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COVID-19 epidemic in the USA

March 24, 2020 (source J.P. Morgan) April 4, 2024 (source J.P. Morgan)
 

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.  China on Jan 22 had 571 case and on Feb 1 14,308 cases while the US on March 8 had 541 cases and it reached 13,789 cases on March 19. So the US was about 45 days behind China   USA government simply wasted 45 days and was caught without pants. Even the US navy was caught without pants.

News COVID-19 Epidemic Recommended Links Financial oligarchy as amoral and criminal neoliberal elite The threat of "Coronavirus recession" COVID-19 hoarding epidemics COVID-19 as a bioweapon hypothisis
COVID-19 fearmongering The second stage of the crisis of neoliberalism    COVID-19 prevention measures 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

Introduction

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense,
a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and are not clothed.”
President Dwight Eisenhower, 
Chance for Peace” speechApril 1953,

COVID-19 provided an interesting way for the USA population to pay the price for the militarism of its elite.

We can already can state the the US government reaction was subpar:

As of April 25, 2020 the COVID-19 epidemic in the USA is over the peak and is on decline. Period of exponential growth ended around March 22, 2020 and since then the acceleration is stably negative and now is around 8% a day ( 5 days average). This is a huge, four times drop  from around 32% a day during the exponential phase. 

Fearmongering graphs with absolute numbers is just a smoke screen over the fact that statistically COVID-19 did not exceeded the lethality a common seasonal flu (nobody is denying that virus pneumonia caused by COVID-19 is much worse then bacterial pneumonia  -- a common complication of ordinary seasonal flu). Fearmongering using absolute numbers is pretty effective and a very nasty trick ( please note that average mortality in the USA is 8K a day (240K a month) and average number of infected by seasonal flu in tens of millions; 0.8 million is just minuscule number in comparison), Emphasizing number of positive case helps to create drama, but the only interesting figure is the number of hospitalization which Hopkins disinformators conveniently omit.  And inside the number of hospitalizations the number of severe cases (patients moved to ISU is also pretty informative; none is provided )Also the default in right bottom square should be  "daily cases" because "confirmed" is not only uninformative, but represent pure fearmongering.

  Date Total cases Cases per one million Daily increase in cases Day increase in percent Weekly  increase Weekly  increase in % 5 days averafe 20 days  days average    Serious (in ICU)  % of serious cases in total Deaths Weekly deaths Daily death  Deaths five days average  Percentage of COVID deaths in daily mortality   Recovered Notes
7 3/1 75 0 10 33%                         75    
1 3/2 100 0 25 33%                          100   100 mark
2 3/3 124 0 24 24%                          124    
3 3/4 158 0 34 27%                          158    
4 3/5 221 1 63 40%      31                   221    
5 3/6 319 1 98 44%      49                   319    
6 3/7 435 1 116 36%      67                   435    
7 3/8 541 2 106 24% 441   83                   541    
1 3/9 704 2 163 30%      109                   704    
2 3/10 994 3 290 41%      155                   994   1K mark
3 3/11 1,301 4 307 31%      196                   1,301    
4 3/12 1,630 5 329 25%      239                   1,630    
5 3/13 2,183 7 553 34%      328                   2,183    
6 3/14 2,771 8 588 27%    0% 413                   2,771    
7 3/15 3,617 11 846 31% 2,913 30% 525               10 0.3%           3,617    
1 3/16 4,604 14 987 27%    0% 661               10 0.2% 86          4,518    
2 3/17 6,357 19 1,753 38%    0% 945               12 0.2% 109    23   0% #VALUE!    
3 3/18 9,317 28 2,960 47%    0% 1427               12 0.1% 150    41   1% #VALUE!   10K mark
4 3/19 13,998 42 4,681 50%    0% 2245             206 1.5% 207    57   1% #VALUE!    
5 3/20 19,551 59 5,553 40%    0% 3187             255 1.3% 256    49   1% #VALUE!    
6 3/21 24,418 74 4,867 25%    0% 3963             301 1.2% 302    46         43 1% 23,969 147  
7 3/22 33,840 102 9,422 39% 29,236 37% 5497             414 1.2% 419 269 117         62 1% 33,243 178  
1 3/23 44,189 134 10,349 31%    0% 6974             555 1.3% 573    154         85 2% 43,432 184  
2 3/24 55,398 167 11,209 25%    0% 8280             780 1.4% 775    202       114 3% 54,245 378  
3 3/25 68,905 208 13,507 24%    0% 9871          1,027 1.5% 1,032    257       155 3% 67,489 384 1K dead
4 3/26 86,379 261 17,474 25%    0% 12392          1,295 1.5% 1,143    111       168 1% 83,540 1696  
5 3/27 105,207 318 18,828 22%    0% 14273          1,695 1.6% 1,693    550       255 7% 101,303 2211 100K mark
6 3/28 124,788 377 19,581 19%    0% 16120          2,220 1.8% 2,211    518       328 6% 119,346 3231  
7 3/29 144,980 438 20,192 16% 100,791 25% 17916 6,878 194%      2,583 1.8% 2,457 1,425 246       336 3% #VALUE!    
1 3/30 168,177 508 23,197 16%    0% 19854 7,975 191%      3,141 1.9% 3,129    672       419 8% #VALUE!    
2 3/31 193,353 584 25,176 15%    0% 21395 9,160 175%      4,053 2.1% 4,053    924       582 12% 182,049 7251  
3 4/1 220,295 666 26,942 14%    0% 23018 10,428 158%      5,102 2.3% 5,102    1049       682 13% 206,315 8878  
4 4/2 250,908 758 30,613 14%    0% 25224 11,870 158%      6,076 2.4% 6,076    974       773 12% 232,891 11941 10K recovered
5 4/3 283,447 856 32,539 13%    0% 27693 13,394 143%      7,121 2.5% 7,212    1136       951 14% 263,506 12729  
6 4/4 317,994 961 34,547 12%    0% 29963 15,011 130%      8,452 2.7% 8,452    1240   1,065 16% 294,856 14686  
7 4/5 343,747 1,039 25,753 8% 175,570 14% 30079 16,197 59%      8,702 2.5% 9,616 4,514 1164   1,113 15% 316,154 17977  
1 4/6 375,348 1,134 31,601 9%    0% 31011 17,654 79%      8,879 2.4% 10,871    1255   1,154 16% 344,806 19671 10K dead
2 4/7 409,225 1,236 33,877 9%    0% 31663 19,184 77%      9,182 2.2% 12,848    1977   1,354 25% 374,502 21875  
3 4/8 441,569 1,334 32,344 8%    0% 31624 20,583 57%      9,485 2.1% 14,768    1920   1,511 24% 402,900 23902  
4 4/9 475,515 1,437 33,946 8%    0% 31504 21,977 54%   10,011 2.1% 16,697    1929   1,649 24% 432,890 25928  
5 4/10 509,604 1,540 34,089 7%    0% 33171 23,336 46%   10,917 2.1% 18,747    2050   1,826 26% 463,543 27314  
6 4/11 539,942 1,631 30,338 6%    0% 32919 24,549 24%   11,471 2.1% 20,577    1830   1,941 23% 488,912 30453  
7 4/12 567,708 1,715 27,766 5% 192,360 8% 31697 25,422 9%   11,766 2.1% 22,105 7,337 1528   1,851 19% 512,969 32634  
1 4/13 594,693 1,797 26,985 5%    0% 30625 26,214 3%   12,772 2.1% 23,640    1535   1,774 19% 534,105 36948  
2 4/14 621,953 1,879 27,260 5%    0% 29288 26,979 1%   13,473 2.2% 29,825    6185   2,626 77% 553,308 38820 change in death count methods
3 4/15 648,148 1,958 26,195 4%    0% 27709 27,583 -5%   13,487 2.1% 32,588    2763   2,768 35% 569,859 45701 change in death count methods
4 4/16 682,454 2,062 34,306 5%    0% 28502 28,385 21%   13,509 2.0% 34,619    2031   2,808 25% 594,730 53106  
5 4/17 714,822 2,160 32,368 5%    0% 29423 29,029 12%   13,509 1.9% 37,154    2535   3,010 32% 617,158 60510  
6 4/18 743,901 2,247 29,079 4%    0% 29842 29,482 -1%   13,551 1.8% 39,331    2177   3,138 27% 636,301 68269  
7 4/19 770,084 2,327 26,183 4% 175,391 5% 29626 29,767 -12%   13,556 1.8% 40,901 8,313 1570   2,215 20% 657,996 71187  
1 4/20 798,227 2,412 28,143 4%    0% 30016 30,002 -6%   13,951 1.7% 42,853    1952   2,053 24% 682,985 72389  
2 4/21 824,332 2,490 26,105 3%    0% 28376 30,047 -13%   14,016 1.7% 45,536    2683   2,183 34% 695,873 82923  
3 4/22 854,542 2,582 30,210 4%    0% 27944 30,202 0%   14,016 1.6% 47,894    2358   2,148 29% 722,598 84050  
4 4/23 886,274 2,678 31,732 4%    0% 28475 30,256 5%   14,016 1.6% 50,191    2297   2,172 29% 750,906 85177  
5 4/24 925,232 2,795 38,958 4%    0% 31030 30,561 27%   14,016 1.5% 52,488    2297   2,317 29% 786,440 86304  
6 4/25 960,651 2,902 35,419 4%    0% 32485 30,603 16%   14,016 1.5% 54,256    1768   2,281 22% 803,853 102543  
7 4/26 987,160 2,982 26,509 3% 188,933 4% 32566 30,639 -13%   14,016 1.4% 55,413 7,519 1157   1,975 14% 812,966 118781  
1 4/27 1,010,356 3,052 23,196 2%    0% 31163 30,238 -23%   14,186 1.4% 56,797    1384   1,781 17% 814,569 138990 One  million tested postive

Unfortunately this silly, alarmist and incompetently constructed web site became the reference site for the epidemic.  It just scream: give me money poor Pinocchio. Below is the simple spreadsheet that I constructed and that provide a little bit more clear picture of what is happing since the beginning of the epidemic. From it is is clear that we are past peak and that the virus retreats in all metrics (daily positive cases, daily death, daily hospitalization, daily ICU cases (ICU cases stabilized at around 14K total and change very little from day today now), etc)

The USA handing of the coronarovirus epidemic is interesting by its unique mix  of  effects of neoliberalism and incompetence of Trump administration (which was distracted in December and January by impeachment farce, thanks to Pelosi and friends). Effects of neoliberalism with its offshoring on manufacturing, outsourcing of essential functions, and long transcontinental "just-in-time" supply chains was especially drastic. The country with one trillion military budget had found itself without masks without sanitizers and even without special goans. Navy leadership was caught without pants, and Captain  Crozier who raises alarm about the epidemic on USS Theodor Roosevelt paid the price for reveling this sad fact.

Some idiotic race for ventilators also unfolded despite the fact that it was not clear if they are proper tool for treating severe cases of COVID-19. Unconfirmed information exists that this is more like high altitude sickness due to depletion of hemoglobin for which ventilator is useless, than malfunction of chest muscles or breathing regulation. In the latter case ( the case of ARDS ) ventilator does help some small percentage of patients; most die anyway iether while on ventilator or soon after due to mechanical damage to the lungs). Idiotic statement of governor Cuomo about NY need of 40K ventilators can be viewed as the pinnacle of this  "ventilator hoarding" epidemic.

As you would expect the performance of the neoliberal state during epidemic can be anything but competent because "greed is good" and depreciation of solidarity does NOT fare well at such times.  Add to immanent to neoliberalism (aka casino capitalism) existence of largely parasitic class of financial intermediaries (FIRE sector) which like intestinal worms weaken the social organism.

Another factor is the level of degeneration of neoliberal elite. The incompetence on many levels during this epidemic is a symptom of a morally-degenerate managerial class (in especially its most parasitic forms represented by  equity sharks such as Romney,  the gallery of "banksters" like Goldman Sachs "financial hackers",  and vulture funds "titans" such as Paul Singer. Regulate corporate management (such as in IBM or Boeing) also is perverted by MBS types and mostly  concerted with self-enrichment by offshoring, outsourcing, cutting the head count and using this instruments pushing up stock prices and getting outsized bonuses. People infected with neoliberal ideas have no sense of responsibility to anyone other than themselves.

The bank bailout in 2008 buried neoliberal ideology (the preachers of the neoliberal agenda suddenly found themselves without an audience)  but also exposed the level of hijacking of the state by financial oligarchy.  It is hard to distinguish between incompetence and fraud.  Much that looks incompetent conceals fraud (stock buybacks, Boeing fiasco, etc). And note that Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago “to be more like GE”. Well they’ve destroyed the company to be more like the looters and liars and cheats. Along with GE there are some other notable poster-children of how private enterprise has committed suicide through the wanton bloodletting of its skilled employees (Boeing being a recent case-in-point).

The same phenomena can be found in universities, colleges  where faculties are no longer bolstered by a strong bench of tenured staff, contract and non-tenured hire-and-fire disposable staff are now the norm. No matter how many “systems” and “quality functions” they put in place, experience matters.

The story of the USA reaction on the emerging coronavirus pandemic can also be viewed as the case study of bureaucratic incompetence, when conflicting institutions and agenda paralyze any efforts. Fauci slept completely the first two months and then start running from one news outlet to another crying Wolf! Wolf!. Trump incompetence is only the tip of the iceberg. The whole Deep State proved to be too rigid to properly react to the epidemic, because each measure looked too drastic and too damaging to neoliberal globalization, until it was late to implement it. And then it was implemented anyway.  One effect of any large bureaucracy is that  any rare oasis  of reliable and timely information that exist is to be suppressed. And this is not Trump fault, although his incompetence exaggerated the effect.  This is iron logic of any large bureaucracy.

What is interesting is that the epidemic is localized in few hot spots with the largest being New York metropolitan areas. So governments could took measures immediately even without federal government prompting them. And that would be much better that nationwide shutdown. And FBI and CIA have the local governments in pocket anyway (this is a national security state, not something else after all). So where was the CIA boss when we needed her ? Or she is just capable of running Russiagate gaslighting operation type of operations?  CIA honchos used to have audacity to launch the efforts to depose Trump. Can we believe that they can't bypass Trump when they need to?

One of the problems is that financialization and securitization of everything revealed during this epidemic is that has effectively separated the managerial class in both private and public sector from knowledge and experience of actual logistics and execution. Transferring securities with the push of a button is not the same as getting an industrial plant or phone center built, trained, and running efficiently. Companies and organizations with a history of doing this well manage to lost that capability in only a couple of years after financial shark CEO was installed (e.g. IBM, CDC, FEMA, numerous companies taken over by private equity ).  They know the price of everything and the value of nothing

The rise of the FIRE sectors as a percentage of GDP has been obvious for a long time. And now the USA economy is over-financialized. All this has done is with layer after layers of  debt and interest payments  to the detriment of the real economy.  Financialization creates a positive feedback loop. Every system with positive feedback loop will crash, sooner or later. Neoliberals worked really hard to remove not just the negative feedback,  but any traces of the negative feedback on financial sector.  That makes COVID-19 recession more serious then in other circumstances and requiring much large bailout of FIRE sector.

The idea that “never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence” (Hanlon's razor - Wikipedia ) is not longer true. The neoliberal America has a lot of corruption. Some obviously stupid actions are explainable for short term greed motives. That explains much of what we are seeing now.

CDC botched testing program during COVID-19 epidemic became a textbook example of bureaucratic incompetence.  They do not do competence in Washington. You need to start holding people responsible and that's impossible with the new neoliberal aristocracy (financial oligarchy), which inherited all vices of the old but none of its virtues.

The virus epidemic which started in the USA in full force only in March (two month after the start of epidemic in China) will probably follow Chinese pattern.  Which means the time to the peak will be around two-three months (which means approximately in late April ot early May the epidemics might start subsiding.).  The worst pandemic going on in the US and around the world in not Covit-19, it is opioid pandemic, 53,000 died last year in the US from opioids abuse alone. And this is not just in the US it is a world wide problem.

The aggravating factors for the USA include amazing lack of discipline (especially for teenagers), ignorance, petty greed, incompetence of the elite, and paradoxically widespread nutty religiousness (allowing religious services while keeping everybody on quarantines is pretty strange to me.)

Extremes meet: Orthodox Jews and Christian conservatives behavior patterns during this epidemic were very similar to Muslims: the funniest irony of it all is that while Iran has exacerbated coronavirus spread due to religious ignorance of population, similar incidents happened in the US too. Add to this the "American exceptionalism" which in reality is primitive nationalism, and neoliberalism with its deification of "free markets" which prevent some necessary measures,  and "Huston we have a problem"

IMHO any elite who is detached from the actual production process and engaged primarily in parasitic activities (finance), is decadent.

Any elite who is detached from the actual production process and engaged primarily in parasitic activities (finance), is decadent. In other words financialization of the economy means decadence of the elite

Pretty drastic measures taken by some states like NY, NJ, California and Washington (Currently New York Metropolital are is the epicenter of the epidemics with around 50% of all positive test for coronavirus ) were compromised by religious nuttiness and "covidiots" a sizable faction of younger population and students which went to Florida and other resorts during spring break despite warnings and then, because universities were closed, brought infection to their communities.  Some people considered losing a couple of thousand dollar which they paid for cruise ship trip more valuable then their health and went to cruise ship tripe even after the incident with Diamond Princess  (the first bad news about passengers on the Diamond Princess came on Feb 4, 2020).

Till March 2e we saw typical for initial stages of any flu epidemic exponential increase of cases, with  the number of patient doubling in approx. three days but a very low number of critical cases and hospitalizations.  Later the speed of epidemics start slowing down and in April dropped to less then 10% a day. 

The peak of the USA elidemic might happen somewere in late April, early May. Number of infections among medical personnel, another important metric, are unavailable  (worldometers.info

It took the USA eight days to get from 100 cases to 1000 and another eight days to get from 1K to 10K.  Some of the dynamics  can be explained the low availability of test kits  -- this was the area where CDC royally screwed the US population

Unfortunately, the current atmosphere increasingly exhibits the characteristics of a collective panic—and that is always a poor basis for intelligent policy decisions.

The neoliberal society with its twisted guiding philosophy of radical individualism and competition combined with a supremacist “that could never happen here” attitude quickly falls into panicked chaos when reality kicks in and reveals the society’s underlying vulnerabilities. Countries with weak social safety nets and an ideological opposition to social responsibility are extremely vulnerable to systemic breakdown when their societies are hit with unexpected stress. That is what we see in the USA. This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal social Darwinism (“every man for himself”) ethic  (aka "neoliberal rationality") is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are. Including first of all neoliberal politicians.

The for-profit health system in the USA is certainly is very efficient in raking in cash for insurance companies and big pharma. But health care outcomes are mediocre at best and other countries do a far better job for far less money. The most basic needs of patients and health care workers are often unmet. Health care workers complain they haven’t received proper training putting them in danger of infection and do not have supplies to protect themselves even as they treat COVID-19 patients. And that's in richest country in the world.

...system can’t provide enough hand sanitizer the governor of New York came up with a solution. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will produce hand sanitizer made by prison labor .

We already are No.1. NYC is now world capital of coronavirus infections.   The fact that the country with one trillion military budget and 17 intelligence agencies was caught without pants for this epidemics is incredible. No plan for dealing with epidemic. States improvise as epidemics unfold, often overreacting with disastrous for the economy results.

We definitely have "Coronavirus recession" now as the second stage of 2008 recession/stagnation. All neoliberal transformation of the USA economy now had blow into our faces. Silicon Valley is partially guilty as the staunch promoter of neoliberalism and globalization in the USA. I would jail a couple to "tech titans" just as a useful scapegoats, but only after banksters (especially NYC faction of private equity sharks who destroyed the US healthcare). Renovation of Alcatraz for this purpose would be a very worthwhile project :-)

The USA might fare worse then China in this epidemic as there are a lot of overweight, deeply unhealthy people in the USA.  Many overweigh people are diabetic. Especially among African Americans, I sometimes watch with amazement and horror how many barely walk and have difficulties getting out of the car. Especially all those 300+ pound women and men.

For a country with one trillion military budget not having enough masks and ventilators and accepting help from China and Russia is very humiliating.  Level of bureaucratic incompetence demonstrated in this particular case is just staggering. 

Now it is clear the healthcare system has military importance. What is worse is that as the USA is considered now "not capable to adhere to signed treaties" there might be a new round of armed race in this particular area.

