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 virus 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.


*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.




About Gail Tverberg

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

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has warned that there are “tragic projections” for unemployment in the months ahead in a dire reflection on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK economy.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “More by accident than design, the Covid-19 crisis has exposed an army of zombie managers and employees. In truth, the private sector as much as the public has fallen victim to a culture of overstaffing, with armies of people employed to do nothing much more than, in effect, shuffle paper-clips from one side of the desk to another.

      “With a huge downturn, all that is about to be swept away…”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Hardline policing may provoke civil unrest, UK government warned… “Real sense of calamity on the way, says police commissioner, as lockdown eases and tensions rise.”

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Around 140 officers have been injured in London in the last three weeks, the Metropolitan Police commissioner has revealed.

          “Cressida Dick said the aggression shown to officers at recent illegal street parties in the capital has been “utterly unacceptable”.”

          • Robert Firth says:

            Then why does she continue to accept it? Ah yes, because Black Looters Matter.

            • Xabier says:

              All too true.

              It’s disquieting to see the shambolic state of the police forces in the UK, but above all the London Met, who seem to be willing to do anything to appease the criminal class, and above all unruly ethnic minority (actually absolute majority, where they reside) ‘communities’.

              The person of a police officer , carrying out lawful duties in a proper manner, has to be sacrosanct: once that has been lost and people feel they can assault officers at will, the game is almost over.

      • The economy has been moving in the direction of simplification in many ways. More single person transport, instead of public transport. Shorter menus. Fewer small businesses. Fewer managers in big businesses. The economy is losing complexity.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          I recall a mystic struggling to find words to describe God as experienced in his lengthy meditations and finally alighting on the term, “Utter simplicity.”

          It struck me that perhaps our addiction to piling complexity on complexity is therefore the antithesis of the divine – a turning away from, and an attempt to supplant the vast natural intelligence of the universe with the conceits of our puny conceptual minds.

          How could such a hubristic misallocation of trust not end badly?

        • Artleads says:

          But we’re addicted to telephones and cars. If we did without too many of these conveniences, might we not slide back too far to be civilized? Could the problem not be that, having already a fine level of complexity, we don’t know when to stop?

          • Lidia17 says:

            I think we reach the level of complexity that available energy and structures built with that energy allow. Complex structures are a bridge to more energy, but themselves require energy to construct and maintain.

            God may be “utter simplicity” but the vast and myriad organic and inorganic complexes that make up the natural universe certain are anything but simple. They may, however, follow simple rules (which we choose to ignore, make futile attempts to overcome, or endeavor to politicize).

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            We can’t stop now, as we have collectively created a self-organising super-entity with its own needs and agenda.

            But I sometimes wonder if it is our divergence from the natural world and our building up of artificial complexity that is the true meaning of the term, “original sin”.

            I recall Jesus said:

            “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

            [Matthew 6:26]

            • Xabier says:

              The simplification of life in some senses is often a part of various mystic paths or Ways, certainly, both of East and West.

              The Divine vision, as experienced by mystics, is also often expressed as the unity and simplicity of a single Source of light.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Agreed. However, that single person transport will be bicycles, scooters, or (horror) feet. And the biggest simplification will be the replacement of global food by local food. Unfortunately, since about 80% of the world population relies on global food, the result will be famine. You can find a full description of our predicament right here:

      • Robert Firth says:

        After a thorough search of my desk (it’s in my study and the computer sits on top of it) I have found exactly zero paper clips. Where O where have I failed?

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Argentina will extend and tighten a lockdown in and around Buenos Aires following a sharp rise in cases of the novel coronavirus in recent weeks, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday…

    “Fernandez urged people not to get angry at the lockdown, but rather at the disease, as he looked to head off discontent over the economic impact the health crisis has had on businesses…”

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned Friday that Syria is facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, reporting 9.3 million civilians lacking adequate food in the civil war-stricken country.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The UN has warned that millions of Yemeni children are at risk of starvation because of “huge” shortfalls in humanitarian funding at a time that the coronavirus pandemic has caused the near total collapse of the war-ravaged Arab state’s health system.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Zimbabwe has faced a lot of disruption this year – from drought to Covid-19 pandemic the situation could not have been worse for the landlocked African country…

        “The country currently needs over $300 million to feed eight million Zimbabweans. And there are… cases where children are simply dying of starvation.”

