Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Of coronavirus and Groucho Marx

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.

We have embraced financial Armageddon to fight a virus which -- even in Italy -- has proven less lethal than a bad seasonal flu.
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?

In my last post, I argued that the "heterosexual AIDS" mythos was promulgated by moralists using pseudoscience to push monogamy. Looks like history is repeating itself.

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, Trump.

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.


Anonymous said...



Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

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.

He is afraid. Good.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

No, THIS is why Trump. This and Mommie Dearest Russia.

Click here

Gus said...

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.

Anonymous said...

"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.

Anonymous said...

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.


Anonymous said...

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.


Anonymous said...

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.


Joseph Cannon said...

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.

maz said...

"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.

Anonymous said...

“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.

William said...

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.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I have noticed that it is an article of faith with populists on both tips of the horseshoe that expertise is worthless, if not downright evil, and amateurs know best.

So, were I a populist, I would take the word of an, ahem, eccentric blogger over the consensus of medical experts.

However, I am not a populist, so I think I will stay hunkered down, kthxbai.

Populism, in a nutshell.

Joseph Cannon said...

Eccentric? Moi?

I prefer to think of myself as a natural-born contrarian -- so very contrarian that he must stand outside populism, because populism invariably devolves into another form of conformity.

But: I was right about AIDS. Also right about Trump's election. And a few other things.

(I've also been wrong about a good many things, but I don't put those items on my resume. Others may do so.)

So let us respect the consensus, but let us not be too quick to dismiss the contrarian. Society needs outsiders and doubters.

Anonymous said...

...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?

Anonymous said...

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.


Anonymous said...

Media now walking back the story of "First known teen to die of Coronavirus".. saying his situation was "complex".

b said...

Daily figures for reported cases in the US since they went over 5000 are as follows (source: Worldometers):


The second column contains a day counter.

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))

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).

b said...

@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.

b said...

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.)

Anonymous said...

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?


Anonymous said...

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.” "


Anonymous said...

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 Woodpecker said...

The late Frank Zappa on American anti-intellectualism.

His only error is the word "modern"; it's an old tradition here.

Joseph Cannon said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Here is a podcast about the Spanish Flu:
how it started
how it became so dangerous
why people in the US seemed to forget about it so quickly
why social distancing may not be enforceable long term



Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"You can't fight the Party of Partying."

The Party of Partying can't run a civilization, Mr. Cannon.

Dionysus makes a weak and incompetent king.

I am astonished that, if I'm not mistaken, you're actually older than I am. (I will turn 57 in May.)

You and "b" both need to grow up.


b said...

The last figure above was


The next two were huge:

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

If the actual figures are bigger, and in particular if the increases continue to rise upwards of 21854, watch out!

b said...

For the record, Bill, my clock is currently at only a single annual tick less than yours.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

B what do u calculate the number of deaths to be?

nocturne said...

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?

Anonymous said...

102 year old Italian lady survives Coronavirus. None of this makes sense. We are over the rainbow now.


b said...

@Anon 1.17

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.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

@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?

Anonymous said...


The Guardian has spiked a news story about one of UK youngest coronavirus victims after hospital says she died of heart attack. Not coronavirus.

b said...

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.

b said...

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.

maz said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

b said...

From Dominic Cummings (the eugenics-supporting "chief adviser" to the British prime minister) in March 2019:

“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?

b said...

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
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).

b said...

@Anon 2.11

The model using current data suggests about 7000 reported deaths in the US.

Anonymous said...

So Fauci is now saying 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths.

b said...

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".

joseph said...

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.

Anonymous said...

"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."

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?

OTE admin said...

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:


b said...

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.)

b said...

US increases in reported cases:

1 April 24686
2 April 26473

Anonymous said...

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:


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.

Anonymous said...

And also don't forget the brain damage.. Panic Pushing British tabloids say coronavirus causes brain damage:


What next?

Anonymous said...

Flush with toilet lid down to prevent shit to mouth coronavirus spread:


Anonymous said...

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?


b said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Fauci apparently thinks people may never be able to shake hands again unless there is a vaccine for Covid-19.

Dude is a crackpot.

Anonymous said...


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.

b said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

b said...

@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.

Anonymous said...

@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.

Putin’s Long War Against American Science:



Anonymous said...

Joseph, really do hope you’re well.

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.

b said...

How long until Trump gets 25thed?
And how are you doing, Joseph? Are you OK?

b said...

@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.

margie said...

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."

Anonymous said...


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.

Anonymous said...

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.

OTE admin said...

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.

margie said...

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.

Anonymous said...


Now researchers think Coronavirus can be spread thru farts.

Joseph Cannon said...

"Now researchers think Coronavirus can be spread thru farts."

Oh no! Does this mean I also have to wear PANTS in public?

William said...

Glad to see Joseph is in good sprit.

Anonymous said...


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.

Anonymous said...

@ 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.

Anonymous said...


It's time to tell us your story about Biden.

Anonymous said...

Joseph, Anon9:56 makes a reasonable request. It’s time to tell that story.


b said...

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?