COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

The COVID-19 story keeps developing. At first, everyone listened to epidemiologists telling us that a great deal of social distancing, and even the closing down of economies, would be helpful. After trying these things, we ended up with a huge number of people out of work and protests everywhere. We discovered the models that were provided were not very predictive. We are also finding that a V-shaped recovery is not possible.

Now, we need to figure out what actions to take next. How vigorously should we be fighting COVID-19? The story is more complex than most people understand. These are some of the issues I see:

[1] The share of COVID-19 cases that can be expected to end in death seems to be much lower than most people expect.

Most people assume that the ratios of deaths to cases by age group, computed using reported cases, such as those included in the Johns Hopkins Database, give a good indication of the chance of death a person faces if a person catches COVID-19. In fact, the cases reported to this database are far from representative of all cases; they tend to be the more severe cases. Cases with no symptoms, or only very slight symptoms, tend to be missed. The result is that ratios calculated directly from this database make people think their risk of death is far higher than it really is.

The US Center for Disease Control has published Planning Scenarios, based on information available on April 29, 2020.* Using this information, the CDC’s best estimate of the number of future deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms is as follows:

Ages 0 – 49    0.5 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 50-64    2.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

Ages 65+       13.0 deaths per 1000 cases with symptoms

The CDC’s best estimate is that 35% of cases have no symptoms at all. Thus, if we were to include these cases without symptoms in the chart above, the chart would become:

Ages 0-49   0.5 deaths per 1,538 cases (including those without symptoms), or 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 50-64  1.3 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

Ages 65+    8.5 deaths per 1000 cases with or without symptoms

A recent study of blood samples from 23 different parts of the world came to a similarly low estimate of the number of deaths per 1000 COVID-19 infections. It reported that among people who are less than 70 years old, the number of deaths per 1000 ranged from 0.0 to 2.3 per 1000, with a median of 0.4 deaths per 1000.

The same paper remarks,

COVID-19 seems to affect predominantly the frail, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized – as shown by high rates of infectious burden in nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons, meat processing plants, and the strong racial/ethnic inequalities against minorities in terms of the cumulative death risk.

[2] There seem to be things we can do ourselves to reduce our personal chance of serious illness or death.

General good health is protective against getting a bad case of COVID-19. Thus, anything that we can do in terms of a good diet and exercise is likely helpful. Staying inside for weeks on end in the hope of preventing exposure to COVID-19 is probably not helpful.

Continued exposure to huge amounts of disinfectants and hand sanitizers is likely not to be helpful either. Our bodies depend on healthy microbiomes, and products such as these adversely affect our microbiomes. They kill good and bad bacteria alike and may leave harmful residues. It is easy to scale back our personal use of these products.

There are recent indications that vitamin D is likely to be protective in reducing both the incidence of COVID-19 and the disease’s severity. Web MD reports:

Several groups of researchers from different countries have found that the sickest patients often have the lowest levels of vitamin D, and that countries with higher death rates had larger numbers of people with vitamin D deficiency than countries with lower death rates.

Experts say healthy blood levels of vitamin D may give people with COVID-19 a survival advantage by helping them avoid cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts and attacks your body’s own cells and tissues.

While we don’t know for certain that vitamin D is helpful, there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest that it would likely be worthwhile to raise vitamin D levels to the amount recommended by the National Institute of Health (30 nmol/L or higher). People with dark skin living in areas away from the equator might especially be helped by this strategy, since dark skin reduces vitamin D production.

Masks seem to be helpful in preventing the spread of infection. A person’s own immune system can handle some level of germs. If two people meeting together both wear masks, the combination of masks can perhaps reduce the level of germs to within the amount the immune system can handle. Our immune systems are built to handle a barrage of small attacks by viruses and bacteria. Continued “practice” with relatively low combinations of good and bad bacteria (as occur with masks) will tend to build up our bodies’ natural defenses.

We see dentists and dental hygienists wearing face shields. These shields are readily available over the internet and can be worn with a mask or by themselves. We don’t yet know precisely how much protection they provide, but early models suggest that they can be helpful in two directions: (a) preventing the wearer’s droplets from harming others and (b) reducing the droplet exposure from others. Thus, they may be a worthwhile way to reduce exposure to the virus causing COVID-19, even when others are not wearing masks.

