Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 06, 2020

"There Is No Glory In Prevention."

When the threat of a Covid-19 epidemic emerged the infectious disease epidemiologists began to build their mathematical models to predict how it would develop. They had to work with low quality data mostly from China and later from Italy. The main parameters where the replication rate R of the disease and the percentage of severe cases. Using the available numbers they predicted a high peak of serious cases that would overwhelm the health care system.

Their next step was to look at non-pharmaceutical measures that they hoped would lower the peak of cases. Some of these were less controversial than others. Closing cinemas and bars is a bit inconvenient but can be done without much protest. Closing down public traffic or schools is more controversial as the effects on the public and personal lives are way more serious.

We have little experience in taking such measures. The model builders do not know how much each of those restrictions will contribute to the lowering of the peak. They have to estimate those parameters. Until this month it was not even clear if children could get infected or were infectious. Arguing for closing schools without knowing that is quite difficult.

Clinical epidemiologists, who mostly work on randomized trials which produce hard data, are often critical of the model builders. They dislike the many assumptions that go into modeling and demand more hard data. Stanford's professor John Ioannidis, who ran the Santa Clara antibody study, is one of them. He is somewhat right. All models are wrong, but some are useful. A recent Boston Review piece looks at the differences between the two tribes of epidemiologists. It finds that we need both.

When the politicians take measures they are only in part based on the predictions the modelers made. They also have to look at economic outcomes, at other security issues and they have to take public opinion into account. Quite strict measures were taken in many western countries. They worked well in some of them. Germany has hardly any 'excess deaths' from Covid-19. Other countries, like Britain, acted too late or not to a sufficient degree and had to pay the price for that.

As the epidemic now starts to recede a bit there is quite a lot of criticism of the lockdown in Germany.  'The models were wrong,' some people claim. 'The lockdown measures were unnecessary.' This is followed by demands for the immediate lifting of most restrictions.

"There is no glory in prevention" is the frustrating aspect in the life of an epidemiologist. If they do their job too well everyone will bash them.

A month ago Max Abrams saw this development coming and commented:

  1. Models make assumption of how much people will social distance.
  2. Based on this assumption model predicts virus cases.
  3. More social distancing is practiced than assumed.
  4. Model over-predicts virus cases.
  5. Idiots say models are wrong so we don't need social distance.

Others point to Sweden and claim that its decision to let the epidemic burn without much intervention was a much better way than to go for lockdowns. But the evidence for that isn't there. The numbers show a different picture:

Barry Ritholtz @ritholtz - 18:03 UTC · May 3, 2020

Sweden’s Coronavirus death rate > its neighbors

Total Cases: 22,317
Per /1m Pop: 2,210
Deaths: 2,679
Recovered: 1,005

Cases: 9,523
/1m: 1,644
Deaths: 484
Recovered: 6,987

Cases: 7,809
/1m: 1,440
Deaths: 211
Recovered: 32

Sweden in fact had the very same problems with its medical systems that some other countries also had. It had to ration ICU beds by denying them to people above a certain age. Its economy was hit as bad as other ones:

The effect of virus-fighting efforts on the Swedish economy has been devastating. A very large number of small businesses have collapsed. All but essential industries closed down almost immediately and many face bankruptcy. People have been told to refrain from all non-essential travel. Virtually all air travel has been suspended. Unemployment figures are soaring. The opposition parties deem government counter-measures to be too little too late.
Contrary to impressions created in American media, Sweden’s approach to handling the pandemic has not been “relaxed,” but essentially the same as in other Western countries. This country of 10 million has been at least as preoccupied with the pandemic as other countries. Whether its approach has been as efficient remains to be seen. What may stand out as exceptional in the end is Sweden’s glaring lack of preparedness for a pandemic, especially for protecting its elderly, and that the dead are disproportionately recent immigrants.

While Sweden may not have ordered everyone into a total lockdown the people have largely done that by themselves simply out fo fear.

As a comment by one Richard England here (May 6, 2020 at 3:40am) describes that effect:

There are two kinds of lock-down, lock-down by fiat and lock-down by fear (or for that matter, self-preservation). The importance of lock-down by fear explains why Sweden has not done as badly as would be expected. Both forms of lock-down are economically destructive. Lock-down by fiat is usually either too slow or too incomplete to be much different from lock-down by fear, and both are more than enough to knock over a weak economy. Fear dissipates, and the economic life resumes more quickly where the disease has been essentially eliminated.

The effect is also captured in this graph by the German equivalent to the CDC, the Robert Koch Institute. It shows the replication factor R of the epidemic in Germany and three points in time where official lockdown measures were taken.


The replication factor of the disease in Germany was already decreasing in mid March before the more severe measures were ordered. R was below 1 even before March 23 when the government ordered the lockdown.

The simple reason for that is the people heard the news and watched TV. The pictures and death numbers from Italy in late February were quite brutal. When herd animals sense that an epidemic is taken place within their herd they distance themselves from each other. Humans behave similarly. As in Sweden many people in Germany went into some kind of lockdown and practiced social distancing even before it was ordered.

Some now claim that the RKI graph shows that the measures were not necessary. They are wrong. The data was not known when the measures were taken. The first of the simulations shown in the graph was done on April 1. In late March the R seemed to go again above 1 which meant that the epidemic was again expanding. Only the lockdown measures taken on March 23 pressed R below 1 and led to a slow decrease of new daily cases.

Germany is now slowly coming out of its lockdown. The U.S. is doing this too but at a point of the epidemic where it is way too early. There are economic reasons to do so but the early lifting of lockdown measures will likely cost the U.S. many human lives.

Fear will help to overrule that overhasty political decision. The news will continue to report new mass outbreaks in this or that part of the country. The fear will therefore also continue and the people will keep distancing themselves from each other.  How much that will help to slow down the epidemic is difficult to estimate. 

There is now some evidence that the summer will bring some relief from the onslaught of bad news. A study with data from 166 countries and published in Science of The Total Environment finds:

A 1 °C increase in temperature was associated with a 3.08% (95% CI: 1.53%, 4.63%) reduction in daily new cases and a 1.19% (95% CI: 0.44%, 1.95%) reduction in daily new deaths, whereas a 1% increase in relative humidity was associated with a 0.85% (95% CI: 0.51%, 1.19%) reduction in daily new cases and a 0.51% (95% CI: 0.34%, 0.67%) reduction in daily new deaths. The results remained robust when different lag structures and the sensitivity analysis were used. These findings provide preliminary evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic may be partially suppressed with temperature and humidity increases. However, active measures must be taken to control the source of infection, block transmission and prevent further spread of COVID-19.

A hot and wet summer is likely to lower the number of new Covid-19 cases. But after the summer come fall and winter during which we are likely to see a new peak. The fear will be back, social distances will again be practiced and the economic damage will further increase.

We had the chance to do things differently. China gave us time to take the right measures. It has, like Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Korea and New Zealand, practically eradicated the disease within its borders. It now has an advantage that will be difficult to beat.

Posted by b on May 6, 2020 at 18:57 UTC | Permalink

next page »

"The importance of lock-down by fear explains why Sweden has not done as badly as would be expected. Both forms of lock-down are economically destructive."
The difference being that where the government plans and controls the lockdown it can mitigate many of the economic consequences by, for example, ensuring that nobody runs out of money to buy essentials, subsidising prices in agriculture and buying surpluses arising from lower demand, and various other measures, including rationing, which will ensure that the 'lockdown' does not lead to the deaths of anything except marginal businesses.

Many and sincere thanks, b, for these thoughtful and prescient posts. Yours has been a rare voice of sanity and social responsibility in this pandemic. It is to be hoped that even those who disagree with your conclusions recognise the honest and agonising analysis behind them.

Posted by: bevin | May 6 2020 19:15 utc | 1

Well, you were indeed right. And your reporting better than most if not all MSM articles written by other laymen. And all without any professional experience. Just by trusting in scientific methods, data and knowledge, instead of making a conspiracy out of thin air.
In those times, that is an amazing achievement.

But when i hear how few people are tested, when i hear of multiple deaths in my circle of people, and see the society unable to unite against such a threat, i dont have much hope for how this will go on.
The last 4 sentences say everything about our western societies, including us Germans.
The only profiteers are the rich, toilet paper and noodle merchants, and politicians (who now race each other in opening up BEER GARDENS and CONCERTS with 100 people).
Many people today willingly prefer to go to concerts and beer gardens than to deny themselves those small joys in favor of their compatriots.
Our society is doom. The neoliberal dogma of "Freedom for the nihilistic narcissistic ego individual over everything else" destroyed what was left of it.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | May 6 2020 19:21 utc | 2

Here Lee, look at this series of reports:

"..At one New York City nursing home, the Isabella Geriatric Center in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, nearly 100 of its 705 residents have died..."

"..In Medfield, Massachusetts, north of Boston, COVID-19 has killed 54 residents over the past four weeks at the Courtyard Nursing Care Center. An additional 117 residents and 42 employees have tested positive for the virus..."

" A shocking 84 residents have died at the facility since the virus outbreak. Eighty-one employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"... deaths at the Soldiers’ Home were initially hidden from both the mayor of Holyoke and local health officials, who only became aware of the developing situation when employees at the facility reached out to them. Staff said management at the facility refused to provide them with PPE and instructed them to crowd patients together from multiple wards into a single ward as a solution to staffing shortages due to infections..."

"..A particularly gruesome discovery took place in mid-April when police found 17 corpses piled up at the Subacute and Rehabilitation Center in Andover, New Jersey. The bodies were stacked in a small morgue designed to hold a maximum of four bodies. The more than 2,000 deaths of staff and residents in New Jersey’s long-term facilities account for about 40 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths."

There's more much more. And not just from the United States either.

Posted by: bevin | May 6 2020 19:21 utc | 3

China's quick recovery will deal a significant blow to the decouplers - specially as it caught the bandit in the corner, as many factories begun to hastily relocate past month (with the Japanese government torchin USD 200 billion+ of taxpayer money to accelerate the process). Those factories are now reverse Uno'ed: they'll exist a nation that erradicated the pandemic and to to nations where it is not (unless the new nation is Vietnam - but Vietnam is also a socialist country, which defeats the purpose of the relocation).

High temperatures will reduce the contagion rate not because it kill the virus (which only "dies" at temperatures close to 100ºC), but because, in most First World countries (where these researchs are made), summers are usually dry than winters are humid. Low humidity hurts the SARS-CoV-2 because it doesn't spread by air, but by aerosol.

Posted by: vk | May 6 2020 19:31 utc | 4

excellent overview b.. thank you.... it is easy for people to criticise, but it is not so easy to lead in the face of the unknown... some people will never understand this.. they are typically followers who are more prone to complaining... the model builders are the ones that get the flack...they are the leaders in the face of many unknowns... as i like to say in astrology - hindsight is 20-20, but making predictions is hard work fraught with many pitfalls...

fear is a powerful emotion.. thanks for articulating the swedish example and all that... people will make a descision to protect themselves with or without the command from on high fortunately... yes - the fall is going to be interesting to watch... i noticed the numbers of death in the usa were back up again yesterday - over 2000.. i can't see this working out well for the usa collectively moving forward.. and they clearly have lost any imaginary mantle of the leader of the world with covid, not that they had it before, but this is proof they are falling behind on a number of levels..

