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

Only Zero Covid Worked and Everyone Knows It

Vietnam has a population of 96 million and 34 Covid Deaths.

America has a population of 328 million and 550,000 Covid Deaths.


Australia has a population of 25 million, and 909 deaths.

The UK has a population of 67 million people and 127,000 deaths.


South Korea has a population of 52 million, and 1,752 deaths.

Germany has a population of 83 million, and 77,136 deaths.


Now here’s the thing, this has been known for at least six to eight months.

You shut down everything except actual essential services until cases are essentially at zero. You track and trace. You quarantine travelers. Any outbreaks afterwards, you shut down the area, HARD.

You can avoid mass lockdowns ONLY if you track and trace furiously at the start, with immediate traveler quarantine, and local quarantines as necessary, along with a mask mandate and other such policies. (See, Taiwan.) Never let Covid get out of control, and no widespread lockdown is necessary.

This works.

Taiwan, population 23 million, 10 deaths

New Zealand, population 5 million, 26 deaths.

Sweden, population 10 million, 13.5K deaths.

So, any government which had the capacity to do this and did not, after the first wave proved it worked, essentially chose to kill a huge number of people who didn’t need to die. Mass negligent homicide, at best.

It also turns out, to the surprise of no one with two brain cells, that Zero Covid produces better economic results than reopening repeatedly and allowing multiple waves.

What Zero Covid doesn’t do, however, is make the rich much, much richer while everyone else suffers. US billionaires increased their wealth 44 percent; 1.3 trillion, over the course of the pandemic until March.

That is SWEET. Forty-Four percent in about a year. Holy shit. This last year has to be one of the best times ever to the filthy rich.

Each US Covid death was worth $4,268 to America’s billionaires.

Is it any wonder that Covid was allowed to reign largely unchecked?

What a great time to be a billionaire! And it isn’t even over yet!

Edit: Article corrected to include the strategy which works with no or limited lockdowns.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 4, 2021


American Suicide Numbers Dropped Last Year


  1. Willy

    I think of unmasked events in Wuhan and Wellington, those packed pool parties and rugby matches. Back in 2020. And I contrast with MAGA superspreader rallies and petulant anti-masker Karen videos. And that North Dakota is a place where few Americans have reason to travel, let leads the nation in per capita covid.

    The difference is obviously in the government working with the citizenry to nip this thing in the bud early, so everybody could get on with life as usual.

    But it’s not just that America saw more dead in 1 year, than in 3 ½ years of combat deaths in WW2. It’s the hospital bills. Well into six figures for many. I don’t know any mainland Chinese or Kiwis, but I’m fairly certain that most of them have very little respect for American ideas these days. They may even think that we Americans consider eating our own a decent price for “liberty”.

  2. GM

    Hopefully one day we will get to know in what order exactly the reasoning went, but it does not have to be that making the rich richer was the primary motivation behind the genocidal policies implemented.

    The other major concern was very clearly (I remember quite well what the discussion was a year ago when the fate of millions was sealed) that doing what had to be done to get to ZeroCOVID would have required taking from the rich to support the poor during the lockdown, and more generally, threatening the foundations of the established order, on the individual level by demonstrating that physical survival does not have to be tied to employment (which we can’t have because then how are the rich going to control everyone else’s behavior?), and on the broader level, by forcing society to act as a collective (which we can’t have because if we do that even once, then it means questioning the individualistic social Darwinian system that benefits the few at the expense of the many; it took decades to recover back to normal from perspective of the rich from the last time collective action was required during WWII).

    That is much more threatening than the magnitude of the benefit they gained.

    But once you have decided that you are not going to do anything to stop it, then you might just as well use the crisis to engineer another massive upwards transfer of wealth, as is the customary practice during all recent major crises.

  3. js

    In what real universe does the U.S. have the power to do that though? How? Get money through the Senate. Impossible with the Senate then, truthfully maybe even impossible now as some Dems actively sabotage, but *certainly* impossible then. Do an end run around the Senate and send money to people through say the Fed? Never been done except to bail out the financial system. Interesting to think about I guess.

