Worst Recovery Ever: To Soothe Investor Pain, Government Agency TSA Hypes Airline Stocks in Chilling PR Stunt

What the TSA said in its PR stunt and what it forgot to say.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Our dear stock jockeys drove up airline stocks this morning after the TSA said in a press release – reported by the gushing media – that it “screened over 1 million passengers Sunday, representing the highest number of passengers screened at TSA checkpoints since March 17, 2020,”  and that it “screened 6.1 million passengers at checkpoints nationwide during the week (Mon., Oct. 12 through Sun., Oct. 18). That weekly volume also represents the highest weekly volume for TSA since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

OK, that wasn’t “6.1 million” but actually 6.01 million, according to the TSA’s own daily figures. But fine, a typo by some underling. Happens to me too. We won’t quibble over typos. And the media that reported on this didn’t add up the numbers either, but reprinted the typo. OK, happens.

But there was zero numerical context, such as the comparison with the same period last year. And this context that the TSA failed to discuss, and that the media then failed to mention, is still unchanged-horrible.

For that week the TSA hyped – the least-worst week “since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic” – passenger traffic remained 64.5% below where it had been last year. And, despite TSA hype, it wasn’t even the least-worst week, as we’ll see in a moment.

Nowhere could you see in the TSA’s PR announcement that, into the eighth month of the crisis now, passenger traffic for the week that the TSA hyped was still down 64.5% from the same period last year. Nor could you see in the TSA’s PR announcement that it wasn’t even the least-worst week, that in fact the least-worst week had been a month ago, which the TSA makes that clear in its own daily figures of passenger throughput. It didn’t try to hide it. It just forgot to mention it, as any good PR stunt would.

The chart below shows the seven-day moving average of TSA checkpoint screenings this year (red) and last year (black). Last year, screenings surged after Labor Day as business travel took off following the summer calm, and as people with no kids in school started traveling. This happens every year, normally. But it didn’t happen this year. The last data point, the average of the seven days through October 18, covers the week the TSA hyped, and it’s down 64.5% from the same period last year:

But it wasn’t even the least-worst traffic for a seven-day period. It was another TSA PR stunt – in terms of leaving out the important stuff. The seven-day average of checkpoint screenings had been down “only” 62.8% to 64.4%, compared to the same period last year, for four days after Labor Day, involving the calendar mismatch of Labor Day. This chart shows the percentage of how far down airport checkpoint screenings have been for seven-day periods, compared to the same weekdays last year. The least-worst plunge was over a month ago:

What this boils down to is this: Airline passenger traffic, compared to the same period last year, has recovered a little bit from the catastrophic near-zero April lows, but remains down about 64% from a year ago, in a phenomenon I have called the “worst recovery ever”.

While leisure travel has ticked up a little, business travel remains dead. Inflation data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that ticket prices have plunged as airlines grapple with the collapse in demand. This combination of ticket prices and collapsed demand caused Delta Air Lines’ passenger revenues, measured in dollars, to collapse by 83% in the third quarter.

This collapse in demand has given birth to a new metric in the industry: “daily cash burn,” which continues to be huge. To provide fuel for this daily cash burn, airlines are raising tens of billions of dollars, from taxpayers, from investors, from banks, from wherever they can, and the biggest single source of borrowing has become their frequent flier programs. Shareholders should worry. Read…. Airlines Raised $$$-Billions via Frequent Flier Programs. Delta alone Raised $9 billion via SkyMiles as Collateral. How?

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  147 comments for “Worst Recovery Ever: To Soothe Investor Pain, Government Agency TSA Hypes Airline Stocks in Chilling PR Stunt

  1. phathalo says:

    Got milk?

  2. Bo says:

    Does TSA count screening its own employees and airport employees in this report? If so, we need to subtract 100~200k from all the data points.

    • happy_man says:

      what makes you think TSA screens airport employees?

      Only the passengers with tickets are subjected to groping etc.

      Employees who work there may enter the premises carrying whatever they want.

      • happy_man says:

        btw do not interpret this comment as me wanting TSA to do anything, if any candidate or party would make me believe they would fully abolish TSA I would vote for them

      • John Taylor says:

        I knew someone who worked in food service at LAX, and she had to go through screening before every shift.

        Construction guys do the same thing. In a rare tile contract we got in LAX (most require union labor, but some small TI’s don’t) we certainly made sure to price that in.

        • happy_man says:

          yes in recent years they made some token efforts to screen some airport employees at some airports.

          Convince me that airport employees at every airport are all 100% screened. Convince me that all the backdoors into the terminals are actually barred. Convince me that TSA screening is even effective. If you try this, be sure to look up the many incidents where guns and explosives made it through.

  3. California Bob says:

    re: “… airlines are raising tens of billions of dollars, from taxpayers, from investors, from banks, from wherever they can, and the biggest single source of borrowing has become their frequent flier programs”

    Oh boy! More buybacks! Stock prices to the moon!

  4. Vichy Chicago says:

    For the people making up that 35% number – I wonder where they’re going and why.

    • Bobber says:

      I don’t know the numbers, but I have my guesses.

      I imagine the bulk of travelers are visiting family, attending small weddings and important affairs, visiting with aging parents who aren’t going to be around forever, etc. I think many people are willing to risk the virus in order to enjoy such key events. The numbers are still well in our favor. If people are aware and take basic precautions, wear masks, avoiding crowded situations, etc., the overwhelming majority of them will be fine.

      Other people may have urgent business or medical reasons for travel. I expect very few people are traveling for vacationing and sightseeing purposes.

      Also, I don’t think there is some block of people representing 35% of the population that is flying. My guess is that 70% of the population has elected to do some air travel at 40-50% of their usual travel rate. People who haven’t done any flying could be a minority at this point.

      • KamikazeShaman says:

        Not everyone is as frightened to get on a plane as you think.

        Every person in our extended family has flown back and forth across the country to utilize vacation property that’s been in the family since the 1940’s. San Diego PB area and the Eastern Shore of MD.

        Not a shred of fear and not one of the dozens of people were harmed.

        Crazy, right?

        • nick kelly says:

          You said it. Obviously there was likely no one infectious on the plane. Most of the time there won’t be. You can roll dice lots and get away with it. Most people who don’t use seatbelts aren’t injured (unless they crash)

          It’s a kind of ‘do you feel lucky’ thing.

          But if you think it proves some kind of truth…

          Have you ever bought a lottery ticket?
          Amazing how we react more to a one in millions chance of winning, than to in a one in a few thou of losing.

          A test case: way back in Feb, when the Princess cruise boat was docked in Yokohama with one case. They wouldn’t let folks off but confined them to their cabins.
          When they let them off: 500 cases.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Not so crazy according to a DOD study/report out late last week indicating planes with everyone wearing a mask did not represent an unusual threat to healthy folks.
          OTOH, sil flew from NC to SoCal to take care of her elder sister w mental health needs, and got the virus on the plane according to her doc…
          So, at this point, with tons of defective data as can be seen very clearly with a critical review of the ”daily graphs” of the states of USA, as well as the now very numerous countries on the Johns Hopkins global covid reporting website, (and a big thanks to JH for doing that site,) any rational observer can determine both that the world is in the first wave, and also that many places are experiencing the third surge of that first wave, NOT to be confused with any actual third wave which is equally clearly going to happen in spite of any and all PPE, ”cures” and so called vaccines.
          Vaccines have never worked very well against the kind of virus that covid is, and we only have to look at the so called ”common cold” to know that.
          BEE safe as best you can, and keep your powder dry; this virus, and the economic destruction from the political and social efforts surrounding it have a long way to go.

        • Anthony A. says:

          VNV, Curious to know how her doc figured this out?

