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The Year of Corona: Ten Megadeaths & the Crash of Western Supremacism
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In this “summary” post on Corona 2020, I will cover some of the following.

  • Recap what we know about Corona, what we have learned in the past year, and what policies should have been undertaken;
  • The big picture of global excess mortality that is emerging for 2020;
  • Discuss the vaccines, “vaccine geopolitics”, and Corona’s impact on The Great Bifurcation between the US and China;
  • Conclude with some general political and sociological observations, such as what Corona has revealed about state capacity around the world, the phenomenon of “rightoid cope”, and the bipartisan nature of ideological self-delusion.

***

 

The Year of Corona

As readers may have noticed, I haven’t been posting much about Corona in the past few months. The main reason is that I already wrote about most of what would happen in the first half of this year, and since then it’s been a matter of seeing all my more pessimistic predictions come true, intermittently recognized by rationalists and assaulted by an emergent crop of “Coronahoax” conspiracy-mongers. (As such, it has almost become more interesting to me as a sociological, as opposed to an epidemiological or geopolitical, phenomenon; I will comment more upon that later in this post).

The second reason is that we haven’t made any particularly radical discoveries about Corona, or the best ways of suppressing it, which remain – then as now – centered around universal masking, centralized quarantine, mass testing, and travel restrictions. Otherwise, precisely the same countries that managed to implement those policies and did correspondingly well during the first wave are also avoiding the brunt of the current wave. There are ultimately deep political, cultural, and perhaps even HBD reasons for these differentiated responses, and the capacity of individual pundits to make a difference is limited. The broad course of future events was clear by the summer and my Twitter more than sufficed for minor updates.

The one true game-changer is the unprecedented rapid appearance of multiple safe, excellent (>90% efficacy) vaccines within less than a year, as opposed to the 1-2 years or more that were initially being gloomily projected. This triumph of science and technology will allow the world economy and social interactions to recover to some semblance of normalcy during the following year, at least as soon as vaccine production capacity can be ramped up. Total deaths may be capped at no more than 10 megadeaths as Corona is systemically culled throughout the world during 2021-23, as opposed to the tens of millions that would have likely happened otherwise.

It’s rare that “silver bullets” end up rescuing nations from their own stupidity, so the appropriate response should be one of relief and gratefulness for the scientists who developed the vaccines, as well as a marked humbleness on civilization’s capability to deal with future, potentially more serious crises. Perhaps the single biggest thing that Corona has revealed is that said capability is extremely scarce.

***

 

Corona: Summing Up

The successful development of multiple vaccines and their rapid rollout means Corona should not dominate the headlines beyond this year. The bodies will continue to pile on for a few more months – perhaps a year or two, in the more remote and underdeveloped places of the world – but the main story will now involve dealing with the fiscal and monetary overhang from the Corona Crisis, as well as broader trends that will once again come to the forefront, such as the rapid advancements in AI and the accelerating cold war between China and the US.

As such, this would be a good time to “wrap up” the topic.

My previous writing on which you can access via the Corona tag, or a curated list at my personal website here: https://akarlin.com/archive/#CoronavirusCOVID-19

In particular, I am “happy” (if that is indeed the appropriate term – it would have been much better to have been proved wrong) with the following posts:

Finally, I already tallied many of my predictions this May (see Corona Scorecard: Is AK Bad, Wrong, and a COVID Fascist?). I do not have cause to make any major reassessments:

  • Early alarm & prediction of global spread, while many epidemiologists waxed unconcerned as late as February.
  • Corona IFR correct to OOM (unlike Ioannidis’ 0.1%).
  • Projected global death toll was almost correct to order of magnitude (“millions”).
  • In retrospect, overly gloomy on world economy – underestimated impact of fiscal/monetary stimulus, and then vaccines came for Christmas. But it was made when betting markets weren’t even calling a recession.
  • As regards regional predictions: Broadly correct on most places (if ultimately too optimistic on Russia).
  • Broadly made the right calls on needed policies, and early on – I can only really think of Lyman Stone who was notably earlier and consistently better.

All in all, I do think I have done somewhat better than at least some of my most dedicated “fans”:

Now to be sure, I don’t make any claim to unique prescience. Many other prominent bloggers and pundits deserve recognition, such as Lyman Stone (overall “winner”?), Tomas Pueyo, Roko Mijic, Steve Sailer, Razib Khan, Ron Unz, Greg Cochran, JayMan, hbd*chick, Scott Alexander, E. Harding, Noah Carl, Mark Sleboda, and Philippe Lemoine, to name just a few – though it could really just as easily be extended to at least half of the “rationalist”-sphere and considerable numbers of my regular commenters.

***

Corona Recap

The Infection Fatality Rate of ~1% (May 2020) remains correct to the nearest order of magnitude, although it has since happily fallen by a third or even half thanks to adoption of best practices – current CDC estimate seems to be 0.65%.

The fundamental observation that it is one order of magnitude (OOM) more dangerous than “The Flu” across all age groups remains intact, as evidenced by one of the most comprehensive studies on the matter by Mark Bevand.

Demographers now estimate that the US will lose 2-3 years in life expectancy this year, plummeting from 78.8 years in 2019 to levels last seen in the late 1990s.

This is broadly congruent with my March estimate of a 2.5 year LE decline using the age-specific mortality rates derived from the Diamond Princess and assuming a 10% infection rate.

