Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2020

Coronavirus - The U.S. Has Given Up

The difference between The U.S. and the EU is pretty stark. The U.S. has obviously given up on getting the epidemic under control.


The population of the U.S. is 328 million. The population of the EU is one third bigger at 446 million.

In Europe there is a wide discussion of the measures that can be taken to avoid a second wave during the next winter season.

Some of the states in the U.S. are still in the uptick phase of their first wave. Some even have an increasing gradient.

The hospitals in some of these states will soon run into serious trouble. Their case fatality rates will then tick up.

The recent demonstrations and wide re-openings in most states make it likely that the number of daily new cases will rise further and will exceed the previous total of some 32,000 new cases per day.

What amazes me is the culture war about mask wearing.

The theater chain AMC plans to reopen:

AMC will not mandate that all guests wear masks, although employees will be required to do so.
“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” said Aron. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks.

The primary function of a mask is not to protect the person who wears it, but to protect the other persons who are around.

Theaters are closed rooms in which people sit together for a longer time in often somewhat sticky air. Like churches they are prime location for potential super-spreader events. One infected person who does not wear a mask in a theater can infect many other attendants, even if they do wear masks.

If AMC does not make mask wearing mandatory and ensures that the rule is followed throughout the show one can only recommend not visiting their theaters. From a marketing perspective AMC's policy is self defeating. AMC will end up with empty theaters.

Posted by b on June 19, 2020 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink

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Masks protect the wearer! That's why medical personnel wear them.

Posted by: Ian | Jun 20 2020 5:24 utc | 101

Taken to its logical conclusion there will come a time when covid-19 is under control everywhere except for the USA and Brazil.

The obvious strategy then would be to allow international travel to resume (with sensible screening, of course) except for travellers coming from the USA or from Brazil i.e. those two countries will be under what amounts to a quarantine.

But the catch will be that the lackey nations of the US Empire will not be able to single out the USA from such, ahem, "exceptional" treatment - it would be seen by the USA as an unacceptable affront to their sense of self-importance.

Geo-political reality will therefore force countries to maintain a blanket ban on international travel even though the only countries that would be of concern is the USA and Brazil i.e. their unwillingness to take covid-19 seriously will continue to act as a boat-anchor on the rest of the world much longer than is necessary.

Not that this will concern the Americans, given their insularity, but it will continue to breed resentment and contempt towards them from the rest of the world.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 20 2020 5:56 utc | 102

The more that people in the US are forced to manage their risk of Covid19 the less apt they are to pay attention to the rape of the US Treasury (aka - US public) that is escalating.

45+ years ago when I was studying the future in college there was much discussion about what sort of adjustment would occur to bring US public "lifestyle" more in line with rest of world. I believe we are witnessing a successful attempt to do just that. Americans are a TV brainwashed mass that have watched national/state/local infrastructure deteriorate along with the public educational system, health care and now response to biological threats with real or lied about/enhanced results...and they are doing nothing focused to change the structure of the social system......America is being forced into a Shock Doctrine event to further the leveling...except for the elite, of course.

What part of divide and conquer do people not understand about all the "noise" in our social systems? Just as long as folks never see clearly that social reality is only top/bottom and any real change must focus there. Public finance sure makes more sense to me than continued dictatorship in the West under the global private finance elite.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 20 2020 5:58 utc | 103

Pompeo Slams China For 'Forcing Choice Between Freedom and Tyranny'

"For almost half a year a number of US officials has been producing series of accusations against China, including not only blames for 'disinformation campaigns', but also for mistreating COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to threat US national security and influence other countries...."

b, please allow this one pass, read Sputnick News. this overweight shit head Pompeo... (I understands you perfectly well was angry a few years back when Sputnick did something unfavorable on your articles)

Posted by: JC | Jun 20 2020 6:08 utc | 104

By the worldometers numbers ...

If you are diagnosed with Covid19 in Australia, you have a 1 in 72.9 chance of dying. In Russia, it's a 1 in 72.5 chance of dying so very similar.
If you are diagnosed with covid19 in the US, you have a 1 in 19 chance of dying.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 20 2020 6:13 utc | 105

Testing has gone up substantially in most of the states B mentions. More tests = more cases. In Florida and texas at least the average age of positives has fallen to 30s. The hospitalization rate is thus lower and fewer of the newly hospitalized are severe. In the sunbelt people congregate indoors in the summer because its intolerably hot. More indoor will mean more spread. Bars are being blamed for the uptick in cases among 20 and thirty something year old. Many are being tested because they must, to go back to work. Hospitals are ramping up capacity, doing more elective surgeries, going back to normal. Anyone admitted to a hospital for anything is tested and if you test positive you become a covid hospitalization even if you have no symptoms and if you never develop any. Stop with the masks already. Even the WHO is admitting non symptomatic rarely spread. If they dont spread then what good is a mask for them?

Posted by: Alaric | Jun 20 2020 6:27 utc | 106

Grumpy old people who feel at risk are demanding that everyone is locked up indefinitely, allegedly for the public good, but in reality to protect grumpy, selfish old boomers who demands to be kept safe at all times, regardless of the cost to everyone else.

People who's jobs are necessary for the continued comfort of the grumpy boomer will still have to work, obviously, (their lives are of no consequence - only the grumpy boomer is important here) but no one else - stay at home! And wear a mask, because if the grumpy boomer goes out, he or she demands to feel safe and protected at all times, regardless of your personal situation.

For the average person under 40, walking to the supermarket is probably more dangerous owing to accidents and giant meteors than being inside and subject to potential infection. For the average person under 40, the coming 10 year depression is going to have a much greater impact on health and life generally than the coronavirus ever will. All of this, to keep grumpy boomers from feeling threatened. There doesn't seem to be any consideration for the future of boomer pension payments in the coming depression, either. Good luck with that.

As Churchill might have said, "Never before in the course of human history, has so much been owed by so few, to so many."

It may turn out in the end that we actually did need an economy after all.

Posted by: C | Jun 20 2020 6:43 utc | 107
done again
floyds death <=Drug Overdose?

Lock down numbers guidoamm @ 99 thanks for the progression rate.

Psychohistorian @ 105, thank you I agree. national/state/local [the FCC guide, the Oligarch owed corporate advertising support and the nation state support the corporate advertising by allowing the advertising to be tax deductible] and what is is these advertising and nation state subsidy support <= a lying mass media. one that not only lies, not only hides most important events from sight, but also one that fabricates what it needs to implement the effects of its highly scientifc propapanda and mind control programs. War expense vs infrastructure competition <=wherein tax monies and federal dollars are used to support and provision private oligrach owned corporations as their owners seek to steal or gain high ground advantage in a foreign land; the nation state (USA) making monopolied powered feudal lords by passing laws that convert public goods into privately owned goods (copyright, patents, private property ownership, and the like).

separation of the haves from the have nots by making insurance premiums into tickets to education, health care, and security against national disasters all nationalized by manner of top down agency control and rule of law] educational, health care systems, Homeland security and its array of agencies, and insurance providers.

Public, but privately owned, media false flag operations are an on going problem. Those in control of the USA have forced or facilitated regulatory lock down on governed Americans. A Shock Doctrine, not one event (SARS, invasion into Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, the obliteration of Palestine, local public system cop murders waged against particular classes of private citizens, militarization of the weaponry and training of local domestic police forces, laws and presidential decrees) but a multitude of events <= that defy and infringe the Bill of Rights Amendments (BORA), that have been designed to deny the ordinary American and to promote the elite.

The political system is built on a structure (constitution) that leaves the un-elected, non corporate, governed citizen out in the cold <=each voting citizen of the USA is allowed to vote on candidates to fill but three offices in the USA (2 senate seats, those of Senators from the voters home state, and one (1) vote to fill the house seat, for voting district seat of the voters own voting district <=there are 425 such house districts (seats) <=collectively each eligible USA citizen may, vote on three seats in the government, no citizen may vote to elect the President or VP see Article II and amendment 12. The Article II persons are elected by the electoral college.

What part of divide and conquer do people not understand? Thank you again psychohistorian @ 105 these things and how the oligarchs in charge of out nation have used the nation state (USA) as a weapon to deny democracy and to destroy the American way of life. When voting itself is a near false flag, when the governed themselves have no say as to who is to be the candidates eligible for the near false flag election, when the federal powers are used to subdue the governed, and to empower the Oligarch and their corporate monopoly powers. what is there left?

more missing news..
Apparent Yemeni Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced Yemeni Air Force of the Army and Popular Committees launched five Qasef-2k drones, which hit Fighter Jets' Hangers, armories and sensitive Saudi military targets in Khamis Mushayt, in Asir, southwestern Saudi Arabia and that the UN has blamed Iran?

