The Fight Against COVID-19: “Bending the Curve” & Then What?

Eradicate the virus — without a vaccine? Manage infection rates to let the population “build immunity through suffering” until a vaccine is available? How can we revive the economy without risking thousands of deaths in fresh outbreaks?

By Wisdom Seeker, a WOLF STREET Commenter with a physical sciences Ph.D., San Francisco Bay Area:

I think we’re now at the turning point in the fight against COVID-19. Everyone’s now acting to stop the spread, and the early hot spots in Europe, North America, and Australia are seeing signs of progress, just as the Asian nations did earlier. There is a long road ahead, and we have to decide which route to take, but Western societies are showing they can handle this too. In this post I’m going to show updated versions of my three favorite graphs, which tell the story and lead to the single biggest public policy-making challenge many nations may face this decade.

Bending the Curve in California: Just-in-Time Deliverance?

The graph below shows confirmed cases in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and California as a whole, with South Korea and Italy as contrasting examples. The vertical axis is a log scale, so exponential growth shows up as a straight line. Data sourced from the Johns Hopkins database and the California state and individual county reports.

Los Angeles lost to the Bay Area on April 2 and became California’s new COVID-19 hot spot. Shelter in place has begun working for the Bay Area, but confirmed cases have still doubled in the past week. So on March 31, our local public health officials released what I call “Shelter-in-Place 2.0,” a tighter set of rules, to try to avoid the hospital-overload scenario which hit Wuhan, Milan, Madrid, and now New York. Face masks are also becoming trendy outside the home! Will the Bay Area get a “just-in-time deliverance”, or is the worst still yet to come?

Locally, Santa Clara County – the heart of Silicon Valley – reports 30% of ICU space in use by COVID patients, 38% used by other patients, and 32% available. So they can take a doubling in COVID ICU cases without overloading, and other Bay Area hospitals have headroom too.

I used this info to estimate a Bay Area ICU limit on the graph, but I must caution that there’s not a direct relationship between “confirmed cases” and “ICU cases,” so it’s only an estimate. An outbreak in a major nursing home, or a worsening of cases-in-progress without improvement in current ICU cases, could lead to a surge in ICU demand.

Best in the US – Minnesota Holds the Line: 

The next graph takes a fresh look at the US data (again from Johns Hopkins), using the 91-DIVOC.com graphing tool. Instead of confirmed cases, this graph shows daily new cases per million population, but still with a log scale.

Last week I noted “Minnesota Bends it Best,” and here we see the result — when an outbreak stalls out, it looks like the flat curve for Minnesota. And not only is it flat, but it’s the lowest sustained level in the US. There’s other good news — Washington has stabilized (albeit at a higher case rate), and even New York (top right) might be flattening out. But Connecticut, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Michigan have more work to do (click on the chart to enlarge).

Worldwide: What Kind of Ending Can We Write?

The third graph this week shows the global situation for the 50 most populous nations, with focus on the US. Using the same tool and data as the state-by-state graph above, this one also shows daily new cases per million people on a log scale. The US is third behind Spain and now Belgium, and in the same cluster with Italy, France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. Growth in the US has started to slow, but it looks like we might still catch the same pain as Spain.

This graph makes it clear that most nations are at “the end of the beginning” — the daily new cases have stopped growing and are stabilizing. But other than China, no one is claiming to have driven case growth back to zero. And dissident reports from China suggest it’s in a bureaucratically-induced state of denial, not entirely in control.

So what’s the endgame here?

Do we try to eradicate the virus — without a vaccine? Do we try to manage infection rates, to let the population “build immunity through suffering” until a vaccine is available? How can we revive the economy without risking thousands of deaths in fresh outbreaks?

Some things are clear: The recovered cases can get back to normal. The infirm elderly need to be protected as much as possible. Everyone else is in between, and without a treatment or vaccine, every economic or social activity comes with some level of infection and mortality risk.

I can see two limiting-case scenarios. Both require that right now, everyone work together to suppress the virus, in every way we can. But we need to start the discussion of “what’s next” since it’s a tough policy choice, perhaps the biggest of the decade.

The first scenario, “put out the fire,” is modeled on Korea. Use shelter-in-place and face masks to suppress the growth of the virus, then use rapidly-growing testing capacity to trace and isolate the infected. With a return to “containment,” everyone else can get back to work. South Korea is doing well, and only has 100 new cases per day nationwide. But even South Korea hasn’t been able to put out the fire completely. And “get back to work” involves major changes in how work is done, to reduce infection risks every minute, every day.

The second scenario, “controlled burn,” envisions an “infection risk budget,” with a goal to keep caseloads at a level that hospitals can sustainably support, while allowing as much economic output as possible. If we risk too many infections, hospitals overflow and thousands die – reruns of New York, Milan and Wuhan. But if we can minimize the risk throughout daily life, and keep our homes safe, then that frees up room in the budget.

With that extra room, more people could get back to work and get the economy going. Even if those activities might cause a bit of spreading, it might be worth the risk (for arena sports, cruise ships and other mass social gatherings, it might not). A “controlled burn” would take a long time, but eventually everyone who needs to work will have immunity or received a vaccine, and we’ll have normal life again (provided the virus doesn’t mutate too fast). But in the absence of an effective treatment or vaccine, it will cost thousands of lives to build herd immunity this way. Is there a better way?

No matter which path is taken, policymakers will have to decide how to balance lives vs. livelihoods. And the rest of us need to learn how to prevent spread at every level, both to preserve lives and to revive jobs. By Wisdom Seeker, for WOLF STREET.

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  347 comments for “The Fight Against COVID-19: “Bending the Curve” & Then What?

  1. Rusty Trawler says:

    What happens in the fall, do we go through this all over again.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Rusty, there’s no evidence that this one is going to give anyone a summer vacation. So far it looks more like the infection rate surges when people get together, and recedes when they stay apart. We can expect to go through it all over again if they loosen the shelter-at-home rules too fast. Some of the scientists are talking about deliberately triggering controlled waves, giving people some weeks to work here and there before having to hide out again for a month.

      • Joe Saba says:

        local hospital about to file bankruptcy
        due to LACK OF PATIENTS
        would affect over 100,000 locals
        Green Valley, AZ
        Hospitals across city are cutting nurses hours and letting go staff
        DUE TO LACK OF PATIENTS
        Tucson, AZ

        • Randall Hooker says:

          They probably need to be viewed as forest fighters are.
          Airlifted to where the blaze is and withdrawn when the threat is contained. This kind of cooperation is normal in many disasters.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Joe Saba,

          Yes, this is a problem all around and showed up in the unemployment claims numbers on Thursday: NO ONE is going to a hospital or clinic to have anything done that isn’t totally necessary. And hospitals don’t want people to show up with cancer issues and the like, because no one knows if this cancer patient isn’t also COVID-19 positive.

          So on one hand, ICUs in hot spots are at or nearing capacity with COVID-19 patients.

          On the other hand, a cancer clinic might shut down and lay off all the staff. This is one of the big dislocations that the virus is causing.

          I’m essentially not allowed to go to my healthcare provider unless I have a life-threatening issue. They sent me an email about that. I can set up a phone or video appointment with a doctor, but I cannot make a real appointment for normal stuff.

        • S.C. Heel says:

          I can guarantee you many of these healthcare professionals would willingly go wherever AND RISK THEIR LIVES if we paid them a quarter of the kind of money we willingly throw at professional sports players, CEO’s, hedge fund managers, etc.

          Big temporary travelling bonus would work to bring help to troubled areas also.

        • polecat says:

          How many hospitals have tested as ‘PE extractive’ positive’ …. ??

          …as has been the case with a number of ‘care’ facilities.

          I feel that for hospitals and other medically related concerns, the PE virus needs to be killed in it’s tracks, before it infects the whole system .. rendering such, to an unnecessary state of total disfunction and needless death for both healthcare workers, and the charges under their care !

          Private equity is a plague unto itself !

        • Ed says:

          If you do go the hospital, only the patient is let in.

          I had a relative to go the hospital for a possible stroke and no one could visit. He wasn’t in the Coronavirus ward but it’s the same building, so it was very strange but understandable. This was in Dallas.

      • nick kelly says:

        This is plain facts bit about COV 19, not the politics or response, just how the virus works.
        It’s title is: What Cov19 does to your body
        It’s via ZH which I KNOW has a bunch of nonsense on it but this is an exception.

        Authored by Benjamin Neuman, Professor of Biology, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, via The Conversation,

        • MCH says:

          The article was pretty interesting and more than a bit scary. I am not sure what is worse, that it is more infectious than it is leathal. Probably the fact that it is more infectious.

          It is scary what nature can concot, imagine if this thing was somehow married to the Ebola virus.

        • sunny129 says:

          @ nick Kelly

          Via ZH, I have learned MORE than any other blog site, save this, oftwominds, mishtalk and nakedcapitalism. yes they are hyperbolic, gold nuts etc but one can filter thru it all, find relevant and pertinent, much earlier and more detail than the usual MSM.

          btw I am a voracious reader! Been in the mkt since ’82. Self educated beside my career profession (MD-now retired) I have MBA exposure. I see every one putting down ZH without valid reasons. Never lost anything GFC and currently and I credit partly to ZH, without hesitation!

        • Short_Seller_Blake says:

          ZH is the ONLY site that tells everyone what is going on behind the scenes, EVERYWHERE. No other site digs as deep and investigates everything like ZH does. Everything seems so crazy only because the people who run this world are murderous, psychopaths that want total control and power over everyone and everything.

      • rhodium says:

        There’s no way the economy can handle this. No one is waiving mortgage and rent payments. You’ll have homeless hoards by summer spreading the virus in tent cities. When the economic pain gets a whole lot worse, society and the govt will eventually give the middle finger to old people. What’s happening right now is the idealistic response so no one can say we did nothing, but it’s going to run into a wall probably by May. Remember most Americans don’t have savings and lost their healthcare insurance with their jobs.

        I think a lot of people were under the impression that the lockdowns were just going to be a few weeks. You tell them months and there is going to be a nationwide wailing of extreme distress. It won’t matter even if the mortality rate is 3%.

        • Erich says:

          There’s no way the economy can handle this. No one is waiving mortgage and rent payments. You’ll have homeless hoards by summer spreading the virus in tent cities.

          Two things –

          1) Some states and cities have a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that will probably get extended as needed. After all the banks, hedge funds and all those REIT’s are getting bailed out.

          2) People are fed up with the bailouts of the banks, Wall Street and the rich and will start fighting back. At that point police and sheriff departs stop assisting in evictions. Remember, we are the most heavily armed nation on the planet and I’m NOT referring to our military. We are not the same country we were in 1918 (Spanish Flu) or in the 1930’s. This is when it all falls down …

        • kam says:

          2 Points.

          1. Does 1 Jackboot fit all ?
          2. Is your livelihood not determinant of your life?

          Without an economy, there will be no Healthcare Sector.

      • James Tamerius says:

        There is significant evidence that summer will reduce transmission rates. The problem is that it is unlikely that the reduction would be sufficiently large to decrease R0 below 1 with normal levels of population mixing (see case rates in the tropics). This could actually be the worse case scenario for the economy since this will prolong the outbreaks across the US. So, here is what we should do…

        1. Systematically infect low-risk individuals (volunteers, of course) and isolate for two weeks…send back to work*

        2. Use sero assays to identify those that have already been infected…send back to work*

        3. Allow high-risk populations to join the world once herd immunity reaches a specified threshold (~80% immune)

        *use DMV to generate “licenses” that indicate that individuals have already been infected and are, indeed, available for work.

        • sunny129 says:

          ‘There is significant evidence that summer will reduce transmission rates’

          Wishful thinking!

          Singapore near 90F still have active cases
          Same in Thailand!

      • Raging Texan says:

        ” think we’re now at the turning point in the fight against COVID-19. Everyone’s now acting to stop the spread, and the early hot spots in Europe, North America, and Australia are seeing signs of progress” – Wisdom Seeker

        YESSIREE as long as we pretend that Africa, Middle East, South and Southeast Asia aren’t spreading the virus everywhere ready to re-infect any developed nation claiming premature victory.

        False hope of economy destroying containment measures isn’t going to help us. Truly only two things can work- global herd immunity or the recovered or a vaccine.

        • Up North says:

          I have thought about this situation quite a bit as it is really slowing my work life down. I feel safe posting here as I feel there are a lot of critical thinkers who read this fantastic blog. Like it or not many of our governments have decided to go head to head with mother nature. She is an unstoppable force and while we may cheat her a bit (life expectancy of >70 years) she can have her way with us at will (viruses, asteroid impact, tsunami, earthquake, etc.). This isn’t a “fight” we can win. The virus will wash over us, some of us will die, the strongest of us will survive. 100% of all humans die, what takes us is the big variable. I have a family member who is 40 with terminal cancer and he is facing it with courage; millions of people in the western world are cowering at a virus that many of us will survive. I don’t get it. We’ve built up our society thinking that we’re in control, but we’re not. So instead of letting nature run its course we’re going to sacrifice the economy to try and save everyone. We’ll see what happens in the long run. Stay resilient.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Up North,

          “So instead of letting nature run its course we’re going to sacrifice the economy to try and save everyone.”

          No one is trying to “save everyone” — it’s too late for that already, death counts are soaring. What they’re trying to do is slow the infection rate so that the healthcare system can ramp and deal with it (ICUs, respirators, protective gear, treatments, vaccines, etc.). We’re buying time with these measures.

          If too many people get sick with many of them dying, that’ll have an even bigger and much more unpredictable impact on the economy and a much more permanent one. It will leave survivors scarred for decades. You really don’t want that.

      • mike says:

        Great article. Personally, I see no solution to the one tried in other countries: a national lock down, which necessarily involves cutting off of international and domestic travel, which is not essential. Quarantines of specific locations are probably now too late: too many persons have fled to other areas and probably infected them, e.g., the fleeing New Yorkers.

        This is exactly what happened in Wuhan. After the virus’s deadliness was known by Xi at least in early January, the Chinese, corrupt, selfish, amoral, parasitic communist leaders continued to keep the Wuhan airports open, so their communist cadres (and their cronies, which are the only persons allowed to rapidly flee out of China) could flee from Wuhan to other countries, like Italy, US, Iran, and Spain, and thereby infect the rest of the world. That may have been “unintentional” negligence.

        However, it is hard to believe that the Chinese communist government did not see that its numerous, continuing, outrageous complaints about the closing of the borders to those fleeing communist cadres were complaints that other countries were not allowing themselves to be infected more. Sadly, the US did not also close its borders to other infected countries, as I warned.

        Our bankster-controlled government behaved just like the parasitic, Chinese communist government: it denied and concealed the problem, did not take quick action, allowed infections to spread, and then lied more to cover up its errors. Now a lock down is the only effective, remaining option.

        The cost will be trillions, but it is a price that we are going to have to pay due to having a private-insurer-run, health care system that is the worst and most expensive among developed nations. (The administration of a single payer health care system would have prepared earlier, because another epidemic like SARS, etc., would be a foreseeable cost/risk to their business/services.)

        Neither of the leading candidates of either political party even wants to truly reform our terrible private insurer health care system in any significant way: they will be financially supported by allowing our greedy health insurers and HMOs to service roughly the majority of Americans. No doubt, they and their family members will be richly compensated ultimately, when they retire, just like those in government who ensured that banksters were rewarded and not prosecuted in 2008 now have guaranteed financial futures.

        We do not have and will not have enough testing kits to do more than statistical sampling in the entire US for a long time, probably many months. Asymptomatic infectiousness of those infected with this virus (reportedly 25% to 50%) means that diagnosing it with x-rays or other scans will not work for that most dangerous group: too many infected will not show symptoms and inadvertently continue spreading the virus.

        Our private insurers’ huge deductibles and co-pays means that most Americans will want to wait to be tested until they show symptoms. Who wants to risk being forced to pay those huge sums if they are not feeling sick or risk going to hospitals now in states/counties where outdoor testing is not available?

        A long incubation period for some infected means that there will be reservoirs — which are guaranteed in the US because our uninsured will not be able to get treated at low cost. Free testing may only subject them to a huge medical bill if they are found positive. Millions of undocumented persons will also be virus reservoirs because of fear that by seeking testing and medical treatment they may later be deported.

        In short, we will have waves of coronavirus infections for months or maybe years unless drastic action is taken. Now, our only remaining, effective tactic is what other countries had to resort to using: a national lock down. I believe that even the US senate would pass a law to order enforcement of a presidential order to lock down the country; enough congress persons can even amend the US constitutions.

        Thus, a national, US lock down is feasible and is the only remaining choice after the defense production act was and is being delayed despite the recommendations weeks ago of so many (even within the administration), so sufficient testing-tracing-quarantine can no longer be accomplished. This administration has only this one chance to redeem itself as its continuing incompetence keeps causing more and more infections and deaths.

        Every day that passes means that more health providers will get infected in more places and more and more Americans will die. Already, their continuing, gigantic incompetence in not ordering production of masks, etc., which continues, is responsible for more and more hundreds or thousands of deaths– including among our essential, health care workers and first responders.

        Even our military preparedness is being hurt now. If Chinese communists cannot oppress their people enough to get them to forget their gigantic mistakes in handling this coronavirus, they may invade Taiwan to distract them.

        If they wanted to invade now, our military will become less and less able to respond as more of our carrier personnel, etc., get infected. We only have hard choices left now.

      • Solar says:

        Perhaps the end of the solar minimum will aid recovery. Increased ultraviolet radiation will tamp down the virus. There may be a lag time between the arrival of sunspots and a bump in atmospheric temperature. Begin here. https://www.livescience.com/new-sunspot-solar-cycle-begins.html

    • Gunnar says:

      can a person be infected for a 2.time.thats the question here.i think nobody knows.

      • Kent says:

        You can get infected by any virus a second time. The question is how long the immunity lasts, and what it’s mutation rate is. Flu immunity lasts for a year or two (or three) dependent on age and genetics. That’s why we get a new shot every year, with some guesswork around which strain you’re most likely to encounter.

        • sunny129 says:

          ‘But in the absence of an effective treatment or vaccine, it will cost thousands of lives to build herd immunity this way’

          So far what I have read, there is NO evidence HERD IMMUNITY either in CHINA or anywhere in the World, so far!

          MD

        • Raging Texan says:

          @sunny129

          Assuming no vaccine ever, eventually natural selection would one way or another create resistance to the disease, as the disease has been documented to kill at least some children and people of reproductive age. Only a tiny survival advantage can lead to inherited traits that eventually become common in future generations.

        • sunny129 says:

          @ raging Texan

          I am an MD (retired) reading voraciously on this subject. Please substantiate your claim/statements by links,articles on public record arena. Love to read and educate my self! Thank you.

        • Raging Texan says:

          @sunny129

          uh, in case you never heard of it, it’s called natural selection, I’ll dig my college biology textbook out of my closet and send it to you.

        • mike says:

          One virologist said that hopefully those who might, possibly get reinfected with this coronavirus will not have an over-reaction of their immune system in response to this virus on the second exposure. On the other hand, the SARS vaccine candidates were reportedly not found safe and released, in part due to such occurrences, and over 16 years have passed to work on them.

          We will not truly know these types of things/risks for months, until proper, scientific studies are conducted. Right now, governments must decide while effectively blindfolded.

          As to evolution, our immune systems are adaptable. Evolution can occur but it would only occur if one particular, genetic adaptation results in more people with that adaptation surviving to reproduce, e.g., the sickle cell mutation in persons with two genes but only one with that mutation, which allows more of them to survive malaria even without any treatment; of course; those with two mutated genes get sickle cell disease, which is definitely not beneficial.

