a little bit less.

Now, I'm not saying flu is like coronavirus, I'm just simply saying that the burden of death of flu is like coronavirus. Especially when we correct for the fact that people who die from coronavirus are older on average than people who died from flu . Flu kills young people, it kills two or three times more people under 65 than does coronavirus. If we put those facts into the situation we find that the burden of death from coronavirus and Phillip Shaw will, in Europe, where we have good numbers in less than that of a very flu.

Another factor which has not been considered are all the cancer patients who aren't being treated, or all the heart cardiology patients who aren't being treated. I've got estimates of tens of thousands of people who are basically going to be dying because of lack of that treatment -- and generally again the age group who die of cancer are younger than the age group who die of coronavirus.

There's one very easy way to sort of summarize coronavirus. I put an article in the medium by the pretty famous British statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge [University] and he had said that the numbers coming from Ferguson suggested that we had to lose about one year of people. It turns out that I immediately wrote an article in the same medium and replied to him, saying that in fact the answer was actually one month, not one year. So basically my feeling is, and it's being supported by the numbers, is that the amount of excess death you need to reach saturation, I'm not going to call it herd immunity, where the virus by itself stops, is on the order of four weeks of excess. Now to give you some idea in the European area where there is good monitoring, by a website called EuroMoMo , run out of Denmark, which covers about 300 million people. Every week in Europe in that area there's around 50,000 natural deaths. So in four weeks there will be about 200,000 extra deaths in that year -- and it looks like coronavirus in Europe where it's no doubt that it's the most severely hit area in the world -- we'll probably reach around 200,000 or 4 weeks worth.

Q: So what happens if what you're saying is there's a sort of statistical observation which is around four weeks of excess death and then the pandemic seems to peter out, or begin to flatten out. What does that mean policy-wise for these European countries then?

A: If we could protect the old people perfectly, then the death rates would be very, very low. So for example in Europe there were about 140,000 excess deaths in the last nine weeks. The number of those excess deaths who are younger than 65 is about 10%. So basically 13,000 of 130,000 deaths are actually under 65 years old and if we had simply been able to protect elderly people then the death rate would have been much much less . But the key thing is to have as much infection for as little possible death and also do whatever you can to keep the hospitals full but not overflowing. It's a difficult calculation and the trouble is that in Sweden there's no political concerns.

The trouble is is that in Israel and I know as well in the United States, everything is political and therefore nobody could say something like this. They would say, " Ah, but you are not valuing death -- the thing that should have been done is for the media to stress to people that everyday somebody dies. These people are essentially in the same age band, and they die from Corona and other comorbidities, other diseases.

I've become a huge fan of Twitter. I'd never used twitter before and for me Twitter is the best discussion forum I had seen since I was a student at the Cambridge Laboratory of Natural Biology. Which is a 26 Nobel Prize winning lab. The best lab in the world. The Twitter discussion is phenomenal and I'm getting documents from Italy showing that many of the Covid deaths were either dead before they were tested or else they had up to three other conditions. There is nothing wrong with this, people die for all sorts of reasons, but the news should be stressing this and maybe they should be counting it as a 0.1 Covid death.

Countries seem to be racing to have as many Covid deaths as they could, and this is a huge mistake. In the flu season no one cares about these people. I mean, the total number of Covid deaths in Europe will be very similar to a severe flu season, and you know, this is serious. Flu is a serious disease. Maybe we should just shut down the economy during the flu season. I mean people should have been made to understand it. Unfortunately I think in Britain they started out wanting to go for herd immunity without too much lockdown, there was then a scary paper -- which is likely to be retracted -- which influenced Italy as well where basically it was claimed they were -- [Interviewer interrupts]

Q: I know you had some specific queries about Neil Ferguson's paper; we had him on the show last week . So, what did you think he got wrong in those models and predictions?

A: His work was on modelling, and around the 10th of February he had his first paper (that I saw) and in there he was getting a case fatality ratio of around 15%, whereas all my observations were saying that it was around three or four percent. So I was suspicious: I looked at the paper very carefully and in a footnote to a table it said "assuming exponential growth for six days at fifteen percent a day." Now, I had looked at China, and never, ever seen exponential growth that wasn't decaying rapidly so I was suspicious. My numbers were 10% of the numbers that Ferguson had obtained. I pointed this out, in a reply in the medium -- which was out there, it's clear nobody has ever seen it but it's there, and I didn't hide it it just didn't get any likes and this said that it was much more like one month than one year and have an exchange with Spiegelhalta and Ferguson, where I tried to show my case.

But all I was doing was just simple proportionality using exactly the same profile of -- different ages have different death rates, so there's a profile saying that people over 80 have a certain fraction of the disk [deaths] people between 17 and 80 have a different fraction -- just using that data and simply saying we want the number of deaths that occurred on the Diamond Princess to be the same number that we found which was 7 or 8. If you do that, and then you apply that proportionality to Britain and the USA, you find that for Britain the half a million drops to about 50,000 and in the United States the two million drops to 200,000. Essentially a year dropping to a month.

Q: And so the the argument that is made here is that whether you believe the infection fatality rate is point three percent or whether you believe it's point eight percent there is still a big chunk of the population, the majority population who hasn't had been exposed to the disease or hasn't had it and therefore if we just let it rip there will be many many tens possibly even further hundreds according to Professor Ferguson of thousands of deaths and that's why it's politically totally not an option to be at do anything other than follow this ultra cautious approach.What do you say to that?

A: The World Health Organization, and epidemiologists in general, can only go wrong if they give [politicians] a number smaller. If I said it's going to be 1 billion deaths from coronavirus and it's, "oh, you guys have done what I've said and there's only gonna be a hundred thousands," that is considered good policy. They overestimated bird flu by a factor of a hundred, or ten thousand in The Guardian . The Guardian wrote about this. Ebola was overestimated by a factor of 100 I think. They see their role as scaring people into doing something. I can understand that and there's something to be said for it. I f you could practice lock down with zero economic costs, and zero social costs -- let's do it. But the trouble is that those costs are huge, we're gonna have fatalities from hospitals being closed down, additional children in trauma, businesses damaged -- maybe less so in the UK because of the compensation policy -- but certainly massive economic damage in the USA and in Israel, and in other countries. So you need to balance both of these things.

That is what I don't think is responsible. I n my work if I say a number is too small and I'm wrong or a number is too big and I'm wrong, both of those errors are the same. If I'm 10 percent too high or 10 percent too low that is okay. It seems that being a factor of a thousand too high is perfectly okay in epidemiology, but being a factor of three too low, is too low.

Q: I'm trying to think about what this means for the UK and for these countries that are trying to work out what to do next.Is your view then having looked at the numbers that if we had not implemented lockdown we would have seen a fall off anyway is that a fair summary?

A: We could have had smart lockdown. Sweden, for example, doesn't allow gatherings of more than 50 people. I think a football game would be a really bad idea right now, because people shout and therefore spray saliva on everyone around them, and they could infect a lot of people. But you know Sweden is doing fine, their deaths again are very localized to nursing homes, like they are in England -- it's the same profile.

I think that you know again it's Sweden so all the evidence suggests that. So my contradiction is the following: Britain, if they had done nothing would have had reported deaths. Now remember there's a difference of reported death, my numbers are all reported. This would have four weeks of additional reported death when the numbers actually came in from what were the real axis death. My guess is they would be less than that so it would not have been double. It wasn't in the month but maybe one and three quarters or so on. So that is my feeling -- we're seeing this in Europe we will know the answer in three or four weeks time. We will know for all of Europe exactly what the excess death of coronavirus was, right now it's a hundred and thirty seven thousand.

Q: Do you find when you've been making these points -- in the media that you received a lot of backlash? Do you think there's a lot of political pressure, as an academic and as an academic you know they're one of your colleagues in Stanford dr. Ioannidis has also put out studies that seem to become skeptical and has received a lot of political blowback.

A: I went on CNN once when he was CNN Vicky Anderson out of London. I appeared on Fox News a couple of times basically said this is all just common sense because I appeared on Fox News CNN wouldn't have me anymore. So basically I have had very clear of things. I had one article in the Los Angeles Times which did great but since I was not saying things that were too extreme none of the East Coast newspapers wanted me, they quoted me, but they wouldn't have me. What's disconcerting is, a few of my academic colleagues -- even relatives -- were very upset with me. Because in my earlier writing I published a report, the medium report from the 22nd of March but on the 13th or 14th of March I distributed a 19 page report,and three academics got very upset with me. I think they were totally panicked, and they felt that if anyone thought this was true they wouldn't lock down as tightly as they should, I'm in fact friends with all the people again, there are no hard feelings.

Q: Let me leave you with one final question: what's your prognosis, what do you think is now gonna happen with this what happens next?

A: There will be a reckoning. Maybe countries will start to see that they need governments that are not necessarily great in rhetoric, but actually thinking and doing. I often go back and think about what Socrates said 2,400 years ago: use your common sense instead of listening to the rhetoric of leaders. We have become very influenced by [rhetoric] that. I think this is another foul-up on the part of the baby boomers.

I am a real baby-boomer, I was born in 1947, and I think we've really screwed up. We cause pollution, we allowed the world's population to increase three-fold, we've caused the problems of global warming, we've left your generation with a real mess in order to save a really small number of very old people. If I was a young person now, I would say, "now you guys are gonna pay for this."

We have my family whatsapp and very early on I said this is a virus being designed to get rid of the baby boomers. You know I don't know, I think my wife thinks this is going to be a take it to the streets thing,and we're gonna have the young people on the street saying you guys have really screwed up it's time to go. And I always joke with her, saying well at least I've made lots of friends among the young people, I'll be okay.

But quite frankly you know I've had a great life, and I must say this to all the young faces in front of me. I have a grandson who's 17. I'd much rather have young people live for a very long time. That said I do have a mother who's a hundred and five years old living in London with my brother, she's in lockdown and I talk to her by whatsapp every single day on FaceTime, and she's fine. She still uses her phone and so on so you know these differences but

You guys should get out there and do something don't accept this anymore we screwed up too much

[May 28, 2020] Leading UK Epidemiologist -- Pubs, Nightclubs, Restaurants Could Reopen Without Serious Risk

Just who is going to pay for all of this?!?!
Notable quotes:
"... A prominent Oxford epidemiologist has reportedly called for a more rapid exit from Britain's lockdown, saying the coronavirus pandemic is "on its way out" of Britain after infecting as much as half the population. ..."
May 28, 2020 |

Authored by Trevor Marshallsea via The Belfast Telegraph,

A prominent Oxford epidemiologist has reportedly called for a more rapid exit from Britain's lockdown, saying the coronavirus pandemic is "on its way out" of Britain after infecting as much as half the population.

Professor Sunetra Gupta says there would be a "strong possibility" that pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Britain could reopen without serious risk from Covid-19.

The professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford said the UK had most likely erred on the side of over-reaction in its handling of the crisis, suggesting imposing the lockdown itself was one such misstep.

Prof Gupta told the Government had brought in the lockdown based on the worst-case scenario modelling of the Imperial College London.

In March, Imperial College's workings suggested Covid-19 had a deaths-to-cases ratio of as high as 1.4%, reducing to 0.66% when allowing for undiagnosed cases.

Prof Gupta's Oxford team produced a rival model, also in March, speculating as much as 50% of Britain's population may have already been infected, and suggesting an infection fatality rate as low as 0.1%, which she says would be far lower now.

Asked for her updated ratio, Prof Gupta said the epidemic had "largely come and is on its way out in this country" and that the rate would be "definitely less than one in 1000 and probably closer to one in 10,000", or between 0.1% and 0.01%.

Prof Gupta said the Government's defence of the lockdown was that it was based on a plausible, "or at least a possible", worst case scenario.

"The question is, should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown?

"It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting, that case is becoming more and more fragile," she said.

Prof Gupta called for a "more rapid exits from lockdown" based on factors such as "who is dying and what is happening to the death rates".

She said it was feasible Britain could have fared better with the Covid-19 crisis by doing "nothing at all" or at least by concentrating on protecting the people most vulnerable to the disease.

"Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous from the point of view of the vulnerability of the entire population to new pathogens," she said.

"Effectively we used to live in a state approximating lockdown 100 years ago, and that was what created the conditions for the Spanish Flu to come in and kill 50m people."

Whilst accepting it hard to prove on current evidence, Prof Gupta said there was a "strong possibility" the UK could return to normal without great risk. Panic Mode , 42 minutes ago

If you are being furlough and hoping you will getting your job back, Good ******* luck. I will put my money 80% furlough people won't get their jobs back. This is your government doing, those ******* politicians.

The government have surely flattened the curve - THE ECONOMY.

AG17 , 43 minutes ago

Finally we are approaching end of Feardemic...

The Shodge , 41 minutes ago

You wish. Better get ready for The Second Wave of Government Terror

Louhnatique , 43 minutes ago

You can tell by these experts' point of view who's paying their bills. None are independent.

Panic Mode , 52 minutes ago

Yeah, I can't wait for the restaurants to open and see how much fears government have injected to the consumers, totally destroy their industries. For those who have completely lost their career, livelihood and their kids future, this is on government, those ******* politicians.

Thanks to the government listening to crook like Neil ******* Ferguson.

Canoe Driver , 53 minutes ago

5,000 government douchebags are now feverishly looking for a different expert.

They have to know already that there are not many 80-year old chain smokers at the local pub. The continued lockdowns are mostly because they can't be seen to admit it was all a mistake and a horrible overreaction. Oh, and because they are the ones obsessed with defeating Trump. Sucks to lose a family business so Gavin Newsom, et al., can try to win a pissing war with Republicans. But that is what it's come to.

funkyfreddy , 1 hour ago

I guess she thought south Korean clubs could reopen safely until that one guy infected numerous people at multiple clubs in one night causing them all to be shut again?

[May 27, 2020] The general election scenario that Democrats are dreading

Notable quotes:
"... "Consumption and hiring started to tick up "in gross terms, not in net terms," Furman said, describing the phenomenon as a "partial rebound." The bounce back "can be very very fast, because people go back to their original job, they get called back from furlough, you put the lights back on in your business. Given how many people were furloughed and how many businesses were closed you can get a big jump out of that. ..."
"... IMO Trump now realizes that he was snookered by the medical equivalent of the Holy Office. Our Auto da Fe has been impressive and nearly fatal but not quite. Trump's statement that he will never shut the economy down again indicates to me that the "scales have fallen" from his eyes. ..."
"... One thing to note are all the diffusion indexes will show large upticks, because of the base effects. U6 will likely be more stubborn. ..."
May 27, 2020 |

"... he believes, the way to think about the current economic drop-off, at least in the first two phases, is more like what happens to a thriving economy during and after a natural disaster: a quick and steep decline in economic activity followed by a quick and steep rebound.

The Covid-19 recession started with a sudden shuttering of many businesses, a nationwide decline in consumption, and massive increase in unemployment. But starting around April 15, when economic reopening started to spread but the overall numbers still looked grim, Furman noticed some data that pointed to the kind of recovery that economists often see after a hurricane or industry-wide catastrophe like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." politico


"Consumption and hiring started to tick up "in gross terms, not in net terms," Furman said, describing the phenomenon as a "partial rebound." The bounce back "can be very very fast, because people go back to their original job, they get called back from furlough, you put the lights back on in your business. Given how many people were furloughed and how many businesses were closed you can get a big jump out of that. It will look like a V."" politico


Well, pilgrims, there you have it. If Politico thinks so, it must be so. Do I think the Democratic Party grandees are deliberately suppressing the economy as long as they can and bitching and whining as the GOP tries to crank up the machine? Yes, I do. Is that criminal? Should it be criminal? IMO it should be but to prevent the disintegration of the Great Republic, we must not treat it as such.

IMO Trump now realizes that he was snookered by the medical equivalent of the Holy Office. Our Auto da Fe has been impressive and nearly fatal but not quite. Trump's statement that he will never shut the economy down again indicates to me that the "scales have fallen" from his eyes.

Are his attempts too little and too late? That could be. Or, maybe not.

The brawny beast that is America is gathering itself up, and looking once again at what CAN BE, not at what is forbidden us by the Globalist nitwits who would destroy us and make us into building blocks for their utopia. pl

What I don't understand is how prolonging the lockdown of reliably blue states like my own WA furthers the Democrat election strategy -- assuming it is what you suggest.

It seems to me that when people in those states feel the totalitarian pinch on their own livelihood, they might be more inclined to vote against the party that's doing it to them, tipping the state into the purple or even red column.

Same goes for the battleground states. Seems like a surefire way to throw the election, not win it.

Can someone explain how this is supposed to work?!?

Jack , 26 May 2020 at 01:10 PM


One thing to note are all the diffusion indexes will show large upticks, because of the base effects. U6 will likely be more stubborn.

The best comparisons will be unit volumes relative to prior to lockdown. For example, number of flights or gas consumption prior to and after lockdown ends.

One indicator that I track is used car prices. It is starting a nice uptick particularly for full size trucks. With all the incentives and financing options I would bet we'll see growth in even new truck volumes .

On the flip side, IMO, the increased debt and the trillions that the Fed printed up for Wall St will constrain growth in the medium term.

walrus , 26 May 2020 at 01:52 PM
Col. Lang,

With respect, I don't agree with your view of what has happened from an economic and medical sense although I agree with your view of the political machinations of the democrats.

I said when all this started that the economy would bounce back quickly. I still believe it will. I also believe that the lockdown was necessary, but now it is thought possible to open up because the medical system and logistics have now caught up with the pandemic. The lockdowns bought us time.

Fauci, Birx and Co. were talking of easing up three weeks ago at one of President Trumps press conferences, I watched most of them live. I don't see the medicos as malevolent globalists or anything other than public health officials doing their jobs under great pressure and public scrutiny. I don't think they have drunk any of the numerous glasses of kool aid that were proffered. They appear to me to have stuck stubbornly to the science.

We too are easing lockdown rules - allegedly in "a controlled and measured manner" but that is actually BS. Everyone is sick of being cooped up and can't wait. We too have one State leader - a leftist "democrat" that is dragging their feet in Queensland for political reasons, our equivalent of Florida. Their borders are currently closed - when they reopen there will be an absolute avalanche of tourists heading North, us included, to get some warm weather, that will provide a huge economic spike.

Let's hope we can get vaccines moving PDQ.

LondonBob , 26 May 2020 at 02:25 PM
Problem is things were frothy before covid, financial markets were well overextended, the deficit was out of control, oil won't come back anytime soon. In many ways Trump is a lucky general, gets to blame the slowdown on the virus and any faltering in the recovery on Dem governors.
Eric Newhill , 26 May 2020 at 03:10 PM
Here is a link to a poll that suggests the globalists have screwed up again (see bottom 1/3 of the link). A large % of Americans polled say they will now avoid products made in China and would be willing to pay more for the same product if it's made in the USA. They also think that trade restrictions and tariffs are a good idea. Basically, they like the Trumpian model. China Joe and his boy Hunter are going to be perceived as being on the wrong side of this issue by Trump.

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:21 PM

you are right. We do not agree. IMO the country wide shutdown was never necessary. What was needed was a strategy of protection for the vulnerable. The rest could have taken care of themselves with anti-flu like treatment while therapies and vaccines were developed.

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:23 PM

Yes. In their contempt for those they think "deplorable, they f----d up.

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:26 PM

The Democrats deserve it and BTW I don't agree with any of the negatives you state with regard to the pre-COVID state of things. You just don't like Trump. Neither do I

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:32 PM

Lucky is better than skillful. But I disagree about trump. He is a lot more than just lucky.

AK , 26 May 2020 at 03:45 PM

It is the strategy (poorly conceived) of people whose ideology blinds them to extant reality, and who think they can mold that reality to their whims through sheer fervency of their belief in their moral superiority to other, "lesser types." I can't think of a single historical example where such a strategy has worked out, but there you have it. Then again, according to them, history also fits into that concept of "malleable reality" as they see it. They are the makers of history in their own estimation, rather than part of and subject to it. This is why the Left has never been able to grapple with, and is often outright hostile to, the notion of unforeseen consequences.

BillWade , 26 May 2020 at 03:56 PM
This past weekend our hotel parking lots were pretty full, this is normally a slow time in SW Florida. It's likely restaurants will be allowed 100% capacity seating with bars opening this coming Monday.

Reasonable people who want a real economy in the USA should all be voting for President Trump. If he wins, and I think he will, we're going to have a real boom as smart EU money moves into USA equities, particularly the NASDAQ.

Vegetius , 26 May 2020 at 04:49 PM
Trump is the Charlie Brown of American political history.

How many more footballs will he make a go at before (and after) November?

Fred , 26 May 2020 at 05:37 PM

" blame the slowdown on the virus "
Not gonna happen. He's going to blame the Democrats who issued all those EO declaring who was essential and who was "seperate but equal". He'll blame China, rightfully so, for spreading this as far and wide in the West as possible; he'll blame the academics and professional "resistance" within and without the government for their incompetence and intransigence.


"Seems like a surefire way to throw the election, not win it."
it doesn't matter who votes, it only matters now who counts them. Thus the statewide mailings of ballots to maximize ballot harvesting. At the very least lots of local elections will get stolen, probably a congressional one too, even if WA doesn't go for Trump in November.

Terence Gore , 27 May 2020 at 09:20 AM

"Both viruses remove marker molecules on the surface of an infected cell that are used by the immune system to identify invaders, the researchers said in a non-peer reviewed paper posted on preprint website on Sunday. They warned that this commonality could mean Sars-CoV-2, the clinical name for the virus, could be around for some time, like HIV...that the coronavirus was showing "some characteristics of viruses causing chronic infection"."

J , 27 May 2020 at 10:52 AM
It appears that an Intelligence report that's come out regarding the CCP and their virus by French Intelligence (DGSE) isn't getting the traction it deserves.

