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

The West Proves Its Incapacity with Covid

With rare exceptions like New Zealand and Australia, the Western response to Covid-19 has been beyond pathetic.

This isn’t a complicated problem. You do a lockdown at the start, then ease when cases are essentially extinguished. You build up track and trace, you put in support for businesses and for people who have to isolate. You test a lot, you track and trace contacts and you make people quarantine (fuck your rights. If you are have the goddamn plague, you quarantine.) If there is a local breakout during the second phase you track and trace.

You check temperatures and symptoms at the border and make travelers quarantine for 10 days, in a hotel room you provide. During lockdown and restriction phases everyone wears masks when indoors anywhere but their own homes.

This is not a matter that is open to question: countries which ran this playbook got Covid under control. They’re having safe pool parties in China now.

Moreover, the sheer stupidity of the idea that lockdowns hurt the economy is beyond embarassing. The plague hurts economies. Getting it under control is what saves economies. During lockdowns it is simple to deal with: cancel rent and mortgages for people and businesses and have the central bank make the lenders whole for the duration. Central banks routinely print trillions to bail out rich people, they can be used for this. Meanwhile, give people enough money to afford their other bills, like food.

The economy IS people and businesses. If you make sure they are all there when the plague is done, then the economy will be fine. Instead, there has been huge devastation of business in many countries so that even when the pandemic is done (because of a vaccine), the damage will linger for years, some of it will linger for decades, in industries like live music and theatre, where the venues have shut down and won’t come back easily. (It’s almost impossible to open new music and theater venues in many places.)

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Again: the East and a few western outliers handled this, and the rest of the West did not. This is a combination of sheer incompetence, psychopathic leadership, and incentives. The rich get tested every day, can work from home, and get the very best care AND their wealth has skyrocketed during the pandemic even as they assume control of a larger percentage of the economy (because of small businesses going under.) If you’re rich, the pandemic has been a godsend: it’s made you far richer, given you more power, and disempowered your workers, since there are nowhere near enough jobs.

Our societies in the West are simply not functional. We cannot manage the most basic of government functions (as the inability count votes in America just demonstrated.) Our leaders are buffoons, psychopaths or both (usually both, and this includes leaders people spew over like Angela Merkel.)

If our leaders wanted the pandemic handled, it would have been. It wasn’t because they didn’t, and in some cases because they are also buffoons.

This is not primarily on the population (except they keep electing these ‘tards). The reason America has a huge anti-mask movement, for example, is that powerful leaders like Trump and various GOP figures pushed it hard, so it became a tribal authoritarian marker.

The pandemic, as bad as it is, is a minor crisis. It is as nothing, nothing, compared to what is coming at as as climate change starts to really hit.

We can’t/won’t even handle a crisis where there is a playbook and all you have to do is follow it.

Our societies are broken. Virtually everyone in a leadership position, or who has great wealth (same thing) needs to be removed from power, have their money taken away beyond a standard middle class standard, and be forbidden from every running anything ever again. Our populations need to stop accepting psychopathic and incompetent leadership and learn that the only leaders worth having are those who actually put the people’s welfare first.

If we do not do these things, climate change and the problems which will come downstream from it are going to make the pandemic look like a picnic that was upset because there were too many ants.

This is where we are.

(I should note that the Australian and New Zealand governments are not “good”, they merely handled this well. Australia just let wildfires run unchecked, while New Zealand has one of the most overpriced housing markets in the world. I assume Covid was not in the interests of their elites, unlike in many other countries.)


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  1. NR

    “This is not primarily on the population (except they keep electing these ‘tards). The reason America has a huge anti-mask movement, for example, is that powerful leaders like Trump and various GOP figures pushed it hard, so it became a tribal authoritarian marker.”

    Sorry Ian, I’m not going to let those anti-mask morons off the hook so easily. Yes, Trump and the Republicans pushed an anti-mask stance, but those hordes of morons chose to follow them instead of listening to actual scientists and medical professionals.

    They shouldn’t get a pass.

  2. Stirling S Newberry

    Tell us what you really think.

    (As someone who has been on this since Dec ’19, I too take the blame.)

