Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns

Citizens seem to be clamoring for shutdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There is one major difficulty, however. Once an economy has been shut down, it is extremely difficult for the economy to recover back to the level it had reached previously. In fact, the longer the shutdown lasts, the more critical the problem is likely to be. China can shut down its economy for two weeks over the Chinese New Year, each year, without much damage. But, if the outage is longer and more widespread, damaging effects are likely.

A major reason why economies around the world will have difficulty restarting is because the world economy was in very poor shape before COVID-19 hit; shutting down major parts of the economy for a time leads to even more people with low wages or without any job. It will be very difficult and time-consuming to replace the failed businesses that provided these jobs.

When an outbreak of COVID-19 hit, epidemiologists recommended social distancing approaches that seemed to be helpful back in 1918-1919. The issue, however, is that the world economy has changed. Social distancing rules have a much more adverse impact on today’s economy than on the economy of 100 years ago.

Governments that wanted to push back found themselves up against a wall of citizen expectations. A common belief, even among economists, was that any shutdown would be short, and the recovery would be V-shaped. False information (really propaganda) published by China tended to reinforce the expectation that shutdowns could truly be helpful. But if we look at the real situation, Chinese workers are finding themselves newly laid off as they attempt to return to work. This is leading to protests in the Hubei area.

My analysis indicates that now, in 2020, the world economy cannot withstand long shutdowns. One very serious problem is the fact that the prices of many commodities (including oil, copper and lithium) will fall far too low for producers, leading to disruption in supplies. Broken supply chains can be expected to lead to the loss of many products previously available. Ultimately, the world economy may be headed for collapse.

In this post, I explain some of the reasons for my concerns.

[1] An economy is a self-organizing system that can grow only under the right conditions. Removing a large number of businesses and the corresponding jobs for an extended shutdown will clearly have a detrimental effect on the economy. 

Figure 1. Chart by author, using photo of building toy “Leonardo Sticks,” with notes showing a few types of elements the world economy.

An economy is a self-organizing networked system that grows, under the right circumstances. I have attempted to give an idea of how this happens in Figure 1. This is an image of a child’s building toy. The growth of an economy is somewhat like building a structure with many layers using such a toy.

The precise makeup of the economy is constantly changing. New businesses are formed, and new consumers grow up and take jobs. Governments enact laws, partly to collect taxes, and partly to ensure fair treatment of all. Consumers decide which products to buy based on a combination of factors, including their level of wages, the prices being charged for the available goods, the availability of debt, and the interest rate on that debt. Resources of various kinds are used in producing goods and services.

At the same time, some deletions are taking place. Big businesses buy smaller businesses; some customers die or move away. Products that become obsolete are discontinued. The inside of the dome becomes hollow from the deletions.

If a large number of businesses are closed for an extended period, this will have many adverse impacts on the economy:

  • Fewer goods and services, in total, will be made for the economy during the period of the shutdown.
  • Many workers will be laid off, either temporarily or permanently. Goods and services will suddenly be less affordable for these former workers. Many will fall behind on their rent and other obligations.
  • The laid off workers will be unable to pay much in taxes. In the US, state and local governments will need to cut back the size of their programs to match lower revenue because they cannot borrow to offset the deficit.
  • If fewer goods and services are made, demand for commodities will fall. This will push the prices of commodities, such as oil and copper, very low.
  • Commodity producers, airlines and the travel industry are likely to head toward permanent contraction, further adding to layoffs.
  • Broken supply lines become problems. For example:
    • A lack of parts from China has led to the closing of many automobile factories around the world.
    • There is not enough cargo capacity on airplanes because much cargo was carried on passenger flights previously, and passenger flights have been cut back.

These adverse impacts become increasingly destabilizing for the economy, the longer the shutdowns go on. It is as if a huge number of deletions are made simultaneously in Figure 1. Temporary margins, such as storage of spare parts in warehouses, can provide only a temporary buffer. The remaining portions of the economy become less and less able to support themselves. If the economy was already in poor shape, the economy may collapse.

[2] The world economy was approaching resource limits even before the coronavirus epidemic appeared. This is not too different a situation than many earlier economies faced before they collapsed. Coronavirus pushes the world economy further toward collapse. 

