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

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The point is that while Covid cases have rocketed up (based on, never before seen, mass testing and misapplication of PCR) at the same time Covid deaths have drastically fallen.

The Government of Canada, just like western Governments everywhere, are ramping up fears and restrictions when such measures are much less necessary and where the available evidence indicates that lockdown don't work:

Published Papers and Data on Lockdown Weak Efficacy – and Lockdown Huge Harms

At the same time, all Western Governments (including Canada) choose to ignore the deaths that are caused by lockdowns (which are happening even in Canada).

In the UK evidence is emerging of what is becoming known as "Lockdown Induced Death", The following news report indicates that for every 3 people who died with Covid-19 another 2 may have died due to lockdown. The article clearly indicates that deaths caused by lockdown will, in time, exceed that of deaths from Covid-19 (probably, I believe by or before March 2021) if lockdowns continue:

Coronavirus: For every three COVID-19 deaths, lockdown may have caused another two

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 25 2020 19:18 utc | 301

fnord @ 294

Take a look of this report about Pfizer/Moderna vaccine, the mostly hyped by MSM, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have primary analyses that distribute the vaccine to only 100, 151, 154, and 164 participants respectively.

The scale of study would be sufficient for testing vaccine efficacy is between 30,000 to 60,000 participants.

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 19:21 utc | 302

foolisholdman @ 254

It's incredible to see people like ADKC still does not believe what has been effectively done in China! Just shows how powerful the Western MSM propaganda is!

As a Chinese, I can testify that the the following measures are the key for China to take covid-19 under control:

- strict lock-down;

- quick and large scale testing;

- painstaking trace-tracking;

- cooperation of the public;

- competent governance at all levels;

- dedication and sacrifice of government officials at all levels, staffs at neighbourhood committees, local counties and villages.

Nearly 300 of them have died while working on Covid-19 control and majority them are CPC members. Over 1,000 officials have been either reprimanded or directly kicked off their position/out CPC for shirking responsibility, slack work, etc.

Here are some more:If You Still Don't Understand How China Succeeded Stopping the Virus, Read This and Be Forever Enlightened. Written by an American living in China.

The difference between the US and China’s response to COVID-19 is staggering. How China did it in details.

Wuhan Doctor Speaks Out From Ground Zero

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 20:29 utc | 303

@ 301bemildred.. i love henry millers writing.. my brother gave me a book of his a long time ago - the book of friends.. check it out for a fun read if you are interested.. i think society is going to look back at 2020 and the impact of covid and come up with some really interesting insights into why and what did or didn't work and why... stay tuned!

@ 302 adkc.... i agree with you that the lockdown and effects of lockdown are a concern.. here in b.c. the number of deaths from opiate over doses and etc is quite high relative to numbers who have died from covid.. and if you factor in suicide and depression and all the other type mental health challenges from the lockdown - i don't dispute this... you might even be correct on the misapplication of pcr.. i don't know... thanks for sharing..

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2020 20:43 utc | 304

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2020 20:43 utc | 305

Re: Henry Miller, yes he's underrated. Very funny in places. I read the two Tropics and then wandered off. I'll try looking that one up. I classify him with Dos Passos and Orwell's Down & Out In Paris & London, blue collar life as a valid subject for lit. Steinbeck was another. Bukowski. We had a lot of that here at one time, now it's all about big shots and gold toilet people again, Ayn Rand type drivel.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 25 2020 21:00 utc | 305

After 2 workers working in a cold storage warehouse turned out Covid-19 positive on 8/9 Novenmber, the local public health authority decided that over 1,000 workers who worked or came close contacts with these two should go into centralized quarantine for 14-day, where they were supplied with meals, accommodation and their wage were paid.

60,000 people in that area went through PRC tests, which turned out all negative.

On 24th, after 14-day without any local transmitted covid-19 case, the cold storage warehouse area has already down graded from red (war) level to low risk level.

Nov 20th, 8 covid-19 positive cases were identified in Kan Hai Xuan, Bin Hai Xin District, Tianjin, Tianjin public health authority decided test all 2,467,411 residents in Bin Hai Xin District on 21st. On 24th at 10 o'clock, all test results were out: all negative.

