It is easy to overdo COVID-19 quarantines

We have learned historically that if we can isolate sick people, we can often keep a communicable disease from spreading. Unfortunately, the situation with the new coronavirus causing COVID-19 is different: We can’t reliability determine which people are spreading the disease. Furthermore, the disease seems to transmit in many different ways simultaneously.

Politicians and health organizations like to show that they are “doing something.” Because of the strange nature of COVID-19, however, doing something is mostly a time-shifting exercise: With quarantines and other containment efforts, there will be fewer cases now, but this will be mostly or entirely offset by more cases later. Whether time-shifting reduces deaths and eases hospital care depends upon whether medical advances are sufficiently great during the time gained to improve outcomes.

We tend to lose sight of the fact that an economy cannot simply be shut down for a period and then start up again at close to its former level of production. China seems to have seriously overdone its use of quarantines. It seems likely that its economy can never fully recover. The permanent loss of a significant part of China’s productive output seems likely to send the world economy into a tailspin, regardless of what other economies do.

Before undertaking containment efforts of any kind, decision-makers need to look carefully at several issues:

  • Laying off workers, even for a short time, severely adversely affects the economy.
  • The expected length of delay in cases made possible by quarantines is likely to be very short, sometimes lasting not much longer than the quarantines themselves.
  • We seem to need a very rapid improvement in our ability to treat COVID-19 cases for containment efforts to make sense, if we cannot stamp out the disease completely.

Because of these issues, it is very easy to overdo quarantines and other containment efforts.

In the sections below, I explain some parts of this problem.

[1] The aim of coronavirus quarantines is mostly to slow down the spread of the virus, not to stop its spread.

As a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

In order to completely stop its spread, we would need to separate each person from every other person, as well as from possible animal carriers, for something like a month. In this way, people who are carriers for the disease or actually have the disease would hopefully have time to get over their illnesses. Perhaps airborne viruses would dissipate and viruses on solid surfaces would have time to deteriorate.

This clearly could not work. People would need to be separated from their children and pets. All businesses, including food sales, would have to stop. Electricity would likely stop, especially in areas where storms bring down power lines. No fuel would be available for vehicles of any kind. If a home catches fire, the fire would need to burn until a lack of material to burn stops it. If a baby needs to be delivered, there would be no midwife or hospital services available. If a person happened to have an appendicitis, it would simply need to resolve itself at home, however that worked out.

Bigger groups could in theory be quarantined together, but then the length of time for the quarantine would need to be greatly lengthened, to account for the possibility that one person might catch the disease from someone else in the group. The bigger the group, the longer the chain might continue. A group might be a single family sharing a home; it could also be a group of people in an apartment building that shares a common ventilation system.

[2] An economy is in many ways like a human being or other animal. Its operation cannot be stopped for a month or more, without bringing the economy to an end. 

I sometimes write about the economy being a self-organizing networked system that is powered by energy. In physics terms, the name for such a system is a dissipative structure. Human beings are dissipative structures, as are hurricanes and stars, such as the sun.

Human beings cannot stop eating and breathing for a month. They cannot have sleep apnea for an hour at a time, and function afterward.

Economies cannot stop functioning for a month and afterward resume operations at their previous level. Too many people will have lost their jobs; too many businesses will have failed in the meantime. If the closures continue for two or three months, the problem becomes very serious. We are probably kidding ourselves if we think that China can come back to the same level that it was at before the new coronavirus hit.

In a way, keeping an economy operating is as important as preventing deaths from COVID-19. Without food, water and wage-producing jobs (which allow people to buy necessary goods and services), the deaths from the loss of the economy would be far greater than the direct deaths from the coronavirus.

[3] A reasonable guess is that nearly all of us will face multiple exposures to the new coronavirus. 

Many people are hoping that this wave of the coronavirus will be stopped by warmer weather, perhaps in May or June. We don’t know whether this will happen or not. If the coronavirus does stop, there is a good chance the same virus, or a close variation of it, will be back again this fall. It is likely to come back in waves later, for at least one more year. In fact, if no vaccine is found, it is possible that it could come back, in various variations, indefinitely. There are many things we simply don’t know with certainty at this time.

Epidemiologists talk about the spread of a virus being stopped at the community immunity level. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch originally estimated that 40% to 70% of the world’s population would come down with COVID-19 within the first year. He has revised this and now states that it is plausible that 20% to 60% of the world’s population will catch the disease in that timeframe. He also indicates that if the virus cannot be contained, the only way to get it under control is for 50% of the world’s population to become immune to it.

The big issue with containing the coronavirus is that we cannot really tell who has it and who does not. The tests available for COVID-19 are expensive, so giving the test to everyone, frequently, makes no sense. The tests tend to give a many false negatives, so even when they are given, they don’t necessarily detect people with the disease. There are also many people who seem to spread the disease without symptoms. Without testing everyone, these people will never be found.

We hear limited statements such as “The United States surgeon general said Sunday that he thinks the coronavirus outbreak is being contained in certain areas of the country as cases of the virus rise across the United States.” Unfortunately, containment of the virus in a few parts of the world does not solve the general problem. There are lots and lots of uncontained cases around the world. These uncontained cases will continue to spread, regardless of the steps taken elsewhere.

Furthermore, even when we think the virus is contained, there are likely to be missed cases, especially among people who seem to be well, but who really are carriers. Getting rid of the virus is likely to be a major challenge.

[4] There is an advantage to delaying citizens from catching COVID-19. The delay allows doctors to learn which existing medications can be used to help treat the symptoms of the disease.

There seem to be multiple drugs and multiple therapies that work to some limited extent.

For example, plasma containing antibodies from a person who has already had the illness can be injected into a person with the disease, helping to fight the disease. It is not clear, however, whether such a treatment will protect against future attacks of the virus since the patient is being cured without his own immune system producing adequate antibodies.

Some HIV drugs are being examined to see whether they work well enough for it to make sense to ramp up production of them. The antiviral drug remdesivir by Gilead Sciences also seems to have promise. For these drugs to be useful in fighting COVID-19, production would need to be ramped up greatly.

In theory, there is also a possibility that a vaccine can be brought to market that will get rid of the virus. Our past experience with vaccine-making has not been very good, however. Out of 200+ virus-caused diseases that affect humans, only about 20 have vaccines. These vaccines generally need to be updated frequently, because viruses tend to mutate over time.

With some viruses, such as Dengue Fever, people don’t ever build up adequate immunity to the many disease variations that exist. Instead a person who catches Dengue Fever a second time is likely to be sicker than the first time. Finding a vaccine for such diseases seems to be almost impossible.

Even if we can actually succeed in making a vaccine that works, the expectation seems to be that this will take at least 12 to 18 months. By this time, the world may have experienced multiple waves of COVID-19.

[5] There are multiple questions regarding how well European countries, Japan and the United States will really be able to treat coronavirus.

There are several issues involved:

(a) Even if medicines are identified, can they be ramped up adequately in the short time available?

(b) China’s exports have dropped significantly. Required medical goods that we normally import from China may not be available. The missing items could be as simple as rubbing alcohol, masks and other protective wear. The missing items could also be antibiotics, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications that are needed for both COVID-19 patients and other patients.

(c) Based on my calculations, the number of hospital beds and ICU beds needed will likely exceed those available (without kicking out other patients) by at least a factor of 10, if the size of the epidemic grows. There will also be a need for more medical staff. Medical staff may be fewer, rather than more, because many of them will be out sick with the virus. Because of these issues, the amount of hospital-based care that can actually be provided to COVID-19 patients is likely to be fairly limited.

(d) One reason for time-shifting of illnesses has been to try to better match illnesses with medical care available. The main benefit I can see is the fact that many health care workers will have contracted the illness in the first wave of the disease, so will be more available to give care in later waves of the disease. Apart from this difference, the system will be badly overwhelmed, regardless of when COVID-19 cases occur.

[6] A major issue, both with COVID-19 illnesses and with quarantines arising out of fear of illness, is wage loss

If schools and day care centers are closed because of COVID-19 fears, many of the parents will have to take off time from work to care for the children. These parent will likely lose wages.

Wage loss will also be a problem if quarantines are required for people returning from an area that might be affected. For example, immigrant workers in China wanting to return to work in major cities after the New Year’s holiday have been quarantined for 14 days after they return.

Clearly, expenses (such as rent, food and auto payments) will continue, both for the mother of the child who is at home because a child’s school is closed and for the migrant worker who wants to return to a job in the city. Their lack of wages will mean that these people will make fewer discretionary purchases, such as visiting restaurants and making trips to visit relatives. In fact, migrant workers, when faced with a 14 day quarantine, may decide to stay in the countryside. If they don’t earn very much in the best of times, and they are required to go 14 days without pay after they return, there may not be much incentive to return to work.

