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

The Spread of New Covid Variants

There is a variant of Covid, called Lambda, which started in Peru in August, and is now showing up in multiple countries, including the UK and Canada. How dangerous it is is uncertain: It has some changes that might make it better able to avoid antibodies, but studies so far are inconclusive.

The spread of new variants beyond their initial country, however, is something which shouldn’t happen. Very few countries are quarantining properly. Where I live in Canada, quarantine is essentially voluntary: There’s a fine if you don’t, and people who can afford to travel can often afford the fine, plus not everyone gets fined.

This is ridiculous; quarantine should be mandatory, and if you break it, you get slammed back in with a guard on your door, and afterwards you get a trial and are thrown in prison. As a friend noted, if you aim a gun at someone and pull the trigger, but it turns out the gun wasn’t loaded, you still committed a crime even if you didn’t know it was loaded or not.

When the virus and virus variants spread, they have more chances to mutate further. It may be that Lambda’s changes in spike protein aren’t enough to defeat the mRNA vaccines yet, but the next variation off Lambda’s base might be.

Delta, likewise, should never have spread out of its country of origin.

We also do quarantine badly. Hotel quarantine is ridiculous in most hotels, because Covid is airborne and most hotels spread air between rooms.

This isn’t a difficult problem, however. Build a bunch of small huts in a field (you can even stack them), each with its own ventilation, and put people in there. Pre-fab companies and militaries are great for this. Build a fence around it and bring people food and have public health nurses visit every day. This is relatively cheap and keeps people from breathing each other’s germs, if set up with a bit of care. Have a few military police guard the place, that will keep most people from running.

We have a pandemic turning into a plague (in the words of Umair Haque) because we have refused to take this seriously, all the way down the line. I know someone in Canada who got Covid, was told to quarantine, and no one else in the shared house in which they lived was contacted or told to quarantine. This is kindergarten level incompetence — truly shocking.

None of this was necessary. If we had properly shut down and not reopened too early, if we had actually tracked and traced, and had supported every country in the world to do this, while spreading vaccine knowledge around (all the garbage about how long it would have taken looks stupider and stupid, now that we’re up 16 months or so), we’d probably have it down to a few pockets now, at most, and would be back to our “normal” lives.

Instead, we have a disease that looks likely to be chronic and to keep mutating, which vaccine makers like Pfizer and Moderna will offer expensive booster shots to for years or decades.

Back at the start of the pandemic, Moderna was worth 80 billion; it could and should have been eminent domained.

And, as I pointed out at the start of the pandemic, all loans and mortgages should have been put in abeyance, including interest growth, and everyone who wasn’t essential should have been paid to stay home. Rich companies should have subsidized poor countries to do the same.

Blah, blah, blah. We’ve fucked up everything — really simple things that are part of how to handle a disease, things which were understood 500 years ago. Well, fucked up if you aren’t in the top .1 percent and have made out like bandits.

New Covid variants are happening and spreading because, overall, and especially in the West, our leaders are acting to make them spread.

If someone you care about died in anything other than the first wave (and even that is questionable), then your leaders are almost certainly responsible for that death. They refused to take the necessary actions to stop it. There are some exceptions (outbreaks which were stomped on quickly), but basically, almost all dead people after the first wave are the result of political malfeasance, rich people’s greed, and sheer bloody incompetence.

Rich people and politicians kill and impoverish you for money and pleasure. Covid is just a particularly stark reminder.

(Virtually everyone dying due to climate change heat waves and fires is also a victim of politicians and rich people. More on that later.)

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Siphon the System Thinking Doesn’t Work Against Nature


Hot Enough to Die


  1. Plague Species

    Delta — It Loves To Spread And It Shows

  2. Astrid

    I think this is part of why Trump hatred really flared in 2020. Trump’s handling was indubitably horrific, but focusing on him helped shift attention from the fact that every “white” nation except NZ and maybe Australia and Iceland handled it horribly. It really lays out the neoliberal created dysfunctions that prevented provision of basic public services. East Asian countries see white people losing their minds over mask wearing and realized the advanced West that they admired for 150 years is worse than a paper tiger, it’s a bunch of monkeys in tuxedos that are now freaking out and throwing feces.

    As for what’s next. Given what I know about SARS and MERS and what I knew last March about infectiousness of COVID, I didn’t think it was going away once it spread into Japan, South Korea, and Italy. I was sure that the Chinese did such a hard lockdown early on because they *knew* and they were truly truly scared by the worst case scenario. I thought the talk of it maybe not mutating much or mutating into more benign forms seemed very optimistic, given the development pattern of the 1918 flu epidemic. Once knowledge about long Covid and organ failure issues came through. This looked like something with potential to trim years off of our life expectancy.

    I think we’re at the stage where we better hope that the vaccines keep working, boosters quickly develop and can confer immunity or at least therapeutic improvements against everevolving strains, and none of the strains become the jackpot with measles infectiousness and MERS lethality.

    Unless global warming gets us first. Or war with Russia, Iran, and/or China. Or maybe just some desperate asshole in 2023 robs my house and Manson tortures us to death for kicks. So many exciting options.

  3. Plague Species

    East Asian countries see white people losing their minds over mask wearing and realized the advanced West that they admired for 150 years is worse than a paper tiger, it’s a bunch of monkeys in tuxedos that are now freaking out and throwing feces.

    No country is immune from what’s coming. China’s draconian response to the pandemic has been effective for now, but this approach will not always be effective. Don’t gloat before the fat virus sings.

    What has China done to halt Gain of Function research in its Wuhan Institute of Virology? America has offshored this dangerous research to China just as it offshored its polluting manufacturing to unregulated China and China let it happen for viruses for the same reason it welcomed American manufacturing.

    China is as responsible for this virus as is America. America owns its mitigation of an effective response which is what McDonald Trump did — he mitigated an effective response. He wasn’t incompetent. He was competent in mitigating an effective response and therefore he is a murderer. Tax fraud in the face of this is a farce of a charge.

  4. js

    The Trump hatred was not shifting attention. He inflamed people. It lead to many local public health authorities having to resign after mob threats. It was hard to see all this unfold in real time and it’s very recent in memory.

    In an alternative world where there was no Trump do I necessarily see the virus being handled well? I suspect there would have been a better attempt to contain it early, but without limiting spread after then, which can’t be done without closing borders, which neolibs of the Trump or Dem variety don’t do anyway and which might not even be possible, you still have virus. And also with a Senate as dysfunctional as our house of lords nothing gets done either as we now see.

    However I have little doubt without Trump many more people would have gotten the vaccine when we finally, after so many months and deaths, got it. There is always a small anti-vac contingent, but it’s pretty small, only pro-Trump partisanship blew it way up out of proportion. Basically I agree with David Sirota’s take on Trump: he can be evaluated as a politician sure, and most of our politicians are fairly lackluster and Trump had almost nothing positive going for him as a politician either, almost 100% of his policies were bad. But he was ALSO injecting toxic venom into the culture 24/7, and plenty of people perceived this, saw cause and effects that weren’t just policy papers, and it’s what drove Trump hatred:

  5. Hugh

    Your chances of dying from covid in the US so far are 1 in 549. Your chances of having a serious adverse reaction to a vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna are 1 in the hundreds of thousands.

    So the natural reaction of many people, many of whom are Trumpers, is that covid is a hoax and it is their God-given right not to be stuck with dangerous needles.

    I used to say never bet against the math, but nowadays math and science have been reduced to just somebody’s opinion and people bet against them without blinking an eye.

  6. Astrid

    Doesn’t matter, just look at the numbers. It’s bad for everyone. They all sacrificed public health and long term stability for a summer beach vacation, drinking at bars, and not getting stuck with kids at home for months on end.

    Yes, pretty much all of Trump’s legislation and policy were bad. But they didn’t include privatizing social security, public private partnerships to sell off public infrastructure, multinational trade agreements to shackle other countries to the US’s oppressive IP regime, or a new war (yes, I know he escalated some and threatened others). His ugliness is just unmasking the ugliness that’s been at the heart of American politics and public life since death of FDR and certainly since Reagan got into office. I still see nothing to make me think America made the wrong choice in 2016 or the right choice in 2020, but I voted Green both times (as write in thanks to Democrats in 2020).

  7. BlizzardOfOzzz

    As long as we’re talking about “math”, is the average age of “Covid” dead still higher than average life expectancy?

    Locking people up because they might have the flu, and shooting them if they try to escape. Let’s hear about MUH ETHICS of Covid Concentration Camps. This is always who you guys were, and you’re showing your true colors.

  8. Ché Pasa

    About a dozen people we know have had it. Four or five have died. Most were old, some who had it were poor and/or brown. When I’ve been doctored lately, I could tell they were not sure I could survive the “next wave” because I’m immune suppressed and even though I’m vaccinated (Moderna), there’s a high likelihood it has had no effect.

