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

next page »

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

There's a proven remedy?

Posted by: ADKC | May 15 2020 17:55 utc | 1

Forget the US and their mafia style corporate government. Until the US people do something to overthrow them, it will just get worse. There is nothing we, outside the US, can do about it. We need to concentrate on our governments and making sure they do things properly.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 15 2020 18:12 utc | 2

Blue Dotterel @3--

Yes, you are 100% correct! And while working on your own government, you also need to keep the Outlaw US Empire away from your government and out of your nation--hard to do if your a part of NATO.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2020 18:22 utc | 3

Even harder to do when I haven't lived in my country of citizenship for 20 years, and am not a citizen of the country I am living in.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 15 2020 18:28 utc | 4

French cats know better: a family who were all infected with covid apparently passed it to their cat. The poor animal was coughing for days, not responding to initial treatment for that, and unable to move until the vet decide to have it tested, and further analysis revealed covid. It was cured with corticosteroids (I summarize the radio info, not all in the link),8884698.php

Posted by: Mina | May 15 2020 18:35 utc | 5

@ Posted by: A.L. | May 15 2020 18:00 utc | 2

Sorry, but the hydroxycloroquine mania is dead:

Teich: não aceitei mudar minha biografia por causa da cloroquina [transl.: (Brazil's Health Minister Nelson Teich: "I won't tarnish my biography by suporting the cloroquine"]

Note: Nelson Teich is an oncologist by profession.

Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned today (15), after refusing to support cloroquine.

In Brazil, the pharmaceutical that owns the patent for cloroquine - Apsen - is owned by a fervent Bolsonaro supporter, mogul Renato Spallicci.

The news is even more shocking because Teich is a far-rightist with a passion for laissez-faire and necropolitics. He was nominated as Mandetta's (the former Health Minister) successor precisely because Bolsonaro expected him to support the end of the lockdown and, later, the usage of cloroquine as the main treatment for COVID-19.

Brazil's situation is so calamitous that even Teich, when he had access to the numbers, outright supported the continuation of the lockdown, in his very first public speech (to Bolsonaro's surprise, I guess).

It is a consensus among experts that Brazil's official numbers are a farce. It is estimated that the total number of deaths is at least 12 times higher.

Posted by: vk | May 15 2020 18:48 utc | 6

Incumbency is the foundation of political evil - in·cum·BENT - bought and in the bag. Make your voting rule, whether of the blue tribe or of the red tribe, have an understanding between your tribes - NO INCUMBENT returned to office. If a holder of public office is seen to serve public interests, by all means return them to public office, just not the one they currently hold; give them the experience of holding all manner of public office and educate them to the problems of all public office. It may be wise that to return an incumbent to the same office after honourably serving the public interest they must pass a bar of maybe 60% for the first sequential re-election and 65% then 70% thereafter. Do something to control incumbents, there is nothing in place now and the results are in plain sight the systemic damage. Once the public office holder has a decade or two of serving the public interest, then, and only then can they be said to be qualified to hold any administrative position, their experience serving as hindrance to self-serving as is done today. It is your country, be in charge of it or keep quiet.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 15 2020 18:50 utc | 7

I guess we better kill mittens now.
since I seem to make good lock-downers mad when I write non-poem thoughts, here are some rhymes:

the mask is a mark
stay in after dark
stay six feet apart
in church and in parks

it’s for your own good
don’t commune in the woods
or stray from your hood
just do what you should

and if you forget
your family, your pets
get caught in the net
and must be reset

so do what you’re told
thinking is old
don’t make us fold
your bones in the cold

Posted by: lizard | May 15 2020 19:02 utc | 8

And just in time, we have this essay, "How Biosecurity Is Enabling Digital Neo-Feudalism" by Pepe Escobar. Seven years ago, this prediction was made:

"In the worst-case scenario projected for a pandemic, Zylberman predicted that 'sanitary terror' would be used as an instrument of governance....

"Agamben did square the circle: it’s not that citizens across the West have the right to health safety; now they are juridically forced (italics [Pepe's]) to be healthy. That, in a nutshell, is what biosecurity is all about.

"So no wonder biosecurity is an ultra-efficient governance paradigm. Citizens had it administered down their throats with no political debate whatsoever. And the enforcement, writes Agamben, kills 'any political activity and any social relation as the maximum example of civic participation.'"

Escobar's topic's been the subject of heated discussion here. How much of "reopening" in meant to combat the implied totalitarian potential? Perhaps an entire thread ought to be devoted? That such was a planned additional benefit of the COVID-19 attack seems very reasonable. Since it was thought of, discussed and had books published about it seems to indicate it ought to become a central topic at MoA.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2020 19:04 utc | 9

Deep thanks for the comment on Remdesivir. I've seen this appraisal in the medical community but not in any public commentary. It was developed to address Ebola and failed miserably. Tagged "a drug looking for a disease."

Posted by: abierno | May 15 2020 19:34 utc | 10

and infect its own human servant

b has a sense of humor. :)

Posted by: Passer by | May 15 2020 19:49 utc | 11

I do not agree on the possibility of the second wave being larger than the first wave (this time), because many policies will be implemented that will weaken it, such as restrictions on internaional travel, people mass wearing masks, people having better hygiene, restrictions on crowding, etc.

Hospitals will be better prepated too, various procedures and protocols will be improved.

I think that there will be a second wave but of lower intensity than the first one, as countries will be better prepared.

Right now, there are several other interesting things that can be mentioned.

1. Situation in Brazil is bad.
2. Situation in Russia and Belarus is bad.
3. The epidemic in Sweden is not subsiding and keeps going, even though it is subsiding in the rest of Western Europe.
4. Europe looks to be moving behind the epidemic, unlike the US, Canada, many in Latin America, Rus/Belarus, and the Middle East.
5. As the economy is reopening in Iran, new cases are spiking too. Things there are not fixed. Nether they are in Turkey. Or in Singapore. Their new numbers are substantial.

Posted by: Passer by | May 15 2020 20:20 utc | 12

Surely it is profit that Gilead is after? I have heard quoted that one dose of remdesivir is about $1'000 so a "full" cure (whatever that may be) is $30'000. The second drug is almost certainly much cheaper.

They may think about reducing the cost if they find it is being given to the cat.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 15 2020 20:46 utc | 13

I’m not going to argue in any way with what warning at what stage of Covid-19 would have been justified or not. The disease is mind-boggling, it is difficult to judge.

However, I find it not nearly as hard to judge this Rick Bright fellow B cites. Bright either failed at his job, or he’s always been something of a con man to begin with. It’s probably a good thing to remove him from BARDA. You might even call his removal a no-brainer from Trump’s point of view, since Bright is an Obama appointee.
But politics aside, Bright’s CV is odd and sketchy. Take a look:

1984 high school degree
? - ? U of Kansas
1990-1992 Osborn Laboratories
1994-1995 research assistant Alabama Reference Lab
? - 1997 Auburn U-Montgomery, B. Sc.
1997-2000 Emory U: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yerkes National Primate Research Center: Vaccine Research Center
2002 Ph. D.
1998-2002 CDC
2002-2003 Altea Therapeutics
2003-2006 CDC
2006-2008 Novavax
2008-2010 PATH (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
2010 Advanced Course in Vaccinology (ADVAC), Fondation Mérieux / U of Geneva (France)
2010-2016 BARDA
2016-2020 Director of BARDA plus Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
2020- National Institutes of Health

Not exactly straightforward, hard to follow. His Wikipedia article doesn’t even give his year of birth. It also doesn’t tell us what year exactly Bright took up studies, so we’re left to guess if he managed to get his degrees in a timely manner or maybe had to spend some extra years to succeed. I’m guessing it’s the latter. Also, he never stays for long in a position, except for Big Government (BARDA).
In case you’re wondering what an organization like BARDA would be up to, it’s role would have been to make good use of the 50 billion $ or so which have been coughed up for bio-preparedness since 9/11. By and large, it just hasn’t. Part of this preparedness approach, among other things but specifically, would involve stockpiling enough PPE to go round for a few weeks during a sudden emergency such as a pandemic. That, however, was “not a priority” under either Bright or Obama. So there you are, dear US citizens. Just one more thing: it appears that Bright was his own supervisor in his dual role of Director of BARDA and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Funny thing.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | May 15 2020 21:10 utc | 15

Frankly COVID is in decline in Europe, though perhaps not in US or UK. It's just a question of waiting it out. US and UK, the problem is the idiots in power.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 15 2020 21:24 utc | 16

i m suspectful about Bright too. coordinated with the release of anti Schweppes studies (no zinc added).
switzerland reopens its bars and a number of european countries like portugal announce they ll soon open to tourism.

Posted by: Mina | May 15 2020 21:28 utc | 17

A man who takes nasal and rectal swabs of four cats daily has more courage than me.

Posted by: passerby | May 15 2020 21:34 utc | 18

I really dislike cats (& do have two parakeets), but I can understand why some people would want them as pets.

They tell me that there are 'indoor cats', and 'outdoor cats'. I suspect that most 'outdoor cats' have never been trained to handle being kept indoors. But it's now obvious that they should be.

