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

How Bad Is Coronavirus Going to Be and What Should We Do?

Depends where you are, but the basic rule is that without social distancing it will kill a LOT of people and we have left social distancing too late in a lot of countries.

Florida, for example, has 4,704 ICU beds and five million seniors over 60.

Assume even five percent need care, and you have catastrophic numbers. There will be, for all intents and purposes, no care in most cases.

Britain is going to be terrible, and I’m expecting in excess of a million deaths.

Necessary steps are still not being taken. In Canada, I’m just beginning to see (in Ontario and Quebec) call ups of retired nurses and doctors. Facilities capable of making masks, ventilators, and other equipment should have been federalized already, and re-tooled. (We have little of this, by the way, the West has shipped most of the manufacture of medical devices offshore.) Many years ago, I noted that there should be a registry of retired health care workers who were willing to be called up in a crisis, but fortunately, most people will answer the call.

New hospitals, from pre-fabs or by taking over other buildings, should be going up in major urban centers in the US, the UK, and Canada. A registry of people who have had the virus should be put in place, and we should be prepping to train teenagers to care for people, since they are virtually immune.

All rent, mortgage, water, credit card payments, interest charges, car payments, etc, etc. need to be put on  hiatus. Landlords can’t charge renters, banks can’t charge mortgage payments to landlords, etc., all through the chain. Nor should payments be deferred. They aren’t made now, or ever.

A temporary UBI needs to be put in place, probably based on regional cost of living, and checks or deposits should go out every week during social distancing. Just send them to everyone who isn’t a minor. If you’ve stopped payments on everything, then the UBI can be relatively small, if not, it has to be large.

Central banks can then give banks enough money to stay afloat, etc.

None of this is particularly hard to think up, it’s just a question of doing it. The problem is that it reveals that a lot of our economic relationships are basically bullshit (something the Great depression and WWII generations learned, which we’ve forgotten). They are social fictions, perhaps useful, perhaps not, which can be put aside when necessary.

If these things are not done, a huge swathe of small businesses will disappear during this crisis, and never return. They can’t go even two weeks without income. If we have to shelter longer, which we may well have to in some places, then the carnage will be even worse.

But a lot of people can’t afford to not be making money for even two weeks, they live paycheck to paycheck.

Understand that if these policies aren’t put in place, that people who have money afterwards will swoop down and buy all the distressed property, just like they did after 2008 — because rich people are being bailed out through central banks, even if no one else is. They’ll have money, small businesses and landlords will be broke, and they’ll be able to buy cheap. They’re chomping at the bit to do so.

I’ll put up a post on how to deal with the psychology of being mostly confined to one’s home, and unable to be with other people soonish.

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Economics of a Flu Pandemic: Part II


A Company Handling Crisis Communication Correctly


  1. Jace

    Yes, UBI. Yes, debt jubilee. Yes, bed capacity increase. Very well argued, and reasoned, Mr. Welsh.

    So completely rational and necessary, that what we will be forced to endure, instead, is a three trillion dollar “stimulus” that bad faith Wall Street gamblers will piss away in 15 minutes, some soon to be announced Friday market opening.

    Because this is The Apocalypse Timeline.

  2. Zachary Smith

    All rent, mortgage, water, credit card payments, interest charges, car payments, etc, etc… need to be put on hiatus. Landlords can’t charge renters, banks can’t charge mortgage payments to landlords, etc, all thru the chain. Nor are payments put deferred. They aren’t made now, or ever.

    A temporary UBI {Universal Basic Income} needs to be put in place, probably based on regional cost of living, and checks or deposits should go out every week during social distancing. Just send them to everyone who isn’t a minor. If you’ve stopped payments on everything, then the UBI can be relatively small, if not, it has to be large.

    This is the best idea I’ve seen up to now. As you say at the end, the wealthy vultures will scoop up everything with the money they’ve stolen from taxpayers in past years if given the chance. Thanks, Obama!

    But honestly, what are the chances of this happening. Has Trump shown a speck of concern for anything besides the Markets? And his chances for re-election? Pelosi’s dinky disaster bill was so awful everybody has been having to lie about it – as if enough corporate media bullhorns will put lipstick on the pig.

    Both US political parties got us into this mess. The Republicans are always leading in “awfulness”, but they’ve had all the support they need from the Democrats. Yet this consortium of *ssholes is supposed to save us. It might turn out they’ll do some good and useful things, but only if they have no other choice at all.

    While we’re waiting for a vaccine, a good treatment, or some useful Government Action, we can only continue to Hunker Down. Stay home. Take every possible precaution for the unavoidable trips. Practice being calm and patient. Do Not Visit Routinely Grandma – unless you talk through the window glass, but be sure she has all her medications. Leaving a cooked dish beside her front door would be a nice thing to do whenever possible. Make the telephone do the heavy lifting.

    Do your best to avoid being one of the growing number dead bodies which “might” force that horrible Kentucky Senator or the Democratic Blue Dogs into doing something to reduce the body count.

    Finally, don’t panic if you show some “symptoms”. People will still get head colds and ordinary flu. Since there is no great penalty for waiting to call the medicos, I say wait until there is no doubt hospital treatment is needed. False alarms are the last things the Doctors and Nurses need now.

  3. Mark Pontin

    Ian wrote: ‘All rent, mortgage, water, credit card payments, interst charges, car payments, etc, etc… on hiatus. Landlords can’t charge renters, banks can’t charge mortgage payments to landlords, etc, all thru the chain. Nor are payments put deferred. They aren’t made now, or ever.’

    Pretty to think so, right?

    It’s a fascinating, world-historical situation. In the real world, the financial predators will have _no_ real economy to prey on unless they open the MMT pursestrings.

    And yet those predators have gained increasing control of the global order these past forty years and loosening those pursestrings now will not only require giving up _at least_ some of that global control but also needs them thinking in ways that they’ve absolutely no ability to think in. Because all their experience contradicts it; all they’ve ever understood is predation and austerity for the proles

    Oh, boy.

    May we all live through these interesting times.

  4. Mark Pontin

    ‘Coronavirus Means Zero Hour for the European Union’
    by Thomas Ferguson and Edward J. Kane

    Apologies for posting a piece linked to elsewhere.

    In terms of a trigger for a global economic crash, however, Italy and the EU’s banks are currently the likeliest failure zone to watch for, IMO.

