Thursday, May 7, 2020

Hopeium Futures Take Another Hit

h/t to CDR Salamander

"May you live in interesting times."

Well, $#!^.

For those out there trying to draw some illusory level of comfort in the mythos that current reported US Kung Flu deaths are a byproduct of perverse incentives, and packing the numbers with non-Kung Flu casualties like snowmobile deaths and people juggling polar bears, there's some really bad news, apolitical in the extreme, from the number crunchers in London at the Financial Times.

They don't give a damn there whether your politics are Left or Right, or what political dog whistles you hear. They just, y'know, analyzed the data, and then compared it with historical death numbers from the same countries and cities from years past to show change over time this year. Almost like they were using mathematics and statistics, or something. (For anyone unacquainted, they're a handy tool, and you should try them from time to time.)

Suffice it to say, the numbers you think are padded may actually be drastically undercounting the actual Kung Flu death toll by as much as 50-60%.

 (LONDON) "The death toll from coronavirus may be almost 60 per cent higher than reported in official counts, according to an FT analysis of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries. Mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods. 
If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise from the current official total of 201,000 to as high as 318,000. 
To calculate excess deaths, the FT has compared deaths from all causes in the weeks of a location’s outbreak in March and April 2020 to the average for the same period between 2015 and 2019. The total of 122,000 amounts to a 50 per cent rise in overall mortality relative to the historical average for the locations studied."
Oh NOES!!!! The Flu Bros Hoaxer Myth just took another .44Mag silver bullet right to the heart.

Data graphic for countries (these embiggen):

Data for individual cities:

Those big red spikes, above? Those are what people who read graphs call "anomalous spikes", and they represent how badly and how far this thing has changed things versus historical death numbers, in exactly the same way you look at holes in ballistic gelatin to determine relative ballistic performance and effectiveness of firearm rounds. Look at the graphs again. Did we say .44Mag? Sorry. We meant to say .50BMG.
"The extra deaths are most pronounced in urban areas with the worst virus outbreaks, and have completely overwhelmed reporting mechanisms in some. This is especially worrying for many emerging economies, where total excess mortality is orders of magnitude higher than official coronavirus fatalities. 
In Ecuador’s Guayas province, just 245 official Covid-related deaths were reported between March 1 and April 15, but data on total deaths show that about 10,200 more people died during this period than in a typical year — an increase of 350 per cent.
{And an increase in COVID-19 deaths of 41,000%! "Just the flu, bro." - A.} 
Experts have warned of serious under-reporting of Covid-19 cases in residential facilities for the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. “Very few countries appear to be testing people in care homes, staff and residents, systematically,” said Adelina Comas-Herrera, research fellow at the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre of the London School of Economics. 
Even the much higher numbers of deaths in the pandemic suggested by excess mortality statistics are likely to be conservative, as lockdowns mean that “mortality from numerous conditions such as traffic accidents and occupational injuries possibly went down”, said Markéta Pechholdová, assistant professor of demography at the University of Economics, Prague."

More rounds, center mass to the chest.
Kind of like this:

ED-209? No. COVID-19. You have 10 seconds to comply. 9,8,...
"You killed Kenny! You bastards!"
The only good news? Most of those spikes appear to have peaked. For now.

And just to really take a monstrous dump in your corn flakes:
That's in the First World, i.e. what we mean when we say "civilization", with robust medical care, and transparent reporting systems.

In the Turd World, i.e. Sh*tholia, Trashcanistan, et al , where neither of those things apply, the pandemic is liable to be far, far worse.

We have NO WILD IDEA what the outbreak is doing in places where they can't count beyond twenty, even though they're already barefoot.

IOW, you're so far beyond F**ked by this virus, you can't see F**ked from here.
F**ked was eight stops ago, and you slept right past that station, and the train's rolling way beyond where you thought it was. At full speed.


Now tell me about how prepared you are, and for how long?

BTW? For those who would discount the CDC projections of estimated deaths, here it is, helpfully posted over at Salamander's blog from back at the end of March this year:

Talk about calling your shot. Pisser for those who have to admit that the actual totals are right down the middle of the fairway so far (except that it doesn't yet seem to be leveling out like they thought, does it?).

Let's hope that it does indeed level off, as they projected weeks ago. Rather than, say, having wingnuts keen to ignore this charging out and spiking it even higher in the next few weeks.


Nick Flandrey said...

Well, I'm counting, organizing, and shelving food. I just got fresh meat, bread and dairy delivered from Costco today. Freezers are FULL. I've got six months of canned corn if I eat a can a day and much more if I eat a can a week... with other canned veg and beans to match.

I've got hundreds of pounds of rice and flour, buckets of sugar, gallons of oil, pounds of salt, multivitamins and condiments. I've got 50 pounds of potatoes and 20 pounds of onion. I haven't bought TP or paper towel since February and don't need to.

My fireproof filing cabinet is full of ammo and the safe is well stocked.

My medicine chest is full, and there's even stuff there that I'd need advice to use.

I've got a garden in, although it's not producing very well or very much, it's got me climbing the learning curve.

I feel pretty good about my family's situation, if we can stay healthy, and I owe it, in a very large part, to AESOP.

Before '14 I was prepping for regional disasters, with eventual outside help arriving, and of limited duration. Aesop opened my eyes when ebola started infecting people just a 4 hour car ride from my house.

With Aesop for motivation and justification, and a guy named Bob Thompson for additional technical knowledge, I started planning to stay the F in my house for as long as it took to get past an infection. 3 weeks turned into 3 months, turned into 6 months, turned into 'more'.

I started building up my medicine chest, armory, pantry, skillset, relationships in meatspace, situational awareness in my area and nationally, and every other thing I could think of.

I watched this thing start up in china and then start up here. Now I'm watching it start up in the third world. It's going to RIP thru all the socialist and dictator run hellholes. It's gonna kill a fukcton of people in those places. If it kills fewer here, I'll REJOICE that we got something right and dodged what bullets we did.

