Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 23, 2020

Pandemic Freedom

On Thursday the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving. That will cause an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and in the number of deaths.

The states could have intervened but did little to prevent this from happening. The politicians are reluctant to act because the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic.

The CDC warns of Thanksgiving celebrations:

As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.

Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

In my view that warning is not strong enough.

There should be more draconian measures and restrictions of freedom to prevent higher Covid-19 casualties.

In October Canada already celebrated its version of Thanksgiving. The result was a notable acceleration of the pandemic.

Source: George Rutherford, UCSF - bigger

More can be done and more should be done to prevent this from happening in the United States.

But there are people who argue even against stronger warnings:

This week, a survey reported that 38% of people planned to gather with 10 or more people for Thanksgiving, and just a third said they would wear a mask. Twitter reacted predictably. Public health experts and doctors pointed to rising COVID-19 case numbers in many states and scolded (often in all caps): DO NOT HAVE THANKSGIVING.

Of course, there is no doubt that large gatherings, indoors, and without masks is a recipe for the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2, but at the same time, I worry that the abstinence-only approach -- the just-don't-have-Thanksgiving approach -- is not the right way for public health experts to respond.
I think public health experts should not just listen, but hear what people are saying. Americans are saying that despite all the damage done by COVID-19, despite the rising cases and at-capacity ICUs around the country, their desire for human connection is so great, that they are willing to take the risk and have Thanksgiving. Americans are, in effect, expressing the longing and desperation of their soul.
Instead of admonishing people to not gather, public health experts should begin from the starting point that people really want this -- correction, people are saying they need this. Given that the desire is so strong, what advice can we give to minimize the risk? How can we reduce -- not eliminate risk.

As Thanksgiving family meetings happen indoor with everyone talking and eating together in one room there is little one can do to reduce the risk and to avoid new infections except to call off the event.

That is why I think that the states should have intervened more by restricting travel and the size of private meetings.

That is not happening because for many people in the U.S. this is not about 'longing' or a 'need' but about a mistaken understanding of freedom:

Here's a question for all red-blooded liberty-loving American patriots: Who has a greater lived experience of freedom at the moment, citizens of Vietnam or the United States? Vietnam, of course, is a one-party Communist state, with fairly strict limitations on freedom of speech, the press, and so on, while the U.S. has (at least for now) a somewhat democratic constitution and (at least formally) some protections for civil liberties.

But in Vietnam, there is no raging coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to swift action from the government, that nation squelched its initial outbreak, and has so far successfully contained all subsequent infection clusters before they got out of hand.

Vietnam is free of Covid-19 and its people are mostly free to do what they want to do. The same goes for China were Covid-19 restrictions are now minimal. People are free to travel within the country and to live a normal life. The few local outbreaks that are still happening are rigorously hunted down. Still, the Associated Press depicts those interventions as an assault on the ever ephemeral 'freedom':

Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week.
In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 people, local health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.

China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found — shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighborhoods, and testing millions.

Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralized quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.

China's approach to controlling the pandemic has been criticized for being draconian. It locked down the city of Wuhan, where cases were first reported, for more than two months to contain the virus, with the local government shutting down all traffic and confining residents to their homes. Domestically, however, China has called its strategy “clear to zero” and has boasted of its success.

China used science and strong public health measures to defeat the pandemic. Being draconian in doing that is the only way to really get a pandemic under control. The AP's negative tone about the anti-Covid-19 measures is typical for U.S. media:

Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals. The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials.
Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining.

That may have been caused partially by anti-Trump sentiment in the media:

Among U.S. major media outlets, stories discussing President Donald Trump and hydroxychloroquine are more numerous than all stories combined that cover companies and individual researchers working on COVID-19 vaccines.

Trump surely could have done more. Still, he is now getting too little credit for his successful Operation Warp Speed which has created three reasonably good vaccine in record time.

But would the people in the U.S. really have followed Trump's or any others president's advice if he had called for or ordered more restrictions?

I find that unlikely because the preeminent ideology in the U.S. is this false understanding of 'freedom' which is incompatible with a pandemic:

Life for Vietnamese people has returned to normal, with a few sensible precautions. If their success holds for a few more months until a vaccine can be deployed, Vietnam will have dodged the pandemic nearly perfectly.
Meanwhile in the self-appointed "land of the free," on Sunday[, November 15,] the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 deaths was 1,148.
The bleak irony of American life is our boastful and hyperbolic national conception of liberty has left us as one of the most unfree peoples on the globe. There can be no freedom without government, a lesson currently being inscribed in blood, and stacked up in the mobile morgues that are overflowing with corpses in more cities around the country every day.
All the political freedoms I supposedly enjoy as an American citizen are useless in the face of this unending tsunami of death and misery. The plain fact is that the average resident of Vietnam — under a repressive dictatorship, let me emphasize — has more freedoms in the places where, for most people, it really counts: the freedom to leave the house, the freedom to see and touch one's family and friends, the freedom to go to a restaurant or a bar or a movie or a concert, and simply the freedom from constant grasping fear of invisible death.
In reality, as Vietnam demonstrates, the only way to have freedom during a pandemic is with a competent, aggressive state that does intrusive, coercive things on a hair trigger, the very instant they become necessary.

The U.S. and other 'western' societies have failed to understand that. Individual liberties are all fine. But they must stand back when the liberty of the general society is endangered.

Emergency medicine (triage) knows the concept of minimizing 'life years lost' when deciding to either save patient A or B. The patient who has more potential life years left is preferred to survive.

We may need a similar concept for 'freedom' where the aim is to maximize the amount of total freedom not for individuals but for the society as a whole, not within a short moment but over a considerable period of time.

This what China and Vietnam have done. Their draconian local measures have harshly restricted the freedom of relatively few but maximized the freedom their societies could allow themselves. In the end even those whose freedoms were restricted the most, the inhabitants of Wuhan for example, have gained more freedom than a runaway pandemic would have allowed them to have.

Posted by b on November 23, 2020 at 16:57 UTC | Permalink

next page »

"this is not about 'longing' or a 'need' but about a mistaken understanding of freedom:"

Are you saying that there is no such thing as a longing to be with your loved ones? When you go into hospital or a care home for the last time, you might not care if no one comes to visit you, but the ones that do, do they also have a mistaken understanding of freedom?

Globally, we seem to witnessing a tribal war, the tribe of the lockdowners who always shunned social contact, and us others. The others have lost for now.

Posted by: Ben McDonnell | Nov 23 2020 17:19 utc | 1

All hail totalitarian society.

Posted by: Norwegian | Nov 23 2020 17:31 utc | 2

Dr Roger Hodkinson - Gives his professional opinion on Covid

These are being censored about as fast as they are being put up.

Posted by: blues | Nov 23 2020 17:34 utc | 3

"Glenn Greenwald
Replying to
Having just watched my 35-year-old, very healthy and strong husband suffer greatly with COVID (he's now finally recovered), this is a virus I urge everyone to take seriously.

That's why the game-playing & ideological selectivity in COVID-shaming has been so harmful & shameful."

Posted by: arby | Nov 23 2020 17:39 utc | 4

This is one more turd to be flushed.
Why are people so eager to submit to extreme overreach by their local government bodies? Especially in the USA?
Legislatures make the laws, not Governors!
I am so sick of all the Communism embraced by the formerly free people of the united states. They are allowing it and there is no going back.

Posted by: Saul Dunn | Nov 23 2020 17:40 utc | 5

Is this post sarcastic? Surely it couldn't be serious.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Nov 23 2020 17:40 utc | 6

No. The American people is correct in regards to the concept of freedom (or liberty).

Within the system of liberal ideology (liberalism), freedom is the primacy of private property.

In this sense, freedom can be negative (negative freedom). For example: slave-owners in the American South were forbidden of even raping their female slaves (anti-miscigenation law). Slave-owners were also forbidden from freeing their slaves if they wanted so.

Freedom can limit your set of individual choices according to liberalism - as long as private property remains sacrosanct. The post-war liberals didn't classify China or the USSR as "totalitarian" because their individuals were enslaved, but because private property wasn't dominant there.

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 17:42 utc | 7

Jesus, talk about fear mongering.

When COVID hit SA we went into a lockdown. We were one of the first countries to go into a severe lockdown. It was draconian. The army was even deployed to enforce the lockdown. The models predicted half a million dead. Hospitals overflowing leaving people to die in the corridors. Field hospitals were built left, right and center to cater for the overflow that hospitals could not deal with. The fearmongering induced a palpable dread amongst the people. People were petrified. When you left the house you dressed in your own homemade Biohazard suit. When you went to the shops if you heard someone cough three isles down you dropped whatever you were carrying and immediately left post haste. It felt like we were living in one of those B grade Hollywood movies were a pandemic came to town and everyone died a horrible screeching death. The economy was locked down and completely collapsed, reduced by half. In a country where most live hand to mouth malnutrition started to soar, children were being brought to hospitals to save them from starving to death.

The predictive models were wrong, the hospitals did not overflow with patients and the field hospitals were left unused.

Now 8 months later the situation has changed completely. People go out they take their precautions (masks, sanitisers etc.) but life goes on. We have over time become informed about the virus, how it transmits, the do’s and don’ts and it is up to each individual person to decide what is the acceptable level of risk that him/her is willing to tolerate.

The choice for many is quite simple here. Go out and work and stand a chance of catching COVID-19 and stand a 1-2 % chance of dying from it or stay at home in a draconian extended lockdown and stand and watch your children starve to death.

Draconian lockdowns aren’t the only or even most effecting way to deal with Covid-19. This is an interview Dr Glenda Gray,

"With increasing knowledge of the virus, we now know that those most vulnerable are the elderly and those with comorbidities. However, people under 30, and school-going children are not," Gray added.