Eleven years, , 'eleven years' BEFORE the EU signed off on the PRC/CCP Wuhan lab construction, French DGSE warned that the PRC/CCP's lab was a construction leak and bio-weapon making facility disaster waiting to happen.

Why was nobody listening at the time? Where were the FIVE EYES in all of this, were they ignoring French Intelligence's warning, what? Where was the CIA in this? They're supposed to be the 'external' watchdog, right? It was the Tenet/Goss handover time frame, 2004. But surely the DGSE warnings had to have been 'flagged' by Langley for a closer scrutiny, right? What was DIA's read on this at the time?

..."French diplomatic and security advisers, who argued that the Chinese reputation for poor bio-security could lead to a catastrophic leak.

They also warned that Paris could lose control of the project, and even suggested that Beijing could harness the technology to make biowarfare weapons."...

Another interesting cavet in the article relates to P4 labs everywhere (including U.S. facilities)..... "A source told the newspaper: 'What you have to understand is that a P4 [high-level bio-security] laboratory is like a nuclear reprocessing plant. It's a bacteriological atomic bomb."

Barbara Ann , 27 May 2020 at 03:15 PM
An interesting development yesterday: Twitter have flagged a couple of Trump's tweets on mail-in ballots as "Misleading". A link at the bottom of each tweet says "Get the facts about mail-in ballots" and directs you to a piece written by Twitter on the subject quoting CNN & WaPo as having contrary views to the President - hardly news in itself.

Are we seeing the beginning of another insurance policy, in case the economy recovers? It appears to put Trump in a bind, as shutting down or sanctioning Twitter as a whole would not only deny Trump his (until yesterday) unfiltered comms channel to his base, but also invite cries of censorship by the MSM. If he does nothing, what is to stop Twitter 'correcting' more of this messages? In a later tweet Trump directly accused Twitter of "..interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election". It will be very interesting to see how this develops. Here is the first of the offending tweets:

CK , 27 May 2020 at 03:38 PM
If Israel, Mexico, Great Britain, China, Ukraine, Canada, can interfere in American elections, and the USA can interfere in the elections of any nation it wishes, why should the Masters and Commanders of the internet be forbidden the same hobby?
Have you never watched Network?
Same as it ever was.

[May 26, 2020] The fact that this being a great social experiment has been lost on those decrying the lockdown. We are still unpacking the effects of it, but I will repeat that the gov't has essentially blown its wad for all to see.

May 26, 2020 |

NemesisCalling , May 25 2020 17:35 utc | 95

@91 lizard

I love it, man. Your post/writing/poems.

But don't you think you are being a wee bit devil-may-care with your hotdoggin'? Lol.


Russ is also a fantastic writer but whereas his post above and his prior during the pandemic have focused on the brutality of the lockdown, I'm afraid he has missed the boat on its net-positive effects, although he has rightly noted that being a bachelor during this time is a far different experience than a family man (the same goes for apartment dwellers vs. homeowners):

- As the breadwinner, I have never been home as much as I have with the fam. I'm exploring fatherhood, long hair and a patchy and itchy beard, and enjoying myself more than anyone should during the lockdown.

- I have seen more use at public parks, tennis courts, dog walking, family-outing than ever before. They say that street foot-traffic is down but I beg to differ. Perhaps consumerism and strip-mall venturing is way down, but f*** that vacuous endeavor I say anyhow.

- People are cooking again. Fast food has more or less been relegated to treat-status where it rightfully belongs

- More time at home allows the family to see the benefits of parenting at home and how NOT to rely on public school raising your child in absentia. Our public school system desperately needs a wake-up call. It needs to end the trend of politically-charged mission-statements and remove itself back to second-fiddle status when it comes to raising our children.

- The fact that this being a great social experiment has been lost on those decrying the lockdown. We are still unpacking the effects of it, but I will repeat that the gov't has essentially blown its wad for all to see. Future generations will be able to judge this event more accurately, but there are those now who are more politically active than they have ever been and so will be more fully enraged during the NEXT encroachment on our liberties. And do you think that the gov't will be able to repeat this lockdown in the near future with the same acquiescence from the people? I think not. Indeed, a powder keg has been borne out of this and it is propelling us out of our collective consumer-driven apathy. And the fact that those decrying this event have failed to understand how disrupting the course of this spirit-trough we have all been dwelling in the past decades could actually be a boon for consciousness, I'm afraid says more about them and their need of the status-quo than anything else. FFS, how long do you think the gov't can enforce such a policy? How long before it goes to far and creates a reaction that reinvigorates the sleeping masses? My argument is that it is getting closer every day and that their goal during this event will backfire spectacularly on them in the near future.

- As the lockdown peters out, and liberty to frequent parks, forests, and the right to disperse camp is restored, one wonders what the point of barring us from such activities for just under three months was for other than piss people off? These activities would never stand a snowballs chance to be removed permanently, so one can only wonder why? All it did was further cast a spotlight on their idiocy and further reinforces my point above that, in effect, they blew their wad.

- Small businesses have suffered. Money is printing so fast to go out of style in the near future. Oh well, if your margins were that thin so as not to weather a couple months hiatus/sabbatical, where the gov't has been alleviating the burden of such a time, then you should probably rethink your business venture and decide whether it is 1) needful, 2)worthwhile, 3)non-superfluous. We need to eliminate the novel enterprises of a late-capitalist society where hard work is shunned and luxury is all. Toughening up and becoming lean-and-mean is not necessarily a bad idea, especially when it comes to the powder-puff society that we find ourselves in.

[May 26, 2020] COVID Politics Insider Closers vs. Outsider Openers

May 26, 2020 |

Now with the coronavirus, we see a similar misplay between earnest elites and raucous masses. When the severity of the crisis became apparent to all in early March -- some alarmist statistical models were predicting millions of deaths–it seemed obvious and necessary for federal and state officials to follow the advice of the earnest elites and to order lockdowns; as for the raucous masses, they were initially too bowled over by the apparent menace to raise much of a protest. After all, nobody wanted to be outdoors during a zombie apocalypse.

Of course, in the absence of zombies, or of people dropping dead in the streets, anti-lockdown protests soon erupted; in this country, somebody is always protesting something. At first the protesters seemed to be little more than surviving Tea Partiers, flecked with neo-Confederates -- a perception that the media was only too happy to reinforce -- and yet over the past few weeks, it's become clear that the reopen movement is broader than just the anti, the angry, and the Trumpy.

Indeed, as this author noted last week, blue-state politicians, including incumbent Democrats, are now in favor of reopening, albeit in a sometimes inconsistent and arbitrary fashion. In fact, some recognized members of the earnest healthcare policy elite have gone so far as to write in The New York Times , "As circumstances have evolved, so has my thinking" -- that is, time to open up.

Yet in the meantime, populists -- aided by Republican researchers -- are tallying up incidents of blue-state condescension and hypocrisy, as the woke and the wealthy have imposed one set of rules on the proles, even as they themselves live by another set of rules.

For instance, there were the orders about closing down churches, but not liquor stores . And there was the governor's wife who ignored her husband's lockdown order and flew by private jet to her equestrian farm in another state. And there was the state public health chief who pulled her mother out of a nursing home even while ordering such homes to accept Covid-19 patients. (That official was the first transgender person to hold such a post, so she gets extra points for wokeness, if not for fairness.)

Indeed, the comedian Ruth Buzzi -- best known for her appearances on the Laugh-In TV show in the late 60s and early 70s -- tweeted about some of the many weirdnesses of the current situation: "Marijuana is legal and haircuts are against the law. It took half a century but Hippies finally won."

In the meantime, many people -- including Elon Musk , who defies ideological categorization, and including as well African American partiers in Florida, not likely to be Republicans -- are simply ignoring the remaining restrictions. The hard-pressed police, betwixt and between the rulers and the ruled, can't arrest them all.

It's in this environment that The Washington Examiner took note of a Gallup poll showing that a whopping 63 percent of Americans support reopening, if new cases of the virus are declining. To be sure, that's a big "if," and yet for the time being, it doesn't seem coincidental that Gallup also finds that the approval rating of President Trump -- who has mostly supported reopening and who has always been contemptuous of those earnest elites -- has edged into positive territory.

.... ... ...

[May 25, 2020] Should I be ashamed of this gathering? I'm sure some will think yes, yes I am being an asshole. But I'm going to take the risk of doing what social herd animals need to do in order to maintain my mental health.

May 25, 2020 |

lizard , May 25 2020 16:35 utc | 92

Thank you Russ @66. I always appreciate your comments.

I'm going to repost something I wrote this morning about how one can be a skeptic but not be an asshole about it:

Did you know it is possible to be skeptical about the pandemic but not be an asshole about it?

I'll use myself as an example.

I wear a mask when I'm in commercial spaces, even when it's not required. I understand and respect how irrationally fearful people are, and I also understand how the mask has been turned into a politically divisive symbol of freedom vs. tyranny. I'm not going to waste energy on opposing mask-wearing when the real threat is a mandatory vaccine program cooked up by sociopaths and administered by the military.

I don't bring my little germ-sponges–aka, children–into stores with me when I'm shopping. My oldest, half-jokingly, said he wants to go into Target for his birthday as his birthday gift. Not to buy anything, just to be in a store.

I'm not rushing into bars and restaurants and cram-packed swimming pools in the Ozarks now that things are reopening. I stay at home, play with Legos, and drink box wine like a good adult male with kids and no social life.

Since there is a reopening going on, and a subsequent media effort to highlight the most obnoxious visual examples of violating our NEW NORMAL social distancing requirements, let me offer a personal example of what reopening looks like for me.

Yesterday I hosted a social gathering. My friend came over with his two girls, and another friend came over with his partner. The kids played and laughed over a fart gun. We ate hotdogs and had a fire. It was great.

We talked about the risk of our gathering in our backyard to eat hotdogs and to let the kids play. I think we understand the risk as best we can, considering how dubious much of the information has been, and how flawed the models were.

Should I be ashamed of this gathering? Am I being an asshole by hanging out with a few friends who have social lives that are about as exciting as mine?

I'm sure some will think yes, yes I am being an asshole. And that's fine. But until the freedom to hang out with other people is completely removed, I'm going to take the risk of doing what social herd animals need to do in order to maintain my mental health.

[May 24, 2020] It all points to social economic status and povert: one argument against shutting down economies so drastically

May 24, 2020 |

Blue Dotterel , May 24 2020 16:29 utc | 8

"It all points to social economic status and poverty," Gray Molina said.

This is probably true. It was one argument against shutting down economies so drastically. This is less of a problem in the wealthier countries for the moment, but in a second or third wave, you will probably see more deaths among the below 60s due to increasing poverty caused by poorly managed lockdowns this time around.

[May 24, 2020] It's the biggest question in the world right now: is Covid-19 a deadly disease that only a small fraction of our populations have so far been exposed to? Or is it a much milder pandemic that a large percentage of people have already encountered and is already on its way out?

May 24, 2020 |

Swedish Family , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

New UnHerd interview up , this time with Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford. From their summary:

It's the biggest question in the world right now: is Covid-19 a deadly disease that only a small fraction of our populations have so far been exposed to? Or is it a much milder pandemic that a large percentage of people have already encountered and is already on its way out?

If Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College is the figurehead for the first opinion, then Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford, is the representative of the second. Her group at Oxford produced a rival model to Ferguson's back in March which speculated that as much as 50% of the population may already have been infected and the true Infection Fatality Rate may be as low as 0.1%.

Since then, we have seen various antibody studies around the world indicating a disappointingly small percentage of seroprevalence -- the percentage of the population has the anti-Covid-19 antibody. It was starting to seem like Ferguson's view was the one closer to the truth.

But, in her first major interview since the Oxford study was published in March, Professor Gupta is only more convinced that her original opinion was correct.

As she sees it, the antibody studies, although useful, do not indicate the true level of exposure or level of immunity. First, many of the antibody tests are "extremely unreliable" and rely on hard-to-achieve representative groups. But more important, many people who have been exposed to the virus will have other kinds of immunity that don't show up on antibody tests -- either for genetic reasons or the result of pre-existing immunities to related coronaviruses such as the common cold.

The implications of this are profound – it means that when we hear results from antibody tests (such as a forthcoming official UK Government study) the percentage who test positive for antibodies is not necessarily equal to the percentage who have immunity or resistance to the virus. The true number could be much higher.

Observing the very similar patterns of the epidemic across countries around the world has convinced Professor Gupta that it is this hidden immunity, more than lockdowns or government interventions, that offers the best explanation of the Covid-19 progression:

"In almost every context we've seen the epidemic grow, turn around and die away -- almost like clockwork. Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we've observed is almost a uniform pattern of behaviour which is highly consistent with the SIR model. To me that suggests that much of the driving force here was due to the build-up of immunity. I think that's a more parsimonious explanation than one which requires in every country for lockdown (or various degrees of lockdown, including no lockdown) to have had the same effect."

Asked what her updated estimate for the Infection Fatality Rate is, Professor Gupta says, "I think that the epidemic has largely come and is on its way out in this country so I think it would be definitely less than 1 in 1000 and probably closer to 1 in 10,000." That would be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.01%.

[ ]

If she is right, antibody tests are a poor measure of the true virus spread, and the declining death rate Sweden and many other countries have seen this past month is from immunity -- not measures -- lowering the effective reproduction number. Time will tell.

[May 24, 2020] Coronafacts IFR 1%, Spread Low by Anatoly Karlin

May 24, 2020 |

Beckow , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 11:24 am GMT

To summarise: corona infects less than 5-10% of people, more under ideal virus circumstances in cold, dumpy ski resorts or in NY-London tenements. Among infected it kills about 1%, almost all over 65, with those over 80 having a 10-20% chance of dying.

And they shut down the world, because ' corona '. This is a policy of 'do anything to protect the old' even if it means enslaving the young, a gerontocracy that would be unthinkable in the past.

It is dawning on even the most fanatical corona fans that the data won't change. Now we hear about a 'second wave' – why only one more? Or that the restrictions stopped a disaster – one of those 'what if' historical speculations. But the best one lately is that ' we didn't know anything, nobody knew '.

Right, who knew? One can justify anything by embracing ignorance: "I know nothing, but you must do what I say." This is one is better than WMDs, lier loans, or Putin personally flipping votes in Michigan in 2016 West is really growing intellectually. I can't wait for the next one

sudden death , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 11:50 am GMT

To summarise: corona infects less than 5-10% of people, more under ideal virus circumstances in cold, dumpy ski resorts or in NY-London tenements

That is in 2-3 months since initial infections and it was enough to completely overwhelm organized healthcare in some places and strain very hard in most places, then all those loathed protective measures kick in and the spread slows because of it. If there were no such any measures taken anywhere in the world growth would become explosively exponential very soon and those 5% would increase tenfold.

Ludwig , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 1:34 pm GMT
Thanks for a great list of resources! Incidentally ongoing studies from the COVID-19 stricken USS Roosevelt – a closed ecosystem like the Diamond Princess but with relatively young, fit crew members – should be interesting. ( )

A couple of thoughts (and apologize if they may be in some of the links you mentioned):

While it's good to know what the "average" IFR is, IMO it's as important from a policy point of view to know what the conditions in which it varies and how much (based on current treatment options) it can vary by. Speaking purely statistically, a mean of 1% with a 95% CI of 0.9-1.1% is significantly different from one of 1% with a 95% CI of 0.01% to 2%.

Here are some factors that we already know significantly impact hospitalizations/mortality:

Inherent Factors:
– Age (easily the biggest known variable for impacting IFR, likely correlated with immune system response)
– Gender (men more susceptible than women (around 30% more?)
– Co-morbidity (correlates with pre-existing damage to tissues throughout the body and sensitivity of receptors/immune response)
– Prior coronavirus history (??? One paper claims that recent infection with coronavirus that causes the common cold may offer cross-reactive antibodies to SARS-Cov-2 )
– Blood groups (??? Contradictory/not fully vetted data claiming for example those with ABO antigen type A more susceptible to infection progressing than type O, B, AB)

External Factors
– Early detection and treatment before severe symptoms
– Medical care availability
– Tailored treatment cocktails (evolving but reports that each country/region gaining experience on identifying optimal treatment regimens depending on patient)
– Optimal use of ventilators (reports that though low blood oxygen is first presented, automatic intubating may often make things worse)
– Lethality/Infectiousness of different strains (?? Non-peer reviewed studies claim for example at least three major strains that differ in infectiousness/severity which are found dominant in different regions.

There may be more (eg BCG vaccine (a theory I don't buy for reasons too long to go into here); past use of nicotine etc; ethnic genotypes etc).

But the point is, based on even current, rapidly evolving knowledge, IFR varies widely based on known/speculative factors, which should inform response policy from severity/types of lockdowns/social restrictions to medical responses in addition to efforts to prevent infection in the first place.

A123 , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm GMT
@AP The interesting & important thing to note is that fatalities are heavily tied to the related factors of pre-existing conditions and advanced age. For example:

With CQ/AZ/ZN available everywhere, the bulk of the economy could reopen immediately with or without masks. Given that psychology is important, odds are mask wearing will make the restart more effective. However, masks provide partial protection at most.

Znzn , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm GMT
Let us talk about this again, basically, how much of international travel is really necessary, the cheap labor travel? White pedos vacationing in Thailand? A lot of mass tourism just leads to places like Queenstown, Kyoto, and Venice being trashed, driving the locals out, and losing their local culture, and 95 percent of business travel are really junkets that can be replaced by videoconferencing.
Znzn , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT
@james wilson Given that the current crap state of Western culture is that responsibility of SJW millennials and zoomer maybe it is they that should be sacrificed? How much will the world lose anyway? The world was much better off before they came here. They are the ones who are responsible for things going off the deep end the past decade or so. Look at how much better Star Trek the next generation was compared to the crap now by JJ Abrams.
utu , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 3:18 pm GMT
I liked very much the paper by the Berkeley physicists: Modi, Chirag, Vanessa Boehm, Simone Ferraro, George Stein, and Uros Seljak. Epidemiologists and all kinds of statisticians could learn from them how to write transparently. One of the reason there are so many papers written poorly is that the authors often have to obfuscate as they do not really understand what they are doing. People can be taught how to use statistical software packages like SAS, SPSS, R w/o really understanding the underlying mathematical routines.

[May 22, 2020] End New York City's lockdown now! by David Marcus

May 22, 2020 |

Terence Gore , 21 May 2020 at 12:13 PM

long interview Robert Kennedy Jr

as left as you can get

against the left support of big Pharma

RFrancis , 21 May 2020 at 12:27 PM
The phrase "professional deformations" helped clarify a number of things for me! Thank you for your incisive words, Col. Lang.
CK , 21 May 2020 at 12:30 PM
But what about the snitches and the virtue signalers and the screamingly fearful faux celebrities, and how can you be so cruel to the currently essential who if we re-open have to return to being just another bunch of working stiffs. Have you not seen the vasty deep outpouring of love and affection we are currently piling on the Nurse Ratcheds and Dr. Evils of the world for their virtuous and self effacing tv commercials and the many glorious PSAs with paeans and "we're all in this together" sophistries from various health insurance companies and makers of very expensive symptom mollifiers?
I am sorry sir, but I must disagree. We must not only keep closed that which is currently closed, we must use the power of the IC and the various state and federal militaries and national guards to close down all the open and partially opened states and cities and towns and farms and counties and any other political subdivisions of this great nation until we are truly "all in this together".
We could just open all of it, now.
If we did, we would be back to normal in about 60 days, some places would open with new management, some folks would enjoy continued unemployment until they were called back.
I, personally, expect that except for Ca and NY the country will be reopen about 90 days prior to the election.
Deap , 21 May 2020 at 12:38 PM
The liberal media and legislators applied the 100% solution to 1% of the population, if that much.

That was failed leadership; that was slavish "following orders". That was a loss of the maxim "trust, but verify" maxim. This powerful legacy of the Reagan era, must be put back at the forefront of any public decision process. Question authority needs repeating as well.

Our public education system failed us completely for too many decades. Teaching generations of Americans to be critical of America, is not teaching them critical thinking skills. We need to own up to that, from our local school boards on up.

These non-science , not thinking, hateful liberal media and politicians deserve the 100% solution - 100% voted out of office in 2020. Liberal media and legislators must get a new message. Voting and boycotting are the two primary tools we have. Some stunning upsets in primary races are already occurring. It will be morning in America again.

But may we never forget why so many were so willing to shoot ourselves in the foot. For what end purpose? Were we ever so collectively scared as a Nation in the past, that we were willing destroy ourselves as we witnessed happening these past few money - no nuance, no graduated response, no scalpel wiled with professional precision.

What happened to our true grit as Americans? How did we get into this devastatingly false dichotomy - total submission or we are all going to die.

Will there be a post mortem examination of the corpse of our once vibrant nation? This requires honest soul searching. I honestly don't think we have the tools to do this any longer. I hope I am wrong. In fact I would be greatly comforted to be proven wrong.

Will current national leadership rise to this challenge? Or has the Black Swan yet to arrive. Or do we start this soul-searching right here and right now, one by one. "Stronger together". Will the Karens stop demanding we go through their menopause danger years with them.

ancientarcher , 21 May 2020 at 02:02 PM
It is astonishing that no one is talking about the death profile from covid19 (or as it should have been named - the Wuhan coronavirus). Over there in the UK, the median age of death from covid is 83-84.

There has been a lot of talk about Children dying of covid. Only 2 (two) children under the age of 10 have died from covid since it started and they probably had other conditions. This is in a total population of 65million.

Fully 90% of the deaths from covid19 are in the ages of 65+ and that segment of the population doesn't, by and large, participate in production in the economy (of goods or services). While death is always sad and it will lead to grieving, we have to understand that people always die, especially the old and infirm. Anyways, no one is suggesting that they should be left to fend for themselves, the older people and those with conditions makes them high risk should be isolated.

