Privately, some readers have asked me to reveal something that I've kept under wraps for quite a while now. Over the past twelve years, I've hinted that I inadvertently learned about a secret -- a potential scandal -- which might prove damaging to Joe Biden's political career. The time has finally come to reveal all.
Before we get to that, I should explain why I have written nothing during the past more-than-a-month.
I decided to put my blog on hold during the coronavirus crisis, since the sort of people who show up here are unlikely to have much tolerance for my viewpoint. If you want to know what I think, go here and here.
(Never thought I'd live long enough to see lefties hate me for suggesting that we emulate Sweden. Then again, I never thought I'd live long enough to see a campus free speech movement associated with the right. We live in topsy-turvy times.)
And with that out of the way, let's discuss the Secret.
I never felt that this matter would necessarily destroy Biden. Biden's secret is not really like the one that felled John Edwards -- I hope. We're talking about a rather small-scale scandle-ette -- a private sin which most rational Americans would not consider any of their business. Though Biden was not my first choice in the 2020 primaries, I've always admired the man and never wanted to see him harmed by a minor bit of tawdriness in his past.
Here's the problem: If this secret were revealed at precisely the right moment, it could sway enough voters to decide an election. This potential scandal is a bit like the "bouncing bomb" in The Dam Busters: The payload can take down the target only if the timing and the angle of approach are absolutely perfect.
As you will see, I also have reason to believe that the Republicans learned about this scandal a long time ago. Revelation seems inevitable. I have concluded that Biden would be best served if an embarrassing truth came out now, as opposed to late October.
So why have I kept mum all this time, even as I watched Joe Biden whip my preferred candidate, Elizabeth Warren? Because I've shared this information with six confidants, all of whom have advised me not to bring the matter up in public. One of those persons was the only "Democratic insider" willing to give me a hearing.
Most importantly, one of those confidants was my ladyfriend's mother, who happened to be my landlady at the time. She made me promise not to write about this as long as I was under her roof, and I kept that promise. Sadly, she died recently, so my vow no longer holds.
The Secret. On October 20, 2008, I received an email from my brother Steve. Please understand: His politics are NOT AT ALL like mine. I am not responsible for either his views or his phrasing. (Yes, he now supports Trump. I've told him that I will not talk politics with him. Truth be told, I don't talk politics with anyone these days -- not even with people who agree with me.)
I know you are always looking for juicy Political info...
I was out with my friend G tonight (the lady who fixed my back) and she asked me who I was voting for. I told her I typically like Republicans when I am making big money but I felt they have screwed things up so bad, the black guy was looking good. I told her I liked that Biden character but when I said that, she made a face and said he was a lying slime-ball. I asked her why, barring the obvious (he's a Politician) and she told me he was having an affair with a girlfriend of hers and she wouldn't doubt if it hit the media soon.
You may want to do some research on this (if possible)...maybe Bruce Jenner knows something since she has kids with him but don't call G as she told me in confidence and I don't want to get on her bad side.
Would Linda Thompson have appreciated being called a "girl" in 2008? Dunno.
The original letter divulges the full name of G, an acupuncturist who had treated me some months earlier. I had sciatica and was willing to try anything. Frankly, I did not come away with a high opinion of acupuncture, although others do swear by it.
G is one of several people who may be called "The acupuncturist to the stars," since her offices were located close to Calabasas -- a Hollywood "bedroom community" -- and her clientele included some famous names. (Dick Clark showed up at G's office on a day when I was treated -- and frankly, he was a mess. I was amazed to see him on TV at a later time, because his performing days seemed well behind him.)
I was not at all surprised to hear that G and Linda Thompson were friends. G is very personable, and she knows a number of famous people.
Despite my skeptical attitude toward acupuncture, I always felt that G was a very sweet person, incapable of lying and completely uninterested in politics. Given her clientele, her interests would not be served by smearing a leading Democrat.
Bottom line: G had no reason to lie. I trust her. I believe that she told the truth when she said that Linda Thompson was her friend, and that Linda Thompson had spoken ruefully of a soured affair with Joe Biden.
Based on a subsequent conversation with my brother, I got the impression that the affair had ended very abruptly and painfully. Linda Thompson's second marriage, to David Foster, ended in 2005, which leads me to surmise that any affair with Biden probably occurred in the 2005-2008 period.
Thomson and Jenner had two children together. My understanding is that they remain on good terms. If she (Thompson) confided in G, she undoubtedly also confided in Jenner -- who supports Trump. This is one big reason why I believe the Republicans already know about the affair.
(Besides, my brother is a Trump supporter. I have no idea what he may be up to.)
Thompson has mentioned no hint of any of this -- not in her autobiography and not anywhere else. Perhaps she got over her hurt feelings. Perhaps she decided that a one-time personal failing of this sort should not decide a good politician's fate.
Or perhaps a deal was struck behind the scenes. That's the possibility that haunts me.
Frankly, I can't believe that Joe Biden would pay for silence. On the other hand, if you had told me the truth about John Edwards in early 2008, I would have scoffed. The Edwards revelation hit me hard. After that imbroglio, who knows what is possible?
We all know about Trump's vulgar pay-offs to women.
These days, the idea that a politician might have had an extramarital romance is no biggee -- even if the affair ended in pain, as such affairs are wont to do. I think that the American public is finally sophisticated enough to forgive or to ignore such things. Trump supporters certainly have no right to crow about their own man's history. Does anyone still believe his denials of the Stormy Daniels story?
Nevertheless, I fear that this particular affair, if revealed just before the election, could do harm to Biden, for the following three reasons:
1. I can't stop thinking about the possibility that Biden "pulled an Edwards." In other words, I fear that he paid for silence. A payoff would be far more damaging than the simple fact of an affair. (Let's be clear: I have no evidence that he made a deal. He probably did not. Nevertheless, I fear that he may have.)
2. The Jenner connection ties this business in with the goddamned Kardashians, the most ridiculous family in American history. If Thompson confirms what I've said here, even anti-Trump comedians will not resist using this material.
3. Many will argue that a secret affair in Biden's past bestows credibility on Tara Reade's claims. That consideration is the primary reason I have written this post.
Do not count me among Reade's defenders. After this Politico story on Tara Reade, it's hard to see why anyone still considers her tale worthy of unqualified credence.
She claims that Biden committed a gross physical act in a well-traveled public place without any hidden alcoves -- a ridiculous accusation. Her long history of financial struggle is certainly troubling. Admittedly, many Americans are not in a position to blame her for playing the "dodge-the-landlord" game -- but the tawdry smears orchestrated by Jacob Wohl remind us that some women are indeed willing to lie for dollars, and a perpetually cash-strapped woman is more likely than a financially-secure woman to go along with that kind of scheme. Reade's bizarre infatuation with Putin and her representation by a lawyer associated with Sputnik are, in my opinion, damning.
How many times have we seen articles written by Republicans and feminists who have launched arguments along these lines: "Bill Clinton lied about getting a blowjob from Monica -- therefore Juanita Broaddrick must be telling the truth"?
Even though Broaddrick's incredible story was rejected by both Ken Starr and the National Enquirer, feminists of a certain stripe continue to proffer an utterly illogical argument: "Monica, therefore Juanita."
Monica Lewenski was an adult who made her own decisions. By her own account, she more-or-less threw herself at the big guy -- and frankly, I never blamed him for giving in to her charms. (As far as we know, his marriage may have segued into the "loving, but sexless" stage years earlier. Most marriages hit that stage at one point or another.) Nevertheless, Republicans and feminists have argued that the Monica pseudoscandal somehow justifies the "Clinton raped kids on Epstein's island" allegation which is so popular with the Alex Jonesians and the Q crowd.
The unfair treatment which many feminists meted out to Bill Clinton -- and to Al Franken, and others -- presages the treatment Joe Biden will no doubt receive.
I can well imagine what someone like Rebecca Traister (whose name would make more sense without the s) will do with the story I've told here, should Linda Thompson confirm it. I can imagine how Virginia Heffernan or Sarah Kendzior might react. God only knows what the Bernie-or-busters will do.
Every fool who argued "Monica, therefore Juanita" will now argue "Linda, therefore Tara." Those arguments are inevitable. Infuriating, yes. Inane, yes. But inevitable.
I say: Let's have it out now. Not in October. NOW.
And so I have decided to spill such beans as are available to me. If the Tara Reade smear had never happened, I never would have spoken up. I apologize to Joe Biden, to Linda Thompson and to their families. But the election outweighs all other concerns.
You may now want to ask me: What if you're wrong, Cannon? What if "G" really is a fantasist? Well, I strongly doubt that she is capable of concocting such an allegation. If I did not believe in her basic honesty, I would not have written this story, and I would not have confided in those six people. I would not have spent several sleepless nights asking myself "Should I tell?"
Bottom line: If I end up with an egg facial, so be it.
I have no ambitions. No more shits to give. I've had two heart attacks, and I'm feeling the familiar symptoms at this very moment, as I write. Those symptoms are not severe enough to prompt a visit to the ER, but they do whisper a continual, low-level reminder in my ear: Momento mori.
After a man has had two heart attacks, he stops caring about the opinions of others.
Sorry, but I view this as a true non-story. First, it is third hand hearsay, I have to believe your brother and that your brother got the story right from G, I have to believe G and that G got the story right from Thompson, and then I have to believe Thompson. Stories told from one person to another frequently get distorted in the transmission. Second, would the Republicans seriously want to make marital fidelity an issue in the campaign, thirdly does it seem reasonable that Joe Biden at the age of 65, or older, is suddenly going to enter into an affair with a 58 year old woman, and lastly, how exactly did they meet? I mean she is a lifetime Republican who never mentioned this when he was running for vice-president, he lives in Delaware and Washington D.C. and she lives in California, is it even conceivable that they managed to avoid the tabloids and meet surreptitiously?
Since you were proven totally wrong about the coronavirus--Sweden has been a complete and total disaster and COVID-19 is NOT AIDS--since you don't understand the reason the economy was closed, I am not going to believe one word of this ludicrous post about Biden. It doesn't eve pass the smell test. The reason you took a long spell from here is you KNEW you were proven wrong. You didn't want to show your face, so to speak. The reason the economy was in lockdown was not because it was a return of the Spanish flu; it was the FACT our health care system could NOT absorb the severely ill. The panic of health officials is what drove the lockdown. There are now about 1.5 million REPORTED cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. to date and about 90,000 deaths so far. It would have been way, way, way worse if officials had done what you thought should be done, and that is let this "flu" run rampant. It wasn't the flu--there is no vaccine and it has a far higher mortality rate. Now COVID-19 has started to level off. You were wrong about this, and you are wrong about Biden. Be a man and admit it.
OTE, I wish I were as wrong as you say. Sweden's death rate is less than ours, which proves that their way was superior. We are heading into a recession/Depression with so much debt that we won't be able to reignite the economy with "New Deal" type spending. Right now, food banks are running out of food. The homeless here in Baltimore have been kicked out of shelters. Is that HEALTHY? THEIR death rate will certainly rise.
I was certainly correct when I said that Depression is more dangerous than coronavirus. With the exception of NYC, our health care system fared much better than the doomsayers predicted. I was certainly correct when I pointed out that the fatality rate would be much lower than three percent (look at your own figures!), because corpses are countable while the number of infected are not.
And I was definitely proven correct when I scoffed at those who insisted that the virus would soon kill the young as readily as the old. That was a big lie, similar to Fauci's earlier big lie about heterosexual AIDS.
The Swedish people seem to approve of their government's playbook. Their infection and death rate was more boast-worthy than ours, and they will reach "herd immunity" faster than we did, if they have not reached it already. Best of all, they did not destroy their economy pursuing the illusion of a pristine, illness-free existence. All told, the practical Swedes have once again provided an excellent how-to-do-it model.
As for what I wrote about Biden: Why would I lie about such a thing? It does me no good. You know damn well that I have been hinting that I knew about this for...well, literally for more than a decade. You can't say that this came out of the blue or that I acted in haste.
joseph: To quote my favorite French girl, my job is to tell you, not to make you believe. Although I should say that a decent reporter reading this post could follow the clues and find out more.
"does it seem reasonable that Joe Biden at the age of 65, or older, is suddenly going to enter into an affair with a 58 year old woman"?
Listen to yourself! You remind me of that scene in "South Pacific" in which the silver-haired commander announces "I'm 50, and I assure you: I ain't through." Well, there are some 65 year old guys and some 58 year old ladies who ain't through either. I know that the visual will seem pretty icky to younger folk, but who cares what THEY think?
The point of this post is to get what I know on record before this particular card gets played -- IF it is played. I think it will be. I could be wrong.
And if I am proven wrong -- well, I'm past the point of caring, for reasons stated at the end of my post.
I am not sure this a "right"or "wrong" kind of story. We asked Joseph to tell and he did. He is not even saying he is a 100% sure. He always said that it was not a bombshell anyway. As for Covid-19, we learned a lot about our country, our leaders, our citizens, our economy and who exactly is essential and who can take a 6 month break from life. I am not sure what Joseph or anyone else has learned from the last 3 months, but I learned that we as a country are heading to the edge of the cliff hanging on to frayed remnants of wealth and power. If you have the luxury of being able to isolate yourself and act smart, you may survive. If you are "essential " and poor or old or sick, you may die. There will be no funerals or flag covered coffins or national outrage. Just a mention on CNN if you are lucky, otherwise a statistics. There will not be a wall or a rainbow quilt or even a memorial for this enemy. This enemy is not foreign or liberal or communist or terrorist despite all of Trump's efforts to paint it in that light. This virus shed light on all that is wrong with the mighty US of A. Corporations and stock market are doing just fine. Once the tidal wave washes over the country leaving millions dead, the rest will wear their MAGA hats and keep doing the bidding for the corrupt cabal that managed to kill off their grandparents and their parents and the poor unlucky "essential workers". Hospitals will close in poor urban areas and raise their prices in more affluent areas. We keep paying thousands of dollars a year for a healthcare system that was never about public health. We will inch toward the cliff all the while flirting and teasing with our election system. Our media will keep reporting on every insane drug, theory and utterance of the corrupt Trump administration. Our military, national security and judicial system and much of our congress is practically under siege. The virus isn't killing us, our system is. Margie
What Margie said As for Biden's story,I don't feel it's going to change anything. But I agree with Joe it's better to come out now than later. For me if it's Biden against Dump or Sanders I will always go with Biden. Period.
posted by Anonymous : 4:17 AM
If you're wrong 25% of the time, that's a pretty good record. If you publish hundreds of posts and get some wrong, that's still pretty good. I think you've been wrong a number of times and I've said so. That doesn't mean you're not worth reading. That you put out ideas for discussion is usually a good thing. If somebody wants to read someone who agrees with himself all the time, he should start his own blog. To quote the American Magazine, "When two men always agree, one of them is unnecessary."
Margie has the right idea. As to coronavirus numbers, it is interesting that the CDC website (you would assume they would be the authority on the subject) has different (lower) numbers than what the media is reporting (they list confirmed US covid-19 deaths at 60,299 as of May 15th....quite a bit different from what is being reported everywhere else). So I don't necessarily disagree with Joseph's view on that, either, though I think it's certainly not "just like" the seasonal flu. Still, it's certainly setting us up for more government and corporate surveillance and tracking, that much is for certain.
posted by Gus : 10:27 AM
You can see your brothers email address if you hover over it in the email.
posted by Lenny : 3:47 PM
Lenny, thanks for letting me know. I feel like a fool for letting that one slip past.
margie, I'm personally convinced that Trump will stay in the race, and I'm still betting that he will win. Public antipathy to political correctness, combined with the predictable smears and electoral fraud, will destroy Biden.
That said, I have to admit that Trump has recently done a few things which indicate that he suspects that "there's no tomorrow." For example, I was convinced that he would wait until after the election to pardon Flynn. And firing the IG was bold even by Trumpian standards.
Is it possible that he has resigned himself to the possibility of a loss?
Nah. I can't allow myself to think that way. Look, a ruthless pessimism has gotten me THIS far...I can't change now!
I think you should have kept this to yourself. A consensual affair is nobody's business, if it did happen, and you don't know that it did. The only people who benefit from you posting this are the Trump Republicans.
posted by Anonymous : 2:12 PM
"Nobody's business"? You're right, Anon. But the Lewenski example demonstrates that the Republicans have no problem using such information. And for reasons given in my post, I believe that the Trumpers already know.
Joseph- I think Trump is worried about losing for good reason, but I can't imagine him not staying in the race. At this point his re-election campaign has a life of it's own. The race is not just about him. The rest of Republicans need him to excite and turn out the base. Trump himself may want to chicken out at times, but the party can not allow him to do so. Will he be re-elected? I think there is a 50/50 chance. I am not a pessimist, I am a realist. I look at the polls and trends. He has a 43% approval even after his disastrous handling of this pandemic and a 15% unemployment. Any other president would be crucified, tarred and dragged in the mud and declared dead. The base has decided to stick with him through it all instead of admitting they were wrong all along. They campaign will lie, smear, deflect, blame, throw bombshells, apply every tactic to suppress the vote and cheat in order to make up the difference to 50%. Can he lose? There is reason to be cautiously hopeful, but anything can happen in 6 months especially this year.
If Benedict Donald still has the inside track, there are three reasons for that: Russia, Russia, and Russia. And with Corona-chan probably, underneath the ever-efficient Russian censorship, using Putin's cojones as punching bags (how I envy her), Sith Tsar Vlad may well be too preoccupied to engineer a second false victory for his lackey.
Tiro, I looked on cdc.gov. Sure, if you look at their total deaths, you'll see 90,000, if you look at confirmed covid deaths, you'll see a different, lower number (the one I had in my previous comment).
If you look at how they are counting you will see this information:
A confirmed case or death is defined by meeting confirmatory laboratory evidence for COVID-19.
A probable case or death is defined by one of the following:
Meeting clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19 Meeting presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic evidence Meeting vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID19
So they are including "probable" cases, i.e. cases where there is no confirmed laboratory testing of Covid in that 90,000 total. So in other words, someone who was presumed to have Covid but for whom either testing wasn't done or testing was inconclusive. Which to me suggests that the 90,000 number is probably higher than reality. Of course, there could be deaths that were not counted as Covid which could balance that out, I don't know. What I am saying is that the number I had in my previous comment is the actual number of deaths of people with laboratory confirmed Covid that the CDC has. So the CDC confirms right on their web site that they are counting deaths that are not laboratory confirmed for Covid (but might be because of other things, like symptoms). Again, not trying to downplay the virus, just pointing out a difference in how these deaths are being portrayed in the media with how the CDC actually counts them. I am certainly not suggesting any sort of conspiracy or foul play. I'm not a scientist or physician, just pointing out something that anyone can see for themselves.
posted by Gus : 7:24 AM
There maybe another reason for the discrepancy:
"Note: Provisional death counts are based on death certificate data received and coded by the National Center for Health Statistics as of May 18, 2020. Death counts are delayed and may differ from other published sources (see Technical Notes). Counts will be updated periodically. Additional information will be added to this site as available"
I guess I should reply to Ivory Bill. I never used the term "bombshell." Over the years, I always tried to keep things in perspective; I never oversold the story. The reference to "The Dam Busters" offers a metaphorical summation of my view of how G's story could be used against Biden.
You should see that film (which is based on actual events) to understand what I mean. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to get people to sit still for a black and white movie these days.
I guess I could mention that the final act of "Dam Busters" is widely viewed as a model for the "trench run" sequence of the original "Star Wars" -- although I wish I could sell people on the movie on its own considerable merits. Incidentally, they say that Peter Jackson may remake "Dam Busters."
In addition to catching up on quite a bit of reading, watching Mrs. Maisel, Schitt's Creek and Upload, my wife and I have been watching quite a few film noirs on TCM. We just finished a Lady in the Lake. Those old black and whites can be what movies should be.
Stickler, you should try to find a copy of the wartime Disney film "Victory Through Air Power." Part of the movie addresses the same issue!
The documentary footage of the "bouncing bomb" is partially censored in "Dam Busters." But even with that black dot covering the actual device, it's still absolutely fascinating.
Incidentally, I understand that when "Dam Busters" was originally released in America, the dog's name was changed to "Trigger." In the UK version -- and in real life -- the name was a word that RHYMES with "trigger." It's a tough call, but I think that Peter Jackson (if he does do a remake) should retain the offending name. Best to be honest about history, even the parts that make one cringe.
@Margie – There are two parts of where I’m coming from when I say he may withdraw.
First, back in 2016 I read a lot about his personal history, including material that he’d “written” (authorised), and formed the view that he would either win or drop out, since he wouldn’t be able to cope with sliding down a slope to where Hillary Clinton (supported by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) was waiting to give his arse a damned good kicking. Second, this time there is no incumbency bias. He’s playing well to his core, but even if we take his core to be 90% of those who voted for him last time, so what? Last time his batshit persona was masterfully harnessed to his campaign message (or the message was harnessed to his persona, but they worked together highly effectively), whereas this year he’s too vain to wear a mask (and essentially admits it), he recommends the injection of disinfectant, and he can’t handle going in to quarantine after he’s been in contact with an infectee, which is surely what everyone in that position is required to do in the US as they are in Britain. Even Boris Johnson who is known for his arrogance managed to do that. What will Trump do next – shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and say Joe Biden did it? He can rant on about China taking people’s jobs in Michigan but he’s busted. The Republican leadership contains some grown-ups who won’t want to be screwed in the presidency and both houses of the legislature. Joseph says he’s betting on Trump again. My opinion is that there’s value in a combination bet on the winner being either a Republican who isn’t Trump (e.g. Haley, Pence, Cotton, or Ryan) (the latter two each being available at 1000\1) or simply someone who isn’t Trump (available at a bit worse than evens).
posted by b : 11:27 PM
"Transition to greatness" is an appallingly bad slogan. Does he think he's Caligula? At least "Keep America Great" plays to the cartoon "Mr Great" brand that is Trump, which is mostly consumed by those who watch a lot of wrestling and don't have the word "transition" in their active vocabularies. That said, the weakness of "KAG" when the USA with a quarter of China's population has already lost 20 times as many of its citzens to Covid-19 is almost palpable. But wait, Trump says the high number of deaths is a "badge of honour". This guy is going to fall so flat on his face. If he's got any competent advisers that he listens to, they'll be telling him to focus first of all on staying out of jail. Hand over to Pence, get a pre-election pardon for himself and his family, and then run off to the Caribbean somewhere maybe? He seems to believe he can do a Canute and defy the virus - even shaking hands! I wonder how that will play out...
posted by b : 9:56 PM
,b I see now where you are coming from regarding your earlier comment. And I totally agree with all your positions. Trump's chance for re-election should be less than a cold day in hell. In any other time, he would be facing multiple counts for impeachment and removal. But that is precisely why I was intrigued by your comments. These are not normal times here in the US. America is trying really hard to ignore reality and hold on to the image of American Exceptionalism and Trump is the perfect face for that. America wants to hold onto White Previelige against the tide of civil rights, increasing minority population. America wants to ignore the fact that despite it's superior military, it has lost every war since WWII. America wants to hold onto State power over Federal power eventhough the system literally undermines a strong response to any crises. America wants to hold onto a healthcare system that does not work for most people and can not adequately respond to a pandemic. America wants to hold onto the right to be armed with whatever it pleases, eventhough hundreds of thousands die from it every year. America wants to hold onto the image of Shining City on the Hill but keeps undermining education, infrastructure, unions, small businesses. America wants to keep giving power to the wealthy and corporations who in the age of globalization have no loyalty to the American people, a strong safety net, adequate income, strong unions, protection for small farms, ranches or businesses. I could go on, but the fact is that we are a divided country. Half of our population would rather ignore these facts and/or blame the other half for not being sufficiently racist, uneducated, gun toting, anti union, anti immigration, anti liberal. Trump is their face and they do not want to abandon him and face reality. That is why we, here in the US fear the next election. We don't fear Trump as a qualifide candidate who deserves a chance, we fear our own citizens who rather die from poverty or COVID 19 than face reality.
