Chinese bioweapon II: Electric Boogaloo

Yikes. Despite the withdrawal of the Indian paper arguing that the Wuhan virus showed signs of engineering, the hypothesis that that it’s an escaped bioweapon looks stronger than ever.

Why do I say this? Because it looks like my previous inclination to believe the rough correctness of the official statistics – as conveyed by the Johns Hopkins tracker – was wrong. I now think the Chinese are in way deeper shit than they’re admitting.

My willingness to believe the official line didn’t stem from any credulity about what the Chinese government would do if it believed the truth wouldn’t serve. As Communists they are lying evil scum pretty much by definition, and denial would have been politically attractive for as long as they thought they could nip the pandemic in the bud. I thought their incentives had flipped and they would now be honest as a way of assisting their own countermeasures and seeking international help.

My first clue that I was wrong about that came from a friend who is plugged into the diaspora Chinese community. According to him, there is terrifying video being sent from Chinese clans to the overseas branches they planted in the West to prepare a soft landing in case they have to bail out of China. Video of streets littered with corpses. And of living victims exhibiting symptoms like St. Vitus’s Dance (aka Sydenham’s chorea), which means the virus is attacking central nervous systems.

My second clue was the Tencent leak. Read about it here; the takeaway is that there is now reason to believe that as of Feb 1st the actual coronavirus toll looked like this: confirmed cases 154023, suspected cases 79808, cured 269, deaths 24589.

Compare that with the Johns Hopkins tracker numbers for today, a week later: Confirmed cases 31207, cured 1733, deaths 638. Allowing for the Tencent leak being roughly one doubling period earlier, the official statistics have been lowballing the confirmed case number by a factor of about 8 and the deaths by a factor of about 80. And then inflating cures by a factor of about 12.

Even given what I’d heard about the video, I might have remained skeptical about the leak numbers if someone (don’t remember who or where) hadn’t pointed out that the ratio between reported cases and deaths has been suspiciously constant in the official Chinese statistics. In uncooked statistics one would expect more noise in that ratio, if only because of reporting problems.

So my present judgment, subject to change on further evidence, is that the Tencent-leak numbers are the PRC’s actual statistics. And that has a lot of grim implications.

One is that the Wuhan virus has at least a 15% fatality rate in confirmed cases – and most ways the PRC’s own statistics could be off due to reporting problems would drive it higher. Another is that containment in China has failed. Even in the cooked official statistics first derivative has not fallen; the doubling time is on the close order of five days now and may decrease.

We are already well past any even theoretical coping capability of China’s medical infrastructure. For that matter, it isn’t likely that there are enough trained medical personnel on the entire planet to get on top of a pandemic this size with a 5-day doubling time.

Which means this thing is probably not going to top out in China until it saturates the percentage of the population without natural immunity and kills at least 15% of them. The big, grim question is how many natural immunes there are. The history of past natural pandemics does not conduce to any optimism at all about that.

A very safe prediction is that a whole lot of elderly Chinese people are going to die because their immune systems are pre-compromised.

China’s population is about 1.4 billion. Conservatively, therefore, we can already expect this plague to kill more people in China than the Black Death did in Europe. At its present velocity we can expect that in about 12 doubling periods, or approximately 60 days.

Meanwhile, coronavirus spread outside China enters a critical time.

Based on what we think we know about the incubation period (about 14 days), if there’s going to be a pandemic breakout outside of China due to asymptomatic carriers, we should start to see a slope change in the overseas incidence curve during the next week. It’s been long enough for that now.

If that doesn’t happen, either the rest of the world dodged the pandemic bullet (optimistic) or the low end of the incubation period is longer than has been thought (pessimistic). On the basis of previous experience with SARS and MERS, I think the optimistic read is more likely to be correct.

Now back to the bioweapon hypothesis. Does recent data strengthen or weaken it? Consider:

* 645 Indian evacuees from Wuhan all tested negative.

* The only death outside China has been an ethnic-Chinese traveler from Wuhan.

The evidence that this virus likes to eat Han Chinese and almost ignores everybody else is mounting. That’s bioweapon-like selectivity.

One of my previous objections to the bioweapon hypothesis was that the Wuhan virus’s lethality wasn’t high enough. At 15% or higher I withdraw that objection.

And that St. Vitus’s Dance thing – coronaviruses don’t do that. But it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d engineer into a terror weapon intended not just to kill a chunk of your target population but break the morale of the rest.

Finally, my friend Phil Salkie tells me that on Google Maps the reported location of the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been jumping around like a Mexican flea. That’s guilty behavior, that is.

UPDATE, 30 DAYS LATER: Now it’s infecting non-Chinese in significant numbers – as I write, about 10K total cases. about half of those in South Korea. The long incubation period and asymptomatic transmoission made it look much more contained over the first month than it was.

340 thoughts on “Chinese bioweapon II: Electric Boogaloo

  1. Well…

    http://london.sonoma.edu/Writings/StrengthStrong/invasion.html

    But seriously. (1) the confirmed case are confirmed cases – i.e. people who were tested. In numerous places people remind that Chinese had limited capacity to test people, and that capacity only recently was growing – so it was pretty much known that the real number of infected is always larger than confirmed cases (2) As you can find in another places, China always had their own way to count the deaths of flu, and people were calling to change it for some time. Here you have it explained from Chinese themselves: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1177725.shtml

    • >Dug this up:

      Dear Goddess. Yeah, that first sequence looks like choreal spasms all right.

      I’d have pegged it as some kind of CNS syndrome even without my friend’s report.

      • Have you seen chorea? This looks like a tonic-clonic seizure. Fever is well-known to lower seizure threshold in people with underlying disorders.

        • >Have you seen chorea?

          I have, but only about twice and it was a long time ago. You’re saying you don’t think that video looks like chorea? I don’t claim to be an expert at this sort of thing.

          We shouldn’t over-focus on the map, here. Whether or not Sydenham’s chorea is the correct label for what’s going on, multiple reports of seizures and spasms is really bad news.

        • I don’t. Compare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTCnbga3sqg

          About 0.25% of people have epilepsy with tonic-clonic seizures. About 1% have epilepsy (including epilepsy with other kinds of motor seizures). 2-5% of people have a seizure sometime in their adult lives, often provoked by a stressor like illness. In an outbreak of over 30,000 confirmed cases, you might expect to see hundreds of reports from these people alone. “Multiple” is not meaningful here.

          Futhermore, once you’re critically ill, all systems are involved. A bad enough respiratory infection can lead to poor oxygen saturation can lead to hypoxic brain injury. Sepsis will give you hypotension, which leads to poor oxygen saturation and poor perfusion, resulting in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. There are your CNS symptoms, sans any CNS infection. (About a third of people with HI-BI have seizures.)

          It certainly is bad news—but it’s evidence of the size of the outbreak and the inadequacy of available care, not of bioengineering.

  2. I’ll lay my bet down that the St. Vitus’ dance will turn out to be false. My line of thought is that if it were at all common, it would be much better sourced than one dubious video.

    On the other hand, the thing that spooks me is a Chinese woman who was interviewed on the BBC. Sorry no details for when but it was a few days or a week ago. The thing is, it was like scene setting in a disaster novel. Many of her immediate relatives were sick. One had died.

    The order in which information was given was perfect. Maybe it was faked, or she just has a sense of dramatic timing. Or extreme bad luck. Or maybe the disease is very pervasive.

    • >I’ll lay my bet down that the St. Vitus’ dance will turn out to be false. My line of thought is that if it were at all common, it would be much better sourced than one dubious video.

      I’ve now seen one video featuring choreal symptoms and have a report from a reliable source of another. I think you’re going to turn out to be horribly wrong. Dammit.

      • It could be real chorea, but not from the coronavirus.

        Remember those pictures of the starving polar bear? It was a real starving polar bear, but it was one sick or injured bear, not (as it was presented) a consequence of global warming.

  3. I wouldn’t describe contemporary China as Communist. I’d call it post-Communist authoritarian or something. It doesn’t show the fantasy of controlling the whole economy the way real Communist countries do.

    It would be interesting to rank countries by the amount of lying the government does routinely.

    • >I wouldn’t describe contemporary China as Communist. I’d call it post-Communist authoritarian or something.

      Even supposing you’re correct, it doesn’t mean the Communist DNA of any deception being justified to advance the interests of the Party isn’t relevant.

      • it doesn’t mean the Communist DNA of any deception being justified to advance the interests of the Party isn’t relevant.

        From my long-ago high school years I remember a controversy over “Yellow Rain”…with some claiming it was Chinese chemical weapons possibly released by accident, and the New York Times claiming it was a health problem caused by bee droppings….I have no idea if the true stories then and now have anything in common.

  4. You want a conspiracy theory? Fine. Here is another one: what if the death rate really is faked… up? What if the real fatality ratio is not that different from normal flu, but when gossips started, someone decided it would be great occassion to (a) introduce harsh limitations on the civil liberties, the last few they have (b) kill some dissidents and claim they were flu victims (c) make a show to the population how strong the government is? (d) provide an excuse for strong control, saying “see how we handled the pandemic? It could kill millions, but PARTY saved you! In democracy such strong measures wouldn’t be possible!”

    Of course, this theory has no sense whatsoever. But same could be said about coronavirus 2019-ncov being a bioweapon.

    • >You want a conspiracy theory?

      In case it’s not obvious, my version of the bioweapon hypothesis doesn’t involve a conspiracy. Just someone at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fucking up.

      I’ll repeat that: I don’t think anyone planned this.

      • And a conspiracy to cover up/down play the consequences.

        But that’s a bog standard done all the time conspiracy, not a theory.

        • Never forget that the concept of “conspiracy theory” is literally a CIA plot to discredit reporting on its activities.

          • >Never forget that the concept of “conspiracy theory” is literally a CIA plot to discredit reporting on its activities.

            If you can point me at evidence for that claim I would very much like to read it.

            • I unfortunately did not save the references when I initially came across the claim, which was specifically that the CIA distributed talking points early in Mockingbird encouraging the use of the term “conspiracy theory” by government spokesmen to discredit inquiries by ridicule; the account cited or quoted at least one journalist from the time.

              A quick inquiry identifies Document 1035-960, which was released in response to a NYT FOIA request in the 1976 and matches the claimed pattern. I think that it’s been overhyped, particularly in the claim that the term “conspiracy theory” was actually coined by the CIA, but the curve in the Ngram records shows a very sharp takeoff in exactly the time that Mockingbird was active.

              Combined with the observation that the government intelligence apparatus is still blatantly gaslighting the public about its misdeeds (e.g., FISA abuse, the NSA backbone tapping), I have little trouble buying the claim that the agency that tried to kill Fidel Castro with a biohazard wetsuit would push a thought-terminating cliché concerning exactly the kinds of shenanigans it was up to.

            • I don’t have any specific evidence, nor am I 100% convinced it is entirely a designed meme, but consider the difference between the connotation of “conspiracy theory” and the denotation. What “ought” to be merely a neutral, descriptive term is instead a trigger for a very widespread meme program to reject whatever is being so labeled, with prejudice, and social mockery.

              It may not have been designed per se; there are some plausible mechanisms for to have developed on its own, or maybe it was something natural that was then pushed a bit. But it is, if nothing else, a thought-terminating cliche; the vast bulk of “conspiracy theories” are false, but the vast bulk of all claims are false, really.

              I think at the very least the question of “where did that connotation come from?” is an interesting question.

              • Especially since “conspirasy theory” is frequently used to dismiss allegations of any powerful person the speaker likes abusing his power even if the alleged abuse doesn’t involve him conspiring with anyone else.

      • Remember the Larry Niven view that Fermi’s Paradox is explained by the relative cheapness of genetic engineering compared to starflight. Everyone else out there already made one mistake.

      • This is precisely how Captain Trips spread, in The Stand. Not a deliberate release, just a mistake here and there, and then a guard who broke quarantine thinking he was saving his family (but instead spreading the plague to the rest of humanity).

    • On the contrary, this theory has a lot of sense. I’ve been reading the blog of a Russian researcher working in China, and basically he tells that the infection is used as an excuse for extreme control over population. There are pickets on the street intersections that check and register everyone coming and going, and the same at all the offices. People in the West have been saying that the control in the Uighur region is extreme and totalitarian, and condemning China for that. But now China had implemented an even more totalitarian control, and the West applauds it rather than condemns it, because of a convenient excuse. This is a perfect way to root out the dissidents and “tighten the nuts”. Given that the Chinese leader has been targeting a revival of communism, this is happening at a very convenient time for him.

      BTW, that expat doesn’t report people dead in the street or anything like that (but then again, he is not in Wuhan).

    • Even if the disease is natural, they’re going to use it as an excuse to do those things anyway. “Let no crisis go to waste.”

        • Are you aware of the pandemic bonds incentive?

          The “Let no crisis go to waste” also requires organization and preparation. The WHO, CDC, FDA, Marxist mass media, Marxist EU, health agencies in all governments around the world don’t just naturally without any organization or premeditation create a crisis where 90% of the world’s population is told to isolate themselves in their homes as a natural reaction to several 1000s deaths, when annually there are as of 2017 (in millions):

          https://ourworldindata.org/causes-of-death


          18M   cardiovascular disease
          10M   cancer
           5.5M lung infections and chronic respiratory diseases
           4M   digestive diseases (including diarrhea)
           2.5M dementia
           1.4M diabetes
           1.3M liver disease
           1.3M vehicular accidents
           1.2M kidney disease
           1.2M tuberculosis
           1.0M HIV/AIDS

          Shall we stop all driving of vehicles because it causes 1.3 million deaths annually.

          Death by cancer, tuberculosis and vehicular accidents at least can be as grotesque as ARDS.

          Many of the above are underlying conditions leading to the highest mortality for COVID-19.

  5. OK. Let’s assume for a second this is in fact an escaped bioweapon, or just an escaped sample. Now what? The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that if any kind of really irrefutable evidence surfaces, the West couldn’t just let it go, no matter what their own politicians might prefer.

    • Once again: let’s assume for a second that indeed, this is a bioweapon. Why assume it’s a bioweapon created by Chinese, and not against Chinese (which was stolen and then escaped from BSL-4 facility in Wuhan).

      • Does anyone know the relationship between this strain and the one the Chinese stole from Canada a while back?

      • 1) The PRC isn’t baying for blood.
        2) If this is man made, it’s almost certainly negligence rather than malice. It’s not *that* effective.
        3) There’s been no followup.
        4) You don’t deploy a WMD against a nuclear power unless you’re absolutely sure they won’t be in a position to retaliate.
        5) The PRC is still in full coverup mode. Now, granted, it’s their default MO, but if there was a chance to blame someone else, they probably would.

        • I think szopen is suggesting an accidental release by the Chinese still.

          Basically the proposed timeline is:

          1. Xlandia develops a bioweapon that specifically targets Han.
          2. Chinese intelligence steals a sample from a Xlandian lab.
          3. The Chinese send the sample to Wuhan to research counter-measures.
          4. The Wuhan lab releases the sample by accident.
          5. People start dying.

          Which, to me, seems more likely than the Chinese developing a bioweapon that specifically targets Han themselves.

          And if true this puts the Chinese in the awkward position of not being able to scream for Xlandian blood without admitting that they (the Chinese) where the ones who released the virus into the Chinese population.

          I’m not an expert on Chinese politics, but based on what other people have been saying I’d guess that such an admission would almost guarantee the fall of the current Chinese government.

          • The question remains. In my mind, the fact that a bioweapon was developed and escaped is as important as who actually developed it. What are the geopolitical repercussions?

            • Well, if the current Chinese government falls as a result of this the new Chinese government or governments won’t have the same motivation to not start screaming for Xlandian blood.

              Which could make for some awkward geopolitics. I’d certainly start feeling nervous if I found out tomorrow that 2019nCoV was developed in an Australian lab.

          • Where “fall” is read as “(into shallow graves after getting one bullet to the back of the head)”.

          • >Which, to me, seems more likely than the Chinese developing a bioweapon that specifically targets Han themselves.

            I suppose another possibility is the virus was created in China, but not at the request/direction of the CCP. For example, a non-Han researcher employed at the lab with an ethnic grievance.

            U.S. racial politics tends to treat all Chinese as being the same (or worse, all “Asians”). I doubt that narrative really reflects reality.

      • I have no idea how plausible the bioweapon idea is, but it seems more likely to me that an Asian-targeted bioweapon would be targeted *at* China instead of developed by China. And if you were wanting to shut down Chinese ability to research the virus effectively, maybe hitting a city with a virology institute that specializes in coronaviruses and has a BSL4 lab wouldn’t be a bad strategy.

        I’m skeptical of this story overall–I suspect it’s just a bat virus that jumped to people and there’s some covering up by various Chinese officials trying to either stem panic or cover their own asses. But it’s still interesting speculation.

        • I have seen the hypothesis that the lab was testing not specific mechanisms for lethality, but generalized ways of making viruses better bioweapons, and that the experimental subjects they had access to were Chinese prisoners. Consequently, the study of techniquest to create more lethal bioweapons have created a bioweapon targeted to people genetically like the subjects.

          If bioweapon research in general is not to the point that there’s some scientist somewhere who can basically scribble down a gene sequence to target a specific race with a deadly disease, which seems plausible, meaning that real research may be focused on generalized techniques rather than specific already-known attacks, this at least seems plausible in combination with the other factors mentioned (China isn’t even trying to blame anyone else in particular).

      • Why assume it’s a bioweapon created by Chinese, and not against Chinese[?]

        The OP doesn’t make this explicit, but a couple of comments mention it: Han Chinese comprises about 70% of the population of Taiwan. Which happens to also be an island.

        The problem with the theory that this is an anti-Taiwan bioweapon is that there have been zero deaths in Taiwan, despite all the Han Chinese there. But this might not mean anything, given that the death rate is still only about 1 in 40 in mainland China. Taiwan reports only 18 cases so far.

        What’s weird so far is Japan having zero deaths as well, out of 163 cases. One would expect there to be maybe four, minus one or two because the cases are relatively new.

  6. There is an alternate hypothesis that sounds as viable as the bioweapon one, which is that it’s escaped research from the lab trying to find a vaccine or cure for an entire category of coronavirus, and this was one sample they were working with or engineered as a target virus.

    • Exactly. The hypotheses which assumes stupidity and negligence combining with typical “we want good” attitude, without assuming malicious things. I’d say taht would fit much better communist and totalitarian mindset than “let’s make bioweapon mostly targeting chinese people”.

      • >Exactly. The hypotheses which assumes stupidity and negligence combining with typical “we want good” attitude, without assuming malicious things. I’d say taht would fit much better communist and totalitarian mindset than “let’s make bioweapon mostly targeting chinese people”.

        Whoa there. I’m willing to assume incompetence rather than malice in this case, but that’s hardly an indulgence Communists should be granted in general. Gulag archipelagos do not get built out of innocent error.

        • Well, yes; but I grew up in communist country and the thing is that this system does not select for ideologues, but for boring apparatchiks skillful at saying appropriate things and other opportunistic lowlifes. Obviously, there are exceptions and obviously, I’m could be plain wrong in this, but my impression, based on what I’ve read and saw in my country, is that the first generation would kill evil kulaks in thousands because it’s necessary for the bright future. The third generation just does not care whether you live or not.

          • That doesn’t match my experience. In the 1980s in the USSR people were still enthusiastic about killing kulaks. That’s one of the reasons why racketeering became so widespread once the first “cooperative” businesses were allowed.

            • Any time one group is given an excuse to kill another group, they’re going to be enthusiastic about it, because one-sided murder is fun. That’s a human thing, not a communism thing.