Reaching resource limits is sometimes described as, “The population outgrew the carrying capacity of the land.” The group of people living in the area could not grow enough food and firewood using the resources available at the time (such as arable land, energy from the sun, draft animals, and technology of the day) for their expanding populations.

Collapses have been studied by many researchers. The book Secular Cycles by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov analyze eight agricultural economies that collapsed. Figure 2 is a chart I prepared, based on my analysis of the economies described in that book:

Figure 2. Chart by author based on Turchin and Nefedov’s Secular Cycles.

Economies tend to grow for many years before the population becomes high enough that the carrying capacity of the land they occupy is approached. Once the carrying capacity is hit, they enter a stagflation stage, during which population and GDP growth slow. Growing debt becomes an issue, as do both wage and wealth disparity.

Eventually, a crisis period is reached. The problems of the stagflation period become worse (wage and wealth disparity; need for debt by those with inadequate income) during the crisis period. Changes tend to take place during the crisis period that lead to substantial drops in GDP and population. For example, we read about some economies entering into wars during the crisis period in the attempt to gain more land and other resources. We also read about economies being attacked from outside in their weakened state.

Also, during the crisis period, with the high level of wage and wealth disparity, it becomes increasingly difficult for governments to collect enough taxes. This problem can lead to governments being overthrown because of unhappiness with high taxes and wage disparity. In some cases, as in the 1991 collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union, the top level government simply collapses, leaving the next lower level of government.

Strangely enough, epidemics also seem to occur within collapse periods. The rising population leads to people living closer to each other, increasing the risk of transmission. People with low wages often find it increasingly difficult to eat an adequate diet. As a result, their immune systems easily succumb to new communicable diseases. Part of the collapse process is often the loss of a significant share of the population to a communicable disease.

Looking back at Figure 2, I believe that the current economic cycle started with the use of fossil fuels back in the 1800s. The world economy hit the stagflation period in the 1970s, when oil supply first became constrained. The Great Recession of 2008-2009 seems to be a marker for the beginning of the crisis period in the current cycle. If I am right in this assessment, the world economy is in the period in which we should expect crises, such as pandemics or wars, to occur.

The world was already pushing up against resource limits before all of the shutdowns took place. The shutdowns can be expected to push the world economy toward a more rapid decline in output per capita. They also appear to increase the likelihood that citizens will try to overthrow their governments, once the quarantine restrictions are removed.

[3] The carrying capacity of the world today is augmented by the world’s energy supply. A major issue since 2014 is that oil prices have been too low for oil producers. The coronavirus problem is pushing oil prices even lower yet.

Strangely enough, the world economy is facing a resource shortage problem, but it manifests itself as low commodity prices and excessive wage and wealth disparity.

Most economists have not figured out that economies are, in physics terms, dissipative structures. These are self-organizing systems that grow, at least for a time. Hurricanes (powered by energy from warm water) and ecosystems (powered by sunlight) are other examples of dissipative structures. Humans are dissipative structures, as well; we are powered by the energy content of foods. Economies require energy for all of the processes that we associate with generating GDP, such as refining metals and transporting goods. Electricity is a form of energy.

Energy can be used to work around shortages of almost any kind of resource. For example, if fresh water is a problem, energy products can be used to build desalination plants. If lack of phosphate rocks is an issue for adequate fertilization, energy products can be used to extract these rocks from less accessible locations. If pollution is a problem, fossil fuels can be used to build so-called renewable energy devices such as wind turbines and solar panels, to try to reduce future CO2 pollution.

The growth in energy consumption correlates quite well with the growth of the world economy. In fact, increases in energy consumption seem to precede growth in GDP, suggesting that it is energy consumption growth that allows the growth of GDP.

Figure 3. World GDP Growth versus Energy Consumption Growth, based on data of 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and GDP data in 2010$ amounts, from the World Bank.

The thing that economists tend to miss is the fact that extracting enough fossil fuels (or commodities of any type) is a two-sided price problem. Prices must be both:

  1. High enough for companies extracting the resources to make an after tax profit.
  2. Low enough for consumers to afford finished goods made with these resources.