In the mean time, I never had to scramble for TP, or food. I have cleaning supplies. I have material to continue teaching my kids. It's been a damn peculiar zombie apocalypse, and a very strange slow motion disaster. I'm comfortable with my decisions, and firm in my beliefs, and a lot of that is down to Aesop.

So thanks, and keep it up.


Knightsofnee said...

I've stopped talking to people about it, fingers in the ears, nanananana!

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

FT, financial times. Recently with a lot of information intake and thought process the question to be answered, Is there a financial incentive in the coding for the insurance claim?

It seems most news reports are desensitizing such as the asian killer hornet amidst the kung flu story. Most comments are laughing their ass of at the hornet.

The British doctor kicked out of the cabal for hooking up with his "married lover" while infected. Searched his name and one story came up saying the married lover was his wife, go figure.

Its all about the money, even the FT story is about the money. Obamacare is about the money.

We won't know the truth before I am probably long gone and we may never know.

So I just keep praying and doing my best to prepare even though I was never an Eagle Scout.

Sarin said...

Aesop, But Mafz iz hard! Firmly believe that it'll get worse before it gets better, ala Typhoid Mary, or patient Gilligan, dealer's choice. For what it's worth, I've been keeping tabs on family in South America; it's being severely under-reported there, and folks aren't taking it serious, at all, even though they're about to hit the dead of winter and viral viability only improves in the cold and we're talking Manhattan levels of close contact. Time will tell.

In separate news, I received the following gem via work channels:

I don't normally peruse CNN, but wanted to confirm a suspicion. I'm betting that the perp in custody isn't a CCW holder. I'll also bet that TPTB use it to further attempt to curtail 2A rights, because "pandemic" and because "safety". I'm all but certain the myrmidons will be crying yes for that too. Nick's comment about the "slow-motion disaster" rings a bell. With the headlines about the release of prisoners (because COVID), I was telling some of my liberal leaning associates that it's like "The Purge" in slow-motion, would you want to be able to defend yourself or simply cower?

I'm nowhere near as prepped as Nick, and live in the same AO. Finally got the wife on board with preps; although, she's not all in, yet. I've got provisions, but not in the quantities that I desire. She's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I keep warning her that it could be a train or not, but we'd best be prepared for the train. I add a bit of stuff with each run made.

Borepatch said...

Not impressed with this new report.

Might be impressed if the powers that be used this sort of information to shut down New York City, Madrid, and Milan - but not Alabama, Languedoc, or Switzerland. The policies are making a category error.

It's been said (correctly) that if this plague hit Montana but NYFC, New York would *never* shut down.

Down at the local level, you could do the same analysis on Assisted Living Centers vs., well, most other places.

Like I said, not impressed with this new report.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I wonder how much those spikes going down are a) reporting delays the authors did not realize by not being familiar with all their data sources b) initial most vulnerable populations getting hit, c) lockdowns. The lower homicides are real, Miami, Florida went without a single homicide from February 17th to April 12th, which hasn't happened since 1957. One the other hand, the usual suspects are now shooting people when told to mask up, or the dining room is closed....

On the third hand, Dr. Birx said the testing of high risk areas is showing lots of asymptomatic cases, even in nursing homes. Skimmed a paper that in silico may have found a genetic reason for the huge variance in case severity, although it didn't talk about how the alleles are distributed, if that's even known.

The CDC has also released some age based death data, it seems to match up fairly well with the early Chinese reports, very strongly age weighted, average age 75.5. This is based on the previously mentioned death certificate data, so it's only 44,016 cases.

More on the PRC mask production debacle, "FDA Pulls Approval for Dozens of Mask Makers in China":

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it had cut the number of mask makers in China approved to make N95-style masks for use in the U.S. to 14, from around 80. That reversed an April 3 decision to allow imports from manufacturers whose masks hadn’t been tested by U.S. authorities but had been reviewed by an independent laboratory.

Don't necessairly blame the labs, in a pattern I've read was a thing long before Communists took over the country:

[...] an FDA official said in an interview. “There were a growing number of respirators that failed to meet the expedited performance standards.”

Initial product is of quality contracted for, then it's steadily lowered until the customer complains. Except this game is different, plus the political stakes are much higher, one wonders about the CCP's take on this happening with the US. If they don't really care, that could be very bad.

The article spills a lot of ink on NIOSH testing, perhaps the FDA's decisions are based on what they find. One company that got their approval yanked was making N30 masks....

James M Dakin said...

I trust FT as much as I trust The Economist. I trust I needn't elaborate.

T-Rav said...


Here is my question:

As you know, "herd immunity" is a phrase getting thrown around a lot lately. However, I have read that that's pretty much impossible to achieve, because unlike some diseases (i.e. rhinovirus), strains of coronavirus rarely penetrate more than 30% of the population, and usually it's more like 10-20%. Based on what you've read/observed, is there any truth to this?

Survivormann99 said...

With time, we have found that the dire death estimates, fortunately, did not pan out. Perhaps it was because the shut-down did what it was intended to do. It flattened the curve and prevented a tidal wave of cases from overwhelming the hospitals. I believe that I have read that California hospitals, for example, are currently at 50 percent capacity, no doubt due to the ban on elective surgery, and the fact that most people do not want to go into a large Petri dish to get treatment that they don't absolutely have to have (which, of course, means that illegal aliens, a huge share of the ER patients in many areas, are staying home to self-medicate and treat themselves).

I have slowly come to the conclusion that the death rate is not worth the massive economic damage being done to the economy. Yet, I still tend to believe that the shut-down is necessary to control the spread of the virus. The two positions are not inconsistent. I prefer the analogy of a general who purchases victories with the lives of his soldiers. We may well have to permit a higher death rate in order not to destroy our economy and thereby lose the country before we develop a vaccine. We can't keep writing checks for people to stay at home and expect that it will all just work out fine in a year. Who's going to pay for that? Our kids? Our grandkids?

