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

May 13th US Covid Data

Our benefactor notes that while the federal government and some states are pushing to reopen, most counties and municipalities are not, and are trying to do the right thing. If there is a second wave, they expect it will be in large part because ordinary workers are starving, can’t pay rent, and have to go back to work.

Today’s numbers are slightly higher than Tuesday’s but Tuesday is usually the lowest day in a week.

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May 12th Covid Numbers


We Need a Radically Different Model to Tackle the COVID-19 Crisis – James Galbraith


  1. ProNewerDeal

    Any breakdown of the deaths/per capita broken down by demographic factors? At least by gender/ageDecades (20s, …, 90s, etc)? Even better further detail by no preexisting condition vs hypertension, obesity, etc?

  2. ProNewerDeal

    fwd this projection has 147K US deaths by August. IMHO this is a conservative estimate, as it does not include “excess deaths” or the possibility of 2nd+ significant pandemic waves before a permanent solution (vaccine, therapy, herd immunity) is found if even that proves to be possible.

    In raw numbers, might this be the 3rd biggest death toll in US history. US Civil War & 1919 H1N1 pandemic were over 500K.

    Even on a deaths per capita basis, the COVID-19 pandemic would surely be in the Top10, even if Native American smallpox/epidemic/genocide, Blacks murdered under slavery, American Revolution, WW1 & WW2 may exceed COVID-19 on a per capita basis. It is possible to add other social injustices, such as the oligarchy’s blocking of MedicareForAll, etc.

    Am I missing something here in my take on the order of magnitude of this mass death event in US history? I am fairly certain I am in the ballpark.

    If I am correct, I wish pols & journalists/pundits would frame this concept repeatedly, especially to those that STILL at this data consider COVID-19 to be “just like the flu”, “no big deal”, etc.

  3. Zachary Smith

    Actual title:

    Do Masks and Respirators Prevent Viral Respiratory Illnesses?
    Interview with Professor Denis Rancourt

    Who is this professor?

    Denis Rancourt, an eminent physics professor, former anarchist, and author, examined the scientific evidence for using face masks and respirators as preventative of contracting respiratory influenza-like disease, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by minuscule droplets.

    What is the money quote here?

    What I have noticed is that Rancourt is wedded to the evidence, and he is unafraid to make known his conclusion even though it goes against the mainstream consensus. His article, “Masks Don’t Work: A review of science relevant to COVID-19 social policy,” is Rancourt at his iconoclastic finest. He concludes,

    No RCT [randomized control trial] study with verified outcome shows a benefit for HCW [health care workers] or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions.

    I think I could easily be inspired by this Eminent Professor to write a scientific article of my own: “Parachutes As Expensive And Unnecessary Security Blankets: Results of Tests of Parachute utility to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft in randomized controlled trials”

    My test subjects would be male and female, black and white, young, middle aged, and more elderly folks. They’d take turns jumping from airplanes while equipped with parachutes, and without them. In fact, the footwork for my potential Ph.D. thesis has already been published on the Internet. My own contribution would be small in the sense I would be standing on the shoulders of Giants.

    I suspect the reason the Eminent Professor (at the unlinked story) can speak with such confidence is because nobody was ever devoted enough to construct such an properly scientific trial. It would resemble me trying to assemble enough volunteers to create my aforementioned science article where all the subjects departed the airplanes at an altitude of three miles.

    The hyping of the Eminent Professor mentioned his being a former anarchist. Back when he had a real college job, he once gave “A+ grades to all students in his fourth-year physics courses in the Winter 2008 term. These courses include Quantum Mechanics (a required course) and Solid State Physics.” He also changed the guts of a course without bothering to inform the University where he worked. Anarchy!

    The puffing also spoke of his being an author. The Eminent Professor has a blog where he makes authoritative statements about assorted topics. Example:

    I argue: (1) that global warming (climate change, climate chaos, etc.) will not become humankind’s greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more (in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around), (2) that global warming is presently nowhere near being the planet’s most deadly environmental scourge, and (3) that government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world.

    Now the Trumpies have another Eminent Scientist in their corner.