          “OTOH, sil flew from NC to SoCal to take care of her elder sister w mental health needs, and got the virus on the plane according to her doc…”

        • @VintageVNvet The DoD study looked at a case of 100% of passengers wearing a mask 100% of the time and didn’t take into account that people take off masks to eat and drink. It also didn’t account for people walking through the aisles. Also, I’ve flown several time since the pandemic began and there are a huge number of people who take off their masks and don’t put them back on once the plane takes off and even more who seem to think that wearing a mask over their closed mouth with their nose sticking out the top is doing something besides making a weak political statement.

          @nick kelly – lol at ‘if you think it proves something…’

        • Mara says:

          70% of people are too scared to fly and thats bad news for the airlines and the broader economy. I’m glad you have family thats not scared but there’s no way to force other people to take a risk. This is why covid being political doesn’t make sense. Nothing will go back to normal until you ease people’s fear. Until then you’ll continue to see closed businesses

        • nick kelly says:

          As far as I’ve gathered, your health has little to do with whether you contract the virus but is all about the prognosis.

          I assume Patient 20 (or so) the thirty something Chinese doc who we all saw dying was in previous good health.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          That’s great news!

          Tell it to the 8M people in the USA who got it and the 225K DEAD PEOPLE (probably more like 325K since the deaths are vastly underreported due to a lack of testing). Let’s hear their thoughts.

          I get your point but remember, this whole disaster COULD have been totally different if the Leader of the Nation had not:

          1) Ignored the Pandemic Playbook;
          2) Disbanded the Cabinet Level Pandemic Response team;
          3) Politicized wearing a mask (basic science/common sense);
          4) Lied to the public about how harmful it is;
          Etc, etc, etc.

          He could help even more by NOT having Super-Spreader rallies indoors with unmasked people.

          But asking for basic common sense was a bridge too far. So here we are! :)

        • Zantetsu says:

          nodencent, whether or not I agree with your particular statements is immaterial. But I think your username by itself is inflammatory and I am confused about why Wolf would allow such an obvious politically insulting username to post on the site.

        • c1ue says:

          Re: people taking off masks and not putting them back on
          Totally not credible.
          I have been on multiple airlines on flights both international and domestic.
          Every airline I have flown has a mandatory mask policy and reminds people to put them on regularly.
          I even almost missed a connecting flight because a pair of East Asian women with a 4? 5? Year old child – the child refused to put his mask on and screamed really loudly.
          Wound up going back to the gate because the pilots wouldn’t take off.
          I did make my flight because the lack of congestion meant no runway and gate congestion related delay, but this is just the most extreme proof that airlines are taking mask policies seriously.
          Nor was there food available on any of the flights except the international – even for purchase. Significant when we are talking cross US trips of 8+ hour duration with a 40 minute interchange which makes buying food at an airport vendor risky.

        • sunny129 says:

          @ nodecentrepublicansleft


          Truth is always bitter to swallow to those who are in DENIAL zone, from the beginning and against anything scientific.

        • Escierto says:

          Go ahead and fly all you want. Nothing is going to make me get on a plane for the next few years. No one in my extended family of 16 people is flying either.

        • Lee says:

          “A test case: way back in Feb, when the Princess cruise boat was docked in Yokohama with one case. They wouldn’t let folks off but confined them to their cabins.
          When they let them off: 500 cases.”

          Apples and oranges.

          How many DAYS were the people confined to their cabins on the ship?

          How many HOURS were people on the plane?

          How many infected people were intiially on the ship?

          How many people were infected on the plane?

          How many infected crew members were on the ship that moved between cabins providing service and meals to the passengers over a period of days??

          How many infected aircrew served passengers on the plane.

          Completely different circumstances.

        • c1ue says:

          If you’re really interested in the actual risk of catching COVID-19 on a plane – I suggest reading the series of articles by Leeham

          In particular: aircraft ventilation is very strong and directed downward. This is a very strong counter-action to COVID-19 spread because it forces droplets onto the ground.
          Review of actual airline reported cases supports this: the odds of getting COVID-19 on a plane are millions to 1. Not zero, but clearly lower than in everyday life.
          But to also be clear: catching COVID-19 in an airport – prior to boarding or after deplaning – is a different matter.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          This is airline propaganda BS because your face is 20 inches from the nose and mouth of the person next to you, and that ventilation isn’t strong enough to constantly and instantly pull down every particle.

          But ventilation and filters are important over the hours that people are on the plane so you don’t get accumulations of the virus.

          The things that provides protection are: everyone wearing proper masks ALL THE TIME; not sitting next to anyone (but not all airlines block the middle seat); not being near anyone who is infected, which you don’t know; and not getting on long flights. The longer the flight, the higher the infection risk. There have been some well-documented cases of infections on longer flights.

          But I agree with you that inside an airplane is a less risky environment than in some of the airport areas where people ball up, with some refusing to wear masks, and there is no ventilation. That’s the #1 reason why I’m not flying unless I have to. #2 reason is being on a plane for a longer period of time.

          In June, Delta confirmed rumors that 10 of its flight attendants had already died of Covid. That was only three months into the pandemic. Airlines don’t cite this info unless they have to, and normally they don’t have to.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          This for tonyA:
          No, I do not know how doc figured it out, just going by reporting from sil; however sil did say plane was full, and there were many folks without masks of any kind…
          Concur with report above that all folks on DOD study had on masks the entire flight, as would likely be the case on DOD flights, eh

        • c1ue says:

          If you haven’t been on a plane, then how can you know what actual behavior is occuring on the plane?
          I have, and I have repeatedly noted that every airline I have flown has been extremely heavy on making sure people wear masks.
          Equally, the flights out of the West Coast are mostly empty – so the 20 inch is certainly not true of those.
          The flights on the East Coast – non-blue state – are much fuller and the 20 inches is much more true.
          As for flight attendants: Delta has 25000 flight attendants.
          If we use the overall US infection rate of 2.7% – this means 664 would have gotten COVID-19. I think you can agree that flight attendants would be higher risk than normal…
          10 deaths from COVID-19 doesn’t seem like a lot given this.
          It would be a lot more credible if CDC and or other government/NGO data showed dozens or hundreds of Delta passengers getting COVID on Delta planes and or in the airport.
          Note I don’t fault your personal choice.
          But most people don’t have the luxury of forgoing normal activities in order to make a living.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “If you haven’t been on a plane, then how can you know what actual behavior is occuring on the plane?”

          You need to re-read my comment. It was about airflow, proximity, and ventilation — and NOT “actual behavior” — in reply to your comment about ventilation.

          This is how my reply started: “This is airline propaganda BS because your face is 20 inches from the nose and mouth of the person next to you, and that ventilation isn’t strong enough to constantly and instantly pull down every particle.”

          I totally agree with your line: “But most people don’t have the luxury of forgoing normal activities in order to make a living.” But people MUST BE ABLE TO MAKE DECISION BASED ON REASONABLY GOOD DATA and not based on airline propaganda. Your line how ventilation solving those issues of the infected guy next to me was airline propaganda on ventilation. Re-read my reply about ventilation.

    • Jeff says:

      P.T. Barnum + Darwin = Leisure air travel bargain hunters

      • Ethan in NoVA says:

        I think I might go to Mexico for some diving around New Years time. A few friends have gone already, said the flight there was full and half full on the way back. Resorts were pretty much a ghost town.

    • DanS86 says:

      Some have to travel for work.

    • R Hughes says:

      Traveled yesterday on Alaska air Oregon to Palm springs, two flights, two people to return to winter home. Flight 1 small plane 38 people, early am 50% full, flight 2 sea to PSP A320 88 people with 64% full, mid morn. Masks required except when eating.

      Uber driver in PS was only 1 of 4 waiting, said traffic very slow we were 2nd ride of day for her. Afternoons were dead usually went home.