    So yea a lot of things are theoretically possible, but if I was making predictions would I care, if I was making POLICY would I even care? I’m not making policy, but no I really would only consider what could actually be done given the givens.

  4. anon

    My governor was initially better than most with shutting everything down early last year, but American politicians will ultimately place their career ambitions before public safety. We reopened too soon this year just when I thought this would be over by summer after everyone who wants a vaccination could get one. Now the plan is not to close back down even though that is obviously the correct thing to do. I believe this choice is being made because it would be career suicide for the governor with Republicans and business owners up in arms if they have to close down again. I’ve seen restaurant parking lots packed to the max. Few people will be willing to remain indoors and isolated in nice weather. We will be riding this next wave with businesses remaining open and people letting their guard down. Even though I’m fully vaccinated I’m avoiding malls, indoor dining, and travel for the time being, and I’m still wearing my mask everywhere I go.

  5. Hugh

    Isolating travelers for a period of time goes back to the Black Death in the mid-1300s. A 40 day isolation was codified in Venice in 1448 and gave us our word “quarantine” from French “quarantaine” from Italian “quarantana,” a group of 40, here meaning days. Seminal work leading to the discovery of viruses was going on around 1900. We had the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918-1920. And just to throw it in, Camus’ La Peste or “The Plague” came out in 1947. Some things about how to deal with epidemics/pandemics we have known literally for centuries. In the 20th century, we had not just the discovery of viruses but their genetic make-up, their modes of transmission, and much better public health ideas about how to combat them. What has been so disheartening about the covid pandemic is that we knew what to do, and except in a few notable countries, we failed to do it. Our reactions were instead driven by profit and power. In China, the virus was allowed to spread because of the dictum that the emperor does like to hear bad news, but subsequently using the relatively closed, authoritarian nature of their society they were able to lockdown and trace limiting that initial spread. In more open societies in the West, like the US and the UK, we had the deadly combination of braindead political leadership and the blank refusal to lockdown and in the US to even do serious contact tracing. So yes, too many of us were stupid and greedy, and way too many people died or will carry the effects of long covid with them the rest of their lives as a result.

  6. someofparts

    Check out CNN. What a bag of rats – with apologies to real rats for the insulting comparison to CNN reporters.

  7. hahaamericaisover

    The death toll is likely 2-3 times the official count. I think it’s hilarious that America is utterly failing at containing COVID. Watching a society that genocided Iraq get its comeuppance is tasty.

  8. GM

    The death toll is likely 2-3 times the official count.

    Worldwide it is that much indeed.

    Insufficient testing plus outright lying in a lot of countries.

    In the US, it is only 20-25% higher than the official

  9. someofparts

    CBS not CNN – sorry

    featured this on Sagaar’s radar this morning also

  10. js

    Perhaps if we had automatic stabilizers to deal with economic crashes, it wouldn’t be up to an obviously dysfunctional government, to deal with the economic fallout of TSHF at high velocity, in a global pandemic.

    But the kind of stabilizers that could deal with a pandemic are by definition large, larger than anyone is considering I suspect.

  11. Plague Species

    What a great time to be a billionaire! And it isn’t even over yet.

    No, it’s not over and in fact they’re setting us up for and telegraphing this being endemic. It’s a nice euphemism for perpetual pandemic.

    It’s the Age of Pandemics, so we can expect in a decade to two to be desperately trying to manage at least several pandemics concomitantly and some may be much worse than COVFEFE-45. If the pattern you describes holds, the rich will be even that much richer. Is there a limit on how rich they be or get? I don’t think there is. The sky’s the limit. Ot the universe or universes, that is.

  12. Hugh

    “Is there a limit on how rich they be or get?”

    Yes, it’s called the guillotine.

  13. Synoptocon

    Billionaires and politicians? If only the causal vector were that simple. Save some opprobrium for the civil service – they’ve worked hard to ensure their political masters are never confronted with options too distant from their en boîte worldview.