  3. The way I figure it there’s enough information out there dumbed down enough that even my kindergarten grand-daughter – even my ex – GETS IT, so if some damned fool doesn’t want to mask up and catches the trump-bug and dies, well… that’s just one less damned fool. That little bit of air my grandchildren need to survive not wasted on some in-bred, hairy-assed half-monkey Cro-Magnon throw-back might just be the butterfly wings in Bejing that turn this thing around.

    And, well, consensus is there’s too damned many of ’em. Wasting air.

  4. anon

    Liberal darling Anthony Fauci (and generally I do like Fauci but he’s no saint or truth teller) told Americans specifically that they did not have to wear masks. Fauci lied and later admitted to lying in order to save masks for health care workers. His reasoning was very faulty and inexcusable in my opinion. Telling people not to wear masks only causes an influx of patients and health care workers’ jobs much more difficult. Anti-masker Trump used Fauci’s words to fuel the belief that masks do not work. Just goes to show that almost everyone in leadership roles has an agenda. Even the “good guys” cannot fully be trusted to act competently or honestly in a crisis. Their friends, family, and people they deem to be more important than most are the first to receive masks and vaccines.

    It’s also a difference in culture. Americans are some of the most individualistic people on the planet. We don’t care for our neighbors in the same way smaller and/or more homogenous countries do. Few tears have been shed publicly leaders over hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Loss of life is only a tragedy when our leaders see an opportunity to exploit those deaths for their agenda, like more endless wars or bans on certain immigrants.

  5. js

    Of course the reason America has a huge anti-mask movement is in many cases the Exact Same reason they keep electing those ‘tards. It’s tribalism. It’s how easily people can be led into knee jerk reactions based on existing not very well thought out priors: like a reflexive defense of an undefined freedom.

    I don’t really buy the Fauci blame. No Fauci should not have noble lied, and in early March the authorities were saying don’t wear masks, but it seems to me that was old news by early April and the consensus was to wear masks – by early April. I don’t get the continued need to cling to what we thought we knew (or were falsely informed about) in March, months and months later. Are those same people still washing all their groceries (an actual scientific misunderstanding, formites were thought to be a bigger factor, they weren’t).

  6. Ché Pasa




    Re: masks. Where was one supposed to get any once the very limited supply ran out (within hours of the announcement of a pandemic in many places)? Fauci did not handle the situation well, but the fact is there were no commercially produced masks to be had by the general public — in some areas for months. So even if he’d said “Everybody mask up!” it was physically impossible initially.

    Too, he did not tell people not to wear masks. He said they weren’t necessarily effective. Sad to say, he was correct.

    Three, Americans are not nearly as individualistic as they like to believe. For the most part they are followers, believers, magical thinkers. That’s one way marketers and cult leaders manage to be so successful so often.

  7. BlizzardOfOzzz

    What do you guys want, exactly? Face diapers have been ubiquitous for months. And we had a long lockdown earlier in the year. Per “fuck your rights” (could be the left’s 2020 slogan), I guess you find it offensive that we are still allowed minimal freedom of movement (we can go outside as we please, etc). But in the UK, they are not, and it hasn’t made a difference. We all know you are not going to clamp down on commie riots or Joe Biden victory celebrations. So again I ask: what do you want?

  8. different clue

    It was a little while ago that Sergei Lavrov noted that America is ” non agreement-capable”. And now we face up to the fact that the entire Western World is also ” non public-health capable”. It might be worthwhile at leisure to figure out how our societies were engineered into a state of ” non public-health capability” and who engineered that condition into existence for us. And how we might de-engineer ourselves back out of it.

    In the near term, the only way America will get Coronavid under control would be to hire thousands upon thousands of South Korean/Taiwanese/ Hong Kongese/ Japanese public health experts and let them design a Coronavid Virus Extermination Program for us to follow. Because a second Trump Administration, if there is one, will be la-di-da public health indifferent. And a Joemala Administration, if there is one, will be well-intended but ” non public-health capable”.

