Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2020

More Bits On The Corona Crisis

Donald Trump's MAGA is successful.

The U.S. is providing the world with another example of its great exceptionalism. In a few days it will have the greatest number of Covid-19 cases and the greatest number of casualties of the disease. It will also have spent the greatest amount of money on the crisis with the smallest part of it going to the people who need it.

It is not a nice picture and it makes me sad.

The more than two trillion dollar the lobbyists told Congress to put into their 800+ pages relief bill will mostly go to very rich people. It is  corporate socialism - a bail out for investors and managers.

Contrast that with the Russian president Vladimir Putin who, in an address to the Russian people, allocated most of the money for the unemployed, the retired and for families:

Then, with special flourish, Mr. Putin used the impending crisis to fix several unpopular tax loopholes favoring the very rich, so that the proceeds of the new taxes may be used to offset some of the costs of the social protection measures now being introduced for the great majority of the working population, for families, etc.

To name one such abuse, he is calling for all remittances of dividends and the like by physical persons to offshore ‘tax havens’ where they go untaxed, now to be subjected to a 15% income tax in Russia. The double taxation treaties with those tax haven countries allowing this abuse will be amended accordingly.

The U.S. as well as other countries is still not doing enough to slow down or even stop the outbreak.

The Wall Street Journal today reports (paywalled but quoted here) what we emphasized in our earlier pieces. The lockdown in Wuhan on January 23 was not enough to end the growth of the number of cases.

It was only after February 2, when Wuhan introduced the isolation of suspected cases and of people who had close contact with confirmed cases, that it gained a grip on the crisis:

What really turned the tide in Wuhan was a shift after Feb. 2 to a more aggressive and systematic quarantine regime whereby suspected or mild cases—and even healthy close contacts of confirmed cases—were sent to makeshift hospitals and temporary quarantine centers.

The tactics required turning hundreds of hotels, schools and other places into quarantine centers, as well as building two new hospitals and creating 14 temporary ones in public buildings. It also underscored the importance of coronavirus testing capacity, which local authorities say was expanded from 200 tests a day in late January to 7,000 daily by mid-February.

To send anyone who has mild symptoms home to be cared for by family only increases the speed of the epidemic as all family members are then likely to get catch the virus.

Tests and care for Covid-19 must be for free. We need hospitals to care for only the critical cases. We need quarantine centers to isolate the milder cases from the wider population. Many hotels, sport arenas and exhibition halls are currently empty. They can be converted into quarantine stations within a day or two. People will have to stay for only two weeks. They would be fed and would have medical attention. That is a small restriction of the freedom of a few for a large benefit for our societies.

We must also introduce the wearing of a mask in public as a new social norm:

A number of studies have reported that a significant portion of people are even spreading the virus while presymptomatic — in the day or two before they start to feel ill. Presymptomatic spreaders are, well, gonna spread. It’s not their fault.

How much this type of transmission is driving the pandemic is unclear but it could be significant. Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, has estimated about 40% of cases transmit before symptoms develop. A recent preprint — a study that has not yet been peer-reviewed — from China pooled data from seven countries and estimated a very similar 43%.

The novel coronavirus is spread to a great extent by people who stay asymptomatic and by people who do not yet feel sick but will later show symptoms. When they talk, sneeze or cough they release small droplets that carry viruses. The droplets can stay in the air for some time. If a person coming along inhales those droplets the viruses will likely infect that person.

Those who have have the virus or might spread it should wear a mask because it prevents their droplets from flying out. Those who do not have the virus should wear a mask to prevent droplets from entering their body.

We were told that 'masks don't work' because they are not a 100% protection. The very tiny viruses can pass behind the mask at its sides or they can slip through its webbing. But the virus is not traveling alone but as part of a droplet. Even a relatively wide webbing may hold it up. If it is doubled with a sheet of cosmetic paper towel in between the protection will be even better. Microfilter bags for vacuum cleaners and so called HEPA filters are also effective materials that are readily available and easy to turn into masks.

The development of the epidemic will depend on how many people will start to regularly wear masks when they are not at home. Even if the protection masks prevent only 50% of new infections the speed with which the epidemic will unfold will be significantly lower.

Source: Financial Times - bigger

Consider that the societies in the blue circle are all ones where people regularly wear masks while the other countries (except China which was surprised by the outbreak) are societies were wearing a mask is seen as unusual. These 'blue' countries, which also gained experience during the SARS and MERS epidemics, show significant flatter trajectories.

Graphs similar to the above for all U.S. states and territories can be found here.

Meanwhile U.S. media continue to spread anti-China propaganda:

Two European Countries Report High Error Rate For Chinese Supplied Coronavirus Tests

Medical personnel in Spain and the Czech Republic have reported that the coronavirus rapid tests their respective countries have received from China are faulty and have a high error rate.

Several labs in Spanish hospitals have reported that the test kits they purchased, manufactured by Chinese company Bioeasy and based in Shenzhen, have a sensitivity of 30% when the sensitivity should be above 80%, Spanish newspaper El País reported Thursday. Due to the test’s lack of reliability, medical personnel in Spain have switched back to the PCR test, which takes up to four hours for a diagnosis, while rapid tests take between 10 to 15 minutes

The Spanish government purchased 340,000 tests from the Chinese company, a similar quantity to the tests ordered by the Czech Republic, where medical personnel also report an 80% failure rate.

When one checks the original reports from Spain and from the Czech Republic one learns that these countries bought anti-body tests which only react when a person has had the virus for some time and developed anti-bodies against it. These tests can obviously not be used to find persons who are infected but have not yet developed anti-bodies.

China's ambassador in Spain also pointed out that these tests have yet to be verified by the regulator and were imported without the help or knowledge of the Chinese government.

The anti-body tests are valuable to identify people who have developed current immunity against the virus. These people can then care for those who are most endangered by the disease. Anti-body tests are quick. They can be used anywhere. 

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which are currently necessary to find if someone has the virus take at least four hours and  specialized laboratories to process them. We will need a much quicker reliable test if we want to put our economies back to work. Luckily several companies and academic groups are already working on these and a 45 minute test is now ready to be marketed.

When we have a quick test for the virus and a quick test for anti-bodies available in mass we can restart the economy by 'filtering' through the population on a large scale. Movement restrictions would then only be needed for those who show virus-positive and anti-body negative results. All others could go back to work.

There would certainly still be outbreaks from people who escaped the 'filtering' process but with easy testing and care in place those clusters can be locally contained.

It may take another two month or so to get to that point. Until then there is little we can do but to stay apart as much as possible and to wear our masks.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on March 26, 2020 at 18:20 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

Data for week 12 mortality trends in Europe published today by a consortium of 31 European universities and state agencies

Italy, for the first time, shows a significant excess of deaths, estimated at around 1000/week. Overall European total mortality continues to decline, as it has since around Feb. 10. This might be the rare pandemic that saves lives, since mortality has declined throughout the crisis.

Posted by: anony | Mar 27 2020 1:11 utc | 101

Here's a story from today's Toronto Star. It's a neoliberalism story and goes well with Pepe Escobar's piece in Asia Times (see above for link)
Basically the Province of Ontario stockpiled everything need for the pandemic that SARs warned them was bound to come. Then, a couple of years ago, they destroyed the stockpiles including 55 million facemasks.
Now there are no face masks to be found and medical staff, inter alia, are having to take totally unnecessary risks.
Why did this happen? Because neo-liberalism is all about profits and fiscal austerity: as soon as the masks got beyond their 'best before' date they were destroyed- so the manufacturers could have another bite at the cherry and sell another 55 million masks. But then, austerity, the need to finance tax cuts for the wealthy, stepped in so the orders were not renewed. And people will die, horrible deaths, as a result.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2020 1:17 utc | 102

dennis @94: UK downgrades SARS CoV 2 /COVID -19

US and UK governments have been aligned in their response. First denying that there's a problem, then taking some measures, now wanting to get people back to work asap.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 1:26 utc | 103

by the way john brewster @77, the answer to this question

"Exactly when did America become a bunch of out-takes from Catch-22?"
is "long before Joseph Heller wrote the book in 1953."
The business of America is business, and the business of business is profitmaking.
The character we are waiting for is Major----de Coverley, who, famously, put an end to the politics of Minderbinderism- the bipartisan consensus that still operates, by insisting that the cooks "Give everybody eat.'
That's the point we've reached.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2020 1:29 utc | 104