Posted by: james | May 6 2020 19:34 utc | 5

Good assessment in general. Mathematical models were often wrong. I don't mind that. Nobody knew what was going to happen.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 6 2020 19:56 utc | 6

It makes no difference if it is Corona, Cholera, or Jack the Ripper that is roaming the streets. People will not start consuming until they feel safe.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 6 2020 20:01 utc | 7

One difficulty with epidemiological research is that it tends to isolate variables out of context from the function of body systems.

Richard Horton (Editor of Lancet.) The refiguration of medical thought

All-time most hilarious COVID-19 comment: "As for lifting the lockdown, well, the lockdown itself was imposed in stages according (I assume) to a game-plan of softly-softly-catchy-monkey."

Posted by: Avid Lurker | May 6 2020 20:06 utc | 8

Regarding the imposed versus fear lockdown: Spain had (has) an imposed lockdown, but from the first day the new PSOE/Podemos government announced unprecedente measures to prevent evictions, layoffs, and provide income support that would help working people, including the irregular "gig economy" types that usually fall through the cracks of many such efforts. Big diference from 2007_8. The battle is now with the EU. We Will see if the Dutch and Germán bankers Will pull their heads out of their collective asses, or take the while EU down.

Posted by: C | May 6 2020 20:14 utc | 9

One really needs to take a closer, deeper look at Sweden and most every place. The lockdown vs. not lockdown mentality is overly simplistic and inaccurate.

Sweden has a high level of obesity (21%) and 44% of Swedes are overweight. Norway is similar but Denmark has 9.5% obesity. Sweden has a larger immigrant (% pop) than Norway and probably than Denmark. Immigrant population in Sweden did not seem to listen to the measures sweden took. Nearly 50% (maybe more now)of the deceased in Sweden are from nursing homes and Sweden's nursing homes are on average bigger (200 plus persons) compared to those in Norway (about 45 people). The Swedes failed to take actions to protect those nursing homes until it was too late and 1/3 had infections. Its worth pointing out that immigrants are over represented among employees of said institutions too.

The over simplification is a tool lockdown advocates are using to ignore the basic reality. Deaths are ultimately about percent of vulnerable in the population (elderly mostly) and success in protecting them from the Virus. The virus yields asymptomatic to mild results in 95% of more of the population so its really all about the vulnerable population. If you want a meaningful chart, then you need to chart deaths vs over 65 population and vs persons with comorbidities.

NY/NJ shut down and still had a lot more deaths per capita than Sweden. NY/NJ failed in the same way Sweden failed. They did not protect the vulnerable.

Posted by: Alaric | May 6 2020 20:27 utc | 10

When I was in Sweden last summer, I was perplexed how unhealthy many Swedes look. The picture in Denmark was completely different. Curiously, the Covid-19 incidence rates in Denmark, Norway and Sweden mostly mirror my (superficial and subjective) inpression of the health of the citizens of these countries. Lots of obesity in Sweden, lots of cyclists in Denmark.

Posted by: Lurk | May 6 2020 20:31 utc | 11

Since this is the latest coronavirus thread, I'll put it here instead of in the recent "propaganda war on china" thread, although it would fit there as well.

Belleville NJ mayor believes he's had Covid-19 in already in November

Doesn't fit the narrative, so expect him to be attacked and brushed off as some kind of idiot who doesn't understand basic tenets of medical science. I don't think he really is an idiot though.

Posted by: Lurk | May 6 2020 20:40 utc | 12

Long time reader and admirer of the site, despite not posting before. I consider the reporting quite exceptional on many fronts. On this front, though ... this seems a nice retrospective post to make a comment on.

We could have gone a different way. Western societies, especially an American society accustomed to a degree of freedom and basic contrariness unimaginable in China, Singapore, or Korea (or even Germany really for that matter), were not going to tolerate Chinese style forced lockdowns with forced separation of the sick, etc. It was not going to happen and we should have known this.

What we should have also known and what we did know was that this disease, right from the beginning, was highly selective in the ages of who got really sick and was in danger, with very few exceptions. So what we could have done was wisely target quarantine efforts on the over-60 and asked everyone else to carry on with business as usual but just applying basic social distancing/ masking/ hand washing voluntarily to reduce the load on the health care infrastructure.

With the under-60 carrying on, working as before, getting sick and getting well and developing the herd immunity that is the only real way this will end, our economies could have been preserved. Hundreds of millions would not have lost their jobs, most of which will not come back in short order. The death, disease, and destruction that will be the legacy of this lockdown are a tsunami that will dwarf anything we've seen in our lifetimes.

The example of Sweden is silly because they have allowed their economy to be utterly dependent and interconnected with the rest of Europe, if not the world. It does not matter what they do; they are destroyed with the other, fearful ones. If all of Scandinavia had acted the same, the results would have been better. If all EU, you could have saved yourselves to a good extent.

Posted by: Caliman | May 6 2020 20:43 utc | 13

From a rapid response to an article in the British Medical Journal:

Rapid Response:
Inhabitants of Swedish-Somali origin are at great risk for covid-19

In Editor’s choice of 19 March Fiona Godlee writes, “With the covid-19 pandemic we have entered extraordinary times, when some things are known but many more are not and where decisions must be made nonetheless.”[1] We fully agree.

Among the first 15 deaths due to covid-19 in Stockholm County, six were reported, by the Swedish-Somali medical society, to be of Somali origin (March 24). Considering that only 0.84% of the Stockholm County population was born in Somalia (n=8,178 by December 2019) this is an astonishing high rate.

Socio-economic factors, e.g. cramped housing accommodation, high rates of smoking and poor understanding of the Swedish language (which in turn leads to poor understanding of health information on covid-19 provided by the authorities) may explain the situation. Another possible explanation is Ethnic benign neutropenia - the most common form of neutropenia worldwide and very common among East African populations.[2]

A risk factor that we want to highlight, however, is the low vitamin D levels found in the Swedish-Somali population. Vitamin D status is strongly related to low sun exposure and dark skin. In two different studies, the great majority of Swedish women of Somali origin had very low levels of S-25(OH)-D (< 25 nmol/l).[3,4] In Finland, Somali women required more than twice the amount of vitamin D in order to maintain recommended vitamin D status. [5] In addition, vitamin D deficiency was twice as common, regardless of gender, in immigrants from Africa compared with those from the Middle East.[6]

There is evidence that vitamin D is involved in our defence against respiratory tract infections. According to a meta-analysis, vitamin D supplementation (daily-weekly dosage) prevents acute respiratory tract infections, especially in those with 25(OH)-D below 25 nmol/l (NNT = 4).[7] In a randomised trial on individuals with frequent respiratory tract infections, treatment with cholecalciferol 4000 IE/day reduced the need for antibiotic treatment.[8] The mechanism is debated; however, modulation of the renin-angiotensin system has been implicated in animal studies of acute respiratory distress syndrome,[9] and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a well-established receptor for the SARS-CoV virus.[10]

In order to cope with the covid-19 epidemic, preventive measures could be administration of vitamin D to high-risk populations, e.g. dark-skinned adults with low sun-exposure and/or individuals with risk factors for respiratory tract infections. Although it may not always be helpful, it is unlikely to be harmful.

24 March 2020
Susanne Bejerot
Professor, MD
Mats Humble, MD, PhD
Örebro University, School of Medical Sciences
Campus USÖ, SE-70182 Örebro, Sweden

Posted by: Lurk | May 6 2020 20:46 utc | 14

This imperial college that consults with the CDC and WHO and others should have also looked at previous forecasts... No one serious should have paid any attention to this Ferguson guy because his modelling was off by factors.. He has now destroyed hundreds of millions of lives, cost countries trillions. Mostly only Africa was saved because they have lived thorough westerners saying they dont know what they are doing and stopped listening. Death rates at a very few areas that were published were higher but were the same everywhere else. In fact over the course of the next few years the effects of this will be widely felt as above average death rates due to the factors. Far above even without anything being done at all.

In 2009, one of Ferguson’s models predicted 65,000 people could die from the Swine Flu outbreak in the UK — the final figure was below 500. potential death toll during the 2005 Bird [avian] Flu outbreak. Ferguson estimated 200 million could die. The real number was in the low hundreds.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | May 6 2020 20:50 utc | 15

For people looking for numbers here is one..

here are the numbers of deaths ” due” to corona in Switzerland .
00 -19 years old 0 death
20 -29 years old 1 death
30 -39 years old 4 deaths
40 -49 years old 2 deaths
50 -59 years old 23 deaths
60 -69 years old 84 deaths
70 -79 years old 243 deaths
80+ years old 776 deaths
Total for that country 1133

Posted by: Igor Bundy | May 6 2020 20:56 utc | 16

>The over simplification is a tool lockdown advocates are using
>to ignore the basic reality.

Yes to this. The question of "Lockdown: Yes or No" ignores the devil in the details. Health Dept. told care homes they could conserve PPE if necessary. Care homes decided that meant PPE is optional, so withheld it from care home workers and claimed to be following the rules. The rest of society says, "Oh well, they are following the rules, so it's all good. Dead residents are just "God's Will" and Mother Earth's revenge."

If "Western" Dear Leaders really wanted to stop the epidemic, they could've asked the Chinese, who were trying to tell all they knew. Whether by design or by incompetence, we are well and truly f'd.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 6 2020 20:58 utc | 17

I think the term "prevention" is being rather abused here.

Actual prevention would have been to not have continued with the campaigns of ecocidal and mass-murdering destruction such as globalization, deforestation, industrial agriculture and the many other campaigns which in addition to their many other evils work assiduously to uncover and globally distribute every pathogen on Earth, generate the most favorable terrain for these pathogens, while simultaneously rendering every society as dependent, tenuous and vulnerable as possible.

Prevention-minded governments also wouldn't have deliberately and systematically worked to turn themselves into death machines of economic exploitation, militarism and police statism while working to destroy all human community and atomize and massify the people as much as possible.

When any epidemic such as this bug* is put in that context, anything governments do is going to be at best a band-aid on what was already a severed jugular. Of course far more often anything they do is going to have zero value for public health. That of course is exactly what any minimally-informed rational person would expect, since any such person already knows for a fact that governments do not care about public health, that most of their actions are destructive of public health, and that especially in the West they have worked systematically to destroy their health care systems from the point of view of any consideration except that of profit and power.

Therefore we know that anything they do about the media-driven Corona epidemic is going to be only a mixture of incompetence, stupidity, and ulterior evil motives, with the ratio perhaps varying from country to country but always only that mix. And that's how it's been and that's how it will continue until the people's inertia changes and we put a stop to it, or all be destroyed forever by totalitarianism.

*And everything I just wrote is assuming for the sake of argument that the bug did have a "natural" origin and was merely uncovered and distributed by the economic civilization. If the bug instead was engineered in a lab and then released deliberately or through the usual "accidents", that only amplifies every single point of this analysis. We know these labs are working on exactly such bugs, which again doubly proves the lunacy and evil of these systems.

Posted by: Russ | May 6 2020 21:09 utc | 18

Thanks b glad to see you are out of the suitcase ;) and back at the keyboard. We will learn much more over the next year. Stay safe and well barflies.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 6 2020 21:11 utc | 19

Reading some of the other comments, I see many recognize the incredible specificity involved here in outcomes, treatment, etc. Lockdown is an indirect way to impact those variables but locking down without specific actions to shield the vulnerable will yield no better results than no lockdown or the sweden approach. A sweden approach that does protect those vulnerable is likely more effective than a lockdown that does not.