Seroprevalence in the US during July 2020, before the second wave, was at just 8% – well below the level needed for “herd immunity” (as noted), so today it should be around 20-25%. So my assumptions were too pessimistic for what a 10% infection scenario would do, since the Diamond Princess numbers were obviously from before advances in medical care significantly improved Corona outcomes.

Given the continued failure to contain Corona outside East Asia, it is only thanks to the timely development of vaccines and a stroke of good fortunate in that the critical protein spike on which many of these vaccines latch on to did not undergo significant mutations that should not expect to see comparable death rates beyond this annus horribilis.

This is not something that could have been taken for granted. Had the coronavirus mutated into multiple variegated strains that required too many separate vaccines to be feasibly suppressed, then it truly would have become “The Flu” in epidemiological terms – one that was several times as lethal – but nonetheless something that that we would have had to “learn to live with”. Infecting 10%-20% of the population every year, it would have resulted in a permanent loss of 2-3 years worth of life expectancy and diminished life quality for many survivors.

There is a widespread misconception amongst “COVID dissidents” that Corona only cuts off a year or just a few months from life expectancy, based on the average age of death. But life expectancy does not go down by one year with every year you age – the typical 80 year old Italian, for instance, has a remaining life expectancy of 10 years, not 1 year. Statistically, this implies not infrequent cases where two or three decades of potential life are lost. As for non-lethal, but QoL-impairing outcomes, there are many reports of lingering tiredness, physical underperformance, and distortions of sense of smell (“parosmia”) even amongst very young people. Long term effects on health and robustness remain unknown. This confirms my earliest judgments from January that while Corona is from the worst disease to get, it’s still something you would very much want to avoid.

The coronavirus has failed to mutate into something more lethal, which was also a distinct possibility; as Greg Cochran has repeatedly pointed out, the idea that a pathogen has to become less lethal over time is just a meme.

Knowing the basics about perennial plagues like smallpox and falciparum malaria, or short-term-visitors like the English sweat, helps clarify the mind of people that say silly things about evolution always favoring milder strains that spare the host: apparently nobody told smallpox about this, since its CFR was around 30% for thousands of years.

Fortunately, what mutations we did see – first in Italy, more recently in the Britain – have acted almost exclusively on transmissibility. Through no particular effort or achievement of our own, the worst nightmare scenarios – divergence into multiple strains beyond the reach of a single vaccine or feasible cocktail of vaccines, and/or a sharp increase in virulence – have been averted, at least barring some last minute disaster**.

***

 

Corona History

As Corona progressed, it soon became clear that there were several things that were especially effective at “flattening” or “crushing” the curve (it was soon pointed out by the more acute observers that in a globalized world, the distinction between the two was really being quite arbitrary, even if the Western world’s decision to rhetorically focus on the former could be said to have presaged defeatism).

The Big Three can be said to have been the following:

(1) Universal mask wearing, with its efficacy growing exponentially the greater a percentage of the population engaged in the practice. 95% mask wearing – covering the nose and mouth! – is vastly, cardinally better than 80% mask wearing – it reflects the general difference in the social response to Corona in the East Asian success stories and the failures in most of the rest of the world. Due to its unique degree of social solidarity and discipline, Japan has avoided large-scale outbreaks (translating into noticeable excess mortality) without severe lockdowns mainly through truly near universal mask wearing.

(2) Centralized quarantine – vital once the epidemic blows up beyond the capacity of conventional contact tracing, which often happened early on. Unfortunately, as Lyman Stone points out, nobody really did that outside East Asia. You would think that politely but firmly sequestering a few tens of thousands of people for a couple of weeks – while supporting hotels suffering from the collapse of tourism! – would be a superior outcome to 100,000’s of deaths and lockdowns and restrictions for millions, but apparently most Westerners beg to differ. The end result is that the countries that set up so-called “concentration camps”, such as China, ended up de facto far freer than those that didn’t – cue the scenes of massive crowds in Wuhan’s swimming pools this autumn.

(3) Travel restrictions are self-explanatory. On a related note, it’s probably no surprise that the Western country with the smallest, most easily controlled outbreak was the remote island of New Zealand.

In locales where the epidemic did threaten to overspill despite Big Three policies beyond the capabilities of human-run contact tracing programs, it was possible to institute localized lockdowns. This is how China, South Korea, and Vietnam stymied Corona from blowing out of control.

These policies, taken together, had the capacity to keep Corona largely contained at trivial costs to the economy and society, at least relative to letting the disease rampage out of control and getting forced into ruinously expensive general lockdowns to avoid the PR disaster of overflowing hospitals and the collapsing approval ratings that would ensue from that (recall that SARS-2 is one order of magnitude more virulent than the flu + that a typical hospital stay is several times longer than for the flu + the fact of no pre-existing herd immunity → you were looking at up to 2 orders of magnitude greater pressure on hospital capacity relative to a normal flu season). A few societies, primarily in East Asia, with a sufficient degree of social cohesion and state writ, managed this. Most of the rest of the developed world instead subjected society to a year-long “idiot’s limbo” of uncertainty and cycling lockdowns

Intermittently, various pundits and visionaries proposed bolder “technocratic” ideas, such as:

  • Truly mass testing (~10% of the population daily), such as what was implemented at the University of Illinois on a small scale.
  • “Cyber Panopticon” concepts (e.g. Singapore), essentially boiling down to offloading contact tracing work to mobile apps and AI when it escalated beyond the human capacity of national epidemiological services.
  • Moving everything outdoors and installing far-UV lights in public areas.
  • Robin Hanson’s ideas on mass variolation: paying younger people to get infected with the coronavirus in small doses in a controlled hospital setting.
  • Dogs sniffing out Corona?
  • Accelerating regulatory approval of the new vaccines, e.g. the Moderna one was ready in two days’ time. So far as 80 year olds are concerned, the “Russian roulette”-level risks of getting Corona are in any case vastly higher than those from any vaccine.