If I am correct that the illness COVID-19 will strike in several waves, these same people participating in quarantines will have another “opportunity” for wage loss when they actually contract the disease, during one of these later rounds. Unless there is a real reduction in the number of people who ultimately get COVID-19 because of quarantines, a person would expect that the total wage loss would be greater with quarantines than without, because the wage loss occurs twice instead of once.

Furthermore, businesses will suffer financially when their workers are out. With fewer working employees, businesses will likely be able to produce fewer finished goods and services than in the past. At the same time, their fixed expenses (such as mortgage payments, insurance payments, and the cost of heating buildings) will continue. This mismatch is likely to lead to lower profits at two different times: (a) when workers are out because of quarantines and (b) when they are out because they are ill.

[7] We likely can expect a great deal more COVID-19 around the world, including in China and in Italy, in the next two years.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases to date is tiny, compared to the number that is expected based on estimates by epidemiologists. China reports about 81,000 COVID-19 cases to date, while its population is roughly 1.4 billion. If epidemiologists tell us to expect 20% to 60% of a country’s population to be affected by the end of the first year of the epidemic, this would correspond to a range of 280 million to 840 million cases. The difference between reported cases and expected cases is huge. Reported cases to date are less than 0.01% of the population.

We know that China’s reported number of cases is an optimistically low number, but we don’t know how low. Many, many more cases are expected in the year ahead if workers go back to work. In fact, there have been recent reports of a COVID-19 outbreak in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, near Hong Kong. Such an outbreak would adversely affect China’s manufactured exports.

Italy has a similar situation. It is currently reported to have somewhat more than 10,000 cases. Its total population is about 60 million. Thus, its number of cases amounts to about 0.02% of the population. If Epidemiologist Lipsitch is correct regarding the percentage of the population that is ultimately likely to be affected, the number of cases in Italy, too, can be expected to be much higher within the next year. Twenty percent of a population of 60 million would amount to 12 million cases; 60% of the population would amount to 36 million cases.

[8] When decisions about quarantines are made, the expected wage loss when workers lose their jobs needs to be considered as well. 

Let’s calculate the amount of wage loss from actually having COVID-19. If workers generally work for 50 weeks a year and are out sick for an average of 2 weeks because of COVID-19, the average worker would lose 4% (=2/50) of his annual wages. If workers are out sick for an average of three weeks, this would increase the loss to 6% (3/50) of the worker’s annual wages.

Of course, not all workers will be affected by the new coronavirus. If we are expecting 20% to 60% of the workers to be out sick during the first year that the epidemic cycles through the economy, the expected overall wage loss for the population as a whole would amount to 0.8% (=20% times 4%) to 3.6% (=60% times 6%) of total wages.

Let’s now calculate the wage loss from a quarantine. A week of wage loss during a quarantine of the entire population, while nearly everyone is well, would lead to a wage loss equal to 2% of the population’s total wages. Two weeks of wage loss during quarantine would lead to wage loss equal to 4% of the population’s total wages.

Is it possible to reduce overall wage loss and deaths by using quarantines? This approach works for diseases which can actually be stopped through isolating sick members, but I don’t think it works well at all for COVID-19. Mostly, it provides a time-shifting feature. There are fewer illnesses earlier, but to a very significant extent, this is offset by more illnesses later.  This time-shifting feature might be helpful if there really is a substantial improvement in prevention or treatment that is quickly available. For example, if a vaccine that really works can be found quickly, such a vaccine might help prevent some of the illnesses and deaths in 2021 and following years.

If there really isn’t an improvement in preventing the disease, then we get back to the situation where the virus needs to be stopped based on community immunity. According to Lipsitch, to stop the virus based on community immunity, at least 50% of the population would need to become immune. This implies that somewhat more than 50% of the population would need to catch the new coronavirus, because some people would catch the new virus and die, either of COVID-19 or of another disease.

Let’s suppose that 55% would need to catch COVID-19 to allow the population immunity to rise to 50%. The virus would likely need to keep cycling around until at least this percentage of the population has caught the disease. This is not much of a decrease from the upper limit of 60% during the first year. This suggests that moving illnesses to a later year may not help much at all with respect to the expected number of illnesses and deaths. Hospitals will be practically equally overwhelmed regardless, unless we can somehow change the typical seasonality of viruses and move some of the winter illnesses to summertime.

If there is no improvement in COVID-19 prevention/treatment during the time-shift of cases created by the quarantine, any quarantine wage loss can be thought of as being simply in addition to wage loss from having the virus itself. Thus, a country that opts for a two week quarantine of all workers (costing 4% of workers’ wages) may be more than doubling the direct wage loss from COVID-19 (equivalent to 0.8% to 3.6% of workers’ wages).

[9] China’s shutdown in response to COVID-19 doesn’t seem to make much rational sense.

It is hard to understand exactly how much China has shut down, but the shutdown has gone on for about six weeks. At this point, it is not clear that China can ever come back to the level it was at previously. Clearly, the combination of wage loss for individuals and profit loss for companies is very high. The long shutdown is likely to lead to widespread debt defaults. With less wages, there is likely to be less demand for goods such as cars and cell phones during 2020.

China was having difficulty before the new coronavirus was discovered to be a problem. Its energy production has slowed greatly, starting about 2012-2013, making it necessary for China to start shifting from a goods-producing nation to a country that is more of a services-producer (Figure 1).

Figure 1. China energy production by fuel, based on 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data. “Other Ren” stands for “Renewables other than hydroelectric.” This category includes wind, solar, and other miscellaneous types, such as sawdust burned for electricity.


For example, China’s workers now put together iPhones using parts made in other countries, rather than making iPhones from start to finish. This part of the production chain requires relatively little fuel, so it is in some sense more like a service than the manufacturing of parts for the phone.

The rest of the world has been depending upon China to be a major supplier within its supply lines. Perhaps many of these supply lines will be broken indefinitely. Instead of China helping pull the world economy along faster, we may be faced with a situation in which China’s reduced output leads to worldwide economic contraction rather than economic growth.

Without medicines from China, our ability to fight COVID-19 may get worse over time, rather than better. In such a case, it would be better to get the illness now, rather than later.

[10] We need to be examining proposed solutions closely, in the light of the particulars of the new coronavirus, rather than simply assuming that fighting COVID-19 to the death is appropriate.

The instructions we hear today seem to suggest using disinfectants everywhere, to try to prevent COVID-19. This is yet another way to try to push off infections caused by the coronavirus into the future. We know, however, that there are good microbes as well as bad ones. The ecosystem requires a balance of microbes. Dumping disinfectants everywhere has its downside, as well as the possibility of an upside of killing the current round of coronaviruses. In fact, to the extent that the virus is airborne, the disinfectants may not really be very helpful in wiping out COVID-19.

It is very easy to believe that if some diseases can be subdued by quarantines, the same approach will work everywhere. This really isn’t true. We need to be examining the current situation closely, based on whatever information is available, before decisions are made regarding how to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Perhaps any quarantines used need to be small and targeted.

We also need to be looking for new approaches for fighting COVID-19. One approach that is not being used significantly to date is trying to strengthen people’s own immune systems. Such an approach might help people’s own immune system to fight off the disease, thereby lowering death rates. Nutrition experts recommend supplementing diets with Vitamins A, C, E, antioxidants and selenium. Other experts say zinc, Vitamin D and elderberry may be helpful. Staying away from cold temperatures also seems to be important. Drinking plenty of water after coming down with the disease may be beneficial as well. If we can help people’s own bodies fight the disease, the burden on the medical system will be lower.


About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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4,403 Responses to It is easy to overdo COVID-19 quarantines

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Moody’s Investors Service has cut its outlook on corporate debt to negative, saying that an economy about to tip into recession because of the coronavirus will result in rising default rates…

    “…plummeting energy prices will leave the oil and gas sector exposed, while banks also will face a challenging environment amid falling interest rates that eat into profitability and a deteriorating economy that will undermine credit quality.”

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    Think a Vaccine is going to save the evil human species?

    Think again.

    As a young researcher in the late 1980s, Michael Kinch wanted to solve the biggest medical puzzle of the day: how to design an HIV vaccine. But dozens of well-funded labs were attacking the problem, a solution seemed easily within reach, and Kinch moved on.

    More than 30 years and 30 million deaths later, there’s still no approved HIV vaccine — a cautionary tale for anyone expecting a coronavirus vaccine within the next year, according to Kinch, a former drug developer who’s now associate vice chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis.

