Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 22, 2020

It Is Not 'Authoritarian' To Support Quarantine Measures - It Just Makes Sense

Yesterday James Corbett of The Corbett Report interviewed Kit Knightly of Off-Guardian about the corona crisis. At 18:30 minutes in Corbett finds it "disturbing" that some of the blogs who usually criticize governments, like Moon of Alabama, support the measures governments have taken to lower the speed of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Corbett then highlights a discussion on Twitter between me and the Off-Guardian account.

It started with this:

vanessa beeley @VanessaBeeley - 5:33 UTC · Apr 9, 2020

#BillGates funded World Health Organisation advocate forced removal of family members fm homes if "tested" positive for #COVID19 even tho test is not proven reliable. So, govts hve corralled us in homes & will now unlawfully raid & extract citizens under poss. false pretext.

I retweeted that and remarked:

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 22:30 UTC · Apr 9, 2020
China did this in phase 2 of the Wuhan quarantine because it was the only way to protect the families from their infected members. Without that policy Wuhan would not have ended the epidemic.
Current test reliability is relativ high if test is immediate used when symptoms appear.

OffGuardian retweeted my tweet and launched the discussion:

OffGuardian @OffGuardian0 - 10:54 UTC · Apr 9, 2020
Surely your not actually advocating the forced removal of “infected” people from their homes against their will? #COVID19 #coronavirus

MoonofA: To separate infected from non-infected people is the ONLY way to stop such an epidemic.

OffGuardian: So let’s be totally clear. You believe the govts - the same ones who have lied us into wars, murdered innocents and destroyed the environment - should have the power to invade our homes and take away apparently healthy people whom they “SUSPECT” of being infected?

MoonofA: Our governments already have the right to do so under certain circumstances. An epidemic which threatens the health of all is one of them.

OffGuardian: That is not an answer. Do YOU believe these corrupt govts, which you have been opposing for so many years, should be able to enter people’s homes and take away people they claim to “suspect” of being infected?

MoonofA: I support quarantine measures during epidemics. We have had these for many centuries for good reasons. We should again use them.

OffGuardian: You support arrest and detention for people the govt claims to suspect MAY have a virus that - according to official estimates - is harmless or mild for 80-99% of those infected.
You do. MoA. Former champion of human rights and justice.
Have you lost your mind?

MoonofA: You are framing a measure that protects your and other families as "arrest" and "detention". It is neither of those.

OffGuardian: Oh ok. So, should the people ‘suspected’ of being infected be allowed to leave when they choose?

If your answer is ‘no’, then this IS arrest and detention and you are hiding behind blurry language.

As it made no sense to continue I stopped responding. Later Mark Sleboda jumped in to support my view:

Mark Sleboda @MarkSleboda1 - 5:02 UTC · Apr 9, 2020

Replying to @OffGuardian0 and @MoonofA
Leviathan - save me and mine from such fools.

Another discussion between OffGuardian and him unfolded from that. OffGuardian seemed to become a bit desperate when it then tweeted this nonsense:

OffGuardian @OffGuardian0 - 19:14 UTC · Apr 9, 2020
Replying to @MarkSleboda1 @ghigoberni and @MoonofA
So you would support indefinite detention for anyone who may be carrying flu virus then. It’s a lot more dangerous to healthy people and children than #covid19, as any epidemiologist will tell you.

I have not heard of any epidemiologist who has claimed that. But maybe I am reading the wrong ones. This graphic though from the British Office of National Statistics does not look like a flu outbreak:

Source: ONS - bigger

The same ONS data was used by the Financial Times to produce this probably better visual:

Source: bigger

The few high blue dots around December/January time frame show exceptionally bad flu seasons like the London flu of 1972. Similar charts from other countries show the same effect for current covid-19 outbreaks. Without control measures like the current lock-downs the red line would certainly go through the roof.

The covid-19 disease the novel coronavirus causes is not a "flu". We largely do have 'herd immunity' against the flu. But this is a new virus causing a new disease. Nearly nobody is yet immune against it. It works in ways we are still just beginning to understand and there is no established therapy.

If we let this epidemic run wild without any control measures the death toll will be exceptionally high. The death per infection rate in Germany is currently estimated to be 0.53% (via Christian Drosten). It may be higher in other countries. That looks like a small number but remember that nearly no one has yet acquired immunity. It would probably take a year for the epidemic to run through a whole country.

Great Britain, with a population of some 60 million, would be theoretically looking at 300.000 excess death within one year. But the health care system would completely break down and thereby vastly increase the total death toll as there would be no care for most of the critical covid-19 patients and no beds for the usual other cases. That may already happen as Britain is now estimated to already have 41,000 excess death from the current epidemic.

Current estimates say that 2 to 3% of the population have so far developed anti-bodies against the virus. They likely give some immunity but we do not know how long that will hold. Should this epidemic have weather dependent waves the first one will likely end during the summer. Model calculations show that only some 6-7% of the population would by then have acquired immunity.

A second wave will then come during the winter. It will be worse as it will start everywhere at the same time and will come on top of the yearly flu season. We will then likely again need some harsh control measure like temporary lock-downs and case quarantains.

Now back to the Off-Guardian and Corbett critique. My view on the epidemic was always based on science. You can follow how it developed through the list of posts attached to this one. As I watched how China defeated its outbreak I had hoped that other governments would take similar measures. With globally concerted action we could have completely erased this disease!

But one slips into a pandemic with the governments one has, not with the ones one wishes for.

Will our 'elites' use the crisis to further enrich themselves. Sure. Will they abuse some of the control measures? That is practically guaranteed. And it does not change a damned thing with regards to the pandemic.

It is now too late to defeat it by eradicating its source. Social distancing measures like lock-downs are needed to keep the epidemic under control and to not overload our health care systems. Should the next outbreak wave be worse than the current one we will need even harsher measures than we currently have. I will support those because I know that they will save lives.

If that makes me an 'authoritarian' in the view of some then let it be so.

I for one find it more useful to tell people to make and wear masks than to post 'expert opinions' (scroll down) from PR-company sites which disagree with the scientific mainstream while their estimates of the total death toll have already been exceeded.

Previous Moon of Alabama posts on the issue:

Posted by b on April 22, 2020 at 18:02 UTC | Permalink

next page »

WHO Live NOW 22April 2020

Posted by: JC | Apr 22 2020 18:06 utc | 1

It’s a long distance from “no need to panic “ to “government can do whatever it wants “

Posted by: DG | Apr 22 2020 18:15 utc | 2

It is ironic that they are so worried over what amounts to a small amount of excess thuggery by the police, when so many propaganda opportunities exist as the police thuggery in question (mainly against critical workers) cannot be covered up by the usual cant of "you do not have the full story" or "the victim has a criminal history" and so forth. That the police forces are in many cases full of thugs on drugs is clear through police conduct, and no excuses are available.

Had these guys any sense, they would play along with the social distancing, and use this golden opportunity to show and record the thuggish character of the police forces.

Posted by: Johan Meyer (2) | Apr 22 2020 18:16 utc | 3

Exactly the same authoritarian panic-mongering deployed for the "war on terror", the "war on drugs", and so many other fake apocalypses, and for exactly the same reasons. Meanwhile this is nothing but a slightly more contagious version of the same kind of flu we've endured so long without totalitarian rampages and mass insanity.

This is nothing more or less than a campaign of mass psychological terrorism designed to cover for the collapsing economy, set up the pretext for Wall Street's plunder expedition, radically escalate the police state, deeply traumatize people into submission to total social conformity, and radically aggravate the anti-social, anti-human atomization of the people.

This is an abomination, a hideous crime against humanity. All its Streicher propagandists are culpable.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 18:19 utc | 4

I am sorry but I find this to be insane. There is no 'science' behind locking people up like that, there is no empirical support for such a claim. Btw. where I am things are opening up, people are out and about, and I have yet to see a mask. Calling this stuff a pandemic is really not reflecting anything like the pandemic of 1918 with 50 to 100 million dead, and young people too.

I don't want to project motivation for what we are seeing, but I can see patterns in what is going on now and in 'climate change'. Both rely heavily on flawed computer models instead of reality (look up Feynman on that) and both implement draconian measures on us common folks.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 22 2020 18:19 utc | 5

Tactics to enforce a quarantine can be authoritarian even if those measures are for the best. Scientists seem divided on what the best approach is. I will say the lockdown method is completely lacking specificity and its advocates seems unwilling to take an open, thorough and honest look at incoming data.

Posted by: Alaric | Apr 22 2020 18:19 utc | 6

Survey of studies concluding Covid-19 infection rate is "several dozen times higher" than those of public reports:

Posted by: Chris | Apr 22 2020 18:25 utc | 7

good post b.. thank you... not sure if ivan is still reading, but you've given him a clear response...

regarding the back and forth with you and off-g and james corbetts framing of it - it seems like they want to catch you supporting an authoritarian regime in spite of the fact that china found those who had this who were sent home are infecting everyone else they live with! it happened in utah with a latino man whose story was taken up in the washington post - shared a few days ago here... the guy goes home to self isolate and gives it to his wife, son and daughter... his daughter who had some pre existing medical conditions dies from it.. he feels horrible... if he lived in china when they made this decision - and they didn't make it right away - his daughter would still be alive... people in the west and the usa especially, are so used to complaining about their civil liberties, they have gotten so used to not believing a word their gov't or officials say... for this they get trump - mr twitter, fake news, get the economy back and running persona... i will be curious to see how it pans out.. meanwhile some stupid cat fight on twitter between otherwise good news outlets we continue... twitter can just fuck off as i see it... and as for off-g wanting to score brownie points at your expense, it gives me less faith in their objectivity, but more faith in their wanting to score brownie points with a group of people that are easily duped..

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 18:26 utc | 8

@DG 2

that's tosh. this is not a gambling table and there's no prize in holding onto a initial belief as more information are available.

real life data and science is developing and so must our beliefs and policies. It's not a religion.

it's called humility.

you're the fool here.

