When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Links - 16th May 2020 (2)

We Forget That Singapore Was Built From Dissent and Resistance - "Lee Kuan Yew himself understood and defended this need for dissent, since he was once the leader of the opposition. The PAP was, in fact, once an opposition party too, until it grew big enough to occupy all seats in Parliament from 1968 to 1980... The USC was “a left-wing student group” whose activism played an important role in “bringing about independence from Britain” and shaping Singapore into a post-colonial nation.Formed in 1953 in the University of Malaya (later renamed National University of Singapore) by a group of medical and arts students, the club was meant to stimulate political discussion and activism. They took in members with “alternative political views”, as long as they were anti-colonialism. Notable members of USC included our late president, S R Nathan, and Professor Tommy Koh, to name a few.One year after their formation, the USC produced a newspaper called Fajar—an excessively anti-colonial read. Surprise, surprise, the British eventually rounded up Fajar’s editorial board and charged them with sedition for an article titled “Aggression in Asia”.At the time, Lee Kuan Yew was the USC’s honorary legal counsel and served as the junior lawyer assisting Queen’s Counsel D. N. Pritt (pictured in the header image) for the trial, which saw the editorial board acquitted... Eventually, USC was deregistered in 1971 due to PAP’s growing social control."

James Woods on Twitter - "For the record, if I do get the coronavirus I'm attending every MAGA rally I can"
Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca: RT: "So that would be willfully spreading a deadly pathogen to others and inciting like-minded activists to do the same. It is called terrorism. When you promote it on a government account, it’s called insurrection. @FBI"

Australia’s PISA Shock - "The results have rightly produced a great deal of comment in Australia because they are further evidence of the country’s long-term decline in education... Finland was the darling of the early rounds of PISA. Plane loads of bureaucrats and educationalists arrived to have a good look at its magic mix of herbs and spices. Unfortunately, the spectacles they were wearing had leaden ideological lenses and they only saw what they wanted to see: Finland does not test students. Finland has no academic selection. Schools are free to teach how and what they like. All of these propositions do not bear close scrutiny. Using a weird form of policy time travel, commentators have even pointed to newly introduced initiatives such as phenomenon-based learning—similar to the project-based learning that’s fashionable in Australia—and implied that these initiatives are somehow associated with Finland’s past success... PISA is an assessment of 15-year-olds, i.e. the products of around 10 years of schooling. If we want to know the causes of Finland’s phenomenal success in 2006, we therefore need to look at what they were doing before 2000.Taking a long view is particularly important in the case of Finland because its results have significantly declined since 2006. That means that those noughties junkets inevitably gathered information about some practices that are associated with this decline. Yet despite Finland’s drop in performance, educationalists have stayed loyal, perhaps because it offers a more ideologically palatable vision than high performers from East Asia with their explicit teaching, memorisation and textbooks... the U.K. is involved in a natural experiment with its four education systems (one for each of the constituent nations) embarking on very different reforms.Scotland and Wales have both listened to progressive educationalists and developed high-level and aspirational policies focused on interdisciplinary learning and so-called 21st-century skills. Scotland is a little further down this rabbit hole than Wales and the signs from PISA are not encouraging, particularly for a country that has traditionally prided itself on the superiority of its education system over other parts of the U.K. Its science scores have slid further than in England and its maths scores have slipped while England’s have risen... One area where Australia stands out from the rest of the OECD is, unfortunately, the climate of its schools. In the PISA survey, Australian students reported very high levels of bullying and classroom disruption. Why this is a particular problem in Australia should be a cause of national introspection, but it is unlikely to move the educational establishment which suffers from an ideological blockage in this area. Australian experts tend to reject any focus on behaviour as a kind of wrongthink. What sort of monster wants students to be managed and controlled? The answer, of course, is the other kids in the class who are being bullied or having their education disrupted... We have known since at least the 1960s that the most effective teachers take an explicit approach to teaching academic subjects. Concepts are fully explained in a fairly didactic way and lessons are highly interactive to retain children’s attention and to allow the teacher to address any misconceptions quickly. Unfortunately, despite being favoured by the high-performing East Asian education systems, such teaching is deeply unfashionable in Australia. Anti-authoritarian social constructivist ideology favours approaches where students have to figure things out for themselves, perhaps as part of a group. This is why inquiry and project-based learning are the current buzzwords. Although it is clear what needs to be done to fix things, the Australian government is running in a different direction... Instead of laying down a standard, teaching to that standard and then intervening when students struggle to reach it, teachers are expected to reconcile themselves to students simply being at different points on the progression."

Jicama: a Low-Carb, Low-Sugar Crunchy Snack - "Maybe you’ve seen a pile of jicama in the grocery store by the potatoes and not known what it is. Or maybe you’ve found it in Paleo recipes but assumed this was some weird food that you’d have to go to a Mexican grocery store to get and moved past it... Jicama is a root vegetable native to South America, and it has a great, juicy-crunchy texture that works equally well whether it’s raw or cooked. It’s good on its own merits regardless of what your diet is like, and if you’re trying to find low-carb substitutions for fruit or potatoes, it’s a very convenient solution... it can make a pretty good substitute either for a hot pan full of potatoes or for a crunchy piece of fruit"
Aka "turnip" or bang kwang in Singapore; Southeast Asia and South America share many edible flora

Georgetown libraries remove dozens of novels that offend some students - "Administrators removed “all but a few books” from the McCarthy and Reynolds libraries after The Georgetown Review asked why they had so many books marked by “racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, fetishization, and pedophilia”... While emphasizing that the Review “does not support censorship in any form,” the publication makes clear that it expected the university to remove books that are “problematic,” a subjective term the report uses six times. Staffers literally judged the books by their covers... the report admits that staff didn’t look inside any of the books that offended them except Death of an Informer, because they couldn’t figure out if it was offensive by its cover (“we flipped to a random page replete with racial slurs and sexually-explicit content”)... The publication then had the gall to accuse administrators of going too far in removing books from the two libraries before its staff could find more “problematic” books, and as the headline emphasizes, leading a “cover-up”... The Hoya itself was worried how readers might react to a story about offensive books. It put a trigger warning at the top of the story for “racist and sexist content” and offered contacts for campus health and counseling services at the bottom."

College prevented student from rolling her ‘free speech’ beach ball around campus: attorney

Academic paper argues crime-fighting dogs teach children to distrust government - "Young children are being brainwashed to embrace misogynistic, racist, pro-police and anti-immigrant sentiments, according to a new academic paper... PAW Patrol, a popular North American animated series featuring helpful canines, is capitalist propaganda and then some, Liam Kennedy argues in the forthcoming issue of the international journal Crime, Media, Culture.The King’s University College professor maintains that the show “echoes core tenets of neoliberalism and encourages complicity in a global capitalist system that (re)produces inequalities and causes environmental harms”... Kennedy’s argument was met with skepticism by Canadian right-leaning news website The Post Millennial, which explained that his unfamiliarity with “early childhood education” led him to rely on his “Marxist goggles” to analyze the show.“[H]e can be forgiven for not realizing that learning about the self is a primary developmental stage for very young children”... The problems explored in the show are too small to be remedied by the state, and are better left to individuals who “work together to sort out their troubles,” they write. “This leftist penchant for relying on the state for solutions … belies the very notion of community.”Kennedy’s article, based on a professor watching hours of “pre-school television,” shows more than anything that “academia is dead,” Emmons and Wilson write. At worst, it shows “the authoritarian impulse behind” progressive ideas for society."

Stunning cowardice at the University of Virginia - "A young black woman stood up in that space and announced that there were “too many white people in here.” The student essentially urged white people to vacate the public student space because their presence there made nonwhite students “uncomfortable.” She was greeted with a round of applause for this little soliloquy. That’s big news: A student standing up in the middle of a university space and essentially declaring it off-limits for members of a specific race. One shouldn’t expect the media to care all that much about it—the media, who will generally cover any event if it has even the slightest whiff of racism, cannot be bothered to do so when the targets of that racism are white—but the response from the university community was even more astonishing... The university administration is sending a very clear message here: If white students are vilified and attacked on campus, the school will be too afraid to even mention it in any official capacity. That’s leadership for you... The woman who delivered the rant, and the one who propagated it on social media both initially reveled in the controversy, mocking their critics and retweeting the criticism directed at them. When the story received a little media attention, however, they both quickly locked down their social media accounts. From gleefully unrepentant to too terrified to even be seen on the Internet: That’s bravery for you."

CUNY adjunct professor: All white people responsible for ‘ideology of racialized terrorism’ - "Gonsalves goes on to wonder why we pay tribute every September 11 to “the once pillars of American capitalism,” but never to “the young Black and Brown” victims of domestic terror. She also claims a race war “is being thrust upon us.”"

Did You Know the US Apologized to Native Americans? - ""The United States, acting through Congress," states Sec. 8113, "apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;" and "expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together."... The apology also urges the President of the United States to "acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land."... President Obama never publicly acknowledged the "Apology to Native Peoples of the United States.""

The Latest Feminist Idea is 1984 Meets The Office - "If researchers at Northeastern University have their way, one day soon we will go to work and have not only our words but our thoughts and feelings monitored and analyzed by a listening gadget just like the smart speaker in our kitchen. Associate professors Christoph Riedl and Brooke Foucault Welles are in receipt of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to come up with just such a device... This yet-to-be-invented machine is already being heralded for its potential to revolutionize equality and diversity in the workplace by alerting users to instances of implicit bias. It will record verbal and nonverbal cues, as well as the “physiological signals” shared between members of a team. Then, having noted and analyzed all these tiny interactions and non-interactions, the speaker will make recommendations for improving inclusivity and productivity.To any sane person, this is a truly terrifying prospect—not because we arrive at the office each morning desperate to dole out racist and sexist abuse to our colleagues, but because of the opposite: we want to get on with our jobs and get on with our co-workers. We know that a spying machine, watching, listening, monitoring, and advising, is far more likely to interrupt our work and fuel dissent than it is to increase productivity.The Northeastern researchers want their device to play a role in tackling “implicit bias”... Workplaces are following where universities lead... The drive towards office surveillance suggests that the politics of the campus has entered the workplace. We are all students now. Rather than colleagues with interests in common, we are to see the workplace as divided, not between a business owner intent on making a profit and employees scraping by, but between oppressors—let’s be blunt: straight white men—and the oppressed—everyone else. These machines will be grievance incubators, sowing dissent where none was previously apparent. The perceived need for a speaker suggests that colleagues cannot resolve issues between themselves"

JAV Archaeology: Ass Eating

This image is all over the Internet, but no one can tell where it came from... until now!

I am pleased to announce that after much research, I have finally found THE SAUCE!

tl;dr - JAV SDMS-526. The screenshot seems to be from 1:08:35, but at a different angle (possibly from a photo taken on-set for publicity purposes)

Full version:

This screenshot is plastered all over the Internet, and many sites put it up as an example of Japanese weirdness - but unfortunately give no clues as to its context or origin.

It is variously titled:

"Ass eating restaurant in Japan"
"Top 30 Weird thing that only exists in japan"
"Susie Sushi"
Ass social club, am I right?
"Anus Steak House. Japanese ass-eating restaurant. The only venue on Earth which prides itself for serving sh*t meals."
"Ever Been to a Proctology Convention?"
"Japan really has a knack for understanding what the market wants."

Given how popular it was, and how long it'd been on the Internet with no source provided, I decided to do humanity a favour and try to find out. I had to comb through tons of sites but only one gave me any clues:

ぷるるんお宝画像庫 : AV女優のランク「単体」や「企画」とは何か

On this livedoor page was the cover of a JAV (Japanese Adult Video), from which I got a code:

Unfortunately, this code - SDMT-242 - was not the JAV where the still came from, even if something similar was happening in it. But I found out that it was part of a series called (in English) - "High Class (Secret) Ass Fuck Club" (I can understand some kanji, and it seems a legitimate translation).

There're 5 episodes in the series: SDMS-526, SDMT-242, SDMT-342, SDMS-954 and SDMS-723, and they all have the same theme: men in some underground sex club fucking women immobilised by being stuck in walls.

Unfortunately none of the preview thumbnails or covers seemed to contain this scene, so I had to find the exact production the slow way - by skimming through each episode. Sadly it was in the very last one I saw, but at least I found it in the end!

I do not understand Japanese, but I will observe that this series is very strange. For one it features Baroque (Classical) Music prominently, probably to give it a veneer of class. Then the men keep clapping, even at times like when the women's underwear is cut. Each episode appears to be some sort of contest which one girl "wins" - and gets to be fucked at the end.

Perhaps more pertinently, it is not for everyone as it features varying degrees of non-consent. This is not just the normal JAV no-means-yes moaning - in one (the first?) episode, a group of outsiders of both sexes crash the club and are drugged.

I note that this is not the only example of fucking immobilised women that you can find in JAV - R18.com has some examples in the titles those who bought this production also bought:

SDMS-840 - High Quality (Secret) Big Tit Social Intercourse Club.
SDMS-806 - Creampie OK! Ejaculation Specialist. Cunts in the Walls.
RCT-840 - A Brothel With Wall-To-Wall Booty For Ass Lovers

Hope this helps all who have wondered, possibly for years (the JAV came out in 2009 so this still might have been floating around for 11 years), about this mystery!

Conchita & the N word

Everyday Ethics: 18 APR 14 Conchita & the N word

‘I think what's happened within the BBC is there's been a timidity and a heightened nervousness, which has actually complicated to make matters worse, because I think, largely, and especially legally, the battle has already been won. In terms of using that word, that highness word. And the hysteria that has been evident in the BBC, it's a little bit disappointing in a way. It reminded me when I've been monitoring it, of the old comedy series Fawlty Towers, back in the 70s, where Cybil, the wife of Basil Fawlty, with the expectation that there are going to be some German visitors, reminds him Captain not to mention the war. And because she does that, he's in all the flummox. And of course, when the Germans arrive, out comes mentions of the war, and I think Jeremy Clarkson’s faux pas is of that order. I don't think he's a racist. And I think that actually the highlighting this slippage, it's actually compounded the problem.’…

‘We may be reviewing a movie or a drama on the radio, and the N word may be used in, in its full version within that drama. But we're not allowed to use it in reviewing the drama.’

‘Yes, it's odd isn't it? I would say that we need to be a bit more robust. And to think about why, why that word might be used in the drama and whether it's legitimate. And if it's legitimate to use in the drama, why would it not be legitimate to discuss it thereafter?’

‘Alan, can you think of any other word, which is so obnoxious, so heinous, that it cannot be used?’

‘In terms of being a slur, the N word probably sits at the top of that pie. But given that our language has a great potential to be racist, or sexist, or sectarian, and the degree of that is about the context in which we use that language. And it's about the intention as well. So sometimes words which in other usage might seem okay, if they're used in, with the intention to offend... when it first begins, probably in the 1600s, it was, it was actually just the wrong pronunciation of the Spanish term Negro, for example. And, and we know that there are many dramas, songs, which still have the word within it. So if we cannot eradicate it, we shouldn't use it with the intention of being offensive.’

‘We look at this 1932 version of the Sun has got his hat on... are we now saying we can never ever hear the 1932 version of the Sun has got his hat on in its full version, even in a documentary about the 1930s?’

‘Well, I think that would be a terrible mistake… we need to remind ourselves about past events, in the same way that we need to remind ourselves about other horrible events in our history lest we forget. So I don't think that they should be removed. And, but I think that in context, and to explain the use of the word, then I would be very happy to hear that word. And in such a program, my son listens to that rhyme and wonders why the word Tigger is, is in that rhyme. It  makes no sense to him.’...

‘The word colored, because it's now considered an unacceptable description. And yet in America, you have the NAACP and the word colored is in that name in the campaign.’

‘Very interesting, because I think what we were describing is the evolution of acceptable words. And actually, the title of my book on Marcus Garvey, this black nationalist, was called Negro with a hat. And Negro came to represent a word of politeness. It’s the polite way of saying black people. And it was embraced by black people from the 1920s throughout to the 1960s. But it became a contested, a contentious word thereafter. But I would say that actually, we have to remind ourselves about the way that the words were embraced, embraced by black people in the past’...

‘That worked on by Donna Boyd in her new book, it's complicated, where she showed that very many young girls who are, it is claimed being bullied on Ask.FM are actually writing the bullying questions themselves. In other words, they're bullying themselves. So we need to get to the aspect of what the users are doing and come at it from that end as well as coming at it from a legislative end… they're doing it for status reasons, it gives them status amongst their peers, and it gives them sympathy from their peers’

‘They want to feel like victims’

‘They want to be victimized. It's almost like Munchausen syndrome online, they want to be victims in order that they will get attention from their peers.’...

‘I think the idea that gender is entirely fluid. So you know, you now have a situation where on Facebook, for example, there are more than 50 gender choices... You know, you no longer can say I'm a man or I'm a woman, you've got 50 choices between what you want to describe yourself as, I think it speaks to a real sense of relativism in modern society, an unwillingness to say that this is the way things are, there are some truths out there, there are measurable truths about what people are and what they define themselves as. And instead, you create this free for all, where people basically define themselves according to their own tastes. And I think that is a fairly anti social thing to do sometimes, because it kicks against the way in which the vast majority of people understand sex, gender and society.’

‘Why is it anti social?’

‘Because it's a retreat from reality in my view. You know, radical politics, including radical gay politics used to be about opening society up to people. It used to be about demanding the right of minorities and other groups to enter into mainstream society without discrimination and to work, and to be educated and so on. Now, what we have is radical politics, which is much more concerned with retreating from society, retreating from reality, and saying, I live in my own bubble, I will define myself as I choose, and what society expects of me has no bearings whatsoever.’

The obsession over the harm of 'nigger' is a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Strange how this cultural taboo has crossed the pond

Self-victimisation explains why feminism has appeal to so many women - even as teens they like to pretend to be victims to get cachet

Links - 16th May 2020 (1)

This App Automatically Cancels and Sues Robocallers - "DoNotPay, the family of consumer advocacy services meant to protect people from corporate exploitation, is launching a new app aimed at helping end our long national nightmare surrounding robocalls by giving you a burner credit card to get their contact details then giving you a chatbot lawyer to automatically sue them. We are all used to robocalls at this point—they are the number one consumer complaint to the FCC. Their emergence has been explosive: according to a report by First Orion, a company that offers caller ID and call blocking technology to phone carriers and customers, in 2017, they accounted for only 3.7 percent of all calls. By 2018, that number spiked to 29.2 percent and on track to hit 50 percent of all calls by the end of 2019. By now, the United States receives the eighth-most spam calls globally with Americans suffering an average of 18 robocalls each month. Over the past year, there have been a few attempts at stemming this growing tide, but to no avail. The FCC has made increasingly aggressive moves to stop this “scourge of civilization”, both empowering major carriers to block robocalls while threatening legal action against companies assisting robocallers. The recently passed TRACED Act also grants the FCC new powers to pursue and punish illegal robocalls. Now, federal fines can reach as high as $10,000 per call and requires major carriers to adopt new technology that will alert consumers to incoming robocalls.  Every solution, however, will be undermined by the fact that the United States has a multitude of problems preventing robocalls from being seriously curbed including the fact that carriers have trouble distinguishing between next-generation robocalls and copper wire phone calls and that telecommunications industry has been slow to adopt caller ID authentication, meaning spoofed robocalls are even harder to spot.Enter DoNotPay Founder and CEO Joshua Browder’s Robo Revenge app—unique from every other app looking to protect you from robocalls in that it can get you cash while stopping them completely."

The best apps to block robocalls on cellphones - The Washington Post - "It’s happening because the Internet made it incredibly cheap and easy to place thousands of calls in an instant. But we don’t have to just bury our heads in the spam and take it. While lawmakers debate what to do about the robo-scourge, engineers have cooked up clever ways to make bots work for us, not against us. Verizon just started offering free spam-fighting technology like AT&T and T-Mobile, if you sign up. The right app or service on your phone can make it safer to say hello again — or even exact revenge... YouMail replaces your phone’s existing voice-mail service, and uses software to identify when robocallers leave messages — like Shazam for spam. That helps it quickly crowdsource the identity of new robocallers and block them from other phones... My favorite part: YouMail tries to trick known robocallers into taking you off their lists by playing them the beep-beep-beep sound of a dead line... For some, dark times call for dark measures. The $4 per month RoboKiller, which ranked second in my speed test, takes over and fingerprints your voice mails but adds a clever twist — “answer bots.” They’re voice-mail messages that try to keep robots and human telemarketers on the line listening to nonsense.Answer-bot options range from President Trump impersonators and extended coughing sessions to someone doing vocal exercises. Even better, RoboKiller will send you an often-hilarious recording of the interaction. (It only uses these recordings when it’s sure it’s a spam call.) Another service, Jolly Roger, doesn’t sell itself as a robocall blocker but takes this auto-generated-annoyance idea a step further by actively trying to game the spammers’ systems, such as when to press 1 to speak to a human. It calls this tech “artificial stupidity.”... Time robocallers spend with your bot might be minutes they’re not calling someone else, so you can think of it as community service."

The Frankfurt School and the Allure of Submission - "For Erich Fromm, author of Escape from Freedom, the mistake many liberal theorists made was to presume that people actually want to be free. At a conscious and public level, they will of course protest that this is the case. But at a deeper psychological level, he argued, there lies a yearning to escape the burdens of liberty. This is in part because, from a very early age, we are inculcated with a sense of dependence on authority figures, ranging from our parents to the state. These are often not malicious forces, and may indeed be motivated by love and the child’s interests. But many of us fail to ever truly outgrow this dependence on various forms of authority to provide us with a sense of direction and purpose. Many of us submit to these authorities because pleasing them provides a profound sense of meaning to life. Gratification of authorities associated with the super-ego becomes a source of pleasure, as we push aside our own desires and submit to the imperatives of our culture or political system. Without such an attachment to authority we feel we are thrown into adulthood with no sense of direction or purpose in life, forced into the most horrible situation of all: having to choose our path for ourselves. This necessary part of individuation (that is, the process of becoming an individual human being) and maturity is extremely alienating and difficult... The authoritarian personality, therefore, wants the power to control existence, but also to be freed of the agony of deciding what to do with that control. Choice just presents more chaotic possibilities, and the authoritarian personality wants no part of such responsibilities. They therefore search for a form of order to which they can submit, which often takes the form of a totalitarian movement... Nor does the authoritarian personality want anyone else to have freedom. This is because if other people are free to do as they please, they too are capable of bringing disorder into your life through actions which you cannot control... Jews were simultaneously presented as both sub-human and in control of a vast conspiracy to control the globe. They were both insignificant and a massive threat to German hegemony. Any reasonably individuated person would notice this contradiction and insist that no rational person can accept it. But in a society where even thinking in a manner which did not conform to the interests of the totalitarian party could result in one’s imprisonment and destruction, who would dare express such opinions?

Kimmie Louisa on Twitter - ""Parasite" had a 100% Korean cast, including male director, no disabled, no people of colour and no LGBT role.So much for Hollywood "diversity""
"it's a Korean movie made in Korea by Korean people what did you expect other than Koreans"
"He expected scarlett johansson"
"LMAO (love that it's a critique on multiple levels)"

Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace - Posts - "Rage Against The Machine reunion tour: pay $100 to come listen to us sing about how awful and exploitative capitalism is."
One can justify this the same way Ayn Rand fans justify collecting social security. Which is great, because those are the people on the other side, so they can twist themselves into knots explaining why alleged hypocrisy in one case is fine but not the other

Sonny Bunch on Twitter - "grabbing a spherical ice cube out of my sub zero freezer to keep my woodford reserve cold before i turn on my sixty inch tv in my climate controlled home to watch a brilliant movie about the depredations of capitalism"

A foreigner’s life in Beijing without access to Alipay or Wechat Pay is like a fish out of water. Here’s my experience - "According to Alipay, its international version should also support other functions within the app that automatically transfer money to merchants, such as when ordering food and hailing a cab, much like Uber. But I have found the system has not fully opened itself up to foreigners and I still cannot access any of the mini apps, or their individual functions. Being locked out means you don’t truly experience the quirks or intricacies of every day life in China.This week, Alipay extended its reach and entered the automotive market, announcing an agreement with Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng Motors for the development of an in-car payments system for services such as battery charging facilities and entertainment apps.Meanwhile, WeChat Pay seems to be preferred and is slightly more widely accepted. It is the go-to payment method for cab drivers, and some restaurants do not accept Alipay. WeChat too has announced it will now support international credit cards, allowing access to dozens of services, including e-commerce and ride hailing. But I’ve only encountered a “busy service” notification during several attempts to set it up... Going cashless is not just about using Apple Pay on a coffee run. Chinese payment service providers have created ecosystems featuring mini apps that allow users to do absolutely everything through one system – transferring money, paying the water bill, buying a lottery ticket, paying for the weekly grocery shopping and having dinner delivered to your doorstep. Although each has their own individual app, many also require Chinese bank accounts, or are linked back to WeChat or Alipay.For a tourist visiting for a week or two, Alipay’s international version is convenient and means no cash needs to be withdrawn. But if you’re here for any longer, like me, it still feels like there is a barrier between you and the “real” China. No food deliveries from the hundreds of Meituan motorbikes that zoom past each day, no testing out Luckin Coffee, Starbucks’ domestic rival, and – most disappointingly – no zipping around on a Mobike... Most annoyingly, particularly as I am coming from the land of abundant taxis in Hong Kong, it is hard to hail a cab on the street. The majority are pre-ordered either via mini apps, or on individual apps linked to these payment systems... As an outsider I have lost money. When change for drinks did not materialise, I caught the eye of the bartender, who simply shrugged. The indication – tough luck, we do not have any cash to give you. But I have gained a taxi ride and one of my five-a-day. When I tried to pay back a friend, who used WeChat Pay for our taxi fare, she backed away almost in horror: “Please, I don’t want cash!” When a cafe did not have the right change for my order, the staff gave me extra broccoli instead. People talk of China as being advanced in adopting mobile payments apps, while other societies lag behind. But the reality is it is a necessity to use WeChat Pay or Alipay amid a dearth of other options. Hong Kong, in contrast, accepts debit cards, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, mobile payments and cash, which might also explain why it has not adopted mobile payment systems so rapidly."

US congressman Ed Case says he’s ‘an Asian trapped in a white body’, sparking an online backlash - "Case spokesman Nestor Garcia clarified that the congressman was commenting “on what his Japanese-American wife sometimes says about him”. Garcia also noted that Case is a returning executive committee member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus."
Maybe if society ever bows to trans mania, transracialism will come into vogue as liberals look for a new cause

Chinese S’porean woman recognised her Chinese-ness after strange men hit on her in Europe - "The Straits Times forum page is a treasure trove of the wackiest half-past-six writings that Singaporeans have ever formulated and decided to put down for posterity’s sake and other people’s consumption... the ST forum letter writer Lee Siew Peng (Dr) is known to write highly incendiary elitist letters to the press.In Sept. 2011, she wrote to the forum page about — you guessed it — her engagement to a Caucasian husband"

How George Yeo And Sumiko Tan Invented The Singaporean Heartland - "As late as the year 1990, Dr Ahmad Mattar, then Minister for the environment, was still calling Marina Bay Singapore’s ‘commercial heartland’.In 1991, however, its meaning suddenly changed.According to Common Ground, Multiple Claims: ‘Representing and Constructing Singapore’s Heartland’ by Professor Angelia Poon, we have Mr George Yeo to thank for this evolution. In 1991, during a Q&A session at NUS, he used ‘heartlanders’ to describe the ‘roughly 600,000 Chinese-educated residents of public-housing’ with a household income of less than $5000 per month. He characterised these heartlanders as PAP supporters mainly concerned with ‘bread-and-butter issues’. They don’t care about ‘less tangible matters such as the elected presidency’ and will continue to support the ruling party ‘provided it delivers material prosperity.’... Unsurprisingly, the first Heartlander ever documented is also a PAP supporter, who believes ‘these opposition people’ will say anything to get elected... For reasons lost to history, the term ‘heartland’ went (the 1991 equivalent of) viral and entered our vocabulary. Soon, Ministers began using the phrase in earnest and so did SPH journalists. They shed the ‘air quotes’ of 1991, and began writing about the heartland as if it were a place that really existed outside of George Yeo’s political imagination... Knowing that middle-income HDB dwellers might feel fucked over by their plans to make Singapore into a global city, our politicians attempted to salve the butthurt by conferring symbolic ‘honorary’ ‘title’ of heartlander... In his view, the heartland was not created as a means of rebranding economic apartheid, but as a means of protecting the HDB community from ‘potentially destabilizing values’ and the ‘influences of globalisation’. Just as Marina Bay Sands sought to ‘contain’ the vice of gambling, the HDB heartland was created to preserve a value system based around ‘inward-looking safety’, ‘family values’, and ‘local orientations’. It serves, in essence, an ideological condom. That’s why we turn a blind eye to Orchard Towers but howl with outrage when sanctioned vices like prostitution or gambling are found in Toa Payoh. There is one set of moralities for the heartland and another for the more liberal, outward-looking “city centre”."

Debt; Reformation; North Korea

BBC Radio Ulster - Sunday Sequence, Debt; Reformation; North Korea

"‘In the Old Testament, it was very clear that the Old Testament law given to Moses suggests that to lend money was not acceptable when it was to somebody who was in poverty. However, it was permitted to land money in a commercial sense to the foreigner, to the person outside of the country or the faith of Israel. So I think there is a principle there, that lending in a business context is usually ethically acceptable. But where we're lending on the back of somebody’s misery and then really squeezing them. I think from an ethical and particularly from a Christian point of view, that is worrisome’

‘So where... in your view is the responsibility on the part of the lender when things go wrong and the debt can't be repaid? What responsibility does the lender have in those situations?’

‘Well, arguably, by that stage, it's too late. In that case, that there shouldn't have been the loan with the interest attached and hence getting the person or indeed, as Chris was saying entire countries as in the context of the European Union, the eurozone, Greece, etc’...

‘Coming from the credit union point of view, when we lend money, we lend money that belongs to other members. You know, we don't have this pool of money that just belongs to the credit union that we lend. So for members in the credit union to borrow, they’re borrowing from their friends or neighbors, people that they work with, people that they have a common bond with. So for them not to repay that debt is a great difficulty for us’...

‘If you actually think of that word, credit, it comes from the Latin word credo. Which means, you know, I believe... it's based on the fact that credit, the idea of credit is based on a relationship. It's based on a relationship with two people who know each other, the creditor and the debtor’.

[In 2017] ‘He believes that a Chinese takeover of North Korea may be the safest method of containment.’

‘The history of North Korea is that after the Korean War 1950 to 53, North Korea was essentially a Chinese protectorate. China had sent in a million troops then to beat back the Americans and the South Koreans and forced the ceasefire, really the armistice that was there in 1953. But then, in the ensuing half century, the two countries drifted apart. What I'm saying is that there is a logic at least for resuming that protectorate status. North Korea says, or is said to want a security guarantee. The country that could give it a security guarantee and place it under its nuclear umbrella would be China. And China would benefit from gaining greater influence over the Korean Peninsula. So I think the possibility of a Chinese military intervention or threat of it, to force a regime change or change of policy by the regime in North Korea, is a pretty serious possibility if things continue to escalate.’...

