Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 08, 2020

Early Lockdown Lifting Will Prolong The Greater Depression

Despite the so called lockdown the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. is barely sinking. It is only because the heavy outbreak in New York is now in decline that the number sinks at all. In most other states the numbers are just stable or still rising. But the White House and many state governors are lifting the restrictions and want everybody to go back to a normal life. This won't work.

Source 91-DIVOC - bigger

Two weeks after the states declare that everything can be reopened the new cases number is likely to again increase.

But people need to believe that it is secure to go back to normal life before they do so. They will not consume more than necessary unless they feel that it is safe to do so. How can they develop that trust while the numbers and headlines continue to show bad news?

The fear is reasonable at least for everyone over the age of 50 and for the many obese U.S. citizens. Covid-19 spreads easily, there is no medication against it and the infection fatality rate in the U.S. is estimated to be 1.3%, much higher than for the flu, even without accounting for New York County.

A good thing is that fear is the only personality-based variable that predicts virus-mitigating behavior. People who fear to get sick will continue their social-distancing and hopefully wear their masks.


Some 80% of GDP and employment in the U.S. is generated by services. The economy depends on people feeling safe. Who will go to a restaurant, a theater or on a plane as long as the trust that it is safe to do so is not there? The people will learn about the risks in those places and avoid them. That behavior will prolong the crisis.

A better strategy would have been to increase the lockdown measures until the number of new cases goes sharply down. People would then have regained some trust. Lifting the lockdown only when the people feel it is secure to do so would have been much better for the long term economy then the current rush.

The U.S. now has an enormous unemployment problem. To solve that problem as fast as possible the people need security and peace of mind. Only then can the economy spring back.


It is likely that the real unemployment numbers are some 25% higher than the official numbers. Economist Nouriel Roubini is right in calling this the 'Greater Depression'. It is now already larger than the one 90 years ago.

As the U.S. does not have a reliable social safety net the shock its economy will go through will be much longer lasting than the one in European economies. A lot of jobs will take several years to come back if they do so at all. Many people will lose their housing. General education and health will further decline. Crime will rise and more nutters will go crazy.

One current Amazon bestseller is by an anti-vaxxer who claims this is a 'plandemic', that Anthony Fauci funded the Wuhan lab, and that covering your mouth 'activates' the virus. The author is Judy Mikovits, a disgraced 'scientist' who has been caught faking her research and papers. She was fired from her institution when she was caught stealing its proprietary data.

That such a book sells at all shows the deep mistrust the people have in their government.

The U.S. needs a prolonged unemployment program to keep its people out of misery. It needs an enormous infrastructure program to bring the many millions of people back into work and to reignite the economy.

But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are calling for those measures. Instead they are busy shuffling trillions of dollars to those who already have too much money.

Posted by b on May 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Yup, b. You nailed it. Opening up before we get a 'handle' on this disease will be a complete disaster.

Posted by: blues | May 8 2020 18:21 utc | 1

It's not the coronavirus that's killing Americans, it's Western capitalism!

Posted by: Barovsky | May 8 2020 18:28 utc | 2

Excellent! The US, and probably the entire world, needs massive infrastructure works. Such programs are cheaper during depressions.

We need more:
1) Roads and bridges (repair)
2) Rail (for when peak oil mandates rail for most transportation)
3) Solar
4) Water
5) Wastewater/irrigation
6) Reforestation
7) Sea level rise mitigation, i.e. relocation
8) Trees, new forests, urban farms and community gardens
9) Decentralized schools
10) Decentralized manufacturing using 3d printing

We need fewer:
1) F-35s

Posted by: James Speaks | May 8 2020 18:30 utc | 3

It would work if we had a competent federal govt that had standard guidelines that 1. we trusted, and 2. were close to optimal, but no and no on both counts. Trump is such a narcissist that two years from now he will be bragging that he made Social Security great again (because a good portion of the recipients will be dead).

Regarding the death rate, it's bad, very bad. You only get the really low percent if you measure total number of people infected / death, but if you look at the total number of people who develop symptoms by death its well over 5%.

If you measure death rate by total number of people recovered / death it might end up being closer to 10% but those numbers are not in yet.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 8 2020 18:36 utc | 4

@James Speaks (3)

But. Fed.

Posted by: bjd | May 8 2020 18:39 utc | 5

Already several US states, where caring about human life has always been something of a joke- a quaint memory from The Enlightenment or the times before theologians had wrestled christianity into a practical form- what passed for 'lockdowns' have already been lifted. It won't be long before the whole country is back to herding the poor to work and piling up mountains of wealth for the oligarchy- and hundreds of thousands of deaths are ignored, explained away or accepted as a proper tribute to the great god of Finance Capital.

All of which is rather worrying up here in Canada, because it means that 'the longest undefended border in the world' is going to be open to the passage, along with free trade and tourism, of the coronavirus. Making a mockery of Canadian efforts, and sacrifices, to get the epidemic under control.
The Tyee today has an article on the subject.

Posted by: bevin | May 8 2020 18:42 utc | 6

Welcome to America's Shock Doctrine event.

Some sort of economic reset/restructure will either fundamentally change the way the world works or it will be made to look like that happened.

IMO, the virus results to the population pale in comparison to the economic/social contract evolution aspects.

Early lockdown lifting is a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 8 2020 18:50 utc | 7

Here in OC, CA, there is an air of try-hard optimistic frivolity as lock-downs are lifted.

There is a sense that "opening up" seems forced, a charade to act as if things are "normal."

You can now go to the store and sit in your car while your little consumerist urges are sated while an employee brings you your package.

We're opening up!

When did Americans become such children?

Posted by: Garbage in... | May 8 2020 18:50 utc | 8

I understand that dissenting views are not tolerated here - but I'll try providing one anyway and see how long it takes to get deleted.

We now know far more about Covid19 – the Lockdown should end

Posted by: DM | May 8 2020 18:52 utc | 9

It's hard to know what the numbers are saying when you don't know the percentage or numbers of people being tested to get the confirmed cases. Like most statistics, the person putting together the numbers can bend them any way they want.

Posted by: Tobi | May 8 2020 19:08 utc | 10

Literally every human concern - every social, psychological, spiritual concern; every political, constitutional, rule-of-law concern; every concern of human and civil rights, civil liberties, human freedom; every concern of children's healthy development; and literally every health concern except for this flu - have been eradicated from the propaganda and evidently from the minds of the police-statists.

Their minds have been scoured clean of literally every thought except for a threadbare fanatical obsession with quantity of life (an obsession they pursue in defiance of all the evidence; their lockdowns don't work even according to their own terms, let alone according to the terms of ecology, biodiversity, sound epidemiology; even their arch-ideologue and high priest Neil Ferguson was caught admitting that he regards his entire agenda as nothing but a Big Lie), and a grossly reductive notion of "opening the economy", which they deploy in order to slander the rapidly increasing number of people who are questioning, criticizing, and rejecting the lockdowns for a vast diversity of reasons I only briefly surveyed above.

The fact that the police-statists are utterly unwilling to meet any of these concerns except for the economic, and are willing to meet that one only in the most reductive, fraudulent, slanderous way which expresses total contempt for the vast numbers of people being economically destroyed beyond any hope of recovery (which is a major purpose and goal of the terror campaign and lockdowns), says it all about the total bankruptcy of their position. As in every other case, police-state authoritarianism has nothing but brute thug force, including in its ideas.

Posted by: Russ | May 8 2020 19:24 utc | 11

thanks b... perfect storm...and, in keeping with the decline of the american empire...

@ bevin... thanks for the link... will look after posting..

@ lucylou... how do you protect the health care workers?? what do you tell them and there kids and etc. etc.?? truly curious...

Posted by: james | May 8 2020 19:26 utc | 12

The thing that everyone seems to miss or ignore about ending, or at the very least, gradually ending the lockdown is that you're not supposed to end the lockdown for vulnerable groups. Every epidemiologist I've seen comment on this who is in support of ending lockdowns also says this.

And in fact, that's what we're supposed to be doing regardless. The current lockdown in the US has completely failed to protect the elderly and vulnerable. A huge percentage of the deaths are from assisted living facilities. If the US had actually done that effectively, the death count could be half of what it currently is, or even lower. The same is true in many other western countries.

That of course would mean putting real resources and effort into protecting these groups. They need to be fully isolated. Supplies like food and medicine need to be delivered to them safely without risk of infection. If they require care or live in an assisted living facility, there can't be people going in or out. Workers there would need overtime and hazard pay. Give them lots of it! There would surely be workers who would be willing to do that in spite of the interruption to their life if they got a huge bonus on the other end. The government has in the most corrupt of fashions already given trillions of dollars to the richest companies in the world. Even a small fraction of that money could have been used for this. Make them rich. It would've saved us trillions of dollars and the whole damned economy if we had.

