Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2020

Cats, Aerosols And Life Years Lost - Some New Covid-19 Science

A few useful studies and reports related to the novel Coronavirus pandemic have recently appeared.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)has a correspondence about cats:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Domestic Cats

Cats can get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and do replicate it strongly in their respiratory system. But the cats do not get sick and show no symptoms. During the study three infected cats were each put into the same cage as a not-infected cat. They transmitted the disease to the previously non-infected ones. The researchers tested if the viruses the cats produce are still able to grow on human tissues. Unfortunately they are.

This means that a cat which went out of the house and met a cat who's owner has Covid-19 might come back home and infect its own human servant. Household cats may also play a role in the infection chain between household members. Any cat owner who goes into lockdown or is quarantined at home must also quarantine the cat.


The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) with a Brief Report about speaking and aerosols:

The airborne lifetime of small speech droplets and their potential importance in SARS-CoV-2 transmission

Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second. In a closed, stagnant air environment, they disappear from the window of view with time constants in the range of 8 to 14 min, which corresponds to droplet nuclei of ca. 4 μm diameter, or 12- to 21-μm droplets prior to dehydration. These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments.

In a closed room with multiple persons talking, like a callcenter, office or classroom, everyone should wear a mask. The windows or doors should be open to allow for airflow.


Several people have used this argument: "Casualties from the Covid-19 disease are mostly older people who already have other diseases. They would have died soon anyway. Can't we just let the old ones die now and save the economy?"

A not yet reviewed pre-print study gives an argument against that:

COVID-19 – exploring the implications of long-term condition type and extent of multimorbidity on years of life lost: a modelling study

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for increasing deaths globally. Most estimates have focused on numbers of deaths, with little direct quantification of years of life lost (YLL) through COVID-19. As most people dying with COVID-19 are older with underlying long-term conditions (LTCs), some have speculated that YLL are low. We aim to estimate YLL attributable to COVID-19, before and after adjustment for number/type of LTCs.
Results: Using the standard WHO life tables, YLL per COVID-19 death was 14 for men and 12 for women. After adjustment for number and type of LTCs, the mean YLL was slightly lower, but remained high (13 and 11 years for men and women, respectively).

I quibble a bit with the relatively rough method used in the above study. This should be done more precise though the results will likely be similar. The comments below the study also include some critique. The authors have responded to it with an Addendum. It uses different input data from multiple sources but the average years of life lost are still above 10 per death.


The remdesivir drug by the company Gilead gets hyped as a potential useful drug against the Covid-19 disease. This even after a serious study from China published in Lancet found it useless:

Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial

The result:

In this study of adult patients admitted to hospital for severe COVID-19, remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits.

A not completed Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also found that remdesivir does not change the mortality of serious Covid-19 cases. But it found that the drug may lead to a faster recovery. That has led to run on the hard to produce drug and confusion about its distribution.

But the real scandal behind this is that Gilead has a second drug, GS-441524, that is more promising and much easier to produce. STAT published a strong call on Gilead to release it immediately:

Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor

The authors have the suspicion that Gilead has an ignoble motive for holding back the better drug as its patent will run out sooner:

The attractive profile of GS-441524 from both manufacturing and clinical perspectives raises this question: Why hasn’t Gilead opted to advance this compound to the clinic? We would be remiss for not mentioning patents, and thus profits. The first patent on GS-441524 was issued in 2009, while the first patent for remdesivir was issued in 2017.
Given GS-441524’s optimal properties, we — along with the millions of people awaiting an effective treatment for Covid-19 — are left to wonder why Gilead isn’t giving it the same attention it is giving remdesivir. The world can only hope it isn’t for the sake of protecting its intellectual property.

Trump is nearly at war with the scientists. The white House has ditched the CDC reopening advice especially for churches. Axios finds that the U.S. is screwed. I agree with this warning:

"[Rick Bright, the whistleblower who says he was unjustly ousted from his position leading a biodefense unit within the Department of Health and Human Services] also lamented what he sees as the lack of a comprehensive strategy to meet the once-in-a-lifetime threat.

“Our window of opportunity is closing,” he said. “If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.”

Bright, like other scientists, anticipates a second Covid-19 wave during the next cold season. Unless we do whatever we can to keep new infections down after the now receding first wave the second wave will become much more severe than the first one! Here is how that looked during the Spanish flu pandemic.


Matt Taibbi at Rolling Sones on the gigantic looting that is going on before our eyes:

How the COVID-19 Bailout Gave Wall Street a No-Lose Casino
While ordinary Americans face record unemployment and loss, the COVID-19 bailout has saved the very rich

Note: Comments that promote various quacks or hype this or that unproven remedy for Covid-19 will be deleted.

Posted by b on May 15, 2020 at 17:37 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Hoarsewhisperer @ 98

I don't see that your insult is warranted. I don't know what the truth of the matter actually is, but a careful read of the Washington Post article b has posted in reply to fairleft doesn't answer BM's point that the drug has only been tested against late stage virus complications. One does have to wonder whether it is simply a matter that the difficulty in the US concerning early diagnosis is the real problem that makes use of the drug impractical here. Perhaps we just don't have the resources, teams of testers and physicians and nurses, for the accuracy and careful monitoring of patients in early stage infection required when using this drug.

That's a far larger condemnation of our health care system in general.

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2020 15:17 utc | 101

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2020 15:17 utc | 103
When a "health care" system profits from people's illness, especially chronic illness, you can't expect it to work for the benefit of people. Preventative medicine is a foreign notion, anathema, in the US, and increasingly elsewhere.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 15:24 utc | 102

An excellent article on the WSWS:
"...In the “brutal economics” of capitalism, the lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic are simply the cost of doing business. While trillions of dollars have been spent propping up financial markets, no serious efforts have been made to contain the pandemic, and whatever mitigation measures have been put in place, including the closure of businesses, are being rapidly abandoned.