          Hopefully, this pandemic will not cause so many deaths worldwide that it produces any such an evolutionary effect.

  2. Capthank says:

    In all of mankind there are 26 vaccines that work on a virus.

    • TXRancher says:

      Yes a vaccine may be a pipe dream. There is no vaccine for the common cold (rhino-virus or corona-virus versions) and they have been working since 1950’s for one. It has been said that we all will eventually get the Wuhan virus we just need to slow the rate of sick/dead to a manageable level until then.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        TXRancher,

        The flu vaccines are not too bad. Not perfect, but pretty good protection. The flu is caused by a virus too. And sure, there are different flu viruses, and we need to get a flu shot every year, and each shot is actually two types of vaccines against what are estimated to be the two most prevalent flu strains this flu season… So it’s a little complicated, not just one shot in a lifetime. But it works pretty well, and it’s free at my healthcare provider and very quick, done down in the lobby in a few minutes on a walk-in basis, no appointment needed, no biggie. And that little-bitty effort buys quite a bit of protection.

        • TXRancher says:

          Wolf,

          Sound like a public service announcement.

          I am not against vaccines. Yes the influenza vaccine is appropriate for those that are most susceptible and most vulnerable. And I sincerely hope a vaccine is found for the Wuhan virus too.

        • polecat says:

          “free at my ‘healthcare provider'” ..

          Ah, the lightbulb just flashed .. again. It kinda sucks to be outta de loop … and now, a LOT more will no longer be eligible to receive that ‘freebie’.. amoungst others.. with their personal economies in a complete shambles.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Don’t know about ”now a days” since it’s been a while, but,, ”back in the days” when I was poor,,, poor enough to be getting food stamps (which I really appreciated) I could and did walk into several different county health departments in different states, and get a completely free to me flu shot. (which I also really appreciated.)
          And BTW, Kaiser Medical system was a really great scheme back in the 70s, , with fair pricing for self employed folks, and good docs that were not in that biz for the bucks, as any long term doc in that system will be happy to tell ya.
          Glad to hear Wolf is enrolled there, and hope and expect they have their pandemic game plan fully thought out, and ready to implement per Henry J., etc.
          My understanding, now, is that the same scheme re county health depts. is still going on??
          Please LMK if anybody knows about this today.

          Thanks

      • RepubAnon says:

        The common cold isn’t one virus – it’s a number of different viruses that all cause very similar symptoms.

        Her’s an article with details: Human Rhinovirus Species and Season of Infection Determine Illness Severity
        (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530215/)

        Rationale: Human rhinoviruses (HRVs) consist of approximately 160 types that cause a wide range of clinical outcomes, including asymptomatic infections, common colds, and severe lower respiratory illnesses.

      • Implicit says:

        They need to get the blood of the survivors, and those that tested positive , but never had any symptoms.
        Centrifuge the plasma out and study the type of white blood cells that helped them survive, and give them to sick people until they discover a vacine.

        • RepubAnon says:

          Plasma therapy is already in the works. The NY Times had an article about it.

        • polecat says:

          Just keep Mr. Thiel away from that blood ! Ok ??

        • Ed says:

          They’re doing this. The unfortunate aspect is that they need a lot of donors. I believe each donor — and you can only give plasma, what, once every three months or more? — can only help a few patients.

        • BSu says:

          Sellf vaccination is an option by keeping yiruses from entering your cells to wreak the havoc. Consider eating moreof the leafy vegs and consuming more vitamin c to bolster your immune system. Im not trusting the govt, J & J or Bill Gates with my health.

      • c1ue says:

        novel coronavirus has been mutating a lot slower than the typical cold and flu viruses, so it is very possible that a vaccine will not just reduce deaths but actually help reduce serious cases and even outright infections.
        The other main reason coronaviruses don’t have vaccines is that they’re either very mild and infectious or deadly but not infectious.
        nCOV is somewhat deadly and infectious – there is a lot more effort being devoted to it. The issue isn’t the vaccine development per se – it is the extensive testing to ensure both that it provides benefit and doesn’t cause harm in lots of vaccinated people. This is a very long and expensive process.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          You are correct about the extensive testing protocols for new remedies, by, for, and even possibly in spite of, the FDA, which, like the CDC, (as has been pointed out on Wolf Street recently, has become a sink (possibly sink hole, eh) of political corruptions similar to so much of the guv mint of USA over the last 5 decades or so.
          However, having said THAT, IMO the work for all of us, going forward, ALL of us, is to make sure, damn sure, that all of these Federal ”agencies” of any, each, and every stripe and within each and every Department of USA, get cleansed of political imbeciles who have no, or very little, idea of the mission, the mechanics, the means, or any other metric of what and how that agency is supposed to be serving We the People.
          NOW, when so many ( intelligent and hard working people) are home alone or otherwise, is the time to get to work on ironing out all these issues, (FKA problems) verbally, (in this case the written words of verbally)
          AND getting all of our elected folks on board with at least the beginnings of rational, reasonable, and doable solutions, short and long term.
          “Clean House, Senate Too.” Should be the mantra of choice for ALL of us voters, until we get folks, elected and appointed, in ALL levels of guv mint who actually do their work as public servants, not just serving the oligarchy/rich.
          And, to be sure, we don’t need any riots or other types of violence; at this point, I am pretty damn sure violence just leads to more violence, and in the end, only the biggest and baddest Bully wins, and nobody want that, Right?

      • DanS86 says:

        Check out Centivax https://www.distributedbio.com/centivax

        The question I would have is even if this approach works what negative effects would it have too? There is no Free Lunch.

    • Cobalt Programmer says:

      I will tell you why all the biotech stocks never work out.
      DIVERSITY!
      I don’t want to sound like a SJW, but in biology everything is so different. You might design a perfect vaccine for COVID-19. It may well work in mice, pigs, monkeys and humans.
      Wait for it…..
      There might be 300 sub-types of COVID-19. Even if you cover them, there might be COVID-21 and COVID-22 waiting for us. Small pox, rabies and polio can be prevented by the vaccines in the past.

      What about COVID-19? only time will tell…Similarly, the biotech stocks valued in millions of dollars might not work out! the much touted drug/vaccine/candidates might be useless against a small variant that might lead the stocks go to zero…

      • MCH says:

        Well, it’s not a surprise, heck, just pick any blood cancer, there are many variants and permutations. But viruses can be controlled, look at HIV, it is under control. The only question is if C19 mutates too fast than what happens. You could end up with a pretty benign version at the end.

      • c1ue says:

        I understand your basic point, but with regarding to nCOV specifically: not valid so far.
        Nextstrain has been compiling versions of nCOV from all over the world. The last I saw – there are no functional differences between any of the strains: not in transmission, mortality, etc etc.
        I can’t say this is terribly surprising because nCOV is spreading so fast.
        What’s really interesting is that Willis Eschenbach’s graphs over at Wattsupwiththat.com are showing that the different Western countries aren’t really showing significant nCOV progression differences despite vastly different policy responses: travel restrictions, lockdowns, level of testing, #hospital beds, average age, whatever.

    • TooSoon Old says:

      I’m surprised that the especially-susceptible are not being encouraged to get a pneumonia jab.

  3. Barry says:

    The biggest issue with this saga is the reliability of the numbers. Deaths that are accompanied by the virus are recorded as being caused by the virus.

    Another numbers problem is that the mortality rate looks high because it’s compared to positive cases, when it ought to be compared to total number tested. And that later number is still too low – when half the population has been tested, the mortality rate will look similar to that of the flu.

    But no matter how rational your approach, the media will continue to focus on the worst case scenario – fear-mongering sells.

    The government, too, likes the doomsday narrative because it provides excellent cover for its new totalitarian laws, not to mention the exorbitant bailouts of the 1%.

    Another urgent reason to get everybody back out of confinement is to save lives – the underlying stress being induced by the confinement and fear is a recipe for chronic illness down the line. Other effects will, unfortunately, include increased suicide, homicide, domestic violence, and crime by desperate, impoverished, angry victims of the ongoing destruction of our economy and society.

    • Michael Gorback says:

      Barry you’re absolutely right. They are using the wrong denominator.

      • Finster says:

        Shouldn’t the mortality rate be fatalities/(fatalities+recoveries)? Dividing by total cases counts a lot of unresolved cases.

        If for example there are 500 fatalities, 4500 recoveries among 10,000 total cases, the mortality rate isn’t really just 5%, it’s 10%. Because you still have 5000 cases that could go either way.

    • kleen says:

      “Another numbers problem is that the mortality rate looks high because it’s compared to positive cases, when it ought to be compared to total number tested.”

      I don’t know because the same is done with the Flu, only cases that end up at the hospital/doctor that test positive are counted. I had Flu a few times, only once, for travel reasons, I went to see a doctor about it. So my other cases were never counted. Many people I know don’t go to see a doctor when they come down with the Flu. Same with other diseases.

      No one goes out testing people on the streets for the Flu, or Dengue… This should be no different.

      So, counting only the cases that end up in the hospital/positive is the same way as other diseases.

      • S says:

        Covid-19 isn’t like the flu because its R-Naught (reproductive factor) is said to be 3.0x to 4.0x minimum. (Flu is typically 1.3x) The R-Naught could be much higher (perhaps 2 times higher?) since people are infected and show no symptoms. That is why there needs to be antibody tests to determine the extent of the virus in the population. If more people have the virus but don’t show symptoms, then that changes key statistics like the death rate.

        The University of Oxford is the leader in this type of thinking, not the U.S. government sponsored John Hopkins University. As in every crisis, there are always opposing “camps” or points of view, so it is not unexpected or wrong to have different opinions from those schools.

    • intosh says:

      “But no matter how rational your approach, the media will continue to focus on the worst case scenario – fear-mongering sells.”

      So all this panic in hospitals and bodies piling up are just fear mongering? Forget the numbers, just look at the images and tell me it’s like a typical flu season.

      Go to a hospital in NY or in Italy and tell a nurse or doctor this is just doomsday make-belief. Sheesh…

    • Engin-ear says:

      Thank you, Sir, for saying that.

      I believe that it is intellectually dishonest to focus on first order consequences (covid19 death rate) with a total disrespect for second order impacts like social and economic pain.

      • paul easton says:

        Economic pain is causally dependent on the virus, but it will be first order in the magnitude of its effect. It appears to me that the FED is in panic mode, desperately flinging money at the banks to try to keep them afloat, but probably it and they will fail. And then I suppose hyper-inflation. You can’t have money which is based only on expansion of the money supply, without any production behind it. So hyper-inflation, no means of trade, no possibility of production even if the virus went away. No more government, if they can’t pay the enforcers. Unless people get together and work out a new kind of money, based on staple foods and recreational drugs.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Money without anything behind it has been the ”norm” for so long that folks every where have forgotten when you could walk in any bank with the paper money of USA and get silver,,, and even that was a degradation from when you could get gold…
          Not saying anything beyond that Nixon stole our ”silver certificates” by proclamation, without approval of the congress,,, but also, at the same or close time, allowed the price of gold to float and ”allowed” USA citizens to own more than a very little physical gold, which had been the rule since FDR took all gold to wage WW2.
          When Nixon went to China to facilitate world wide recognition of the CCP as the legitimate guv mint of China,,, a lot of folks thought he was certifiably crazy,, and in spite of his resignation supposedly for the criminal acts of Watergate, many did, and continue to think that his leaving the pres was due to the fall out from the China expedition from his oligarch masters.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        @Engin-ear: please reread the article with a bit more thoughtfulness. I addressed the question of how to restart the economy in light of the virus.

        There’s no separating the economy from the virus right now. If we quickly let up on the social distancing “to save the economy”, we unleash the virus and every city becomes New York or Milan. And then everyone panics anyway.

        The fastest way to restore the economy is to respect the death rate, minimize everyone’s level of non-economic interaction, and re-engineer all the economic interactions for maximum productivity with minimum infection rate.

        • Mars says:

          WS,
          With all due respect to your current observations regarding the virus vis-a-vis the economy, thanks for your work, this blog is/has been instrumental in providing data and focus regarding the global macro economic slowdown for the past 5+ quarters (my lurking time here).

          The virus has accelerated/affected the volume and velocity of macroeconomic decline.

          “Re-engineer all the economic interactions for maximum productivity.” sounds like the next POTUS executive order (“with minimum infection rate” – intentionally omitted).

        • paul easton says:

          @VintageVNvet
          Although US money had no silver behind it, it still had export goods behind it so productive people wanted it. That reality has been in a slow decline as Financial Services have come to dominate our GNP. Our production was already questionable even before the virus. Our weapons are far overpriced because of the corruption of our politics. Our crops are toxic for the same reason. Our airplanes are unsafe. About all we have left is fracked oil, which can’t compete with normal oil. So if other countries decide to sell off US bonds before they are totally worthless we won’t have imports any more, and USians themselves will get queasy about their money.

          The virus would only be the coup de grace. Nothing comes from nothing. You can’t make money out of only money.

        • mike says:

          As to NY and NJ, I am also concerned that the US hospital ship Comfort has now been allowed to take coronavirus patients today. If it were any other administration, I would assume that this decision was carefully considered and meant that the ship was properly equipped to do that job and had proper, negative pressure rooms or at least, some way to have separate air supplies (and separate dining/roaming areas) for its coronaviruspatients versus its crew and non-coronavirus patients.

          Sadly, this administration is so careless that I checked and I have seen no reference to this ship being equipped to deal with an extremely infectious virus. The Wikipedia entry for that class of ship states as follows:
          “Patient movement within the ship is limited. Built as oil tankers, the original oil storage bulkheads were retained, but have no doors, which means that patients must be brought up to the top deck in order to be moved from a lower compartment in one part of the ship to another.”

          That sounds like keeping in an infectious disease that can become airborne in one of these ships can be problematic. Unfortunately, too many Navy officers will just comply with any foolish order of the administration to keep their careers, particularly after the disgusting dismissal of the carrier captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt for his simple warning to save the lives of his personnel

          The USS Comfort is probably a standard hospital ship, which would be equipped to deal with gun shot casualties, ordinary surgeries, burns, etc. If this ship does not have special rooms equipped to prevent the virus from spreading, and special procedures to protect the rest of the crew, I predict that we will eventually see that ship become like the Princess cruise ship: a virus incubator.

          A virus that is as infectious and hardy as this one allegedly is, including by transmittal by micro-droplets in the air like the original SARS, is truly hard for any large building or ship to contain as the original SARS showed in a building in Hong Kong. Therefore, I predict here that this decision to allow the USS Comfort to treat and house coronavirus patients will likely be another disastrous decision of this foolish administration.

          I have not read of the USS Comfort having the proper equipment to do this safely. Unless the coronavirus patients that board the USS Comfort are housed in what would be (at most) a very limited number of negative pressure, filtered air, infectious disease rooms, the virus will spread to infect the rest of the crew and they will spread the virus thereafter.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Comparing to total tested is absolutely wrong. Someone who tests negative now can still get sick and die later. So you can’t include them yet.

      I think what you’re aiming for is how many people will be dead after the entire population has had a turn with the virus. That would be a useful number, but it will be a while.

      In the meantime, they are ramping up capacity to test everyone’s blood for the antibodies, which answers the question “have you built up immunity?”. That would be the best measure of “how many people have really had it”. You’d want to take deaths over that number for the true mortality rate. Should know that in a few months.

      Finally, I want to mention that nearly all people who have COVID and die, are dying from COVID and not their co-morbidities. It’s that nasty.

      Also, there are many, many dead who were never tested for COVID, and their death certificate won’t show COVID. It’ll say things like “viral pneumonia” instead. This is especially true in Wuhan, Milan region, and other cities that are being absolutely overwhelmed. When your hospital is overflowing you worry a lot less about testing and a lot more about just trying to keep people alive. And you know what they have without the swab test.

      So all the numbers are messy. In the end we will count up the total dead in 2020 and compare it to 2019 and work out “excess mortality”. In some parts of Italy, and I believe in Wuhan although they won’t release the data for another couple months, COVID has matched the normal annual mortality from all other causes. That’s why everywhere else, we have to stop the virus from spreading.

    • Brian says:

      “But no matter how rational your approach, the media will continue to focus on the worst case scenario – fear-mongering sells.”

      Ha. The media doesn’t even mention the worst case scenario: 1/2 to 3/4 of the world’s population gets the disease (the minimum to achieve “herd immunity” for an R-naught of 2 to 4, respectively) of which somewhere around 1% die. Do your own math.

      It’s spread too far to be contained and no vaccine will realistically be available in time.

      But that’s still not the worst case. Acquired immunity could last only months. If so, everybody will get it over and over again until they die from it or a vaccine is developed (12m to 10y). Think your lungs are in perfect health after surviving it once? What about twice or three times?

      And, of course, there will be mutations…

      NOBODY talks about the “worst case”. It’s against human nature to believe that something so terrible could actually happen.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        @Brian – yes. One way you know how bad it really could be is that no one is doing the obvious math in public. Can you imagine the mass panic?

        I think the only thing that will convince people to accept a scenario with 1% of global population dying off, is if the alternative is worse. Such as mass unemployment leading to economic and personal depression, suicide, destroyed standards of living etc.

        • Brian says:

          If experienced medical care can achieves a mortality rate of 0.5% and the untreated mortality rate (because there are no hospital beds) is 5% — I’m making numbers up here but they’re within the range of reports — then I think it’s probably worth having a “controlled burn” (as you well phrased it) even from a purely numbers point of view.

          From a personal view, my father has had severe lung problems and so will almost certainly die if he catches it.

          I really want everything to work out. I keep asking a good friend (and wisened investor) to “Tell me I’m wrong!”. I *want* to be wrong.
          But I can’t find any _facts_ that I’m wrong.

          If I’m biased, then a lot of other people must also be biased. They won’t see what is really happening. They might not even try to find out what is really happening, afraid of what they might learn.

          And that, I think, is the real “worst case scenario”.

    • c1ue says:

      Sorry, but I have to disagree.
      There is abundant data showing nCOV is killing a lot more people than the regular flu. This is both in absolute terms, in terms of %population infected (even multiplying confirmed cases), in terms of #people in hospitals, and in terms of rate per 10M population.
      I just saw an overall mortality comparison in France: nCOV deaths are already a multiple of full year 2018-2019 flu deaths, with hospitalizations also multiple.
      No, nCOV isn’t a Black Plague or zombie apocalypse, but it is absolutely a serious public health issue.
      Now as to your view on the lockdown: that’s a different story. It is more than possible that the real way to slow down nCOV progression is medical investigation and quarantine of all possible/actual infected as opposed to locking everyone down (and having lots of exceptions and scofflaws).
      It is notable that South Korea isn’t doing unilateral lockdowns but is doing the tracking/quarantining bit, as well as having ungodly amounts of testing.
      And while the US’ mortality rate from nCOV – excluding New York – is on par with Germany – i.e. very good except compared to China or South Korea – the nCOV progression in the US is still very much on the upswing so far too early to make judgment.

  4. Wisdom Seeker says:

    Typo – facemarks should be face masks. LOL

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I thought that was intentional. Gonna be part of my epic collection of hilarious WOLF STREET typos, right next to brick-and-mortal retail :-]

      • Mark says:

        I saw posted elsewhere….

        Little girl to mother on being told she cant go out to play

        “Is it because of the corona pirates…?”