NYC has nursing homes that are 700 and more persons. Large nursing homes should be banned if we want to stop this sort of thing in the future. Residents of such facilities should be moved to smaller temporary housing. NY State allowed persons who tested positive for Covid to go back to nursing homes -- disaster. Employees of such facilities and visitors would ideally be tested. Employees of such facilities should not be taking the NYC subway to get to work as Subways are major transmission points. Nosocomial infections were a big part of the problem in NYC as well. We needed separate facilities for suspected covid patients. 88.1% of those on mechanical ventilation in NYC (according to a JAMA study) died. That's junk medicine and it was implemented in part out of fear of spreading and probably for financial gain....ick.

There are a lot of things that could and should be done but we don't talk about that because it doesn't fit the media narrative of fear, panic, fear, lockdown, lockdown, lockdown or bust.

The media has done us and the elderly a great disservice......again

Posted by: Alaric | May 6 2020 21:13 utc | 20

Thanks again b! Given the vast numbers of mutations, it seems highly likely that COVID-19 existed well before the initially noticed outbreak in China. IMO, it's probable unnoticed outbreaks occurred prior with the key factor being visibility/recognition that something oddly different was occurring sufficient to arouse curiosity. That's what got Dr. Chu in Washington to ignore the Federal Government's edict and investigate. Imagine the difference that made! One person has and initiated the "Trump Death Clock;" its creator saying, "'I feel I owe it to people who lost their lives to demand accountability and more responsible leadership going forward so that they did not die in vain.'" A serious trial balloon was floated in this Sputnik article asking if Trump and others in his regime could be tried for crimes against humanity for its purposely inept crisis management:

"'And I am being serious here: what is happening in the US is purposeful, considered negligence, omission, failure to act by our leaders. Can they be held responsible under international law?'"

Many will agree that based on behavior, the Trump Regime did indeed intend to do nothing until it was finally forced to act. I'm in that camp.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2020 21:13 utc | 21

@ Caliman
Lockdown in Italy and France and the US has been stupidly harsher and involves more police oppression than what was meted out in East Asia.

After a horribly messy start, the 'evil chicoms" were more tolerant and much smarter and more successful than us Westerners. I saw a video of train ticket agents spending long time trying to convince an old Chinese lady to put a mask on. In the US, people get arrested and beaten, like in the Third World, for not obeying social distancing. All this unnecessary brute fore because two jerks in charge in Rome and Paris panicked. They wanted to follow the Wuhan method and were too arrogant to study its details.

IN Wuhan they did not just lock up entire buildings, they delivered food. Most important, they mandated masks. Plus testing and quarantine, and they locked a tiny part of the country.

A particularly serious problem of the lockdown is that they send us shopping into stores where the coronas are flying around. Even worse, air conditioning instead of fans blowing the stale air out. In the 60's I met an old man who had worked in a hospital during the Spanish flu. His job was to open window that the soldiers kept closing.

You can see some valuable statistics at my www dot covirMD dot com,

Why do many in the US support the lockdown? One reason is that Trump is against it.

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 6 2020 21:15 utc | 22

Even Trump bashed Sweden and compared its numbers to other Scandinavian countries. When a guy who's ranting against Democrat-led states who take "too extreme measures" say you screwed up, you indeed screwed up.

As for what you say about Germany, first of all, a R between 0.9 and 1 is quite bad, it should go lower than that to hope to nearly eradicate the virus in a few weeks. At this point indeed, hot summer (I won't say wet because odds are it'll be mostly hot without much rain across Europe) is the last hope to avoid to go back to serious lockdown before October.

That said, you're spot on in pointing out that people will react before measures are taken. Heck, there was a graph showing restaurant attendance across US states, and in all states, it had fallen by more than 50% between 3 to 10 days before restaurants were ordered closed. This is also a sign that some economic sectors (cinemas, restaurants, planes, for instance) will have a mediocre recovery and will continue to bleed money and have to work with reduced staff for some time.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 6 2020 21:19 utc | 23

@ karlof1

I am Italian and live in France. The Dear Leaders in Rome and Paris initiated the lockdown. Once it was started, there was a panicked rush to the theatre doors, all over the world. How can you blame a nitwit who says that he had an uncle who was a great doctor and so he has a knack for medicine?

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 6 2020 21:35 utc | 24

I think per capita mortality rates make it easier to compare different countries.

The numbers that are in for Sweden suggest that they definitely made a wrong decision. Compare Sweden with the other Scandinavian countries.

(the numbers are deaths per million population)

Sweden 293
Norway 40
Finland 45
DenMark 87

And here are the extremes of other EU nations.

Germany 87
Italy 491
UK 443

Posted by: ToivoS | May 6 2020 21:36 utc | 25

Always bashing Sweden.

The problem is the West, not Sweden. Compare any country to:
Japan 2/M. deaths/Million ~April26
Korea 4/M
Hong Kong. 0.57/M
Taiwan. 0.25/M
NYC. 1500/M

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 6 2020 21:46 utc | 26

The Swedish statistics should not be compared to any "neighbors" since all it would prove is how little of the methodology has been understood. The Swedish model purposefully allowed these higher numbers early on using their own logic that the vulnerable part of the population still would be exposed before proper medication is found. Hence their "curve" will be different and still has to prove itself. Their experts say this very clearly: IT WILL LIKELY NOT MATTER. And therefore stricter, enforced measures are seen as pointless and wishful thinking. They are not saying they're better or are somehow saving lives. And that sounds like a hyper-realistic, sober analysis to me. Time till tell but so far their curves are exactly in line with their own theories and expectations.

Posted by: John Dowser | May 6 2020 21:48 utc | 27

The problem isn't the lockdowns to stop the immediate onslaught of nCOV, particularly in areas like New York City or Lombardy.
The problem is that it is 100% clear that the epidemiologists and politicians do not have a clear plan of action up until a vaccine is tested and distributed.
A simple example: contacting tracing and quarantine is clearly necessary - both during lockdown and after.
Is this happening in the United States? It is quite clear it is not.
China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan have all done so.
Europe - some countries have, many have not.
And so the lockdowns drag on. Even should "stage 2" reopening occur - i.e. social distancing rules and PPE requirements, this largely is irrelevant since most of the industries affected are still going to suffer 25%, more like 50% dieoff.
Thus while the notion that the deaths from the economic lockdown are greater - is 100% wrong - what is not wrong is the feeling that people's livelihoods are being toyed with, without a clear plan or recognition of their travails.

Posted by: c1ue | May 6 2020 21:51 utc | 28

@ John Dowser
I agree that Swedes are realistic.
However, aren't Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese more realistic, saving both their economies and their old folks?

Posted by: mattjanovic | May 6 2020 21:59 utc | 29

I break my self-imposed isolation from this site to point out something about models which I read in this article:

Don’t Believe the COVID-19 Models
That’s not what they’re for.

So if epidemiological models don’t give us certainty—and asking them to do so would be a big mistake—what good are they? Epidemiology gives us something more important: agency to identify and calibrate our actions with the goal of shaping our future. We can do this by pruning catastrophic branches of a tree of possibilities that lies before us.

They're not supposed to be right - they're supposed to estimate possible outcomes and provide an idea of what actions should be taken to prevent the outlier outcomes that would be serious if incurred.

Arguing over the precise numbers is a waste of time. What matters are the points made in these articles:

To Open the US Economy, We Need a Contact Tracing Workforce of 180,000

Donald Trump is Deceiving Americans With Unreliable Covid-19 Projections

Donald Trump Says America Will Open Up But Scientists Predict We'll Be Back in Lockdown Again. Here's Why

What the Coronavirus Models Can’t See
Deaths and new infections in the U.S. are surpassing projections even during lockdowns, and it’s likely to get worse

Coming Out of Lockdown Unprepared

And the latest from Tomas Pueyo:

Coronavirus: How to Do Testing and Contact Tracing
Part 3 of Coronavirus: Learning How to Dance

Back to my isolation...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 6 2020 22:04 utc | 30

re modeling, and the workability of any remedy...

there is no avoiding the matter of trust in whoever is proposing a remedy.

To wit: China's population have seen, by actual demonstration on many occasions, that their government tries hard to serve the people's needs and wants in all instances of disaster, natural or not.

Successes are applauded and acknowledged as real help, while shortcomings and failures are mostly openly criticized and treated as real learning experiences.

To wit: the lives of China's population have been improving, consistently, for over 70 years. Even before the Koumintung fled in 1950,the prior landlords and warlords and disgustingly avaricious "elites", along with their foreign occupiers, had long been under increasing fear of their demise as a fake class of gods...and the commoners including 'coolies" knew it was coming...which gave them the real hope that had been missing before.

No more millions of deaths by starvation ...or drowning/disease from overwhelming floods...or hopeless lifespans...or disabilty to learn from cannot-read-or-write...or female footbinding..

After all, finally, in 1950 the people were allowed and encouraged to jointly share their future with a first taste of that elixir called "fairness".

That is why in 2020 they responded so bravely to their government's call for masks + separations + a regional lockdown. Albeit stressful and unpleasant, that remedy worked.

Maybe the SAR%S-Cov-19 was not so murderous as feared, any further delay to mask/lockdown would have been too late to stop the spread if more time was taken to be certain it was a real bioweapon attack.

They trusted their government's leadership and were willing to all survive or not...together.

Posted by: chu teh | May 6 2020 22:10 utc | 31

Having the masks on hand and wearing masks in public is indeed part of the reason for success in East Asian countries.
But it seems to me that temperature screening is also a big part of success. There are lots of stories in western media that temperature screening doesn't work but the countries that are successful seem to think otherwise. It makes sense that even the people who don't feel sick may respond to the virus with a slightly elevated. temperature. In these countries you can't get into a store, school, workplace or mass transit without passing a temperature check.

and the means of testing are getting more sophisticated.

Posted by: jinn | May 6 2020 22:27 utc | 32

Ritholtz is not the first person to make their case against Sweden based on the death rate, which is noticeably higher. But I am disappointed that B would support his view since I know B has some grasp of what Sweden is actually doing.

Nearly 80% of Swedes understand the policy and support it.
Why would that be?

Well, if you follow the logic of this post, it must be because they have a death wish.

But that is clearly, not the case. Sometime by mid-May, Sweden will have achieved herd immunity, which I suppose some will ridicule here.

But for those who have not yet formed an opinion, why not wait a few months and see whether the countries reopening their economies see a spike in cases and deaths as the Swedish experts predicted? Why not wait to see if the deaths-per-thousand equal out over time as also predicted? Why not wait and see if parts of the economy COULD have been kept open, while immunity was reached and while the country was protected itself from future outbreaks?

I don't expect Ritholtz's opinion to any more insightful that it is, but certainly B knows the issue well enough to debate the matter on its merits or its drawbacks rather than pointing to figures that are likely to change dramatically as time goes by.

One question more: Which country do you think is better prepared for a second outbreak? Sweden, Denmark, Norway or the US??

The answer to that question should factor into one's assessment of who followed the policy.

