How The Pandemic Ends

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The gold standard, the ones to beat, the top dog, brain trust magnate, 800 pound gorilla, paragon, cream of the crop, and the one head and shoulders above all others, in the matter of a Covid-19 vaccine, is Oxford.

The group at Oxford already made a Coronavirus vaccine, for MERS, but it never underwent final testing and deployment. Not enough people were getting sick from MERS, and it was under control.

This group is optimistic about having a vaccine in September of this year. Give them a month leeway, a few months for emergency intensified field testing, and some extra time to ramp up production and negotiate liability issues, and we could have a world wide vaccination program well under way by the end of January.

Between now and, say, August 15th, the medicos will have developed and deployed a half dozen nursing, ER, and IC procedures that drop the death rate of the most severely ill well below its near 90% level, to maybe half, and various treatments, therapies, and all will drop the number who go from diagnosed to severe down by a double digit percent.

Although natural herd immunity would take multiple waves and years, a certain reduction of infection rate happens at any percentage. New normal practices will have adapted to slow the disease. By mid September there will be parts of the US, and various smaller sized countries, where COVID-19 will become rare or nearly non existent, even as new hotspots emerge. But even those hotspots will be dealt with better than the US addressed this disaster in the early week.

But the flareups will be severe, and in most cases, caused by politically driven Republican strategies cheered on by Trump and sullenly overseen by Pence. The carnage will continue to be so bad, and the response to it by Trump and his gang of Republicans so inept and inextricably linked to nefarious side bets and deals, that there is a non-zero chance his administration will not still be in place on election day, November 3rd. Either way, Trump will be voted out of office on November 3rd, and probably dragged from the White House and impaled with a broom stick well before inauguration day by angry tourists and DC residents after he attempts to annul the election results. There is a non-zero chance that the 46th President of the United States will be Speaker Pelozi, for the several days between Trump and Pence’s awkward and painful departure (captured on hundreds of cell phones) and the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

There will be no Biden Inaugural Ball and his Inauguration speech will be on Zoom, But his first act will be to sign the 2021 Rapid Immunization Order, speeding up the delivery of the vaccine already developed by Oxford and manufactured everywhere but the United States even as Jared Kushner tries to get his vaccine (which is fatal to 1 in 200 who are injected with it, and does not actually protect against COVID-19) to be the legally required stick.

But I digress.

Schools will not reopen in the Fall, but by Spring it will be possible to have limited activities, as vaccination spreads faster than COVID-19 itself ever did. Kids who come from anti-Vax families will be shunned, and hate their parents forever, because they won’t be allowed to go to the 2021 proms and graduation ceremonies, which will be endlessly televised and smeared across social media until we are giddily sick of them.

By the end of 2021, the virus will be history (except in the Congo, where all diseases go to retire securely), social distancing will be a fond memory (for everyone with sensory processing disorder), and our new society, led by science and reason, will begin the process of building windmills instead of tilting at them.

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189 thoughts on “How The Pandemic Ends

  1. On Lawrence O’Donnell tonight (5-4-’20), a New York City doctor who has been keeping a video diary noted that two patients who had gone through Covid-19, tested negative, and discharged, were back, testing positive again. This is not the only case of this I’ve read about and, as that doctor said, it goes against the the herd immunity idea. It also makes the opening up the country idea even less intelligent than it was.

  2. A very small number of cases might be reinfections, but most reinfections are probably not reinfections but something else.

    This is normal for any virus.

    1. “…probably not reinfections but something else”

      And this is probably* correct – but…

      I am still wondering how SARS-CoV-2 compares to other coronaviruses in its propensity for mutation, in a way that allows it to slip past previously acquired specific immunity.

      I’m also concerned that active-but-not-completely-effective isolation measures will select for a more contagious virus, in a similar way to how inappropriate use of antibiotics selects for restant strains.

      There’s also the issue of whether immunised and/or infected immunity lasts more than 12-24 months – this will have a serious impact on how we manage the virus in the future.

      This might be as simple as getting an effective vaccine once, and then we can all party, or it might be a series of small steps foward. And if they’re too small we may be overtaken by… well, that’s another volume or several in a serial horror story.

      (*And if there is a trend to reinfection in the population in more than a few percent of cases, the horror story starts to become more horrible still. Especially if longish-term asymptomatic carriers become a thing…)

    2. Thanks, but I’ll be much happier when this is demonstrated and not just hypothesized.

      You know, in a really enlightened country who had elected a real president, there would be a lot of interest in identifying and studying the people who have the virus but remain without symptoms. Some useful genetic or other information might come from that.

    3. The virus that causes COVID-19 is not know to, or likely to, mutate in any way that is unusual for a virus.

      It is possible that one good vaccine can cause long term immunity. Very possible. Or, may be just for a few years.

      There is a difference between an immunity not sticking in a person and a virus mutating around it. Totally different problems, usually conflated in conversations about it, conversation chaos and misunderstanding ensues.

      Having said that, we don’t really know for sure about either.

      If immunity only lasts, for one reason or another, for a couple of years, that may mean we will need an updated annual Covid virus. This is not a disaster.

      If this virus acts in a way some science suggests, but this is highly speculative on my part, a typical human immune system might improve its immunity each round. So, either a series of infections or a series of vaccines could in a few years produce a super-immune result. This is true of a number of viruses. Maybe a little true of most of them. (This might be one reason kids seem always sick but adults not so much.)

  3. Schools will not reopen in the Fall, but by Spring it will be possible to have limited activities, as vaccination spreads faster than COVID-19 itself ever did.

    My wife works in the admin group of our local school system — she’s in charge of organizing state/federal testing and handling result, but she does have to attend some of the meetings for what might happen in the fall.

    At least three scenarios are being discussed here (and in Kalamazoo and some neighboring districts): a regular return, continuation of the current online process, and a hybrid where some students attend M/W, others T/TH, and a 50/50 attendance Fridays (no idea how that would work).

    They are also trying to figure out athletics and budget, because money will be tight to non-existent for schools (Michigan is still funding about 18% below pre 2000s levels).

    Universities and colleges are doing much the same thing. Grand Valley is currently examining three possibilities (regular, online, details haven’t been clear on the third). UofM’s provost says they are fairly sure things will be back to normal in the fall but are studying other possibilities: same for Michigan State. I’m sure their officials are sweating hard, because the case of not opening means no revenue from campus housing and, more importantly, a loss of several hundred million dollars in revenue from sports. Since they are among the very few D1 schools that make money on sports, that would hurt.

    Kids who come from anti-Vax families will be shunned, and hate their parents forever, because they won’t be allowed to go to the 2021 proms and graduation ceremonies

    That should have been standard operating procedure for years.

  4. Love this post, Greg. I just hope it all goes as you say. We need this kind of hope – not only in defeating this terrible virus but in getting the vile narcissist and his thugs out of power.

    1. I notice that after U Washington’s model raised the projected number of daily deaths the CDC removed it from its list of approved models on the website. It was there three days ago, wasn’t there yesterday. Haven’t checked today 5/5/2020.

    1. Yes, I saw that. You should contact your state archaeologist, or try any of the many academic archaeologists working at learning institutions in Ohio.

  5. Bernard, one thing largely overlooked in the ABC article is that there is very often a trade-off between virulence and contagiousness in coronaviruses. SARS was more virulent that Covid-19 but less contagious. If more virulent strains of Covid-19 have a higher mortality rate than less virulent strains, but are less contagious, then ultimately the mortality rate of the virus will decrease.

    The important thing is that we really do not know how the dynamics of this virus will play out. In March it was widely predicted that, even with lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, the daily number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the Netherlands would peak in late May or early June. These predictions were way, way out. The peak of both was actually reached in late March. So we are learning as we go. Will there be a major second wave beginning in October? Maybe. Maybe not. We need to be prepared, but once again we are learning on the go.

    1. Jeff, virulence will definitely decrease as the virus continues to evolve. It’s the way of most newly established host-disease relationships, as you know. The question for the moment is whether the mutation in the more contagious strain simultaneously reduced virulence, or whether a decrease in virulence will develop separately…

      The question is actually touched on in the Korber et al paper, in their investigation in the Sheffield population. The first notable result from this limited study was that there was no bias in clinical outcome with respect to this mutation: in other words, they did not detect either an increased or a decreased virulence with respect to the original strain(s). They did detect a higher viral load associated with this strain, which may contribute to its higher contagiousness. And it’s possible that with a larger sample size this higher virus load may have a clinical outcome – in the US health workers who are exposed to high viral loads on infection appear to have greater morbidity and mortality…

      The short of it is that higher contagion with at least the same virulence is the basis for a more serious strain of the disease…

      A second question is how rapidly the virulence will decrease. Humanity is living at high density in terms of fodder for a virus, so there’s a lot of opportunity for damage to rapidly occur before we reach a more even keel. Especially with Trump and Johnson looking to expedite the reopening of their countries…

      And then there’s the human response as impatience boils. If the health system in a country buckles, and if the economy is bleeding, and if conservative zealots are as a consequence inclined to mingle in the streets, there could not only be a second wave, but violence as well. If that’s thrown into the mix keeping isolation and distancing in place will be more difficult.

      Overall I think at this point picking the unfolding dynamics is complicated by the potential for wildly varying stochasticity in the system…

      It’s all a worry…

    1. See comments below about this researcher and this paper. Maybe this is a fixed up version of previously botched research?

      This is not a longitudinal study, and it is also a study without a specific control group. But not all science is done with control groups. Forget about getting normal FDA-style approval with a study like this, but that is not where most early preliminary studies are anyway.