      Beware #1, when we got estimate for uber night before it was $28, but am at airport it was now 68, 2.5x. Drivers says when slow and not many drivers rate goes way up. Limo would have been 70. Rental car for day 30. So in future we will be more careful with bait and switch.

      By 10:30 Sea airport was beginning to look more vacant, suspect by PM it would be really vacant. PS airport at mid day just a fraction of typical 2019 level with stores and restaurants closed. Judging from talk and clothes and age vast bulk of travelers were family, tourists, ect..

      Beware #2. Alaska talks all about cleaning, sanitizing, ect.. We were last getting off and only cleaning was 1st class seats with quick wipe down. After depart wife says they were already boarding next flight, so any “sanitizing” was only for the privileged. Drink menu now only water and various cokes, nothing to buy. So choice and service has already been reduce from minimal levels pre covid. Ads say cabin filters are hospital grade 99.9 hepa. Trouble is these are good for particles 150 nm and larger, when covid is 0.15 to 0.40. Upon exist attendant says please remain in seat till row in front exits, ha ha. Few obeyed, many standing in aisle, some masks down, no social distance. So worst place to be is in middle of plane because no matter previous precautions at end you are exposed to more people, more exposure, more breathing, etc., in a very short period of time than all the rest of the flight.

  5. This whole revive travel thing is going to end horribly. Here in Hawaii they have pushed through the bypass of the 14 day quarantine just as we got our local case numbers down after a month of lockdown. Now, visitors coming from states where COVID-19 is surging can get a test 3-days before they come and not have to quarantine. The day the program started visitor traffic surged from less than 1000 arrivals per day to over 10,000. The state broke its own rules and allowed people who had tests from non-compliant vendors to skip the quarantine as well. The 14-day quarantine was widely broken anyway and almost impossible to enforce now with 10x arrivals and loads of visitors being green-lighted to ‘re-open’ tourism it will be even more impossible, if that’s possible. I can tell you from experience that 7-10 hours in a mask on a plane and in airports is not fun and that most of the restaurants and shops are either closed or have strange lines. There’s a pandemic, it’s not time to take a vacation!

    This is not going to end well. But hey, those airline numbers look super.

    • Seneca's cliff says:

      The crazy thing is even at 10,000 tourists a day that is only 3.5 million tourists per year. Before Covid Hawaii was running 15 million tourists per year. So right now Hawaii is back at about the numbers from 1975 or so. My wife who’s family has been in Hawaii since the 1890’s thinks that hawaii’s economy and population will have to back to what it was when she was in high school in the 70’s. Just like the airlines Hawaii has to face up to the fact that it will not go back to the way it was for several years at best, and perhaps it never will and they will have to go back to a new normal.

      • @Senecascliffs Those of us who live here (even those in the tourism industry) generally wouldn’t mind 1975 numbers at all

        • RightNYer says:

          Yeah, everyone always says that until it’s time to pay the tax bills that aren’t being supplemented from that higher population.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Anti, another user name that itself makes a political statement. Even if it’s unclear which side you are calling an antichrist, either way it can do nothing except stir up political feelings unnecessarily. Why does Wolf allow it?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          There’s a lot of flexibility in user names. Have a sense of humor, Zantetsu (I’ve always tried to figure out what that might mean in Japanese, but never quite got there).

        • John Taylor says:

          My brother lives in Oahu (US Navy), and there are a lot of native Hawaiians who are happy about the lower numbers.

          Tourism has widespread costs in crowds, prices, etc, it the benefits aren’t necessarily widespread.

          Hawaii has an enormous number of homeless. Native Hawaiians get some special housing and lower food prices, but many are still poor and think longingly about a past with beautiful open spaces, less people, and an easier life.

          Note that I’m not advocating anything here, nor am I claiming that this is anywhere near a majority view. I’m just explaining that this view is much more vocal, pervasive, and widespread than you’d think.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Maybe I am being overly sensitive Wolf. But I just had an email fight with my dad today over politics, I’m always trying to keep him from blowing up when he can’t take even the slightest criticism or even push back on his positions. Was unsuccessful despite my efforts. And then I see people flounting a sort of “subtle insult to the other side” user name and I wonder, why people want to cause such unnecessary bad blood. Political discourse in this country is terrible as it is. But whatever.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          I totally understand.

          I’ve been called a “dictator” and worse for the things I don’t allow. And there are other people who want me to crack down harder, and they complain about the things that I allow. I wish I wouldn’t have to crack down at all and that everyone could stick to civil discussions and not abuse my site to spread terrible nonsense. But that’s not possible online.

          But DO reveal your secret: what does Zantetsu mean?

        • Zantetsu says:

          It’s nothing that exciting. It’s the name of my favorite character from my favorite fighting arcade game, Last Blade 2. Do a google search for Zantetsu, it’s the first thing that will show up. The mystique is gone now I guess heh …

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Ha, googling it is the one thing I didn’t do. I tried to use my horrible knowledge of Japanese, and my Japanese dictionary, and when that didn’t work, I asked my wife, and she wasn’t sure either. Thanks.

    • What about virtual vacations? Turn the thermostat to 80, pour the cool drinks, and listen to the waves in surround sound.

      • Harrold says:

        All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.

      • @ambrosebierce I submitted a reality show idea to Mark Burnett a few years ago – it was called “Your Not Going Anywhere” the idea was people apply to win the vacation of a lifetime and when they win the crew shows up at their door with the tagline “You win. You aren’t going anywhere.” From that point forward a team of historians, health experts, and tourism professionals from their own town/region/city give them the vacation of a lifetime all within their own town/region/city. It was made for the pandemic age – but I never heard from Burnett. Maybe I should have gone with the simpler version you posited…

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Anti-in terms of ‘reality’ shows, i could never figure out ‘Survivor’, in which one promotes and backstabs one’s ‘cooperating’ (cooperation being that which has built ALL great civilizations) competitors until one is left. In an actual world, rather than returning to (?)great reward in civilization, shouldn’t the ultimate episode of the show end with the solitary victor hearing: “…well, you’ve won! Enjoy your island empire!!!”, as the remaining crew returns to the mainland? The show could return in a couple of years to see how the ‘winner’ was doing.

          Ah, fantasies and myths of the ‘rugged individualist’-don’t we love ’em!

          may we all find a better day.

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Mark Burnett should be executed for helping to foist this disaster upon us.

          Your story reminds me of my brother’s letter to Dan Quayle after his stint as US VP. My brother told him he had an open position as a buttplug tester in his wooden buttplug factory at a rate of $5/hour.

          Shockingly, he never heard back from Dan Quayle….

        • @nodecentrepublicans left Shame on your brother – Dan Quayle was a patrioet!

        • lenert says:

          “You’re fired.”

      • c1ue says:

        Might work better if the bikers and kids with muscle cars went revving them up all the time.
        The CHP has started patrolling in triples and quads to be able to nail more of the gangs of scofflaws (speeding)

    • VintageVNvet says:

      You are correct ac4:
      It is not going to end well, and we can only hope that there will be, eventually, an end at all.
      If you would review my comment a few mins. earlier, you will get part of my reply to you as well as to the ”general” case world wide.
      Beyond that, based on my recent review of every USA state, particularly HI because of family in Kauai and friends in Oahu, it certainly appears from the data available that, sooner and later, everyone who is going to get this virus will get it, and equally, everyone who is going to die as a result of the virus, either directly or not, will die from it.
      Wolf made a very good point early on that the various ”lock downs” etc., were a good effort to help the medical services delivery system NOT become over loaded. IMO that was a good effort and paid off…
      But it did not and cannot stop the eventual progression of this virus.

      • josap says:

        I would rather not die. So I follow the guidelines from the scientists.

        • TXRancher says:

          Oh get real.

          You have a 0.03% chance of dying from the Wuhan virus (99.97% survivability). Even higher survivability rate if you are younger than 70 or don’t have complicating health issues.

