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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uncle tungsten #188

Exactly! I'm glad the story struck a chord with you.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Jun 21 2020 14:40 utc | 201

"Although the coronavirus found in Beijing's Xinfadi market has come from Europe, it differs with their current outbreak, as it is older than the current European coronavirus, according to preliminary research results, said Zhang Yong, assistant director of National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"'The large amounts of samples found in Xinfadi wholesale market indicate that the virus has been around for some time. If it had only just arrived in the city for a short period of time, there may not have been so many positive samples found; however, we need more data before making an informed decision about its origin,' Zhang said."
"The coronavirus is particularly cold-resistant, and can survive for months at -4 C and 20 years at -20 C, which explains why the virus has been found several times in seafood markets, and can be transported across borders, Chinese epidemiologist Li Lanjuan said on Friday."
Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19 2020 19:07 utc | 16

This raises quite a few interesting issues. Pity about the (self-evidently) poor translation which leaves the English text rather vague. Time scales are all wishy washy and references are ambiguous. My reading of the text is that the observed genomes are closely related to the first strains infecting Europe (Clade C) AFTER Wuhan in I think about mid-March (i.e. not the strains circulating in late 2019, nor the more recent strains). And when the article talks about the strain being in that Beijing market for a long time, they apparently mean about a month, rather than the longer timescale that the wording seems to imply. Juliania appears to have misunderstood this.

It is important to remember that Sars-Cov-2 is an ethnically-targeted virus, designed to target specifically ethnic Chinese. That is why Trump and Johnson were initially so blasé and laughed it off - they didn't think it would hit them. I posted some info on this a while ago (here), but was at the end of a thread so I don't think many saw it.

The original weapon was designed to target only Chinese (Clade A) but once released in Wuhan quickly mutated into Clade B - which like Clade A is efficient at targetting the ACE2 cells of Chinese, but is much less lethal than Clade A (evolutionarily, high infectivity but low lethality is optimal from the point of view of the virus). When this B-strain was introduced to Europe, it was ineffective at infecting European ACE2 cells and quickly mutated into Clade C which was far better suited to infecting Caucasians. As of April, this Clade C had virtually never been found in Asia especially China! Clade C is adapted to infecting Caucasians, and it is presumably this Clade C (that is not certain, but it is my reading of the meaning of the article) that is now found in the market in Beijing. Thus it is interesting that this strain is mostly extremely mild in Beijing, because it is (according to my reading) adapted to Caucasian ACE2 cells not Chinese ones, even though in Europe it is severe. It would be interesting to know whether there are any Caucasians who had contact with this strain in Beijing, and how they were affected.


That the virus may have been transmitted via frozen food is also interesting. The first putative product that springs to my mind might be frozen salmon packaged as a luxury item (or perhaps smoked salmon - is that ever frozen for longer term transport?). Perhaps there is a luxury frozen fish product from Italy or Spain that might present itself as a putative carrier. What would particularly interest me though, is the potential for genetic samples of the Covid strain apparently leaked in the US in around July 2019, and circulating in parts of the US July to October 2019, to have been potentially frozen in factory-sealed and production-lot traceable in frozen food that eventually finds itself in China!!! I hope imagine China will be actively searching out any such candidates that might arise, in amongst products stored in China whether in Beijing or elsewhere. Hopefully that will fill important missing links.

Posted by: BM | Jun 21 2020 14:53 utc | 202

These rationalizations for not wearing masks are silly and beneath MOA normally erudite community. I hate wearing them too and often dont in public, particularly without my wife's scolding, but they will stop me from spraying infectious disease on other people if I have it. I am also glad to see other people wearing them, even if I am not that considerate at times.

In terms of the virus, we are not in cold and flu season and the number of deaths in the US and worldwide have undeniably dropped, from an already wildly inflated estimate, thanks to Mr. Fergusons incompetence. The economic impact of lockdowns are devastating and can far exceed the death toll of this virus.

Nobody knows if the virus will return next winter when temperatures drop and cold and flu season returns. If it does return, my guess is that a more balanced and measured approach will be instituted because healthcare policy makers will have learned how the virus behaves and will have had time to think through its impacts. They have already learned that ventilators were a horrible idea and perhaps responsible for the deaths of untold number of victems.

We dont know how the virus will behave over the summer and lockdowns should be the last resort, after everything else has failed. Cases and deaths will increase without the lockdowns, hopefully marginally, but until the numbers are large again, so what? We cant destroy the worlds livelihood to ensure a tiny fraction of the world with comorbidities live anothernl day.

Posted by: Turk 152 | Jun 21 2020 14:55 utc | 203


Thank you very much ,james,MOA bar-pillar if ever there was one,for appreciating my comment on this here eastern-france situation.Yesterday I wrote an extensive comment to your post,the longest I've ever written,with some funnies in it.As shit happens,that comment of mine went down the drain,after previewing it,and having to refresh the page.I was to tired to try to rewrite it ,and I do not feel trying now.It can be very frustrating,and of course I should have copied my comment before presenting it,or ,as some barfly suggested a while ago,write my comment in the bloc-note feature,and then present it to MoA.It is like recording what you perceive to be your best musical performance yet,and then finding out "CARD FULL" message,or that you forgot to push the rec button.

Posted by: willie | Jun 21 2020 15:08 utc | 204

Dr. Wellington, 163, yes, masks alter social interaction and and not in a good way. Our no. 1 communication tool is speech combined with the face, all the rest is secondary / patched on, etc. We have learned to dissociate language meaning from the body and to be more precise with written language, and to talk on the phone, though I have read some stories about how at first ppl disliked or even hated phones.

