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

« previous page | next page »

A hot and wet summer is likely to lower the number of new Covid-19 cases. [???]
Like here in Brazil, states of Amazonas, Pará, Maranhão, Pernambuco, Ceará? OK, the last two are not in a wet área, but the Amazon is and there the Covid-19 is hitting very hard.
There are scientific studies that say it is not the heat, but the exposure to sunlight, what can lower the infection of the virus. Sunlight can kill the virus.
In the named states the population avoid to get out during the hottest hours with more sunlight, between 10 to 11 am and 4 to 5 pm.
Otherwise, an excellent article.

Posted by: O Dissidente | May 7 2020 13:21 utc | 101

And I thank you Lurk for putting up correctly the links that I badly served!

I lived in the same space as you do now,before twenty five years ago I moved to France.Let's hope the europeans start throwing out the americans with their armory,before those nukes will be needed.In Germany the SPD has put the subject on the table,but atlantist forces are opposing the idea heavily!Personally I think that Angela is groomed to be going to play some role in New World Order leadership.

As for the virus,I'm pretty sure that I have had it already between jan.25 and febr.8,because I had a gig then,and two weeks later,when I felt very weak after three days of dry cough,our next gig was cancelled because of our female singer having a very heavy bronchitis.In the crowded café might have been military on leave,my guess.

Although french government is very anti chloroquine and its derivates,they bought a big stock for the army.

Posted by: willie | May 7 2020 13:22 utc | 102

hot and wet summer is likely to lower the number of new Covid-19 cases.

More likely the extra summer UV will ramp up vitamin D in people outside , plus will kill viruses on Sun exposed surfaces. The opposite happens in (N) winter.
"Low population mortality from COVID‐19 in countries south of latitude 35 degrees North supports vitamin D as a factor determining severity" :

Posted by: Antonym | May 7 2020 13:24 utc | 103

I think the hydroxycloroquine coterie (i.e. the petite bourgeois squad) should get in the remdesivir bandwagon while they can, in order to avoid further embarrassment. At least it has official USG support.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 13:30 utc | 104

Going back to first paragraph of b’s top post - well what is the R of this disease now supposed to be? With better data? The Spanish flu of 1918 succeeded in going around the world three times in either ten or eighteen months, depending on who is telling the tale. This virus has been with us for at least seven months now and is still on the first pass. It is the most contagious most infectious disease ever but is slowed down by half measures. In places like New York City or Lombardia where it is pervasive it can still be defeated with cloth face masks. Something does not compute..

Posted by: oldhippie | May 7 2020 13:43 utc | 105

I’d like to recommend that commenters watch Med-Cram lectures on Covid-19. Dr. Roger Seheult, who practices in California, in the ICU with Covid patients currently, is a stellar educator on this disease. His latest 20 minute lecture is out as of yesterday. #67 is the one to watch if you want a biochemical explanation of how this virus attacks the endothelium of our blood vessels. Via oxidative stress, this virus appears to cause increase in blood clotting through out the body. This is why they are seeing the so-called “Happy Hypoxics” in the ER who can speak normally, all the while with very low blood oxygen saturations before they crash and burn suddenly. We are now fighting this evil genius virus in new ways because of what we are learning about it. I recommend lecture #63, then 65, and 67 if you want to intimately understand this critical process. He is a gifted teacher and holds critical care, pulmonary, and sleep medicine specialities. Check it out! It’s free too.

Posted by: ML | May 7 2020 13:44 utc | 106

Good overview of theSwedish Model at Sputnik. Backs up the facts I pointed out @67 above. Many deaths in nursing homes, many of them related to lack of professional, well-trained staff (I would bet this is a result of several decades of neoliberal attacks on wages and the welfare state in Sweden). Many deaths in communities of recent immigrants.

Several of the professors in the article say it is unfair to judge Sweden's performance without acknowledging first that it is enacting a herd immunity strategy while the other Western countries are apparently going for, despite its impossibility at this point, an eradication strategy. So a fair assessment would acknowledge Sweden is ahead in herd immunity (the inevitable default 'strategy' of all Western countries since eradication will fail) and recognize that a full fair assessment needs to wait till after a likely second wave of Covid-19 in 2020 fall and winter and perhaps a third wave in fall 2021. Some quotes below.

Mikael Rostila, professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Stockholm University: "Sweden could reach herd immunity earlier than other countries which means that the spread of the virus and the number of deaths will decrease since a majority of the population will be immune. Other countries that start to reopen now may experience a second wave of the virus. So it might be that they have just postponed a severe outbreak".

Peter Nilsson, professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at Lund University: "Our best experts predict between 10,000 and 20,000 deaths. 80% or 90% will be elderly. Just a few will be younger people. And some of these experts do not take into account what we discussed - the second wave and the financial crisis that would kill even more people. ... Looking back, after one or two years, we can evaluate this. ... it cannot be evaluated fully correctly when we are just in the middle of it."

Paul Franks, professor in genetic epidemiology at Lund University: "Let's say on face value, you can say - the strategy in Sweden hasn't worked because we had many more deaths than any other countries. However, to maintain a lockdown, you know, until a vaccine is available - people generally accept that it is unrealistic. So, most countries are trying to reopen their societies."

Posted by: fairleft | May 7 2020 13:48 utc | 107

@ Posted by: fairleft | May 7 2020 13:48 utc | 114

I don't know in what universe those Swedish "experts" live, because the European Comission forecast predicts Sweden will have a -6% to -7% recession in 2020 - more than, e.g. Denmark and on par with China.

So Sweden will have an economic recession no matter what.

And this "professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Stockholm University" forgot to mention that the only way to achieve herd immunity without a vaccine is through natural selection, i.e. death of the weak, survival of the fittest. If I remember things correctly, dead people don't work and don't consume.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 13:58 utc | 108

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 13:58 utc | 116

Not that I agree entirely with Fairleft, but, as I understand it most of the dead didn't work anyway. They were long retired. The working age populations suffer the least.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:08 utc | 109

The paranoid libertarian crowd continues to show their ass. Jumping from crank to crank urging everyone to believe that this disease is no big deal and we should all be back at working generating surplus value for our bosses to appropriate. It's a little more than sickening. The worst are the people who act like the lives of the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are expendable and that the balance always goes to economic growth.

Quite frankly, as someone who has been advocating degrowth for years, and as a young, healthy-so-far man, I don't want to get sick with this shit, and I resent anyone who thinks I have some obligation to roll the dice and expose myself to illness that could potentially do long-term harm to me and my loved ones, not to mention having my hospital bills be at my own expense, so that their stock portfolio can start growing again. With all due respect, drop dead.

Everyone is adopting the position of the vaunted "small business owner" - i.e. petty exploiters and petty workplace tyrants who typically offer no benefits to their typically underpaid and overworked employees - instead of asserting their own subjectivity. We would all do better to adopt Stirner's maxim, as naive as it is, that "nothing means more to me than myself." That is, not my stock portfolio, not my net worth, but myself, my health, my well-being and my happiness. All of this shit about "reopening the economy" is an attack on our well-beings and our happiness. The normal grind of everyday life in capitalist societies already produces "deaths of despair." The suicide rate was on the increase as stock market prices were inflating. The steady rhythms of capitalist society are nauseating and repulsive in and of themselves. The economy is suffering, let it die.

Posted by: fnord | May 7 2020 14:09 utc | 110

@ Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:08 utc | 117

But they consume, which is essential to economies of the First World, which are essentially consumer economies.

It is a myth old people don't consume a lot in the developed countries. They do spend fortunes in healthcare - specially when they're about to die (nursing homes, private ICU's, home care, drugs etc.). For the capitalist system, money is money: it doesn't matter if you spent it on an iv or on a Starbucks coffee.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:21 utc | 111

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:21 utc | 119

The number people who have died, so far, are insignificant to the economy as consumers. Most over 65s who get the disease, still survive it, I understand.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:26 utc | 112

@ Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:26 utc | 112

Then the forecasts are wrong. Sweden will recover quickly and grow at a much faster pace than the rest of Europe. Let's taste the pudding when it's ready.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:30 utc | 113

VK & his unhealthy obsession with hydroxychloroquine.

The catalyst was back in March when French media & assorted nobodies began a vicious campaign vilifying Dr. Didier Raoult for having the temerity to suggest that hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for early stage corona virus.

This triggering initially seem to centre around Dr. Didier Raoult, but I think he/she soon realised that irrational rantings attempting to smear "one of the 99 most cited microbiologists in the world and one of the 73 most highly cited French scientists....also on the list of the 400 most cited authors in the biomedical world" was making him/her look like a complete pillock.

So poor old Dr. Didier was dropped like a hot turd & VK turned his attention to denigrating hydroxychloroquine.

VK's daily challenge arse is to seamlessly integrate his allegation that hydroxychloroquine has killed millions & continues to do so on a daily basis into one or more of his postings.

I am sure that VK's expertise & absolute certainty is based on his/her multiple PhD's in microbiology & associated fields of learning.

Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 14:37 utc | 114

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:30 utc | 113

From an economic point of view, I doubt it, unless Sweden is suffiently decoupled from the rest of the Western economies.

My point is that the number of people dying from Sars Cov 2 will not significantly impact economies, poor past governance and the severe lockdown of economies in the West will have a greater impact.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:41 utc | 115

Trump's 2020 campaign slogan is:

Blame China. Remake economy: Keep America Great!

“Those themes could resonate with his base, but he needs to expand beyond that to win. He’s got to change the opinion of swing voters,” Rothenberg said. “In a few months, we are still going to be in a deep hole. And a lot of them don’t like his style ... his divisiveness.”

