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Messages - DougMacG

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Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pandemic Local Stats
« on: Today at 05:00:52 PM »
Just talked with neighbor, a nurse at the major west suburban hospital here in the Twin Cities.  They have 17 COVID cases out of 361 beds.  Week 4 of exponential growth.

Therefore the liquor stores are open but the golf courses are all locked up.  Essential / non-essential.  Target is open but a friend's gift shop is state ordered shut.  Housing open, rent optional.  Eviction courts closed.   [REM, It's the end of the world as we know it.]

Attributed to Martin Luther regarding the plague:
"I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.

If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God."
"Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 43 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 119–38."
Pandemic wisdom from other religions:
“Trust in Allah but tether your camel first — because Allah has no other hands than yours.”

ccp:  It is telling how Dems only want to blame Republicans and not themselves

Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response
BY MIKE LILLIS - 04/02/20 11:10 AM EDT

Where were they during the critical months of November, December 2019, January 2020 when the commie-red-virus was coming in?

They were tying the hands of the President, holding the fake Articles of Impeachment from the real US Senate.  Calling the travel ban racist and telling people to come visit Chinatown as late as 2/24/20:
Come spread your virus if you have one, or pick up one of ours if you don't.

Maybe they should let up on the constant partisanship and do something positive to help, other than not let a good, deadly crisis go to political waste.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics:Mask debate
« on: Today at 09:25:17 AM »
IYI bureaucrats opposed to masks used (bogus) arguments abt the protection of the wearer ("not perfect", etc.)

They didn't think that since it ALSO prevents (more effectively) ASYMPTOMATIC sick pple from spreading it, there wd be yuuge systemic effect.

    - n.n. taleb 4/2/20

[IYI: intellectual yet ignorant.]

Tax something more when you want less of it is a lesson we have learned over and over and over.

Put Democrats in charge of everything, Presidency, House and Senate with 60 votes, and what do you get?  More taxes of course.

Hidden in plain sight inside Obamacare was the Medical Device Tax!

It was finally repealed by Republicans.  The repeal date did not go into effect until 2020 when the CV spread had already begun.

Who paid the brunt of that tax?  The dead in NYC, to name a few.
Medtronic medical device manufacturer head office 20 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, DUBLIN, Ireland
Founded in Minneapolis in 1949, this Fortune 500 company grew to be a worldwide medical device maker. But in 2014 it shifted its global headquarters address to Ireland

As best as I can tell:

Most analytical focus seems to be on flattening the wave, but not so much on what comes after the peak of the wave.

The Commie Virus is now part of the human biome.  Even assuming that we keep within the now somewhat increased capacity of the health system, a goodly percentage of the human herd remains without immunity and as we lift current measures, not only do the original risks of inundating waves return, but either way those who haven't gotten it remain concerned and their behavior affected.

Yes.  Behaviors will be affected for a long time to come.  To ccp's question, what to do (with investments) today?  I struggle to address that for my daughter's investments and others.

Reality is challenging my optimism.  Best realistic case includes some major bumps in the road.  The health and economic issues are intertwined.  I knew when we test more, we would find more cases, but I am surprised to still see it getting worse with very widespread shutdowns in place.  We should see a peak and declining new infection numbers when?  When depends on where, but nationwide we should see something positive by the middle or end of April, don't you think?  Then what? 

If we all need masks and we all need sanitizers and there are none, then why predict optimism until the most basic protections are readily available.

There is real progress on immunization, but what date will it really available and by what date will a serious portion of the globe be immunized?  It's a long way off even if the tests in progress now are successful.

Stock markets used to precede economic markets by 6 months.  At this point one might say it hasn't fallen enough yet to fully encompass all the bad health and economic news and numbers to come.  Then when we really are on the rebound, how soon do people sense or anticipate that and how strongly does it come back?  No one knows but we are a long way from being able to lift travel bans, meaning a whole lot of industries face extended troubles, and pull down other industries with them.

Are you ready for the market reaction to the US deficit numbers?

My earlier market pessimism before came from the idea that other investors cannot handle the quarterly news of major companies taking revenue and profit hits from business in China.  That short term pessimism is ten times stronger now than then.

Looking back in this thread, I wrote:
Re: US Economy, the stock market: Coronavirus?
« Reply #1399 on: February 18, 2020, 11:07:37 AM »
What does everyone here think about market implications of this so-called Coronavirus?
1.  Medically, how does this end?
2.  Mathematically, how is this expanding?  Remember, information from China is likely false, understated.
3.  Economy of China:  If the economic impact only hit with a huge recession in China, how does that affect our markets, my 'growth stock funds'?
4.  If the virus hits epidemic levels elsewhere, what is that economic and market impact?
5.  If stock markets start to panic, how far does it go.

An hour later I wrote:
Trying to answer my own question, here is the Shanghai index for the last 3 months:
Stocks in China kept going up at the announcement of the virus, peaked in mid January.  Bottomed out (for now) around Feb 1 and is up since then.  This tells me there is no panic now.
What news of spread or trajectory makes this change?
There are fewer than 2000 deaths known worldwide so far.  Far lower even in China than auto accidents, cancer, etc.
The economic scare then has to do with the travel bans, quarantines and shut downs of economic activity.  I'm surprised this hasn't shown up in the numbers yet.
I am thinking I should be in an all cash position now and buy back in at the bottom.  That is against my nature but it is too late to panic after everyone else already has.
Ideas, advice?

Also see GM Reply #1403 February 25.    GM: I sold one urban property since then. 

The question today is, do the markets today already reflect all the bad news to come?  (Almost certainly no.  Look at them react to unemployment numbers that were basically government ordered, already known.)  If you get out today, will you know when to get back in?  (No.)

Dow chart lately:

If 26,000 was the old normal, call it 100%.  It went to peak 30k = 115%.  Today it is at 21k = 80% of 26k ( or 70% of the peak).

I would say, forget about the peak gone by and ask when does it get back to 26k?  If you still think that is by year end, that is a 24% return (up from  21k, the decision point today).  If you think that is 2 years out, that is a 24% return in two years, still not bad.  My point in asking these questions Feb 18 was that my stomach wasn't ready for the roller coaster ride in between.

We will get through this.  I don't know when.  It won't go to zero.  Don't you think Google, Apple, Amazon, United Health Group and a whole lot of new innovative companies are going to make a lot of money in the future?  There is plenty of money on the sidelines to buy back in once everyone scared has sold.

The part I hate about roller coasters is when they head straight down and then you see there is a sharp sideways turn at the bottom...  At the end you get off right where you started, out a few bucks and all shook up.   It's not a perfect analogy.  You can get off the stock market anywhere you want.

Politics & Religion / Re: semantics
« on: Today at 07:37:28 AM »
It just occurred to me
if one says someone is a "colored person "

that someone risks being called a bigot racist etc

but if one says "person of color "  that is PC


Funny, and hard to keep up with.  Kamala Harris is not an 'African American'.  That heritage came from the Caribbean.   If you argue that it goes further back to Africa, maybe we all do.

"Affordable Housing" from a public policy point of view has always meant 'housing that people can't afford', and to address it means make it worse.  If words had meanings, affordable housing would be the homes rich people pay cash for, and policies that make more people rich and fixer-uppers legal.  "Affordable Care Act" was all about getting more and more people on subsidy, opposite of affording their own care or insurance. 

Abortion isn't a "reproductive right".  It is anti-reproductive act, if you won't call it the taking of a life of another human being.