  5. Mark Pontin

    As to the larger question ….

    A scorpion, which cannot swim, asks a frog to carry it across a river on the frog’s back. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung the frog despite knowing the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: “I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.”

  6. Cripes

    It is a grim prediction you are giving us. It’s unfortunate that we’ve twice in a decade (2008 &2016) been handed an opportunity to drag the US out of the 19th and into the 20th century and enact Universal Health Care and failed.

    And now what may be the worst Public Health crisis n a century, even more, may be a third chance to renounce barbarism and forge a new social contract based on solidarity and common welfare.

    Three times God offers US universal healthcare, will we embrace it this time or complain God has forsaken US?

  7. The only prediction I’m comfortable with is nobody knows where this will go.

    I have alluded to my research in the best laid plans of Men, and their mice, here a time or two. Of the admirability of such tenacity, nose to the grindstone across decades, generations even; hundreds perhaps thousands of years of careful preparation lain waste in moments by that no one really gave any thought too… a cataclysmic flood perhaps, or an asteroid, an acidifying atmosphere or viri thawing out of the tundra that haven’t seen humans since before we were human.

    There isn’t much we can do about it, the viri, the Trump Virus. As it stands you’re either gonna’ get it or not.

    If I were making predictions I’d predict that like “9/11” this will be used to justify yet another big leap down the road to totalitarianism. They may not be the best laid plans – drumpf ucks missed a contingent – but those plans are none-the-less lain, and if there is a way for this to be leveraged it will be found.

  8. Joan

    Young people in my area are posting signs that they’re willing to run to the grocery store for old people and leave the food at their doorstep. Includes directions for a bank transfer so they can get reimbursed.

    I hope teenagers are at least reading up on basic first aid, should it come to them having to help in the hospitals. You’re right, there’s a huge training deficit.

  9. Hugh

    I agree. We have a debt chain which under the actions needed to respond to the coronavirus is unsustainable and, in fact, needs to be reversed. Ian lays out well much of what this would entail.

    I cannot help noticing that all of the real, truly effective responses to this crisis are socialist in nature, that is they require a societal solution. The only real way to deal with the coronavirus as disease is through a society wide, leave no one behind strategy that is epitomized by Medicare for All. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are measuring the effectiveness of the responses we are seeing by how close to or far from a Medicare for All approach they are.

    The economic responses follow a similar pattern. The Fed’s bailout the rich is going nowhere. Markets are useless in this. What we are seeing is decades of propaganda being sloughed off. The economy exists to serve our needs, not the other way around. This crisis makes that clear. We as a society get resources to the people who need them. We take care of them. Everything else is bookkeeping.

    Parenthetically, MSNBC is playing up the line that, based on one slightly less cringe-worthy press conference, Trump has changed his tone, he gets it now, he’s taking the coronavirus seriously. Except of course that the idea that Trump has had some kind of Road to Damascus moment (for which there is zero evidence) or that he is intellectually and emotionally capable of understanding a massive public health emergency or caring about it or whom it affects, other than himself and his election chances, is laughable. It makes me wonder who is more vacuous, them or Trump.


    None of this is going to happen in America or in Canada. There is no safety net and will be no safety net. Biden scoffed that Italy has single payer and look, he said, it hasn’t helped Italy defend against COVFEFE-19, it’s made it worse. Can you believe this sh*t? Biden got away with this false statement. No one in the corporate-controlled press challenged Biden on that egregious falsehood and instead cheered him on. The fact of the matter is, if Italy didn’t have single payer, the pandemic would be at least twice as bad as it is in Italy right now and maybe worse than that.

    Italy is the country that has guaranteed to cover the bills of its citizens through this time of crisis rather than kicking them to the curb for not paying their bills. Italy is the example of the way it should be, so it’s insulting and dishonest for Biden to use Italy as an example of why socialism fails at times like this.

    Biden presaged the response to the pandemic in America. There will be no bailing out of the common citizenry. Only the wealthy will be bailed out. People are going to be kicked out of their homes. Their cars are going to be repossessed. Homeless populations are going to burgeon which is only going to further spread the disease. At this rate, millions will needlessly die in America precisely because this is what the rich want and are clamoring for — they want the poor to die off.

    The time has come. It’s your lives or their lives. I’m confident ALL OF YOU will agree and choose that their lives are eminently more important and ALL OF YOU are comfortable with sacrificing your life so that they may continue to live in false comfort and security at least a few more months to a year.

    The existential decision all of us must make in the months and years to come is, are you willing to defend yourself and your loved ones and all that will entail, or will you capitulate and just die?


    Stuck in moderation again for who knows what reason. A week or two earlier I said, tongue in cheek but only just barely, we will need to kill ALL of the rich. That tongue is a thread from falling out of the mouth.


    The only way to deal with psychopaths is to remove them from this reality or any reality permanently. They are not human. They are an invasive species pretending to be human. You will know them by their actions. Actions like gaming a pandemic for further economic enrichment as multitudes die unnecessarily and many more are permanently immiserated. When will we collectively fight back and hang the likes of Jamie Dimon from the lamp posts lining Wall Street?

  13. Hugh

    Oh, and yes, the coronavirus is accelerating the demise of the EU/EZ. Italy is the EU’s 4th largest economy. Its banking sector has been dicey for some time now and the coronavirus will push it over the cliff, and likely most of the European banking system along with it, barring major interventions by the ECB, the Germans, and the French. But the ECB is run by Christine Lagarde, a technocratic ideologue/idiot. No surprise she headed the predatory IMF before her current gig. In an earlier age, she would have fit in as the captain of the Titanic, just more dogmatic and preachy. The Germans are if anything more preachy and a lot more hypocritical. They support the EU as long as they can profit off it, and the instant they can’t, that they might have to pay back into it, they go all Deutschland über Alles and head for the hills. I ascribe most of the ills of the EU to the complete failure of German leadership. As I have written many times, the East is going authoritarian and the South is going bankrupt and the whys and wherefores of both can be traced straight back to German policy or the lack of it.

    Anyway look at the EU. Germany, the EU’s number one economy, was already skirting recession before the virus crisis. The UK, number 2, is leaving. France, number 3, has been wracked by months of nationwide protests over Macron neoliberal “reforms” and has been doing its own recession skirting as well. It’s now on lockdown which also has the handy side effect of quelling the anti-Macron protests. Italy, the number 4, we already know. And Spain, number 5, is also on lockdown. Where real money or the coronavirus is concerned, the EU already doesn’t exist.