Most economists believe that an inadequate supply of energy products will be marked by high prices. In fact, the situation seems to be almost “upside down” in a networked economy. Inadequate energy supplies seem to be marked by excessive wage and wealth disparity. This wage and wealth disparity leads to commodity prices that are too low for producers. Current WTI oil prices are about $20 per barrel, for example (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Daily spot price of West Texas Intermediate oil, based on EIA data.

The low-price commodity price issue is really an affordability problem. The many people with low wages cannot afford goods such as cars, homes with heating and air conditioning, and vacation travel. In fact, they may even have difficulty affording food. Spending by rich people does not make up for the shortfall in spending by the poor because the rich tend to spend their wealth differently. They tend to buy services such as tax planning and expensive private college educations for their children. These services require proportionately less commodity use than goods purchased by the poor.

The problem of low commodity prices becomes especially acute in countries that produce commodities for export. Producers find it difficult to pay workers adequate wages to live on. Also, governments are not able to collect enough taxes for the services workers expect, such as public transit. The combination is likely to lead to protests by citizens whenever the opportunity arises. Once shutdowns end, these countries are especially in danger of having their governments overthrown.

[4] There are limits to what governments and central banks can fix. 

Governments can give citizens checks so that they have enough funds to buy groceries. This may, indeed, keep the price of food products high enough for food producers. There may still be problems with broken supply lines, so there may still be shortages of some products. For example, if there are eggs but no egg cartons, there may be no eggs for sale in grocery stores.

Central banks can act as buyers for many kinds of assets such as bonds and even shares of stock. In this way, they can perhaps keep stock market prices reasonably high. If enough gimmicks are used, perhaps they can even keep the prices of homes and farms reasonably high.

Central banks can also keep interest rates paid by governments low. In fact, interest rates can even be negative, especially for the short term. Businesses whose profitability has been reduced and workers who have been laid off are likely to discover that their credit ratings have been downgraded. This is likely to lead to higher interest costs for these borrowers, even if interest rates for the most creditworthy are kept low.

One area where governments and central banks seem to be fairly helpless is with respect to low prices for commodities used by industry, such as oil, natural gas, coal, copper and lithium. These commodities are traded internationally, so it is not just their own producers that need to be propped up; the market intervention needs to affect the entire world market.

One approach to raising world commodity prices would be to buy up large quantities of the commodities and store them somewhere. This is impractical, because no one has adequate storage for the huge quantities involved.

Another approach for raising world commodity prices would be to try to raise worldwide demand for finished goods and services. (Making more finished goods and services will use more commodities, and thus will tend to raise commodity prices.) To do this, checks would somehow need to go to the many poor people in the world, including those in India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, allowing these people to buy cars, homes, and other finished goods. Sending out checks only to people in one’s own economy would not be sufficient. It is unlikely that the US or the European Union would undertake a task such as this.

A major problem after many people have been out of work for a quite a while is the fact that many of these people will be behind on their regular payments, such as rent and car payments. They will be in no mood to buy a new vehicle or a new cell phone, simply because they have been offered a check that covers groceries and not much more. They will remain in a mode of cutting back on purchases, not adding more. Demand for most kinds of goods will remain low.

This lack of demand will make it difficult for business to have enough sales to make it profitable to reopen at the level of output that they had previously. Thus, employment and sales are likely to remain depressed even after the economy seems to be reopening. China seems to be having this problem. The Wall Street Journal reports China Is Open for Business, but the Postcoronavirus Reboot Looks Slow and Rocky. It also reports, Another Shortage in China’s Virus-Hit Economy: Jobs for College Grads.

[5] There is a significant likelihood that the COVID-19 problem is not going away, even if economies can “bend the trend line” with respect to new cases.

Bending the trend line has to do with trying to keep hospitals and medical providers from being overwhelmed. It is likely to mean that herd immunity is built up slowly, making repeat outbreaks more likely. Thus, if social isolation is stopped, COVID-19 illnesses can be expected to revisit prior locations. We know that this has been an issue in the past. The Spanish Flu epidemic came in three waves, over the years 1918-1919. The second wave was the most deadly.