          • ‘Human Rights’, ‘Good Science’, and ‘Industrial Safety’ are ideological positions.

            Caveat, I’m basically disinterested in the life sciences, and the applications of biotech I would least dislike are weapons.

            So that may be biasing things when I try to game out how a PRC born life scientist might decide which country they want to do their work in, and how the desire for a specific kind of work might impact that.

            US will make you pay lip service to human rights, and while the EU doesn’t really care, the kind of crazy the EU leadership has is not the sort to fund bio weapons research. EU also makes you pay lip service to industrial safety.

            Now, there are reasons to want to work in the PRC that have nothing to do with wanting to work without your hands being tied by human rights and industrial safety. Cultural familiarity, or being so accustomed to the Gu jar that you have no desire for freedom, and getting away from it all.

            Personally, I only object to sentencing criminals to death by experimentation on ‘Good Science’ grounds. Criminals tend to have mental and drug problems that make them a bad sample for medical purposes. So, in theory I disagree with some of the US restrictions on criminal handling. In practice, when the restrictions are too loose they attract malicious idiots who spend human lives carelessly.

            There definitely could be malicious scientists working for the PRC. I’m not sure if funding in the PRC is scientist proposed, or totally dictated by the government. If scientist proposed, approval is the sort of thing a communist regime would centralize, and run past high level political animals. Those people also might be malicious, or so ignorant of the technical risks that they might as well be ignorant.

            ‘Nobody cares’ is not a reason why a communist regime would not fund a scientist who wants to work on bioweapons. It is a reason why people who might in another nation be able to stop that research would not.

          • Well, yes; but I grew up in communist country and the thing is that this system does not select for ideologues, but for boring apparatchiks skillful at saying appropriate things and other opportunistic lowlifes.

            A manipulable environment to run a covert operation that targets the entire world and places the blame on China—possibly with the cooperation of Winnie-the-poo and CCP elite or without their direct involvement but placing them in a compromised position forcing their hand in reaction to the event.

        • It seems to me that when Communist regimes are massively, inhumanly evil, it’s typically down to one or a few total psychopaths in a position of absolute power. Stalin and Mao are, of course, the paradigm cases here, but most of the world’s worst Communist regimes seem to follow this pattern. (The same seems true of fascist regimes; Franco, Mussolini and Hitler can reasonably be lumped together under some criteria, but only Hitler achieved the level of insane psychotic evil.)

          When Communist regimes are not run by utter psychopaths, they seem to generally be bad, but only an order or so worse than the worst of Western bureaucratic/regulatory overreach. The Soviet Union post Stalin was just an extremely dysfunctional and corrupt big empire; its failing seem much more explicable by ordinary human evil and failing than the massive atrocity under Stalin’s reign.

          • > (The same seems true of fascist regimes; Franco, Mussolini and Hitler can reasonably be lumped together under some criteria

            Mussolini and Hitler were both socialists. Franco was not.

            Which doesn’t mean he was a particularly nice guy (he wasn’t).

  7. The rulers of China have a huge demographic problem as a natural and obvious result of decades of their One Child policy. IF (really big if) this was engineered it could be their desperate solution to having so many men with no possibility of Han brides without a war.

    Do we have male/female infection and/or fatality rates or just raw numbers?

    • The paranoid reading could plausibly be that they don’t want too few young people supporting too many old people.

    • They were already doing a much safer and more profitable disposal method for surplus males:

      Sending them to Africa as part of the economic colonization effort.

      • >Sending them to Africa as part of the economic colonization effort.

        Yeah, that’s not going to work very well, because Chinese men won’t interest the local women – not south of the Sahara anyway. With unusual exceptions, they don’t read as sufficiently male – SSA female limbic systems just don’t light up. And if you export your horny young men to where most of them can’t pull women with peaceful behavior, you get a whole range of problems that are likely to make you wish you had stayed home or at least colonized somewhere with more receptive women.

        If you’re really lucky, your boys just get vicious tropical STDs like chancroids because hookers are the only local women who will touch them. If you’re really unlucky your boys go feral and take what they want until the natives start killing them and you have a violent insurrection on your hands. There are precedents for both extreme outcomes in Africa. The intermediate cases aren’t much fun either.

          • >But they have MONEY. That fires up the female limbic system alright.

            When you have a serious mismatch in sexual signaling that gets less effective for anyone but hookers. I’m not merely theorizing; the kinds of problems I’m talking about have been observed in the wild, notably during various attempts to import cheap East Asian labor by European colonialists.

            • Interracial marriages between Chinese and Africans are apparently on the rise, as have complaints by African women being abandoned by their Chinese lovers after getting pregnant…
              So it appears that the attraction is there anyway.
              Nature likes to mix genes. Which is why mixed couples are so common everywhere nowadays.

            • The “cheap Asian labor” is the opposite of having money. Put “Asian millionaire” or “Asian prince” instead, and there will be plenty of signaling. In USSR there were a surprising number of girls who married the African or Arabian “princes” who studies in the USSR.

              For another example, look at Putin, does he look like much? But lot and lots of women see him as an archetype of attractiveness, because he has power and money.

              • >look at Putin, does he look like much?

                I’m not sure male fashion models are the proper point of comparison here.

                That said, I’ve been surprised at how many ‘child reading’ men Hollywood casts as leads nowadays. I can’t explain it.

        • ‘Don’t read as sufficiently male’ sounds like a wheat-eating Chinese describing the rice-bellies.

  8. To really make the case for it being a bio-engineered weapon, you need to identify facts that are likely it was a coronavirus, but unlikely otherwise. I don’t think any of your claims meet this criteria.

    I think your evidence is as follows:

    1. It originated in Wuhan, home of the lab that China built after SARS embarrassingly escaped from a previous lab.

    Wuhan is a large city which it is reasonably likely to start a natural outbreak. Conversely, we have no reason to believe WIV is the likely location of bio-weapon research. The Chinese built it for mundane reasons and could easily host bio-weapons research in a facility we don’t even know exists.

    2. It appears to be specifically adapted to Han Chinese

    Well, it evolved among Han Chinese so should be well adapted to them. It probably has no significant evolutionary experience outside Han Chinese people yet.

    Conversely, there is no good reason for China to want an anti Han Chinese bio-weapon. Even if they were targeting Taiwan, a non racially preferenced virus would be just as good.

    Aside: It’s reasonably plausible in the process of trying to make a Han immune virus, they made a Han targeting one.

    3. The paper

    It’s been retracted in non-suspicious circumstances.

    4. The PRC is intentionally covering up the scale and lethality of the outbreak

    Isn’t this default behaviour for the PRC? Cover up and downplay to prevent panic and suppress political opposition. Even if it it isn’t in their interest in this case, institutional norms are slow to adapt.

    5. The location of the WIV is moving on Google Maps

    I have no clue, but here is some speculation.

    I don’t know how Google Maps obtains it’s info on locations of businesses. I do know, however, that it does get a lot of info from people using Google Maps. Interest in the WIV has spiked recently outside of China, presumably resulting in more data for the AI. This could have resulted in instability in the listing. The WIV have no control over their Google Maps listing due to great firewall, so data is likely to be bad.

    Has Phil Salkie checked whether the changes are simply switching between WGS-84, GCJ-02 and possibly BD-09?. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restrictions_on_geographic_data_in_China

    • I was wondering the same thing. China requires map makers to algorithmically mess up their maps of China so that they’re just a little off in unpredictable ways, therefore enhancing their national security because, I guess, they figure cruise missiles can’t be adapted to the mismatch.

      Half as Interesting – Why Every Map of China is Just Slightly Wrong
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9Di-UVC-_4

      (the video is merely 5m long; quite interesting)

      • There’s two comments I read which may just be fabricated and I can’t remember where I sourced them.

        1. Attributed to CCP elite, “We could cull half the population and still dominate the world.”

        2. Comments from Chinese on social media to the effect that they never eat bats. And Chinese are very suspicious of the fabricated narrative about Chinese eat a lot of bats and that being the origin of SARS-1 and SARS-Cov-2 (the current virus). Point being that SARS-1 could have been an trial balloon or a way to make Asia more prepared for SARS-Cov-2, if the West is the primary target.

        Take this with a grain of salt. I just wanted to write it down somewhere.

    • Possibly a screwup, or an intermediate stage while figuring out how to engineer a virus that Han Chinese folks are mostly immune to or nearly always survive?

  9. One video I watched discussed that the ACE-2 targeting doesn’t necessarily mean that it was targeting those in Asia. ACE-2 is in everyone, but it is expressed to a greater degree in smokers, and 48% of men in China smoke. Given that the sample size of that initial paper was only 8, and the one that said that ACE-2 is over-expressed in smokers is only 221 population size, these aren’t the most well vetted of papers though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT3_A1bf9pU This channel has been a good source of info. I’m not sure that he’s entirely correct though in comparing cases outside of China though, since it’s had a lot less time to work on people outside China.

  10. About the numbers being faked: Johns Hopkins reports the following deaths by date:
    2/7. 638
    2/6. 565
    2/5. 492
    2/4. 427
    2/3. 362
    2/2. 305
    2/1. 259

    That’s two 73-person jumps in a row (2/7 & 2/6), two 65-person jumps (2/5 & 2/6), two 46-person jumps (2/2 & 2/1).

    Sounds fake to me.

  11. Let’s pick this up from the other end. How much tech would it take to engineer the coronavirus? Can we make good estimates of who has that tech?

    • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t really “engineer” a virus in the traditional sense of engineering. Researchers start with an existing strain of coronavirus (which is always somewhat variable and typically incorporates millions of specimens) and then modifies it’s DNA using techniques that are approximate at best. Then you let it stew (grow) for while, sample the end-product, and attempt to measure and evaluate what you got. Think of it as writing a few thousand lines of code and then doing a test drive to see if it matched your intention. Biochemistry is just as buggy as coding, so yes, be very worried.

      • This sounds like it’s not wildly different from naturally evolved viruses, and possibly less likely to be dangerous.

        • Some viruses dont, some viruses do have DNA. The Corona viruses are RNA viruses, they do not have DNA.

          However, when engineering viruses, it could be useful to use a complement DNA strand to work on, and then convert it back to RNA for packaging. Some viruses use this route themselves, e.g., the HIV (which allows them to incorporate and hide in human DNA).

          However, the Corona virus replicates directly from RNA in vivo.

          (information from Wikipedia)

  12. Assume that the virus does indeed target only Han Chinese at present, either through an accident of evolution or because it is a deliberately designed bioweapon. How concerned should the rest of us be? How likely is it that the virus will mutate to infect other ethnicities and that 15% of the world population will die in the next few years?

    • >How likely is it that the virus will mutate to infect other ethnicities and that 15% of the world population will die in the next few years?

      Unknown. Except that if this sort of jump were not very rare, global pandemics would be scars written all over human history in a pretty unmistakable way.

      • >>>global pandemics would be scars written all over human history in a pretty unmistakable way.

        Except that history does not include the level of connectedness that the world now, um, enjoys.

        • The “Spanish” flu started out as a local virus in Army camps in Kansas during the military buildup in WW1. The fascist Wilson regime hid this and denied it happened allowing the virus to be spread all over the US, Canada and Europe by asymptomatic soldiers deploying to the western front. From there soldiers from India, Africa, and Indochina spread it to Asia.
          The world was a LOT less interconnected then.

          • Even at that, pandemics that whack 15% of the affected population are pretty rare in any case. Spanish Flu’s death toll was so high because – despite the relatively low interconnectedness – a huge percentage of people got sick, not because the case fatality rate was extremely high. (It was higher than typical seasonal influenza, but nowhere near 15%; more like 3% IIRC)

          • There’s good evidence that I’ve seen documented out there that the so-called Spanish Flu actually spread from Canada into the American Midwest from a large group of Chinese laborers that were transported across Canada just before the epidemic started–Who happened to come directly from the hotbed of Southern China, and who were transported across Canada in secrecy:

            https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/spanish-flu-the-pandemic-that-killed-50-million-started-in-china-but-may-have-spread-via-canada-historian-says

            The lesson to be taken from all of this is that government secrecy kills, no matter which government is keeping it all to themselves. Odds are that the Spanish Influenza epidemic would have been greatly reduced had the fact that the Chinese Labor Corps members were sick with something at the ports of Canada, and not been allowed transit without quarantine taking place. As it was, millions died.

            China’s south is a hotbed of disease production because of the style of agriculture they practice, living cheek-by-jowl with ducks and pigs. Then, there’s the habit Chinese have of wanting fresh exotic wild game in their diets, which means that they’re constantly bringing in new zoonotic diseases.

            It might not be a bad idea to work on changing that, but the disease itself might be doing that for us.

  13. My general thought here is that, while CCP official numbers are notoriously faked and shouldn’t be believed, “leaks” that come through Internet rumors — especially only one or a few sources — are if anything even more notoriously faked. So while it seems very likely the Chinese numbers are still wrong, I don’t think we have any source of much more reliable data from within China.

    Until we get much better information — from some non-CCP official agency, or leaked and widely corroborated, or similar — I don’t think we can make very good qualitative guesses as to how bad it is. It’s almost certainly much worse than CCP statistics say; I don’t think we have any good way to know how much worse.

      • In the game of reliability, I’ll see your Twitter feed and raise you one Simone:

        “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with a girl who saw Ferris pass-out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”

    • >Honestly, this reminds me of a bunch of survivalists drinking beer and scaring each other.

      It shouldn’t. Part of the point of my post is that I don’t think people who are both non-Han and outside of China have much to fear yet. Our worst consequence looks like industrial supply-chain disruption, not megadeaths.

  14. Whats -NOT- faked is that there around 114 million people currently under extreme quarantine. You do NOT do that for deaths in the mid 600’s… thats only done if’n theres a ‘metric f*ckton o’carcasses’ that’re gonna go ‘public’ if’n they don’t lock down waaaay quick. I also did some research trying to find intel on potential “carcass removal issues” and did the following Blog (w/ Subsequent Follow ups) Make of it what you will.

    https://bigcountryexpatoriginal.blogspot.com/2020/02/an-idea-thatd-tell-lot-and-numbers.html

    • Whats -NOT- faked is that there around 114 million people currently under extreme quarantine. You do NOT do that for deaths in the mid 600’s

      In retrospect, that’s also the numerical dystopia in the USA now, so yes we do do that sort of collectively-insane, mass-mania-induced community health policy. The “shelter in place” orders are just a whisker shy of a martial-law quarantine.

  15. “A very safe prediction is that a whole lot of elderly Chinese people are going to die because their immune systems are pre-compromised.”

    This CCP may not mind this. China has been staring down the serious demographic issue of it is becoming old before it is becoming rich (thanks’ “One Child Policy”). Not saying this was on purpose, or even that it it was man made and escaped, but if it happens to kill a large swath of older Chinese it helps remove that societal pressure.

  16. Wired got it nicely explained:
    It’s the Black Death all over again. But now the Chinese are blamed.

    https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories/

    What this primarily shows is the gullibility of people. If you “Trust no one” you end up falling for every scam and hoax. The OP is a good example of this.

    It would be funny, if it wouldn’t be the case that fake conspiracy theories kill real people. The Black Death was an example of that too.

    • No, It’s called critical thinking.

      Try working backwards and ask yourself whether the following qualities of nCov-2019 would make a good bioweapon,

      1. Asymptomatic transfer (both before and after symptoms)
      2. High transmissibility (R0 > 4)
      3. Significant complication risk (around 20% of cases require go to a hospital)
      4. Long incubation time (allowing spreading in a population before a significant response is required)
      5. aerosolizable
      6. Lasts days, maybe even weeks on surfaces.

      That’s not even including the circumstantial evidence. Patient 0 never went to that market. The scientists expelled from Canada under mysterious circumstances. etc.

      Of course, we should always trust the corporate media (Operation Mockingbird anyone!)

      • >6. Lasts days, maybe even weeks on surfaces.

        Doesn’t match my understanding. The only claim I’ve seen about this is that the virus is not very persistent.

        I think “Asymptomatic transfer (both before and after symptoms)” is also questionable at this point.

        Pointers to evidence would be welcomed.

      • Working backwards, ignoring evidence, we can prove that the Jews caused the Black Death.

        Looking at the evidence, we see a zoonozis outbreak like SARS and MERS. Journalists repatriated from Wuhan have driven unhampered through Wuhan and did not see anything like what you claim.

        The eternal question comes up again: Who should I believe, eye witnesses who do their stories first hand and scientists who have a track record in these diseases. Or should I believe anonymous people from the Internet repeating wild stories from hear-say?

        I know your choice. I make my own.

        • “Working backwards, ignoring evidence, we can prove that the Jews caused the Black Death.”

          Appeal to ridicule is not an argument

          “Looking at the evidence, we see a zoonozis outbreak like SARS and MERS. Journalists repatriated from Wuhan have driven unhampered through Wuhan and did not see anything like what you claim.”

          The chances of animal to human transfer is small. The chances that a virus would be hyper-virulent on the first try even smaller. Natural outbreaks need time to evolve.

          “The eternal question comes up again: Who should I believe, eye witnesses who do their stories first hand and scientists who have a track record in these diseases. Or should I believe anonymous people from the Internet repeating wild stories from hear-say?”

          All the evidence I provided is well established. Do a google of the evidence yourself. The story you originally provided is ridiculous and fact free. I provided some starting places in another comment. My main purpose to commenting on your post was your claim that someone who believes that it is a bioweapon is “gullible”. I am merely providing evidence and a rational to the contrary.

          • “The chances of animal to human transfer is small. The chances that a virus would be hyper-virulent on the first try even smaller.”

            Still we get a new one every year. Influenza, Ebola, SARS, MERS, AIDS, Wartburg are all zoonozis. Every infectious disease of importance started out as a zoonozis.

            So, here we already see that you have missed a very important part of the discussion. Which makes all your arguments besides the point.

            • I’m glad that people with your peculiar blinkered mentality are not trusted to tackle these kinds of situations.
              Blathering online is the worst you can do. Mercifully.

  17. The suspicious similarity in numbers I saw was here: https://twitter.com/jenniferatntd/status/1225404722380787712

    Problem is, those numbers are fake. If you actually divide the numbers given, only three of the eight are 2.1%. The range is from 2.180% on the high end down to 1.972% on the low end. It wobbles both up and down, as well. And the sample sizes are large enough that the numbers staying in that (fairly small) range are plausible – if you assume a true mortality rate* of 2.1% and random outcomes, the numbers falling between 2.0% and 2.2% are pretty likely. For each day, the chance of being in that range by chance is at least 47%, up to 76% at the later days with bigger sample sizes.

    * – Since death is not instant upon diagnosis, this is not going to be the actual mortality rate. But if we assume clean exponential growth of the disease, and a flat mortality rate, you can get the adjusted mortality rate you’d expect to see mid-crisis. (As a toy example, a disease that kills 10% of people a day after diagnosis, and doubles daily, will show mid-crisis mortality of 5%, because it’s killing 10% of yesterday’s crop.)

    Now to be clear, the numbers could still be fake. I could generate plausible fake data in twenty minutes, as long as I could be sure nobody was going to have access to the actual evidence. But the “suspiciously flat numbers” did not actually look suspicious to me upon analysis. You would expect spread rates to fall somewhat over time (quarantine and survivor’s immunity will set in, even if the medical system is overwhelmed), and a 2% mid-crisis mortality probably means high single digit true mortality, which is still pretty scary. (Half the odds of Russian roulette is still pretty nasty odds).

    I don’t think we need to assume bio-engineering here, nor that it’s going to out-do the Black Death. Not because I have any great faith in the Chinese government, but because things are rarely as bad as they look mid-crisis.