How the trace-tracking ream of Tianjin has finally revealed the infection link of the 8 new cases in three buildings in Kan Hai Xuan resident block, could compete with how Sherlock Holmes methodically solved his mysterious cases: Detect the Covid-19 infection link of Tianjin Kan Hai Xuan. (Pls use google translation.)

Does your democratic government provide you with this type public service as the "authoritarian" CPC government has been doing during Covid 19?

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 21:05 utc | 306

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 21:05 utc | 307

Thank you Lulu, the translator worked pretty well, that's very interesting and very funny too. Imported pig heads from North America. You seem to have the COVID tracking tech well-developed now.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 25 2020 21:26 utc | 307

To all MOA readers:

Note 1: From Nov. 11 -13, local Chinese inspection agencies found 8 Covid-19 positive samples from imported food packages (pork from Germany, seafood from Argentine, Saudi, etc.) in cold warehouses.

The latest Covid-19 cases in Tianjin was also from imported meat from N. America and in cold warehouse.

After the small scale Covid-19 eruption in Beijing in June, which was traced back to imported Norwegian salmon, China has paid great attention to inspect imported frozen food in cold warehouses.

(Remember, Wuhan's initial Covid-19 cases were traced back to Huanan Seafood Market?)

Please wear disposable gloves when you touch and buy meat/fish/veg from freezers when shopping. Be careful when washing and cooking food taken out from freezer.

Note 2: The trace-tracking teams in Tianjin and Shanghai found out the spread of 8 and 2 respective Covid-19 cases could have been largely prevented, had the workers worn face masks when working or inside lift.

Please do wear your face masks, especially when in closed space/indoor.

Stay healthy!

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 21:38 utc | 308

Bemildred @301

Thanks for sharing the wonderful and insightful writing from Henry Miller! Real sharp!

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 21:46 utc | 309

lulu @ 304

“Competent governance at all levels” is something Americans do not have, even in our dreams.

Meanwhile government blames the populace for everything wrong, always. The idea that government officials would ever in any circumstance be held accountable is not imaginable.

Posted by: oldhippie | Nov 25 2020 23:12 utc | 310

@309 lulu - "Remember, Wuhan's initial Covid-19 cases were traced back to Huanan Seafood Market?"

That is one very interesting connection that I had not heard anyone make yet. Cold storage of imported foods - hmmm...

Many thanks for the China reporting and all your comments

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 25 2020 23:17 utc | 311

Bemildred@ 308

Haha, I know your guys probably find pig ham and shank better, but some Chinese would tell you the meat of pork's face is much tender and juicy! Chicken wings über chicken breasts!

To be honest, you do NOT need a lot of tech to do Covid trace-tacking, you need to have human resources to just do it, to call out and talk to the confirmed Covid patient asking where he/she's gone and the timing. If the patient has good memory and keeps his/her bus tickets/receipts, then you may not need big data for supportive evidence to locate the places/areas.

(You got tons of unemployed people, maybe get them trained and let them do this job?!)

Once trace-tracking team got the whereabouts of the Covid patient, the public health authority would 1. announce via social media, radio and TV to inform people who have been in the same places to take Covid tests, and 2. send in teams to disinfect the places (restaurants, shops, buses, train carriages, etc.)

If you have to go into quarantine for 14-day, you'd get food and daily supplied delivered and can spend all the idle time binge-watch your favorite TV series or play games with wage fully paid. A kind of boring holiday, in fact.

The only downside from the quarantine is that you probably get fat by doing nothing.

For the strict lock-down of resident blocks, districts and Wuhan, the neighbourhood committees, volunteers and online companies, sometimes even PLA in case of Wuhan, would deliver rice/vegetable/other daily supply to you according to your orders.

Such supporting logistic network is the key to help people get over the strict lock-down.

Also government makes sure the quarantined employees get fully paid. (This, probably, is not possible in US, ideologically.)

The cost of Covid test is in general taken over by the local government. For example, local Tianjin government paid for the PCR tests for all the 2,467,411 residents in Bin Hai Xin District.

All these might inconceivable for Americans, who are so indoctrinated by small government, no interference from government, my freedom my right attitude.