Posted by: plantman | May 6 2020 22:28 utc | 33

Russ wrote:

the campaigns of ecocidal and mass-murdering destruction such as globalization, deforestation, industrial agriculture and the many other campaigns which in addition to their many other evils work assiduously to uncover and globally distribute every pathogen on Earth, generate the most favorable terrain for these pathogens, while simultaneously rendering every society as dependent, tenuous and vulnerable as possible.

True dat....


the virus has done more to put a stop to all that then any of us stupid individuals ever could.

Posted by: jinn | May 6 2020 22:33 utc | 34

Epidemics cant be stopped by anything but our immune systems. They run their course, and those with healthy immune systems survive. Sure, you can flatten the curve but only at the expense of lengthening the tail. Lengthening the tail prolongs the epidemic, allowing a virus to mutate and become endemic, as even those with antibodies to the original strain may not be immune to the mutated strain, nor will vaccines made to the original strain be effective.

As for lockdowns, people are like markets and can self regulate free of collusive or regulatory interventions. During epidemics people minimize social contacts. Eat out less, stay home more. As such crowds naturally thin. Companies that remain open by choice learn to innovate to make customers feel safer. Those that are perceived yo be safer do more business. People can still work (although some get laid off), exercise in parks and beaches and get Vitamin D improving your immune system. At some point the epidemic passes. Herd immunity. No poorly tested and potentially unsafe vaccine needed. Our immune system is a product of millions of years of evolution, most of us can fight off any virus so long as our immune system is healthy and our nutrition is adequate.

Science has become a religion to most people. We have faith like those who follow monotheistic religions. These scientists depend on government and industry money to do research. If the research wont support government or industry objectives it does not get funded. This is the peer review system. If the research manages to get funded then it has to be published. The major journals are controlled by industry through advertisements. Peer review does not verify data but is used to censor unwelcome findings. If it manages to get published in a lesser journal, first it is ignored and if that doesn't work it and the author is attacked.

Older scientists who have made their careers and reputations based on a false paradigm will defend it at all cost against ideas that threaten it.

Einstein never gets published in todays science. Galileo would do no better than he did when the Church controlled science. Indeed even before peer review new ideas took as long as 20-60 years to be accepted, if then, which is still the same today, only there are far fewer new ideas due to peer review.

So be very skeptical when these high priests tell you something is so, since almost all of them have financial interests in what they are selling. Even universities can now obtain patents from research its scientists do with government grants, and these patents are a great source of revenue. Scientists who jeopardize their existing patents don't get tenure, and universities will refuse funds given to them for that scientists research (unbelievable but true). A thouroughly corrupt religion, even more so than monotheistic religions as at least the latter had a moral compass known as Gods laws which man could not change. With the religion of science, anything goes under mans laws which can be used to permit anything (Stalin and Hitler both said everything they dud was lawful under their laws) .
used .

Posted by: Pft | May 6 2020 22:34 utc | 35

chu teh @35--

Thanks for writing those sentiments. At the outset of this event, I wrote that successful, functional societies plan for such eventualities as pandemics given they've always existed and their occurrence is unpredictable--they plan because their moral system demands they plan. What we've witnessed is the dysfunction on a highly immoral level of too many societies who adopted an Ideology that denigrated such planning as unnecessary--indeed, unproductive and not to be done whatsoever. Adherence to that Ideology killed tens of thousands who wouldn't have died, but you'll notice none of those nations supposed leaders give a damn about those that perished because of their immorality. Who has resigned? Who sat at his desk, pulled out his personal pistol, and shot himself in the head? Yes, they are all cowards as they fear standing up and admitting their criminal behavior or doing the right--honorable--thing.

Collectively, the West should hang its head in shame and allow Asians to run the show. Again, I suggest reading this article, "We Are Living in a Failed State: The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken." I can't wait to see if it's published in June's print version of The Atlantic.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2020 22:35 utc | 36

B, Which is it? Is Sweden the same or different?

What is very different is Sweden's total exposure rate at over 20% and therefore well on the way to herd immunity.

Since Sweden accepted the rising exposure rate, the death-rate for Sweden should, of course, be higher in the short-term but not beyond.

Because all nations are headed to herd immunity, whether quickly or slowly, with or without lockdowns.

Posted by: Liberty Blogger | May 6 2020 23:18 utc | 37

b, super kudos and thanks.
Sadly, I read the 2020 Puliziter Prize was just awarded to the New York Times. Once again they went off target and missed Bernhard? In today's metric the Pulizter and Nobel have been binned.

This afternoon I sat in on a very interesting business meeting. We all had to be prior screened for COVID-19. In attendance were professionals from legal, two Titans of Industry and Medicine. All opined "this COVID-19 is BS. And it has its origin is U.S.A." "For the economy, on the data already in, 50% of businesses will not reopen." Grim.

The conundrum is scientists have yet to reach a consensus on the C-19 mutations, a work in the dark:
mild for some, deadly for others

and in the last 22 hours; this pre-print of the study by Los Alamos National Lab posted on the CDC website:
"High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2" Link

then if not fear mongering, this evaluation could be welcomed:
German scientists find antibodies that BLOCK coronavirus from spreading further

Scientists have detected an antibody that blocks the coronavirus from entering cells, providing a much-needed shield for severely ill patients. While not a cure or vaccine, it is still a significant development.
“This is clearly a breakthrough that shows that we are on the right track for the development of a drug against Covid-19,” said virologist Professor Luka Cicin-Sain.

“In repeated experiments, we were able to show that this result is sustainable.” [.]

The antibodies are currently undergoing additional testing on cell cultures to whittle their number down to find the most effective at blocking the infection. [.]

a drug for treatment, a vaccine unlikely.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 6 2020 23:40 utc | 38

Posted by: plantman | May 6 2020 22:28 utc | 38

Based on current IFRs, the price for "herd immunity" for Sweden will be between 20 000 and 70 000 dead swedes. Plus never ending second waves coming just like the flu. And ongoing issues for the economy for several more months. And no one is going to open their borders to Sweden that is still consumed by the epidemic.

That compared China, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand or South Korea who eradicated the disease and are opening up. Meanwhile, several vaccines will probably be ready in 1 year.

Now who performed better?

Posted by: Passer by | May 6 2020 23:57 utc | 39

Those who tout the Swedish failure have become really, really tiresome.

Deliberately or inadvertently moving to "herd immunity" for a new virus is FAILURE. Period.

Our Western governments collectively employ dozens of public health officials and spend billions on research and planning.

What public health official, what member of the power elite will pay for this failure? NONE. Who resigned in protest? NO ONE.

From "socialist" Bernie endorsing Biden to "herd immunity" to a belligerent foreign policy that includes a new reckless arms race (aka Cold War II), "Western democracy" has shown itself to be sham.

A sham that everyone mostly ignores. Yet this sham is at the heart of every complaint and the cost of this sham grows and grows.

Only independent Movements will make any difference.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 6 2020 23:59 utc | 40

Posted by: Liberty Blogger | May 6 2020 23:18 utc | 43

Modern nations (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam) eradicated the disease.

Third world western nations argue about "herd immunity" and how many more must die because they are incapable of doing the same.

Oh, how much the West has fallen.

Posted by: Passer by | May 7 2020 0:02 utc | 41

Now this: "Researcher 'on verge of making very significant' coronavirus findings shot to death".


Posted by: Lozion | May 7 2020 0:02 utc | 42

No glory in prevention? No punishment for being wildly wrong either? Plunging the world into an unprecedented economic downturn? As well as actually causing non-Covid virus deaths by completely upsetting healthcare systems around the world in anticipation of a "meltdown" , which never materialized?

B you're being played here man! Have you forgotten that Neil Ferguson the venal hack that led the parade for this lock-down was also involved in the Swine Flu hysteria a few years back? The one where big Pharma made billions in profit from vaccines that were never used and had to be subsequently destroyed?
Or his role in destroying millions of sheep and cattle in the U.K with the hoof and mouth disease false alarm?

Sure you can say that hindsight is always 20/20. But you can't say that we didn't have lots of warning about these clowns in the past. But none of them ever had to pay the price for their past mistakes!

Posted by: Dennis Brown | May 7 2020 0:11 utc | 43

Let's be clear: the lockdown was initiated not out of fear of the virus, but to provide useful coverup for the inevitable collapse of the so called "Capitalism" the West/USA have been practicing for the last decade: unlimited QE, ZIRP, Repo and so on.
And it worked; while we sit here and waste time and energy discussing an event that has already happened(the lockdown), they (West/USA) are once again several steps ahead of us, already planning and executing their plan which is the total reset of society.

to @vk: it doesnt matter if Vietnam is a socialist country or not; it didn't matter for nearly 40 years to the West/USA that China is a communist country(but all of a sudden it does). All that matter is that they manage to hurt China in some way; it doesn't matter to them that they will hurt their people too. Witness how they let old and sick people die; they couldnt care less. All that matter is to bring China down using this virus. Thats the end goal.

Posted by: Hoyeru | May 7 2020 0:19 utc | 44

Don't worry Dennis Brown @49, you are not alone.The governor of Ohio is on your side:

"AS OHIO BEGINS to ease restrictions and reopen its economy, the state is inviting employers to report employees who don’t show up for work out of concerns about the coronavirus for possible unemployment fraud. This means that workers who stay home because of concerns about unsafe conditions at work may be investigated and potentially stripped of unemployment benefits.

"There is now a form on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website for employers to confidentially report employees “who quit or refuse work when it is available due to COVID-19,” flagging them for the state’s Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations. The form asks employers for basic contact information; whether their business was deemed essential during the pandemic; for details on whether the employee quit or refused work, including the date and an explanation; and whether they maintain “the safety standards that are required by the Ohio Governor’s Office....”
Just a reminder to those who see the virus as a hoax designed to facilitate the withdrawal of liberty, that you are on the anti-liberty side. You are on the side of those ordering meat packing plant workers back to work and deporting those who are afraid to work in unsafe conditions.

Posted by: bevin | May 7 2020 0:22 utc | 45

@Pft 40:

Exactly right. Thank you for posting.

Every step of every explanation must "scream with reason", as one of my professors of mathematics liked to say. Every step, every datum, every deduction and induction, must be completely transparent, including mention of shortcomings, which are always legion; only in this way can any rational conclusion be trusted, or, for that matter, for a conclusion even to be considered as rational. This was, once, the scientific method. That happy reality is no longer, for the reasons mentioned in Pft's post.

I can corroborate everything said in that post, because I was once part of academia, in mathematics, and it is quite true that Einstein's seminal papers would be rejected out-of-hand, today. Imagine a lowly patent clerk, with no academic standing, submitting results that suggest a radical shift in scientific consensus; in the present-day, such a person would be laughed out of the room. And anyone defending him would be dealt with similarly by the various Cardinal Bellarminis who make up the bulk of the modern scientific profession.


Furthermore, the statistic "deaths per million" due to covid-19 is misleading. Even a casual glance at worldometer will reveal that Andorra, San Marino, Belgium, and other states with low population have astonishingly high covid deaths per million, yet this is not newsworthy because it is clear, in these cases, that a low population skews the information. There is no clear reason why the more normative notion of "deaths per total population" is not used instead: none whatsoever. And hence one more reason for the official narrative to be questioned and doubted.