The UK closed the massive Nightingale hospitals that were set up to handle thousands of patients. The one in London handled a total of 54 before shutting down. Clearly, we had over-provisioned for the outbreak (as we should) but very clearly we are past the worst.

Please OPEN UP THE ECONOMY. And do it NOW. The deaths being avoided are not worth keeping the economy shut down, not only in the UK but across the world.

People point towards the Spanish flu where most deaths happened in the 2nd wave. Well, most of those deaths would not have happened had antibiotics been invented then. The deaths were due to subsequent bacterial infections (usually pneumonia) after the virus weakened the immune system.

We need to start going back to normal and we need to do it now!

Fred , 21 May 2020 at 02:03 PM
Democrats - the Dream Killers. Meanwhile immigration is our strength, multi-national corporations may operate, private businesses may not - "for the common good" as Deborah Dingell, former GM lobbyist and now successor to John D's hold on power in Congress and the DNC, likes to repeat daily on her FB stream of concousness - along with exhortations to obedience.

"By prolonging the coronavirus shutdown long after its core mission was accomplished, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have plunged tens of thousands of New Yorkers into poverty."

Poverty apparently doesn't kill anyone infected with this virus, but it sure is killing our freedoms and thanks to Cuomo and Whitmer it has killed thousands in nursing homes. The press is all praise for them, and tries to gin up stories about other governors, such as De Santis of Florida, or ignores them, as they are going with the story in Georgia.

Eric Newhill , 21 May 2020 at 02:05 PM
I was a fence sitter/agnostic until the end of February or early March. Then there was enough data in to be able to understand that the elderly needed to be protected and the rest of should go about life as normal. When you first posted about panic, I wasn't seeing a panic as I would define it. Then a few days later lockdowns were announced. You had the jump on that one!

Just to summarize what I have been saying since the lockdown started, there are going to be more deaths (and many more years of life lost) from all of the people not able and/or too afraid to engage in regular healthcare services than there will be killed by the virus - and from the effects of economic destruction.

The Mayor of Ithaca, NY - not a conservative by any means - made an appeal to Cuomo to open the economy back up and to allow students to return to colleges. He says his college town (includes Cornell U) had the best economy in all of NY up to the lockdown (lowest unemployment, etc). Now he can't collect enough tax revenue to pay police and other public servants.

And that's what I don't get about this scheme to establish a new [socialist] normal. How do the socialists think they are going to generate revenues to pay for everything they want? It's almost as if they don't understand economics 101. Will they turn on their limousine faction and confiscate their wealth along with that of conservatives? Do they really imagine that no one is going to fight back (I mean with votes, pitchforks, guns...whatever)? For that matter, same goes for the non-scheming sincere useful science geek/idiots. They are supposed to be engineer types, but where are the sober calculations of costs and benefits? What are they thinking?

TedBuila , 21 May 2020 at 02:14 PM
A lot of people die every day of a variety of causes. This virus is a reaper that culls the population, eliminating the weak and the old. The great majority of healthy, productive people survive infection with little or no apparent effect.

The last or only time this brushed me was with polio in Detroit in the 50's. Following your "re-open the country, all of it" swimming pools and Belle Isle would never have been closed would have remained open in August and September to allow nature to thin-out Detroit's/the country's weakest.

That's your C19 call as I read it.

Keith Harbaugh , 21 May 2020 at 02:28 PM
On the damage the shutdowns and restrictions are causing,
this is a good account:

Doctors raise alarm about health effects of continued coronavirus shutdown: 'Mass casualty incident'

Laura Wilson , 21 May 2020 at 02:58 PM
Yeah, too bad about all those doctors and nurses dying. Easily replaced, I'm sure.

It's just math, folks. Epidemics are can either go with the math or try to change the equation and the outcome of the math. I, personally, would rather try to change the equation.

turcopolier , 21 May 2020 at 03:40 PM
Laura Wilson

"The greater good ..." How many doctors and nurses really? How many? You should remember about me that I am accustomed to sacrificing people for the greater good. That is MY professional deformation.

turcopolier , 21 May 2020 at 03:44 PM

This plague actually kills few outside the legion of the old and infirm. Polio kills the youngest first. Yours is a false comparison.

turcopolier , 21 May 2020 at 03:50 PM
Eric Newhill

What were the Khmer Rouge thinking in the Year Zero when they systematically destroyed Cambodia and killed millions?

jerseycityjoan , 21 May 2020 at 04:07 PM
New York City is still getting hundreds of new cases and hospitalizations a day. How many people will want to go to crowded indoor places? If there is social distancing with lots of empty chairs and spaces, how many closed places could make any money if they opened?

There's been a lot of uncertainty and guesswork involved with this new virus and that will continue. We came through the first round with some hotspots but most places doing OK. I think we were right to shut down when we did and that we need to be careful in opening back up. I still trust Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.

Certainly it's time to start relaxing restrictions in most places. But we need to remember that this is a new virus with many unknowns and that we are all vulnerable because there's no proven ttestment that works, cure or vaccine.

I have to say that this crisis has taken on a symbolic importance for some. It has not for me. I think this will lead to a lot more disagreement about what should be done in the future, particularly if we have addition waves. That makes me feel uneasy -- very uneasy. I am not assuming we're going to have a very effective vaccine within a year so we may be living with this threat for a long time.

Deap , 21 May 2020 at 04:09 PM
Eric, socialists in California have one standard answer when confronted with funding for their schemes: They'll find the money. .

End of all practical discussion. When asked for details, they will invariably add .. "you had money for the Vietnam war .... the military etc. Just use that money."

Only two decades of total socialism in this state has this done to our fiscal literacy. "Just tax the rich" gets anything passed. Cruel fact in this state, the rich - just the top 1% in this state pay 50% of all state revenues. Only a handful of people pay half the bills.

Should any of this top 1% leave, like Musk recently threatened, shock waves will reach the state's executive suite. But this threat will fall on deaf ears in the state's Democrat super-majority legislature.

Voters finally are catching on - they lost their livelihood due to government actions, but government employees never missed a paycheck. How this translates at the ballot box remains to be seen. Two Democrats getting recently tossed out is a good start, but is it a trend?

My own local city council yesterday just gave all SEIU employees a raise; while our entire economy, much of it dependent on tourism, has been totally trashed. This is what a Democrat one party state looks like.

turcopolier , 21 May 2020 at 04:19 PM

Timid. Will you like living in a dying metro area?

blue peacock , 21 May 2020 at 04:28 PM
"How do the socialists think they are going to generate revenues to pay for everything they want?"


Simple. Print money. As they've been doing since the GFC at scale. The added benefit is that the biggest beneficiary of socialism - the titan of capitalism - Wall St - will get the lion's share as they're getting now with the Wuhan virus lockdown. Average Joe peon should be thankful they got $1,200.

Powell on 60 Minutes says there's no limit to the Fed printing money. He like Bernanke loves to click Print on the keyboard. And no pesky Congressional authorization either. MOAR & MOAR!!

BillWade , 21 May 2020 at 04:47 PM
It's feeling pretty normal here in SW Florida now, rumor is Jun 1st the bars will open up and that makes it 100% normal. I know of at least 6 restaurants in Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda that will not re-open. We go through the restaurant closings every year anyway, "Season" ended early this year with the lock down. Memorial Day usually is when we get the closings. But, they will reopen with new owners who have recently retired and "have always wanted to own a restaurant" not understanding that the restaurant business is for the younger, just as life is.

I feel awful when I see the little old ladies driving alone in their cars with their masks on, victims of the MSM that are truly a national security threat.

Eric Newhill , 21 May 2020 at 05:06 PM
The fact of the Khmer Rouge and the mentality behind it (at bottom, same as Mao, same as Stalin same others that brought death, destruction and misery to their societies) is another reason to get back to normal in this country - and accept any casualties that might result. This has become a war for the heart and soul of the country. Actually, it's a war for everything; even material prosperity. Whatever the casualties might be in the short run, they will be far less than the long run if we allow the Khmer Rouge to continue (which, of course, is one of your key points).

One of my objectives on social media has been to try to gain insight into the Khmer Rouge and young pioneer psychology. I can now recognize it when I see it; even when it tries to disguise itself, but I truly don't understand such people. IMO it is some kind of twisted spiritual illness that seeks dominance as it replaces God with themselves. That much I can see. I guess it has to do with the battle between good and evil. Evil always seeks to control and manipulate and disrespects the sanctity of each soul. It seeks to enslave and cut off from freedom and recognition of divinity around each of us and in each of us. Its sycophants are attracted to the sense of power; false as it may truly be.

At least that is the way I best understand it.

Barbara Ann , 21 May 2020 at 05:15 PM

Our natural capacity for threat perception and assessment is warped by the media's need to generate headlines. The virus is a gift to them which they have enthusiastically embraced. Most of us have a vanishing small chance of it killing us off, yet this single risk dominates the public discourse to the exclusion of almost all else.

Social media is particularly insidious, the effects of which far too few are prepared to counter. The feedback loops of hysteria it generates must be assessed as a threat in their own right - to our ability to make sound judgments.

A destroyed economy is not a direct threat to any one individual's survival, but it's collapse is an inevitable consequence if the lockdowns are allowed to continue. In this case many will die and very many more will experience a great deal of misery. Sadly the headlines carrying these stories will only come after it is far too late.

Turn off the Tee Vee news, treat social media 'news' with great skepticism and read the opinions of people who see the bigger picture. You are in the right place for the last of these.

Bobo , 21 May 2020 at 05:51 PM
Open it up-It never should of closed. What we have done is to prolong the inevitable. You either get it or you don't but it is still here waiting for those cowering in their homes. Prudent actions and awareness of your situation will get one through most of life's events.
The next thing we will here is Oh Folks, get out there and enjoy the summer while you can as it's coming back in the fall. No schools, Sheltering in Place, minimize the essentials, where are those ships and tent hospitals, we need PPE, start the printing etc etc cause the vaccine ain't ready Folks.

It will all be fine, don't worry. Keep in mind it has only taken a 100,000 out 330,000,000 a very low ratio.

rho , 21 May 2020 at 06:39 PM
"How do the socialists think they are going to generate revenues to pay for everything they want?"

The US government will issue 3 trillion $ of new debt in this quarter alone. The banks will buy these bonds, then sell them back to the US Central Bank (that's called "quantitative easing", the quoted article talks about the expectation that the central bank will announce a new bond purchasing program soon because the current one is far too small to absorb all the new debt), and the cycle repeats.

That's not sustainable, but that's the only plan that exists. If the shutdown of the economy continues indefinitely, it will end in economic collapse by bankruptcy of the federal government, or hyperinflation, which is really just a different way to reach the same painful end point.

Same story here in Europe, just with the added complication that there are conflicts between the different national governments of the Eurozone when the European Central Bank does the very same thing.

Master Slacker , 21 May 2020 at 06:50 PM
You can open up the city when everyone starts to wear a mask . Covid-19 is proving to be an airborne killer... which simplifies things enormously. Consider it an instance of CBW. And of course the children's inflammatory syndrome is just collateral damage.
Laura Wilson , 21 May 2020 at 07:59 PM
Master Slacker--And now there is some evidence that the inflammatory syndrome is hitting teenagers and young adults, too.

turocpolier--The numbers aren't comprehensive (or even good) on the national toll of doctors and nurses and aides and CNAs, etc. in health care/hospitals. Too bad our government can't get everyone to report in a uniform manner!!!! (Not that any other administration has been successful with this either.) It certainly would be helpful in the middle of a novel pandemic to know if we were going to have enough front line responders to stay in the fight.

And I NEVER forget that you are a professional "sacrificer for the greater good." That is why I appreciate what you have to is a worthy perspective and not one that I default to!

Fred , 21 May 2020 at 08:00 PM
Master slacker,

So "my body, my choice" is for abortion only now, because your fear is greater than my rights? "stay home, stay safe" negates my need to wear a gag in your presence. I reccomend Kevin Drum go out and drum up some antifa support for the socialist distancing policing. They ought to be well rested and ready for some agit-prop and agent provocateur actions by now.

"children's inflammatory syndrome" - is a miniscule risk to a minimal risk pool. It's like the CDC's mentioning legionaire's disease in their school opening guidlelines - meant to invoke fear. More civil servent "resistance". Trump should reform the civil service. Perhaps he should revoke EO 10988,
His initial order was upheld, I'm sure this one would be too.

[May 21, 2020] Do Lockdowns Work Mounting Evidence Says No

May 21, 2020 |

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

The coerced economic "shutdowns" - enforced with fines, arrests, and revoked business licenses - are not the natural outgrowth of a pandemic. They are the result of policy decisions taken by politicians who have suspended constitutional institutions and legal recognition of basic human rights. These politicians have instead imposed a new form of central planning based on an unproven, theoretical set of ideas about police-enforced "social distancing."

Suspending the rule of law and civil rights will have enormous consequences in terms of human life counted in suicides, drug overdoses, and other grave health problems resulting from unemployment , denial of "elective" medical care , and social isolation.

None of that is being considered, however, since it is now fashionable to have governments determine whether or not people may open their businesses or leave their homes. So far, the strategy for dealing with the resulting economic collapse is no more sophisticated than record-breaking deficit spending , followed by debt monetization via money printing. In short, politicians, bureaucrats, and their supporters have insisted a single policy goal -- ending the spread of a disease -- be allowed to destroy all other values and considerations in society.

Has it even worked? Mounting evidence says no.

In The Lancet , Swedish infectious disease clinician (and World Health Organization (WHO) advisor) Johan Giesecke concluded:

It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes - a population the lockdown was designed to protect. Neither does it decrease mortality from COVID-19, which is evident when comparing the UK's experience with that of other European countries.

At best, lockdowns push cases into the future, they do not lower total deaths. Gieseck continues:

Measures to flatten the curve might have an effect, but a lockdown only pushes the severe cases into the future -- it will not prevent them. Admittedly, countries have managed to slow down spread so as not to overburden health-care systems, and, yes, effective drugs that save lives might soon be developed, but this pandemic is swift, and those drugs have to be developed, tested, and marketed quickly. Much hope is put in vaccines, but they will take time, and with the unclear protective immunological response to infection, it is not certain that vaccines will be very effective.

As a public policy measure, the lack of evidence that lockdowns work must be balanced with the fact that we have already observed that economic destruction is costly in terms of human life.

Yet in the public debate, lockdown enthusiasts insist that any deviation from the lockdown will result in total deaths far exceeding those places where there are lockdowns. So far, there is no evidence of this.

In a new study titled "Full Lockdown Policies in Western Europe Countries Have No Evident Impacts on the COVID-19 Epidemic," author Thomas Meunier writes , "total deaths numbers using pre-lockdown trends suggest that no lives were saved by this strategy, in comparison with pre-lockdown, less restrictive, social distancing policies." That is, the "full lockdown policies of France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom haven't had the expected effects in the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic." 1

The premise here is not that voluntary "social distancing" has no effect. Rather, the question is to whether "police-enforced home containment" works to limit the spread of disease. Meunier concludes it does not.

Meanwhile a study by polititical scientist Wilfred Reilly compared lockdown policies and COVID-19 fatalities among US states. Reilly writes:

The question the model set out to ask was whether lockdown states experience fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths than social-distancing states, adjusted for all of the above variables. The answer? No. The impact of state-response strategy on both my cases and deaths measures was utterly insignificant. The "p-value" for the variable representing strategy was 0.94 when it was regressed against the deaths metric, which means there is a 94 per cent chance that any relationship between the different measures and Covid-19 deaths was the result of pure random chance.

Overall, however, the fact that good-sized regions from Utah to Sweden to much of East Asia have avoided harsh lockdowns without being overrun by Covid-19 is notable.

Another study on lockdowns -- again, we're talking about forced business closures and stay-at-home orders here -- is this study by researcher Lyman Stone at the American Enterprise Institute. Stone notes that areas where lockdowns were imposed either had already experienced a downward trend in deaths before the lockdown could have possibly shown effects or showed the same trend as the year prior. In other words, lockdown advocates have been taking credit for trends that had already been observed before lockdowns were forced on the population.

Stone writes:

Here's the thing: there's no evidence of lockdowns working. If strict lockdowns actually saved lives, I would be all for them, even if they had large economic costs. But the scientific and medical case for strict lockdowns is paper-thin.

Experience increasingly suggests that a more targeted approach is better for those who actually want to limit the spread of disease among the most vulnerable. The overwhelming majority -- nearly 75 percent -- of deaths from COVID-19 occur in patients over sixty-five years of age. Of those, approximately 90 percent have other underlying conditions . Thus, limiting the spread of COVID-19 is most critical among those who are already engaged with the healthcare system and are elderly. In the US and Europe , more than half of COVID-19 deaths are occuring in nursing homes and similar institutions.

This is why Matt Ridley at The Spectator quite reasonably observes that testing, not lockdowns, appears to be the key factor in limiting deaths from COVID-19 . Those areas where testing is widespread have performed better:

Yet it is not obvious why testing would make a difference, especially to the death rate. Testing does not cure the disease. Germany's strange achievement of a consistently low case fatality rate seems baffling -- until you think through where most early cases were found: in hospitals. By doing a lot more testing, countries like Germany might have partly kept the virus from spreading within the healthcare system. Germany, Japan and Hong Kong had different and more effective protocols in place from day one to prevent the virus spreading within care homes and hospitals.

The horrible truth is that it now looks like in many of the early cases, the disease was probably caught in hospitals and doctors' surgeries. That is where the virus kept returning, in the lungs of sick people, and that is where the next person often caught it, including plenty of healthcare workers. Many of these may not have realised they had it, or thought they had a mild cold. They then gave it to yet more elderly patients who were in hospital for other reasons, some of whom were sent back to care homes when the National Health Service made space on the wards for the expected wave of coronavirus patients.

We could contrast this with the policies of Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, who mandated that nursing homes accept new residents without testing . This method nearly ensures that the disease will spread quickly among those who are most likely to die from it.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo saw fit to impose police-enforced lockdowns on the entire population of New York, ensuring economic ruin and ruined health for many non-COVID patients who were then cut off from vital treatments. Yet, disturbingly, lockdown fetishists like Cuomo are hailed as wise statesmen who "acted decisively" to prevent the spread of disease.

But this is the sort of regime we now live under. In the minds of many, it is better to abolish human rights and consign millions to destitution in the name of pursuing trendy unproven policies. The prolockdown party has even turned basic fundamentals of policy debate upside down. As Stone notes:

At this point, the question I usually get is, "What's your evidence that lockdowns don't work?"

It's a strange question. Why should I have to prove that lockdowns don't work? The burden of proof is to show that they do work! If you're going to essentially cancel the civil liberties of the entire population for a few weeks, you should probably have evidence that the strategy will work. And there, lockdown advocates fail miserably, because they simply don't have evidence.

With economic output crashing worldwide and unemployment soaring to Great Depression levels, governments are already looking for a way out. Don't expect to hear any mea culpas from politicians, but we can already see how governments are quickly moving toward a voluntary social-distancing, nonlockdown strategy. This comes even after politicians and disease "experts" have been insisting that lockdowns must be imposed indefinitely until there's a vaccine .

The longer the lockdown-created economic destruction continues, the greater will be the threat of social unrest and even economic free fall. The political reality is thst the current situation cannot be sustained without threatening the regimes in power themselves. In an article for Foreign Policy titled " Sweden's Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World's ," authors Nils Karlson, Charlotta Stern, and Daniel B. Klein suggest that regimes will be forced to retreat to a Swedish model:

As the pain of national lockdowns grows intolerable and countries realize that managing -- rather than defeating -- the pandemic is the only realistic option, more and more of them will begin to open up. Smart social distancing to keep health-care systems from being overwhelmed, improved therapies for the afflicted, and better protections for at-risk groups can help reduce the human toll. But at the end of the day, increased -- and ultimately, herd -- immunity may be the only viable defense against the disease, so long as vulnerable groups are protected along the way. Whatever marks Sweden deserves for managing the pandemic, other nations are beginning to see that it is ahead of the curve.

[May 21, 2020] On the necessity and the duration of quarantine

May 21, 2020 |

likbez , says: Show Comment May 21, 2020 at 9:20 pm GMT

Hi The Kremlin Stooge,

Don't forget 'Covidiots'. The frontline-worker-lovin', government-narrative-believin' social-distance welcomin' simpletons are endlessly inventive when it comes to coining contemptuous nicknames for those who don't buy into their embrace of madness. I am happy to be able to say I thought the virus was bogus from the first, and said so to anyone who would listen.

That's too simplistic. You should agree that religious nuts who attend the church in large groups despite the risk can and should be called "Covidiots". Because they are. And the people who are trying to preserve their meager income generally should not.

Why religious nuts can't move to outdoors for the same purpose like first Chirstians did, is unclear to me ;-). Not sure about Orthodox Jews, which is pretty closed sect in any case so if they want to infect each other, be my guest.

The virus causes specific for it virus pneumonia which is no joke. People who recovered still have fibroses in this lungs of different degree. That's why people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 are ineligible to serve in US army. So for those unlucky who get virus pneumonia that's a crippling disease. You can't deny this.

For around 15-20% of people over 65 infected with COVID-19 it means the death sentence -- they will never recover and either die in hospital or soon after. Men over 65 are two third of those so for old men the risk can't be discounted.

So the question is what forms and length of quarantine was optimal, not whether it should or should not be enforced. I doubt that you want to argue that night clubs should remain open. Or that wearing masks in closed spaces is redundant (in open spaces they generally are redundant, unless you are standing in line, etc)

You also need some timeout to collect the vital information about the disease using first cases, enhance the protection of medical personnel, and access the level of actual risk to the population and the economy (the USA generally wasted it and Trump was inapt; so the effect of quarantine is more questionable for this particular country).