    Vaccination rates in my county are very low (~30%) and probably won’t rise (Trump Country, remember?) no matter what. In fact the Trumpists have been meeting together again out at one of the Sovereign Citizen’s place. August, and His Reinstatement, after all, is nigh.

    Yet until everything re-opened, we saw very high compliance with mask-wearing (90%+ indoors and in public), and infection rates here have been very low.

    Most of the old folks out here still wear masks when out and about. Some of the younger ones, too.

    Ian is right, the whole response was bolloxed from the outset — at least as long as you think the public health policy should be to slow and stop the spread of the virus and preserve, protect, and defend the lives of the People.

    Unfortunately for millions who have gotten the disease and/or died of it, that was not the public health policy. I think BJ in Britain has been much more up front about policy than anyone in the US or Canada.

    Let it spread, let people get it, too bad if they die, but as noted, most of the deaths are among the older, browner, poorer, and already sicker population so no real loss right? That is what our rulers decided on regardless of idiot politicians like Johnson and Trump. Just so happened they went along with it.

    It’s interesting that the deaths from COVID are now (they say) confined to the unvaccinated. That may or may not be true (I suspect it’s not true), but the push to get more people vaccinated may be largely a matter of more profits to the drug makers before vaccine formulas are made available to the masses abroad.

    Life expectancy — already on a downward trend — has cratered in the United States, especially for the less-than-rich. And I’ve seen no sign it will rebound anytime soon.

    Again, that’s a result of policies that ensure that only the favored few will get through the multiple squeeze points now and in the future.

  9. Astrid

    We have no idea what Covid will do to the long term health of people who “survived”. We also don’t know what repeated vaccinations and repeated infections will do to the body. This may end up trimming more years off of younger cohorts than from deaths in the 70+ crowd.

    I’m going to buy some more Ivermectin and N95 masks though. I bought Ivermectin from Tractor supply store. Anyone have recommendations on where, other than Amazon or eBay, to buy n95s?

  10. For any who are concerned about vaccine failure — a serious risk that former Gates Foundation virologist Geert Vanden Bossche has been warning of since the vaccines were in testing — get yourself some ivermectin. The vaccine efficacy has been greatly oversold (I personally know of two “breakthrough” cases, one fatal), as has the number of cases/deaths with the US running their PCR tests at 40+ cycles and numerous accounts of victims of violence (such as gunshot) being counted among the covid deaths.

    All I can say for certain is that we’re being played. I cannot say why, though complete corporate takeover and profit motive, or even environmentally motivated genocide appear near the top of the list.

    Get past the veil of corporate censorship that clouds all mainstream media and much of the internet, and it’s clear that ivermectin is exceptionally effective as a prophylaxis as well as an excellent treatment. Many friends in the healthcare industry are taking and/or recommending it, often at the threatened risk of losing licenses. A cheap tube of horse wormer can be had at your local feed store, for pennies per dose. Get the dosing regimen at

  11. Hugh

    Well two breakthrough cases out of 180 million clearly show that vaccines are trash.

    Ivermectin may have some effect on covid but the jury is still out on it. The overselling of hydroxy chloroquine has apparently taught no one anything.

  12. Hugh — do you personally know 180 million vaccine recipients? I’m a bit too nerdy to have that large of a social network. The denominator isn’t nearly that large (maybe 150 in total?)

  13. Hugh — The only jury that’s still “out” on ivermectin is the one that’s been paid to be that way by pharma, namely all mainstream media in the US (“ask your doctor if XYZ is right for YOU!”)

    The study run by Hector Carvallo (a hospital director in Argentina if my memory serves) of 1200 people showed zero infections among the 800 healthcare workers receiving prophylactic ivermectin, and 56% infected in the control (just standard PPE) group. Most of the other studies I’ve seen are in the same ballpark, as is my personal experience with both prophylaxis and treatment.

  14. NR

    Hugh — do you personally know 180 million vaccine recipients?

    Well you could always look at some statistics.

    27 fully vaccinated people in Louisana have died of COVID, as opposed to 10,765 unvaccinated people. There are a total of 1,563 breakthrough cases in the state, which is 0.1% of fully vaccinated people in Louisana.

    Even if you assume there are some asymptomatic vaccinated people who haven’t been diagnosed, the data simply doesn’t support the contention that vaccine efficacy has been “oversold” at all.

  15. Willy

    This question is coming from somebody who just went in and got the vax, so if you’re an anti-vaxxer please disregard. But I’m curious.

    I’m certainly no virologist, but how the hell did somebody come up with the idea that using a roundworm medicine for horses would treat covid in humans? Sounds like something an Arkansas farmboy might ‘discover’ after a late night with the foals.

    Is there a credible back story to this discovery?

  16. NR

    I don’t know why my previous comment was removed, but trying again:

    Here is some data from Louisiana on COVID outcomes after vaccination.

    27 fully vaccinated people in Louisiana have died of COVID, as opposed to 10,765 unvaccinated people. There are currently 1,563 breakthrough cases in the state, which amounts to 0.1% of the vaccinated population. This is some pretty solid evidence against the contention that vaccine efficacy has been in any way “oversold.”

  17. Eric Anderson

    “We have a pandemic turning into a plague (in the words of Umair Haque) because we have refused to take this seriously.”

    Oh, it’s being taken seriously by sociopath lucre hoarders. It’s the only serious thing in this world anymore. Profit.
    Heard a piece on the radio this morning talking about how BigPharma has no dogs at all in the antibiotic resistant bacteria fight b/c “markets.”
    They drink and dance. We die.

  18. Eric Anderson

    As for prophylaxis:
    I’ve began reading and following the research on simple povidone iodine since about 5-6 mo. into the pandemic (no, I’m not injecting Clorox).

    1/2 tsp 10% betadine into 44ml saline nasal spray. Shake. Squirt and snort twice in each nostril. Head back and roll it around in your sinus until it begins to trickle down the back of the throat (watch out easy gaggers). Take a drink of water and deep gargle about 30 secs. Spit and then don’t mess with it for a few minutes.


    I’m vaxxed. My 3 1/2 year old is not. He came down with something a week ago and immediately passed it to my wife who immediately got tested b/c we didn’t want to subject him to the stick to the brain again. Turned out negative. But, I hadn’t gotten it yet and it seemed like she was suffering plenty with her nasty little rhinovirus or what not. Well, sure enough, later that day I started to feel that dry feeling I get in my sinuses that always tells me a cold is coming. So, I followed up on my earlier research.

    Stopped whatever that virus was dead in it’s tracks. My Mom and Dad also live nearby and love to smooch on the lad as well. They’re around him a ton. Had them start doing it prophylactically and it hasn’t touched them.

    Just some news you alls can use.

  19. Eric Anderson

    David Veale:

    Go piss up a rope with that trash. Cases get through every vaccine. A small percentage of people die from every vaccine. This bad actor crap is boring.

  20. Eric Anderson

    David Veale:
    ” environmentally motivated genocide appear near the top of the list.”

    Because, we all know how motivated to save the environment the elite eco-raping urbanites are.
    Could you please explain to me what the words “Inductive” and “Reasoning” mean when placed next to one another?

  21. anon

    Climate change will make Covid look like a walk in the park. People are dropping dead like flies in these heat waves. Look up wet-bulb deaths. This used to be very rare but it looks like this will become more commonplace, My guess is that a warmer earth will lead to the increased chance that we’ll see more deadly viruses like Covid. The tipping point is here. It makes sense that the 1% want to colonize other planets.

  22. Hairhead

    Following up on the Climate Change note:

    Here in BC, the provincial coroner’s office noted that there were FIVE HUNDRED more deaths than normal over the five days of the heat wave — and more to come when all the info is collected. Imagine if the heat wave had lasted a month.

    Yep, COVID is an appetizer. The entree is coming.

  23. NR writes

    “here are currently 1,563 breakthrough cases in the state, which amounts to 0.1% of the vaccinated population. ”

    That’s not much less than Ioanidis’ recent, best estimate of Infection Fatality Rate of .15%.

    So, if it cuts fatalities by 1/3, that’s something. (Less than ivermectin’s 80%, but hey, you don’t want the drug companies to go broke, do you?) However, in the long run, the POTENTIAL downside far outweighs such a modest benefit. I heard a recent interview by a virologist who talked about the downside of mRNA vaccines, saying that because they’re not sterilizing vaccines, they are providing selective evolutionary pressure to mutate the virus at an accelerated rate. (Sorry, don’t remember his name.) Just today I heard Gary Null talk about doctors in Israel afraid to deal with vaccinated individuals, because they shed at an accelerated rate (don’t remember if they’re shedding just the spike protein, which they’re now producing in large numbers; or the virus, itself, also). Apparently, there are suggestions for quarantining the vaccinated, as they pose a danger to others.

