Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 19, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-31

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

On two Coronavirus pieces on other websites:

The piece debunks itself when it quotes a Swedish epidemiologist who says:

“The truth is that we have a policy similar to that of other countries,” says Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, “Like everyone, we are trying to slow down the rate of infection … The differences derive from a different tradition and from a different culture that prevail in Sweden. We prefer voluntary measures, and there is a high level of trust here between the population and the authorities, so we are able to avoid coercive restrictions”

Sweden can do without orders of social distancing because its people will socially distance voluntarily when asked. That works because "there is a high level of trust here between the population and the authorities". That does not hold for the community of Somali people and other immigrants in Sweden more of whom are dying than in any other group.

Now project such a voluntary attempt onto the U.S. public where there is little, if any, trust between the population and the authorities. It simply would not work and one would soon have a runaway epidemic with all its bad consequences. Whitney's conclusion that we should all do like Sweden is thus not justified.


The piece was posted on April 17. One of the 'experts' it quotes is Dr. John Oxford, "an English virologist and Professor at Queen Mary, University of London." Here is the quote as posted on Off-Guardian:

Personally, I view this Covid outbreak as akin to a bad winter influenza epidemic. In this case we have had 8000 deaths this last year in the ‘at risk’ groups viz over 65% people with heart disease etc. I do not feel this current Covid will exceed this number. We are suffering from a media epidemic!

– “A VIEW FROM THE HVIVO / OPEN ORPHAN #ORPH LABORATORY”, blog post on Novus Communications website, March 31st 2020

Two remarks:

a. On April 17, when Off-Guardian posted the piece, the United Kingdom already had 14.607 deaths from Covid-19. Those were 6.600 more than the total number Dr. John Oxford predicted. If the real numbers, which are still increasing, are already 80+% higher than the expert's guestimate should one really use that expert to claim that the 'coronavirus panic' is unjustified?

b. Dr. Oxford made his claim in a "blog post on Novus Communications website". Novus Comes is a public relations agency which provides "financial social media & digital communications for small caps". The company is paid by its clients to talk up certain sectors of the stock market. Should one really use paid PR posts on a PR company's website to judge if some 'panic' about an epidemic is justified?

As for the other 'experts' Off-Guardian quoted. Yes, there ar some doctors who do have a different opinion than most of their colleagues. But that does not make them right.


An astroturfing campaign was launched in the U.S. to end the lockdowns. It is paid for by rightwing big money:

Somebody did some extremely basic WHOIS searching and found that the person who set up all the "reopen $STATENAME" protest web sites is in fact one guy in Jacksonville. -> reddit thread


[Thread] 1/ Much talk this morning about numerous Facebook groups cropping up with "insert state name" + "against excessive quarantine". Some are suggesting that there is mass astroturfing campaign occurring to pressure state governors to reopen after Donald Trump's tirade

Covid-19 is a really, really nasty disease:


We need to learn from this:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on April 19, 2020 at 14:26 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

I wonder how many domestic cats are tested for COVID-19. They can catch and spread it.
The previous SARS was found in the civet cats. From the research I link it seems domestic cats would be an ideal host reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 - not that they have been found to be a reservoir in China though.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 20 2020 5:08 utc | 201

Dang, i am going to have to put on a mask when i get home from work. I'd be really upset if i brought home Covid and infected my cats.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 20 2020 5:14 utc | 202

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 4:50 utc | 204

"Progression rates do not appear to be different in Sweden..."

Death rate per population in Sweden is currently worse than in 180 + other countries.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 5:19 utc | 203

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2020 4:37 utc | 203
& other insult-mongers:

You guys have a lot of nerve calling anybody else hysterical. Calm the fuck down. First you say nobody knows, spreading FUD sround, which is semi-accurate, just like B says; and then you start pumping the ideas of this or that narcissistic attention whore with a "cure" or some study based on "common sense" or "reasonable assumptions". Studies are like theories, a dime a dozen, anybody can do them, good ones that work, can be relied on, are much harder to come by. Go join a cult or something, you'll be much happier, you'll get all the groupieness you can handle.

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 20 2020 5:21 utc | 204

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 20 2020 4:23 utc | 202

"In reality I don't think the situation is much different in Norway..."

Norway has 5 times lower Covid 19 death rate (per population) than Sweden.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 5:22 utc | 205

China has the most domestic cats, but per capita Russia has the highest domestic cat ownership and far and away the cat-friendliest country. Chili, Italy and Malaysia also have high feline density.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 20 2020 5:27 utc | 206

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2020 1:52 utc | 164

"Why don't we see activists for changing the strategy to 'virus suppression'?"

We do see those activists everywhere in your beloved governments, police and media, along with the pro-totalitarian internet Amen corner that you and your fellow sycophants here exemplify.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 5:28 utc | 207

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2020 4:37 utc | 203

Thank you fairleft, I agree with you that posters should read / watch Ioannidis. He has a much stronger grip on this subject than anyone here as far as I can tell.

To many of the other posters here, many of you are just very bad at basic math. To give you an example, if you are comparing fatality rates between countries as if it mean something, you are bad at math. If you are are saying that Sweden has a higher fatality number per million as if it means something, you are bad at math.

I actually do like to read the comments when they provide meaningful information. Right now, it is filled with junk. Instead of commenting, go spend some time learning.

Posted by: JFo | Apr 20 2020 5:33 utc | 208

Just so I have it straight:

MoA is now a pro-empire, pro-authoritarian, pro-government site, where institutional "experts" speak the Word of Truth and have no agenda, and dissidents are demonized and accused of "having an agenda".

Meanwhile it's self-evident this bug is objectively no real danger; the neoliberal system is engaged in a campaign of mass psychological terrorism for the sake of covering for its looming financial collapse, radically escalating its plunder campaign and building a totalitarian police state; and the masses have gone clinically insane in the way they're imprisoning and economically liquidating themselves.

Except, that is, for those who always lusted for a Stalinist-type police regime, like many at this site.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 5:36 utc | 209

@Passer by - 208

Scroll further down on the page and you will notice that list of where deaths are increasing most rapidly.

In Slovakia, Russia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Canada, UAE, USA, Belgium, Ireland, Finland, Turkey, Israel and Indonesia the rate of increase is worse than in Sweden.

In the UK, Croatia, Germany and Argentina the rate of increase is the same doubling every 10 days.

That is a good representative sample.

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:36 utc | 210

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 20 2020 3:53 utc | 192

Membership in the Schengen Area does not automatcally lead to high death rate at all as eastern european countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany or Austria have far lower death rate than Sweden.

Sweden is worse than 20 Schengen Area countries and better than 6.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 5:37 utc | 211

As for astroturfing, the mass psychological terror campaign of governments and media (with the ancillary anti-China warmongering among the West), is by orders of magnitude the biggest astroturf ever, the first truly globally-coordinated astroturf.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 5:43 utc | 212

Premising that each death is a tragedy, the mortality of this virus is not something that should animate your nightmares.

As a virus, Covid19 is real.

We now have very solid infection and mortality data from a sample of in excess of 15,000 individuals that were/are aboard 4 cruise ships and 1 war ship.

In all above cases, the data is consistent. Infections run at around 30% of the population whereas mortality is fewer than 15 individuals overall for the 5 ships.

A population of 15,000 passengers, crew and sailors, infections of around 4000 individuals and 15 fatalities overall.

That makes it a mortality of around 0.1%.

This, I remind you, in a population that for several days shared common spaces, shared sunbeds, danced and dined together, shared buffet food, shook hands, patted each other on the back and spoke to each other at close range whilst living in a confined space at sea with shared ventilation in their cabins before confinement orders were issued by the captains. (Of course, as a nuclear powered war ship, in the case of the Theodore Roosevelt, confinement was a non starter.)

Then we have Sweden.

Unlike its peers, Sweden adopted the approach based on immunising society as quickly as possible. Although Sweden sensibly asked its citizens to adopt a number of precautionary measures, but for a few exceptions, life carries on normally throughout the country.

Yet, infection and mortality rates are comparable to countries that have suspended their economies.

How can that be?

We now know from a large number of surveys and tests, that infection rates are orders of magnitude higher than reported.

So the virus is already out in the general population.

AND THAT IS A GOOD THING. That is a very good thing indeed!

That is a good thing on several levels and as such, it should comfort you and put your mind at ease.


On one level, it shows that the mortality of this virus is far lower than reported.

On another level, the fact that the virus is already out into the general population, means that we are far closer to herd immunity than we thought.

This also means however, that by the time our leaders decreed we should shelter in place, it was too late. The virus had already propagated and the progression of the infections could not be significantly altered.

And this is the reason why the progression of the infection and that of mortality rates in Sweden mimic the progressions in other countries.

In other words. Ordering the complete suspension of the economy, may at best, turn out to be a futile act with respect to attenuating the progression of this virus.