Posted by: A.L. | Apr 22 2020 18:32 utc | 9

Virtually all who argue against "lock-downs" are ignoring the government bailouts and government-assisted looting by Big Pharma.

Strange how complaints from this group align so well with exactly what the governments want: ignore the financial looting and focus on getting the wage slaves back to work, even if that means killing a bunch of people (that heartless capitalists find to be useless).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 22 2020 18:34 utc | 10

"people in the west and the usa especially, are so used to complaining about their civil liberties, they have gotten so used to not believing a word their gov't or officials say"

I agree, and I don't necessarily blame them for the distrust.

Watched john oliver's show last night. He has some clips of the people protesting over the weekend being interviewed and also of some of the intentional misinformation being spewed by fox and limbaugh.

The us is not getting rid of this virus anytime soon, and in fact we are going to make it way worse on ourselves then it has to be.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 18:36 utc | 11

I guess some prefer the virus to spread rather than risk having the guberment steal their precious body fluids.

Here's some Orwellian news.

The U.S. government will assess whether the World Health Organization is being run the way that it should be, after President Donald Trump paused U.S. funding to the global body, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Acting Administrator John Barsa said on Wednesday

Washington will also use this pause to look for alternative partners outside the WHO to continue to carry out “important work” such as vaccines, to ensure it does not have a disruption in its aid efforts, said Barsa, who heads USAID, the key U.S. government agency that administers foreign aid.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 22 2020 18:37 utc | 12

james | Apr 22 2020 18:26 utc | 8

"... people in the west and the usa especially, are so used to complaining about their civil liberties, they have gotten so used to not believing a word their gov't or officials say ..."

I don't blame them for the distrust, it is well earned, but unfortuneately that distrust is going to make our situation much worse than it needs to be.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 18:39 utc | 13

re my story @ 9 on the latino in the washington post story - found this instead.. Being">">Being sick and alone is miserable. Being sick at home with your family might be dangerous.

"Sandy Brown’s husband knew he was infected. The 59-year-old church elder had the trademark dry cough and fever of covid-19, but when she drove him gasping for air to the emergency room, the doctor’s advice was to go home and stay home.

So he did.

Soon, their 20-year-old son was sick, and within 12 days, both had died."

not sure what russ and norwegians prescription would be... i get the caps message though from russ...

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 18:39 utc | 14


Your link doesn't work, try this one.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 18:42 utc | 15

messed up the link.. dang.. can't post washington post crap... see the headline - "Being sick and alone is miserable. Being sick at home with your family might be dangerous" from wapo april 14th if interested...

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 18:43 utc | 16

Seems to me that the points of view expressed here are irreconcilable to some degree, which is, on balance, healthy. Having said that, I don't feel it's helpful for the commentariat to diss one side or another for the reasons presently being offered, reasons which are mostly, and sadly, ad hominem attacks.

Please be nicer in the sandbox; I can deal with opposing views. There's no need to devolve into verbal barbarism in this generally excellent and thoughtful forum.

Posted by: Elephant | Apr 22 2020 18:43 utc | 17

This is pure Maoism. There is no evidence lockdowns even do anything. In fact there is a very good case to be made that they do far more harm than good. Please stop with this madness before it's too late.

Posted by: MuffinPuffin | Apr 22 2020 18:44 utc | 18

Thanks b you’v Been right a hell of a lot in the past !
But this time you’re bang on !
Let the fools line up. We see you.
Let the closet gencidel maniacs rant. We see you.
By Chance I was following that thread but am not on Twitter so let it go and mentioned it on here.
Just search——— Typhoid Mary
Russ and tell me if you’d like her as a cook in your house ?

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 22 2020 18:45 utc | 19

@ 14 thanks you know who! - that just goes to the wapo home page... search the article i listed if you want to get the scoop.. guy gets told to go home and gives covid to his son - not wife - and they both die... maybe there is a better way then sending people home if they have this.. seems like china handled this better to me..

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 18:45 utc | 20

NYTmes and Vox both have articles about tha anti-quarantine/pro-virus crowd. Mostly the protests are being instigated by the usual anti-government oligarchs who are terrorized that people might actually conclude that government has an important role to play in addressing problems.

“ Among those fighting the orders are FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, which played pivotal roles in the beginning of Tea Party protests starting more than a decade ago. Also involved are a law firm led partly by former Trump White House officials, a network of state-based conservative policy groups, and an ad hoc coalition of conservative leaders known as Save Our Country that has advised the White House on strategies for a tiered reopening of the economy.” [found at Gale, not on NYT website!]

In an interview with Theda Skocpol: “ For the elite conservative groups sponsoring this stuff behind the scenes, I think it’s driven by a firm belief that if Americans become used to trusting government and relying on social benefits from government, then that’s dangerous to the victory they think they have almost won in destroying the New Deal and the Great Society reforms in this country.“

And, of course, the oligarch-owned media just gobble it up, practically begging for an apocalypse.

IMO we should just label them the pro-COVID crowd in any discussion of the matter.

Posted by: JohnH | Apr 22 2020 18:47 utc | 21

It's a complex world, requiring one to at times accept seeming contradictory positions simultaneously.

Yes - lockdown measures are authoritarian, but simultaneously they represent best practice for a pandemic.

Deal with it. The "off-guardian position" rejects "best practice" by denying the serious reality of the virus.

Posted by: jayc | Apr 22 2020 18:49 utc | 22

james | Apr 22 2020 18:45 utc | 19

"@ 14 thanks you know who!" ;)

You're welcome. I had the article open, not sure why the link didn't work. My bad.

I was at the saker earlier and there was another poster with my same first name, this seemed the easiest way to avoid confusion.

I kind of like the moniker, and I am going with the non-insulting definition.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 18:49 utc | 23

Could be that you're both right b. I have been following your work and your logic all along and agree with your thoughts. The core question appears to be "What do we do when we know that our government leaders are on the extreme end of the sociopathic spectrum?" Our rulers are bad.But they have control of our public sector. Like a bad bus driver: while we're passengers on his bus we need him. We do have power. We can study, share information, push for what we believe is right.
Currently, the Off-Guardian is sounding a lot like the extreme right wing except that American right wingers still worship their heroes/leaders and the Off-Guardian don't which is a big difference.
Me? I'm staying mostly at home in the country, wearing a mask when I (rarely) shop for basics, planning on doing this for a long time.

Posted by: migueljose | Apr 22 2020 18:50 utc | 24

JohnH | Apr 22 2020 18:47 utc | 20

Check out john oliver's show on youtube as well, he points out some other of the usual culprits behind the protests, and he is really funny about it.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 18:53 utc | 25


U.S. coronavirus deaths top 45,000, doubling in little over a week - Reuters tally

So that's 90,000 next week, 180,000 in two weeks, etc. Deaths still going exponential.

And those freedoms "you people" are worrying about have been gone for decades, the government here can and has done whatever the hell it wanted.

It's like watching a duel between two bands of howler monkeys.

This is why Amurka is going down the tubes, we cannot get our shit together even to save our own asses. Surely that includes our government too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 22 2020 18:54 utc | 26

@ 22 pilpul artiste.. you came by the moniker honestly! i like it..

@ 23 migueljose.. thanks for a detached and thoughtful post... i like your analogy and what you say... cheers..

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 18:54 utc | 27

I think 'B' is barking mad on this one. Australia and New Zealand are locked down but have almost negligible deaths. Maybe Italy and New York and London have a different strain of virus, but from here, the calamitous effects upon the lives of the people is 10,000 times worse than the disease.

We could just keep the border lock downs, no physical contact with strangers, etc, and I am sure all will be ok.

'B' also claims that only a small percentage of people have had contact with the virus, when it may already be 40%.

Russia detected 5,236 new coronavirus carriers yesterday. That is substantially less than yesterday. But this is not the story. It really should not matter that much how many new cases the Russians are able to dig up, because the big story is that according to Russia’s own statistics upwards of 60% of those infected don’t get sick and are asymptomatic:

Why do they not present daily deaths and infections from normal influenza/flu/pneumonia, as well as Covid 19, or are they all lumped into one box now called Covid19.

I will run with the Guardian reaction, this smells like a giant '9-11' psych-ops, a seize for power, and a chance for the usual banking suspects to buy the world for cents in the dollar.

Posted by: Ric G | Apr 22 2020 18:56 utc | 28

It is normal for, in times of pandemics, ideologies to predominate over the bulk of the population. The capitalist world has lived and thrived for 70 years with a laissez-faire ideology - they will not change that overnight.

Science is definitely in favor of a total, absolute lockdown. The people that matter all support that. Sure, you can find doctors on the internet and non peer-reviewed papers that will claim otherwise - but this is normal in science, as not every scientific consensus is an absolute consensus. Also, scientists are humans to: there are many snake oil salesmen and corrupt shills in the academic world too. It means absolutely nothing finding experts who are against the mainstream academic consensus.

In the first post here about the globalization of the epidemic (when it became a pandemic), I predicted the petit-bourgeoisie wouldn't last until the end of April before completely crumbling to obscurantism and fanaticism. I was too optimistic, as they crumbled before mid-April. Countries with strong petit-bourgeoisies like Germany are already politically giving in and will completely reopen this or next week. Some State in the USA will do the same. I'm sure other countries are following suit.

They will need to to into lockdown again, after the virus mutate and begins to kill young adults and maybe children too.

Meanwhile, China - the only country which implemented a true lockdown - has already reopened, is already prepared for the second wave, and is already going back full-speed with its economy. It sacrificed 2 and half months of its economy in order to gain two years of near/full-speed economy.

I'm going to give the lesson you'll lear next year right now: the West's economy was already declining before the pandemic. It is not the pandemic's fault its economy is in recession. It's not the pandemic's fault oil prices were in the gutter. It's not the pandemic's fault unemployment is up (it was already there, disguised as subemployment). It's not the pandemic's fault the USA was relatively declining.