Posted by: snake | Jun 20 2020 7:02 utc | 108

Planet America ( June 19 Fireside Chat edition, broadcast a chart of the Top 15 countries with the highest Deaths Per Million inhabitants score.
1. Belgium------836
2. UK-----------623
3. Spain--------580
4. Italy--------571
5. Sweden-------500
6. France-------454
7. U.S.A--------364
8. NetherLands--359
9. IreLand------347
10. Ecuador-----232
11. Peru--------226
12. SwitzerLand-226
13. Brazil------225
14. Canada------220
15. Chile-------201

It's interesting that the top 8 are all Christian Colonial Countries with psychopathic NeoLiberal governments. Of the following 7 countries 5 are, or have been, victims of Christian Colonial psychopathy i.e racism, meddling, violence and looting.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 20 2020 7:03 utc | 109

Here's a genuine slice of American pie.

Had a person at my house ask me if was "one of those Covid people" today when I went out to meet them and made a comment about forgetting to have my mask on when I answered the door. It was quite reminiscent of Bill Hicks being called "a reader" in one of his great bits about doing a show in Dallas, Texas that he considered his worst gig ever. Apologies if it wasn't Dallas, or if it has been so long and I am combining two different sets

I got no end of amusement from that story as a teenager, but it lands differently now. It puts a real pit in my stomach, but I still admire Bill Hicks and need to rewatch that set again.

In my same town, during the first week of lockdown, I heard a woman in a fast food place say, "Well I guess the government is going to give everyone money and we'll stay home for awhile and then it will all get back to normal."

I began to interject, saying "Lady", to warn her about what was to come for the average worker, but decided simply to say "They sure aren't going to pay everyone money."

These are the average American mindsets right now. In denial about the financial and biological realities.

Posted by: Rutherford82 | Jun 20 2020 7:29 utc | 110

re AlainJ | Jun 20 2020 5:06 utc
While I recognise you may not accept this answer to your question "why were there tens of thousands dead from flu, every year, in the last decade alone ?"
I shall provide it nevertheless as others may find it interesting.

The answer is that common influenza virus which knocks off thousands of people a year in societies with poor health care such as amerika, just wasn't scary enough. It had been a round a long time, didn't kill as many infected as Covid -19 does, is somewhat less infectious and usually only kills old people. Whereas thus far in amerika covid 19 has killed a 3 week old baby in conneticut, and at least two 9 month old babies one in Kentucky and another in Chicago.

Most humans had become used to the 'flu and took it for granted.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a society such as the one I live in the odds of
dying from the flu or even catching it have been greatly reduced thanks to free annual vaccinations for anyone who has a chronic medical condition & everyone who is over 65.
I have a shot every year given me on the spot by my local pharmacist who charges me nothing but gets paid $50 bucks by the Dept of Health, who this is a really good deal for as although it costs a few mill a year, that is hugely outweighed by the saving made in reduced hospital stays, doctor's vists etc.
In fact if amerikan Health insurance weren't a complex scam between the medical industry including doctors, hospitals, drug companies and FIRE-finance insurance real estate industries, any halfway decent actuary would have worked out years ago that funding to offer every citizen an annual flu vaccine free of charge would save them mobs of money. However since the same people/corporations who own health insurance corporations, also own hospitals & drug companies, it is unlikely to be a saving for amerika's elites.

Westernised societies haven't known to practice hand-washing, social distancing and mask-wearing until now. If citizens put 1 + 1 together in the next 'flu season and choose to go with those measures, then influenza infection rates plus the concomitant deaths that flu causes, will decrease in proportion to the % who choose to be more careful.

Posted by: A User | Jun 20 2020 7:41 utc | 111

b , please cull overly long comments full of copy paste that some ppl put out with disregard ..

as usual your article attract lot of trolls and their message is clear “B is wrong , no second wave , no mask , covid kill minuscule ppl , US good , china bad”

Posted by: milomilo | Jun 20 2020 7:55 utc | 112

In the U.K. today’s news (Saturday)
Boris Johnson says, any time now he will chainge the social distancing rules from 2 meters to one meter.
In the same news program the world health organisation warns, The total world virus death rate is still increasing at a high level, social distancing should be kept at 2 meters.
So, it’s plainly a —— financial verses medical decision. Finance won, public health lost.
My conclusion - - The public are being further de-valued !
What do we expect ? Or deserve ?
We the public elected insane, greedy, criminal, murders to run our governments.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 20 2020 8:41 utc | 113

Posted by: Ric G | Jun 19 2020 22:16 utc | 35
"How long is a mask good for? Do you have to discard the mask every one hour for a new one? Every half hour, every five minutes? After each cough?"

In Turkey, the government distributes masks free of charge through the pharmacies(10 per pack). An individual mask can last 2 hours, and can be hand washed with soap to kill/deactivate the virus, or soaked in an 80% solution of alcohol (usually a type of cologne commonly used on hands/face in Turkey).

Masks are required out of doors in crowds in most provinces. This is especially the case in crowded work places like markets. Face shields are also worn by some, especially cashiers in some markets.

Intercity buses take half loads, one person per side of aisle, mask required. Also, a HES code is required when buying a ticket on intercity bus or plane.

"The HES Code is a personal code implemented by the Ministry of Health in order to reduce the presence of passengers at the airport who are positive or have contact with a positive patient and to prevent them from participating in domestic flights. It is mandatory to have a valid HES code when purchasing a ticket."

It is possible to travel anywhere in Turkey with the HES code.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jun 20 2020 8:50 utc | 114

Ten minutes after posting my comment Mark2 @ 116 I found this a well put together summary ! Pulling together all the pieces of the jig saw puzzle.
Well worth the read ! For the sake of your sanity.
Sorry about the nightmares.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 20 2020 9:04 utc | 115

The fatalities rate measured in 8 different countries so far is between 0.2-0.46% compared to the initial estimate from Imperial College London of 3.4% revised down to 1% when independent scientists not dependent on Bill & Melinda Gates donations or international pharmaceutical corporations queried the veracity of the methodology plus software to reach these figures which ICL refused to allow its 13 year old software to be peer reviewed.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organisation still used this estimate from ICL to form a basis of calling it a “ pandemic “. Despite the fact that the lead statistician Professor Neil Ferguson’s track record on estimates for previous “ pandemics was woefully inadequate “.

However, B&MGF plus international pharmaceutical corporations made billions of dollars on the 2009 “ pandemic “ for vaccines in anticipation of numbers that never by a very wide margin materialised. In addition, numerous independent professors, virologists, research scientists, doctors and medical institutions have questioned the reliability of the test for Covid-19.

Furthermore, the median age of the unfortunate people who died as measured by 8 countries is between 80-86 and the overwhelming number of fatalities had 2 or more primary serious illnesses. To put that in perspective in the U.K, according to a report issued by the U.K. NHS on 2nd June , of the approximately 27,000 deaths 95% of them had 2 or more serious illnesses.

Therefore, 5% died solely from Covid-19. This tallies approximately with the Italian figures in Northern Italy. In addition, the method of counting the fatalities from it has been altered so it is no longer necessary to have a test to confirm that deceased died from Covid-19 to register it on the death certificate as a number of NHS doctors have complained about it.

Yet in an unprecedented move in modern times, the economies of the World have mostly been closed down on the premise of a disease which has a mortality rate of less than about 0.5% of the population. Cui Bono

Posted by: Brianborou | Jun 20 2020 9:05 utc | 116

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 19 2020 23:57 utc | 54
Posted by: lysias | Jun 19 2020 18:05 utc | 3 "Also, when I wear one, my glasses get steamed up."

In Turkey, the masks have metal strips that can be shaped on the bridge of the nose. This prevents my classes from fogging by closing the air space. If you could find this type of mask, some are made in China as well as Turkey, the problem ought to be solved.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jun 20 2020 9:06 utc | 117

Brianborou @119
Asks —— who gains (coi bono)
Yes our present corvid related finanacal disarster is just that ‘ disarster for the public and small to medium buseness ‘
But a win win for the elite.
As my Mark2 @ 118 . Link clearly describes.
Coi bono

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 20 2020 9:25 utc | 118

re Blue Dotterel | Jun 20 2020 9:06 utc | 120

I've purchased & distributed a range of masks during the lockdown & have noticed that the absence of that metal strip is the primary indicator of a 'toy' or pretend mask.
Very early on for us (late february) we were using the existence or not of that strip as an indicator whether a mask was fair dinkum or just another rort.

Posted by: A User | Jun 20 2020 9:49 utc | 119

Posted by: A User | Jun 20 2020 4:08 utc | 98 this is why a mask has a thin strip of flexible metal running along one edge in the centre. Make sure the strip is in the top edge of the mask. Push down on this strip each side of yer nose and breath stops leaking up into yer eyes and is instead directed through the filter material.

