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

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Posted by: PolPott | Mar 27 2020 14:20 utc | 198

Trump has Great Plans for the USA
Plans for Easter

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 27 2020 14:32 utc | 201

@William Gruff, 192

To add to what you said, if you let the Nature Medicine researchers examine the viruses in an actual bioweapons lab, they would nevertheless conclude 'these cannot possibly be bioweapons, since they are not perfectly engineered.' As if bioweapon labs only keep and experiment with strains of god-level design. This logic is funny.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 14:36 utc | 202

@197 Allen

That is the CFR with proper treatment. The problem is that ~20% of cases need treatment, ~15% basic treatment O2, intravenous saline, broad spectrum antibiotics etc and ~5% that require intense treatment, ventilation, ECMO etc. That means if you get more patients than you have the ability to treat the CFR goes up sharply and asymptotically toward ~20% of cases.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 27 2020 14:42 utc | 203

Allen @197:

... the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza.

Those who recover from a severe case of Covid-19 are likely to have some degree of lung scarring (pulmonary fibrosis). That is a dangerous and permanent condition. Most with that condition die within 5 years.

So the "clinical consequences" are much greater but this is being played down because Trump wants everyone back to work.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 15:00 utc | 204

TJ @ 204

Let's quit moving the bar- I get it. The statement by Fauci at the Congressional hearing was straightforward as is this peer paper published yesterday. Those two statements are contradictory. That would not be a big deal if this guy wasn't the one who influenced public policy. And it's okay for scientist's to be wrong and revise as new information comes in. But I see a problem with creating public policy based on worst case scenarios. And it's compounded when the so-called experts are all immersed in the thoroughly corrupted medical establishment.

The very way they think about all health-related issues are influenced/created by the monied interests upon which their careers have been built.

The analysis of the disease itself and the availability/efficacy of treatments are two separate issues. The problem with treatments gets us back to monied interests and who controls the direction of those interests and severe austerity measures which have decimated all public services in virtually every Western (and elsewhere) country on the planet.

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 15:02 utc | 205

occupatio @203


No engineered thing is perfect. The process of engineering is one of making trade-offs and compromises in order to achieve a particular goal. If one assumes the goal of engineers who design cars is to produce a vehicle with 1000 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, then one would have to conclude that the cars crowding the roads could not be engineered things. If one starts with a bogus assumption of what the intentions of the engineer are then one can conclude that there are no engineered things at all in the world. It is the "Intelligent Design" argument against evolution warmed over. We may as well be arguing that since the virus isn't perfect then it must be an engineered thing.

Shabby and illogical arguments like the one the poster recycled actually do more to prove (circumstantially, anyway) that the virus IS engineered, because they wouldn't use such crappy arguments as proof is they had anything better.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 15:06 utc | 206


That takes us back to poor treatment (and environmental causes) which leads us to austerity measures not the disease itself per se. And of course there is the fact of contributing underlying conditions. Using Italy as an example a very high percentage of those who died this season due to COVID (as currently listed) already had lung scarring due to the horrendous air quality (N Italy worst in Europe) and other lifestyle issues (which to me is less of an argument).

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 15:10 utc | 207

Everyone needs to read the Consortium News article by Pepe Escobar titled "Chinese locked in hybrid war with US" - such a telling piece!

Posted by: Susan | Mar 27 2020 15:21 utc | 208

"Patient Zero Found" announced a NZ news source !!!

But Aussi paper is not so direct,

Direct links

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said on December 31 that Ms Wei was one of the first 27 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, and one of the 24 cases who had direct links to the Huanan Market.

It remains inconclusive if Ms Wei was “patient zero”.

But scientists are studying hers and other early cases to help trace the source of the virus which is believe
d jumped to humans from wild animals.

NY Post presents it as.

Shrimp vendor at Wuhan market may be coronavirus ‘patient zero’
Wei, who has since recovered and left the hospital in January, said she thinks she contracted the infection from a market toilet in the market she shared with meat sellers and others, according to the Journal.

The vendors who worked on either side of Wei, along with one of her daughters, a niece and the niece’s husband, also caught the deadly bug, the paper reported.

“A lot fewer people would have died” in the country if the government had acted sooner, Wei told the Journal in February.

Wei may have been “patient zero” at the market, but it’s still unclear if she was the first person to ever contract the novel coronavirus in the country.

Posted by: Tom_LX | Mar 27 2020 15:31 utc | 209

> The Wall Street Journal today reports (paywalled but quoted here)

Almost every "paywalled" MSM article can be easily read in full on the famous Internet Archive AKA WayBack Machine

Same for "retracted" or "redacted" articles

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 27 2020 15:40 utc | 210

After failure of Russia to agree a cut in oil production MbS, in a tantrum, launched his scorched earth policy - releasing more oil during an existing glut has backfired:

A spectacle is here. No friends in sight.

Saudi Oil Industry at Risk as American, European Refiners Refusing Riyadh’s Crude LINK

Oil prices collapsed to their lowest levels in decades in March amid coronavirus concerns and OPEC+’s failure to reach a deal on production cuts, which prompted Riyadh and its allies to open the taps.

Refineries in the United States and Europe are rejecting to accept any more Saudi oil, even at discounted prices, owing to a crude glut and lack of storage space, the Wall Street journal has reported, citing Saudi officials and oil traders.

Gulf Agency Company Ltd, a Dubai-based maritime logistics company, says buyers in India have also cut back on Saudi crude as that country has gone into lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to the company’s sources, at least 52 Indian ports have invoked a force majeure amid the outbreak, allowing them to cancel orders without incurring penalties.[.] (emphasis added)

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 27 2020 15:41 utc | 211

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

Funny coincidence, that is exactly what all colour revolution "peaceful protesters" in any country always demanded

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 27 2020 15:42 utc | 212

@ Laguerre | Mar 27 2020 9:02 utc | 156
re. "Chloroquine is evidently not a miracle cure for coronavirus as Trump claims..."

I give Trump credit that he was trying to go directly to the people with the information that there MAY be an inexpensive and readily available resource for treatment. As suggested by som Chinese sources and others certainly.

As I recall, he qualified his remarks with "I am no expert, just a feeling... Though I am a very Stable Genious."

Some fear that the Pharma will try to prevent the use of inexpensive treatments, claiming it is too risky and unproven.

It seems to me that if you want to see everything as shit, you will.

Posted by: jared | Mar 27 2020 15:48 utc | 213

Ref: higher mortality. 45 doctors died with CV in Italy (source: cnn live). That IS a bad figure indeed.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 27 2020 15:50 utc | 214

St Clair at Counterpunch is very good today.

Lots of good music too including this wonderful track from Essie Jenkins

And this from Carl Sagan:
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2020 15:52 utc | 215

Just a note, virii are not alive or dead, they do not metabolize or do much of anything else by themselves. They are more like computer worms, which cannot do anything until given control of the computer, which they then use to make lots of copies of themselves, and likewise you don't kill them, you disable them by any of several means: cutting off any connection to new computers/infectees, or messing them up directly. This is what sunlight does to them, or for CV soap & water, heat, antiseptics like isopropyl as in "hand sanitizers", etc. They are physical things and you can and should disrupt them physically, wash them off, etc.