So when raising your 'outdoor cat', keep it indoors for one week every month. There are many reasons this could be necessary. For instance when the Covid, or just the coyote, comes to town.

Posted by: blues | May 15 2020 21:44 utc | 19

From the UK Government Chief Medical Officer himself on 11 May:

"Most people will never get it.

Most of the people who get it won't ever experience symptoms.

Most of the people who experience symptoms won't need medical care.

Most of the people who need medical care won't be need emergency or critical care.

And even the tiny percentage of people who need who DO need critical care will survive, regardless of risk factors or medical history."

"An assessment of excess deaths in the UK."

At a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre on 12 May he explained that, over the past five weeks, care homes and other community settings had had to deal with a “staggering burden” of 30 000 more deaths than would normally be expected, as patients were moved out of hospitals that were anticipating high demand for beds.

Of those 30 000, only 10 000 have had covid-19 specified on the death certificate. While Spiegelhalter acknowledged that some of these “excess deaths” might be the result of underdiagnosis, “the huge number of unexplained extra deaths in homes and care homes is extraordinary. When we look back . . . this rise in non-covid extra deaths outside the hospital is something I hope will be given really severe attention.”

He added that many of these deaths would be among people “who may well have lived longer if they had managed to get to hospital.”

Hospitals in the UK were emptied of none-Covid people to make way for the predicted-but-never-happened deluge.

"How to make a crisis far, far, worse"

The lockdown may or may not have any effect on Covid patients (there was certainly no shortage of hopsital facilities for them), but it certainly resulted in deaths that would not have happened otherwise. Cancer patients have had their chemotherapy deferred indefinately, and so on.

The fear-mongers definitely have blood on their hands.

Posted by: Ken Garoo | May 15 2020 22:27 utc | 20

So far COVID lives in cats, Siberian tigers, bats, pangolins, raccoon dogs, ferrets. Only commonality here is they are all mammals. There have been a couple reports that it lives in dogs as well. If conclusions can be drawn from this it would seem to be a simple and indiscriminate virus. And we must mask our dogs, mask our cats, make them wear diapers if they go outside.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 15 2020 22:32 utc | 21

B, can you please write a bit on how other countries are dealing with COVID19, especially in terms of economics? We are hearing too much about the US, but it'd be intereting to hear about China, European countries, and others that are dealing with it. Also an interesting case would definitely be Lebanon and also Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: A | May 15 2020 22:38 utc | 22

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2020 19:04 utc | 10 That such was a planned additional benefit of the COVID-19 attack seems very reasonable. Since it was thought of, discussed and had books published about it seems to indicate it ought to become a central topic at MoA.

I'm not willing to speculate on this given the lack of hard facts, which are even less than in the Seth Rich discussion.

This situation could well be like the wars the US starts everywhere - an opportunity to profit, even if the wars fail. So the US elites know that there may well be pandemic at some point (although this itself is highly speculative - how many people outside of preppers and scientists in the field think about pandemics?). So perhaps they plan to take advantage of that because, just like in their wars, they will never be blamed and never suffer any consequences personally. So what have they got to lose? Plus it's in their nature to grab everything from everyone at all times, so even in a crisis they will continue doing so.

But is that the same as *proving* that they *did* do so in this specific instance? Absolutely not. For that, you need actual *facts* - meaning proof of specific actions taken *and* specific *intent* behind those actions - just like in a criminal investigation. Not necessarily "court of law proof", but one needs far more than "well, they might have done this", still less "they *did* do this." The problem with a lot of people, including people here, is that they start with speculation and end up with certainty for which they have no real evidence.

But the Occam's Razor explanation is that the US elites may well intend to profit from this crisis *now*, but the most likely explanation is simply that the US and most of the Western world was unprepared, compared to the Asian countries that had already gone through similar crises on a smaller scale.

Building a theory of who is responsible for what depends on *known facts* (to the degree *any* "fact" can be "known", which itself is difficult these days), not speculation.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 15 2020 22:38 utc | 23

Re cats... From the movie, "The Losers"...

Jensen: Did you know that cats can make one thousand different sounds and dogs can only make ten? Cats, man. Not to be trusted.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 15 2020 22:40 utc | 24


Just the mammals that have similar receptors to humans. I saw a short list of them sometime back.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 15 2020 22:41 utc | 25

re: cats

I live in an outdoor-cat neighborhood. Wouldn't worry about it that much.

Cute and cuddly to people on the sidewalk, quite territorial to each other. They social distance from others of their species by default. Friendly relations and sharing territory are the exception, not the norm.

Posted by: ptb | May 15 2020 22:51 utc | 26

people who let their cats out are dangerous retards so i see no real problem. they use a vapid "appeal to nature" to excuse it so let's see nature take its course with them.

speaking of which, if we were to apply this "logan's run" social darwinism line of thought in relation to actual usefulness as a human in society as opposed to chronological age the ones saying "screw granny i need my dividend checks" would be marched into the ovens. a 70 year old who's done meaningful things is more of a "keeper" than a 23 year old dartmouth frat boy on his way to 50 years at goldman sachs.

Posted by: the pair | May 15 2020 22:55 utc | 27

Interesting info and data. I'm not surprised by the first study, though more research and studies are needed of course.
Nice to see B taking a shot at remdesivir; see, people, he's not just going after chloroquine, B is very skeptical of most miracle cures around right now. Can't say I disagree with him, though I'm all for testing everything and see what works, and I can even suspect that both drugs are useful under very specific circumstances and with some people.

The point I'm wondering about is the 2nd wave predictions. Is there any reason it'll be far worse, and any reason it will follow the Spanish flu pattern. I mean, the Plague of Athens and the Black Death had a massively deadly first wave, though they were fat-tailed, as Nassim Taleb would say, and had waves in later years - less deadly waves, though put together, they might have made up a fair share of their respective plague's victims. I'm not sure why there was such a pattern with the Spanish Flu; maybe seasonality - first wave hit during spring when flu would be weaker. Covid didn't hit during the harshest winter on record, but still, it wrecked havoc in Wuhan and at least in parts of Europe when it was still winterish; meanwhile, people would be a little more prepared if a 2nd wave hit, if only because some of the basic counter-measures are know and more people (and governments) will have stocks of protective gear.
All in all, that's a point I'm quite agnostic about. We'll see. I just fucking hope that governments and hospitals are ordering massive amounts of masks, various drugs, and a shitload of flu shots - next fall, way more people should be vaccinated against the flu, to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system, to avoid unnecessary deaths, and so that people can rule out flu as the cause of their symptoms and suspect coronavirus.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 15 2020 23:27 utc | 28

"Hospitals in the UK were emptied of none-Covid people to make way for the predicted-but-never-happened deluge...
"The lockdown may or may not have any effect on Covid patients (there was certainly no shortage of hopsital facilities for them), but it certainly resulted in deaths that would not have happened otherwise. Cancer patients have had their chemotherapy deferred indefinately, and so on.
"The fear-mongers definitely have blood on their hands." Ken Garoo@26

No Ken, that is not true. I assume that by 'fearmongers' you mean those who have for years been warning of an imminent pandemic and calling for preparations to be made for it. These people have not been listened to by the governments of the US and UK. Instead of preparing for the pandemic they have run down stocks of PEP, failed to produce and stockpile respirators, cut the standard of living of nurses and driven young people away from training for the profession.
It is neo-liberal governance not those warning of problems who have blood on their hands- the blood in the first place of all those who have died, from this dangerous virus, in Care homes and elsewhere. And, as you point out those, such as my sister, who have had their chemotherapy and other treatments curtailed because the NHS and the US Healthcare systems are not designed to deal with epidemics, but to make money from treating patients quickly and without leaving any spare capacity- human or otherwise- not producing a return on capital invested.
As for you: your role is to apologise for neo-liberalism, demand the forced return of workers to their jobs and to rationalise the deaths of thousand of people, most of whom are no longer young. It takes a community of trolls to defend capitalism at a time when its real nature is clearly exposed.

Posted by: bevin | May 15 2020 23:30 utc | 29

well yes, they're predators. The cute little ones are the killers too. The pet store was supposed to tell you that.

Cats who have never gone outside can handle it, of course. But they thrive on the outdoors just like most humans. If you live in a low population density area where it is safe, and aren't going to let it out, you're being just cruel as you would be having a dog and never taking it out. In my opinion of course.

Posted by: ptb | May 15 2020 23:31 utc | 30


2. Situation in Russia and Belarus is bad.

So the situation in Russia is 'bad'.
Hmm, tens of thousands of deaths in European countries ('Western' countries, on the whole), doctors who have to wear "protective suits" from garbage bags, mass graves, calls to allow the population to get sick in order to develop "collective immunity" (in fact, voluntary consent to screening (=death) of a part of the population with such natural selection)... but it is Russia where the situation is 'bad', and, as you said, "Europe looks to be moving behind the epidemic". That's funny.