      Conclusion of the study: “As a conclusion, based on our experience, we consider reasonable to follow the recommendations made in Asian countries for the control of COVID-19, notably in Korea and China that consist in early testing as many patients as possible and treating them with available drugs where this strategy has produced much better results than in countries where no active policy has been implemented outside containment. In China, drugs that were recommended were primarily HCQ but also ?-interferon, lopinavir, ritonavir and umifenovir [27], in Korea, recommended drugs were lopinavir/ritonavir and chloroquine [28]. In the context of a pandemic with a lethal respiratory virus, we believe that early detection of positive cases and carefully controlled treatment with safe and well-tolerated drugs should be generalized in outpatient medicine, i.e. in individuals with mild symptoms before signs of severity appear. Strict attention should be paid to contraindications and possible interactions with concomitant medication. Finally, there is a need to repurpose existing drugs and evaluate these in controlled trials where possible in the constraints of a pandemic.” seems reasonable.

  6. According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observational_study):

    Although observational studies cannot be used to make definitive statements of fact about the “safety, efficacy, or effectiveness” of a practice,[4], they are reported to:

    “1) provide information on “real world” use and practice;
    2) detect signals about the benefits and risks of…[the] use [of practices] in the general population;
    3) help formulate hypotheses to be tested in subsequent experiments;
    4) provide part of the community-level data needed to design more informative pragmatic clinical trials; and
    5) inform clinical practice.”[4]

    Sure – not as good as a double blind study. But I would certainly take hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as soon as I was diagnosed with COVID-19, to enhance my chances of staying out of the ICU.

    I wonder what is taking so long with the study to come out from New York? I read that they gave HCQ to over 4100 patients in New York. They should have a lot of information on whether hydroxychloroquine helped or hurt in New York by now. Hopefully we will hear something soon.

    1. RickA pondered:

      I wonder what is taking so long with the study to come out from New York?

      I wonder why it has taken this team so long to publish s study on the efficacy of intravenous injections of bleach and disinfectant or the ingestion of same?

  7. The study RickA linked to is from the lab of Didier Raoult, something of a legend in his own mind who is very controversial and a climate change denier (why can’t these people stay in their lane?). His recent Covid-19 studies using anti-malarial drugs are touted by the political right but have been heavily criticized by many medical experts. The internet is full of criticism of him and his methods. So this new study needs to be shelved until much more data are in.

    1. Yes, given his history of shady, sloppy work, this need to be looked at very carefully. His first little studies with this “treatment” were riddled with issues: patients whose results weren’t included, different measurements used than the treatment plan described. In his first study of hydroxy and the other drug the protocol specified that patients under 12 were excluded from the study but the control group had three in that age category.

      The lack of randomization isn’t a quirk: he doesn’t believe in randomized trials.

      The short story is there’s no reason to take this seriously just because it has his name on it.

    2. Jeff’s already pointed out that Raoult has a reputation for very poor study design. I’ll point out though that the methodological description for this study appears to be similarly poor, and there’s very little specific detail about the inclusion parameters of the current study beyond “[p]atients with at least three days of treatment and nine days of follow-up are described in this analysis.” There’s no mention about whether all patients were included that met this criterion as well as the more general temporal conditions also mentioned, and if they weren’t so included, why not. I’ve read the methodologies for a lot of clinical trials, in addition preparing some myself back in the day, and this one is dissatisfyingly brief and vague.

      I’m also perturbed that there appears to be no attempt to include matched controls in the study. There’s absolutely no excuse for this, given the number of available untreated patients that would have been contemporaneously present in the hospital, or in nearby hospitals. The rudimentary statistical procedures used to discriminate between three within-treatment groups are meaningless without a control, and in some instances of interpretation the use of these ‘statistics’ is indistinguishable from a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacious conclusion.

      I’m actually surpised that this wasn’t sent back with “do not publish” from the reviewers. It appears that judgement is being compromised with the widespread hysteria arising from coronavirus. I think that this is a “watch this space” paper, and that there will be some interesting – and countering – follow-up…

      That RickA accepts this paper uncritically is however no surprise at all…

  8. It also seems that his large number of publications is due to a habit of putting his name on every paper that comes out of his lab, even if he was not involved in the research.

  9. Yes Dean, I read that too. He has an absurd number of papers as a co-author every year – sometimes in the hundreds – which raises warning flags, or should. I have 208 in my career (Web of Science) and I think that I have been productive. My best year was 17, and more normally it is around 10. When scientists get more than 40 papers a year then in my humble opinion something is amiss. This means they have significant intellectual input in 1-2 peer-reviewed papers every week? To me that isn’t possible.

  10. Bernard, I don’t know about this bit of work, but one his earlier papers on this (a much smaller study) was submitted 3/16/2020 and accepted 3/17/2020 by the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. Coincidentally, one of his co-authors on that paper is the editor in chief of that journal.

    1. True, bit when one researcher has a history of dicey behavior and work it’s good to be skeptical of new work.

      In related news, one (well done) study of remdesivir showed nothing (statistically) significant but suggested some reduction in time to improvement.

    1. A fucking climate change denier rickA? Seriously?

      Do you subscribe to “cranks.com” to find these clowns?

    2. In my view, the true herd immunity threshold probably lies somewhere between the 7% and 24% implied by the cases illustrated in Figures 4 and 5.

      What a bawbag-load of bollocks. There’s so much wrong with this that it’s impossible to know where to start, but humour me RickA and indicate which other significant and contagious human viral diseases have this threshold for herd immunity.

      Better still, pick the ten most common viral infections that are roughly similar to COVID-19 and indicate the ones that achieve herd immunity at a population infection proportion of less than 60-70%.

      Your time starts now…

    3. Bernard says “What a bawbag-load of bollocks.”

      Maybe. All I said was it was an interesting article.

      Nic Lewis cites some science about a different herd immunity level when the population is not homogeneous.

      Maybe that is right, maybe it is wrong – I don’t know.

      But I thought it was interesting and offered it up for your reading pleasure.

      You are welcome!

    4. Nic Lewis?

      Seriously?

      The retired banker and rightwing climate ‘sceptic’ who got it wrong about climate sensitivity and is now a non-expert getting it wrong about epidemiology?

      This is just painful now.

      It’s not ‘interesting’ it’s dangerous, politically partisan bullshit.

    5. BBD:

      Yes – Nic Lewis. The climate science community respects his work. Every comment he has written has resulted in a correction to the paper commented on and a big thank you for Nic finding and correcting the error(s).

      As you know, the jury is still out on observationally constrained ECS. But Nic’s work is more credible than many others, as it uses reality as a check. Of course we will have to wait to see who is ultimately right. My money is on less than 3.0C for ECS, probably less than 2C for ECS. 1.8 sounds about right to me. We will see.

      Until then, nobody can say Nic is wrong because all we know is ECS is likely between 1.5C and 4.5C. We haven’t been able to narrow it down for 30 years and I wonder if we will ever really know what ECS is (as it is model dependent).

      But if you don’t want to read his article, that is ok with me.

      You have my permission to bury your head in the sand.

    6. Nic Lewis got it wrong and it is now well understood why. The only person burying their head in the sand about NL’s stuff is you. Ditto NL’s wrongheaded, non-expert ‘contribution’ to the CV crisis. He – like you – is a politicised partisan.

      Every comment he has written has resulted in a correction to the paper commented on and a big thank you for Nic finding and correcting the error(s).

      This is misleading. NL has nitpicked out a few minor issues with other peoples’ work but never anything that changed a conclusion significantly. He doesn’t overturn anything. He doesn’t really contribute anything. Only people like you – the desperate, the ignorant, the dishonest – uphold NL as some sort of valuable source.

      Because you have your heads in the sand.

      But Nic’s work is more credible than many others, as it uses reality as a check.

      Either you don’t understand what NL did, or you are just bullshitting but either way, this is bollocks.

    7. Until then, nobody can say Nic is wrong because all we know is ECS is likely between 1.5C and 4.5C.

      Coronavirus nonsense aside, this lower limit for equilibrium climate sensitivity has been challenged repeatedly on this blog. But let’s address it again.

      As the planet went from 280 to 400 ppm atmospheric CO₂ its mean temperature increased by 1.2 °C. There is a logarithmic relationship between the two parameters. Making no assumptions about the proportion of realised to pipelined forcing in the system, or about the proportions of other tyndall gases in the atmosphere, what is the minimum temperature that a doubling of atmospheric CO₂ to 560 ppm will realise?

      It’s a simple mathematical question.

  11. Yes, RickA relies on climate change deniers to spew forth their right wing bullshit. Lewis is not an epidemiologist, or a climate scientist for that matter, but that doesn’t stop him wading into these divergent fields as if he has universal expertise.

    There is no mythical herd immunity in Sweden or anywhere for that matter. The denialati are trying to push this meme on the back of the huge death toll (3225 and rising) in Sweden that dwarfs its three neighbors, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Sweden cannot achieve herd immunity because that was never their strategy. If it was, they would not have banned gatherings of more than 30 people, closed universities and other public venues and advised people to practice social distancing. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to try the dangerous herd immunity approach, you have to leave everything open and encourage people to safely transmit the virus.

    The truth is that the Swedish strategy was not remotely herd immunity. It was not really that different from the Dutch approach. Here, although there was a nominal lockdown, people were free to move around and many shops remained open, at least during some days. The only real difference was that bars and restaurants were closed here whereas Sweden allowed them to remain open. However, Swedes are not that different from people living in northern parts of the Netherlands. Social distancing is something they do anyway. The reason that Covid-19 is decreasing there, albeit more slowly than in most other European nations, is because of social distancing. It works. It is likely that less than 10% of people from Stockholm were infected by Covid-19. Certainly miles from levels necessary to reach herd immunity.

    One of the supposed architects of the Swedish strategy, 70 year old epidemiologist Johan Giesecke, said two weeks ago that he believed that governments should expose much of their populations to the virus, arguing that it would thin out the frail and elderly while conferring immunity to the younger and healthier. In other words, he seemed to be supporting a ‘cull’ of the more vulnerable as part of his approach. His views chilled me to my core. I wasn’t the only one who noticed it, either.

    So herd immunity is out, UNTIL we have a vaccine. Until then clearly the best way to save lives is through social distancing and containment via lockdowns.