    I found it interesting that the Ferguson, Kane article mentioned the Fed’s swaps programs after the 2008 meltdown. Because what they showed was that the Fed was the shadow central bank to the world.

  14. Hugh

    Sorry for the multiple comments. My EU comment showed up immediately. My earlier economics comment which mentioned the dread S word went straight into moderation.

  15. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “When will we collectively fight back and hang the likes of Jamie Dimon from the lamp posts lining Wall Street?” — Officer 450

    Can you say “agent provocateur”, boys and girls? I knew ya could.

    “The first guy who suggests violence is always the undercover cop.” 😉


    Hugh, come to think of it, my comment that is also stuck in moderation also contained the dreaded S word. S is a dirty word, apparently.

  17. anon

    I was a teenager when Titanic was released, so I watched that movie way more than I’d like to admit. This situation reminds me of when the Titanic has already hit the iceberg and everyone in first class is walking around like it’s not a big deal. Thomas Andrews runs into Rose and tells her that the ship will surely sink and to find a lifeboat quickly. Rose’s face turns into horror because she already knows that there are only enough boats for half of the passengers and that the other half will perish.

    In this situation, we have already hit the iceberg, the ship has been slowly sinking, people are still walking around thinking they won’t die, and there aren’t enough lifeboats/hospital beds to save the people who will drown from the coronavirus. It’s a slow-moving disaster and it’s too little too late to make any meaningful changes that we know Trump will not commit to doing anyway. Our hospitals will be overflowing with the sick and dead by early April.

    There won’t be enough ventilators, oxygen, and hospital beds for the number of sick who will need them in places like Florida, New York, and California. I can’t imagine what will happen in isolated places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Will their food supply chain eventually be cut off? Will everything be sold at such a high premium that people just getting by won’t be able to afford necessities? It’s going to be a disaster.

    Your chances of survival are better somewhere rural where the population is small. The largest states and cities will be the first to fall from this disaster. If you are fortunate to have a summer home or family somewhere sparsely populated like Wyoming, Northern Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, etc., you should have driven out there a few weeks ago with a truck full of supplies and hunkered down until you are forced back to work, if that ever happens.

    Many people will lose their businesses, jobs, and homes. Let’s be real. The government under Trump will not bail out the average citizen. The lucky ones who come out alive and with their jobs and livelihood still intact – along with the wealthiest of our society – will benefit the most from this tragedy because they will buy up all the property as they did in 2008. I’m hoping to be one of those people to buy, but that will only happen if I can manage to keep my job. I noticed a boom in people putting their homes for sale in my area this week. People see the writing on the wall and want to make a profit while they can before everything tanks.

  18. Dan Lynch

    Agree with everything Ian said and will only add that there’s a new model of the epidemic by Imperial College that paints a grim picture. It’s worth slogging through the 20 pages of academic gobbledy goop: Imperial College Model of Corona Virus

    Their model, which uses conservative estimates for the fatality rate & transmission rate, says if the U.S. does nothing there would be 2.2 million deaths. But …. even if we do everything possible, there will still be thousands of deaths, and the epidemic will still last until a vaccine is available, however long that takes.

    Wait, you say, Korea and China have it under control. But … the U.S. does not have the testing or tracking in place like Korea and China. Further, Korea and China may not be out of the woods, because they will probably experience multiple waves.

    One thing that makes this virus unique is that it is often transmitted by young people who have no symptoms, so the transmitters are not visible. Unless you have a Korean style massive testing and tracking program in place, you’re not going to be able to stop transmission with anything less than a full lockdown. And how do you do a full lockdown for 18 months?


    If a benevolent or less malevolent military coup doesn’t happen within the next month, a truly malevolent coup will take place in the months after that. One way or another, there is going to be a coup. Elections in November? No way.

    Fyi, the 30-year-old son of a family acquaintance has COVFEFE-19 and is self-quarantining or so they say. I do not expect this entitled prick and his entitled family to self-quarantine effectively. How did he contract it? He attended a bachelor party in Jackson Hull, Wyoming. He and his wealthy buddies, jet setters that they are, jetted to Jackson Hull because Jackson Hull is a great place for a bachelor party don’t you know. He got tested because they’re wealthy and have considerable connections to include within the medical establishment.

  20. Ché Pasa

    Many thousands of people suddenly out of work are being hired by supermarkets, restaurants, Amazon, Target, Walmart and the like to run food and supply deliveries to shut ins, stock shelves, maintain minimal infrastructure during the shutdowns however long they may last. Low key volunteerism is taking place, but it’s hard when everyone is scared. In my little town, we haven’t quite figured out how bad it will be, but the infrastructure for mutual aid is in place, and whatever is needed can be and will be done as long as deliveries of essentials continue to arrive.

    The hardest part for many is the absence of social contact if we follow the rules. Particularly so for the ill. It’s all well and good to say keep in touch through Skype and Zoom and such, but most of the old don’t do Skype and Zoom, and the notion that if they’re ill they’ll suddenly install it on the smart phones they don’t have is silly.

    Lack of money or any way to get it for the duration is terrifying to the millions barely getting by before this Outbreak. So far, congress and the administration are, shall we say, disinterested in minor issues like that. Providing instant relief to hotels, resorts and cruise lines is far, far more important. Filling stockholders’ troughs matters. People without income and living on the edge in the best of times? Tant pis!

    This is where I think the political/administrative systems will show themselves to be incapable — much as they were during the early period of the Depression. Can’t even move essential emergency healthcare supplies because they don’t have the will, framework or leadership to do so. We saw something similar during the Hurricane Katrina debacle, and thousands died because of it. Same with Hurricane Maria. This is all ideologically based, and it kills people over and over again. That’s the design. Breaking from it cannot be done by people dependent on the system as it is. Even if it doesn’t serve them at all.

    Ian’s program would help if it could be enacted. But by what mechanism would that happen?

  21. anon

    Also, people have used two weeks as some sort of magical timeline for this virus to disappear. Especially when the general population was allowed to roam around for months to spread the coronavirus to thousands of other people when everything should have been on lockdown.

    Once the hospitals are flooded, the timeline for quarantines and work from home policies will need to be extended. We cannot be forced to return to the office in early April when it will only be the start of the majority of people beginning to go to hospitals with symptoms. Ideally everything should be shut down for a good 2-3 months to flatten the curve.

