We Need to Change Our COVID-19 Strategy

We would like to think that we can eliminate COVID-19, but doing so is far from certain. The medical system has not been successful in eliminating HIV/AIDS or influenza; the situation with COVID-19 may be similar.

We are discovering that people with COVID-19 are extremely hard to identify because a significant share of infections are very mild or completely without symptoms. Testing everyone to find the huge number of hidden cases cannot possibly work worldwide. As long as there is hidden COVID-19 elsewhere in the world, the benefit of identifying everyone with the illness in a particular area is limited. The disease simply bounces back, as soon as there is a reduction in containment efforts.

Figure 1. One-week average new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Israel, Spain, Belgium and Netherlands. Chart made using data as of August 8, 2020 using an Interactive Visualization available at https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/ based on Johns Hopkins University CSSE database.

We are also discovering that efforts to contain what is essentially a hidden illness are very damaging to the world economy. Shutdowns in particular lead to many unemployed people and riots. Social distancing requirements can make investments unprofitable. Cutting off air flights leads to a huge loss of tourism and leaves farmers with the problem of how to get their fruit and vegetable crops picked without migrant workers. If COVID-19 is very widespread, contact tracing simply becomes an exercise in frustration.

Trying to identify the many asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 is surprisingly difficult. The cost is far higher than the cost of the testing devices.

At some point, we need to start lowering expectations regarding what can be done. The economy can protect a few members, but not everyone. Instead, emphasis should be on strengthening people’s immune systems. Surprisingly, there seems to be quite a bit that can be done. Higher vitamin D levels seem to be associated with fewer and less severe cases. Better diet, with more fruits and vegetables, is also likely to be helpful from an immunity point of view. Strangely enough, more close social contacts may also be helpful.

In the remainder of this post, I will explain a few pieces of the COVID-19 problem, together with my ideas for modifications to our current strategy.

Recent News About COVID-19 Has Been Disturbingly Bad


It is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 is likely to be here for quite some time. The World Health Organization’s director recently warned, “. . . there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be.” A recent Wall Street Journal article is titled, “Early Coronavirus Vaccine Supplies Likely Won’t Be Enough for Everyone at High Risk.” This article relates only to US citizens at high risk. Needless to say, creating enough vaccine for both high and low risk individuals, around the world, is a long way away.

We are also hearing that vaccines may be far less than 100% effective; 50% effective would be considered sufficient at this time. Two doses are likely to be needed; in fact, elderly patients may need three doses. The vaccine may not work for obese individuals. We don’t yet know how long immunity from the vaccines will last; a new round of injections may be needed each year.

new report confirms that asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 are indeed able to spread the disease to others.

Furthermore, the financial sector is increasingly struggling with the adverse impact shutdowns are having on the economy. If it becomes necessary to completely “write off” the tourism industry, economies around the world will struggle with permanent job loss and debt defaults.

Shutdowns Don’t Work for Businesses and the Financial System 

There are many issues involved:

(a) Shutdowns tend to lead to huge job loss. Riots follow, as soon as people have a chance to express their unhappiness with the situation.

(b) If countries stop importing migrant workers, there is likely to be a major loss of fruits and vegetables that farmers have planted. No matter how much money is printed, it does not replace these lost fruits and vegetables.

(c) Manufacturing supply lines don’t work if raw materials and parts are not available when needed. Because of this, a shutdown in one part of the world tends to have a ripple effect around the world.

(d) Social distancing requirements for businesses are problematic because they lead to less efficient use of available space. Businesses can serve fewer customers, so total revenue is likely to fall. Employees may need to be laid off. Fixed costs, such as debt, become more difficult to pay, making defaults more likely.

Shutdowns cause a major problem for the economy, because, with many people out of the workforce, the total amount of finished goods and services produced by the economy falls. Broken supply lines and reduced efficiency tend to make the problem worse. World GDP is the total amount of goods and services produced. Thus, by definition, total world GDP is reduced by shutdowns.

Governments can institute benefit programs for citizens to try to redistribute what goods and services are available, but this will not fix the underlying problem of many fewer goods and services actually being produced. Citizens will find that some shelves in stores are empty, and that many airline seats are unavailable. They will find that some goods are still unaffordable, even with government subsidies.

Governments can try to give loans to businesses to help them through the financial problems caused by new rules, such as social distancing, but it is doubtful this approach will lead to new investment. For example, if social distancing requirements mean that new buildings and vehicles can only be used in an inefficient manner, there will be little incentive for businesses to invest in new buildings and vehicles, even if low-interest loans are available.

Furthermore, even if there might be opportunities for new, more efficient businesses to be added, the subsidization of old inefficient businesses operating at far below capacity will tend to crowd out these new businesses.

People of Many Ages Soon Become Unhappy with Shutdowns

Young people expect hands-on learning experiences at universities. They also expect to be able to meet possible future marriage partners in social settings. They become increasingly unhappy, as shutdowns drag on.

The elderly need to be protected from COVID-19, but they also need to be able to see their families. Without social interaction, their overall health tends to decline.

We Are Kidding Ourselves if We Think a Vaccine Will Make the Worldwide COVID-19 Problem Disappear

Finding a vaccine that works for 100% of the world’s population seems extremely unlikely. Even if we do find a vaccine or drug treatment that works, being able to extend this solution to poor countries around the world is likely to be a slow process.

If we look back historically, pretty much all of the improvement in the US crude death rate (number of deaths divided by total population) has come from conquering infectious diseases.

Figure 2. Crude mortality rates in the United States in chart from Trends in Infectious Disease Mortality in the United States During the 20th Century, Armstrong et al., JAMA, 1999.