It was not that clear in March that the risk is generally low, although we can't deny that Fauci and Co were caught without pants (or, for some sinister reason were intended to be caught this way as if they waited until epidemic got to a certain point that masks something else )

That does not excuse incompetence of Trump administration and very strange behaviors of Fauci, who spent two months and then woke up and suddenly start crying Wolf, Wolf, but the USA is very mysterious country and in no way Canadians can understand it

[May 21, 2020] More than 80% of Americans support closing non-essential businesses. Support for limiting restaurants, closing schools, canceling sporting and entertainment events, and group gatherings exceeds 90%.

May 21, 2020 |

Richard Steven Hack , May 19 2020 6:47 utc | 111

The Argument Against the Argument Against Facemasks
Resistance rooted in liberty clashes with the unalienable right of life

Masks help stop the spread of coronavirus – the science is simple and I'm one of 100 experts urging governors to require public mask-wearing


Key takeaways:

More than 80% of Americans support closing non-essential businesses. Support for limiting restaurants, closing schools, canceling sporting and entertainment events, and group gatherings exceeds 90%. A total of 94% strongly or somewhat approve asking people to stay home and avoid gathering in groups; 92% support canceling major sports and entertainment events; 91% approve closing K-12 schools; 91% approve limiting restaurants to carry-out only; 83% approve closing businesses other than grocery stores and pharmacies. There are some partisan differences on these items -- Republicans are somewhat less supportive, but even among Republicans large majorities support all of these measures; and, as summarized below, support is largely consistent across every state.

A bipartisan consensus opposes a rapid "reopening" of the economy. Only 7% support immediate reopening of the economy, and the median respondent supports waiting four to six weeks. There is a bipartisan consensus on waiting (89% of Republicans as compared to 96% of Democrats opposed immediate re-opening), and Republicans support a somewhat faster re-opening of the economy than Democrats, where the median Republican supports waiting two to four weeks versus median Democrat six to eight weeks. As discussed below, even in those Republican-led states which are moving toward re-opening, few people support reopening immediately
Generally, Americans report adhering to social distancing, indicating that they had minimal social interactions with people outside of their households. That said, 56% reported encountering at least one person from outside of their home in the preceding 24 hours (and 7% reported encountering 10 or more persons); the survey did not contain information on the circumstances of those encounters (e.g., was it at grocery stores? were the individuals wearing masks?). Generally, there were not large differences with respect to age, gender, race, income, partisanship or education. An exception was that Asian Americans were substantially less likely to encounter other individuals, and more likely to avoid contact with other people. There were significant racial differences reported in wearing face masks outside of the home, with 51% of whites reporting following recommendations very closely, along with 62% of Hispanics, 64% of African Americans, and 68% of Asian Americans. There was also an age gradient in this regard, ranging from 50% face mask wearing for 18-24 year olds to 60% of those aged 65 or higher. There were also partisan differences: 51% of Republicans, compared to 64% for Democrats, reported wearing face masks outside the home.

I find the racial differences interesting, especially since in my observation fewer blacks are wearing masks. However, since I was specifically looking at blacks (due to the disproportionate number of blacks dying) in my walks, I may have under counted the number of whites not wearing masks. Also I suspect it varies between cities, states and more suburban or rural areas.

In any event, not enough people are wearing masks to re-open the economy - and we damn sure don't have enough testing, tracing and isolating capability and probably won't until September, according to one report I read.

A number of other interesting results. Check it out.

[May 18, 2020] Donald Trump says Americans won't stand for stay-at-home orders anymore

May 18, 2020 |

me name=

President Trump said Wednesday the coronavirus crisis is worse than the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Americans won't allow it to go on any longer.

"I don't think people will stand for it," Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "The country won't stand for it. It's not sustainable."

He said the pandemic "is worse than Pearl Harbor."

...Asked about soaring unemployment being a potential liability for him in an election year, the president replied, "Nobody's blaming me for that. I built the greatest economy and I'm going to rebuild it again. This was an artificially induced unemployment."

[May 15, 2020] I don't think we should coerce people to go back to work. But once people are given accurate information and this hysteria calms down, people will just go back to their lives as normal. No coercion will be needed.

May 15, 2020 |

Anthony T 05.11.20 at 11:53 am 1 ( 1 )

Hello Chris,

I certainly don't think that people should be coerced back to work if they don't want to, though I do think we need to end these lockdowns as soon as possible. What we need is more clear public messaging, from the government: making it clear to people that this disease isn't actually that dangerous and that unless they are in an at risk group they really have very little to be concerned about. Cards should be sent out with green, red, amber marking where people can fill it out with their BMI, their underlying health conditions, chronic diseases etc. and this will give them a picture for whether or not they and their household is actually at risk.

People are talking about this disease like its the black death; as though it threatens everyone and kills indiscriminately. This way of talking has created a completely unfounded mass hysteria in the population. We are talking about a disease which has a case fatality rate of 0.3% (according to the most detailed serological studies, such as the one carried out in Gangelt) so it's a little more deadly than the flu. Of course, it will be a significant killer for the next couple of years – but so is influenza, and nobody panics like this and announces crackers lockdowns during a bad flu season.

Part of the problem has been the medias failure to adequately contextualise the data they are presenting, so people just hear a large number of deaths and don't know what to make of that number. Reporters need to be more clear about the fact that 800,000 people die every year in the UK and that deviations of 5% on either side of this are not uncommon. We need to be reminded that at 43,000 the number of excess deaths in the UK is about the same as the number of excess deaths during the 2014/15 flu season – and still falls short of the number of excess deaths during the 2017/18 flu season (excess deaths then were around 50,000). That context allows people to make sense of the data they read about without panicking – how scared were you of going to work during the 17/18 flu season? Most people probably didn't even notice.

The other problem is that the government has completely failed to give a serious explanation for the lockdown to the public. They are spouting rubbish about "save lives" without actually explaining why the lockdown would "save lives". As a result the public have been given the wrong impression that just extending the lockdown on and on will save lives. This is nonsense. Eventually the lockdown will be lifted and then the same people who would have died before would die a bit later – so no lives would be saved apart from for a few months. There are two explanations that could have been given for why we were implementing the lockdown. Firstly, it could be to ensure that hospitals don't get overfilled as happened in Wuhan and Northern Italy. If that was the aim, then a short lockdown (or a local lockdown in London and some of the other cities with severe outbreaks) would have been sufficient. It has been clear for at least the last three weeks that the government has overestimated ICU needs, most hospitals around the country – including the Nightingale in London – are completely empty. There are no more concerns about shortages of ventilators as it is now clear they are not actually a good way to treat most cases. If there is another severe outbreak in another city in the UK we can always just announce a small local lockdown of that city. Secondly, it could be argued that lockdowns save lives because they give us time to build up a testing capactiy so we can trace down cases and stop really severe outbreaks from happening; but at 500,000 or so tests per week the UK is now testing a lot of people and has the capacity to test even more. Apart from that I can't really think of any other reason why a lockdown would "save lives".

So, no I don't think we should coerce people to go back to work. But once people are given accurate information and this hysteria calms down, people will just go back to their lives as normal. No coercion will be needed.

[May 14, 2020] What you *deliberately* have ignored and continue to ignore is the number of people who *are* at risk from re-opening the economy too soon.

May 14, 2020 |

Richard Steven Hack , May 14 2020 2:26 utc | 254

Posted by: fairleft | May 14 2020 0:35 utc | 253 So because you didn't read the word "healthy" in my description of the truth about Covid-19 (which I note you do not deny), you've stupidly decided I'm a troll.

No, you've been pushing this "only the elderly are at risk" *crap* since forever. *Of course* healthy people are at limited risk. That's been known since almost day one from China. As soon as the first statistics came out, we knew that *most* people don't die from it.

What you *deliberately* have ignored and continue to ignore is the number of people who *are* at risk from re-opening the economy too soon. I have cited the *millions* of people who are at risk several times in these threads. The numbers aren't hard to find. And every expert who has written about risk factors since the first statistics came out have pointed that out.

But it doesn't fit your agenda, so you ignore it.

"And I'm not writing about Amerikkka moron."

Nice try. You were referring to the Galbraith piece in the top post which is explicitly referring to the US. Moron.

Typical troll behavior. Deflect, deny, make counter accusations, continually re-assert the same positions no matter how many times they are debunked.

Why b hasn't kicked your ass to the curb is beyond me. Few people here are posting more nonsense than you - and you have even less actual evidence.

[May 14, 2020] Stephan Kohn (who was fired immediately of course) assesses the German reaction as "Fehlalarm" (false alarm), claims that the lockdown has charged/will charge many more deaths than the virus itself. It was a grotesque overreaction, not only in Germany, but in many other countries.

May 14, 2020 |

mk , May 13 2020 19:40 utc | 241

In Germany a huge scandal is growing. I'm surprised that this didn't emerge here yet (as far as I can see).

An official in the Ministry for Interior has blown the whistle. After trying to forward a study about the effect of the lockdown measures to his superiors, including Minister for Interior Horst Seehofer, and being ignored, he leaked the study to a non-mainstream online magazine. The study has reached the mainstream meanwhile.

Stephan Kohn (who was fired immediately of course) assesses the German reaction as "Fehlalarm" (false alarm), claims that the lockdown has charged/will charge many more deaths than the virus itself. It was a grotesque overreaction, not only in Germany, but in many other countries.

I will just take one point, which the majority here, AFAICS, has never taken into account: collateral damage. In Germany, in March/April 2020, 90% of important, in part life-saving operations have not been conducted because the beds were reserved for the expected giant Corona wave that didn't arrive. This means between 1,5 Million and 2,5 Million people are affected, and it is only a matter of statistics how many lives have been lost or shortened due to the delayed operations. Cohn estimates between 5000 and 125000 premature deaths which easily outweigh the 7000 Corona deaths.

And this is just one point.

Like so many virologists, he says Corona is not worse than a strong flu.

Here's the document:

[May 13, 2020] Prager The Worldwide Lockdown May Be The Greatest Policy Mistake In History

Notable quotes:
"... The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem "essential" has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus , that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America. ..."
"... That would be enough to characterize the worldwide lockdown as a deathly error. But there is much more. If global GDP declines by 5%, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. ..."
"... Foreign Policy magazine reports that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy will shrink by 3% in 2020, marking the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, and the U.S., the eurozone and Japan will contract by 5.9%, 7.5% and 5.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, across South Asia, as of a month ago, tens of millions were already "struggling to put food on the table." Again, all because of the lockdowns, not the virus. ..."
May 13, 2020 |

Prager: The Worldwide Lockdown May Be The Greatest Policy Mistake In History by Tyler Durden Wed, 05/13/2020 - 13:15 Authored by Dennis Prager via,

The idea that the worldwide lockdown of virtually every country other than Sweden may have been an enormous mistake strikes many - including world leaders; most scientists, especially health officials, doctors and epidemiologists; those who work in major news media; opinion writers in those media; and the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who put their faith in these people - as so preposterous as to be immoral.

Timothy Egan of The New York Times described Republicans who wish to enable their states to open up as "the party of death."

That's the way it is today on planet Earth, where deceit, cowardice and immaturity now dominate almost all societies because the elites are deceitful, cowardly and immature.

But for those open to reading thoughts they may differ with, here is the case for why the worldwide lockdown is not only a mistake but also, possibly, the worst mistake the world has ever made. And for those intellectually challenged by the English language and/or logic, "mistake" and "evil" are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.

The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem "essential" has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus , that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America.

The United Nations World Food Programme, or the WFP, states that by the end of the year, more than 260 million people will face starvation -- double last year's figures. According to WFP director David Beasley on April 21:

"We could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries...

There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself " (italics added).

That would be enough to characterize the worldwide lockdown as a deathly error. But there is much more. If global GDP declines by 5%, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Foreign Policy magazine reports that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy will shrink by 3% in 2020, marking the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, and the U.S., the eurozone and Japan will contract by 5.9%, 7.5% and 5.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, across South Asia, as of a month ago, tens of millions were already "struggling to put food on the table." Again, all because of the lockdowns, not the virus.

In one particularly incomprehensible act, the government of India, a poor country of 1.3 billion people, locked down its people. As Quartz India reported on April 22, "Coronavirus has killed only around 700 Indians a small number still compared to the 450,000 TB and 10,000-odd malaria deaths recorded every year."

One of the thousands of unpaid garment workers protesting the lockdown in Bangladesh understands the situation better than almost any health official in the world:

"We are starving. If we don't have food in our stomach, what's the use of observing this lockdown?"

But concern for that Bangladeshi worker among the world's elites seems nonexistent.

The lockdown is " possibly even more catastrophic (than the virus) in its outcome : the collapse of global food-supply systems and widespread human starvation" (italics added).

That was published in the left-wing The Nation, which, nevertheless, enthusiastically supports lockdowns. But the American left cares as much about the millions of non-Americans reduced to hunger and starvation because of the lockdown as it does about the people of upstate New York who have no incomes, despite the minuscule number of coronavirus deaths there. Or about the citizens of Oregon, whose governor has just announced the state will remain locked down until July 6. As of this writing, a total of 109 people have died of the coronavirus in Oregon.

An example of how disinterested the left is in worldwide suffering is made abundantly clear in a front-page "prayer" by a left-wing Christian in the current issue of The Nation: "May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake."

"Merely inconvenienced" is how the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, a Protestant minister and president of the North Carolina NAACP, describes the tens of millions of Americans rendered destitute, not to mention the hundreds of millions around the world rendered not only penniless but hungry. The truth is, like most of the elites, it is Barber who is "merely inconvenienced." Indeed, the American battle today is between the merely inconvenienced and the rest of America.

Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, recently stated, "There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor."

To the left, anyone who questions the lockdown is driven by preference for money over lives. Typical of the left's moral shallowness is this headline on Salon this week:

"It's Time To Reject the Gods of Commerce: America Is a Society, Not an 'Economy,'" with the subhead reading, "America Is About People, Not Profit Margins."

And, of course, to smug editors and writers of The Atlantic, in article after repetitive article, the fault lies not with the lockdown but with President Donald Trump. The most popular article in The Atlantic this week is titled "The Rest of the World Is Laughing at Trump." The elites can afford to laugh at whatever they want. Meanwhile, the less fortunate -- that is, most people -- are crying.

[May 13, 2020] The Chilling Return of 'Papers Please'

May 13, 2020 |

The Chilling Return of 'Papers Please'

So-called immunity passports would bring back the worst civil liberties abuses of the past and result in a crime wave. Credit: M.Moira/Shutterstock

May 13, 2020


12:01 am

Bill Wirtz The coronavirus lockdown drags on, yet only a few fringe fanatics (and France, but I repeat myself) support continuing complete shutdowns of the world's economies. However, even those countries that have opted to end forced quarantines still present a range of worrying responses. One of these ongoing debates surrounds the so-called "Corona apps," with which authorities intend to track and trace the movements of their own citizens. In Poland, the government is mandating that those infected with COVID-19 install an app and use it to send a selfie on a regular basis. If they do not comply, they face a visit from the law enforcement.

The nightmarish infringements on civil liberties are set to continue with "immunity passports." The German Robert Koch Institute, along with other researchers and blood donation services, is working on a large-scale study to establish immunity in COVID-19 patients. Those found to have built immunity, either because they've already had the disease or through antibody testing, could be issued paperwork that exempts them from lockdown restrictions.

CNN's medical analyst Saju Mathew counts himself as convinced by the concept, and quotes a noted beacon of human freedom to back it up: "In China, for example, QR codes have been used to loosen restrictions in Wuhan, where the pandemic originated. People assessed to be healthy have been given a green QR code, indicating they can travel within the province."

From a law enforcement level, the existence of immunity passports would extend indefinitely the practice of questioning citizens without reasonable suspicion at any time. "Papers please" wouldn't be experienced only because one is crossing a border, but merely because one is outside. If you were worried about rogue police abusing power before, wait until stop and frisk becomes the norm all across the United States, at any time of the day.

In the United Kingdom, Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the government's new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group, told The Guardian that "people granted the passports would have to be kept under close observation to ensure they were not becoming reinfected." In practice, this would amount to daily identification checkpoints and mandatory home visits. Any pretense of individual liberty and fundamental rights would go out the window.

But beyond that, on a more practical level, the measure would be inoperable. In a scientific brief published at the end of April , the World Health Organization (WHO) -- known to be warm on authoritarian measures such as those used by China -- preliminarily rejected the idea of these passports. Current antibody tests, the WHO warned, could confuse immunity with one of the six existing coronaviruses, four of which cause the common cold. The WHO also noted that such paperwork would give citizens the impression that they do not need to abide by social distancing guidelines, giving them a false sense of security. Professor Openshaw adds that immunity passports would incentivize people to try and deliberately catch coronavirus, which could end up overwhelming the health sector, exactly the scenario that the lockdowns are meant to prevent.

There's also a massive opportunity for crime under such a proposal. In 2015, 50 million travel documents were either lost or stolen. In 2014, the UK recorded a five-year high of counterfeit passport seizures. Fake passports fuel organized crime and have long been available on the black market. Immunity passports would be far more valuable, since they would grant not just the ability to go to other countries, but other basic freedoms of movement, going into shops or meeting friends. The idea that people would pay a pretty price for their freedom would be an understatement. In turn, the government could only react to such a flood of false documentation by becoming more authoritarian, casting us into yet another spiral of increasing state control.

There is no instance in which the systematic control of citizens has not ended in police abuse, or plain and simple authoritarianism. There is a genuine fear about the coronavirus. That said, we cannot allow such fear to rid us completely of our fundamental rights. States of emergency were and are designed to be temporary, and in that, to be short.

If the debate is over whether to radically overturn the Bill of Rights and human rights conventions, then let us have that debate. Let us talk about rewriting the rules, instead of just plain ignoring them.

Bill Wirtz comments on European politics and policy in English, French, and German. His work has appeared in Newsweek , the Washington Examiner , CityAM, Le Monde , Le Figaro , and Die Welt .

[May 10, 2020] I wonder if the average age of our government was say 30, do you think they would have chosen to lock down the country? No.. Its because the average age of our government is more like 68.

Notable quotes:
"... "Our outcomes are similar to the state of Pennsylvania, where the median age of death from COVID-19 is 84 years old. ..."
"... "COVID-19 is a disease that ravages those with preexisting conditions – whether it be immunosenescence of aging or the social determinants of health. We can manage society in the presence of this pathogen if we focus on these preexisting conditions. ..."
May 10, 2020 |

jack lockwood , May 10 2020 9:36 utc | 52

This lock down stupidity needs to end now.

i wonder if the average age of our government was say 30, do you think they would have chosen to lock down the country? No.. Its because the average age of our government is more like 68.. We are sacrificing ourselves to protect the old, the least productive part of our society.
Im 33, i have had the virus, it was mild.i have had worse colds. Im running out of money! unlike pensioners who get there cash regardless i need to earn it. Furthermore the pension these people currently draw i will never see, we realise now that pensions as they were cannot be sustained, but yet they still have them. If they are like my grandparents they retired over 20 years ago.. 2/3 of my life, and have drawn private/public pensions since, they consume the vast majority of the NHS resources so they can stay alive another day and continue drawing pensions. The old people of my country also own the majority of the property, i rent my house of a couple in there 70s, i pay them over £1000 per month to live here. i cannot afford to buy.

When i do get a little bit of work at the moment i head out to find the roads and shops populated with fucking pensioners, all driving around in there stupid tall and narrow cars doing 40mph in a 60 oblivious to the world and economy that is around them paying them their pensions and protect them.

my attitude is simple.. if you dont want to catch it, dont go out.. no need to lockdown everybody, just the ones who fear this.. like you B. Its my right to live or die as i chose, not under the kosh of the fucking gray mafia.

ive already given up following the 'rules' fuck em all.

fairleft , May 10 2020 10:05 utc | 54

"Our outcomes are similar to the state of Pennsylvania, where the median age of death from COVID-19 is 84 years old. The few younger patients who died all had significant preexisting conditions. Very few children were infected and none died. Minorities in our communities fared equally as well as others, but we know that this is not the case nationally. In sum, this is a disease of the elderly, sick and poor. ...

"COVID-19 is a disease that ravages those with preexisting conditions – whether it be immunosenescence of aging or the social determinants of health. We can manage society in the presence of this pathogen if we focus on these preexisting conditions.

"What we cannot do, is extended social isolation. Humans are social beings, and we are already seeing the adverse mental health consequences of loneliness, and that is before the much greater effects of economic devastation take hold on the human condition."

- Dr. Steven Shapiro, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center chief medical and scientific officer

Richard Steven Hack , May 10 2020 12:03 utc | 61
@Circe | May 10 2020 11:07 utc | 57

"people with proven underlying conditions not returning to work yet"

You mean the...

William Gruff , May 10 2020 12:21 utc | 62
Pretty easy to spot the tattoo-sleeved, cranial-pierced, hipster baristas with no productive skills in here as they are manically demanding that everyone else go to work. After all, they cannot go back to slinging idiot-proof pre-measured lattes until real working people are out and about, so they shriek for everyone else to go back to normal.

But isn't the current situation just a huge basket of opportunities for real bold entrepreneurs? If one is some hero type like the guy above who has "given up following the 'rules'" , then the marketplaces are theirs for the taking, what with all of the competition shut down. If one wants the capitalists' economy to be "re-opened" , then they need to be like the fabled entrepreneurs that worked for their wealth and take the initiative oneself instead of demanding that others do it for them.

Or are the whiners demanding that the economy be "re-opened" really just kids wishing their parents would go back to work because that is who actually pays the rent on their hipster apartments?

Something these individuals will have to confront is that things are never "going back to normal" . A new normal is being born, and it ain't very normal.

[May 07, 2020] Why didn't we shutdown everything in 1968?

May 07, 2020 |

xxx Anonymous IX,

xxx 3 hours ago

You might be interested in this little tidbit, Quy. From the CDC . You do "trust" them, don't you?

Just one question for you. Why didn't we shutdown everything in 1968?