And while the IFR for the virus may be as high as 1% in the US -- something I'm skeptical of but could conceivably be true given how unhealthy of a nation the US is -- the vast, vast majority of the deaths in that statistic are from these vulnerable groups. For people under the age of 40, the chances of death are so low as to be statistically insignificant. For people in their 50's it's still quite low. People in the US take on that level of risk every day just by living in industrialized society, mostly from the risk of car accidents.

The US could open society for the lowest risk people first, and then gradually move up to those who have more risk as the virus runs its course. Given what we know about the risk factors of this disease, that would prevent a massive number of deaths again if we isolate the vulnerable properly, while at the same time maintaining the economy, and, more importantly, all of the important things we love about life as we know it. It would still be a big undertaking and require a lot of organization, but given the enormous cost the US and other western countries have already paid and the fact that so many people are clamoring for there to be hundreds of thousands of people engaging in massive surveillance of the populace in order to perform contact tracing, it could be done. But of course it won't.

Posted by: Derpydoo | May 8 2020 19:47 utc | 13

No other alternative is tenable:

a usable vaccine is at least a year or more away (if there can be a vaccine developed for Coronaviruses as all);

the on the shelf medicines are all under test and, if any of them are effective, we will know soon;

a very small %age of the working population is actually at risk, the greatest risk being to the old and the very sick;

the number of carriers is already beyond tracing and effective suppression, given the peculiarities of our culture of limited government which we are NOT willing to give up.

We cannot have a dead economy for more than a year. No nation can and all nations will therefore be opening up. This is about a slow burn versus a faster one. As long as we don't exceed the carrying capacity of the medical system locally (and from NYC, it appears those fears were overblown) a somewhat faster burn will be beneficial towards a return to loss of fear and thus normality.

We are already probably somewhere between 5% and 25% true infection rates across the country depending on location (in cities). This needs to go up to 50 to 60% over the next six months and before the next cold season.

Let's take our Vitamin A, C, D, and Zinc, and let's get back to work.

Posted by: Caliman | May 8 2020 19:56 utc | 14

Bravo b. Your coverage of this cv pandemic is getting better by the day.

Tobi | 10

Good question you raise. The true numbers you refer to are not really available. In fact, they will not be known until this whole horror show is over. What we do know are the trends, ie deaths per day, new cases per day, and ER room visits. Every person who studies this problem know that the deaths and new cases are underestimates for what is really going on. What the epidemiologists are looking at is the changes in those numbers from one day to the next. For example one can have a poorly calibrated thermometer, i.e. you really do not know what your temperature is, but you can determine that you are becoming feverish by following the admittedly inacurrate temp changes over time.

Today it is clear that in the US, for one case, the fever is not breaking, but is holding steady at seriously above normal.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 8 2020 20:08 utc | 15

Without lockdown, the number of people crushing hospitals will be insane. Medical supplies will vanish and medical staff will die or quit. The vital point is that even if we let a few percent of the population get sick on purpose, the medical system will still collapse. As a result, there is no alternative to an even stricter lockdown, China-style, for the whole damn country. Anyone saying otherwise is only peddling the hail death sadism of the billionaires. Alas, Americans as a nation are too stupid to get this or to act with collective rationality. They literally can't think sociologically.

Posted by: Prof K | May 8 2020 20:16 utc | 16

lets face it, capitalism as preached in the usa can't do a pandemic.... bailouts are only for the rich... the divide and conquer concept is between the rich and poor..

Posted by: james | May 8 2020 20:36 utc | 17

south dakota (no lockdown) population 880,000 death by virus 31
north dakota (lockdown) population 760,000 death by virus 31

Posted by: dp | May 8 2020 20:36 utc | 18


Yes, Fed. Ergo, 3d party populist candidate opening. Tulsi's failure was to utter nothing except "withdraw" which is decidely non-sexy.

I digress.

Posted by: James Speaks | May 8 2020 20:41 utc | 19

south dakota 31
north dakota 31

Posted by: dp | May 8 2020 20:41 utc | 20

So many of the respondents here are inanely putting the "economy" (please define) above the health of other people, especially the most vulnerable. All in the name of making "money" in an economic system which is and has been parasitic to the common person. Are you in a rush to save the oligarchs?

People quote all kinds of different statistics. Those that don't like the lockdown and are antsy quote low numbers typically (eg: only a 0.000003% real infection rate (or, another way of trying to minimize it is by saying that it's not even as bad a a normal flu), whereas others quote higher rates, eg: 10%). It all depends on how one calculates it, and those calculation are dependent on:

* numbers from "official" sources,
* and the numbers from official sources depends on who is doing the counting
* and who is defining the cases
* and what political affiliation they are with
* and what their ideology is
* and who is running the tests
* and how accurate the tests are (or aren't)
* and on which scientific theory the tests were modeled after (and how accurately that particular theory address detection of Covid-19)
* and if those responsible for looking after the true reported numbers (once they are out) actually release those numbers in a true, unmodified way to the public
* etc.

But since so much is still unknown about Covid-19 including true infection / death numbers, it is sheer stupidity to say that it's time to lift lockdowns for this group or that group - unless one is suicidal, that is, or so blinded by which ideology they follow that they are willing to sacrifice the lives and health of their fellow human beings so that they can prove their point. That is true selfishness and hubris.

I'll bet that those who most desperately want the lockdown lifted are the ones that rarely, if ever, wear masks in public and thus just don't give a crap about fellow human beings to begin with.

Governments tend to put their hand on one side of the scale to minimize the numbers reported lest the politicians show that they are indeed imbeciles and totally inept and have no idea how to make society better for the majority of people, opting usually for creating machinations to protect the wealthy oligarchs and keep them safe at all costs, rather than look after the interests of the common man.and so even the statistics can't be trusted.

For chrissakes, even so-called "scientists" disagree on practically everything about Covid-19 and new alarming traits are begin discovered almost every day. So who is right and who is wrong?? Do YOU know? Or did you just read it on one website or another that you tend to favor because they match your ideology?

Finally, did you know that 87.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot...?

Posted by: A Nonymous | May 8 2020 20:43 utc | 21

As I've said before, I suspect the virus is getting tired for this round. In France at least, where there are only two active virus centres now, according to official figures. Not necessarily in the US, but may be.

Getting tired = minor errors in each replication of the virus, which end up by reducing its effectiveness. Those errors may of course in the end in the appearance of a new more powerful version, but not for the moment.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 8 2020 20:45 utc | 22

Posted by: Krollchem | May 8 2020 20:51 utc | 23


Infecting the first human was a giant leap for corona-kind. Now it must figure out how to survive the efforts at suppression. Viruses mutate in two directions. 1) more infectious, 2) less lethal. In 50 years COVID-19 may be just another seasonal common cold, just like HCoV OC43 or HKU1.

I have been hoping for a less lethal or even asymptomatic strain of COVID-19 to emerge. So far that has not happened. Instead there is a strain that may be more infectious and transmissible but at least equally lethal. The mutation differentiating the new strain is a change of D (aspartic acid) at position 614 of the spike glycoprotein to G (Glycine). A growing proportion of new cases have this mutation.

An American group has compared the 6000 full genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and constructed a phylogenetic tree. The center node is the Wuhan reference genome Wuhan-Hu-1 collected from the Wuhan seafood market.

Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2

The mutation D614G (a G-to-A base change at position 23,403 in the Wuhan reference strain) was the only site of interest identified in our first Spike mutation report in early March (Fig. 1A); it was found 7 times in 183 sequences that were available at the time. Four of these seven first D614G strains were sampled in Europe, and one each in Mexico, Brazil, and in Wuhan. In 5/7 cases, D614G was accompanied by 2 other mutations: a silent C-to-T mutation in the nsp3 gene at position 3,037, and a C-to-T mutation at position 14,409 which results in a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) amino acid change (RdRp P323L).The combination of these three mutations forms the basis for the clade that soon emerged in Europe (Fig. 1). By the time of our second report in mid-March, D614G was being tracked at the GISAID due to its high frequency, and referred to as the “G” clade; it was present in 29% of the global samples, but was still found almost exclusively in Europe.

1) The analysis shows that all the strains currently circulating originated from Wuhan. There are no signs of any strain that existed in Europe or the US prior to the Wuhan outbreak.