A recent study by members of the Harvard School of Public Health says that the COVID-19 epidemic may appear in waves until into 2022. In fact, it could be back on a seasonal basis thereafter. It also indicates that more than one period of social distancing is likely to be required:

“A single period of social distancing will not be sufficient to prevent critical care capacities from being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 epidemic, because under any scenario considered it leaves enough of the population susceptible that a rebound in transmission after the end of the period will lead to an epidemic that exceeds this capacity.”

Thus, even if the COVID-19 problem seems to be fixed in a few weeks, it likely will be back again within a few months. With this level of uncertainty, businesses will not be willing to set up new operations. They will not hire many additional employees. The retired population will not run out and buy more tickets on cruise ships for next year. In fact, citizens are likely to continue to be worried about airplane flights being a place for transmitting illnesses, making the longer term prospects for the airline industry less optimistic.

Conclusion 

The economy was already near the edge before COVID-19 hit. Wage and wealth disparity were big problems. Local populations of many areas objected to immigrants, fearing that the added population would reduce job opportunities for people who already lived there, among other things. As a result, many areas were experiencing protests because of unhappiness with the current economic situation.

The shutdowns temporarily cut back the protests, but they certainly do not fix the underlying situations. Instead, the shutdowns add to the number of people with very low wages or no income at all. The shutdowns also reduce the total quantity of goods and services available to purchase, regardless of how much money is added to the system. Many people will end up poorer, in some real sense.

As soon as the shutdowns end, it will be obvious that the world economy is in worse condition than it was before the shutdown. The longer the shutdowns last, the worse shape the world economy will be in. Thus, when businesses are restarted, we can expect even more protests and more divisive politics. Some governments may be overthrown, or they may collapse without being pushed. I fear that the world economy will be further down the road toward overall collapse.

 

 

 

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.
This entry was posted in Energy policy, Financial Implications, News Related Post and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4,744 Responses to Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns

  1. Fast Eddy says:

    Check the guys reaction at the end of this when the security guard tells him he cannot film outside of a public facility…

    Keep in mind — for those of you of thick skull — that anyone can upload a video of their hospital to this account —- so if you dispute the premise that the MSM is lying — then where all the legions of brainwashed meeetheads…. who you would expect to counter the empty hospital ‘lie’ — who surely would be posting chaotic scenes (that the MSM is telling us are happening).

    Take a browse…. it’s all about the empty hospitals…. yet America is locking down! And how many million have lost jobs????

    https://twitter.com/search?q=empty%20hospitals&src=typed_query

    Anyone still believe man has walked on the mo.on?

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    Respiratory ward – empty

    Another empty hospital in NY

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    And then we have a single video repeated that show ‘dead bodies’ all over the place… no idea where they were taken and i doubt they’d just toss bodies like that all over the place… they dont even look like bodies

    • Hide-away says:

      Considering my wife’s aunty just passed away from this virus in the UK, I’m saying you are wrong again. The virus is real! A fit and spritely 80YO, this woman had never had bad health.
      She went to hospital but there was nothing they could do for her, no ventilators available. Now the family cannot have a proper funeral.
      You can believe whatever you like, it doesn’t make it real.

      This is a real disease ki lling people.

      • Z says:

        This is perfect evidence of the “System” you know when an event like 9/11, Sandy Hook, etc. happens and there is always someone who pops out of nowhere and says “I KNOW SOMEONE WHO DIED, THEY WERE MY (Blank) Relative!

        More evidence that this event is a MASSIVE FALSE FLAG!

        I AM CALLING IT RIGHT NOW 7:45 PM EST. CORONA VIRUS IS A FALSE FLAG!

        • beidawei says:

          (Sigh) Like I said, people who believe in one c-o-n-s-p-i-r-a-cy theory usually end up believing in others too. Not that there aren’t conspiracies in real life, but come on–you can’t let yourself be guided by the Peanut Gallery.

          • Hide-away says:

            People believe whatever they want to believe, and only look for evidence that backs their current belief.
            Some of the con.spiracy theories are just so unbelievable because of the tens of thousands that would need to be in on it. Even governments trying to do some minor things secretly, often get leaked, with embarrassment all around.

            I also have an acquaintance that believes in just about every con.spiracy around until I show him enough evidence that his belief is wrong. Of course by the next time I talk to him, he’s back on the con.spiracy theme agian, even the debunked ones. Never any evidence, just that someone (important to him) told him it must be true.

