In the absence of a cure, it is widely touted that the virus can be managed as Australia attempts to get back to “normal”. Attempting to manage the mystery that is COVID-19 equates to punching at shadows.
Before we get too smart and ahead of ourselves(ODT)
COVID-19 is ravaging the country’s meatpacking plants, turning packinghouse workers into sacrificial lambs. But none of this was inevitable — it’s the result of companies’ decades-long assault on meatpacking unions, which destroyed workers’ ability to have a say over their working conditions.
The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is among the world’s oldest and best-known general medical journals, although it has been at the center of recent controversies. Wikipedia
Australian economists overwhelmingly back social distancing measures that slow the spread of coronavirus over the alternative of easing restrictions and allowing the spread of the disease to pick up.
But a significant minority, 9 of the 47 leading economists polled in the first of a series of monthly surveys, say they would support an easing of restrictions even if it did allow the spread to accelerate.
The journal notes that “the USA is still nowhere near able to provide the basic surveillance or laboratory testing infrastructure needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic” and that the Trump administration “is obsessed with magic bullets—vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear.”
The sceptics arguing for more rapid relaxation of containment measures point to the economic costs of lockdowns and appeal to the cold calculus of cost-benefit analysis to conclude that the lives saved by lockdowns don’t justify the economic costs incurred to do so.
Their numbers don’t stack up.
To be able to weigh the value of a life against the economic costs of forgone output from lost jobs and business closures, requires placing a dollar value on one person’s life. This number is called the value of a statistical life.
If you’re looking for investors’ verdict on who has won the bailout, consider these returns: Shares of Apollo Group, the giant private equity firm, have soared 80% from their lows. The stock of Blackstone, another private equity behemoth, has risen 50%.
The reason: Asset holders like Apollo and Blackstone—disproportionately the wealthiest and most influential—have been insured by the world’s most powerful central bank. This largess is boundless and without conditions. “Even if a second wave of outbreaks were to occur,” JPMorgan economists wrote in a celebratory note on Friday, “the Fed has explicitly indicated that there is no dollar limit and no danger of running out of ammunition.”
HE’S YOUR PRESIDENT AMERICA (ODT)
“We have developed a testing capacity unmatched and unrivaled anywhere in the world,” he said. While the United States has in fact done the highest raw number of coronavirus tests of any country, its per capita testing rate is still behind several other countries’:
My generation grew up without vaccines and without all of the associated illnesses associated with vaccines among the over-vaccinated youth of today. Today vaccinations begin at birth and increase into high numbers. Does the natural immune system ever develop?
That is an irrelevant question. The driving force behind vaccination is profit, not health. If we want a health system instead of a death system, Big Pharma must be nationalized and run by scientists on salaries without patent rights and “performance bonuses.”
What scientists might learn from such studies, like the new contact-tracing one in Massachusetts, remains to be seen, but surely one inescapable conclusion is that this virus is smarter, more agile, and faster on its feet than any of its associates we’ve met before or, for that matter, than most of our public officials, from a failed president on down. And for any readers who believe in politics more than science, let me just say that without science, you won’t even know what hit you.
The Trump administration is doing everything in its power to ensure that America’s meatpackers, immigrant and native-born alike, continue to work during the coronavirus pandemic at considerable risk to themselves, their families, and the entire public. “It’s genocide against the working class,” the leader of Teamsters Local 238, which represents meatpackers in Iowa, told the Guardian. And while the unions that continue to represent these workers are pushing back, their actual power is a shadow of what it was fifty years ago.
So workers crowd in refrigerated facilities as a deadly virus makes its way down the disassembly line — all so the grocery store shelves will remain stocked for consumers and voters, and the Beef Trust will stay in the black. Modern meatpacking may not be the unsanitary industry of The Jungle, but in the absence of strong worker organization, the nauseating disregard for human well-being remains.
Australian intelligence agencies have grown increasingly concerned about the Trump administration’s efforts to link the virus to a Wuhan laboratory, saying it is hampering the push to eliminate dangerous wildlife wet markets.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Australian government did not have strong evidence linking the Wuhan lab to the virus.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly poses with the COVIDSafe app downloaded to his mobile phone.
Coronavirus updates LIVE: COVIDSafe downloads continue to rise, global COVID-19 cases top 3.6 million as Australian death toll stands at 97
US President Donald Trump last week said he had seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” that the virus began at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But the US government’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, has dismissed the idea, saying all the scientific evidence suggests the virus began in bats and then spread to humans.
These very labs were refunded by Trump in 2017 after Obama had stopped. Doesn’t anybody find it odd Trump fails to mention that? Pompeo is publicising Australia’s support of American suspicions whe the opposite is true. Let’s not forget American Intel ia an Oxymoron. Iraq proved that with the lies spread by Bush/Rumsfeld and Cheney. (ODT)
For weeks the Australian government had been growing concerned about the Trump administration’s promotion of the theory that experiments on bats at a Wuhan laboratory had unleashed COVID-19. This week that anxiety peaked.