The catch is that since 1960, there hasn’t been an improvement in infectious disease mortality in the United States, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Society. As progress has been made on some longstanding diseases such as hepatitis, new infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS have arisen. Also, the biggest category of infectious disease remaining is “influenza and pneumonia,” and little progress has been made in reducing its death rate in the United States. Figure 3 shows one chart from the article.

Figure 3. Mortality due to influenza or HIV/AIDS, in chart from Infectious Disease Mortality Trends in the United States, 1980-2014 by Hansen et al., JAMA, 2016.

With respect to HIV/AIDS, it took from the early 1980s until 1997 to start to get the mortality rate down through drugs. A suitable vaccine has not yet been created.

Furthermore, even when the US was able to reduce the mortality from HIV/AIDS, this ability did not immediately spread to poor areas of the world, such as Sub-Saharan Africa. In Figure 4, we can see the bulge in Sub-Saharan Africa’s crude death rates (where HIV/AIDS was prevalent), relative to death rates in India, where HIV/AIDS was less of a problem.

Figure 4. Crude death rates for Sub-Saharan Africa, India, the United States, and the World from 1960 through 2018, based on World Bank data.

While the medical system was able to start reducing the mortality of HIV/AIDS in the United States about 1996-1997 (Figure 3, above), a 2016 article says that it was still very prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2013. Major issues included difficulty patients had in traveling to health care sites and a lack of trained personnel to administer the medication. We can expect these issues to continue if a vaccine is developed for COVID-19, especially if the new vaccine requires more than one injection, every year.

Another example is polio. A vaccine for polio was developed in 1955; the disease was eliminated in the US and other high income countries in about the next 25 years. The disease has still not been eliminated worldwide, however. Poor countries tend to use an oral form of the vaccine that can be easily administered by anyone. The problem with this oral vaccine is that it uses live viruses which themselves can cause outbreaks of polio. Cases not caused by the vaccine are still found in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These examples suggest that even if a vaccine or fairly effective treatment for COVID-19 is discovered, we are kidding ourselves if we think the treatment will quickly transfer around the world. To transfer around the world, it will need to be extremely inexpensive and easy to administer. Even with these characteristics, the eradication of COVID-19 is likely to take a decade or more, unless the virus somehow disappears on its own.

The fact that COVID-19 transmits easily by people who show no symptoms means that even if COVID-19 is eradicated from the high-income world, it can return from the developing world, unless a large share of people in these advanced countries are immune to the disease. We seem to be far from that situation now. Perhaps this will change in a few years, but we cannot count on widespread immunity any time soon.

Containment Efforts for a Disease with Many Hidden Carriers Is Likely to Be Vastly More Expensive than One in Which Infected People Are Easily Identifiable 

It is easy to misunderstand how expensive finding the many asymptomatic carriers of a disease is. The cost is far higher than the cost of the tests themselves, because the situation is quite different. If people have serious symptoms, they will want to stay home. They will want to give out the names of others, if they can see that doing so might prevent someone else from catching a serious illness.

We have the opposite situation, if we are trying to find people without symptoms, who might infect others. We need to:

  1. Identify all of these people who feel well but might infect others.
  2. Persuade these people who feel well to stay away from work or other activities.
  3. Somehow compensate these people for lost wages and perhaps extra living expenses, while they are in quarantine.
  4. Pay for all of the tests to find these individuals.
  5. Convince these well individuals to name those whom they have had contact with (often their friends), so that they can be tested and perhaps quarantined as well.

Perhaps a few draconian governments, such as China, can handle these problems by fiat, and not really compensate workers for being unable to work. In other countries, all of these costs are likely to be a problem. Because of inadequate compensation, exclusion from work is not likely to be well received. Quarantined people will not want to report which friends they have seen recently, if the friends are likely also to lose wages. In poor countries, the loss of income may mean the loss of the ability to feed a person’s family. 

Another issue is that “quick tests” are likely to be used for contact tracing, since “PCR tests,” which tend to be more accurate, often require a week or more for laboratory processing. Unfortunately, quick tests for COVID-19 are not very accurate. (Also a CNN report.) If there are a lot of “false positives,” many people may be needlessly taken out of work. If there are a lot of “false negatives,” all of this testing will still miss a lot of carriers of COVID-19.

A Major Benefit of Rising Energy Consumption Seems to Be Better Control Over Infectious Diseases and a Falling Crude Death Rate

I often write about how the world’s self-organizing economy works. The growth in the world’s energy consumption since the advent of fossil fuels has been extremely important.

Figure 5. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects, together with BP Statistical Data on 1965 and subsequent

The growth in world energy consumption coincided with a virtual explosion in human population.

Figure 6. World Population Growth Through History. Chart by SUSPS.

One of the ways that fossil fuel energy is helpful for population growth is through drugs to fight epidemics. Another way is by making modern sanitation easy. A third way is by ramping up food supplies, so that more people can be fed.

Economic shutdowns lead to reduced energy consumption, partly because energy prices tend to fall too low for producers. They cut back on production because of unprofitability.

Figure 7. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Given this connection between energy supply and population, we should not be surprised if shutdowns tend to lead to an overall falling world population, even if COVID-19 by itself is expected to have a small mortality rate (perhaps 1% of those infected). Poor countries, especially, will find that laid off workers cannot afford adequate food supplies. This makes poor members of those economies more susceptible to diseases of many kinds and to starvation.

Epidemiologists Based Their Models on Diseases Which Are Easily Identifiable and Have High Mortality Rates

It is clear that an easily identifiable illness with a high mortality rate can be easily contained. A difficult-to-identify disease, which has a very low mortality rate for many segments of the population, is very different. Members of segments of the population who usually get only a light case of the disease are likely to become more and more unhappy as containment efforts drag on. Models based on very different types of pandemics are likely to be misleading.