    BlizzardOfOzzz offers a comment which could point the way to a very interesting alternative approach which offers some intriguing possibilities. And it goes like this: every person who prefers not to wear a mask because . . . Freedom! . . . should be free not to wear one. And every health care professional/technician/setting/facility should be free to deny admission and deny care to any Mask Freedom Rebel who gets Coronavid because . . . Personal Responsibility and Consequences! If we recognize the . . . Freedom! . . . . to not wear a face diaper because . . . Freedom! . . . . then we should grant the same . . . Freedom! . . . to the Health Care Industrial Complex to reserve treatment to ONLY those people who excercise their Freedom Of Choice to Freely Choose to WEAR the face diaper.

    And let Darwin decide which approach is the more viable approach in the Long Term.

  9. js

    The right has managed to give “rights” and “freedom” the worst possible reputation, since their rights to swing their fists/cough their germs don’t even seem to end where one’s nose begins, much less take into account that very few people have much freedom at all under such harsh capitalism, the economic system makes them de facto slaves – ask any essential worker.

    What people want is in Ian’s post, however the west so far, and the U.S. for the foreseeable future even the inauguration, is simply not capable of that. So maybe best we can do is another weak tea lockdown, as we don’t seem capable of anything else, not fast testing, not ramping up the production of the antibodies Trump got, not anything.

  10. NR

    The modern American right believes that “freedom” means they should be free to infect others with a deadly disease.

  11. Mark Pontin

    Paul Romer put it very simply. Western governments’ failure to control COVID19 was due to the fact that controlling COVID19 wasn’t monetizable.

    I mention Paul Romer because while he’s a smart guy, he’s no radical — he was chief economist at the World Bank, for god’s sake. If Romer makes that diagnosis, it’s pretty telling.

    I’d also add that when financialized capitalism takes over a society, its elites are primarily financial elites whose apex position is based on continual rent extraction.

    That’s what the U.S. — and to a lesser extent most Western societies — are now based around. And when you have a social structure that has continual rent extraction as its central feature, systems of debt and legal regulation exist that often entrap all except those at its very apex on the same treadmill of continually paying off debt.

  12. different clue

    If Mark Pontin ( and Paul Romer) are correct in their analysis, then the West in general maybe and America in particular certainly, will not be able to solve any of these problems until we can round up and physically exterminate the class or sector of people which is deliberately and on purpose causing and inventing these problems.

    There is nothing wrong with the Rent Extraction Class that a million rounds of 50 caliber machine gun fire and a few thousand pits, trenches and bulldozers can’t fix.

  13. BlizzardOfOzzz

    Behold, the new theory of the rights of man: fuck your rights*!
    * except for your right to not be infected with this one virus, which is sacrosanct.

  14. Jessica

    “There is nothing wrong with the Rent Extraction Class that a million rounds of 50 caliber machine gun fire and a few thousand pits, trenches and bulldozers can’t fix.”
    Yes, but under what banner? Something like socialism or Jesus? I wish it would be socialism, but my money is on Jesus.
    The US elites probably have to choose between eventually becoming a satellite of China or definancializing+reindustrializing. When this happens, the current professional class will be largely obsolete. Many will flee elsewhere and use their considerable skills at narrative weaving to paint a dire picture of what happened to them, so the world will look on in horror.
    Then things depend on whether the new Christo-Trumpists are capable of Gramscian hegemony or not. Gramscian hegemony means that they organize things the way they like but providing enough goodies that most folks are willing to play (or fight) within the Christo-Trumpist framework. Alternatively they rule by brute force and the Kingdom of Jesus on Earth is short and painful for all. Maybe 12 years.
    This is the path of least resistance right now. Hopefully there are counter-balancing forces or off-ramps that I am not seeing.
    Of course, some kind of genuine spiritual awakening would change things. A lot of retired/retiring boomers who had a spark at one point in their lives and maybe reclaim it. A lot of displaced professional class folks already. The system hasn’t been able to buy them all off since 2008. So far, they cling to professional class status by virtue signaling their wokeness, but if they accept the fact that they have already been proletarianized and join with the other proles, then a different path to reindustrialization opens up.
    BTW, reindustrialization has to happen for the US to have much of any future, regardless of relations with China.
    BTW2, not actually necessary to go the route of bullet, trenches, and bulldozers for the rentiers. Just removing their political power is enough. Creating martyrs rarely the best route. Our elites are willing to do anything to others, to impose any suffering possible on them, in order to cling to power. Whether they have the fire in the bellies to endure much suffering themselves, I am less sure of.