This is the basis of the nasopharyngial lavage with saline solution the Russian doc suggested, and since CV like epithelial cells in that region it ought to work, reduce your viral load while your immune system works on the problem.

Isolation is the gold standard for stomping the little buggers out, as the chinese just proved. But you have to keep at it until it disappears. All this travel and globalization is just totally not how you get rid of a virus. All the countries that have handled it well up to now (except China, which got the message late) did one thing, they stopped travel in and out and tested and quarantined those they still allowed. Without lots of testing you won't find them all. We are getting better tests available now, so that should help a lot, if they get used aggressively.

(Yes, "virii", as in "octopi", or to borrow from Shelly Berman "two Jackii", we have a lot of jackii running around right now.)

That is all.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 27 2020 15:54 utc | 216

"Gulf Agency Company Ltd, a Dubai-based maritime logistics company, says buyers in India have also cut back on Saudi crude as that country has gone into lockdown to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to the company’s sources, at least 52 Indian ports have invoked a force majeure amid the outbreak, allowing them to cancel orders without incurring penalties."
Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 27 2020 15:41 utc | 212

Can India's cancellation of Saudi oil purchases be wholly explained by its dealing with COVID? Or could there be coordination with US refineries in rejecting Saudi oil? I've never heard of US-India coordination like that, though it would be an easy 'ask' for India to accede to, since Modi is assured of low oil prices for the foreseeable future. India imports over 84 per cent of its oil needs, and low oil prices are needed for his development projects.

In any case, the same RT article points to SA heading towards a balance-of-payments crisis, which may "end the country’s decades’ long policy of pegging its currency, the riyal, to the US dollar."

Hrm, what happens to the petrodollar if SA stops pegging its currency to the dollar?

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 16:04 utc | 217

- The US already has the largest amount of infected cases. That news just came in.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 27 2020 16:04 utc | 218

@ by: bevin | Mar 27 2020 15:52 utc | 216

..... and to quote my favorite author Mark Twain: “ it is easier to fool people than to make them concede that they have been fooled”.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Mar 27 2020 16:08 utc | 219

How about this cheerful bit:

I also wonder how ventilators will be rationed - as they are delivered.

They say the Hamptons are getting crowded.

Posted by: jared | Mar 27 2020 16:22 utc | 220

@ 197 allen... that was posted - ''This editorial was published on February 28, 2020, at''. i wonder if Anthony S. Fauci's position has changed any since then?

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2020 16:30 utc | 221

@ Susan @209

Thanks so much for posting that link to Pepe Escobar's Asia Times article.

The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed. Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon attack the “people’s war” was launched with the full force of the state. Methodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we are entering a new stage, which will be used by Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction with the West, and under very different frameworks when it comes to the U.S. and the EU.

Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” China also sent a hefty humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard eight flights from Mahan Air — an airline under illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.

Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of the seminal “The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism,” is already trying to conceptualize where we stand now in terms of fighting COVID-19.

We are facing a choice between a Malthusian strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by China, South Korea and Italy. There are key lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a “natural population selection,” with thousands of dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable degrees of authoritarianism and social control.” It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this social re-engineering, a 21st century remix of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”

Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose the Wuhan option, with immensely serious consequences for its already fragile economy. Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical revolt.

Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in the city of Anzu [Italy] since the 9th century. St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one of the patron saints of pandemics.

St. Corona's day

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 27 2020 16:33 utc | 222

Live now! WHO

Posted by: JC | Mar 27 2020 16:39 utc | 223

Correction @ 223: That source should be Consortium News not Asia Times

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 27 2020 16:44 utc | 224

Imagine it is the 1850's. Slavery is alive and well and possibly the most important feature of the US economy. A bailout is needed. Who gets "bailed out"? The "Slave Power"; the "Slaveocracy"; not the slaves. Legal slavery may have ended in 1865, but "factual" slavery, call it "debt slavery" in the form of mortgage debt slavery; student debt slavery [non-dischargeable thanks to Biden and Lieberman and Bayh and oh yes, many others]; medical debt slavery; and "fear of debt" slavery persist. US-style capitalism is "like" a plant that has been grafted. Its rootstock is slavery and to its roots, it will be true. Ten years ago Wall, War, Bank, and Insurance Streets were bailed out and the government became handcuffed to these Empires of Debt. Now they are going off the cliff and the government [and us] with it. why should anyone with an income of less than say $75,000 [or you pick a number] even pay taxes? It's not like we are getting anything in return. Since more than half of government revenue goes toward providing "security" beyond our borders the War Department [let's be honest and call it by its original name and true function] isn't even "defensing" us. Fewer US residents would die with a smaller "war/defense" budget and a greater public health/Medicare for all budget.

Posted by: stevelaudig | Mar 27 2020 16:46 utc | 225

William Gruff @ 96 says:

China is coming out of this crisis with their economy turbocharged

this crisis, yes, which of course means that the degradation of their environment will be turbocharged as well (if you accept that economic growth is ecologically unsustainable, whether it is capitalist or socialist), n'est-ce pas? i mean, isn't all this talk about the changing centers of economic growth kind of missing the point, and the opportunity?

how 'bout we turbocharge the 'degrowth' narrative for a change? i mean, isn't it time it hit the layman's purview? the blogosphere? isn't talk of minimum wages, workers movements, labor unions, socialism, etc. kind of makeshift at this point? kind of stopgap? as things stand, not only are there not enough jobs for everyone, but there never will be either, and don't get me started on all the redundancy.

When the ordinary language in use is inadequate to articulate what begs to be articulated, then it is time for a new vocabulary

Posted by: john | Mar 27 2020 16:49 utc | 226

@221 jared

My guess would be a 500 page+ report comes out full of lots of inclusion and diversity and what not, that in practice comes down to this-

1. Government bigwigs first.
2. Political donors second
3. Billionaires third.
4. Protect facilities where the above go for treatment from "terrorists" i.e. the taxpaying public who might want to avail themselves of the facilities and treatments they have paid for.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 27 2020 16:52 utc | 227

>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

Recent research shows that virus on porous surfaces such as cardboard and cloth are soon dried out and become non-viable. Virus landing on steel, glass, etc. don't dry out as fast and remain viable for longer.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 27 2020 16:59 utc | 228

stevelaudig @226


Capitalism is organized exploitation.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 17:02 utc | 229

Japan's façade is falling:

Tokyo heads into critical weekend facing risk of coronavirus lockdown

Japan's economy in 'severe situation' due to COVID-19, government states in monthly report

The number of tested people in Japan remains pathetic: just a little bit above 20,000.

Tokyo already is a COVID-19 hotspot. It's all a matter of testing and gathering data.


South Korea's façade also seens to be crumbling:

Consumer sentiment plummets due to virus spread

Market unresponsive to BOK's move for quantitative easing

Gov't vows zero tolerance on quarantine rule violators

Yesterday, the number of dead in S. Korea went back to three digits (107). The situation is controlled in Daegu and its outskirts only, but the government seems to be unable to control the rest of the country.

Of course, the South Korean economy is collapsing, as predicted. Social-democracy is utterly incapable of combating a pandemic, or, better yet, it may be able to fight a pandemic - but at the cost of its own existence. South Korean sovereign debt will spiral out of control and the country will devolve to neoliberalism/austerity soon.