We Need to Somehow Change Course

The message that has been disseminated has been, “With containment efforts plus vaccine, we can stop this disease.” In fact, this is unlikely for the foreseeable future. Continuing in the same direction that has not been working is a lot like banging one’s head against a wall. It cannot be expected to work.

Somehow, expectations need to be lowered regarding what containment efforts can do. The economy can perhaps protect a few high-risk people, but it cannot protect everyone. Unless COVID-19 stops by itself, a significant share of the world’s population can be expected to catch COVID-19. In fact, some people may get the disease multiple times over their lifetimes.

If we are forced to live with some level of COVID-19 (just as we are forced to live with some level of forest fires), we need to make this situation as painless as possible. For example,

  • We need to find ways to make COVID-19 as asymptomatic as possible by easy changes to diet and lifestyle.
  • We also need to find inexpensive treatments, especially ones that can be used outside of a hospital setting.
  • We need to keep the world economy operating as best as possible, if we want to stay away from a world population crash for as long as possible.

We cannot continue to post articles which seem to say that a spike in COVID-19 cases is necessarily “bad.” It is simply the way the situation has to be, if we don’t really have an effective way of containing the coronavirus. The fact that young adults build up immunity, at least for a while, needs to be viewed as a plus.

Some Ideas Regarding Looking at the Situation Differently 

(1) The Vitamin D Issue

There has been little publicity about the fact that people with higher vitamin D levels seem to have lighter cases of COVID-19. In fact, whole nations with higher vitamin D levels seem to have lower levels of deaths. Vitamin D strengthens the immune system. Sunlight raises vitamin D levels; fish liver oils and the flesh of fatty fishes also raise vitamin D levels.

Figure 8 shows cumulative deaths per million in a few low and high vitamin D level areas. The death rates are strikingly lower in the high vitamin D level countries.

Figure 8. COVID-19 deaths per million as of August 8, 2020 for selected countries, based on data from Johns Hopkins CSSE database.

The vitamin D issue may explain why dark skinned people (such as those from Southeast Asia and Africa) tend to get more severe cases of COVID-19 when they move to a low sunlight area such as the UK. Skin color is an adaptation to different levels of the sun’s rays in different parts of the world. People with darker skin color have more melanin in their skin. This makes the production of vitamin D less efficient, since equatorial regions receive more sunlight. The larger amount of melanin works well when dark-skinned people live in equatorial regions, but less well away from the equator. Vitamin D supplements might mitigate this difference.

It should be noted that the benefit of sunlight and vitamin D in protecting the immune system has long been known, especially with respect to flu-like diseases. In fact, the use of sunlight seems to have been helpful in mitigating the effects of the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918-1919, over 100 years ago!

One concern might be whether increased sunlight raises the risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. I have not researched this extensively, but a 2016 study indicates that that sensible sun exposure, without getting sunburn, may decrease a person’s risk of melanoma, as well as provide protection against many other types of diseases. Non-melanoma skin cancers may increase, but the mortality risk of these skin cancers is very low. On balance, the study concludes that the public should be advised to work on getting blood levels of at least 30 ng/ml.

(2) Other Issues

Clearly, better health in general is helpful. Eating a diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables is helpful, as is getting plenty of exercise and sunshine. Losing weight will be helpful for many.

Having social contact with other people tends to be helpful for longevity in general. In fact, several studies indicate that church-goers tend to have better longevity than others. Churchgoers and those with many social contacts would seem to have more contact with microbes than others.

A recent article says, Common colds train the immune system to recognize COVID-19. Social distancing tends to eliminate common colds as well as COVID-19. Quite possibly social distancing is counterproductive, in terms of disease severity. Epidemiologists have likely never considered this issue, since they tend to consider only very brief social distancing requirements.

A person wonders how well the immune systems of elderly people who have been cut off from sharing microbes with others for months will work. Will these people now die when exposed to even very minor illnesses? Perhaps a slow transition is needed to bring families back into closer contact with their loved ones.

People’s immune systems can protect them from small influxes of viruses causing COVID-19, but not from large influxes of these viruses. Masks tend to protect against large influxes of the virus, and thus protect the wearer to a surprising extent. Models suggest that clear face shields also provide a considerable amount of this benefit. People with a high risk of very severe illness may want to wear both of these devices in settings they consider risky. Such a combination might protect them fairly well, even if others are not wearing masks.

Conclusions – What We Really Should Be Doing

Back at the time we first became aware of COVID-19, following the recommendations of epidemiologists probably made sense. Now that more information is unfolding, our approach to COVID-19 needs to change.

I have already laid out many of the things I think need to be done. One area that has been severely overlooked is raising vitamin D levels. This is being discussed in the medical literature, but it doesn’t seem to get into the popular press. Even though the connection is not 100% proven, and there are many details to be worked out, it would seem like people should start raising their vitamin D levels. There seems to be little problem with overdosing on vitamin D, except that sunburns are not good. Until we know more, a level of 30 ng/ml (equivalent to 75 nmol/L) might be a reasonable level to aim for. This is a little above the mean vitamin D level of Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

Social distancing requirements probably need to be phased out. A concern might be temporarily excessive patient loads for hospitals. Large group meetings may need to be limited for a time, until this problem can be overcome.

 

 

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.

2,353 thoughts on “We Need to Change Our COVID-19 Strategy

  1. “Turkey has… spent well more than it should, but it has done so in way that hid the costs deep in its financial system, leaving them invisible to all but the most committed financial sleuths. There’s relatively little sovereign debt—the type usually funded by international bonds—to be found, though its overall value is ticking up somewhat.

