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

May 3rd US Covid Data

Numbers are slowly declining, but the re-openings that are happening are foolish and premature.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – May 3, 2020


May 4th US Covid Data


  1. Tinky

    Check the title of the post, Ian. Should read “May 3rd”.


  2. Ian Welsh

    Thank you Tinky.

  3. S Brennan

    The mortality rate still staggers the mind, well…my mind.

    Over at the New York Times Disinformation Bureau they are headlining this.
    “Why Days 5 to 10 Are So Important When You Have Coronavirus…Tracking your daily symptoms can help you and your doctors make better decisions”
    Can you imagine any other disease, [with a 6% death rate], where an early diagnosis does not improve your odds of survival?

    I mean WTF, in the US, the entire medical profession, apparently, with the approval of the entire media, [see above], fritters away ALL THE TIME* between diagnosis and hospitalization, [if the NYTimes is to be believed], some 5-10 days, doing NOTHING FOR TREATMENT. Early treatment to avoid hospitalization? Nope, nadda, nothing!

  4. bruce wilder

    For California, which has gotten off lightly, the number of new cases continues to rise, at a rate north of 1500 per day. Numbers for Canada, which has similar total population, also above 1500 / day.

    New York which was reporting 10,000 new cases a day, has seen a fall off to half that. Considering the overall rate for the U.S. seems to be running nearly steady at 30,000/day, New York’s fall may be causing the totals for the country to disguise a general pattern of rising numbers in most places, considering that most states have had much lower rates than New York. Michigan and Louisiana have also been hotspots but have seen falloff.

    Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Iowa, Mississippi and a lot of other states which have been seeing new case rates in the hundreds are watching rates rise.

  5. Stirling S Newberry

    The Black Death in London – Barney Sloane

  6. Dan Lynch

    The slight overall decline is misleading. New York is declining but others are increasing.

    Since the U.S. lacks a national health policy (why the 10th amendment is still a thing deserves a discussion of its own) we end up with 50 different state policies.

    In general, the West has never locked down as strictly as China did. We’re not isolating positive cases in special hospitals like China did. Instead the sick go home and give it to their family. Assuming they stay home, which they many not.

    The U.S. has about 20% unemployment which means 80% are still employed. Does anyone really believe that all those 80% are essential workers? So the virus continues to spread through the workplace.

    Then there are the red states that are re-opening even as their cases are increasing.

    What the hell is wrong with us Americans?

  7. anon

    We haven’t seen the worst of this. People are desperate to go back to work for good reasons, but many are blaming the wrong people for their predicament. If the stimulus bill supported working families, and basic social programs were already been in place, Americans would be able to stay home until the end of the summer without fear of losing their homes and health insurance. I’m betting on a spike in cases by mid-summer. Maybe Americans will be like the Swedish and figure largely sacrificing those who are elderly, poor, morbidly obese, and people of color is preferable to having another shut down. It’ll be interesting to see how many more people will need to die in the next several years and how Americans will respond.

  8. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Hey guys, whatever happened to “flatten the curve”? Wasn’t that your dumb mantra to justify the lockdown? The idea was to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals didn’t get overwhelmed. Now that the hospitals are empty (and you’ve killed God knows how many in nursing homes by forcing them to take the infected), it’s … what? Hide in your house indefinitely? Howard Hughes on a mass scale.

  9. Zachary Smith

    Anti-Vaccination Activists Are Growing Force at Virus Protests

    Question #1 – who is financing these people? Since the Deep State has infiltrated everything, they ought to know.

    Question #2 – why is Facebook allowing the antivaxxer nuts access to all their suckers and rubes? Facebook heavily censors the stuff it wants suppressed. Today the UNZ site was blocked. Also Southfront. I don’t read the former one much – it has some loopy aspects, but every now and then some jewels are published there. The second reports on the activities of the US Imperialists and the Apartheid state hoodlums in the mideast.

    Why doesn’t Facebook find antivaxxer lies as obnoxious as Southfront truths?

  10. bruce wilder

    What the hell is wrong with us Americans?

    I cannot say I am much impressed by the political polarization that leads people to scold “red states”. Few states are bluer than New York and its experience has been catastrophic.