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:46 utc | 213

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:36 utc | 215

Rate of increase is often higher when you are starting from a low base.

Whether it will ultimately reach swedish levels is another question, since post epidemic countries have various and different death rates, some low, and some high.

From the looks of the picture your link provided, the angle of Sweden is steeper than in most European countries, ergo higher rate of increase than most.

Currently Sweden has higher death rate than the big majority of european countries, and higher rate of increase than most european countries too.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 5:46 utc | 214

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:46 utc | 218

>>We now have very solid infection and mortality data from a sample of in excess of 15,000 individuals that were/are aboard 4 cruise ships and 1 war ship.

Warship has probably ~ 27 year old mean age, and higher health level (its the army after all) which has distorted mortality in the sample.

Criuse ships report closer to 1 percent.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 6:01 utc | 216

Thank you hopehely @161! I'm not as familiar with Russian as I should be, but I do have a passing acquaintance with the aorist tense in Latin and Greek, so I take your point that it indicates completed action.

However, I'll stick with 'is risen!' for my own English understanding since the 'is' is declarative, especially with the exclamation point, and I cannot see it as indicating anything passive, since the emphasis really is on the 'is' (unlike some 'ises' we have discussed in the past.) I'd rather use it than 'has' for instance as it is much more immediate and ongoing to say 'is' - and that's what counts! And certainly for those of us who say it, we are mentally following through with 'trampling down death by death' -- and there's nothing passive about that!

I won't go into issues of timelessness, since this isn't (oops) a theological blog. But Happy Russian Easter, everyone -- it lasts for 50 days!

Posted by: juliania | Apr 20 2020 6:11 utc | 217

fairleft | Apr 20 2020 4:07 utc | 197

"As with any scientific-method based survey, they reviewed all available data, with a few sensible restrictions:

"ELIGIBLE DATA: Countries and US states or major cities with at least 250 COVID-19 deaths as of 4/4/2020 and with information available on death counts according to age strata, allowing to calculate the number of deaths in people with age <65. Data were available for Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Louisiana, Michigan, Washington states and New York City as of April 4, 2020.""

There were 58,000 deaths as of april 4th, in fact anytime after march 20th, there were at least 10,000.

This highly credible research was only able to find 'Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Louisiana, Michigan, Washington states and New York City' as eligible for his research.

I suppose if one wants to make sure ones research comes to the right conclusions one must be very selective of ones research subjects.

Sorry man, I just don't find this report credible.

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 6:12 utc | 218

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:46 utc | 218

Now that i checked -

Diamond Princess + Diamond Princess + Grand Princess + MS Zaandam cruise ships death rate is 2 %, far higher than 0,1 %.

I don't remember countries building 10 new hospitals in a city due to flu. So it looks like death rate is higher than the flu, even when estimated via the cruise ship data.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 6:16 utc | 219

Diamond princess 4 fatalities
Grand Princess 1 fatality
Zaandam 4 fatalities
Ruby Princess 4 fatalities
Theodore Roosevelt 1 fatality

Total 15 dead over 5 ships

Out of more than 15000 passengers, crew and sailors, how do you work out a mortality of 1%?

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 6:23 utc | 220

@Bemildred | Apr 20 2020 5:21 utc | 209
You have just added another level of insult-mongering.

Personally I appreciate people having different opinions. Even better when they support their opinion with scientific studies. I dont see that as "pumping the ideas of this or that narcissistic attention whore".

There are so many uncertaintenties surrounding this pandemic it is good to share and learn from others.

There seem to be 2 kinds of responses to the pandemic.

1) Panic from a horrible pandemic, then find the evidence that validates the emotion. Anyone in category 2 should be convinced to cat 1 or stfu.

2) Do not panic from the pandemic but downplay it. Then enter a state of shock from the dramatic lockdown and cat 1's response to it. Seek evidence to validate the emotion. Anyone in cat 1 should be convinced to cat 2 or stfu.

And perhaps somewhere in between where I see myself moving towards coming from cat 2:

3) I dont have an f-ing clue, just try to stop caring much and accept I could die any moment.

Posted by: Joost | Apr 20 2020 6:23 utc | 221

Even if you take mortality only amongst the infected individuals aboard the 5 ships, 15 dead cannot possibly reach 1%

Total infected passengers, crew and sailors is some fewer than 4000 individuals

15 dead out of the 4000 infected individuals puts you at 0.37%

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 6:27 utc | 222

guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 5:46 utc | 218

"That makes it a mortality of around 0.1%"

That would mean 730,000,000 dead people world wide.

I think you meant .01%, which is still 73,000,000 dead people world wide.

But, I do see where you are coming from, anyone who feels this is a problem is seriously over reacting.

God damn, son!

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 6:28 utc | 223

C.D.C. Labs Were Contaminated, Delaying Coronavirus Testing, Officials Say

Fallout from the agency’s failed rollout of national coronavirus kits two months ago continues to haunt U.S. efforts to combat the spread of the highly infectious virus.

April 18, 2020

Sloppy laboratory practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, federal officials confirmed on Saturday.

Two of the three C.D.C. laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Early on, the F.D.A., which oversees laboratory tests, sent Dr. Timothy Stenzel, chief of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health, to the C.D.C. labs to assess the problem, several officials said. He found an astonishing lack of expertise in commercial manufacturing and learned that nobody was in charge of the entire process, they said.

Problems ranged from researchers entering and exiting the coronavirus laboratories without changing their coats, to test ingredients being assembled in the same room where researchers were working on positive coronavirus samples, officials said. Those practices made the tests sent to public health labs unusable because they were contaminated with the coronavirus, and produced some inconclusive results.

Posted by: pogohere | Apr 20 2020 6:30 utc | 224

C.D.C. Labs Were Contaminated, Delaying Coronavirus Testing, Officials Say

Fallout from the agency’s failed rollout of national coronavirus kits two months ago continues to haunt U.S. efforts to combat the spread of the highly infectious virus.

April 18, 2020

Sloppy laboratory practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused contamination that rendered the nation’s first coronavirus tests ineffective, federal officials confirmed on Saturday.

Two of the three C.D.C. laboratories in Atlanta that created the coronavirus test kits violated their own manufacturing standards, resulting in the agency sending tests that did not work to nearly all of the 100 state and local public health labs, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Early on, the F.D.A., which oversees laboratory tests, sent Dr. Timothy Stenzel, chief of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health, to the C.D.C. labs to assess the problem, several officials said. He found an astonishing lack of expertise in commercial manufacturing and learned that nobody was in charge of the entire process, they said.

Problems ranged from researchers entering and exiting the coronavirus laboratories without changing their coats, to test ingredients being assembled in the same room where researchers were working on positive coronavirus samples, officials said. Those practices made the tests sent to public health labs unusable because they were contaminated with the coronavirus, and produced some inconclusive results.

Posted by: pogohere | Apr 20 2020 6:30 utc | 225

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 6:23 utc | 225

Mortality is estimated per population infected.

US AirCraft Carrier Rusvelt has ~ 28 year old sailors mean age, mostly young and strong military people, i would not take that sample seriously.

According to Worldometers - Cruise Ships:

Diamond Princess infected 712 dead 13

Grand Princess infected 103 dead 3

MS Zaandam infected 9 dead 2

Per Wiki:
Ruby Princess Infected 662 Dead 19

Total: 1486 infected, 37 dead

Death Rate Cruise Ships 2,5 (way higher that flu - which is 0,1)

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 6:59 utc | 226

@Joost #226:

I tend to agree with 3. We'll have some data eventually. Meanwhile we must all surf as best we can. The binary thought patterns of many is scary. This is a soup. For instance, if there are several strains gamboling about then it is somewhat useless to compare stats from different regions until the flow and morph of the strains can be mapped. Just one set in many sets of vars to consider in this soup.

Posted by: Dr Wellington Yueh | Apr 20 2020 7:00 utc | 227

bemildred at

"pumping the ideas of this or that narcissistic attention whore" = citing epidemiological statistics experts at Stanford and Oxford.

And just for the record, I haven't insulted anyone here

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2020 7:04 utc | 228

@james | Apr 19 2020 22:40 utc | 121

@ 79 norwegian.. i happen to agree with @ 11 passerby as well...

Since you reply to me, I guess you disagree with the facts that I presented (repeated below)?
show number of deaths per million in Sweden to be trailing countries like

The basic facts show that countries with strict lockdown show worse "results" than Sweden, so the argument that Sweden somehow has mismanaged this issue falls flat on its face. It is not even an opinion, it is a simple fact you can read from that page. So it seems to me your agreement with passerby is not fact based.

i am not sure what has turned you off b and moa so much, but so be it.. frankly as far as sweden is concerned - i wish them all the best in the approach they are taking, but i can't help but point out sweden acted fully in concert with the usa-uk with regard to assange.. for that i hold a dim view on sweden that will take a long time for me to alter..