I compared these results to previous work by Forster & al. from the University of Cambridge and to the earlier Chinese paper by Wen-Bin Yu & al. None of the strains outside Asia seem to be linked to the earliest Wuhan strain (H3 or WH0445).

Three mutations are said to differentiate "Clade G" from the Wuhan-Hu-1 reference genome, at positions 3037, 14409, and 23403. I aligned the new phylogenetic tree to the tree presented by Forster & al. The node labeled "44Germany/Ba39" in the Forster tree has two of the named mutations. Clade G originates from "Group B", and not from "Group A", which Forster & al. claims was the ancestor haplotype.

2) Something happened in Wuhan in November 2019 that made the virus more transmissible among humans. It is still possible that a version of SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in the US in the fall of 2019. The older strain was simply outpaced by the new strain - just like Wuhan-Hu-1 is being outpaced by D614G.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 8 2020 20:57 utc | 24

Article on nutrition and incidence of COVID-19 deaths

Posted by: krollchem | May 8 2020 21:04 utc | 25

Russia and China have authorised the use of hydroxychloroquine for their citizens.

As has Australia.

Does that go against the narrative here and in the MSM?

Posted by: Skeletor | May 8 2020 21:07 utc | 26

Ike | May 8 2020 20:32 utc | 18

Dear Ike. I do not dismiss Judy Mikowitz because she is an antivaxer. I dismiss her because she is a fraud. For some obscure reason, many years ago, she got paper accepted to the important scientific journal SCIENCE that purportedly showed that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was caused by some obscure retrovirus that she was working on.

That turned out to be total BS. Judy was then rightfully denied further public funds to support her research efforts. That is how the system works (and works reasonably well all things considered).

Getting back to the antivaer's I believe they are incorrect at the public health level, but they do keep on noting that vaccinations do have complications amounting to about 1 case per 100,000. For who experience those complications that is sad, but in terms of public health it is very, very minor to who, for example, experienced polio, which was a major fear and real threat in my youth.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 8 2020 21:13 utc | 27

The author is Judy Mikovits, a disgraced 'scientist' who has been caught faking her research and papers. She was fired from her institution when she was caught stealing its proprietary data.

b I think you're being a little premature here. Your characterisation of Judy Mikovits doesn't seem as well researched as the documentaries and material supporting her story.

I think you need to validate your criticism of Mikovits properly before jumping on the mainstream bandwagon and pillorying yet another credible whistleblower.

Posted by: Arch | May 8 2020 21:17 utc | 28

Posted by: Skeletor | May 8 2020 21:07 utc | 28

Banning hydroxychloroquine is to do with Big Pharma; it's not in patent and too cheap, no profits. Everyone I've heard says it works, if taken in the first week. But not in the second week.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 8 2020 21:20 utc | 29

Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns

A major reason why economies around the world will have difficulty restarting is because the world economy was in very poor shape before COVID-19 hit; shutting down major parts of the economy for a time leads to even more people with low wages or without any job. It will be very difficult and time-consuming to replace the failed businesses that provided these jobs.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | May 8 2020 21:22 utc | 30

Blood tests show that patient zero in France goes back to December 27, the article mention possibly back to November.
Multiple patient zero in France going back to December 2019

Posted by: frenchman | May 8 2020 21:46 utc | 31

Petri Krohn @26--

Wife, who's a cog in our local health care system, and I were conversing about the virus last night when we got into the fundamental dynamic of Life and COVID-19's mutations. Evolution powered by mutations in DNA, RNA & Mitochondrial DNA occurs to extend the survival of the species, which in the case of a virus or parasite is NOT to kill its host. We asked what if the unexplained "vaping" deaths of last year resulted from the virus being too powerful for its own good as they happened in the area and at the time of the leaks from FT. Detrick and the related UNC lab. Look at the tremendous success of the various strains of influenza virus for comparison as they now only sicken and kill only the very weak.

Our exploration relates to our own personal predicaments versus the virus as I'm within the very high risk category with my heart disease. I will not be doing business as usual until a very successful treatment's made very widely available. That means wearing mask and using disinfectants until then even in our region with its miniscule number of cases since with reopening as a tourist destination we'll be inundated with potential carriers many of whom will test negative while infecting you.

As for how the Pandemic's being used for domestic political causes within the Outlaw US Empire, today's Strategic Culture editorial spells it out very plainly:

"By accusing China, Trump is not only seeking to distract from his administration’s own abysmal failures over the pandemic, he is also trying to subordinate China to Washington’s global ambitions for dominance – and, what’s more, force Beijing to pay a massive tribute for the “privilege”.

"But the toxic logic here is, ineluctably, one of confrontation and ultimately war. It is significant that an internal Chinese national security document has reportedly warned of a new Cold War and possible all-out military war with the U.S.

"Trump’s ranting about Pearl Harbor and 9/11 is that of a president skating on waver-thin ice. It is diabolical and damnable, but indicative of American desperation."

A reboot that drastically increases the death toll would be a political asset for Trump just as it would be for Obama or Hillary for they all work for the same team of Financial Parasites. Ending the shelter-in-place now only benefits them in more ways than the obvious.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 21:46 utc | 32

Simply no.
I agree much of the pain is inevitable, lockdown or not.
But R0 gets back to above 1 just as soon as the Economy gets close to normal, so the choice is permanent recession or herd immunity.
Best just get on with it.

Actually a much more important argument is how an eventual return to near current GDP levels and moderate growth can fit with all the Deficits and money printing without resulting in massive inflation.
That is probably the strongest argument for those making decisions now to maintain the lockdown.

Posted by: Michael Droy | May 8 2020 21:47 utc | 33

Posted by: Tobin Paz | May 8 2020 21:22 utc | 32

Max Hastings, British historian, says that the economic effects of the shut-down, will be be far greater than one can imagine. I think that's right. It doesn't mean shut-down was wrong.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 8 2020 21:50 utc | 34


I agree.

I just find it weird that B has spent last week calling it "trolling" when information about these treatments emerged.

If I recall correctly (and please correct me if I'm wrong), he even attacked the results of a French doctor who was offering something similar to his patients.


Why are Russia, China and Australia authorising this for their citizens who may want to go down the Hydroxychloroquine route instead of the vaccine route?
Are these governments just "trolling" their own citizens regarding Covid-19 treatments ?

Posted by: Skeletor | May 8 2020 21:56 utc | 35

Posted by: A Nonymous | May 8 2020 20:43 utc | 23
Finally, did you know that 87.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot...?
ha ha, good one :)

Posted by: frenchman | May 8 2020 21:56 utc | 36

17 John unless you are deluded you cannot expect that there will be any effective vaccine soon. Hence, what is the point of speculating about improbable outcomes?

Posted by: kare | May 8 2020 22:05 utc | 37

The Finnish Department of Health and Welfare:
Immunological resistance against SARS-CoV-2 in southern Finland, in the randomized test among around 1000 people, during weeks 16 and 17 2020, was (according to the microneutralization test) around 0.2%.

Weekly Report of the Population Serology Survey of the Corona Epidemic

Posted by: k | May 8 2020 22:13 utc | 38

@ Petri Krohn

"So many of the respondents here are inanely putting the "economy" (please define) above the health of other people, especially the most vulnerable. All in the name of making "money" in an economic system which is and has been parasitic to the common person. Are you in a rush to save the oligarchs?"

How many people would you like to see die of exposure this winter after they're rendered homeless due to loss of income ?

This will be the next phenomena we see is a spike in homelessness and people dying on the sidewalk due to lack of care since they'll have no job/insurance/address or credit.

It's either the crap sandwich or the crap sandwich with mustard.

Not wanting to be homeless and not trusting government or society to protect you from ending up that way is not stupid it's a necessity for some.

I agree that nothing is known for sure but if you kill people by homelessness and lack of health care it won't matter how they die. And we all know they're padding the deaths, they admitted to it.

If we know very little than we had better not go too extreme either way. You can't stay home if you get evicted and what good is it if you end up a slave inside an inverted totalitarian state hiding behind a democratic republic ?

Posted by: dave | May 8 2020 22:14 utc | 39

@ Posted by: Derpydoo | May 8 2020 19:47 utc | 13

You argument doesn't make any sense because the vulnerable in those nursing homes didn't get out and were infected, but were infected by healthy people who came from the outside (the workers of said nursing homes).

Young people are still potent vectors of the disease. They should also be under lockdown.

And First World countries should be the ones with the most enthusiasm with lockdowns, as they have, by far, the highest proportion of elderly population. The USA in particular, with its high obesity and hypertension rates, should be one of the most fierce advocates of a total lockdown. It just makes sense, if preserving human life is taken as the cornerstone for their argument.