The situation in Russia is 'bad'... You are talking about a country where one of the lowest mortality rates (thanks to well-thought-out, previously taken measures, as well as reliable coordinated work of the medical system - a legacy of the Soviet system), where one of the highest rates of population testing is carried out (the more infected people are identified, the better), where dozens of spare modern medical centers have been built at the moment (thanks to the excellent work of the Ministry of Defense). Where the authorities offered the population one of the most impressive measures of social support (one-time payments, payments for children, moratorium on penalties for housing and communal services, zero bank credit for business, payments to medical workers, tax holidays, etc.). The country, which is the world leader in providing ventilation devices - Russia has 26.6 (or 27.3 according to some estimates) devices per 100 thousand people (for comparison, in the USA this indicator is 18.8 devices per 100 thousand people, and in Italy it is 8.3), and produces/supplies them to dozens of other countries. And by the way, in Russia, a vaccine for the COVID-19 may appear already in September (I recall that thanks to the Russian vaccine it was possible to stop and defeat the Ebola epidemic in Africa).

Of course, the situation may change, including in Russia. Anything can happen. But I only recall that at the moment Russia is not a country where it was necessary to withdraw the military with weapons to the streets, or introduce a curfew. Do not forget this when you write that this is Russia, where the situation is 'bad'.

Posted by: alaff | May 15 2020 23:36 utc | 31

Australia - deaths from Covid-19

Total - 98 (15/05/2020)

0-39 = 0
40-49 = 1
50-59 = 2
60-69 = 11
70-79 = 31
80-89 = 34
90+ = 19

Australian Government Dept. of Health

I know it does not fit the fear agenda.

As the lockdown has been eased in most Australian states there have been zero announcements on additional protections for the elderly & infirm.

Why are the Federal & state governments doing nothing but the most basic measures to ensure the safety of the elderly & infirm?

Posted by: ted01 | May 16 2020 0:17 utc | 32

Ken Garoo | May 15 2020 22:27 utc | 26

"...Hospitals in the UK were emptied of none-Covid people to make way for the predicted-but-never-happened deluge."

My niece is a nurse at major hospital in one of Australia's state capitals - she has been on reduced shifts for the last few weeks - no patients & too many staff. Anecdotal but still some what revealing in light of the following...

Backlog of 400,000 elective surgery cases

How can we measure the quality of life for these 400,000 people?
Maybe there is a study somewhere on "years of life lost".

Then there is this...
Impact likely to lead to increased rates of suicide

Maybe these people don't count.

Posted by: ted01 | May 16 2020 0:36 utc | 33

"While ordinary Americans face record unemployment and loss, the COVID-19 bailout has saved the very rich"

Not so fast. The bailouts saved large public and private sector pension plans that invest in blue chip stocks. You know, all the school teachers, firefighters, and other ordinary Americans who rely on those pension plans for their retirement!

Posted by: krypton | May 16 2020 1:14 utc | 34

OT/ sars-cov-2 genetics:

another pangolin cov paper (Liu et al, May 2020)

This one rejects the pangolin theory, I *think* because of other genetic differences elsewhere in the virus dna of the pangolin cov.

However, they seem to find patterns suggesting that mixing of viral dna from different cov strains is possible. (presumably the missing training place still in bats?)

Recombination analysis showed that S gene of pangolin-CoV-2020 might be constructed by fragment from Bat-CoV-ZC45 or Bat-CoV-ZXC21 and fragment from Bat-CoV-RaTG13.

In regards the crucially important S1/S2 cleavage site discussed on yesterday's thread

Interestingly, the cleavage site between S1 and S2 in SARS-CoV-2 had multiple insertions (i.e. PRRA), compared with those of Bat-CoV-RaTG13 and pangolin-CoV-2020, which may result from an additional recombination event.

Note again that there exist both Bat and Human cov's that do have the cleavage site in common with sars-cov-2, but lack the efficient ACE2 binding part which the pangolin-cov and sars-cov-2 have.

[link referred via that trashy-eclectic artifact of our culture, zerohedge]

Posted by: ptb | May 16 2020 2:04 utc | 35

ugh. typo. 'taking place' not 'training place'. thanks again fone

Posted by: ptb | May 16 2020 2:05 utc | 36

Yes, Ken Garoo @26, the fearmongers have blood on their hands, not just in the UK, and this is a massive life-and-death crisis. More evidence, from another unimpeachable source various MoA stalwarts will now have to claim is a hack:

Unicef warns lockdown could kill more than Covid-19 as model predicts 1.2 million child deaths
Subhead: 'Indiscriminate lockdowns' are an ineffective way to control Covid and could contribute to a 45 per cent rise in child mortality

"...According to a stark report published in Lancet Global Health journal on Wednesday, almost 1.2 million children could die in the next six months due to the disruption to health services and food supplies caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The modelling, by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Unicef, found that child mortality rates could rise by as much as 45 per cent due to coronavirus-related disruptions, while maternal deaths could increase by almost 39 per cent.

"Dr [Stefan Peterson, chief of health at UNICEF] said these figures were in part a reflection of stringent restrictions in much of the world that prevent people leaving their homes without documentation, preventing them from accessing essential health care services. ...

"...Covid is not a children's disease. Yes there are rare instances and we see them publicised across the media. But pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles, death in childbirth, these are the reasons we will see deaths rise.”

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 2:37 utc | 37

@bluemot 16

agreed. even my comment with medical paper (prepress) reference was deleted. so b is now the great gatekeeper of all that is correct and wholesome?

@vk 7

I mostly enjoy your comments but your wall of text had nothing to do with the study and paper I referenced (now deleted by b).

Mixing politics and medicine is what got us where are are. witch hunting can come later but what we need now is hard science. I couldn't give a rat's ass on some resignation by some political appointee.

Posted by: A.L. | May 16 2020 2:41 utc | 38


Interesting point. My union steward at a previous job consistently supported the overthrow of leftist governments in South America. As far as domestic politics went he was a die-hard (so-called) leftist.

Upon having a couple drinks one night after work, i pressed him as too why, he as a black man and lifelong Democrat would support these brutal, racist, fascist governments. Turns out much of our PERS (public employee retirement system) was invested in Central and South American sweatshops in the textile industry. Living wages, worker safety, environmental concerns and other issues championed by Latin American leftists made for bad return on investment.

That sort of moral rot seems to have infected and destroyed much of the American Left.

Posted by: Jason | May 16 2020 2:47 utc | 39

@26 "The fear-mongers definitely have blood on their hands."

Isn't the simpler explanation likely to be the correct one: the great majority of those excess deaths came about because of complications that arose from having contracted covid-19, but since they were never tested for it then "covid-19" never appeared on their death certificate?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 16 2020 2:58 utc | 40

Posted by: Ken Garoo | May 15 2020 22:27 utc | 26

"Most people will never get it.

Most of the people who get it won't ever experience symptoms.

Most of the people who experience symptoms won't need medical care.

Most of the people who need medical care won't be need emergency or critical care.

And even the tiny percentage of people who need who DO need critical care will survive, regardless of risk factors or medical history."

I watched the video and your supposed transcription is riddled with errors (exactly one out of five of your sentences accurately reflects what was said by the speaker).

I expect that the remainder of your post may be similarly misleading.

It's well known that many people have had to forego prompt medical care due to the pandemic, and it's not surprising that hospitals may be under- or over-prepared for the number of incoming patients given how much we don't know about the virus.

As well, hospitals are great places for airborne diseases to spread, so sending generally unhealthy people into such an environment could be risky with even a few COVID19 patients around.

Posted by: farm ecologist | May 16 2020 3:01 utc | 41

@ Posted by: krypton | May 16 2020 1:14 utc | 42

You're correct. Both bail outs (2008 and 2020) are strictly aimed at saving the American system. It is a mistake not to consider every POTUS in history so far as not passionately patriotic and wishing nothing more than the welfare and survival of the USA. It is also wrong to project some kind of conspiracy theory or teleology on American imperialism: at the end of the day, Americans simply want to continue with their materially prosperous lifestyle.

But don't be deluded: that's not how capitalism should work. These bail outs, albeit retarding the system's collapse, will not avoid it. The tendency is that America will survive thanks to those trillions printed by the Fed (with the blessing of the Congress) - but it will be a poorer and more unequal America.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 3:04 utc | 42

From the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE UK) Gov.UK website...

Meeting #18 23 March 2020


2. Perceived threat: A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; it could be that they are reassured by the low death rate in their demographic group (8), although levels of concern may be rising (9). Having a good understanding of the risk has been found to be positively associated with adoption of COVID-19 social distancing measures in Hong Kong (10). The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat (11)."

Options for increasing adherence to social distancing

Posted by: ted01 | May 16 2020 3:13 utc | 43

Excellent Twitter thread by Piers Robinson on the futility of the lockdown, based on a YouTube conversation w Dr. Jay Bhattacharya ( )

1) Regarding what lockdowns do: ‘I think in the back of peoples’ heads is this idea that somehow we can eradicate the disease if we just stay locked down. That is not possible  the epidemic is too widespread to eradicate  It’s not possible to eradicate it with a lockdown. (13.30)
4:09 PM · May 15, 2020

2) It’s not that the lockdowns, people look at the lockdowns and say things like, ‘ok the death rates have to go down for like 14 days in a row and we can then lift the lockdown, right’.