Do *you* wear glasses? Because I can tell you that the strip does *not* work sufficiently to block air coming up through the hollows in the side of the nose under the eyes. It's *supposed* to do that - it does *not*.

At least it doesn't on the crappy KN95 Chinese masks I have. Maybe on real 3M N95 masks it does. I'll let you know if I ever see a 3M mask again in human history.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 10:14 utc | 120

Posted by: Alaric | Jun 20 2020 6:27 utc | 109 More tests = more cases.

People don't understand that the goal of testing is to get *fewer* positives - that is how you tell you're getting it under control. The goal is to get no more than 3% positives for the amount of testing you're doing.

The US is *not* doing enough testing, as has been repeatedly stated for the last three months.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 10:18 utc | 121


To identify the CoV-2 virus in Germany Drosten developed a widely distributed test. It may use 4 different genes for identifying. But 3 of them are common with most harmless forms of Corona virusses, only 1 gene, the ORF-1 gene is specific for CoV-2.
Opposite to what most people believe this test therefore shows any kind of Corona and not (!) just CoV-2.
Do you know how other tests which are commonly used work? And: which institions or persons in some country have knowledge of these test details?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jun 20 2020 10:22 utc | 122

Posted by: Ric G | Jun 19 2020 22:16 utc | 35 "How long is a mask good for? Do you have to discard the mask every one hour for a new one? Every half hour, every five minutes? After each cough?"

You rotate them. I have 14 masks I use for the virus (and 5 more I'm reserving for an earthquake if we ever get a bad one.) I use one mask each day, then rotate it so I don't wear it again for two weeks. According to the guy who invented the N95 filter material, this should enable the virus to die within four or five days as it dries out.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 10:23 utc | 123

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jun 20 2020 9:06 utc | 120 In Turkey, the masks have metal strips that can be shaped on the bridge of the nose. This prevents my classes from fogging by closing the air space. If you could find this type of mask, some are made in China as well as Turkey, the problem ought to be solved.

The ones made in China tend to have a foam strip on the inside of the mask which is attached to a *plastic* strip on the outside. These absolutely do not seal adequately. I think we're going to have to wait for real 3M masks to be available again.

Or I can just use my tape method which I think will work as long as the medical tape is wide enough to cover the hollows on the side of the nose. Using one strip of medical tape worked a couple times, but movement of the face or jaw tends to dislodge the tape. Even if the mask stays on adequately, which it usually does, the tape being dislodged means the air can escape again. So if I use three or four strips taped together it should work as it should hold to the skin better.

I don't bother to do this when I'm just going around the corner to a convenience store, but when I go down to Target the odds of its being dislodged are greater since my face sweats more and the glasses fog up more. Next time I go downtown I'll test the wider tape method.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 10:31 utc | 124

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 10:31 utc | 127

The metal strip is sewn in on the Turkish masks and works well, but probably are not available in the US. I have one Chinese mask, as well that has a sewn in strip and fits well for preventing class steam ups. It is BioFriend Bio Mask by Filligent LTD, a Hong Kong company. Apparently, it was originally made for Swine Flu, Bird Flu viruses. The standard size is a bit small, a large size would fit more comfortably.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jun 20 2020 10:42 utc | 125

I believe the tests use or look for genome sequences rather than individual pieces.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 20 2020 10:48 utc | 126

Guidoamm in multiple posts has it exactly. This is a contagious virus. It spreads. Rapidly. As do many viruses. When we read that 30% of swabs used for testing are already contaminated with virus it is not because someone messed up the supply chain, it is because the virus is everywhere. By the time the disease was identified in China last December there were already thousands of cases. It has been six months. If the R value of this virus were even close to what we have been told it was, the entire global population would have been infected in less than two months. It is now six months later. If the R were even 1.1 the entire population is now infected.

Controlling an epidemic means moving quickly and forcefully and universally. Might have worked if done last January, might have had an effect if done in February. All we are talking about now is closing the barn door after the horses all left.

No one knows any who have died from this virus. I am square in the demographic that is supposed to get hit. I am in a hotspot. In friend of a friend of a friend reports have heard of one death in New York and one in Los Angeles. Locally or close friends, acquaintances, family, nothing. I was also in the demographic that died in VietNam. Which killed half as many as the virus supposedly has. Knew lots of dead. Still know the wounded. Someone says 710 stupid Americans are dying daily. Simply do not believe that. No one believes that. Only by living entirely in an MSM constructed universe could anyone possibly believe that.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 20 2020 11:20 utc | 127

Peter AU1 | Jun 20 2020 10:48 utc | 129

Yes, indeed, but this is what I mean. You have sequences which are common in most Corona virusses and one sequence (I called gene) named ORF-1 which occurs only in CoV-2. Depending on the details of how you wun the test a positive result then means „some Corona“ or „CoV-2“ if you exclusively test for ORF-1. - This apparently is a huge difference. In the first case you always find high figures which you might want to show as a proof for the continuation of the lockdown. If you get low figures, though, then people might want to end the lockdown. They may dare to say there is no longer any reason for it.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jun 20 2020 11:22 utc | 128

Given up? I don't think there was ever a serious effort, except belatedly in the states hardest hit early. They have never been serious, it simply falls out of the realm of capitalist concerns, it is only the effective responses which put a crimp in profits which concern them. A for the sainted Fauci, I suppose he's the sort of educated fool who thought he might steer this garbage scow sensibility, but he was only a tool and distraction. This has been the plan since Day 1, the fig leaf period is over.

Posted by: blindpig | Jun 20 2020 11:44 utc | 129

re drongo @ 122
I most certainly do wear spectacles and have purchased masks from China. Maybe you were gulled by the cheapest option - who knows?

All I know is according to yer postings you're generally a bit useless & appear incapable of looking after yerself, but I and others who I have supplied, have had no problem molding a mask to fit my face and not steam up the old eyewear.
Is it the proboscis? Perhaps you're a mouth-breather. Or you one of those types who if they were to run into a wall with a hard on, would break your nose?
Maybe you can try to make this thread all about yerself 'n how all the other horrible humans who populate YOUR universe simply refuse to make masks which work for you - that certainly seems to be yer tack.
It is absolutely disgusting how the universe has let you - YOU, of all people, down. That is why laws are wrong - no one has seen fit to make a law all about you, you sad wee oppressed whitefella.

Posted by: A User | Jun 20 2020 12:14 utc | 130

What about Temperature screening w/infrared thermometers? I would think that this is even more important than wearing masks. Newt Gingrich mentioned how he saw infrared thermometers everywhere when he was in S.Korea. He just happened to be there when Coronavirus broke out.

Regarding masks, what does Japan, S.Korea, and Thailand do, God forbid that we should try to learn from other countries. I was a bit dogmatic about masks before but I am all for what makes sense, not trying to make this into a religious exercise.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 20 2020 12:23 utc | 131

Hoarsewhisperer @112, "It's interesting that the top 8 [deaths per capita] are all Christian Colonial Countries with psychopathic NeoLiberal governments."

I am guilty of excessive posting but I just have to say, good one. I'd add the word 'delusional' to the mix but you have to draw the line somewhere to avoid diluting their point.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 20 2020 12:31 utc | 132

When I grew up in West-Berlin, the term "Wessi" refered to people from West-Germany. It was kind of the opposite of "Berliner". After '89 I had to put up with considering myself a "Wessi". I consider people grown up in the GDR more social and less individualist/selfish.

It's weirdly comforting to realize, in the face of the contrast between western countries and China, Korea, a.s.o. regarding e.g. wearing masks, that we are all Wessis compared to the Asians.

Posted by: th3l0nius | Jun 20 2020 12:31 utc | 133

Richard Steven Hack @127: "I think we're going to have to wait for real 3M masks to be available again."

Come on, people, they all come out of the same factories. Does 3M have a mask factory? No, they just send the specs for products to put their labels on to factories in China, like everybody else does. The 3M masks come off a production line right next to a production line making identical products with a different label. Arguing over which "brand" is better is as meaningless as fighting over Abercrombie & Fitch vs Aéropostale t-shirts. That's what all of that ISO 900X certification nonsense was about a few decades back: making the factory and country of production fungible. Everything is made to specification now. The corporation ordering products made to that specification to put their labels on oftentimes have never sent any personnel to even look at the production facilities where "their" products are made. The brand owner might QC some of a production run to verify that it meets the specification they sent out, but that is about the extent of their involvement in the production process.

I had a friend in Guangzhou pick up some masks for me off the shelf from a pharmacy and send them to me. They have metal strips, they don't fog glasses, they have the pharmacy's logo printed on them, and they look and function in every way exactly like similar products with a 3M logo on them that I had been using when airbrushing plastic models.