Well, this clarifies a few things. Your picking on Sweden is not fact based, it is ideological. Now I happen to agree 100% that Swedens actions wrt. to Assange is totally criminal and so is the actions of UK/US. But that has NOTHING to do with the statistics on how Sweden has handled the virus issue, right?

frankly i am surprised you are still here given your ongoing unhappiness with b and etc.. i too share oglallas position - a viewpoint can change and it can be gradual or quick.. i think b has changed as he has seen fit.. i guess we just see it differently..

I have been reading MOA for several years for the simple reason that b has offered excellent information not found elesewhere combined with very good analysis on a number of issues. That does not mean I agree with the analyses all the time. I am here to be informed, and maybe learn something new, not to take part in an echo chamber. Lately, concerning the virus issue, it is my opinion that the facts have been presented with an ideological slant that I am not used to seeing here. This has also coloured the analyses which in my opinion are not on the level I have come to expect from MOA. Now that there is also an excessive censoring of reasonable comments, I find it to be a sad development. Your comment that "frankly i am surprised you are still here" is a dishonorable thing to say that you should be ashamed of. I am able to make up my own opinion of what I read and comment on. Apparently you want to drive off people who offer alternative viewpoints to your own and create some kind of echo chamber. To me it says you are really not comfortable with your own position in these matters.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 20 2020 7:12 utc | 229

Diamond Princess 13 fatalities.

Grand Princess Crius " cruise from San Francisco to Mexico and back on Grand Princess between 11 and 21 February"

Ruby Princess. Left on 8th cut short on 15th due to several cases appeareing.

Military ships hardly a cross section of a population.

Diamond Princess though is a reasonable model Passengers all kept on the ship for some time.
approx 20% infection rate. 2% death rate amongst those that contacted it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Apr 20 2020 7:15 utc | 230

Just a quick note in support of b who I may disagree with on quite fundamental issues but who always approaches his blog tasks with an equanimity I envy.
Even the famous blind freddie can see that since the orange derp has decided that the covid 19 epidemic is going to cause problems for him come the election and who has turned his daily information sessions into deceitful exercises in moronic propaganda, this Moon of Alabama, plus every other blog on the net which has more than two sets of eyeballs on it at any one time, has been inundated by a pitifully inept maga army of grumpy, clueless men vainly but dutifully trying to expand orange moron's talking points into a coherent rationale - impossible, however just like trump herself, these types are incapable of rational discourse.

It all sticks out like the balls on a camp dog here, because in the past (the thick headed circe being the exception), most posters at this bar loathe the mainstream pols who are all that is to be found in amerikan politics (it is correct that most other nations are dominated by the same type of creep as well, the only difference being in most other nations it is still possible for outliers to be elected) in equal measure no matter which side of the parliamentary president they claim to sit.

maga types appear incapable of grasping a universe where decent human beings loathe the greed driven wannabe's but never will be's of the republican party in equal measure to the idols of equally simple-minded toss-pots convinced some creep who vomits high-sounding cliches & sound-bites through a set of $100,000 made for TV teeth can possibly be non-partisan, that flicking an upturned midle finger to supporters of maga-creep doesn't automatically signify support for over-toothed arsehole.

The other major difference for the vast majority of humans who refuse to live in amerika, no matter what, is if say, Macron were to win another term in france, or the awful Johnson creep dominate UK politics until 2040, it would make SFA difference to those billions of humans who don't live in england or france.

However, just about everyone on this old rock is severely damaged by all of the inane, greed-driven decisions made by whichever arsehole amerikans have been brain-washed into voting for that year.

Even worse many/most amerikans, denied access to a truthful history by this same indoctrination which incorrectly informs every factoid accepted by amerikans, regard that fact to be a source of pride, they cannot comprehend that the rest of us on this planet, vow to tear the heads off however many amerikans voted for whoever is the current creep the buck never, ever, in a kazillion years, stops at.

But we don't, so therefore, it's all horseshit isn't it? No, the anger is being banked, put away for a rainy day, just as the negative feelings towards athenians, carthaginians, romans, englanders or whatever other gangs of grubby greed driven imperial camp-followers have accumulated during the resource rape.
Payback always comes, in one form or another & frequently after the fact.

Posting maga nonsense on a site such as this serves as a red rag to a bull. Why can't these derps do themselves a favour & take their slavering fealty to the trump moron elsewhere?

Posted by: A User | Apr 20 2020 8:05 utc | 231

- Topic: COVID-19 in Sweden.

- The low rate of infections / deaths in Sweden could be due to something else. - Sweden is - for european standards - a LARGE country with only some 10 million people. And the swedish countryside is - especially in the north - sparsely populated. That could explain the low rate of infections/deaths.
- The climate is also helpful to reduce the amount of infections & deaths. from say november up to march the weather is simply too cold. People simply do go out that much as a result of the low (& sub zero) temperatures (in degrees Celsius). But this also could mean that in the (swedish) summer infections could go through the ceiling.
- That's why I am curious to see what the infection/death rate is in Finland & Norway. These countries have a similar population density & similar climate.

Sweden (source: Wikipedia):

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2020 8:07 utc | 232

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2020 8:07 utc | 236

>> The low rate of infections / deaths in Sweden could..

Man, where they finding you?

Sweden has one of the highest Covid 19 death rates in the world, number 7 out of 190 countries.

Death rate per population in Norway and Finland is 5 times lower (N) and 9 times lower (F) than in Sweden.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 8:15 utc | 233

@Passer by (#237):

- Haven't got the faintest clue what the death / infection rate is in Sweden.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 20 2020 8:24 utc | 234

It has been said before, but I'll repeat/add to it:

> We can not lock ourselves and our positions in face of such a dynamic situation. It is totally normal to fluctuate between assessments as the situation progresses, even if/when they are conflicting.

> We can differentiate clearly what are our own biases and gut feelings from what elements we can take for certain.

> We don't have direct access to all relevant data. Even official data is tainted with errors and inaccuracies.

> Technical expertise is still drowned in new data and debating back and forth. It is far away from achieving a modicum of universality.

> The situation is politically charged and questioning ideological fundamentals, prone to the full range of manipulation of facts and myths.

Now most of us feel the pressure to take a stand and adopt a position, a political one, which as the situation calls for revolves around finding the most appropriate and timely measures with the aim of leading us to the other side of the epidemic crisis. Personally this created a meta-debate between "we can't reach a conclusion yet, there is no point in discussing further" and "we should at least be able to enumerate what is at stake, influential antagonist interests are involved and they are making their moves". If I am leaning on the latter, which I obviously am, I have to take to heart the arrows above.

The most prominent tension between herd-immunity vs lockdown, I am favouring the latter on a precautionary principle. The lockdown was a short-term necessity to be toned down as the longer term goal of herd-immunity becomes achieved. How fast to advance out of the lockdown will be supported with the better weekly data as it comes in, no way around that. That is if a wider or localised suppression strategy is inaccessible in financial terms (China ability). Even if we find out that the crisis was magnified by erroneous or manipulated data, for those privileged to have observed in advance the impact in Italy and Spain and avoid such scenario the precautionary principle already did its job.

Yes the room is opened up for authoritarian entrenchment, which becomes an unavoidable struggle, but I am not sure at all it will depart from a better position to prevail when the push comes to shove. In any case this is a case of addressing the devil you know before addressing that which you don't.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Apr 20 2020 8:27 utc | 235

@james | Apr 19 2020 22:40 utc | 121

I wrote a reply to you over several paragraphs about half an hour ago. It looks like it was deleted. I am sorry that you are unable to read my reply.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 20 2020 8:29 utc | 236

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Apr 20 2020 8:27 utc | 239

Now most of us feel the pressure to take a stand and adopt a position, a political one

This is indeed, like everything else, a political controversy which boils down to value judgements.

But we see how the pro-authoritarians have taken up the standard anti-democracy, pro-technocratic position that this is not political (and they fraudulently claim not to be political), but purely a technical matter which should be left to the system's mainstream experts.

That in itself, of course, is nothing but the very aggressive political ideology of scientism/technocracy.

The most prominent tension between herd-immunity vs lockdown, I am favouring the latter on a precautionary principle.

Aside from the other reasons to oppose lockdown, I oppose it on the precautionary principle against Wall Street plunder expeditions and the police state. We know what the government is up to here. Quite simply, almost everyone who used to pretend to be against all that turns out to be a fraud the moment anything looks at all serious.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 8:42 utc | 237

To Fairleft and others who want to split-hairs over "died with" versus "died of".

To some degree I sympathize with them, in that they are arguing for a more nuanced understanding of Covid-19. And who wouldn't like to have a nuanced understanding of, well, anything? Certainly I would.

But let's get real here and accept that during a pandemic there are some things that will reliably be recorded, and some that will not.