Interviews with voters in Racine, Wisconsin; Northampton, Pennsylvania; and Macomb, Michigan, illustrate the challenge. Every Democratic voter, and even a few who reluctantly voted for Trump in 2016, said they had been further alienated by what they viewed as his botched handling of the pandemic, and his divisive rhetoric at a time of crisis.

Digging out of that hole? Lots of Trillions to November.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 7 2020 14:41 utc | 116

fnord | May 7 2020 14:09 utc | 110

"...The worst are the people who act like the lives of the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are expendable..."

I think you need to be more specific - who are these people?
Having read most of comments made on this site over the past weeks nobody has said the elderly are expendable except for you.
The general consensus is that increased care & attention should be given to the elderly & infirm so that they do not become infected.

Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 14:51 utc | 117

No Glory in Prevention...suggests more general question>

"How many intensive care beds will a nuclear weapon explosion require?
( thebulletin[dot]org )

"...we can be certain that Covid-19 will not be the last pandemic disease to afflict humanity, and we should be making preparations to forestall such a disaster. We also cannot predict when and where nuclear weapons will be used again, and by whom. But we can be grimly confident that a nuclear warhead will be detonated someday, somewhere, if not by choice and design, then inadvertently, through accidental launch, rogue launch, or system failure.

Nuclear deterrence has proven itself to be anything but foolproof. Syria..."

You get the idea... "they" have zero ability to deal with "it".

Posted by: Walter | May 7 2020 14:53 utc | 118

@ Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 14:41 utc | 115

Probably not - but it will spoil the narrative.

Capitalist in the West have been spending the last 90 years demonizing communism because it "killed its own people". It will now have to accomodate the fact that it is now doing exactly the same.


@ Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 14:37 utc | 114

There are studies demonstrating that hydroxycloroquine is a placebo at best, and will destroy your heart at worst, when prescribed at the dosages deemed necessary to have a non-null therapeutical effect on the patient with COVID-19.

So, you have the incredible coincidence that the nation where the hydroxycloroquine mania was born is precisely the nation that hosts the pharmaceutical giant that owns the patent for the drug. I know people here in the MoA love exploit over coincidences, here you have it - enjoy.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:53 utc | 119

Blaming China?

From London a new study; the dates covered by the study are quite interesting:

New coronavirus spread swiftly around world from late 2019, study finds

LONDON (Reuters) - A genetic study of samples from more than 7,500 people infected with COVID-19 suggests the new coronavirus spread quickly around the world after it emerged in China sometime between October and December last year, scientists said on Wednesday.[.]

“Phylogenetic estimates support that the COVID-2 pandemic started sometime around Oct. 6, 2019 to Dec. 11, 2019, which corresponds to the time of the host jump into humans,” the research team, co-led by Francois Balloux, wrote in a study published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

Balloux said the analysis also found that the virus was and is mutating, as normally happens with viruses, and that a large proportion of the global genetic diversity of the virus causing COVID-19 was found in all of the hardest-hit countries.

That suggests SARS-CoV-2 was being transmitted extensively around the world from early on in the epidemic, he said.

“All viruses naturally mutate. Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is nothing to suggest SARS-CoV-2 is mutating faster or slower than expected,” he said. “So far, we cannot say whether SARS-CoV-2 is becoming more or less lethal and contagious.”[.]

The UCL researchers also found almost 200 small genetic changes, or mutations, in the coronavirus genomes they analysed - findings Balloux said offered helpful clues for researchers seeking to develop drugs and vaccines.

Guesstimates and blaming. No consensus and maybe in another year.

Posted by: Likklemore | May 7 2020 14:55 utc | 120

vk | May 7 2020 14:53 utc | 119

"...hydroxycloroquine mania was born is precisely the nation that hosts the pharmaceutical giant that owns the patent for the drug."

Get with the program...
"...hydroxychloroquine is being produced by various companies in generic form after its patent expiration."

Patent Expired

Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 15:00 utc | 121

More capitalist (liberal) propaganda:

China says coronavirus Wuhan lab footage from UK media is edited

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday the video footage released by Daily Telegraph on May 4 about the Wuhan Virology Institute (WVI) was edited, adding similar tricks have been seen many times on Xinjiang and Hong Kong issues.

According to Hua, the video has nothing to do with the WVI and their research. It is a clip from the fourth episode of a documentary named Youth In The Wild. She also said photos used in some media reports showing scientists carrying out experiment were taken in Hainan Province in 2007.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story...

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 15:01 utc | 122

@ ted01 | May 7 2020 14:51 utc | 117

Having read most of comments made on this site over the past weeks nobody has said the elderly are expendable except for you.
The general consensus is that increased care & attention should be given to the elderly & infirm so that they do not become infected.

The Texas Lt. Governor and an assortment of right-wing pundits, including Glenn Beck, come to mind immediately. The Lt. Governor and right-wing pundit class has, on numerous occasions, suggested that the elderly should be sacrificed for economic growth. And the same argument is implicit in many comments on this website being made by right-wing readers. If you argue that the economy has to be reopened, you are arguing that we can and should make a trade off of human lives for GDP growth points, and you abandon yourself to the capitalist imaginary which suggests this is the only way to do things, that there is no alternative to the market as a rationing mechanism, that it's okay to ration human lives for economic activity. Why do you put economic activity before hundreds of thousands of people who are loved dearly? Why do you expect me to get sick so your retirement portfolio can grow?

I fully expect to be hit with another comment accusing me of "concern trolling" as I have been hit with numerous times by people who have, all of a sudden, started to care about the working man now that the working man is drawing unemployment and not being subjected to hazardous conditions at work.

Posted by: fnord | May 7 2020 15:08 utc | 123

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 14:53 utc | 119

Yes, although it probably would have done so virus or no virus. The virus just might expedite things a bit

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | May 7 2020 15:08 utc | 124

@ fnord.. i appreciate your comments... ignore the flak...

Posted by: james | May 7 2020 15:38 utc | 125

In the country where Sanofi does not hold the patent chloroquine was over the counter nonprescription and very cheap until January of this year, when Macron moved it to the poisonous list. In countries where malaria is endemic chloroquine continues to be OTC, very cheap, and used by entire populations. Funny that after 70 years of being as cheap and available as aspirin it would suddenly be noticed that the evil drug causes deadly cardiac complications. Or maybe certain doctrinaire Marxists are in league with the pharma industry. We went through the looking glass on this point a long time ago.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 7 2020 15:52 utc | 126


Ditto what james wrote at #126 (15:38 utc).

Posted by: Jay-Ottawa | May 7 2020 16:01 utc | 127

A number of interesting data points from Iceland.

Iceland has not done a lockdown, has done extensive contact tracing and quarantines, has not required face masks but has done more testing per capita than any other country.

deCode genetics founder interview

It is trivial because the genetic code of the virus is only 30 kilobases.

These are the 30,000 ‘letters’ of viral code that carry the instructions to make the virus’s 29 proteins, such as the spike protein, S, used by the coronavirus to invade human cells; NSP3, NSP 4 and NSP6, which create virus-making bubbles inside infected cells; and NSP7 and NSP 8, which copy viral genetic code for new viruses.


On 13 March, deCODE started to screen the population in general, through volunteers who had signed up.

We reported that roughly 0.8 per cent was infected earlier this month but now think the distribution is about 0.6 per cent and is decreasing, so the Government’s containment efforts have been working.


We found that a large number of the original cases came from the UK.

The spread of the virus was much greater in the UK early on than people realised. They might have even preceded those from the Alps. We don’t know exactly, but these cases could be from as early as February. (See Table 2 in our paper) .

In the early targeted testing of those coming from high-risk areas in the Alps (Jan 31-March 15) there are almost no UK origin samples but that was because it hadn’t yet been listed as a high-risk area.

But as soon as the population screening started, it was dominated by UK-origin virus, so this was spreading quickly through the Icelandic population from February.

The Austrian/Italian cases were from what is called the A2 clade (a clade is a group of viruses united by their descent from a common viral ancestor), while the UK cases were from the A1 clade. The original outbreak in Wuhan, China, is known as the A clade. We have also screened for mutations seen in the west coast of the US, the B1a clade.


Even though the mutation rate is low (that is the rate at which the ‘letters’ in the genetic sequence of the virus change because of errors in the way the virus is copied in human cells) it infected so many people that we found a high diversity of sequences, an enormous number of mutations.

We published the first data in the New England Journal of Medicine and you can see 528 mutations scattered though the genome, even in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein (this spike, which has been studied in huge detail, is one of the corona of protrusions around the virus that enables it to invade human cells).

We found 291 mutations in Iceland that have not been seen elsewhere. However, there is no evidence of a different biology of the virus in A1 and A2 and so on.


Molecular epidemiologists use the genetic sequences to create a family tree of the virus and can figure out the rate of mutation (between two and two and a half changes in genetic letters per month, according to Kari Stefansson).

Note the difference between "rate of mutation" and actual mutant variants of nCOV: Iceland has around 1800 cases but 528 different strains of nCOV.

Has nCOV been in Iceland for 211 months (528 divided by 2.5)? No.

The 2 to 2.5 mutations per month is a clade (family) designation; the actual number of variants is literally enormous but almost all of them are more or less still functionally identical to their progenitor clade.

Posted by: c1ue | May 7 2020 16:27 utc | 128

chu teh @83--

Thanks so very much for your heartfelt reply! It's the sort that will keep me trying to inform since enlightening one mind is far better than reaching none by not trying! Yes, when I taught US History, land as capital was included as the main goal as was pointing out the various Papal Bulls that sanctified the theft and debauchery of the natives. One need only read Sir Tomas More's Utopia to understand the deep thirst and desire to become one's own master, and then to note what occurred in Europe shortly after the refugees known as Pilgrims landed at Plymouth--the 30 Years War. Last there's the shock that accompanied Frederick Jackson Turner's "Frontier Thesis" in 1893 when the "free" Capital exemplified by The Frontier was declared closed. Perhaps one of the best examples of land as Capital is the gifts of land made to railroad companies so they could finance their ventures. Hudson's painted an excellent backdrop for the whole story with further details to come in the second and third volumes of his Grand Master Opus that debts is merely the first volume. He's written that the second volume is almost ready to got to print such that we might be reading it at 2021's beginning.