"So, then you deal with those people. You don't put the whole country into lockdown because you don't know how to deal with [the] elderly and the people who have vulnerabilities.

"South Africans bought in, and everyone tightened their belts and took the lockdown with grace. During that period, we failed to deliver water, we failed to deliver food parcels and we failed to make households on the brink of devastation safe.

"How can you continue to implement these restrictive levels when the data shows that the transmission of the virus will continue unless you implement non-pharmaceutical interventions [NPIs] to slow the transmission down or get a vaccine?

Gray is a specialist paediatrician and HIV vaccine researcher. She received South Africa's highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2017.

Posted by: Down South | Nov 23 2020 17:43 utc | 8

In this article, b quotes a writer Vinay Prasad that says: "Instead of admonishing people to not gather, public health experts should begin from the starting point that people really want this -- correction, people are saying they need this. Given that the desire is so strong, what advice can we give to minimize the risk? How can we reduce -- not eliminate risk."

Well, simple isn't it. They can do all the following:
1. Every attendee takes Covid-19 test before the gathering. Stop going when tested positive.
2. Every attendee checks their temperature/symptoms before entering the door.
3. Hold their breath when within 6 feet of any person.
4. Reduce breathing (one breath per minute) when within 12 feet of any person.
5. Stop moving any persons or objects, and stop heating to reduce the circulation of air.
6. Don't speak, smile, laugh since they increases the chance of virus spreading .
7. Wear mask throughout the gathering.
8. Do not touch each other, no exchange of gifts.
9. Each person bring their own food, utensil, cups, tissue box, etc.
10. Wash their hand every 15 minutes, wipe their face every hour with anti-virus wipe.

If they do 1 - 6, they can have meeting of up to 10. If they do 1 - 10, they can have meeting of 20. Simple guidelines. /sar

Posted by: d dan | Nov 23 2020 17:43 utc | 9

"you guys have a false understanding of freedom". This blog is increasingly turning Orwellian. Shocking.

Posted by: Biba | Nov 23 2020 17:45 utc | 10

Just checked Canada: more than 90% of all deaths have been in LTCs (care homes). Their festivities had zero influence.

Posted by: Biba | Nov 23 2020 17:48 utc | 11

How far ya gonna twist to defend Trump. The “states” don’t have the effective power you suggest. There’s no reasonable way for states to lock out citizens of other states. The federal response has been a shit show from the beginning because of Trump. When states have tried to put aggressive control measures in place he tweets about revolution. And any vaccine plan would have been successful; money was made available.

The news here about Covid isn’t bad because the media hates Donald Trump (newsflash, it doesn’t because he’s good for business). The news here about Covid is bad because the news about Covid is bad. We have a president who doesn’t believe in science. We have a president who told us we could all get his experimental, $100,000 regeneron treatment for free. We have a president who didn’t bother going to meetings about Covid for almost 6 months. A president who didn’t push to make sure people were financially supported. A president who couldn’t even be bothered to tell people to wear a damned mask.

If trump were half as smart as you propose, he would have won this election. He would have done it by leading through Covid and maybe even being a real populist. He could have started forgiving debt held by the gov, forcing them GOP to pay people to stay the fuck home and a handful of other measures. But, hey, you go down with the ship if you want, b.

Posted by: Lex | Nov 23 2020 17:49 utc | 12

CCP flunky promoting totalitarianism on his website. Who'd have thunk it?

Posted by: Glasshopper | Nov 23 2020 17:54 utc | 13

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Nov 23 2020 17:40 utc | 6

"Is this post sarcastic? Surely it couldn't be serious."

I still hope that all of this blog's COVID reporting has always been sarcastic, i.e. a mocking the real CNN-style fearmongers by over-imitating them. I think it may be a strategy to avoid censorship.

Posted by: Biba | Nov 23 2020 17:54 utc | 14

I might be willing to agree with this premise if covid-19 were as deadly as people said it was initially. But it's not. Granted it's not "just a flu". It's certainly worse than the typical seasonal flu. But looking at excess death statistics combined with the majority of IFR calculations reported in scientific publications makes it clear that it's around 3-4 times worse than a typical seasonal flu in terms of death caused, with a small minority of people experiencing prolonged symptoms that eventually clear up. (And reports of permanent damage caused by covid-19 are heinously overstated -- it's clear now that the vast, vast majority of people recover fully.)

Within the last fifty years we've had seasonal flus that were pretty much that bad, and it didn't require shutting everything down. And in some ways covid-19 is preferable -- this virus mercifully spares the young, unlike the flu.

What's so distressing to me is that all of the above is based on scientific research conducted over the last ten months, but none of it seems to matter in terms of deciding public policy. Instead we inflict upon ourselves measures to try and contain a virus that a) cannot be contained any longer regardless of whether it could have originally, and b) causes serious harm to everyone at a society-wide level. The amount of anxiety, fear, anger, despair, depression, suicide, and physical sickness these measures are causing is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Everyone is miserable. At a deep level, we're valuing fear over actually living our lives to the fullest.

And, at least in the US, nearly all of the people forced to follow these measures were as likely to die or receive serious, long-term injury in a car crash last year than they are to receive the same from covid-19 this year. More people will die or become seriously ill from preventable diseases stemming from obesity and poor diet over the course of five years than will die from the entire pandemic. And yet for some reason the risk of death from this novel coronavirus is more important than any of those other risk factors we've all unquestionably accepted every day of our lives. If we care about preserving life so much, why are there not also severe restrictions to alleviate these other risk factors as well? It doesn't make any rational sense.

And I'm willing to have a discussion about this and listen to view points that disagree with me. But only if someone is willing to engage with me in good faith and understand that I'm not selfish, nor a sociopath, nor someone that doesn't care about death and suffering, and am trying to advocate for what I think is right based on my own moral principles that I've given a lot of thought to over decades of my life. I'm tired of being labeled an amoral science-denying monster for raising what I believe to be reasonable questions stemming from my own good faith effort to understand the actual science of this situation as best as I can as a layperson.

Posted by: Derpy Doo | Nov 23 2020 17:57 utc | 15

"The politicians are reluctant to act because the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic."

In other words, the representatives of the people are, for once, acting the way the people want them to ... should this not be celebrated?

As for Vietnam and China:

"Here's a question for all red-blooded liberty-loving American patriots: Who has a greater lived experience of freedom at the moment, citizens of Vietnam or the United States? Vietnam, of course, is a one-party Communist state, with fairly strict limitations on freedom of speech, the press, and so on, while the U.S. has (at least for now) a somewhat democratic constitution and (at least formally) some protections for civil liberties.

Vietnam is free of Covid-19 and its people are mostly free to do what they want to do."

Wow ... this is really perverse. So the communists in Vietnam, by merely preserving their people's lives, have provided "freedom" to their people. Isn't that great? And we, by leaving people free to live their lives including possibly to die, have reduced their freedom.

Not clear about what the meaning of the word "freedom" is, I think ... or is it a problem with the German translation?

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 17:57 utc | 16

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose". Kris Kristofferson.

Yes, many Americans confuse freedom of thought, press, and religion with freedom of action.

Posted by: Jay | Nov 23 2020 18:01 utc | 17

Sorry, but having been one of those people who have tested positive (confirmed by multiple tests) and felt...nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary, I'm simply not interested in turning the world upside for this. Yes, others have suffered and are at greater risk. Those who wish to shelter in place are free to do so for as long as they like. But those of us who need to work for a living, have no desire for living in poverty and do not wish to depend on government handouts to eat are going to go on with our lives. I've loved this website for over a decade now, and will continue to come here for insight. But on this topic, I could not disagree more. With all due respect for b and the many bar-people who contribute to this site in many different ways.

Posted by: Lysander | Nov 23 2020 18:01 utc | 18

The problem is, whether by hook or crook, we've all been lied to about what this thing is, where it came from, etc. The at-risk populations which comprise 95%+ of deaths were well known early and lockdowns plus support for these populations could have been easily been accomplished for a fraction of the cost of this completely mismanaged for-profit pandemic, not to mention the collateral damage of a tens of millions thrown out of work, hundreds of thousands of businesses shut down, 40% never to return, etc. etc.

It is either massive incompetence, or malevolence. The draconian narrative management that drives the ONLY SOLUTION to a vaccine when so much information has been suppressed and transparency to the process akin to a brick wall, it is prudent to be suspicious.

Americans are not resisting because of 'freedom' but because trust in institutions and authority are gone. We now treat fellow citizens as zombies, and wait to catch the zombie virus ourselves in spite of spurious masks, and endless isolation. All in wait for the Holy Grail of a Warp-Speed Jab.


Posted by: gottlieb | Nov 23 2020 18:03 utc | 19

The other thing I don't understand, as it relates to this blog, is how skeptical and on-point b has been about considering information provided by mainstream news sources regarding the American empire and the vast network of misinformation and lies it constantly utilizes to keep the population supporting its agenda. But I see very little of that skepticism is being used for mainstream news surrounding the novel coronavirus. There's so many inconsistencies and contradictions, so many obvious attempts at fear mongering, and so much scientific information taken out of context. It's been an unfortunate weak point for many people that are ordinarily good at throwing doubt at or shining the light of truth on the many falsehoods we're assaulted with every day.

Posted by: Derpy Doo | Nov 23 2020 18:05 utc | 20

I respect b's point of view, but I do find two important weaknesses in the argument.

The first one is that b doesn't contextualize the figures. It's yet another variant of the cases ! the cases !, big numbers which are meaningless without a larger context. The USA is 330 million people. 200k deaths is a trifle in comparison. What about excess mortality ? What about the other causes of death ? In France, the death toll of the current second wave is approx. 15k deaths. Historically, we had flu seasons where deaths were estimated at 9.000. In 2003, the heat wave caused 15.000 deaths in our nursing homes. Excess mortality has been flat since May.