            I’m into science backed evidence of everything, plus Occam’s Razor, until proven otherwise.
            Z, with a virus that is taking lives all over the world, it is harder to believe that people posting on this site would not be affected in some way, just on the laws of averages. Wait a week or 2 and you will in all probability find that I’m not alone in having someone close infected and/or worse.

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Great post!!!!

              “I’m into science backed evidence of everything, plus Occam’s Razor”

              +++++++++

            • Robert Firth says:

              There is a worldwide conspiracy to spread conspiracy theories. It is run by the grey lizards from Epsilon Eridani, because when they finally invade the reports will be dismissed as conspiracy theories. And by the way, they are highly resistant to radiation, so now you know who *really* went on those Apollo missions.

            • Your are very correct, enough of these irresponsible nutters.
              As independent gov scientists rightly commented and explained in colorful detail recently on the nightly show to our popular comedian, the recent studies had clearly shown that just to terminate single individual as in theoretical political assassination, would require massive deployment of large array of resources, specifically upto 750,000 individual people would be needed to pull it off according to collected data, starting from the neighborhood milkman to the taxi driver, and also local city councilor for public toilet facilities among other key personnel in the know.

              Also as nicely summarized in recent documentary, it has been standard procedure for construction and demolition services to use small office fires for affordable and timely demise of compromised steel structure buildings reaching dangerous lifespan of twenty years of age, as using other devices and methods is deemed highly dangerous in highly urbanized areas.

              /sarc and f. off

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I present the ONE… the ONLY (out of hundreds of thousands of NSA employees)…..

              Maybe they should have paid Edward more… he might have done like all the other NSA employees and kept their mouths shut.

              Not only do you lose a cushy job if you open your fat hole…. you can find it VERY difficult to find another job (employers are not so keen on hiring someone who’s got that kind of background)

              And another big deterrent is that you might end up like Chelsea Manning :

              It might seem hard to keep a secret… but really … it’s not….

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            “(Sigh)”…

            thank you, biedawei…

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Nobody is saying it is NOT real.

        It is a flu.

        And in 2017/18…. 61,000 people died from the FLU .. in the United States alone. There was nothing that could be done for them either.

        What part of this don’t you get????

        And stop misrepresenting what I and others are saying — the Wuhan Virus exists. It is a flu. It is making many people sick – some are dying. And like ALL flu, it can be passed when you don’t show symptoms

        It is….. just another flu.

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          China would not have locked down Wuhan if it was just an average flu…

          it’s obviously far worse than an average flu…

          these two realities can and do exist together:

          1. it’s way worse than flu…

          2. the governments of the world are still overreacting to it, even though #1 is true…

          come on, we’re not ennemies…

          we can discuss the death totals later this year when we have much better info…

          for now, it’s on pace to exceed 2017/18 flu deaths, and that’s even with the (unreasonable) lockdowns…

          oh yeah, but if the economy collapses and there are riots and vyolence everywhere in an attempt to get food, then perhaps we won’t be able to discuss it later this year…

          and…

          on the topic of riots:

          this virus wasn’t invented to keep 2019 rioters down…

          it will bring much more rioting later this year…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Yes I am told it is worse. Over and over and over again.

            1. The normal flu kills 650k people per year. The Woohan has killed 69,000 so far (3+ months in)

            2. The normal flu can damage your lungs – just like the Woohan flu

            3. The normal flu can be passed without symptoms – just like the Woohan flu

            Seems very similar to me … can you enlighten me on the differences?

            Perhaps you can find another talking point in the MSM that I have not found or attempted to debunk yet….

            If you can find some more then I will be happy to handle the investigation.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “This is a real disease ki lling people.”

        thank you, Hide-away…

        from the beginning, with the Chinese reaction to it (lockdown of Wuhan) we have know it is way worse than just flu…

        • Hide-away says:

          You don’t just lockdown 60M people for the fun of it like they did in Hubei, nor do you bother to build a large hospital in 6-8 days, nor do you mobilise 40,000 Health care workers into a region for “just the flu”.

          It seems we even have people here that don’t understand this virus.

          Our modern interconnected world is not set up to deal with a deadly pandemic like the coronavirus, and governments everywhere have struggled with how to deal with it.