    By the way, Lionel, thanks for that link. It was a terrifying, right wing screed written by an idiot. It seems that a significant minority of Americans are intent on increasing the death rate as much as possible to get the economy running again. Thankfully they are still a minority. Over here in most of Europe, as well as in South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand and elsewhere common sense prevails. Herd immunity is nowhere on the radar.

    1. Agree that rickA’s recent post is just more of his usual pushing of completely unjustifiable BS.

      But it is indicative of something to be worried about, something that he and the right in general have been doing for years for climate change. They’ve been pushing the views of paid denialists and outright frauds as legitimate criticisms of the science of climate change, and sadly it’s been reasonably effective. rickA’s last two bits of pushing purely indefensible BS and presenting them as legitimate alternative analyses of the pandemic, I’m afraid, what we’re going to see more of during the next few months, both from useful (to the right) idiots like him and from the White House itself.

    2. Do you know what PDFs are? Do you understand how they refute your ambit claim?

      It’s dismal, isn’t it? And Ricky has the absolute gall to add in his previous comment that:

      Only science will change my mind and that will require the range of ECS to be narrowed.

      Shameless dishonesty? Pig-arse ignorance? I think I’m past caring these days.

  12. Lionel:

    I recommend you never read anything I recommend, or anything by anyone who you disagree with. In fact, you should do the opposite of whatever I do or say.

    1. Odd rickA, we suggest you try to learn things and stop posting drivel that is either pure fancy or outright lies.

    2. As you know, the jury is still out on observationally constrained ECS. But Nic’s work is more credible than many others, as it uses reality as a check.

      You just can’t lay off the unsupportable bullshit can you? This sort of stuff is why nobody views you as anything more than a dishonest idiot.

    3. dean:

      No scientist has shown Nic Lewis is wrong yet. Nobody knows what ECS is yet. We have to wait. Even after CO2 has doubled to 560 ppm people will argue about what ECS is (wait and see).

      In the meantime – Nic Lewis’s math checks out and his study is constrained by the actually measured temperatures – which is a real plus in my book.

      The latest models have lost touch with reality, but that is just my opinion.

      We will have to wait and see who is right.

      You get your opinion and I get mine.

    4. No scientist has shown Nic Lewis is wrong yet. […]

      In the meantime – Nic Lewis’s math checks out and his study is constrained by the actually measured temperatures – which is a real plus in my book.

      […]

      You get your opinion and I get mine.

      1/ The problems with NL’s EBM toy model are well known. I’ve even posted a multi-link rebuttal of this very same bullshit to you, in comments here. So you either blanked it (dishonest) or you know you are lying.

      2/ “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”

      – Isaac Asimov

    5. “The latest models have lost touch with reality, but that is just my opinion.”

      Since your opinion is based on “dishonesty first” they aren’t worth the electrons the internet used to send them along. The same is true for your other defenses of things that are patently false.

    6. BBD says “The problems with NL’s EBM toy model are well known. I’ve even posted a multi-link rebuttal of this very same bullshit to you, in comments here.”

      Nobody knows how much it is going to warm until we reach 560 ppm or equilibrium after that. Your opinion is no better than mine, and the science you cite is no better than the science I cite.

      We will have to wait to see who is right.

      Until then we are all just guessing (or perhaps speculating) what the future will be.

      So until then we will have to just agree to disagree. I don’t expect you to change your mind and you shouldn’t expect to change mine. Only science will change my mind and that will require the range of ECS to be narrowed. How much you ask – well from the ridiculously wide plus or minus 1.5C to something like plus or minus 0.5C. Until we can do that we just don’t understand the climate well enough to believe anybodies wild ass guesses about the future.

      But that is just my opinion. You can think whatever you like.

    7. Your opinion is no better than mine, and the science you cite is no better than the science I cite.

      Peer reviewed science is better than the blog science to which you refer. This is self-evident and objective fact.

      And you are not a scientist, whereas a number of posters here are trained in and work in science as a profession. Their capacities to analyse and critique data are therefore prima facie better than yours, and therefore their opinions are better than yours…

    8. Nobody knows how much it is going to warm until we reach 560 ppm or equilibrium after that.

      Do you know what PDFs are? Do you understand how they refute your ambit claim?

    9. Nobody knows how much it is going to warm until we reach 560 ppm or equilibrium after that. Your opinion is no better than mine, and the science you cite is no better than the science I cite.

      1/ Ah, but that’s where you are wrong. NL’s work has known biases not shared by other studies that produce higher central estimates for S, clustering around 3C per doubling. This has been pointed out to you and you dishonestly blank it.

      Which brings us – again – to:

      2/ “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”

      – Isaac Asimov

  13. I love how right wing Rick calls the pile of s*** article by ‘kill-em-all’ Kersten as ‘very sensible’. Perhaps it appears sensible to a corporate CEO who just saved a bundle of money by dumping toxic sludge in a river instead of treating it safely, but to anyone with a shred of human dignity it is beneath contempt. You see, to those who are only focused on maximizing profit for the privileged few, human life, at least of those other than the 1%, is effectively worthless. So Kersten simply dismisses the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and potentially millions around the world, as a form of ‘hysteria’ – especially when acting to save lives impedes neoliberal capitalism and profits largely appropriated by the rich.

    Note a weekly exponential increase in the volume of bitter attacks of lockdowns and social distancing measures coming from the klepto-fascists. Similarly, conspiracy theories from this lot are mushrooming out of all proportion. Watching this scum rant and rage and pound the table is enlightening. For the past 40 years they have profited from the mutant strain of capitalism that the Covid-19 pandemic has stopped in its tracks. If anything constructive is learned from this it is that people like Kersten and other wack-jobs at the far end of the political right are being shown for who they are, and that they need to be taken down along with the morally bankrupt political and economic system that spawned them.

    1. Jeffh:

      It is so interesting reading your rant.

      Staying at home doesn’t change the number of people who will die. It merely spreads out the deaths over more time.

      But staying at home does stop people from earning money, which will ultimately kill more people than the virus, if it drags on much longer.

      Your cost/benefit analysis pretends we can stay at home until we have a vaccine and nobody dies from that, which I believe is mistaken.

      Have you noticed that most of the country (the USA) is reopening? That is because the financial pain is forcing the governors to do so.

      Of course, those who can afford it can continue to stay at home. Perhaps you can afford to stay at home indefinitely. But millions and millions in the USA, who are not on social security, or retired and living off their savings or pensions, cannot afford to stay at home with no income. Not paying the rent or mortgage doesn’t make it go away – it merely creates a balloon payment of 2 or 3 months rent or mortgage payment down the road (2 or 3 months).

      So some will continue to stay home in Minnesota, because they can afford it or they are old or sick or obese. The young and healthy will go to work and stay aware from the old, sick or obese.

      Eventually we will reach herd immunity or we will develop a vaccine.

      Your rant won’t change any of that (but I bet it felt good to write it).

    2. Staying at home doesn’t change the number of people who will die. It merely spreads out the deaths over more time.

      This claim is based firmly on the premise that there is no ongoing effective management of virus spread after movement restrictions are eased.

      Do you see the problem with your assumption?

  14. A reminder on who got it so wrong, and still is.

    If the president’s deputies made trillion-dollar mistakes, accountability for the pandemic response lies with Trump, who waived off months of harrowing intelligence briefings, choosing to treat the coronavirus as a crisis in public relations, rather than a public-health emergency. Having staked his re-election on a strong economy, Trump downplayed the virus.

    and more at:

    The Four Men Responsible For America’s COVID-19 Test Disaster

    1. Great article, Lionel, light years better than the risible trash written by the Center of the American Experiment hack, Kersten. Rolling Stone lays bare the utter incompetence of Trump and the goons he had tasked with protecting the American people. Some of it is literally jaw-dropping. Trump has gutted agencies like the C.D.C. and placed lackeys at their helm, people simply hired to oversee their destruction like Pruitt and his successor Wheeler were hired to dismantle the E.P.A. brick by brick. The pandemic will destroy this wretched regime, and not a moment too soon. Noam Chomsky was interviewed in the Guardian over the weekend and he could not emphasize enough the utter incompetence of Trump and his administration to the pandemic and how much he is shafting those who blindly support him the most with his borderline racist tweets and rants.

  15. RickA, the Rupert Blue (look it up) of the 21st century wrote:

    Staying at home doesn’t change the number of people who will die. It merely spreads out the deaths over more time.

    You still do not grasp the basics here do you. I doubt you will as long as your @r$£ points downwards.

    1. Lionel:

      There is no doubt the stay at home orders flatten the curve and lower the number of infections. But there will be a second wave as the orders are lifted and people mingle again.

      So we can expect the virus to spread and spread until we reach herd immunity – whether it takes 2 months or 1 year.

      I suppose in a wishful thinking world we could isolate everybody from everybody else forever – but that is just wishful thinking.

      Flattening the curve was to help the hospitals deal with COVID-19 patients and it has done that. Now most states are lifting some of their orders and people will be out and about. Even with social distancing and masks, we can expect the virus to spread.

      Once the R0 is 1.0 (one sick person infects one other person) we will have reached herd immunity and the number of infections will start to drop.

      Until then, we are merely pushing off infections into the future.

      That is my understanding of the basics.

      If you disagree – that is ok. America is a free country and we don’t have to agree.

      You do you and I will do me.

  16. America is a free country? Yup, free for the corporations who run government there to loot, steal and plunder. In truth, Covid-19 has shown the true colors of the ‘risible right’. The Rolling Stone article blew everything Rick has written about Trump’s response to the pandemic to smithereens. But Rick is so blinded by a combination of wilful ignorance and ideology that he cannot see it and refuses to. At this rate, though, Trump is toast in November irrespective of who his opponent is.

    Nic Lewis is a complete clown if he believes that an infection of 7% to 24% of people in Stockholm confers ‘herd immunity’. For SARS-Covid-1, a very closely related species of coronavirus, it was 50% to 80%. And Lewis believes by some miracle that the THI is as low as 14% of that?