          The 2017-2018 influenza season had 177,000 deaths (from influenza and pneumonia cause that’s how CDC records it). Did you panic those years?

          As always be careful.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          There is a very good test case: the outbreak at St. Quentin prison in California. 2,239 prisoners got infected with Covid and 28 died from Covid so far. That’s a death rate of 1.3%. Ok, they didn’t get helicoptered to the hospital and treated by a team of the best doctors and with the most expensive experimental medications. They had the kind of lousy healthcare that a lot of poor people in the US have. So if you’re privileged, your chance of dying are a lot smaller than if you’re not privileged.

          Four times as many Americans died of Covid in 7 months so far than died in Vietnam over many years.

        • Escierto says:

          When someone refers to covid19 as the Wuhan virus or the Chinese virus, I ignore everything they say.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Wolf-thank you for that metric, and the remembrance.

          may we all find a better day.

          may you find your casualties minimal.

        • Randy says:

          What do you want to live forever? Death is a fact of life. You live, you die. What fun is life without risk? Sounds like a pretty boring life living in a bubble and needing your hand held to me. I follow no one. You only have one life, live it to the fullest.

          “Do the thing you fear the most and death of fear is certain”
          Mark Twain

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Randy-assuming you have none or nothing close to you who/which might be depending on you, or that gives you joy in life, by all means, but you first. If, on the other hand you do, i counsel that you take a moment. Fate is our hunter (to borrow from E.K. Gann) every single day, and doing our best not to cop one of its arrows as we follow our individual trails of existence is in our genes (even ol’ Sam deserted the CSA when he realized this…).

          (… sweet, the occasional taste of nihilism, though, it removes all uncertainty…)

          may we all find a better day.

      • Thomas Roberts says:


        CCP-19 is primarily a danger to the elderly and people with certain medical conditions. While, a small number of younger people have died, most had very easy to test for medical conditions and factors. The lockdowns, especially the beginning ones in almost all of America outside maybe NYC, were almost entirely negative. Not many people had it yet and so the lockdowns didn’t help, however many non CCP-19 related necessary surgeries and medical treatments were legally delayed for months, causing overloads when the real outbreaks happened.

        From the beginning, it would have been easy to enable those at risk to keep themselves safe most of the time.

        For everyone else certain places like themes Parks and sports stadiums needed to be shut down. But, almost everything else should have stayed open, masks and sanitizing do help. The opening hours of stores could have been reserved for those taking precautions. Those at jobs with greater public exposure, could have been given hazard pay from a much smaller stimulus.

        By early next year, at least one of the more than 100 attempts at a vaccine should prove successful and for all those who get it, the pandemic will start to wrap up. By no means is/was everyone doomed to get it.

        The failed attempt at an approach America took with the lockdowns will result in a far greater number of deaths for many years to come for the general population. Already, heart attacks and strokes are on the rise for the under-65s, the physical and mental health of the country will be diminished for the well into the future.

        CCP-19 was always going to result in disaster for America, unfortunately the lockdowns made it a much worse different kind of one. You can thank your local and national politicians for that.

        • HisMileHighNess says:

          “Not many people had it yet and so the lockdowns didn’t help”

          What do you do with reasoning like that?

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          During the initial wave of lockdowns that started in March, in the vast majority of the country, there wasn’t many infections yet, there was exceptions like NYC. During the initial lockdowns a vast sum of scheduled critical and optional, but not “emergency”, treatments, surgeries and doctor visits were delayed months. This was done to handle a CCP-19 surge that hadn’t happened yet. Instead, all those delayed treatments happened, later on often during actual outbreaks or were cancelled. A significant number did die from these delays.

          Going directly from most people unaware to full lockdowns was a poor decision, when the infection rate was still low. Instead, they should have announced the precautions starting in February and in most places skipped the initial lockdowns altogether.

      • HisMileHighNess says:

        You don’t seem to understand that overloading the “medical services delivery system” would have resulted in more deaths. If we had done nothing, as you seem to advocate, there would have been triage of the crowd of dying people outside of hospitals.

        Oh I see from your previous post you don’t believe in vaccines. ‘Nuff said there, but your use of the phrases “keep your powder dry” and “economic destruction from the political and social efforts surrounding it” spangle the scene nicely,

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Wrong re ”believing in vaccines…” hmhn
          What I wrote was that there has never been a vaccine for the common cold, another example of this type of virus IIRC.
          I personally have had every vaccine that was available in the 1940 to 1980 period when many were first brought to We the Peedons, including especially more than one polio, as that disease was contracted by one of my best friends who then spent a long long time in and out of an Iron Lung.
          Re: ”keep your powder dry,” that is generally understood on any financial discussion to mean to keep as much cash as you can ready for the bargains to follow as they always have in the 60 years plus I have been following markets.
          ( BTW, The use of open powder guns has pretty much been limited to hobbyists, etc., for the last couple hundred years.)

    • Lee says:

      “Today’s new infection cases include 31 on Oahu, seven on Hawaii island, and one Hawaii resident diagnosed out of state.”


      “These travelers had tested negative for the virus, but the tests were conducted at labs not on the state’s approved list. Instead of insisting they quarantine for 14 days, which the new travel policy calls for, the state decided to let them in as part of a grace period.

      Lt. Gov. Josh Green said Sunday the grace period will end today, and only those tested negative at state-approved facilities will now be allowed to skip the quarantine.”

      And about those numbers:

      “On Saturday, the latest numbers available, 9,841 passengers arrived in Hawaii — 7,117 visitors and 2,724 returning residents. Some 8,217 of Saturday’s passengers were exempted from the quarantine because they had a negative test result.”

      So only 70% of that 10,000 or so were tourists.

      And better get their act together:

      ”We waited a full hour after we landed to navigate the line to get through the COVID process. It is totally unacceptable to have three or four agents processing a full Hawaiian flight. The line stretched the full length of the interisland terminal,” he said.

      Lynch said the couple has since talked to other Maui-bound travelers who waited more than two hours on their planes and then waited another three to four hours on the ground.”

      And none of them were from Australia either!

  6. nick kelly says:

    Maybe TSA was trying to cover their own ass: ‘see we’re still working. Don’t lay any of us off just cuz we’re only doing a third of last year’s work’

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      “We are a necessary agency!!!” I’ve been monitoring international traffic to and from SFO, and it’s interesting to see that there are still flights available daily to destinations in East Asia e.g. Tokyo, Taiwan and Seoul. I know that Japan has now allowed foreign residents to reenter the country, and in fact Japanese companies have now resumed hiring candidates from overseas, but ticket prices continue to be super cheap, meaning demand is super weak. I am guessing passenger planes nowadays mainly carry cargo.

      • nick kelly says:

        My sis would like to like to visit kid in Japan, but getting back into Canada?

        PS: I hope Canada will do something about the tiny US community near Alaska that is cut off. (Ya so is Point Roberts but they have ferry) Apparently they are sweating stuff like firewood.

        Weird case in east Canada: some poor guy (Can citizen) spent his last buck on a piece of land in
        maritime province. He has deed in his hand and is stopped on bridge and turned back.

    • josap says:

      TSA screeners, for the most part, get pretty low wages. $15.hr will keep you fed and a roof over your head.

  7. Harrold says:

    American Airlines said they will be resuming flights with the 737MAX by the end of the year.

    If that doesn’t bring back fliers, I don’t know what will.

    • Anthony A. says:

      They will need to offer triple frequent flier miles on those flights.

      Also, those miles will have to be non-expiring and transferable to family members (or next of kin). Maybe even serve warm bags of peanuts and free coke (in a real can). I can’t wait!