Sweden implemented a program to control the virus, and it did not involve a complete lockdown. As a result, its economy suffered far less than many other countries did. Time will tell if opening the states up is a mistake. Japan and Hong Kong are said to have tried to open up too soon and they experienced a sharp uptick in cases. The question is, as with military operations, what are "acceptable losses?"

In former days, it was common for a pregnant woman to retire from public life as she neared the due date for her child. Maybe for the short term, we simply have to tell older Americans, "It sucks to be you," but if you don't want to catch what may be a fatal disease, you will have to stay at home while others go to the beach or to the mall, and especially to work. (Full disclosure: I fall in the "older Americans" category.) No one has a “constitutional right” to live to 85.

There is a continuing groundswell of people who oppose the shut-in order. I don't see how it can be stopped by the government. It cannot simply be a coincidence that the Red States are chomping at the bit to lift shut-in orders and Blue States are using Gestapo-like measures to keep the population shut-in. Republicans benefit from getting the economy moving again. Democrats are hoping to benefit from the "coronavirus misery index" in November, and especially from mail-in voting with all of its potential for fraud. If anyone believes that it is otherwise, they are living in a fool's paradise. To be clear, I am not saying that the governors are motivated only by these issues, but that they do see potential political benefits for their parties from their decisions.

If we stay home "until it's safe" to venture out, that will mean forever--or something unacceptably close to it. If the shut-in orders are lifted, we will know within three weeks about whether it is safe to go out again. If new cases spike horribly, then the hue and cry about incursions on constitutional liberties will slowly become muted.

Mark Twain once said something along the lines of, "If a cat once sits on a hot stove, it will never again sit on a hot stove--or a cold one." I have slowly come to the view that we ought to begin to ease restrictions and let those who want to do so go back to work, school, the beach, etc. At least we’ll find out whether the stove is hot.

I, myself will continue to stay mostly around the rancho and "Let Mikey try it." I will wait and see whether the losses of those who do venture out are "acceptable."

Aesop said...

This isn't "trust" data: the number of deaths in any of those cities or countries, then and now, is a searchable and researchable known value.
the change from a year or two ago to this year isn't illusory.
And there's really only one variable to account for the spikes.

It's also not posted to impress anyone. It simply is.
I have no brief for justifying extended, continuing, or any other sort of lockdown.
We have the means now to hold the line on this, if people will merely not be idiots, and take appropriate precautions.(Metric fucktons of accurate near-universal testing wouldn't hurt either.)

But if there's any place that should be locked down, it's NYFC. There should be quarantine checkpoints at the city limits, with humanitarian aid only going in, and nothing else coming out except the drivers with empty trucks, until the outbreak there decreases to background noise.

I'd also like a pony.

The greater point is that, exactly like Ebola numbers from anywhere between Cairo and Capetown since ever, and much of the rest of Asia, along with Central and S. America, the Turd World reports of COVID casualties are largely non-existent, and in some cases wholly fairytales and unicorns. That reality should inform our foreign policy, military/national defense posture, our visa and immigration policy, and all operations having to do with foreign countries, for everything from grapes to supertankers, and everyone from airline pilots to zebra wranglers entering the U.S., for whatever reason.

Bear well in mind that the Teddy Roosevelt wasn't taken out of action by a Silkworm missile, it was taken out by an ill-advised port call in Da Nang, VN.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

In former days, it was common for a pregnant woman to retire from public life as she neared the due date for her child. Maybe for the short term, we simply have to tell older Americans, "It sucks to be you," but if you don't want to catch what may be a fatal disease, you will have to stay at home while others go to the beach or to the mall, and especially to work.

Problem is isolating them from those who go out. Staying at home doesn't help if all those homes get connected with the real world by people visiting here and there.

About Red states vs. Blue: Except to the extent the shutdown of the latter harms the former, and that's definitely a factor, a Blue state that was never going to vote for Trump that harms itself, and/or changes to cheat by mail voting, is still not going to vote for Trump. And the excesses of Purple states like Michigan make the outcome of their Blue governors' actions questionable come this November.

I think it's also premature to worry a great deal about the election, for example, we don't know which candidates might get the virus, and get debilitated or perhaps die of it.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I'm betting that the perp in custody [who shot three McDonalds workers in Oklahoma City] isn't a CCW holder. I'll also bet that TPTB use it to further attempt to curtail 2A rights, because "pandemic" and because "safety".

She certainly doesn't look like a legal concealed carrier, although Oklahoma is a Constitutional Carry state. A search on her name in the state's database only reveals two vehicle/licencing misdemeanors, and a couple of financial civil cases, all in the same county, so it looks like she could have been carrying legally, minus the whole "arm yourself with the intent of getting revenge" thing, just like the Dollar General murder.

I think your concerns about more gun grabbing are mostly unfounded, unless the national level GOP is so stupid as to allow a "must pass" bill to include that. The states that hate gun owners continue to do that, or try, Massachusetts was just slapped down by a Federal district judge for closing its gun stores, in theory effective tomorrow, but that doesn't matter much when the very owning of a gun is a privilege, and no doubt the cities that hate gun owners like Boston have shut down the permitting process to get the card needed to buy either a long gun or a handgun.

The states that are pro-gun appear to continue to be, and like South Dakota, the new governor of Oklahoma made a point of signing the the Constitutional Carry bill her first. Note a lot of liberals have gotten the self-defense religion, we've heard that anecdotally (and that article, "Virus-Panicked Liberal Gun Buyers Are Getting Angry When They Discover Their Own Gun Control Laws" is a hoot), and the NICS processed about 1.8 firearms sales in April, shattering all previous records.

And in a month where a lot of states locked down. I can't recall any non-gun grabbing state restricting the sale of guns, and most of the bad ones didn't add restrictions, or for long; the rulers of San Francisco are not happy about this.... And come to think of it, if you're stuck a home, not being able to legally carry outside doesn't make much difference, does it? California's insane new ammo purchase restrictions have also been ruled against by a Federal District judge, though I don't know if that changed the facts on the ground.

Sarin said...