While in China, we have been traditionally very much used to be taken care by the government during crisis like this. From thousands of years, Chinese have been taught that we would throw off the kings/emperors/rulers when they do not take care of the people.

水能载舟,亦能覆舟 (Water can carry the boat, but also can turn it over). That's the spirit of Chinese civilisation.

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 23:19 utc | 312

@belmidred and @ lulu - thanks for the additional insights! blue collar life is what you'll get in the book of friends of his too... i have gotten so caught up in other stuff, that i think the last fiction writer i read was wallace stegner, or maybe wendell berry.. i am reading different types of work now - mostly non fiction, although the book of friends book is also non-fiction - about the people he grew up with in brooklyn when he was a kid... they are fun stories..

Posted by: james | Nov 25 2020 23:22 utc | 313

oldhippie @ 311

Why Americans can not hold "the government officials accountable"? Why is this "not imaginable"?

Because American are not used to the idea of good and competent government? Or, simply feel total disillusioned about the power of money?

For the past 30+ years, American (and European) experts have been teaching us that you can use your vote to do pretty everything, from getting rid of corruption to total government transparency to reaching the final Nirvana (American way of life). A LOT Chinese intelligentsia (esp. journalists, professors) have been totally bought into this idea that "democracy" is panacea for every problem we have in China.

When Covid started to breakout in US, this bunch Chinese neoliberals , esp. journalists from Caixin & Co, insisted on "America can handle it without breaking a sweat" because it has democracy and the most advanced pharm- and bio-technology. They are still vehemently defending the American political system is THE system for human being.

Luckily, more and more Chinese are waking up from the illusion MSM and Hollywood have projected on us. Hopefully, more and more Americans would wake up as well.

Posted by: lulu | Nov 26 2020 0:30 utc | 314


Thanks very much for your commentary and further info about the cold storage issue which I'd known about since the Beijing salmon incident that made me wonder about the first outbreak's source.

Within the Outlaw US Empire, there's no effective system of citizen feedback to elected officials except the occasional town hall where you might be lucky enough to gripe for 30 seconds before security pulls you away from the microphone. Money doesn't just talk; it crowds-out all other voices that are crying to be heard. That's why so many millions voted for Trump even though he didn't really listen either--but, he did bitch about the system almost daily. As I wrote in the article I published today, China's System is vastly superior to the clearly failed Neoliberal System.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 26 2020 1:05 utc | 315

That is one very interesting connection that I had not heard anyone make yet. Cold storage of imported foods - hmmm...

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 25 2020 23:17 utc | 312
This type of information is widely available in Chinese on line.

The Western MSM never really try to to informthe Western audience by reporting these kind of useful information regarding Covid-19 , which could have saved some lives in America and some other Western countries and avoided some of the chaos/messes.

(Just image how aghast we were when the head of CDC and Jerome Adams, surgeon general, telling the American public that wearing face masks was useless!)

The Western MSM is only interested in creating anti-China propaganda and pop up glorifying PR spins for big money: AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have primary analyses that distribute the vaccine to only 100, 151, 154, and 164 participants respectively.

The sufferings of ordinary American is their least concern......

Posted by: lulu | Nov 26 2020 1:12 utc | 316

Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 23:19 utc | 313

Meat: Well I've always liked bacon, but otherwise have not been that fond of meat, though I've eaten plenty. Being scots-irish-welsh I like dairy, always been fond of cheese. About ten years ago I had to give meat up anyway because I started getting gout. So I rebuilt my diet and did other things to address that, with considerable success I can say now, I haven't had an attack in ages, but I don't eat meat (well maybe a little), don't drink, and in most cases insist on fixing food myself. It has taken my wife a while to get used to that, but she likes the effects.

Governance: What can I say, it looks like standard imperial decay to me, all that free money floating around and nobody interested in making things work any more. Happened in USSR too.

You have to realize the unusual historical background of this place, a large continent well tended by the natives, with most of the native high civilizations decimated by disease before we got to them. And these people came from Europe of the pre-modern and early industrial period, it was easy to get ideas and act out, and they did. "The most successful colonial enterprise in history", I call it. A lot of that mindset still lives here, and it lies behind a lot of the looniness and unrealistic ideas and expectations (I think.)