    I have seen this from up close and personal and those overcompensated putzes haven’t missed a chance to miss a chance. All while patting themselves on the back for their performance. Barf.

  14. bruce wilder

    What has been so disheartening about the covid pandemic is that we knew what to do, and except in a few notable countries, we failed to do it.

    I don’t think “we” knew what to do. Ignorance and incompetence, even or especially among official experts and institutions, as well as misguided attitudes among the public at large, played a big part in failures, large and small.

    At the level of grand strategy, “zero covid” is the only choice that should have ever made sense to policymakers on economic grounds as well as humanitarian ones. It was not the choice that was made by public health authorities or the politicians they advised. The choice made was to accept that COVID would run rampant, probably become endemic, while policy measures would be directed only at the goal of protecting the emergency medical care system from being overwhelmed, from collapse. That is the goal that has guided policy in my state, California, and it has been an economic and humanitarian disaster.

    I may differ from Ian in that in my judgment, as a practical matter, zero-covid as a goal was only a realistic option early on in the spread of the disease. There is a point at which the numbers involved after exponential spread outrun any possible application of resources to testing and tracing and isolation (from family!) of individuals known to have been exposed.

    It may seem a subtle point, but there is a connection between failing to choose zero covid as the goal and then adopting a lockdown policy that is more puritanical than practical, and both draconian without purpose and feeble in key respects. In a lot of places in the U.S., apparently feeling they lacked resources, authorities sent people home to their families to isolate. We saw vividly early on that “isolating” people in their cabins on a cruise ship was like building a virus incubator, but authorities who were not able or willing to isolate individuals identified as potential sources of contagion away from their families were choosing to be ineffective.

    The bad strategic choice — not choosing zero covid and bending all efforts to that goal — was a corollary in the U.S. to other examples of bad judgment and incompetence by public health authorities. The failure to institute a test and scale testing in a timely way was a nearly criminal fault, as was the noble lie discouraging the wearing of masks. I do not think the importance of population testing early can be exaggerated. Severe lockdowns can be justified and motivated when they are a response to knowledge of where the disease is actually present and spreading and can be relaxed when timely knowledge is available. South Korea made effective use of massive testing and severe lockdowns of short duration and limited geographic scope.

    I think Ian is right that the indifference of the super-wealthy to the suffering of people they barely live in the same world with is corrosive to American politics — every billionaire is a policy failure and the U.S. has a lot of billionaires! But, there is also another layer of corrosive effect in the way the professional and managerial classes have come to accept and conserve their alliance with the super-wealthy and their own role in running the predator state on behalf of corporations and institutions. Really seeing the incompetence of public health authorities, which has been on conspicuous display, is important.

  15. UserFriendlyyy

    I agree with this to a point. 1st does anyone actually believe there is anything that Trump and and combo of people Trump appointed that could have said anything that actually would have convinced everyone to lock down, including everyone who believes with every fiber of their being that Putin turned half the country into violent racists with facebook meme’s about masterbation to elect Trump? A zero covid strategy requires either a credible threat of force for disobeying lockdown (China) or societal cohesion and state sponsored welfare (New Zealand). Honestly there is nobody I can think of, at all, that would have been capable of convincing enough Americans to stay home for zero covid to work. And if you doubt that go look what NYT, WaPo, Vox, ect were saying about covid in feb 2020. This country is PURE kakistocracy.

    And once we’ve gotten to a certain level of community spread the fact that there are so many A-Symptomatic spreaders makes makes 0 covid a pipe dream unless you are willing to do a China style lockdown, which would never fly in the west.

  16. Plague Species

    I don’t think “we” knew what to do. Ignorance and incompetence, even or especially among official experts and institutions, as well as misguided attitudes among the public at large, played a big part in failures, large and small.