Italy becomes WORST-HIT nation by coronavirus, death rate HIGHEST since start of outbreak

Looks like Italy is incapable of enforcing a true lockdown.

No wonder: Italy is a capitalist country, which makes its government structurally incapable of enforcing such all-encompassing macroeconomic measures.

It is only if the Italian true elite - its capitalist class - decides to lockdown that Italy will truly lockdown. Everything below this is kid's stuff.

Posted by: vk | Mar 27 2020 17:06 utc | 230

>It appears that Oz himself is backtracking a bit on the severity of COVID:
>Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 13:43 utc | 197

Thank you Allen. Personally I wouldn't trust Fauci any further than I could throw him, due to his botched response to the AIDS epidemic, now decades ago. Why is the country being run by all these old fossils? If they refuse to put themselves out to pasture, maybe the Evil Virus will give them a push.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 27 2020 17:10 utc | 231

john @227: "...not only are there not enough jobs for everyone,..."

This is the kind of silliness that you get caught up in when you assume the capitalist economic model is some sort of natural law. It is not. There are in fact countless ways in which people can apply their labor in which society benefits. The only problem being faced at the moment is ways to employ that labor that results in profits for a small handful of capital owners and rentiers.

"...which of course means that the degradation of their environment will be turbocharged as well..."

Not necessarily. The per capita carbon footprint in China has been decreasing over the last decade, even as their standards of living and productivity have grown dramatically.

If you happen to be a westerner, or worse yet an American, then the very best place to begin "degrowth" is with yourself because the wear you cause to the environment is four times that caused by any Chinese person.

Funny how it only becomes important among westerners for the economic leaders to sacrifice living standards for the environment when their own economies are in irreversible decline and they are losing their place at the head of the global economic table.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 17:14 utc | 232

So, Pompeo, archetypal bully figure, has blocked a G7 declaration re. virus. Pompeo wanted the disease to be called "Wuhan Virus" not COVID-19 or any other science-based appellation. This great worthy, this self-proclaimed man of Jesus, absolutely refused to compromise with his fellow G7ers to show a common front. Just infuriating. To borrow an expression from late, much-lamented Joe Bageant: Never miss an opportunity to "put the schnickle" to your competitor.

In other news, USA has put a $15 million bounty on Venezuela's Maduro. Charming.

Posted by: piggly | Mar 27 2020 17:19 utc | 233

vk "Yesterday, the number of dead in S. Korea went back to three digits (107). The situation is controlled in Daegu and its outskirts only, but the government seems to be unable to control the rest of the country."

South Korea still has the outbreak well under control. Cases rising very slow. Several deaths a day. total deaths till now 139.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 17:20 utc | 234

Posted by: janet thornhill | Mar 27 2020 17:02 utc | 231

"let's hope this is the end for american exceptionalism and empire"

Sorrie wishful thinking. It ain't gonna happens!

Posted by: JC | Mar 27 2020 17:22 utc | 235

john 227 "this crisis, yes, which of course means that the degradation of their environment will be turbocharged"

If you studied China at all, you would realise the opposite is true.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 17:26 utc | 236

The virus was not developed in a laboratyr according to the head of Italy's Higher Health Council, or CSS, Franco Locatelli

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 27 2020 17:28 utc | 237

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


There is not one serious scientific paper which demonstrates that chloroquine is effective against nCov in real life patients.

Randomized trial, with 3200 patients and several antiviral molecules (including chloroquine!) just started a few days ago in Europe.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Mar 27 2020 17:28 utc | 238

oil priced in USD- what happens to the petrodollar if SA stops pegging its currency to the dollar?:
Posted by: occupatio | Mar 27 2020 16:04 utc | 218

The petro-dollar [humpty-dumpty- uncle Sam's IOUs] is history. The great mistake was weaponizing the USD and over the past 8 years It was being sidelined and recently more so.

The Economist Paywall: LINK

Dethroning the dollar
America’s aggressive use of sanctions endangers the dollar’s reign
..Its rivals and allies are both looking at other options.

Jan 18th 2020

Ever since the dollar cemented its role as the world’s dominant currency in the 1950s, it has been clear that America’s position as the sole financial superpower gives it extraordinary influence over other countries’ economic destinies. But it is only under President Donald Trump that America has used its powers routinely and to their full extent, by engaging in financial warfare. The results have been awe-inspiring and shocking. They have in turn prompted other countries to seek to break free of American financial hegemony.

In 2018 America’s Treasury put legal measures in place that prevented Rusal, a strategically important Russian aluminium firm, from freely accessing the dollar-based financial system—with devastating effect. Overnight it was unable to deal with many counterparties. Western clearing houses refused to settle its debt securities. The price of its bonds collapsed (the restrictions were later lifted). America now has over 30 active financial- and trade-sanctions programmes. On January 10th it announced measures that the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said would “cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime”. The State Department, meanwhile, said that Iraq could lose access to its government account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That would restrict Iraq’s use of oil revenues, causing a cash crunch and flattening its economy.

Now, COVID-19 is the coffin and all the printed $Trillions out-of-thin-air will not resurrect it.

the 6 best analysts I follow have indicated after the COVID-19 health crisis, we are headed for a great depression.
We are in the financial collapse triggered by the Corona-crisis and a severe Credit crisis (Repo market) already on life support since September 2019.

Take note, in this lockdown of global commerce Goldman Sachs and others have a forecast for the US a 30% unemployment rate in 2nd quarter.
Did that include the existing real rate of 23% -(not the faux -3% as we are being offered)
Imho, what we are not being told is the timeline for these global lockdowns. Look for 6-12 months and not the optimistic weeks to keep joe and jane in the dark.

IMF Chief: The world has entered a recession as bad or worse than the global financial crisis
$265 Trillion global debt beckoning a debt jubilee. OR, will central bankers print another $200 Trillion, at the minimum, to keep the illusion going to turn the lights on?

Last week, Canada announced a 10% wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses. This morning, BoC announced an emergency rate cut down to 0.25% and Trudeau stepped up the wage subsidy to 75% --- some of that will be forgiven when the lights are turned on. The US is equally leading and printing away.

From 2008 we were fed the illusion of prosperity built on debt. COVID-19 provides cover for the great reset.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 27 2020 17:30 utc | 239

@191 and @229

Thank you for your responses, but my question is specifically about evaporation of a virus-carrying droplet in a mask. The answer is quite relevant, because if the virus is inhaled after the water evaporates, then it would seem that wearing a mask by a healthy individual is pretty useless. An infected individual will keep the virus, which is still desirable.

Posted by: Victor | Mar 27 2020 17:31 utc | 240

From what I have read, number of virus makes a difference. Inhaling droplets is inhaling small colonies of virus.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 17:35 utc | 241

RE: PolPott | Mar 27 2020 14:20 utc | 198
"Trump was tested for Corona. The result was absolutely beautifully tremendously perfectly so unique negative."

The lab called, they got a false negative, Trump is absolutely beautifully tremendously perfectly so uniquely positive!

Posted by: Perimetr | Mar 27 2020 17:38 utc | 242


The original WSJ article about Patient Zero was published three weeks ago!