  18. Read an article today about a doctor in Wuhan who had to deal with a bunch of meddlesome party bureaucrats telling the various hospitals in the city what they could and couldn’t use as diagnostic criteria, because it “wasn’t contagious between people”. This doctors’ hospital implemented fairly aggressive contagion measures though and prevented a lot of deaths when reality prevailed. Doesn’t strike me as “bioweapon coverup”, just the sort of reflexive lies bureaucrats tell up and down the chain to try to pretend things are better than they are.

    Apparently the hospitals are having trouble sourcing protective garments and cleaning supplies – the article claimed the doctors were working 12 hour shifts without food or breaks so they didn’t have to take off their suits/masks (at which point they need to destroy them). Any suggestions for charity? Seems like good can be done early, before this escapes all over the world – and a lack of gloves and facemasks is a pretty tragic shortage leading to loss of lives right now.

    Also, in other news, Facebook has decided to “ban misinformation” about coronavirus – seems to me like the Western version of sticking your fingers in your ears and trying to change the world through pretending. I place very low likelihood on “bioweapon”, personally, and believe there is a lot of sensationalism out there – but if Facebook is going to aggressively crack down on it, that’s about the only thing I weigh as evidence in favor at this point. :-/

  19. While we’re comparing conspiracy theories, here’s a doozy for you. A random internet user compiled sulfur dioxide plume data, wind data, and local anecdotes (about crematoria running 24/7 beyond full capacity) to claim the Chinese burned 13,000+ bodies in a field just outside Wuhan.

    This is from 4chan, and reposted in /r/conspiracy , so take it as it is. The associated discussion of why 4chan graphics look absurd is quite funny.

    https://i.redd.it/88osl54prjf41.png

    https://old.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/f0ewha/4chan_user_finds_evidence_of_over_13k_bodies/

    • While SO2 might well indicate biological origin, I do recall someone suggesting it might be nothing more than higher-sulfur coal being used when lower-sulfur coal is unavailable or not being shipped in.

    • >From the pros. Sounds like they agree with our host more than disagree.

      This is one of those cases where modeling the problem is so easy that the experts don’t have that large an advantage over an informed layperson. That is, those guys know more about – say – coronavirus biochemistry – but they don’t know that much more than me about the propagation statistics of pandemics because there isn’t much there to know. An exponential curve is a brutally simple thing.

      In situations like this, the main quality you need to look prescient is not more information, but a steely willingness to look unpleasant extrapolations in the face and not blink.

      That said, we’re now 4 days into the 7 I identified as the critical takeoff period if transmission by asymptomatic carriers is an effective disease vector outside Han Chinese populations. I am feeling guardedly optimistic. If we go another three days with the incidence curve flat, I will start breathing more easily.

      If we go another ten days, bullet dodged. China will be in hell but the rest of the world should be able to cope via normal measures.

      (Normal measures, however, should probably include quarantining all human travelers from China for 14 or more days until the plague burns out.)

      • > That said, we’re now 4 days into the 7 I identified as the critical takeoff period if transmission by asymptomatic carriers is an effective disease vector outside Han Chinese populations. I am feeling guardedly optimistic. If we go another three days with the incidence curve flat, I will start breathing more easily.

        Some experts aren’t feeling so optimistic.
        https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/harvard-expert-says-coronavirus-likely-just-gathering-steam/

        Personally, I’m hoping he’s wrong. And in the mean time, I continue to wash my hands and give berth to those who appear to be suffering from respiratory illness.

  20. Something else of note:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/health/coronavirus-patients.html?

    Toward the end, they comment on the male/female ratio of infection in this study. It looks pretty even, for such a small population.

    Unlike some earlier reports, the new one did not find many more men than women to be infected: 54 percent of the patients were male.

    The rest of the article is pretty much stuff I think we’ve all heard … none of it really good.

    One final thing, it mentions a second study doen in Bejing which was fewer and younger patients, and none of them died. I’m not sure about the Han Chinese comments above, but this certainly doesn’t dispell that notion.

  21. How stupid would it be to generate a bioweapon without first having a vaccine against it?? especially one evidently adapted to your own population??! And before jumping on the bioweapon cart, look at the epidemiology for the 1918 flu.

    Coronavirus alone may not cause neurosymptoms, but it may possibly result when the subject is also infected with coccidia (probably endemic in much of China), or with a secondary virus. We see this in puppies sometimes, where they aren’t otherwise ill (corona in dogs just causes ‘chocolate syrup’ stools) but develop a polio-like spasming and lack of motor control. It seems to happen more often when there is a lot of exposure to parvovirus, and iffy parvo immunity as from the older vaccines, so the puppy may be fighting that off as well. In short, the actual cause of the neuro issues is coccidia, but the virus can be the trigger.

    And as someone else mentioned, high fever can cause neuro symptoms.

    While I don’t believe any numbers coming from China about anything, might be that Tencent initially posted numbers for all deaths from all causes, which would also be an ooops.

    • > How stupid would it be to generate a bioweapon without first having a vaccine against it?? especially one evidently adapted to your own population??!

      Would you not first have to have your bioweaon pathogen before you could create a vaccine for it? Of all the vaccines I can think of, rabies, polio, HPV, etc, the pathogen came first. So as far as I can tell, one does not create a vaccine, and then engineer a pathogen that succumbs to immunity produced by that vaccine. Rather, one isolates a pathogen, and then starts working on a vaccine for it.

      Yes, it would absolutely be stupid to deliberately release a bioweapon before having a vaccine, but recall that it is not our host’s assertion that 2019-nCOV was deliberately released. His assertion, rather, is that 2019-nCOV it is an escaped prototype. If the bioweapon that 2019-nCOV was intended to become was not yet complete, then any vaccine for it would also be incomplete at best.

      Now, bioweapon or not, I have little doubt that China has upped the priority on researching a vaccine. It’s in the interest of the CCP to get a vaccine produced, if for no other reason than to make sure the top ranking members of the ruling party are protected.

  22. Food for thought. One of the big headaches for the authorities in the Chernobyl aftermath was that by 1986, not a single Soviet citizen with a functioning brain believed a word from the government. Even when they started telling the truth (mostly), it was ignored, hampering mitigation efforts.

  23. As Communists they are lying evil scum pretty much by definition

    China is less communist than America. “Communism with Chinese characteristics” means, “We’re going to stop being communist now, but please don’t hurt us Mr. State Department man.”

    I thought their incentives had flipped and they would now be honest as a way of assisting their own countermeasures and seeking international help.

    Orientals are still well stuck in pride. They will move heaven and earth to hide anything embarrassing. Indeed other orientals expect them to, meaning if they don’t it’s assumed to be because they can’t, thus it’s doubly embarrassing.

    For a while there occidentals had the opposite dynamic, where false reporting was the sign of weakness. If you can’t let an independent observer in, you must have something to hide, right? In case you weren’t sure, Iowa has demonstrated this era is over, but some occidental institutions haven’t gotten the memo yet.

    The above dynamic also figured into the ‘Chinese characteristics’ thing. By not admitting they’ve largely stopped being communist, they don’t have to admit that being communist in the first place was immensely stupid.

    Any kind of plague is embarrassing, because occidentals haven’t had a plague in, what, 100 years? It looks downright…African. It’s even possible that government food safety regulations have a positive effect, bizarrely enough.

    I might have remained skeptical about the leak numbers if someone (don’t remember who or where) hadn’t pointed out that the ratio between reported cases and deaths has been suspiciously constant in the official Chinese statistics.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/evdefender/status/1223899265245696000?p=p
    “The mortality rate they want you to report is the – 0 day rate: Today’s Confirmed Death total minus Today’s Confirmed Case total. This has not varied outside of 1/10th of 1% in the last 5 prints.”

    Finally, my friend Phil Salkie tells me that on Google Maps the reported location of the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been jumping around like a Mexican flea. That’s guilty behavior, that is.

    The highly pride-conscious, such as orientals, have a lot of trouble responding calmly to rumours. It’s an obvious rumour to start and frankly if they were going to try to shut it down with ‘facts’ they should have thought of it themselves and started earlier.

    Even Chicoms realize that their heavy-handed censorship is not ideal and wish to be more elegant where possible.
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8587#comment-2357264:

    Even when they started telling the truth (mostly), it was ignored, hampering mitigation efforts.

    Likewise the Chicoms can’t suddenly start suppressing embarrassing rumours with facts. Their options are lying or [you’re not allowed to say that].

  24. The thing is, if you go away from Wuhan there are next to zero deaths.

    Even if you ignore the lack of death reports from the rest of the PRC, there ought, by now to be deaths elsewhere. It’s been a couple of months since the first cases. Thousands, if not millions, of people have been to Wuhan and then left and travelled to foreign countries. Given the 14 day incubation period we should be seeing more fatalities if it really is deadly.

    We aren’t seeing that. We’re seeing infections and infected people infecting others (there’s a chain from Singapore to France (via the UK) for example) but the victims aren’t in hospitals suffering from pneumonia or similar. The two deaths outside the PRC are, I believe, both Chinese people who travelled while suffering.

    And, unless you claim that Japanese are ethnically very separate from Han Chinese, you’d think that some of the Japanese victims would be on deaths door by now as it’s been about two weeks since they were first infected. Instead what we’re seeing outside Wuhan is people being infected, some of whom display pneumonia symptoms (eventually) but none of whom seem to be dangerously ill.

    It will be interesting to see how things play out on the Diamond Princess. As of an hour tr two ago there were 136 infected people (out of some 3700) of various ages and nationalities and none of whom, not even the elderly Japanese, are reported to be in an ICU or equivalent. They are just being kept in isolation wards in hospitals but nothing more than that.

    My hypothesis is that there is something else in Wuhan that has helped make the virus worse and that when the virus is away from that it is far less deadly. No idea what that is, exposure to specific chemicals? some specific weakening of the lungs thanks to a particular pollutant?

    • >And, unless you claim that Japanese are ethnically very separate from Han Chinese

      They are. While one of the two main ancestral populations that mixed to form the modern Japanese (the Yayoi) may have had roots in what is now China, they would have left before the Han arrived from the north to displace the indigenes. So the “Chinese” DNA in Japan is mainly pre-Han, probably related to other populations pushed south and marginalized by the Han invasion. The Japanese also have significant admixture from Austronesians not present in the Han.

      Having visited both Taiwan and Japan I seldom have any trouble telling them apart. I think most people who have traveled in Asia would agree.

      • > Having visited both Taiwan and Japan I seldom have any trouble telling
        > them apart. I think most people who have traveled in Asia would agree.

        FWIW I live in Japan. And I partly agree. The big difference is in movement and body language (and clothing). There are some physical types that are common and others that aren’t. In other words while usually I can immediately tell whether a person is Japanese or Chinese I’m not sure it’s pure genetic body type that I’m using to tell the difference.at all
        en the
        To go back to the virus. We’re also not seeing deaths in Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong. Now HK could possibly be being censored, but there’s no way Taiwan would be covering stuff up and I doubt Singapore is either.

        I think this week is make or break for whether it is deadly outside China/Wuhan. If w’re still at near 0 deaths or seriously ill next Monday then it’s a China only problem and we have to figure out if the cause of deadliness is genetic or environmental.

        I note that while many foreigners have left Wuhan, there are still plenty there. There’s probably enough of both that some of each should have been infected so we have control groups

        • As of yesterday, HK has had one, and today they reported that most of their infections (about 60 IIRC) are locals infected from (they suspect) travelers returned after business trips, etc.

        • >The Japanese look slightly more “European” to me, probably because of Ainu admixture:

          The great untold story of Japanese population genetics is that their Ainu admixture is stratified, with the descendants of the old samurai class having the most Ainu DNA and lower castes like eta having the least.

          This contradicts popular Japanese mythology, according to which the Ezo (historical name of the Ainu) were an inferior people who were only subdued. The Japanese geneticist who discovered the stratification thinks it accounts for Samurai-class Japanese tending to be taller and have more facial hair than other Japanese.

          • Interesting. I thought the Samurai developed from mercenaries hired by the older Kuge aristocracy. So that suggests that either people with more Ainu ancestry were more likely to become mercenaries. Or possibly, since the Samurai were sent to fight the Emishi and Ainu, they were more likely to also interbreed with them.

    • And now it seems that 4 infected passengers from the Diamond Princess are in ICU

      An additional 39 people on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japan coast have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Japanese health minister Katsunobu Kato said on Wednesday (Feb 12), bringing the total to 174.

      “Out of 53 new test results, 39 people were found positive,” he told reporters, adding that a quarantine official had also been infected with the virus.

      He added: “At this point, we have confirmed that four people, among those who are hospitalised, are in a serious condition, either on a ventilator or in an intensive care unit.”

      https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/39-more-on-board-japan-cruise-ship-have-coronavirus-bringing-total-to-174

  25. Found this at https://bitterwinter.org/the-human-price-of-wuhans-military-world-games/. In late October 2019, Wuhan was the host to the Military World Games. At least some parts of the city were “beautified” prior, with factories shut down, power shut off in areas, residents relocated, etc. Very heavy-handed apparently. Don’t know if this might have affected operations at the National Bio-Safety Laboratory, the BSL-4 facility, which is located across the Yangtze River in another district. Understand they have power generation backup, etc. Just another data point …

  26. Freakiest aspect to me is the spread of this disease tracks very closely to the spread o the Zombie disease in the novel “World War Z”. (Haven’t seen the movie so don’t know how that was handled there.) In the novel, the outbreak was local to an area in China and concealed by their government until the diaspora had spread it world wide. (Fly to SF, spend a few days seeing the sights, and then disappear into the hinter lands.) Rumors of cures in other countries drove yet more travel. Until it was everywhere.

    • Is this … news? I thought this was already assumed/known, since the beginning, hence the face masks.

      Please ELI5 how this news makes the matter worse than our understanding of it, say, a week ago.

    • They may be one of the few places that can effectively enforce a quarantine.

      IMHO, one of the scarier data points from the SARS mini-epidemic was that one health care worker who refused to comply with quarantine + not much happening to her in response.

  27. What are the odds this is all a giant psy-op to cover up violent suppression of rebellion? You know, seed some engineered flu-variant in some notable places to act as cover, then claim all the local Chinese deaths are from that flu and not state suppression.

    Unlikely, I figure, but it’s on my mind.

  28. One should be careful about reading too much into the fact that Chinese statistics is lies and their behavior looks guilty as hell. Statistics in communist dictatorships are always lies – that’s one of their main problems that has never been solved, and if the evidence from the former USSR teaches us something (it should) it is that there’s no some “true secret statistics” that the dictators have but keep to themselves. They just have slightly different set of lies, because on every level everybody is highly motivated to lie. There’s no way for them to build a system that collects correct statistics just this once for this very important case. It will still go through the same old system that cooks whatever the input is into a soup that is supposed to please whoever is upstairs.

    Same for seemingly idiotic behavior like moving the institute’s address – when something bad happens, a lot of people start covering their asses and do stupid stuff because they’re afraid the higher ups will turn their attention on them now and it’s never ever good thing. And those higher ups have their own higher ups in turn, and so on. A lot of weird stupid and borderline evil stuff is going to happen even if no initial evil intent was involved. HBO’s Chernobyl is actually not bad in showing some of it, but the reality – again if USSR example teaches us anything – is more chaotic and unpleasant.

    • Yup. I am genuinely surprised at number of people who think that because China imposes harsh measures, than means they know something…

      It’s like the time when communist China went crazy about some fruit, forgot it’s name. It wasnot beacuse they know something about the fruit rest the world didn’t. It was because system logic dictated this reaction was sometimes inevitable. Like a disease in a monoculture forest, some crazy fads spread without an obstacle in a monocultural system.

  29. You’re doing conspiracy theories now ? Patriotism has done your brain heavy damage… besides also being the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    • >You’re doing conspiracy theories now?

      If you were capable of basic reading comprehension you would know that I have specifically denied that I think the virus was released by a conspiracy.

  30. Found some extra news on r/TheMotte (an offshoot of SlateStarCodex) about covert links to 4chan from two anonymous hospital workers in Wuhan. (There’s the usual caveat about anonymous sources.) The claim is that many of the infected aren’t dying from coronavirus (CV) specifically, but rather from pneumonia aggravated by CV. So the cause of death may be listed as pneumonia when it’s really CV-aggravated pneumonia, and it’s impossible to know whether the patient would have survived.

    I think this ought not modify anyone’s priors about whether CV was created on purpose. I don’t expect anyone in that line of business to rely on a two-stage affliction to do a weapon’s job. That it can kill in two stages would just be an added “bonus”. But one thing that makes me less likely to believe the bioweapon theory is that the deaths seem to mostly still be the old and infirm (right?).

    More pressing to me, though, if this news is accurate, is the concern over CV taking many more lives due to secondary effects.

    • As I understand it, the name of the disease has been changed to “Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia.” So pneumonia is now considered a primary “feature” of the disease. Dying from pneumonia means they’re dying from NCP.

    • I don’t buy that it’s actually *engineered*.

      That being said, not everything that happens in a weapons lab is intended to be a weapon. One can try things, do tests and/or experiment to gain knowledge that would later be applied to a real weapon. If it’s an experiment (see my first sentence) that “escaped” it might not be INTENDED to be this lethal, it just sort of worked out that way.

  31. ESR: There’s been some new developments in the GrSecurity vs Bruce Perens saga:
    >https://archive.is/Gkzxw
    >https://www.itwire.com/open-source/linux-kernel-patch-maker-says-court-case-was-only-way-out.html

    The GrSecurity programmer, after losing his libel suit, still demands an apology from Bruce Perens, claiming that the legal theories Bruce Perens used “came from a troll who poses as a lawyer”, and then insinuates that RMS, BKuhn, etc do not see GrSecurity’s additional “no redistribution” clause as a GPL violation. I know for a fact that RMS recognizes it as a violation, and BKuhn was part of the initial discussions about the case. RMS just feels that without testimony from GrSecurity’s customers, he can’t do anything about this, and it upsets him. A federal copyright suit against GrSecurity would cost upwards of 600k.

    Any thoughts on all of this? And do you have your biohazard suits stocked up for Real-Life-Stalker brought to you by the Chinese?

    • >Any thoughts on all of this?

      Yes. My thought is that Spengler is full of shit and got the ass-whupping he deserved when he was required to pay court costs to Perens.

      • He claims his business is doing well and is expanding, and he will continue his GPL violations (no-redistribution promise from customers, in violation of section 6 of the GPL), and wants an apology from Bruce Perens. Was it enough of a whupping?

        Does he need something stronger, like a copyright lawsuit?

        Also note: making more than 1k off of copyright infringement is criminally sanctionable too.

  32. The main variable in susceptibility can be explained by tobacco use, rather than race. (Chinese men are very high smokers)

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.05.20020107v1

    “Recently, studies found that 2019-nCov and SARS-nCov share the same receptor, ACE2. In this study, we analyzed four large-scale datasets of normal lung tissue to investigate the disparities related to race, age, gender and smoking status in ACE2 gene expression. No significant disparities in ACE2 gene expression were found between racial groups (Asian vs Caucasian), age groups (>60 vs <60) or gender groups (male vs female). However, we observed significantly higher ACE2 gene expression in smoker samples compared to non-smoker samples. This indicates the smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and thus smoking history should be considered in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen."

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2012/10/smoking-map-2.jpg

    • >The main variable in susceptibility can be explained by tobacco use, rather than race. (Chinese men are very high smokers)

      It’s an attractive theory, but Chinese women do not smoke like chimneys and yet seem to be getting the disease at only slightly lower rates than the men.