Anyway, have you ever looked closely at East Asian people's noses? Compare the cute little things that they have to breathe through with those gigantic beaks Israeli folks have or the cavernous honkers of sub-Saharan African folks and you can see that one size doesn't fit all. Those masks with simple foam strips to seal the nose bridge area work fine for people whose faces are not shaped like the front of an icebreaker ship or the tractor part of a tractor-trailer.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 20 2020 13:23 utc | 134

Posted by: dave | Jun 20 2020 11:38 utc | 132 What amazes me is that people actually believe masks are going to make a measurable difference when the virus is spread by particles so small that they can pass straight through the material.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

"There are no scientific studies that support this BS theory that air born virus's can be stopped or effectively reduced with a cloth or paper mask that doesn't even seal to the face."

There are indeed such studies. I have listed them in a previous thread. Again, you have no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 13:29 utc | 135

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 20 2020 13:23 utc | 140 Those masks with simple foam strips to seal the nose bridge area work fine for people whose faces are not shaped like the front of an icebreaker ship or the tractor part of a tractor-trailer.

You're right about that. The masks I have are clearly designed for an Asian face, not a Caucasian one. The difference isn't major, but they are somewhat small. Th4e specs are probably correct, but the mask fit is not perfect. If I get it over the bridge of the nose, the mask just barely gets under the chin, and vice versa.

That's why I say I would prefer 3M masks made for the US market. I got some masks from LAPG - who got them from China - and the rest I got direct from China. They all have just the plastic strip, no metal clip. The plastic clip can be compressed but it doesn't retain its shape well compared to a metal clip.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 13:35 utc | 136

Posted by: guidoamm | Jun 20 2020 12:39 utc | 139 Factor 1 - The time it takes to saturate the material with humidity

I haven't seen this effect yet, although temperatures here have not reached past the seventies so far. We'll see. My face does get hot under the mask, and once in a while my nose will start to run, necessitating an adjustment of the mask. As long as I don't touch the inside of the mask, or my mouth or nose with the gloves, the risk is minimal.

"Factor 2 - The time it can be worn without being touched."

I only wear them for as long as it takes to go about my business - perhaps an hour, hour and a half. In that time, since I'm wearing food service gloves, I don't touch my face (except the one time my nose ran and I had to use a tissue.)

If I were working and forced to wear them for eight hours straight, that would be a problem. But of course, on breaks one could take them off, wash the hands (before and after), then adjust them before having to put them on again (assuming one maintains distance from others during the time the mask is off.) Unless you're on a production line, it really shouldn't be that big an issue. One just has to think through the sequence of actions to insure no risk. It's not rocket science.

"For similar reason, the utility of a mask is proportionally inverse to the number of times it is manipulated whilst wearing it."

The only thing that really matters is keeping the hands *clean*. If that's done, the mask only has to do its job of capturing airborne particles. Everything else is dependent on clean hands. I wash my hands on return from every exit of my rooms. Then I take off the mask and apply hand sanitizer. After that, I am completely unconcerned about touching my mouth or nose or rubbing my eyes. As long as you do a *thorough* hand cleaning, to the same extent as a surgeon prepping for surgery does, then one has nothing to worry about.

In terms of gloves, I use food service plastic gloves. I put them on before leaving the rooms, on return they are removed and deposited in the trash before anything else is done. Then I wash my hands, remove the mask and apply hand sanitizer. If I have brought any packages in from outside the room, they are wiped down with hydrogen peroxide (kills viruses in thirty seconds), then I wash my hands to remove the hydrogen peroxide, then apply hand sanitizer.

This procedure is pretty much fool-proof.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 13:47 utc | 137

Peter AU1@96

Going by the genome sequencing, its a newly evolved strain.

But could it have evolved (however it did) from ancient strains? I am wondering about those 'wet markets' whether they might be using more ancient ice in which to store their food. I don't know anything about it, but the post karlof1 put up mentioned this market had underground areas, and it also kept saying this was the older version found in Europe. Now, on that subject, didn't we discuss early on that Chinese workers could have carried it to Europe as there were those in Italy?

Also, the article kept mentioning 'water'. I was envisioning fish swimming in the water but perhaps it is the melt from storage ice, and if so could it be ancient ice?

This is not to try to fix the blame on China. Indeed, if true, it fixes the blame on all of us since we all are culpable for bringing on global warming which has exposed these ancient ice fields.

Trump's bombastic accusations of Chinese origins, which brought on a defensive response from China, has clouded the origin issue. There are still things we don't know about gene behavior, and I myself have been troubled from the getgo by gene manipulation with respect to plants. I'm tempted to say "The gene-y is out of the box" but I'll leave that to James or perhaps lizard.

I probably watched 'Jurassic Park' more times than I should have. I blame Sam Neil. And karlof1. Bad, bad boys!

Posted by: juliania | Jun 20 2020 13:48 utc | 138

The top ten of the "per million cases" makes me wonder if it is the countries on the top of alcohol consumption who make it worse..

Posted by: Mina | Jun 20 2020 13:50 utc | 139

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 20 2020 12:23 utc | 136 What about Temperature screening w/infrared thermometers?

They aren't that reliable. Also, people can be contagious without having elevated temperature, unlike previous viruses.

Why Temperature Checks Are Not the Answer

View Pandemic Technology With Skepticism
What you should know about thermal imaging

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jun 20 2020 13:59 utc | 140

And yet the US response to covid-19 is rated "good" by the Economist Intelligence Unit in their recent report ahead of Belgium, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the UK (all rated "poor" or "fair"). Evidently the NorthEast US is accepted as having done well by European standards.

Posted by: michael888 | Jun 20 2020 14:01 utc | 141

Rare to see this kind of headline in a major American newspaper:

The End of the American Century

Will COVID-19 be America's Antonine Plague?

Posted by: vk | Jun 20 2020 14:12 utc | 142

As someone living outside the US, an old joke comes to mind.

I would rather die in my sleep like grandpa, not screaming and panicking like the rest of the people in the car he was driving.

It will be less stressful in the near future for Americans to put their faith in and follow the lead of Trump.

Posted by: Randy | Jun 20 2020 14:12 utc | 143

In defense of Americans, we've gone full nihilism. Covid19 is nothing compared to the lack of babies being born. No history equates to no future. Who really cares how we all personally end at this point. At least Bill Gates will be happy.

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Jun 20 2020 14:32 utc | 144

If masks work, why aren’t we back at work?
If masks work, why don’t we see a collapse in “the curve”?
Name a city or country that adopted a masked law and in which the coronavirus waved a white flag and packed up?

Posted by: Neuromancer | Jun 20 2020 14:38 utc | 145

"The hospitals in some of these states will soon run into serious trouble. Their case fatality rates will then tick up." This is not the first time b has mentioned words to this effect in cautions about the USA. Such predictions have not come to pass. Fatalities are declining. Moreover, one must understand how fatalities are counted in the US. If a patient is in hospice and dying of cancer, but at the time of death has Covid, it is counted as a Covid death. Google "Illinois explains Covid Deaths" and watch the video where the Illinois Director of Public Health was captured admitting this. Covid is not a hoax, but it is not a plague.

Posted by: zakukommander | Jun 20 2020 14:41 utc | 146

C @ 107, as has been pointed out by others previously, it wasn't 'grumpy old persons' who activated the considerations on protocol to prevent infection, since the numbers dying from the flu each year have never resulted in such heightened attention to prevention. What activated the current focus was, I think, that it is so infectious (and causes death) as to infiltrate professional areas in hospitals, threatening the world system there first of all, and actually then also wherever persons come into contact with numbers of persons, be it travel, politics, church functions, entertainment, etc. It's not us old fogeys who are to blame, unless we are still doing any of those things.

Anyway, we grumpy old persons have something valuable to give to younger generations. That gift is hope. We remember how things used to be; and we know it's possible for it to be that way again. So you might want to hang onto us and gain a little from that storehouse of memories we possess. (I'm a pre-boomer, incidentally. Not many of us old fogies around any more.)

Posted by: juliania | Jun 20 2020 14:50 utc | 147

michael888 @141, "And yet the US response to covid-19 is rated "good" by the Economist Intelligence Unit in their recent report ahead of Belgium, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the UK"

How did we outperform S.Korea / Japan? We did more testing because our testing was ineffective at containing the outbreak. That is a negative in my book. The other countries were even bigger losers but throw a dart at a map and you would not get that lucky twice.

Oh the irony, in the 1800's the imperial West fought wars to force China to buy Opium and today we fund a gazillion Think Tanks to Opiate ourselves. We will think that we are the best until we are insignificant (says Chris the heretic).

Richard Steven Hack, re: temperature screening, better than nothing if the 13% does not overlap with the other symptoms too much. Someone w/a headache will probably avoid going to a Theater but point taken. I don't know how intrusive infrared thermometers are.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 20 2020 14:54 utc | 148

"I am bathed in the love of the Lord. He will protect me from the covid"
My favourite.