‘I think that a China takeover or threat of a takeover has a higher possibility of working than an American one because the Korean People's Army, the military force in North Korea that supports Kim Jong Un, would be much more inclined to to say yes to China, would be much more inclined to think that their future could be credibly guaranteed as an autonomous state under Chinese protection, so that such a threat would divide the North Korean People's Army perhaps away from the hardliners and, and towards a more pro China position. So there's a negotiation to happen but also, China has a long border with North Korea, tanks can run over it and quickly overcome the North. And also, I don't think North Korea in those circumstances would be as likely to attack Seoul and South Korea as it would be in the case of a conflict with America. So the, the odds are better for a Chinese military intervention than for an American one, but let's not be an armchair general about this, all military interventions are terribly risky and no intervention could be described as low risk, and that certainly would not be the case with the Chinese one, either’"

If you don't lend to people who want it (because you doubt they can pay you back, e.g. redlining), is it discrimination?

Friday, May 15, 2020

Links - 15th May 2020 (2)

Al Shabaab shoot locusts with machine guns as Somalia battles biggest swarms in 25 years - "Farmers in southern Somalia are shooting at huge swarms of locusts with heavy machine guns in a desperate attempt to save their crops, according to media affiliated to the jihadist group Al-Shabaab. According to the group’s media, insects that have infested farmland around the southwestern town of Tiyeglow, an Al-Shabaab stronghold, are being shot at with a PKM rifle — a machine gun version of the Russian Kalashnikov.The news comes as the country experiences its largest locust infestation for 25 years. Since July, swarms of Desert Locusts from nearby Yemen have invaded vast swathes of the Horn of Africa."

Hawthorne effect - Wikipedia - "The Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed. This can undermine the integrity of research, particularly the relationships between variables. The original research at the Hawthorne Works for telephone equipment in Cicero, Illinois, on lighting changes and work structure changes such as working hours and break times was originally interpreted by Elton Mayo and others to mean that paying attention to overall worker needs would improve productivity.Later interpretations such as that done by Landsberger suggested that the novelty of being research subjects and the increased attention from such could lead to temporary increases in workers' productivity. This interpretation was dubbed "the Hawthorne effect". It is also similar to a phenomenon that is referred to as novelty/disruption effect"

Quantum Chimpanzees: Do Watched Primates Change Their Behavior? - "when monkeys were accompanied by humans, they were more likely to forage at the ground level where they were at the greatest risk of predation. These results strongly suggested that the monkeys understood that researcher presence protected them from ground predators.In a similar way, data from chimpanzees indicates that habituation impacts their hunting behavior."

Dog-directed speech: why do we use it and do dogs pay attention to it? - "Pet-directed speech is strikingly similar to infant-directed speech, a peculiar speaking pattern with higher pitch and slower tempo known to engage infants' attention and promote language learning... in the absence of other non-auditory cues, puppies were highly reactive to dog-directed speech, and that the pitch was a key factor modulating their behaviour, suggesting that this specific speech register has a functional value in young dogs. Conversely, older dogs did not react differentially to dog-directed speech compared with normal speech"

Tolerance Is the Attitude of Those Who Do Not Believe in Anything – Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton - "Lasch was using the word “tolerance” for what Chesterton generally termed “impartiality.” Chesterton deplored impartiality, which he equated with indifference, but he generally applauded tolerance, which he contrasted with bigotry — unless the tolerance in question was really a mere mask for indifference"
Also quoted as "tolerance is the virtue of the man without conviction" and "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions"

Turkey Has Legitimate Grievances Against the U.S. - " the causes of Ankara’s recent willingness to defy Washington go beyond one man’s personality. Polls reliably indicate that 70% to 80% of Turks regard the U.S. as a hostile power. While anti-Americanism is an old story in Turkey, in recent years it has a sharper edge. Turks increasingly see America as a threat.This is a remarkable development in a country that had been a stalwart U.S. ally and partner for decades. The levels of hostility to America cannot be laid on Mr. Erdogan’s doorstep, for he commands the support of only around 40% of Turks. Dissatisfaction with the U.S. stretches far beyond the president’s AK Party...
First, America’s diffident Syria policy. Ankara followed Washington’s lead in backing the Syrian people’s attempt to overthrow the dictator Bashar Assad. But when Turkey shot down a Russian combat jet violating its airspace in 2015, President Obama treated the episode more as a bilateral spat between third parties than as a conflict between America’s key regional ally and a more powerful adversary of U.S. interests. Left on its own, Ankara realized it had little choice but to accommodate Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s steadfastness trumped Mr. Obama’s aloofness. Thus was born the relationship that begot the S-400 deal. Second is the curious sympathy that America extends to Fethullah Gülen, a guru-like religious figure who has been residing in Pennsylvania since 1999... Figures close to Mr. Gülen have been accused of playing key roles in the July 2016 coup attempt that took the lives of 251 Turks. Though Mr. Gülen condemned the coup and denied any involvement, former followers of his say that his organization is tightly centralized. U.S. experts on Turkey—such as James Jeffrey, a former ambassador to Ankara—say that Mr. Gülen’s followers have pursued power in Turkey by infiltrating government bodies. Many Turks doubt Mr. Gülen’s supporters could participate in a coup without his blessing. Before taking up his current position as the State Department’s point man on Syria, Mr. Jeffrey stated that it is “embarrassing” that Mr. Gülen “is sitting here in the United States.” How, many Turks ask, can the U.S. harbor such a despicable figure? The third misdeed is the most consequential: the Obama administration’s decision in 2016 to arm and train YPG members and directly embed American special forces with them. Rather than work with Turkey, the U.S. chose to support the Syrian wing of the PKK, which the Turkish public holds responsible for decades of warfare and tens of thousands of deaths. The PKK represents a grave threat to the Turkish Republic, and Turks across the political spectrum loathe it. To dismiss Ankara’s objections to America’s arming of the YPG as mere anti-Kurdish bigotry is ignorant, akin to labeling the fight against al Qaeda as Islamophobia."
Japanese cuisine: As fresh as it gets - "Chef Shiraishi will hold a demonstration on one of the simplest, yet sometimes misunderstood, aspect of Japanese food: The art of “freshness”.Eating fresh food is a national obsession with the Japanese. But freshness, he explained, begins with using seasonal ingredients. Even sake is brewed seasonally. “That is our lifestyle; we appreciate seasonal produce and their natural origins,” he said... “Our concept focuses on picking up the (natural) taste of the ingredients, which is why we do not use a lot of (heavy) sauces. We never used to add heavy tasting ingredients or flavouring like butter and milk.”...
Q: Many see fresh seafood as simply fish pulled out of a tank, slaughtered and served raw.
A: Yes, that is also fresh.
Q: But top sushi restaurants also age a lot of their fish, for better flavour and texture.
A: That’s a new way. Some people are into ageing tuna. Cultures change, as might consumers’ taste...
Q: And what about beef?
A: Beef needs ageing, which makes it more tender and flavourful. Fresh meat just tastes like blood."
The prizing of freshness, seasonality and locality explain why it has penetrated haute cuisine in The West more than cuisines from other parts of Asia

Quit my job to trade for a living, ended up losing everything... wasted 4 years of my life. : wallstreetbets - "I have always worked a low paid job earning only about the equivalent of $25k a year. I found out about trading CFDs 4 years ago and thought great this looks easy. In my first year I blew an account worth $10k. Next few years I lost $25k. Last year I tried trading US stocks and indices and lost about $20k.I then discovered the holy grail, the slow stochastic indicator and the relative vigor index. I used these tool to claw back the money I lost and made $15k profit. I got excited and quit my job.Then I found out that these indicators dont work when markets are trending or parabolic. So i lost $45K in 3 months.Ive maxed out my credit card, I have a personal loan to pay off and no job. Oh btw I also got scammed $10k by a phony lawyer in 2014. I never went to College, I am a unskilled worker. I wasted 4 years of my life, ive never had a girlfriend, I live with my parents and have no car. Im 26 years old with no friends or social life.My father was poor, his father was poor, i will also be poor."
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

Conservatives and liberals have similar physiological responses to threats - "About a decade ago, a study documented that conservatives have stronger physiological responses to threatening stimuli than liberals. This work launched an approach aimed at uncovering the biological roots of ideology. Despite wide-ranging scientific and popular impact, independent laboratories have not replicated the study. We conducted a pre-registered direct replication (n = 202) and conceptual replications in the United States (n = 352) and the Netherlands (n = 81). Our analyses do not support the conclusions of the original study, nor do we find evidence for broader claims regarding the effect of disgust and the existence of a physiological trait. Rather than studying unconscious responses as the real predispositions, alignment between conscious and unconscious responses promises deeper insights into the emotional roots of ideology."

Out-of-business Tokyo McDonald’s gets brutal but kind sendoff from rival Burger King branch - "Akihabara competitor’s goodbye is as sweet and salty as French fries dipped in chocolate sauce... the McDonald’s Showadori branch in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood permanently closed down, and it broke the news to passersby by putting up a sign that read:
“Thank you for your 22 years of patronage. The Akihabara Showadori branch McDonald’s will be permanently closing at 6 p.m. on January 31. Thank you for the past 22 years. We deeply appreciate the customers who supported this branch, and hope you will continue to dine at other McDonald’s locations.”...
Burger King’s message reads:
Thank you for 22 happy years.
Our neighbor two buildings over, McDonald’s, will be closing today.
Esteemed rival, and fellow friend who loved Akihabara,
because you were close by, we also could do our best.
Without you here, McDonald’s, thinking of the future fills us with sadness.
Selfish though it is for us to say this, everyone, please go to McDonald’s today.
Challenging ourselves to be as good as McDonald’s has been our goal, so with a smile, we say thank you...
if you take another look at Burger King’s poster, there’s what seems to be a hidden message... “Victory is ours.”... the Burger King poster’s offer to give anyone with a McDonald’s Akihabara Showadori customer receipt a free cup of coffee between not and February 6 seems to be OK to take at face value"

Free University Tuition: A Cautionary Note from Germany - "most German universities look dingy and threadbare... Most classrooms still feature rigid wooden or metal desks bolted into rows. Wireless coverage, library stocks, laboratory gear and classroom A/V equipment lag far behind the average American state university. It’s still possible to arrive to give a lecture and find an overhead projector awaiting your transparencies. Professors’ salaries are much lower than in the United States... This bare-bones regime also dominates student life and counseling. German universities are sink-or-swim: if you have scholarly or personal problems while studying, help will come only from overburdened counselors with hundreds of cases, or from student volunteers. Along with lax admissions standards, this fact helps explain the high dropout rates; one-third of all students who enroll in German universities never finish. A recent OECD study found that only 28.6 percent of Germans aged between 25 and 64 had a tertiary education degree, as compared to 46.4 percent of Americans... German universities punch below their weight in international rankings... Eliminating tuition also means that universities become more like primary schools, or public utilities. This changes the dynamic in subtle ways. Universities will become more vulnerable to funding decisions by agencies, leading to more intrusive control and bureaucracy. Gather any group of German professors, and talk will immediately turn to the burgeoning bureaucracy which distracts them from teaching and research. This changed dynamic also makes it harder to get funding from alumni and third parties. Would you donate to the local sewage treatment plant? Hardly; these things should be funded from tax revenue and, of course, user fees. Making universities fully state-supported also raises a host of issues under competition and public-utilities law. For this reason (among others) naming buildings or professorships after private donors is still fairly uncommon at German public universities, and “executive education” or outreach courses may be banned or regulated to prevent unfair competition with private-sector offerings. Tuition fees also serve as a buffer to interference from politicians who disapprove of controversial course offerings; after all, if students (or parents) choose to pay thousands of dollars to have their children indoctrinated with “left-wing propaganda,” that’s their business. When the state foots the entire bill, however, politicians will have that much more incentive to demand oversight and explanations... Tuition-free universities also have problems with student motivation. Most Americans who teach ordinary classes in Germany find average German students somewhat less motivated than their dues-paying American counterparts... In all my years teaching thousands of students, only about 40, in total, ever voluntarily came by to ask about the course material... Supporters of the tuition-free model claim it fosters social mobility. Yet the proportion of German university students whose parents were “well” or “very well” educated rose from 36 percent in 1991 to 52 percent in 2016, raising the question of whether free university study—especially in financially rewarding areas such as finance, law, or medicine—is often just a gift from taxpayers to the (grateful) middle class. A recent study found that parental wealth still plays a crucial role in social mobility in Germany—and the effect was even stronger there than in the USA... An ambitious student will find a way to cope with modest tuition."

The secret world of hair

BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, The secret world of hair

"‘In South India, there are various temples where one can go and sort of make a vow to the god or goddess that that if something good happens, then you will come to the temple and you will offer your hair. So whole families will sort of pledge their hair, and then they'll go en masse to particular places. So the biggest temple is, and the most famous one is Tirumala, in Andhra Pradesh where there's actually 650 full time barbers.. the barbers are all sitting around on the floor, and the pilgrims will come and sit directly opposite them. So you walk into this space, you leave your shoes outside and the floor is wet, and it's covered actually in other people's hair, because there's always that sort of feeling of, of slipping on the hair...

They sell hair. So the hair gets then sorted out into different lengths and the longest length which is over 30 inches, sells for about 230 pounds a kilo. much shorter lengths will sell for much less then. The very short hair clippings will be 40 p… 20 million pounds a year [for that particular temple]... wherever I traveled, whether it was in Chinese factories or these hair sorting workshops or these temples there was this fear that people might be taking hair and sort of stuff it, particularly that women were stuffing it into their bras. This was the, and when we left the temple complex, you know, our bags were searched and even my purse was searched just in case I'd put a few strands’…

‘The most popular hair. Because you were saying before that I mean wigs and hair extensions, the majority are manufactured in China, when people are purchasing it, they don't necessarily purchase it as, it isn’t labeled as Chinese hair. Because although Chinese hair as I understand it is perhaps the ,best people don't think it is.’

‘Well, Chinese hair is thick and strong, and therefore it's very resilient to things like bleaching and dying. But the Association of Made in China is quite a negative association in the market. So Chinese traders know that they can't really sell it as Chinese and companies will not market it as Chinese. So you've got a lot of sort of fictional-... the provenance of hair is just a sort of mythological fantasy cooked up by several people along the way as the hair sort of moves out of, into China and is then somehow turns into European hair. So you have this odd, odd Chinese hair dyed blonde that becomes that really really prestigious item, European hair’...

‘You had a woman or maybe a couple of women who almost talked about the fact that their loss of hair was something rather more severe than the loss of a breast.’

‘Yeah, that's right. So those who did lose the hair found it really distressing, particularly the speed at which it happened. And it had come out in great clumps. One woman said that she'd been more affected by the hair loss than, than the loss of a breast because it was so visible. And it's so rapid after the surgery as well. And there was a woman who hadn't lost her hair, who said that she considered herself to have got off lightly.’...

‘Before it all happened, I went out, I bought my wig, the sexiest wig I could possibly find. I wasn't going to look like me. I was going to look like somebody else. Had got this rock chick hair. I decided I was going to have about seven. I was going to have red ones and green ones. I don’t know, just do the things that you'd never normally do. It's not forever. It doesn't matter.’

‘That that was not a very typical response. I mean, you know… like when I suggested to my partner, my wife, sort of go blonde and look like Marilyn, that was not, that was not on. So this was not a very common response.’

‘It wasn't. She was the only one that said that. She was also the only one that felt that losing her hair was was a good thing because it meant that the chemotherapy was working. But yeah, she chose to treat her hair loss as an opportunity to experiment with her identity. And she saw it  as a temporary thing, and I thought it was interesting that she chose a rock chick, like a stereotypical strong female character and perhaps somebody that she could personify’...

‘Cancer patients have been a double bind because when they experienced stigma whether or not they lose their hair’...

‘[She] still does work in a library, and because she had mistakes and she wasn't able to do the lifting and carrying part of the duties, but she said that she actually got bullied by her colleagues who felt she wasn't pulling her weight. And I thought that was really interesting because she wasn't conforming with the stereotypical cancer patient so therefore she missed out on benefits’...

‘Amongst some orthodox women, they consider that it's necessary to cover your hair, because hair, once you're married, because hair is sexually alluring. And, and they would also consider that it's a mitzvah, it's a sort of commandment that one should follow. And, but what has happened over the years is that women began to cover their hair, not just with headscarves, but with wigs, so effectively using hair to cover hair. And, and this has led to all sorts of sort of debates about you know, how human can your hair look, how glamorous can it be?… it's usually after the first night spent with the husband that the wig will be-… what's happened as sort of wig technology has increased and there's more and more possibilities for glamorous wigs. Then women tend to, I mean many of the women I spoke to said, you know, that they found covering their hair one of the most difficult religious sort of requirements that they followed, and therefore if they were going to do it, they wanted to take this as an opportunity to get better hair. So they were investing an enormous amount of time and energy and attention in getting very beautiful, very naturalistic wigs, sometimes with baby hairs inserted in the front to make it look like you know, the hairs growing from the head…

2004, known as Sheitelgate was the moment when a rabbi in the Orthodox Jewish community. In fact, he was based in Israel, but he became very concerned about the origins, you know, where is this hair coming from that Jewish women are wearing to cover their hair? And he sent some rabbis to go from Stamford Hill in London, to India, to inspect Tirumala, the very temple that we were talking about earlier, to look at, you know, what is the status of this hair that's being given to the gods and of course, they came across very contradictory responses. The pilgrims saw their hair as an offering, the most wonderful offering they could give, the Brahmins was saying no, no, it's a waste product. It's an act of purification. So yes, of course you can use it. And the barbers were saying this is a religious duty, and so on. And so basically they banned, the rabbi in the end decided to ban the use of Indian hair on the grounds of it's a sort of idolatrous association… he called on people to burn their wigs, because he felt that, you know, if you gave it to a charity shop, then it could be bought by another Jewish woman. And then this was also an abomination and therefore better to burn the things. But of course, this was not very popular amongst Jewish wig traders.’…

‘In Stamford Hill and Brooklyn and across the world, women were going out from the streets burning their wigs and covering themselves with bathing caps and bath towels, crying as they did. It was like it was throwing their Pekingnese dogs off into a bonfire… a wig can often cost 1000 pounds, 2000 pounds, I mean and upwards if it's a human hair sort of handmade wig’"

Links - 15th May 2020 (1) (Italian food)

Ten commandments of Italian cooking - "1 Buy the best ingredients
The Italians spend far more on food than the British, in spite of having a smaller income
2 Use the right pan
3 Season during cooking
4 Use herbs and spices subtly
5 Make a good battuto
A battuto is a mixture of very finely chopped ingredients, and varies according to their use. The most common battuto is onion, carrot and celery, which is the basis of the soffritto
6 Keep an eye on your soffritto
7 Use the right amount of sauce
The Italians like to eat pasta dressed with sauce – not sauce dressed with pasta. The usual amount of sauce added to a portion of pasta is two full tablespoons
8 Taste while you cook
Food in Italy is mostly cooked directly on the heat and not in the oven – which might be why the Italians are not strong on baking. The food in the pot is nurtured all through the cooking
9 Serve pasta and risotto alone
Only one pasta dish and two risotti are traditionally accompanied by meat: Carne alla Genovese – a braised beef dish allegedly brought to Naples by the Genovese merchants, served with penne; Ossobuco alla Milanese – the traditional ossobuco without tomatoes served with saffron risotto; and Costolette del Priore – breaded veal chops in a cheese sauce, served with risotto in bianco (plain risotto).
10 Don’t overdo the parmesan
There may be a bowl of grated parmigiano reggiano on the table when pasta or risotto are served, but the usual amount added is not more than 1-2 teaspoons, so as not to overpower the flavour of the main dish. It should be grated, not flaked; except on special salads, such as those with fennel or artichoke. The cheese must dissolve, imparting an overall flavour like a seasoning. Parmesan is not added to fish or seafood risotto, apart from some varieties with prawns."

The pungent debate of using garlic in cooking - "In Marcella Says, Hazan cautioned that flavour cannot be "replaced" with spices or garlic. "That is borrowed rather than true flavour," she said. Vecchio told me almost exactly the same thing by e-mail. In the kitchen, meat and vegetables are the "predominant" flavours, she said. "The rest is enrichment."... "One of my biggest problems as a chef," Gentile says, "is finding vegetables that taste good." He is "blown away" by the quality of vegetables he finds in Italy. But anything less is unacceptable. "If you see Italians shopping at a vegetable market," he says, "they will rip someone apart if their stuff doesn't taste good."In other words, the reason Italian chefs' recipes don't lean on garlic as a crutch is because their ingredients taste better to begin with. They possess what Hazan calls "true" flavour.""
As a friend said, Swiss cooking teaches you the importance of good ingredients. Asian cooking teaches you the importance of good sauces

Do Italians from Italy Cook Onions and Garlic Together in the Same Pot? - "I was just watching a cooking video of Mark Bittman from the New York Times. He mentioned how he was cooking once with an Italian who told him that they don’t cook garlic and onions together in the same pan in Italy. This surprised him. This surprised me!I grew up cooking garlic and onions together as the first step in my Italian tomato sauce. This was how my Italian grandmother taught it to my mother. It’s how my mother taught it to me. I assume it’s how my grandmother’s mother from Italy taught her to make it"
Apparently this is a regional thing

Want Real Italian Food? Skip These 8 Dishes - " so much of the food that we consider Italian, well, isn’t. It’s Italian-American... Back home, they survived, barely, on items like polenta, or black bread in brine. Richer foods, like meat, cheeses, and even pasta, were for special occasions or flush times. In the States, however, immigrants found that they not only earned more — their money went further. And so they weren’t about to go eating the same foods that reminded them of the lean years. Instead, they were going to eat like kings. If that meant making meatballs that their cousins back in Italy would find absurdly (impressively!) large, and then putting them right on the spaghetti, that other sign of prosperity, then so be it. This was America, baby. Land of the free … and the well fed. Another big change came from the fact that, often for the first time, Italians in the U.S. ate (and cooked) together. As anyone who has traveled from Florence to Rome can tell you, Italian food is extremely regional... a fusion cuisine — albeit one that leaned on some of the traditions of Southern Italy, where most of the immigrants were from — emerged...
1. Garlic bread
Instead, try: bruschetta al pomodoro
2. Spaghetti and meatballs
Instead, try: polpette al sugo
3. Fettuccine Alfredo
It’s like macaroni and cheese … with an Italian twist. Or so I always thought — until I moved to Italy. Turns out, there’s only one restaurant I ever heard of that served it: Alfredo’s, in Rome. It was created there in 1920 by the chef, Alfredo, to appeal to American clientele. No surprise there, really, since nothing about the dish appeals to traditional Italian palates; putting cream on pasta is so rarely done that in Rome, the home of pasta carbonara, the recipe calls for not a hint of cream. And, again, there’s the whole issue of using butter. But legend has it that, when honeymooning in Rome in 1920, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford liked Alfredo’s pasta so much they brought the recipe back home...
Instead, try: cacio e pepe
4. Chicken on pasta, ever
Instead, try: fish on pasta
5. Lobster fra’ diavolo
Instead, try: pasta all’arrabbiata
6. Chicken or veal parmesan...
the idea of layering melted cheese on meat is something that would make the noses of most of my Italian friends turn right up.
Instead, try: melanzane alla parmigiana
Similar concept, but with eggplant
7. Penne alla vodka
8. Cheesecake
Instead, try: cassata siciliana
Sweetened ricotta mixes are common in Southern Italy, particularly in Naples and Sicily (although they’re not generally as heavy, or sweet, as anything you’d taste in a cheesecake). They fill cannoli, sfogliatelle, and a myriad of other pastries. The closest to a cheesecake in terms of sheer decadence, though, is the cassata siciliana, a liquor-soaked sponge cake that gets layered with sweetened ricotta, covered in green almond paste, and iced; it likely took on its current appearance in the 18th century, when it would have been consumed only around Easter celebrations. In this case, in terms of richness, the Italian version might just give the Italian-American one a run for its money."

Part II: Learning to Tell Real Italian Food from Fake | Memorie di Angelina - "avoid like the plague the so-called Italian recipes on sites like allrecipes.com—these sites are hot beds of ‘Italian-style’ or just plain fake Italian food, even if some authentic recipes can be found like diamonds cast in the mud...
Number of ingredients: As a general rule, the fewer ingredients in a recipe, the more likely it is to be authentic. If a recipe contains more than, say six or seven ingredients (including salt and pepper) then start to doubt its authenticity; if it has more than ten, then turn the page. Italian food is about bringing out the best of the natural flavor of its main ingredient or ingredients. Normally, that means not piling on different ingredients on top of the other. One of the most common signs that a dish may be faux Italian, for example, is the tendency (very common in Italian-American cooking) to strafare, or over-do, at least in the eyes of Italians. Take, by way of illustration, the dish called Utica Greens from the Italian immigrant communities of upstate New York. This dish is probably a descendant of the ubiquitous southern Italian simply sautéed vegetable dishes like cicoria in padella. While the original is simply boiled greens sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and perhaps with a bit of peperoncino thrown in for heat, its New World cousin adds romano (aka pecorino) cheese, breadcrumbs, prosciutto, cherry peppers and chicken broth… A very American combination of flavors that, while it has its own kitch charms, most native Italians would find sort of gross...
Obsession with Chicken and Shrimp. For some reason, there is a surfeit of pseudo-Italian dishes using chicken breasts and shrimp. Don’t ask me why, but it seems to be so. Obviously, Italians do eat chicken breasts, but not as often as Americans seem to think they do. And chicken breast is not a typical substitution for veal. If an Italian wants scallopine but doesn’t want to spend a bundle on veal, s/he will usually use pork loin or turkey instead, not chicken. And I can tell you that I managed to live in Italy for ten years without a bowl of spaghetti and shrimp passing my lips.
Simplicity and discretion: In general, Italian culinary tradition prizes simple, straight-forward cooking techniques. Long, complex, multi-stepped recipes are very much the exception, although they do exist. Similarly, although Italian food is often known for bold flavors, that is something of a misnomer. Yes, Italian food is tasty, but more often than not, its use of herbs and spices is discrete—and it never overpowers. If a dish calls for multiple cloves of garlic, or spoonfuls of dried oregano or a whole bunch of chopped parsley, beware! Ditto for dishes that call for multiple herbs, especially multiple dried herbs, like dried oregano and dried basil and thyme… (NB: Thyme is rarely used in Italian cooking anyway.)"
Those who agonise over how "authenticity" in Asian food in the West is racist will ignore this

The Mafia - organised crime

BBC Radio 4 - Thinking Allowed, The Mafia - organised crime

"‘You talk about them having some sense of moral integrity and they manage to bring a moral justification to what they're doing.’

‘Well, what they do is they, when they join the mafia, they go through a personal transformation, they become different people. So I wouldn't say they are moral obviously because they, they, they kill and, but but they cannot just be about committing crime. They must follow the rules, and they must be understood and liked and believed by others. So there is a degree of integrity they must have.’

‘And of course, we were talking before about how much you know I love these Hollywood films. I mean, they are personally themselves influenced by these films. I mean that they, I can remember I mean, the craze for example, I still remember the Krays actually wanted to get their life story written by Truman Capote, the major film star George Raft. That's a general symptom.’

‘It's very much the case. So the Godfather… is loved by the American mafiosi. Although the Godfather is not an accurate description of the Italian American mafia. The mafiosa themselves love it, and actually, they imitate it. So it's a case in which life imitates art and by imitating a popular movie, they increase their reputation and they can do their job better. So there is a very technical-’…

‘I think you're talking about the head of the Gambino family John Gotti, who changed his wardrobe, began acting like Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone... Devore [sp?] in the central Russian city of Kazan, who took to speaking like Marlon Brando's Godfather, even practicing the lower jaw movement’

‘Yes, exactly. And the reach of the Godfather is extraordinary. It goes to Siberia, it goes to Far East and of course, even in Sicily the birthplace of the mafia, they copied the Godfather Hollywood inaccurate description of themself.’..

‘They penetrate the film industry and try to influence the script of the movies about themselves.’...

‘As much as we adapt to the internet, we adapt to Skype. So do they. I have a story in the book in during which a ritual, a mafia ritual, the most sacred moment for the mafia, the mafia ritual is done through Skype because some of the past, the people are actually in jail and cannot join physically... yet, the source of income remain mostly the same construction, drugs, prostitution, control of a very small territory… women are not admitted into these organizations... yet women are extremely important, but in a sense, love. The power of the passionate love erodes the organization. So mafias are terribly scared of women, because women in a sense, question the allegiance of the man to the organization.’...

‘The Italian Mafia especially in Sicily and in the region of Naples. And every time we do an arrest with the police, you would have all those women screaming, going between the police and their men and screaming and yelling and being very theatric, theatrical and, yes, and we only talk about men and I was wondering what these women because it didn't look like this sadness was real sadness. It looked like a theatre more than, so I was wondering why, how these women were living this very violent and woman, manly world.’

‘And when you began to look into it, you found that really that in a way that the women were acting as sort of transmitters of family values’...

‘Mafias cannot, they're so powerful. It's not, it cannot be only with the use of violence. It's, they have a reputation, they have to have, also respectable image to the society so that they respect them and do things for them. So and woman is a very big part of this, plays a very big role in this image they give to society to give a respectable image of this to the society. They go to the church. They are smiling. They are nice with the, with the people. So that's for the image outside. Inside the families, usually those men are always on the run or in prison. They're barely at home. So, the children, especially the men, the young boys, they never see them, their father. So who gives, who told them, who tell them to become men of honour? It's the woman, the woman tell them how to be respected. They ,tell they give them the vendetta *something*, the main values of the mafia. They are the one who transmit the culture’"

Thursday, May 14, 2020

‘I just can’t handle it when people don’t like me’

Since the original article disappeared

Originally on Court News UK

Mirrored by The Screen:

You are entitled to people's affection and attention if you are a woman. This is the opinion of the British "Justice" System. Claiming you beat someone because you want them to like you is now a defence. What the fuck!?

The full article:

A teenager who kicked her friend in the face was spared custody after a court heard she suffers from a disorder which makes her unhappy when her affection is not returned.

Saraya Crofts, 19, beat Aaliyah Casady onto the ground at the Green in Richmond, Surrey on July 20.

They had been drinking and taking drugs in the park when Crofts saw Ms Casady, 18, had been speaking to a man on the phone that their group was in dispute with.

Crofts confronted Ms Casady over the phone call, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the floor.

She then kicked Ms Casady in the face and took her phone, forcing her to give her the pin, Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court heard.

Ms Casady was found by members of the public on the ground and was helped home.

Crofts used the phone to post a video onto Ms Casady’s Facebook of the victim taking ecstasy.

Angela Mahadeo, prosecuting, told the court: ‘Ms Casady used her mother’s IPad to track her phone.

‘The phone pinged that it was in Robin Hood Way, the same street that the defendant lived on.’

When police arrived at the address Crofts admitted that she had the phone but did not remember where she had hidden it.

She eventually found it behind a picture in her room.

She denied assaulting Ms Casady but was found guilty at trial.

Peter Hamill, defending, said: ‘She accepted that posting the video was wrong.

‘She also accepted that she did steal the phone.

‘Both the defendant and Ms Casady had been good friends for three months.

‘She suffers from Attachment Disorder.

‘She feels hurt when her friendship is not reciprocated.

‘Ms Crofts was aware that the victim had been speaking to the boy on the phone.

‘She felt that she had been betrayed, the boy was talking about coming to the park and causing trouble.’