    Ah yes, the proverbial “ignorance and incompetence” excuse. ALL failures are “ignorance and incompetence.” Calling it a failure allows for this excuse. Perhaps let’s start by saying the lack of an effective response to the pandemic was not a failure. When we do and when we see who benefitted fabulously thus far from the pandemic, we realize it was a fully cognizant success.

    Misguided attitudes. If you mean a largely misinformed, a dazed and confused, populace, then yes, I agree. Consent for the mismanagement of the pandemic response or the lack of a coherent response to the pandemic was most certainly manufactured.

    If America can incarcerate a sizable percentage of blacks, surely it can forcefully quarantine those who refuse to take the pandemic seriously and abide by strict lockdown measures. Take the Texas Rangers home opener yesterday. ALL of those people need to be taken into custody and quarantined for several months forcefully. The brazenly maskless need to have their asses beaten bloody. I will volunteer to deliver some of these bloody beatings. Make it legal and just say the word.

  17. Plague Species

    This is what is meant by endemic — or the perpetual pandemic.

    At the end of 2020, there was a strong hope that high levels of vaccination would see humanity finally gain the upper hand over SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In an ideal scenario, the virus would then be contained at very low levels without further societal disruption or significant numbers of deaths.

    But since then, new “variants of concern” have emerged and spread worldwide, putting current pandemic control efforts, including vaccination, at risk of being derailed.

    Put simply, the game has changed, and a successful global rollout of current vaccines by itself is no longer a guarantee of victory.

    No one is truly safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe. We are in a race against time to get global transmission rates low enough to prevent the emergence and spread of new variants. The danger is that variants will arise that can overcome the immunity conferred by vaccinations or prior infection.

  18. Plague Species

    …unless you are willing to do a China style lockdown, which would never fly in the west.

    It sure flew when two Chechen brothers, the Brothers Tsarnaev, allegedly set off bombs at the Boston Marathon and the city instantaneously became a police state and was effectively on lockdown for 24 hours and people by and large complied and accepted their temporary loss of liberty. Boston Strong. Priorities. Maybe COVFEFE-45 should start bombing events and people. Then we’d get a proper lockdown. Then it would fly.

  19. Meh. I heard an infomercial from the CDC on a Christian radio station, about a week ago. Exactly as you’d expect – don’t let down your guard, avoid gatherings, wear your facemask, get the vaccine when it’s available. Nothing about vitamin D, ivermectin, obesity, oxygenating therapies (like intravenous hydrogen peroxide, for which there’s lots of old studies; but a practitioner told me he gets similarly good results with some type of hydrogen peroxide bath).

    Oh, and don’t both hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin decrease the net amount of viral shedding? Why is that of no interest?

    The CDC commercial didn’t discuss suicide rates among teens, nor the expected increase in deaths from the economic effects of lockdowns, at least at this stage of the pandemic. Gee, how unimpressive.

    So, this diary is something the CDC might speak highly of, but that’s not really a good thing. IMNSHO, all the clowns in high places (like Fauci) who suppress cheap, effective therapeautics and prophylactics should be in jail. If the law doesn’t support that, then the law should be changed.

    In medical and epidemiological studies, confounding factors make it difficult to identify causal contributions to the net effect observed.

    Nevertheless, that there ARE multiple facets to covid spread and mortality should not be controversial at all. Neither should it be controversial that powerful forces ARE suppressing cheap and effective therapeutics and prophylactics.

    I frankly think it’s sad that Ian only focuses on one line of evidence. Consider, e.g. (and once again): “Obesity warning as report shows nine out of 10 COVID-19 deaths have been in countries with high rates of obesity” was posted at

    The obesity epidemic is an ongoing scandal, in and of itself. It’s not like we couldn’t cure most of it with lifestyle changes*, but the US government, anyway, doesn’t concern itself with that, either. Not enough to promote the info that I, a layman, knows. Why, then, the excitement over covid? I don’t know what current figures are, but 50 years ago about half of first heart attacks were fatal within a few days. Nowadays, 600,000+ Americans die of heart disease, every year.