Posted by: ld | Jun 20 2020 15:21 utc | 149

Observations from a mask sales associate (hardware) at home improvement megolith on the commuter train line 30 miles from Grand Central Station:

In the first month of mask wearing about one in ten customers wore ventilated N95 masks. A ventilated M95 mask filters inhaled air but exhale is UNFILTERED. In other words, from a public health perspective, one in ten were wearing nothing to protect others incase they were contagious.

While I see N95s advertised without exhale ventilation, these can not be true N95 masks as a true N95 mask without exhale ventilation could not be worn PROPERLY for more than 15 minutes at a time. In fact, anyone working in an area where the danger requiring a ventilated N95 can be detected by the senses (ie. lead paint dust) will tell you that an N95 mask properly worn can not be worn for the typical work shift with typical breaks. A fresh air break is required probably every half hour.

No one working at the store has been tested positive for a contact at the store. Other than stationary positions having plexiglass shields, social distancing is almost non-existent. Workers mostly wear surgical masks and often wear them improperly for varying amounts of time to get fresh air (nose out, loose fit). More than 10% of workers are 60+. Most do not wear masks when the store is closed, though most work at that time does not involve much close contact between workers.

There should be scientists studying this place to find out why no one is getting sick. My admittedly evidence free theory is that customers who feel sick feel for the first time ever that they have been granted permission to be sick, and stay home when they feel sick, rather that continue with their lives of work and shopping until forced by illness to stay home or seek medical attention, which had been the norm until March 2020. Note this theory requires a fairly low transmission by those without symptoms. If true, this perception of permission would be the most important facet to carry forward beyond the "crisis". Who will study this?

Posted by: cowpox | Jun 20 2020 15:25 utc | 150

@ Posted by: Neuromancer | Jun 20 2020 14:38 utc | 145

Very simple reason: the West simply doesn't have the industrial and logistic capacity to give all its subjects N95 masks (they are not reusable, so production and delivery should be done daily).

See the mask wars between the USA and Europe (intercepting shipments coming from China).

Posted by: vk | Jun 20 2020 15:37 utc | 151

I see the point of mandatory mask-wearing, but I'm just not comfortable with it. It's unsightly and ... well not pretty.

Posted by: Steve | Jun 20 2020 15:41 utc | 152


Anglo, Europe, “W” ppl traditionally have an aversion to masks.

I saw a nice cartoon, can’t find it now, British, it showed a ‘robber’ with a mask entering a bank, a teller screaming, call the police. The next image was a dopey looking customer without a mask while others had one on, a teller screaming, call the police.

Masks are associated with pretense, duplicity, with hiding who one is. Honest people show their faces. Many sumptuary laws in Europe forbade wearing them. In the Calvinist stronghold where I live, laws - forbidding disguise and masks - are still on the books (just saying that off the cuff, popular wisdom, I haven’t checked.) Exceptions are made for only 3x a year - New Years Eve, a local festival, and one day of Carnival.

Motorcyclists / other with full face protection are not permitted to wear their helmet when off the bike / work. The only exception, barely tolerated, is the full-face muslim veil for women. (There are restrictions on the places one can wear such gear, but they don’t apply to tourists, CH is a favorite destination for middle class obedient Muslims.) The only other exception is ‘medical’ - it is hard to obtain.

Masks also call up visions of non-Christian rituals and ceremonies (inhuman savages, ‘primitive’ natives, etc.) Further, with demons, avengers, all kinds of nasties, as masks were often used to frighten, impress, control. And are so today ‘on stage’ and ‘in movies’…

It follows that the ‘right’ - more conservative, traditional, old-fashioned (see ex. in the USA, GB) tend to be anti-mask, provoking a pro-mask attitude in the more obedient and if one wants to be charitable hmm? more society-oriented ‘left’. -> Masks have become a class symbol.

All over the W the original COV19 advice did not include mask wearing as helpful / indicated / advised / obligatory - the change has come from the bottom up, ppl insisting on the need for masks, with even the WHO finally following.

Masks have been culturally regulated since forever …science (culture of a kind after all!) kicked in re. the 1918 flu pandemic, where they took on a medical justification, and looked ‘med’ like - white for ex. and coupled with other distinctive doc/nurse garb. (Asia took over the ‘surgeon’ look..i.e. ordinary ppl turned into, by copy, experts.) All inherited from the Black Death pandemic, doctors and officials, who were garbed in special gear, the hazmat suits of the times. Perhaps earlier, I am no historian.

One can buy copies of the plague masks:

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 20 2020 16:09 utc | 153

"If masks work, why were there tens of thousands dead from flu, every year, in the last decade alone ?"

Excellent point!

I think one issue is that we have taken infectious diseases for granted. We have allowed the seasonal flu to spread every year, killing a fair number and making a whole lot more miserable, even though we could stop (or at least radically limit) it by outlawing the asian 'wet markets' where it comes from, and by letting/requiring sick people to not go to work sick, and yes, wearing masks in crowded cities and subways just like they do in Asia etc. But we've gotten used to this as a cost of business. And may other diseases we are allowing to spread, assuming it won't be a big deal: Chagas, Dengue fever, D68 enterovirus, antibiotic resistant bacteria... we just assume it will be mostly OK.

Well, Mother Nature has given us a wake-up call. With approximately 10 billion people and counting on the planet all jammed into airplanes and subways and traveling here and there, we can no longer just assume that infectious diseases will work out on their own. It will never be the same.

Posted by: TG | Jun 20 2020 16:29 utc | 154

"If you ask me are the Chinese smart? Hell NO! They're like any human all walks of life around the world. I believe many of them are stoopid but forced! If you place a black or indigenous aboriginal from Australian outback soon after birth in a Chinese family home, most likely do well in school grow up - maybe not a doctor or scientist but hardworking person, raise a decent family and law abiding citizen.

Posted by: JC | Jun 20 2020 1:20 utc | 75"


Of all people you? Are you that racist? Why would a black or an aborigine not be able to become a scientist or a Doctor?

There are plenty of blacks scientists and Doctors and astrophysicists and many other black scientists in the world. Why would Aborigines not be unable to become doctors or scientists?

Have you looked at a boomerang? it is a very complex aerodynamic contraption with precise chords, angles of attack, angle between the blades as well as a precision-balanced instrument.

Would you pretend that it was invented by the Chinese or other "Lofty Race" and not by the aborigines you so demean?

I am appalled that you, yes you, are so very racist. Is that the way your fellow Chinese think?

Shame on you.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 20 2020 16:36 utc | 155

During lockdown Everyone in my local vicinity went shopping without a mask some putting up a scarf,myself included.Only fifteen to twenty persons were allowed entering at the same time in this supermarket,whilst the personnel took care of routing the people and cleaning the caddys.There was and still is an alcohol solution provided at the entree.This lasted from March 16,to May 11th.Masks were available to all from about halfway April,and my wife and I got two from the village mayor.When I did the 100 km to visit my daughter on May 11th I gave my mask to her,because she needed one the next day in public transport.So I never wore one,just keeping distance in the shop,and really nobody did make a remark or gave me strange looks on any moment.I am not the only one without,but then,I do not know about the whereabouts of the other people around,who they meet,where they went,etc. I have to say that I see very few people and always keep distance.Some friends shake hands,others don't.I don't mind.The situation at this moment is still the same as during confinement.I go shopping once a week in one shop,that's all I need to survive,having a large garden and frozen food from last year.
I'd say,that in my region of France,that was classified heavy lockdown,not even 20% of the people wear mask in the street.Some wear one being alone behind the wheel.Most people are taking the whole thing with a lot of salt.German owners of second home in France,that I spoke to on the telephone,were appalled by the french overreacting,Macron declared war on Corona.

I just post this one,because I am quite surprised by the americans on this site and their opinions regarding mask-wearing,and like Noirette would like to give my local take..It is not over yet,and I regret that tomorrow's Fête de la Musique is not allowed,which cost us another two paid gigs.I may make music in the street before my house,as long as it does not attract more than a ten people crowd.

Cheers everybody,and stay in good health,with sunshine,fresh air and a lot of physical exercise working your garden or your wood stock.

Posted by: willie | Jun 20 2020 16:51 utc | 156

The US has given up.

Pre-supposed is that the US judged that some forms of ‘lockdown’ or ‘segregation’ (sic - that term is never used..) or stopping movement, contacts between ppl or whatever, would actually be effective in slowing down, halting even if temp., ultimately perhaps vanquishing, the spread of COV19.

Imho, the US engaged in purely performative actions, e.g. declarations, proclamations that have no impact on 'reality.'

We state it is so ... recall Rove about creating one’s own reality, and so it is, it *must* be.

Lockdown, very temporary, will stop the corona virus, ppl will be safe etc. Followed by ! now we can re-open, etc.

None of these moves were based on anything more than expediency justified by lip-service from stooge ‘experts’, and/or the sorta following of popular opinion.

