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.


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. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “Battlefield Medicine: NY, NJ Doctors and Patients See Anecdotal Evidence of Hydroxychloroquine Benefits in Fighting Coronavirus”


    we now have even MORE anecdotal evidence…

    • says:

      How will our medical infrastructure justify their cost if a simple malaria drug is effective?

      • Kowalainen says:

        How about no medicines at all and instead focus on personal hygiene, social distancing, air filtration, face masks and providone iodine on your hands, inside your snout and mouth.

        This ‘no masks’, ‘vaccine’ and ‘herd immunity by disease’ bs won’t cure the underlying problem of viral and bacterial transmission.

        This bs could have been stomped out in less than a week.

  2. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    continuing the theme of Tchaikovsky and Italy…

  3. Mike Roberts says:

    Yes, it’s hard to see economies recovering from this unless it’s all over with very quickly. The only two ways I can see to make that happen is, firstly, to mandate the use of facemasks in public (and workplaces). This should slow down the spread and the severity of the virus (since it would reduce the viral load for those infected, allowing the body more time to fight it off) which would ensure health systems don’t get overwhelmed. Secondly, extensive anti-body testing and allowing those with anti-bodies to return to normal working, where possible. There could also be a combination of these two options.

    I see Chris Martenson is predicting deliberate infection with low viral loads to get the herd immunity that seems to be the ultimate goal of governments.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “… predicting deliberate infection with low viral loads…”

      wow… any science saying that this is a good idea?

      if this keeps coming in waves… first wave now, second wave in the North American winter (yikes)…

      I might actually be up for volunteering…

      probably after many other volunteers have proven it is safe and worthwhile…

    • Fast Eddy says:

      What about a cull… like they do with swine that have the African fever?

      Desperate times call for … 🙂

    • The best bang for your buck solution ever, mandatory use of any facemask is deemed as onset of “communism” in the US and “fascism” in France, so go figure..

      • Kowalainen says:

        Yep, filtration, masks and goggles + PVP-I. Then back to BAU and crank it up to 11. I got sh17 to do.

        Oh, how certain I am this BS virus is manufactured and let loose on purpose. It is a little bit too “perfect”, as if it was engineered with the help of a supercomputer.

        Once the idiocy subsides no more “viruses” can touch mankind. Even the influenza will be a memory of a pathogen stomped into oblivion as a nice “bonus” side effect.

  4. i1 says:

    At this point, “sustainable” is newspeak for negative growth.

  5. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “It will take four to five years for them to recover.”

    Mid-size businesses may see a two- to three-year wage recovery period, he added.

    However, major companies that are not suffering from big layoffs may be fine — and may even see an expansion if the economy recovers.”

    take your pick… which sentence is the crayziest?

    • psile says:

      Deeply sad reporting…

      The poor dears at CNBC haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that the entire financial structure of capitalism is ruined.

    • I don’t think that zerohedge has picked up my post yet.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “The real problem we face today is not a virus. The greater problem is that people have failed to engage in critical thinking due to the fear promoted by some media and government officials. Fear is the mind killer, as author Frank Herbert once wrote. Ultimately, the fear of COVID-19 and the lack of critical thinking that has arisen from it are likely to cause far more deaths than the virus itself.”

      the virus will kill millions… maybe not this first wave, but in the coming second wave third wave etc…

      the response (lockdowns destroying the global economy) will eventually kill tens of millions… perhaps hundreds of millions…

      this is not either/or…

      we are going to get both together…

  6. This is very interesting, and speaks to the delicate just-in-time supply chains Gail so often talks about.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      thanks… the animation is simple yet awesome…

      “For the final two weeks of the month, 10 million people sought unemployment benefits…”

      but any week now, unemployment claims will be going down!

  7. Pingback: Economies won’t be able to recover after shutdowns - Deflation Market

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    I am about to exit lockdown for the first time in 10 days…. and venture into the Apocalypse…. (off to the PaknSave and petrol station).

    Mask (check) — gloves (check) — I want to dress in black plastic garbage bags and put on my diving mask… but M Fast has vetoed that… ‘what if you see someone you know and you are dressed like a fool?’….. ‘they won’t recognize me with the diving mask covering my face!’

    If I bring back the Wuhan we all know who to blame…..

    • Yorchichan says:

      How about wraparound sunglasses in lieu of diving mask? Gotta be better than nothing.

      • There was one of the doctors I listened to–actually the Korean one–who said that simply having regular glasses was protective of the eyes. The spray of someone talking would come toward you, and the glasses would keep it from coming directly into your eyes.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          But ski goggles with a shower cap are much more of a Covid Fashion Statement. I see myself as a ‘trendsetter’

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I tried to compromise…. went with my ski goggles… a mask… and the finishing touch was a shower cap… thinking nobody would recognize me…

        M Fast said — nobody will recognize YOU but they will recognize ME and they will wonder what I am doing at the grocery store with this FOOL. She has a point…. I was allowed to drive to the shop with my outfit … but was ordered to remove it and put on a simple mask and disposable gloves upon arrival…

        Unfortunately only one of us was allowed in so it was all moot.

        In our next episode of As The World Ends… watch as Fast Eddy cuts his own hair….


        • Seriously, what is so bad or irrational about doing your haircut at home?
          I noticed these services jumped pricing ~600% around my area in past two decades+
          I’m not going to support that robbery (rent and energy and tax spike hidden in the price), sorry.. It’s not a problem with all these new shaving-haircut handy machines these days anyway, and the small hard to reach head back side could be easily trimmed by someone from the family..

          Color me the crazy uncle!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Fast Eddy — returned to base….. immediately burned all clothes… bathed in a bleach hot water combo… hopefully no virus has survived… downtown Queenstown totally devoid of people — Vanilla Skyish….

      Over and out.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Couldn’t you just wear a burka, or is that banned in NZ?

  9. Lastcall says:

    Recently if you wanted science funding you mentioned climx change. If you wanted medical/social funding you mentioned the rainbow.

    Now if you want health dollars/resource/manpower priority you assign as many possible cases to Convid 19.
    Yep, its a real doozy, but killing the world economy must rate as the most expensive flu shot ever.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Okay, here’s another one.

      Assumption: A vaccine is invented, we are unsure how many varieties of this virus exist.

      You as a reader:

      1. Do you take the vaccine.
      2. Do you do as we did as children, let the disease run its course, if we make it and are one of the 80 percent then we have our own antibodies which history seems to suggest are better.

      Personally I do not get flu shots and to my knowledge I have not had the flu which given my profession as a dentist would be suggestive of exposure. Frankly, I don’t think I wish to be part of the initial experiment of someone’s rush to fame and glory, but should I get sick at my age, that might not be much fun, but neither is the flu.

      Real decisions, real personal, make the wrong one and economics becomes a distant second in concern.

      Dennis L.

      • Lastcall says:

        You and me both. This is a dilemma. But leave the decision in my hands.

        I never get flu shots, very rarely suffer the flu. Am I lucky? Partly. But I am careful with my lifestyle; have been ever since my childhood when my grandmother always said, your health is your number one asset, followed by its largely in your hands.

        We dig our graves with our teeth.

        One other casualty of this hysteria will be the shrinkage of most peoples stomach biomes; what health catastrophes wait down the line from the overuse of anti-bacterial products, and the confinement of so many away from nature. The Covid outbreak has the perfect environment under artificial confinement; cruise ships, hospitals (superbugs anyone?) crowded cities/transport systems, poor dietary inputs.

        Apparently our mental health is linked to this biome; oh boy are we in trouble! Gaggle it; my internet hotspot too slow to offer link.

        • War says:

          You hit the nail on the head. A more holistic way of viewing all of this is needed. The microbiome is definitely linked to our mental health. Waging war on microbes and viruses is a losing battle. “for every parasitic or injurious microbe there are dozens of beneficial ones” Selman Waksman – ‘father of antibiotics’ Forcing ‘medicine’ upon those who are prudent with their health and don’t need it is extremely wasteful. The whole conventional healthcare model needs a reboot.

          • NikoB says:

            Put your hands in the dirt after you have sterilised them.
            Pat your dog or cat.
            Hug a tree.
            Dip them into the sea or a river.
            It all helps keep you current in the biome world.

      • Tim Groves says:

        I would not willingly take a vaccine, but I might not be given a choice. Some of you must be very surprised that you are now under curfew or house arrest or rendered newly unemployed. “Where did that come from?” you may be wondering.

        A mandatory vaccine could arrive in precisely the same way. Mr. Gates may insist on it, for your own good you understand. And Mr. Soros will doubtless be smirking that he invested in those healthcare stocks just before they went through the roof.