He told the court that Crofts acknowledged that what she did was wrong and accepted that she would have to be punished for it.

Magistrate Annie Page told Crofts: ‘What we are going to do is sentence you for everything today.

‘We are going to have a new community order that will hopefully be more workable.

‘The assault was a very unpleasant incident.

‘We are going to award Ms Casady £100 because she had a very nasty time.’

Crofts of Robin Hood Way, Kingston, denied assault by beating but was found guilty at trial.

She accepted theft and sending a malicious communication.

She was given a 12 month community order and a 12 month restraining order from contacting Ms Casady.

She was ordered to pay 100 pounds compensation to Ms Casady and 50 pounds to the court.

She was given a 30 day Rehab Activity Requirement and a 12 week nighttime curfew from 8pm to 8am

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

History According to Bob - The Robber Barons

Overview Robber Barons:

"There'll also be a discussion on corruption, because literally what we consider today illegal in the business world was standard operating procedures. It was still illegal to bribe public officials and do things like that but y'know, stock tips. All sorts of other things. Those, there weren't laws on the books to deal with them"

Arrival of Astor Stewart and Vanderbilt:

"You could also take a ship to Panama, and the Panamanian railroad, which was the most expensive railroad on earth, for gold will take you from one side of Panama to the other where you can get a ship to go up to California. If you couldn't afford the price to ride in the train they charged you gold to walk the track to the other side. So a lot of American entrepreneurs decided that, because Panama at that time was controlled by Columbia, the best way to go was to go through Nicaragua...

He was also extremely cheap. He had a wife and 9 children and they lived almost as paupers. He still used the first carpet from his first house even though it was threadbare. And he was brutally indifferent to his children. Called his oldest son an idiot and consigned him to a farm on Staten Island until he was middle age and that's when Dad dies and he finally gets to inherit some money. Another son Cornelius was disowned for spending too much money. His wife was committed to the Bloomingdale Asylum. At his advanced age he was still insatiably chasing young women and has an interesting career at that.

Vanderbilt sums up his fierce competitiveness in a note to associates who tried to take advantage of a trip that he took to Europe. He wrote on this short note: 'Gentlemen. You have undertaken to cheat me. I will not sue you, for the law takes too long. I will ruin you. Sincerely, Cornelius Vanderbilt'"

Rise of John Rockefeller:

"He had a tendency to rarely support his family and periodically was a fugitive from the law. 'I cheat my boys every chance I get. I wanna make 'em sharp. I trade with the boys and skin 'em and I just beat 'em every time I can. I want to make them sharp'...

He went to bed. The first thing he did he would read the BIble. The second thing he did was he would... talk to his pillow about his business adventures"

Jay Cooke and the American Civil War:

"Cooke's doctrine: 'A national debt is a national blessing'"

Huntington and Steamships:

"On one occasion, the hardware merchants calculated it would be cheaper to have a cargo of nails to be shipped from New York to Antwerp, reloaded on a British ship that went around Cape Horn, landing in Redondo California than to use the direct mail connections of the octopus"

Robber Baron Diversions:

"It was popular to hold poverty socials. One of these put on by a Western railroad millionaire cost $14,000 for 30 people and all the guests came dressed in rags to pretend they were poor. Food was served in scraps on wooden plates, the diners sat on broken soap boxes, buckets and coal carriers. Napkins were made out of newspapers, desk cloths and old skirts and beer was served in rusty tin cans...

Well, then we get to some other diversions. Became popular for the grand tour of Europe. Now this is usually the women and daughters of the wealthy who then traveled to Europe seeing all of the things, buying antiques and bringing them home. And of course, we have the daughters.

So they're interested in marrying titled foreigners. According to some of the records from 1909 500 American women married titled foreigners, and those foreigners were worth 220 million dollars. So they would get a title, they would get all this fancy stuff… and of course they are buying European antiquities and bringing them home to decorate their homes on Madison Avenue and so forth and so on. And then we have painting collecting. This really began in 1870 amongst the wealthy with William Vanderbilt, and he spent about $1.5 million in his lifetime and he bought all kinds of paintings. He particularly enjoyed nudes, but he bought all kinds of paintings.

This led to a competition with Gould, Stillman, Havemeyer and Morgan and JP Morgan will outdo them all. In one case on viewing a small Vermeer painting, Morgan asked two questions. The first one was who is Vermeer. Dutch painter, you know, so forth and so on. And the second one was how much. The price was $100,000. He said, I'll take it"

Labor and Homstead:

"In England, if you look at the laws of protecting property. When you realize that in England in the 1700s, that if you stole something worth more than five pounds, it was a death sentence, because property in the Georgian era was more important than people. Well, this is kind of coming to roost here in the United States"

Links - 13th May 2020 (2) (Coronavirus: US Superior Private Healthcare, Masks, the WHO etc)

'Cardiac calls' to 911 in New York City surge, and they may really be more COVID cases - "A huge number of those ambulances are responding to fatal or near-fatal heart attacks suffered by New Yorkers whose true health issue may be COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus.Emergency Medical Services, the part of the fire department that runs the city's paramedic response, is responding to three or four times its average daily number of cardiac calls, with each call almost twice as likely to involve a death."
Strange how the flu didn't lead to this in past years

13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital - The New York Times - "A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital.Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday evening, New York City reported 20,011 confirmed cases and 280 deaths... hospitals are under siege. New York City’s hospitals run the gamut from prestigious teaching institutions catering to the elite to public hospitals providing care for some of the poorest communities in the nation. Regardless of whom they serve, few have been spared the impact of the pandemic: A flood of sick and fearful New Yorkers has besieged emergency rooms across the city... New York’s hospitals may be about to lose their leeway for creativity in finding spaces.All of the more than 1,800 intensive care beds in the city are expected to be full by Friday, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing obtained by The New York Times. Patients could stay for weeks, limiting space for newly sickened people... Officials have also discussed converting hotels and arenas into temporary medical centers.At least two city hospitals have filled up their morgues, and city officials anticipated the rest would reach capacity by the end of this week, according to the briefing. The state requested 85 refrigerated trailers from FEMA for mortuary services... In interviews, doctors and nurses at hospitals across the city gave accounts of how they were being stretched... There are not always enough gurneys, so some patients sit in chairs. One patient on Sunday had been without a bed for 36 hours... some hospital workers in Manhattan have posted photos on social media showing nurses using trash bags as protective gear... With ventilators in short supply, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, one of the city’s largest systems, has begun using one machine to help multiple patients at a time, a virtually unheard-of move... the emergency room began filling up, with more than 200 people at times. Every chair in the waiting room was usually taken. Patients came in faster than the hospital could add beds; earlier this week, 60 coronavirus patients had been admitted but were still in the emergency room. One man waited almost 60 hours for a bed last week... The line of people waiting outside of Elmhurst to be tested for the coronavirus forms as early as 6 a.m., and some stay there until 5 p.m. Many are told to go home without being tested."
Superior private healthcare which means the US will do just fine strikes again!

Coronavirus: New York ramps up mass burials amid outbreak - "Images have emerged of coffins being buried in a mass grave in New York City, as the death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise.Workers in hazmat outfits were seen stacking wooden coffins in deep trenches in Hart Island.Officials say burials are being ramped up at site, which has long been used for people with no next-of-kin or families who cannot afford a funeral.New York state now has more coronavirus cases than any single country... The drone footage comes from Hart Island, off the Bronx in Long Island Sound, which has been used for more than 150 years by city officials as a mass burial site for those with no next-of-kin, or families who cannot afford funerals.Normally, about 25 bodies a week are interred on the island, according to the Associated Press news agency.But burial operations have increased from one day a week to five days a week, with around 24 burials each day... Funeral directors talk openly about how scared and depressed the spiking death toll has left them. Even before this week's record number of deaths, some families have had to wait a week or more to bury and cremate their loved ones... Presumptive Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden joined growing calls on Thursday for the release of comprehensive racial data on the pandemic.He said it had cast a spotlight on inequity and the impact of "structural racism"."

America, Learn From New York - The Atlantic - "In the emergency-department waiting room, 150 people worry about a fever. Some just want a test, others badly need medical treatment. Those not at the brink of death have to wait six, eight, 10 hours before they can see a doctor. Those admitted to the hospital might wait a full day for a bed... We are overwhelmed... Before the pandemic, I would wear a new mask for every new patient. Not now. There are not enough to go around. The bridge of my nose is raw, chapped, and on the verge of bleeding. But I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My hospital still has a supply of masks—albeit a dwindling one—to protect me and my colleagues"
Unsurprisingly I still see Americans denying that health systems are collapsing, even when it's happening in their country. And of course there're the conspiracy theories about hospitals being empty

‘We’re supposed to be a first-world country’: Doctor leaks video from packed ward of New York hospital amid coronavirus surge

Coronavirus In New York: A Nurse's Harrowing Photo Of Reality For COVID-19 Victims - "The 38-year-old registered nurse at a Manhattan hospital was nearing the end of his shift Sunday morning when he stepped toward the building’s ambulance bay.There, a giant refrigerator truck was sitting, ready to carry away those who had died from complications of COVID-19. He walked up to the truck, opened the latch, and snapped a picture.“I took it to show to people,” said the emergency room nurse. “It is the ghastly reality of what we deal with and where some of us have ended up already.”... The nurse described a horrific Catch-22. “If we are covid positive, we are expected to work for as long as we are asymptomatic. However we cannot get tested unless we are symptomatic,” he said. “They don’t want to test us because, at the rates we are exposed, we are likely all sick and we don’t know it.”“We are rationed personal protective equipment to absurdity,” the nurse said. He said they were given “one disposable mask and one disposable gown that we must sign out for, that is expected to be used for five 12-hour shifts before they will be replaced.”Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to deliver more supplies for doctors and nurses, and said his office was “actively looking into” whether CDC guidelines on their use were sufficient. The nurse described a chaotic situation at his hospital, with ever-changing rules. “Everything changes from day to day at work,” he said. “They are scrambling to figure out what to do as we go.”“A week ago we were instructed to take off our masks at work. Now we are being instructed to wear them at all times because so many of us are testing positive.” Texting on Sunday morning, he said he had to go to sleep, because another long shift awaited him. He couldn’t get the images of the truck out of his head.“Maybe as a Jew i relate it to all of the Holocaust footage because that’s my only point of reference for such an image of humans,” he said. “[N]ever seen something quite like it.”"
Some Americans are still comparing the outbreak in progress to the total number of flu deaths in a year, of course

Boston Globe prints 16 pages of death notices during coronavirus pandemic - "On April 5, there were nine pages of death notices and last Sunday, the Globe ran 11 pages of tributes before printing 16 pages this week. On the same Sunday in 2019, which was April 21, they ran seven pages of death notices... In Italy, newspaper death notices have signified the same stark reality: Deaths are increasing. On one Friday in March, L'Eco di Bergamo printed 10 pages of death notices, when they usually print one"
I guess since, we are told, "coronavirus" deaths are inflated, people are just being more free with placing death notices this year

New York’s paramedics unable to answer emergency calls as 20% of service ill, most with COVID-19 - "The coronavirus outbreak sweeping through New York City has pushed its ambulance service close to the breaking point, with hundreds of personnel out ill and emergency calls skyrocketing, supervisors and rank-and-file emergency medical technicians said... even those ambulance workers who had tested positive for the coronavirus were being asked to work unless they show symptoms. At times in recent days, up to 400 calls at a time deemed less serious had simply been left on hold... the EMS has to deal with the crush of COVID-19 cases at the same time it must handle its normal workload of patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and broken bones... Two workers told Reuters that ambulance personnel who remain on the job are working 16 or 17-hour days.“We don’t even have time to go to the bathroom,” said one emergency medical technician in Harlem while running to meet a call... Variale predicted dire consequences if calls for help continue to soar and the number of emergency personnel continues to drop from illness. “If this continues we fully expect to have bodies on the street”"
Damn government intervention!

Surge in deaths overwhelms New York’s morgues, hospitals - "It has become a grim ritual outside New York City’s hospitals: workers in protective gear loading the bodies of coronavirus victims into refrigerated trailers.A surge in deaths in the epicenter of the crisis in the U.S. has overwhelmed the city’s permanent morgues and filled storage spaces in many hospitals to capacity. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending 85 refrigerated trucks to serve as temporary morgues"
Apparently the flu causes health systems to collapse

Field hospital for coronavirus patients going up in Central Park - "An evangelical Christian relief organization on Sunday began setting up a massive field hospital in Central Park to help New York City cope with the crush of patients sickened by the deadly coronavirus."

Teen whose death may be linked to coronavirus denied care for not having health insurance, mayor says - "A teenager in Lancaster, California, who may have died from the coronavirus last week, was turned away from an urgent care because he did not have health insurance... Parris said the teen went to an urgent care March 18."He did not have insurance, so they did not treat him," Parris said, adding the boy was sent to a hospital.En route, he went into cardiac arrest, according to the mayor. When the teen got to the hospital, he was revived and kept alive for six hours. But, it was too late"

Coronavirus pandemic: N.Y. now has more reported cases than any country - "The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has reached 151,598, according to NBC News' tracking, outpacing any country except the United States as a whole."
Maybe Americans who want to downplay this will now say their tests are more accurate than those in other countries

New York state coronavirus testing compared to other countries
Now people can't claim that the US only seems to be doing badly because of a large population or a large number of tests carried out; NY had just under 20 million people in 2018, a third of Italy in 2019. NY had tested a little over half as many as Italy per capita and a little over a quarter of South Korea

New Orleans Coronavirus: City Faces a Nightmare, and Mardi Gras May Be Why - The New York Times

As More Death Data Becomes Available, COVID-19 Looks Less and Less Like the Flu - "To get a better handle on the differences between seasonal flu and COVID-19, Max Roser and his team over at the invaluable OurWorldInData compared the average number of weekly deaths in New York State from influenza and all other causes versus the weekly number of deaths from the current COVID-19 outbreak. Keep in mind that the first New York COVID-19 death was reported just four weeks ago. The comparison is worrisome."
And this from a libertarian publication

Arms Inc. - Posts - "If you will snitch on a person for violating quarantine,
would have snitched on Anne Frank and Harriet Tubman"
Why the US is going to be the hardest hit country

The Honey Badger Radio official Facebook group - "Militia announces that COVID lockdown will NOT stop Easter worship, Constitution MUST be defended"
"Forgive me Americans but this kind of shit is why people regard you as utter morons"
This thread is amazing. Lots of Americans proclaiming that their rights are so important that it doesn't matter if many people die. One even said that if covid-19 were as fatal as the Black Death, that still wouldn't justify trampling on their rights

Dr.Jitendra Awhad on Twitter - "As at Feb. 23rd, exactly a month ago, #Italy had 5 cases of virus confirmed, zero death. Italian govt gave a stay at home order, people disobeyed. 30days later, Italy has over 60,000 cases & 5,400 deaths. There’s price to pay for every disobedience. #CoronavirusOutbreak"

Texas Woman Who Claimed COVID-19 Was ‘Media Driven’ Hoax Dies From Virus - "Karen Kolb Sehlke, a Trump-loving woman from Texas is dead from COVID-19 after claiming the virus was a “media driven” hoax."

US coronavirus deaths pass 14,000, but future projections are better than expected - "Many families are grieving for loved ones who often die alone in hospitals.And the actual number of deaths could be higher than we know.Some deaths due to Covid-19 "may be misclassified as pneumonia deaths in the absence of positive test results""

COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States
Now that deaths have exceeded flu deaths, people can't compare a whole season's of flu deaths to a few months of coronavirus deaths (even ignoring non-linear spread) and claiming it's nothing to worry about anymore. But the latest pivot I see is that the death numbers are being rampantly inflated as everyone who dies who happens to have covid-19 is counted as a covid-19 death, even if they're knocked down by a truck. This is a foolish misunderstanding of the guidance that if a doctor thinks the death was due to covid-19, it will be counted as a covid-19 death (which syncs with that for AIDS, and wouldn't cover traffic accidents). And anyway is contradicted by the fact that cities with a severe outbreak of covid-19 are seeing elevated mortality rates.
Another response I've seen is that this is just front-loading mortality - these people would have died anyway. Which is true to some extent but even a lost year or two of life is not a good thing. Plus health systems collapse because people come all at once
There're also people saying that unhealthy people deserve to die of covid-19 because of a lack of personal responsibility

U.S. coronavirus deaths in early weeks of pandemic exceeded official number - The Washington Post - "In the early weeks of the coronavirus epidemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths, nearly two times as many as were publicly attributed to covid-19 at the time... The excess deaths — the number beyond what would normally be expected for that time of year — occurred during March and through April 4, a time when 8,128 coronavirus deaths were reported... There are signs that traffic fatalities are declining more broadly... Crime patterns are changing in some places, too. Miami did not report a single homicide for seven weeks and six days, from mid-February to mid-April, police said. The last time the city was free of homicides for that long was in 1957."
Strange how many people are being hit by trucks despite lockdown

Covid-19 data - Tracking covid-19 excess deaths across countries | Graphic detail | The Economist

A Constitutional Guide to Emergency Powers - WSJ - "the government has ample constitutional and legal authority to impose such emergency steps.Some state officials, such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have urged the White House to take charge. But this isn’t a task for Washington alone. While the federal government has limited and enumerated constitutional authority, states possess a plenary “police power” and have primary responsibility for protecting public health.States may also take more drastic measures, such as requiring citizens to be tested or vaccinated, even against their will. In Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), the Supreme Court considered a challenge to a state law requiring everyone to be vaccinated against smallpox. Henning Jacobson refused vaccination and was convicted. The court upheld the law and Jacobson’s conviction.“The Constitution,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote for a 7-2 majority, “does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.” Instead, “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic.” Its members “may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand.”States also have the power, beyond criminal law enforcement, to make quarantine and isolation effective. If presented with widespread noncompliance, governors may call National Guard units to put their orders into force, to safeguard state property and infrastructure, and to maintain the peace. In some states, individuals who violate emergency orders can be detained without charge and held in isolation."
There're so many "communists" in the US!

Reopen NC protester arrested. Was it unconstitutional? - "The issue: Were police in the wrong when they arrested at least one protester near the legislature who was accused of violating the statewide stay-at-home order?
Why we’re checking this. The protesters asked for an end to Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, and the reaction from the Raleigh Police Department that “Protesting is a non-essential activity” inspired many angry responses.
What you need to know. During an official emergency, like the coronavirus is in North Carolina, can people be arrested for violating emergency orders while they protest... "Protesting is certainly a constitutionally protected act. The First Amendment guarantees that and more. But those constitutional rights don’t necessarily protect protesters from being arrested for breaking other laws while they protest.For example, many liberal protesters have been arrested at the state legislature for trespassing in recent years, after refusing police orders to leave...Police do have the power to use criminal charges to enforce Cooper’s stay-at-home order, said Shea Denning, a criminal law expert at the UNC School of Government. And in an officially declared emergency like this, there is much precedent for the government being able to take actions to address the emergency that might in normal times infringe on people’s rights.The question, then, isn’t a simple one like whether people have a constitutional right to protest. The real question, Denning said, becomes whether the restrictions went too far — or whether the restrictions were enforced in a discriminatory manner.“I think what people might be thinking about is, ‘Well, don’t I still have constitutional rights? And can a state statute take away my rights?’” Denning said.The answer, she said, is yes to both: A state of emergency doesn’t completely take people’s rights away, but it does let the government do things that might otherwise infringe on people’s rights...Nationwide, the American Bar Association wrote in March, “Lawsuits challenging COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions on public gatherings may be doomed to failure.”""

Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total - The New York Times - "Over the 31 days ending April 4, more than twice the typical number of New Yorkers died... Even this is only a partial count; we expect this number to rise as more deaths are counted"
This guy claimed that the coronavirus's impact on the US was "marginal increases in a few contagion hospitals in NYC. Excessively promoted."

'I feel defeated': inside New Jersey hospitals overwhelmed by Covid-19 - "Inside New Jersey intensive care units and emergency rooms, frustrated and frightened frontline medical staff are taking on double their normal patient loads or working twice their usual hours, without the equipment they need."

'When it gets your hospital, it becomes real': inside a hospital in one of the hardest hit US counties - "communities nationwide have to fight their own battles, leaving St James parish hospital to make do with limited staffing, testing, personal protective gear and mechanical equipment. Although working with limited resources is something rural hospitals know how to do well, Pratt said, this is something entirely different."
New York City is huge

South Dakota Refused To Shut Down, Now Faces One Of The Largest Coronavirus Outbreaks In The Country

New Yorkers defy social distancing with 'coronavirus potlucks' - "While most New Yorkers are hunkering in place, others are popping corks and staging parties that defy occupancy and social-distancing edicts... Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, the former chief biostatistician and epidemiologist at Rockefeller University Hospital, told The Post he was not practicing social distancing and said he regularly goes to one of two illicit restaurants secretly operating in his Upper East Side neighborhood.“Yesterday I went to my favorite speakeasy and had dinner,” he said, saying there were about eight others dining alongside him. He declined to name the establishment.The veteran physician believes social distancing will only prolong the virus by preventing the natural development of “herd immunity.” “All respiratory epidemics end when 80 percent of all people have become immune,” he said “Then if a new person gets infected, the person doesn’t find anybody else to infect. The best strategy you can do is isolate the old and fragile people — make sure that nobody visits the nursing homes — then let the children go to school and let people go to work. … They have a mild disease. Then they become immune, and after two or three weeks the epidemic is over.”"

WHO Official Says She Suspected Human-To-Human COVID-19 Transmission ‘Right From The Start’ — But The WHO Echoed Misleading Chinese Claims To The Contrary For Weeks - "A World Health Organization official said Monday that she suspected human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus “right from the start,” beginning on Dec. 31, 2019.But WHO officials echoed Chinese authorities and denied any suggestion of human-to-human transmission for weeks after Dec. 31. Chinese doctors, meanwhile, were reported to have known for weeks prior that the virus could be transmitted between humans.“Right from the start, from the first notification we received on the 31st of December, given that this was a cluster of pneumonia — I’m a MERS specialist, so my background is in coronaviruses and influenza — so immediately thought, given that this is a respiratory pathogen, that of course there may be human-to-human transmission,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said"

Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Calls WHO the “Chinese Health Organization” – Sankaku Complex - "Deputy Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of Finance Taro Aso called the WHO (World Health Organization) the “Chinese Health Organization” during one of his latest speeches, referencing a petition which called for the resignation of its Director General... The WHO has been heavily criticized for its initial response to the Coronavirus epidemic in China, seemingly protecting the political interests and good name of the PRC and downplaying the rapid spread of the disease until it reached worldwide pandemic levels."

Taiwan says WHO not sharing coronavirus information it provides, pressing complaints - "The World Health Organization (WHO) has not shared with member states information Taiwan has provided on the coronavirus including details on its cases and prevention methods, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, ratcheting up its complaints... Taiwan’s government has said that keeping it out of the WHO during the outbreak amounts to playing politics with Taiwanese lives, even as the island has won plaudits for keeping its case toll so comparatively low thanks to early detection and control methods... Taiwan last week said the WHO ignored its questions at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, part of what it has long described as a pattern that puts it at risk because of Chinese pressure to exclude it from international bodies... Taiwan has also been excluded from over 70 percent of WHO technical meetings in the last decade, and for a key February meeting on the virus Taiwan experts were not allowed to attend in person, only online... The WHO includes Taiwan’s number of cases under those of China. Taiwan says this confuses other countries into believing its virus situation is the same as China’s, when China has no say in the island’s health policy or virus-prevention methods"

WHO says following Taiwan virus response closely, after complaints - "The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely following the development of the coronavirus in Taiwan and is learning lessons from how they are fighting it, the body said on Sunday, after complaints from Taiwan it was being intentionally ignored"
"WHO decoded: We are following Taiwan closely but not allowed to acknowledge it exists or to talk about it"

Oxford-Based Group Stops Using WHO Data for Coronavirus Reporting, Citing Errors - "Our World in Data, an online publication based at the University of Oxford, announced on Tuesday that it had stopped relying on World Health Organization (WHO) data for its models, citing errors and other factors.The group’s founder, Max Roser, said researchers are now using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control... The errors and inconsistencies, which Our World in Data documented in a separate report, include discrepancies from nearly a dozen situation reports filed by WHO between February 5 and March 16. Our World in Data researchers said the way WHO was handling the errors was also a problem.“The main problem we see with the WHO data is that these errors are not communicated by the WHO itself,” Rosen and his colleagues state. “[S]ome Errata were published by the WHO—in the same place as the Situation Reports—but most errors were either retrospectively corrected without public notice or remain uncorrected.”The lack of good data available during the coronavirus outbreak has been a major source of frustration for economists, statisticians, scientists, and public policy professionals. A Stanford University epidemiologist and professor of medicine, in a widely circulated Stat article, recently said the COVID-19 pandemic could end up being a “a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.”“The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable,” said John P.A. Ioannidis, who co-directs Stanford’s Meta-Research Innovation Center."

Why Taiwan has become a problem for WHO - "The exclusion, coupled with the WHO's repeated praise of China's response to the outbreak - which public health experts have criticised - has led some to accuse the organisation of political bias towards China, a major contributor to the organisation... Taiwan consistently raises objections every time it is excluded from a global body, saying it is unfair and discriminatory.This time it has made the same point, adding that it should not be left out at a time where global cooperation is needed more than ever. Earlier this month, Taiwan accused the WHO of ignoring it when the government asked about person-to-person transmission at the very start of the outbreak in China, which it said put lives at risk."

Melissa Chen - "Guys, this is a breathtaking show of how our institutions have been captured and compromised. The world needs to wake up. Our world bodies are corrupt. When this reporter asked Dr. Bruce Alyward, a senior World Health Organization official, to comment on how Taiwan handled the covid19 pandemic (the answer is VERY WELL), he pretended that he couldn’t hear her question, then accidentally cancels the Skype call and refuses to answer when she calls back. This is important because the WHO has done nothing short of sycophantically praising China's handling of the crisis since Day 1. When she presses him, he then kowtows and says "well all of China has done a good job" before abruptly ending the interview. Immediately after ONLY right-wing media outlets shared this news (Daily Caller, Fox News, The Blaze, Washington Examiner), Dr. Alyward's name was SCRUBBED from the WHO website. Luckily, we have archives. Share this far and wide... This incident should highlight for you why even explicitly right wing media is important even though you do not agree with their politics.This story was not picked up by NYT, WaPo, or any other legacy media.But because conservative media did, it will force their hand to acknowledge it at some point (even if they haven’t done it). Fox publishing this brings this story into the national consciousness. If not, it would have slipped off the radar as quickly as it appeared.""

The WHO Ignores Taiwan. The World Pays the Price. | The Nation - "The surreal exchange lasted all of one minute. But for Taiwanese people, it summed up a lifetime of gaslighting. During this outbreak alone, the WHO has kept changing how it refers to this country of nearly 24 million, going from “Taiwan, China,” to “Taipei” to the newer and bizarre “Taipei and its environs.” It also allowed China to report Taiwan’s coronavirus numbers as part of its own total, instead of reporting Taiwan’s numbers alone—a conflation that created headaches for the smaller nation. Some other countries enacted travel restrictions on Taiwan along with China, despite the former’s drastically lower infection rate. When geopolitics dictate health policy, however, the most serious effects are rarely just economic. The WHO’s distortion of Taiwan’s reality has consequences that should be measured in human lives... By the time the WHO finally declared a global health emergency on January 30, nearly 8,000 cases had been confirmed by Chinese authorities, hundreds of people had died, and the virus had surfaced in at least 18 countries outside of China. Still, the WHO struck a deferential tone. “This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “On the contrary, the WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.”... President Tsai Ing-wen announced that Taiwan would donate 10 million surplus masks to places including Italy and the United States.There is no real altruism to this, or to any of the other rapid aid deals crisscrossing the globe since the outbreak began. Nations that give aid to others project an image of power, to both domestic and international audiences. Even countries whose own outbreaks are far from contained, such as Russia and Australia, are using this moment to score points... A leaked WHO memo from 2010 revealed strict instructions for the agency to use the name “the Taiwan Province of China” in its publications, and explicitly excluded Taiwan from the International Health Regulations, which enables WHO member states to rapidly share information and resources during global health emergencies... perhaps debating Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO misses the point. What if the legitimacy in question here were not Taiwan’s—but that of the system that the WHO represents?... Beijing has proved especially adept at [politicking]: In 2006, it successfully pushed through its pick, the Hong Kong bureaucrat Dr. Margaret Chan, and in 2017 backed the current chief, Ethiopia’s Tedros, who courted the CCP for months by praising China’s growing trade with African countries (and reiterated his support for the “One China” principle after being elected). This international horse trading discourages the WHO from antagonizing its member states, even when doing so could save lives. The organization was panned by experts for its slow response for the Ebola outbreak in 2013; leaked documents show that WHO officials delayed declaring an emergency for as long as two months, for fear that it would be seen as a “hostile act” by Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, and Mali, and that it would hurt those countries’ mining interests... Is it mere coincidence that at least two of the societies that have responded most ably to the virus—Taiwan, Hong Kong—are ones that the WHO doesn’t consider to be sovereign places at all?"

Taiwan: WHO Failed to Heed Warning of Coronavirus Human-to-Human Transmission - "doctors in Taiwan had learned from their colleagues in mainland China that medical staff were falling ill from the as-yet unnamed coronavirus, a sign of human-to-human transmission that Taiwan says it passed on to the WHO and Chinese authorities on December 31. However, the WHO did not communicate the information with other nations."