The underlying mantra is, what a drag to have to go through this kind of pretense, many will die, who cares, Big Corps will be winners no matter what. Let’s just get this over with. Now.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 20 2020 16:57 utc | 157

@ 156 willie... thanks for sharing.. i appreciate these kinds of personal notes and find them very interesting... i have yet to wear a mask.. i live in a community on vancouver island of about 100,000 people.. i see people wearing masks, but the numbers are fairly small.. generally i walk in the woods and see almost no people.. haven't seen any bears yet this year..a few deer.... i went to the music store yesterday and it was busier then usual.. i asked my friend who runs the store is business is back to normal and he said it was.. he was speculating that some people hadn't got out in a long time and were making up for lost time by buying more cd's and etc.. i have a gig tomorrow - outdoors and limited to 50 people in attendance.. but generally the live music scene and the number of gigs i have on the calendar is very limited and things are no way back to normal for me in terms of work...

i can't see it getting back to normal for a good year and maybe longer.. there is talk of making wearing masks in canada mandatory in certain areas.. this is already happening in limited ways... the national train system - via rail - has made it mandatory if you travel on the train... i think this is going to be more common... the border to the usa was supposed to open up in a few days - june 22nd, but has been changed now to july 21st... i am not sure if it will open then... the whole tourist industry, which was supposed to replace the logging, fishing and mining industries - its a bit tits up at present.. probably people from vancouver will go to tofino and long beach area and rent expensive hotel and etc accommodations this summer, but tourists from outside of canada are not happening.. apparently one can fly to the usa though.. i have a friend who flew down to bloomington indiana to be with a new girlfriend.. i thought that was pretty racy, but was impressed as well.. if they come back to canada they will have to self isolate for 14 days.. and etc. etc.. thanks for your note and comment at the end which i relate to!

Posted by: james | Jun 20 2020 17:07 utc | 158

@ 157 noirette.. right on... i was typing my post and missed your comment.. there is no war on covid and segregation is a thing of the past, lol.....

Posted by: james | Jun 20 2020 17:09 utc | 159

33K new COVID cases in the US yesterday, the highest daily new case count since May 1st when 36K were reported. Yesterday FL set a new daily record 3,822 new cases.

So far today, Worldometers is reporting over 15K new cases in the US with many states yet to report or reporting early and incomplete numbers. FL has already broken yesterday's record at 4,049 new cases.

Usually Friday's are the day of the week when the highest number of new cases are reported, we'll see if today, Saturday, breaks that norm.

Brazil's 55K new cases yesterday stuck and has not been revised.

Brazil and the US are leading the grand experiment for achieving an accelerated herd immunity with no vaccine in sight. Let freedumb, greed and individuality reign.

Anton Chekhov is one of my favorite authors. Each of his short stories are on point, resonate and remain eminently relevant today, over a hundred years after they were written. Today's short story was "The Princess". Read in the context of today's world filled with clueless, out of touch and incredibly wealthy political parties, corporations and billionaires, it is brilliant.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Jun 20 2020 17:14 utc | 160

If masks work ...

We know masks work. That's why virtually every country mandates use of masks in public places. That's why AMC Theaters reversed their decision.

This "if masks work ..." nonsense is just throwing shit against a wall.

Masks are not 100% effective. Effectiveness depends on the mask and the person using it. And masks are not enough. The virus can enter the eyes. And people can get the virus via touching surfaces then touching their face (perhaps when they are taking the mask off).

If masks work, why were there tens of thousands dead from flu, every year, in the last decade alone ?

This question is disingenuous. The effectiveness of masks is not the only issue. We could ask the same question in different ways:

- If flu shots work, why aren't they mandatory?

- If speed limits work, why are people still dying in car crashes?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 20 2020 17:20 utc | 161

re: my questioning the word "case" @ my 17
the (probably unique) CDC definition of "case:"
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
2020 Interim Case Definition, Approved April 5, 2020
NOTE: A surveillance case definition is a set of uniform criteria used to define a disease for public health surveillance. Surveillance case definitions enable public health officials to classify and count cases consistently across reporting jurisdictions. Surveillance case definitions are not intended to be used by healthcare providers for making a clinical diagnosis or determining how to meet an individual patient’s health needs.
Clinical Criteria
At least two of the following symptoms: fever (measured or subjective), chills, rigors, myalgia, headache, sore throat, new olfactory and taste disorder(s)
At least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
Severe respiratory illness with at least one of the following:
Clinical or radiographic evidence of pneumonia, OR
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
No alternative more likely diagnosis. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 20 2020 17:29 utc | 162

re: masks and cultural aversion

There's a little more to that, at least for me. Humans are programmed to read other beings' facial expressions. Without this ability, we are hobbled in communication, and trust in the other is slashed. Also, since I'm the self-conscious type, I worry that if I crack a joke, or am sarcastic, or try to show compassion/sympathy/surprise, it won't come across. The mask reduces in-person interaction to the emotional level of a chat app, or SMS.

And the 'If you don't wear a mask everywhere, you're killing your grandma!' is a vicious swap of the 'BE AFRAID!' tool. This simple inversion of the fear has given the Social Justice Brigade a very powerful tool to shout down anyone on any platform, and even in real life situations.

As I noted on TAE the other day, there are sneeze guards on all the cashiers but no sneeze guards on fresh produce?

Posted by: Dr Wellington Yueh | Jun 20 2020 18:23 utc | 163

Wearing Masks? Don't worry, stupidity often carries its own sentance.

Posted by: Robert E | Jun 20 2020 18:34 utc | 164

MSM is chattering on and on about "Red states and spiking cases", as if some threat. "My body, my choice" comes to mind since the US does not practice proper quarantines.

NY and NJ have 414,469 active covid 19 cases between them ( The US has 1,220,000 active cases, total. California, twice the population of NY, may eventually catch up, but presently has 120,000 active cases. Oklahoma, discussed as a super-spreader state, has 2,255 active cases. While these states all have IDed and hospitalized these cases, probably 70% are asymptomatic but infectious. Where is the threat; NY with 292,000 KNOWN active cases or Oklahoma with 2,255?

Posted by: michael888 | Jun 20 2020 18:46 utc | 165

Masks protect the wearer! That's why medical personnel wear them.

Posted by: Ian | Jun 20 2020 5:24 utc | 101

Well, no.
Masks protect a patient, esp. a surgical patient whose body will be laid open, from germs that medical personnel shed via their mouths.

Posted by: Really?? | Jun 20 2020 18:49 utc | 166

" Don Bacon | Jun 20 2020 17:29 utc | 162"

I have reminded my local newspaper more than once that a test for positive (prsence of viruses) does not = a "case."

They don't seem to get it, though.

Posted by: Really?? | Jun 20 2020 18:51 utc | 167

michael888 @165: "Where is the threat; NY with 292,000 KNOWN active cases or Oklahoma with 2,255?"

Tough to say. Are any of those 2,255 in Oklahoma wearing masks? Being Oklahoma, probably not. Just keep in mind that China locks down whole cities for a fraction of that number. You're in for a fun ride.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 20 2020 19:09 utc | 168

Posted by: michael888 | Jun 20 2020 14:01 utc | 141

>>According to Economist, USA performed better in COVID response compared to South Korea and Japan

Is this what your local Anglosphere propaganda is telling you? Man, you guys are trully lost.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 20 2020 19:58 utc | 169

sorry b. you don't understand the US culture of "rugged individualism" which informs Trump's main form of propaganda, Roger Ailes' "man in the arena." Trump represents his class, and his class is far more worried about the lockdown than they are about the virus (which they can personally avoid). See Marco D'Eramo's piece in the New Left Review.

As for masks, in part the issue is not "masks" but face coverings. "The Science" is at best unclear.

Most people I know will concede universal masking may not be terribly effective, but "they are better than nothing." Maybe, but the alternative to masking is "nothing" and that's where the energy and the anger should be directed. Whether or not people wear masks, the US public health system is incapable of formulating a testing, tracing and quarantine regime which have been effective in many Asian countries (the CDC is incapable of giving national figures on positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths, relying mainly on journalists). Rather than bitching at people for not wearing masks, the altruistic among us should encourage people to get tested, volunteer, or apply for tracing jobs, and self-quarantine. And any government official at whatever level, who proposes cuts in the public health budget, should be put under forced quarantine immediately.

Posted by: tintorelli | Jun 20 2020 20:02 utc | 170

michael888 @Jun20 18:46 #165

Where is the threat ...

The "threat" is based on how many are sick and how easy it is for them to spread the virus.

There may be fewer people with the virus in Oklahoma but the virus will be easy to spread in a crowded arena.