Multiple diplomatic and political sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the suggestions by our biggest ally that Chinese lab experiments on bats had unleashed the new coronavirus would undermine Australia’s calls to ban the sale of exotic live animals at wet markets around the world.
“We can’t repeat the mistakes of the past. The WMDs fiasco was not that long ago,” one former security official said, referring to the incorrect intelligence claims of huge Iraqi weapon stockpiles that formed the basis for the Iraq War in 2003.
It is impossible to pinpoint the exact moment concerns within local security and intelligence circles morphed into genuine anxiety, but an April 14 article in The Washington Post is regarded by some as a turning point. The article quoted leaked diplomatic cables detailing how US officials had in March 2018 raised concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology “conducting risky studies on coronaviruses from bats”. Shortly afterwards President Donald Trump began raising the “lab theory” during his press briefings.
“On numerous cruise ships where thousands of people onboard were infected, many of the infections occurred after passengers had to isolate in their cabins even though hand hygiene was implemented,” she said.
“Therefore, the ventilation system could have spread the airborne virus between the cabins. We know that Covid-19’s predecessor, Sars.CoV-1, did spread in the air in the 2003 outbreak. Several studies have retrospectively explained this pathway of transmission in Hong Kong’s Prince of Wales Hospital as well as in healthcare facilities in Toronto, Canada.”
We have more evidence now and we must take it on board
Watching the Four Corners program (ABC 04/05/20), I was struck by the extent of the potential mental and physical health damage that will have been suffered by so many of the medical personnel who were interviewed.
And there were other groups which were not included in those interviews – cleaners in those hospitals, and low-paid staff in the many Aged Care facilities, where protecting the elderly from infection has not always succeeded.
Throw the net wider, and and there will be many in the community both citizens and visa holders alike, whose loss of work and income has left them destitute and often homeless.
For the sake of the exercise, let all these people register in what, for convenience, we will call the Pandemic Victims group, which will entitle them to assistance, and maybe it would be best situated in the Future Fund.
That is the outcome being demanded by the “reopen” protesters who menaced Michigan’s state capitol with confederate flags, Nazi paraphernalia, and assault weapons. They are a tiny group and should not be given too much attention, especially since some of the protests are astroturfed by the super wealthy, such as the DeVos’s in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer denounced the racism and Nazism.
Others tauting the “open” Swedish model ignore that according to the Swedish Riksbank de facto the Swedish economy is closed. Sweden has experienced a sharper drop in first quarter GDP than the US, with the Swedish economy down 11%. The Riksbank’s estimates are a 70 percent decline in restaurants and cafes, a 90% decline in cinema, sports, and other crowd events. a 40% decline in car sales, a 23% fall in exports, a 30% decline in shoes and clothes purchases, a 75% drop in Swedish recreational travel.
The “open” Swedish model is a bet on herd immunity which at our present state of knowledge is merely an assumption.
President Trump and the neoconservatives are determined to blame China for manufacturing the virus in the Wuhan laboratory despite the fact that the US knew about the research and contributed to its financing, which was approved by Dr. Fauci himself. So when Trump and the warmonger neocons point at China the finger also points at the US.
Maximum Of 60,000 Deaths
‘We’ve Tested More Than Every Country Combined.’
There’s Plenty Of PPE For Health Care Workers
A Coronavirus Vaccine Is ‘Very Close’
We have been subjected to much nonsensical disinformation that Sweden has kept its economy open and is faring no worse in infections than countries with closed economies and without the economic consequences of closed-downed economies. The fact of the matter is that de facto Sweden’s economy is closed and is doing no better than anyone’s else’s, and its infection rate is still rising.
Sweden closed universities and high schools, banned gatherings of large groups, asked people to avoid non-essential travel, and advised those ill and over 70 to stay at home. Sweden did not require restaurants, bars, and gyms to close, but business is down by 70% as people have avoided the risk. That decline could be larger than in the US where restaurants are permitted to provide takeouts. In Sweden the hotel occupancy rate has dropped from 60% to 10%. Sweden’s economy is “open” only in words.
Where one stands on the closedown depends on where one stands on other issues. If you are a libertarian, you oppose the closedown because it interferes with your freedom and keeps useless old people alive who cost you payroll tax dollars. It you are a Trump-hater like the New York Times you blame trump for understating the threat and not closing down soon enough. If you are a Trump supporter you blame China and expect China to pay for it by forfeiting their trillion dollar holding of US government bonds.
Those decrying the closedown are unaware of the mischief they are making. They have set it up for the elites, who have taken us for another “bailout the one percent ride,” to blame the resulting economic depression on the closedown. The US economy has been in a long-term recession. Growth in income and wealth has accrued to the top few percent who own the majority of stocks and bonds driven up in price by the Fed’s money printing. The rest of the population has been hurt by the offshoring of their jobs and by the financialization of the economy that leaves them little or no discretionary income after they pay their rent or mortgage, car payment, credit card payment and student debt.