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Love the part about ”’transferable to … (next of kin) EXACTly, aa!
        Would take at least 100x miles for this old guy, ( 10x+ for this plane, + 10x+ for virus, etc.) ,, and only if transferable to any and all much younger family folks, to include ‘great grandchildren, etc…

    • Bobber says:

      I’m guessing here, but I bet American Airlines will not tell you ahead of time whether a flight is on a 737MAX or not. They’ll make you cancel your flight at the gate, at the last minute, and they likely won’t give you a full refund. They’ll say they can’t give you such information ahead of time because they need flexibility to change aircraft at the last minute (for efficiency purposes).

      A lot of people will allow themselves to be gently “pushed” into the plane.

    • Mkkby says:

      I’ve been silently boycotting flying for years. Until they make it a pleasant experience I’ll stay out. Comfortable seats and space to spread out, no lines at security, no walking 2 miles to a gate, no nuisance fees for baggage/etc, no sitting at the gate in a plane with the a/c turned off, no meals that are worse than prison food.

      Now you have to sit in a sweaty mask for hours. Terrible service just got worse.

  8. RollingStone says:

    All of this, and I mean ALL of it, is much worse than 2008’s TGR. Wonder if many people don’t really realize this yet. Or is it a matter of hope? Hope that it is all going to be OK. All of this is going to make ‘The Great Recession’ look like the beautiful, calm and fairly ordinary good old days. I don’t think this story ends well.

  9. Cas127 says:

    Next question…

    Has TSA airline screening budget fallen anywhere near falloff in demand for their putative services?

    I know which way I would bet.

    • Zantetsu says:

      On a local level, I wonder about our library. They haven’t allowed us into the place since March and yet I suspect they’re all still getting paid the same with no furlough (I don’t think this for sure, but it is my assumption). I sure hope that place looks like it’s had 6 months of intensive effort in cleaning and organizing by this point, but again, my suspicions are, it’s been mostly an extended vacation for the employees of the library.

      Not sure why I am picking on the little guy here though. I mean the cheating at every level has got to be significant so why focus on the little guy? Partially it just irks me that I can’t go to the library I guess.

      • josap says:

        Our libraries are closed to the public. However, you can go online or call and order books. They put the books in a bag and you can pick them up outside. You return books the same way.

      • Paulo says:


        I order online but we can now go in to our library and browse. Of course it helps if you have low infection rates. I don’t imagine this would apply to most of the lower 48.

      • MCH says:

        it is kind of annoying not to be able to do a simple like going to the library. I think the part of the problem with lack of social interaction and just the ability to go to a lot of places is that all of the serendipitous opportunities are no longer available.

        How many times have you gone to the library to just browse and pick up a random book because you happened to be looking for something else. Never going to happen with online search and all that. For example, you have no idea what other books are around the shelf of the book that you picked out.

        It’s too bad, really.

      • @zan same here although the libraries had become defacto homeless day care prior to the pandemic, so maybe municipalities are just taking an opportunity to change homeless habits. Frankly, I miss our local friends of the library much more – I hate donating books to Salvation Army or Goodwill and completely detest buying used books online especially when it means giving Bezos an opportunity to exploit used book sellers for nearly 60% on his monopolistic platform. Crazy to think that Bezos could have permanently housed every homeless person in the USA with just what he has made since the pandemic began and then you and I could enjoy our libraries again.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Just the opposite for this family re SA ant:
          We buy any book even near/close to our current faves at the SA, return some there, share others with family and friends, near and far, by USPS ”media mail” (who cares if it is a month or so,,, was by far their cheapest and slowest for many decades)
          We support the many objectives of the Salvation Army, and give them more than the cash register every time…
          Our libraries have recently re-opened to browsing, etc.; we are very happy about that opening, as our local library is staffed by very good folks, very helpful and friendly, and, in fact, it was the only thing we really missed amongst all the lock downs.

      • Lee says:

        Same here in Melbourne.

        During the first part of the lockdown which started in March they had a click and collect, but it was so ridiculous that most people couldn’t use it: you had to order 10 books and they all had to be on the shelf.

        When the first lockdown was relaxed the main library didn’t open, but the branch in our little village did and I was able to get a stack of books.

        A couple of weeks after that or so we went into severe lockdown and no click and collect at all. Everything was shut down.

        We had the rules relaxed a week or so ago and normal borrowing via click and collect is now running. I’ve been able to get three books so far and am on the waiting list for a bunch of others……………..worst rank is number 183 on the waiting list so maybe sometime next year, perhaps for that book!!!

        And if you want to buy ‘used’ books here about the only place to do it in the local area is at garage sales (banned) or op shops which have also been closed for over six months now.

  10. David Hall says:

    Disney World has capped attendance at 25%. They require face coverings. They set up temperature screenings at the gate.

    There are shortages of nurses and ICU beds in some
    U.S. cities as another wave of infection spreads.

    The U.S. – Canada border is closed until November 21. The U.S. -Mexico border is closed to all but essential traffic until November 21.

  11. DanS86 says:

    Who is going to fly the 737 MAX now that it is approved for flight again? Not me!

    • California Bob says:

      I would (if I REALLY needed to fly). By the time the MAX starts flying regularly it will be the most scrutinized transport aircraft flying, and the pilots will be on their toes.

      BTW, anyone know if Airbus finally fixed all the defective pitot tubes on A3X0s?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      My understanding is that the 737 Max is still grounded, but that the FAA is trying to get last pieces worked out. The Oct 6 announcement concerned a proposal for pilot training.

  12. Brady Boyd says:

    United says it’s safe to fly during the pandemic, so it must be since they say it is.

  13. MarMar says:

    It’s worth mentioning that in the big picture, this is a good thing. We need to bring CO2 emissions down to zero, and there are no real substitutes for fossil fuel in aviation, whereas cars, trains, and buses can be powered by electricity.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Which do you think burns more fuel? 50,000 new RVs on the road, or 10,000 now-idled aircraft? Honest question (and I just made the numbers up, but hopefully you get my point) …

      • MarMar says:

        For those numbers, the planes, for sure. But I get your point.

        I think more important is what tools and behaviors can reasonably be converted to fossil-free and which can’t. Apparently there already exists one model of electric RV, with more to come. Existing cars, RVs, etc can at least theoretically be converted to electric.

        Air travel is just not compatible with zero emissions, not with any technology that’s coming soon, anyway. Our society’s rapid adoption of videoconferencing and the decline of long-distance business travel is a net positive here.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      Not to worry mm,,, gravity mirrors will soon make all fossil fuels totally obsolete, and make all energy production facilities anachronisms once again…
      We can only hope that the world wide web does its intended job of informing each and every one of our species that trade benefiting all concerned is the very best trade; and, similarly, hope that we can get over all of the various and sundry and clear predjudices on all sides and get to the point of fairness, not to mention the so called ”justice for all” that is so clearly lacking today.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        VNV-…and, we must find where Chester Gould parked Diet Smith and the Magnetic Space Coupe…

        may we all find a better day.

  14. Dale Dillon Lips says:

    The chart comparing 2020 to 2019 shows an upward trend and continual improvement. I’d say that’s pretty positivity, especially considering the political hype.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Dale Dillon Lips,

      Sure it shows an upward trend, from -95% in April to -64% now — exactly the “worst recovery ever.” How you can call a traffic count of -64% after eight months of recovery “pretty positivity” is beyond me, unless you were being sarcastic, in which case it makes sense.

      • don says:

        Do you mean the “worst recovery ever” from an economic event, the credit cycle, or a non-economic event, as in the 14th century plague?

