Services Sector Falls off Cliff: First Data Points from the Eurozone where Lockdowns Started Earlier

“The ultimate economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak cannot be accurately estimated until we get more clarity on the duration and scale of the pandemic.”

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET:

In developed economies, the services sector – finance, insurance, health care, professional services such as technology, lawyering, or architects, and many others, including transportation, travel, tourism, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. – account for 60% to 70% of the economy. What we’re now seeing is a sudden fall-off-the-cliff collapse in the services sector in addition to a dizzying downturn in manufacturing. We got the first glimpse today, from the Eurozone where COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed well ahead of those in the US. And the data for the Eurozone released today picked up the effects.

The IHS Markit Services PMI for the Eurozone, which tracks how executives of unnamed companies see various aspects of business at their own company, collapsed in a totally unprecedented manner. In these Purchasing Managers Indices, 50 is the no-growth line; above 50 means expansion; below 50 means contraction. The lower the number below fifty, the faster the decline. The services PMI for March performed a gut-wrenching off-the-cliff plunge from moderate growth in February (52.6), past the low point during the Financial Crisis (39.2), to a horridly low 26.4:

This plunge in activity was “wide-reaching across the Eurozone,” the report said. Germany, France, Italy, and Spain – the four largest economies in the Eurozone – all experienced sharp declines, with the sharpest declines hitting Italy and Spain.

Incoming work fell at a record pace in the data series, after five years of growth, with Italy and Spain getting hit the hardest.

Some other horrid standouts:

  • “Firms were also increasingly unsure of the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the coming year. This led to a sharp and considerable drop in business confidence to a new survey low, with service providers across the whole region pessimistic about the future.”
  • “Overall, employment declined for the first time in nearly five-and-a-half years and to the greatest degree in the survey history.”
  • “The data indicate that the eurozone economy is already contracting at an annualized rate approaching 10%, with worse inevitably to come in the near future.”

The lockdowns and travel bans essentially shut down travel services (such as airlines), accommodation services (hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, etc.), tours, cruises, conferences, and all the other services that business travelers, conference goers, and tourists spend money on.

The Services PMI for Italy, which got hit first and the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, and imposed lockdowns before other countries did, collapsed to 17.4. And this, the report said, “likely gives a taste of things to come for other countries as closures and lockdowns become more prevalent and more strictly enforced in coming months.”

And the report adds that “the ultimate economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak cannot be accurately estimated until we get more clarity on the duration and scale of the pandemic.”

Manufacturing is in deep trouble too, but…

In the Eurozone, manufacturing has been weak and contracting for 14 months, unlike services. But in recent months, the PMI re-approached the expansion line, when the lockdowns hit. The scene is clouded, however, by the way the PMIs are structured (more on that in a moment). The IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI, released two days ago, fell to 44.5 (below 50 = contraction), and as bad as it seems, it was still a higher reading than the bottom of the Euro Debt crisis and far higher than the bottom of the Financial Crisis:

However, the less harrowing drop of the manufacturing PMI is in part due to how the PMI is constructed. The overall Manufacturing PMI is a composite of sub-indices. One of these sub-indices tracks supply-chain delays. Longer supply-chain delays in a normal economy mean that factories are busy and are operating at capacity, and backlogs are building, and it takes longer to get components or goods after they’re ordered. So supply-chain delays are normally a sign of rising demand and count as a positive in the index.

But this time around, the “near-record delays are an indication of global supply chains being decimated by factory closures around the world,” the report pointed out. And this quirk just “masks the severity of the slump in manufacturing.”

“We need to look at the survey’s output and new orders gauges to get a better understanding of the scale of the likely hit to the economy that will come from the manufacturing sector’s collapse, and these indices hint at production falling at the sharpest rate since 2009, dropping an annualized rate approaching double digits.”

Nevertheless, unlike the collapse in services that is far outpacing the decline during the Financial Crisis, manufacturing (even with the quirk of supply-chain delays removed) still isn’t plunging at the rate it did during the Financial Crisis.

The Netherlands was the only country with a PMI in growth mode, if barely (50.5), while the other countries saw acute declines. Greece – which had benefited from the strongest growth in the Eurozone in recent months – and Italy were at the bottom:

  • Netherlands: 50.5: (2-month low)
  • Austria: 45.8: (5-month low)
  • Spain: 45.7: (7-year low)
  • Germany: 45.4: (2-month low)
  • Ireland 45.1: (10-year low)
  • France 43.2: (7-year low)
  • Greece 42.5: (55-month low)
  • Italy 40.3: (11-year low)

Some standouts:

  • Manufacturing output and new orders fell at the fastest pace since April 2009.
  • Export sales (which include intra-Eurozone trade) fell for the eighth month in a row, but at the sharpest pace since March 2009, with France, Germany, and Greece getting hit by the sharpest declines.
  • Companies were laying off people at the fastest rate since the Financial Crisis, with job losses particularly sharp in in Austria, Germany, and Ireland.
  • Confidence about the future plunged to a historical low.

The report concluded:

“The concern is that we are still some way off peak decline for manufacturing. Besides the hit to output from many factories simply closing their doors, the coming weeks will likely see both business and consumer spending on goods decline markedly as measures to contain the coronavirus result in dramatically reduced orders at those factories still operating.

“Company closures, lockdowns and rising unemployment are likely to have an unprecedented impact on expenditure around the world, crushing demand for a wide array of products. Exceptions will be food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, but elsewhere large swathes of manufacturing could see downturns of the likes not seen before.”

Similar patterns are now spreading across the US and other parts of the world, where lockdowns started later. They will show up in the data as we go forward. There are now all kinds of estimates circulating about the decline of the economy as measured by GDP, with similar fall-off-the-cliff effects, depending on how long this situation lasts and how slowly the lockdowns will loosen and how quickly or slowly the economy wobbles back to life. But one thing is now getting increasingly clear, there won’t be a sudden go-back-to-normal moment.

This type of sudden, previously unimaginable fall-off-the-cliff data about the lockdown-economy is gut-wrenching. ReadWeek Two of the Collapse of the Labor Market

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  158 comments for “Services Sector Falls off Cliff: First Data Points from the Eurozone where Lockdowns Started Earlier

  1. Kerry says:

    Looks like the fun is accelerating…

    • Joe Saba says:

      1% won’t be happy unless they control 99.9% of everything
      freedoms – kiss your ass goodbye to them
      TIME is coming soon to get free of metropolis’s

      • Mira says:

        The time is now man !!
        Everything is a mathematical equation, within a mathematical equation, within yet another equation .. the ability to predict future does exist .. = probabilities .. with the safety valve .. the escape option.
        Physics holds that the universe never forgets ..
        Stephen Hawking put forward The Hawking Paradox .. that at the end of a black hole the universe does forget .. collective physics disagreed with him & after 30 years in the wilderness he finally recanted .. hey, it was lonely out there.
        But .. he was right .. maybe not at the end of a black hole .. but the universe must survive at all costs .. the universe must be ever elastic & open to any & all possibilities & therefore an escape button was put into play .. if only for a fraction of a second the universe MUST FORGET.
        BALANCE is imperative .. so I wonder .. every dog must have his day ?? .. if so & I believe so .. it’s our dogs turn this time.
        I read that Bill Gates insists that all travel be ceased .. why ?? .. is it because they are so broke that they cannot afford the fuel costs ?? .. the price of oil is down .. so how broke are the airlines .. singularly & collectively !!
        And therefore coronavirus came just in the nick of time ..
        Keep safe all.