Again, thanks so much for your reply!! It was an excellent way to begin my day!!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 16:29 utc | 129

Concerning the crowd of trolls with their demands to send workers back to the death factories, I have previously pointed out the motivation for many of them.

First some background: with the closure of many non-essential service sector businesses, advertising revenue has dropped dramatically. The decline in ad revenue for online content businesses has dropped about 50% since January, but that is on top of a decline that had already been in progress since before the pandemic. This decline has even been hitting the big players like Google and Facebook.

This decline in revenue has resulted in Internet businesses slashing the head counts in their marketing (spam) and content (clickbait) production departments, throwing tens of thousands of entirely useless eaters out of work and onto the streets. The result has been a surge of hipsters flooding the job market for positions that require no skills beyond the ability to write marginally coherent sentences with the assistance of automatic spelling and grammar checking tools.

This has proven to be a bonanza for troll farms that contract with fake NGOs, and since the fake NGOs are financed by the empire's government and by activist oligarchs, their operating budgets are not directly impacted by economic crises. The glut of the kind of labor they employ has driven down the cost for that labor, allowing them to increase the output of their chief product (capitalist propaganda). Troll farms that used to haunt Internet fora extolling the virtues of Boeing or Microsoft now have their troll armies selling narratives for the Atlantic Council and National Endowment for Democracy.

As an added bonus for the fake NGOs above and beyond their endless supply of at-will gig trolls, those trolls desperately need for real workers to get back to serving the elites before their old jobs of writing useless spam and clickbait crap can ever return. The fake NGOs' trolls really have their hearts (or whatever passes as hearts for them) in their work.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 16:33 utc | 130

Hydroxychloroquine: the jury is still out


Yet the fights over hydroxychloroquine continue, on the internet and in real life. If the drug works, some partisans argue, it’s wrong to delay its widespread use by waiting for results; if it doesn’t, it’s wrong to even try it on people. “The social media perspective is: About half of people think it’s an unethical trial because it clearly works, and the other half thinks it's clearly dangerous and we shouldn’t do it,” Boulware says. “We’re just trying to get the answer. Having a solid study design and having the actual answer is really important for both the country and the world, and that’s our goal.”

Meanwhile, though, it’s important to remember that nobody actually knows that answer. The Silicon Valley adherents insisting that the problem with the negative results thus far is that researchers tested the wrong kind of people, or used the wrong dose, or didn’t use zinc—they don’t have the data that can say whether any of that is true. The people saying that hydroxychloroquine is clearly unsafe, or that it can’t possibly work? They don’t have that data, either. Nobody does. The studies aren’t finished. “It’s going to be May 1, and we still don’t know if it works. It’s a giant failure,” Gellad says. “We should have had an answer. All you need is a randomized controlled placebo trial with 1,000 patients, and we’d know.”

Posted by: c1ue | May 7 2020 16:35 utc | 131


As with james and Jay-Ottawa, I too hope you are not letting the attacks upset you. I wish Richard Steven Hack had also not been bothered by the troll attacks as I enjoyed and valued that poster's contributions as well.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 16:39 utc | 132

@ William Gruff | May 7 2020 16:33 utc | 131

An interesting hypothesis to explain an evidently visible flood of newcomers and their shared agenda.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 16:54 utc | 133

Pepe Escobar wrote at his FB:

"From the Cell Therapy Institute, in Wuhan.
"The case of Sars-Cov-2, which causes Covid-19, as a bioweapon."

He then provides a link to the pdf paper and two screen shots from the Open Journal of Regenerative Medicine:

"2. Origin of COVID-19

"2019n-CoV genomics indicated that it was a recombinant virus of SARS-CoV and HIV origins. The two species of virus had distinct and distance [sic] pedigrees, and because of the different space and time of their existence, their recombinant had never appeared in a natural setting [4]. Therefore, 2019-nCoV could not be a product of nature, but rather a product of human genetic engineering."

A Comment from a reader:

"Mary Lin I was trained as a molecular biologist. Lots of people have been asking what's the deal with the patent Fauci holds related to the Covid-19 virus. Here's a short answer:

"Gp120 is coded by the HIV env gene. The way I understand it, the Gp120 protein gives the HIV virus super powers for opening the envelope of human cells so it can get inside more easily. The HIV env gene was inserted into the Covid-19 coronavirus in the lab (probably in Wuhan, but maybe in Fort Detrick, but that's not the main point here) so it can create the Gp120 protein and thus gain easy-cell-entry function -- the so called "gain of function." Fauci's name is on the patent for the HIV env gene and he gave go ahead for funding the addition of this function to coronavirus in labs he supervised."

The reasoning seems sound. I've yet to read the linked report.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 16:56 utc | 134

The comparison of the result of ‘lockdown’, aka isolation or confinement (more usual in Europe as terms) measures is difficult and hazardous. Lets simplify, drag out the main variables, and face some uncertainty, following b’s points.

Firstly, the measures taken are often not reported on correctly outside the country, because they are re-interpreted or glossed to fit some general ‘scheme.’ Many measures are ‘local’ (mayors who close swimming pools and sports fields..) For ex. here in Switz many cantons have different measures that go beyond the Federal Emergency ‘Law’ and suggestions. Measures change over time as well - see some US beaches, closed, then open, then closed, etc. Here in Switz for ex, primary construction (roadworks, security, etc.) was allowed to continue, but the workers in my canton marched off (not essential workers they shouted) and thus the authorities forbade these ‘travaux’, so that the workers would get compensation pay.

Most importantly, the gap between the measures and conformity on the part of the mopes (general population) is hard to figure. (We know the privileged don’t consider themselves to be locked down, haha. that crank Ferguson with his married GF.)

In Europe, there are two clear outliers, the UK, though imho it would be better to define ‘England and Wales’, and Sweden. Both (in different ways, for different reasons, and with different rationales) have had the ‘laxests’ (imho) confinement practices. Both merit more study, discussion, etc. They have, for the moment the worse results, in terms of ‘deaths’, imho undercounted in both..(though depending on how one wants to look at it, what stats to use, etc. Italy and Spain are v. bad as well.) Gets complicated.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2020 16:56 utc | 135

@ Posted by: oldhippie | May 7 2020 15:52 utc | 127

Just because something is cheap doesn't mean it isn't profitable. The richest family in the USA made its fortune by selling cheap goods (the Waltons - Walmart).

Cheap goods are cheaply sold - but they're also cheaply produced. The decisive factor then is quantity sold - the more sold, the more the profit. And I don't need to state here the benefits of a worldwide run to hydroxycloroquine to the hydroxycloroquine producers.

I used Sanofi because it all begun in France. But it would not just benefit Sanofi - it would benefit all the hydroxycloroquine producers.

All of a sudden, Sanofi became a hot dog cart in a random street in Paris - I guess conspiracy theories can only be applied against the likes of Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and China. The hypocrisy of many commenters here is baffling.

Posted by: vk | May 7 2020 16:58 utc | 136

Chu teh 83
Had teh same expeirience with malrshall mcluhan understanding media: Read page 1, start page 2 and had to go back and read page one .....finally got to page three, and had to go back to pp one and two’s all in the way they use we first have to understand that, before we can undrstand the rest.

Posted by: James joseph | May 7 2020 17:00 utc | 137

c1ue @129: "Has nCOV been in Iceland for 211 months (528 divided by 2.5)? No."

Precisely. Within any given clade the number of mutations will be small, likely under half a dozen by this point. For any given clade to accumulate the approximately 1200 mutations that differentiate the baseline virus from its nearest natural relative is, at the very barest minimum if we assume that all mutations led directly from one to the other, 60 years. The aggregate differences between all variants of the virus is irrelevant to any discussion of how the virus accumulated 1200 differences in its sequence because nature does not periodically collect all of the differences among the various clades into one new virus. On the contrary, the clades continue genetic divergence until they either die out or become new species of viruses.

It is difficult to fit sixty years of natural evolution into the timeline for this pandemic.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 17:03 utc | 138

vk is right to point out dangers in the use of hydroxychloroquine as a mass prophylactic. It can be extremely dangerous to precisely the sort of patients most likely to die from this virus.
No doubt it has many uses, particularly as an antimalarial and as a means of reducing fevers but to prescribe it to certain patients, particularly those with weak hearts and otherwise compromised cardio vascular systems, is potentially dangerous.
The coincidence that those hymning the virtues of hydroxychloroquine are often the same people urging governments to end the quarantines and those denying that the virus is anything more than a seasonal 'flu is worthy of consideration.
There is no doubt that the crisis has brought out a major effort, by the more cerebral of the capitalist class to divert public attention from the real lessons of the epidemic: the inability of neo-liberal governments to serve the needs of any part of the population except the oligarchy; the direct line between privatisation, de-regulation and the massive lost of life in 'care' homes and residences for the elderly; the urgent necessity to re-order the economy to production for need rather than profit. And the practicality and importance of establishing a social safety net to ensure that nobody starves, nobody is homeless, and nobody is denied the highest quality medical care available.
The ruling class likes nothing better than to sit back and watch the citizenry tearing itself apart, particularly when the divide is between those who deal in reality and those who indulge themselves in the idle conceit that all is a well scripted drama, presented by an omnipotent ruling elite, against whom resistance is useless.