Don't project the West's economic woes on the virus. You're not the center of the universe; reality isn't forced to be nice with you: it's possible for tragedies to pile up and add to your misery, don't think for a moment you have a natural right to live happily ever after.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2020 18:57 utc | 29

Posted by: JohnH | Apr 22 2020 18:47 utc | 20

Mostly the protests are being instigated by the usual anti-government oligarchs who are terrorized that people might actually conclude that government has an important role to play in addressing problems.

As far as public opposition to the police state lockdown coming almost only from MAGA types, this is yet another example of the complete abdication and worthlessness of "the left" which leaves a vacuum that's filled by right-populism.

Just like with Brexit, just like with the American opportunity for a populist movement truly against Wall Street, corporate rule, the Pentagon, the police state.

As we saw with Brexit, erstwhile "anti-globalists" ran home to globalist mama the moment the chips were down. Today we see the vastly more profound phenomenon of almost all self-alleged "anti-authoritarians" running home to police state mama.

When everyone who ever claimed to hold human principles and who filled most of the ideological leadership space among the "alternative" set then not only abdicates but flips 180 degrees to embrace the very system they'd always claimed to oppose, that can do nothing but throw the whole space wide open to fascism.

And if the people do embrace classical fascism, a major cause will be this revelation of the fraudulence of almost all who ever claimed to fight for an alternative.

IMO we should just label them the pro-COVID crowd in any discussion of the matter.

You're the one exulting in how the bug allegedly promises total apocalypse. The pro-COVID crowd are those propagating this mass terror campaign and those like you who have joyously embraced it.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 18:58 utc | 30

Posted by: migueljose | Apr 22 2020 18:50 utc | 24

"Currently, the Off-Guardian is sounding a lot like the extreme right wing"

Yes, being champions of reason, science, and human happiness, freedom and mental health are hallmarks of the "extreme right wing".

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 19:01 utc | 31

Off-Guardian has dug their heels in on their "Coronavirus is a big fake" theory and it's made that site unreadable for the time being, unfortunately.

Posted by: worldblee | Apr 22 2020 19:02 utc | 32

What I notice in the dialog between B and his opponents is how manipulative their questions are, it's like watching one of the TV talking heads trying to interrogate some current enemy of the state. You would think that such "anti-authoritarians" would avoid adopting the propaganda methods of those they claim to oppose. I'm still going with "narcissistic attention whores".

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 22 2020 19:03 utc | 33

It is entirely erroneous and risible to view any action of the state as "authoritarian."

This infantile disorder is derivative of all liberal thought, which rests on a methodological individualism, the idea that society is nothing beyond the individuals which allegedly constitute it. Incidentally, left-wing anarchism shares the same theory of
the state, regardless of its ostensibly social objectives. The state in both views is just an exogenous, evil "thing," which interferes unjustifiably in civil society and markets. Of course, this theory has no connection to reality at all if you are sane enough to accept the merits of public libraries, roads, water treatment, schools, healthcare, environmental protections, etc.

The Marxist theory of the state is the correct one. The state emerges from class relationships, and enforces them through a variety of means. But, it is also a terrain of class struggle and a resume of the balance of class forces in society.

The historical evolution of the state clearly expresses these realities, and working-class movements and left-wing parties have shaped the state and its institutions in important ways. Public health care systems are inextricable from the success of working-class struggles. The power of the coercive branches of the state are an expression of the weakness of the left. And so on.

It follows that a working-class demand for stronger lockdown and quarantine measures in the interest of protecting lives and the very public institutions we need has nothing in common with "authoritarianism."

Only an asshole capitalist who truly thinks, as the Governor of Texas put it, that "there are more important things than life," would say so.

Let's be clear: the call for more meaningful and stronger directives and rules in the present is only coming from the left because it alone cares for the health and well being of fellow human beings. It is the right-wing assholes and capitalists who want to "return to normal" as soon as possible.

Those warning of the authoritarianism of any lockdown measures are regurgitating the heart and soul of reactionary right-wing thought and capitalist interests.

Posted by: Prof K | Apr 22 2020 19:04 utc | 34

@Elephant 16

I agree. Differing views are indeed the sign of a healthy forum.

But some here likes to descent into a pissing contest of who backed the right horse the earliest. It doesn't help the discussion, especially given the evolving nature of the topic at hand.

until science catches up medieval methods are all we have and the most humane of which is isolation and quarantine.

the world isn't fair, some will be suspected and will need to be isolated. some will catch it and will need to be quarantined, some will get sick and some will die. IMO the west have had it too good for too long and hubris has got the better of them in their response.

The virus knows no race or politics, anyone who muddled the response with either will go down in history as monumental fools.

Best we can hope for now is cheap and plentiful test kits and a effective therapeutic regime so people who are suspected or positive can be immediately treated. This will calm a lot of fear and pave the way to societal and economic recovery, everything else is just noise.

Posted by: A.L. | Apr 22 2020 19:05 utc | 35

THANK YOU for your reasoned voice on this issue. Really grateful.

Posted by: paineite | Apr 22 2020 19:07 utc | 36

Thanks again Bernhard.

This whole charade exposes how many in the so called Alternative Media are unable to differentiate, to base their thinking on scientific methods, and just live and think in a bi-polar borderline black and white world.

I applaud you for your stace, even more seeing the onslaught of hysterics you face.

Most of the Alternative media are just as bad as MSM. Only mirrored.
Only a differentiated, scientific, and neutral analytic stance like yours can be a solution. Neither the likes of Off-Guardian, nor CNN.

IMO this divide stems from this:

Our European (and German) stance of social democracy of freedom for the individual, as long as it does not harm others or the society as a whole
the anglo ideology of total freedom for the individual, not matter the costs for others.

Many so called "progressives" from the likes of Off-Guardian are foreigners to the concept, that individual liberty has limits, when the well being of higher values (like the society as a whole, harm to others) is at risk.
They are libertarians who put themselves over all others, but claim to be "progressive".

In the context of an aglo-american society they well be "progressive" But only compared to the likes of Trump or Biden or Clinton.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Apr 22 2020 19:07 utc | 37

With respect to your statement "Will they abuse some of the control measures? That is practically guaranteed", I feel I must point out when Bush brought in targeted killings he insisted that it would only be done against selected individuals and now, 18 years later the US has a committee of unelected military and intelligence officials rubber stamping secret kill lists that have resulted in at least 100,000 deaths, 80% of which were "collateral damage" of bystanders, no legal defense against inclusion on the list, no appeal, not even a public declaration of who is being pursued. I simply can not imagine a more irrespirable group to grant the power to seize and hold individuals, especially since the US is in the middle of a political/economic crisis before the pandemic. My specific concerns are.

1. how long can an individual be held, what is the process for being released (do Doctor's have the power to release the patient? do Judges, military officers?) - I suspect it will be a long drawn out process taking at least 6-10 weeks requiring several different doctors and multiple tests, since the US has NO infrastructure setup for this process currently it will be subject to overloading and delays and rather than balancing the safety of society vs the rights of the individual it will simply crush the individual

2. What facilities does the government even have for the internment of seized individuals? - The government has none, meaning it will be forced to construct WW-2 Japanese-style internment camps in isolated areas with minimum health care services and probably outbreaks of other diseases

3. What treatment for the disease will individuals receive? (will they receive any?) - The US public doesn't have universal health care or even enough medical supplies for the public at large, the detainees will in all likelihood receive only nominal healthcare services, making them at high risk of other diseases. I suspect any camp setup by the US government to specifically treat sick individuals will have excessively high death rates

4. What support will be provided for the family members or dependants of the detainees? - I think we all know the answer is zero, the US has gone to war against social services in the US for last 30 years and unlike all of the other wars the US has launched they've been hugely successful in destroying the safety net of society. What do you think will happened when previously detained individuals are released back into society to discover that their family lost their house or apartment or their children were taken into foster care

You may claim that giving the government this power is the only way to defeat the Pandemic, but the simply truth is the government will not use it to defeat the Pandemic, rather they will use that power to enrich themselves and create only the barest façade of an effort to fight the pandemic and it will be so weak, so incompetently designed and ineffectively managed that it will make the Pandemic worse. Why should I believe that a government that has a bipartisan history of corruption, incompetency and failure going back 30 years will now unexpectedly succeed. They will fail.

Posted by: Kadath | Apr 22 2020 19:09 utc | 38

Unfortunately, the science says there is not a vaccine for this corona virus or any other corona virus or even the common cold virus. The science says there are not even any perfectly effective vaccines for the flu. Developing one every year is something of a crap shoot.

However, the science also says that this virus is unusually highly infective, even if the death toll is low relative to infected persons - possibly 0.1%. This is why I suggest an effective vaccine is highly unlikely to ever be developed for this virus

There is really no evidence that the virus will ever be eradicated, unless mother nature helps us as it had done with the first SARS virus and the MERS virus. The way Sars Cov2 infects us suggests this will not be the case.

So the argument between OFF Guard and Moon is moot. People are going suffer and occasionally die from the virus' infections if and until we develop a balanced "relationship" with it similar to the other four human corona viruses. The difference between the two arguments is the OG set up will kill more now, and b approach will kill more later. The advantage to b's point of view is that evolution might tame the virus into a less virulent strain through mutation of the virus and/or built up immunity in humans.

The best approach is a holding pattern, not a complete futile lockdown, but not a do nothing herd immunity approach. Testing, learning more of the virus' nature, social distancing, wearing masks, developing/discovering drugs to mitigate the effects of the virus, research possible vaccines, open the economy in a measured manner, and develop politcal-economic policies that will equalize the distribution of wealth to defend against the high death toll and missery that mass unemployment will produce.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 22 2020 19:10 utc | 39

@ 38 kadath... you could look at it this way too.. the usa is not prepared to handle this and it interferes with the normal continuity of their system... i thought the response to hurricane katrina in new orleans was very telling... this covid 19 is like a re run of hurricane katrina writ large over all of the usa.. they left the new orleans people to fend for themselves - under bush 2, so i guess he figured new orleans didn't matter much to the rest of the usa anyway... as i see it the usa has been on this path of authoritarianism for some time now.. i personally don't think they created covid 19 to strengthen their hand, but they already have a strong hand in this regard... i really don't think the usa police state cares about the ordinary person and so i get why many people including yourself view the gov't - of usa - as extremely suspect.. i would too, but i live in canada where it isn't quite the same...