        • Mira says:

          This time could be their time to be extinguished ..
          Are we actually the privileged spectators who are to be a witness to that !!

      • John Henderson says:

        All of the Americans on this website have had a lucky break,beg steal or borrow or buy new or second hand a ventilator. You have had more warning time than almost any other country.

        • Canadian says:

          A ventilator is useless without power supply, consumables supply, and a trained operator who can oversee its operation.

          If it’s an intubated ventualtor, you’ll also need an anesthesiologist to knock you out and keep you in a controlled coma to prevent you from on the tube in your throat and tearing it out.

    • Canadian says:

      This is what happens when an economy consists of productivity growth going entirely to gross margin, with inflation and costs amortized a large period of time via commonly-accepted consumer debt.

      The average wage would be about 80% higher if it kept pace with productivity growth. Instead, prices were supported with various financing schemes for paycheck-to-paycheck-living Americans.

      *Everything* is financed now, and even a couple of weeks of no income means mass defaults and a collapse in demand, because labor has been hollowed out.

      One quick example I can think of is my efforts to activate a new mobile phone. I went to the carrier to buy the 5G device I wanted, and they tried to get me to do some “long term lease with purchase to buy option at the end.”

      I declined and said I wanted to buy the phone outright. He looked at me like I was nuts, went to his boss, and she told me they couldn’t sell me a phone, I had to lease it. “Nobody buys phones these days.”

      Went to Best Buy, bought the phone, came back and activated it.

      The average American is walking around with a $1,000 phone in his or her pocket that he/she has financed. The payment is $50 per month and they never own the device!

      That was great for Apple when they could build the device for $300 with Chinese slave labor that could never afford the phone they’re building and sell it for $1,200 or more, supported by financing schemes.

      But what happens when overstretched consumers stop paying their phone loan payments? Mass default and a collapse in demand, since lenders aren’t willing to finance the devices anymore.

      That means Apple’s future will be selling $500 phones direct to consumers, who hold onto them for longer.

      Same thing will happen with cars, clothing, appliances and eventually, housing. Prices are going to plunge to fit the affordability ratio under actual US and Canadian real incomes. Companies that try to keep prices inflated through labor arbitrage and financial engineering are going to have a bad, bad time.

      • Boatwright says:

        As Michael Hudson (recommended reading) said: “Debts that can’t be paid won’t be…..”

        And no amount of financial jiggery pokery is going to change it.

        • Canadian says:

          Wait, they won’t extend and pretend a cell phone loan to 10 years?! ;-)

    • Morty Mc Mort says:

      Brace for Impact!!!

  2. Cruiser says:

    Pandemic pricks the biggest global financial bubble in modern financial history.

    • Powell: “MY SOUFFLÉ!”

      I’ve been itching to say that for a while now. Woulda been great paired with that illustration Wolf posted several days ago (Powell tearing his hair out).

    • mike says:

      Hear! Hear! as to the beginning of your sentence. :-)

      As Governor Cuomo pointed out the ventilators and other medical equipment needed in NY now will not be needed by other states until later. While some people may need ventilators for longer times (30-40 days), most of the NY ventilators can be sent to other states later, after the NY epidemic reaches its peak and declines, when other states later need the ventilators.

      It is too bad that we do not have a central government taking charge of supplies for disease control like other countries have. Apparently, ours is keeping thousands of ventilators back from the states, solely for the federal government’s use, presumably for their cronies’ and political supporters’ benefit.

      I wonder what New Yorkers (and people from other, less- favored states, when their coronavirus peaks hit those states) will do months in the future when they eventually find out that thousands of their relatives/friends died, because certain powerful persons in DC decided to keep the US stockpile for themselves and their cronies/supporters. I would not want to be one of those selfish individuals.

      • mike says:

        I forgot to add these last paragraphs due to my child’s interruption:

        Due to the lack of any central government coordination, the most precious goal of our government will plunge into deeper trouble. The plunge in the US services sector is only beginning.

        Who knows which states have impending epidemic explosions of infections given our central government’s inadequate testing? Other countries, with competent governments, will soon start improving, as their peak of infections declines. US citizens will be barred for a long time from coming to those countries, because we will have to ultimately test and re-test due to the failure to test enough now: even people now tested to not be infected will later be infected due to the lack of central control.

  3. Raging Texan says:

    Why do I always want to pronounce it Volf Street?

  4. Tyler says:

    A little off topic – Just curious, does anyone here know anyone that knows anyone who has this virus or is in critical condition due to the virus.

    • SaltyGolden says:

      Not sure if you question is in good faith, but yes. Best friend from school years in NYC knows two dead men 40-60 age range.

    • The Original Colorado Kid says:

      My niece, who’s a respiratory therapist in a Colorado Springs hospital, knows a bunch of people who are very sick from it.

    • Can-o-worms, dude, but NEVER off-topic these days (sigh). My brother-in-law, an EMT in Idaho, just dealt with his first case. Otherwise, I’ve just heard a lot speculation from people (me, my kid, mother-in-law, friends) with worse-than-normal “flu-like symptoms”. Father-in-law was in a yoga class with a 37-ish year-old guy (smoker) who died of flu/pneumonia type symptoms, right before this all blew up. That’s the closest I’ve come to real Covid cases. But the death-toll from the “normal” flu this year is high, so who knows what’s what. The data is clear as mud, and worth about as much, says I.

    • TonTon says:

      I know of eight people that appear to have had it. One person gave it to seven others over the course of a couple of hours that included a meal together. Everyone at the meal was infected. And one person the group had spoken to shortly before the meal. The person who passed it didn’t become symptomatic until the end of the meal. Everyone else was symptomatic two to three days later. One of the eight had to go to hospital. He was in his late seventies and was diagnosed with it while in hospital by a confirmed test. One other person in their seventies had symptoms that were somewhat bad but nowhere near enough to go to hospital and he was not able to get a test either. Waiting lists too long.
      My friend had mild symptoms for about three days. Then felt grand after that. He’s in his forties.
      Everyone is recovered fine now. Many in the group were older in age. Everyone got over it fine.

      People should check out Iceland’s numbers. The only country doing random testing en masse. Very low death rate. It’s an extremely infectious disease but death rate will be under 0.2%. series / critical of all infected lower than 2%.
      My friend’s experience was in another Western European country. Not Iceland. This all happened when many were already social distancing in the second week of March about a day or two before lockdowns.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        How does the population of Iceland compare to NYC regarding “underlying conditions” per NYC Health’s own definition:

        lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency , diabetes, kidney, heart disease, asthma, hypertension, liver disease, obesity ?

      • Agreed. People need to take in more quality data like Iceland, Germany (as it comes out), S Korea, etc. Right now we have 1M known global cases (and many millions more unreported) and 55k deaths. Do the math.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          No one knows how deaths there are. Wuhan urn data says that there may have been 40,000 deaths just in Wuhan — and that the Chinese government vastly falsified the numbers. People who are alone and die at home without making it to the hospital may never be tested. There are lots of reasons why the death count is not reliable.