And in the USA healthcare is almost completely broken and taken over by private equity sharks. Only people with a good insurance are OK in this environment (let's say top 20% or so). Most of the population are screwed up. Ambulance ride can cost you neat $5K even if you have insurance, as most ambulances are conveniently "out of network" and are owned by Wall Street scum. Doctors here are not always trustworthy. For example, dozens of cardiac surgeons landed in jail performing unnecessary operations of healthy patients. And for one caught, probably tens exist that were not caught. Horrible stores abound. Inserting stents into healthy patients became a national hobby. Such a money sucking insects in white gowns.

Many people are afraid to go to the hospital even in case of real emergencies, as they do not have health insurance. That includes most of contractors. Because hospitals now are also owned by Wall Street scum. Financialization, as it is called. AKA Casino Capitalism. Selling stocks, buying stocks, getting bonuses. Most readers probably know the game and participated in this game (as marks ;).

That means that those people will propagate virus and make the epidemic worse and much longer.  In NJ not 100% of  front line staff of shops that still open still wearing masks (and almost nobody wear masks before March 20 or so). What is the value of quarantine is such situation is very unclear to me. Also not all shops force visitors to disinfect hands on entry. This is another big no-no.  Some shops that enforce two meter policy inside create lines of hundred of people outside which probably serve better for the propagation of the virus then presence inside the shop as the period of close infection is longer.

Frontline staff of still opened shops who do not wear masks will propagate virus and make the epidemic worse and much longer.  In NJ (No.2 state in the USA, as for the number of tested positive) not 100% of  front line staff of shops that still open still wearing masks (and almost nobody wear masks before March 20 or so).

What is the value of quarantine is such situation is very unclear to me.

It is quite possible that the virus originated from the USA. There was so called "vaping pneumonia" epidemic int he USA in august 2019.  Google "vaping pneumonia" -- it looks very similar to the COVID-19 virus pneumonia. Just a different category of affected: mostly smokers of some nasty staff. And for some reason nobody made genomic analysis of this the pathogen in this illness, which raises an important question: Is it different from COVID-19 or not?

I would like to state it again: the fact that the country with one trillion military budget was caught without pants for this epidemics is incredible.  And this is for a country with laboratories which store anthrax and other nasty staff. IMHO a large part of Pentagon brass, all those "Pentagon perfumed princes" need to be replaced after this incident.

Not enough stockpiled masks (even regular surgical mask, to say nothing about N95 masks), no ventilators (or more correctly not enough), no reserve production capacities to produce them, no plan how to deal with epidemics, some ad-hoc improvisations on state level. In other words this country does not have ability to produce N95 masks in quantities needed even for hospital staff (and  you be be sure that in case of epidemic international supplies will not difficult to get.) Just a bunch of expensive and semi-useless F35 and aircraft carriers to feed military industrial complex. BTW aircraft careers and submarines proved to be perfect places for the propagation of this virus. Warships (like cruise ships) are for this virus like mosquitoes for malaria.

To add insult to injury this court jester Dr. Fauci, since 1984 the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) slept over all January and woke up only in late February, crying Wolf, Wolf. He should not only be dismissed but prosecuted for criminal negligence. This old hat should travel to China or Korea in Jan and access the situation immediately because close ties between China and the USA in globalized economy. You do not need to have Ph.D to understand the NYC and LA will be next after Wuhan.

On the positive side epidemic is slowing down in the USA from average increase of positive probes 34% a day to 24% a day. I calculated some statistics and it is clear the danger is overblown and just enforcing wearing of masks in public places would do the job in this particular case.

There are only slightly above 30K hospitalizations (read cases of virus pneumonia) in the USA so far. Statistically this is just noise in comparison with seasonal flu (810K hospitalizations) but the virus pneumonia itself is very nasty (with fibrosis of lungs of various degree as a common outcome), so this is not apple-to apple comparison. Flu mainly causes bacterial pneumonia.

The original reaction in the United States government to the corona outbreak was surprisingly casual. It is unclear what information multiple intelligence agencies have had, because now they were engaged in efforts to save face and blame Trump administration and China  (U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic ). 

One of the most regrettable blunders was that the administration did not close access to senior care centers for visitors and some of them which became the local centers of infection. As well as religious congregations. Some orthodox congregations and evangelical congregations became hot spots for propagating infection.  Is it so difficult to worship your God in masks ?  Hand disinfection was also not implemented.

Trump administration did absolutly nothing in January and February to rump up local production of masks and other clothing necessary for medical personnel to fight infection. Medics, who are in most danger among all population groups,  were not systematically trained by  Koreans (the USA has two month to do so).  Proper protocols were not established. This was the major blunder of Trump administration and the case of bureaucratic incompetence what will be studying in textbooks. 

At the same time some facts point out that the danger of this epidemic is systematically distorted (https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/)

In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work. School closures, for example, may reduce transmission rates. But they may also backfire if children socialize anyhow, if school closure leads children to spend more time with susceptible elderly family members, if children at home disrupt their parents ability to work, and more. School closures may also diminish the chances of developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.

The USA government behaviour  drastically changed in March 11 with Trump's surprise announcement of cancelling air travel from EU countries for 30 days. Initially GB and Ireland were excluded, which provide for strangled travelers a "window" of escape. Later they were added.  Still all this was badly planned and caused major panic with ticket prices for the last flights from EU to the USA skyrocketing to ten thousand dollars.

CDC blunders is another parts of the story of bureaucratic incompetence. CDC did not launch the training of medical personnel in January  to use protective gear, despite that the fact that the virus severely affected medical personnel in Wuhan. 

There was no efforts to create "reasonable" safeguards in US airports, despite that fact that both are known centers of infections. There were only very limited attempt to establish the screening and mandatory quarantine of passengers in airports, arriving from international flights.

Looks like the USA government completely wasted the whole January February and met flaring up of infections in March unprepared.  And what is most important CDC botched the production and distribution of virus tests leaving the country without them till late March, when testing can change nothing. Gin was out of the bottle. 

It seems the CDC, NIH and the USA privatized health care system in general was caught flat-footed and didn't have any plan to execute.  Currently CDC does not even provide the information about how this particular virus spreads Look at this pitiful document (Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDC)

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

And this is from organization with several billion dollars budget and specialized labs which theoretically should be able to establish precisely how virus replicates in short order. And what are possible health effects for those who get severe and critical cases but did not die.

At the same time Trump attempted to fight panic spread by  neoliberal MSM as for mortality and that's probably the only positive part of the government response ( Trump disputes World Health Organization death rate )

Asked about WHO's coronavirus fatality rate findings during an interview Wednesday, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity: "Well, I think the 3.4% is really a false number."

He added, "now, this is just my hunch ... based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild."

Trump later put the number at less than 1%.

Later events proved that he was right.

While some problems that the USA now experiencing with coronavirus are the direct or indirect result of blunders (like CDC blunder with test kits; of overcrowding of returning passengers in airports on arrival from Europe after the fight ban), some are not.  Many things are rooted deeply in neoliberal globalization and perverted neoliberal rationality. Both make proper reaction to dangerous epidemic almost impossible. So by-and-large the USA current problems were unavoidable.

Also in epidemics like in war mistakes are to be made. At the same time repeating Chinese mistakes was pain vanilla incompetence. Classic bureaucratic incompetence, if you wish. While there are no perfect responses in the current environment (the availability of a vaccine would change everything), the earlier government reacted, the slower the virus would spread.

But under neoliberal globalization any reaction like closing international travel and mandatory 14 days quarantine for arraval entails severe economic disruption, and that means that the measures were postponed till it's to late for them to be affective while providing the same level of economic disruption.  Meanwhile large sectors of the economy, here and abroad, are nearly collapsing because of fears about COVID-19 epidemics that are not entirely justified.

Watch the interviews below. Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the head of the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) This high level "medical diplomat"  in his March interviews carefully avoid mentioning that fact that CDC completely botched producing and distributing test kits and the government did nothing substantial to combat the virus the whole February.  And that he spept all january and February doing tnothing to prepere the county to the epidemic.

As the result the USA goverment was not able to provide adequate quantities of masks even to medical workers. Frontline personnel in grocery shops, Wall Mart, etc still working the first half of March without masks. That makes a joke the fact that the USA was viewed as a country best prepared to facing the pandemic:

Ever since the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014, which the Global Health Security Index calls "a wake-up call," projects like this have been created to put better mechanisms in place for future pandemics of all kinds; be they naturally occurring viruses or genetically engineered bioweapons.

The tests the Index was based on concerns whether countries have "functional, tested, proven capabilities for stopping outbreaks at the source" which are then "regularly tested and shown to be functional in exercises or real-world events." Pretty serious stuff, then.

Countries were assessed based on six criteria: “Prevention, Detection and Reporting, Rapid Response, Health System, Compliance with International Norms, and Risk Environment.” Of those six, the US topped the field in four, even scoring an almost perfect 98.2 in “Early Detection & Reporting.” (So much for that.)

Overall, the US put the rest of the world to shame, scoring 83.5 out of a possible 100. In second place was the United Kingdom, followed by the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Italy is in 31st place overall, and China is in 51st place. Most of the lowest scoring countries are small islands or African countries, and Equatorial Guinea gets the wooden spoon. The full list and report can be viewed here.

A comedy of errors

Being one of the richest countries in the world at the cutting edge of scientific innovation and medicine should have gone some way towards making America pandemic-proof. So why, then, are they in such big trouble now? The answer lies in their government’s poor decision-making from the very beginning, which has sent them on the most dangerous of all possible paths.

They were too slow to begin testing suspected cases, and when they did, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bungled the rollout. Their cases really began to spike around mid-March, but now that they have taken the lead in confirmed cases outside of China, one feels that they will not look back. Just how bad the situation could deteriorate in the US remains to be seen.

Most airports did not perform even elementary screening of arriving passengers.  And the operation of returning the US citizens from Europe after travel with EU countries was banned was also completely botched. All February the administration essentially was allowing the flow infected passengers from Italy and France without screening and quarantine  (two severely hit by COVID-19 countries with large tourists flows from the USA) to spread the disease in the USA:

But there is some progress. With national emergency declared on Feb 13, FEMA's USD 50 billion is unlocked to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA is one of the few federal institutions which still works and works well.

Arrival of warm weather on Eastern Coast may significantly change the dynamic of epidemics, slow down infections and help NYC, which is the most severe affected on this coast and the most densely populated area.  

Measures for self-isolation of seniors that state like NY, NJ and California tries now, with all their shortcomings,  is of vital importance and it should have been done much earlier, because the USA has advantage of Chinese experience with this epidemic (which it by-and-large ignored). This was not done. There should also be the prohibition of air trips and remove vacations (including cruise ships) for this category of people. Violators they put their own life and lives of other people especially medical personnel in unnecessary danger. Seniors are the major factor is overcrowding of intensive care beds in the hospitals.  Trying to protect them from this virus is probably the most important part of "flattening the curve" efforts.

The USA has a lower population density than other affected countries so outside of large cities like New York it is in much better position  to suppress the epidemics. Large parts of the country such as Texas already have warm weather  which typically helps to suppress such epidemics.

Globally COVID-19 is spreading more slowly then in the USA slowly: 69K cases on Feb 15 vs. 162K cases on March 15: in other words the number of cases  approx. doubled in one month period. Assuming that the next month will be same and then epidemic start to subside replicating the shape of the curve before the peak,  we will have globally around 162+324+162K=648K or something like half-million cases total for this virus

The delay between the shutdown in Wuhan and a fall in new daily cases was 12 days . That suggests that in two weeks  from now (April 2)  we will probably see a drop in the number of new cases in the US. But that is not guaranteed.

The priority is to slow down the spread of the disease to lessen overcrowding of hospital beds with severe cases.

At the same time there are multiple cases of selfish, reckless behaviour of a part of the population.  Some young people from closed schools and universities engage in travel as tickets and hotels are dirt cheap now. Those who carry the virus are spreading the infection with them.   Some people who are at risk are not wearing mask and engage in reckless behaviour disrespecting community interests such as shopping using public transport or other encounters with large number of people. Years of neoliberalism brainwashing  ("Greed is good", "shareholder value" mantra, glorification of unlimited predatory competition as in Latin saying "homo homini lupus est") converted a large part of the US population into  greedy and selfish animals,   and while such people concentrate in FIRE sector, other segment of population  are also severely affected.  The situation is especially bad in NYC. 

Years of neoliberalism brainwashing converted some part of the US population into greedy and selfish animals and this epidemic and while such people concentrate in FIRE sector, other segment of population are also severely affected. Epidemic of hoarding also had shown the ugly face of neoliberal rationality in full grace. The situation is especially bad in NYC. 

So far infections are clustered within families and friends of initially infected persons. For example, if wife is infected, the husband and children typically became infected too. Common spreading centers are religious gatherings and conferences. The same danger represents  travelling with the infected person in public transport if he/she is not wearing a mask, or any other close and prolonged contact. Most of initial US patients had recently visited Wuhan or attended meeting/conference were at least one infected person  was present.  "Community spread" cases, where person was infected in transport or public places like grocery shops like on this early state of epidemic are relatively rare.

The lower you are in the USA "wealth pyramid" the  worse it is for you. Particularly for the elderly underclass.

peterAUS, February 26, 2020 at 12:23 am GMT 

@Delta G

Is the Chinese Government using the Corona outbreak as a cover for some other purpose?

Definitely. Iranian too. Related to trade war/sanctions I feel. The bottom line, everybody on top wins, in this game. Say….up to 20 %. The rest are designated losers. Lower in the pyramid worse it is. The elderly underclass in particular. Good gig…for some. So far works like charm.

Critique of the "flattening the curve" approach adopted by the USA

Adapted from the article by John P.A. Ioannidis https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

Yet if the health system does become overwhelmed, the majority of the extra deaths may not be due to coronavirus but to other common diseases and conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, etc that are not adequately treated. If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. That’s another reason we need data about the exact level of the epidemic activity.

One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long ockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy and society. Hyping the threat by MSM already produced harding epidemic in the USA.    Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis.

At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.

In the most pessimistic scenario, which I do not espouse, if the new coronavirus infects 60% of the global population and 1% of the infected people die, that will translate into more than 40 million deaths globally, matching the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The vast majority of this hecatomb would be people with limited life expectancies. That’s in contrast to 1918, when many young people died.

Hoarding epidemics

We can discuss whether CODID-19 represents a pandemic or not, but hoarding epidemics in the USA is very real.

It also feels like a scam: there is no shortage of snake oil sellers who hope stoking such fears will make people buy more supplies. The reality is that there is little point “preparing“ for the most catastrophic scenarios some of these people envision. As a species, we live and die by our social world and  infrastructure — and outside some minimal stocks (say two weeks supply of food in areas affected by infection  and which might be subject to quarantine (which are currently only two cities in the  US.) Moreover, it is difficult to predict  what will be needed in the face of total catastrophe (Preparing for Coronavirus to Strike the U.S. - Scientific American Blog Network ). You can't drink sanitizer and you need minimal amount of it when you are outside of home. In all other cases regular soap is more effective against this virus,  so hoarding sanitizer is far from the best move you can make:

American Association for the Advancement of Science By Derek Lowe 4 March, 2020

ScienceMag - Pipeline

Since this is going to be a post about the coronavirus, let's start off with this PSA: wash your hands. These viruses have a lipid envelope that is crucial to their structure and function, and soaps and detergents are thus very effective at inactivating them. It's fast, it's simple, and it's one of the more useful things that any individual can do under these conditions.

The real crisis scenarios we’re likely to encounter require cooperation and, crucially, “flattening the curve” of the crisis   which includes sharing not hoarding, so the more vulnerable (older folks) can fare better and our social world and the infrastructure will be less stressed.  For those who can do it that way that means switching to work from home and avoiding unnecessary travel and meetings.  Most think those days can be done via phone of via teleconferencing.

We do not need to contribute to the panic, and to panic  buying isopropyl alcohol and hand sanitizers as if there no tomorrow. From state to state, shelves at grocery stores are being emptied. Community after community is stocking up on essential goods as they anticipate a very remote (or non-existent  in many areas of the country ) possibility our of fears of forced  China style self-quarantine.  In reality only retired persons in areas with active cases of infection need to self-quarantine as they are the most vulnerable and can overwhelm  hospitals. They generally should stay home, avoid direct contact with relatives  and friends (which are rare those days, anyway, so no big deal) , and do only rare shopping which should exclude all shopping for clothing, etc.  They need a lot of exposure to sun, vitamins, flesh air to boost the immune system. Abandoning bad  habits like smoking would be nice too. No or minimal visits to restaurants, entertainment centers like casino,  or God forbid cruise ships or international travel. For the sake of everyone else, they should prepare to stay home for a few weeks, while epidemic burns out in their neighborhood  and try their best not to be infected.  This way they will reduce their own risks, but most importantly, they will reduce the burden on health care and delivery infrastructure and allow frontline workers to reach and help the most vulnerable.

What does “flattening the curve” mean for the current COVID-19 threat facing us: the emerging pandemic of this human coronavirus? Epidemiologists often talk about two important numbers: R0 or how infectious a disease might be, expressed as the number of people that are infected by each person who’s been infected; and the case fatality ratio (CFR): the number of people who die as a result of being infected. For example, an R0 of two means each infected person infects two people on average, while a number less than one means the disease is likely dying out in the population. Some diseases are deadlier than others: the average case fatality ratio for Ebola has been around 50 percent, for example, while the common cold is rarely deadly for otherwise healthy individuals.

The infectiousness of a virus, for example, depends on how much we encounter one another; how well we quarantine individuals who are ill; how often we wash our hands; whether those treating the ill have proper protective equipment; how healthy we are to begin with—and such factors are all under our control. After active measures were implemented, the R0 for the 2003 SARS epidemic, for example, went from around three, meaning each person infected three others, to 0.04. It was our response to SARS in 2003 that made sure the disease died out from earth, with less than a thousand victims globally.

... ... ..

All of this means that the only path to flattening the curve for COVID-19 is community-wide isolation: the more people stay home, the fewer people will catch the disease. The fewer people who catch the disease, the better hospitals can help those who do. Crowding at hospitals doesn’t just threaten those with COVID-19; if emergency rooms are overwhelmed, more flu patients, too, will die because of lack of treatment, for example.

But what we see in the USA is primitive and destructive hoarding epidemic. Toilet paper, sanitary wipes and sanitizers are in short supply as stocks are being exhausted. As of March 3, 2020 a 250 ml (8 ounces) bottle of hand sanitizer on Amazon was $60 or so (while its regular price is $2 or so ;-).  This is not only ridiculous but it beats "socialist back market"  prices.

Ana

I know someone who is the head of security in the SF Bay for a large big box membership store that all of us in the States are familiar with. Their stores in the SF Bay area have been selling out of water, hand sanitizers, gloves, masks and other similar cleaning supplies, along with boxed mac and cheese and similar long shelf life foods.

Their regional supply center that brings replacement supply in over night by semi trucks has not been able to refill it’s own pallets from suppliers. He just texted me pics of local big box stores in the Bay with empty shelves and no back stock is available. I can’t find info on sales of things like generators. I don’t care what soothing nonsense the TV and feds blather at us. People are trying to get what they think they need to cope with serious disruption.

Ana in Sacramento.

P.S. By the way, I was one of the paper pushers who designed emergency response and business resumption plans for the State of California. This event was never considered or planned for. I’m retired so it may have been added after I left.

The dynamic of the USA panic can be watched via Amazon prices for those items and as of March 7 the panic is still in full swing  (you can buy the same 250 ml(8 ounces) bottle for mere $35 ;-) .   And they used to say that such hoarding behaviour is typical only for socialism ;-).

Starting from March 13 federal and local governments jumped into action

And despite chaotic and botched containment of epidemic (CDC botched development and production of test kits so badly that the officials responsible probably should be tried for criminal negligence ) the USA government managed already take several measures to slow down the spread of the virus (please note that time is working against the virus -- warm weather in East cost will come in May or even earlier).

For example, starting Sunday, Feb. 2, the US citizens, permanent residents and immediate family who have visited China's Hubei province undergo a mandatory 14 days quarantine. On Mar 11, Trump administration prohibited all flights from Europe firs exampling  UK and Ireland and later adding them.  

On Mar 13 Trump has declared the coronavirus a US national emergency and offered $50 billion for support of state and local governments to fight the virus with FEMA.

At the same time the US Fed has increased its public support of the global private banking system in amounts looking to total in the trillions of dollars and our Congress Critters are setting up to re-authorize the Patriot Act suppression of human rights.

On March 15 CDC recommended that all gatherings of more than 50 people within the United States be canceled for the next 8 weeks.