I hope all those who behaved badly during 2016 are forced to French kiss Corona patients for a whole day. And then thrown into a dungeon with little air.
posted by Anonymous : 9:07 AM
Hi everyone I have a question Why do police barricade protesters? I assume that a protest march has a route. They march, Shout slogans, hold placards and voice their concerns. I also assume that the police would be present to keep order. Stop looting, violence, fights, etc. But why do the police stop the march at arbitrary locations? That seems to insite the protester to push the police back and open the way to march ahead. How does barracaiding streets and stopping the march helpful to keeping order?
So, now we supposedly know that Joe Biden, soon to turn age 68 in 2008, was maybe having a hot time with actress, songwriter and entertainer Linda Thompson, 7 ½ years his junior, who looked too good for Joe despite one of his frequent facelifts done for the 2008 Presidential campaign.
The 2008 VP campaign was truly not about Biden, it was about Sarah Palin who drew 73 million debate viewers in her debut and Biden operated on instructions not to attack the pretty but naive Alaska Governor but to put down McCain instead. With all the attention misdirected, it is difficult to believe that Joe had time for side trips to California and Thompson likely would have had to stay there if an affair existed in fact. Besides, Jill Biden habitually traveled quite a bit with the Senator. Had Tina Fey not successfully imitated Sarah observing Russia from her back porch on SNL, “advantage Obama” might not have been enough.
One could be forgiven for supposing that the US is being deliberately destabilised.
Pressure is apparent on two fault lines in particular:
1) the crappy level of internally resilient organisation
(a "states" system from the 18th century, sanctified in a ludicrous "constitution" that a) mandates the indirect election of an executive president of the states as head of the federation's executive and b) enshrines governmental non-control over where most of the guns are), and
Any opponent will have noticed these two fault-lines.
But this was how it was going to end anyway. Nothing cracks along its areas of strength.
To summarise the past couple of days:
* Faced with demonstrations countrywide including outside his palace, El Presidente runs and hides in the bunker beneath said palace.
* El Presidente orders the use of a military helicopter against peaceful demonstrators so as to clear a path for him to have his photo taken outside a church waving a bible. (Was the bible by any chance inscribed by "positive thinker" Norman Vincent Peale?)
* El Presidente orders troops from the 82nd airborne division into the capital.
* Defence Secretary Mark Esper a) calls for an investigation into how the helicopter came to be used and b) declares he does NOT support the use of the military against US citizens.
* Troops from the 82nd airborne division are ordered back out of the capital.
* El Presidente has a big black wall built around his palace.
* El Presidente is way behind in the polls for the November election.
* El Presidente DOES NOT FIRE the defence minister.
This can't last. Trump can't last. There may be a few "USA is the goddamned greatest country in the world" Confederate flag-waving aging white bikers (it's the 19th century for them, not the 18th - or at least it would be if they understood century numbering) who love Trump to bits, plus maybe 35% of US citizens who can't distinguish "your" from "you're" but whose self-worth depends not on any such intellectual skill but on the fact that they own guns, but otherwise El Presidente is an embarrassment. Until a few days ago, probably some people did fear him, but few fear him now. He has LOST CONTROL OF THE MILITARY. He is not even allowed to protect the building and city he is in the way he wants to.
Soon other officials, perhaps including in "health", will follow Esper's lead.
Five months? He may well be out of office in five weeks. Perhaps he'll even leave by helicopter.
How is the tax returns case going? The Supreme Court is delaying its decision until after the election? I'm very dubious about that being what will happen.
The background here is not hard to understand.
* Much of the productive economy in the US and allied "advanced" countries has been shut for 2 months.
(Seriously in such circumstances we do not need any discussion by pundits on whether there will be a "recession" or not. THERE IS ALREADY A DEPRESSION.)
* Said economy is dominated by crooked financial playing about that dwarfs the actual productive economy but itself produces no value whatsoever.
(Yet some kind of "reserve ratios" based on real production are nonetheless required, and once that system can't hold the financial structure becomes insolvent.)
* It's been 12 years since the 2008 "global financial crash" that was largely "solved" by printing large amounts of money and handing it over to banks. The US and countries such as Britain and France didn't produce shee-yit in 2008 and they still don't produce shee-yit now.
The house of cards is about to collapse...
posted by b : 8:34 AM
PS I'm interested in that guy Tom Cotton. At least three times now he has called for actions that Trump has then implemented (or in the case of the third, verbally backed):
1. withdrawal from the Iran agreement; 2. blaming China for Covid; 3. using the federal army to quell riots.
Now Cotton is saying "US jets" should leave Europe because of China, Huawei, and 5G. Got to wonder whether Trump's fingers would make it to his tweeting device in time to announce a US departure from NATO. The same rule applies in the US as everywhere else: when the shit hits the fan, you MUST have sufficient clout in the military if you want to stay in power. If Trump were going to remain, he'd probably have sacked Esper and replaced him with Cotton by now, and perhaps found a senior military officer or two he could court-martial too.
PPS On the matter of the head of the government and the control over the military forces in the capital, it's worth taking a look at Stalin. Everywhere in the USSR it was the KGB - NKVD as it then was - that controlled the big arms dumps, EXCEPT in the capital Moscow, where Stalin ensured it was the army. Stalin understood this shit. I doubt Trump has the slightest clue. Real trouble and he'll find he hasn't got any authority. You need authority to have power.
posted by b : 8:40 AM
Lisa Murkowski may be regretting that she didn't have the guts to vote to "impeach the motherf*cker" in February. But that's OK. In the unlikely event that Trump hasn't left office along some other route by November, she may get another chance.
BTW can somebody explain why Trump is threatening not to endorse Murkowski? Endorse her for what? Wasn't she elected to a six-year senatorial term starting in 2016, or is there something about the US legislature that I'm missing?
"A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey, felt compelled to write on Twitter, 'America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy.' The Bush and Obama-era chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Michael Mullen, wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic, saying 'Whatever Trump's goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.' Retired Marine Gen. John Allen said that Trump's threats of military force may be 'the beginning of the end of the American experiment.' Former CIA analyst Gail Helt told the Washington Post, 'This is what autocrats do. This is what happens in countries before a collapse. It really does unnerve me.'"
I added emphasis to stress who these quotes are coming from, in particular the words from Michael Mullen who clearly thinks Trump is a national danger (aka a major security risk) or else he wouldn't have written that about "the leaders of other countries".
Trump is finished. Nobody listens to him (even about protecting the presidential palace!), he can't control his defence secretary, it seems he can't control the military, he can't even pull an "alpha male" on Twitter, and his own side are turning on him. Bye bye. Will it be an Ezra Pound solution or what?
If I were a Republican strategist I'd favour giving him his cards - tell him he's got to go, probably for health reasons: "Sign here, you f*cker, the plane to Florida is waiting, or else your tax records will be released this afternoon, Jared and Ivanka will be arrested tomorrow morning, and you'll be 25thed before you can even be impeached, and while we're about it would you like to listen to a tape? That's a nasty cough you've got - perhaps you're coming down with something - let's all hope your symptoms don't get worse, eh?"
I haven't said much in recent days because my position remains as before.
People hated me in the 1980s when I said that heterosexual AIDS was a myth, but I was proven right. People hate me now because I insist that the coronavirus threat is overblown, but I'll be proven right in time.
I still maintain that, if less-radical measures had been implemented (protecting those in the high-risk group while allowing everyone else greater freedom), fatalities would remain pretty much the same. I still maintain that, in the final tally, the coronavirus will exact a death toll lower than the one exacted by the Hong Kong flu of '68-'69 -- a problem which nearly everyone in America had forgotten about well before New Year's Day, 1970.
Worth noting: Fauci played a major role in spreading both the AIDS panic and the current panic. You still can't get that stubborn bastard to say the words "Heterosexual AIDS was a myth."
I continue to believe that undermining our precarious economy is more dangerous than the virus itself -- and I speak as someone within the high-risk group. Landlords and mortgage-holders are proving remarkably tolerant, but that toleration cannot last forever. The unemployment system will soon be stretched beyond its capacity. The government will have no choice but to borrow money recklessly in order to issue welfare payments to a citizenry facing homelessness and privation.
Such measures could plunge us into third-world status. If Krugman says otherwise, he's fooling himself.
According to the latest data of the Italian National Health Institute ISS, the average age of the positively-tested deceased in Italy is currently about 81 years. 10% of the deceased are over 90 years old. 90% of the deceased are over 70 years old.
80% of the deceased had suffered from two or more chronic diseases. 50% of the deceased had suffered from three or more chronic diseases. The chronic diseases include in particular cardiovascular problems, diabetes, respiratory problems and cancer.
Less than 1% of the deceased were healthy persons, i.e. persons without pre-existing chronic diseases. Only about 30% of the deceased are women.
Yes, I can understand why medical experts have said what they have said, but they were short-sighted. They concentrated on the issue of over-stressing our hospitals. But what about stretching the economy itself beyond the limits of its elasticity?Isn't homelessness a public health issue? Isn't small-d depression a public health issue? Isn't large-D Depression a public health issue?
Eventually, people will tire of staying holed up in their tiny hovels, peeking out only to see if there's an eviction notice on the door. Puritanism may be hard-wired into the American brain, but we can live a life of privation for only so long. People yearn to go out, go to work, go to schools, play softball, see movies, hit the bars, listen to music, fuck strangers and do all the crap that human beings normally do.
Some readers will now accuse me of agreeing with Trump. He has made the politically astute calculation that people will soon yearn for a less-apocalyptic response.
President Donald Trump’s vow Tuesday that he would “love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” less than three weeks from now, was the clearest signal yet of the political logic he hopes to follow in a presidential campaign shadowed by global pandemic.
He is eager to own the only good thing about a crisis that has paralyzed the country and left millions of people in housebound despair: The reality that life will at some point slowly lurch back to normal.
He is determined to make other people—specifically, governors and public health officials—own everything else, including the reality that massive shutdowns will continue long after the Christian holy day on April 12.
Truth is, I do agree with Trump's position. So do you. Trump has held so many different positions, we're all bound to agree with at least one of them.
In previous posts, I predicted that this hysteria will eventually hurt the Dems and help Trump. That prophecy is coming true: Biden's numbers are weakening, while a solid majority of the population has hailed Trump's alleged leadership. His "wartime president" pose benefits him significantly and his poll numbers are at their highest level. As a result, the Democrats have been reduced to issuing impotent demands that this administration's public communications receive no further media coverage. As if that would ever happen.
You can't fight the Party of Partying. The Dems will be hurt by this mess because we have allowed ourselves to be defined as the Party of Restriction, while the Republicans define themselves as the Party of Partying. Most Americans believe that liberals are humorless scolds who don't want anyone to have fun. That perception is precisely what gave us Gamergate and the Alt Right and all of the social ills that followed after.
For decades, I have felt that the last few shots of Duck Soup -- the greatest Marx Brothers movie -- hold the key to political success. Since younger people have an aversion to old movies, you probably have not seen that classic, so allow me to explain the final scene to you. (I'm going on memory here, so forgive me if a couple of details are wrong.)
Having staved off the invasion of his country, Groucho -- the hilariously-corrupt leader of Freedonia -- impulsively decides to toss pastry at the retreating enemy soldiers. Chico and Harpo join him in this grand, messy bombardment. Suddenly, staid Margaret Dumont -- the living symbol of propriety and morality and Family Values -- starts to sing the Freedonia national anthem. Immediately, the Marxes turn around and toss pastry at her. Fade out.
Keep that tableau in mind. Ask yourself: Do you want people to see you as Groucho or as Margaret Dumont? Which position is more politically advantageous? Do you want to toss pastry or to be hit with it?
Younger readers may not understand that the height of Groucho's popularity was 1968-72 -- not the 1930s, when Duck Soup was made. In the late 1960s, the hippies and protestors and counter-culturalists all identified with Groucho, because he was the quintessential mad anarchist -- an uncontrollable creature of fun and sexy wordplay and boundless iconoclasm. By contrast, the rightwingers were a bunch of stuffy old Margaret Dumonts. Spiro Agnew even looked like Margaret Dumont.
At some point, positions were reversed. The right became one, big, collective Groucho -- smoking, drinking, leering, making politically-incorrect jokes. Meanwhile, the politically-correct, pro-feminist lefties all donned pearls and acted like Margaret Dumont, forever wagging a finger while instructing the rest of humanity on what not to do.
In other words, the Dems became the No Fun Party while the Republicans became the Id Party.
Hence, too, our current over-reaction to the coronavirus challenge. Liberals, as always, felt obliged to demonstrate their virtue by embracing the "no fun" position.
I remember 1969. I remember when lefties were Grouchos. We will continue to lose elections until we rediscover our inner Groucho.
Postscript. I just checked Wikipedia: Apparently, Margaret Dumont is pelted with fruit, not pastry. If you are a humorless scold, please take this opportunity to write an essay on violence against women in Marxian cinema. You need not see any actual films by the Marx brothers to proclaim yourself an expert on their work.
Benedict Donald is gambling that the majority of the experts will be wrong, and the virus will only kill a relatively small number of us peasants, and he’ll come out smelling like a rose, as he has done all of his life.
But this time, he is rolling the dice, hoping to get the economy perking by Election Day, because he has no choice.
The primary reason why Benedict Donald is prioritizing economic recovery over preserving human lives–which won’t work, as a rampant pandemic will hurt the economy EVEN WORSE than serious, widespread anti-pandemic measures will–and why he is grasping at quack remedies, follows:
Benedict Donald can’t allow himself to be removed from office, because that fatuous, illegitimate ruling that “A sitting President cannot be indicted” is the only thing protecting him from being removed from the White House to the Big House.
The minute he leaves office, he loses that illegitimate immunity to prosecution.
So I've noticed that the world wide death count for this virus, assuming all those people actually died from the virus and not from pre-existing conditions, is now about 2/3's of the deaths from auto accidents in just the USA in 2018. Now, it's certainly possible that the virus causes people to die sooner from their pre-existing conditions, just as it's possible that the death rate would be much higher if nations hadn't taken the measures they have taken. I mean, I'm working from home and only going out once a week for groceries, so I'm certainly not trying to take a stand here. Just an observation. We'll see where it goes from here. I also note that my state says the number of confirmed cases doubled in 24 hours, which really isn't surprising since the state got a lot of testing kits recently and started using them. Personally, I am doing the "better safe than sorry" thing, but I think Joseph may well have a point. So far, it certainly seems like the economic fall out will be worse than the disease, but we'll see how this plays out.
Trump is a bumbling fool, as always, but it's true that most people would like to see things "back to normal" by Easter. It's just that a lot of people don't think that's realistic in the current situation, we'll see. In any event, I think this whole thing will lead to a lot of authoritarian legislation that most of the country will support because of irrational fear.
posted by Gus : 11:14 AM
"LA Mayor Erioc Garcetti also responded to the death, stating overnight: "I was informed by the county that this individual did not have pre-existing conditions. It’s a sober reminder that anybody can die from this disease."
The Sun can report that the minor was a 17-year-old who was admitted to Antelope Valley Hospital with respiratory problems five days prior to his death.
The teen ultimately died of septic shock and also had an underlying heart condition that contributed to his death, before he was diagnosed with coronavirus post-mortem."
From the Sun tabloid for the record. So Garcetti told a fib if the sun is telling the truth. This boy did have underlying heart conditions. He should have been given preferential treatment over all of the relatively healthy people clogging up the emergency rooms because they are having panic attacks. This is the problem. State the fucking facts so that this can be resolved without needlessly panicking people who don't have a health condition.
posted by Anonymous : 12:46 PM
CDC switching it up again... Peak deaths coming in 3 weeks in USA... in other words roughly the arbitrary date when Trump wants this all to end... At which point they say it probably ok to focus on protecting the most vulnerable. Geniuses.
CDC switching it up again... Max U.S. deaths coming in 3 weeks. Or roughly the arbitrary date Trump chose for all of this to end. After which point the focus can be on protecting the most vulnerable. But I thought they were just saying that everyone is highly vulnerable, young, old? Which is it? Geniuses.
Newborn baby locked down in isolation over coronavirus. About the stupidest thing you can do to a new born baby is isolate it from the parents. This will have lifelong effects on the baby. The baby should be allowed to go home and lockdown with mom and dad. This is what hysteria and panic does to the brain.
Anon 12:46 -- even if the LA mayor had reported the story accurately, I think people are still missing the point. The vast, vast majority of deaths occur within the "at risk" populations.
Yes, there will be a few people outside those groups who will die of this virus. To continue with my historical analogy (which I wish others would address), there have always been a few heterosexual AIDS sufferers. Anyone can point to those cases to "disprove" my contention that heterosexual AIDS is a myth.
But we have to consider the concept of likelihood.
The existence of one black swan proves that not all swans are white. But the existence of one black swan does NOT prove that black swans are COMMON.
I'll say it again: Worldwide, 6000 people die each year of lightning strikes. Yet we take no special precautions against lightning. Usually, we don't think about it. We get amazing storms out here on the east coast; most of the time, I just sit in the sun room and enjoy the show.
You're more likely to be hit by lightning than to acquire AIDS through heterosexual intercourse with someone who does not take heroin.
I honestly believe that, when this panic is over, we'll all grudgingly admit that death-by-lightning-strike is more likely than death by coronavirus, at least for those outside the high-risk groups.
"You're more likely to be hit by lightning than to acquire AIDS through heterosexual intercourse with someone who does not take heroin."
In this country, perhaps -- and if you're a white guy.
posted by maz : 3:53 PM
“Yet we take no special precautions against lightning.”
Have you never heard of a lightning rod? Have you never been to a sporting event or concert that was cancelled, delayed or postponed due to a lightning storm? Golf courses are shut down. Are all those people running to the clubhouse acting irrationally or irresponsibly in your estimation?
Most importantly, lightning strikes are not contagious. If you want to take a risk that others may not be comfortable with taking, it does not put the general population at risk. When you are dead or injured by lightning being foolhardy, we can help you or bury you without putting ourselves and others at risk.
posted by Anonymous : 4:46 PM
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/ The death risk runs from 0 (age less than 10) to more than 15% (age greater than 80) depending on age. The virus itself does not kill you it is the secondary effects including the response of your immune system to the infection. That is Why ibuprofen makes things worse. If you are sick before you get infected the risk is more than double. This virus can easily kill 1 million Americans before fall.
...I think I just accidentally posted before I finished typing for some reason but what I was going to say is I think most of the store workers must assume that they are immune after all this time working around hundreds of customers everyday and not getting the virus.
Joe.. question about New York...
What do you think of the morgues getting full in New York? Isnt that concrete proof that this virus is a lot more deadly than deaths from seasonal flu? At least for older and sicker people? The more I look into this it does seem that coronavirus is really hammering sick and old people more than seasonal flu usually does? Or do you think that's not the case? I still don't buy it's a big danger for the average person who is healthy. And do believe wartime style emergency efforts need to be done to help sick and elderly without trashing the whole economy. But old people seem to be getting hit hard with this virus.
The media can overhype things by reporting every single death they find which they wouldn't normally do with flu deaths.
But the morgues overflowing... Wouldn't that be concrete evidence that these coronavirus deaths are more than the norm? This is the single thing I have encountered today that makes me wonder now if for older people this is going to be like 5x or 10x as deadly as seasonal flu in the end. You have thoughts on that?
posted by Anonymous : 2:36 AM
Gavin Newsom has got to be worried now. 1 million California unemployment claims since March. 13th. Asking the banks to freeze mortgage payments. Obviously he is very worried about putting more homeless on streets already full of homeless in California. My guess is he will end lockdown sooner rather later since Trump dropped this hot potato on state governor's laps to open or close their own economies... And therefore take whatever blame may come for the choice they make.
The following function fits the numbers in the third column (y) with the numbers in the second column (x) with extreme accuracy (correlation coefficient R^2 = 0.999667):
y = a/(1+e^(b-cx))
where a = 145822.552528135 b = 3.37317267343077 c = -0.359921463661392
That is called a logistic function.
The predictions from this model are that
1) the largest increase in the number of reported cases in the US will come at day number 9.4 (=b/c), which is some time around today or tomorrow;
2) the total number of reported cases will level off at about 150000 (=a).
3) daily increases will fall to less than 1000 by 6 April and to less than 100 by about 13 April (Easter Monday).
posted by b : 7:36 AM
@Ivory Bill - Don't you accept that in present society there is a lot of conditioning on many people not to think for themselves very much?
I saw the cartoon you linked to depicting the passenger offering to fly the plane, but seriously what has that got to do with populism, other than perhaps some vague connection with people thinking they are being active and rising up when actually they remain ignorant and prejudiced? The image doesn't encapsulate populism in a nutshell. It kinda says "Don't think for yourself, because it's wrong and antisocial". I'd love some among the Trump-supporting morons to begin thinking for themselves some more, in most cases after a lifetime of doing the exact opposite - yes even when they "believe" Sandy Hook was faked and other such crap.
posted by b : 8:21 AM
An expert is someone who had his last original idea no later than 10 weeks in to his first week at university, and who has since that time at every fork in the road always decided to stay within the hierarchy, investing his own personality in working to spread and research "reasons" why his superiors are always right; who enjoys being a cog in the machine because he is too gutless ever to do anything else; who can't just be a guy who knows something useful but who has to be a member of This or That fraternity or profession or caste for members only; who has internalised the very spirit of the profitmaking and hierarchical system; who long ago forgot the difference between "good" written work and written work that is acceptable to the moneyed interests that control the journals - in short, he is what US citizens call an "asshole" who is fanatically committed to thinking up reasons to justify whatever the established attitude is whenever another person whose head isn't wedged up their arse utters a contrary view.
He is a walking mess of confirmation bias even when on behalf his masters he finds out something "new".
He is dog in the manger.
He hates independence of thought and spirit and is so full of bile that he wants every other person to be a drone like himself. It is way above his pay grade to question anything important and, deep down, he knows it.
When an expert comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven.
(Thanks to Jack London for inspiring the last line.)
posted by b : 11:06 AM
Joseph, I am a long time reader of your blog, so I am familiar with your general stance (pessimistic, expect the worst and you shall not be disappointed, if the worst does not happen count your blessings, against extremists both on the right and the left). You also have an amazing ability to look at massive amounts of information, connect the dots and shed light on hidden truths. Which is why you have had many loyal readers over the years who understand your need for pessimism but appreciate your ability to minimize the noise and find the hidden gems that allow one to make sense out of all the information flying around at warp speed. So, I am not surprised by the pessimism, but I am still waiting for the gems. I know that you have not been your usual self lately due to health and other issues and may not be up to all the work you used to do, but you can still set the tone by asking the questions no one seems to ask. Here are my questions: What makes this virus so different than other viruses that has caused the world (not just the US) to react so differently? A pandemic such as the COVID-19 has been predicted for many years. So, why is the US (and the world) so ill equipped to handle it? Is the response to COVID-19 a glimpse of how the world will react when the worst of climate change hits the world? Why are US politicians talking about Economic Stimulus package when we are trying to put the economy in a coma instead of a Disaster Relief package that allows people to survive while the economy is in a coma?
posted by Anonymous : 11:18 AM
America Is Acting Like a Failed State
"Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.” "
posted by Anonymous : 2:16 PM
The government should have spent billions to save old and sick people. Instead they are going to spend Trillions to fix an economy they chose to self-implode by making everyone unemployed. The Republicans, and Russians are getting what they always wanted from their boy Trump. The controlled demolition of the U.S. government. Russians get the added bonus of the destruction of the U.S. economy which I don't think Republicans anticipated.