[3] The medical community’s ability to treat COVID-19 cases keeps improving.

There seem to be many small changes that are improving treatment of COVID-19. If patients are having trouble getting enough oxygen, having them lie on their stomachs seems to increase their blood oxygen levels. The cost of this change is pretty much zero, but it keeps people out of the ICU longer.

Originally, planners thought that ventilators would be needed for patients with COVID-19, since ventilators are often used on pneumonia patients. Experience has shown, however, that oxygen plus something like a CPAP machine often works better and is less expensive.**

The simple change of not sending recuperating patients to nursing home-type facilities for the last stages of care has proven helpful, as well. Many of these patients can still infect others, leading to infections in long-term care facilities. Tests to tell whether patients are truly over the disease do not seem to be very accurate.

Last week, it was announced that treatment with an inexpensive common steroid could reduce deaths of people on ventilators by one-third. It could also reduce deaths of those requiring only oxygen treatment by 20%. Using this treatment should significantly reduce deaths, at little cost.

We can expect improvements in treatments to continue as doctors experiment with existing treatments, and as drug companies work on new solutions. Looking at cumulative historical mortality rates tends to overlook the huge learning curve that is taking place, allowing mortality rates to be lower.

[4] More doubts are being raised about quickly finding a vaccine that prevents COVID-19. 

The public would like to think that a vaccine solution is right around the corner. Vaccine promoters such as Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates would like to encourage this belief. Unfortunately, there are quite a few obstacles to getting a vaccine that actually works for any length of time:

(a) Antibodies for coronaviruses tend not to stay around for very long. A recent study suggests that even as soon as eight weeks, a significant share of COVID-19 patients (40% of those without symptoms; 12.9% of those with symptoms) had lost all immunity. A vaccine will likely face this same challenge.

(b) Vaccines may not work against mutations. Beijing is now fighting a new version of COVID-19 that seems to have been imported from Europe in food. Early indications are that people who caught the original Wuhan version of the COVID-19 virus will not be immune to the mutated version imported from Europe.

Vaccines that are currently under development use the Wuhan version of the virus. The catch is that the version of COVID-19 now circulating in the United States, Europe and perhaps elsewhere is mostly not the Wuhan type.

(c) There is a real concern that a vaccine against one version of COVID-19 will make a person’s response to a mutation of COVID-19 worse, rather than better. It has been known for many years that Dengue Fever has this characteristic; it is one of the reasons that there is no vaccine for Dengue Fever. The earlier SARS virus (which is closely related to the COVID-19 virus) has this same issue. Preliminary analysis suggests that the virus causing COVID-19 seems to have this characteristic, as well.

In sum, getting a vaccine that actually works against COVID-19 is likely to be a huge challenge. Instead of expecting a silver bullet in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine, we probably need to be looking for a lot of silver bee-bees that will hold down the impact of the illness. Hopefully, COVID-19 will someday disappear on its own, but we have no assurance of this outcome.

[5] The basic underlying issue that the world economy faces is overshoot, caused by too high a population relative to underlying resources.

When an economy is in overshoot, the big danger is collapse. The characteristics of overshoot leading to collapse include the following:

  • Very great wage disparity; too many people are very poor
  • Declining health, often due to poor nutrition, making people vulnerable to epidemics
  • Increasing use of debt, to make up for inadequate wages and profits
  • Falling commodity prices because too few people can afford these commodities and goods made from these commodities
  • Gluts of commodities, causing farmers to plow under crops and oil to be put into storage

Thus, pandemics are very much to be expected when an economy is in overshoot.

One example of collapse is that following the Black Death (1348-1350) epidemic in Europe. The collapse killed 60% of Europe’s population and dropped Britain’s population from close to 5 million to about 2 million.

Figure 1. Britain’s population, 1200 to 1700. Chart by Bloomberg using Federal Reserve of St. Louis data.

We might say that there was a U-shaped population recovery, which took about 300 years.