3) But if I’m right, the lockdowns are effective, you lift the lockdown and it just starts growing again … the lockdowns are not a mechanism for disease eradication … it will only delay when the disease happens, now or later’ (22:41)

4) Regarding the ‘risk of death’: ‘What we found … is somewhere between 0.1 and 0.2, one in a thousand or two in a thousand risk of death … same thing in LA County, actually they found the same thing in Miami (?), …

5) I think in Germany they found somewhere between .25 and .4 percent …. New York City five in a thousand, it’s basically consistent worldwide somewhere between 1 in a thousand and 5 in a thousand in all of these seriological studies worldwide’ (28.12- 28.50)

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 3:18 utc | 44

Interesting article in the NY Times looking at Sweden, that now-darling of the Trump Administration:

When you look at the excess deaths then, sure, Sweden is doing much better than some other European countries that fumbled their involuntary lockdowns e.g. UK, Spain, Italy, France, etc. But, honestly, Benny Hill had those countries pegged a long, long time ago. But it's more than that: not only are they comic-book examples of hopeless mismanagement, none of those are Scandinavian countries.

When you compare Sweden against Denmark, Norway, Finland then a completely different picture emerges. Essentially, all the Scandinavian countries that went into lockdown had negligible increases in mortality, while the one Scandinavian country that didn't (i.e. Sweden) is showing a 27% increase in mortality.

That suggests to me that there are reasons (e.g. climate, population density, cultural) that gives Scandinavia some significant advantages over other countries in Europe, so much so that lockdown in Scandinavian countries has basically prevented covid-19 from having any effect on mortality, while not locking-down has a significant but not overwhelming effect on mortality.

But that is unlikely to translate anywhere else, and is certainly not going to translate to the USA which is - duh! - definitely not Scandinavian in its climate, demographics or culture.

If you want to look at what is in store for a "business as usual" USA then the better role-model is likely to be Brazil.

And the outlook for Brazil is, well, who'd want to be there right now?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 16 2020 3:22 utc | 45

YES, the Covid-19 response has disrupted cancer treatments:

"A survey conducted by The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in late March and early April found that half of more than 1,000 patients and survivors surveyed had seen their treatment interrupted in some way. Many are working with health care providers to alter their treatment plans — skipping treatments, delaying therapies and surgeries, changing dosages and switching to virtual visits — to lower their risk of exposure to the virus.

"The survey asked respondents about their experience accessing health care as a result of the pandemic, including the availability of appointments and services, and concerns about being able to safely get their treatments in the future. It found that 27% of patients in active treatment said they have had their treatment delayed. Of those, 13% said they have no clear timeline for when treatment will resume.

"Additionally, many cancer patients also have had their support systems ripped away, as they practice social isolation and see annual support events... canceled."

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 3:33 utc | 46

Yeah, Right | May 16 2020 3:22 utc | 55

Sweden's two major failures were not protecting its nursing home population and its 'personal responsibility' health advice not effectively penetrating its large immigrant and refugee communities. These have little to do with 'to lockdown or not to lockdown'.

Looking ahead there are no positive options in the most neoliberal countries. Least bad is a non-lockdown but it will be horrible. 40 years of neoliberal cutbacks in the US has left us with no viable options. 'Pray for the Gates miracle vaccine!'

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 3:42 utc | 47

Australian government shows the way to keep cats safe from household toxic substances. Some people have no idea how vulnerable little furries are.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 16 2020 4:05 utc | 48

thanks b... you put a lot of work into these posts with the many links and ideas...

okay, i read all the posts in this thread.. its a hobby i guess.. i have a few hobbies... i think the best partial quote was " But if I’m right".... that seems to summarize a lot of the thinking around covid... people forget about the 'but' and the 'if' and go straight to believing that 'I'm right'.... try to remember the buts and the ifs... no ones position here is as solid and as bullet proof as they might like to think it is..

i think the worst lines i read in posts are ones where the person expresses stuff like this - "The fear-mongers definitely have blood on their hands." i guess that is a not very generous way to say that anyone who has any fears is guilty of murder... that ain't all that flattering to an audience in general, even if you think it is a good way to get a point across... it isn't and it makes you look bad...someone in the health profession wants to safe lives and they made a decision with that in mind and now they are labelled a fearmonger with blood on their hands?? nah.. i just don't see it that way.. and i think this attitude just reinforces a lot of negativity too... i would say people who make these kinds of comments have a lot of negativity on their hands and will need to figure out a way to get out from under that.. so, maybe i don't need to say anything... they have enough to process as it is... they probably don't read my comments anyway... but if i am right, LOLOLOL!

Posted by: james | May 16 2020 4:28 utc | 49

I came back in here after I finished my 'rounds' for the day to comment on covid 19, specifically how many people make the error of imagining death is the only unfavourable long term outcome of this disease when, contracting Covid 19 can, for those who may be too young to be killed by it, have them suffer from an illness with ever-changing symptoms that come and go for several months, perhaps forever.
Paul Garner a Professor of infectious diseases came down with Covid 19 and was subjected to a vast range of varying debilitations for at least 9 weeks. He details his own particular hell in an article published in the Brit Medical Journal I suggest reading the comments thread below to read comments from other Covid 19 patients expressing relief that now a 'real Dr' has suffered as they have, perhaps other doctors will regard their symptoms less skeptically.

I did notice during my masochistic BBC watching phase that one of the 'public service' commercials on the BBC featured a pair of geographically separate mid-40's humans who had contracted Covid 19 and were experiencing the same thing - varied symptoms hitting them in waves that would build to a peak of agony, then die down slowly. No sooner had the patient recovered from that and expressed their relief, when another totally different but equally painful symptom would hit & the cycle repeat.

That commercial only ran a coupla times, then I guess the medical/political establishment worried about startling already frightened horses, stepped in & had it removed - can't have the drones refusing to return to generating wealth for their betters now, can we?

The comments thread also contains a link to a huffpost uk article by Garner, I haven't linked to it because the huffpost like facebook inserts many spyware hooks and if read at all, is best done so using VPN and browser from which deleting data is easy. So consider this prior warning.

The point I want to make is that Covid 19 is a really tenacious disease as well as being one that seems to be racially selective & can be transmitted by household 'pets' eg feline vectors.
Not something to be lightly dismissed - one wonders how and why such an effort was put in by Mr Anon & his helpers to convince nearly the complete gamut of conspiracy fancying right wingers, that novel coronavirus is essentially harmless when that is the opposite of the reality.

Posted by: A User | May 16 2020 5:10 utc | 50


Took the big broom and cleaned up the thread.

Again lots of fake first-time-ever posters who contributed only hate.

Notorious anti-semite King Lear / Giant Sequoia had his comments eliminated.

His sidekick donkeytale / disabuser likewise.

Some late-coming promoters of chloroquine were also banned.

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

"the situation in Russia and Belarus is bad" lol Russia 2400 c0vid deaths Belarus a couple thousand cases increase but mostpeople don't die anywhere except nursing homes and hospitals.
In Italy Their average age? 79.5. And the overwhelming percentage of these people were already suffering from multiple, long-term, serious health conditions
this is not to mention the protocol of putting people with low blood oxygen too soon on ventilators not to mention the use of antivirals with known serious adverse effects.
plus children don't die so why close day cares and schools.
what people should be considering is cui bono. Its not the working poor its not small businesses I imagine this is bill gates wet dream Amazon is definitely not crying the dollar system is saved the big corporations and finance is saved How much is private health insurance saving from deffered treatments and old sick people dying? then there is physician and Minnesota state senator, Scott Jensen: a patient on Medicare, diagnosed with straight pneumonia, would bring a $4600 payment to the hospital. The same patient, labeled “COVID-19 pneumonia,” would bring $13,000. And if that patient is put on a ventilator: $39,000. Nah this would never affect hospital decisions or reporting. Then there is Silicon VAlley and the AI technocrats There is no way to say lockdowns save live except maybe a few short term.

Posted by: gepay | May 16 2020 5:34 utc | 52

re uncle tungsten | May 16 2020 4:05 utc | 48
Thanks for the tips as most are less obvious than wandering around with a house brick in each hand.

Posted by: A User | May 16 2020 6:55 utc | 53

Your coverage of this topic is outstanding, B.

I have a personal observation to contribute.

My cat is passionate about newly mopped floors, and rolls on wet bleached surfaces with a look of pure ecstasy on her face. I suspect she listens to Trump's media conferences, ignoring the abuse I yell at the screen and paying attention to his practical suggestions. Could there be any other explanation?

While contemplating this and other matters, I recently spent an hour of my life watching a very recent video on the smugly conservative Hoover Institute website.

Peter Robinson, host of 'Uncommon Knowledge, interviewed Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who'd been on the show before. In previous interviews he'd expressed scepticism about higher estimates of the Infection Death Rate, and supported the notion that in the USA the true infection rate in the general population is far higher than the recorded infection rate. That seemed to be supported by serological studies he'd conducted in two counties in California, which indicated infection rates in the population as a whole as high as 3% to 4%.