Well they cut my hours to 15 a week and possibly getting laid of in couple of weeks, got only 900 in my checking account:( as for those 1200 checks every american should be getting I'll believe it when I see it

Posted by: Bob burger | Mar 27 2020 1:29 utc | 105

As Wolf Richter points out, the massive spike in unemployment cases don't reflect the full magnitude of the problem, since gig workers don't apply for unemployment benefits. In any case, makes me wonder how you win a presidential election with so many unemployed. Even Trump pulling a Netanyahoo wartime posture cannot bolster public support now, with the virus response so thoroughly botched. But one never underestimate how feckless the Democrats are. Well, regardless it don't change a lick either way, but it the coronavirus sure came at an inopportune for the incumbent president.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 1:35 utc | 106

"Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure"

Fascinating piece by Escobar - chloroquine and all that.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Mar 27 2020 1:37 utc | 107

err, many typos but still basically legible, heh

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 1:38 utc | 108

occupatio "In any case, makes me wonder how you win a presidential election with so many unemployed."

$3000 will buy a few votes. Gives the impression of helping the people. Couple that to blame shifting as in blaming China and he will pull in a lot of votes.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 1:45 utc | 109

Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 1:26 utc | 99

I think it's more of an economic forcing being placed on these two anglo allies, in being on the wrong end of a Thucydides trap regarding rise of China, needing to have as much economic power in play as possible. In that, it's curious that China's close neighbour and bête noire of the west: Putin should have (seemingly) to date avoided the worst consequences of the virus. If it is as karlof1 has theorised (if I've understood correctly?) that China is protagonist (deliberate or accidental), then curious that he's trailing behind US in transitioning this impediment to effective action. Though understood he needs a full recovery of his ally before yielding to the dealing with the threat. He has countered well the economics of the transition, and is now moving to make Russia a safe haven for foreign capital (though understandably increasingly taxing outflows).

Posted by: dennis | Mar 27 2020 1:47 utc | 110

Posted by: vk | Mar 26 2020 20:15 utc | 30

We got lucky this pandemic only kills old people. But what if it killed younger people?

Worst still: what if this virus mutates again, and begin to also kill young people in its second and/or third waves?

I am pretty sure that the people over 65 are not the risk group because these persons are old. It's because their bodies are weakened from other illnesses, medicaments, lack of movement, etc. The usual reasons why elderly people die. But it's not the age, it's the complications (disbalance) their bodies already have. Fit, strong elderly people survive well, like the younger people.

As a simplification for the sake of explanation, there are two types of people. It is of course a generalisation, every human is unique, but I think one can derive the way a person thinks about infection from these two types.

Type 1: most people who believe in deadly viruses are not too healthy, and/or dependent on drugs, dependent on regular doctor visits. Regardless of age. They live in a world where there is war in the body. That's what they have learned from their parents. Even a scratch had to be immediately desinfected. Evil nasty bugs enter the body and they have to be repelled and destroyed. These people live in a world of fear also. Their body is a mystery to them. They sometimes even hate their body. They have sudden headaches and don't know why. They have other symptoms and don't know where they came from, what was the cause. They are afraid of pain and afraid of death. They die a complicated, painful death.

Type 2: there are few people who live in a more natural world*, in a free world*, where they determine their life themselves, find cures by themselves, have successfully survived many difficult times without external help or pharmaceutical treatments. These people probably cannot be impressed with theories that make no sense. They also have a tendency to be grateful for every day, don't take things for granted. They work hard and keep a sane body and a sane mind. They aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, they expose themselves to all environments. They know hunger, days or weeks with strong pain, without needing drugs or doctor consultations. They know their body very well. Because they live in it. They live in harmony with the landscape and friends, and therefore have a tendency to have harmony in their body as well. They die a natural, painless death.

*the internal world, not necessarily the environment where they live.

This is, I believe, the reason why type 1 buys everything that is told about this new virus. And the reason why type 2 doesn't. We all think, act, respond, the best we know. The less one knows about biological life (real biological life of entire organisms in nature, not cell cultures in petri dishes), the more security one is needing. The more responsibility has to be transferred to the specialists. However, the more one knows (practical knowledge, not theoretical knowledge), the better can theories be embedded and compared to actual life experience. The more one is independent and confident in oneself.

So, if the above is true, and it's my opinion, and not only mine, that it is, then the logical conclusion is that a virus that kills healthy and young people cannot exist. Neither in nature, nor in a laboratory. Because nature only reduces organisms that are weakened (natural selection), and because humans don't understand biochemistry well enough. Both nature and human invention can produce poison that harms or kills chemically, but both cannot produce 'killer bugs' that kill every living being.

On another note: I strongly support the idea of Michael Hudson to forgive all depts. This crisis is a good moment, the best moment probably, to restart the world economy and financial system. This would end wars because the West wouldn't need to destroy the East anymore. Control over production and energy could be shared worldwide in a fair trade world economy. It's a fascinating idea too grand to dismiss as an utopia. It's possible and it could be done now, instead of in hundrets of years in the future.

Posted by: Phil | Mar 27 2020 1:49 utc | 111

"Hurd immunity" is the US, UK default approach. They revised that only to extent that they could take advantage of a CRISIS! atmosphere to help their corporate friends.

As such "Flatten the curve" doesn't mean what you think it means. It is a propaganda strawman. Once the Covid-19 rate of spread is reduced (not eliminating) TPTB will gently force people back to work via orders softened by a propaganda campaign that makes it seem like the right thing to do.

The virus will continue to spread, to mutate, and to cause irreversible lung damage to anyone unlucky to get a severe case. That will be hushed up.

The monkey-wrench in these plans is this: other countries will continue travel bans against countries that haven't completely defeated the virus. That might lead UK and US citizens to question how their government's have handled the outbreak.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 1:51 utc | 112

bevin @ 100

Yes, Howard Zinn has long since chronicled what a rapacious shithole America has been, almost from its beginnings. Still, I would argue that its hard to become out-takes until after a satire has been written. :-)

Thanks for your knowledge of C-22. I am told that some of the current generation are aware of it, that it has not disappeared. That it is taught in some literature classes.

My first reaction to your quote was that that pidgin English had to be Chief White Halfoat, but a trip to the Google set me straight. You are correct.

However, a small quibble. Major ___de Coverley ended the "Great Loyalty Oath" campaign. That campaign was started by Captain Black, the intelligence officer. It had nothing to do with M&M enterprises.

Nevertheless, I am happy that C-22 references are recognized.

Posted by: john brewster | Mar 27 2020 1:51 utc | 113

This is an hour with experts who ran the Singapore response. It answers many of our questions and also those which cannot yet be answered. I resisted listening because it's an hour, but it was worthwhile.

Posted by: jayvee | Mar 27 2020 1:53 utc | 114

bevin @ 98

I appreciate the story from Ontario. We need to compile a list of such, especially for the medical system.

I quote C-22, and Minderbinde specifically, because I want to label the assholes who have run the West into the ditch.

If Joe Average knows who Milo is, he can instantly see what's going on.

Posted by: john brewster | Mar 27 2020 1:54 utc | 115

Interesting article by Pepe Escobar on French government malfeasance with the coronavirus pandemic:

Posted by: CMR | Mar 27 2020 1:56 utc | 116

The money-driven institutions long ago hijacked America’s health agencies–the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), FDA, Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Mental Health, and the USDA– authentic scientific inquiry of any sort is virtually impossible in this climate.

During the past two decades the lines dividing the pharmaceutical industry and the federal health agencies has become increasingly blurred to put it kindly. The revolving door between private interests and top government employees at these agencies is well documented. One example is former CDC director Julie Gerberding who left government to become president of Merck’s vaccine division, a move that earned her upwards of $3 million in stock options.

Keep in mind that CDC members own more than 50 patents connected to vaccinations.