Fair points all. Yes, my fears about gun grabbing may be unfounded; given the quickness and zeal with which some of the Governors declared such things "non-essential," or the reports of 1st Amendment rights being curtailed, combined with Mother-in-Law's tales of the transition to socialism, then dictatorship in her country of origin and my scant experience overseas, I'm naturally inclined to assume the worst in people, particularly those in power.

The pendulum will eventually swing the other direction, as early as this November. If it swings too far that direction, our worst fears will be realized, when it comes to the Second Amendment, amongst others.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Found a virologist who's written solid stuff previously throwing shade on the 'Corona-chan is mutating into new strains!!!' meme, and very specifically on the recent preprint of a Los Alamos in silico study that's gotten a lot of press:

In science, word usage matters. And sadly, even virologists often do not use their terms properly....

When SARS-CoV-2 is isolated from a COVID-19 patient, that virus is called an isolate. The origin of the term is clear: the virus has been isolated from a patient.

These virus isolates are all the same strain of SARS-CoV-2. They are not different strains, even if they have changes in their genome sequences. A virus strain is an isolate with a different biological property, such as binding to a different receptor, or having a distinctly different stability at higher temperatures, to give just two of many possible examples.

There is only one strain of SARS-CoV-2. The first virus isolate, taken from a Wuhan patient in December 2019, is the same strain as the most recent isolate taken anywhere else in the world in May 2020. So far no one has shown that any of these virus isolates differ in any fundamental property.

The differences come from RNA viruses, even coronaviruses with their unique proofreading system, making lots of mistakes when they replicate. Note a lot of these mistakes, maybe most, are fatal. And if a "conserved" region gets a significant mutation, it's by definition certain "the virus won't be able to virus."

Why you can see effects that look like a new strain is explained at the end (but RTWT, it's not long, and very clearly written):

[...] There is no doubt that viruses with the D614S change are emerging in different geographical regions of the world. Until proven otherwise, their emergence is likely due to the founder effect. Let’s say a virus with D614S emerges during replication in a person’s respiratory tract. If viruses with that change infect the next person, and the next, and so on, then the D614S change will predominate....

Because of the founder effect, showing that a particular mutation increases viral transmission in humans is very difficult. Many such claims have been made for other viruses in the past, but none have been proven. One that comes to mind is a single amino acid that emerged in the Ebolavirus glycoprotein early in the 2015 West Africa outbreak and was subsequently found in all isolates. No proof emerged that it was not simply a founder effect.

I would also caution that making claims that SARS-CoV-2 is becoming more transmissible ignores the fact that the virus is already exceedingly transmissible among humans. For an amino acid change such as D614S to be positively selected, as opposed to being maintained as a consequence of the founder effect, requires selective pressure. For such an already highly transmissible virus, the nature of such selection pressure is difficult to discern.

Now, he's speaking as a careful scientist (like I try to), and he wants proof, but in favor of his caution is that we're not seeing changes in the field to support claims of new strains. It's also the case that a new strain might well be antigenically similar so that one vaccine covers both, this goes back to the conserved region concept.

If you can make your vaccine produce antibodies to sufficiently conserved regions, as we can't for the flu, you can get an "eternal" vaccine like the many we have for RNA viruses with much higher levels of mutation like polio and the measles, their all lacking coronaviruses' proofreading mechanism. That mechanism, BTW, is used a lot to track the progress of the disease, precisely through the founder effect.

BlogDog said...

That RoboCop clip is missing one of the all-time great lines when the president of Omni says after the shooting to the guy running the ED-209 program, “Dick, I’m very disappointed.”

horsewithnonick said...

Happened in OKC, so I wouldn't expect much curtailing from state or local authorities - we aren't much inclined towards that.

Survivormann99 said...


"Problem is isolating them from those who go out. Staying at home doesn't help if all those homes get connected with the real world by people visiting here and there." That won't happen if older people simply retire from public life and wait out the development of a vaccine. As many soldiers say, "Embrace the suck." Except for a plumber and a window repairman, no one has been in my home since mid-February and I haven't been in any other person's home. Older people will simply have to make a choice, as unpleasant as that decision might be.

On the other hand, I refuse to believe that older people can't avoid infection by wearing N95 masks, washing their hands thoroughly and often, and limiting their excursions from home to a minimum. If it comes to it, removing their street clothing and taking a shower upon returning to their home might be necessary. Frail elderly people routinely went to stores with walkers and in wheelchairs two months ago even with oxygen units in tow, so adding face masks and taking other precautions wouldn't be all that much different.

If the stark choice is a functioning economy for the rest of the population and some semblance of a normal life or highly inconvenienced and constrained elderly, I opt for the latter. I, myself, will simply "embrace the suck."

If, on the other hand, deaths spike by 100,000 in the next month, then all bets are off.

horsewithnonick said...

The danger is less a blue wave washing Trump out of office, and more a Deem takeover of the Senate - four years of impeachment theater over every bowel movement Trump takes, anyone?

Survivormann99 said...


The federal challenge to the California ammo purchase restrictions began months ago. Federal District Judge Benitez ruled that the restrictions unconstitutional a couple of weeks ago. (He is the same judge who ruled that the ban on 10+ round magazines was unconstitutional last year.) The California Attorney General immediately sought a stay of Benitez's order, a stay was granted by the end of the next day by the 9th Circuit. (There was nothing particularly unusual about that.) So, instead of "Freedom Week," the seven day window of time in which Californians could legally purchase 10+ round magazines, it was "Freedom Day."

Those who legally purchased magazines during Freedom Week were able to take possession of them later. In a similar fashion, after the ammo decision, SGAmmo honored legal purchases that occurred before the stay was issued. Those who ordered ammo with Cheaper Than Dirt, however, were left high and dry because the company refused to ship ammo it had sold but had not shipped yet. (Keep that in mind when deciding where to send your business in the future.)