      And what’s this about no racial disparity in ACE2? Contradicts other reports.

        • >Might second-hand smoke be enough?

          No way to know. But I’m skeptical; the few times I’ve found abstracts of actual studies on secondhand-smoke effects they’ve only backed claims far weaker than the sweeping ones the CDC and anti-smoking organizations make.

          (Myself, I hate being around secondhand smoke intensely. But I don’t view this as a good reason to jump on the bogeyman bandwagon.)

      • yet seem to be getting the disease at only slightly lower rates than the men

        WHO claimed relative CFR is ~doubled for males:

        https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf#page=12

        Ditto a JAMA paper:

        https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coronavirus-fatality-rates-vary-wildly-depending-on-age-gender-and-medical-history-some-patients-fare-much-worse-than-others-2020-02-26

        I’ve read that true incidence of smoking for females in China is ~20+% regardless of official statistics claiming a very low percentage.

        A blog which debunks the Asian ACE2 theory:

        https://jameslyonsweiler.com/2020/02/16/more-on-the-ace2-related-asian-covid-19-susceptibility-hypothesis/

        • >WHO claimed relative CFR is ~doubled for males:

          Not the same statistic at all. And given a disease like this in which asymptomatic infection is common, I would be very wary of trying to use relative CFRs to extrapolate anyting about total infection rates.

          • For the bioweapon thesis wouldn’t we be more concerned about death rate than infection rate? Unless the infection rate is precursor to the next phase of the posited bioweapon.

            My sketchy, flimsy inquiry of curiosity is whether this could actually be a bioweapon against Westerners targeted to peak ~2022 masquerading as a low mortality influenza-like coronavirus. The possible motivations are manifold. In this case, I would expect unexpected twists in a very cleverly crafted global plan. In any case, I hope to learn from the facts as they’re unearthed. There’s a gain-of-function:

            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220300528#tbl1

            Tangentially, there’s also the issue of potential immunopathology due antigen imprinting and/or antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) on sequel infections of the mutated or same virus. I have references on both of those if you would like. SARS was contained because contagiousness peaked with symptomatic infection whereas nCov-19 contagiousness seems to peak early and in the nose instead of the throat:

            https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001737?query=featured_home

            Would you like me to share more links on this angle of inquiry? I’m still digging, but I already have collected quite a few tidbits.

            • >Would you like me to share more links on this angle of inquiry? I’m still digging, but I already have collected quite a few tidbits.

              Sure. I learned from the ones you’ve already posted.

                • Who profits from war?

                  How coronavirus is worsening U.S.-China tensions

                  Note the recent news using the corona virus panic to push for the end of cash. What totalitarian wouldn’t love to eliminate all cash and have everyone’s right to buy and sell centrally controlled?

                  What is the role of Bitcoin in the future? Who created it and what are their objectives? Why did they (as I posit) put a game theoretic poison pill in the design to prevent mutations of the protocol that add features?

                  Everyone will likely be shocked after May 14, that Bitcoin will never be transaction volume scaled to a widespread currency because it will revert by attack from the impostor Bitcoin Core (that everyone erroneously thinks is the real Bitcoin) to forever immutable 1MiB blocks. This will propel it to $1+ million valuation in a very short period of time (because the 100s of Bitcoins PER BLOCK taken as “anyone can spend” donations from the impostor Bitcoin addresses will fund a massive increase in the mining difficulty which forms Bitcoin’s stock-to-flows “go for the gold” valuation), establishing the real, original Bitcoin as a future (2032?) reserve alternative to the US dollar. My prediction for the SegWit donations attack chaos after May 14 is near-term and thus testable.

                • My other reply on March 7 was eaten by the spam filter. It was (a sleep deprived comment) about the hypothesis of why the young adults were disproportionately impacted by the 1918 Spanish influenza flu due to antigen imprinting from the 1888-90 Russian influenza flu. There were references provided to medical journal papers. Can you dig it out, because I lost the text?

                  I have lacked the time to do a coherent, holistic analysis. Sidetracked on for example the Bitcoin price crash, which alters (likely delays) any speculation about timing of a game theoretic attack to restore the immutable, original protocol. Unless this crash is the attack’s initial signs, but probably not. Should not mention this again here until I have coherent summary blog to link to. And this is not a thread about Bitcoin. Apology for the thread-jack tangent.

                  In the meantime, here are some wild conjecture tidbits. Again take with a grain of sand. Just throwing these out out there in the interests of crowd sourcing more thorough research and analysis:

                  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8104477/Doctors-claim-new-coronavirus-cause-damage-mans-TESTICLES.html

                  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5220206.msg54017323#msg54017323

                  Someone else explains ADE:

                  https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=178336.msg54019751#msg54019751

                  I have a semi-coherent partial-hypothesis about what is really going on but it is too disjointed and flimsy to present here now. I prefer to present in morsels of solid science before reaching for holistic conjecture.

                  I’ve seen a paper about the virus hiding in the CNS indefinitely but I can’t find it readily in the 100+ currently, opened browser tabs.

                  I saw an estimate in news today that Ohio already has 100,000 infections. I have not had time to fact check. Is the CDC still not testing and using a fault reagent as an excuse not to inform the public how bad the spread really is? Again wild conjecture. Readers please help fact check and crowd source.

  33. When I first read this topic, I thought the biowarfare angle was a bit much (even granted the virus release was accidental in esr’s scenario).

    But after checking the DailyMail map in Deamon’s link, then checking the map against the following link and the geo coords for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is the *only* BSL-4 lab in China, I discovered the Institute really is only 300 yards from the Wuhan Seafood Market, the center of most of the first cases.

    How can this be? I had read that the Institute was nearby, but in terms of China I figured that probably meant 20-50 miles away, making it weird but one of those things. But the Institute truly is a couple blocks away. “Of all the gin joints in the world.” That’s a tough coincidence to explain away.

  34. [Quote] According to him, there is terrifying video being sent from Chinese clans to the overseas branches they planted in the West to prepare a soft landing in case they have to bail out of China. [unquote]

    If we stretch the meaning of “clan” as far as it will go, this characterization of Chinese emigration might be in the same quadrant as the mark in an infinitesimal percentage of cases.

    A friend, huh? No stretching is necessary to see that this comes from someone who is no friend of Chinese immigrants.

    His loss.

    On other notes….

    ACE II seems to be a _genotype_ (“II” means two “Insertion” alleles), and ACE2 seems to be an enzyme. Anyone know a biochemist? As for differences among peoples…

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/genetics-research/article/geographic-distribution-of-the-ace-ii-genotype-a-novel-finding/6DC14A0774C181C37981E5E732E92E45/core-reader

    [Quote] In brief, the II genotype had an average frequency of 23% in northern Europe, 20% in the UK, 15% in Spain, 14% in north Italy, 12% in south Italy, 7% in Lebanon, 6% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 2% in Kuwait, and then an average of 35% in China and 45% in Japan. [unquote]

    Are there highly-placed people in the PRC who would consider using a bioweapon, natural or engineered, against Taiwan? Well, they have missiles pointed here (I live in Taiwan), and I once saw a PRC general get apoplectic over the fact that Taiwan has its own government. Maybe I’m not the person to ask….

    • >A friend, huh? No stretching is necessary to see that this comes from someone who is no friend of Chinese immigrants.

      The informant in question is his daughters’s Canadian-Chinese boyfriend, who he reports he quite likes. I believe this report because he’s approximately as Sinophobic as I am, which is to say HAHAHAHA are you fucking serious?

      • I am one hundred percent serious.

        Someone (and I didn’t say it was you) who characterizes Chinese emigration as clans planting branches abroad might self-identify as a friend of overseas Chinese but is distorting the facts and doing people of Chinese descent in the West a disservice.

        I am a U.S. citizen by birth. Some might expect that the Taiwan family that I married into sees me as a ticket to expansion in the West, or at least as a convenient escape hatch, and that they would clamor for my wife to get a green card.

        There have been times when an early demise seemed like a distinct possibility for me, and I am now past retirement age, but there has never been a peep about a green card for anyone. My wife thought about it early on and decided it would be too much trouble, given that we’re not big on traveling and I’m not big on moving back.

        My extended family is connected to others through what can be called a clan association. That association is informal, moneyless, and powerless. It maintains genealogy records going back to those families’ earliest common ancestor in Taiwan. Other early arrivals with the same surname gave rise to separate, similar associations. Anyone with that surname who is not a member of a family in one’s own association is as much an outsider as someone with a different surname (despite being ineligible as a marriage partner).

        One member of my family currently resides in the West by personal choice. Everyone else in the extended family would much prefer that that member settle here.

        If the following Wikipedia article on Chinese clans is to be believed, the Communist Party long ago obliterated the very notion of clan in continental China:

        https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/%E5%AE%97%E6%97%8F (in Chinese)

        English-language Wikipedia pages titled “Chinese kin” (where “kin” is used the way “clan” is used in good English) and “Chinese lineage associations” state that clan associations do (or did) accumulate property and money. Given that there are (or were) so many associations, such cases can probably be found. Given these associations’ conservatism and location-based nature, it seems unlikely that many would “plant branches” abroad.

        Related but irrelevant: Until recently, many members of my extended family belonged to a Buddhist organization founded by the late head of a local temple. One member became absolutely sure at a very young age that he wanted to enter the clergy. He started his training here, then got plunked down (by the organization, not by his family) in a training center in British Columbia, where he spent his entire adolescence. Went away a pudgy, pigeon-toed kid, came back a strapping (and very good-looking) young man. Didn’t learn a lick of English.

  35. I don’t disagree with much in this post, (and maybe someone else has covered this) but why a bioweapon and not some other type of research?

  36. Interview on Vox with Bruce Aylward of the WHO. My main takeaways:

    China’s rate is about topped out (as shown in the Johns Hopkins tracker)

    initially Wuhan death rate was over 3%, but now that China has figured out what to be doing, overall Chinese death rate is around 1%.

    “What you’ve seen in Italy and Iran is that a lot of people are dying” because these other countries haven’t caught up to China’s mitigation plan

    China’s official statistics seem trustworthy, compared to WHO’s contacts with chinese clinics all over seeing many fewer new patients (before lined out the door, now about 1 an hour)

    Only suspicious note I picked up on was about smoking

    We spent a lot of time asking doctors who these people in their 30s and 40s are who are rapidly progressing and getting this disease and dying. They’d say, “We don’t know.” I’d ask, “What about smoking?” I never found one who said yes to that question. It’s something I couldn’t get an answer to.

    But no reason to necessarily think there’s some kind of ‘smoking gun’ here (haha).

    Also no discussion of source; a theory of accidental release from Wuhan Virology Institute still seems plausible.

    I’d love to see a pt III with your updated thoughts.

    • Don’t hold your breath. Eric never updates his posts when it turns out his predictions were wrong.

    • China’s official statistics seem trustworthy, compared to WHO’s contacts

      Check my reasoning as to whether the WHO is promulgating another suspicious obfuscation in the report you’re citing?

      In another article citing WHO’s Aylward:

      Aylward pointed to an analysis from Guangdong […] worried people flooded fever clinics to be tested. Of 320,000 tests performed, just under 0.5%[exactly 0.47% on pg 9 on the WHO report] were positive for the virus at the peak of transmission there, he said — which suggests that only 1 case out of 200 was being missed.

      At that juncture on January 30 the official count of cumulative, confirmed infection was 0.0084% of Hubei’s population. Citing a statistic from Guangdong to wish away undetected infections (implicitly in Hubei because that’s where most of the infection has official been occurring) is intentionally misleading because the hospital system was most overwhelmed and thus unable to test everyone in Hubei. On the February 16 date of the WHO report, Hubei had 44X more cases and has half the population compared to Guangdong. The official disparity continued to rise to 50X as of March 6 increasing from 14X on January 30.

      This rabbit hole is going to go much deeper if you keep on digging for clues. For example the closest ancestor to nCov-19 was a supposed bat virus whose genome was uploaded only in late January by an author from the Wuhan P4 laboratory after a PLA official took over.

  37. So, what if it is a bioweapon, released by the Chinese, and everythying is actuallly going to plan.
    China is sending medical supplies to Italy, while the US is closing borders. This will not be forgotten when all this is over.

    This may be the year the China ends up being the leading superpower in the world.

  38. If you accept the hypothesis that covid-19 is a Chinese bioweapon, the hypothesis that it was released intentionally appears stronger than that it was released accidentally. The timing lines up so perfectly with China’s top foreign policy goal (getting Trump booted out of office in favor of a much more China-friendly Blue Tribe administration, which the impending covid-19-driven economic crash will very likely accomplish) that it’s awfully hard to accept it as a coincidence.

    • You are making two assumptions that I believe to be incorrect.

      a) Trump was bad for China.
      b) Trump stood a chance of being re-elected.

      Trumps foreign trade policy (dumping rocks in your own harbours) has harmed the US more than China.
      Trump got elected because the democrats screwed up. Do not count on them doing that a second time.

      • > a) Trump was bad for China.

        Then why does ol’ Winnie-the-Pooh want so badly for Joe Biden to defeat Trump?

        • “Then why does ol’ Winnie-the-Pooh want so badly for Joe Biden to defeat Trump?”

          Because Trump, like any madman, is bad for everyone, including the Americans.

          What Trump is promising everyone is the opposite of “Peace and Prosperity” for all, he wants “War and Poverty” for all.

          And we see that it works. The whole GOP has turned against trade and peace to be replaced with protectionism and war. Even our distinguished host here is defending that the USA should deny non-Americans a corona vaccine if it becomes available. An action that would be bad (square) for everyone

          • Every day, it gets harder and harder to resist the temptation to throw you out of a helicopter.

            > What Trump is promising everyone is the opposite of “Peace and Prosperity” for all, he wants “War and Poverty” for all.

            But Trump hasn’t started any wars. He’s actually working on getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also working hard to avoid war with Russia, China, and Iran, even as he confronts them over their actions. And right up until the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic started, the economy was doing really well under Trump. Just ask the blue-collar workers who put Trump in office in the first place.

            Meanwhile, Obama ordered more drone strikes than any other president in history. Some Peace Prize winner.

            > Even our distinguished host here is defending that the USA should deny non-Americans a corona vaccine if it becomes available.

            What part of “limited supply” do you not understand? Trump’s job, as America’s leader, is to help America first. But I don’t expect you to understand that, since you’re a European lefty, so it’s globalism first for you.

            • “Every day, it gets harder and harder to resist the temptation to throw you out of a helicopter.”

              You want to kill people who disagree with you? Probably because you ran out of arguments. Sounds familiar.

              “But Trump hasn’t started any wars.”

              We are still not sure whether this was just incompetence, he has told us several times he really tried, but was thwarted by his staff. So he stuck to trade wars. (maybe he thinks this is the same?) But he is heading up for something real with China.

              “What part of “limited supply” do you not understand?”

              What part of “exclusive” do you not understand?

              But, is it not tiresome to have to defend a man who is unable to read out a national address about a national emergency without getting everything wrong.

              • > You want to kill people who disagree with you? Probably because you ran out of arguments. Sounds familiar.

                Can’t you take a joke? Oh that’s right, of course you can’t: people on the left don’t have a sense of humor.

                > We are still not sure whether this was just incompetence, he has told us several times he really tried, but was thwarted by his staff.

                When? I want a direct citation of the man himself. And don’t cite the mainstream media; they have a tendency to warp what Trump says to fit their agenda.

                > So he stuck to trade wars. (maybe he thinks this is the same?) But he is heading up for something real with China.

                Why, because he correctly points out that Wuhan coronavirus is from, well, Wuhan? Last I checked, it was Red China doing the biological warmongering, accusing the US Army of deliberately spreading it and threatening to drown the US in a “mighty sea of coronavirus,” all because he pointed out that the virus originated in China.

                And by the way, if you weren’t paying attention–and of course, it looks like you weren’t, because you were too busy robotically repeating the Deep State’s line–Red China was taking advantage of the US, stealing technology and using it to advance their own military and their own plans at world domination. That was a raw deal for everyone other than the CCP. Normally, I’m for free trade, but in this case Trump’s trade war with mercantilist Red China couldn’t come soon enough.

                > What part of “exclusive” do you not understand?

                I understand it perfectly. Yes, it means that only Americans would get the vaccine. The alternative is that fewer Americans get the vaccine, because Germans and Dutchmen and Frenchmen and Italians would get some, so more Americans would get sick and/or die. And yes, this is a terrible tradeoff, because now more Germans and Dutchmen and Frenchmen and Italians would get sick and/or die, but it’s one that Trump, as America’s leader, is forced to make.

                > But, is it not tiresome to have to defend a man who is unable to read out a national address about a national emergency without getting everything wrong[?]

                No, I’m still not tired of winning, thank you very much. ;)

                • “Can’t you take a joke?”

                  I do not buy the joke thing. Up to 2,000 people have been murdered this way in Argentina. People who said the wrong things. In my experience, people who make such jokes are actually expressing their deeper believes.

                  “Why, because he correctly points out that Wuhan coronavirus is from, well, Wuhan?”

                  Starting a war with Sierra Leone because it originated the Ebola epidemic? Congo for AIDS? Spain for the Spanish Flu (which possibly originated in the US).

                  Incompetence with a capital I.

                  “Red China was taking advantage of the US, stealing technology and using it to advance their own military and their own plans at world domination.”

                  So you are anti-capitalistic and anti-free markets? You did not read Milton Friedman.
                  https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/a-remedial-lesson-from-milton-friedman-for-team-trump-to-address-its-understanding-deficit-of-international-trade/

                  But I always knew Americans were against freedom, for non-Americans, and free markets, for non-Americans, and against capitalism, for non-Americans.

                  And you professed that you are also against free speech, for those who disagree with you.

                  “Yes, it means that only Americans would get the vaccine. The alternative is that fewer Americans get the vaccine, because Germans and Dutchmen and Frenchmen and Italians would get some, so more Americans would get sick and/or die.”

                  So you indeed do not know what “exclusive” means. But the leader is ALWAYS right in your view. Dead to those who say otherwise.

                  But I also know that you are willing to FORBID non-Americans to produce their own vaccine (a vaccine that THEY invented).

                  “No, I’m still not tired of winning, thank you very much. ;)”

                  What winning? Trump backed down at every opposition. He could not even abolish Obamacare, what the GOP had been campaigning against since its very start.

                  The only thing Trump achieved was a tax reduction OTHERS wrote, implemented, and lead through congress. He could not even win the popular vote during his elections.

                  He even backed down on his own trade-war with China to prop up his poll numbers.

                  But Trump got a lot richer since his election, so HE knows he is winning. You winning, I would doubt it.

                  • > Starting a war with Sierra Leone because it originated the Ebola epidemic? Congo for AIDS? Spain for the Spanish Flu (which possibly originated in the US).

                    But he hasn’t started a war with Red China. I still have seen no indication that Trump wants war with Red China or any other country. I take it you have been unable to find a citation of him actually saying that?

                    > So you are anti-capitalistic and anti-free markets? You did not read Milton Friedman.

                    The problem is that free trade breaks down when one or both sides are acting in bad faith… like Red China.

                    This is another iterated prisoner’s dilemma where one side has consistently defected while we continue to cooperate. It’s high time we hit back at them and defected. Maybe then they’ll play nice.

                    > But I always knew Americans were against freedom, for non-Americans, and free markets, for non-Americans, and against capitalism, for non-Americans.

                    So because I think Red China needs to be punished for their mercantilist, megalomaniacal ambitions, you then jump to the conclusion that I am anti-free-market. A wise man once said: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” And a wise man who actually existed said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”

                    I like being able to buy goods from around the world. I don’t like supporting fascist dictators like Xi “Winnie-the-Pooh” Jinping who want to control what I say and do and make the whole world revolve around them. Real fascists, not “Everyone-to-the-right-of-Mao” “fascists.”