      • Canadian says:

        A surprising number of young people in the USA are needing ICU care and are even dying, especially NYC.

        I suspect this is because of the popularity of marijuana, and the big lie often told that smoking pot is “healthy.”

        It’s not. Early research shows it is actually worse for the lungs than tobacco, with heavy smokers getting emphysema as young as mod to late 20s.

        I suspect a significant number of younger people who “had no pre-existing condition” but had serious respiratory issues are regular pot smokers. NYC is an epicenter of pot smoking, as is Boston, and both have much higher rates of serious complications than average.

        If you smoke or vape anything — tobacco, weed, or whatever — now is a good time to stop and let your lungs heal. It could save your life.

        • Todd Cory says:

          “Early research shows it is actually worse for the lungs than tobacco, with heavy smokers getting emphysema as young as mod to late 20s.”

          nonsense… i am a 45 year daily toker. just had a lung xray. 100% clear. this is aligned with the research shows. your fear mongering is unwarranted.

        • Canadian says:

          My grandfather smoked until he died at 86. Never got cancer.

          Doesn’t mean his smoking was any healthier than yours.

          Inflating your lungs by sucking flaming plant material into them is going to have massive consequences for large numbers of people, “I did it and am fine” anecdotes notwithstanding.

        • Hobbes NC says:

          While there could definitely be some amount of pot smokers out there who think it is “healthy” to smoke, I’m sure that just like almost every other group it is just a small sample size of the larger group. I think you would have a hard time finding very many people who think smoking anything is actually good for you or your respiratory system.
          And in reference to your statement that “NYC is an epicenter of pot smoking”, I’m not so sure it’s more of an epicenter than anywhere else. In fact, it’s probably less of an epicenter than places where it’s actually legal for recreational purposes because of basic availability and acceptance.
          As we’ve heard, anything that negatively affects your respiratory system is going to make someone more susceptible to this virus, but making this about marijuana smokers seems to be a stretch.

    • Frengineer says:

      Yep, I actually know (or have family members who directly know) a bunch of them, some of whom already died of it…

    • Petunia says:

      I know someone in Florida who thinks she had it in February. She thought it was a really bad flu, but she had already gotten a flu shot, and was never tested. She also travels regularly for work. She is fine now.

      • Frederick says:

        A neighbor of mine growing up who is a great old school physician and brilliant once advised me not to get a flu shot I was in my 40s and healthy at the time

      • Tyler says:

        Just FYI – getting the flu shot does not guarantee that you will not get the flu.

    • Stuart says:

      No. What is your point ?

    • DR DOOM says:

      Refrigerated morgue trucks don’t park in front of NY hospitals in a “normal ” flu season. Also the mad scramble for ventilators ain’t normal and overflowed ICU’s with health care workers dying. This out break is still parabolic just like the fed money printing. This thing is insidious and stays low in a linear function , forms clusters then boom ,parabolic. It has to be stopped from getting into the high population density areas. People in low density population densities must be aware their acute care centers can be overtaxed quickly. If we do our job and protect ourselves it will look like a hoax on the backside and self serving politicians will have plenty of fodder.In,the meantime know the enemy and protect us all.

    • Erich says:

      I had diarrhea almost daily from around March 15th until about two days ago. Didn’t give it too much thought until I saw this article –

      Being a type 2 diabetic I also had elevated blood sugar numbers during this period. The diarrhea seems to have gone away and my blood sugar numbers are slowing coming back down. I have never had diarrhea this long and almost never get colds.

      So, did I have to mild version of Covid-19? Since I never had a fever or shortness of breath I can not get a test.

      Being 62 and a type 2 I can only hope I got lucky and somehow avoided the really bad version. Now, does this give me immunity to all versions or only the mild version? Who knows.

      BTW – for all the people out there screaming “stop hoarding toilet paper, it’s a respiratory illness and not a digestive illness” …. think again.

    • IdahoPotato says:

      My dear friend’s daughter is cooped up in UC San Diego in isolation and has tested positive. She is 22.

    • Heather says:

      My cousin.

    • Gandalf says:

      I’m seeing COVID or COVID suspects every day now on chest x-rays and chest CT scans – these patchy fluffy ground glass pneumonias.
      Some are new patients in the ER, not labeled as suspicious for COVID – I always call the ER doc and ask them if they suspect COVID, about half the time they don’t because the symptoms are not classic.

      Some patients are labeled as PUI (Patient Under Investigation) – and get isolated right from the beginning away from the main ER. Most of these don’t have lung infiltrates.

      Others are labeled +COVID. Some of these go bad very quickly, with increased fluffy infiltrates in a matter of hours.

      We’re not deluged yet, but the cases are increasing, doubling times of 4 days or so now.
      The deluge is coming.

      A published case report came out of a 58 y.o. airline attendant with COVID, developed brain lesions in the thalami and temporal lobes – suspected to be first reported case of COVID encephalitis.
      This virus has lots more tricks up its sleeves.

      • Tom says:

        Where do you reside? I’m on Long Island NY. Cases abound unfortunately. I know of several people with it. Most are at home. A friend’s father was taken to the hospital.

    • Happy1 says:

      50 year old ER physician friend, sick for 2 weeks at home, couldn’t get out of bed for 5 days, rest of family also sick but less so. Two other people I know less well, sick but not tested. The hospitals where I work (in metro Denver) are filling quickly and looking for ventilators right now. Not as bad as NYC and the curve is flattening here this week but it is very real. So far enough ICU beds and ventilators but will probably be an issue in a week.

    • Frederick says:

      Relative of ours from Arezzo, Italy had a friend 40s who recently died from CV allegedly

    • MC01 says:

      An ex-colleague called me a couple of days ago: his wife caught it on the work (hospital) because a colleague entered in the office and started coughing without the least care about the others, nor did she bother with a facemask. Such a class act.
      End result: four new Covid-19 cases, luckily all very mild (home quarantine, just like with flu), which seems the norm with the present “third wave” of new cases.

      But apart from that no, and I live in one of the worst affected areas worldwide. I think the reason is I don’t know that many people over 50, and average age of Covid-19 patients here is 64.
      Since it seems antibody serum tests will be widely available shortly (they are already being used on a limited scale in Pavia) that may change in the future however.

    • Ensign_Nemo says:

      Yes, one coworker and her husband. He was in a coma last week, I don’t know if he’s alive or dead.

      BTW, the medical privacy rules that prevent employers from sharing information about the medical conditions of their employees really need to be waived during a pandemic.

      Everybody knows who she is, but the official policy is that management can’t actually tell the other employees who it is for legal reasons. This can be a problem if the only guidance that employees have about exactly who got the virus is gossip and rumors.

      A little common sense would be quite useful here, but instead the government has imposed silly rules that require managers and human resources to tiptoe around the simple fact that somebody is sick with a highly communicable disease.

    • lenert says:

      7 dead in our city of 55,000 outside Seattle. I don’t need to know them to stay home.

  5. MCH says:

    Don’t worry, the manufacturing sector will save us….

    Oh wait, I got that backwards. Oops

    Here is the problem with all of those “high paying” service jobs like engineering, and programming, and lawyers… all of sudden, their services are no longer needed. And then we find out that all of the promises made by our leaders about moving up the food chain and outsourcing those low wage manufacturing jobs was in fact, a lie.