But reality is completely different. In practice, the First World countries are the most anti-lockdown of them all.

They are the most anti-lockdown mainly for reasons:

1) they are the imperialist nations, which makes them the major beneficiaries of the continuity of the capitalist engine. They must keep the system going if they are not to lose their imperial status, that is, they are the countries with the most to lose if the capitalist system is permanently damaged (and stoppage of production and circulation of commodities do gravely damage capitalism - that's why strikes work, and why general strikes work wonderfully).

2) they are the consumer nations, which means their economies are highly specialized on the services sector. Services suffer a lot more than industry (manufacturing sector) with prolonged disruption of the productive and distributive chains of capitalist production, as they cannot be turned off as easily as the manufacturing sector (and turning off the manufacturing sector is already very painful and difficult). This makes the First World nations much more petite bourgeoisie oriented than the Third World and the Socialist (Second) World.

It's the Kyoto Protocol hysteria all over again: the First World is the one that needs to fall in line the most (theoretically), but it ends up being the largest obstacle to the whole thing to work. Thus the Carbon Credit is born, which puts the burden of CO2 reduction on the backs of the Third World (which will be negligible, as the Third World consumes only a tiny fraction of what the First World). Only that this time the equivalent to the Carbon Credit will be a hot war against China.

Posted by: vk | May 8 2020 22:16 utc | 40

16 Prof K
You are correct in your assumptions. The unanswered question is, what is the maximum No. of new cases per day any health system can cope with without collapsing? It may seem prudent not to test this limit experimentally by relaxing the quarantine measures.

Posted by: kare | May 8 2020 22:18 utc | 41

Several studies seem to indicate that the virus is mutating in a probably less dangerous version.In addition some medecines are coming out supposedly efficient to cure the disease.
Maybe Fauci, Trump and others are counting on that to see the number of death stabilizing even after lifting the lockdown. A gamble.

Posted by: virgile | May 8 2020 22:19 utc | 42

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 21:46 utc | 34

(somewhat OT)

We asked what if the unexplained "vaping" deaths of last year resulted from the virus...

This is unlikely, as the most likely culprit seems to be an additive (vitamin E acetate) included in some off-market THC cartridges that has been found in the lungs of affected patients and moreover has been shown to cause similar toxic effects in mice.

Posted by: farm ecologist | May 8 2020 22:21 utc | 43

@ ToivoS 29 Maybe you are correct I am out of my depth here. I would just note that the Website linked to "Truth or Fiction" is perpetuating the falsehood that Hydroxychloroquinine is unproven yet as noted above @28 Russia China and Australia are obviously finding it effective. Maybe they mix Truth and Fiction up.

Posted by: Ike | May 8 2020 22:21 utc | 44

karlof1 | May 8 2020 21:46 utc | 34 who wrote: "A reboot that drastically increases the death toll would be a political asset for Trump just as it would be for Obama or Hillary for they all work for the same team of Financial Parasites. Ending the shelter-in-place now only benefits them in more ways than the obvious. "

What a remarkable coincidence!

Meantime, at the sometimes true "fort russ...

"Were ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ Right? Bill Gates Supported Moderna Inc. Prepares Mid-stage Trials for Covid-19 Vaccine"

"... There are unconfirmed reports of deaths associated with early attempts at creating a vaccine for the coronavirus by Gates connected researchers, in Africa..."

They are said to be in vaccine trials...geewhiz thatwuz quick!

Friend Karlof1, I shall endeavor to survive with no injections from the Good Man, Billy Gates.

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 22:22 utc | 45

>>But R0 gets back to above 1 just as soon as the Economy gets close to normal

Who told you that?

Do you really think the West's failure is the only game in town? It is the only experience relevant? It no longer is.

US +1,570 dead for today, will be more after few hours
Sweden + 135 dead (highest number of dead people per population for the day..)


China + 1 new case, 0 dead
Hong Kong 0 new cases 0 dead
Taiwan + 0 new cases 0 dead
S Korea 12 new cases 0 dead
New Zealand + 1 new case 0 dead
Vietnam 0 new cases 0 dead

These countries are opening their economies right now.

The big scandal here is that the West (mostly) can not replicate the success of East Asia or even Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Passer by | May 8 2020 22:25 utc | 46

Michael Droy @35--

just as soon as the Economy gets close to normal, so the choice is permanent recession or herd immunity.

We were already mired in a permanent recession as per the blue line on this chart showing real GDP since the turbocharging of Neoliberalism under Reagan; but pay special attention to GDP performance since 2005. Simple math says economy's shrunk 30% over those 15 years with whatever gains accrued going to the top 10%, and especially the top .1%.

If us hoi polloi are going to be tossed under the bus and left as road kill, why not die trying to improve our lot!? And that question's asked of All Barflies!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 22:29 utc | 47

Posted by: Passer by | May 8 2020 22:25 utc | 52

The big scandal here is that the West (mostly) can not replicate the success of East Asia or even Eastern Europe.

We already know that blacks tend to be more severely affected than whites, and thus it's conceivable that whites could similarly be more prone than east Asians. That's an easily testable hypothesis for anybody with access to sufficiently detailed epidemiological data.

Anybody know whether this has been looked at?

Posted by: farm ecologist | May 8 2020 22:37 utc | 48

On Mikovits - for the retards still supporting her...

What’s the Deal With the ‘Plandemic’ Conspiracy Video?
Understanding the viral video and its dangerous and false claims

Blog post referenced above:
Debunking “Plandemic”

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 8 2020 22:38 utc | 49

"That such a book sells at all shows the deep mistrust the people have in their government."

Thats the tragedy of a government that lied about Iraq, Libya, Syria, ISIS, Venezuela, Bolivia etc.
Its is the tragedy of politicians that have lies falling from their mouths every time they speak.
Biden and Trump are great examples of this.

And its all because the government represents its donor class, and not the public.
If it were otherwise, they would not have to lie about everything.

Posted by: stephen braithwaite | May 8 2020 22:40 utc | 50

One of my patient’s brought the harsh reality to the forefront. He said: “Doc, if i have to choose between the virus or hunger and maybe suicide, there is no contest.”

I don’t think b or anyone else advocating for longer lockdown, quite realizes the reality on the ground. People are starving and are running out of options to sustain themselves and their families.

With longer lockdown, be prepared for greater deaths from violence, mass shootings, suicides and starvation. Because, disgracefully, no western capitalist government is willing to support its population any more than they have.

Posted by: Alpi | May 8 2020 22:41 utc | 51

re #36
Max Hastings is a hack journalist whose 'historian' claims are that he helped write the script for a BBC series on ww1. He is a dreadful right wing warmonger whose view of the world is heavily influenced by his reluctance to accept the englander empire is dead.

He is wont to go on and on about being a witness at the 'Battle of the South Atlantic" when more than 2000 young argentinian draftees were sent to a watery grave allegedly for crossing some Brit imposed arbitrary line in the ocean. Years later it became known that the troopship "General Belgrano" hadn't violated the embargo but Thatcher, impatient that nothing dramatic had happened in her nice little war, ordered a submarine to torpedo the ship anyway.

Hastings didn't tell the truth about that which makes any historian claims laughable.

He is also responsible for Boris Johnson as when editor of one of the englander gutter press fishwraps he gave Johnson a job as the Brussels correspondent which Johnson converted into a self-aggrandizement anti-eu platform with exaggerations & outright lies about EU regulations.
All in all, Max Hastings is a man whose word means shit. Any opinion he may express on the lockdown would largely be driven by self interest.

Posted by: A User | May 8 2020 22:46 utc | 52

In Eugene Oregon today I exposed myself (67 yo Vietnam Vet) to folks at the bank, post office, and grocery store. Now, Lane County has applied to "phase 1" reopen May 15th. From what I saw of the idiots wandering around today - mostly male all ages and mostly young (including females) - we're not "ready." Low percentage of folks wearing masks, and even staff at a small grocery store not completely masked. Vehicle traffic is up.

Testing rate is pretty good though, over 2,000/day in Oregon, 300/day in Lane County. Very low case numbers in Lane County as well, bunch of smart hippies and UofO grads living here. So nobody is fooled very much by any talk of "re-opening."

Posted by: Trisha | May 8 2020 22:55 utc | 53

farm ecologist @46--

Thanks for your reply! The vape deaths were only one possibility the wife and I discussed. There are also very high death tolls from numerous assisted living and such facilities in the region that are way out of line that we also included in our talk. What you didn't address was the core aspect of our hypothesis--the virus will mutate to increase its own chance at survival be becoming less aggressive/fatal to the vast majority a la influenza. And for the record, we don't get annual flu shots.