In other words : it's a bad epidemic, but it's not the end of the world. Macron had predicted with absolute certainty that by mid-November, no matter what we did, we would have 9.000 people in reanimation ; we are at 4800 and it's decreasing.

We have to live with this virus. We cannot employ the Chinese tactics because we don't have the manpower and the level of technological sophistication necessary. But it's ok. I'll give you another figure : in 2018 we had 157.000 deaths by cancer.

So until now, COVID-19 stands at 1/3rd of the tally of cancer in any regular year.

That's the kind of context we need to keep a level-headed perspective.

Posted by: Micro | Nov 23 2020 18:12 utc | 21

Thanksgiving is my favorite of all holidays, religious or otherwise!!! I fell in love with this country on arrival, but that was midsummer, and it was not until this feast came around that I realized what I was in love with -- our thoroughly Irish landlady (who lived next door) invited my family to it, and it was exactly the Norman Rockwell thing on steroids - her children and grandchildren from the surrounding area had all come, and we had a potluck meal like nobody's ever experienced, with my family and I being either the pilgrims or the natives - the feast was large enough for all, and we all were fresh to the gathering as it was at the original Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving --be happy, America! This is you at your best! Be happy, and be safe!

covid can't obliterate that -- and don't worry b, I and my family and many,many others will be celebrating it in a new and very safe way. We will celebrate our memories just as I do that one -- memories can't be obliterated, they can't be topped, they are oblivious to commercialism or neoliberalism -- they express freedom and liberality and joy of special occasions, lifetime ones. They are not about political arguments, and none of my Thanksgivings have been like that since, so that America that has pent up frustrations I really don't know --- except for one later one where I, my husband and children, drove in our rickety, drafty, freezingly cold, ancient VW bus to Utah inlaws,and as the turkey was being carved,(with all those expectant little faces round the table) the traditional speech began "...I see nothing to be thankful for..."and my heart sank. Like Dorothy I did think, "But we've come all this way!" but thankfully I didn't say it. Well, that was a downer, but it was the only one I can truly remember.

This Thanksgiving I'll be beginning my letter writing - no cards this year, only stamps and some letter paper! To everyone!!! Because Christmas is going to happen this same new,wonderful way. UN-commercially!

How truly great that is. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Please be safe. Good memories to all.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 23 2020 18:15 utc | 22

@Derpy Doo

Very well said. I share everything that you say ; it's refreshing to see someone able to express rationally and with a cool head what I feel are quite legitimate objections.

Posted by: Micron | Nov 23 2020 18:17 utc | 23

The same capability and public acceptance thereof that allows the Vietnams and Chinas of the world to squelch pandemic breakouts through massive and draconian control of the population is the capability that allows for massive tyranny, "re-education" camps, pogroms, etc.

As for b's Germany, the people of the nation that systematically carried out a massive holocaust should have learned something about blind obedience to authority. There is incredible value to the basic English (and, by inheritance, American) distrust of authority and the natural and native irascibility of the people.

Walt Whitman Quote:

"There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance."

That is the American character ... inconvenient in a pandemic, I grant you, but vital for the long haul.

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 18:25 utc | 24

Derpy Doo, 21:

"But I see very little of that skepticism is being used for mainstream news surrounding the novel coronavirus. There's so many inconsistencies and contradictions, so many obvious attempts at fear mongering, and so much scientific information taken out of context"

Such as?

Posted by: Jay | Nov 23 2020 18:31 utc | 25

I am more than willing to risk death by going out to a restaurant and eating. The MSM is patently absurd in its overall coverage as usual. People live, people die,life goes on. If one is that frightened then they can self quarantine and let the rest of us get back to business.

Length of Stay in Nursing Homes at the End of Life

The median length of stay in a nursing home before death was 5 months
The average length of stay was longer at 14 months due to a small number of study participants who had very long lengths of stay
65% died within 1 year of nursing home admission
53% died within 6 months of nursing home admission

Posted by: circumspect | Nov 23 2020 18:33 utc | 26

Just checked Canada: more than 90% of all deaths have been in LTCs (care homes). Their festivities had zero influence.
Posted by: Biba

The graph was for the number of new cases not deaths. The festivities clearly had a strong effect.

Posted by: Michael Weddington | Nov 23 2020 18:34 utc | 27

@11 Biba

Thanksgiving is a very minor holiday in Canada with little associated travel or large gatherings. The Canadian spike is purely weather related. The country continues fails to protect the health of older and more vulnerable populations, and fails to protect the economic and social well-being of younger, less susceptible populations. There is no "one size fits all" response.

Posted by: sad canuck | Nov 23 2020 18:34 utc | 28

@ Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 18:25 utc | 25

The Americans also built concentration camps (extermination of Japanese-Americans during WWII).

Don't know what you're talking about.

And I'm not even mentioning the American prison system, which legally is a slave labor system (enshrined by the Constitution).


@ Posted by: Micro | Nov 23 2020 18:12 utc | 22

I agree. Deep down, this is all a moot point, because the Western governments didn't have the power to contain this pandemic even if they had the will to do so.


@ Posted by: gottlieb | Nov 23 2020 18:03 utc | 20

I agree with you in the sense that, if this pandemic happened during good times of capitalism (e.g. the 1990s), the American and European peoples wouldn't mind their governments enforcing more draconian lockdowns.

Nobody cares about being at home for some months if they're living comfortably and without financial insecurity about the future. The economy makes the system work, not contrary.


@ Posted by: Derpy Doo | Nov 23 2020 17:57 utc | 16

You have to look at this from the point of view of the national government.

There are two break points for the government:

1) until business power base bankrupts;

2) until your healthcare system collapses.

If you capitalist power base collapses, your hegemony as a national government is gravely weakened; but, if your healthcare system collapses, the number of deaths spirals out of control - possibly exponentially - and you lose your labor power base, which leads to your capitalist power base collapse. See the potential vicious cycle?

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 18:36 utc | 29

Gee, back when this all began I wrote the Communal societies would fare much better than the Individualistic societies and said why--the former value human life more than the latter, particularly as seen via their political-economic philosophies--Zero-sum doesn't value each individual; rather, it sees their property as something to seize and the individual discarded; whereas Win-Win has almost the exact opposite approach as all are valued and none rejected or seen as an object to be mined/exploited. As I wrote a few days ago, Socialism is humanity's basic form of societal organization. Over the centuries that basic fact hasn't changed despite great efforts to do so and keep a tiny aristocracy atop the greater mass of humanity as is the case in ALL Neoliberal nations. In Feudalism, only the lives of the aristocrats have any meaning and value; commoners are essentially worthless and more of a nuisance, and certainly aren't worth spending any wealth trying to protect from harm--although in today's world some tokens must be spent to keep the commoners from revolting.

To read the many entries by trolls on this thread is to read the above written in total rejection of reality. Who can claim to be free in a Cash Economy when it's beyond clear that as Lysander says he must work to pay for his freedom. Only the Rentier Class and their allies get to partake of the Free Lunch. What was it George Carlin said: "It's a big club, and you ain't in it!" The attitudes being shown and utter contempt for the lives of others is breathtaking and borders on evil. But given their root, it's not at all surprising as I anticipated many months ago. The Inhumane will remain so and sink to new lows while the Humane do their best to help as many as they can despite the Inhumane's actions. If a man named Jesus suddenly appeared and began healing people, I'm sure we'd hear demands that he stop and go back where he came from because we don't need any help because we're free.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 18:41 utc | 30

Here is a very good article that provides statistics that back up “B’s” argument: “ The West’s Failure on Covid is Even More Staggering Than You Think. If the West Had Acted Like the East, 97% of Half a Million People Wouldn’t Have Died.”

Posted by: Joseph Dillard | Nov 23 2020 18:43 utc | 31

Some good thoughts, B.

Here in the US, we value our "freedumbs". Chaos, ignorance, violence. QAnon or RussiaGate - you must choose one. Basic order, education, and peace are belittled.

The pandemic is nowhere near the US toll in China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia and many other places.

But in the Kingdom of Freedumbs, we flail and rail.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Nov 23 2020 18:44 utc | 32

At this point in the game as the US is headed full speed to the abyss it is futile to throw up roadblocks, you can't fix stupid. Only wish is that they don't drag the rest of the world down with it.

Posted by: Tobi | Nov 23 2020 18:46 utc | 33

...incidentally, low mortality levels in east Asia (China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan) could have a completely different explanation (or a set of explanations).

Genetics, for example. See here:

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Nov 23 2020 18:47 utc | 34

80% of those who died of COVID in jails within the Outlaw US Empire were INNOCENT--they had yet to be tried.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 18:49 utc | 35

I have long held the opinion that people who talk about freedom or liberty without specifying who it is who is to be free and what they are to be free to do are most likely full-of-it or fundraising. Abstract liberties and freedowns are not worth a bucket of warm spit, as life in the USA so evidently demonstrates.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 23 2020 18:49 utc | 36

@ Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Nov 23 2020 18:47 utc | 35

The article you quoted states the gene in question is more frequent in Southern Asia than in Europe and North America...

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 18:52 utc | 37

#31: "Gee, back when this all began I wrote the Communal societies would fare much better than the Individualistic societies"

Ah, yes, those idyllic communal societies, where we all gather and discuss and share and the consensus opinion of all is taken into account and enacted. Very like the system of China and Vietnam or any other modern socialist country, right?

The peace of the prison is a sort of peace, I guess ...

Posted by: C | Nov 23 2020 18:54 utc | 38

In October Canada already celebrated its version of Thanksgiving. The result was a notable acceleration of the pandemic.

Placing the above noted acceleration of the pandemic in context shows that it corresponds with an increase in Canadian testing.