    The U.S. response has been conspicuously bad, but not because the general population has been especially uncooperative. Never mind Trump for a moment, the professional experts have not been especially impressive. The CDC bollixed testing in a critical failure that delayed lockdown and quarantines by weeks, making those policies much, much less effective. The dithering and confusion of politicians like Cuomo and DeBlasio has to be attributed in part to the delay in testing and in part to bad professional advice. The experts could not even work out the advisability of face masks.

    The willingness of people to endure lockdown has a lot to do with their economic ability to sustain it and the country’s political class has proven itself the worshipful servants of plutocrats and callous and indifferent to the plight of the poor and working class. Organizing large-scale, short-response testing was too much for either the Federal administration or most states, including my own very blue state. PPE? Not impressive provisioning.

    What is wrong is that the U.S. is run by incompetent fools, not that ordinary people are uncooperative. The incompetence is bipartisan.

    What is wrong with the U.S. is that the propaganda machine ignores elite responsibility and redirects attention purposely to individual “misbehavior” whether it is angry people in Lansing or people just wanting to walk on the beach. These are not the people responsible for leadership and organizing who dropped the ball.

  11. bruce wilder

    whatever happened to “flatten the curve”?

    “Flatten the curve” was a confused metaphor at best, but the spread of the virus has been brought down to a more-or-less constant rate of ~30,000 new cases per day in the U.S.

    A constant rate of new cases is consistent with a reproduction rate near 1.

    It is really hard to know what social measures are necessary to keep the reproduction rate below 1. The obvious need is for massive testing of the population to see who exactly is contagious at the moment so they can be quarantined, and the rest of us, whose practice of social distancing and isolation are mere ritual behaviors, can relax.

    If a person has the disease and is contagious for three weeks, 30,000 new cases a day implies something like 600,000 active cases in the U.S. If a lot of people are asymptomatic, and testing is still only confirming symptomatic cases, then good guess might be a million people have the disease in the U.S. In fact confirmed cases in the U.S. are over a million with only 200,000 regarded as recovered, though the reporting of the “recovered” is very spotty. Over 7 million tests have been performed.

    How many of the 1 million plus actively contagious cases are untested? How many people who should know that they have been in recent contact with a contagious person are uninformed?

  12. Stirling S Newberry

    Not, it is “both/and” not “either/or.” The Federal Government has chased away all of the bureaucrats and only push there own agenda, the state, both red and blue, just barely keep hospital running, the vox populi want to die as the light-up just one more fag.

    The problem with this is that exponential grow-rates mean that it costs 100,000 lives, official, and double that number of unofficial deaths, many of which are technically not of COVID-19. What’s more, it is not just the US but Western Europe. The key problem is that we have a mantra of philosophy that is “clean up afterward, do not prevent.” This works well if you are insanely rich or lucky, which is a majority of the voting-age population. Which means this is only a dress rehearsal.

  13. bruce wilder

    The U.S. Federal government no longer has a deep bench of genuine experts in its civil service. This is the result of neoliberalism, both directly as policy and indirectly as system (e.g. the corruption of academic research, the rising inequality of incomes that make civil service salaries unattractive to ambitious people, etc.). No one who sees Fauci, 79 years old, still hanging out should be in any doubt about why no one ever wanted his job who could do it.

    Just because a particular and dysfunctional political system emerges does not mean any large group individually or collectively wants it that way. In an uncertain world, any political system will adapt short-sightedly, from lack of experience, making cul-de-sacs of dysfunction the endpoint for most lines of development, and inventive innovation the only way out of stagnation leading toward decline of collapse. Our problem in the 21st century is that we have too much faith in willy nilly invention to slow blind innovation down to a pace that allows us time to recover from our mistakes. And, population and energy-use pressures make every new mistake very consequential very quickly. COVID-19 spread so fast because of how much travel globally had ramped up over the last decade, a phenomenon most had only just noticed. China’s rising share in world production of everything is another suddenly “new” development.