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Pirates indeed, Mark,,, Exactly what my grand niece, just turned 4, had asked a few weeks ago when told she could not go to any of her fave places: parks, swim places, library, etc., and then even could not play with her best pal down the street she lives on.
          Thank you!

        • rankinfile says:

          That’s just precious!

    • Shiloh1 says:

      Face marks and face masks – reminds me that SD Bullion has Gerry Cheevers commemorative one ounce silver coins for sale as part of their hockey goalie series.

      • mharris240 says:

        Oh my, Gerry Cheevers! Boy did you bring back some memories for me. Big, Bad Bruins of the ’70s!

    • Masks not Musk says:

      During the 1918-flu a ‘face-mask’ was required, but that meant an outlaw mask, a scarf covering the nose&mouth so that infected people with no symptoms did spread the disease.

      Funny now an N95 is required but nobody can get one, I’m going to be that where its $1,000 fine for being outside without a mask, that the scarf wouldn’t fly, as the cops are making sure to keep people indoors and they well know that N95 masks are not available.

      Lastly the N95 is just a tight fitting scarf, its designed for construction work so you don’t breath particles. This is not even a medical grade mask.

      • Rcohn says:

        Just s question for everyone.
        According to the specs, the n95 masks are tested to filter 95% of particles .3 microns or larger . That will filter particles from burning wood(as in the CA wildfires, TB spores and all bacteria , which are 100 times bigger than viruses.But corona viruses are ~ .15 microns . I can understand how theses masks can be effective against sneezes and coughs because these expel mucous and larger particles ,but how will they protect against the Corona virus ?

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          Not all of the virus will make it through the mask. It appears the viral dosage “amount” has a great effect on how bad a person reacts to the virus.

        • JohnM says:

          The virus is transported from person to person on droplets of excretions from sneezing and coughing. These particles are typically 5 microns or larger.

        • Jdog says:

          The amount of virus you are exposed to has a big effect on whether your immune system can handle it. If you are exposed to a very small amount, chances are much better that your immune system can protect you. If you are exposed to a large dose of the virus, chances are much better that your immune system will be overwhelmed and unable to deal with the virus.
          This means, if the masks can cut your exposure 95% it greatly increases your chances of being able to survive the virus without serious consequences.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        N95s are not required outside of medical care situations, or immune-compromised people. The homemade “bandit mask” is less effective but still quite effective for slowing the spread.

        If everyone were wearing masks today, twice as many people could be working without amplifying the disease and overloading the hospitals.

      • Paul says:

        Actually I believe there are about 4 grades of N95… I had one above my tool bench it is an N95v and is non medical grade
        it says 95% efficient against non-oil particulates, welding, dusts, wood treatment, fiberglass and non oil mist.
        It is an old one and if you read the specs of a medical grade one which the wife has an old one. They only last 5 years if stored in their original packing. My old one still smells of some chemical I must have used it for years ago and is no longer good.
        The strange news here in Montreal, Canada a Hardware store was selling them and they were reported and agreed to sell them at cost to the government. They said they ordered them before the crisis. But those hardware ones are not medical grade! medical if I remember from the specs is filtering too 100 microns.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          This is true. There are N95s which protect inhaled air but not exhaled (used for construction). There are N95s with protection against some kinds of fumes as well as particles. Then there are the medical grade versions. But all of them are good to have, which is why hospitals are using anything they can get.

          One of the bits of guidance that is borderline-criminal during a time of scarcity, is the idea that these masks cannot be reused. They can be reused for a limited time, if they are disinfected between uses, and the straps are maintained to ensure continued fit. Stanford put out a study on how to disinfect them. Basically a trip through the toaster (low temperature, 70C for 30 min) or a steamer would do the trick.

    • kleen says:

      Facemarks are a lot easier to find.

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        I found a good supply of facemarks locally!

      • polecat says:

        We just ‘manufactured’ some home-made masks .. stylish enough to hopefully not freak too many out …

        We utilize Norwex cloths for certain cleaning chores around the abode. The mrs. polecat informed me just this morning, how that company is working to produce masks using their proprietary fabric (with silver embeded tread ??).

  5. Mike says:

    I don’t know what to make of this still.

    If they expect people to stay at home, they should be compensated financially.

    The longer this freeze goes on, the worse this will be when things are eventually under control.

    People will have lost their jobs and income, but will still have their debts.

    I’m reminded by all the Jim Rickards interviews over the years saying something will cause the financial avalanche.

    He didn’t know what snowflake would be the cause, but I guess it’s safe to say it’s corona virus..

    You could also argue we’re in a partial ice nine lockdown too. Just waiting for the financial part now..

    I dunno how it will end, but I don’t think it’s going to be the same after.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Mike, it’s going to be the biggest financial mess in history.

      Simply bringing the infection numbers down to a manageable level will take far longer, in most places, than people are capable of appreciating right now. It took over 2 months in Wuhan, which is probably going to be on par with Milan, Madrid and New York. The time it takes depends on how many were infected at peak, and how rigorously everyone isolates to prevent any next-generation infections. Simply clearing the virus through a single four-person household can take 4-6 weeks even if no one gets a serious case.

      Society simply can’t send people straight back to work at old-style jobs, because that just unleashes the virus again. Every job, every workstation, every process has to be re-thought to minimize infection risks. Some jobs are just totally gone until there’s a vaccine. But the less infection risk there is in the system, the more people can get back to work.

      Alternative is everyone stays home and most get no work, but that’s totally unproductive and will lead to social unrest unless government really steps it up with welfare payments via currency debasement or massive taxation.

      In the meantime, trillions in unserviceable debt payments and corporate bankruptcies hang over everyone’s heads.

      • Mike says:

        “Alternative is everyone stays home and most get no work, but that’s totally unproductive and will lead to social unrest unless government really steps it up with welfare payments via currency debasement or massive taxation.”

        I feel like welfare is the wrong way to look at it. If the government decides to implement a mandatory lockdown, I consider that work and people should be compensated.

        They can pretend to be government employees and just surf YouTube and watch Netflix all day. :P

        Anything else is involuntary house arrest and the equivalent to martial law.

        I just went out for a bike ride (I’m paranoid and leave my phone at home) in Vancouver, and the hospitals are calm, downtown is pretty quiet too. (A few stores boarded up as well)

        I saw about 6 police cars and they appeared to be arresting a shoplifter who stole some groceries. (So police are clearly not overwhelmed)

        Lots of people outside and walking/biking.

        I was a little surprised on the amount of traffic. I guess people are bored and since they can’t buy stuff in stores they just cruise around (gas is multi year lows)

        I tried to go to my two normal grocery stores and there were “social distance” lineups.

        Instead I went to a smaller shop and didn’t need to wait.

        If the financial system starts to breakdown, the government already has people acclimated to staying at home and lining up for food.

        Overall, I feel like things are very eery and I don’t like where this is all going…

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          “Compensation for House Arrest” is a bit extreme, but you’re right that “Welfare” is wrong because the unemployment and social distancing is mandated by the virus and isn’t a national rather than personal issue.

          I expect the politicians will come up with a socially-palatable new name for it soon. “COVID Cash” might work!

      • Nate says:

        You know if the government had put that 2.2 Trillion straight into the people’s pockets it would have come out to like $38K per family. That would probably take care of the social unrest part. Instead they rescued a bunch of crooks again for the next pump n dump.

        • Shiloh1 says:

          Absolutely!

        • 728huey says:

          I belive I read a comment on another one of Wolf’s posts that talked about $1.5 trillion dollars being funneled to the banks and noted that had it been sent directly to the people, it would have averaged out to over $11,000 per household. That in itself would have lasted three to six months depending on the size of the household and alleviated much of the suffering people are going through now.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Trouble with that is that while families would have had plenty of cash, 3/4 of the nation’s businesses would have gone bankrupt and many would have stopped operating, so unemployment would be far higher, and those families would have no way to buy what they needed with the whole economy destroyed.

          This is not to say that the business bailouts are being done properly – I am deeply skeptical – but some sort of debt repair or payment extension/forgiveness seems to be essential at the business level as well as at the family level. It’s not just unemployed workers who can’t make their monthly payments right now.

          There are certain businesses that should just be shut down for a year, though, and we weren’t tough enough on those. At least they didn’t bail out the cruise ships though.

      • Paul says:

        Bank of America and TD economic models both predict that the economy will start to recover in 2021 but as we continue in time the models will be updated.
        Quebec provincial government in Canada just extended the stay at home order from 2 weeks to another 3 weeks.
        We are being pestered by our town have a trunk going around with a megaphone telling us to stay 6 ft apart. They are supposed to give warning and if caught one can get a fine of $1000. Crowds which they do not define and are leaving it up to the police to decide the size of a crowd will get a $5000 fine!
        I have a copy of the ministries rules and the grocery stores and pharmacy are making up their own rules and some are not accepting cash even when employees have gloves. One guy was so fed up when the grocery would not allow his spouse to enter with him, which is not in the guidelines, so when he saw the guard in the parking lot he hit him with him car!
        They now close the grocery stores on Sunday to give workers a rest, and are paying $2/hr premium for cashiers. It took me 30 minutes to get into Costco its still 40F and rain as they only allow 200 in the store at one time and 10 in when 10 leave. At 130pm the people counter told me customers were lined up all the way around the huge warehouse! People are going to get fed up with this.
        According to this lecture series by prof Frank Snowdon Pandemics can lead to authoritarian regimes possibly Hungary now is going that way.
        Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present (The Open Yale Courses Series)
        I heard an interview with him on the CBC Michael Enright’s show.

        • p coyle says:

          i first read that as “Engel” and not “Enright.” i am disappointed now. the michael engel show would have been a hoot.

    • joe says:

      “People will have lost their jobs and income, but will still have their debts.”

      Funny how it always works out like that.

      • Randall Hooker says:

        “People will have lost their jobs and income, but will still have their debts.”

        I counseled one of my 3 daughters to file bankruptcy in 2009.
        Best advice I ever gave her.

    • Jdog says:

      Why do you feel you should be compensated? Is it someone else’s fault you have debts? We all make our own choices in life and should take responsibility for those choices.

      • polecat says:

        So, it’s to be continuation of our dog-eat-dog world, for those in severe distress, through no fault of their own ??

        Do I have that right, Jdog ?

      • weinerdog43 says:

        “Why do you feel you should be compensated? Is it someone else’s fault you have debts?”

        If you are speaking about businesses, I completely agree. A business with no debt will do better than one with debt. But if you are speaking about individuals, why should some people or businesses receive a handout and others not?

        If you are going to helicopter money at stuff, at least give people (not business) an equal share.

        • Paul says:

          Well the common argument for compensation is that the government ordered the work stoppage for the common good so they will take responsibility and pay people to stay home. If they do not give an incentive it might be ignored. In the middle ages people were rounded up and held together and fed by the government so there is a precedent.

          First I must say that we all should try to plan to have some safety net. We deprived ourselves of luxuries while the house was paid and sometimes gave up vacations to save for retirement and tried to invest as best we could. The problem is the lack of financial education among the public and the creeping cost of living as we are likely to experience more than a few recessions during our life times some can destroy what was saved.

          If one compares 1929 and now you will find that the top 1% now and then is about the same. So is this equitable distribution or a graduated tax system for everyone? There always will be a group that accumulates more wealth but it would not been so extreme for sometime. The problem with any democratic system is that people in power enact those measure that is favorable to their group. The business groups to the business elite and the populists to the welfare state. It is up to society to find the best mix without destroying each group and their society.

          What can happen now is the dollar can go down and inflation can rise and this will destroy whatever is left of the disappearing middle class.
          Pandemics can change the structure of society so it may bring a more traditional values to the two main parties or some independent may take root. I have read there is a second wave of infection in China and another lock down so we can also be looking at stagflation over a few years.

          Another stupid mega phone announcement. I bet someone is going to shout out the speaker with a paint gun so we can have peace while we are stuck inside.

  6. Thomas Roberts says:

    Considering the many failures that led to this point. The best remaining options would be variations of “controlled burn”. Ideally, the right combination of anti-viral drugs would be discovered, and this would be the main priority. Pumping those out and test kits would be the first priority. Then the lockdown is lifted with the older high risk people and other high risk people remaining in partial lockdown for longer. Sporting events “at least to public” and other very large gatherings “like Disney world” would have to stay closed at least until vaccine is discovered “which if we’re unlucky could be past next year”. Other things like greatly reducing the paperwork nonsense doctors have to do, because, of insurance companies, would also be necessary.

    • Paulo says:

      Thomas, you need to put air travel, mass transit, schools, universities etc on your list. Just saying.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Yeah, it’s going to be a big list. Right now they’re working on wringing the risk out of the “most essential” economy. The kinds of changes you see in supermarkets are going to be applied to everything. Mandatory distances, shields, masks, extra cleanliness all over. Basically rewriting OSHA (US) or equivalent health and safety standards on the fly to cope with this new risk.

        Then there’s another big chunk of the economy that wasn’t drop-dead essential in the crisis, but becomes essential fast if it’s offline for too long. They’ll be getting their turn next.

        Restaurants, bars, live entertainment are all way, way back in the queue.

        Those whose jobs can be mostly done online from the comfort of home, will probably get to stay there for quite a while. Any any jobs that can be reworked to fit that mold, will be.

        • Gordian knot says:

          My son works in medical transport he says there basically a Uber with official looking uniforms and second hand ambulances. They have a hospital contract and they’re in and out of many different facilities and old folks homes. His boss has no mask and says they are on back order. So my son calls OSHA to inform them of who the new super spreaders are going to be. The OSHA guy tells my son where to find the codes requing face masks during pandemics. He shows his boss and his boss furloughs him with pay just to keep him quiet. Still operating without masks. So my wife is a RN in ICU and they don’t have any masks and they are told they will be fired if they wear there own mask. We have plenty being a moderate prepped. So I go online to OSHA s website to print the page on facemask during pandemics so my wife can present it to her supervisor and the page has been taken down. That should let you know who OSHA really represents in shtf moment.

        • MCH says:

          @GK,

          The last part is outrageous, That they will be fired for protecting themselves. I hope the local charities can help, there are groups that are trying to source masks for hospitals.

          The problem is that there are too many scammers and legitimate channels are just too difficult to go through.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Gordian, that’s frightening. I can get the shortage issue, but not allowing people to use “whatever they have” is tantamount to attempted mass murder.

          I hope your wife saves any documentation possible on not being allowed to wear “personal” PPE (as opposed to business-issued PPE). Seems like that’s an excellent class-action lawsuit.

      • Thomas Roberts says:

        I don’t see how it’s possible for cities like nyc and much of the country to function without mass transit.

        • Les Francis says:

          In my city the mass transit systems are near empty. There are more people commuting on bicycles than there are on the train

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          To compensate for the high infection risk from mass-transit, they are going to have to be much more draconian in other areas.

          Within mass transit, they can reduce risk by (a) running only max-length trains (more space per passenger), (b) issuing tickets only based on demonstrated employment need (no tourists, socializers or shoppers – fewer passengers), and so on.

  7. Keepcalmeverythingisfine says:

    Its about to become more about suicide, domestic violence, shortages, and crime too. Protect the elderly and unhealthy, let the young and healthy go back to work, and do it by the end of April or we’ll have a far worse situation on our hands.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Yes, it’s going to be a matter of skating on thin ice, dodging all visible cracks, and hoping for the least-worst outcome.

      • Paul says:

        In China they had mental health call lines with extra staff available around the clock. There were many cases of spousal disputes and divorces.

        Before the lock down the neighbor slipped and fell on the ice while clearing snow. They put a bridge in but his follow-up checkup was cancelled. Same with wife with checkup after minor outpatient surgery and secretary never calls back to send in photo for consult. Friday her primary care physician closed his office. The hospital emergency rooms in 3 areas have a separate entry for regular and co-vid cases.

        Not another megaphone announcement. The wife is telling me not to complain to the mayor as they will likely single me out and ridicule me at the least and she will be abandoned as she is at high risk.

    • tom says:

      I was thinking through Easter. After that, civil disobedience concerns will start to become an issue.

      Originally I believed this to be the new “normal”. But next year there wont be a basement for the kids to move back into. They will be with mom & dad looking for shelter.

    • Bet says:

      Young and healthy. Have you seen the obesity rates? Live in the south? In my former south Texas town bp meds are given in the mid 30’s. San Antonio has a adult diabetes rate at 50%. Maybe this wakes up Americans to how unhealthy we are as a populace

      • Shiloh1 says:

        @keep and @bet, you are both on-point the way I see it too, however it’s been politically incorrect to call out obesity as a health problem in recent years.

      • HotTub Marmalade says:

        Been to a Walmart recently?

        Saw many, many obese people. One OBESE person in particular had a cart full of bread, pasta, white rice, cereal, donuts, and, get this, DIET COKE. Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s the REGULAR soda that’s causing the obesity issues, so let’s get the DIET COKE instead. Good grief.

        • Brian says:

          I don’t like what regular coke does to my teeth. I’ll take the cancer from the Diet Coke instead.

        • polecat says:

          Come come ! Whoever has nary a vice, throw the first Twinky !
          My point being – that No one is prefect .. and yes, that may include you !

          And, when it comes down to virtue signalling, it isn’t just for lowly mopes. We could heap a whole lotta blame on ‘little eddie bernays and madison avenuains’. Merchandising Psychology is a helleva drug !

    • Mike G says:

      My friends in the charity world say domestic violence is ramping up already. If lockdown conditions get tighter like in Europe (e.g. no outdoor activity at all) it will go through the roof.

    • TruckMan says:

      Crime is the big one that really isn’t being considered here. No one in the black economy is being paid or will be eligible for handouts. No one in the criminal economy is getting paid – lockdowns stop prostitution, lots of gambling, and a couple of big busts here in the last week have shown it’s very obvious who the drug dealers are when they are the only vehicle in the parking lot. Burglars are SOOL with everyone home. Everyone in the grey economy has just dropped into poverty. Almost none of the above have any savings.
      I expect looting to start in the worst cities sometime in the next 10 days. It will spread over the next 2 weeks, and the worst cities will get small riots. Have a guess what all that will do to the spread of the virus. Have a guess what will happen to the supply network when trucks start getting held up.

      • paul easton says:

        The opioid economy is inelastic. The dealers will figure out how to operate. But the customers will be like a plague of locusts.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Don’t know any OTR truckers in my actual retirement these days, but did know a lot of them last few decades, some became good friends.
        Point is that ALL of them had serious weapons in their cabs, and were absolutely willing and able and knew how to implement said weapons any time they were challenged, AS it SHOULD be…
        Very bad idea for anyone to try to attack our hero truckers!!
        THEY the ones gonna be bringing us what we NEED, at least for the next several months.
        Please send this to anyone YOU know who might be under some very clearly misunderstanding re ”truckers”…
        thank you

  8. Paulo says:

    Our Province of BC has now entered into a more flattened situation. Our infection increase is down to 2%, and no more ICU beds have been required for Covid 19 patients. There is still close to 5,000 surplus beds in Province should the virus take off again.

    BC residents have been extremely diligent about social distancing and staying at home. There is absolutely no traffic on the roads. The restrictions have been in effect here for 3 weeks, now, and it works. Our early infections arose from returning vacationers from Asia, Iran, and the US. While there has been community transfer, tracking movement and alerting contacts is still possible. The biggest factor was the infection of some Care Homes and assisted living facilities about 2 weeks ago. It is now illegal for workers to be employed at more than one facility.

    Franciso’s comments would better suit Zero Hedge where conspiracy theories abound.