And I don't think effective governance in the way I would mean it now was what the founders set out to do, rather the opposite, the set out to make government weak and weakly accountable to the public, a province of the propertied as they thought of it then. And that's the way it has been except for a couple of short periods of reform, and those often motivated by the need to compete internationally rather than any idea that it was really the purpose of government to serve the public, to serve everybody.

I actually think the Russians, because of their similar wealth of land and resources and relatively low population, have some of the same issues, but not as bad. They're a little crazy too. I like Russians. The Russians are a great people, never doubt it.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 26 2020 1:20 utc | 317

@ 302 adkc... further to my response to you @ 305 - 5 British Columbians dying every day from overdose, coroner reports

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2020 1:21 utc | 318

@315 lulu and #316 karlof1

I think the answer to accountability is that for the ordinary citizen, the separation from the federal government is too large to cross, and the scale is too big to tackle as one individual or group.

In contrast, the governments of the states are much easier to approach. I challenge and influence local government all the time in my town, and I'm allied with people who influence the county all the time, and the state legislature.

I recently came across an idea that is not mine and that I never had thought, which is for the states to call a Constitutional Convention to propose a new Amendment that would dissolve the Union. If successful, it would go to the states to be ratified. If ratified, the Union would dissolve.

If the Union dissolved, states would make whatever alliances would seen fruitful to them as sovereign nations. I live in Texas, which I'm guessing would be very comfortable to be its own, singular Republic again.

The point here is that if we ultimately decide that the federal government is an outlaw beyond all redemption, then we may simply have to give it up - throw the federal government away as useless. And start over, with what we know from the experience, and how we want to move forward into a future.

It's a thought I've only just come across, and only just started thinking about. But your question about accountability, lulu, prompted this answer, and with karlof1 in the mix too, maybe it has legs ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 26 2020 1:24 utc | 319

@ Posted by: lulu | Nov 25 2020 21:38 utc | 309

Thanks lulu. After reading about the cold storage product contamination problems occurring in China as reported by Global Times I redoubled my precautionary efforts re grocery shopping since winter has arrived here as most food products now may qualify as cold storage products whether they are stored cold or simply become cold due to natural environs.

With the infection rate so high here, and with underpaid workers still working essential jobs despite high infection rates, one can surmise that avoiding the new plague requires hygienic measures beyond the norm, and i dare say, beyond most people here ability to cope with the challenge, being uninformed and misinformed. It is like living in a pre-science society except we had the social knowledge to prevent the pandemic but it was discarded by people in charge because they saw such knowledge as effluvia clogging up the imperialist profit machine.

Posted by: suzan | Nov 26 2020 1:54 utc | 320

Thanks to lulu for the report about how real humans are treated by a civilization (China) in contrast to the elitist system of the West.

And thanks to suzan # 321 who wrote

It is like living in a pre-science society except we had the social knowledge to prevent the pandemic but it was discarded by people in charge because they saw such knowledge as effluvia clogging up the imperialist profit machine.


I was hounded out of nakedcapitalism years ago for continuing to extoll the benefits of public finance and was told that TINA to the Western way of private finance, property and unfettered inheritance. How can any society have freedom when the levers of economic interchange are all controlled privately....and globally.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 26 2020 3:05 utc | 321

lulu #304

Thank you - absolutely correct. Clearly there are some who are just absolutely rigid in their denial and ignorance. China, Vietnam, Cuba, Australia and so many others have found a workable solution that has social solidarity and trust at its core.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Nov 26 2020 6:34 utc | 322

Japan is not a good case for handling COVID, cases are absolutely jumping up now and death are the highest per capita in East Asia.

Jap government absolutely fucks up.

Posted by: Smith | Nov 26 2020 6:53 utc | 323

AstraZeneca loses notion of the ridicule, resorts to homeopathy to explain its "90% efficacy":

‘Average’ effectiveness & unexplained side effects: 7 QUESTIONS that AstraZeneca needs to answer about its Covid-19 vaccine

Posted by: vk | Nov 26 2020 11:38 utc | 324

To lulu’s query why are public officials unaccountable? Because we have a class society. A dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Little people may not take any actions against their betters.