Posted by: bevin | May 7 2020 17:05 utc | 139

Here's one snippet from the paper:

"The 2015 publication of Menachery et al alerted a potential pandemic if un-
curbed [41]. In the title of the original article published in Nature Medicine, it
used the phrase of “pose threat to human emergence”. That was five years before
COVID-19, in the land of technologic totalism of USA, where two Chinese
scientists shared their academic advances and were given the middle and the
second-last placement in the long 15-author list. It was for the American tech-
nology of GOF [Gain of Function] that they collaborated with UNC [University of North Carolina]. The latter was close to Fort Detrick, a key BioDefense Laboratory of the 4th level (BSL4) for biologic weapon
production and testing. The GOF “turbo-charged” the SARS-CoV/HIV recom-
binant and, for the first time, transformed it to become the world’s most power
biological weapon of pandemic caliber. This is the origin of the 2019-nCoV. [My Emphasis]

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 17:08 utc | 140

@ c1ue | May 7 2020 16:27 utc | 129

Oh come on c1ue, I have seen much better of you than that.

Note the difference between "rate of mutation" and actual mutant variants of nCOV: Iceland has around 1800 cases but 528 different strains of nCOV.

Has nCOV been in Iceland for 211 months (528 divided by 2.5)? No.

First, a single change in a RNA base does not make a whole new strain. There need to be substantial functional differences in encoded proteins etc. before a new strain can be identified as such. Arbitrary single mutations do not generally suffice.

Second, the virus RNA comprises of 30.000 bases. That means that 30.000 loci can undergo a single mutation. For all we know, the Icelanders reported 528 different single mutations. NOT 528 sequential, composed mutations. Most of these 528 single base mutations are deleterious to the virus' function, replication and survival. A new strain of virus requires a whole lot of sequential mutations, that combined may improve, but should not lessen the virus' essential functional characteristics.

I wanted to reply to your belated attempt at rebuttal in the other "covid science" thread, but since you are repeating the same elementary mistakes again, I was able to respond here.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 17:13 utc | 141

Numbers are out today.

Sweden +705 new cases (no decline)
+99 new deaths (no decline)

Country on track to become number 6 in the world in death rate per population.

In Western Europe, currently the epidemic is not subsiding and keeps going in the UK and Sweden. It is subsiding in the rest of Europe.

China + 2 new cases 0 deaths
Hongong + 4 new cases 0 deaths
Taiwan + 1 new cases 0 deaths
South Korea + 4 new cases 1 dead
Vietnam + 17 new cases 0 deaths
New Zealand + 1 0 deaths

No one talks about herd immunity aka "survival of the fittest strategy" in Asia.

Interesting to notice westerners spewing how "survival of the fittest" (herd immmunity - let the weak - migrants, old people die) strategies are good. Old habits die hard.

Note that minorities are hit harder by the epidemic in the US and the UK too.

This Darwinism thing is deep inside westerners, eh? :)

Posted by: Passer by | May 7 2020 17:19 utc | 142

Another snippet:

"To a business mind, why spent the money to make a man-killing chimeric virus,
and found a vaccine against it, unless the vaccine could be sold at a good profit.
However, it is extremely hard if not impossible to develop such vaccine, even by
the UNC team itself [43]. Due to the tremendous random recombination of the
chimeric viral RNA with different DNA repertoires from different patients by
nature, no vaccine can be completely effective in principle, not even manufac-
tured by Baric’s team from UNC for Americans [43]. The only scientifically valid
vaccine can only be derived from pooled antisera of rehabilitated patients of the
same blood type [44] [45]. Immediately available therapy for the critically-ill and
dying patients could only be from serum therapy as previously described [44]
[45]. One’s own immune system is the number one protection. Failing that, pas-
sive immunogens [44] [45] have to be implemented immediately to save lives."

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 17:27 utc | 143

I feel relieved that the trolls attack some of the posters whose contributions I take seriously. I am sure that karlof1, james, VK, A User, Walter, and other real contributors whose posts I never skip are included in the "rest of you retards" collection too, so the company is good there.

I wonder when the troll will interject its psychotic need to gouge someone's eyes out with its thumbs? I have not yet seen that in this thread.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 17:40 utc | 144

Lurk 12. the French and Italians have found cases in Dec. an prob. Nov. He is prob. right.

(the last in F > case on 16 nov.)

These ‘early’ cases are being supressed or not properly reported and presented as ‘odd anecdote’, ‘mystery case’, ‘not worthy of attention’ etc. because if taken seriously and investigated -1 would destroy the dominant narrative of an outbreak in China, Wuhan in late Dec - to Jan with subsequent ‘spread’ to the rest of the world.

1 it would be easy to do, re-test the samples kept (what the French doc did), re-examine the images, call the ppl back for an COV19 antibody test, etc.

see also karlof 21. Imho it is certain there were some ‘outbreaks’ previous, some even very serious, but were not identified as COV19, were wrongly classed (e.g. possible Legionella) or remained a mystery (atypical pneumonia, etc.) and under the radar, and now authorities are afraid of ‘reveals’.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2020 17:56 utc | 145

Wow! What a read! The paper's author, P. K. Law, "is a National Distinguished Expert of CHINA. This work was supported by the Cell Therapy Institute, Wuhan." The author's recommendations:

"From Here to Recovery

"What do we do to prevent life from here to eternality [sic]?
1) Stop depositing biological bombs. Over a hundred thousand people have
already been killed by 2019-nCoV.
2) Stop any scientific development toward biological warfare, especially fund-
ing. Set up surveillance systems to destroy and ban biological warfare weapons.
3) Implement serum therapy and research for vaccine in the correct way [44]
[45] with haste and precision. Everyday counts; watch the death toll board.
4) Focus on and fund biomedical research and development. There will be no
quality of life if we acquire fatal and debilitating diseases, and nothing matters if
we are dead. Dead by 2019-nCoV is extremely painful."

It would appear that a significant portion of China's people and government's aware of what actually occurred, as well as the historic memories of the Biowarfare waged upon them by Japan and the Outlaw US Empire as again detailed yesterday and available for all to learn and know about. No, the policy was never ended. There's lots of content I didn't copy/paste that I might have to provide further evidence. What follows is the last snippet I'll provide:

"In December, 2019, USA refused to sign the treaty to ban biological warfare.
USA has developed the best of biological warfare weapons and has set up 200
BioDefense laboratories around the world. USA has been the only country that
refused WHO inspection of its biological warfare laboratories. When CDC sus-
pended the BSL3/4 license from Fort Detrick last July, and demanded
close-down of its facility and destruction of its records, many of its workers had
already been contaminated, ending in COVID-19 outbreak in the East Coast ci-
ties. As of April 13, 2020, COVID-19 is on an exponential up-swing in USA,
causing 22,090 deaths and 560,055 accumulatively diagnosed patients within the
last four weeks. Vaccination had not been completely effective, especially for el-
derly patients with underlying illnesses.

"It took some ruthless, law-unbinding, and power-hungry men who wanted to
take lives of their fellow men to boost the political and economic supremacy of
their own, less their country. They developed, owned, and used the products of
the three jointly applied technologies described above. It took someone who was
already rich and in power, who could convince the U.S. Congress to exert pres-
sure onto NIH Director and Directors to fund this and previous man-killing
projects, to the extent that NIH had to issue disclaimer statements for its own

The author clearly believes the intent is to start a war targeting China. He of course is against such a war. Apparently, the "power-hungry men" can't conceive of no longer being Top Dogs and would rather commit suicide than accept their change in status. We've seen that type before, and the results of their lust were ruinous.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 17:59 utc | 146

The latest development as the real totalitarian goals of the state-media's mass psychological terrorism campaign become apparent. "Never let a crisis go to waste" say the 1%, especially the ones they fabricate themselves.

Certainly so far there's little glory for the handful of us trying to prevent this and much greater evils.

"New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt to lead a panel on post-pandemic “reform” of health and education systems, despite criticism for taking other billionaires with conflicts of interest on board.

Schmidt will head a ‘Blue Ribbon Commission’ tasked with “reimagining” New York's existing systems of healthcare and education, Cuomo announced on Wednesday during his daily coronavirus briefing. The panel's initial priorities will be “tele-health, remote learning and broadband”.

The former Google exec still receives a paycheck from parent company Alphabet in an advisory capacity, raising questions of conflict of interest given Google's leading role in developing a digital contact-tracing platform for Covid-19.

While Cuomo confirmed in the same presser that the state is partnering with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg – another billionaire – in building a human contact-tracing network, any digital component will likely involve the participation of Google.

At the same time, the tech giant's insatiable hunger for health data, as evinced by initiatives like Project Nightingale and Google's acquisition of Fitbit, is unlikely to sit well with New Yorkers concerned about the company's privacy record."

Posted by: Russ | May 7 2020 18:05 utc | 147

William Gruff @145--

The trolls don't seem to understand that they're every bit as vulnerable to their masters whims as the rest of us, that they are mere tools to be disposed of as soon as they become worthless. I await their efforts to debunk the paper I linked to and posted snippets from.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 18:06 utc | 148

i personally learn a lot from the many thoughtful people at moa.. i really appreciate this place and can't thank everyone enough!

@ 130 william gruff...@ 135 noirette... @ 147 karlof1... @148@ russ.... and etc. etc.. and all the posts i have neglected to acknowledge.. thanks..much appreciated..

Posted by: james | May 7 2020 18:18 utc | 149

Pepe's latest article: "China forges ahead through chaos and threats: Beijing is turbocharging its Belt and Road and other game-changing plans despite Covid-19 and US hybrid warfare."

I ought to note that BRI is mentioned in the paper I linked, that it provides hope for peace and positive human development of the sort those "power-hungry men" can't allow.