The same day California ordered all bars and nightclubs to shut their doors, restaurants to cut the number of tables in half and for millions of seniors and people with chronic health conditions to immediately “self-isolate” at home (mercurynews.com)

As the coronavirus continues its rapid spread, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday afternoon issued an urgent call for all California, restaurants to cut the number of tables in half and for millions of seniors and people with chronic health conditions to immediately “self-isolate” at home.

Newsom’s unprecedented call for action is designed to slow the infection rate, especially among the most vulnerable. The governor stopped short of asking eating establishments to shut their doors, saying the need for food service during the pandemic remained vital.

“We need to prioritize our focus,” Newsom said during an hour-long press conference in Sacramento. “We are looking at this from a very holistic perspective.”

It was unclear how long the self-quarantine for seniors should continue.

NYC closed all schools staring Monday, March 16, 2020. NJ followed the suit.  Both states resorted to pretty drastic measures. All schools, entertainment outlets such as bars, nightclubs and non-essential shops are closed in NY and NJ.   Meetings over 50 people prohibited. Malls are also closes in some counties. 

The colossal failure with production and distribution of tests by CDC

The CDC stunning failure to provide the coronavirus testing kits needed to control the spread of the outbreak is a national outrage. Their incompetence threatens to increase the scope and prolong the  duration of epidemics and contributes to troubles that now the USA economy experience.

It is unlearn why the CDC failed to make mass production of test kits its top priority and who is responsible. But it is clear that heads should roll (The Mercury News editorial,

South Korea is testing 20,000 people every day, thanks to a biotech firm that anticipated the threat in January. South Korea is providing free tests for anyone a doctor deems necessary at more than 100 facilities across the nation. The result is that South Korea is now seeing more recoveries than new cases.

Contrast that with the state of California, which has only 10 million fewer people than South Korea. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state has been provided with 8,227 testing kits from the CDC. But some of those kits did not contain all the chemicals needed to administer them to Californians — a glaring failure given that it’s been nearly two months since the coronavirus outbreak began in China.

Newsom compared it to “going to the store and purchasing a printer, but forgetting to purchase the ink. You need multiple components.”

All told, as of Friday [Mar13, 2020], California had conducted a total of only 1,573 tests at its 18 state test labs.

The problem stems from the CDC’s botched first effort to mass produce test kits, followed by delays in sending promised replacement kits for several weeks.

“The incompetence has really exceeded what anyone would expect with the CDC,” Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, told the New York Times. “This is not a difficult problem to solve in the world of viruses.”

Testing is crucial to slowing the spread of the disease because it allows those who are infected to be quarantined. Health officials can then trace who they may have been in contact with and test and possibly quarantine those people.

It’s essential that Congress investigate what went wrong and take steps to prevent it from happening during the next inevitable infectious disease threat. But that’s for another day. The focus now must be on taking steps to minimize further spread of coronavirus and its impact on people and the economy.

The state is turning to its major hospitals and private labs for additional help. It’s possible that their testing sites could be up and running in the next week. President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on Friday could also eliminate red tape and speed the testing process.

Once upon a time, the United States was the global leader in fighting infectious diseases and serving as the provider for testing kits to the world. Those days are long gone. The CDC must act to make up for its incompetence and take whatever steps necessary to protect Americans against current and future outbreaks.

The CDC must also give clear direction on how hospitals can treat patients during this national emergency. It is not done. China recommended three drugs that can help some patients. CDC does not provided any recommendations at all.

A botched implementation of cutting air travel with Europe

Abrupt announcement caused panic and airports on arrival became so overcrowded that they became epicenter of spreading the decease: they manage to replicate the situation that was far worse that exists on cruise ships with many thousand of people.

Can air conditioners that re-circulate air spread the virus?

Air conditioners are also known to circulate air-borne diseases such as Legionairre’s Disease, a potentially fatal infectious disease that produces high fever and pneumonia. For efficiency air-conditioned on cruise ships, bases and airplanes mix fresh air with the already circulated air and this is a concern. For example, some experts think that in Diamond Princess cruise ship epidemic AC might help to spread the virus to all cabin

Currently there is no strong evidence to support the claim that the virus can be transmitted through the air conditioner recirculation. It is believed to be spread mainly through droplets on close contact with infected person (less then 2m). In this case the mucus or saliva of an infected person who sneezes or coughs can be inhaled and infect the person.  This virus is likely to die when the droplets dry up (Can the coronavirus be spread through the air, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times):

Experts say if the virus could really survive even after the droplets carrying it have dried up, it would have spread through the air as dust particles and potentially infected 10 times more people, which is not the case.

Last week, a Shanghai official, Mr Zeng Qun, said the virus could spread through aerosol transmission, or the mixing of the virus with airborne liquid droplets.

This would allow the virus to linger in the air and infect those who inhale it, he said. Diseases that are known to spread this way include tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles.

But an infectious diseases expert at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr Feng Luzhao, refuted this on Sunday, stating that the droplets carrying the virus travel only about 1m to 2m and do not stay suspended in the air. This is why you are unlikely to catch the virus through transient (or short-term) contact such as on public transport.

Ultraviolet rays and heat from the sun can kill the virus as virus does not last long on fresh air in a sunny day.  This is true for all viruses. The likelihood of viral persistence outdoors is lower, as most studies indicate that viruses do not survive in hot and humid environments. This refers to a temperature of over 30C and a humidity level of over 80 per cent.

Using humidifier at home and maintaining 50% humidity might  help to protect you and family members.

Trump threatens to invoke Defense Production Act but, being a patsy of Wall Street,  is afraid to do so

Trump is a neoliberal to the core so he postponed invocation of the Defense Production Act (DPA). That did not stop him from threatening toinvoke it, but people at the top understand that those threats are toothless.  Trump has a chance to prove that his is not  complete stooge of  Wall Street and financial oligarchy.

On March 28, 2020 he threatened to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to force General Motors to ramp up production of  ventilators. He did did not actually invoked it due to the big business lobbying (including powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce) against the use of the emergency powers (Trump, Biden and the Defense Production Act - FactCheck.org):

Five days later, on March 18, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act “just in case we need it.” But Trump stopped short of implementing the act to force production of certain goods. Later that day, Trump tweeted, “I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need.”

... ... ...

In the following days, Trump said that he was reluctant to use the Defense Production Act to force corporations to make products, likening such a move to “nationalizing our businesses.”

This sucker does not even understand that nationalizing can be a temporary measure:

Trump, March 22: We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela; ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out. Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.

Trump, March 26: For the most part, the companies … We say, “We need this,” and they say, “Don’t bother. We’re going to do it.” I mean, we — we’re dealing with Ford, General Motors, 3M. We’re dealing with great companies. They want to do this. They want to do this. They’re doing things that — that frankly, they don’t need somebody to walk over there with a — with a hammer and say, “Do it.” They are getting it done.

Of course his rhetoric was different, but in reality he behaved like a patsy, he actually is (Trump bucks business on Defense Production Act TheHill)

“Our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump said in a statement. “GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.” 

Trump also said the country “will be making over 100,000 pretty quickly.” States have warned of a dangerous shortage of the breathing machines.

Trump also tapped White House aide Peter Navarro to coordinate policies enacted under the Korean War-era law that gives the president broad authority to increase the manufacturing output of critical items in times of national emergency, including public health crises.

“My order establishes that Peter will serve as national Defense Production Act policy coordinator for the federal government,” Trump said Friday during a White House briefing. “That's a very important position. More important probably than it's almost ever been in our country.”

All he did is a little bit ruffle GM brass feathers: TheHill

“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump tweeted. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke ‘P.’ ”

On Friday, before Trump invoked the DPA, Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, told The Hill that the move would be unnecessary.

Because companies had already stepped up to address the country’s needs, Bradley said, the call for more DPA authority is like a solution in search of a problem, adding, “Should we do something that won’t produce any positive effect just because we can say we did it?”

On Friday, the Chamber also launched a tool that showcased corporate America’s robust contribution to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the issue of DPA comes up, it’s a question of would that allow us to do something that we couldn’t otherwise do?” Bradley said Friday afternoon. “Or [would it] help us meet the needs, at least with respect to increasing production itself? The answer is no.”

But by Friday evening, Trump signed a presidential memorandum placing at least some of GM’s production lines in the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump’s order directed his administration to use “any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators.”

Defense Production Act was enacted in 1950 as response to the Korean War Trump invokes Defense Production Act: What is it? | Fox News

Companies are required to accept and prioritize contracts from the government and to prioritize “materials, services, and facilities to promote the national defense or to maximize domestic energy supplies.” While this provision has historically been used to ramp up military production, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic the act will be used for medical supplies.

The second provision in the act provides financial measures, such as loans, loan guarantees, purchases, and purchase commitments, to speed up the production of materials “needed to support national defense and homeland security procurement requirements.”

The act also addresses voluntary agreements – or what the government says is “an association of private interests, approved by the Government to plan and coordinate actions in support of the national defense.” The proviso permits business competitors to work together to plan and coordinate measures to increase the supply of materials.

Along with the three main provisions, the act also provides the government with the authority to obtain information from businesses, authorizes establishment of the National Defense Executive Reserve, and a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – which works on the effects on national security of certain mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers related to foreign investment in the U.S.

When the act is invoked it requires the administration to file an annual report to Congress on the impact of offsets on the defense preparedness, industrial competitiveness, employment, and trade from the act.


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[Jun 06, 2020] 'Professor Lockdown' Ferguson, UK's Covid-19 czar, admits crippling restrictions MADE NO DIFFERENCE – where's the outrage by Jason O'Toole

Notable quotes:
"... The British scientist known as Professor Lockdown has undermined the draconian policy he unleashed on the world by confessing that Britain hasn't fared any better in tackling the disease than the laid-back Scandis. Professor Neil Ferguson probably woke up this morning breathing a massive sigh of relief because he hadn't been ripped to shreds again in the British newspapers for this second time in just under a month – this time over his startling admission that there has been no significant difference in the levels of Covid-19 suppression when comparing the UK and Sweden. ..."
"... In other words, in the type of roundabout waffling way you'd expect from a bumbling boffin, the scientist – dubbed 'Professor Lockdown' after he cajoled Boris Johnson into bringing the British economy to a screeching halt – reckons Sweden has essentially coped very well without being forced into any draconian lockdown, thank you very much. ..."
"... At the moment, the biggest accusation they could face is needlessly making a hames (for those of you who aren't Irish, this means a 'big mess') of the economy. Even Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has since said that, while he regrets not implanting stricter measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, he "still would not have gone as far as other European countries did." ..."
"... He might've been dubbed "Dr Strangelove" after that embarrassing slip up – but now he just comes across as a nutty professor after his latest confession. These strong words might just come back to haunt BoJo when he next goes before the electorate. With a crippled economy thanks to the draconian measures, he's going to find the next election will be all about his mishandling of Covid-19, and specifically, "the economy, stupid." ..."
Jun 04, 2020 | www.rt.com

The British scientist known as Professor Lockdown has undermined the draconian policy he unleashed on the world by confessing that Britain hasn't fared any better in tackling the disease than the laid-back Scandis. Professor Neil Ferguson probably woke up this morning breathing a massive sigh of relief because he hadn't been ripped to shreds again in the British newspapers for this second time in just under a month – this time over his startling admission that there has been no significant difference in the levels of Covid-19 suppression when comparing the UK and Sweden.

During his evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday, he said:

"They [Swedish scientists] came to a different policy conclusion based really on quite similar science. I don't agree with it but scientifically they're not far from scientists in any part of the world."

Also on rt.com 'Very destructive' SECOND wave of Covid-19 may come as countries lift restrictions, WHO warns

He then acknowledged that the Swedish authorities had "got a long way to the same effect" without a full lockdown.

In other words, in the type of roundabout waffling way you'd expect from a bumbling boffin, the scientist – dubbed 'Professor Lockdown' after he cajoled Boris Johnson into bringing the British economy to a screeching halt – reckons Sweden has essentially coped very well without being forced into any draconian lockdown, thank you very much.

So where was the indignation about how his recommendations f**ked up the economy and made people prisoners in their own homes? It certainly wasn't to be seen splashed across any British front pages. Indeed, it was hard enough to find much, if any, coverage of this very significant news story on Wednesday.

Read more Is public opinion on Covid-19 being shaped by facts – or 'terrorized' by propaganda?

It was buried inside the Daily Telegraph on page seven, running across a third of a page or less, with a very accurate subheading stating in clear black and white: "Professor admits radical Scandinavian policy worked as well as British policy of shutting down."

The evidence from the two countries' differing approaches has left the professor with little escape route. UK (full lockdown/businesses shut down): 579 Covid-19 deaths per million of population. Sweden (softer restrictions/businesses kept open): 442 deaths per million.

But why make such a startling confession now, when he could have wriggled away by saying it's too early to assess the data as the disease is still running its course? The cynic in me wonders if Dr Ferguson's matter-of-fact admission that a full lockdown probably didn't make a blind bit of difference was fueled by ulterior motives. Seeing as his own reputation is already in tatters, was it a warped act of revenge against Boris Johnson for being forced to fall on his sword after being caught breaking lockdown with his married lover?

Or here's one for conspiracy theorists: instead of wanting to throw BoJo under the bus, could it have been a case of wanting to hide something else that's about to come down the track? With America now burning in the wake of the atrocious murder of George Floyd, the confession at this juncture reminds me somewhat of how a British government spin doctor sent out a memo only 30 minutes after the second plane hit the Twin Towers on 9/11 with the cynical recommendation that "it's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury."

Also on rt.com I've signed death certificates during Covid-19. Here's why you can't trust any of the statistics on the number of victims

At the moment, the biggest accusation they could face is needlessly making a hames (for those of you who aren't Irish, this means a 'big mess') of the economy. Even Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has since said that, while he regrets not implanting stricter measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, he "still would not have gone as far as other European countries did."

But the Swede being plagued with self-doubt sounds much more like someone racked with guilt about "what ifs?" like an Oskar Schindler type of character who was pictured crying at the end of the Spielberg film because he was convinced he could've done better.

According to Aric Dromi, CEO of the Sweden-based Tempus Motu Think Tank, both the UK and Sweden's response to Covid-19 is "ego driven and lacking in strategy." He told me:

"Differences in the social structure between the UK and Sweden should have made a bigger impact between the numbers infected. The Swedish economy, for example, far from being protected by remaining open, has still been badly damaged as it relies heavily on exports, despite the lack of a lockdown. For both countries, it represents a human sacrifice on the altar of economics, and it is wholly unacceptable."

Also on rt.com BoJo government blasted again as new lockdown 'SEX BAN' prompts orgy of scorn and mockery

It all reminds me of when John Cleese in the 'Gourmet Night' episode of 'Fawlty Towers' told guests that there were only three different types of duck on the menu that night – with orange, with cherries or "surprise," which turned out to be "duck without oranges or cherries." And if you don't like duck? As Basil Fawlty quipped , "Ah, well, if you don't like duck, uhhh, you're rather stuck."

At the end of the day, it might still be too early to fully know which was the right way to go, which begs the question: Why did Prof. Ferguson jump the gun and heap such fulsome praise – no pun intended here – on the Swedish model? Whatever way you spin it here, he has, once again, " undermined " the lockdown just like he did " after violating quarantine he designed to meet married lover."

He might've been dubbed "Dr Strangelove" after that embarrassing slip up – but now he just comes across as a nutty professor after his latest confession. These strong words might just come back to haunt BoJo when he next goes before the electorate. With a crippled economy thanks to the draconian measures, he's going to find the next election will be all about his mishandling of Covid-19, and specifically, "the economy, stupid."

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Jason O'Toole has worked as a senior feature writer for the Irish Daily Mail, a columnist with the Irish Sunday Mirror and senior editor of Hot Press magazine. He's also the author of several best-selling books.

[Jun 04, 2020] I think the illusion the CDC. was the "world's premier health agency" comes from the fact that the USA has, by far, the largest and most powerful pharmaceutical sector in the world

CDC consist of overpaid idiots. On 20 January, the first confirmed case in South Korea was identified as a 35-year-old Chinese woman. The first South Korean national to be infected occurred three days later was a 55-year-old man who worked in Wuhan and returned for a checkup with flu symptoms. The two infection reports were publicly released on 24 January. [1] At this point team of CDC researchers should already be in South Korea. But nothing was done.
Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vk , Jun 3 2020 22:43 utc | 55
The C.D.C. waited 'its entire existence for this moment'. What went wrong?

Propaganda never stops:

The technology was old, the data poor, the bureaucracy slow, the guidance confusing, the administration not in agreement. The coronavirus shook the world's premier health agency , creating a loss of confidence and hampering the U.S. response to the crisis

"World's premier health agency"?

I think the illusion the C.D.C. was the "world's premier health agency" comes from the fact that the USA has, by far, the largest and most powerful pharmaceutical sector in the world (which Americans call "Big Pharma"). If you have the biggest pharma, you will have the most sheer volume of human trials and new drug patents. This, by osmosis, puts your country's C.D.C. at the forefront of most drug regulation - which the rest of the world's C.D.C.s will simply copy and paste for obvious reasons (i.e. they won't do the same work twice). That doesn't mean your C.D.C. is "the premier". For instance, it could simply be the most corrupt, the C.D.C. which is at the right place, the right time. An example for this is the USA's airplane equivalent to the C.D.C., which sold itself off to Boeing, resulting in the 737 MAX fiasco.

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

Jun 02, 2020 | www.rt.com

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 | www.zerohedge.com
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.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/bl-sZdfLcEk

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 30, 2020] Cutting our excessive defense budget post-COVID-19 will be difficult. Here's how to do it by Gordon Adams

Sound like wishful thinking. Looks like cutting US military budget is impossible as "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine is still in place and neocons are at the helm of the USA foreign policy. COVID-19 or not COVID-19.
May 29, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The other day an aerospace industry analyst asked me whether I thought the defense budget would start to go down, courtesy of the huge cost of dealing with the pandemic and the massive deficits the nation faces. I said it was unlikely and he agreed.

This is not the conventional wisdom in DC. Some national security analysts and advocates for higher defense budgets have warned that the defense budget is now under siege . Critics of the Pentagon and its spending are equally convinced that the pandemic opens the door to necessary, deep, sensible cuts in defense in order to fund the mountain of debt and take care of pressing needs for income, employment, health care, global warming, and other major threats to the well-being of Americans.

Whatever the nation's strategy, critics argue, the pandemic has changed the face of the threat to America. COVID-19 is an invisible, lethal threat to human security, a viral neutron bomb that spares buildings but kills their occupants.

Congress has appropriated more than 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, so far, to cope with this threat. Additional funds for the military, ironically, have become a "rounding error" in this spending -- little more than $10 billion of the more than $4 trillion appropriated to date. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned about the likelihood of defense cuts and wanted more funds for the Pentagon, but Rep. Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee said there was no way defense would get more funds through the pandemic bills.

So it looks bad for defense, and good for the advocates of cuts. But not so fast. Yes, it is true; history shows that defense budgets do decline. It happens, predictably, when we get out of a war – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War. Even when we left Iraq in 2011, the budget went down.

There is a secret ingredient in defense budget reductions: they seem to happen, as well, when the politics of deficit reduction appear. Defense also declined after Korea because a fiscal conservative, Eisenhower, was in office, with five virtual stars on his shoulders, making it possible to put a lid on the budgetary appetites of the services.

In fact, in 1985, well before the end of the Cold War, Congress, focused on the deficit, passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which was then was reinforced in the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act that set hard spending limits on domestic and defense spending. It had to cover both parts of discretionary spending or Congress could not agree. It was 17 years before the defense budget began to rise .

Put the end of war together with a dollop of deficit reduction and defense budgets will go down. They become the caboose, rather than the engine, of the budgetary train. But beware of what you ask for. The price of constraints on defense has been constraints on domestic spending, as the nation has learned over the past three decades. In fact, the Budget Control Act of 2011 constrained domestic spending, while allowing defense to escape almost unscathed, thanks to war supplementals.

When attention shifts to debates over priorities and deficits, it opens the door to a real discussion about defense. But they do not ensure cuts. While the military services may not see their appetite for real growth of 3-5 percent fulfilled, it is unlikely to decline very much.

There is a floor under the defense budget. But you need to change the level of analysis to see it and look at who actually makes defense budget decisions and why they make the decisions they do. It's about something I called the "Iron Triangle."

We all like to think that strategy drives defense budgets. For the most part, however, defense decisions are made inside a political system involving constant, relatively closed interaction between the military services, the Congress, and the community and industry beneficiaries of defense spending.