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “The United Nations said an abandoned oil tanker moored off the coast of Yemen loaded with more than 1 million barrels of crude oil is at risk of rupture or exploding, causing massive environmental damage to Red Sea marine life, desalination factories and international shipping routes.”

        • Actually, Zimbabweans need food. Printed money doesn’t necessarily work.

        • Ed says:

          I would prefer if this type of info were stated as Zimbabwe has 15.1 million people and food for 12.3 million people so 2.8 million people will need to be removed from the population.

          • Chrome Mags says:

            “2.8 million people will need to be removed from the population.”

            What’s your proposal for how to do that?

            • Ed says:

              any of the four horsemen. Or, you are free to take them in.

            • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              this has been well discussed.

              feed them now and then more starve later.

              the UN will be trying to arrange food programs for now.

              there is enough food in the world for everyone, so the UN problem is distribution.

              the degrading economy will mean that distribution will become increasingly difficult.

            • GBV says:

              “In the left hand column, I’ve listed some of those things that we should encourage if we want to raise the rate of growth of population and in so doing, make the problem worse. Just look at the list. Everything in the list is as sacred as motherhood. There’s immigration, medicine, public health, sanitation. These are all devoted to the humane goals of lowering the death rate and that’s very important to me, if it’s my death they’re lowering. But then I’ve got to realise that anything that just lowers the death rate makes the population problem worse.

              There’s peace, law and order; scientific agriculture has lowered the death rate due to famine—that just makes the population problem worse. It’s widely reported that the 55 mph speed limit saved thousands of lives—that just makes the population problem worse. Clean air makes it worse.

              Now, in this column are some of the things we should encourage if we want to lower the rate of growth of population and in so doing, help solve the population problem. Well, there’s abstention, contraception, abortion, small families, stop immigration, disease, war, murder, famine, accidents. Now, smoking clearly raises the death rate; well, that helps solve the problem.”


              The video is over an hour long, so I won’t post it, but it’s worth hunting down. I believe it can be found on YouTube?

              Here’s another interview with Bartlett on the same topic:



            • Robert Firth says:

              My proposal? “Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret” (Horace, epistles). In other words, do nothing, and let Nature take its course. You cannot solve a predicament; you can only make it worse.

        • Zimbabwe has unwittingly made itself the microcosm of the world we live in. A tide of mass hysteria throwing humankind about like a riptide

          Zim was a net energy producer, then collective hysteria made them destroy the very source of their wealth, (the white-owned farms) A promise of universal prosperity. White farmers were to blame for their poverty so they got rid of them.
          Zim is now a basket case.

          Venezuela was overtaken by a similar hysteria–thinking their oil industry should provide jobs/wealth for everyone. A promise of a job for life for everybody. That didnt work either. Venezueala is now a basket case

          The USA caught a hysteria of which Trump was the symptom, not the cause. The American Dream was a promise that could not be delivered or sustained. As above–the poor and middle classes of the USA are being sidelined while the wealthy pretend all is well, and pay the police to suppress violent unrest.

          The Don needs unrest to justify greater suppression–maybe even ‘delay’ the Nov election?
          That is standard procedure for dictators. With 40m on food (energy) support, the USA is close to or at basket case level because that level of required energy input is unsustainable. (Irrespective of Covid)
          His incoherence makes me think he might have a breakdown before November. But Trumpism as a fascist concept will not go away. A dictatorship seems likely. And the hysterical free-dumb gun toting supporters will believe it. Just like Zimbabwe they are promised prosperity forever if they can find someone else to blame for their poverty.
          Hitler said the same thing in 1933, and the Germans believed him.

          Covid has exacerbated the world scenario of hysteria. Made everyone realise just what we doomsters have always known: just what a thin thread we hang on.

          Which serves to rev up the hysteria even more. Millions pack our beaches because hysteria leaves them with the inability to think of anywhere else to go. Normally they would be flying somewhere a long way away this time of year, and gf and self could have our lovely English beach pretty much to ourselves. We are disinclined to share it with (literally) half a million idiots. Selfish or sensible?