The 9th Circuit will now review the District Court decision and it will likely be several more months before any decision is rendered. In any event, I see no connection between the decision of the lower court or the appellate court and the pandemic. It is simply part of the usual crap that those living in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia have to put up with in exchange for the weather we have.

5stonegames said...

Aesop, we don't have a national defense policy.

President Trump in a moment of foresight passed an executive order requiring US made components only be used in our power grid.

The memo got back to him "no can do, sir. We don't make that stuff and the last factory went to China a few years back."

A variation for a lot of our medical supplies, not made here.

Oh and tritium for our nukes will be gone in a decade and a half.

And note, even if the supply was cut off and we had a government capable of managing the chaos, there aren't enough people willing to pay for training, good wages and good jobs for the long term . Our owners would rather die frankly.

We don't have an economic policy either, jobs must be steady, wages and benefits go up and the recovery bottom up. never gonna happen.

This means no recovery till the system is replaced with one that is populist.

Unknown said...

My judgment is that this thing will spike higher.

Because human nature.

Over here in the turd world of Manila.

nearing day 60 of lockdown. Cases growing faster now than before the lockdown.

Gov saying they will lift the lockdown and simultaneously saying another 30 days cuz we been bad people.

Meanwhile food is running low. I cant buy flour.

But hey good news, because food supplies are more this week than last.

Because people have not worked and unable to buy food. Cuz no money.

Gov threatening online bloggers and FB posters so I had to shut down my blog for OPSEC.


ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Oh and tritium for our nukes will be gone in a decade and a half.

This is a "friction" problem: we've got one TVA reactor breeding tritium, it being government run somehow means its dual use, civilian and military, is OK. We need to get another reactor somewhere loaded with a few rods with lithium-6, to then be sent to the Savannah River Site for processing. The U.K.'s nukes, their own design and manufacture, also for instance depend on the Savannah River Site for maintenance of their tritium supply.

The other stuff? Yeah, maybe we'll decide to (re-)start building more stuff here. But as long as the PRC etc. come through, I don't see it happening in the foreseeable future, we indeed need a real populist system. Today? For just one for insance, Mitch McConnel is a paid for agent of influence of the PRC through his wife's family, which run a PRC shipping line and probably more.

Those who ordered ammo with Cheaper Than Dirt, however, were left high and dry because the company refused to ship ammo it had sold but had not shipped yet. (Keep that in mind when deciding where to send your business in the future.)

Yeah, they were pretty good, like in the previous century for ammo, and I got some very well priced cartons of MRE crackers that are still good nearly a decade later, but everything I've heard about them since then is negative. Agreed that there's not connection between the District Court ammo decision and the pandemic, but it's a sign that things are not entirely hopeless even in the Ninth Circuit. Although I wonder if there's a thumb on the scales when they "randomly" select their not really an en banc panel of judges.

(The Circuit is so big, what would be a final Circuit decision rendered by every judge, following the initial appeal to 3, is instead done as I mentioned. So it matters less until enough "conservative" judges are picked over the objections of its Senators, we're some distance from that.)

"Problem is isolating them from those who go out. Staying at home doesn't help if all those homes get connected with the real world by people visiting here and there." That won't happen if older people simply retire from public life and wait out the development of a vaccine.

They have to really get it, that any contact with the outside world may be fatal. If they're old enough, but before nursing home level, many also need frequent help. I also seriously question their ability to maintain asepsis while going out, it's a lot more difficult than lugging a tank of oxygen around or using a walker. It pretty much requires training that's not available, PPE that may not be available, and a level of diligence they might not be able to muster.

Survivormann99 said...


We are fortunate to live in a time when our technology and science have given the average American the hope of living many years longer than our ancestors did. I forget the actual dates, but I read years ago that, for a 200 year period in the Middle Ages, no king of England lived to see age 60. In 1900, the average American male had a life expectancy of 45 years. If you were born in the late 1800s and had four siblings, there was a good chance that you would have lost one of them to some childhood disease.

To everyone who was denied a high school graduation or a college graduation, or a wedding, or a Caribbean honeymoon Cruise, or a large family birthday party, this Chinese Virus sucks, just as it sucks to be shut-in big time because you're elderly. In the elderly's case, however, it is better than being dead. Being forced to simply talk only on the phone with friends and relatives, or being forced to talk to them through windows in nursing homes is better than being dead and not being able to talk to them at all.

I am of "a certain age" that makes me much more vulnerable to the WuFlu than you probably are. If I have to start wearing a hazmat suit in order to go shopping, I will just have to grin and bear it, much like COPD patients can't leave their home without their oxygen bottles, or infirm people have to use an electric scooter to get around in stores.

I would rather have that happen than have this country stay locked down to the point where, sooner or later, the economy is destroyed and law and order become fond, wistful memories of the past.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Just came across a Nature news article on the clotting problem:

Purple rashes, swollen legs, clogged catheters and sudden death — blood clots, large and small, are a frequent complication of COVID-19, and researchers are just beginning to untangle why. For weeks, reports have poured in of the disease’s effects throughout the body, many of which are caused by clots. “This is like a storm of blood clots,” says Behnood Bikdeli, a fourth-year cardiology fellow at Columbia University in New York City. Anyone with a severe illness is at risk of developing clots, but hospitalized patients with COVID-19 appear to be more susceptible.

Studies from the Netherlands and France suggest that clots appear in 20% to 30% of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Scientists have a few plausible hypotheses to explain the phenomenon, and they are just beginning to launch studies aimed at gaining mechanistic insights....

And here's a bit more, you really don't want to get this virus:

Blood thinners don’t reliably prevent clotting in people with COVID-19, and young people are dying of strokes caused by the blockages in the brain.

No great understanding yet of why, or how to treat it.

elysianfield said...

A note to Aesop and TWBT

Just came across a report from the Military times;

Apparently, If you have ever been a Covid-19 patient, even if cured, you are barred from joining the military...permanently.

You can be cured of AIDS, any number of social diseases including but not limited to the "Black Syph" (You VN vets remember the rumors?). You can be a cancer survivor, cured of Hepatitis and Herpes...Cured of any of these and you can sign on the line that is dotted. Covid? Not so much.