In outline, budget planners in the military services start with last year's budget and graft on new funds, rarely giving up a program, a mission, or part of the force. This dynamic points the budgets upwards over time. Secretaries and under-secretaries work to add preferences and projects, like national missile defense, to the services' budget plans. On top of that, presidents have made promises, adding such things as bomber funds (Reagan) and space forces (Trump) the services do not want.

Then there is the second leg of the triangle: Congress. For all their efforts to cut Pentagon waste, progressive members do not drive defense decisions in the Congress. The defense authorizers and appropriators do. The associated committees are dominated by defense spending advocates, deeply interested in the outcomes, encouraged by industry campaign contributions and community lobbying. These outside interests are the third leg of the triangle. Contracts and community-based impacts give them a deep stake in the outcomes.

This system is not a conspiracy; it is a visible part of American politics, similar in shape to the players in farm price supports or health care policy. But it is a system that operates somewhat separately from and parallel to the politics of deficit reduction and has a major impact on the content and levels of the defense budget. And its work bakes a kind of sclerosis into efforts to have a broader debate over spending priorities.

The politics of the Iron Triangle will set limits on the defense budget debate making deep cuts unlikely. So what might be the options to end-run this system? Politics, of course. If the advocates of deeper defense reductions want to change America's spending and budgeting priorities, they will need to join forces with advocates of a "new, new deal" in America -- one that would put priority on the national health system, infrastructure investment, climate change, immigration, and educational reform. Only a very large, very deep coalition has a chance of overcoming the inertia imposed by the Iron Triangle.

And that coalition will need to focus on Joe Biden. The president is the key actor here, particularly at the start of an administration. As Bill Clinton learned, the first months are critical to changing overall budget priorities, before the departments, including Defense, can begin the Iron Triangle dance.

Even then, major cuts in defense budgets are an uphill fight. The opening for a broader priorities debate has been provided by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome depends significantly on bringing this kind of focus to actions over the next seven months.

[May 29, 2020] Why Was New York Hit So Badly With Covid 19 by Drew Armstrong et all

Notable quotes:
"... By ..."
May 28, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

Why New York Suffered When Other Cities Were Spared by Covid-19 The mayor, the CDC and a New York disease expert weigh in By Drew Armstrong , Henry Goldman , and Keshia Clukey May 28, 2020, 9:51 AM EDT

Pedestrians walk through the Times Square on March 12.

Photographer: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg
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As of this week, at least 21,000 New Yorkers are dead from Covid-19, with a few dozen added to the city's count every day. More than 3,000 have perished in nursing homes, many more in hospitals. Some died at home. The most brutal toll came among those who were old, poor and in the outer boroughs.

The city's deaths are 10 times those of Los Angeles County's. They've surpassed the 16,000 lives lost in Italy's hard-hit Lombardy region. In the U.K., eight times as populous as New York City, about 37,500 have died.

With New York's outbreak eclipsing others around the world, it's logical to look for somebody to blame. The mayor, the governor, the president -- a human foil for a microscopic villain. But that would be a simplistic approach to accounting for a new virus hitting a dense city, full of people who'd never faced a pandemic threat, enjoying a decade-long stretch of prosperity.

Medical workers move the body of a deceased patient to an overflow morgue in Brooklyn on April 2. Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

"There's blame to go all around," said Jeffrey Shaman , director of the climate and health program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "We haven't been confronted with an infectious-disease threat like this for 100 years."

There are glimmers of optimism emerging. The virus's spread is slowing, and New York is moving toward the early stages of reopening by mid-June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Tuesday news briefing.

But a crucial question remains for America's financial and cultural epicenter: What went so wrong? Bloomberg reviewed past comments by those involved in the pandemic response, and asked the question of disease experts, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and de Blasio.

Here's what they said about the major factors that led to New York's outbreak.

1. Close the Front Door, Leave the Back Open

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Outbreaks can't start without a spark. The U.S. shut down most travel from China on Feb. 2, when there were at least 14,000 cases there. But it left open travel from most of Europe until March 13. During that time, Italy went from two known infections to more than 15,000 .

In the week ended March 13, 274,000 people arrived at New York-area airports from Europe, and another 174,000 came from the U.K. and Ireland, according to U. S. Customs and Border Protection's New York field office.

"We closed the front door with the China ban, which was right," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on April 24. "But we left the back door open."

Using genetic analysis, it's possible to trace the lineage of the virus like a family tree with branches around the world. One analysis , from researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, showed that one branch emerged directly from China, with U.S. cases concentrated in Washington state. But a second branch of the virus grew in Italy, and was then imported to New York, rapidly becoming more prevalent.

"We tested people all through February, but it turns out we weren't testing the right people," de Blasio said in an emailed statement. "It's painful to think about how things might have been different had we been able to test someone returning from Europe a month sooner."

Jay Butler , the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases, compared the city to dry kindling in a wildfire.

"New York City is a global destination and had the opportunity for multiple introductions of a virus," Butler said in an interview. "Because of the amount of travel to New York, particularly related to the increase of disease in Europe, there were multiple sparks landing at once."

2. "Ride the Subway, Take the Bus"

Wash your hands and cover your cough: That was the main advice given to New Yorkers early in the outbreak to prevent the virus's spread.

"We want New Yorkers to go about their daily lives, ride the subway, take the bus, go see your neighbors," New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said on March 2.

The mayor gave the same guidance. "From what we do understand, you cannot contract it through casual contact, so the subway is not the issue," de Blasio said March 3. Days later, he said, "It has to go from someone who is infected to another person directly into their mouth, their nose, or their eyes."

A commuter wears a mask while riding a subway train in New York on March 9. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Health experts have now almost totally reversed that understanding. The CDC told people to begin wearing face coverings in public on April 3, at which point there were more than 5,000 new cases a day in New York. Later that month, the agency updated guidance to say that touching contaminated surfaces didn't appear to be the primary mode of transmission. There have since been multiple case studies showing clusters of transmission in offices, at churches and other high-density settings.

"Hindsight is 20-20. If we knew everything we knew now, probably there would have been more intervention earlier, but we didn't have that crystal ball at the time," said the CDC's Butler. "Now we know people can be infectious before the onset of symptoms."

3. Perfect Environment

With the virus's easy transmission, New York's shared spaces were a perfect vector to bring the infection from one family to another.

Subways and buses, concert halls, elevators, offices, crowded bars, apartment towers -- while other U.S. urban areas have natural social distancing built into their structure through the prevalence of cars and less-dense buildings, New York is defined by crowding.

"In a place that doesn't have a car culture, that relies on mass transit, there are more opportunities for it to get into households and move around," said Columbia's Shaman.

A bus driver wears a protective mask while working in New Rochelle, New York on March 16. Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

A May 8 CDC report drew a similar conclusion. The agency noted that the four most dense counties in America are New York City boroughs. Combine that with public transit, three major transportation hubs and 1.6 million daily commuters into Manhattan, and it's a perfect human mixing bowl.

In his emailed statement, de Blasio said the city's mass transit system had been a major factor.

"New York's subway system stands alone," de Blasio said. "New York City is different than Los Angeles and Seattle and pretty much everywhere else for how heavily the population relies on travel by subway. The subway has been a lifeline for our essential workers, but we also now know that prolonged, close contact during a commute may have been an issue long before we knew the virus was even in the city."

4. Slow to Close

For all of New York City's risk, its leaders moved late on shutting down the city.

Cuomo and de Blasio -- who have had a long-running, often public feud -- disagreed for days over how and when to act. The city closed the schools on March 15. Two days later, de Blasio raised the possibility of a stay-at-home order. Cuomo disagreed, saying it was the state's decision and that he had "no interest whatsoever or plan whatsoever to contain New York City." On March 20, he announced that the state would shut all non-essential businesses, and told people to stay home.

Commuters walk inside a subway station in New York on March 17. Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

Butler said those decisions are difficult at the early stages of an outbreak. "When we evacuate a city for a hurricane, we don't do it based on when there's something out off the coast of Africa," he said. "We do it when there's much clearer visibility of when it's going to happen. It's much harder with an infectious disease, particularly a brand new one."

In hindsight, the city's actions came late. The day the stay-at-home orders were announced, New York City reported 4,000 new cases -- despite a significant shortage of testing. The outbreak was well into the acceleration phase. And with a bigger head-start, the virus kept growing in the city, with new cases peaking 17 days later on April 6.

5. Nursing Homes

As the virus swept through nursing homes -- and the city was in an urgent search for hospital beds -- the question arose of what to do with elderly patients who recovered.

On March 25, the state made what now appears to be an ill-fated decision to send those people back to nursing homes once they were well enough to leave the hospital. Two months later, Cuomo said the state had followed the federal government's guidance, and made the rules when the state was scrambling for hospital bed space.

"Is the best use of a hospital bed to have somebody sit there for two weeks in the hospital bed when they don't need the hospital bed, because they're not urgently ill? Cuomo said at a press briefing on May 20. "They're just waiting to test negative."

Statewide, there have been 5,980 presumed and confirmed Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes and adult-care facilities as of May 24. New York has now changed its rules for sending patients back to the homes, saying hospitals can't do so until a patient tests negative for the virus.

Unknowns and the Future

Even with the factors that made New York a hot spot, it's still unclear why it got hit harder than other similarly dense areas. Also unknown are how weather, potential variants of the virus, testing and counting of cases and other factors play a role. And the outbreak is just now breaking over new hot spots like Brazil.

"It's important to recognize the pandemic isn't over yet," Butler said. "Some areas are going to be hit earlier than others."

Much of New York City's risk from an outbreak remains. It will forever be a tightly packed city dependent on public transportation, defined by public spaces and close human interaction.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Photographer: Demetrius Freeman/Bloomberg

"What caused New York City to be hit so hard is something we'll be studying for a long, long time," de Blasio said in his statement. "On the one hand, it's frustrating to think of how things may have been different had we known any of this earlier. On the other hand, it's informative as we move to reopen."

In its push to resume activity, the city and state are now considering how to stop the transit system from becoming a disease vector again.

"We anticipate just phase one is easily hundreds of thousands of more people going to work, and then phase two even more so," de Blasio said. "We still have to make sure that we don't end up with a lot of crowded subway cars and buses. It's got to be very systematic. You need the frequency of the service, you need the face coverings, you need some way to make sure that there isn't overcrowding."

Shaman said he's optimistic that some of the tools are in place to better manage the virus, but that the U.S. hasn't succeeded so far -- though to be fair, few countries have.

"We failed on both ends," Shaman said. "We disrupted the economy and haven't controlled the disease."

[May 28, 2020] U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World

Notable quotes:
"... The failure of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against COVID-19, with nearly four times the annual budget of the WHO, is visible to the world. The CDC failed to provide a successful test for SARS-CoV-2 in the critical months of February and March , while ignoring the WHO's successful test kits that were distributed to 120 countries. ..."
"... Trump has yet to hold his administration and the CDC responsible for this criminal bungling. This, more than any other failure , is the reason that the U.S. numbers for COVID-19 are now more than 1.5 million and about a third of all global infections. Contrast this with China, the first to face an unknown epidemic, stopping it at 82,000 infections, and the amazing results that countries such as Vietnam and South Korea have produced. ..."
"... Taiwan was the first to inform the WHO of human-to-human transmissions in December, but was completely ignored. ..."
"... "Just how evil does this situation become? Is the general leadership of the American political economy trying to be evil just for the fun of it?" ..."
"... And at what point does the general indifference to this state of affairs that still, incredibly, obtains, turn over into mass outrage and condemnation? Skrelli, Bayer, and all the rest are frelling evil. Extortion writ large, with easily preventable death and suffering. ..."
"... As you note it's about profits. One of the disturbing condemnations of the now fading American Century, which most USians remain contentedly oblivious to is that during their watch as global hegemon, the US, in what can be seen, in the best light, as bad faith, worked to undermine the democratic functionality of international cooperative organizations like the WHO, the UN, etc. ..."
"... The intention of granting copyrights and patents was noble, to provide a limited monopoly on an invention or literary work for a limited period. IP has been distorted and twisted, extended to insane time limits to protect works that for any common sense thinkers have already become public domain (see, e.g. the Happy Birthday song, Mickey Mouse or re-formulation of a drug that's gone out of patent). Software should have had its own IP regime but that ship has sailed (thanks Bill G.). ..."
May 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donald Trump launched a new vaccine war in May, but not against the virus. It was against the world. The United States and the UK were the only two holdouts in the World Health Assembly from the declaration that vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 should be available as public goods , and not under exclusive patent rights. The United States explicitly disassociated itself from the patent pool call, talking instead of "the critical role that intellectual property plays" -- in other words, patents for vaccines and medicines. Having badly botched his COVID-19 response, Trump is trying to redeem his electoral fortunes in the November elections this year by promising an early vaccine. The 2020 version of Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan is shaping up to be, essentially, " vaccines for us" -- but the rest of the world will have to queue up and pay what big pharma asks, as they will hold the patents.

In contrast, all other countries agreed with the Costa Rican proposal in the World Health Assembly that there should be a patent pool for all COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. President Xi said that Chinese vaccines would be available as a public good , a view also shared by European Union leaders . Among the 10 candidate vaccines in Phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials, the Chinese have five, the United States has three, and the UK and Germany have one each.

Trump has given an ultimatum to the World Health Organization (WHO) with a permanent withdrawal of funds if it does not mend its ways in 30 days. In sharp contrast, in the World Health Assembly (the highest decision-making body of the WHO), almost all countries, including close allies of the United States, rallied behind the WHO. The failure of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against COVID-19, with nearly four times the annual budget of the WHO, is visible to the world. The CDC failed to provide a successful test for SARS-CoV-2 in the critical months of February and March , while ignoring the WHO's successful test kits that were distributed to 120 countries.

Trump has yet to hold his administration and the CDC responsible for this criminal bungling. This, more than any other failure , is the reason that the U.S. numbers for COVID-19 are now more than 1.5 million and about a third of all global infections. Contrast this with China, the first to face an unknown epidemic, stopping it at 82,000 infections, and the amazing results that countries such as Vietnam and South Korea have produced.

One issue is now looming large over the COVID-19 pandemic. If we do not address the intellectual property rights issue in this pandemic, we are likely to see a repeat of the AIDS tragedy . People died for 10 years (1994-2004) as patented AIDS medicine was priced at $10,000 to $15,000 for a year's supply, far beyond their reach. Finally, patent laws in India allowed people to get AIDS medicine at less than a dollar a day , or $350 for a year's supply. Today, 80 percent of the world's AIDS medicine comes from India. For big pharma, profits trumped lives, and they will continue to do so, COVID or no COVID, unless we change the world.

Most countries have compulsory licensing provisions that will allow them to break patents in case of epidemics or health emergencies. Even the WTO, after a bitter fight, accepted in its Doha Declaration (2001) that countries, in a health emergency, have the right to allow any company to manufacture a patented drug without the patent holder's permission, and even import it from other countries.

Why is it, then, that countries are unable to break patents, even if there are provisions in their laws and in the TRIPS Agreement? The answer is their fear of U.S. sanctions against them. Every year, the U.S. Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issues a Special 301 Report that it has used to threaten trade sanctions against any country that tries to compulsorily license any patented product. India figures prominently in this report year after year, for daring to issue a compulsory license in 2012 to Natco for nexavar, a cancer drug Bayer was selling for more than $65,000 a year . Marijn Dekkers, the CEO of Bayer, was quoted widely that this was "theft," and "We did not develop this medicine for Indians We developed it for Western patients who can afford it."

This leaves unanswered how many people even in the affluent West can afford a $65,000 bill for an illness. But there is no question that a bill of this magnitude is a death sentence for anybody but the super-rich in countries like India. Though a number of other drugs were under also consideration for compulsory licensing at that time, India has not exercised this provision again after receiving U.S. threats.

It is the fear that countries can break patents using their compulsory licensing powers that led to proposals for patent pooling. The argument was that since many of these diseases do not affect rich countries, big pharma should either let go of their patents to such patent pools, or philanthropic capital should fund the development of new drugs for this pool. Facing the pandemic of COVID-19, it is this idea of patent pooling that emerged in the recent World Health Assembly , WHA-73. All countries supported this proposal, barring the United States and its loyal camp follower, the UK . The United States also entered its disagreement on the final WHA resolution, being the lone objector to patent pooling of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines, noting "the critical role that intellectual property plays in incentivizing the development of new and improved health products."

While patent pooling is welcome if no other measure is available, it also makes it appear as if countries have no other recourse apart from the charity of big capital. What this hides, as charity always does, is that people and countries have legitimate rights even under TRIPS to break patents under conditions of an epidemic or a health emergency.

The United States, which screams murder if a compulsory license is issued by any country, has no such compunction when its own interests are threatened. During the anthrax scare in 2001, the U.S. Secretary of Health issued a threat to Bayer under "eminent domain for patents" for licensing the anthrax-treatment drug ciprofloxacin to other manufacturers. Bayer folded, and agreed to supply the quantity at a price that the U.S. government had set. And without a whimper. Yes, this is the same Bayer that considers India as a "thief" for issuing a compulsory license!

The vaccination for COVID-19 might need to be repeated each year, as we still do not know the duration of its protection. It is unlikely that a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 will provide a lifetime immunity like the smallpox vaccine. Unlike AIDS, where the patient numbers were smaller and were unfortunately stigmatized in different ways, COVID-19 is a visible threat for everyone. Any attempt to hold people and governments to ransom on COVID-19 vaccines or medicines could see the collapse of the entire patent edifice of TRIPS that big pharma backed by the United States and major EU countries have built. That is why the more clever in the capitalist world have moved toward a voluntary patent pool for potential COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. A voluntary patent pool means that companies or institutions holding patents on medicines -- such as remdesivir -- or vaccines would voluntarily hand them over to such a pool. The terms and conditions of such a handover, meaning at concessional rates, or for only for certain regions, are still not clear -- leading to criticism that a voluntary patent pool is not a substitute for declaring that all such medicines and vaccines should be declared global public goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike clever capital, Trump's response to the COVID-19 vaccine is to thuggishly bully his way through. He believes that with the unlimited money that the United States is now willing to put into the vaccine efforts, it will either beat everybody else to the winning post, or buy the company that is successful . If this strategy succeeds, he can then use "his" COVID-19 vaccine as a new instrument of global power. It is the United States that will then decide which countries get the vaccine (and for how much), and which ones don't.

Trump does not believe in a rule-based global order , even if the rules are biased in favor of the rich. He is walking out of various arms control agreements and has crippled the WTO . He believes that the United States, as the biggest economy and the most powerful military power , should have the untrammeled right to dictate to all countries. Threats of bombing and invasions can be combined with illegal unilateral sanctions ; and the latest weapon in his imaginary arsenal is withholding vaccines.

Trump's little problem is that the days of the United States being a sole global hegemon passed decades ago. The United States has shown itself as a fumbling giant and its epidemic response shambolic . It has been unable to provide virus tests to its people in time, and failed to stop the epidemic through containment/mitigation measures, which a number of other countries have done.

China and the EU have already agreed that any vaccine developed by them will be regarded as a public good. Even without that, once a medicine or a vaccine is known to be successful, any country with a reasonable scientific infrastructure can replicate the medicine or the vaccine, and manufacture it locally. India in particular has one of the largest generic drug and vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world. What prevents India, or any country for that matter, from manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines or drugs once they are developed -- only the empty threat of a failed hegemon on breaking patents?


Noel Nospamington , May 28, 2020 at 4:19 am

Clearly the Trump and Johnson administrations are completely wrong in not supporting that all COVID vaccines and medications be declared as public goods. This is an unprecedented global threat requiring unprecedented global response.

But as a Canadian I have to reluctantly admit, there are legimate reasons to oppose the WHO. Trump like a broken clock can be correct twice a day, even if he is wrong the other 1438 times a day.

The worst offence is that the WHO (World Health Organisation) is suppose to represent the world, and yet it deliberately excludes Taiwan, which it a known part of the world with 24 million people.

Taiwan was the first to inform the WHO of human-to-human transmissions in December, but was completely ignored. And Taiwan has best handled its response to the pandemic.

Personally I think that all countries should stop supporting the WHO until it restores Taiwan's observer status it previous had until 2016. The only other reasonable option would be to create an alternative health organisation to the WHO which does not exclude any part of the world.

The WHO also has other failings, including corruption, exorbitant travel expenses, and an unqualified president beholden to the CCP. But these failings pale in comparison to Taiwan's exclusion, and hopefully the other failings can be fixed within the organisation.