    • Petunia says:

      If you don’t see that outsourcing and globalism are dead, and yes jobs will come back. You are willfully blind. All the jobs may look different in the future but manufacturing is definitely coming back home, everywhere not just in America.

      • MCH says:


        It depends entirely on our leaders not being bought off by Wall Street and their corporate masters. As long as there is a profit motive and a cheaper place to outsource, we will

      • MD says:

        You seem very sure.

        What hypothetically happens when a corporation announces it’s moving its factories back to the USA where the workers will need to be paid 10 times as much?

        Shares get dumped, wholesale.

        So how will any company planning to ‘inshore’ its production facilities manage that..? Can’t be done IMO.

        • Petunia says:

          In our family we are already buying and paying more for made in America, anytime we can find it. At the very least, we try to buy from American dealers, if not America, then Europe.

          It just so happens that most of our money goes to food, so it mostly stays in America anyway.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Very simple answer to ”how will any company planning to ‘inshore’ its production facilities manage that..?”
          New companies, or old companies with new structure.
          ”New” structures currently working successfully in USA:
          1. ESOP,, think Publix, best supermarket in SE.
          2. Entire company part of the same Union,, think various contractors currently in biz.
          3. Co-oP,, think Hoe Dads
          4. All employees of entire company one ”blood” family, including cousins,,, think many successful now and for long time in USA.
          I do however agree that this will hasten the process of moving companies to one of these more cooperative and thus lower costs per gidjet models, as has been needed since the Passing of the ”real” capitalists such as Ford, Edison, Firestone, and especially DuPont, and the degradation of those old line companies, if they exist at all.

        • rhodium says:

          Workers that actually work on the factory floor are becoming old technology. The larger cost is the cost of constructing the factory. Construction labor and materials cost is still more expensive in the U.S. but if oil prices ever go back up, transportation costs could offset the difference.

        • Canadian says:

          Shares get dumped in the short term.

          In the long term, the company improves its own survival prospects and those of other companies who do the same.

          Henry Ford, Alfred Sloan and Walter P. Chrysler all knew that they had to pay every worker in the supply chain enough to buy a Ford, GM or Chrysler car in order to build a market for their products.

          Samsung and LG understand this, which is why the bulk of their production is still in Korean factories with well-paid unionized employees.

          “Labor arbitrageurs” like Apple are in long term trouble. They pay virtually nothing to most of the employees in their supply chain, only a small handful of them receive a wage sufficient to buy one of their products.

          They’ll get eaten on both ends — by Chinese OEMs who can produce products that employees at Apple’s labor camp assembly lines can afford… and in the USA and Europe by financially stressed consumers who don’t see why they need a $1,400 phone when a $250 device with similar capabilities is available.

          The traditional path around this was lending and conditioning people to “just pay $75 a month forevermore,” but that will be one of the first things to go by the wayside as incomes in the west remain stagnant or even decline.

          If you want people to buy $1,500 phones or $99 jeans, you need to pay them enough to reasonably afford them.

          Otherwise you’d better be prepared to charge The China Price… which is around 15% of what you’re charging today.

      • Nicko2 says:

        No, those manual labor, low skilled jobs will never return. Robotics, AI, and automation will allow some industries to come back however – minus most of the humans of course.

  6. Tony says:

    Keep our heads up. The world isn’t ending. Don’t let the charts scare you. I have a quote…

    “They create our expectations. Keep in mind that an expectation is a belief projected into some future moment. Since we can’t expect something we don’t know about, we could also say that an expectation is what we know projected into some future moment.”
    ― Mark Douglas

    • Your expectations are the LEAST of what’s being toyed with. For control, which is preferable, manipulation or prediction? If you said prediction, you’re thinking like a cow, not the cowhand. (Sorry to be cynical, I’ve spent too much time in marketing).

      • Tony says:

        yes, sorry. I forgot. I’m supposed to jump to conclusions in this comments section. Shame on me.

        I’ll be more negative next time.

      • Canadian says:

        Not to be too forthright, but I tend to ask people who claim to “understand how the game is played” why they aren’t wealthy themselves.

        The likely answer, in the vast majority of cases, is that they’re engaging in hyperbole and seek reassurance through that hyperbole.

        • I understand the basic goal in hockey. That doesn’t qualify me to play, let alone buy a team.

          The real question is why I bother stating the obvious. If social psych interests you, I highly recommend watching Century of the Self, something I was referred to by another commenter here.

    • Ravi Uppal says:

      Correct ,the world is not ending ,the world is changing and it is going to change beyond your wildest dreams . Understand the difference between 0 degree Celsius and 1 degree Celsius is not 1, at 0 you have ice ,a solid , at 1 you have water which is a liquid . This is called phase change , just like when a girl reaches puberty she becomes a woman .All lessons you taught her in the past become irrelevant ,it is a new world . There is no no going back to BAU . The world changed and you were asleep . Welcome to what JHK calls ^ The Long Emergency ^ or ^ The end of future ^ . Like John Wayne says ^ You ain’t seen nothing yet ^ .

  7. char says:

    You can compare Covid to 2008 but it has also elements from a blizzard/hurricane. Yes, you can’t work during one but you still have your job afterwards.) more true with a blizzard than a hurricane)

    • Lance Manly says:

      Small business are not decimated by a blizzard. A hurricane does not bring the largest economy on the face of the earth to a standstill. If you think this behemoth can go 0 to 60 in ten seconds you are sadly mistaken. China can’t and it is a command economy.

      • char says:

        But a hairdresser who is now locked down will re-open and find its customers back.

        • Jimmy Choo says:

          But but.. what if they have had to Shave back? – Or Cut Down? We may Upbraid them.. but this might be Permanent!

      • Ravi Uppal says:

        Lance , you are way of mark . ^ A hurricane does not bring the largest economy on the earth to a standstill ^ . How about ^ A small hole can sink a big ship ^ . Read my earlier post on phase change . We have entered a whole new world , where all you have learnt is irrelevant . Coming back to the ship example , Trump fired the commander of an aircraft carrier because he brought to his notice that the a major portion of his crew was infected with the corona virus . The world changed and you were asleep .

      • Canadian says:

        Most economic activity continues apace though.

        Food is still being produced. I can still buy a car if I want one. My bank still accepts deposits and makes payments. My credit card still works. Electricity flows when I flip a switch, water flows when I open the tap. The toilet flushes and I have hot water when I take a shower.

        My internet connection works fine. My smartphone has full data service and makes calls.

        This virus simply forced us into the 21st century.

        The networked economy is here. Over ugly physical retail, wasteful commutes, and the contemporary urban model of a handful of insanely overpriced metro areas having all the employed people and the remainder struggling in subsistence is over.

        An article in the Financial newsfeed today shows that the vast majority of CFOs are planning to migrate significant proportions of the workforce to permanent remote status to cut commercial real estate costs.

        That’s going to pop the NYC, San Francisco and Seattle retail and property bubbles pretty quickly, especially when combined with all the “unicorn” layoffs.

        This is an historic shift in the economy. The part of the economy that “ground to a halt” was malinvestment doomed to die sooner or later… it will be dying sooner as a result of the current situation.