"The efforts by the ruling class to counterpose workers’ lives to livelihoods is an entirely false choice. Both can be defended with the necessary allocation of social resources to stop and eradicate COVID-19 and all other communicable diseases. Non-essential workplaces must remain closed for as long as it takes for these measures to be put in place.

"But containing the pandemic requires an investment in social infrastructure that the capitalist class is not willing to make. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the utter incompatibility of the capitalist system with the preservation of the most basic social right: the right to life."

"I also don’t know why you would quote a Wapo article, uncritically, in response to fairleft. Why would I care what they say about anything? They represent power. I consider them no more reliable on pharma imperialism as they are on military imperialism."
You answer the question yourself. Nobody is suggesting that anyone read the Washington Post uncritically. I am surprised that you should accuse b of having done so. The evidence is that he has read the Post critically-as we all have to do in a culture in which the major source of news, for everyone, is a media compromised enormously by its allegiances, particularly its allegiance to capitalism.
Read the Wapo critically and you will be left with a residue of information which can be cross checked by various means, once you have done that you can evaluate the importance of its conclusions. It is what we all have to do.

Posted by: bevin | May 16 2020 15:31 utc | 103

>I'm calling bullshit on that claim.

Unfortunately the poster doesn't state what is wrong with the claim. Assertions that another poster is ignorant are not relevant. Neither are appeals to authority.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 16 2020 15:36 utc | 104

... symptoms such as fever, store throat and coughing to take antipyretics and stay at home, but invite them to hospital and immediately start treatment by administering chloroquine to the people in suspicious cases without waiting for the results from the test results.
Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 14:17 utc | 94

That would make Turkey a very interesting case to watch. Looking on, Turkey is currently 9th from top in terms of case numbers with 146,457 cases, yet it has only 48 deaths per million, 36th on the list. Russia by comparison has only 17 deaths per million, 65th on the list, but has far higher quality medical care and abundant financial resources. Turkey is not especially developed, has a large population with many poor, an extremely serious economic crisis even before Covid, and many political crises. I can remember suggestions a month or more ago that it could be a serious disaster zone for Covid. How come it is doing so well? Maybe its treatment policies are worth looking at closely.

Compare USA, home to several key Big Pharma players, top of the charts with 1,487,076 cases, 83,603 deaths (more than the total number of cases that China ever had, most of whom recovered), 268 deaths per million (currently 13th from top but rising fast). Is it any wonder that the US death rate is higher?

Posted by: BM | May 16 2020 15:44 utc | 105

Posted by: b | May 16 2020 9:39 utc | 61

It really is bizarre, b, to see you repeating Big Pharma propaganda from the WaPo. I don't know why you get worked up on the question of HCQ. Fairleft's position @58 seems reasonable.

As others have taken you up on the question, I won't rant on, but it is important to emphasise that Hydroxychloroquine is not a dangerous drug. It has been homologated in the US since 1955, and elsewhere for longer, more than 60 years. If it were dangerous, then we would have known it decades ago. However the WaPo article you cite claims that it is indeed dangerous. Now why would they do that? That's the problem with the article, there's a lot of disinformation in it.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 16 2020 15:48 utc | 106

They don't give up:

How to Reopen America Safely: Months ago, I called for a long lockdown. Now we must minimize collateral damage.

That's why doctors don't make and will never make good statesmen. They have a sociological IQ of an oyster.

How about we follow WHO's rule zero: test, test and test?

Let's be real: the USA can't even test its population, let alone apply some fancy and futuristic vertical isolation.

If you don't test 70%+ of your own population, any form of selective quarantine - be it under the slogan "let's protect the vulnerable" or "the economy must go on" - is a veiled form of social engineering. What are you going to do without a decent map of infection? Isolate the poor and let the middle class and the capitalist class to go on? Imprison the elder?

Either you know the route of the virus, or you don't. Vertical isolation when you have tested just 3% of your population in three months is pure politics, no matter the spin you put at it.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 15:52 utc | 107

Why do these people waste their time posting here when they already know that their efforts will be deleted a few hours later?
Posted by: b | May 16 2020 5:31 utc | 51

People accustomed to instant gratification can't cope with prolonged isolation/self-control and are going stir-crazy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2020 15:59 utc | 108

How does Turkey count its cases? Where did they get the tests? How many? how reliable are their stats?

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 15:59 utc | 109

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 15:52 utc | 109

Either you know the route of the virus, or you don't. Vertical isolation when you have tested just 3% of your population in three months is pure politics, no matter the spin you put at it.

Are you talking about USA or Brazil? Aren't you in even bigger trouble than Americans?

Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 16:19 utc | 110

One does have to wonder whether it is simply a matter that the difficulty in the US concerning early diagnosis is the real problem that makes use of the drug impractical here. Perhaps we just don't have the resources, teams of testers and physicians and nurses, for the accuracy and careful monitoring of patients in early stage infection required when using this drug.
Posted by: juliania | May 16 2020 15:17 utc | 103

I'm afraid it's not anything to do with early diagnosis, it is only about profit. As Blue Dotterel said, it is about profit, not curing patients. For Big Pharma the very last thing they want is for the patient to be cured - a dead patient is far more profitable. No wonder Gilead holds the more promising GS-441524 off the market, because they can make more profit from a more expensive useless drug that will be in patent for far longer.

Big Pharma expects to make many trillions of dollars profit per year on Covid-19, as they do on cancer. The more Covid cases, the more profits. The less effective the efforts to reduce infections, the more profits. The less availability of PPE, the more profits. The more chaotic and irrational the government policies, the more profit. Big Pharma profits at every step.

They will stop at nothing to block proper trials of hydroxychloroquine - including bribery, coercion, and sabotage, not just massive disinformation. They will spend billions just to block
proper trials, using myriad different methods of subterfuge and subversion. That is just small change compared to the profits they want and expect.

The entire philosophy of Western medicine is a dying patient - it is corrupt, it is dishonest, its entire foundations are fraudulent. There is an urgent need for a whole new paradigm for medicine that is based on maximising the health of society, not on maximising profit.