A later example that almost led to collapse was the period between 1914 and 1945. This was a period of shrinking international trade, indicating that something was truly wrong. On Figure 2 below, the WSJ calls its measure of international trade the “Trade Openness Index.” The period 1914-1945 is highlighted as being somewhat like today.

Figure 2. The Trade Openness Index is an index based on the average of world imports and exports, divided by world GDP. Chart by Wall Street Journal.

Many of the issues in the 1914-1945 timeframe were coal related. World War I took place when coal depletion became a problem in Britain. The issue at that time was wages that were too low for coal miners because the price of coal would not rise very high. Higher coal prices were needed to offset the impact of depletion, but high coal prices were not affordable by citizens.

The Pandemic of 1918-1919 killed far more people than either World War I or COVID-19.

World War II came about at the time coal depletion became a problem in Germany.

Figure 3. Figure by author describing peak coal timing compared to World War I and World War II.

The problem of inadequate energy resources finally ended when World War II ramped up demand through more debt and through more women entering the labor force for the first time. In response, the US began pumping oil out of the ground at a faster rate. Instead of depending on coal alone, the world began depending on a combination of oil and coal as energy resources. The ratio of population to energy resources was suddenly brought back into balance again, and collapse was averted!

[6] We are now in another period of overshoot of population relative to resources. The critical resource this time is oil. The alternatives we have aren’t suited to fulfilling our most basic need: the growing and transportation of food. They act as add-ons that are lost if oil is lost.

If we look back at Figure 2 above, it shows that since 2008, the world has again fallen into a period of shrinking imports and exports, which is a sign of “not enough energy resources to go around.” We are also experiencing many of the other characteristics of an overshoot economy that I mentioned in Section 5 above.

Figure 4 shows world energy consumption by type of energy through 2019, using recently published data by BP. The “Other” combination in Figure 4 includes nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other smaller categories such as geothermal energy, wood pellets, and sawdust burned for fuel.

Figure 4. World energy consumption by fuel, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Oil has been rising at a steady pace; coal consumption has been close to level since about 2012. Natural gas and “Other” seem to be rising a little faster in the most recent few years.

If we divide by world population, the trend in world energy consumption per capita by type is as follows:

Figure 5. World Per Capita Energy Consumption based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy

Many people would like to think that the various energy sources are substitutable, but this is not really the case, as we approach limits of a finite world.

One catch is that there are very few stand-alone energy resources. Most energy resources only work within a framework provided by other energy sources. Wood that is picked up from the forest floor can work as a stand-alone energy source. Wind can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it is used to power a simple sail boat or a wooden windmill. Water can almost be used as a stand-alone energy source, if it can be made to turn a wooden water wheel.

Coal, when its use was ramped up, enabled the production of both concrete and steel. It allowed modern hydroelectric dams to be built. It allowed steam engines to operate. It truly could be used as a stand-alone energy source. The main obstacle to the extraction of coal was keeping the cost of extraction low enough, so that, even with transportation, buyers could afford to purchase the coal.

Oil, similarly, can be a stand-alone energy solution because it is very flexible, dense, and easily transported. Or it can be paired with other types of less-expensive energy, to make it go further. We can see our dependence on oil by how level energy consumption per capita is in Figure 5 since the early 1980s. Growth in population seems to depend upon the amount of oil available.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the economy is a self-organizing system. If there isn’t enough of the energy products upon which the economy primarily depends, the system tends to change in very strange ways. Countries become more quarrelsome. People decide to have fewer children or they become more susceptible to pandemics, bringing population more in line with energy resources.

The problem with natural gas and with the electricity products that I have lumped together as “Other” is that they are not really stand-alone products. They cannot grow food or build roads. They cannot power international jets. They cannot build wind turbines or solar panels. They cannot put natural gas pipelines in place. They can only exist in a complex environment which includes oil and perhaps coal (or other cheaper energy products).

We are kidding ourselves if we think we can transition to modern fuels that are low in carbon emissions. Without high prices, oil and coal that are in the ground will tend to stay in the ground permanently. This is the serious obstacle that we are up against. Without oil and coal, natural gas and electricity products will quickly become unusable.