1968 Pandemic (H3N2 virus)

The 1968 pandemic was caused by an influenza A (H3N2) virus comprised of two genes from an avian influenza A virus, including a new H3 hemagglutinin, but also contained the N2 neuraminidase from the 1957 H2N2 virus. It was first noted in the United States in September 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States. Most excess deaths were in people 65 years and older. The H3N2 virus continues to circulate worldwide as a seasonal influenza A virus. Seasonal H3N2 viruses, which are associated with severe illness in older people, undergo regular antigenic drift .

"The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States."

[May 07, 2020] Locking down without specific actions to shield the vulnerable will yield no better results than no lockdown or the sweden approach

May 07, 2020 |

Alaric , May 6 2020 21:13 utc | 20

Reading some of the other comments, I see many recognize the incredible specificity involved here in outcomes, treatment, etc. Lockdown is an indirect way to impact those variables but locking down without specific actions to shield the vulnerable will yield no better results than no lockdown or the sweden approach. A sweden approach that does protect those vulnerable is likely more effective than a lockdown that does not.

NYC has nursing homes that are 700 and more persons. Large nursing homes should be banned if we want to stop this sort of thing in the future. Residents of such facilities should be moved to smaller temporary housing. NY State allowed persons who tested positive for Covid to go back to nursing homes -- disaster. Employees of such facilities and visitors would ideally be tested. Employees of such facilities should not be taking the NYC subway to get to work as Subways are major transmission points. Nosocomial infections were a big part of the problem in NYC as well. We needed separate facilities for suspected covid patients. 88.1% of those on mechanical ventilation in NYC (according to a JAMA study) died. That's junk medicine and it was implemented in part out of fear of spreading and probably for financial gain....ick.

There are a lot of things that could and should be done but we don't talk about that because it doesn't fit the media narrative of fear, panic, fear, lockdown, lockdown, lockdown or bust.

The media has done us and the elderly a great disservice......again

[May 07, 2020] Post-Lockdown Insist on the Old Normal by Helen Andrews

May 07, 2020 |
When the CIA wanted to circumvent possible Chinese bugging of its offices in Beijing in the 1980s, it came up with a voice protector or "hush phone," essentially two masks with tubes running between them. It worked, but no one would use it. George Shultz said he felt "ludicrous" wearing something that made him look "like Siamese-twin elephants joined at the trunk." Even during planning for Reagan's state visit in 1984 when secrecy was essential, staff in Beijing simply refused to use a device that made them sound like Donald Duck.

And good for them. There were logistical reasons to reject the hush phone, like the impossibility of more than two people talking to each other at a time, but there is also something creditable about whatever part of Secretary Shultz said: I am a grown man, and I have some dignity.

Everyone is wondering what life will look like at the end of the month. Lockdown bitter-enders insist that the return to normal will not be like flipping a light switch, to borrow Maryland governor Larry Hogan's expression. Instead, they say, we will need to spend an indefinite period in a twilight zone of half-freedom where lockdown orders have been lifted but aggressive safety measures remain -- a "new normal."

Based on descriptions of the new normal, I am not sure we should allow ourselves to get used to it. As eager as we are to get the lockdowns over with, we must not let desperation compel us to put up with things we shouldn't.

Ross Douthat thinks that long lines outside grocery stores of people waiting to come inside and shop "may become a permanent feature of the semi-normal landscape." That's absurd, and, like the hush phone, there are both good reasons and gut reasons why.

One-way aisles and occupancy caps don't do much to stop the spread of disease considering how little transmission takes place between shoppers who pass like ships in the night. Also, queuing down the block for groceries is just too grimly Soviet.

Social distancing measures should remain in place even after schools and businesses reopen, many say. But enforced by whom? Continuing to make cops responsible for enforcing a six-feet-apart rule will only lead to more viral videos like this week's from New York, which depicts the violent conclusion of what started as a social distancing stop.

The New York City Police Benevolent Association says officers shouldn't be enforcing "vague guidelines and mixed messages." It wants the mayor to "get cops out of the social distancing enforcement business altogether." The PBA is right. The alternative is for Americans to get accustomed to being hustled along by police for the crime of picnicking on the grass or reading a book on a park bench, which would be an ominous thing to start shrugging off.

Australia is making its new normal conditional upon citizens downloading a location-tracking app modeled on Singapore's. The prime minister insists the app is voluntary, but business groups like Restaurant and Catering Australia are already considering requiring diners and shoppers to download the app before being served.

The government says its goal is for 40 percent of the population to download the app, a target still more than halfway off after its first week in the app store. "Downloading the COVIDSafe app is the major obstacle now between us freeing up a lot of these restrictions in a cautious way," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, not disguising the ultimatum.

The last time the Australian government requested emergency permission to track its citizens' phones was the metadata retention law of 2015. As with COVIDSafe, repeated assurances were made about privacy and civil liberties. Later it was revealed that users' metadata had been used by local city councils in order to track down litterbugs and other mundane offenders who had nothing to do with the law's original justification, counter-terrorism.

The United States is not Singapore, and there are certain restrictions on our liberty that we won't tolerate. A government location-tracking app should be one of them. Such excessive post-lockout safety measures are not needed to deal with a disease that is no longer in danger of overloading our hospital capacity. More importantly, Americans' gut aversion to being overpoliced is worth preserving. Ordinary aspects of pre-coronavirus life should not be sacrificed in order to give those still attached to the lockdowns a psychological on-ramp or a face-saving pretense that their doomsday forecasts were more accurate than they were.

Except for open plan offices. Ban those permanently, for the good of the nation's health.

[May 07, 2020] A Tale of Two Countries: Denmark and Sweden

May 07, 2020 |

Jen , May 7 2020 1:32 utc | 50

It is interesting if perhaps concerning that of all the comments on the Peter Turchin article "A Tale of Two Countries [Denmark and Sweden]" , the one comment B chose to zero in on and highlight for his post is one by Richard England who refers to the lockdown of fiat and the lockdown of fear but provides no link to any information (such as polls, questionnaires or surveys) that would support his argument of most Swedes complying with recommendations and regulations voluntarily out of fear.

Turchin started his comparison of the progress of COVID-19 in Denmark and Sweden expecting that the death rates in Denmark compared to those in Sweden would support his belief that a lockdown was necessary. He did not expect to see that by 1 May 2020, the trends in new cases, transmission rates and even death rates in Sweden were actually comparing well with equivalent data in Denmark.

One commenter on the Turchin article, Ernst Nilsson, says that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden were of people aged 70+ years and that Swedish authorities have acknowledged that people in aged care homes and similar facilities had not been well protected.

Karl Kling points out that in Sweden, aged care facilities are the responsibility of municipal governments that have been cutting labour costs in those places by using workers, many of them on hourly contracts and / or not being fluent Swedish speakers. It is likely then that these workers have been spreading the virus among the people they care for because they are working long hours to make ends meet, are being exposed themselves to the virus more than they would be if they were working regular hours on their shifts and were being paid adequately, and do not have a good understanding of what they should be doing to avoid being infected and spreading the disease in their own languages because Swedish authorities failed to communicate adequate information about COVID-19 to immigrant communities and foreign workers.

Other commenters point out that Sweden has a large immigrant population ( Wikipedia states that the immigrant population and their children make up at least 24% of the total population; incidentally this means comparisons between Sweden and other Nordic nations, where the immigrant population and their children are about 15%, of dubious worth) and sections of this population may be behaving differently in ways that exacerbate COVID-19 incidence and mortality. The Somali community in Sweden is known to be very hard-hit by COVID-19 due in large part to living in dense and crowded housing in impoverished communities where access to healthcare, other social services and information about the disease is poor.

That aged care facilities and immigrant communities have been badly affected by COVID-19 disease is not a consequence of not having a lockdown or shutdown but is rather a consequence of past Swedish policies in allowing nursing homes and similar institutions to be rundown or badly managed, and in neglecting other vulnerable groups by not giving them information about the disease in ways they can access. That immigrants are also working in aged care facilities helps to circulate the disease among vulnerable groups.

[May 07, 2020] Sweden is a valuable case but the only viable option

May 07, 2020 |

Tuyzentfloot , May 7 2020 7:13 utc | 77

Sweden is a valuable case. I see three categories of measures which can be combined:
- top down centrally managed/enforced
- self organized
- negotiated
The first relies on central planning and as central planning goes, it can be powerful and at the same time crude and wasteful. The second resembles more the 'free market' approach , it has the advantage of 'on the terrain' adjustments which can be much smarter than in the centrally organized case but it does not necessarily work in the desired direction. Much depends on the feedback mechanisms which are available.

The third is where a group of people is willing to do their sacrifices for the greater good(or the lesser evil) but they should expect something in return from other groups of people because it shifts the balance of power.

An example of the difference between 1 and 2 is how masks were handled in Belgium vs Czechia. Czechia took the more trusting decentralized approach. Belgium followed the WHO and was more guided by fear that people would do it wrong, with the scarcity and all. But people perform better if you give them trust and responsibility. Also using masks is a learning process so now you see in Belgium it takes time to get it going.

The main flaws in thinking about Sweden is that it relied entirely on the second group, that this second group by itself should be able to fix it all, and that this second group did not hit the economy hard. But for the cinema owner it does not make a big difference if they have to close down because nobody is allowed to visit, or because there are only 2 people in the theater anyway. In the restaurant sector the self organizing approach will have softened the blow. I read visitors dropped to 1/3.

I think Sweden has used a variety of measures with a variety of results. They flattened the curve without lockdown. We can learn from them, or to put it differently, steal ideas from them.

r , May 7 2020 7:23 utc | 78

so maybe Japan's strategy was better than the others ... delayed "lockdown" with very low testing ratio per million resident (even after promising about 20000 tests per day last April, to this date J-lawmakers blame lack of manpower and preparation for not being able to reach that objective). we got low numbers ... and reported infections have been declining in Tokyo.

the "lockdown" is simply a request for people to follow 3密 (san mitsu). people have explained that Japan can force the people to lockdown. the government does not have the authority. most people followed the requests ... i don't know if it's because they respected the request of the gov't or just because of fear.

GW just finished, it is a yearly migration of people from the cities back to their home towns. or people trying to refresh, go on vacation/travel. i traveled from Kanagawa (where I live) to Tokyo and was surprised at how empty it was. the trains, train stations, the areas. locally in Kanagawa, the parks are full of people, under sun shades, kids playing around.

J-media highlighted 2 cases where asymptomatic person died in self isolation in Saitama, and has now modified the requirements for getting a PCR test. i myself would like to get an antibody test ... well waiting, that is.

waiting to be able to apply for the 10万円 (100000 thousand yen) being given by the government.

i am still waiting for my アベノマスク (Abenomask). distribution is delayed because the masks were soiled/moldy/dirty. a failed stunt which cost 466億円 (466 billion yen).

the best place to buy masks now is in Chinatown ... price is high ... but there is supply ... and there is demand. Sharp (TV/LED maker) is making masks, but has to raffle it off because of the demand.

Abe-extended the State of Emergency to enf-of-May ... but if they think everything is clear they can lift the SoE as early as May 15.

[May 07, 2020] Sheriffs in Arizona have announced that they will not arrest or fine people who violate the governor's virus diktats. Police always have discretion to charge or ignore any crime, but this is a direct challenge to the governor.

May 07, 2020 |

karlof1 , May 6 2020 0:29 utc | 41

I usually don't read The Atlantic , but I was shocked its staff writer George Packer wrote this : "We Are Living in a Failed State: The coronavirus didn't break America. It revealed what was already broken." It's a special preview of the June issue, so I don't know how long it'll be at the link. Yes, the title foretells the content!

Hoyeru , May 6 2020 0:31 utc | 42

PIF GADGET comics magazine(a famous French comics anthology magazine for children produced by the French communist party) predicted the corona virus epidemic back in one of its January 1979 issues, not sure which, because they came out weekly. It was in Doctor Justice series, about a doctor named Benjamin Justice who travels around the world helping poor nations. It even had a drawing of a corona virus. Interesting.

Back in the 1970s, growing in a communist country, we were repeatedly warned that Americans want to wage bio war against the communists countries using viruses and bacteria. We were told they will try to spread the bio weapons around. And here we are, 2020. Seems the communists KNEW.

Trailer Trash , May 6 2020 3:25 utc | 47
>We Are Living in a Failed State

Not yet. Uncle Sam still has a near-monopoly on violence. But civilians with 400 million guns (really, more guns than people) might have something to say about that in the near future. Meanwhile, sheriffs in Arizona have announced that they will not arrest or fine people who violate the governor's virus diktats. Police always have discretion to charge or ignore any crime, but this is a direct challenge to the governor.

If an individual directly challenges the police, over anything at all, they will be abruptly dealt with. Failure to Obey is the second worst crime, right next to killing a cop. So what can a governor do, call out the National Guard against the sheriffs? That would be a big deal. But he can't let a direct challenge to his authority go unanswered. That is unthinkable in a rigid hierarchy.

[May 07, 2020] Closing cinemas and bars is a bit inconvenient but can be done without much protest. We have little experience in taking such measures. The model builders do not know how much each of those restrictions will contribute to the lowering of the peak.

May 07, 2020 |

We have little experience in taking such measures. The model builders do not know how much each of those restrictions will contribute to the lowering of the peak. They have to estimate those parameters. Until this month it was not even clear if children could get infected or were infectious. Arguing for closing schools without knowing that is quite difficult.

Clinical epidemiologists, who mostly work on randomized trials which produce hard data, are often critical of the model builders. They dislike the many assumptions that go into modeling and demand more hard data. Stanford's professor John Ioannidis, who ran the Santa Clara antibody study , is one of them. He is somewhat right. All models are wrong, but some are useful. A recent Boston Review piece looks at the differences between the two tribes of epidemiologists. It finds that we need both.

When the politicians take measures they are only in part based on the predictions the modelers made. They also have to look at economic outcomes, at other security issues and they have to take public opinion into account. Quite strict measures were taken in many western countries. They worked well in some of them. Germany has hardly any 'excess death' from Covid-19. Other countries, like Britain, acted too late or not to a sufficient degree and had to pay the price for that.

As the epidemic now starts to recede a bit there is quite a lot of criticism of the lockdown in Germany. 'The models were wrong,' some people claim. 'The lockdown measures were unnecessary.' Then follow demands for the immediate lifting of most restrictions.

"There is no glory in prevention" is the frustrating aspects in the life of an epidemiologist. If they do their job too well everyone will bash them.

A month ago Max Abrams saw this development coming and commented :

A month ago Max Abrams saw this development coming and commented :
  1. Models make assumption of how much people will social distance.
  2. Based on this assumption model predicts virus cases.
  3. More social distancing is practiced than assumed.
  4. Model over-predicts virus cases.
  5. Idiots say models are wrong so we don't need social distance.

Others point to Sweden and claim that its decision to let the epidemic burn without much intervention was a much better way than to go for lockdowns. But the evidence for that isn't there . The numbers show a different picture:

Barry Ritholtz @ritholtz - 18:03 UTC · May 3, 2020

Sweden's Coronavirus death rate > its neighbors

Total Cases: 22,317
Per /1m Pop: 2,210
Deaths: 2,679
Recovered: 1,005

Cases: 9,523
/1m: 1,644
Deaths: 484
Recovered: 6,987

Cases: 7,809
/1m: 1,440
Deaths: 211
Recovered: 32

Sweden in fact had the very same problems with its medical systems that some other countries also had. It had to ration ICU beds by denying them to people above a certain age. Its economy was hit as bad as other ones :

The effect of virus-fighting efforts on the Swedish economy has been devastating. A very large number of small businesses have collapsed. All but essential industries closed down almost immediately and many face bankruptcy. People have been told to refrain from all non-essential travel. Virtually all air travel has been suspended. Unemployment figures are soaring. The opposition parties deem government counter-measures to be too little too late.
Contrary to impressions created in American media, Sweden's approach to handling the pandemic has not been "relaxed," but essentially the same as in other Western countries. This country of 10 million has been at least as preoccupied with the pandemic as other countries. Whether its approach has been as efficient remains to be seen. What may stand out as exceptional in the end is Sweden's glaring lack of preparedness for a pandemic, especially for protecting its elderly, and that the dead are disproportionately recent immigrants.

While Sweden may not have ordered everyone into a total lockdown the people have largely done that by themselves simply out fo fear.

As a comment by one Richard England here (May 6, 2020 at 3:40am) describes that effect:

There are two kinds of lock-down, lock-down by fiat and lock-down by fear (or for that matter, self-preservation). The importance of lock-down by fear explains why Sweden has not done as badly as would be expected. Both forms of lock-down are economically destructive. Lock-down by fiat is usually either too slow or too incomplete to be much different from lock-down by fear, and both are more than enough to knock over a weak economy. Fear dissipates, and the economic life resumes more quickly where the disease has been essentially eliminated.

The effect is also captured in this graph by the German equivalent to the CDC, the Robert Koch Institute. It shows the replication factor R of the epidemic in Germany and three points in time where official lockdown measures were taken.


The replication factor of the disease in Germany was already decreasing in mid March before the more severe measures were ordered. R was below 1 even before March 23 when the government ordered the lockdown.

The simple reason for that is the people heard the news and watched TV. The pictures and death numbers from Italy in late February were quite brutal. When herd animals sense that an epidemic is taken place within their herd they distance themselves from each other. Humans behave similarly. As in Sweden many people in Germany went into some kind of lockdown and practiced social distancing even before it was ordered.

Some now claim that the RKI graph shows that the measures were not necessary. They are wrong. The data was not known when the measures were taken. The first of the simulations shown in the graph was done on April 1. In late March the R seemed to go again above 1 which meant that the epidemic was again expanding. Only the lockdown measures taken on March 23 pressed R below 1 and led to a slow decrease of new daily cases.

Germany is now slowly coming out of its lockdown. The U.S. is doing this too but at a point of the epidemic where it is way too early. There are economic reasons to do so but the early lifting of lockdown measures will likely cost the U.S. many human lives.

Fear will help to overrule that overhasty political decision. The news will continue to report new mass outbreaks in this or that part of the country. The fear will therefore also continue and the people will keep distancing themselves from each other. How much that will help to slow down the epidemic is difficult to estimate.

There is now some evidence that the summer will bring some relief from the onslaught of bad news. A study with data from 166 countries and published in Science of The Total Environment finds :

A 1 °C increase in temperature was associated with a 3.08% (95% CI: 1.53%, 4.63%) reduction in daily new cases and a 1.19% (95% CI: 0.44%, 1.95%) reduction in daily new deaths, whereas a 1% increase in relative humidity was associated with a 0.85% (95% CI: 0.51%, 1.19%) reduction in daily new cases and a 0.51% (95% CI: 0.34%, 0.67%) reduction in daily new deaths. The results remained robust when different lag structures and the sensitivity analysis were used. These findings provide preliminary evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic may be partially suppressed with temperature and humidity increases. However, active measures must be taken to control the source of infection, block transmission and prevent further spread of COVID-19.

A hot and wet summer is likely to lower the number of new Covid-19 cases. But after the summer come fall and winter during which we are likely to see a new peak. The fear will be back, social distances will again be practiced and the economic damage will further increase.

We had the chance to do otherwise. China gave us time to take the right measures. It has, like Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Korea and New Zealand, practically eradicated the disease within its boarders. It now has an advantage that will be difficult to beat.

Posted by b on May 6, 2020 at 18:57 UTC | Permalink

Posted by b at 18:57 UTC , Comments (149)

Posted by b at 18:57 UTC | Comments (149) /div

[May 07, 2020] Government sponcored lockdown vs self-imposed lockdown driven by fear

May 07, 2020 |

bevin , May 6 2020 19:15 utc | 1

"The importance of lock-down by fear explains why Sweden has not done as badly as would be expected. Both forms of lock-down are economically destructive."

The difference being that where the government plans and controls the lockdown it can mitigate many of the economic consequences by, for example, ensuring that nobody runs out of money to buy essentials, subsidising prices in agriculture and buying surpluses arising from lower demand, and various other measures, including rationing, which will ensure that the 'lockdown' does not lead to the deaths of anything except marginal businesses.

Many and sincere thanks, b, for these thoughtful and prescient posts. Yours has been a rare voice of sanity and social responsibility in this pandemic. It is to be hoped that even those who disagree with your conclusions recognise the honest and agonising analysis behind them.

C , May 6 2020 20:14 utc | 9

Regarding the imposed versus fear lockdown: Spain had (has) an imposed lockdown, but from the first day the new PSOE/Podemos government announced unprecedente measures to prevent evictions, layoffs, and provide income support that would help working people, including the irregular "gig economy" types that usually fall through the cracks of many such efforts. Big diference from 2007_8. The battle is now with the EU. We Will see if the Dutch and Germán bankers Will pull their heads out of their collective asses, or take the while EU down.
Alaric , May 6 2020 20:27 utc | 10
One really needs to take a closer, deeper look at Sweden and most every place. The lockdown vs. not lockdown mentality is overly simplistic and inaccurate.

Sweden has a high level of obesity (21%) and 44% of Swedes are overweight. Norway is similar but Denmark has 9.5% obesity. Sweden has a larger immigrant (% pop) than Norway and probably than Denmark. Immigrant population in Sweden did not seem to listen to the measures sweden took. Nearly 50% (maybe more now)of the deceased in Sweden are from nursing homes and Sweden's nursing homes are on average bigger (200 plus persons) compared to those in Norway (about 45 people). The Swedes failed to take actions to protect those nursing homes until it was too late and 1/3 had infections. Its worth pointing out that immigrants are over represented among employees of said institutions too.

The over simplification is a tool lockdown advocates are using to ignore the basic reality. Deaths are ultimately about percent of vulnerable in the population (elderly mostly) and success in protecting them from the Virus. The virus yields asymptomatic to mild results in 95% of more of the population so its really all about the vulnerable population. If you want a meaningful chart, then you need to chart deaths vs over 65 population and vs persons with comorbidities.

NY/NJ shut down and still had a lot more deaths per capita than Sweden. NY/NJ failed in the same way Sweden failed. They did not protect the vulnerable.