Although some of these ideas are more expensive than others, they are all far cheaper, efficacious, and ultimately ethical than hard lockdowns (repeat: “Letting it rip” was politically impossible well nigh everywhere – a false dichotomy). However, the countries with competent healthcare bureaucracies that could enforce the low-hanging Big Three had scant need for these more unconventional solutions anyway, while those without them would appear to have been doomed either way.

There was also the “brute force”, most decisively and visibly practiced during the initial outbreak in Wuhan, where life was shut down so totally that r0 was driven down to 0.32. Under such conditions, Corona is quickly extinguished to the point where other contact tracing could pick up the pace. That lockdown wasn’t vastly more restrictive of personal freedoms than that seen in many Western countries, but it was much shorter and clearly did far less economic or psychological damage. But this was only a choice had it been applied in late February/early March, when it was becoming rapidly clear to the observant (i.e., few epidemiologists) that Corona clusters were forming all across the world.

The result is some piecemeal and largely reactive adaptations of all of the above methods – lockdowns that are economically ruinous but not harsh enough or long enough to achieve full suppression, coupled with patchily enforced mask wearing, scant effort devoted to contact tracing, and travel restrictions that are introduced after the horse had already bolted. All of this accompanied by straight-out showmanship, such as breaking up beach or park outings (infections in the open air are freak occurrences), or making gloves compulsory along with masks even though infections through surface contact are also freak occurrences (a more particular idiocy that I believe might be quite specific to Russia). For bureaucrats and politicians, the appearance of appearing to be doing something is more important than whether it actually works or not.

Now in fairness, the idiot’s limbo is no longer as total as it was half a year ago. The strategy the West seems to have settled upon is to let Corona quietly rip in the background, while dialing restrictions and lockdowns up and down in such a way as to avoid scenes of overflowing hospitals before the cameras while reducing economic damage and steadily grinding towards “herd immunity”. This isn’t the optimal route, but it is the politically safest ones, and the one that appears to be within their elites’ capabilities. This is reasonable, given the lack of will to work towards total suppression.

***

 

Excess Mortality

Early on, we had to rely on official COVID-19 mortality statistics from national disease task forces and aggregator dashboards such as the ones I collated here: https://akarlin.com/corona-resources/

The official numbers were not very accurate, because in many cases, deaths from COVID-19 were not correctly registered, e.g. being ascribed instead to generic flu, or the proximate cause of death. (The case numbers were even worse, given problems with procuring test kits early on). Conversely, there were claims – mainly from the “Coronahoax” right – that COVID-19 deaths were if anything being overestimated, because doctors were supposedly labeling any which death as being caused by COVID-19. The only way to cut through these claims and counterclaims was to look at something called “excess deaths” – that is, by how much deaths increased (or decreased) relative to the same period last year in the absence of Corona, or (in more sophisticated versions) relative to preexisting mortality trendlines. These statistics would become progressively more available for increasing numbers of countries as the year wore on.

The most comprehensive such project that I know of has been carried out by the Financial Times’ stats man John Burn-Murdoch, who released his latest update just a couple of days ago:

At the global level, we have the following picture:

  • Excess mortality estimates give 1.5 million for the countries tracked, compared to 960,000 attributed to COVID-19 in the same countries during the same period in what is a heavily First World-based sample.
  • The undercount can be safely said to be far higher in the Third World (discussed below).
  • There will be ~1.8 million official deaths in 2020.
  • Multiplying that by 50% gives 2.7 million deaths.
  • But Third World undercounting means that probably something like 5-7 million is likelier (or, 10% of the world’s ~60 million annual deaths).
  • I suspect something like 10 million deaths globally before vaccines stamp it out in the next couple of years – and in the process preempt the death toll from going into the tens of millions range.

The FT numbers have recently been very closely reproduced by Russian stats professor/blogger Dmitry Kobak.

This all entirely and completely if sadly congruent with my Feb 24, 2020 prediction that “Corona Will Kill Millions & Crater the World Economy“.

Now to be sure, excess deaths are not the ultimate authority – they can have other causes. But if they happen during some notable, mortality-elevating event – for instance, a heat wave, a famine, or a pandemic – then the onus needs to be on the critics to provide an alternate explanation for why deaths would spike during that precise time interval – for instance, by demonstrating that there was a universal cause behind it (e.g. Soviet apologists for the 1932-33 collectivization famines have claimed that millions of Americans died of starvation in the same period due to global climatic effects; these claims are baseless and demographically illiterate, but points for trying, I guess).

The Corona Hoaxers’ equivalent of “drought” are the lockdowns. But as we see from the above table, Taiwan, Australia, Iceland, and South Korea – all countries that notable managed to contain their outbreaks at a low or negligible level – actually saw an overall reduction in mortality. Since many of them had lockdowns of some kind – very harsh ones, in Australia’s case – it obviously can’t be ascribed to suicides or missed operations. If anything, lockdowns have a pronounced mortality-reducing effect (reductions in traffic accidents are one obvious factor).