  15. Kfish

    Australia got lucky by being an island and having a mile-wide xenophobic streak, which made ‘shut the borders’ a popular option for our politicians. Put the same culture in Europe, and we’d be screwed.

  16. Jessica

    Since the counter-attack against The Sixties, elites in the West have weakened then destroyed every mechanism of accountability they can get their hands on. This has become their main guiding principle: non-accountability for elites. They are like a pilot switching off all the alarms and warning indicators in their plane.
    The result is that elites have been steadily using up the accumulated trust. I have long thought that if there were an easily accessed index of social trust, we would have been seeing headlines like “Social Trust Index down another 20% as Obama stands aside while millions of home are stolen through foreclosure”.
    The virus crisis has turned out to be that trust index.
    This non-accountability has hurt ordinary folks in countless ways. In many countries, the single most substantial has been the class-cleansing of the prosperous unionized working class by shipping their jobs to Mexico, Eastern Europe, and especially China.
    Other particularly obvious forms are the entire US health care industry, the bail out of those who caused the 2008 financial meltdown, and the enserfment of the college educated (except for those who got the highest paying jobs).
    This of course got us Trump, Brexit, and the yellow vests in France.
    The crisis started with a series of huge blunders by the elites. Many of those blunders were connected to elite corruption. For example, if the borders of China had been sealed when Wuhan first became visible, the Chinese snuffing out of the virus would have ended things right then and there. But calls to do so were denounced by the WHO (who cannot afford to offend their Chinese paymasters* and seem less afraid of their American ones). When air traffic was finally curtailed, it was far too late and done on a stupidly racist basis. There was no medical reason for treating one’s own citizens returning from China any different from Chinese coming from there.
    Then there is Fauci lying through his teeth about the usefulness of masks in February, the CDC’s test failure, the inability to provide adequate protective gear, including masks that protect oneself and do not depend on everyone else’s compliance, Cuomo forcing hospitals to discharge elderly Covid-19 patients to nursing homes (which caused thousands of deaths), the inability to do contact tracing. On top of this, there was no accountability for these failures. On top of that, the very same agents who had failed in so many ways were set up as 100% reliable purveyors of Science and many notions that were reasonable and probable but by no means adequately verified and proven were made sancrosanct.
    The attempts to shield those most directly affected by the virus and by the resulting economic collapse were grossly inadequate. They had to be because they all took place within the general field of elite non-accountability.
    Large numbers of people understood this. Sometimes implicitly. They just sensed it. Some people had done some research and had a more explicit understanding. Some consumed narratives provided by Trump, Johnson, and the like and by QAnon and the like.
    It is a major current tragedy that many mistrusted the elite knowledge vendors even they were correct. But the very elites who try to shame them earned every bit of that mistrust.

    *If the virus had run wild in China but not spread elsewhere, that would have been the end of the Chinese Communist Party. The Party understood that well and acted accordingly.

  17. Willy

    Freedumb and liebirdy in F%ck Your Fat Grandma Trump country. Eeeeehaw!

  18. Ten Bears

    [sigh] The Trump Virus*, ‘Jessica’, is as likely to have thawed out of the thawing tundra, unseen by man since before man was ‘man’, as to have jumped from raw bat to undercooked dog to ‘human’, or to have ‘escaped’ a bio-weapons lab in Cincinnati, Moscow, Tel Aviv … or Wuhan. Drink some more fool-aid.

    As to Fauci, by mid-Feb I was carrying an alcohol dampened bandana in public, by mid-March I was wearing one (dry), not unlike the hell-raisin’, harley-ridin’ days to keep the bugs out of my teeth, or the helicopter days keeping volcanic dust out of my lungs. Your average, everyday dollar bandana folded to four layers is every bit as effective as any mask you would buy, or wait on due to a manufactured supply crisis. Fauci is a strawman, not to mention his comments were EIGHT MONTHS AGO, were quickly revised, and since when does anyone listen to the fucking government anyways?