Ivory Bill, I heartily agree with that quote from Zappa. But I recall a late-80s interview with Zappa in which he described pretty much all music since Le Sacre du Printemps as "Poot music." Seriously. That's damn near an exact quote.
(Commercial radio did not allow him to use the word "shit." The discussion focused on orchestral music, not rock.)
My response at the time was that Zappa himself was being ridiculously anti-intellectual.
Apparently, what prompted that "poot" line was the fact that he had a bug up his ass about the minimalists -- Glass, Reich and so forth. They were all the rage at that time. I think Zappa was unfair to them. Although some of that music hasn't worn well (as one might expect), much of it will live.
Zappa was DEFINITELY unfair to Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Barber, Bartok, Copland, Tavener, Hovhaness, Part, Gorecki and a host of other 20th century masters I could name. I strongly suspect that if Zappa could hear some of the 21st century masters I love -- Franssens, Pavlova, Rouse, Sisask, and my fellow blogger Richard Einhorn (who writes under the name Tristero) -- he would once again reach for the word "poot."
Writing this response prompted me to give another listen to Zappa's "Sad Jane," a ballet he wrote in 1979. I didn't like it when I first gave it a try, years and years ago. But right now, I have it running through my headphones, and frankly...it's growing on me. Sometimes we just need to give a work a second or third chance.)
By the way: I don't think Zappa's words should be used to justify the mindless embrace of "expert" opinion -- on ANY topic. If ever a man championed non-conformity for non-conformity's sake, that man was Frank Zappa.
26-Mar....10.....82272 (an increase of 14061) 27-Mar....11.....104126 (an increase of 21854).
There is still a close fit to a logistic curve, but the parameters have changed to
a = 242163.26 b = 3.7264629 c = -0.3108777
b/c is now 12 (28 March) and a is now 240000 (up from 150000)
This new model predicts for the next few days
28 Mar 121328 29 Mar 139993 30 Mar 157780 31 Mar 173978
(increases of 18676 18665 17787 16199)
If the actual figures are bigger, and in particular if the increases continue to rise upwards of 21854, watch out!
posted by b : 10:02 PM
For the record, Bill, my clock is currently at only a single annual tick less than yours.
posted by b : 10:03 PM
Rachel Maddow starting to fly off the rails...a reply made to Trump:
"(5) We're going to need mass testing, a massive effort to isolate those with the virus (separate and apart from uninfected people staying home), a huge data-driven contact tracing effort, and a wartime-level mobilization of health workers and people to support them."
She wants the government to mass monitor and isolate people. I don't get Democrats... They had Trump beat... They got him on a million different things... Biden or Bernie sure to beat him... Then they go on this mass panic to unemploy everyone and lock them up in their homes before elections. Jesus Christ.
posted by Anonymous : 1:17 AM
B what do u calculate the number of deaths to be?
posted by Anonymous : 2:11 AM
Joseph, your smart contrarianism is always appreciated, but feels especially important right now.
Any thoughts on the (certainly bogus) allegation against Biden that's been floating around?
posted by nocturne : 3:23 AM
102 year old Italian lady survives Coronavirus. None of this makes sense. We are over the rainbow now.
That kind of line may fire up some Trump voters to be even more pro-Trump than they were before, but that doesn't mean his vote will hold up. In particular it won't necessarily shore up the 2016 swing vote in the Rust Belt that won him the presidency.
"Mass testing" is a strange demand indeed. Is there a detailed proposal for testing the entire population compulsorily?
I still think Trump may not be the Republican candidate in November.
posted by b : 7:40 AM
@Anon 1:17 AM:
(1) Rachel Maddow is not an official spokeswoman for the Democratic Party; I do not know if she is even a member or not.
(2) Oh, Ida Know--maybe Rachel actually thinks there's an actual plague which actually requires actual emergency measures to contain it? Maybe sometimes Mommie Dearest Nature is a callous bitch who won't let us have the kinds of lives we have come to consider normal, at least for such-and-such a period of time?
The Guardian has spiked a news story about one of UK youngest coronavirus victims after hospital says she died of heart attack. Not coronavirus.
posted by Anonymous : 2:38 PM
Perhaps they will stamp our hands with "Corona Free", or "CORONA F" for short, to show we've tested negative, and perhaps also that we've been vaccinated, and that therefore we will be allowed to visit public spaces and buy food.
C+O+R+O+N+A = 66 F = 6
Just saying :-)
Then there is this musical group, "Armageddon". Take a look at their imagery, showing the layer around the sun that is visible during a solar eclipse - the corona.
posted by b : 4:37 PM
Well whaddayaknow, in October 2019 a high-level exercise wargamed a pandemic. Run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum (Davos), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it was called "Event 201".
Click here for the list of "players". They had positions or backgrounds in healthcare multinationals, the UN, the World Bank, Chinese biotech, the CIA, communications, media, air travel, and the CDC.
I underline the Davos connection. One remarkable thing about this pandemic is the high level of agreement between the different states in the world. Not one has completely broken ranks...yet.
For a way in, readers may like to begin with two of the participants in particular: Avril Haines (former deputy director of the CIA and deputy National Security Adviser under Barack Obama) and George Gao (Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2017).
The recommendations were:
1) Governments, international organizations, and businesses should plan now for how essential corporate capabilities will be utilized during a large-scale pandemic.
2) Industry, national governments, and international organizations should work together to enhance internationally held stockpiles of medical countermeasures (MCMs) to enable rapid and equitable distribution during a severe pandemic.
3) Countries, international organizations, and global transportation companies should work together to maintain travel and trade during severe pandemics. Travel and trade are essential to the global economy as well as to national and even local economies, and they should be maintained even in the face of a pandemic.
4) Governments should provide more resources and support for the development and surge manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that will be needed during a severe pandemic.
5) Global business should recognize the economic burden of pandemics and fight for stronger preparedness.
6) International organizations should prioritize reducing economic impacts of epidemics and pandemics.
7) Governments and the private sector should assign a greater priority to developing methods to combat mis- and disinformation prior to the next pandemic response.
Got to wonder what steps were taken to implement no.7.
posted by b : 5:40 PM
In 2018, 54% of new HIV infections worldwide were among gay/bisexual men, transsexuals, people in prison, intravenous drug uses, and sex workers and clients, and the sexual partners of those groups. This was the *first* *time*, according to the World Health Organization, that more than 50% of infections were among such populations -- that is, the *first* *time* since WHO began collecting statistics that al least half of all new infections *weren't* from heterosexual sex, in utero transmission, or transmission by blood products.
So I wouldn't pat yourself on the back for your prediction about heterosexual AIDS.
Even in this country, where the virus is clearly concentrated in the gay/bisexual community and among IV drug users, last year over 1/4 of new cases were attributable to heterosexual contact.
posted by maz : 6:51 PM
So the World Economic Forum had a big presence in this pandemic exercise. And now we are in a situation where the middle class of the U.S. is about to be hollowed out and everyone goes unemployed so the rich can buy up everything. Ok. And what about the presence of the UNC guy and the guy from the Chinese Academy of Sciences Mr. Gao. Weren't UNC and the Chinese Academy both involved in research into SARs coronaviruses and their ability to latch onto the ACE2 receptors in human lungs? Like the virus currently floating around now? What a coincidence.
“A hypothesis that should be tested: With a) <£1million to play with, b) the ability to recruit a team from among special forces/intel services/specialist criminals/whoever, and c) no rules (so for example they could deploy honey traps on the head of security), a Red Team would break into the most secure UK bio-research facilities and acquire material that could be released publicly in order to cause deaths on the scale of millions. A serious test will also reveal that there is no serious attempt to incentivise the stars of Whitehall to work on such important issues or involve extremely able people from outside Whitehall.” (emphasis added)
Here is the obvious question that any journalist or politician reading this might like to try to get an answer to: was this hypothesis actually tested, after Dominic Cummings said he wanted it to be?
posted by b : 11:03 PM
I wrote: "This new model predicts for the next few days 28 Mar 121328 29 Mar 139993 30 Mar 157780 31 Mar 173978 (increases of 18676 18665 17787 16199) If the actual figures are bigger, and in particular if the increases continue to rise upwards of 21854, watch out!"
Today's actual reported increase in the US was 19452. The good news is that this is lower than yesterday's increase. Let us hope an inflection point (or peak daily increase if you like) has now been reached (with yesterday's increase of 21854).
posted by b : 11:10 PM
The model using current data suggests about 7000 reported deaths in the US.
posted by b : 8:54 AM
So Fauci is now saying 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths.
posted by Anonymous : 4:59 AM
After the 27 Mar increase of 21854, the model predicted:
28 Mar 121328 (inc 18676) 29 Mar 139993 (inc 18665) 30 Mar 157780 (inc 17787) 31 Mar 173978 (inc 16199)
We actually got
28 Mar 123578 (inc 19452) 29 Mar 143491 (inc 19913) 30 Mar 163844 (inc 20353)
As you can see, these increases are greater than the predicted figures and increasing, even if they are all smaller than the 27 Mar increase of 21854. An adjusted model predicts a total infections figure of 280000. That figure is very sensitive to the figures for daily increases.
If the virus does go BOOOM in the US, Trump will probably blame it on China in a bigger way than just calling it "Chinese".
posted by b : 7:55 AM
Joseph, Could you drop a comment every day or so, that way we'll know you're alive and well. Some of us worry about you.
"This paper presents a new model of the etiopathogenesis of influenza, suggesting that host resistance and susceptibility to the disease depend importantly on the ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A; reduced exposure to sunlight and/or preexisting vitamin D deficiency simultaneously increase the accumulation, expression, and potential toxicity of endogenous retinoids, and the decreased vitamin D to vitamin A ratio triggers viral activation or increases susceptibility to novel strains of influenza virus. It is suggested that increased but normal physiological concentrations of retinoid effectively inhibit influenza pathogenesis whereas higher background concentrations (i.e., very low vitamin D : A ratios) worsen it and induce the severe complications of the disease. Influenza-induced or preexisting liver disease, diabetes, or obesity may significantly worsen the outcome of infection, possibly via alterations in retinoid metabolism. Methods for reversing the low vitamin D : A ratio could include increasing exposure to solar radiation, dietary restriction, and pharmacological approaches, and all should be investigated for potential use in the prevention and treatment of influenza." www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/246737/
This is for the flu.. but sounds a lot about how CDC said we should take vitamin D to prevent coronavirus respiratory infections. So if this article is saying respiratory infections with the flu seem to take root due to reduced sunlight why are we all being forced to stay indoors in our dark homes and incubate the coronavirus? And if diabetes makes one susceptible to complications of flus does it help we are stuck in our homes eating and no exercise getting fat?
posted by Anonymous : 3:24 AM
The difference between the coronavirus and the flu. They are not at all alike. COVID-19 is way worse for a number of important reasons:
Jan-Aug 2019: "Crimson Contagion" - a US government pandemic exercise, imagining 110 million infections and 586000 deaths in the US.
Oct 2019: "Event 201" - a pandemic exercise run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum (aka Davos), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, imagining 65 million deaths worldwide after 18 months. (Scenario here.)
posted by b : 6:50 PM
US increases in reported cases:
1 April 24686 2 April 26473
posted by b : 6:56 PM
That video says 20 to 30% of people who get covid-19 will need to be hospitalized. There are already 1 million known coronavirus cases worldwide. And they are saying there are 10 stealth carriers for every known carrier. So 10 million total maybe... I have not heard of 300,000+ people being hospitalized.
Another month has passed, the total dead is around 55000 today I think. Still below the 60000 a month that died from normal flu a few years back. We will be told this was necessary and don't compare to normal flu deaths! Or anything else for that matter. Next year they will insist we shut down to prevent that 60000 who die every month from normal flu. You will be told you can only drive your car once a month to cut way back on those millions of car deaths every year. Old people will be wrapped permanently in bubble wrap in case they were to ever fall and possibly die. Ham sandwiches will be banned because probably about 40000 people die every year while eating one.
I promise you none of the talking head idiots will ever say one peep about the 3 million children that die every year from malnutrition: https://www.worldhunger.org/world-child-hunger-facts/
NOT. ONE. WORD. WILL. BE. SAID.
Why? Because none of this is about facts or truth or saving old people from dying. It is good old fashioned HYSTERIA of the most stupid kind that has completely gone off the rails.
Wear a mask... don't wear a mask. Take Ibuprofin... don't take Ibuprofin... We will get a new news panic meme by the end of the week.
TENS OF MILLIONS of people died in 1918 between influenza and war and they didn't shut down the whole planet and wreck everyone's livelihood over it. The population at the time was only like 1.8 billion. Many western nations have just gotten very pampered and to be completely honest... dumbed down by our media and politicians.
Be afraid. Stay on your couch. Go back to sleep.
posted by Anonymous : 12:29 AM
And also don't forget the brain damage.. Panic Pushing British tabloids say coronavirus causes brain damage:
Deborah Birx is now telling people not to even go to the grocery store. These people are NUTS. Birx is a Pence appointee. Do u sense maybe something sinister going on here? Like running a trial balloon to see how to keep people home during the election?
Have there been any public elections in the US in the past few weeks? I don't know the full list of offices that are filled by election or the rules for by-elections, possibly called "special elections", but I guess there's a lot of variation by state.
I read that the president does not have the authority to postpone the election but it's up to the states to organise voting. But...does every state actually have to employ public voting as its method of choosing members of the electoral college?
Force majeure can be a powerful legal concept.
Deaths per population is now 14 times higher in the US than in China.
Meanwhile in Britain the Tory prime minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to intensive care. Interestingly both he and his possible successor Dominic Raab have family connections to the company Marks and Spencer.
posted by b : 8:21 PM
Dr. Fauci apparently thinks people may never be able to shake hands again unless there is a vaccine for Covid-19.
Story changing up again. California may have had Coronavirus before Coronavirus became a THING and already developed herd immunity to it back in 2019. (I don't remember stories of mass deaths in CA back in 2019?)
Meaning "experts" are now kind of silently concluding the "Pandemic" is over and now need to explain why millions in California did not die a long time ago BEFORE CA went into lockdown when Covid-19 was spreading thru California in fall of 2019.
posted by Anonymous : 4:19 PM
The common cold is caused by various coronaviruses.
Regarding Covid-19, things seem to be as I feared: there is talk of fast-developing a "new kind of vaccine". It is possible that those who refuse it will not be allowed out of their homes. We may well be refused service in supermarkets. We may be denied health treatment too. So there is reason to stockpile whatever medicines we may need, as well as food.
I haven't looked at the details but there is said (and I didn't hear this from loonies) to be a vaccine under development called MRNA which "works differently from other vaccines" and stimulates the body to produce copies of Covid-19 but which, don't worry, are missing the nasty killy parts. Like YEAH, RIGHT! (This is different from normal vaccines whether antibacterial or antiviral which in principle work by stimulating antibodies - they don't actually stimulate the body to produce viruses first. That is how viruses replicate, unlike bacteria which simply reproduce by giving birth to little baby bacteria. And such a "new kind of antiviral vaccine" is going to be fast-developed. Watch f*cking out!)
People who have been very surprised by what has happened so far in the Covid-19 upheaval - limited house arrest, social distancing policies, bans on movement, private-sector rationing in supermarkets, etc. - and who now think they are taking it all in their stride because they always realised something like this might happen (the truth being that they didn't have the slightest clue, and couldn't and still can't see beyond the end of their noses), are hindering a realisation of what is to come, and what may come very soon.
A number of internet companies are cracking down on the expression of contrary opinions, including the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and even shitty little chat sites such as Spinchat, based in Germany.
I would urge people to establish an internet presence that is not reliant on companies that are most obviously likely to have a big clampdown. That means don't be reliant on Facebook (which owns Instagram and Whatsapp), Twitter, Wordpress (blogs hosted at Wordpress), and of course the Great Satan that is Google. Just forget all that stuff. Think more in terms of internet pigeon post - and even that may be closed down.
posted by b : 5:33 AM
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had both promised to push for Medicare for all. Now that they have been sidelined looks like we are gonna get FASCISM AND VACCINES FOR ALL. How convenient. $$$ Would be nice if the totally DOCILE American public would wake up.
posted by Anonymous : 6:01 AM
@Anon.6.01 As well as vaccines for all, maybe also compulsory smartphones to enable a "nobody can escape" form of "contact tracing".
I suspect annual flu vaccines have already weakened many people's immune systems. The whole idea of an annual vaccine for the same illness doesn't make any sense, either for dogs or human beings.
posted by b : 4:30 PM
@b— Oh, come on now. Your recounting of recombinant vaccines borders on the paranoid. That’s not a “new method.” It was used to produced the Hepatitis B vaccine back in the 1980s. In short, bacteria or yeast is used to produce a bit of protein that looks like the outside of the virus but lacks the disease causing inside, so it’s harmless. But since it looks like the virus, the immune system develops the ability to destroy the real virus. That’s been basic science for many decades.
Everybody should read at least a bit about these topics because of the toxic disinformation that is now everywhere. Really, this is covered in high school Biology. Wikipedia and especially, Khan Academy are your friends.
In general, I think a skeptical attitude is good, but I will always go with evidence and sound scientific reasoning. So when I see folks belittling actually experienced medical and public health authorities, I begin to wonder about the “critics.”
Turns out, I know a research MD who was in medical residency with Anthony Fauci, a fact I learned only last week. He reported that Fauci was then who he is now, a smart, effective, take charge kind of guy who wants to do the best possible for patients.
So, while it’s nice to finally have personal testimony, the ongoing question of who is credible and trustworthy should always actively pursued, and it usually leads, for most folks, to the press. Though I sometimes dislike the NY Times greatly, at others even I am grateful for the reporting they do.
So with that preamble, I supply the following link to a very well reported story on how Russian information warfare has been very successful in many ways in the US, and elsewhere.
Main points are that doubt about the government and medical science has been increased. Doubt about the effectiveness and safety of vaccines has been sowed. The Russian government has pursued extensive public health measures, the kind of action that has been made impossible in the US by Trump and the GOP . Putin himself appears in ads promoting the use of masks and protection against Covid-19.
While I don’t always agree with you, you are highly valued by me and other readers.
I have sent a donation as an expression of my appreciation.
posted by Anonymous : 2:46 AM
How long until Trump gets 25thed? And how are you doing, Joseph? Are you OK?
posted by b : 8:06 AM
@Tom - You are mistaken. No messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine has ever been in widespread use before against a human infectious disease. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes for you to verify that statement.
"In short, bacteria or yeast is used to produce a bit of protein that looks like the outside of the virus but lacks the disease causing inside, so it’s harmless. But since it looks like the virus, the immune system develops the ability to destroy the real virus. That’s been basic science for many decades."
Yes, but I am not talking about what has been done for many decades. What I am talking about is NOT the introduction of such "nobbled" entities into the body, but the stimulation of the body itself into producing them. That is the key point.
posted by b : 9:48 AM
Trump really wants to kill us. Testing is going backwards in numbers and effectiveness.....
"funny thing … is that the president is claiming a lot of powers he doesn’t have and not using the one power he does have to get these tests made and distributed.”
"But more tests would show more infections and Trump is very sensitive about how bad large numbers of infections make him look. So sensitive, in fact, that he’d rather not know the real scope of the pandemic and send people back to work, worsening it, causing another spike in infections and death. He cannot help himself even to help himself. He’s set an arbitrary May 1 deadline for “re-opening” the economy and White House advisers cannot get him to relent."
"Not only does Donald Trump not have your back, he doesn’t even have your front."
This actor gets his leg amputated. The article title makes it sound like the coronavirus did it. Read the article and you find that he got blood clots from laying in a hospital bed for two weeks. To stop the clotting they gave him blood thinners which caused internal bleeding damaging his internal organs. But the media title just says it's all a complication from coronavirus.
posted by Anonymous : 4:32 PM
Tom you come in here talking about Russian information warfare on science and then the next thing out of your mouth is how great the Russians have done with handling the virus versus USA even though they waited much longer to institute a lockdown. Take a hike.
posted by Anonymous : 4:42 PM
It is pretty clear as this goes on that the reason for the lockdown is to preserve what medical system we have. Either way, the economy was going to be damaged because of the Trump administration's complete mishandling of this pandemic at the onset.
While some comparisons to AIDS are apt, it is clear now there are huge differences. AIDS is not easy to get, and there are treatments for HIV. As of now, there are none for COVID-19, which is vastly more contagious. If you are a man, especially a man with health problems, there is a good chance you will die of it regardless of your age. Those who are hospitalized make up about 20 percent of the total cases (and just because a case is called "mild" doesn't mean that person with it is not very sick--the person just doesn't need to be hospitalized). The medical system in this country cannot absorb hundreds of thousands of cases where the disease is life-threatening. THIS, more than media hype, is why the country is in lockdown. It is called being proactive. If the deaths don't go over 100,000, for example, that doesn't mean the lockdown was a failure; on the contrary, it means the opposite.
With something as serious as this, you just can't let the thing "burn itself out" in the general population when it isn't clear there is any kind of immunity once you get this. Unlike the flu, there are NO vaccines. COVID-19 is NOT the flu. It is irresponsible to say this should be let loose.
People like Alex Jones and one of his partners in lies, David Knight, should be kicked off the air and the internet for peddling outright LIES in a pandemic. Knight, who my personality disordered brother listens to every day and laps up the "libertarian" lies this fraud peddles, said today the "lockdown is killing people." This horseshit should not be allowed to be spewed. This is further incitement similar to the billionaires financing the astroturf "protests" at state capitals over the weekend. There is no excuse for this to be spewed.
I have never consumed so much news (cable, blog, online publications, etc.,) as I have these past few weeks. There are at least 50 news worthy or interesting or eye popping pieces of information on a daily basis that one could share in a platform such as this. At the moment the traffic (articles and comments) here is at a snail's pace. So, to judge any one reader here based on one comment is at best ridiculous. Now, there are 2 areas where most comments (here and elsewhere) can be categorized. A)is COVID-19 a global pandemic worthy of shutting down the economies of the world, or is the danger exaggerated B)what should be done and when to combat this virus and which countries or leaders are doing a good job of protecting their citizens and economies It is also permissible to change one's mind with regards to both categories since the situation is fluid and information provided on a daily basis sheds light on facts.
Latest news coronavirus causes strokes in young people. Of course no one asking if people are getting strokes sitting at home all day on their asses getting fat due to Covid-19 lockdown which is more likely.
posted by Anonymous : 1:11 AM
@ b— I stand corrected. Sounds possibly interesting, perhaps as one of those hopeful ideas out of a lab. Most of those do not end up producing any meaningful results, aside from experience.
@anon 4:42– You need to read more carefully. I was referring to a well-reported story in the Times. There is a lot to be lamented about the Times, as I have said previously, so It can’t be said that I’m uncritical.
But it is necessary in life to develop the ability to recognize good information when you see it.
Since that Times story is behind a paywall accompanied by photos of public health billboards, etc, I will restate the main points:
1. Russia has engaged in a long term campaign to make the US look bad. Their aims are to spread doubt and mistrust, especially of government and science (unstated is how well these goals align with certain right wing projects). So, all kinds of FUD about vaccines, public health measures, origins of dread infectious diseases. They admitted to spreading the rumor that AIDS was created in US labs, back in the 1980’s.
2. For their domestic consumption in Russia, Putin urges people to get vaccinated, talking about how he always gets his. He urges people to wear masks now with Covid19. Etc.
We don’t really know how well they’re doing, but in sharp distinction the US Federal Government, they are trying. Drink some bleach, anybody? We’re due for an analysis of Trump’s self-defeating actions and statements. It might fill a large books.)
I’ve got to go take a hike with my dog.