Walter @48--

I'd like all of Bill Gates's impacts on life to evaporate--from his shoddy software to his ill-gotten Foundation. Word's out that the local Marina's finally going to be allowed to reopen in a week, which means I can launch my boat and get out to sea, fish and muse about everything that's happening. You'll note the gov't fudged the unemployment numbers again, while shadowstats is closer to reality at 35.7%. Shadowstats notes, "April 2020 U.3 Unemployment Rate Really Was 19.5% per Bureau of Labor Statistics," not the reported 14.7%. BLS's U6 is showing about 1/4 of workforce unemployed, but we all know that's farcical. IMO, at least 50% of those wanting to work are unemployed, half of which were already unemployed prior to the outbreak occurring. I deeply sympathize with those wanting to go back to work as many must since they have essentially zero choices remaining, but as our Governor admitted, there's great risk involved that can't be ignored by those responsible for setting policy--a statement Trump will never make.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 23:00 utc | 54

vk | May 8 2020 22:16 utc | 42

You argument doesn't make any sense because the vulnerable in those nursing homes didn't get out and were infected, but were infected by healthy people who came from the outside (the workers of said nursing homes).

Young people are still potent vectors of the disease. They should also be under lockdown.

Yes, your lockdowns failed at the one thing they possibly could have done, shielded the vulnerable.

Everything you've done has been worthless and destructive. Meanwhile the one thing worthwhile and needful, to protect the aged and vulnerable, you're STILL not doing.

If you can't figure out with all your vaunted technology and organization how to ensure that health care workers are clean before they enter the presence of the people they're caring for, then those workers themselves should have been quarantined along with their inmates.

Certainly you can't object to that, since you're happy with a totalitarian house arrest of the entirety of humanity, and you're especially happy with the total hermetic isolation of the most vulnerable themselves, the elderly and sick inmates of nursing homes and hospitals, cut off from all human contact, all close contact with loved ones, even with companion animals.

That's one of the truly hideous cruelties of this whole vile assault on all of humanity, and I was convinced from the start that the lockdown of the elderly would kill more of them than the virus would.

That of course was before it became clear that your lockdowns would be a complete failure at protecting the most vulnerable from the virus itself. In other words, if any critics and opponents of the lockdown ever were willing to "sacrifice the old" the way your side's lies claim (but I haven't seen any of us advocate that; on the contrary we're the ONLY ones who have emphasized the need to protect the vulnerable), you beat them to it by a wide margin. Your lockdowns never for a second intended to protect anyone.

The record of you lockdownists is 100% perfect. You've done nothing good, done tremendous evil, and didn't even prevent the decimation of the most vulnerable because you never lifted a finger to protect them.

Posted by: Russ | May 8 2020 23:02 utc | 55

Beware the one-two punch...the double-tap's a sucker bet that runs as a con such that the mark gets hit and blames himself... When they say "re-open", doubt. Or run away.

At Anoxia they waved flags and ignore sanitation beyond a tokenist blabber.

I'll wait. Or walk alone... Ah seen dis rodeo afore.

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 23:03 utc | 56

Posted by: Laguerre | May 8 2020 21:50 utc | 36

The corona virus accelerated the decline that was already in place. The fracking industry, as horrible as it is, prolonged this set of living arrangements we call civilization after the peak of conventional oil. Now that it is starting to fall apart humanity is in for a rude awakening.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | May 8 2020 23:03 utc | 57

Trisha @62--

I'm just over the coast range on the other side from you in Yachats. The Register-Guard has provided good coverage of Governor Brown's planning and the local and state condition. For a metro region of its size, Eugene-Springfield has done very well, far better than Portland-Vancouver. The low-case incidences boosts confidence, but the Precautionary Principle should remain dominant. The warm weather will present a big challenge this weekend!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 23:08 utc | 58

karlof1 | May 8 2020 23:00 utc | 63 the devolution of political power from Federal to regional is breath-taking...and the fact that this creates a disequilibrium in terms of the option to apply force between local and dc/nyc/col,and wall street and their thugs...seems to imply a dark near future...

Some people would like to go back to work. Some will, some won't. If enough do not, then they'll have to take special measures, like Willie Sutton, or oh so many fork hero desperadoes have done...and after that?

We shall have to suffer what we must.

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 23:09 utc | 59

BTW, I agree that CV19 or "virus N" naturally tends of time to accommodate to the hosts... This threism is the basis of our plan. And staying home and gardening is pretty much what we expected to do, in genteel poverty, as the gang loots and ruins, and creates the cathodic natural response. Fascists create circumstance in which their juxtaposed communists form up and... well it's a question about this time, eh?

Oklahoma too was a "pink" state...Red Star on their flag...Woody Guthrie...not zactly a communist, but ah been in th red all mah life...was from Ok, with the Red Star.

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 23:16 utc | 60

Walter @69--

We shall have to suffer what we must.

Isn't that's the way it's been since we as a species climbed down from the trees and out onto the Savanna to take our chances there? Life is Priceless, is very risky, and always results in death. Life is Terminal I told my cardiologist when he asked me why I still took a puff of Maryjane in the evenings, and it dulls the stress.

I'm off to happyhour on my deck in the awesome weather we're having! Hasta Manana!!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 23:19 utc | 61

Salud! Old Man!

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 23:30 utc | 62

DM @ 9
As Off-Guardian says:

Sweden is one of a few countries who went with a different approach to the virus.

And how is that really working out? Not so good when compared with its near neighbours.

Country       cases/million       deaths/million
UK                     3,114                           460
Sweden             2,502                          314
Germany          2,036                           90
Denmark          1,764                            90
Finland             1,036                           47
Norway             1,489                           40

Sweden has fucked it up almost as much as the UK has.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 8 2020 23:33 utc | 63

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 23:00 utc | 63

What you didn't address was the core aspect of our hypothesis--the virus will mutate to increase its own chance at survival be becoming less aggressive/fatal to the vast majority a la influenza.

My understanding of virology is rudimentary at best, but evolutionarily speaking I wouldn't expect a decrease in lethality to matter much unless the percentage killed by a virus was quite substantive. I don't see how a drop in fatalities from, say 10% to 1% (i.e., going from 90% to 99% patient survival) would make it that much easier for the virus to propagate, although clearly a virus that kills 90% of its victims would have more trouble spreading than one that kills 10% or 1%.

And for the record, we don't get annual flu shots.

As long as you are reasonable healthy that's probably OK for you, but bear in mind that if you do happen to get the flu you may pass it along and therefore vulnerable individuals in your community will be at greater risk.

Posted by: farm ecologist | May 8 2020 23:33 utc | 64

My understanding of virology is rudimentary at best, but evolutionarily speaking I wouldn't expect a decrease in lethality to matter much unless the percentage killed by a virus was quite substantive.

Smallpox killed 300 million people when we had a much smaller population.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 8 2020 23:59 utc | 65

Mobius 01 @ 51

I tend to believe this article from Science Magazine over your claims about "Dr" Mikovits who by the way is a PhD rather than an MD

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 9 2020 0:00 utc | 66

Can b or anyone address why the infection has spread primarily in the US and Europe and less in high population density areas in India or West Africa?

Posted by: Colin | May 9 2020 0:01 utc | 67

b: "The fear is reasonable at least for everyone over the age of 50 and for the many obese U.S. citizens."

Reality begins to peak through for b. But I would put the statistical reality this way:

"The fear is unreasonable for everyone under 50 in good health, and very likely unreasonable for everyone under 60 in very good health."

Why are we unable to be certain and can only say "very likely"? Because statistics dividing mortality into "with co-morbidities" and "without co-morbidities" haven't been done or haven't been revealed to the public. UNBELIEVABLE! If they were revealed I think we'd see how glaringly obvious a non-threat Covid-19 is to healthy under-60s, and possibly to healthy under-65s and under-70s too.

But keep destroying the lives of the workers, hide in your homes healthy middle-aged and young middle-class people! Saint Gates arrives in 2021 to save you!

Posted by: fairleft | May 9 2020 0:05 utc | 68

@ mobius 01...
this was posted by dennis on the covid 19 thread... lots of alternative views going on... - “Plandemic” and Judy Mikovits are COVID-19 conspiracy-theory quackery

Posted by: james | May 9 2020 0:08 utc | 69

I only bring this up in case you're counting by US county: New York City is 5 counties not 1. Whereas Los Angles is one county with many cities one of which is the Los Angles.