In Ontario, Quebec and Ontario the increase in "cases" has risen with the increase in testing (ergo more testing will result in more "cases"). In provinces where testing remains flat "cases" remain flat. (Note - author of this comment has used scare quotes around the word cases as there is no explanation as to how the Canadian governments report defines a case)

Unfortunately methods of testing are not listed (eg PCR, antigen, observational) as are how the Canadian governments data set defines a "case".

While many have noted an acceleration of Canadian Corona virus "cases" late Oct - Nov2020 incidences of influenza have all but disappeared.

Have incidences of influenza been mis-classified as Corona virus "cases"?

Italicized/bold text was excerpted from a report titled:

Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Detections

To date this season, 19influenza detections have been reported(Figure 2), which is significantly lower than the past six seasons where an average of 1,115 influenza detections were reported between weeks 35-46. All provinces and territories are closely monitoring indicators of influenza activity this season. Data in the Flu Watch report represent surveillance data available at the time of writing, and may change as updates are received.

Posted by: Personanongrata | Nov 23 2020 18:57 utc | 39

On Canada, Thanksgiving might have only exacerbated existing trends. Covid cases began rising with reopening in Summer and early Fall. The issues were the stupidity of Quebec, the role of do-nothing conservative provincial governments, the stupid federal structure of the state that disarms the national government, the refusal to block inter-provincial travel, and the overwhelming power of big business and the reactionary small business community. These factors have a common denominator: the logic of capitalism and the imperatives of accumulation.

B is right that Americans have a stupid understanding of freedom, one that actually allows collective disaster to occur! However, b doesn't understand the material underpinning of this American ideology: the real dynamics of capitalism
which produce this conception of individual freedom in people's brains! And this is critical. While American ideology is to blame for the crisis, it was big corporations, the petit bourgeoisie and the major financial institutions -- i.e. the capitalist class as a whole -- that drove early reopening and PUSHED WORKERS TO THEIR DEATHS. So, don't blame abstract ideology. Blame the capitalist system and its ruling class.

Lysander is an astute commentator. But his arguments are flawed in their reproduction of assanine American liberalism. His argument is a typical indoctrinated notion that individuals can decide for themselves how to address a systemic and social issue. For example, even if many people experience Covid with no symptoms, allowing the pandemic to run wild and to refuse any public policy intervention is to invite hundreds of thousands of deaths, collapsed hospitals, and economic depression, all of which are staring us in the face ffs.

I've come to the conclusion that Americans are the biggest pussies on earth. They are such pussies that they can't stomach a 6 week lockdown in the interest of stopping mass death. And more than this, they are pussies who can't even demand Congress to tax and confiscate billionaire wealth to pay for a lockdown. They are weaklings and willing idiots for the capitalists who rob and kill them.

Posted by: Prof K | Nov 23 2020 19:01 utc | 40

Bemildered: "Abstract liberties and freedowns are not worth a bucket of warm spit, as life in the USA so evidently demonstrates."

And I'd rather be a poor, but free, man than a sheltered peon in your well-ordered paradise any day.

Sadly, the US is turning more into your vision every day, with our corporate leaders and their masters of narrative leading the way to a glorious oligarchy where everyone will know their place. Thank goodness we will no longer need to think and can leave all the decisions about life to our betters and "science," right?

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 19:01 utc | 41

what the hell happened to this site? for crying out loud lol. horrible.

Posted by: Julian | Nov 23 2020 19:02 utc | 42

In the US, when a fire truck or ambulance wends its way through a red light while everyone else stops to let this law-breaking happen, this is the use of the "police power", as it is known in law. The power to break the law is codified within the law. In a free society, the police power remains.

So, in the US, the power to react to a medical emergency existed within all levels of governance. The problem was that, while China showed exactly how to deal with the epidemic, the model could not be followed in the US because there was insufficient testing, among other things, but the most key of the needed tools.

Lockdowns are simply the temporary staging process to test and isolate those infected - as discovered from massive testing - containing and treating the virus so that fairly quickly the uninfected can resume normal life. Normal life is what Vietnam and China enjoy today.

In the US, we keep treating lockdowns as the solution, when they are merely the preliminary logistics for the real solution: testing, isolation, treatment, and release of the general population back into "freedom". But we lack that mode of action that governments should have created to defeat this virus.

Instead of starting the moral equivalent of a war effort to develop the necessary tools to follow China's proven model, the US authorities did nothing except lie about the need for these tools. This is attested by Fauci, and falls within everyone's memory of the year.

To this day, US authorities have failed to copy accurately China's model. US governance has failed to address the epidemic adequately. This why the populace masks up and isolates - because it was left to the people to protect themselves. This remains the case.


In my opinion, the principles of "freedom" have not even been challenged or tested yet in the US. Of course, we all see it clearly hovering at the edge of the situation, and of course there are various interests that wish to use the pandemic to diminish the people's freedom. But the true challenges have not even started yet.

All we have is the use of the police power to meet a medical emergency, followed by the disgraceful failure of that effort to meet the emergency adequately. The one power that freedom does grant to government was wasted because government was incompetent.

It's called a shit show. The freedom to fuck up has been exercised to a glorious extent - eclipsing all other freedoms.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 23 2020 19:07 utc | 43

As an American here is my input. The only way to have people obey lockdowns is for their governments (local, state, Federal) to support that effort. Free medical care, a basic income, a serious contribution to the people in order to have them know that we are all in this together. Instead Americans (many) received $1200. Unemployment was raised for some people. Gig workers got nothing. In a country of rugged individualism where citizens are on their own to live or die and unregulated capitalism along with corporations having the rights of human beings, there is no such thing as society nor community on any scale larger than immediate family.

WE ALL KNOW THIS. It is dog eat dog here. Lockdowns are unrealistic.

Posted by: Linda Amick | Nov 23 2020 19:08 utc | 44

Every time I hear the folks on NPR wax lyrically about the so-called "compassion" and what not about the (US) medical staff - nurses to doctors - I want scream: You bloody well What??? Well, I do and use far more colorful language than that (all Brit speak).

Not in our experience, None. Neither when my late husband had his op for colo-rectal cancer. No. The doctor (surgeon) had ordered a 6 day in hospital time period (my late husband was Type 1, maybe that colored things; and in his 60s). The charge nurse? She told us that as far as they (nursing staff were concerned, he should be back home after the third matter the actual realities of our apartment (2 staircases). Too bad.

Nor when he had his fatal heart attack (a charmingly named "Widowmaker") love survived (how I do not know, but then he was practiced on by student doctors) for three and a half days...the nurses and doctors? Uncompassionate - uncaring.

Yes, I was in the room with him - but could not be close to him much (rails, tubing, constant tests for this and that). He was on a ventilator...Mistakes were made (serious, worsening his already fragile condition)...Could I hold him? No. Could I kiss him? Only on a small area of his chest. And he was kept fully sedated... so did he hear me? I have no bloody idea...

So do I believe the utter guff that is spewed out about the compassion that all in the medical establishment are feeling, giving (over here)? Absolutely not.

Over 600,000 people die from heart disease plus over 600,000 die from cancer Every Single Year in this country...My late husband is one of those statistics... In a medical system that is only All about $$$$ no one has any feelings except when it fattens their wallets.

Posted by: Anne | Nov 23 2020 19:10 utc | 45

I see a direct correlation between the troll invasion and the publication of a new Anti-China tract, "China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game was issued at the annual Halifax Security Forum held virtually from Friday to Sunday in Halifax, Canada, as reported here:

"In the handbook's foreword, Peter Van Praagh, the forum's founder and president, wrote, 'The 2020 paradigm shift in people's attitudes toward China was a concrete change from the old conventional wisdom that an economically vibrant China would progress toward more freedom for its people, to the new conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party is, in fact, the virus that endangers the world.'"

The reason behind the escalation of smears against China is the same for the appearance of a troll army here:

"COVID-19 has shown to the rest of world how the West is totally lost in the pandemic. The Western system has had its hands tied before the pandemic, and all the complacent Western elites can do to relieve themselves is to stigmatize the CPC."

And they prove my point related to telling Jesus to go home. They are 100% Inhumane and completely unworthy of spending any further time feeding.

If the pandemic wasn't so severe, why was Wall Street showered with over $5Trillion in essentially free money?

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 19:11 utc | 46

Posted by: Linda Amick | Nov 23 2020 19:08 utc | 46

Yep, you nailed it. You need a functioning government and society to deal with things like pandemics, we've been busy dispensing with all that for 40-50 years now, it's the-war-of-all-against-all here, and we're proud of it too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 23 2020 19:13 utc | 47

Posted by: Jay | Nov 23 2020 18:31 utc | 26

"Such as?"

A few examples I can think of off the top of my head:

Scientific information taken out of context + fear mongering: It's discovered that covid-19 can lead to myocarditis, aka inflamation of the heart. The news runs with this and dramatically shouts that covid-19 damages the heart, maybe permamently. What's unsaid is that a) all virus can potentially cause myocarditis including benign colds, b) most people experience no or mild symptoms from myocarditis when they have the flu or a cold, and c) myocarditis generally clears itself up when the virus is defeated with no lasting damage, including with covid-19. Divorced from this context it sure sounds pretty scary though.

Scientific information taken out of context + fear mongering: the news declares that a scientific study revealed how covid-19 leads to severe organ damage. What's not said is that the study was looking at the organs of patients that died from severe covid-19 after an autopsy was performed. In this case you would expect there to be severe organ damage because the patient died, just as you would expect this from nearly any other disease resulting in death.

Inconsistencies and contradictions: there's been so much talk about not trying to overwhelm the health care systems and see hospitals overflow (remember we were trying to flatten the curve initially) but as far as I'm aware, the health care system was never overwhelmed, even during peaks of surges in places with supposedly poor mitigation strategies. Field hospitals were set up and never used, including most notably in New York City, which as near as we can tell suffered nearly as bad of a initial surge as they would have without any mitigation measures given how late their measures were enacted.