    “The big borrowing has been by the country’s banks, including both private and state-owned banks—and that is where Turkey’s trouble has built up.”

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/11/erdogan-economic-disaster-turkey-banks-debt-dollars/

    • “There are only few options for the development of the current economic situation in Turkey.

      “One of the options is for Turkey to gain financial support to be able to deal with the capital outflow, whilst stopping the dollarization of the economy. Otherwise, it will face a set of sharp devaluation of the Lira, inflation, and probably a state default.”

      https://communalnews.com/is-turkey-on-the-verge-of-economic-collapse/

      • I remember last year changing planes in Turkey’s new international airport. Far too big, you had to pay 5 euro to ride a shuttle to your gate. Miserable signage, lousy layout. And the airport itself was also grotesquely large and badly laid out. Plus all the “benefits” of modern architecture. On getting into the plane I felt relief (rather an unusual feeling when getting into a plane), and said to myself “Turkey will be paying for that airport for half a century”.
        Except it seems they won’t be able to.

        • They have definitely over-extended. I recall this from last year:

          “From far away, the Burj Al Babas could be confused for a diorama of miniature villas. The homes all look the same, their blue-grey steeples and Gothic fixtures calling to mind the castles in Disney films.

          “When the project first began in 2014, its developer, the Sarot Group, hoped the luxury aesthetic would appeal to wealthy foreign buyers. Now the homes sit empty at the base of Turkey’s northwestern mountains.”

          https://www.businessinsider.com/turkey-abandoned-disney-castles-villas-2019-1?r=US&IR=T

          • i know one shouldn’t laugh at the well meaning efforts of others, but that Turkish fantasy leaves no room for anything else.

            Just what kind of wacko architect creates such visual aberration?

            And then presents it to finance backers who OK it and build it?

            but then—there are people daft enough to buy them (or ‘invest’ in them)—so what do I know?

            • Yes Norman humans do strange things.

              Is building those eyesores any stranger than thousands, possibly millions of people around the world digging vast quantities of rock to get to minute quantities of metal, then concentrating and refining that metal into larger lumps, then transporting it elsewhere and reburying it?

              Or the billions that believe in made up stories and spend their lives following or asking for help from a made up entity? Chose whatever religion for the appropriate deity, (or substitute money).

      • I wish the 50 nuclear weapons in turkey would get removed. letting turkey into NATO and giving them nukes was not wise.

      • Perhaps Russia and the EU could offer to pay all Turkey’s external debt and so save the country. The quid pro quo? Constantinople.

  2. “Angry residents in Peru’s Andean and Amazon regions have attacked three mining and oil sector firms in the last week, two of which were forced to halt operations after deadly clashes, as a second wave of COVID-19 infections hits the country.

    “The main reason: demand for economic aid and healthcare support during the pandemic.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-peru-oil-protests/peru-unrest-flares-as-pandemic-second-wave-hits-with-resources-firms-in-focus-idUKKCN2571HV?il=0

      • “Venezuelans are steadily losing access to cheap basic services from water to cooking gas that have helped them survive economic crisis, forcing many to find creative solutions… from wood-burning stoves and long walks to find cellular coverage to improvised pipes for siphoning water off a mountain.

        “Others simply do without.”

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/venezuela-services/priced-out-of-services-venezuelans-turn-creative-for-water-and-gas-idUKL1N2F819L

        • Harry, yesterday i reacquainted myself with an old movie. It was intended to be about an alien invasion, but it is really about supply chains. It is called “The Seeds of Death”, from the sixth season of Doctor Who.

          In the future, or at least the future as envisioned in 1969, we have invented the Tmat, or matter transmitter. All the worlds cities are linked by Tmat, which is used to transport anything in an instantaneous global network. Unfortunately, the idiots in charge created a single point of failure: the whole network is controlled from a central node, conveniently located on the Moon.

          So the aliens arrive, occupy the moon base, and shut down the entire network. Global panic ensures, as nothing moves anywhere, and, of course, there is no backup. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Anyway, you can find the whole thing on dailymotion, so enjoy the cheesy sets, cheesy dialogue, unbelievable plot twists, and Wendy Padbury’s insanely short dress.

  3. Our Beloved Belorussian Behemoth has spilled the beans about how the International Bankers are bankrolling the entire Covid operation, lockdowns and all.

    Frankly, at this point, if you aren’t getting just a teensy-weensy bit cons-piracy theoristical, you are not paying attention.

    Huge foreign loans are given to sovereign nations by the World Bank, IMF and the likes. But the conditions that come attached to these loans are seldom told by governments to their citizens. A recent case in Belarus has exposed the conditions laid by these agencies for loans being provided for COVID-19. The President of Belarus has exposed that the World Bank coronavirus aid comes with conditions for imposing extreme lockdown measures, to model their coronavirus response on that of Italy and even changes in the economic policies which he refused as being “unacceptable”.

    – – – –

    “We hear the demands, for example, to model our coronavirus response on that of Italy. I do not want to see the Italian situation to repeat in Belarus. We have our own country and our own situation,” the president [Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko] said.
    According to the president, the World Bank has showed interest in Belarus’ coronavirus response practices.