[7] A major problem with COVID-19 related shutdowns is the fact that they lead to very low commodity prices, including oil prices. 

Figure 6. Inflation-adjusted monthly average oil prices through May 2020. Amounts are Brent Spot Oil Prices, as published by the EIA. Inflation adjustment is made using the CPI-Urban Index.

Oil is the primary type of energy used in growing and transporting food. It is used in many essential processes, including in the production of electricity. If its production is to continue, its price must be both high enough for oil producers and low enough for consumers.

The problem that we have been encountering since 2008 (the start of the latest cutback in trade in Figure 2) is that oil prices have been falling too low for producers. Now, in 2020, oil production is beginning to fall. This is happening because producing companies cannot afford to extract oil at current prices; governments of oil exporting countries cannot collect enough taxes at current prices. They hope that by reducing oil supply, prices will rise again.

If extraordinarily low oil prices persist, a calamity similar to the one that “Peak Oilers” have worried about will certainly occur: Oil supply will begin dropping. In fact, the drop will likely be much more rapid than most Peak Oilers have imagined, because the drop will be caused by low prices, rather than the high prices that they imagined would occur.

Amounts which are today shown as “proven reserves” can be expected to disappear because they will not be economic to extract. Governments of oil exporting countries seem likely to be overthrown because tax revenue from oil is their major source of revenue for programs such as food subsidies and jobs programs. When this disappears, governments of oil exporters are forced to cut back, lowering the standard of living of their citizens.

[8] What our strategy should be from now on is not entirely clear.

Of course, one path is straight into collapse, as happened after the Black Death of 1348-1352 (Figure 1). In fact, the carrying capacity of Britain might still be about 2 million. Its current population is about 68 million, so this would represent a population reduction of about 97%.

Other countries would experience substantial population reductions as well. The population decline would reflect many causes of death besides direct deaths from COVID-19; they would reflect the impacts of collapsing governments, inadequate food supply, polluted water supplies, and untreated diseases of many kinds.

If a large share of the population stays hidden in their homes trying to avoid COVID, it seems to me that we are most certainly heading straight into collapse. Supply lines for many kinds of goods and services will be broken. Oil prices and food prices will stay very low. Farmers will plow under crops, trying to raise prices. Gluts of oil will continue to be a problem.

If we try to transition to renewables, this leads directly to collapse as well, as far as I can see. They are not robust enough to stand on their own. Prices of oil and other commodities will fall too low and gluts will occur. Renewables will only last as long as (a) the overall systems can be kept in good repair and (b) governments can support continued subsidies.

The only approach that seems to keep the system going a little longer would seem to be to try to muddle along, despite COVID-19. Open up economies, even if the number of COVID-19 cases is higher and keeps rising. Tell people about the approaches they can use to limit their exposure to the virus, and how they can make their immune systems stronger. Get people started raising their vitamin D levels, so that they perhaps have a better chance of fighting the disease if they get COVID-19.

With this approach, we keep as many people working for as long as possible. Life will go on as close to normal, for as long as it can. We can perhaps put off collapse for a bit longer. We don’t have a lot of options open to us, but this one seems to be the best of a lot of poor options.

Notes:

*The CDC estimates are estimates of future deaths per 1000 cases. Thus, they probably reflect the learning curve that has already taken place. It is unlikely that they reflect the benefit of the new steroid treatment mentioned in Section 3, because this finding occurred after April 29.

**I have been told that disease spread can be a problem when using CPAP machines, however. Using ventilators at very low pressure settings seems also to be a solution.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , , , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

2,824 thoughts on “COVID-19 and the economy: Where do we go from here?

    • Yes, that is a very fine post of Wolf Richter. I notice that he show a chart of natural gas prices. This indicates that they are at the lowest level in recent memory in 2020. He also comments on the many bankruptcies of coal companies. The low price problem exists for all fossil fuels, not just oil.

  1. From the Bay Area, Santa Clara County:

    “The County’s eviction moratorium has been extended through August 31, 2020. Tenants now have up to 6 months after the moratorium expires or terminates to repay at least 50% of the past-due rent, and up to 12 months after the moratorium expires or terminates to repay in full the past-due rent.”