As Pepe illustrates, China's not slowing down one iota; instead, it's accelerating. He concludes by noting the next big step:

"All this information – nuclear and bioweapons – as intel sources confirmed to me, is exchanged at the highest level of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

"The next big move in the geopolitical chessboard points to the partnership negotiating their bilateral relations with the US as a team." [My Emphasis]

It appears Trump's desperate gambit has failed spectacularly. China remains in the driver's seat and further decoupling will damage the Outlaw US Empire severely. I agree with Pepe that the upcoming National People's Congress 22 May will be important to watch for China's formal response to the West.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 18:29 utc | 150

So do I fnord, appreciate your comments! We oldies and the working man need to stick together as we've both been shafted in the neoliberal framework. Personally, I want to die in my own bed, surrounded by my loved ones and no extreme measures thank you. But I don't intend to do that before my time - had a tar session on my roof this morning with my youngest son - my roof is my upterned boat and I love taking care of it! You can see forever up there.

Posted by: juliania | May 7 2020 18:32 utc | 151

Woops, "upturned"

Posted by: juliania | May 7 2020 18:32 utc | 152

I have only one thing to drop into this conversation. Be very wary of statistics. By my observation, statistics can't give you answers, they can only point you in the direction you need to go to get actual answers.

Posted by: Jeff | May 7 2020 18:44 utc | 153

To karlos1 and chu teh on the conversation about land as capital, I'd like to add a divergence on that score which I'm happy to exemplify. For more than thirty years now I have lived on Native American land. I own my house, but the land belongs to the tribe. And it is my understanding that it is Native American belief that 'nobody can own the land' because the land is sacred.

I have to say that it was not this unusual circumstance that drew me to settle here, but rather that the home was affordable since the land is not included in its value, nor do I pay property tax on it, much as Bank of America wanted to charge me for that back in the day! (At the time I couldn't even afford a phone, so I had to drive down to the nearest convenience store and use the pay phone outside to argue with them. And boy, were they rude!) Nobody should be able to own land, and that goes for mineral rights as well!! The Native Americans consider themselves custodians, and that's how it ought to be.

Posted by: juliania | May 7 2020 18:51 utc | 154

@William Gruff #139
You said

Within any given clade the number of mutations will be small, likely under half a dozen by this point.

Wrong. There are 528 variants of nCOV in the Iceland data out of 1800 confirmed cases.

There are less than 2 dozen clades worldwide. Even if every single clade in the world was represented (which they are not), this is still 40+ variants within each clade. In reality, there are maybe 5 clades represented.

But then again, the number of confirmed cases vs. variants is nearly 3 to 1. It is more than conceivable that 100,000 confirmed cases would have 35000 variants.

Posted by: c1ue | May 7 2020 18:58 utc | 155

@Lurk #142
You need to make up your mind what you want to argue about: actual mutations of nCOV (which can consist of as little as a 1 codon delta) or functional variants of nCOV (protein based, of which there are less than 2 dozen).
Mutation rate refers to the former; clades refer to the latter.
But even for the latter: we're talking about 29 proteins which comprise the actual functionality of nCOV, and there is growing evidence that only 2 protein changes are what makes nCOV transmissible in humans.
Net net: I'm still waiting to see you provide illumination, of any kind, on this subject.

Posted by: c1ue | May 7 2020 19:02 utc | 156

"There Is No Glory In Prevention". Does the name Pasteur ring any bells ??

I once lived in the Rue Calmette in Nice. That was a frisson for me. I still carry the magic scars that have warded off the evil spirit Tuberculosis all my life.

It's only the subject line I take exception to. :)

Posted by: Stubbs | May 7 2020 19:27 utc | 157

In 2018, there was a outbreak of atypical and passingly strange pneumonia in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy.

Brescia and the communes surrounding are small. There were 878 cases from Sept. to Oct 2018.

Note, these cases were those classed as serious and for the most part hospitalised. Some were sent ‘home’ and supervised at home. Unheard of in terms of numbers, it was a huge scandal, tremendous worry. Hospitals coped, but with difficulty.

Flu tracker gives Eng. trans of news articles. (Couldn’t find a Gvmt. / Medical / scholarly summary or whatever for the mo - if it exists.)

Legionella was a presumed agent, the hunt was on - in water, waterworks, cooling towers, etc. About 10% (see link) of patients tested positive for Legionella, the others NOT. Legionella was found to be present in a very few municipal water spots (impossible to be precise), but one might expect that anyway.

Those affected were skewed to eldery, men (co-morbities were mentioned as well), though some young ppl and children as well. The number of deaths was not high, I can’t give a no. because none exists, see link.

The matter was never elucidated (or not publically) and went under the radar as the epidemic died out suddenly, and well, best to get over it, tourism, etc.

Here in eng. link that reports the pos. Legionella cases correctly (42) but makes out that it was the principal or only cause. In fact only one (or 2) cooling towers showed ‘traces’ (enough to infect ppl? probably not) of Legionella, and about 800 or so hositalised ppl tested neg. for L. (A good ex. of media BS!)

I could not find any other exceptional infection counts in Europe for atypical pneumonia / other related. I was looking… and boom Lombardy.. chills. If anyone has a cluster (2015 >) please let me know.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2020 19:33 utc | 158

@ c1ue | May 7 2020 19:02 utc | 158

Just a few posts up you were making all kinds of claims about "strains". It appears that your shifting arguments are a silent admission that you cannot back up previous claims.

Again to reiterate: each SARS-COV-2 protein is coded for by on average 1000 codons. Changing the expression of one protein into a different, but still functional and virulent protein generally takes more than one RNA base mutation. It takes a sequence of many such mutations and along the way, each consecutive set of additive mutations has to be viable and virulent or else the chain breaks. Why won't you admit that even if chance mutations of single codons can be high, the composite chance of arriving at a mutated protein that is still functional AND while maintaining functionality in ALL the intermediate mutations is spectacularly much lower.

To make a naive comparison as if these two processes were of the same order only betrays ignorance of many different disciplines involved in the study of these phenomena. To hold on steadfastly to such ignorance is worth frowning upon by your fellow barflies.

Have a drink and think it over again.

PS: bonus links:
The pig hypothesis does not fly in Germany
Nor does the chinese "strain" of pig.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 19:46 utc | 159

@ c1ue | May 7 2020 18:58 utc | 157

But then again, the number of confirmed cases vs. variants is nearly 3 to 1. It is more than conceivable that 100,000 confirmed cases would have 35000 variants.

Well no. You can't extrapolate apples into oranges. Not without giving account of the likeliness of survival of each mutation.

Sure, there a about 30.000 (no. of bases) times 3 (no. of possible changes to that one codon) possible single codon mutations. And then there are almost that same number times as many possible mutations of two codons. And so forth in an exponential sequence.

But, most of these are unviable and will ot reproduce.

Nature needs to work through an astronomical amount of random mutations in order to arrive at a substantially different virus strain (on average, we are reasoning statistically here.)

In contrast, a biolab can work using intentfully planned heuristics and needs far fewer steps to arrive at the same destination.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 20:01 utc | 160

The following snippet in the posting - from a Max Abrams tweet - is illogical, and does not follow:

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.

This would true if, and only if, the sole or primary factor in the spread of the virus was social distancing. This may have been a convenient assumption at the time, but even today this has not been proven to the exclusion of other factors.

A valid model would in fact be a matrix of many such models, explicitly admitting that each was based on unproven assumptions, but constructed in such a way that the errors in these assumptions would have a tendency to cancel each other out in the final result.

Posted by: carl | May 7 2020 20:13 utc | 161

"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong." - Richard P. Feynman, "The Character of Physical Law".

Some people never get beyond Step 1.

Posted by: carl | May 7 2020 20:23 utc | 162

"COVID-19 May Have Started Spreading as Early as October 2019":

"'Phylogenetic estimates support that the COVID-2 pandemic started sometime around October 6, 2019, to December 11, 2019, which corresponds to the time of the host jump into humans,' the report states....

"This is not the first study to predict that the virus may have been spreading earlier than official records suggest."

The deeper investigators dig, the further the timeline's going to be pushed back and detonate TrumpCo's lies about Chinese origin.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 20:25 utc | 163

Karlof1 > Dude, that's some heavy stuff. "O Tempora, O Mores!"

I shall read > "COVID-19 Pandemic: Its Origin,Implications and Treatments"

Thanks, Old Man!

I know a con job when I see one, same as you.

Doctrine, some guy was overheard to say over his 5th beer down at the Dew Drop Inn..."doctrine calls for a coordinated attack..." after that I didn't listen...

Posted by: Walter | May 7 2020 20:28 utc | 164

@ Lurk | May 7 2020 20:01 utc | 162

Small correction, I failed to take the possibility of the deletion of a codon into consideration.

The revised formula for the number of possible n subsequent mutations becomes approximately:

(30.000 * 4 ) ^ n

For n=1 that is 120.000 possible mutations
For n=2 that is 1.440.000.000 possible mutations
For n=3 that is 1.728. possible mutations
For n=4 that is 207.360. possible mutations
For n=5 that is 24.883. possible mutations

So already at 5 consecutive mutations, the numbers are astronomical. 5 base mutations is not much at all. Typical virus strains can differ in many more places.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 20:42 utc | 165

Donald Trump's Personal Attendant Reportedly Tests Positive for Coronavirus

A White House spokesperson was quick to address the news, saying that both the president and the vice president had tested negative for COVID-19.

One of US President Donald Trump's valets, which are members of an elite military unit serving the POTUS, tested positive for the coronavirus on 6 May, CNN reported, citing sources. The president has reportedly been notified of the matter and was "upset" by the news, the broadcaster added.