***

The foremost “accessible” authority on Corona in the US is demographer Lyman Stone, who provides “deaths day” updates for US excess mortality once every few weeks. Latest one as of now is from Dec 11:

There will probably be something like 450,000 excess deaths in the US during 2020, raising total deaths to 3.3 million from the usual level of 2.8-2.9 million in the past few years. Incidentally, this is pretty much the half a million that Ron Unz projected in his August podcast with Robert Stark.

The most interesting finding, perhaps, is that the US has generally done better than Europe – the part of it that regularly reports excess deaths, at any rate – with the second wave hitting the latter much harder. There has been no truly cardinal difference in Corona response – although European lockdowns were longer (and economically harder-hitting), Europeans did not wear masks at a much higher rate than Americans, nor did either region practice centralized quarantine. So I think this difference is ultimately more a function of geographic factors (US is more spread out), a younger American median age (though partially balanced out by more diabetes and obesity), and better US healthcare. What Europe has done undoubtedly better in is with PR, with virtually none of its leading politicians playing about with floomerism as Trump did – for which he was punished at the polls.

So far as concerns internal variation within Europe, the question of why Germanics and Nords enjoyed lower mortality from Corona – even after adjusting for infection rates – than the Med remains an open one. Perhaps something as banal as population physiological differences, e.g. in lung capacity, in addition to better healthcare systems in the latter.

 

Meanwhile, Eastern Europe – hitherto the least affected major European region – is surging ahead of cumulative death tolls observed even in Spain, the country hardest hit by the first wave.

Here are the estimated COVID-19 mortality numbers from stats professor/blogger Dmitry Kobak, based on the prior official Corona mortality to excess mortality ratios and projecting forwards to Dec 29, 2020.

US excess mortality for the year is estimated at 450,000 deaths, which dovetails with Lyman Stone’s. He projects Russia going up to 360,000 excess deaths by the end of the year.

The per capita numbers for Russia (254/100k) and Poland (222/100k) seem to be going along a similar trajectory, so it seems unlikely that the situation is cardinally better in any major countries within that region. For instance, official Ukrainian Corona mortality exploded from October – and the undercount there is likely to be massive as well. There is also a large undercount in Hungary. I don’t expect very major differences in outcomes within this region, which seems on track to systematically “overtake” Mediterranean Europe and approach or exceed the death tolls of some of the Latin American countries: Peru (279/100k), Ecuador (246/100k), Mexico (243/100k).

***

So which country is going to end up with the dubious “honor” of volunteering the greatest amounts of tributes to Corona-chan as a share of its population?

Croat Twitter user @volvoks99 believes it will be in the Balkans. They have a bad combination of Med social vibes, middle-income country healthcare quality, and European age profile.

The ex-USSR is not as “social” as the Balkanoids, but OTOH, they have a greater legacy of vodka abuse and their populations are much less healthy than Westerners at any particular age. Both the Balkanoids and ex-sovoks were relatively “shielded” during the first wave because they are more peripheral on global traffic/tourism flows, then summer came. But with Corona now endemic throughout the world, that’s no longer a big factor during this winter wave.

ECE/V4 do have an outside chance – perhaps Hungary especially – but I doubt it.

Although so far as available estimates of excess mortality are concerned, Peru still has an overall global lead. However, it is now “summer” there, and by mid-2020, it’ll probably have access to vaccines.

***

Here’s an astounding fact: We know more about births/deaths in mid-18th century Sweden than we do for much of Black Africa in the 2010s. It’s a demographic black box.

That said, recent results suggest that the coronavirus has raged through Africa no less than in much of the rest of the world; some 20% of people in the Republic of Congo were registered as having antibodies against SARS-2 as early as July 2020 (see right).

There would certainly have been many excess deaths amongst older Africans from such infection rates – it is interesting to note that the only world leaders to die from Corona both hailed from Black Africa: eSwatini Ambrose Dlamini, and possibly Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza. However, the relative effect on overall mortality would be strongly diluted by the very low median age of the population (most of Sub-Saharan Africa is at 20 years!) as well as relatively high pre-existing death rates.

As we can see from the FT tables, excess mortality even in lower middle-income countries places like Ecuador (+79%) and Peru (+89%), where the median age is 28 years, or in Jakarta, Indonesia (+71%), where the median age is around 30 years for the country as a whole, the increases are very substantial. We even observe large increases in the more “Third World” regions of countries like Russia (e.g. Dagestan, Chechnya). Moreover, not only is there the obvious factor that healthcare quality is much lower in the Third World, but in many cases people are themselves more “fragile” and “weaker” at any given age due to a lifetime of nutritional and epidemiological shocks. As such, the aggregate effect on global mortality from the Third World will be very substantial – even if much of it remains uncaptured in national statistics.

Nonetheless, bearing in mind that even rich Western countries were unable to contain Corona, it’s obvious now that locking down was a bad idea for any Third World country (as I suggested as such back in April). At least unless they have First World-tier human capital, like Vietnam.

***

 

Corona Economics

Latest World Bank estimates see global GDP contracting by an estimated 4.4%, which is 50% deeper than the Great Recession and the greatest economic collapse on record since post-World War II demobilization.

So, in retrospect, the Corona to “crater the world economy” was quite the accurate prediction – especially in the context of betting markets in late February giving just a 32% chance of a global recession within the next year.

Just weeks later, American GDP was crashing by a third and oil futures going into negative figures.

