The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

BA.5 Covid Is Incredibly Virulent and MonkeyPox Is in Exponential Growth


Remember that even a mild case of Covid can cause organ damage without you knowing, or can give you Long Covid with symptoms, sometimes extremely severe symptoms and that damage can accumulate each time you get Covid.

Meanwhile, two days ago, from WHO:


Don’t assume that because you aren’t gay or don’t have a lot of partners you won’t get monkeypox; plenty of people who aren’t having anal sex are getting it. Most of the guidance I’ve read says “direct contact,” but…

While experts believe monkeypox spreads primarily in close contact through skin lesions, evidence suggests the virus can also be airborne, at least over short distances. For example, during Nigeria’s monkeypox outbreak in 2017, scientists recorded cases of airborne transmission within a prison and in health care workers who did not have direct contact with patients. However, it is not clear how much airborne transmission contributes to the overall spread of the virus.

What I suspect is that monkeypox can spread through droplets, which is not the same as Covid, which is fully airborne. Droplets is how most scientists originally thought Covid spread, which is why “social distancing” was emphasized so much at the start of the pandemic.

Generally vaccines are not available unless you’re queer and have multiple partners, but check locally. I suspect the directions at the start of Covid should be relatively effective vs. monkeypox: distance, use 70 percent ethanol or dettold, and wear a mask. (Soap alone will not do it – correction.)

This stuff is nasty, takes a month to clear, and can leave permanent disfiguring scars. So keep an eye on it and take it seriously if it’s spreading where you are.



China Jumps Two Chip Generations Ahead: Why Chip Sanctions Backfired


Correct Priorities in China’s Response to the Mortgage Boycott


  1. marku52

    There are problems with vaccine induced immunity, compared with immunity from an infection. First of all, vax mostly produces antibodies to the spike protein. Natuaral immunity will produce antibodies to other pieces of the virus, like the N (nucleocapsid) portion. This is more robust that just spike antibodies.

    It gets worse. “Immune imprinting” means that the vax primes the immune system to produce one type of antibodies, even if those aren’t effective against a new and different threat (BA.5 for example, after being imprinted by vax to Wuhan). This seems to explain why heavily vaxxed countries (Israel, Iceland, Portugal) are having it worse than South Africa (only about 20% vaxxed, but heavily previously infected)

  2. anon

    It is mind boggling that most people around me think it’s okay to get Covid multiple times each year as long as they are vaxxed. There is a misconception that if you’re generally healthy and vaxxed, Covid will be nothing more than the cold or flu. It’s probably because there is so little focus on the effects of long Covid in the media or by governments who have normalized getting Covid and the need not to wear masks anymore. Covid is a brain eating virus that destroys the organs, and vaccinations will be minimally effective if we allow it to continually mutate.

    As for monkeypox, it has the potential to be another never-ending nightmare pandemic because our leaders aren’t taking it seriously or making the vaccine available to everyone. No one is immune to catching a virus that is spread through the air or skin-to-skin contact. My guess is that monkeypox will eventually spread like wildfire on college campuses.

  3. Astrid

    We seem to be going through a phase of mass hysteria and magical thinking. Like the Salem witch trials or post plague pograms.

    It’s hard to stay unaffected. Last weekend, I went to a crowded mixed gender baby shower at a Capitol Hill rowhouse last weekend, including a 97 years old great great grandmother to be. The parents to be and most of their friends and family are lovely people, very successful, well credentialed, conspicuously virtuous and tolerant, physically fit and attractive (the older people present were attractive enough for pharma ads). Aside from my husband and me, only one other couple and their children were masked. Caught up with some good friends and made new ones.

    Then we tempted fate further by going to a 2,500 person indoor concert where we were exhorted to dance and sing along. Maybe 5% masking. It was incredibly fun. Would do again and will be going to another set of concerts in a CDC “high” area this weekend. With this crazy regime intent on herd immunity and WWIII, it seems pointless to give up on things that at least brings momentary enjoyment and comraderie.