For example:
1) Deaths. Pretty clear-cut. Nobody will be "mostly-dead", no matter how much Miracle Max claims that is possible.
2) Testing positive to corona virus. Some false-positives, sure, some false-negatives. But the number of people who "die while sick with covid-19" is going to be pretty accurate.
3) Testing positive to corona virus but dying of Something Else.

Give. Me. A. Break. You are kidding, right? How do you even measure that last one, even on a quiet day on the Ward?

But it is hard to see how anyone can expect the medical staff to parse cause-of-death that carefully when they are running around with their hair on fire, as these Emergency staff undoubtedly are?

I don't think you can. It's just asking too much.

To my mind the only sensible way to categorize deaths is this:
If someone died while sick with covid-19 then you record the cause of death as "covid-19 related".
And that's what you work with in terms of public policy, because that's all you can reasonably expect to be able to know.

And if you want a pedantic-pants knowledge of how many "died with covid-19" versus how many "died of covid-19" then, so sorry, you are going to have to wait until you are in the position to compare the number of deaths have been recorded during this epidemic versus the "historic" number of deaths during the preceding "non-pandemic years", and the difference between those two numbers will tell you how many deaths can be attributed to covid-19 versus how many can not.

People like Fairleft will then have their answer. A bit late to be able to do anything meaningful with it but, hey, it is what it is.

Because that's how I see this argument: it is an insistence on knowing something that is currently unknowable, all the better to argue that we shouldn't be doing anything.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 20 2020 8:46 utc | 238

Here is a teaching by the fully enlightened Buddhist monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, which helps show how we can reduce the suffering of illness through wise contemplation. If you know anybody who is sick please send it to them.

In English, German, Spanish, French and Russian:

Dhamma for sick people

Dhamma fuer kranke Menschen

Dhamma para gente enferma

Dhamma pour les gens malades

Дхамма для простых людей, страдающих от болезней

“This Dhamma talk is for stimulating the intelligence of people who are ill. Please read carefully and consider thoroughly. Illness ought to be seen as natural occurrences for all physical saṅkhāras (bodies), whether humans or other animals, because saṅkhāras undergo change. Whenever there is change, it can be up or down. Upward change feels comfortable and healthy. Downward change creates illness. When physical saṅkhāras get successively older, most of the change is painful and ill. This fact needs to be seen as it truly is: all saṅkhāras are just like this...”

Posted by: BM | Apr 20 2020 9:05 utc | 239

A User @235: "However, just about everyone on this old rock is severely damaged by all of the inane, greed-driven decisions made by whichever arsehole amerikans have been brain-washed into voting for that year."

Well, America is where the empire is ruled from, so that is to be expected, though I am curious if the citizens of the has-been empire have been able to see any real policy differences from the current empire dependent upon who is installed in the White House. I am aware that the current occupant doesn't put a very nice spin on that imperial policy so it may be that people's perceptions of that policy are not as positive, but I am most interested in knowing if people have seen any real difference in policy. I am just wondering if giving the imperial policy the Obama Treatment is worth it. Does sugaring the road really help the vassals sleep better at night?

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 20 2020 9:31 utc | 240

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 8:42 utc | 241

Aside from the other reasons to oppose lockdown, I oppose it on the precautionary principle against Wall Street plunder expeditions and the police state. We know what the government is up to here.

Which is a fine position which I relate with, even borrowing the expression on its head. As I see it that actual risk is less universal than the disease, I can clearly see increasing police state risk in the order of the short list: Portugal, Netherlands, France, United States to mention some countries I know. We are in a global forum and the level at which the political position applies itself is surprisingly non-global. Naturally I am weighing my own national level risks when adopting the position that I am adopting. I'll trust you are doing the same.

Quite simply, almost everyone who used to pretend to be against all that turns out to be a fraud the moment anything looks at all serious.

There was a wake up call in my country just yesterday when the inhabitants of an Hostel where one was found positive, along with four other suspects out of ~200 neighbours was evacuated for decontamination. It sounds disproportionate and nearly an abuse of authority as I don't think they had a voice in allowing or disallowing the occurrence. Days earlier the case had been different where the positive/suspect cases proportion was much higher. Trial balloons and priming of public opinion.

I truly don't see a way to avoid this authoritarian opportunism, given how I perceive the epidemic, I do think we are better provided to objectively assess the latter vs the former. "Hoping for the best" in the approach in the side of the epidemic is a worse risk in my view. I may turn wrong.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Apr 20 2020 9:37 utc | 241

It’s a contagious virus we need to avoid catching it !
It really is that simple, save your ink.

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 20 2020 9:38 utc | 242

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 20 2020 4:00 utc | 194 @Richard Steven Hack #128 my numbers cover New York State - which has 19.44 million people - vs. just New York city.

The 4,000 I referred to are the people on ventilators now for the state, according to Cuomo, if he was quoted correctly, that is. Presumably the 3,200 or so who will probably die in New York state will do so over the next three weeks or so. Of course, Lombardi will increase during that time as well. New York City is at 10,022 tonight while Lombardy is at 11,851. Most of those 3,200 new New York deaths will be in New York City, with only a handful outside of the City, mostly Nassau County.

"New York's lockdown started 2 weeks later - so that fact that Italy's overall nCOV mortality continues to increase (as is Spain's) makes it seem unlikely that there will be significant tapering off. Which could drive the NY mortality to really big numbers...2x or more "normal" mortality over multiple months."

Indeed. They may be in a "neck-and-neck race" to see who will end up with the biggest number. Right now, Italy is around 23,000 and New York State is only close to 14,000, so New York has a ways to go. But New York City will probably beat Lombardy if the numbers continue as they are now.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 9:44 utc | 243

quarantine the healthy 27% ...

In just one Ohio prison, 1,828 inmates — 73% of the total — have tested positive for #COVID19, state officials say. The remaining 667 prisoners now are in quarantine.

quarantine the healthy

Posted by: Mµ | Apr 20 2020 9:46 utc | 244

The clowns who complain that the actions of governments in restricting movement during a pandemic are "authoritarian" are the same clowns who have no problem voting for someone in an election - which is itself "authoritarian", i.e., dominance by popular vote.

It's the *same damn thing*!

What would these idiots say if the pandemic regulations were voted on in a popular democracy style of society? I guarantee you, they would still be bitching and moaning. Because in the end, their complaint is based on their personal agendas, which devolve down to irritation at being told what to do - and specifically, irritation at (pick one or more): 1) no attending ball games this summer; 2) no hanging out at the bar or going out to a restaurant; 3) no going to the clubs; etc., etc.

Except they don't mind telling everyone else what to do - which is why they vote. I don't see any declared anarchists - other than myself - in this blog.

Sorry, the lot are hypocrites.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 9:51 utc | 245

I see morons are still arguing that someone with heart disease who dies while infected with coronavirus is *not* dead due to coronavirus.

Once again for the retarded (of whom we appear to have many):

1) Would they be alive *today* if they did *not* have COVID-19 *yesterday*?
2) Would they be alive *today* if they had a *normal* flue *yesterday*?

Now go read what this virus does to the lungs, the heart, the liver and kidneys, and pretty much everything else in the body it touches.

Go talk to the front line doctors who will tell you they've never seen this level of damage from a virus in their careers (short of Ebola).

No, these people are *trolls* who simply want to argue because they have cognitive dissonance and can't believe any of this is happening - so they don't. Or they don't care and are simply whining because they have been personally inconvenienced by this crisis.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 9:58 utc | 246


Asked and answered. Please look back at the comments that responded to you before.

How many times are you going to cite the same report?



Actually you're the one that's on side of authoritarian Western governments. They want to return people to work asap.

It's pro-business pols like Boris Johnson that initially proposed 'herd immunity'. And Trump started talking about returning people to work right after he got his bailout for Wall Street.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2020 10:05 utc | 247

I am very busy working, so haven't read many posts, but think b should do a piece on S. Korea, who has also avoided a complete lockdown with better results than Sweden.

Indeed, S. Korea with its massive testing, tracking and quarantining has shown how it should/could be done to lessen the impact on the economy, apparently.

China initially had to lockdown everything because it did not know what it was dealing with intitially. China was the first to identify a problem.

Sweden seems not to be doing the testing, tracking and quarantining, but seems to have a reasonably responsible population willing to self distance, possibly a result of cultural conditioning.

Right now a method of dealing with Covid 19 while limiting the economic hardships on populations must be found. Learning from positive and negative solution attempts is necessary, and I would really find it interesting and instructive if b could address this situation. So far, he seems to have been kind of defensive about defeating the disease without addressing the other elephant in the room. This needs to be done!

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 20 2020 10:11 utc | 248

And for the morons still debating the "mortality rate" - after it has been established by just about every knowledgeable scientist that the actual rate won't be known until maybe years after this is over due to primary, secondary and tertiary effects, not to mention undercounts and overcounts and the fundamental difficulty of determining cause of death short of a bullet in the brain - *who cares*?