        How many of us swore we would never own a smartphone and then everything snowballed and we found we couldn’t get by without one?

  10. Fast Eddy says:

    Pond scum can harbour viruses below the surface…. and as we can see from the Wuhan Virus…. viruses are far more capable than the human species…

    Thanks Bob.

    It is so wonderful to be appreciated… to be complimented…. acknowledged.

    But in future, it would be better if you address Fast Eddy as ‘Your Highness’ … and make sure to kowtow (very deeply) and be sure to keep your eyes on the floor when addressing the Great Fast Eddy.

    This is proper etiquette when addressing Royalty.

  11. Chrome Mags says:

    France is the 1st country to surpass 1,000 deaths in a day with a whopping 1,355 today.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      Who knows how many deaths due to COVID-19 skip the official statistics….

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      I won’t try to restrain myself from saying:

      it’s just the flu… (sarc… just to be quite clear…)

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “I won’t try to restrain myself from saying: it’s just the flu… (sarc… just to be quite clear…)”

        “The seasonal flu that we deal with every year has a mortality of 0.1%,” he told the congressional panel, whereas coronavirus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” per STAT news.

        Again for the 50 millionth time, if you pull out China’s stats because they are obviously wrong, then take deaths and divide into total closed cases, the fatality rate is about 30% for those that test positive for the Corona Virus.

        So far its not seasonal. In fact it’s not even affected by warm weather. The numbers for Corona virus are still on the uptrend. It’s a novel, meaning a new virus, so have some patience.

        • War says:

          Impossible to know accurate mortality rates since many who have the virus will never be tested or only have mild symptoms, so the worldometer numbers are pretty useless. It’s infectious, but not very deadly….luckily.

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            yes, impossible to know accurate mortality rates…

            and yet the WSJ just reported that covid deaths in Italy are way undercounted…

            and local Italian authorities have been quoted that there are way more virus caused deaths at home that are not reported…

            yes, it’s not very deadly… if you consider 2% not very deadly…

            I’m not saying the virus is worse than the lockdown… the lockdown will prove worse in the long run… just saying that compared to the average seasonal flu, it’s way more deadly…

        • Tim Groves says:

          We should beware of falling into the fallacy that because someone has died from pneumonia and tested positive for Covid-19, that they died of Covid-19.

          There are lots of fun facts about pneumonia in the link below, including:

          Pneumonia is the world’s leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, accounting for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old killing approximately
          2,400 children a day in 2015.

          There are 120 million episodes of pneumonia per year in children under 5, over 10% of which (14 million) progress to severe episodes. There was an estimated 880,000 deaths from pneumonia in children under the age of five in 2016. Most were less than 2 years of age.

          In the US, pneumonia is less often fatal for children, but it is still a big problem. Pneumonia is the #1 most common reason for US children to be hospitalized.

          For US adults, pneumonia is the most common cause of hospital admissions other than women giving birth.

          About 1 million adults in the US seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia every year, and 50,000 die from this disease.

          While young healthy adults have less risk of pneumonia than the age extremes, it is always a threat. Half of all non-immunocompromised adults hospitalized for severe
          pneumonia in the US are younger adults (18-57 years of age). Half the deaths from bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia occur in people ages 18-64.

          Older people have higher risk of getting pneumonia, and are more likely to die from it if they do. For US seniors, hospitalization for pneumonia has a greater risk of death compared to any of the other top 10 reasons for hospitalization.

          Are we scared enough of pneumonia yet that we should agree to destroy the economy in order to minimize our chances of getting it?

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            “We should beware of falling into the fallacy that because someone has died from pneumonia and tested positive for Covid-19, that they died of Covid-19.”

            or the other fallacy that of the less than a tenth of 1% who get the flu and die, that they died of the flu…

            it’s interesting that (at least) 10 times as many persons are dying from the covid fallacy as from the flu fallacy…

            “Are we scared enough of pneumonia yet that we should agree to destroy the economy in order to minimize our chances of getting it?”

            I’m now on board that train… we shouldn’t “destroy the economy” just to save the millions of old folks (and thousands of young folks) who are going to die from the consequences of covid…

            but guess what?

            our leaders have guaranteed that we will have both…

    • Lastcall says:

      Popn of France over 65 is about 20%
      This is about 13 million people.
      Ave life expectancy about 80
      So should be about 900,000 deaths per year in this age bracket alone.
      About 2,500 per day….
      Now was Covid the feather that ruffled them off their mortal coil…..
      I would love to have some analysis, a risk profile developed, a cost-benefit analysis perhaps.
      Of course we are in a viscous loop now; imploding economy leads to impoverishment leads to illness leads to further economic shrinkage.

      I would have loved to have seen the entire Clinton-Obama meddling/sedition thing investigated properly, but I guess that is a goner; a bit like the ‘Savings and Loan’ investigation collapsed with building 7.

    • beidawei says:

      Zut alors! Sacre bleu!

      Or as Peter Sellers used to say, “I would like a rhume!”

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        Hahahahaha that’s gold!!!

        “I would like a rhume!”

        It’s one of the funniest scenes of the whole Inspector Clouseau films (the real ones that is, the Peter Sellers ones):

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “You said you’re dog does not bite.”

          “But that is not my dog.”

    • mike says:

      John Ioannidis (stanford) will ask: did they die from corona or with corona? He has an interview on youtube : perspectives on the pandemic , well worth watching.

  12. Lastcall says:

    Silver linings abound….
    Several (dozens…?) popular NZ magazines have been abandoned by their German owners; the door slammed on their way out.
    These glossy little babies have been fulsome in their praise of our great NZ leader ‘Jacinderella’ ever since her ascension to the throne.
    But the tune has now changed.

    The interesting little insight is that so many of these titles had the same editor. One of them was on the radio be-moaning the fact that hers’ was not considered an essential service by ‘Our Great Leader’. She was editor of 5 of these titles. The majority of the commentators on the demise of these magazines recalled how many of these titles they had worked for!

    Media consolidation has given us a very narrow narrative. There has been almost no push-back on the draconian response of Govt; no debate, no questioning, no investigation, no holding to account.

    ‘Never let a crisis go to waste…’ ;now who was that?

  13. Chrome Mags says:

    Here’s some good news – a vaccine developed for Corona, but of course testing still to come to see how effective it is.

    “PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is unveiling a possible candidate vaccine for the Coronavirus pandemic that has spread across the world.Multiple medical doctors and PhDs were involved in the collaboration at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, and funding came from three NIH institutes. Their work on this new vaccine delivery method is being published in the peer-review journal, Lancet’s EBioMedicine. Click here to see and read the report.
    Doctors believe it could change the way vaccines are delivered to people worldwide. It looks like a small piece of Velcro, and it is officially called a Microneedle Array.”

    “It’s a lot like a band-aid with hundreds of small needles. In this particular case, the needles are made out of the sugar substance, and we actually incorporate the vaccine directly into the needles,” Dr. Louis Falo, of the University of Pittsburgh School, said.”

    • War says:

      Good news…. I suppose it is good news if you believe that a vaccine is the only solution.
      In the long run it’s questionable as to whether the conventional/vaccine/sickcare/reactionary model of health care will survive given what we’re up against.
      And how about when the virus mutates and then you have millions spent on a vaccine that is useless? Im a fan of natural immunity and strengthening that but apparently preventive medicine isn’t profitable enough- time for a paradigm shift, in the meantime we’ll march towards collapse with the same old approaches.

      • Slow Paul says:

        Lots of things one can do to strengthen the body and its immune system. Unfortunately it doesn’t cost a dime so no doctor will prescribe it.

  14. Stephen says:

    Covid is like watching a huge never ending train wreck.
    Does it end in a couple of years with the collapse of most pension funds?
    Or with the explosion of 450 spent fuel rod ponds?

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      4,500… you lost a zero…

      things that deal with future obligations will be among the first to go…

      pensions etc…

      by the end of this year, every facet of life will be about the here and now…

  15. Mark says:

    I stumbled on this. Make sure to turn it up to full speed. LOL

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      Hahaha Mark…obviously you can tell right away the guy doing the printing has a serious case of the Covids-19s 😉

  16. Chrome Mags says:

    Wow, go to 5:50 on that video! Oh MY!!! It’s a report about how people are purposefully killed in Chinese hospitals if there is no money to pay the bill. Healthcare is not free in China – it has to be paid for by the patient or his/her children. If the children work in other provinces or refuse to pay and the patient has no insurance or money, they inject the person with meds to cause quick shallow breathing, then they pull the air supply. The example provided in the video is from a doctor who’s voice is changed to keep his identity secret. His story is about an incident he witnessed as described above. When he asked questions he was forced to pull the air supply, so he would also be involved in the killing and not report it to authorities.