In other regards, I find it notable that Trump and many of his fans in 2016 went around pushing the idea that the US unemployment figures were vastly higher than the Obama Dept of Labor claimed. And to a limited extent Trump had a point, but he took it to a racist extreme because of his Obama derangement pandering. Now ironically the US unemployment rate is vastly higher than Trump's Dept of Labor is claiming.

And remember b: Just prior to the 2018 Congressional elections you were pushing the idea, very Otrumpian, that the US economy was doing well. It wasn't, and back then the unemployment figures weren't representative of reality.

Posted by: Jay | May 9 2020 0:09 utc | 70

Snopes' take:

‘Plandemic’: Was Judy Mikovits Arrested Without a Warrant and Jailed Without Charges?

Posted by: Keith McClary | May 9 2020 0:11 utc | 71

I'm sorry, but while I've said that lockdowns in the early days made sense - extension of these lockdowns is neither making sense nor is it even clearly the correct measure.
The Asian countries that have not locked down but have done extensive quarantining and contact tracing are doing just fine.
Granted, the US doesn't seem to be able to conduct the same public health operations, but the lockdowns suffer from the same incompetence: people are not being fined nor is there any form of supervision.
As I posted in the politics thread, it seems increasingly clear that lockdowns are going to become a political issue - there seems to be a high correlation between lockdown easing and red state politics.
Other data such as the average hourly earnings jump by 4.6% - a never before seen increase by many multiples - clearly indicates that the salaried managers in big companies are doing fine; the retirees on pensions and Social Security are doing fine - everyone else isn't: the blue collar workers, the contractors, the small business owners, etc etc.
So whatever the theoretical benefits of ongoing endless lockdowns (until an effective vaccine is tested and distributed) - it seems very likely that the politicians are going to have to face off against thousands, tens of thousands, maybe millions of angry constituents.

Posted by: c1ue | May 9 2020 0:14 utc | 72

Regarding Judy Mikovits, she has leapt onto the pandemic in order to eek out a living on the fringes of pseudoscience.

Some helpful links for those who only know her from that scare-mongering - though slickly-made - documentary.

An article written at the time her original scientific fraud was revealed:

Here are the important Science reports leading to the retraction of that fraudulent paper:

Here are three articles devoted to fact-checking her claims of persecution:

And finally, the best for last. Here is an article that eviscerates the Good Doctor's Reputation:

Or, in a word: charlatan.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 9 2020 0:18 utc | 73

Here in Australia we are well into the tail-end of this initial wave of infections. Daily new cases hovering around 20-25.

This is how Australia plans to come out of the lockdown:

Note that it is aspirational, it is not really a timeline so much as a road map.

That's how you do it.
That's not what the USA appears to be doing.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 9 2020 0:26 utc | 74

For those who are interested, here is the Australian Government's roadmap for reopening the country:

There are no timelines. We step off onto Stage 1 and the government monitors compliance and mulls over the numbers.
The inevitable flareups occur and some value-judgement is derived from how easy/difficult it is to stamp them out.

Once the government is convinced they are on top of things then it is on to Stage 2 and the entire thing repeats.

All going well it is on to Stage 3 which is a complete reopening of the country.

Take a step, measure what happens, determine if the next step is advisable.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 9 2020 0:35 utc | 75

I just can't get my head around it. Why is the "exceptional" nation not "exceptional" enough to be immune to Covid? Or, are they more "exceptional" in some ways, but not others?

Many of the low paying jobs may never come back, regardless of when the economy opens up, because, why go back to work, when un-employment pays better than working.
By the time un-employment runs out, the businesses needing those low paid workers back may be, well, out of business.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 9 2020 0:38 utc | 76

the ongoing vaccine debate. Are all antt-vaxxers frauds?
Imho, there are 4 sides to the vaccine coin.

My question is this; if vaccines are not harmful why was it necessary for the federal law that grants drug companies immunity from certain lawsuits from vaccine injuries- "the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. The law grants drug companies immunity from certain lawsuits from injuries or deaths tied to vaccinations."

and every page on the subject of vaccines up pop Bill Gates -

This guy has very forceful arguments:

APRIL 09, 2020
Gates’ Globalist Vaccine Agenda: A Win-Win for Pharma and Mandatory Vaccination
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Attorney-at-Law, Chairman, Children’s Health Defense

Vaccines, for Bill Gates, are a strategic philanthropy that feed his many vaccine-related businesses (including Microsoft’s ambition to control a global vaccination ID enterprise) and give him dictatorial control of global health policy.

Gates’ obsession with vaccines seems to be fueled by a conviction to save the world with technology.

In 2010, when Gates committed $10 billion to the WHO, he said “We must make this the decade of vaccines.” A month later, Gates said in a TED Talk that new vaccines “could reduce population.” And, four years later, in 2014, Kenya’s Catholic Doctors Association accused the WHO of chemically sterilizing millions of unwilling Kenyan women with a “tetanus” vaccine campaign. Independent labs found a sterility formula in every vaccine tested. After denying the charges, WHO finally admitted it had been developing the sterility vaccines for over a decade. Similar accusations came from Tanzania, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Philippines.

"Global public health officials] say he has diverted agency resources to serve his personal philosophy that good health only comes in a syringe."

Global public health advocates around the world accuse Gates of steering WHO’s agenda away from the projects that are proven to curb infectious diseases: clean water, hygiene, nutrition, and economic development. The Gates Foundation spends only about $650 million of its $5 billion dollar budget on these areas. They say he has diverted agency resources to serve his personal philosophy that good health only comes in a syringe.

In addition to using his philanthropy to control WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, and PATH, Gates funds a private pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccines and is donating $50 million to 12 pharmaceutical companies to speed up development of a coronavirus vaccine. In his recent media appearances, Gates appears confident that the Covid-19 crisis will now give him the opportunity to force his dictatorial vaccine programs on all American children – and adults.[.]

Billy, not for a quadrillion.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 9 2020 0:40 utc | 77

Yeah, Right 84-6

Impressive, you are indeed a tidily trained robotic sheep. Thank you for giving us this clinic in what the nominally "human" can descend to.

Posted by: Russ | May 9 2020 0:41 utc | 78

Posted by: vk | May 8 2020 22:16 utc | 42

Your response ignores quite a lot of what I wrote. I very specifically said that nursing homes and the elderly were not locked down. That means no contact with anyone from the outside, unless they've been rigorously cleared as safe, under any circumstances. No visitors. No outside help. No one at all. If that was actually followed then the virus would not have gotten inside. Even in a full lockdown these very same protections still need to be in place, especially for a virus as contagious as this one.

If those measures were actually followed properly, there'd be no need for everyone in the lower risk groups to be locked down. And in fact the pandemic would be over faster that way, easing the burden on nursing homes and reducing the length of time they're at risk of catching the virus and therefore lowering their risk of death.

Posted by: derpydoo | May 9 2020 0:42 utc | 79

@89 Russ This is a pandemic. It is a public-health disaster.

How else is such a thing meant to be faced except by "tidy training" use of methodical, practical and sensible policies?

Oh, yeah, that's right: we can use the USA-model of leaving it up to a bunch of hopeless jokes careering around in a clown-car and honking on their bright-red noses, all the better to distract attention away from what the professionals are saying.

Here's a little factoid: Australia has a little under 1/10th the population of the USA, but daily new cases of covid-19 in Australia is currently running at around 1/100th the number in the USA i.e. the Aussies are doing something ten-times better that the Americans are.

Can't imagine what that might be.
Maybe we are just ten-times luckier.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 9 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Traditionally to fight pandemics humans need walls and a government to do the basic public health tasks of good sanitation and treating, separating and isolating the ill. The President (called a “moron” by his former staff) closed the borders to China yet left everything else open and let jet setter skiers return from the Alps infecting New York State.

Corporations and Oligarchs have corrupted the US and UK so badly they can’t do anything right. In the USA there is no federal public health service directing and funding the pandemic fight (the crony filled CDC is sidelined). There has to be a lockdown of infected virus shredders in safe quarantine sites. There has to be tracking. Identification of virus status and mapping the extent and spread of the virus. There has to be contact tracing and fair enforcement. Instead, the 50 states are on their own and every day is a near 9/11 causality event. Without federal funds to fight the pandemic and support unfortunate Americans who have no jobs, income or food, the pandemic will wax and wane. Society will collapse.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 9 2020 0:53 utc | 81

Russ | May 8 2020 19:24 utc | 11

"expresses total contempt for the vast numbers of people being economically destroyed beyond any hope of recovery (which is a major purpose and goal of the terror campaign and lockdowns), says it all about the total bankruptcy of their position"

Well, just perhaps if the "self-appointed ruling" <<~1% oligarchs did not express total contempt for the vast numbers of precariat rendering the people economically destroyed beyond any hope of recovery
by purposefully seeking to pay the minimum pittance to their de-facto wage-slaves (by-the-hour)
then the people would not be subject to the <<~1% goal of the terror of total bankruptcy.