    “It is ready to fund us ten times more than it offered initially as a token of commendation for our efficient fight against this virus. The World Bank has even asked the Healthcare Ministry to share the experience. Meanwhile, the IMF continues to demand from us quarantine measures, isolation, a curfew. This is nonsense. We will not dance to anyone’s tune,” said the president.

    https://greatgameindia.com/belarus-world-bank-coronavirus-conditions/

    • No bean spilling is necessary. The IMF and World Bank openly state their aims:

      “As the IMF Managing Director has noted, exceptional times require exceptional action. Countries should focus on three priorities: first, protect lives. That means countries should place health expenditures at the top of the priority list. This includes funding health systems—getting resources to doctors, nurses and hospitals, the purchase of medical equipment, and to help the most vulnerable people.”

      https://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/Sheets/2020/02/28/how-the-imf-can-help-countries-address-the-economic-impact-of-coronavirus

      “The World Bank has approved a €90 million package to help Belarus take effective and timely action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the country’s national healthcare system.

      “The project will address the health system’s immediate needs for medical equipment, supplies, and training to treat severe cases of COVID-19, including through provision of modern ventilators, pain medication, and antibiotics, as well as personal protective equipment for health workers.

      “Furthermore, the project will finance communications activities to promote social distancing and hygiene best-practices that can prevent the spread of infections among the population.”

      https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/05/22/world-bank-supports-belarus-covid19-response-with-eur90-million-financing

      • @ Harry

        No, the IMF and World Bank never, ever “openly state their aims”.

        Rather, as we see in your quote, they merely describe their methods.That is something different entirely.

      • I remember years ago when that huge tsunami hit Indonesia, fresh water was at a premium and in places was being provided by the warships of various nations. Very good and welcome. But when the USA suggested it might land planes of emergency people from their military, the Indonesian defense minister declined. When asked why, he answered, “Because once you let them into your country you can never get rid of them.”

        And in the same way old Homer was just so very wise: “Beware of global bodies bearing gifts.” The gifts are probably a Trojan horse.

        • They are openly stating that there are strings attached to their funding as outlined by Mr Lukashenko is my point, Kim.

          • But the “strings” that are attached are also not their ultimate goal. They are also just part of the method.

            The goal – never openly stated – is to undermine and destroy national sovereignties and to take up for themselves the ultimate control of national policies in every region in which they operate. Again, they never openly state that, except by mistake.

            The do not even openly state or describe all of their methods, which admittedly are many, but which generally involve corrupting the political class and undermining the national allegiances of politicians and “public servants” by offering them well-paid and high-status positions on supranational and extra-governmental committees which then vote national powers away from their own countries and into the hands of globalist organizations.

            See Doctor Fauci and similar office holders in treasonous globalist organizations.

        • “But when the USA suggested it might land planes of emergency people from their military, the Indonesian defense minister declined. When asked why, he answered, “Because once you let them into your country you can never get rid of them.”

          I wish all countries could that astute.

    • World Bank wants to fund lockdowns!

      Perhaps they should listen to the new WSJ video, “If New Zealand Can’t Stamp Out Coronavirus, Can Anyone?”

      The current theory is that the virus came in with cold food. The theory that China put forth about its latest Beijing outbreak is that it came in with Norwegian salmon.

      Unless a country completely stops importing food and goods of all kinds, it is likely to have a problem.

      https://www.wsj.com/video/this-30-ton-robot-could-help-scientists-produce-the-crops-of-the-future/6F045C5D-23D1-4D0A-973E-5C6E86EF3CAA.html

      I am not sure that this video is available to non-subscribers.

      • “Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research Policy, is calling for another shutdown to get control over the coronavirus…”

        In another, but recent, interview Dr Osterholm is recommending a 6 week lockdown. For those interested, the following link will take you that interview. Dr Osterholm has become my go to guy for information regarding covid-19.

        I understand that Georgia is spiking in new cases. Be safe Gail, wear your mask and eat your vegtables.

        D3G

        • For what it is worth, these are some charts of Georgia experience compared to the various US regions.

          This is one week average new cases:

          This is one week average deaths:

          This time, the people who are falling sick are on average younger. The treatments are better. It is not at all like the disaster in the Northeast. The Northeast has most of the public transportation and big apartment buildings.

          • the south and west have significantly declined in cases.

            the midwest will follow soon.

            perhaps in a month or two, every region will be as low as the northeast.

            the virus will remain, but below pandemic level (college students moving throughout the country could be a factor).

            then Winter will come, and we will see if a true second wave appears, or if there is enough of a lasting herd immunity to prevent a second wave.

            • “or if there is enough of a lasting herd immunity to prevent a second wave.”

              And remember, frail people only die once.

            • I wish epidemiologists understood that the economy cannot really withstand shutdowns, no matter how appealing they may look from a disease prevention point of view.

  4. Good Day 😌❤️ to Everyone..couple of news that caught my Eyes 😎 and it seems handouts are the new normal…Brother can you spare a dime..?

    First, Florida needs HELP…Surprise, Surprise
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday said the state will need help covering costs associated with the coronavirus outbreak, expressing confidence that the federal government will help pick up the tab for increased Medicaid outlays.
    And the state might have to borrow to deliver a $400 weekly benefit to unemployed workers that President Donald Trump mandated in an Aug. 8 executive order, he said
    The coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing job losses are expected to boost Florida’s Medicaid enrollment by 570,000 people more than state legislators had estimated, increasing the program’s cost by $1.6 billion this fiscal year. A federal stimulus package that covers the increased enrollment expires in December, after which the state will be left to pick up the cost.
    In an interview at his office in the state Capitol, DeSantis said he expects federal stimulus funding to be extended through the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30.
    “We think that they’re going to continue that as long as there’s a state of emergency,” DeSantis said. ”
    https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2020/08/11/florida-governor-ron-desantis-interview-393913
    And the Airline Industry expects the same.. hand-outs…🤗

    Fox Business
    Delta CEO warns of ‘furloughs in the tens of thousands’ for airline industry if stimulus talks remain at stalemate
    Lucas Manfredi
    August 11, 2020, 8:13 PM
    Delta CEO Ed Bastian warned of furloughs in “the tens of thousands” for the airline industry if Congress is unable to end the stalemate on another round of coronavirus stimulus.
    “If we do not get the support that we need, I know within the industry there will be furloughs and probably some pretty large numbers of furloughs in the tens of thousands of employees,” Bastian told the Claman Countdown on Tuesday.
    Bastian noted that Delta has already had to mitigate potential furloughs with almost half of the airline’s workforce taking voluntary retirement or separation packages and leaves of absence.
    “If we can keep using good voluntary measures to get through this, we can mitigate furloughs but its probably hard to say for sure that we’ll be able to do that completely,” Bastian added.