    There’s no call for government mandated fasting or government mandated exercize, or even educating the public about radical enough lifestyle changes, of the sort that most or all functional medicine doctors can readily explain. I don’t like coercion by the government, in general, so don’t support mandates for fasting or exercize, any more than I support mandates for masks. But to not use mass media to educate the public is another matter. It is, if not morally wrong, then ‘civically wrong’. Likewise, the government should have been encouraging use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, not to mention oxygenating therapies.

    * bonus link: even daily intermittent fasting may not be sufficiently effective in decreasing baseline (fasting) insulin levels; but, according to “Fasting and the Fifty Percent Insulin Problem”, on youtube, you can conquer that hill with about 3 weeks of alternate day water fasts.

  20. Willy

    Yeah, I always try to look at the bright side of life. There used to be starving children in China once, and now all the people in America are fat.

    Covid was an American disaster of biblical proportions. Almost enough to have made Cecil B. Demille wanna craft an epic denial about all the fat MAGA people.

    The old physicians mantra: Eat from a box, go out in a box. The Youtube algorithms have chosen me to tempt with slick advertisements about all those delicious snacky foods full of sugar, salt, and trans fats. Yet by some divine miracle I can avoid those things like the covid plague. Should I find it odd that so many others cannot?

  21. someofparts

    Obesity is profitable to agri-business.

  22. Ché Pasa

    PS is right. What’s happened with regard to the virus is pretty much what was intended by our ruling class and their enablers. They never had an aspiration for Zero Covid. Why would they when they could vastly enrich themselves by letting the virus run almost rampant and large quantities of useless eaters would be magically removed from society with only minor (comparatively) expense for funerals and maybe a ventilator. A two-fer.

    Zero Covid of course was possible, and most people would have gone along with severe restrictions on their movement and activities — as long as they were provided for during the lockdown, as they were in China and everywhere else that Zero Covid was the goal. But our rulers made clear they weren’t going to do that. They made sure that mitigation factors like masks and such were optional at best, that use of ventilators rather than o2 saturation would kill rather than save, that testing was botched and late, that contact tracing wouldn’t happen, that the old, sick, poor, black, brown and other marginal populations would fee the brunt of the disease (and still do), and that, for the most part, the high and mighty would slither through unharmed and MUCH wealthier than before while everyone else was wondering when their eviction notice would be posted.

    There was never any intention or effort to provide for people during lockdown, never. They were on their own, too bad, so sad. The pitiful amounts of money given to the lower orders could not provide for them in a strict lockdown situation. Not even close. But provisions that people wouldn’t need to go out for simply weren’t available even if they could be purchased with those “checks.”

    Public health had long been a low priority for our rulers, and the system which was once pretty good had been hollowed out to the point where it was on the verge of collapse even before the pandemic. Public health? What’s that? Communities that most needed public health attention were largely ignored. Flattery of the rulers and the ruling class (lookin’ at you Birx, lookin’ at you Fauci) had to substitute for rigorous action, and to this day, the system is shot through with the disabilities and decadence built over decades of neglect.

    The situation is not really better now, though the talk is better. Death and infection rates are still high, and all the vaccination, while welcome, isn’t really slowing it down. We’re stuck.

    Too late now…

  23. Plague Species

    Willy, it’s true. Corpulence was once the purview of the wealthy elite. They were the only ones who could afford to be fat. The obesity epidemic is a sure sign of how well off the unwashed have become. They can now afford to be fat.

    We all know obesity is as contagious as COVFEFE-45 if not more so. As such, I keep my distance from fat people, especially the morbidly obese. This is why I never attended a Trump MAGA rally. I didn’t want to contract obesity. Otherwise I would have attended every single one.

    If I have to be around fat people, I where a ball gag so I don’t catch obesity. It helps to keep me from stuffing my face full of fried corn dogs and fried snickers and fried ice cream and fried you name it.