          Are we watching human lemmings maybe?

          • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            NP, it’s late, you must be getting tired. (even the best get tired.)

            “A dictatorship seems likely.”

            somehow, crossing the Atlantic, some information must go through a kind of transformation where is comes out warpped in the UK.

            over here!… I see nothing much at all that suggests that anyone is thinking that the November elections will be postponed.

            the elections will be disputed, debated, enraged, rigged, and the campaigns are and will be filled with the usual pile of lies and slanders and propaganda and platitudes.

            then one of the two white guys, both with signs of onsetting dementia, will be elected.

            others on this side of the pond might disagree, but I would put odds on the election happening at 99%.

            • Xabier says:

              From over here, I could envisage a kind of ‘tyranny of the mob’ – of Left or Right, more likely Left at present – developing in the US, as that is one of the elementary diseases of democracy as a political system, but not a personal dictatorship as such.

              Hillary Clinton has, by all the evidence, a far greater love of power and is, as women are apt to be, far more malevolent, than Trump; but even she could only have ruled by courtesy of the real powers – banks, the intelligence community, the military industrial complex, not as a dictator.

              Dictatorship would require the abolition of elections, and that does not seem at all likely at present.

            • i did put a question mark after my point about election ‘delay’

              but I’m not the only one saying it.

              Even in this OFW ongoing debate, the consensus of opinion is that the US industrial economic system is unsustainable. (As are all others, ultimately)

              It is also agreed that the majority cannot and will not accept this basic reality. My comment theme above is that they will react hysterically in a collective sense.

              That being so, when the ‘system’ collapses, the denying majority will react as they always do, with mindless violence. The only response available to any government is opposing violence.
              ‘reason’ won’t work, because all mobs demand food first, and then jobs. (check it out). People with secure jobs food and homes do not riot. the BLM rioters fit that description. Their lives are not secure. They think they see an opportunity to change that.

              No use promising a starving man food and wages next year. He will loot the grocery store today.

              in the collapsed system (ie depleted energy resources) those things will not be available, at least not in the volume needed to support our way of life. Covid has unexpectedly accelerated our problems, by breaking down the already fragile job-chain system, and drastically reduced the rate of energy consumption on which we all depend.

              We might pull things back together for a while, Or we might not.

              In the meantime the Don sacks anyone who disagrees with him, (as do all aspiring dictators). Generals profess to ‘uphold the constitution’, but the constitution hasn’t been put to any real test since 1860, when the nation itself was only half-formed.
              The following century was too occupied with fuel burning to worry much about political leadership.

              The USA ran itself, driven by oil coal and gas. (the majority had secure food jobs and homes, courtesy of surplus fuels) Hit ler sorted out the ‘great depression’. And kept the great ponzi scheme afloat for another 30 years or so.

              Generals need their jobs, just like anyone else. if the nation sinks into jobless chaos, the military will be used to restore ‘law and order’. Trump’s generals will have to see to that because the USA is unique in having a fully armed population. Whichever POTUS is in office will have to assume authoritarian powers.

              Ultimately of course, regional secessions seem inevitable, because no nation can hold together without the (energy) forces that created it. The wars of secession will be even messier. CA and TX will not be allowed to up and leave.
              But the denial that it is happening will be stronger, as those in charge seek to deny reality as it overwhelms them

              On the other hand–it could all end happily ever after. Any takers?

            • and then you have the crazies

              confirming their craziness

            • Lidia17 says:

              Plus, in the U.S., presidential elections are held by the states. Each state has its own rules and regulations for balloting. There is a Federal Elections Commission, but they are strictly to do with campaign financing. It doesn’t work at all the way European elections work; parties here do not receive direct subsidies from the gov. as happens in a lot of other places (not saying that corp. vs. gov. subsidies is better… just pointing out the differences).

            • My thinking—and it is only thinking, is of a situation in which the national ‘system’ collapses under the economic strain put on it by mass unemployment and energy depletion. As I see it, different state ‘systems’ will become an irrelevance. (the same applies to all nation states)

              There is no way of knowing just how far this might go down. Indeed, everything may work out fine in the long run.