Income inequality is a fact with no meaning.  If you earn one more dollar, your income is no longer equal to what you made before.  Anyyone who goes out and earns a dollar, steals it or just receives it, has committed income inequality.  But if you call it an income ban, income freeze, or income brakes, no one will vote for it.  The term was resurrected to say that a good economy isn't good, and better isn't better.

Gay once meant happy.  The Left stole our language.  They stole our colors too.  Remember when red states were Democrat?  That made more sense.
But red looked too much like the communism map, and Democrats resemble that.  So they switched over and never switched it back.

Take it back.


Bernie's crowd and the rest of them are charging ahead with nationwide 'legalization', among the hottest subjects for Nov if Trump doesn't do it first.

Meanwhile, old, slow Joe led the movement of taking the parents' house if the adult kid grew a pot plant in back.

Live and let live goes up against militarized, jack booted thugs with government badges and court papers confiscating homes and putting out families.

Joe Biden was not just wrong about every foreign policy decision of the last 40 years.  His domestic policies were all wrong too.

It isn't the rich and powerful who don't have the resources to fight an all powerful government.  It is the regular Joes out there who get burned.

Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey
« on: April 02, 2020, 11:10:22 AM »
As best as I understand the logic at present (the previous logic not really applying any more) and in no particular order:

a) Turkey can unleash the better part of four million Arab refugees into Europe;
b) Turkey has good relations with Ukraine;
c) Turkey is geopolitical counterweight to Iran, Russia
d) We haven't a clue as to how to undo the NATO relationship

All true, especially the part where we have no idea how to undo the NATO commitment.  Giving them the boot from NATO and friendship would drive them even closer to Russia and Iran.   Also, the threat of getting the boot from NATO is a better lever before we do it than after.  On the other side of the ledger are the dozen, at least, top reasons they are not our ally.  Denying us access to a northern front into Saddam's Iraq was one.

Politics & Religion / Re: Iran and the China Virus
« on: April 02, 2020, 11:02:31 AM »

Great article.

Still not asked or answered, what was the original virus connection between the Communist China source and the top people at the world's leading state sponsor of terror in Iran?


not person "of color" though

Right.  What he needs to do is pick one white woman and one black man, but he can only pick one.  A woman Governor of Michigan is almost perfect on paper.  In reality, this is more like a Sarah Palin pick, for better or worse.  Does a Michigan connection move you one inch in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Ohio or Iowa?  No.  And it may not tip the balance in Michigan either. 

2020 State of the state speech.  Looks like she didn't see the corona virus coming.
On the day that W.H.O. saw a global emergency, Gov. Whit-brain still saw potholes and diversity as the issues facing Michigan.

Reasonable, unexciting Democrat, she does not strike me as the next leader of the free world.  Everyone in the room is asking themselves, how long does this go on?

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: observations, queries
« on: April 02, 2020, 06:50:07 AM »
From Scott Johnson, Brian Sullivan, posted on Powerline:

• New York has 10 times more Wuhan virus cases per capita than the rest of the country. If banning travel from China made sense, why doesn’t it make sense to restrict the interstate travel of New Yorkers in some fashion?

• The elderly and those with underlying health issues are most at risk of dying from Wuhan virus. Why don’t we find ways to isolate and protect them without shutting the entire country down?

• The United States has reported 14 deaths per million of population. Italy and Spain have reported over 200 deaths per million. France, England, and Germany have reported an average of 35 deaths per million. Critics claim Trump’s response is costing American lives. If relatively fewer Americans have died than every other major European country, what is the basis for the critics’ charge?

• Governor Cuomo said New York would start enrolling patients in clinical trials to test hydroxychloroquine last week, but the trials are described as “not yet recruiting” on the site? Why are these trials delayed?

• On January 21 the first case of Wuhan virus was confirmed. Ten days later, after Trump promulgated his order limiting travel from China, critics condemned the step as unnecessary and xenophobic. Are these critics still of the same opinion? (Note: Thank “The Senator who saw the coronavirus coming.”)

• The model Minnesota government officials used to justify our current shutdown policies projected that 1.5 percent, or 74,000, of all Minnesotans could die from the Wuhan virus. If these modelers used these same assumptions to estimate deaths in the United States, their model would project 5,000,000 Americans deaths. This is roughly 3 times more deaths per capita than died from the Spanish flu in 1918-19. Do Minnesota government officials think the Wuhan virus is possibly 3x more deadly than the Spanish flu? What model are they using?

Politics & Religion / Re: Turks cover up Iranian dissident kill
« on: April 02, 2020, 06:13:41 AM »

Working on the not so simple math and logic in front of us:  If Turkey is a co-conspirator ally with Iran, helping in this case to cover the murder of this dissident, and Iran is an enemy of the US, actively and currently attacking and killing Americans,,, how is it that we are allies with Turkey??

"Coronavirus: pathogen could have been spreading in humans for years, study says
Virus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in Wuhan, according to research by an international team of scientists
Findings significantly reduce the possibility of the virus having a laboratory origin, director of the US National Institute of Health says"

Doug's observations from above:  Wouldn't that be, 'reduce the probability'.  You can't reduce a "possibility".

All of the studies indicating its likely otherwise leave open the possibility that This Virus Came Directly from That Lab.


Coronavirus: pathogen could have been spreading in humans for years, study says
Virus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in Wuhan, according to research by an international team of scientists
Findings significantly reduce the possibility of the virus having a laboratory origin, director of the US National Institute of Health says

Published: 29 Mar, 2020

An international team of scientists say the coronavirus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in China. Photo: APAn international team of scientists say the coronavirus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in China. Photo: AP
An international team of scientists say the coronavirus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in China. Photo: AP
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 might have been quietly spreading among humans for years or even decades before the sudden outbreak that sparked a global health crisis, according to an investigation by some of the world’s top virus hunters.

Researchers from the United States, Britain and Australia looked at piles of data released by scientists around the world for clues about the virus’ evolutionary past, and found it might have made the jump from animal to humans long before the first detection in the central China city of Wuhan.
Though there could be other possibilities, the scientists said the coronavirus carried a unique mutation that was not found in suspected animal hosts, but was likely to occur during repeated, small-cluster infections in humans.

The study, conducted by Kristian Andersen from the Scripps Research Institute in California, Andrew Rambaut from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Ian Lipkin from Columbia University in New York, Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney, and Robert Garry from Tulane University in New Orleans, was published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine on March 17.

Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institute of Health, who was not involved in the research, said the study suggested a possible scenario in which the coronavirus crossed from animals into humans before it became capable of causing disease in people.
“Then, as a result of gradual evolutionary changes over years or perhaps decades, the virus eventually gained the ability to spread from human to human and cause serious, often life-threatening disease,” he said in an article published on the institute’s website on Thursday.

In December, doctors in Wuhan began noticing a surge in the number of people suffering from a mysterious pneumonia. Tests for flu and other pathogens returned negative. An unknown strain was isolated, and a team from the Wuhan Institute of Virology led by Shi Zhengli traced its origin to a bat virus found in a mountain cave close to the China-Myanmar border.

The two viruses shared more than 96 per cent of their genes, but the bat virus could not infect humans. It lacked a spike protein to bind with receptors in human cells.

Coronaviruses with a similar spike protein were later discovered in Malayan pangolins by separate teams from Guangzhou and Hong Kong, which led some researchers to believe that a recombination of genomes had occurred between the bat and pangolin viruses.
Doctors in Wuhan began noticing a surge in the number of people suffering from a mysterious pneumonia in December. Photo: Handout
But the new strain, or SARS-Cov-2, had a mutation in its genes known as a polybasic cleavage site that was unseen in any coronaviruses found in bats or pangolins, according to Andersen and his colleagues.