Funny how some people feel 'threatened' by making police accountable and removing old statues but can't see "where is the threat" of a novel deadly virus. Maybe because the virus kills people that don't matter to the capitalist establishment in USA.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 20 2020 20:11 utc | 171

We all look forward to Moon writing 20 or so articles every year covering the flu season.

Posted by: Brad | Jun 20 2020 21:28 utc | 172

Interesting piece raising some very interesting questions:

Posted by: Neuromancer | Jun 20 2020 21:45 utc | 173

"There are indeed such studies. I have listed them in a previous thread. Again, you have no idea what you're talking about."

Really now ? Masks work even if they don't seal properly ? Evidently you have a problem with critical thinking. So funny how people still believe everything they read to the point they can no longer even think rationally.

Those masks aren't doing anything but training folks to avoid each other and not congregate offline where the NSA can't hear them. This is just the covert community taking advantage of a virus to further its agenda. Something is about to change in a big way globally and the propaganda war has been shifted into overdrive to keep people stepping and fetching instead of asking questions and organizing.

Once again, there is no possible way these cheesy little masks are doing much of anything to stop the spread of this or any other virus. The physics do not add up at all. Without something like a painters respirator or gas mask you cannot filter anything but particles and spray which is why medical professionals wear them. What these masks stop is way bigger than what spreads the virus.

Please stop filling people with BS. If all it took were crappy particle masks the world would have been prepared a decade ago.

Posted by: dave | Jun 20 2020 21:45 utc | 174

dave @Jun20 21:45 #174

How masks work - even crappy masks - has been explained many times.

The "masks don't work" trolling is obvious.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 20 2020 22:01 utc | 175

William Gruff #134

Thank you for a good laugh. Great honkers.... I guess I have a viking snorkle.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2020 22:46 utc | 176

Mr. moron dave said:

Masks work even if they don't seal properly ? Evidently you have a problem with critical thinking.

Masks work to significantly spread of the virus.

Diapers also work to keep babies from peeing and shitting all over the house. Your stupid logic may tell you that they don't seal perfectly either but so what?
Your logic is defective
The fact is that masks are effective at containing the spew of virus laden particles from the infected. Masks may do very little to protect the wearer of the mask but so what? If everybody but the baby wears diapers that doesn't do much to protect anyone from the baby's pee and shit. Your logic is defective.

Posted by: jinn | Jun 20 2020 23:02 utc | 177

Much of what we have been fed is misinformation from the WHO: "the virus is not transmissible human-to-human" "travel bans are counterproductive" (but saved Asian countries!), "there is no evidence that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are protective" (thus vaccines may be a waste of time, which Dr. Fauci has also recently questioned), "there is no need to wear masks" (you can be arrested in VA if you do not wear a mask inside in a public place), "steroids are dangerous and should not be used for Covid-19" (although have been used with good effects in LATE influenza and other respiratory illnesses), and "asymptomatic patients are not contagious". Possibly they could get it wrong again? They have no more credibility than flipping a coin. By now we should know much more but politicizing information and ignoring findings, particularly from China and Italy, has slowed our adaption to treating covid-19.
I had a recent discussion with a military health care professional (who believes the provenance of the virus may be Chinese labs or the CIA, the furin cleavage site is not natural in these bat coronaviruses and are commonly used in gain-of-function experiments) who noted that masks are best used on the sick to protect others. He was sure most people are infected through the eyes (if concerned enough to wear a mask, should wear a face shield; if really susceptible to the lethal effects of covid-19, should not be out in public).
As known from the Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier, 60% of the 4800 crewmen were exposed and developed antibodies, yet fewer than 50 spent time in sick bay or hospitalized. One died. Similarly in Singapore, over 90% of their 42,000 cases are foreign construction workers (their 26 deaths are almost all aged Singaporeans). Young healthy people are generally resistant, yet can carry the disease to the vulnerable, which should be the focus of protection.

Posted by: michael888 | Jun 20 2020 23:15 utc | 178

Noirette #157

The underlying mantra is, what a drag to have to go through this kind of pretense, many will die, who cares, Big Corps will be winners no matter what. Let’s just get this over with. Now.

Thank you Noirette, there seems to be a consolidated effort to thwart Bill Gates plan to achieve global medical oligarch dominance.

Herd immunity equals no need for Gates clumsy vaccine and barcode.

The MIC and resource oligarchs continue their supremacy and the smart arse upstart Gates is sent to Coventry. Mission accomplished.

The steady state war machine trundles on reinventing reality for us observers while we struggle to catch up with their latest ploy. Then next year another or perhaps 'a second wave' or whatever.

If Gates persists I expect there will be further reports of his odd association with Epstein courtesy of Ghislaine Maxwell's carefully curated records or even revelations of his not so nice antics in Africa.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2020 23:38 utc | 179

michael888 @Jun20 23:15 #178

Young healthy people are generally resistant, yet can carry the disease to the vulnerable, which should be the focus of protection.

More misinformation.
  1. Young people can get sick also. Seemingly healthy children as young as 14 have died from the virus.
  2. There are millions of people that are susceptible due to underlying conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancers, etc. It's not just old people that die.
  3. It's not clear how well we can protect "at risk" populations. The discipline required is not in evidence. Just look at the anti-mask comments in this thread.
  4. We are still early in the outbreak and hundreds of thousands have died. JHU Coronovirus tracker shows 8.7m global confirmed cases and 463k deaths. If only 5% of those exposed get Covid-19 then only 174m have been exposed so far. That's only 2.23# of the world's population. Extrapolating, there's a very large number of lives (over 20m!) that could be saved if we fight the virus effectively.
  5. We are still learning about this disease. We don't know the long-term consequences. Viruses can be tricky. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancers years later.

No one should be happy about getting this virus.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2020 0:10 utc | 180

Jackrabbit #180:

But he's right ... this IS a disease of the old and the sick. Very very few young people have been affected by it. As was said by michael888, on the Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier, 60% of the 4800 crewmen were exposed and developed antibodies, yet fewer than 50 spent time in sick bay or hospitalized. One died. That's the response to this disease by the younger than 70 age set.

Posted by: Caliman | Jun 21 2020 0:50 utc | 181

fwiw.. i mostly agree with @180 jackrabbit... generally when i see someone trashing WHO, china, the UN, or any international body, i figure they are american and they have swallowed the koolaid being given out regularly in the usa... good luck with that... why is it the usa can fight countless wars, but they can't get their shit together on covid?? is that because economics is more important then people?? it looks that way to me..

Posted by: james | Jun 21 2020 1:08 utc | 182

@166 Really "Masks protect a patient, esp. a surgical patient whose body will be laid open, from germs that medical personnel shed via their mouths."

Surgical masks work that way.

N95 masks are not surgical masks: they function to protect the wearer, which is why you would wear an N95 mask rather than a surgical mask when spray-painting or using a compressor to blow dust out of equipment.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 21 2020 1:12 utc | 183

@145 "Name a city or country that adopted a masked law and in which the coronavirus waved a white flag and packed up?"

Pretty much every country in Asia, I'd suggest...

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 21 2020 1:13 utc | 184

@131 Christian J Chuba: "What about Temperature screening w/infrared thermometers? "

I was in Vietnam in early March, and I could not walk into a single museum, gallery, or government building without having one of those thermometers pointed at my forehead. Clearly their fear was infection from foreigners, and their aim was early detection followed by thorough contact-tracing.

For what it is worth Vietnam has not recorded a single fatality from covid-19, and as far as I know not a single instance of community-spread of the virus.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 21 2020 1:22 utc | 185

Yeah, Right #185

Vietnam stamped it to death immediately.
The current data (from worldometer)is impressive

349 cases,
one in critical care
zero deaths.

Now THAT is a mighty achievement and it will be interesting to get detail on their treatment regime and their tracing/quarantine approach.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2020 1:43 utc | 186

Caliman @Jun21 0:50 #181

... this IS a disease of the old and the sick.

No. SARS-COV-2 is a virus that can affect anyone. My daughter's boyfriend (24 years old) got it and he's still having symptoms nearly two months later. Covid-19 is a complication that develops mostly in the old and sick that can lead to death.

As I said, we still don't know the long-term affects of SARS-COV-2 and we don't yet know if a vaccine is possible either.

And what kind of "civilization" are we if we write off 20 million people that could've been saved?

Very very few young people have been affected by it.

How many young people have to die needlessly before it matters? As I said, we're still in the early part of the pandemic. Allowing the virus to run rampant in the world will mean many more people die and even if only a fraction of them are younger that will still be a significant number.

In addition, every human that the virus enters means a chance for the virus to mutate. That's a threat to all of us.

Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier ... That's the response to this disease by the younger than 70 age set.