In practice we end up with citizens such as commenter Circe, who regards politicians as rockstars and as gods. Politics is nothing but a division into two fan clubs, one insists that Team Blue has the true gods, Team Red insists they have the true gods. Within each camp contesting the perfection of the team heroes is blasphemy. There is lots of shouting throughout the process, no actual politics, no public business. Just a show. The spectacle overwhelms any who have a notion of beginning something political.

Posted by: oldhippie | Nov 26 2020 12:28 utc | 325

Atlantic weighs in on the errors made in handling of the pandemic and, I suspect unintentionally, points to the role of our "local gentry" here in thwarting effective measures to end the pandemic:

The Logic of Pandemic Restrictions Is Falling Apart

A self-own which is very typical of our business elites here, who are short-sighted, bigoted, and ignorant to a fault.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 26 2020 12:49 utc | 326

Echoes of Late Capitalism:

Police officer who dishonestly scanned 7p carrot barcode to get donuts is sacked

This is a sample of the Chosen People, the enlightened people of the West, the most advanced of the world.

Posted by: vk | Nov 26 2020 13:28 utc | 327

The only problem about China is that as soon as it reopens its doors to travelers, the virus will be back.
And the main problem of Western medicine with regard to immunity is that it will never admit that traditional medicines, plants and a good diet can help a lot not to catch the virus.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 26 2020 15:08 utc | 329

ONE factor explains most of the differences in Covid19 deaths across countries

"Why has so many people died in Italy and Spain, while mortality rates have been much lower in for example Scandinavia? Similarly why are mortality rates so low in most developing countries?"

The above linked article and graph compares the number of people who have died with Covid to the share of the male population older than 80 years and finds a very strong correlation between the two.

"From that perspective it also seem amazing to me that countries have introduced more or less draconian curfews and lockdowns around the world basically for everybody rather than focusing on protecting the most fragile parts of the population – the elderly."

"In fact, if we look at Sweden which...likely has the most liberal approach to combating the Covid19 we see that Sweden’s mortality rate overall is not much different from other countries and if we put a regression line in the graph then Sweden would be more or less smack on that regression line."

And despite claims that China actions have been spectacular and vastly superior to the West, we can see that China's Covid death rate is exactly as expected with this correlation.

The evidence suggests that it is only Greece (a draconian response) and Japan (a liberal response) that have done much better than any other country based on the stats in the research (to April). As far as I can tell, looking at up-to-date death rates, Greece appears to have moved in line with this correlation whereas Japan appears to remain an outlier.

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 26 2020 16:04 utc | 330

james @319

Thank you for that link. It is very concerning.

I am sure that you noticed that the overdose deaths in British Columbia have doubled and are far exceeding the deaths from Covid-19. If you don't mind I'll list the stats for the benefit of other commentators:

COVID-19 deaths vs. overdose deaths in B.C. (2020)

         Covid Deaths    Overdose Deaths
Jan            0                       79
Feb            0       75
Mar          24      115
Apr           87      120
May          53      178
Jun           11      185
Jul            19      184
Aug          14      159
Sep          26      129
Oct           32      162

Total 266 1386

If we assume that Jan and Feb indicates the normal rate of expected overdose deaths then we would have expected 770 deaths to date. Instead, we have 1,389 overdose deaths which indicates 616 excess overdose deaths.

Sadly, there will be other excess deaths from suicide, neglect, cirrhosis, undetected and/or untreated cancers, heart attack and strokes. In the UK it appears that these deaths would exceed that of overdose; if the same is true in British Columbia then the total of "Lockdown Induced Deaths" will be far, far greater than Covid deaths.

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 26 2020 16:53 utc | 331

james @319

(correcting my post @332 which was posted prematurely)

Thank you for that link. It is very concerning.

I am sure that you noticed that the overdose deaths in British Columbia have doubled and are far exceeding the deaths from Covid-19. If you don't mind I'll list the stats for the benefit of other commentators:

COVID-19 deaths vs. overdose deaths in B.C. (2020)

         Covid Deaths      Overdose Deaths
Jan              0                     79
Feb              0                     75
Mar            24                   115
Apr             87                  120
May            53                  178
Jun             11                  185
Jul              19                  184
Aug            14                  159
Sep            26                  129
Oct             32                  162

Total         266                1386

If we assume that Jan and Feb indicate the normal rate of expected overdose deaths then we would have expected 770 deaths to date. Instead, we have 1,389 overdose deaths which indicates 616 excess overdose deaths.