This mutation, according to separate studies by researchers from China, France and the US, could produce a unique structure in the virus’ spike protein to interact with furin, a widely distributed enzyme in the human body. That could then trigger a fusion of the viral envelope and human cell membrane when they came into contact with one another.

Some human viruses including HIV and Ebola have the same furin-like cleavage site, which makes them contagious.

It is possible that the mutation happened naturally to the virus on animal hosts. Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome), for instance, were believed to have been direct descendants of species found in masked civets and camels, which had a 99 per cent genetic similarity.

There was, however, no such direct evidence for the novel coronavirus, according to the international team. The gap between human and animal types was too large, they said, so they proposed another alternative.

“It is possible that a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 jumped into humans, acquiring the genomic features described above through adaptation during undetected human-to-human transmission,” they said in the paper.

“Once acquired, these adaptations would enable the pandemic to take off and produce a sufficiently large cluster of cases to trigger the surveillance system that detected it.”

They said also that the most powerful computer models based on current knowledge about the coronavirus could not generate such a strange but highly efficient spike protein structure to bind with host cells.

The study had significantly reduced, if not ruled out, the possibility of a laboratory origin, Collins said.
“In fact, any bioengineer trying to design a coronavirus that threatened human health probably would never have chosen this particular conformation for a spike protein,” he said.

The findings by Western scientists echoed the mainstream opinion among Chinese researchers.
Zhong Nanshan, who advises Beijing on outbreak containment policies, had said on numerous occasions that there was growing scientific evidence to suggest the origin of the virus might not have been in China.

“The occurrence of Covid-19 in Wuhan does not mean it originated in Wuhan,” he said last week.
A doctor working in a public hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Beijing said numerous cases of mysterious pneumonia outbreaks had been reported by health professionals in several countries last year.

Re-examining the records and samples of these patients could reveal more clues about the history of this worsening pandemic, said the doctor, who asked not to be named due to the political sensitivity of the issue.

“There will be a day when the whole thing comes to light.”

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Just a coincidence?
« on: April 02, 2020, 05:33:41 AM »

From the article:  "it shouldn't take Perry Mason to conclude that a virulent coronavirus outbreak which started near a biolab that was experimenting with -- coronavirus -- bears scrutiny."

Tucker Carlson video:
"The virus likely came from  one of these two labs in Wuhan."
"There were no horseshoe bats living within 900 km."

"27 of 41 infected patients were found to have contact with the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. We noted two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus in Wuhan, one of which was only 280 meters from the seafood market. We briefly examined the histories of the laboratories and proposed that the coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory....

... somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan."
Given that this outbreak was said to begin in early winter when most bat species in the region are hibernating and the Chinese horseshoe bat’s habitat covers an enormous swath of the region containing scores of cities and hundreds of millions people, the fact that this Wuhan Strain of coronavirus, denoted as COVID-19, emerged in close proximity to the only BSL-4 virology lab in China, which in turn was staffed with at least two Chinese scientists – Zhengli Shi and Xing-Yi Ge – both virologists who had previously worked at an American lab which had already bio-engineered an incredibly virulent strain of bat coronavirus – the accidental release of a bio-engineered virus from Wuhan’s virology lab cannot be automatically discounted, especially when the Wuhan Strain’s unnatural genomic signals are considered.

UPDATE 2/14, 3:02am EST: A probable smoking pre-print has been released, by the National Natural Science Foundation of China:

“In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”

In a predictable turn, that article has been removed and both researchers have since deleted their profiles off of the ResearchGate site completely. Furthering the appearance of a cover-up, back on January 2nd, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s director sent out a memo forbidding discussion of an “unknown pneumonia in Wuhan” after ordering the destruction of all related lab materials a day earlier, making it abundantly clear that the Chinese government knew about this outbreak long before they took any steps to contain it, or made any public announcement.

Chinese government researchers isolated more than 2,000 new viruses, including deadly bat coronaviruses, and carried out scientific work on them just three miles from a wild animal market identified as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Referred to at US economy, here is the text of the article:

Why Didn’t We Test Our Trade’s ‘Antifragility’ Before COVID-19?
Deliberately shocking the system under normal conditions would have been key to surviving the crisis. Here's how.

( By Travel mania/shutterstock)
MARCH 28, 2020|12:01 AM
On April 21, 2011, the region of Amazon Web Services covering eastern North America crashed. The crash brought down the sites of large customers such as Quora, Foursquare, and Reddit. It took Amazon over a week to bring its system fully back online, and some customer data was lost permanently.

But one company whose site did not crash was Netflix. It turns out that Netflix had made themselves “antifragile” by employing software they called “Chaos Monkey,” which regularly and randomly brought down Netflix servers. By continually crashing their own servers, Netflix learned how to nevertheless keep other portions of their network running. And so when Amazon US-East crashed, Netflix ran on, unfazed.

This phenomenon is discussed by Nassim Taleb in his book Antifragile: a system that depends on the absence of change is fragile. The companies that focused on keeping all of their servers up and running all the time went completely offline when Amazon crashed from under them. But the company that had exposed itself to lots of little crashes could handle the big crash. That is because the minor, “undesirable” changes stress the system in a way that can make it stronger.

The idea of antifragility does not apply only to computer networks. For instance, by trying to eliminate minor downturns in the economy, central bank policy can make that economy extremely vulnerable to a major recession. Running only on treadmills or tracks makes the joints extremely vulnerable when, say, one steps in a pothole in the sidewalk.

What does this have to do with trade policy? For many reasons, such as the recent coronavirus outbreak, flows of goods are subject to unexpected shocks.

Both a regime of “unfettered” free trade, and its opposite, that of complete autarchy, are fragile in the face of such shocks. A trade policy aimed not at complete free trade or protectionism, but at making an economy better at absorbing and adapting to rapid change, is more sane and salutary than either extreme. Furthermore, we suggest practicing for shocks can help make an economy antifragile.

Amongst academic economists, the pure free-trade position is more popular. The case for international trade, absent the artificial interference of government trade policy, is generally based upon the “principle of comparative advantage,” first formulated by the English economist David Ricardo in the early 19th century. Ricardo pointed out, quite correctly, that even if, among two potential trading partners looking to trade a pair of goods, one of them is better at producing both of them, there still exist potential gains from trade—so long as one of them is relatively better at producing one of the goods, and the other (as a consequence of this condition) relatively better at producing the other. For example, Lebron James may be better than his local house painter at playing basketball, and at painting houses, given his extreme athleticism and long reach. But he is so much more “better” at basketball that it can still make sense for him to concentrate on basketball and pay the painter to paint his house.

And so, per Ricardo, it is among nations: even if, say, Sweden can produce both cars and wool sweaters more efficiently than Scotland, if Scotland is relatively less bad at producing sweaters than cars, it still makes sense for Scotland to produce only wool sweaters, and trade with Sweden for the cars it needs.

When we take comparative advantage to its logical conclusion at the global scale, it suggests that each agent (say, nation) should focus on one major industry domestically and that no two agents should specialize in the same industry. To do so would be to sacrifice the supposed advantage of sourcing from the agent who is best positioned to produce a particular good, with no gain for anyone.

Good so far, but Ricardo’s case contains two critical hidden assumptions: first, that the prices of the goods in question will remain more or less stable in the global marketplace, and second that the availability of imported goods from specialized producers will remain uninterrupted, such that sacrificing local capabilities for cheaper foreign alternatives.