    • Paulo says:

      Reviewing comments I see my complaint was fixed before I even posted. :-) Most appreciated.

    • Mike says:

      I live in BC too, and about to go for a bike ride around the 4 main hospitals.

      They were pretty quiet last week, so curious how it is this week.

      I’ve been fighting a lingering cough the last couple of weeks and have a continuous headache since yesterday.

      My temperature and breathing is normal too, but I’m definitely paranoid..

      I bought a blood oxygen monitor and digital thermometer and check it twice a day (so far so good)

      I’m just worried BC is behind the curve and we’ll start to feel the tsunami of corona complications near end of April or middle May.

      Since this spreads exponentially and people will have complications around the same time, I’m worried physical distancing will only buy us time to help the medical system free up beds.

      It sounds like the hospitals are prepared, and hopefully we are lucky enough that we don’t get impacted.

      • Randall Hooker says:

        Canadians are responsible, compassionate in their behavior toward others and have a sense of national community. A national commonality.
        They bend their personal interests and behavior for the common good.
        Therefore the virus is more containable there.
        There is some logic to that Nationalism in this situation.
        Unfortunately the US has an inverse logic in many regions.

        • HotTub Marmalade says:

          My dad’s side of the family are Canadians. Love Canadians!

          “I’m Glad I Live In Canada”

        • backwardsevolution says:

          Randall Hooker – a sense of national community in Canada? Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, that used to be the case, just as it did in the U.S., but we are now no different than the U.S. is.

        • andy says:

          Canadians are responsible for what exactly? What am I missing? Penicillin discovery or something?

        • Canadian says:

          Canada? Unified in a national community?

          You could have fooled me. The country is always a referendum vote away from dissolution.

  9. timbers says:

    The internets say China owes us $20 Trillion because it’s their fault. I think that would be $200,000,000.00 for every family but after Wall Street takes it’s share maybe about $20.00

    • andy says:

      Why can’t we outsourse dollars printing to China too. It’s a win win, and cost efficient. There is a Netflix movie about that already.

  10. Joe Lalonde says:

    College and Universities are really pushing hard for bailout monies too. They have a great many contracts and fixed expenses and with the huge EI claims, the individual states are in trouble.

    • Canadian says:

      Colleges and universities went parabolic with insane staff growth.

      My alma mater, which I graduated from in theate 1990s, has gone from a gorgeous wooded campus to an absolute monstrosity. The trees were all torn down to build fancy glass palaces festooned with the names of donors and former presidents of the school.

      The number of buildings on campus has doubled even as the student population has remained flat. I’d imagine the square footage per student has more than doubled.

      All those buildings have high fixed costs. No wonder tuition plus room and board has gone past $80K per year. Totally unsustainable.

      • Jeff T. says:

        Maybe the “business” of education will be the next brick and mortar disaster?

        • polecat says:

          Academia looks to have shot it’s wad .. first, on extravagance, then second, on social justice virtue signaling.

          They will now have to reap their ‘rewards’. I do not pity them.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          I really do hope SO!!
          My apt, right across from campus in 69-70, was $50 per month for spacious ”studio”… now $2500++,,,
          My only fee was ”student privileges”, about $300 per 1/4
          Now, similar to rent,,,
          fee/etc. are SO far out in the atmosphere that no one with any ability to reason would take on the debt, now not reducible in any way, to go to the best public universities in the world, not to mention others not so high on the world list…
          Time and enough for ALL universities of the first rank to re examine ALL policies and, once again, to focus on giving the very best education possible to all the best folks who apply and continue to do their best, with, or in spite of the best efforts of the institution.

        • paul easton says:

          @ VintageVNvet
          I know what you mean. I live in Hartford CT, which is very lower class, due to white flight to the suburbs. But I like to visit Trinity College here, and pretend that I am rich. The point is that as the population has bifurcated into lower and upper class without much middle, the better schools felt it necessary to go with the uppers.

        • Paul says:

          the business is foreign students… the Saudis left after a flap but the Asian student population has exploded here in Montreal Canada compared to years ago.

    • timbers says:

      Maybe colleges and universities should issue stock in Mexican Pesos then buy back the shares and put the Pesos AND stock shares up for collateral to the various stealth Fed bailout programs and get twice the bailout and best part is this won’t even be called a bailout.

    • Shiloh1 says:

      The high-priced college financialization bubble is another example of a long-overdue collapse.

    • Les Francis says:

      Universities and Colleges have been relying for too long on foreign students and their money.
      They’re gone and wont be back for a long time if at all.

    • andy says:

      LSU recently built a ‘lazy river’ on campus that spells LSU. It’s good for students emotional wellbeing. Let’s all chip in.

  11. Iamafan says:

    Hopefully, these scientists know what they are talking about since life ain’t just a petri dish. No wonder they are not elected just like economists at the Fed.

    • timbers says:

      Our Petri dish is Earth. Humans are the culture. The Human virus/infection will run it’s course in it’s Petri dish just like any other. The size and time line are just different.

      • paul easton says:

        This is the materialist point of view. The spiritual view is that we have a higher purpose. The materialists think they are supported by science, but in fact physics is radically incomplete.

        • VintageVnvet says:

          Good post Paul,,, I have been trying, ( without regard to any results, including ones I wish for,) to take this exact concept of our best current physics actually doing more to support the concepts of the ancient yogi types, etc., or close, to many of my friends in the various fields of science, hard, social, and hopeful,,, just trying to get them to understand the very clear difference between science and scientific method, and ,,,, ””” hope”’, etc.
          Many, in spite of their extensive training in science, etc., do not seem to understand the difference between, ”what we want to see, ” ” hope “” and what is.
          And, intended for the amusement of WS readers, and especially “Petunia”,,, my cuz sent me a subscription to a magazine 40 or 50 years ago,,, (before net) titled something like ”’xxx skeptical..xx” (sorry i do not remember exactly),, I sent it back to him with comment that they just had another ”belief system”,,,
          and thus, we must try to get beyond all such and get down to ” Holy Moly, Mr. Roly Poly,”

      • paul easton says:

        Spacetime isn’t exactly an illusion, but also it isn’t exactly real. as shown by the “spooky action at a distance” demanded by quantum entanglement. It is only part of the story,

        • paul easton says:

          the part where we happen to live. What if you lived in the other part? Would you even believe we existed? We would seem to be spooky and weird.

  12. Optimist_Tim says:

    I went to buy groceries and the store had a guard posted at the entrance. Everyone had to line up 6 feet (2m) apart and one person could go in when another left. All the checkouts had large shields to protect them from customers.

    Canadian banks offered to lower credit card rates to 10.9% but people need to call them, so take advantage if you can.

    All the groceries I buy are priced the same or lower, so at least that isn’t an issue yet in Alberta, Canada.

    • Canadian says:

      “lower credit card rates to 10.9%”

      Borrow money from the Bank of Canada at 0%, generously lend it to Canadians at 11%, and pat yourself on the back for how magnanimous you are.

      What a time to be alive. What a hilariously ridiculous system.

      • Zantetsu says:

        I’m pretty sure a big part of that markup is because credit card debt is defaulted on with great frequency. If people didn’t default on credit card debt, the interest rates would be much lower.

        • NewGuy says:

          You hit the nail on the head Zan. When my father died, he owed 12k on credit cards and 18k in taxes. He had $750 in a checking account. That’s it. I sent the death certificate to the Feds and credit companies and never heard a thing back.

        • Kent says:

          @NewGuy,

          So some set of banks looked at your father’s age and income and determined it would be fine to lend him $12k, with a high probability of default, and still maximize their profit. That shows you how much those banks make off of credit cards.

        • Zantetsu says:

          You have it backwards, Kent. If banks could predict with 100% certainty who would default and who would not then of course they would just never lend to those who would default. Since they can’t know, some percentage of people (like NewGuy’s dad) are going to default. Because of that, the interest rates have to reflect the average rate of default so that the companies overall can make money.

          Essentially, high risk borrowers are bearing the cost of being high risk. That’s the reason that the interest rates are so high.

          There may be some argument to be made that it would be better for it to be illegal for people to borrow at high interest rates; that rule would protect people from themselves. But then you’d have people – many being the same ones right now complaining about high interest rates on credit cards – complaining about how unfair it is that these high risk borrowers don’t get to have credit cards like lower risk people.

        • Canadian says:

          Canadian banks are pretty stringent in their lending criteria. It isn’t quite the cowboy show that is US “what’s in your wallet” aggressive subprime lending.

      • Brant Lee says:

        It’s like an end-of-world sale. Easy credit.

        • Paul says:

          I know of a company called goeasy that says 12-15% charge-offs they claim will be stable through the credit cycle and still be profitable on unsecured loans. Time will tell as it is down some 47% from its peak.

          So the credit card co. know their risks. MasterCard is down 36% maybe not enough as it early on this crisis

    • timbers says:

      Recently placed my usual order at Eden Foods, an organic food company in Wisconsin. Mostly organic beans and dry goods boxed/canned. My usual order quantity is now called “hoarding” by many but thankfully not by them. I just always order at the level to attain free shipping. Anyway to my point: They have a message blazed on their site that their orders are 20 times normal, so please be patient. But…so many others are sold out.

      • Juanfo says:

        Costco down here last Wednesday: no bleach, no rice, no tp, no eggs and a quarter mile line of cars at the gate. Strange days.

  13. Wolf Richter says:

    Just received this press release from Los Angeles County in my inbox (I get these once a day): Number of deaths in LA in one day spiked to 28, up from 11 yesterday:

    For Immediate Release:
    April 4, 2020
    Los Angeles County Announces 28 New Deaths Related to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    711 New Cases of Confirmed COVID-19 in Los Angeles County

    LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed 28 new deaths and 711 new cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Twenty-one of the people who died had underlying health conditions and 17 people were over the age of 65. Two individuals over the age of 65 who died did not have underlying health conditions. Nine people who died were between the ages of 18 and 65; six people who died in this age group had underlying health conditions. Two deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach. Over the last 48 hours, there have been 1238 new cases.

    To date, Public Health has identified 5277 cases across all areas of LA County, including 117 deaths. As of today, 1168 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (22% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. Testing capacity continues to increase in LA county, with almost 29,000 individuals tested and 14% of people testing positive.

    “This is the most dramatic increase in deaths we have seen since the COVID-19 crisis began, and our condolences go out to each and every person impacted by these heartbreaking losses,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      711 new cases is a bad sign for LA. They had been holding the line at ~500 new cases per day for almost a week. They just pulled behind in the race with the Bay Area, and now they may start getting lapped.

      On the other hand, there were little wavelets in the data for Spain and Italy too. Maybe the infection just took off in a new part of town.

    • TownNorth says:

      And LA is very locked down. I don’t know how it could be more so… Mayor Garcetti told us to wear face masks when outside as of Wednesday. We are about 2 weeks ahead of what CT is doing.

      Virtually no one on the streets and those that are out are almost all masked and gloved. Many people wearing sunglasses for eye protection on top of masks. Vast majority of restaurants are completely closed, just a few open for take out. Freeways like the 101, usually a parking lot, are empty. Parks, trails and beaches closed for almost 2 weeks now.

  14. R2D2 says:

    The way to exit is “hammer and dance”.

    Hammer it down in ~2 months, with hard lockdown.

    Dance with it for the next ~10 months, by soft lockdown.

    Once the daily new infections fall from the peak, you do a phased return to work. The first 33% (like banks), then the next 33% (like retailers), then the final 33% (like schools).

    Then, you test, treat, trace and trap (4 Ts) 100% of everyone, like China and Korea. Billions of tests, week after week. No relenting.

    Everyone must wear a (clean) surgical mask outside their home, 100% of the time, until at least 2021. No excuses.

    By summer 2020, good treatments may (may) be confirmed (e.g. Ivermectin, CQ, HCQ, etc.).

    By 2021, there may (may) be a partial or semi vaccine, but not a full one.

    Hammer and dance. Perhaps for the next 30 years — like the HIV virus.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Unfortunately I don’t see anyone other than maybe China having a hammer.

      In terms of return-to-work, no way I’d send banksters back to work right away. They need to take the heat for utterly failing to build any resilience into the financial system. Those who lived inside a house of cards shouldn’t get to move back in when it collapses. In any case, New York City is so infected that it will take much longer there than anywhere else to bring the number of cases down to a level where “dance” is an option there.

      The growth curve was an exponential. So is the decay curve.

      In my book, first to go back are the farm workers who were taken offline. Produce has to be produced somehow, or we all starve. And it has to be delivered, so we need the supporting businesses up too.

      I universities should come ahead of a lot of other work. Universities can get massive numbers of lower-risk young people through the controlled burn without hitting the hospitals too hard. That gives you the most community immunity for the least amount of mortality. And it provides a fully-immune work force ready to go next year.

      • Brant Lee says:

        Wisdom Seeker. Thank you for your work. Very informative and rational articles.

      • Tom Pfotzer says:

        Well done, Wisdom Seeker. Great contribution, and thank you.

        Using the universities as a very interesting case study, it seems that this is an industry that may have structural change thrust upon it, and quickly.

        Many schools that are still operating are using distance learning.

        There is no alternative, so the normal social and political resistance is not present/strong.

        A lot of overhead -may- be shown to be unproductive. Will people continue to pay $50K a year to attend a school from their basement “study nook”?

        There may be a number of other industries facing this sort of shift.

        Food service, entertainment, travel. Commercial real estate. Offices-no-more, commute-no-more. Road construction. Just to name a few of the obvious.

        If you could re-design the settlement pattern of people, and the distribution and nature of production today, and didn’t have the boat-anchor of “existing investment” to constrain your design…

        What would your new economic functions, physical distribution of those functions, and human roles-in-production look like?

        Is it time to think about this?

        • Kent says:

          Great comment.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          Awesome comment. I need time to think things through, but I’ll give this some thought for my hopefully-next article.

          One quick thought – I hope new construction and new processes are designed to reduce infection risks. If the virus turns into a new sort of seasonal flu, more infectious and more deadly, but maybe not as bad as this first pandemic, then we absolutely need that. On the other hand, if this turns out to be a one-off, I don’t know if it will trigger that level of change. But the same approach could shut down influenza too and that alone would save tens of thousands of lives (and FTEs in productivity as well) per year.

      • polecat says:

        Wisdom seeker. Agree with the above, with one caveat. Make it manditory that Agro-bidness cannot, by penalty of pain-of-imprisonment for top management, continue to take advantage .. through wage arbitrage .. of field workers.
        I would gladly pay a higher price for my lettuce, if it meant clean, safe, working conditions for those picking the crop !
        This of course, would have to be predicated on a truly ‘fuctional’ national guestworker/immigration policy(ies).

        • VintageVNvet says:

          TOTALLY agree with most of your comment, but with one huge exception:
          Many of us in various places voted with our feet, marches, and boycotts, to support Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers back in the 60-70s era…
          And my many driving trips though the Salinas Valley in the last few years, seeing every harvest area clogged with individual cars and pick up trucks, as opposed to the few buses that were in the exact same places in my late 60s drives though the very same area, makes me very hopeful that ALL agricultural workers will be members of that union, and also that that union will do their very best to ensure THE best PPE and other, similar, protections for all the folks working on our foods everywhere.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Old and fixed-income retired with higher-priced lettuce means no lettuce at all.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Lisa_Hooker,

          Michael Gorback, who comments here and has published a few articles on this site, and who is a physician, grows his own lettuce in his attic, I think. You might want to ask him about it.

        • polecat says:

          Uhg ! … ‘functional’

      • paul easton says:

        Wisdom seeker you seem to assume that someone rational will be in charge. But authoritarians are in charge and they only empathize with other authoritarians. It will get even worse when we go to military law.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        WS – enjoy immensely what you write. Do we have any evidence that the decay curve will be symmetric? I expect a long heavy tail that might start up again long before it nears zero.

      • Paul says:

        @Wisdom Seeker is there someway to identify the most population dense areas?
        I’m thinking that might be predict of the crisis areas.

        • p coyle says:

          as an example:

          “siri, how do i identify the most population dense areas?”

          thats how. other companies have similar programs. YMMV

      • A Citizen says:

        Got news for ya. The Mrs. and I both work in financial services – she in mortgage services technology and I as a tech for a major broker dealer. We’re working from home from the git-go. I’ve been doing so for six weeks, logging vast amounts of overtime with the rest of my team trying to keep your accounts in good order.

        And I’m starting to take great umbrage to all the “bankster” comments.

  15. Tony says:

    I have a question. The FAA reports that roughly 2.7 million airplane passengers daily who travel during standard operation. Now that’s globally…the first case was reported back in Wuhan on December 31st. That means that roughly 2.7 million people multiplied by roughly 30 days (time the virus traveled globally before travel bans) = 80 million people traveling the globe after the fact. I know the 2.7 million travelers is inflated because those aren’t just travelers coming out of Wuhan. I live in California right in Silicon Valley, which is mostly a melting pot. I would almost be sure the numbers would be SIGNIFICANTLY more cases/deaths but we’re only reporting roughly 270ish deaths. That is kind of odd to me. This virus should have hit U.S. soil way earlier than 30 days, right? Their should be more deaths, considering how “contagious” they’re making it seem. I’m not spewing hoax either. Just saying…the data seems convoluted like it’s almost trying to find a “leak in a roof”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Tony,

      Don’t worry. This is just the beginning.

      In LA, 28 deaths reported in one day today. Yesterday it was 11 deaths. A few days ago, it was in the single digits. Can’t you see the trend?

      • Tony says:

        Don’t you feel like we’re all just watching a scoreboard though? Everyday my girlfriend is checking “oh, let me check the cases/deaths today” It’s making her frantic. I get it. People are dying. Isn’t there ramifications for just to keep on reporting negative news 24/7? I’ve lived long enough. I remember my mom telling me not to go outside because african killer bees will get me or watch out for mosquitoes because they transmit swine flu.

        On the CDC’s website they’re giving two scenarios of the sources of the virus. One: that the virus was already among us and it just mutated. Two: the virus came from some sort of an anteater like animal.

        and have you also not seen WHO Senior Representative even acknowledge that question about Taiwan’s membership in WHO?

        Who do we trust in this whole crisis? I’m going cross-eyed. I’m quarantining and following the rules, sitting with spoonfuls of internet information.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Hey Tony, you have to realize that there were very few cases in Wuhan, so most of the travelers were perfectly healthy, right up until the travel ban turned on. With the virus growing exponentially and doubling every few days, that means half of the total cases would have sprouted in the 3-4 days right before the travel ban. Before then, not too many. So you kind of want to work out how many went out from Wuhan each day prior to the travel ban, multiply that by about 5, and that’s how many travel risk there was. Then you have to look at caseload in Wuhan at that time, maybe 1 in 1000 people had it. So not too many travelers would have carried it out. That’s why it took a month to really sprout up elsewhere – there were only a few infected in each destination city reached from Wuhan.

      You could ballpark an estimate for Wuhan’s airport by figuring they maybe do 10-20 flights per hour, 15 hours per day, maybe 100-200 people per flight. Most of those within China, but maybe 10% ending up international. So maybe 1500 people per day leaving Wuhan, maybe 10,000 total during the time when it was most infected, maybe 10-100 of those being carriers of the virus. But that’s all it takes once they start spreading it elsewhere.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        A report I saw today at an Asian news site indicated 430,000 people flew from China to USA between virus first reported in Wuhan and air travel shut down.
        Still a long way to go everywhere other than Italy and Spain until peaks reached, likely a month or so in USA,,, more in some parts of ”fly over” areas, etc., that are just starting to find virus now.