    Some time ago the Business entrepreneur and all around nice Guy😀, Paul Hawkins, wrote a. Fascinating read that was popular some decades ago with the title The Ecology of Commerce….one thing I remember is throwing money 💰 at an issue rarely is the most effective method and usually makes it worse.

    • Hawkins is a free market capitalist, just emphasizes smaller scale capitalism.
      Might have worked 150 years ago for a short time.
      He intentions seemed good.
      He was around Marin when I was there.

      • A fascinating book in which Hawkins plays a small part:
        Shoes Outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, and Excess at San Francisco Zen Center

        • Perhaps, after all he started. A line of garden tools we poked fun of while my internship at Rocky Mountain Permaculture in Basalt Colorado!
          That was in 1989! One couple had a Smith and Hawkins spade, very upscale….those days were happy times in my life🤗
          RMP under Jerome Osentowski is still thriving, expanding and doing great outreach worldwide. He and his Associates are amazing activists.
          Back to Hawkins book Ecology of Commerce…
          From what I recall he provided many examples of large Wall Street Firms in it like 3M…
          From the publisher…
          Containing updated and revised material for a new audience, The Ecology of Commerce presents a compelling vision of the restorative (rather than destructive) economy we must create, centered on eight imperatives:

          Reduce energy carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030 and total natural resource usage 80 percent by 2050.
          Provide secure, stable, and meaningful employment to people everywhere.
          Be self-organizing rather than regulated or morally mandated.
          Honor market principles.
          Restore habitats, ecosystems, and societies to their optimum.
          Rely on current income.
          Be fun and engaging, and strive for an aesthetic outcome.
          Very Permacultary statements…Those were promising times back then!
          Thanks, Duncon, for the read, I’ll have to get it…😘

  5. It’s Getting Better all the time….it can’t get no worse…..oh, yes it can

    The 20.4% decline was slightly better than the 21.2% decline forecast by economists
    British economy suffered record collapse in the second quarter
    Last Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:57 a.m. ET
    First Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 2:16 a.m. ET
    By Steve Goldstein MarketWatch
    The British economy collapsed in the second quarter by the most on record, in the worst showing of any major economy during the pandemic.
    The U.K. gross domestic product quarter-on-quarter fall of 20.4% in the second quarter was worse than even hard-hit France and Spain. It was double the roughly 10% declines of the U.S. and Germany during the period
    …..
    Even as the U.K. has opened up, it still has more restrictions than other advanced economies. The Goldman Sachs effective lockdown index for the U.K. is twice as high as France’s, and also above the U.S., Germany, Italy and Spain. People in Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are banned from meeting different households indoors.

    Probably need new elections…

  6. It is important to understand the basic rules of the globalist reporting game, otherwise one will be entirely confused.

    Rule #1: Every plan, no matter how vicious and piratical, must be implemented under the cover of some socially positive, benevolent title, such as health, education, development, fairness, equity, green, renewable. Then the marks will certainly drop their guard so that they will agree to any scheme at all that you propose for their exploitation and enslavement, e.g., Development Bank is a much better name than Eternal Impoverishment & Debt Servitude Bank.

    Rule #2: Every fraud, extortion, corruption, and subversive activity must be conducted from behind the cover of a philanthropic-sounding – but never, ever locally answerable – front organization. e.g., WHO, (not about health at all), UNESCO (advancing globalist propaganda), imposing rules and restrictions on societies and in countries where they were never elected and to which they can never be held accountable.

    Only once one understands this approach can one truly understand the true meaning of globalist communications.

    As a rule of thumb, what they mean is usually the complete – and most evil – opposite of what they say.

    • Old trick, not just globalists: after all, the Inquisition claimed to torture and kill in the name of Jesus and out of love for the whole Christian community.

      Bolsheviks claimed they venerated the Proletariat, and Hitler said he did it all for the Aryan Volk, etc.

      What waves of hypocritical and self-seeking rubbish wash over us as soon as this kind of person or group starts to talk about virtue.

      It’s unfortunate that hypocrisy and lying have developed as effective evolutionary strategies in every society other than the most simple and primitive, and that the development of language has assisted this.

      Still, they cannot alter reality; and reality catches up with everyone and annihilates them – eventually.

    • “When a man talks about the good of humanity, he is getting ready to commit a crime”

    • I would add, used models prepared by those working in university setting to “prove” that your ideas will work. With a little grant money, these individuals seem to be able to prove anything, in a way that looks sort of scientific.

      • Indeed, and Astonishing good idea!

        The Computer will authenticate the model

  7. I was on holiday last week, in a relative’s house in Newtonmore with no TV (there was a screen but no signal, don’t know why), no WiFi, no radio, and I don’t have a mobile phone. Bliss.

    As a consequence of no internet, I bought the “i” newspaper [UK] during the week, and two articles from 5 th Aug. caught my eye, at opposite ends of the economic recovery spectrum (good and v. bad). Excuse me if this is old news already posted last week.