    Speaking of Ioannidis, if anybody is interested enough in rational arguments in the vein of “following the science”, you could do worse than listening to “EXCELLENT Presentation by Professor John Ioannidis – Covid Reality Revealed!” on youtube. I’ve only heard about 5-10 minutes, and learned more facts than I see ‘displayed’ in this post, and the comments. I find it amusing that Ioannidis is squishy on masks, saying something like he “still believes they help”, but is honest enough to mention the Danish study that cast doubt on them.

    Ioannidis mentioned Singapore, as did Gary Null, who have lost about 35 people to covid. I need to listen to the entire presentation, about 35 minutes, to find out why. Hopefully, he addressed this, even if he has to admit that he doesn’t know why. I really appreciate the humility of this world class expert, so unlike the certainty of the, ahem, politically motivated, who stick with their favorite narratives, no matter what has been learned.

    Ioannidis also talked about countries that engaged in draconian lockdowns having WORSE outcomes than countries that had milder lockdowns. This flatly contradicts suggestions by Ian, and others.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see a transcript, so I won’t know if he talks about ivermectin until I listen to more of the lecture. However, Gary Null did mention that ivermectin is used in Singapore, though he wasn’t specific. So, that ‘observation’ is of little value, and doesn’t rise above the level of many comments, here.

    I’m fairly sure the Gary Null podcast where he talks about Singapore covid is in the June 28 “the Gary Null Show”.

  24. NR

    1,563 is the number of vaccinated people infected with COVID. 27 have died.

  25. Astrid

    The 2003 European heat wave was said to kill 70,000.

    But I wouldn’t write off Covid yet. We’re only on lambda strain now. Let’s see where we’ll be when it’s omicron strain and we run out of Greek letters.

  26. someofparts


  27. Eric Anderson — as for me, after a decade of making major lifestyle changes (weaning myself of dependencies on fossil fuels for heating/cooking/food production/transportation) while expecting the masses to follow suit, I gave up spring of 2019 after battling with family to not fly out to visit me.

    This is probably in line with your opinion of me thus far (as a nut case?), but I don’t expect humans to survive this century. I worked in a climate change lab in the 90s, and have been closely following all developments for over 35 years now. I’ve watched as the place I grew up is now covered with smoke for weeks each summer (Seattle area, where Gates also happens to live), and watched as sea life succumbed to new heat waves, and forests started to die. This all started about 5 years ago.

    Now imagine yourselves in the shoes of the world’s elite. They’re the only people who have any ability to stave off certain disaster, with the massive resources and influence they carry. The motivation of these people is nothing less than saving the world. Add to that the fact that most have been made largely sociopathic by their vast wealth (if they weren’t that way to begin with). Add to that their insistence that everyone must get the vaccine, despite the fact that many clearly have naturally acquired immunity from previous infection, as well as their insistence that nothing but the vaccine is effective.

    The evidence, to me, says they’re going to try to save us by eliminating most of us. I don’t think their scheme will work (either at population reduction nor at giving us a chance of surviving past this century), but I can’t say they’re completely insane for trying. Humans have demonstrated a complete inability with behavioral change to rectify the situation, which leaves this last option imho. What do you think?

  28. Ché Pasa

    Yes, well…

    Prayer (sometimes) works. Placebos (sometimes) work. A wide variety of alternative and natural medicines (sometimes) work.

    Vaccines work — usually better. But not always, and not for everyone. This comes as a shocking revelation for some people — which usually makes me wonder if they’re just naturally prone to misinformation or what. Probably “what.”

    Because so many interests are pushing their agendas, so many interests are profiting or trying to profit from the confusion, and so much smoke is being blown while the world burns. Generally that’s cover for some sort of looting or other hinky business.

    The public health infrastructure in much of the West has been decimated by decades of neglect, defunding, and deliberate dismantlement — indeed, by political sabotage.

    So even without the Trumpists ranting in the US and Johnson’s and the Tories clowning in Britain, and all the other hoo-and-hah of this health crisis on top of all the other crises, we would have had a titanic mess on our hands no matter what.

    We, English-speaking Anglo-Americans, who think of ourselves as so superior, don’t have the wherewithal to deal with what we’re facing, and we don’t have the will to do much of anything about it. We cast blame, we scapegoat, we rage, we cry, and a lot of us… die. The Overclass makes out like bandits (well, they are), and can so easily get half of the underclass to kill the other half, it isn’t even sport anymore.

    It has dawned on nearly everyone by now that we’re on our own, and we’re suckers to believe in anyone or that anything will save us.

    Cheer up! It could be worse! 😉

  29. Plague Species

    Yep, when it comes to healthcare in the West, as far as being on our own, the message is clear. Heal Thyself but let Uncle Sam pay exorbitant profit to insurance companies on your alleged behalf so shareholders can increase their wealth even further and corporate execs can have even larger bonuses so they can afford second and third homes and outrageous tuition for their kiddies in private school.

    What Obama did to healthcare, which was ensure insurance company profits well into the future when health insurance is a failed business model, Biden is doing with infrastructure. A corporate government hybrid partnership that uses the dispossessed as a means to grift even further. How much blood can they extract from us stones? All we are are foils. Placeholders.

  30. Oh, sorry. So that’s like an IFR of this population being .017 x .15% = .0086%, which is much better than .15%.

    There’s talk of forcing people to get vaccinated, with what is technically an experimental vaccine. (Never mind that in the US, this would only be legal if there’s no effective therapeutics, when, in fact, there are.) This violates the Nuremberg code. Is a disease with an IFR of .15% – and in a context of actively suppressed and censored therapeautics and prophylactics- worth violating the Nuremberg code?

    By such logic, we should force people to stop stop eating junk food, especially fast carbohydrates, which kills an awful lot more than .15% of the population. While your obesity may not be contagious*, the shared financial burden of your lack of discipline certainly is.

    We could temporarily lock people up who who fail mandated atherosclerotic calcification scans, until they prove they’re not genetic freaks. You know, put them on a forced diet + Vitamin D + vitamin K2 + calcium/magnesium supplements, and see if they don’t start reversing their calcification. If they do – prolly 99% of them – we know they’re guilty, so we can directly lock them up. Maybe put military outside their houses, to force them to do blood sugar tests on a daily basis. If they resist, off to the concentration camps, they go! Nuremberg, Shmurenberg.

    * there’s actually evidence to suggest that, for individuals that live together, this isn’t the case, as their microbiomes tend to resemble each other; and your microbiome can be hugely determinative of whether you are obese, or not

  31. Plague Species

    Here’s a well-deserved indictment of the medical establishment from an unlikely source.

    I witnessed something similar. Years ago, my mother was sent home with anxiety meds. I knew something was wrong and took her back to another hospital. She had had a stroke and was later operated for a clot, fortunately with success. The emergency doctors who dismissed her said she was a “nervous woman.”

    This woman’s experience and many people’s experiences indicate those who say the COVFEFE-45 are overinflated are full of sh*t. COVFEFE-45 is grossly underreported and many are suffering in silence.

    This woman was lucky to be able to afford to try many docs before she could find any who would listen. Most don’t have that luxury and suffer and ide in silence.

  32. Hugh

    The saying used to be you were not entitled to your own facts but as we see in this thread, “facts” and math are invented easily. You have a point of view? We can find “a Very Reputable” study by Dr. Somebody on the other side of the globe to support it.

    You can still google ivermectin and NIH and read the government’s rationale for not immediately recommending it yet, but it is so much more fun and validating to invoke conspiracies and whatever happens to agree with your preconceived opinion. I mean whatever the science and math say, it’s not going to change any opinions is it?

  33. Eric Anderson

    No kidding. What kind of brain does it take to seek information about life and death consequences from a YouTube video instead of a peer reviewed journal article?

    Signals to me the absolute dearth of scientific education in this country.

    And Ian, my betadine post got modded out of existence. How come?

  34. Plague Species

    Imagine McDonald Trump’s microbiome. I don’t want my microbiome anywhere near it. I’d suddenly have a craving for Big Macs and chocolate cake and massive gas tsunamis would bellow forth from every nook and cranny of my body. No thanks. I’ll take a hard pass. Anyone who’s sane would.

  35. different clue

    @Ian Welsh,

    Canada might still have the social cohesion to adopt the quarantine approach you outline, if a united Federal and All Provinces Provincial Movement of GoverNational Unanimity were to agree on it and advance it.

    The US just doesn’t. Sorry about that.

    I have had both shots of the Moderna-brand mRNA neo-vaccinoid. If we get told that we will need neo-neo-vaccinoid boosters every year for decades to come, I will start getting suspicious and aprehentious.

    In the meantime, I will continue living the semi-shut-in life I led before Covid, and during it. My “social contact” level is naturally lower than that of many people, and it was not so hard for me to shrink it further.