Inconsistencies + fearmongering: there's been numerous news reports of the dangers younger people face with covid-19, highlighting deaths and severe cases of the disease. However the data shows that the chance of someone under the age of 50 dying from covid-19 is incredibly small, so small that there's been no noticeable excess deaths in this group pretty much everywhere during the pandemic, and the chance of this group being hospitalized for covid-19 is not that much worse than influezna.

I'm not sure which category this next one falls under, but I think it's perhaps the worst thing about the way the pandemic has been handled: the vast majority of deaths have been in care facilities. Numerous epidemiologists said that the first and most important thing to do at the start of this epedemic was to isolate and protect care facilities as they contained the most vulnerable people. The United States and most other western countries largely failed to do this, as shutdowns, mask mandates, and social distancing are not and were never mitigation strategies that are effective in this regard. If this had been implemented successfully, something absurd like 50-90% of all of our current covid-19 deaths would have been prevented. And then there's the part where the pandemic's mainstream hero of the hour, Andrew Cuomo, supposedly had his administration move covid-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, directly resulting in rampant spread of the virus there and numerous deaths.

Take all of this with a grain of salt, though. I'm just some rando on the internet. I'm not an infectious disease expert, a medical doctor, or an epidemiologist. I just know enough to play one on TV and sound convincing.

Posted by: Derpy Doo | Nov 23 2020 19:14 utc | 48

VK: "The Americans also built concentration camps (extermination of Japanese-Americans during WWII).

Don't know what you're talking about."

What the heck are YOU talking about? "Extermination?" What extermination? Yes, very unfortunately, FDR allowed the imprisonment of some Japanese Americans during a war with Japan where some thought there may be a danger of Japanese invasion of western US in the beginning of the war.

But there was no extermination of anyone. In fact, Japanese Americans were released post-war and succeeded brilliantly in our society. Even during WW2, An estimated 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the U.S. military, of which 20,000 joined the Army. Approximately 800 were killed in action. The 100th/442nd Infantry Regiment became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 19:16 utc | 49

@ Posted by: Grieved | Nov 23 2020 19:07 utc | 45, @ Posted by: Linda Amick | Nov 23 2020 19:08 utc | 46

I think you both found the root of the problem: the economy.

If the USA was at its apex, the American people would accept their government's restrictions without any problem. The economy would quickly recover, a la China now.

But a pandemic now, in 2020, would mean a structural recession to the USA and the West in general. This is not acceptable to the American and other First World peoples because that could mean the beginning of their terminal decline. They are willing to take the deaths now because, deep down, they know there won't be a tomorrow.

Conversely, if we were in the 1960s or the 1990s, there would be absolutely no problem for the West to accept the lockdowns. It would not be a political problem because the West had the time and the means to recover without losing its primacy over the rest of the world. This time, they have China in their rear mirror.

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 19:19 utc | 50

The linked article by Ryan Cooper regarding the Western conception of freedom is absolutely brilliant, especially its take down of the pernicious philosophy of libertarianism. It is one of the very few opinion pieces that I would put in the "must read" category.

Posted by: Rob | Nov 23 2020 19:22 utc | 51

"There should be more draconic measures and restrictions of freedom to prevent higher Covid-19 casualties."

Maybe drone strikes or carpet bombing ?

How about you check into the vacation spots of the elite for us B ? Let's see how they're coping with the COVID19(84).

"33 Safe Summer Vacations You Can Still Take During the Coronavirus Pandemic
August 5, 2020"

Funny how us peasants are much more susceptible to the virus than our feudal lords are......

Still waiting for the first billionaire to die from the virus, or terrorism, or Russian skullduggery.
Funny how that works, don't you think ?

One thing you can be sure of is that any draconian measures dealt out will not be reeled back in after this "WMD" gets exposed for the hyped up BS it truly is.

"We may have to accept a ‘good enough’ COVID-19 vaccine, at least in 2021"
November 17, 2020 1.51pm EST

$1.95 billion only gets "good enough" which only prevents "symptoms". Ever wonder why no one is making lord Bezos shut down his operations or at least revamp his HVAC systems to filter out the virus ??

We sure would hate to burden that slimy bastard with spending money on his employees health and well being. He'll just trick them into thinking wearing a surgical mask will save them so that all those Kardashian purses and Trump ties that are essential to life will be delivered on time. You can't visit grandma or give her a hug but you can send her a pet rock or some other worthless bead or trinket.

Nothing to see here folks just keep clicksuming so mom and pop have to panhandle just to feed the kids.

What shit show.

Let's make sure the elite are fist in line for random samples of the "good enough' vaccine. I'll bet you won't see any of their kids in line for it. In fact, you won't see any of their kids anywhere for some strange reason. In fact, it's been quite a while since we've seen any of the elite. You'd think they'd be leading since they are after all our superiors.

Posted by: dave | Nov 23 2020 19:24 utc | 52

Grieved @45--

Thanks for your injection of sanity. And we know why the infrastructure to fight a pandemic wasn't available because of TrumpCo's destruction of that infrastructure as shown by the several timelines that document that behavior. Also must agree with Prof K @41. Only from leaders within some of the states has governance for the greater good been practiced; and even within those states, their leaders have been harassed by an opposition wanting to condemn society to acting without any protections or precautions whatsoever--the Inhumane Party, as with the parasitic trolls.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 19:25 utc | 53

B needs to take some ivermectin and chill. The Great Reset Overlords’-controlled NIH and WHO propaganda must be getting to him.

Plenty of graphs here showing effectiveness in countries that can't afford pricey 1st World snake oil covid ‘cures’ like remdesivir (or cigarettes in B’s case):

Posted by: gm | Nov 23 2020 19:27 utc | 54

Why are all non-US countries labelled as communist of some flavour or other?
The "commie" Europeans, communist China, communist Vietnam, and the obvious one, communist Russia.
Countries are made up of individual people; if you asked them "Are you a communist?", they'd be baffled and tell you "No".
The things they do, think, behave & believe are exactly like yours; yet they're the communists.
Your obvious response will be that it's not about the people but their form of government that is communist or not. Wouldn't it be right to ask the people whether they like their form of government, whether it works for them? The results might surprise you: 72% of Chinese think their form of government is good; a much smaller percent think the same in the US

I live in Melbourne, a city of 5 million people in Australia.
We had the strictest lockdown imaginable for >100days.
In your eyes we must be a bunch of communists? I consider myself a free-marketeer.

Yet now the virus is gone from our state.

We call the days of 0 new cases & 0 deaths a double donut; and we've now had ~20 consecutive double donuts.
I didn't fear for my own health during the pandemic, I did fear for others - especially the elderly.
I accepted the temporary restriction for them; to make them just a bit safer. It seems like the right thing to do.
Our Premier, Dan Andrews, was labelled "Dictator Dan" by the media, the Prime Minister and just about all others; the political pressure to ease up was enormous but he stood his ground.

We tested and tested, I've had 3 CV19 tests, and tested some more.
Then the numbers started turning for the better & something happened, hope returned.
People started seeing a payback for their "investment" in the lockdown and now we have this invaluable 'something' that we have built & must be protected.

We have experienced an economic decline & many jobs lost, but the economy will come back; the debt will be reduced again.

After all someone has to make & supply all the stuff I intend to buy.

Posted by: hosscara | Nov 23 2020 19:27 utc | 55


Correlation does not imply causation. Were autopsies done on any of these people ? How many where in car accidents or committed suicide while hosting the virus ?

How you collect and process data matters and you're not being specific at all.

Posted by: dave | Nov 23 2020 19:29 utc | 56

It is all the fault of the little people. It is all the fault of the fundamentally powerless. Bernhard thinks we are all deplorables.

Government has no responsibility here. The medical community has no responsibility. It is all the fault of irredeemable shitheads in the hinterlands. Time for us all to be killed

Posted by: oldhippie | Nov 23 2020 19:34 utc | 57

I blame trump and boris johnson !!!

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 23 2020 19:35 utc | 58

Excellentpost,Grieved @ 45!

Posted by: juliania | Nov 23 2020 19:35 utc | 59

@ Grieved | Nov 23 2020 19:07 utc | 45 who wrote
It's called a shit show. The freedom to fuck up has been exercised to a glorious extent - eclipsing all other freedoms.

As I read the comments thinking about what I wanted to add, the shit show characterization entered my mind as well as yours. I do appreciate those calling for a bit of context for Covid deaths in relation to auto crashes/suicides/etc. because it is quite clear that this situation has been taken advantage of by the ruling elite to flood more money to themselves and to further the control meme.

As our respected commenter karlof1 wrote above
As I wrote a few days ago, Socialism is humanity's basic form of societal organization. Over the centuries that basic fact hasn't changed despite great efforts to do so and keep a tiny aristocracy atop the greater mass of humanity as is the case in ALL Neoliberal nations.

The American dream started as a secular republic with a motto of "Out of Many, One" or E Pluribus Unum and some of that sentiment still exists today in spite of the motto being changed to "In God We Trust" and the infusion of faith based social controls over the spirit of Christianity......a shit show serving none but the elite that own control over global private finance and the culture that emanates from a non-sharing vision.

The pandemic freedom that those in the West need to aspire towards is one in which the broader public instead of our historic financial cult set the sharing vision for a more humanistic form of social organization.

Take profit out of the provision of health care and you will have a much more healthy society.

Take profit out of the provision of education and you will have a much more intelligent society.

Take profit out of the provision of government services and you will have a much more equitable/just society.