                    > And you professed that you are also against free speech, for those who disagree with you.

                    Wow, you really can’t take a joke. Just so we’re clear: yes, throwing you out of a helicopter would be murder. Yes, that makes it wrong. Unless, of course, you were actively using force on someone; then it would be justified. And so: no, I will not throw you out of a helicopter.

                    > What winning? Trump backed down at every opposition.

                    He eventually got the Supreme Court to uphold his travel ban. So not every opposition.

                    > He could not even abolish Obamacare, what the GOP had been campaigning against since its very start.

                    That is a failure of Congress, not Trump. Most “Republican” politicians are actually on your side, i.e. they are globalist elites. They feign opposition to things like Obamacare in order to farm votes.

                    > The only thing Trump achieved was a tax reduction OTHERS wrote, implemented, and lead through congress.

                    Oh sure, because getting more right-leaning judges appointed, helping the economy recover, and helping out blue-collar workers totally doesn’t count.

                    He is by no means perfect, but I daresay he’s been a lot better president than all of the presidents of the last 150 years.

                    > He could not even win the popular vote during his elections.

                    So? “Popular” does not mean “good.” The whole point of the Electoral College is that Presidents should not be directly elected. That way, he has to appeal to a broader cross-section of the country, instead of just to the most heavily populated cities, which tend to lean communistleft-liberal.

                    Also, the Democrats cheat. Between ballot harvesting, registering illegal aliens, motor-voter, and other such shenanigans, it’s a wonder Trump managed to win at all. Going with the popular vote would only intensify the cheating–because now it doesn’t matter where they do it.

                    Admit it. You’re just butthurt that your globalist mistress Clinton–who by the way would probably have been a much worse warmonger than Trump–was not the one elected. That’s how most people who crow about “muh popular vote” feel. It was the same way in 2000, when Gore won the popular vote but Bush won the presidency. (Not that I’m particularly fond of Bush, mind you.)

                    > He even backed down on his own trade-war with China to prop up his poll numbers.

                    He backed down? Are you working for the CCP? Then again, you did say you were a communist…

                    > But Trump got a lot richer since his election, so HE knows he is winning. You winning, I would doubt it.

                    So? Why does that mean I don’t win too? This looks like an obvious attempt at fomenting class warfare. I guess I shouldn’t’ve expected better from a self-declared communist.

                  • > But I also know that you are willing to FORBID non-Americans to produce their own vaccine (a vaccine that THEY invented).

                    The funniest part is this information is a hoax that originated in the German fake news and then spread by the American fake news. And by now even the authors of the hoax have admitted that it’s a hoax.

                    Having said that, I see nothing wrong with buying someone’s whole production. Not that I wouldn’t expect the European governments to invoke the eminent domain, had that actually happen. For anyone with a brain, that consideration alone is a sure indication of a hoax.

                    > What winning? Trump backed down at every opposition.

                    Let’s see… Europe is paying its proper contributions to NATO. China stopped free riding on US Post. China reduced its tariffs on American goods, and also paid for the American tariffs on the Chinese goods, and seems to be reducing their theft of intellectual property, and also lost a good share of US market.Oil prices are down and Russia is squirming. Mexico stops the migrant caravans. Iran had suffered both an economic setback and military humiliation and is now behaving MUCH more circumspectly (and I expect it to back down further). Where exactly had Trump backed down?

                    > He could not even abolish Obamacare, what the GOP had been campaigning against since its very start.

                    That wasn’t up to him, that was up to the traitors like McCain. But Trump did a good deal of defanging Obamacare. He abolished the penalty for lack of insurance by setting it to 0. He allowed again the private insurances of business associations. He instructed DOJ to not defend Obamacare in court against the lawsuit brought by a group of states.

            • > What Trump is promising everyone is the opposite of “Peace and Prosperity” for all, he wants “War and Poverty” for all.

              But Trump hasn’t started any wars. He’s actually working on getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also working hard to avoid war with Russia, China, and Iran, even as he confronts them over their actions.

              I read that Trump was under political pressure to order the Soleimani assassination.

              That racist Jim blogged:

              […] as we have seen in numerous third world countries, failure to submit results in “color revolution”, and failure to submit to “color revolution” results in getting the hell bombed out of you, as happened to Libya and Syria.

              When Trump came to power, color revolution abruptly and suddenly ended everywhere.

              The Democrats, in particular Biden, propose to resume pursuit of World Order – which pursuit draws us towards war with Russia and China

              Our elite are corrupt as hell. The Clintons are for sale to the highest bidder. Soros for one (and he’s not likely the wealthiest head of the movement by a long shot) wants color revolutions to undermine patriarchy, tribalism and traditional gender roles cultures and religion. It’s not that I agree with Jim’s reactionary proscriptions, but I also don’t think the goals of our elite are virtuous. They may feign that they’re for alleviating the ills of parochialism, but I think they’re actually directing us to totalitarianism. For example the following development…

              It Begins: CDC Asks Tech Giants Twitter, Google, Facebook for Location of US Citizens — Will Track Whether Americans Are Practicing Proper “Social Distancing”

              I think Eric means well, but sometimes he is unwittingly the tool of these elite, e.g. his blog Be the America Hong Kong thinks you are. How can they be? They have no gun rights. They don’t have our culture. That just put pressure on China and/or the PLA. Which may have been some tactic to force them to release the Wuhan bioweapon.

              The chess going on is very complex. Readers please help dig and find the evidence. What is really going on? Eric I’m not criticizing you. I could be wrong. You did nothing wrong. Please consider whether there may be changes afoot which are outside our confirmation-bias.

              If my suspicions are correct, we really need you Eric and all of us hackers at this juncture. We’re facing something very sinister.

              My bioweapon thesis is a psyops weapon not just deaths.

              • Gingerly delving a bit further into the outlandish, conspiracy quicksand “improbabilities”…

                Did Bill Gates & World Economic Forum Predict Coronavirus Outbreak? (October 2019 Event 201 pandemic exercise)

                Bill Gates Resigns From Microsoft [and Berkshire] Board[s to focus on his vaccines “philanthropy”]

                Are they Planning ID2020 as Mandatory Implants for All as the Solution to the Crisis?:

                The proposal is a digital certificate that verifies if you have been vaccinated which was developed by MIT and Microsoft. They are looking at merging this with Bill Gates’ ID2020. It is entirely possible that this scare has been a deliberate plot to get people to accept these digital implants. Refuse, and you will be prohibited from social gatherings. Like 911 conditioned us to be x-rayed before entering a plane […]

                https://youtu.be/TOxRR2Tw94Y

                Bill Gates has sought to impose mandatory ID chips install[ed] in you. He argues that his idea is not an infringement on privacy.

                https://youtu.be/c5P0J-eXUek

                Price Waterhouse is all for ID2020 to force digital chips installed into all of us.

                […]

                The United Nations’ WHO is part of this ID2020. Scaring the world right now into making people feel unsafe unless they are certified not to have this Coronavirus just may be part of the plot behind the curtain. I hate conspiracy theories. But this is in the open and it has been the health industry destroying the world economy and making people feel unsafe. Unemployment is skyrocketing as people lose their jobs and will be then conditioned that if they have been certified, then and only then will the be safe to return to the workforce.

                • …continued (split to bypass moderation filter)

                  Are they Planning ID2020 as Mandatory Implants for All as the Solution to the Crisis?:

                  The proposal is a digital certificate that verifies if you have been vaccinated which was developed by MIT and Microsoft. They are looking at merging this with Bill Gates’ ID2020. It is entirely possible that this scare has been a deliberate plot to get people to accept these digital implants. Refuse, and you will be prohibited from social gatherings. Like 911 conditioned us to be x-rayed before entering a plane […]

                  https://youtu.be/TOxRR2Tw94Y

                  Bill Gates has sought to impose mandatory ID chips install[ed] in you. He argues that his idea is not an infringement on privacy.

                  https://youtu.be/c5P0J-eXUek

                  Price Waterhouse is all for ID2020 to force digital chips installed into all of us.

                  […]

                  The United Nations’ WHO is part of this ID2020. Scaring the world right now into making people feel unsafe unless they are certified not to have this Coronavirus just may be part of the plot behind the curtain. I hate conspiracy theories. But this is in the open and it has been the health industry destroying the world economy and making people feel unsafe. Unemployment is skyrocketing as people lose their jobs and will be then conditioned that if they have been certified, then and only then will the be safe to return to the workforce.

                • The Wrong Conspiracy – Is the Virus the Bait?

                  In France, journalists […] need permission from the government and must explain what the story is about. Then their editors must also approve before they even seek permission from the government.

                  There are reliable leads that this is a manufactured crisis coming from people seeking to further the global socialist agenda out of the United Nations. I have confirmation that the central banks have NOT been apart of this and they are being pushed into the corner. Hedge funds are being wiped out and the losses are staggering […skeptical] journalists […] are being sequestered to prevent exposing what is going on.

                  Those touting the virus as being understated may love their own conspiracy world, but they are being used for a much more serious agenda.

                  Armstrong has been very critical of those who are questioning if the spread in China and outside was much more extensive than being tested and reported, thus accusing us of essentially spreading panic in the social media. Yet ostensibly the panic was seeded and facilitated by the WHO, CDC, and China effectively persuading us to “don’t test, don’t tell” which ruined the opportunity for selective contact tracing containment and thus enabled an initial exponential spread of deaths. And thus why the FDA would want to block our access to Chloroquine phosphate per my other comment.

                  In my initial March 7 comment I had predicted there would be many twists and turns to the plot. I essentially already had in mind the hypothesis for the clever psyops bioweapon plan when I first commented on this blog. But I couldn’t reveal my entire hand until the audience might be more receptive.

                  Eventually I will come back to the research paper analysis. Take this conspiracy stuff with a grain of salt. I can’t prove it. And I know the argument against conspiracies is that they couldn’t keep it secret. Someone would rat on them. Bear in mind compartmentalization. Most players may be given subplots and sub-motivations and may truly believe in the virtue of their role (e.g. Bill Gates). And other rats can be exterminated when they wander too far, e.g. the “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” meme.

                  https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/market-talk/market-talk-march-18-2020/

                  France in on a total lockdown, meaning citizens must have a specific form filled with permission to leave homes.

                  • Sounds like the Russian Troll factory is running overtime.

                    When you cannot stop the pandemic in the mother country, at least make sure other countries do not stop the pandemic either.

              • I read that Trump was under political pressure to order the Soleimani assassination.

                Follow-up:

                US officials admit killing Qassem Soleimani has backfired: report:

                “President Trump was getting ready to declare the coronavirus a ‘national emergency’, but inside the White House last Thursday, a tense debate erupted among the president and his top advisers on a far different subject: whether the United States should escalate military action against Iran, a longtime American rival that has been devastated by the epidemic,” the NYT reported.

              • his blog Be the America Hong Kong thinks you are. How can they be? They have no gun rights.

                Hong Kong wanted to escape China and buy land from Australia.

                https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/politics/why-do-democrats-defend-illegal-aliens-against-americans/

                I have told how I had the mandate from Hong Kong to try to negotiate with the Australian government that they could buy land and move their sovereignty. I met with the former Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating. No matter what I offered, I could not strike a deal. I then asked if we could agree on them taking part of the land in the upper left-hand corner of Australian to move in bulk. He rejected that idea as well. I finally asked if this was a racist issue. He, at last, explained that they were fleeing communism so they would vote conservative and upset the balance of power in Australia. Keating was a Labour government.

    • >I mean, when you fire the country’s pandemic response team

      The U.S’s “pandemic response team” is the CDC – you know, the Centers for Disease Control? – not some peculiar polyp attached to the National Security Council. So Snopes is spinning and distorting. Again. As expected.

      What probably happened is that Admiral Whosis got canned for empire-building and duplicating functions properly attached to the CDC. Not that the CDC is any great prize; we lost two crucial weeks or response time because it issued test kits with bad reagents.

      So Trump did an end-run around the bureaucracy and recruited people who actually have a clue at Walmart and Amazon. Who are already offering drive-through testing.

      • >However, a 15% budget cut for the CDC NOW is actually confirmed by the current cabinet:

        I can’t get excited about this. The CDC is a sclerotic bunch of screwups who (as the last month reveals) can’t do their central job right even on the rare occasions they bother to pay attention to it rather than, e.g. grandstanding about firearms policy or global warming. Budget cuts and mass firings are probably part of the shock it needs to get its act together.

        >I do not know how to describe such a person.

        The word you’re looking for is “nationalist”, Trump prioritizes the interests of the U.S. over the interests of other countries. Which is his job; he wasn’t elected to represent anywhere but the U.S.

        • “The CDC is a sclerotic bunch of screwups who (as the last month reveals) can’t do their central job right”

          They are between you and a horrible death.

          The fact that you do not like them has no relation how much you need them to keep alive. I know that Americans are alien to the notion of “public health”, but in the end, all health is public health.

          Epidemics are what used to kill most people, more than armies and guns together. You are not used to epidemics anymore, in a large part thanks to the efforts of the CDC and FDA. But epidemics have a propensity of coming back to remind you of what is really important in life.

          @esr
          “The word you’re looking for is “nationalist”, Trump prioritizes the interests of the U.S. over the interests of other countries.”

          Vaccine access is not exclusionary. A nationalist who wants to exclude other countries from a vaccine to a pandemic, and needlessly kill thousands or millions of non-Americans, is actually better described as a fascist. However, that Trump attempts to do this is not really a surprise to anyone.

          That you see this as a valid policy of a “Nationalist” shows us how demonic “Nationalism” actually is.

          • >They are between you and a horrible death.

            Well, I guess I’m dead then. The CDC has recently and repeatedly manifested incompetence at its job – or did you miss the part where the pitifully small number of COVID-19 tests it shipped had bad reagents and were useless? This is why Trump end-ran them with Amazon and WalMart, who are already doing the CDC’s job better than the CDC can manage.

            >Vaccine access is not exclusionary.

            Aren’t they? Every dose given to someone who is not a U.S. citizen is one less dose that a U.S. citizen can have. Trump is the elected President of the United States; it is his job to put the survival and health of U.S. citizens first. If he failed to do that, he would be violating his oath of office.

            Oh, and by the way, it turns out the NSC pandemic response team wasn’t disbanded at all – it was folded into the NSC’s bioterrorism shop. Another media lie about Trump, with Snopes giving it air cover – must be a day ending in “y”.

            • “Aren’t they? Every dose given to someone who is not a U.S. citizen is one less dose that a U.S. citizen can have.”

              That is not what “exclusive” means. You know that, but you do not care.

            • “Well, I guess I’m dead then. ”

              No, because those bureaucrats from the CDC and FDA are actually working for your good whether you despise them or not. Basically, that is what a state is for, managing public goods. You hate it, but they do it anyway.

              • Nope, they are working against my good, creating and enforcing regulations that get in the way of the quick and efficient responses by the market. They are the forces who prevented the commercial labs from developing and distributing their own tests. Heck, China has test kits available for $4. The same people are responsible for the lack of equipment: the respirators can’t be hard to make, it’s the CERTIFICATION that gets in the way of everything. This pandemic is actually a great opportunity to dispose of a lot of regulation getting in the way.

                • The FDA also required Apple to take health sensors out of the Apple Watch because it would have considered it a “medical device”. Turns out that sensor set would have been able to provide early detection.

                • “Nope, they are working against my good, creating and enforcing regulations that get in the way of the quick and efficient responses by the market. ”

                  You are the perfect example of why the US needs an FDA.

                  The current pandemic, as was Sars I, was caused by unsafe medical practices. The Chinese have no functioning FDA and are fond of traditional medicine made from wild animals like civets and pangolins.

                  That is where these viruses jumped to humans.

                  No FDA means no effective medicines AT ALL. The free market has shown, time and again, to deliver snake oil, chimpanzee balls, and Uranium water.

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

                  And the CDC is the organization that was crucial to reach a state that you think you do not need to protect against epidemics. You are just like all these anti-vaxxers (current WH included) that think they do not need vaccinations because there are no epidemics of, e.g., measles cs.

                • I wrote:

                  “Rugged individualism” is what’s for the birds. When things get dicey, humans organize into collectives. A very little known fact about the settlement of the American West is that expeditions would draw up a wagon-train charter, under which the responsibilities of each individual in the expedition were carefully and explicitly delineated. Abandonment was a frequent punishment for shirking your duties as outlined in the charter. Some people living in the U.S. today do not have the same surname as their patrilineal ancestors because said ancestors changed their name in order to cut off completely a family member whose ideas got a little too individualist when food was scarce and it was still hundreds of miles to Oregon.

                  Winter is correct: financial collapse will result in strengthened states, not weakened ones. Because it’s human nature to get hella collective hella quick when the chips are down. It’s how we survive.

                  s/financial collapse/a pandemic/g and it still holds, although we’re bound to get the financial collapse too as part of the deal. We’re already seeing market contraction worse than anything since 2008, and the current U.S. policy is “mitigation” (stay home, wash your hands). The best models we have suggest that the only way to avoid megadeaths is “suppression” — total lockdown for the 18 months it will take to develop a vaccine. For the safety of the entire population, state control will increase and market activity will be drastically curtailed. This is the reality we are to grapple with.

                  • “total lockdown for the 18 months it will take to develop a vaccine.”

                    A total lock-down for 18 months, or an economic collapse, too will kill people.

                    The optimal strategy seems to be a controlled propagation in low-risk groups to allow some level of herd immunity to develop. Then follow up with a vaccine when it becomes available. at least, that is what the epidemiologist’s models tell us.

                    The level of restrictions depends on the ICU capacity. Experience shows that when ICU capacity is overrun, death rates will increase a lot.

                    You see that in Italy and France. They went into lock-down after hospitals could not handle the influx anymore. Ideally, you start the lock down a week before.

                    • The optimal strategy seems to be a controlled propagation in low-risk groups to allow some level of herd immunity to develop.

                      Totalitarianism and world governance loves your idea. Medical records can no longer be private property. National and global medical records databases will be required.

                      Problem is that in the Netherlands roughly half of the ICU cases have been under the age fifty.

                      The CFR may be statistically linked to legume consumption. How we gonna know who is farting too much? We will need also a dystopian 1984 or 666 level of information over everything everyone buys so we know whom is bean-naughty each week. Or some weekly compliance blood test for legume consumption.

                      Never let a good crisis go to waste or was this one premeditated?

                    • “Totalitarianism and world governance loves your idea. ”

                      Pandemics do not care about political ideologies. We saw this in every epidemic: Religious cults who could not cope with reality went extinct. And if you do not believe in the disease, that does not matter neither. You will be just as dead.

                      If you do not believe anyone should be able to stop you from spreading the germs, then the germs will do their work.

                    • “Problem is that in the Netherlands roughly half of the ICU cases have been under the age fifty.”

                      And those who died were all over 60. So what?

                    • “Problem is that in the Netherlands roughly half of the ICU cases have been under the age fifty.”

                      And those who died were all over 60. So what?

                      The narrative at least in the USA is that we must minimize ICU cases so as to not overwhelm the hospital system. I read in another comment you referring to Italian doctors have to sacrifice the elderly because of a choice of whom to prioritize.

                      I disagree with the narrative, we should just build or provision more hospitals.

                      In any case, your totalitarian prescriptions only over my dead cold hand holding my gun.