    The little I have read about Ivermectin indicates that it may have some counter-viral action IF STARTED EARLY in the infection process. IF that is so, then studies designed around starting it very LATE in the infection process will NATURALLY produce failure, almost as if deSIGNED to produce a discrediting failure which can then be cynically pointed to.

    Hydroxychloroquine? I have read somewhere that it has an “ionophoric” type of action facilitating the passage of bio-active zinc into cells which use it for counter-viral resistance in various ways. That again would be more effective, if at all, starting well before infection so the body’s cells are all zinc-ed up and waiting for the virus to attack. Since I don’t know if mass prophylactic H-chloroquine is indicated or even available for several billion people for years to come, are there “natural ionophores” which also facilitate the passage of bio-active zinc into body cells? Is green tea one such “natural ionophore”?

  36. Mark Pontin

    Anon wrote: ‘My guess is that a warmer earth will lead to the increased chance that we’ll see more deadly viruses like Covid. ‘

    Correct. Though it won’t just be viruses, but also fungi. Some interesting pathogens are (re)emerging, in particular, in Siberia.

    30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’

    ‘An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say. It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again ….

    ‘These are all so large that, unlike other viruses, they can be seen under a microscope. And this one, measuring 1.5 micrometres in length, is the biggest virus that has ever been found.

    ‘The last time it infected anything was more than 30,000 years ago, but in the laboratory it has sprung to life once again. Tests show that it attacks amoebas, which are single-celled organisms, but does not infect humans or other animals….
    ‘However, the researchers believe that other more deadly pathogens could be locked in Siberia’s permafrost.’

  37. Joan

    This is the second time Ian has said some truly spooky things about tossing people in camps. I must have been out of the loop, but holy moly.

    (Ian said:) “This isn’t a hard problem, though. Build a bunch of small huts in a field (you can even stack them), each with its own ventilation, and put them in there. Pre-fab companies and militaries are great for this. Build a fence around it and bring them food and have public health nurses visit every day. This is relatively cheap and keeps them from breathing each other’s germs, if set up with a bit of care. Have a few military police guard the place, that will keep most people from running.”

    I got chills reading this. Is this not a concentration camp? Am I just jumping at shadows here? My first thought was “What if they conveniently forget to bring food and water to the people locked up by themselves in a field?”

    If this were happening in my country, I’d be trying to get out as soon as possible. It’s a terrifying precedent to set. Why not just restrict tourism?

  38. Ché Pasa

    Something like this would be ideal, no?–dx-90-T3c

  39. Astrid


    The point of having a proper quarantine at the time of arriving at the border is that everyone else does not have to bear the cost of travel (disease) and the travellers can decide if its still worthwhile for them to travel. If they find a 21 or 35 day quarantine unacceptable, they can just stay home and not move across borders.

    I support this as someone who adores international travel (though we limit it to usually 1-2 longer trips per year). It would not be fair for other people to bear the cost of my desire to travel, even if the quarantine means I’m stuck in the US for the foreseeable future or I have to be stuck paying for quarantine at the border.

  40. Ioannidis never spoke about ivermectin in the talk I mentioned. He also had nothing to say about vaccine safety. These would be enormous deficiencies in a longer, more general talk, but I’m also doubtful that such omission in a half hour talk are not deliberate.

    I don’t think he talked about all the censorship, either, though that’s more of meta topic.

  41. Willy

    Joan, my mother was quarantined in a sanitarium after she got tuberculosis, a common practice in the New Deal era. She spent a year there. I’m unaware of exactly what she herself paid but the cost to her was minimal, since she had been working as a seamstress after immigrating to the USA with nothing but the clothes on her back.

    As an elderly woman she got pneumonia which apparently found those tuberculosis scars and after a few days of intubation she called it quits. The hospital bill for basically a private room with nursing, drugs and intubation was well into six figures. Fortunately a combination of medicare and insurance paid for most of it.

    I think that’s what Ian meant – something like that.

  42. “The little I have read about Ivermectin indicates that it may have some counter-viral action IF STARTED EARLY in the infection process. IF that is so, then studies designed around starting it very LATE in the infection process will NATURALLY produce failure, almost as if deSIGNED to produce a discrediting failure which can then be cynically pointed to”

    You sound like you’re talking about hydroxychloroquine. There was a large study, N ~ 2,000, that showed that administering hydroxychloroquine late after entry into a hospital (mean time about 8 or 9 days). In this scenario, the hydroxychloroquine did nothing. I don’t think they gave zinc, so maybe if they had followed the full Zelenko protocol, they would have seen some modest benefit.

    Ivermectin is very useful both in the earlier, viral phase of the disease; but also during the inflammatory, cytokine storm phase.

  43. Ian Welsh

    Of course people should not pay for quarantine. Indeed, they should be paid while in quarantine if necessary.

    I don’t understand (well, I sort of do) understand why this sort of stuff is controversial. As I noted in the article, even many people back during the black death understood that you quarantine people who are infected, or who have been in contact with the infected, and that you quarantine travellers till it’s clear they don’t have the disease.

    We do have some responsibilities to each other: to go into quarantine w/o fuss, to cooperate with track and trace, and as a society to support those who are in quarantine or otherwise can’t work/make money during the pandemic.

    That this is at all controversial shows just how corrupt and degraded our societies have become. We give away civil rights that really matter, then pretend that spreading a plague is a civil right.

  44. Ché Pasa

    Quarantine is controversial because the whole idea of “public health” has been lost in the quest for “freedom” — principally the freedom to get away with causing harm to others.

    I think the example of the Los Angeles homeless concentration camp that I used up above in answer to Joan is horrible, little more than prison sheds dolled up with a little paint. If there ever was a serious effort at quarantine in this country, it wouldn’t be any better, probably be much worse.

    Relatives from Nevada were planning to visit last year but changed their minds when informed that New Mexico required all visitors to undergo 2 weeks of quarantine. We informed them that we didn’t know anyone who actually complied, and there was no means to enforce it, but they decided to go to Idaho instead.

    Of course serious quarantine actions (such as were used and still are in China) are necessary to control infectious diseases. But they aren’t used in the US except under the most dire circumstances, and even then, it probably wouldn’t happen.

    It’s called “freedom” but it’s not that. It’s a deliberate policy of letting various controllable diseases and conditions run rampant among particularly vulnerable populations (think prevalence of diabetes among Natives) and blaming the victims for “lifestyle crimes.”

    Voila! Population control!

  45. Willy

    When everybody competes, everybody does better. And when everybody is less regulated, everybody’s more efficient. At least in the magical world of ideological theory that is. Unfortunately, those people seemed to conveniently forget the part where an awful lot of people under those two conditions can and will cheat any way they can. Can’t have one without the other to achieve the desired competitive result.

    The reality is that without regulation, a big medical version of the Phoebus Cartel is almost certainly going to happen. If it aint broke, they’ll make sure you can’t fix it, and as an added bonus, that it’ll soon break.

    Yet much common culture belief in the magic of unregulated competition remains.

    I admire the people around here who’ve figured this out and are always on the lookout for simple and cheap solutions to covid. I myself, do my own plumbing. But lucky for me I have lots of leftover plumbing stuff to experiment on, none of it involving a live human. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d still rather hope we’ve got some integrity left in big medical research to find out if any of the simple solutions pan out. And then they can put out the Youtube video.

  46. Speaking of hydroxychloroquine, I just had the upsetting experience of listening to Dr. Richard Fleming PhD, MD, JD, interviewed by Steve Bannon on the pandemic warroom show on April 16, 2021. If you’ve already had a vaccine, maybe you’d be better off not listening to this. If you are just interested in hydroxychloroquine, you can skip to the end of this post.

    On the effectiveness front, I actually thought his statements were weak, because I already knew that fatalities amongst the recently vaccinated was higher, for the elderly, for about 2 weeks after their shot or shots. What Fleming said is that, by looking at Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J End Use Authorization data, there was no statistically significant benefit for Pfizer and Moderna during the first week or second, respectively. (I assume across all age categories). For the J&J vaccine, there was a statistically significant benefit after 2 weeks, but it disappeared after another 2 weeks.

    So, Fleming doesn’t address the question of efficacy beyond 4 weeks. No explanation as to why; or question on this point, from Bannon.

    What was seriously disconcerting was his expectations about longer term damage, from spike proteins going through the blood brain barrier.

    In the animal (mice) model, they develop spongiform and Mad Cow disease,” Fleming said. “We also know 2 weeks afterwards they develop…what causes Alzheimer’s and neurological disorders.”

    In a rhesus macaque animal model, the vaccine caused Lewy body formation, which causes one of the forms of Alzheimer’s disease. This starts in about 2 weeks.

    those numbers translate into about a year and a half for human beings to see the same consequences

    I came across this, today, because I found out that a very sick relative is being tested for “mad cow disease”. He was messed up, to begin with. But he took a J&J vaccine about 2 months ago, during his last day during a hospital stay, when he was uncharacteristically feeling very good. 2 days later, he started coming down with severe illness, and ended back up in the hospital a day after that.