    Lewis may know a lot about math but he knows nothing about phylogeny. On that point alone his paper is garbage. Very closely relates species in nature do not exhibit massive differences in traits, such as immunity thresholds in pathogens. Lewis, as he often does because he is a contrarian, is wandering way outside of his lane. As for RickA wanting ‘proof’ that he is wrong, this is a typical inane response of right wing loonies. I have seen it used to downplay climate change, extinction rates, and anything else they find to be inconvenient. I may as well well argue that the dark side of the moon is full of green cheese. Go ahead Rick. Prove me wrong.

    And I reiterate that Kersten’s piece was abhorrent drivel. Anybody reading it can see how she loaded it with hyperbole and rhetoric. People commenting on it below saw right through it. She did not get a lot of support.

    As an aside did everyone here see that appalling tweet by Trump over the weekend plugging the opening of one of his golf courses in California? The moron has no shame. The US is in the middle of a calamity and the POTUS is proudly proclaiming that one of his stinking golf courses is reopening for business.

    To Americans: please, vote this turd out in November. Not just for your great country, but for the rest of the world.

    1. Yep – free. Companies can sell stuff and it is my choice whether to buy or not (except for health insurance when it was mandated).

      It will be interesting to see who wins in November.

      I think Trump is going to win. As the facts come out about the Russian collusion coup attempt, voters are going to recoil from democrats. They really shot themselves in the foot with that 2 year debacle. Then with impeachment. I suppose now they will try to blame the economy on Trump and blame Trump for the virus – but I don’t think that will fly. After all, all the other countries got it also and had an economic downturn also.

      We will see.

      If you are a betting man I put $1 on Trump (if you are interested).

    2. I think Trump is going to win.

      Didn’t you think that the Republicans would sweep the Congressional mid-terms in 2018?

      Trump won’t win without further Russian interference and a lot of egregious lying and fabrication of material by the Trump campaign and by Fox, Breitbart, and similar organisations. If you’re okay with that sort of an election, then you’re showing your true colours.

  17. “I think Trump is going to win” opines the intellectually challenged lawyer.

    Any other rational country would have dragged him out of the WH already. His incompetence is beyond comprehension. He isn’t qualified to run a pig sty, yet you think he will win and will clearly vote for the klutz.

    Trump and his Party are shafting 95% of those who will vote for him. You included, Rick. This says more about the stupidity of vast swathes of the electorate than anything else, should Trump get around 20% of the vote of registered voters who bother to turn out for the farcical elections there (which would technically be enough to win if over 50% of eligible voters decide not to vote because they see don’t see much of a choice).

    Trump is by far the worst President in US history, though, by a wide margin. His only hope of winning in November is to convince his ‘base’ that he is as racist, sexist and amoral as they believe he is. All the while stabbing them metaphorically with policies that are not in their interests. If Trump deserves any credit, it is his ability to gain support among vast numbers of people he and his Party are shafting.

    1. “I think Trump is going to win” opines the intellectually (, morally, and ethically) challenged lawyer.

      There is a good chance. trump’s been firing up lowlifes like rickA all around the country — the people who think the economy was strong under trump because they don’t understand stock market doesn’t equal economy, the people who believe there was and still is an “immigration crisis” on the southern border, the people who thing trump really did close down access from china and that he acted strongly in response to the virus, that despite the facts presented by the intelligence agencies’ statements believe he didn’t benefit from russia’s PR campaign, etc., etc.. The country has a lot of people like rickA who don’t care about facts, don’t like women in power, don’t like minorities, and so on, who’ll vote for him in a second.

    2. His only hope of winning in November is to convince his ‘base’ that he is as racist, sexist and amoral as they believe he is. All the while stabbing them metaphorically with policies that are not in their interests. If Trump deserves any credit, it is his ability to gain support among vast numbers of people he and his Party are shafting.

      He showed them he was last time — now he has to show them he has stayed as sleazy as they are.

      “So that is a NO on the bet?”

      I don’t bet in general, and never would with you, as you wouldn’t have enough integrity to pay up if you lost.

  18. ” As the facts come out about the Russian collusion coup attempt,”

    No, not a coup. We know how stupid you are, there is no need to keep reminding us.

    But since you’ve never answered these questions before:

    – how upset are you that Trump’s policies have wreaked havoc on debt?
    – how upset are you with trump’s attacks on voter rights?
    – how upset are you with trump’s attack on environmental protections?
    – how upset are you that despite trump’s lies to the contrary GDP growth with him in office has been the same as it was under President Obama?
    – how upset are you that he defended nazis and white supremacists?

    Your lack of integrity and decency has been on display for some time. Are you going to try to be a decent person?

  19. dean asks:

    – how upset are you that Trump’s policies have wreaked havoc on debt? Very. We should be spending less and balance the budget each year. Not adding to the national debt.
    – how upset are you with trump’s attacks on voter rights? Not at all. One person one vote. There should be a system to verify that a person didn’t vote in one state and then fly (or drive or bus) to another and vote again. There should be good voter id requirements.
    – how upset are you with trump’s attack on environmental protections? Not at all.
    – how upset are you that despite trump’s lies to the contrary GDP growth with him in office has been the same as it was under President Obama? Not at all.
    – how upset are you that he defended nazis and white supremacists? This has been debunked.

    1. – the government is not a household. There is no reason for the budget to be balanced — except in the minds of people like you

      – there are perfectly fine voting requirements, and your party’s myth of voter fraud is just that, a myth (although we do see republicans committing fraud every so often). The issue is the systematic removal of polling places in areas that are historically poor and strong democratic strongholds, which limits the residents’ ability to vote.
      “There should be a system to verify that a person didn’t vote in one state and then fly (or drive or bus) to another and vote again.”
      Which, of course, doesn’t happen. Nice lie.

      – I’m sure you aren’t concerned about the environment — scum like you never are.

      “growth with him in office has been the same as it was under President Obama? Not at all.”
      Aaah, but the Republican lie is that he’s done better. Nice dodge

      — “This has been debunked.”
      No, not at all.

      So you lie about some things and deny others have happened. Par for you.

    2. “– how upset are you that he defended nazis and white supremacists?”
      “- This has been debunked.”

      Well, it’s technically true that Trump didn’t directly endorse nazis and white supremacists.

      That he said was that there must be good people on both sides, including among all the people, who, by sheer coincidence, found themselves marching along people waving swastika flags and other white supremacist paraphernalia and chanting “Jews will not replace us”.
      A march organized by a coalition of US-based nazis and white supremacists groups.

      I guess all these good people were deaf and blind. Or, similarly to Charlie Chaplin in the movie Modern Times, they found this flag on the ground and just wanted to bring it back to its owner.

    3. “This has been debunked.”

      You must understand, when rickA says something has been debunked he doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or isn’t true — he doesn’t base statements on facts.

      He simply means that it wasn’t something he found offensive so it doesn’t matter.

  20. Finally a laugh.

    Re: Ricka: “Staying at home doesn’t change the number of people who will die. It merely spreads out the deaths over more time.”
    =
    Nothing changes the number of people who will die sooner or later, Rick. But most of us think that postponing the inevitable is worth something.

    In the case of a pandemic, avoiding overloading the hospitals and the people who staff them is an intelligent and worthy a lot (Why do you keep ignoring that?) and the longer one can stay out of contact with other people, the more likely it is that treatments will get better (doctors and nurses learn you know), a vaccine will be developed, and the virus may even mutate into a less lethal form before one needs to leave.

  21. ” I wouldn’t bet with you either.”

    The difference, of course, is that in the few times I have bet, and lost (and losing is why I don’t like to bet), I pay up. Your libertarian “don’t take any responsibility for my actions” streak means you wouldn’t.

  22. Jeffh wrote:

    The US is in the middle of a calamity and the POTUS is proudly proclaiming that one of his stinking golf courses…

    Ah yes one of those highly manicured, pesticide and herbicide sprayed zones that are nature free yet manage to use so much precious water that comes from depleting aquifers or vanishing glaciers.

    Now I expect our resident denier to come back with the fact that water levels in e.g. Lake Mead had risen last year but that would be to ignore the underlying trend which can only mean reduction.

  23. According to RickA, ‘the climate science community respects’ Nic Lewis’s work . Citations please. Some of his work has been acknowledged but respect is a big word and to claim he has respect among most climate scientists is a vast exaggeration. Last year he was a guest speaker at the Dutch climate science denier think tank, Climate Intelligence (I am stifling a laugh here) Unit (‘intelligence’ being an oxymoron for those clots). Anyone who claims to take the field seriously avoids these right wing agenda-driven think tanks like the plague. That Lewis speaks at these venues says a lot about him – or should.

  24. So, our resident Trump cheerleader, denier and all round science munging confabulator reckons on another Trump win.

    Not so fast:

    Midwesterners were already doubting Trump. Covid could seal his political fate

    Maybe the sands of Trump popularity are draining away as a great Republican said, ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’ It is only the woeful standard of education across many states that allows such travesties as the Trump presidency to occur.

    To find out about that latter, and much more, I recommend a book now in an updated paperback edition The Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies.

    RickA may consider himself educated, but his posts show that to be not so, he may have been trained as a lawyer but that is not the same as having an education. For a true education one needs to follow a course which includes the field of the humanities along with the sciences (the sciences in a holistic way because understanding nature is about all of the sciences with things of interest straddling the artificial boundaries set up by high school education).

    As Richard Feynman wrote:

    …and the full appreciation of natural phenomena, as we see them, must go beyond physics in the usual sense. We make no apologies for making these excursions into other fields, because separation of fields, as we have emphasized, is merely a human convenience, and an unnatural thing. Nature is not interested in our separations, and many of the interesting phenomena bridge the gaps between fields.

    Source ‘The Feynman Lectures on Physics’ (2010), Volume 1, Chapter 35, page 35-1.