'Please Don't Politicize This Virus,' WHO Head Says After Trump Threatens Funding - ""If we care about our people, if we care about our citizens," Tedros said, "please work across party lines, across ideology, across beliefs, across any differences, for that matter. We need to behave. That's how we can defeat this virus.""
That's rich

Opinion | Blaming the WHO and China Is Not Scapegoating - "There’s no doubt that Trump is always inclined to shift blame when possible (and even when it isn’t). He’ll never take ownership of the testing debacle at the outset of the administration’s coronavirus response or admit it was wrong and foolish initially to minimize the virus, as he tried to change the media narrative and talk up the stock market.Yet none of this detracts from the force of his critiques of China (although he blows hot and cold on that) and the WHO, which are at the center of this international catastrophe and must be held to account. Without China’s deceit and WHO’s solicitude for Beijing, the outbreak might have been more limited, and the world at the very least would have had more time to react to the virus. China committed unforgivable sins of commission, affirmatively lying about the outbreak and punishing doctors and disappearing journalists who told the truth, whereas the WHO committed sins of omission—it lacked independence and courage at a moment of great consequence.In effect, China and the WHO worked together to expose the rest of the world to the virus, at the same time they downplayed its dangers... it’s hard to see how the WHO would have acted any differently if its constitution contained a proviso stipulating that it should validate Chinese propaganda as much as possible, especially in a world-threatening outbreak of a dangerous new virus.On Jan. 14, WHO tweeted that “preliminary investigations” by Chinese authorities had found no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus. Several days later, it reported “limited” human-to-human transmission, although it downplayed the finding as typical of respiratory illnesses. So, the WHO endorsed China’s narrative during the crucial early days of its cover-up.Then, the WHO declined to call the outbreak in China a public health emergency of international concern on Jan. 22, at the same time there were confirmed cases in Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. After the WHO finally declared the emergency, it proceeded to drag its feet on declaring a pandemic, waiting until March 12.One of the worst things China did was seal off Hubei province from the rest of the country while flights continued around the world. Was the WHO concerned about that? No, it was fully on board. As a headline in Reuters put it in early February, “WHO chief says widespread travel bans not needed to beat China virus.”In the course of issuing stern warnings against travel restrictions, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opined that if “it weren’t for China, the number of cases outside China would have been very much higher.” At the time, a Chinese official harshly criticized travel restrictions, reminding everyone that “all these measures are seriously against recommendation by the WHO.”Incredibly enough, in late January, Tedros was praising Chinese officials for “the transparency they have demonstrated.” A team of experts lauded China’s response after a mid-February visit to Wuhan, contributing to Beijing’s storyline that it succeeded in containing the virus where everyone else has failed. Despite the emerging consensus that China has lied about its number of cases and deaths, and despite China’s refusal to share key information about the virus, WHO hasn’t said a discouraging word about China’s actions. It’s been resolute, though, in excluding Taiwan from its workings, just as Beijing dictates. From a public health perspective, this has it exactly backward. Taiwan has proved quite adept at controlling outbreaks and got this one exactly right, in large part because it didn’t believe anything that China or the WHO said.In a better world, Tedros would resign immediately and the U.S. would make its continued, ample funding of the organization dependent on his departure.But that’s not the way United Nations organizations work. Some speculate that Tedros might well be contemplating an eventual bid for secretary general of the U.N., which would put not offending Beijing high on his list of priorities.Trump takes more than his share of potshots, but that doesn’t mean he’s always off the mark. China and the WHO aren’t scapegoats, but genuine malefactors who deserve all the obloquy the president, and anyone else, can heap on them."
Amusingly, some Trump supporters say he was right to downplay it because he didn't want to cause panic
Equally amusingly, some people with TDS claim his supporters will believe anything he says which is why they downplay the epidemic - but somehow the supporters won't take it seriously now that Trump is

World Health Organization's China bootlicking and bad science has destroyed its credibility - "The WHO's dictatorial sycophancy long predates the coronavirus. Beijing's stranglehold over the organization began in earnest in 2006, when its hand-picked candidate won the election to become the WHO's director-general. When Margaret Chan, herself a Chinese national, took charge of the organization, so did the interests of the communist party.Chan notoriously praised the North Korean healthcare system as the "envy" of "other developing countries" less than a decade after her predecessor, Gro Harlem Brundtland, claimed it was on the brink of collapse. Chan also allied the WHO with Bashar Assad, declaring the Syrian dictator "a president who is working for his people and his country" just a few years before he was caught red-handed massacring his own people. Syria also strong-armed the WHO into silencing a positive report about Israeli health conditions. Soon before leaving her post, Chan barred Taiwan, already limited to participating in WHO meetings solely as an observer, from the WHO's annual assembly. Before leaving, Chan brought Xi Jinping to the WHO headquarters, the first such visit by any Chinese dictator... Tedros appointed Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador of the WHO in 2017, just a month before the Zimbabwean dictator was sacked as the result of a military coup. Zimbabweans' average life expectancy is nearly two decades shorter than that of Americans, and the socialist government routinely cannot pay its doctors, who are forced to perform surgeries without gloves and use rope instead of bandages. The WHO revoked the appointment only after global backlash.In 2019, the WHO authorized the inclusion of an entire chapter on traditional Chinese medicine (that is, unscientific superstition) in the latest version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. "To include TCM in the ICD is an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice," Scientific American wrote of the move. "Data supporting the effectiveness of most traditional remedies are scant, at best.""

WHO Director Was Top Member of Violent Ethiopian Communist Party - "As John Martin explains in his excellent piece ‘The Crimes of Tedros Adhanom’, during his time in Ethiopia, the WHO chief was a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a violent communist revolutionary party which was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in the 90’s.According to one Ethiopian newspaper, Adhanom was listed as the 3rd most important member of the politbureau standing committee in the TPLF.Martin writes how the TPLF engaged in “systematic discrimination and human rights abuses” by refusing emergency healthcare to the Amhara ethnic group because of their affiliation with the opposition party. The Ministry of Health that oversaw these abuses was led at the time by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus... Adhanom “got his job with Chinese support after he covered up cholera outbreaks in his home country” of Egypt."

"China & Coronavirus -- WHO's Michael Ryan Warns Against 'Profiling' China - "Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, defended China on Thursday against accusations that the country has underreported cases and deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak... Ryan claimed that there was a “lack of precise information from Italy,” whose medical system has been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of coronavirus patients. “Are we saying they’re lacking in transparency and not sending WHO all the data every day? No.”... The U.S. Intelligence Community has reportedly concluded that China covered up the extent of the outbreak in the country"
Making up data is good when you're China

WHO Failed - "Tedros isn’t afraid to take on world leaders as a general matter. When President Trump limited travel from China to the U.S. on January 31 — a decision that bought the U.S. precious time — Tedros said it would “have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit.” The record is clear: The WHO has lent its imprimatur to Chinese disinformation and blessed China’s slow response to its domestic outbreak, which likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases, according to a University of Southampton study... China’s influence over the WHO comes at a bargain price: Beijing only contributes half as much as the U.S. does to the WHO’s budget."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "Two images, one demonstrating the high infection rate and resulting deaths from the coronavirus and a NYT’s tweet on January 9th telling America that this disease isn’t easily passed between humans.When history looks back on this pandemic the core storyline should be how science missed the dangerousness of the disease. It started with China hiding the disease, followed by saying it wasn’t contagious between humans, and then saying it wasn’t very contagious. Even into late March the infectiousness of the disease was underestimated. The head of the World Heath Organization said on March 3rd, when armchair quarterbacks say Trump should have shut down the economy, said:“However, there are some important differences between COVID-19 and influenza.”“First, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza, from the data we have so far.”... now the initial two-week ‘pause’ has stretched to over a month and could go to 10-16 weeks in some parts of the country. The economy is now deteriorating at a rapid rate. Business failures and unemployment are now climbing at exponential rates. In a couple of months we are going to see bond ratings on municipal debt jump as local governments start to investigate bankruptcy.The economy has to open back up as quickly as possible and mitigation efforts have to shrink to high-risk groups only.There is no other viable option."
Comment from elsewhere: "3.3 million unemployment claims. Good thing unemployment doesn't cause child abuse, spousal abuse, marriage dissolution, overeating, drug use, depression, mental health problems, physical health problems, and suicide. It would really suck if we, say, had lots of papers showing something like that! I remember some famous French economist once argued that when making policy decisions, we should examine only the immediate and most visible costs, but ignore the unseen and long-term consequences."

Chinese workers hit boiling point over lost wages and layoffs - Nikkei Asian Review - "workers in industries from automobile manufacturers to shipping and retail have reached a boiling point over unpaid wages and layoffs due to an economy that has been stunted by the coronavirus outbreak... The increase in labor disputes comes as business owners run into serious financial challenges. In a February survey by Tsinghua University and Peking University, 85% of some 1,000 small and mid-size businesses said they would run out of cash in one to three months."

Ajay Mallareddy - "There are people who argue that economy must take a back seat to saving human livesIf we reduce the speed limit of all cars/vehicles to 5 kilometers per hour, then we will save tens of thousands of lives in the country ever year. Across the world that is about 1.3 million people a year and another 20-50 million who suffer injuries with some of them suffering permanent disability.Why don't we do that? who cares about trillions of dollars in lost productivity? every life is precious!And people who use arguments like 'what if it is your family' . well what if it is your family who dies in a car crash, that could be prevented with a 5 kilometer per hour speed limit too."

WHO Deletes Misleading Tweet That Spread Paranoia About COVID-19 Reinfection - "This weekend the World Health Organization (WHO) had to delete a misleading tweet about the coronavirus. Unfortunately, several media outlets had already cited it, spreading unwarranted fear about the likelihood of secondary COVID-19 infections.On Friday, the WHO published a scientific brief on "immunity passports"—the idea that governments should grant special documents to citizens who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, allowing them to move about freely. The WHO warned that this is premature, since "no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans."The WHO is correct that scientists have not determined the degree of immunity enjoyed by COVID-19 survivors. But the tweet version of the brief was missing important context, and it said only this: "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."That's technically true: There's no evidence of immunity. But that's because COVID-19 is new and the matter hasn't been conclusively studied yet. Scientists have good reason to expect COVID-19 survivors to have some immunity to the virus, though they're unsure how strong it will be or how long it will last."When they say 'no evidence' they mean something like 'no definitive proof, yet,'" wrote statistician Nate Silver in response to the WHO tweet. "But the average person is going to read it as 'there's no immunity to coronavirus,' which is likely false and not a good summation of the evidence"... The WHO ultimately conceded that its declarations about immunity passports were overly pessimistic and deleted the tweet in question. From parroting the Chinese communist government's lies about COVID-19 to wrongly warning people against wearing masks, the WHO has badly mishandled its communications about the pandemic. The organization really needs to get its act together."

Did The WHO’s Endorsement Of Traditional Chinese Medicine Cause The COVID-19 Pandemic? - "a just-published scientific paper pins the blame for Covid-19 squarely on TCM... Just one year ago, the WHO added a chapter on TCM to its official International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) for the first time. It apparently took this action after strong lobbying pressure from China... Many scientists decried this action. The editors of Scientific American called it a "bad idea." Nature warned that it could "backfire"... TCM has been a scam for decades: it was revived and heavily promoted in China by former dictator Mao Zedong, who didn't believe in it himself, but pushed it as a cheap alternative to real medicine"

WHO head cries racism after being ripped for enabling China's coronavirus lies - "In answer to global complaints that he helped China lie about the coronavirus threat in the crucial early days of the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s top dog has opted to play the race card.That’s right: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is complaining that Taiwan is fostering supposedly racist attacks against him, and even death threats.But he can’t even offer details beyond saying he’s been called names, “black or negro.”In reality, the whole world has legitimate gripes about TAG’s blatant and loathsome loyalty to Beijing — apparent payback for China’s role in installing him as WHO’s boss... As Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen put it on Facebook: “If Director-General Tedros could withstand pressure from China and come to Taiwan to see Taiwan’s efforts to fight COVID-19 for himself, he would be able to see that the Taiwanese people are the true victims of unfair treatment.” And: “I believe that the WHO will only truly be complete if Taiwan is included.”Once the crisis is over, the civilized world needs to put a priority on cleaning the WHO house — starting at the top."

China Asked The WHO To Help Cover Up Coronavirus, German Intelligence Concludes - "Chinese Leader Xi Jinping personally asked the World Health Organization to delay the release of critical information regarding its coronavirus outbreak, German intelligence has concluded.Xi met with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on January 21 to request that he withhold information about human-to-human transition and delay the declaration of a global pandemic... "The BND’s verdict is harsh: At least four, if not six, weeks have been lost in Beijing’s information policy in the fight against the virus"... The developments from German intelligence caught the attention of U.S. politicians investigating China’s handling of the coronavirus as well.“We are still working to confirm this reporting. But if it turns out to be true, it’s further proof Director-General Tedros conspired with the Chinese Communist Party in their cover up and is not fit to lead the WHO”... The U.S. intelligence community similarly concluded by mid-March that China had been falsifying its data on both coronavirus cases and deaths in its outbreaks in Wuhan and elsewhere"

Joanne Tan - "Countries with many cases: No bubble tea
Countries with few cases: Bubble tea"
"coz we love looking at graphs and making sweeping statements during this time, or maybe i'm on to something "
This is mocking mask fetishists' version of coronavirus cases by country attributing low numbers to mask use, ignoring China and the text on the original chart indicating successful countries' preventive and mitigation measures, as well as Japan's coverup and Singapore and Hong Kong's low population

Covid-19: Only 6% of S'pore residents have been wearing face masks in public every day, study finds - "58 per cent of respondents said they had not worn a face mask at all in the week preceding the survey — which was conducted from Feb. 26 to Mar. 11... the NTU professors also wrote that wearing a face mask had benefits beyond just purely medical ones.Wearing a face mask, they posited, could boost an individual's sense of personal efficacy, making them feel like they have some agency in protecting themselves from the virus, rather than not doing anything.This allowed individuals to better cope with the uncertainty brought about by a health threat"
So much for masks being responsible for Singapore's early success
But people need their security blankets to give them the illusion of control and of doing something, so
I guess it wasn't the masks after all; security blankets are not rational but people still cling to them to reassure themselves

Thread by @angie_rasmussen - "This graph has been making the rounds today on the effect of masks at reducing #SARSCoV2 #HCoV19 #COVID19 #coronavirus transmission. There's a lot more going on here than mask/no mask
First, there was so much mask-wearing in China that in early February there were mask shortages. China manufactures 20 billion masks a year, so those shortages affect places in the "masks" group too.
Also China made mask-wearing mandatory in numerous provinces and cities in early February. China is not in the "no mask" category.
Other factors limited spread in the "masks" category. Singapore & Hong Kong implemented strict quarantine & distancing measures. In Japan, cultural etiquette reduces physical contact (ie handshakes). South Korea tested widely & isolated mild cases to break transmission chains...
Also if people are not wearing masks correctly it can increase risk of infection. I've seen way too many people pulling masks aside to eat or drink, touching them on the outside, reversing them, reusing them...these are all incorrect.
When people train to wear PPE, we also learn how to safely doff. If you touch the front of the mask and then touch your face, that's potential for exposure. If you are sick and touch the inside of the mask and then touch a surface, that's potential for contamination.
Also, there is no evidence that aerosol transmission occurs outside of aerosol-generating procedures in a hospital setting. Physical distancing is adequate protection for respiratory droplets.
I'd have no problem with mask wearing for reduction of respiratory droplet production IF frontline health care workers weren't subject to critical shortages of PPE. Under no circumstances should we deprive these heroes of the protection they need when we need it most.
In particular, non-HCWs should not wear or hoard N95 respirators. Not only do N95s need to be properly fitted to work correctly, these are absolutely critical for HCWs treating the most severely ill patients who need ventilation and other aerosol-generating procedures."

Fear and anger on the frontlines: What happens if there aren't enough masks? - "Melissa Forbes Flint, an anesthesiologist at Almonte General Hospital, is mentally preparing herself for the high-risk intubation of coronavirus patients, which produces clouds of infectious particles."
To mask fetishists, there is no difference in risk between medical professionals and average people. So if masks are needed for the former, they must be for the latter

Coronavirus can remain on face masks for up to a week, study finds - "The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can adhere to stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to four days, and to the outer layer of a face mask for a week, according to a study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU)... "This is exactly why it is very important if you are wearing a surgical mask you don't touch the outside of the mask," Mr Peiris said. "Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes.""
The racist Asian mask fetishists can't dismiss this as being white people research

Japan declares state of emergency as coronavirus cases climb, but experts fear 'it's too late'
I guess the masks didn't help

Only 30 percent in Japan practice social distancing while talkings
A possible example of risk compensation

Japan's coronavirus containment strategy faces breaking point - "any lockdown in Japan would look different from mandatory measures in some parts of Europe and the United States. By law, local authorities are only permitted to issue requests for people to stay at home, which are not binding."

Coronavirus: Japan doctors warn of health system 'break down' as cases surge - "Japan's two emergency medical associations also issued a joint statement warning that they were "already sensing the collapse of the emergency medical system".And the mayor of Osaka appealed for people to donate their raincoats, so they could be used as personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers whom he said were being forced to fashion PPE out of rubbish bags"

Coronavirus: Hong Kong records 51 new cases, bringing the city’s tally to 765 with six-week-old baby as the youngest local patient

Netherlands recalls 600,000 faulty coronavirus face masks - "the masks didn’t properly fit on the faces of doctors and nurses and didn’t effectively prevent COVID-19 particles from passing through — a frustrating defect as the country struggles to keep their cases from continuing to rise. As of Sunday afternoon, the Netherlands had reported 10,866 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 771 deaths.This isn’t the first instance of supplies from China meant to fight coronavirus showing problems. Both Spain and the Czech Republic have complained of faulty tests received from the country, which fail to accurately detect positive cases."

Mathia Lee - "If you don’t use your mask properly, it is as good as sticking a used, dirty tissue up your nose and breathing in all the dirt/germs for hours.
"1. Stay home.
Your mask is not a super shield. Staying home is the safest option
2. Wear your mask before you leave home.
Cover both NOSE and MOUTH with the mask.
3. Constantly sanitize your hands when out.
You will unconsciously touch common surfaces eg, lift buttons, money, doors. You will unconsciously touch your mask, transferring any dirt/germs right infront of your nose and mouth.
4. Change your mask after a meal, or if damp. Don’t reuse. Don’t put your used mask on the table/pocket, as that contaminates both your mask, and the table/pocket. Throw your mask in the bin. If using reusable masks, bring a few with you in a clean ziplock bag, so that you can change.
5. Sanitize or wash hands before removing or putting on a mask."
6. Keep >1m away from non-household people. Especially if they are talking to you without a mask on. You don’t want their saliva to splash on your mask, and you breathe in the whole day
7. If using re-usable masks, wash them every day with detergent. Clean masks are as important as clean underwear!!!"
Wise words from someone who's been working in public health for over a decade - lab results don't hold in real life
Mask fetishists get very upset when I talk about risk compensation because they need their safety blanket. If you have a mask that filters 38% of covid-19 particles (best case - and that assumes optimal use) but spend twice as long outdoors, you're going to be less safe and so will others. Someone said we should treat it like condoms; we don't give up on condoms but try to educate people. Yet condoms are used for a few minutes maybe a few times a week at most. And are relatively easy to use. With masks you need to change them (or wash reusable masks), you wear them potentially very often, you need to check fit etc. So I doubt education will work

Coronavirus: Hong Kong residents ‘bored staying at home’ hit scenic spots in the thousands at start of Easter holiday - "Wearing a face mask, He said he was still concerned about the risk of infection. “I’m a little worried outside, but I make sure I always wear a mask and wash my hands frequently”"
Example of risk compensation - especially since he doesn't understand that a mask is to protect others from you, not you from others.
Also: you can't lockdown forever

Face masks for COVID-19: A deep dive into the data - "there is little evidence to support mass masking and that the limited data we do have suggests it may reduce disease transmission only marginally at best.With evidence of benefits in short supply, experts also raised concerns about potential harms. Mask wearing may give people a false sense of security, some experts said. This may lead some members of the public to be lax about other, far more critical precautions, such as staying two meters apart from others, limiting outings, and washing their hands frequently and thoroughly. Moreover, donning an uncomfortable, awkward mask may lead some people to touch their faces more, some argued. Any face touching has the potential to transfer virus particles from contaminated hands to entry points, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. And even if a mask-wearer’s hands are clean to begin with, simply touching their mask could contaminate their hands if there are viral particles caught on the outside. If that’s the case, a mask wearer could then transfer virus particles from their mask to their face unwittingly—negating any benefit of having the mask. They might also transfer the virus from their mask to their environment by touching surfaces, where the virus particles could get picked up by other people... Wearing a mask in public could keep people alert to current health risks in public, some experts say. A conspicuous mask strapped to your head is a constant reminder right over one’s nose to be mindful of possible viral transmission. And—as a bonus—if everyone wears a mask, it could lessen the chances of stigma of those who wear them because they are sick... Overall, the body of research on mask efficacy in real-world settings is small and scattershot... the push for public face mask use is powered by the desire to prevent sick people from spraying respiratory droplets around and potentially sicken others.This has become a greater concern as more evidence has pointed to apparent symptomless spread of COVID-19... In a 2015 randomized controlled trial involving 1,607 healthcare workers, researchers compared the rate of influenza-like illness in healthcare workers wearing cloth masks or medical masks to those in a control group (which sometimes used masks). Wearing cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection... respiratory viruses are often found on the outside surface of medical masks and can be a source of self-contamination.In yet another study from last year, researchers in Chicago observed healthcare workers taking off their person protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns, etc)—the removal is called doffing. This is a time when healthcare workers can easily self-contaminate by taking gear off incorrectly. The researchers found that healthcare workers incorrectly removed their protective gear 90 percent of the time."
It's interesting that the new claims aren't actually about how masks help, but incidental effects
If even healthcare workers can't be trained properly...

Addendum: Some RCTs show masks didn't help. Others show some limited effect of masks - but some of the studies involved hand washing as well as masks, which makes conclusions about masks alone harder to draw. Also note that these are studies about mask use in households - so far I haven't seen mask fetishists advocate for wearing masks at home. When you're out, social distancing will reduce your risk (relative to what would it would be at home). Masks might be more useful if you're indoors at a concert or church for a few hours with everyone else very near you - but less so if you pop into a store that isn't full for 10 minutes. So I would be open to mask use at indoor mass events since it would make more sense.
The Vietnamese study finding cloth masks were worse contrasts interestingly with the Korean finding which showed that cloth masks were more effective than surgical ones at filtering outgoing particles - so cloth masks seem to protect others better, but you less

Cloth Masks Given the OK, But Do They Work? - "In a 2003 letter written during the SARS outbreak, researchers describe how while flying from Bangkok back to Manchester, they saw many people on their flight wearing masks. However, they also saw that many people removed their masks to “cough, sneeze, or wipe their nose (regularly not into a handkerchief)” and of course to eat the in-flight meal.The worry is that people will fiddle with masks and thereby touch their face more often, which might make things worse. Also, unless regularly changed and laundered, masks can also become a source of infection as was pointed out in a recent commentary.It has been suggested that countries like South Korea, where people widely wear masks, have lower mortality rates from COVID-19. This is faulty logic because mortality rates vary widely between countries and have more to do with emergency preparedness, access to ICU beds and the ability to test then isolate infected people."

No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk - "Not only do you not need them, you shouldn’t wear them, according to infection prevention specialist Eli Perencevich, MD, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine... "They wear them incorrectly, and they can increase the risk of infection because they’re touching their face more often.”"

COMMENTARY: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data - "There is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission
Their use may result in those wearing the masks to relax other distancing efforts because they have a sense of protection
We need to preserve the supply of surgical masks for at-risk healthcare workers.
Sweeping mask recommendations—as many have proposed—will not reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as evidenced by the widespread practice of wearing such masks in Hubei province, China, before and during its mass COVID-19 transmission experience earlier this year... A non-fit-tested respirator may not offer any better protection than a surgical mask. Respirators work as PPE only when they are the right size and have been fit-tested to demonstrate they achieve an adequate protection factor. In a time when respirator supplies are limited, we should be saving them for frontline workers to prevent infection and remain in their jobs... Before recommending them, it's important to understand how masks and respirators perform in households, healthcare, and other settings... There is evidence from laboratory studies with coughing infectious subjects that surgical masks are effective at preventing emission of large particles and minimizing lateral dispersion of cough particles, but with simultaneous displacement of aerosol emission upward and downward from the mask... wearing surgical masks in households appears to have very little impact on transmission of respiratory disease. One possible reason may be that masks are not likely worn continuously in households. These data suggest that surgical masks worn by the public will have no or very low impact on disease transmission during a pandemic.There is no evidence that surgical masks worn by healthcare workers are effective at limiting the emission of small particles or in preventing contamination of wounds during surgery... If masks had been the solution in Asia, shouldn't they have stopped the pandemic before it spread elsewhere?"

Face masks cannot stop healthy people getting Covid-19, says WHO - "unless people were working in healthcare settings, masks are “only for the protection of others, not for the protection of oneself”... Heymann said masks could create a false sense of security that could end up putting people at greater risk. Even with the mouth and nose fully covered, the virus can still enter through the eyes. “People think they are protected when they are not,” he said. “Healthcare workers, in addition to the masks, wear visors too, to protect the eyes.”Another concern is that people may contaminate themselves when they adjust, remove and dispose of their masks... William Keevil, a professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton, said governments felt under pressure to be seen to be doing something, even if it was a waste of time and valuable resources."

Facemasks and similar barriers to prevent respiratory illness such as COVID-19: A rapid systematic review - "Based on the RCTs we would conclude that wearing facemasks can be very slightly protective against primary infection from casual community contact, and modestly protective against household infections when both infected and uninfected members wear facemasks. However, the RCTs often suffered from poor compliance and controls using facemasks. Across observational studies the evidence in favour of wearing facemasks was stronger. We expect RCTs to under-estimate the protective effect and observational studies to exaggerate it. The evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective measure against COVID-19. However, there is enough evidence to support the use of facemasks for short periods of time by particularly vulnerable individuals when in transient higher risk situations."

Science Has No Clear Answers On The Coronavirus. Face Masks Are No Exception. - "About the best anyone can say is that, depending on several variables like the type of mask and how well it’s used, there’s probably a small benefit to wearing masks — in preventing the wearer from spreading the virus to others.But that still leaves plenty of space for reasonable experts to reasonably disagree"

Is the Coronavirus Airborne? Should We All Wear Masks? - The Atlantic - "Finding viral RNA is like finding a fingerprint at a crime scene—the culprit was once there, but might be long gone. So far, the Nebraska team has failed to detect live, infectious virus in its air samples... If the Nebraska team does find infectious particles, it would mean that even mildly symptomatic people can expel SARS-CoV-2 into the air, and that the virus can travel at least the length of a hospital room—a claim supported by a few other studies. Even that, though, would not guarantee danger. Are those far-spreading virus particles concentrated enough to infect another person in the same room? How many virus particles does it even take to launch an infection? How far does the virus travel in outdoor spaces, or in other indoor settings? Have these airborne movements affected the course of the pandemic? These questions have no answers yet. To get those answers, “you’d have to expose animals to different quantities of airborne viruses, see if they get infected, and relate that to measures of the virus [in places] where people are infected,” says Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard. “This is the type of stuff people will work on for years, but no one is going to find out for the moment.”... scientists in Wuhan, China—where the coronavirus outbreak originated—sampled the air in various public areas, and showed that the virus was either undetectable or found in extremely low concentrations. The only exceptions were two crowded sites, one in front of a department store and another next to a hospital. Even then, each cubic meter of air contained fewer than a dozen virus particles. (No one knows the infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2—that is, the number of particles needed to start an infection—but for the original SARS virus of 2003, one study provided estimates many times higher than the levels detected in the Wuhan spaces.) These particles might not even have been infectious. “I think we’ll find that like many other viruses, [SARS-CoV-2] isn’t especially stable under outdoor conditions like sunlight or warm temperatures,” Santarpia said. “Don’t congregate in groups outside, but going for a walk, or sitting on your porch on a sunny day, are still great ideas.”... Some commentators have argued that countries that have thus far succeeded in curbing their COVID-19 outbreaks have widely used masks. But this relationship isn’t as perfect as it might appear. China advocated mask use early on and still struggled to contain the disease. Japan uses masks widely but is now seeing an uptick in cases. Singapore reserved them for health-care workers but still flattened the curve of infections. Many successful mask-using countries relied on other measures, such as extensive testing and social distancing, and many were ready for the pandemic because of their prior run-in with the 2003 SARS epidemic. In Asia, masks aren’t just shields. They’re also symbols. They’re an affirmation of civic-mindedness and conscientiousness, and such symbols might be important in other parts of the world too... masks could have the opposite effect. Whenever Santarpia sees someone wearing a mask in public, that person is constantly touching it, futzing with it, and pulling it down to wipe their mouth. “Masks are really uncomfortable, and no one wears them correctly,” he said. “Rather than being protective, you’ve put something on your face that makes you want to touch your face more, or to touch the outside of the mask, which is infectious. You’ve created a hazard for yourself that’s right on your face.”"

Canada's top doctor says non-medical masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19 - "Dr. Theresa Tam, the top doctor at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said today that Canadians can use non-medical masks in tandem with social distancing measures to limit the transmission of the deadly virus when out grocery shopping or at a pharmacy... Tam said new research on patients aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship — as many as 712 people who were aboard the vessel contracted the virus — and a recently published report out of Singapore were behind the policy change."
Some mask fetishists demanded she resign because she didn't subscribe to the mask gospel from the start

Czech nudists reprimanded by police for not wearing face-masks

Why Gauze Masks “Failed” in 1918 — And What We Can Do Better - "Because medical professionals realized in 1918 that the flu was passed through respiratory droplets, there was a nationwide call for Americans to make and wear masks. And like today’s guidelines, masks were encouraged but not mandatory. However, San Francisco made face masks mandatory by penalty of fine or imprisonment. How did that work out?Unfortunately, even though San Francisco had a mandatory face mask law, the city’s infection and death rates were pretty much identical to Boston, Buffalo and Washington — where masks were optional and only worn by people who wanted to wear masks. (However, it is questionable whether this qualifies as evidence as to face masks’ effectiveness.)"
Still, if masks were so effective you'd expect to at least see an effect

Beware of virus! Wearing a face mask against COVID-19 results in a reduction of social distancing - "In the context of Covid-19 pandemic, barrier gestures such as regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing face mask are highly recommended. Critically, interpersonal distances depend on the physical and emotional dimensions involved in social interaction, two factors that might be affected by the current Covid-19 context. In the present internet-based experimental study, we analyzed the preferred interpersonal distance of 461 participants, when facing a virtual character either wearing a face mask or displaying a neutral, happy or angry facial expression. The results showed that interpersonal distance is significantly reduced when the characters wear a face mask compared to other conditions. Importantly, it was also reduced in participants already infected with Covid-19, or living in a low-risk area. The present findings are of dramatic importance as they indicate that the general requirement to wear a mask in social contexts can have deleterious effects, interfering with social distancing recommendations."
Mask fetishists pretend risk compensation doesn't exist

Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filter SARS-CoV-2 - "A study conducted at two hospitals in Seoul, South Korea, found that when COVID-19 patients coughed into either type of mask, droplets of virus were released to the environment and external mask surface"
Surgical masks only showed a 5% improvement. Cottom masks were actually better

Mark Dice on Twitter - "Chinese woman gets attacked for wearing a mask in nyc. #coronaviruschina #coronavirus #NYC"
"Black Crimes Matter."
"De Blasio’s New York."
Damn white supremacy!

Tatiana Mac on Twitter - "All this coronavirus stuff is really triggering to me. It’s a weird intersection to sit at as an Asian American. All the practices that my family has done (taking off our shoes before coming inside, leaving plastic on things, Cometting bath/sink, wearing masks when sick...
...wiping down public surfaces with bleach wipes, hitting crosswalk buttons with elbows...) Stuff I was teased for as a kid and tbh up until a week ago is all stuff being quite frankly ...appropriated.
Yet again it’s colonisers mocking us for practices we’ve held for thousands of years just to Columbus them. Seeing all these colonisers all of a sudden embrace hygiene now that it might impact them."

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "Millions on the brink of starvation, suicides on the rise, drug overdoses on the rise, mile-long lines at food banks, 22 million unemployed, small businesses destroyed, civil liberties trampled
Drooling brain dead morons: “You’re just protesting so you can get your haircut!!!!”"

China acknowledges underreporting coronavirus cases - "China’s health agency said it would begin including coronavirus patients without symptoms in its official tally, implicitly acknowledging that it has not been fully reporting data on the pandemic... I think there were municipalities and localities that didn’t want to fully admit the extent of the crisis,” professor Nicholas Thomas, an expert in infectious diseases and governance at the City University of Hong Kong, told Fortune.He suggested that Beijing pressured local governments to downplay the numbers in an effort to restart the economy."

Coronavirus: China's Wuhan city revises up death toll by 1,290 - a 50% increase - "The city, which was the epicentre of the outbreak, says the dramatic increase is due to previous omissions, delays and mistakes... China has strongly denied claims it delayed reporting on the virus outbreak in Wuhan late last year and underreported case numbers, worsening the impact on the US and other countries."