    I’d like to think that late Romans and medieval villagers had some nice festivals and fetes before the plagues took them.

  4. Astrid

    PS – for those in Canada or near Canada. You may want to look into Betadine Cold Defense nasal sprays (not available in the US except through sketchy resellers) for an additional layer of protection, on top of masking and social distancing.

  5. Ché Pasa

    Vaxxed and boosted, I started showing symptoms of Covid last week after a night in the ER. I was exposed to at least 4 people who were positive while I was there. They said so. It’s not clear what variety I had, but it was probably BA.5 as that one is rampant in NM. It took some doing, but I was able to get paxlovid treatment the same day as symptoms showed up. It “works” in that symtoms are mitigated, but they’re not gone.

    All I can say is that Covid is not a pleasant thing to have, long or short. Ms. Che has it now and is taking the paxlovid treatment. We were not able to isolate from one another during my treatment. She says she feels fine but she’s exhausted. Indeed.

    Our rulers find it meet that we should all get whatever version of Covid happens to be around, again and again, at whatever the cost and consequence. Seems much the same with monkeypox as it was with HIV/AIDS back in the day. More of the herd is culled with each iteration of the Plague.

    As we become inured to this, the next plague that comes along is seen as routine. Nothing to be done. Nothing to be done.

    It’s reached the point where most of our personal responsibility precautions won’t protect us, and the more we might try, the more determined our neighbors and rulers will be to ensure we are eventually infected.

    Someone said this is the greatest mass murder in the history of the nation. I would suggest we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  6. Chipper

    From what I’ve read, the CDC is only allowing tests for monkeypox in men who have sex with men, and (shockingly!) are finding that it is only this group who are testing positive for it. Well, yeah.

    They made this same mistake with covid, where you could only get a test if you’d been to China or been exposed to someone who tested positive. They weren’t finding community spread because they refused to look for it.

    Except it’s not really a mistake when you do it deliberately, is it? Our betters have learned that there are no consequences any more. This isn’t the ‘70s when Nixon had to resign and his political career was over — this is the 21st century where as long as you keep the billionaires and corporate CEOs happy you can literally do (or not do) anything.

    @Ché Pasa Hope you and Ms Che feel better soon

  7. marku52

    More info on “immune imprinting”. It’s like your immune system hears the start of the song and goes “Oh, I know this one.” Except it doesn’t. It sings the wrong words.

    Here is the study. Quote ” Immune imprinting by previous Wuhan infection (my comment,: the vax) prevents immune boosting by Omicron infection”. So if you are vaxxed, an Omicron infection does not give you much added immunity. Hence, reinfections. This is why there are massive BA5 infections in countries that are highly vaccinated. This statement occurs at about 9.37 in the vid. Paper is linked below the vid, I tried to insert the paper link but it exploded.

  8. Ché Pasa

    @Chipper Thank you. We’re doing OK. Too early to know any long term effects.

    As for the CDC’s “mistakes,” I hesitate to call them that. They know what they are doing, and what they are doing is satisfying political and economic pressure before the needs of controlling the disease and saving lives.

    They would argue that they must prioritize politics and money interests if they are to have any ability to deal with the other necessary things — like disease control and life saving — which shows just how depraved the whole system has become.

    Public health hasn’t just been hollowed out; it’s being used as a tool by those who have no interest in or concern for the well being of the people in order to further enrich and enhance the power of a tiny, shrinking minority — of psychopaths.

  9. Tallifer

    In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I wonder how many countries will start putting patients or even people susceptible to monkey pox into quarantine. I wager that Russia and China will invoke harsh measures.

  10. Tallifer

    P.S. I also wager that it willbe politically impossible for Canada to deal with monkey pox effectively. The right wing decries restrictions in general, and the left wing will cry discrimination if their is any hint of discernment concerning who is most vulnerableor contagious.