So what happens in Scotland if the Swedes suddenly go crazy for yak hair sweaters (produced in Tibet) and are no longer interested in Scottish sweaters at all? The price of those sweaters crashes, and Scotland now finds itself with most of its productive capacity specialized in making a product that can only be sold at a loss.

Or what transpires if Scotland is no longer able, for whatever reason, to produce sweaters, but the Swedes need sweaters to keep warm? Swedes were perhaps once able to make their own sweaters, but have since funneled all their resources into making cars, and have even lost the knowledge of sweater-making. Now to keep warm, the Swedes have to rapidly build the infrastructure and workforce needed to make sweaters, and regain the knowledge of how to do so, as the Scots had not only been their sweater supplier, but the only global sweater supplier.

So we see that the case for extreme specialization, based on a first-order understanding of comparative advantage, collapses when faced with a second-order effect of a dramatic change in relative prices or conditions of supply.

That all may sound very theoretical, but collapses due to over-specialization, prompted by international agencies advising developing economies based on naive comparative-advantage analysis, have happened all too often. For instance, a number of African economies, persuaded to base their entire economy on a single good in which they had a comparative advantage (e.g, gold, cocoa, oil, or bauxite), saw their economies crash when the price of that commodity fell. People who had formerly been largely self-sufficient found themselves wage laborers for multinationals in good times, and dependents on foreign charity during bad times.

While the case for extreme specialization in production collapses merely by letting prices vary, it gets even worse for the “just specialize in the single thing you do best” folks once we add in considerations of pandemics, wars, extreme climate change, and other such shocks. We have just witnessed how relying on China for such a high percentage of our medical supplies and manufacturing has proven unwise when faced with an epidemic originating in China.

On a smaller scale, the great urban theorist Jane Jacobs stressed the need for economic diversity in a city if it is to flourish. Detroit’s over-reliance on the automobile industry, and its subsequent collapse when that industry largely deserted it, is a prominent example of Jacobs’ point. And while Detroit is perhaps the most famous example of a city collapsing due to over-specialization, it is far from the only one.

All of this suggests that trade policy, at any level, should have, as its primary goal, the encouragement of diversity in that level’s economic activity. To embrace the extremes of “pure free trade” or “total self-sufficiency” is to become more susceptible to catastrophe from changing conditions. A region that can produce only a few goods is fragile in the face of an event, like the coronavirus, that disrupts the flow of outside goods. On the other hand, turning completely inward, and cutting the region off from the outside, leaves it without outside help when confronting a local disaster, like an extreme drought.

To be resilient as a social entity, whether a nation, region, city, or family, will have a diverse mix of internal and external resources it can draw upon for sustenance. Even for an individual, total specialization and complete autarchy are both bad bets. If your only skill is repairing Sony Walkmen, you were probably pretty busy in 2000, but by today you likely don’t have much work. Complete individual autarchy isn’t ever really even attempted: if you watch YouTube videos of supposedly “self-reliant” people in the wilderness, you will find them using axes, radios, saws, solar panels, pots and pans, shirts, shoes, tents, and many more goods produced by others.

In the technical literature, having such diversity at multiple scales is referred to as “multiscale variety.” In a system that displays multiscale variety, no single scale accounts for all of the diversity of behavior in the system. The practical importance of this is related to the fact that shocks themselves come at different scales. Some shocks might be limited to a town or a region, for instance local weather events, while others can be much more widespread, such as the coronavirus pandemic we are currently facing.

A system with multiscale variety is able to respond to shocks at the scale at which they occur: if one region experiences a drought while a neighboring region does not, agricultural supplementation from the currently abundant region can be leveraged. At a smaller scale, if one field of potatoes becomes infested with a pest, while the adjacent cows in pasture are spared, the family who owns the farm will still be able to feed themselves and supply products to the market.

Understanding this, the question becomes how can trade policy, conceived broadly, promote the necessary variety and resiliency to mitigate and thrive in the face of the unexpected? Crucially, we should learn from the tech companies: practice disconnecting, and do it randomly. In our view there are two important components to the intentional disruption: (1) it is regular enough to generate “muscle memory” type responses; and (2) it is random enough that responses are not “overfit” to particular scenarios.

For an individual or family, implementing such a policy might create some hardships, but there are few institutional barriers to doing so. One week, simply declare, “Let’s pretend all of the grocery stores are empty, and try getting by only on what we can produce in the yard or have stockpiled in our house!” On another occasion, perhaps, see if you can keep your house warm for a few days without input from utility companies.

Businesses are also largely free of institutional barriers to practicing disconnecting. A company can simply say, “We are awfully dependent on supplier X: this week, we are not going to order from them, and let’s see what we can do instead!” A business can also seek out external alternatives to over-reliance on crucial internal resources: for instance, if your top tech guy can hold your business hostage, it is a good idea to find an outside consulting firm that could potentially fill his role.

When we get up to the scale of the nation, things become (at least institutionally) trickier. If Freedonia suddenly bans the import of goods from Ruritania, even for a week, Ruritania is likely to regard this as a “trade war,” and may very well go to the WTO and seek relief. However, the point of this reorientation of trade policy is not to promote hostility to other countries, but to make one’s own country more resilient. A possible solution to this problem is that a national government could periodically, at random times, buy all of the imports of some good from some other country, and stockpile them. Then the foreign supplier would have no cause for complaint: its goods are still being purchased! But domestic manufacturers would have to learn to adjust to a disappearance of the supply of palm oil from Indonesia, or tin from China, or oil from Norway.

Critics will complain that such government management of trade flows, even with the noble aim of rendering an economy antifragile, will inevitably be turned to less pure purposes, like protecting politically powerful industrialists. But so what? It is not as though the pursuit of free trade hasn’t itself yielded perverse outcomes, such as the NAFTA trade agreement that ran to over one thousand pages. Any good aim is likely to suffer diversion as it passes through the rough-and-tumble of political reality. Thus, we might as well set our sites on an ideal policy, even though it won’t be perfectly realized.

We must learn to deal with disruptions when success is not critical to survival. The better we become at responding to unexpected shocks, the lower the cost will be each time we face an event beyond our control that demands an adaptive response. To wait until adaptation is necessary makes us fragile when a real crisis appears. We should begin to develop an antifragile economy today, by causing our own disruptions and learning to overcome them. Deliberately disrupting our own economy may sound crazy. But then, so did deliberately crashing one’s own servers, until Chaos Monkey proved that it works.

Gene Callahan teaches at the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University. Joe Norman is a data scientist and researcher at the New England Complex Systems Institute.

The former global economy is now a mess.  Trust level with China, for example, is now at zero. 

As we grew our US federal government spending to US$5Trillion!, we managed to spend most of it in ways that weaken the economy and none of it in ways that address the weaknesses in the economy.

Black Swan author Nassim Talib, if I understand him right, does NOT see current times as a black swan event because a virus pandemic was perfectly foreseeable.  Calling it unforeseeable excuses our unpreparedness.

From the article below, over-specialization leads to lost knowledge.  In the case of 3M N95 masks and basic hand sanitizers, maybe that means lost facilities and materials needed to ramp up and build what we need.

Politics & Religion / Re: Not newsworthy
« on: March 31, 2020, 07:17:10 PM »

Ah, I guess our masses of professional journalists haven't heard about this story.

Good.  Better I think to let it stew slowly.

Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury: V or U?
« on: March 31, 2020, 05:48:44 PM »

They economy will reopen gradually so it cannot be a sharp v-shaped recovery.