    “There’s a built-in assumption that there will be a vaccine,” Kinch said. “We just have to go into it very sober.”

    As worldwide cases surge past 750,000, governments, investors and the public are keenly watching the breakneck race to deliver coronavirus vaccines that could prevent future infections. Researchers are seen as the saviors who will deliver therapies and vaccines needed to defeat the coronavirus, and President Donald Trump has urged drugmakers to “get it done.”

    Among the majority of the public, vaccines are embraced as safe and straightforward: show the virus or a key piece of it to the immune system to remember so that it’s ready when a real infection occurs. They’re typically far cheaper than drugs and can offer protection for decades, virtually for life.

    But getting there is far from easy. Most vaccines go through years of tests before they hit the market; 12 to 18 months would be extraordinarily fast. The coronavirus shots moving most rapidly are made with brand-new technologies that have never proven useful in humans.

    Why Coronavirus Drugs, Vaccine Require More Time: QuickTake

    Even vaccines based on tried-and-true methods often have side effects that would limit, or prohibit, their use. Sanofi’s dengue vaccine can worsen symptoms in some people who haven’t yet been infected, restricting use, and a vaccine against Lyme disease developed by SmithKline Beecham, now GlaxoSmithKline Plc, was pulled in 2002 amid concerns about links to arthritis.

    The world’s foremost experts in the field have seen the perils of predicting the arrival of a vaccine. In 1984, then U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler said a shot to prevent HIV would be ready for testing within two years. Researchers have chased that goal ever since.

    Vaccine specialists this time are turning to technology aimed at speeding up a process that has traditionally taken 10 years or more. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and others have predicted a coronavirus vaccine could be ready in a year to 18 months. Dozens of companies and universities around the world are pursuing a vaccine, among them Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc.

    One of the front-runners, backed by the U.S. institute, is the approach used by Moderna that involves adding viral genetic material to human cells, inducing them to make proteins that spur an immune response. The U.S. company said March 16 that it treated its first patient in an early study.

    The novel method is largely untested, and Holden Thorp, editor in chief of the Science family of journals, points out there are no guarantees that such messenger RNA vaccines, and others like it, will achieve their ambitious targets. Falling short could cost both society and faith in science, he said.

    The concern is “people would get their hopes up and think that we’re going to achieve something sooner than we are, which will be demoralizing if we aren’t able to do that,” Thorp said. “Long-term, I’m worried that if science is portrayed as not coming through fast enough, that could have lasting damage.”

    While similar concerns apply to new drugs, test results from Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir, first aimed at Ebola, are due next month. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said earlier this month its efforts to develop a drug are ahead of schedule and it could start testing in humans this summer.

    Vaccine makers will have to work double-time to try to hit their targets. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which has said it needs almost $2 billion to carry on coronavirus work, is funding at least eight potential vaccines. It’s already moving to set up a range of manufacturing platforms so they’ll be ready if one approach pans out, said Melanie Saville, director of vaccine research. Even if a shot is ready in the desired time frame, it probably won’t be formally approved and will only be available on an emergency-use basis, she said.

    Vaccines must clear a higher bar than drugs to show they are safe because they’re injected into healthy individuals with the goal of preventing a disease that may never occur, Kinch said. Companies will likely push for exemptions from liabilities in case safety problems arise with coronavirus vaccines, and governments under pressure will probably acquiesce, he said. People should be “cautiously optimistic, with an emphasis upon the word cautious,” he said.

    Still, the companies in the hunt are fueling optimism among investors, with Moderna shares gaining about 50% this year and another company relying on DNA-based technology, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., more than doubling. Inovio plans to begin human trials in the U.S. in April, while Tianjin-based CanSino Biologics Inc. said this month that it received Chinese regulatory approval to start similar tests.

    Catching Up
    “People are way more optimistic than they should be,” said Dmitry Kuzmin, managing partner at 4BIO Capital, a London-based venture capital firm.

    There are positive signs, as Kuzmin acknowledges. Drug companies are pushing ahead with different technologies, including more conventional methods, improving the odds and expanding the industry’s knowledge.

    The mutation rate of the coronavirus also appears to be relatively low, unlike HIV, suggesting the pathogen could be “better behaved” and a vaccine could be durable, said Kinch, author of “Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity.” A big question is whether a shot is rendered essentially obsolete if most people are exposed to the virus before a vaccine is deployed, he said.

    “I am a 100% believer in vaccines, but there’s a reality that we’re in a race against a virus and we are starting four or five laps behind,” he said. “We have to catch up.”

    In the long run, an effective vaccine will likely arrive on top of therapies, but it may be intervention measures that defeat the coronavirus, said Andrew Ward, a professor and virus expert at the Scripps Research Institute. Governments around the world have imposed lockdowns and other measures in a bid to slow the spread as the death toll climbs to more than 36,000.

    “This is a public health emergency, and it’s actually going to be overcome with public health measures, not with science,” he said.

    • Xabier says:

      Someone left a comment at Wolfstreet saying that they know top people in pharmaceuticals in Europe, and that they dismissed any idea of a viable vaccine within 2 years at least, if ever.

      Guess what the best and dirt-cheap public health measure is part from good hygiene?


      Westerners have to grow up and accept wearing them.

  3. Marco Bruciati says: The numbers in Italia are anknowing. Victims and contagius are more maybe 11 milion of sick. ….you can immagine china? China Is GDR Minus 3.8 before was Always plus 6. In Italia was Always near zero or plus 1. Will be Minus 10 soon

  4. Downunder says:

    when the experts made the choice that everyone had to be in lockdown rather than to lockdown the target groups was that because as some one here suggested here that the virus was a good scapegoat for the economic downturn that was starting, interestingly they just announced today here (Victoria Australia) strict controls on guns and ammo. I guess that limits the amount of people doing something radical about the crashed economy.

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    “We are currently facing unprecedented international travel restrictions. As a result, we are temporarily a company with no product and no revenue. This situation must be bridged,” TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said in a statement.

    I am amazed that anyone can remain hopeful … it’s kinda like standing on the beach and a 250 foot tsunami wave is casting a shadow … and you look up at it and just stand their muttering to yourself ‘looks pretty nasty but I’ll survive this’

    Extinction is close… the beast has just about busted the chains…

    Isn’t it GREAT?????

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    Ok Class… here’s today’s lesson:

    For anyone who thinks the Wuhan Plague is ‘just another flu’…..

    Time to start googling for evidence of an instance where the ‘flu’ caused hospitals to run out of ventilators… resulting in doctors acting as grim reapers deciding who dies and who lives.

    • Lastcall says:

      Of course the Wuhan flu isn’t just another flu; its a Trojan Horse.

      ‘The cure for Covid-19 already exists so there is no need to look to the pharmaceutical industry to save us. It is your body’s own immune system. Instead of destroying the world economy in knee-jerk reactionary style maybe the world’s governments should be finding ways to improve the health of their citizens. We have already established that this virus kills the elderly and the immune compromised and has mild effects on the healthy. We should be focusing on the death rate, not the infection rate. Many people get sick with a virus a few times a year and the world economy doesn’t shut down.

      • Lastcall says:

        The mass quarantines of entire cities, states, and countries must stop. It is not stopping the spread and it is destroying the world economy in the process. If they want to quarantine a population it should be the population with the greatest risk of death – the elderly.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Initially China attempted to cover up the Wuhan Virus. They made no efforts to contain it

          Look what happened — the hospitals were overwhelmed with the sick and dying.

          Imagine what Wuhan (and China) would look like now if they did not change course and attempt to contain this….

          Not a single factory would be open and the shelves in Walmart would be completely empty by now.

          (I just traded emails with my mate in HK who trades in China … ‘orders are starting to trickle out’ – finally)

          You cannot compare this to the flu — because we do not try to contain the flu — we just let it roll… and yet does it overwhelm hospitals? Not that I am aware of….

          Even with strict containment (Italy) the hospitals cannot handle the numbers.

          Either way, as ITEO has mentioned, we are screwed — do nothing… everything will shut down because hundreds of millions if not billions will get sick — many will die because there will be no ventilators – or hospital beds .. or enough doctors and nurses (watch that death rate spike into double digits)

          And people will refuse to go to work because they know they will get sick and there will be no help … so the economy implodes…

          I have already posted that Canadian government workers handling unemployment benefits have refused to report to work — all offices are closed. If Canada had say 500k infections — I doubt anyone would report to work. They’d be scared sh it less….