  8. James says:

    Yeah…I was on the Diamond Princess & I had it, high fever, sore throat,
    ear aches for 1 night followed by chest congestion(lower lungs only for about 2-3 days) all this before Feb 4th arrival in Yokohama! Then again about 5-6 days later, same symptoms, then a horrific flight to Travis AFB
    courtesy of the US State Dept.PC passengers were informed by the US Embassy in Tokyo that ONLY PC people who had tested negative by the Japanese Dept of Health WOULD BE ALLOWED on the evacuation flight.
    However, I learned as I was on the plane that there were people on board who were from the PRC! Damn….If I didn’t have it. before I sure got it from that 12 hr/ flight. 2 week quarantine @ Travis AFB in CA, temperature checks 2x a day & a CDC throat and nasal swab after 9 sdays & the test results 4 days later.
    Everything Negative, been home about a month & I still don’t feel like I did before I left in January. Slowly, very slowly getting back (maybe) to normal.
    A lot of false positives and false negatives with this Covid=19…very tricky.
    But I do care.
    living in PRC (65 miles SE of Beijing

    • Paul says:

      I’m not a medical type but like to follow the research in that area by reading the latest news. In some people that get the disease there can be some damage to the body from having it and is quite horrible if one does get it.
      On the brighter side there were two press releases on early stage research and promising things to come. I know Wolf prefers we describe the content but I hope he understands people are being keep in the dark about this terrible virus that they need to read it themselves to try to understand what is behind the hype.

      The investment banks have been gradually lowering their estimates of how much the economy is going to slow and the last estimate was around -37% and the government and medical people are slowly ratcheting up restricts so I think we are going to be verging on some close calls to a globe depression which not be the V recovery that was forecast.
      Craziness here is that my town in Canada had the city truck driving around empty streets announcing to stay 6 ft away from others. They are closing the grocery stores on sunday to give workers a break but that just forces people to line up more here in the cold. The workforce participation rate is about 62% and about 30% of who used to eat lunch out now have to rely on the grocer so the supply chain just does not have enough time to catch up. An example is that one flour mill used to supply local businesses but his demand from distributors increased so much that he had to stop his retail outlet to meet supply request which is a small 5% of this business. The result is that local bakers lost their supplier and they had to close too.
      I do not think most people realize the compounding effects this work slowdown or stoppage is going to mess up the supply chains and the economy.

    • Kurt says:

      How can you ever enjoy a so-called cruise on these gulags on a keel ? Either they capsize or become a maritime entry to some kind of a gas chamber. Whats the fun ?

      • Ed C says:

        A cruise is a lazy holiday. You visit different places and don’t have to pack and unpack along the way. You can ‘put on airs’ and feel like a big shot being served by fawning wait staff during sit-down dinners. You can pig out at the buffet. If you have a trophy wife you can show her off.

  9. Brant Lee says:

    Anything that can slow lawyering and bars down has got to be bad.

  10. DO says:

    “Pandemic pricks the biggest global financial bubble in modern financial history”

    How about:

    Central banks and politicians use the pandemic to prick the biggest global financial bubble in modern history, therefore avoiding blame while bailing out (again) their buddies who helped create it.

    • Kurt says:

      So truthful. How can America with so many PHDs in science accept this never ending Ponzi Pyramid ?

      • MD says:

        Because they get a mortgage, buy a house and then see the value of that house go up as a result of said financial chicanery. Happy days, free cash! And they gets lots of nice offers of credit cards giving them bundles of other people’s money to spend at 0% interest and think “isn’t that great!”.

        And they watch the TV and get told that “everything’s super awesome”.

        And so they carry on as normal, until normal isn’t normal any more.

        Just like the vast majority of other people without PhDs.

      • Kerry says:

        Govern (control) Ment (mind)…

    • Shiloh1 says:

      There is a George Gammon YT video of November 25, 2019 summarizing Schiff’s book highlighting predicting U.S. bankruptcy, without the ‘benefit’ of any virus to hang it on. Two days later Schiff followed up with a YT video, Get Out Of The Markets Now!!

      • Canadian says:

        If you followed Schiff’s advice in 2008 — and especially if you allowed his firm to manage your money– you lost your shirt.

        Schiff has predicted 27 of the last 2 financial crises.

  11. William Smith says:

    To increase “economic productivity” just export all manufacturing jobs overseas. Don’t worry, the local services sector will take up the slack of all those displaced mfg workers. …. oh wait……

  12. Joe Lalonde says:

    The Ontario government and health officials are planning on a two year lockdown as this Pandemic will come in waves. Possibly 3 times it will return.

    • Kurt says:

      Sheer insanity. Like forbidding every adult male or female to have sexual relations for the period of the Aids epidemics. It’s a Terry Gilliam scenario, 12 monkeys.

      • Canadian says:

        As a young middle aged individual of the homosexual persuasion, I must confess some bemusement at how many non-gay people are reacting to the prospect of a deadly virus that transmits via intimate contact. It is forcing many to rethink their own mortality and perhaps hop off of the neverending treadmill that promises utopia if they just spend another year or two on it.

        Turns out our relationships with each other and the people we most care about are the truly important thing.

    • Paulo says:

      Maybe Joe, but I think Mr. Ford is trying to kick some awareness into some doubters. As an aside, I now think of Doug Ford as Mr Ford or Premier Ford, whereas before I thought he was just a dumbass. He is demonstrating remarkable leadership and compassion as have all Canadian politicos have done these past 2 months.

      Hoorah, it looks very very likely the BC curve is flattening. They said this week would be key and everything is improved. We’ll worry about the economy when we are able to do so.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Paulo, does not seem at all reasonable to believe anywhere in north or south america is near peak, though i will be very happy if that is wrong.
        Here in tpa bay area, the known infections are at an early phase, and morbidity/hospitalizations similar, while lock downs are in place only a few days. Current predictions, based on total non essential lockdown is peak in early to mid May, but at least it’s for 2020!
        And, with parts of asia seeing 2nd and 3rd ”wave” already, this virus is at lease somewhat similar to the ”kansas” pandemic of 1918-20.
        This old boy has been out twice in last 5 or 6 weeks, choosing to do so as soon as I saw evidence of contagiousness, and yes, went yesterday with mask and cotton gloves (that went directly into washer.)
        Be of good cheer old boy,,, but bee even more of good practices as Wisdom Seeker has made clear here.

    • MD says:

      Well that simply won’t happen because the resultant mental health crisis would be far worse than the C19 virus and given that most people will/would take their chances with the latter…society will literally breakdown into chaos.

      So they need to revisit that one.

  13. Blockhead says:

    A risk and reward question: is it worth the wholesale destruction of the global economy through lockdowns as opposed to allowing Covid19 to run its course (as Sweden has decided to do) and let herd immunity prevail? How many lives and livelihoods will be saved by and how many deaths to occur by adopting the one or the other options?!

