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

October Covid Update

So, American excess deaths as of October 3rd, were at 299,028. By today they are well over 300,000. In a population of 328 million, the US is at about .1%. The final number of deaths is hard to determine, because the course of the US epidemic is being determined by human decisions, and there’s some question of what Biden would do, as well as the matter of how effective the first vaccines would be. While the percentage seems small, it is more than all US war casualties since WWII.

Of, I think, greater concern to most people is the Covid damage phenomenon. For example, a recent study of 100 Covid survivors found 78 had heart damage (and the heart isn’t the only organ it damages.) There are going to very long and significant knock-ons. Current total cases are over 8 million. Assume 16 million by the end, and that 78% rate, and you’re looking at twelve and a half million people with heart issues they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Many of those people are young.

Opening universities has been a huge problem. Wisconsin’s cases, for one data point, are now more than half concentrated at universities. Data on schools is harder to find, but the UK data indicates a lot of infections, with them split about evenly between primary and secondary schools. Reopening schools and universities was a huge wrong doing (I originally called it a mistake, but I think decision makers understood the consequences.)

The reports I have are that the financial sector in England has not re-opened physically: the “City” is empty. The same pattern seems to exist in the US: the commons have been made to go back to work and their children to school, most of the elites still work from home. Watch what they do, not what they make you do.

In my own residence of Ontario cases started rising over 6 weeks ago, and the government waited till they exceeded the first peak to put in restrictions less onerous than at the first peak, while children are at school and most ordinary people working. We reopened too soon, and re-shutdown too late and meanwhile supports from the government have been cut back.

As other countries have proved, following epidemiology 101 can indeed break the back of the epidemic (there are packed pool parties in Shanghai, New Zealand is fine, etc…) However, the way Covid has been handled in the US, Canada, Britain and probably elsewhere where I haven’t dug up the data has made the rich richer. The rich have access to on the spot testing with results in  5 minutes and are tested every day. They work from home. Covid has been a huge windfall for them. (This is why I wonder if Biden will really change much, his donors are getting rich too.)

So we wait for vaccines, wonder how much they will cost and how many of us will get Covid. Most will survive at this point, but not unscathed. Tens of millions will be ruined economically.

This epidemic should have been mostly over by summer, with occasional outbreaks dealt with by local shutdowns. Instead it will crank on till sometime next year.

The reason, again, is that the rich and powerful are mostly not at risk (if they do get it due to bad luck, or like Trump, due to extremely stupid behaviour, they get care not available even to normal people in the hospital); are making a lot of money and are gaining control over a larger percentage of the population.

If you’re rich and not very very unlucky, Covid has been a huge blessing. The rest of us can just wait for vaccines.

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Bolivian Socialists Sweep To Power


Presidential Debate Thread


  1. americaisfinished

    Yup, millions will have post-Covid complications and what did the American people decide to do? Nominate Joe Biden for President at the height of the pandemic. I have no empathy for any American and their healthcare problems/financial problems after this. You Americans wanted to sleep in a bed you shit in, so have fun with that.

    Hey Americans, you country is finished. Your economy is screwed six ways to Sunday, the neoliberal elite have fully taken over and they\’re going to give you rounds of austerity until someone worse than Trump seizes power. Worst case scenario climate change is pretty much guaranteed, and no you\’re not going to bioengineer out of climate change. You kids have no future. And you deserve every single moment of pain you\’re going to receive.

  2. NR

    Ian, how come you never direct any criticism at those hordes of white working-class morons who have also made this pandemic much worse in America by refusing to wear masks and claiming that the virus is a hoax? Yes, the rich deserve to be criticized for their actions during the pandemic, but COVID’s impact in America could have been greatly lessened with universal mask-wearing and sensible social distancing practices which those hordes of morons refused to do. Why do you give them a pass?

  3. Willy

    So how do you blame children who never heard that the bullies were bad?

    If I had a nickle for every time somebody living in a red state zone told me that their low information neighbors only have access to low information, resulting in low information votes, I’d have enough to do some advertising.

    There’s Dusty Smith for the lowbrow rural southerner who grows and stills his own. Beau of the Fifth Column seems more for the common sensical good ole family boy. Of course Jimmy Dore does west coast entertainment. Krystal and Saagar are trying to make a go of it for the northeastern urban sophisticate. David Pakman and Brian Tyler Cohen for the younger professional. Lots more where they came from. I’m even starting to see these guys on network TV.

    Maybe someday there’ll be a progressive version of the 700 club just like there used to be, with real live Christians who care more about Jesus than making bank. Imagine that!

    For those surrounded by covid superspreader hot spots in low information red state zones, I can only imagine what that’d be like, since where I’m at pretty much everybody goes out with a mask. Maybe they’ve got better ideas than I do.

  4. Enjoy your little gloat, but when we go down we’re taking the rest of you with us.

  5. Astrid

    Ha! USA is the ultimate to be big to fail. Thus it is destined to fail catastrophically.

    But come on! The ecological collapse is already full baked in for everyone. Everything done and not done this point is just moving furniture (or rather, debating the correct name for the color of the upholstery, mauve being totally a micro aggression and coded racist color) on a rapidly sinking ship.

    Nowadays, when a relatively good person dies, I’m actually happy for them for not having to see the back end of this. I find myself envying the already dead.

  6. I have posted “UK Covid ‘Scientific’ Advisory Group Was Lacking in the Most Relevant Scientific Expertise!” in my sub-reddit r/bad_scientific_culture, based on article “What SAGE has got wrong”. SAGE is the Scientific Advisory Group For Emergencies.

    In a nutshell, while their modeling group has lots of mathematicians, they have NO immunologists. (No explicit mention of epidemiologists, one way or the other; not sure what to make of that.)