          The economic system we have would take a huge hit no matter what governments do. Those that think BAU could have continued with a crisis in the health care system going on around them, have not thought through what people would actually do.
          In this country (Australia), businesses like restaurants were already having greatly reduced patronage before any social restrictions were mandated. Likewise for ‘working from home’ for large businesses. Public transport use had fallen off a cliff, likewise for cinemas etc.

          People were changing behavior before the government told people they had to. Imagine what people would have done if the government did nothing. Luckily we seem to have a couple of examples in Sweden and Brazil (and Equador), however when the numbers start to get too high, governments seem to react with lockdown (because it looked like working in Wuhan), so the theory of just try and keep BAU going is moot anyway.

          This is just something new that the world is not prepared for, so down the slippery slope of depression and or coll.apse we go. What we get to see is how resilient the system really is. At this point I think we all hope that it is more resilient than we have discussed over the years.

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            a very good summary… thanks…

            we can hope for resilience…

          • Nope.avi says:

            Just because 60m were locked down meant there was a credible threat.Keep drinking the Kool-Aid and believe everything in the media is true. They would never lie to Mr. Hide-Away. They respect Mr. Hide-Away’s intelligence too much to do that.

            Notice how Islamic terrorism is no longer considered a threat, nineteen years after 9/11. Is it because violent intimidation in the Middle East is working?

            “It seems we even have people here that don’t understand this virus.”
            I think it’s (not smart) people like you who consume mainstream media and think they know something.
            Here’s the situation. The experts and leaders know almost nothing about the virus.
            None of the current policies in place amount to anything that will defeat the virus.
            Does social distancing by itself do anything to control the virus in urban areas?
            It doesn’t matter if people stay in their homes. The population density is still too high. The v will NEVER run out of hosts with that many humans living closely together.

            Here’s the other thing, we need a functional economy to provide us with the medical goods to even do what we are doing now. Shortages of medical goods are becoming a problem in areas not being inundated with corona patients. In areas not being inundated with corona patients, hospitals are turning people away with minor ailments that may become serious if not treated. The current policies make the medical establishment and politicians look good in the short term. In the long-term, many governments , outside of China, will have a hard time providing hospitals with medical good, along with food, clothing and many other things because the government cannot provide those things.

            Telling me we can have a lockdown until we can control this is like telling a sick person not to eat until they are no longer sick. A decrease in food intake happens naturally during illness, but if the decrease happens for too long, the body grows weaker and will have a harder time fighting off any pathogens.

            • Good analogy:

              Telling me we can have a lockdown until we can control this is like telling a sick person not to eat until they are no longer sick. A decrease in food intake happens naturally during illness, but if the decrease happens for too long, the body grows weaker and will have a harder time fighting off any pathogens.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Hospitals Overwhelmed by Flu Patients Are Treating Them in Tents

            https://time.com/5107984/hospitals-handling-burden-flu-patients/

            Check the date of that article .. it’s not 2020…..

            And because America had 650k flu hospitalizations during the pandemic… I doubt there were videos of empty tents and hospitals.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Please can you show me how the Wuhan is difference from any other flu?

            Please do not give me more of Fauci lies such as ‘it can be passed without an infected person having any symptoms’ The CDC site indicates that all flu can be passed while asymptomatic.

            Seriously. This is the question I have asked multiple people outside of OFW. And they are unable to answer.

            I also ask them why Fauci would be telling that lie. He knows very well that this is a lie.

            No response.

            Well unless Fauci is actually dead — he was a bozo with a 60 IQ who had the same name — and he was mistaken for the real Dr Fauci — and is now running the Big Show?

            Too bad Peter is dead he could play Fauci in the movie about this.

            Why is the Wuhan Virus different Dr Fauci.

            B…e…c…uz ….. you can ….. CATCH it …. from …. some—-one …… who …. is ….. not … feeeeeliiiinnnnggg…. Sick. Excuse me —- it’s time for my nap… now. Good Bye.

        • We know that it is way worse than the regular flu in China, but that doesn’t necessarily tell use much about the rest of the world. China has a lot of smog, tuberculosis, and smoking. Prior exposure to SARS may also predispose bad reactions, according to one article, and but I don’t know whether that is true or not. China had previous SARS cases.