    • timbers says:

      I pick a third option…given that 90% of the mortality is in a narrow age range, there might be a way to reopen economy and protect the vulnerable group.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Key recta a mundo timbers: as an old guy, 75, been through these panic modes many times with earthquakes, tornadoes, drought (serious for us farmers) hurricanes, floods,,, this is just one more type of extreme event that should have been anticipated based on his and herstories over the last 100 years not to mention 500-1000 years. (Think great plague of London 1666, etc., etc., at nauseum.)
        Why was it not anticipated correctly by CDC, etc.?
        Who cares, that was yesterday; at this point, we the people only care that all our highly paid guv mint employees, elected and appointed are already making very definite plans/preparations to get rid of this virus ASAP, and making damn sure WE the people are ready for the next one,,, or even the next ”wave” of this one…

        • timbers says:


          Yes, the U.S. has spent decades starving public service agencies like health and safety, to make them “small enough to drown in a bathtub” and then when the fail in their mission, those who underfund them bash their performance. Also, they put people in charge of them who openly oppose and ridicule the very core mission of the agency and the stated reason Congress created them. We actually have a head of our Dept of Education who has dedicated her life to destroy public education. Guess what? Our public education s*o*cks.

          Who wouda thunk?

          When’s the last time someone referred to that part of our Constitution that goes something like:

          “The people shall have the right to do collectively that which they can not do as well separately.”

          Never have I heard our corporate media talk about that part of our constitution.

        • Happy1 says:


          There is no such phrase in the Constitution or any of it’s amendments, although there is this:

          The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to
          the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      • Paul says:

        @timbers what is rarely mentioned is that even younger people I mean not the 70yo who they are warning to stay inside that have a 8% mortality rate, these younger people some get permanent lung damage and they can get multiple organ damage too. Now I hear in Montreal, Canada that a large number of under 30 have gotten infected and those are the demographic that are doing the service economy jobs as cashiers etc. Those who get the disease my have to be on an antibiotic to clear it out of there system for some time. It is quite noticeable for me at least that these young people when I encounter them are not conscious that they are staying less than 6ft recommended distance from each other as I find that they are happy to speak to others.
        There has also been a rebound occurrence in China where there is now another lock down area under quarantine. This is likely everywhere.
        And Sweden I heard is starting to take some preventive measures.

        • timbers says:

          Yes tt’s a problem and honestly out of my field.

          I’m going by stats I think VintageVNvet posted here and those on worldometer that closely match. There is a very very large difference based on age. A narrow age range. There should be a way to use that to everyone’s benefit.

        • Frederick says:

          Paul I always thought antibiotics were useless again virus’s

      • MD says:

        Not all about the mortality though – it’s about healthcare systems becoming totally overwhelmed by numbers and subsequnetly unable to provide care for not only C19 victims but anyone else at all.

        So many people don’t seem to grasp this.

      • MC01 says:

        Mortality is in a narrow band, but contagion much less: average age of Covid-19 patient in Italy is 64.
        There’s also another thing we don’t understand right now: why the difference in virulence.

        Take Italy: you have a few provinces in the North literally savaged, with extremely high mortality (over 12%) and insane hospitalization rates, but just cross the Po River and things go back to European average. Rural areas in the South are among the least affected in Europe (mortality well under 1%) and at the present trend they will hit zero new cases already next week.
        Why is that? And why is the lockdown not working in Northern Italy while it’s been ultra-effective in the South and seems to be already paying dividends in Germany? And what about the Province of Varese: it’s locked between some of the worst affected areas in the world but new cases have been a mere trickle all the time there. Have they got a secret spell to protect themselves?
        A mutation has already been ruled out so what gives? What makes the virus so lethal right here where I am sitting but far less so just 50 miles away? Everything has been suggested, from the far-fetched (air pollution; don’t they have it in Austria as well?) to the sensible (a perfect storm of several unrelated factors making our elderly extremely vulnerable), but the reality is we don’t know and most likely we don’t really want to know.

        In the end I think Italy should do what China has done: reopen the country a bit at a time and with caution. It’s useless to keep the South locked at home if people are getting sick here. Just start a little at a time with precautions and move from there.
        Better safe than sorry, but better be a little flexible and avoid a revolution.

    • Ludavisk says:

      Sweden already gave up, now they’re locking down. The ‘let it run’, ‘Darwinize the herd’ didn’t work, all it did is make Sweden the next Italy & Spain.

      Let’s see 500+ new cases a day, +50 deaths a day, and a 35 death/million that exceeds just about every place on earth, in fact the death per million is worse than USA(22). For reference Russia is 0.02

      Lastly, Sweden lags UK by two weeks in the virus-wave, thus in two weeks we should see USA like pandemic in Sweden.

    • Petunia says:

      I think this lock down is out of control. I lived with the Aids epidemic in Manhattan when it first started. Everybody knew people who were dying and weren’t sure from what. Nobody was as hysterical as they are now.

      • Paulo says:

        Sounds like you live in Florida, Petunia. I would be interested in reading your comment in two weeks with religious services deemed to be essential by your governor. Covid 19 is not aids. Plus, back then it was called the gay disease. No wonder the hysteria was lower, and no I’m not gay, just sayin’.

        We have a very rigid lockdown in our Province and our curve is starting to flatten. Social distancing, lockdown, works and will save the health care system from collapsing. This will save lives and help the economy recover sooner.

        I was reading a blog the other day about closed parks and trailheads in oregon. people were going apeshit, and said things like, “No one tells me where I can walk”. etc etc etc. It reminded me of the old, “No one tells me what healthcare I can have”, (when they didn’t have any).

        • Petunia says:

          I am no longer in Florida.

          At the start of Aids it wasn’t called the gay disease, that came later. It was thought to come from donated blood because many of the first diagnosed got it from contaminated blood. People were afraid to get transfusions or donate blood, but these programs were not shut down. They allowed people to use their own judgement(what a concept).

          Being in America, I have a deep respect for religious and political freedom. Freedom is the ability to do what you think is right for you, and the ability to be stupid too. I wouldn’t trade that for your concept of what’s right.

        • V8 says:

          @Petunia – I didnt think Aids was contagious by just standing next to someone.

          Jeez if you are cutting a bit of wood, you should wear a Dust mask and keep everyone else out of the way. Highly Contagious Airborne Virus? nah think I’ll just breathe it in have a few friends round for a BBQ and see how it goes…

          Religious and Political Freedom wont mean a thing when you’re on a ventilator.

      • IdahoPotato says:

        I live in a small town and my friend (and ex-colleague) is in critical care struggling to breathe. They suspect coronavirus though his test results aren’t in. My governor (of a very red state) had the good sense to issue stay-in-place orders before many others did. Our mayor issued a lockdown a week before that.

        People who think trying to protect the community is “hysterical” scare the heck out of me.

      • Tyson Bryan says:

        In any event in the USA, the people have a protected right to assemble at their place of employment. Funny how George III’s colonial lock down orders failed year after year.

      • Happy1 says:

        AIDS wasn’t contagious with casual contact, that’s the main difference.

        I was in SF early during that epidemic and there certainly was panic and hysteria, it was an unrivaled calamity for gay men, far exceeding COVID-19, it wiped out an entire generation of people until the drugs got better. Hospitals in SF were almost completely devoted to HIV well into the 90s.

        • Petunia says:

          I remember that era well, living in NYC, where everybody knows a lot of gay people. Even after it was common knowledge that aids was transmitted mostly in the male gay community, gays were not being as careful as they should have been. I knew many that didn’t care and stilled picked up guys as frequently as they could.

      • MD says:

        And are there any reports anywhere of the world of AIDS ever being transmitted by breathing on someone?

        This isn’t hysteria it’s a rational response to something that could place the very fabric of society under great duress.