What matters is the *potential* for 1) an extremely large number of deaths - whether "excess" or not, and 2) the overwhelming of the hospital system with the concomitant impact on illness, treatment and mortality from all other causes.

In other words, what part of *pandemic* don't these morons comprehend? Absent a lockdown, millions of people get it, and some percentage die - more than would die from the ordinary flu - which is absolutely clear given the damage this virus does to the body in people whose immune systems are weaker than normal.

And if your hospital system is overwhelmed - and go ask the front-line doctors if they're being overwhelmed (at least in the hot spots) - your "mortality rate" *will* go up.

Not to mention that people with comorbidities who die from *normal* flu don't actually die from the *flu* *OR* the comorbidity - they die from the body's *reaction* to the flu which has negative effects on the body's ability to deal with the comorbidity. Which is exactly the same in the coronavirus. In other words, it's not "either/or" - the flu or the comorbidity, it's *both.*

Which, again, does *not* mean the flu isn't the *proximate* cause of the death.

Now, these discussions are all ruminant evacuation by people with agendas - either personal or political.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 10:16 utc | 249

Jackrabbit 251

Actually you're the one that's on side of authoritarian Western governments. They want to return people to work asap.

And you just want people to starve in the street, while you cheer on the governments and banks forcing that.

There's no scenario where things get "better" out of this, no scenario where existing evils are abolished. I'm one of the few who is trying at least not to add new, far worse evils.

I'm one of the few applying the Hippocratic principle, "First, do no harm".

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 10:18 utc | 250

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 20 2020 9:38 utc | 246

It’s a contagious virus we need to avoid catching it !
It really is that simple, save your ink.

It's very likely we've both already caught it! Just like we've both caught cold!
It really is that simple, save your ink.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 20 2020 10:20 utc | 251

@Passer by

Indeed, some of fatalities numbers have changed over the past week though finding reason for death is more difficult.

Nonetheless, what happens on a cruise ship is highly representative not only because the population is living in a confined space at very close quarters but, most importantly, the passenger population is the cohort that is most susceptible to this virus.

Similarly, regardless the age of the population, the infection rate aboard the war ship is instructive in terms of telling us how fast this virus propagates.

Infection rates on all the ships are similar.

Regarding the Zaandam, thanks to The Guardian, we have a fairly accurate account of what happened.

The Guardian's Hit Piece On The Zaandam

The narrative, tells us:

March 7th, 1200 passengers board the Zaandam

March 14th, the Zaandam docks in Chile but passengers are not allowed to disembark

March 22nd, flu- like symptoms are reported amongst passengers and crew.

Here is the problem.

Between boarding on March 7th and the influenza-like symptoms becoming manifest on March 22nd, we have an interval of 14 days.

This tells us that whomever carried the virus onboard the Zaandam, had a leisurely 14 days to spread it around and spread it good! So, for 14 days, passengers and crew mingled, cooked, ate, drank, danced, spoke to each other, drooled and sprayed over each other, touched surfaces, touched food, used bathrooms, touched laundry, walked around, swam in the pool, shared sunbeds and dripped sweat on all manner of surfaces for other passengers to smear themselves in.

Those 14 days should have been the infectionpalooza of the whole sorry Covid19 boondoggle culminating into a mortality fest of biblical proportions.

Yet, on:

March 22nd, when confinement was ordered, only 13 guests and 29 crew exhibited flu-like symptoms.

March 27th, 138 passengers and crew are affected by flu-like symptoms and 4 are dead

At time stamp 19:10 of the hit piece, The Guardian informs us that 1100 passengers left the ship in Florida to travel home.

In summary

Zaandam cruise ship
1200 passengers
850 crew
March 7th to April 3rd
Total of 24 days stranded at sea without setting foot on land

In this confined space that is a cruise ship where the median age of passengers is well above 50 years of age (the most susceptible cohort to respiratory diseases), where isolation is impossible, where passengers and crew live at very close quarters and where cabins share ventilation...

In 24 days, this virus infected AT MOST 209 passengers and crew.

Of the 4 fatalities reported, ONLY 2 tested positive for Covid19.

This data is perfectly consistent with the data we got off the Diamond Princess as well as the Grand Princess cruise ships.

Posted by: guidoamm | Apr 20 2020 10:22 utc | 252

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 20 2020 10:11 utc | 252 Indeed, S. Korea with its massive testing, tracking and quarantining has shown how it should/could be done to lessen the impact on the economy, apparently.

And here's the problem: The United States is *not* South Korea.

I've read an article on exactly how South Korea controlled the virus. It was because they spent the last X years preparing for it, because of their previous experience with SARS and MERS.

The Korean Playbook for COVID-19 (Translated)
How South Korea did it, direct from the source

South Korea has a *system* set up all the way down to the local community. The United States has *nothing* like that. The article pointed out that 1) it tooks *years* for South Korea to set up this system, and 2) much of it probably wouldn't translate to US culture.

So it's not that simple. Yes, it would be nice if the US had done the necessary preparation. That subject has been done to death, too. The salient fact is the US was *not* prepared. Therefore it's *only* viable option was a "lockdown" - if you can call this minimal "shelter-in-place" a "lockdown" - which it is *not*. It was too little, too late. And if it is loosened before an adequate testing and tracing and isolating system is set up, the virus will come back. more people will die, there will be more hot spots, and then more "lockdowns" - and *more* impact on the economy.

This is what happened to some US cities in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that played fast and loose with a lockdown.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 10:28 utc | 253

I live in a city that is being ravaged by the pandemic. With God's good grace no-one known to me has died or suffered from Covid-19. No-one I know has reported that anyone they knew has experienced this dreadful illness and they knew of no-one who had reported any bad news to them.

I am very fortunate. I am sure that there are many who could report very different experiences?

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 10:46 utc | 254

"And you just want people to starve in the street..."

I'm no fan of the bunny, but this is retarded a deeply irrational accusation.

Let's step through the logic here (hope you have your waders on): The bunny and the capitalist elites want Russ and William Gruff and the rest of the 99% to starve in the street so that the banks can get...something? Their houses that the banks already hold the title to due to them having mortgages? Their pickup trucks even though the banks have the titles to those too because of the auto loans everyone uses to buy vehicles? The government wants their tax base to starve to death and thus disappear?

It looks like this Russ character is exceptionally excited about something that he has not really thought through. How does this lockdown benefit the capitalist elites? If anyone chooses to explain this to me please use simple words and complete thoughts as I am not very smart and not accustomed to intuitively arriving at counter-intuitive conclusions.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 20 2020 10:49 utc | 255

Regarding the bail-out.

Americans Are Paying A Tragic Price For Allowing Five Banks To Control The U.S. Economy (Wall Street On Parade)

"Americans need to use this time at home to call their Senators and Reps in Congress and demand the separation of federally-insured, deposit-taking banks from the casinos on Wall Street. We’re talking about nothing less than the survival of this country and how the next generation is going to view the character and courage of our generation."

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 11:04 utc | 256

Two important results in Switzerland and Germany show that it is the elimination of large gatherings together with mask wearing and social distincing that have had the main impact on reducing the infectivity of covid-19, not the lockdowns (which appear to have had relatively minor effects so far, according to these two results). Any measures have a built-in delay of 8 to 10 days before their effects, due to the incubation periods of successive infections.

(in German)

Posted by: BM | Apr 20 2020 11:09 utc | 257

William Gruff @259

What happens is the banks foreclose, they get compensated by the Government AND they get the asset.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 11:22 utc | 258

@hack thanks for your information about the u.s. response to the spanish flu in 1918.

@gruff i'm not sure how to take russ, but i think the argument might be that they are using the crisis to loot the society (even more) and wind up in an even more powerful position than prior to the crisis. I think they are just taking advantage of the situation rather than manufacturing it, because in the short run even the elites are losing assets, but they of course are far better situated to handle that than people who can't come up with 500 usd for an emergency.

to me it's more a situation like haiti's, after a devastating hurricane--the hurricane and the devastation were real, but the "solution" involved people and organizations like the clinton foundation profiting massively from it while providing little if any relief. one factoid i remember reading was something like 100 million donated to the foundation to build houses, and 6 houses being built.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Apr 20 2020 11:30 utc | 259

William Gruth @ 259
To answer —- what we are seeing is an elite led, controlled population demolition, National and global.
They appear to recommend the right scientific approach, (plausible diniabilty) but at the same making dam sure it does not work ! Same duplicity as backing Syrian rebels for a humatrian reason when we know it was to steal land oil.
ie recommend lockdown make sure it does not work, hence prolong and control the rate of cull.
Evedence- allowing effected plane passengers in.
Delay the lockdown.
Deliberate shortage of ppe
Cross effection to care homes and elderly in community via care workers lacking ppe.
It’s like tracking ! the foot prints are everywhere.
Russ seems to be encouraging the cull. A bit like a freandly rebel not thinking they will cull him !