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2020 19:16 utc | 40

And it's a myth the MSM or the western governments are pro-lockdown. On the contrary.

At the beginning of the quarantine, the MSM was in favor of it probably because it thought it would only be a two-week thing.

When it became clear it would have to be extended first until end of April, then to June, the MSM's position begun to clearly soften, if not to completely change on some outlets.

That's why we are now seeing a lot of articles emphasizing the alleged suffering of people without jobs, of people "starving" (actually, with "fear of starving") or of small businesses going bankrupt.

That's also why we're seeing a lot more articles emphasizing the developments of antibody tests: it is just the newest Deus ex Machina the Western governments think will help them reopen their economies in a matter of days.

Western governments are also fighting between them for ships loaded with masks. If not to try to reopen their respective economies, why are they doing that?

That's also why a lot of oportunitic experts are gaining so much spotlight in the MSM these days.

Also note the level of the discussion: people are protesting for the simple lifting of the lockdowns. There are no protests for better healthcare, for bailouts for small and medium businesses, for insurance for the workers, for better working conditions etc. etc. No, the narrative is simply to reopen business and let people die. Death is life: that's the motto in the West right now.

All of this makes me conclude that the movement for lockdown lifting is hegemonized by the petit-bourgeoisie. The petit-bourgeoisie is walking on the edge here, because it wants a scenario where the lockdown is lifted, but the workers to remain with their wages low and for workplace conditions to remain precarious (so they don't need to do extra investments on their businesses). The "death is life" narrative is only beneficial to the petit-bourgeoisie.

The working class should be protesting for better working conditions from now on, better universal healthcare systems, better insurance against unemployment, extension of the lockdown without loss of wages and benefits and suspension of debt and rent deadlines. These can be easily paid through extra taxation over big business (which already received generous bailouts either way) - an extra 1%-2% taxation over these guys is enough. Only then the working class may or may not begin to think about supporting a small-medium businesses mini-bailout.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2020 19:17 utc | 41

It's simple--The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. There's ZERO immunity, although the virus's many different guises deliver differing affects making it impossible to assess the degree to which the individual will be effected. Paraphrasing an Outlaw US Empire based health worker quoted in USA Today I linked to a few days ago, We are all obliged to insure we don't infect others; yet, the unfortunate reality is all too many refuse to honor that obligation. In such cases, it thus becomes the responsibility of government--the agency of coercion in all societies--to enforce the obligation. It appears some refuse to agree with such logic, meaning they're inviting the state to control their dangerous--criminal--behavior. Yes, CRIMINAL, since death or serious hospitalization can result from infection--People deliberately coughing onto people, foodstuffs, and other surfaces are rightly being arrested for their dangerous behavior. The Off-Guardian writer is thus promoting criminal behavior every bit as bad as Trump's and others calls to resume work despite unsafe conditions--they are doing the same thing as spitting/coughing on people, displaying extremely immoral behavior.

This is too long for a tweet, but it needs to be shoved into some faces!!!

As for myself, given my rural location and protective measures, I most likely won't get infected. BUT, until an effective antidote becomes available and I'm treated with it, I'll remain just as vulnerable as I am today after the economy reopens, which means I'll be carrying on with my protective measures regardless, as will the members of my household if they wish to continue residing with me in my house. The West is supposedly all about protection of property as being the #1 reason for law. My most important piece of "property" is myself. Damaging property's considered a crime universally, I believe, so Trump and his ilk are all threatening a massive amount of priceless property with their crap as is the Off Guardian. Oh, yeah, there's that other famous maxim--First, do no harm--segregating the infected from the uninfected comes within that purview.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 22 2020 19:19 utc | 42


Russia detected 5,236 new coronavirus carriers yesterday. That is substantially less than yesterday. But this is not the story. It really should not matter that much how many new cases the Russians are able to dig up, because the big story is that according to Russia’s own statistics upwards of 60% of those infected don’t get sick and are asymptomatic:

The 60% asymptomatic figure is pretty consistent with the Diamond Princess (46% I think) and Roosevelt numbers (something around 60%). The Stanford study of a 50 to 1 ratio of asymptomatic (98%) doesn't jibe with this. I believe the study was very flawed. Either the testing and/or the sample group.

Posted by: Musburger | Apr 22 2020 19:22 utc | 43

DontBelieveEitherPr. | Apr 22 2020 19:07 utc | 37

"Our European (and German) stance of social democracy of freedom for the individual, as long as it does not harm others or the society as a whole
the anglo ideology of total freedom for the individual, not matter the costs for others."

While I am familiar with what you are saying here, I have never seen is summarized so succinctly. Bravo.

My personal motto has always been do what you want as long as you are not harming anyone by doing so.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 19:23 utc | 44

If you can't see what's wrong with police coming into your home uninvited and confiscating your kids, there is something wrong with you, b... I understand you're an old man, but Jesus.

Posted by: Dan | Apr 22 2020 19:24 utc | 45

I am disappointed in Moon of Alabama as he has taken a mainstream view without critically looking into it. Actually I think he has looked into it but has come to the wrong conclusions. There are many people who know much more than moon about epidemics of infectious disease who disagree with the lockdown strategy. The science is not settled. The numbers and the definitions of those numbers change all the time. I imagine he is basing most of his ideas of the SARS COV 2 on what China did. We are now getting some of the numbers from there that have some meaning. There is no way to know if everything China did was necessary. I read an English translation of a Chinese study that found that 40% to 85% in Guangdong were false positives. Fauci and the Imperial college wrong buy orders of magnitude in their original projections. There is no agreed upon treatment that works. At this time there is no way of knowing how many deaths attributed to COVID 19 are correct (also the debate over because of or with SARS COV2 - some medical professionals believe that using ventilators is actually contributing to death or lasting lung damage when used prematurely. Not to mention using anti-virals with known serious side effects.

Posted by: gepay | Apr 22 2020 19:27 utc | 46

vk what do you think about mmt? according to that theory, taxes aren't required for the government to spend money; it just prints it.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Apr 22 2020 19:27 utc | 47

In my local area (about 5 miles away) is a 89 year old man last week he got a dry cough and a fever ! The stubban old cuss took it easy for two days (weekend) this Monday he went back to his part time job - delivering medicine to isolated cottages. No contact with his doctor. What we’re the pharmacy thinking even employing him at his age, in this present crisis !
Am I right in thinking that if a person knows they have aids, and then deliberately infects others, they have then commited a criminal act.
Regarding off Gardian
I’ve seen the Labour Party distroyed, momentum and the Gardian.
I’v seen all those Middle East countrys distroyed from within by the US U.K. elite plus Israel.
Venizuala ect ect
Same trick same monkeys.
Sad about off Gardian though !
Their hearts in the right place, just deluded and misled, clutching at straws. It’s over we better all face that.

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 22 2020 19:28 utc | 48

I tend to think both B and some opponents of the lockdown are massively oversimplifying.

It’s dangerous to a small demographic and we mostly know who that is. The binary lockdown vs not lockdown mindset ignores the enormous specificity of the disease and variables in actions taken. A lockdown that poor people can’t follow won’t be effective and a lockdown that fails to protect elderly and especiallly nursing homes will see high deaths. An open approach that does these things might be more efficaous.

The premise that the anti lockdown position is a bunch of ignorant, right wings nuts is readily dispelled by the large number of scientists who have spoken out against it.

Again, the problem here is the various shades of grey and large number of variables. Some containment acts might not work and do more harm than good. Different places will have different results based on weather, density (spread rate), demographics, etc

Then there is the changing narrative. Flatten the curve was about reducing strain on hospitals with only modest (at best) gains in lives. Now we compare Sweden and Norway say on deaths and not strain on hospital resources.

The lockdown is doing a lot of economic, social, psychological harm especially in the US where we have no safety net, no healthcare and many poor. Closing schools will seriously hurt children. EG: 50% of NYC kids get assistance for breakfast and 72% get it for lunch. Those schools fulfill important social and care functions beyond schooling.

There are many variables in this equation. Stop pretending otherwise.

Posted by: Alaric | Apr 22 2020 19:28 utc | 49

Cheers, b, for standing up to the libertarian nonsense.

I would still note that - at least in the US - the federal and state plan for nCOV management is unquestionably very poorly thought out.

A few questions:

1) While lockdowns in breakout areas like New York, New Jersey, Louisiana make sense - what is the plan for the rest of the country?

In particular - Singapore has demonstrated that controlling initial nCOV penetration (travellers from Wuhan) - even subsequent secondary infection from other countries (Students returning home from Europe) is still not enough to prevent resurgence. Singapore is now headed for the worst results in Asia due to its 200K cheap offshore laborers in barracks.
The same (actually, probably worse) conditions exist for fruit and produce harvesters and meat workers in the US, as well as Amazon and other delivery warehouses. Dark kitchens are likely to add to the mix.

So - is the solution to lock down until there is a vaccine? For at least 7 months from now? Is it to have flareups and more lockdowns later? The uncertainty causes as much economic damage as anything else.

2) The mortality data is also quite clear: the vast majority of affected are the 65+. What about having state and federal government planning - via say, Medicare - to provide food and support services and to quarantine/protect via isolation those vulnerable demographics? They're already widely financially supported via their Social Security paychecks; they're the least vulnerable to needing paychecks to eat - unlike a huge percentage of the rest of the population.

3) The economic disruption is ginormous. Unemployment helps some - but it maxes out at 30 weeks.
There are still huge numbers of business owners and others who are not eligible for unemployment.
Are those people just having to lump it for the duration of nCOV protective measures? Which, as I noted above, is likely to be many months - not just 1 or 2?