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        Wolf, I think a bunch of us are surprised that there’s still people flying. You would expect a couple of bumps here and there in the data because of people relocating for good, etc, but the fact that there’s a non zero floor to the number of people flying makes you wonder about who they are.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Most people have almost zero risk, I would gladly take a discounted fight right now, but, I don’t want to go somewhere largely shut down and not as lively as usual.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Thomas Roberts,

          “Most people have almost zero risk…”

          Sure, only 220,000 Americans died from it so far in seven months, so no biggie, considering that there are 328 million more Americans, and it just keeps going. And that’s only the deaths, not the long-term issues and disabilities that upend the lives of young people that survived the treatments in the hospital. Healthcare costs of this virus are a huge financial burden on the US too — estimates are that the treatments Trump got cost the taxpayer over $100,000 — and these healthcare costs are a far bigger burden than they should have been because the leadership and many people have been reckless and stupid about it.

        • makruger says:

          I think part of the answer here is the result of skepticism and politicalization. As the data clearly indicates, a large segment of population is too risk adverse to fly while another much smaller segment considers it all business as usual.

          For example, I would not fly, while A 30 year old coworker of mine just returned to Boston from visiting his girlfriend in Texas and totally disregarded the mandatory 2 weeks quarantine, endangering everyone I work with. As long as interstate travel is unrestricted and people are freely traveling, the coronavirus will continue to spread. Just tonight a broadcast message was send to all cell phones near where I live warning of an outbreak in Lawrence, Massachusetts and the recommended protective measures to take.

        • Thomas Roberts says:


          The whole pandemic was going to be a tragedy no matter what. By the time it’s true lethalness and contagiousness was uncovered, it was already spread out to much in America to control, because of the geographic spread, commute culture, lack of mask culture, and other factors; it was never gonna be stopped in America, the way it was stopped in Taiwan or South Korea.

          Instead of spending the month of February, carefully explaining the effects and possible countermeasures of CCP-19. The politicians (Both Parties) instead pretended like it didn’t exist, waited on it and than had an extreeme over-reaction. At no point did the people have any say and they have been kept in the dark about what will happen next.

          Had the international travel restrictions been more sweeping and effected other countries coming into America sooner (the fact China was blocked early on greatly helped, but, not if Chinese citizens traveled first through a 3rd country). The actual outbreaks could have been pushed back at the minimum weeks, but, with public knowledge maybe 2+ months; the entire situation could have been handled extremely differently.

          The effects of what actually happened, have had the effect of greatly dividing America, tanking the economy, and greatly harming the physical and mental health of America. While, opening things up would result in more CCP-19 deaths and long-term issues, not doing it, will almost certainly result in long-term consequences much greater than most think. Already heart attacks and strokes among those never infected are greatly increasing, there will be many more such health effects. There is also the mental effects of isolation, especially on the kids, but, on many others as well, that will exacerbate mental illness, self harrm and many other things. While, it is possible to avoid most of these negative consequences even under the current lockdowns, in reality that isn’t happening. People in America are lazy, you cannot make them stop being active for a year, lift the restrictions and expect them to be as active and sociable as before.

          If we take a median 40 year old going on vacation in a non-locked down America, would that on average result in a greater health outcome? Had the people actually been asked about how to handle the entire situation, no matter the choice they would have made, I would have been much happier with that happening, than what actually did. As for what to do in the present, there is no great options available any more, but, those at risk can hide inside if they want, I am at almost no risk, and will carry on, whatever I am doing.

        • ContrarianView says:

          I am traveling very cafefully with my spouse who is a COVID doctor. We were largely staying home early March pre lockdown until early September. We both believe in it and all that 1000% so we are very careful and stick to masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing, and frequent testing along with quarantining at different stages.

          We need to keep living, and we need to think about how we can support our friends, family, local communities, small businesses, etc. We are not in a high risk group so we are taking calculated risks and making sure we quarantine from high risk groups until a negative test. Surprisingly, there is many people doing this. Many more than you can imagine, as I have been constantly surprised by the amount of travelers in the many places we have been.

          We are way past quarantining this thing to zero.

          If we see evidence that social distancing, wearing masks, frequent sanitizing, frequent testing, intermittent quarantining, etc. do not work, we will stay at home. For now, we see it is working as long as we stay very strict. Too many people get too comfortable and we have no room to forget to sanitize for instance.

  15. Sam says:

    “Sully Sullenberger Says The FAA and Boeing Haven’t Done Enough To Fix The Max. Says Such A Failure!” (YOU know where the video is posted)
    I realize that he’s an Airbus driver, but will always listen to those have experienced the ‘ultimate’ trial by fire.

    May your best flight be the most uneventful flight. Happy Trails.

    • California Bob says:

      The MAX isn’t ‘fixable;’ it’s an inherently flawed, outdated, ‘hacked’ design (Thanks, Boeing beancounters!). But, flown by competent pilots aware of its shortcomings, it’s a manageable risk (as are most forms of transportation). Note Airbus has had its share of SNAFUs; just do a search on ‘Airbus crashes.’ Many of these were due to the Airbus engineers’ arrogance in thinking they could fly better than pilots, and pilots’ unfamiliarity with the new fly-by-wire systems. Also, see ‘Air France 447.’

      BTW, Airbus’ engineers said Sully did nothing heroic, he just held the stick back and the plane flew within its envelope (i.e. their aircraft was the ‘hero’). What the computers will never have is the pilots’ judgement which, in this case, made all the difference.

      ps. Airline pilots fly what the airline pays them to fly. A lot of airline pilots love the Boeing 757; it’s known as a ‘hot rod.’

      • Harrold says:

        Unfortunately, Boeing hid the 737MAX shortcomings and told everyone no pilot training was needed. They did this not out of ignorance, but out of plain greed. Do you trust that they have come clean on the 737MAX or any future airplane? The fact that the new CEO came from the Blackstone Group guarantees that greed will prevail.

        As for Sullenberg, like you said, he let the airplane fly itself. Your right. In fact most people could accomplish that.

        Now successfully landing that A320 in the Hudson river with no loss of life? That takes some righteous skill only a few people command.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Basically as far as I understand the situation, Boeing new approach for airplane development; doesn’t use the time tested, safe method of having a single team of engineers oversee the entire project and delegate down each part; instead, they are trying to have this more “globalized” approach of each part of the plane being developed largely separately. I know this was done with the Dreamliner, I think the 737 MAX might have been effected by this too.

          They basically took a 737 and to make it more fuel efficient, made changes to the design, which included, putting larger engines on it (tilting the balance), this had the effect of making the plane fly tilted (extremely unsafe), to compensate they put a poorly designed computer in, that would automatically compensate in flight. However, this computer was very poorly designed, they infamously paid programmers in India $8 an hour to program it. The sensors for this computer can malfunction and cause the plane to intentionally nosedive. The pilots might not know how to override this as Boeing told the FAA, this plane flys exactly the same as the original 737 and no training is required (they did this to get the plane into service faster). Boeing also made several extremely basic safety features optional, like the Angle of Attack indicator, this is a very basic meter, that shows the tilt of the plane, Another “the disagree light” said if the sensors were giving faulty data. Boeing in it’s great generosity is going to make “the disagree light” standard, but, not the Angle of Attack indicator (their great generosity, does have to have limits).

          The original 737, though old is safe, the 737 Max is inherently dangerous and should be grounded until the balance can be fixed with new engines or other fixes that make the plane balanced. I don’t trust the dreamliner either.

      • nick kelly says:

        Ya deciding to land in the river made a difference alright. Luv it when he tells controller he’ll be in the Hudson and controller says, ‘say again?’

        Is it inside the computer’s envelope to direct the plane to land gear- up?

        Like to see a transcript of engineers’ statement it was no biggee. Sounds like an off- the- cuff by a sourpuss, because if was a release, I doubt AB’s PR (i.e. sales) would be impressed.

        • nick kelly says:

          Did about ten minutes trying to fact check this.
          The German guy who wrote a book about this kind of backed off in interview: says it was a great airmanship and quote: ‘I’m not saying it would have been any different in a 747.’