De-facto herding the stoo-oopid sheep back to work to possible slaughter so as to continue the "trickle UP economics" so the <<~1% can count a few more $$.

it is, in fact, the <<~1% goal that demonstrate total bankruptcy of the immoral psychopathic/sociopathic kind

Supreme Court Judge ... lewis F ( the "F" is for FUKYU ) powell jr. wrote:
"a confidential memorandum for the chamber entitled "Attack on the American Free Enterprise System," an anti-Communist and anti-New Deal blueprint for conservative business interests to retake America.
The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding society's thinking about business, government, politics and law in the US.

IF the precariat had had enough social benefits from increased efficiencies since the ~1970s, then perhaps this terror would not exist.

alan greenspan:
"Atypical restraint on compensation increases has been evident for a few years now, and appears to be mainly the consequence of greater worker insecurity. The willingness of workers in recent years to trade off smaller increases in wages for greater job security seems to be reasonably well documented."

social safety could have mitigated somewhat, also, against the collective stupidity of the herd/crowd ... from this and other probabalistic white-swans.

kings ... king leopold II of Belgium

ala George Carlin: ~"they do not give a FK about you"

... just ask: Frank Little 1879-1917

"tied to the car's rear bumper and dragged over the granite blocks of the street. Photographs of his body show that his knee-caps had possibly been scraped off. Little was taken to Milwaukee Bridge at the edge of town where he was then hanged from a railroad trestle. The coroner found that Little died of asphyxiation. It was also found that his skull had been fractured by a blow to the back of the head caused by a rifle or gun butt. A note with the words "First and last warning" was pinned to his thigh, ... The note also included the numbers 3-7-77."

pitchforks or guillotine ala 1789 ?

MoA barfly thoughts ?

stay safe/healthy

Posted by: MegaMicro | May 9 2020 0:53 utc | 82

Everyone in government knew what was coming. A pandemic was inevitable. And predicted. And exercises to assess likely outcomes were run.
In the UK there was such an exercise in 2016. This is a video of the the Chief Medical Officer at the time talking about what it taught them.
Of course it taught neo-liberals nothing. Just as this pandemic is teaching them that they need better propaganda and more faux leftist allies to pressure them to keep capitalism going, no matter at what cost. Look at this, it might have come from any of the neo-liberal regimes.

Posted by: bevin | May 9 2020 0:58 utc | 83

If you have any doubts about what an evil piece of shit Bill Gates truly is...

From The Corbett Report -
Bill Gates’ Plan to Vaccinate the World

Nothing this scumbag has anything to with will be going into my body.

Posted by: ted01 | May 9 2020 1:00 utc | 84

"Many of the low paying jobs may never come back, regardless of when the economy opens up, because, why go back to work, when un-employment pays better than working."
Sakineh Bagoom@87
Don't trouble your little capitalist head about that. If there is one thing that the USA is exceptional in it is in denying benefits, letting unemployed workers starve and forcing people to work. This is a land built on the foundations of slavery and indentured (slave) servitude. And it is still run by the class which exploited their labour-usually until death.
So what is the Federal minimum wage?

Posted by: bevin | May 9 2020 1:05 utc | 85

This is unprecedented for a Medical Journal:

Biggest threat to Brazil coronavirus response? --- President Bolsonaro, says The Lancet


BRASILIA (Reuters) - The biggest threat to Brazil’s ability to successfully combat the spread of the coronavirus and tackle the unfolding public health crisis is the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, according to British medical journal The Lancet.

In an editorial, the Lancet said his disregard for and flouting of lockdown measures is sowing confusion across Brazil, which reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths on Friday, and is fast emerging as one of the world’s coronavirus hot spots.

Brazil’s Health Ministry on Friday registered 10,222 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 751 related deaths. That brought the total of confirmed cases in Brazil to 145,328 and deaths to 9,897, the most deadly outbreak in an emerging market nation.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, is becoming increasingly hamstrung by political crisis following his recent sacking of popular Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta and the resignation of Justice Minister Sergio Moro, The Lancet said.

“The challenge is ultimately political, requiring continuous engagement by Brazilian society as a whole. Brazil as a country must come together to give a clear answer to the ‘So what?’ by its President. He needs to drastically change course or must be the next to go,” the editorial said.[.]

Bolsonaro’s press office declined to comment on the Lancet editorial. On Friday, the president said he planned to have 30 friends over to the presidential palace for a barbecue.[.]

a BBQ for his military friends, some of whom would be his replacement which is hardly comforting for Brazilians ---the return of past decades of military rule.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 9 2020 1:08 utc | 87

@ yeah, right... thanks for the picture from australia.. australia has fared very well.. i am mystified why the numbers are so high for some countries and not for others.. i get it to a point, but not completely.. there are perhaps more factors at work then we are completely familiar with..

Posted by: james | May 9 2020 1:17 utc | 88

bevin @95.
Thank you for your reply and thank you for belittling my definitely non-capitalist head.
I thinks you misunderstood the post. Reading it correctly, you would understand my point about those that will take advantage of the unemployment system and while that's happening the businesses relying on low wagers will cease to exist. That's all.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 9 2020 1:20 utc | 89

bevin | May 9 2020 1:07 utc | 96

Excellent article that should be mandatory reading.

For us more fortunate ones that frequent this blog it is very easy to have an 'opinion' on the lockdown.

To the people that make trite facile comments like this - "...Are you in a rush to save the oligarchs?"

- do a search on day labourers in India & let us know how they are serving the oligarchs.
- You can also try stranded Burmese/Nepali/Pakistani migrant workers.

Posted by: ted01 | May 9 2020 1:31 utc | 90

For the first time ever in the history of the United States of America, there are more people of working age and ability who are not working than working.

b - how much longer do you think that reality can continue without the complete destruction of the USD, which will destroy the USA? Is that what you and all your fans here want?

We flattened the curve to keep the number of ICU beds in use below the capacity. Mission accomplished. There is no reason now to destroy the economy of the USA for no long term decrease in deaths.

Posted by: Don Wills | May 9 2020 1:34 utc | 91

An evolution for us out of the prior paradigm of how we in the U.S. treat our elderly should be in the forefront of our thoughts as we are finally able to breathe air without choking on thoughts and desires stemming from consumerism and its 24/7 pull.

Indeed, has anyone in the U.S. taken a look at the giant hotel-like structures being built in haste along our freeways? These are not Motel 6s, they are old-folks homes because the treatment of our elderly and what shitbox we throw them in on "24-inch centers" has itself become an industrial-complex.

We can not be troubled with the care of our aging parents and we throw them to the underpaid and exploited for cheap and untrained care.

And look what happens when a pandemic hits. Your loved ones you wanted to believe were safe and living it up at the Elder Heights are having cardic-arrest face down in their sugarfree chocolate pudding.

What fucking monsters we have become.

But let's quickly return to our vacuous consumer urges. There is nothing of import to ponder during this time away.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 9 2020 1:43 utc | 92

Yeah, Right 91

Instead of your "factoids", here's three little facts:

1. The bug already is irretrievably at large, and with all due respect to your august scientist-engineer-priests, they have zero chance of controlling it. Maybe you all should have thought of that before you went off on this deranged globalization-militarism binge.

2. I agree 100%, the US is an irretrievable cesspool where anything governments do is bound to be worthless and destructive. So why are you acting as if you're stupid enough to think that ANY US measure could be anything but both stupid and evil, could be anything better than just doing nothing?

3. Last I heard you Aussies were literally burning your whole country down with your duly elected government throwing on the fuel.

Posted by: Russ | May 9 2020 1:45 utc | 93

james | May 9 2020 1:17 utc | 98

Australia has done well but at a price...

Australia's suicide rate could surge...

National suicide register needed...