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 27 2020 17:48 utc | 243

New York has the answer to coronavirus. Freezer trucks to stack the bodies in.
"City Medical Examiner spokeswoman Aja Worthy-Davis said that usually New York morgues can accommodate about 900 bodies at a time but with the help of tents and trucks this number will increase up to 3,500-3,600 corpses."

Nothing like good preparations to reassure the people.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 17:49 utc | 244

bevin at 57. Escobar piece (link) … is brief for the content. 3 long-form pieces might be fantastic!

Now that reads to me in many parts like a poor translation from F.

Obvious ex. Raoult is opposed to the total lockdown of sane individuals and possible carriers .. Obviously this isn’t about sane vs. crazed. “Sain” in F mean healthy and not ‘sane’ and in the context of the original text it means ‘not infected.’

And so it proves to be. Good parts are lifted from:

which lists all the facts that show that A. Buzyn (misspelt twice in the Escobar article) ex. Min. of Health nom. by Macron (quit just recently) and her hubby Lévy (who was the director of the main state Med. Research Institution, powerful +++, now a buddy of theirs is the Dir.) both hate Pr. Raoult concerning complex long-standing quarrels.

(Btw, Lévy and France participated in setting up and opening the high-level lab in Wuhan.)

Afaik, the fact quoted by are correct, can’t trans. it all now.

France (as in, Macron, oligarchs, cloaked PTB , Parliament, whatever..) is not depriving ppl of a ‘good cure.’

Rather: A vicious fight between factions at the top of State level. As the State has been taken over and infiltrated via lobbyists, corruption, decadence, stupidity. (> The profits from XY as palliative - cure - vaccine for COV will be the *bonanza* of the century..)

Media, toadies, are against Raoult, they don’t even know why, can only parrot that chloroquine is dangerous or a scam, Le Monde published an article against him + his ‘cure’ — to then retract it later, surprise! .…Outsiders, aka dissidents (ex. Alain Soral) support him… und so weiter.

Raoult, Buzyn, Lévy all have connections to Big Pharma, to different companies.

What happens to F ppl is only a secondary concern (stopping pitchforks.)

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 27 2020 17:50 utc | 245

@Likklemore, I see the Tarkin Effect in motion. The more sanctions are applied (tightening of grip) the more alternatives are found (de-dollarizing)..

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 27 2020 17:52 utc | 246

Italy over 900 dead so far today.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 17:53 utc | 247

>evaporation of a virus-carrying droplet in a mask.

My uninformed guess is that the virus will dry out in the mask and become non-viable. If the non-viable particles are inhaled, they will do nothing.

For more than a century the ultimate weapon of the working class was the much feared by capitalists and seldom seen "General Strike". How ironic that Dear Leaders have turned the tables and are now inflicting the "General Lockout" on us. Are there any previous General Lockouts that we can study and learn from?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 27 2020 17:53 utc | 248

25000 is how many % of 7 billion?
I know, but you do your own math!

Posted by: Per/Norway | Mar 27 2020 18:05 utc | 249

Vital drug for people with lupus running out after unproven Covid-19 link

Both Italy and France have said doctors can now prescribe hydroxychloroquine – a less toxic version of the malaria drug chloroquine – even though there is no robust evidence to prove that it is effective against Covid-19.


In France, the government caved to pressure from a doctor who ran his own very small and rapid trial of the drug combined with an antibiotic in 26 people, using methodology that has been seriously criticised. Dr Didier Raoult, a professor of infectious diseases who works at La Timone hospital in Marseille, then declared in a video on YouTube that chloroquine was a cure for Covid-19 and should be used immediately.

Raoult walked out of the scientific advisory committee advising the government. A social media frenzy began, with allegations that the government was being influenced by the big pharmaceutical companies which wanted to block hydroxychloroquine because it was cheap, being out of patent. People queued outside Raoult’s hospital to be tested and get the drug, defying the lockdown. Finally, the French government gave way and decreed that hospitals could prescribe it for any Covid-19 patient. They can also give the anti-HIV medicine which is supposed to be in global trials for Covid-19, Kaletra, which is a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.

People like dr. Raoult are not different from the religious fanatics that the West is allegedly fighting in the ME.

Posted by: vk | Mar 27 2020 18:08 utc | 250

Daily Dose of LevityTM Jonathan Pie: LOCKDOWN episode 2

Posted by: TJ | Mar 27 2020 18:09 utc | 251

@ 227 john...i happen to agree with you for the most part.. degrowth - like an alternative viewpoint to economic growth is like poison to both capitalists and communists as it appears to me! i am not sure why william gruff has skipped over the important points you make but - and this is just a quick observation - it looks like the 2 of you might be talking past each other, rather then actually wanting to understand each other...

@ 238 peter au... i thought one of the problems expressed publicly in wuhan was the pollution.. how are the chinese handling environmental degradation thru the heavy emphasis on industry? what do you have to share to enlighten me on this? thanks...

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2020 18:17 utc | 252

Pardon me for posting before I read today. Just a couple of comments to start, as I've come to the final page and wanted to thank Mildred @ 217 first up for her calm assessment. As to b's opening comment and 'counting' who has the virus, I have to say I'm sceptical. It all depends on who is tested, and personally I cannot see the value of that - I'll just come right out and say it. Sure, it is valuable for those who are in a serious condition and need hospitalization or other aids we can presently give them. But for the rest of us, there ought to be a separation of statistics because most will have the virus and either not know it or have symptoms that can best be handled by staying home and coping.

Okay, that's my two comments. Two more and then I'll go back to reading. Personally, I'm just supposing, not having any discernibly drastic symptoms, that I'm infected. So I'm still observing the washing of hands, drinking hot liquids etc. that seem to help me feel comfortable. I don't get all frazzled by the increasing statistics, though I do say prayers for those seriously infected - we should do our best to help them and the hospital situation.

Fourth and last comment - a symptom and even cause of serious illness seems to be the immune system in overload. I know how that feels, having experienced allergic reactions in the past. What indicates such is extreme anxiety. Here on this forum some seem inclined to incite anxiety in others. Quit that, please! Caution is good; exaggeration bad. We are all in this leaky boat together. Please help by bailing.

Posted by: juliania | Mar 27 2020 18:17 utc | 253

Per capita. Apart from that China's pollution has reduced as it has become more wealthy. But per capita is the big thing. Pollution per person.

Look at pollution per person and China is very low. Thanks.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 18:25 utc | 254

Posted by: Allen | Mar 27 2020 15:10 utc | 208
you do know that italy counts every death as a covid death if the virus is present in the diseased?
in practice that means if you have terminal lung cancer or other terminal diseases that guarantees your death you still count as a covid death if the virus is found in ur body..
using italy as an example is not helping anyone but the fear mongers.
25000 out of 7 billion is not a big deal in reality, i will start to worry when we see thousands dead people in the streets not b4. Be sensible use common sense and try not to panic is the only wise advise right now, killing the economy WILL lead to a magnitude off more deaths then covid as off now.
There exist NO real numbers yet and trusting WHO and governments is a fools errand, i even see ppl that have said the exact same for years now suddenly ask me/us to trust the rentier class and its proxies.
I am a freeman and i will NOT trust proven liars b4 they put forth evidence that stand on its own.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Mar 27 2020 18:30 utc | 255

On 15 March 2020, the Chinese government released a handbook summarizing their views on how to handle to outbreak, based on their clinical experience. It includes protocals for creating specific new treatment facilities, triage of incoming patients, staff and equipment management, clinical investigation techniques, treatments, etc.