Amfortas the hippie , May 28, 2020 at 7:49 am

"Just how evil does this situation become? Is the general leadership of the American political economy trying to be evil just for the fun of it?"

And at what point does the general indifference to this state of affairs that still, incredibly, obtains, turn over into mass outrage and condemnation?
Skrelli, Bayer, and all the rest are frelling evil. Extortion writ large, with easily preventable death and suffering.

it did NOT begin with trump.It's been there for most of my life. What will it take for ordinary people to get mad enough about it all to do something about it?

Even in this article, the unspoken assumption is that our hands are somehow tied that these corps have agency far beyond anyone else's but those corps can be seized, and exist only at the pleasure of governments in the places they pretend to exist in.

They are a human creation an Egregore, set tottering about as if it were willful and alive but even Lefties treat them as untouchable godlike entities "oh, well lets appeal to "Benevolent Capital, instead "

"Behold, I show you the last man. 'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?' thus asks the last man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest. 'We have invented happiness,'say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth

One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.

No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse. 'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most refined, and they blink

One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health. 'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, and they blink.""

-Zarathustra

mpalomar , May 28, 2020 at 8:50 am

As you note it's about profits. One of the disturbing condemnations of the now fading American Century, which most USians remain contentedly oblivious to is that during their watch as global hegemon, the US, in what can be seen, in the best light, as bad faith, worked to undermine the democratic functionality of international cooperative organizations like the WHO, the UN, etc.

Thus when emergencies arise such as international diplomatic crisis or pandemics, it is found these organisations have been rendered untrustworthy, corrupted and unreliable; unsuited to purpose. American exceptionalism?

VietnamVet , May 28, 2020 at 5:55 am

It is clear now that the USA will not fund a national public health system to fight the coronavirus epidemic. The only conclusion is the reason is to allow Pharmaceutical Corporations to make huge profits by marketing patented drugs and vaccines to treat the illness; if and when, they become available sometime in the future.

Due to incompetence, lack of money and bad messengering; the economic reopening of the USA could kill close to a million Americans. To Republicans and Libertarians, this is of no concern. Democrats may acknowledge the deaths but say they are unavoidable.

For the Elite keeping their wealth is more important than spending a portion to prevent the huge costs in lives and treasure that will come once the Wuhan Coronavirus is established across North America like the related common cold.

Alternate Delegate , May 28, 2020 at 6:32 am

This is a teachable moment on the immorality of all "intellectual property". I am pleased to see that so many countries – other than the US and the UK – can get together on the common decency of allowing everyone to live, and set that above the "justice" of paying off intellectual property assignees. But these countries still have some ways to go in understanding that this applies to all information. That the creation of information can never be a living – in contrast to a living based on the creation of essential goods and services, about which we are learning so much right now! – and that information can never be owned.

They do not yet fully comprehend that all claims to own and extract rent from information are in fact crimes against humanity.

But they will. A teachable, as I said, moment.

Bugs Bunny , May 28, 2020 at 7:05 am

The intention of granting copyrights and patents was noble, to provide a limited monopoly on an invention or literary work for a limited period. IP has been distorted and twisted, extended to insane time limits to protect works that for any common sense thinkers have already become public domain (see, e.g. the Happy Birthday song, Mickey Mouse or re-formulation of a drug that's gone out of patent). Software should have had its own IP regime but that ship has sailed (thanks Bill G.).

Either a giant reform is due or people will ignore the law and infringe the IP. Chinese companies do it with impunity. Maybe they're right to do so.

John Wright , May 28, 2020 at 9:59 am

It appears that the USA has some real competition in the intellectual property game.

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Intellectual_Property_Indicators

Patent applications for the top 20 offices, 2018
Rank Country Patent applications
1 China 1,542,002
2 U.S. 597,141
3 Japan 313,567
4 South Korea 209,992

If one sums up USA patent applications vs Asia (China, Japan, SK), it is USA 597K vs Asia 2066K.

So Asia is putting in patent applications, vs the USA, at a 3.46 multiple vs the USA.

It will be interesting to see if the USA attitude about the sanctity of intellectual property changes when important key patents are held by the rest of the world.

timbers , May 28, 2020 at 8:33 am

Teachable moments. This could get really interesting if China or a non US & associated puppets develops an effect Covid treatment first.

I will dream of something like this: China develops vaccine, offers it free to US on condition it reduce it's Dept of War & Aggression by 80% and honor all existing and recently existing arms control agreement, and withdraws it's Naval forces though out the world and confines them to the North Atlantic and California coast.

ProNewerDeal , May 28, 2020 at 8:55 am

I wonder if a geopolitically powerful nation/bloc of nations such as China/India/etc might announce that they disregard pharma IP, & announce that they will adhere to the economist Dr Dean Baker-type policy of open source pharma R&D/recipe publication, any private manufacturer may manufacture & sell the resultant pharma SKU. I am referring to any type of pharma or medical device (such as ventilators), not just a COVID-19 vaccine. I would guesstimate that the "soft power" & goodwill generated by such a policy would be extremely beneficial to those nation(s). Furthermore, the US if it tried to retaliate via sanctions or other threats would get a corresponding additional decrease in soft power.

Raj , May 28, 2020 at 9:37 am

To be honest, in some instances Indian govt practices on pharma are quite bad. It is extremely hard in some instances to recoup investments at prices they ask for.

[May 28, 2020] Cuomo blames nursing homes for following his Covid-19 order that KILLED PATIENTS - after removing it from website

Notable quotes:
"... The obligation is on the nursing home to say, 'I can't take a Covid-positive person,' ..."
"... If they said 'I can't take the person,' they can't take the person! So that's how it works ..."
"... the optimum feeding ground for this virus ..."
"... No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [Nursing Home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 ..."
"... must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals ..."
"... Advisory: Hospital Discharges and Admissions to Nursing Homes ..."
"... following the president's agencies' guidance ..."
"... follow[ing] what the Republican Administration said to do. ..."
"... admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including...from hospitals where a case of Covid-19 was present ..."
May 28, 2020 | www.rt.com

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has stealthily attempted to rewrite history, deleting his controversial order requiring nursing homes to admit Covid-19 patients from the state health website and blaming facilities for obeying it. After being lambasted in the press for the March 25 executive order that forced New York elder care facilities to accept patients infected with the highly contagious virus, Cuomo attempted to blame the nursing homes for not disobeying his orders during a Wednesday press conference.

Now he's blaming the nursing homes for obeying HIS ORDERS! pic.twitter.com/W2YBdwhvXi

-- Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) May 27, 2020

" The obligation is on the nursing home to say, 'I can't take a Covid-positive person,' " the governor insisted. " If they said 'I can't take the person,' they can't take the person! So that's how it works ."

The coronavirus has cut a devastating swath through New York's nursing homes, killing more than 5,800 people in long-term care facilities since the pandemic began - nearly a fifth of the state's Covid-19 deaths so far, according to AP statistics compiled on Thursday. The policy ultimately sent over 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes, which Cuomo himself called " the optimum feeding ground for this virus ."

But the executive order itself leaves little room for disobedience, reading (in underlined text, no less), " No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the [Nursing Home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 ." Elsewhere in the document, facilities are advised they " must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals " so long as they've been deemed medically stable - no excuses allowed. Facilities aren't even permitted to test incoming patients.

He specifically told them they couldn't do that @NYGovCuomo pic.twitter.com/x31PWu1v9R

-- commonsense (@commonsense258) May 27, 2020

But that same order, titled " Advisory: Hospital Discharges and Admissions to Nursing Homes ," was apparently removed from the New York healthcare website early this month, according to Fox News, which discovered its absence on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Cuomo's revisionism, it's still available in the Wayback Machine . The governor issued a revised directive on May 10, barring hospitals from sending patients back to nursing homes unless they tested negative for the virus. However, his communications director denied the more recent order represented a " reversal " of the old one so much as " build[ing] on " it.

By Saturday, however, Cuomo was blaming the Trump administration for the ill-advised Covid-19 mandate, declaring New York was merely " following the president's agencies' guidance " and " follow[ing] what the Republican Administration said to do. " While the governor's office claimed he was referring to a March directive from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, that order merely required nursing homes to " admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including...from hospitals where a case of Covid-19 was present " and even advised setting aside a unit to quarantine patients returning from hospitals - a safety measure notably missing from Cuomo's executive order.

[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 | www.zerohedge.com

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 unherd.com 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 CDC Slashed The COVID-19 Fatality Rate To A Fraction Of Earlier Estimate Used To Justify Lockdowns

May 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Governments throughout the world and across the US justified extreme, draconian, undemocratic, and unconstitutional (in most US states) "lockdown" and stay-at-home orders on the grounds that the COVID-19 virus was exceptionally fatal.

In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) was claiming that the fatality rate was a very high 3.4 percent .

Yet as time went on, it became increasingly clear that such high estimates were essentially meaningless because researchers had no idea how many people were actually infected with the disease. Tests were largely being conducted on those with symptoms serious enough to end up in emergency rooms or doctor's offices.

By late April, many researchers were publishing new studies showing that the number of people with the disease was actually much higher than was previously thought. Thus, it became clear that the percentage of people with the disease who died from it suddenly became much smaller.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new estimates suggesting that the real fatality rate is around 0.26 percent.

Specifically, the report concludes that the "symptomatic case fatality ratio" is 0.4 percent. But that's just symptomatic cases. In the same report, the CDC also claims that 35 percent of all cases are asymptomatic.

Or, as the Washington Post reported this week:

The agency offered a "current best estimate" of 0.4 percent. The agency also gave a best estimate that 35 percent of people infected never develop symptoms. Those numbers when put together would produce an infection fatality rate of 0.26, which is lower than many of the estimates produced by scientists and modelers to date."

Of course, not all scientists have been wrong on this. Back in March, Stanford scientist John Ioannidis was much, much closer to the CDC's estimate than the WHO. The Wall Street Journal noted in April :

In a March article for Stat News, Dr. Ioannidis argued that Covid-19 is far less deadly than modelers were assuming. He considered the experience of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined Feb. 4 in Japan. Nine of 700 infected passengers and crew died. Based on the demographics of the ship's population, Dr. Ioannidis estimated that the U.S. fatality rate could be as low as 0.025% to 0.625% and put the upper bound at 0.05% to 1% -- comparable to that of seasonal flu.

Not that this will settle the matter.

Proponents of destroying human rights and the rule of law in order to carry out lockdowns will continue to insist that "we didn't know" what the fatality rate was back in March. The lack of evidence, however, didn't stop proponents of lockdowns from implementing policies that destroyed the ability of families to earn a living, and which also created social conditions that caused child abuse and suicides to spike.

But for more sane people, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Those who have claimed that lockdowns are "the only option" had virtually no evidence at all to support their position. Indeed, such extreme over-the-top measures such as the general lockdowns required an extreme level of high-quality, nearly irrefutable evidence that lockdowns would work and were necessary in the face of a disease with an extremely high fatality rate. But the only "data" the prolockdown people could offer was speculation and hyperbolic predictions of bodies piling up in the streets.

But that became politically unimportant.

The people who wanted lockdowns had gained the obeisance of powerful people in government institutions and in the media . So actual data, science, or respect for human rights suddenly became meaningless. All that mattered was getting those lockdowns. So the lockdown crowd destroyed the lives of millions in the developed world -- and more than a hundred million in the developing world -- to satisfy the hunches of a tiny handful of politicians and technocrats.

[May 27, 2020] A Virus-Hunter Falls Prey to a Virus He Underestimated

May 27, 2020 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

The evening of March 19 he began feeling feverish and developed a headache.

"My immediate thought was, 'Oh, I hope it's not Covid.'"

Each day he felt more tired, his fever hovering at about 100 degrees.

"It hit me like a bus. Extreme exhaustion, like every cell in your body is tired. And my scalp was very sensitive -- it hurt if Heidi touched it. That's a neurological symptom."

It was a new feeling. Despite all the time he has spent in mosquito-riddled climes, "I'd never been seriously ill in my life," he said. A regular jogger and apparently healthy he joked, "This is the first time in my adult life I didn't drink wine for a month."

Image
Dr. Larson in the office of the Vaccine Confidence Project in London last year. Credit... Edu Bayer for The New York Times

Dr. Larson, on the other hand, has survived a fusillade of tropical diseases in her travels: cerebral malaria, hepatitis E, typhoid and dengue.

"I knew how a lot of the symptoms Peter had felt -- how you hold your head when it hurts, how fatigued you get just moving across the room. So if he asked for water, or anything, I dropped what I was doing and got it immediately. Time is a different experience when you're not well -- every minute matters."

At the time, it was almost impossible to get tested; the few kits available were reserved for hospitals.

On March 26, he finally found one through a private doctor. It was positive, and his fever kept rising.

On March 31, it hit 104 degrees and he began feeling confused. He and his wife went to the emergency room of the Royal London Hospital. Latest Updates: Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S.

See more updates Updated Just now More live coverage: Global Markets New York

Although he did not feel short of breath, his oxygen saturation was only 84 percent, dangerously low. An X-ray showed fluid in both lungs in a pattern that suggested bacterial pneumonia.

His blood tests "were really bad," he said. His levels of C-reactive protein, which indicate inflammation, and of D-Dimer, which indicate blood clots forming, were both very high.

"I instantly changed from doctor to patient," he said. He was put on oxygen and sent upstairs on a gurney.

"That was when it hit me in the stomach," Dr. Larson said. She had been allowed to stay while he was assessed but could not venture upstairs.

Normally Britain's National Health Service hospitals "are as crowded as Indian buses," Dr. Larson said. "But they had a campaign saying, 'Don't come to the hospital unless you're in the 11th hour,' so it was almost empty."

"But when I saw Peter go through the double doors on that cart -- I had the same feeling as the Ebola families we knew in Sierra Leone: They were hiding their relatives because they didn't want to be separated from them emotionally, knowing they might never see them again."

At first, Dr. Piot said, he was so exhausted he was apathetic. He asked for a single room, but was told they were reserved for people who had not tested positive, for their protection. He was put in a 20-by-22-foot room, one bathroom, with three other men.

"They call the N.H.S. 'the great equalizer,'" he said. "The food was bangers and mash -- awful. And my roommates snored a lot."

Image
Dr. Piot, second left, in Yambuku, present-day Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1976. Credit... Joel Breman

Dr. Larson went home that night to hear on the news that Dr. Gita Ramjee, a well-known South African AIDS researcher, had just died of Covid-19. Dr. Ramjee was an honorary professor at Dr. Piot's school and had led a symposium there before falling ill.

"She was my age, and I suddenly felt an acute sense of 'it could happen to me,'" Dr. Larson said.

Dr. Piot was struggling with his own fears.

"All you can do is lie there thinking, 'I hope it's not going to get worse.'"

He got intravenous antibiotics and high-flow oxygen, and was roused every two hours for checks on his a blood pressure and other vital signs.

"I was particularly anxious that I not be put on a ventilator," he said. "Ventilators can save lives, but they can also do a lot of harm. Once you're on one, your chances of surviving are the same as of surviving Ebola -- about one third." The Coronavirus Outbreak


Every day, he talked to Dr. Larson or his grown children. He did get to watch episodes of a new BBC series about a Sicilian detective, " Inspector Montalbano ," that his wife recommended.

"If this had happened before cellphones, can you imagine the loneliness?" he said. "It's like being in prison. Look, I know I'm privileged, and I know I'm not going to be stuck here for 27 years like Nelson Mandela. But the world shrinks to the essentials. All you can think is: 'How is my breathing going?'"

Finally, Dr. Piot said, his oxygen saturation came up to 92 percent. He was discharged on April 8.

"They wanted to call me a taxi, but I said no, I wanted to breathe the now non-polluted air in London."

He took a train home.

"It was a shock, like Stockholm syndrome," he said of his survival. "When I got home, frankly, I started crying. It was so emotional."

But his body wasn't through with the disease.

Before the hospital released him, he had tested negative for the virus. But now something else was going on -- a delayed immune reaction.

"Gradually, I became short of breath," he said. "We live in an old Georgian house, with three floors, and I had a hard time getting upstairs."

Dr. Larson bought a pulse oximeter, a fingertip monitor that measures blood oxygen levels.

She recently tested positive for antibodies to the virus herself, although her illness was so mild that she's not sure when it peaked. She had two bouts of bad headaches, the first in late March and the second in mid-April. The second time, she also had itchy red eyes, which are a rare but recognized symptom and may indicate infection through the eyes .

On April 15, Dr. Piot's heart started to race to 165 beats a minute. The percentage of his blood oxygen dropped to the mid-80s again.

He and Dr. Larson went to the University College Hospital where he had a chest X-ray.

This time, instead of distinct bacterial masses on each side, "my lungs were full of infiltrates, and they were a real mess. It's called ' organizing pneumonia .'"

The tiny sacs that grow like bunches of grapes throughout the lungs, he explained, were oozing signaling proteins -- he was having a "cytokine storm." Those drew voracious white blood cells into the spaces between the air sacs so they threatened to block the paths oxygen normally takes to his red blood cells.

His doctors thought about rehospitalizing him -- an outcome he dreaded.

"My grandfather fought in the trenches in World War I -- in those poppy fields in Flanders," Dr. Piot said. "He said the worst part was going home on leave -- and then realizing what you had to go back to."

But hospitalizing him on oxygen might have been fruitless -- his lungs were "stiffening" and perhaps unable to absorb it.

Instead, Dr. Joanna Porter, who specializes in difficult pneumonias, put him on an intravenous steroid to reduce the inflammation, along with an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots from his atrial fibrillation.

Britain's N.H.S. bureaucracy forbade her from discussing Dr. Piot's treatment, though he gave his permission. He is still under her care. Last week, a PET scan, CT scan and bronchoscopy showed that parts of his lungs have not completely cleared. "And," he added, ever the universal health care booster, "tell your American audience: All these expensive tests are free from the N.H.S."

The steroids appear to be working, but taking them for too long can have side effects, including muscle wasting, weakening of bones and diabetes.

Image

[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 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"... 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

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/26/2020-election-democrats-281470

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

Sir,

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.

https://fticommunications.com/covid-19/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FTI-Shifting-Expectations-II-Topline-Results.pdf

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:21 PM
walrus

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
Corkyagain

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

turcopolier , 26 May 2020 at 03:26 PM
LondonBob

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
LondonBob

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
CorkyAgain,

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
LondonBob,

" 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.

Corky,

"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
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3086177/coronavirus-uses-same-strategy-hiv-dodge-immune-response-chinese

"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 bioRxiv.org 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."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8351113/Wuhan-virus-lab-signed-Michel-Barnier-2004-despite-French-intelligence-warnings.html

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:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1265255835124539392

CK , 27 May 2020 at 03:38 PM
@Barbara
If Israel, Mexico, Great Britain, China, Ukraine, Canada, et.al 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?
https://americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechnetwork4.html
Same as it ever was.

[May 26, 2020] COVID-19 progress, take 2

May 26, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , May 25, 2020 10:13 pm

    This is a very interesting virus. IMHO curves by the country does not tell us much as local conditions drastically differ within each single country. Like in 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics" :-)

    As death rates in many countries include both from COVID-19 and "with COVID-19" those curves can even be misleading. Only excessive deaths rom previous years average make some sense in country to country comparison.

    First of all, the spread is highly concentrated in large multi-million cities. For example, NYC metropolitan area accounts for ~40% of attributed to COVID-19 deaths and essentially dominates the country stats.

    But the situation in NYC and Hudson river area of NJ is not all the USA. Outside large cities and their immediate suburbs the USA is affected much less.

    For example, in many towns 70 miles west from NYC nobody knows even one person who became infected.

    The second interesting feature of this virus is that it mainly kills old (and, especially, very old) as well as obese ("diabetic" in the USA is, in a way, a code name for the morbidly obese), and hypertonics. Those three categories cover around 80% of all deaths, Add to them people with other serious medical conditions and you probably get 90%.

    As such, they reflect as much the level of inequality and "aging population" phenomena, as the government reaction..

    If so, the question arise whether the sacrifices forced by prolonged quarantine are justified by the severity of the epidemic (the first month was probably justifiable as it was unclear what kind of danger we face) ?

    Also Fauci fake prognoses (based on now discredited Ferguson models) now became serious liability both for him and for Trump (Fauci probably is a goner; hopefully Trump is too )

    And while Trump administration as a whole demonstrated amazing incompetence in the process, states amplifies it with arbitrary measures of their own and idiotic moves. Remember Cuomo stupid (and expensive) quest for more ventilators, for more hospital beds, and his controversial directive ordering nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients..