    I’m hearing from most local businesses and offices that they will be back in operation in the first or second week of April. The reality is that these businesses will more than likely close down. We will be lucky if life returns to normal by the end of 2020.

  22. Mallam

    All of these measures you suggest are great. Many places are already starting to institute them. I think two of the best ideas I’ve seen so far is for the Fed to buy up state and municipal debt in order to free up fiscal space for local governments, and to substantially increase unemployment benefits and allow those who cannot work to be paid unemployment. France is doing just that, calling it ‘technical’ unemployment even though people are not fired.

    With no mitigation efforts, estimates I’ve seen for U.K. is 500,000 dead, 2-3 million US.


    Unemployment is woefully inadequate and won’t pay the bills of those who live paycheck to paycheck which is most working class peeps. Get real.

  24. Ten Bears

    I hear the skiing is great in Jackson Hull, Wyoming. There used to be a great little brewpub downtown Jackson Hull, Rattlesnake I think it was, or Sidewinders, and the hot-springs just outside of Jackson Hull are foking hot!

    No Woody, not a narc, just not from around here, aeh?


    Also, keep in mind, this is the first wave of this pandemic virus. If it’s anything like the Spanish Flu of 1918, there could be a second wave that’s many times more deadly. If that manifests, it’s for sure game over for most if not ALL Western economies.


    A tragedy upon tragedy side effect of COVFEFE-19 is the diminished particle pollution resulting from significantly less industrial activity. This is why it’s so important to keep the empty ghost planes aloft. To shield the earth from the sun or else we broil. The dimming effect. Without it, it’s also game over in short order.

    Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. As COVFEFE-19 forces the world to close in on itself, the planet will warm precipitously to uninhabitable levels.

    If we continue business as usual, COVFEFE-19 will kill us, if we don’t continue business as usual, climate disruption will kill us.

  27. Mallam

    “Unemployment is inadequate”

    Uh did I say to just pass unemployment? I said to modify unemployment benefits:

    Filling the Holes in Family and Business Budgets: Unemployment Benefits and Work Sharing in the Time of Pandemics

    First, we need to substantially reduce eligibility requirements to help people access UI. Most importantly, we need to drop the requirements of a one week waiting period, and the requirement to be actively searching for a job. In addition, we need to reduce the past earnings requirement that keeps many workers with lower hours or tenure from qualifying for UI benefits. These can go a long way in making sure people affected by this downturn can actually access the UI system.

    Second, need to make UI much more generous to fill paychecks of people who are temporarily out of a job or face cuts in hours and earnings. We can do that via increasing the replacement rates for those who are laid off (temporarily or permanently). Replacement rates refer to the share of your normal income that you receive as UI benefits. These typically range between 33 and 55 percent across states. But there are also maximum benefit caps that vary considerably across states. So, if the replacement rate is 50% and the maximum benefit is $500, and your usual earnings is 1500, you will actually receive $500/$1500 = 1/3 of your usual earnings replaced. My proposal would start with moving to a replacement rate of at least 75% and raising the cap on monthly benefits to $5,000. The goal is to cover much of the paychecks of most workers who are laid off.

    See also proposals from Saez and Zucman:

    It’s a system that’s already in place and can get cash to people now while new institutions are set up.


    Oh, okay. I agree with that proposal with a few necessary changes. The replacement rate needs to be 100% and all of this needs to be able to be done online otherwise you have crowds gathering at the unemployment office and that only serves to spread the disease further. Thanks for clarifying, although I don’t think this stands a chance in hell of ever being enacted.


    I’m resetting the doomsday clock to one second to midnight. This publication has as much influence on the Trump administration as any, especially on Pompeo and Barr. The only way America can win a war against China is to nuke it and really, if you think about it, if America did that no one would win and we all fall down and fall down rather quickly.


    Yeah, no, I don’t think so, Becky. Wait for the spike in temperatures resulting from the diminished dimming effect. She doesn’t even know anything about it, dumb moronic Biden Dem that she is.

    There’s an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet.

  31. nihil obstet

    Mitt Romney has proposed $1000/month to every U.S. adult. It will be interesting to see how the party elites position themselves in regard to the hardships on the way. The Democrats’ lousy, means-tested bill is so wrong-headed and inadequate. This morning in the dog park (fabulous way to start the day, and dog owners do maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing from each other) I said that we needed a UBI, and the good progressives I was talking to (college professor and tech salesperson) were appalled at the lack of means testing. I swear, the two parties are going to switch positions.

  32. anon

    nihil: This crisis will further remove the mask to reveal that the Democratic establishment is not much different, if even worse, than the Republicans and outsider Dems who have been vilified by the Democratic Party.

  33. krake

    leave it to Ivory Bill and the only posture allowed is on knees and mouth open

  34. Z

    -Our rulers don’t want to dish out $1K to everyone because they want to maintain the fiction that the government’s finances are like that of a household’s so they have to be “responsible” because the money will have to be paid back. It doesn’t. Everyone here knows that, but most of the public doesn’t understand it.

    -No new news here, but note that the DNC is quite willing to increase the spread of the deadly virus rather than have a safe, fair election that might not stick to their script. If they send ballots in the mail and do the election the safe way they won’t be able to systematically disenfranchise Sanders’ voters by throttling them with several hour waiting lines and they’ll be a more verifiable voting count rather than whatever black magic goes on inside of their voting machines. If the results are way different than what the earlier primaries were that will also call into question the legitimacy of the earlier primary results.

    -There will be a serious third party run IMO and Tulsi will head it. That’s probably why she is keeping her campaign together. And with the way that Trump and the democrats are blatantly coming to the aid of their donors over the working class and all the possible carnage from COVID-19, she’ll probably have a better run at it than most think.

    -There’s going to be plenty of anger after this whole ordeal is over and the 1% has basically put it front and center that they are the nastiest, most lethal virus in the world.


  35. Z

    It’s going to be very interesting the turn the virus takes in Italy from here. They’ve done just about all they can at this point, though too late for many, and if this virus jumps their firebreak and goes to a new level it’s a bad omen for them and us.


  36. Mark Pontin

    How bad is Coronavirus going to be and what should we do? Here’s the Imperial College report, released yesterday.