  25. Indeed, Dean, when RickA confidently boasts that Trump will win the election in November, it will be in no small part because of his sordid ‘base’, many of whom are semi-literate lunatics who have a brainless, sick cult-like adoration for their hero. And again, they are as thick as bricks because Trump and his regime are foisting policies that actually make these people worse off.

    Reading some of the things these vermin wrote about Governor Whitmer is chilling. It is hard to fathom that these idiots actually exist, but sadly, they do. And they are very dangerous.

    1. Their “movement” is also telling anyone who will listen that Dr. Khaldun, the chief medical officer advising her, can’t be trusted because she’s African American (but they don’t say African American).

    2. It is hard to fathom that these idiots actually exist, but sadly, they do. And they are very dangerous.

      Spot on Jeffh. But how much longer will these wignorati (wilful ignorant) idiots continue to exist. Well done Donald, you are thinning out your base. Sadly these morons risk the lives of others particularly health care workers.

      New US coronavirus hotspots appear in Republican heartlands

      Darwin Awards are now being rationed.

  26. rickA, your comment

    That is my understanding of the basics.

    should be

    That is my intentional misrepresentation of the basics.

  27. BBD, the Asimov quote is so, so accurate. Trump has exploited this cult of ignorance to his advantage. He belittles intellectual discourse and realizes that his base come largely from masses of the ignorant who he incites with his bombastic sexist, racist, gutter-level jargon. From calling poor countries ‘shitholes’ to suggesting that injected bleach can cure viral infections and everything in-between (including over 20,000 lies), Trump appeals to the cult of ignorance. Indeed, that is HIS cult worship.

    RickA defends the indefensible, but he seems to revel in being a part of the cult. I believe that enough Americans will see through the veneer in November and vote this cretin out of office, but the reason I would never bet with RickA on this is that I believe this cult of ignorance may just be large enough to put the orange behemoth back into power. Again, Trump’s base are the ones being most harmed by the policies of his administration, but they only see Trump’s populist rhetoric and that resonates with them.

    Noam Chomsky described this well in a recent interview: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/11/donald-trump-is-culpable-in-deaths-of-americans-says-noam-chomsky

    1. Me-first-ism, greed, and their close ally, the wish to be free of any and all restrictions, are very well developed and even fostered in the U. S. But knowledge and the people with knowledge (i.e., experts) are the enemies of this trio because they are able to bring up cogent reasons for not indulging in these things, such as the dire consequences that result. In the case of Trump, these people have found a leader whose lack of empathy fits well with their desire for unrestricted indulgence.

      Keep in mind, though, that Trump and his followers have never been a majority in the U. S. so it is vital to keep them from lowering the turnout in the coming election.

  28. Just to be clear re my recent comment: it is clear to me that Trump has no real empathy with his followers either, but he shares the same three core values with them and is willing to sacrifice almost anyone to indulge those values. That’s why an increased death toll accompanying reopening has no effect on him other than relative to its effect on his reelection chances* and on how well he will likely be able to shift the blame and lie his way out of any problem it poses. * And he still has Putin and Putin’s sophisticated dirty tricks squad backing him.

  29. Trump, speaking to medical staff while not wearing a mask:

    “When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing we would have very few cases.”

    There is the explanation for the shitty testing we’ve had in the country. That, and the growing number of reports that when someone in a household tests positive the rest of the family is told to shelter but isn’t tested, and a single case is reported.

    The ignorant folks who defend him will, of course, see nothing wrong with this.

  30. Speaking of blame-shifting, here in the UK the government is trying to be clever.

    The message has changed from ‘Stay home’ to ‘Stay alert’. This implies that we are not staying home (or why the sudden need for ‘alertness’?) and that responsibility has therefore shifted into our hands.

    Simultaneously, the distancing guidelines are (imho intentionally) now blurred and confusing and we are being told that those who cannot work at home should get back to work.

    So the mainly low wage, management-coerced workforce must now pack itself onto public transport and into unsafe workspaces and ‘stay alert’ to keep the plague at bay.

    If this is not enough, Boris sez we should use “good solid British common sense” to safeguard against CV infection.

    So when the inevitable second peak rears up, it will be our fault. We did not stay sufficiently alert, nor employ enough good solid British common sense. Thus we are the authors of our own woes.

    The government did its best under difficult circumstances, and it’s all very regrettable.

    1. The responsibility to keep yourself safe always rested with you. The government is supposed to provide for the general welfare – not perfect personal welfare. So you might want to take the advice and use good solid British common sense to take care of yourself and your family as best as you can. Some people will decide taking care of their family means working and taking a risk of getting sick and maybe even getting their family sick. Some, who can afford it, may decide to stay away from people as much as humanely possible. Each person will make their own individual decision.

      Inevitably a second wave will happen – but there is no way to prevent it in the first place, because many will decide to work to support their families. If we are lucky a vaccine will be developed, which will work and provide good enough protection to make COVID-19 like the regular flu or any other illness we face without staying at home to avoid.

      Personal responsibility is the name of the game. Not government responsibility.

    2. Personal responsibility is the name of the game. Not government responsibility.

      Responsibility starts from the top, RickA. We don’t pay elected people just to sit around and tweet. (theoretically)
      Funny how you give a pass to the gov’ when it’s one of your guys in charge.

      Also, funny how your empathy for poor people stops at “they can’t afford to stay home, so sad”. No way you can move your a$$ and try to make the world a better place for other people, isn’t it?

    3. The responsibility to keep yourself safe always rested with you. The government is supposed to provide for the general welfare – not perfect personal welfare.

      The generality is comprised of individuals. The job of government is to protect the people not expose them – generally or individually – to unnecessary risk. Especially not on ideological grounds, in direct conflict with medical and scientific advice.

      That is what is happening in both our countries because both are infected with rightwing governments which value profit above life. That you are once again leaping to the defence of the indefensible is no surprise, but as always it makes you look like a partisan dickhead.

  31. And again rickA, prime asshole example number 1, chimes in with his stupidity. He ignores the fact that trump’s actions of dismantling of response teams, ignoring the information left for his administration by Obama, failing to provide equipment, turning down tests from WHO when they were offered, shorting states on equipment because he didn’t like the governors, pushing fake treatments, stealing equipment states had ordered and paid for, then reselling them at high markups, lying about numbers, telling people his task force was working hard while telling people to ignore their recommendations, directly caused thousands more deaths than we should have expected.

    But being dishonest and despicable, while ignoring reality and science, is what useful right-wing idiots like him do.

  32. Re: RickA: “Inevitably a second wave will happen – but there is no way to prevent it in the first place, . . .”
    =
    What! Your esteemed leader has said very different things and none have involved a second wave: First it was: “It will just go away, like magic.” Now it is: “The U.S. has prevailed …”

    Is this a major schism? We wait with impatience.

  33. Re: Bernard J.: “Trump won’t win [reelection] without further Russian interference and a lot of egregious lying and fabrication of material by the Trump campaign and by Fox, Breitbart, and similar organisations.”
    =
    Well, we’re already seeing some of the “egregious lying and fabrication”. Trump has already declared that he and his administration have “prevailed” in testing, that governors who are getting high approval ratings are the result of HIS actions. He, echoed by Faux News, have also asserted that Covid-19 death counts have been much exaggerated rather than too low (as the experts agree). To play along, some Republican governors are now refusing to release infection and death counts for their states, newspaper columnists and cartoonists are having a good time poking fun at mask-wearers and lambasting Dr. Fauci and the media for fomenting the coronavirus “panic.” Given enough confusion about testing and death tolls among the already easily confused U. S. population, fact-based arguments will be completely off the table in the Fall.

    1. Well, we’re already seeing some of the “egregious lying and fabrication”.

      I fully expect that this will make the difference. Trump will fire every official who could possibly stand in his way, besmirch every political opponent, and brainwash every knuckle-dragging selfish xenophobe who drinks his koolaid.

      Benjamin Franklin knew hundreds of years ago how difficult it would be to maintain a democracy when he said “A Republic – if you can keep it…”

  34. Tyvor, this is the face of fascism. No matter what the inept liar-in-chief says or does, his cultists will do everything to put a positive spin on it or place the blame elsewhere. Of course the death rate is higher. Here in the Netherlands, the government health agency (RIVM) acknowledges that it is as much as 40% higher than the official number of 5,500. In the UK, estimates put the toll at over 60,000 rather than the official number of 34,000. In the US it must be well over 100,000 by now. But Trump and his cult pounce on uncertainties and exaggerate them to downplay the death toll. This is what science deniers habitually do to distort climate change projections, extinction estimates etc. They are the merchants of doubt for sure. As long as there is no absolute, incontrovertible proof of a specific number, then it may as well be zero. As the official death toll continues to climb past 100,000, watch these cretins dig in with their denial.

    No matter what despicable lies Trump spins and gaffes he and his minions make, his cult will slavishly defend him. His vile character resonates with them. As you said above, he will never have the support of a majority of Americans. They key in November is getting enough people to vote to evict him and his corporate cronies from office. Trump has stacked his administration posts with corporate lobbyists (regulatory agencies are stuffed with industry people). They must be voted out.

    1. In the UK, estimates put the toll at over 60,000 rather than the official number of 34,000.

      Yup. The government has been distracting away from the excess deaths figure, which was >50,000 by May 01 compared to the five year average (source).

      The absolute last thing we need now is the current forced, premature return to work imposed on mainly low-wage workers in often high-risk working environments. The UK government is now effectively acting directly contrary to scientific and medial advice while claiming to be guided by it. And it’s painfully obvious how the government is gearing up to blame the public for the inevitable second spike in mortality directly caused by ideologically driven public policy.

      The big question is how long it will take the muppet army of Tory voters, old and new, to work out that they’ve been utterly shafted by Boris and Cummings and the rest of them.

  35. Re: BBD: “The generality is comprised of individuals. The job of government is to protect the people not expose them – generally or individually – to unnecessary risk. Especially not on ideological grounds, in direct conflict with medical and scientific advice.”