    “I cannot stress how important it is, whenever you hear the word “model”, that you ask who has the expertise in the thing that’s purportedly being modelled. It is no use whatever if the modellers are earnest and brilliant if they are not top quality experts in the phenomenon being modelled. Because you may be sure that from models come future scenarios – predictions if you will. If the model is constructed by people who are not subject-matter experts about the thing being modelled, then if they’ve constructed it in error, they will not know it. ”

    IMNSHO, this CAN’T be an innocent error. From the abstract,

    “SAGE made – and continues to make – two fatal errors in its assessment of the SAR-CoV-2 pandemic, rendering its predictions wildly inaccurate, with disastrous results.”

    “Continues to make”! 7+ months after the advent of the epidemic!! I take “Continues to make” as a clear indication of deliberate malpractice. Possibly of malicious intent. This is as suspicious as the situation in the US, where not a single state, or the Federal government, has warned the public about getting their vitamin D levels a) assessed and then b) corrected, as necessary.

  7. Hugh

    Earlier we talked about the onset of the second wave of the pandemic. This was complicated by what event would mark the beginning of the second wave. Trump completely failed in his responsibility to lead the response against the virus. Instead he did the opposite.

    Trump is the puppet of his narcissistic personality disorder. For him, it was never about saving hundreds of thousands of lives. It was about not wearing a mask because he thought he didn’t look good in one. It was about denying the importance of the virus because to the narcissist nothing can be more important than him/her. He couldn’t share the stage with a virus. Not wearing a mask was Trump’s way of making it all about him. He had to dodge his responsibilities because they got in his way, his image. Even the repetition of a simple public health message: mask, social distancing, avoid groups, closed spaces, etc. could have saved so many, but was beyond this severely damaged man.

    So the first wave never ended. The return to school, flu season, the change of seasons and people spending more time inside in enclosed spaces, and the culture of irresponsibility that Trump has built up, no matter how you define it the second wave is at the door or already in the room. Good luck to us all.

  8. Temporarily Sane


    Your comment sounds awfully trollish and makes some questionable assumptions. Firstly, you seem to think all Americans are responsible for Joe Biden getting the Democratic nomination. That’s nonsense. Look up how the primary process works. Then you go on to bitterly condemn all Americans because Biden sucks, the US economy sucks, the US neoliberal elite suck, Trump’s Republican successor will suck and it because it sucks that the climate crisis is being ignored.

    That’s all true but how different is it where you are?

    If you’re in a western country your economy sucks too, your elites are neoliberal, your political candidates likely suck and your track record on addressing serious environment issues sucks too. It’s a matter of degree. The US and UK are slightly more extreme when it comes to neoliberalism and throwing ordinary citizens under the economic bus but neoliberalism is currently the only game in town and it’s implemented in your neck of the woods too. As for climate change, name one country that does more than pay lip service to “doing something” about it. The economy is globalized and, as Red Bear said above, if America goes down so do you.

    Bitterly blaming Americans for all this and wishing them ill makes no sense. It’s like me saying those goddamn French elected that neoliberal stooge Macron, they still have their military killing people in Africa and the Middle East and their economy sucks. They deserve to fry in hell for that. It’s called misdirected rage.

    Have a nice day.

  9. bruce wilder

    With regard to COVID-19, the failure to deploy the resources necessary to test frequently and with short turnaround very early practically doomed every feeble policy initiative to curtail spread that followed. The scale of the thing took off in a continental country with few natural barriers to interchange.

    I would think it obvious that testing — quick turnaround and at scale (meaning enough tests are done that the rate of positive test outcomes is well less than 5%) — has to be done very aggressively. Without testing, you are asking people to behave superstitiously. With testing, it is possible to trace and quarantine for good cause.

    This — testing — has to be done. I do not think the official experts understood that. The political leadership did not.

    People keep saying the failure to lockdown was key. And that reasoning leads to exhortations for renewed attempts at lockdowns. But, lockdowns are difficult to sustain for long, for a variety of reasons. The cost of lockdowns are enormous. And, without adequate testing, it is not possible target lockdowns credibly, a factor in making lockdowns and other measures work.

    In the U.S., COVID-19 may well be already endemic. If reinfection proves a common scenario, vaccination may well prove technically difficult, and the world is screwed for a long time to come. The optimistic scenario would be one where the futility continues until death rates decline enough that people just give up trying. For the unlucky suffering long-term damage this would be a dark path.

  10. Ian Welsh


    where is the propaganda which convinces these people masks are unnecessary coming from?

    (One faction of the rich and powerful.)

    If you want me to say some people are stupid and easily propagandized, well, here that statement, they are.

  11. Zachary Smith

    In terms of how many people have {covid} cases per million residents, the world’s worst hellholes are:

    • Andorra (a quasi country between Spain and France)- 46,868 cases per million residents
    • Qatar (the vast majority of whose residents are virtual slaves)- 46,182 cases per million residents
    • Bahrain (a densely populated tiny collection of islands, most of whose residents are virtual slaves)- 45,514 cases per million residents
    • North Dakota- 44,178 cases per million residents
    • Aruba (a densely populated 69 square mile Dutch colony specializing in off-shore money laundering in the Caribbean)- 40,738 cases per million residents
    • South Dakota- 38,949 cases per million residents

    “Worse Than Trump” is saying something! These two Republican governors must be dopes of the first order.

  12. Zachary Smith

    “In recovering COVID-19 patients, antibodies fade quickly”

    I wonder if anybody has tried pasteurizing plasma from very recently ill people? If this didn’t do damage to the ‘good’ antibodies, it would seem to be a no-brainer.