There is a story I heard on television several decades ago - I think it was true, but I am not certain - about an old Chinese tradition. Villagers would pay a regular monthly fee to the doctor, as long as they stay healthy. As soon as they fall sick they stop paying, and the doctor has to cure them (without charge). Only when they get better will they resume the normal regular payments. Think about it, what is the best interest of the doctor towards his patient? He has an investment in their good health. Now compare the Western system. What interest does the doctor have in the patient's health? If the patient is sick for 4 times as long and then dies, is the doctor richer or poorer? If the doctor gives drugs with side effects, which need more drugs against the side effects, will he be richer or poorer? If there are two drugs available, one cheap, one expensive, which one does the doctor prefer?

Think about it Juliana, the last time you went to a hospital, how much did it cost? How many useless medicines did the doctor give you, versus how many basic essential medicines?

Western medicine is a big scam. It is a business. The second biggest business in the world after war.

That is why I reject Western medicine. For 20 years I have used only non-Western medicine.

Posted by: BM | May 16 2020 16:24 utc | 111

@ bevin

>> Nobody is suggesting that anyone read the Washington Post uncritically.
>> I am surprised that you should accuse b of having done so.

I said “quote” not “read”. To elaborate, I’m accustomed to b accompanying wapo quotes with his own criticism, rather than quoting long portions of the article as his entire response and saying nothing negative about it.

>> Read the Wapo critically and you will be left with a residue of information

I don’t and won’t spend time reading imperial rags, subsidizing their lies with clicks and mind share. Instead, i save time by visiting blogs inhabited by people who do what you say and share what they conclude. I’m surprised when one of these bloggers shares the text for the purpose of advancing the article’s ideas.

Yes there’s residual film. Maybe the bloggers I rely on have to “start somewhere”. But, isnt it a better ROI to first exhaust sources with a higher signal-to-noise ratio? And to quote them? This raises the question of “which?” You got me there. Well, if we have to start with “newspapers” (instead of going directly to journals), I’d at least start with RT or something from China. Are they equally bad? Not from what I’ve seen on other subjects. But, maybe that’s not representative. ... Alternatively, is it possible to bypass these lossy stenographers and get a little closer to actual source material?

Posted by: oglalla | May 16 2020 16:29 utc | 113

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 15:59 utc | 111

Turkey produces its own test kits and even exports them

And distributes masks free, although not without controversy

As for the numbers. Can you trust any government to count numbers properly? One takes them on faith, or, at least, with the proverbial grain of salt.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 16:35 utc | 114

@ Bevin

>> Alternatively, is it possible to bypass these lossy stenographers and get a little closer to actual source material?

Indeed, b mostly does this, by (as we can see) quoting medical journals in the main portion of this article.

If there’s so little good data available in medical publications on “HydroxyClean” (sp) that we have to rely on wapo, I conclude we still don’t have any information. ;-)

Well, not really a big deal. Just my two cents.

Going out...have a good day.

Posted by: oglalla | May 16 2020 16:39 utc | 115

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2020 15:59 utc | 110

>> Why do these people waste their time posting here when they already know that their efforts will be deleted a few hours later?
People accustomed to instant gratification can't cope with prolonged isolation/self-control and are going stir-crazy.

Or they know that in those precious few hours millions of readers will manage to read those messages, so armed with that nolege they can debate the preferred ways of treatment with doctors in hospital.
Because doctors love to ask patients what kind of meds they prefer, mint flavored or strawberry or a bitter lemon perhaps.

Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 16:43 utc | 116

Everyone should wear masks

Article by a medical data specialist at UC SF


"Despite the Opposition of Some, The Science is Clear: Masks Stop the Spread of Coronavirus and should be Mandatory"

Posted by: Don Midwest | May 16 2020 16:51 utc | 117

Hoarsewhisperer @98

You are not calling anything on the BM quote because your generic observation on clinical trials is absurdly disconnected from the quote.

It is perfectly correct that most (in fact almost all) studies planned, ongoing or concluded with OH-chloroquine have not prescribed a start time (in terms of time of first symptom to time of treatment.) Also, the published results either do not mention it retrospectively or, like the NEJM paper, indicate a majority of time-to-treatment within the first 2 days from ER admission. Which, considering the policy followed in Boston, indicate late time-to-treatment.

This does not either confirm or reject the early viral clearance reports. What has the general obs that clinical trial parameters are complicated got to do with one obvious fact:

All these trials built on the anecdotal remark that OH-chloroquine achieves viral clearance when given immediately upon first symptoms have pointedly ignored prescribing a similar early treatment condition in their protocol! That is as obvious as can be.

The motive for skipping such an essential point when building a research protocol to investigate a specific early clearance claim is unclear (but it is perfectly clear that chloroquine cannot compete in profits with any of the newer drugs.) It is at any rate unconscionable as an oversight.

It should be pointed out to b that safety is always a completely separate consideration: drug safety is always a relative concept of cost/benefit ratio. Chloroquine is given for malaria under definite conditions because we are convinced that the c/b ratio is favorable. If it did work at all, it would have been beven more favorable for at-risk, elderly or sick or immune suppressed people with clinical cov19.

Posted by: Piero Colombo | May 16 2020 16:53 utc | 118

Posted by: Don Midwest | May 16 2020 16:51 utc | 119

I think "lessens" the spread, not "stops" would be more accurate

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 16:55 utc | 119

@ Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 16:19 utc | 112

Brazil is, since the 1950s, a de facto American colony. You're like comparing Alabama with the national average with your joke.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 17:01 utc | 120

Comparing Hong Kong and NY City, and also relates to US response

Article in Naked Capitalism where a correspondent talks with her doctor friend in Hong Kong. Here is what they did with one case

The doctor is Sarah, the writer is Lynn

I asked her to explain what test and trace means to Hong Kong health authorities.