Why does the media blindly believe China’s coronavirus stats? - "somehow it doesn’t cross the minds of the journalists employed by CNN, NBC, ABC, etc that perhaps these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.There is perhaps a more sinister reality behind the American media’s actions, however—they might not simply be ignorant of the CCP’s shady behaviour, but rather support it in favour of making America look bad. It’s hard to not feel like certain politicians and activists on the Left are happy about America becoming the “most infected”, as long as it means yet another talking point to hurl against President Trump. Even Hillary Clinton used the supposed mass death of Americans to dunk on the man who stole her dreams of presidency"

Segments of Random Thoughts on Twitter - fau"A study by CHINESE scientists on the origins of COVID-19 points out there are: (a) no known colonies of the horseshoe bat within 900km of Wuhan (b) no evidence that those were sold in Wuhan wet market But there are 2 government labs in Wuhan that used horseshoe bats for research."

Wuhan lab phone records show 'possible shutdown' in October - "there could have been an emergency shutdown in October at the Wuhan Institute of Virology... there was no mobile phone activity in a high-security part of the Chinese laboratory complex from October 7 to 24. Previously, there had been consistent use of mobile phones. The report, carried out by private experts, suggested there may have been a "hazardous event", specifically at the institute's National Biosafety Laboratory, between October 6 and 11. Analysis of mobile phone data from around the institute also suggested roadblocks were in place between October 14 and 19... China has denied that the virus escaped from the Wuhan laboratory.But a senior Chinese official said the pandemic had exposed weaknesses in the country's operations. In a rare admission. Li Bin, director of China's National Health Commission, said there were "weak links in how we address a major epidemic and the public health system"."

Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis - "people are increasingly entertaining the possibility that the COVID-19 virus was accidentally released by a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan.That notion was once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but it has since been discussed in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and by uber-establishment Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. The talk is of an accidental release, not the deliberate deployment of a biological weapon — which makes sense, since few nations would release a bioweapon in their own heartland — but if it’s true it only makes the Chinese government look worse, though it perhaps explains their unwillingness to be forthcoming... The response needs to be harsh enough to teach the Chinese government a lesson, which means pretty harsh, as they appear to still think they can brazen this out. Among other things, the United States — and ideally the world community at large — need to sharply reduce economic relations with China. In particular, no one should be relying on them for medicines, medical equipment and other vital goods. (China’s state news service threatened to plunge America into a “mighty sea” of coronavirus by withholding critical medications.) Chinese scientists should no longer have easy access to Western laboratories or universities. Chinese political leaders should no longer find it easy to travel the world."

China clamping down on coronavirus research, deleted pages suggest - "Two websites for leading Chinese universities appear to have recently published and then removed pages that reference a new policy requiring academic papers dealing with Covid-19 to undergo extra vetting before they are submitted for publication.Research on the origins of the virus is particularly sensitive and subject to checks by government officials, the notices posted on the websites of Fudan University and the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) said. Both the deleted pages were accessed from online caches... A source who alerted the Guardian to cached versions of the websites, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they were concerned by what appeared to be an attempt by Chinese authorities to intervene in the independence of the scientific process."

United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies - "China was evidently hiding the extent of a pandemic that endangered the world while covertly securing PPE at low prices. This “surreptitious” operation left “the world naked with no supply of PPE,” Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to Beijing, told Global News... By late January, sources in manufacturing and military circles were warning western governments that China seemed to be covertly seizing global PPE supply... through clandestine United Front networks run out of Chinese consulates in cities from Vancouver to Toronto to New York to Melbourne to Tokyo, the Communist Party urged millions of “overseas Chinese” to bulk-buy N95 masks in order to ship “back batches of scarce supplies for the motherland.”... from Jan. 24 to Feb. 29, China ramped up its production of masks and slapped export restrictions on China-based foreign companies such as Canadian mask maker Medicom and U.S. mask maker 3M... The requests occurred around Jan. 14 and 15, when Chinese officials received confidential instructions from Xi, and all regions were warned to “prepare for and respond to a pandemic,” according to leaked documents cited in an Associated Press investigation. Hospital staff were ordered to don protective gear... In March, the masks sold to China in January and February were being sold back to Mexico at 20 to 30 times the price... Guajardo added that in his experience with China, the masks being sold back now will not only come at exorbitant prices and with potential quality defects but with longer-term political demands... A March 2 report in Xinhua documents one facet of the global operation involving millions of migrants from the southern China region of Fujian. The report — subtitled “Every overseas Chinese is a warrior” — bursts with militaristic descriptions that have the ring of propaganda. “The menacing epidemic came suddenly. But majestic strength comes from front-line medical staff, party members and cadres, from the people, and from Fujian Chinese and overseas Chinese,” the Xinhua report says. “Fujians from dozens of countries on five continents joined this invisible battle … they travelled day and night and raced against time to send back batches of scarce supplies for the motherland.”... Yongtao Chen, a real estate developer and the chairman of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations (CACA), was alerted by the Chinese consulate of the desperate need for PPE in Wuhan, Chinese state reports say.CACA is a “controlling level” United Front group in Canada, according to Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat who has defected to Australia. And it is a member of the UFWD’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, an organ used by Beijing to influence the Chinese diaspora, according to the 2018 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission."
No cover up indeed
Of course China is not to blame for making people suspect the loyalty of overseas Chinese, and if you do you're racist

Coronavirus sheds light on China's 'propaganda machine': filmmaker - Nikkei Asian Review - "In the past, he said, the authorities "would ignore [inconvenient] issues, but now they will spin it in a way, just enough so that you come to your own conclusion." Beijing has taken a story of a mishandled outbreak and turned it into a narrative of a successful fight led by the party... When he saw footage of the Tiananmen crackdown of June 1989, he recalled, his first reaction was "anger toward my friend who showed me the video."He had always thought of the incident as "propaganda fabricated by the CIA to defame our country" -- an idea echoed in recent attempts by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson to suggest the coronavirus might have been brought to China by the U.S. military.Gradually, through his own research and his studies at the University of British Columbia in Canada and later Cornell University in the U.S., Lee came to realize that many of the history lessons he had learned back home "were false." During this "painful experience," Lee said he changed his views toward the Chinese government's treatment of people deemed the "five poisons": Uighur and Tibetan separatists, Falun Gong practitioners, pro-democracy activists and Taiwan independence advocates... The film, which originally premiered in Canada in 2018, tells the story of Sun Yi, an engineer and Falun Gong adherent who endured crushing laojiao, or reeducation through labor, in Masanjia, Liaoning Province.One of the 20 desperate letters Sun slipped into Halloween decorations that he and his fellow inmates were forced to produce reached a woman in Oregon, who bought the ornament for $29.99 at Kmart. This stroke of luck eventually led to Sun's flight from China and the abolition of laojiao in 2013, though other forms of arbitrary detention continue.The Chinese authorities, Lee said, are "afraid" of people like Sun who "tell the truth."Much of the film was shot by Sun himself in China, under the remote direction of Lee in Canada. Sun later died of acute kidney failure in Jakarta despite having no record of a kidney condition -- a death his allies consider suspicious. Sun's body was cremated without an autopsy. Lee believes propaganda and violence are the two pillars that keep the Communist Party in power. "That's it. If you take away any one of them, they will collapse," he said.Another pillar might be the ever-expanding web of surveillance, backed by artificial intelligence. The epidemic appears to be only driving the spread of this technology... "For a lot of people who appear to be defending the Communist Party, what they are really doing is defending their self-esteem. Because of the propaganda and brainwashing, they [cannot] tell apart the Communist Party from the culture and the people."... Lee is sure that the government in Beijing does not want the world to see "Letter from Masanjia," but thinks the authorities have "learned that anything they do [to push back] will only help me to get more publicity for the film."He said this was the case with his first release, 2014's "Human Harvest," which explored allegations of systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners in China's state hospitals. Back then, various voices in the media denigrated him and the film, claiming the organ harvesting accusations were a "complete fabrication" by Falun Gong. Controversy, of course, attracts attention."

Coronavirus Australia: Chinese owned property developer Risland flies more than 82 tonnes of medical supplies to Wuhan - "The humanitarian efforts of Chinese companies to help their desperate compatriots back home may have contributed to shortages of products in Australia... Richard McGregor, a China analyst at the Lowy Institute said Greenland and Country Garden would have been expected not only to do their part, but to publicise their patriotism by helping out the country at a crucial moment"In China ... companies can live and die according to government decisions," he said. "Real estate companies are particularly exposed to government whims, as all land is owned by the state.""

DHS report: China hid virus' severity to hoard supplies - "while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data”... “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said. “And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”"

Coronavirus: China rejects call for probe into origins of disease - "A top diplomat in the UK, Chen Wen told the BBC the demands were politically motivated and would divert China's attention from fighting the pandemic"

Australia warns China against using ‘economic coercion’ to discourage coronavirus probe - "Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has cautioned China against attempts at “economic coercion” as Australia pushes for an investigation into the coronavirus pandemicthat China opposes.Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, said in a newspaper interview on Monday the “Chinese public” could avoid Australian products and universities.Australia last week called for all members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to support an independent review into the origins and spread of the coronavirus, and is lobbying world leaders.China’s foreign ministry has attacked the proposal... “Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?”... Cheng said it was possible that tourists may have “second thoughts” about visiting Australia... China is the largest export market for Australian wine and beef. During strained diplomatic relations with China in 2018, Australian wine faced import delays in China and some Australian beef exports were also previously suspended for a period. The Chinese embassy in Australia has previously warned Chinese students about what it said were safety risks in travelling to Australia... “China is the first country to report a Covid case, but it doesn’t mean the virus originated in China,” he told reporters. “Some people are trying to hype up the so-called investigation that is inconsistent with an international atmosphere of cooperation and their political manoeuvring will not succeed.”"
When you have something to hide...

Chinese ambassador threatens to destroy Australia's economy over coronavirus probe - "Showing how important China is to Australia, a report by Deloitte in 2017 found that half a million Aussies would lose their jobs if China's growth rate fell from 6.5 per cent to less than 3 per cent.Analysts have long warned against the dependency on one country and have touted India and Indonesia as huge markets - but it will take years for demand in those countries to match China's"

Coronavirus: Australia to back Taiwan's return to the WHO as Twiggy Forrest denies ambush - "Australia will support Taiwan's return to the World Health Organisation as an observer four years after it was ousted by Beijing, risking another diplomatic spat.The position, which follows an appeal from Taiwan's Health Minister, is consistent with Australia's long-held view that Taiwan should be able to participate in practical cooperation at the UN health agency."

Australia called 'gum stuck to China's shoe' by state media in coronavirus investigation stoush

Beijing blocks UNSC meet on coronavirus - "China blocked a discussion in the UN Security Council on the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, sought earlier this week by Estonia, in a sign that reflects the limitations of the apex body of global governance to debate the burning issues of the day... Some reports said the Estonian proposal called for “transparency” which China was reportedly unwilling to address"

Amid rising anti-China sentiments, European powers send stern messages to Beijing - "The French ministry of foreign affairs recently summoned Chinese ambassador for 'objectionable' articles on Chinese embassy’s website. The ministry last week summoned Chinese ambassador, Lu Shaye, to express its deep disapproval of Chinese diplomats’ claims that France had left its older citizens to die during the coronavirus crisis... China has been embroiled in social media disputes not only in Europe, but in Khazakstan, Iran and Singapore. It has also argued with the Brazilian education minister over statements that Beijing planned world domination. In Sri Lanka, the Chinese embassy’s Twitter account has only just been restored after it was shut down for allegedly being inflammatory. According to the thinktank The German Marshall Fund, Twitter accounts linked to the Chinese embassies, consulates and ambassadors have increased by more than 250% since the start of the Hong Kong anti-government protests in March 2019. From September to December alone, China’s diplomatic corps created more than 40 new accounts"
Interfering in other countries' internal affairs is okay if you're China

EU toned down report on Chinese disinformation after Beijing threatened ‘repercussions’, diplomatic sources say - "The European Union toned down part of a report about Chinese state-backed disinformation because it feared Beijing would retaliate by withholding medical supplies... The initial version of the report, seen by the South China Morning Post, described China as running a “global disinformation campaign” to deflect blame for thecoronavirus outbreakusing “both overt and covert tactics”. But the Post has learnt that this section was removed after Beijing intervened and warned EU diplomats based in China there would be unspecified repercussions... This series of events highlights both China’s concern over the way its handling of the pandemic is seen abroad, but also its ability to sway foreign governments – even those as powerful as the EU – because of its status as the key exporter of strategic products.The report in question was a regular update produced by the EU’s disinformation team, which is embedded in the bloc’s diplomatic unit, the European External Action Service (EEAS). The team was originally set up to monitor suspected Russian disinformation and propaganda, but last year expanded its remit to China. Recently it helped counteract Chinese propaganda highlighting the country’s role in providing medical supplies to some of the worst affected countries such as Italy and Spain. Brussels responded by pointing out that France and Germany combined had provided more masks to Italy than China. In its last published report, released on April 1, the disinformation team said China’s “state media and government officials promote not proven theories about the origin of Covid-19”, adding that Chinese coverage was highlighting “displays of gratitude by some European leaders in response to Chinese aid”It remains unclear how Chinese diplomats got hold of the report before it was published... Esther Osorio, a communications adviser to Josep Borrell, the head of the EU diplomatic service, personally intervened to delay the release of the initial report.She reportedly asked analysts to revise the document to focus less explicitly on China and Russia to avoid accusations of bias, noting “heavy pushback” from Beijing, despite objections from some members of the team... The original report said that European analysts had found a “continued and coordinated push by official Chinese sources to deflect any blame.”... China’s ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, still complained about the toned down version of the report."

China ramping up military presence in South China Sea amid coronavirus crisis - "A U.S. intelligence official told Bloomberg News that China went as far as faking its numbers. Official reports show the number of infected has staggered around 80,000 in the past few weeks, while everywhere else the rate of transmission has caused the number of infected to skyrocket. China is promoting its official numbers as a victory for how it dealt with the virus. Now China is capitalizing on the coronavirus with the expanded military drills and moving the Liaoning to disputed waters while rival countries have to deal with the deadly virus. The country is also attempting to take control of the narrative about the virus’s origin, promoting a conspiracy theory that U.S. forces created the virus and planted it in Wuhan... Recently, a Chinese doctor, Ai Fen, went missing after saying her boss tried to silence her early warnings about COVID-19. Ai’s whereabouts are currently unknown, raising fears that she has silently been detained by Chinese authorities.Ai is the head of the emergency department and pointed out that colleagues had been ill at the Wuhan hospital. Reportedly eight of them had also been reprimanded for it... Ren Zhiqiang, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government who was given the nickname “The Cannon,” also went missing after he called Xi a power-hungry “clown” for his handling of the coronavirus"
So much for China not silencing whistleblowers

In Italy, China Is Sending Aid While Waging Information Warfare to Discredit the EU and NATO - "Italy is an ideal outpost for China’s wide-reaching propaganda effort to cover up its own responsibility for the global spread of the new coronavirus, all the while presenting itself as a compassionate power aiding Western countries in need. The government has been pursuing a two-pronged strategy that carefully combines sending medical supplies to assert its relevance in a leaderless world—call it mask diplomacy—while at the same time spreading conspiracy theories to conceal the true origin of the virus... Italy provides the perfect environment to test Beijing’s strategy. It was the first Western country to be hit by a large coronavirus outbreak, and it is therefore urgently in need of medical supplies to support a health care system on the brink of collapse. But it’s also led by a government coalition that includes the Five Star Movement, a Euroskeptic and increasingly pro-Chinese party that has for years relentlessly promoted a stronger relationship with Beijing while downplaying the traditional trans-Atlantic alliance and fueling suspicion toward NATO. As a result, last year Italy was the first G-7 country to join the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s global infrastructure project. Recently, China’s state media outlets suggested the new coronavirus originated in Italy, not in Wuhan, by shrewdly twisting the words of the Italian physician Giuseppe Remuzzi, the director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan... The Italian doctor, for his part, never even hinted that the coronavirus originated anywhere but China... if anything, the unconfirmed observations regarding previous cases of pneumonia in northern Italy would worsen—rather than ease—the burden of Chinese responsibility in covering up the early cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Genetic tests confirmed that the virus originated in China “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said Remuzzi, who has recently been inundated with requests from Chinese journalists attempting to politicize his expertise to corroborate Beijing’s narrative... Italy was buying medical equipment from China, but the government took advantage of a parallel donation made by China’s Red Cross to make it look like an instance of its “politics of generosity.”... “Many Euroskeptic leaders are acting as China enablers”... A country where political weakness, a public health emergency, and pro-Chinese tendencies overlapped—mostly thanks to a governing party that has been peddling conspiracy theories since before the pandemic—has provided Beijing with an ideal testing ground"

Coronavirus: China 'forces Italy to BUY back masks' it donated - "China is making Italy buy masks and coronavirus supplies that it had donated to Beijing just weeks earlier, a White House source claims.Xi Jinping's Communist state last month dispatched a plane full of medical supplies, including masks and respirators, to Italy as it became overwhelmed by COVID-19.Later reports suggested that the Chinese were selling rather than donating the kit.But a senior Trump administration official has told The Spectator that Beijing has, in fact, forced Rome to buy back the very equipment it had donated to China at the height of the outbreak in Wuhan... Downing Street sources have described China's disinformation campaign as repulsive and said it risks becoming a pariah state when the dust settles."
Benevolent China, donating masks and medical equipment!

'It's amputation': Shell cut its dividend for the first time since World War II, the latest sign of the brutal crisis decimating the oil industry - "Shell slashed its dividend for the first time since the Second World War on Thursday, cutting shareholder payments by 67% as coronavirus torpedoes demand for commodities and shatters the oil-producing industry.Shell said in a statement on Thursday that it was cutting its share dividend from $0.47 to $0.16 as it posted significantly lower quarterly earnings"

Workers without degrees hardest hit by Covid-19 crisis - study - "Workers without a university degree will be hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis, raising fears of increasing inequality across Europe, where up to 59m jobs are at risk.Nearly 80% of workers facing job insecurity – including cuts to hours or pay, temporary furloughs, or permanent layoffs – do not have a university degree, according to new research by the consultancy firm McKinsey... “Societies’ inequalities are exacerbated by higher unemployment rates, as social-welfare systems cannot fully alleviate the negative effects of a loss of employment. Increases in crime rates and social unrest are also potential consequences of an increase in unemployment”... “Moreover, unemployed people are twice as likely to experience mental illness (and even more so for blue-collar workers), and they receive inpatient treatment more often”... In the UK alone, up to 11 million people could end up furloughed or unemployed over the next three months, according to separate research by the Resolution Foundation, which also showed that low-paid workers would be hardest hit... the long-term impact on young workers would hinge on how quickly governments start to exit lockdown measures.“If we get out of the lockdown measures as soon as you can justify it, and we invest into the right kind of sectors, I would not say this is a lost generation already,” Stern said. “[But] we need to get the response right.”"
I was told that "nobody I know has anything to lose other than their health. Asking them to risk death for the economy is a cruel exploitation". Great example of privilege! Naturally his response to this article was a handwave

Italy Risks Losing Grip in South With Fear of Looting, Riots - Bloomberg - "As Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fights to hold Italian society together through a crippling nationwide lockdown, the depressed south is turning into a powder keg.Police have been deployed on the streets of Sicily’s capital, Palermo, amid reports gangs are using social media to plot attacks on stores. A bankrupt ferry company halted service to the island, including vital supplies of food and medicines. As the state creaks under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, officials worry the mafia may be preparing to step in... The lockdown has hit the 3.7 million Italians working in the underground economy particularly hard since they don’t receive a regular salary and have difficulty accessing unemployment benefits. Many of them are concentrated in the South."

Coronavirus: Italy becoming impatient with lockdown - and social unrest is brewing - "Videos have emerged of desperate people in Italy begging for help because they have run out of money and food... He gestures to his little girl who is eating a piece of bread and says: "Like my daughter, other children in a few days won't be able to eat this bit of bread. Rest assured, you will regret this because we're going to have a revolution."

Coronavirus job losses 'way worse than anything we saw in the Great Depression:' Economist - "The jobs report — which showed over 700,000 job losses and an unemployment rate that jumped from 3.5% to 4.4% — does not begin to encapsulate the effects of the pandemic because it only extends through March 12, before the vast majority of the U.S. locked down. KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, is expecting at least 8 million job losses for April and possibly closer to 12 million, according to Hunter. For the entire second quarter, it’s expecting 25 million job losses.The news would come after jobless claims hit a record-breaking 6.648 million for the week ending March 28, doubling the previous week’s number, and eclipsing the record before that of 695,000. In describing the recent and expected losses as worse than the Great Depression that began in 1929, Hunter noted, “We didn’t have a sudden drop off the cliff like this.”... This downturn, meanwhile, was sparked by the mass closure of businesses, at least some of which will eventually re-open.“Firms that have had to fire workers are probably going to go back to many of their same workers and rehire them — but of course there will be some friction and some sorting, as many people don’t go back to the same employers,” Hunter noted. “We do expect a restart but we don’t expect that restart to be as seamless as it could have been had people been able to remain employed at their existing employer.” In the meantime, the unemployment rate will likely go much higher before the economy recovers. Economist Justin Wolfers estimated in The New York Times on Friday that the actual unemployment is around 13%, and last week the St. Louis Fed made headlines when it predicted the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a 32% unemployment rate. To put that number in perspective, unemployment in America peaked at 24.9% in 1933, when the U.S. economy was in the throes of the Great Depression."

Free exchange - Why the unemployed in America could face a lost decade | Finance and economics | The Economist - "The forecast drop in the unemployment rate from the third quarter to the fourth, of 4.3 percentage points, would, if realised, easily be the fastest ever three-month decline. It would achieve in three months what took a year during the early 1940s, when America mobilised for war. In the absence of a miracle treatment or early vaccine, it is the very best America can hope for... Were unemployment to fall as quickly as it did from 1933 to 1937, a return to pre-pandemic jobless rates would still take half a decade. At the rate of improvement experienced after the financial crisis, by contrast, full recovery could take two decades. All that after the hardship of the 2010s seems nearly unthinkable. Yet without a hefty dose of good luck and an aggressive government effort, America’s unemployed face a real risk of another lost decade—or two"

U.N. warns of 'hunger pandemic' amid threats of coronavirus, economic downturn - "While the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the United Nations food agency warned on Tuesday that a looming "hunger pandemic" will bring "the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II."Famine in as many as three dozen countries is "a very real and dangerous possibility"... As a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent economic ramifications, the food agency found an additional 130 million people could be on the brink of starvation by the end of the year. The working poor would be hit the hardest as a result of the decline in tourism and exports, collapse of oil prices and any declines to foreign aid. The resulting death toll could outpace that of the coronavirus with 300,000 people dying due to starvation every day over a three-month period, the agency reported. Children are particularly at risk as lockdowns in response to the coronavirus are keeping them out of school where they typically could receive subsidized meals."I must warn you that if we don't prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months""
The UN just wants grandma to die
Profits over people! Damn billion dollar corporations sacrificing common people!

World Food Programme warns at least 30 million people could die of starvation during pandemic - "As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt the world economy, Mr. Beasley says he is concerned governments will cut funding for WFP – a decision that could have grave consequences.“If we lost our funding … a minimum 30 million would die. Over a three-month period, that would be 300,000 people dying per day,” Mr. Beasley said.“That’s why leaders have got to balance out the COVID response with keeping the economy going because otherwise a lot more people will die from starvation and economic deterioration than from COVID itself.”... “I’ve got countries saying if you’re moving supplies, you’ve got to put your trucks and airplanes in quarantine for two weeks and I’m like 'What? You can’t have people go without food for a couple weeks. They’ll die’ ""
Of course, some people say that governments can just fund more spending by taking on more debt. Or even printing money. And that's ignoring lockdown logistics

Millions predicted to develop tuberculosis as result of Covid-19 lockdown - "The head of a global partnership to end tuberculosis (TB) said she is “sickened” by research that revealed millions more people are expected to contract the disease as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.Up to 6.3 million more people are predicted to develop TB between now and 2025 and 1.4 million more people are expected to die as cases go undiagnosed and untreated during lockdown. This will set back global efforts to end TB by five to eight years. “The fact that we’ve rolled back to 2013 figures and we have so many people dying, this for me is sickening,” said Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership... “I have to say we look from the TB community in a sort of puzzled way because TB has been around for thousands of years,” Ditiu said. “For 100 years we have had a vaccine and we have two or three potential vaccines in the pipeline. We need around half a billion [people] to get the vaccine by 2027 and we look in amazement on a disease that … is 120 days old and it has 100 vaccine candidates in the pipeline. So I think this world, sorry for my French, is really fucked up,” she said.“The fear we have in the community is that researchers are heading towards just developing a vaccine for Covid. That’s on the agenda of everyone now and very few remain focused on the others [diseases]. We don’t have a vaccine for TB, we don’t have a vaccine for HIV, we don’t have a vaccine for malaria and out of all this, TB is the oldest. So why this reaction? I think because we are a world of idiots. What can I say?”"

This is just the first in a series of cascading crises - The Washington Post - "The first phase has been the health-care crisis in the world’s major economies. The next phase is the economic paralysis, the magnitude of which we are only just beginning to comprehend... Next up will surely be the danger of countries defaulting... Next come the explosions in the developing world... And then there are the oil states... Expect political turmoil, refugees, even revolutions, on a scale we have not seen for decades — not since the last phase of $10 oil, when the Soviet Union collapsed... The world’s two leading economies, the United States and China, have debt-to-GDP ratios of 210 percent and 310 percent, respectively"

Take the Shutdown Skeptics Seriously - The Atlantic - "Critics are dismayed. Citing forecasts that COVID-19 deaths could rise to 3,000 per day in June, they say that reopening without better defenses against infections is reckless. That assessment may well be correct. Many insist it is immoral, too. The columnist Amy Z. Quinn says the Trump administration is “choosing money over lives.” In a CNN news analysis, Daniel Burke offers this characterization of America’s choice: “Should we reopen the economy to help the majority or protect the lives of the vulnerable?”Denunciations of that sort cast the lockdown debate as a straightforward battle between a pro-human and a pro-economy camp. But the actual trade-offs are not straightforward. Set aside “flattening the curve,” which will continue to make sense. Are ongoing, onerous shutdowns warranted beyond what is necessary to avoid overwhelming ambulances, hospitals, and morgues?The answer depends in part on an unknown: how close the country is to containing the virus... If we knew that a broadly effective COVID-19 treatment was imminent, or that a working vaccine was months away, minimizing infections through social distancing until that moment would be the right course. At the other extreme, if we will never have an effective treatment or vaccine and most everyone will get infected eventually, then the costs of social distancing are untenable. We don’t know where we sit on that spectrum. So we cannot know what the best way forward is even if we place the highest possible value on preserving life and protecting the vulnerable. That uncertainty means, at the very least, that Americans should carefully consider the potential costs of prolonged shutdowns lest they cause more deaths or harm to the vulnerable than they spare. Ongoing closures and supply-chain interruptions in wealthier countries could have catastrophic ripple effects, Michael T. Klare warns in The Nation, highlighting the possibility that global starvation could soar... “A prolonged depression will stunt lives as surely as any viral epidemic, and its toll will not be confined to the elderly,” Heather Mac Donald argues at Spectator USA. “The shuttering of auto manufacturing plants led to an 85 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in the surrounding counties over seven years, according to a recent study.” Deficit spending may be necessary to keep people afloat, she continued, but the wealth that permits it could quickly evaporate. “The enormously complex web of trade, once killed, cannot be brought back to life by government stimulus. And who is going to pay for all that deficit spending as businesses close and tax revenues disappear?” At Arc Digital, Esther O’Reilly asks, “Why should we assume that a crashing economy would leave the healthcare system standing?... The last global depression created conditions for a catastrophic world war that killed roughly 75 to 80 million people"

The disproportionate pain of economic “shutdowns” by government - "5.5 million Canadians (over 25 per cent of pre-COVID workforce) are now either not employed or working substantially reduced hours... Canadians working part-time have been impacted disproportionately. They make up less than 20 per cent of those employed but account for over a million of the three million jobs lost since February. Not surprisingly given this result, young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 have been particularly negatively impacted with about half of those working part-time having lost their jobs since February.Similarly, workers in temporary, lower quality or lower paying jobs were affected more deeply than those in higher paying jobs. Since February, 38 per cent of Canadians earning less than two-thirds of the 2019 median hourly wage (about $24) have lost their job."

European leaders warn coronavirus could lead to the breakup of their union - The Washington Post - "In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the response among European Union member states showed that national interests trump more-altruistic European ideals. Border restrictions were reimposed haphazardly, and Germany and France threw up export bans on medical equipment such as masks and ventilators, even as Italy clamored for assistance. Quick to capitalize were the propaganda machines of Russia and China... If the richer E.U. countries are not willing to support their struggling neighbors, what’s the point of membership at all?... broader questions of values and ideals will remain, analysts say, with the fundamental assumption that open borders and economies would bring peace and prosperity increasingly in question."

I’ve worked the coronavirus front line — and I say it’s time to start opening up - "the wave has crested... I worry about non-coronavirus care... inordinate fear misguides the public response. While COVID-19 is serious, fear of it is being over-amplified. The public needs to understand that the vast majority of infected people do quite well. Finally, COVID-19 is more prevalent than we think. Many New Yorkers already have the COVID-19 infection, whether they are aware of it or not. As of today, over 43 percent of those tested are positive in The Bronx. We are developing a significant degree of natural herd immunity. Distancing works, but I am skeptical that it is playing as predominant a role as many think... At present, the testing is imperfect. We can’t wait months. We must protect the vulnerable and mitigate without destroying the economy.Standing up to this virus can’t be the job of essential workers only. We’ve been strong, but we’re tired, and we need the rest of you to help us. By getting back to work.
Daniel G. Murphy, MD, is chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx."
A doctor who just wants to kill grandma, or get a haircut!

Opinion | America Shouldn’t Have to Play by New York Rules - The New York Times - "Consider a thought experiment in which metropolitan New York weren’t just its own state, but its own country. What would the crisis for what remained of America look like, then? In this slightly smaller nation of a little more than 300 million people, the death toll would amount to about 7.5 per 100,000, slightly above Germany’s levels.No wonder so much of America has dwindling sympathy with the idea of prolonging lockdown conditions much further. The curves are flattening; hospital systems haven’t come close to being overwhelmed; Americans have adapted to new etiquettes of social distancing. Many of the worst Covid outbreaks outside New York (such as at Chicago’s Cook County Jail or the Smithfield Foods processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D.) have specific causes that can be addressed without population-wide lockdowns. Yet Americans are being told they must still play by New York rules — with all the hardships they entail — despite having neither New York’s living conditions nor New York’s health outcomes. This is bad medicine, misguided public policy, and horrible politics. On Friday, I spoke with Tomislav Mihaljevic, C.E.O. of the widely admired Cleveland Clinic, and an advocate of the need to use “tailored and discriminating solutions” that also recognize regional differences. At the moment, he says, “We’re using the methodology from the 14th century to combat the biggest pandemic of the 21st century.” It can’t go on... In Ohio Dr. Mihaljevic says that Covid patients take up just 2 percent of hospital capacity, and the curve of new infections has been flat for more than two weeks. Yet there has been a dramatic decline in people seeking care for heart attacks, strokes, or new cancers, presumably out of fear of going to hospital.“The public conversation needs to be about the value of human life in its totality,” Dr. Mihaljevic says. That includes fewer restrictions on activity for people at the low end of the risk spectrum, while taking additional care of those on the high end. Right now, there’s a lot of commentary coming from talking heads (many of them in New York) about the danger of lifting lockdowns in places like Tennessee."
Indiscrimimate lockdown may kill more people - and not just due to a tanked economy

Rural California county hums back to life, defying order - "With no cases of coronavirus among 9,000 residents in the far northeastern part of the state and plenty of land to spread out on, county officials moved to reopen Friday after what they said was careful planning and with stringent limits — businesses could only have half the patrons and customers must stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart... At a general store just across the county line from Nevada, a woman who refused to be named said she wasn't interested in talking out-of-towners and lamented that the media was “making fun of" its residents."