    ‘Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand’

    The paper explores a range of scenarios based on (a) suppression or (b) mitigation.

    ‘Whilst our understanding of infectious diseases and their prevention is now very different compared to in 1918, most of the countries across the world face the same challenge today with COVID-19, a virus with comparable lethality to H1N1 influenza in 1918. Two fundamental strategies are possible: –

    (a) Suppression. Here the aim is to reduce the reproduction number (the average number of
    secondary cases each case generates), R, to below 1 and hence to reduce case numbers to low levels or (as for SARS or Ebola) eliminate human-to-human transmission. The main challenge of this approach is that NPIs (and drugs, if available) need to be maintained – at least intermittently – for as long as the virus is circulating in the human population, or until a vaccine becomes available. In the case of COVID-19, it will be at least a 12-18 months before a vaccine is available
    . Furthermore, there is no guarantee that initial vaccines will have high efficacy.

    ‘(b) Mitigation. Here the aim is to use NPIs (and vaccines or drugs, if available) not to interrupt
    transmission completely, but to reduce the health impact of an epidemic, akin to the strategy adopted by some US cities in 1918, and by the world more generally in the 1957, 1968 and 2009 influenza pandemics. In the 2009 pandemic, for instance, early supplies of vaccine were targeted at individuals with pre-existing medical conditions which put them at risk of more severe disease4. In this scenario, population immunity builds up through the epidemic, leading to an eventual rapid decline in case numbers and transmission dropping to low levels. ‘

    Conclusion: with the most stringent suppression scenarios done as in China — and maintained indefinitely till there’s a vaccine in 12-18 months — deaths in the US might be kept as low as 200,000. But that’s low-probability.

    Given the mitigation scenarios that can plausibly be applied in the US starting now, it’s likelier that the US will see 1.1-1.5 million deaths from the coronavirus, with more than half coming by June, 2020.

    And here’s the kicker: in any but the most stringent and successful suppression scenario, when whatever measures to counter COVID-19’s spread are removed the pandemic will become resurgent — and we don’t know yet either to what extent reinfection is possible or where the bug’s mutation rates will take it.

    This will remain the case till there’s a vaccine.

  37. Mark Pontin

    What are the prospects for a vaccine?

    The first COVID-19 vaccine started in vivo human trials yesterday —

    ‘Coronavirus: US volunteers test first vaccine’

    I know a little about Moderna Therapeutics, the company responsible, as it was created by a biotech venture capital partnership for whom I occasionally write copy (though Moderna isn’t one of their companies that I’ve worked for).

    Essentially, Moderna received the DNA sequence for COVID-19 from the Chinese and had synthesized the pathogen itself by February 28.

    Simultaneously, they modeled the bug in silico and with the collaboration of Fauci’s NIAID — because the company has 18 RNA-based vaccines in development (including a cancer vaccine) and has regular lines of communication with the NIAID — used that computer model to design an RNA-based vaccine that includes a short segment of genetic code copied from the virus.

    They then used DNA synthesis to realize this in silico RNA vaccine in the real world. Animal trials have been skipped and they’ve gone straight to human testing.

    As for how fast it goes from here, it’ll be months. Conceivably, in an implausibly best-case scenario by Fall, when COVID-19 will likely make a resurgence. But don’t hold your breath, it’ll likely be longer.

  38. anon y'mouse

    so, MMT is ok for pandemics but at no other time?

    so, these handouts will simply be used later to claim government shortful, thus necessitate cutting the social safety net (while ignoring constant increase to MIC), right?

    now is the time to press for a reality based view of money, and what is actually essential in our lives. no lives—>no economy to speak of. no way for the greedheads to make money.

  39. I saw the briefing this morning with Trump, Fauci, etc. It was actually fairly re-assuring. (Not because of Trump, of course. He’s in way over his head.) The people Trump have assembled are generally impressive. They all seem to have a key quality that Trump lacks – competence.

    As for Trump, he seems to be taking things more seriously. The stock market collapsing may be a good thing, in this regard, because Trump realizes he has to deliver on the pandemic response, if he wants to survive, politically.

    One of the best things that may have happened, besides this, is that Trump has been communicating with Andrew Cuomo, governor of NY. Cuomo seems to have the most sensible view of the pandemic, and was praised by Dylan Ratigan in this vein, in his recent conversation with Jimmy Dore. (It looks like that conversation was scrubbed from youtube. Hmmm…) Cuomo is using the insightful metaphor of “tsunami”.

    Another positive development is that the Democrats and Republicans seem to have prioritized cooperation over their more typical warring. E.g., Trump seemed to hint at a guaranteed income, at least during the duration of the virus lockdown, that’s more than $1,000 / mo.

    The media is another story, and Trump attacked a recent NY Times article suggesting states fend for themselves when it comes to getting ventilators (or something similarly outrageous). I also listened to alternative media person Randi Rhodes, today, and she started out strongly and legitimately eviscerating Trump for his lie that nobody could have seen this coming. Actually, Trump and some of his staff had to sit through a pandemic response training exercise about a week before his inauguration. Trump just lied through his teeth. Later, Rhodes regressed to her mean of all Republican bad, Democrats good, so I quit her show. She’s very smart, but so biased, I can only take her in small doses…

    Cuomo has been told to expect the peak of deaths in about 45 days.

  40. metamars

    Link for Jimmy Dore/Dylan Ratigan interview

  41. Trent

    “As for Trump, he seems to be taking things more seriously. The stock market collapsing may be a good thing, in this regard, because Trump realizes he has to deliver on the pandemic response, if he wants to survive, politically.”

    Why do you think he cares? Being president is just another reality tv show for Trump. Really do you think he cares?

  42. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Officer Krake is heard from. 😉

    Meanwhile, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  43. Ché Pasa

    Re: Locking Down

    Some of the readers here must be experiencing the “stay home”/”shelter in place” orders from various state and local governments. Out here in the wilderness, we’ve been under semi-lockdown for some time which hasn’t yet interfered too much with routines though numerous planned events and trips have been cancelled or postponed. Basic supplies are still available, though no paper products, handi-wipes, soap, bleach, vinegar or Purell are to be found and haven’t been for a while.

    We can go out to get food, supplies and pharmaceuticals, to take care of animals and get ready to plant, to meet with one another, to help one another, and so on. Restaurants are still open for the time being, the liquor store is doing booming business, the beer joint is closed. Some of the churches have canceled services.