Each of the 12 members of the CDC's ACIP Committee has a significant influence on the health of nearly every member of the American population. These are the people who are responsible for adding to and/or altering the national vaccine schedule. Does anyone believe for a second that given that these CDC members have a direct financial interest in this matter that they can remain objective and unbiased in creating vaccine policy, for example.

A significant number of ACIP committee members receive direct financial returns when more vaccinations are added to the current schedule. Many own vaccination related patents.

Some examples of patents owned or shared by members of the CDC and/or ACIP committee are;

1) Nucleic acid vaccines for prevention of flavivirus infection"
2) Various vaccination testing methods
3) Adjuvant patents
4) Assays that assist vaccine development
5) Vaccine quality control

Members of the CDC also own stock shares of the pharmaceutical companies responsible for supplying new vaccines to the public. Others receive research grant money, funding for their academic departments, or payments for the oversight of vaccine safety trials.

In 2007 the WHO changed it's definition of what qualifies as a pandemic. That needs to considered in the context of how the WHO changing it's funding mechanisms in 2005- meaning they went from a member states funded entity to a "private/public" partnership (PPP's).

As you might imagine the pharmaceuticals became primary donors and began to influence and now control policy decisions that come down from the WHO. Let's also keep in mind that when a "global pandemic" (again this is now defined by a decision-making body tied to large Pharma companies) is officially declared, certain powers now become "legal" for governments.

One of THE main outcomes in these PPP's is that virtually all funding for medical research gets funneled into certain spheres- meaning towards research that is ultimately going to benefit those companies funding it- Big Pharma.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 1:57 utc | 117

A.L @16 & Bevin @ 56

Re: Chloroquine
This should be mandatory reading (Bevin @56):-

The corporate media has really ramped up the demonizing of chloroquine, from Murdoch rags to Science magazine ("This is insane" they scream).
Like any drug it can cause bad side effects under certain conditions. I lived in West Africa & S.E. Asia during the late 60's & 70's & took chloroquine for many years. I don't know anyone who had any problems. Safe under the correct conditions & side effects well known (70 years).

Unfortunately the demonizing was well in place before Trump opened his stupid mouth & sent US MSM into a paroxysm of
rage & recrimination.

Iceland: "Iceland’s testing suggests 50% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic"

This does not bode well for countries that are reluctant or refuse to carry out mass testing.
The quick results in 15 minutes test should be of the highest priority.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 1:59 utc | 118

Very good comment Phil@107

anony@97 that link is a good reference to keep an eye on the trends. Italy has been trending this way since 2013- excess deaths for Italy has become their new normal- it is not unique ti 2019-2020.

An interesting statistic to see for Italy would be simply how many people died in each March for the last 10 years. That could be done for other months as well. I would be interested in seeing that statistic.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 2:04 utc | 119

daffyDuct | Mar 27 2020 1:37 utc | 103

Thanks for that, do you have his wordpress blog address? I had it but lost it or Pepe shut it down, too many going direct to his blog than scouring the net for his latest...gem.

ted01 | Mar 27 2020 1:59 utc | 114

Spain returned to China the unapproved Bioeasy test kits they bought themselves: “The Chinese Ministry of Commerce offered Spain a list of approved suppliers, in which Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology was not included,” -seems a few crossed wires:

a local newspaper in Shenzhen, reported that Bioeasy had developed coronavirus test kits that could return results within 15 minutes.
But the kits mentioned in the report used blood samples collected from fingertips, instead of the nasal swabs in the Spanish test kits.

Posted by: dennis | Mar 27 2020 2:24 utc | 120

Phil | Mar 27 2020 1:49 utc | 107

Thank you for articulating this philosophy so well. I had a series of long discussions with a Mayan Guatemalan Shamanic priest that went a similar way. Very sound logic, "we are what we believe ourselves to be". Yes it is an opportune moment to forgive debt, though I don't think the Davos set is ready for that step just yet, coronavirus, economics and a few natural disasters still to come will be needed to show this juggernaut has had its day.

Posted by: dennis | Mar 27 2020 2:36 utc | 121

Let's also keep in mind that when a "global pandemic" (again this is now defined by a decision-making body tied to large Pharma companies) is officially declared, certain powers now become "legal" for governments.
Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 1:57 utc | 113

Thank you for your post at #113; very informative. Following up on the politics of declaring a 'global pandemic', what is the legal mechanism that enables new govt actions from this declaration? I mean, it's not as if a national govt has to wait upon whether the WHO calls it a pandemic for the govt to trigger certain 'emergency' responses, or correct me here if I'm misunderstanding.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 2:40 utc | 122

uncle tungsten | Mar 26 2020 20:50 utc | 44

I did write a reply, but it fell the wrong side of moderators( or internet gremlins) this being a coronavirus thread. I'll save it for another day on election/open thread. bed is calling.

Posted by: dennis | Mar 27 2020 2:44 utc | 123

Richard Steven Hack | Mar 26 2020 23:39 utc | 88

re spread of CV19--yr post interests me.

Have seen no data on how many viral particles it takes to cause a serious effect. Likely, such data would be in terms of probability at X [number of viral particles]. Such is known for many infective agents in surface and aerosol form, but CV19 may be very different.

Can CV19 vapor aerosol from mouth/breath in still air, exclusive of explosive discharge via cough/sneeze, cause full-blown case beyond 6 feet? I'd like to know.

Also, have not seen any data re time duration of infective after it enters throat passage on journey to lungs. I posit that there are anti-viral liquids that might be effective if small amount were trickled down throat 2x per day; surely just before bedtime to discourage the next 7-hs of undisturbed incubation. I do take something that I am guessing may be effective. [E.g., I also
"heard" OliveOilExtract as anti-viral but I have no experience with it.]

Another thought: Re different strains of CV19 having very different outcomes...Anyone suggestion that US forms collectively having, say, milder outcomes relative to China/Iran/LombardyItaly, etc? Seems to be an aversion to testing the general population, or even publishing all results of the small amount of tests with time+place data. Where are the lists of 1st observations of "unusual flu" in US? that would NORMALLY, provoke tracking + names/places of sequential contacts?

Routine discovery and mapping of communication lines is very likely to uncover a lot of truth. That is what rational folks desire.

Posted by: chu teh | Mar 27 2020 3:01 utc | 124

Exactly, a containment strategy with universal testing and quarantine of the infected (ill and asymptomatic) at home or safe facilities is required keep western society from collapsing from this and future waves of the novel coronavirus until a treatment or vaccine is developed. The problem in the USA is that this will require the reconstruction of the government and a national public health system to run the monitoring and quarantine system. Instead, the corrupt oligarchy will use government money to rescue themselves rather than saving the lives of Americans.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Mar 27 2020 3:03 utc | 125

dennis @116

I think one of the problems with those kits was that they only detected the coronavirus anti-bodies, rather than virus itself. So not really suitable for what they were purchased for.

From Taiwan News:
"....However, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (CSSD) said that the wrong methodology has probably been chosen. "In my opinion, this is not about some scandalous revelation that it is not working," said Hamacek after a government meeting.

According to Hamacek, the Chinese rapid test kits can be "used when the disease has been around for some time," "or if someone returns after quarantine after fourteen days," he added. The leader said that in his opinion, it would be most appropriate to use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test (conventional lab test) to detect the disease at an early stage."

Of course this is all left out of Western corporate media.
It's all about slagging off China.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 3:05 utc | 126

An update from California...

Newsom announced that testing in the state had been conducted on more than 66,800 people but said that "it's not good enough" to predict an accurate picture of what is happening or meet medical needs.

So far in L.A. County, more than 6,300 people have been tested for the virus. Of those, 11% have tested positive. Officials said 160 people who tested positive have been hospitalized at some point. There are currently 44 hospitalized individuals, including four in their 30s.

California coronavirus surge on par with New York, alarming officials. Cases top 3,000

They say they have a few more weeks before the state looks like current conditions in NY. With these numbers the hospitalization rate is 23% of those tested positive. That is hospitalized "at some point." Out of these numbers given that would be 27% of those hospitalized are still in the hospital.

Posted by: dltravers | Mar 27 2020 3:16 utc | 127

@ 107 phil... thanks for your commentary.. i relate!

others... the pepe article has been linked on this thread maybe 5 times already! i am glad folks like it.. too bad many don't read what others post!!