I wonder how well it would work in the crony crapitalist economies of the west.

Posted by: Ken Garoo | Mar 27 2020 18:31 utc | 256

Dr Anthony Fauci is quoted as saying:
"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."

Even severe seasonal flu, he seems to have forgotten, rarely requires intubation and respirators on the level that we are seeing now.

Also, it is ridiculous to be making mortality rate projections when the pandemic, by his own admission, has only just begun.

Posted by: RJPJR | Mar 27 2020 18:34 utc | 257

PS, I'm making a large bandanna (can be folded to suit) for my son who lives with me, and a lighter weight one for me. They are to remind us where our own ability to infect lies, and will be used when we are not alone and washed after use. Easy peasy. This is the Wild West, after all. Let's accept that and move on!

Posted by: juliania | Mar 27 2020 18:34 utc | 258

Deaths from the virus is due to pneumonia and the complications that arise from pneumonia. I am not sure that cancer causes pneumonia.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 18:37 utc | 259

james @254: "how are the chinese handling environmental degradation thru the heavy emphasis on industry?"

The Chinese are employing "cleaner" production processes and closing the loop on industrial wastes, recycling those wastes into other processes rather than dumping them into the environment. The Chinese are also investing heavily into renewable resources. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Chinese are heavily encouraging high density urbanization. Per capita resource utilization drops significantly with dense urbanization. In contrast, America's suburban human habitat is by far the most damaging to the environment per capita per unit of area.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 18:37 utc | 260

@ Lozion 248

That too and funny a great analogy. De-dollarizing between China, Russia and their trade partners are happening. Oh, see Qatar the Middle East's first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan....would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies.. "

[.] “It will facilitate greater cross-border renminbi investment and financing business, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial cooperation and enhancing the pre-eminence of Qatar as a financial hub in MENA (Middle East and North Africa).”
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s (ICBC) Doha branch is the clearing bank for the centre, which intends to serve companies from around the Middle East.

A clearing bank can handle all parts of a currency transaction from when a commitment is made until it is settled, reducing costs and time taken for trading.[.]

You think MbS will not want in and to secure his market share, quietly sell oil in Yuan?

I see not just the US de-dollarization but that it will implode and replaced. The Feds - US Central Banksters - are adopting John Law's ideas. ( In France, Law is described as "le magicien de la dette" ):- "John Law and the Mississippi Bubble"

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 27 2020 18:48 utc | 261

I take these raw statistics with a very high degree of caution to mean anything more than gross trends in deaths related to influenza. I discussed these Covid-19 tests with a local GP (Aust) during a normal consultation a couple of weeks ago in the early stages of this non-Chinese wave and was led to believe (at least here) that the tests were basically the standard influenza tests as no specific testing equipment was available here and it took about 6 months to produce/get them.

Secondly, I have seen recent sharp observations and analysis (not confirmed by me) related to data trends in normal annual influenza statistics -- and suggesting that these were not tracking to normal annual trend lines but rather falling in roughly the same proportion as the Covi-19 were rising.

These two points leave me highly skeptical of drawing any useful detailed meaning other than simple numbers of deaths and what factors were detected etc. As pointed out by others here, there are a number of alternatives on interpreting and attributing the cause of death when multiple co-morbidity exists -- and why the Italians prefer to use the "with" rather than "by" in complex cases. Later on down the track more sophisticated data analysis will be possible (using filtering and trend) -- but at this stage the only cases that could possibly be compared (like-for-like) across national data sets would be those illnesses and deaths confirmed to be otherwise healthy without complicating factors.

And so, unless there is a direct correlation between the rise of this new Covid-19 virus and the fall (if confirmed) in other normal seasonal flu/influenza data [ie. one can get only one or the other] then these variations need to be explained. I'm not a statistical expert, but I assume a similar approach can be done on other normal co-morbid diseases such as diabetes, cancer etc. These disease morbidity data trends (on non-flu periods) could be used to adjust and account for Covid-19 etc -- or at least the non-standardized methods of recording in national databases. That is, filter and adjust with historic long-term demographic and disease trends, in order to normalize the data for statistical impacts of Covid-19 on a background of normal flu and other disease etc. Covid-19 is obviously a nasty bit of works for some people (around 20% from memory) while for others it is just another annual flu. Not a perfect solution, but it would help to cut through some of this mess and get a better balanced perspective on what is really going on -- and whether all this social and economic disruption is reasonable in respect to the risks etc. Any experts care to comment on the general idea?

And just as a footnote. I find some of the health related comments (below) contestable, but other than that, and a bit of sliding into conspiracy mode, it was an easy listen and some good points made about the sense many people have that there is an 'opportunity' here being exploited to re-frame and misdirect non-medical aspects of an economic system failure long in the making and on the cards since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-9.


Posted by: imo | Mar 27 2020 18:52 utc | 262


The viruses are too small to be killed by microwaves.

Moreover, if you put a flat gel that changes color when heated in a microwave, you we observe a more-or-less circular 'diffraction pattern', even if the bottom plate rotates. There will be 'ridges' that get hot alternating with 'ridges' that do not get hot at all.

I would just dip them in water with about 1/4 dish detergent (that doesn't smell too awful) for maybe 5 minutes, then rinse the soap off with plain water, and hen hang out to dry.

Posted by: blues | Mar 27 2020 18:54 utc | 263

CO2 per capita. Australia 16.9 tons. Canada 15.6 US 16.2 China 7.0 tons.

China is not only the center of world manufacturing, it also has amongst the least emissions per capita of any industrialized country. Not only that, China is the world leader in desert reclamation. Both the loess hills that have been bare for centuries (denuded by peasant farming or grazing hundreds of years before industrialisation) and the encroaching Gobi desert.
Industrialization allows China to undertake the reclamation work. China puts it increased productivity to good use. I often wonder what we have done with the huge increase in productivity per man hour here in the west. Seems like we have justed pissed it up against the wall.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 19:00 utc | 264

imo 264

In the to and fro over whether this is any different than the flue, Keep in mind the hospitals and crematoriums. The actions of governments all side of the geopolitical divide.
Those three things, hospitals, crematoriums and all governments. I think the numbers will be in the ball park. Give it another month. With luck, the US will by then be looking like Italy though Trump has commandeered a lot of medical stuff from around the world.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 19:09 utc | 265

occupatio @106

"...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..."

I read yesterday that the bill passed does include unemployment benefits for the jobless and gig workers. How much I don't know, but it is worth looking into. You should research that - yesterday was posted in the discussion at

Posted by: juliania | Mar 27 2020 19:25 utc | 266

@263 Likklemore , exactly as John Law. Here is something to ponder, copied from 2008 from someone named Paul.

Paul writes as follows:

“In the world of the fiat USD (and all others fiats), you need to distinguish between the numerical destruction of fiat wealth (a mathematical event now happening), and the destruction of BELIEF in the value of the fiat USD itself (a moral/perceptual event that is still in the future). These are two completely different destructive events (mathematical and moral/perceptual), and one has not happened yet.