Joseph, happy to know you’re around.
posted by Anonymous : 2:20 PM
It's time to tell us your story about Biden.
posted by Anonymous : 9:56 PM
Joseph, Anon9:56 makes a reasonable request. It’s time to tell that story.
posted by Anonymous : 1:00 PM
WTF is the "Lincoln Project", the anti-Trump Republican group that has endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency and which has as one of its leading figures George Conway, husband of Trump's "counsellor" Kellyanne Conway who ran his 2016 campaign?
And why is Trump helping the group with its publicity, bringing it to mass attention by tweeting about it?
Either Trump really is that stupid, in which case he will get his arse kicked to kingdom come between now and November, or else he and his managers (carers?) are up to something - perhaps arranging an escape route?
The good news is that the Trump administration is considering the Yang-ish solution of making payments to people in danger of losing all. God, I hope so. In this household, we really don't stand a chance otherwise. A two-thousand buck handout might stave off the worst.
What irritates me is the fact that only a populist Republican president is allowed to consider such a measure. If any Dem said the exact same words, a million libertarians would now be screaming "The Bolshies are coming!" as they marched down Main Street while waving around copies of The Road to Serfdom.
Somewhere out there, a few honest libertarians may denounce the proposed cash giveaway. But do "honest libertarians" still exist, or has that phrase become a contradiction in terms? What used to be an ideology (a disagreeable ideology, in my view, but at least intellectually consistent) has become just another weapon wielded by partisan hacks against anyone who doesn't like Trump.
Maniac time. On both the right and the left, people are starting to agree with my position: Coronavirus hysteria -- not the virus itself -- poses a massive threat to this country.
Depression-level unemployment levels are likely, and homelessness looms for many. If massive numbers are tossed into the street, the health crisis will worsen, since coronavirus is showing up in shelters.
I never thought I'd agree with an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal, but there are a few decent points in this stew (which, of course, also contains the expected toxic ingredients): By shuttering the economy, we are inflicting enormous pain on ourselves -- and for what gain? The virus is expected to spread despite our best efforts. Evictions and layoffs are horrible for public health, both our physical and psychological health. Both large-D Depression and small-d depression are killers.
An increasing number of people are starting to realize that we have veered from one extreme to another -- from a blinkered denial of the problem to a self-destructive over-reaction. Everything I've read has led me to believe that the proper response should be, or should have been, four-fold:
1. Subject only the elderly to "social distancing."
2. Increase testing.
3. Spread public awareness of the dangers.
4. Convince employers to allow lengthy rest-and-recuperation periods for anyone showing flu-like symptoms.
Instead of sticking to those sensible measures, we went from placidity to insanity -- from "There are no meteors" to "The sky is falling!"
We've seen this movie before. In comments appended to previous posts, I've compared the current panic to the insane over-reaction to the AIDS "crisis" of the 1980s. Remember the '80s? We went from an embarrassed denial of the problem to full-out mania.
If you weren't alive then, let me lay out some under-discussed social history for you. This lesson will put the current problem into the proper perspective.
Not too long after Ronald Reagan walloped Walter Mondale, a massive propaganda campaign blared this message:
"AIDS is going to KILL EVERYONE IN THE WORLD unless we change our sinful ways!"
The disease, we were told, had hit the (male) gay community only by happenstance. Soon, soon, the het community would be massacred. Experts predicted that we would not be able to walk down the streets without tripping over AIDS-ridden corpses.
Even condoms weren't protective enough. Little holes, y'see. The only permissible solution was to stop fucking around and settle down with a Life Partner.
In short: A very real health problem became just another excuse for moralists to impose monogamy. This propaganda campaign was so pervasive, so successful, that even today some people will become furious with you if you say certain forbidden words. Among those forbidden words: "Lesbians don't get AIDS."
The truth is that they don't. They really don't.
Yes, I am well aware that there is ONE case in which a woman supposedly contracted HIV through sex with another woman. Since the claimant remains unnamed, we have no way to judge her truthfulness when she insisted that she never had sex with someone in the high risk categories. I don't believe in Bigfoot, but the evidence for the existence of Bigfoot is a thousand times better than the available evidence for lesbian-transmitted AIDS.
"Still, it is theoretically possible that..."
Oh, fuck you.
We've all heard that "theoretical" argument for more than three decades. Epidemiology counts. From a public health perspective, lesbians can party like it's 1979 if they so choose.
Something similar can be said of heterosexual couples, as long as both parties know that their partners are not intravenous drug users and that the male is not a bisexual with a fondness for condom-free anal intercourse.
Does oral sex (giving and receiving, heterosexual and homosexual) transmit AIDS? Many still believe it does, but the evidence remains iffy.
For decades, people have called me a damnable heretic -- or, more charitably, a self-interested party -- whenever I pointed out that you're much more likely to get struck by lightning than to get AIDS from oral sex. But even though I definitely was a self-interested party, statistics back me up: Six thousand lightning deaths per year, versus decades of controversy as to whether even ONE human being has actually gotten AIDS from giving or receiving a blowjob. It's literally safer to drink any random guy's cum than to drink soda from a dispensary at Mickey D's.
(Okay, I'll admit that there may be some other problem with that random guy's spunk; AIDS is not the only STD out there. But AIDS is the topic of my current analogy/rant.)
Yes, yes, I know: Right now you, or at least a few of you, are just dying to mount your highest high horse while delivering that Very Familiar Lecture on the Dangers of HIV. Believe it or not, I've already heard that lecture -- many, many, many times since 1985. But after three and half decades, most of the populace finally understands that predictable speeches and appeals to middle-class morality cannot overpower scientific fact.
Last time I looked, some 70 percent of all AIDS cases trace back to gay men who have practiced anal sex without condoms. The rest are mostly intravenous drug users. Last time I looked, only 2.5 percent of the male population is gay, despite a propaganda campaign which has succeeded in convincing many that the percentage is much higher. And males comprise only 50 percent of the overall population.
("The actual number is 49.2 percent! Obviously, you are innumerate and nothing you say must ever be believed!" Oh, fuck you. Pedant.)
The numbers have stayed the same for decades. AIDS remains constrained within the same two groups: Buttfuckers and junkies. Sorry if my politically-incorrect phrasing offends heroin aficionados and back-door enthusiasts, but stats are stats. Despite a reasonably small-ish number of black swan events, the virus is transmitted today the same way it was transmitted then.
Again: 6000 people are killed by lightning each year. Keep things in perspective.
Today, younger people are doing what they've always done -- what four million years of biology compels them to do. They're boinking like crazy while the boinking is good.
The terms "hooking up" and "friends with benefits" have entered our discourse. Seemingly half the entries in the Urban Dictionary indicate a preoccupation with promiscuity. Erica Jong's phrase "zipless fuck" now seems quaint, but such fucks are just as popular now as they were in the 1970s. Moreover, I'm pretty sure that most of our young fuckers find plastic as unsatisfactory as their parents and grandparents did.
And have the HIV stats skyrocketed as a result of all this unfettered, un-rubberized boinking? No, they have not. Despite the conventional wisdom of 1985-90, the percentages remain pretty much the same.
We now understand that the propaganda barrage of those years was just that: Propaganda. Moralism. Sexfear. An Id-control mechanism. In the words of Eliza Doolittle's dad: "I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle class morality."
To be accurate, the propagandists of that era were a strange coalition: Bourgeois traditionalists, Bible thumpers, women eager to keep boyfriends/husbands from straying, and gay guys who correctly surmised that screaming "You're next!" was the best way to raise funds for a cure. I didn't blame those gay guys for their part in that coalition; when you're trying to talk the public into ponying up some dough, you gotta do what you gotta do. And I'm glad that we now have antiretroviral therapy.
But I never bought into the hype.
Throughout that period, people hated me when I told the truth about AIDS, because what I said conflicted with conventional wisdom.
Today, people hate me for saying that our overreaction to the coronavirus is more dangerous than the virus itself.
Nevertheless, I was right then and I'm right now.
Remember Michael Fumento? He wrote a book years ago called "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS." He told the truth about this disease, that it was unlikely to spread in the U.S. beyond the initial high risk groups of gay men, Haitians, and those undergoing blood transfusions. Despite his painstaking analysis, he was severely criticized by the gay community especially, because the community was fearful much-needed funding would be cut off. One of Fumento's points in his book is that while AIDS deserved funding, there were other diseases far more prevalent that also deserved funding and perhaps the funding toward AIDS was excessive. THAT was the reason the LGBT community was so upset with him.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has apparently criticized NYC mayor De Blazio for overreaction to the epidemic.
Trump came up with this Yang-style plan because Mitt Romney had come up with the idea, which in turn he took notes from Democratic politicians. Trump is doing this for political reasons obviously. Democrats would be wise to go along with it.
OTE: I hate Trump and always will, and I agree that he will commit Socialist "sin" only because he needs to save his political hide. Fine. I don't care. We need the damn money to keep going. My ladyfriend was laid off, I am struggling as always, and it isn't easy to find a job when every business is shutting down.
This wouldn't be the first time Trump did the right thing for the wrong reason (and, arguably, in the wrong way).
Trump is now talking about as much as 2 grand per person. That is fine with me. I could use the money. I am not in danger of being laid off and I do have Social Security, a tiny pension, and living with my brother at minimal cost in the meantime.
What is the insurance company angle to the layoffs and closures?
posted by b : 7:12 PM
1) Big Pharma got their hooks in a lot of places by promoting the AIDS scare, just as the military industrial complex did with the Strategic Defence Initiative ("Star Wars"). Those were two of the most highly-promoted memes of the 1980s and 1990s.
It would be possible to discuss which sectoral faction of capital will benefit from the coronavirus scare. But if too much weight is given to that angle, it becomes a distraction.
2) This is part of the international march forward of the far right, of swelling Malthusianism. It looks like a major, major cull.
A cull has been telegraphed for some time by the "green movement", which is part of the far right and should be treated as such by the genuine left.
3) Some case fatality rates for thought:
Italy 8.3% Iran 6.5% Spain 4.3% China 4.0% Britain 4.0% France 2.9% US 1.6% Switzerland 1.1% South Korea 1.0% Germany 0.2%
Those are all the countries with more than 2000 reported cases so far.
Italy, Iran 6-8% Bunch of countries in W Europe and the Far East, plus the US: 1-4% Germany 0.2%
Watch out for the German state not playing along with the message.
4) The Korean cult Shincheonji deserves scrutiny.
5) So does the 60-year calendar in China and elsewhere in East Asia.
posted by b : 7:38 PM
It will be interesting to see how Income tax filings enter into whom gets a check. If a person did not owe anything last year, will they get a check? If a person did not owe anything so they did not file, will they get anything, probably not. So the lesson is to file every year no matter what. However, if someone has a down year and does not owe money they may not want to file just in case the credit card companies see the filing and decide to reduce credit???
Y'know, b, there was a time when I would have scoffed at your suggestion that the green movement was part of the far right. As I may have mentioned once or twice, Petra Kelly was one of my many crushes.
But in the end, the Greens didn't treat her very well, did they?
And there really are some weird far-right/Green links -- stuff that deserves greater study than I have so far expended. What's going on in Austria is disturbing.
I was just thinking about the taxes. I know when a similar thing happened before a decade or so ago, I never received any money because I had tax liability. They just applied the money to the taxes I owed. That is probably what is going to happen here with the distribution.
This time I don't have tax liability, fortunately. Chuck Schumer was talking about the money being applied to UI instead of a single payout, but that is no solution because many people affected are not eligible for UI, either because they didn't work long enough to get it, or else they work in a field such as education, where personnel are NOT eligible for UI if they are not laid off. In other words, being off for the summer doesn't count because school staff are returning in the fall. Other occupations having seasonal layoffs and rehires are fully eligible for UI, but not in education. Teachers get their annual salary spread out over twelve months, but not classified help.
The media and "experts" are regurgitating claims coming from China that China has had no new local cases of Coronavirus since yesterday? WTF? Who believes that in a country of 1.3 billion where people are stacked up on each other like sardines that this can possibly be true? Does any American in a position of authority have the balls to stand up to this bullshit coming from China and Russia? Certainly not that pathetic Russian Ass Munching Eunuch Attorney General William Barr who just let that Russian chef guy off who was running attacks on American elections and supplying soldiers who were literally fighting Americans. Basically a fucking authoritarian communist country is feeding American media and politicians whatever China wants to feed them and they regurgitate it no questions asked....pathetic.
posted by Anonymous : 1:38 AM
Now being told the Pandemic will last for 18 months. It will come in waves. No shit. Because cold season comes once a year obviously. Trump will be president 4 more years. You can congratulate Democrats that regurgitate a braindead media with no critical thinking skills whatsoever. No one is asking why did this happen, is it engineered? It is a bioweapon? Is this an attack on the USA by an enemy? Why are labs always developing these viruses and then a year later they suddenly appear in the world. All of this conveniently will destroy the American economy and make the obvious Russian asset Trump president 4 more years? The media is just regurgitating what they have been force fed down their throats by China, Putin,the WHO and CDC. Trump will be president 4 more years... Get used to it. This is what transnational billionaires want and it is what they are going to get because people are a bunch of wussies. Trump promised people the 2016 election was going to be rigged by Democrats. Dems and media regurgitated conventional wisdom that no way in hell elections can ever be stolen. And of course Republicans stole it. Democrats have zero ability to perceive wider plots and manipulations. They only see what is right on the tip of their nose. Dems and media will be manipulated until the economy crashes,everyone stays home on election day and we will get 4 more years of Trump. Over at DummieUnderground it's a cesspool of wussified groupthink shaming everyone to avoid all contact and all shopping until Uncle Trump's Gubbamint tells them to come out from hiding under their mommy's beds. DummieUnderground is basically seeding Democrats to stay home and lose same way Rachel Maddow promised there would be nothing to worry about in 2016. No way mathematically Trump could win and no one rigs elections anyways. Democrats never learn. *facepalm*
posted by Anonymous : 5:02 AM
For the doubters, seriously consider the company you keep:
DU is a shithole. Always was, always will be. They don't know how to moderate to save their lives there. Sanders trolls get a free pass despite the fact he is obviously a tool for Russia and Trump, but to point out the obvious gets a person banned. I got banned because I told the truth about what the CDC said about school closures not being necessary unless there was substantial community risk. Instead, they stupidly peddled what is likely a photoshopped image of a screenshot of what a commenter said on an AASA social media page that CDC said schools would be closed two to five months, which was not what it said. Furthermore the DU poster cherrypicked quotations from the CDC guidelines of last week, which is as good as a lie. I called them out on their lies, and I got banned. I will never return there, even to lurk.
Given all the competition from social media and Reddit, I am amazed DU still exists now. It can't be getting much in the way of visits anymore given the competition.
A guy on DummieUnderground was beating up on people who dared questioned coronavirus. His solution to the crisis? Everyone needs to stay home and avoid all contact... And mail in their ballots at election time. Mods just let that guy keep seeding his bullshit prescription for Democrats to lose the election. He is probably a troll and mods there don't even care.
posted by Anonymous : 12:45 PM
For those who doubt the serious nature of this pandemic, or who think that the dynamics of how a virus spreads, do consider the company you keep:
It seems to me that it would be good to know how the Trump administration came to disband the NSC Pandemic unit.
posted by Anonymous : 12:57 PM
When that poll a couple weeks ago showed that around 38% would be disinclined to drink Corona Beer, and today GOP Representative Don Young (AK) jokes about “Beer Virus,” we have known that the appeal to the Deplorables continues but is not increasing their numbers.
@Ivory Bill names the demographic who is falling away, the Gullibles.
Every time Trump gets in front of the cameras, rambles on sounding like the desperate idiot, more of that gullible source of votes is given further reason to regret their choice.
posted by Anonymous : 2:49 PM
Anonymous 12:57 what the fuck does Jeremy W. Peters know? He is not a Doctor or a scientist... he is a New York Times reporter. We all know what the New York Times said about WMDs in Iraq and the Swine flu.
posted by Anonymous : 3:50 PM
@anon3:50 You’re kidding, right? By your tone though, probably not.
Where to begin? And btw, I well remember Judith Miller’s job (which, for those with a brain, was easy to disbelieve at the time), and a lot of other garbage the Times has promulgated over the decades. Remember the 1990’s magazine called Lies of Our Times? I always marveled that it wasn’t the size of phone book.
How about this: any organization of significant size will have a variety of viewpoints. And it’s pretty easy to tell factual reporting from tendentious fabrications.
And this Jeremy W. Peters is reporting not on the science, but on what a bunch of right wing nutcase assholes are spewing out. I, for one, would have had no way of knowing what those guys were saying, if not for that story.
@b earlier brought up the possibly very important idea of the rise of a new Malthusianism. It has been noticeable for decades that the right wing has taken positions that put large portions of the population at risk. And here we find the right wing blabbosphere promoting doubt about the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And for more bad news, true— from a newspaper, the virus does hit young people harder than previously thought: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/19/younger-adults-are-large-percentage-coronavirus-hospitalizations-united-states-according-new-cdc-data/
posted by Anonymous : 5:23 PM
A footnote regarding a new Malthusianism is called for.
One way of understanding this is that for the right wing elite to maintain its status is that many people must die. This sows chaos, is brutalizing and reduces the number of poor people.
Remember when folks used to ask, "Why does Reagan hate the poor so much?"
By now we have the answer. The right wing hates the poor because the poor represent competition for money. The poor, by their very presence, make demands for funding. And the typical billionaire will not stand to spare a dime for such extraneous costs.
posted by Anonymous : 5:50 PM
There have been about 160 coronavirus deaths across the entire USA since fucking DECEMBER. Trump has done very little to stop it. Across the USA 100+ people die in car accidents EVERY FUCKING DAY yet no one complains that we should stop driving. 100 PEOPLE EVERY DAY!! Of course you will say if everyone doesn't hole up and crash the economy right now EVERYONE GONNA DIE. BULLSHIT
posted by Anonymous : 7:31 PM
Los Angeles County, with a population of 10.1 million people is going on complete and total shutdown today because exactly 2 people have died of Coronavirus in LA County since January 20th 2020 when the virus was first found in LA. That is an exponential death rate of about 1 person per month in a city of 10 million.
posted by Anonymous : 10:25 PM
The two people that died, an elderly retired lady and a 34 year old guy... Both had underlying conditions. Both had just come back to Los Angeles after having just been in ORLANDO FLORIDA. The LA County government apparently had zero interest in testing the rest of the family that also had symptoms but we're not dying. So much for getting an accurate calculation of the true mortality rate.
All of Los Angeles is shutting down because exactly 2 people have died of Coronavirus since January. Probably about the same number of people that die every month taking a shit in LA County.
posted by Anonymous : 10:36 PM
Hey anon7:31: real impressive hyperbole.
You, and others like you who think that quoting some low-seeming number, for you folks, here is some advice.
Learn some math. Learn something about exponential growth. It’s like jr. high level.
Then look at the curves of infection in various countries.
If you do this honestly, you will have to admit that your some-low-number of deaths in the early stage of the pandemic is meaningless.
It’s meaningless for two main reasons: The number doubles often. May start low and slow, but soon enough, the numbers can become staggeringly high. The rate of increase can be decreased by good medical testing and treatment and by sound, proven public health measures. If it’s the plague, you kill rats. If it’s a virus, you isolate the sick and keep your distance, if healthy. These measures make sense.
A good example of the low-number gambit was demonstrated by Trump himself who kept talking about how West Virginia had Zero cases (ah, paradise). But not for long. The next day there was the first reports case. Now there are five.
West Virginia. It would ne like a science project. Make a graph of cases there and compare to your preferred “theory.”
posted by Anonymous : 10:46 PM
Tom the Los Angeles County coronavirus death graph after 2 months of Coronavirus looks like this in a county of 10.1 million people:
1 death -----------> 2 deaths
But believe whatever you want to believe it's a free country.. for now
posted by Anonymous : 12:12 AM
Anon10:36 your news is a bit incomplete.
Gov. Newsom has ordered the entire state of California to stay at home. He estimates that more than 25 million people may become infected.
The LA Times reports that in all of California, there are 1001 cases and 19 deaths, so far. That report is dated March 19, 2020
"Democrats" on DummieUnderground are at this very moment encouraging Dummies to stay home and mail in their vote in November. Mods over at the DummieUnderground are doing NOTHING to discourage it. The Cons are so much better at this game then the Dummies. :)
posted by Anonymous : 1:52 AM
Wow Joe you are bringing out some fAnCy sPeLLers wITh ALLCAPS YELLING as a way to express things their words just don't help. sOmE DUde here, Anon731 says some number. Nine hours later that small number has risen 77% still a small number but who knows maybe if it doubles again in 24 hours, then doubles again in another 24 then doubles again 24 hours later so it's 1,600 from that 160 in 72 hours. Do we then get to say this is a pandemic? Or do we have to wait for it to double a few more times? AnD WhERe's tHe vAcCiNaTiOn fOr ShoUtiNg iN aLl cApS?? Forget DU haters, seems you got a T_D infestation...
@anon12:12 — yes, it’s a free country, but we are not free to choose our own private facts. We can’t escape the dynamics of how a very active virus spreads through a population.
Look up “exponential curve” and compare the graphs with the graphs of Covid-19 infections in various countries. Notice the similarity.
Your cute graph (showing the relatively flat line of the doubling from 1 to two compared to a population of 10.1 million) Is very well represented in each graph in the early days of the spread in each country. Then the increase begins, because each infected person gives the virus to more than one person. Then a further increase. And so on. Until...
Until a country acts to isolate the sick from the healthy and to keep the apparently healthy (some of whom have the virus but don’t know it yet) at a safe distance from each other. Then the graph looks like S Korea.
Or until such proper measures are not taken, and the graph line takes off through the roof, such as Italy. This produces the situation where crisis develops, and the health care system is overwhelmed. The graph of cases in the US is beginning to resemble that of Italy.
Here’s a set of demonstrations: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/?itid=pm_pop
For people who like bad news, there is plenty. And it will stay that way. Consider the case of California, where the state government has given an estimate. I’ll use death rates published in Business Insider because they’re handy at the moment. These figures change often, and because they are close to other rates I’ve seen reported. So, for guessing about possible future outcomes, I think they’re ok, but only that.
The estimate cited by California’s Gov. Newsom is for 25 million people to become infected. Since death rates vary, and are not yet settled, we have to choose a couple of numbers for this estimate. S Korea’s 0.97% (best case) — 242,500 deaths Italy’s 7.94% (worst case) — 1,985,000 deaths
posted by Anonymous : 8:06 AM
But enough generalities. Here’s a story about a couple in their early thirties. And what happened when he got “the flu.”
Since some people don’t like the NY Times, I’ll point out that this is not a science story, but a clinical sketch that also shed light on how the right wing media scoffed at the virus, in step e Trump administration. One case, quite a story.
The takeaway: “They just kept saying over and over that the people at risk were the elderly and those with underlying conditions,” Ms. Frilot said. “And we’re none of that.
China now feeding the U.S. media the new variation of the story that says the majority of the people who get coronavirus will have mild symptoms. So nothing to freak out about. The story keeps changing by the minute.
Coronavirus has been in Los Angeles since late January. It circulated and many people got it. 2 people grand total died in two months. Are we now going take and regurgitate China's new version that the virus is very mild for pretty much everyone who gets it? Or keep up the economic destruction and panic program we are now under?
posted by Anonymous : 1:43 PM
@Anon1:43 -- "panic program" lol.
Staying at home and avoiding contact is not a panic response, it is a reasonable thing to do. For every person who does not get the virus, there are many who would have picked it up from that person who either do not get it or do not get it until later. In both cases, the steepness of the curve is reduced.
Take a look at the web page, cited in comments above from the SF Chronicle. The interactive map is good.
Then scroll down to the graph of "New confirmed cases in California, day by day." Notice how the cases begin to climb steeply. This is the exponential growth shown everywhere the virus has not been controlled.