    I also doubt that opening shops in the areas with zipcodes that registered zero or single digit of cases can change something. Just look how unequal the NY counties are:

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-york/

    For example, I doubt that there is much value in continuation of quarantine in the bottom dozen of counties in this table.

    There is no surprise that in many western counties the NY and NJ governors are now viewed as enemies of people and effigies were burned on Memorial day 😉

    At the same time the problems for NYC and vicinities are not gone. They now look even more serious. Homeless, subways, packed buses and elevators are pretty efficient means of spreading the virus and will remains so. Population density is also a huge, insurmountable factor.

    So here one size definitely does not fit all and the work should be done differently in individual areas.

    In may areas closing shops and restaurants was probably redundant and closing of entertainment (especially night clubs and cinemas) and churches (which are mostly attended by old people) as well as special protection measured for nursing homes and prisons might be sufficient.

[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 | www.moonofalabama.org

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 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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 | www.moonofalabama.org

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] I Think It May Have Cost Lives - Nobel Prize Winner Slams Lockdowns As Product Of Panic Virus

May 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

According to the Telegraph , Michael Levitt correctly predicted the initial trajectory of the pandemic, but was ignored by now-disgraced Imperial College epidemiologist Niall Ferguson, whose warnings were embraced by the UK government as justification for the lockdown, despite the fact that the projections proved to be extremely flawed and dramatically overestimated the virus's potential for devastation. As early as march, Levitt warned that Ferguson's projections had over-estimated the potential death toll by "10 or 12 times".

Instead of helping the situation, Fergusons' projections created an unnecessary "panic virus" which spread among global political leaders, Prof Levitt told the Telegraph.

Prof Levitt, a British-American-Israeli who shared the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2013 for the "development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems", has said for two months that the planet will beat coronavirus faster than most other experts predict.

"I think lockdown saved no lives," said the scientist, who added that the Government should have encouraged Britons to wear masks and adhere to other forms of social distancing.

"I think it may have cost lives. It will have saved a few road accident lives - things like that - but social damage - domestic abuse, divorces, alcoholism - has been extreme. And then you have those who were not treated for other conditions."

Data from various studies has offered a mixed picture about the effectiveness of the lockdowns. The number of cases and deaths has undoubtedly plunged in the US and across Europe since strict lockdowns were almost universally enacted, but many wonder whether governments are being overly cautious, perhaps to a dangerous degree.

Though his models have been vindicated by the passage of time, Levitt said his initial concerns about Ferguson's models were largely ignored due to what he calls the "panic virus", despite the fact that there's recent precedent for epidemiological models over-estimating the impact of other outbreaks, including H1N1 and Ebola.

Having assessed the initial outbreak in China and from the infected Diamond Princess cruise ship, he predicted by March 14 that the UK would lose around 50,000 lives. Prof Ferguson's modelling that same week estimated up to 500,000 deaths without social distancing measures.

"I think that the real virus was the panic virus," Prof Levitt told the Telegraph. "For reasons that were not clear to me, I think the leaders panicked and the people panicked and I think there was a huge lack of discussion..

The 73-year-old has no background as an epidemiologist, but he assessed the outbreak in China and prepared a paper based on his own calculations. Most countries, he predicted, would suffer a Covid-19 death rate worth around an extra month in excess deaths over the calendar year.

"In Europe, I don't think that anything actually stopped the virus other than some kind of burnout," he added. " There's a huge number of people who are asymptomatic so I would seriously imagine that by the time lockdown was finally introduced in the UK the virus was already widely spread. They could have just stayed open like Sweden by that stage and nothing would have happened."

Professor Levitt has now analysed the data from 78 nations with more than 50 reported cases of coronavirus. His investigations proved the virus was never going to achieve the type of exponential growth that the researchers at Imperial were predicting at the same time.

At this point, Levitt believes the virus has reached a point of saturation across Europe and parts of the US making lockdowns much less effective. At this point, they're probably causing far more harm than benefit.

The virus "has saturated", he believes, across Europe. "I think the lockdown will cause much more damage than the deaths saved," he added. "When I saw the briefing (from Prof Ferguson) I was shocked. I had a run-in with him when I actually saw that Ferguson's death rate was a year's worth - doubling the normal death rate. I saw that and said immediately that's completely wrong. I think Ferguson over-estimated 10 or 12 times. We should have seen from China that a virus never grows exponentially. From the very first case you see, exponential growth actually slows down very dramatically.

"The problem with epidemiologists is that they feel their job is to frighten people into lockdown, social distancing. So you say 'there's going to be a million deaths' and when there are only 25,000 you say 'it's good you listened to my advice'. This happened with Ebola and bird flu. It's just part of the madness."

Prof Levitt says the global evidence shows the virus fades in dry heat and in much of the western world "there seems to be some kind of immunity". "The main worry I would have would be in China," he said when asked about the prospect of a second outbreak. "I am 73 and I feel very young," he added. "I don't care about the risk at all. As you get old the risk of dying from disease is so high that this is the time to buy a motorcycle, go skiing!"

Even as the NYT and WaPo search for every shred of evidence to support the view that the reopening in the US will lead to a second wave, they're finding that there's not nearly as much as they'd hoped - which is why projections are their new favorite tool.

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

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

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] 'How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?' The government's disease-fighting agency is conflating viral and antibody tests, compromising a few crucial metrics that governors depend on to reopen their economies. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, and other states are doing the same.

Notable quotes:
"... "According to CDC, the disease of obesity affects about 78 million Americans 1 and the ASMBS estimates about 24 million have severe or morbid obesity." ..."
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 24 2020 23:54 utc | 46

And the government botching of this crisis continues...

'How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?' The government's disease-fighting agency is conflating viral and antibody tests, compromising a few crucial metrics that governors depend on to reopen their economies. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, and other states are doing the same.
https://tinyurl.com/y92ea59f

And overseas as well...

'Politicised nature' of lockdown debate delays Imperial report
https://tinyurl.com/y7csboom

And of course, the effect of that...

Nearly half of US states haven't contained their coronavirus outbreaks, a new study finds
https://tinyurl.com/yc72pd8t

And no, Sweden is not doing better...

Just 7.3% of Stockholm had Covid-19 antibodies by end of April, study shows
Official findings add to concerns about Sweden's laissez-faire strategy towards the pandemic
https://tinyurl.com/yahnmb3a

Finally, a large scale study on HCQ - 86,000 patients, with 15,000 receiving HCQ...

Trump drug hydroxychloroquine raises death risk in Covid patients, study says
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-52779309

The color of coronavirus:
COVID-19 deaths by race and ethnicity in the U.S.
https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race

Blacks are *twice* as likely to get it as whites and Latinos. American Indians are *five times* more likely to get it. They conclude the best indicator is poverty.

From The Lancet, a study of New York patients... Epidemiology, clinical course, and outcomes of critically ill adults with COVID-19 in New York City: a prospective cohort study https://tinyurl.com/yblmszsx

Between March 2 and April 1, 2020, 1150 adults were admitted to both hospitals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, of which 257 (22%) were critically ill.

The median age of patients was 62 years (IQR 51–72), 171 (67%) were men. 212 (82%) patients had at least one chronic illness, the most common of which were hypertension (162 [63%]) and diabetes (92 [36%]).

119 (46%) patients had obesity.

As of April 28, 2020, 101 (39%) patients had died and 94 (37%) remained hospitalised.

203 (79%) patients received invasive mechanical ventilation for a median of 18 days (IQR 9–28), 170 (66%) of 257 patients received vasopressors and 79 (31%) received renal replacement therapy.

The median time to in-hospital deterioration was 3 days (IQR 1–6).

In the multivariable Cox model, older age (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1·31 [1·09–1·57] per 10-year increase), chronic cardiac disease (aHR 1·76 [1·08–2·86]), chronic pulmonary disease (aHR 2·94 [1·48–5·84]), higher concentrations of interleukin-6 (aHR 1·11 [95%CI 1·02–1·20] per decile increase), and higher concentrations of D-dimer (aHR 1·10 [1·01–1·19] per decile increase) were independently associated with in-hospital mortality.

Note: 36% had diabetes; 46% were fat. Like I've said before, "diabetes" is a code word for "fat." And how many people in the US are fat and thus at risk? "According to CDC, the disease of obesity affects about 78 million Americans 1 and the ASMBS estimates about 24 million have severe or morbid obesity."

So much for "let's just isolate the elderly"...so we can attend our baseball games this summer and stuff ourselves with crap food...

[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 | www.unz.com

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%.

[ ]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DKh6kJ-RSMI?feature=oembed

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 | www.unz.com

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. ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/04/23/roosevelt-coronavirus-epidemiology )

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 https://www.lji.org/news-events/news/post/first-detailed-analysis-of-immune-response-to-sars-cov-2-bodes-well-for-covid-19-vaccine-development/ )
– 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:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1107913/number-of-coronavirus-deaths-in-sweden-by-age-groups/

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 23, 2020] Lock Bill Gates Up!

May 23, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Millennial Millie investigates the deep conflicts of interest and connections Bill Gates has with the coronavirus and his proposed 'vaccine' to cure the pandemic.

[May 23, 2020] Plummeting Morale, Rising Discontent

May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

financial matters , May 23 2020 0:36 utc | 49

This is an interesting look at the situation in the military as related to the militaries place in society. It is written in Marxist language of class struggle which is one way to look at it. There does seem to be pressure for some sort of social reform.

Also similar things could be said about the working conditions of many of our 'essential workers'

The Coronavirus Crisis Is Creating Dissent Within The Ranks Of The Armed Forces.
https://popularresistance.org/the-growing-outbreak-of-discontent-in-the-us-military/

""It is a well-known feature of revolutionary history that the individual soldiers and sailors who make up the armed forces can be affected by the overarching mood in society and play a key role in the class struggle. The cramped quarters of Navy warships have been likened to "floating factories," and given the proletarian background of most of their crews, these conditions can breed a fierce class hatred.

Add a deadly virus to the already volatile mix, and the stage is set for a social explosion.

On April 2, Thomas Modly, the then-Acting Secretary of the Navy, relieved Crozier of command and ordered him removed from the vessel. An online video was posted of Crozier leaving the vessel, with the Roosevelt's crew on deck cheering him and chanting his name. To the rank and file, an officer standing up to leadership at such a high level to advocate on their behalf is almost unheard of. Then, Modly, who previously sat on the Defense Business Board of a $42 billion consulting firm, actually flew all the way out to Guam -- at a reported cost of $243,000 -- to personally berate the crew, calling them "stupid," and Captain Crozier "naïve." His profanity-laden rebuke was also leaked by members of the crew.

Modly was defiantly heckled by the sailors, and after the subsequent public outcry, he resigned on April 7. As of the writing of this article, there have been over 1,100 positive cases of COVID-19 among the crew of the Roosevelt -- including Crozier himself. One crew member, a junior enlisted sailor, has died. The crew continues to languish in port as Crozier's dire prediction came true. This saga of higher-level commanders ignoring the warnings of the people "on the ground" is all too familiar to the military rank and file.

Plummeting Morale, Rising Discontent

The public heckling of Thomas Modly was a significant event. No matter how unpopular the leader, service members will almost always "sit there and take it," both out of a sense of professionalism -- and out of fear of punishment. The response of the Roosevelt's crew reflects a population on edge

In these conditions of dysfunction and discontent, military leaders are undoubtedly haunted by the recent 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, which marked the defeat of the US in Vietnam amid widespread mutinies and soldier resistance. In the course of that war, the Pentagon documented half a million cases of desertion, and at least 900 incidents of "fragging" -- the deliberate killing of officers by soldiers.

As a result, the Pentagon drew certain conclusions and the entire military was restructured in an attempt to cut across a repeat of those events. The military is no longer made up of conscripts, most combat missions are performed by special forces or drones, and information is effectively sanitized and kept out of public view. And yet, despite these measures, service member opposition to the current wars, has been on the rise, especially among veterans.

In many cases, soldiers are recruited on the predatory basis of the "poverty draft," with the promise of a stable income, housing, healthcare, education opportunities, and an escape from the deprivations of capitalism. But the empty nature of these promises is revealed by the rates of homelessness and mental illness among veterans.

According to a "Political Risk Outlook" published by the strategic consulting firm Maplecroft, a quarter of the countries on the earth's surface experienced a surge in civil unrest, mass protests, and revolutionary situations last year. The report summary concluded by describing 2019 as the "new normal":"

The pent-up rage that has boiled over into street protests over the past year has caught most governments by surprise. Policymakers across the globe have mostly reacted with limited concessions and a clampdown by security forces, but without addressing the underlying causes. However, even if tackled immediately, most of the grievances are deeply entrenched and would take years to address. With this in mind, 2019 is unlikely to be a flash in the pan. The next 12 months are likely to yield more of the same, and companies and investors will have to learn to adapt and live with this "new normal." "

[May 22, 2020] Washington State conned out of a likely 'hundreds of millions of dollars' by Nigerian scammers

If Nigerian hackers can steal that much money, Israel, Chinese, and Russian, intel agencies probably are in the most Fed information systems doing what they want ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... officials in Washington State may have lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" to fraudsters filing bogus unemployment claim ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.rt.com
officials in Washington State may have lost "hundreds of millions of dollars" to fraudsters filing bogus unemployment claim s – all the way from Nigeria.

[May 22, 2020] Grandma Killer Cuomo Sent 4,300 Patients Back To Nursing Homes Despite Positive COVID-19 Tests

May 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"Grandma Killer" Cuomo Sent 4,300 Patients Back To Nursing Homes Despite Positive COVID-19 Tests by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 17:25 Earlier this month, a reporter at one of NY Gov Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings asked the governor about reports that the state issued guidance calling for hospitals to return thousands of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 to nursing homes or long-term care facilities where they lived.

Somehow, despite the horrifying notion that Cuomo deliberately sent patients back to nursing homes where they unleashed some of the deadliest outbreaks in the country, the governor readily owned up to the decision, and insisted public health officials believed this to be the best option to prevent the patients from just hanging around the hospital.

With the benefit of hindsight, we now see that the hospital bed shortages that the US had prepared for never came to pass. So, not only did this decision lead to thousands of deaths, it was also totally unnecessary.

Because as the Associated Press reported Friday morning, an investigation discovered that more than 4,000 nursing home patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 were returned to their care facilities due to this state order.

More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York's already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation's deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press.

AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York's Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete.

The issue has become a huge problem for Cuomo, who has been labeled "the grandma killer" by critics. When confronted with the data by the AP, the state health department declined to comment. One individual quoted by the AP called it "the single dumbest decision" made during the response to the pandemic.

And guess what - this decision had nothing to do with President Trump. While Cuomo of course tried to deflected criticism to the Trump administration by claiming that the decision stemmed from federal guidance, the AP pointed out that "few states went as far as New York and neighboring New Jersey, which has the second-most care home deaths, in discharging hospitalized coronavirus patients to nursing homes. California followed suit but loosened its requirement following intense criticism."

Whatever the full number, nursing home administrators, residents' advocates and relatives say i t has added up to a big and indefensible problem for facilities that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- the main proponent of the policy -- called "the optimum feeding ground for this virus."

"It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people," Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of COVID-19 at home.

"This isn't rocket science," Arbeeny said. "We knew the most vulnerable - the elderly and compromised - are in nursing homes and rehab centers."

Told of the AP's tally, the Health Department said late Thursday it "can't comment on data we haven't had a chance to review, particularly while we're still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data in the middle of responding to this global pandemic."

Cuomo didn't reverse the order until May 10. According to the directive, nursing homes could "refuse" to take in the patients if they weren't "equipped" to handle them. But unsurprisingly, no nursing homes did so - since this would be tantamount to admitting that the facilities weren't safe .

Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week , saying he didn't believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York -- more than in any other state -- and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.

"Any nursing home could just say, 'I can't handle a COVID person in my facility,'" he said, although the March 25 order didn't specify how homes could refuse, saying that "no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based" on confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Over a month later, on April 29, the Health Department clarified that homes should not take any new residents if they were unable to meet their needs, including a checklist of standards for coronavirus care and prevention.

And according to the AP, even the most well-equipped nursing homes in the state saw the trickle of COVID patients turn into a flood that quickly overwhelmed their ability to cope. Across the country, thousands of nursing home residents and staff have succumbed to the illness.

Gurwin Jewish, a 460-bed home on Long Island, seemed well-prepared for the coronavirus in early March, with movable walls to seal off hallways for the infected. But after the state order, a trickle of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals turned into a flood of 58 people.

More walls were put up, but other residents nonetheless began falling sick and dying. In the end, 47 Gurwin residents died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

The state order "put staff and residents at great risk," CEO Stuart Almer said. "We can't draw a straight line from bringing in someone positive to someone catching the disease, but we're talking about elderly, fragile and vulnerable residents."

Nationally, over 35,500 people have died from coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about a third of the overall death toll, according to the AP's running tally.

Bottom line: Irony of ironies, the most sanctimonious blue-state governors, who used every conceivable pretext to bash President Trump, also allowed the largest numbers of vulnerable patients to die because of what amounts to sheer bureaucratic idiocy.

The scandal has earned Cuomo a new nickname that has been heavily suppressed by the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter: The "Grandma Killer".

[May 22, 2020] Cuomo Order That Sent Estimated 4,300 Covid-19 Patients to Nursing Homes Denounced as 'Single Dumbest Decision Anyone Could Make'

May 22, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing new criticism after the Associated Press reported Friday that a state directive led to over 4,300 still recovering coronavirus patients being sent to New York's "already vulnerable nursing homes."

"It was a death sentence," tweeted Daniel Choi, a doctor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He called the directive a "horrendous idea" and "definitely not something any doctor taking care of nursing home patients would have signed off on."

The state health department directive (pdf), issued March 25, barred nursing homes from requiring patients deemed "medically stable" from being tested for Covid-19 prior to admission. Cuomo, a Democrat, rescinded the order May 10, but not before thousands of infected patients likely entered nursing homes and contributed to the coronavirus's spread.

The estimated number tallied by the AP amounts to what would have been a "big and indefensible problem for facilities," the outlet reported.

From the AP :

"It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people," Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of Covid-19 at home.

"This isn't rocket science," Arbeeny said. "We knew the most vulnerable -- the elderly and compromised -- are in nursing homes and rehab centers."

CBS New York reported Friday that the conoravirus has taken the lives of almost 5% of nursing home residents in the state, and this week the Cuomo tried to deflect blame for the directive.

"Why did the state do that with Covid patients in nursing homes?" asked Cuomo. "It's because the state followed President Trump's CDC guidelines. So they should ask President Trump."

In an op-ed at the Guardian on Wednesday questioning the recent accolades heaped on the New York governor -- including suggestions that Cuomo run for president -- journalists Lyta Gold and Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs magazine write that "Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. "

Gold and Robinson argue that blame for New York's high death toll from the virus should sit largely with Cuomo.

"Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor," they wrote, citing as examples his failure to take swift action, delays in imposing social distancing measures, Medicaid cuts both before and after the start of the pandemic, and his partnership with Silicon Valley billionaires to "reimagine education."

"This is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by 'whether they are better than Republicans,' wrote Gold and Robinson. "This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again."

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

May 22, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3164&v=QLi6ZrFp6vQ&feature=emb_logo

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".
Or
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
Sir,
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
Re:
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'

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/doctors-raise-alarm-about-health-effects-of-continued-coronavirus-shutdown

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 math...you 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
TedBuila

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
jerseycityjoan

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?"

Eric,

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
Sir,
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
jerseycityjoan

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?"

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/goldman-spots-huge-problem-fed

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 say...it 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,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_10988
His initial order was upheld, I'm sure this one would be too.
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-shift/2019/07/17/executive-orders-limiting-federal-employee-unions-reinstated-458951


[May 22, 2020] Battle Covid-19, Not Medicare for All: Doctors Demand Hospital Industry Stop Funding Dark Money Lobby Group

May 22, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

A progressive organization of 23,000 physicians from across the U.S. demanded Thursday that the American Hospital Association (AHA) divest completely from a dark-money lobbying group that has spent millions combating Medicare for All and instead devote those financial resources to the fight against Covid-19 and to better support for patients and healthcare workers.

Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), said in a statement that "the Covid-19 pandemic has stretched hospitals' resources to the limit, and the AHA should not waste precious member hospitals' funds lobbying against universal health coverage" as a member of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future (PFAHCF).

Because Medicare for All would provide a lifeline to hospitals in underserved areas that have been hit hard by Covid-19, Gaffney argued, the AHA "cannot claim to represent hospitals while also opposing a single-payer system that would keep struggling hospitals open." The AHA represents around 5,000 hospitals and other healthcare providers in the U.S.