As things are now, the dying culture of empire is dragging all down with it as the shit show continues. Hopefully more will grow in understanding of the greater context that this highly manipulated Covid situation exists within and act accordingly....we have a structural problem with private finance driving the bus and will continue the shit show until the public takes over driving the bus.....enjoy the ride!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 23 2020 19:38 utc | 60

In the Magdalena era, 35'000 years ago, those who were to be initiated were taken down long dark caverns (Some about 600 metres deep). There they were confronted, in the flickering light that gave them the appearance of movement, with realistic images of wild beasts Tigers, Bears, Aurochs. Those holding the torches probabaly imitated the sounds as well.

The "initiate" had to overcome his fear. Of the dark, of the animals, of sounds, of dying, after which he could rejoin the "living" as an adult.

Imagine, if on regaining the surface he was met by a bevy of grey haired old men who stated;

Warning; We "fa*t checkers" have been chewing on this for some time in our burrows. It is too dangerous for you to go out more than a thousand paces at a time, or for more than the time it takes the sun to slip one length in the sky. Masks and feathers must be worn at all times. You may scavenge for left-over bones, grubs and roots, as long as the shaman has first said you can. You must sit in your cave, staring at three blank walls with your back to the entrance. We have spoken.

Do you really think he or she would then obey?

Typo in "burrow", that should be "bureau" of course.

Posted by: Stonebird | Nov 23 2020 19:39 utc | 61

Trump did a reasonable job on vaccines but then vaccines are pretty much an attractive job for a market player looking for big gains protected by patents.
I am not comfortable with the leading player creating an mrna vaccine. It is more experimental and with the expensive distribution(not the cost of the dry ice, the infrastructure) it is not targeting the maximum share of the population. Maybe eventually it will.
The chinese approach covers the full spectrum of vaccine types and sinovac is the most conservative approach: low risk and easy to produce, so good for a first wave. That sounds like a good strategy.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Nov 23 2020 19:41 utc | 62

The only time Americans care about freedom is when it is the freedom to kill other people be it guns or viruses. If Americans want to kill each other have at it. It can only be good for the rest of the world.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Nov 23 2020 19:43 utc | 63

The comments are amazing. Lockdowns, testing and tracing worked to stop Covid from becoming a pandemic in a number of countries. Some of those countries, such as Vietnam and China, are claimed to be communist dictatorships. Western countries failed to take these necessary measures because our elites wrongly believed taking such measures would harm business business profits more than not taking such measures.

Now, with Covid becoming a pandemic in most places and the economy remaining in shambles, our excuse for failing to act properly to stop Covid is “we don’t want to be like those commies.” This excuse is laughable. Non communist countries such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand have also defeated Covid. They didn’t listen to those wrongheaded fools who claimed that taking the necessary and appropriate measures to stop Covid would kill their economies. They put people’s lives over a supposed threat to profits and both profits and people’s lives won.

Now, when it is crystal clear that the West’s profit loving elites’ response to Covid is a disaster, those elites will protect themselves from a just reckoning same as they have always done, with more propaganda. More people will die as a result.

Posted by: TimmyB | Nov 23 2020 19:48 utc | 64

we are not all trolls because we think that the "virus" is not as deadly as being presented by the those in power. The evidence just isn't there. To advocate locking down an entire society when the virus is primarily deadly to a specific target group the very elderly (80 plus) and the elderly 60+ with health issues... so why lock up healthy people. furthermore studies and medical voices that have a different opinions are censored. The Danish mask study has merit and should be openly discussed, the new Chinese study that strongly suggests that those that are asymptotic are not infectious should be discussed. The public dialog should include the test we are using, and who and how we count those that have died.. I read in Russian you are not labeled a virus death until an autopsy confirms that it was the virus that cause the death.. not just dying with a positive test which is happening in the US

Value life,, the elderly lying in 700 bed warehouses ,,and called SNF's (skilled nursing valued are they ? I am sure no one in New york state suggested legislation that would limit size of these warehouses, to limit disease spread...but more importantly increase quality of life for our largely poor ( because I sure those existing in those warehouse are medicaid )unwanted elderly.

Yet lets lock up healthy poor, and middle class .. as the lockdowns do not effect the wealthy/powerful. Aging Nancy goes to the hair mask. British minsters visit their mistresses... but by god lets lock up healthy people (who are at low risk for death by virus),, ignoring domestic violence, depression, suicide, increases in poverty and a syndrome of fear (that they are making in to a disease so they can sell more antidepressants). Lets lock down people who live in cubicles one on top of another.. they can watch propaganda on TV.

Freedom.. sure we are not free we are trapped in capitalism neoliberal system.. so the little freedom we can get is better then none... for many the lockdowns are a death sentence...

AND B if you must talk about the virus how about talking about the many anti lock downs protest happening in Europe.. but I would rather have some discussions about what appears to be happening in south america... and how the US will potentially respond once the corpse also known as Biden comes to power.

Posted by: dp | Nov 23 2020 19:54 utc | 65

To gm who comments about ivermectin. I honestly don’t know much about that, what I have seen is very positive. It is safe enough to be OTC in many countries. So here in US people are hurting themselves by attempting to use veterinary ivermectin and getting the dose wrong.

Vitamin D works. Works for prophylaxis, works for treatment. The number of studies is overwhelming. I am presenting a commonplace here. So when I do a google search on covid vitamin D first thing at top of page is a banner and an article hyperventilating about hypervitaminosis D. Not a listing, the whole article is there at top of search page. Be very afraid. In real world there is less than one case a year and it is always someone who got hold of bulk concentrate, can’t do math, can’t measure, and has been taking 1,000,000 units daily for years.

Go get some sun. If you can’t get sun take a very cheap supplement. Searches do still somewhat work, read about D.

Posted by: oldhippie | Nov 23 2020 19:55 utc | 66

Dave @ 57

""There should be more draconic measures and restrictions of freedom to prevent higher Covid-19 casualties."

Maybe drone strikes or carpet bombing ?"

Wait isn't that the way Freedom is delivered?

Posted by: arby | Nov 23 2020 19:55 utc | 67

What about Brazil? Bolsonaro was treated as an dangerous idiot. He may be an idiot, but the death toll in Brazil is one of the lowest in the world. Difficult to equate that with "severe lockdowns being the only solution".

Posted by: Stonebird | Nov 23 2020 19:55 utc | 68

The #1 Narcissist is at it again and further escalates war against China in tandem with the book release I reported @48:

"US To Form Western Pact, Launch Further Restrictions To Counter Beijing Amid Major Push In Trade War." Here's a screaming howler of projection to the nth degree:

"'China is trying to beat countries into submission by egregious economic coercion. The West needs to create a system of absorbing collectively the economic punishment from China’s coercive diplomacy and offset the cost,' a senior official said as quoted by WSJ."

No matter how deep a hole you've dug, you can still dig it deeper. And so we get Trump's counter-attack against all those post-election Summits positing Multilateralism and respect for International Law along with pledges for all those nations to act in concert against the Pandemic. So, it seems that the trolls and Trump are on the same team and don't give a fuck about anyone but themselves.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 19:57 utc | 69

@ Posted by: dp | Nov 23 2020 19:54 utc | 70

Yet lets lock up healthy poor, and middle class .. as the lockdowns do not effect the wealthy/powerful.

There's a logical fallacy with this line of argumentation. It's very simple: the working class people who are anti-lockdown are acting under the false premise that they have control over the businesses of their employers.

What if the situation was inverted? What if the business-owners came out and said they'll enforce lockouts and fire people because that was better for their businesses during this pandemic? Would the same working classes be complaining to their governments to force those business-owners to reopen?

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 19:59 utc | 70

Derpy Doo, 51:

"but as far as I'm aware, the health care system was never overwhelmed,"

Then it's hard to take you seriously on this subject. Unless you live in Vietnam.

Posted by: Jay | Nov 23 2020 20:00 utc | 71

The "freedom" argument, at least in USA, was not a grassroots initiative, but came from advisors close to Trump White House and can be followed in the mainstream press from about mid-April coached as, in generalized terms, "the cure should not be worse than the disease." This argument held that severe widespread mental illness and a rash of related suicides was an inevitable outcome of lockdown strategies. This argument animated the associated "back-to-work" drive, which influenced all the "half-measures" which ensure the pandemic will be a long drawn-out disaster with a much longer attendant recession/depression period.

For the western capitalist countries, fairly extensive pandemic planning had been engaged for fifteen years or more - and yet functioned poorly in many cases this past year. There's a systemic reason for this, but also a reflection of a generalized mediocrity and incompetence in the managerial class.

Posted by: jayc | Nov 23 2020 20:00 utc | 72

thanks b... fascinating how the covid articles bring out the trolls... people who never post appear! sorry for skipping over some posts today...

i like what @ grieved, @ Linda Amick and a few others here have articulated - karlof1 and etc... thanks for those posts and some of the others too..

@ Prof K | Nov 23 2020 19:01 utc | 41... you seem to be fairly astute yourself... i do wonder about the generalizations on american people though.. i think they could be just as easily applied to canucks, so i wouldn't be too smug about all this... people make mistakes and sometimes gov'ts and leaders make mistakes... and sometimes it has to do with the ideological framework that is the basis for the country and culture they live in... i think b nails it with this statement - "the preeminent ideology in the U.S. is this false understanding of 'freedom' which is incompatible with a pandemic..."

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2020 20:07 utc | 73

Posted by: vk | Nov 23 2020 18:52 utc | 38:
"The article you quoted states the gene in question is more frequent in Southern Asia than in Europe and North America..."

Yes. And virtually non-existent in East Asia. And (I presume) in Africa.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Nov 23 2020 20:12 utc | 74

Posted by: Jay | Nov 23 2020 20:00 utc | 76

"Then it's hard to take you seriously on this subject. Unless you live in Vietnam."