            • “Aren’t they? Every dose given to someone who is not a U.S. citizen is one less dose that a U.S. citizen can have. Trump is the elected President of the United States; it is his job to put the survival and health of U.S. citizens first. If he failed to do that, he would be violating his oath of office.”

              But every dose Trump prevents from being produced in other countries is a declaration of war. Declaring war on allies is also a violation of the oath Trump took.

              • “But every dose Trump prevents from being produced in other countries is a declaration of war.”

                The hypocrisy comes to light when you ask Trump (or esr) how he would react if Germany would prevent the USA from producing and buying a vaccine that the Germans provided to Europeans.

                That would have indeed been a declaration of war.

            • The CDC has recently and repeatedly manifested incompetence at its job

              You’re cautious, data driven and perhaps too kind. We also must be careful not to misattribute malice to incompetence. Claims of malice require stronger evidence and a motive. Anthony S. Fauci had some Freudian slips if we observed very meticulously. I will need to reconstruct this from video snippets to make my case. I already posted about the blatant lie from the WHO to mislead the West about the severity in China.

              Even the FDA bureaucracy appears to be (joining in the conspiracy by?) filibustering to maximize the spread and deaths from this pandemic by blocking Americans’ access to the prophylactic CHLOROQUINE which has been studied to determine some efficacy against both the infection of nCov-19 and COVID-19 deaths:

              The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House was urging an executive order that would take virtually all investigational drugs and allow them to be used quickly against the coronavirus, a step that senior officials of the Food and Drug Administration pushed back on because they contend the step could likely harm patients.

              Are politicized elements with our governmental bureaucracies colluding to try to make a pandemic worse on Trump’s watch?

              Research in 2019 out of India discovered CHLOROQUINE has a novel action against pernicious Tuberculosis.

              • Research in 2019 out of India discovered CHLOROQUINE has a novel action against pernicious Tuberculosis.

                That recent research confirmed the mechanism.

                The original findings date back to research published in 1990.

                I suppose drug companies didn’t have any incentive to fund trials for an old drug to treat an infection that kill 1.5 million poor people annually.

                Interestingly it can also treat extraintestinal amebic hepatitis. And some inflammatory and (inflammatory symptoms of) autoimmune diseases.

                • “I suppose drug companies didn’t have any incentive to fund trials for an old drug to treat an infection that kill 1.5 million poor people annually.”

                  A well known failure of the current model of drug research. Attempt to remediate these run aground on accusations of socialist medicine.

                  • The socialist “solution” will create another entitled bureaucracy that maximizes the mining of the population, as we are seeing now with the FDA probably surreptitiously in bed with the drug companies behind the curtain.

                    The Libertarian solution is eliminate the regulations and let people experiment on themselves as guinea pigs. If they kill themselves, then we know a particular treatment doesn’t work, lol. The free market becomes the clinical trials. The Libertarian solution will also hopefully self-organize around private consumer protection ratings and research labs.

                    Anyway, it’s all theoretical until someone can put it into practice and proof it’s defensible. The sordid natural trend of civilizations seems to be instead Marxism and megadeath with free markets only working for a while out of the ashes of collective human nature.

                    Sad but probably, unfortunately true.

                    • @FYD
                      “The Libertarian solution is eliminate the regulations and let people experiment.”

                      The Chinese people experimenting with folk medicine is exactly what got us this Corona virus, as well as the SARS1 outbreak before.

                      People on the ground experimenting with bush meat gave us HIV earlier.

                      But Libertarians have no solution for when this experimenting goes horribly wrong.

                    • The Chinese people experimenting with folk medicine is exactly what got us this Corona virus, as well as the SARS1 outbreak before.

                      Convenient narrative for a zoonotic origin, but I have not seen any unassailable proof thus far. And I’ve read that many Chinese are suspicious of this narrative.

                      I’ll be coming back to this research later after the crisis when I have free time.

                    • “Convenient narrative for a zoonotic origin, but I have not seen any unassailable proof thus far. ”

                      Except that almost every known infectious disease of man started out as a zoonotic disease. Related Sars and Mers are known zoonotic diseases. There is literally zero evidence otherwise.

                      “And I’ve read that many Chinese are suspicious of this narrative.”

                      What makes you think the Chinese are better educated in infectious disease evolution than you?

                    • Related Sars and Mers are known zoonotic diseases. There is literally zero evidence otherwise.

                      http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=8587#comment-2388142

                      There’s also very peculiar intrigue surrounding the doctor who discovered MERS.

                      If you reply, I will not be replying any time soon. Later. Maybe weeks from now.

                      The bat and camel theses seem to be byzantine and contrived, but I reserve final judgement after I have researched to my satisfaction.

              • @FYD
                “Anthony S. Fauci had some Freudian slips if we observed very meticulously. I will need to reconstruct this from video snippets to make my case. I already posted about the blatant lie from the WHO to mislead the West about the severity in China.”

                So you are going to run the audio backwards looking for satanic messages?

                Fauci was material in countering the West African ebola epidemic and containing the spread of ebola in the US. He personally cared for one of the ebola patients in the US at a considerable personal risk. That is in addition to his work in containing AIDS and influenca and many others.

                What deeper knowledge or experience do you have in containing epidemics or public health in general, that we should take your accusations as anything but a madman’s ranting?

        • The word you’re looking for is “nationalist”, Trump prioritizes the interests of the U.S. over the interests of other countries. Which is his job; he wasn’t elected to represent anywhere but the U.S.

          Part of representing the U.S. is maintaining international goodwill. Trump has scuppered relationships with our allies, gotten cozy with our enemies, and in general made the U.S. either a laughingstock or a dangerous rogue state in the eyes of the world. This is not how you represent the country well.

          Cutting off access to a vaccine for a deadly pandemic to other countries is not putting America first in a responsible way. It’s a grievous human rights violation.

          When the U.S. exercises power irresponsibly, the stakes are high even for non-Americans. Hence why Australians are begging us via text message to vote for Bernie.

          • > Trump has scuppered relationships with our allies, gotten cozy with our enemies, and in general made the U.S. either a laughingstock or a dangerous rogue state in the eyes of the world.

            You misspelled “Obama.”

            • “You misspelled “Obama.”

              Really? For all his flaws Obama is still held in much higher regard in most of the world compared to Trump. Trump is the “stupid American personified” for most people outside the US.

          • >Part of representing the U.S. is maintaining international goodwill.

            After fifty years of listening to this pretext for toxic policy choices, the only thing I want “international goodwill” to do is fuck itself up its own ass.

            • An upvote alone is insufficient to express how much I don’t give a fuck about bankrupt, eugenics-directed “goodwill” promulgated by corrupt, rapacious, psychopath-lizard bureaucrats.

              If it quacks like a duck, must be a duck. “Maintain perpetual balance between humans and nature.”

              I realize there’s subplots and sub-motivations. Not all pawns know the chess master’s strategy.

  39. Pertinent to the OP: a few days ago, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm appeared on Joe Rogan. He declared that as someone with years of experience in research, he saw no evidence of this being a bioweapon. He didn’t really give much information past that, though (he spoke for over an hour mostly on COVID-19 issues in general).

    The podcast is online, in case anyone wants to check / correct / augment my account.

    • Saw no evidence != there’s no evidence

      I know you know this. He could open source what he looked at, his reasoning, methods, etc..

      Given the “don’t test, don’t tell” policy that had been going on everywhere in January and February in all nations not named S.Korea or Singapore, and given how many “expert” climatologists told us that we all be fried chicken or drowning by now, I’m apt to not trust any soi-disant “expert”.

      Also the realm of evidence that a sub-discipline of science would consider might prevent them from considering a holistic multidisciplinary sleuthing. Such disciplined-induced, confirmation-bias myopia can result in aliasing error.

      If he can spread unsubstantiated rumors then so can I.

      • “Given the “don’t test, don’t tell” policy that had been going on everywhere in January and February in all nations not named S.Korea or Singapore, ”

        There were no specific tests until quite late. The Chinese, Singaporeans, and Koreans had to fly on symptoms and non-specific tests. The tests available were NOT based on the new corona virus and were totally unreliable. However, epidemiologists have been telling from the start that there were many infections going around. They were just unable to prove it. The experts have been warning for such pandemics for decades, and every few years, they come. This is the first time in a generation that it runs out of hand this badly.

        Any serious actions against the spread of the virus can only be sustained for a limited time. You can only lock down a country for weeks, not months. So they have to be very well timed to be effective. Start to early, and the policies will unravel even before the virus arrives. Start too late, and your health care system will collapse before they are effective.

        That conservative, populist, politicians and parties are against facts and were immediately in denial (We make our own reality) is the responsibility of these politicians and their voters, not the experts.

        In the USA, Trump and the GOP ignored the experts and were totally in denial. That state of denial held up a coordinated response. That is their responsibility and only theirs.

        But, as usual, they will blame the media and the experts for their own failings.

        • There were no specific tests until quite late. The Chinese, Singaporeans, and Koreans had to fly on symptoms and non-specific tests. The tests available were NOT based on the new corona virus and were totally unreliable.

          Incorrect.

          Your political agenda campaign lies at the heart of why the West is not responding astutely to the situation. It’s pitiful and you should be ashamed of yourself. Have you no conscience whatsoever.

  40. For anyone still interested, there is a new study into the origin of the COVID-19 coronavirus:

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/sri-tcc031720.php
    The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin, scientists say

    Scripps Research’s analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered

    The original study is here:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9

    No surprise, it originated in bats naturally. I would be surprised if a study with real data and facts will stop any conspiracy theorist.

  41. Armstrong wrote an open letter to the President, Fed, Treasury Secretary, and Mitch McConnell. He’s asking everyone to help stop the panic which will otherwise collapse public confidence. He explains correctly that public confidence is the basis of an economy:

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/armstrongeconomics101/opinion/asking-for-your-help-forward-this-letter-to-whoever-you-may-think-will-help/

    The political gatekeeper Wikipedia of course lies about Armstrong’s legal case. The truth reveals the deep corruption in our government. I prefer to not go off on that tangent right now. The letter linked above is important enough to justify bringing it to the attention of readers here.

    I disagree with Armstrong about the potential of this new virus in creating more deaths than the annual flu, but that won’t be happening before this Summer when the virus should significantly abate because of the aggressive containment put in place now. Yet the lockdowns stipulations are now becoming too restrictive and overkill. For example there’s no need for curfews in rural S. Texas. It was nearly 90 F today. The virus only survives about 2 hours in 37 C. It’s the 20 C climate where it can survive on surfaces for days.

    The problem is that no expertise is being applied at all. This show is being run by those with a political agenda.

    We must stop this! We could end up with orders-of-magnitude more deaths from economic collapse than from this virus if we don’t arrest this strangulation of economic activity and public confidence.

    • The following new information about the false positive rate of PCR nucleic acid tests doesn’t obviate my assertions that the CDC’s “don’t test, don’t tell” policy prevented any opportunity for initial containment of the outbreak in the U.S.A.. Yet it changes my understanding of the efficacy of testing the general population with for example the drive-through testing at this juncture where infection penetration is low and until a better serum antibody test can be scaled up.

      Armstrong wrote:

      Assuming about 15,000 infections in a country of about 300,000,000 people, that gives an approximate incidence of 0.005%. The most accurate test has a specificity of about 95%. This means that if we carried out population-wide screening, that 99.9% of the confirmed positive test results will be a false positive result, meaning that approximately 14,999,250 people tested will have a positive test result, but do not have the disease, meanwhile only 14,250 of the 15,000 who have the disease will have a positive test result.

      Worse yet is that the FPR for asymptomatic individuals may be even higher.

      So we could see “confirmed infections” skyrocket in the U.S.A.. when in fact most are false positives. This would provide the pretext for draconian lockdowns which obliterate the economy. This is a very serious and sinister “mistake” in community health policy! Yet another Hegelian dialectic.

      The synthesis to the realization that widespread testing made everything worse might be to mandate vaccines and ID2020 to document who has been vaccinated.

      Trump appears to be walking right into the trap laid out for him. And soon he will authorize ineffective $1000 stipends which are essentially the start of UBI dependency. And also forces/incentivizes everyone to file an unconstitutional income tax return. Can anyone get the message to Trump about what might be really going on? He is no dummy. But is he being told about the FPR? Is the FPR cited above correct?

      This crap is really turning Twilight Zone. Pray tell me I am asleep and dreaming?

      • With a 5% FPR and perhaps less than 0.1% of the population actually infected at this juncture, each person who tests positive has a 98+% chance of being false positive. With such a FPR widespread testing is not only useless, but it’s also harmful because it will incite an irrational panic and it can lead to quarantines and the violations of basic rights of thousands or millions of individuals who aren’t even infected.

        DECLARATION OF A PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER IN THE STATE OF TEXAS:

        People who are known to have, or are under investigation or monitoring, for COVID-19, should adhere to the direction provided to them by duly authorized persons, including public health officials. Failure to abide by such direction may result in involuntary quarantine or isolation for the purposes of preventing further community spread of COVID-19.

        • The article
          The Perils of Mass Coronavirus Testing
          corroborates and also adds what I had also by now realized:

          First, it can skew your data. A number of people have looked at South Korea’s findings and noted the relatively low mortality rate – dropping below 1%. The problem is that with widespread testing, a lot of people who tested positive there won’t actually have the disease in the first place. The virus will be less widespread than the data suggest, but also deadlier.

          The mortality may be closer to that of SARS.

          I was mislead by the WHO reporting only 0.47% positive test results at Guangdong fever clinics. How can that even be if the test has a 5% FPR?

          And by a BBC article:

          These “RT-PCR” tests, widely used in medicine to diagnose viruses such as HIV and influenza, are normally highly reliable.

          “They are very robust tests generally, with a low false-positive and a low false-negative rate,” Dr Nathalie MacDermott, of King’s College London, says.

          Another ramification is that maybe all these asymptomatic or mild cases actually were never infected! Bad data in, incorrect analyses out.

          Without serology testing for antibodies the entire global community has been hoodwinked. Talk about mass mania. This makes the Tulip Bubble look like a gnat on a horse’s ass.

          • Only 2,267 cases in the USA have confirmed illness which peaked on March 9. The CDC tallies 15,219 total cases (synonymous with “confirmed cases” lingo?) that includes “presumptive positive cases” (of which presumably up to ~98+% false positives if randomly sampled from the general population) along with 201 deaths.

            China had defined a “confirmed case” to exclude asymptomatics and include those with clear epidemiologic links.

          • “Without serology testing for antibodies the entire global community has been hoodwinked.”

            They are readying such tests.

            No one but you seem to be hoodwinked. The experts are doing what they can against this disease. Ignorant conspiracy theorists giving stupid advise about things they do not understand is not just not helpful, it is dangerous.

            But who do I tell that. How can Americans be informed? Fox News broadcasted some nitwit who advised to hold your breath to test for the virus. And much more disinformation.
            https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-friends-churns-out-insane-misinformation-on-coronavirus/amp/

            • “Without serology testing for antibodies the entire global community has been hoodwinked.”

              They are readying such tests.

              Repeating what I wrote in another comment. My understanding is that serology tests are only performed on a random sampling of the general population to determine infection rate in the general population.

              No one but you seem to be hoodwinked.

              Myself and maybe a billion other people.

              A significant proportion of the world’s population is hoodwinked otherwise our politicians wouldn’t be forced or able to foist these insane lockdowns to collapse the global economy into a Great Depression—as a result of an irrational mass mania reaction to only tens of 1000s of deaths when other illnesses cause tens of millions of deaths annually.

              People are so afraid that they’re going to die from this virus, they’re willing to give up essential liberty, submit to totalitarianism and economic devastation. The people are not being reminded of the big picture about death and illness. Instead they are being manipulated and stoked with fear by the mass media and our community health policy officials are copacetic and facilitating this.

              “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”—Benjamin Franklin

              @szopen wrote:

              It could kill millions, but PARTY saved you! In democracy such strong measures wouldn’t be possible!

              Operation Virtual Dictatorship:

              If you had told me 30 days ago, that 90% of the population was ordered to stay in their homes, begging for martial law – I would have told you it’s impossible.

              Fast forward to today, when there is talk of cancelling physical elections, a ramp up in internet ‘control’ including a Soros funded $1 Billion plan to ‘reeducate people.’ Well, now that we are all virtual prisoners, we can only believe what we see on the screen – with no accountability.

              https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2020/03/19/coronavirus-workers-business-owners-impact-economy-orig.cnn-business

              https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2020/03/19/kevin-hassett-depression-coronavirus.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/

              The above news anchor and former Trump economist don’t even seem to realize that the tests are generating mostly false positives! Because the CDC is obfuscating as I pointed out.

              • Perhaps the CDC guidelines for serology testing of the original SARS will be applicable to SARS-Cov-2:

                Serum specimens for SARS-CoV antibody testing should be collected when the diagnosis is first suspected and at later times if indicated. An antibody response is occasionally detected during the first week of illness, likely to be detected by the end of the second week of illness, and sometimes may not be detected until >28 days after onset of symptoms.

                Serology testing is probably not applicable for early identification of positive cases.

      • What is it? Should we test or not? Or, maybe we should retest to confirm positives?

        And is your political system so fragile that a simple epidemic pushes you into a Stalinist tyrrany? That sounds to me as a more fundamental problem than “social” distancing.

        • As if the USA is the only nation being pushed to such tyranny. In France there is “shelter in place” martial law. Ditto in many nations. I have first-hand reports from my contacts in different nations. Mexico is apparently not doing this.

          The WHO and CDC are obfuscating which fosters the confusion. That smug look on Fauci’s face while he tells us that there is no evidence at all for the effectiveness of Chloroquine. And the way they obfuscate the definition of a case in their official reports and websites. No wonder the public is misinformed.

          https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/disease/is-the-virus-being-used-to-usher-in-a-police-state-in-different-parts-of-the-world/

          https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/disease/doctors-writing-in-talking-they-are-being-directed-from-above/

          Btw, I read that Trump initially balked at widespread testing because he was complaining about the false positive rate among asymptomatics. So he is apparently aware of everything. I don’t know what chess he has to play in this situation. The bureaucracy appears to be organized against him. I am not very up on current events on TV. I have no time to wade through all of that. I may be out of the loop. So readers please try to help fill for the myopias. One person can’t keep up with all of this while also trying to do their day job.

          • https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/armstrongeconomics101/economics/is-anthony-fauci-the-destroyer-of-worlds/

            Anthony Fauci has created a Great Depression and unemployment will jump from the lowest since the 1960s and may retest the Great Depression high of 20%. There was a forecast that unemployment would retest the lows going into 2019 and then rise into the 2023 period where it could be a slingshot up to retest the Great Depression highs. It has always been my job to just report what the computer projects. Some people try to challenge me on a personal level. You cannot fight the message, so attack the messenger. I have said every time that I second guess the models, I am the one who is wrong. This was one such forecast I was uncertain about. I could not see fundamentally how the economy could collapse so fast. But low and behold, fate has given us Anthony Fauci which I believe will have destroyed more businesses and wiped out more jobs than any economic event historically surpassing the Great Depression and war.

            He is republishing an unemployment chart that he originally published in 2009. It projects to 20+% unemployment going into this decade.

            He had input all the data for the history of the world into his supercomputer system. It correlates everything and looks for repeating patterns. For example he spent ~$10+ million (before adjusting for inflation!) in the 1980s to collect every silver coin ever minted during the Roman empire to construct the world’s first ever complete record of the debasement of the coinage.

            Note afaik this is the first time he has mentioned Fauci during this manufactured crisis. We formed our opinion independently. If you go searching for news about the various lockdowns and border closings, Fauci is always cited as explaining why these are necessary.