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 20 2020 11:31 utc | 260

ADKC @262

That sounds like a great deal! Banks in my neck of the woods already have thousands of empty houses that they have no idea what to do with, but more is always good!

Now about that compensation from then government... taxpayers are starved and dead, so no tax revenue. I assume that comes from the Federal Reserve? A big private bank prints up some dollars to "lend" to the government to give to their buddies in other banks. With no population to tax it will take a while for the government to pay that loan back, but that is tomorrow's problem.

So the banks get some empty houses that they cannot sell and they get some paper that they cannot spend. Perhaps they have a fetish for empty houses and worthless paper?

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 20 2020 11:41 utc | 261

re: chains on the doors to prevent workers from leaving.
[ ? protect from the pestilent hoards & perhaps fires outside factory ? ]

Mexico ordered factories making non-essential goods to close.

Many US-run factories did not, even as #COVID19 employees rose.

One US factory, shut down by authorities this week,

had chains on the doors to prevent workers from leaving.

? quarantine inside factory


Posted by: Mµ | Apr 20 2020 11:42 utc | 262

The current level of quantitive easing (QE) is exponentially bigger than in 2007/8/9

In September/October 2019 they were talking about QE being comparable to the 2007/8 crash (which is was). Now current levels of QE are a different order of magnitude.

This round of global #QE is just unprecedented!

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 11:44 utc | 263

William Gruff @266

All these empty homes and all these homeless??? Don't you see that vacant houses are exactly the same as leaving oil in the ground; it maintains prices/rents. It is monopolistic behaviour and you think that's good!!!!!

The banks cannot lose, they are taking no risk, they will leave those houses empty forever to maintain rents - the illusion of "scarcity" maintains high rents. Your focus on "empty houses and worthless paper" is misguided and a profound misunderstanding.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 12:00 utc | 264

In my cross hairs @ 269
That is a sweeping genralisation and racist ! There are good and bad people throught the world. all we know is that. You are one of the bad ones.

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 20 2020 12:07 utc | 266

Mark2 @271

"In my cross hairs" real target is probably Russ and fairleft - he is probably trying to associate them with anti-Semitism. Just ignore him otherwise he might start engaging with you.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 12:20 utc | 267

Good news: Ghana: 1042 cases and 9 dead
Vitamin D? Anti-malarial prophylaxy?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 20 2020 12:35 utc | 268

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 20 2020 5:19 utc | 208

"Death rate per population in Sweden is currently worse than in 180 + other countries. "

Since you do not know where they are on their curve, this is absolutely meaningless. Most likely, they are much further ahead in community exposure / herd immunity as they have not locked down. This means CV will runs its course normally. Other countries will be exposed for much longer periods of time.

Posted by: JFo | Apr 20 2020 12:38 utc | 269

Thanks ADKC I’m done.
On a practical level! Where are all the health and safety inspectors?
Doctors, nurses, care workers and general workers are protected by law from working in dangerous conditions right ?
Ok sue those responsible, take out immediate injunctions, court orders. Group together with a ‘class action’
Follow it right up the chain. Hell they did Capone on tax evasion!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Apr 20 2020 12:39 utc | 270

@Posted by: Pft | Apr 19 2020 22:19 utc | 112

From the "Not so fast..." department. Medcram Doc points in some depth, methodological (sample groups biased not random; questions about false positive rate in Ab test used in Santa Clara) and statistical issues with both the Santa Clara county and Boston studies, suggesting we should be cautious in accepting conclusions of these studies at face value.

Latter part of this YT also goes into a detailed technical explanation relating the different hypoxemia terms with diagrams of what is happening at the lung's blood capillary bed/alveola interface.

Posted by: gm | Apr 20 2020 12:48 utc | 271

Debt Jubilee for Bankers - Keiser Report with guest, Michael Hudson

Max Keiser: Workers who are getting sub living wages, in meatpacking or in delivery services or gig economy, are now in a position to raise their wages. Are workers at a point where they can start to bring back organized labour and bring back the power of collective bargaining or are they going to blow it

Michael Hudson: They're certainly motivated to, simply over the issue of workplace safety and the protection against the virus and the fact that they're being laid off at will by the employers with really no backup. So you would think that the the whole health plan, the points raised by Bernie Sanders, are certainly going to catalyze this and if they don't organize it means that they're just going to surrender quietly and make the economy end up looking like Greece. Where everybody gets poorer and poorer, they get unhappy, they commit suicide or they emigrate, and their lifespans shorten. That's really the alternative.

Imagine what's going to happen in three months when all of a sudden, they haven't been employed, all of the rent has been in abeyance is going to fall due. And the restaurants and small businesses they work for can't afford to open because they can't afford to pay the rent, which is their largest expense, for the last three months while they've been shut down There’s going to be a wholesale unemployment, homelessness will increase - if this doesn't trigger people acting in their self-interest I don’t think anything will.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 13:23 utc | 272

Alistair Crooke at Strategic Culture is worth looking at today.
He's predicting the collapse of the US dollar and the international trading system.
A New World Order indeed. But also a tabula rasa.

There is no reason why the collapse of the system should lead to something worse. Indeed it is hard to conceive of any worse system that could possibly survive.
Instead of howling calamity and predicting a reality that is likely to be no worse than that already in operation for the bulk of the world's population- does anyone think that the people scrabbling every hour to stay alive in the world's slums, care or ought to care whether our internet traffic is pouring into a imperial database? Does anyone doubt that it has been for years?

Instead of arguing how many corona virus corpses can be attributed to obesity and sugary diets we could be discussing the possibilities that Disaster Socialism opens up.
After all the rational response to calamities and collapses is always socialist in the sense that communities come together, help one another and rebuild themselves. If the world trade system does collapse there will be an immediate necessity for rationing, social distribution and the development-Cuban style- of food production. Tools will have to be appropriated, land too and labour organised.
The whole substructure of capitalism-private property and commodity production- will have to be pushed aside like rubble in an earthquake.
The current basis of petrochemical agriculture will have to be abandoned- and three cheers for that!- and organic, labour intensive horticultural techniques used in their place.
There will be, at one and the same time, mass unemployment and an urgent need for labour.
Out of such crises a new world can be born. There is no reason why it should be one designed by the enemies of life who controlled the one currently failing.
Crooke explains what is about to happen
"...the crucial point is made by Professor Rogoff: “We’re looking at a commodity-price collapse – and a collapse in global trade unlike anything we’ve seen since the 1930s. An avalanche of government-debt crises is sure to follow, he said, and “the system just can’t handle this many defaults and restructurings – at the same time”.

"This simply is beyond the U.S. Fed, or the U.S. Treasury’s capacities, by a long shot. The Fed is already set to monetize double the total U.S. Treasury debt issuance. The global task would overwhelm it – in an avalanche of money-printing.

"Does Mnuchin then, believe his and Trump’s narrative, that the virus will soon pass, and the economy will rapidly bounce-back? If so, and it turns out that the virus does not rapidly disappear, then Mnuchin’s stance portends a coming, tragic débacle. And with further massive money issuance, a collapse in confidence in the dollar. (President Putin would have been proved right, but he will not welcome, assuredly, being proved right in such a destructive manner)..."

Posted by: bevin | Apr 20 2020 13:26 utc | 273

Debt Jubilee for Bankers - Keiser Report with guest, Michael Hudson (2nd extract)

Max Keiser: Is it a possibility that we end up with a neo-feudal model going forward.

Michael Hudson: I think that's exactly the model. The difference is that in feudal times it was the landlord's, the descendants of the military conquerors who invaded England and Europe, who ended up with all of the surplus in the form of land rent. Today the role of the landlords in the 19th century, has been replaced by bankers because rent that is now being paid is essentially mortgage interest to the bankers.