Is this the “work” News Corp is demanding workers to go back to? I doubt it. They don’t seem to define what jobs they calling for a return to 60 News Corp papers without advertisers? (ODT)
In the week ending April 17, 22,351 people died in England and Wales – double the five-year average for that time of year and the highest weekly death toll since comparable records began in 1993.
Of the 11,854 deaths above the five-year average, 8758 were related to coronavirus. This leaves 3096 unexplained ‘excess’ deaths. Experts warned these deaths could be the result of people being reluctant to seek treatment in hospital for conditions unrelated to COVID-19.
How did Japan get to this point? The country had initially been held up as having one of the more effective responses to the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic. Yet, its curve has not even started to flatten like those of its neighbours, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
We should exit the pandemic and the economic chaos of these months with less inequality, not a further entrenched oligarchy.
This isn’t a “will snub” this is a REAL Snub unlike all the ” We will promises” Trump makes daily that never occur (ODT)
Ordinary folks can make bad decisions in extraordinary times. But there are those who should know better who don’t do better
Australians are social distancers by design. Londoners, NewYorkers, don’t have that luxury. However, it doesn’t mean we can stop social distancing until we have sufficient testing and quarantine stations available. The problem is exacerbated with the flu season coming on. However, Murdoch Media insists it’s time to lift bans and get back to work their generalising of that call offer no specifics or how a global economy can be stopped from crashing. Their call for a drop in bans and self-reliance is not only counter to expert advice but grossly irresponsible. (ODT)
EU is what the USA isn’t (ODT)
America’s COVID Experimental Laboratories ICE and Prisons keep them there and let’s see what happens (ODT
How long before News Corp takes up this line on COVID as well? (ODT)
We may defeat the Covid-19 virus in the months ahead, but it will take much longer to defeat the disease that is Islamophobia.
India, where the spread of the virus has been dubbed a “corona jihad” by supporters of the far-right BJP government; they claim the pandemic is a conspiracy by Muslims to infect and poison Hindus
“Muslims have now seen their businesses across India boycotted, volunteers distributing rations called ‘coronavirus terrorists’, and others accused of spitting in food and infecting water supplies with the virus.
Did members of the Tablighi Jamaat behave recklessly? Yes. Do all of India’s 200 million Muslims bear responsibility for their behavior? No. “Virtually overnight,” wrote investigative journalist Rana Ayyub in the Washington Post, “Muslims became the sole culprits responsible for the spread of the coronavirus in India.”Again, as in India, it isn’t only far-right figures using the pandemic to fan the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry but also mainstream media outlets.
Democratic Socialism practices trust in Individuals (ODT)
What the Swedish experiment demonstrates, is that there’s a way to navigate these unprecedented public health challenges without recklessly imposing police state policies and without doing irreparable harm to the economy. And, yes, the results of this experiment are not yet known, but what we do know is that most nations cannot simply print-up trillions of dollars to counter the knock-on effects of bringing the economy to a screeching halt. These countries must dip into their reserves or take out loans from the IMF in order to recover from the lack of production and activity. That means they’re going to face years of slow growth and high unemployment to dig out from the mess their leaders created for them.
Nature works in mysterious ways. COVID-19 is its way now. It could be COVID-## in the future as it was H1N1 and H5N1 in the past. Enough with your conspiracies, please. We are doomed now because of our own actions and current deficient immune system.
Changing our ways, our own thoughts, our practices and looking after our health and each other is the way we can ensure that Nature Stands With Us and Not Against Us.
Other Billionaires are bailed out (ODT)
There is little evidence showing that Sweden’s approach is effective, and in fact, indicators suggest that it’s likely backfiring. Sweden has seemingly embraced the idea of “herd immunity,” As a result, Sweden’s fatality rate from coronavirus is significantly higher than those of the neighbouring countries and of the United States, at 7.68% as of April 8 compared to 1.46% in Norway, 3.85% in Denmark, and 3.21% in the U.S.
Conservatives want that approach here. History has shown that pandemics come in ever-increasing waves. So if your prepared to stand up and say that those that die are expendable and shrug for the sake of the “Economy” be prepared what you wish for as social sacrifice is never equal. News Corp and Sky News pundits are parroting the head office Fox line (ODT)
Trump claims he saved lives. His chief Medical adviser said
“Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the nation likely “could have saved lives” by acting earlier on the coronavirus outbreak.”
Trump can’t sack him (ODT)
Nearly all children in the UK catch chickenpox by the age of 10, and it is considered a fairly benign virus for most. However, once you have cleared chickenpox, it remains inactive in your nerve tissue, and in one in three adults it reactivates to cause shingles, a condition resulting in a painful rash.
While we cannot rule out reactivation as a possibility yet, it still seems more probable that these 91 cases were either due to the levels of the virus dipping below a detectable level, allowing symptoms to improve, but then surging again, or that there were flaws with the tests, where the clearance samples were false negatives. The tests are not perfect and, from the data received from China, the most commonly used type of test showed up to a 30 percent false-negative rate.
As South Korea investigates this further and other countries are able to offer their own findings, we are likely to understand more about the way this virus summons an immune response and, hopefully, determine for sure whether reactivation or reinfection are possibilities.