Sarah Borwein: So we had 21 days with no local cases and then a case was detected 2 days ago, and now her grand-daughter and husband have tested positive. What they are doing reflects their strategy:

They did extensive interviews with the index case (the 66 year old grandmother) and retraced everywhere she’d been in the 2-3 days prior to getting sick – every market stall etc. She looks after her 5 year old grand-daughter who is also positive – so they have also traced all her contacts. She attends a tutorial school, so the teachers and other kids.

And now they are conducting testing for 860 families who live in her housing block or the grand-daughter’s, or work in the market or work in or attend the tutorial center. At least 5000 people from 1 case!

They actually do something similar whenever we have a local case of dengue fever (not endemic here) – so they do have practice.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield: So, that’s what test and trace means! And not via an app.

Sarah Borwein: No, not via an App

Although there are websites where you can see the locations of all the positive cases, and any flights etc (including seat number) they have been on – so you can self-report if you were near them. But mainly they do the shoe-leather work as the mainstay.

Contact Tracing Via Old Shoe-Leather Epidemiology While Spurning the Techno-Fix Fairy: How Hong Kong Quells COVID-19 Without Killing Civil Liberties

Posted by: Don Midwest | May 16 2020 17:04 utc | 121

( .. Imho, neither hydroxychloroquine nor remdesivir are of any use whatsoever, from reading several studies ...)

I find the ‘hype’ and ‘tribal positions’ about ‘drugs’ extremely alarming.

In France being for H-chloro marks one as a ‘common sense person’ as it is a safe, proven drug, ‘we need to treat patients and not mess about’ (basically Raoult discourse), or, funnily enough from upper class types ‘we have the top info and the position to get the best drug so we can get it prescribed to us.’ There has been a rush on Plaquenil and stocks are running out/low/idk(?)

Being ‘for’ remdesivir labels one as more tech-sophisticated, ‘it is an anti-viral’, on the higher end of the social ladder, or just agreeing with some parts of the MSM, being contrarian to mates, etc.

Any unconsidered judgment about drugs has been lifted to a quasi-political issue, signalling some ‘opinion’ has become a social marker of 'pol' adherence.

Whether this is a reflection of ‘identity politics’ in the sense of creating and then exploiting class divides re. consumption ex. USA aragula with grapefruit vs. a fast-food burger, so along the same line to meds.. Or a semi-deliberate stance by pols to keep voters on board, going one way or the other… Or, pols being beholden to lobbyists, even hoping for profits the servants to masters of Big Pharma…

All most likely is part and parcel of the same blurry nuages around COV19 and meds.

Trump, Bolsonaro, certainly, Lukashenko (1), Orban (2) seem to have made moves that support treating COV19 with H-chloro. So there is a ‘right-wing, traditionalist’ air about it.

With the more ‘leftish’ (not that they are left in any real way) being lost as to what to promote. Mostly vitamin D and Zinc and Keep Your Immunity Up, which is basically throwing in the towel, admitting no stance is possible - and relying on individual choices and responsibility, i.e. no proposals at all are made.

Posted by: Noirette | May 16 2020 17:23 utc | 122

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 17:01 utc | 122

Brazil is, since the 1950s, a de facto American colony.

If that is true, Brazilians would be speaking English, not Portuguese. I am not aware of any large scale American settlements in Brazil.
You are still a Portuguese colony.
You're like comparing Alabama with the national average with your joke.

Comparing Alabama with what? What Alabama has to do with what averages?

Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 17:27 utc | 123

BM & Julianna

Medical care in US is a mess and it is never quick. Going to the doctor means surrendering all of your money. Even with good insurance they will still take all your money. So only the wealthy have access in any real sense. Unless very very wealthy you will be asked to take an appointment next week. Otherwise go to ER and pray. Even after making the decision to sacrifice what little economic toehold you might have the doctor is likely to be an arrogant dismissive prick with no interest in the case. MD is spelled GOD in the US, you have no right to ask anything of GOD. We do not do early treatment of anything here. COVID does not change timelines. To the extent HCQ is an early treatment medicine it is just not applicable in US.

Except maybe for the very elite. Watching the daily White House briefings with 100 people jammed into a small room, all of them with hair stylists and makeup artists, none of them with masks, none of them even faintly concerned with social distancing you have to wonder. My assumption is they are all on prophylactic doses of something good. Something good they don’t want to share with little people.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 16 2020 17:34 utc | 124

Schrödinger's thought experiment, continued.

Forget about bats, pangolins, wet markets or evil gene splitters working the night shift in secret labs. The long-sought Case One may or may not have had a cat, which may or may not have been an outside cat. Until we engage more veterinarians in the search, we may be barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by: Jay-Ottawa | May 16 2020 17:34 utc | 125


Sorry about mangling your name, the predictive spelling here is in overdrive.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 16 2020 17:36 utc | 126

good conversation...

@ 104 blue dotteral quote - "When a "health care" system profits from people's illness, especially chronic illness, you can't expect it to work for the benefit of people." i think this is very true and a concern that has been expressed by numerous posters here at moa! which goes into the wapo article and a number of posters questioning b's full acceptance of the overview from wapo... i think it is also fair to question the motive of wapo and how much of the info is based off a profit motive??

perhaps b will address this as so many people are questioning him on it!

Posted by: james | May 16 2020 17:56 utc | 127

@ Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 17:27 utc | 126

Not the proletariat, but the Brazilian elite is entirely bilingual nowadays (Portuguese and English). Contrary to the myth, there are more English speakers in Brazil than Spanish speakers, that is, English is Brazil's de fact second language, not Spanish (as you would expect for a country circles by Spanish speakers).