    For landlords:

    “You still have a right to collect rent if the tenant qualifies for protection under the moratorium. However, the tenant has 6 months after the moratorium ends to repay at least 50% of the past-due rent and 12 months after the moratorium ends to repay in full the past-due rent. You cannot charge a late fee. Before initiating any repayment plan with a tenant protected under this moratorium, you must first inform the tenant of these repayment protections​.” ​

    https://www.sccgov.org/sites/osh/EvictionMoratorium/Pages/home.aspx?fbclid=IwAR1lZDeoZ8OPPi8KrM14eGzD0lbbZLfimKp55BZBPzwe1G7S_ZekAToAUvg

    If there ever is an end to this scamdemic, will unemployed tenants suddenly get jobs with enough income to support their living expenses AND pay their past-due rent? If not, will they be driven further into debt slavery to get by? Or will they be saved by the government through a Universal Basic Income program?

    • “Tenants now have up to 6 months after the moratorium expires or terminates to repay at least 50% of the past-due rent…”

      so this is what they have “planned”:

      tenants will start paying their rent again in September, will not pay a dime of the past-due rent, and will move out within 6 months.

      2021 could be even messier than 2020.

      • If tenants attempt to do this, they will have zero funds for anything else. We can expect a big drop in used auto purchases. We can expect a big drop in any kind of discretionary expenditures.

    • If the Dems take both houses and presidency there could be UBI, reparations, bailout of irresponsible cities and states,and a large infrastructure program. Their economist guru of MMT fame(Dr Kelton) says just print and print . it’s not a problem until it is.

  2. You may have noticed that I migrated the site to a different “theme.” This is a very similar theme to the one I used before. It supposedly displays better on portable devices. It also allows a reader to translate using Google Translate.

    You will notice that the right side bar appears only on the home page. The later pages don’t show widgets down the side. I suppose that this is so that portable devices can reproduce more accurately what is shown on a full-sized computer.

    On the pages that show individual posts, I can add more “widgets” at the bottom, if you like. For example, I added a Google Translate button on each sheet. I am wondering if I should try to put the “Recent comments” widget at the bottom, so it will show up on individual posts.

    Let me know if there are other things that need changing. This theme allows a person to change fonts, background colors and many other things.

    • I liked the other theme better, but maybe it was just out of habit, since I’m an animal of habits and I hate changes (my soul firmly believes every change is for worse!) But probably a month from now this theme will be my favorite ever. Anyway, it’s just graphics.

      • I did too. A consultant whom I talked to thought that perhaps this theme would be preferable for a few reasons. It should load faster on some computers, for example.

        Before talking to the consultant, we were concerned that perhaps the prior theme was contributing to the red flags that Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Edge is giving the site. That doesn’t seem to be the case, so I need to work on that problem a different way. I have started down that path.

        In theory, I could migrate the site back to the old theme if I want to. The two themes are fairly similar, so it is not very hard to change back and forth. The old one is called Two Thousand Ten. The new one is called Two Thousand Eleven. You can guess what years they were developed. Neither is very new.

        • They say a change is as good as a rest. I too am a creature of habit, but I don’t see any problems looking at or using the new theme. And I’m sure all of us visit lots of different blogs that use many different layouts, and we have no trouble flipping between them.

          • This layout is more aesthetically pleasing IMO and works better on my phone but I do miss being able to see on on the current page who has posted most recently. I am on the fence then.

            • Seems I prefer the old format also, just feels more right and easier on the eyes to read and follow.

            • Herbie, the new layout has smaller text on my computer screen, which was a bit difficult for my old eyes to read. To get around that, I used the Zoom In feature on my browser and now it’s much easier on the eyes.

      • Recent comments are on the sidebar of the front page right now. I can change this so that they are at the bottom (footer) of the current post. (At least in theory. I haven’t tried this.)