A depression was avoided mainly thanks to massive monetary loosening and fiscal stimulus equivalent to a sixth of US GDP (similar figures in other developed countries), the seasonal reprieve during summer, and growing confidence that vaccines would soon put the whole affair behind us.

So far as individual regions and countries go (IMF Oct 2020 figures):

  • United States growth of -4.3% is much better than the -5.8% projected for the advanced economies at large. Ironically, in the big picture, Corona could be seen as an Amerotriumph in comparison to most everyone except China. Not only will the US eventually lose fewer people than Europe in per capita terms, its economy will also be hurt to a somewhat lesser extent. In fairness, US stimulus spending was higher as a percentage of GDP than any major country except Japan (though this is partially mitigated by the fact that in Europe’s more generous welfare states, stimulus spending increases “by default” during recessions).
  • European Union will grow by -7.6%, with the hardest hit being the Med – our early 2010s friends the PIGS – all of whom will decline by 10-12%, thanks in significant part to a collapse in tourism revenue. Their debt to GDP ratios will also swell, perhaps presaging new crises in the early 2020s. The UK and France will also decline by 10%. Germany did much better, it will only decline by 6% – numbers which are also typical of the ECE and Scandinavia. Its single best performer is Poland, which will only fall by 3.6%.
  • Eastern Europe will do much better, growing at -4.6% – with Russia in particular doing much better than expected, only falling by 4.1% (discussed separately here).
  • East Asia is the only region to see positive growth at 0.3%, led by China with 1.9% – performance in the rest of the year making up for its deep Q1 2020 collapse. Japan is not bad at -5.3%, although that was only achieved through stimulus spending equivalent to 21% of its GDP – the single highest such figure of any G20 country.
  • Latin America (-8.1%) does very badly, although Brazil will do better at -5.8%. Thanks to Bolsonaro’s generous income support for poor Brazilians, it will – almost uniquely – see an absolute decline in poverty this year. South Asia (-8.4%) will both do very badly, driven above all by India’s 10.3% decline. All its meager gains relative to China in the past few years have evaporated in 2020. National performance in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa seems to have been heavily variegated.

Whither now? The unprecedented global monetary and fiscal experiments this year have led to the rather paradoxical effect that even as economic activity contracted, stock markets and many other assets (e.g. cryptocurrencies) have exploded to record heights, as all the newly created dollars had to go somewhere. Market cap to GDP in the US has never been higher, and US stock markets in turn may be the world’s most overvalued at the present time (Tesla with its 1,000+ p/e ratio can be seen as the poster child for this). We are in uncharted waters so far as economic policy is concerned, long-term consequences are unclear, and my Twitter followers are all over the place so far as the timing of the next recession is concerned.

***

 

Corona Geopolitics & State Capacity

I think part of the fascination with Corona-watching (at least for me) is that while it won’t much change the balance of power per se (e.g. overall demographic impact is close to negligible), it is perhaps the most strenuous “standardized test” of state capacity since World War II. Some countries reacted promptly and effectively, while other countries – that is, almost everyone outside East Asia – floundered and failed (despite the irony of Europeans having brought modern epidemiology into China in the first place). Many national stereotypes were confirmed, but others were rejected. Or subverted. The Swedish strategy, suboptimal or not as it may eventually turn out to be, required huge social discipline to sustain, a sort of stoicism in the face of encroaching danger that recalled how, during the Thirty Years War, aghast observers would remark upon Swedish soldiers’ unusual willingness to march unflinching into grapeshot.

Probably the single simplest measure of the effectiveness of the coronavirus response could be something like the sum of:

  • The socio-economic disruption caused by an event like Corona 2020, as proxied by the change in GDP growth from what it was otherwise expected to be.
  • The percentage increase in excess deaths relative to recent trends.

Such an index of state capacity would look something like the following:

  • East Asia ~5%, almost all of it due to slower GDP growth: China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, etc. are pretty clearly in the lead.
  • USA ~25%, having had a ~15-18% increase in excess mortality and a 4% GDP decline versus 2%-3% it would have had otherwise,
  • Europe largely at ~20-30%, with 15-20% increase in excess mortality and 5-10% GDP declines.
  • Russia currently at ~30%, with 23% increase in excess mortality as of Dec 29 and -4% projected GDP growth versus the 2% or 3% it would have had otherwise.
  • Latin American countries at 50%+ with huge increases in excess mortality and large GDP declines.

For all the weakness and simplicity of this method (doesn’t account for age structure, etc.) it seems like a remarkably accurate approximation of real state capacity in the world today relative to stereotypes (even though Western supremacists will understandably not be happy to hear that China is basically a developed East Asian state in that respect).

***

So far as the world’s prospects at large are concerned – as I wrote at the start, the global response to Corona has generally made me more skeptical about the world’s capacity to deal with future, potentially much more dangerous crises than Corona:

  • We see that European societies from the US to Eastern Europe are all relatively dysfunctional compare to East Asia so far as real world outcomes are concerned.
  • Clean, efficient, Big Data-friendly bureaucracies such as Taiwan’s are the exception, not the rule. The cynical view that they are overwhelmingly driven by the need to be seen to be doing something as opposed to doing things that are effective at minimal cost and inconvenient is unfortunately true.
  • The academic establishment and the media ecosystem that hangs on their every word tends to conservative, ossified thinking while the rightoids are too dumb and crazy and the rationalists too few and autistic to effectively challenge them.
  • Demotic regimes – this encompasses not just classical Western “democracies”, but “hybrid” regimes like Russia’s that are still dependent on popular legitimation – are too short-termist to commit to an optimal policy and see it through to the end.
  • Although an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, not just in medicine but in policy towards natural disasters, “myopic voters” overwhelmingly award politicians who invest in the latter (i.e. show themselves to be “doing something”). As such, the problem is fundamental: Demotism; mediocre average IQ; competence – you can’t have all three.