    If the hospital doesn’t make a profit then the authorities come down on the staff, so if someone can’t pay, they get eliminated. Harsh!

    • Well, propaganda of all kind is rampant on both sides, for example this anti mainland channel did not bother to mention in that latter reporting part how these infected US warehouses kicked out employees on strike when protesting for better protection etc..

  17. Dennis L. says:

    As are many of us, I am tying to understand what is happening and my place in it and what is appropriate for my life. Here goes.

    We have two separate systems, the biological and the deterministic modifications made to that system, and the modern industrial system which is man made and which without life stops. Let us look at the biological system, we make no value judgments and we accept psychologically the modern world is a wonderful place.

    We have conquered many diseases, polio and smallpox come to mind, horrible diseases. These diseases did test the immune systems, those systems which survived passed, those which did not ended.

    Polio: “The theory is that in the past, infants were exposed to polio, mainly through contaminated water supplies, at a very young age. Infants’ immune systems, aided by maternal antibodies still circulating in their blood, could quickly defeat poliovirus and then develop lasting immunity to it. However, better sanitary conditions meant that exposure to polio was delayed until later in life, on average, when a child had lost maternal protection and was also more vulnerable to the most severe form of the disease.”

    Now comes a very transmittable virus. We don’t have statistics yet which show the underlying health of the individuals who are seriously ill or who have passed. A guess might be that we have beaten all the “easy” diseases, this one comes and attacks the most vulnerable. A lion does not try and catch and eat the fastest gazelle, he/she goes for the slow ones.

    We are closing down the very economic system upon which all our lives depend, not only the most vulnerable. I refer you to which demonstrates that bottlenecks and their causes are not well understood, but they do happen. Are we making a bottleneck? We don’t know.

    Is modern medicine becoming more and more expensive because the “easy” diseases have been conquered and only the most extreme remain? Is this tremendous diversion of resources making it more difficult or impossible for the remainder of the population to survive. This is the entitlement elephant in the room that occasionally is brought up in learned circles. We are now literally diverting all economic production to addressing this epidemic, everything else is stopping.

    We have become very deterministic, so much so that many believe with the exact, perfect policy everything can be made right in all of life. Some of the ancient gods told that our fate was sealed at birth, maybe they were right. We are biological beings, all our systems have a given life span which is dependent on the environment(think pre industrial if you will, an Eskimo in an environment rich with polar bears might need the ability to run more quickly than the person next to him/her).

    Summary: Life will not end with this tragedy, it will go on, we may well divert all our resources to purchase a few extra weeks of life, billionaires may well purchase islands on which to isolate themselves; history seems to indicate biology does not work this way. Life is a very stubborn phenomenon, most of us, even the doomers, when faced with its end elect for one more day; maybe that one more day is not ours to chose and worrying about it causes us to lose the preciousness of the present.

    Dennis L.

    • I especially agree with you about:

      Is this tremendous diversion of resources [modern medicine] making it more difficult or impossible for the remainder of the population to survive.

      Now we have COVID-19 that comes along. It wants more resources, but the place it tends to take them from first is the healthcare system. It damages the healthcare system. We keep reading about layoffs in the healthcare system because there aren’t enough funds to pay for everything. Also, people are afraid to be near healthcare providers, for fear that they will catch COVID-19 from them.

      And then comes the absurd attempt to close everything else down. We end up with a lot of people who cannot afford health care deductibles. In fact, they can barely afford food. Broken supply lines are likely to mean the end of imported medicines before long. This will be important for many diseases.

      We have come to believe that we have control over everything, but we really don’t. We have exceeded the limits of what our globalized economy can do. It may be possible in some parts of the world to transition to more local economies, at least for a few years. But it will be test of creativity.

  18. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    In my province, Quebec, whole regions of the province have been closed off to slow the spread of COVID-19. I fully expect that my island, the Island of Montreal, will be closed off to the rest of the province soon, and then they will extend it to closing down whole neighborhoods across the island….not even the best screenwriter in Hollywood could come up with the scenario that’s playing out right now worldwide…I’m sure when all this is over, there is bound to be a Hollywood blockbuster covering what we are going through right now (sarc!) 🙂

    Security checkpoints added in several Quebec regions to limit the spread of COVID-19:

    • This is truly bizarre. Do these checkpoints really limit the spread of COVID-19? Or do they move the illness’s timing back a few days?

      Does this ever stop, before herd immunity is reached?

      • MM says:

        Let the virus rip through or let the insanity rip through.
        Most of the people have decided to go insane, so we will burn through this scenario.
        Reverting insanity is psychologically very difficult because accknowledhing a mistake is hard for the weak. OFW readers are the iron men and women of hard times 🙂

      • Xabier says:

        A friend in London took his little daughter on an exercise walk to one of the big railway stations, to see how deserted it was.

        A policeman approached, and warned him to go home as, curiosity isn’t permitted when exercising. He was near to no one.

        The policeman had no mask on ,and was practically in his face: not very bright!

        It’s like one long, surreal, English Sunday, with a creeping madness and illogicality….

        • Dan says:

          The police better be careful how they treat the peasants. It is already pretty well understood they are the muscle of our oppressors.

    • Xabier says:

      Hundreds of millions of people sitting at home going quietly loopy and bug-eyed has little dramatic potential, although divorce lawyers are no doubt rubbing their hands in anticipation: but I suspect there will be a certain wildness in the air when we are let out again. Well, I hope so…. 🙂

    • It is something.

      Trump said he had talked recently with the leaders of both Russia and Saudi Arabia and believed the two countries would make a deal to end their price war within a “few days” – lowering production and bringing prices back up.

      Trump also said he has invited U.S. oil executives to the White House to discuss ways to help the industry “ravaged” by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

      • Few of the underwater US/CAN “alt oil” producers will change ownership and management and the quasi BAU marches on like Donkey Kong!

        • Everybody talking about this bizzare situation is using the word bizzare now, incl. the RT denial article above, which is also bizzare happenstance..

          On more serious note, the oil prices at European gas stations barely moved down, and Russians (co-)own lot of the vertically integrated value chain in the industry among their client countries (in Chine less so probably), anyway it’s clear who is [relatively] benefiting more from the situation so far.. The Saudies are on the defensive..

      • guess i’m missing something

        but if ff consumption is dropping through the floor even at below $20 then how will raising it to an artificial $60 or whatever increase the actual flow of cash back to the producers? Other than in the very short term?

        You can’t make users use more than the economic system will absorb. That to me seems a fundamental law of energy-economics.

        if consumption is falling because people are no longer using the stuff, then surely putting the price up will just make people use even less, so the actual immediate cash return will remain static more or less, and the FUTURE cash return will fall even lower because if prices rise now, it will destroy what is left of the CURRENT economic system which we would need to try to get things moving next year.

        So Russki/Saudi systems must eventually collapse

        I’d like an explanation that contradicts this hypothesis. Maybe I’ve over simplified things here. I accept I could have got things wrong in my head.

        • Dan says:

          Sounds like a valid hypothesis. The Fed is estimating an unemployment rate of nearly 33%. To put that in perspective in the depths of the great depression it was about 25% (pretty sure that is correct but haven’t researched for this comment).
          The govt is now saying the stimulus checks could take 20 weeks (5 months).
          I understand the supply / demand / storage issue.
          We are now all standing in a circular firing squad.
          The timing of everything in the last 6 months could not have been better – repo injections (banks wobbling), China shutdowns, early freeze cutting grain harvests, locusts in Africa, global shutdowns, virus that mains / kills, oil price wars, massive layoffs, etc.
          We have left BAU and are now headed to the Twilight zone.

          • Norman Pagett says:

            i couldnt figure anything other than a circular firing squad either

            i just wanted to be sure

        • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “You can’t make users use more than the economic system will absorb.”

          yes, I agree…

          so it’s really very simple…

          unless all oil producers voluntarily cut by half, all storage capacity will be full very soon…

          then they all will be forced to cut…

          very simple…

          there is no way a necessary deal will be reached to cut by half…

          oil at or near single digit $ is coming soon…

          • Dan says:

            I checked the unemployment figure from the Great Depression (couldn’t help myself).
            Damn I’m good.