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2020 3:17 utc | 128

For a bit more subtle anti China propaganda:

"Second developer flew 82 tonnes of medical supplies to China"

What this does is actually expose the gross Governmental incompetence & mismanagement of this crisis. Back in January/February when this happened they were well aware of the serious nature of the outbreak in China & should have taken steps to secure these items for Australian hospitals.

Of course Australian hospitals etc. are suffering chronic shortages of masks, gloves etc.
These narcissistic timeserving arseholes are now busy congratulating themselves on how well prepared we are.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 3:29 utc | 129

Petri Krohn @ #86

Ro value is not intrinsic virus. Social and cultural practices lower or raise Ro. This virus exhibited Ro of ~ 2.5 in UK before containment and social distancing.

Testing, testing, testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantines is the social prescription necessary to stop the spread before vaccine becomes available. Until then, antibody testing, now almost ready, can signal developed immunity. Since this novel virus appears to be a slow mutator, immunity may last decades. If antibodies present and no virus present, okay to again circulate freely in society without mask at no risk to vulnerable populations.

Richard Steven Hack #88

The hypothalamus raises the set temperature of the body when it senses there is an infection, stepping up the immune system to operate at maximum fighting efficiency. Although it is reflexive practice in some places to administer fever reducers, which makes the patient more comfortable, this custom is contrary to good medical practice as it usually means the sickness lasts longer and the virus has a body party. Children are different than adults in this regard. And there are exceptions. If your diabetes is well managed it should not be a problem for you.

It is my understanding that droplets containing novel virus can remain suspended for 2-3 hours depending on conditions and circumstances. So stay upwind when you walk. >)

The last time i went to the grocery store I wore gloves, mask, raincoat. I noticed that people wouldn’t look at me directly when so attired. So I said to the cashier when checking out that I was not sick or feeling sick, just acting on my understanding of biochemistry. She showed a sense of relief and became more friendly. Like all other employees she was not wearing a mask, eye protection or gloves yet comes into contact with people (less than a few meters) all day. Seems logical that everyone who comes into the grocery should wear a mask and disposable gloves at this point in time here as we are seeing numbers escalate rapidly.

People need to be educated about mask wearing. Here in flyover country it is considered a sign of virility to not wear gloves or protection when working out and about at this and that. This cultural practice of stigmatizing protective gear might be hard to get over since the airwaves aren’t bombing the population with how asymptomatic carriers are thought to be responsible for ~ 40% of transmissions.

bevin #98

Corporate media here reporting that prisoners gearing up to “contribute” by manufacturing masks.

Posted by: susan | Mar 27 2020 3:54 utc | 130

Dear Lord, where are the people with minds. Are there none of you who can resist a mere propaganda characterization at the expense of the available facts? You cooperate with your destroyers.

One thread among them is that they need feel no guilt, for you have given your consent. The truth is available, not thoroughly censored, and you don't choose to see it-- ipso facto, consent.

You've no right to pretend to be good, to pretend to be victims, to pretend to be confused. You're adults, you owe a certain responsibility as citizens of a civilized world. You who benefit from the works of previous generations owe something to those who come after us. You've no right to abdicate it.

You know the difference between a fact and a characterization of a situation. You know that a positive test of a near-harmless virus is not a "case" or make a "patient". You know you may not rely on the media for truth, and that if it's truth you want you must practice critical, factual thinking.

Instead you give your consent for what's coming next. For shame, for shame!

Posted by: Penelope | Mar 27 2020 3:55 utc | 131

@Ted 125

article is disingenuous.

1. the supplies were bought, not like it was stolen.

2. it was back when wuhan was going nuts and everything was in short supply.

3. nobody (rest of the world) thought it would spread like it did at the time.

so now the shoe is on the other foot, is it evil that the rest of the world is sourcing container loads of PPE from China?

yes it's not a good look but it's written with benefit of hindsight, with zero balance and dressed up as xenophobic slander.

Posted by: A.L. | Mar 27 2020 4:03 utc | 132

A.L. @128

These Chinese companies did nothing wrong - I agree with your points 1 & 2.

As to the third - I don't believe that governments were ignorant of the high degree of probability that the virus would spread outside of China. By February the pandemic had well and truly taken off.

As has been mentioned a number of times on MOA - China bought the West time, which was squandered, whether deliberately or otherwise.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 4:29 utc | 133

The opinion of Escobar about technical issues has no value.

It doesn't exist one serious scientific paper which demonstrates the effectiveness of chloroquin.

The French scientist is a clown. Two months ago, that same guy was claiming that nCov was not a bigger threat than the normal flu.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Mar 27 2020 4:38 utc | 134

HELP please. My Big Fat Greek Wedding dad wants me to use Windex to clean my mask.
What should I do?

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | Mar 27 2020 5:19 utc | 135

Australia finaly quarantining people coming in from overseas.

Australia is introducing enforced quarantine by midnight on Saturday for citizens returning home from overseas and will deploy armed forces to ensure people already subjected to self-isolation measures are complying.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said everyone arriving by plane would be detained in a hotel in the city of their arrival for two weeks, toughening up the previous self-isolation requirements.

Though straight from no enforcement to armed enforcement.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 5:22 utc | 136

Parisian Guy @130

Chloroquine and its use as a 'potent inhibitor of the coronavirus infection' has been known for a long time - since August 2005.

"The French scientist is a clown." - a quick google of "Didier Raoult' throws up numerous technical sites where his expertise as a microbiologist is explained.

You being French will be able to read some of his technical papers in the original language.
If you are too lazy to do this just go to his Wikipedia page, scroll to the bottom & make a selection from the References & Bibliography section.

Let us know how you get on.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 5:22 utc | 137

ted01 | Mar 27 2020 3:29 utc | 125

Yes, but I thought early on "Wuhan Flu" had risk of planned, wide contagion.

Not an expert, but bit familiar w Joseph Needham's work that elaborated on Japanese Battalion 731 during WW2. Utterly clear they, as representatives of a small island nation's Imperial viewpoint, were seeking race-specific weapons; namely to dominate, inter alia, the Han variety of China. They failed. The #731 leadership made a deal w US military [Navy] to trade their notes n results in exchange for immunity from War Crimes Trials.

Then in 1959, establishment of the double-helix with base-pair coding opened the door so even a layman, knowing of 731's failed intentions, could predict what was coming. If you were looking for a bioweapon and found CV19, it might do.

As became de riguer, an ostensibly DEFENCE-inclusive named agency was overseeing lots of R&D for protection from all possible Threats, or DTRA, for a recent example. Quite possible that CV19 is a .gov product. No need for proof to become a little wary.

Bioweapons can be instantly ker-whump-obvious, or can be so quiet as to take human generations to reach subtle, yet overwhelmingly catastrophic effects. As in "Patience, grasshopper!". Long-range planning is an art practiced by some 'best n brightest", who aren't, but who can see that far. And there are some.

Posted by: chu teh | Mar 27 2020 5:34 utc | 138

Parisian Guy | Mar 27 2020 4:38 utc | 130

re "It doesn't exist one serious scientific paper..."

Galileo heard that in Italian. I can only imagine the silence that followed.

Posted by: chu teh | Mar 27 2020 5:44 utc | 139

@130 Parisian guy

you can believe what you like but it's undeniable many countries are having great success with chloroquine, diff around and you will find it INCLUDING scientific papers in prestigious medical journals.

what is lacking is full randomised controlled trials, and that is hard to do right now. who would put their hands up to be volunteers when you might get a placebo and die (they're think).

many many medication was pressed into service in times of great distress, only to be proven scientifically later. of course this is no guarantee but to discount it out of hand when empirical data are strong is just plain ignorant.

the fear of this pandemic has become it's own animal right now, media is adding fuel to the fire and public opinion is forcing the hands of governments worldwide.

the jury is still out on whether this is like a bad flu season. we will only know when the dust settles. it is true covid19 is compressing the curve due to it's communicability and long period from inoculation to symptom onset. the net effect is that it is overwhelming the healthcare systems and causing many more unnecessary deaths which would have been stretched out and soaked up by the hospitals over many months as it would with the flu.

imo we are led by the nose with academics coming out of the woodwork who are used to joining dots in a chart and projecting, getting their 15min of fame. but I implore you, realise human, unlike cells in a Petri dish, we fight back. voice of reasons are being silenced and attacked in the hysteria.

there is a balance between healthy fear in order to have public compliance vs. total hysteria and chaos. clearly that balance has been lost.

at this point there's little to do but look after yourself and wait for the tide to turn regarding effective treatments. i believe vaccines will not come in time to solve this.