Sadly, there will be other excess deaths from suicide, neglect, cirrhosis, undetected and/or untreated cancers, heart attack and strokes. In the UK it appears that these deaths would exceed that of overdose; if the same is true in British Columbia then the total of "Lockdown Induced Deaths" will be far, far greater than Covid deaths.

Posted by: ADKC | Nov 26 2020 17:22 utc | 332

@332 adkc... unfortunately many of the drug addicts from across canada come to the westcoast - b.c. as the weather is the most friendly for sleeping outdoors and living on the streets.. as a consequence b.c. - british columbia - has a much higher concentration of people with drug addiction problems.. i don't have the stats to share on this, but as you note 'lockdown induced deaths' are indeed higher here if you believe that these overdose deaths wouldn't happen if there was no lockdown.. the way i see it is they are 2 separate problems, that might be related, but not directly.. the other issues you mention - suicide, untreated cancers and etc - those are valid and negative byproducts of the lockdowns to an extent - not 100 %, but a valid concern and observation as i see it.. sometimes no choice that is made is a choice favourable across the board... this is one of them...

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2020 17:51 utc | 333

@ 301 bemildred.... i read this regarding air travel and thought i would share it with you... i am not sure about the conclusions...

"When it comes to transmission of the virus, experts say airplanes are actually quite safe.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said earlier this month that there was little evidence that COVID-19 was being transmitted by passengers on airplanes, even though the Public Health Agency of Canada was aware of reports that infected people had travelled into the country by air.

"There have been very few reports, extremely rare reports, actually, of transmission aboard aircraft," Tam said. "Very, very little."

In fact, a Harvard University study found that flying may actually be safer than other routine activities, such as grocery shopping, because of "layered" prevention measures, such as air filtration systems, mask policies, frequent cabin cleaning and screening for symptomatic passengers.

Another study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defence also found ventilation systems and stringent masking policies have made onboard transmission rare.

Chagla said an airplane's ventilation system is pretty similar to those used in operating rooms, but being on board isn't the riskiest part of flying.

He pointed to everything leading up to and after the flight, such as taking transit to the airport and waiting in line, as opportunities for transmission.

"All of that probably presents a higher risk than the flight itself," Chagla said. "

cbc link here.

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2020 18:14 utc | 334

Commercial jet aircraft have good air circulation and filtration, they have to. Jet cabins are very dry too. They are generally pretty careful about sanitation. So it's not a surprise they are not good places for transmission. The problem would be when someone goes far away and transmits there spreading it someplace new. You know, having exciting new experiences overseas, eating foreign food, etc.

Behavioral adjustments made since the pandemic started may be part of it, people started adapting behavior to the pandemic as early as January (some of us anyway).

It would be interesting to have data about the effects of private jet travel too.

It is not a subject without interest, packed in like sardines they way consumer class flights are you would think some infections would occur, so some further investigation would be good, but I don't think it means much unless you include the travel habits of the filthy rich and their well-off minions, and you have to account for ameliorating factors and changes made since the pandemic began, and most of all you have to have tracking information so you actually know who got what where, which for the most part we don't.

But in terms of indicating anything about the pandemic I think it's grabbing at straws to deny that's it's really infectious.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 26 2020 18:41 utc | 335

I'll extend my appreciation for lulu's contributions.

Reading lulu mentioning the breath and commitment of the response in his country just confirms long held judgements of how anti-social western societies have become. What they reinforce though, which does not consist of news in this forum, is that western response to Covid was half-hearted at best in the health domain while increasingly destructive on the social/economic. Note how the framing of the issue naturally tends to push us into false dilemmas: Health vs the Economy or Health vs the Social.