              The Don might put country before self interest.
              We might be able to create employment for millions of people without resorting to consumption of fossil fuels.
              We might grow enough food to feed 10bn people.
              We might find a way of growing it for free.
              We might find the means to distribute it. (also for free)
              We might rear aerodynamic pigs.

              Ask yourself which of the above is most likely.

              If none of them are, then national chaos becomes a certainty, irrespective of state laws and procedures. It may not happen in 2020, we may stagger on to the mid 2020s. But longer than that?

              My points in previous comments try to touch on a situation where electoral systems break down because the means to enable them cease to exist.

              Our democratic systems (such as they are) have come into existence exclusively on the back of 200 years of growing prosperity. (ie–fuelburning). They have existed only as a privelege for a white minority. The BLM movement is a clear warning about that. Pulling down statues will not cleanse endemic racism but for the moment that is their focus.

              They might be too late because the problem now is that the white minority has consumed the means of sustaining that ‘democracy’. (even for themselves) But they cannot admit it. Or even understand why. They see only ‘minorities’ as responsible for their problems. As times worsen, so the violence towards them will intensify.

              Our means of ‘wealth creation’ is no longer available because fuels are becoming too expensive to burn simply to provide employment. Which is what we’ve been doing since 1709.

              But hysterical mobs still demand jobs and food, not knowing where they come from. The mobs will resort to violence (if possible) to sustain themselves. Governments will respond with violence because they have no other options.

              That will lead to dictatorship, which is what we all lived with before the industrial revolution.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Norman, you started out well on this talking about the problems of Zimbabwe and then Venezuela and I found myself nodding in agreement although your comments were general and I don’t know your views about either place in detail.

            Then you veered onto the US, Trump, Hitler, dictatorship, delayed elections, hysteria and incoherence, and you lost me. I don’t know; perhaps it’s me. Did anyone else get the gist and say to themselves, “Norm’s on a roll here, just like Mother Teresa”?

            • my basic theme was that of hysteria in its various forms, and how we are carried on the tides of that, whether we know it or not.
              if you lost that thread, then there’s nothing I can do to prevent you from doing so

              there are so many variables, no one can define a future outcome with certainty

              I lose the thread of it all myself, certainty is the one thing I do not pretend to have

      • Ed says:

        They are not starving from lack of health care. They are starving from lack of food.

    • The big crisis this year will be starvation, even more than COVID-19. But people in rich countries won’t be very tuned in, I expect.

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The new coronavirus’ reputation for messing with scientists’ assumptions has taken a truly creepy turn…

    “Researchers exploring the interaction between the coronavirus and its hosts have discovered that when the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects a human cell, it sets off a ghoulish transformation. Obeying instructions from the virus, the newly infected cell sprouts multi-pronged tentacles studded with viral particles.

    “These disfigured zombie cells appear to be using those streaming filaments, or filopodia, to reach still-healthy neighboring cells. The protuberances appear to bore into the cells’ bodies and inject their viral venom directly into those cells’ genetic command centers — thus creating another zombie.”

  5. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Come next month we are going to see a BLOODBATH of layoffs in the Airline Industry across the board….this is only the first round fol!is..

    (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines said late on Friday it will soon send warning notices to about 2,500 pilots regarding possible furloughs at the airline, as the industry takes a huge blow after the coronavirus pandemic slashed air travel demand.
    “In an effort to best prepare our pilots should furloughs be needed, Delta will send required notices to approximately 2,500 pilots,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the so-called ‘WARN’ notices will be sent next week.
    Delta also reached a tentative agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) labor union on a pilot-specific voluntary early retirement option.
    On Thursday, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian had informed employees that the company is planning to add about 1,000 flights in August but not many more for the remainder of 2020.
    “While it’s encouraging to see flights returning … we likely remain at least two years away from a return to normal,” Bastian said.