Lurk , May 6 2020 20:31 utc | 11
When I was in Sweden last summer, I was perplexed how unhealthy many Swedes look. The picture in Denmark was completely different. Curiously, the Covid-19 incidence rates in Denmark, Norway and Sweden mostly mirror my (superficial and subjective) impression of the health of the citizens of these countries. Lots of obesity in Sweden, lots of cyclists in Denmark.

[May 07, 2020] Will the American Way of Life Become a Casualty of the Coronavirus

May 07, 2020 |

By April, the country had changed. A virus that had gained footing overseas had spread like wildfire in major cities, forcing bars and restaurants to shutter their doors. The long days at the office were gone. Economic stability had disappeared. At night, the news organizations displayed images of corpses wrapped in white bags being loaded into refrigerated trucks in the once-busy streets of New York City. They showed video footage of people in biohazard suits placing bodies into a mass grave on Hart Island . The gears in the clock were moving at a fast pace in high-density parts of the country: alive this month and dead the next. By May, those who resided outside of the coronavirus hot zones though, who didn't have to see the deadly virus's grim threats on a daily basis, yearned for their old ways of living.

[May 06, 2020] Halting the economy to guard against COVID-19 spread is a terrible idea, and it will already have horrific consequences

I can't imagine that the lockdown will last much longer then end of May. A month, perhaps, to enable governments to row back and gradually feed the change of planned course through the media.
May 06, 2020 |

[May 03, 2020] Brad Griffin is Not My Mommy and He Doesn't Get to Decide Whether or Not I Can Play Outside by Andrew Anglin

May 03, 2020 |

The decision of whether or not to embrace coronamania is not based on statistical analysis of the specific number of nursing home residents or obese black people that are likely to die. We are witnessing a mass hysteria. It is collective temporary insanity induced by the media. The gulf between skeptics and true believers is underlined by personal disposition; those who are inclined to prioritize personal responsibility, freedom and suspicion of authority are pushing back against the lockdown, while those who are prone to neuroticism, risk aversion, safety prioritization and trust in authority are embracing the hysteria. For most people, the data becomes simply a post-hoc rationalization for a position that was already determined by their psychological profile. Given the masculine/feminine dichotomy, it has also become a partisan political issue, which has poisoned any public debate over the merits of the various claims.

...As a healthy and athletic 35-year-old, I am not at risk for dying. According to the CDC's own numbers, I have less than a 1 in 1000 chance of dying, even if I get sick enough to go to the hospital. This is approximately the same risk I have of dying from drowning or burning to death in a fire. By CDC math, I am ten times more likely to die in a car crash than I am to die of the coronavirus. For me personally, the coronavirus falls squarely into the category of "acceptable risks." I believe that I had a right to make that choice. However, here I sit, locked in my house, because people like Brad Griffin lobbied for this insane experiment.

This government that Brad Griffin demands we hand over total control of our lives to has overseen the mass import and distribution of opioid drugs, which are now killing 70,000 people a year. This government refuses virtually any regulation of the food industry, which leads to the deaths of 650,000 people every year from heart disease. This government sent thousands of young Americans to die in Iraq and Afghanistan for the purpose of forwarding the regional goals of Israel, based on a series of hoaxes. It's very difficult for me to buy the idea that this government is particularly concerned about my health.

Ezekiel Emmanuel, a dual Democrat political operative and credentialed expert, has been a prime evangelist for this lockdown. He was at the forefront of changing the narrative from "prevent the hospitals from being overwhelmed" to "we must continue the lockdown until the virus is eradicated." He is currently serving as Joe Biden's chief advisor on medical issues. While developing Barack Obama's healthcare plan, Emmanuel was the core proponent of what became known as "death panels," a policy that would limit end of life care for the elderly in the name of prioritizing the greater good of society. And he is now concerned about old people dying of the flu?

Brad Griffin claimed in his gotcha manifesto that anyone who even dares ask questions about whether or not it is desirable to surrender all control of our lives to this government, all the way down to our ability to feed ourselves, is a "libertarian." I assert that even if you actually believed that this coronavirus is a Biblical plague, that the only possible solution to it is to lock everyone in their houses (while also letting them gather whenever they want at supermarkets), including healthy young people whose chance of experiencing complications from the virus is statistically nonexistent, and you were fine with sacrificing the entire economy, putting what will probably amount to at least 50% of the population out of work, destroying virtually all small businesses, creating a massive new homeless population that is going to number in the millions and vastly inflating the suicide and drug abuse rates – even then, it would be appropriate to ask if this government is going to take advantage of this situation.

Brad Griffin's position is that we all just need to shut up and do as we're told.

While claiming that there is no chance whatsoever that the government will exploit this situation, Brad Griffin also takes the position that this will not collapse the economy. He's the only person on the entire internet I've seen saying that. The fun part is, whereas we will never know if we would have had as easy of a time as Sweden if we did as they did and refused the lockdown, we are going to know very soon whether the government is going to agree to give us all of our Constitutional rights back and whether or not the economy has collapsed. You will all be able to come back here and see my position in contrast with Brad Griffin's position, and decide who was right and who was wrong.

I have no idea why Brad Griffin and the rest of the costumed neo-Nazi community is promoting a total surrender to the government in the name of safety. Some people might say, "the COINTELPRO chief should be fired, because this has gotten ridiculous."

I won't say that. I'll just say this: Brad Griffin, you are not my mommy. I already have a mommy. In fact, we all have mommies. We all love our mommies, but none of us are looking for a second mommy.

MB , says: Website Show Comment May 2, 2020 at 7:21 pm GMT

Dunno Andrew. This is not rocket science and we all doesn't have to be Werner Von Einsteins (sic) to figure it out. Because if nobody is an expert, but the experts, so what?

It's called jujitsu.
IOW are the so called experts self consistent and coherent?

Rather, the WHO/CDC organizations and the IMHE and Imperial College reports are bought and paid for hirelings of Bill Gates. The same who took how many times and versions before he got Windows right?
Fauci in 2000 was still calling AIDS a plague threatening the world and likewise the 2009 Swine Flu.
(That something that was transmitted by sticking something in your arm or up the poop chute was supposed to seriously threaten heterosexuals who weren't drug addicts passed expert peer review is par for the course.)

Likewise for anybody who has lived through the Asian, Hong Kong, Swine, Bird, Nile River, Zika, AIDS, Ebola, SARS, MERS etc. epidemics, some herd immunity has been developed regarding the Chicken Little/Boy Who Cried Wolf fairy tale

So at first it was 2-3 Million – even with mitigation i.e. cower in place/anti-social distancing etc. – then 100-200 k and now 60-80k which is a bad flu season. Hmmm.

Neither does "flattening the curve" reduce the overall numbers. It only spreads them out. So now the hospitals are empty/going broke.
And we're going to empty the jails so the criminals don't get sick there is room for all the people that don't wear masks.

But what I really want to know is if there really is a mask shortage, how come nobody has snitched on Antifa and the KKK. It would seem that this is the time for them to come into their own as the real heros of the debacle. (Nah, cops and robbers is only for kids.)

IOW give me liberty or six feet and a mask blindfold so we'll shut up/suck it up.


The Emperor Has No Clothes/Long Live the Emperor.

[May 03, 2020] Lockdown Wars Debating Pandemic Measures in a Failed State

May 03, 2020 |

... ... ...

People and governments always invoke the safety and security of the majority when they are taking away rights for "our own good," just like the Patriot Act did. It's an old playbook...

There is science which should be informing decisions. But while claiming a small rally in Denver will cost lives, or Florida will kill people by opening its beaches, the same voices remain silent as NYC keeps its subway running 24/7. The public beach versus public transportation debate came as a new study showed that NYC's "multitentacled subway system was a major disseminator -- if not the principal transmission vehicle -- of coronavirus infection," seeding the virus throughout the city. Without a superspreader like the subway it can be contained locally. It is tragic when the virus rips through a nursing home or meatpacking plant (it is a virus after all, it will go viral), but all of those together barely touch a week's body count in New York. Shut down mass transport.

We can put most people back to work with limited risk; the protesters are right. The virus kills a very specific patient. About half the dead are over age 65. Less than one percent of deaths are under age 44. Almost 94 percent of the dead in any age group had serious underlying medical issues (about half had hypertension and/or were obese, a third had lung problems). The death toll in NY/NJ under total lockdown: over 27,000. Death toll in much more densely populated Tokyo with "smart" lockdown: 98.

About 22 percent of New Yorkers already have the virus antibody and thus expected immunity. One logical implication of this -- that large numbers already have or had the virus, and that it is harmless to them -- is simply ignored. Quarantine/social distancing should be for those most vulnerable so we can stop wrecking all of society with cruder measures. Hospitals should separate patients by age. No need to keep kids from school, especially if that means isolating them inside a multigenerational household. Let them wear soggy paper masks to class, even tin foil on their heads, if it makes things easier. Online classes are lame and America doesn't need a new generation dumber than the current one.

The New York-New Jersey area, with roughly half the dead for the entire nation, practices full-on social distancing while Georgia was one of the last states to implement a weaker stay-at-home policy. Yet as Georgia re-opens, the NY/NJ death count is over 27,000 . Georgia is 892. NYC alone continues adding around 500 bodies to the pile every day, even with its bowling alleys closed.

We judge risk versus gain for every other cause of death. We wear condoms. We watch our diets. Time to do the same for the virus. As for lockdowns, we may not even be judging them accurately. Some 22 states have had fewer than 100 deaths. Only 15 states had total deaths for the entire duration of the crisis higher than NYC's current 500 a day. The original goal of lockdowns, to buy time for the health care system (and most resources were never needed due to over-estimates of the viral impact), has passed. If the new goal is Virus Zero it will never come. If the real goal is to harm Trump we'll have to put up with this without serious discussion until November.

A Stanford doctor nails it: "Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals, and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation."

We are fretting and frittering away our national muscle watching TV about a bigamous tiger keeper. There are too many who want this isolation to continue indefinitely, a pathetic nation whose primary industries for its young people are camming and GoFundMe. Politics focuses on viral deaths, but the Reaper keeps a more accurate tally: deaths from despair, from hunger (two million new people became food insecure in NYC since the virus), financial losses (26 million Americans have filed for unemployment ), mental health issues, and abuse (domestic murders during the viral months in NYC outstripped the total from 2019). In some ultimate irony, parents are postponing standard childhood vaccinations for fear of bringing their kids to medical facilities.

It is the reaction to the pandemic that exhausts us, not the pandemic itself. So when someone claims it is Money vs. Life they miss the real answer: It's both. It should not be taboo to discuss this.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Hooper's War: A Novel of WWII Japan , and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent .

[May 03, 2020] Contact tracing via app: a scam

May 03, 2020 |

Bruce Schneier on contact tracing via app

This is a classic identification problem, and efficacy depends on two things: false positives and false negatives.

False positives: Any app will have a precise definition of a contact: let's say it's less than six feet for more than ten minutes. The false positive rate is the percentage of contacts that don't result in transmissions. This will be because of several reasons. One, the app's location and proximity systems -- based on GPS and Bluetooth -- just aren't accurate enough to capture every contact. Two, the app won't be aware of any extenuating circumstances, like walls or partitions. And three, not every contact results in transmission; the disease has some transmission rate that's less than 100% (and I don't know what that is).

False negatives: This is the rate the app fails to register a contact when an infection occurs. This also will be because of several reasons. One, errors in the app's location and proximity systems. Two, transmissions that occur from people who don't have the app (even Singapore didn't get above a 20% adoption rate for the app). And three, not every transmission is a result of that precisely defined contact -- the virus sometimes travels further.

Assume you take the app out grocery shopping with you and it subsequently alerts you of a contact. What should you do? It's not accurate enough for you to quarantine yourself for two weeks. And without ubiquitous, cheap, fast, and accurate testing, you can't confirm the app's diagnosis. So the alert is useless.

Similarly, assume you take the app out grocery shopping and it doesn't alert you of any contact. Are you in the clear? No, you're not. You actually have no idea if you've been infected.

The end result is an app that doesn't work. People will post their bad experiences on social media, and people will read those posts and realize that the app is not to be trusted. That loss of trust is even worse than having no app at all.

It has nothing to do with privacy concerns. The idea that contact tracing can be done with an app, and not human health professionals, is just plain dumb.

Posted by: c1ue | May 3 2020 17:03 utc | 37

[May 03, 2020] A Protest From France. The Great Danger of Ill-Conceived Lockdowns - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Gl

May 03, 2020 |

A Protest From France. The Great Danger of Ill-Conceived Lockdowns By Jörg Guido Hülsmann Global Research, May 01, 2020 Mises Wire 30 April 2020 Region: Europe Theme: History , Police State & Civil Rights

After WWI, the distinguished British economist Edwin Cannan was asked, somewhat reproachfully, what he did during the terrible war years. He replied: "I protested." The present article is a similar protest against the current lockdown policies put into place in most countries of the Western world to confront the current coronavirus pandemic.

Here in France, where I live and work, President Macron announced on Thursday, March 12, that all schools and universities would be shut down on the following Monday. On that Monday, then, he appeared on TV again and announced that the entire population would be confined starting the very next day. The only exceptions would be "necessary" activities, especially medical services, energy production, security, and food production and distribution. This policy response was apparently coordinated with other European governments. Italy, Germany, and Spain have applied essentially the same measures.

I think that these policies are understandable and well intentioned. Like many other commentators, I also think that they are wrongheaded, harmful, and potentially disastrous. An old French proverb says that the way to hell is plastered with good intentions. Unfortunately, it seems as though the present policies are no exception.

My protest concerns the basic ideas that have motivated these policies. They were clearly enunciated by President Macron in his TV address of March 12. Here he made three claims that I found most intriguing.

The first one was that his government was going to apply drastic measures to "save lives" because the country was "at war" with the COVID-19 virus. He repeatedly used the phrase "we are at war" ( nous sommes en guerre ) throughout his talk.

Secondly, he insisted right at the very beginning that it was imperative to heed the advice of "the experts." Monsieur Macron literally said that we all should have to listen to and follow the advice of the people "who know" -- meaning who know the problem and who know how best to deal with it.

His third major point was that this emergency situation had revealed how important it was to enjoy a state-run system of public healthcare. How lucky are we to have such a system and to be able to rely on it, now, in the heat of the war against the virus! Unsurprisingly, the president insinuated that this system would be reinforced in the future.

Now, these are not the private ideas of Monsieur Macron. They are shared by all major governments in the EU and by many governments in other parts of the world. They are also shared by all major political parties here in France, as well as by President Macron's predecessors. Therefore, the purpose of the following remarks is not to criticise the president of this beautiful country, or his government, or any person in particular. The purpose is to criticise the ideas on which the current policy is based.

I do not have any epidemiological knowledge or expertise. But I do have some acquaintance with questions of social organisation, and I am also intimately familiar with scientific research and with the organisation of scientific research. My protest does not concern the medical assessment of the COVID-19 virus and its propagation. It concerns the public policies designed to confront this problem.

As far as I can see, these policies are based on one extraordinary claim and two fundamental errors. I will discuss them in turn.

An Extraordinary Claim

The extraordinary claim is that wartime measures such as confinement and shutdowns of commercial activity are justified by the objective of "saving lives" that are at risk because of the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic.

Over here in Europe, we have heard American presidents use such expressions since the 1960s, as in "the war on poverty" or the "war on drugs" or "the war on terrorism" or more recently "the war on climate change." Odd language of this sort seemed to be one of America's many eccentricities. It also did not escape our notice that none of these would-be wars have ever been won. Despite the great sums of money that the US government has spent to fight them, despite the new state institutions that were put in place, and despite the great and growing infringements on the economic and civil liberties of ordinary Americans, the problems themselves never went away. Quite the opposite; they were perpetuated and aggravated.

Most of the European governments have now joined ranks with the Americans and consider that they, too, are at war -- with a virus. It is therefore appropriate to insist that this is metaphorical language. A war is a military conflict designed to protect the state -- and thus of the very institution that is commonly held to guarantee the lives and liberties of the citizens -- against malicious attack from an outside power, usually another state. In a war, the very existence of the state is under attack. Clearly, this is not so in the present case.

Moreover, there can be no war with a virus, simply because a virus does not act . At most, therefore, the word "war" can be used here metaphorically. It then serves as a cover and justification of infringements of the very civil and economic liberties that the state is supposed to protect.

Now, in the traditional conception, the state is supposed to protect and promote the common good. Protecting the lives of the citizens might therefore, arguably, justify massive state interventions. But then the very first question should be: How many lives are at stake? Government epidemiologists, in their most dire estimates -- whose factual basis is still not solidly established -- have considered that about 10 percent of the infected persons might be in need of hospital care and that a large part of those would die. It was also already known by mid-March that this mortal threat in the great majority of cases concerned very old people, the average COVID-19 victim being around eighty years of age.

The claim that wartime measures, which threaten the economic livelihood of the great majority of the population and also the lives of the poorest and most fragile people of the world economy -- a point on which I will say more below -- are in order to save the lives of a few, most of whom are close to death anyway, is an extraordinary claim, to say the least.

Without going into any detail, let me just highlight that this contention squarely contradicts the abortion policies that Western governments have applied since the 1970s. There, the reasoning was exactly the other way around. The personal liberty and comfort of the women who wished to abort their children was given priority over the right to lives of these yet unborn children. According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, each and every year, some 40–50 million babies are aborted worldwide. In 2018 alone, more than 224,000 babies have been aborted in France. However serious the current COVID-19 pandemic may yet become, it will remain a small fraction of these casualties. Not only have governments neglected to "save lives" when it comes to abortions. They have in point of fact condoned and funded the killing of human beings on a massive scale.

They still do so now. Here in France, all hospital services have been run down to free up capacity for the treatment of COVID-19 victims -- all except one. Abortion services run unabated and have recently been reinforced by the legal obligation for hospital staff to provide abortions (previously it was possible for individual doctors to refuse this out of personal conviction).

The pretention that drastic policies are justified in order to "save lives" also flies into face of past policy in other areas. In the past, too, it would have been possible to "save lives" by allocating a greater chunk of the government's budget to state-run hospitals, by further reducing speed limits on highways, by increasing foreign aid to countries on the brink of starvation, by outlawing smoking, etc. To be sure, I do not wish to make a case for such policies. My point is that it has never been the sole or highest goal of government policy to "save lives" or to extend them as much as possible. In fact, such a policy would be utterly absurd and impractical, as I will explain further below.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that the "war to save lives" is a farce. The truth seems to be that the COVID-19 crisis has been used to extend the powers of the state. The government obtains the power to control and paralyse all other human concerns in the name of prolonging the lives of a select few. Never has this principle been admitted in a free country. Few tyrannies have managed to extend their power this far.

The current beneficiaries of these new powers are the elder citizens and a few others. But make no mistake. It is likely that their destinies only serve as a pretext to justify the creation of new and unheard-of powers for the state. Once these new powers are firmly established, there is no reason why the elderly should remain especially dear to those in power. It must be feared that the very opposite will be the case.

Now, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, I do not claim that the present French government seeks to grab power over life-and-death decisions, or dictatorial powers to introduce socialism through the backdoor under the cover of COVID-19. In fact, I cannot imagine that Monsieur Macron and his government are driven by sinister motivations. I think they have the best of all intentions. But the point here is precisely that there is a difference between doing good and wishing to do good.

A Grave Error: Rule by Experts

So far, I have commented on a political issue. But there are also matters of fact. And this brings me to the two aforementioned errors.

The first fundamental error is to hold that is that the experts know and all the rest of us should trust them and do as they tell us.

The truth is that even the most brilliant academics and practitioners have in-depth knowledge only in a very narrow field; that they have no particular expertise when it comes to devising new practical solutions; and that their professional biases are likely to induce them into various errors when it comes to solving large-scale social problems such as the current pandemic. This is patent in my own discipline, economics, but not really different in other academic fields. Let me explain this in some more detail.

The kind of knowledge that can be acquired by scientific research is just a preliminary to action. Research gathers facts and yields partial knowledge of causal connections. Economics tells us, for example, that the size of the money stock is positively related to the level of unit prices. But this is not the whole picture. Other causes come into play as well. Real-world decision-making cannot just rely on facts and other bits of partial knowledge. It must weigh the influence of a multitude of circumstances, not all of which are well known, and not all of which are directly related to the problem at stake. It must come to balanced conclusions, sometimes under rapidly changing circumstances.

In this respect, the typical expert is no expert at all . How many laureates of the Nobel Prize in economics have earned any significant money by investing their savings? How many virologists or epidemiologists have established and operated a privately run clinic or laboratory? I would never trust a colleague who had the folly to volunteer to direct a central planning board. I do not trust an epidemiologist who has the temerity to parade as a COVID-19 czar. I do not believe a government that tells me that it somehow knows "the experts" who know best how to protect and run an entire country.

Furthermore, consider that scientific knowledge is, at best, a state of the art. The precious thing about science is not to be seen in the results, which are hardly ever final. What is crucial is the scientific process , which is a competitive process based on disagreements about the validity and relevance of different research hypotheses. This process is especially important when it comes to new problems -- such as a new virus which spreads in unheard-of ways and has unheard-of effects. It is precisely in such circumstances, when the stakes are high, that the impartial confrontation and competitive exploration of different points of view is of paramount importance. Research czars and central planners are here of no use at all. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

A government which bets the house on one horse and hands the management of a pandemic over to a single person or institution achieves, at best, only one thing: that all citizens receive the same treatment. But it thereby slows down the very process which leads to the discovery of the best treatments, and which makes these treatments rapidly available to the greatest number of patients.

It is also important to keep in mind that academics -- and this includes epidemiologists just as much as economists and lawyers -- are typically government employees and that this colours their approach to any practical problem. They are likely to think that serious problems, especially large-scale problems touching most or all citizens, should be solved by state intervention. Many of them are in fact incapable of imagining anything else.