  13. Zachary Smith

    “A New Study Shows Children Are Silent Spreaders Of Covid-19”

    Something is wrong. One or the other “study” might have been written by a fanatic or political hack. The test conditions may be totally different. Dishonest government agencies might also be in action here. I noticed in a country look-up that France is just barely below the US in per-capita Covid cases, so maybe “somebody” is trying to shift the blame to another Covid source.

  14. Zachary Smith

    Some British Covid Deniers are taking a different approach to the non-existent “pandemic”. That’s right, the Covid thing is entirely a fraud. An impressive graph and a pair of fast-talking gentlemen proved that excess mortality was precisely zero – except during Lockdowns. The huge death spikes then were caused by doctors shifting all treatment to the fake Coronavirus and thus ignoring the cancer patients, the people with bad hearts, and all the other dangerous diseases which weren’t being treated at all.

    The various sites don’t always have their acts together – one which admits the existence of Covid 19 still claims the “cure” (lockdowns) is almost as bad as the disease. Claim: Lockdown deaths kill “two” for every “three” Covid deaths.

    Still others harp on the suicides caused by all the stress and depression. The heart attacks caused by all the stress and depression. The fatal hard drug overdoses – again from all the stress and depression.

    Didn’t see any of the US-style mask gripes – the horror stories of people dying from CO2 poisoning. Or out-of-control Dental Disasters.

    Different folks, different strokes.

  15. Thomas B Golladay

    @Zachary Smith

    No Western Study should be taken at face value without extensive vetting. This pandemic is completely politicized in “Western Countries.”

    Look at the African and Asian Countries, they lowered viral loads with masks, then they looked at who wasn’t getting hit. Figured out they were on Zinc and Zinc Ionophores and using good old Empiricism, hit the the solution.

    The way out of this mess is prevention with Zinc and Zinc Ionophores backed by Vitamin D and C till T-cell immunity kicks in.

  16. Ten Bears

    “Q” is five, four, three, two …

  17. GM

    Most will survive at this point, but not unscathed.

    It is probably a lot worse than that though, and this is why China reacts the way they do every tine a cluster shows up — they have been studying these viruses very closely for 15+ years now and know a thing or two about them.

    The key, almost entirely overlooked by the media, issue being that there is no lasting immunity to coronaviruses, and COVID will most likely behave the same way — lots of reinfections have already been reported.

    So it will go through the population once, and then what happens? It will go through it again. And again. And again. And again, until we get our act together and do what has to be done to eradicate it (at which point that will be a Herculean task to say the least).

    And each time people get it, they will get more and more internal organ damage, so one can expect the mortality to rise with each round of reinfection, and to shit downward in the age distribution.

    Note that this not fear-mongering, this is what logically follows from the known facts:

    1. Short-lived immunity towards all known coronaviruses for which this has been studied

    2. Lasting internal organ damage caused by SARS-type coronaviruses.

    What the plan of our overlords is if they are aware of these facts (I can’t imagine nobody told them), I have no idea.

  18. NL

    “We simply want to ensure that American people, consumers of information, can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party itself,” Pompeo said. “Not the same thing,” he bluntly concluded.

    How long before Chinese, Russia et al news websites are restricted in access from the US by the US?

    Seems to me that the consequences of “living with the coronavirus” have not been fully thought through in the West. One thing that is clear now is that the life expectancy will be shaved off by 10-15 years. The US life expectancy decreased in 2015-2017 primarily because of drugs and suicides, so if you don’t do drugs and have relatively strong mental composition, you would still expect to live to late 70s early 80s. This will not be the case in the coronavirus world, you’d be lucky to live to late 60s early 70s. We are also in for a great culling of the elderly in the >70 age range in the next couple of years. Many of our institutions, including the presidency and Senate, are dominated by senior citizens. I saw somewhere that the present Senate is the oldest on record. Obviously, the senior members of the Senate as well as the two senior presidential candidates must resign, because they can not function fully in the virus world, could get infected and die at any time (when the virus kills, it kills quickly), and the cost of keeping them protected from the virus is just too high. Trump got lucky now and will not be so lucky next time. Melania is reported to still have symptoms. Removal of the seniors from the labor force one way or another (retirement, death or morbidity) will pick up.

    Second, I am not even sure that the wealthy in the West can protect themselves effectively from the virus. What has emerged so far is that while the labor goes to work and then goes home, the wealthy are incessantly meeting each other at all sorts of functions (possibly to maintain social cohesion). The virus is amazingly egalitarian. In fact, it seems to be a disease of wealth. Poor people do not fly and do not eat at restaurants without a drive-through. It is not a disease of poor sanitation or poverty. It floats in the air when one breathes and talks. The wealthy are served by labor (servants etc), the more labor is infected, the more chances are for the wealthy to pick it up. I mentioned somewhere a scenario in which the wealthy retreat into and lock themselves in mansions together with some help (sort of what like the Queen of England did But what will that do to their social cohesion and the ability to run the country? Can they run the country by Zoom, while the labor is out there in the coronavirus world? And one can hear here and there that this or that wealthy individual either died or has lasting symptoms. More wealthy people have been infected by the virus than have admitted to it.

    Third, a diseased population will lack in vitality, energy, fecundity. What will this do to our ability to defect ourselves? Right now we are being cheered up and are convinced that ‘normality’ is just around a corner. Once the tune changes, and it becomes clear even to the most thick headed individuals that no such thing will happen, then things will begin to develop rapidly. Etc etc You get the point.

  19. @NL
    “Seems to me that the consequences of “living with the coronavirus” have not been fully thought through in the West. One thing that is clear now is that the life expectancy will be shaved off by 10-15 years. ”

    That’s as clear as mud. In Sweden, the median age of death is 84. The median age of covid death is 85. If there are repeated waves of covid, of equal lethality, the very senior members of the Swedish herd will get that much more depleted, compared to non-senior; hence, the the median age of death of the Swedish herd, as a whole, will indeed fall.