It's not easy, but I'd rather come out alive with my friends and family alive.
Chowderheads surprised that the economy is deteriorating much more rapidly than predicted? Who are these fucking idiots who didn't see a massive swift meltdown of the American economy by fucking shutting down EVERYTHING because 260 people have died in the USA in two months while? Here's what comes after the collapse.. Fascism. All of the Fascist Trolls telling Americans to shut everything down already know this.
posted by Anonymous : 9:30 PM
"The resulting meltdown, which is sending several million workers streaming into the unemployment line, is outpacing the federal government’s efforts to respond,” The Post reported.
No shit you fucking morons.
What a bunch of fucking idiots. 200+ people have died... so let's make every thing 100 million times worse by making everyone unemployed and starving and sick so many many more will die.
posted by Anonymous : 9:42 PM
"Staying at home and avoiding contact is not a panic response, it is a reasonable thing to do. For every person who does not get the virus, there are many who would have picked it up from that person who either do not get it or do not get it until later."
Staying home because you are afraid of catching a cold virus that we are told will be mild for 80% of the people who get it and has killed about 260 people over two months in the USA..and allowing your economy to collapse and many millions more to suffer is called being a COWARD. CHICKENSHIT. SPINELESS. GUTLESS.. which is apparently all the rage right now in America. Thank God people like you were not the ones that had to go to war in WWII to save the world from Fascism. Americans would all be speaking German right now.
If you are healthy... you don't need to be hiding under mommy's bed for a cold virus that most likely will not hurt you. You should grow a backbone and be allowed to get back to work so your economy and government don't collapse.
Under similar dire circumstances George Washington once famously said : "I got a cold. My feet hurt. The Potomac is freezing! Waaaah!! Waaah!! Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. Waaah!!!"
posted by Anonymous : 11:46 PM
Anon...and every one else:
I'm pleased to see a spirited debate occurring in this blog's comments. This is the way things used to be in the glory days of this website.
But I don't like the name-calling. So...cool it.
Have there been times in the past when *I* engaged in name-calling? Yes. And I'm not proud of myself for that. So I'm gonna cool it too.
Frankly now is not really the time to cool it when fucking morons in league with fucking fascists are about to destroy the country.
posted by Anonymous : 12:58 AM
Thank you Joseph! I have always loved this blog as much for the comments as the articles. Over the years, I have gotten to know some of the regulars here and have enjoyed and learned a lot from the smart and knowledgeable discussions in the comments. But above all, most readers here behave as grown ups who just like to share their observations with others and learn from others. This site is very unique in many ways. Let's keep it that way.
@anon posters who sound similarly desperate to convince readers that public health officials are demented Democrats, fascists, or cowards— come off it.
@anon11:46, At the risk of name-calling, do I detect a fragrance of the troll wafting from your post?
Indeed, from what we see in the real world, it is the right wingers who deny the seriousness of Covid-19. Rush Limbaugh cracks jokes. Trump has done everything he can to slow down the Federal Government from acting, and those efforts go back years.
I read a novel about a plague once. It went about the same way in the book: oh, it could not happen here. A more pointed book right now, though would be Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.
The problem is that by going about our public lives as usual, we guarantee that our course through this pandemic will be as bad as Italy’s. In the US that could result in a lot of illness, say 200 million, if measures are not taken. If we guess a bad, but not the worst fatality rate of 4%, that would be 8,000,000 deaths. The numbers could be better if we take the advice offered by public health experts, or worse, if we don’t.
And now is when it’s tempting to shift to all-caps. So, stop urging us to go that way, the way of maximizing damage.
What kind of person compares Covid-19 to a cold virus? And expects to be taken seriously? Actually that’ very close to what Trump says.
What you continue to either misunderstand or misrepresent is that the exponential curve that charts the number of cases is like the “hockey stick” curve: sort of flat for a while, then taking off steeply.
This is a new virus to humans, we have no immunity. It spreads very easily from people who are not visibly sick yet. According to a report on Rachel Maddow Friday 03/20/20, it has doubled 3 times in two weeks. The curve is getting steeper.
posted by Anonymous : 3:04 AM
Anon 11:46 wrote: George Washington once famously said : "I got a cold. My feet hurt....”
A more likely scenario:
Col: General, our spies tell us that the British force we’ve been planning to attack has whooping cough running rampant amongst them.
Washington: That’s a valuable report. Let us hold off a direct attack. We don’t need any more of that that disease. Let them stew in their own juices.
Indeed, send some careful men to maintain a perimeter to make sure none of those escape their encampment, and keep supplies from reaching them. The disease will do a lot of our hard work for us.
posted by Anonymous : 4:09 AM
Rachel Maddow also promised Donald Trump mathematically could never become President which lead to probably many people staying home and not voting which led to Donald Trump becoming President which is now leading to a coronavirus virus panic and millions of people staying home and destroying their economy.
Right-wing fascists across the world are probably causing this panic. The panic can only have one result.. the destruction of the economy and the installation of fascist governments in western countries. This is what the panic is all about. And many people pushing this panic are secretly onboard with this agenda. This will all come out eventually once Democrats find the country rapidly descending into full blown fascism and take their blinders off. Might be too late at that point to roll it back. Trump is putting the military on the streets as a response to the panic.
The one match that is the last to be struck before full blown fascism is the destruction of the middle class. The action to wipe out the middle class once and for all has just been taken.
posted by Anonymous : 12:55 PM
Why was this coronavirus the one to go pandemic?
It Belongs to a family of viruses (coronaviruses)that includes just six other members that infect humans. Four of them—OC43, HKU1, NL63, and 229E—have been gently annoying humans for more than a century, causing a third of common colds. The other two—MERS and SARS—both cause far more severe disease. The structure of the virus provides some clues about its success. In shape, it’s essentially a spiky ball. Those spikes recognize and stick to a protein called ACE2, which is found on the surface of our cells: This is the first step to an infection. The exact contours of SARS-CoV-2’s spikes allow it to stick far more strongly to ACE2 than SARS-classic did, and it’s likely that this is really crucial for person-to-person transmission. In general terms, the tighter the bond, the less virus required to start an infection. There’s another important feature. Coronavirus spikes consist of two connected halves, and the spike activates when those halves are separated; only then can the virus enter a host cell. In SARS-classic, this separation happens with some difficulty. But in SARS-CoV-2, the bridge that connects the two halves can be easily cut by an enzyme called furin, which is made by human cells and—crucially—is found across many tissues. For example, most respiratory viruses tend to infect either the upper or lower airways. In general, an upper-respiratory infection spreads more easily, but tends to be milder, while a lower-respiratory infection is harder to transmit, but is more severe. SARS-CoV-2 seems to infect both upper and lower airways, perhaps because it can exploit the ubiquitous furin. This double whammy could also conceivably explain why the virus can spread between people before symptoms show up—a trait that has made it so difficult to control. Perhaps it transmits while still confined to the upper airways, before making its way deeper and causing severe symptoms. All of this is plausible but totally hypothetical; the virus was only discovered in January, and most of its biology is still a mystery. When SARS-classic first made this leap, a brief period of mutation was necessary for it to recognize ACE2 well. But SARS-CoV-2 could do that from day one. This uncanny fit will doubtlessly encourage conspiracy theorists: What are the odds that a random bat virus had exactly the right combination of traits to effectively infect human cells from the get-go, and then jump into an unsuspecting person? Very low, but there are millions or billions of these viruses out there. These viruses are so prevalent that things that are really unlikely to happen sometimes do. Since the start of the pandemic, the virus hasn’t changed in any obviously important ways. It’s mutating in the way that all viruses do. But of the 100-plus mutations that have been documented, none has risen to dominance, which suggests that none is especially important. The virus has been remarkably stable given how much transmission we’ve seen. That makes sense, because there’s no evolutionary pressure on the virus to transmit better. It’s doing a great job of spreading around the world right now.
In Los Angeles alot of places closed. McDonalds by where I live is open. The drivethru wrapping around the building. Everyone swapping their dirty virusy credit cards and money for burgers.
Walmart also a virus zoo. Why wouldn't it be? Everyone crowding around in lines spreading coronavirus germs because that's the only place the geniuses that created this mess allow them to go is the grocery store.
Dumb and Dumber.
posted by Anonymous : 4:16 PM
This is not like the flu. Read a medical worker's description. Yep, I believe many Western countries are still to hit the exponential curve and the results will likely be devastating for public health resources. And the current global economic shut down will almost certainly lead to collapsing financial markets this year. There's a lot of stuff out there pointing to this outcome. As I am elderly and in ill- health (aren't we all) I don't need a case of Covid19. I beat the run on supermarket shelves and coming up is the run on bank savings deposits (I beat that too). These problems cannot be talked away although I understand the numbers look small at the moment.
posted by gavan : 6:40 PM
Anony 3:12 thanks for posting some facts about the virus instead endless fear mongering and calls to run and hide under the bed. I still have my doubts about what is going on. But good to see some facts and data instead of endless screaming and panic.
posted by Anonymous : 7:58 PM
Gavan we need to get people in your condition more help and assistance and not be flooding hospitals with younger healthier people who should be at home sick or working if they can. Hospital beds and ventilators need to be reserved for elderly and seriously ill. Not young relatively healthy people having a panic attack. Making EVERYONE panic was the crucial mistake made by those in power. If it was truly a mistake and not intentional.
posted by Anonymous : 8:07 PM
In Italy, most don't leave Lombardy's hard-hit intensive care units alive. 5000 are now dead, 873 in one day.
In the military, commanders must make calculations about acceptable losses; the benefits of a mission have to be weighed against the certainty that some soldiers will be lost. We don’t have such language in the homeland-security world, but trade-offs are still inevitable. The wrenching decision to open up again—to accept more exposures to the coronavirus as the price of an earlier economic revival—is simply a judgment call. It is too late to prevent tragedy entirely; our goal is to manage it within the limits of scientific progress and public tolerance.
In the weeks to come, we should see a surge not only of patients, but also of supplies. The federal government has two main jobs right now: to get testing kits distributed nationwide, and to quicken the flow of money and expertise to support state and local efforts and expand the capacity of the health system. Go big or go home—the classic warning against half measures—is an old emergency-management maxim, and current circumstances give it an ironic twist: Because Americans are at home, the federal government needs to go big.
Managing the pandemic well doesn’t mean eradication; it means that our ability to mitigate how many people die—our ability to isolate those sick, test their contacts, care for them in available intensive-care beds with available respirators—is working. Social distancing, currently our primary tool to manage the burdens on our health-care system, will eventually give way to efforts to quickly identify those infected, before they can expose others, and also to treat those already exposed. Even before a vaccine is available, the United States will fall into a steady-state suppression effort—which is to say, life will go on, even as public-health officials play whack-a-mole with individual outbreaks.
So, that’s the plan. Sometime between now and when a vaccine becomes available, restaurants and schools and offices will reopen. It won’t happen all at once, as if by official decree, but as individual households and workplaces conclude one by one that they’ve had enough—and that the surge in testing kits, intensive-care beds, and other resources is finally sufficient to meet the need. That won’t take a year and a half. But I expect to be in these sweats for at least another month—and I’m planning for two.
posted by Anonymous : 1:13 AM
@anon12:55 — regarding Rachel Maddow’s reporting of those stupid polls during 2016. It was every news show, not just hers.
I don’t know who started it, I don’t think that sort of statistical probability had been reported in previous election cycles. The whole situation has left me with a very cynical view of opinion polls.
Furthermore, I do keep an enemies list. It’s a necessity, so I understand that. However, if you think that some public health official reporting a fact on Rachel Maddow’s show makes the report questionable— well then, you need to straighten out your thinking. I say this not as a fan of Maddow, but because I recognize logically invalid argument when it is presented. In this case “I don’t like X and refuse to believe anything anyone on X’s show says.” (Now if X=Limbaugh or Hannity or some other pathological liar, then it would be a different situation, of course.)
@anon3:12 & anon 6:40 — Thank you for the linked material.
posted by Anonymous : 1:28 AM
I travelled to Italy once and the way some treated me as American once they heard my accent was one of the most unwelcoming I have experienced. Was at an airport asking directions to people who speak English and some of them would just ignore you to your face. I have heard similar from others who traveled to Italy. Makes me wonder if they run their hospitals like the airports. Also a large number of people smoke in Italy, France, and UK. I am not surprised by the higher number of deaths relative to other places.
posted by Anonymous : 4:16 AM
Anonymous @8:07 PM, you may have missed my point here. I don't have Covid19 and I agree that people who have mild cases should self-isolate and recover at home. The article I linked to was from a US medical worler operating ventilator machines now being used for serious Covid19 victims. He notes that it is not just the elderly who end up here but otherwise healthy people in their 40s and 50s who have entered hospital with mild breathing difficulties from Covid19, people just getting supplementary oxygen who have suddenly 'crashed' and who can then only breath and suvive on ventilators. What shocked this professional was the speed and severity of this respiratory collapse. He had never even seen it with acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS, where the lungs are filled with fluid.
"Normally, ARDS is something that happens over time as the lungs get more and more inflamed. But with this virus, it seems like it happens overnight...this severity of ARDS is usually more typical of someone who has a near drowning experience.... It has a really high mortality rate, about 40%."
So even younger, healthier people with mild cases which need hospitalization can become severe without notice, and the death rate for these persons is not 1,2, or 7% but 40%.
I don't know quite what effect this aspect should have on Covid19 public policy management .
posted by gavan : 4:44 AM
I am a fan of Rachel Maddow when she is in her element. Not so much a fan of her when she is repeating stuff she really knows nothing about. I wish she would go back to Russia stuff or get into all of the labs that appear to have been experimenting with "Gain of Function" properties on these chimera viruses they are creating in labs. Mainstream media will not go there. Instead she is fearmongering like everyone else.
I am not convinced this virus warrants the panic it is getting.. I am becoming slightly more convinced that it's main danger is that it truly is a weaponized virus escaped or released from a lab. Because there is a paper trail from the United States directly to Wuhan China where the virus got started.
The Powers That Be generally do not care about saving lives. If they did they would fix the healthcare system. This is the primary reason you should understand that this is not about preventing people from dying from Coronavirus. It might be for local leadership but not at the highest levels. It is about control.
The most obvious thing that is occuring is that the Powers of a police state are being solidified once again in various countries that already have authoritarian and fascist tendencies and now it is coming to the USA too. Bill Barr just requested Justice Department get the ability to arrest and detain people indefinitely. This is what this is all about. When you are a bunch of corrupt criminals being blackmailed by Russia and China and worried about potentially going to prison.. your best bet might be to take the Red Pill being offered by the other corrupt countries and go Full Fascist. There is not going to be a November election if this continues much longer.
Gavan that guy you linked to an article about... He is anonymous. Not saying it's not true but I take it with a grain of salt. There are 332,000 cases of this new coronavirus. 13000 have died. That is a 4% fatality rate. But to inspire your fear they keep telling us 5 to 10x as many "healthy" people are walking around carrying it. Ok. Then that will bring the fatality rate down well under 1% more in line with the regular flu.
The stuff you mentioned about people's lungs drowning.. this is a side effect primarily of the PNEUMONIA / ARDS that develops when a patient becomes a "critical" coronavirus patient. normal flu, SARs, Swine flu and the new coronavirus can all cause this. These new viruses apparently getting better at it. Some like me would say by design.
China is saying 5% who get it will become critical. And 5% of 330000 known cases is roughly around that 13000 dead number.
The problem with coronavirus and SARs and other past coronaviruses is that it latches onto the ACE2 receptors in the lungs and it seems that an Autoimmune reaction to attack the virus destroys the ACE2 receptors and in the process the lungs leading to things like pneumonia.
If a younger person's autoimmunity is compromised they are also in danger. But if you believe China who started all this panic the media picked up... they are now saying for the overwhelming majority it has been mild. For those living outside that province in China where it started the fatality rate they are saying is 0.4 %. I think normal flu is 0.1 %
After all of this we still aren't at the 60000 dead per month in the 2017 flu season. Many of those people also died of pneumonia and autoimmune reactions.
Sorry I didn't provide links. Google to finds the numbers. Alot of these numbers the media is using are coming from China. Just so you know.
posted by Anonymous : 2:50 PM
Why would the Powers that Be destroy the economies of the world when they won't even bother to fix their healthcare systems? This is not about saving lives. Not at the highest levels of power. It is about CONTROL.
The Fed has been pumping Trillions into the banks since September 2019... inflating the money supply with low interest rates... keeping Trump's stock market afloat so that a transfer of wealth can occur by inflating away the money of the middle class towards rich people who invest. That Fed money pump was due to shutoff in April. The Fed broadcast openly that they would stop the Repo market injections in April 2020. Newspapers openly wrote about how these billion dollar injections were inflating Trump's stock market. Rich people around the world in the know understood that if those Repo market billion dollar injections ended the stock markets would go down. Smart money got out. The coronavirus of course is now being used as plausible deniability. The stock market was due to crash anyways.
If you are pumping Trillions into the banks to keep the stock market afloat to keep Trump afloat.. what would happen if you stopped pumping Trillions into the banks? The stock market and the Trump economy would crash. Pumping the banks and the stock markets is PRECISELY what happened in 2008 when the last major transfer of wealth occured and tax payers got stuck with the tab.
You would normally stir the economy by lowering interest rates. But the Fed had already been doing that. So at this point I guess they are doing a CONTROLLED burn of the economy with the help of Marshall Law and coronavirus. Now we can simply blame the coronavirus for everything.
BTW I do not believe Trump plotted this.. he is just a useful idiot...I also don't believe the U.S. government did it.. although some within are involved... I believe it is the doing of a transnational criminal billionaire class.
posted by Anonymous : 3:51 PM
Z12:54– The situation described in the article you link to is not an indicator of Italian character.
What’s being done is called triage, and it is necessary when medical facilities are overwhelmed. Scarce resources are used to treat only those most likely to survive.
The same thing will happen in any country that does not follow the model set by South Korea.
posted by Anonymous : 6:34 PM
Trump is going to win in Nov. The DUmmies are demanding that the government make the choice to kill tens of thousands (children for example who need school lunches) by starving them and making them unemployed vs. the equally rotten choice to let the virus play itself out and potentially kill thousands of older people and chronically ill(these people don't seem concerned seasonal flu already does this).. What will occur within a few weeks after Trump reopens the USA.. people will see that millions of people didn't die but millions lost their jobs... the story that it was contained won't matter.. people will simply see that millions did not die. They were promised millions of dead bodies like with Swine Flu and SARs and Bird Flu.
India has about 500 total coronavirus cases today among the billions in that country. I have not found any reports of deaths in India yet. Correct me if I am wrong. One of the most populous and densely packed countries has only 500 cases? How is that? Public Health officials in India say the virus has less effect on them because of the hot weather and sun. Did you see today that CDC just said people may help prevent coronavirus respiratory infections and secondary cytokine storm reactions (the two main things everyone is freaking out about) by taking Vitamin D (which u get from the sun) oh really CDC? Some geniuses at the CDC just figured that out today and thought to tell everyone after 2 months of this?
Why did you wait so long to tell everyone this? Is it because the internets got out ahead of you on understanding some of what causes disregulation, autoimmune reactions and cytokine storms in the body?
Why are Californians and Floridians being forced out of the sun to stay locked up indoors if vitamin D from the sun helps kill off these viruses and their effects?
The government needs to focus on WWII / Apollo moonshot level efforts to save older and chronically sick people... And think outside the fucking box instead of stubbornly insisting Trump wreck everyone's livelihood by destroying the economy. Maybe talk to all the yahoos on the interwebs who got out ahead of the CDC in explaining how things like Vitamin D and Zinc help the body's immunity and therefore helps prevent self destructive autoimmune reactions like cytokine storms.
posted by Anonymous : 11:20 PM
"Mild" with COVID-19 is NOT like a little cold or flu. This shit actually damages the lungs in both old people and young people.
@Anon11:20– Nobody is being forced inside. People are urged to stay at least six feet apart.
I’ll keep listening to the medical professionals rather than right wing political hacks.
And as a great example of what the right winger prescription is:
Republican Lt. Governor of Dan Patrick Texas “During an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Patrick argued that social distancing measures against the coronavirus should be lifted to let Americans go back to work, even if it means older people becoming infected with the illness.
“Those of us who are 70+, we’ll take care of ourselves but don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick said. “Don’t do that. Don’t ruin this great American Dream.”
The lieutenant governor asserted that grandparents have a “choice” to make in the face of “total collapse” in the economy.”
Gotta love his use of the word choice, there.
Please forgive the quotation from TPM. Link: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/texas-dan-patrick-grandparents-sacrifice-lives-coronavirus-economy
TPM has gathered a collection of other right winger wisdom of how important is is to keep the “economy” alive at the cost of spreading the virus: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/pundits-politicians-economy-market-social-distancing
I wonder what the lasting damages to the economy would be if their advice were taken and many tens of millions got sick, many left with with long term health impacts and many, many millions died.
posted by Anonymous : 12:31 PM
A Swiss doctor with the facts:
"An Italian study of August 2019 found that flu deaths in Italy were between 7,000 and 25,000 in recent years. This value is higher than in most other European countries due to the large elderly population in Italy, and much higher than anything attributed to Covid-19 so far." https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/
2017-2018 a flu wave killed 25000 in Germany alone : https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2019-11-10---a-flu-wave-kills-25-000-people-in-germany-and-a-call-for-vaccination-.SJ-bZ2dSoB.html
posted by Anonymous : 12:35 PM
Go here and look at how many people are dying from all sorts of things the government doesn't give a shit about: http://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/03/23/a-mortality-perspective-on-covid-19-time-location-and-age/
If the governments of the world gave people free health care I imagine there would be millions less deaths each year. What about all of the homeless on the streets dying in California? Governor Newsom didn't call for a mass effort to mobilize and get those people care. In fact NOBODY really gives a shit about helping all of these homeless people. Does anyone really think people are all of sudden going to give a shit when there are millions homeless? No. When a country bombs women and children in a neighboring country is there ever really a mass outcry over the injustice of it? Not really. What about all of those kids dying in Africa? Was there ever a mass call to mobilize and save those kids and get them food? Not really. A lot of rich people are going to go on a buying spree once every one loses their homes.
The reason for the mass hysteria is because it is personal. Me. Me. Me. Me. There will be lots of death once everyone is unemployed. Just look at third world countries if you want to know what that looks like. And no the government is not going to hand people $2000 a month for 6 months to live. They will do what they always do... Let poor people die.
People in general only give a shit about saving lives with this Coronavirus pandemic because they are themselves a target. Which is exactly why some people are perfectly happy to transfer pain onto another group of people... In this case children, and younger people who depend on a paycheck to live. These people are asked to sacrifice everything over projected deaths which will probably never occur based on what we know about CDC and WHO predictions for Swine Flu, SARs, bird flu, AIDS, and all of the rest of things they use to generate for themselves and big Pharma billions of dollars but which are never as bad as they promised us they would be.
The rational thing would be for older people and sick people to quarantine themselves and avoid contact.. so younger people can keep things running so the wheels don't fall off the economy.
That would be the rational thing. Instead everyone on social media and TV is just mindlessly and irrationally hyperventilating about millions dead.
The number of coronavirus deaths per month after all these months is still FAR FAR below the upwards of 60000 deaths per month for seasonal flu during a bad year.
That is FACT. Nobody cares. The hyperventilating, and bed wetting continues.
The news is showing all sorts of scary stories... Yet still the total deaths are at about 15000 worldwide since this started in December. About 10000 of those deaths are from Italy and China alone. So 1500 to 2000 or so a month dead in the rest of the world per month. Way way way below 60,000 per month from seasonal flu.