          Govts are attempting to contain — they have shut down the world — and are hoping for a miracle.

          By doing so they have likely bought us a little more time. There will be no miracle.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Worth revisiting this Pritchard article.

            China opted for containment … so the factories have reopened… if they did not opt for containment then the factories would still be shut.

            Nice try China .. but unfortunately their containment has not worked (too late) – they did not completely eliminate the virus internally … and also more infected people are coming into the country spreading it in a ‘second wave’

            There is no way out of this.

            As Pritchard states… if this becomes endemic, we are screwed… where he will be wrong is suggesting rich countries can weather the storm…

            That is sheer nonsense – and he knows it — but he writes for the MSM… he has to proffer a branch of hope… All that wealthier countries can do is throw money at this and delay the inevitable….

            The Virus Threatens to Collapse the Global Supply Chain

            The workshop of the world is closed. China is on a total-war footing. The Communist Party has evoked the ‘spirit of 1937’ and mobilized all the instruments of its totalitarian surveillance system to fight both the Coronavirus, and the truth. Make GDP forecasts if you dare.

            As of this week two-thirds of the Chinese economy remains shut. Over 80pc of its manufacturing industry is closed, rising to 90pc for exporters.

            The Chinese economy is 17pc of the world economy and deeply-integrated into international supply chains. It was just 4.5pc of world GDP during the SARS epidemic 2003, which some like to use as a reassuring template. You cannot shut down China for long these days without shutting down the world.

            The scale of disruption in China is already staggering. Hyundai, Number Five in global car sales, has been forced to close all its factories at home in Korea for lack of key components.

            Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors, and Tesla have all downed tools at their Chinese plants, as has Apple’s iPhone supplier Foxconn.

            Global Supply Chain Risks

            In his seminal paper, Trade-Off, David Korowicz, explains the fragility of our Just-In-Time global supply chain and the contagion risks should factories stop production for even a few weeks.

            To summarize, companies keep limited stocks of parts and products so if the supply chain is interrupted (by war or pandemic) the shelves go empty and it would be very difficultnand probably impossible to restart the system.

            If the Virus Spreads Outside of China It Overwhelms Medical Facilities, and Spreads Even Faster

            “It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

            It is the same warning from an “increasingly alarmed” Peter Piot, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

            The danger is that it will become endemic and circulate everywhere like flu, a manageable headwind for rich countries with good health care but a Sword of Damocles having over Africa or South Asia.


          • Fast Eddy says:

            Prtichard’s latest:

            Italy’s ‘true’ death rate is a warning for Britons who want to end lockdown

            The Italian federation of doctors has a message for those who build castles in the air based on theoretical modelling of Covid-19, and for those credulous enough to base policy on such models.

            “Whoever is handling the numbers is either incompetent or living in a parallel universe,” said Dr Paola Pedrini, head of the federation’s Lombardy chapter, currently facing the pandemic onslaught.

            Those dying at home or in care homes are not being recorded as coronavirus deaths. The true death toll is multiples higher. “We don’t want data confusion to hide the general responsibility for the ‘Caporetto’ of the Italian health system.”

            The Battle of Caporetto was where the Italian front across the Isondo collapsed in late 1917 under a combined Austro-Hungarian and German attack, despite General Cadorno’s policy of “decimation” for underperforming regiments.

            By all means let us have a lively national debate over the rights and wrongs of shutting down normal economic and social existence for three to six months in order to save lives, but let it be based on reality. Only then can we make an informed moral decision.

            We have a “real time” laboratory before our eyes. What is happening at the Italian coal face is not remotely consistent with claims being made by some that the death rate from Covid-19 is akin to seasonal winter flu at about 0.1pc.

            Many have jumped on the Oxford University study led by Prof Sunetra Gupta to claim that we already have herd immunity reaching 50pc or 60pc of the population. It merely explores a hypothesis. It concludes that a high level of early spread is theoretically possible, and that therefore we should go for antibody testing quickly to find out who has had the disease. We can all agree to that.

            The Gupta analysis is not peer-reviewed but you can get a flavour of reactions in the scientific world from the PubPeer page and from named experts at the Science Media Centre.

            The mayors of Bergamo and Brescia – two Covid-19 hotspots – say the reported deaths in their cities are a small fraction of the true numbers. An epidemiological portrait is easy to construct. You compare deaths since January with seasonal averages over recent years. Corriere Della Sera has done exactly that.

            The small town of Nembro has 11,600 inhabitants. Typically it would have 35 deaths over the first quarter. This year it had already had 158 deaths by March 24. Yet the official data counts just 31 Covid-19 mortalities. The implication is that the real pandemic death rate has been four times higher.

            The same method showed that deaths were 6.1 times normal in Cernusco and Pesaro, and 10.4 times higher in the city of Bergamo. This is partly because Covid-19 care is crowding out treatment for other diseases. But that changes nothing in practical terms. It is all part of the same drama.

            The much higher death toll conforms with the grim accounts by doctors facing a lack of beds, ventilators and other vital equipment. They are forced to separate young from old, sending the over-70s home to take their chances.

            This is taking place in the richest part of Italy with world-class hospitals. It is what happens if governments delay and let their health care systems break under the strain of exploding Covid-19 cases. Italy was taken by surprise. Britain had weeks of prior warning.

            The Corriere analysis also conforms with estimates of a 1.4pc death rate in China published by the University of Hong Kong in a widely praised Nature study (this one peer-reviewed).

            You can look at the Italian figures another way. La Stampa reported on Monday – for example – that registered Covid-19 deaths in Alessandria have reached 155. That is already 0.16pc of the entire 94,000 population of the town even if you accept official mortality data – and we know that they are not all infected. It is the same story for nearby Biella and Verbani. The flu parallel is obvious nonsense.

            South Korea has done more than 300,000 tests and kept up a rigorous policy of tracing and isolation. Its mortality rate from Covid-19 has been creeping up as slow deaths come in. The country records 158 fatalities out of 9,661 positive cases, a ratio of over 1.6pc. The Koreans have undoubtedly missed cases. The tests often give false negatives. But it would be unwise for Britain to base policy on the premise that they are massively wrong.

            The recorded death rates in countries that test widely is: Norway 0.7pc, Germany 0.9pc, Austria 1.1pc, and Switzerland 2.1pc. They all have good health care systems.

            Arctic Iceland has a much lower ratio at 0.2pc. This is interesting but it would be folly for any major state to rely on signals from that one tiny nation. How efficiently does the viral load transmit in glacial temperatures at 63 degrees latitude? There may be variables that make extrapolation dangerous.

            The question I have for those in Britain who argue that we should call off the lockdown and restart the economy is what would happen if the virus were allowed to run wild and the death ratios were to track Lombardy.

            You would be looking at a weekly death rate in late Spring that was four, five, or ten times normal and that would overwhelm the critical care facilities of the NHS many times over. There could be an extra 500,000 or 600,000 deaths before the pandemic burnt itself out.

            The tragedy – or scandal – would shatter the reputation of this country. We would no longer have any claim to moral leadership. Authoritarian regimes would have shown more care for their people. The credibility of this Government would be destroyed. This is the tail-risk – not a prediction, nota bene – that policy-makers must ponder.

            One has the impression that the Government’s original strategy of herd immunity was crafted in the bureaucratic hothouse of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) committee during those crucial wasted weeks in late January and February without regard for reality on the ground, first in Wuhan, and then in Italy.

            Boris Johnson overruled bad counsel in the nick of time. This was a crucial decision that may just have saved the NHS and his own political future. My advice to the Prime Minister now is simple: don’t recoil and repeat the error; don’t listen to those who urge capitulation to “save the economy”. The emergency measures of Rishi Sunak have already saved the economy.

            The worst thing this Government can do to commercial businesses now is to pursue a half-baked policy of partial containment that causes the pandemic to drag on for six months. The sooner this virus is contained – and then managed with the East Asian formula of “test, trace, isolate” until we have a vaccine – the sooner the economy will come roaring back.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Again Ambrose drops a few lines of hopium into a sea of despair… I bet his editor forces that on him.

            • Xabier says:

              Where does he get this ‘claim to moral leadership’ nonsense from? After Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan? What tripe.

    • Ed says:

      Cuomo has not needed too use his 4000 vents in the warehouse in NJ. Where exactly is there a shortage?

      • Kowalainen says:

        Nurses and doctors operating the machines. There is no shortage of Boeing 737 MAX, however try finding pilots and passengers for them.