    • I figured out what was wrong with my old browser, at least from the view of Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Defender. People using Microsoft Edge as their only browser could not read my posts at all. I know my sister-in-law in Nashville complained about this issue, because she uses only Microsoft Edge. It turns out something about the widgets that allowed people to leave their email addresses or to sign up for RSS feeds seems to upset the Microsoft products. They are concerned that I might use emails collected in this way for spam. Or I might leave cookies on your site. Give me a break!!

      For right now, I don’t have any widgets at all on the front of OurFiniteWorld.com to use to sign up to be on the email list for OurFiniteWorld.com or for comments. I think you can still sign up for responses to comments you made, but I am not certain.

      There seem to be some newer widgets available that might work to allow sign-ups. I will look into this. They may put up the ridiculous “accept cookies” option, except that I don’t use cookies! I will talk to my happiness engineer at WordPress about the issue.

    • “Let me know if there are other things that need changing.”

      Well, if you’d like to pay us $1 per comment, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed, Gail 😀

      Ohhh, changes to the layout / format / theme you mean…

      Well, I like this new layout / format / theme save for one big problem – by the time you get down to the “third tier” comment responses, they’re all squished up and pretty difficult to read. At least in my phone anyway.

      Cheers,
      -GBV

      • I think that that is a problem with comments on a phone, regardless.

        I can set the maximum depth of comments at 3 instead of the current 5. That would make it necessary to start new threads more often. I won’t do that right yet, until I hear what other commenters have to say on this subject. The new format does give a little bit better idea of who is replying to whom, viewed on my computer.

        It is hard for me to know who uses which type of device. I would expect that in lower income countries, a higher percentage of readers would use phones. Retired people in high income countries I expect will mostly use computers.

        • Dear Gail, please do not reduce the depth of comments. I have found the extended dialogues with other OFW contributors a most refreshing critique and counterpoint to my own views. It has been a learning experience i would like to continue.

          • That is what I am thinking. If people are reading with phones, they will still have a problem. They had a problem before, I expect, as well.

  3. https://www.rt.com/russia/494361-covid19-vaccine-russia-final-stage/

    ‘As Russia begins final stage of coronavirus vaccine trial, volunteers are confirmed to have immunity – and no side effects’

    “It said that data obtained by scientists “indicates that volunteers in the first and second groups formed an immune response after injections of the vaccine against the coronavirus.”

    “On Thursday, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced that research was underway on 17 separate Russian coronavirus vaccines, of which the Gamelei drug is just one.”

    I would take this article for face value, i.e. it’s gone well through phase II trials, but until there is robust data from phase III, we won’t know for sure it’s effectiveness. We also don’t know how long immunity will be remain in the body, ready for exposure to live virus later. One problem so far is immune response provides antibodies, but only for a short duration. Ideally a single shot & maybe a booster later will be all that’s needed, but it could also be a scenario in which booster shots need to be administered on a recurring basis. We also don’t know if the virus will mutate as it encounters antibodies.

    What is exciting is numerous corona virus vaccines are now in phase III trials. Data should be forthcoming in the next few months.

    • I would strive to avoid the application of any such vaccine for myself or my children. There are already far too many assaults on our immune systems making us chronically sick.

      But of course it is the job of that vampire industry called Big Pharma to make us sick and keep us sick.

      • Also, just like viral infection side effects, vaccine side effects often don’t show up for years or even decades, and then—if you are unlucky—it’s Pow! Wham! IMHO, it would be irresponsible to conclude “no side effects” based on an observation of “no side effects so far”, and unwise to accept any newly formulated vaccine that hasn’t be subjected to rigorous testing over at least five years.

        • I do not understand what you are trying to suggest.

          Are you saying that if I do not take an untested, unnecessary and likely highly dangerous flu shot, certain lunatics will compel me to wear a face mask?

          If I do not permanently compromise the long term health of my children, I will be forced to wear a mask?

          Why? How? Please explain.

        • Vaccines are not going to eliminate COVID-19 and may do more harm than good.

          Different experts are offer different advice, and people can take their pick. But IMHO, masks are not going to make much difference to infection rates apart from in specific situations such as in hospitals. In most other situations the risk of becoming ill is minimal provided you wash your hands after one of the infected sneezes in your direction.