Family violence increasing during Covid-19 lockdown

Posted by: ted01 | May 9 2020 2:04 utc | 94

@ ted01... thanks.. i am sure it is at a price.. these are the same prices that are hitting other countries too and one of the reasons many are opposed to any type of lockdown.. i suspect it will be much the same in most places - increased family violence, suicide and a wide host of other ills.. any time the norm is broken a lot of monsters come of of the closet... the question is why has australia fared so much better in terms of the numbers on covid? it is almost like this is a hemisphere thing - asia including australia - all seem to be faring much better then the northern hemisphere countries! however it seems the south east hemisphere of the planet is faring the best... latin america - south west - presently is not looking good - brazil in on a real upswing with numbers on infected and dead... just ruminating here..

Posted by: james | May 9 2020 2:15 utc | 95

@98 James "i am mystified why the numbers are so high for some countries and not for others.."

As Mike Tyson said: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Note who are number one and number two in this laughable list

Yep, the USA and the UK. They had the best resources, the best infrastructure, the best plans.
Until they got punched in the mouth, at which point they hit the canvas like a sack of spuds.


The reason is this: every country possesses medical and public-health professionals who are expensively and extensively trained, and very experienced. But only some countries still possess the commonsense to comprehend that if you go to all that time, effort and money to create that cadre of expert advice then you should ASK THEM WHAT WE SHOULD DO AND THEN DO IT.

Look, don't get me wrong.
I don't like that these lockdown measures are in place.
I don't like that I can't go to the pub with my mates.
I don't like any of that, but I understand that the government has imposed those measures because it has faith in the medical experts that proposed them.

And when I read posts from Russ snearing about "tidily trained robotic sheep" I think to myself: Russ is an anti-intellectual wanker and an agenda-pushing amateur.

The government here is taking its advice from medical experts whose little pinkie would know more about pandemics than Russ will every learn in a dozen lifetimes. It is refusing to listen to the advice of anti-intellectual wankers and an agenda-pushing amateurs.

So if you want to understand why countries like the USA and the UK have had a pratfall then that's all you need to know: the leadership of those countries made the mistake of allowing the bleating of anti-intellectual wankers and agenda-pushing amateurs to get into their ear, with the inevitable result was that they became paralyzed with indecision at just the moment when decisive action was required.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 9 2020 2:21 utc | 96

Some talk of Judy Mikovits here. Here is a recap of her legal struggles. I will discuss the charges of scientific misconduct later. Nobody charged Judy with any such thing BTW. That the 2009 paper had an error which did not affect her conclusions, was an error from a collaborator in another lab. You all might want to read her books before judging her. She has had a rough go so might make an error here and there in recalling past events.

Whittemore for profit company was going to sell an XMRV test without clinical validation. WPI is a non profit tax payer funder institution.

Mikovits was Principal Investigator on the XMRV research grants unrelated to the test and required to have access research notes at all times as stipulated by the grants. The data notebooks do not contain any trade secrets or proprietary information

WPI was fraudulently using Judys grant money to pay for Lombardis work on unrelated XMRV test by falsifying the amount of time he worked in Judys lab on the grant project. Her notebooks contained evidence of this fraud

September 29, 2011 . She was fired for refusing to provide Lombardi with cells illegally purchased by WPI from her grant moneys for work on XMRV tests.

She had her employee Max Pfost remove the notebooks from her office to somewhere safe (his home) as she was on the way to California and them Ireland for a conference. When she returned to Reno in October Max had a bag containing the notebooks and she planned to copy them to fulfill her grant obligations and took them to their Reno home full of packed boxes as they were preparing to move. Somehow in chaos of the move the notebooks disappeared.

Before her arrest her lawyer had told her there were no warrants issued. A few days earlier her California home was searched with a search warrant, and no notebooks were found

On November 18,2011 she was arrested in California as a fugitive of justice. No warrant was shown. She was held without bail until her release 5 days later. At this time a search warrant was issued to search her property in Nevada

She was released on bail on November 22 as her husband found returned the notebooks placed in a closet at their California home . Despite no notebooks being found following a search warrant and search a couple of weeks earlier. This was the same day a preliminary hearing was held in Reno with a lawyer who had yet to review the case with Judy, and a preliminary injunction issued. A default judgement was issued on December 19

The Judge handling Judys case was later found to have accepted 10,000 dollars from the Whittemores who were very powerful in Nevada.

On January 25 , 2012 the judge held a damages hearing with Whittemore asking for 15 million dollars

On April 25 , 2012 a motion before a new judge (after the previous Judge recused himself) was submitted to set aside the default judgement. The motion was denied. A hearing was scheduled to determine damages in September

June 6, 2012 Whittemore was indicted for illegal campaign donations and lying to FBI officials

On June 11, 2012 the DA filed for dismissal of criminal charges which could be reopened at any time. Among other reasons Max Pfost has backed away from his affidavits that were prepared by Whittemore (blatant conflict of interest) claiming he was under duress

In September left with no option on the civil case Judy settles with Whittemores.

Posted by: Pft | May 9 2020 3:08 utc | 97

Michael Roberts digested the numbers for us:

The US jobs data are in for April

The US jobs data are in for April and over 20m American workers lost their jobs last month - the largest job loss on record. The official unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The U-6 underemployment rate, which includes people who have managed to get a few hours works but not a full week, takes the total unemployment rate to 22.4%

Of those declaring that they are unemployed, 18m have been 'furloughed' by their employers and expect to get their jobs back eventually - we shall see.

The US stock market continued to rise, expecting a quick return to normal and relying on huge injections of credit from the Federal Reserve.

14.7% is definitely too high for a First World nation - this is more the normal for a Third World one (many making do with chronic 20% unemployment rates). It is expected 18 million of the 20 million jobs lost in April will be "given back" by the bourgeoisie (petite and grande) to the working class after the pandemic is over, which would bring unemployment back to a 8%-7% - still high by American standards, but nearer the acceptable for a First World country (which is 5% max, ideally 3%).

However, it doesn't change the fundamental problem with the American economy since 2008, which is called "gig economy". By U6 standards, American unemployment is already over 22% - which is at capitalist failed states levels (e.g. Spain and Greece). The problem here is that the reforms enacted in labor legislation in the likes of the UK, USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea et al obliterated the distinction between what means employed and what means unemployed: if you get a gig in a random day in April - but not any other for the last six months - are you employed or unemployed? Well, of course you're unemployed, but, for example, under the British Zero Hour Contract regime, you're not. But reality doesn't care about what David Cameron wants or considers - and we're seeing the results of this farce right now, with the USG enacting MMT like if it was always the obvious policy and official unemployment skyrocketing as a result.

Posted by: vk | May 9 2020 3:12 utc | 98

This would have been an excellent article, if (as b seems to assume) American Covid death counts accurately reflected people who died BECAUSE of Covid. This is not the case, however. See, e.g., this link (please add appropriate preface)

Posted by: zakukommander | May 9 2020 3:17 utc | 99

"[...] new cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. is barely sinking."

As a virus, Covid19 will propagate throughout the population before anyone realizes what is happening. In fact, from data gleaned over the past 3 months from our respective countries, we already know that the number of individuals that have already been infected is far higher than what is being reported. We are talking orders of magnitude higher.

(NB: us "https://" before the links

Epidemiologists that are not involved in policy making realise that enforcing total isolation once a virus becomes manifest is not a sensible solution and may, at best, drag out the entire sorry saga.

The attitude of medical professionals and politicians that are involved in policy making is governed by potential legal ramifications of their decisions. At at time when doing nothing could arguably have been the more sensible solution, these individuals must be seen to be doing something lest they should be charged with negligence.

In many cases, doing something resulted in making the situation worse. This is particularly evident, for example, in the policy of parking Covid19 patients into nursing homes.

Talking about "gain of function" shenanigans by the way:

Nursing homes on both sides of the Atlantic get busted very regularly by sundry health departments for poor hygiene in the first place. After observing the precautions taken by China and Korea in order to head off this bug, the decision to park Covid19 patients in nursing homes without first mandating sanatorium style total isolation of staff and patients of these institutions is, or should be, grounds for some sort of legal action against the jokers that had a hand in mandating such.

This bug is bad.

But this bug is already out in the general population.

To decree that our economies should be shuttered till a vaccine is found, is not a viable solution.

We have been working on a Corona virus vaccine for the best part of 30 years now and we have nothing to show for it. Not even at the veterinary level.

So a vaccine is not forthcoming any time soon.

That someone should say a vaccine is 18 months away should elicit a healthy degree of scepticism.

All this is quite apart from the arithmetical realities brought about by debt and electoral politics.

The dynamics of debt and electoral politics guarantee that "government" must necessarily progress from benign overseer to, eventually, malign enforcer.

A topic for another time perhaps?

Posted by: guidoamm | May 9 2020 3:31 utc | 100

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