    * EYeah, Trump Virus. He let it in the door, and gave it time to spread.

  19. Mark Pontin

    @ Willy –

    Yeah, I saw that. Main thing I noted is that the U.S. is almost at the quarter-million dead mark.

    Nearest contenders are India at 128,686 and Brazil at 164,332.

    Fascinating. If it wasn’t slow-motion, it would be blindingly clear that: –

    [1] this massively dwarfs Chernobyl in terms of mass fatalities;

    [2] healthcare and governance in Third-World states like India and Brazil are substantially better than the U.S., based only on numbers of fatalities.

    They’re going to run the MSM wurlitzer non-stop to blame Trump and pretend the old status quo is back. Once vaccination gets going, you’ll see idiot headlines like “America Is Back!” and “U.S. — Open For Business Again!”

    Nevertheless, while the reaction from the U.S. population and the world at large may play out in slow-motion like the virus — like, it could take a couple of years for the scale of this to sink into people’s minds — it *will* sink in.

    I don’t see how the Empire comes back from this one.

  20. No-facemask-mandate Sweden is currently at 16.7 covid deaths per day, or 7.7% of their average daily all cause deaths of 215.* This is lower than their highest daily covid death peak, on or around Aug 28, of 102 deaths.* (these are 7 day rolling averages). 17% of their covid-only peak! Katy, bar the door!

    Just discovered this, HIGHLY recommended:

    Especially see the graph “Sweden Deaths of all causes/week – per 1 mio population”

    The covid peak weekly death rate (all causes) this year was LOWER than the flu season weekly death rates (all causes) in 88-89, 93-94, 95-96, and 99-2000. If I understood (and recalled) Ioannides, correctly, we have to go back to the flu pandemic of 1957 to find a similar IFR to covid 19. (Not sure if he meant US or the world). But in cool, calm, collected Sweden, they only have to go back 20 years to avoid the hysteria.

    Why hasn’t the main stream media given you this information? We can understand left-leaning fanatics, who have craved economic destruction, not giving a realistic perspective. Just like they seem extremely uninterested in raising the immune system competence of the public, via simple vitamin D testing, followed by supplementation. (In fairness, I don’t see right-leaning media pushing for this no-brainer, either. What, exactly, is THEIR problem? I’d sincerely love to know.) The nihilistic longings/rantings of some of these folks, who aren’t interested in the most realistic IPCC global circulation models (INM-CM5, INM-CM4) of climate change (because they predict the LEAST warming), are actually being fulfilled by covid hysteria, coupled with the incompetent response to it. Well, at least in the economic sphere.

    They should be very happy, in their miserable, nihilistic way.

    Yours truly has accused these green fanatic folks of being dupes of the plutocratic class. Alas, the plutocratic class does indeed appear to be solidifying it’s stranglehold on, um, Western “civilization”, in this age of covid. And yes, the lefty dupes are helping them, though they don’t see it that way, any more than they see the connection between their more fanatical green activism and it’s Wall Street sponsors.

    So, is this just governmental stupidity, at work? Too many big egos, in too many places? Ivor Cummins has sort of lamented in this vein.

    How about vaccine makers wanting to create a permanent revenue stream, far eclipsing their failing, proprietary drug business model? As Ayyadurai has laid out the economic case, for?

    Chris Martenson, on the other hand, may have begun to realize that MORE than stupidity, arrogance, bureaucratic dysfunction, greed, and indifference are at work.

    I’m leaning increasingly towards the “MORE” POV. There’s a real agenda at work, and you, fellow citizen and peon (at least in the Western world), are the target. I’m with Archbishop Viganò, re “the Great Reset”. See his “Open Letter to President Donald Trump”

    Domine, miserere.

    Or, as we Greeks would say, kyrie eleison.