If a civilization can’t deal adequately with a relatively “simple” problem like Corona, I don’t see it “solving” Mars colonization, long-term dysgenics, or the control problem in AI. Except by lucking out, at any rate.

***

The Vaccines Race

The development of vaccines has opened up another arena of geopolitical struggle. Getting priority access to them is important not just as a means of capping mortality and enabling recovery, but also signaling elite country status. The main spheres/countries to indigenously develop their own vaccines are an elite club of transnational but Western-based pharma giants as well as primarily state-based institutions in China (Sinovac, etc.) and – surprisingly to some – Russian (Sputnik V).

Amusingly, their geographic spread reflects geopolitical alignments,

There are also concrete limits to Western virtue signaling – as one can see, Third World countries with no close geopolitical alignments and no indigenous vaccine production capacities of their own are last in line.

Incidentally, vaccination will also be the latest test of state capacity. The faster that countries ensure mass vaccination – something that is a function of state technological resources, national wealth, access to good allies, and the level of enlightenment and discipline of the general population – the sooner that the epidemic will be controlled within their borders. Israel has made a sterling start, with 20% of its over 65’s already vaccinated as of the time of writing.

***

“China Lied, People Died” as Wypipo Cope

One of the most fascinating things about the Corona Crisis was how various right-wing conspiracy theorists would simultaneously claim that China purposefully spread its “China Virus”/WuFlu on purpose, which is actually a hoax that is just the flu, but which has also killed tens of millions of Chinese because millions of phone numbers vanished from Wuhan and which the Chicoms are hiding from the world.

Meanwhile, the slightly smarter if similarly deranged neocons have been demanding gibsmedats reparations, such as the British tabloid The Sun and the German tabloid Bild, the Henry Jackson Society, the Claremont Institute, Bannon, and now Nigel Farage.

But perhaps the most “powerful” take of all belonged to Tyler Cowen, who has argued that letting Corona ran rampant… is actually a way to “own” the Chicoms:

There is one other factor that people are loathe to discuss (with one exception). Yes, the U.S. has botched its response to Covid-19. At the same time, its experience shows that America as a nation can in fact tolerate casualties, too many in fact. It had long been standard Chinese doctrine that Americans are “soft” and unwilling to take on much risk. If you were a Chinese war game planner, might you now reconsider that assumption?

Fred Reed has been next to no-one in lampooning this rightoid schizophrenia, while on a more serious note, Philippe Lemoine has written the definitive case arguing that China neither substantially hid the scale of its epidemic nor that it could be blamed for Western incompetence at containing Corona in a magisterial 4-part series at Quillette .

The Western rage at China is all the more hilarious considering their own denouncements of China’s “authoritarian” Corona response in January and Schadenfreude at the difficulties it was going to face (e.g. Wilbur Ross’ comments).

As noted and subsequently lampooned by the Chinese themselves:

In reality, at least so far as epidemic control is control, China has merely demonstrated that it has surpassed the West – as in many other areas. As pointed out by E. Harding, its response outside Wuhan was South Korea-tier.

Meanwhile, much of the West was revealed to have a catastrophic deficit of state capacity, its leaders unable to even replicate what Vietnam was capable of.

Nonetheless, credit where credit’s due – contra my own expectations, the US has managed to deflect most of the blame for its own failures onto China not just so far as its domestic audience is concerned, but even amongst many Europeans, whose opinions of China have sharply worsened this year. Although I predicted that Corona would accelerate the Great Bifurcation between the US and China, I was not quite correct to believe that it would rebound to China’s benefit. Propaganda is certainly one sphere in which the Western supremacists retain an overwhelming advantage, with most Americans believing that the Chinese coronavirus was worse than theirs.

***

 

Corona Politics & Rightoid Cope

Despite the prevalence of “floomerism” in online rhetoric, it is something that has been avoided by the smarter politicians, although there were a few prominent exceptions:

  • Donald Trump has been sort of 50/50, but thanks to very bad PR he ended up being associated himself with the floomer camp and failed to capitalize on what he did get right (e.g. early travel bans). I personally told Trumperino what he needed to do to win – he failed to follow my advice and paid for it at the polls.
  • Alexander Lukashenko – crushing the protests over electoral fraud would have certainly been easier to justify had he not been a dedicated floomer.
  • Jair Bolsonaro was perhaps the most “powerful” floomer, up to the point that he faced something of a mini-revolt from Brazilian governors. In the end, his approval ratings were rescued by direct payments to the Brazilian poor, which – almost uniquely – have resulted in a reduction of poverty in 2020 and a fall in the Gini index from 0.55 to 0.49. Unlike Trump, Bolsonaro was a real populist, and his people thanked him for it.

Most of the other country leaders didn’t insist on scoring own goals and, where they did not suppress Corona, at least compensated with adequate PR, gravitas, making sure the cameras didn’t capture overflowing hospitals.

Hilariously, this includes politicians that rightoids tend to worship, e.g. Putin, whose Corona response may have been substandard but who has made his disdain for “COVID dissidents” quite clear. Ergo for Netanyahu, Orban, etc. Floomerism wasn’t part of their rhetoric.