            The highest rate of U.S. unemployment was 24.9% in 1933, during the Great Depression.1 Unemployment remained above 14% from 1931 to 1940. It remained in the single digits until September 1982 when it reached 10.1%.2 During the Great Recession, unemployment reached 10% in October 2009.


            • few seem able to accept that it was Hit ler who ended the great depression, not Roosevelt

              illustrates my point about oil (and iron etc)

              while it’s in the ground it has a ‘price’

              when it’s extracted and burned (Ie in planes ships and tanks) it takes on a value; same applies if it’s being used to produce cars TVs and washing machines. The economics of production are the same.
              People have to be paid real wages to deliver real stuff

              paying just the wages part won’t work if no ‘stuff’ is being produced

              now we’ve stopped producing, the economic system falls off a cliff

              pumping in cash won’t change it.

  19. Ed says:

    US federal military deploys two aircraft carrier groups one to each side of South America. Monroe doctrine Americas for the Americans Europe stay out. Trump doctrine Americans for the Americans China and Russia stay out.

    • Ed says:

      locking down the oil in Venezuela.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        the world no longer needs VZ oil…

        perhaps the USA could use some of their heavy oil to blend with the USA light tight oil (LTO – shale oil)…

        but then the USA doesn’t need half of its production either…

  20. Tango Oscar says:

    Wow Oil is skyrocketing on Trump’s claims that SA and Russia are going to cut production by 10-15 MBD. I just can’t see why on earth they would do this but if true it’s good news for oil companies. It just crossed $25 a barrel right now.

    • Russians sending humanitarian aid air cargo into the US and cutting %% oil production..?
      This world is truly turning into bizarre place..

    • Dan says:

      Like everything that crawls out of his mouth it is fake and a lie.
      Trump hasn’t spoken to Russia about it. SA won’t cut unless the US ponies up with either some goodies or cuts ourselves.
      Putin has us right where he wants. There is a reason he walked away from the table in March and he’d be a fool to fold now.
      This move was all about breaking the dollar – if they can hang on they will succeed.
      Do not forget we have been sanctioning Russia for years and we have been an international economic bully.
      Trump as usual was / is talking out of his a$$ to juice the markets – the only thing he cares about – that and his poll numbers.
      What a time for a con man to be leader.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        first, even if it’s true, a cut of 15 million barrels per day is way too little…

        the oil markets may like it for a short time, and I see WTI up to $24…

        storage capacity will still be full very soon, and then prices will plunge…

        Putin may want to break the USA, but what he is going to get is what everyone is going to get… massive economic damage… Russia will be FORCED to cut their production, as will every other producing country…

        there is/will be not enough demand…

        Russia has less distance to fall, so I expect they will have more survivors, in an economically devastated world…

        congrats to Putin if he thinks that will be a “win”…

        • Dan says:

          If the world survives this most certainly would be a win for Putin / Russia. The US has become an economic terrorist with a defacto given license to determine the energy flows and economic prosperity for all nations. Do something we don’t like and we strangle the daylights out of you.
          Putin is playing 10-20 years ahead – I’m not a fan but I respect his calculations if this is the case. If Russia plays ball and conforms the chips will fall where they may but they lose leverage and as you correctly point out they are going where everybody else is going anyway.
          I seriously doubt Russia will pass up an opportunity to break our backs – they want a chair at the table when this is over.
          They may cut on Trump’s wishes but it will come with a heavy price – sanctions lifted as a start and a pull back of some military bases to show good faith.
          The Achilles heel we have is that the only thing we have is control of the reserve currency / petrol dollar. Take that off the table and we lose quite a bit of force projection.
          Anyhoo, that is just my own little theory and if I was playing a strategic game with the intent of “winning” it would be a plausible plan.

          Once again they walked from the OPEC table in early March dropping the price of oil by nearly $15 overnight – they had a reason. Don’t believe for a second the Saudis had something to gain as well (taking out US shale).

          Trump is desperate – Ask me if I believe his tweet yesterday about Iran planning a sneak attack. That like today was to juice the market.

          Just because we are locked in our houses does not mean the chess pieces aren’t being moved.

          • Tim Groves says:

            I was wondering, if Trump wants to stave of the shale bust, could he impose high tariffs on cheap imported oil to force importers to pay the equivalent of, say, $40 a barrel for it? Is the US a big enough economy to get away with such a move?

            • Hugh Spencer says:

              Problem appears to be that US fracked oil is too light – and needs heavier molecular weight oils so it can be economically converted into gasoline etc.

              >I was wondering, if Trump wants to stave of the shale bust, could he impose high tariffs on cheap imported oil to force importers to pay the equivalent of, say, $40 a barrel for it? Is the US a big enough economy to get away with such a move?<

            • Dan says:

              I agree with Norman below and Gail’s theory – The price can only be what the peons can afford.
              Somewhere we will go bust and so will Russia / SA and everyone else.
              I have no idea what the backside will look like or if anyone will be left standing but it is going to play out.
              I’m sure Gail is watching like a hawk and I agree with her premise.
              Like my Daddy use to tell me wish in one hand and sh!t in the other and see which one fills up first.

      • Tango Oscar says:

        Maybe but as long as oil keeps going up I couldn’t care less. May as well start bombing countries to get them to quit producing at this point. Anything to stop a worldwide economic collapse.

  21. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    Hahaha this is rich, cue the irony of it all….Coronavirus has reached Easter Island!!!

    Coronavirus: Three more cases on Rapa Nui

    • Wasn’t just recently Biff Lezos of fame trying to acquire the entire archipelago there?

    • Robert Firth says:

      The good news: those infected are neither long ears nor short ears; they are Chilean immigrants. Maybe the Moai still watch over their descendents.

    • According to the article, “Global efforts to combat the pandemic’s impact and rev up economic activity have largely failed so far.”

      No kidding!

    • At the end,

      However, not all experts think the oil industry’s loss is necessarily a gain for green energy and the climate. “If anything it may hold up the share of oil for longer, because it’s cheaper. It could be bad news from a climate point of view,” said Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at the University of Oxford.

      It is whatever is least expensive that wins. Green energy comes out more expensive in any scenario.

  22. JMS says:

    In Turkmenistan, the authorities perhaps believe the virus is just an avid attention-seeker, and that if no one talks about it, the virus will end up getting mortally bored and going to be scary for another country.

    “It’s as if it had never existed. The state media are saying nothing about the effects of coronavirus in Turkmenistan and the word has even been removed from health information brochures distributed in schools, hospitals and workplaces, according to Turkmenistan Chronicles, one of the few sources of independent news, whose site is blocked within the country.
    In this information black hole neighbouring Iran, people wearing face masks or talking about the coronavirus on the street, at bus stops or in lines outside shops are liable to be arrested by plainclothes police, according to journalists based in the capital, Ashgabat, who report for Radio Azatlyk”

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      The d umbness of our species knows no boundaries. Don’t worry s t upid humans, it will all be over in a few months….the planet has had enough of your s t upidness and out-of-control growth…it has dispatched a silent enemy that will finally bring you down…enough is enough…you were around for 200 000 years, time to wrap it up…

      Fauci gets security detail after receiving threats

      • JMS says:

        Magical thinking rules human mind, and in fact it worked (more or less) for 200 000 years. And sure it will continue to work for some time more if we discover a real powerfull incantation! Time to call a world council of shamans and put it to work 24/24.

        • ITEOTWAWKI says:

          Hahaha JMS, good plan. Hope you’re keeping safe with what is happening in your neighboring country….absolutely horrifying 🙁

          Desejo a você e sua família boa saúde até o fim !! (I hope Google Translate did a good job) 🙂

          • JMS says:

            Portugal took measures to contain the virus earlier than Spain, and our population is reasonably obedient and disciplined (in this respect, we are somewhat the Japanese of Europe), so the situation here is relatively controlled, but the shock in the economy it’s being brutal of course and ultimately will destroy us all. There’s no way out of this i’m sure. In the meantime, the spring is beautiful, I’m not confined to an apartment because I live in the countryside, and I’m sure my neighbors will love my big vegetable garden :). In short, the dice are cast, and we can only wait for events to unfold.
            All the luck for you too! Καλή τύχη και σε σας!

            • Yes, Spain just announced ~5M unemployed, worst since 2002, it will be hard for ClubMed..

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Thank you very much JMS! Same to you!!

              Everyday my kitchen is fully stocked with food and I can take a hot shower is a gift from the Flying Spaghetti Monster 🙂

    • The government of Turkmenistan knows very well that its medical system is not going to be able to ramp up to handle the epidemic, so trying to level the number of illnesses makes no sense. Spreading out the illnesses is greatly damaging to the economy; likely more will die of hunger from lack of income, if the illness persists for years on end.