This problem is reinforced through a nefarious selection bias . Indeed, those academics who opt for an administrative or political career, and who make it into the higher ranks of the civil service, cannot fail to be convinced that state action is suitable and necessary to solve the most important problems. Otherwise they would hardly have chosen such careers, and it would also be virtually out of the question that for them to end up in leadership positions. A good example among many others is the current WHO director Tedros Adhanom, who I understand is a former member of a communist [party in Ethiopia] organisation. The point is not that a WHO director should have no political opinions or that Dr. Adhanom is an evil or incompetent person. The point is that it is unsurprising that men like him occupy leadership positions in state-run organisations, and that the approach he envisions to deal with a pandemic is likely to be coloured by his personal political preconceptions, not only by medical information and good intentions.

Another Momentous Error: Neglect of Economics

Along with such selection bias comes a peculiar ignorance in regard to the functioning of complex social orders. This brings me to the second fundamental error that vitiates the COVID-19 policies. It consists in thinking that civil and economic liberties are some sort of a consumers' good -- maybe even a luxury good -- that can only be allowed and enjoyed in good times. When the going gets tough, the government needs to take over and all others should step back -- into confinement if necessary.

This error is typical for people who have spent too much time among politicians and in public administrations. The truth is that civil and economic liberty is the most powerful vehicle to confront virtually any problem. (The notable exception is that liberty does not help to consolidate political power.) And the reverse side of the same truth is that governments typically fail whenever they set out to solve social problems, even very ordinary problems. Think of state-run education or housing projects. I will return to this point further below.

Because of the mechanics of the political process, governments are liable to overreact to any problem that is big enough to make it into the news and to become an issue for voters. Governments will then typically zoom in on this one problem. In their perception, it becomes the most important of all problems that humanity has to solve. If such a government has no clue about economics, it is liable to propose one-plan technical solutions that completely neglect the social and political dimension of what it means to solve a problem. In the present case, the "experts" have blithely proposed to shut down the entire economy because this is what "works."

Now, I do not contest that shutdowns are effective in slowing down the transmission speed of a pandemic. I have no opinion at all on the most suitable way to deal with pandemics or other problems of virology or medicine. But as an economist I know the crucial importance of the fact that there is never ever only one single goal in human life. There is always a great and diverse array of objectives that each of us pursues. The practical problem for each person is to strike the right balance, most notably to act in the right temporal sequence. Translated to the level of the economy as a whole, the problem is to allocate the right amounts of time and material resources to the different objectives.

For most people, protecting their own lives and the lives of their families has a very high importance. But irrespective of how important this objective is, in practice it cannot be perfectly achieved. To protect my life, I need food. Thus, I need to work. Thus, I need to expose myself to all kinds of risks that are associated with leaving the safe space of my house and encountering nature and other humans. In short, human lives cannot be perfectly protected, even by those who are ready to subordinate everything else to doing so. It is a practical impossibility. When it comes to protecting lives, the only question is: How much am I willing to risk my life and the lives of those who depend on me? And it more than often turns out that by risking much one protects best. What holds true for the eternal life of one's soul also holds true for the mundane material life down here on earth: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt 16:25).

Now, most people do not actually cherish the preservation of their lives, or the extension of their life spans, as the single highest goals. Smokers, meat eaters, drinkers prefer a shorter, more joyful life, to a longer life of abstinence. Policemen, soldiers, and many citizens are more than often driven by the love of their country and by a love of justice. They would rather die than live under slavery or tyranny. Priests would risk their lives rather than forsake their commitment. A believer in Christ would rather risk death than apostasy. Sailors risk their own lives to provide for their families. Medical doctors and nurses are willing to risk their lives to help patients with infectious diseases. Rugby players and racecar drivers risk their lives not only for the glory of winning, but also for the excitement and satisfaction that comes with performing well under danger. Many young men and women gladly trade the excitement of dance for the risk of catching COVID-19.

All of these people, in one way or another, make material contributions to the livelihood of all others. Smokers and drinkers ultimately pay for their consumption, not with money (which serves them only as a tool for exchange with others), but with the goods and services that they themselves provide to others. If they could not indulge in their consumption, their motivation to help others would diminish or vanish altogether. If policemen, soldiers, sailors, and nurses did not have a relatively low risk-aversion, their services would be provided only at much higher cost, and possibly not at all.

The preferences and activities of all market participants are interdependent. In the market order, each one helps all others in pursuing their goals, even if these goals may ultimately contradict his own. The meat eater might be a mechanic who repairs the cars of vegetarians, or an accountant who does the bookkeeping for a vegetarian NGO. The soldier also protects pacifists. Among the pacifists may be farmers who grow the food consumed by soldiers, etc.

It is impossible to disentangle all of these connections, and it is not necessary. The point is that in a market economy the factors determining the production of any economic good are not just technical . Through exchange, through the division of labour, all production processes are interrelated. The effectiveness of doctors and nurses and their assistants does not only depend on the people who directly supply them with the materials that they need. Indirectly, it also depends on the activities of all other producers who do not have the slightest thing to do with medical services in hospitals. Even in an emergency situation, it is therefore necessary to respect the needs and priorities of these others. Locking them away, locking them down, far from facilitating the operation of hospitals, will eventually come to haunt the latter as well when supply chains wither and consumer staples start lacking.

Now one might contend that such consequences only obtain in the longer run and that a government confronted with an emergency situation needs to neglect long-run issues and focus on the short-run emergency. This sounds reasonable, which is why governments have appealed to arguments of this sort with great regularity in other areas, most notably to justify expansionary macroeconomic policies, which also trade off the present against the future.

But the reasoning is flawed in the present case. The root of the error is to consider the COVID-19 virus an immediate threat to human lives whereas the lockdown policies are not. But this is not the case. How many people have committed suicide because the lockdown measures have driven them to depression and insanity? How many did not receive life-saving treatments because hospital beds and staff were restricted to COVID-19 victims? How many have become victims at home because of the lockdown-induced aggression of their spouses? How many have lost their jobs, their companies, their wealth, and will be driven to suicide and aggression in the months to come? How many people in the poorest countries of the world economy are now driven to starvation because households and firms in the developed world have cut back demand for their products?

The inevitable conclusion is that, even in the short run, lockdown policies are costing the lives of many people who would not otherwise have died. In the short and in the long run, the current lockdown policy does not serve to "save lives," but to save the lives of some people at the expense of the lives of others .


The lockdown policies are understandable as a panic reaction of political leaders who want to do the right thing and who have to make decisions with incomplete information. But upon reflection -- and certainly in hindsight -- they are not good policy. The lockdowns of the past month have not been conducive to the common good. Although they have saved the lives of many people, they have also endangered -- and are still endangering -- the lives and livelihoods of many others. They have created a new and dangerous political precedent. They have reinforced the political regime uncertainty -- to use Robert Higgs's felicitous phrase -- that bears on the choices of individuals, families, communities, and firms in the years to come.

The right thing to do now is to abandon these policies swiftly and entirely. The citizens of free countries are able to protect themselves. They can act individually and collectively. They cannot act well when they are locked down. They will greet any honest and competent advice on what they can and should do, upon which they will proceed responsibly, whether alone or in coordination with others.

The greatest danger right now is in the perpetuation of the ill-conceived lockdowns , most notably under the pretext of "managing the transition" or other spurious justifications. Is it really necessary to walk through the endless list of management failures of government agents? Is it necessary to remind ourselves that people who have no skin in the game are irresponsible in the true sense of the word? These would-be managers should have stayed out of the picture from the very beginning. Instead, so far, they have managed to get everybody else out of the picture. If they are allowed to go on, they might very well turn the present calamity -- big as it is -- into a true disaster.

The historical precedent that comes to mind is the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then, too, the free world was confronted with a painful recession, when the implosion of the stock market bubble entailed a deflationary meltdown of the financialised economy, along with massive unemployment. This recession , dire as it was, could have remained short, as all the previous recessions in the US and elsewhere had been. Instead it was turned into a multiyear depression , thanks to folly of FDR and his government, who had the pretention of managing the recovery with government spending, nationalisations, and price controls.

It is not too late. It is never too late to recognise an honest error and correct a wrong course of action. Let us hope that President Macron, President Trump, and all other people of goodwill may rapidly come to their senses. COVID-19 Lockdown: A Global Human Experiment *

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on

Jörg Guido Hülsmann is senior fellow of the Mises Institute where he holds the 2018 Peterson-Luddy Chair and was director of research for Mises Fellows in residence 1999-2004. He is author of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism and The Ethics of Money Production . He teaches in France, at Université d'Angers. His full CV is here . The original source of this article is Mises Wire Copyright © Jörg Guido Hülsmann , Mises Wire , 2020

[May 02, 2020] General lockdown strategies can reduce transmission and death counts in the short term. But this strategy cannot be considered successful until lockdowns are removed without the disease resurging.

May 02, 2020 |


MacCheerful 3 days ago
The pessimistic models predicted millions of deaths if no measures were taken to slow the disease. In nearly every country measures were taken to slow the disease. But now conservatives complain that hey, no millions of deaths! So why was it necessary to go into confinement?
Sidney Caesar MacCheerful 3 days ago • edited
The people who cite the success of social distancing measures as the reason social distancing measures weren't necessary (or were too rigorous) seem to be using the same logic as certain anti-vaxxers who use the success of vaccinations to buttress their contention that vaccinations are unnecessary.
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago
Anti-vaxxers calculate their own safety by using the knowledge that most people get vaccinated. That is the logic of their position.
Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
Yes, it's likely that most of them are free-riders.

But there's a variety of misconceptions motivating anti-vaxxers, which is why I wrote "certain anti-vaxxers" instead of 'all anti-vaxxers'.

wicked_sprite MacCheerful 3 days ago
Those predictions were WITH social distancing. So the good news is the worst case is most definitely not the case.
Adriana Pena wicked_sprite 2 days ago
It is always safer to go with the worst projections. It is better to give out a sigh of relief when they do not come true than a scream of pain when they do.
Jim Chilton 3 days ago
Martin Kulldorff is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. In his opinion, general lockdown strategies can reduce transmission and death counts in the short term. But this strategy cannot be considered successful until lockdowns are removed without the disease resurging. So the best policy is to go for herd immunity. The sooner that is achieved, the more lives will be saved in the long term.

Herd immunity arrives after a certain still unknown percentage of the population has acquired immunity. It will never be achieved unless most people who get the disease and survive, are immune to it afterwards.

MacCheerful Jim Chilton 3 days ago
1) We don't know whether getting Covid-19 gives you immunity.
2) Going full fledged for herd immunity quickly, i.e. 60-70% infection rate, means in the U.S. perhaps 1 million dead. One million dead over the course of a couple of months looks a lot worse for a society than one million dead over the course of a couple of years.
FND MacCheerful 3 days ago
"Going full fledged for herd immunity quickly, i.e. 60-70% infection rate, means in the U.S. perhaps 1 million dead."

You just proved the author's point.

Also, of course we don't know for 100% certain that having had the virus gives one immunity since its a brand new virus, but it would be a very rare virus indeed if that doesn't turn out to be the case. It is overwhelmingly expected, but we don't know for sure yet.

Sidney Caesar FND 3 days ago
"...we don't know for sure yet."
Which is why caution is indicated going forward.
I Don't Matter FND 3 days ago
" we don't know for 100% certain that having had the virus gives one immunity since its a brand new virus, but it would be a very rare virus indeed if that doesn't turn out to be the case."

Wish this were true. Alas. There's no immunity to common cold. And it's caused by corona viruses, among others. This is a truly nightmarish scenario: a common cold-like lack of acquired immunity combined with SARS-like disease.
We just don't know yet.

IanDakar FND 2 days ago
Very rare? The common cold doesn't give long term immunity. It's not rare. It depends on whether the body decides to hold on to the memory cells that cause immunity. Some diseases They hang around for decades, some for years, some just a few weeks.

And the cold is caused by coronaviruses: the same family COVID lives in. Also a lot of people who get this virus don't face heavy symptoms and there's some speculation (just speculation) that the easier it is for the body to handle a disease the less it cares to remember it.

So not only is it not rare it's also very much possible for this one.

We don't know. But unfounded statements like "it's very rare." Don't help the discussion.

FND IanDakar 2 days ago
Immunity is more than just "you don't get it again". Its also "if you get it again the symptoms are less" as with colds. Also, colds like all viruses, don't stay the same. They mutate. But with immunity from a previous form, the symptoms are less with the mutation.
JonF311 IanDakar 2 days ago
You generally don't get the same cold you had, at least not in any immediate time frame. There are a myriad different cold viruses out there and they mutate over time, so like the flu, any immunity is fairly short-lived.
IanDakar JonF311 2 days ago
It's about 4 weeks on average last I heard and that's of you get hit with the same stand. The flu is stronger with a few years but there's a mass of stands and mutations so it's hard to notice when you ignore one of them.

For example a particularly nasty h1n1 stain hit us in 2009. Most people didn't have an immunity but many older than 60 did. Seems They had been hit with a similar strand in the past and thus their bodies still remembered it.

This is also why some vaccines aren't given again after childhood as you basically don't forget it. Others need to be given again after so many years to be sure of immunity.

stephen pickard Jim Chilton 3 days ago
Tell me if I got this correct. Herd immunity can be achieved if there is rigorous testing immediately when a hot spot ocurrs. Plus a vaccine must be unavailable when it breaks out. In addition there must be sufficient data points that indicates if the virus is contained. None of which is present now.

And do not forget that in the hotspots now, the health care community is getting close to the breaking point. None of the models can account for the collapse of the health care infrastructure.

For those who advocate for reopening the economy, what does their model predict if there are no workers, no managers, no consumers and the like because they are part of the sick and dead. We just don't know. So it boils down to determing what level of destruction is bearable. Is anyone willing to trust our stable genius? God save us.

Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 3 days ago
Successful long-term herd immunity will only come with a vaccine.
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 3 days ago • edited
Before the theory of vaccination was understood or even the idea that microbes cause, or can cause, infectious disease in human beings, herd immunity had to be acquired by exposure. Had this not been the case, the human race would not have survived.
Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
Like the herd immunity that prevented smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, influenza, etc.
Naturally acquired herd immunity was not enough to prevent recurrent epidemics that we currently prevent with vaccinations (although anti-vaxxers are trying mightily to rectify that success).
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago • edited
There is good reason to hope a vaccine will be produced for CORVID-19. However, that is not a certainty and it might be a year or two before it's safe to use throughout the population.

Since the economy can hardly be left in suspended animation until a vaccine is available, there will be a period during which the acquistion of herd immunity has to proceed by default.

IanDakar Jim Chilton 2 days ago
This is true but it resulted in a lot of death. This is why disease changed so much of our history. Entire communities and nations have been changed or fallen due to disease.

That was the world that relied on herd immunity. That's why medicine is deemed so precious as our entire current way of life is based on no longer relying on pure herd immunity.

Talking as if the old way at all worked just as fine as our modern age is a case of just enough knowledge to know the terms but not enough to know what it really means.

Jim Chilton IanDakar 2 days ago • edited
I know how much we owe to the advance of medical science and I am not suggesting a fatalistic response to this epidemic is desirable. But until a vaccine is produced for this particular virus and its mutations, we have no alternative but to accept the risk and carry on.

No one is seriously suggesting that the shutdowns must continue until a vaccine is produced, so draw the obvious conclusion.

Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago
"...draw the obvious conclusion"
...which is to let the experts and their science lead.
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago
Not necessarily. Continuation of the lockdown is a political decision.

If you advocate continuing the lockdown until a vaccine is available, you should say so.

Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
"If you advocate continuing the lockdown until a vaccine is available, you should say so."
Please explain how you take that away from "...let the experts and their science lead"? We're in uncharted territory in which tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of lives are at stake- the "political decision" to reopen should be based on the best advice of scientists.
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago
The "obvious conclusion" which I referred to, had nothing to do with taking the advice of scientists. If we want to revive the economy, then sooner or later we have no option than to resume our social and economic actvities. Until a vaccine is produced, this entails risk; but human life is never as safe as we might wish to believe.
Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
"If we want to revive the economy, then sooner or later we have no option than to resume our social and economic activities."
Of course, the rub in that profoundly obvious statement is the meaning of "sooner or later". I'm suggesting we defer to the best expert advice available. Should we infer that you would leave those decisions solely up to 'experts' like Brian Kemp (who first became aware of person-to-person transmission April 1)?
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago
Sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious to people who hide their fuzzy position behind "expert advice".
Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
How is it "fuzzy" to plainly state (several times) that we should let scientists lead?
Jim Chilton Sidney Caesar 2 days ago
It's the government's job to lead; that's what it was elected to do.

This predicament involves a choice between evils - not a simple choice between the crude economic materialism of politics and the science of saving lives. It's a choice between lives and lives. Your comments are made in bad faith.

Sidney Caesar Jim Chilton 2 days ago • edited
One of us is arguing in "bad faith", and it's not me. I've written- repeatedly- that we should be deferring to the best judgement of scientists to navigate reopening- whatever 'fuzziness' you infer from that is occurring somewhere between your eyes and your brain (which is also the source of the somewhat "fuzzy" and undefined "sooner or later" timeline, when you feel normal activity can be resumed- when is "sooner or later", exactly, and what are the criteria that would define "sooner" as opposed to "later"?
john Jim Chilton 2 days ago
The Koreans, the Chinese, the Taiwanese, the Australians and the New Zealanders all provide a counter example of how to deal with it. The path we are on isn't the only path.
Adriana Pena john 2 days ago
Do not forget Vietnam nor Cuba. Just because they are communist does not mean that they do not get some things right
Jim Chilton john 2 days ago
I agree; but we're being led up a path on which we shall have to retrace our steps.
IanDakar Jim Chilton 2 days ago
I'm not either. I'm actually standing with Trump, or whoever wrote his plan, on this one. Get a 2 week downturn in cases then open slowly wait for the spikes open more wait for spikes and so on. Keep buisiness from doing stupid things like making sick people work. That sort of thing.

I'd prefer longer as manycountries are waiting a month. But we seem to be able to handle barely what we have now and you have to balance the panicked with the impatient on this so 2 weeks may have to do. The goal is to make sure the public doesn't go crazy or the situation doesn't go nutty enough to require a new shutdown.

I'm ok for that. If you are ok with that then I'm not your enemy here.

I'm arguing against the folks who want to keep throwing out mass media lines like "cure worse than the disease." Or "it's the flu". I'm against the folks who see the flattening after this lockdown and somehow conclude that the lockdown did nothing. I'm against the folks like my Georgia governor that somehow thought that opening salons and theaters are to be opened no matter that we aren't even sure we peaked no matter how few people will even go there no matter that it kills the companies' governmental benefits for being locked down or that it forces people into risk as they can't take UI anymore no matter that it ignores Trump's own plan.

Also I'm just sick of the (find random country praised by media) they aren't mass dying so OF COURSE the virus means nothing LIBERATE THE PLANET, LET THE PEOPLE DIE LIKE NATURE INTENDED.

Jim Chilton IanDakar 2 days ago • edited
This virus is here to stay, and we must learn to live with it. In the coming months, until a vaccine is produced, there will be many hard choices between economic survival and risking lives.

Only a callous fool would argue that we should let the infection rip and "let the people die as nature intended."

IanDakar Jim Chilton 2 days ago
That's a claim I won't even put on Trump. I'm suspecting he's just trying to find the most popular position.

Governor Kemp though. I'm suspecting now. We're in the upper end as far as infections, the worst in testing and most of the flatten we might be in is due to counties and cities deciding for themselves to lock (my own started once the first case showed up. We're still pretty empty on infections here): a feature Kemp is now taking away as he unilaterally opens the state.

That I'm now seriously defending a Trump policy over my governor means something is going very very wrong.

Sidney Caesar IanDakar a day ago • edited
Trump's only concern throughout this debacle (that can virtually all be laid at the feet of his administration, given it's inactivity- with the exception of the travel 'sieve'- from January to March), as well as his entire presidency and life, is and has been Trump. It's not the most popular decision he's trying to find, he just wants to goose the stock market and economy enough to eke out another (unpopular) electoral college win- he doesn't give a damn about the lives of the people who may go back to work, or the loss of lives of people who may die unnecessarily because of imbeciles like Kemp forcing people back to work prematurely.
And while the Trumps and Kemps are at least honest enough to wear their sociopathy on their sleeves, you can find it by scratching just about any Republican.
By the way, as a Georgian you might find this article interesting:
IanDakar Sidney Caesar a day ago
I couldn't read the article fully. It's like watching a close up of a massacare economically. Even ignoring the health costs it's a boneheaded move. And since Kemp has massive powers as a governor in an emergency he gets full reign to keep being a bonehead.

I understand why he's doing it. His economy is shattered when he is desperately in need to fund the promises that got him elected (not many Republicans would offer a 5k raise to all teachers but there you go). He's in a state constantly whispering of turning blue and he only won by slivers. And if he can't lock the state government or both Senate seats (the other retired due to health issues) when the whispers also say democrats are taking the Senate he's doomed. So he's pulling a Hail Mary.

I get it. So saying he's a callous man ready to kill for a buck is toxic nonsense.

But it's boneheaded.

I have to hopeI'm wrong and Kemp scores and probably saves the state for the Republicans one more election. Because I have to live in the horrible mess he'd have created if I'm right.