Hence my observation, back in May, that “coronaskepticism” was actually rather ideologically heterogenous so far as political alignments went.

And certainly at the beginning the idiocy and incompetence seemed to be quite bipartisan.

There was widespread signaling on the part of the centrist elites against travel restrictions (somewhat linked to Trump Derangement Syndrome) and even outright dismissal of the threat of Corona back in March. The rationalist Roko Mijic and @PurpleBaptist have both produced good Twitter threads collecting failed expert advice and predictions from the period. The single most pronounced failure , of course, the pronounced warning against wearing masks in March – something that I and many other bloggers and commenters repeatedly pointed out at the time. Incidentally, this was a “white lie” to save up masks for healthcare workers, as was subsequently claimed; Scott Alexander demonstrated early (see #7) on that it reflected the medical profession’s ossified conversatism and (in this case, tragically misplaced) risk averseness.

Even so, at least so far as the Corona question goes, the “experts” and the MSM did at least adapt quite quickly and correct course. Even as “the libs” scurried to “clean up” the public record of their predictive failures – Vox recently proudly announced it had deleted two tweets from March about mask-wearing – this “Anti-Masks Cause” was subsequently monopolized by American rightoids, and since stupidity is contagious, by their ideological brethren across the world. It’s one thing to be wrong out of excess caution and professional groupthink, it’s quite another to seize the mantle of stupidity and proudly don it one’s head. Like making geocentrism a lynchpin of your political identity after Galileo.

This is not to imply that there aren’t many people with an accurate view of Corona who are right-wing or conservative. Nor is it to say that the liberals and/or the Left have suddenly become much fundamentally rational. Leftoids believed that the #BLM rallies did not spread coronavirus, just as rightoids thought the same about MAGA rallies. Even so, in both incidence and sheer magnitude of idiotic rhetoric, there’s no doubt the rightoids have ascended head and shoulders above any other political faction, adopting patently losing and incorrect positions that there were under absolutely no obligation to adopt, and which were often outright schizophrenic and self-contradictory to boot – notably, barking at China for spreading a “flu” that they simultaneously claimed wasn’t killing anybody. Unsurprisingly, this kind of unhinged idiocy doesn’t appeal much to normie voters, who punished Trump at the polls, while politicians such as Jacinda Ardern who successfully protected their people were instead praised and lavishly rewarded by the adoring masses.

So why did rightoids insist on scoring own goals? One can speculate endlessly, but ultimately I think it comes down to them having something like 10 fewer IQ points than liberals on average, and 5 fewer IQ points than leftoids. Stupider people tend to make bad decisions and adopt losing positions. Stupider people tend to make bad decisions while putting themselves in a position where they can easily and not even all that unfairly be portrayed as psychopaths by people who dislike them and who also happen to control 90% of the media and tech.

Now again, to be clear, it’s not as if the neolibs are the “party of science” or whatever. They have been censoring suggestions to more rapidly roll out vaccines by limiting injections to a single dose – even though that is something that has been suggested by the developers of the Sputnik V vaccine, and by David Salisbury, the one time British head of immunizations at the Department of Health. At least in the US, they are also making clearly politicized decisions about which demographic groups are got the vaccines first.

But this has no comparison to aggressive signaling against vaccination, which so far as mainstream politics goes seems to be near exclusively monopolized by rightoids. Flea-infested hippies and Nation of Islam nutjobs are not mainstream, but Bolsonaro is ranting about how the vaccines are going to turn you into an alligator is. I suppose that’s at least more creative than the Bill Gates microchip theory.

So far as the “COVID dissidence” movement goes, it has long become an almost exclusively rightoid phenomenon, and I say that as someone that had the “privilege” of getting to observe it first hand over the past few months, becoming something of an object of hatred for these rightoids both on Twitter (see right for one creative example) and amongst certain commenters at this webzine, despite my own positions on the optimal Corona response being consistently based on costs/benefits-type analysis devoid of puritanical zeal, and which are not for that matter notably more “hardline” than normie positions and in many cases, even the contrary.

That is because rightoids tend to live in a world of their own imagining, whereas in the real one, 72% of Britons support Boris Johnson’s recent decision to return to a lockdown. (My own position on this matter is agnostic these days – on the one hand, what’s the point, if white countries have already generally demonstrated they’re not serious about suppression? Though admittedly, a case can be made for it if there is a credible UK commitment to use the lockdown to run through a crash vaccination program, like Israel is doing. In other words, I am – on this particular point – more “COVID skeptic” than a solid majority of the British population).

But what matters more is that following my recommendations and those of many others would have largely annulled the need for hard lockdowns in principle. Now certainly it would have been very good if we had indeed been listened to, even if it would have had the ironic effect of making our gloomy prognostications wrong:

Like, OK – I expected to be attacked if I was wrong and prompt action had averted our bad Corona outcome (even if my gloomy prognostications had played some minor role in doing so).

Nor did I expect to be lauded and praised if I was in fact right. Those who forecast ill winds are never popular.

Certainly I didn’t expect anything of the sort from liberals or the left, whose sacred cows I had consistently opposed on the Corona question (pro-masks in March, anti-BLM in June).

But I admittedly did not expect to be correct on almost all of the key issues – including on issues that intersected against the grain of left/liberal theology – and to nonetheless have the overwhelming of subsequent attacks and accusations of chicanery come from rightoids for my sheer affronterty and chutzpah of… being correct? Certainly there was not a lot of that from leftoids, and not at all liberals.