  7. MM says:

    As far as I can see, COVID-19 is not a big threat to the health of a healthy person. One thing to keep in mind for your fears is: You can not even tell if you already had an infection! So calm down and wash your hands. The experiment of shutting down the global economy and trying to reboot it is mind boggling. But with so many people dying, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yes some people die on a regular basis but can you really let millions die? This is very cruel. It is a very big dilemma because when we shut down our economy a lot of people will also die. Very bad.
    The question is: Will there be a worldometer for the people that comitted suicide after being insolvent? Is there a worldometer for increased family violence due to lockdown ? We will probably never know what should have been the right answer to this. This is a very bad emotional situation..

    • Tango Oscar says:

      During our normal, everyday business as usual nearly 30,000 people starve to death, every, single, DAY! One thing that most people fail to realize is that the economy is in direct divergence with biology and ecology. Shutting the economy down will help all the other life forms of Earth flourish. And if Chernobyl is any indicator, many of those life forms will be just fine even through a radiation bath. There are horrible tragedies that occur daily while we drive to work with the radio on. Good and bad, cruel and compassionate are really just perspectives and not some universal point of view.

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Hope you have made it home … enjoy the next few weeks… relax … get some family time in… treat it like an extended christmas break .. put up a tree … roast a turkey… indulge…

    My neighbour pinged me and mentioned ‘this is one of the least stressful times in his life’

    He is no blissfully unaware that this is the prelude to starvation …

    Did anyone thing that MOTHER was going to let her monstrous aberration fade away… oh no… MOTHER is going to make sure we suffer horribly before she is done with us.

    And who can blame her – look how poorly we have treated MOTHER.

  9. Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “What experts say: The sun’s UV light cannot kill the coronavirus and concentrated UV light should not be used to kill the virus.

    The claim has been shared widely on the internet, but it holds little truth. Experts have advised against using concentrated UV light to prevent or treat the coronavirus and do not recommend going in the sunlight to kill the virus.

    Only levels of concentration of UV light much higher than what is found in sunlight can kill viruses, the experts note, and the levels that are able to kill viruses can cause irritation to human skin and should be avoided.”

    sunlight doesn’t kill the virus?

    sunlight doesn’t kill the virus!

    oh, well…

    • Well, if there is wide occurrence of these “recommendations” e.g. don’t use mask, don’t use eye protection (and other/overall mucus membrane protection tactics), don’t sterilize via UV, don’t take vit supplements.. Well, in aggregate it’s no longer mere happenstance of stuupid but rather seems as very deliberate ploy.

      • Xabier says:

        Insta-Doom certainly arrived: we have seen the credibility of most politicians and politicised scientists and medics utterly trashed in just a few weeks -‘mask don’t work’, ‘football matches are OK’, ‘no point in quarantining tourists who have been in North Italy’ etc.

        Well, I never regarded these people as my leaders anyway.

        The best thing they can do now is shut up, and leave us to take sensible steps on our own account.

        The imbecilic chief advisors to the UK govt. falling sick themselves was the icing on the cake.

  10. Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “While Denmark and Norway closed their borders, restaurants and ski slopes and told all students to stay home this month, Sweden shut only its high schools and colleges, kept its preschools, grade schools, pubs, restaurants and borders open — and put no limits on the slopes.”

    which could explain some of the 146 deaths (and doubling how often?) in Sweden…

    it’s a very interesting experiment… the results will be telling…

  11. Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “For most of the year, the Southampton population is about 60,000. In the summer, however, it balloons to three or four times that size, Jay Schneiderman, the town supervisor, told me. Two-thirds of the homes in Southampton are summer residences, he said. And to judge by all the cars I see in driveways, almost all of them are inhabited now, even though it’s March.”

    Escape From New York…

    • 2nd, 3rd, .. residences for the win..
      Now, if they have to above that rely also on servants that’s completely different ballgame then. Years ago I’ve read very gross study about large % of house hold employees, servants and so on deliberately marking tiny spots of feces on plates, handles and such in the house or posh restaurants and hotels.. To unleash revenge on their masters!

  12. Dennis L. says:

    Many years ago, at Madison, I had a genetics course by a very well known geneticist who as I recall said essentially this. “Modern medicine is wonderful, but it is at odds with genetics.” For a while he was an interim dean of the medical school, wonderful, impressive man.

    Modern medicine has beaten back the ravages of disease and been absolutely wonderful emotionally for all of us and our loved ones, but genetics was not designed that way over the millennia. It is my belief genetics will win, the human species will go on until the world itself ends, but reorganization is taking place and we are the chess pieces.

    Watching the Vikings on Amazon the point was often made that the gods determined who lived and died so worrying about death was not worth the effort; maybe those gods are correct and our modern gods of medicine and determinism are not.

    The CB’s and their pretensions to be gods are probably misplaced.

    Dennis L.

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      the real god BAU has determined that so many of us live up until now…

      if that god is slain by viral forces, then so be it…

      for now, it is still time to bow to BAU…

    • Xabier says:

      Freya Stark the great traveller and writer -who was herself often very ill – said much the same thing about the Arabs with whom she stayed: while she fussed about getting soap and hot water, they were resigned to any death as being ‘the will of Allah’ and seemed less stressed and anxious from day to day.

      The fuss being made now about getting ventilators to patients is misplaced, as very few such severe cases can be saved at all, judging by the stats.

      But ventilators are a symbol of our pretence to conquer death through high technology, so we cling to the notion that if we have have enough of those all will be well.

  13. You are so correct: “Whether time-shifting reduces deaths and eases hospital care depends upon whether medical advances are sufficiently great during the time gained to improve outcomes”.
    But – it depends on what health professionals turn a blind eye to; Example: Dr Sanath Hettige in 2008 discovered papaya leaf extract is a rapid cure for dengue fever, BMJ has many reports that confirm this, my blog is loaded with this so I cut that here. Vitamin C is globally found in our entire body functions and organs, low in vitamin C is behind illnesses that eventually lead to death. That said, this is only a comment box — I share; — To counter high volume of panic news, I’ve posted a most encouraging video explaining; “People don’t die of influenza, they die of chronic vitamin C deficiency – view and save lives now

  14. Tango Oscar says:

    How stupid does China think the world really is? This is clearly made up statistics.

  15. Chrome Mags says:

    “FDA Approves Anti-Malarial Drugs Chloroquine And Hydroxychloroquine For Emergency Coronavirus Treatment”

    I suggested in a post about 10 days ago that there would likely be fast tracking of drugs to combat Corona, but Duncan Idaho said I was wrong. No, I was correct. Where’s Duncan?

    Nothing like testing in the field so to speak.

  16. CTG says:

    Marco and the rest,

    This article is dated 26th March.

    According to a forecast from March 2020, it is estimated that Italy’s GDP will decrease due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Specifically, it is forecasted that the Italian GDP would drop by three percent by the end of the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter, this figure could decrease by five percent.

    I wonder what are they smoking or drinking.

  17. CTG says:

    Guys… any reports of supply chain issues? I heard from my friends that stocks of canned food are running low.

    In Malaysia, I did not go to supermarkets lately because of long queues and thy are hotbeds of transmission of the virus. However, from my friends who told me, the shelves are not full and if you go in the afternoon, it is mostly gone especially the longer lasting ones like canned food. we don’t have toilet paper issue here because we use bidet.

    My friends in Baltimore mentioned to me that some higher end groceries are not fully stocked.

    Let us report here to see how things go. Thanks.

    • Marco Bruciati says:

      I am waiting from 3 weeks csnned fish. I think fish are but box of metal was made in china and not arrive. In amazon tuna canned not are. I think this best example of finished catena di approvvigionamento


    “Early signs show that the systems that get fresh fruit and vegetables to American homes is strained and may experience major failures. The Trump administration is only making matters worse, allowing his racism against Mexicans to inflict damage on American farms that depend on legal labor from south of the border.

    In Florida, winter crops are rotting in the fields because the prime products like blemish-free squash, spinach and lettuce—sold to restaurants—lack buyers, according to the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. It offers members extensive advice on how to stay in business during the pandemic.”

    “Representative Austin Scott (R-Ga.) says that delays in issuing visas to farm laborers are a serious threat to vegetable and fruit growers who, unlike grain farmers, don’t have federal crop insurance. “If delays continue” in issuing visas to Mexican farmworkers “we’re going to see crops rotting in the field,” Scott said.”

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “In Florida, winter crops are rotting in the fields because the prime products like blemish-free squash, spinach and lettuce—sold to restaurants—lack buyers…”

      so a big part of the problem is that restaurants aren’t buying produce…

      I would think that grocers then would have increased sales…

      • CTG says:

        Packaging for restaurants is not the same for groceries. Perishables spoils too fast for them to be repackage for retail. Some farms may have contract for commercial only and if they dont buy, they are screwed.