    All we need to battle these pandemics or epidemics or endemics, whatever we want to call them, is Vitamin D and Ivermectin. Even fried Vitamin D and Ivermectin will suffice if that’s what it takes. It’s that easy. No sacrifices are necessary. No management. Good ol’ Vitamin D and Ivermectin will do the trick. It even works for obesity. And anorexia. And OCD. And bipolar disease. And Lewy Body Dementia.

  24. Hugh

    I agree with Plague Species that the hoocoodanode/incompetence defense is as bankrupt as it ever was. Years ago we said the old cop-out “Never explain by malevolence what you can explain by incompetence” had been superseded by events and that nowadays the old saying was a lot truer reversed: “Never explain by incompetence what can be by malevolence.”

    Along those lines, remember the Trump-Woodward phone call? It occurred on February 7, 2020 but Woodward didn’t release it until mid-September. It’s where Trump calls covid “deadly stuff.” So even early on, Trump knew, and yet did nothing. There was no national response. No call to patriotism to energize and warn Americans. No sidelining his clowns at HHS and CDC. Not incompetence, malevolence.

    Remember also in mid-May 2020, McConnell tried to deflect criticism of Trump’s covid non-response by blaming Obama for not having one. The problem was he did have a game plan, and Press Secretary McEnany waved it at a press conference a few days later even as she said for no particular reason that it wouldn’t work. Well, after Trump’s dithering for 3 and a half months, it probably wouldn’t have worked. No use closing the barn door after the horse has gotten out, and had time to die of old age.

    But that’s the thing. We have had the public health protocols around probably since the polio vaccination drives in the 1960s. And these were updated by the ebola outbreak in Africa that began in 2013, and before that the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. We knew. Anyone who wanted to know could know. But with Trump’s anti-leadership and his Administration’s delays and screw-ups, the pandemic went from being avoidable to inevitable.

  25. Willy

    Speaking of sayings, while I’m no Latin scholar I did see a video once which described Rome’s turning from republic to empire. After the patricians had gobbled up most of the plebeian subsistence farms resulting in the Gracchi’s attempts at reform, the brothers got wacked by the plutocratic elites. And as we all remember, along came the practical solution of bread and circuses, and social stratification aimed at keeping each class condescending downwards, instead of accurately blaming upwards.

    If the patrician senators wound up with a Don Caligula Trump which they couldn’t control, they’d get him wacked and hopefully find a Claudius Biden hiding behind the curtains. But it’s not like we can conquer Judea and make all their loot and labor build us grand coliseums.

    Oh wait. Maybe that’s how our current plutocrats view Chinese labor and cheap corn snacks. Maybe big mac with cheese. I know around here there’s been staunch criticism about who our own Gracchi brothers should be. AOC is far too stylistic and Bernie too sheepdoggish and the squad far too whatever. I say that whoever our Gracchi brothers selection is, we need to make sure they don’t get wacked. Or turned to the dark side, to mix metaphors, badly.

  26. bruce wilder

    We have had the public health protocols around probably since the polio vaccination drives in the 1960s. And these were updated by the ebola outbreak in Africa that began in 2013, and before that the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. We knew. Anyone who wanted to know could know.

    You keep saying that but I do not see the evidence in the record.

    1.) Test. That’s surely a requirement, but creating, distributing a test, a test protocol and authorization, and then scaling testing capacity in a timely manner — every aspect of that was botched thoroughly by the “experts” responsible.

    2. Quarantine and isolation processes and procedures: bringing people home from the Far East on airplanes or holding them on cruise ships or just taking them to stay in motels — every aspect of that was either abdicated — “own recognizance” with very little guidance — or botched repeatedly.

    3. Masks. Fauci. And the Media made him a hero.

    4. Ventilators. There was a panic over a supposed shortage of ventilators till someone noticed that being put on a ventilator usually killed the patient. (No exaggeration.)

    5. Nursing homes. The focus on preserving ICU capacity led to sending COVID patients to nursing homes — that was clearly idiotic and I don’t think the initiative came from Cuomo. It was policy in parts of my state, too.