    * My guesstimate based on US mortality figures

  21. anon

    If I had been in Fauci’s position, I would have just told the truth. Masks work but we need to save N95 masks for frontline workers. However, you can make your own mask at home using an old t-shirt or bandana. Although cloth masks are not as effective as N95 or N94 masks, had more people worn them earlier in the epidemic it would have helped a lot in reducing cases.

  22. Plague Species

    The virus, consciously or unconsciously, meaning conspiratorially or not, is part of the reset. The two are not mutually exclusive. Can the virus be turned to their advantage? Was it the intent all along? I don’t know the answers to those questions. All I know is, it’s going to be a DARK WINTER and a BLINDING BRIGHT SPRING and a SIZZLIN’ SUMMER. In fact, feel free, powers that be, to use the two latter names for your next exercises, live or not.

    Essential workers are being driven like weary work oxen all the while non-essential workers, the ones who inspect the plutocrats’/oligarchs’ stools daily for good health and then smear it all over themselves as a good luck charm, get Fridays off for mental health purposes whilst docking the pay of essential workers who are forced, via inequitably-enforced company policy, to take off if they are sick until they can prove they don’t have COVFEFE-45 via a negative test. My wife just experienced this. They are driving her like a work-weary ox and they docked her pay after making her take time off after she reported she had a cold she caught from the children she teaches even though the children are masked and she is too — double masked in fact, or she is double masked at least because the children cannot be disciplined to wear their mask properly. The first child to circulate the cold was the child of two parents who work for the CDC. Go figure. Those parents are paid if they are forced to take a day or two off until they can prove a negative test, but not their child’s underpaid and unappreciated teacher because she isn’t worthy, right?

    My wife this morning on her way to the plantation (school) listened to David Brancaccio, the host of NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report, boast that many corporations are giving their non-essential workers, because that’s what they are — overpaid corporate ass-licking sycophants, Fridays off as a Mental Health Day because those Zoom meetings take a toll on you, afterall. Just ask Jeffrey Toobin. Needless to say, her head exploded. The corporate suite at the corporation where she works as an essential worker, a teacher, has the luxury of working from home which isn’t working at all and they get Mental Health Friday off, paid of course, and yet they did not pay my wife for having to take a day, at their behest due to their company policy, to prove she was COVFEFE-45 negative after exhibiting cold symptoms. My wife is on board with slaughtering the rich and becoming a commun**t at this point. She’s not alone. At least with commun**m, while far from ideal, the suffering is distributed more equitably.

    Hey Sleepy Joe, where are you going with that gun in your hand, erm, I mean, what are you going to do about this? How can you allow essential workers to be treated like hard labor farm animals or slaves while their “betters” get Mental Health Friday off for doing nothing and getting paid dearly for not only providing no positive value but in fact providing negative value by making essential workers’ job tougher.

    And please, Mark, don’t feed me (your sh*t). Your response to this is not welcome. It’s folks like you that mitigate any chance of solidarity among the unwashed with your superiority complex when you have no business acting smugly superior considering your station within this system or any system really. You are me and I am you and we are all together. Like it or not. So get off your horse.

  23. Zachary Smith

    Recent headlines regarding Sweden:

    “Sweden has admitted its coronavirus immunity predictions were wrong as cases soar across the country”
    “Hurray for Trump’s Herd Immunity! Sweden Collapses in Massive COVID Surge”

    The second story has a graph showing the Swedish Covid line is soaring skyward in lockstep with Trump’s US of A.

  24. Chicago Clubs

    Ian, you really ought to just close down comments on your posts. They’re consistently dominated by a handful of voluble retards who contribute nothing but noise.

  25. Plague Species

    The best mask of all, just ask Trump supporters anon, is the N-45 mask. It’s so comfortable and unobtrusive, you don’t even realize you’re wearing a mask because you’re not — wearing a mask that is.

    How pathetic is America at this point? Pretty darn pathetic, in fact, or maybe even worse than pathetic, whatever that is. We’re nearly going on a year with this pandemic, and the majority of the population that wants them cannot secure N-95 masks. That’s f*cked up. But hey, we have corporate sales slobs like my brother who will sell you an HRMS system for millions of dollars so you can keep tabs on the essential workers to make sure you extract every last ounce of blood from them before they die.