        • Escierto says:

          I was one of those 430,000. I got sick shortly after I arrived back in the US and infected ten other people in my extended family. Of course I wasn’t tested until March 19 but by then I had long since recovered. I believe that there are thousands maybe tens of thousands like me.

        • NewGuy says:

          Yes. This virus is going to drag out a long time. The financial damage is going to be huge, even if people are allowed back to work in some localities and professions. Look at China. 5 months from start to finish and they had a total lockdown in Wuhan.

        • Boomer says:

          See Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

          “Coronavirus: The California Herd”

          Many unanswered questions

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          @VintageVW – yes but only a handful of those people had been through Wuhan and picked up COVID. The rest brought home all the usual viruses.

  16. Wisoot says:

    Thanks Wisdom Seeker. You wrote “Some things are clear: The recovered cases can get back to normal.”

    What evidence have you found that supports this statement?

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Well, the gene sequencing indicates that it’s not mutating fast, so far anyway. And they are using serum antibody therapy in China to help heal some of the sick, which tends to imply that immunity is possible.

      Of course, not everyone is going to recover fully, but I was thinking more about the 80-90% who never have to go into a hospital. I suppose some might not have been infected enough to build proper immunity.

      I know there are some weird stories out of China about how people were positive, tested negative, got released, then dropped dead. We’re hearing a different batch of weird stories about Chinese test kits being badly faulty. So I’m working off the hypothesis that poor choices were being made algorithmically off of faulty data. That seems a lot more plausible than that this virus somehow has an ability to reinfect people in a way that other pathogens can’t.

      But I confess I’d love to have better data to support that idea!

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        Speaking of support… NY Times has article today on Italy wrestling with the immunity question.

        see http://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/04/world/europe/italy-coronavirus-antibodies.html

        And Sacramento Bee has an article indicating that Gov. Newsom thinks that Stanford’s serum-antibody test is likely to get government approval soon. Leading to possibility of confirmed-recoveries being able to get back to work with presumed immunity.

        See http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article241774351.html

        Now you ask, will we have ironclad scientific proof that these people are 100% immune? No. But we’re going to have to get people working and these are almost certainly going to be the ones at lowest risk. It’s a wartime scenario, we won’t be able to wait a decade for the scientists to sort out the last decimals on the research stats. We’ll just have to try it, and then see how it works out. In a few months, we’ll know if it was the right choice.

        • MC01 says:

          The antibody serum testing has been seized upon by politicians to peddle a completely fanciful scheme to test “all the population” and allow those with antibodies to get back to work. At last check Italy had a population of 62 million. Lombardy alone, the worst affected but most industrialized area, has a population of about 9 million plus over a million migrant workers who are presently stuck in their homes down South or abroad. How long to test them all? What if only 5% of the workforce has the needed antibodies? And what if the vaccine turns out to be a dud? Precisely.

          The antibody serum test presently being carried out by the University of Pavia is part of the experimental/emergency plasma infusion project to identify as many potential blood donors as possible. It will probably be expanded this week to other hospitals, again on a limited and experimental basis.

          At this point I suspect the short-term strategy we are developing at local level is the most cost-effective: facemasks and gloves (until the latter run out) for everybody, a containment plan for the isolated cases and clusters of cases that will emerge over the next few months and, much more critically, hope the government in Rome has emerged from under the bed and will start behaving like an adult and not a terrified 5-year old with too much power.

      • covid_doc says:

        Long time lurker, first time poster here
        I am a Hospitalis physician in the greater Boston area. I have been assigned the ‘covid ward’ for the past few days. I am finding that the qPCR test being used to diagnose COVID-19 gives a few false negative results. This is consistent with what was reported out of China as well. So the results of the people who tested negative, went home, and later died of COVID-19, were likely false negatives. There is a pattern with this illness where some patients seem to have mild symptoms until about 10 days, and then take a dramatic turn for the worse. I have a couple of them on my service. I suspect that is what may have happened in the cases you referenced.

        The recovered cases go back to normal, unless they need prolonged ventilation, in which case there may be residual pulmonary fibrosis.

  17. RealisticOptimist says:

    Thanks for the article. The solution certainly lies somewhere… we need more antibody and general population testing so the data makes the best plan more clear.

    Our biggest problem today is flying blind thus shutting everything down for now. With more info, I won’t be surprised if we find a very good solution. We are approaching peak mass pessism in the next 2 weeks, and I am starting to feel optimistic. Its not going to be an easy road but we will pave a long term path to normalcy.

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      “The solution certainly lies somewhere…”

      Your pseudonym suits that assertion.

      There are problems without solutions. Eliminating the fallout from pandemics is one of them.

  18. Rcohn says:

    The Bay Area has 2.34% of total US population.
    Extrapolating from CDC influenza stats for the year 2019-2020.
    Yields 13,200 influenza hospitalizations and over 1,000 deaths just from the flu in the Bay Area.
    Obviously the effects from Covid-19 are still mounting , but so far the numbers in the Bay Area look to be no where near those of the flu. Probably the shelter at home policy has reduced the effects of Covid-19, but at what cost.
    Like Covid-19 , flu mortality is overwhelmingly among those over 70 and especially over 80 . Health conditions increase mortality even more
    So the focus should be on those over 60 and those with health conditions.
    We need to closely segregate those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities . We need to continue the closing of events drawing large crowds .
    But we also need to let small businesses reopen. There has been economic devastation in this area that will not be helped by government loans. And economic stress has significant delayed health costs , including drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide.
    Maybe rules on space between tables need to be imposed. Maybe stores will be forced to limit the number of shoppers at any one time, like COSTCO,but the current regimen is only creating massive future unrest as many feel that government programs overwhelmingly favor those connected and those on Wall St.

    • wkevinw says:

      As usual, people think history started the day they were born.

      The country weathered 1918 flu and polio (among others, e.g. malaria).

      There was even social distancing before!

      History rhymes.

      Somebody, the POTUS + team, will have a hard decision to make between economy and public health. It’s very unlikely they will wait until zero covid cases to unlock the economy.

      It may be a new awakening of more local control: federal govt gives recommendations, and the local governments take responsibility. Imagine that.

      • Finster says:

        Besides pandemic, the country has also weathered the collapse of financial bubbles before, e.g. 1929, 2008 … but I can’t think of any instance it has had to weather both at the same time!

        • wkevinw says:

          Finster- “1929” – the depression was a decade+ of bad events like stock market crashes, dust bowls, trade wars, poor international banking decisions, European political issues (left over from WWI).

          Lots of things have gone wrong at the same time before in history.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Rcohn, yeah, that’s exactly what everyone’s trying to figure out. But keep in mind that in New York right now, COVID isn’t just the leading daily cause of death, it’s literally lapping the sum total of the other causes of death all put together. The same was true in Milan and in Wuhan. Flu never does that – except in 1919. So we really can’t go back to business as usual.

      Isolating the elderly really isn’t possible. People have to take care of them, and have to interact with them. We absolutely need to cut the risk in those processes, because nursing home and hospital outbreaks are the most devastating.

      About 10-20% of the workforce is over age 60 and not able to retire. We can’t just tell them all to stay home, but we can’t let them work in the risky old ways either.

      We absolutely need to get businesses back up and running again, with new rules to limit the spreading. But we also have to be confident that when we do that, we aren’t going to unleash another nightmare like New York is facing.

      New York, with its high population density and unavoidable crowding, should maybe be the last place to reopen.

      But rural America should be able to keep humming, provided everyone learns the new, safe ways of interacting. Face masks, gloves, hand washing, contamination control protocols for any items being exchanged… it’s not hard but it requires retraining and awareness. And that takes time and leadership.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        “Isolating the elderly really isn’t possible.”

        IMO, that needs to be qualified. It is possible for those of us who have “prepped”, but it doesn’t hold if we get sick and require care outside the home – the norm in today’s centralized health care system.

        However one of the improvements (IMO) in our local rural health care system is that our local clinic is starting telemedicine and (hopefully), this will be permanent. There are problems yet to be solved – self administered collection of blood for lab work, for example, or, alternative diagnostic procedures with corresponding comprehensiveness and accuracy.

        Also, one can hope that care-at-home increasingly shrinks nursing homes.

      • Phil says:

        When in history have Americans rioted during a crisis? Which Americans are we expecting to riot, can we be clear about these predictions?

    • Stephen says:

      Unfortunately, it has not become apparent quite yet that closing down the main street economy was a really stupid idea. Depending on how long this goes on, it will apparent within a year that the stunning poverty and civil unrest will not have been worth it. The government checks are just pixie dust being thrown to the workers. I worked at home even before this crisis started, but believe me, no one at my ‘Big 4’ IT consulting firm feels that their jobs are safe. We realize that our clients are or will soon be experiencing financial stress, and they will start canceling lucrative contracts. We will not be retained at anywhere near our current salaries, and I doubt we will be retained at all!

      The economy must be restarted very soon or financial/economic disaster will eventually take down the health care system and every industry in America. We must use a more realistic strategy, namely, isolate the most vulnerable and make anti-viral treatments as wide spread as possible. Shutting down a national economy was never a good choice as people will start to see in retrospect.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        +1

      • nick kelly says:

        ‘and make anti-viral treatments as wide spread as possible’

        There isn’t one.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          There are a bunch of antiviral drugs in use for various other viruses. It’s probably true that one of those, or a combination of antiviral and other medications could greatly reduce severity of CCP Coronavirus, enough that the fatality rate plummets, but, in order to figure out, which, in a very short time, will require human guinea pig volunteers.

        • Lance Manly says:

          Thomas, where is your PhD in molecular biology from?

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          That’s right, there isn’t a proven antiviral treatment yet. We have some prospects. But half the hype about those is from people stuck in the “bargaining” stage of grief, IMHO.

          Given the history of antivirals, nothing will be 100% effective, and hope is not a plan. So we need to plan as though we don’t have a treatment, while testing every possible treatment as quickly as possible.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Lance Manly,

          Where is your Phd in molecular biology from?

          I didn’t say it was absolutely true. Mainly, there is a good possibility existing antivirals or medications might work.

          In this whole situation, it’s not only a medical situation, but, a political one. The fact that there is elections this year, can easily change the government’s entire strategy to dealing with the CCP Coronavirus, just as much as the medical reality. It also changes what paths are chosen and what is discovered. What’s discovered, changes what experts and those with Phd’s think of the entire situation.

          Obviously, every country with major pharmaceutical research capability has its own situation, but, they all influence each other and America is by far the largest in this field.

        • Dan Romig says:

          I would bet that fungi which are used to produce to produce Cyclosporine A (CsA), which is calcineurin inhibitor, are being looked at. This is produced by Tricoderma polysporum, and it activates T cells in the immune system.

          Immunosuppressant compounds from Tolypocladium inflatum and Cylindrocarpon lucidum are used in organ transplants to prevent rejection are also probably being looked at.

          Mushrooms and fungi are one of the last frontiers that humans are investigating.

          My late father had a PhD in plant pathology, and many of the pathogens affecting agricultural crops are from fungi. When we started our wheat seed genetics company, our first success came from adapting northern plains hard red spring wheat varieties that were susceptible to Fusarium in Minnesota and the Dakotas, and testing, selecting and producing them for the south Texas wheat market where there was virtually no infection pressure.

        • Dan Romig says:

          gotta proof read better …

      • Trent says:

        unless you didn’t want anyone at the store while you robbed it

    • MCH says:

      One thing I think Newsom deserves credit for is how fast he started to lock things down, what I can’t believe is that there are still states that haven’t implemented this yet.

      The spacing rules… I am curious how they are applied in nationwide chains like Walmart, Costco, and WF….

  19. Mars says:

    Perhaps we will have a COVID-19 antibody checkbox on our driver’s license or passport: + or –

    Building $3000/month apartments is deemed “essential” for my employer, approved by all authorities having jurisdiction who collect our taxes.

    It’s back to work for me next week. If I shelter-in-place as my own choice I risk immediate furlough. I have broken all physical contact with family and live in a rental unit I own for the meantime.

    I wonder if the owner’s pro-forma includes a pandemic scenario…no income, nobody moving, 40% small business failure, 12% unemployment, occupancy rate 50% or worse, etc, ;)

    Several contractors have reported positive test results performed on crew members (none in contact allowed back for 14 days, none hospitalized and all positives self-quarantined). We have IR temp scan at entrances, CDC docs and guidelines.

    All corporate lawyer approved…

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Friend in PA, a senior job site Superintendent was furloughed, called back to complete extension of mask manufacturer’s facility he had been supervising/organizing for months , then stopped again when the company’s insurance agent said too dangerous.
      Tried to be encouraging and told him it will take some time for all the liability issues/sequences etc., to be ironed out.
      We really do need to get the majority of working folks back to work and ASAP.

  20. Petunia says:

    What I’m reading here is the biggest bunch of BS. It sounds like progressive propaganda 101. I’m checking out until the hysteria abates.

    • tom says:

      Not sure how long ago I found this site. I found a few of Wolfs articles
      and like reading just the numbers. The comment section is even better.
      Its a different world from what I live. I’m mom & pop redneck flyover
      business owner. I think there was a poster on here who swore we all live in moby’s with 85$K trucks in the yard! I know the ground chatter were I live.
      Its nice to read how others are processing it. But you are correct. Its time to call it a night, and make a couple of old fashions.

    • Brant Lee says:

      Petunia,
      Don’t check out when we need you most. I enjoy your comments.

    • lenert says:

      Nah, progressive would be providing migrant pickers with citizenship, housing and healthcare because when they get sick, most Americans will surely die having to pick their own produce under those working conditions.

      • California Bob says:

        Very true. Back when I was in high school, ca. 1970, word went around you could make ‘big money’ picking grapes. So, myself and some friends got a ‘job’ picking grapes; pay was per produce crate, something like $0.40/crate. I worked for an hour, filled one crate, and threw in the towel. Between the heat, the dust and the wasps among the vines it was a terrible experience; the migrant workers could fill a crate in about 10 minutes and got a good laugh at my expense. If Americans knew just how difficult, and essential, these workers are they might be more realistic about ‘illegals.’ Maybe when a head of lettuce costs $10 they’ll get the message.

        Lest I get labeled a ‘bleeding-heart liberal,’ I’m not for allowing a flood of undocumented across the border–we can’t even house many of our own citizens–but there should be a middle ground and a more humane immigration policy. Great countries solve problems, and we’ve done it before:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracero_program

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Petunia, I’m the farthest thing from progressive. Back in the days when Denninger was hot, I was on his site, and I wrote slogans for one of the first “Tea Party” protests after Congress and the banksters robbed the nation blind with TARP.

      But I’ve done enough homework to learn the bitter logic of pandemics, and I can do data and math. I don’t see any ways out of this other than what’s in the article. I would absolutely love to be wrong.

    • Trent says:

      I concur Petunia.

  21. Boatwright says:

    Two points:

    The reason we have never seen a vaccine for the “common cold” is because there are over a hundred basic varieties of cold virus, some stable like measles and some that mutate like flu. Simply not practical to vaccinate.

    Happily progress is being made on Covid 19 vaccines. Other countries that more wisely anticipated the possible need are much farther along in vaccine development. Australia is reported to be ready to begin Stage 1 human trials.

    This also brings to mind the Salk polio vaccine. I was in second grade when the first round of human tests began. The country was so terrified by polio that our school was one of the first in the country to receive the vaccine. Parents, mine included, willingly signed us kids up to be test subjects not knowing the risks. Such experiment would be unthinkable today. However considering how bad things are we might be ready to tell the lawyers to shove it and go ahead with accelerated testing.

    Also, we seem to be on the path of keeping the economy functioning and businesses and families from going broke by sending everyone a check. I have seen very little discussion about supply constraints. If only a few people are working, supplies will sooner or later (IMO sooner) start to become scarce. The only solution that seems practical is strictly enforced WWII style rationing. Today, there is no sign of any planning or that the subject is even being discussed.

    Guess we’re going to sit around waiting for things to magically get better when the weather warms up or something, or maybe put Jared in charge. That’s the ticket.

    • Phil says:

      Is there anywhere in America where production and distribution of necessities is shut down, e.g. farming, food packaging & production, trucking, grocery stores?

      Where I am the grocery stores probably just had their most profitable month ever, and sales at liquor stores are 40% higher than normal.

  22. Marc says:

    Hi all,

    Sorry to have to point this out but the idea that only those over 60 and with previous conditions are at risk of death is just not true. It seems really strange but depending on an individuals personal DNA profile seems to also have an effect on just how vulnerable you may or may not be to serious issues. In the UK we have had children as young as 13 as well as people in their 30’s and no previous health conditions die so not just the old or weakened.

    Another point I would like to make is whilst many seem to quote a mortality rate of 2% or under this is not what I am seeing play out in the UK. Over the last two weeks coming on for three weeks on Monday I have watched the mortality rate go from 2-3% to now over 10% and these are only from government figures of people who have been tested and there are more people that have reported symptoms but not been tested that are not included in these numbers.

    On a local level I live in NW London and in my borough over the same period I have seen the numbers rise from 28 cases to 589 as of toady. The same huge rise in numbers seems to be happening in other areas to. Social distancing and lock downs are being enforced and most people seem to comply of course you always get some people that think they know better and are invincible.

    On another note I had a Hospital appointment that was cancelled on Friday and it has been rescheduled for August. Maybe they know something most don’t but that seems more that just a couple of months more lock down ahead of us as that’s 4 months away.

    • intosh says:

      Very good points. Some kids have died and many infected young adults have had to go through their worst nightmare of suffering before recovering.

      So it’s simplistic and naive to just say let the young go back to work. How many are willing to take the risk?

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      ” … watched the mortality rate go from 2-3% to now over 10% and these are only from government figures of people who have been tested and there are more people that have reported symptoms but not been tested that are not included in these numbers.”

      If all the untested asymptomatic or mild cases had been tested and the results included in the government figures, would not the mortality rate be lower? Maybe much lower?

      • Phil says:

        Sure it could be lower and almost certainly is, however we as a society don’t simply react as a bunch of individuals responding to our own slice of risk. It’s not that simple. And if hospitals are filling up with sick people of all ages, it’s obviously enough of a societal risk that people will change behavior, ie hide out at home, regardless of commands from on high.

  23. Javert Chip says:

    Defeating COVID-19 will undoubtedly be a good thing caused by some impressive scientific achievements.

    However, if the world doesn’t have the intellectual honesty to figure out where this came from & how it first got transmitted, democratic nations (who care about population losses) may be at risk of authoritarian nations (China comes to mind) threatening to dump multiple versions of this killer loose on the western world.

    • IronForge says:

      We have the Meds, we have the VitC, and we have Plasma from the Recovered.

      Surprised how the FDA sat on approving Plasma Therapies until this Week when CHN have been using them for Months.

      We don’t need the Fancy Applications – a Simple Transfusion between tested Relatives(Younger-and-probably-recovered-with-minor-effects to Older) probably could have saved dozens of lives in the ICU.

      • MC01 says:

        Plasma transfusion is not a “miracle cure” but it’s not even the fanciful idea many believed. It’s been tested at the University Hospital in Pavia with encouraging results (that’s why the FDA approved it) but everybody needs to remember it’s a desperate measure for desperate times. Plasma is available right now while specific anti-viral drugs may not be available for years, if ever.