I'm sure TWBT will have a logical, warm and fuzzy explanation for this.

Unknown said...

Aesop, I was wondering if you could respond to the new Sad Story: that cancer patients couldn't get biopsies, and people who needed medical care couldn't get it thanks to the lockdown. How do people get to the point that they need biopsies because something might be cancer? I know that breast and skin cancer have some pretty obvious indicators, but how does diagnosis of other cancers work? Do those have obvious signs that make a Dr think 'biopsy' immediately? I'm given the impression from some of this stuff that Dr's would immediately guess cancer and test for it if they could see these patients.

The state I live in didn't prevent anyone from emergency care if it was needed. I was able to get emergency dental care towards the end of the lockdown (not the time I would have picked to have that problem, but you play the hand you're dealt.) The new hue and cry seems to be that lots of people will die now because of the lockdown preventing them from getting emergency medical care, but I am deeply suspicious that most of these cases are going to be people who played fast and loose with their health up until the bill was due. But now they won't have to take responsibility for their own behavior because the lockdown made medical care impossible.


ThatWouldBeTelling said...

I'm sure TWBT will have a logical, warm and fuzzy explanation for [COVID-19 survivors being permanently barred from joining the US military].

Logical, yes: novel virus is novel.

You may be too short for this ride if you don't understand that, but it's probably on the edge: we simply do not understand enough about COVID-19 yet, it's been in open, don't cargo cult science societies in quantity for how many months? What are the long term effects, their distributions (how many people get what, and why, or at least what's correlated), etc. etc.

Training a military recruit is expensive, and unless forced by outside pressure, they don't want to make that investment for high risk people. Given that they can't quantify the risk, this is not a surprise. Also note this is very different from their posture towards those they've already make serious investments in, who've gained useful experience, shown what they can do, etc. Why some people can continue to be pilots after they need sight correction as they get older.

It's a bit like what kept me out of the military when they were really hurting for good people, a common condition that cripples a very important capability.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

More on the DoD recuirt disqualification for COVID-19. According to this article, the disqualification, "subject to further review of their hospitalization and comorbidity records, and a waiver by a Service Medical Waiver Authority." is only for people who's COVID-19 cases are bad enough to require hospitalization. That certainly makes sense, plenty of people who get hospitalized suffer damage.

OvergrownHobbit said...

I can answer that for you Rita.

Say you're a semi-professional opera singer and you have a specialist for your throat. One bright day in late February, you go in for a check up and the doc finds a growth. He schedules you for a biopsy mid March. So solly! CCP Herpes panic happens. Please to wait three months because Lock Down means no clinic for you! We have to do the kabuki quarantine dance!

Fortunately, in the above case, clinics in her state are quietly telling patients that they're reopening. They're taking the best precautions they can. Gov. Blue State's pronouncement that we need to extend my Stay Safe Stay Home until May 31st is being ignored. Biopsy took place yesterday.

My mom's friend B. lives in the same state that Mr. Aesop does and she's still waiting to get her appointment.

I know both cases and have been praying for them for months. They did not play fast and loose with their health care, they're being murdered.

To quote Mr. Aesop, how many people with treatable illnesses does he want to shovel into the crematoriums to keep the play-pretend quarantine alive?

Unknown said...

Hobbit, if that is in response to me, my name is Rhea. Not Rita. But I guess you were trying to respond to me?

A lot of people have learned a lot of sad truths lately. Leftist tyrants behave like tyrants is one of those truths. Suddenly, every single election does matter. I'm sorry your friends are in the middle of that. Power corrupts - that's not news, though some people are learning this for the first time. Where I live, no one who the doctors believed urgently needed to be seen had their appointments put off, though I am sure some of them chose not to keep those appointments.

Your comment gives me the impression that you don't believe that Kung Flu was even a thing. I've endured that line for 6+ weeks now, while the people who I thought understood cause and effect screamed their heads off about wanting out of lockdown RIGHT NOW. Now please, Explain NYC, the one city that didn't lockdown. That's what you wanted, right? You said it's "Kabuki quarantine dance." So you must believe that NYC made the correct choice in their actions by not closing anything.

I asked Aesop the question because he, unlike most of the people I have the misfortune to deal with these days, can acknowledge things like NYC. I don't have many people who acknowledge all sides of a problem anymore. They claim to consider all sides and then go back to screaming about how lockdowns are bad.

New York City continues to be the elephant in the room.


Hari Seldon said...

How do we know that a single one of these above-normal deaths in excess of reported COVID deaths is due to COVID, as opposed to the consequences of the lockdowns (e.g. the economic crisis, canceling of elective procedures, etc.)?

Aesop said...

What makes you think there are any deaths due to the consequences of a lockdown?
Show all work.

Hari Seldon said...

Aesop, I have no idea what the causes of those deaths are. It seems to me that since you are making the assertion that those deaths are due to COVID, the burden of proof is on you.

("the change from a year or two ago to this year isn't illusory.
And there's really only one variable to account for the spikes.

Hari Seldon said...

Hi Aesop, here is some analysis of why a number of the excess deaths may be attributable to causes other than COVID:

"We are currently facing a new anomaly with the rise in COVID-19 cases – namely, a concurrent decline in the number of hospital admissions for heart attacks and other cardiac events, by around 50% in some reports. (...)

Within this context, there are different potential explanations for a drop in hospital admissions for cardiac events. One widely hypothesized possibility is that people experience cardiac symptoms and yet avoid seeking help out of fear of going to the hospital and contracting COVID-19.

Although there is anecdotal evidence supporting this explanation, this avoidance of help for cardiac events presumably should be coupled with an increase in fatalities as people die at home rather than receive life-sustaining care in a hospital. It will take time to know whether reported increases in at-home deaths are tied to untreated heart attacks (...)"

It's too early to tell to what extent this hypothesis explains the excess deaths; but it's also too early to tie all (or any) of the questionable excess deaths to COVID. We simply don't have enough data.