    6. Aerosol transmission — aerosol transmission was seen in 2003 with SARS, acknowledging as much from the higher reaches of the WHO has been slow going.

    7. Apropos 6.), closing parks and beaches and confining people strictly to home or making people feel they had to wear a mask driving alone in their car — those idiotic pictures of people on beaches in Florida — that was all just puritanism. Not helpful when people needed to not go stir crazy at home and needed to know exactly what was really risky — confined spaces, prolonged contact, eating drinking shouting and singing.

    8. Intelligence Agencies — the morons not-protecting us from RT and Facebook ads were where? Clearly not in Wuhan in December. Someone should have been panicking, “hair on fire” by January 1. Trump the Idiot-in-Chief would not want to do anything, would not even understand his responsibility to put the machinery of the state in motion, but someone should have tried. (Self-flattering leaks to the Media months later do not count.)

    Some failings do come down to neoliberal starving of the public sector and fire-bombing domestic manufacturing and that is malevolence of a kind, but to do better mere good will is not enough, it is necessary to see how what is done has the consequences it does. Then, maybe, understand a different course of action.

    Know them by their actions is good advice. It is not advice to presume ill-will and ignore the actions so you can get in your 15-minute hate without a critical, rational thought crossing your mind.

    I think some here are imagining that the resolve and resources to sustain prolonged, widespread and strict lockdowns is possible and I do not think that is accurate. With great population testing / tracing, while still at low rates of prevalence and with support for strict, short targeted lockdowns, and with zero covid as the goal, yes. But, I do not think strict lockdowns for prolonged periods over wide areas is possible — and no one anywhere has tried. It is also obnoxious to shun people who rebel against measures that are not very effective (on the numbers in my state, almost irrelevant).

  27. edmondo

    Wow. It’s easier to govern in a dictatorship than it is in a democracy/ republic. Thanks for the update Ian.

    WTF? If you think the lockdowns were “effective” at anything, you’ve been reading too much fiction.

  28. Eric Anderson

    New Zealand is a dictatorship? Huh! Who knew? Amazing the little nuggets of knowledge you find on the inter webs.

    Side note: does anyone take edmondo for anything more than entertainment?

  29. Willy

    Dictatorships like Singapore, Nigeria, South Korea, Australia, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Afghanistan, India, Norway, the Philippines, Indonesia and Finland all had less then 1/10 the death rate as did the Greatest Nation In The World, which of course should’ve been a dictatorship if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.

  30. VietnamVet

    I feel like Cassandra with one brain cell. But at least I am not alone. Thanks.

    The Western Empire is simply incapable of caring about or protecting its citizens. “Profits over lives.” Closing the borders, contact tracing, safe/paid quarantines are impossible for it, then and now.

    More money is made treating rather than curing COVID-19. Jabs now and forever are a given living in a disease-ridden continent. In a corrupt nation, lawless for the rich, you are more and more on your own. Careful. If you lower your guard, lose your income, in the wrong place at the wrong time, don’t wear a face mask, make enemies – the consequences are becoming quite dire.

    Worse, there are things you have no control over — NATO starting a war with Russia over Ukraine, China invading Taiwan. This is a multi-polar world again although the Empire denies it and may risk everything to stay the financial hegemon.

  31. Astrid

    Authoritarian = Dictatorship = Stalinist = Fascist = Genocide = Antisemite = Trump… = Transphobe = Nazi = I can’t argue facts or even ideas, but calling you these things puts me on the moral high ground

  32. Astrid

    There was a brief window in February when it became clear that the Chinese lockdowns were working and the news coming off of the cruise ships and ski parties makes clear this was a very serious matter. I chatted with a co-worker then about what I would have done. I’m convinced that if the US government actually did those things (essentially what the Chinese did, using preexisting US martial law and social supports to do a hard lockdown with quickly escalating fines for failure of people/governments to comply, and using international carrot/stick to push the rest of the world to do the same), we would have been largely out of the woods by April/May 2020. Then it’s a matter of swatting out small breakouts and strict quarantines for any regions that failed to contain their COVID outbreak.