        The antibody serum tests our politicians jumped upon for their ridiculous ends are presently being used to identify more possible donors to expand the experimental/emergency plasma infusion program, not to prove cockamamie theories about asymptomatic carriers or whatever.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        @IronForge – you can’t mass produce plasma therapy until you have a meaningful number of recovered patients who are healthy enough to donate blood. Earlier approval by the FDA wouldn’t have saved many people.

        As we get meaningful numbers of recovered patients, though, plasma therapy has a good shot at saving hundreds or thousands of lives among the infected. That could be the point where we finally get to restart the full economy, because people will have some confidence that they can beat this thing if they accidentally get infected at work.

        • Paul says:

          Do you have an opinion how soon these developments will be out? I found them on EurekAlert

          News Release 2-Apr-2020
          Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues

          ‘There is hope for this horrible pandemic,’ says UBC scientist Dr. Josef Penninger

          University of British Columbia
          Journal
          Cell
          Funder
          Canadian Institutes of Health Research

          Cannot under the one below as the presser is vague.

          News Release 2-Apr-2020
          COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in first peer-reviewed research

          University of Pittsburgh
          Journal
          EBioMedicine
          Funder
          NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH/National Cancer Institute

          I fear/greed indicator is at 0 on FEAR!! so we have reached peak pessimism.

    • wkevinw says:

      The “democratic nations” (ones with rights such as freedom of speech and press, actually), were victims of the “other system(s)”.

      Having worked abroad for years, I can tell you that free countries are the exception, not the rule. These freedoms lead to all kinds of advantages, such as early recognition of the outbreak of a contagious illness.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      Javert Chip,

      It’s known with absolute certainty, that the CCP Coronavirus came from China. Everyone outside China knows this, the only people who think otherwise are just falling for the CCP propaganda. The CCP doesn’t want to look bad and is trying to blame others for the CCP Coronavirus. The CCP after first failing to cover it up, named it the Wuhan Coronavirus, blamed the local government, placed Wuhan under lockdown to try to control it, which was doomed to fail.

      After this they used their corrupt WHO connections to name it something without China in it’s name covid19. Declared it solved, tried to accuse America of creating it and are currently blaming foreigners for reintroducing it to China, which isn’t true, because they never defeated it in the first place.

      China is on the brink of a second outbreak. Which, will be blamed on foreigners.

      Coronaviruses of which there are a bunch, typically originate from bats. They can infect various animals, which can then infect humans. SARS and MERS “Middle East respiratory syndrome” are other Coronaviruses.

      As to how it got transmitted, there are only 2 credible theories. Neither say it was intentional or a bio-weapon.

      1. At the seafood market in Wuhan, just like other wet markets, there is very little food safety standards, someone bought and ate an animal, which was infected with the CCP Coronavirus, probably a Pangolin.

      2. It leaked from the medical research lab in Wuhan. This lab had previously leaked SARS and maybe other viruses. It was accidental, but, this lab is not properly run. From there it infected others in Wuhan and has since, spread across the world.

  24. akiddy111 says:

    Does anyone remember the Asian Flu of 1957-58 ? I was not born then.

    I read that 67,000 people died during that flu season. Further, a larger number of them were children.

    What’s more, the USA had a population of 171 million in 1957. It has almost doubled since then. So that mortality number would be equivalent to almost 130,000 today.

    Did anything shut down ? I would love to know how involved the media were in the story around that time.

    Thank You Wolf Street and friends.

    • Javert Chip says:

      akiddy111

      When I verified your 1957-8 flu death numbers of 67K, the websites I Googled quoted 116k, making your population-adjusted number about 232,000. Yikes!

      I’m 73, so in 1957-8, I was 11-12 and my family lived in Florida (dad was a rocket scientist; mom a RN nurse). I vividly remember my parent’s huge relief because I received a polio vaccination around 1955; I have absolutely no memory of general concerns about flu.

      Frankly, without computers in the 1950s, it was probably impossible for ANYBODY to track flu deaths real-time. I’d guess the then-existing media learned about the death total months or a year after the fact. I certainly don’t have any memory of anything shutting down.

      The egos of the media in that era hadn’t grown larger than the stories they reported or the public they were reporting to.

      • akiddy111 says:

        Thank You Javert Chip.

      • wkevinw says:

        Asian flu + polio around that time.

        I have a distant relative who died of polio back then. The problems were significant. There was social distancing, and not a lot of magical vaccines, until one was finally developed.

        Two things have changed: 1. ability to offer some kind of medical/public health response 2. less competent media

        • R Hughes says:

          Another thanks Javert.

          Also around in 57 / 58 and remember nothing shut down, didn’t even really know about flu.

          55 tho polio was big issue until vaccine, was one of first to receive. Two buddies got polio, recovered, one deformed leg, other minor physical issues, so close to me in memories.

    • MC01 says:

      My mother told me her best friend fell sick from Asian Flu in 1958 but made a full recovery and she is still alive today at 68.
      She doesn’t remember if anything shut down but she still remembers sick people were quarantined at home: hospitals were nowhere near as well developed as today and ward rooms were too precious to be flooded with flu patients. Doctors and nurses drove around at all hours of day and night to check on the patients: since cars were still relatively rare back then she remembers hearing them making their rounds in the dead of the night.

      Back then there was a single TV channel but it made little difference since very few people had a TV. My grandmother turned on the radio only on Sunday to hear Mass (going to Church was strongly discouraged) so she doesn’t remember if news were objective or of the “we are all doomed, doomed” variety.

      • RD Blakeslee says:

        I was just out of college and had entered the workforce in 1958, when I got the flu. I stayed home until I felt well again and then went back to work. No noticeable difference in the economy, before or after.

      • Stephen says:

        Are you talking about America? America had plenty of cars, TVs, and at least three national channels in 1957 (the year of my birth). My family in Maryland had two cars and two TVs in the late 50’s, and we were middle class.

    • Lance Manly says:

      I have not read any articles where they needed refrigerated trucks for the dead in 1957.

    • Phil says:

      You’ll note that flu epidemic actually ran from 1956-1958. We’re 3 months into Covid19. The elderly were particularly vulnerable, like with Covid19.

      Unfortunately I haven’t found a statistical comparison of that flu pandemic with Covid19, but there is one for the most recent flu pandemic, H1N1. Go to this link and click the “show more graphs” button in the middle of the page- it will expand and show Covid19 charted against swine flu. That should clear things up about why this is different.
      https://covid19info.live/

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Not sure how we fought the mid-1900s flu pandemics, but there absolutely were preventive measures taken against polio in that time period, until the vaccine came out.

      Thing is, though, COVID is an order of magnitude more nasty than even the 1957 flu. COVID was on track to kill millions in the US without the shutdowns.

      One thing about the deaths – the death toll in a pandemic is never accurate (as NYT is belatedly waking up to today). One can do an estimate by looking at “excess mortality” – how many people died this year (with COVID in the mix of causes-of-death) and compare it to last year. Wuhan was apparently hammered so hard they don’t have all the data compiled yet, but they’ve said it will come out in June. However, MC01 has reported from Italy that COVID has doubled the regular mortality in many of the towns where they’ve processed the data. That’s why the morgues and funeral homes and cremation facilities get totally overwhelmed. And that’s even with lockdowns.

      Wouldn’t want to imagine doing COVID without some kind of interventions.

  25. RoundAbout says:

    Perhaps, similar to what Italy is suggesting, flagged on the drivers licence would be your status if you have antibodies to covid19. In that case, you could participate in society freely like before. People could check that before you enter a venue.

    Otherwise, short term restrictions on different groups of people — especially the elderly or people with preconditions. Try to use a metric that could enable the economy to function. At this point in history we would have enough statistics to make reasonable restrictions. Perhaps, if weather is a factor then alter restrictions on the season.

    Lock downs are necessary to limit the number of infections such that the hospitals can handle it. This could be implemented only if a city gets “hot”. Probably in the realm of a governor’s responsibility. The authorities would have to be vigilant on this because of the exponential growth — avoid it getting out of hand again.

    As, the number of immune people increase the virus burns out in the long run — then phase out the drivers license antibody status. If a vaccine is developed in the long run, then phase out all virus related social restrictions.

    Improve domestic production of medical goods and precursor materials needed for production.

    One thing that worries me if the virus mutates every year with a death rate of 2.5% and if the industry has an ineffective vaccine that year. Then we might boomerang back to step 1. Might want to leave a plan in place etc.

    Random ideas…

    • MC01 says:

      Don’t trust Italian politicians: like their colleagues everywhere they tend to run their mouths while their brains still haven’t received the minimal daily dose of caffeine. ;-)

      It’s true there’s an antibody-serum test already being used (on limited scale) in Pavia, but right now the top priority is to identify people with Covid-19 antibodies to 1) see if they really won’t get sick again 2) ask them to take part in the present experimental program to infuse critical Covid-19 patients with plasma from healed people. The latter at the moment is seen as absolutely critical and the main driver of this program. Plasma is available right now while specific anti-viral drugs may not be available for years, if ever. All these critically sick patient need a fighting chance right now, not in 2024.

      Germany is already planning to reopen in gradual fashion from April 20: the exact date may slip a few days but the idea is there.
      Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Eva Air and other airlines are ferrying in millions of facemasks and disposable gloves from China, Egypt, India, Turkey… pretty much any country that has the capacity to spare. It’s cheaper and much quicker than antibody tests and, much more critically, won’t overburden a healthcare system that desperately needs to get back on normal footing.

      It’s time that Italian politicians got real and stop wasting everybody’s time. What if only 5% of the workforce has the required antibodies and the promised vaccine turns out to be a dud? Precisely.
      In war generals that cannot win a battle should be uncerimoniously dispatched to Limoges: it’s about time we do the same.

  26. DR. Zicker says:

    Wolf:
    Flu shots are free? Holy Smokes had to wack my forehead on the desk for that comment. Did you give them an insurance card? Ever wonder why there is so much pressure/advertising to get the flu shot? It is charged back to the insurance companies…IE it is pharmaceutical racket. Studies out show that enduring the yearly flu cocktail actually improves your resistance to the next wave.
    Bored with quarantine?
    The Coming Plague Laurie Garrett 1994 (oops too late)
    Betrayal of Trust, The Collapse of Global Public Health Laurie Garrett 2000
    Send Bill Gates to the showers and get this lady up front!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      DR. Zicker,

      Good lordy. Unlike you, my healthcare provider which is also the insurer (Kaiser) has got this figured out: a few bucks for a flu shot v. potentially expensive treatment if I get the flu.

      In the 2017/18 flu season, the flu killed 61,000 people in the US and over 800,000 were hospitalized. This shit gets expensive. Simple flu shots save huge amounts of money – and lots of lives.

      So they pay a few bucks for the shot and potentially save a ton of money for treatment. Simple math. And for me it’s free.

      My premiums are LOWER because lots of people at Kaiser get that flu shot, and Kaiser (which is also the insurer) saves a bunch of money. Kaiser has the lowest premiums around. GO FIGURE. It’s called preventive healthcare … it’s the cheapest way to deal with a healthcare problem.

      The rest of your comment is just beyond comprehension stupid.

      • S.C.Heel says:

        A stitch in time saves nine.
        I agree with you about preventive healthcare.

        But there is a huge swath of U.S. population without true healthcare insurance or no insurance at all except for state programs for the poor.

        High deductibles and high co-pays are still a huge deterrent to going to a doctor for the preventive care.

        I see too many still using the emergency room as their primary doctor alternative.

      • California Bob says:

        FWIW, I drove past the local Kaiser hospital–it’s close to my mother’s house–and the there was a bunch of workers (nurses?) out front protesting Kaiser’s (apparent) lack of concern for the health and safety of its employees.

        Kaiser is also less expensive because it’s an HMO, has its own specialists on the payroll and thus is able to control its expenses better than a PPO. Side note: A good friend of my ex was an ER doctor for Kaiser who ‘covered’ the graveyard shift. He worked the shift for years, then hired a couple of fresh med school grads to cover his shift and ‘retired.’ He pays them and gets big checks from Kaiser. He is a very smart man.

      • California Bob says:

        Oh, and my health insurance–Medicare + Supplement from UHC (PPO)–also provides ‘free’ flu shots. It ain’t, as they say, rocket surgery. If a vaccine for cancer becomes available they will be free, too (at least after the patent expires).

    • Javert Chip says:

      DR. Zicker

      Difficult to give any credibility to any of your comments.

      I seriously doubt you’re a “doctor”, much less a medical doctor.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Who needs the medical profession when we have Frederick here to tell us the truth?!? He has a data point!

      • Engin-ear says:

        Don’t confuse the medical profession with medical business.

        I am sure flu shots are profitable business, and I am sure that medically they have SOME value.

        Now, if you start the adventure of value versus ethics analysis, you will end exhausted and probably unhappy.

  27. Carlos Leiro says:

    Hello Sr
    I want to tell you to use a translator because my English is very basic.

    I have been reading it for quite some time and I highly appreciate its reports. Allow me to make some comments regarding what is happening in the economy and the Covid 19

    First, perhaps someone has done this, the globalized economic system is a Complex Dissipative Structure.
    And I’m talking about non-financial production economics
    Let’s go to the issue of complexity, the more complex a system is, the more efficient it is in its operation and efficiency (money and energy), but it is also more labile to unexpected and powerful changes, and once it fails, it cannot be redone. , complex systems have no possibility of going back to less complex systems, said that the result is a Collapse, which changes paradigms and there is also an epistemological change.
    Collapse involves conflict and change, perhaps not necessarily total destruction.
    I give examples
    I am in a medium-sized company that produces a series of products in Argentina, we have gone through many crises I can assure you but in this case it is different.
    Think of medium, small and large companies in the US that also produce.
    Well my company’s products are made with different inputs of which twenty or more of them are imported or have imported components. They come from Malaysia, China, India, Ivory Coast (this country produces more than 40% of the Cocoa used by the world) and some other countries.
    Globalization makes many areas of the world specialize in making one or a few inputs on an immense scale, this improves production efficiency in the globalized system.
    The lack or non-existence in the place (My company) at the right time undoes part or a large part of our production systems *
    An example: In 2013 there was a drought in Ivory Coast that raised the cost of cocoa considerably and was a big problem.
    Let’s suppose that Europe, the East, and the USA reduced Covid 19 to zero, but in Africa it is developing strongly, for example in Ivory Coast, and this country cannot dump its cocoa production to the world. All companies that make products that have cocoa as an input will be in serious difficulties.
    Multiply this that can happen in cocoa with thousands of inputs and products that come from different parts of the world. It really is a huge problem.
    The fine-tuned production, transportation and distribution system in the world used by large consumers was very well oiled, now it is no longer.
    Another problem: disabling or starting some productions is not as easy as it might seem. Not to mention industries such as steel for example, we would have to see which stock of the different types of steel and which were needed in the first place.

  28. Carlos Leiro says:

    So the latter will produce quite cumbersome bottlenecks so to speak.

    There are also the oil tankers, which carry commodities such as corn, soybeans and wheat, and also the large ships that carry 12,000 20-ton containers, and there are some that carry up to 18,000 containers, the huge oil tankers or ships that carry liquefied gas.
    Although the transit of these ships must be very fine-tuned to be efficient (energy and money), a good example of this is that in the Mediterranean near the Bosphorus Strait that separates Europe from Asia, it has controllers for the movement of ships similar to that would be the air traffic controllers, braking to zero and restarting a 400-meter ship is very expensive. Well some of you will say that oil is now cheap, but that is because there is a fierce depression, if oil returns to normal it will go up in price.
    Well now we go to oil and gas, the price of oil (approximately US $ 25), at these prices the production of shale by fraking totally deficient, far from the equilibrium price of $ 50 a barrel. And at these prices, only oil from Arab areas and Russia could compete.
    The shale oil and gas industries were already hitting despite continuing to increase production until Covid 19 arrived (Please see for example Chesapeake Energy) these producers were supported by the money blown by investors who hoped to win in the long term. Extraction, the production of new wells, and any other activity related to shale oil must be stopped today. In addition, if that were not enough, to maintain or increase production it is necessary to make new wells constantly.
    If they close this gas and oil production, I do not think that the situation will be reversed easily, and even less without investors who believe in the business again.
    I go now to human resources.
    Well some of them very specialized, let’s think again about oil and shale gas, if these workers, who came from different parts of the country, lose their jobs, they will probably move, return to their families, look for other jobs and I don’t even want to think if some of they die for the Covid 19.
    Now specialized or common workers who lose their jobs or have their income reduced will buy much less, that does not need explanation.
    A great weak point of this globalized system and that appears now, due to Covid 19: the reappearance of the sovereignties of the countries and therefore the borders.
    This week I spend at a meeting of the countries that make up the Schengen area in Europe (removal of controls at internal borders) Germany and the Netherlands refused to help Spain, Italy and Greece. This produced a very great laughter and it is not little. Now Angela Merkel said they would see how to help these countries (things could go haywire)
    On the other hand, today, many of these borders are already closed. This will not be easily resolved.

  29. Carlos Leiro says:

    There is much more to talk about this complexity of the globalized world and my knowledge is poor.
    What I can affirm that the world we inhabited a few weeks ago will not be like the world to come
    I leave a data from yesterday that came out in “America Economia” that says that the sales in February of automobiles in China fell by 93%, do we realize what the numbers are?
    Unemployment in the US grows today minute by minute, in the rest of the world it is or will be similar
     

    * We have FSSC 22000 certification and among our clients is Arcos Dorados Kosher products (Mc Donalds) and Wallmart

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Carlos – Gracias!

      The complex interwoven economy had a competitive advantage during the long quiet period of stability. It is disadvantaged now.

      In the new normal, short production chains will have a temporary advantage. For many products there is room for substitution – if the Ivory Coast is down for a year, lack of chocolate will be tragic, but it will not kill anyone. Provided they can at least get food.

      But the economic cost of reworking production chains will be very high. The system 2 months ago was built on the just-in-time assumptions of abundance and availability. Now we need systems that are more robust and opportunistic. “If we can’t make X, we can still make Y”. At minimum, companies that want to survive must be amply capitalized for “dry spells” and production interruptions, and will not be committing to production until all source inputs are confirmed.

      That will be less efficient, but not the end of the world?

  30. Carlos Leiro says:

    Excuse me, I didn´t talk about turism in all their phases,

    How long will it take to trust that all is well and that there is no danger?
    Fear is a powerful stimulant in decision making

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you Carlos.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalability

      What could be a real questionable area to probe is the fact of the work-around that is occurring in the real world, that circumvents the human chain of command of FEMA, and any real incident command systems at any point on real ground level in each state in the US.

      Perhaps some algo has tripped onto a critical point to define the enemy that seems genuinely formidable.

      The problem still exists as to how that point (COVID 19) is used to promote allegiance/s.

    • Tinky says:

      Thank you for your contribution, Carlos. Part of my family ended up in Rosario before WWII.

      I agree completely that the broader economy will struggle for a long time to come, well after COVID-19 is no longer a primary concern

      I also agree that the weaknesses in complex supply chains that were taken for granted are now being exposed, and that many will not be able to ever, let alone quickly return to their previous forms.

      I am a personal optimist, and also believe that many long-term positives will result from these profound events. But in the near to medium-term, I expect the impact to be largely devastating, and that is before taking into account the eventual negative impacts of monetary policies that have been already been proven to have been a disaster.

  31. Just Some Random Guy says:

    ERs are empty across the country. Which is odd given how CNN and Co. act like ERs are overflowing with people. It’s almost as if this hysteria is un warranted or something.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just Some Random Guy.