    (Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Louise Heavens)

    Meanwhile, the Virus spike and more restrictions…American Airlines announced filling all seats on planes starting July 1st…..good luck with that😜👍
    Don’t see a rebound in the Industry….there will be downsizing and mergers for certain….it’s going to be very, very ugly, especially if this King Flu is still headline news

  6. rufustiresias999 says:

    Yes, collapse is a process. Chains of causes and effects. Permafrost melts and a fuel storage facility leaks, and now what’s next?
    Sensors detect rise in nuclear particles on Baltic Sea… “These are certainly nuclear fission products, most likely from a civil source,” a spokeswoman for the Vienna-based CTBTO said, referring to the atomic chain reaction that generates heat in a nuclear reactor.

  7. Rodster says:

    I don’t know if Harry McGibbs posted this in his news headlines but:

    “Mall Giant Intu Collapses Into Bankruptcy”

    A zombie well before the pandemic, the UK company had racked up huge debts to finance rapid growth in a sector that had started shrinking some time ago.

    • There are going to be a lot of bonds that don’t pay out as planned. This will be a big problem for pension plans, insurance companies, and a lot of funds of various types, such as endowment funds. If these organizations didn’t have trouble before, they will after lots of defaults, I would think. Or maybe governments attempt to bail out everything.

    • Marco Bruciati says:

      July Will be long month

      • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        31 days of bAU!

        at least I hope so.

        that hope (for me) is based on the fact (to me) that the first half of 2020, just about in the books now, has been very close to bAU (for me) for these 180+ days.

        I do see reports of increased human suffering around the world, for as we know, disparity is a way of the world.

        life is not fair.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Rodster, thank you, I hadn’t.

      I have been following Intu’s fate with interest though, as my kids love going to the the Soar in Braehead (an entertainment complex with cinema, arcades, indoor ski-slope etc) when we are over on the mainland. It is owned by Intu, alas.

  8. GBV says:

    “Sailing in uncharted waters invites speculation about what sort of dangers might sink the ship. One common failure scenario for the Fed’s new monetary policies is the fear that $1 million per second for the indefinite future will cause an inflationary disaster. That fear is intuitive, widely held, and influential. It is also completely misplaced. Economic history suggests that deflation, not inflation, is by far the more likely—and in some ways the more dangerous—destination of the Fed’s current trajectory without yet more unprecedented action.”

    Not sure I agree with everything the author suggests – particularly the conclusion – but it is a thought provoking read:


    • The problem is that virtually no one will have a job. Virtually nothing will be made. In fact, a lot of former assets (buildings where they can’t be used, factories that are no longer needed) have no value. They likely will default of their debt. Shares of stock will have zero value. Governments can print lots of money, but they can’t make up for the fact that no one can profitably make goods and services.

      Some lucky people may be able to grow small quantities of food for their own use. But they will not have enough extra to sell to others, regardless of whether there is printed money to buy it.

      I think you can get hyperinflation on food, and deflation in the prices of everything else.

      • GBV says:

        Well, with regards to your first two paragraphs, I think you are mostly correct Gail.

        However, I did fire up the grey matter on this subject for a few minutes, and I found myself thinking about the amazing leaps and bounds we’ve made in automation over the past few decades. I sometimes wonder if the incredible gains in profitability we have made through automation were directed towards supporting UBI as opposed to lining the pockets of, say, people like Jeff Bezos, would we actually be able to pull it off (though I recognize it flies in the face of the capitalist / “free market” society we think we have)?

        When we look back to the utopic visions we had back in the 1960s (by which I mean The Jetsons, obviously!), the idea was that automation would make all our lives easier, and eliminate much of the need to work (though I think George had a job, didn’t he? Or am I thinking of Fred Flinstone down at the Bedrock Quarry?). What those visionaries maybe missed was that our system wasn’t set up to enrich everyone, but only those who hold the reigns of automation (capital).

        I think for something like what I’m suggesting to work, however, you’d also have to completely re-arrange the compensation models we have in place today. Administrators (which I was, once upon a time) and bankers should never have been paid the obscene wages they are paid today (I can’t, on the spot, think of an argument as to why the salaries of sports, media and movie stars should be massively gutted, but I’m sure there’s an argument to be made there too). Hard labour jobs that cannot be replaced by automation, which most people would probably shy away from given the choice, should pay a great deal more than they do today.