    However, for right now, there’s about 3 Swedes per day dying from covid. Statistical noise.

    As for “repeated waves of equal lethality”, don’t believe it. From my above mentioned link to “What SAGE has got wrong”,

    ” The more likely situation is that the susceptible population is now sufficiently depleted (now <40%, perhaps <30%) and the immune population sufficiently large that there will not be another large, national scale outbreak of COVID-19. Limited, regional outbreaks will be self-limiting and the pandemic is effectively over. This matches current evidence, with COVID-19 deaths remaining a fraction of what they were in spring, despite numerous questionable practices, all designed to artificially increase the number of apparent COVID-19 deaths."

    He's describing the UK. If the susceptible population is 30-40% there, I'd guesstimate no more than 10% of non-senior Swedes. (The Swedes, I believe, tried and are trying to protect the most senior. Didn't do a very good job, the first time, around. )

  20. NL


    Let’s agree to disagree.

    As to pathophysiology and epidemiology of COVID-19, I probably did not have enough biology classes in college, cause most of the time the ongoing discussion is either hypothetical or makes little sense to me. I suppose I should have taken immunology but that was not my cup of tea.

    Here’s one estimate of life expectancy loss due to COVID-19, this one is actually not as bad as what I seen before:

    At merely 2% COVID-19 infection prevalence, the secular increase in life expectancy is likely to be suspended. At 10% prevalence, the loss in life expectancy is likely be above 1 year in high life expectancy countries. At 50%, it would translate into 3 to 9 years of life lost in high life-expectancy regions, 2 to 7 years in medium life-expectancy regions, and 1 to 4 years in low life expectancy regions.

  21. NL

    “Our results suggest a decline in life expectancy at birth of 1.9 years among men and 1.6 years among women, which corresponds to the levels of 2009 (Fig. 1). These estimates can be considered conservative, as we have assumed that mortality for the rest of the year would follow the expected mortality for previous years. ” in Madrid in 2020.

    “Our medium estimate indicates a reduction in US life expectancy at birth of 1.13 years to 77.48 years, lower than any year since 2003. We also project a 0.87-year reduction in life expectancy at age 65.” in the US in 2020 — this is a pre-print not peer-reviewed

  22. @Gollady
    “No Western Study should be taken at face value without extensive vetting. This pandemic is completely politicized in “Western Countries.” ”

    Ditto. IMNSHO, anybody with a half a brain, and aware of the magnitude of the Surgisphere fudged data, that was visible (to the astute) by casual inspection, but passed peer review by Lancet in their now retracted ‘study’; and the murderous study in Brazil that used toxic doses of chloroquine; should have seen enough to realize how far the ‘Medical Mafia’ will go.

    And like with climate science, the media representation is distorted, with the bias clearly towards the apocalyptic. (Fox news is an exception. Their bias is in the opposite direction!)

    E.g., a relative posted a link to “Sweden is moving away from its no-lockdown strategy and preparing strict new rules amid rising coronavirus cases”, from

    When I actually read the article, though, it said:

    “Perhaps tomorrow we will have several talking about concerts or restaurants and then perhaps one could say, ‘In Uppsala now for two or three weeks it is the Public Health Agency’s advice not to sit in restaurants late at night,'” he told The Telegraph.
    Unlike in other countries, however, there are not expected to be fines or legal consequences for people who decide not to follow any new advice. Bitte Brastad, the chief legal officer at Sweden’s public-health agency, said the rules were “something in between regulations and recommendations.””

    Now, is whatever jackass that constructed that title so dumb as to not see the contradiction between it and the contents of the short, non-technical article? No way, Jose. This was deliberate.

    I have heard from a 2nd hand source, a doctor who worked on the front line in Brooklyn, and quit out of frustration and safety concerns, that even asymptomatic people can have long term lung damage. So, I believe this a THING. However, I frankly didn’t believe the CDC when it said something like 1/3 of covid patients (I assume symptomatic) had long term damage.* I have that much more problem believing 78% have heart damage of any significance, unless it’s a cherry-picked sample. The paper is above my pay grade, but apparently some of the “damage” relates to inflamation of the pericardium.

    Well, Virginia, years ago I heard about a super sensitive test involving an inflammatory marker that far exceeds the sensitivity used by first responders (or emergency room staff; can’t remember which) to determine stroke or heart attack. So, will these cardiac damaged patients basically have some long-term, micro-inflammatory condition, that isn’t likely to shave much time off your life? I don’t know, and won’t even attempt researching it. This is the sort of thing that a Chris Martenson would be good for. The fact that 78% >> 1/3, and the CDC claim, IIRC, was for ALL types of long term damage, makes the cardiac study that much more suspicious.

    The cardiac study says,
    “Comparisons were made with age-matched and sex-matched control groups of healthy volunteers (n = 50) and risk factor–matched patients (n = 57).”

    Ah, say guys, here’s an idea: Why not compare to flu survivors?

    * by “damage”, I mean something that shortens your life; or else creates a significant decrease in quality of life; an elderly neighbor was hospitalized with covid, and “almost died” (she credits hydroxychloroquine for her recovery, though it seems unlikely, as she was clearly late stage) and weeks later was still suffering the after effects, including loss of taste; however, she has since gotten quite sprightly, judging by appearances, and goes dancing on Friday nights with another neighbor.

  23. GlassHammer

    Well my states cases are on the rise once more after trending down for a few months.