I see a sharp and vigorous recovery IF / WHEN we fully reopen everything, which is when, never?


Is it too much to ask that everyone get a mask and a 2 ounce bottle of sanitizer as we head into MONTH SIX of the Wuhan Plague?

Screw the $1200.  Let us buy what we need to protect ourselves and know that the people around us have the ability to cover their mouth and clean their hands on the fly a hundred times a day if they have to.  Too much to ask, or are we too G*d D*mned regulated for safety to find our way to safety?

Politics & Religion / re. Susan Rice as Biden's VP? Bring it on!
« on: March 31, 2020, 05:28:37 PM »
That Sunday between Benghazi and Obama reelection, she was chosen or volunteered to take one for the team and went on every show, at least six of them, and lied, lied, lied.  Good for her, as Elizabeth Warren might say, but notice that she has never held elective office or put herself up for confirmation by the Senate as far as I know.  That Sunday I channel changed and very bizarrely watched the lies over and over and over.  It was a BFD, in Biden-speak.

If resume meant the jobs you've held, she is quite qualified.  If vetting means finding out what they did when they were in those jobs... her goose is cooked.  MHO.

Amy or even Kamala is lower risk for Biden.  Do no harm.  Butti should count as picking the other gender.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemic death rate
« on: March 30, 2020, 08:53:12 AM »
People are speculating Wuhan plague death rates, 100,000 US?  Here is my prediction:  The [overall] death rate in the US and in the world will be statistically unchanged in this period we are in.  More COVID deaths, fewer of some of the others, less air pollution, better hygiene and distancing, fewer traffic deaths etc.  Leading causes of death will still be heart disease and cancer.  I hope the current crisis and panic does not get in the way of my friends who need cancer treatment now.

Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left
« on: March 30, 2020, 07:42:22 AM »
I don't want to mock her but she did use the world's biggest megaphone to shout "How dare you" to me and to us.

Funny they never want to have the discussion.

Politics & Religion / Re: Chinese duplicity
« on: March 30, 2020, 07:25:10 AM »

Yes.  We could have a topic called, "China Is Still Lying", and run it until the totalitarian regime is finally deposed.

Sen. Tom Cotton spoke about why he does not trust China's self-reported coronavirus data. "The Chinese Communist Party is still lying," he said.
One can fully embrace 'free trade' and make exceptions for national security purposes, two different issues.  US-China relations relations fall under that caveat - until the totalitarian regime is finally deposed.

In my export career, I always needed a US government approved export license to ship [potential 'dual use'] high technology to the "People's Republic" of China.

Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left
« on: March 30, 2020, 06:19:50 AM »

Politics & Religion / Re: Trade and Globalization Issues:
« on: March 29, 2020, 12:20:52 PM »
Comparative advantage, the philosophical basis of free trade, works, if by "works" you mean "maximizes efficiency at the expense of redundancy and anti-fragility."
Best choices typically involve trade-offs.

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Face masks!
« on: March 29, 2020, 11:43:10 AM »
second post

Sadly, they seem to be playing down the importance of masks because we can't have any.  Is that valid reason to hide the truth, i.e. lie?

That and the hand sanitizer scandal ...  these parts of the puzzle are solvable!

And I was at least partly wrong.  Countries need to maintain strategic production capabilities at home.

Coronavirus India: India bans export of wonder drug - Hydroxychloroquine

Politics & Religion / Joe Biden wants fossil fuel execs jailed
« on: March 29, 2020, 10:20:00 AM »
Making sure we save a record of this:
.@JoeBiden on fossil fuel execs: “We should put them in jail” for pollution
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 29, 2019
In order to curb the rate of pollution, Biden explained, we need to hold fossil fuel executives "liable for what they have done, particularly in those cases where there are underserved neighborhoods."

When they don't deliver, Biden offered, "put them in jail."
A Related Unrelated point, ummm, Barisma is a fossil fuel company and son Hunter was a Director.
Which underserved neighborhood did he pay back, Hollywood Hills?
When they don't deliver, "put them in jail."

Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury
« on: March 29, 2020, 10:09:16 AM »
[quote author=Crafty_Dog
payrolls grew by a very strong 273,000 in January and another 273,000 in February. The unemployment rate was 3.5% in February and initial claims for jobless benefits were 216,000 in the last week of February. Retail sales in January were up 4.4% versus a year ago. In February, sales of cars and light trucks were up 1.9% from a year ago and were above the fourth-quarter average. This suggests that total retail sales for February rose as well.
hours worked in manufacturing durable goods rose 0.9% in February and colder weather likely lifted utility output.

Housing starts have been particularly strong lately, coming in at an average annual pace of 1.597 million in December and January, the fastest pace for any two-month period since 2006. Yes, part of the surge in home building was due to good weather, so February will likely fall off to around a 1.49 million pace, which excluding December and January, would be the fastest pace of building for any month since 2007.

That was the news only a couple of weeks ago.  Kick this virus out of the way and some kind of strong economic recovery is possible.  It's just a matter of time and success on every front, knowledge, testing, supplies, vaccines, treatments.

Politics & Religion / Re: Scotts Grannis favorite blogs
« on: March 29, 2020, 09:58:08 AM »
My feelings are hurt my favorite site is not on the list:

I don't see Dogbrothers Forum on his list  :-o :?

I wouldn't be surprised if he would be willing to add it.  We may need a more readable format?

First, what happened to the 'real' existential crisis?  Why worry about the Wuhan killer when it is really is making us safer?  ['Logic' of the Left.]

Second, With Jets grounded and highways more sparse from cars than ever in memory, shouldn't the CO2 readings coming out at Moana Loa show that shortly?

Pres. Trump had an hour long talk the other night with Chairman Xi.  You would think Trump would be furious at Xi for the dishonesty and coverup, but meanwhile they need each other in an existential, medical, economic, political and geopolitical crisis.  Luckily we already know Trump isn't a pushover on China, so we can trust that the reparations can wait. 

Being a top coronavirus government is scientist in China right now must be quite a balancing act.  He must maintain certain lies or go the way of the one who died in jail and the other 17 who disappeared with him.  He must also tell certain truths and share in the world knowledge that is being learned minute by minute with no time to waste.

Here is George Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, trying to thread that needle.  There are political and scientific aspect to this interview, including the fact it took two months to get a response.

Not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus is a ‘big mistake,’ top Chinese scientist says

By Jon CohenMar. 27, 2020 , 6:15 PM

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Chinese scientists at the front of that country’s outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have not been particularly accessible to foreign media. Many have been overwhelmed trying to understand their epidemic and combat it, and responding to media requests, especially from journalists outside of China, has not been a top priority.

Science has tried to interview George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for 2 months. Last week he responded.

Gao oversees 2000 employees—one-fifth the staff size of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and he remains an active researcher himself. In January, he was part of a team that did the first isolation and sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. He co-authored two widely read papers published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that provided some of the first detailed epidemiology and clinical features of the disease, and has published three more papers on COVID-19 in The Lancet.

His team also provided important data to a joint commission between Chinese researchers and a team of international scientists, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), that wrote a landmark report after touring the country to understand the response to the epidemic.

First trained as a veterinarian, Gao later earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Oxford and did postdocs there and at Harvard University, specializing in immunology and virology. His research specializes in viruses that have fragile lipid membranes called envelopes—a group that includes SARS-CoV-2—and how they enter cells and also move between species.

Gao answered Science’s questions over several days via text, voicemails, and phone conversations. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

George Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention STEPHANE AUDRAS/REA/REDUX
Q: What can other countries learn from the way China has approached COVID-19?