Coronavirus: Scientists conclude people cannot be infected twice - "A number of reported cases of coronavirus patients relapsing after overcoming the disease were actually due to testing failures, South Korean scientists say. Researchers at the South Korean centre for disease control and prevention (CDC) now say it is impossible for the COVID-19 virus to reactivate in human bodies."

Sky News Breaking on Twitter - "Royal College of Surgeons has told Sky News it supports calls for members of ethnic minorities to be removed from the front line and adds that easing the lockdown now would put "intolerable pressure" on NHS healthcare workers"
Good way to increase the burden on the NHS and also keep the lockdown going even longer. How coincidental

Nobel prize-winning scientist: the Covid-19 epidemic was never exponential - "As he is careful to point out, Professor Michael Levitt is not an epidemiologist. He’s Professor of Structural Biology at the Stanford School of Medicine, and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for “the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” He’s a numbers guy — as he told us in our interview, his wife says he loves numbers more than her — but then, much of modern science is really about statistics (as his detractors never tire of pointing out, Professor Neil Ferguson is a theoretical physicist by training)... in outbreak after outbreak of this disease, a similar mathematical pattern is observable regardless of government interventions. After around a two week exponential growth of cases (and, subsequently, deaths) some kind of break kicks in, and growth starts slowing down. The curve quickly becomes “sub-exponential”.This may seem like a technical distinction, but its implications are profound. The ‘unmitigated’ scenarios modelled by (among others) Imperial College, and which tilted governments across the world into drastic action, relied on a presumption of continued exponential growth — that with a consistent R number of significantly above 1 and a consistent death rate, very quickly the majority of the population would be infected and huge numbers of deaths would be recorded. But Professor Levitt’s point is that that hasn’t actually happened anywhere, even in countries that have been relatively lax in their responses.He takes specific issue with the Neil Ferguson paper. “In a footnote to a table it said, assuming exponential growth of 15% for six days. Now I had looked at China and had never seen exponential growth that wasn’t decaying rapidly.” The explanation for this flattening that we are used to is that social distancing and lockdowns have slowed the curve, but he is unconvinced. As he put it to me, in the subsequent examples to China of South Korea, Iran and Italy, “the beginning of the epidemics showed a slowing down and it was very hard for me to believe that those three countries could practise social distancing as well as China.” He believes that both some degree of prior immunity and large numbers of asymptomatic cases are important factors. He also observes that the total number of deaths we are seeing, in places as diverse as New York City, parts of England, parts of France and Northern Italy, all seem to level out at a very similar fraction of the total population. “Are they all practising equally good social distancing? I don’t think so.”... More generally, he complains that epidemiologists only seem to be called wrong if they underestimate deaths, and so there is an intrinsic bias towards caution. “They see their role as scaring people into doing something, and I understand that… but in my work, if I say a number is too small and I’m wrong, or too big and I’m wrong, both of those errors are the same.”... He describes indiscriminate lockdown measures as “a huge mistake,” and advocates a “smart lockdown” policy, focused on more effective measures, focused on protecting elderly people."

Coronavirus outbreak may be over sooner than you think - Los Angeles Times - "the Diamond Princess data allowed him to estimate that being exposed to the new coronavirus doubles a person’s risk of dying in the next two months. Most people have an extremely low risk of death in a two-month period, so that risk remains extremely low even when doubled... Getting vaccinated against the flu is important, too, because a coronavirus outbreak that strikes in the middle of a flu epidemic is much more likely to overwhelm hospitals and increases the odds that the coronavirus goes undetected. This was probably a factor in Italy, a country with a strong anti-vaccine movement... Levitt fears the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. Time and again, researchers have seen that suicide rates go up when the economy spirals down.The virus can grow exponentially only when it is undetected and no one is acting to control it, Levitt said. That’s what happened in South Korea last month, when it ripped through a closed-off cult that refused to report the illness"

Why Does Italy Have So Many Coronavirus Deaths? Mild Flu Season - Bloomberg - "The last flu season, marked by unusually warm weather, killed fewer older Italians than average, according to a report by the Italian Ministry of Health.Those with chronic diseases who were spared death from November through January would have been at greater risk when the new virus began spreading in February and March, the report argued, although the discrepancy is just one among many factors at play in the pandemic’s uneven impact."

India's coronavirus heroes come under attack - "They have been hailed as India's coronavirus “heroes,” but doctors, nurses, delivery drivers and other frontline workers have been attacked and in some cases evicted from their homes by panicked residents.Some e-commerce giants have even halted deliveries partly due to the harassment of staff, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi said abuse of hospital workers had become a “huge issue.”... Airline and airport staff, who are still being called on for evacuations of Indians stuck overseas and management of key cargo deliveries, have also been threatened."

Coronavirus outbreak: Not China, not Italy – India’s lockdown is the most drastic in the world - "While the “people’s curfew” was underway, the Modi government took a decision to shut down the Indian Railways. The same day, inter-state bus services were also stopped. he restrictions were aimed at slowing down the transmission of the coronavirus. While the “people’s curfew” was underway, the Modi government took a decision to shut down the Indian Railways. The same day, inter-state bus services were also stopped. Migrant workers who lost their jobs in the cities and had no money to buy food decided that they had to option but to get home – even if they had to walk there. This has resulted in chaos, starvation and deaths. One commentator described it as the “biggest human migration on foot after Partition”... The country used heavy-handed force to enforce these rules. Numerous instances were reported of police personnel assaulting and, in some cases, even opening fire at people breaking the lockdown rules. Several of them were merely out buying groceries, or were migrant workers... India is the first country to institute such a lockdown in the absence of community transmission... While China has varying levels of lockdown, India’s federal government has instituted a single uniform policy for the entire country... As part of its piecemeal policy, the Bangladesh government even now denies that the country is under lockdown, preferring to the use the word “holiday”"

Why did coronavirus hit hard in Italy and Spain? Some blame a lack of social distancing — and a lot of social kissing. - "the very qualities that make both Spain and Italy so beloved by tourists — the laid-back attitudes, the warm cheek-kissing greetings, the world-famous cathedrals, museums and historical sites, stadiums filled for soccer matches, the terraces where hundreds gather for aperitivos, sangria and meals — may be exactly the things that helped spur the spread of the coronavirus in this part of the world... Italy also has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of 45.5; it is 42.1 in Spain and 38.1 in the U.S. And nearly a quarter of citizens in both European countries still smoke; the rate in the U.S. is closer to one in seven. Both of those factors could have contributed to the spread or severity of COVID-19... in contrast to Italy, where authorities took swift action to lock down the part of the country where the coronavirus first circulated in Europe, followed by the entire country, the government in Spain seemed slow to react... Spain’s health authorities uttered no words of caution against demonstrations such as the one on International Women’s Day on March 8, when hundreds of thousands turned out side by side to march in Madrid, or huge political rallies, like the one held by ultra-right party Vox in Madrid on March 7... Sánchez appeared on TV, announcing a “state of alarm” and asking residents to stay home, except to buy essentials or to work if they could not work from home. Which meant only one thing to many: Party! Even Saturday, Spaniards were still cheek kissing and having get-togethers in tiny apartments; even Saturday, some were still dining out"
Of course, only Trump screwed up

Hidden data is revealing the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak | WIRED UK - "Malaysia’s internet had become over five per cent slower in the March 12 to 13 timespan – worse even than in locked-down Italy. Officially, though, Malaysia had only 129 confirmed coronavirus cases – a relatively low number, although it had been inching up for a week.What was happening, though, was that the population was cottoning on to the government’s sloppy handling of the pandemic"

San Francisco reverses ban on plastic bags, now bars reusable totes - "San Francisco has reversed its 13-year ban on plastic bags and will now prohibit the reusable bags city leaders once championed because of the coronavirus... California was one of the states most ravaged by the virus, reporting 10,000 cases and 200 deaths in its population of almost 40 million.Coffee shops in the states, including Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee, are refusing to fill up customers’ reusable mugs.Other states also have moved to reduce the presence of reusable bags.In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu issued an executive order on March 21 directing stores to use only new paper or plastic bags they provide and to refuse to allow customers to use their reusable ones... Illinois, Massachusetts and Maine have imposed similar bans, or in some cases suspended their own state laws encouraging reusable bags.Retailers across the country have jumped on board. Target has halted the sale of reusable bags, asking customers who bring bags from home to fill them at checkout.Target, Trader Joe’s and other retailers are temporary waiving paper bag fees amid the pandemic."

Dr. Debra Soh on Twitter - "Sexism on the Covid-19 frontline: 'PPE is made for a 6ft 3in rugby player'. Health professionals, experts and unions say poorly fitting equipment is risking lives of female workers"
"This is what happens when you claim biological sex is a social construct."
They will just claim that PPE should be made for a wide range of body types without reference to body type. And ignore the terms which everyone except liberals knows corresponds to each body type for the vast majority of people

Coronavirus: India cancels order for 'faulty' China rapid test kits - "India has cancelled orders for about half a million coronavirus rapid testing kits from China after they were found to be "faulty".Delhi has also withdrawn the kits that were already in use in several states."
Strange how, according to China shills, every other country is incompetent in buying equipment from the wrong, uncertified suppliers, or buying the wrong type of equipment. At the very least this shows that the Made in China brand is dodgy

China's coronavirus supplies are being rejected — how do we ensure quality in a pandemic? - "several countries have reported faults with Chinese-made supplies.This began with Spain's recall of about 58,000 inaccurate rapid COVID-19 test kits late last week, and Turkey also casting aside a number of sample test kits that were faulty. This was then followed last Saturday by a Dutch recall of some 600,000 face masks that didn't provide an airtight seal.Australia also found fault with Chinese products, with Border Force officials telling the ABC on Wednesday that it seized around 800,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) products worth $1.2 million in recent weeks... To determine whether a product is safe to use, health professionals are obligated to look at regulations in their country or at a supranational level for blocs such as the EU... Steve Csiszar, chief executive at Med-Con — Australia's only manufacturer of medical face masks — told the ABC it was critical for people to find masks that meet official standards, otherwise there would be "a false sense of security".Prior to the pandemic, Med-Con's masks made up 5 per cent of Australia's domestic supply, but the military has since been drafted to ramp up production.Mr Csiszar said Australia had lost considerable homegrown manufacturing capacity to countries with cheap labour, which has consequences if medical manufacturers cost-cut further.A bird's eye view shows dozens of white face masks stacked on to of each other next to a face mask-press with hands over it. "Quite frankly, I'd be very dubious about any low-cost manufacturer having their products tested to standard""
The libertarian answer would be to abolish regulations and let everyone die in the first wave then boycott those companies, and when they close down and reopen under a new name go through the cycle again

British Doctors Say Ventilators Purchased From China Could Kill Coronavirus Patients - "The ventilators received from China, the Shangrila 510 model, were built by one of the country's major ventilator manufacturers, Beijing Aeonmed Co. Ltd. The manufacturer could not be reached for comment. The letter detailed serious concerns over the "basic" quality of the ventilators, calling the oxygen supply "variable and unreliable."... The U.K. is not the only country that has faced problems with medical equipment from China. Both the Netherlands and Finland have reportedly found that masks bought from China had not met the required standard in hospitals. Accuracy of testing kits purchased from Chinese manufacturers for the novel coronavirus were also called into question in Spain and the U.K, according to media reports."
So much for buying from reliable suppliers

Italy gave China PPE to help with coronavirus — then China made them buy it back | Spectator USA - "China taking advantage of Italy’s generosity is just the latest example of its disastrous diplomacy in the wake of the pandemic. Much of the supplies and testing kits China has sold to other countries have turned out to be defective. Spain had to return 50,000 quick-testing kits to China after discovering that they were faulty. In some cases, instead of apologizing or fixing the issue, China has blamed its defective equipment on others. China condescendingly told the Netherlands to ‘double-check the instructions’ on its masks, for example, after the Netherlands complained that half of the masks they were sent did not meet safety standards... The official said China’s disinformation campaign delayed the US response by at least a month, as the coronavirus initially seemed to be a regional issue rather than a global one. As China downplayed the outbreak within its borders, nearly half a million people traveled to the US potentially carrying the virus... China has still been underreporting coronavirus cases and deaths, for instance not including asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in its overall case count. The country has also claimed no new deaths from the virus, even as thousands of ash urns are shipped to local hospitals"
Fabled Chinese benevolence!

China's quality control problem in leading coronavirus fight - Los Angeles Times - "It’s common for Chinese suppliers to export a product under one licensed company’s name but to source their products from second, third or fourth factories, like a chain of Russian nesting dolls, with little to no traceability down the chain of supply.“In China, nothing is really black and white,” Anjoran said. “You have manufacturers selling you stuff they don’t really manufacture. They’re making it somewhere else, but you don’t know where.”... he coronavirus has exposed the world’s dependence on China and that country’s problems with quality control.Whether this experience will lead to further “decoupling” after the pandemic, with more countries seeking to diversify supply chains away from China, will depend in part on how China’s regulators perform."

China's coronavirus public-relations war is backfiring in the West - The Washington Post - "In Britain, a parliamentary committee on foreign relations urged the government to fight a surge in Chinese disinformation. Officials in Germany and at least one U.S. state — Wisconsin — exposed quiet outreach attempts from Chinese officials hoping to persuade them to publicly praise China. In Spain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, governments announced recalls of Chinese masks and testing kits after large batches were found to be defective, undercutting what China sought to portray as goodwill gestures... on Twitter, Chinese diplomats have not only spread their country’s message but have gone on the counterattack. They publicly feuded with the Brazilian president’s son and his education minister, who accused Beijing of seeking “world domination” by controlling protective-equipment supplies. They tangled with Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman, who questioned the accuracy of Chinese epidemic data, and lashed out at a Sri Lankan businessman who criticized China’s epidemic response... China started to lose momentum in the “donation diplomacy” narrative after reports emerged that the quality of the masks may have been suspect... In many Western countries, it is not so much China’s medical assistance that draws consternation but rather Beijing’s departure from its traditional diplomacy into the realm of disinformation, which had rarely been seen from China before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019... another senior official, former vice foreign minister Fu Ying, said Chinese diplomats should uphold “the spirit of humility and tolerance, and adhere to communication, learning, and openness.”... leading economist Hua Sheng warned China against spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus or “gloating” when other countries were still struggling to overcome the pandemic. He urged China to have the courage to conduct an accounting of what went wrong in Wuhan."

China cashes in off coronavirus, selling Spain $467 million in supplies, some of them substandard - "China has also been floating the idea that it has donated all of the medical supplies out of concern for the world. That's not the case, Chang said."A lot of the stuff that China claims has been donated has not been donate," he said. "It's been sold."

Why China's support to coronavirus-hit Europe stirs controversy - "According to Shirley Ze Yu, a political economist and Asia fellow at the Ash Center in Harvard Kennedy School, China should be more receptive, and less defensive, to criticism.She said instead of "refuting" allegations of European nations, China should "investigate domestic medical device manufacturers, and eradicate substandard or un-licenced production capacity within the country"."g

How Medicine's Long, Thin Supply Chain Threatens Americans | WIRED - "The United States has allowed the manufacturing of most of its drugs and medical devices to drift offshore, at the end of long, thin supply chains... This ought to be a matter of national security. So far, it’s not... The last US factory making penicillin closed in 2004, he found. Only 10 percent of the generic drugs used in this country are made here. Four-fifths of the active ingredients in American pharmaceuticals come from somewhere else, mostly India and China. If anything disrupted delivery of a critically needed drug—a process line collapsing in a factory, a typhoon fouling the path of container ships—supplies would run short, the manufacturer would be far out of US jurisdiction, and there would be no domestic alternative... he envisions a partial fix: invoking a federal acquisition regulation that requires government agencies to buy American products if possible. Ideally, he said, that ought to mean not just from American-owned companies, but from plants within the continental US.“The challenge is that you can be buying from an American company, but the products are made elsewhere,” he said. “Federal department contracting offices are tasked to buy things at the lowest possible price, but without taking into account the overall effect of the orders.”"
Globalisation and neo-liberal market logic!

YouTube Removes Biotech Company's Video Showing Potential Internal UVA Light Treatment for Coronavirus - "In the wake of the press briefing where President Trump touted the possibility of using UV light to destroy the coronavirus, a biotech company called Aytu BioScience has been developing a UV light treatment called Healight, and posted a video to YouTube describing the treatment and its potential. It has since been taken down for violating YouTube’s community guidelines... The video was also removed from Vimeo, another video sharing site... Why is YouTube censoring a video from a legitimate biotech company’s legitimate research into a potential treatment for the coronavirus? Is it because Trump had been talking about this very sort of treatment? Certainly looks that way... It’s innovative and has enormous potential, for sure. Shouldn’t we embrace innovative medical technologies rather than censor them because of politics?"
Scientific research is only important in certain scenarios

‘Swept Up by FEMA’: Complicated Medical Supply System Sows Confusion - The New York Times - "Federal officials say they are trying to expedite the shipment to the United States of large quantities of medical supplies procured by private health care providers such as McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Owens & Minor, Medline and Henry Schein. FEMA allows those distributors to sell about half of the equipment to companies and counties that had previously placed orders. The other half of the shipments must be sold to counties that the federal government prioritizes by the severity of the outbreak, based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government will also soon save 10 percent of the supplies on each flight for the national stockpile, according to officials. A Korean War-era production act also allows the federal government to force companies to prioritize its order over another client’s, whether it be a private hospital or another nation... Because the federal government determines which states are in greater need, governors and hospitals executives preparing in advance for the worst have complained that FEMA was effectively commandeering their personal protective equipment, or P.P.E.“FEMA realizes that prioritizing P.P.E. deliveries to Covid hot spots can have the unintended consequence of disrupting the regular supply chain deliveries to other areas of the country that are also preparing for the coronavirus,” said Lizzie Litzow, a FEMA spokeswoman, adding that the agency was not seizing any shipments... after Mr. Trump heard from friends that the New York public health system was running low on critical supply, Mr. Kushner directed agency officials to ensure that there were enough N95 masks in the administration’s inventory"
Naturally, people with TDS - who previously bashed Trump for no federal coordination - have pivoted to alleging states are being punished for their politics. I wonder when New York became Republican

State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses - The Washington Post - "The research was designed to prevent the next SARS-like pandemic by anticipating how it might emerge. But even in 2015, other scientists questioned whether Shi’s team was taking unnecessary risks. In October 2014, the U.S. government had imposed a moratorium on funding of any research that makes a virus more deadly or contagious, known as “gain-of-function” experiments. As many have pointed out, there is no evidence that the virus now plaguing the world was engineered; scientists largely agree it came from animals. But that is not the same as saying it didn’t come from the lab, which spent years testing bat coronaviruses in animals, said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley... That’s important because the Chinese government still refuses to answer basic questions about the origin of the novel coronavirus while suppressing any attempts to examine whether either lab was involved."
Far sexier to ban wet marketsLab in Wuhan Warned in Early 2019 about Bat-Transmitted Coronaviruses - "The study is called "Bat Coronaviruses in China," and it originated from the CAS Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Published in March of 2019, the peer-reviewed study argues that following Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Swine Acute Diarrhea Syndrome (SADS), future pandemics may have similar origins, as all three originated in bats and two of them started in China. "

Diseases Can Jump to Humans from Plants, Not Just from Animals - Scientific American Blog Network - "Over the past decade, drug-resistant fungal diseases have emerged as a major health threat, including Candida auris—a highly infectious fungus sweeping through hospitals across the globe before the coronavirus crisis hit. Ten years ago, no one had heard of C. auris. Today, it kills half those afflicted within 90 days, and the scourge has spread to 19 countries (and counting). But where did this fungus develop its drug resistance? One surprising theory: C. auris may have developed its resistance on farms, and not in hospitals."
Time to ban farmers' markets, just as we're supposed to ban wet markets!

Chinese government reveals draft list of animals which can be farmed for meat - "Dogs are also absent from the list of livestock, which, if formally enforced, would lead to China's first countrywide ban on their consumption in a victory for animal rights activists."
How convenient - pushing through an agenda under other guises

China’s Wet Markets & West’s Factory Farms: Both Violate Moral Common Sense - "The People’s Republic has supposedly banned the exotic-meat trade, and one major city, Shenzhen, has proscribed dog and cat meat as well. In reality, observes a second Daily Mail correspondent, anonymously reporting from the city of Dongguan, “the markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus.” Nothing has changed, except in one feature: “The only difference is that security guards try to stop anyone taking pictures, which would never have happened before.”... Of late even donkeys, such peaceable and unoffending creatures, have been rounded up by the millions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America for shipment and slaughter, all to satisfy demand for yet another of China’s traditional-medicine manias... In China and Southeast Asia, they have still not received our divine revelation in the West that human beings shall not eat or inflict extreme abuse on dogs but that all atrocities to pigs are as nothing"
When I finally get to go and eat pussy, I may not be able to take pictures. Damnit
Strange how donkeys are not okay to eat but chickens are

Downing Street says China faces a 'reckoning' over the coronavirus - "The market in Guilin was packed with shoppers yesterday, with fresh dog and cat meat on offer, a traditional 'warming' winter dish... Mr Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China's officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be 'downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times'. And No 10 believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with 'predatory offers of help' countries around the world."

Coronavirus: Closing China's Wet Markets Isn't a Solution - Bloomberg - "Wet markets are increasingly losing ground to supermarkets in China. If they're showing resilience as suppliers of fresh goods, it's precisely because consumers regard them as a healthier and more sustainable alternative. That perception isn't inaccurate. The prevalence of food-borne microbial illness in developing East Asia suggests that far from being cesspits of disease, wet markets do a good job of providing households with clean, fresh produce. And while the origins of coronavirus remain obscure, they may have at least as much to do with more worldwide activities such as intensive farming as practices specific to Asia. The attraction of wet markets isn't so different from that of farmers’ markets in Western countries... Consumers know the food is fresh because there's generally little refrigeration, so everything must be sold on the day. If in doubt, they can ask the stallholder what's in season and which produce is best at the moment. If they think one market looks unsanitary, they can choose to shop at another... One 2015 study for the World Health Organization compared the number of years of life lost per 100,000 people due to food-borne sickness, disability and death. The region encompassing the wet market zone from China and South Korea down through most of Southeast Asia has the best record for microbial infections outside the Americas, Europe and the rich countries of the Pacific Rim. What about Covid-19 itself, though? There's good evidence that the virus has genetic characteristics from another pathogen found in pangolins, an exotic mammal sometimes sold in Chinese markets. And it circulated extensively around one of Wuhan's seafood and meat markets last December, although the earliest infections don't seem to have been connected to the site.Only a small minority of wet markets sell such exotica, though, so you can close down the wild animal trade without shutting the places where most Chinese people get their daily sustenance. And don't overlook the possibility that a key ingredient in Covid-19's genetic cocktail isn’t wild game, but domesticated livestock. The high-density conditions on farms are far more conducive to cooking up novel diseases, as we've written — and even pangolins are farmed in China these days.To the extent that the mix of the raw and the cooked in Asia's wet markets is a health problem, it can easily be mitigated by better building design (such as separating meat, vegetable and livestock areas and keeping markets fully enclosed), plus the sort of mandated cleaning regulations found in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea."
I saw some people upset about this article. Strange how wet markets in other countries, or indeed Western factory farming haven't caused covid-19 or SARS level pandemics

Illegal wildlife trade goes online as China shuts down markets

Was the White House office for global pandemics eliminated? - The Washington Post - "That office, which he oversaw for about a year starting in July 2018, was folded into another one to streamline a bloated organization and “the combined directorate was stronger because related expertise could be commingled.”...After Barack Obama became president in 2009, he eliminated the White House Health and Security Office, which worked on international health issues...Bolton thought there was obvious overlap between arms control and nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense, the former official said, saying the epidemiology of a biological health emergency is very similar to a bioterrorism attack. Morrison, who headed the combined office beginning in July 2018, was named a deputy assistant to the president and thus had more bureaucratic clout than Ziemer, who was only a senior director.Each directorate is housed in its own “vault,” so to speak, so classified information can be left on a person’s desk overnight. “Having those people in the same vault means that they don’t have to walk out of the office, walk down the hall, knock on the door to have someone let them in,” another former administration official said, allowing for easier communication among staff members. A number of major projects that had been stalled in bureaucratic fights, such as a National Biodefense Strategy, finally were completed after the reorganization.“I did not feel a change” in focus, said a third former administration official, who had worked under Ziemer at the NSC. Bolton “was very dedicated to the issues we had been working on.”As far as we can determine, the positions that made up the old unit still are filled within the NSC...“A pandemic is an odd policy challenge because it straddles a lot of other things,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who served in the Obama administration, citing global health; diplomacy; domestic health policy; border and travel controls; foreign aid; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials threats. “But it is always a subordinate priority in any of those other streams, which leads to a fragmented and disconnected policy process.”“During the Ebola operation, we really struggled with initially a lot of kind of bifurcation within the national security staff, between the international side and the domestic side, between the health people and the disaster people,” Konyndyk said. “And so the different elements of that Ebola response didn’t roll up together into a coherent whole until Ron Klain was appointed as the Ebola czar.”...Trump initially on Jan. 29 named Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar as chair of a coronavirus task force, with a coordinating role played by the NSC...One can see the dueling narratives here, neither entirely incorrect. The office — as set up by Obama — was folded into another office. Thus, one could claim the office was eliminated. But the staff slots did not disappear and at least initially the key mission of team remained a priority. So one can also claim nothing changed and thus Biden’s criticism is overstated."

South Korea's return to normal interrupted by uptick in coronavirus cases - "South Korea has been held up as a paragon for containing the coronavirus, lauded by the world for flattening its curve, but it is now bracing for a possible second wave... Dr. Ki Moran, a professor at the National Cancer Center's Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy, said that even the slightest loosening of social distancing fosters the danger of triggering another mass wave... How long can South Korea and the rest of the world live in isolation? In the United States alone, more than 6.5 million people filed for unemployment insurance in a week, highlighting the toll the virus has taken on those who cannot afford isolation.Ki said South Korea is already planning ahead, brainstorming ways the country can practice "everyday distancing" that would introduce more sustainable lifestyle changes rather than temporary campaigns.For instance, instead of having all children arrive and leave school at the same time, an alternative would be to conduct half of the coursework online and half in person to reduce the number of students in class. Rearranging lunch tables so students sit in a zigzag pattern rather that next to one another is also being considered. But South Korea's decision to further move back the start of the school year points to the continual disruption that the coronavirus has inflicted."We can't just delay the entire educational system for a year"... "Hoping that a vaccine will be developed soon is too optimistic, " Ki said. "We have to acknowledge the reality of the situation we are in and make a plan.""
Eternal lockdown is the solution, apparently

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Is an ‘Almost Meaningless’ Metric - "“The numbers are almost meaningless,” says Steve Goodman, a professor of epidemiology at Stanford University. There’s a huge reservoir of people who have mild cases, and would not likely seek testing, he says. The rate of increase in positive results reflect a mixed-up combination of increased testing rates and spread of the virus... What should we be watching instead? One possibility is hospitalizations... Measuring death rates can eventually track the speed with which Covid-19 is spreading — as deaths represent a fraction of cases. But there’s a lag of some three weeks between infection and death. Hospitalizations give an intermediate point... Some other useful data could easily be collected at testing sites. As doctors Farzad Mostashari and Ezekiel Emanuel pointed out last week in STATnews, health departments should tally not just positives but total tests, and record demographic and symptom information on all the test takers. Much of that isn’t collected or coordinated."

Jim Acosta Strikes Blow Against Racism By Seeing How Many Bats He Can Fit In His Mouth | The Babylon Bee - "The CNN journalist was worried his station might be flirting with racism since they have reported on the coronavirus scandal even though China would like everyone just to pretend everything is fine. They had even referred to it as the Wuhan virus before China told them to stop. Acosta knew drastic steps had to be taken to show how not-racist he was and prove that CNN was a bastion of love, tolerance, and globalism. So, live on the air this morning, he began solemnly stuffing live bats into his mouth one at a time"

Mafia distributes food to Italy's struggling residents - "These handouts by the mafias are not gifts. The mafia does not do anything out of its kind heart. They are favours that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another, by aiding and abetting a fugitive, holding a gun, dealing drugs and the like.”“Consider what happened to El Chapo, the Mexican narco,” said Gratteri. “He trafficked tons of cocaine and commissioned the murder of hundreds of people but in his hometown he was known for his benevolence, because people said that he provided medicines to families or built roads. The same thing happens here.”"

Brazil gangs impose strict curfews to slow coronavirus spread - "Drug traffickers in one of Rio de Janeiro’s best-known favelas have imposed a coronavirus curfew, amid growing fears over the impact the virus could have on some of Brazil’s poorest citizens... A video apparently recorded in the City of God circulated on social media this week showing a loudspeaker broadcasting the alert: “Anyone found messing or walking around outside will be punished.”“The traffickers are doing this because the government is absent. The authorities are blind to us,” one resident told the Guardian... In Santa Marta, a favela that sits in the shadow of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, traffickers have been handing out soap and have placed signs near a public water fountain at the community’s entrance that say: “Please wash your hands before entering the favela.”"

Meet Lola Taylor: The porn gal whose gonna get it on to cure the Corona Virus - "Russian Porn Star Lyubov Bushuyeva, known by her stage name as Lola Taylor, has promised to have sex with whomever cures the COVID-19 Corona Virus!"

Seattle police chief tells residents to call 911 if called racist names amid coronavirus pandemic - "The message to Seattle citizens that they should call 911 because of racist name-calling comes as Washington has the seventh most confirmed coronavirus cases of any state, as of Tuesday morning, with 5,187. It is second only to New York in deaths with 219.Hate speech is broadly protected by the First Amendment, meaning there is likely little the Seattle Police Department will be able to do if an incident of racist name-calling is reported"
Evidently the police are very free

China floods Facebook with undeclared coronavirus propaganda ads blaming Trump - "Chinese state media is flooding Facebook and Instagram with undisclosed political adverts whitewashing its role in the coronavirus pandemic and pinning blame on Donald Trump... The ads, seen millions of times, extolled China’s efforts against Covid-19, downplayed its domestic outbreak, depicted Mr Trump as misguided and racist, and suggested that the virus might have originated in the US.Yet all of them initially ran without a political disclaimer, allowing them to hide information about who they were targeting and sometimes letting them sidestep Facebook’s strict rules on political advertising... At least 31 ads bought by Chinese state media have been archived for lacking a disclaimer since January... Last August, the Telegraph found the same Chinese state media outlets were using Facebook ads to demonise Hong Kong protesters. Around the same time, Twitter banned ads by state-controlled media after it was criticised for taking money from Xinhua for ads denying China's oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang."