    Note for Zachary: Ms. Ché was able to get her scripts changed to 90 days and was able to secure an extra supply for the duration. Picking up in town on Thursday.

    “Town” is 40+ miles away. There is a clinic here, but the nearest hospital is in town. I have a pulmonolgist appointment in town this week and two other doctor appointments in two weeks. Plus blood work to be done.

    Yes, I am in the demographic targeted for the cull.

    For people in cities and suburbs, particularly if they have kids, it must be nuts making to be under the kind of disruptions and restrictions being imposed more and more widely.

    The question is how effective it will ultimately prove to be. It seemed to work in China and S. Korea chose to do massive testing and confinement and treatment of people testing positive. Europe and the English speaking world seem to be bumbling and fumbling badly, not wanting to interfere with…. something.

    From appearances, Trump really has no idea what’s going on or why it matters except to the extent it reflects well or poorly on him. The sycophancy and deference the Virus team members show him — and consequently their tendency to shade the truth or outright lie so as not to trigger him — is grating, but it is what it is.

    In half an hour our congressmember is having a telephone town hall. The topic: The Outbreak. We might or might not learn something about what’s going on in DC and why the Dems are being badly outflanked by the Rs regarding pretty much everything.

  44. KT Chong

    Republicans are not pushing for emergency UBI. Democrat just got outflanked by Republicans from the left and become even more irrelevant. Seems like Trump is getting a second term.

  45. KT Chong

    Correction: Republicans are NOW pushing for emergency UBI. Democrat just got outflanked by Republicans from the left and become even more irrelevant. Seems like Trump is getting a second term.

  46. @Trent

    I guess you mean “does he care, in his heart”. He has to at least formally care, enough to focus attention and resources on the problem, because if he didn’t, he’d be removed under Article 25.

    I don’t know what Trump has in his heart. I assume he has one, but what is there is typically overwhelmed by his enormous ego. He’d do very well to pray, meditate, study philosophy and spiritual texts. But I don’t see that happening. It’s more likely he might become more spiritual if he suffers deeply. Suppose, e.g., Melania dies from covid-19 related pneumonia. Or he himself comes close to dying, with permanent damage to his lungs. He might morph into an FDR, whose (non-physical) heart was probably enlarged due to his polio.

    Another non-caring motivation is to win re-election, so that hateful, mob-like Democrats don’t indict him, left and right, as least while he’s President.

  47. jessica

    Republicans are blocking paid sick leave, not that the Dems are all one would want either, but Republicans have pushed hard against it and reduced even the Dems inadequate proposals. So back in the reality the rest of us live in, Republicans aren\’t outflanking anyone on the left. And noone actually on the left is fooled.

    In order to stop the spread of corona virus paid sick leave is critical.

    Read this article and believe me it describes the reality of contract work in the U.S. today, the being a second class worker, because I\’ve been there. And then tell me again that anyone who isn\’t fighting for expanded sick leave and 14 days is what we need isn\’t killing the working class as a matter of policy.

  48. Benjamin

    The Trump administration and Republican Senators are in fact suggesting some form of UBI for at least some Americans.

    I find it downright hysterical to watch the GOP adopt what should be progressive positions, because the Democrats have just left these options lying in the gutter.

    And on the issue of directly giving citizens money, that exact policy was in fact a key reason Australia weathered, and so quickly recovered from, the 2008 crisis. It’s already tried and true policy.

  49. Ché Pasa

    Dems compromised by proposing only one in five regular workers receive paid sick leave if they get sick with the Virus; many, many workers do not qualify for UI and would not even with the (slightly) enhanced UI in the bill. Dems did not propose direct payments outside of very limited UI and sick leave to workers.

    Rs practically started with direct payments of $1000 or more to all but the wealthiest Americans. They’ve dropped the payroll tax holiday idea (for now) and they are saying they’re not wedded to paying out huge amounts to big corporations while leaving the small fry to wither and die.

    I’d say that’s outflanking the Ds on the left. YMMV.

  50. Benjamin

    @KT Chong

    If he genuinely commits to these kinds of policies, it will help him. But, if large numbers of Americans die from the virus, which seems likely, will the good bits he’s done be enough to counteract his absurdly bad handling of the epidemic up to this point?

    That’s of course assuming the Democrats can actually manage to be competent enough to pin the blame on him, which if anyone could manage to fuck up a political strategy as simple as that, it would be the DNC.

  51. The article “How To Get More Ventilators And What To Do If We Can’t” @ was referred to in the Jimmy Dore show (still going on as I write this) that had Aaron Mate call in.

    After looking it over, I don’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling that production will meet the need, which some are predicting will peak in 45 days.

    I think, logically, that this means we should centrally* quarantine seniors ASAP, say for the next 90 days, who are most likely to need ventilators. For the time, being, this could be made voluntary, with the promise that people willingly going will have first dibs on remaining respirators, should they need one, despite the quarantine. You’d house the seniors in commandeered 3+ star hotels, so even their cable TV would be free. 🙂

    * centrally, to ensure compliance; armed guards will dissuade people from leaving their rooms.

  52. StewartM

    This being America, I don’t expect the US government–like Biden–to do the right thing, The best the self-proclaimed ‘greatest nation on earth’ can do is to enact hugely expensive programs that ARE hugely expensive b/c out of every $1 spent, corporate vultures get to rake in c. 80 cents or more to leave a couple of dimes for the people the programs is advertised to help (think: the ACA and health care; more interested in supporting Big insurance, Big Pharma, and Big Health Care than ordinary people).

    So that being so, maybe the only thing the guv’mint will do that’s any good is not the unlikely prospect of a decent UBI program (oh, they might give people $1000 a month, but without rent/mortgage/utilities wavers that’s not enough). The best deal that we might get is they prop up company profits with the stipulated expectation of “no layoffs even if your workforce is sitting at home”

    Mind you–I didn’t say it was an optimal solution, and it would be the hugely more expensive one, but I’d say it’s more likely the best deal we’ll get. Remember, the Reagan economy demands that the rich get to get 80 cents or more of guv’mint goodies before the poors get anything.

  53. Hugh

    The $1000 is misdirection. Who gets it? How often? As Ian is pointing out, we need to be focusing on what people need to survive, not some vague promise of money. And from there we need to work backwards to cover small business owners, utilities, etc. The $1000 is about the economy, not people. That’s the difference.