Aesop said...

1) Sorry, but no, you don't get to flip the script and try to pawn off all responsibility for explaining onto those you doubt, after just being presented with exactly that, and ignoring it all.

2) Claiming agnosticism regarding cause and effect ("Maybe the moon is really made of green cheese", "Maybe pigs can fly" , "Maybe the Underpants Gnome stole all your missing drawers") is the fool's defense.

3) Everything in creation is making the assertion those deaths are due to COVID.
All I have is TPTB, 80K death certificates matched up to reefer trucks full of bodies, 3000 news videos from inside hospitals, and oh, btw, my own lying eyes, since I work in one.

4) When you walk in with nothing, but want to throw a brick through the window, the technical word for that is gainsaying; the colloquial word for that is bullshitting. Either put up, or shut up, in the patois.

5) USSnooze is arguably one of the editorially stupidest newsrags circling the drain:
a) people aren't coming to the hospital at all currently, because no one wants the Kung Flu.
b) when people don't come to the hospital, they don't get admitted to the hospital. For anything. This has been on the DUH!Channel pretty much 24/7 for the last 90 days.
c) There is therefore nothing "anomalous" about a decline in hospital admissions for heart attacks, or any other malady. Words mean things, even if the monkeys at USSnooze never read a dictionary.
d) "All" of the deaths aren't heart attacks either, nor need they be, nor would they materially affect the stats for COVID-19 to any great degree. Causes of death are readily discernible at autopsy, and even the two-months-behind-reality CDC provisional report shows no 80,000 case spike in coronary arrests, not any wild suggestion of the slightest chance of same.
e) Being this factually ignorant and willfully stupid is why reporters are reporters; if they could get real jobs because they were smart, most of them would.
Remember, most of these are the kids at college who couldn't get into the grad schools for medicine, law, or STEM, all of whom have actual admission standards. (And the ones too dumb for J-school go to film school. Or have to work a stripper pole, which at least provides society some value for the effort. Think about that.) The 1% who maybe could and still don't are probably unfairly slandered by the idiocy and well-deserved and earned reputation for fabulism of the other 99%. All journalistic logorrhea is not created equal merely by dint of being printed.

Aesop said...

6) If anyone's going to spin bullshit and try to rest it on pseudo-medicalese mumbo-jumbo, they need to get a better patter. No mark is buying that con, least of all here.

7) As noted, you have no reason to pin 80K deaths on anything significant but Kung Flu, even after accounting for all other causes. Motor vehicle accidents and homicides, by actual count, are down drastically in the past three months, everywhere, as a direct result of people not going anywhere not being out and about, most places. Exactly as noted in the article. This points to deaths from COVID being undercounted when looking at prior average deaths, exactly as reported in that same article, and the OP.

You want to stick both fingers in your ears and cry "LA!LA!LA! I'm not listening!!LA!LA!LA!", despite that? It's a free country, mate. Go ahead on. Just don't paint it as anything different than that.
You want to talk this over responsibly, a hypothesis requires a thesis plus supporting data, not merely devil's advocate gainsaying and implausible malarkey, followed by a shoulder shrug and "Who knows?" Try that latter approach down at the local tavern; it probably goes much better on a diet of whiskey, vodka, and tequila.

In the cold light of day, sober, on a blackboard, not so much.

Go back and look at the spikes for cities and countries.
Even if you doubled the normal weekly death rates, and ascribed that rise to everything else but COVID, you'd st5ill have a MONSTROUS spike in the death toll left over that is ONLY explainable and ascribable to Kung Flu.

The step beyond scholarship, reasonable doubt, and even skepticism, where you ignore obvious plain-as-day reality, is called stupidity.

Either wear the dunce cap proudly, or don't. But if you put it on, don't compound the error by self-deludedly rationalizing it, lying to yourself, and trying to soft-soap it into something rational and sensible. It is neither.

Sticking your foot into a cactus usually hurts. The shortest road to stop the pain is to pull out of that course immediately, and not repeat the error. A certain number of 49 states other than NYFS are about to find this out firsthand. Hopefully, not all of them.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Don't most people who have a heart attack die from it? I'm not up on the statistics (no family history of cardiovascular disease), but that's my impression, and was backed up by what little I was able to find just now. One thing from that was electrical failure in the heart system was responsible for 1/2 of all these deaths, and doesn't have to be associated with a heart attack. Isn't it the case that very few of these people will survive unless they're already in a hospital?

Aesop said...

Most people who have a heart attack and make it to the hospital, survive.
Some, multiple times. When we lose a cardiac arrest (i.e. already dead) patient it's bad, but not atypical. But losing a living breathing heart attack patient who gets to the cath lab is getting notably rare. My guesstimate would be <10%, maybe even better than that.

The classic phrase to remember from the relevant texts is the opener: Sudden cardiac death is frequently the first sign of cardiac problems.

In any event, the idea that heart attacks, or anything else, or even everything else, was responsible for the spikes in deaths is simply risible, purely on mathematical grounds. Even more so in cities where murders and traffic fatalities dropped right off the charts.

First, people called this a hoax, because there weren't many deaths.
Now, the pattern seems to be to pretend the deaths that have now shown up in hordes weren't really COVID-19 deaths.
I expect the next dodge will be to claim those people never really died.
Clever readers will detect a pattern.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

Most people who have a heart attack and make it to the hospital, survive.

Sorry I wasn't clear, one of the implications of the statistic (that I'm not sure is correct) is that enough people die before they make it to the hospital, and then enough after, even if it's < 10%, that a majority overall die.

So a lack of hospital access might not significantly increase deaths by heart attack; it certainly wouldn't change outcomes for those who wouldn't have make it to the hospital in normal times.

Hari Seldon said...

Hi Aesop, thanks for your reply.

I'll point out that the authors of the US News article are two academics, not journalists. Also, I am not calling into question the 80,000+ reported COVID deaths in the US, as you suggested above, but the FT's (and your) analysis of "excess" overall deaths.