In this latest interview, Dr Bhattacharya returned to discuss the results of his most recent study - a serological antibody test carried out on a sample of a particular group of employed, working-age people across the whole of the USA. He was excited because although the sample wasn't fully representative of the US population as a whole, it was at least a nationwide study.

In what Robinson described as "bad news", Dr Bhattacharya reported that only 0.7% of the people tested in his study returned a positive antibody test. That suggests the infection has barely started in the general population. "Herd immunity", if it can be attained, is clearly a very long way off. A lot of people will die en route.

Although few genuine "experts" want to say it, it seems apparent to me using simple arithmetic that COVID-19 casualties in the USA alone are likely to run into the millions. Absent a serious attempt to reduce case numbers dramatically, this contemporary plague will ravage the US population over the next year or two.

The timidity of epidemiologists to mention worst case scenarios - as opposed to more optimistic scenarios - reminds me of the early days of concern about global warming. Between the mid 1980s and the first decade of the 21st century, climate scientists and even environmental groups were generally reluctant to state clearly the extent of the cuts in greenhouse emissions needed to stabilize the climate. The truth sounded just too extreme to mention. It was fairly clear from the early 1990s that the requisite cuts in CO2 emissions were in the order of 90-95%. But targets set at Kyoto were much, much lower. Humanity squibbed the issue and kicked it down to the next generation to solve or suffer.

With COVID-19, timescales are a lot shorter. China is the model to emulate - but most decision-makers and commentators in the western world are too smugly certain of the superiority of their culture to watch and learn. They'd rather invent reasons why China has stuffed things up.

This blog's coverage of that topic is, of course, a notable and very honourable exception.

Posted by: Syd Walker | May 16 2020 7:07 utc | 54

passerby | May 15 2020 21:34 utc

Not pleasant by any means, but very simple when you know this handy trick

Cat Hack

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | May 16 2020 7:11 utc | 55

Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19
Posted by: Ken Garoo | May 15 2020 22:27 utc | 20

Over the last month I have several times analysed the statistical reports published by the UK's ONS and demonstrated that they appear to show the exact opposite of wha the ONS were claiming. The ONS - pushing the government's line - pushed the panic mongering, the emphasis on "excess deaths", distorting the statistics by misrepresenting deathrates using statistically invalid "age corrections". I demonstrated that the ONS's own charts appeared to show that Covid deaths were only about one third of the excess deaths. Heart disease deaths in particular were massively decreased by 30% compared to the 5 year average, and other major causes of death were also substantially reduced compared to the 5-year average, proving that the alleged covid deaths in the UK had been massively inflated to support the panic mongering, and the non-covid excess deaths were caused by the Covid measured adopted by the UK government, including sick patients being denied the medical aid they required.

Now the British Medical Journal has confirmed my analysis (above link):

However, David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said that covid-19 did not explain the high number of deaths taking place in the community.

At a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre on 12 May he explained that, over the past five weeks, care homes and other community settings had had to deal with a “staggering burden” of 30 000 more deaths than would normally be expected, as patients were moved out of hospitals that were anticipating high demand for beds.

Of those 30 000, only 10 000 have had covid-19 specified on the death certificate. While Spiegelhalter acknowledged that some of these “excess deaths” might be the result of
underdiagnosis, “the huge number of unexplained extra deaths in homes and care homes is extraordinary. When we look back . . . this rise in non-covid extra deaths outside the hospital is something I hope will be given really severe attention.”

He added that many of these deaths would be among people “who may well have lived longer if they had managed to get to hospital.”

David Leon, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, agreed. “Some of these deaths may not have occurred if people had got to hospital,” he said. “How many is unclear. This issue needs urgent attention, and steps taken to ensure that those who would benefit from hospital treatment and care for other conditions can get it.”

Posted by: BM | May 16 2020 7:21 utc | 56

Maybe this is why remdesivir gets hyped?

COVID-19 Panel Gilead Ties

Nine members of the Panel tasked with determining acceptable COVID-19 treatments have disclosed financial ties to Gilead, the manufacturer of Remdesivir. However, at least 7 other members failed to disclose their financial ties to Gilead and a number of other panel members appear to have links to Gilead that require no disclosure. Together, Gilead-linked individuals made up a majority of this panel.

Posted by: Joost | May 16 2020 7:29 utc | 57

PJB | May 16 2020 8:56 utc | 61

Thanks PJB. Many are puzzled by b on the hydroxychloroquine issue. Not the stance itself, but the lack of humility in the face of contradictory evidence, widespread usage by doctors, and incomplete testing. Normally, also, b would examine and be skeptical about Dr. Fauci's varying statements on hydroxychloroquine and his economic interests. But no, none of that, instead he adopts disrespectful and 'Twitter-style' intolerance.

Best explanation is that b has imbibed too much of the mainstream media's Trump Derangement Syndrome and/or simply venerates the WHO too much. But, much like other formerly above reproach institutions, it's not the WHO of 20-30 years ago. Be skeptical, suspect Big Pharma corruption. Hydroxychloroquine may still be ineffective, but don't jump to that conclusion too quickly.

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 9:23 utc | 58


One theory is that the spike protein gene of Bat Coronavirus' HKU9 or RmYN02 could be the probable source of the putative insert that adds the RRAR furin site to SARS-CoV-2. The nucleotide code sequence matches and the insertion could be via copy choice errors in cells from a person simultaneously infected with both bat viruses.

This would require the insertion to take place during a co-infection with one still unknown source virus' and the virus containing the cleavage site.

I hope this helps. Your comments appreciated.

Posted by: krollchem | May 16 2020 9:36 utc | 59


You want to continue to promote Trump's wonder medicine? Than leave this place and go elsewhere.

You are obviously not well informed about the issue anyway.

WaPo: Drug promoted by Trump as coronavirus ‘game changer’ increasingly linked to deaths

Clinical trials, academic research and scientific analysis indicate that the danger of the Trump-backed drug is a significantly increased risk of death for certain patients. Evidence showing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating covid-19 has been scant. Those two developments pushed the Food and Drug Administration to warn against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of a hospital setting last month, just weeks after it approved an emergency use authorization for the drug.

Alarmed by a growing cache of data linking the anti-malaria drug to serious cardiac problems, some drug safety experts are now calling for even more forceful action by the government to discourage its use. Several have called for the FDA to revoke its emergency use authorization, given hydroxychloroquine’s documented risks.

“They should say, ‘We know there are harms, and until we know the benefits, let’s hold off,’ ” said Joseph Ross, a professor of medicine and public health at Yale University, who added that the original authorization may have been warranted but new evidence has emerged about the drug’s risks.

“I’m surprised it hasn’t been revoked yet,” said Luciana Borio, who served as director for medical and biodefense preparedness of the National Security Council and was acting chief scientist at the FDA.
Yogen Kanthi, assistant professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan, said that it has been clear that the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin — used to treat bacterial infections — could lead to cardiac arrhythmias, which cause the heart to beat irregularly or too fast or slow. Many patients hospitalized for covid-19 had underlying cardiovascular disease that put them at higher risk for arrhythmias, “so it shouldn’t be surprising we saw an increase in death,” he said.

“The question has been answered that if you have the infection and it’s significant enough to be in the hospital, the drug doesn’t seem to do anything for you,” he said. “It may be the horse is out of the barn.”

Many hospitals have stopped using the drug outside of clinical trials.

“We no longer are keeping large quantities and have returned most of it,” said Nishaminy Kasbekar, director of pharmacy for the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. “I think they should revoke the EUA because clearly based on the data it is no longer considered a treatment for covid.”
A study of Veterans Affairs patients hospitalized with the coronavirus found no benefit and higher death rates among those taking hydroxychloroquine, researchers said last month.

More than 27 percent of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died, and 22 percent of those treated with the combination therapy died, compared with an 11.4 percent death rate in those not treated with the drugs, the study said.

Posted by: b | May 16 2020 9:39 utc | 60

Nice varied post b.

I love cats.

They taste like chicken.

Did anyone else see the 100% cure claim (not a vaccine, not a treatment - a cure) by California’s Sorrento therapeutics reported across a good number of outlets including CNBC and Fox yesterday...? When I saw it tweeted I immediately thought pump n dump scam, stock up around 60% before market opening. The antibody found is named STI-1499, and reported to be able to, after infusion, identify and envelope the Coronavirus, where it is then passed out of the body. Lots of things work in the test tube, but ultimately fail in real life... such a claim and resultant stock price movement should be punished if claim is false.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 16 2020 9:44 utc | 61

French labs who have started to test ppl for covid antibodies (not reimbursed, not part of a study) say that 20% have it. They probably reflect only the situation in big cities, where such labs and the people who are willing to pay for the test are found.

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 9:50 utc | 62

What would actually be interesting to know is whether "early enough" stuff like artemisa/revinsara and the whole traditional pharmacy do work too. But for that kind of study to be made randomized etc there is neither enough volunteers in the countries where they could be made not any budget from the countries where it is more profitable to sell a molecule.