4) Testing. Why is testing not being heavily subsidized and/or price controlled? Both PCR for active and antibody?

Lastly, even if the lockdowns were to magically end tomorrow - entire sectors are still going to be severely disrupted.
The entire travel sector is toast for 2020.
The sports and concert scene is also toast for 2020.
Bars and nightclubs? Highly problematic.
Restaurants? Also very problematic.
Schools? We're going into summer now, but nCOV will still be a problem in September - and we won't have a vaccine then.
The entire commercial/restaurant/school supply chain is hosed - how is that situation going to get resolved?

The real problem the libertarians have isn't just that their rabid aversion to government is wrong headed - it is that the only way to try and get out of this nCOV situation without maximum economic and public health impact is via smart government policy.

But at the same time, there is very little evidence of smart government policies - at any level - in the US.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 22 2020 19:32 utc | 50

One of the more unfortunate aspects of this discussion is the tone in which it is being conducted-see Russ@4 above.
While I agree with b's analysis and cannot fault governments for enforcing quarantine measures, I have no problem with listening to other points of view. Even when they are wrong they often remind us of the importance, in case we should ever forget, of watching government like hawks and questioning any aspect of their regulations which does not fit into those plans which begin with self isolation and quarantine. In this respect both OffGuardian and commentators here have made valuable contributions to ensuring that the crisis is viewed in perspective.

What strikes me as the most important aspect of the situation is that most western governments were very reluctant to introduce quarantines and are now obviously eager to scrap them. This is something that the Off Guardian school tend to downplay for the obvious reason that it makes little sense for governments, if they really do seek to use the crisis to introduce draconian new measures to curtail out liberties, to resist public pressure to enforce quarantines regardless of its effects on the economy.

The actual history of this crisis, beginning with the first reports from China, make it very clear that the neo-liberals running the 'west' have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the pursuit of policies which have involved not only isolation and quarantine, but testing, the acquisition of masks and other protective equipment, the pursuit of sources of infection and the search for a vaccine which, according to Mike Davis in the New Left Review, would have been fabricated years ago had the State rather than profit hungry Pharmaceutical companies been given the job.

It has been public opinion, popular pressure, not ruling class insistence that has been behind the current restrictions. This is not because the people are inclined to authoritarianism or eager to give up what remains of their freedoms but because they are concerned at the threat that this virus presents to their families and themselves. And these, rational fears, are the best guarantee that we can have that the people will not allow society to be bamboozled either into sacrificing our old and frail people or our rights.

This is an interesting article from Counterpunch today.
"..Trump and the Republican Party have been pushing to reopen the American economy immediately, if not sooner, and screw the cost in human lives. This attitude goes a long way toward explaining an article The Federalist ran on March 25.

"If you didn’t already know that The Federalist is a right-wing website, you would have after you saw the article’s title: “How ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn the Tide of the Wuhan Virus.” The author, Dr. Douglas A. Perednia, a retired dermatologist—not a specialist in infectious diseases—makes the standard right-wing talking point that we can’t stay in our homes forever while the US economy crumbles. He adds that we don’t yet have a vaccine that would prevent infection with COVID-19; nor do we have an effective treatment for the virus once contracted. He declares: “It is time to think outside the box and seriously consider a somewhat unconventional approach to COVID-19: controlled voluntary infection.....”
To read the rest of the article

Posted by: bevin | Apr 22 2020 19:32 utc | 51

@Blue Dotterel #39
There aren't vaccines for the other coronaviruses for economic reasons, not technical.
In particular, the cold coronaviruses mutate too fast for a vaccine to really be effective, but this speed of mutation is not holding true for nCOV so far.
For SARS1 - several vaccines were developed but the cost to push these through extensive mass trials was simply too high given that SARS1 is very low transmissibility. The vaccines died on the vine due to lack of funds, not technical incapability.
Clearly, for nCOV, the economic impact of not having a vaccine is extremely high. There is funding for nCOV vaccine development. But it still takes time to develop different types of vaccines, then push them through several levels of testing to ensure both that any proposed vaccine does what it is supposed to and that it doesn't cause other problems.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 22 2020 19:35 utc | 52

Alaric | Apr 22 2020 19:28 utc | 49

"The lockdown is doing a lot of economic, social, psychological harm especially in the US where we have no safety net, no healthcare and many poor. Closing schools will seriously hurt children. EG: 50% of NYC kids get assistance for breakfast and 72% get it for lunch. Those schools fulfill important social and care functions beyond schooling."

In my neighborhood a school bus comes by every day and stops where the kids normally board the bus and hands out both breakfast and lunch for any who want it.

We are a wealthy country, we could easily make sure no one goes hungry or bankrupt if we had the will to do so. The problem as I see it is not that we can't take care of the less fortunate and the working poor, but that we won't take care of them.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 19:39 utc | 53

@ Posted by: pretzelattack | Apr 22 2020 19:27 utc | 47

MMT is completely bogus. It's not even a theory, in the strict sense of the word.

@ Posted by: Alaric | Apr 22 2020 19:28 utc | 49

Read my previous comment. It is normal for scientific divergence to exist. It doesn't mean ther isn't a scientific consensus. And the consensus is that China-Wuhan is the gold standard for fighting the COVID-19. You see, it's one thing to be a scientist speculating in a non peer-reviewed environment, in the safety of his/her home; it is a completely different thing to the the chief doctor of your country's CDC (on whose hands millions of lives de facto are). It is in the opinion of the latter that I tend to believe in.

@ Posted by: gepay | Apr 22 2020 19:27 utc | 46

Like I said in my previous comment, I don't believe the MSM is on MoA's side. It is more on the OffGuardian's side. At the beginning of the lockdown, that may have been the case. After April, their position changed: it is now more on an intermediate position, focusing on antibody tests, the importance of self-discipline on social distancing and mask using and on emphasizing on the sufferings of the petit-bourgeoisie and the unemployed.

On the few instances the MSM positions itself on the side of the lockdown is to make Trump or Boris Johnson to look bad. But this is a domestic political battle they were already waging before.

The national governments in the West are definitely desperate to restart their economies. Most glaring evidence for this is their barrel-scrapping for masks, tests and ventilators.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2020 19:44 utc | 54

will people step back and ask a meta question about our world: why is it so difficult to find out the truth? put yourself in the position of someone who doesn't have your overwhelming brain power and ask, not why you think you know the truth (quite hubristic in itself) but why your disabled elderly neighbor and her special needs child can't easily find the truth either. "make a straight path," a mad prophet once said. the cacophony of noise is highly symptomatic of the function of "information" (like "food," "medicine," "education," the "legal system," etc.) in our society: a weapon against people. the very notion of expertise exists to flimflam a populace that, in the US, largely can't read at a 4th grade level.

and if work makes free, will back to work make us freer? yep, we cannot be any freer than dead. Amazon is hiring. just not in France.

Posted by: jason | Apr 22 2020 19:47 utc | 55

Kadath @ 38)has it 100% correct concerning the US.

B, you mean well but you are a rational person living in a civilized country. The US is not a civilized country. Not even close. I've lived 67 years in the USA watching it become sequentially more rotten by the year. Kadath in my opinion knows what he's talking about. You're mistaken. You shouldn't be, but you are because as he says the US could never even vaguely accomplish a quarantine program along the lines of the ones in Taiwan or South Korea, for example. The US,, aside from it's awful killer government, is a collection of very frightened is people who have by long practice been stampeded into hating each other based on idiocies such as race, income, region, religion, party, etc. Always been so but it's especially so now. It's a terrible pity. Your ideas are fine. But in the US the human materials are shoddy and insufficient. You can motivate ametikkkans to fly thousands of miles to go kill and destroy or better to cheer such an endeavor. You will never motivate them to take care of one another. Their entire system and belief system is anathema to such behavior.

Posted by: Mightyjoeyoung | Apr 22 2020 19:49 utc | 56

A recent article

In this survey, we demonstrated the researches and approaches of about 100 eminent scientists from around the world. In general, they agree that the current statistical data does not reflect the actual state of affairs, and the publicly distributed media estimates of the mortality rate are at least incorrect, and do not correspond to the actual picture.

The actual number of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection or people that already passed through COVID-19 early-stage or without symptoms is several dozen times higher than the public numbers show.

This is primarily due to the approaches and scope of testing. The public numbers have little to do with science. This is, to a greater extent, either media or politically motivated data. You should also consider the factor of a special picture of the course of the disease, which affects medical statistics (RKI Epidemiological bulletins).

Accordingly, the real mortality rate from SARS-CoV-2 is 25-60 times less than the figures presented to us by MSM and a number of governments.

The number of people with SARS-CoV-2 virus, but without the COVID-19 disease or with a mild form of the disease, according to various estimates, ranges from 85% to 95%. This group, as a rule, does not fall into official statistics, as it is not tested, not hospitalized, and does not seek medical help.

The negative consequences for life and health of people from ill-conceived social measures can at times surpass the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2. There has been a significant increase in the mortality from diseases unrelated to SARS-CoV-2 already.

Countries, whose leadership works closely with scientists, consistently and quickly responds to changes in the situation and the emergence of new data, will receive a huge advantage in the post-COVID-19 world.

The current actions of politicians in a number of countries are difficult to explain with anything other than incompetence or deliberate actions to achieve their personal/clan political ambitions or promote interests of external actors.

Posted by: Ric G | Apr 22 2020 19:50 utc | 57

The only question being discussed in that spat is essentially whether the virus is relatively harmless or relatively dangerous, including any consequences that arise as a result of getting sick, or transmitting the disease to others, beyond merely immediate aspects i.e the symptoms.

If we operate from the position that the virus is relatively dangerous, we already have a functional legal infrastructure in place for apprehending individuals who are suspected of posing a threat to society, which is no more authoritarian in nature than any previously acceptable act of crime prevention or counter-terrorism.