        Failure to recognize this is failure to engage with the reality of the situation.

      • Nick says:

        AIDS was not transmitted by droplets or aerosolized particles that’s why!!! AIDS required the close exchange of bodily fluids ie anal sex/vaginal sex etc. Dumb comparison!!!

      • Ed C says:

        Once the mechanism of infection was known you basically had to want to get AIDS to become infected. It’s a sexually transmitted disease or something you were at risk for if you were an intravenous drug user and shared dirty needles. No comparison with this coronavirus where you could be infected by a sneeze, cough or community door knob.

      • Hobbes NC says:

        Are you seriously comparing COVID-19 to Aids??
        Please tell me this was just a temporary lapse in judgement on your part. And if not, you should probably do some actual reading about this virus before talking to anyone else about it, for your safety and theirs.

    • char says:

      It is cheaper to do a government lock down than a voluntary lock down as it is much shorter. No lock down does not exist as to many people will decide to do a voluntary lock down. To get to herd immunity takes for a normal virus 3 months, for this, because of voluntary lock down at least a year and is as such not a realistic option. It also kills 1% of your population o GDP will go down, and not 1% but more

      • Nick says:

        BS!!! Herd immunity with a novel virus will take YEARS and only after it burns through the world and kills millions. Herd immunity also requires healthy and well functioning NATURAL immune systems!! The ridiculous over vaccinated plebs in the US for example is causing a loss of herd immunity as the immunity from the end of a needle is nowhere near as effective as naturally acquired. Antibodies doesn’t mean widespread herd immunity. Look at the shingles epidemic. Look at all the outbreaks of whooping cough among fully vaccinated kids.

    • Ed C says:

      How about a big experiment. Everyone east of the Mississippi in lock-down. Everyone west of the Mississippi free to open their businesses and do their thing.

    • Canadian says:

      Here is a question: is a “global economy” powered by high markups on products produced in near slave labor conditions, fuelled by ballooning debt, that collapses as a result of just a couple weeks of transitioning to working at home, worth saving?

      Perhaps we should use this time to rethink the sort of economy we want, rather than trying to make reality fit the old unsustainable endless-compound-growth lie that keeps exploding every decade with a financial crisis 2x to 4x the size of the previous one.

      The next crisis, in another 12 or 15 years, will be 4x this one. That’s probably the point at which the whole charade ends; this is perhaps our last chance to avoid that and fix what ails us.

  14. Frengineer says:

    Yep, I actually know (or have family members who directly know) a bunch of them, some of whom already died of it…

  15. Kurt says:

    Humbly enough, as I miss the basic skills of a financial analyst, the “financial community” used this coronavirus scare to commit the greatest heist on the Federal Reserve Board plus the US Treasury. “Bail out” is the new word in US english for “hold up”. Surely they will use this manna from heavens to solve the problems of the derivative markets first and let the productive economy go bankrupt, buying all the “collateral” with the money that the FRB has just poured onto them lavishly. Absolutely fiendish, of biblical proportion.

  16. Michael Gorback says:

    This is far from over and the effects will be far worse than the pundits predict. I wear a face mask and gloves when I go out. The gloves are protection for me. The mask is in case I’m an asymptomatic carrier and helps prevent spewing infectious particles to others.

    If everyone wore face masks it might help decrease transmission. Surgical face masks won’t protect you from catching the virus but it will help prevent YOU from spreading it. Let’s protect each other.

    • Paulo says:

      Amen and well said. You sir, are a good neighbour.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        MG and Paulo-check. Still wonder why non-N95 masking to slow the spread wasn’t properly and fully explained and implemented early on, especially in the face of the extreme shortage/time lapse of reliable testing/analysis. A possibly effective medical/economic tool obviated by our consumer-trained human nature? (As an Army medic, in a country long ago and far away, practicing ‘prevention’ was never as popular as the firm belief a pill would be available to relieve any malady.).

        Stay well, y’all. And, may we all find a better day.

    • Ed C says:

      Gloves not real practical for me. My hands sweat with them at room temperature. I live in the Phoenix area, soon to be 100+.

    • MC01 says:

      Michael, bless you and hope you find enough facemasks and gloves since they have become as scarce a commodity as hope these days.

      • V8 says:

        Face Masks, easy to make one, its all over youtube.

        Just search Mask4all for info

  17. nick kelly says:

    The Daily Mail reports that “Mr Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China’s officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be ‘downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.’”

    For at least 10 years it has been known that all Chinese stats are manipulated, i.e. they lie.
    Ann Stevenson- Yang who lives (lived?) there founded a company just to get real data.
    One tip off: for years the CCP report on growth was always the same: ‘7, 7, 7’…
    Then it was decided to confront the almost universal skepticism and then the new number was ….6.9 %

    BTW: all the reports about how rosey things are in Beijing: there are over 400 million internal migrant workers in China. These are the former peasants and their children who are the cannon fodder for the sweat shops. They do not get the medical coverage or benefits of the CCP members and families who consume 80% of the health care budget.

    • MC01 says:

      Nick: as Italy is proving the mortality for this virus is all over the place. In my area it’s over 17%, but go South and it’s under 1%, about the same as Germany. Why? Nobody has a clue.
      In short China may have simply been lucky or given her sheer size the mortality rate may have simply been smoothed to a nationwide 2.5%: from what I’ve heard provinces in the interior like Sichuan and Yunnan have been moderately affected, just like Southern Italy.

      There’s also the big question of how effective lockdowns are. Again let’s take Italy: they have been very successful in the South and the Center, where the disease is behaving exactly according to models, but are completely ineffective in the North. Again, why?

      In short you are right to take China’s data with a pinch of salt, but this thing is completely unpredictable, so all bets are off.

      • char says:

        In the North it does not make sense to test people who only are mildly sick. In the South it does so mortality rate is in the South probably divided by the mildly sick and in the North only by the very sick. The hospital system in the North has also collapsed. This has also major effects.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      Anyone with an IQ north of 75 knows every number from China, on any topic is a lie. But everyone pretends it isn’t.

      • WT Frogg says:

        JSRG. I guess our stats and data here in North America are shining beacons of truth using your logic ( or lack there of).

      • Canadian says:

        China is a communist regime. Communist regimes lie about everything.

        It used to be comical in the Soviet era, when the communist bloc propaganda would announce “record grain yields” and “a new level of efficiency in steel production,” only to be forced to seek food aid in exchange for oil.

        Yet now the Chinese version of this is often accepted unquestioningly. Strange indeed.

        • Auld Kodjer says:

          I think Mao would roll in his mausoleum if he saw what has become of the communist state of China. Xi reminds me of Stalin

    • char says:

      China locked down the whole country. You don’t do that if you are not spooked. Everybody who uses this talking point is using it to hide their own (governments)incompetence.