  54. Ché Pasa

    Telephone town hall with our congressmember and two physicians on the front lines was somewhat informative if not fully forthcoming. There is an almost instinctive tendency to parse and shade responses to constituent questions that I’ve noticed with any official and doctors can sometimes be the worst.

    But that said, we learned that so far, there is no community spread of covid-19 in New Mexico. All the 23 who have so far tested positive (out of more than 1700 tested) got the virus from travel (to New York and Egypt and ?? — I didn’t hear) or in the household of someone who had the disease. This of course could change and there could be asymptomatic carriers who are spreading it unbeknownst to them or anyone else. So far, drive thru and other tests haven’t shown it, though.

    The semi-lockdown we’ve been under may seem to be an overreaction, but in fact, it’s helping to retard the spread of the disease. Some places in the country are facing much more severe restrictions. And we may be facing them down the road.

    Hospitals are increasing their capacity by postponing elective surgeries, setting up temporary ICUs, planning for — but not yet building or acquiring — additional patient space, pre-triage for ERs (in other words, don’t even go to an ER unless directed to), teleconsults with doctors, seeking out alternatives to hospital visits for labs and routine treatments, and so on. It was clear that the drs were stressed over these and other unmentioned procedures though. I’m sure they fear what might come and their inability to deal with a tsunami of patients, but so far… knock wood.

    We learned that at this time, all hospitalized respiratory patients are in isolation, whether or not they test positive for covid-19.

    There is not enough equipment on hand should there be an outbreak of size, and they are trying to get more, but it’s been difficult. There are still not enough tests on hand, “more are coming,” don’t go for a test unless you fit the criteria.

    Panic buying has caused shortages of toilet paper and most of the usual cleaning products, staple foods, and so forth. Retailers assure us (all the time) that stocks are being replenished as quickly as possible, but shelves remain empty for days or weeks, so that promise seems a bit hollow. Some retailers, however, have begun “senior only” hours, usually the first one or two hours after opening, one to three days a week (Dollar General, every day) so that the old folks can get supplies — if supplies are in the stores. The supply problem “is being addressed.” Meanwhile, make do. Soap and water is fine for cleaning. (But soap isn’t available either…)

    Staying home, practicing social distancing, good hygiene, etc. will help slow the spread. Do it.

    So a lot of what we heard was boilerplate.

    On the other hand, questions about the economic consequences and congressional action to address it received muddled responses if any at all. There clearly is no consensus among congressmembers. “A lot of things will be in the bills.” That’s about as much as I could glean from the discussion. We’ve heard plenty in the news about it, but how that will translate into legislation is impossible to say right now.

    I think it’s safe to say that whatever sausage comes out of negotiations will be inadequate for the needs of the people and more than adequate for the .o1%. After all, this is the Exceptional and Indispensable country, no? We do things right!

    How the fallout is hitting people, and how much they’re enduring is very personal. Most of us are used to making do one way or another, but this is different and the usual coping strategies are not enough in some cases, especially for people who have been barely getting by already or have already fallen through the grossly inadequate safety net. There is talk, but so far only talk, of using this crisis to make fundamental social, political and economic changes so that we don’t face future catastrophes so unprepared and with so little ability to alleviate suffering right away.

    Ah, pie in the sky!

  55. Yikes, I just looked up hotel capacity (not just 3+ star capacity). In NYC, there’s only 106,000. Assuming a population of 9 million, that’s only enough for about 1.2 % of NYC’s population. I assume this ratio is typical throughout the country, maybe lower as NYC is a tourist destination. In 2019, seniors 65+ were 17% of the population. 85+ is about 3% of the population.

    I guess we should quarantine senior and assisted living spaces, and start building tent cities and taking over schools for ‘indoor tent cities’. Tent cities are still an easier ask then ventilators for field hospitals. Basically, they are tent cities without the ventilators.

  56. Hugh

    BTW re proposed bailouts of the airlines and cruise ship lines, two excellent points on MSNBC of all places this morning. The reason that the airlines have no financial cushion is because they have spent all their available cash on stock buybacks benefitting their rich executives and owners. Meanwhile the cruise ship lines have avoided taxes and cut costs for years by being domiciled in foreign countries and staffing their ships with foreign nationals. Now they want us to bailout them out.

  57. @hugh

    “The $1000 is misdirection. ”

    Ah, no, it’s more than that. If you survive on tips, and haven’t been reporting them (which is typical for non-corporate restaurants, that use a formula) you’ve lost your income. To eat, you have to go out for charity meals, beg in the street, whatever. You’ll be exposing yourself to infection more than for twice weekly trips to a supermarket for food. Also, on a large scale, this could easily lead to looting. I mean, we’ve seen looting as a ‘response’ to police killings, which had nothing to do with the retailers that got looted.

    $1,000, alone, is clearly not enough, but it could make a critical difference in the next 45 days.

    It could be distributed as a check representing an interest – free loan, which will be completely forgiven if people can prove, a year from now, that they really needed it. Getting it to people off the grid will be a real problem, but that is a minority of the population.


    StewartM, I hear you, but let’s face it, corporations are not going to comply. Upper management, the board and the corporate lawyers and accountants will find a way to misuse the funds that is contrary to the intent. It is not hyperbole to state, once again, corporations are psychopathic entities owned and managed by psychopaths. It’s not an exaggeration. And Che, come on, you seriously believe anything positive will come from inside the beltway? No dice. It isn’t going to happen. Pontin’s right, a scorpion does what a scorpion does. Scorpions are not charitable and magnanimous. They live to sting and kill. We need as much a test to definitively determine all the psychopaths as we do testing for COVFEFE-19 and once that full determination is complete and ALL psychopaths have been identified, we need to eliminate them for good and forever. They are as much a pandemic as is COVFEFE-19. The sooner we all collectively come together and acknowledge this, the sooner we can do something truly progressive for a change.

    Barack Obama is a psychopath.
    Donald Trump is a psychopath.
    The Clintons are psychopaths.
    Mike Bloomberg is a psychopath.
    Jamie Dimon is a psychopath.
    Warren Buffet is a psychopath.
    Joe Biden is a psychopath.
    Keely Anne Conway is a psychopath.
    Anita Dunn is a psychopath.