  16. Kasadour says:

    The vigor for reinforcing Covid lockdowns (for example, a Wisconsin judge today upheld the state’s dept of health lockdown to only 25% capacity of restaurants and bars) ought to put the final nail in the finance coffin that the US economy is now lying in.

    • Anthony A. says:

      We are at 75% in most counties of Texas. Some places read that as 100%. All is good! The four (yes, FOUR) large hospitals one mile from my house are pretty empty. Our next door neighbor’s daughter is a nurse and she is afraid she will be laid off soon.

      A son of my 84 year old neighbor had the sniffles and a headache and went to the doc. He tested positive for the virus. HIS WIFE TESTED NEGATIVE AND SHE SLEEPS WITH HIM! So he is in quarantine for 10 days and was given some allergy meds and a Zpack of antibiotics. He is 55 years old, his wife is 60.

      This is all crazy…

      • Zantetsu says:

        Anthony A, is it really beyond your capacity to understand what the word “precautions” means? I mean really?

        That’s a rhetorical question. Of course it is not. The non-rhetorical question is, why do you refuse to look at the whole picture, instead focusing on your local area and one piece of anecdotal data?

        Did you know that there are tons of sources of information out there right now that you can read that will tell you about the actual severity of this issue nation wide and world wide? You don’t even have to rely on your own personal observations, you can read the work of scientists who study these issues for a living!

        • Anthony A. says:


          I’m looking at the whole picture and just reporting on Texas and what I see going on around here in our 600,000+ population county. Texas appears to be handling the pandemic much looser than other states. Maybe it’s the culture here. I don’t know. I’m originally from Connecticut and spent 12 years in California before we moved here over 20 years ago.

          I never did say that what’s going on here is the way to handle this. I see and hear a lot of variability in Covid 19 test results from real people around these parts, not aligned with what the media reports. How does my friend’s son who tested positive have a wife who tested negative? Is the testing flawed? Or is the whole system screwed up. He was only told to quarantine for 10 days…?? She has no symptoms and is in quarantine with him, which is proper.

          I can’t easily visit my family in Connecticut since that state has locked out over 30 states that have an ongoing infection rate more than 10% of the population of the state. And Texas is one of those states. One needs to jump thru a lot of hoops to visit Connecticut and I am not going to go through that routine just to visit an old, aging sister and a couple of nephews. I will wait this out.

          I’ve been real careful and I have a wife with COPD. When we go anywhere, which has been infrequently, we follow the rules (masks, gloves, etc). For some reason (maybe people following guidelines?) our zip code has had very few infections and deaths. Houston, just south of us, is a much different case and that’s another world.

          But, I will say that things are very open in the general area as I see bars and restaurant parking lots full to the brim. Shopping centers are very busy and entry into a store requires wearing a mask. It’s evident that some other states are managing this pandemic differently. Certainly Wisconsin is. And California is too, but their infection and death rates compare with Texas.

          A poster somewhere in this or another thread said that eventually, most people will get this virus, no matter how and what kind of controls we force on the people. I tend to agree with that. Hopefully, when that happens, the virus will have mutated into something less deadly.

          Couple people’s general observations on a daily basis with a varied information flowing out of the media and we have one big mess. We can thank China for this.

        • Zantetsu says:

          Anthony A, perhaps I misunderstood you, because I agree with much more of your response than what I thought you were originally saying.

          I get frustrated with the ways that our social and political response to this virus have impacted my personal life style, but I always try to remind myself that it’s better to be aggressive and over compensate than to under compensate.

      • josap says:

        Texas COVID-19 Statistics: 848,255 Cases / 17,440 Deaths / 7,274,236 Tests / Avg cases/day 4,471 declined 5.5% from 14 days ago Avg deaths/day 72 declined 14.29% from 14 days ago (Updated Oct 17, 2020 …

        From Tx covid site.

      • Escierto says:

        My daughter is a nurse at the largest hospital in Houston and no it is not empty. Far from it. The case rate is skyrocketing and the deaths won’t be far behind.

        • Kasadour says:

          I believe you. I live in Oregon and cases are going up here too. Not so sure about deaths. I have a theory about this virus and that is it will find its way to any population center whether 20 or 20 million. This is not good news for the GDP going into the last quarter.

        • Sierra7 says:

          Escierto (and others):
          Have a grandaughter working med research team at one of the nation’s largest and best teaching hospitals; early on queried her on the virus: “This is very serious and deadly. This is no joke. Protect yourself”
          That was enough for me.

  17. Mad Dog says:

    The airlines are complicit in bringing in this virus into the US. They were flying plane loads of infected people from Europe when anyone with half a brain would have sent the red flag up. JFK airport was the destination of planeloads of infected Covid-19 people. No screening and no temperature testing. Nothing! They just wanted the revenues. Just like 911 when their neglegence and non-existent screening of suspicious travelers led to the terrorist attacks.

    I don’t feel sorry for the Airline and the stockholders. Let them all go bankrupt. No bailout!

  18. Dano says:

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics….

    • DO says:

      But, but, but, statistics is math and math is science, and science and math are true (everyone knows this)… and science is something scientists do… and scientists, the embodiment of science, are incorruptible. Especially those in prominent positions so therefore what they say is always true. See?…

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        DO-i hope you are not intentionally misunderstanding the scientific method, or worse, conflating it with religion-which many seem to do. Actual science CONSTANTLY reexamines ALL THEORIES, and CHANGES or CLARIFIES them when presented with verifiable new data (i.e.: multiple testers generate the same new observations via repeatable experimentation). The method posits that changes are ALWAYS possible, AND TO BE SOUGHT OUT, thoroughly tested, then challenged again going forward-a current conclusion is only assumed to be true until quantifiably proven otherwise.

        Scientists, on the other hand, are human-with all the frailties that term implies (no matter the occupation), but the method ultimately provides its own ethical checks on those frailties and non-repeatable experimental data.

        As to your comment conflating statistics/math/science, i would reprise Woody Guthrie’s line from his immortal ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’:

        “…as you travel through this life, you’ll meet some funny men-some rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen…”. Would you say all men with six-guns or fountain pens are robbers, then?

        Context. Nuance. Uncertainty. They can sure disturb a comfortable either-or mindset…(even gravity-though the LAW around this part of the universe, maybe not in other neighborhoods…).

        may we all find a better day.

  19. Now we just need Wolf to look at the GDP comparisons to 2019 and it will be Depression Era cliff diving stuff. Stock market at new highs??? I have a bridge to no-where to sell you.

  20. Boomer says:

    Business travel not likely to recover thanks Hollywood Squares Zoom meetings. In a few years holographic cocktail parties. The pandemic has resulted in quite a few money saving changes.

  21. sunny129 says:

    ‘And while the air transport association may have hoped its guidelines would reassure travelers, Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, a multimillion-mile frequent flier and a principal of 777 Partners, an investment firm, said they ignored the “critical question that has to be answered: How can I be assured only nonspreaders of Covid-19 will be allowed on the aircraft with me?”
    NYT July 8th ’20

  22. MCH says:

    So, once again, we can thank the media for always going in pursuit of the absolute truth no matter the consequence. It’s like the mainstream media has become the Pravda to our governmental functions.

    I read this rather entertaining piece today about the media as a whole and their focus on their version of “objective truth.” It is sad when all the written articles seem to have some narrative they must conform to.

    • sunny129 says:

      Any one with a ‘critical thinking’ acumen can discern the ‘fake from fact’ after filtering info numerous other sources.

      90% of MSM is controlled by mere 5 mega Corps in America! TV source is the worst, next news print.