    Once the Governor started relaxing restrictions the outcome was obvious.
    Can’t blame him too much since he did better than most by getting PPE, Test kits, closing some non-essential businesses, and mandating masks for several months. He held the line longer than I expected.

    Local businesses still hold firm on mandatory Masks and increased hygiene standards for employees. That said the “demand gap” for this year did significant damage to them.

    A local hardware store that had been run by a local family (for decades) had to sell itself to a bigger firm. The owner was close to retirement and he and his family just couldn’t make it work anymore.

    A local hair salon lost it all after a customer told them they had COVID when they were last there and the owner failed to tell their clients quickly. See the owner did get themselves and the staff tested right away but they were too slow when it came to informing clients. A local paper reported the incident first (which is how everyone found out) and the clients were furious.

  24. anon

    The fact that Chris Christie and Donald Trump survived COVID-19 while thousands of otherwise healthy young people under the age of 50 have died just shows you how unequal health care is in the USA.

    If Christie and Trump had been a regular morbidly obese and unhealthy Joes working at a factory, even with good medical care, they would have most certainly died. They received truly VIP 1% medical care and experimental drug cocktails.

    Anyone who is not a millionaire politician or mogul will not receive this kind of care anytime soon. You think you are well off with good health care and a six figure job? It won’t be enough to save you because no one else is other than the 1% is receiving the Lilly COVID-19 antibody drug that both Christie and Trump received or the Regeneron’s antibody cocktail that Trump received.

  25. Willy

    Here’s a handy map which shows me the number of cases per 100K of population. According to the dates presented when I move my cursor around, I assume it’s somewhat accurate.

    I notice that Oregon, Maine and West Virginia are on the low side, with an average of 1% cases, while Louisiana and North Dakota are on the high side (avg. 4% cases).

    Sadly I don’t have the time to figure out deaths per 100K, though the information is there.

    So now we speculate. Is it because Oregon, Maine and West Virginia have more Swedes? Does Nodak and Louisiana have more inbreeders, or farmers coming into sexual contact with livestock? I’m pretty sure that somewhere, there’s a rhyme and/or reason to all this.

  26. Willy

    Actually, I just scrolled up and there are handy buttons above the map for other kinds of statistics. My bad.

  27. kråke


    Blood type.

    Sar-Cov-2 is airborne, and that means a respiratory entry. But covid-19 is a blood/vascular disease.

  28. kråke


    I posted 3 links, but they are in moderation I guess.

  29. S Brennan

    My Cousin’s son, my Cousin’s son’s wife and their child recently recovered from Covid-19. A late twenties couple contracted it through their toddler and their child, through childcare provided by a friend of the family. The child was sick for just under a week while the couple took three weeks; it was pretty tough sledding.

    A few empirical points:

    1] Children can spread the disease to other children and adults. Duh.

    2] Children can get Covid. Not as bad but, they can get it.

    The idea that a more fanatical shutdown taken to draconian lengths after the horse had left the barn would’ve brought the runaway steed back is pure fantasy. Yes like many undone things, it can’t be proven or disproven but, the fact that this disease once established keeps reemerging should be evidence enough that the disease is worldwide and it’s spread unstoppable at this point in time.

    The only way to have stopped Covid-19 is at it’s source, by stopping air travel from China…which Trump tried to do back 31 January 2020. But, like everything Trump does, his detractors immediately decried that basic security move as fascism, motivated by racism. Trump detractors have let the their irrational hatred [and their responsibility for the mayhem that ensued] slip down a memory hole to be replaced by Google’s first twenty “fact checkers”.

    The only methodology to minimize damage at this point in in time is:

    1] Prevent infection, masks, social distancing, avoiding large social gatherings. And to the lady yesterday who was sick and went shopping with her mother and kept dropping her mask to cough, I mean you; take your Subaru with it’s “coexist” sticker and shove it where the sun the sun don’t shine.

    2] Best practice on pre-infection treatment, vitamins and other supplements as well as a stockpile of early infection treatments.

    3] Best practice on early infection treatment. [ In spite of all the death wishes against Trump expressed here and other “liberal” venues, Trump got better because he was treated early. Trump did not follow Fauci’s advice to go home and wait until he was in need of hospitalization. Trump got early treatment. Which is what I have been advising since March. And yeah, treatments will improve over time which is why I emphasize, for those whose ignorance is studied, BEST PRACTICES. ]

    4] Highest priority is to be put on the development of effective LOW COST testing and EARLY treatment until a reasonably safe therapeutic vaccine is developed.

    I do not think a long term vaccine for this virus is in the cards. Minimize exposure, lower your intial-viral-load; pretreatment; testing; early treatment. And, if you are sick, phone in your order and let them bring it to your car for F’s sake.

  30. NR

    Just FYI for people, the claim that Trump tried to ban all travel from China at the start of the pandemic is Republican revisionist history.

  31. Ten Bears

    Following up on NR’s FYI: there’s been no notable increase in suicide.

  32. Willy

    That Trump has remained consistent with encouraging superspreader events, while blaming everybody else around him for the USAs ongoing status as the worlds #1 Covid-19 case nation, jibes with the opinion that he’s an incorrigible incompetent.

    Limits should be set on the number of experts a layman can realistically blame. When the number gets into the millions, I’d say it’d be time to put him into Hitler territory, as in, “Germany’s fall is proof that the German people aren’t worthy of my vision” type territory.

    But maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong before. Maybe if Trump had been president of Sweden things would’ve been different.

  33. NR

    Vietnam has a population of 95 million and has 35 COVID deaths. Not 35,000. Not 3500. 35. And this is despite them having a high population density and being right next to China and having a ton of trade ties with them.

    If America had done as well, we’d have around 120 COVID deaths today. Instead we have at least 220,000, possibly more.