This framing was imposed in western democracies, it is not a choice of its general constituents, riding opinions of rushed science, the well developed science of opinion making and eased upon with 24/7 fear campaigns, initially for the sake of precaution and later on for expedience. It is all very convenient politically, if unfortunate, that the less effective a measure is against the disease the more social and economically destructive the collateral measure is made to be. It figures we are now at the dogma stage, nothing can be questioned without being labelled a C denier. This is precisely the conditions an adversary will create to make social sabotage effective.

Honestly, I am truly happy that China was and is being able to turnover this crisis, its example nothing from a mirage from where I'm standing. But I live here, what I am observing is at best a frail attempt at slowing the disease, on the other hand, and quite successfully the facts show the obliteration of economy and social life, coincidently on exactly the precise terms it was, already pre-Covid, being dismantled.

I'll keep appreciating the opinions of the fine honest people frequenting this forum, I'll say humbly that I am not in possession of the objective truth on this matter, I do fear most of you honest people are falling for the fraud. I've seen enough to reach that conclusion, you don't need to insult me.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 26 2020 19:00 utc | 336

@ 336 bemildred... i agree with you in all of that.. cheers james..

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2020 19:35 utc | 337

@ 337 vasco da gama... i like what you have to say too... i would only add that it is good to question everything... i am not into labelling others covid deniers if they don't buy into what is being presented by many western gov'ts... at the same time i don't believe the labelling coming from the other side of the aisle is helpful either... in fact if we could continue to have a conversation as opposed to labelling people - i think we would be better off... cheers james

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2020 19:47 utc | 338


Don't need to take it personally james... my words are meant to be taken with regards to the general discussion climate in the forum (or lack thereof beyond it) not any one commenter in particular. When I feel insulted maybe I simply shouldn't. But I trust most of you to share this plainly, just like it feels. I'll have argumentative days, other days...

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 26 2020 20:32 utc | 339

That's quite a hockey schtick you've got there! LMFAO

Here's to hoping you covidiots won't leave your homes until being properly "immunized" with Modernas mRNA "cure for pain"...

Posted by: LXV | Nov 29 2020 11:36 utc | 340

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 26 2020 20:32 utc | 339

"When I feel insulted maybe I simply shouldn't"

I don't think you should take anything said here seriously enough personally to get offended, I work hard on that and it greatly improves the experience. And since there are lots of trolls here at times, it is a great place to practice.

However, since there are lots of people trying to jerk your chain all the time, it's perfectly understandable to get annoyed, and that's usually when I decide to do something else for a while.

Posted by: Bemildred | Nov 29 2020 11:56 utc | 341

Thanks for the kind words and advice Bemildred. Usually I would be following it and turn off more easily, as it happens some subjects are more persistent and ask of us to brave the waters. All is good.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 29 2020 12:47 utc | 342

@ Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 29 2020 12:47 utc | 342

I understand Portugal is a very tiny and impoverished economy, extremely dependent on tourism to stay afloat, and that pissing off rich German tourists is not a good idea economically.

But your sources clearly point that this was a purely legal dispute. You should be blaming the Azores' government, not the PCR tests. The PCR tests are working as intended.

Let's not transform local disputes and local government incompetence into COVID-19/pandemic denial conspiracy theories. If your governments are insufficient, you should be fighting against them for a better world, instead of invisible mills.

Posted by: vk | Nov 29 2020 13:10 utc | 343

Well well...

The US is really going to show us the way this time. The difference between how the approach is between the red state and the blue state, and the time will show that lockdowns did not affect year on year excess deaths that would match even a fraction of the panic we’ve seen.

I have been a staunch critic of the USA as some posters will note, but here we will witness it’s greatest strength... the freedom ensured inside the constitution. Sweden and Japan will be notable controls in this experiments also.

But there will soon be a real reckoning for an even bigger epidemic born of the ‘Lockdown Induced Death’ in many countries. Delayed/missed cancer screenings, suicides/homelessness born of depressed economies etc. The list is as long as you want. I wonder, who will be responsible for this...? The government, or the people...? Hmmm. Interesting.

And I wonder what the long term strategy for NZ and Australia will be. This will also be interesting. As if a 2 week isolation upon entry is in any way viable in the long term. They did catch it early enough to employ a 0% COVID strategy... but this cannot be a long term strategy. The virus will come, it will become endemic, and to deny this is to deny science 1.01.