“At first, the mathematical destruction of vast amounts of fiat wealth clearly makes the remaining fiat units more valuable (law of scarcity), and price deflation results. Your argument for years of monetary deflation is only based in mathematics. Very scary mathematics, but still, only numbers. You need to go further.

“The fiat USD (a debt instrument) ONLY has value in the first place due to a belief that it has value. This belief was ORIGINALLY (as in 1933) founded in trust and discipline. People trusted that debts would be repaid, and that the FED would exercise discipline in the creation of the USD. These two conditions are NECESSARY if the USD is to continue to retain “value.”

“It has now been four generations since the USD went fiat, and massive brainwashing and stupefaction of the general population has been perpetrated. The belief that the USD has value is now simply an ingrained habit. As evidence, I present the President-elect’s pronouncement that we can basically IGNORE a decade of annual trillion dollar deficits, in order to “stimulate” the economy away from collapse. In the face of this insanity, zero MSM alarm bells are sounding. Even two generations ago (the Reagan / Volcker era), people would be running for the hills if this level of monetary debauchery and incompetence were taking place in the United States. So, for the time being, the brainwashed illusion of USD value remains imbedded and stable in the collective USA mind.

“However, regardless of what people have been trained to habitually believe, debt is still the actual “backing” of our fiat currency, and people are generally either unable and/or too fearful to assume more debt right now (the fatal flaw of the New Deal). Therefore, the “backing” of our fiat currency is failing, and worldwide organized trade and commerce (in the words of Jim Willie) is disintegrating. Eventually (months or a couple years), shortages of basic goods and services will surface somewhere in a “first world” nation not accustomed to scarcity. Relative valuations will change. For example, a luxury Mercedes vehicle will be deemed less valuable, and a gallon of gas in a moped, or a loaf of bread in your shopping bag, will be deemed more valuable. Lots of fiat money formerly committed to large, expensive non-essentials, will flow towards essential goods that are in shortage, due to speculation, hoarding, and/or the ongoing breakdown of commerce. Money velocity will increase. Even housing prices will be less important, due to the relative ease of squatting in a vacant residence if necessary. (To answer your question, who cares if the median house price is $100,000 or $10,000,000, if a gallon of gas is $50?) Prices will skyrocket for essentials, and suddenly, the trained and habitual “belief” in the “value” of the USD will evaporate. Deflation will flip over to hyperinflation in the blink of an eye.

“To wax spiritual, in the Book of Revelation the “mark” of the beast is the collective delusional belief in the value of a piece of paper. The Apostle John saw that people could not buy or sell without it, and souls were sold and traded for it. And in the end, the wealth of the Whore ends up being destroyed “in one hour.” This is how I see hyperinflation. It is a collapse in a belief system, and not just a mathematical event. We have already seen how leveraged speculative hedging and Frankenstein-like financial instruments (both only possible in a fiat money world), can result in very fast fiat wealth destruction. Do not, therefore, discount the profound impact of people simply losing faith in an ingrained habit.”

Posted by: George | Mar 27 2020 19:26 utc | 267

"In France, the government caved to pressure from a doctor who ran his own very small and rapid trial of the drug combined with an antibiotic in 26 people, using methodology that has been seriously criticised.

People like dr. Raoult are not different from the religious fanatics that the West is allegedly fighting in the ME. "

Posted by: vk | Mar 27 2020 18:08 utc | 252

[my emphasis inserted in yr quote from "the Guardian"]

VK, I enjoy reading your comments. However, unless I missed it;

The Guardian failed to mention this important bit: Raoult's Institute collaborated with China which undertook a much larger confirmatory clinical trial.

[.] French Professor Didier Raoult, who is one of the world’s top 5 scientists on communicable diseases, argued that the approach of mass quarantine is both inefficient and outdated and that large-scale testing and treatment of suspected cases achieves far better results.

Early on, Dr. Raoult suggested the use of hydroxychloroquine (Chloroquine or Plaquenil), a well-known, simple, and inexpensive drug, also used to fight Malaria, and that has shown efficacy with previous coronaviruses such as SARS.

By mid-February 2020, clinical trials at his institute and in China already confirmed that the drug could reduce the viral load and bring spectacular improvement. The Chinese scientists published their first trials on more than 100 patients and announced that the Chinese National Health Commission would recommend Chloroquine in their new guidelines to treat Covid-19


and these:

Pepe Escobar on the feud

Experts Questioning COVID-19 panic

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 27 2020 19:27 utc | 268

Thanks to Phil @ 111

You are singing my song! Maybe a bit too optimistically but we need optimism!

Posted by: juliania | Mar 27 2020 19:30 utc | 269

re my Walter | Mar 27 2020 13:11 utc | 193

Perhaps too subtle. It comes to the observed process here. You all, mostly, are gaslighting one-another.

This church, as all churches, serves to mitigate entfremdung and create the warm comforting "species essence" all human critters need.

Whilst the flatulence is piped to the gas-lamps and the lay preachers give comfort the people who were about to be blamed are doing as they please.

David Irving's mother saw though this game when he was a child...

Do not imagine that you are not being conned. You are.

Right outta Ft D...last Summer or Fall...and agent Sam carried it to Chine. Hard money, Brother.

Ah! There's the whistle! Bye...

Posted by: Walter | Mar 27 2020 19:30 utc | 270

Bemildred @ 217:

Hate to tell you that most Latin nouns ending in "-us" which form their plurals in "-i", as in "alumni" being the plural of "alumnus" usually take masculine gender in Latin.

The word "virus" in Latin has neuter gender so the plural form can't be "viri".

Posted by: Jen | Mar 27 2020 19:45 utc | 271

The Chinese article you mention has only tested for a little bit more than 100 patients.

Hydroxycloroquine is not a cure. The Chinese are using 22 different drugs to try to contain the COVID-19, a typical practice for desperate times. But desperate times imply there's no "miracle drug", so the French doctor acted like a false prophet on Youtube.

Your last link quotes doctors who are, deep down, discussing the sex of the angels. First things first: it's not the mortality rate of the COVID-19 that's the problem, but its infectiousness (R0); nobody ever said the COVID-19 would be another Ebola. Second: one of the doctors interviewed stated there is a lot of corruption in the Academia, so the doctors who are "hysterical" actually have a hidden agenda (to get more funds from the government and more prestige); well, the reverse is also true: I could argue that the doctors who are preaching for the laissez-faire approach are a bunch of pro-petit bourgeoisie stooges. Third: they all use Wuhan as the holotype. The problem is Wuhan enforced the toughest lockdown of them all, so it could well be the case that the Western nations are not being tough enough.

Posted by: vk | Mar 27 2020 19:48 utc | 272

Walter @ 272
Yeeah I here’d that Wally, loud and clear !
Here in the U.K. Boris Johnson went down with corona virus !
Rich people catch corona virus ! Shock horror, Pass it on !

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 27 2020 19:48 utc | 273

Why are you sad b??
You clearly hate America.

Posted by: JoeG | Mar 27 2020 19:48 utc | 274

Italy blasts past China with 86,498 confirmed cases of the covid, but the Italians are eating America's dust, far behind the "essential nation's" 97,028 confirmed cases (totals as of 2:45).