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 20:54 utc | 166

Walter @166--

Thanks for your reply! This article documents the Outlaw US Empire's glee at the troubles the two main targets initially had with COVID-19, singling out Iran's experience. What he details has all the signs we associate with False Flag Attacks, particularly the coordinated government and BigLie Media demonization Narrative. But now the shoe's on the other foot:

"The New York City itself today looks like Chernobyl or “never-in-liberal-democracy” thing, a sort of Orientalist dystopia from Hollywood movies or unhygienic Disneyland from The Atlantic’s agitprop-eds. With junk food, or no food on the shelves at all. We don’t see hungry Iranians begging the Trump administration for help, but we see such moans on the multi-billion-dollar U.S. aircraft carriers. We don’t see any regime change in Tehran, but we do see dismissal of the U.S. aircraft carrier’s captain, only because he dared publicly seek help for his infected sailors. There’s no trace of the alleged Iranian government’s “lying” or “theft,” but there is overwhelming evidence of U.S. piracy of protective masks around the world. This evidence comes from the governments of Italy, Germany, France and Canada. If U.S. authorities cooperated with Iranian experts at the outbreak of the pandemic, they would surely have had fewer casualties at home. But they did not want to cooperate, as with Chinese experts, they just looked like scavengers. Now, Trump is blaming the WHO, which has replaced Iran as a bogeyman."

The author's concluding recap of Iranian responses to earlier disasters that were used by its adversaries to try and wrest advantages were likely overlooked, which is par for the course for the Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 7 2020 21:03 utc | 167

@ karlof1 | May 7 2020 20:25 utc | 165

Another bingo!

"University College London’s Genetics Institute" - that doesn't sound quite like a boiler room full of russian trolls paid for by the Chinese Communist Party, does it?

Though, since Sputnik reported it, clearly it must be a russian talking point. MSM should better ignore it then, given that we are in an information war...

Posted by: Lurk | May 7 2020 21:07 utc | 168

We really ought not to be surprised that those I will call "science addicts" and not genuine scientists will be experimenting with strange combinations of genes and the like. We have seen it being publicly used as a profit mechanism with genetically modified seeds, so it is not a far stretch to think somewhere somehow sombody is looking for that sort of thing. We also see it in medicines where huge profits are made by big Pharma simply in devising a 'new' drug that bears all the costs that have led up to its invention, and by the seed giants which attempted to patent every natural improvements the seeds have made on their own generation. Farmers in India committed suicide when they became enmeshed in the genetically modified seed ponzi scheme and in Mexico their time honored maize production came into jeopardy as agribusinesses from the US took over their previously productive farms.

So, if indeed the virus can be traced back, and genuine scientists will be on the trail, to an artificial Adam/Eve construct, it might actually be a good thing. In the end such artificial seeds as the GM nasties don't have the longevity of their natural forebears. I remember listening to an heirloom seed advocate (when I listened to radio programs back before the neoliberals gave the stations away to private corporations). That advocate insisted that natural vitality, in seeds as in humans, is the one thing the genetically spliced seeds don't have.

I am guessing that may be true for this virus as well. It's fighting our good germs out there, and if it is an artificial construct, in the end the good germs will win.

Posted by: juliania | May 7 2020 21:11 utc | 169

fnord | May 7 2020 15:08 utc | 123

"Having read most of comments made on this site over the past weeks nobody has said the elderly are expendable except for you."

So nobody who has posted on this site.

You need to understand that this is not an American blog.
I know it's a very hard concept for Americans to grasp but you are not the centre of attention.

Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 21:51 utc | 170

173 - you are quoting yourself, not fnord! That is NOT ALLOWED! Begone! [Feel free to delete this, b, along with the post 173]

Posted by: juliania | May 7 2020 22:00 utc | 171

: karlof1 | May 7 2020 21:03 utc | 170 Yes, I read the strat cult article...

I would remark that the Empire is assumed, canonically I believe, to have burst forth about 1898... not very long ago, ahemm.

And Persia?

Wally expects Persia to continue for a long time. They've seen 'em come, and dey seen 'em go...

Empire? Well...think about it.

I wonder how many Americans are re-thinking their loyalties as they divide between loyalty to their State and loyalty to the Federal State, er, formerly federal, now unitary, ahemm.

As their relationship with the unitary affair get it...Like Tip O'Neil said, Politics is Local.

Posted by: Walter | May 7 2020 22:05 utc | 172

The armchair Marxists really don't like to be questioned.
You don't like to be asked to explain yourselves do you?

You lot make nonsense statements & expect everybody to go along with it.
Any dissent is jumped upon by the pack of rabid dogs who consider themselves the gatekeepers of the MOA comments section.

You bunch of armchair Marxists despise me because I am part of the working class, & you are totally & utterly irrelevant to working classes. We don't need you.

This little gem of ignorance from the armchair Marxist with a lawyer on retainer (the irony):-
"...The trolls don't seem to understand that they're every bit as vulnerable to their masters whims as the rest of us, that they are mere tools to be disposed of as soon as they become worthless."

- you really have not spent much time working in factories have you?
Because I can assure you that the vast majority of working men & women that I work with are totally aware of how disposable they are. You have no idea. Clueless.
The typical arrogance of self styled Marxist intellectual who think that the working classes are just ignorant peasants.

I have spent my whole working life in factories, power stations & coal mines, joined the union at 17, still working 12hour night shifts, no university, but I do know exactly what the working classes want & it is nothing you lot egotistical pompous fools have to offer.

I would love to see you clowns at a full on union meeting - guaranteed you would all be curled up in the corner crying, calling your lawyers to sue for hurt feelings.

Posted by: ted01 | May 7 2020 23:15 utc | 173

This is interesting. Lengthening the tail was probably not a good idea.

“Here we report functional characterizations of 11 patient-derived viral isolates, all of which have at least one mutation. Importantly, these viral isolates show significant variation in cytopathic effects and viral load, up to 270-fold differences, when infecting Vero-E6 cells. We observed intrapersonal variation and 6 different mutations in the spike glycoprotein (S protein), including 2 different SNVs that led to the same missense mutation. Therefore, we provide direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity.”

Posted by: Pft | May 7 2020 23:38 utc | 174

"... joined the union at 17..."

Some people get all the lucky breaks. I was never able to join a union until after I organized my workplace. Since I was a little kid reading the poems of Joe Hill and looking for the union label on everything I wanted to be in a union, but I eventually had to take matters into my own hands. Let me tell you that organizing a shop back in the Reagan days when unions were on the way out was no mean feat! Sadly, it does seem like a wasted effort nowadays, though. What is left worth organizing in America, hipster baristas? They were anti-union randroids before the covid pandemic, and now they don't even have jobs to unionize, so what's the point?

I do wonder if the poster has ever actually seen the inside of a factory or coal mine, though. For some reason I suspect not.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 7 2020 23:57 utc | 175

I don't get flu shots so I’m just finding out that seniors over 65 get their own flu vaccine in US , at least since 2016, and its used in only 37 other countries, including many in Europe (UK, Italy, etc), Canada, Australia. It has a powerful adjuvant called squalene (MF59). The vaccines called Fluad in US. China makes its own vaccine so I don't know if they use the same super adjuvant. Its meant to stimulate the immune system and is 4 times more powerful than aluminum adjuvants. Elderly have poor immune systems so they need the boost. Squalene was also allegedly behind the Gulf War Syndrome thought to be caused by vaccines , hence the delay being approved in US (Italy was first to sign up in 1997, Uk approved in 2018) . Italy actually suspended Fluads use for a short period following 19 deaths in 2014 blamed on the vaccine. US fast tracked it in 2015 skipping important trials.

Anyways, we have a new “virus” that from a large amount of data affects the elderly more severely than the young , primarily because their immune system goes into overdrive despite have poorer functioning immune systems. You think someone might look into an association between vaccines given with a super immune stimulant and severe covid infection due to immune over reaction. In the US 60% of elderly get the flu vaccine , many getting the super adjuvant, so there are at least 40% out there who don't , so that would make a nice control group for a retrospective study.

If such a study is not proceeding that is very disturbing, and quite telling in itself

I am not saying the vaccine is the definite reason for increased disease severity, just that its something which should logically be looked into. Absence of evidence is not proof of absence. If you don't look for evidence you don't find evidence.

Also, perhaps unrelated and certainly not significant by themselves , but China doubled the number of flu vaccines given for the 2019-2020 season. And a study issued done on DOD personnel issued in January showed those vaccinated had a 36% increased chance of getting a non-pathogenic corona virus respiratory infection than unvaccinated (although fewer respiratory infections overall)

Posted by: Pft | May 8 2020 0:05 utc | 176

Walter @175--

The USA has always been an Empire, at first an appendage of its parent, then an ever expanding one to the point where we are today. But so few of its citizens know that's what they reside in. Thus the tireless efforts by a select few historians, political-economists, and sociologists to try and explain to them that one crucial singular fact. Perhaps you saw the Dicta attributed to Socrates Max's wife displayed briefly a few shows ago which ought to resonate with us elders--paraphrased, "Don't waste your time and energy trying to change the rotten system; instead, pour all your efforts into building the new system." Lenin seems to have gotten that message, Mao, and others, too, although not all were successful. I'm with Hudson and Wolff--lets write down all the debt and start over with a new system as the old is too far gone to reform. But note how such sentiments are mostly being extolled by us old folks with youth seldom seen or heard, although they were at the core of Occupy Wall Street.

Would knowing their federal government brought down the WTC, sponsored head-chopping terrorists against Syrians, and waged illegal Biowarfare on Iran and China that will kill over 100K of its fellows cause the citizens to sever their relationship with the primary Pirate? How many genuinely know those truths? IMO, my fellow citizens will need to have it intensely drummed into their narrowminded brains before they'll USEXIT.