They are projecting millions and millions and millions of deaths within the next 8 weeks. So one way or another the facts will become clear by about June 1st.
posted by Anonymous : 8:07 PM
I don't know where the last anonymous commenter is getting their numbers, but it is not true that there have only been 15,000 deaths from COVID-19. The latest report is that there have been more than 64,000.
The coronavirus scare looks bad for Trump right now because he really has mishandled things. But things will turn around for him. Maybe not next week, but soon enough. Perhaps two weeks from now. Perhaps two months.
The important thing to understand is this: Most people are not rational. They use their powers of ratiocination to justify narratives to which they feel emotionally wedded.
When the layoffs mount up and the eviction notices decorate doors, the public will turn against all the well-meaning liberals who argued in favor of destroying the economy in order to combat a not-so-terrifying virus.
At this writing, the coronavirus has taken fewer than 75 lives in the United States and roughly seven thousand lives worldwide. Not so bad, as pandemics go. Yet everyone has gone mad.
Compare the current numbers to the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-89: That outbreak took 100,000 victims in the United States. At the time -- and I can attest to this personally -- few people talked about the disease. They discussed the war, the hippies, the protest marches, the presidential race, but they didn't talk about the Hong Kong flu, at least not often.
I was in grade school then. Any mention of the words "Hong Kong flu" caused kids on the playground to break into an imitation of Bruce Lee as Kato. (Frankly, the attempts at humor were even more racist than that.) Nobody seriously considered shutting down movie theaters or sports arenas or restaurants. By the end of 1969, most people had forgotten all about the flu. At least, such was the case in our household, even though we were acquainted with an old vaudevillian who had been good friends with Tallulah Bankhead, the most famous victim of that flu.
By the way: If there was a shortage of hospital beds in 1968-69, nobody mentioned that fact on the news. Nobody was talking triage. Again: 100,000 deaths.
When I think back to the way our society reacted then, the current situation seems utterly ridiculous.
I think that many people are overreacting to the current problem because we've all seen too many horror/disaster/science fiction movies, and we secretly want to live in one. We are addicted to melodrama.
But when this hysteria exacts a terrible economic toll, the disaster will become real. At that time, attitudes will change. The public will direct their rage and fury against those who told everyone to stay indoors.
Will Trump benefit from that? Of course.
He's a master of populist rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Eventually, he and his far-right confreres will find the right verbal formulation to blame liberalism (and perhaps democracy itself?) for our economic woes. Through trial and error, they will find the correct admixture of fact and falsity to make a "Blame the Dems" narrative seem plausible to millions.
That prediction may seem outlandish right now, because the administration is flailing.
Stop thinking like a chess player who can't see beyond the next move. You have to think at least five moves ahead.
Within hours, the state of Maryland will shut down all restaurants. For a couple of days, the fast food joints have been pushing out all the old farts who like to sit and read while sipping coffee -- as if that policy will have any impact on the coronavirus statistics. As if the stats justified extreme measures.
Will your local Mickey D's continue to issue paychecks to all of their current employees? I don't see how.
Extreme economic times always benefit the political extremes -- usually the extreme right.
History offers no clearer lesson.
Biden is riding high now, but that situation won't last. A politician of his sort -- rational, decent, middle-of-the-road -- cannot appeal to a fearful citizenry facing privation and loss. Mad times elevate mad leaders.
That's why I believe that Trump -- or perhaps someone even worse than Trump? -- will benefit from the coronavirus scare. The current critiques of his administration will fade from memory when the job losses mount. The public will turn.
With the understand that this blog is dedicated to predicting the worst possible outcome in whatever the topic of discussion might be, my observations has been that the American people tend to punish whichever party who is in power at the time of a crises or disaster by voting for the other party in presidential elections. This reaction is not always rational or logical or fair, but emotional as discussed. This pattern has as much chance of holding as not, no matter how good Trump is at pandering and lying and cheating.
I mean if you are going to put on your conspiracy cap, THIS IS THE REICHSTAG FIRE!!!! Not the nuke strike on an American city (Iirc Detroit) to declare martial law you wrote about 3 years ago.
Trump used the numbers he was seeing from the CDC and Dr. Fauci to his own advantage. Used the time he could have had an effective response and allowed the Petri dish of America’s many local and state jurisdictions to spread the virus. It spreads to blue states mostly due to asymmetric urbanization and population. He can make hay out of how “poorly” they (Coumo, Gavin, and Inslee) are handling it compared to the nation as a whole. Deaths everywhere, we have to shut down the census. Virginia’s retaking the state legislatures last year are no problem. They won’t be able to do the redistricting in 2021. November elections this year are called off. Bill Maher’s Trump for life is put in place. That is why the Republicans have been so sure they will not pay a political price the past 15 months.
posted by Anonymous : 4:52 PM
I just can't believe the outrageous overreaction. Now you have the mayor of San Francisco telling people they HAVE to remain in their homes for three weeks except to go to the doctor or to the grocery store. There is a tiny number of people in this country--71--at last count who have died of this, and most of those deaths are in the nursing home in Washington where this coronavirus first got publicized in the U.S. The mayor should be sued for this outrageous overreach. Where is the ACLU over this? They are too busy working to trash women's rights in sports and in sex-segregated spaces to care.
Yes, it could backfire on the Democrats very easily, especially if this thing turns out to be the massive overreaction it is likely to be in the United States. As I have said, the U.S. isn't Italy or China. It isn't densely populated nationwide like those countries, plus there are far fewer smokers percentagewise in this country compared to Italy and China. Smoking is a MAJOR factor in the deaths, especially for men.
I hate to say this, but I predict this is going to be a massive flop and there could be repercussions politically.
Here in SoCal getting word from friends that layoffs and reduced hours are starting. Healthy people being sent home from work on the off chance they might spread virus to less healthy people who may get sick. Less healthy people should be targeted to take time off right? No. Let's SEND EVERYONE HOME, CLOSE DOWN ALL BUSINESS, wreck peoples lives, their jobs, the economy because 6000 people over the last few months died although 10s of thousands died during the very same time frame from normal flu. Stupidist fucking thing I have seen in my whole life and no on has the balls to tell people to shut the fuck up, chillout and sit down. Our leaders instead are fanning the flames of panic so every one who has the slightest cough or sneeze now needs to freak the fuck out they may infect someone so they all need to go home and self quarantine. If you are a foreign enemy that wanted yo know how to wreck the U.S. economy. NOW YOU KNOW.
posted by Anonymous : 6:12 PM
"The impact of this disparity is quickly shown in the analysis of coronavirus deaths in each county. In Italy, 90% of the more than 1,000 deaths occur in those 70 or older." https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/16/opinions/south-korea-italy-coronavirus-survivability-sepkowitz/index.html
The overwhelming majority of all those deaths in Italy is with people over 70... Almost exactly as with the standard flu. Thats where the focus needs to be.
posted by Anonymous : 6:35 PM
I’m with Margie on this, mostly. But the alternative fake knowings promulgated on Fox, etc, will take a real toll on our collective rationality.
Remember the Y2K fiasco? Got talked up, nothing happened. But a lot happened. Programmers went to work, engineers got to work. A few things slipped through but very few problems were caused. Because people did their jobs.
New virus, less time to act than Y2K, and in the US, Trump has fiddled away a lot of valuable time.
I’m surprised at the argument here that sound public health measures are dangerous. Recall, or look up, the draconian steps taken to prevent the spread of polio in the 1950’s.
Now, to lessen the pandemic, it’s up to people to do their jobs. And that means ordinary folks staying home.
Also needed to do an important job is Democrats to keep talking about this, urging clam and pointing out faults of Trump. If the Dems take a leadership role, they can then take credit, rather than get stuck with the now usual Trumpian garbage flinging.
Actually, Y2K would have been a disaster if people hadn't spend thousands of hours working on it. And all the preparation worked, there was no problem, everybody laughed and moved on.
As for COVID 19: 1. This is a new virus. No one in the world is immune. 2. It spreads easily and quickly, to everyone. No one can predict who will get it next. Millions could get it. 3. For many, it is mild. But some get deathly ill, with severe pneumonia. For one in a hundred, it is deadly. 4. If millions get it, then hundreds of thousands will get deathly ill, all at once. Hospitals will collapse and tens of thousands will die, including a lot of doctors and nurses. 5. Until a vaccine is developed, the only thing we can do to save people and not overtax the health care system is to try to slow down the spread, by imposing as much of a quarantine as people will tolerate.
Governments are not over-reacting. Oh, how I wish they were.
cathie, fred -- the mindless repetition of conventional wisdom is not a scientific argument.
All this talk about an unbearable strain on the health care system refuses to confront the historical parallel I've drawn repeatedly. '68-'69: ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND flu deaths. Many more people were sick. No triage, no overcrowded hospitals, no massive amounts of fatalities among doctors and nurses.
And Cronkite barely talked about it. Restaurants, movies, Disneyland -- all went on as before.
WHY DO YOU STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO TALK ABOUT THAT?
Don't you understand that homelessness is a far greater health risk? You really think that you have more to fear from the coronavirus (whose body count still hasn't cracked triple digits) than from living in a tent? What about the damage to our society, our psyches, our family life if a million people lose their paychecks? What about the damage to our democracy?
I speak as someone who is in a coronavirus high risk group: It would be much safer -- healthier -- to let the coronoavirus run rampant than to destroy our economy in an effort to combat it.
You've all been programmed. For chrissakes, try to think independently.
Y'know what this situation reminds me of? The hysterical reaction to the AIDS crises. The mindless groupthink that took hold in the 1980s persists to this day. People still react in a very predictable fashion whenever I point out a few facts which, though socially unpopular, are nevertheless facts.
Such as: Lesbians don't get AIDS. Lesbians therefore they do NOT need to be in a committed relationship. They can party like it's 1979, if they so choose.
(Yes, I know all about that one -- ONE -- alleged case, completely anonymous and therefore unverifiable. We have far better evidence for the existence of Bigfoot.)
For decades, people have screamed at me whenever I've pointed out that you're much more likely to get struck by lightning than to get AIDS from oral sex. But statistics back me up: Six thousand lightning deaths per year, versus decades of controversy as to whether even ONE human being has actually gotten AIDS from getting or receiving a blowjob. It's safer to drink any random guy's cum than to drink soda from a dispensary at Mickey D's. (Literally: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/01/study-finds-bacteria-in-soda-machines/)
Yes, yes, YES: I know what you're now desperate to tell me. Believe it or not, I HAVE heard the AIDS safety lecture that you want to deliver. I know every word of it before you say it, so there's no need for you to say those very predictable words here and now. (And I will not print you if you try).
The people who have delivered that tiresome lecture for the past 30-odd years have been PROGRAMMED by appeals to sex-fear. Starting in the mid-1980s, the custodians of morality have used pseudoscience to enforce monogamy.
That AIDS lecture which you really, really want to give me right now is really just the product of mindless groupthink.
And it's happening again. Same shit, different virus.
“Added note: I was mistaken about the Hong Kong flu number. The CDC says that 100,000 people died in the US. In one year. Compared to 50,000 deaths or thereabouts for all the years of Vietnam.
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1968-pandemic.html” - Joseph 3/14/20
“All this talk about an unbearable strain on the health care system refuses to confront the historical parallel I've drawn repeatedly. '68-'69: ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND flu deaths. Many more people were sick. No triage, no overcrowded hospitals, no massive amounts of fatalities among doctors and nurses.’ -Joseph 3/17/20
From the CDC link Joseph posted:
“It was first noted in the United States in September 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States.”
“The same virus returned the following years: a year later, in late 1969 and early 1970, and in 1972. The CDC currently estimates that, in TOTAL, the virus killed 1 million people worldwide and around 100,000 people in the U.S.”
It was over at least 3 flu seasons, and my reading is that 1 million and 100,000 total is counting people that are still dying now from the strain. So no, it was not 100k in 1968-69. My best guess from what I have read is that first flu “season” resulted in around 30-40k deaths in the US, and I am not exactly sure if that figure is through the Summer of 1969, December of 1969, or the Summer of 1970.
posted by Anonymous : 11:13 AM
Speaking of AIDS... A little background on Trump's CDC pick who had controversial ties to Evangelical groups pushing AIDS panic:
I know of only one person who has died of AIDS back in the late 80s and that person definitely had a compromised immune system I assume from drug abuse. So I have to wonder if it was actually the drug abuse that actually led to the death.
Say mwah: I don't see how anything you've cited invalidates my larger point.
Anon: Are you referring to Jon Rappoport? You know, he used to a pretty good reporter for the alternative press in L.A., back in the '80s. Then he got weird. Haven't followed anything he has said for the past 25 years or so, but I'm guessing that it is some sort of conspiracy theory.
I'm not promulgating a conspiracy theory. I'm saying that what's going on now is a kind of hysteria, similar to the ones chronicled in Mackay's "Extraordinary Popular Delusions."
Look, I really am facing homelessness. So are a surprising number of people within just a couple of blocks of where I live. All sorts of jobs are shutting down, even jobs you would not expect to be hit. For example, the guy across the street works for a company that replaced auto glass. Normally they service 80 customers a day; yesterday, they did six. Lots of layoffs are in the near future.
I don't care if the death toll is 94 victims or 940 or even 9,400. Or even 94,000!! We need a functioning economy. Homelessness is a far worse threat to public health.
I THINK people are finally starting to get that.
The Chicken Littles out there are going to regret their fear-mongering.
Mr. Cannon, has it ever occurred to you that if the CV turns out not to kill a huge number of people, that might be precisely because we "panicked" and took serious, normality-disrupting counter-measures--and they worked?
Economic deprivation is no problem to the dead, sir.
Then the government needs to make sure people have decent and safe places to live, and the Sacred Free Market be damned.
As for your political concerns, this time Benedict Donald won't have the luxury of running against a victim of the most lavishly-funded, well-organized, and long-running smear campaign since Goebbels & Company went after (((That Certain Ethno-Religious Minority))).
Also, he'll have to run on his miserable record--and a large portion of his voters last time, and the voluntary non-voters as well, were "gullibles" rather than "deplorables".
Re impending homelessness: (1) I'm sorry. That's gotta be an awful feelng, and I hope it doesn't actually come to pass. (2) If we're really heading into a dustbowl/Depression-era scenario, we might wind up with another FDR, not Republican hegemony. Or we'll get Hitler or Mussolini; remains to be seen. Whee!
Re the 0.5% vs 2+% CFR: yeah, it's "just a ratio", but it predicts MILLIONS of deaths, not 100,000. There's also the R value (contagious-ness) for CVD, which is at least a bit higher. Smart, non-political (presumably) people are advocating aggressive measures now.
Even conservatives are starting to say "let the old folks die". How's THAT gonna play?
You might be right: the economic damage might have more impact than the deaths of millions might. And Dems might suffer backlash. Or not. I have a feeling that when hospitals fill up with cases and overflow into tents outside, people will remember the Trump administration's early behavior instead of "over-reaction".
I'd love to know what long-term effect the 1918 flu had on people's mentality.
"Re the 0.5% vs 2+% CFR: yeah, it's "just a ratio", but it predicts MILLIONS of deaths, not 100,000."
Remember the millions of deaths predicted when AIDS moved into the mainstream community? Didn't happen. Kids are "hooking up" right and left these days, and they're not rubberizing. (I honestly think that the "zipless fuck," as Erica Jong called it, is more common now than it was in the 1970s, though young people no longer use that term.) AIDS remains a disease which afflicts heteros a lot less than it afflicts gays. It is particularly rare in couples who -- there's no way to say this except to say it -- don't do anal bareback and don't have sex with drug users.
The predicted big "jump" to the hetero community didn't happen. We were fed scare stories by moralists promoting monogamy.
So you have to look at these predictions with a certain degree of skepticism.
"Smart, non-political (presumably) people are advocating aggressive measures now"
These "smart" people aren't very smart if they aren't taking into consideration the dangers of joblessness, homelessness, and social upheaval. You also have to take into consideration the psychological health of people who have to sell everything they have while looking forward to a future of sleeping in their cars.
There was and is a sensible middle path: Focus extreme measures on the "over 60" segment of the population. Lock THEM up (in their homes). Let everyone else go out to dinner and catch a flick. If we had followed that course of action, I doubt that the infection rate would be much different.
A LOT of us over 60 HAVE to work. We can't be "locked in our homes." I will be damned if I will be locked in. I have no underlying medical issues of consequence.
Looks like Trump is pushing the Andrew Yang solution, at least on a temporary basis. This would be helpful, but it is clearly politically calculated. Democrats would be wise not to make this a partisan issue.
For a fact-based look delivered with humor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hks6Nq7g6P4&feature=youtu.be
posted by Anonymous : 6:52 PM
It seems to me that sending a one-time check to every adult is meaningless. Unnecessary if your job and benefits remain intact, and not enough if you have lost your job or hours. It would be better to raise unemployment benefits and eligibility.
posted by totallyseriously : 9:23 PM
The YouTube video above.. Juice Media... Australian. Taking a look around the media landscape, blog comments,Disqus, etc... There are a lot of Brits, Australians, and even a "Austrian-Hungarian" guy I saw who also had blogged all over Disqus about his support for a "United Empire of the Middle East", they are all so dedicated to keeping Americans indoors and not patronizing virus filled restaurants. Thanks for your concern guys!
If you were going to create a "United Empire of the Middle East" what would you have to do to get the people to allow you to pull that off?
posted by Anonymous : 5:02 AM
The question is what are the rulers doing. They are not responding to the popular mood; they created and are stoking the popular mood.
b) They are introducing emergency legislation to allow a medic's attestation that a person died with coronavirus to be sufficient for a body to be burnt without the death being referred to a coroner. The same legislation will allow local authorities to order parties to provide transport for bodies, blah, "death management", blah blah, basically meaning mass cremations, no questions asked.
c) Medical bulletins announcing coronavirus deaths are often saying that the person was an elderly man who suffered from both chronic and acute illness and who also had the coronavirus, without saying he died BECAUSE OF the coronavirus. Typical would be a patient who had chronic cardiovascular or respiratory illness and who recently caught influenza, went to hospital for treatment, and then developed pneumonia. That is a very common way for a person to die in this society. Oh, and the poor guy also caught the coronavirus.
d) Very few coronavirus victims are being NAMED. This is really peculiar. Sometimes newspapers are referring to statements that bereaved family members posted on Facebook, being careful to name only the family member, not the deceased. There must be something similar to a D Notice out. Why? The whole current approach is similar to war.
2) Regarding the US, it has long been clear from a strategic consideration, one that takes on board the relationship between the country's government and people, the regime's ideology and its internal perception, and the culture, that a MAJOR WEAKPOINT was HEALTH. For 200 years the US has never been hit hard internally by a foreign enemy. It is unique among the world's great powers in that respect. Another way it is unique is that it has no proper universal state health system, and many who become ill find themselves in financial ruin and often on a downward slope of social mobility, homelessness being an example. That is all coming "home" now. This is the end of the US as the leading superpower. It could be the end of the US as a country.
3) I asked what the rulers are doing. It's possible the purpose of the virus is to pave the way for a vaccine which could be far worse. It will be imposed compulsorily. In this scenario, the next victims won't be mainly elderly people; nor will the mortality rate be as low as 4%. Mainly children and young people, and 40% or 70%, would be more likely.
4) Lying and secrecy are at a much higher level for biological weapons than for nuclear weapons. With NW there are
* detailed public treaties both multilateral and bilateral * doctrines that are publicly stated and academically discussed * lists of major nuclear powers (even if Israel is usually omitted), * lists of what types of NW the powers have - warheads, delivery systems, stockpiles, silos, shelters * lists of how many weapons of each type they have
With BW there is none of this. There is one vague treaty, that's all. A treaty which everyone knows isn't kept to.
I've been telling people for years that WW3 will have BW as a major feature.
Media is finally getting around to printing the FACTS about coronavirus.
ALL of the U.S. deaths so far were of people over the age of 50. Most of them over 60. Many of them had underlying illness. Maybe now they can start working on a solution to help keep older people safe and healthy and stop spreading total hysteria and panic which will eventually lead to millions jobless and homeless.
posted by Anonymous : 11:23 AM
Some medics think they're great mathematicians and communicators, especially when they're in the presence of those who don't know much maths and who look up to them because they're medics. How can the total number of cases "peak"?
As often as not, those who stand above the listener in the opinion chain are just spewing out reasons for whatever they unthinkingly accepted from those who stand above THEM. I always recommend people to read Edward Bernays's book "Propaganda" when they don't understand that fact but seem capable of learning it.
posted by b : 11:41 AM
This is not a conspiracy of "biological weapons," FFS. The ONLY reason this is being hyped up the way it has is because it is the WEALTHY, including celebrities, who brought this virus into the United States by air travel or cruise ships in the first place. It is the WEALTHY, through international travel, who spread this disease in Europe. Note to date very, very, very few third world countries have been affected to any great degree, with the sole exception of Iran. It is industrialized, rich countries that have been afflicted. The poor did not spread this pandemic at all in the beginning. They couldn't afford to.
And because it is our so-called betters, the rich and celebrities, who have been disproportionately affected, the media start to care and go into panic mode. Politicians have gone way overboard to further the panic mode. If I were really conspiratorially minded, I would say this is as good an avenue as any to further peddle "shock doctrine" ideas ala Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine." That would only be if the policies lasted for months on end. They probably won't.
It is kind of the same thing with AIDS back in the 1980s. Nobody in power truly cared about the gay men, the Haitians, the drug users sharing needles, and the people needing blood transfusions until celebrities like Rock Hudson and Liberace got sick and died. Then all of a sudden, tons of money started flowing in for research, and eventually treatments came about to successfully hold HIV at bay. You have people like Magic Johnson who announced he had HIV nearly THIRTY years ago still alive thanks to these discoveries and treatments. These days, we don't hear much about AIDS at all; in fact, it isn't called AIDS anymore but HIV.
It's all about the rich and their interests. The rest of us can go hang.
I believe that every word you'll hear in this clip is said from the heart and without guile.
Yes, I've disagreed with things that McCain -- both McCains -- have said in the past. For that matter, I've disagreed, from time to time, with Joe Biden. He was not my first choice, or even my second choice, in this election cycle.
But this video clip isn't about politics or policies. This is about humanity.
Remember when we had a president who could speak such words? Remember when we had a president who was not petty, not self-absorbed, not needlessly belligerent, not a vulgar narcissist? A president who could speak with empathy, wisdom and generosity?
Yes, Biden can ramble and appear to lose his train of thought. But give him time. He always finds his way back to a place of eloquence, dignity, and honest emotion. He is not afraid to speak as an educated man, yet he also speaks to average Americans. He can even quote -- spontaneously -- literary figures and great philosophers. That is something we once expected of people in public life.
Remember when most of us understood when to put partisanship and pettiness aside? Remember when incessant ad hominem attacks and inane conspiracy theories were considered the hallmark of tiny minds?
Remember when politics was not war? Remember when politics ended and mere life could take its proper place?
Please share this video, especially to those of a different political persuasion. Ask them: Remember decency?Permalink
you are a true believer. true believers are also known as fanatics. the lord jesus was raised up after death to the right hand of God. Moses parted the red sea and led his people to the promised land. Is there any difference between people who believe ever word their political party leader speaks is true, sincere and truely decent and the freaks who fight and die for God or ALLAH. I dont think so. Mccain was a front for the military industrial complex. His daughter is likely a billionare. Saving and loan Mccain. Biden whos son is employed by Ukranian oil crooks and who is so bought off he doesnt represent voters , he represents campain contributers (banks, military contracters etc) whow! you really believe he is sincere, honest and decent. what a fool you are.....
And according to some polls, Sanders received more votes in some states in 2016 than 2020 from people that did not like Hillary more so than approved of Sanders. Your point seems to enforce the idea that Sanders himself has a personal dislike for Hillary as a person more than an opponent.