Save SK 3 days ago
Person has Heart attack taken to ER does and is called death by C-Virus
Immune system is CRITICAL -that is why older folks suffer more weakened immune functions. Fear weakens Immune function !!! Play Hide
Sidney Caesar Save SK 3 days ago
I work in an ER- despite what Alex Jones may have told you, when people die of a heart attack, we use the evidence (EKG changes, abnormal labs) to attribute their death to a heart attack.
On the other hand, it's highly likely that COVID19 deaths have been undercounted:
M Orban 3 days ago
"Competing Pandemic Projections Driving You Mad?"
Not really. I just sit it out and see what happens.
Sidney Caesar 3 days ago
Great interview:
Shouvik Banerjee 2 days ago
I am deeply dubious that James Pinkerton truly believes in hard, empirical data over modeled probabilities. His disingenuous logic comes through in his celebration of Ionnadis who, in recent weeks, is best known for releasing a sloppy study and publishing an even sloppier WSJ op-ed. He has been criticized by statisticians around the world. Before he had sufficient empirical data, he went repeatedly on Fox News to shape conservative minds, advocating that the covid death rate was low and the costs of social distancing too high. There are statistical rules that define when data is sufficient and significant, increasing confidence in a projection. Ionnadis failed to do this in a big way, but is celebrated by Pinkerton as the White Knight of hard data.
Adriana Pena 2 days ago
Of course, the models vary widely. IT is new, there is new data coming every minute. So some models become obsolete very quick, and new models have to be made incorporating the new data.

But as a rule, it is better to go with the more pessimistic models. Because as it happens, there is no way that an optimist can be pleasantly surprised.

[May 01, 2020] The virus is a problem and if you do a general lock down (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year..) you will create 100 further problems. Now you have 101 problems!

May 01, 2020 |

Ric G , Apr 29 2020 23:50 utc | 76

The virus is a problem and if you do a general lock down (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year..) you will create 100 further problems. Now you have 101 problems!

The data is in that the virus, in the general community (not counting hospitals), only kills people over 70 years, or with medical issues.

So quarantine the over 70's, give them free delivered food, a laptop with Zoom so they can still communicate, and let the rest of the world live their lives. It is insane that two 20 year olds cannot go on a date without being fined, or someone on a rural beach has a chopper land beside them and they are fined. This is not a medical response, this is a psych-ops, that is manipulation of the human psyche on a grand scale. Some would say on a Satanic scale!

Here is what happens when money collapses, when the economy collapses, and in the turmoil some are going to be richer than Midas.

In the past, an inflationary collapse has usually affected currencies in isolation; but the modern tendency for governments to coordinate their inflationary stimulations raises a new factor, of strains between currencies collapsing at the same time but at different rates.

The most notable experience of it in modern times was in several European countries following the First World war. The inflations were individual to the nations, but the cause was the same, and Austria's inflationary collapse ran ahead of Germany's. A passage from a man who witnessed it, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, in his autobiographical The World of Yesterday vividly describes the consequences:

Every hotel in Vienna was filled with these vultures [foreign tourists]; they bought everything from toothbrushes to landed estates, they mopped up private collections and antique shop stocks before their owners, in their distress, woke to how they were being plundered. Humble hotel clerks from Switzerland, stenographers from Holland would put up in the deluxe suites of the Ringstrasse hotels. Incredible as it may seem, I can vouch for it as an eyewitness that Salzburg's first-rate Hotel de l'Europe was occupied for a period by English unemployed, who, because of Britain's generous dole were able to live more cheaply at that distinguished hostelry than in their slums at home. Whatever was not nailed down disappeared. The tidings of cheap living and cheap goods in Austria spread far and wide; greedy visitors came from Sweden from France; more Italian French Turkish and Romanian was spoken than German in Vienna's business district.[ii]

Among the Austrians impoverished in their own communities, the law-abiding starved and those prepared to break food rationing laws thrived. Savers, who had patriotically bought government bonds, lost everything. Germans from across the border, whose currency was yet to enter its final collapse, could swill six litres of Austrian beer for one of German, adding to the foreign revelry in Austria's misery.

In our contemporary fiat collapse, differences in its rate will create similar openings for an unsettling life arbitrage. In business dealings, any vestiges of decency and compassion are early victims as those with an early understanding of the opportunities provided by a monetary collapse profit from the innocence of the ignorant. But Germany was to suffer the inflationary fate of Austria the following year. Again, from Zweig:

A pair of shoe laces cost more than a shoe had once cost, no, more than a fashionable store with two thousand pairs of shoes had cost before; to repair a broken window more than the whole house had formerly cost, a book more than the printers shop with a hundred presses. For $100 one could buy rows of six-storey houses on Kurfürstendamm and factories were to be had for the old equivalent of a wheelbarrow

Towering over all of them was the gigantic figure of the super-profiteer Stinnes expanding his credit and in thus exploiting the mark he bought whatever was for sale, coal mines and ships, factories and stocks, castles and country estates, actually for nothing because every payment, every promise became equal to naught. Soon a quarter of Germany was in his hands and, perversely, the masses who in Germany always became intoxicated at a success that they can see with their eyes, cheered him as a genius.

The story of Hugo Stinnes brings us back to our current situation, how markets will evolve and who will profit.

[May 01, 2020] Sweden avoided lockdown with good results

May 01, 2020 |

kurious , Apr 30 2020 16:08 utc | 153

Sweden mocks the lockdown - new deaths per day.

kurious , Apr 30 2020 16:11 utc | 155

It's looking good for Sweden -new deaths per day.

james , Apr 30 2020 16:16 utc | 157
sweden total cases and totals deaths...21,092 / 2,586 deaths per 1 million - 256..
norway - same........................................7,738 / 207 - 38
finland ...................................................4,995 / 211 - 38
denmark............................................. 9,158 / 452 - 78...

sweden pop 10 mil.
norway, finland, denmark pop - 5 mil...

[Apr 30, 2020] WHO Flip-Flops Again, Endorses Sweden's Lockdown-Free Approach To Tackling Coronavirus Live Updates

Apr 30, 2020 |

The WHO initially opposed, then embraced lockdowns, and now it's apparently back to opposing them again. Unlike other European states like Italy, Sweden implemented swift and early testing regimes to weed out infected patients. This allowed it to avoid lockdowns and border closures, relying instead on social distancing guidance. The country never closed its schools, and although mortality rates have been markedly higher than its neighbors, the virus never overwhelmed its hospital system. The Swedish government's approach is widely popular within Sweden.

The director of the WHO's health emergencies program said the notion that Sweden hadn't done much to combat the virus is simply not true.

Sweden has put in place a "very strong public health policy", said Dr. Mike Ryan. Unlike many other countries, Sweden chose to rely on its "relationship with its citizenry" and trust them to self-regulate. Its healthcare system has not been overwhelmed, he said, adding that its approach could be a "model" for other countries when lockdowns begin to relax. "There are lessons to be learnt by our colleagues in Sweden."

Remember the last time the WHO praised a "model" approach to tackling the virus? It was praising China's strict lockdowns.

[Apr 29, 2020] Sweden is trying something different and seem to be no worse, probably better than the UK approach

Apr 29, 2020 |

Ric G , Apr 29 2020 16:53 utc | 3

Sweden is trying something different and seem to be no worse, probably better than the UK approach.

Meanwhile some are making out like bandits!

And we haven't paid our recent 'restaurant bill' now owed to the bankers, payable in about three years, when we are going to be drained of several pints of financial blood!

And in Australia, with about eighty deaths, the panic borders on the insane!

[Apr 29, 2020] Starvation from the loss of income is 100% lethal

Apr 29, 2020 |

JasonT , Apr 29 2020 20:16 utc | 37

It really astounds me that the Covid-19 hyperventilators fail to understand that starvation is 100% lethal, and immune compromised people due to malnutrition are much more susceptible to any disease that comes along.

As the supply lines collapse, and with winter in the northern hemisphere coming in a mere 6 months, you can expect that the number of dead by starvation, and from other diseases attacking mal-nourished people, will utterly dwarf the number of dead from Covid-19 complications.

[Apr 29, 2020] The ruling-class/establishment always portrays neo-liberal policies as beneficial to the working class/middle-class

Apr 29, 2020 |

Jackrabbit , Apr 29 2020 18:36 utc | 21

Many commenters here don't want us to hold our government accountable for that failure. They just want to move on.

The ruling-class/establishment always portrays neo-liberal policies as beneficial to the working class/middle-class. It is generally only superficially so. The fact is, neolib government policy is essentially:

corporate welfare (like bailouts) and pay-offs to the wealthy (tax cuts);

socialized bads (we're in this together!) among the lower classes.

... ... ...

IMO this is likely because Big Pharma and government budgets benefit from continuing failures that could best be summed up as culling the herd. Big Pharma could lose billions of dollars of potential profits from treating old people with expensive and/or experimental drugs. And governments (wealthy taxpayers, really) could save billions more if older people die quickly: the last year of care is the most expensive and pensions are underfunded.


[Apr 29, 2020] 'FREE AMERICA' Elon Musk divides opinions after calling for lockdown to be lifted and tweeting 'give people their freedom back

Apr 29, 2020 |

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has come out in favor of reducing restrictions on freedoms and businesses, sparking a fierce debate on Twitter. Some lauded him and others chastised him for putting profits ahead of people's safety. The Tesla and SpaceX founder called on Wednesday for the US to lift the lockdown, tweeting "FREE AMERICA NOW" and "Give people their freedom back!"


-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020

He also attached links to a Wall Street Journal article suggesting lockdowns were ineffective and to another praising Texas for announcing more businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday.

The billionaire has been known as a vocal critic of the "panic" around the novel coronavirus, having previously branded the behavior "dumb" and keeping his Tesla car factory in California running despite local shelter-in-place laws.

But his new string of tweets has managed to quickly divide opinions online. While some praised Musk for his commitment to liberty, others accused him of being reckless and of placing profits over people.

There were those who accused Musk of being "drunk with power." Even his supporters, like one named Sylvia Kane, told the polymath to "get some sleep" .

What science are you following, EM? Clearly you know something the doctors and scientists don't

-- Bill Moseley (@choptopmoseley) April 29, 2020

Others chastised the SpaceX tycoon for seemingly choosing to ignore scientific evidence, with critics like actor Bill Moseley wondering "what science" Musk was now following, and sports presenter Dave Zirin saying that "wanting your workers to die for you while you stay in your compound isn't exactly courage."

However, there was no shortage of commenters praising Musk for his commitment to liberty, with President Donald Trump supporter Melissa A. responding to the tweet by saying "the scariest thing about this pandemic" was "seeing Americans bow down" to "corrupt politicians who promise them safety." Musk clearly approved of this take by replying: "True."


-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020

A conservative media host Joey Saladino was quick to claim that "When the smartest man in the world is saying this, it is time to FREE AMERICA!"

Musk's "FREE AMERICA" comments appear to echo Trump's sentiments about the lockdown, after the president took to Twitter last week urging several US states to "LIBERATE" themselves.

Last month, Musk committed to providing California with 1,000 ventilators. However there seems to have been some confusion over whether or not Musk's aid has actually arrived. The Sacramento Bee reported on April 14 that no hospitals in the state had received any ventilators promised by the billionaire.

Musk vociferously denied that accusation, after it was picked up by CNN, saying that Tesla had delivered hundreds of ventilators.

Also on 'How do you still exist?' Musk unloads on CNN after claims his ventilators were never delivered to California hospitals

[Apr 11, 2020] The virus has successfully installed itself in the population and is impossible to eradicate without a year-long lock down, making herd immunity the preferential goal to achieve.

Apr 11, 2020 |

mk , Apr 10 2020 16:13 utc | 5

A German team lead by virologist Hendrick Streeck has now researched the German Hot Spot Heinsberg. They tested 1000 randomized people and found that a whopping 15% was infected - most of them without showing any symptoms.

Based on this preliminary findings the scientists conclude that the lethality of COVID-19 is 0,37%. They also conclude that the virus has successfully installed itself in the population and is impossible to eradicate without a year-long lock down, making herd immunity the preferential goal to achieve.

Video of press conference (in German):

[Apr 10, 2020] A relative and her husband returned to China recently from UK expecting to go to hotel for 14 days quarantine. Instead another passenger developed symptom on flight so all passengers isolated for testing.

Apr 10, 2020 |

Ghost Ship , Apr 9 2020 8:47 utc | 97

Peter AU1 @ 88

A relative and her husband returned to China recently from UK expecting to go to hotel for 14 days quarantine. Instead another passenger developed symptom on flight so all passengers isolated for testing. Relative and husband tested positive but were asymptomatic (except she lost sense of taste & smell). Now in isolation hospital for minimum of 14 days until given all clear, then they'll spend another minimum of 14 days in quarantine in hotel until cleared again. How many western countries are doing/planning to do this?

[Apr 08, 2020] WATCH Perspectives on the Pandemic #2

Apr 08, 2020 |

The Interviewer : John Kirby is the director of FOUR DIED TRYING, a feature documentary and series on the major assassinations of the 1960's and their calamitous impact on the country. To join the struggle for justice for Dr. King, Malcolm X, and John and Robert Kennedy.

The Interviewee: Professor Knut Wittkowski was head of The Rockefeller University's Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design for 20 years.

Journeyman Pictures sits down with Prof Knut Wittkowski to discuss lockdowns, social-distancing and the best way to handle the spread of a new disease.

Dennis Brown ,

Another superb contribution by Off Guardian.

In Canada, according to the Covid-19 Daily E.P.I Update of April 7th there have been 17,046 confirmed cases out of a total population in Canada of 37.6M.

344 have died.

62% of all reported hospitalizations, 62% reported I.C.U. admissions , and 92% of deaths occurred among individuals 60-79 years of age. 73% of hospitalized cases reported having one or more pre-existing conditions.

The data in Canada , at least, seems to conform very closely to Prof. Knut Wittkowski's hypothesis in this video. What a outrage that this information is being deliberately ignored by the mainstream media!

Thank you again Off Guardian for providing this vitally needed information.

Fair dinkum ,

Oligarchs and their underlings (politicians and corporate types) love to hold court, particularly over a banquet at their preferred eating establishments.
With most of these establishments closed due to lockdowns, where are the parasites dining?
Do they have five star glutton rooms hidden away?
Will they tire of take away meals?
How can they strut their stuff without the requisite surroundings?
It's a problem that must keep them awake at night.

Gary Weglarz ,

We were moved to tears and ready to go to war when they told us about those non-existent "Kuwaiti incubator babies" that Iraqi soldiers were throwing on the cold hard ground to die – but weren't!

We were paralyzed and terrified when they told us that steel and concrete buildings can simply vaporize into billowing dust clouds in mid- air – so we in America gladly became in effect a surveillance police state complete with torture chambers.

We were filled with anger and fear when they told us about those non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction about to obliterate us at any moment but, uhh, it appears in retrospect they didn't happen to exist in this particular universe that we currently inhabit! Perhaps in another dimension?

We were revolted and filled with outrage when they told us about Gaddafi's non-existent "viagra fueled rape camps" – just before we turned Libya into rubble and an open slave market – "in order to save the women" – who weren't being raped in non-existent viagra fueled rape camps. Many admire Hillary because she valiantly stood with those women, who weren't being raped, in those non-existent rape camps – and Hillary of course could not contain her glee when publicly discussing the murder of a head of state and the destruction of an entire nation – cackling like the psychopath that she is.

We were repulsed when they told us about Assad's deranged non-existent gas attacks on his own people done for "kicks" no less – as the valiant White Helmeted jihadist crazies we in the West supported fearlessly slaughtered innocent civilians – well, let's not talk about that right now – let's focus on something upbeat, like those film awards the White Helmets got for their feature length – "documentary" – entered in the "complete freaking fantasy" category – always a Hollywood favorite.

And we were no doubt all moved to loathing and contempt and to deranged Cold War deja vu fervor when they told us for three straight years that – "Russia hacked American democracy" – installing in office an orange haired, gonad grabbing, "Putin Puppet!" Surely there is a good reason they then gave said "Putin Puppet" renewed "Patriot Act" powers and more military spending money than he asked for – all in such defiance of rational thought and argument that it should make one's head hurt. Alas, here in America the ability to experience cognitive dissonance appears to have evaporated among the masses simultaneously with the loss of critical thinking abilities.

So buoyed by this brief trip down memory lane we should quite naturally all credulously believe Western MSM and our political class now as they tell us that "they" – (err, uhh, I mean "the virus") – crashed the global economy – leading them to then have no choice but to bail out our wealthiest corporations and our biggest banks – "for our own good" – of course, well, it goes without saying doesn't it?

And unfortunately they now will have to keep us all under house arrest until this all blows over – "for our own good!" I mean it is certainly only "for our own good" that they don't want to risk another Occupy Wall Street insurrection, or want to take the risk that the Yellow Vests might start building working guillotines in every village and every neighborhood in Paris.

I mean and sure it may kind of look bad that American elites have continued to use amoral sanctions to brutalize, starve and kill the poor in Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Yemen and elsewhere – WHILE they are showing their vast concern for the rest of us by placing us under house arrest, but let's face it – "it is for those poor people's own good," I mean their starvation and dying of course, because we have to regime-change those folks governments "in order to save them." Or something like that.

I mean think about it, what have our elites ever done to cause us to so much as question their humanitarian values and actions? Ok, ok, that half million dead Iraqi children "are worth it" shtick wasn't their best PR moment, but hey, they obviously "meant well" by killing a half a million kids -- right? I mean I'm sure they had their "reasons." Just like they have their reasons for killing poor people all around the world every day.

– I must confess that I am absolutely stunned and disheartened by how few people I know who are so much as registering even a faint whiff of skepticism about what is happening globally, and the narratives being spun by MSM and the political class. I know so few who are asking even the most basic and fundamental questions about our so called "pandemic," our lock down, and our collective loss of liberties – even among those who didn't swallow the propaganda narratives on Russiagate or Syria. Instead we appear to have a massive segment of the American population simply willing to allow the same amoral always lying war-criminal media and political class – (which ALWAYS serve elite interests) – to "tell them how to think" and "what to think" and "how high" to jump – and now even "when they can leave their own home." An absolutely stunning level of obedience – to say the least.

Maxwell ,

"I'm not paid by the [corporation] government, so I'm entitled to actually do science."

Says it all.

Shaking My Head ,

I am not some kind of anti-government conservative at all, but I do think the dependencies academics, doctors, and scientists have on what can be very uncertain government funding is the reason why I haven't seen any loud critical voices from them in Canada. All the scholars whether of humanities or law, where are they in denouncing an obvious transformation into a police state? All the talk about 'civil liberties' over the years and how they must be protected, where did all of that go? Not one peep these last weeks! And as for doctors and scientists, why aren't there are any like the Germans such as Sucharit Bhakdi or Wolfgang Wodarg or Knut Wittkowski, or Americans such as John Ioannidis, Jay Bhattacharya, Michael Levitt, (John/Jay/Michael all at Stanford), Shiva Ayyadurai (I'm a bit suspicious of his political aspirations though). And there are other Germans I saw mentioned in the experts article on Off-Guardian or Swiss Propaganda Research article. Yet in Canada, it's total silence. But if you look on Twitter, there are a number of everyday people from the US and UK who are criticizing the phoniness and deception as they see it. So if the common people can call things out, where are the others with more status and reach? It's sickening.

Sam ,

I've been thinking this since this all blew up. Bhattacharya said (in this interview) that he got a deal of backlash from colleagues over his WSJ article raising questions about the fatality estimates: he was told to "get with the program". Groupthink is very powerful today, more powerful than I remember in my lifetime, and few will buck the party line. It's indeed sickening and disturbing.

Ken ,

But as self-appointed lord and emperor of the world, Bill Gates, has said we can't have herd immunity.

Shaking My Head ,

Bill Gates has recently been granted some very accommodating interviews all of a sudden. Here he is with Trevor Noah operating as a good PR rep: And here he was on PBS News Hour today: Not a single tough question about anything towards him. Maybe he funds PBS directly or indirectly. This is so fishy.

Shaking My Head ,

Bill Gates has also donated to Imperial College (I saw a comment stating he was the biggest donor but I didn't have time to research that): "With its latest award of $35 million, the foundation has now invested a total of $75 million in the Target Malaria project, which is based at Imperial College, London"

[Apr 04, 2020] Should schools be closed?

Apr 04, 2020 |

Petri Krohn , Apr 3 2020 20:24 utc | 36

There is a fear that schools are a vector in spreading COVID-19 from one family to another. But we know that children, especially young children under 10 are almost alway asymptotic. Wouldn't this mean that kindergartens and primary schools would be unable to sustain an epidemic? So is there any point in closing schools?

There is one danger. If an infection is transmitted form one adult to another then it would be untraceable. If a parent of one child is infected, then all parents of his or her classmates would need to be quarantined.

P.S. - It looks like social distancing measures in Finland have pushed R0 to 1 or slightly under.

[Apr 04, 2020] I believe we're approaching peak fear right now

Apr 04, 2020 |

Realist , Apr 3 2020 20:11 utc | 34

I believe we're approaching peak fear right now


Only peak CV fear

After that peaks people will start to wake up a little from their quartine fear-induced stupor and some at least will start to notice what's being done economically, some thing which effects all plebs equally.

Then we can expect the imminent arrival of peak fiscal fear

[Apr 04, 2020] Flu will kill the same groups that are always susceptible

Apr 04, 2020 |

NPleeze , says: Show Comment April 3, 2020 at 3:32 pm GMT

@Sick of Orcs

#coronahoax aka ccp flu will kill the same groups that are always susceptible

Yes but it seems to kill them in far greater numbers. I thus agree about opening society, but not completely.

The vulnerable are about 5-10% of the population and generally unproductive (retired or too sick to work). They can self-quarantine (or, if you are an authoritarian statist, use law – a gun – to force them to quarantine) – importantly, including from their non-quarantined family members! , who will spread it to them – and everyone else go about their business.

In this case, the virus will roll over the population during the first season/year. It will kill some of the non-vulnerable as well – like all flus/diseases do – but roughly along annual lines. After that year, society will have achieved "herd immunity".

The problem with a partial quarantine is that the virus continues to circulate, and since the vulnerable and non-vulnerable people intermix (intimately, at home), the vulnerable will keep getting infected – this could go on for years. The result: vastly more dead, and a destroyed economy (which the Rulers will buy up for pennies on the dollar – diseases can be very profitable!).

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