USA #1!

Here I calculated that the US would hit 100,000 on Saturday, but it looks like that milestone is going to get left behind today.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 19:52 utc | 275

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

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.

interesting. What about fever? Did you or your wife ever had fever? You don't need to reply of course, and you may not read the question anyway. There are some more questions I would like to ask.

Posted by: Phil | Mar 27 2020 20:03 utc | 276

vk @274: Hydroxycloroquine is not a cure.

My understanding is that it is most effective when given early. AFAIK, it's unlikely to cure someone who is at an advanced stage.

<> <> <> <>

Furthermore, I'm not sure that hydroxychloroquine can be tested adequately in the West. Everyone in the West is encouraged to stay at home if they are feeling sick. People are tested only when Covid-19 has advanced to a point where people can't breathe.

I just got a postcard from WH-CDC with "President Trump's Coronavirus Guidelines for America". It consistently states: STAY AT HOME and NEVER says when you should get tested.

In the West, powerful and expensive antivirals are bound to be found to be better than Chloroquine. The fix is in (as always). Look carefully at the methodology of any Western study - especially the status of those admitted to the test.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 20:18 utc | 277

Joe G
The question is who likes America with its bombing, sanctioning, threatening and otherwise hostility to everyone who does not bow down to its exceptionalism and take the trampoling that usually comes with the bowing down.

Posted by: arby | Mar 27 2020 20:19 utc | 278


It’s been a pleasure knowing you. Keep safe and come round to vist . Your wisdom is what this virus will distroy in the world !

Thank you 🙏

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 27 2020 20:20 utc | 279

This link to the who presser was posted in the open thread.

Worth watching especially the question and answer section. Cuts through the political bullshit and the old wives tales and internet rumors that run through comment threads like these.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 27 2020 20:23 utc | 280

It seems all the hell is breaking loose in China

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 27 2020 20:29 utc | 281

Jonathan W @ 283:

It seems that Hubei and Jiangxi police on their provinces' common border were having an argument and each group of police is being supported by a crowd of people on its side of the border (on the bridge linking the provinces).

Jiangxi police apparently allowed a group pf migrant workers through the border but not Hubei citizens and their action was the cause of the dispute.

This is hardly an example of all Hell breaking loose in China. Do some proper research please.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 27 2020 20:39 utc | 282

Jonathan W @283

Yes, pretty weird. Police from a neighboring province tried to set up a checkpoint in Hubei. Hubei residents AND Hubei police are confronting police from Jiangxi.

Probably not the anti-government protests that the some outfit with "Down with the CCP!" in their profile is hoping for.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 20:41 utc | 283

stevelaudig @226--

Your connection's sound, but you must go further back in time to the Greco-Roman era @800BC to get to the genuine root since our systems are almost 100% clones of theirs. But that wouldn't quite complete the picture since the war between Creditors and Debtors goes back even further as Hudson's shown thanks to his and his team's outstanding research. As I've written over and again, the Class War in the West is 4K+ years old. As Hudson's shown, it was winding down when it got a swift kick in the groin from the Paris Commune. The aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions saw the slow but well conceived counter attack by the forces of reaction--The Money Power--that culminated in 1913 with the ending of public-based financing within the Outlaw US Empire and followed swiftly by WW1 wherein tragically the most progressive banking system--Germany's--was destroyed by the Kaiser's Race War against the Slavs.

Now we are faced with the tyranny of the Money Power and its Neoliberal austerity. Vijay Prashad wrote an excellent essay whose title came from a very common sensical slogan: "COVID-19: We Won’t Go Back to Normal, Because Normal Was the Problem." Combine that with the Sagan quote provided by bevin @216, and you have two very powerful slogans to empower the building international movement Flores is writing about. Paradigm Shifts happen in strange ways as the catalysts are never the same. China's crying Wolf! and response to COVID-19 may prove to be the entrance onto a new path.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 27 2020 20:43 utc | 284

@ Jen.

I see. LOL.

Posted by: Jonathan W | Mar 27 2020 20:45 utc | 285

Jonathan W @283

Just so that you know, there are tons of protests in China. Far more than in the US. The protests in China tend to be quite constructive and result in changes to policy. People protest, the Communist Party listens to their beef, and then the Party adjusts policy based upon the complaints. It is the exact opposite of how protests are handled in the West, where the attitude is to never "give in" to protesters demands. Of course, the fact that the protests produce tangible results encourages more protests, which is why China has so many of them compared with western countries.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 20:48 utc | 286

William Gruff @ 234

There are in fact countless ways in which people can apply their labor in which society benefits

yeah, that's the point, but I guess you have other axes to grind.

Posted by: john | Mar 27 2020 20:51 utc | 287

The WHO's message appears to be this:

Don't trust any findings from China. The West will it's own tests, thank you.

Time line:

Jan 3: WHO notified of pandemic by China.

March 27: Norway starts "solidarity trials" to find drugs that work.

WHO's current recommendation/order: don't use any drugs (like Chloroquine) that neoliberal Western governments haven't approved for use on coronavirus.

WHO covers all this with happy talk about how we are all in this together. Oh the humanity!

<> <> <> <> <>

First question to WHO: What is the serology data from China? LOL!

Youtube video comment from 'Tenzin Jigme':

Hello Director General Dr.tedros..

You must resign from ur designation,You have done nothing to world, are u afraid of China... You should investigate what China have done, now you see what is result...,,, Shame on you..


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2020 20:53 utc | 288

john @289: "yeah, that's the point, but I guess you have other axes to grind."

Quite perceptive of you! I was pointing out that the market economics that capitalism depends upon chokes creative productivity in society these days. Capitalism has become a fetter on society, paralyzing it from even being able to marshal a defense of itself from a virus.

The problem humanity is facing isn't economic growth. The problem is unplanned, undirected, market-driven cancer-like capitalist growth.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 21:03 utc | 289

@ 256 peter.. thanks.. i don't doubt that, or that the west as exampled by the usa-canada and europe to a lesser extent, are totally messing over the planet environmentally.. tar sands is a good example.. ironically suncor a supposed canuck company is primarily chinese owned as i understand it.. i am not getting thru via a seach, but going on memory of past reading...

regardless, i don't see how the west can continue to buy walmart and not assume responsibility for what the chinese industry is doing!!! however, i think china has much less stringent environmental code in practice.. i would like to be wrong, but i don't know that i am... thanks for the feedback..

@ 262 william gruff.. thanks william.. i am sure they are working towards positive steps like all that you articulate... my biggest issue and one i don't have an answer for is population growth.. i don't see how we can get around more people = more consumption = more environmental destruction... high density living - yes.. this is what a guy in a book called the geography of nowhere wrote about some years ago and which i read many years ago too..

i am not convinced that people all want to herd into apts and live a life like this, but i am biased because i can't live like the same time i understand the logic of it... my number 1 issue is population control as a response to environmental degradation... less people means less consumption, means less destruction of the planet... i speak as a person who lives close to nature and see the desire to convert forests into money as a byproduct of all this... i can blame capitalism, but ultimately there are too many people on the planet as i see it and living in close quarters is unhealthy as i see it too... i guess i am kind of old and jaded about this... babies is not my thing.. i have never had children and while i appreciate family and the connections that sometimes come with it, overall i just think there are too many people on the planet... it also seems to me the chinese are no different then westerners in wanting to get ahead.. i can't take that away from them.. they want what we already have - all the consumer stuff - fancy cars, refrigerators and etc. etc. no one can fault anyone for that, but it takes a toll on the planet the larger the numbers..

i guess it is a personal rant of mine.. i can't see what is happening on the planet as sustainable.. something has to give and if i was asked it would be the economy has to give before the environment, but that is not how we are living here in 2020.. we are moving in the opposite direction..