    So, onto hydroxychloroquine. Unlike medical CommieNazis like Fauci, the Fleming dude has made an effort to determine what could actually help people. If you go to his website, flemingmethod dot com, and click the ‘Treatments to Consider – Best Evidence’ menu, the first link gives you a pdf file. If you scroll down to page 6, at the top is a graphic titled “When Treatment was Started within 3-4 Days of Symptoms”.

    There are 4 different protocols listed, but ALL include hydroxychloroquine. The most effective one (100% effective) does NOT include azithromycin. Sorry, Dr. Zelenko, but that one is only 74.3% effective. (Though there’s no mention of zinc. Strange.)

  47. capelin

    Quarantine is also controversial because anyone can see it’s currently full of holes and class-based, like the entire Covid response. If you have a private jet, no worries, carry on. If you’re a poor smuck who wants to go to the next province to see family after a year, or want to touch your spouse in a long-term care home, no.

    None of the underlying dis-ease in our societies is being addressed, killers like heat and poverty and mental health are accellerated, while the PTB methodically don’t control Covid – and damn well _DO control their populations.

    In a rational world, sure: quarantine is a cheap, core, basic, low tech, effective tool, and pretty easy to do right, as Ian noted. Almost, THE tool.

  48. Hugh

    Now that we have vaccines, vaccines are the way to go. But as Fauci said recently, if a virus is allowed to replicate, it will mutate. So the anti-vaxxers are putting us all at risk just as the failure to get as many of our fellow human beings around the world is.

  49. Eric Anderson

    “Quarantine is controversial because the whole idea of “public health” has been lost in the quest for “freedom” — principally the freedom to get away with causing harm to others.”

    You spelled it wrong, man. The type you’re referring to is spelled “freedumb.”

    I’m with you. This post needed to be written in order to push the Overton window toward collectivism in this country. The discussion needs to be had, and so, here it is:

    Defense of individual liberty is killing us all. But, as demonstrated above, we’ve been so brainwashed by the capitalist propaganda we’re steeped in from birth that when a post like this is written even the large majority of so called leftists in this country react like you’re all set to send them to the showers. It’s fallacious pearl clutching crap.

    True collective societies don’t even blink at sacrificing individual rights for the good of the whole when times are tough. We, however, are pathologically selfish. A collective society knows there are no rights without attendant duties. And, when you live in a country that believes there are, guess what, you live in hellhole like the U.S.

    Grow up you jerk wads up- thread crying like selfish three year olds. The continued exercising your “rights” without practicing your duty to the collective whole is the surest way to guarantee that our children won’t have any rights at all because we’ve devolved in fascist surveillance hell hole.

    Shame on your pitifully shallow souls.

  50. Joan

    Thank you to Astrid, Willy, Che Pasa and Ian for responses.

    If the hotels at airports vented to the outside, that seems like the easiest option, and it doesn’t require creating a separate camp where the travelers have no idea of the actual conditions they’re submitting to until they get there. At an airport hotel, there’s plenty of room even to be allowed a daily walk around the building in scheduled shifts or something, so you’re not literally locked in a room. Maybe I died in prison in a past life or something, because yeesh the whole “get put in a camp, locked in a room from the outside, by yourself, and hope someone brings you food and water” really spooks me.

    With testing, of course I agree that quarantine and distancing is needed in a respiratory pandemic. And yes, the idea of “my rights include the right to hurt others” is a fallacy that needs to be refuted. The rights of my fist end where your nose begins, etc. Where I took issue was with the severity of these camps, I think, and maybe I was reading too much into it.

    I personally wouldn’t put up with traveling if it involved giving someone else the right to lock me into a room, but then again, I’m a person who would actually honor the “quarantine at your house or hotel” orders in places that are doing that, whereas the issue is that a lot of people don’t adhere to it.

  51. Why was my last comment deleted? I saw it up, with no hint of being in moderation, and now it’s gone.

  52. Astrid

    I really have no problem with travellers paying for quarantine, though I realize in practice it ends up being a bit of a grift for hotels and catering companies. Traveling is a luxury that imposed a cost on the rest of society, the travellers or their employers should bear the cost of travel if it is that important. I suppose the lack exercise and outdoor space might be a concern for some for a longer quarantine, but perhaps those people could pay extra for a facility with outdoor running tracks (timed and monitored to ensure minimal contacts and strict mask requirement at points or weights in their room. I know the longer quarantine is a hardship for people with elderly parents in different countries, I had that case come up myself when one of my grandmothers suddenly took a turn for the worse and I was a half a world away, but that’s the price those folks part for mobility and seeking opportunities away from their loved ones. They already know it’s a price they have to pay, they just might not realize how high it can and should get.

    Old style motels are actually fine for quarantine, the walkways are outside and many of them have window HVAC units or can be easily retrofitted for independent window unit. They may need metal bars on windows and doors to prevent an outbreak of “freedumb” and certainly needs to be examined ahead of time to ensure the walls are properly sealed to prevent cross contamination (across walls, vents, and water/sewage pipes). Depending on infectiousness, perhaps UV light, automatic sanitizer spraying, and box fans can be introduced to clean common spaces so people don’t catch it on the way out ( esp guards and food delivery people).

    Why this wasn’t done and the quarantine hotels seem to be large completely sealed building blocks, is mind boggling. I understand airport hotels are more likely to be the latter and they are easier to secure, but that’s just begging for previously uninfected people to catch it on day 13 and get released on day 14 to expose their acquaintances on the outside. Any modestly intelligent person can point out this design flaw so what does that say about current public health officials? SARS already showed this was possible through sewage lines and flush toilets, and Covid was known to be more infectious.

  53. “Now that we have vaccines, vaccines are the way to go. But as Fauci said recently, if a virus is allowed to replicate, it will mutate. So the anti-vaxxers are putting us all at risk just as the failure to get as many of our fellow human beings around the world is.”

    The sheer idiocy and irresponsibility of this comment astounds, even to somebody who is used to reading and, in my past life, extensively interacting with, irrational political animals.

    Of course, it’s not the “anti-vaxxers” that anybody should be alarmed about, but the pro-vaxxers who, nevertheless, see through the hysteria of foisting an experimental gene therapy on the public, and have been sounding the alarm. Likewise, it’s not “climate change deniers” who anybody should care about, but rather intelligent and honest scientists, who find the idea of no climate change laughable, but who call out BS, when they see it.

    Both the falsely smeared “anti-vaxxer” scientists, and the falsely smeared “climate change denier” scientists, are willing and able to articulate their arguments. It’s the other side of those two issues who cowardly run from, and suppress, serious debate, with rare exception. They thus violate scientific ethics, as laid out by Lee Smolin in “The Trouble with Physics”. Trusting the cowards is a fool’s errand, but some people just can’t help themselves, can they? They’ll even quote gain-of-function Fauci, who recently, cowardly, refused to show in Congress

    As per my comment that was deleted, with no explanation, the translation from animal models to humans of “spongiform and Mad Cow disease” is only a year and a half. Just yesterday, I found out that a relative is being tested for vCJD, which has an incidence of about 1 in a million. This relative took the J&J vaccine about 2 months, ago, and it landed him back in the hospital.

    Let’s hope that if this returns positive, it is just a coincidence, and not a bellwether.

    I’ve been listening to Gary Null for over a period of 40 years, and he’s generally positive, sometimes arrogant, strident and insulting. I’ve only heard him sad, twice. The first time was when a good friend died, a doctor named Martin Feldman. The second time was just recently, when he alluded to what the people of Israel have done to themselves, apparently with their aggressive vaccinations.

  54. Astrid

    Vaccine are never the best short term solution to a novel disease. They take years to develop and test, and even now we have no idea what the full effectiveness and side effects are for the various COVID vaccines.

    Early and hard quarantine with no exceptions for anybody (outside of truly essential people working logistics and healthcare practitioners) with properly implemented tracing and adequate, non-means tested economic support, is always the best choice.

    That best choice was intentionally taken away from most populations in favor of doing nothing for as long as possible, then too little too late with a huge grift to pharma companies to develop Hail Mary vaccines, which will inevitably fall short because coronaviruses are known to mutate quickly when it goes through a large infected population. We are likely going to live with Covid variants for years to come, let’s just hope that our vaccine boosted immune systems can largely deal with those variants.

    The economic feasibility of quarantines gets talked about greatly in negative. But I would argue household economics is a big part of why it was so successful in China and Vietnam. Both have populations with high household savings rates and was occurring around the lunar new year, when household savings tend to peak (hundreds of millions of migrant workers end their working year right before lunar new year). Thus, even without much state economic support, these households were resilient to impact of a state imposed mass quarantine and can recover quickly, while a substantial portion of the Western population rightfully lost their minds because a lengthy quarantine would really destroy their lives without substantial and immediate government support.