Posted by: Theophrastus | May 7 2020 0:28 utc | 46

Posted by: Dennis Brown | May 7 2020 0:11 utc | 49

>>Plunging the world into an unprecedented economic downturn

China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea are opening, if you haven't noticed. Whos problem is if someone else who is supposed to be much more advanced (european, western) can not do the same?

Posted by: Passer by | May 7 2020 0:35 utc | 47

Meanwhile Uncle Sam failed in his latest coup attempt in Venezuela (quite badly failed). The patsies were uploading videos to twitter and what not while the operation was in motion - now twitter and some other things are down. Coincidence? I'm a monkey's uncle ...

Posted by: Maximus | May 7 2020 0:38 utc | 48

a lot of researchers have been looking at the "temperature belt" and corresponding COVID cases. here's a few useful articles:

as for sweden, they're a perfect mix of whiteness and intransigence so the scum right have been all over them. they ignore the societal reasons (actually doing common sense isolation things) and the geographical ones as well (a very spread out population where a lot of homes are single occupant). many would struggle to find sweden on a map.

using a personal/local comparison:

sweden: confirmed: 23,918 / recovered: 1,543 / deaths: 2,941
population: 10.23 million size: 450,295 km²

alberta:confirmed: 5,963 / recovered: 3,552 / deaths: 112
population: 4.37 million size: 661,848 km²

as far as size goes alberta's top 1/3 (possibly 1/2) is open prairies and cancerous oil sand tumors. so that's a similar amount of space for less than half the people but 112 deaths compared to almost 3,000. we only have ~20 people in the ICU so hospitals are stressful but not overflowing. seems like distance is a factor as well as the (regrettable but helpful so people need to stop bitching) use of shutdowns and crowd limits. even MAGAberta "gets" that.

capitalists - and especially john galt wannabe randtards of the zero hedge variety - refuse to accept it because they refuse to accept the concept of society in general. let's be sure to remember their names when all this is over.

Posted by: the pair | May 7 2020 0:38 utc | 49

It is interesting if perhaps concerning that of all the comments on the Peter Turchin article "A Tale of Two Countries [Denmark and Sweden]", the one comment B chose to zero in on and highlight for his post is one by Richard England who refers to the lockdown of fiat and the lockdown of fear but provides no link to any information (such as polls, questionnaires or surveys) that would support his argument of most Swedes complying with recommendations and regulations voluntarily out of fear.

Turchin started his comparison of the progress of COVID-19 in Denmark and Sweden expecting that the death rates in Denmark compared to those in Sweden would support his belief that a lockdown was necessary. He did not expect to see that by 1 May 2020, the trends in new cases, transmission rates and even death rates in Sweden were actually comparing well with equivalent data in Denmark.

One commenter on the Turchin article, Ernst Nilsson, says that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden were of people aged 70+ years and that Swedish authorities have acknowledged that people in aged care homes and similar facilities had not been well protected.

Karl Kling points out that in Sweden, aged care facilities are the responsibility of municipal governments that have been cutting labour costs in those places by using workers, many of them on hourly contracts and / or not being fluent Swedish speakers. It is likely then that these workers have been spreading the virus among the people they care for because they are working long hours to make ends meet, are being exposed themselves to the virus more than they would be if they were working regular hours on their shifts and were being paid adequately, and do not have a good understanding of what they should be doing to avoid being infected and spreading the disease in their own languages because Swedish authorities failed to communicate adequate information about COVID-19 to immigrant communities and foreign workers.

Other commenters point out that Sweden has a large immigrant population (Wikipedia states that the immigrant population and their children make up at least 24% of the total population; incidentally this means comparisons between Sweden and other Nordic nations, where the immigrant population and their children are about 15%, of dubious worth) and sections of this population may be behaving differently in ways that exacerbate COVID-19 incidence and mortality. The Somali community in Sweden is known to be very hard-hit by COVID-19 due in large part to living in dense and crowded housing in impoverished communities where access to healthcare, other social services and information about the disease is poor.

That aged care facilities and immigrant communities have been badly affected by COVID-19 disease is not a consequence of not having a lockdown or shutdown but is rather a consequence of past Swedish policies in allowing nursing homes and similar institutions to be rundown or badly managed, and in neglecting other vulnerable groups by not giving them information about the disease in ways they can access. That immigrants are also working in aged care facilities helps to circulate the disease among vulnerable groups.

Posted by: Jen | May 7 2020 1:32 utc | 50

It is frustrating that so many words are spent
on modeling and virology. How about
Epidemics 101, which is the ACTION — not a
study or a model.
If an outbreak is not CONTAINED to a town,
region around it and immediate corridors of
spread — a country has FLUNKED Epidemics 101.

And it is beyond boring that people still do not
know that lockdown is NOT a quarantine. And it
bores me to tears that we STILL do not know
the PURPOSE of testing in controlling the
of infections outside the containment area,
or testing all expose people inside contained
area. Testing is not just randomly distributed
exercise. To contain means stopping all air, train,
road or water based transport. No exceptions.

We still have no clue where are those
1,250 MILLION infected people in US.
Some may be in the hospital — but where
are others.
We do not have a proper quarantine for infected
and they are either alone to fend for themselves,
or are taken care of by family — without protective
gear. We are a MESS, and are planning how to get
out of the mess?
Hopefully people stop mentioning Sweden, the
darling of liberalism.
Sweden has about 10 million population, and
compared to similarly sized Portugal it has
OVER TWICE the number of dead. Makes sense
if one is not interested in early detection.

The reasons all Western countries REFUSED
to contain, and LITERALLY allowed the spread,
may have something to do with the theories so
popular at the onset: herd immunity, with a
touch of eugenics for old and sick.
But the fun and games ended when all
control is LOST.
Now — laws are readied to indemnify
corporations from employee or customer
lawsuits. Laws are readied to demand
furloughed people come back to work if
called or lose unemployment benefits.

They started talking about opening schools
while pretending that COVID vascular
inflammation is rare — until few dozens
here and few dozen there have FORCED
the issue in the media.
Incompetence , arrogance, self-assuredness
based on puck-and-choose science,
instead of IMPLEMENTING tried and proven
methods of epidemics control.

Posted by: Bianca | May 7 2020 1:50 utc | 51

Regarding my comment @ 56:

"...Other commenters point out that Sweden has a large immigrant population (Wikipedia states that the immigrant population and their children make up at least 24% of the total population; incidentally this means comparisons between Sweden and other Nordic nations, where the immigrant population and their children are about 15%, of dubious worth) ..."

- the passage should have read:

"...Other commenters point out that Sweden has a large immigrant population (Wikipedia states that the immigrant population and their children make up at least 24% of the total population; incidentally this means comparisons between Sweden and other Nordic nations, where the immigrant population and their children are about 15% of the population in those other countries, of dubious worth) ..."

Immigrants and their children make up about 13% of the population in Denmark. In 2018, people whose mother language was not Finnish made up about 13% of Finland's population (the percentage includes people whose mother language is Swedish, so the percentage of immigrants and their children will be lower, given that much of the Swedish-speaking population has been resident in Finland for hundreds of years). In 2012, the proportion of Norway's population made up of immigrants and their children was about 13%.

Incidentally if MoA barflies want to see where in Sweden most COVID-19 cases are concentrated and the respective mortality rates per 100,000, this website may be informative.

Posted by: Jen | May 7 2020 1:52 utc | 52

Sweden 293
Norway 40
Finland 45
DenMark 87

if people are dying its because theyre not getting effective treatment for Covid19
eg hydroxychloroquine zinc and Vitamin d (made worse by being inside)

Posted by: brian | May 7 2020 1:57 utc | 53

i never let physics stop me from buying a Nissan Leaf or performing my eco-tourist virtue by traveling all over the planet as demonstrably pointless gestures and poses in my eco-friendly lifestyle.

why would i let biology or any other science dictate what my business should or should not do? except as a means to successful competitive rivalry, that is. otherwise, who gives a shit about science? does Boeing allow science to dictate what planes it makes? hell no. It makes the garbage it can con people into buying and uses science to that end. for a time. karma's a bitch. but so what? the pain of karma can be alleviated, if not removed. meet the members of Boeing's board who are also in Big Pharma, who also don't let science get in the way of profit-taking, in the guise of healthcare.

why should i change anything, since clearly the corona virus ain't gonna change a damn thing about anything in the mercifully moribund West? if i can fire my troops for not showing up for the economic war, why shouldn't I? so i can see my bullshit morality crushed by my competitors?

are any of the "thought leaders" of our society changing anything about the way they even talk about the world? priests, teachers, journalists, professors, politicos, councilors, all with one goal: return to the awful normal.

one tiny exception in my neck, for whatev it's worth:

Posted by: jason | May 7 2020 2:00 utc | 54

Posted by: Jen | May 7 2020 1:32 utc | 56

>>even death rates in Sweden were actually comparing well with equivalent data in Denmark.

Swedish daily infected numbers are not dropping as in Norway or Denmark which i suspect is lockdown (lack of) related. The epidemic problem there (in Sweden) is continuing without a decrease or decline in daily newly infected cases, together with the UK, while the epidemic is subsiding in the rest of Western Europe, Denmark and Norway.

For Denmark i will also add that it has far higher population density than Sweden. In the same time it has 3,34 times lower death rate. Judging by the ongoing trend, the difference between the two countries will be increasing.

Posted by: Passer by | May 7 2020 2:04 utc | 55

You are putting words in my mouth with your line of argument. I said absolutely nothing about forcing meatpacking workers back to work.Or anything else similar to that.

Did you even bother to read what I said before lashing out at me?

I was talking about the long and abundant record of many officials, and in particular Neil Ferguson, so far as making computer model projections that have severe consequences for everyone that ultimately proved to be wildly wrong. What gives them some sort of privileged status in this regard?
Let's stick to evidence based discourse, not subjective, opinionated insults.

Nobody is suggesting these scientists who make these wildly inaccurate projections need be flogged in public. But I don't think they should be allowed to hide behind the notion that even if they were wrong they get a free pass because they were only trying to "protect" us.

We can argue the merits of this particular issue all you want but please don't stoop to extraneous ad hominem arguments!

Posted by: Dennis Brown | May 7 2020 2:08 utc | 56

@ 40 pft... you make good comments on the science community relying on funding and grants and having to provide the right data in order to continue to get the money.. i am sure the scientists working for monsanto, or what is now bayer feel that way, but what are they going to do? they need the gig, is a form of modern slave labour, although nobody calls it that.. produce the right info for the ongoing pay cheque... i suppose those working in gov't, universities and etc are subject to similar dynamics depending on the country.. at any rate, i agree with what you said in your post, except i would like to talk about this herd immunity concept that you favour..

what did we do with polio?? it was an infectious disease... were we able to build up herd immunity for it, and if not why?? i am just tossing this out here as i believe it took some time to develop a vaccine for polio which affected children primarily.. maybe it is a poor example of an infectious disease to compare here with covid 19... no herd immunity was forthcoming as i understand it.. i think this herd immunity has an attractive allure to it, but i am not sure what the science is behind it... i see advocates for it, but aside from not being provided proof that it can work, it seems like a more risk prone approach..