    The only reasons that America has done so badly compared to Vietnam is that American leadership is grossly incompetent (or negligent) and American citizens are profoundly stupid (and those two things are related).

  34. Willy

    NR, during our coming Trump autocracy, I forsee Vietnam getting to Mars first.

    Not because America has lesser technologies or because all the spacecraft parts would be made in Vietnam, but because our heroic craft would have to return home because the crew got infected with covid.

  35. Thomas B Golladay

    Prevention of virus spread was impossible. The Wuhan Lab accidentally released it in mid October 2019 as seen by satellite surveillance when Chinese Military cut off access to the facility and the roads there for a few days. It then silently spread through Wuhan and mutated with the first wave starting in November as an unknown viral pneumonia.

    China knew what was going on, but lower level officials hid it from top brass as they didn’t want to pass bad news upwards to save face.

    By the time the rest of the world knew what was going on, it was too late. I only started to hear of this in early January and by mid Jan, it was clear it was a class 4 pathogen and China was lying just like SARS-COV-I. Going by Satellite Photos, China lost in excess of 5 million people. The true extent won’t be known till Xi is out of power and denounced.

    In the end Xi bears the full responsibility for this for creating such a culture of fear that people were too afraid to tell him bad news.

  36. @NR “If America had done as well, we’d have around 120 COVID deaths today. Instead we have at least 220,000, possibly more.”

    That’s extremely simplistic. Do you seriously think the Vietnamese and US fatalities would be as far apart, if we simply changed 1 (non)variable, viz., what if the Vietnamese were as obese as Americans?* Did you know that obesity is believed to be a driver of Vitamin D deficiency? See also, e.g., “Obese have 50 percent less of two enzymes in fatty tissue to process vitamin D – May 2013” on I think the evidence of association is much stronger in the other direction, i.e., low vitamin D contributes to obesity.

    A more realistic assessment of the differences between Vietnam and the US could be had in the discussion of a recent naked capitalism diary: “COVID-19: Examining Theories for Africa’s Low Death Rates”

    One comment (obviously anecdotal):

    October 20, 2020 at 11:05 am
    Yes, thats another point when it comes to mortality. My niece is a hospital doctor, and she said that she quickly learned that she only needed one metric when assessing incoming cases to know if they will likely require IC – whether they were obese or not.

    * has an article, from 2017, called “Vietnam has the lowest rate of adult obesity: global study”

  37. NL

    Here’s a guy from Harvard Medical School chimes in. He says the virus shaves 13.25 years per person:

    “By combining actuarial data on life expectancy and the distribution of COVID-19 associated deaths we estimate that over 2,500,000 person-years of life have been lost so far in the pandemic in the US alone, averaging over 13.25 years per person with differences noted between males and females. Importantly, nearly half of the potential years of life lost occur in non-elderly populations”

    A pre-print :

    @Thomas B Golladay
    Pardon for me being skeptical. How do you know all of this for sure? Do you work for secret services and leak this info?

  38. NR

    metamars: Comorbidities could certainly account for *some* discrepancy in death rates. Not 220k vs. 35.

  39. Ché Pasa

    Science like religion has always been political and politicized. Nowadays though, especially in connection with the pandemic, science and religion are often one, with many schisms and heresies complicating the picture.

    Dr. Fauci is a scientist and a political player. I assume he’s Catholic — I don’t know — which, compared to some other religious beliefs, is relatively aligned with science and the scientific method these days. Too many times, especially early in the pandemic, Fauci’s let the science be overwhelmed by political chaos, and that helped make the situation much worse in this country. On the other hand, the lack of preparation and the lack of pandemic supplies meant that the situation would get profoundly worse in this country before it got better no matter what Fauci (or Trump for that matter) did or said. It was “too late” the minute the pandemic was recognized in the USA.

    Those who should have known knew. What they did or didn’t do with their knowledge is the problem and the crisis.

    Those nations which have tamed the virus were able to do so because they largely escaped the politicized science and bullshit that the US endlessly engaged in and continues to. They were prepared. They had or could get sufficient supplies, and they had and have a robust universal public health care and social service sector which the United States utterly lacks and shows no inclination to institute or revive.

    So we die. That’s the policy. There’s nothing to be done. The virus cannot be controlled now. Mitigation efforts will largely fail because so many Americans refuse to engage in mitigation. There is no way to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected because there are no reliable public services to keep them fed and housed and supplied during quarantine as there was and still is in much of Asia for example.

    Just a note about the placebo effect: it’s real. Some people find their bliss with vitamins and zinc, some with HCQ, some with prayer. None it may be “objectively” effective or “scientifically” proven, but Oh Well. As placebos they are going to work for some, no matter what science says.

  40. Hugh

    “In the end Trump bears the full responsibility for this” –at least in the US.

    Fixed that for you. Trump was in a perfect position to make a difference in a good way and couldn’t be bothered. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans are on him –not that he cares.

  41. Ten Bears

    The Trump Virus, Thomas, is as likely to have ‘accidentally’ escaped the Wuhan Lab as thawed out of the thawing tundra or lept from bat to undercooked dog to human, all of which is moot in the generally accepted vernacular, it is The Trump Virus – Trump Bug, Trump Flu, Trump Plague, Trump Pandemic – because he held the held the door open and said ‘come on in!” Opened the door, let it in and then actively gave it time to spread, and continues to actively encourage its spread.

    Indeed, it as likely to have ‘escaped’ a lab in China as Russia, the US or Israel.

  42. Thomas B Golladay


    I’m a Critical Care Paramedic and 2nd year Medical Student. The Virus Code and Wuhan Lab’s research into Gain of Function funded by Dr. Fauci are public knowledge and so are sat photos which you can purchase open sourced.