A: Social distancing is the essential strategy for the control of any infectious diseases, especially if they are respiratory infections. First, we used “nonpharmaceutical strategies,” because you don’t have any specific inhibitors or drugs and you don’t have any vaccines. Second, you have to make sure you isolate any cases. Third, close contacts should be in quarantine: We spend a lot of time trying to find all these close contacts, and to make sure they are quarantined and isolated. Fourth, suspend public gatherings. Fifth, restrict movement, which is why you have a lockdown, the cordon sanitaire in French.

Q: The lockdown in China began on 23 January in Wuhan and was expanded to neighboring cities in Hubei province. Other provinces in China had less restrictive shutdowns. How was all of this coordinated, and how important were the “supervisors” overseeing the efforts in neighborhoods?

A: You have to have understanding and consensus. For that you need very strong leadership, at the local and national level. You need a supervisor and coordinator working with the public very closely. Supervisors need to know who the close contacts are, who the suspected cases are. The supervisors in the community must be very alert. They are key.

Q: What mistakes are other countries making?

A: The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.

Q: What about other control measures? China has made aggressive use of thermometers at the entrances to stores, buildings, and public transportation stations, for instance.

A: Yes. Anywhere you go inside in China, there are thermometers. You have to try to take people’s temperatures as often as you can to make sure that whoever has a high fever stays out.

And a really important outstanding question is how stable this virus is in the environment. Because it’s an enveloped virus, people think it’s fragile and particularly sensitive to surface temperature or humidity. But from both U.S. results and Chinese studies, it looks like it’s very resistant to destruction on some surfaces. It may be able to survive in many environments. We need to have science-based answers here.

Q: People who tested positive in Wuhan but only had mild disease were sent into isolation in large facilities and were not allowed to have visits from family. Is this something other countries should consider?

A: Infected people must be isolated. That should happen everywhere. You can only control COVID-19 if you can remove the source of the infection. This is why we built module hospitals and transformed stadiums into hospitals.

Q: There are many questions about the origin of the outbreak in China. Chinese researchers have reported that the earliest case dates back to 1 December 2019. What do you think of the report in the South China Morning Post that says data from the Chinese government show there were cases in November 2019, with the first one on 17 November?

A: There is no solid evidence to say we already had clusters in November. We are trying to better understand the origin.

Q: Wuhan health officials linked a large cluster of cases to the Huanan seafood market and closed it on 1 January. The assumption was that a virus had jumped to humans from an animal sold and possibly butchered at the market. But in your paper in NEJM, which included a retrospective look for cases, you reported that four of the five earliest infected people had no links to the seafood market. Do you think the seafood market was a likely place of origin, or is it a distraction—an amplifying factor but not the original source?

A: That’s a very good question. You are working like a detective. From the very beginning, everybody thought the origin was the market. Now, I think the market could be the initial place, or it could be a place where the virus was amplified. So that’s a scientific question. There are two possibilities.

Q: China was also criticized for not sharing the viral sequence immediately. The story about a new coronavirus came out in The Wall Street Journal on 8 January; it didn’t come from Chinese government scientists. Why not?

A: That was a very good guess from The Wall Street Journal. WHO was informed about the sequence, and I think the time between the article appearing and the official sharing of the sequence was maybe a few hours. I don’t think it’s more than a day.

Q: But a public database of viral sequences later showed that the first one was submitted by Chinese researchers on 5 January. So there were at least 3 days that you must have known that there was a new coronavirus. It’s not going to change the course of the epidemic now, but to be honest, something happened about reporting the sequence publicly.

A: I don’t think so. We shared the information with scientific colleagues promptly, but this involved public health and we had to wait for policymakers to announce it publicly. You don’t want the public to panic, right? And no one in any country could have predicted that the virus would cause a pandemic. This is the first noninfluenza pandemic ever.

Infected people must be isolated. That should happen everywhere.

George Gao, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Q: It wasn’t until 20 January that Chinese scientists officially said there was clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. Why do you think epidemiologists in China had so much difficulty seeing that it was occurring?

A: Detailed epidemiological data were not available yet. And we were facing a very crazy and concealed virus from the very beginning. The same is true in Italy, elsewhere in Europe, and the United States: From the very beginning scientists, everybody thought: “Well, it’s just a virus.”

Q: Spread in China has dwindled to a crawl, and the new confirmed cases are mainly people entering the country, correct?

A: Yes. At the moment, we don’t have any local transmission, but the problem for China now is the imported cases. So many infected travelers are coming into China.

Q: But what will happen when China returns to normal? Do you think enough people have become infected so that herd immunity will keep the virus at bay?

A: We definitely don’t have herd immunity yet. But we are waiting for more definitive results from antibody tests that can tell us how many people really have been infected.

Q: So what is the strategy now? Buying time to find effective medicines?

A: Yes—our scientists are working on both vaccines and drugs.

Q: Many scientists consider remdesivir to be the most promising drug now being tested. When do you think clinical trials in China of the drug will have data?

A: In April.

Q: Have Chinese scientists developed animal models that you think are robust enough to study pathogenesis and test drugs and vaccines?

A: At the moment, we are using both monkeys and transgenic mice that have ACE2, the human receptor for the virus. The mouse model is widely used in China for drug and vaccine assessment, and I think there are at least a couple papers coming out about the monkey models soon. I can tell you that our monkey model works.

Q: What do you think of President Donald Trump referring to the new coronavirus as the “China virus” or the “Chinese virus”?

A: It’s definitely not good to call it the Chinese virus. The virus belongs to the Earth. The virus is our common enemy—not the enemy of any person or country.

A friend who is a successful entrepreneur in biotech says the goal [other than to succeed] is to "fail fast".

With every new theory, drug, test procedure or treatment, whether you are the investor or the scientist, you want it to fail fast [if it is going to fail at all] and move the learning from it and your time and resources into the next theory, test, drug or treatment [until you get it right].


But we would be in better hands with Democrats in charge?

THIS is the first report WE had of the Wuhan virus:
[China had a scientific report on Jan 5.]

New Virus Discovered by Chinese Scientists Investigating Pneumonia Outbreak
Latest tally of people sickened in Wuhan is 59, with seven in critical condition

Public-health officials in Bangkok hand out disease-monitoring information after performing thermal scans on passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, on Wednesday.
By Natasha Khan
Updated Jan. 8, 2020 8:30 pm ET

HONG KONG—Chinese scientists investigating a mystery illness that has sickened dozens in central China have discovered a new strain of coronavirus, a development that will test the country’s upgraded capabilities for dealing with unfamiliar infectious diseases.

The novel coronavirus was genetically sequenced from a sample from one patient and subsequently found in some of the others affected in the city of Wuhan, people familiar with the findings said. Chinese authorities haven’t concluded that the strain is the underlying cause of sickness in all the patients who have been isolated in Wuhan since the infection first broke out in early December, the people said.

Chinese state media reported Thursday that the unidentified pneumonia “is believed to be a new type of coronavirus,” citing experts. State media reported that the results were preliminary and more research was needed to understand the virus.

There are many known coronaviruses—some can cause ailments like common colds in humans, while others don’t affect humans at all. Some—such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS-coronavirus, identified in 2003—have led to deadly outbreaks, lending urgency to efforts to contain the current situation.

The number of reported cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, was 59 on Sunday, rising from 27 on Dec. 31, according to Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission, with seven people in critical condition. No deaths have been reported.