@ 49 dennis brown... i don't believe b made the comment hindsight is 20/20.. i did though in my post @ 5.... if i can be so bold as to boil down your comments they seem to suggest we are being played, big pharma is going to make a ''killing'' and this covid 19 is a big con... unfortunately for those who have died or had relatives die from this might not be inclined to see it the same way.. same deal with the health professionals who view this very differently then your garden variety flu dynamic.. as i have said before, it is easy to predict the kleptomaniacs will try to profit off any unfortunate event whether it is 2008 or 2020 financial meltdown, covid or you name it.. but to suggest they set it all up beforehand strikes me as bullshit... i guess we all have to live with our viewpoints and leave it at that.. saying others have ''been had'' and etc is pretty tiring and predictable.. i mostly turn off when i read these kinds of comments but for fun thought i would reply to you..

@ 56 jen... you make a lot of good points so thanks for that... wouldn't all of this info be available to the swedish authorities and tend to point towards a lack of responsibility in maintaining a higher standard of health, in particular monitoring the people looking after the health compromised - older people in care homes and etc, more aggressively? it is one thing to not have PPE, but another to under pay an important segment of the community - health services and also neglect to monitor there interaction with the people they are supposed to be protecting... that is what you seem to be suggesting in some respects.. thanks for your comments..

Posted by: james | May 7 2020 2:30 utc | 57

Dennis Brown wrote"
You are putting words in my mouth with your line of argument. I said absolutely nothing about forcing meatpacking workers back to work.Or anything else similar to that.

It sure sounded like that was what you are saying.

What you are advocating is people have to choose between no income or going to work and risk getting the virus. That is the choice faced by "essential" workers like meat packers and grocery store stock clerks while millions of non-essential workers get to stay safe at home and collect unemployment.

Posted by: jinn | May 7 2020 2:36 utc | 58

Lukashenko and Bolsonaro to suffer due to dismissiveness of Covid spread in their countries.

In Eastern Europe, which has done very well compared to Western Europe, the biggest outbreak is in Belarus, where containment measures were refused for a long time by Lukashenko.

Meanwhile with the big acceleration of the outbreak in Brazil, it looks like Bolsonaro's days may be numbered. Bolsonaro is also known to have been dismissive of the Covid spread in his country.

Posted by: Passer by | May 7 2020 2:48 utc | 59

@james 64:

It is disengenuous to compare the poliovirus (belonging to the Enterovirus C species) with SARS-COV-2, a coronavirus, which is not only a different species but a different order (in the sense of Linnaean classification) entirely. As a refresher, that classification goes like this: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. So one can easily see that the poliovirus and SARS-COV-2 are very different indeed. For instance, the former is one of the simplest RNA viruses; the latter is far more complicated.

Comparing the two is not applicable due to their ennormous differences, and hence your attempted rebuttal of Pft's post is also not applicable. That you presented it without even reading some elementary facts (as mentioned above) of the relative differences in the two viral species --and hence their non-comparibility-- strikes one as a straw man fallacy.

Hence, your rebuttal is wiped out on two counts.

Posted by: Theophrastus | May 7 2020 3:24 utc | 60

I'm pretty certain that no one is certain whether this virus isn't going to cause lasting physical damage to those who survive. To me that seems to be the elephant in the room that people aren't paying attention to.

One thing is for sure, this virus has shown us how fragile our human systems are.

Posted by: Seer | May 7 2020 3:25 utc | 61

@ 68 Theophrastus.... thanks.. i qualified it by saying " maybe it is a poor example of an infectious disease to compare here with covid 19..." but thanks for clarifying that for me... perhaps you'd like to comment on the science behind herd immunity seeing as you seem to have some scientific type knowledge to dispense with...

Posted by: james | May 7 2020 3:43 utc | 62

it's weird why i pick up a dismissive attitude when i said what i did, but such is the nature of communicating on the internut i suppose..

Posted by: james | May 7 2020 3:44 utc | 63

@Joshua | May 6 2020 20:48 utc | 15

Francis Boyle who authored the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which was signed into law by Bush Sr, would agree with you. Boyle has what is called common sense and does not doubt this virus originated in a lab, in the USA, and though he is a professor of law and not an expert in microbiology, like so many bloggers here aspire to be, he refuses to be blinded by pseudo science and bullshit purveyed by the Intelligence Community. Truly a simple stupid solution: prosecute the law breakers and stop research and production of biological weapons! Period. But so long as the National Security State and its black budgets exist, simple truths are classified. These motherf***ers develop the narrative and try to control it. But they've got their hands full with this virus and things are getting out of control. Hard to imagine an ignorant thug like Pompeo was head of the CIA! Some in high places if they aren't too chickenshit are going to ask the question: why are you lying spooks being paid when you don't do your job? The IC should be sued out of existence for its performance on 911.

Posted by: jadan | May 7 2020 3:59 utc | 64

Mystery as Chinese coronavirus researcher, 37, at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is killed in murder-suicide while on verge of 'significant findings'

Police in suburban Pittsburgh believe Hao Gu, 46, shot and killed UPMC researcher Dr Bing Liu, 37, before turning the gun on himself. Gu was found dead of a self-inflicted wound inside his car parked 100 yards away from Liu's home in Ross Township, Pennsylvania. Cops said Liu and Gu knew each other, but would not say how. Liu was a research assistant professor in UPMC's Computational and Systems Biology Department. UPMC said Liu 'was on the verge of making very significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanisms' of COVID-19.

Posted by: Mao | May 7 2020 4:23 utc | 65

Anecdotal, of course, but in my large-American-city's suburb, despite a state-ordered "lockdown," grocery stores, large pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, etc.) and big box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Meijer, Target, etc.) have rather full parking lots. Traffic seems 75-80% of normal. Forest preserves and parks filled with walkers and cyclists. I'm out daily shopping and walking distance with a nice, large, coffee from local shops, tho in a category considered high mortality risk. Yes, we follow orders to wear masks in stores, and try not to stand too close to others, mostly to avoid frightening them. I suspect that our citizens are not terribly worried because our state's health officer publicly confirmed that deaths are reported as Covid simply because the deceased had or was strongly believed to have the virus, even though the person was in hospice dying of cancer.

Posted by: zakukommander | May 7 2020 4:39 utc | 66

Caliman | May 6 2020 20:43 utc | 13

What's AMAZING is that b has never dealt with the reality that for under-50s without co-morbidities the virus is pretty much not deadly (and the policy implications of that). This lack of deadliness is clear from the basic age stats provided by

Igor Bundy | May 6 2020 20:56 utc | 17

And note the Switzerland age fatality data DOESN'T divide the age stats down further into 'with co-morbidities' and 'without co-morbidities'. Another extraordinary fact: that critically important break down has still not been presented for any large data set in any publication provided to the general public. Good evidence that in the post-news era 'The Narrative' is too important to be damaged or destroyed by basic facts.

Finally, about Sweden:
1. It's nonsensical and biased to compare Sweden's herd immunity strategy and other countries' floundering prevention strategies at this early point in time, before the anti-Covid fight is even a third over.
2. Sweden's deaths occur primarily in nursing facilities and refugee communities, and those deaths are not related to the effectiveness or efficacy of Sweden's herd immunity strategy.

Posted by: fairleft | May 7 2020 4:54 utc | 67

Could they know something we don't? Seems that perhaps there very well could be lasting effects, ones that we're not being told about. I mean, recruitment has been a struggle for some time and now they're eroding the available pool.

Coronavirus survivors banned from joining the military>

Posted by: Seer | May 7 2020 4:55 utc | 68

Posted by: Krollchem | May 7 2020 5:01 utc | 69

So basically Trump was advised correctly when he said summer and hot temperatures would help fight the virus. Just saying....

Posted by: Skeletor | May 7 2020 5:15 utc | 70

Skeletor @ 80

So basically Trump was advised correctly when he said summer and hot temperatures would help fight the virus. Just saying....

And he ignored other advisors who said it wasn't a hoax (resulting in a HUGE delay in response). Just saying...

Posted by: Seer | May 7 2020 5:24 utc | 71

Posted by: jinn | May 6 2020 22:33 utc | 39

Russ wrote:

the campaigns of ecocidal and mass-murdering destruction such as globalization, deforestation, industrial agriculture and the many other campaigns which in addition to their many other evils work assiduously to uncover and globally distribute every pathogen on Earth, generate the most favorable terrain for these pathogens, while simultaneously rendering every society as dependent, tenuous and vulnerable as possible.

True dat....and

the virus has done more to put a stop to all that then any of us stupid individuals ever could.

I see no evidence that anyone, governments, media "opinion leaders" or masses, have any intention but to resume the worst of these, no matter whether it be going back to Business As Usual or attaining some totalitarian "New Normal". (Indeed, the instant near-universality of such Orwellian jargon as that or "social distancing", including among so-called "alternative" types, is a good indication.)

On the other hand I see overwhelming evidence that because neoliberal capitalism has reached a dead end out of its own financialized overloading, liquidation of the same workers that it needs to continue to be "consumers", and accelerating ecological collapse, it saw no way out but to launch a war-level campaign of economic destruction in order to raze the terrain and artificially create a blank slate where primary accumulation can resume, even if at a lower level than before. Capitalism always requires the bleeding boundary of a not-yet-engulfed frontier, and sometimes needs to destroy vast swathes of itself in order to regenerate that frontier. It's Disaster Capitalism 101. The terror-lockdown campaign is the most extreme such razing since WWII, and is intended to serve a similar purpose.

Posted by: Russ | May 7 2020 5:40 utc | 72

The title of this post from b reminded me of Monday's 4Corners program on 4C called it Flattening The Curve and it was quite confronting. It begins in March when the pandemic hit Oz and consisted almost entirely of private musings of medicos pondering their possible fate in the early Oz environment when there were no PPEs available anywhere in Oz. In one particularly touching moment a doctor is reminding herself that she didn't sign up to put her own life at risk to save the lives of patients.
Then she tells herself "Yes I did! I took an oath!"

The program also touched on the subject of nurses being assaulted and spat on and being advised to wear street clothes when going to and from their 14-hour shifts.
I still believe that frontline medical staff were betrayed by glib politicians in the West.
"No glory in prevention?" Indeed.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 7 2020 6:24 utc | 73

Joshua | May 6 2020 20:48 utc and jadan | May 7 2020 3:59 utc

"Truly a simple stupid solution: prosecute the law breakers and stop research and production of biological weapons!" Truly simple solution? Viruses appear naturally, mutate naturally, adapt to different species -- as it is well documented, so telling nature from artifact is necessarily the job for experts. "White laboratories" have their lab books and other documentation, so one could find what were the sequences of viruses that they worked with. If there exist "black laboratories", then this is very hazy.

Compare that hazy morass to a relatively simple case of a poison that is not encountered in nature. Do we know the formula of "Novichock"? No. Do we know the symptoms? Reports did not resemble any substance reported before (few hours without symptoms followed by a swift collapse). Some accept the "Western narrative", some do not, and there is that.

Concerning a proper control of agencies that have powers to control others, one should check Wikipedia "Sorcerer's Apprentice", Goethe. The situation is similar with one important difference: the old sorcerer is gone, there is no one left who can control the brooms.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 7 2020 6:34 utc | 74

@james 63:

No; I won't comment on herd immunity, and that's because I am a mathematician not an immunologist. I will, however, listen to epidemiologists like Johan Giesecke and Knut Wittkowski, and to infectologist Didier Raoult, not to mention Prof Luc Montagnier, for instance. I pay no attention to the little gangster Fauci, except to know what to question.