  55. Astrid

    I also think that’s why we are seeing cracks in previous (and still very successful by world standards) success stories of Taiwan and Vietnam, and Singapore and China are both looking really hard for off ramps. Even resilient societies can only go on for so long before it starts impacting their functioning. I suspect China can go on for a lot longer, as long as global shipping and trade is not too interrupted, but it’s reasonable to start looking for ways to cope with the disasterous outcome of the West’s largely insane Covid policy.

  56. Plague Species

    When everyone cooperates, everyone does better. Cooperation trumps competition.

  57. Plague Species

    The economic feasibility of quarantines gets talked about greatly in negative. But I would argue household economics is a big part of why it was so successful in China and Vietnam. Both have populations with high household savings rates and was occurring around the lunar new year, when household savings tend to peak (hundreds of millions of migrant workers end their working year right before lunar new year).

    That may have played a part, but without full transparency and propagandists always painting a rosy picture when it comes to China, we’ll never know the true impact of China’s draconian pandemic response.

    Most Americans have no savings and are instead deeply in debt. So if an effective quarantine requires savings to get through it, it’s a no go in America without government financing.

    And yet despite this, the housing market is inexplicably burgeoning into a bubble and none of the leading experts can provide a satisfactory reason as to why. Same goes for automobiles. Something is afoot and it’s operating in the shadows.

  58. Astrid

    China’s internal banking and bad debt issues get talked about as massive icebergs that will sink it eventually ( this is both the opinion of veteran China watchers and a portion of the more astute Chinese people), but honestly I think it may be no big deal because of China’s huge foreign reserve and its currency sovereignty. The debts are denominated in RMB and the government really can print its way out or just let the currency get revalued and still keep all their shiny new stuff.

    That’s why China will likely never let its national champions or even smaller businesses take on substantial foreign denominated debt or foreign denominated risks, because that will give other countries leverage over it. It’s very hard to move money out of China and increasingly hard to move money in, there’s a good reason for that.

    There’s a limitation to resiliency and sound policy, and even the best systems will get very tested by overpopulation, climate change, resource depletion, and a crazy nuclear armed USA. Still, if I were to bet, i’d bet on China and Russia, if Putin can establish a good succession plan. Still doesn’t mean I want to live in either, though China is sounding better and better. (Electronic surveillance and terrible local TV bad, VPN and 15 minute meal deliveries good). Taiwan is honestly a pretty good choice if they can get over their ties with the US.

  59. Plague Species

    Are you kidding me? There was nothing in that comment that required it to be removed. Nothing. What is going on here? It was a cogent rebuttal to one of Astrid’s comments with no ad hominem. Why would you remove it? It posted in fact, and now it is gone. In its place, is a comment from Astrid. If you didn’t remove it, someone else did. Astrid, maybe?

  60. Plague Species

    Blogs are a lot like political parties. Donors are owners. Planks and eyes applies.

  61. Plague Species

    Wow, this is now a serious CCP hang. Unreal. Use your eyes, for Christ’s sake.

  62. Astrid

    (Here’s something that I’ve never seen mentioned in non-Mainlander media. Overseas Chinese are often referenced by Chinese state media as tongbao, which Wikipedia mistranslates as comrade but has a far deeper cultural resonance. It refers to being full siblings, literally means born of the same womb. When Mainlanders are being polite, they will say xianggang tongbao (Hong Kong full sibling) and haiwai tongbao (overseas full sibling). It explicitly that they are truly seen as part of the family.

    The idealism behind this characterization may get eroded with use and misuse, but it still has resonance today. When the Hong Kongers were seen violently protesting against Chinese and beating up Mainlanders, no Mainlanders called them xianggang tongbao, they were called xianggang ren, Hong Konger.

    If you think the West is unanimous in its condemnation of the Chinese WRT Hong Kong protesters and Uighur separatists, rest assured that pretty much every Mainlanders, no matter what they otherwise think of the Chinese government, thinks of these two groups as ungrateful hooligans and terrorists.

    This is even people who understand the dynamics of the HK protests or think the government handled certain actions badly or were too forceful. They’re not stupid and frankly, the Chinese government are rarely caught in lies these days, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. They can will spin, they will minimize and hid, or maximize and distort, but I don’t remember any associate telling me the Chinese government out and out fabricated information for a long time. This is why the Chinese people trust it, not because they are brainwashed but because it’s proven to be reliable to a substantial degree. They say xianggang ren because they saw footage of protesters violence and they’ve seen HKers online call them crass brainwashed vermin and they’ve been to HK where their money is welcome but they are not.

    Incidentally, the Taiwan government is usually referred to as taiwan dangju (Taiwan current administration) even though zhengfu (government) is the more commonly used word for government.

    These nuances of word usage don’t get picked up by non Mandarin speakers and Chinese readers, but are useful for taking temperatures in the room about how the government and individuals are feeling at any given time.)

  63. Astrid

    Plague Species,

    I don’t have any relationship with Ian except the occasional small no strings attached donations. He has explained his moderation policy many times, several times specifically to you as I recall, and I’ve gotten moderated just like everyone else.

    Despite your disgusting trollishness against me and others, I’ve never called you to be censored. Why am not surprised that you behaved otherwise?

  64. Astrid

    If you want to test out your theory and make a $100,000 donation to Ian to try to change his mind, I’m not gonna stop you. In fact I’m going to insist that you do it right now.

    Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

  65. Astrid

    What likely happened is that both metamar and plague species failed to notice the small “in moderation” notice at the bottom of their moderated messages. I have one in moderation right now and expect that Ian will liberated it and their rants when he had time.

    I guess despite living through life with ADHD enabled bad grammar and missed words, I still somehow noticed stuff that escape the “greatest in the universe” minds of that pair.

    Still trying to figure out Hugh’s “facts” though. Will somebody please tell poor old ADHD afflicted me how to find them and also how to tag my posts so he can find mine?

  66. someofparts

    I just noticed that several bad faith commenters had popped back up. I figured they felt encouraged by others who were being pretty active here. Be nice to see some of them chased back into the shadows. Now if only they would stop lurking and go join the pack at Breitbart or Kos.

  67. Trinity

    This bears repeating:

    “True collective societies don’t even blink at sacrificing individual rights for the good of the whole when times are tough. We, however, are pathologically selfish. A collective society knows there are no rights without attendant duties.”

    Pin this to your bathroom mirror until you can accept its truth. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only thing that will save us, which really means the US is cooked, except in certain pockets around the country.

    Joan, in a collectivist society, there would be little to no worry that the food won’t show up. So in a way, given your (and my) upbringing, there is reason to worry about quarantine in non-collectivist societies. There’s reason to worry about pretty much everything in non-collectivist societies, and this is a “feature”, not a bug. Lots of drumming up fear of TS Elsa here in the mid-Atlantic, but for us at least, it was a rainstorm, and not much rain at that. Not yet sure about the eastern shore.

    Thanks, Eric Anderson, for that great post.

    And that was a great Salon link, someofparts.

  68. someofparts

    Now that I think about it, some of the disgruntled folks in comments here really, really should trek over to Kos. From things you say here, I think you would be very comfortable in that community.

  69. Ché Pasa

    Interesting. Flyers have appeared on the local grocery store bulletin board saying that “vaccinated people are spreading COVID!!!!`1” As I’ve said, there aren’t a lot of vaccinated people out here, and those who are tend toward the politically lefter end of the spectrum. No one at the store seems to know who’s been posting the flyers, and the workers take them down as soon as they see them. I haven’t run across anyone making the claim that vaccinated people are spreading COVID, but maybe one of the commenters here has. If so, please share.

    Both of the medical centers I go to have refused me an antibody test; my rheumatologist sent me a message saying the American College of Rheumatology advises against ordering antibody tests or booster shots for immune suppressed rheumatology patients. He and his medical group follow that guidance. What he’s told me in the past is that the immune suppression medications I’ve been taking will probably prevent any of the vaccines from have much effect, but it’s worth a try to get vaccinated anyway. But now I learn there’s no followup to find out whether there is any protection from the vaccine, nor are boosters advised. Hm.

    I know in parts of the immune suppressed community (about 1% -2% of the population) there is considerable confusion and anxiety and no clear understanding about what one should or should not do vis a vis COVID risks. I brought this up with my rheumatologist, and this was his response verbatim:

    You need to live your life and enjoy it. Should be fine to get together with vaccinated people. Do what you are comfortable with. Wash hands often. We’re all figuring this out together.

    He’s Canadian, so I don’t ascribe bad intent, but what he’s been saying all along about how to respond to COVID for people like me has been more or less the same. Yes, we might be at higher risk, but there’s no reason for that to keep us from living and enjoying our lives. Do what you’re comfortable with and don’t worry about contracting the disease. Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent it. Vaccines work for some, and may work for me, but for many immune suppressed people they don’t work at all and can’t. Don’t worry about it. Just get on with your life.