        Part of the supply chain issue. Not flexible.

        From a viewpoint of a Martian, the weight of earthlings is perfect. They are good in the average, yeah… half are obese and half are starving.

        You have people rushing for retail fresh food (shortage) and yet food for commercial and industrial is wasted.

        • Rodster says:

          “ You have people rushing for retail fresh food (shortage) and yet food for commercial and industrial is wasted.”

          Yes indeed and thrown away instead of giving it to those starving. And IIRC restaurants in Florida must keep a low pressure faucet running at all times. Wasting precious water when you multiply the thousands of eatery’s.

          • John Doyle says:

            Food is not all wasted. Here in Sydney we have Ozharvest who collect food supplies at their use by date and general unsold produce and they distribute it to people living in assisted housing for $1:50. per bag. We get bags 2x times per week . There are 300+ flats here, so they all get distributed.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Solution: do not depend on “legal labour” from South of the border. In other words, stop practicing racism against your fellow US citizens: treat them with respect and pay them a living wage. The true cause of this pandemic is not the virus; it is globalisation.

  19. Ed says:

    It is starting we are running out of toilet paper. OMG. If the system can not supply a simple product like toilet paper that requires no direct inputs from China i begin to fell fear. We are unable to get from the tree forests of Maine to New York State. Well we are f……

    • Ed says:

      400 miles connected by many modern highways not to mention a continuous coast line with ports and light houses and coast guard.

      • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        the supply chain may not be the problem, and is likely still up and running at its usual pace…

        what is happening is that so many persons are increasing their at home stock, and thus the shelves are bare and will remain bare as so many shoppers who spot a pack will be buying it… limit one per customer please!

        shelves have been wiped clean… 😉

        it’s not like meats etc that have to be stuffed into freezers…

        I may or may not have more than 50 rolls myself… definitely not more than 100… I haven’t counted lately…

  20. Ed says:

    It is with some trepidation that I wait Gail’s next article. This one was so spot on an scary.

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      perhaps part of it will be about supply chains…

      and out of stock TP… scary stuff… 😉

  21. milan says:

    Here is a great quote:

    Second, if you really want something to worry about, here it is: oil.

    Crude prices have slumped to twenty bucks, a 17-year low and we’re running out of places to put the stuff. This is Canada’s biggest export. It costs more to move our crude than the oil is worth. Global demand has fallen by a quarter in recent weeks thanks to Covid, and that’s a first. Despite that, Russia and the OPECers have been fighting and increasing supply. Canada, with its pipeline problems and expensive oilpatch operations, has seen its price collapse. Alberta may go with it.

    Third, real estate accounts for more of the Canadian economy than all manufacturing. And guess what Virus Porn has done there? Yup, killed it dead.

    For example, the following words form part of a release Royal LePage is requiring sellers to sign before an agent will show their home. Yikes.

    Reading the entire bit is quite insightful but when he got to the part about oil that set off too many
    bells really. He would fit right in here with a paragraph like that!!! I doubt very much he has the kind of insight we all do here on this blog and he just nails it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  22. Ed says:

    Yes, so much left to learn about CV19
    what fraction of population get CV19?
    what fraction of those who get CV19 die?
    what fraction of those who get CV19 are maimed for life in some way? lowered fertility, lowered lung function, impact on immune system?
    what fraction of those who get CV19 develop an immunity?
    how long does the immunity last? for life? for one year?
    does cv19 mutate as fast as influenza A and influenza B that come back each year in a slightly different form?
    if it comes back in a mutate form will the kill rate be as high for those that had the previous form?

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      if IC collapses before 2021, we will never get those answers…

      even a quasi bAU low level IC down 80 to 90 % won’t leave many resources to study this…

  23. kschleunes says:

    Exponential functions. What a bummer. 60 million people 60 and older in USA. 1% death rate equals 600,000. Yup. That’s what’s going down. It will take about a year or so. The virus is inescapable. No vaccine. Not possible.

    Complete economic collapse.

    Trump etc know this, but they are trying to buy time.
    They are used to manipulating humans and they are doing a reasonably good job. The virus isn’t human.

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:


      2% = 1.2 million…

      bring it on… it might be me…

      oh, well… somethin’ is gonna get me…

      though I would prefer to see how this evolves through 2021…

      • Malcopian says:

        I agree with Woody Allen:

        ‘I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.’

        • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying.” – Woody Allen

    • Ed says:

      on average two million of the 60 to 120 year old Americans will die each year. Pushing it to 2.6 million no big deal.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Ed, it is a big deal for those of us over 60, thank you very much.

        Ed, I accept my fate, I am Norwegian, it is the way of the old Gods.

        Dennis L.

  24. psile says:

    Why you can’t bail out a black hole…

    The US economy has come to a standstill, satellite imagery shows×332.jpg


    – Satellite imagery combined with alternative data gives a stark look at the U.S. situation during the coronavirus pandemic.
    – These sources are pretty much all that is available at the moment to track the scope of the economic damage since most official statistics tracking the slowdown have not yet been released.
    – Airplanes are parked on unused runways, the busiest highways are empty during rush hour times, resorts have become ghost towns, ports are seeing sharp drops in shipping activity and more.
    – The drop in U.S. consumer and business activity is apparent in satellite imagery collected by companies like Maxar Technologies, Planet Labs, ICEYE and Orbital Insight.”

  25. Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    time to check hot spots…

    Norway 4,445 total cases…

    huge jump in deaths… almost double, now at 32… wow…

    it just shows that the doubling doesn’t have to wait for a full week…

    97 more cases are serious/critical… wow…

    what happened?

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    I am told that it is not possible to purchase physical gold…. or at least very difficult.

    Yet gold is still below USD2000… I find that strange… well not really that strange since the CB’s manipulate everything.

    Hey Steve De Angelo or St Angelo or whatever… Rocco Report guy… I think you read OFW???

    Answer me this…. at present I am unable to obtain foreign currency from Westpac… I cannot get my hands on a single USD.

    It is not even easy to trade gold for cash here in NZ… there are some small operators who buy bits and pieces from small scale gold miners… but if you went to them with say $50,000 or more they’d not be able to handle it…. you MUST go to Auckland.

    Fast forward to total collapse. Do you think there will be kiosks where you can trade your gold for … for…. hmmmm… for…. …. ….. oh right for FOOD?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahaha….. that’s priceless!!! Some guy with curly doodles and a beaked nose will be sitting there with cans of food offering to trade for your gold….

    hahahahahahahaha…. Keep in mind there will be NO police… so even if the hooked noser wanted to do that dontcha think a bad guy (or a desperate father) might steal the food?

    Of course you won’t have to worry about the bad guys attacking you — because they will quickly realize that gold is USELESS. Why carry around hunks of heavy metal that has NO value … no use… (or maybe you think they will be building circuit boards hahahahahahah priceless x 2)

    Come on Steve… explain to us why gold is an ‘insurance policy’

    • Curt Kurschus says:

      The reason for the belief in gold being a worthwhile investment is that it has been a store of value for thousands of years. However, such a belief relies upon the assumption that there shall remain some measure of a functioning economy or civilization of sorts. The vast majority of people clearly assume that everything will be back to normal just as soon as the virus is taken care of – such as with a vaccine. Almost nobody is considering issues of energy or other resources.

    • Marco Bruciati says:

      I invest in salt. 200 kg

  27. Marco Bruciati says: Maybe planequil can be good agains covid. Must took before infdction than After infdction Is medicine old 70 years again malaria

    • Yoshua says:

      There’s a theory that the low number of Covid-19 cases in Africa is because they are already using the malaria drug.

      • Curt Kurschus says:

        If there is a connection between drugs used to treat malaria and drugs effective against the novel coronavirus, then would the sickle cell anaemia also offer some measure of reduced chance of illness? People with sickle cell anaemia are less likely to contract malaria.

  28. Fast Eddy says:

    The great thing about collapse, is that there is nowhere to hide… David is hiding on his mega yacht (for now) but when things go squirrelly … he won’t be able to refill the petrol tanks… he won’t be able to obtain food… and worst of all… when his security team realizes he has nothing of value to pay them with….

    I am 100% sure they will put a plank out (ideally over shark-infested waters)…. and force David and his family to take a short walk.

    Does this thought not bring a smile to your face? Are you not … entertained????

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      it’s not entertaining yet, but you’re right…

      deliveries to his yacht might become “problematic”…

      that’s when my good old friend Schadenfreude will arrive…

    • Rodster says:

      I love reading some of the tweets directed his way after posting those pics. He should have posted those from his Silo Bunker.