    Exactly. In the U.S. and, apparently, the U.K. as well, the government is actually working against the general welfare and that of many, many individuals by rushing something that could be done at a slower pace more safely, as if the unnecessary loss of many people — many trained, even highly trained/educated people necessary to an advanced nation and any modern economy — was a necessity.

  36. Re: Jeffh: “But Trump and his cult pounce on uncertainties and exaggerate them . . .”
    =
    I am very familiar with such tactics. This one is closely related to the often-used anti-science creationist ploy of picking out something not-yet-known or problematical about evolutionary theory or some evolution-based conclusion and building it into a complete negation of that theory or conclusion. In other words: if you don’t know everything — every little detail — about the evolutionary history of whales, for example, then you know nothing about it.

  37. Meanwhile Trump continues with the pruning of oversight of his increasingly demonic actions.

    Trump’s slow-moving Friday night massacre of inspectors general.

    Is there no way Trump can be removed as a danger to life given his pronouncements on the misuse of hydroxychloroquine? Statements which not only endangered those being given it against Covid-19 but also those who needed it but suddenly found it unavailable or too expensive.

    1. Re: LionelA: “Is there no way Trump can be removed as a danger to life . . .?”

      Amendment XXV, section 4 of the U. S. Constitution provides a sort of check on a sitting president but it requires a written declaration transmitted to Congress by the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. The V.P. then takes over.

      Not being a scholar of the Constitution, I have no idea whether serial lying, ignorance, moronic malevolence, and narcissistic sociopathy would be considered adequate inability. The Founding Fathers may not have envisioned a electorate stupid enough to elect such a person to lead the country.

      In any case, most of the upper level of the executive branch has now been purged of any vertebrates and they have been replaced by stooges whose first loyalty (and self-interest) is to Trump rather than the country. Pence’s record and behavior so far does not promise much of an improvement anyway.

      The fact that this section exists in the Constitution, however, seems to me to logically counter the argument made by Trump’s lawyers that a sitting president is immune from all oversight and checks on actions and behavior.

  38. Yup. The government has been distracting away from the excess deaths figure, which was >50,000 by May 01 compared to the five year average (source).

    Thanks for that link BBD.

    That is the BBC too which given their continuing false balance (they get a drubbing in a chapter of this book, ‘Brexiternity: The Uncertain Fate of Britain’ which you may find of interest) allowing the government to get away with disinformation, is all the more hard hitting.

    1. Herd immunity is what you aim for with a vaccine. Nobody thinks it is okay to allow a novel and dangerous virus to rip through the population first. Please try to understand the basics. This has already come up several times, so you have no excuse.

    2. Here is an article on a managed herd immunity approach.

      Plonker, for reasons BBD mentioned.

      If you read about previous pandemics and how they recirculated, in modified form, causing not only second spikes but subsequent spikes you would realise how silly your idea is.

      Another feature of previous pandemics with follow up waves is that future strains may have a more muted effect. The mutations in one geographical area can be different to those in another which once again negating the achieving of herd immunity. With an infection in full flood there are more ‘petri dishes’ for the virus to run its evolutionary courses. This is another reason for keeping a virus outbreak contained in its early stages.

      Of course those with ideologically limited small minds will never appreciate this for they refuse to engage with any literature or research which may threaten to prick their epistemic bubble.

    3. @ BBD

      Nobody thinks it is okay to allow a novel and dangerous virus to rip through the population first.

      Sadly, there are people who do think like this. Cull the herd and all that. Politicians and some (optimistic?) health experts have been pushing for getting herd immunity the hard way.
      Interestingly enough, they never seem to volunteer to be among the ones immediately infected.

      “Some of you may die but that’s a sacrifice I am willing to make”

    1. Your lack of knowledge and understanding seems limitless rickA.

      Patients treated with zinc sulfate had higher baseline absolute lymphocyte counts :
      [median (IQR), zinc: 1 (0.7-1.3) vs. no zinc: 0.9 (0.6-1.3), p-value: 0.0180]

      So no meaningful difference there, p-value driven by sample size.

      while patients who did not receive zinc had higher baseline troponin:
      [0.01 (0.01-0.02) vs. 0.015 (0.01-0.02), p-value: 0.0111]
      and procalcitonin
      [0.12 (0.05-0.25) vs 0.12 (0.06-0.43), p-value: 0.0493)

      Same comment as above.

      However, after excluding all noncritically ill patients admitted to the intensive care unit, zinc sulfate no longer was found to be associated with a decrease in mortality (Table 3). Thus, this association was driven by patients who did not receive ICU care

      So non-practically significant but statistically significant differences were found based on people who were least seriously affected (and similar for the next bit).

      After adjusting for this date (March 25th), we still found an association for likelihood of discharge to home (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.12-2.09) and decreased mortality or transition to hospice however the other associations were no longer significant (Table 4). The decrease in mortality or transition to hospice was most striking when considering only patients who were not admitted to the ICU (OR: 0.449, p-value: 0.002)

      Finally, looking at the tables given at the end of the paper, with the huge number of univariate tests done there is no surprise they found some significant results — that’s just basic probability.

    2. 40-word summary: Zinc sulfate added to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may improve outcomes among hospitalized patients.

      With zinc only 9.2% needed ICU versus 15.7% without zinc.
      With zinc only 8% needed ventilation versus 16.5% without zinc.
      With zinc only 13.1% died versus 22.8% dying without zinc.

      So zinc sulfate plus HCQ plus azithromycin improved outcomes.

      Seems worth further study to me.

    3. You don’t have to double down on your stupidity rickA, or your cherry-picked items. We know you are a master of both.

      They do say “more study”, but there are som many caveats in the summary, together with the points made above, that the only conclusion is that there is nothing here due to anything but chance.

      We do not know whether the observed added
      benefit of zinc sulfate to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin on mortality would have been seen in patients who took zinc sulfate alone or in combination with just one of those medications. We also do not have data on the time at which the patients included in the study initiated therapy with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc. Those drugs would have been started at the same time as a combination therapy, but the point in clinical disease at which patients received those medications could have differed between our two groups. Finally, the cohorts were identified based on medications ordered rather than confirmed administration, which may bias findings towards favoring equipoise between the two groups. In light of these limitations, this study should not be used to guide clinical practice. Rather, our observations support the initiation of future
      randomized clinical trials investigating zinc sulfate against COVID-19

    4. Wow – your political bias is preventing you from seeing straight. Well if you get sick you can avoid taking zinc plus HCQ, while if I get sick I will look to take that as early as possible after diagnoses, as it seems to improve the clinical outcome at a statistically significant level.

      I have been looking for data out of New York and this is some good data, with more to come I am sure. We have to look at all the data – good or bad. What we have learned so far is that HCQ plus zinc works better if given early, rather than after you are in the ICU. The HCQ helps the zinc get into cells and once the zinc is in the cells it stops the virus from replicating. So early versus late makes sense.

    5. They do say “more study”

      They/we always say that.
      Depending on the results, it’s either
      – “that looks interesting, and that gave us some ideas to explore this further and deeper in follow-up studies”
      or
      – “our results are non-significant so please give us the resources to do it again, ideally bigger and better, and maybe next time we would have some meaningful results”.

    6. They/we always say that.

      Yup. Just mentioned that to concede the only point rickA had.

      It’s amazing how his lack of knowledge makes him believe that any paper that has numbers and simple mathematics in it has to be valid — especially if it meets his biases.

    7. Dean’s already pointed out the grievous flaws of this paper – the statistical approach is rudimentary and not contructed to account for multiple comparisons. When this happens and an arbitrary value of 0.05 is set as “significance” it doesn’t take long to accumulate enough results to get a Type I error. In fact one will get at least one Type I error about half the time when 13-14 tests in a group are conducted.

      And on the lymphocyte results… I spent years conducting flow cytometry, humoral immunity, and cytotoxic assays on all types of leucocytes, but especially on T and B lymphocytes, and the difference in the absolute lymphocyte counts for the groups indicated is utterly meaningless from a functional perspective. The p-value is just a statistical artifact, with no relevance whatsoever to anything implied by the paper.

      This is another piece of work that should not have passed the editors with the wording as used, and with the limitations of analysis that is apparent: the pressure to get coronavirus results out, and especially with the fever around chloroquines, is compromising proper science.

    8. Bernard:

      The paper has not been peer reviewed yet – so maybe it will get shot down.

      I just thought it was interesting.

  39. your political bias is preventing you from seeing straight.

    No rickA, no politics from me. The fact that you failed completely in education doesn’t mean everyone else did. The statistics here don’t support anything. Period.

    Take your ignorance and stick it up your ass. Maybe that would show protective benefit.

  40. “The paper has not been peer reviewed yet – so maybe it will get shot down.”

    If you read the submission information it was deemed not eligible for peer review.

    When this happens and an arbitrary value of 0.05 is set as “significance” it doesn’t take long to accumulate enough results to get a Type I error.

    Yup. That calculation is a standard assignment in intro stat classes.

    The p-value is just a statistical artifact, with no relevance whatsoever to anything implied by the paper.

    Yes, the notion that a p-value alone provides any useful information about the null hypothesis is far too widely accepted. The blame for that misunderstanding rests squarely on several decades of statistical education.

  41. This is another piece of work that should not have passed the editors…

    Is there an editing review for medarvix or is it simply a repository?

    1. There is a screening process, but to be fair on the screeners they’re probably not working at the level of editors who might otherwise reject such a manuscript – even though I am firmly of the opinion that this should not even have been made available under the veneer of respectability that medRΧiv lends.

      Still, I expect that this manuscript will be kicked into better shape before it gets to the stage of darkening a journal’s door…

  42. The numbers I found most interesting from the study were that the patients who got HCQ + AZ + zinc (411), only 38 or 9.2% needed the ICU. While the patients who got HCQ + AZ but no zinc (521), 82 or 15.7% needed to go to the ICU. Also HCQ + AZ + zinc, only 54 (13.1%) died or went to Hospice, while 119 (22.8%) without zinc died or went to Hospice.