    And for Zen students, it’s all transitory and illusory anyway, right?

  70. Astrid

    Even with all the recent modernizations, it’s amazing how much collectivism still go on in China, in pathways that are quasi-feudal in nature.

    If someone in the extended family needs expensive medical care or buy a house to get married or go to school abroad, the rest of the family will empty out their savings to do so, even if they don’t usually get along. Kicking family out and allowing them to become homeless is practically unthinkable even if there’s preexisting bad blood. And if somebody fails to abide by their obligations, it will get talked about. Talk to an elderly Chinese lady, really talk to her, and she will tell you about feuds and slights of neighbors and friends going back to her childhood. I suspect this is a common pattern everywhere outside of the “developed” west.

    Obviously, this is significantly diluted and eroded by current social and demographics in China, but it’s still a very real source of resiliency. I suspect that’s why societies that appear significantly poorer can still survive calamity after calamity coherently ( really thinking of Yemen and Palestinians).

    Compare this with my PMC coworkers in the US. I know of cases where grandmothers charged market rates to look after their grandchildren or just flat out refused to help because of preexisting social/vacation plans or just didn’t want to. Elderly with multiple children abandon in care homes. Not universal by any means but very common. Blows the mind of my friends in China when I mention it.

  71. someofparts

    You know, talking about quarantines and public support, one aspect of it in the West keeps getting dropped from being mentioned. The population that can be counted on to be the most vulnerable and suffer the worst negative impacts will always be single mothers.

    When I hear that fact disappear from the conversation over and over, especially when the single male without children default assumption pops up instead, that is when I know this culture and its toxic Abrahamic death gods do not deserve to be saved.

    And while I’m at it, let me throw a little shade back on the ladies who are pulling the strings on Biden’s sad puppet dances. There is a special place in hell for women who let this happen to poor women while they preen about their own advantages.

  72. Astrid

    (Now, this is a cultural norm that is eroding quickly, especially when real estate is involved. A long time friend was forced out of her marital home when her husband quickly died from cancer and the stepdaughter that she thinks of as “her daughter” forced her to sell and split the proceeds, even though this means she could no longer afford to buy a home in Beijing, where she lives for 3 decades. But it was shocking and it was a scandal in that circle. However, my friend does have an estranged son from a prior marriage and perhaps the fear of getting wholly disinherited after her death motivated the action.)

  73. someofparts

    I think Astrid’s point about support within families is so true. In my own immediate experience, the way it works is that elders and females are on their own. Only sons get family support. Among the people I know, here and there, who do have families that are supportive of everyone in the group, there is a level of resilience that is just not possible in the families who abandon their most vulnerable members.

  74. Astrid

    The Chinese are highly patrilineal and do absolutely favor sons over daughters and daughters-in-law. Exceeding birth quota to get a son is absolutely a thing, though pretty much impossible for urbanites.

    But the demographics are such that almost all urbanites under 40 are only children and even rural people (who often exceeded birth quotas despite fines, stripping of hukou for the excess births, and even sterilization in some provinces for offenders) have relatively small families. In addition, women are well educated and are competitive in most career field, even though the highest positions often go to men.

    A common trend you will see, especially in southern China, is that women absolutely runs the family. They control the family budget, the kid’s education, relationship with in-laws. Its far more common to see the wife’s parents living with a family than the husband’s parents, because there’s more chance for conflicts between MiL and DiL, than the husband with his in-laws.

  75. Hugh

    So the take home lessons of this thread are science is whatever your prejudices happen to be and China is great. That period from the Opium Wars in the 1840s through Tiananmen in 1989 never happened. Uighurs don’t exist or shortly won’t so no problem. Ditto Hong Kong. I expect I will shortly hear that covid started somewhere else but that China handled it perfectly and that its delays and denials are all lies or overblown because China is GREAT!!!

  76. Jason

    He’s Canadian, so I don’t ascribe bad intent

    I didn’t realize Canadians weren’t capable of bad intent. Good to know, and thank you for an insight that clearly illustrates your intellectual breadth.

  77. Willy

    Just as everybody plays the fool sometimes, everybody also calls somebody an idiot sometimes too. Doesn’t automatically make them smart though.

    The problem with CPC China is that getting qualified dictators is a crap shoot. Sometimes they get lucky, other times they get Mao’d to death. Not saying Xi is good, but qualified in an Augustus sorta way. Qualified at conquering shit then distributing the spoils in ways the mob finds satisfying. Still, I can’t wait til their version of Nero comes along.

    Wouldn’t all be a little smarter if we could figure out why some organizations strive and thrive while others flounder and fail?

    I note the recent stark contrast between SpaceX and Boeing. Boeing’s investor and management class has clearly lost all faith in its engineering staffs ability to develop a simple new airplane variant. Yet underqualified Musk can spout utter aerospace blasphemy on behalf of his crew, like casing 2 stage boosters over unproven engines and exotic fuels inside of steel, and be given carte blanche, and then from the looks of it, succeed.

  78. Ché Pasa


    Our host is Canadian, and I would never ascribe bad intent to him. Beyond that, I’ve never known a Canadian who had a bad intent. Error, yes, but not the intent to harm another. I’m sure there are exceptions. There always are, aren’t there?

  79. Stormcrow

    This comment will almost certainly get lost in the noise, but “the thing has to be tried”.

    Ian, look at the history of the 1918 influenza pandemic before you get terribly upset about the fact that the variants are spreading beyond their countries of origin. If you haven’t found a favorite reference, you might want to consult John Barry’s “The Great Influenza”. During the 1918 pandemic, only one municipality in the entire US managed to enforce a quarantine. Everywhere else, influenza laughed quarantines to scorn. The problem was, victims often became dangerous to be around before they actually showed any clinical symptoms. Typical behavior for influenza. Note that Influenza’s base reproduction rate, R₀, is less than 2.

    The original strain of Covid that spilled over to humans in Wuhan had an estimated R₀ of 2.5. But that strain quickly became history. What hit the US East Coast in late spring 2020 was a variant that’d sprung up in Europe, D614G. That was quickly eclipsed by “Alpha”, from Kent, which became the dominant strain in the US. Alpha’s R₀ is estimated at between 4 and 5. Now we have Delta, whose R₀ is estimated at between 5 and 8.

    I’m sure you can see where this is going.

    The entire history of this pandemic, in nearly every country afflicted by it, is one of repeated detection of new variants, well after they have already successfully established themselves, completely under the radar.

    Remember that first US case, the guy who walked off a plane from China on January 15, 2020, and ended up plonked into an ICU in a hospital in Everett? It took more than another month before the horror story in the Kirkland nursing home came to light. Here’s a choice quote from Helen Branswell’s piece:

    “While there is some spread in some communities, there is not national spread of Covid-19,” said Nancy Messonier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “CDC and the federal government are working to keep it that way.”

    At the end of February 2020, nobody really understood that Covid could be transmitted by people who had no symptoms whatsoever.

    If there is any single “signature” experience that countries dealing with this disease have had, it’s that of being blindsided. At this point, we cannot reasonably expect that vigilance will suffice to remedy this. When has it ever?

  80. different clue

    It looks like Coronavid will probably be a moving Darwin Filter.

  81. Astrid


    The Romans had a good run with the 5 good emperors. The Chinese did okay by not repeating families in their leadership roles in the last 70 years. The weakest one I can think of is Li Peng, who was sorta adopted by Zhou Enlai (I know there’s a 2014 denial but believe me, only old cadres liked him because of the Zhou connection and everybody else in China found him odious). Keep out the spawns at all cost.

    We all have to get past the next 20 years first, then maybe join a horse-y Eurasian steppes warband, to survive.

    (Apologies to all for my thread jacking sprees as of late. Not feeling like working as I should, so a lot of thinking/typing as I go going on.)

  82. Willy

    Astrid, my point was there’s a rocketload of difference between SpaceX and Boeing these days. One soars while the other flounders. Not entirely a Musk fan, but maybe sometimes the leadership really does make all the cultural and directional difference. He appears to be a good gordian knot cutter, or paradigm shifter, or whatever the hell it is, that cares less about any status quo “expert” stagnation and more about goal-achieving direction the other shit be damned.

    Somebody else here once tried to persuade me that Rome was beset by all manner of troubles in its final three centuries, and that its loot and slaves economy couldn’t be kept replenished beyond the 5 good emperors, therefore its collapse. I agreed, mostly, but didn’t want him to discount any possibility of anacyclosis-related entropy. There were after all, wealthy nations like Persia, India and China to be had, so full of loot and slaves with which to replenish the Roman economy with. Had an Elon Musk type been emperor, would he have gordian knot cut, or paradigm shifted, or whatever the hell it is, a massive navy, horse horde, or some other warfare technology to keep Rome rolling?

  83. Eric Anderson


    Elon would do what capitalists do. Liquidate his assets and move to another country.