    • Curt Kurschus says:

      I recall some years ago a story about a cruise ship where the cabins were booked by the super rich as a home to escape to in the event of a global calamity. Arnold Schwarzenegger was said to be among the pre-booked passengers / inhabitants. I wonder how attractive that would be now, after the recent cruise ship events relating to the novel corona virus?

    • Robert Firth says:

      Sigh. Even billionaires cannot learn from history. From Caligula to Mussolini, the powerful have been offed by their bodyguards when fate turned against them. But they still lavish money on their destined killers.

  29. Marco Bruciati says:

    When Will start some company defoult? As Alitalia airline.

  30. Marco Bruciati says:

    Does anyone want to guess when we will be left without light in Europe and when we will be left without money currency in Europe?

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      I think you will have lights and euros…

      but maybe not much food to buy with those euros…

      by Summer…

  31. Marco Bruciati says:

    Gov in Italia gived 400 milion for food to poor.

  32. Yoshua says:

    Texas Midland shale oil has dropped to $7 bbl.

  33. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    And this folks is why in the last few weeks, I have been putting my amazon deliveries in a bag carefully, washing my hands profusely afterwards, and then do not get back to said box for at least a week…..I knew m o rons like this existed and now I have proof..which brings me to another point…out of all the people that are confined in the world, for sure there are people like this that just want to create havoc…you can’t expect billions of people to play by the rules, whether it’s a guy like this or a person who has Covid-19, but absolutely wants his chips from the grocery store, so he goes anyway. Just a couple of examples off the top of my head. Once Covid-19 started, the cat was out of the bag. But instead of Gwyneth Paltrow being Patient 0, it’s some 57-year-old shrimp seller who is Patient 0. Not as sexy, but same result. 🙂

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “you can’t expect billions of people to play by the rules…”

      but you can expect some of them to expectorate… 😉

  34. Jason says:

    Wall Street seems to love the news. What world am I living in? Somebody get me a doctor.

    • Dan says:

      I think that wall street loves that the FED said that they will buy stocks if they have to prop up the system. But who knows seems like PTB seem to think that as long as the stock market is up everything is just fine.

    • A world in which magnates like Gill Dates of Bluescreensoft corp. are actively discussing depop and pandemic ways how to achieve it, and most recently even implementing digital tracking of individuals ala China in the W as we speak already.

      Simply, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and there are likely ~two levels of “wealth and power” above him anyway, so in other words a mere water-boy, lieutenant..

      True collapse is a great cleanser, not sure it’s here though yet.

  35. Chrome Mags says:

    I decided to do some math on global official numbers by backing out deaths & recovered data for China & Germany, both of which have fudged the numbers downward. This does not include active cases, but until those people testing positive have either recovered or passed on, we don’t know their outcome. I think this is really the best way to know what the prognosis for people testing positive for Corona virus.

    Subtracting out both China and Germany stats:

    Recovered: 75,700
    Deaths: 33048
    Added together to get closed cases: 108318
    Dividing deaths into closed cases = 30.51%, is the global closed cases fatality rate for those that tested positive for Corona virus.

    No wonder people are fearful of this virus, because the media are not using closed cases to determine fatality rate, they are including all active cases as well and we don’t yet know their outcome. Now there may be a lot of people with the virus that never get tested, so the above fatality rate is only pertinent to those that test positive.

    But even many of the recovered get reinfected, many have permanent loss of lung capacity and those that were on ventilators were put under for 2-3 weeks have brains that are not working as well as they did before, dulled down desperately trying to regain cognitive ability again but deemed recovered. So it would seem for many recovered patients, the term recovered is relative.

    China is well documented as fudging their numbers down, but so is Germany. They do not count someone dying of Corona virus if they had a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or heart disease, etc. That means their stats are misleading and that’s why they were deleted in this statistical analysis.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      Keep in mind this means that for every 1,000 people testing positive, on average 305 will die. Those are not good odds.

      • Lastcall says:

        Hmm, NZ has had over 600 confirmed cases, a dozen or 2 of whom are in hospital, (some on ventilators) nearly 100 confirmed recovered and a single death… of a 74 yr old with pre-existing conditions.

        Pretty normal flu season so far except for the brouhaha.

        (Disclaimer; numbers may be out a tad; I have switched the ‘Corona of Mass Destruction’ BS news services off).

        • psile says:

          The difference between CV-19 and the standard flu is in the infection rate. CV-19 is reckoned to be at least twice as contagious, which means a carrier could spread it exponentially, unlike the flu, which has a much more linear progression.

          • ITEOTWAWKI says:

            Exactly psile, it’s the speed, and also how it affects certain groups of people wayyyy more than the flu….I mean when was the last time the flu created a disaster like were seeing play out in Italy, Spain, NYC, etc… in our lifetimes….try NEVER!!!!

            • psile says:

              It also is at least 100 times deadlier. You only have to look at the figures. To date, of the 201,000 closed cases, fully 18% of them have resulted in death!

              Only a few short weeks ago the mortality rate was only 5%, as hospitals still had the capacity to deal with the patient load, but when the health system gets overwhelmed the kill rate of this virus goes through the roof.

            • I don’t really believe that COVID-19 is 100 times deadlier than the flu. In most places, only the sickest people are tested. A lot of the people get COVID-19 and get well without entering into the system at all. They are never tested. There are not tests to go around.

            • psile says:

              It is for the patients on the closed cases list.

              If there’s no immunity to the virus, then everyone could potentially get it, but let’s keep the number to 60%, for the sake of argument. Will everyone need hospitalisation? No, ony around 20% do.

              Assume the vast majority of cases are able to be treated succesfully and survive. Let’s also wind back the clock on the mortality rate of those closed cases to when it was only 3% (when it was just the “Wuhan disease”).


              7.8 billion people (current population)
              4.7 billion infections (60%)
              936 million hospitalisations (20%)
              852 million closed cases (91% cleared)

              28 million dead (3% of hospitalisations, currently running at 6%)

              According to the WHO, deaths from the flu range from 290,000 to 650,000 annually.

              That’s a big difference, between 50 and 100 times more.

        • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          NZ 589 cases, so up +75 in on day…

          yes, one death and 63 recovered… only 2 cases now serious/critical…

          sounds like normal flu season so far…

          that link says first reported NZ case was February 27, so that is 4 weeks behind Italy…

          I don’t see why you would have a disaster like Italy, but if this is an epidemic and NZ cases are doubling in less than a week, then in 4 weeks you will have a better idea of how bad the peak was, or a better idea of when the peak is coming… May June etc…

          good luck… not too bad, so far…

          • Lastcall says:

            I would love to have someone do an honest comparison with a normal flu-year. I can’t be bothered. I have nearly had my fill of this.
            People have gone so weird so fast. Shopping is edgy!!

            • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              me too, but that comparison will have to wait until we are way past the peak…

              and a second wave is possible also…

              that goes for NZ and each country, and the world as a whole…

              what if NZ is in just the first one hundredth of the whole epidemic?

              are you assuming NZ is near its peak, at its peak, or past its peak?

              I would guess peak NZ in May or June…

              good luck…

    • Dennis L. says:

      Thank you for your efforts, it is a challenge to chose how to live one’s life at this time.

      The effect on the brain is of interest, for me given my age and the prognosis I will opt for palliative treatment only. If the brain issue is real for society as a whole, ignoring loved ones personal ,emotional issues, there doesn’t seem to be a great need for more ventilators.

      None of us saw this coming and the outcomes seem to be a surprise with each passing day.

      Dennis L.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “The effect on the brain is of interest, for me given my age and the prognosis I will opt for palliative treatment only.”

        I agree Dennis, as going on a ventilator and the complications and possible reduced cognitive ability and or reduced lung capacity seem too daunting to take on. Here’s an article on the subject:

        Doctors there say COVID-19 patients rarely get better within two or three days, instead remaining on mechanical oxygen for one to two weeks. Critical care doctors know that the longer patients remain in the ICU, the more likely they are to suffer long-term physical, cognitive and emotional effects of being sedated.

  36. Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    WTI $19.70

  37. Tango Oscar says:

    I work for a customs brokerage that specifically deals with trucks crossing the Canadian border into the United States for all kinds of various goods. Some of the shipments I see on a daily basis are steel, lumber, plastics, asphalt, diesel, furniture, machinery, oil company equipment, and more. We’ve been steadily getting slower and slower over the past few weeks. I’m working from home now instead of going to the office since our company is embracing social distancing and what not. Usually on a Monday there are 100+ trucks or more crossing in the next few hours. Right now I see 29.