As Sherlock Holmes said so well: "It is a capital mistake to hypothesize before one has collected all the evidence, because it biases the judgment. Therefore, one must often proceed by eliminating the impossible; whatever is left, however improbable, must contain the truth."

Posted by: Theophrastus | May 7 2020 6:51 utc | 75

Posted by: Theophrastus | May 7 2020 6:51 utc | 75

Well, Arthur Conon Doyle, or maybe a paraphrase of Joseph Bell :)

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 6:57 utc | 76

Sweden is a valuable case. I see three categories of measures which can be combined:
- top down centrally managed/enforced
- self organized
- negotiated
The first relies on central planning and as central planning goes, it can be powerful and at the same time crude and wasteful. The second resembles more the 'free market' approach , it has the advantage of 'on the terrain' adjustments which can be much smarter than in the centrally organized case but it does not necessarily work in the desired direction. Much depends on the feedback mechanisms which are available.
The third is where a group of people is willing to do their sacrifices for the greater good(or the lesser evil) but they should expect something in return from other groups of people because it shifts the balance of power.

An example of the difference between 1 and 2 is how masks were handled in Belgium vs Czechia. Czechia took the more trusting decentralized approach. Belgium followed the WHO and was more guided by fear that people would do it wrong, with the scarcity and all. But people perform better if you give them trust and responsibility. Also using masks is a learning process so now you see in Belgium it takes time to get it going.

The main flaws in thinking about Sweden is that it relied entirely on the second group, that this second group by itself should be able to fix it all, and that this second group did not hit the economy hard. But for the cinema owner it does not make a big difference if they have to close down because nobody is allowed to visit, or because there are only 2 people in the theater anyway. In the restaurant sector the self organizing approach will have softened the blow. I read visitors dropped to 1/3.

I think Sweden has used a variety of measures with a variety of results. They flattened the curve without lockdown. We can learn from them, or to put it differently, steal ideas from them.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | May 7 2020 7:13 utc | 77

so maybe Japan's strategy was better than the others ... delayed "lockdown" with very low testing ratio per million resident (even after promising about 20000 tests per day last April, to this date J-lawmakers blame lack of manpower and preparation for not being able to reach that objective). we got low numbers ... and reported infections have been declining in Tokyo.

the "lockdown" is simply a request for people to follow 3密 (san mitsu). people have explained that Japan can force the people to lockdown. the government does not have the authority. most people followed the requests ... i don't know if it's because they respected the request of the gov't or just because of fear.

GW just finished, it is a yearly migration of people from the cities back to their home towns. or people trying to refresh, go on vacation/travel. i traveled from Kanagawa (where I live) to Tokyo and was surprised at how empty it was. the trains, train stations, the areas. locally in Kanagawa, the parks are full of people, under sun shades, kids playing around.

J-media highlighted 2 cases where asymptomatic person died in self isolation in Saitama, and has now modified the requirements for getting a PCR test. i myself would like to get an antibody test ... well waiting, that is.

waiting to be able to apply for the 10万円 (100000 thousand yen) being given by the government.

i am still waiting for my アベノマスク (Abenomask). distribution is delayed because the masks were soiled/moldy/dirty. a failed stunt which cost 466億円 (466 billion yen).

the best place to buy masks now is in Chinatown ... price is high ... but there is supply ... and there is demand. Sharp (TV/LED maker) is making masks, but has to raffle it off because of the demand.

Abe-extended the State of Emergency to enf-of-May ... but if they think everything is clear they can lift the SoE as early as May 15.

Posted by: r | May 7 2020 7:23 utc | 78

Some french covid-19 news:

French athletes having participated in the Wuhan Military World Games have stated end of march that a number of them had strange symptoms on returning in France.Ministry of Defense forbid them to talk about it.

The French senat has unanimously rejected an amendment that would make representatives liable to prosection for mishandling the corona-crisis,and putting lives in danger.

Hospital personal is enraged to the news that whilst they have no proper protection available,suddenly big supermarket chains now stating to be able to sell over a billion masks.At high prices.

Big row about classes opening after May 11 on a voluntary basis.It is understood that it is about their parents going to work again.The billionaires want people to work longer than before the crisis.

Posted by: wllie | May 7 2020 7:54 utc | 79

Another curious coincidence:

Look up on a map the german town Gangelt, aptly nicknamed "the german Wuhan". Now zoom 2 kilometers (a mile) to the south-east. Tadaa! NATO E-3A Airbase Geilenkirchen. West-european home of the AWACS.

Yet another USA military installation near a Covid-19 cluster. Earlier I had noticed that the Netherlands' baddest cluster coincides with Vredepeel Airbase near Volkel. Others mentioned similar coincidences wrt. clusters in Spain. Also Belgium being hit worse than the Netherlands, despite stricter measures. Belgium is rife with NATO installations.

Was "chinese virus" Covid-19 initially spread worldwide mostly by USA military, just like the spanish flu was? Consider the reports that have been popping up about suspected cases far earlier than can sensibly be linked to Wuhan, which btw is also suspected to be linked to USA military personnel.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 7:58 utc | 80

@ wllie | May 7 2020 7:54 utc | 81

Interesting.. Do you have q link for that report? (Okay in french)

I have been wondering if pressure at the highest levels of government (not necessarily the representative part) via unseen backchannels to look the other way when first evidence of a new disease was starting to mount could be an explanation for the delayed and ineffective initial response by western countries.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 8:07 utc | 81

I meant a link about the french athletes.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 8:09 utc | 82

karlof1 | May 6 2020 22:35 utc | 41

Back in the day, which I define here as the time when so few could read or write and thus existed the need for "scribes" to enable edicts to be read-aloud, the prime way to powerful, sustainable wealth was accumulation of cultivated or cultivatable land. Such is clear from MHudson's book "and forgive them their debts."...and every possible trick and loophole was was discovered or created to get it. Seems that the status of creditor and thus creation of debtors was and arguably still is "the way" ...even if utterly without spiritual nature, there were/are worldly benefits to be enjoyed. It is all about predators use of lieing/deceit.
These days, the method of operating is using so many layers of deception that the lies are emitted straight into faces regardless of any truthiness.
So I read your link to "We Are Living In A Failed State" and I think "but prior to becoming a failed state, it was already a failed state that only unique circumstances enabled the measure of success or flourish or prosperous to apply".

The concept of "capital" includes ...wait for it...LAND. European settlers came from lands that were already 100% owned. To start your farm or bakery or candle manufacturing factory, you had to pay the going rate buy "his" property or else pay the going rate to lease from a rentier whose intent was, or would become, to milk your surplus just shy of you leaving.

Then came the New World. The inhabitants did not have a single gun. Not a one. The arrivees had several guns and knew how to use them.

The Land [Capital] Was Free!

The biggest obstacle to starting any self-sustaining or family -sustaining endeavor did not exist! There was no private land or land-title. Land was free to take as much as you could manage with a gun. Talk about windfalls!

The Exceptional Nation was Exceptional because land was free for the taking. And fresh clean water! And game rolled over with a crude "bullet". And fish thought your net was bait. A wheeler-dealer's paradise it was. And no rent to pay and no rentier to raise the rent or grab your crop or surplus production.

The Americas began by bringing bows&arrows to a gunfight; a predators' banquet of free land and raw materials = free capital. And here we are. Unfair dealing has finally matured to create and dominate the 99.9%, injuns included. No more free land/capital. [Or the slavery I skipped over.]

A "failed state", indeed...just another cover story to help misunderstand simple tricksters. Speaking of tricksters and banksters and layers of cover stories, [were we?], 1944 Bretton Woods was classic example. Rooms full of lawyers and legal experts and money-sharpies...and the Agreement included absolutely no provision for a hiccup, much less default, in the Dollar-as-good-as-gold keystone![ Oh gee! We forgot to include that.]

Thanks to you Karlov1 I read Hudson's book and it took me 2 months. I had to look-up so many words'
/names in the dictionary and internet...1 night I finished 1 page in more than 3 hours! That is because I already knew that MH uses words with almost always precise meanings. "and forgive them their debts" is a magnificient education for me. .. so have started to re-read it to absorb more illumination without the distraction of wrongly-understood/not-understood words. MH is an awesome source in any quest for understanding that is workable; that you can use. Thanks your pointing me to it.

Posted by: chu teh | May 7 2020 8:29 utc | 83

Only to be helpful I think r's "GW" is too obscure for many ; it is "Golden Week".

Going by (my flawed) memory it is basically an entire week off due to cultural/national holidays and stuff (Japan has some kind of rule about how any workday trapped between two days off becomes a day off) but I think they're partially based on (Japanese) lunar calendars (the traditional ones) and thus not always as "big" each year depending on how it fits in with the normal new "western" calendars. Going out on a limb I think the traditional or old or original Japanese new year (Obon) might also be connected but I'm probably wrong because I can't remember for sure.

Like my previous comment about Tanuki I could very easily be wrong about this :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 7 2020 8:41 utc | 84


About the military games.

It's a huge link,I do not want to fuck up the thread.

Look for Blog de Jean_Marc Morandini.Coronavirus- Des athlètes français...etc

Other news says that French Ambassador to Peking had warned French Government for outbreak in December.

Posted by: wllie | May 7 2020 8:44 utc | 85

80 Lurk

Not to forget Vicenza NATO American Airbase in Lombardia from which they bombed Libya .It is more to the east of Milan,Bergamo and Brescia.

In Volkel in the Dutch Peel-region ,indeed epicenter of dutch cases,are stationed nuclear arms.

Posted by: willie | May 7 2020 8:49 utc | 86

What I failed to see discussed here,is the fact that the P4 Bio-lab in Wuhan was a joint venture of France and China.The frenchies say they were thrown out after it was built,and that the chines did not live up to their promises,like shared management.Now how about that?

Posted by: willie | May 7 2020 8:54 utc | 87

Most of b's selected points make sense, as do almost all the other comments - each from their limited and biased perspectives. I read through them to see where the discourse is at and going, although I personally largely disengaged from focused research into the C-19 saga a couple of weeks back. There is simply no new news of any note apart from the occasional expert opinion from the edges that largely reinforce the view that it is too early to tell whence it came (patient/s zero); how it spread; efficacy of various government response strategies; the manic obsession with a vaccine and its implications for IP exploitation and population control; and now the way restrictions should be relaxed/removed etc.

In an instant we hear nothing of Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, yellow vests; Brexit; African refugees, Gaza and the Zionazi apartheid regime in Israel/Palestine; etc. And the economic collapse of Western financial capitalism (after a decade of faux central bank pumping policy following the global financial crisis of 2007-9) is conveniently back-grounded and given a convenient 'invisible hand' alibi that distracts from failed fake economic theory (except for the criminal insiders and their 1% patrons).

It will require at least a year for any meaningful statistics to emerge in comparison to longer-term trends that take into consideration the huge complexities involved in a large diversity of national demographics, population health, co-morbidity, public health policy and diagnostic systems etc. Every mainstream and marginal agenda has found a C-19 surface to scratch its tag line. The discourse and its directions are discouraging to developing objective perspectives. The unemployment and economic disaster is still on the 3-month horizon for many thanks to government handouts.