In place of Spanish, Brazilians speak the so-called "Portunhol", which is essentially Portuguese with Spanish lexicon. The Brazilian elite - unless he/she "works" for something specifically Spanish (i.e. Santander Bank, or a Latin American subsidiary of an American giant HQd in Brazil) - is not educated in Spanish. Many of them are educated with English as their first language, Portuguese being the second, in specially prepared Anglophone schools which are only available to these same elite members. Those schools adopt the American national curriculum system, so when they graduate from high school, they can go directly to an American college without those genius-hunter mega-tests organized annually by the likes of the MIT: they enroll as normal, typical American citizens. Almost all of them have second homes in Miami or in some other city in Florida (e.g. Sarasota), where they usually (but not only) spend the Brazilian winter (June-August).

Most of the Brazilian elite share the same disgust the American elite has for the "Hispanics", and they abhor being confused with one by their American counterparts, so they avoid any connection with Spanish they can - including giving their children English or Anglicized names (e.g. Anthony instead of Antonio; Henry instead of Henrique; Mary instead of Maria - all of which are exactly the same in Spanish and Portuguese).

And those are just the "rich". The real Brazilian elite (the "billionaires") do not even live in Brazilian territory, and educate their children directly in the USA educational system. A concrete example of this is Eduardo Saverin, one of the founders of Facebook. He was spent the first years of his life in Rio de Janeiro to a billionaire Brazilian family, but quickly moved to the USA when he was just a kid because the Brazilian Intelligence (Abin) warned his parents he was on the list of the most likely to be kidnapped in Brazil. He was then raised as an American, and went to Harvard as a normal American (billionaire) citizen.

More extravagant examples exist, though. Lily Safra, widow of the banker who founded Safra Bank, chose to have her main home in London, as it probably fits her lifestyle better (she has a more "sophisticated" taste, preferring the likes of jewel collections and European architecture). Others (generally the ones who still have a strong cultural connection with their European ancestors) do the same, sending their children to be educated in Switzerland instead of the USA. But those are the exception that proves the rule, not the rule itself.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 18:05 utc | 128

the Controversy and confusion on wearing masks:

Should everyone be wearing face masks? It’s complicated.

Why don't masks protect the wearer?
Paul Glasziou, Professor of Medicine, Bond University and Chris Del Mar, Professor of Public Health, Bond University, AU
also endorsed by epidemiologists in UK, CAD.

[.] There are several possible reasons why masks don't offer significant protection. First, masks may not do much without eye protection. We know from animal and laboratory experiments that influenza or other coronaviruses can enter the eyes and travel to the nose and into the respiratory system.

While standard and special masks provide incomplete protection, special masks combined with goggles appear to provide complete protection in laboratory experiments. However, there are no studies in real-world situations measuring the results of combined mask and eyewear.

The apparent minimal impact of wearing masks might also be because people didn't use them properly. For example, one study found less than half of the participants wore them "most of the time". People may also wear masks inappropriately, or touch a contaminated part of the mask when removing it and transfer the virus to their hand, then their eyes and thus to the nose.

Masks may also provide a false sense of security, meaning wearers might do riskier things such as going into crowded spaces and places.[.]

Got goggles or a Visor? Eye protection is essential.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 16 2020 18:11 utc | 129

@ 131 vk... thanks for the overview on brazil in all you say... that is a real shame... i hope the ordinary people in brazil see thru all that.. they had a great leader in lulu and the lady after him - dilma rousseff... hopefully they will get back on track with these roots...

Posted by: james | May 16 2020 18:18 utc | 130

@all -

It seems people don't get it. Chloroquine has some dangerous side-effects (heart arrhythmia) that are likely to increase a similar effect caused by Covid-19 in even 'mild' cases.

If you have an illness that causes heart problems even in 'mild' cases you DO NOT take a medication that is prone to cause heart problems because those two effects might well add up be lethal.

By hyping Chloroquine you are hyping a drug that WILL KILL some of the people who take it when they also have Covid-19.

It is irresponsible to do so and THAT is the reason why I delete comments from people who do not get that basic fact into their brains.

Posted by: b | May 16 2020 18:26 utc | 131

Posted by: james | May 16 2020 18:18 utc | 133

that is a real shame... i hope the ordinary people in brazil see thru all that..

English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French are all imperial languages, they all are a testament of imperial conquest, subjugation and destruction of indigenous societies in America. So rooting for Spanish vs Portuguese vs English is just a matter what imperial masters you prefer to serve. They are all evil bastards.
Paraguay is the only country on American continent that is addressing that issue properly. Their official language is an indigenous one. The rest of us are just a bunch of imperial servants. Bilingual, monolingual doesn't matter.

Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 18:46 utc | 132

Page 1 of a google search ‘chloroquine arrhythmia’ brings up a study published 1959 addressing exactly this issue. And how to manage it. Not new, not unknown. Is good management impossible currently? Maybe, I don’t know.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 16 2020 18:50 utc | 133

b @ 132

I'll preface this with the observation that, for a non-medical / non-biologit person, your choice of data quotes and your conclusions are more judicious, sound and reliable than those of many an MD or biologist.
That said, I'll have to repeat what I wrote above @119:

"It should be pointed out to b that safety is always a completely separate consideration: drug safety is always a relative concept of cost/benefit ratio. Chloroquine is given for malaria under definite conditions because we are convinced that the c/b ratio is favorable. If it did work at all, it would have been beven more favorable for at-risk, elderly or sick or immune suppressed people with clinical cov19."

Posted by: Piero Colombo | May 16 2020 18:51 utc | 134


What makes this co-infection with two bat virus' possible is that there are many cases of two or more bat species inhibiting the same cave. Stepping in bat shit while crawling around in one of these caves with a slurry of virus particles is a good way to get sick. There are hundreds of bat coronavirus' particle types and the combination of encroachment on nature and globalization make for a potent pandemic brew.

Posted by: krollchem | May 16 2020 19:07 utc | 135

Posted by: b | May 16 2020 18:26 utc | 132

By hyping Chloroquine you are hyping a drug that WILL KILL some of the people who take it when they also have Covid-19.

It is irresponsible to do so and THAT is the reason why I delete comments from people who do not get that basic fact into their brains.