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 9:58 utc | 63

In the great south land of Oz there are millions of wild cats and if they share and spread this coronavirus it might just wipe them out. Now that would be a bonus. On the other hand if those cats share coronavirus with the echidna we could have a really serious spike protein problem ;)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 16 2020 10:22 utc | 64

@47 fairleft you only discuss one half of my post. The other half is that those Scandinavian countries that *did* go into lockdown had almost no increase in mortality over "baseline". Sweden's sorta-alright result needs to be compared against those outstanding results, not against anyone else.

If the USA - or anyone else, for that matter - attempts to emulate Sweden's policies then the result is likely to be Armageddon.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 16 2020 10:25 utc | 65

One can focus on the numbers like YLL above, which will be different in Germany, India(young) or the US(unhealthy), and it could even be extended to quality of life because the disease also does long term damage to survivers. YLL is interesting because the difference with the spanish flu becomes quite stark where mainly young and healthy people died.
But an important part of the choice is a moral one: if you feel it is not within your power to change the events you carry on your life, a lot of people die and get lung damage, but the society keeps working. If you feel it is within your power to save the weak and the elderly then not doing anything becomes a deliberate choice to sacrifice people. You know, heartless murderers!
But I do not see this as a simple moral choice. People make it simpler for themselves by minimizing or maximizing the harm the virus does, and the other way round with the economy. It is very easy to ignore the damage to the economy and finance from a point of view of 'moral people should not take in account such lowly things as money'. It is difficult to estimate and to really 'feel' the economic consequences and there is also a lack of attention because it is a middle class , even mainstream viewpoint which leaves the money issues over to other people, such as people who really need money urgently and also hm, bad people.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | May 16 2020 10:29 utc | 66

fairleft | May 16 2020 3:42 utc | 47

Sweden; 'personal responsibility' health advice not effectively penetrating its large immigrant and refugee communities.

This is one problem of "cultural identity" in Europe at the moment.
I gather there was a problem with roaming gangs and No-go areas before Covid-19. The lumping of statistics into "one country at a time" does not take into account separate geographical or ethnic areas.
There are now 750 no-go areas in France, where the police would not or could not go to enforce "lockdown". There are obviously no available statistics based on "integration - or not" of immigrant populations, to look at. (politically fraught) However, I must say that it might just explain part of the curiously high Swedish results, and would clarify the real effectiveness of mass lockdown.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 16 2020 10:31 utc | 67

Hurray YLL numbers - now we can talk about policy !!!!

Start with heroic but very generous to b's pov assumptions:
Say 12 years YLL for each death. 5 YLL for each survival of hospital treatment.

Say Current world Deaths of 307k ends up at 3m, and current "Recovered" ends or 1.63m up at 16m (ie it all gets 10x worse worldwide)

Leading to 3m x 12 yll lost in deaths and 16m x 5 YLL in recoveries = 36m + 80m = 116m YLL spread over a world population of 7.6 billion.

We are talking 0.015 YLL lost per person across the world or 5.6 days per person caused by Covid 19.

Conclusion then: Covid has just taken 6 days off the life expectancy of every human on the planet!!!!

(feel free to multiply any factor by 10 to get 8 weeks)

1 week or even 1 year of Life expectancy is pretty tiny given the massive changes across the world in last few decades.
Much of these changes has come from the health service work that has been closed down in most countries precisely because of the over reaction to Covid-19.

I'd add that the YLL research is clearly hugely faulty and 2 years not 14 seems about right to me - not that it makes much difference to policy.
All health policy is based on YLL or better QALYs (Quality adjusted life years).
No policy mentioned by any government to date has mentioned QALY of YLL which makes me presume the analysis has not fitted the political chosen policies, it is Overton's Window ruling, not Science. There are certainly establised estimates out there to measure the QALY effect of closing down 50% of doctor and hospital activities, or the effect of an additional drop in GDP of 10% even if it is for just 1 year.

As for the research it is a bit strange. It seems to assume that having a co-morbidity is the same as having a diagnosed co-morbidity which is isn't, and of course having multiple co-morbidities when only one has been diagnosed is very likely. And of course the diagnosed/guessed/ignored coivd issue is repeated with the reporting of co-morbidity

Any rational approach has to assume that a lot of undiagnosed people still contain high risk problems, and the Covid-19 will "diagnose" those weaknesses better than any doctor.
It is an inherently faulty approach and 10-14 years is a gross overestimate.

And even then:
Deaths is not even the main health downside of getting Covid-19 - that would be reduced length and quality of life for those that go into hospital

and YLL is not QALY. QALY = q x YLL where q is a factor representing life quality between 0 & 1. For many aged or patients with co-morbidity q might be 0.5.

If you live in the first world, your government has all these numbers at its fingertips and they are regularly discussed by the leading advisers, but never disclosed. Why?

Posted by: Michael Droy | May 16 2020 10:31 utc | 68

it would also be interesting to know if among the patients treated while only with mild symptoms, a higher level of zinc was found in their blood samples.

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 10:32 utc | 69

Bars and restaurants open in Switzerland
Geneva airport has kept functioning too

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 11:02 utc | 70

Everybody except for the nutjobs who think COVID-10 came out of a lab, assumes that a precursor to COVID-19 came out of a bat via a pangolin or some other exotic wild animal before infecting a human. That cats can carry COVID-19 suggests a possible alternative route of human to cat(s) to human. Many humans live in far greater proximity to cats than any do to pangolins or other exotic wild animals and with many unrelated humans living in close proximity to one another, so do many cats and those cats hissing or spitting at each other seems a good way to pass any virus between each other.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 16 2020 11:17 utc | 71

Any drugs out of patent will be discredited by big pharma lobbyists. It seems a number of drugs do have an impact on the covid-19 set of symptoms.

At one point in time, I was diagnosed with 'chronic fatigue syndrome'. It is a bullshit diagnosis, basically the scrap heap for undiagnosed disease. I looked up research on the subject at the the time. There was a couple of interesting contrasts.

One research project simply took in a mob that had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and of course found nothing in various trials.

Another project took in a cohort with exactly the same symptoms, and found that a pathogen was indeed causing their problems.

A number of drugs on anecdotal evidence (and perhaps the observations of Chinese doctors unencombered by lobbyists are anecdotal) do help certain patients.
Each drug may not be a cure all for all people with COVID-19, but it seems these do help various patients depending on their symptoms and the way the virus is attacking them.

With that in mind, I would be keeping an eye on China rather than US big pharma.
Big pharma may well come up with a you beaut cure all, but in the mean time I would be looking at doctors unencombered by big pharma for something that will help.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 16 2020 11:18 utc | 72

Fairleft @ 47, Stonebird @ 71:

My understanding of the situation regarding immigrant communities and COVID-19 in Sweden is that, yes, some immigrant communities (Somali communities in particular) did live in areas of high rates of crime designated as no-go zones by police. These areas being no-go zones also meant that government services that could have supplied the appropriate information about COVID-19 to these immigrant communities, in their own languages as well, didn't set up offices there.

Another problem is that in Sweden, municipal governments run nursing homes on stringent budgets. Many if not most workers in these institutions are employed on contracts which means that individual workers may work long hours looking after as many as 200 patients in one institution to make enough income just to get by from one day to the next. Workers are often drawn from immigrant communities and their understanding of Swedish may be poor.

A comment by DFT on Peter Turchin's article "A Tale of Two Countries" at Turchin's blog:

Dr. Turchin,
One problem appears to be that the Swedish government had no prior authority to control the elderly care; it is run by municipalities who have preferred to cut labour cost using workers on hourly contracts. This has lead to an excessive spread of the virus across elderly care facilities by workers who cannot afford to stay home.

The current estimate is that half of the Swedish Covid-19 deaths are in the elderly care!

Karl Kling replied to DFT's comment:

...As for the elderly care, many workers have hourly contracts and do not speak Swedish that well. Most statistics are on a total regional level though as the regions provide health care. Would be great if there were more granular statistics as there are now rumors spreading about which ethnic groups are harder hit than ethnic Swedes.

Further information that support DFT and Karl Kling's comments on the neglect of the elderly in aged care homes in Sweden:
"Sweden admits failure to protect elderly in care homes"

... Kommunal, Sweden's largest union for municipal employees which includes many care workers, has meanwhile blamed precarious working conditions for the unfolding [COVID-19] tragedy.

It said that in March [2020], 40 per cent of staff at Stockholm nursing homes were unskilled workers employed on short-term contracts, with hourly wages and no job security, while 23 per cent were temps.

In other words: people who often can't afford not to go to work even if they're sick.

"There are a lot of different people who work at several nursing homes, and that also leads to a greater spread," the head of Kommunal's nursing home division, Ulf Bjerregaard, said ...

The article further notes that nursing homes in Sweden are large complexes housing hundreds of residents, in contrast to nursing homes in Norway and Denmark, and these large institutions will only take people who are already in bad health. In other words, Swedish aged care facilities are virtually halfway homes to the morgue. And that's before they even start hiring refugees and immigrants from poor countries.