As with the parent Empire, the Union must be broken for those within to truly be free to enjoy a decent livelihood, the Center having become tyrannical and only concerned with increasing its own power, or rather the power of its Controllers. Write down the Debt, Rend the Union Asunder, Invade the Tax Havens where the Controllers have their loot stashed and free it from them--restore it to those who were fleeced--and get on with a Confederation as was initially planned. I suppose that'll work as the short version of my Revolutionary Manifesto.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 0:20 utc | 177

William Gruff | May 7 2020 23:57 utc | 178

"I do wonder if the poster has ever actually seen the inside of a factory or coal mine, though. For some reason I suspect not."

If that makes you feel more comfortable - good for you.

It least it saves facing the unpalatable (for some) truth that the armchair Marxist is still totally irrelevant to the working classes.

With your experience with unions you know what I wrote above is true.
The armchair Marxist is irrelevant when negotiating with management, or trying to convince reluctant workers to join a union.

I take at face value your union 'credentials' & congratulate you for what you have done.
You see we probably have a lot more common ground than you think.

The "anti-union randroids" need to be fucked over a few times & the smart ones will soon change their way of thinking.

Posted by: ted01 | May 8 2020 0:28 utc | 178

tedo1 @181--

The "anti-union randroids" need to be fucked over a few times & the smart ones will soon change their way of thinking.

The problem with your remedy is that's been done to them over and over again without any recognition on their part that they're getting raped. As I wrote just above @180, they'll need to have the truth drummed into their thick heads, and they're just one of several groups in need of such treatment.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 8 2020 0:48 utc | 179

c1ue | May 7 2020 16:35 utc | 131

"The Silicon Valley adherents insisting that the problem with the negative results thus far is that researchers tested the wrong kind of people, or used the wrong dose, or didn’t use zinc..."

But hydroxychloroquine advocates never give those explanations for the negative results. Instead, they always say hydroxychloroquine is an early stage treatment or pre-Covid protective treatment that seems to cause symptoms to be milder than they would otherwise be. And none of the (biased by design?) 'tests' examine that, they always test mid or late stage Covid-19.

Striking and suspicious that your mainstream source, Wired, doesn't seem to know that.

Posted by: fairleft | May 8 2020 0:53 utc | 180

karlof1 | May 8 2020 0:48 utc | 182

I don't necessarily disagree with what you say, but I do think that there is hope.

Purely from an Australian perspective - union membership has been steadily declining since the late 80's due to a number of factors - conservative government legislation (some of it extremely draconian, especially with respect to the building industry), manufacturing moving offshore, casualization of the workforce etc.

The hope - when you look at Australian union membership over the years there always seem to be an increase in times of economic hardship - recession 1990 - 1991, tech crash 2000, 'recession' 2005, recession 2008, recession 2012.
Whilst the trend has always been down, these small but discernible increases in membership, make me think that if the hardship is severe enough the pendulum will swing back in the right direction.

Posted by: ted01 | May 8 2020 1:28 utc | 181

You are not an MD and have no idea what you are talking about. Sweden has very large NH and that is where the Deaths are. Doctor Erickson and his partner are correct. The Lockdown causes other morbidities and Mortality. Hospitals are not busy in many places and have empty beds. The cases and # of Deaths are being gamed with the Dx being used when the Deaths are obviously due to underlying CAD, Diabetes, Cancer Screenings are not being done because people don't go to their Dr because they are afraid of the virus. This Fear Campaign is all about forcing Bill Gates' historically dangerous vaccines with the chip and Mark of The Beast on Every person on the Planet. You can lockdown and wait but too many Americans will not stand for it.

Posted by: William H Warrick MD | May 8 2020 2:19 utc | 182

@170 karlof1

I'd like to pass a concept into your safekeeping if I may. Once again I'm only passing through and skimming the end of the thread, so you may have posted about this already.

As the probable US timeline for the virus becomes more evidenced, I want to make sure we add some financial milestones in there as well. Did you note the comment on Escobar's important Facebook post yesterday (one of several such posts to be sure) - the comment by Norman Ball cited the date when the Fed had to start intervening in the Repo market as being September 17.

So Escobar is saying this:

Dr. Forster remains on top of this whole game. He sees the first infection - and spread - of Sars-Cov-2 happening at some point between Sep 13 and Dec 7, by a probability of 95%.

And Ball remarks this:

"The smartest money in the world (EUD/Repo - the kind that can see round corners and whose ears to the ground have spare ears) recoiled abruptly from providing overnight funding into the general global economy on Sept 17 as though it saw a ghost--or perhaps a long procession of ghosts looming on the horizon."

One would have to go back and verify when the Repo intervention started, but this is a data point that surely belongs in the emerging timeline. We have the still unexplained and uninvestigated nursing home outbreak some 50 miles from Fort Detrick, the closure of the lab within about a month of that outbreak, and scientists pointing to a possible beginning of the virus in the wild in the US in September.

We already have seen how Congressional representatives have used inside information to profit from this year's pandemic. If the virus got loose enough in 2019 to close the lab doors after the horse had bolted, and suddenly the banks don't trust their own money against other bank's supposed credit - all at the same time - then maybe that data point fits.

As a side note, we also saw a record high number of CEOs retire in 2019. They all decided to quit while they were ahead and take their retirement bonuses. One wonders why. One wonders how good the inside financial intelligence is. The ruling class, so called, are in fact the corporations after all.

I can't stay around to shepherd this thought but I know you'll be more active in these threads, and are busy working the true story of the virus, so I offer that thought lest it get lost.

Posted by: Grieved | May 8 2020 2:21 utc | 183

Mutations often do not change the nature of the viral infection.

When considering virus mutations it is important to remember that it takes three nucleic acid to code for a single amino acid. In many cases mutations do not change the amino acid being coded for. These mutation are called synonymous/silent mutations as in the case for leucine where the first two nucleic acids in the RNA are CC and the third nucleic acid can be either U,C,A or G and still code for the amino acid leucine.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 8 2020 2:40 utc | 184

@ russ... police state canada - check this out... it's completely police state bonkers.. Stormtrooper trying to get customers' attention taken down by officers.. video in the twitter link here...

Posted by: james | May 8 2020 2:51 utc | 185

Has no one noted that French media claim that French athletes got Covid-19 virus at Wuhan games in October?

Here is a report based on that media that adds new timeline data:

Posted by: chu teh | May 8 2020 2:59 utc | 186

james 190

That item symbolically has it all - a typical small business victim of the lockdown campaign one of whose deliberate goals is to eradicate all small businesses; a pathetic attempt to play to mass pop culture; 911 snitches who are so retarded and deranged with fear from the media's terror campaign that they can't see this is obviously a Star Wars costume (unless the callers knew that perfectly well but are among the fascist brigade that truly does want to force everyone into literal house arrest) ; similar idiocy and extreme overreaction by the police.

Couldn't tell from that piece, but I'll assume the media line puts 100% of the blame on the victims.

Posted by: Russ | May 8 2020 5:41 utc | 187

There is no glory in prevention...

Indeed, almost all of "the left" agrees, has abdicated all its former alleged principles, and seems to think its own glory lies in becoming police-state bootlicks. Same for erstwhile "civil libertarians", self-alleged advocates of free speech etc. I've often made this point, and here's a good piece making the same point.

"That is today’s political reality in a nutshell — and I’m afraid the situation is much worse than merely ironic. I think it represents a colossal error by which civil libertarians and their normal political allies are abandoning their most valued principles at precisely the moment they’re most urgently needed...

It’s exactly that kind of silence — from a whole range of liberals and progressives — that makes me worry that the COVID-19 epidemic could end up as a graveyard for the American left, an awful tale of a misread civil rights crisis and a tragically lost political opportunity...

But it seems to me that this posture badly misreads the nature of the crisis we’re in. The genuine medical concerns raised by the coronavirus outbreak do not obviate basic issues of civil rights and the limits of government authority — and those are questions all of us, especially on the left, ignore at our peril...

But we also have to stand up for the needs of millions of devastated working people — who are, after all, at the heart of the constituency the left likes to claim for itself — and for principles of personal freedom that are now under the most powerful domestic assault I have witnessed in my lifetime.

If we don’t wake up soon, I’m afraid we may find that we have abandoned a vital field of action (one that should have been our natural environment) to the demagogues and right-wing extremists who are certain to rush into the vacuum we leave behind. Do we really want to let that happen?"

As I've also pointed out many times, this psychological pandemic not only has been contrived by neoliberal capitalism and its police state but is setting up the perfect habitat for classical fascism to rise.

The fact that the left not only has abdicated but is carrying water for the predatory police state only generates an even greater opportunity for incipient fascism. The masses certainly will not remain in their current passive infantile state for long, and will look for someone who offers an answer and a way out. Since the left is doing nothing but aligning with the increasingly intolerable failed neoliberal system, that leaves some form of fascism as the only game in town.

And as we see, "the left" sees no glory in trying to prevent this. Quite the contrary.

Posted by: Russ | May 8 2020 5:56 utc | 188

"The data was not known when the measures were taken."

Unless sea air turns out to be a spectacularly effective inhibitor for Covid19, thus rendering the data from ships useless and non representative, not only was the data known by then, but progressively more conclusive confirmation of infection rates kept coming culminating in the infection of the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt.

We have a particularly exact account of what happened on the cruise ship Zaandam.

Zaandam - Onboard The Coronavirus Hit Cruise Ship

The Zaandam was stranded at sea for over 20 days. First signs of infection appeared on day 14. For 14 days therefore, passengers and crew were happily mingling without a care in the world.

If Covid19 is so infectious, the Zaandam in particular should have reported total infection of the entire passenger and crew population.

Yet, after 14 days of carefree promiscuous living, Covid19 barely infected 30% of the population on the Zaandam.

Similar result on the Theodore Roosevelt.

Other similarly intriguing data from the ships comes to us in the form of couples that despite sharing a cabin, only one was infected.

"By Then" therefore, we had plenty of very accurate infection data from every single one of the ships from January onwards.