    In the first article, Hamish McRae (business and finance) writes about the UK economy. You have to be a subscriber to access the article:

    Real-time data shows the economy is bouncing back already – but how long will it last?
    https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/voices/uk-economy-coronavirus-eat-out-to-help-out-rishi-sunak-retail-a9653236.html

    Hamish summarises some good and bad news, then writes: “Pull all this together and it looks as though the economy has recovered to about 95% of its pre-Covid level. It is encouraging that things may now be only 5% off…But real-time data is speedy, accurate and cautiously positive.”

    Meanwhile, in the very same newspaper, there is an announcement that industrial civilisation as we know it is grinding to a halt:

    BP to cut oil and gas production by 40% and focus on renewables
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/bp-dividend-oil-production-reduced-coronavirus-demand-a9652671.html

    The gist of the article is that BP have decided oil and gas are no longer their top priority and they now wish focus on renewables. I seem to remember they said the same thing about 10 years ago, and that BP subsequently meant ‘Beyond Petroleum’. That came to little when oil prices hit $100+ / barrel and stayed there for 4 years.

    The print and online versions of the article are slightly different, but this is what the print version starts with:

    “BP will almost halve oil and gas production within a decade and shift its focus to renewable energy as the company reinvents itself to survive in a greener future.

    The British oil company will build so many wind and solar power plants around the world in the next decade that it would almost be enough to meet peak UK demand. At the same time, it will cut oil production by 1.1m barrels a day to reduce its carbon footprint by a third…”

    The online article states:
    “… The UK-based oil company racked up a record $6.7bn (£5.1bn) quarterly loss as people made fewer journeys and large sections of industries closed down or operated below capacity.

    …Falling prices prompted BP to announce in June that it would cut 10,000 jobs and write off between $13bn and $17.5bn from the value of its fossil fuel assets.”

    BP moving from oil to renewables because it is environmentally the right thing to do? Funny.

    That fall of 40% over the next decade or so looks suspiciously like the natural decline rate on existing reserves to me. The subtext that cannot be mentioned is: there is now no more undeveloped oil left that BP can extract economically at current prices or the sort of prices they expect over the next few years. That is how I see it anyway. And Hamish’s optimism is just fantasy.

    • This is our reality 18.2 GW from gas, 0.8GW from wind 6.6GW from solar at 3.31pm UK time and tonight when the sun goes down????? AND how do we power all the transport moving to electric and all the homes heated with oil and gas? Do we have the land for all the solar, when we import 300k people per year net migration and we are going to have a building boom says Boris. We struggle to feed ourselves now unless we eat nothing but meat and 2 veg and the grain we grow is mostly only fit for animal feed. Pie in the sky, we had better hope that some whizz kid comes up with something soon.
      http://clivebest.com/rgraph/Wind.html
      I agree, BP see the writing on the wall, we have to use 30m barrels a day less by 2030 globally I understand, which is what our reduced consumption was in lock down and look what resulted from that….

    • https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/12/economy/uk-economy-gdp/index.html

      Here’s another article on UK economy:

      ‘UK crashes into deepest recession of any major economy’

      “UK economic output shrank by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020, the worst quarterly slump on record, pushing the country into the deepest recession of any major global economy.”

      I’m not sure that is the deepest of any major global economy, because a recent article claimed the US economy shrank by 36% of GDP.

      In any case, lots of recessionary numbers around the world, which is interesting from the standpoint that many countries were fudging their numbers to appear not to be in recession prior to Covid-19, but then it was such a drop from such a height that even tweaking or redefining GDP could no longer fill the gap by any stretch of the imagination or wild propaganda, as it would have been an obvious falsified tell. So at least now we get the truth; it’s a global recession.

      • most countries report GDP quarter to quarter change.

        the USA annualizes the change.

        Q2 was down 9.5% from Q1 but reported as an annualized (about 4X) 33%.

        in the past, it always made the US gov look better when they would report (as an example) 2.8% growth instead of the real 0.7% quarterly growth.

        GDPnow has an early calculation for Q3 at plus 20%!

        which is probably about 5% up q to q.

        that plus 20% will be reported in late October, just before the election.

  8. Perhaps the biolabs will keep releasing new versions of the Kung Flu as a means to keep the Sheeple lockdowned and downsize consumption.

    The PTB will never admit we have reached limits and the American Dream can’t beattained by all.
    Startlingly to see the Market continue upwards ….oh, sorry the vaccine is very promising and once administered to the population, we all can get back to living our lives…💥🤑😘…

    Once US healthcare workers get a coronavirus vaccine, who will be next?
    23 minutes ago
    By Olivia Goldhill Quartz
    Science reporter

    If a coronavirus vaccine is approved, it will take months before there are enough doses for everyone. Even in the US, which has lined up the ability to purchase more than 1.5 billion doses of several vaccine candidates, demand will inevitably exceed supply, forcing the US government to grapple with how to fairly distribute those shots.

    The first recipients are fairly uncontroversial: Healthcare workers directly interacting with coronavirus patients. But who comes next?

    The next tier of distribution broadly depends on whether the US chooses to prioritize recipients’ personal risk or potential to spread the disease. Currently, several panels of US health care experts are developing plans to guide these tough decisions.

    A risk-focused approach tends to emphasize protecting groups such as the elderly, who are more likely to suffer the worst effects of coronavirus. Immunocompromised people, such as those who have diabetes, would fall in the same category.