    There are so many more to add to that list and the aforementioned test will make it official. Psychopaths are not human. They are an invasive species. Think of them as aliens who have taken on human form because, in effect, that is what they are. It’s time to clean our house. The psychopaths have to go. It’s a dirty job, but it must be done.


    No way a million and a half people came out to vote in Florida. More cheating. The results say over a million people overwhelmingly voted for Biden in Florida. If true, and I don’t believe the results are honest and accurate, it’s time to send the Cubans packing back to their homeland. They are not Americans. They never have been. They turned Southeast Florida into Batista’s Cuba and I want them gone. They never assimilated and I don’t want them here. I deplore them. They are scum. They are trash. They are crooks through and through. I’ll take Mexicans over Cubans any day of the week. Cubans are the real criminals. You hear that Manny Menendez you lying, cheating scumbag? I attended undergrad with this piece of shit. He and his Cuban friends ruled the roost at this small liberal arts college. Their fathers were tied at the hip with the CIA and were effectively the Cuban mafia. I consider him a drug dealer. He is a criminal, no doubt about it. As this article reveals.


    This Counterpunch article nails it. These are the people who murdered JFK.

    In 1959, hundreds of corrupt politicians and servants of the defeated Batista tyranny began to arrive in Miami with bags stuffed with dollars stolen from Cuba’s public treasury. There were hundreds of torturers and murderers among them. They were organized and re-organized by the CIA and other agencies of the United States government to be used in military and terrorist acts against the Cuban revolution and other misdeeds of the extreme right-US in the world.

    These fearsome “refugees” were the germ of what came to be the powerful Cuban-American mafia in Miami when they joined other elements of the subsequent Cuban emigration.

    Meanwhile, the American extreme right, using its intelligence and subversion organizations, organized various terrorist groups of Cubans. They were recruited from among the emigres and on the island. Their goal was subverting order in Cuba and creating the conditions for military invasion and re-occupation of the island.

    After the roaring failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion in the Bay of Pigs, the American extreme right intensified hundreds of other terrorist projects that also went down to defeat.

    They then opted for a tactical change that gradually turned the cleverly-made Cuban terrorists into politicians who controlled US foreign policy toward Cuba for almost half a century and through the administration of twelve different US presidents.

  61. anon

    It’s too late for the USA to stop the spread and containment of the coronavirus. We can all sit at home for two weeks (which many are not doing anyway) and the American government still has no way of knowing who has the virus because most Americans have not been tested, therefore, those who have it have not been tracked down. Since it appears many people are asymptomatic, the virus will continue to spread after everyone returns to work in early April.

    Individualism and selfishness will get more Americans killed: 74 percent of Americans are afraid of accidentally spreading the virus to vulnerable people even if they are asymptomatic, according to a new survey from Harris Poll. But they’re not changing their daily patterns to actually mitigate risk to other people, according to the survey of 2,050 U.S. adults between March 14 and March 15. 89 percent of Americans are still going to coffee shops and 58 percent have not changed how often they’re inviting people over, according to the Harris Poll survey respondents, whose age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, and household income were weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportions of the U.S. population.

    I wore a N95 mask and gloves to a gas station yesterday and I got a ton of stares and comments. One guy called me “scary” as I walked by him. In my opinion, everyone should be taking these precautions and wearing masks and/or gloves outside, but this is still seen as abnormal in most of the country.


    Breaking News: NBA players have agreed to donate their salaries to help pay for testing for all their loyal fans. LeBron James said, “it’s the moral and fair thing to do considering we’re multi-millionaires and we’ve received priority treatment in getting tested.”

  63. Jace

    My shitbag company just sent a “be safe, you are so important to us, but it is **exclusively** up to you if you want to keep working, so if you do not that is your choice and we are not on the hook for unemployment, buddy” email to its hundreds of travelling reps, remodelers, installers and field trainers (which includes me).

    I visit dozens of locations every week, in a territory that covers Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, most of Massachusetts (including Boston, which has an epidemic growing by the minute) and some of RI and Connecticut.

    Not only is my risk for contracting the virus increased, my likelihood of becoming a superspreader is pretty high, given how much I travel, what I do for work, and how many people I meet every day.

    If I don’t work, I am 2 weeks from losing phone, car and credit card payments. I am a month ftom utility and wifi shut off. And two months from not being able to make our mortgage.

    We split care for my wife’s mentally disabled sister with her other sister.

    My wife is on immunosuppressants for a life-threatening disease. She cannot get a hold of her Dr., to get her maintenance prescription increased. And she was told she may not be able have access to the infusion clinic in May, the denial of which raise her risk of death significantly. The infusions average $30,000 a session, and two are required. If she gets them, again, it adds considerably to our medical debt. If she does not, well…

    Any day I work puts her at risk. Any day I do not work puts her at risk.

    I ask that the abstract theorists, conspiracy peddlers snd high-minded rhetoricians please, please consider these facts.

    And instead of whining on the internet, harass your Congress persons and Senators, and everyone else, to please just cut checks and fund broad, unrestricted employment relief. Now. Right fucking now.

    Or else. And please, definitely add the “or else”.

  64. Ché Pasa

    Jace is right.

    That is all.


    Yes, harass your congress persons because that’s always worked in the past so it’s sure to work this time.

    The irony of telling people not to whine on the internet in the midst of a long, whining rant on the internet. I empathize with your plight, Jace, so I’ll ask that you consider you’re not an exception and most of us are in the same boat so how about you not call us whiners and instead empathize with us in turn.

    So no, Che, Jace is not right. Congress does not represent us so there’s no use harassing them. If and when you do, they consider it insulant whining and largely ignore you. What has AOC accomplished since she’s been elected? Not much if anything at all and that’s through no fault of her own. She is part of a system and that system is immune to popular opinion and rule and instead does the bidding of the top 20% and a few token special interest groups.

  66. Ché Pasa

    We’re living through yet another paradigm shift. 9/11 and the 2008 crash were two others that changed things fundamentally within months. The US was not the same society or government in the aftermath, and it won’t be the same when this Outbreak fades.

    I’m not particularly hopeful that “we”– whoever survives — will be better for it, but we will be different, living in a different and not necessarily better reality.

    Government office holders are so dysfunctional and so out of touch that we can’t rely on them doing the right thing no matter the need. They’re culturally and institutionally incapable. Yet they do respond — late and inadequately — to public pressure. Push, yell at them, throw a fit. Demand, demand, demand. It can make a difference, slight though it may be.

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