      Yes, some hospitals and clinics have shut down or are empty, but your conclusion is wrong. This is a problem all around and showed up in the unemployment claims numbers on Thursday: NO ONE is going to a hospital or clinic to have anything done that isn’t totally necessary. And hospitals don’t want people to show up with cancer issues and the like, because no one knows if this cancer patient isn’t also COVID-19 positive.

      So on one hand, ICUs in hot spots are at or nearing capacity with COVID-19 patients.

      On the other hand, a cancer clinic might shut down and lay off all the staff. This is one of the big dislocations that the virus is causing.

      I’m essentially not allowed to go to my healthcare provider unless I have a life-threatening issue. They sent me an email about that. I can set up a phone or video appointment with a doctor, but I cannot make a real appointment for normal stuff.

    • Nicko2 says:

      Oh dear, not only a covid19 conspiracy nut, but also a 9-11 truther. Heal thyself!

  32. timbers says:

    Annual deaths in US:

    Heart disease: 647,000
    Cancer: 600,000
    Respiratory: 160,000
    Stroke: 146,000
    Alzheimers: 121,000
    Diatetes: 84,000
    Flu, Pneumonia: 56,000
    Kidney: 51,000
    Suicide: 48,000

    Covid so far: 9,000

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      Car accidents: 40,000

    • timbers says:

      A solution exists, people. And it’s not Darth Jerome Powell.

      • Javert Chip says:

        Timbers

        I know you’re much more advanced than the rest of us, but I hope you’re remembering to frequently change your tin-foil underwear and head gear

      • tom says:

        Of course there is a solution. Lets see how long the lock down lasts without the internet & tv. I would give it 24 hrs before parents across the country are storming riot police & national guard lines.

        And if my wife cant see her hair dresser for another month….it will take the national guard & more. And I still like her odds.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      timbers and Just Some Random Guy,

      This is a brain-dead comparison. In the US, we’re just a few weeks into COVID-19. The rest of your numbers are annual totals. Duh

      • intosh says:

        “ The response of the government to those other diseases was/is zero ,while the response of governments to the covid-19”

        Dead wrong.

        Research and discoveries funded by government have contributed to mitigate these illnesses. Campaign to inform people about risks also helped. Just because there is no highly visible crisis-level interventions against these illnesses doesn’t mean there are no government response at all.

    • Javert Chip says:

      timbers

      Most useful words in your strange post where “…so far…”.

      o 8 of the 9 conditions listed are not contagious
      o 7 or 8 of the 9 have medical treatments
      o You’ve made the classical statistical mistake of comparing apples to hand grenades: Your stats are from a population of 320M; Coronavirus deaths come from an unknown but much smaller population base (meaning mortality rates are wildly different)

      • wkevinw says:

        Yes, there are different kinds of risk (having done some risk management).
        There’s the risk you take on with knowledge, e.g. driving to work is often the riskiest thing somebody might do every day. However, you understand the basic risk and get some benefit from driving.

        Something like Covid19 has no benefit to you and the risk is less certain. Therefore the response more frightening and emphatic by authorities. Media needs sensationalism, so does a nice disservice.

        The above fatality numbers are still interesting. I think there are about 8,000 fatalities per day in the US. ~3,000,000 per year

        If Covid19 causes 30,000, it will be significant. It looks like that will happen.

        The question is the balance between the economy and this fatality rate.

        It’s not an easy decision.

    • nick kelly says:

      Shouldn’t bother but here goes: let’s start with the easy ones, i.e., the ones wrong by definition.

      You list ‘respiratory’ and ‘pneumonia’ separately.

      What do you think pneumonia is? Constipation?

      ‘Pneumonia’ is a word meaning ‘fluid in the lungs’, lungs being the things you respire with. It is a RESPIRATORY symptom. It is a symptom BTW, not a disease. The cause can be a number of things, including non- biological ones e.g, inhaling hot air or gas.
      The key deadly symptom of Cov19 IS pneumonia but an extreme version.

      Wading on: how do you catch disease of the heart, kidney, diabetes, cancer, etc. from a brief contact with someone else? The definition or term here is ‘contagious’

      A disease caused by a contagious agent can increase geometrically, not just arithmetically.
      There are innumerable examples in history of a few infections quickly leading to millions. Anyone raising animals can tell you about contagion.

      As for suicide, that is self- inflicted, and irrelevant to a discussion of our response to a biological disease.

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Well, not entirely:
        “JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – Authorities in Will County say the bodies of a man and a woman were found inside a residence after what authorities say was a murder-suicide that was apparently prompted by the man’s concern that the two of them had contracted the coronavirus.”

    • intosh says:

      Thanks for the laughs. Comparing to suicide? Really?

      WW2 killed around 12 million people/year. So I guess all these deaths you listed aren’t a big deal. 9/11 death toll was 3000. That shouldn’t even make the evening news, right?

    • Carlos Leiro says:

      opioid overdose?

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Annual ”Medical Mistakes deaths” in hospitals, as reported by hospital association 125,000.
      ”Medical Mistakes deaths” in hospitals, as reported by Doctors association 400,000.
      (Should be easy to look up on web.)

    • Shiloh1 says:

      Yes, close to 8000 people in the country die of ‘something(s)’ everyday. I’m pretty sure I won’t be around to see the next pass of Haley’s Comet.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      DAILY deaths in the US: COVID is in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. Depends which date you look at.

      Ditto for Italy.

      For Milan, pretty certain that COVID outnumbered all other causes of death put together for the month of March.

      For Wuhan, once they figure out the final numbers (many dead were never tested), it may well be single biggest cause of death for the year and possibly double the normal annual mortality rate. The “3000 number” is a gross undercount.

  33. Realist says:

    @Wisdom Seeker:

    Our main daily, Helsingin Sanomat, published an article where they considered whether multiresistant bacteria might be a factor contributing to the death rate in Italy as it is known that over usage of antibiotics cause problems with such bacteria in several Italian hospitals and elsewhere, too. The article did underline that most deaths caused by flus are related to the flu developing into pneumonia, thus providing the conditions for bacterial infection to finish off the victim.

    I have wondered why the news about experimental treatments include reference to administering antibiotics ( after all, this is about a virus, not bacteria ), but what I mentioned above would explain it.

    Has there been published any hard information regarding this ?

    • MC01 says:

      Realist: the problem is not so much in the whole of Italy but in a very few areas. Most of the country is nowhere near in bad shape as that handful of Provinces in the North where mortality runs well over 15%. The South, notorious for its inadequate hospitals, is one of the least affected areas in Europe and at the present rate may even be the first to see zero new cases. I knew I should have married that girl from Molise I met and moved there. ;-)

      It’s beyond doubt there’s a healthcare connection at work here: the worst affected areas are those which rank among the best healthcare systems not merely in Italy but in Europe has well. Not only that but the average age of Covid-19 victims in my province is 81, slightly higher than the nationwide average of 79: most of these folks were in bad shape already and kept alive by an excellent healthcare system.
      Everybody wants to know what makes this virus so deadly here and just a bad flu season in Germany so they can avoid ending up like us.

      I have the strong feeling researchers already have an idea of what is at play here. After all Covid-19 knowledge is advancing by leaps and bounds: there’s already an antibody-serum test available (in limited numbers, production is ramping up as we speak) and using plasma from healed patients to speed up recovery of the worst affected patients is now being tested in Pavia, apparently with very encouraging results.
      We may not like the answer but if it means getting back to work soon I’ll take anything.

      • Xabier says:

        A interesting point.

        Excellent and sophisticated health care keeps fragile lives (often resulting from a ‘rich’ diet and sedentary life – a Milanese friend in the most sedentary person I know ) going, only to die like flies at a time like this.

        It will be fascinating, scientifically if not, of course, humanly, to see just how it plays out in regions with next to no healthcare.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Very GOOD questions Realist, and I appreciate you verbalizing those questions SO well. Please continue to post on Wolf’s good wbsite, so far the only one I have seen with such good articles, and actually reasonable moderator enforcing rules of conduct, etc.
      Unfortunately, we are in early stages of this particular ‘pandemic’ AKA health crisis, so we are not able, as of yet, to do anything more than speculate about possible outcomes, just trying our best to figure out what to do tomorrow, etc.
      Many trial level cures and vaccines being tested/tried/considered, and I for one, think we will have both a fairly good remedial medicine/cure as well as mostly good vaccines, similar to ”seasonal flu” sooner, rather than later.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      I have not seen anything firm about this.

      I have read that they are routinely giving antibiotics to COVID pneumonia patients in the US, precisely to try to avoid the bacterial secondary infections.

      I would not read too much into Italian data unless I lived in Italy, and as MC01 says even there the north and south are quite different. The disease interacts differently in each unique environment.

      One other point of caution – the early “confirmed” deaths come from the frail elderly, already in hospitals or nursing homes, with access to medical testing. Such people could not fight the disease for long BUT they could be tested for it. But there are not so many of that age. Later in the outbreak, we will learn more about deaths among the younger and formerly healthy, who fought the disease longer but still could not win. Many of them will have been afraid to go to the hospital, or will have gone in only during the worst of the outbreak: many will not have been tested. Only when the pandemic subsides and the mortuaries catch up on death-certificate paperwork will we really have good statistics on how many died and what ages they were.

  34. Michael Engel says:

    1) Pain is great. Market makers use CNN to inflict fear and pain,
    for their own gains.
    2) Doomsday medical models sent Fri weekly close below two weeks
    ago close, the Mar 16 close, while their big gun is standing up, after being comatose.
    3) Look for fear and greed on the chart, look for bullish divergence.
    4) Don’t lose your grip during the next shakeout, keep what you got deep in your pocket.
    5) Apr first is fake. In SPX cash market Apr first was lower than Apr 2nd, but in the futures market Apr 2nd is lower, its a spring. That’s positive. If Apr 2nd isn’t a fake failed spring, Mar 31 upthrust will be taken on the way to close Mar/Apr gap, perhaps to start the trip up.

  35. SocalJim says:

    When it warms up, the virus will still spread, but at a much lower rate, which will allow people to go back to work wearing masks. The vaccine had better arrive in the late fall or when it gets cold transmission will increase again and we will be in for a long slog. However, given that vaccine testing is already started, odds are that the vaccine will be available in late fall.

    The real damage will be from inflation and shortages. Prices will be headed much higher. Better get your investments in hard assets before it is too late for you. And, better keep a pile of TBills on the side, even though they will underperform inflation, just to protect your hard assets. When the SP500 gets under 2K, I will start doing some equity shopping .. my dream price is 1850. However, this is a gamble, and I don’t suggest you do that unless you have cash you can afford to lose.

    I am always on the lookout for a good real estate deal, but so far, nothing. So many homes have been pulled from the market …

    • Lance Manly says:

      “However, given that vaccine testing is already started, odds are that the vaccine will be available in late fall.”

      Make that “possibly next summer” and you are fine. I now a bit about clinical trials and the time it takes.

      • Bobber says:

        Did you factor in that standard protocols can be altered? Bureaucrats often get stuck in a process narrative that overrides common sense. You have to weigh the risk of putting a medication in place prematurely against the extreme risks of not doing so.

        Dying older people who try experimental medications could save the day.

    • Watching lower Riverside Co for vacant property. I do think some has been pulled, and other listings go from hi end agencies to local sales people, and the price is reduced. These investments represent cash. If I were a seller I might consider elevated ask prices as evidence that land is not selling off in concert with the economy. As I recall growing up, recessions were opportunities for commercial property developers, but that aspect of the business cycle is long gone. The Rancho-Ca build out may pick up steam, until the economy takes a second leg down. Then as you say a lot of that land will probably go off the market, or perhaps be consolidated by REITs. One suspects there was already pressure building, state mandates for affordable housing. SD Co. is no-growth, so Riverside is the likely winner. The group may represent the last shoe to drop. So far even the mailers who will buy my house for cash have slowed. Vacant property is always a matter of time, and no one knows right now. Bought an acre next door before 2000, rode it up for ten X, in 2007, now is worth maybe half that much and we are in the city. Covenants and permits, keep these properties idle, every time a major development in the county goes on the ballot it gets rejected. Housing should be bullish in a few years when prices are high enough to justify the fees.

  36. Kenny Logouts says:

    Given the Germany data, cruise ship data, the small Italian settlement, and Iceland data (all examples of lots of testing, not just bad cases), it seems death rate is lower than in areas with only testing of seriously unwell (obviously)

    So if death rate is much lower, then expected non-serious cases, or asymptomatic cases generally, are much higher.

    If that is the case, as death rates go up, the assumed number of infected becomes huge.

    The more people who have already had this are, the less time it’ll go on for.

    2 months, 2 years?

    Until we know what that actual infected rate is, we’ll be mostly in the dark.

    The only solution if we’re unwilling to take a random sample (no idea why we’re not from a future economic clarity perspective) is lock down, then when daily deaths stabilise or fall, relax lock down and observe.
    At some point you’ll relax back to zero, and no new deaths will occur.

    However, knowing ahead of time via testing would be better for the economy, as uncertainty is a killer.

    But then giving people an idea of when they can go about their business again may undermine any lock down, as people think it’s safe.
    Plus there is a margin of error in a random sample test.

    Very difficult times, but I think the economy has been thrown under the bus a bit too eagerly here.

    How much would testing a few million people cost? A few billion $?

    What is the cost to the economy per day just from not knowing, roughly, when this will end?

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @Kenny – the Iceland data showed 50% asymptomatic. Some would come down with symptoms later. So maybe 1/3 of cases are asymptomatic. That still leaves an infection fatality rate (deaths / total infections) of 1-5%, depending on whether hospitals are overwhelmed or not.

      I absolutely agree with you that we need controlled random trials, both PCR “infection” tests and antibody “post-infection” tests, to better monitor prevalence in the population. That will be a great measure to have in judging how quickly people can get back to work. Test capacity is reaching the point where such studies are now underway worldwide. We should get some early results in the next few weeks!

  37. Yerfej says:

    A little bit of reality. There has been NO noticeable rise in the death rate, even in Italy. Yes there has been a rise in specific areas but nationally there has been no spike. Some individuals who appear healthy have died and of course that is tragedy but the overall stats are not out of line with most seasonal variations.

    • Xabier says:

      And who ever noticed when hundreds of thousands were quite literally choking to death due to diesel air pollution?

      A well-reported fact.

      Was it ‘Stay at home, crash the economy and save lives’ then?

      No one gave a damn, or altered their lifestyle one bit.

      Ah, perspective……..

    • Javert Chip says:

      Yerfej

      Your statement “…NO noticeable rise in the death rate, even in Italy…” is accurate but unclear if you’re also applying that to the US; daily new cases & daily deals are both increasing in the US.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @Yerfej: COVID absolute does increase the death rate.

      Top 3 causes of death in the US on April 4:
      1) Heart Disease: 1774 dead
      2) Cancer: 1641 dead.
      3) COVID: 1331 dead (and still rising).

      The first two numbers are statistical estimates from well-understood annual data. The COVID number is the daily count only of confirmed cases, so it doesn’t include everyone who actually died of COVID but may not have been tested.

  38. Winston says:

    Until 70% of people have had it or a lower percentage have had it and a vaccine is available or it mutates to be less deadly and/or infectious, it’s not going away. That’s just the way it is.

    There are plenty of signs China is experiencing the start of a second wave and their COVID-19 figures have always been patently absurd – in a country with four times the population of the US with six cities larger than NYC and 37 as large as Chicago, they have been spewing case and death figures lower that the case and death figures for the US in a flu season, the common flu being far less contagious and deadly that COVID-19. Why would the CCP do that? To get people back to work sooner and to allow them to be able to tout the superiority of their totalitarian system to their propagandized citizens.

    I’ll tell you one thing – corporations better understand that after this, “Made in China” is going to be a flashing “DO NOT BUY” signal for me and probably a whole bunch of other people and I don’t give a damn about how that will affect my ability to buy toys I don’t actually need. Those corporations better move out of China ASAP starting right now.

    • Rcohn says:

      To be consistent , you should avoid the two biggest retailers Walmart and Target.then add in AAPL and hundreds of others.

    • Christoph Weise says:

      The Covid-19 figures are all incorrect. Not only in China. But also in Italy, Germany and so forth. There are various reasons. Number One: During the outbreak there are not enough tests available. Only people that have tested positive are counted. I think I remember China has reported about 3.800 new cases per day from Hubei province (Wuhan) for a longer period. This was likely because the had this number of tests available per day. All other deceased receive a different diagnosis (pneumonia). Number Two: Many people do not display any or only minor symptoms. They are not tested. We do not know how many people have been infected until we can mass test for antibodies. My rough guess is that the numbers of hospitalised people in the US stem from about 3 million infected citizens. But it will take time until we know the facts.

    • fajensen says:

      The corporations don’t care and they have the capacity to not care for a lot longer than you & I can go without.

      The thing with the whining about Chin, that particularly galls me, is that we deluded suckers pay billions per year for ‘our intelligence services’ and yet here we are again, caught flatfooted, carrying eggs on our faces, this time snivelling about ‘China lied/lies’ (Duh!) because obviously our useless ‘intelligence’ was overruled by China’s press briefings.

      Instead of solving our end of the problem, we whine and fret about their end!

      What happened to: ‘Worry about what you control’!?

  39. James R Chaillet, Jr. , MD says:

    Some questionns about the reporting. Why doesn’t the media or the medical experts report the current prevalence of the disease, such as number of cases per thousand population? For example, at 300k cases in the US, the prevalence is 1:1,1,00 or about 0.09% of the population. Big number but small percentage. Gives some perspective on the overall severity. Also, it could help to identify higher risk areas.

    I wonder if Mr. Wisdom Seeker is aware that Minnesota, the state, has about one half the population of New York City – a lot lower population density. Might help to explain why Minnesota can more easily “bend the curve”.

    Also, interesting that Africa, the continent, that was home to millions of Chinese at the time of the outbreak in Wuhan and, at that time, had thousands of Chinese entering and leaving the continent daily, (I read 1500 a day through Ethiopia alone), has a relatively small number of cases even now. Is there something else at work? Perhaps, the local climate?

    And India is reporting a very small number of cases – stunning, considering the population density and the proximity to China. I realize reporting there could be very poor, but again, is something else at work?

    Just some questions. Be nice if the MSM and the experts would be trying to answer these and others.

    • Kenny Logouts says:

      You die from covid19 disease, which is basically pneumonia.

      If you have no way to discriminate, they died of pneumonia.

      If you don’t want to discriminate, covid19 deaths will be near/actual zero.

    • wkevinw says:

      James R Chaillet, Jr. , MD – the media “experts” don’t try to do this because they have (obvious) agendas- political and tending to their (perceived) bottom line: fear.

      If they looked at the longer term they would work harder to answer your questions.

      Please don’t hold your breath.

    • The experts are making cosmetic policy. The media supports our leadership always, which is something Americans do not countenance. Media induced panic and distrust are always to be avoided, ergo the president’s approval rating is actually up! What parts of the internet serve the purpose of criticism now focus on various conspiracy theories, about control for nefarious purposes, such as managing the number of deaths by Covid against economic loss. There will be a list of lawsuits against hospitals after the virus ends, and the CEO who owns a couple dozen of those hospitals in NY wants to prevent that, the virus is overwhelming his EM and ICU units. The CDC is there to help. The for profit hospital system requires we flatten the curve and infect that part of America which would otherwise be somewhat isolated, and which does not have corporate hospitals? So far the disease affects higher income societies, but that will change, by then the narrative will have shifted. Lawsuits and the origins of the virus, are the post Covid news stories. Deaths in third world countries will provide the drama.