I do not regard those posts as an advice for self medication. If I get sick I will go to the doctor and she will decide how to treat me. I trust doctors know that better than me. Meanwhile I do not take anything. Just eat well and drink well :-).
But, maybe in America is different, all those american commercials that peddle treatments for this or that, they all have the line "Talk to your doctor about Mungazumub" of whatever. I never talked to my doctor about the meds, she just writes a prescription and that's it.

Posted by: hopehely | May 16 2020 19:11 utc | 136


Maybe I am wrong, but I would like to think that doctors are aware of the side effects of chloroquine, and attempt to determine the patient's history from medical records, or the patient, before administering it in any specific case.

I do not think most people commenting here would imagine that doctors administer drugs, having known side effects, without considering a patients history. There are other techiques/remedies attempted with Covid 19 as well when considered appropriate.

Of course, I haven't read every post, or even most posts, made here on the issue, but I think there is some room for advocating the drug's use in certain circumstances.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 19:21 utc | 137

@vk | May 16 2020 15:52 utc | 108
> How about we follow WHO's rule zero: test, test and test?

Do you understand the cost of each test? Some data suggest that it is between $50 and $100.

Do you understand that the current polymerase test have 20-30% of false positives?

So if everybody in the USA is tested around 60-80 million people in the USA would be deemed infected. I suspect that a very large percentage of "asymptomatics" are in reality false positives.

We need to distinguish between the necessary measures and fearmongering. I suspect that in case of polymerase "test, test, test" is close to the latter. This is rather expensive test and money probably can be better spend distributing masks to the population. That would be give large effect. The simple measure that in the USA was not dome. Just for that Fauci should be fired and probably tried, IMHO.

The same is probably true with the distribution of oximeters too: people with laws reading need oxygen. As simple as that. That probably will cut hospitalizations in half.

My impression is that temperature and oxymeter testing might be a proxy for polymerase testing and much cheaper: is oxygen saturation is less then 90% the person need to be isolated/treated with oxygen

Why the USA did not implemented entry/exist temperature checks (even at airports) I do not understand. The richest nation in the world has the government which is probably the most stupid.

It looks like this is mainly the disease of megacities and industries with closely packed people. And part of large cities infrastructure such as subways and air-conditioned building, hotels and shops are idea environment for spreading of the virus.

Even prophylactic measure do not work that well in large cities. Slums and homeless are and will be hotspots.

Even at work enforcing profilac measures is non trivial. You need to change mask each 2 hours when you are working inside. How many people will do that ?

I think there is not way out other then clench your teeth and go forward adapting the behavior as new information about the virus emerge.

For example individual supply of air in planes, trains and buses (which existed in old planes and some buses ) might be an important psychological (and with better filters medical) measure required.

Also Cruise ships "experiments" suggest that only around 20% of population is susceptible to the virus.
Even among Wuhan medics who started working with coronavirus patients without wearing protective equipment only around half got the disease. The simplistic assumption that 100% of people is susceptible is just a myth propagated by fear mongers for fun and profit.

Another interesting feature of this virus is it simply revealed how unhealthy the USA population generally is. For example, the epidemic of obesity now is tightly intermixed with the epidemic of COVID-19. Within the limits of the neoliberal social system very little can be done about it: for profit medicine makes is more fragile and create multiple avenue of abusing people.

Posted by: likbez | May 16 2020 19:42 utc | 138

b @ May16 2020 18:26

AFAICT everywhere that hydroxyChloroquine is used it is done under doctor guidance. In fact, several countries now use HCQ or allow doctors to prescribe it for SARS-COV-2.

So the possibility of heart problems is not really an issue.

It's clear that there's a push to discredit the HCQ treatment regimen. It's not difficult to understand why: HCQ treatment cost is vastly less than drugs offered by Big Pharma. Big Pharma's influence means that MSM hypes studies that appear to show HCQ ineffectiveness because they have obvious flaws like:

  • using high doses of HCQ, and/or
  • not adding Zinc, and/or
  • giving HCQ as a last resort.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2020 20:10 utc | 139

Posted by: b | May 16 2020 18:26 utc | 132

I'm sorry, b, but you're getting obsessed. Hydroxychloroquine is not a dangerous drug. Not merely homologated in the US for more than 60 years, it was available without prescription in France until this spring, and the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. That doesn't happen with potentially dangerous medicines.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 16 2020 20:14 utc | 140

@ 132 b.... thanks... i think @ 134 old hippie comment about inability for good management in health care, especially in the usa is indeed an issue.. as mentioned previously - if the motive is primarily profit as opposed to health and welfare of people - they will continue to manage within this priority sequence to the death of people.. they will spend more money when they can spend less and they will continue to ultimately serve wall st more then peoples actual health and welfare..

@ 133 hophely... i am not sure what you are hoping to see... people use different languages.. is that an ongoing reflection on their ethical or moral values? i don't see it that way.. obviously brazil is subservient to the usa, but i don't believe this is because of the language.. it is because of the money and ongoing ignorance of how corporations continue to dominate gov'ts decision making process... i thought uraguay was doing pretty myself, but i am not very knowledgeable on all of what is happening in south america... paraguay, and uragauy border brazil to the south, as does a small bit of argentina..

@ 138 trailer trash.. first off b didn't say that and some article from mid april on 39 people is not conclusive by a long shot... you are pushing very hard for only one viewpoint on this drug here... i suppose you realize how obvious this it too..

Posted by: james | May 16 2020 20:19 utc | 141

@ Posted by: likbez | May 16 2020 19:42 utc | 141

The Americans have just literally printed USD 3 trn. All it took was a symbolic vote in the Congress.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 20:45 utc | 142

Jackrabbit @ 143:

One other serious flaw of the studies quoted by the MSM (one of which B has relied on in his ATL post) is that they use hospitalised patients to the extent that you wonder if the studies have been deliberately designed and set up in order to produce an expected result that has an added bonus of helping to benefit a hidden corporate agenda.