  11. Ian Welsh

    Conflating Russia and China is a bad idea. Russia had very bad Covid results and China had very good Covid results. They are very different countries. Russia has secret police, but China is a surveillance state w/ward level political operations and vast administrative capacity which Russia lacks.

  12. Stirling S Newberry

    Right now, I am working on a rather Novella on the subject of climate change and references from the Bible, Dante, Shakespeare, and a huge selection of songs that underpin the essence of what I am getting at. It will probably be no more than a few people who will read it and even fewer who understand it, but no matter. We are inching along to the realization that we must be carbonized in our economy. At the present time, the sociology of organizations is that the few who are dependent on fossil fuels, most especially oil, know who they are and are organized to continue to produce fossil fuels even though they know that the time is limited. The gag of course is that a greater number of people who lose from fossil fuel production do not know this and me be even given a sop in the form of motor vehicles, particularly trucks.

    In reality, we have long since moved past the point where the losses to the many who do not use fossil fuels as their primary input have long outraged the benefits to the gainers of fossil fuel. Part of this is that constructing a system is extremely expensive. Remember that carbon took 50 years, and oil took 40. So, the benefits to continue to use fossil fuel can drag along those people who know how the systems in place work, even if they know that the majority of people are in fact losers in the system.

    The immediate effects of climate change, however, which are like the iceberg effect, that is a small total of the problems, are getting close to breaking point and even the conservative parties of the capitalist nations, including the Democratic party of the United States, are slowly shifting. This does not mean that they like having to do this but even the medium-term analysis of economics tells them that they must. Be real transition will be when a government is elected on the carbonization of the economy, and other things that are layered on to that takes power. This will be at least 10 years to take effect because the problems of retaining our current fossil fuel economy are going to get more and more difficult to explain away.

    This is because inflation works its ugly magic. The winners of the fossil fuel economy are wreaking in province because they know that their time is limited. That is to say, Exxon, shell, and OPEC, as well as the other subsidiary winners, can see that be writing is on the wall and say so in their secret memos, which are not secret if one knows what to look for. This means that the tar sands of Canada, the oil fields of Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as others need to be shut down as quickly as possible. Oil futures depend on it. There are many people who will fight this to the bitter end. And they will because their livelihood depends on it.

    The other problem is that the alternative system, which is actually the primary system in waiting, must square certain circles. Renewable energy cannot be the only source of electricity, this is because it peaks when the sun is up locally, and the transition of that power is extremely expensive. This is a peak, which is desperately needed, but a baseline needs to be in place as well. This baseline is nuclear energy, but the problem with nuclear energy is not the physics or the engineering but the managers and corporate executives who want to gain as much profit for themselves as they possibly can. This means that, inevitably, accidents occur because if one wants to reduce maintenance one gets into a situation of a minimally maintained resource will be prone to error. The secret is to maintain nuclear power as a utility, where the engineers and corporate executives get a slice of the province but no more.

    If this seems like it is known, it actually is. Once upon a time, there was a consensus that certain kinds of utilities, which includes health and education as well as power and communication, were made to give up a certain percentage, but no more. However, this was before the “Neo-“ period. The “neo-” period was actually from the beginning an incorrect model, but there were two reasons why it was put in place. One is that the elites understood that the climate was going to get warmer, but it would do so after the elites were all safely and comfortably in debt. In 1959 Edward Teller, who in this case is the hero as opposed to the more usual case of him being the villain, told oil executives how long this period would last. And he was moderately in his prediction because in actuality the key numbers are all available. Especially people working with nuclear energy, as Teller was.