Democrats and the media by spasmodically overreacting to the death of what appears to be about 6000 people after almost 5 months of coronavirus are laying the groundwork for Trumps re-election. In about 6 months after the economy is destroyed and businessea go belly up because healthy people were all holed up in their homes to avoid spreading disease to old people who should have been the target of the quarantine... Well there is going to be hell to pay. And Democrats and the media will be the target although it was right wing trolls in the foreign British run tabloids and Matt Drudge who started the panic. I would like to know if they sold a bunch of stock back in January.
posted by Anonymous : 1:30 PM
We don't need no stinkin President. We don't need no stinkin late stage capitalism. We got this dinosaur.
Joseph here. In the preceding post, I questioned commonly-heard ideas about the coronavirus. That post seems to have pissed off nearly everyone.
Excellent! Still got it! Let us continue.
But before we do, allow me to quote a length a riposte from a medically-trained reader:
This at least twice as contagious as the Flu. For every person that gets the flu, they pass it on to another 1.1-0.9 people. The lowest number I have seen for cv is 2.1 and some estimates as high 3-5. The exponential growth of this is much higher than the seasonal flu.
Fatality rate is unknown, but almost certainly higher than the flu. The US doesn’t have enough beds or ICU beds compared to other nations. People compare us to nations like South Korea, Germany and Japan. They all have many more hospital beds 2-3 times more than US. We allegedly have more ICU beds, I seriously doubt it, I will expand later. All these numbers are based on hospital beds per 1,000 general population. I have studied Ebola, H1-N1, 1918 influenza outbreak. The number of cases of infection eventually peak, plateau, then end. The deaths from those infected are not know for days, weeks, months, years, and decades as our knowledge gets bettter. The mortality rate always goes up.
Here is an example. You have a small outbreak. The number shoots up to 20 infected cases, and keeps doubling every few days until it gets to 70. Then the growth slows and stops at 100 infected. 3 people are dead at this point. The news media reports a 3% mortality. However, there were still 12 people with in critical condition and 3 more die. The actual mortality rate was 6%. Now, imagine if those critical patients can get a bed, or ICU unit in time or at all. Then we have to triage. Only those with the best chance of survival get the needed care. That is why the mortality has spiked in Iran and Italy as the healthcare system is overwhelmed. The dreaded bugaboo of rationing creates actual death panels of frantic physicians and nurses make how to make the best of horrible situation.
Flu people have some immunization is built up over time. As well, we have vaccines that help slow the mortality and spread. Lastly, there is some herd immunity protection for vulnerable populations we don’t have for cv. Although, I have heard pneumonia vaccine does provide some protection in terms of helping people not get it while dealing with cv.
My response to this response: My reader has ignored the actual case fatality rates in countries other than China, Italy and Iran. The term "case fatality rate" is defined here. Basically, it's a simple equation -- so simple that even a math-phobe like yours truly can do it.
X = the number of people known to have a disease.
Y = the number of people who die from that disease.
First, divide Y by X. Then multiply by 100 -- that is, move the decimal a couple of places. Voila! That's your R.I.P. percentage. Your case fatality rate.
I'll show you how it works. Worldwide, at this writing, X = 137,674, while Y = 5080. So grab your calculator and divide 5080 by 137,674, then move the decimal point over two places. That gives us a 3.6 percent fatality rate.
Grim? Indeed it is.
But that figure is driven up by the rates in China, Italy and Iran, where -- for whatever reason -- the virus seems to have hit harder than it has elsewhere. In Germany, by contrast, there have been only six deaths and over three thousand verified cases, for a fatality rate of 0.19 percent, not that much worse than the death rate of the seasonal flu.
There's another point -- an important point that everyone seems to have missed.
All agree that testing has been poor. The tests are lengthy and expensive. Thus, only people who have presented serious symptoms have been tested. The actual number of people with the virus is certainly higher.
Here's the all-important thought that has yet to find a home in your cranium: If testing were more widespread, then the fatality rate would go way down.
Take another look at our equation. Figure Y is a hard number: Corpses are easy to count. Figure X is not a hard number, precisely because testing has been kind of a shambles. The people who have the disease are not easy to count.
Everyone agrees that if tests were cheap and more widely done, X would increase dramatically. A whole bunch of folks with relatively subtle symptoms -- or no symptoms -- would test positive for coronavirus.
Get it? Have you figured it out yet?
If X goes up, the fatality rate goes down.
Let us posit that we suddenly have a test that costs ten cents to administer and takes ten minutes to complete. So everyone everywhere gets tested. The number of corornavirus cases worldwide would surely go up, right? It is hardly unreasonable to suggest that the number would double. Consider the fact that the symptoms (fever, cough) are subtle -- easily mistaken for normal cold/flu symptoms. Consider the fact that someone can carry the virus while not presenting any symptoms at all.
If we double X, guess what happens? The worldwide fatality rate comes way down to 1.8 percent. And that's including the much higher figures in China, Iran and Italy. Fauci has predicted that the final fatality rate will be around one percent.
That was basically the fatality rate aboard the Diamond Princess. In that unique situation, both X and Y are hard numbers. Note that the ship had 3,711 passengers total, out of which 696 caught the coronavirus; seven died. Thus, only 0.18 percent of the total number died.
Not everyone on the ship caught the bug. As our reader noted, "the number of cases of infection eventually peak, plateau, then end." The teevee talking heads have convinced the nation that coronavirus is an unstoppable force destined to engulf the world, not unlike the zombie apocalypse. But trends don't continue indefinitely; nature usually finds a way to apply the brakes. If it rained two inches yesterday, that doesn't mean dry land will disappear within a month.
"But what about the need for all those extra hospital beds! Our health care system isn't built to withstand such an onslaught!"
As noted earlier, Germany's fatality rate isn't that much worse than what we would expect from a normal wave of influenza. Out health care system has dealt with seasonal influenza for many, many, many years. Most people don't get the flu in any given season, and most people do not go to the hospital for the flu. We deal with the flu by self-quarantining -- that is, we stay home and stay away from others while the bug runs its course.
Even if the coronavirus has ten times the fatality rate of a seasonal flu (in other words, a one percent case fatality rate), and even if affected individuals must recuperate for substantially longer periods of time, I see no reason to flood the hospitals with patients. Those not in high risk groups will stay home and deal with the fever and the cough. Only those known to be at high risk -- the elderly, basically -- should take extraordinary precautions.
All of this talk of "triage situations" is hyperbolic and silly.
If one good thing comes of the coronavirus, it's this: The current scare may force Americans to break the habit of going to work sick. Or, more accurately, employers will have to stop pressuring workers to go back to work before recovery is complete.
Over the past two days, panic has set in. Nobody is thinking straight -- and frankly, I'm terrified. This absurd over-reaction will prove more dangerous than the disease.
Due to privacy concerns, I'm not going to discuss how this particular household makes egg-and-cheese money, but it's fair to say that our situation is parlous, as is the case in many other American households. If the economy craters, if everyone continues to avoid public spaces, your humble narrator could be selling his computer to buy a tent. A man and a woman and a cat and a dog could all become homeless very soon. Seriously: Fucking homeless.
I'm not scared of the virus. I'm scared of that.
I'm also scared of a backlash against the Democratic party. If, weeks from now, catastrophe has engulfed the economy while the coronavirus death rate remains in the double digits -- or even the triple digits -- or even the low quadruple digits -- the average American is going to get pluperfectly pissed off. And that fury will not be directed at Donald Trump.
Yes, I am aware of what people are saying about Trump's absurd speech to the nation. He sounded precisely the wrong note, swinging wildly from his initial slap-happy underestimation of the problem to a wild, barbaric, hyper-nationalistic over-reaction. Only the rubes bought into his racist attempt to portray the virus as a kind of "yellow peril." The travel ban is just stupid. (Scandinavians are banned....? Why? What statistics justify that decision?)
Worse, Trump's delivery was truly bizarre. Either he has the virus himself, or the guy has been hitting the Sudafed again.
Conclusion: No matter what happens during the next few weeks, Trump will not receive cudos for his initial handling of the problem.
At the same time, the public could easily turn against liberals -- against the talking heads on MSNBC who, in their zeal to lambaste this administration, have rationalized hysteria. Fear of the virus, not the virus itself, could inflict economic misery on millions. Closing down Disneyland isn't funny to those who get their paychecks from the Mouse.
I'm not the only one in danger of sleeping rough.
My feeling is that there are other factors at play in countries like China and Italy. They are far more densely populated countries than the U.S. China has something like four or five times as many people. Italy has something like 60 million people, but Italy is a small country geographically compared to the United States. Both countries also have a higher number of smokers, and smoking has been linked to this disease. I could be wrong, but I don't think this coronavirus is anywhere on the level of the Spanish Flu of 1918, where millions died but relatively few people in China died of it. This is why some experts have said they believe that disease originated in China; the people built an immunity to it when a more mild version first appeared.
At this point, it is good to be proactive, but I don't think paranoia and fear are warranted.
3/12/20-“Germany has had three deaths out of 1966 confirmed cases. That's 0.15 percent (presuming that I can still recall how to calculate percentages).”-Joseph
3/13/20-“In Germany, by contrast, there have been only six deaths and over three thousand verified cases, for a fatality rate of 0.19 percent, not that much worse than the death rate of the seasonal flu.”- Jospeh
3/13/20 Noon E.S.T-Germany 3,156 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.
Sir, I think this is the third time I have posted on you blog, every time you have bollixed a simple mathematical concept. You are innumerate.
The fatality rate has gone from 0.15 to 0.22 in roughly 24 hours. The total deaths have gone up 133%. The number of confirmed cases has risen 61.2%. In one day!! If you can do the math at this rate, they will be where Italy is now in total confirmed cases within a week. The total deaths will keep increasing, and the fatality rate will continue to creep up something along the lines of South Korea. At this rate they will have millions of cases in a few weeks.
I think many of these numbers are artificially low. Do you really believe the numbers in Russia and China? In addition, many of these countries have much younger populations than China, Iran, Italy and the U.S. Algeria and Pakistan have combined for only 46 confirmed cases and 1 death. The median ages in those countries is 28.4 and 23.7. That has a big impact on the ranges for this virus in terms of fatality rate.
For some one so cynical and conspiracy curious, I am surprised you are not more inquisitive into the context of these numbers. Again, you are reiterating RW talking points, and in my estimation come across as quite ignorant of the situation beyond this moment in time.
I followed the Amanda Knox case for awhile. Two weeks ago, I was looking at some Italian twitter feeds I used to follow and eventually found some conversations about the Italian outbreak. Many of the same points were made back then by many Italian chauvinists. “We have a great healthcare system!” “We are healthier than the Chinese!” Medical professionals and those that could do the math were warning those bromides would not protect them. They were right. I don’t think we have as robust a healthcare system as Italy, and we have Dolt 45 in charge. Not sure why you are so sanguine. Perhaps, you are right, but I see no reason to believe so at the moment.
I lost a great-great uncle to the 1918 influenza outbreak, and two great uncles to the Dust Bowl. People don’t understand how quickly things break down seemingly overnight.
posted by Anonymous : 12:41 PM
But it's a fact that Italy's hospitals are overwhelmed, and doctor's are doing triage, having to decide who receives treatment and who will be abandoned to die. This is because of the corona virus' extreme infectiousness. There are more sick people than the hospitals can treat. Without proper treatment the death rate goes up. The United States has a for profit hospital system, and empty hospital beds sitting in preparation for some future epidemic don't pay for themselves. But now a genuine epidemic is gathering momentum and our medical system will be overwhelmed by the shear numbers. This will get a lot worse before it gets better. The death toll will be staggering.
posted by Anonymous : 12:53 PM
I cited different sources on different days, which accounts for the German numbers. Had I done otherwise, you would have chided me for not keeping up. The shift in percentage is not so consequential when you consider the fact that we are simply dealing with very few deaths. The fatality rate jumped because six deaths became seven. I'm sorry to sound cold, but that's not such a huge shift.
The Knox case was indeed an embarrassment to Italy. Being of half-Eye-talian heritage myself, I think it fair to say that my ancestors have always shown a talent for painting, cooking, wine, architecture, literature, religion, secret societies, surrealist movies, organized crime, and, of course, producing women who look like Claudia Cardinale. Jurisprudence? Epidemiology? Such things have rarely been associated with the Italian character.
That said, I don't think we have evidence that the Italian government is handing out false numbers.
Russia? I wouldn't believe anything the Russian government says about anything. Normally I would be equally cynical about China, but they've been pretty serious about this crisis, in my opinion.
"At this rate they will have millions of cases in a few weeks." I address that very line of thought in my post. Trends do not last forever because nature imposes limits. It's like saying "A foot of snow fell in three hours. At this rate, the city will be buried in one month." Or: "After viewing that picture of Claudia Cardinale in her prime, my penis grew six inches in twenty seconds. At this rate, it will be a mile long by the middle of next week."
We MAY have millions of cases, but maybe not. China has been dealing with this thing for a longer time and right now they've had less than 81,000 cases.
Tell ya something else about 1918: Patients were treated at home and in schools. People learn to make do in an emergency.
The 1968-69 flu, which I am old enough to recall, did not stop anyone from going to see "2001" -- or rock concerts, or football games, or anti-war rallies, or presidential campaign events, or the Carson show, or orgies at Roman Polanski's pad, or anything else. That flu killed...what? I think it was 35,000 Americans, although you should probably double check me on that because I'm going on memory The point is, the death toll was probably higher than they one we'll see from the coronavirus. Very sad, no doubt about it. But life went on. Nobody thought that destroying the economy in order to kill the flu would have been a good trade-off.
Nobody here is pro-Trump. But the idea of killing the economy in order to kill this presidency sounds good only to those who don't fear homelessness.
China is completely unreliable, don't believe any of their numbers,
Your X and Y numbers are wrong. Your X is the number of known cases. Y is the number of resulting deaths. But people don't die immediately, so the death rate would be Y deaths now, and the X should be infections approximately two weeks ago. Given the rapidly increasing number of cases, this would be a rather higher death rate.
Even though I don't get sick very often, I recently recovered from a bout of the flu. Well...maybe it was the flu. Let's just say that, whatever it was, it's an illness that, on the severity scale, situated itself somewhere between the flu and a cold. For a couple of days, I mostly stayed in bed with a fever.
Some of you may now be desperate to inform me that I should quarantine myself. At this point, I must go into crazy-eyed Manson mode: "Man, I been in quarantine ALL MY LIFE! That's where your society has put me, man -- in QUARANTINE! ISOLATED! That's why I'm FREE!”"-Joseph
If you were already quarantined, how did you catch the flu or virus? You were not quarantined before, unless you had some sort of infection.
“Normally I would be equally cynical about China, but they have been pretty serious about this crisis, in my opinion.
China has been dealing with this thing for a longer time and right now they have had less than 81,000 cases.”-Joseph
So which is it Joseph? Deal with it like China and contract the economy 25-33% which are numbers that are used to compare November 2019 China’s economy to now. You can’t have it both ways. You either accept the spread of the virus uncontrollably or you shut down parts of the economy by travel and freedom of movement restrictions which unfortunately cause economic loss. You have to balance the cost of dead and treating the sick against the economic pain. Above our pay grades, I’m afraid.
“Tell ya something else about 1918: Patients were treat at home and in schools. People learn to make do in an emergency.”-Jopeph
People lost their homes and livelihoods as well. You just pretend life went on like normal, when there was huge economic pain as well. My family that lost a son, also lost their family farm. The same thing happened during the Dust Bowl. 3 of my 4 grandparents came from families that lost their farm during the Dust Bowl and had to move to eastern Ks, Missouri, and California to survive. There was economic pain the post WWII generations just don’t understand between the World Wars.
I never wrote anything about Italy falsifying numbers. I am concerned about the Russian and Chinese ones being seriously lowballed.
You keep comparing it to the the flu. Let’s compare the swine flu (H1N1) 2009 outbreak in the US.
“As of mid-March 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about 59 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus, 265,000 were hospitalized as a result, and 12,000 died.”
First confirmed case in US-March 28, 2009 First death in US-April 27, 2009
Right now according to your worldwide link there are 143,768 confirmed cases and 5,394 deaths worldwide. So with only 1/410 (.0022 or .2%) as many cases, the death toll is 45% what the swine flu was. I realize this is not an apples to apples comparison, and there are many problems with this comparison. However, it is not basically the flu, no matter how much you want to pretend it is.
If you don’t understand how triage works, think about it in terms of economics. You have a mortgage of $1500 a month (heart attacks, cancer, and strokes), you have food and everything else is another $1000 (flu cases). Now you have another $1000-1500 for emergency medical costs (corona virus) you have to come up with for the foreseeable future (6-18 months). You didn’t have any extra income before. The whole thing falls apart for most of us. It is not a bs concept. I have seen it when there are a bunch of shootings, and a a bus crash at the same time. People die because, we run out of physicians, beds, and there is not enough time, because the next hospital is too far away.
posted by Anonymous : 2:53 PM
“COVID -19 is finally the monster at the door. Researchers are working night and day to characterize the outbreak but they are faced with three huge challenges. First the continuing shortage or unavailability of test kits has vanquished all hope of containment. Moreover it is preventing accurate estimates of key parameters such as reproduction rate, size of infected population and number of benign infections. The result is a chaos of numbers.
Like annual influenzas, this virus is mutating as it courses through populations with different age compositions and acquired immunities. The variety that Americans are most likely to get is already slightly different from that of the original outbreak in Wuhan. Further mutation could be trivial or could alter the current distribution of virulence which ascends with age, with babies and small children showing scant risk of serious infection while octogenarians face mortal danger from viral pneumonia.
A year from now we may look back in admiration at China’s success in containing the pandemic but in horror at the USA’s failure. (I’m making the heroic assumption that China’s declaration of rapidly declining transmission is more or less accurate.) The inability of our institutions to keep Pandora’s Box closed, of course, is hardly a surprise. Since 2000 we’ve repeatedly seen breakdowns in frontline healthcare.
The 2018 flu season, for instance, overwhelmed hospitals across the country, exposing the shocking shortage of hospital beds after twenty years of profit-driven cutbacks of in-patient capacity (the industry’s version of just-in-time inventory management). Private and charity hospital closures and nursing shortages, likewise enforced by market logic, have devastated health services in poorer communities and rural areas, transferring the burden to underfunded public hospitals and VA facilities. ER conditions in such institutions are already unable to cope with seasonal infections, so how will they cope with an imminent overload of critical cases? We are in the early stages of a medical Katrina. Despite years of warnings about avian flu and other pandemics, inventories of basic emergency equipment such as respirators aren’t sufficient to deal with the expected flood of critical cases. Militant nurses unions in California and other states are making sure that we all understand the grave dangers created by inadequate stockpiles of essential protective supplies like N95 face masks. Even more vulnerable because invisible are the hundreds of thousands of low-wage and overworked homecare workers and nursing home staff. “
Say Mwah: Right now, I can address but one of the concerns you bring up. I have only one human being in my life at the moment. Why she puts up with me, I'll never know, but I'm incredibly lucky to have her. She goes out into the world; I do not.
So that's how I got whatever it was that I got. She was sick for three days before I caught it.
Sorry Joseph. You are out of your area of expertise with your claimed mortality statistics. Leave such calculations to epidemiologists lest you promote a false sense of security with your snapshot ratios that ignore the time lag between diagnosis and resolution.
The whole point of my essay, stickler, is that X is unknown due the lack of tests. As X grows, as everyone agrees it will, the fatality ratio lessens. I can't find a counterargument anywhere. You have not mounted one.
One teenager’s website tracking the coronavirus has become one of the most vital resources for people seeking accurate and updated numbers on the pandemic. The URL is nCoV2019.live. That’s nCoV2019.live. Seventeen-year-old Avi Schiffmann started the site in late December when the coronavirus had not yet been detected outside China. Now the site’s been visited by tens of millions of people from all over the planet. The site tracks deaths, numbers of cases locally and globally, and it talks about the number of people who have recovered. It also provides an interactive map, information on the disease, and a Twitter feed. The resource, which updates every minute or so, pulls information from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and elsewhere.
posted by Anonymous : 6:31 PM
Are you under the impression that we test everyone for the flu? We probably only test about 20-25% of those infected. The total numbers are extrapolated from hospital admissions and deaths.
I explained in my example that the fatality rate always goes up after the number of infections end. There are no new cases, but there are still critically sick people that will eventually die days, weeks, and months later from that infection on or before day X when the outbreak of new cases ended.
Stephen Morgan addressed your confusion as well.
3/12/20-“In South Korea, where testing is better, the reported death rate is 0.77 percent.”-Joseph
3/13/20-Reported death rate is 0.89 as of today’s latest figures.
3/12/20-“Italy has a 6.7% fatality according to your link, 1,016 deaths out of 15,113 cases.”C’em
3/13-Italy’s reported death rate is 7.1% according to the latest figures.
What you refuse to address is that the total cases even if they are off by a factor of 2-3 or more are where the disease was a few days to a week ago, as opposed to the death rate is where we were 2-3 weeks ago. The critical cases can take 6-8 weeks and even longer to resolve while the moderate ones are roughly 2-3 weeks. There are only 31 case where the patient has recovered in the US at the moment, and there are 48 deaths. Let that sink in for a moment. I have never seen flu numbers like that. If you have some, please share with us.
You think the SK confirmed cases are 4-5 times bigger than they are reporting? Cv is still deadlier than the flu. Think the Italian numbers are 10% of the real numbers? Then it is still 7 times deadlier than the flu. Pick your poison. It is either spreading at a ridiculous pace and killing substantially more in comparison to the flu or it is spreading significantly faster and killing a 20-30 more people per 1,000 infections.
The numbers I used are from the link you used to cherry pick certain numbers. If you use whataboutism, moving goal posts, and circular logic, then of course your criteria will never be met.
posted by Anonymous : 7:32 PM
Turns out that patients aren't dying from suffocation due to pneumonia.
"COVID-19 apparently spawns a “cytokine storm” the same way the 1918 Spanish flu virus did. Health care professionals say COVID-19 kills via fulminating viral cardiomyopathy, (inflamed heart tissue), not hypoxia (suffocation due to lung failure)."
So maybe a simple drug treatment will reduce the mortality and help get a handle on this.
Let's take, for example, the data at the end of February 8, 2020: 813 deaths (cumulative total) and 37,552 cases (cumulative total) worldwide.
If we use the formula (deaths / cases) we get:
813 / 37,552 = 2.2% CFR (flawed formula).
With a conservative estimate of T = 7 days as the average period from case confirmation to death, we would correct the above formula by using February 1 cumulative cases, which were 14,381, in the denominator:
The problem, Anonymous, is that Y is a hard number -- cadavers are countable -- while X is a soft number, or really, a great unknown.
X is soft and amorphous because the tests, to a large degree, have not been done. And the symptoms could easily be mistaken for less worrisome illnesses. I had the same symptoms, yet I probably did not have the coronavirus.
We must presume that X is really much, much larger than reported. Honestly, I may be underestimating when I suggest that the actual number of cases could be twice the reported number. And bickering about WHEN the X number was arrived at is beside the point. The point is that X is always likely to be a drastic undercount.
And the higher X actually is, the smaller the fatality ratio becomes.
Nobody has offered a counter-argument to this reasoning.
(By the way, when did I ever say anything about flu tests?)
You also need to address the societal factors, in light of the upcoming election. This thing really could turn in Trump's favor. I know that such an outcome seems impossible to many Dems right now, but you have to see the matter through "red state" eyes.
If fear and frenzy over the coronavirus causes the economy to tank -- as seems likely -- working class people facing eviction and job loss may not blame Trump. Dems presume that that they will, but the rage may be directed at other targets. The blame may be directed at those who insisted that coronavirus required fear and frenzy.