Through time the market and the human have been joined at the hip.

Destroy the market and destroy the human.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 29 2020 16:21 utc | 344

Vk, I can't force you to open your eyes and make you see the legal precedent that was attempted at being set. This is a matter that not only the appeals tribunal has judged, also the Constitutional tribunal have confirmed first instance decisions. Attempts at subverting the Constitution keep loosing their plea every time. But you can keep dismissing the decision as a minor legal dispute, and turn this into an exclusively economically motivated effort by the tourism sector.

PCR tests would be working as intended up to the point that they can be an auxiliary diagnostic method, on the other hand, they've been used alone to trample Constitutional rights, and here they don't serve the highest standard of evidence required by law. No vk... I am not blaming PCR test for anything. How could they, they are not an agent in this process, they are merely the technology which authorities have been resorting to, as if there were no better, more reliable alternatives, in order to suspend assurances provided by the Portuguese Constitution.

This behaviour of Health Authorities and Government is not exclusively local/regional, it has similar reflection in national policy employed. Parallels can be seen in most European countries.

The latest attempt sought to prevent the oldest party in our democracy to unite in their congress. The populist attempt failed. The congress convened and the Constitution prevailed. Call the defence of the Constitution my country submits to idealistic and quixotic all you want, she won't fall without a fight.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 29 2020 17:08 utc | 345

@Vasco da Gama

The COVID house of cards could well be built upon the PCR test which, while very good in a hospital or strict laboratory setting, it is totally flawed fir the purpose of mass testing.

I look forward to seeing the Portuguese case soon followed next by Italy and Germany where the courts are about to deal with them in varied fashion.

A great breakdown of the PCR from the UK perspective is underway as well, and to why the transfer to LFT tests when infection is at a very low level would virtually end the pandemic that is too focused to cases and not much else:

Well done Portugal for leading the European fight.

You know... a case, once upon a time, meant a diagnosis by a doctor or a hospitalisation, somehow, with wordplay, a positive test became a case. A very low bar... because, as we know, asymptomatic transmission has NEVER been the driver of respiratory virus epidemics. 37% of positive cases in the UK are asymptomatic, not withstanding the false positive rate which practically ensures a country can never leave a mode of emergency.

Great handle by the way, he and Ferdinand Magellan were the subject of my very first class projects as a boy. The greats...

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 29 2020 20:21 utc | 346

MadMax2, it's an uphill struggle. This issue must be desmistified not only in the courts, idealy it should have been scrutinized properly in the health domain. But i think institutions have been primed for all of this, no one dared criticize consequently for the sake of precaution. People were scared (still are).

Health providers themselves could have been more rigourous and demanding of the test. But the inertia was prevalent and the pressure for caution transversal.

Political judgement was made fully dependent on assertions by specialists in a relatively alien domain of their knowledge. Health technocracy made into a thing.

People value health above most anything else. In Portugal before even there was restrictive impositions people voluntarily transformed weekly days into sundays like.

We were primed for this. Now we must overcome delusions.

Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 30 2020 8:37 utc | 347

@Vasco da Gama

I could not agree more. It takes time.

What I am most disappointed in is the level of critical thought among the general population, which is especially troubling in countries with governments that rule by opinion poll. A Very short sighted way to rule, but it is happening.

If a government knows the population feels liberty destroying measures are appropriate to the tune of 70%, then nothing will change... even though the medium to long term results will be dire.

Who will be responsible for the upcoming ‘lockdown induced death’ epidemic born of suicides, lost cancer screenings, and depressed economies...? Will the government take responsibility for all death later that they have taken responsibility for all death now...? Will the author of this blog apologise for enabling the generation of fear and bunk 2nd wave theory...?

This upcoming scandal should place a lump squarely in the throat of some.

As human beings we cannot expect an omnipotent overlord to save us from all bugs, all threats, anything remotely dangerous without sacrificing all freedom... which we are currently doing in the west. A grave error.

Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Nov 30 2020 10:58 utc | 348

In West canada here. Just done with this tripe. 350 COVID deaths!! All this hysteria! It's not a pandemic! Done!

Posted by: A | Nov 30 2020 12:54 utc | 349

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