  18. Mad Puppy says:

    I often wonder if the service sector contribution to the GDP calculations is consistent over time, going back to the end of World War 2. If it isn’t, perhaps Wolf might know when it changed, in what areas, and by how much. I ask this because in the near future, we might have to redefine GDP in a narrower manner, making “product” a noun rather than an activity. Of course, we might have to add a new sub-category such as GDA (gross domestic activity). Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • Gandalf says:

      The US used to be a manufacturing superpower, dominating the world even by the time of WWI. After WWII when all the rest of the industrialized world had either been bombed to dust or were bankrupted by the war, the US had no real manufacturing competition for 25 years or so.
      The shift to a service and consumer economy began in the 1970s and really started taking over in the 1980s, when Europe and Asia became manufacturing powers again

  19. George W says:

    Amazon driver face plants…

    Had a delivery today where the customer requested the delivery be made to the back door. As I rounded the corner, the back door was open and I was soon greeted by a little dog. As, I began to back peddle out comes Kujo…

    Tripping over cars, stairs and everything else, I found myself face down in the grass.

    Fortunately, some dogs really don’t know what to do in situations like this and I was able to make it back to my van.

    I am definitely more afraid of dogs than the coronavirus.

    • nick kelly says:

      So….you’ve been approached by a dog and survived. Been attacked by the virus YET? Heard Chris Cuomo on CNN (not an old guy) who had it and says he lost 13 pounds in a week and his teeth chattered so hard he chipped a tooth?

      I thought we were getting past the ‘it’s just the flu stage’ (even POTUS has moved on, sort of) and the ‘forget the people, save the economy’ but every day brings a fresh basket.

      The funny thing is, there are some pretty savvy guys on this site who I thought would know better. To those people: check viral infections of other species: rabbits, pigs, fish etc. where once unleashed an infection gets up to 100% of the population.

      Or did you think we were a protected species?

      • Frederick says:

        CNN and Chris Cuomo scare me more than this virus

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Frederick-pitchers that don’t throw softballs scare me, too.

          May we all find a better day.

      • Gandalf says:

        Actually, one study showed that about 18% of people testing positive for COVID were asymptomatic. This a big reason for why it is so infectious.

        There is undoubtedly a genetic reason for why some healthy young people have died from COVID and yet others of all ages are either asymptomatic or mildly sick.

        Viral load exposure is probably another big reason, not talked about much.

        Public transportation, buses, trains, subways, packed with people, is a far far faster way to spread large viral loads than restaurants and other public places. I think studies will show this difference eventually in how fast this virus has spread in different areas. Some parts of the US have minimal public transportation

        Housing density and population density in households are likely also big factors

        There is enough human genetic diversity for some people to be naturally resistant to certain diseases. Often this is the result of Darwinian selection pressures from previous pandemics or a chronic endemic disease

        About 10% of people of Northern European descent are resistant to getting AIDS. The receptors on their T-cells that HIV attacks is a mutant variety and HIV cannot attack this receptor.

        This happens to be the same route of attack for bubonic plague and so it is thought that the many bubonic plagues that wiped out European populations over the ages selected for this mutant variant

        Sickle cell disease and thalassemia are genetic mutations selecting for resistance to malaria

      • Petunia says:

        I don’t believe anything coming out of CNN or the Cuomos.

        • Erich says:

          Like wise I don’t believe anything coming out of Fox News. There’s video proof of Hannity calling COVID-19 a hoax and then a month later saying he and Fox News always taking the virus very seriously. Really?

          I won’t post the video link here as most URL’s get stripped off in this blog but you can find it … if you want.

      • Just Some Random Guy says:

        LOL. Cuomo is putting on an act, can’t believe you’re falling for it.

        • WT Frogg says:

          JSRG: Is that your learned opinion or do you perhaps have any real facts to back it up with ???

        • Canadian says:

          One wonders what your reaction will be if you or a loved one are accused of “putting on an act” in your hour of need when you request care.

          Be better.

      • Gandalf says:

        I find it hard to stomach any of the major network news shows. Every one of them sensationalizes the news and often leave out key details as to be nearly useless.

        Since nobody has mentioned it yet, I will say that the worst has to be Faux NotNews. I refuse to call it by its official name because it has so clearly set this country of ours BACKWARDS by a hundred years and made large swaths of its viewers utterly ignorant devotees of junk science, fabricated history, fabricated conspiracy theories, and slavish followers of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It is nothing more than a constant stream of propaganda and Big Lies

        I think of CNN much like the Kardashian reality TV show – it’s all about making celebrities out of its stars and Big News out of literally NOTHING IMPORTANT. Who gives a flying f**k about Kim K’s latest eyelashes? Or Chris Cuomo’s chattering teeth? I want detailed investigative reporting, scientific facts I can use.

        MSNBC is obviously so biased in the other direction as to be equally useless. Strangely, you would think they might be interested in the sort of investigations into the financial shenanigans of the Fed written about here on Wolfstreet, but they are so into the usual OTHER leftist agenda items that they don’t bother

        NBC and ABC and CBS are bland and generic and generally a waste of time also. 60 Minutes now always gives its interview subjects free rein to paint majestic pictures of themselves without challenge. Its recent pieces on Jamie Dimon and the pardoned Navy Seal were especially bad. Mike Wallace is spinning in his grave

        • Mike says:

          That’s why I watch BBC America news on PBS to at least some truth.

        • Canadian says:

          “News” programs, including BBC, CBC, Al Jazeera, etc. (as well as the American staples) are all garbage.

          Every single one of them is operated by a small group of unaccountable individuals with a clear agenda and narrative they’ll parrot relentlessly by any means necessary.

  20. Island Teal says:

    WA state gov issued stay at home until 5/03.
    OR state gov won’t make a decision.
    CA state gov has some kind of stay at home.
    Dr.Trump is still undecided.
    Masks or no masks?
    Does anybody wonder why we have a problem ??

  21. KPL says:


    Seems like it has all gone to heck in a straight line. Time for Mug 2.0 with a new byline!

  22. Michael Engel says:

    1) US was altruistic to Wuhan, gave them a loving hand, but Wuhan put a spell on us.
    2) If Apr 2nd spring survive, SPY first bus stop is just below 300.
    3) If Apr 2nd low is not taken, – and becoming a failed faked spring, – there is enough fuel in the tank for a takeoff to a new all time high.
    4) Medical expert models compete with the media in the manic
    depression games.
    5) The ultimate nerds championship.
    6) Bad news accelerate, but the DOW volatility is falling on the right hand side of the chart.
    7) If high quality red bars on high end volume are back, Apr 2 spring is fake.
    8) SPX bullish percent above ma50 is @ 5%.
    9) SPX bullish percent above ma150, down in x5 waves since Feb, is 8%.
    10) If Apr 2nd spring is fake, bullish percent of ma200 will tumble
    from 9% to zero.

  23. Realist says:

    I wonder what the world will look like when the dust has settled, what will the lasting effects be on society and the economy ?

    Regarding the virus itself, knowing what a close friend has gone through after catching it, I ain’t interested to learn whether I belong to the group that experiences it as at most a severe flu or the group that really do get sick indeed.

  24. Jdog says:

    When they look back on this time in the future they will say just how big of a mistake it was for the US to transition to a service based economy and to become dependent upon an adversary for their manufacturing needs.

    When it comes right down to it, manufacturing is essential, while the majority of service based business is not. A service based economy will always be hit much harder than a manufacturing based one when hard times hit.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Jdog-double check. Be it a spacecraft, a business, a nation, a civilization, a planet-sacrificing your redundant systems for reasons of near-term profit will always leave the results gorging on your posterior later if not sooner.

      Again, may we find that better day.

  25. Jdog says:

    You really do not understand this issue….

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