  84. Astrid

    Elon is just another Trump. Great at grabbing attention for himself and taking credit for stuff with his branding. Not so good in actually delivering a decent product (if defined as reliable, affordable, or easy to escape from). He would be one of those flash in a pan emperors that might last 6 months, not one of the tough Illyrians that pulled the Roman empire out of the crisis of the third century.

    None of the billionaires in this country have anything like what it takes to be Diocletian or Constantine. That guy might be a mid level military officer right now or in high school, biding his time.

  85. Astrid

    The sort of hard headed, realistic, and frankly brutal thinking necessary to pull this country out of its nosedive, is going to take an extraordinary and possibly extraordinarily unlikeable man, an Augustus or Genghis Khan figure. And most of the world probably would prefer it doesn’t happen, all things considered.

  86. Plague Species

    The sort of hard headed, realistic, and frankly brutal thinking necessary to pull this country out of its nosedive, is going to take an extraordinary and possibly extraordinarily unlikeable man, an Augustus or Genghis Khan figure. And most of the world probably would prefer it doesn’t happen, all things considered.

    Of course, because Lord knows it could never be a woman for a change, right? Who are you? Ayn Rand? A self-loathing male-worshipping female who provides apologia and cover for rapists? You don’t add up. Those so steeply versed in history as you like to appear to be with huge cut and pastes, are those who are not only doomed to repeat it but those who long to repeat it.

  87. Billy Bob

    What I find comical, is that all these former free love, free drugs, hippie types are arguing for collectivism, and state-corporate controlled narratives now. Now, freedom of movement, speech, and religion, is called “freedumb” simply because they don’t agree with it.
    These people may get their collectivism, but it won’t be your free love and free drugs, but rather a Kublah Khan-type where anyone who knows anyone or is related to anyone who does drugs, or commits a petty crime, including adultery, will be killed as a conspirator against the community. On a similar note, where they are aiming, with quarantines for a disease that’s about as deadly as a flu, is not much different than the Catholic Church excommunications of the middle ages, with book burnings and forced recantations of anyone who says the earth is not the center of the universe. The Catholic Church viewed these as deadly heresies, but in reality, were nothing but freedom of thought.

  88. Astrid

    Because I am making a specific prediction about imposition of will through militaristic violence, and men do the actual fighting and leading in conflicts. There are a few exceptions here and there, but they’re rare, rarely successful, and steps in when there is a break in the war making patriarchy to lead men loyal to their fathers, husband’s, brothers, and sons. Men can fight harder and better than women and they will want one of their own to lead them.

    There’s no inherent virtue or vice in an identity. There’s no virtue in winning. It just is. I go where the body of historical evidence leads me and that body says that thus far, women and “intersectional” leaders have a higher chance of being terrible than CIS white males. I suspect that comes from how they are filtered through the selection system and not due to inherent defects in the population, but I sure as hell am not going to give any deference to AOC, Pelosi, Clinton, or Harris. I would have certainly voted for Gabbard or Williamson or Stein, but none of us were ever given a sane choice.

    And you’re still an asshole troll, which I don’t need to attribute to any other characteristics. You just are.

  89. Astrid

    Back somewhat to COVID, this alarming study suggests that part of the reason delta is more infectious is because it releases more virii and earlier in the infection course. Up to 1,000 times the viral load of the original strain on day of detection, whatever the heck that means to me (am definitely not a medical doktor).

    In addition to being more infectious and result in a more severe course of disease (it’s been noted that those who start with a larger dose of infection often endure more severe disease courses), it also appears to mean an acceleration of variants formation in delta lineages because those infections generate more virii, each virii replication representing an individual opportunity for mutation.

    If so, it won’t merely be number of infected patients driving variant formation but improvements in virus reproduction.

    If I am correctly understanding the implications of this, we are so fucked. So so fucked. And we won’t even know it until weeks after the really really lethal strain had already spread everywhere.

  90. Plague Species

    Men can fight harder and better than women and they will want one of their own to lead them.

    I’m not so sure of that. It’s not a maxim and you are living proof of that at this venue, unless you are a male versus the female you claim to be. You certainly sh*t talk like an alpha male. You’re fighting awfully hard here. Harder than most. Maybe the hardest. As far as better, well, maybe not better, but hey, it’s quite an effort.

    Why didn’t you throw Mao in with Constantine and Genghis Khan? Stalin? Hitler? All three knew how to kick a** and get sh*t done without the nauseating equivocation.

  91. Willy

    Elon is just another Trump.

    Had to post that one again for posterity. You’re not much into engineering, are you?

  92. different clue

    Perhaps Elon is best viewed as an engineer with some Trumpish characteristics.

  93. Willy

    One of Ian’s top mantras appears to be: “It doesn’t have to be this way.” All I try to do is stir the pot to inspire ideas to try and figure out why this is so and how we might counter. If everything doesn’t all turn to shit as quickly as some say it will, then maybe some ideas or seeds for ideas might be useful in ones own daily life.

    Musk is literally the opposite of Trump Yes, he does that ‘showman figurehead’ thing. But I see all that stuff as a required behavior, because of the way the human condition works. ( Musk is far from my ideal in either the social or political senses.)

    There’s the old Lenny Bruce bit where Einstein was imagined to have been born in backwoods USA instead of Ulm Germany. He goes on stage for the first time in front of elite physicists: “I wanna talk to ya’ll ‘bout nukular fishin” and then gets booed offstage before he even has a chance to get into it. I knew some incredibly smart people who labor as design grunts because their colloquial stage presence is pathetic.

    Caesar, FDR, Edison… all had to play variations of the superconfident ubermensch role just to get their foot in the door. Hell, even Hawkings made sure his computer voice sounded more like Forbin’s Colossus than the more loveable Playstation.

    Had he not been born into wealth, Musk probably would’ve just finished his education to become some anonymous materials scientist helping some other famous rich guy divine the alloys used in their own Raptor engines.

  94. Astrid


    I’ve been inside a driven Tesla. I’ve spoken to Space X engineers, though not about Elon’s personality defects. I know enough of his public antics. I know the injury rates at his factories. I have some idea about feasibility and desirability of Elon is proposing and I want to part of it. He is not an engineer’s engineer. He’s a Zaphod Beeblebrox attached some half baked ideas and a lot of hype.


    Thanks for clarifying. Anything you’re for is a fact. Anything you’re against is propaganda or trolling. Nuance and knowledge and supporting evidence is irrelevant. Got it. I always suspected but I appreciate the confirmation.

    Plague Species,

    Anyone who knows Mao knows he’s not that much of a fighter, so wouldn’t make much sense in my example. But don’t let knowledge get in your way. Actually, I’m third gendered space lizard and I feel so sorry that your kids have such a shitty dad. And I was a latchkey hatchling.

  95. Astrid

    Grammar and typing on Smartphone obviously not strong space lizard capabilities.

    “I have some idea about feasibility and desirability of WHAT Elon is proposing and I want to NO part of it. “

  96. Willy

    Astrid, and I was the President of a European nation once. You’ve confirmed your folly. Again.

  97. Willy

    Anybody sane want to discuss the whys behind the glaring differences between Boeing and SpaceX?

    My goals are in line with Ian’s perception that: “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

  98. Plague Species

    Actually, I’m third gendered space lizard….

    This, I believe. Your attachment to the literal as though figurative doesn’t exist betrays that. Hence your rather rigid definitions for fight and fighters.

    I feel so sorry that your kids have such a shitty dad.

    Thank you. I consider this a compliment. But truth be told, I’m not a parent. Yes, we had two children but once they were born, the system abducted them and is “raising” them. Any biological parent who denies this is a narcissist and fooling themselves. The system is a most excellent parent. It has a fate planned for all children, and it meets and exceeds those goals.

  99. Plague Species

    Considering Musk and Branson are both Chairman of the Board of both their respective organizations, perhaps this is their theme song considering their lofty expectations.

    Fly me to the moon
    Let me play among the stars
    Let me see what spring is like on
    A-Jupiter and Mars

  100. Willy

    Disagree with me and I’ll call you every name in the book because I hate Americans because they’ll call you every name in the book when you disagree with them.

    Self-awareness is a good thing, Astrid.

    Meanwhile, I worked at Boeing all those years and all I got was one lousy MAX-crash tee shirt. Wish I’d been more self-aware. I woulda gotten the hell outta there sooner.

  101. Astrid

    I don’t need to be polite to people on the internet who show no interest in having a good faith conversation and is willingly misreading what I write. I have extra hate for Americans who think they’re entitled to dictate the lives of others around the world because they really believe they’re God’s chosen people.

    When you’re nasty to me, I have no qualms about calling it as I see it. I am not afraid to be called nasty names, but I will hold you up to your words. I can be persuaded with facts and understanding, but gaslighting stopped working on me around the time Obama picked his 2009 cabinet.

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