            Yet they’re entirely unnecessary, ineffective and harmful. Any benefit from social distancing could obtaining with much less onerous recommendations such as wearing a mask in public and washing your hands before you touch your face after having been outside. No need for these draconian measured designed to cause massive unemployment and make people dependent in UBI socialism. And other sinister objectives such as achieving the fiscal federalization of the EU and eliminating all cash and gold so they can force all of us to accept negative interest rates on our money.

            Essentially this is the pretext for capital controls. Why are sheepeople so blind to the corral being foisted around them?

  42. Currently, China is helping other countries grappling with the corona virus. It donates protective materials, sends tests, sends specilists to help.

    When rhe crisis is over, the behavior of China will be contrasted with that of the USA. I expect many countries to draw the obvious conclusions about whom to turn for help and advice in future.

    A sad state of affairs. But when I read here how emotionally people advocate to let non-Americans die if this could benefit “America” even the slightest, I see their point.

    • The WHO (e.g. see their report I linked) was early on telling the world to follow China’s example of locking down Hubei and Wuhan. Marxists are trying to convince us that China’s technocratic, Winnie-the-poo autocracy is a more efficient, crisis governance. And now they’re ostensibly conspiring to jerry-rig us into martial law, while feeding the general public disinformation, psyops, and panic through ostensibly their control of the media and key bureaucracies.

      Yet there will be a new Hegelian antithesis when the massive deaths don’t materialize and people haven’t been able to work for weeks or months. Tuberculosis causes 1.5 million deaths per year but nobody is panicking about that because those deaths are mostly in poorer nations. Yet even the seasonal flu causes more deaths than this new coronavirus is likely to cause before the summer respite in the southerly portions of the Northern hemisphere.

      My hypothesis was the start was this is a psyops bioweapon directed at fragile Western democracies.

      https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/disease/is-this-a-plot-to-cover-up-collapse-of-keynesian-economics/

      And is your political system so fragile that a simple epidemic pushes you into a Stalinist tyrrany?

      Thanks for confirming my hypothesis with your attempted 1984 doublespeak. Attempting to blame our fragility not on subversive Marxist control.

      I remember Eric wrote within the past year if I remember correctly about the inevitable creeping influence of Marxist infiltration. Eric please correct me if I am mistaken.

      • >I remember Eric wrote within the past year if I remember correctly about the inevitable creeping influence of Marxist infiltration. Eric please correct me if I am mistaken.

        That’s a long-running theme on this blog. I remain mystified that most other people seem oblivious to it.

        • ” I remain mystified that most other people seem oblivious to it.”

          Because you are stil living 19th century ideological wars in the 21st. The rest of the world moved on and solved real problems.

          • Yeah, seriously, Eric, haven’t you heard? The Russians are backing the right now. Get with the times.

            • Eric didn’t bring up Russia. You did.

              This creeping Marxist influence is the result of memetic warfare waged by the former Soviet Union, even long after Stalin’s death. And though the USSR is long gone, the memetic virus they unleashed is still alive and well. The current “woke” madness in universities and in corporate boardrooms and even in open source is all a result of the damage wreaked by this virus. You yourself are a victim of this memetic virus, Jeff. As is Winter.

              Just because it’s the 21st century doesn’t mean ideological battles from the 19th aren’t still relevant. Especially when more and more people, particularly on the left, are turning to outright communism–witness the rise of unreconstructed Marxist Bernie Sanders.

              • >You yourself are a victim of this memetic virus, Jeff.

                In fairness, Jeff Read has managed to partly deprogram himself recently. He’s got a long way to go yet, but give him room.

              • ” You yourself are a victim of this memetic virus, Jeff. As is Winter.”

                Yeah, when you define “Marxist” as anything to the left of the USA Republican party.

                Basically, if you think a state is a good idea to organize a people, you are labelled a Marxist. Which include most of humanity.

                If people are asked: Would you give up your state for US style “freedom”, they tend to thank you but no thanks. Every election from Japan to Ireland gives that answer.

                The Marxism you claim infiltrates the world is simply the desire of people to maximise the public good. Something the US is very bad at.

                • If people are asked: Would you give up your state for US style “freedom”, they tend to thank you but no thanks.

                  I wish they would walk their talk and leave. Not let the door hit them in the arse on the way out to Your-rope.

            • If you mean the Russian government, it’s communist in all but the name. And given that their largest opposition is also communists (this time by name too), you get the picture.

      • Yet there will be a new Hegelian antithesis when the massive deaths don’t materialize and people haven’t been able to work for weeks or months.

        Maybe this will be spun by the Marxist mass media as the Wuhan-lockdown example saved the West and alleviated deaths. China will be hailed as a shining beacon for us all.

        And from this it might be argued that we need to maintain diligence while also aiding our (self-inflicted, iatrogenically induced) imploding economy and food supply. Draconian and socialist measures would perhaps be forced on us such as UBI, forced testing, forced quarantine for positive test results with the requirement of a number of subsequent negative tests before being released from isolation.

        Perhaps this is why I am reading in the master response plans for many Western nations there is this mention of an 18 month crisis ahead:

        https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6819-covid-19-response-plan/d367f758bec47cad361f/optimized/full.pdf#page=1

        A pandemic will last 18 months or longer and could include multiple waves of illness

        Here’s some wild conjecture…but the tests also have a very high false negative rate. So they can say we need 10 tests before being released from quarantine, but then due to the 5% FPR we have a ~50% chance of testing positive again and going through the entire holding process again. Actually there have been examples of this stuck-in-limbo madness already among those who returned from the Diamond Princess.

        In the past with massive epidemics, the serology tests are never given to everyone who is positive. They are a random sampling to compute the statistical, infection load in the population.

        I was thinking about leaving for Mexico where they’re not doing this, but that avenue has been blocked as of last midnight, unless you’re a permanent resident of Mexico.

        • One more Twilight Zone thought. Notice the bans on large gatherings. How convenient to prevent militias and organized resistance.

          I hope my imagination is incorrect.

          • @FYI
            “Notice the bans on large gatherings.”

            You really do not see the connection between a raging pandemic and a ban on large gatherings?

            Are you serious? Probably not.

            • Thanks for pointing out I need to clarify my thoughts.

              Community health policy should be based on a holistic calculation of risk and cost. For example, no nation can afford to spend $1 billion per individual to prevent 10,000 deaths. Yet that’s in-the-ballpark of the outcome the U.S.A. seems to have defaulted into.

              We probably should cancel all non-essential, large-scale (e.g. 10,000+ individuals) public gatherings such as the Mardi Gras, sports stadium events, movie theaters.

              But going so far as to cancel private gatherings of a few hundred people is violating the essential liberties which has a massive potential, Constitutionally-existential cost and very mild impact on the spread of a pandemic that’s going to spread eventually regardless.

              All we’re doing is delaying the eventual spread by 2021/22 to a majority of the population. Because we can’t keep our economy locked down forever. This virus will never die out until there’s community immunity.

              The entire argument has been we had to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 disease cases so as to not overwhelm our hospitals. But if that costs $1 billion per avoided death, then someone-in-charge woefully messed up the calculus. We should build or provision more hospitals as Trump has instructed the Army Corp of Engineers to do.

              The other argument was to delay until there can be vaccine (which I posit is another sinister plan). But we have effective medicine now Chloroquine but the FDA does not want us to have it.

              • “But if that costs $1 billion per avoided death, then someone-in-charge woefully messed up the calculus. ”

                The expected number of deaths by doing nothing is in the order of several million. At $100,000 per avoided death this is in the order of several hundreds of billions.

                $100k is in the order of what developed countries are willing to spend per life saved.

                The package suggested for propping up Wall street has more to do with the upcoming elections than with rational policies.

      • ” The WHO (e.g. see their report I linked) was early on telling the world to follow China’s example of locking down Hubei and Wuhan. ”

        Oh, that is because the WHO prioritizes saving lives over ideological purity and Libertarian paranoia. They listen to experts in the field and then advise rational measures. And, it seems like China’s policies worked. Trump’s claim he got down the infections to 0 were less effective. So, only madman and Republicans follow his advice.

      • @FYI
        “Yet there will be a new Hegelian antithesis when the massive deaths don’t materialize and people haven’t been able to work for weeks or months. Tuberculosis causes 1.5 million deaths per year but nobody is panicking about that because those deaths are mostly in poorer nations.”

        You are not exposed to Italian news, I see. No one predicted mega deaths, just a few tens of millions. And only million in the USA. And I can understand that the death of a few million of your poor and weak compatriots does not worry you.

        But many people do care about their parents and grandparents. This view wiil not be a public relations win.

        At least the proto-fascists in Europe seize an opportunity when they see one and are calling for a total and complete lockdown, the closing of all borders, martial law, and the rejection of all foreigners.

        • A “mega” is a million in SI, so 1 megadeath = 1 million deaths. So yes, predicting “a few tens of millions” is in fact predicting megadeaths.

          > But many people do care about their parents and grandparents.

          Is that why Italian medical authorities decided not to prioritize the elderly? Oh wait…

          • “Is that why Italian medical authorities decided not to prioritize the elderly?”

            It is telling how little compassion you have for doctors who get to relive Sophie’s Choice, having to choose who shall be put on the ventilator and who shall be left to die.

            And you have also not been exposed to their emotional calls to prepare and prevent to have ever to make such horrific choices.

            But callousness is part of ideological extremism. Everything is justified for the political cause.

            • You know what? I’ve had it up to here with your bullshit.

              The other commenters are right. You have a very dishonest style of argumentation. And to top it all off, every time we question your statism, you ultimately fall back on something like, “YOU DON’T CARE ENOUGH!!!1!” Typical lefty BS.

              How dare you accuse me of not caring?! I am a libertarian in part because I care! You wanna know why the US government’s response to Wuhan coronavirus was so slow and ineffective? It’s because of callous, power-mongering, CYA Deep State bureaucrats! Not Trump. He’s trying to get around them, with the aid of the private sector! But of course you blame him, because he’s a threat to your Deep State masters!

              Now do you believe that the Deep State needs to be abolished?

              > But callousness is part of ideological extremism. Everything is justified for the political cause.

              That’s a very nice description… of your side.

              It’s time to wake up, Winter. Free your mind.

              • “I am a libertarian in part because I care! ”

                Not enough to inform yourself about the crisis beyond your customary conspiracy theories.

                Your compassion for the doctors in Northern Italy is well hidden. As is you compassion for the plight of the Chinese doctors trying to rescue as many people as possible among a collapsing health care system.

                Claiming these people who often risk their lives trying to save people are all part of a global conspiracy for political posturing is something I can only describe as callous and cynical.

                • I never said those doctors in Italy and Red China were part of the Deep State. I said that bureaucrats at the CDC and FDA–you know, the ones you keep insisting on defending–were the reason the US government bungled its Wuhan coronavirus response.

                  And here we see another typical Leftist tactic: anyone who doesn’t toe the party line on anything must be a misinformed, uneducated, backwards hick, who believes in fake conspiracies like the Deep State globalist elite. Because the conspiracies you believe in, like Russia and Trump colluding to steal the election from the rightful US president Hillary Clinton, and Trump offering quid pro quo to the Ukraine if they help him investigate a political rival, and Big Oil colluding with conservative think tanks to deliberately set the world on fire while denying that the climate is changing, are totally plausible. /s

                  I’m not saying people shouldn’t organize for defense or welfare or any other common good. I’m criticizing your utter insistence that coercion (i.e. the state) is the only way this can be accomplished. How very.. fascist of you. I guess I should’ve expected that from a continental Germanic, who gave up on their ancient Germanic customs long ago. The English held onto them, though, and they became one of the bases for American jurisprudence.

                  I see now that I was wrong to try to change you. You are clearly content living life on your knees, obediently serving your betters. You are welcome to continue on licking your rulers’ jackboots. I just want you to know that, barring a few exceptions, we Americans are emphatically not content with that–that’s why our ancestors left for America in the first place.

                  You know what? Have fun living in a dying country. Have fun self-hating and hating your culture and history and people. Have fun licking Xi’s jackboots while he stomps on your face. Have fun being converted to Islam at sword-point by a wave of “refugees” who are “just like us” and “just want security and peace,” but really just want to spread their evil and violent religion. Have fun sacrificing your civilization to save it from the scourge of “Climate Change.” (Say, did not Che Guevara say that he had to burn the village to save it?) Have fun watching your loved ones die of Wuhan coronavirus because your silly Dutch socialized medicine, like socialized medicine everywhere, can’t afford to treat everyone, so the sickly and elderly must be sacrificed to cut costs. Because next time you beg us to save you from fascism–from yourselves–we will probably not help you again. You’re on your own. Maybe you’ll actually grow a spine this time, and save yourselves. Or maybe you’ll become slaves to whomever winds up dominating you–like you basically already are to the EU.

                  • Yeah, don’t try and change Winter. He has a binder full of facts and statistics as thick as your arm why he shouldn’t change.

                    An only slightly less classic blunder than “never get involved in a land war in Asia” is “never argue the merits of a strong state with a man who would literally be underwater were it not for a strong state”.

                  • “I’m criticizing your utter insistence that coercion (i.e. the state) is the only way this can be accomplished.”

                    I have asked repeatedly on this blog for examples that the non-coercive route works. The one and only example that came up was medieval Iceland. A very low density backwater literally at the edge of the inhabited world. So remote that nobody even bothered to invade it.

                    I have asked how Libertarians can solve the problem of the reclaimed land I live in (6m below sea level). Now, I have to pay taxes to keep the water out and I can vote for these measures. The alternative I was offered was to give it to private companies and pay WITHOUT any say in the matter.

                    I see the current pandemic as another example of the failure of Libertarianism (just as Climate Change):
                    The anarchist and libertarians have no answer to these problems, so they deny them.

                    But I hope you can prove me wrong and can tell us how the Libertarians can stop a pandemic with voluntary measures. Be it the current pandemic or the next germ (e.g., ebola, lhassa, H1N1 influenca) pandemic.

                    “Have fun self-hating and hating your culture and history and people. ”

                    But I think this is the crux of the matter. You are afraid of brown people. You want to keep the blood pure.

                    I am sorry for you. I have no problems with strangers and your country is still a good example of a great country build on foreigners of all colors.
                    (not exactly my paradise, but tastes are different)

        • 99% of Those Who Died in Italy Had Other Illnesses

          Sanity in the Middle of Chaos – Why Italy Has More Deaths than China

          The study showed that 68,000 Italians die from the flu over four seasons (17,000 per year on average) and it attacks the excessive elderly, of which Italy has an abundance. For those who are unaware, the further south you go in Italy and it is very common to see people in their mid 90s+. Italy has the oldest population in Europe, with about 23% of residents 65 or older, according to The New York Times. The median age in the country is 47.3, compared with 38.3 in the United States, the Times reported. Many of Italy’s deaths have been among people in their 80s, and 90s, a population known to be more susceptible to severe complications from COVID-19 and the general annual influenza.

          This is why the death toll in Italy exceeded that of China. They have one of the oldest populations in the world.

          As of now Italy has only 5476 deaths attributable to the nCov-19, compared to 17,000 annually due to influenza flu. Some of those 5476 may have died anyway due to the annual flu.

          Why are you sensationalizing, emotional nonsense? I thought you worked in academia in the Netherlands and are data driven, level-headed.

          Below I’m quoting from a ZeroHedge article which I won’t link to (readers can find it with a Google search on a snippet of the text below):

          The governor then launched into a breakdown of the data that researchers have collected so far. Of those who have passed away from COVID-19-related complications, 70% are either 70 or older. Of those who passed that were under the age of 70, 80% had underlying health issues.

          […]

          New York State, where the Army Corp of Engineers has arrived to start outfitting school gyms and other buildings into COVID-19 hospitals

          The media has incited a panic about inadequate hospital beds whilst the FDA continues to stonewall on Chloroquine.

          Why Confiscate Gold if it is Such a Small Part of the Financial System?

          The excuse for this quarantine is that there will not be enough hospital beds for everyone. The answer is what the Chinese did, constructed emergency hospitals in days. You dod NOT shut down the entire economy like this. People are losing jobs and small businesses will close forever. The damage is far greater than what they pretend to be preventing. Either they are sublimely STUPID, or there is another agenda here.

          Europe was on the edge of collapse. They have has negative interest rates since 2014. The central bank could do NOTHING. I explained that there had to be political reform. They are actually doing what I said would have to happen, but sheer force. Europe is losing its freedoms and they will NEVER return.

          I defer to Martin Armstrong as he is presenting a very plausible case for the motivations of what in my opinion increasingly appears to be a manufactured, psyops, bioweapon (nonexistent until self-inflicted) crisis.

          I’m waiting for someone to raise the issue about Armstrong having been in contempt-of-court for 7+ years in New York courts. Want to open that hornet’s nest? I have accumulated the facts and it is also tied in with the corrupt Magnitsky Act, Long-term Capital Mgmt fiasco, the bribing of Boris Yeltsin by the IMF, etc…

          Note the Supreme Court has agreed to look into one of the issues of his former case.

          • Off-topic a bit yet relevant to Armstrong’s credibility and to whether there’s a cabal attempting to control government…

            He’s truly an expert in matters within the nexus of government, large corporations, history, the law and the Constitution:

            What Happens to the Money Politicians Raise After they Drop Out?:

            QUESTION: What happens to the money politicians raise and then they drop out? Do they keep it?

            ANSWER: Actually, they use to pocket it, tax-free of course. Did you ever wonder why CEOs of Goldman Sachs take high ranking positions and then leave? Due to the conflict of interest laws, they must sell their stock to take the job. Because they MUST sell their stock, it is tax-free […]

            Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Confiscating Assets, Banking Conspiracies & Capitalism:

            Christian bankers did not emerge until the Protestant Reformation when they broke with the Catholic Church and no longer worried about being excommunicated. Previous, the Christians would factor in interest like the Europeans for with sales taxes by calling them VAT. The consumer in Europe has no idea how much of the price is taxes whereas in America we always say – plus tax. So the clever incorporation of interest applied by merchants was really just installment type of loans – not outright cash for interest. That is the segment where the Jews had the monopoly of actually lending money for interest – hence Merchant Banking v Jewish Bankers.

            Christians would sell you something and it was $10 say for cash. If you needed time, they priced it at say $12. As long as they included it in the price like a VAT, then they could charge interest by calling it something else. The Arabs would do the same. However, the Jews did not have that religious restriction so they became the first bankers after the Dark Age. They were also typically the captains of ships because it was not a sin to use mathematics. Math was seen as a devil art so they always needed the Jew to figure out how to sail.

            The entire anti-Semitism would rise in conjunction with the business cycle post-Dark Age. Why? Because the Jews were the bankers and the economy turned down, suddenly the debtor discovered the banker was Jewish and they used that excuse not to pay. Just look at the economics and you will discover how anti-Semitism rises. The Jews were banished from England because they lent money to King Edward I (1272-1307) in his war against Philip IV (1268-1314) […]

    • Sheer. Fucking. Gall.

      China helping out? After they caused the single greatest worldwide disaster since the end of WWII? The fuckers shit down the well, now the whole village is down with the runs, and them passing out Imodium makes it all OK?

      Was it the US or China that ordered labs to destroy samples and results right at the start of the year? Silenced the doctors trying to bring attention to the problem? Hid the fact that they had the genome of the virus for a week? Lied for a week that there were no new cases? Lied that there was no human-human transmission while infected people traveled all over the world? Whined about how travel restrictions are unnecessary and all racism? Italy decided to prove it wasn’t racist, how’s that working out?