We had plenty of data. Very accurate data in fact. Data sourced from closed samples where testing could be performed liberally on a captive audience.

As a corollary, if indeed sea air should turn out to be a powerful viral inhibitor, what do you know! We have a potential solution at hand.

Everybody wins!

Posted by: guidoamm | May 8 2020 7:50 utc | 189

@ Pft | May 7 2020 23:38 utc | 175

Very interesting study, but there are some criticisms to be made.

1 The tests were done on petri dishes with monkey cells, so not exactly representative for virulence in liveing humans.
2 The numbers for viral replicative strenght are in question, because the number of live virii used to inoculate the monkey cells is not clear.

You can read these criticisms at

I would add the criticism that the timeline for these mutations to accumulate may have been longer than has been assumed up to now.

When I skimmed the actual pdf of article that you posted, I noticed that the ZJU-2 and ZJU-8 strains, sampled from northwestern USA, are very close to the root of the phylogenetic tree. Much closer than the clades that spread to other areas in the world. I also wonder where the early infections in France are sited in that phylogenetic tree, especially the ones from the french military athletes, if indeed they did come back from Wuhan in October 2019 sick with Covid-19.

PS: in your other post you write that the virus affects the elderly because their immune system goes into overdrive. Newer insights point to different mechanisms at work, specifically deregulation of the renin-angiotensin system and related oxidative stress responses. Not sure if that still validates your vaccine hypotheses, but I agree that all testing and investigation is a good thing.

Posted by: Lurk | May 8 2020 8:52 utc | 190

The continuing sanctions against Iran in the face of a global medical emergency puts the United States in breach of the Ethical Principles of Healthcare Personnel in Times of Conflict or Other Emergencies. This set of principles was adopted by the International Committee of Military Medicine.

Will this International Committee show some leadership and condemn the USA for sabotaging Iran in its hour of need or will this esteemed organisation lend craven support to this crime against humanity being perpetrated by the USA?

This organisation played a part in the 7th International Military Games 2019 in Wuhan.

As their next world congress is in Brussels September 2021 will any delegation raise the crimes against humanity being perpetrated against Iran at this time? Is this body even capable of speaking up? What does this body say about the Crime against Humanity in Yemen?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 8 2020 9:20 utc | 191

Russ @ 100
Your holding a flame for Nigel Farage, at the very least you could be honest and up front about it, there I’v outed you,
Do a search on his school reports.
Plus you use a link to what used to be a good ‘left site’ but has now been compromised by Israeli lobby groups.
Don’t be a tool for the evil wrong doers of the western genicidal governments!
Stay locked down everyone until their wretched capatilist system collapses!

Posted by: Mark2 | May 8 2020 9:24 utc | 192

@ guidoamm | May 8 2020 7:50 utc | 191

"By Then" therefore, we had plenty of very accurate infection data from every single one of the ships from January onwards.

We had plenty of data. Very accurate data in fact. Data sourced from closed samples where testing could be performed liberally on a captive audience.

I would really appreciate if you could point me to this "plenty of very accurate infection data" that you seem to have access to and on which you base your grandiose claims. Because if you can't I will have to conclude that you are making them up and are talking out of your backside.

I looked up the data for MS Zaandam, but there is little data available. Passengers were diagnosed on the basis of criteria such as "showing flu-like symptoms". Only two Covid-19 positive tests were made. I cannot find any mention of antibody tests and the fact that asymptomatic passengers were quickly bussed off to airports suggests that tracking hasn't been a priority.

Data for USS Theodore Roosevelt show that of a crow of about 5000, 1000 fell ill or were otherwise tested positive for Covid-19. That is 20%. Of the remaining 80%, we know very little. "Several" sailors volunteered for antibody tests, but no results have been made public and no conlusions can be made about asymptomatic infections that may have gone undetected by the Covid-19 tests.

Posted by: Lurk | May 8 2020 9:27 utc | 193

My @ 194
Russ @100, should read Russ @ 190

Posted by: Mark2 | May 8 2020 11:07 utc | 194

You will forgive me but posting links on this site is somewhat of a palave:




USA Today on Grand Princess and Diamond Princess

In the recent past, someone on this blog quoted "Worldometer" as a reference. If you accept this as a reliable reference, then:

According to Worldometer

Diamont Princess 712 infections (which we knew from the get go)

Grand Princess - not reported (we know there were less than 20 infections from trip A)

Zaandam 9 infections (it reports no deaths although we know there were 4 of which 2 tested positive for Covid19)

Theodore Roosevelt - not reported

Ruby Princess - not reported

A lot more available if you dedicate some time to research.

Posted by: guidoamm | May 8 2020 11:09 utc | 195

196 Lucy Ball

In France minister of Health Agnes Buzyn,the same one that raised obligatory vaccination for the newborn from 3 to 11 vaccins,right after she was taken in Macron's government,did November 2019 a proposition of law to put (hydro)cloroquine,with seventy years of over the counter availability,on the poison list .Became law by decret Jan.15th 2020.Now why is that?

I think we should take a philosophical angle on all this crap.As a human being,I do not want my community of peers (nation) to give its sovereignty to other countries,ONG's or even internationally recognized bodies.Actually I think that real democracy can only exist within the scope of one's horizon.

Now in parallel to that,as an individual,I do not want to hand over my bodily sovereignty to the medics.A lot of medical intervention is already done without my consent,like being vaccinated as a child,and I do not want to discuss the good or bad of it.When I break a leg,or more to the point,in case of my heartattack about ten years ago,I was lucky to be saved by competent and devoted medical personnel,and I am grateful to those people,on a one to one basis.They knew what to do,with the right gear and knowledge.Putting a stent was a failed effort anyhow,but that does not matter to me.It is the aftermath that worried me.Doctors wanted to make me take five medicines everyday of my life,for the 60 years to come.Pay a visit to the GP everty month to get the recipy.I won't go into detail,but taking those medicins made me lose my smell,after losing conscience and hitting the oven with my head,weakened my shoulder muscles,ripping off biceps and ligots on a minor shock,and consequently made me lose my job as a truckdriver.So I stopped taking medicins from Big Pharma,and I feel much better.Never was really into taking painkillers and such household medicine already.

If you analyse the way doctors did manage to gain authority on our bodies,it all started with the monopolization of the poppy plant,Papaver Somniferum.Without it,they can't do much,to operate you.
It all hails from there.Governments did give doctors authority to fool around with your body.This is not normal.Anybody should have the right to take natural drugs,but real knowledge about it is hidden.They only talk about the overdoses of people who don't know to handle this opium and its derivates,for lack of intelligent information.(There is not so much difference between heroin,morphin,palfium,Oxy-Contin,Tramadol etc,if one is addicted to one of them,the other will help in case of forced abstinence).Of course addiction to opiates is a big problem,but opium itself is a gift of mother nature to human kind,to temporarily repair two of the biggest flaws of the universe:The Cold and The Pain.Receptors in the body would indicate that humanity has a million year experience of both taking poppy and taking hemp.Opium contains about twenty-five alkaloids and is about the cheepest medicine to produce.

Now my point is:DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR BODILY SOVREIGNTY TO ANYONE ON A GENERAL BASIS!If you must,make sure it's temporary and pragmatical.

Unless most people become aware of this,we may witness in a few years
government militia rounding up those who do not want to take the vaccin.IG Farben that became Monsanto, believe,Bayer,and other intouchable companies are running the world and do have most politicians in their pockets.

Do you know that under Sarkozy and Hollande,police went to bookshops and libraries to confiscate ordinary gardening books that had a page about making your own nettle-and-water mixture for treatin plants or insect attacks on plants?Think that over....

Posted by: willie | May 8 2020 11:11 utc | 196




USA Today

Posted by: guidoamm | May 8 2020 11:14 utc | 197

Hey,that's strange,the comment I reacted to,has disappeared.I hope mine does not,because her's was just a hook to hang my mantle on.

Posted by: willie | May 8 2020 11:14 utc | 198

karlof1 | May 8 2020 0:20 utc | 178 (Empire)

Yes. So it has always been, and is.

I do question, however, the implication behind "must", in that it implies will as a driver of revolution.

Yes, "Walter" in Lebowski quotes Theodor Herzl's dictum "If you will it, it is no dream"...but surely modern zionish achievements have more to do with intrigue and money and force of violence, than with mere will. Ad can one will into existence either empire or revolution?

I think not. I think either one, both, are created by circumstances. Circumstances created, sometimes, by power relationships, sometimes by accident.

More generally, I would moot the idea that revolutions occur because of necessity, not from desire, or will.

Thus Wally is anti-revolutionary and "wills" to stay anti-revolutionary so long as necessity does not create it.

Mind you, the low quality of the ruling class does seem to be chipping away and creating, by degree, just such a catastrophic process as revolution.

The introduction of diseases, it seems to me, together with econocollapse and war, and the creation of a vast new poverty (ongoing) may suggest to some that we shall have the highly disagreeable opportunity to witness revolution as Carlin's Freak Show gets hectic.


Wally's going to keep a weather eye on the freakshow, but finds his Gattungswesen to be salved and satisfied by tinkering in "Pappy's Flour Mill and Foundry".

Still reading, as soporific, Helmer's Skripal book...more like a file-folder...Since we see the present fubar, it does seem, since it is indeed a vast fubar and the ruling class is obviously keeping dark secrets, seem that Dear Skripal and daughter may well have had the inside dope on what was then cooking in the shadowy caverns of intrigue...and wanted to swap said "inside dope" for a ticket home.

Posted by: Walter | May 8 2020 12:52 utc | 199

Grieved @ 184

Thanks for that connection of the dots.

And then the military games in Wuhan started on 10/18/19.

Posted by: financial matters | May 8 2020 13:15 utc | 200

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