    But it was a retrospective study and not peer reviewed.

    Still – those numbers are interesting to me.

    YMMV

    1. It is still amazing that no matter how many times things are explained you are still incapable of understanding anything.

    1. “President Trump has now said he is taking hydroxychloroquine ”

      Why would anyone who’s been paying attention believe him (we know someone who will: “been paying attention” doesn’t apply to him).

    1. Yeah, if stupid people (and you and trump more than qualify as stupid) do worhtless things they might as well go whole hog.

      If this is true ( and there is no reason to believe it is) apparently the white house doctor is the next best thing to a quack.

    2. Re: RickA: “I hope Trump is taking HCQ with zinc, rather than just HCQ.”
      =
      I think I saw something about that too but I don’t have a link. (Anyway, as a confirmed serial liar, any utterance by Trump is suspect.)

      Shouldn’t he be taking the “HCQ” and zinc pills with injections of bleach and a strong beam of UV shining up his ass too? Better safe than sorry, right?

    3. @ dean

      “apparently the white house doctor is the next best thing to a quack.”

      In an officially-released letter, that physician said how he had ‘numerous’ discussions with Trump about HCQ.
      OTOH, he said nowhere in the letter that he did recommend it to Trump for prophylactic purposes.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his handlers are providing Trump with some sugar pills just to stop him complaining about his “game-changer” drug. That would not be the first time a physician gives some useless thing to a worried-well patient.
      After all, they do surreptitiously mix his potato mash with cauliflower.

  43. “I hope Trump is taking HCQ with zinc” opines the right wing lawyer.

    He forgot to add the greasy, fried chicken and burgers that Trump stuffs his fat face with. Apparently he lives on the stuff. His cholesterol count must be sky high. Speaker Pelosi was right in warning Trump against taking any kind of mostly untested medicines as a precaution against Covid-19 because, as she rightfully out it, “he is morbidly obese”. Still, as RickA says I would advise him to go for it, and add in bleach that his doctors can inject into his bloated frame.

    1. In the Left’s view, Trump is morbidly obese…

      Trump is no higher than 6′ 1″, despite his insistence otherwise, and he’s at least 250 pounds despite his claim to be 239 pounds. This puts his body-mass index at 33 or slightly greater.

      The nominal definition of morbid obesity uses an arbitrary minimum BMI of 40. Trump clearly doesn’t meet that. But… if one has pre-existing medical conditions related to overweight then morbid obesity is defined as greater than 35. Trump has cholesterol problems, and likely other metabolic/cardiac issues, so he is likely borderline morbidly obese by the more appropriate BMI measure.

      Pelosi was at first blush being a little generous with the use of “morbid”, but given his accompanying poor health and Adderall addiction to boot, I’d say that her comment is actually probably close to what an impartial doctor would say to any patient with Trump’s parameters. After all, morbid indicates a disease state/process, and Trump’s weight will definitely be exacerbating his health issues.

      So back in your box MikeN – Pelosi has a fair point.

  44. Anyway, as a confirmed serial liar, any utterance by Trump is suspect.

    It is far more likely that his throw-away comment was intended to draw attention away from his and Barr’s continued attacks on the rule of law and proper government oversight, which it seems to be doing.

  45. MikeN, if you think that Nancy Pelosi is left, then you clearly are living in a fascist dictatorship over there. Over here in Europe she would fit well into center-right parties. But then again, you are a right wing loon as well, so your observations simply reflect that.

    More to the point, Trump IS morbidly obese and despite the lies from his personal physician, he is in wretched physical shape. His cholesterol levels must be off the charts.

    And of course he is a serial liar. Most sensible people don’t think he is taking HCQ despite his proclamation. His cult slavishly believe everything he says, so whether he claims to be a stable genius or part of a royal line from a planet circling the star Antares, they will bleat with approval.

    Truth is, the man is a disgrace and an embarrassment. Today he refused to unveil an official portrait of Obama, as is the custom among sitting Presidents. How pathetic and infantile.

    1. “then you clearly are living in a fascist dictatorship over there.”

      Fascist leanings, as illustrated by trump’s tweet stating that the big tech companies were run by “extreme leftists” and that the illegal fact needed to be looked into.

      But yeah, mikeN, rickA and the rest of the right show their ignorance when they state a belief that there is a liberal political party in the US. The Democratic party is where the Republican party was a few years ago, and the Republican party is essentially where the american nazi party has been.

    2. Re: dean: “How pathetic and infantile.”
      =
      Extreme self-absorption, lack of self-discipline, ruled by what he wants, tantrums when his whims are thwarted by others or by reality, refusal to take responsibility, lies as a first resort; that’s our impeached Prez all right and apparently the modern role model for about 40% of our population. It was just reported today that there has been a spike in HCQ requests. Here we go, here we go, follow the Leader, follow the Leader.

  46. Re: MikeN: “In the Left’s view, Trump is morbidly obese and Stacey Abrams is a runway model.”
    =
    “Trump, who will be 74 next month, suffers from pre-existing conditions including high cholesterol and obesity, according to reports from his medical exams as president.” From Fortune, May 19th, 2020:
    https://fortune.com/2020/05/19/trump-hydroxychloroquine-fda-warning-coronavirus/

    Are you going to apologize for your mistaken assertion Mike? Or do what you usually do and make up some fantasy to explain why you are right anyway. (Maybe Fortune magazine and/or the impeached President’s doctor and/or the lab techs involved are controlled by that far left you imagine exists.)

    1. Everyone seems to be ignoring the second part of what I said. Perhaps they are not aware of the reference.

  47. It seems Trump started taking HCQ right after his valet was diagnosed with COVID-19. He is taking it in consultation with the white house doctor, and is probably the most carefully monitored person, health wise (i.e. as to heart issues), of any person on the planet. So I am not worried about this, and certainly don’t think it is a crazy thing to do.

    After all, I already pointed out a retrospective study showing that people who take HCQ with zinc are less likely to get seriously ill (if they do get COVID-19). The earlier you take it the better. Whether it can prevent getting COVID-19 in the first place – the jury is still out on that. More study would be needed. In the meantime, if you can get a doctor to prescribe it, I don’t think it is crazy to do – especially if surrounded by people who have it or may have it and you are the most important person on the planet.

    Other people may choose a different course.

    Personally, I won’t try to get HCQ until diagnosed with COVID-19 – and if diagnosed would definitely ask for treatment with HCQ plus zinc plus AZ.

    1. “After all, I already pointed out a retrospective study showing that people who take HCQ with zinc are less likely to get seriously ill (if they do get COVID-19). ”

      And, you ignorant and dishonest crap stain, it was pointed out why it was a worthless bit.

    2. dean:

      That is merely your opinion of the study. My opinion is different, as are the doctors who wrote the study. Just remember – your opinion is no better than anybody else’s.

    3. Re: RickA: “So I am not worried about this, and certainly don’t think it is a crazy thing to do.”
      =
      Right, why worry about a fat old man with high cholesterol whose doctor thinks it’s ok to take a drug that can (and has) caused dangerous heart irregularities? I’m not worried either; I don’t believe he’s really taking the drug. It’s a squirrel the media are supposed to chase while he chops away at what is left of any oversight of his actions.

      I did note that Trump’s remarks scared Tucker Carlson and other fake news dispensers over at Faux News into uttering some warnings despite the recent Faux News crowing over the supposed other media’s backpedaling from critiques of Trump over his touting of HCQ and from the criticism of his porous China blockade. They keep tripping over their ever-changing fantasies.

    4. Re: RickA: “Personally, I won’t try to get HCQ until diagnosed with COVID-19 – and if diagnosed would definitely ask for treatment with HCQ plus zinc plus AZ.”
      =
      So far, despite a death toll higher than that of ordinary flu and some other common diseases, most people who get Covid-19 do get over it, So, rather than making the decision now, perhaps you should consult a doctor who is knowledgeable about the toxicity of zinc and the heart-related side effects of HCQ and can relate them to your age, condition, and state of health to judge whether the odds are in your favor or not. Taking two things with possible or even likely bad effects is worse than taking either one alone.

    5. Tyvor:

      Well yes. HCQ is prescription only, so of course I would have to consult with a doctor to get a prescription.

      Zinc is a food supplement and I am already taking it, along with D3 and some other vitamins and a baby aspirin. All self-prescribed. I take total responsibility for my own health, so you don’t need to worry (grin).

    6. “Personally, I won’t try to get HCQ until diagnosed with COVID-19”

      Aaah, but now that more and more studies appear, showing HCQ is not really effective, if not even plain detrimental, the pro-HCA are more and more saying that HCQ is only effective if given as early as possible.
      Honestly, that’s not a bad argument. An antiviral is indeed likely to be more effective (and more useful) if given during the initial phases of the infection. And not very useful once you mostly cleared the virus from your body but are now suffering the aftershock of the infection.

      However, in the just-published Lancet study, the authors focused on patients who started receiving HCQ within 48hr of diagnosis. And the outcome is mostly negative – more risk of cardiac arrhythmia and more risk of death among people receiving CQ/HCQ, even more if receiving an antibiotic along it.
      Within 48 hr of diagnosis. Earlier than that, I don’t know how to do it. Unless we all take it preemptively before any symptom shows up.

      And then a doctor on another blog mentioned the long half-life of HCQ. If you take some, it’s going the stay around in your body for a long time. Because you stop taking it doesn’t mean you still don’t have it in you. And if the drug is making a Covid19 infection worse, you may not want having it in your body when the virus strikes.

      tl;dr: once diagnosed with Covid19, you can skip HCQ altogether. At best, it’s too late to do any good. At worse, it was never going to do any good.

  48. “That is merely your opinion of the study.”

    No, that is the meaning of the study.

    “Just remember – your opinion is no better than anybody else’s.”

    No shitstain, it is not as good as some, but it is infinitely better than yours since yours is based on ignorance and lack of understanding of the statistical results — I do understand what the analysis says. In short — yours is based on your usual bullshit and lies.