Posted by: Jen | May 16 2020 21:20 utc | 143

"Redfield saw Aids as the product of an immoral society"

Doctor Redfield said the truth.

Posted by: Roberto | May 16 2020 23:57 utc | 144

people so concentrated on the area encompassed by the path of their dialectic cannot step back to see the big picture.
A truism for sure, in this case I'm applying it to those who continue to spruik Chloroquine despite the fact it is proven to cause problems for those humans whose blood pump is already damaged, which lets face it is the case for most humans 60+ y.o.
When such types attempt to argue that the Chloroquine is out of patent as a way of advancing their argument they truly reveal their naivety I.E. they insist no patent, no big profit. It is correct that this state of affairs means that a chemical monopoly for Chloroquine per se cannot be created by a large pharmaceutical corporation, but so what?

If you're from a greedy but not particularly smart jewish family as trump bagman Jared Kushner is, and you're looking for a quick bonanza since the pandemic has put most of the planned earners (amerikan infrastructure, israeli real-estate) on hold you do not have time to get behind a new patent since a) new drug from patent may not be successful and b) most importantly a patent implies having to share profit with some geek who dreamed the 'new' drug up, so it makes far more sense to tread a less well trodden path to profitability.

Fellow NY jewish clan, also unbright but very fuckin' greedy, the Sacklers, came up with a beauty after they took over Purdue Pharma, which was only a minor player before Mortimer and Raymond Sackler realised that morphine, a drug which has a guaranteed repeat turnover could be profited from despite being out of patent since the year dot.
All that was required was to add something to the morphine no one else had, patent that and Robert is your father's brother, you're rich, rich, rich - er sorry wealthy.
The sacklers well Morty as I understand it, dreamed up coating the morphine with a so-called 'slow release' substance to extend the half life of the morphine's effectiveness. Morphine sulphate is absorbed into the bloodstream quite fast, it is broken down by the body then expelled, so patients taking it for pain relief have to ingest at short intervals. Purdue reckoned that MS Contin, the first slow release opioid they marketed, (oxycodone came later) doubled the half life of morphine. Now they had a 'in-house' developed drug which could be patented and sold to physicians as an improvement on the old model.

Kushner's plan, a deadset copycat of Morty's, was to take Chloroquine add a zinc salt known to be water soluble, apply for a patent while marketing it as a brand name prophylactic/covid treatment. A la Purdue oxycodone.
As every consumer from a sunglasses wearer to a teenage phone addict knows, brand is everything. A good brand will trump a good patent every time.

Unfortunately for the orange moron + Kushner team, they just couldn't get enough ammo on the Fauci sleazebag or any other famous witch doctors. Those scammers had other dodgy nostrums lined up to hawk from their covered wagons, consequently the chloro quinine hustle foundered before it could be got off the ground. However, not to worry, the Roche pharma testing scam underwritten by the taxpayers of amerika, will bring in big bucks until silly little jared does luck in with a top rort.

Posted by: A User | May 17 2020 8:10 utc | 145

Thanks for the link to the Turkish tests. I guess it is based on the German test given to WHO in January. Good for them and their buyers! While Fr and UK are still trying to explain in their daily briefings why they cannot manage to produce more tests!

I was wondering about something which is related to b's take on the HCQ debate. How can you do a randomized trial that could take people from day 1 or even day 2 of incubation if you have no way to identify the people while they are developing the syndroms?

Posted by: Mina | May 17 2020 9:10 utc | 146

Another study:
Clinical efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in patients with covid-19 pneumonia who require oxygen: observational comparative study using routine care data

Results In the main analysis, 84 patients who received hydroxychloroquine within 48 hours of admission to hospital (treatment group) were compared with 89 patients who did not receive hydroxychloroquine (control group). Eight additional patients received hydroxychloroquine more than 48 hours after admission. In the weighted analyses, the survival rate without transfer to the intensive care unit at day 21 was 76% in the treatment group and 75% in the control group (weighted hazard ratio 0.9, 95% confidence interval 0.4 to 2.1). Overall survival at day 21 was 89% in the treatment group and 91% in the control group (1.2, 0.4 to 3.3). Survival without acute respiratory distress syndrome at day 21 was 69% in the treatment group compared with 74% in the control group (1.3, 0.7 to 2.6). At day 21, 82% of patients in the treatment group had been weaned from oxygen compared with 76% in the control group (weighted risk ratio 1.1, 95% confidence interval 0.9 to 1.3). Eight patients in the treatment group (10%) experienced electrocardiographic modifications that required discontinuation of treatment.

Again: To hype such medication as over-the-counter drug for early treatment of Covid-19 is irresponsible.

Posted by: b | May 17 2020 9:51 utc | 147

Hausmeister (a rival to the bar tender!?)
"We have found a better solution but this cannot be served as a ready tablet product and must be prepared fresh each day so it makes no sense to discuss it here."

You mean the quercetin? as in onion/garlic?

Posted by: Mina | May 17 2020 10:40 utc | 148

As it is fucking naive to imagine any Chloroquine spruiker here at moa, regardless of his/her self belief about their own political conviction, will ever own to having backed the wrong horse, 99% of this thread is worthless.
Not that I expect any DC based empire party hack to ever concede this fact.

Posted by: A User | May 17 2020 10:47 utc | 149

Posted by: A User | May 17 2020 10:47 utc | 156

What's your salary cheque from Gilead, A User?

Posted by: Laguerre | May 17 2020 10:53 utc | 150

Posted by: b | May 17 2020 9:51 utc | 152

You demonstrate very nicely there the faults in the testing of hydroxychloroquine, and why those tests are meaningless. Testing only those who've already been put on oxygen is pointless, as you're excluding all those who were cured by the drug. Excluding those who were cured necessarily leads to a bad result.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 17 2020 11:00 utc | 151

re Posted by: Laguerre
Once again 'the war', a wannabe frenchman living in england demonstrates how binary thinking leads a human to be incorrect at least 50% of the time.
This is the idjit who alleged yellow jackets were some sort of fascist conspiracy. Not because he had any evidence to support that, it was just that the neolib figaro (aka France's very own guardian equivalent), disconfited that one of their pseudo left poseurs was not leading the Gilets Jaunes' had told him so.
Thewar is incapable of comprehending that despite it being possible to see the pharma rorts are exactly that, while also seeing Chloroquine as just another quick talk rort, promoted by orange moron as a get outta jail earner.