The idea is that debt should be increased up to the point where all that is left is the minimum expense of living. Now, unlike serfdom and feudalism, the rent payers (the rentier payers) can live wherever they want, but wherever they live they're going to have to pay mortgage interest to buy a home, for two-thirds of the population, or they going to have to pay rents that cover the mortgage interest paid by the absentee owners for their mortgages. So, anyway, we have a mobile population they can live anywhere they want but all the money in their paycheck, over and above the basic living costs of food, clothing and transportation, is going to go to the financial insurance and real estate sector (the FIRE sector) in the form of debt service, rent, various forms of insurance.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 20 2020 13:26 utc | 274

"If you thought the Holomodor was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!" In my crosshairs@269

That just about sums it up: the 'Holodomor' was a myth cooked up by Nazi collaborators in the 1940s and designed solely to buttress the argument-beloved by fascists- that the Soviet Union was 'as bad' as the Nazi regime.
crosshairs is clearly a fascist troll with an agenda of ensuring that the capitalist system, which fascism treasures for all its worst aspects, should be preserved. He regards the deaths of a few million civilians, most of them elderly members of a generation fathered by the men who had crushed fascism on the battlefield, as a very tiny price to pay.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 20 2020 13:35 utc | 275

MoA, it's probably better for you to not write about this any more. It is really getting embarrassing. Just a few points:

-Sweden is of course showing lockdowns were unnecessary and counterproductive in any Western country. No need to quote Somalia.
-Many countries have already found that reproduction number was at or below 1 days before the lockdown.
-In the UK, 50% of all excess deaths are not from Covid, as many media have reported. They are due to the lockdown.
-So Prof. Oxford may actually be quite right. Moreover, 50% of deaths with/from the virus are in nursing homes. They don't benefit from a lockdown at all.
-The articles about the "nasty disease" are nonsense. Yes there are some very frail people, even cancer patients, and if they get the infection, any infection, their system will collapse.
-This doesn't change the fact that 50% develop no symptoms at all, while most of the other 50% develop only mild common cold symptoms. This is not a "nasty disease" by any means for the vast majority of the population.

MoA: R.I.P

Posted by: Former reader | Apr 20 2020 13:44 utc | 276

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2020 7:04 utc | 232

Yep, those guys are definitely among those I was referring to. Lots more of them around too. I ran into a couple today arguing over whether it was Uber or the subways that spread the virus in NYC, with lots of statistics to support them, lots and lots.

Alistair Crooke on the coming collapse of globalism, plus he explains a few things:

Revolutionary Times and Systemic Collapse – “The System Cannot Handle It

ProPublica on advice from abroad on dealing with Corona:

Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America’s Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen Their Economies

Mnuchin seems to be dumb as a brick, Crooke mentions him too:

'It's a terrific symbol': Mnuchin takes credit for adding Trump's name to coronavirus stimulus checks

Caitlin weighs in on anti-China hysteria:

MSM China Hysteria Gets Way Crazier And Dumber

So we are warming up more to Vietnam, which is doing well on Corona, but we hope to use them against China:

Vietnam poised to be big post-pandemic winner

Lots of nice charts about the situation in the UK:

The charts that show the real UK coronavirus death toll is much higher than first feared

On the situation in Sweden:

Anger in Sweden as elderly pay price for coronavirus strategy

Posted by: Bemildred | Apr 20 2020 13:45 utc | 277

Regarding the "nasty disease" articles: do you not realize that these are dementia or stroke patients that simply tested positive?? There are heart attack deaths that were tested positive after their deaths, but the virus didn't cause the heart attack.

So embarrassing to see once trusted MoA to fall so low.

Posted by: Former reader | Apr 20 2020 13:48 utc | 278

A User | Apr 20 2020 8:05 utc | 235

Nice rant, spot on.

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 13:53 utc | 279

William Gruff | Apr 20 2020 9:31 utc | 244

It is all a matter of perception. This is one of my arguments for not voting, no matter who you vote for you get the same results, and generally speaking they are not good for the average person.

So, the reality is no, there are no real policy differences.

However people on team blue or team red perceive a non-existent difference. This is why there is a 46% approval rating for team red and a complete disregard for all the evidence of how mishandled the virus was.

This is also why team blue's last president had overwhelming support from his side in spite of the fiasco's of 'healthcare' reform (a handout to the ins & pharma industry) and murderer by drone (who don't forget was a noble peace prize recipient) weekly meetings where he literally handed out death sentences based on someone saying a person was a bad guy.

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 14:04 utc | 280

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 20 2020 10:28 utc | 257

Yes, many Western nations, particularly the US, have made a mess of their health care systems and their response to the crisis. Yet, we still have to solve the problem of the virus and the economic consequences of our earlier indifferent, incompetent response. The alternative is that if the virus doesn't get you, the coming depression and mass unemployment may. So what can we do, other than complain?

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 20 2020 14:18 utc | 281

ADKC | Apr 20 2020 12:20 utc | 272

In my cross hairs sounds to me like so sad, who I believe got banned again. His comment to Richard Hack about the toilet is almost identical to a comment made a few days ago.

I believe so sad had admitted to being banned and creating a new 'identity' to come back here (a poster certainly admitted as much in a post, I am pretty sure it was so sad.

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 14:18 utc | 282

Posted by: In my crosshairs | Apr 20 2020 11:45 utc | 269

Those expressing credulity regarding the obvious dynamics at play here employ red herring and strawman arguments that underline the miniscule 'historic scope' of their mindset. Most can't even contemplate planning a few years ahead in their own lives, hail from families that have little (if any) sense of generational ambition, and likely spent their youth being educated by the pleb proadcasting system "programs" instead of receiving first class education from dedicated institutions for the training of the next generation of the ruling class.

So part of the problem here is simply a lack of imagination combined with standardized life experiences gained from the systemically insignificant life of the subject class.

"Why would the elites destroy [blah blah blah]".

Know thine self, and who knows, maybe you'll get clue and know thine enemies as well!

Order out of Chaos. Cue in Homer Simpson to say "do'h!" on Simpsons and possibly they may start catching a clue if the news is delivered via cartoons, or tv, or "alt-news".

Posted by: concerned | Apr 20 2020 14:21 utc | 283

Lots of fucking retards around here.
Well, if anyone ever had doubt about the fact libertarians were a bunch of egotistic narcissitic dangerous sociopaths, this crisis has shown this without any shadow of a doubt.
We'll see what their very own mortality rare will be when this is over. Odds are that even loony Sweden or Netherlands will have fared better.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 20 2020 14:40 utc | 284

bevin | Apr 20 2020 13:26 utc | 280

Crooke's piece.

It seemed a little convoluted to basically say the system is collapsing. Ramzin Mazaheri at the saker is saying the exact opposite. I don't really know which one of them is correct, but I tend to lean on the system collapsing side.

One of my favorite quotes of all time: “This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.” Douglas Adams - Hitchhikers Guide

I think it is important to realize that money is entirely fabricated, and only holds value because everyone agrees that it is valuable.

All that we really require to live is food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. These things will exist even if money ceases to exist. For the most part these things are offered by the planet with just a little work to procure them. No money actually needed.

Think about houses. They can be for the most part built in a month by half a dozen people, they should easily last a lifetime. Why does something that can be built for so little expense and time require a half a lifetime of payments?

Maybe, if we are lucky, the current systems collapses and humanity learns to live cooperatively instead of competitively. Not likely, but it is a pleasant thought.

Posted by: David F | Apr 20 2020 14:47 utc | 285

[I'm holded up in my hide out in the sticks, enjoying my supply of canned beans! Ha ha!]

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 19 2020 23:07 utc | 127

Who was it that most appropriately placed the above poster in the device used for conveying excrement to the sewage system? Very insightful.

The "plan" I mentioned was a collective plan for Civil and Political Response to this excessive and unacceptable over-reach by the ruling class.

Plans that entail being holed up in the sticks feasting on beans do no qualify.

Bon apetite!

Posted by: concerned | Apr 20 2020 14:48 utc | 286

Lots of people complaining about the reaction of the government to this crisis.

A User...great rant.

The fact is, if our gov't has botched this whole thing, either as a result of it being an overreach or too little too late...well, what the hell about this is new?

Our government has been bending us over a barrel for a good while now, so, as far as I am concerned, the train is still on time and will hopefully arrive us at the point where the average American has been squeezed enough that he finally admits to himself that this whole thing is intolerable. And so rightfully demands a gov't that behaves itself and is at the behest of its people and doesn't go poking about in the world.

I am tired of this Thucydides nightmare. Bring our men home before we suffer a catastrophe of a Sicilian expedition.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Apr 20 2020 14:56 utc | 287

Blue Dotterel | Apr 20 2020 14:18 utc | 290

So what can we do, other than complain?

1] TtR = Tax the Rich [ on (ill-gotten) wealth as well as income ].
2] EtR = Eat the Rich after guillotine.
3] Rt$ = refuse their lucre/money;
... sell them nothing (not even toilet paper);
... buy as little as possible from parasites.

Posted by: Mµ | Apr 20 2020 14:58 utc | 288

@ 240 norwegian... thanks man.. i am sorry that got lost.. maybe it will show up later... cheers james..

@ 259 william gruff - adkc back and forth....regarding the 1%, wall st and etc... any event that happens will be capitalized on - no matter whether it is a pandemic, 911 and etc. etc..that is the way capitalism works.. someone will profit off of someone else's misery and suffering.. i mostly see it like adkc william.. i don't believe the pandemic and lock down were decided upon by the 1% and wall st, but i do believe they will capitalize on it regardless.. i would have to get a lot more cynical to believe the virus was manufactured by the 1% / wall st... i am not there yet...

stop feeding the trolls!!

it is obvious who they are.. posters who make comments like this - ""whereas the majority here have become complete - or more likely have revealed themselves to be - completely credulous imbeciles."" definitely need to be put on ignore... it's very obvious... read there comments and acknowledge they have to be ignored..