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, public health officials are accusing the Trump administration of directing billions of dollars in Covid-19 hospital bailout funds to high-revenue providers while restricting money to hospitals that serve low-income areas.

Tenet Healthcare, an investor-owned hospital company that has donated hundreds of thousands to PFAHCF, has received $345 million in Covid-19 bailout funds, Axios reported last month.

"The AHA should immediately leave the PFAHCF," Gaffney said, "and redirect that money to supporting patients and frontline healthcare workers."

"As physicians, we can no longer tolerate a health system that puts profits ahead of patients and public health," Gaffney added. "It's time for health professionals to hold accountable the organizations that claim to represent us."

Formed in the summer of 2018 by an alliance of pharmaceutical, insurance, and hospital lobbyists with the goal of countering the push for universal healthcare, PFAHCF's anti-Medicare for All " army " has grown rapidly since its founding, with the AHA joining the fray in 2019.

As The Intercept reported last October, the for-profit hospital industry has played an "integral role" in the corporate fight against single-payer.

[May 22, 2020] America's Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further

May 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"America's Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further" [ The Atlantic ]. "America spent much of April on a disquieting plateau, with every day bringing about 30,000 new cases and about 2,000 new deaths .

This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways . The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic. The patchwork is not static. Next month's hot spots will not be the same as last month's.

I spoke with two dozen experts who agreed that in the absence of a vaccine, the patchwork will continue. Cities that thought the worst had passed may be hit anew. States that had lucky escapes may find themselves less lucky. The future is uncertain, but Americans should expect neither a swift return to normalcy nor a unified national experience, with an initial spring wave, a summer lull, and a fall resurgence. "The talk of a second wave as if we've exited the first doesn't capture what's really happening," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. What's happening is not one crisis, but many interconnected ones.

A patchwork was inevitable, especially when a pandemic unfolds over a nation as large as the U.S. But the White House has intensified it by devolving responsibility to the states. There is some sense to that. American public health works at a local level, delivered by more than 3,000 departments that serve specific cities, counties, tribes, and states. This decentralized system is a strength: An epidemiologist in rural Minnesota knows the needs and vulnerabilities of her community better than a federal official in Washington, D.C.

But in a pandemic, the actions of 50 uncoordinated states will be less than the sum of their parts. Only the federal government has pockets deep enough to fund the extraordinary public-health effort now needed. Only it can coordinate the production of medical supplies to avoid local supply-chain choke points, and then ensure that said supplies are distributed according to need, rather than influence

The pandemic patchwork exists because the U.S. is a patchwork to its core . New outbreaks will continue to flare and fester unless the country makes a serious effort to protect its most vulnerable citizens, recognizing that their risk is the result of societal failures, not personal ones." • A must-read.

[May 22, 2020] Andrew Cuomo is no hero. He's to blame for New York's coronavirus catastrophe

May 22, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

Andrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. ... All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California. By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California.

Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor. Cuomo initially "reacted to De Blasio's idea for closing down New York City with derision", saying it "was dangerous" and "served only to scare people". He said the "seasonal flu was a graver worry". A spokesperson for Cuomo "refused to say if the governor had ever read the state's pandemic plan". Later, Cuomo would blame the press, including the New York Times for failing to say "Be careful, there's a virus in China that may be in the United States?" even though the Times wrote nearly 500 stories on the virus before the state acted. Experts told ProPublica that "had New York imposed its extreme social distancing measures a week or two earlier, the death toll might have been cut by half or more".

But delay was not the only screw-up. Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests. As Business Insider documented:

"Testing was slow . Nonprofit social-service agencies that serve the most vulnerable couldn't get answers either . And medical experts like the former CDC director Tom Frieden said 'so many deaths could have been prevented' had New York issued its stay-at-home order just 'days earlier' than it did. On March 19, when New York's schools had already been closed, Cuomo said 'in many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.'"

The governor has failed to take responsibility for the obvious failures, consistently blaming others and at one point even saying " governors don't do pandemics ". (Actually, some governors just don't read their state's pandemic plans.) But much of the press has ignored this, focusing instead on Cuomo's aesthetic presentation: his poise during press conferences, his dramatic statements about "taking responsibility" (even when he obviously hasn't), and his invisible good looks. ...

There's something disturbing about Cuomo being hailed as the hero of the pandemic when he should rightly be one of the villains. As Business Insider notes, he is now only able to attain praise for his actions because his earlier failures made those actions necessary. He's lauded for addressing a problem that he himself partly caused. Of course, part of this is because Donald Trump has bungled the coronavirus response even more badly , so that Cuomo – by not being a complete buffoon – looks like a capable statesman by contrast. But this is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by "whether they are better than Republicans". This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again.

[May 22, 2020] With 36 Million Newly Out of Work, Trump Says He s Willing to Let Boosted Unemployment Benefits Expire

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

President Donald Trump told Republican senators during a private lunch Tuesday that he is willing to let expanded unemployment benefits expire at the end of July, a decision that would massively slash the incomes of tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the president "privately expressed opposition to extending a weekly $600 boost in unemployment insurance for laid-off workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to three officials familiar with his remarks."

House Democrats passed legislation last week that would extend the beefed-up unemployment benefits through January of 2021 as experts and government officials -- including Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell -- warn the U.S. unemployment rate could soon reach 25%. The unemployment insurance boost under the CARES Act is set to expire on July 31, even as many people have yet to receive their first check.

"With nearly 1 in 5 Americans out of work, Donald Trump's plan is to cut off the boost to unemployment benefits and shower his wealthy buddies with more tax cuts," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the architects of the unemployment insurance expansion, told HuffPost . "This is the worst economic crisis in 100 years and Donald Trump is doubling down on Herbert Hoover's economic playbook and pushing workers to risk their health for his political benefit."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) -- who declared earlier this month that Congress will only extend the boosted unemployment insurance "over our dead bodies" -- said after the private lunch that Trump believes the benefits are "hurting the economic recovery." Graham was one of several Republican senators who opposed the initial expansion of unemployment benefits as too generous.

An analysis released last week by the Hamilton Project, an initiative of the Brookings Institution, found that expanded unemployment benefits offset "roughly half of lost wages and salaries in April." Unemployment insurance has "been essential to families, and is vital for keeping the economy from cratering further," the authors of the analysis noted.

Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department economist, estimated that "come July 31, if the emergency UI top-up isn't extended, unemployed workers will effectively get a pay cut of 50-75% overnight."

"It's increasingly looking like there won't be enough labor demand to hire them all back at that point," Tedeschi tweeted.

The latest Labor Department statistics showed that more than 36 million people in the U.S. have filed jobless claims since mid-March as mass layoffs continue in the absence of government action to keep workers on company payrolls. Despite the grim numbers, the Post 's Jeff Stein reported Tuesday that the White House is " predicting a swift economic recovery " as it resists additional efforts to provide relief to frontline workers and the unemployed.

On top of rejecting an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance, Trump last month publicly voiced opposition to another round of direct stimulus payments, instead advocating a cut to the tax that funds Social Security and Medicare.

[May 22, 2020] McDonald's Workers Strike Across US to Demand Better Protections From Covid-19

May 22, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

Demanding McDonald's prioritize public health and worker safety over profits, hundreds of employees at the fast food chain went on strike Wednesday, a day before the company was set to hold its annual shareholders' meeting.

Instead of distributing dividends to its shareholders, the striking employees are calling for the company to use its massive profits to pay for safety and financial protections for workers, scores of whom have contracted Covid-19 in at least 16 states so far.

Employees and strike organizers at the fair wage advocacy group Fight for $15 are demanding hazard pay during the pandemic of "$15X2," paid sick leave, sufficient protective gear for workers, and company-wide policy of closing a restaurant for two weeks when an employee becomes infected, with workers being fully paid.

The strike is taking place at stores in at least 20 cities. Fight for $15 and the SEIU, which is also supporting the action, say it's the first nationwide coordinated effort targeting the company since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.

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

May 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

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 | www.unz.com

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] The Argument Against the Argument Against Facemasks

May 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 19 2020 6:26 utc | 110


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
https://tinyurl.com/yctjydmx

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
https://tinyurl.com/yah8orzo

THE STATE OF THE NATION: A 50-STATE COVID-19 SURVEYUSA, April 2020
https://tinyurl.com/yaf58h27

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.

Richard Steven Hack , May 19 2020 7:03 utc | 113
Another useful article on masks...which is likely to be the next hot-button issue for the idiots and trolls...

The Science and Politics of Masks in the Covid-19 Pandemic
https://tinyurl.com/y7bxakhv


One of the key things to understand in thinking about the value of masks is the concept of the viral dose. While it seem logical that a single viral particle hitting a person's mouth, nose or eye could cause an infection, strong laboratory and empirical evidence says that this is not the case -- it takes a big dose of virus to launch a case of Covid. This happy fact means that masks for everyday use don't need to block 100% of pathogens in order to prevent the disease from spreading. (Even the medical grade N95 masks don't block every viral particle, but they block enough to protect the user, even when caring for patients with known Covid-19.)

A simulation by De Kai and colleagues makes the case that masks are most effective if at least 80% of people are using them. The figure below maps the rate of transmission with the expected deaths from Covid-19 in a nation the size of the UK. According to the simulation, social distancing alone without masking would lead to 1.16 million deaths by May 31st. However, with 50% of the population masking, the projected death figure drops to 240,000. With 80% masking, there are 60,000 deaths. If Professor De Kai's mind-blowing video (below) doesn't convince you of the virtue of mask wearing, I just don't know what to tell you.

Video referenced above:
Visual simulations show why we all need to wear masks now #UniversalMasking #masks4all #COVID19
42,341 views •Apr 26, 2020
https://tinyurl.com/yc89vf9c

[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 | www.moonofalabama.org

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
https://tinyurl.com/yctjydmx

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
https://tinyurl.com/yah8orzo

THE STATE OF THE NATION: A 50-STATE COVID-19 SURVEYUSA, April 2020
https://tinyurl.com/yaf58h27

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 21, 2020] New York Times continues to prop up the vaccine hype

May 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 21 2020 0:49 utc | 55

New York Times continues to prop up the vaccine hype:

Coronavirus Live Updates: Scientists See Progress in Path to Vaccine by Next Year

In addition to this Home Page highlight, there's an opinion piece as a side dish:

What to Expect When a Coronavirus Vaccine Finally Arrives

Buried a little bit more at the bottom, there's this borderline pseudoscientific, definitely reckless article:

Prototype Vaccine Protects Monkeys From Coronavirus

There is a statistical possibility a vaccine comes out next year. But his possibility is remote. The key here is that a vaccine must be tested to the exhaustion before being ok'd by any government for mass use. Any mistake can result in a number of deaths that will make this pandemic look like child's play. My opinion is that the NYT is feeding too much enthusiasm to its readers.

Circe , May 19 2020 12:05 utc | 119

The Moderna Vaccine the media is touting as a promising, miracle breakthrough that has only been tested on a limited group of 45 people, aged 18 to 55 has Grade 3 adverse effects in 100 and 250 microgram dosage.

So they're going to lower dosage to 50 micrograms and test it on the 56 to 70 and over 70 age groups. What about the group most Americans are in: the KFC, McDonald's, IHOP group?

[May 20, 2020] Trust Is Being Undermined - Harvard Medical School Prof Questions Fauci's Shading Vaccine Results

Fauci jumped the gun with the Moderna vaccine promotion.
Notable quotes:
"... Former Harvard Medical School professor and founder of the university's cancer and HIV/AIDS research departments, William Haseltine dared to speak out today about the high level of bullshit and damage that is being done to "trust" in "scientists" and even dared to break the one holy writ that shall go un-mentioned, throwing some shade a Dr.Fauci. ..."
"... But, but, but... the CNBC anchorette blubbered, "are you questioning Dr. Fauci who also said that this was encouraging news?" ..."
"... "Whether [Fauci] shaded what should should have been done, I think is an important question. He's obviously under enormous pressure for positive results but it was not the right thing to do if you can't see the data." ..."
"... The most recent example is Moderna's claim Monday of favorable results in its vaccine trial, which it announced without revealing any of the underlying data. The announcement added billions of dollars to the value of the company, with its shares jumping almost 20 percent. Many analysts believe it contributed to a 900-point gain in the Dow Jones industrial average. ..."
"... The Moderna announcement described a safety trial of its vaccine based on eight healthy participants. The claim was that in all eight people, the vaccine raised the levels of neutralizing antibodies equivalent to those found in convalescent serum of those who recovered from covid-19. What to make of that claim? Hard to say, because we have no sense of what those levels were. This is the equivalent of a chief executive of a public company announcing a favorable earnings report without supplying supporting financial data, which the Securities and Exchange Commission would never allow. ..."
"... There is a legitimate question regarding what Moderna's unsupported assertion means. The scientific and medical literature reports that some people who have recovered have little to no detectable neutralizing antibodies . There is even existing scientific literature that suggests it is possible neutralizing antibodies may not protect animals or humans from infection or reinfection by coronaviruses. ..."
"... The National Institutes of Health announced last month that the drug remdesivir offered a clear benefit to covid-19 patients with moderate disease, shortening the length of their hospital stay by several days. But did it really? Twenty days after the announcement, the supporting data has still not been published. Without the data, no doctor treating a patient can be sure they are doing the right thing. ..."
"... Another paper , published the same day, found that remdesivir had no measurable effect on patient survival or the amount of virus detectable in nasopharynx and lung secretions. What then should a practicing physician do? Follow the unsupported advice of a news announcement or a medical report published in a leading scientific journal? This is not an idle question: The NIH announcement triggered a global stampede for limited supplies of the drug. ..."
"... The media also bears responsibility. Asking experts to opine on unsubstantiated claims is not useful. Medicine and science are not matters of majority opinion; they are matters of fact supported by transparent data. This is the backbone of scientific progress and our only hope to end this pandemic. We can't give up on our standards now. ..."
May 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
At a moment in time when narrative-following "scientists" are lauded like unquestionably omniscient supreme beings enabling dumb-as-a-rock-partisan-politicians to play omnipotent overlords without fear of blowback, the world needs more people like William Haseltine.

The last two weeks have seen markets and politicians jump exuberantly at the hope of every press release from a biotech firm that proclaims one of their pet rabbits didn't die when they fed it their latest DNA-reshaping test material (oh that is except if anyone dares say anything positive about hydroxychloroquine but that is a topic for another discussion) as the fate of global citizenry rests on a vaccine (and definitely not herd immunity, don't even mention it).

Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy said it right - when did we shift from "flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve" to "we have to fund a cure or everyone's going to die."

And so, that is where we find ourselves... Every talking head proclaiming the same malarkey - we will re-open carefully, with PPE, and social distancing, and whetever else is mandated from on-high "until we find a vaccine in 12-18 months" at which point the world will be made whole again and Kumbaya...

All of which brings us back to the man of the day in our humble opinion.

Former Harvard Medical School professor and founder of the university's cancer and HIV/AIDS research departments, William Haseltine dared to speak out today about the high level of bullshit and damage that is being done to "trust" in "scientists" and even dared to break the one holy writ that shall go un-mentioned, throwing some shade a Dr.Fauci.

Reflecting on Moderna's press release this week (which was immediately followed by massive equity raises across numerous biotech firms and upgrades from the underwriters, surprise), Haseltine said:

"If a CFO had tried to get away with such an opaque and data-less statement it would have bee treated with derision and possibly an investigation."

The CNBC anchor desperately tried to guilt him into the official narrative of clinging to any hope as long as it lifts stocks - no matter its utter bullshittiness - but Haseltine destroyed her naive party line:

"we all know its an emergency, and in an emergency it's even more important to be clear on what you know and what you do not know."

Moderna did not follow the process:

"you don't know what happened, we don't know what happened, there is no data."

But, but, but... the CNBC anchorette blubbered, "are you questioning Dr. Fauci who also said that this was encouraging news?"

"Whether [Fauci] shaded what should should have been done, I think is an important question. He's obviously under enormous pressure for positive results but it was not the right thing to do if you can't see the data."

The full interview below is a must-watch by all who care about their freedom being controlled by a narrative directed by fearmongering elites in the name of "science" when the "science" is a) being ignored, b) being bastardized to meet a political need, c) being treated as if handed down on high from the man himself, or d) being manipulated explicitly.

https://player.cnbc.com/p/gZWlPC/cnbc_global?playertype=synd&byGuid=7000137277&size=530_298

Why this former Harvard Med School prof says Moderna's vaccine trial 'publication by press release' from CNBC .

Haseltine's interview is perfect lead into his opinion piece in todays' Washington Post :

Faith in medicine and science is based on trust. But today, in the rush to share scientific progress in combating covid-19, that trust is being undermined.

Private companies, governments and research institutes are holding news conferences to report potential breakthroughs that cannot be verified. The results are always favorable, but the full data on which the announcements are based are not immediately available for critical review. This is "publication by press release," and it's damaging trust in the fundamental methods of science and medicine at a time when we need it most.

The most recent example is Moderna's claim Monday of favorable results in its vaccine trial, which it announced without revealing any of the underlying data. The announcement added billions of dollars to the value of the company, with its shares jumping almost 20 percent. Many analysts believe it contributed to a 900-point gain in the Dow Jones industrial average.

The Moderna announcement described a safety trial of its vaccine based on eight healthy participants. The claim was that in all eight people, the vaccine raised the levels of neutralizing antibodies equivalent to those found in convalescent serum of those who recovered from covid-19. What to make of that claim? Hard to say, because we have no sense of what those levels were. This is the equivalent of a chief executive of a public company announcing a favorable earnings report without supplying supporting financial data, which the Securities and Exchange Commission would never allow.

There is a legitimate question regarding what Moderna's unsupported assertion means. The scientific and medical literature reports that some people who have recovered have little to no detectable neutralizing antibodies . There is even existing scientific literature that suggests it is possible neutralizing antibodies may not protect animals or humans from infection or reinfection by coronaviruses.

Such "publication by press release" seems to be a standard practice lately.

The National Institutes of Health announced last month that the drug remdesivir offered a clear benefit to covid-19 patients with moderate disease, shortening the length of their hospital stay by several days. But did it really? Twenty days after the announcement, the supporting data has still not been published. Without the data, no doctor treating a patient can be sure they are doing the right thing.

Another paper , published the same day, found that remdesivir had no measurable effect on patient survival or the amount of virus detectable in nasopharynx and lung secretions. What then should a practicing physician do? Follow the unsupported advice of a news announcement or a medical report published in a leading scientific journal? This is not an idle question: The NIH announcement triggered a global stampede for limited supplies of the drug.

The case is more nuanced for the vaccine developed by the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, though the mileposts remain the same: It started with a public pronouncement of favorable results from an early study, this time in monkeys, well before any data was publicly released. An NIH scientist working on a trial of the Oxford vaccine gave an interview to the New York Times , claiming the drug was a success.

But the data, released as a prepublication version more than two weeks after the story ran, didn't quite live up to the early claim. All of the vaccinated monkeys became infected when introduced to the virus. Though there was some reduction in the amount of viral RNA detected in the lungs, there was no reduction in the nasal secretions in the vaccinated monkeys. So the positive result reported by the Oxford group turned out not to be protection from infection at all, something most would agree is what a successful vaccine would do. Instead, it lowered only the amount of virus recoverable from the vaccinated monkey's lung.

To the Jenner Institute's credit, it does warn visitors to its website that there have been many false reports about the progress of its vaccine trial. Still, having a scientist working on the trial paint preliminary results in such a positive manner without having yet released the full data is cause for concern.

We all understand the need to share scientific and medical data as rapidly as possible in this time of crisis. But a media announcement alone is not enough. There are ways to share the data quickly and transparently: posting manuscripts before review or acceptance on publicly available websites or working with journals to allow an early view. Publishing in this manner allows doctors and scientists to reach their own conclusion, based on the evidence available.

The media also bears responsibility. Asking experts to opine on unsubstantiated claims is not useful. Medicine and science are not matters of majority opinion; they are matters of fact supported by transparent data. This is the backbone of scientific progress and our only hope to end this pandemic. We can't give up on our standards now.

* * *

So, by all means, trust in "science" but choose your "scientist" well...


Pure Evil, 13 minutes ago

It seems the more this hoax is exposed. The more Gates/Fauci appear as money grubbing opportunist vaccine pushers the more the MSM and the government double down on the whole false narrative.

hanekhw, 13 minutes ago

Look around at the moral climate and ask yourself if lying about everything for profit was not required for success how can we stop it without pain, suffering and violence? There really IS no free lunch and there never has been nor ever will be. We pay one way or another but we ALL pay.