    The Neoliberal/neocon governments of the West could have done something, but doing the right thing would have harmed their standing whether they were right or wrong (witness the ROK non-rightwing government getting pummeled in recent elections despite their outstanding work on COVID19). They focused on the solution that minimized damage to themselves and spent the time perfecting their whowuddaknown/theydiddit defenses. The opportunities to vastly loot public treasuries via bailouts and sweetheart “emergency” deals were just icing on the cake. BoJo and Fauci rides high and demented rapist kleptocrat Biden is the second coming of FDR. So much better than doing the right thing!

    This is the neoliberal playbook on everything.
    They want to manage every problem as a chronic condition with a continuous and reliable profit stream. When gay rights were won too quickly and completely, they had to invent transphobia (now broadened to include anyone even questioning the appropriateness of invasive irreversible procedures for adolescents or making any kind of distinction between”CIS” and “trans” women) to lock in the revenue stream. It’s why they keep dangling abortion in front of us when it could have had a legislative resolution one way or another decades ago. It’s why nuclear chicken with Russia and China is preferred to knocking down a few rice bowls at Raytheon. If others were harmed while they benefited, the others were deplorable anyways. The beauty of the transphobe/Antisemite slander is that their so broad that it can apply to just about everyone. So now you know who to blame when you did from the effects of mutant COVID or inadequately tested Covid vaccines, it’s your own deplorable antisemite transphobic self.

  33. Hugh

    So Trump being an idiot, even a vindictive idiot lets him off the hook? Good thing he wasn’t in a position of heavy responsibility, you know like being President of the United States or anything. And I guess that we should forget about those conversations with Woodward and the war he made on any effective response to covid. Not his fault because….Trump or something.

  34. Astrid

    Ah Hugh, I forgot to include Troll. You love to use that word on others. Truly, whatever you say [about others] is what you are yourself.

  35. Plague Species

    It’s not a multi-polar world, it’s a world where the wealthy elite feast upon the unwashed and focusing myopically on neoliberalism is a way to deflect from this most important fact. Neoliberalism is just one way of so many ways the wealthy elite do it.

  36. Bob Hertz

    Toward the end of Ian’s fine article, I cannot follow the suggestion that America’s billionaires are happy about Covid.

    There are about 650 Americans with a net worth over $1 billion. Based on my cursory review, most of them are majority or sole owners of huge corporations. (or heirs, like the Walton families)

    Many large companies like Amazon and Walmart did very well during the pandemic. Their supply lines and distribution systems were more robust than what small business could provide.

    This probably happens in every natural disaster. I don’t think it proves that these companies either caused or rejoiced in the pandemic.

  37. Ian have you heard of the “Great Reset”?

    What’s your take on the vaccines? You think things are bad now, just wait if there is an unforeseen event that will happen by basically experimenting on millions? What will the long term effects be?

  38. Astrid google “fourth industrial revolution”.

  39. Jan Wiklund

    Actually, Sweden’s bad figures are due to the fact that Stockholm had privatized its old-age care. Almost all deaths happened there. Each institution was only interested in its own profits, employed lots of non-educated part-timers and even saved on hand-wash alcohol.

    Now when they have been taken to order, excess mortality is down to -16%.

    And excess mortality is the ONLY accurate way of comparing covid deaths in diffrent countries. Because post-mortems are not done in the same way in different countries. It is not exact, but rather about right than exactly wrong.

  40. darryl Secret

    @ importan6t points:

    1) The SARS-CoV-2 has STILL NOT been isolated by Koch’s postulates; the 2 papers on SARS_CoV-2 isolation are fraudulent in the isolation procedures;

    2) The “authorities” chose a test that can easily be manipulated, as well as fraudulent in the detection of the “virus”. The human body produces so much more RNA than a virus that to claim any RNA is viral RNA is outright lying.

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