If we instead operate from the position that the virus is relatively harmless, for instance in relation to the economic damage caused by limiting freedom of movement, the process of apprehending suspected carriers of the virus appears to exceed the mandate of the authorities and could be likened to a hunt for dissidents. However, the mandate could be expanded via the declaration of a state of emergency, and probably will be if the situation continues to deteriorate. The threat of and public support for indefinitely expanded government control, in this scenario, appears to only become exacerbated by passive protest and non-compliance.

If covid turns out to be a fabricated crisis with some ulterior motive of global proportions, the only way to defend yourself against violation of your individual right is to organize a clear majority of like-minded individuals against any measures proposed by the government, or you can expect to be steamrolled in a completely legal fashion to the cheers of the general public. If you manage to organize and shut down the quarantine, drag people out of self-isolation and what have you, I sincerely hope you've read the situation correctly; otherwise the potential effects on your community may be irreversible, unlike limitations on your freedom.

Posted by: Skiffer | Apr 22 2020 19:53 utc | 58

How many of those "excess" deaths are due to the virtual shutdown of clinics and hospitals?

Posted by: rucio | Apr 22 2020 19:54 utc | 59

Utter nonsense:

"Without control measures like the current lock-downs the red line would certainly go through the roof." No: Sweden had no lockdown and yet the epidemic is fizzling out. 50% of deaths were in nursing homes.

"The covid-19 disease the novel coronavirus causes is not a "flu"." Lethality is in the range of a strong flu, 0.1% to 0.4%.

"We largely do have 'herd immunity' against the flu." False. Influenza viruses change every year.

"But this is a new virus causing a new disease. Nearly nobody is yet immune against it." Nonsense: 80% don't show any symptoms.

"If we let this epidemic run wild without any control measures the death toll will be exceptionally high." No, see Sweden and other countries. Actually, it looks like it were the lockdowns that drove excess deaths.

Posted by: Mikko | Apr 22 2020 19:56 utc | 60

Summary: MoA really has no clue what he is talking about. He was taken in by the fear propaganda, has amplified it, and thus missed the most important event since 9/11.

Posted by: Mikko | Apr 22 2020 19:57 utc | 61

@ Posted by: Hail | Apr 22 2020 19:48 utc | 56

The great point of contemption is the negligible number of tested people outside Wuhan, China.

Outside tiny Iceland - which has tested 39% of its population with - no other Western nation has tested more than 3%.

This tiny number of tested people opens a flank for scientists and doctors in the pockets of dubious organizations or who are simply ideologues to make extrapolations that favor their worldview.

So, let's say you're a pro-business, pro-capitalist doctor/scientist. You can simply state to an MSM outlet (or even vulnerable alt-media) that the real number of infected in a given country is not 100,000 - but 10,000,000. That plummets the pandemic's mortality rate to only a fraction of the common flu's. It's easy for you to say that because said country probably didn't test over 1% of its population, so you can rest over your diploma and state that's your "educated opinion".

The problem is that just with the absolute numbers we can already easily demonstrate this pandemic is orders of magnitude above the common flu in mortality rates.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2020 19:59 utc | 62

Russ | Apr 22 2020 18:19 utc | 4

And in order to achieve these goals, do you think the ruling percent would risk the collapse of an economic order that has made them what they are?

Isn't that a little illogical?

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 22 2020 20:00 utc | 63

B, if this virus were sufficiently dangerous, you'd be right and a trade-off between freedom and intervention should be found. But it isn't, and that's the whole point.

The propaganda of governments with their loaded agendas aside, it's by now abundantly clear that this virus is more benign than a severe flu.

You're still looking at charts that show deaths *with* Covid instead of *from* Covid, comparing that to flu deaths *from* flu. Apples and oranges.

Posted by: Leser | Apr 22 2020 20:01 utc | 64

@bevin #51
You said

It has been public opinion, popular pressure, not ruling class insistence that has been behind the current restrictions.

I would disagree with this statement.

A more correct statement would be: the PMCs (Professional and Managerial classes) and many of the liberals are for the restrictions.

The working class and conservatives, not so much.

Yet the problem isn't that one side is right - because the measures being taken are not optimal in any sense of the word in most countries.

The most ironic aspect of this whole situation is that the authoritarian government of China has executed both the most economically progressive and most socially/privacy invasive program: massive lockdowns but simultaneously providing food and very active public health measures - ranging from building hospitals from nothing and disinfecting streets to full travel quarantines and multi-layered, societally based social monitoring. And they're having the best results.

South Korea has executed a heavily socialist (or call it emergency public health) program but without a lockdown, and is seeing significantly better results than the rest of the world albeit worse than China.

The Western democracies? Shambolic. It isn't just the US. None of the major Western nations have demonstrated any coherent planning or even thinking.
The European nations have stronger social safety nets, but the economic impact is still brutal and still borne by the less wealthy parts of the populace.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 22 2020 20:01 utc | 65

@ Posted by: Ric G | Apr 22 2020 19:50 utc | 58

How can they give you an estimate if there's insufficient testing?

The sword cuts both ways.

Posted by: vk | Apr 22 2020 20:01 utc | 66

B, you are veering off the rails here.

In Leiceister, England, mandated mass vaccination was fought against by the townspeople during a small pox epidemic.

Instead, they chose to home-quarantine and utilized excellent communication to outsmart the spread of it without the use of the vaccine.

Today, it is called the Leicaster Method and, as you can see, would be infinitely more preferable than forcefully separating families during times of crisis.

However, as this is a novel disease and still much needs to be learned about it, I would not forever dismiss the necessity of forced quarantine/isolation.

I am only pointing out that quarantine in home by families has been done before with a great deal of success.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Apr 22 2020 20:02 utc | 67

Problem as I see it is that even if Covid-19 is somewhat more infectious and deadly as the common flu, which in Germany alone killed some 25'000 people in a recent bad season, who is to say that our governments won't use those draconian measures they are allowed to implement to suppress C19, eg total lockdown, search and seizure of anyone possibly carrying the virus, in future years with the pretext of needing to fight the common flu.

I mean the precedent has been set and surely, using the same reasons being used to justify the heavy handed approach to C19, saving those 25'000 precious lives, or 10'000 or 100 that could be saved by closing all borders, shutting down businesses, confining the population to their homes, curfews, kicking down doors and arresting family members who might have the common flu, warrant all and any measures.

In other words, those who argue that saving lives is all that matters, how many deaths are acceptable to you before we beg the gov to step in and suspend hard fought for civil rights? None, 100, 1'000, 10'000?

Posted by: Juan Moment | Apr 22 2020 20:02 utc | 68

VK and I both hit on the same point above: there is a new embrace of death -- a mantra of life is death -- by the capitalist class and petit bourgeoisie.

The working class argument has to be for very strong social restrictions, for the expropriation of billionaire wealth, and for the state to takeover critical production
of medical supplies in addition to the distribution of safe food to everyone.

These would be elementary social protection measures, not "authoritarianism."

These acts would actually liberate us from the social rule of the assholes who set us up for this disaster.

Posted by: Prof K | Apr 22 2020 20:03 utc | 69

An order of magnitude more people have probably been infected with the virus than official case counting shows. Here is an article that deals with the implications of that. (Apologies if someone upthread already linked to this.)

Posted by: R.A. | Apr 22 2020 20:06 utc | 70

@Leser #66
You are utterly and completely wrong.
nCOV has clearly not penetrated the populace anywhere near what the normal flu/cold has, yet total mortality is at generational record levels.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 22 2020 20:06 utc | 71

b, our host, has proven in a multitude of ways that he is no one's shill. MoA history has shown that this place is more than the sum of its parts--a functioning collective of memory and knowledge. This is a place where truth--even when it is deeply disturbing --can be examined and discussed.

A few of the people who post here have given themselves over to hysteria. They also seem motivated by any chance they can find to excite hysteria. Stimulated by hyperinflation of ego and chest thumping, they are acting especially unhelpful when we are facing this kind of crisis.

Anyone who has lost control of their emotions and cannot collect their courage for the sake of others around them is not being thoughtful under these circumstances. Prophylactic measures and quarantine do not add up to "crimes against humanity" at the time of pandemic. Hatefulness combined with hyperbole is a very bad example.

The fact remains that we are only at the beginning of our difficulties, our inconvenience, loneliness and angst; yet above all superficial concerns and irrational fears, we hear the news of mass graves today, while this pandemic is killing a large number of people. People who are telling us that Covid-19 is just a flu are not telling the truth. Hospitals and staff are already overwhelmed; and we are only in the early weeks. The rational thing to do is to act together based on our awareness of the situation. And if we cannot do that, then we will not be able to counter authoritarian power, day by day, while also combatting the virus.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 22 2020 20:07 utc | 72

@Juan Moment #70
The US instituted draconian population surveillance laws and started multiple wars over 3000 deaths in 9/11.
nCOV deaths in the US are 45K and counting - it will certainly exceed 60K and more likely will double that before a vaccine arrives.
Your argument is both weak and specious.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 22 2020 20:08 utc | 73

What I wonder is the off-Gardian view on dealing with this virus in ———
Refugee camps
What is their view on allowing infected people to vist in care homes ?

What also, if allowed to run unchecked, will be the future average life- expectancie.
The long term cost medically and comeracaly ?
Are we also suggesting that from here on young people should have no contact with the elders ?
This could have been stopped but our politians dragged their feet, deliberately.
They want a backlash over lockdown ! A win win for them. Kill off the old folk, get the slaves back to work !
Thanks but no thanks offgardian. You guys are the aurthatarian patsys.

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 22 2020 20:11 utc | 74

Juan Moment | Apr 22 2020 20:02 utc | 70

"In other words, those who argue that saving lives is all that matters, how many deaths are acceptable to you before we beg the gov to step in and suspend hard fought for civil rights? None, 100, 1'000, 10'000?"