      We have told ourselves that we can fight the coronavirus and win. Rich nations at least have some resources to throw at the problem, so that they think that they can win. I think the health care resources that go to coronavirus get taken away from other health care. The disease will likely come back and back, to the extent that we are able to keep the number of illnesses down.

      Perhaps the economy fails under either scenario. But we cannot declare that one approach is better than the other.

      • JMS says:

        Yes, I believe you are right, Gail. If there’s no winning strategy and defeat is almost certain, anything goes. But is funny that in Turkmenistan people who wear masks are arrested, when in the West we are perhaps close to seeing the opposite.

      • Marco Bruciati says:

        Every country Will do a diferent errore. Italia give hospital ti too much people. Every day arrive africans in Sicilia and they have hospital. Is not sustenible. Usa not give ti too much people and this Will give riots . 10 milioni Person soon whitout work . Ready to died on street they have nothing to lose and house full of army

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I have been to Uzbekistan… it has a fairly primitive economy… so letting the Wuhan do its thing would not be like letting this thing loose in an OECD country…

        Now Turkmenistan is a truly f%7ed up place… when in Uzbekistan we were told that the leader is basically…. insane… clearly insane…

        Check this out:

        The president of Turkmenistan (who named himself Turkmenbashi, “Leader’ of the Turkmen”) is known for his strange YouTube videos and even stranger laws. He’s banned men from having long hair or beards, outlawed opera, banished dogs from the city, and even renamed the days and months of the year after his family members. You can even get fined for owning a vehicle that isn’t painted white!

        I doubt that letting the Wuhan boil in that country would matter much…

        Whereas not bothering to try to contain it at all in say the USA… that would be devastating …

  23. Fast Eddy says:

    In February, friends Jay Wang and Zhou Ping were among the millions of Chinese manufacturers battling to resume production after the coronavirus outbreak shuttered key industrial sectors across the economy.

    But when the pair finally managed to restart their separate operations last month, after rigorous quarantining of workers and disinfection of factory floors, they encountered an even bigger problem: clients from Europe and the United States were suspending orders as the pandemic spread throughout the rest of the world.

    “In late February, I took orders for more than 90,000 pairs of shoes, but 80,000 were cancelled last week,” said Wang, who like Zhou has run a factory in the industrial and export hub Dongguan in southern China for about a decade.

    • Rodster says:

      “But when the pair finally managed to restart their separate operations last month, after rigorous quarantining of workers and disinfection of factory floors, they encountered an even bigger problem: clients from Europe and the United States were suspending orders as the pandemic spread throughout the rest of the world.”

      They forgot or missed the part about a Globalized networked economy.

    • If one country is down, the whole network is down in a globalized economy. This is a big problem.

      The period of the outage in a world where everything is pretty much separate is very short. In fact, in 1918-1919, most people worked on farms. They would stop working while they were sick, but that was all. Social Isolation might stop church services (which likely were every three weeks or so, because of shared clergy). They might stop a few other things. A local factory might close for a while, as the virus passed through.

      But it was not a matter of everyone being closed, for long periods. And others not being able to reopen, while others were closed.

  24. Marco Bruciati says:

    I honestly don’t understand the behavior of Saudi Arabia, the first ally of the United States that is interested in destroying the entire oil industry in the world.

  25. Fast Eddy says:

    GEEE.TA Happy!

    Traffic pollution and emissions have plunged in the big cities during the first week of the Covid-19 lockdown, according to Niwa analysis.

    Christchurch’s air quality had the sharpest improvement of the three major centres. The monitoring station on Riccarton Road recorded a 79 per cent drop in the amount of nitrogen oxide pollutants, compared to normal levels from the previous five years.

    Just wait till it gets colder and I start stuffing the rayburn full of coal… I’ll fix this!

  26. Harry McGibbs says:
  27. richarda says:

    Hi Gail, many thanks for a courageous article. There’s a few things …
    The “won’t” is debatable, and may apply only to the West, with the USA as an outlier.
    To simplify things, I’ll say that Covid-19 is a really bad flu, and many elderly will die early, but many young people will live longer because of fewer road accidents.
    A sort of supporting act for the headliner called Depression.
    I haven’t run any numbers to support this, so YMMV.
    The best way forward is to forgive all debts in a Marshall Plan for the USA.
    That ‘s not going to happen. Bankruptcies will clear some of the debt. Some others will get bailed out. That just moves the bankruptcy onto the taxpayer.
    The next stage is where the government loans money via the banks. Banks do what they do best. They lend. The offered loan is 80% goverment money on 20% collateral, and for small businesses, that’s the owner’s house. So when the depression and taxes causes the SME to fail, the bank forecloses.
    Just one problem. The banks eventually own all the collateral, so when someone wants to start a business, they have no collateral to get a loan.

    • I think debts will pretty much will default. No one will be able to evict existing residents from buildings, however. It will be the debt-holders that will come out behind.

      I am not convinced that our current governmental forms will last through all of this. There have been too many promises of pensions, health care, unemployment insurance, and bank, nuclear power plant, and wind and solar guarantees. The new way forward will be without these be luxuries.

  28. Marco Bruciati says:

    Have any of you bought battery solar panels?

    • For what purpose in mind exactly?
      Each setup (scale) is very different, very unique topology and parts/pricing, functionality..

      1/ Charging a tiny backup (ala reading lamp) low voltage system ~12/24VDC ?
      2/ Grid tied system (into three phased grid in EU) ?
      3/ Off grid running entire modern house or small shop (three phase EU)?
      4/ the above but single phase US ver

      Basically, my recommendation, unless you are willing to splash on it big rupees,
      say EUR ~20k, don’t bother, especially not in complicated three phase electric systems in Europe, not mentioning some remaining availability of coal, natgas (links), hence the grid could stay around for a while but it will be curbed to few hours per day eventually..

      Rather invest the time and money into food instead, buy a garden plot nearby, join food coop, move to country side etc..

      • Xabier says:

        Solar gear is really just another form of exposure to an unreliable industrial system and supply-chains: expensive to install , delicate and dependent on spare parts that eventually may not arrive. Except maybe a small camping solar-recharger for phones,etc.

        • Marco Bruciati says:

          Yes i think 2 panel for 240 watt for TV . Telefono. For our permanent camping

          • it’s better to calculate it backwards: measure or estimate watt hours used per day, then buy correspondingly sized panels and inverter-charger, batteries.. go at least 150-300% bigger size than the vendor recommends you because (these people are 99% scammers) of bad weather – overcast – low / no sun conditions..

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Time on hands (lockdown) translates into watching knife fighting videos, working on my slapshot by firing pucks into a cushion, Les Mills, gardening and cleaning out the garage.

          Came across a solar lantern … M Fast says toss that out … I says … let’s put in the sun and see if it still works… (never been used)… it’s been in the sun two days now… M Fast was right… into the trash with it.

          I’ve not had much luck with solar powered stuff.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If it is allowed by an automatic weapon with many bullets… then scope out your area and identify the people with the best garden set ups

  29. el mar says:

    Take thou thy stand among the chosen few
    A Legacy – Poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    No living atom comes at last to naught!
    Active in each is still the eternal Thought:
    Hold fast to Being if thou wouldst be blest.
    Being is without end; for changeless laws
    Bind that from which the All its glory draws
    Of living treasures endlessly possessed.

    Unto the wise of old this truth was known,
    Such wisdom knit their noble souls in one;
    Then hold thou still the lore of ancient days!
    To that high power thou ow’st it, son of man,
    By whose decree the earth its circuit ran
    And all the planets went their various ways.
    Then inward turn at once thy searching eyes;

    Thence shalt thou see the central truth arise
    From which no lofty soul goes e’er astray;
    There shalt thou miss no needful guiding sign-
    For conscience lives, and still its light divine
    Shall be the sun of all thy moral day.
    Next shalt thou trust thy senses’ evidence,
    And fear from them no treacherous offence
    While the mind’s watchful eye thy road commands:
    With lively pleasure contemplate the scene
    And roam securely, teachable, serene,
    At will throughout a world of fruitful lands.
    Enjoy in moderation all life gives:
    Where it rejoices in each thing that lives
    Let reason be thy guide and make thee see.
    Then shall the distant past be present still,
    The future, ere it comes, thy vision fill-
    Each single moment touch eternity.
    Then at the last shalt thou achieve thy quest,
    And in one final, firm conviction rest:
    What bears for thee true fruit alone is true.
    Prove all things, watch the movement of the world
    As down the various ways its tribes are whirled;
    Take thou thy stand among the chosen few.
    Thus hath it been of old; in solitude
    The artist shaped what thing to him seemed good,
    The wise man hearkened to his own soul’s voice.
    Thus also shalt thou find thy greatest bliss;
    To lead where the elect shall follow-this
    And this alone is worth a hero’s choice.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Kein Wesen kann zu Nichts zerfallen!
      Das Ewige regt sich fort in allen,
      Am Sein erhalte dich beglückt!
      Das Sein ist ewig, denn Gesetze
      Bewahren die lebendigen Schätze,
      Aus welchen sich das All geschmückt.