No, that's the response to the disease by the strongest, most fit part of the population. And they are significantly younger than 70.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2020 1:52 utc | 187

snow_watcher #160

Thank you for the Chekhov story of the day. I kept these words from the good doctor to remind me of Bill Gates and his evil ilk:

There was nothing but the desire to amuse yourself with living puppets, nothing else. . . . A person who does not feel the difference between a human being and a lap-dog ought not to go in for philanthropy. I assure you, there's a great difference between human beings and lap-dogs!"

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2020 2:31 utc | 188

Fauci is a most dishonest turd. Here he is extolling the virtues of masks and why he lied about them saying they were useless a few months ago.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2020 4:21 utc | 189

The reactionary Jinn says:
"Diapers also work to keep babies from peeing and shitting all over the house. Your stupid logic may tell you that they don't seal perfectly either but so what?
Your logic is defective
The fact is that masks are effective at containing the spew of virus laden particles from the infected. Masks may do very little to protect the wearer of the mask but so what? If everybody but the baby wears diapers that doesn't do much to protect anyone from the baby's pee and shit. Your logic is defective."

Sorry you got so triggered. Sorry simple logic is far beyond your grasp of reality. It's a shame your emotions dictate your attempts at thinking. Perhaps you've never seen a baby shit or piss down its leg while wearing a loose fitting diaper ?

You are so typical of the frothy emotional fear mongering surrounding this issue.

"The N95 respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 μm) test particles, but the virion particles (from 0.06 μm to 0.14 μm) (See Na Zhu et al., “A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China,” 20 February 2020, NEJM, 382:727-733.) can pass through."

Like I said earlier, the physics just isn't there. Surgical masks and N95 masks cannot stop those virions with a perfect seal to the face and non of them are capable of maintaining that seal while talking or making any facial expressions. If you've ever been trained to wear a respirator you know they don't even allow facial hair in order to make a seal. These cheesy masks that supposedly work in one direction but not the other are a total joke.

You can use all the ad hominen attacks you wish but you're only proving to everyone with any sense at all that you're either a propagandist or a fool.

Posted by: dave | Jun 21 2020 9:38 utc | 190

Slaughterhouses clusters
I'd like to know if it was the first time the employees were tested, or how regular it is; but I guess that is not important or relevant to the BBC and others..

Posted by: Mina | Jun 21 2020 10:15 utc | 191

dave @Jun21 9:38 #190

Like I said earlier, the physics just isn't there.

Actually dave, the physics is there.

Virus particles spread in droplets. Those droplets are much bigger than the virus itself. Masks are effective against the droplets, not the virus itself. The better the mask, the more droplets that are contained.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2020 11:00 utc | 192

To identify the CoV-2 virus in Germany Drosten developed a widely distributed test. It may use 4 different genes for identifying. But 3 of them are common with most harmless forms of Corona virusses, only 1 gene, the ORF-1 gene is specific for CoV-2.
Posted by: Hausmeister | Jun 20 2020 10:22 utc | 122

Drosten of course is a known Big Pharma puppet, so his motivations for that type of test are very questionable. It is has also been suggested that the US test has been specially designed to be negative against strains of the early strain of the virus that was circulating in the US before it reached China (or have I got that wrong and the latter applies to the antibody test?)

Someone really ought to be testing the tests from around the world on a wide range of known samples and compare the results (both false positives and false negatives). I wouldn't really trust any results unless they came from China, Russia, Cuba or Iran though.

Posted by: BM | Jun 21 2020 12:08 utc | 193

Why were people hoarding toilet paper? A new research paper found that degree of hoarding was related to the emotional personality and perceived risk for the hoarders:

Klopapier und die Menschheit

Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling

Posted by: BM | Jun 21 2020 12:22 utc | 194

If one looks at Asian countries, the covid-19 fatality rates run between 0 and 10 per million. Those countries use time-honored Public Health policies based largely on quarantines straight out of a 1950s American manual. Why does the West have such high fatality rates? Germany, cited as as an "excellent" Western country covid-19 responder has 107 deaths per million, while Japan has only 7 deaths per million (Japan practices its 3 Cs, but avoided lockdowns beyond the Asian practice of banning people from infected countries, they also do almost no testing. Japan has the oldest population in the world.) The US squawked about racism and allowed infected people "escaping the virus" to enter a few major cities; after NYC quickly became the epicenter, NYers spread the virus throughout the country (according to a NY Times article the NYC variant was responsible for all hotspots except on the West Coast). While basic Public Health policy is to quarantine the sick, as much as 70% of those infectious are asymptomatic or have common cold symptoms, so the virus spread from NYC by people "escaping the virus" (human nature and failure of basic Public Health).
Covid-19 causes a Kawasaki-like syndrome in some children (very common seasonally with respiratory viruses in Asian children and easily treated with aspirin, steroids and immunoglobulin; no one should die from this if they have competent medical care.
There have been multiple scandals about NYC's dismal covid-19 care largely covered up by the MSM in favor of "heroic health worker" coverage. Sending infected people to nursing homes, blowing out lungs with ventilators (life-saving in Italy), "discovering" proning which was standard in China and Italy, refusal to employ life saving glucocorticoids (published in march by Chinese physicians, although the WHO of course objected) or even to try many other treatments employed by other countries (heparins and clot busters are standard), and almost unbelievable anecdotes from Nicole Sirotek about burned out and incompetence in NYC area hospitals. Is there a reason that NYC has 1602 covid-19 deaths per million and Asian countries have 0-10? Lots of not pretty reasons.
The median age of death is about 80 years old across all countries. Florida has a population 50% higher than NY and has the oldest US population. It seems likely to develop into another epicenter. Hopefully sunshine is an important disinfectant for the virus.

Posted by: michael | Jun 21 2020 12:22 utc | 195

Dave wrote:

These cheesy masks that supposedly work in one direction but not the other are a total joke.

Masks are effective in only one direction. For the same reason that diapers only work when you put them on the baby. Putting diapers on everybody but the pissing and shitting baby is indeed ineffective, but only a moron would use that obvious fact to try to argue that physics proves diapers don't work.

Cheesy cloth masks work when everyone is wearing them.
Masks don't work to protect the person wearing the mask.

An infected person who does not have a mask is spewing virus containing droplets. The fine aerosols that make it past the mask are rarely infectious. It is the larger droplets that are loaded with virus particles that survive long enough to cause infection. Wearing a mask or respirator doesn't protect you because the droplets that are loaded with virus can get on your skin, clothes and hair. If you want protection from the unmasked infected people you need full body protection and a means to get in and out of your body armor without transferring virus particles.

Posted by: jinn | Jun 21 2020 12:26 utc | 196

@199 dave "Surgical masks and N95 masks cannot stop those virions with a perfect seal to the face and non of them are capable of maintaining that seal while talking or making any facial expressions."

The virus is not going to float around in the air as a contagious agent if it is in the form 0.14 μm virion particles. Such particles would be desiccated, and therefore unlikely to be viable. If the virus is going to spread from person to person then it will do so inside water droplets, and the bigger the better in terms of longevity.

(So the bigger the droplet the more dangerous it is, but above a certain droplet size gravity becomes your friend - which is why a social-distancing rule of greater than 1.5m is so effective.)

That is why an N95 mask is so effective - the droplet is stopped at the surface of the mask, and as the droplet evaporates so do the viability of the virus particle.

Honestly, this is not rocket science.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 21 2020 12:26 utc | 197

On masks - degree of fitting depends on facial features especially nose shape, and relative position of the eyes. The worst condition is when the nose is long, narrow and pointed, and the eyes are close together and low relative to the bridge of the nose - in that case avoiding the glasses steaming is an impossibility. Particularly bad when talking. Also the metal bar of all the masks I have used is far too soft for a pointed nose - Chinese noses are short, low and wide, so the angle of required bend in the mask is vastly lighter than for the pointy nose case.

I also have one N95 respirator made by 3M (i.e. the type with 3-dimensional form). Utterly useless - fits about as well as a ladies bra on a pig. Not sure what sort of face this mask was intended for, but certainly not mine. In other words, the fitting has to be suitable to be effective.

Posted by: BM | Jun 21 2020 12:43 utc | 198

Tintorelli @170 gives this link

This is the best article on the subject that I have seen. It is short, clear, very much to the point and recommended to all

Posted by: bevin | Jun 21 2020 13:32 utc | 199

Posted by: bevin | Jun 21 2020 13:32 utc | 199

Yep, that's concise, to the point, and right on. This is just ramping up, there is no going back to the status quo ante, and our "leaders" are not even close to grasping the problems that are coming. They still want to get back to what they had before, clinging to the past.

Demand destruction is not going away any time soon. Behavior is already changed, and will keep right on changing. No amount of media bullshit or surveillance will change that. This was clear to me in January, once the Corona virus escaped from China. Now that it is clear it was around, and not just in China, long before that, one can say it was all baked in since sometime last year.

"Just in time" is going to prove to be not soon enough.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 21 2020 14:12 utc | 200

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