The calculated statistics for overall death rates across a 3-5 year window will be required to see if any meaningful impact has been made by a novel corona virus. Unless it has some exceptionally virulent and dangerous mutations and rates it will slip into the viral soup that plagues the world every year. The constant factor will be the inevitable ageing of the largely unhealthy boomer population as 'victims' of this evil Nature that dares to take their immortality from them a year or so earlier than their cruise-ship latte-sipping retirement plans accounted for. What will be the controlling variable(s) is difficult to predict but one will be when the inter-generational tipping-point is reflected in public policy priorities.

Goodbye Boomers will not be a party; rather a short wave of a disinterested limp hand over the foresight shoulder as the next generations pick up the mess of 50 years (c. 1970) of mostly criminal malfeasance that peaked with Bill Clinton's regime and the Blair-Bush-Obama-Trump can-kicking fiasco through to 2020. Plastics and poisons in the oceans, soils and food chains; wild nature under threat in remnant forest/jungle conclaves; zoonosis risk from the effects of industrial scale agriculture and intensive farming together with quaint eating habits and magical 'medical' belief systems of a rising Asia that maintain viable illicit trades in exotic animals.

C-19 (and future 20, 21, 22, ...) is both a disease and a distraction. I look forward to when we can get back to the main agenda of discoursing on geopolitics and international trade and economics. The risks and trends still exist, if obscured by C-19 clouds. The main new risk that has emerged in this faux risk economy, which the 1% have milked to the highest financial heavens, is the feudal plantation economies that the likes of Bill Gates and his cluster of 'Baron' cronies want to implement to control the movement of their new serf-class across national boundaries, credit-card domains, IT system networks, social media empires, news/information Bernays-distribution fields, and food/resource chains.

We chip vaccinate our pets and livestock for convenience. These new emerging 'Overlord' beneficiaries of the faux 'Fed' market economy now wish to chip their 'pets and livestock' (us) for their convenience and control. Whomever is not trembling at the thought of what futures this will support is part of the problem. What may, or may not, be appropriate for the latest communist version of a 5,000 year old Confucian civilization of 1.4-billion Chinese is NOT necessarily appropriate for others. We only need look back at the early role of IBM and the American industrialists in WW2 concentration camps (plantations) to see the pattern being repeated/replicated on a global scale via a now largely ubiquitous digital economy and labor (human resources) management ethos.

Bill Gates and his gang of faux 'leaders' servants we are allowed to vote for are clearly having wet-dreams over their 5G-human/serf-control systems being tested in the PRC. Red pill or Blue pill metaphors are not the issue -- screw the matrix-mindset and take neither, or take both -- the issue is how to wake up and stay the course until this latest round of mass-madness can be put into proper perspective.

Posted by: imo | May 7 2020 8:54 utc | 88

All true. Now, there is but containment mode for all who didn't act quickly. In those countries, schools should be reopened to produce herd immunity within that sector before fall and educators should wear masks. Businesses should also reopen with strict health guidelines and distance measures. However, all house to house gatherings (parties, bbques), all outdoor gatherings, concerts, sporting events etc. should be forbidden throughout the Summer and Fall and Winter, until following Spring and visits to elderly facilities should be strictly monitored and must include PPE and distancing. Masks and social distancing should be encouraged for everyone going about outside-the-home activity.

If all this is done, then deaths can be contained during summer business reactivation. Meanwhile some herd immunity will occur within the education system and the 2nd wave starting in the Fall won't be as serious as predicted enabling a continuation of containment with the same partial business activity as in the Summer. With this give and take, the virus could be weakened by next Spring with a less severe economic impact. The tourism, airline, sports and restaurant industry might suffer the most.

Posted by: Circe | May 7 2020 9:22 utc | 89

About french military athletes in Wuhan,a better link.

put https before this link,don't wanna screw up.

Posted by: willie | May 7 2020 9:33 utc | 90

@ willie | May 7 2020 8:49 utc | 86

Thanks! Here's that link:

French military athletes censored from talking about illnesses they developed during October 2019 Wuhan World Military Games

It's quite a whopper.

BTW, not only is Volkel home to 15 to 20 B61 nuclear bombs, it just so happens that these have been upgraded in the first half of December 2019. There was a flurry of activity behind the smokescreen of "a crisis excercise". Regular personnel was banned from the base, its F16 squadron temporarily operated from the nearby Eindhoven civilian airport. The Volkel base's fences were covered with black tarps. Strange excercise...

Of course, the dutch authorities denied all suggestions that the nuclear weapons were being upgraded by the americans. Which is entirely consistent with them lying about the presence of these weapons as long as these have been stationed there, just like the belgian authorities have been doing.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 9:47 utc | 91

Thank you Lurk.I see you reposted my first link.The second however is more interesting,from the figaro because its author defends the idiot reply from the Defense minister.

About Volkel.Could it be that the alleged transport of Incirlik base nukes to Poland was just to hide the fact that some of them went to Brabant,The Netherlands?About fifty km from there in Belgium,Kleine Brogel Nato airbase has them too.

A lot of hidden things come out these days.The day after the NYT publishes about one in five american children not eating to their appetite,we in France are entitled to know about it also.This news should shock a bunch of europeans to the core.I haven't read nothing however about those 6000 places parkings full of new automobiles the price of a house in Europe that line up to get food in San Antone.Maybe later.

Posted by: willie | May 7 2020 10:05 utc | 92

Likklemore #38

Scientists have detected an antibody that blocks the coronavirus from entering cells, providing a much-needed shield for severely ill patients. While not a cure or vaccine, it is still a significant development.
“This is clearly a breakthrough that shows that we are on the right track for the development of a drug against Covid-19,” said virologist Professor Luka Cicin-Sain.

“In repeated experiments, we were able to show that this result is sustainable.” [.]

The antibodies are currently undergoing additional testing on cell cultures to whittle their number down to find the most effective at blocking the infection. [.]

a drug for treatment, a vaccine unlikely.

Thank you Likklemore, that is promising news. Methinks chasing the holy grail (more likely Golden Fleece) of vaccines has cost the world many lives and needless lockdown. You have to wonder what all that research was doing by NOT coming up with a remedial medicine years ago.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 7 2020 10:08 utc | 93

Thanks again willy, that second link is indeed more informative, even if dressed in denials. I note again the misspelling of Maartje Benassi first name as Maatje.

Le Figaro article about french military returning home ill corona virus from Wuhan 2019 Military World Games

This is a very important confirmation of the reports claiming that SARS-COV-2 has been imported to China during those games. It does not imply a conspiracy that it has been done intentfully, just that the "wet market" theory may in all seriousness have to be replaced by a Military World Games theory. I wonder in what hotel the french equipe stayed.

This would also nicely explain how the french aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was so massively struck by a Covid-19 epidemic that it had to abort its mission patrolling the Mediterranean seas near Lybia.

About the nukes at Volkel, perhaps. But I believe that it was primarily a scheduled maintenance and upgrade operation that would have happened regardless of the developments at Incirlik. I know about Kleine Brogel too, I live smack in the middle of the two targets. When ICBM's start flying, I'll be fried from two sides.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 10:40 utc | 94

One of the first clusters in France was the Parliament. You bet they are now well-concerted in avoiding any contact tracing for the first wave, as it goes through the EU headquarters, NATO headquarters in addition to the French parliament.
A physicist friend in Bordeaux had a number of colleagues affected late december with a very contagious flu. The movement of specialists between labs in the US, China, Europe, the NL and BE military bases would make the spreading immediate and not traceable posteriorly.

Posted by: Mina | May 7 2020 10:43 utc | 95

In practice, experimental epidemiologists also rely on statistical modelling techniques to arrive at the best explanation for the observed results of randomised controlled trials. Typically, this is some form of regression analysis, a type of post-hoc statistical modelling used to identify those variables which together best predict the study outomes.

One can identify differences between countries that may partially account for differences in the impact of the epidemic on their populations. This doesn't allow us to judge the performance of their respective governments in dealing with the epidemic. The key question is, given a country's specific resources and vulnerabilities, how well did its government do in protecting its citizens from the worst effects of the epidemic? Comparative death rates are important because they allow us to make a useful comparison between the efficacy of different governments in this key respect.

Posted by: J Norwich | May 7 2020 11:15 utc | 96

"What is very different is Sweden's total exposure rate at over 20% and therefore well on the way to herd immunity.

Since Sweden accepted the rising exposure rate, the death-rate for Sweden should, of course, be higher in the short-term but not beyond."

Posted by Liberty Blogger @ 37

Considering that there's a large segment of the population in self-imposed isolation, and the various active measures taken by both the government and ordinary citizens to limit or entirely eliminate physical contact, any herd immunity garnered by these inconsistent policies will presumably be sporadic, while the main effect is the extension of the period of time during which the virus remains active in finding new hosts. The victims of this non-policy are both the avoidable deaths due to over-exposure and the numerous socially responsible citizens who've taken timely precautions who are more likely of getting infected further down the line, potentially by a more virulent and established strain.

Time will tell, of course, what the final result ends up being. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe Sweden has the right inherent traits to weather a pandemic well, excluding perhaps the poor health-care system. The delayed reaction and initial downplaying of the situation by the administration helped the virus establish itself nationwide. Something as simple as a limit on travel between regions, for the duration of the incubation period, if done at the initial stage of the outbreak, could have spared most of the regions from which international travel is unavailable and weeded out the primary infectious cases in need of isolation. The "wait and see" approach made subsequent lock-down measures -- which have since been implemented by the way, shortly before peak of infection -- entirely meaningless and, if the goal really is herd-immunity, counter-productive.

Posted by: Skiffer | May 7 2020 11:20 utc | 97

People here are making the assumption nations that didn't enforce a lockdown will not suffer economically. That's wrong, and Sweden's economy will suffer as much - if not more - than Norway's.

Macroeconomic numbers came out yesterday, and they don't show any direct correlation between the degree of a lockdown and loss of economic activity (input + output):

What a shocking day

The only pattern here is the obvious one: richer nations will wheather the pandemic better than poorer nations.

So, yes: all those extra 1,800 deaths in Sweden were in vain. They died for nothing.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 11:46 utc | 98

Bolsonaro's government - a cloroquine cheerleader - quietly discontinues the production of the drug under bogus arguments after it was made clear it was inneffective:

Cloroquina, mais uma bola-fora de Bolsonaro, tem produção descontinuada

The Brazilian Army - the institution tasked with mass producing the drug by Bolsonaro - alleged "lack of ingredients" to continue the process, implying high demand in the world market.

However, the timing of the interruption of production coincides perfectly with Bolsonaro's toning down his euphoria with the drug.

The Army will release 1.75 millon pills already produced (probably to a god-forsaken province, where mass deaths don't matter), then only produce extra "on demand". And I was born yesterday.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 11:59 utc | 99

vk @99

Have there been any "mass deaths" anywhere on the planet yet from people taking quinine treatments? I've not heard of any quinine deaths beyond the guy in the US who died from drinking fish tank algicide, and I rather doubt it was the quinine that killed him instead of other components of the algicide. We know that tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of people are taking quinine treatments and that the numbers have dramatically increased since the pandemic began, so if these substances were so deadly I imagine we would be seeing massive numbers of fatalities already from them.

Perhaps the corporate mass media is suppressing reporting on quinine-related deaths? Maybe Brazilian media is more forthcoming on the matter but I do not read it, so links to their reports of mass quinine deaths would be appreciated.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 13:03 utc | 100

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