Facebook Fact Checker That Issues Warning About Misinformation Reportedly Worked At Wuhan Lab - "Facebook is now issuing warnings to anyone who accesses an article that their “fact checkers” have claimed contains misinformation. Before visiting the site users will see a warning label from Facebook about the site or the source if the fact checkers claim that the information isn’t correct. However, it turns out that one of the fact checkers worked at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China... Simply put, one of the people who worked at the lab at the center of the coronavirus pandemic that was covered up by the World Health Organization with literal disinformation is also being used as a source to classify other news sites as “fake news” or “false information”."

Facebook 'fact checkers' foul again after censoring Post story - "Way back on Feb. 23, The Post ran an opinion piece by Steven Mosher saying that we couldn’t trust China’s story about the origins of COVID-19. He argued that the virus might — might — have jumped to the human population thanks to errors at a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan, rather than via that city’s now-notorious “wet market.”The piece was widely read online — until Facebook stepped in.The social media giant’s “fact checkers” decided this was not a valid opinion... this was an opinion column, not a news report... Nearly two months later, of course, Mosher isn’t alone in his opinion.This week brought hard news in the form of State Department cables from January 2018 showing that the US government had longstanding, grave concerns about safety protocols at the Wuhan lab — China’s only Level 4 biohazard laboratory.And multiple outlets, including Fox News and The Washington Post, report that top US national-security officials are increasingly of the belief that the bug came from that lab. The New York Post has asked for weeks to get Facebook to un-block the Mosher article. On Friday, the social network finally did so, though without acknowledging that it had been wrong all along.As a significant source of news for much of the world’s population, Facebook has a clear responsibility to do better: If it’s going to block “false” information, it needs better fact-checkers — and more people watching over those watchmen.When your defense against “fake news” all but kills free discussion, your system is worse than no defense at all."

Coronavirus Economics - "If prices are kept artificially low, there's little incentive for shoppers not to buy as much as they can. Of course, only those shoppers lucky enough to get to the stores first can do so. Their hoarding then leaves nothing for shoppers in line behind them... price hikes have another important advantage: They create the necessary incentives for entrepreneurs to shift resources toward activities that increase the supply of these goods."
This ignores the fact that limits on purchases can prevent hoarding, and fails to distinguish between short and long run effects of price controls - in the short run companies can't enter the industry anyway, and panic buying is a short term phenomenon too, which makes short term price controls justifiable

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "A rare essay written by a reporter who understands how Washington bureaucracy works. Several federal departments have groups that deal with epidemiological issues. A task force for the coronavirus was operating under HHS by the third week in January. The CDC had started on its test kit around the middle of January and finished its flawed test kit the second week in February.It’s this period between late January and mid-February where there are questions about the coronavirus response. Peter Navarro, a trade representative issued a memo on January 29th warning that the coronavirus was highly dangerous and could claim millions of American lives. He was not a medical expert but his warning came close to modeling done out of Britain in mid-March. Trump limited travel from China at the end of January.A week ago Dr. Fauci gave a heated reply to a reporters question about America’s response to the virus where he stated that the country’s response was early. Dr. Birx contributed that the early reporting indicated that the coronavirus was a limited threat to the US, similar to SARS.We know the FDA was flat footed in February. They showed no interest in speeding the use of coronavirus tests, including when the CDC test turned out to be flawed.The key week of change was February 23-29th. At the beginning of the week the threat was still seen as minimal. A couple of dozen people were infected and contact tracing was being conducted. Nancy Pelosi urged people to attend a Chinatown event and other politicians were trying to prevent panic. On February 27th, Pence was assigned to lead the coronavirus task force and on February 29th the FDA changed course on tests, allowing their development and use by private labs as well as two phases of the CDC test"

Karen on Twitter - "Question. Do those NHS nurses and other staff wishing harm to @BorisJohnson on Twitter not bring shame on their profession at a time when other NHS nurses and staff are doing their very best?"
"Yes. I am a nurse (44 years) and many of my colleagues cheered when they heard he had caught the virus. I am ashamed of them and disgusted that people like this exist in my profession."

Kurt Schlichter on Twitter - "My 8-year-old son just asked "Why did Trump not have the foresight to construct a million ventilators a year ago and stockpile 10 million N95 masks? I blame his science denial for this and his other crimes. Also, he is racist." I could not answer and was left literally shaking."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "A week after a Trump limited travel from China *Over 20 media headlines playing down the Coronavirus*"

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts - "You may remember a story from a couple weeks ago where infectious disease experts were asked to predict the number of coronavirus cases on March 29th. The actual number was six times the average of the expert’s guesses."
Prediction is very difficult, especially when it's about the future

Watch Dr. Fauci In January Say You Don't Need To Worry About Coronavirus - "Idiotic armchair quarterbacks are trying to rewrite history claiming that we could see this coming in January. No one did. Not even Dr. Anthony Fauci, who on many shows in January repeatedly said Coronavirus was nothing to worry about. Here he is on January 21st with Greg Kelly on his Newsmax show"

Renzo Guinto on Twitter - "Just declined an invite to speak in a #COVID19 webinar when I learned that there is no single woman in a panel of 8 men (I will be 9th). Even in crisis time, & especially in this time, we must remain consistent with our convictions. #NoToManels #WomeninGlobalHealth #MaleAllyship
Fundamentally, #COVID19 and the inadequate response in our country and around the world are symptoms of patriarchy. The new post-#coronavirus world should be better than this.
The compromise that was proposed was that they can hold a 2nd “all-women” webinar after ours. I will not be an accomplice to such token gesture. Male discussions and female discussions can not be separate especially in this day and age!"
I guess virtue signalling comes high on his list of priorities, not fighting covid-19

Anita Sarkeesian on Twitter - "Why hasn't America frozen rents and mortgages? Why hasn't America nationalized its health services? Why hasn't America released everyone in prisons? Why hasn't America issued a "shelter in place" for the whole nation? Now's a good time to read up on alternatives to capitalism."
Comment: "Is she implying socialism is about letting prisoners go free and forcing law abiding citizens to basically be prisoners in their own homes? How insane is it that most ppl don’t love it then?!"

𝐅𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚 𝐈𝐧 𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐜𝐞 on Twitter - "Feminists, transsexuals & homosexuals are all quiet. In times of crisis people look up to "toxic masculinity". Because society doesn't "need" men until society is under threat. Men aren't important until something tragic happens. #COVIDー19"

Fried chicken and bento: New Zealanders dream of takeaways as lockdown prepares to lift - "For the past few weeks, a box of KFC fried chicken has been sitting in Lee Henaghan’s freezer.He bought it on the final day before New Zealand entered level-4 lockdown on 26 March, which saw restaurants and takeaway outlets close all over the country.As the weeks ticked by, Kiwis started reporting fever dreams involving their favourite takeaway foods. Instead, they were stuck at home trying to recreate them, with mixed results. But Henaghan, from Richmond on New Zealand’s South Island, was smug. He had anticipated the supply and demand issue and kept that frozen box of KFC until he could take it no more. He called it “Operation Sanders”... Under the move to level-3 restrictions, which come into force at midnight on Monday, New Zealanders have been told to work and study from home, “unless that is not possible”. Anyone going out must obey social distancing rules. Businesses can open, but cannot physically interact with customers and “low-risk” recreation activities will be allowed... not everyone is excited about the move to level 3. Opposition MP Judith Collins suggested the level-4 lockdown had been too harsh and said not much would change with level 3. She preferred a more Australian-style approach to stamping out the coronavirus, where many businesses have remained open, including restaurants and cafes who are able to sell takeaway meals, but not serve patrons at tables."

Coronavirus: China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case traced back to November 17 - "The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, can be traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the South China Morning Post... According to the
World Health Organisation’s website, the first confirmed Covid-19 case in China was on December 8, but the global body does not track the disease itself but relies on nations to provide such information. A report published in medical journal The Lancet by Chinese doctors from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, which treated some of the earliest patients, put the date of the first known infection at December 1.Dr Ai Fen, the first known whistle-blower, told People magazine in an interview that was later censored, that tests showed that a patient at Wuhan Central Hospital was diagnosed on December 16 as having contracted an unknown coronavirus... Previous reports said that although doctors in the city collected samples from suspected cases in late December, they could not confirm their findings because they were bogged down by bureaucracy, such as having to get approval from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which could take days. They were also ordered not to disclose any information about the new disease to the public.As late as January 11, Wuhan’s health authorities were still claiming there were just 41 confirmed cases."
No wonder China is scared of an independent enquiry

China refuses WHO requests to participate in coronavirus investigations: report - "The World Health Organization (WHO) is complaining publicly that China should allow it to participate in investigations of the origins of the coronavirus."

France Discovers Undiagnosed Coronavirus Patient From Last Year - Bloomberg - "A patient hospitalized with flu-like symptoms at the end of December in France turned out to have had Covid-19, a finding that suggests the new coronavirus was spreading there at least a month earlier than official records show"
All the conspiracy theorists and China shills are very excited, ignoring that China's first case was in November

Texas Governor Abbott Caught on Recording Saying Reopening Will Escalate Coronavirus Spread on Same Day State Businesses Open - "Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been caught on an audio recording saying that reopening the state's businesses will "actually will lead to an increase in spread" of coronavirus, adding, "The goal never has been to get COVID-19 transmission down to zero."The audio, released by the group Progress Texas, is reportedly from a May 1 call Abbott held with state legislators to discuss reopening businesses shuttered by the coronavirus epidemic... "The main thing we look for... the primary number I've seen doctors and epidemiologists use," he adds, "is a reduction in the percentage of people who test positive. If we can continue to achieve that, that means that we have COVID-19 under the control that we need.... It's simply not scientifically or mathematically possible to get to zero in the transmission rate, whether it be for COVID, whether it be for the regular flu, whether it be for any type of infectious disease." "Governor Abbott finally admitted that prematurely opening Texas is going to lead to more cases and more deaths," Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia said in a statement. "Republicans are putting our families' lives at risk so their billionaire donors can get richer." "It is absolutely shameful Governor Abbott won't face the press, take the tough questions, and admit the deadly risks of his decisions," Garcia added. "He knew people would die after reopening Texas and now he needs to own it." Within two days of easing state lockdown measures on May 1, Texas reported its second, third and fourth highest daily spikes in cases since the outbreak began... Abbott announced that hair salons will be allowed to reopen on Friday and gyms will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity on May 18."
Someone not taken in by the bait and switch, and who remembers that while now many people are saying we must lockdown till there are zero cases (or a vaccine comes out), this drastic step was initially justified by not overwhelming health systems and flattening the curve
And of course the Democrat is scientifically illiterate (whether deliberately or not) and is pushing for 0 new cases before re-opening
Of course the journalist never asks how a disease with an incubation period can see spikes within 2 days (not to mention testing lags)

Policy and Punditry Need to Adapt to New Virus Data - "When we began our foray into quarantine seven weeks ago, there was a unifying and eminently sensible rationale behind it: “Bend the curve.” The idea was this: If allowed to go unchecked, COVID-19 would overwhelm hospitals, leaving patients without beds.  Short on ventilators, patients would be left to suffocate. In short, by slowing the spread of the virus we would prolong the amount of time it spread through the country, but would reduce the total number of deaths. Moreover, we would buy time for the nation’s testing apparatus to ramp up, to produce more ventilators, and to expand hospital capacity.This concept went viral. Vox produced one of the most memorable images of the epidemic with the chart below showing cases (without protective measures) reaching a sharp peak, blowing through the capacity of the health care system, while imposing protective measures results in a longer, flatter curve that fails to overwhelm the health care system. The image spread rapidly on social media -- former President Barack Obama even retweeted it – and “Flatten the curve” became the number one hashtag on Twitter for quite some time... “Exponential growth” entered the lexicon of people who had never taken a statistics course, as charts of coronavirus cases accelerating (and often never decelerating) made their way around the web... No states are on anything resembling an exponential growth trajectory, almost all states are past a peak, and most states are substantially so. This would suggest that in many states, the question really should be how to reopen while keeping hospitals from being overwhelmed again.This is especially true given that the situation on the ground has changed dramatically since early March. Most states have substantially expanded hospital capacity, both by securing emergency locations to be used in case of overflow and by suspending elective surgeries, to the point where many hospitals are facing financial crises. Moreover, the arrival of the first COVID-19 therapeutic, Remdesivir, will help, since hospital stays are shortened when the drug is used.  Personal protective equipment and ventilator availability has expanded, we’ve developed techniques for sanitizing PPEs, and ventilators may not be as useful as once thought. As of this writing, we’re testing over 200,000 people a day, which eclipses the rate South Korea achieved when containing its viral outbreak. Perhaps most promisingly, the death rate looks lower than initially expected. It isn’t clear how much lower – studies disagree – but most of the serological studies find an implied fatality rate lower than the 1% used to arrive at the conclusion that 2 million people would die if the virus were allowed to run its course. Likewise – this is much less commented upon although it might be more important – the hospitalization rate looks substantially lower than initially anticipated. That isn’t to say we should just let the virus run wild... but it does suggest that the risks are different than we initially expected, and which have in many ways been mitigated from where we stood last March.But in the meantime, there seems to have been a subtle shift in the discourse. Some of this has been a refusal to update prior assumptions – some people seem to believe not much has changed since early March – but other analysts have subtly moved from “bend the curve” to what we might call “crush the curve.” Under the latter approach, rather than looking to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, which raises the fatality rate, we should look to avoid all fatalities. If you look at Obama’s timeline, you can see this play out in real time... restrictions in [California] are moving in the opposite direction of facts on the ground there, especially given the standard of a month ago. It might make more sense to retain restrictions in a place like New York City, but Mayor de Blasio’s move to arrest people gathering in large groups seems discordant when cases in New York are receding. Note too the shift in rhetoric: “This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.” But the shift has probably been the most pronounced among pundits. Perhaps the strongest statement of the “crush the curve” point of view comes from an article published in The Atlantic, with the (frankly unhinged) headline “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice,” with the subtitle “The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.” Infections in Georgia appear to be trending downward, and it is beginning to reopen its economy, including gyms and hair salons. The upshot of the title and the article (which avoids the hyperbolic language from the headline) is that people will die as a result of the decision to open early. It seems likely that this is the case, but the idea behind bending the curve wasn’t that we would bend the curve until there were no more cases. Indeed, it was expressed that we might end up with a similar number of cases, but that by spreading them out we would lower the number of fatalities. This, then, is something different: The idea that we should use the shutdowns to eradicate the virus as best we can, and that weighing lives against the economy reflects a choice tantamount to sacrificing some portion of the population... this absolutist stance is nonsense. We engage in cost-benefit tradeoffs all the time. As I’ve noted before, we engage in a similar cost-benefit exercise every year with the seasonal flu."
The "myth" of the slippery slope strikes again, with status quo bias

Soul of Singapore - "Hey 0 new cases in the last 6 days in South Australia (where I currently reside), 14 still currently in hospital. State was NEVER fully locked down either. (no public gatherings etc but never fully locked down). Since Singapore (and places like Melbourne and Sydney) have larger denser populations, it'll take longer is all. NZ has pretty much beaten it. No reason Singapore can't. If you're worried about your precious dollars, here's a question for you, what's the point of all that money if you're too dead or crippled (by the virus) to spend it? ... run out of reserves? You sure? You know how much is in reserve? Do you know how long it'll last? Good question for your ministers you pay so much no? 2. it'll take time. Every other country is in a similar situation. SG might lose it's economic standing for a while, even lose to Hong Kong, but you'll get there. Besides... right now, if you opened your borders, who's going to trade with you besides China? LOL... You're trying to use the economy as an excuse to try "herd immunity". if you've locked down for 2 to 3 years, the virus will be quashed... why would [South Australia lock down again]? The virus has been quashed. No new cases. Unless something bad happens then the state goes back into lock down. same as NZ."
Someone claimed that no one believed in long term lockdown and these people only existed in the imaginations of people against lockdown.
Addendum: One FB friend was talking about squashing the curve even in April, and in May was calling for "#zero to less than 5 community transmission" in a city for it to open

The Atlantic - Posts
The hysterical reaction to Georgia's phased reopening is telling. One person even claimed that "Every medical expert has warned against reopening." Another asserted that "many people commenting are such keen eugenicists happily promoting genocide". A third called it "Ethnic cleansing on a grand scale." Yet another wants opening to have a "guarantee that me, you will survive" (i.e. he doesn't want any opening when the virus is still around). To end off, one called this "human sacrifice"

Blaire White
Comment: "I’ve gotten called all kinds of names and been accused of being evil because I’ve been suggesting we start to open the economy up for two weeks. Some people have turned into safety conscious Sith Lords. Either you agree or are scum"
More of the mythical long term lockdown people!

British PM Boris Johnson announces easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions but faces backlash - "British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a loosening of the UK's coronavirus lockdown rules but is facing a rebellion from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over supposed mixed messaging on the changes. From Wednesday, people in England will be allowed to spend as much time as they want outside and travel to work if they cannot work from home, providing social-distancing measures are followed and the rate of infection stays below one."We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise"
Long term lockdown is the only acceptable solution, apparently

Tobs on Twitter - "An easing of lockdown in *any* scenario that doesn’t involve a vaccine is *bound* to increase infection rate. If Germany, who is way ahead of the UK, are struggling we have absolutely no chance. Mixed messaging will only add to the inevitability of a 2nd wave. Stay at Home."
2 years or more of lockdown!

Fauci Says Lockdown Will Continue Until There Are No “New Cases” of Coronavirus - ""I think if we get to the part of the curve that Dr. Birx showed yesterday when it goes down to essentially no new cases, no new deaths at a period of time. I think it makes sense that you will have to relax social distancing"... The prospect of there ever being zero new coronavirus cases appears to be a very long way off, leading some to question if Fauci was asking Americans to adopt social distancing indefinitely, or at least until a vaccine is available. “Fauci said that we can start to “relax” social distancing once there are “no new cases, no deaths.” Is it just me or is that completely batshit insane?” asked Matt Walsh. “That would keep us in a lockdown for many months or years. And if the virus becomes endemic, forever. How can that be the plan?” “No kidding. We would need to assume that any vaccine would be immediately available, 100% effective, 100% of the population has access to it, and 100% of the population takes it”"
Someone told me that only anti-lockdown people claim that people say that we need lockdown until there're no new cases

Scott Morrison says Australia is doing better on COVID-19 than New Zealand despite a less extreme lockdown. Is he correct? - "Australia and New Zealand remain among a small group of countries that have so far managed to subdue the deadly coronavirus pandemic.But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been keen to stress Australia is not entirely in lock-step with its trans-Tasman neighbour.In an April 16 media conference, he said New Zealand had imposed a "state of even more extreme lockdown" than Australia, but had been less successful at suppressing the virus after accounting for population size... In New Zealand, for example, all but the most essential retail businesses were forced to close, whereas in Australia many shops were permitted to remain open, albeit on a restricted basis.New Zealanders were also only allowed to stay within their "local area" when leaving home — that is, they could only visit places nearby for essential services or local exercise.In Australia, domestic travel was to be avoided but some states had exemptions on restrictions, like visiting another property you owned or compassionate grounds.In Australia, restaurants and cafes were allowed to provide takeaway, whereas in New Zealand they were forced to close.Weddings and funerals were also completely banned in New Zealand (with some limited exceptions for close family), whereas in Australia they were allowed to take place with heavy restrictions limiting the number of people attending... "Australia has likely achieved the same results controlling infection as New Zealand, just in Australia with less lockdown measures and so not as much economic and social impacts""

Coronavirus pandemic misery expected to last two more years, says expert report - "The new coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years—until 60% to 70% of the population has been infected, a team of longstanding pandemic experts predicted... Because Covid-19 is new, no one has any immunity, they said. "The length of the pandemic will likely be 18 to 24 months, as herd immunity gradually develops in the human population""

Tanzania suspends laboratory head after president questions coronavirus tests - "Magufuli said on Sunday the imported test kits were faulty as they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw — among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins"

Oregon county creates race-specific 'grounding space' to escape 'whiteness' during pandemic - "In a daily report dedicated to news updates and guidance for county employees fighting the coronavirus, an Oregon county in the Portland area said it was creating a safe "grounding space" for minority staff to escape a predominant “whiteness.”The April 5 "situation report" from the Multnomah County Office of Emergency Operations Center announced that the "Emergency Operations Center Equity Officer is hosting a grounding space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) employees to share, heal, connect, and get grounded in a space that is not dominated by whiteness."... Heather Mac Donald, a Stanford-trained attorney and fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research who writes about policing, homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform and race relations, told Just the News that Multnomah County’s actions are particularly disturbing during a time of emergency.“Identity politics long ago jumped from the university into the world at large, above all, into highly receptive government agencies and social service groups,” Mac Donald said. “It is of course outrageous that any alleged public health or service organization would spend any energy on reinforcing racial victimology and racial discrimination during this time of allegedly overburdened public health systems. But race hatred has been so baked into many government agencies by now that it is par for the course.”... “If what has been reported in Portland is true, that people are being identified and classified based on racial or ethnic characteristics, it continues a disturbing trend that we‘ve seen for the past several years, where public and private institutions are seemingly self-segregating in a time when we just had the first African-American president for eight years”... Christie, an attorney, BBC's North American Political Analyst, author of “Black in the White House: Life Inside George W. Bush's West Wing,” and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said actions like Multnomah County’s set back racial progress in America.“If Brown v. Board of Education was truly a landmark Supreme Court case that overturned the notion of separate but equal, and [ruled] that we are all equal, we’re all Americans, we’re all afforded the same privileges and protections under the Constitution, it fits a disturbing pattern of late that people are ignoring the historical progress [achieved]” Christie said,"and instead are seeking to resegregate, but in this notion, it’s people of color who are seeking to do this, which is unconscionable."'

The social justice cult is falling apart as the world faces a real crisis - "The social justice set has been shrieking about “lives being at risk” for almost a decade. But now that we’re faced with actual devastation to the human way of life, it becomes clear that it was always only rhetoric. Social justice is the culture that cried wolf... the church of social justice is actually jealous of coronavirus. It turns out that no one was ever going to die from being misgendered or experiencing a microaggression. Imagine that... The social justice set is so intent on hating the course of humanity at large that they are practically advocating for the kind of massive upheavals that the coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to endure. The reason we have not upended society and stopped the course of progress previously is precisely because of the destruction we are currently seeing to the human built infrastructure that we so painstakingly constructed. Small businesses are dying, and whether they will come back is an eventuality no one can predict. Restaurants, shops, start-ups, are all shuttering. Is this really what the social justice advocates would have had us do years ago?"

Covid Will Not Kill Social Justice Warriors - "It’s very important to understand that “Critical Social Justice” isn’t just activism and some academic theories about things. It’s a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics. Thus, not only do they think about almost nothing except ways that “systemic power” and “dominant groups” are creating all the problems around us, they’ve more or less forgotten how to think about problems in any other way... it’s not so much a matter of them “finding a way” to use this crisis to their advantage as it is that they don’t really do anything else... I strongly suspect and will go on a limb to predict that the term “health equity” is very likely to become a key idea in our national conversations and beyond as this crisis develops and eventually passes, and it will be considered a top priority to bring the idea of “social equity” (which is what “equity” really refers to) to healthcare, public health, and policy. It will definitely be rooted in the need for safety for the most vulnerable, as they define them, but it will also rest heavily in the idea of “equity” itself, which means “adjusting shares so that citizens are made equal,” that is, enforced equality of outcomes. In the health arena, this can be done more or less responsibly, up to the application of applying a “progressive stack” to providing medical care, which means prioritizing who gets care according to how underprivileged intersectional Theory says they are... we will see a necessary expansion of state power and will therefore need to be vigilant on the far side to make sure that it isn’t abused, as has happened in previous calamities. Because Critical Social Justice is ultimately a kind of bureaucratic takeover, that is, it’s fundamentally an institutional effort, it will certainly seek to use any expansions in state (and other institutional) power to its advantage. It will do this by bending the will of these institutions to their vision.Take the Equity Task Force that just got approved by the state legislature and Governor Inslee in the state of Washington. This is an entity that exists to bring more equity to the state of Washington, and members of the task force said–on camera, mind you–that their definition of equity is to “disrupt and dismantle” the current system in favor of their own and that their intention was to make sure the administrative offices created by and around it last at least fifty years"
I guess it was too much to expect grievance mongers to get some perspective in the face of real problems

Rachel Bovard on Twitter - "Annnnd....in case you thought we were done with the woke-scolding, you were wrong. Families can't pay their mortgages and there aren't enough ventilators, but you know what we will have? Corporate budgets dedicated to diversity & inclusion initiatives!"
On the rubbish the Democrats crammed into the coronavirus relief bill

Exclusive: Government scientist Neil Ferguson resigns after breaking lockdown rules to meet his married lover - "The scientist whose advice prompted Boris Johnson to lock down Britain resigned from his Government advisory position on Tuesday night as The Telegraph can reveal he broke social distancing rules to meet his married lover.Professor Neil Ferguson allowed the woman to visit him at home during the lockdown while lecturing the public on the need for strict social distancing in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The woman lives with her husband and their children in another house... Prof Ferguson has frequently appeared in the media to support the lockdown and praised the "very intensive social distancing" measures... Ms Staats, a left-wing campaigner, made a second visit on April 8 despite telling friends she suspected that her husband, an academic in his 30s, had symptoms of coronavirus. She and her husband live together with their two children in a £1.9 million home, but are understood to be in an open marriage. She has told friends about her relationship with Prof Ferguson, but does not believe their actions to be hypocritical because she considers the households to be one... Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, was forced to resign last month after making two trips to her second home during the coronavirus lockdown."

Coronavirus death rate: Why it affects people differently - Los Angeles Times - "Initially, people get fever and cough, and some other symptoms. In this phase, the virus is causing direct damage and infection to cells in the lungs.Some patients get better after this point, but others get severe inflammation in their lungs and other organs, and that can be life-threatening. This appears to be the immune system reacting severely to the virus... I think of the immune system like the police and the virus like criminals.If the criminals are easily brought under control, then the police don’t do much collateral damage to the city. But if there is an all-out war with equally matched sides, there is a lot of collateral damage. That’s what we are seeing in the sickest patients.
Is it surprising that the virus would affect people so differently? Do other viruses do that too?
EJL: It actually is somewhat typical, I would say. What’s different is that the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be affecting children in the same way for reasons we don’t understand yet. That might be a very important scientific clue to investigate in the future."

Coronavirus clue? Most cases aboard U.S. aircraft carrier are symptom-free - "Sweeping testing of the entire crew of the coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt may have revealed a clue about the pandemic: The majority of the positive cases so far are among sailors who are asymptomatic... Roughly 60 percent of the over 600 sailors who tested positive so far have not shown symptoms of COVID-19, the potentially lethal respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, the Navy says. The service did not speculate about how many might later develop symptoms or remain asymptomatic... The figure is higher than the 25% to 50% range offered on April 5 by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force."

Coronavirus: Former Supreme Court justice warns of 'collective hysteria' over outbreak - "Lord Sumption, who served on the UK's highest court until 2018, said people were working themselves "into a lather" over the threat of coronavirus - and should ask themselves "whether the cure may be worse than the disease"... "The pressure on politicians has come from the public, they want action. "They don't pause to ask whether the action will work, they don't ask themselves whether the cost will be worth paying - they want action anyway."Anyone who has studied history will recognise here the classic symptoms of collective hysteria."Hysteria is infectious. We are working ourselves up into a lather in which we exaggerate the threat and stop asking ourselves whether the cure may be worse than the disease."... "Yes, this is serious, and, yes, it's understandable that people cry out to the government, but the real question is, is this serious enough to warrant putting most of our population into house imprisonment, wrecking our economy for an indefinite period, destroying businesses that honest and hard-working people have taken years to build up, saddling future generations with debt? "Depressions, stress, heart attacks, suicides and unbelievable stress inflicted on millions of people who are not especially vulnerable and will suffer only mild symptoms or none at all - like the health secretary and the prime minister."He also criticised police forces for over zealously interpreting government advice on lock down measures, with reports of officers preventing people from buying "non-essential" items or walking in the countryside. Derbyshire Police has attracted particular criticism for warning people against walking in the Peak District and for dumping black dye into the Blue Lagoon, a local beauty spot, to prevent people from gathering. Lord Sumption said: "I have to say that the behaviour of Derbyshire Police in trying to shame people in using their undoubted right to travel to take exercise in the country and wrecking beauty spots in the fells so people don't want to go there is frankly disgraceful."This is what a police state is like. It's a state in which the government can issue orders or express preferences with no legal authority and the police will enforce ministers' wishes.""

“No Detectable Surge” in COVID-19 Following Wisconsin's Controversial Primary, Study Finds - Foundation for Economic Education - ""We analyze confirmed cases and new hospitalizations in Wisconsin in the weeks surrounding the April 7, 2020 election, and find no evidence of a surge in SARS-CoV-2 Transmission"... The findings, which have not yet undergone peer review, are significant because the Badger State came under scrutiny following the decision to hold on-site elections over the objection of the Gov. Tony Evers (D).Many said it was irresponsible and dangerous to hold elections during the COVID-19 outbreak... Nations such as Denmark, Germany, and the Czech Republic have recently reopened their economies after instituting lockdowns in March. As of May 4, none of the countries had shown signs of a “second wave” of the virus which has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people worldwide."
More evidence that not all social distancing is created equal

Andrew Sullivan: By Biden’s Own Standards, He Is Guilty - "The confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. between March 1 and April 4 was 8,128. According to a Washington Post study, there were, in the same time period, 15,400 excess deaths. Again, this is not a small adjustment. It’s close to double the official confirmed number. A similar Financial Times study found the global excess deaths in March and most of April were “a total of 122,000 deaths above normal levels, compared with 77,000 from the official numbers.” Again, that’s a 60 percent difference. Huge."
I haven't seen a full rationalisation for this being just the flu in response to the excess death numbers. Yet. No doubt something will come along (I've some some mumbling that they were going to die soon anyway, but this will become less and less convincing if future months don't see mortality drastically below normal numbers)

Stop sending memes, Russians telecoms firm pleads - "Russia’s biggest telecoms provider on Friday pleaded with clients to stop sending coronavirus memes and viral videos, as networks began to overload as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Inaccurate Virus Models Are Panicking Officials Into Ill-advised Lockdowns - "A scan of statements made by media, state governors, local leaders, county judges, and more show many relying on the same source, an online mapping tool called COVID Act Now. The website says it is “built to enable political leaders to quickly make decisions in their Coronavirus response informed by best available data and modeling.”... COVID Act Now predicted that by March 19 the state of Tennessee could expect 190 hospitalizations of patients with confirmed Wuhan virus. By March 19, they only had 15 patients hospitalized... Jordan Schachtel, a national security writer, said COVID Act Now’s modeling comes from one team based at Imperial College London that is not only highly scrutinized, but has a track record of bad predictions...
'The man behind the projections is refusing to make his code public.'
Jessica Hamzelou at New Scientist notes the systematic errors researchers and scientists have found with the modeling COVID Act Now relies on... So why is the organization or seemingly innocent online mapping tool using inaccurate algorithms to scaremonger leaders into tanking the economy? Politics, of course.Founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers and Democratic activists — Zachary Rosen, Max Henderson, and Igor Kofman — who are all also donors to various Democratic campaigns and political organizations since 2016. Henderson and Kofman donated to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, while Rosen donated to the Democratic National Committee, recently resigned Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, and other Democratic candidates. Prior to building the COVID Act Now website, Kofman created an online game designed to raise $1 million for the eventual 2020 Democratic candidate and defeat President Trump. The game’s website is now defunct. Perhaps the goal of COVID Act Now was never to provide accurate information, but to scare citizens and government officials into to implementing rash and draconian measures. The creators even admit as much with the caveat that “this model is designed to drive fast action, not predict the future.” They generated this model under the guise of protecting communities from overrun hospitals, a trend that is not on track to happen as they predicted. Not only is the data false, and looking more incorrect with each passing day, but the website is optimized for a disinformation campaign.A social media share button prompts users to share their models and alarming graphs on Facebook and Twitter with the auto-fill text, “This is the point of no return for intervention to prevent X’s hospital system from being overloaded by Coronavirus.”... Our governors and state officials deserve better data and analysis than a Democratic activists’ model that doesn’t adjust for important geographical factors like population density or temperature. Americans and their families deserve better than to be jobless, hopeless, and quarantined because of a single website’s inaccurate and hyperbolic hospitalization models."