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2020 21:15 utc | 290

b, the real reason Rusia managed to contain the virus is that apart from their expertise in virology, and the military economy and health system, they closed the border to China and then the rest of the world very early on. This is an aspect which you are unable to acknowledge due to your stubborn leftist ideology. Open borders are a recipy for disaster in many ways, the Corona-crisis is just the latest manifestation thereof.

Posted by: tyt | Mar 27 2020 21:18 utc | 291

Re: Adub's | Mar 27 2020 13:19 utc | 195 post:

"Masks are next to useless . . ."

Perhaps he's hoping that, once everyone else is dead, he can go wandering around grabbing all their stuff.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 27 2020 21:19 utc | 292

@ Krollchem | Mar 26 2020 20:39 utc | 39

Also consider that as of today Italy has almost nearly passed 10K dead for a population of about 60 million. The deaths due to this have been raging for 24 days now in Italy. To scale this up with the USA, with a population of 330 million, this would correspond to a total number of deaths topping about 50K.

The worst US flu season in recent memory occurred in 2017/8, when approximately 56,000 perished over an 11 week epidemic flu season. Scaling the figures accordingly, that means the Italians have reached the same milestone in just over 3 weeks -- and don't forget that it does not seem like it is going to abate anytime soon there (or anywhere). This should be breaking everyone's heart and make you angry at the sheer ignorant stupidity of pretending this isn't a problem.

I clearly don't need to hand hold anyone here in how to interpret these observations. For anyone that claims that this is just an "ordinary" flu is either foolish, hates you, or is actively trying to gaslight you. Sure you can argue that the health care in Italy is of less quality than in America -- but even that would be utter bs because, then, why is it that Italians live so long by comparison North Americans?

And then we have that rat bastard Rush Limbaugh telling people not to trust scientists in the government's employ because they are somehow agents of the deep state, but rather, they should trust The Donald instead because of his unrivaled intellectual virtuosity and moral terpitude. WTF is going on here?

Posted by: Norgene | Mar 27 2020 21:41 utc | 293

@227: john

"this crisis, yes, which of course means that the degradation of their environment will be turbocharged as well..

how 'bout we turbocharge the 'degrowth' narrative for a change? i mean, isn't it time it hit the layman's purview? vocabulary"

woah!, just so we don't forget that other manufactured crisis, global warming, or cooling or whatever it was before it got kicked of the newswire by the Corona.

Posted by: tyt | Mar 27 2020 22:06 utc | 294

uncle tungsten | 91

"spray it with a water mister first."

Ha, that might work actually. I think you've found a very nice "life hack" there!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Mar 27 2020 22:20 utc | 295

VitaminC Intravenous. No Fatalities by MD Team Applying.

Yet, Western MIC fixxed on new Vaxx Products for Sale...

Posted by: IronForge | Mar 27 2020 22:54 utc | 296

Talking of hacks! Here’s one that one minute ago came to me from no where.
The shortage of full body protection for front line staff, dealing with coronavirus - - -
Bee keepers suits !!!
They could be adapted by covering the face mesh with strong clear plastic (5 min job) patent pending by Mark2 as of now ! Permission for enyone to use !
So now why in the U.K. do nurse and doctors have to wear the one set of clothing all day ? Some going from ward to ward infecting unafected patience !
Then going home to infect their family. Their children then going to school infecting other key workers children !
I’l tell you, govenment regulations brought in at the critical moment, reducing safety wear standards !
That is corporate mansloughter.
Or is this a f ing conspiracy therory ? Give me a break.
I know genacide when I see it

Posted by: Mark2 | Mar 27 2020 23:02 utc | 297

A dude by the name of Prof. Francis Boyle thinks he found the smoking gun that 2019-nCoV was engineered as a bioweapon at a US lab and subsequently sold to the Chinese. He has this on a youtube video:

Well I looked for the journal article he talks about in his video and found this:

The spike glycoprotein of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade: Antiviral Res. 2020 Apr;176:104742. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104742. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Having a mere layperson's understanding of biology most of the paper was unintelligible to me, however I did find this sentence was half understandable:

"This furin-like cleavage site, is supposed to be cleaved during virus egress (Mille and Whittaker, 2014) for S-protein “priming” and may provide a gain-of-function to the 2019-nCoV for efficient spreading in the human population compared to other lineage b betacoronaviruses." (my emphasis)

The "gain-of-function" phrase was the smoking gun that Prof Boyle alluded to. After more digging if this phrase has a specific meaning in virolgy I found this:

"Gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that aims or is expected to (and/or, perhaps, actually does) increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. Such research, when conducted by responsible scientists, usually aims to improve understanding of disease causing agents, their interaction with human hosts, and/or their potential to cause pandemics."

So is Prof. Boyle on to something?

Posted by: krypton | Mar 27 2020 23:08 utc | 298

As of seven p.m., New York time, on 27 March 2020, Friday, the number of confirmed cases in the United States, as reported on the Johns Hopkins University tracking site ( ) was 101,657. At eight in the morning of the same day, the number reported was 85,996.

And somebody here said that it could hit a hundred thousand as soon as some time next week?

Thus works the exponential function: the rate of doubling constantly accelerates. By "some time next week" it will be at a quarter of a million.

Posted by: RJPJR | Mar 27 2020 23:14 utc | 299

james @292: "i am not convinced that people all want to herd into apts" then: "i can't live like that" followed by: "i just think there are too many people on the planet"

Please understand, there are too many people like you on the planet. Too many people who demand too much resources for themselves.

You could easily live with being "herded into an apt" and still go out to enjoy the open spaces on your time off but no, you need that open space for your own personal exclusive use alone. What's worse about that is that you feel others should just die, or at least be "herded into apts/cells" so you don't have to share those open spaces.

This criticism is nothing personal. You are merely echoing capitalist ideology. You were programmed for it from birth, so it isn't your fault. But you should try to understand that it is the ideology that underlies private control of finance. Your perceived "need" for exclusive personal real estate is powered by the same logic that mandates personal and private control over finance. You cannot separate the two concepts, and thus you are fundamentally at odds with the principal concern of regulars at the bar like psychohistorian. It is also the same concept that underlies owners of corporations extracting profits from the workforce that uses the tools that the corporation owns, or the owners of "intellectual property" like drugs and vaccines extracting profits from that ownership. It is all the same concept. It is an adversarial societal relationship rather than a cooperative one. It is "Get off MY lawn!" as the fundamental structure of societal relationships.

I have a couple decent sized properties, but I would happily trade them all for ultra dense apartment life if that meant most of the countryside was publicly owned national /
state / provincial / municipal park lands. Of course, I am a communist, so that goes with the territory.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 27 2020 23:28 utc | 300

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