    “Given the impact of the virus on the elderly and immunocompromised, I would love to see a push to protect this population,” says Lydia Dugdale, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia University. “Ideally, they would be vaccinated at the same time as front-line doctors and nurses.” This strategy could also factor in the spread of disease by prioritizing the elderly and immunocompromised in certain regions above others: By first focusing on the states with the worst rates of contagion, says Dugdale, it could serve those at the greatest risk of exposure and greatest risk of harm.

    Alternatively, vaccines could first be given to those more likely to act as vectors for the virus. Harald Schmidt, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that potential “super-spreaders,” such as bus drivers and supermarket employees, should come before other healthcare workers who may have little contact with coronavirus, including neurosurgeons and office-based employees.

    Latino and Black Americans are more likely to work jobs that don’t permit them to work from home, such as transport and service jobs that create greater risk of spreading coronavirus. And Black and Latino people face significant personal risk, being twice as likely to die from coronavirus as white people.

    Questions of if and how vaccine priorities should consider race have sparked the most debate within the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel currently drawing up plans, according to the New York Times. At an ACIP meeting in July, Dr. Sharon Frey, a professor of infectious diseases at St. Louis University, said the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on Black and Latino people must be taken into account. “I think it’s very important that the groups get into a high tier,” she said. “Maybe not an entire group, but certainly to address people who are living in the urban areas in these crowded conditions.”

    It’s racial inequality that produced the underlying diseases. And it’s that inequality that requires us to prioritize by race and ethnicity.
    Dayna Bowen Matthew, dean of the George Washington University Law School and an ACIP consultant on vaccine distribution, told the Times that racism should be directly addressed in vaccine distribution plans. “It’s racial inequality—inequality in housing, inequality in employment, inequality in access to health care—that produced the underlying diseases,” she said. “That’s wrong. And it’s that inequality that requires us to prioritize by race and ethnicity.”

    Prioritizing people based on race carries downsides. “On the one hand, it could be seen as a commitment to justice, to prioritizing the protection of those who have been especially hard hit by COVID-19,” says Dugdale. “On the other hand, given the history of medical experimentation on vulnerable groups, such a campaign could be met with distrust.” Such a decision could also be challenged legally.

    Instead, Dugdale and Schmidt suggest focusing on other factors that could help address the racist impact of coronavirus. Vaccines could be dispensed in zip codes where large numbers have coronavirus, or city centers with more crowded living conditions, or gig economy employees, says Dugdale. Alternatively, vaccines could be dispensed according to area deprivation index, which considers income, education, employment, and housing quality, argues Schmidt.

    Doctors have already had to create hierarchies of need for the coronavirus drug remdesivir. The University of Pittsburgh implemented a weighted lottery, where health care and emergency medical workers were given priority alongside those from economically disadvantaged areas, reports the New York Times. Those with a lower chance of survival, such as those with other illnesses including advanced cancer, had the lottery weighted against them.

    Adding to the complications: There are currently several committees in the US trying to figure out who will get a vaccine first.

    Vaccine priority guidance developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic is being used as a coronavirus distribution template by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This plan currently puts “front-line inpatient and hospital-based health care personnel caring for the sickest persons” at the front of the line.

    But in July, the National Academy of Medicine also created a panel to decide who should get a vaccine first. Members of the ACIP coronavirus vaccine distribution panel told STAT they weren’t sure if their plans would be used by the government or how their proposals would work with the National Academy Panel.

    And Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the federal group dedicated to accelerating vaccine deployment, also announced it would focus on distribution of the vaccine. That led to concerns among vaccine delivery organizations that OWS could create its own prioritization system.

    A OWS spokesperson denied this, telling Quartz that vaccine prioritization falls under policy, and OWS does not focus on policy. “The prioritization of any COVID-19 countermeasure will be a policy decision made by subject matter experts who are seeking input from several external parties including medical ethicists,” said a spokesperson.

    There’s no easy solution. Healthcare experts at ACIP and the National Academy have been debating the question among themselves, and no decision will be uncontroversial. But when there aren’t enough vaccines for all, someone must inevitably come first

    • “It’s racial inequality that produced the underlying diseases.” Absolutely. Systemic racism generated by four billion years of “virus privilege”. I demand reparations!

      • The “best adapted” survive. Always some plant, animal or human comes out behind, in the way an ecosystem works. It is never survival of everyone, unless an economy has a huge amount of energy to throw at problems.

    • But poorer blacks and Latinos generally have much larger families on the whole, so as a collective they can absorb the higher risk and losses much better than privileged, but less fertile, whites, surely? It all evens out.

      It’s amusing how everyone from bankers, corporate bosses to the lowest social tier are trying to gain advantage from this, with a constant ‘Gimme gimme!’

  9. I know people on this blog have mixed opinions of Peak Prosperity, but their recent video on Covid suggests we may be at Herd Immunity at around 20% of the population. Its called the XYZ theory of herd immunity.

    I think someone post that hypothesis previously.

    • I haven’t had a chance to look at the video, but I think it has to do with T-cells. It may also have to do with natural immunity that most of the population already has, from their exposure to colds, and from building up their immune system with vitamin D and with a good diet and exercise. At most, many people will only get a case with no symptoms.

      • I agree (also didn’t watch the video).

        all of those reasons must be somewhat why the Herd Immunity Threshold is estimated at only 15%.

        which could explain why, after the ryiots/protests in late May into June, there was no spike in cases and deaths in NYC, because they had gone above the HIT already with their essentially uninhibited virus spread in February and March (NY was just like Sweden but didn’t realize it).

        which doesn’t mean the immunity is permanent.

        the first wave is ongoing throughout the southern USA.

        a true second wave, perhaps this Winter, would be terrible, but quite informative about what the future of the virus means.

        the virus will always be in the world, even after the pandemic subsides.

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