      And speaking of Italy. After the rest of EU pretty much threw Italy under the bus, neither Europe in general nor you in particular have any fucking standing to be lecturing us about *anything*. One of the questions this crisis brings up is how robust civilization really is. Guess what? Europe failed its test. Just like it failed 80 years ago. Too bad. Maybe you’ll have be better luck in another century or so.

      • Kudos on the creative prose.

        It’s important to be specific with the level-headed blame and the prognosis. Misinformation will misdirect us away from the “roll up our sleeves” (American ‘can do’ culture) actions if any we need to take.

        China helping out? After they caused the single greatest worldwide disaster since the end of WWII? The fuckers shit down the well, now the whole village is down with the runs, and them passing out Imodium makes it all OK?

        China could not do that by themselves. They needed help from WHO, CDC, and the Western mass media — ergo the Trump outburst against Peter Alexander. Trump knows the Marxist media is attempting to scare the American people.

        The whole village is high on irrational fear, not down with the runs:

        99% of Those Who Died in Italy Had Other Illnesses

        It’s a fear mongering scam promulgated in an attempt at a political power grab. The virus is as real as the annual influenza, and the severe autoimmune reactions can likely be remedied with Chloroquine. But the FDA and CDC’s Fauci don’t even want us to get access to that drug.

        I’m now thinking the Marxists want the Hegelian antithesis to be social unrest in order to justify imposition of martial law:

        https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/disease/is-the-arrogance-over-quarantine-leading-to-social-unrest/

        https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/sovereign-debt-crisis/i-was-told-read-your-own-book/

        The enemy is within. Scapegoating China is what they want the reaction to be so we will not be focused on what we need to be.

        • My wife is an ER attending physician. Right about now I have a very direct view of what’s going on, thank you very much. I spent a good chunk of last week scrounging up lab goggles for improvised PPE. The shortage at this moment is very bad. A lot of very smart people are doing very smart things right now, but everything has a lead time.

          • Your narrow view is on the medical system. There’s wide scale ripple effects underway due to the economic shock of scare mongering that could kill orders-of-magnitude more people than the virus does:

            http://archive.is/https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-hits-already-frail-u-s-farm-economy-11584783001

            I’m not against some modicum of community health advisories, but this nearly martial law level lockdown is insane.

            Possibly the implications will be merely shortages and cost push inflation later. Yet with people losing their jobs due to this, such could be foster civil unrest. The more we raise the emotional level of the general population, the more ripe for possible nonsensical war, megadeath and other forms of power grabs.

        • The FDA already approved Plaquenil this week. Two new tests were approved today. The bureaucracy is moving crazy fast now that somebody (Pence?) is breathing down their neck. Stop spreading misinformation.

          • Moving so fast that the general public has been reassured and properly informed?

            That’s good to hear about the approval of medicines. But the systemic/bureaucratic stonewalling and Kafkaesque healthcare failures can continue in other ways. We’ll observe.

            The scare mongering is real. The Walmart grocery store shelves are empty around here today. And HEB will only allow 50 people in at a time. Yet there’s no cases locally and only a handful within a couple of hundred miles radius.

            Mexicans don’t seem to be concerned at all. They can obtain Chloroquine without the burden of hurdling some Kafkaesque healthcare maze.

            Globally 1.5 million people die annually from Tuberculosis and tens of thousands die in the USA from the influenza flu. Yet we need a national emergency for 307 deaths. How do you square that?

            Are you pinning the ‘misinformation’ label on the report about Italy saying that 99% of those who died from this virus were also suffering from other illnesses?

          • Why did so EU elite dump both their stocks and bonds on January 20?

            That’s highly irregular. Any normal move to cash and safety would not include selling sovereign bonds which normally are a safe haven and rise in value during any panic-to-cash crisis such as in 2008/2009.

            It appears they were tipped off in advance.

            With everything being sold off now including bonds, this is an extreme economic shock that is not only bankrupting hedge funds but also crashes the gate prices of food as even food futures are sold to raise cash in such an egregious liquidity crunch. The EU is rushing to ban short-selling and gold, to exacerbate the liquidity squeeze.

            And conveniently now Germany stops vetoing the issuance of Euro bonds and they will allow $1 trillion of Coronavirus Euro bonds to be issued. This opens the door for an EU army and fiscal federalization of the EU.

            I remember when the Ohio Dept of Health proclaimed 100,000 infections when in reality there were only 5 confirmed cases. Turns out they were just “guessestimating.”

            What “misinformation” are you referring to?

          • Catching up on researching your claims…

            Two new tests were approved today.

            According to the manufacturer Cepheid’s website, their Xpert rapid test does not improve (presumably the false negative and false positive rates) performance results over extant lab tests.

            • The FDA already approved Plaquenil this week.

              Inaccurate, unless you have more recent information that’s inaccessible with Google […splitting here]

              (splitting this reply in an attempt to bypass the moderation filter)

              • The FDA already approved Plaquenil this week.

                Inaccurate, unless you have more recent information that’s inaccessible with Google. The FDA only approved Expanded Access strictly for compassionate use in terminally ill cases which have no other viable medical option.

                So only patients approaching death and probably less likely to be saved by this medication are officially exempted. Early intervention may be precluded if not by letter of the law then because of lawsuit risk and insurance issues. And many or probably most doctors will not risk Expanded Access without official indemnification from a higher authority, because (according to the FDA and my friend who is a doctor) insurance doesn’t usually pay for it and their malpractice insurance doesn’t cover it.

                And so forget it’s use as a prophylactic this year if the FDA and CDC aren’t overthrown (although I read on ZeroHedge Gov. Cuomo stating New York will deploy it aggressively), nor likely widely prescribed to those with worsening but still not yet surely terminal symptoms. I read that many die after improving symptoms and suddenly the cytokine storm strikes them dead. I’ve also read (but not verified) that the virus does extensive (perhaps irreversible) damage to the lungs before severe symptoms manifest.

                (splitting this reply in an attempt to bypass the moderation filter)

        • The enemy is within. Scapegoating China is what they want the reaction to be so we will not be focused on what we need to be.

          >I remember Eric wrote within the past year if I remember correctly about the inevitable creeping influence of Marxist infiltration. Eric please correct me if I am mistaken.

          That’s a long-running theme on this blog. I remain mystified that most other people seem oblivious to it.

          China’s Real Disease: Not Coronavirus although correct, fails to mention the enemy within our own which facilitated this ostensibly, largely self-inflicted “crisis”.

      • “China helping out? After they caused the single greatest worldwide disaster since the end of WWII? ”

        Blaming the victim. Patient Zero is NOT the cause, but the first victim.

        But I see why you all want to blame some nefarious people and deny the seriousness of the pandemic.

        In short, the Republicans and Libertarians have no answer to the most fundamental of all public goods: Epidemics and public health. Historically, epidemics have done more damage to societies than anything else, killing up to a third of all humans at a time.

        All this wrangling about elites and denial of the epidemic, are to hide the fact that Libertarianism (and the GOP) lack a credible answer, or any answer at all, to the urgent question: How to stop a pandemic?

        That is the challenge Libertarians face to stay relevant: If the next Sars or Ebola arrives, and it will arrive*, how can we stop it?

        * For anyone still dreaming, North Korea is the most isolated country on earth, and it is overrun by the epidemic.

        • Let’s see how it turns out for Mexico, since they’re considerably more Libertarian than the U.S.A. and they’re so far not implementing any of these ridiculously harmful and unnecessary lockdowns.

        • Stunning display of mendacity (with a good dose of left-wing verbal diarrhea on top). When your food practices (wet markets) keep generating zoonotic diseases, people are entitled to get annoyed. When you spend over a month lying, cheating, covering up, then lying some more, people are entitled to hold you wholly and completely accountable.

          P.S. Given half a chance Libertarians would sue your worthless ass into oblivion the first time they saw a cage of chickens on top of a cage of civets on top of a cage of ferrets. Hint, hint, mofo.

          • “When your food practices (wet markets) keep generating zoonotic diseases, people are entitled to get annoyed.”

            ALL infectious diseases are zoonotic, most from farm animals. And most people die from zoonotic diseases from pigs and poultry. The USA is just as guilty as anyone else. That poor countries are more susceptible than rich countries is because rich countries have functioning FDA and CDC institutions.

            What you want is to punish poor people for being poor. But we know that that is the basic morals of the USA.

            • Which part of “you have no standing to be lecturing us on *anything*” confused you? Perfidy and deceit is your coin, and we wish none of it.

              • “Perfidy and deceit is your coin, and we wish none of it.”

                Yeah yeah, people who disagree with you MUST be lying conspirators.

                Blaming, and punishing, the victim and messenger is a very old defense mechanism. It does not solve the problems but it feels soooo good.

                  • “You’re projecting and gaslighting, fooling absolutely nobody.”

                    “Dissent must be lies and deception” is the theme of this blog it seems.

                    • “Was it the US or China that ordered labs to destroy samples and results right at the start of the year? Silenced the doctors trying to bring attention to the problem? Hid the fact that they had the genome of the virus for a week? Lied for a week that there were no new cases? Lied that there was no human-human transmission while infected people traveled all over the world? Whined about how travel restrictions are unnecessary and all racism?”

                      Truth hurts.

                    • China did their part in bungling the response, but they then stepped in and got the epidemic under control. At least, that is how it looks now. Other countries, the USA included denied the pandemic for way too long.

                      “Whined about how travel restrictions are unnecessary and all racism?””

                      The first infected person in the US has been identified from a sample taken on 20 January in Washington State. That person had not been abroad. From this sample it could be estimated that the virus was introduced in December.

                      When the travel restrictions were introduced, the virus was well and good circulating in the USA for 2 months.

                      And the selection of countries to ban was ludicrous.

                      Trump bungled the response to the Corona crisis utterly and completely and held up a coordinated response during crucial weeks. You are now paying a hefty cost for that.

                    • Your have a strange assumption that the Chinese suddenly started telling the truth. I happen to have first-hand evidence they’re being dishonest, but even if I didn’t, you have to be an absolute fool to think a serial sociopathic liar would suddenly become honest.

                      You have to be complete fool to not realize reducing the source of new infection vectors is a critical mitigation strategy. That’s why we have quarantines.

                    • https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.03.20029843v3

                      China single-handedly ensured the whole world would have an unmitigated disaster on its hands instead of a mostly manageable problem. That’s the bottom line. That most governments bungled their initial response (including ours) is a separate matter.

                      Reality check. Just because everyone fucked up doesn’t imply everyone fucked up equally.

          • When your food practices (wet markets) keep generating zoonotic diseases, people are entitled to get annoyed.

            I don’t believe SARS-1 and SARS-Cov-2 jumped from bats to humans.

            What if you’re lashing out at China but the culprits are closer to home.

            I’m not a China lover and certainly will not hold them up as an example of anything we should emulate.

            How can you just presume zoonotic origin? The basis of the research about that seems very flimsy. It’s a strawman of assumptions piled upon assumptions.

            I know the Black Death probably originated from China. I will dig up something interesting about that I read recently.

              • I will come back to that in the future. Let’s take a critical thinking dive into their assumptions. I have hinted at possible issues in my reply to Winter below. There are other potential issues.

            • “I don’t believe SARS-1 and SARS-Cov-2 jumped from bats to humans.”

              They didn’t., there was an intermediate host. For SARS-1 it was the civet, for MERS it was the camel.

              For SARS-2 the jury is still out. Some fingers are pointing to pangolins, but the evidence is still weak. However, it is pretty clear that the original host was the bat.

              “How can you just presume zoonotic origin?”

              Comparing the RNA code from SARS-2 with all known animal corona viruses is pretty conclusive. The Bat is it. Also, all other new (and old) infectious diseases are zoonotic too.

              “I know the Black Death probably originated from China.”

              Yes, that has been known for ages.
              Many people + Many animals in close proximity ==> Zoonotic epidemics.
              China always was been most populous agricultural society.

              • I’ve read (and shared on this blog) that the closest bat virus genome was uploaded by the Wuhan P4 lab in the last week of January.

                I am not going to go off on this tangent right now. I need a break from all of this. I will come back to it later with calm mind and research deeply.

            • The severe Maunder Minimum seemed to destabilize the situation enabling the Black Death. So let’s not just presume zoonotic origin based on some superstitious, unscientific stereotype.

              Threat to Agriculture [Due to] Climate Cooling:

              Pestilence in the northwestern provinces of China during 311 AD resulted in the death of 98% of the population. They blamed the crisis on locusts. There was a link also with the rise in the population of rats that spread disease since they devoured the [swarms] locust carcasses.

              • “So let’s not just presume zoonotic origin based on some superstitious, unscientific stereotype.”

                They dug up the skeletons and sequenced the germs. In the European cases they found Yersinia pestis strains known to cause the plague.

                I have no clue why you insist on denying the zoonotic origin of infectious pandemics. What personal or ideological reason do you have to deny that what all science has proven time and again over decades?

                Yersinia pestis and the Plague of Justinian 541–543 AD: a genomic analysis
                https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/c/2716/files/2012/12/Wagner-1te9if4.pdf

                … the Y pestis lineages that caused the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death 800 years later were independent emergences from rodents into human beings. These results show that rodent species worldwide represent important reservoirs for the repeated emergence of diverse lineages of Y pestis into human populations.

                • I was NOT denying the zoonotic origins of the Black Plague. I was pointing out that it had a natural impetus in the cycle of the climate which lead locusts to change their habits, which thus supplied (dead locusts) too much food on the ground for rats.

                  The bat thesis has no basis in reality.

  43. Let’s see how it ends up for Mexico, since they’re considerably more Libertarian in many facets than the U.S.A. (but no gun rights) and they’re so far not implementing any of these ridiculously harmful and unnecessary lockdowns. Nor restricting Chloroquine access only to terminal cases.

    The protagonists will presumably have a challenge spreading their bioweapon in that warmer climate.

  44. @FYI
    “Let’s see how it ends up for Mexico, since they’re considerably more Libertarian in many facets than the U.S.A.”

    Yeah, they seem to choose the route of Russia and India: Let nature run its course and let the weak and poor die. I can see how conservatives are tempted by that option. When the poor do not clogg the ICUs, there is no problem for the non-poor. And it is a fast way to get herd immunity.

    But I do not believe in conspiracies on a global scale. I think it is just a reflex of people who hope the problem will just go away. We see that also with cancer patients and other terminal ill, who simply deny they have the disease.

    And you still have no answer to pandemics. Sacrificing the old and the poor won’t work for ebola.

    • Let nature run its course and let the weak and poor die.

      I haven’t been against cost-effective containment policies. Especially those which don’t constitute (possibly unconstitutional?) power grabs by health agency bureaucrats.

      Mexico has a warm climate and thus presumably lower R?. Shutting down their economy would disproportionately starve or intensify undernourishment of up to millions of poor just to stop maybe 10,000 deaths in 2020, which would only be 25% of their homicide rate.

      You again deploy doublespeak. Your iatrogenic prescriptions would disproportionately hurt the poor not help them, as was evident in the U.S.A. with so many low-wage workers unemployed due to the draconian lockdowns.

      High Temperature and High Humidity Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19

  45. No one knows yet for sure how immunity against Sars2 develops and whether reinfection is likely. Reinfection seems not to have been prevalent in SARS1 and MERS. So we do not expect a lot of reinfections in SARS2.

    But empirical evidence trumps theory. So if these Chinese observations are confirmed, we will have to adapt.

    • @FYD
      “Someone needs to take Fauci out to the woodshed for a little rump reeducation.”

      That is the US right: violence against words. The man who stopped ebola from spreading in the US is duly punished for it.

      This is a reenactment of the initial response to the AIDS crisis: Denial, shoot the messenger etc. But we know, the US right hates science with a vengeance, just like they hate all dissent.

  46. For all that, it now seems clear that the problem is ICU bed capacity. Countries like Spain and Italy are having to deny people above certain ages ICU access so that younger people can have access. Keeping people in their homes just looks like a measure to stop the exponential growth of ICU need. See e.g. the Hammer and the Dance article for what looks like a decent strategy to cope.

    China no are no doubt lying about numbers and definitely sat on their hands for too long at the beginning but I don’t see any reason to suppose anything more elaborate.

    • For all that, it now seems clear that the problem is ICU bed capacity.

      I posit that the hordes of memebots are unwittingly proposing to make it worse by advocating strict curtailment. Let me explain…

      In my opinion, Hammer and Dance appears to be propaganda.

      https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

      For the back-of-the-envelope numbers: if ~75% of Americans get infected and 4% die, that’s 10 million deaths

      That would be a conflation of the case fatality ratio (CFR) with the infection fatality ratio (IFR). The author seemed to be aware of that but nevertheless runs with that clickbait headline figure presumably to incite a political hysteria.

      The Imperial College modeling by Neil Ferguson estimated 0.9% IFR. Neil clarified on Twitter that he has not retracted his model and the 20,000 deaths is one of the UK scenarios in their paper given strict curtailment measures. That study estimated 2.2 million deaths for the U.S.A. with no curtailment.

      So why is the fatality rate close to 4%?
      If 5% of your cases require intensive care and you can’t provide it, most of those people die. As simple as that.

      Provision more hospitals in a matter of days or weeks:

      https://twitter.com/Sarah_Boxer/status/1243591088411160576

      (click for an image of the massive Javits center provisioning completed in New York)

      As we did for the 1918–1921 “Spanish” influenza pandemic:

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Emergency_hospital_during_Influenza_epidemic%2C_Camp_Funston%2C_Kansas_-_NCP_1603.jpg

      There are 4 million admissions to the ICU in the US every year, and 500k (~13%) of them die. Without ICU beds, that share would likely go much closer to 80%. Even if only 50% died, in a year-long epidemic you go from 500k deaths a year to 2M, so you’re adding 1.5M deaths, just with collateral damage.

      Some (many? most?) of those additional deaths would have died (this year or in the few succeeding years) anyway due to their multiple chronic infections.

      If we do no containment the infections and deaths will peak and die down within a few months according to the Imperial College model. Thus ICU beds wouldn’t be displaced for the entire year. Also we can provision more ICU beds within those months. And herd immunity will work correctly.

      And the duration of herd immunity is I think the elephant in the room that nobody is paying attention to.

      Whereas, if we do only mediocre (leaky) curtailment we run the risk of keeping the ICU beds displaced permanently at lower peak level until 2022 but above the ICU capacity when the virus’s R0 has been reduced below 1 due to much delayed herd immunity. Thus the curtailment can be MUCH worse for the hospital system if we don’t provision enough extra ICU beds because lulled to sleep by the lower magnitude of the exponent.

      Worse yet is the black swan risk that immunity only lasts for a year or less (perhaps because of the gain-of-function feature), so people could possibly be infected more than once by 2022 causing more deaths than a single delayed peak would predict. Stretching out the herd immunity would not be possible. Even worse is the plausible black swan hypothesis that these curtailments could amplify the death rate in 2022 due to antibiotic dependent enhancement (ADE) as individual’s antibodies titers fall into the target range. It’s difficult to get people to budget for black swans.

      The author cites increased risk of mutations as a reason why would should not let the infections proliferate. That sounds like propaganda to claim that the risk of mutations would be significantly higher with 150 million cumulative infections versus 50 million eventual cumulative infections. The mutation risk to population size is probably non-linear.

      Then, release the measures, so that people can gradually get back their freedoms and something approaching normal social and economic life can resume.

      Popping the $quadrillions global debt bubble thus initiating a Minsky Moment is an irreversible Great Depression event. I’m afraid it’s already too late to turn back from this horrible mistake in public policy.

      And that does not even factor in that strict curtailment seems to be a totalitarianism and socialism-on-steroids power grab which will destroy our Western democracy freedoms.

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