Well that is a pretty easy one Juan. We are fine with the amount of deaths from an average flu season, between 30,000-60,000, over an ENTIRE flu season, which is generally 4-6 months, or between 7,500 and 15,000 per month.

This current situation is clearly more severe than that, 46,000 with all but the first 1,000 happening in a single month. If we were to extrapolate that to the length of a flu season it would be between 180,000 and 225,000.

This doesn't even take into consideration that this virus is 2-4 times more contagious than a normal flu and we aren't certain this will disappear over the summer like the regular flu does.

Hope that clears it up for you.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 20:12 utc | 75

@vk 64

A country with limited training resources, let's say 1% of population, could still do what few if any have done: reserve a significant number of tests, say 1 in 50 tests, every a week, for a truly random sample of the population.

Like so many decisions that have been made, I am puzzled how and why this simple diagnostic procedure was skipped. I suspect they were initiall scared of what they would find, during the critical first months.

Posted by: ptb | Apr 22 2020 20:15 utc | 76

after reading up on the so called "Spanish flu"... I have a better understanding of why many in the medical community are freaked... a normal flu virus generally doesn't get past the nose.. it doesn't infect the lungs.. if one has the flu and develops pneumonia it is for the most part a bacterial pneumonia not the flu virus.. the Spanish flu virus just like the corna virus moves from the nose to the lungs and once in the lungs the individuals immune system becomes hyperactive in a negative way resulting in cell death...the same as the corna virus. ( the information on the Spanish flu was determined in 1990 after digging up an alaskan native that had died and was buried in the permafrost). Yet there are two big differences... the 1919 Spanish killed all age groups...this virus for the most part is deadly to the old and the already sick and unlike 1919 we have medical technology and knowledge. If our government leaders would provide more detailed information and educate the public rather than just saying without a lockdown millions would die and, it might help people understand the situation better. And since many areas of the US are virtually untouched people are starting to believe this was much to do about nothing. When you live in the US one paycheck a way from poverty and homelessness...what is the downsize to going back to work.

In the US the lock down will be lifted shortly and in many small towns they aren't even "locked" down.. just going about their business as usual just practicing social distancing and limting the number the of people in their shops..

Posted by: dp | Apr 22 2020 20:15 utc | 77

There are too many new posters. Posters I never know or came across since I first came here over 12-yrs ago. Comments getting long and longer, me read only reasonable well written posts and avoid idiots. It's a free country. I'm for locked down and believe if you wanna kills yourself do it, but spare those who disagrees.

And if you're preaching freedom of speech, god, democracy, human right or even Revolution of our time Five key demands, not one less.... Go Fuck yourself!

Ameen, Amen

Posted by: JC | Apr 22 2020 20:18 utc | 78

I read both MoA and OffGuardian. I value both as thoughtful sites with trustworthy underpinnings. I've yet to attempt to read and digest what's going on between them.

But this sentence from 'b' is concerning: " With globally concerted action we could have completely erased this disease!".

This is bit doesn't sound right: "...completely erased...". The disease is never really erased. The population becomes less vulnerable to decimation in at least three ways. (1) immunity by getting the virus and the human host lives; (2)the host population is inoculated via a vaccine; (3) or the vulnerable hosts succumb to the virus. When enough of the population undergoes (1)(2) or (3) in any combination, the virus ceases to spread and may die-off.

This means the controls we've seen slows not eradicates the disease.

And the controls do come with their own down-sides.

I'll keep reading. Thank you 'b' and Kit.

Posted by: BThePrisoner | Apr 22 2020 20:19 utc | 79

This Stanford professor thinks COVID-19 is not much worse than flu. Is the solution going to be more harmful than the problem itself? I understand that not overwhelming the capacity of the healthcare system should be the primary goal. Beyond that, let people mingle, especially the younger and healthier ones. Where is he going wrong?

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Apr 22 2020 20:22 utc | 80

I just dont trust Bill Gates, he is creepy he thinks there are too many African people, like the people with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. Also why is he traveling all over Africa collecting forskins? He is a weirdo

Posted by: Bob | Apr 22 2020 20:25 utc | 81

regarding "science justifies X"

While science may well justify a particular course of action, I would question whether additional emergency powers would have any benefit, in the specific case of administrations that have shown no tendency to act in the public good. Because that is the necessary connecting step between wishing for everyone to act rationally, and forcing them to do so.

Calling for a sort of medical "patriot act" involves as much naive faith (politically) as science (in the desired policy). In my opinion of course - disagreement is welcome.

I'm not advocating "doing nothing" etc, its just that some governments don't have what it takes to do anything useful.

Posted by: ptb | Apr 22 2020 20:26 utc | 82

james @40: this covid 19 is like a re run of hurricane katrina writ large

Very good analogy.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 22 2020 20:27 utc | 83

Prof K @71: there is a new embrace of death -- a mantra of life is death

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Life is Death


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 22 2020 20:29 utc | 84

Posted by: Pnyx | Apr 22 2020 20:00 utc | 65

And in order to achieve these goals, do you think the ruling percent would risk the collapse of an economic order that has made them what they are?

Isn't that a little illogical?

1. The elites haven't distinguished themselves as being particularly well thought-out and rational lately. It seems their main consciousness is just to try to grab everything in sight - power and wealth - in the most impetuous brutal manner.

2. To the extent they are rational, they know that the energy and ecological bases of the economic civilization are eroded to near the point of collapse. Thus since 2008 they've been on a campaign to secure control of all real assets - land, water, every other physical resource - while 2001 gave the pretext for a great ramping up of the police state, with another great escalation intended now. The goal is to sustain as much of their power and luxury as possible as the civilization collapses, and to replace it with an older form of tyranny and slave state.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 20:30 utc | 85

at vk--michael hudson doesn't seem to think so. I've only read superimperialism, but i've seen a couple of youtube links where he seems to approve of some aspects of it, at least. i think this is relevant because the choices seem to be lockdown with ubi, lockdown with social revolt because people don't have enough to eat, or the advocates of letting it spread through the population on the theory that we can afford a couple of million deaths. so, the contraints or alleged constraints on how government can pay for it are crucial.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Apr 22 2020 20:33 utc | 86


You were absolutely correct that we wouldn't make it through april. They are organizing a protest at the capital where I live for friday.

The woman organizing the event had this to say, "Everybody's responsible for their own health," Elmer said. "If they feel somebody else is making them uncomfortable they can move or stand by somebody else."

Which is fine and dandy if the person who just made you feel uncomfortable, didn't just make you sick. Pure selfishness and a complete inability to consider how your actions affect others.

ptb | Apr 22 2020 20:26 utc | 84

"Calling for a sort of medical "patriot act" involves as much naive faith (politically) as science (in the desired policy)."

I haven't heard anyone calling for additional legislation, as none would be required, they already have all the 'legal' power they need.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 20:36 utc | 87

@ pilpul artiste: In the last time i normally just post a comment, without checking responses later. After years of blogging and Twitter myself, i am too tired for the mostly futile pseudo discussions that mostly occur.
So i am even more thankful that you found value in my post, now that i did check out further responses and comments.

Many other (mostly the other regulars) here do give me some hope though.
Many of those that overrun the bar in the last months especially.. not so much.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Apr 22 2020 20:42 utc | 88

It looks to me like it's the lockdown enthusiasts, who certainly are the vast majority so far, who are enacting a pantomime of death - physical shunning of your fellow humanity, burying yourself alive.

And all for the sake of desperately clinging to the bare fact of life while throwing away everything that makes life worth living.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 20:42 utc | 89


I have pondered all the evidence and my opinion is an evolving one. I haven’t boxed myself in with a set of ideas and rules that I like to see it to the end. I disagreed with your assessment on your very first article in Jan. (post 42) albeit indirectly, commenting on another poster and my worst fears were realized.

The science of Covid-19 is murky, at best. Whether it is intentional or not, there remains many unanswered questions plus ambiguous and contradictory findings on a daily manner.

Question of lock down cannot be addressed purely on a scientific basis since we don't live in that kind of a world. There are many social, political, financial, moral and ethical variables to consider. Then, there is the issue of trust in one’s government, that apart from a few countries, it is in a very short supply.

The two examples of success regarding combating the virus are two extremes on either side of the equation which are China and S. Korea. One chose a total lock down with draconian measures (that you are loosely advocating) and the other chose freedom of movement, use of masks, massive testing and tracking. I, as a healthcare professional, am in the S. Korean camp. Testing is key to this whole ordeal and the S. Koreans have proven it.

But then again these are two countries with a 70-80% population-trust in what their governments are doing. A lock down in countries like ours only works for a short period of time. You couldn’t possibly expect a lock down of 4-6 months to be successful while the clowns in charge trip over their management on a daily basis. The population won’t stand for it and they shouldn’t.

If we were living in a time that there was no other crisis other than this disease then you may have a valid point and approach. But we are not living in those times. I firmly believe that this crisis like so many others is contrived to hide and soften the blow of the real virus, the coming financial meltdown, that awaits all of us. Don’t get me wrong. Covid-19 is real. But the handling of it is very suspicious and furthermore, the makeup of this virus and how it behaves is even more suspect. Certainly, not a natural phenomena in my book.

To hide the meltdown of the financial markets, It was either this or a global conflict and the “pandemic” won the vote. In the minds of powers that be, it is better to achieve their objectives without firing a shot than a war that they couldn’t possibly win.

Finally and most macabre, Is the involvement of people like Bill Gates which should be frightening to all. Let me state here plain and simple. I say NO to any vaccine produced by the support of Gates Foundation and its subsidiaries e.g. the WHO, NIH or CDC, Merck and etc, and an emphatic NO to any ID chips mixed with the vaccine. Gates admitted depopulation scheme is plain sickening and it should be resisted at all cost. Studying his so called philanthropic work in India and sub-Saharan Africa proves that point. Those governments are already on the alert about his plans and have rejected it.

Posted by: Alpi | Apr 22 2020 20:43 utc | 90

The quarantine fight has been lost, too many people are against it, for many different reasons.