  38. Malcopian says:

    Let’s have some doom music.

    Psycho Theme on Piano with Knives

  39. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    Whether you like President Q*bert or not, you have to admit that, more often than not, the opposite of what he says happens (“You gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning”) He’s like a kind of Reverse King Midas…

    Sooooo, with that said, you KNOW, that when he says the USA will be at peak death rate in 2 weeks….well that means the USA will actually be far, far away from peak death rate in 2 weeks….just sayin’

  40. timl2k11 says:

    Fed: Coronavirus job losses could total 47 million, unemployment rate to hit 32%

  41. Lastcall says:


    My single word to describe what is to happen to the economic infrastructure/systems/arrangements/agreements that underpinned globalisation.

  42. Rodster says:

    Charles Hugh Smith brings up an interesting question: “What Happens as State and Local Tax Revenues Crater?”

    • Jason says:

      Fed will bail them out.

    • Excellent post!

      Regarding California he says,

      In states like California that depend heavily on capital gains taxes, the holes being blown in budgets will be catastrophic. Roughly 10% of all General Fund revenues in California flow from capital gains–over $15 billion in the previous fiscal year. As noted in the California State Revenue Estimate 2019-2020:

      “The amount of capital gains revenue in the General Fund can vary greatly from year to year. For instance, in 2007, capital gains contributed $10.9 billion to the General Fund. By 2009, the contribution from capital gains had dropped to $2.3 billion. For 2018, capital gains are forecast to contribute $15.7 billion to General Fund revenue–the highest amount ever.”

      Were this to drop to previous recession-era lows, that would open a $13 billion hole in tax revenues, completely erasing the state’s $8 billion “rainy day fund” and leaving a $5 billion deficit–a sum that will only increase as sales and payroll taxes decline.

      • John Doyle says:

        That’s another cost the Fed will have to take on. I can’t se this costing less than the cost met by the fed to bail the banks etc in 2008-2010; $29 TRILLION!. That’s at least how far we have to go.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I have been told by a mate in Hong Kong that many business owners have stopped paying their rent. And the landlords have done nothing – because they know if they evict they will not find new tenants. Multiply this by the tens of millions across the planet.

      There are reports of retailers not paying shop rents in the US.

      Now let’s apply this to residential property mortgages — if you cannot pay — or you expect a cataclysmic outcome — why pay? It would take months for the banks to foreclose — and if you fought it — the courts are surely barely operating in many places… so it would take ’till doomsday’ for anything to happen.

      Then there is the issue of the banks (and Elders) not wanting all this foreclosed inventory piling onto the market (causing a total implosion of prices and massive negative equity meaning the banks have nothing if they foreclose)….

      So perhaps they would negotiate — or just hold their noses and carry on leaving people in their homes????

      • I think that pretty much everyone stays where they are. Businesses may close, just because all businesses are closed.

        Since governments started this, they can’t really push people out on the street.

        Assets such as buildings simply lose their value, unless propped up with some kind of funny money.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Fed ‘can’t buy stocks either’… they’ll of course just change the rules….

      • John Doyle says:

        You don’t get it. The Fed will just “write cheques” to address whatever the debt is. Nothing new about this. It has been obscured by the Veil of neoliberal policies. Now they are gone. If this really pans out like that this corona virus will have been a blessing.

  43. Yoshua says:

    “Hungarian Parliament passes bill that gives PM Orbán unlimited power & proclaims:

    – State of emergency w/o time limit
    – Rule by decree
    – Parliament suspended
    – No elections
    – Spreading fake news + rumors: up to 5 yrs in prison
    – Leaving quarantine: up to 8 yrs in prison”


    • Good for him and his country under siege.. of infected migrants (EU-DE supported agenda)..

      Historical fast lesson: .hu spent centuries of guarding Europe from Turkish invasions, often times left hang to dry (i.e. little or no help from W), yes in good times for them they overreached with their mini empire themselves not behaving nicely to neighbors, but nobody’s perfect..

      • Yoshua says:

        We will soon wake up in North Korea.

      • rufustiresias999 says:

        Hungarians, like Turks or Huns before, all came from Central Asia. Hungarians were christianised while Turks became Muslims. A Turkish friend of mine’s name is Atilla, and he’s so nice, so gentle. Unbelievable.

      • The point being that Ugrofins (Hungarians of southern pedigree) rushed into Europe half millennium after Slavs and 2-3x later than Germanic tribes. So, in essence they are still keeping more authentic – compact nationality traits in comparison to various degree of self hating and degenerated W cultures we recognize today.. In that sense authoritarian umbrella could be your friend, it depends..

        This sounds as radical history to many (feel good indoctrination blasphemy), yet very common sense to others..

    • A little below the depth of the 2008-2009 crisis!

    • CTG says:

      The expectation was -10. Are the analysts so d**b or they are clueless ? We expect them to lead us or advise their clients?

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” -Upton Sinclair

        • Merrifield says:

          Or his position of power or status (witness sycophancy surrounding Trump at his “briefings”)

        • Fast Eddy says:

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when he lives in DelusiSTAN’ – Fast Eddy (King of KINGS)

          “It is difficult to get a man to understanding something when he is both re t ar d ed and st ooopi d (at the same time)” – Fast Eddy (aka The Prophet)

          • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            interesting… I don’t see any reported coronavirus cases in Delusistan…

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “Dallas Fed Manufacturing index -70″…

      “I see a recession coming” – any so-called expert economist…

  44. info says:

    Debt Jubilees will be necessary to put a stop to the Debt problem. And I think regular debt cycles should be considered:

    “1At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2This is the manner of remission: Every creditor shall cancel what he has loaned to his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the LORD’s time of release has been proclaimed. 3You may collect something from a foreigner, but you must forgive whatever your brother owes you. ”

    8And you shall count off seven Sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to forty-nine years. 9Then you are to sound the horn far and wide on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement. You shall sound it throughout your land.

    10So you are to consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be your Jubilee, when each of you is to return to his property and to his clan.

    11The fiftieth year will be a Jubilee for you; you are not to sow the land or reap its aftergrowth or harvest the untended vines. 12For it is a Jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You may eat only the crops taken directly from the field.

    13In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his own property.

    14If you make a sale to your neighbor or a purchase from him, you must not take advantage of each other. 15You are to buy from your neighbor according to the number of years since the last Jubilee; he is to sell to you according to the number of harvest years remaining. 16You shall increase the price in proportion to a greater number of years, or decrease it in proportion to a lesser number of years; for he is selling you a given number of harvests.

    17Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.

    • Or pop the whole debt bubble now. Start over with a new economy, with virtually nothing in it. No jobs. No food being transported to cities. No electricity.

      • Ed says:

        Gaia and Greta and I will be happy.

        • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          Greta will have found that she indeed had no future prosperous life as an adult…

          just not because of the fphony problem which she thought was the big one…

          I hope she can find some happiness in her next few decades of poverty (without FF… ha ha, the irony!)…

          excuse me for ha ha…

          bad form…

      • Fast Eddy says:

        GEeETA LIKE!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • beidawei says:

      Only if you promise to lend me money in Year 6.

  45. MG says:

    Great Britain suffers acute shortage of the workers for harvesting:

    Fruit and veg ‘will run out’ unless Britain charters planes to fly in farm workers from eastern Europe

    • Can’t they really find local workers?

      • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        500,000 volunteers for the NHS…

        that was quite impressive, no?

        perhaps they bring back Churchill…

        “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering”…

        for all of you unemployed men, out in our fields and farmland…

      • MG says:

        This situation is the reality that hit the Britain sooner than awaited. Now the Britain is perfectly isolated and the voters for Brexit can see the reality they ignored.

  46. JT Roberts says:

    It all reminds me of the children’s book Central Banking Revealed. Or was it The Emperors New Cloths. In any event the deluded masses unable to do simple math are taught that you just have to believe and it will come true.

    Actually maybe it was Peter Pan.

    The conclusion had something to do with a little boy who was a math wizard that had a jar of pixie dust made out of beans. And a sleeping giant falling from the sky landing on a chayote who had run of a cliff who forgot to where the pixie dust that used to make him fly.

    The only character left was a little chicken that was screaming mad.

    That was such a great bedtime story.

  47. psile says:

    Australian Government Announces New Wages Support.

    $1500 per fortnight for up to 6 million workers for 6 months. That’s half the Australian workforce.

    In the first month alone the Australian Government and its agencies have thrown $326 Billion, or 16.4% of GDP, at trying to save the collapsing economic bubble.

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