        That way, if you want to sit on your butt or attend post-secondary institutes indefinitely, and be paid $2,000 per month to do so, you’re welcome to it… but if you want to go out in the fields and pick produce, construct new homes (hopefully that are actually needed and not due to Fed-blown housing bubbles), repair the electrical grid, provide health care to the sick/elderly, repave roads, etc., you absolutely should be receiving 2-3 times as much as that. Unfortunately, the current arrangement of economic support / UBI will likely fail spectacularly, as it encourages people not to work and stay home rather than creating incentives for people to want to work the crappy jobs we all hate to do.

        Sadly, for whatever reason, we seem incapable of designing our world to enrich society as a whole (and minimize income disparity) as opposed to enriching the individual (increasing income disparity). Thus we’ve ended up where we are today with the increasingly untenable system we have, which I suppose is the system that we all deserve 😦

        On your final paragraph, again, I disagree that you can have hyperinflation on food while having deflation on everything else; you can have massive price increases on food while the price on everything else collapses, but whether that is inflationary or deflationary depends on the money supply and/or supply of goods / services – the hypothetical price changes that you have proposed could theoretically occur despite the fact no changes took place in the money supply and/or supply of goods / services. Or, in other words, inflation doesn’t refer to the situation of increased prices but the sequence of rising prices.


        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          good content there… The Jetsons!

          “… you can have massive price increases on food while the price on everything else collapses, but whether that is inflationary or deflationary depends on the money supply and/or supply of goods / services – the hypothetical price changes that you have proposed could theoretically occur despite the fact no changes took place in the money supply and/or supply of goods / services.”

          that is what I see as possible: (USA example) the gov/Fed might be able to maintain the money supply well enough so that the money in the hands of the average person remains fairly constant; in this scenario, the price of essentials increase and the price of non-essentials decrease, so consumer spending is a similar amount but just sckewed way more towards food.

          otherwise, the economic tsunami comes in and the average person has way less money, and even with this lower money supply, food prices will certainly not go down, so non-essential prices and/or volume must go down.

          this is the self-organizing economy resetting itself as it continues to signal high demand to food producers, which is a dam good thing.

          • GBV says:

            I think you’re on the right track!

            I used to think, “yes, End the Fed!” and that “money printing bad!”, but I’ve started looking at it differently these days. Expanding / contracting the money supply isn’t inherently bad (and I’d like to give the Fed the benefit of the doubt that they’re not out there purposely trying to screw over the average guy on Main Street), but it certainly does cause problems when that expansion / contraction does not align with reality, or when the majority of that expansion / contraction impacts a certain group of individuals (e.g. politicians, celebs, sports stars, bankers).

            I wish that the Fed was more successful in maintaining the money supply into the hands of the average person as you (ideally) suggest, but whether on purpose or through incompetence / inability, they seem to be failing in that regard 😦

            On a semi-related topic, I sometimes wonder how much extra food “supply” we could create if we weren’t so wasteful with our food? A USDA article suggests it’s about 31% of the US retail and commercial food supply, or approximately 133 billion pounds of food 😐


            My immediate thoughts turned to India – I don’t know how much food they consume on an annual basis, but I thought that if they could be “gifted” with a large portion of that 133 billion pounds of food, it would go a long way in helping them overcome their battle with famine / food insecurity. But then I came across this, which suggests India is wasting enough food to feed a country like Egypt…



            I has to make you wonder if the problem isn’t so much that we are wasteful, but that the IC system we’ve created is inherently wasteful, suffering from extreme “malinvestment” of resources ranging from food to money to energy to…. probably everything, really 😦

            Again, I have to wonder if collapse is the worst thing that could happen? Perhaps, in the right light, it can be seen to be a blessing to those trapped in the incredibly exploitative system we call reality.


            • Lidia17 says:

              GBV: “if they could be “gifted” with a large portion of that 133 billion pounds of food, it would go a long way in helping them overcome their battle with famine / food insecurity.”

              Helping them, then towards what? What happens when that 31% inefficiency is eliminated and you have 31% more people to feed?

              “We” helped Africa “overcome their battle with famine/food insecurity”, and look at the result. “We” came up with the Green Revolution in industrial farming and pesticides that caused the population of India to double between 1975 and 2010, from 600 million to 1.2 billion.