      Das Wahre war schon längst gefunden,
      Hat edle Geisterschaft verbunden;
      Das alte Wahre, faß es an!
      Verdank es, Erdensohn, dem Weisen,
      Der ihr, die Sonne zu umkreisen,
      Und dem Geschwister wies die Bahn.

      Sofort nun wende dich nach innen,
      Das Zentrum findest du da drinnen,
      Woran kein Edler zweifeln mag.
      Wirst keine Regel da vermissen;
      Denn das selbständige Gewissen
      Ist Sonne deinem Sittentag.

      Den Sinnen hast du dann zu trauen;
      Kein Falsches lassen sie dich schauen,
      Wenn dein Verstand dich wach erhält.
      Mit frischem Blick bemerke freudig,
      Und wandle sicher wie geschmeidig
      Durch Auen reich begabter Welt.

      Genieße mäßig Füll und Segen;
      Vernunft sei überall zugegen,
      Wo Leben sich des Lebens freut.
      Dann ist Vergangenheit beständig,
      Das Künftige voraus lebendig,
      Der Augenblick ist Ewigkeit.

      Und war es endlich dir gelungen,
      Und bist du vom Gefühl durchdrungen:
      Was fruchtbar ist, allein ist wahr —
      Du prüfst das allgemeine Walten,
      Es wird nach seiner Weise schalten,
      Geselle dich zur kleinsten Schar.

      Und wie von alters her, im Stillen,
      Ein Liebewerk nach eignem Willen
      Der Philosoph, der Dichter schuf,
      So wirst du schönste Gunst erzielen:
      Denn edlen Seelen vorzufühlen
      Ist wünschenswertester Beruf.

  30. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The world is almost certainly ensnared in a devastating recession delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, fears are growing that the downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared…

    ““I feel like the 2008 financial crisis was just a dry run for this,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist… “This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years,” he said. “Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises.””

  31. Harry McGibbs says:

    “In a matter of days, a slew of trades unraveled to expose various forms of soured levered bets at their heart. Michael Hintze’s flagship hedge fund scrambled to contain losses on a structured credit trade gone awry. Banks including Citigroup Inc. tried to sell $1.3 billion of risky loans to unwind clients’ leveraged wagers. Funds that borrow to load up on mortgage bonds fed a flood of liquidations. A similar situation played out at municipal-bond funds…

    ““Everyone knows you are playing with fire with leverage,” said Michael Terwilliger, a portfolio manager at Resource Credit Income Fund. “Response to the last panic has built the new panic.””

  32. Harry McGibbs says:

    “I do believe we will start seeing problems emerging among some of the fiscally weaker countries around the world and a crisis could spread up the pecking order…

    “As weaker entities will start defaulting, either officially or through currency devaluation the pressure of the markets will most likely shift towards the stronger sovereign debt issuers. The trend will be driven by growing default risk perceptions as more and more countries will renege on their debt obligations. The market will start asking that very dangerous question, namely; “Who will be next”?

    “Several countries are seeing a very similar trend to what Turkey is experiencing in terms of their borrowing costs. Major sovereign debt issuers like Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Egypt have all seen a spike in bond yields in the past few months. Such spikes can be just an early glimpse into things to come this year and there is no telling how far up the chain it could go…

    “The [government stimulus] money is going into the real economy, meaning that people, enterprises and local governments will be spending money they did not earn. At the same time, the value of goods and services being produced will be greatly reduced…

    “…the economic consequences will require further fiscal and monetary measures to avoid social breakdown. This in turn will lead to a massive imbalance in terms of goods and services produced on one hand and money available for spending in the real economy on the other. It is the classic hyperinflation scenario where more and more money will be chasing dwindling goods and services.

    “The risk of this fiscal and monetary experiment blowing up and ushering in a massive crisis is now much higher than it was just a few months ago and probably much higher than it was in the 2008 crisis and we should not dismiss it, just because we also thought back in 2008 that a catastrophe was imminent and yet we managed to get through it. Many factors make this crisis very different. This is unprecedented in modern economic history…”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “”In many respects this is worse than the global financial crisis for the emerging markets,” Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit, told DW.

      “”The collapse in commodity prices is bigger, the recession in the developed world is worse and the debt levels in the emerging world have risen largely since the financial crisis because interest rates have been so low.””

    • I wonder whether the sovereign defaults will lead to other problems as well, including collapsing governments. If a country cannot pay its debts now, and it looks like it never can, we end up with a situation not too different from the one for big companies. Someone posted a list of business leaders who had suddenly resigned. If it can’t be fixed, just move on to a different approach altogether.

  33. psile says:

    The pandemic merely exposed the vulnerabilities of a structurally unsound financial and economic system

    If the Virus Hadn’t Caused the Crash, Something Else Would Have

    “The novel coronavirus has already had a significant impact on the global economy, which will worsen if the outbreak and the shutdowns designed to contain it continue for very long. But it’s only an accelerant: If not Covid-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known, something else would have started the conflagration. Shortfalls in revenue and cash flows, caused by the shutdowns, have simply exposed the vulnerabilities of a structurally unsound economic and financial system.

    A fall in revenue is problematic but manageable without debt. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, debt levels were increased rather than reduced, encouraged in part by low policy rates and the abundant liquidity engineered by central banks globally. Global debt as a percentage of GDP rose from around 250% in 2007 to 325% in 2019. Current debt levels are triple what they were in 1999. Businesses and households, with declining or no income and high levels of borrowing, now face an existential struggle to meet large financial commitments…”

    • This is a very good Bloomberg opinion article written by a retired banker.

      He lists in detail a lot of the ways the system was overstretched, even before COVID-19 came along.

  34. psile says:

    The pandemic merely exposed the vulnerabilities of a structurally unsound financial and economic system.

    If the Virus Hadn’t Caused the Crash, Something Else Would Have

    The novel coronavirus has already had a significant impact on the global economy, which will worsen if the outbreak and the shutdowns designed to contain it continue for very long. But it’s only an accelerant: If not Covid-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known, something else would have started the conflagration. Shortfalls in revenue and cash flows, caused by the shutdowns, have simply exposed the vulnerabilities of a structurally unsound economic and financial system.

    A fall in revenue is problematic but manageable without debt. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, debt levels were increased rather than reduced, encouraged in part by low policy rates and the abundant liquidity engineered by central banks globally. Global debt as a percentage of GDP rose from around 250% in 2007 to 325% in 2019. Current debt levels are triple what they were in 1999. Businesses and households, with declining or no income and high levels of borrowing, now face an existential struggle to meet large financial commitments…

  35. Lastcall says:

    We have flattened the curve for the elderly, and killed the economy for the rest, particularly the young.

    A Cost/Benefit outcome that only a bunch of academics and those with their noses in the public trough could ‘model’ as an acceptable outcome.

    Mass hysteria on par with the witches of Eastwick or the ‘Red Scare’, or Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      though the flattened curve might only be delaying those elderly deaths until the second wave third wave etc…

      so our leaders may have destroyed the economy and saved no net elderly lives within a year from now…

      it’s a lose/lose scenario…

      • Lastcall says:

        I agree both paths were unpalatable, but as with so many things, we avoided the short sharp shock.
        We dodged a bullet in 2008 with trickery and lies and shifting of debts, but set up a date with destiny by doing so. I believe we have done the same here. We will all be third-worlders when the subsequent waves of this come through.
        I never had any vaccinations as a youngster, went through the childhood diseases. It turns out my generation (50 and above) were the only truly immune people in NZ’s recent measles spike; anybody else had to be re-vaccinated. Is this progress?
        We have all but lost anti-biotics through mis-application; is this the first wave we we lose vaccine effectiveness through dancing too close to natures precipice?