    The SARS-COV-II virus has multiple inserts that allow it to attach to multiple proteins and hide its presence until it is too late to prevent a cytokine storm. These inserts are proof positive that it was lab made. There is nothing more to say about this. China is guilty, Fauci is also guilty and should have known better to not do Gain of Function research and especially not to outsource it to China.

  43. Willy

    I’ve heard the outsourced Wuhan test lab story. Been told here more times than I care to count. But even if not true, you’d hope that it’d be a valuable lesson for us all, if humans could indeed learn from lessons.

    So has anybody gathered up animals for testing to see where else in nature this virus exists? I’d hope the Chinese are doing this to at least try and cover their asses. We buy a lotta shit from that place.

    Would it be worth it to try and study what other nasty viruses lie in wait, or would we just screw that up too?

    Wouldn’t Trump have been informed of such danger early on, as Woodward suggests, and with his handpicked crew of top strategic experts, come up with better spread mitigation solutions than say, Bangladesh?

    Could all of Trumps behaviors for, hell, pretty much his entire life, be a ruse to cover up the fact that he’s actually going to MAGA, for real, at the end of a very long day, but hasta be crafty because of the great power of the Deep State? This would explain why Borat was able to punk Giuliani so easily, as well as why Bannon was caught stealing Wall money from non-mexican donors by the post office (Deep State). Those things would be part of the plan.

    I guess I do seem to have more questions than answers these days.

  44. NL

    “I’m a Critical Care Paramedic and 2nd year Medical Student. ”

    So, you have two more years of medical school, 3 years of residency and some years of fellowship before you can be considered a trained physician. And even then you will only be allowed to do clinical trials and not basic research. I suppose if you are really good and interested in science, you could jump on a research track after the residency and then do a postdoc/instructor (another 3-5 years). So, from the point of view of training, your training at this point is lacking and ill-equips you to judge scientific claims and make such bold statements.

    Can you please identify which insertions in the virus genome code for protein binding sites as well as which proteins these binding sites bind to and how this conceals the virus from the immune system. For such bold claims as yours, there must be good evidence. Short of that, pardon me if I just ignore your claims. You know even among highly trained scientists, there are frauds and quacks, not many, but there are. I guess maybe it is something about entropy in the human psyche or maybe a desire to stand out and draw people’s attention that one day some of these people wake and decide, “Hey, let me come up with the most ridiculous claim and defend it with made up data”.

  45. Hugh

    I’m a …”

    So as a second year med student, have you done an epidemiology course yet? Does being a med student give you the ability to see into buildings and read the labels (in Chinese) from satellite photos? Cool.

    I expect you have done a genetics course. A pity that more of it didn’t stick. Still I expect you know that Covid 19 is a positive sense, single stranded RNA virus.

    And as per wiki, “It is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. There is no evidence yet to link an intermediate host, such as a pangolin, to its introduction to humans. The virus shows little genetic diversity, indicating that the spillover event introducing SARS-CoV-2 to humans is likely to have occurred in late 2019.”

    In other words, nothing shifty in its RNA, and the lack of diversity in its RNA strongly indicating it species-jumped from bats (that is it did not hang out in some intermediate species and mutate before infecting humans).

  46. S Brennan

    NEWSWEEK World:

    Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research
    By Fred Guterl On 4/28/20

  47. S Brennan

    And speaking of lazy minds:

    “The only way to have stopped Covid-19 is at it’s source, by stopping air travel from China…which Trump tried to do back 31 January 2020. But, like everything Trump does, his detractors immediately decried that basic security move as fascism, motivated by racism. Trump detractors have let the their irrational hatred [and their responsibility for the mayhem that ensued] slip down a memory hole to be replaced by Google’s first twenty “fact checkers”.”

    And what would a lazy mind do? Why he would go to Google’s top twenty list of “fact checkers” rather than do a proper search using the data provided. – NR October 22, 2020

    I thought I’d throw a few dated articles in to stop any “studied ignoramus” from posting Google’s top twenty “fact checkers” but…I said, hey let the morons post Google’s bullshit and then pop the links:

    “Jan. 31, 2020 at 3:48 p.m. PST

    The Trump administration on Friday dramatically escalated its response to the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic by announcing quarantines and major travel restrictions that officials said were meant to limit contagion.

    The measures, which could affect thousands of people around the world, represented a marked expansion of the federal government’s response after initially downplaying potential risks.

    The White House declared a “public health emergency” and — beginning on Sunday at 5 p.m. — will bar non-U.S. citizens who recently visited China from entering the United States, subject to a few exemptions. Shortly after the White House announced the new restrictions and said there were six confirmed U.S. cases, a seventh case was confirmed in Santa Clara County, Calif.”


    Trump Administration Restricts Entry Into U.S. From China …

    Feb 10, 2020 — Published Jan. 31, 2020 Updated Feb. 10, 2020.
    Moving to counter the spreading coronavirus outbreak, the Trump … air service between the United States and China for several months


    Trump Administration Issues Drastic Travel Restrictions

    Jan 31, 2020 — Trump Declares Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency And Restricts Travel From China. January 31, 20204:42 PM ET

  48. Hugh

    Fauci ordered Chinese takeout. Suspicious much?

  49. Hugh

    Most major airlines had suspended flights from China prior to Trump’s January 31 announcement. And the coronavirus came to the US principally from China via Europe. It was the lack of testing, contact tracing, basic public health measures like masks and social distancing, and of course no leadership from Trump. 226,000 Americans are dead because of your bro-love Trump.

  50. NR

    Of course, anyone who does a little basic research will find that Trump’s “ban” on travel from China was anything but.