Again I'm not a denier, I understand how you're all feeling. I have gone thru SARS in Hong Kong and covid19 right now and everything else in between. i also have extended relatives in wuhan. many of you are are looking at or in the eye of the storm in your respective countries. I get it. don't lynch me.

it's a total clusterfxxk whichever way you look at it.

Posted by: A.L. | Mar 27 2020 5:52 utc | 140

my # 135

I was told that just after Galileo heard that, The Tower At Pisa got renamed. Odd.

Posted by: chu teh | Mar 27 2020 5:52 utc | 141

Posted by: susan | Mar 27 2020 3:54 utc | 126

"it usually means the sickness lasts longer and the virus has a body party."

I usually treat my colds and flu by taking antihistamines intended for hay-fever sufferers. It reduces my sneezing and runny nose to the point where I barely notice I have a cold - until the cough actually starts. The cold may last five days or ten days, but rarely longer (except for the case I cited.) I also take zinc pills (at double the recommended dose, because I've discerned that most doses are set to prevent the company being sued) as soon as I feel the scratchy throat. This protocol works for me pretty well.

"If your diabetes is well managed it should not be a problem for you." I hope so. I think most of the people with serious complications as a result of diabetes are probably people who are still overweight or still have serious blood sugar levels, inflammation, and the like. Of course, I can't be sure where I am on the inflammation scale, seeing as how older people tend to have more inflammation. I'm more concerned about the possible damage to my lungs from the previous flu I cited.

"So stay upwind when you walk. >)" Amusing, but not practical, especially in San Francisco with its hilly and windy hills.

"The last time i went to the grocery store I wore gloves, mask, raincoat." I might be inclined to wear gloves but there are none to be purchased, so the point is moot. I haven't bothered with the masks either for the same reason. Raincoats are not disposable, so what's the point? Besides which, there is zero information on how long the virus remains on clothing in any case.

"asymptomatic carriers are thought to be responsible for ~ 40% of transmissions." This is the part that bugs me about the almost complete lack of testing of even people who *are* symptomatic (but not yet confirmed). People continue to forget that the asymptomatic character of infectious persons is a significant difference between this virus and others that previously required one to develop a fever before being contagious. Without mass testing and tracking of everyone both infected and with contact there is no way this virus can be controlled. But the US is *still* not testing more than 40,000 a people a day, which is only twice what South Korea did despite a much larger population and much longer delay.

"Corporate media here reporting that prisoners gearing up to “contribute” by manufacturing masks." Well, it's better than having them make furniture for government offices when I was at Leavenworth - or worse, cables and connectors for tanks and warplanes, as I did when I was at FCI Oxford twenty years ago.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 27 2020 6:38 utc | 142


I ran into a Macron supporter by the handle of “Parisian guy” at UNZ.COM over a year ago. I replied in French and he claimed I was writing in Belgian. Since there is no Belgian language (and no, I didn’t write in old French) I presumed he didn’t understand French well. If this is the same guy, any comment he makes is in full support of Macron dictatorship.

The Macron administration hates Dr. Didier Raoult for exposing corruption in the Valls (tainted blood) and Macron regimes. Interestingly, Macron’s father is a doctor of and professor of neurology at the University of Picardy and agrees with Dr. Raoult on the use of Chloroquine for early COVID-19 treatment. Macron is not on good terms with his father and most likely his siblings who are also all doctors.

Critical care for COVID-19 patients is scary and they can crash very fast due to a inflammation resulting in a cytokine storm according to this ER Doctor description of the care.

Here is a good article on how early administration of Chloroquine can combat viral infections including suppressing the cytokine storm. It also serves as an Zinc ionophore like Quercetin that inhibits virus replication.

IL-6 or IL-6-receptor blocking antibodies like tocilizumab may also be of use.

Posted by: krollchem | Mar 27 2020 7:28 utc | 143

The panic is not justified, according to offical data on excess deaths week by week in European countries.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Mar 27 2020 7:58 utc | 144

"Physicians are being warned not to speak or post publicly about their COVID-19 experiences..."

Sound to me like a draconian measure from an authoritarian system.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 8:14 utc | 145

Sorry, my post at 145 referred to a quote by likklemore @ 2

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 8:17 utc | 146

The people dying now in Europe may have been infected around the time of the February holidays here (late Feb.)or rather, infected by crowds of asymptomatic who themselves were infected in mid-Feb.
Europe had a lot of money to lose from cancelling any travel plans then, and the EU leaders were parading everywhere. They even had Erdogan in person summoned to Brussels on March 9th.The wave in the US probably results from the big February corona world-party.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 8:17 utc | 147

The balance between lockdown of societies to survive the pandemic vs. keeping freedom of movement, livelihood, trade etc. intact is a difficult one.

If you don't buy into one of the conspiracy theories about intentional reset of capitalism or what have you, then two things seem to make it easier to accept the lockdown of society for slowing down the epidemic : 1) not overwhelming the health care system, and perhaps more importantly 2) slowing the infection pace helps to direct the evolution of the virus to a less harmful, less deadly direction whereas faster infection would direct the virus' evolution to more deadly versions like it happened for Spanish flu.

For 2) see for example Paul Ewald (books, Plague Time - the New Germ Theory of Disease & Evolution of Infectious Disease) or Macfarlane Burnet or Barry, John M.: The Great Influenza, The Epic Story of the Deadlieast Plague in History, Penguin, 2004.

None of this still answers to how to deal with the effects of lockdown afterwards individually or collectively.

Posted by: Die Niemandsfuchs | Mar 27 2020 8:17 utc | 148

This means that the virus is slow and that China and the rest Asia took the right measures in January. If only the Europeans and Americans had actually been screening at airports, it could have been contained.
Hope they'll fight it in courts!

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 8:19 utc | 149

krollchem @139

When a per-eminent scientist such as Dr. Didier Raoult gets pilloried in the press at the behest of politicians and big pharma, you know instinctively that something stinks.

Macron has that slimy, smug aura of superiority about him, interchangeable with that odious character Trudeau.

Interesting about his father - must be fun at family reunions.

This cytokine storm was something I had never heard about until a couple of months ago when the Wuhan pandemic kicked off. By accident I downloaded a pdf called the Blaylock Wellness Report - Save yourself from immunity 'storm'. To me it seemed a very well written article that made a lot of sense, & as a result follow all the advice.

I have never had the flu in my life, neither has my wife, also we have never had a flu shot either. Pretty certain its all in the genes.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 8:29 utc | 150

The U.S. is now #1 in confirmed cases:

    Country       Confirmed   Deaths   Tests

U.S. 85,612 1,301 579,589 as of March 26
China 81,340 3,292
Italy 80,589 8,215 361,060 as of March 26
Spain 57,786 4,365 355,000 as of March 21
Germany 47,278 281
Iran 29,406 2,234 80,000 as of March 22
France 29,155 1,696 101,046 as of March 24
Switzerland 11,811 192 91,400 as of March 26
U.K. 11,658 578 97,019 as of March 25
Russia 840 3 223,509 as of March 26

Italy will overtake China today.

Posted by: S | Mar 27 2020 8:29 utc | 151

sorry krollchem @143

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 8:30 utc | 152

I just checked the FT source quoted in the article for the comparison plot between countries and it has changed overnight!
US plot appears now in a much better position compared to other countries. The orwellian ministry of truth is at work.

Posted by: srclient | Mar 27 2020 8:47 utc | 153

Excellent summing up, B. You nailed it in your opening paragraphs.

What irony. Soon, even while their exceptionally indispensable 'leaders' continue to scold China, the US will have the most covid19 infections; spent the most covid19 money (yes, on the rich, not the poor).

It was all so very predictable. Wall Street kicks over the gambling table. Main Street pays to make Wall Street whole. We have learned nothing in the 17 years since the GFC (the last time Wall Street kicked over the table).