    Masks are a waste of time.
    Global Warming won’t be a problem until the sun goes out.

    Moral of the story: If You Trust Your Trump In All Matters, You Will Certainly Live Long And Prosper!

    It’s a matter of faith. More Evidence of the Power of Positive Thinking.

  4. Tom

    Repost of a reply from a previous thread in case it gets lost.


    If a veil triggers you, the problem is not the veil but yourself.

    Many illnesses would virtually be eliminated if everyone covered their faces in public. In fact the high mask wearing in countries has virtually eliminated the flu in those areas.

    Now a Niqab depending on material and thickness can be 50% to 80% effective. Women wearing them are not spreading respiratory droplets and respiratory droplets spread by others have a much more difficult time getting to them, especially if they are wearing glasses or a second/third layer. As a full Niqab is worn over clothes and hair and usually with gloves, it substantially decreases chances of infection via secondary modes. It also prevents sunburn and skin cancer by blocking UV and Infrared rays.

    From a public health standpoint, a Niqab is a powerful disease prevention tool and should not be banned.

    From a human rights perspective, a woman has a right to dress as they please barring an occupation that requires certain clothing to be worn to perform a job task.

  5. Stirling S Newberry

    “Who is this professor?”

    On both the extreme left and the extreme right, the pandemic is creating problems. Anarchism is important, but not viable.

  6. Chipper

    But … but … but … if we all wear masks how will the facial recognition software work that allows our betters to track us for our own protection?

  7. Zachary Smith

    I found this story at Naked Capitalism this morning. By merely reading Trump’s screwups in order, a reader ends up being stunned. Sample of something I hadn’t known before:

    Here again, though, Trump’s stamp is clear. It was Trump who chose Robert Redfield to head the CDC in spite of widespread warnings about the former military officer’s controversial record. Redfield led the Pentagon’s response to HIV-Aids in the 1980s. It involved isolating suspected soldiers in so-called HIV Hotels. Many who tested positive were dishonourably discharged. Some took their own lives.

    A devout Catholic, Redfield saw Aids as the product of an immoral society. For many years, he championed a much-hyped remedy that was discredited in tests. That debacle led to his removal from the job in 1994.

    “Redfield is about the worst person you could think of to be heading the CDC at this time,” says Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist who has reported on epidemics. “He lets his prejudices interfere with the science, which you cannot afford during a pandemic.”

    This again demonstrates Trump’s knack for picking the most awful person available for a job. I knew the CDC was massively screwed up, but till now I hadn’t known why. This is even worse than Trump’s choice of Pence as VP.

    His own worst enemy: how Donald Trump failed coronavirus challenge

  8. Zachary Smith

    Mail call.
    A letter from the Department of the Treasury just arrived. Except that the date on mine is May 1, the linked pdf is identical.

    Your Economic Impact Payment Has Arrived

    This is the THIRD document which has had Trump’s name on it. The first was a note about how “It Is Coming”. The second was the $1200 check with his name on the memo section. Now this.

    I really hope Hillary spends many thousands of years in Hell for forcing a 2016 choice between herself and the disaster named Trump.

  9. Stirling S Newberry

    300,000 deaths worldwide, at least according to the official figures. One more thing to correct: official to stop meaning “underreported figures to soothe political figures.”

  10. Zachary Smith

    SHEPHERD, Texas — When Jamie Williams decided to reopen her East Texas tattoo studio last week in defiance of the state’s coronavirus restrictions, she asked Philip Archibald for help. He showed up with his dog Zeus, his friends and his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.


    “Elon Musk Reopens California Tesla Plant in Defiance of Local Order to Stay Closed

    I’m concerned these are signs the US of A is starting to implode. Billionaires thumb their noses at Government, and “small businessmen” hire armed goons to do the same.

    The tactics of using unlimited money and/or violence work, especially when they are backed up by the Right Wing US Courts.

    “Corporations are people, my friend”
    My million dollars will always ‘trump’ your ten million citizen votes. (ref. SCOTUS and Citizens United)
    Guns! The ONLY part of the Constitution which is truly precious is the Second Amendment. The rest of it is crap.

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