  26. Another trashy ‘contribution’ by Zachary, this time with a source that I’ve already debunked! And why do I call this article trashy, too? Because it links to exactly the same article I previously debunked, from it’s own ( website, with this verbiage:

    “However, the surge in infections has prompted the country to adopt harsher measures in recent weeks.”

    It’s tiresome to respond to garbage posted by Zachary regarding covid, hydroxychloroquine, etc.

    Look, here’s more garbage from Zachary’s ‘source’:

    Sweden’s public health agency also acknowledged that the high number of cases seen in the country in the first wave had not protected it in the second.

    “We also see that many other countries in Europe that had a big effect during the spring, that had lockdowns and now again have lockdowns also see a big increase now,” Sara Byfors from the Public Health Agency of Sweden told the Financial Times.

    “So it seems to follow this pattern that if you had a lot of cases during the spring you also see a lot of cases now… We don’t know why this is.”

    The first line is propaganda, using what I’ll assume are bona fide quotes to make the propaganda seem credible. In point of fact, Tegnell has specifically said that Sweden never had a herd immunity strategy. Now, I ASSUME he did believe the Swedish population would accumulate some collective immune robustness. Whether or not he believed that there would be 100% “protection” during flu season, I know not, but I doubt it. For one thing, though Sweden’s daily covid deaths dropped to about 2 per day, and they had a few 0 death days, covid never stopped killing Swedes, even during the trough. For another, recurring flu deaths are a sure thing. For another, most new respiratory infections show 2nd and maybe 3rd waves (see Ivor Cummins, a data scientist who is saddened by the covid hysteria).

    So if Swedish officials admit to a “big effect”, it would have been interesting to find out just how “big”, “big” needs to be. If they guaranteed a 2nd wave no more than 5% of the first wave, then their “admission” of a “big effect” has significance. Even if 5% is not “big”, to you, it would still show the Swedish officials were way off.

    Maybe fear porn addict Zachary would like to do some research showing prediction by Tegnell, or allied Swedish authority, just how “big” a 2nd wave they expected. For some strange reason, the stellar journalism of didn’t take the time to find out; or at least to tell us.

    I predicted Swedish covid deaths, following their current course, will peak at at most 30% of their previous peak this year, based on “What SAGE got wrong”, and taking the lower limit of the UK unexposed estimate of <40- 30%, so strictly speaking my prediction is wrong. The ICU graphs appears to be starting a downtrend, but it’s too early to tell. If the cumulative 2nd wave deaths are <30% of the 1st wave, I'll still take that as getting it (mostly) right.

    One thing that's clearer in the VA graph "More than 1,000 people are in Swedish hospitals with Covid-19" than in my referenced graph (because it uses a logarithmic y-scale), is the gentler slope of ICU infections in Sweden's 2nd wave, more or less EXACTLY as has been described by Ivor Cummins, in countries around the world.

    For those of you who like your fear porn addictions, have at it. For others, I suggest videos by Ivor Cummins and Chris Martenson. And if you want to find out why ignoring death rates, while spewing alarmism about case rates, is journalistic malpractice, you can start your research with the term "casedemic".

  27. Willy

    Zachary does good, and Metamars tends to personally handpick people who he alone has determined to be smarter than all of the scientists, combined. But then that’s IMHO. So I look at the available facts.

    Coronavirus case incidence is triple in Sweden as is see in the other Scandinavian countries (Norway, Finland, Denmark). The death rate is seven times higher in Sweden than in the other Scandinavian countries. How does this relate to the USA?

    There are two primary factors (amongst others) which separate the USA from Scandinavia. The lesser one is that Scandinavians are generally fitter than Americans. The larger one, is that American hospitals are at capacity, while corona incidence is exploding. This means that if you plan on getting sick in the foreseeable future, your chances of being nursed back to health have dropped considerably. The death rate will soar to historic levels.

    The USA suffered 300,000 deaths in WWII, a number which the USA will easily surpass in a few weeks. The dead will not include “unseen others” and “blue state liberals”. It’ll include parents, breadwinners, loved ones… everywhere, but at an incidence in red states far greater. The long lasting effects for survivors are becoming clear, and they can be quite bad.