    “President Donald Trump has repeatedly credited his February ban on travelers from mainland China as his signature move against the advance of the coronavirus pandemic — a “strong wall” that allowed only U.S. citizens inside, he boasted in May.

    But Trump’s wall was more like a sieve.

    Exempted were thousands of residents of the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. An analysis of Commerce Department travel entry records and private aviation data obtained by The Associated Press shows that nearly 8,000 Chinese nationals and foreign residents of the territories entered the U.S. on more than 600 commercial and private flights in the first three months after the ban was imposed.”

    The fact that Trump supporters feel the need to lie and rewrite history is extremely telling. Of course they know deep down that his incompetence is to blame for how bad COVID has become in America, but they are becoming increasingly desperate to hide that fact.

  51. Willy

    If I was a pro-Trump progressive, I’d be diverting attentions away from his pro-plutocratic anti-worker policies and onto the wild covid successes he would’ve had if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.

  52. Ten Bears

    Fauci ordered Chinese take-out? From China? Wooooo …

    Yes, the desperation is getting deep, all across what Skippy (RIP) coined blogtopia.

    Don’t realize how entertaining it is till you start laughing.

    Second year med student, lol, wouldn’t make it out of my CS120, Introduction to Computers, Computers in Society. Not sure it would make it out of my CS60* or 80.

    * This is a mouse, pick it up and shake it, you’re not gonna’ hurt it.

  53. @NL
    “metamars: Comorbidities could certainly account for *some* discrepancy in death rates. Not 220k vs. 35.”

    That’s true, but you are still comparing two outlier countries, with basically no analysis, whatsoever. Of course, even experts can’t adequately do this, due to lack of data. But the sorts of things they would look at are touched on in the nakedcaptalism post and thread. It’s not just obesity. Unfortunately, one possibility discussed at naked capitalism is the possibility of epigentic influence due to nearness to China, and what that implies about frequency of disease propagation, and their society’s ability to handle that. Good luck proving anything in that department, in the near future. (Ditto my notions of microbiome-mediated herd immunity, defined as robustness against covid cause disease, not merely the prevalence of antibodies.) You may not have the capacity to do the analysis, even if adequate data were available, but your simplistic viewpoint doesn’t much acknowledge it’s own rather obvious limitations.

    You’re also devoid of analysis between the US, and Sweden, which did less of lockdowns, masks, social distancing, and testing. Since the Swedes have now lost less citizens to covid, per capita, than the US, you’ve got an elephant-in-the-room that makes your non-analysis analysis even less credible. (A comparison between Sweden and the “Sweden states” would be a good place to start, but I haven’t looked into that.)

    The Vietnamese (and other) experience does indeed suggest that their somewhat draconian approach might have made a huge difference, here. (Note: You still can’t fly into Vietnam, unless you’re a diplomat or a few other limited exceptions. ) How much of that was really under Trump’s authority, to pull off? E.g., even if Trump wanted a national facemask mandate, how would he get one? The legality even at the state level is questionable. And even Biden’s legal team “thinks” he can impose a mask mandate; other times he has talked about “getting governors in a room”(“go to every governor and get them all in a room, all 50 of them as president and ask people to wear a mask.”). He’s also said, “But here’s the deal, the federal government — there’s a constitutional issue whether federal government could issue such a mandate. I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”

    You are as lacking in a political analysis, which looks at the plausibility of the US imitating Vietnam, as you are in even a layman’s attempt at discussing what a serious epidemiological analysis would look like, in figuring out why Vietnam has done so much better than the US (while worse than Sweden.)

  54. NL

    “Re NEWSWEEK World:
    Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab with U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research”

    The article has this:
    “(At this point most scientists say it’s possible—but not likely—that the pandemic virus was engineered or manipulated.)”

    “Possible – but not likely” — in other words the article is a speculation, a what-if-it-were-how-it-would-be kind of exercise.

    Here’s the original grant:
    The grant was to Peter Daszak and not to Zheng-Li Shi. If any funds went to Zheng-Li Shi. Looking around NIH grants, the grant is about an average size. Sounds to me what they were trying to do in Aim 3 is to determine which of the naturally occurring mutations in the S protein makes the virus more likely to infect humans and then look where these mutations occur geographically and see what people do there and finally conclude that in this or that region, the virus has mutations that enable it to infect people and people are in contact with bats there, therefore those are the regions need watching.

    Looks like the findings are published here: Funding disclosure for this paper indicates that Daszak and this work was also funded by United States Agency for International Development. Chinese had their own funding and a group in Singapore had their own.
    Financial disclosure for 2018 EcoHealth Alliance had $15mil in government funding, of which only ~$0.6 mil came from NIH. So, blaming NIH and Fauci alone here is misplaced. Plenty of government funding agencies and private donors (see the disclosure) contributed funding to this work. The grant is still active, but the work is no longer funded. Daszak got another, bigger (~$1.3mil) NIH grant in 2020 to do similar work in South East Asia (aka China):

    Is this work they wanted to do risky? Sounds like it to me. Is it riskier than work with any other highly infectious agent? – No. There are highly trained people to do this, and highly knowledgeable people thought this work needs to be done. The award process and the project were transparent and the results are published.

    I am guessing because the renewal grant started in 2019, they did not get around to performing the riskier parts of the project. In the previous award they were using pseudovirus.

    The article of course is trying to shift the (emotional) blame from domestic ‘leadership’ to a foreign power. It needs to be viewed in a larger context of the US oligarchy trying to shift the blame for their own crew-ups to others.

  55. NL

    metamars PERMALINK
    October 23, 2020

    That was NR not NL.

  56. Oops, sorry. NR it is.

  57. different clue


    Well, americaisfinished, thank you ever so much for sending over your best and brightest to get the party started, eh?

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