This just in case Trump's world turns to shit before he can grab 'the pot'.

Posted by: A User | May 17 2020 11:48 utc | 152

@likbez 140

there are several tests out there and they vary in speed, cost, ease of use, and various measures of how how good they are (false +, false -, limit of detection). The bottom line, however, is that is not a financial burden at scale in ANY first world country. It is a matter of getting it organized.

2 example data points in China btw: Guangzhou daily test capacity=230k (xinhua). And, wuhan is undertaking a campaign to test 11mm people in 2 weeks (!). keeping an eye on this.

also, the more reliable technologies are about 95% reliable vs both false+ and false-. (selectivity and sensitivity). LOD is very low, as in all DNA/RNA methods, except for the Abbott "ID Now" product which seems to have screwed something up according to a couple of recent reports from prominent clinical users. However a properly manufactured mass produced benchtop device of roughly that type is a sound concept, and in quantities of 100mm you're looking at costs under $5 per test (outside of profiteering by various gatekeepers).

Posted by: ptb | May 17 2020 13:18 utc | 153

b is correct. Maybe not about the use of HCQ, but the ridiculous amount of posts about HCQ is nuts.
It has become worse than a 24/7 infomercial.
My 2 cents.

I agree with the earlier poster who said that if he gets CV19 he will trust his doctor for any remedies. I daresay almost every poster here would do the same. So what is with the endless chatter of it's good. it's bad, it's good, it's bad.
WTF cares.

Posted by: arby | May 17 2020 13:40 utc | 154

>The question is not so much whether this HCQ works or not
>but from which reasons this topic is politicized in such an amount.
>Posted by: Hausmeister | May 17 2020 14:04 utc | 163

Yes to this. Who is running this public relations campaign? Easy. Follow the money, as always, and the trail leads to Fauci and friends. Only a few outfits actually write most of the "news", while the rest just reproduce whatever comes over their wire service, so it is easy to get the "correct" story to the public.

In the UK there is the "Science Media Centre" public relations shop who writes stories that their establishment funders want to see publicized. BBC and others just regurgitate the SMC copy. If the "journalist" wants to talk to an official "expert", the SMC gives the journalist an official list of "experts".

No "Conspiracy!" required, it's just business as usual, except that when two or more people who are not Dear Leaders work together to defraud others and enrich themselves, it is known as a criminal conspiracy. Fortunately for important persons, they are immune from the law, unless they step out of line.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 17 2020 15:17 utc | 155

>Incredible that a charlatan like Ferguson is in high respect

Here is what we are supposed to think about Ferguson, straight from the Science Media Centre:

Prof Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, Medical Research Council (MRC), said:

“Neil Ferguson acted swiftly and, in my opinion, appropriately in stepping back from SAGE. Nevertheless, the research of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, which he leads, is not compromised. ‘GIDA’, as it is affectionately known, is powered by several outstanding senior scientists, including Neil. Their contributions to modelling the COVID-19 pandemic remain of paramount importance in the UK and round the world.”

The UK research industry is full of blowhards like Ferguson. It is a small club and they are at the beck-and-call of corporate funders. The Lancet and BMJ are both part of the club. They both publish plenty of rubbish, but who cares as long as Everbody Gets Rich!

But what about the patients, one might ask. The attitude is, There's plenty more where them wankers came from!

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 17 2020 17:08 utc | 156

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 16 2020 14:43 utc | 95

Re Singapore

Being a trade hub does not guarantee high numbers of infected people, see Hong Kong for example, where they did far better compared to Singapore.

re Russia

In Russia and Belarus the numbers are not good, this is why Russia is now number 2 in the world per number of infected people. Being number 2 in the world is poor performance.

And everyone must own their mistakes and lackluster performance, so that lessons are learned and they improve for later.

As for low death rate, the problem is that it is low in the beginning, but later the numbers increase as it takes some time for people to die (up to 20 and sometimes 30 days for many of those on ventilators). I remember how there were few dead people in many other countries too, in the beginning. Later the numbers spiked.

Thus the initial low death rate does not mean much, the high numbers of infected people right now guarantees that there will be more dead people later.

It is highly unfortunate to me that Russia could not deal with the problem like China and other countries did. They had more time than others to prepare and yet rus performance is not good.

Posted by: Passer by | May 17 2020 20:34 utc | 157

It's very disappointing to see b delete posts that are references to stories published on mainstream media sites, like local TV stations. For some people, writing is a very energy intensive activity that sometimes results in symptom exacerbation, like a two-day migraine, for example.

I'll not waste my strength on a website that engages in arbitrary censorship. Of course, the website operator is free to do as they like, just as I am free to create my own website.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 17 2020 21:09 utc | 158

@ Trailer Trash | May 17 2020 21:09 utc | 158

How do we know that B is responsible for all of the deletions? What are other possibilities?

Don’t stop posting based on this assumption, TT. I appreciate your work here even if it isn’t all posted.

I wrote a post last night which appeared to be be taken in by the system but never appeared. I too thought, why bother, why make the effort? There were no links embedded in the post. The post was not off topic. The subject matter was re voting orientation of flyover “rural” USA’ns, in answer to Laguerre’s query.

Posted by: suzan | May 18 2020 0:01 utc | 159

So does this mean all outdoor felines can pass along the virus to humans? I'm remembering the tigers at the Bronx zoo. Would like to know if any of those who came in contact were infected.

Posted by: Bobby Ulfsson | May 18 2020 0:34 utc | 160

So disappointing.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 18 2020 0:47 utc | 161

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