    1. Seems a case in point of Asimov’s remark (quoted from earlier on this topic): “… democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”

      I believe many of people actually believe that the conclusions reached on the basis of carefully designed experiments, observational facts, and logical applications and extrapolations are just opinions which can be countered and counterbalanced by opinions based on ideology and/or anecdotal evidence (my friend’s aunt had that, she took this, and she got better).

  49. Even though it isn’t needed any more, it is worth pointing out another example of trump’s bald faced lies.

    In his rambling tweet against WHO he stated that WHO had “consistently ignored credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December 2019 or even earlier, including reports from the Lancet medical journal.”

    Today the Lancet stated

    “This statement is factually incorrect. (They continued that that they published) “no report in December, 2019, referring to a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or anywhere else in China.”

    The Lancet stated that their first report was January 24 and that

    the two studies described the first 41 coronavirus patients from Wuhan, the inland Chinese city where the outbreak began, and detailed the first scientific evidence confirming person-to-person transmission of the new virus.

    They also pointed out that their first report was from Chinese scientists and physicians and that

    They worked with us to quickly make information about this new epidemic outbreak and the disease it caused fully and freely available to an international audience.

    I’m sure the resident trump supporters will say this isn’t true, and finagle some way to claim trump was being honest. I point out facts so that rationale people don’t thing the supporters are saying anything resembling the truth.

  50. I was just thinking that Trump is adding zinc to the HCQ he is taking as a dual strategy to reduce the risk of becoming infected with Covid-19 and to treat those nagging bone spurs.

    1. Jeffh,

      There is actually a sound theoretical basis for supplementing hydroxychloroquine with zinc to treat COVID-19. Remember, I said theoretical. But look into it – the cellular biochemistry is very interesting.

      This being said, doing so adds the well-known toxicity risks of zinc to the well-known arrhythmia risks of HCQ.

      Synergy – which, if harmful – for this particular patient, at this critical juncture in history, might be a consummation devoutly to be wished (for) …

    2. Jeffh,

      There is actually a sound theoretical basis for supplementing hydroxychloroquine with zinc to treat COVID-19. Remember, I said theoretical. But look into it – the cellular biochemistry is very interesting.

      This being said, doing so adds the well-known toxicity risks of zinc to the well-known arrhythmia risks of HCQ.

      Synergy – which, if harmful – for this particular patient, at this critical juncture in history – might be a consummation devoutly to be wished (for) …

  51. Joseph, I never said that there wasn’t, although there are many rejoinders. The point I was making is that Trump is probably lying about taking HCQ, as he is an inveterate liar as history has shown.

    1. That study is discouraging.

      Oh well – off to the cabin for Memorial day.

      Have a good weekend everybody.

    2. An oldie but a goldie:

      “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

      – John Adams

    3. RickA in ~40 years of business-as-usual, when a new NASA paper shows that atmospheric CO₂ has doubled over the pre-Industrial Revolution concentration and the mean global temperature has warmed by ~ 3.2 °C…

      That study is discouraging.

      Oh well – off to the cabin for Memorial day.

      Have a good zombie apocalypse everybody.

  52. Re: BBD: ” ‘Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.’ — John Adams”

    Unfortunately however, facts can be hidden and lied about for long enough for a great deal of evil to be accmplished and/or to outlast the attention span of the people not directly affected. We’re seeing that now regarding meat-packing plants and nursing homes etc. where Republican governors are ending requirements for collecting data on where and how bad infections are, generalizing what data is available to make it as useless as possible, and anything else they can do to continue the “opening” of their states while making the toll on human life seem lower than it actually is.

    1. You also have blatant stupidity, evidenced by rickA and this michigan equivalent of his, who was interviewed when trump brought his campaign to the ford plant yesterday.

      “Isn’t it kind of convenient that as soon as impeachment failed, we’ve suddenly got this virus?” she asks, alternating between puffs on a Winston and her inhaler.

      You had the usual confederate flags, racist posters, anti-Semetic placards trump supporters have fastened to their lives and properties. Facts don’t mean squat to the modern right, and they won’t sway opinions.

  53. Re: MI interviewee quoted by dean: ““Isn’t it kind of convenient that as soon as impeachment failed, we’ve suddenly got this virus?” she asks,”
    =
    Sad isn’t it.
    1) The impeachment didn’t fail, Trump is and forever will be an impeached president, the removal failed because of self-interest in the continuation of a corrupt political leader of whose base they are terrified and on whose coattails they depend — or think they do.
    2) If it was the Democrats, as the woman implied, who managed to create a pandemic already infecting dozens of countries, then she and her ilk should be more terrified of the Democrats’ ability and ruthlessness than they act. The pandemic can certainly give them a lot of pain and even kill them and they have no way to stop it and stupidly ignore the steps that might save them from it.
    3) The Confederate flags are a real laugh. If Trump knew any history he would laugh at them as symbols of “losers.” Confederacy was tried twice in the U. S. and was a failure and given up in both cases.

  54. The reports are already coming in of record numbers of new Covid-19 cases coming for states while the governors of those states announce further “opening.” In addition, in other states, churches of various denominations who have ignored or plan to ignore state regulations about mask wearing, limits on numbers assembled, are seeing their clergy and congregations increasingly being infected.

    And here’s an announcement for RickA’s atttention when he comes back from his holiday: In a study of almost 100,000 people, those taking HCQ, the drug Trump’s been pushing so hard for months, had a significantly higher number of deaths than the group which didn’t take it. (It should be reported on the internet by now (except maybe Faux News).

  55. Re: MikeN: “Everyone seems to be ignoring the second part of what I said.”

    That’s true for me; I neither know nor care who Stacey Abrams is or what her appearance is. I will continue to do so until and unless she is shown to be important somehow in or to something in which I am interested.

    1. She’s am African-Amerivan politician whose name has been mentioned as a possible VP choice for Biden.

      The fact that she’s not white, is outspoken, and a critic of the scumbag in chief means she’s a prime target for bigoted and ignorant attacks from the right (as mikeN so clearly demonstrated). Taking the time to make comments based on policy is behind they capability and, for the current Republican base, not needed.

  56. Re: dean: “She’s am African-American politician whose name has been mentioned as a possible VP choice for Biden.
    =
    Thanks for the information. The choice of a running mate should be Joe Biden’s to make. If he should choose her, I will be interested in her qualifications for the position or running mate and the office of President. Whether or not she looks like a runway model is irrelevant.

    1. Re: Lionel A “…for Pensioners dying, replace with People of darker skin colour)”

      Or with “low income people who have no health insurance (many of them thanks to Trumpelosaurus wrecksit) because many of them vote Democratic.

  57. Tyvor

    Or with “low income people who have no health insurance…

    Agreed. The slogan was of UK origin a country where there is a marked larger casualty rate amongst BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) people, noticeably amongst those working with the health and social care services.

    1. Lionel,
      In our benighted nation, the commander of grief instead of supporting health care workers, accused them stealing the supplies that he pretended he had provided. He is still not providing anything positive as far as the pandemic goes; he is solely concerned with distracting public attention from his moronic behavior and whipping up his know-nothing base who seem to believe that the virus has gone away or is no worse than the flu and has been puffed up by the liberal media that they think is real.

  58. rickA once again demonstrates he has no effing ability to distinguish good research from the crap that satisfies his ignorant wishes.

  59. The very fact that a study published in the Lancet – a leading journal – reveals that HCQ is at best ineffective and at worst lethal for treating Covid-19 should in future preclude its use as a treatment of the virus. Glad to see its Use for Covid-19 being banned in several European countries; more will follow. RickA: egg on your face (again). Ritual self-humiliation seems to be one of your traits. Just like it is for your useless, narcissistic President that you so much admire.

    1. Re: Jeffh “. . . useless, narcissistic President . . .”
      =
      Worse than useless. While unwilling and unable to do anything but lie about and make money during the pandemic, he and his minions Mitch McConnell and Bill Barr have further undermined justice in the U. S. and seem to have made justice a commodity available for the right ideological and/or monetary price. See the two links below:

      https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/20/kelly-loeffler-trump-super-pac-272626

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/doj-ends-insider-trading-investigations-into-loeffler-and-two-other-senators-burr-probe-continues-2020-05-26

  60. Hmmm – that Lancet study about HCQ was retracted. I guess the jury is still out on treating COVID-19 early with HCQ + AZ + zinc. I hope it turns out to be of some use in making the disease less severe.

    The University of Minnesota still has a study going to address the question of use early in the disease, so we will have another result soon to look at.

    Here is a link to the retraction:

    https://retractionwatch.com/2020/06/04/lancet-retracts-controversial-hydroxychloroquine-study/

  61. Greg:

    I have two comments stuck in moderation again. One for this post and one for a newer post. Just FYI. Sorry about the loser and his threats to your family. Tough situation.

  62. How the pandemic ends? It won’t be soon…

    I’ve been looking at the US infection data for the last week and I suspect that the coronavirus pandemic in the States is putting its skates on for the second wave. And this is not due to the protests – those infections are yet to manifest in the system – it’s due entirely to the rolling back of restrictions before the virus was properly controlled, on top of a lack of appropriate response measures in some states in the first place.

    Independence Day is going to be an interesting time.

    1. About two weeks ago I predicted elsewhere that the USA would top 50,000 daily cases of coronavirus by 4 July. Today that happened:

      https://www.ft.com/content/a6b959b8-83db-434f-bee4-c431b2187cac

      There’s good news – the #BlackLivesMatter protests appear to be responsible for a lessening of transmission because the protesters observed social distancing, and they kept the rest of the population off the streets in the process of marching in the streets. That’s fascinating…

      And there’s bad news – the trajectory is returning to exponential in most states, and due to the Republican reluctance and indeed antipathy to accept science, the numbers are only going to keep going up. Any states that don’t properly restrict Independence Day celebrations are going to find that this weekend only exacerbates the case spike for the virus by mid-month…

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