      Btw, the TRUTH is never given but has to be sought, an active endaveavor, many unwilling to commit in effort and time.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Sunny-outstanding post! The unpaid, critically-thought, pain-in-the a** duty of the citizen to divine the TRUTH, no matter how tarnished it may be, never changes (the reduction and concentration of MSM sources since 1980 eerily reflects, why, i don’t know, the relative flatlining of real wages over the same period…

        may we all find a better day.

      • MCH says:

        Truth should be sought, but facts should be presented without having so much shade thrown at it that it’s like sitting under an eclipse.

        For example, pick CNN or Foxnews. They both provide facts but only in a way that support their opinions. At which point, how are they or any of the MSM different from Pravda or CCTV or the Global Times. Oh, I know… they aren’t state controlled organs… how nice.

        So, essentially there isn’t any news, just a bunch of opinion commentators pretending to be journalists.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          MCH-that’s why finding truthsee and is such a pain-in-the a**-it requires a lot of time and critically thoughtful research, and a willingness to accept that which is inconvenient/uncomfortable a goodly deal of the time. ‘Muricans, since the suspension of the Fairness Doctrine, have voted with their wallets and media ratings that they much prefer opinion over honest journalism (…ah, I.F. Stone-reviled then, and would certainly be reviled now…).

          Even prior to that sad occurance, one still needed to read beyond the fold on page one. Ellsberg’s revelations were no news to anyone who easily accepted what was being handed to them daily as the whole truth about our efforts in SE Asia…

          may we all find a better day.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          hm/ack-mystery typo, should read ‘…finding truth is…’.

          my apologies.

        • sunny129 says:

          @ MCH

          The good old ‘investigative’ journalism hardly exists except from Matt Tabbi, here and there.

          All we have ‘ACCESS” journalism to curry favor to be included in the press corp for the event. Just witness the carefully crafted ‘soft ball’ questions thrown at Powell’s press, re the interest of the Main street over the wall st!

        • Sierra7 says:

          “At which point, how are they or any of the MSM different from Pravda or CCTV or the Global Times. Oh, I know… they aren’t state controlled organs… ”
          Ultimately “they” are more dangerous.

        • MCH says:

          Sadly, while we might lament the death of free press here, I’m not quite sure if the internet and the business model around the news is entirely to blame, but quite literally, the free press seem to have made a collective decision to commit suicide.

          After all, how long does it take to get fatigue from all these slanted headlines before people tune out entirely because it’s just too much hassle.

          Democracy dies in the darkness they say… yeah, may be, but Democracy is dying right now from over exposure and the opinion columns that characterizes the mainstream media.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          MCH-don’t expect ‘unvarnished truth’ when the first motive of the deliverers, is, and has been, in the best capitalist, free-market, business tradition-to make a profit. Anything beyond that is a relative bonus depending on the outlook/ethics of the outlet’s ownership.

          This goes back quite a ways. As one of the bright young things opening day at college, I the recent glow of fighting journalists Woodward&Bernstein packing a -101 class. The prof., gray and grizzled, surveyed us, then went on to say (i paraphrase from memory):

          “How many of you here have decided that you want to be investigative journalists?”. (A lot of hands went up). “Okay. Now, that’s fine, but it’s a VERY difficult road. I’ll give you some background here, as it’s still early enough drop this class without repercussions.

          “Assuming you stick with the program, it’s most likely, if you find a job at all, it will be at some small paper …” (this was long before the WWW, when newspapers were much more common and ‘broadcast journalism’ was still relatively new as a degree path) “…outside of the major urban areas. You work hard learning your new beat, its people and their issues while filing endless obits and cat-rescued-from-a-tree copy. After awhile, always working on improving your reporting chops and background knowledge, you strike what you believe is local journalistic gold-a scandal or some malfeasance among the powerful in the community. Your reporting is airtight and irrefutable, you take your first ‘scoop’ to your editor, who reads it, says: ‘…good work, but we won’t be running it…’. You are incredulous, but your editor goes on to say: ‘Mr. X (or ABC Company) is ten percent of our ad revenue, we just can’t risk losing it’. Now, I need you to go out and give me a good feature on the flower show at the county fair…’.

          “If you can deal with this, repeatedly, not give up, not let it break your heart, and yes, roll with the political punches, you may get there. Virtue alone will guarantee your failure…”.

          The class size dropped by half the next meeting. It took me all semester to come to the conclusion journalism wasn’t my metier.

          A long way of saying truth is ultimately the responsibility of the seeker.

          Apologies for the rant.

          may we all find a better day.

    • HisMileHighNess says:

      When did corroboration from different sources become a reason to disregard information? Would you rather they all had different narratives? Maybe you’d be happier with a book of short stories,?

  23. sunny129 says:

    ‘A single passenger spread Covid-19 to 15 other people aboard a flight from London to Hanoi, Vietnam, according to a study published Friday by the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, which is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Researchers from Vietnam’s National institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology identified a 27-year-old woman from Vietnam who had a sore throat and a cough before the flight as the source of the outbreak. Twelve passengers in business class and two in economy, as well as a crew member, were infected on the March 1 flight, the study says…’

    NBC Sept 21, ’20

  24. sunny129 says:

    WE need an objective observation and a credible report from pro consumer agencies, on travelling on planes during this covid-19 pandemic, definitely NOT from the DOT and or the Airline industry!

    Too many FOXES are running the ‘hen houses’ under the Corporate America in complicit with Wall ST. REgulatory agencies in DC are captive to industries thet regulate!

    FAA in bed with BA is just one example!

  25. petedivine says:

    We’re not going back. I’m part of a sales team and the cost of sales has plummeted. Businesses that aren’t directly impacted by the COVID pandemic are killing the margin numbers because clients don’t want to see high risk sales teams, and to be honest business travel sucks. I don’t think I’m the only business traveler that is reveling in this newly discovered thing called a home life.

  26. Sam says:

    Sullenburger is talented, and was one aspect of the calculus that came together w/”US Air 1459″ (Vanity Fair).
    When the calculus goes wrong: “Air France 447” (Vanity Fair).
    Author William Langewiesche.

    • nick kelly says:

      That’s the guy who says: ‘I’m not saying it would have made any difference if it had been a 747’

      I.e, the key factor was not the plane

    • Boomer says:

      Langewiesche’s book:

      “Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson“

      Ironically the pilot’s preference was once Boeing. “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going”. Of course that was before the 737 Max exposed the bean counters trashing of the pride of American industry.

      • Sam says:

        True. Financial re-engineering of an engineering company.

        Could only guess how David Halberstam would compare “The Reckoning” to Boeing.

        He (Langewiesche) lost credibility in the aviation (pilot) community with his view (re Vanity Fair) on PIE (pilot induced error) as causal for both MAX accidents.
        Alas, he’s gone ‘under the radar’ since.

  27. Lee says:

    Why are my comments about the numbers of deaths in aged care always removed from the blog?

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Because it’s shows the heinousness of your thinking. You said in essence that people who’re older and died of Covid should be subtracted from the Covid deaths because their lives don’t matter.

      I know you’re locked up in Melbourne, and I get that it’s driving you crazy — it would drive me crazy too — and I can see that in your increasingly crazy comments, and I know you need an outlet, and so I’ve tolerated too many of them. They’re now going to be looked at closely until you get your mind back in balance.

  28. Kasadour says:

    The more this sinks in, the more creeping the dread- These airlines cannot operate for long under such economic conditions. All of these industries (seeking aid) will have to reorganize their business model to reflect the coming, now arrived, contractionary supercycle (economic depression) and this one will be the motherload.

  29. LeClerc says:

    Flying is safe, because Covid is not contagious.

    We know this because the airlines tell us that we won’t get sick if we sit for 7 or 8 hours next to a bunch of people who are sick.

    Also, anyone who suggests otherwise is a Socialist, a Marxist, or even a Bolshevik.

    Why can’t they reopen the Indian lunch buffets, or, at least put them on airplanes?

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