    The gag here is that evolutionarily Homo sapiens like to call it survival very close. There are at least three times when the human race was down to a few thousand survivors, and at each point, we survived, often by interbreeding with near hominid relatives, and dug our way out. At the present, this means that we will allow false profits to be extracted from our current system. The last time was the Cold War, where we needed to work out the dynamics of nuclear annihilation, and the time before that was World War I and World War II, where we needed to work out economic and political systems as well as oil. The time before that was adopting to high-velocity weapons and organization in the 19th century. In other words, there is always some problem that has been allowed to run amok because of the small winners/ large losers paradox: the small winners know who they are and are organized even though the net product is in fact negative not positive. We can see that there have been several problems that have come under this heading including four in the last two centuries: climate change, nuclear devastation, oil, and the organization of states.

    Therefore, it is highly likely that when we solve climate change there will be another disaster waiting to step in. the problem is that the laissez-faire model works very badly, but the winners can organize and for about 40 to 50 years run affairs as they want until they have run into the ground the sociological tenets which prop up their society. We even have a name for it: “ sociological Darwinism.” It is a rather old name, indicating that the problem with climate change is analogous to many other problems.

    In this period of time, the transition between a conservative, that is to say, the “neo-” rendition of truth, is very close to transitioning to a more liberal notion. This means that a bureaucratic and statistical model will dominate over the laissez-faire system. Eventually, this liberal model will mesh to much of the economic output of society, but that is a problem for the late 21st century and early 22nd century, and very few people reading this at the time of its publication will be concerned with that. In the present, there are several transitions that must be made. One of these is the globalization of the supply chain, which worked for 70+ years, but is now showing the uglier side of its nature: while goods and services move around the world soon to viruses, as the viruses are piggyback. Viruses fly on planes and will devastate the world in less than a year. The Wuhan virus was not the first to be born and over 10 years ago we just missed a pandemic because the various was just not quite good enough to infect. We now have a version of monkeypox that will be tested. Since these things are random, and I mean that in a quantum chroma dynamic way, we must use statistics to raise a barrier to their transmission.

    As you can see, a laissez-faire model relies on such threats to its existence as being very small, but it does not expend much effort in making such problems very small, and thus will collapse in and pandemic scrum eventually. Then the liberal order takes over and pears down the threats, and it does the opposite problem: very few winners can see themselves making much more in profits if only the liberal order would stand down. Eventually, the liberal order has dispensed with many of the threads, and a “neo-“ order replaces it, even though as said it knows that it is wrong from the beginning. (See “Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?” Barro for an example of how statistical misreasoning can make a guess “yes” to a “no.”)

    It is now time to press elected representatives to change the system. Yes, we will realize that eventually, a new neo-era will come into reality but that could be as long as 70 years. By that point, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will have been president making the tilt from conservative to liberal and celebrated in song and monument.

  13. Astrid

    One thing westerners can’t grasp is that the Chinese surveillance apparatus is quite popular with the population. At a local level, they basically function like a supercharged HOA that does everything from making sure the garbage bin gets repainted and everyone is parking in the right spot, to making sure that the old widow living alone is getting meals and have someone to take her to all her medical appointments, to enforcing Covid quarantines and “doctrinal correctness”. Surveillance isn’t a one way control mechanism as it is in the West, but tied into a welfare and feedback system.

    Even when the locals are not happy about aspects of the surveillance, they’re thinking about appealing to higher authority (including through “mass actions”) to correct the problem, not demolish the system.

    I definitely hear grumblings from my Shanghai friends about getting locked down for months at a time and bad policies/implementation around the lockdown, but I don’t know anyone who wants to trade place with westerners who let it rip.

    At the heat of the current Chinese regime and every Chinese regime is 民以食为天 (for the people, food is paramount). Westerner liberals only talk about freedom from government interference (then hypocritically yell for government interference whenever they don’t get their way), but any functional government understand that feeding, housing and providing safety to its people is the minimum required for legitimacy. Everything beyond that is just marketing branding.

  14. Olivier

    Iam, I don’t have chapter & verse at hand but soap cannot kill monkeypox and its orthopoxvirus cousins: they remain infectious even after losing their lipid capsid. You need > 70% ethanol; I think Dettol is also effective.

  15. Ian Welsh

    Thanks Olivier. Corrected the post.

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