Heh, but the US is a 'normal' nation, and their leaders preach 'western values'. In their exceptionally indispensable trickle down economy, the deplorables stand in line, wait in place, while the fat horses (cats?) are fed all the best the farm can afford. Then one day, just like these crazy days we are living through, horsey manure trickles down, and the deplorables elect Trump once more. MAGA forever !!!

Meanwhile, Putin gives the most money to the poor, and taxes the rich in what a sane person would call good governance. But they would say Russia is not a normal nation....

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 8:47 utc | 154

Sorry. They are several pictures in the FT article and I checked the wrong one.

Posted by: Srclient | Mar 27 2020 8:53 utc | 155

I'm not sure it is true that Didier Raoult is being pilloried in the media, as Pepe Escobar claims. Raoult is certainly not being marginalised - his photo is everywhere in the press.

I watched a Raoult presentation, and it seemed to me pretty good. Chloroquine is evidently not a miracle cure for coronavirus as Trump claims, but it's a well-known, long-known, drug that could be useful. I don't quite see why it is supposed to be being suppressed because of the profit-motive of Big Pharma, as Big Pharma doesn't seem to have a hi-profit alternative miracle drug that they're about to launch on the market. It seems to be more that Raoult is somewhat on his own, not being broadly supported by other researchers either inside or outside France (French researchers are commonly freer (but not entirely free) of commercial influence than those in other countries, because the research is much state-funded, that's why Raoult can say what he does). It sounds more like uncertain advantages of the drug.

Posted by: Laguerre | Mar 27 2020 9:02 utc | 156

Hoarding is a mental illness, right?
We consider people who hoard junk to be ill, as people who need intervention in their lives to fix what's broken.
So why is it that we consider those who hoard wealth and power to be sane and healthy something to aspire people who need to make decisions for the rest of us...

Posted by: liveload | Mar 27 2020 9:05 utc | 157

Concerning containing the spread of the virus, some comments. China's approach is in the first place trying to be effective as opposed to efficient. It is not afraid of wasting energy or of taking measures which are excessive. Efficient measures on the other hand are afraid to be wasteful, often at the expense of being effective. We tend to think more in terms of efficiency. Both start at different ends and can move towards something which works and is not wasteful. One thing which made this virus tricky is that it is not extremely lethal and not extremely contagious. As a consequence we have been too slow in our response. This isn't about a society which cares or does not care about its citizens. The chinese don't think their government does not care about them.

There are two strategies. One is mitigation where there is massive death in a short time but not to such an extent that society cannot keep functioning. The alternative is to keep the virus out until we have a vaccine. I won't claim here one is worse than the other because the consequences of this economic shock to our fragile economical system could be devastating. The point is once you have chosen containment you can't implement it in a mediocre manner. It's quite achievable to dampen the exponential growth in a matter of 2 weeks but after that you need an effective approach to get the numbers down as fast as possible so economical and social life can restart , be it in a modified 'Korean' manner. If you're not effective here restarting will take ages.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Mar 27 2020 9:09 utc | 158

@Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2020 1:17 utc | 102

That article you linked is behind a paywall, but one can easily bypass that by disabling javascript for that site. (In Opera and probably other Chrome based browsers, click the green lock thing in the location bar and select "site settings")

Province stockpiled 55 million face masks — then destroyed most of them

@Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Mar 27 2020 7:58 utc | 144

To get a more detailed picture, one could look at the 65+ category graph for the past 4½ years, but even then NOTHING, no excess deaths. In fact there has not been a seasonal spike this winter so one can conclude the number of deaths is lower than usual.

On the other hand, I just heard that I know someone who knows someone who is about to die from corona, so it must be really really bad. Very sad though, it is the pastor of a church and nobody is allowed to say goodbye.

Posted by: Joost | Mar 27 2020 9:15 utc | 159

'merikun exceptionalism indeed. A shit show. God country and dug out Doug. War has not stopped.

Posted by: Abu Aisha | Mar 27 2020 9:15 utc | 160

The big question no one seems to be asking is how does this benefit the capitalist system? And that's an honest question. Refrain from russophobia and sinophobia

Posted by: Abu Aisha | Mar 27 2020 9:19 utc | 161

Apologize, wrong link, here is the the 65+ category graph for the past 4½ years.

Posted by: Joost | Mar 27 2020 9:20 utc | 162

Piotr @ 48
"I wonder: did the stock went up, or dollar went down..."

When the FED prints Trillions of USDs, and suddenly, as they are doing presently, then the buying power of each USD must fall. That is because, at any given moment in time, the amount of "stuff" that can be bought (stocks, property, art, produce, gold, etc) is as good as finite, constant, unchanging in amount: you can print new USDs in a nanosecond, but you can't increase "stuff" that quickly. More USDs chasing the same amount of stuff means the "price" must rise (ergo, your stocks "rose' recently). Put another way, the USD is being depreciated. Those who can get ahold of those new USDs (Wall Street, anybody?) get to buy up stuff. Those who sit on piles of USDs, and do not deploy them, go poorer each time the FED 'does sumtin'.

Why let a good disaster go to waste? Crank up presses, Powell!

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 9:32 utc | 163

Posted by: john brewster | Mar 27 2020 1:51 utc | 113

If Catch-22 was sending us messages about the Future then "Soylent Green" made it even more vivid. The desires of the Ruling Class are limitless.

"The death room"

Hospitals across U.S. consider universal do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients

Author: Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post


Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 27 2020 9:48 utc | 164

Laguerre @156

" seems to be more that Raoult is somewhat on his own, not being broadly supported by other researchers either inside or outside France."

Trial announced by the University of Queensland.
Trial announced by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (an Australian medical research institute).


Included in WHO mega trial of four most promising coronavirus treatments.

I am not suggesting this is the silver bullet but when a possible cure is so universally demonized you know something is rotten. If this was such a non starter it would have just faded away.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 9:49 utc | 165

LuBa @ 88 -- ".... it's the reality of a falling nation."
Roland @ 79 -- "With 1/4 of the population of China, but an almost equal number of cases, the U.S. is way ahead per capita."

The slogan "MAGA" implies a US that is no more great.

We live in the interlude when the Empire dies, and new forms of global relations arise.

How exciting.

May we all live long enough to see what comes along.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 10:03 utc | 166

Listing of some Chloroquine trials:-

U.S. national Library of Medicine -

It does seem to be taken seriously. Corporate media need to get over their collective Trump derangement syndrome.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 27 2020 10:03 utc | 167

By the way, "Senegal" i.e. Institut Pasteur in Senegal and the French gov invisible hand, have announced they will use (hydro?)chloroquine for all patients as a mass testing. It is especially interesting to test an anti-malaria drug on people who might have developed immunity against the drug, since many have used it.
Also, an international mass testing of hydrochloroquine has started, involving several countries Eu and non Eu. dr Campbell speaks about it in his videos of 25/3.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 10:09 utc | 168

A 16 year old died in France from the pulmonary problems associated with cv. ""Julie just had a light cough last week and it got worse with mucus at the weekend. On Monday they went to see the doctor and that's when she was diagnosed with respiratory distress. She's had no particular illnesses before," Manon told Le Parisien newspaper."
Now they hype it to say everyone is in danger, rather than to question whether she would have been saved had she been treated before respiratory problems occured.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 10:17 utc | 169

The kind of leadership every nation would want:

Russia will bail out the people and small businesses and not the oligarchs.

Posted by: PJB | Mar 27 2020 10:22 utc | 170

Passing on the infection to others is probably not (numerically speaking) a normal distribution. Like most networks that appear in natural processes, the links-to-node ratio should be a power law, and the usual rule of thumb might apply: 20% of the nodes have 80% of the links.

If this is the case, our focus of attention is better placed on tracing the super spreaders, big and small, instead of trying to minimize each and every chance of transmission in our everyday life.