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “Mass hysteria on par with the witches of Eastwick or the ‘Red Scare’, or Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

      If you go to that site of official Corona virus numbers, back out China and Germany. Then take deaths and recovered and total them to get closed cases, then divide deaths into the closed cases total and it’s about a 30% fatality rate. Meaning out of every 100 people testing positive 30 die. That percentage is not talked about in mainstream news because it’s a very scary number, but behind closed doors I’m sure that number has not gone unnoticed by doctors. Also, it’s not just the elderly dying. There are people 30-60 dying also. The total cases and deaths does pale in comparison to the world population and other ways of dying, however the number of cases and deaths is still rising with reinfections still occurring in Wuhan, China where this got started. So it’s not hysteria without cause, at least not statistically.

      • Lastcall says:

        Guess time will tell. Little old NZ has had hundreds of cases, a few on ventilators, one dead elderly lady so wots happening?
        When the dust settles, the truth may stagger out into the light of day huh.
        I am betting the cure will prove to be pretty bitter medicine.

        • Again, NZ could have been fortunate not getting the combo of the most virulent and deadly strain, plus the factor of bunch of “silently” infected super-spreaders running around..

          Italy and Spain were clearly not that fortunate
          (+obviously their self inflicted “cultural” wounds enabling the spreading)..

          ps and your point why the care for the elderly at all? (apart from emotional reasons), well also for one BIG thing, because “..that’s where the money is..” – as most of the world “wealth” is owned by them.. hence the protective measures put in place..

          it’s a *social pyramid, where younger must keep working on the lower decks to enable the BAU complexity to last as long as possible, they could revolt at some point and topple the system, but I doubt it, the numbers and attitudes are not there (at least in the North/West of the globe)

          * yesterday the VP Pence visited some warehouse facilities, authoritatively talked to a young guy on the shift there, it was classic case of that unidirectional power relation, Pence basically counter acting the first few under reported strikes taking place around the US; because he/they know very well if critical nodes of JITs go on strike, the next day they workers can successfully demand anything at this dire point from govs: M4A, MMT/ UBI, .. , … ; fortunately for the elites this will never happen in critical mass as American public is genetically predestined as UNABLE/UNWILLING to mount a nation wide shutdown-uprising for social rights..

      • Xabier says:

        One distortion is that the hospital fatality rate is very high, but that is just what one would expect with only the very serious cases ending up there. It’s easy to get alarmed looking at that death rate.

        I watched an interview with a British respiratory consultant, and he mentioned that milder cases are being sent back home, with instructions as to how to monitor the illness in case it becomes grave. So all the hospital patients are in a very serious state finding it very hard to breathe. I was also clear that he is rather scared of catching it himself.

        In military terms, the hospital patients are mostly ‘stretcher cases’, not ‘walking wounded’.

        And that is stretcher cases in 1800, not 2020 – little to be done with them, except experiment with medication and provide oxygen.

        We seem to cling to the notion that to be in hospital is to have hope ( hence the obsession with largely useless ventilators) : but in the case of a novel epidemic of this kind, it is really the last chance saloon.

  36. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    Brazil 7,000 cases and 244 deaths…

    and 4 weeks behind Italy…

    Sweden 5,000 cases and 239 deaths…

    the let-it-rip experiments are continuing…

    • Lastcall says:

      The deaths we can tally; the cases not so much; they are more a function of testing intensity. Sooooooo many just shrug this off and will never be counted as a ‘case’.

      We can’t dodge this, but we could have avoided destroying, ahead of time, BAU.

      I again ask, where are the statistics on the deaths.
      Demographics tells me that Italy should average about 2000 deaths per day (popn of 60m, ave. age 80..?)…actually, who is dying, and are there many without pre-existing conditions?
      Far, far more will die, in due course, as a result of the broken world economy IMHO. Lets see how this looks in a years time; the true victim will be globalisation.

      • The very bad area of Italy had COVID-19 deaths equal to 0.4% of the population, comparing the WSJ death and population numbers. It is bad, but not dreadfully bad. I made that calculation in another comment.

    • DJ says:

      But Sweden havent hardly tested anyone.

  37. The metaphorical train wreck has now produced a literal train wreck.

  38. Ed says:–people-die-outcome/
    Bunch of English academics say facts support zero deaths from CV19. In the US we have gone innsane because we do noot like Trump so facts no longer matter.

    • Ed says:

      To be clear I voted for Trump and will do so again if the dems continue to act against the interests of the people and nation.

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      obviously yes, that is the whole idea of lockdown… to minimize deaths…

      like it or not, it’s now too obvious that almost all governments are going for lockdown…

      if academics are still doing their thing in 2021, perhaps they will be able to tell us how many more deaths “above average” there were in a one year period…

      right now, it’s way to soon to say if deaths are just being delayed until the second wave, third wave etc etc…

      (none of that is saying that deaths from economic damage/collapse will not be higher than virus deaths… on that subject, likewise a year from now is a reasonable timeframe for calculations… if we’re still here with those academics)…

    • Malcopian says:

      At 8 p.m. on Thursday 6th March, there was a national clapping event in the UK to thank the NHS workers (National Health Service). I was asleep at that time and don’t approve of mass events anyway. However, a relative joined in and told me that the sound was amazing and that the whole thing was ‘surreal’.

      The NHS is rightly revered in the UK and considered sacred, so somebody chose the right institution to worship. Vast numbers of the population were induced to regiment themselves in order to join in this event – the modern equivalent of the Nuremberg rallies, but we didn’t need a dictator to get us to join in. We did it ourselves. 🙁

      Boris Johnson and Prince Charles were reported as getting COVID-19, but are they dead or indisposed? No. They continued working. I don’t see people collapsing in the streets, nor did I before the lockdown. Having seen the video reports above of empty hospitals in NY, I am beginning to wonder what is going on. Perhaps the Emperor does indeed have no clothes. Even that drama queen ‘Fast Eddy’ has subscribed to the World Hysteria Movement, as we should perhaps call it. Pop star ‘Madonna’ even did a COVID-19 broadcast from her bath. Perhaps we should also give Madonna the clap she so richly deserves. 😉

      • Ed says:

        Malcopian, yes it is sad to see FE seduced to the dark side. At the hospital my wife and son work at 130 mile north of NYC still ONE case. My friend who went to pick up HCQ ? HQC) in Jiryas Jeol life an normal there. It is like Tinker Bell you have to believe.

        • Malcopian says:

          Yes, it’s very weird, Ed. Maybe the Illum in ati have been warned that the ay – lee – ens are due to land and that all Earthlings must be kept indoors.

      • I have corresponded with several people with COVID-19, and none of those cases amounted to very much. I am sure I have had a biased sample. But it certainly supports 80% or more with very mild symptoms.

        • Stella says:

          Really? I thought you had a statistical background? Antidotal evidence? Sad…..I have talked to people in great shape that are in their 30’s and have gotten it and felt like they were going to die and could not breathe. I am sorry, I can understand a trumper saying stuff like you said but someone with a background in math? Statistics? I talked to someone who talked to someone etc…not very professional. You probably won’t even release this…post!

          • I didn’t say it was the only thing I looked at. Every calculation I make leads to the conclusion that the mortality rate is less than 1%, on a fully diluted basis.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You seem to have missed the videos of sick and dead people overflowing into the hallways of hospitals in Wuhan, Italy and now New York.

        If you are going to shout f a-ke news…. then you’ll have to explain why the PTB are f—aking this thing… and collapsing THEIR world.

        Someone told me that the banks are behind this (profiting) — they shut their hole when I pointed to the share prices of Goldman and JPM …. Goldman alone has lost 30B in market cap….

        I have a mate who is cooped up in his apartment in Hong Kong who works for an investment bank – he normally works 12+ hours a day… he is working ‘maybe 3’ – there is next to no business activity.

        Someone else suggested the MSM is creating hype to make money — they shut their hole when I pointed out the share prices of major media groups … and the fact that they are committing suicide because they are killing off their advertisers….

        So best not to trot those out.

        You may be out of touch with reality — but I am very much in touch — I just terminated a contract with a service provider yesterday — the CEO was effectively begging me to continue — he had cut his salary by half and axing staff because of a deluge of contract cancellations — as he put it ‘we’re all in this together’

        Sorry to hear this mate but I am in this for number one — my staff and my shareholders… and we are fighting for our lives too…

        I have some very good people who I have worked with for many years — who rely on me to keep the machine operating … so that they can feed their families and pay rent — and I am trying to work out how to keep them on board to the bitter end.

        This is very real. It’s not some hyped up Y2K scare.

        If you believe that then why don’t you venture out into NYC and lick some door knobs.