Computer Model That Locked Down The World Turns Out To Be Sh*tcode - "The source code behind the model was to be made available to the public, and after numerous delays and excuses in doing so, has finally been posted to GitHubA code review has been undertaken by an anonymous ex-Google software engineer here, who tells us the GitHub repository code has been heavily massaged by Microsoft engineers, and others, in an effort to whip the code into shape to safely expose it to the pubic. Alas, they seem to have failed and numerous flaws and bugs from the original software persist in the released version. Requests for the unedited version of the original code behind the model have gone unanswered. The most worrisome outcome of the review is that the code produces “non-deterministic outputs”... In one instance, a team at the Edinburgh University attempted to modify the code so that they could store the data in tables that would make it more efficient to load and run. Performance issues aside, simply moving or optimizing where the input data comes from should have no effect on the output of processing, given the same input data. What the Edinburgh team found however, was this optimization produced a variation in the output, “the resulting predictions varied by around 80,000 deaths after 80 days” which is nearly 3X the total number of UK deaths to date.Edinburgh reported the bug to Imperial, who dismissed it as “a small non-determinism” and told them the problem goes away if you run the code on a single CPU (which the reviewer notes “is as far away from supercomputing as one can get”). Alas, the Edinburgh team found that software still produced different results if it was run on a single CPU"
I saw one person claim that the model would be correct because England is #2 in the world for cases and deaths despite a lockdown, another dismiss it as "a biased opinion piece. not science" and another claim that software isn't science

Code Review of Ferguson's Model - "All papers based on this code should be retracted immediately. Imperial’s modelling efforts should be reset with a new team that isn’t under Professor Ferguson, and which has a commitment to replicable results with published code from day one.On a personal level, I’d go further and suggest that all academic epidemiology be defunded. This sort of work is best done by the insurance sector. Insurers employ modellers and data scientists, but also employ managers whose job is to decide whether a model is accurate enough for real world usage and professional software engineers to ensure model software is properly tested, understandable and so on. Academic efforts don’t have these people, and the results speak for themselves... This situation has come about due to rampant credentialism and I’m tired of it. As the widespread dismay by programmers demonstrates, if anyone in SAGE or the Government had shown the code to a working software engineer they happened to know, alarm bells would have been rung immediately. Instead, the Government is dominated by academics who apparently felt unable to question anything done by a fellow professor. Meanwhile, average citizens like myself are told we should never question “expertise”."

Author of report predicting 3,000 daily coronavirus deaths says it wasn't ‘intended to be a forecast’ - "The researcher who developed a controversial report published Monday, suggesting a surge of up to 3,000 coronavirus deaths per day for the next couple months, says he never intended for his report to be released.Associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Justin Lessler, told the Washington Post he was responsible for creating the model but doesn’t know how or why it was made public as it was not ready to be presented... “The Johns Hopkins’ study being pushed around by the media as factual is based on faulty assumptions and is in no way representative of any federal government projections and, as Johns Hopkins stated, should not be taken as a forecast,” McEnany said. “This ‘study’ considered zero mitigation, meaning it was conducted as though no federal guidelines were in place, no contract tracing, no expansion of testing, while removing all shelter in place protocols laid out in the phased approach of the Opening Up America Again guidelines for individuals with co-morbidities.”"

Statement on the Removal of Plague Inc. from the China App Store and Steam - Ndemic Creations - " We've just been informed that Plague Inc. “includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China” and has been removed from the China App Store. This situation is completely out of our control.Update 2nd March 2020: Plague Inc. has now been removed from Steam in China as wellPlague Inc. is a huge critical and commercial success. Eight years old and with over 130 million players, it’s the #1 strategy/simulation game worldwide and has been the most popular paid game in China for many years. Plague Inc. stands out as an intelligent and sophisticated simulation that encourages players to think and learn more about serious public health issues. We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc.It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing. However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19."

Almost 8million Brits may have already had coronavirus and survived, according to German study on infection rate n - "A GERMAN study of the country's death rate could mean that as many as 7.9million Brits have been infected with the coronavirus.The research paper by the University of Bonn suggests that the true infection total may be more than 40 times the official figures in the UK, and ten times higher in Germany. The researchers studied the town Gangelt - one of the worst impacted in Germany -  to calculate that coronavirus infections have a death rate of 0.37 per cent... This does not factor in potential unrecorded deaths in the equation.With the death toll compared to the potential figure, that would mean millions of Brits may have had the deadly virus and survived.Infections are widely believed to be underestimated due to a variety of reasons such as lack of testing and asymptomatic cases - and coronavirus may even arrived in Europe as early as November."

Liberate the outdoors - "An infected person could infect another person with the coronavirus just about anywhere, especially in dense crowds. But the evidence suggests that the threat is greatly diminished if you are outdoors and not in a crowd.This matters as states consider relaxing their restrictions. They should probably start reopening beaches, large parks, botanical gardens, and allowing safe and spaced outdoor activities such as golf and fishing (though not on a crowded pier), because these are good sources of recreation that appear to present a minimal risk of spread.Sunlight kills the virus and boosts our immune systems. Outdoor places allow more easily for spacing. Most importantly, fresh, moving, wide open air is far less likely to get you sick. Sure, a packed parade, protest, or music festival is still probably unsafe. But any place where people can spread out out-of-doors ought to be reopened as soon as possible.So, as days get longer, sunnier, warmer, and more humid, we ought to embrace the outdoors and boost our immune systems with more sunshine. And our political leaders ought to let us... looking in more than 300 cities, at 318 outbreaks of three or more, not a single outbreak occurred outdoors... “The science could not be clearer,” three scientists, including an epidemiologist, wrote in the Washington Post recently. “The benefits of getting outside vastly outweigh the risk of getting infected in a park.” The benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health are massive, especially when indoor sources of diversion and exercise are shut down... while the virus can persist on surfaces for hours, sunlight seems to kill it pretty rapidly. The Department of Homeland Security found that the half-life of the virus on surfaces (the time it takes the virus to lose half its potency) is hours indoors compared to minutes outdoors... This isn’t unique to the coronavirus. Why is there a winter flu season? One major reason is that we spend more time indoors in the winter — and less time outdoors in the sun...
'Days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin, both of which require sunlight for their generation. This compromises our immune systems, which in turn decreases ability to fight the virus.'...
The more outdoor places you open up, the less crowded each open outdoor space will be."
When people say to listen to the science, what they mean is listen to the science they agree with

Carl Bergstrom, University of Washington biologist, on coronavirus - "he’s been noting and occasionally debunking various conspiracy theories and rumors, such as the idea that the coronavirus was a Chinese bioweapon -- and, in China, that it’s a U.S. bioweapon -- and false stories of catastrophes at American hospitals. On Twitter, he also called out a neurologist, Scott Mintzer, for a “panic inducing” thread about a health system in Seattle, which was based on a second-hand account from an unnamed doctor.Bergstrom also says that there’s been plenty of anticipation of a respiratory viral pandemic like COVID-19, but he does not blame the slow response in the U.S. entirely on the current government. Rather, he notes it’s politically challenging to fund pandemic preparedness without a clear and present threat... government must play a central role in planning and responding to such catastrophes, and that advocates of small-government philosophy should understand this kind of planning is akin to raising a military. “There are some collective action problems that even the Chicago-school economists acknowledge will not be adequately solved by the market,” he says. “No one expects us to raise a powerful standing army based on private market forces (and) we consider that a central role of the government to provide national defense. Pandemic preparedness is the same.”"

David Lat: My near-death experience on a ventilator - The Washington Post

Goodbye to open office spaces? How coronavirus is reshaping the workplace. - "Unlike Wright’s original concept, which emphasized natural light and space between desks, today’s open offices are often used to cram more employees into smaller spaces. The effect has been a more distracted workforce... fear of infection makes crowded spaces more psychologically stressful... Many experts hope the pandemic will spur employers to take steps to make offices healthier overall. After all, before the coronavirus outbreak forced us to stay isolated in our homes, most Americans were spending 90 percent of their time inside... One study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago showed as much as 37 percent of U.S. jobs could potentially be done remotely.Still, having a central place to gather and collaborate in person will likely remain essential to most businesses"
Small mercies

Coronavirus risk higher in tight, indoor spaces with little air flow - Business Insider - "The worst coronavirus clusters around the US are all tied to spaces that force people into close quarters for extended periods of time. According to a live-updating New York Times page that tracks outbreaks around the country, all but one of the 12 hardest-hit US locations were prisons, jails, and meat-processing facilities. Multiple nursing homes are also high on the list... The authors advised restaurants to increase the distance between tables, improve ventilation, and cap how long diners can sit.The same guidance should probably then apply to office settings as well... "Despite considerable interaction between workers on different floors of building X in the elevators and lobby, spread of COVID-19 was limited almost exclusively to the 11th floor, which indicates that the duration of interaction (or contact) was likely the main facilitator for further spreading""

Akela Lacy on Twitter - "A CNN Global Town Hall. Coronavirus Facts and Fears... pecial guests: former Vice President Joe Biden, Mark Zuckerberg & Dr. Priscilla Chan"
"What, and I cannot stress this enough, the fuck"

George Takei on Twitter - "I didn't spend my childhood in barbed wire enclosed internment camps so I could listen to grown adults today cry oppression because they have to wear a mask at Costco."
As the left like to say, just because your suffering is worse doesn't mean others are not suffering

Armed black citizens escort Michigan lawmaker to capitol after volatile rightwing protest - "A black lawmaker came to Michigan’s capitol with an escort of armed black citizens on Wednesday, days after white protesters with guns staged a volatile protest inside the state house, comparing the Democratic governor’s public health orders to “tyranny”... Despite the armed escort, Anthony said she was “actively working to prohibit open carry” of firearms in the state capitol, which is currently legal."
Of course, it's only wrong when white people do it. And liberals pretend the Black Panthers didn't exist

Impact of climate and public health interventions on the COVID-19 pandemic: A prospective cohort study - "Epidemic growth of COVID-19 was not associated with latitude and temperature, but may be associated weakly with relative or absolute humidity. Conversely, public health interventions were strongly associated with reduced epidemic growth."

University of Hong Kong study finds eyes are ‘important route’ for coronavirus, up to 100 times more infectious than Sars

US provokes China by seeking to name street after Wuhan doctor who sounded coronavirus alarm - "US politicians on Thursday proposed renaming the street in front of China's embassy after the late Wuhan doctor punished after warning about the new coronavirus, a step sure to outrage Beijing.The measure would rechristen the section of the Washington street in front of the embassy "Li Wenliang Plaza" instead of the innocuous current name of "International Place."... US politicians similarly proposed in 2014 to rename the street after Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Prize-winning writer who was imprisoned after calling for democratic reforms... China is not the only nation targeted by such symbolic action.The City Council in Washington in 2018 named a block outside the Russian embassy after Boris Nemtsov, one of President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critics, who was shot dead in Moscow in 2015. After the US proposal on Liu Xiaobo, some Chinese proposed naming the street outside the US embassy in Beijing after Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who fled the United States to unveil government snooping on its citizens.The US consulate in the Indian city of Kolkata, a stronghold of communists, lies on a street named after Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh."

How the state came to criminalise ordinary life - "The UK is a parliamentary democracy and must still be one when these days pass. Emergencies can be abused by knaves, and emergency legislation can turn out to have unexpected consequences. The Enabling Act that followed the Reichstag fire in 1933 is an extreme example of bad things that happen with law when attention is diverted and scrutiny extinguished.No medical or other crisis should be reason for the executive to be given absolute power, including to potentially criminalise the population at large.Of course, the regulations provide for a defence of “reasonable excuse.” But this is problematic. It is not for you but for an emanation of the state—a police officer or a court—to decide whether you are reasonably excused. The examples of excuses listed in the law are so vague that neither constable nor citizen really knows where they are. There have been several publicised examples of the police either not understanding their powers or being excessive in implementing them, from wrongful arrests to invading private property and personal spaces."

McDonald's shooting followed argument over coronavirus restrictions, police say - "A woman has been arrested on suspicion of shooting a fast-food worker and injuring others after they told her to leave a McDonald's restaurant in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, police said.Gloricia Woody had entered the restaurant that evening despite the dining area being closed because of coronavirus restrictions, according to police.When employees asked her to leave, she refused and got into a scuffle with one of them, police said. Employees eventually forced her outside, but she re-entered the restaurant with a handgun and fired about three rounds, police said."

Her husband was killed over face mask, police say. She calls it 'senseless' - "Ramonyea Travon Bishop, 23, Larry Edward Teague, 44, and Sharmel Lashe Teague, 45, have been charged with first-degree premeditated murder, along with other charges"

This Is the Future of the Pandemic - The New York Times - ""when we are successful in doing social distancing — so that we don’t overwhelm the health care system — fewer people get the infection, which is exactly the goal,” said Ms. Tedijanto. “But if infection leads to immunity, successful social distancing also means that more people remain susceptible to the disease. As a result, once we lift the social distancing measures, the virus will quite possibly spread again as easily as it did before the lockdowns.” So, lacking a vaccine, our pandemic state of mind may persist well into 2021 or 2022 — which surprised even the experts.

Quarantine Fatigue Is Real. Shaming People Won't Help. - The Atlantic - "Public-health experts have known for decades that an abstinence-only message doesn’t work for sex. It doesn’t work for substance use, either. Likewise, asking Americans to abstain from nearly all in-person social contact will not hold the coronavirus at bay—at least not forever... In addition to the economic hardship it causes, isolation can severely damage psychological well-being, especially for people who were already depressed or anxious before the crisis started. In a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of Americans said that the coronavirus pandemic has harmed their mental health.... the choice between staying home indefinitely and returning to business as usual now is a false one. Risk is not binary. And an all-or-nothing approach to disease prevention can have unintended consequences. Individuals may fixate on unlikely sources of contagion—the package in the mail, the runner or cyclist on the street—while undervaluing precautions, such as cloth masks, that are imperfect but helpful... Abstinence-only education is not just ineffective, but it’s been associated with worse health outcomes, in part because it deprives people of an understanding of how to reduce their risk if they do choose to have sex. And without a nuanced approach to risk, abstinence-only messaging can inadvertently stigmatize anything less than 100 percent risk reduction. Americans have seen this unfold in real time over the past two months as pandemic shaming—the invective, online and in person, directed at those perceived as violating social-distancing rules—has become a national pastime... shaming doesn’t eliminate risky behavior—it just drives it underground. Even today, many gay men hesitate to disclose their sexual history to health-care providers because of the stigma that they anticipate. Shaming people for their behavior can backfire... Enclosed and crowded settings, especially with prolonged and close contact, have the highest risk of transmission, while casual interaction in outdoor settings seems to be much lower risk. A sustainable anti-coronavirus strategy would still advise against house parties. But it could also involve redesigning outdoor and indoor spaces to reduce crowding, increase ventilation, and promote physical distancing, thereby allowing people to live their lives while mitigating—but not eliminating—risk... Some people are seeking human contact outside of their households because of intense loneliness, anxiety, or a desire for pleasure. The decision to go for a run with a friend or gather in a park with extended family may be in conflict with current public-health guidance in some communities, but for some people, the low risk of coronavirus transmission in these settings may be outweighed by the health benefits of human connection, exercise, and being outdoors"

Why Conservatives and Liberals Are Not Experiencing the Same Pandemic - "Liberals are very concerned about the disease; conservatives are comparatively apathetic.This fact is puzzling because a long history of research in social psychology suggests that conservatives ought to be more worried than liberals about threatening diseases.  Indeed, decades of research ties conservatism to threat sensitivity more broadly, and meta-analyses of dozens of studies reveal that conservatism is higher in societies with greater levels of disease threat...  my colleagues and I investigated this question.  We considered two possibilities.  First, might conservatives actually be less threatened by the current pandemic?  After all, the pandemic has thus far tended to hit more liberal regions, like New York, harder than more conservative regions.  It is therefore possible that conservative and liberal differences are driven by a divergence in actual experiences with COVID-19. Perhaps the roles would have been reversed if the original U.S. epicenter had been Houston instead of New York City.Or, perhaps conservatives and liberals are viewing the pandemic through different ideological lenses – lenses that bias their perceptions of the pandemic’s potential threat... We found little evidence that different experiences with COVID-19 account for liberals’ and conservatives’ different views of the pandemic.  Instead, participants’ desired political outcomes more consistently accounted for ideological differences in disease threat perception... Conservatives oppose the government telling them when they can or cannot leave their homes; liberals support such policies.  Because a threatening disease might validate government interventions that conservatives dislike, conservatives appear motivated to downplay the severity.  Or conversely, because a threatening disease might validate government interventions that liberals do like, liberals seem motivated to magnify the threat.  Note that our results cannot say which of these is happening in greater measure.Thus, it is these ideological lenses – and not direct experiences – that appear to explain better liberals’ and conservatives’ different views of the pandemic... We found that the general effect of ideology on perceived COVID-19 threat significantly decreased at higher levels of experience with COVID-19"

The invisible pandemic - The Lancet - "COVID-19 is a disease that is highly infectious and spreads rapidly through society. It is often quite symptomless and might pass unnoticed, but it also causes severe disease, and even death, in a proportion of the population, and our most important task is not to stop spread, which is all but futile, but to concentrate on giving the unfortunate victims optimal care."

Covid-19 behaves like tourists - "As a cross-cultural psychologists, I am familiar with many variables that distinguish nations from each other. The most prominent dimension is individualism. Western cultures tend to be more individualistic than Asian cultures. This might suggest that culture plays a role because Asian cultures have had fewer Covid-19 deaths. However, individualism as measured by Hofstede’s dimension is a weak predictor and did not survive statistical controls. Other dimensions that were less plausible also did not predict variation in Covid-19 deaths.However, one variable that was a predictor was the number of tourists that travel to a country... these results suggest that timing is a big factor in the current differences across countries. Countries with high death tolls were simply unlucky to be at the center of the pandemic or well connected to it. As the pandemic progresses, this factor will become less important."

The Big Read: Digitally estranged, seniors struggle with sense of displacement in pandemic-hit offline world - "Increasingly, senior citizens like Mr Sik are making their way back into the streets, bored and a little stir-crazy close to a month after the nation’s circuit breaker measures kicked in on Apr 7 to stem a rising tide of infections... there are others, like Yishun resident Wong Ya Long, who lost their one and only social network with the closure of the seating areas at coffee shops.The 77-year-old who lives alone was almost in tears when this reporter asked how the circuit breaker had been for him... “I have nobody to talk to,” he said. He used to pass the time by hanging out with four to five other friends at a coffee shop. They did not have the foresight to exchange phone numbers before the circuit breaker... Since the circuit breaker measures took effect, there have been viral video clips showing seniors not adhering to the rules, attracting criticism of this group as “stubborn”, “ignorant” and “socially irresponsible”.However, interviews with the older generation showed that there could be underlying issues which require some attention... Social scientists interviewed felt that many senior citizens are not as savvy as others who make it a point to head out to a park connector or field for example, to get their dose of fresh air. Instead, they loiter around their neighbourhoods.They are also less able to evade enforcement efforts, compared with their younger and more mobile counterparts... “You have the poorer and the working class who are all stuck in the heartlands. And those (areas) are very policeable… And then in private estates, in places where you have to drive to get there, there are the more affluent who are not caught.”... “It is not easy for an older person like her to (use food delivery services)... so the only way for them (to have) this hot meal is to walk there, and by which time the older folks believe that if your meal grows cold, you might as well not eat it because it is no longer nutritious anymore.”... “It’s super boring because there are no shows to watch… You (turn) on the television, it’s also all ‘Channel 19’ because everything is all about COVID-19”... “I am staying in a rental house with so many bedbugs. I’d rather run away from the bedbugs … than go back home.”He now spends his day at a stairway close to his flat, constantly on the lookout for enforcement officers. Mr Narayanasamy added that the rules are changing too quickly for him to keep up.“I thought that time they say gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed. We were four people only, but I still kena (suffer the consequences)”... “Sitting at home for too long will give us dementia. It’s also an illness.”Mr Quek, who uses a mobility scooter, now plays a cat-and-mouse game with enforcement officers. “If I see them, I will circle the area and come back”... Mental health practitioners noted that non-compliance by some seniors could be a result of various states of depression or anxiety, partly triggered by the one-month extension of the circuit breaker... some are feeling that there is “no point to living”, now that their freedom is stripped away. Some even think that “if you keep me at home, it is as good as ending my life as well”... Mr Nair suggested that incentivising positive behaviours.“If you really want people to follow something, it is better to give a reward,” he said. “For instance, if we come up with a national lottery system that grants people who stay at home for a certain number of hours the chance to win a S$100 prize, people will stay home.”... “While some seniors understand the need for strong measures, others may struggle with the increasing sense of isolation as they are cooped up in their flat,” he said. This is especially so for seniors with underlying conditions such as depression or dementia. He suggested making more frequent phone calls to touch base with the less-connected elderly who live alone."
How ironic that those who lecture others about 'privilege' have the privilege of being able to endure lockdown - not just due to having jobs/money
Some people defended Singapore's constantly changing measures as not wanting to cause panic and get people used to stricter and stricter lockdown - ignoring the fact that they confuse people

Coronavirus Crisis: Sweden Refused Lockdown & Other Countries Are Following - "Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s Emergencies Program, says: “I think if we are to reach a new normal, I think in many ways Sweden represents a future model — if we wish to get back to a society in which we don’t have lockdowns.”...
Myth No. 1: Sweden’s policy was not carefully thought out or well considered.
The number of cases in Sweden and other countries is still rising, but in Sweden one-third of intensive-care beds remain empty. Tegnell has looked at other nations that are loosening their lockdowns. “To me it looks like a lot of the exit strategies that are being discussed look very much like what Sweden is already doing”... Tegnell and his colleagues recognized that the decision to shut down a country was not solely a medical decision based only on the virus The economic costs and health impacts caused by lockdowns are enormous, they realized, so they factored into their analysis the broader societal effects of any restrictions. The saw, for instance, that there is no evidence that children easily transmit the virus... Jan Albert, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Tumor, and Cell Biology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, told CNN that strict lockdowns “only serve to flatten the curve, and flattening the curve doesn’t mean that cases disappear — they are just moved in time.” He added: “And as long as the health-care system reasonably can cope with and give good care to the ones that need care, it’s not clear that having the cases later in time is better.”
Myth No. 2: Sweden did much worse than the U.S. or other countries in managing COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Sweden has about 2,200 reported COVID-19 cases per million population. This is lower than the number in the U.S. (3,053 per million), the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, and also lower than in many other EU countries. It’s slightly above the number in Germany, which has been hailed for its approach to the virus. Sweden has 265 reported COVID-19 deaths per million population. That is somewhat higher than in the U.S. (204 per million) but lower than the number in many other EU countries.Tegnell admits that his country failed to contain the initial outbreak in crowded senior homes... It is ironic that half of the Swedish deaths are in people over the age of 86. Life expectancy in Sweden is 83, whereas it’s 79 in the U.S., so it isn’t surprising that there are relatively more frail elderly in Sweden...
Myth No. 3: Sweden’s relatively low number of intensive-care beds would spell disaster for its response to the virus.
Initially, the main justification for the global lockdowns was that they were necessary to prevent a crush of patients from overwhelming hospital intensive-care units. But Sweden has shown that shutting down the economy and essentially imprisoning the young and healthy are not necessary to avoid ICU overcrowding... Unlike its Nordic neighbors and everywhere else, Sweden doesn’t have to worry about when to reintroduce its “vulnerable” isolated population to social mixing and risk their exposure to the virus. That has been already happening naturally and has generated a defensive reservoir of population viral resistance to COVID-19 that puts it — just like SARS, MERS, and the seasonal flu — in Sweden’s rearview mirror. Sweden doesn’t have to worry about when and how to end social isolation. They don’t have to decide who to keep locked down and who to let out. They don’t have to get into civil-liberty arguments over involuntary restrictions or whether to fine people for not wearing masks and gloves.Of course, Sweden paid a price during the pandemic. But whatever price the Swedes paid for their COVID-19 policy, they will tell you it was worth it"

What does this economist think of epidemiologists? - "1. They do not sufficiently grasp that long-run elasticities of adjustment are more powerful than short-run elasticites.  In the short run you socially distance, but in the long run you learn which methods of social distance protect you the most.  Or you move from doing “half home delivery of food” to “full home delivery of food” once you get that extra credit card or learn the best sites.  In this regard the epidemiological models end up being too pessimistic, and it seems that “the natural disaster economist complaints about the epidemiologists” (yes there is such a thing) are largely correct on this count.  On this question economic models really do better, though not the models of everybody.
2. They do not sufficiently incorporate public choice considerations.  An epidemic path, for instance, may be politically infeasible, which leads to adjustments along the way, and very often those adjustments are stupid policy moves from impatient politicians...
The epidemiological models also do not seem to incorporate Sam Peltzman-like risk offset effects.  If you tell everyone to wear a mask, great!  But people will feel safer as a result, and end up going out more.  Some of the initial safety gains are given back through the subsequent behavioral adjustment...
4. Selection bias from the failures coming first.  The early models were calibrated from Wuhan data, because what else could they do?  Then came northern Italy, which was also a mess.  It is the messes which are visible first, at least on average.  So some of the models may have been too pessimistic at first.  These days we have Germany, Australia, and a bunch of southern states that haven’t quite “blown up” as quickly as they should have.  If the early models had access to all of that data, presumably they would be more predictive of the entire situation today.  But it is no accident that the failures will be more visible early on....
f. We know, from economics, that if you are a French economist, being a Frenchman predicts your political views better than does being an economist (there is an old MR post on this somewhere).  Is there a comparable phenomenon in epidemiology?
g. How well do they understand how to model uncertainty of forecasts, relative to say what a top econometrician would know?"

Anatomy of a killer - Understanding SARS-CoV-2 and the drugs that might lessen its power | Briefing | The Economist - "Because a viral genome has no room for free riders, it is a fair bet that all of the proteins that SARS-CoV-2 makes when it gets into a cell are of vital importance. That makes each of them a potential target for drug designers. In the grip of a pandemic, though, the emphasis is on the targets that might be hit by drugs already at hand."

Opinion | Is It Safer to Visit a Coffee Shop or a Gym? - The New York Times - "Some businesses, like some people, are “super-spreaders.” Through the lens of contagion, a yoga class, a busy corner store or a crowded neighborhood bar may look a lot like a wet market in China... The variation in risk between different types of businesses was surprising. People spend twice as much time at electronics stores as they do at lawn and garden stores. A display of new phones and gadgets is an invitation to mill around; you don’t linger over fertilizer. Similarly, we found that people spend nearly three times as much time searching through the racks at a Salvation Army as they do scanning the shelves at a Dollar General.  Another reason for differences is how concentrated people are: The same number of customers spaced out evenly over the day poses less risk than if they all arrive in a few short windows of time.Even within a sector, there is tremendous variation. Consider two similar restaurants: Denny’s and the Original Pancake House. Both serve a similar number of customers every week, who stay for a similar length of time. But customers at the Original Pancake House are far more concentrated (at breakfast, of course), producing a far higher risk of customers getting crowded into the same space at the same time. The existence of super-spreader businesses might seem like bad news. In fact, it means that most of the disease-spreading risk generated by the economy is concentrated in a small portion of it – which means that we can resume a lot of economic activity with minimal risk"

US says Chinese hacking vaccine research: Reports - "The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are planning to release a warning about the Chinese hacking as governments and private firms race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported.The hackers are also targeting information and intellectual property on treatments and testing for COVID-19... In Beijing Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian rejected the allegation, saying China firmly opposes all cyber attacks."

Lockdowns are not the reason Hong Kong and South Korea are beating Covid-19. Model citizens might be - "the inaction of Western citizens was made worse by their governments’ tendency to downplay the virus. In Italy, there was the campaign “Milan Doesn’t Stop”, which encouraged bars to remain open, while in the US President Donald Trump repeatedly stated that his country wasn’t “built to be shut down”.What’s more, particularly in the early stages of the outbreak, even in Western cities that did implement quarantine measures, restrictions didn’t always seem uniform. Museums would remain open, for instance, or the public would continue their social lives unchanged.“Even though there was a quarantine order from the state, people were throwing a party at the guest house I was staying in,” said South Korean student Kim Jin-sol, who is studying in Italy.And even when the Italian government finally suggested to the public that traditional greetings involving kisses or hugs be abandoned for the time being, many Italians refused to take the advice... a survey by Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Health found 78.5 per cent of respondents would sacrifice their right to privacy to help prevent a national epidemic.That contrasts sharply to attitudes in the West... even within the Asian context, Hongkongers and South Koreans stand out as model students"
Interestingly the read more clipboard hijacker points to SCMP, not Today

The silent threat of the coronavirus: America's dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals - "One of our goals is to promote dialogue on potential risks related to pandemics and U.S. security, in this case the disruption of supply chains and availability of medical supplies and drugs.Today, about 80% of pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are produced in China. This number, while concerning, hides an even greater problem: China is the largest and sometimes only global supplier for the active ingredient of some vital medications. The active ingredients for medicines that treat breast cancer and lung cancer and the antibiotic Vancomycin, which is a last resort antibiotic for some types of antimicrobial resistant infections, are made almost exclusively in China. Additionally, China controls such a large market portion of heparin, a blood thinner used in open-heart surgery, kidney dialysis and blood transfusions that the U.S. government was left with no choice but to continue buying from China even after a contamination scandal in 2007... When a disease reaches epidemic levels, the first obligation for leaders in any country is to protect their own people. As this current crisis progresses, there may come a point when political leaders in China will face decisions on whether to prohibit the export of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other vital medical components in order to treat or protect their own people... The regulatory apparatus to insure that the Chinese manufactured pharmaceuticals being exported meet the highest standards of safety and quality control are weak or nonexistent, according to a congressional report last year. The pressure placed on supply chains by the outbreak could further exacerbate existing quality control challenges. In doing so, the virus has highlighted our reliance on China as a U.S. national security issue due to outsourcing our manufacturing capabilities and inability to ensure quality control."
Free trade and comparative advantage!
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