The social interaction aspect is on every list of “potential damage” of masks. Another on the list is “false safety” - the mask as a superstituous ritual, or a social badge, or a voluntary self-protective act, that is seen as conferring some advantage, some gain in the stakes of life, leading ppl to ignore other perhaps more important actions, or lack of them (for ex. not organising, or going to, a rave party or a church service!)

The ulitmate qu is: Would /you/, as the one person with the power to do so, re. masks: forbid or discourage masks - take no action, leaving it up to ‘individuals’ - advise for them, recommend - make them obligatory (with all the problems of different settings, such as in elevators, shops, hairdresser, medical consult, at home with family, etc.) The answer to this question obviously depends on the person’s country, culture, the social context, and so forth. (see also tintorelli, 170)

The qu. of masks has become politisised in the W, leading some to say ‘Science has slipped away’ - not good - but it was ever so. Science’s lack of definition of ‘race’ in any rigorous, accepted way has not stopped ‘racism,’ etc.

Jack 171, heh, this whole BLM ‘revolt’ is obviously unconcerned with shouting crowds, these are just dandy if one is ‘fighting’ for a politically correct cause! Virus, be gone, we are righteous! (Performative actions.) When Jamie Dimon and Nancy Pelosi support the ‘revolt’ and Big Corps and Movie Stars are sending millions to support / promote BLM and Antifa type Orgs (there must some top hierachy) it is clear there is … a desperate problem.

uncle tungsten at 189, I noticed that too. Fauci is a total fraud, a liar, and imho directly involved in dubious shenanigans (another story..)

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 21 2020 15:41 utc | 205

The most important factor in harm reduction from covid (and additionally influenza and common cold) will be mask wearing. (And to a lesser extent, hand washing with dish detergent+water or alcohol+water.) The masks we have now are both very uncomfortable and not as effective as would be desired, but this will change very soon. But there is a good chance that with just these two measures ('lock-down' may not usually be at all necessary), it will likely be possible to eradicate all of these viruses. Think:

With some minor but irrelevant simplifications, we can explain the reason this will be effective. If in each generation each individual human reproduces one 'successful' offspring, human population density will remain perfectly constant over time. If each individual human reproduces more than one, the population will increase. If each individual human reproduces less than one, the population will decrease. This is a mathematical law. Exactly the same logic applies to viral infection: If each infected individual infects more than one other, the illness level will increase. If each infected individual infects less than one other, the illness level will decrease, eventually to zero (provided there are no animal vectors). Masks and hand washing do not have to 'eliminate' contagion. All they have to do is reduce the infection ratio to less than one-to-one, and the disease level will eventually drop to zero.

Please see my 'Joyce shemagh' post:
Joyce shemagh -- Link to: blues | Jun 19 2020 21:34 utc | 31

I'v had a bit of a problem keeping the schemagh above my nose, but perhaps moistened super jumbo cotton balls stuffed around the nose, and/or doubling down a bit of the mask at the top will solve this.

Posted by: blues | Jun 21 2020 16:02 utc | 206

@ Caliman | Jun 21 2020 0:50 utc | 181

But he's right ... this IS a disease of the old and the sick. Very very few young people have been affected by it.

If a Covid test can cost $3000 in the USA, no wonder people seriously do not want to catch the virus. Your chances of needing hospitalization for it are low, but if you luck out the medical fees likely will destroy you. You will probably survive but in the US your extended absence from work could get you fired. So you'll be incomeless and homeless.

So do you want to take that risk? Judging how many people voluntarily isolated themselves, long before any official lockdown orders, much of the US population does not -- for very good reasons.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 21 2020 19:30 utc | 207

@dave | Jun 20 2020 21:45 utc | 174

Masks work even if they don't seal properly ?

Even leaky masks can help if they block some of the incoming or outgoing virus particles.

Posted by: Cyril | Jun 21 2020 19:40 utc | 208

What does it take to convince people that wearing a mask, even a loosely fitting mask, is a very effective means of reducing the spread of COVID-19?

"We present the viral load in the air and deposited around the person, and show that wearing even a simple cloth mask substantially decreases the extent of spatial spread of virus particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes."

"A loosely fitted simple cotton cloth mask (with a pore size ~ 4 microns) qualitatively changes the propagation of the high velocity jet, and largely eliminates the turbulent cloud downstream of the mask."

The utility of wearing simple cloth face masks is analyzed using computational fluid dynamics simulations. We simulate the aerodynamic flow through the mask and the spatial spread of droplet ejecta resulting from respiratory events such as coughing or sneezing. Without a mask, a turbulent jet forms, and droplets with a broad size distribution are ejected. Large droplets (greater than about 125 {\mu}m in diameter) fall to the ground within about 2 m, while turbulent clouds transport a mist of small aerosolized droplets over significant distances (~ 5 m), consistent with reported experimental findings. A loosely fitted simple cotton cloth mask (with a pore size ~ 4 microns) qualitatively changes the propagation of the high velocity jet, and largely eliminates the turbulent cloud downstream of the mask. About 12\% of the airflow leaks around the sides of a mask, considering a uniform gap of only 1 mm all around, between the face and the mask. The spread of ejecta is also changed, with most large droplets trapped at the mask surface. We present the viral load in the air and deposited around the person, and show that wearing even a simple cloth mask substantially decreases the extent of spatial spread of virus particles when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Posted by: krypton | Jun 22 2020 16:29 utc | 209

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