              Without natural predators and ongoing culling (today we won’t even tolerate a virus that kills people 80 years of age on average) the only trajectory for human pop. growth is exponential, which leads mathematically to a catastrophic die-off.

              GBV: “Perhaps, in the right light, [collapse] can be seen to be a blessing to those trapped in the incredibly exploitative system we call reality.”

              Are you talking about death as a blessing? I can’t see any other meaningful interpretation of that part of your comment. That “reality” itself is “exploitative” is a very interesting proposition and interesting wording. Undoubtably true, but also unavoidable.

              Also, who is exploiting whom? We talked about plants exploiting humans. Domesticated animals exploit humans. There is no creature on earth that does not exist at the expense of some other creature. Yearning for a world without exploitation is intellectually and mentally unsound.

            • GBV says:

              “Helping them, then towards what? What happens when that 31% inefficiency is eliminated and you have 31% more people to feed?”

              Your question is certainly valid, and I’m sure you are correct about history showing that providing more food didn’t resolve existing famine, but rather contributed to population increases and more famine.

              That being said, I’m not callous enough (at this point) to willingly choose “inefficiency” (i.e. to toss 133 billions of food in the trash) as opposed to at least trying to redirect that surplus to some sort of humane solution that results in better nutrition and less hungry mouths to feed. Perhaps you’ve given up on that outcome as a possibility, and perhaps you will be proven to be right… but I guess I’m not jaded enough to have arrived at that conclusion (yet, anyway).

              “Are you talking about death as a blessing? I can’t see any other meaningful interpretation of that part of your comment.”

              No, not death as a blessing, but collapse as one. I don’t (completely) share the view that collapse will result in the mass die-off of the species (though some death will be inevitable, of course), but rather think that defaults / collapse are a natural corrective phenomenon of our system that – in our hubris – we’ve managed to stave off for far too long at the cost to future generations (to the point that some here believe there won’t be any future generations!).

              Those who are currently exploited / trapped by our debt-fueled system may find that collapse brings a bevy of new opportunities to live a healthier life, filled with a greater degree of purpose, independence, humanity, humility and spirituality.

              Or, maybe I’m completely wrong, and collapse will usher in a literal Hell on Earth. In that case, let’s look to the bright side – we’ll all be given the opportunity to shed the false cloak of civility and finally be able to indulge in our most base / violent / sadistic impulses as we murder, pillage and loot our way to extinction. What a rush! 🙂


            • Lidia17 says:

              GBV: “collapse brings a bevy of new opportunities to live a healthier life, filled with a greater degree of purpose, independence, humanity, humility and spirituality.”

              This sounds like something out of the mouth of a character of Dickens’…! 😉

              OTOH, I doubt everyone will be “indulg[ing] in our most base / violent / sadistic impulses”.. just enough of them to make everyone else’s life hell. The domesticated folk will become demoralized (this has been happening for a while) and passive like the experimented-upon puppy we wrote about in the last thread. Puppies don’t hold out expectations of a better life, though, nor do they have many options for how to commit suicide.

        • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “… (I can’t, on the spot, think of an argument as to why the salaries of sports, media and movie stars should be massively gutted, but I’m sure there’s an argument to be made there too).”

          there are reasons already set in motion.

          the structures supporting their high salaries will be crumbling because of the resetting economy shifting spending far more in the direction of food and other essentials.

          media is all about advertising revenue, and that is continuing to crash.

          sports/movies are much about crashing demand for tickets, but also with sports the crashing ad revenue when televised.

          2019 was the Peak Salary for all of these celebrities.

          I’m not going to shed any tears on their fall.

          • GBV says:

            I hope you are right.

            Personally, I’d love to see the implosion of professional sports and Hollywood in favour of a revival of local sporting teams / leagues and local theatre / entertainment. I guess I will miss some of the bigger mind-numbing popcorn extravaganzas at the cineplex (I’m not sure how something like, say, Avengers: Infinity War would translate to my local stage!), but some of the best stories – stories that capture our imagination and make us question what it is to be alive – don’t really need $50 million dollar SFX budgets…


            • Robert Firth says:

              Thank you, GBV, and I believe you are right. One of the most moving performances I ever experienced was in a Greek theatre. Yes, a real one, in Athens, designed, as it fell out, by the Emperor Hadrian. No CGI, no special effects, no props, no microphones (none were needed, for a mere twelve thousand people), just the magical power of words.