Well first let's remember that someone can be wrong in one aspect of a complex subject like this and still potentially be right in others. I'm at least willing to give you the benefit of that particular doubt. ;-)

But addressing your statement, are there regions of the US where patients couldn't be hospitalized due to there being no room left in the hospitals? Or where field hospitals were set up and needed to be utilized? I'm not saying this hasn't happened, but I haven't heard of it. I'm not going to claim I'm totally informed on this subject, though. I could have missed it. There's a lot of places around the world that have faced wildly different situations regarding the pandemic. I do know that there were lots of hospitals that were severely underutilized due to expectations of a surge of covid patients that never came.

And just to make sure we're not disagreeing over the meaning of the word "overwhelmed", though, what I have heard is that hospitals were heavily utilized with lots of sick patients in areas with big surges, as one would expect in a pandemic. I wouldn't consider that overwhelmed, though, unless they weren't able to treat everyone that needed to be treated. (It's in this sense that I use the world overwhelmed.)

Posted by: Derpy Doo | Nov 23 2020 20:13 utc | 75

Thanks b your a big big man (gen)
The present post apocalyptic state of the world regarding the virus, is no accident.
The series of ‘mistakes’ made along the way, not mismanagement but deliberate.
In principle the lockdowns could have worked, but were designed to fail.
Chaos is a psycopaths stock-in-trade.
Expect the worse.
This is a link someone put on this site early last March.

Very prophetic !

Posted by: Mark2 | Nov 23 2020 20:13 utc | 76

I’m wondering when and whether (if ever) all of the shenanigans perpetrated in this induced pandemic hysteria committed by the medical establishment, the media, and the academic institutions — all directed by the Banksters and their henchmen — will be uncovered and prosecuted in courts of law. More likely, it will be swept under the rug like 9/11 truth. There’s no question in my mind this is a mafia-style plot designed initially to hamper the Chinese BRI and other economic programs outside of their control as well as to find a putatively justifiable way to transition the failing Western economies while preserving and enhancing the wealth of the oligarchs whose control was and still is threatened. The suspicion about Italy having been the first victim of Coronavirus biowarfare attack in September of 2019 revolves around that country’s pivotal role in becoming a partner in the BRI, bringing access to its seaports as a crucial distribution and trading point with Europe. Rather than wasting energy on fake medicine, I suggest this blog should distinguish itself by getting to the rotten core of the issue, which is the absolute depravity of the elite to maintain the stranglehold of international finance hegemony.

Posted by: norecovery | Nov 23 2020 20:14 utc | 77

Thanks to b, for addressing this issue, but I must disagree with his statement:

"...Trump surely could have done more. Still, he is now getting too little credit for his successful Operation Warp Speed which has created three reasonable good vaccine in record time..."

My disagreement is that Trump wrongly first moved to have the widely discredited Big Pharma 'solve' the situation with hastily produced and not 'reasonable' or 'good' vaccines which are being questioned by doctors who seem to know their business - see nakedcapitalism's 'Links'comments yesterday, and scroll till you come to comments by physicians. The gratitude of other commenters following those posts shows what all citizens face with respect to those vaccines.

What Trump most certainly had access to was the Bully Pulpit -- in effect he could have raised a hue and cry and properly pointed to the horrendous condition of the US healthcare system, unprepared as it was to cope with issues of increasing severity of illness in whatever portion of the population at large that was going to be affected. I am remembering China's proclaimed insistence that every life was important and under threat. Every life. Trump could have made it clear that in this situation this country was and had been even before he came into office, even before this century, inadequately out of balance due to its wealth having been shifted to the minimal percentage of the one percent. Even before Obama blandly proclaimed that he wasn't going to insist on designing a single payer healthcare system (which most other countries have) the rot had begun way back as FDR's programs were systematically whittled away.

As Grieved pointed out @45, lockdowns are only phase one. All the other phases depend on the underlying economy. What use to us are those three vaccines? Americans can't even afford to be tested!!!

And to those who are claiming the hospitals aren't overcrowded - balderdash!! Not only are many in this condition, but workers, worn out from the continuing pressure, are leaving the system. I know this because my daughter, a healthcare worker, just had to "quarantine" and get tested, doing her best to stay apart at home from her teenage daughter, because of an accidental exposure. I value her reports - she's one of those some decry for not having enough compassion. I'm sorry for your experience, but I can tell you she's one that has more than enough. And she's not the only one.

This thing is not to be overblown, but it is also not to be taken lightly. It is very, very contagious and a serious issue for anyone who isn't in the best of health. And not being so happens to be the condition of many in this country due to the woeful inequality and just plain hardship so many citizens have endured as welfare became corporate at almost the same time I became a citizen.

Actions have consequences, and it is not the citizenry that is to blame.

Posted by: juliania | Nov 23 2020 20:26 utc | 78

TimmyB #61 "Now, with Covid becoming a pandemic in most places and the economy remaining in shambles, our excuse for failing to act properly to stop Covid is “we don’t want to be like those commies.” This excuse is laughable. Non communist countries such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand have also defeated Covid. They didn’t listen to those wrongheaded fools who claimed that taking the necessary and appropriate measures to stop Covid would kill their economies. They put people’s lives over a supposed threat to profits and both profits and people’s lives won."

You are conflating two things:

(1) there is the initial infection period, where the number of people affected are in the tens or hundreds and when testing, contact tracing, and isolation can lead to suppression without large scale infringement on people's freedom. This is how New Zealand, Korea, Vietnam, etc. were able to hammer down on small outbreaks and control.

(2) then there's the case when widespread spread has already occurred or is suspected. Once that happens, no society that takes limited government and personal rights seriously will be able to do anything meaningful to eliminate the virus. They can do "lockdowns," which may occasionally "slow the spread" but he virus will lay low and wait for the chance to explode out after the inevitable easing that will follow. China can lock down 20 million people; the US and UK and France and the rest can never do that. What we can do is advocate masks, provide access to healthcare, fund unemployment, and focus on vaccines and pharmaceuticals.

Btw, not that western govts have done things very well here; but one can act perfectly and still have a pandemic cause much suffering. Open and limited government and, yes, freedom and civil rights and liberties have costs. Costs worth paying, in my opinion.

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 20:26 utc | 79

Every Covid related post by b signals the start of a misinformation thread. Not that all of the posts are fallacious, but enough are to make one wary of reading on.

Posted by: Rob | Nov 23 2020 20:27 utc | 80

USAi - all talk no action. Another covid hate session - boring.

Malign governments and leaders:

These two reports are more interesting.

The Covid ignorance of the USAi government and leaders is to be expected regardless of which warmongering party is 'in charge'.

All that bristling militarism and hate filled dread of socialism and they blast away at their foot every day. Good riddance, and may all the good and decent people of that land finally establish a humane existence.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 23 2020 20:30 utc | 81

The actual “trolls” are those who accuse others of being such.

Posted by: norecovery | Nov 23 2020 20:39 utc | 82

Caliman | Nov 23 2020 17:57 utc | 17

Wow ... this is really perverse. So the communists in Vietnam, by merely preserving their people's lives, have provided "freedom" to their people. Isn't that great? And we, by leaving people free to live their lives including possibly to die, have reduced their freedom.

Not clear about what the meaning of the word "freedom" is, I think ... or is it a problem with the German translation?

The problem is not so much one of translation as of understanding and of preferences. If you are dead you have no freedom to do anything at all! All the people who have died for other people's freedom, have no civil rights and no freedom to do anything.
You say you want the freedom to go around infecting other people? Fine! This is not a freedom I am going to the barricades to defend. You have a gun. Do you also want the freedom to shoot it off at random, from time to time? If not why not?

What the Chinese and Vietnamese understand is that by sacrificing some freedom now, one can save a lot of death and destruction later. It is sometime expressed as: "No pain, no gain."
Their governments also understood that locking down a city is not enough, for obvious reasons. It is also necessary to look after the people who are locked down. To make sure they are well and that they can go to hospital or get medical help if they need it, that they have enough to eat, and have all the other necessities of life. That the health service has enough personnel and PPE to cope and all the other supplies they need. This takes thought, organization and targeted government finance, things that seem to be sadly lacking in the US and UK.

They also understood that it is impossible to run a healthy economy with a sick workforce and that therefore the first priority is the peoples' health and that when you have fixed that you can repair any damage to the economy. OTOH you cannot bring the dead back to life however strong your economy is.

The freedom-loving economies of the west, by contrast, gave the impression of relishing the prospect of getting rid of a lot of useless eaters and of flapping about like headless chickens.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Nov 23 2020 20:44 utc | 83

Covid has basically shown what should be obvious to anyone who's cared about environmental issues in the last half century: democracy, human rights and individual freedoms are basically luxury for the summer time. When shit happens, it's the people's and society's survival that matters, not the freedoms of every single individual.
Western current values are obviously totally fucked up due to decades of neo-liberal propaganda that turned a sizable portion of our people, including many commenters above, into fucking sociopaths who only care about themselves and don't give a damn about anyone else.
Well, guess what, the Western model is thankfully going down, and luckily once the US will have been put down by their very own making, they will never ever rise again and we will be able to cleanse the Earth from all the filth their shitty ideology has poured all over the world.
Heck, and I don't even like a lot of Chinese ideas and principles, but they won't be worse hegemon/overseer.

As for the retard who faked "Brazil has a low death rate", well, it's just on the top-5 highest right now, above Sweden, US and UK. Of course, Belgium is far above at the top, since it's the only country who honestly counts covid deaths (while still having an official count below the excess mortality...).

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Nov 23 2020 21:00 utc | 84

#89: "The problem is not so much one of translation as of understanding and of preferences. If you are dead you have no freedom to do anything at all! All the people who have died for other people's freedom, have no civil rights and no freedom to do anything."

Actually, only the dead are completely free. For us living, being able to mostly choose our way in life, long as we mostly don't get in each others' way, and yes choosing our way in death as well, seems to me markers of freedom, certainly.