Posted by: Jen | May 16 2020 11:32 utc | 73

Reuters House passes $3 trillion coronavirus aid bill opposed by Trump

Dire Straits - Money for nothin and your chicks for free.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 16 2020 11:41 utc | 74

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 3:18 utc | 44 3) But if I’m right, the lockdowns are effective, you lift the lockdown and it just starts growing again … the lockdowns are not a mechanism for disease eradication … it will only delay when the disease happens, now or later’ (22:41)

What this moron fails to comprehend is that a lockdown has only one purpose: restrict transmission until testing, tracing and isolating can be used. And that is only so that the hospitals are not overwhelmed with too many cases at once.

These idiots can't comprehend - or aren't interested in trying because it would interfere with their personal agenda - that the *preferred* solution is testing, tracing and isolating. Lockdowns are what you do when you *aren't* prepared to do these things, or you need to lockdown *temporarily* for a few weeks until you've ramped up your *previously prepared* testing, tracing and isolating resources.

If you know who has the virus, know who they have exposed to the virus, and can isolate all those people, the virus goes nowhere. That gives you time to develop a treatment and eventually a vaccine. Whereas, as the article I posted a couple threads back about herd immunity pointed out, here immunity is not a smart way to go about dealing with a pandemic - unless you like having millions of dead just to get a half-ass immunity.

How many times do we have to repeat to these people that South Korea is the personification of how this is supposed to work? But, n-o--o-o-o...That can't be accepted because we have to open the economy NOW! NOW! NOW! Otherwise I might lose my job! Who gives a rat's ass if Grand-dad croaks - especially if he's *your* Grand-dad? All that matters to me is ME - and I'll lie and ignore everything but MY agenda and keep on repeating my load of bullshit until you OBEY ME!

Which is fine by me...that's what an individualist anarchist would be expected to say and do. But these clowns aren't that - they're just a hypocritical crew of shits. They better not cross my path and sneeze, I'll put a bullet in their head, like a real individualist anarchist.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 16 2020 11:41 utc | 75

Hope the Republicans leave the extra $1,200 stimulus checks to individuals alone in the HEROES bill. I could use a second one - and a third one, for that matter. In fact, let's make it a monthly stipend, at least for everyone under a certain monthly income. Take it from the frickin' Pentagon budget - they can easily afford it. Better yet, take it from all the dual-citizenship Jewish oligarchs who are trying to get Trump to attack Iran.

What kind of anarchist takes money from the government? A smart one.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 16 2020 11:47 utc | 76

The Prophecies of Q
American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase.

When Welch finally found himself inside the restaurant and understood that Comet Ping Pong was just a pizza shop, he set down his firearms, walked out the door, and surrendered to police, who had by then secured the perimeter. “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” Welch told The New York Times after his arrest.

LOL Stupid is as stupid does... Let that be a lesson to some of you morons...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 16 2020 11:55 utc | 77

Posted by: Syd Walker | May 16 2020 7:07 utc | 54

While contemplating this and other matters, I recently spent an hour of my life watching a very recent video on the smugly conservative Hoover Institute website.

I always thought the word "smug" was purjorative. Apparently not. On the other hand I would describe much of the MSM outlets including NYT, CNN, MSNBC as smugly liberal in the negative meaning of that adjective. Perhaps even more so than the Hoover Institute.

Posted by: krypton | May 16 2020 12:07 utc | 78

b @ May16 9:39

Trump's wonder medicine

The hydroxyChloroquine (HCQ) treatment regimen has shown some promise and people of all persuasions are looking into it.

The Chinese were the first to notice the potential of HCQ. And Raoult was the first to formalize a treatment regime with Zinc. So a more correct attribution would be: "China-Raoult wonder medicine".

Big Pharma is clearly against cheap treatments as well as other cheap but "unproven" home remedies.

Trump's support (which has been inconsistent) has been a kiss of death for hydroxyChloroquine because it has been used to discredit the drug - which surprises ... nobody.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 16 2020 12:46 utc | 79

Talking about geopolitics, why is Africa never mentioned here?

Posted by: Mina | May 16 2020 12:48 utc | 80

Mina wrote:

French labs who have started to test ppl for covid antibodies (not reimbursed, not part of a study) say that 20% have it.
These tests where people self-select to be tested are bound to show numbers far higher than what a random sample would show. And that's assuming the test is even accurate which is an open question.

The people who have, in the last couple months, had the symptoms of Covid are going to be a lot more interested to see if they have the antibodies than people who have had no symptoms.

Posted by: jinn | May 16 2020 13:19 utc | 81

"Talking about geopolitics, why is Africa never mentioned here?" --Mina @82

Geopolitically, the Global South are just pawns on the "Grand Chessboard". Don't tell anyone because it is supposed to be a surprise, but China is maneuvering some of those pawns into position for the geopolitical equivalent of the chess move called promotion. In the meantime the Global South doesn't have an active role to play beyond being convenient victims of the empire's random psychotic outbursts. Since the destruction of Libya and the empire's continued success with keeping South Africa off balance (and usually flat on their face!), Africa has no progress-oriented societal organization to speak of that can come anywhere near countries like Venezuela and Cuba or even Bolivia with the fascists in control of the state in Bolivia right now.

Those "promotion" moves of the pawns by China are in the long game, though. Think the mid 2030s and early 2040s before that bears geopolically disruptive fruit.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 16 2020 13:21 utc | 82

To clarify my above comment, the "promotion" moves of the pawns in Africa by China are in the long game. Other pawns in the Global South may achieve promotion quite a bit sooner.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 16 2020 13:23 utc | 83

Jen | May 16 2020 11:32 utc | 74

That's just what I expected or maybe I had read it somewhere about Sweden. You can't do a good and safe job of running a nursing home when you decide to have minimum wage workers instead of professionally trained and therefore well compensated workers. Such disgusting neoliberal choices have made it basically impossible to quickly have the quality of nursing home care needed during this crisis. Obviously it's even worse in the US, although most of the poorly paid workers do a good or damned good job despite the wages.

Posted by: fairleft | May 16 2020 13:24 utc | 84

Maybe this story from the Toronto Star will help explain why so many people are dying:

"Three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade, the Star has found.

"This massive sum does not include $138 million paid in executive compensation and $20 million in stock buybacks (a technique that can boost share prices), according to the financial reports of the province’s three biggest publicly traded long-term-care home companies, Extendicare, Sienna Senior Living and Chartwell Retirement Residences.

"That’s a total of more than $1.7 billion taken out of their businesses."

Beneath all the uninformed, pretentious anecdote swapping about stats and panaceas, the drivelling over whether or not there is a pandemic or whether Bill Gates, Soros or the KKK planned and executed it on behalf of haute finance, something very simple is taking place.
Capitalism, which devours people and turns lives into capital, having made a pandemic disease of the sort now surrounding us inevitable, is protecting itself. Its major fear is that if there are too many victims-cf The Black Death- the price of labour may rise to the extent that it impinges on the rate of profit. It dare not consider the possibility that the working class will organise itself to put an end to the system, as an alternative to doing what men have done throughout the history of epidemics- blaming everything on an angry deity or an elite such as the Illuminati, the Council for Foreign Affairs or bloggers corrupted by money.

Posted by: bevin | May 16 2020 13:39 utc | 85

As there have been some comments relating to the development of a vaccine against the virus, I made a search this morning relating to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation's record in funding such developments. I tried to stay away from the articles that seemed to be inflammatory but did find this article dated today at "Can't penalise US NGO for violating drug trial norms" related to a previous drug trial involvement of the foundation. Here are the opening paragraphs:

The NDA government Friday told the Supreme Court that no specific penalties could be imposed on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) for violating norms in conducting the vaccination trials on tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

Pointing out that the current legal regime had no provision of penalties, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has expressed its inability to proceed against the NGO PATH despite a parliamentary panel recommending strict actions.

The article would seem to advise caution in urging such trials on the part of the US government with respect to a vaccine for the covid virus, as they also have taken place in other countries, with unforseen complications for some of the participants. It is often the case that strong medicinal remedies are available to poor people on a trial basis. These days I'm remembering the John Le Carre novel, "The Constant Gardener". If my library were open I'd be rereading it.

The old saying 'haste makes waste' needs to be kept in mind.

Posted by: juliania | May 16 2020 13:41 utc | 86

@krollchem 60
interesting link, thanks!

Posted by: ptb | May 16 2020 13:44 utc | 87

I should add to my comment above that the covid pandemic will almost certainly accelerate China's ability to promote pawns on the "Grand Chessboard" in the Global South. This is because economics plays a much greater role in geopolitics than most people assume. Geopolitics has the players moving pieces around the chessboard. Geoeconomics determines the layout of the entire chessboard; where pieces can be moved, where strong pieces are weakened and where weak pieces are strengthened, etc.

Of course, by "economics" above I mean real economics of producing tangible items of value and not finance economics of shifting around pieces of paper.