              O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend / The brightest heaven of invention.

  9. Azure Kingfisher says:

      • Azure Kingfisher says:

        That’s quite a dramatic red line there.

        Consider keeping your eye on this one as it updates throughout the COVID-19 clown show:

        Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

        Updated June 26, 2020

        Table 1. Deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), pneumonia, and influenza reported to NCHS by week ending date, United States. Week ending 2/1/2020 to 6/20/2020.

        All Deaths involving COVID-19 (U07.1) = 109,188

        Deaths from All Causes = 1,232,269

        Percent of Expected Deaths = 106
        (Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017–2019. Previous analyses of 2015–2016 provisional data completeness have found that completeness is lower in the first few weeks following the date of death (<25%), and then increases over time such that data are generally at least 75% complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred)

      • Ed says:

        Two possibilities Duncan, the death rate from CV19 stay up or it goes down to zero or small number. If it stays up we have to what degree it simply displaces cancer and heart disease. It still does not seems like it will lower world population as it kills old and ill not young and fertile.

        • All of the shutdowns and disrupted supply lines could lead to other illnesses and to starvation, however. Earlier epidemics were no doubt part of what brought on collapse, with many more dying than from the disease itself..

    • Lidia17 says:

      So then why isn’t Bill interested in working on heart disease and cancer? Why is he hell-bent on vaccines? You’d think he’d be smart enough to realize this post opens him up to this question.

      • Kim says:

        “You’d think he’d be smart enough to realize this post opens him up to this question.”

        Maybe we’re just being mocked? Consider it, a guy who has the world media on a string, jerking us this way and that over a fake pandemic hysteria that he is at the center of, complaining about the panic-inducing media.

        It is so far beyond irony that it is difficult to understand what he must mean. In the end I conclude that he is either quite, quite insane, or the comment is just him bitch-slapping the face of the entire world, and enjoying it.

  10. Chrome Mags says:

    I realize the number of deaths from Covid-19 may not be that high in comparison to the number that get it, however a high percentage of recovered patients have permanent lung damage.

    “In 70 patients who survived COVID-19 pneumonia, 66 had some level of lung damage visible in CT scans taken before hospital discharge, researchers report March 19 in Radiology.”

    66 out of 70 = 94.3%

    “COVID-19 appears to be more likely to afflict both lungs. In 75 of the 90 patients admitted to Huazhong University Hospital with COVID-19 pneumonia from January 16 to February 17, damage was seen across both lungs, Wang and colleagues report.”

    75 out of 90 = 83.33%

    • Hopefully, the damage improves with time.

    • covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      that’s a March 19 report.

      the medical treatment since then is more knowledgeable and a smaller % of patients are dying.

      I would think that would correlate to less long term health issues for the survivors who had severe cases.

    • Thank you for making a point often missed, ie Morbidity and Mortality. Covid mortality figures are and have been all over the map depending upon the population and age tranches selected. Many of the mortality estimates are based upon models and unproven assumptions. People all over the opinion spectrum cherry pick the numbers that fit their biases. Data figures vary and go unchallenged. Example: The Diamond Princess had 7 fatalities. No it had 13 fatalities. Which? The DP also had a large number who were hospitalized for long periods and who sustained considerable morbidity and permanent organ damage not to mention enormous medical bills. I have seen only anecdotal reports on the morbidity but many were hospitalized months and there will be permanent damage with many of them. Some people may recover some function of course over time but this is a multisystem virus that seeds microthrombi and large thrombi to most of the body organs. Very bad news. Some good news:There are promising therapeutics . Even HCQ in combo with Zithromax and/or zinc has shown very statistically significant results in a recent well controlled and large French study as well as other antivirals giving equally good results. The morbidity and long term lifetime costs and damage may end up being a worse problem than the mortality.

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