          With a young population, China doesn’t “expect” many deaths in a a given two month period. Even if the death rate from COVID-19 was low, if it came at the same time as the regular flu, the total number of deaths could easily exceed the capacity of cremation sites.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Where was your pity for the 61,000 people who died of The Flu in 2018 in America?

          What about the 650,000 who die in any bad flu year globally?

          Dude — if you are going to bawl over every flu death you better drink a hell of a lot of water…. or you’ll end up looking like this

          Hit after hit after hit…. the hits Just keep on Coming!

          Stay tuned for more of Fast Eddy.

  4. Z says:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/05/us/tiger-coronavirus-new-york-trnd/index.html

    Welp this is it!

    A TIGER in New York has just tested positive for CORONA VIRUS LMAO!!!

    YOU STILL BELIEVE THAT THIS IS REAL??

    YOU ARE ALL SLAVES!!!

    When will you all wake up to your reality?

    • beidawei says:

      I blame Carole Baskin.

    • The academic reports seemed to indicate that there was a very wide range of animals that could catch this virus. If a tiger had someone feeding it who was COVID-19 positive, it could infect the tiger, just as it infects house cats.

  5. Tango Oscar says:

    So let me get this straight. We aren’t testing enough humans to be sure of where this virus is but we got spare tests for tigers? This seems absolutely ridiculous, like something off the Tiger King. I almost think a wacky conspiracy theory play here seems plausible like someone thinks it will be trendy. “Hey Steve, make sure the tigers start having Covid19 on Sunday and throw a couple of gorillas get it too for good measure so we stir people into a frenzy.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52177586

    • A lot of primates can catch COVID-19 according to articles. Gorillas and other primates are definitely on the list. I don’t think masks are going to work well for these primates.

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    Let me show you your future:

    We have two kids from a Philippine village with us – so have on the ground info on what is happening there.

    In their village (and many villages) people are in lockdown. They cannot work. They have minimal or no savings. They live hand to mouth.

    The government is distributing pitiful amounts of rice (M Fast and Fast Eddy have purchased quite a few large sacks of rice for the kids village because the people are in serious trouble)

    Many people are at the end of their rope after only a few short weeks in lockdown — they have run out of food and cash —- and are attempting to break curfew and try to get back to work.

    They are met by the military who are forcing them back into their homes at gunpoint.

    It does not take a rocket science to work out what will happen to them as this lockdown continues (and how can it not continue… cuz you CANNOT stop the flu)…. they will starve.

    Absolutely 100% guaranteed people will starve.

    Same goes for India — hundreds of millions are being forced to return to their villages and lock down … they don’t even have enough food for the journey….

    They too will be forced off the streets and into their hovels…. if they dare try to push back… they will be shot.

    Oh look – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/man-shot-dead-philippines-flouting-coronavirus-rules-200405072915819.html

    Countries are rolling out hotlines and websites to report ‘covidiots’…. how much you wanna bet that as things descend into the depths of hell… and people try to break lockdowns in OECD countries…. that the military/police will end up shooting some of them….

    And not only that — their neigbhours will be cheering on the killers.

    The joke will be on them — it won’t be so funny when they are at their last can of soup and realize that they are trapped in their prison — and the government is not delivering the promised care package.

    Alas… starvation is apparently not so bad…. (but can we get some Fentanyl…. PLEASE!)

    Ceasing Food and Fluid Can Be Painless
    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2005-mar-23-sci-schiavodeath23-story.html

    • Starvation in the poor countries of the world, especially, is a real concern.

      I cannot imagine anyone considering locking down India for a month. This can only lead to disaster. It is too close to the edge, already.

    • Joebanana says:

      You are a good man, Fast.