China's deft handling of the covid pandemic and the West's stunningly incompetent fumbling of the same has catapulted China ahead in the game well before they would otherwise have taken the lead. The "Grand Chessboard" is currently being significantly reconfigured and it may take us as much as a couple years to really digest the changes and see them clearly.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 16 2020 13:56 utc | 88

WaPo: Drug promoted by Trump as coronavirus ‘game changer’ increasingly linked to deaths
Posted by: b | May 16 2020 9:39 utc | 61

do you have any conception of the lobbying methods used by Big Pharma?
Do you have any conception of the financial clout they have available for protecting their interests?
Do you have any conceptions of the influence they have, of the revolving doors between Big Pharma, pharmaceutical regulatory bodies, medical schools and every single level of the medical industry?
Do you have any conception of the way pharmaceutical registration works, and of the corrupt and fraudulent practices used to obtain authorisation for drugs?

It is one gigantic spaghetti pot of corruption and deception. Boeing/FAA is miniscule and almost angelic by comparison (and far less deadly also).

Coincidentally I have direct first-hand experience of both sides of the activities of Big Pharma concerning one specific highly effective cancer drug that the world's biggest Pharma corporations have tried for the last 40 years to eradicate (finally almost successful by 2014, unfortunately). I have direct first-hand experience of the highest praise they share amongst their own top elites of the efficacy of that competitor's medicine against all known types of cancer. I also have close 2nd hand inside knowledge of their efforts to purchase the patents for that same medicine for vast sums of money. I also personally know the proprietor and developer of that same medicine, and have witnessed and experienced first hand some of the fraudulent and criminal methods Big Pharma have used non-stop for 40 years to try to force my friend out of business, together with the lies and deception they have used publicly falsely alleging its "danger" and "inefficacy", together even with using police to illegally force parents to stop using it for their seriously ill children who had already dramatically benefited from its use, and forcing doctors to stop using it for treatment. I also have extensive 2nd hand knowledge of their activities to that effect, and have good reason to believe they are true. I have also used that medicine myself, to great effect, and closely know a medical practice which has used it with considerable medical success, and of the coercion they also experienced not to use it.

The way the Western medical establishment has handled the question of the use of chloroquine and closely related drugs for Covid-19 is in every single respect and at every level 100% typical of Big Pharma disinformation projects.

The very fact that the US medical establishment approved use of hydroxychloroquine under specific conditions that ensure it is used exclusively at a very late stage after the virus has ceased to replicate guarantees that all or almost all major Western hydroxychloroquine trials will be negative - because it is a specific and known requirement of hydroxychloroquine therapy that the therapy is conducted early whilst the virus is stil replicating - later it is known to be useless. The approval of its use under such conditions is the specific result of Big Pharma influence. That is how they operate all the time.

Big Pharma is no more honest about either the safety or the efficacity of its products than are the White Helmets about their activities in Syria. Many of the most dangerous drugs sold by the biggest companies are approved on the basis of very small, improperly balanced trials, sometimes fraudulently conducted. Trials which give the wrong result are routinely hidden. Research on toxicity and dangerous side-effects are routinely inadequate, frequently fraudulent or knowingly misleading, and legal requirements for drug authorisations are frequently waived on the basis of influence campaigns. This is especially so for new chemotherapy drugs, which are intrinsically highly toxic and are normally used at very close to the fatal dose. There is no level playing field at all, quite the contrary.

Big Pharma do not profit from cures - they profit from selling very expensive drugs, and they are far more ruthless than the White Helmets in destroying any potential threat to their profits. There is no more effective threat to the World-View of Big Pharma - as I know from first hand experience - than effective cures, especially where they are cheap and unpatentable, or the patents are owned outside the cabal. Any such cure must be destroyed at all costs.

Several of the Big Pharma companies in recent years have been given multi-billion dollar fines for the fraud and subversion they have utilised in obtaining authorisation for drugs which are dangerous to the patient, and for their marketing of drugs known to be dangerous.

The patent for chloroquine and its derivatives has expired. It has been widely used for many years, its hazards and limitations are thoroughly documented, and it is in this respect - under proper supervision with respect to its known hazards and limitations and qualified by them - incomparably safer than any new and barely tested pharmaceutical drug or vaccine such as Remdesivir. It is cheaply produced around the world. Therefore, no full-scale well-controlled randomised clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine treatment for Covid-19 will ever be conducted in a major Western country. Big Pharma will ensure that.

Posted by: BM | May 16 2020 13:59 utc | 89

The cats thing may be another reason why First World countries - the USA in particular - are more affected than Third World countries (with notable exceptions):

Countries With The Most Pet Cats Globally

The USA is, by a long shot, the country with the most pet cats. The article I linked doesn't mention its sources, but I've read this information before and I know it is true. Roughly one in three American households has a pet cat.

Note that the exceptions to the rule (Russia, Brazil, China) are in the list of the most affected countries outside the First World. Coincidence? Yes, highly likely. But I still think this may be a thing for the First World countries, specially the USA, a country famous worldwide for its cat fanatics.

Besides, pets are expensive to maintain, so they are more likely to exist in high densities in the First World countries. Also, First World countries have very low fertility rates, which rises the proportion of adults with money to spare for pets. The higher proportion of childless adults and couples in the First World also rises the probability of an adult owning a pet, as pets are seen in those countries as a substitute for a child from the therapeutic point of view (as an antidepressant).


@ Posted by: Michael Droy | May 16 2020 10:31 utc | 69

The problem with your logic is that the world as a whole is in some form of lockdown. You could argue that the -6 days figure is only valid because the vast majority of the world's population hasn't caught the virus yet (thanks to the lockdown).

Using the already infected is a much more precise instrument to calculate YLL, as it eliminates the lockdown variable.

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 14:01 utc | 90

The situation is about multiple actors with different agendas and points of conflict.
One "angle" being left out is this.

The progress of the covid19 discussion is still a wee bit too ELi5 at moment.
Multiple actors and with different agendas and points of conflict.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | May 16 2020 14:10 utc | 91

Turkey uses Chloroquine as well
"Koca explained that unlike the other countries, in Turkey doctors do not advise people with 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.

Another difference between the methods Turkey and other countries use is that in addition to chloroquine, an antibiotic, called azithromycin, is used in the early stages of the treatment, Koca noted."

So one has to wonder

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 14:17 utc | 92

Posted by: vk | May 16 2020 14:01 utc | 92

Well, living in Istanbul, all you see around are stray cats, and a few dogs. All fed by local people and even with little cat shelters built for them. All this even now

And, yes, many homes have pet cats as well. Then again, Turkey is not quite third world or first world.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 14:22 utc | 93

> I made a search this morning relating to the Bill and Melinda Gates
>Posted by: juliania | May 16 2020 13:41 utc | 88

Thank you for this. I've been wondering about the noise swirling around Gates and vaccine shenanigans and how much of it is true. I would not be surprised to learn that he really did harm many people with his PATH project.

It's well understood in the computer industry that Gates was an abusive bully to his employees while wrecking every company he crossed paths with, whether they were the competition or a partner. No reason to think it would be different with his new projects.

I'll take my chances with the evil virus before I'll take a dose of a Gates' vaccine.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 16 2020 14:25 utc | 94

Passerby: Belarus, Russia, Singapore etc. look bad.
Alaff: Passerby is nuts.

Indeed, Passerby did not elaborate but he could refer to "spikes" that show in statistics and something like that. Singapore of course had so few cases that even if COVID-19 is not gone totally, something hard in small island nation with the largest dependence on trade (re-export hub etc.), single digits days happen.

Russia and Belarus are definitely in a different phase of the curve. USA entered the down-sloping plateau in early April, but the slope is to flat for rejoicing. Russia and Belarus share trends, and the down-sloping plateau started around May 3, and mortality stats probably reflect cases 1-2 weeks earlier. Stats per million people are much lower than in West Europe/North America, and the next few weeks will show if low mortality of the cases is an artifact of exponential growth phase or not.

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

The very fact that the US medical establishment approved use of hydroxychloroquine under specific conditions that ensure it is used exclusively at a very late stage after the virus has ceased to replicate guarantees that all or almost all major Western hydroxychloroquine trials will be negative-
Posted by: BM | May 16 2020 13:59 utc | 91

I'm calling bullshit on that claim.
Whoever made it is an ignoramus with no knowledge, or understanding, of what Clinical Trials involve, how many variables have to be tested, nor why it takes so long for such trials to reach a 'safe' set of recommendations. If ever...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16 2020 14:46 utc | 96

Holy something....
I am living alone with my cat 14 years old and now I have to get rid of it....
I think I will just face this corona crap head on, you live until you die.
Stay safe.

Posted by: Den lille abe | May 16 2020 14:52 utc | 97

And mind you I am 63 years old

Posted by: Den lille abe | May 16 2020 14:54 utc | 98

Hmmm! New England Journal of Medicine.
Remember Vioxx and Merck:

How does one trust these Western "science"" journals, anymore?

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 16 2020 15:02 utc | 99


I come here as much for the wonderful comments as your wonderful posts. I want to hear what fairleft has to say. I want to read medical information that contradicts the medical information you provide, so long as the person is being polite.

Maybe you’ve done so much research that lost patience for hydroxychloroquine debate. Even if only because I’m lagging far behind you in learning about this subject, I’ll feel better if I get to read that debate, especially between the independent thinkers who visit here.

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.

Posted by: oglalla | May 16 2020 15:04 utc | 100

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