The disease afflicting patients in Wuhan hasn’t been transmitted from human to human, and health-care workers have remained uninfected, according to city health officials as of Sunday, suggesting that what is sickening them is for now less virulent than SARS. Those ill in Wuhan are believed to have become sick through exposure to animals linked to a live seafood and animal market.

Health experts say one risk is that the disease could become a bigger threat as tens of millions of Chinese travel around the country during the Lunar New Year holidays that begin in just over two weeks.

Health authorities in Singapore and Hong Kong, cities that have direct flights from Wuhan, have issued alerts and quarantined patients traveling from the region who show signs of fever or breathing difficulties.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked health-care providers and state and local health departments on Wednesday to screen patients with severe respiratory illnesses about whether they have traveled to Wuhan. Any patients meeting those criteria should be reported immediately to public health authorities, the U.S. public health agency said in a health advisory. No cases have been reported in the U.S., the CDC said, adding that it is prepared to respond “if additional public health actions are required.”

In Hong Kong on Tuesday, the government said it was taking precautions against a “severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent.” that it is seeking to make a statutory notifiable infectious disease, meaning doctors would need to report any suspected cases, and patients evading quarantine could be fined or jailed.

A visitor walked past a large photo depicting the 2003 SARS epidemic at an exhibition, ‘40 Years Through the Lens,’ at the National Museum of China, in Beijing, September 2018.
China was criticized for initially covering up SARS, which was first detected in late 2002 but was disclosed only after it began spreading widely, eventually killing 774 people globally, according to the World Health Organization. Beijing overhauled the nation’s disease control after reviews found that initial failures to contain and isolate patients with SARS allowed it to proliferate across densely populated southern China.

The Wuhan outbreak will test how much has changed.

“We learned a bitter lesson in 2003, and we do not want that to happen again,” said Alex Lam, chairman of advocacy group Hong Kong Patients’ Voices. “China should immediately release their findings so doctors across the world can better know how to tackle this illness.”

Hong Kong’s department of health, citing information from China’s National Health Commission, said the cause of the cluster of pneumonia cases detected in Wuhan was still under investigation, but other known respiratory pathogens had been ruled out.

The main clinical symptoms of those affected by the Wuhan outbreak are fever—with a few patients having difficulty breathing—and invasive lesions of both lungs, which show up on chest radiographs, the WHO said Sunday.

A mourner wearing a mask to ward off SARS under an umbrella during the funeral of a SARS doctor in Hong Kong in 2003.
It is unclear what the underlying source of the disease is, though the reported link to a wholesale fish and live-animal market could indicate an exposure link to animals, the WHO said. Bats, for example, are known reservoirs for coronaviruses, and have been found to transmit the disease to humans through a third vector such as a civet cat, as scientists found in the case of SARS.

The pattern of the unexplained pneumonia cases linked to the market selling seafood and live game strongly suggests that this is a novel microbe jumping from animal to human, said K.Y. Yuen, chair professor of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Medicine.

Researchers have determined that a large proportion of new infectious diseases in humans are transmitted via animals. Such illnesses are referred to as zoonoses. Two newer human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have been known to cause severe illness and death, according to the U.S. CDC.

The Wuhan strain is similar to bat coronaviruses that were a precursor to SARS, a person familiar with the new findings said.

Given the marked advances in hospital isolation facilities, infection-control training and laboratory diagnostic capabilities in the past two decades, it is unlikely that this outbreak will lead to a major 2003-like epidemic, Mr. Yuen said.

In Wuhan, which has China’s first Biosafety Level 4 laboratory—a specialized research laboratory that deals with potentially deadly infectious agents like Ebola—the market at the center of investigations has been shut since Jan 1.

In Hong Kong, badly hit by the SARS virus, which claimed 299 lives locally in 2003, residents have donned surgical masks on the streets and public transport in recent days, despite no local cases of the Wuhan infection being confirmed.

—Betsy McKay and Stephanie Yang contributed to this article.

Write to Natasha Khan at

Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Epidemics: Taiwan?
« on: March 28, 2020, 05:06:52 PM »
Well, if that is so, and given that Taiwan and HK do have WuFlu, then they must not be part of China.

They aren’t.

That's right, they aren't and this is a breakthrough catch by Crafty, like when Justice Breyer referred to the woman in an abortion situation as a "mother".  Mother of what?!  Here the WHO pretends to not know Taiwan - as anything other than China, even though the stats are separate and so is the sovereignty.

Politics & Religion / Government programs: Coronavirus Relief Act
« on: March 27, 2020, 03:59:31 PM »
I get it. They had to do something. It was going to be big. Real big.  But it also needed to be surgically targeted and squeaky clean.  This is neither.

It also needed to come with a commitment that if we spend a fortune on a temporary emergency spending now, it will have an ending and be followed with real restraint at the end of the tunnel.

As details emerge, much of this spending is hideous.

This I understand was the first US report of "Wuhan Virus".  WSJ
It is loaded with inaccuracies based on the Chinese Communist Party cover up.
The number in China went from 300 to 18,000 in days.
This is roughly what was known when Pres. Trump said we have it under control.
First U.S. Case Reported of Deadly Wuhan Virus
The coronavirus has sickened hundreds, killed six in China
[No.  It was way worse than that in China; they were lying to us, to the WHO and to the world.]

The U.S. confirmed its first case of a patient with the new coronavirus. A traveler takes precautions at Seattle’s international airport.
By Betsy McKay and Chao Deng
Updated Jan. 22, 2020 11:26 am ET

A man in Washington state has been diagnosed with a deadly strain of coronavirus, the first case to be confirmed in the U.S. in an outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in Asia, federal and state health officials said Tuesday.

The man, who is in his 30s and is a U.S. resident, recently traveled to Wuhan, China, the city where the outbreak is believed to have started last month, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Washington state and local health authorities. The man arrived back in the U.S. on Jan. 15.

Spread of the Virus
Since it first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last month, a newly identified coronavirus has spread across China and into neighboring countries. On Tuesday, a case was confirmed in Washington state.

Confirmed cases, deaths:  see graphic
Sources: local governments; China Central Television

He is the first patient to be diagnosed with the new coronavirus outside of Asia, where more than 300 people have been sickened and at least six have died. While most of the confirmed illnesses occurred in people in Wuhan, cases have been reported in other cities in China, as well as Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The CDC said last week that it was expecting cases in the U.S., and now says it expects more. “We do expect additional cases in the United States and globally,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

An emergency committee for the World Health Organization is scheduled to meet Wednesday to determine whether to declare the outbreak a public-health emergency of international concern, a designation that would help mobilize resources to prevent the virus’s spread around the globe.

Aware of the outbreak in Wuhan, the Washington man sought medical care when he developed symptoms a day after arriving home to Snohomish County, north of Seattle, the health officials said. He is in good condition and has been hospitalized at the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett out of an abundance of caution, the officials said.

A hospital spokesman said that the patient is being monitored in a special isolation unit “for at least the next 48 hours.” The hospital is contacting health workers and other patients who may have had contact with him, so they can be monitored for symptoms, the spokesman said.

Ground Zero for China’s Mysterious Virus
Spreading quickly from its epicenter in the city of Wuhan, a potentially lethal virus has sickened hundreds around China and reached the U.S., Japan and South Korea. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
“The man who tested positive acted quickly to seek treatment,” said John Wiesman, Washington State Secretary of Health. “We believe the risk to the public is low.”