          Voluntary mask wearing is fine, but there is absolutely no need to compel others to wear masks in public merely in order to avoid triggering panic attacks among mysophobes.

          People are going to have to learn that their pathological fear of germs is their own problem and to stop taking out on the rest of us.

          Hopefully, this will become clear to everybody as time goes by.

    • What is exciting is numerous corona virus vaccines are now in phase III trials.

      This is precisely the kind of excitement I can well do without.

      • the vaccine, I will refuse.

        I will not try to refuse it.

        do or do not take the vaccine, there is no try.

        • I would simply slip $20 across the table and in return take my stamped vaccination card. Same way I got my driver’s license?

    • There are multiple research and articles that the receovered patients of Covid-19 do not show immunity after 3-4 months from infection. Except small 2-3% group.

      If the real virus/infection cannot teach your body immunity, how can the vaccine? Can someone explain this mystery?

  4. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

    New Daily Cases Records – Day just ended so click at link on yesterday

    Globally: 236,918 (not far from 1/4 million)
    USA: 71,787 (not that far now from Fauci’s warned potential 100,000 a day new cases)
    India: 27,761 (keeps ratcheting up)

    • good point:

      it’s not just the USA, it’s global. it’s 75% in other countries!

      it’s almost as if the virus can’t be stopped.

      here’s my warning: 250,000 a day new cases in the USA later this Summer, and one million a day globally.

      who is going to stop me from being correct?

      • oh wait, the actual math says 70% in other countries.

        what’s wrong with the rest of the world?

        • A case is simply a person who obtains a positive PRC or antibody test result. It should be a matter of indifference as it could very well be a false positive and in any case will most probably will not result in illness. But pronouncing someone, particularly an already old and infirm person, “COVID-19 positive” is a great way of scaring them to death.

          • As the number of COVID cases rises, the availability of processing tests (after they have been taken) does not rise as rapidly. In the US, the wait for test results becomes longer and longer, I understand. Sometimes there is also an issue of a long wait to obtain the test in the first place. Thus, there is an increasingly long time between exposure and test results becoming available. The value of the test becomes less and less. The lag between the time test results are available and the time when deaths would be expected to occur would seem to become shorter and shorter.

            At some point, we have to cut back on COVID-19 tests. Perhaps the tests are needed to make certain that health care workers are not currently infected and to make certain that patients who plan to have surgery are not currently infected. But it is not clear exactly who else needs to be tested. People who are working closely together in a meat packing plant, for example?

      • This is related to the point I made in responding to another comment. There seem to be two types of immunity: (1) T-cell immunity and (2) antibodies against the particular virus. Most people, simply because of the colds they have had and other opportunities to fight against similar virus, such as the earlier SARS, seem to already have immunity, presumably of the T-cell type. We don’t have a good way of measuring this immunity, however.

  5. the plan is to cull the population with the vaccine if you watched the documentary “Plandemic” you would be on the same page as me and know where the virus came from .

    • Since the world population continues to rise, I guess the cabal didn’t think things through.

      • Oh wait–you mean that the vaccine (which we don’t have yet) will cull the world’s population. Okay, carry on then.

        • Many people, if they avoid other ways of dying, will die the death of a thousand cuts. Lots of cumulative assaults and unwise lifestyle choices can add up over a lifetime.

          Vaccines are interventions that are specifically designed to provoke an immune response. Is it any wonder that an immune system that has been “provoked” excessively can become dysfunctional? Surely even Duncan can understand that?

      • despite being smart billionaire elites, the cabal sure can come up with some quite inncompetent “plans”.

        • They do come up with a lot of plans. So did Napoleon. He had a strategic policy of keeping many balls in the air at once, then, if the winds blew this way or that, he would apply a particular plan, or reuse its resourcez.

          Despite being one of the greatest military minds in history, his plans for the invasion of England were worse than incompetent. He had no idea of what he was doing.

          But he had a notion that particular plans didn’t matter. The whole national militarized beast just had to maintain its momentum and he would improvise off that.