As I said, I'm old enough to recall the Hong Kong flu. There really were 34,000 deaths in the U.S. in the winter of 1968-69. And y'know what? Nobody acted terribly worried about it.
I was in school then. Whenever the Hong Kong flu was brought up on the playground, kids would immediately do stereotyped Asian impersonations. The cooler kids imitated Bruce Lee as Kato. Adults JOKED About that flu. The jokes may have been in wretched tastet, but the whole thing was still a laughing matter. Literally. Paul McCartney joked about it; Laugh-In joked about it. Nobody took the flu seriously. I never saw an adult act worried. They discussed Vietnam and the presidential race endlessly, but that particular pandemic evinced a more philosophical reaction: "Whatcha gonna do?"
Again: 34,000 American deaths.
And the economy bubbled along very nicely. Things would have been a lot less bubbly if all public gatherings had been curtailed. Trust me: Nobody gave a single thought to closing Disneyland or the schools.
How many people will the coronavirus end up killing? My blue-sky conjecture at the moment is the the figure may be as high as 5000 Americans. I could be wrong. The figure could go much higher or could stay much lower. My point is this: If 5000 die while at the same time MILLIONS suffer from an economic downturn...all hell could break lose.
Don't presume that Trump will be on the receiving end of that hell. Dems could get the blame.
If that happens, you may regret NOT treating coronavirus the same way we treated the Hong Kong flu.
In one year. Compared to 50,000 deaths or thereabouts for all the years of Vietnam.
Yet the flu was treated with a shrug.
If there is an economic downtown thanks to coronavirus panic, the Alt Right will benefit. It won't help a centrist like Joe Biden. Extreme times aid extreme ideologies. History is VERY clear on that point.
It's been over 50 years since the GOP made that pact with him (the "Southern Strategy" and its successors), and he still hasn't double-crossed them! They are still enjoying their infuriating Gladstone Gander luck!
It seems to me that compare deaths to reported cases on the one hand and then say that it should be reported for all cases should be applicable not only to covid-19 but also to seasonal flu. In other words, there are probably carriers or other individuals who would test positive for seasonal flu but never had symptoms as much as those who would test positive for covid-19 but don't exhibit symptoms. Of course testing EVERYONE would give us much more data upon which to make decisions.
Pall Thordarson | UNSW Chemistry Biographical Details. B.Sc. Chemistry from the University of Iceland (1996), Researcher, Science Institute, the University of Iceland (1996-1997). www.chemistry.unsw.edu.au
posted by Anonymous : 5:06 PM
The worst site I think right now for anything about this disease is Democratic Underground. Paranoia is rampant there. This virus continues to have limited spread although the numbers are going up. This is not the Spanish flu or anything remotely as bad, and the biggest reason that disease was as bad as it was is because there was a world war going on then. I had to get the hell away from DU after seeing somebody posting an idiotic misinterpretation of a garbled CDC recommendation about school closures and this virus from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). AASA seems to think the CDC thinks all schools in this country should be closed for two to five months because it thinks that has the most positive impact, thus canceling out the school year. But that isn't really what the garbled mess from CDC says. It just lays out the pros and the cons of each thing a school district could do depending on the virus's "community" spread. In truth, it is all speculation, and neither AASA nor the CDC really know what they are talking about. As far as I am concerned, the vast majority of school districts in the United States can stay open until the end of the school year. DU is completely toxic on this issue.
My, my, myyyy CORONA! ("When you gonna get to me...?")
Joseph here. I've had a couple of questions about the coronavirus. First: I'm wondering how to spell the word: Capital C? Should it be two words? The most common spelling seems to be one word, small c. So I'm going with that, even though it looks wrong to my eyes.
Second: I'm wondering if I caught the thing.
Even though I don't get sick very often, I recently recovered from a bout of the flu. Well...maybe it was the flu. Let's just say that, whatever it was, it's an illness that, on the severity scale, situated itself somewhere between the flu and a cold. For a couple of days, I mostly stayed in bed with a fever.
Unfortunately, I did not have my all-time favorite symptom -- trippy fever dreams. Y'know what I'm talking about? Those intense, hallucinatory, sometimes scary, sometimes groovy, let's-return-to-the-60s dreams? Dreams so vivid that you kinda enjoy getting sick?
None of those. Bummer.
After that came the cough. There has even been some minor difficulty breathing, which never has never been a problem for me before. The sniffles never really showed up; usually, when I get a cold, an annoying degree of congestion lingers for a while.
(AFIB also returned, but that's a cardio issue, presumably unrelated.)
Here's the thing: It was all very low-level. I've had way worse tussles with influenza in the past, and so have you. If that was coronavirus, then what's the big deal? And if it wasn't, then what's the difference between this Big Bad Virus Scaring Everyone and a normal old flu?
Some of you may now be desperate to tell me that I should go to the doctor to find out if my flu was just the flu. Sorry; no can pay. Besides, I'm over it, mostly.
Some of you may now be desperate to inform me that I should quarantine myself. At this point, I must go into crazy-eyed Manson mode: "Man, I been in quarantine ALL MY LIFE! That's where your society has put me, man -- in QUARANTINE! ISOLATED! That's why I'm FREE!"
(Seriously, I have no friends and I don't go places. So, no worries.)
Let's zoom out for the larger question: Just how problematic is this damned virus that threatens to upend our economy? We don't really know how many people have the illness here in the United States, because the tests are not available and the numbers are iffy. We keep hearing the words "two percent fatality."
But is that number accurate? Fauci once said that, when all the facts come in, the real number will be closer to one percent.
In South Korea, where testing is better, the reported death rate is 0.77 percent.
Germany has had three deaths out of 1966 confirmed cases. That's 0.15 percent (presuming that I can still recall how to calculate percentages). Yet Trump has banned travel from Germany.
Norway has had 629 cases and no fatalities, yet Trump banned travel from Norway.
Latin America has had 222 cases and two deaths, for a fatality rate of 0.9 percent. Trump did not ban travel to and from South America. That situation may change soon, thanks to this embarrassment.
(Could Trump himself have been exposed? He didn't look well when he spoke to the nation from the White House last night.)
It is true that China has had a fatality rate of nearly four percent, if these figures are correct. The fatality rate in Italy is highest of all -- 4.25 percent as of four days ago. Looks to me as though the strain of the virus in those countries may be more dangerous than elsewhere.
Nobody ever called me an optimist, but isn't it possible that we've overstated the problem?
I mean, it seems likely to me that a lot of people may have had the coronavirus without realizing it. Many people may have presumed, as I have presumed, that their relatively "soft" illness was just another bout with the flu. Perhaps just a cold. If we learn that coronavirus cases are more widespread than current figures indicate, then the fatality percentages will go much lower. Perhaps they will end up on a par with the death rate for "normal" influenza strains.
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that the mortality rate for seasonal flu is 0.1 percent.
Now, I appreciate that Trump has suffered from the (no doubt correct) perception that his administration has mishandled this problem. You've probably heard that Trump fired the White House pandemic response team. That claim is rated as "true" by Snopes, but only "half-true" by Politifact. (Read both articles for the full details.) It is indeed true that Trump sought to reduce funding for the CDC, but Congress didn't go along with his plans.
Bottom line: Trump's history on health issues, coupled with his marble-mouthed statements, just plain looks bad.
Good. I'm just cynical enough to state that whatever makes Trump look bad in an election year is good news.
What's not so good is the possibility that you may lose your job due to an economic clampdown. What if you work for a movie theater? A sports arena? A restaurant? A school? A museum? An amusement park? A brothel?
I'm not a medical person, nor in public health. So, pretty much the usual not-so-well informed internet comment.
It seems worrying that healthcare workers appear to be getting sick in high numbers. Also that Travis AFB in northern California seems to have been a source of spread. If they can't control things in a military environment, it says nothing good.
posted by Anonymous : 12:56 PM
“Here's the thing: It was all very low-level. I've had way worse tussles with influenza in the past, and so have you. If that was coronavirus, then what's the big deal?” That sounds like MAGAt or Matt Schlapp sort of thinking. Very disappointed in you falling for this logical fallacy. I didn’t get it or I didn’t die, so it must not be serious or dangerous.
1) You have no idea what you had. It could have been a flu, cold, infection, etc. I doubt it was cv.
2) We are all different. Two people with similar backgrounds and demographics may respond very differently to the same virus.
3) This at least twice as contagious as the Flu. For every person that gets the flu, they pass it on to another 1.1-0.9 people. The lowest number I have seen for cv is 2.1 and some estimates as high 3-5. The exponential growth of this is much higher than the seasonal flu.
4) Fatality rate is unknown, but almost certainly higher than the flu. The US doesn’t have enough beds or ICU beds compared to other nations. People compare us to nations like South Korea, Germany and Japan. They all have many more hospital beds 2-3 times more than US. We allegedly have more ICU beds, I seriously doubt it, I will expand later. All these numbers are based on hospital beds per 1,000 general population. I have studied Ebola, H1-N1, 1918 influenza outbreak. The number of cases of infection eventually peak, plateau, then end. The deaths from those infected are not know for days, weeks, months, years, and decades as our knowledge gets bettter. The mortality rate always goes up.
Here is an example. You have a small outbreak. The number shoots up to 20 infected cases, and keeps doubling every few days until it gets to 70. Then the growth slows and stops at 100 infected. 3 people are dead at this point. The news media reports a 3% mortality. However, there were still 12 people with in critical condition and 3 more die. The actual mortality rate was 6%. Now, imagine if those critical patients can get a bed, or ICU unit in time or at all. Then we have to triage. Only those with the best chance of survival get the needed care. That is why the mortality has spiked in Iran and Italy as the healthcare system is overwhelmed. The dreaded bugaboo of rationing creates actual death panels of frantic physicians and nurses make how to make the best of horrible situation.
5) Flu people have some immunization is built up over time. As well, we have vaccines that help slow the mortality and spread. Lastly, there is some herd immunity protection for vulnerable populations we don’t have for cv. Although, I have heard pneumonia vaccine does provide some protection in terms of helping people not get it while dealing with cv.
My father was hospitalized at the end of last year. I was walking through the hospital late at night, and I realized it was mostly empty. There were physical rooms, but they didn’t have the beds and supplies needed to adequately care for a patient. We are seriously f’d if we are expecting these empty ICU and regular beds to help patients in critical condition. I used to work in the medical field for over a decade. Our health system is a house of cards in my estimation.
If and when the numbers spike, the 80% that have moderate to mild symptoms are not the ones that are going to die and be at risk to die. It is those 20% that will have to ration ICU beds and respirators that are made in Chine and the EU. We didn’t have enough at the start of the year. Not sure how we ramp up to be where we need to be.
posted by Anonymous : 3:41 PM
Italy has a 6.7% fatality according to your link, 1,016 deaths out of 15,113 cases.
posted by Anonymous : 3:58 PM
The elderly and those with reduced immune systems, diabetes and other ageing illnesses are especially vulnerable. If the infection becomes common then hundreds of thousands of them will present needing intensive support of one kind or another. In particular, machines that sustain heart and lung functions will often be required. The problem is these are in short supply. So that's no effective treatment for the most vulnerable and they will simply die in waiting corridors -- by the tens or, over time, hundreds of thousands. That's why the authorities are fighting to stop the general spread of the disease.
posted by fred : 4:03 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/opinion/elizabeth-warren-democrats.html Thought this maybe interesting for Warren supporters
We've just had our first few confirmed cases in the Arkanshire. I haven't actually counted, but I expect at least half the school systems have shut down already. Thank the Ascended Madoka, our Republican governor seems to have more sense, or at least more gravitas, than Benedict Donald.
Interesting take on Trump.......... We Need to Flatten the Curve. Trump and Fox Are Behind It. by Jennifer Senior
"But Trump’s biggest crime Wednesday night was the short shrift he gave to what should have been his core message: Keep your distance. Yes, he mentioned it in passing, but only on the way to rah-rahing himself, denigrating foreigners, and announcing policies that terrified the markets. This was an opportunity to drive home, over and over again, the one message that practically every public health expert says is essential to stemming community spread, lest the pandemic overwhelm our hospitals. He had the command of all the big networks. Yet he didn’t. Then again, it’s hardly a surprise. For Trump, the whole strategy of social distancing is a nightmare. It’s inimical to his political interests. What last night’s address made clear is that Donald J. Trump is no one — and I mean no one, a naked-emperor nullity — without a crowd. Audiences are what energize him, give him his confidence, his king-size certainty; it’s at rallies that he A/B tests his ideas in real time. Without a press corps to troll or an adoring crowd to feed off, the man is a shell. No wonder he was leaning on aides not to cancel recently scheduled campaign events in Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada until the very last minute, and that his advisers had to prevail on him not to announce another rally in Florida, tentatively scheduled for the end of the month. As we saw Wednesday night, if you put him in a room with only a teleprompter and a camera, he can barely make it out of a sentence alive."
posted by Anonymous : 8:01 PM
A comment by Missy in Texas NYT Krugman article "Ok here's what needs to happen. Biden and Bernie need to have a joint news conference, instead of the debate, they need to include members of congress (skyped in of course to avoid germs), they need to discuss the direction the country needs to go in, give helpful advise and calm the people down. I would do 2 hours of building the country up, not arguing between the two. Time for patriotism guys, and gals. How about calling on volunteers, if you have already had the virus and assuming you can't get it again, getting out there and helping the elderly, helping sick people. Lets do something positive."
posted by Anonymous : 9:09 PM
Don't look down your nose at the Chinese - they are the experts on the virus - call it COVID-19 and you can capitalize the sucker. We have been put through the testing fiasco, which ultimately involves blood,testing and swabbing nasal, mouth and throat orifices.
Chinese researchers found that a one-step Chest CT with contrast, a routine imaging tool for pneumonia diagnosis, is fast and relatively easy to perform. This research found that the sensitivity of CT for COVID-19 infection was 98% compared to RT-PCR [throat swab test ] sensitivity of 71%. We have some number north of 11,000 machines doing 80 million scans each year in the United States, likely in a single 12-hour shift. So we have half a day unused.
But Chest CT scans cost about US $1,000 in the US and US $140 in the Netherlands. Blood, nasal, mouth-swab and other rapid tests cost less. However, providers paid through government CMS insurance programs receive only about 10% of charges made anyway - and the law on the books says that Uncle Sam pays for pandemic testing.
I'm back. At the moment, I'm listening to Trump deliver an address on the Coronavirus. He sounds like a robot trying not to sneeze. Or maybe a robot with a drug habit. Or maybe a robot with the virus. It's actually pretty entertaining.
Did he just announce a thirty day ban on travel to and from Europe? But this ban won't apply to the UK? WHY? How can this help?
I liked Marcy's first response:
Shithole who has been shitposting for the last three weeks wants to stop the partisanship.
With each new plan, Warren hammered home the message that America’s problems—sky-high hospital bills, unaffordable childcare costs, exploding student debt, meager savings accounts, Pentagon corruption—are not a forgone conclusion, but a choice made for us by a government that has put corporate profits and personal gain before the common good. And Warren, a gifted storyteller, could prove it, often sourcing anecdotes from her own life.
There's much more; I urge you to read it all. For me, the injustice of this situation comes down to one question:
Does anyone truly think that Bernie Sanders is smarter than Elizabeth Warren?
Bernie is not a reading man. He has that characteristic in common with the current occupant of the Oval Office. Bernie's vocabulary is certainly wider than Trump's -- and Sanders possesses a far greater ability to formulate comprehensible sentences. My guess is that Sanders did a fair amount of reading at an earlier stage of life. By no means would I ever call the man dumb.
But he's not really bright, is he? I mean, not BRIGHT bright.
Think twice before calling Bernie Sanders a Marxist, because the guy probably never had the patience to read Marx -- at least not any of the longer works. Hell, I doubt that Sanders ever got more than a couple of chapters into To the Finland Station, Edmund Wilson's gripping history of socialism (which Bill Clinton did read as a young man).
Bernie Sanders proves the existence of the Middle-Brow Socialist.
Yet he has large army of fanatics, and Elizabeth Warren does not.
Maybe America is not bigoted against women. Maybe America is bigoted against brains.
so you don't care about stolen valor that she advanced her career by calling herself a Native American think about the deserving Native American who newer went to college because Liz Warren stole there place. How about claiming she was fired for being pregnant when there is proof that she wasn't.
It is a sad situation. The trolls come out. Stickler brings up a relevant point.
And here we are, with the sad truth that the cause of Fascism (which is misogynistic to its core) has advanced far enough in the US that by far the most competent and intelligent candidate had no chance.
However, Elizabeth Warren should not be counted out. The US is approaching a turning point. She has a long future ahead of her.if we’re lucky, we do too.
In the meantime, Joseph, I’m with you.
posted by Anonymous : 10:41 PM
"Maybe" Amurka is bigoted against both women and brains.
Since Warren is 70, this in fact was her sole shot at the White House. Given the drubbing she got in the Massachusetts primary, which Biden won spending a mere 11 grand in the state, she should focus on being re-elected if she chooses to run for the Senate again. My problem with her is while she is right on most issues, the pandering to the trans activists was a huge turnoff for me and other women. She embarrassed herself reading off the names of these "trans women" who were murdered, under 30, in the past year while of course ignoring the 1600 women who are killed as a result of domestic violence each year. It doesn't make sense, and it made her look like an idiot. She clearly doesn't care about women in terms of preserving their hard-won sex-based rights and protections necessary for participation in the public sphere, only about men in dresses (so-called "trans women"--actually crossdressing men with or without surgical treatment) going into women's prisons, women's sports, and other places where they do not belong. You'd think with her education, she would have taken a biology course and realize nobody changes sex, but she was too busy pandering to this GARBAGE. It am sure she was taking Pritzker money to go out of her way to pander to it. This pandering would have damaged her if she had won the nomination. Oh, my gosh, would it have been a gift to Trump. Note that many states, mostly red states, are attempting to crack down on men and boys infiltrating women's sports under the guise of "gender identity" and stealing from women and girls scholarships and medals in direct violation of Title IX, and they are also looking closely at the pushing of mutilation and hormone treatments of young children, far too young to consent. This nonsense of "inclusivity" and "intersectionality" are turning into dirty words designed to undermine the rights of half the human race, and Warren was more than any other candidate pandering to it. Pete Buttigieg NEVER did this, and you'd think he would be the one who would. He didn't. He was smart. Warren is stupid on this issue.
Another problem is she DID outright lie about the circumstances of why she left her teaching job as a first-year sped teacher. She was not fired or non-renewed; she voluntarily left to stay home with her baby, SOP back in those days. She didn't have to make it up. She forgot school districts keep records for years and why her lie caught up with her; for example, my former school district keeps its personnel records for a century.
I was a Warren supporter, faults and all (no candidate is immune from some fault, gaffe or wrong strategy). If I was Warren, I would not endorse Biden or Sanders now that she has dropped out. I would wait till after the convention and then support the nominee. Her policies do not align at all with Biden's and if she did endorse Biden, she will be accused of hurting Sanders chances eventhough her supporters liked her precisely because she wasn't Sanders and the second choice for most of her supporters was never Sanders. Nonetheless, that is how her support for Biden will be portrayed. She has a lot in common with Sanders when it comes to policies, but not much in common with him regarding strategy. She is a Democrat who wants to change the party and Sanders is an Independent who wants to destroy the Democratic party. This is a huge issue that most pundits that lump her with Sanders usually ignore. She would also be accused of fracturing the Democratic party and harming unity if she were to back Sanders. I have no idea what she will do, but her decision would carry a lot of weight in my assessment of her going forward and I may not be alone not only among her supporters, but the public at large.
"The end of Elizabeth Warren's campaign hit me harder than I thought it would." this is why I love you, Joseph, no matter what.
posted by Anonymous : 3:34 PM
I supported Elizabeth Warren, and I think Joseph's assessment of Bernie Sanders' reading habits is probably correct. I doubt he's read any Marx since college.
But I'm horrified by the hateful and bigoted remarks posted by "OTE admin." Can't we just live and let live?
posted by nocturne : 4:04 PM
Apparently you and I are not alone judging from the media reaction to Warren dropping out. I think she did not have the establishment's support nor a cult of personality. She was however, a perfectly qualified candidate that would have become an excellent president who also happened to be a woman (with all the cultural baggage a woman carries). She could have bridged the progressive/establishment gap and pushed the country into a post capitalism era. I think she had the potential of being remembered as a JFK or an Obama had she been given a chance. We will never know now. She is 70 and her trajectory is headed south. I am sad and profoundly disappointed. I will vote for a Democrat, but I feel no joy in doing so if it is Biden or Bernie.
BTW Trump refuses to halt his rallies eventhough public gatherings can increase the chances of spreading the coronavirus. In Iran the authorities refuse to close a particular religious site eventhough the virus has spread from that site by all evidence. The explanation is that people believe that going to this site and praying will cure them of whatever ails them. Could it be that Trump supporters believe that going to a Trump rally will keep them from contracting the coronavirus? It will be interesting to see events unfold. What interesting times we live in.
Crowds are fickle. I won't be surprised if Trump is toast even before the Republican convention which lies five and half long months in the future. The degree to which the guy is making a sick arsehole of himself is almost unbelievable.
"I like this stuff. I really get it," he boasted to reporters during a tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he met with medics and scientists who are fighting the spread of the coronavirus. Citing a "great, super-genius uncle" who taught at MIT, Trump continued "People are really surprised I understand this stuff. Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability."
Trump thinks the epidemic is about him.
Say you are on the Republican National Committee. The Democrats are running a 77-year-old candidate against your man, but your man, the incumbent is such a narcissistic buffoon - even when mortuaries are experiencing problems coping with their throughput, even when half the population can't find toilet paper to wipe their arses because of the extra purchasing brought on by the epidemic - that Joe Biden is leading the polls by a mile. Then you think of a guy like Paul Ryan, aged 50. What will you do next?
Note: the uncle that Trump is talking about is John G Trump, the official who got hold of Nikola Tesla's papers after Tesla died in NYC in 1943. (And that's not a joke!)
posted by b : 11:22 PM
The Treason Party (fka GOP) will get rid of Benedict Donald only if the Treason Party's new master, Tsar Vladimir, wants BD replaced.
Elsewhere: The Bros are really lambasting Elizabeth Warren. It's all her fault, dammit!
Here are some actual comments from bitter Sandernistas (Chapo division):
"if bernie gets robbed of the nomination again I will spend the rest of my 20s taking revenge on people who voted for warren by stealing their husbands"
Elizabeth Warren has officially surpassed Hillary Clinton in my power rankings of “self-described feminists causing irreparable harm to any legitimate understanding of the feminist project”
A violent revolution is quietly brewing.
The very idea of an armed Bro rebellion is hilarious. The revolution would end up in a tableau similar to the finale of Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" competition. Gotta warn ya, Bros: MREs customarily do not include quinoa and avocado toast.
I'm also amused by the Sandernista myth that "The Establishment" lavished millions on Biden, thereby propelling him to victory. Sanders himself has leveled this charge. In actual fact, Bernie Sanders spent three times as much per vote on Super Tuesday. If Biden commanded so much filthy lucre, then why did he have so few offices and so few ads?
One of these days, I'd like to know where Bernie's money really came from. As noted in earlier posts, small donations are completely unaccountable. The sub-$100 donation is more likely to be corrupt than is the $1000 donation.
It is endlessly amusing to hear the Brocialists refer to African Americans in South Carolina as "The Establishment." Keep it up, Bros!
I once read a list of warning signs that you might be part of an extremist organization. The item missing from the list is: If your statements and behavior are self-marginalizing, your politics are pointing in the wrong direction.
posted by Anonymous : 1:39 PM
And another great post!
I once read a list of warning signs that you might be part of an extremist organization. The item missing from the list is: If your statements and behavior are self-marginalizing, your politics are pointing in the wrong direction.