    • weinerdog43 says:

      “Why doesn’t the media or the medical experts report the current prevalence of the disease,…”

      A good question, but I think it should be directed at the single entity that should have access to those numbers, namely our federal government. If those statistics are available, they should be promulgated there. I would posit that the CDC would be a good place to start. Heaven knows if we have any competent people remaining there. I also think that given our lack of testing, we are going to be in the dark for some time.

      • Javert Chip says:

        I think you’re pushing on a noodle.

        Most people in the US can barely manage to balance their checking account, let alone understand exponential curves, and the difference between daily “number of deaths” and “mortality per 100,000”.

        The statistics are available online. The following link is to a single page of highly interactive graphs for US & world; all data reconciled to the Johns Hopkins standard.

        Link: http://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      @James: You know as well as I do that you can’t calculate prevalence without a statistically meaningful test sampling of the whole population. That hasn’t been done yet because test kits have been in scarce supply and there were better uses. But it’s being done now and we should have interesting data in the next month or two. Despite the low apparent prevalence, COVID fatalities among confirmed cases are currently the #3 daily cause of death in the US. The margin between #3 and #1 is narrow so including those not tested, COVID is almost certainly the leading cause of death in the US this weekend.

      Regarding Minnesota – yes, they have lower population density than NYC, but so do many other states which have worse infection curves. What they also have is good leadership and a population that’s accustomed to staying home (e.g. harsh winter weather). While NYC is the most densely populated city and has the worst infection rate as a result, consider San Francisco, the second most densely populated city in the US, has been able to bend the curve too. From what I see, the difference between San Fran and NYC is that the people in San Fran actually pay attention to what happens in China, and as a result they worked through denial much faster and didn’t try to pretend they would somehow be immune.

      Africa and India are both massively under tested and you’ll never know how many die there from PCR tests. You’ll only know it from excess mortality studies. Next year.

    • Christoph Weise says:

      The number of reported cases is correlated to the intensity of testing. When Korea started to test a lot (50.000 tests in a couple of days) there numbers rocketed. Germany is now testing 300.000 per week and will do 500.000 a week shortly. We still have not enough tests to test medical personnel without symptoms. India is testing only very few sick people at present. Therefore the number of reported cases is so low.

  40. RON says:

    Just some perspective from one who has lived through enough fear at an early age that I seem to be immune to the latest crisis de jour.
    I was born in 1941. My Father and Grandfather fought in the war and were rarely home. My Mother worked at the local Army base many hours a day and so was essentially raised by my Grandmother who was a Christian Scientist with barely a 6th grade public education (my Mother did graduate from High School).
    While a child I caught measles after having a tonsillectomy which was done on a mass basis (I remember at least 4 bunk beds in a room next to the operating room). I began reading voraciously while recovering & this led to further complications as my intellect started second guessing or adding to fear.
    Polio and Nuclear testing of ever bigger bombs led to some interesting fears in the late 1940’s and early to mid-50’s. I lived in Brooklyn at that time and seldom went to the movies (cause little Johnny on 73rd st. got polio); never went swimming ( a chill can bring on polio). One day, Ellen on the third floor of the apartment building in which we lived caught polio. I wanted to say goodbye, but was only allowed to wave to her from outside the building as she waved from her 3rd floor window. they took her away that day..to where? I still don’t know..an iron lung? maybe.
    Overlaying the polio fear was, of course, the nuclear fear. At least once a month every newspaper would portray the circle of destruction that would occur if a nuclear weapon were to be detonated on Times Square. Each month that circle got bigger as each test got bigger. But even worse to come were the unseen terrors of nuclear fallout. Does anyone remember strontium 90? the radiated byproduct of nuclear testing ? that was falling on the grass which was eaten by cows who provide the milk to babies? My little sister? drinking strontium 90?
    Well the sabine and salk vaccines came along (with a few problems) but everyone accepted the few side effects of the vaccine to avoid polio.
    My Mother caught the ’58 flu and was terribly ill for a month and a half and only left the house to attend my high school graduation in June of ’58. Her doctor told her it was a bad flu year, but she would recover with rest and lots of fluids. She did. No one knew or could quantify in real time how bad the situation might have been & in retrospect I think that was a good thing.
    So let’s fast forward now. I’ve experienced enough fear in my mind for a lifetime (recognizing that there are those who will accuse me of not knowing “real” fear, but I will counter that simply fear is fear period)
    I’m not afraid of MERS, SARS, Ebola or any form of virus. they re around us and replicating and changing constantly. Mankind will survive and thrive. But each year 1.5% – 2% will not

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Ron – thanks for the historical perspective! We lost a lot of that over the past 60 years and it’s proving valuable for the elders to share “what it was like” to the generations that have no clue how tough it can be. And, at the same time, how it’s not really that tough.

  41. Michael Engel says:

    1) A major industrial CEO said : China virus crisis is beyond peak. The Chinese gov tightened their grip. India + European countries tops are tightening gov control.
    2) Chines factories are currently opened and operating in Wuhan. One step at a time. In the first phase at 30%- 50% capacity. In the second phase at 40%- 60% capacity. There is hope that China is on the way to almost 100% capacity by the end of the year.
    3) If u want to eat in a restaurant in China u have to show an app proving that u have been quarantine for at least x2 weeks.
    4) In the US demand for packaging for junk food and beer is high. Demand for protecting gears is very high, for electronic, paint and aviation demand very low.
    5) US will be subjected to structural changes.
    6) Reliance on China will be reduced in phases.
    7) The crisis showed us how fragile we are.
    8) We are bunch of invincible people humbled by an invisible virus.
    9) Within days we can lose our jobs, food supply and homes, without gov
    support.
    10) From peak optimism to manic depression in 30 days.
    11) What we took for granted is forever gone. We will be more prepared
    next time around.

  42. Island Teal says:

    WisdomS…… thanks for penning such a well
    viewed article. Los of interesting conversation.
    No question 2020 is going to be different.
    Remember…. Don’t be a covidiot though all of this.

  43. Bobber says:

    I wonder what sports teams are going to do with their players. Do they all get furloughed without pay? I can’t imagine keeping a $30M/year quarterback on staff, not knowing whether the ban on large gatherings will ever be lifted.

  44. Desai says:

    Greetings from India wisdom seeker,
    In India , official statistics are 3577 cases and 83 deaths( unsure about reliability of these figures). While Chaos continues in the second week ,too. Some migrant workers are still trying to return to their home in rural village and small cities. Howver, some of states , villages and cities have closed their borders and refused to let returning workers home. See this:-

    https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-lockdown-migrant-workers-not-welcome-back-home-in-bihar/article31200962.ece

    Thus migrant workers have nowhere to go and stuck at borders of various states and cities with very little money and nowhere to go. Government and various NGOs have organized shelters for them to provide food and and live but due large number of workers there is shortages of foods.

    Further even though activities relating transportation of food is declared as essential activity in lots of places trucks carrying food were stopped by police. And due to restrictions of interstate movement of people , many wholesalers and distributors were unable go to agricultural markets to buy new stock. This has resulted in agricultural products oversupply in certain wholesale markets while shortages in retail markets. Thus prices of wholesale markets plummeted substantially while prices of retail markets rised steeply for many agricultural products. Worse is that many farmers and milk producers had to throwaway their products and take massive losses as no buyer turned up to buy and they lacked adequate cold storage capacity. See this video:-

    https://mobile.twitter.com/nkaggere/status/1244196295738179584

    Very soon harvesting season will start for winter crops. However no farm labourers are available for harvest ( Note: In India farming is completely dependent upon manual farm labour as very few farmers have necessary financial muscle to purchase modern farming machinery). Even if they somehow manages to complete harvest , then there will be difficult problem of selling in current market condition or of storing the harvest as there is big shortage of warehousing facility in India even during normal non-crisis time. In short Indian poor farmers are facing financial ruin and many were already heavily indebted to begin with. Read this article:-

    https://www.livemint.com/news/india/corona-has-pushed-bharat-to-the-brink-11585845027852.html

  45. Brown Mouse says:

    The virus was almost immediately politicized. I don’t believe the China #s, and the Western stats all suggest the virus can be lethal, but not at a catastrophic rate. I suspect the economic data going forward will demonstrate the palliative is worse than the disease, and with every passing week of work restrictions, silly .gov risks pushing the issue into a NEW dimension involving desperate individuals/small groups acting to procure life necessities. The virus wont kill many of us. .Gov wont kill many of us. Together, they are likely to start a conflict that WILL kill many of us. NOWHERE in the public discourse is the max safe pop density for this virus discussed. And you’ve got the Left blaming flyover state governors for not locking down more at the same time you’ve got NYC’s MTA cutting subways so that EVERY CAR is jam packed. This nation is rudderless in terms of leadership, lawless in terms of adherence to Constitutional principles, and increasingly bankrupt – in every possible sense. I’m rooting for a massive reset.

  46. Bobber says:

    “Do we try to eradicate the virus — without a vaccine? Do we try to manage infection rates, to let the population “build immunity through suffering” until a vaccine is available? How can we revive the economy without risking thousands of deaths in fresh outbreaks?”

    These questions cut to the heart of the matter. Their needs to be agreement on an approach so people and companies can plan their future.

    However, if human population continues its rapid ascent, you have to wonder whether pandemics and periodic shutdowns will be routine going forward.

  47. Allowing the virus to surge beyond hospital capacity is a problem, but so is stretching out the duration of the pandemic, which allows the virus to either mutate, or migrate to places it might not otherwise reach. I have the same confidence in a vaccine I have in the flu shot efficacy, which some years is only 10%. I know someone who died of the flu, after being vaccinated, with underlying conditions. Some people don’t know they have underlying conditions. The CDC has taken questionable positions. By extending the duration that raises another level of risk. Then they flip flopped on the mask issue. They didn’t want private citizens taking masks from health care workers. Masks help period, and the supply does not meet the demand. Corporate America/W.H. did not prepare or react adequately, and everyone is covering their ass. The notion that certain losses are acceptable raises the terms of the old nuclear debate. For the first debate question, what is the acceptable number of deaths due to Covid as they relate to economic GDP?

    • tom says:

      Yes and make sure it reads as following: What is the acceptable ratio for lives lost due to wuhan v.s poverty related deaths.

      • The US can handle the poverty deaths with less than six trillion dollars of deficit spending. Additionally I doubt even the GOP would vote down that spending bill.

        • Tom says:

          Requires a little deeper thought.
          There will be supply chain issues. I suppose if all we are concerned about is feeding and sheltering americans hopefully the moderator will state as much.

  48. Ishkabibble says:

    Jerry has recently let the cat out of the bag. He said that the Fed can print literally an infinite number of “dollars”, literally, out of thin air, and, two seconds later, buy literally anything or any body in the world. For example, these printed-out-of-thin-air USDs were just a few days ago used to “pay for” millions of N95 masks that were originally destined for Germany and France and, after “payment”, were sent to the US of A.

    Pretty nice system, eh?

    So here’s the most important question for Jerry. Just exactly WHO is going to be on the receiving end of his literally infinite number of “dollars” in the very near future, and continuing for, say, the next 2 years?

  49. Carlos Leiro says:

    Hi there
    I would like to make some considerations about what happens with Covid 19 and the media in my country.
    I do not detract from the importance of the disease and the moments we go through, let it be clear.
    In quiet moments the Doctor-Patient communication is direct, for example one goes to see the doctor for a discomfort, sees the doctor face to face, he reviews it, listens to him and can give him a treatment with medicine or he can send you to do some analysis and then come back with the results and again face to face to tell you what to do.
    In this particular case, the pandemic changed this formula, the medicine-patient communication changed completely.
    Now the media (newspapers, television, radio, social networks and the internet) are placed between patient and doctor.
    Physicians / Medicine – Mass Media – Patients
    This change is essential.
    I’m not going to talk about the Fake News, we know that
    First, in the sciences there are different points of view and permanent changes, what is not known is studied and what is believed to be known is reevaluated. There are always doubts, the certainties must be continuously verified.
    Today in Argentina the television is taken by the Coronavirus theme, they invite different doctors: infectologists, clinical doctors, epidemiologists, I have seen nurses, otorhinolaryngologists, even gynecologists.
    Everyone agrees on the distances between people, washing hands, staying at home (here there is a mandatory quarantine)
    But there is confusion about how long the virus can remain on certain surfaces, if you have to take off your shoes at the entrance of the home … etc
    But the most controversial is: Mask YES, Mask NO
    How do doctors not know this? … The presenters say they are shocked
    On the other hand, there is an anxiety in some yellow journalists (also in some who seem more serious) who transmit the latest news to the public, generally with dramatic background music.
    When will it end, what is this bug, where did it come from, how do the doctors not know, how do the doctors disagree, etc, etc. So program after program
    Please don’t take it wrong but this is the ideal virus for a movie
    In principle, not everyone is infected and, as far as is known, there is not a very high mortality rate of 2 to 4% of those infected, this is what doctors agree on.
    Let’s see what happens in the media, it is a very contagious virus so doctors, nurses and others have to put on those uniforms that are designed to take care of themselves but that remind the viewer of those catastrophic movies where something goes wrong is going to happen. Pictures of patients in beds with a plastic bubble on their heads so I can breathe, my god.
    As it is a virus of so much contagion, the percentage of infected increases and those with specific symptoms go into hospital and, of course, hospitals collapse.
    In addition, it is real that Western countries were not prepared for a pandemic, so field hospitals were built, or a huge Hospital Ship was brought in, the staff ran out of materials, were neglected and infected, did not have the basic elements of protection and They improvise, you have to hire refrigerated trucks for the dead, there are statements in the media by exhausted doctors or nurses, really horrible.
    There are cases of patients who feel the symptoms of a common flu and there are cases in which the patient has a very bad time and takes a long time to recover (this is important for the attention capacity), some up to more than a month and they have to Being very controlled to avoid relapses, most go to their homes to remain in quarantine and the cases of those who suffered the most, poor people, are THE MOST DESIRED FOR MORBO JOURNALISM, they ask him by means of wassap how much he suffered and to repeat each moment of their suffering, etc. etc. One of these cases was a girl named Marisol, 25, very pretty but with a very haggard face from suffering, her testimony is really strong, she had a very bad time, with very strong pain, only after 40 days is she improving, she was hospitalized three times. This girl went through almost all the television channels telling what happened to her over and over again.
    Suppose there is a doctor who tries to calm us down by telling us that it is a virus with a low mortality rate, that you have to wash your hands, leave as little as possible, take care of yourself and possibly we will be fine. Then I passed the testimony of this girl that I named and everything that the doctor wanted to calm me went to…. And we get caught in an exponential panic attack, if this happened to this 24-year-old girl, it will be worse for me …
    But the media take charge of adding a thick tint of monumental tragedy.

  50. Carlos Leiro says:

    The dead and infected are reported several times a day both locally, and in other countries of the world and also globally, they communicate with people from other countries who tell and show terrible events.
    One is paralyzed, he even reads that an American Navy aircraft carrier had to return to port because he had … 10 infected, some media said, up to 600 … I will never know
    Fright, terror, as something happens to a US aircraft carrier.
    Beware, the instant media is making fear of panic in many people, and that is very dangerous.
    I say again I do not want to minimize the scope of this damn pandemic, just see how the media in my country tell what is happening to us

  51. Brian says:

    It’s good to mention that “flattening the curve” does NOT mean “fewer get sick”. We just reduce the infection rate so that health care can cope and fewer die.

    The virus has spread too far to ever be contained. It can only burn itself out. For an R-naught of 3, we need 2/3 of the WORLD’s population to be immune. Social distancing might reduce the R-naught somewhat but we’re probably still looking at needing at least 1/2 to be immune.

    The big question today is: How long will our immunity last? If it’s 10 years, we’re good. If it’s 10 months, life as we knew it will never return until there a vaccine (18m to 10y) or cure (???y).

  52. Christoph Weise says:

    This article does not make use of all we know now. The virus his highly contagious and many infected people have no or only marginal symptoms. This indicates a high number of unknown cases and a growing herd immunity. In countries such as Germany and Switzerland we see already a decline of new infections per day although less than 1% of population has been tested positive. The difference between scenarios one and two in the article is not really clear. I think Korea is doing the “controlled burn” already. It will be the path of choice everywhere after the countries have organised their hospitals and supply chains for medical equipment. Travel to high risk areas will require 14 days quarantine after return (and possibly on arrival and make travel very difficult. The elderly are the big losers – they will have to stay home. Face masks from 3M will become the norm on the street in mass transportation. Consumer attitude will change and a system collapse is possible because to many sectors are hid hard: tourism, travel, airlines, car industry, gastronomy, hotels, AirBnB, Uber and the like.

  53. Engin-ear says:

    “Bending the Curve” & Then What?” – that’s a trillion dollar question.

    The article did a great compilation of facts and theories, and Wolf’s community added a great deal of insights and thoughts. Yet I still don’t see the answer to the question – “Then what?”.

    I am afraid – then … nothing. I don’t understand what exactly triggered the worldwide lockdown, I mean what horrible forecast was it based upon.

    Therefore I don’t understand what specific condition will enable the “lockup.”

    What I read in mass media – is essentially drama and rumors.

    I am grateful to Wolf for keeping this beatiful garden alive.

    I am not saying that the governments are doing poor job. What I feel is that we are clearly in uncharted territory.

    My only concern is that the number of neo-desperados will hit a crticial mass well before the vaccin creation.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      1. THE point of at least trying to ”bend the curve” AT THIS TIME is to allow the hospitals to be able to deal with those folks needing ventilators, ICU, etc., without the deluge of cases that would be on the floors, waiting outside, etc., as has been seen.
      2. FL is about to be another ”test case.” Best current modeling showing this morning that peak in FL appears to be sooner, 12Apr, rather than as predicted just a few days ago, 3May, due to covidiots at all levels. Now in tpa bay area, almost all wearing face masks, some of artsy appearance, etc.
      3. CA appears to have locked down, mostly on volunteer basis early, then also early guv call, so it too will be good ”test case” source of data.
      4. We can legitimately hope at this point ALL desperados have gotten some sort of clear message,,, not least from possible pres candidate to meet them at front door with shotgun, not AR-15.
      Other than that, IMO, ”The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.” SO FAR!!

  54. VintageVNvet says:

    Some Wind, perhaps even some clarity on various ”counts.”

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-closing-of-21-million-cell-phone-accounts-in-china-may-suggest-a-high-ccp-virus-death-toll_3281291.html

    ”may you live in interesting times, indeed.”

  55. Short_Seller_Blake says:

    I’m shorting PLNT, and CACC. CACC is a 100% subprime auto loan company that charges 18% interest. Yea, they’re DONE. It hurts my head thinking of all the defaults piling up right now. They aren’t a bank with deposits either. They are dirty lenders that take in 18% to the lowest credit scores there are. AKA, all the people that just lost their job.
    PLNT though, planet fitness, 77% of their revenues come from franchisees. They are closed and will have to be for a long time. Aren’t the franchises going to really take it on the chin here and be forced to close down? Being on total lockdown is making the numbers subside apparently…… .if we go back out and play, do we become a NYC? So how in the living FUCK is Planet Fitness going to open anytime THIS YEAR and even if they do, how much of a ghost town will that be? PLNT is in a really bad situation here. Oh yea, today an analyst upgraded PLNT and said it will come back strong LOL. How do these financial people get jobs? Oh that’s right, their job is to pump stocks that their boss pays them to.
    PLNT and CACC……two best shorts that I know of.

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