The fact that local health officials and a regional hospital in the Pacific Northwest have suddenly been confronted with a virus that scientists discovered just a few weeks ago thousands of miles away in central China shows how rapidly diseases can spread around the world. The risk is even greater when a new virus emerges in a busy transport hub like Wuhan, which is connected through direct and connecting flights to many other major cities around the globe.

The CDC said Tuesday that it will expand screening of airline passengers for symptoms of the new virus to two more airports: Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All passengers from Wuhan will now be funneled through five airports where screening is taking place, said Martin Cetron, director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the CDC.

The CDC began screening at the end of last week at three airports that receive the majority of travelers from Wuhan: San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. More than 1,200 passengers have been screened, but none have been referred to a hospital, said Dr. Messonnier.

A Chinese-language sign in the Seattle airport tells arriving passengers to call a doctor if they have been in Wuhan and feel sick.
The Washington state man returned to the U.S. before screening began. It isn’t clear how he was infected, deepening a mystery as to how the virus is transmitted and how easily it spreads from one person to another. He didn’t visit any animal or seafood markets in Wuhan, which were suspected sites for transmission, said Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. Nor did the man know anyone who was ill.

It is also unclear how easily the virus is spreading from one human to another, the CDC said Tuesday. Coronaviruses circulate primarily in animals such as bats and pigs, and Chinese authorities initially believed that patients had been infected during contact with animals at a market. But as more cases emerged in people who said they hadn’t visited the market, they revised their stance. Chinese authorities acknowledged on Monday that the virus is spreading among humans.

China’s Mysterious New Virus Spreads Beyond the Epicenter
Chinese health authorities have reported more than 300 cases of a pneumonia-like illness that has spread to South Korea, Japan and Thailand. While different from the deadly SARS, the coronavirus is sparking memories of the outbreak in the early 2000s. Photo: Getty Images
The CDC is working with authorities in China and other experts globally to learn more about the virus, and scientists are working on the development of treatments, Dr. Messonnier said. “There is new information hour by hour, day by day that we are tracking and following closely,” she said.

Experts believe the current coronavirus to be much less deadly than severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a different coronavirus strain that killed hundreds of people around the world in late 2002 and early 2003 after it first appeared in southern China.

Even so, China’s cabinet-level National Health Commission said Monday it would treat the new coronavirus as a Class A infectious disease, meaning it would be handled similarly to cholera, the plague and to how it handled the SARS outbreak

Wuhan will take more stringent measures to prevent transmission of the disease, including canceling what it considers unnecessary large gatherings, setting up a prevention and control center, and strengthening protection of medical staff, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday.

Authorities at Wuhan’s international airport are monitoring outbound travelers in an effort to curb spread of the infection.

“We recommend outsiders not come to Wuhan and also that Wuhan residents not leave Wuhan without a special reason,” Zhou Xianwang, the city’s mayor, told CCTV on Tuesday.

North Korea, which borders northeastern China, has stopped allowing entry for tourists as a preventive measure, according to two China-based travel agencies that arrange tours to the country.

In Australia, the country’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, told reporters that three direct flights each week between Wuhan and Sydney would be met by officials who would inquire about sick passengers.

Philippine health authorities, meanwhile, said they are testing which type of coronavirus a 5-year-old who traveled from Wuhan this month had contracted.

Politics & Religion / Re: LA Sheriff reverses course again
« on: March 27, 2020, 09:14:47 AM »
California: Los Angeles Sheriff Reverses Course Again and Orders Gun Stores to Close to the Public!
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva took to twitter to announce he is once again ordering the closure of guns stores to almost all retail traffic.  This comes after the closure was announced, then lifted, but is now back in place. The Sheriff issued the below statement, placing extreme limitations on firearm stores and how they can conduct business.
In this case, a single official is unilaterally restricting the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to defend themselves and their loved ones. To contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office to comment, please hit the following link or call (800) 698-TALK.  Please do not call an emergency or dispatch number.

"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."   - Whatever.

There will someday be court cases on some of the powers we see exercised today.

But abortion is an essential service, mostly because of its prominence in the constitution... 

Famous people reading the forum, following our advice:

And the support for it is bipartisan!

President Donald Trump signed the TAIPEI Act, a bill expressing Washington’s support for Taiwan in strengthening its relationships with countries around the world.
The legislation, formally titled the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on March 4. The Senate bill, which was approved unanimously in October, then had to be reconciled with the House’s version before going to Trump to be signed into law.
The act – written by Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, and Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware – says the US should support Taiwan in strengthening its alliances around the world amid increased Chinese pressure and what Coons called “bullying tactics” by Beijing.
“The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage,” Gardner said in a joint announcement with Coons. “This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan.”

Politics & Religion / Re: GPF: The EU and the WuFlu
« on: March 27, 2020, 06:08:30 AM »
quote author=G M
"The EU is done."

Yes.  The EU was dysfunctional  before Brexit.  The economic growth rate in the best of times was near zero.  The EU without Britain is a greatly changed, greatly weakened group.  Greece, Italy, Spain were in really bad shape before Wuhan virus.  The open borders feature of the EU is now closed (probablly the only good news in this).  The weakening of their currency means they can't and won't buy American goods.  Without Britain, the 27 countries of the EU have but one nuclear 'power', France.  The greatest economic power in the EU, Germany, has been shutting down its electric power capacity, switching to 'solar without sunshine'.  Europe has the Muslim migration challenge, rising crime rates, stressed social spending systems, failing healthcare systems, demographic disaster, the failure of assimilation, the resumption of reliance on Russia, the debt crisis, already high tax rates and excessive burden of government spending.

Where does it go from here?  Down.  They will have a much harder time recovering economically than the US. 

From an American perspective, they will sadly become less and less relevant.  Less tourism, less strategic militarily, less important economically.

Then we have roughly half of America saying, let's be more like Europe.
Case study, Italy:

BALTIMORE, MD—A new study by Johns Hopkins University found that the novel coronavirus is impacting men and women more than all the other genders combined. According to the study, 100% of coronavirus cases have affected men and women and not a single other gender. "It's incredible - we've found this virus is far more likely to affect biological males and biological females than any other biological gender,"

Politics & Religion / Re: China
« on: March 26, 2020, 09:38:11 AM »
My son's theory is that they are taking away the phones of those that have made or received international calls.

That explanation makes sense - with a duplicitous, totalitarian, oppressive, repressive regime.  They can take their phones or just disconnect their service. 

I wonder if it is still considered free and universal health care if you can't have a phone to call a doctor?

Politics & Religion / "The Virus Is a Fire, and the Arsonist Is China"
« on: March 26, 2020, 09:14:39 AM »
Jim Treacher at PJ Media nails it.

"We did not do this. Every scrap of evidence points to the government of China."

"Put the blame where it belongs. #ChinaLiedPeopleDied."


[Doug] I've been talking about China stealing from us all these years dispassionately, like observing that it's cloudy outside.  Now it's personal.  Their duplicity is killing Americans (and people everywhere else), it's killing our own freedoms  and it's killing our economy.  It's putting healthy people on edge and unhealthy people in isolation.  Grandchildren can't visit grandparents.  My Governor is telling my tenants not to pay rent - and it's happening because China lied.

China lied - people died.

At the end of this, they pay or we commit to helping take down the regime no matter how long it takes.  Broadcast our message to their people.  Hack their internet and media with truth and opposing opinions.  Insist on free elections and put the word out to everyone to settle for nothing less.  The time is coming to end our membership in organizations that treat the government of China as a member in good standing - until they are in good standing.  UN.  WHO.  IMF.  World Bank.  Insist on rightful treatment of Taiwan.  Etc.

Radio free China.

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