  7. Hugh Spencer says:

    Just received this from a friend (in USA)
    George Conway:
    “For Trump supporters, let me make one thing VERY clear!
    For the record NO ONE is blaming the President for the virus. Let me repeat. Coronavirus is not Trump’s fault.
    Here’s a detailed list of what we are blaming him for:
    * Trump declined to use the World Health Organization’s test like other nations. Back in January, over a month before the first Co-vid19 case, the Chinese posted a new mysterious virus and within a week, Berlin virologists had produced the first diagnostic test. By the end of February, the WHO had shipped out tests to 60 countries. Oh, but not our government. We declined the test even as a temporary bridge until the CDC could create its own test. The question is why? We don’t know but what to look for is which pharmaceutical company eventually manufactures the test and who owns the stock. Keep tuned.
    * In 2018 Trump fired Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossart, whose job was to coordinate a response to global pandemics. He was not replaced.
    * In 2018 Dr. Luciana Borio, the NSC director for medical and bio-defense preparedness left the job. Trump did not replace Dr. Borio.
    * In 2019 the NSC’s Senior Director for Global Health Security and bio-defense, Tim Ziemer, left the position and Trump did not replace the Rear Admiral.
    * Trump shut down the entire Global Health Security and Bio-defense agency. Yes, he did.
    * Amid the explosive worldwide outbreak of the virus Trump proposed a 19% cut to the budget of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention plus a 10% cut to Public Health Services and a 7% cut to Global Health Services. Those happen to be the organizations that respond to public health threats.
    * In 2018, at Trump’s direction, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries including China.
    * Trump didn’t appoint a doctor to oversee the US response to the pandemic. He appointed Mike Pence.
    * Trump has on multiple occasions sowed doubt about the severity of the virus even using the word hoax at events and rallies. He even did it at an event where the virus was being spread. Trump has put out zero useful information concerning the health risks of the virus.
    * Trump pretended the virus had been contained.
    * Trump left a cruise ship at sea for days, denying them proper hospital care, rather than increase his numbers in America.
    Repeat. We do not blame Trump for the virus. We blame him for gutting the nation’s preparations to deal with it. We blame him for bungling testing and allowing it to spread uninhibited. We blame him for wasting taxpayer money on applause lines at his rallies (like The Wall). We blame him for putting his own political life over American human life. I hope this clears things up.”
    This is why the U.S. has the highest number of cases on the planet!!!

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      Wow Conway just destroyed President Q*Bert!!

      Btw, would love be a fly on the wall at that guy’s house…would be curious what the vibe is like between him and his wife….how awkward lol

    • Robert Firth says:

      George Conway is a lawyer. His knowledge of viruses, epidemics, and health treatments is zero. But he is very good at telling lies about Trump, and has been doing so for years.

    • JesseJames says:

      Gosh, I never realized what an evil man Trump was.
      I have a funny story….my wife’s britsh brother in the UK messaged her about a totally unrelated family issue, then…at the end of the message he puts…”BTW, don’t believe Trump on anything. He is not taking this virus seriously.”

      Queue laughter…

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I have a mate who runs 24/7 Trump hate…. he can’t let it go.

        I think he thinks I like Trump — so I sent him that UK take-down…. he must have been SO Happy… for about 12 hours…

        Because I then followed with something very similar to the hate message I posted here re the Clintons mocking Obama for his 1.2M banking payday after coming out of office for 3 speeches… he’s riding the gravy train.

        Yet people continue to vote …

  8. i1 says:

    Guidance from Dr. Schwartz of the CDC regarding COVID 19 death certification 3/24/2020. It is not necessary to test for COVID 19 and may it be assumed as the cause of death.

    Click to access Alert-2-New-ICD-code-introduced-for-COVID-19-deaths.pdf

    • This is a good move, IMO. Test results are still terribly unreliable.

      In order to get reliable ratios of deaths to number of infections, a person really has to look at deaths compared to total number of people that have antibodies to COVID-19, because we really don’t know what the base is without antibody studies.

  9. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    tonight to honor Italy again:

  10. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/05/oil-drops-9percent-following-a-record-surge-last-week-as-opec-meeting-on-a-production-cut-is-delayed.html

    “Oil prices dropped during overnight trading on Sunday after OPEC+ announced it was delaying its meeting initially scheduled for Monday, stoking fears on the Street that a production cut might face hurdles.”

    holey cow! “might face hurdles”…

    here’s a hurdle for them:

    no country will willingly cut their production in half…

    but that is what the world oil demand is “demanding”…

    all the OPEC+ members know the real numbers…

    so they will ALL be forced to cut by half…

    THAT is what the delayed meeting is all about…

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