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2020 14:58 utc | 289


hmmm ...

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime." - Honore de Balzac

Posted by: virtual | Apr 20 2020 15:07 utc | 290

@ Posted by: fairleft | Apr 20 2020 4:37 utc | 203

This Ioannidis isn't more "sensible" than any other doctor. We already know the virus is only significantly deadly to 65+ year olds. That's not the issue.

The issue is that the COVID-19 is a pandemic, i.e. it can infect, potentially, 70% of a country's entire population at the same time. Younger people still get infected, they still infect others. It would be a completely different story if younger people were completely immune and didn't act as vectors - in that case, isolating only old people (which they call "vertical isolation") would perfectly work.

In practice, vertical isolation is not effective. Everybody needs to be isolated. Japan was the most enthusiast of vertical isolation until they couldn't anymore: they had to declare two consecutive state of emergency.

Ultimately, what will decide how much a country will be affected will depend on three factors:

1) the nature of entrance of the virus in the country (i.e. if generalized or through a specific geographical point, a cluster);
2) the government's speed of response, and the nature of this response (if laissez-faire, total lockdown or partial lockdown - and in which degree of partial lockdown);
3) the capacity and sophistication of this country's healthcare system.

The optimum scenario is this:

1) one single cluster, with a clear-cut "patient zero";
2) full, absolute quarantine (which, so far, only China did);
3) state-or-the-art, vast, highly capilarized, universal (i.e. free at the point of use and fully integrated) healthcare system.

A country with these three characteristics will easily fend off the pandemic. Deaths will still occur, a huge chunk of the economy will still go away, but pain will be brief (if the economy was going well before, it should be back growing the next quarter).

China had the best scenario at 1 and 2, but it didn't have anything close to 3. It was only after the central government threw all its weight on the province of Hubei, with hospitals being built in 10 days and the PLA going to the rescue with even more doctors and personel, that Wuhan was finally able to properly contain the pandemic. But then a lot of time was lost, and, by then cases were already topping 40,000 and on an exponential scale. It topped at 80,000, but at least deaths stopped at 4,000 (which is less than Germany, which has more cases and, soon, more deaths than China).

Posted by: vk | Apr 20 2020 15:13 utc | 291

On the use of the "number of days for x to double" indicator, it is akin to using your average speed in the last 100km to decide upon the force on the gas pedal you should use to safely slow down before the next yielding crossing. One needs a measure of instantaneous velocity. We need the first derivative or its best approximation.

This might be a very easy and intuitive indicator to communicate the speed of the epidemic. It is very easy to tell people that a doubling factor of two days is bad, 6/8 days is average and we should be in good shape with 15. We place it in an S curve and we get an idea. But it is the worse instrument you have for comparisons, the crudest to actually reflect the phase of the epidemic, the most pointless to reflect its magnitude. It is the best abstraction to conclude nothing except maybe FUD.

If it is true that the longer time we are under this epidemic the worse the consequences, its true potential is not measured in terms of time but in terms of total population. It also appears obvious, the number of high population density zones (cities) serving as a multiplying factor, more than overall population density.

Let me reiterate the best all round I've found so far: daily_x / x_per_ypop (ie. x may be deaths/critical/positive with y = 100k), here's that link again. A glance on a such a graph allows:

- How much epidemic potential is left, again this is not in terms of time but in terms of population
- Using "critical" for x allows for an immediate conclusion be taken with respect to health capacity being threatened or not
- At which point in the epidemic progression are we, early stages, ascent, peak / plateau, descent
- At which rates each phase was traversed, were we/are we slowing down or accelerating (easy eye balling of the second derivative)
- Comparison against same population magnitude epidemic progress, absurd comparisons immediately excluded or making true outliers easy to figure

Populations above >10M generally group themselves neatly together by its total, following almost predetermined tracks of progress, they then vary by how long in that track the remain before breaking out, plateauing and/or initiating a descent. <10M is much less comparable.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Apr 20 2020 15:18 utc | 292

COVID-19 stimulus response to boost Japan's GDP by up to 3.8%, Abe says

Grow 3.8%? Like the previous package? And the package before that? And the package before the package before that? And the package before the package before the package before that?

If printing USD 1.01 trn automatically makes Japan to grow 3.8%, then why wasn't Abe administration - and the administrations before him, until 1990 - doing that before?

The answer is simple: it doesn't work like that.

Even the local "experts" aren't buying it:

Skeptical economists call Japan's largest-ever stimulus package 'puffed up'

Also, how are you going to leverage all that money, if:

Japan trade surplus dives 99% in March as coronavirus hits exports

Note: Japan is an export-led country.

Japan is in such a pathetic state that now even the 2021 Olympics is in doubt. What about that, Abe? Those billions lost are suddenly meaningless?

Posted by: vk | Apr 20 2020 15:34 utc | 293

What is a Virus?

Unlike a bacterium, which is a one-celled organism that is alive, a virus is a chemical compound containing genetic information. Once a virus is able to penetrate a wall of a cell in an organism, the host, it uses that genetic information to make copies of itself, i.e., replications, or it reproduces. At a high enough temperature, the virus disintegrates and at a lower but still high temperature, the genetic information in the virus, i.e., chemical compound, is damaged and it is no longer able to make accurate replications. This explains why the immune system of the host uses fever as a defensive measure. Since the process involves one of attack and defend, it is not certain that the genetic information in the newly engendered viruses are exact replicas of what was in the virus that initiated the process. This is termed a mutation.

Speaking of COVID-19 is a Simplification

Five strains of COVID-19 have been identified, each of varying lethality. For instance, the virus in Iran was especially lethal. As well, the virus is mutating as it attacks hosts and these hosts have immune systems with varying degrees of strength. A common property of these strains is that the virus is able to penetrate cells without triggering the immune system, which means the host is not defending itself against the virus while it reproduces.

Posted by: Albertde | Apr 20 2020 15:48 utc | 294

This is why vertical isolation doesn't work:

70 died at a nursing home as body bags piled up. This is what went wrong

Posted by: vk | Apr 20 2020 15:53 utc | 295

Another problem with vertical isolation or herd immunity: viruses mutate:

Coronavirus mutations affect deadliness of strains, Chinese study finds

But who cares, right? As long as my cupcake shop reopens, that's all that matters.

Posted by: vk | Apr 20 2020 15:56 utc | 296

I've come to the same conclusion as "Russ | Apr 20 2020 5:36 utc" described. This blog has become driven by pro-government, anti-freedom sentiments. I might as well read or The Huffington Post.

Posted by: Don Wills | Apr 20 2020 16:09 utc | 297

@ 234 norwegian.. okay! your post came thru but was held up in moderation or something...

regarding the passerby list verses your comments... as i have said before - the devil is in the details... i look at the Scandinavian countries for comparison..

here are the numbers for comparison..

sweden 14,777 cases and 1580 deaths... 156 per million population

norway 7122 cases and 171 deaths.. 32 per million pop..

denmark 7515 cases and 364 deaths... 63 per million pop..

finland 3898 cases and 98 deaths.. 18 per million pop..

it seems to me based on these numbers that sweden is fairing the worst of the scandavian countries.. jen posted some interesting comments suggesting that the somali community in sweden was most susceptible to covid.. i am not sure how to factor this into the numbers but do know in the west the lower income people are most susceptible to this...

regarding your other comments that followed this - while i do hold some animosity towards sweden for its handling of assange, my position is not as you suggest all ideologically driven.. as to your comment that b and the commentators are more ideologically driven then you are used to seeing - maybe.. it is a fairly subjective viewpoint, but i am receptive to this.. your comment that i want to drive you off couldn't be more further from the truth norwegian! in fact, i enjoy your commentary, but i have noted your displeasure the past few months at moa and have tried to engage you in a conversation about it previously, but i don't believe i ever heard back from you.. this is the first time we have been able to have the conversation and i am happy we have.. keep on keeping on... fwiw, many years ago i was in norway and found the parallels between norway and bc where i live quite pronounced.. i basically fell in love with norway of all the scandanavian countries.. i can't say i got to know the people very well, but everyone was very thoughtful and helpful as i experienced them.. i have had the good fortune to see firsthand some outstanding norwegian musicians - paul neilson love, a fantastic drummer from norway, atomic - a great prog jazz rock type band and numerous other players that excel at jazz.. you live in a great country~!

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2020 16:13 utc | 298

@ 234 norwegian... your post came thru and my response is now held up in moderation! check back later...

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2020 16:13 utc | 299

@ Posted by: Don Wills | Apr 20 2020 16:09 utc | 312

So, you finally admit you're anti-quarantine for ideological - and not scientific - views.

Posted by: vk | Apr 20 2020 16:13 utc | 300

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