To give an example: a week ago I encountered a coughing woman on the street, in an enclosed passageway actually, so I had to pass through her drop cloud holding my breath. I then turned around to question her behaviour, to which she replied something that must be understood as a primitive fear coping strategy, in that she'd walk through the city to mitigate the primal fear coming with her breathing difficulties. It is such mindless behaviour that's making most of the problems, as I now suspect; for the next experience I made is also revealing: being at risk now, I informed my roommates, one of whom is a susceptible person and asked me to isolate myself. I did that at a currently closed art gallery that has all basic provisions, where I am alone, and also along my with sound recording gear which I brought to stay busy. Still, I find it unavoidable to run into people more or less every few hours. The neighbours will chat, I need groceries, and sunny spring days lure people outside to walk the otherwise calm city. Children are playing all around. Also my friends like to care and are happy to pay a visit. The door knobs and trash can lids are red flags to me since the daughter from next door became sick with all symptoms, but obviously there is only so much we can do. Still, the general population of the quarter is in good spirits, with everyone knowing a likely case, but no stories of severe complications and other disruptions of life apart from the consequences of the economic lockdown. These observations let me suspect that the general day-to-day habits of the people are, with little updating on basic hygiene, neither very dangerous, nor can they be easily changed or even avoided (at least not when facing something as tame as this CoV).

This includes wearing masks as a social norm, according to my taste; because norms are here to stay far beyond their original applications [cf. Nietzsche, Zur Genealogie der Moral. Und Konfuzius: "Der Hornpokal, kein Hornpokal. - Oh Hornpokal! Oh Hornpokal!"]. All habits that have us ritually withdrawing our faces from each other are very suspect to me. Oh, and testing needs to be available for everyone. - On a last remark, I don't show any symptoms on day 8 after the run-in, and therefor find myself enjoying an unusual spring vacation in my own city ...

Posted by: persiflo | Mar 27 2020 10:22 utc | 171

Chloroquine successes in China with Covid-19 reported in recent medical journal article:

But not much money for Big Pharma if an old cheap off-patent (pre patent era?) drug proves to be the hero.

In the current situation Trump was correct to give it publicity. The effin MSM with their ‘never Trump’ mentality put our health and lives at risk with their knee jerk debunking.

Posted by: PJB | Mar 27 2020 10:30 utc | 172

William Gruff @ 96 -- "China is coming out of this crisis with their economy turbocharged. On the other hand, I see no path to recovery ever for the US from where we are now. This is a major historical inflection point. Everything changes...."

Before covid19, China was in the ascendancy, while the US was declining. After the crisis, China continues ascending; the US continues declining. There is no path for the US to change those trends.

An all-out hot war might change the dynamics, but it might not. Then what? Will the US learn to do win-win, or be destroyed trying to dominate the world?

Meanwhile, this virus has laid bare the hidden US decline for americans to see, and for the rest of the world too.

Surely, we are so lucky to live in these interesting times.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 27 2020 10:56 utc | 174

Mina 168 "It is especially interesting to test an anti-malaria drug on people who might have developed immunity against the drug, since many have used it."

Bugs become drug resistant. People dont 'develop an immunity' against a drug.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 11:08 utc | 175

Big Pharma hates cheap solutions. Here something from 2010 when Swine Flue was devouring the World.

Cheap Not Allowed

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 27 2020 11:10 utc | 176

What happens when a virus, embedded in a water droplet, is caught through inhalation by a healthy individual wearing a mask? The droplet, with the virus, is trapped in the mask. Sometime later, the water evaporates. Is the virus presumed dead by then, or is expelled from the mask by exhalation, or is it inhaled?

Posted by: Victor | Mar 27 2020 11:13 utc | 177

Peter, sorry for wrongly putting it; science is not my field at all. It was actually something i was wondering a couple of weeks ago: would ppl in Africa get less infected by the virus because they have developed some immunity against malaria (some do at least), and therefore would have something in them like the famous anti-malaria drug (you see I am not reasoning like a biology graduate, I admit). Indeed I know that it is the mosquitoes that got resistant, but isn't there some sort of a community between mosquitoes and people there? No clue about these things. Feel free to enlighten me.

From the bbc live, about HK. Shows that by now probably half the European population has been through it, or maybe that students are not good samples because they study in crowded places, use library computers etc.
"Health officials in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 new novel coronavirus cases, in the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began.

Links to Europe: In a press conference held on Friday, Dr Chuang Shuk-Kwan of the Center for Health Protection said 41 of the 65 new cases had recent travel history to places in Europe including the United Kingdom and Portugal. She added 14 of the new cases were students returning to Hong Kong.

The 65 new cases brings the city-wide total to 518. Some 338 cases are still currently being treated in hospitals, including four cases in critical condition."

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 11:14 utc | 178

BoJo positive as Ferguson’s IQ deflates faster than “the Fed can print”.

Posted by: 433 | Mar 27 2020 11:27 utc | 179

kiwiklown @175: "An all-out hot war might change the dynamics..."

"Might" being the key word here. If that all-out hot war were launched and finished in a couple weeks then the US would have a chance, but the US couldn't even win its war against Iraq that quickly. If the war stretches beyond a few weeks then it comes down to who has the industrial capacity the overwhelm the other with military hardware, and I think it is obvious who would win that competition.

I am sure there are those in positions to advise the empire's leadership who also see this, which is why they went with a bioweapon "Hail Mary" desperation play instead... a desperation "Hail Mary" play that not only failed but backfired spectacularly. I fear this might increase the odds of the conflict going kinetic since the US is convinced it needs its empire to survive and so can only contemplate escalation.

In any case, we do indeed live in interesting times.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 11:31 utc | 180

"The U.S. is providing the world with another example of its great exceptionalism. In a few days it will have the greatest number of Covid-19 cases and the greatest number of casualties of the disease."


If by casualties, you mean deaths, no, the US doesn't have the highest death rate, or highest number of deaths as number, as of March 26th 2020.

This could all change, and Trump is making matters worse.

Posted by: Jay | Mar 27 2020 11:42 utc | 181

An interesting thing about Coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS is that they were thought to be regional problems and not really pandemic in nature like influenza viruses.

Also super-spreaders seem to play a big role in coronaviruses.

Most viral infections lead to increased lymphocyte production but Covid-19 decreases lymphocytes.

Posted by: financial matters | Mar 27 2020 11:48 utc | 182

Malaria is a single cell bug called a protozoa. My understanding that is a class of bugs like bacteria and viruses are classes of bugs.
Mosquitoes carry or host the bug and pass it onto people. The quinine type drugs block the bug and prevent it from attaching or entering cells. That is how the drug also works against the corona viruses. Various strains of the malaria bug have developed resistance to various drugs.
Because SARS-CoV-2 is a new bug, it should not have developed a resistance to any drug.
Human immunity is directed at pathogens and seems very specific even to strains as can be seen with influenza vaccines, and the malaria protozoa is a very different animal to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
That's the basics as I know it. Others here may be able to explain it a little better.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 11:53 utc | 183

Jay @182: "This could all change, and Trump is making matters worse."

This will change.

Right now the covid cases are somewhat spread out geographically in the US rather than being concentrated in small areas as with China and Italy. As such no individual cities' healthcare systems have been overwhelmed yet in the US. Being that the US has only just now begun to enter the "exciting" part of the exponential curve but already has 85,996 confirmed cases, I think the cracks will begin to appear early next week, and by next weekend for sure.

Of course, for Americans a week away may as well be a century. We'll have to wait until the dead really pile up before they will acknowledge that they are facing a disaster.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 12:06 utc | 184

Somebody in that stupid failed state of yours should take the initiative to constitute an army and walk on Washington.Read some history books and move on.You've got the weapons already as a people.They are malfunctioning in Washington on a level never witnessed before.Do it now,fellow americans!Where are those cuckoo's nest Napoleons when you need them?

Posted by: willie | Mar 27 2020 12:14 utc | 185

Seems like you're advocating quarantine camps which resonates very badly in the popular mind, especially in the US, the last bastion of anarcho-libertarianism. But if surplus hotel space were put to use, Trump hotels, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, all the way down to Motel 6 and the flea bags operated by the international Patel cartel, these q-camps wouldn't be too bad and the owners could be compensated, if not too generously. The fear of internment would be ameliorated.