I have been called back to work part time beginning tomorrow. I have no choice but to return. I have been waiting for my UI to be approved for six weeks, and I am running out of money for one, and for another, if I turn down an offer of work, I will automatically be ineligible for benefits.

So, go to work and face possibly getting sick and possibly spreading it to the people I live with, or stay at home and suffer financial disaster.

Many, many people are going to be facing this exact same situation in the next few weeks. Most are going to be forced to make the same decision I am.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 20:43 utc | 91

@ c1ue | Apr 22 2020 20:08

The US instituted draconian population surveillance laws and started multiple wars over 3000 deaths in 9/11.
Exactly. Those same oppressive surveillance laws are still in place today because a population cowed into accepting any and all measures seems to be fine with it.

Your argument is both weak and specious.
You forgot to answer my question. How many regular flu season deaths do you accept before you will beg the gov to suspend your civil rights? If you say n, then I could argue 'but how about the n-1 people'?

I understand my concern could be turned around, as in how many deaths am I willing to accept before I'd accept a government kicking down doors to seize suspected carriers of a disease. And to be honest, I don't know. However, it needs to be understood that any course of action we deem justified in fighting C19 will be available to our overlords whenever they need them to control the citizenry, all they need to argue is 'hey, there are some people at risk of dying from (or with) a transmittable virus', of which there are many different types floating around the population at any given day.

@ pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 20:12

We are fine with the amount of deaths from an average flu season, between 30,000-60,000
Why are you okay with 60'000 preventable deaths?

Posted by: Juan Moment | Apr 22 2020 20:45 utc | 92

What is ridiculous is people, presumably in "democratic" countries, complaining about how their own governments "have lied us into wars, murdered innocents and destroyed the environment".

Fercryin`outloud, folks, its your own government you are whining about! Take some responsibility, will you?

Look, the Chinese had a brutal fascist dictator, and before that they had a dozen supremely nasty little chihuahua empires sitting on them, but they kicked those assholes out. That's why they no longer have a fascist dictator and the Limey scum are only welcome there to entertain their kindergartners while pretending to teach them English. People like to complain about Iran's government, but they used to have a fascist dictator too, and that dictator was also backed by the decayed and degenerate remnants of the old nasty little chihuahua empires that gave China such a hard time, but where is Iran's fascist dictator now?

People in the West sure do love their self-congratulation, but they're just a bunch of whining babies who cannot even take control of their own governments from a handful of feeble, inbred, greedy-grasping capitalist clowns. Hell, many of the people whining the most don't even want to take their governments back from the uselessly rich, likely because they like to nurse the ludicrous fantasy that they could somehow end up in that little club.

Like it or not, you need government, unless you are planning to go live in a cave somewhere and live off eating grubs and spiders. You need government for civilized society (at least until you grow up a little more), and the reason your government sucks is because YOU let it suck. In the meantime, you need that government to provide the discipline that you lack so that you don't kill yourself and your neighbors due to your own lack of self-discipline.

The solution to you not trusting your own government is for you to fix your government, not complain that you cannot go about infecting people with your diseases.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 22 2020 20:45 utc | 93

This virus is true novel if it divides folk that usually agree in such a way. The mental damage it is doing to our society is soon going to surpass any physical damage it was meant to do. I dont understand how people cannot have a civil argument without calling names. This virus really is toying with all of us.

First and foremost we must be civil and calmly listen to each others opinions. The solution is probably in between the extremes like usual. No we all cannot be communist china. At the same time we cannot be complete imbeciles and believe we need to carry on business as usual. As individuals we need to take care of ourselves and our families as best we can. At the same time, I am not for using force to make people do the right thing. I agree that is borderline fascism.

A middle ground must be reached. Sure it wont be optimal for either sides but its the only way. Sure many more people than necessary will be killed but freedom must also be exersized.

I am all for quarantine but then I go listen to respected Dear Dr Ron Paul and he brings me back towards the middle. thats where the solution is. Value freedom, value life. But in a rainy day, wear a raincoat.

Posted by: Comandante | Apr 22 2020 20:45 utc | 94

Covid19 has made people fearful, perhaps including commenters here.
When we are fearful, we are less tolerant of uncertainty and disagreement, more likely to be dogmatic.
When this crisis passes, I hope to see a return to respectful disagreement focusing on bringing forward missing facts to enlighten the conversation, and abhorrence for ad hominem attacks.

It is a sad observation that these days so many people regard anyone who disagrees with them as mentally defective and morally contemptible.

It is so much healthier to be curious: how did you come to that position? why would you believe that? do you have facts of which I am unaware?

Posted by: Deltaeus | Apr 22 2020 20:52 utc | 95

Juan Moment | Apr 22 2020 20:45 utc | 95

"Why are you okay with 60'000 preventable deaths?"

For the same reason we accept 40,000+ automobile deaths every year? Risk-reward.

Another thing to consider though is the people who do get seriously sick and survive are going to be financially ruined. 3-6 weeks in the hospital is going to run to the $100's of thousands, possibly a million $ or more, that is not even considering ICU.

Posted by: pilpul artiste | Apr 22 2020 20:54 utc | 96

Lock down is required to shut down outbreaks and prevent hospitals being over run, but at the same time, with no effort being made to remove coronavirus, the lockdowns can never be lifted.

Lockdowns must be accompanied by quarantine of confirmed cases and tracking of anyone who may have come in contact with a confirmed case. Get community transmission down to virtually zero and lock downs can be lifted. Constant tracking and testing, banning of social gatherings and events and life could get back closer to normal. Same as what China is doing.
We have very low number of cases and new cases in oz and it should be easy to get down to zero transmission, yet infected people are not being quarantine. Self isolation for fourteen days for those infected but no requiring hospitalization and 14 days self quarantine for those that "have come in contact with an infected person". What is the definition of contact. Why are these people not tested. At the end of 14 days self isolation that some may abide by, there is no test to check if they are free of the virus.
Because of this, even though we have low numbers of confirmed cases, and low numbers of new cases, we will be in perpetual lockdown- or if the lockdowns are lifted, there will be instant outbreaks.

At the site...
Self-isolation (self-quarantine) for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Self-isolation means you must stay at home for 14 days. You must self-isolate if you have COVID-19, or you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or you arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 22 2020 20:57 utc | 97

Posted by: Deltaeus | Apr 22 2020 20:52 utc | 98

When we are fearful, we are less tolerant of uncertainty and disagreement, more likely to be dogmatic.
When this crisis passes, I hope to see a return to respectful disagreement focusing on bringing forward missing facts to enlighten the conversation, and abhorrence for ad hominem attacks.

Unlike, say, Syria, which for most people here doesn't affect them personally and they experience it vicariously, this struggle directly affects everyone here, and both sides feel they're under direct personal assault. The panicked think anyone who resists lockdown is going to make them deathly ill, while we who oppose it feel our very lives - our chance at happiness, our ability freely to enjoy life, our simple freedom of movement and assembly, our ability to enjoy the company of fellow human beings, and in many cases our personal economic position - are under direct assault by fascists who want to destroy our lives.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 22 2020 21:00 utc | 98

the debate will go on.....COVID-19 is not much worse than the flu.
New findings reveal it is very much worse than the flu.

One thing is now known; there are multiple strains.
We are at Phase 1A: discovery that COVID-19 virus is more than a lung disease.

In the medical community they are discussing NEW findings and different treatment protocols.

Alarmed as COVID patients' blood thickened, New York doctors try new treatments


NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the novel coronavirus spread through New York City in late March, doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital noticed something strange happening to patients’ blood.

Signs of blood thickening and clotting were being detected in different organs by doctors from different specialties. This would turn out to be one of the alarming ways the virus ravages the body, as doctors there and elsewhere were starting to realize.

At Mount Sinai, nephrologists noticed kidney dialysis catheters getting plugged with clots. Pulmonologists monitoring COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilators could see portions of lungs were oddly bloodless. Neurosurgeons confronted a surge in their usual caseload of strokes due to blood clots, the age of victims skewing younger, with at least half testing positive for the virus.

“It’s very striking how much this disease causes clots to form,” Dr. J Mocco, a Mount Sinai neurosurgeon, said in an interview, describing how some doctors think COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, is more than a lung disease. In some cases, Mocco said, a stroke was a young patient’s first symptom of COVID-19.[.]

Waiting for a vaccine?

Posted by: Likklemore | Apr 22 2020 21:02 utc | 99

Gee, no rebuttals?!

I'll refer to the Global Times Editorial I linked to yesterday that elicited zero comments. It opens thusly:

"The head of the World Health Organization has warned that 'the worst is yet ahead of us' in the coronavirus outbreak. The warning came as many in the US and Europe are eager to go back to work amid the outbreak.

"The prospect of an outbreak remains uncertain. The restless sentiment in the West has been exploited and manipulated by some politicians. This is particularly the case in the US, with President Donald Trump publicly supporting mass protests against social distancing. Pre-mature resumption of work may trigger the coronavirus situation in the West to rebound and drag down global achievements in fighting the virus and plunge countries like China and South Korea into more risks.

"Pandemic prevention will become a protracted war. The Chinese people need to be prepared for a whole-year or even longer struggle with the virus. We must be clear that patience and endurance are key during the process and we need to enhance our abilities." [My Emphasis]

China, b and I are on the same page philosophically, ethically, morally, and scientifically. As you read the editorial further, you'll see China's adoption of a sort of Yin/Yang approach to economic life and viral control. Much underlying substance was relayed during yesterday's debate, and at its heart is China's very critical question the West's refused to answer: Why did you do nothing after you were warned?!

IF the West had followed China's example, they would now be contemplating reopening their economies, but they refused and are thus well beyond the curve of recovery. The responsibility for that failure rests on the shoulders of the West's so-called leaders. And now to try and atone for their wrongs they want to commit another, deeper wrong. It's akin to the War between Science and Religion--facts versus ideology.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 22 2020 21:03 utc | 100

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