  14. Jay

    All of these statistics are bullshit. There isn’t sufficient testing to have a clear view of the number of infections or where they are. Even the case fatality rate is suspect, since deaths in excess of the seasonal average is a better indicator of how many Coronavirus fatalities there are in any given place, and this does not match up at all with the official CFR.

  15. RobotPliers

    Close state borders (or multi-state coalition borders), more testing/tracing, and begin mandatory central quarantine as w/ China. I’m convinced that until these things happen, case counts will not dramatically decrease–short of herd immunity.

  16. nihil obstet

    The ruling class has come to see all problems as problems of public relations rather than policy. The politicians see their job as keeping public approval as high as possible. Lobbyists see their job as making all legislation profitable to their clients. Politically appointed managers see their job as keeping complaints away from the politicians, and impose that job definition on civil servants fairly far down the line. By the time you get down to people actually trying to address the real problem, those people are powerless and invisible.

  17. highrpm

    “antivaxxer nuts”

    before one’s neuron myelin sheaths become too crystallized, i’d suggest watching the ytube clip,

    “Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Thomas Cowan on How Vaccines Are Changing the Nature of Childhood Illness”

    whether or not one wants to accept the other side’s views, both sides derive from science. (yes, the debate still rages with religious fury.)

  18. Zachary Smith

    Dr. Joseph Mercola Ordered to Stop Illegal Claims (Quackwatch site)

    Hot Alternative Doc Cowan Censured By CA Medical Authorities

    It’s sad deliberately suicidal adults exist, but I strongly disapprove of them killing kids.

    I don’t do Facebook, but I’ve got to wonder if that joint panders to these two yahoos.

  19. Zachary Smith

    How Unscrupulous Sellers Mislead on Shipping, Country of Origin

    The Chinese seem to be getting the hang of the “capitalism” thing. Even the price ripoff is impressive.

  20. Benjamin


    The curve has been flattened, even in the US and UK. As bad as the current deathtolls are, they’re still better than hundreds of thousands or millions.

  21. highrpm

    zack, did you watch the ytube of these two yahoos? i’d suggest you lean in a bit and expand your horizons. you might learn something anew. otoh, its safe staying with in the slipstream of the mainstream. (and what are your medical/ scientific credo’s, may i ask?) (and i suppose naturopathologicals are loonie tunies?)

  22. @Zachary Smith

    “Why doesn’t Facebook find antivaxxer lies as obnoxious as Southfront truths?”

    I used to get a regular stream of “antivaxxer” stuff, most of it tragic, on my Facebook page. IIRC, most of trajedies involved teens getting such wonderful things as Gardisil. It’s kind of sad when people suffer from permanent paralysis, or even die, so soon after vaccines. Even if it’s a small percentage of the population, when it’s your own child, well, I can see why such parent would hate people who use the sort of language that you do.

    The “antivaxxer stuff” disappeared, over a year ago.

    Why don’t you provide links to the “antivaxxer stuff” still available on Facebook, and then make an argument that the source is not some shill organization, but a genuine one run by people who are, indeed, acquainted with the scientific literature. Oh, and tell us how many people actually get to see it.

    Also, I think you should be first in line for a covid-19 vaccine. I’m sure it’ll work great, and take it’s place amongst all of the other, all-time great coronavirus vaccines.

    Oh, wait….

    I have to wonder if you’re not a member the Guerilla Skepticism project. From

    “”Soon, Wikipedia entries about natural healing, holistic medicine, and other subjects began to resemble publicity blurbs from Monsanto, or Merck, or the NIH.””

    In “Fixing Wikipedia’s EFT Article,”47 Dawson Church, Ph.D.,48 — a leading expert on The Emotional Freedom Techniques who has done much to enlarge and support the scientific investigation of this healing technique — provides a great summary of how skeptics and bloggers such as Quackwatch have taken over.

    “You get an opinion, but you don’t get the facts,” he says. Skeptics long ago seized control of Wikipedia operations under the Wikiproject “Guerilla Skepticism” and continuously delete information that runs counter to their way of thinking, including information from verifiable experts in those fields.

    According to Wired, the Guerilla Skepticism project had at least 120 Wiki editors as of 2018,49 and over the years, they have vandalized hundreds of articles, Church says.50″

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