We don't know this virus as well as we'd like to think we do, IMHO. It is possible we are experiencing the first global wave and we have not yet imagined the possibility of the coming global tsunami as we make plans to return to business-as-usual. This is the pattern of the 1918 event. Precedent probably doesn't apply, but it is comfortable to think we have a grip on the future even when we don't.

Methinks business-as-usual is over and everything from here on out will be rather unusual. "Unusual" is a euphemism.

Posted by: jadan | Mar 27 2020 12:20 utc | 186

willie @186

What?!?! Take collective action? That's communist heresy!

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 12:35 utc | 187

Some important details on the France ibuprofen yes or no debate:

The trouble over ibuprofen began March 11, when researchers at University Hospital Basel, in Switzerland, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in Greece, published a letter in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The letter reviewed three early sets of case reports from China, covering almost 1,300 patients gravely ill with Covid-19. The letter’s authors observed that significant numbers of those patients had high blood pressure and diabetes, from 12 percent to 30 percent depending on the study, and theorized that higher rates of expression of a particular enzyme, known for short as ACE2, might be raising the risk of coronavirus infection.

ACE2 provides a place on cell surfaces for the coronavirus to attach and enter in order to replicate. High blood pressure and diabetes are treated with drugs that suppress inflammation, called ACE inhibitors; the inhibitors, paradoxically, cause ACE2 to rise. That interaction is where the authors spotted a possible connection between patients experiencing chronic diseases and then becoming infected with Covid-19.

And that’s where ibuprofen entered the unfolding story, too. The over-the-counter drug doesn’t only knock down fever. It also reduces inflammation (the class of drugs it belongs to are known as NSAIDs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). That effect, as with the anti-inflammatory drugs given to chronic disease patients, can cause ACE2 to rise.

So any anti-inflammatory - whether ibuprofen or actual anti-inflammatory drugs - *can* (not will) cause ACE2 to rise. And ACE2 is what nCOV latches on to.

So the acetominophen/paracetamol vs. ibuprofen has nothing to do with the fever reduction side but the potential increase of ACE2, which *might* increase susceptibility to nCOV.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 27 2020 12:36 utc | 188

nCOV is not a bioweapon: National Geographic article, Scripps researcher

A March 17 article in Nature Medicine co-authored by Andersen makes this argument by comparing the genomic features of SARS-CoV-2 with all of its closest family members, including SARS, MERS, and strains isolated from animals such as bats and pangolins.

First off, most of SARS-CoV-2’s underlying structure is unlike any of coronaviruses previously studied in a lab. The novel coronavirus also contains genetic features that suggest it encountered a living immune system rather than being cultivated in a petri dish.

Moreover, a bioweapon designer would want maximum impact and might rely on history to obtain it, but the novel coronavirus carries subtle flaws indicative of natural selection. For instance, coronaviruses use what are known as spike proteins, which look like heads of broccoli, to bind and access cellular “doorways” called receptors. It’s how the viruses infect animal cells. Experiments have shown that the novel coronavirus strongly binds with a human receptor called ACE2, but the interaction isn’t optimal, the authors explain.

“This isn’t what somebody who wanted to build the perfect virus would have picked,” Andersen says. Overall, their analysis suggests the virus jumped from an animal to humans sometime in November.

Other interesting notes:

Nextstrain has crunched nearly 1,500 genomes from the new coronavirus, and the data already show how this virus is mutating—every 15 days, on average—as the COVID-19 pandemic rages around the world.

I read somewhere that the typical flu mutates 6-8 times a month, so nCOV is actually less mutagenic than the typical flu, if this pattern holds.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 27 2020 12:42 utc | 189

"Sometime later, the water evaporates. Is the virus presumed dead by then, or is expelled from the mask by exhalation, or is it inhaled? Posted by: Victor | Mar 27 2020 11:13 utc | 178

One of many hypothetical questions with no definitive answers.

Based on a video I saw last night with a bunch of Singapore medical experts, when a droplet carries the virus, and the droplet ends up on the ground or in a mask or on some other surface, when the droplet evaporates - which should occur fairly quickly - it exposes the virus to the environment. Then it depends on the environment. In open air, under sun, the virus should die fairly quickly - but the actual time is unknown. So it could be minutes or an hour or more.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 27 2020 12:59 utc | 190

c1ue @190: "...a bioweapon designer would want..."

Repeating this nonsense disqualifies the post. Nobody who has ever made this argument has ever been able to defend it, and the poster here will be no different.

"The novel coronavirus also contains genetic features that suggest it encountered a living immune system..."

Of course, I suppose it couldn't possibly have "encountered a living immune system" in the lab at Ft Detrick or in one or more of the CIA's black site dungeons.

Why do people bother regurgitating such empty "proof"?

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 13:07 utc | 191

Wally has been studying churches. This is one of the reasons he's been attending, to study. It a Quaker character. And his Nth "church" is such that MoA qualifies, as does the cop-shop, Luckup Company or the forge. All churches are illuminated by gas-light. Oh, they may be illuminated by a lightning's flash and exist pure 'tween the flash and the bang, but the gas-lighting returns, and it smokes a bit, too. All churches are temporary and possessed by both overt and incipient stress, thus in plastic state of damped change, they are intrinsically unstable.

All churches need "money" offerings. This is part of the essence, and provides an explanation here for 'b' creating the comment feature.

Thus, not to seem niggardly Wally suggests now a sally over to the academy - the University of Chicago (uchicago dot edu), in particular, where everyone may share in devouring the eucharist by reading.

See>A Brief History of the State of Exception
by Giorgio Agamben
An excerpt from State of Exception (5,000 word excerpt) "...produce a situation in which the emergency becomes the rule, and the very distinction between peace and war (and between foreign and civil war) becomes impossible...."


Another tasty bit Lo stato d’eccezione provocato da un’emergenza immotivata ( )

excerpt> Così, in un perverso circolo vizioso, la limitazione della libertà imposta dai governi viene accettata in nome di un desiderio di sicurezza che è stato indotto dagli stessi governi che ora intervengono per soddisfarlo.


With a sincere and hearty wave (no hand-shakin!) to the rector, then, Wall's goin' back to Pappy's Flour Mill and the Dewdrop Inn.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 27 2020 13:11 utc | 192

Excellent summary of China's methods of suppressing the virus; it also considers the cultural and ideological side, ie. how Chinese society was mobilized in solidarity and common purpose.

Posted by: Prof K | Mar 27 2020 13:14 utc | 193

This is getting ridiculous. Why masks? Why not gloves? Yes sure droplets stay in the air for some period of time... but they land somewhere right? And they stay there for MUCH longer and are MUCH more likely to be spread by touch rather than by being inhaled.

Masks are next to useless and you need to stop with this complete ignorance of medical advice.
Wash your hands frequently... don't touch your face... leave masks for the health workers

Posted by: Adub | Mar 27 2020 13:19 utc | 194

c1ue 189

Reading through the linked article, they seemed to back away from the claim that ibuprofen gave worse outcome. It odd there hasn't been a study on it as in checking what patients took ibuprofen when hit with coronavirus. I take the stuff for arthritis type pain. Come to think of it, many people with rheumatism and arthritis type problems would be on anti inflammatory drugs, yet these conditions are not mentioned in any stats. Steroids have been the only anti inflammatory mentioned as giving a worse outcome, yet I would have thought ibuprofen would be more widely used.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 13:31 utc | 195

It appears that Oz himself is backtracking a bit on the severity of COVID:

On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%.4 In another article in the Journal, Guan et al.5 report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.

- Anthony Fauci

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 13:43 utc | 196

Trump was tested for Corona. The result was absolutely beautifully tremendously perfectly so unique negative.
Trump tested negative

Posted by: PolPott | Mar 27 2020 14:20 utc | 197

USG is squabbling with the private sector to purchase ventilators more cheaply:

After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts

Posted by: vk | Mar 27 2020 14:24 utc | 198

Iceland in wide scale testing only picked up another 10% above those that were tested due to symptoms or for having contact with somebody that tested positive.
A lot of people like the imaginary huge number of untested cases, makes them feel safer I guess, lowers the mortality rate, but China, South Korea, and Iceland show that these huge numbers of undiagnosed cases are purely imaginary.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 14:26 utc | 199



Posted by: jadan | Mar 27 2020 14:31 utc | 200

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