          It was an incredibly wasteful and expensive process. But what did he care?The important point wasn’t that millions died or were impoverished but that it was all dedicated to the glorification of Gates, Soros, Fauci, …oops…sorry, Napoleon.

          • The general trend is what is most important, strategically speaking. It doesn’t really matter if we fail to achieve specific short term goals, as long as in the process of trying to achieve them, the long term strategic goals are advanced.

            The main strategic goal is always the same: more centralized power. Less individual choice.

            In a strategic sense then, the flu hoax has been a resounding success.

            • Unfortunately the mid-term result will be the inflaming of such popular unrest that it makes 2019 look like a picnic and a hastening of total socio-economic collapse.

              The long-term result will be the death of most if not all humans, probably including your Machiavellian anti-heroes.

          • One of Napoleon’s main assets (other than his tactical genius) was his emphasis on mobility. He trained his troops by means of forced marches, believing they would learn not to get tired. (Didn’t work at the battle of Borodino, the last battle in the Russian campaign that he “officially” won). He also taught his gunners how to move quickly, which probably cost him the Battle of Waterloo, because he waited for the ground to become dry enough to move cannon, and then launched an attack that didn’t need the cannon to be moved.

            His invasion of England was hopeless because he never understood naval tactics. Ships becalmed cannot be made mobile; ships with the wing gage cannot be evaded. As he did not learn from the Battle of the Nile, and it cost him Trafalgar. Britain’s unparalleled series of naval victories was discussed with great clarity by Alfred Thayer Mahon (of course), and would repay study today.

            • There is a very interesting (and well written) book called Bonaparte in Egypt by J. Christopher Herold. A fascinating read. I am sure it can be found online. He really treated his men badly and they had a terrible time of it there.

            • Napoleon also made the mistake of underestimating the Spanish, sending mostly 2nd-class troops to occupy Madrid and the other larger cities.

              To him, of course, the Peninsular was a peripheral theatre of war.

              When the Spanish saw them they said to themselves ‘Is this the Grand Army? What runts!’ This made an uprising seem practical.

              The Spanish war also enabled the British to harden and perfect their infantry, and this greatly assisted them in holding out at Waterloo, – they were nearly all veterans of the Peninsular campaigns – waiting for the Germans to sweep in and win the day.

    • No kidding! Unless governments everywhere do something to “extend and pretend.” Even at that, there will be a basic problem of not enough goods and services to go around.

  6. “It is when the broad masses “lose faith” in their currencies that things really start to move… I am guessing that this will happen in 2021.

    “But, I am not too concerned about that. Years ago, I figured that this would be the endgame, and there wouldn’t be much anyone could do about it.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanlewis/2020/07/10/modern-monetary-theory-goes-mainstream/?fbclid=IwAR2uwpfQxmEVKUaF9xvaz1S-APScxEBourAnayqI7PjHOsA7jFUYSFyWlag#77fc09fd21e5

    • Interesting chart! Too bad it only goes up to 1960. I would expect it to continue to go trend downward until recently.

      It looks like during collapse/major recession, reserves are high relative to deposits. No one wants to borrow money. They fall as a percentage of deposits when demand is higher. The Civil War period was very similar to the 1930s, in some ways.

  7. “…the US economy was only able to rise from its sickbed last month because of the federal government’s fiscal life support. The disbursement of $1,200 relief checks and $600-a-week federal unemployment benefits has enabled personal income in the U.S. to rise since the onset of the pandemic.

    “But once the stimulus checks were cashed, household income began to decline; and if Congress refuses to extend the $600 unemployment bonus when it expires at July’s end, consumer purchasing power will plummet.

    “What’s more, although the CARES Act’s provisions have left many working people better off, others have fallen through our welfare state’s many cracks.”

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/congress-coronavirus-recession-stimulus-relief-unemployment-insurance.html

  8. Common sense would suggest that we will see a resurgence of the unrest of 2019 in the coming months, with popular discontent exacerbated by lockdown-induced hardships. Congo was one of many hot spots of unrest last year:

    “At least three people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as protests in several cities against the nomination of an election commission head turned violent.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/drc-3-killed-protests-election-chief-nomination-200710074318115.html

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