A 50% drop in hospital admissions for cardiac events would imply that a large number of people are *not* receiving necessary, life-sustaining care that they would otherwise receive. This would suggest that a significant number of "excess" deaths are likely due to causes other than COVID. In other words, assuming the European experience is similar, the FT's estimate of the COVID death toll being 50-60% higher than reported is pure guesswork. This just seems obvious to me, but I could be missing something and I don't want to belabor the point.

Anyway, thanks for your insights and good luck.

ThatWouldBeTelling said...

A 50% drop in hospital admissions for cardiac events would imply that a large number of people are *not* receiving necessary, life-sustaining care that they would otherwise receive.

This assumes cardiac events are happening at the same rate as before the lockdowns. I'm under the impression that's not true for the triggering of them, and for example in a search just now found at for what it's worth, "Stress, anger, even overeating can trigger a heart attack. Roughly half of all people who have a heart attack blame an event—such as a fight with their boss or heavy exercise."

So we could have a substantial number of probably deferred heart attacks.

Other causes of death we're seeing less of are vehicle accidents, and homicides, Miami now a famous example, none between from February 17 until April 12, they haven't had such a long period between them since 1957.

Hari Seldon said...

ThatWouldBeTelling, I suppose that's possible, but then again, prolonged isolation at home, suspension of community life, and pervasive elevated stress, anxiety and depression over the current unpleasantness *could* also be triggering more cardiac events than before.

That's interesting about accidents and homicides, but there are other variables to consider. I would be curious to see the numbers on suicide, drug overdoses and deadly household accidents, for example.

Paul Bonneau said...

"Either wear the dunce cap proudly, or don't. But if you put it on, don't compound the error by self-deludedly rationalizing it, lying to yourself, and trying to soft-soap it into something rational and sensible. It is neither."

Is this the sort of thing a real raconteur does?

Hari Seldon brought up a valid point. Either you don't understand it, or he is making some kind of error, or both of you are; but wearing a dunce cap is not a valid solution.

People generally have changed their behavior (e.g. people with bad hearts not showing up in hospitals any more). That means past records of mortality are no longer applicable, at least not with very much confidence. One could even say that everything is due to covid19 - behavior changes, government policies, economic differences, and on and on. We don't know what fraction of deaths come from direct biological action, and what comes from behavior changes. We might like to think that the way this parses out is important since (in theory) behavior changes can actually be reversed or modified. Those in government can wave their magic wands and say, "Let it be so." But I don't think those sorts of things are as amenable to conscious human control as we imagine them to be. What policy changes will restore the confidence of people with bad hearts, so they start coming back into hospitals? Maybe none of them. Maybe that confidence is gone for good.

Aesop said...

1) Most "cardiac events" are not heart attacks. Ask me how I know.

2) Most admissions for "cardiac events" lead to discharge, with no pathology noted.
All USSnooze's scribes have tumbled over is the obvious fact that people not coming to the hospital leads to less people coming to the hospital. Period. Full stop.
This is why if newsmagazine articles had to pass the peer review standards of the NEJM, etc. the magazine would consist of nothing but ads. Just like the Pennysaver.

3) Death spikes of 75-300% are not attributable to any cause other than COVID, unless you can name it, and bring forth valid evidence for that thesis. Failing to do either of those is called gainsaying (bullshitting). It is not "bringing up a valid point".

4) By all means, ask rational questions. But listen when you get answers that accord with reality, at nearly 1:1 correspondence.

Kung Flu is killing people in the cities where we can compare data, at multiples of the ordinary year-over-year death rate. Knowing that other causes of death not currently transpiring (traffic accidents, murders, etc.) leads inescapably to the conclusion that the death spikes because of COVID are even worse than bare statistics would suggest.
They would have to be.

Casualties are only anomalous in the Turd World, where they haven't the faintest clue, and generally even less interest, in accurately identifying them. Which means they're happening there too, and are going underreported or unreported, exactly as anyone with five seconds' experience in Africa, etc. would tell you is how things roll there 24/7/365/australopithecus. Giving neckties to tribal aboriginals doesn't make them Oxford professors or Whitehall civil servants, as it hasn't done every time it's ever been tried.

Paul Bonneau said...

"Kung Flu is killing people in the cities where we can compare data, at multiples of the ordinary year-over-year death rate. Knowing that other causes of death not currently transpiring (traffic accidents, murders, etc.) leads inescapably to the conclusion that the death spikes because of COVID are even worse than bare statistics would suggest."

Interesting that you will only admit the possibility of other causes of death not currently transpiring, but nothing going the other way. It's OK to suggest that there are fewer traffic deaths (with no proof), making covid19 even worse than it first appears. However behavior changes such as not having elective surgery, which should cause more deaths, are not allowed to make covid19 less bad than it first appears.

Just the whole idea of using past mortality data is questionable on its face, given the vast behavioral and regulatory changes that have been put in place. It's a bit like blaming all deaths during a war to disease (and yes I know many wartime deaths do have that cause), while ignoring the fact that people are also shooting at each other.

To me, using past mortality data this way is an interesting first approximation, but I wouldn't get too excited otherwise. It deserves as much skepticism as all the rest of the nostrums out there.

Aesop said...

1) I'm not suggesting that there are no other causes.
But they haven't suddenly spiked deaths up 300%.
The suggestion is risible.
But by definition, "elective surgery" isn't emergent, and while it may affect long-term quality of life, the surgery (incl. anesthesia) itself is generally the bigger risk than not having it. As Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up."

2) We're talking about a multi-year average of cities at peace. They didn't survey Beirut, Sarajevo, and Caracas, for example. There's nothing questionable about noting that NYFC, in an average week has X deaths, with a month-to-month stability bordering on predictability, and then showing that with COVID in the equation, it suddenly shoots up to 3X. That's not questionable, it's precise.

3) As noted in other comments, the step beyond reasonable skepticism in the face of clear-cut evidence is nothing to write home about. But there's a lot of that going around just now.