  28. different clue

    @Chicago Clubs,

    Thank you for your interest in our comments. We are always happy to hear from you. Please let us know if you have any other concerns.

  29. Zachary Smith

    Mr. {Ivor} Cummins, a chemical engineer who typically posts videos about diet and heart disease, used numerous slides of cases and deaths to argue that the epidemic had “largely ended” by June in Europe and by late summer in the United States.

    The virus, he said, harmed the 20 percent who were vulnerable, whereas “80 percent are already de facto immune through cross-immunity, T-cell mucosal immunity from prior coronaviruses.” Masks and lockdowns had little impact, he claimed, despite abundant evidence from conventional scientists. “Sorry, guys” he added, with a note of disdain. “Science is tough that way.”

    Willy, you nailed it with the ‘smarter than everyone else’ remark. A chemical engineer is giving lectures to real specialists, and getting it all wrong. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic is worse than ever. And winter is coming.

  30. different clue

    One hopes the relevant scientists could encounter Cummins in a public forum space . . . . and play dumm and keep asking him questions he has no answer to. And back him into a corner of public humiliation.

  31. Swedish population is 10,343,403

    At it’s peak, there were 2250 Swedes in the hospital from covid (eyeballing the VA graph). That’s .019% of their population.

    At it’s peak, there were 500 Swedes in ICU’s from covid. That’s .0048% of their population.

    At the trough, there was about 2 Swedes dying from covid, per day. That’s .000019% of their population.

    Cummins has taught about 2nd and 3rd waves, so your quotes are essentially cherry picked. As for Cummins 20% claim, that seems optimistic, based on the analysis described in “What SAGE got wrong”. This was for UK, which is closer to the US situation than Sweden. But even for Sweden, which will have more herd robustness (which I define as immune robustness against symptomatic covid infections), I’m sticking with my extrapolation from “What SAGE got wrong”.

    You appear incapable of understanding what a casedemic is. Ivor Cummins teaches on that, but you prefer fear porn.

  32. capelin

    “You test a lot, you track and trace contacts and you make people quarantine (fuck your rights. If you are have the goddamn plague, you quarantine.)”

    I really wished I hadn’t read that.

    Covid has been instructive as to what makes people fold to their fears; willing, nay, cheerleading the stripping of cornerstone rights whilst urging further empowermen of the causitive, corrupt, predatory, intentionally inept, elite sytems that they have been articulately decrying for years.

    anyway, covid is a plaque, but not the plaque.

  33. Every action taken in the US to combat Covid involved giving large amounts of money.
    Every action not taken involved hiring armies of working class people.

    This is the heart of the dysfunction: hatred of employment.

  34. Willy

    The word “casedemic” appears to be a neologism coined by libertarian denial hobbyists. They aren’t credentialed experts, these hobbyists. Not that that matters to them, since credentialed experts are all scammers.

    I just read one guy who quotes Cummins, who says that the pandemic ended already, that everybody all around the world is lying. Yet I just saw Trump declare his Warp Speed a success with vaccines on the way. For what?? Not too long ago he said we’d rounded the bend and the pandemic was nearly over. Far too confusing, these conservatives.

    So maybe I’ll stick with COVID-19 fear porn sources like the CDC, WHO and ECDC…, while others can stick with the denial hobbyists.

  35. StewartM

    I think it goes back to the notion of Asabiya. Asian countries that contained the pandemic have it, whereas we have people who deny the reality of anything like “society”.

    And it’s not just the elites. I’ve heard many a MAGA-hatted person mock mask-wearing; their logic that “hey, if it won’t kill me, then why should I bother with even the slightest inconvenience to spare others?” They may be factually wrong about it not killing or crippling them, but it’s their lack of concern for anyone else that is telling.

  36. different clue


    The particular kind of social-psychopaths you describe in your comment are the kind of people who in particular deserve to die of coronavid. And they are the particular people whom I sincerely hope do die separately and alone from coronavid, so long as they are thwarted from their earnest desire to infect the rest of us.

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