        Who would have thought that searching ‘licking door knobs’ would bring up such e ro tic results!!! Do girls have door knob fe ti shes? I never knew….×325.jpg

        • What I think you miss is how steady and low deaths (and for that matter, hospitalizations) are.

          With respect to deaths, the United Nations publishes expected crude death rates for individual countries. These are expected deaths relative to 1000 person years, over the period 2015-2020. For some sample countries, these are as follows:

          Australia 6.6
          China 7.1
          United States 8.7
          U. K. 9.4
          Spain 10.0
          Italy 10.6

          Estimates of the death rate per 1000 people who catch COVID-19 varies. A recent article published in Lancet gives this rate as 6.6. (Actually, it shows 0.66% of those who are infected, but this is equivalent. A recent German analysis says 0.4% = 40 per 1000)

          Now suppose that the expected deaths based on the Lancet analysis come in a 2 month period.

          The number of normal deaths in a 2 month period is as follows, based on the amounts above:

          Australia 1.1
          China 1.2
          United States 1.5
          U. K. 1.6
          Spain 1.7
          Italy 1.8

          Then the increase in the number of deaths in the two month period is 6.6.

          The crematoriums have to run overtime. The funeral homes cannot handle the load.

          In China, instead of having to handle 1.1 deaths per 1000, they would suddenly have to handle 7.7 deaths per 1000.

          In Italy, instead of having to handle 1.8 deaths per 1000, they would have to handle 8.4.

          Whatever system has been set up to handle dead bodies, can’t handle the bodies.

          The hospital bed system doesn’t really have slack built into it either, other than getting rid of all of the elective surgery, which is where hospitals make their money. They go bankrupt when you do that. Now we read about hospitals having to lay off staff, with their reduced funding.

          The issue isn’t so much that there are so many total deaths or hospitalizations. It is that the system is not set up to handle fluctuations. But shutting down the whole economy, to spread out deaths and hospitalizations doesn’t seem like a very good approach either.

        • Tim Groves says:

          We should have a better idea about how devastating Covid-19 is when we get the annual figures for deaths in 2020. Until then, best for us—Madonna included—not to lick any strangers’ knobs at all.

          If you are going to shout f a-ke news…. then you’ll have to explain why the PTB are f—aking this thing… and collapsing THEIR world.

          This is an important point. We don’t have to explain anything at all. It’s the PTB’s story, not ours. We have the right to accept it or reject it without giving reasons.

          In addition, without knowing the reasons why they might be faking, any explanation a doubter put forward would be mere conjecture.

          Carl Sagan famously wrote that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I don’t hold with that. Any claim requires adequate evidence if you want that claim to be accepted. As recipients or consumers of news, we are not required to accept anything others tell us at face value. If the claim is extraordinary, we are less likely to accept it unless we find the evidence persuasive or the source of the claim credible.

          One of the first questions we should always ask when presented with the news of the world is, how much credibility does the mass media, governments, international organizations and intelligence agencies have for us? If we find their credibility to be low, or zero, then we should look very critically at anything they choose to present to the public.

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            sure, like:

            don’t believe anything…

            (here’s a joke: it’s just the flu)…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Tim – while we may not know what the true numbers are with Wuhan … and if this is all hype…

            But I think we can be confident in terms of the impacts on the economy… unless this is the mother of the mother of the mother of all psyops…

            I was just in Queenstown for the first time — it is a ghost town… so all those people who would be working there are most definitely not.

            I can pop onto Air NZ or Cathay Pacific and try to book flights — and quickly reconfirm that they have slashed 96% of their flights.

            There are obviously many ways one can confirm the impacts of the Wuhan Virus….

            If the PTB have concocted this massive scam… then I need to understand why they would do this.

            Because if this continues …. I expect that this will eventually collapse the global economy… and that will end us and them …

            Why would they commit suicide?

            • China was in desperate shape with respect to fuel supplies when this all broke out, with their flat coal production. There were also academic types who thought they knew it all, with respect to modeling. They had had a conference in November, and needed something to try out their theories on. To add to the confusion, economists cannot seem to model the economy except to assume that whatever happened in the past will happen in the future.

              There was also the issue that this virus is very peculiar. Most people are hardly affected at all. Some are affected more but get over it quite easily. A few are very badly affected. Also, our testing for it is terrible. Estimates seem to be that 30% of the people who really have the illness will test negative.

              When you put these things together, President Xi in China was convinced to put into effect very stringent actions to control the spread of the virus. Then he lied about how successful his effort was.

              Also, people didn’t understand that without a vaccine, it is highly unlikely that we can actually stop the virus without herd immunity building up. So all of this social distancing is just about putting off getting the virus, not stopping the virus.

              People saw the images from China and were convinced we needed to “do something.” But they didn’t stop to think that stopping the economy made no sense.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              If you do something — you might buy a little time while praying for a miracle.

              If you do nothing — within weeks countries are very quickly overwhelmed and their economies collapse…

              We saw that in China when China covered this up – did nothing — the virus went viral — overwhelming Wuhan hospitals and creating a massive panic — workers refused to report to the factories … the situation appears to be somewhat better and the factories in China are coming back online (although threatened by a second wave of infections).

              If the CCP had not locked down Hubei — and just let this thing spread…. Walmart shelves would most definitely be empty by now.

              Of course there will be no miracle — we will end up in the same place one way or the other… but it is a brilliant sunny fall day here… we are not yet starving … so I am ok with the decision to lockdown.

              Anyway, I need more time to complete my knife fighting training … I’ll have my black belt in a few more weeks.

  39. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    all concert halls are silent…

  40. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    the Wall Street Journal has done a comprehensive analysis, and their conclusion:

    “In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic’s human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.”

    • Xabier says:

      What may very well become apparent is that it is both more contagious than hitherto supposed, and the absolute number of deaths far greater than now known (people dying at home – isn’t that what we say that we all want anyway, rather than a soulless hospital death or lingering on in a care home?) but that overall the actual mortality rate is relatively quite modest.

      How will it compare, in the end, to the mal-nutrition and even starvation caused by disrupted and broken supply chains and agriculture, and perhaps even failing water supplies (if spare parts and power are lacking)?

      But a pin-prick by comparison, probably: it has the potential to be the fabled flapping butterfly wing that causes a devastating tornado.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Xabier, I agree entirely. But to be fair to the world’s butterflies, should we not call this “the bat effect”? Film at 11.

    • What is striking, however, is if you take the wider Bergamo province, and look at the WSJ data, the death percentage may still not be all that bad. The chart says the population is 1.1 million people. There seem to be about 4,500 deaths by COVID-19, calculated by comparing actual deaths to expected deaths. If we compare 4,500 to 1.1 million, we come out to 0.4%, which is about the number that we might expect would die if everyone caught the illness. The medical system was overwhelmed. Many of these people never even saw the medical system. The people in Italy are disproportionately old and have pre-existing lung conditions.

      The numbers are not as dreadful a people make them out to be.

      The illness perhaps is not finished there, so the numbers may get worse. But these people will hopefully have immunity, when it comes back through again.

  41. Fast Eddy says:

    This … cannot be incompetence:

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Barely a month before Europe embarked on a scramble for masks, ventilators and testing kits to fight coronavirus, governments told Brussels their healthcare systems were ready and there was no need to order more stocks, EU documents show.

    This rosy assessment is in stark contrast to the shortages of masks and medical equipment just a few weeks later, when the European Commission estimated needs across EU states to be 10 times higher than would usually be available.

    Another piece added to the puzzle that indicates that this is a controlled demolition.

    • I am afraid “controlled demolition” is the correct description.

      There was a report published in the US evaluating ability to respond to an epidemic, about the same time. It ranks the US very high. In fact, China came out relatively well, too.

      It seems to be premised on a much smaller scale crisis that needed to be solved.

  42. Fast Eddy says:

    First the virus hit China. Then, it swept across Europe and North America. But the third wave – when it hits poor countries in Africa, Asia and South America – could be the deadliest yet. And without debt relief, the wave could be a tsunami.

    Rich countries have been absolutely ravaged by coronavirus – healthy populations, strong economies, and the world’s most advanced and well-funded healthcare systems all brought to their knees in a matter of weeks.

    Imagine then what will happen when it rips through countries plagued by malnutrition, HIV/AIDs, unemployment and poverty; where 3 billion people can’t even wash their hands with soap and water, according to UNICEF.

    Several countries in Africa spend more on servicing their debts than on healthcare and education. Countries like Angola and Ghana spend 55% of government revenue repaying debts! We can’t expect these governments to stop a pandemic while hemorrhaging all their precious resources.

    And they could be just days away from disaster.

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