Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Of panics and programming

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.


OTE admin said...

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.

Joseph Cannon said...

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).

OTE admin said...

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.

b said...

What is the insurance company angle to the layoffs and closures?

b said...

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.

Alessandro Machi said...

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???

Joseph Cannon said...

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.

OTE admin said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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*

Anonymous said...

For the doubters, seriously consider the company you keep:

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Uh, Americans tend to blame a President for everything bad which happens on his watch, whether he is actually responsible for it or not. This crisis is happening on Benedict Donald's watch.

Granted, Bush Junior somehow avoided that in 2004, but just barely, and probably needed to cheat to "win" re-election.

Remember, Benedict Donald won in 2016 by an even smaller margin than Bush Junior in 2000 or 2004, and President Orange Swan actually LOST the popular vote.

His deplorables will never desert him--but only about half of his 2016 voters were deplorables. The other half, and many of the voluntary non-voters, were "gullibles" rather than "deplorables".

"WTF, how bad could he be?"

Now they know.

(Note: "Orange Swan" = his orange makeup + Black Swan Event)

OTE admin said...

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.

OTE admin said...

Tulsi Gabbard has quit her campaign and fully endorses Joe Biden for president.

Sanders should do the same.

Anonymous said...

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.


Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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:

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.”


Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

The SAn Francisco Chronicle has a different number of cases, 1058 and 19 death. Also an interesting map:

Anonymous said...

"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. :)

SlipOutTheBackJackMakeANewPlanStanTakeItThickNLongRoyCohn said...

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...

Anonymous said...

@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:

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


Anonymous said...

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.

“This could have happened to anyone.”


Five more key points about the viral disease:
Dry cough
Pain or pressure in the chest
New confusion
Blue lips

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

@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.


Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

"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.

Anonymous said...

"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!!!"

Actually... no.

Joseph Cannon said...

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. 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.

Anonymous said...

Frankly now is not really the time to cool it when fucking morons in league with fucking fascists are about to destroy the country.

margie said...

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.

Anonymous said...

@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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

gavan said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

gavan said...

In Italy, most don't leave Lombardy's hard-hit intensive care units alive. 5000 are now dead, 873 in one day.

Anonymous said...

How long the shut down will last?

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.

Anonymous said...

@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.

Anonymous said...

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.


gavan said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.


Anonymous said...

Like I said about Italy.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

*rolls eyes*

[snark] Sure, if I led Nation X, and wanted to launch a biowar against Nation Y, the first thing I would do is release the microbe in my own nation. [/snark]

*rolls eyes so far back in my head I need an eye doctor to get them properly aligned again ouch*

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

OTE admin said...

"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.

Anonymous said...

@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:

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:

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.

Anonymous said...

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."

2017-2018 a flu wave killed 25000 in Germany alone :

Anonymous said...

Go here and look at how many people are dying from all sorts of things the government doesn't give a shit about:

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.

nocturne said...

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.