What you are advocating is, at best, a benign utilitarianism. Of course the ultimate of that would be a government that determines and, through both force and propaganda enforces, what's best for most and enacts same. See? Billions of alive (and healthy) drones ... what a lovely Brave New future to aspire to. What you are not advocating is any proper understanding of freedom.

Btw, I choose to wear masks when in proximity to strangers and do not own a gun because I see no upside to it on balance. Stereotypes are treacherous in the Land of the Free :)

Posted by: Caliman | Nov 23 2020 21:04 utc | 85

norecovery @88--

So, by your metric I'm a troll. Pardon me while I guffaw greatly for several minutes.

Russia today further announced that the Outlaw US Empire can continue digging its hole but it mustn't expect help from others in doing so:

"Gavrilov also accused Washington of playing a 'dishonest' and 'undercover' game, insisting that the US demands that its European allies sign documents so that they can transfer information about their surveillance flights over Russian facilities to Washington.

"The Russian diplomat described it as a gross violation of the treaty, warning that 'if the remaining member states pander to the US, our tough response will not be long in coming'.

"The remarks come after the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that Washington’s attitude towards the Open Skies Treaty had 'changed for the worse when Russia started making regular flights over US territory, especially when our country was first to develop and install digital surveillance equipment on its Open Skies aircraft'". [My Emphasis]

Ah Ha! The Truth finally comes out! The most awesome High Tech Nation of all time wasn't first to employ digital equipment in its aircraft, so it had to declare it's taking its ball and going home. What a childish coward is Trump!. Iran was quite correct in its assessment that no official of the Outlaw US Empire was the equivalent of General Soleimani and thus had nobody to target in retaliation. And of course, the situation will remain the same in Biden's regime.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 21:07 utc | 86

Posted by: karlof1 # 36

80% of those who died of COVID in jails within the Outlaw US Empire were INNOCENT--they had yet to be tried.

Thank you, that is disgusting and it reminds me of this:

To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.

That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.”

― Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century

Thankfully there are alternatives to that insanity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 23 2020 21:18 utc | 87

re: the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic.
Yes. Eric Peters is a fine expert on autos, and also a Libertarian who believes that masks ("diapers," to him) are un-American. He has a regular auto-blog on the web--Eric Peters Autos--which is quite informative, except for its periodic "diaper report" seen here. . . .(For those who might protest airing such on the web, I believe it's important to understand people who think differently than we do, thus gaining advantage.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 23 2020 21:19 utc | 88

As it is with this op/ed, so it is with b's article. Regarding the available vaccines and those still unproven:

"The MSM’s airbrushing of Sputnik V proves the so-called experts can’t allow themselves to give any credit to Russia, as it doesn’t fit the narrative they want to convey.

"What if it’s the most potent vaccine we’ve got? What if it is the best option? It’s baffling that so many are playing agenda-laden infowars, when so many lives at stake."

No, it's not at all "baffling" as the same was done during the Cold War and prior Red Scare. Can't have any collectivist-based society leading humanity; instead, such societies must be demonized 24/7/365 lest humanity become freed from the tyranny of Neoliberal Feudalism--which is what the underlying Class War is all about.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2020 21:23 utc | 89

The original US Thanksgiving was celebrated by the newcomers and what was left of the natives who had been decimated by disease brought in by the intruders into their lands, no thanks given by them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 23 2020 21:24 utc | 90

@36 & 93
The poor people in the jails were there because they had been charged with some outstanding warrant, dating back to the time they were fined for a broken tail-light, driving while black or Hispanic, and couldn't afford to fight it. Then they couldn't afford bail. They were fodder for the prison industry, and now they are dead.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 23 2020 21:31 utc | 91

The problem, as I see it, is libertarianism run amok with its elevation of individual freedom above all else. Everyone alive wants personal freedom, but some forget that freedom is *always* limited in order to protect others from harm and to promote the general welfare. Even within libertarian thinking, the proscription against doing harm is one of the basic tenets, a fact that seems to have been forgotten or never learned by anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers and the like. People can make the decision that they are personally willing to bear the risk of contracting a serious or even fatal illness, but that does not relieve them of the responsibility not to expose others to the same risk against their wishes. Just try to make that argument to one of the "freedom mongers," and you will likely be met by a torrent of outrage mixed with twisted logic.

Posted by: Rob | Nov 23 2020 21:32 utc | 92

'we are not all trolls because we think that the "virus" is not as deadly as being presented by the those in power..." dp@70
But 'those in power' are precisely the people trivialising the pandemic- Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson etc.
The idea that the ruling class is exaggerating the crisis is, frankly, ludicrous. Wherever neo-liberals rule, and they rule in most of the 'west' governments have shown themselves reluctant to take the simple, time tested and efficient measures needed to contain the spread of Covid and minimise the deaths and dangerous illnesses it produces.
Why? Because like the Swedish government their preference would be to take no measures that might interrupt the flow of profits to capitalists and to allow the disease to run rife. How else can one explain the half heartedness with which quarantines and lockdowns are implemented?. How else to explain why schools-whose primary function is clearly to be a child minding service- are kept open in the UK, for example, or Ontario?
The icing on the cake for the capitalist class is that when this crisis passes, millions of people instead of questioning the failures of class society to discharge even the most basic needs of the people- public health, the regulation of homes for old people, universal free medical care and comprehensive unemployment benefits to protect the poor- instead of thinking about the urgent necessity of socialist reforms, millions of people are going to be obsessed with mindless theories in which the blame for the consequences of capitalist class rule is laid at the feet of shadowy, unidentifiable forces bent on enslaving humanity not by controlling the means of production, distribution, finance and communication but by requiring them to wear masks in their public interactions. And forego the pleasures of indoor parties and the free intercourse of viruses.
Sadly, this sort of nonsense was very easily made up, it is one more stepping stone in a long series of departures from probability towards the realm of the irrational.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 23 2020 21:34 utc | 93

"the U.S. public at large follows an ideology that is incompatible with a pandemic."
So does the US military. There are around 1,400,000 people in the active-duty US military. They are healthier than the general population and all under age 60. How are they surviving this "pandemic"? The most recent Pentagon report notes: "[Only] One active-duty service member has died from the coronavirus: Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a 41-year-old aviation ordnanceman." Note that our military was never "locked down" either.

Posted by: Carlton Meyer | Nov 23 2020 21:42 utc | 94

Oxford has a new vaccine that doesn't require absolute 0 for storage
Countries like Iran have unused Pharma manufacturing capability, we could contract countries like them to ramp up production. Oh wait, we are murdering them. Never mind. Maybe the Israelis can pick up the manufacturing slack.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Nov 23 2020 21:43 utc | 95

Part 1: Canada and Covid-19

PANDA (Pandemics - Data Analytics) website has statistical information that contradicts this posts interpretation of what is happening in Canada.

PANDA's analytics for Canada (navigation: >Select a Country or Region [will take the user to Page 2] > Select Country [Press drop-down, enter Canada in the Search field, then select Canada and you're good to go]) show that while "cases" have soared (by, I would assume, the "casedemic" caused by indiscriminate testing and flawed application of PCR) the death rate is low and probably within seasonal norms.

The analytics for Canada do show a spike in deaths which occurred for the period 3rd to 9th October, however, after that the death rate fell to virtually nothing for the period 11th to 17th October (before returning to a level comparable to the period before the spike). There is no impact on the death rate caused by Thanksgiving on the 12th of October; I would conclude that the increase in "cases" is just related to an increase in "testing".

PANDA also shows that there have been 11,455 deaths from Covid-19 in Canada for the year to date. This compares (see Page 8) to 22,663 deaths from Dementia, 72,643 from Cardiovascular disease, and 77,488 deaths from Cancers. Overall, there have been 239,577 deaths in Canada for the year to date; so the concern about Covid-19 needs to be kept in proportion.

The question really is:- has Covid-19 affected Canada's Respiratory Disease/Infection Death Rate and it's Overall Death Rate.

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 23 2020 21:46 utc | 96

As someone whose scheduled appointment for an ultrasound scan has been cancelled, I’d like to place on record how happy I am that the only medical situation that politicians appear concerned about is the Covid. And knowing someone who had a scheduled cancerous tumour removal procedure cancelled back in April for similar reasons, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that I will not be alone in expressing my appreciation of the approach taken this “devastating” pandemic in due course. If I’m still around.

Posted by: Cortes | Nov 23 2020 21:50 utc | 97

The cranks and terrible two's have it figured out and loquaciously offer to tell you why.This site has gone to hell. b. should do away with the comments section and you guys can meet at McDonalds. Heartless egos club. Voltaire would whip all your butts. Your do realize you are talking only to yourselves, right?

Posted by: Lawrence Magnuson | Nov 23 2020 21:51 utc | 98

"Americans are, in effect, expressing the longing and desperation of their soul." americans even have souls.

b. beat me to the canadian thanksgiving comparison (it's the same day yanks have "genocidal greaseball asshole day") but that and halloween led to a very predictable spike. it's a bullshit holiday to begin with but it's also a chance for aynmericans to enjoy their "freedom" to be gluttonous vermin and kill a few million birds who don't even taste good.

every time some jingoistic twat prattles on about "freedom" in the US they always mean material, capitalist "freedom". the freedom to be a predatory subhuman. basically to be jeff bezos. the important form of freedom is freedom from the choices and whims of those "people". freedom of speech isn't that useful when you're working 16 hour days and pissing in a gatorade bottle at a "fulfillment" warehouse.

Posted by: the pair | Nov 23 2020 21:53 utc | 99

Biba ". Their festivities had zero influence."

Hailing from Canada,being fully aware there was no Thanksgiving bounce, one would have to wonder where b get's his info.
My bad the American media spinning long after the fact. The problem is still and has always been the PCR test and the CT (cycle threshold)

Posted by: R Rose | Nov 23 2020 21:53 utc | 100

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