Enraged, 15 minutes ago

Fake media, fake Big Pharma, fake banksters, fake government, fake breasts, fake stock "market", fake medical agencies, fake wars.

Assume they are 100% wrong unless there is substantial evidence they are correct, which will be on very rare occasions.

[May 20, 2020] Adding insult to injury Spike in Covid-19 robocalls fraud

Few things can be more annoying than answering the phone while you're in the middle of something -- and then being greeted by a recording. If you receive a robocall trying to sell you something (and you haven't given the caller your written permission), it's an illegal call. You should hang up. Then, file a complaint with the FTC and the National Do Not Call Registry.
May 20, 2020 | www.rt.com

From phony positive Covid-19 test results to deceptive offers of financial relief, robocalls have proliferated amid the pandemic, separating Americans from millions of precious dollars at a time when few can afford to lose money.

One particularly nasty scam sees the target receive a text or phone call warning them they've been exposed to the virus, tricking them into providing personal information while in a state of panic. Another cruel variant dangles the possibility of virus-related financial relief if they just give up their bank account details or wire the scammer a small " fee " – a tempting prospect at a time when half of American workers are unlikely to see a paycheck this month and upwards of 36 million have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Phony treatments – in which the target orders a miracle cure, only to never receive it – comprise some 22 percent of coronavirus-related robocalls, making them the most common pandemic scam.

Even those who haven't been personally scammed by a robocaller have experienced stress because of them, Provision found; 70 percent of millennials are concerned a parent or grandparent will be preyed upon by the automated scammers, who frequently impersonate government authorities like the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service in order to con their targets out of bank account information or other personal data. In fact, nearly two in five robocalls (39 percent) claim to be the SSA, with 38 percent impersonating the IRS and 33 percent pretending to be debt collectors.

The Covid-19 scams are apparently quite effective, robbing Americans of over $13.4 million of their hard-earned cash in the first three months of 2020 alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That number doesn't include scams that haven't been discovered by their victims, or those that go unreported to the FTC – meaning the real figure is likely much higher.

[May 20, 2020] Beware of fake contact tracers, N.J. officials warn

May 20, 2020 | www.nytimes.com

Beware of fake contact tracers, N.J. officials warn.

New Jersey officials warned residents on Wednesday to be wary of fraudsters identifying themselves as contact tracers in order to obtain financial information.

In recent weeks, as health departments have hired legitimate tracers to track the spread of the coronavirus, fake tracers have been sending people text messages looking for insurance information and bank account and social security numbers, said Judith Persichilli, the state health commissioner.

Real contact tracers do not ask for such things, the state said.

A legitimate tracer will call, identify themselves as part of a local health department, and explain to the person on the phone that they may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

Scams around the virus, unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have proliferated nationwide , the authorities say.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy said "there is a special place in hell" for people who would scam others during the pandemic.

Mr. Murphy also reported the state's daily virus fatalities: 168, bringing the overall death toll to 10,747.

[May 20, 2020] Was Fauci a complete idiot to use Ferguson model as the base of his own forecast

May 20, 2020 | www.armstrongeconomics.com

Stochastic" is simply defined as "randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely." In other words, they begin with a presumption, and therein lies the FIRST error. Ferguson's assumption was wrong, to begin with. Then this mode is so old, they recommend that it be run only on a single CORE processor as if we were dealing with an old IBM XT.

Effectively, you start the program with what is called a "seed" number which is then used to produce a random number. Most children's games begin this way. In fact, this is a version of what you would be similar to the game SimCity where you create a city starting from scratch and it simulates what might happen based upon the beginning presumption. There are numerous bugs in the code and the documentation suggests to run it several times and take the average. This is just unthinkable! A program should produce the same result with the same data from which it begins. Therefore, there is no possible way this model would ever produce the same results. In reality, this model produces completely different results even when beginning with the very same starting seeds and parameters because of the attempt to also make the seed random. This is not even as sophisticated as SimCity, which is really questionable. This is where the Imperial College claims that the errors will vanish if you run it on an old system in the single-threaded mode as if you were using a 1980s XT.

In programming, you run what is known as a regression-test, which is re-running a functional and non-functional test to ensure that previously developed and tested software still performs after a change. In market terminology, its called back-testing. In the most unprofessional manner imaginable, the Imperial College code does not even have a regression-test structure. They apparently attempted to but the extent of the random behavior caused by bugs in the code to prevent that check? On April 4th, 2020, Imperial College noted:

" However, we haven't had the time to work out a scalable and maintainable way of running the regression test in a way that allows a small amount of variation, but doesn't let the figures drift over time."

This Ferguson Model is such a joke it is either an outright fraud, or it is the most inept piece of programming I may have ever seen in my life. There is no valid test to warrant any funding of Imperial College for providing ANY forecast based upon this model. This is the most UNPROFESSIONAL operation perhaps in computer science. The entire team should be disbanded and an independent team put in place to review the world of Neil Ferguson and he should NOT be allowed to oversee any review of this model.

The only REASONABLE conclusion I can reach is that this has been deliberately used to justify bogus forecasts intent for political activism, or I must accept that these academics are totally incapable of even creating a theoretical model no less coding it as a programmer. There seems to have been no independent review of Ferguson's work which is unimaginable!

A 15,000 line program is nothing. I will be glad to write a model like this in two weeks and will only charge $1 million instead of $79 million. If you really want one to work globally, no problem. It will take a bit more time and the price will be at a discount – only $50 million on sale – refunds not accepted as is the deal with Imperial College.

[May 19, 2020] One more Fauci narrative about how the virus was so horrific, used to justify the lockdowns, is shown to be utter bullshit. Remember "the immunity doesn't last, you can get reinfected, the next time it's lethal"?

May 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

aqualech , May 19 2020 1:29 utc | 98

So just one more narrative about how the virus was so horrific, used to justify the lockdowns, is shown to be utter bullshit. Remember "the immunity doesn't last, you can get reinfected, the next time it's lethal"?

So, contrary to that, lots of people have immunity before they even get exposed to it. From the common cold. So the idea that the corona immunity is a short term and unreliable thing was just a bunch of uninformed blather, or worse, targeted and manipulative narrative.

Fearmongering bullshit that is 95% wrong needs to get called out constantly.

Even in New York there was not the "catastrophic death count" that I see people writing about as if it were true.

Hey! Let's talk about duct tape and plastic sheeting! Remember that idiotic bullshit scare narrative?

[May 19, 2020] Fauci vs. Trump -- Who's Right by Pat Buchanan

May 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

"We have met the moment and we have prevailed," said President Donald Trump Monday, as he supported the opening of the U.S. economy before the shutdown plunges us into a deep and lasting depression.

Tuesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, made clear to a Senate committee his contradictory views.

"If states reopen their economies too soon, there is a real risk that you may trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control," said Fauci. "My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks of the disease (and) the inevitable return of infections."

Fauci is talking of the real possibility of a second and even more severe wave of the pandemic this summer and fall, if we open too soon.

There is evidence to justify the fears of Fauci and Dr. Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control, who told the same Senate committee, "We are not out of the woods yet."

Yet, there is a case to be made for the risks that Trump and red state governors are taking in opening up sooner.

The Washington Post daily graph of new deaths nationally has been showing a curve sloping downward for a month from April's more than 2,000 a day. On no day yet this week did the U.S. record 2,000 dead from the virus. On some days, there were fewer than 1,000.

The graph for new coronavirus cases, which was showing more than 30,000 a day in April, is now closer to 25,000.

Also, hospitalizations and ICU occupancies are not as high as they were. Hospitals put up in Central Park and the Javits Center seem not to have been needed. There was and is no shortage of ventilators. The Navy hospital ships Comfort and Mercy are returning to their home ports.

Also, not all states are suffering equally, nor are all communities in the hardest-hit states. There have been three times as many COVID-19 cases in New Jersey as in Texas, though New Jersey is a fraction of the size and has a fraction of the population of Texas.

There are twice as many cases in Massachusetts as in Florida, the nation's third-most populous state with one of its highest percentages of retirees and elderly. There have been five times as many cases in New York as in California.

It is the nursing homes filled with the elderly and ill that have proven to be the real killing fields of this virus. According to The New York Times, one-third of all deaths from COVID-19 have come among residents and staff of nursing homes. Beyond these are the meatpacking plants and the prisons where social distancing is almost nonexistent.

Moreover, while Fauci and Redfield are specialists in epidemics, Trump's portfolio goes far beyond that.

He is chief of state, head of government and commander in chief, responsible for the security and defense of the nation. His portfolio is broader and deeper than those of Fauci and Redfield.

ORDER IT NOW

In the first hours of the Normandy invasion, General Eisenhower must have been rightly alarmed about the high U.S. casualties on Omaha Beach. But he also had to concern himself with the failure to capture the Port of Caen to bring ashore the armor to stop any German counterattack that might turn D-Day into another Anzio.

Ike could not worry about casualties alone.

According to The Washington Post, economists already project that 100,000 small businesses have shuttered, never to reopen.

"(D)eeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy," warned Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday. "Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come."

Ultimately, Fauci is not "The Decider" here. Trump is.

It is he who is accountable to the nation for weighing the losses, both human and material, due to his decisions.

Fauci may be the best at what he does, but he is still only an adviser. As John F. Kennedy said after the Bay of Pigs, it is the president who ultimately bears responsibility for what he does and fails to do, while "the advisers may move on to new advice."

Believing he can do no more than his White House is now doing to contain the incidence of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Trump has decided his primary job is to prevent the nation from a catastrophic economic collapse from which it might take years to recover.

The country is slowly moving in Trump's direction, slowly opening. And he will be responsible for whether the policy succeeds or opens the floodgates to a second and worse wave, should it come.

As Abraham Lincoln put his situation: "I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won't matter. If I'm wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won't make a difference."

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Copyright 2020 Creators.com.

Bill H , says: Show Comment May 15, 2020 at 5:41 am GMT

Fauci says that, "My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks of the disease "

The problem with his statement is the first two words. A science advisor is supposed to provide advice based knowledge and science. It is not part of his job description to voice his feelings.

BobM11 , says: Show Comment May 15, 2020 at 7:52 am GMT
In this case, it doesn't matter who is "right" only one of them is POTUS! I get it that Trumps perch on his seat is tenuous and exactly how much real control he has over the government he supposedly heads is open to speculation, but at the end of the day Trump is POTUS and this is no time to be thinking of political futures he must be focused on the future of America.

We need not only an end to the lockdowns, but an end to the media campaign to demoralize the country by hyping the non-event known as corona virus. It is all hype. when you get past the spin and media blitz, there is nothing about this virus that would justify any kind of response beyond your doctor testing you for covid along with the flu when you go to the doctor with flu symptoms. That's it.

This is simply not the life altering virus that is being hyped. The enemy here is NOT the virus, it is the (((elites))) who are trying to destroy us. It is time people it is time.

[May 18, 2020] Judicial Watch files lawsuit seeking Dr. Fauci, WHO records - YouTube

May 18, 2020 | www.youtube.com

soakedbearrd , 6 days ago (edited)

Good, he's a crooked snake. And the WHO is corrupt.

Candy Rinard , 6 days ago

Don't trust Fauci at all. Not one thing he says.

Ender Gate , 1 week ago

Fauci sits on the leadership board of the Gates Foundation. That's a conflict of interest...

Eagle Arrow , 1 week ago

Fauci & Gates shouldn't be able to patent vaccines from research funded by American tax payers.

Mary Bevacqua , 1 week ago

Look at Fauci's connection and history. Follow the money! Corruption is a normal way of life. People's lives are NOT a concern.

dolphinsc1 , 1 week ago

Gen. Flynn is the perfect example of how far these gov't agencies will go to protect a lie and those frauds involved in the cover up/hoax. Trump was there target, the pathetic part of all this is just how many republicans knew about the fraud before Trump did and did nothing to protect him or Americans.

Linda Huckabee , 1 week ago

Their pushing vaccines to make money. When other treatments would be better like interferon therapy.

Carie Saad , 1 week ago

The CARES ACT was introduced in January of 2019, almost a year before CoronaVirus started. Hmmmmm......

ozrocksinger , 1 week ago (edited)

File on Gates too for practicing Medicine without a license!

Jillayne Holter , 6 days ago

Fauci, Clinton's, Gates, WHO, Big Pharma, and China all together to keeping things locked-down until they can make a vaccin

jomeza72 , 6 days ago (edited)

3.7 million Dollars To Wuhan Laboratories , Come On !!!

Nathan McClellan , 4 days ago

Fauci wasn't mislead by the WHO, he was given cover for his misdeeds.

Spyderhead , 4 days ago (edited)

"Doctor" Fauci is just another Deep State hack. A puppet. 😎

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

May 18, 2020 | www.washingtontimes.com

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 17, 2020] Fact check Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates won't profit from remdesivir

May 17, 2020 | www.usatoday.com

Fauci, Gates and coronavirus treatments

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is not cited anywhere as an inventor or patent owner of the drug and has not authored any research studying remdesivir.

While Fauci has also said that early trials of remdesivir on coronavirus patients are a positive sign, he has also cautioned against prematurely celebrating.

"I was very serious when I said this was not the total answer by any means, but it's a very important first step," Fauci said on April 30 about the NIH study on remdesivir.

As remdesivir is wholly owned by Gilead Sciences, Fauci is not legally entitled to any profits from remdesivir.

Fauci was the director of NIAID during the 2013-14 Ebola outbreak and spearheaded the department's research and response to the virus. NIAID supported research into a range of potential Ebola treatments, including remdesivir, as recently as December. That said, Fauci did not directly conduct this research; neither he nor the NIH stand to profit from its results.

The National Institutes of Health confirmed that Fauci has not authored any studies on remdesivir and does not own stock in any biomedical or pharmaceutical companies.

Owning financial assets in pharmaceutical firms like Gilead would also be required to be publicly disclosed per the agency's ethics policy .

The NIH now recommends remdesivir be used "in hospitalized patients with severe disease," meaning any case where a the patient needs the use of a ventilator.

[May 17, 2020] How Huxley's X-Club Created Nature Magazine Sabotaged Science For 150 Years

May 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Amidst the storm of controversy raised by the lab-origin theory of COVID-19 extolled by such figures as Nobel prize winning virologist Luc Montagnier, bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, an elaborate project was undertaken under the nominal helm of NATURE Magazine in order to refute the claim once and for all under the report 'The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2' .

This project was led by a team of evolutionary virologists using a line of reasoning that "random mutation can account for anything" and was parroted loudly and repeatedly by Fauci, WHO officials and Bill Gates in order to shut down all uncomfortable discussion of the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 while also pushing for a global vaccine campaign. On April 18, Dr. Fauci (whose close ties with Bill Gates, and Big Pharma have much to do with his control of hundreds of billions of dollars of research money), stated :

"There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolve. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human."

I think at this moment, rife as it is with speculative arguments, confusion and under-defined data, it is useful to remove oneself from the present and look for higher reference points from which we can re-evaluate events now unfolding on the world stage.

... ... ...

[May 17, 2020] Italian Politician Demands Bill Gates Arrest For Crimes Against Humanity

Notable quotes:
"... Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome denounced Bill Gates as a "vaccine criminal" and urged the Italian President to hand him over to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. ..."
"... In an extraordinary seven-minute speech met with wide applause, Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome said that Italy had been subjected to a "Holy Inquisition of false science." ..."
May 17, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Via GreatGameIndia.com,

As the FDA shuts down a Bill Gates-funded COVID-testing program , an Italian politician has demanded the arrest of Bill Gates in the Italian parliament.

Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome denounced Bill Gates as a "vaccine criminal" and urged the Italian President to hand him over to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

She also exposed Bill Gates' agenda in India and Africa, along with the plans to chip the human race through the digital identification program ID2020.

As reported by GreatGameIndia earlier, in 2015 it were the Italians who exposed secret Chinese biological experiments with Coronavirus . The video, which was broadcast in November, 2015, showed how Chinese scientists were doing biological experiments on a SARS connected virus believed to be Coronavirus, derived from bats and mice, asking whether it was worth the risk in order to be able to modify the virus for compatibility with human organisms.

In an extraordinary seven-minute speech met with wide applause, Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome said that Italy had been subjected to a "Holy Inquisition of false science."

She roundly criticized the unnecessary lockdown imposed on her fellow Italians in the service of a globalist agenda. She urged fellow political leaders to desist in any plans to compel citizens to surrender themselves to compulsory COVID-19 vaccination at the hands of the corrupt elite – whom she identified as the Deep State .

Below is the transcription of the full speech delivered to the Italian Parliament by Sara Cunial, the Member of Parliament for Rome.

* * *

Sara Cunial

The Member of Parliament for Rome

Speech delivered to the Italian Parliament

May 2020

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QnsYcsCjLWI

[Emphasis ours]

Hobbes said that absolute power does not come from an imposition from above but by the choice of individuals who feel more protected renouncing to their own freedom and granting it to a third party.

With this, you are going on anesthetizing the minds with corrupted Mass Media with Amuchina (a brand of disinfectant promoted by Mass Media) and NLP, with words like "regime", "to allow" and "to permit", to the point of allowing you to regulate our emotional ties and feelings and certify our affects.

So, in this way, Phase 2 is nothing else than the persecution/continuation of Phase 1 – you just changed the name, as you did with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). We have understood people, for sure, don't die for the virus alone. So people will be allowed to die and suffer, thanks to you and your laws, for misery and poverty. And, as in the "best" regimes, the blame will be dropped only on citizens. You take away our freedom and say that we looked for it. Divide et Impera (Divide and Rule).

It is our children who will lose more, who are 'raped souls', with the help of the so-called "guarantor of their rights" and of CISMAI (Italian Coordination of Services against Child Abuse). In this way, the right to school will be granted only with a bracelet to get them used to probation, to get them used to slavery – involuntary treatment and to virtual lager. All this in exchange for a push-scooter and a tablet. All to satisfy the appetites of a financial capitalism whose driving force is the conflict of interest, conflict well represented by the WHO, whose main financier is the well-known "philanthropist and savior of the world" Bill Gates.

We all know it, now. Bill Gates, already in 2018, predicted a pandemic, simulated in October 2019 at the "Event 201", together with Davos (Switzerland). For decades, Gates has been working on Depopulation policy and dictatorial control plans on global politics, aiming to obtain the primacy on agriculture, technology and energy.

Gates said, I quote exactly from his speech:

"If we do a good job on vaccines, health and reproduction, we can reduce the world population by 10-15%. Only a genocide can save the world".

With his vaccines, Gates managed to sterilize millions of women in Africa. Gates caused a polio epidemic that paralyzed 500,000 children in India and still today with DTP, Gates causes more deaths than the disease itself. And he does the same with GMOs designed by Monsanto and "generously donated" to needy populations. All this while he is already thinking about distributing the quantum tattoo for vaccination recognition and mRNA vaccines as tools for reprogramming our immune system. In addition, Gates also does business with several multinationals that own 5G facilities in the USA.

On this table there is the entire Deep State in Italian sauce : Sanofi, together with GlaxoSmithKline are friends of the Ranieri Guerra, Ricciardi, and of the well-known virologist that we pay 2000 Euro every 10 minutes for the presentations on Rai (Italian state TV. She's probably talking about Burioni). Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline sign agreements with medical societies to indoctrinate future doctors, making fun of their autonomy of judgment and their oath.

Hi-Tech multinationals, like the Roman Engineering which is friend of the noble Mantoan, or Bending Spoons, of Pisano, which are there for control and manage our personal health datas in agreement with the European Agenda ID2020 of electronic identification, which aims to use mass vaccination to obtain a digital platform of digital ID. This is a continuation of the transfer of data started by Renzi to IBM. Renzi, in 2016, gave a plus 30% to Gates Global Fund.

On the Deep State table there are the people of Aspen, like the Saxon Colao, who with his 4-pages reports, paid 800 Euros/hour, with no scientific review, dictates its politics as a Bilderberg general as he is, staying away from the battlefield. The list is long. Very long. In the list there is also Mediatronic, by Arcuri and many more.

The Italian contribution to the International Alliance Against Coronavirus will be of 140 million Euros, of which 120 million Euros will be given to GAVI Alliance, the non-profit by Gates Foundation. They are just a part of the 7.4 billion Euro fund by the EU to find a vaccine against Coronavirus – vaccines which will be used as I said before.

No money, of course for serotherapy, which has the collateral effect of being super cheap. No money for prevention, a real prevention, which includes our lifestyles, our food and our relationshi