***

 
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  2. Corona’s sales were dented slightly after Mexico shut down breweries at the height of the pandemic, but not because of demand. In October, the company said that a jump in grocery and liquor store sales of Corona beer and other branded products had more than covered the 50% drop in restaurant sales.

  3. Very suspicious how rich “white” countries are getting the vaccine first, considering the elites usually go out of their way to virtual signal concern for disadvantaged third world types, especially on health issues.

    That really just goes to back up claims that the “vaccine” is a kill shot aimed at squarely at whitey.

    • Replies: @sudden death
    @Europe Europa


    Very suspicious how rich “white” countries are getting the vaccine first,
     
    Such as Israel? Those cunning Jews aimed the kill shot at themselves too? ;)

    Replies: @songbird

  4. I think this whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”. If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I’m “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn’t trust them, one is “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.

    Ifs a disturbing new anti-intellectual trend that is growing together with an authoritarian strand in the West.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    @AaronB


    I think this whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”. If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I’m “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn’t trust them, one is “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.
     
    Cope can be real, but the term is thrown around far too frivolously, yes.
    , @Beckow
    @AaronB


    ...declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”
    ...whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.
     
    Unfortunately true. AK has staked his ground back in February and won't move.

    His own numbers show that for people under 50 the increase in fatalities compared to flu is a factor of 2 to 5, with those in their 20's close to equal outcomes. That is Flu 4.0 - in other words about as deadly as 4 years of flu for non-elderly.

    I can see the emotional attachment to prolonging the lives of older people - and a few other groups with similar health profiles. By all means, keep them live as long as we can. But let's be open about it and adjust our societies accordingly: compensate the young for lost income and missed opportunities.

    This common sense argument has been pushed out from allowable discussion - and AK is doing the same here with his 'coping' canard. We have a capitalist world, if you take something away from me that you benefit from, you need to pay.

    What AK's argument boils down to is a tyranny by the old - their longevity is sacred, their assets pumped up, their comfort not disturbed. In the meantime, the young stare in isolation at blinking screens, forgo education, mating ritual, and an ability to make a living. The weak elderly are protected in the 'Zoom' jobs, watch their investments skyrocket while governments issues debt that the young will be expected to pay.

    As long as this reality is avoided we are not having a real discussion. The endless belly-aching about 'excess deaths' (almost all for people in their 70's, 80's or really ill younger ones) and complete silence about he impact on everyone else is a form of mental tyranny. It is not something that AK with his 'coping' routine should do.

    Replies: @g2k, @RadicalCenter

    , @E. Harding
    @AaronB

    Singapore allows Vietnamese and mainland Chinese to enter without having to quarantine. Cope.

    Replies: @Not Only Wrathful

  5. @Europe Europa
    Very suspicious how rich "white" countries are getting the vaccine first, considering the elites usually go out of their way to virtual signal concern for disadvantaged third world types, especially on health issues.

    That really just goes to back up claims that the "vaccine" is a kill shot aimed at squarely at whitey.

    Replies: @sudden death

    Very suspicious how rich “white” countries are getting the vaccine first,

    Such as Israel? Those cunning Jews aimed the kill shot at themselves too? 😉

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @songbird
    @sudden death

    I'm not conspiracy-minded on this issue, but there are at least two possibilities, which appeal to the imagination, in a science-fiction type of way:

    1.) everyone gets a vaccine: some groups receive the sterilization shot, others receive saline solution to disarm people's fears.
    2.) all this talk about racism and disparate impact has been a highly elaborate plan, instituted over decades, with trillions of dollars in outlays, just to prioritize the vaccine for blacks (sterilization), and give them it first.

    Though, even I would be surprised if blacks got the vaccine first. For one thing, I think they would be afraid to take it. Imagine, if Africa and blacks were the priority? How afraid would they be to take it, then?

  6. What is China’s excess mortality? Shouldn’t we look at this first before celebrating their great success in combatting Corona? Do they even publish this statistic?

    You’d think that people would be asking this question but so far I haven’t seen anyone even mention it.

    • Agree: Pop Warner
    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @inertial

    China doesn't publish any firm demographic statistics, but it has published the results of a nationwide seroprevalence survey from April which confirms the official death statistics are roughly correct:

    https://twitter.com/chenchenzh/status/1343570125631463424

  7. There is a widespread misconception amongst “COVID dissidents” that Corona only cuts off a year or just a few months from life expectancy, based on the average age of death. But life expectancy does not go down by one year with every year you age – the typical 80 year old Italian, for instance, has a remaining life expectancy of 10 years, not 1 year. Statistically, this implies not infrequent cases where two or three decades of potential life are lost. As for non-lethal, but QoL-impairing outcomes, there are many reports of lingering tiredness, physical underperformance, and distortions of sense of smell (“parosmia”) even amongst very young people. Long term effects on health and robustness remain unknown. This confirms my earliest judgments from January that while Corona is from the worst disease to get, it’s still something you would very much want to avoid.

    This assumes that a healthy 80 year old is as likely to die of Covid on infection as an unhealthy one. Obviously that is not true. A diagnosis of a number of health issues by competent doctors is clearly a strong indicator of low survival rates.
    More – The Grim Reaper is almost certainly a better guesser of health than the best of our doctors. He will identify people whose time is near up with great accuracy. At any age failure to survive covid implies a very great probability of a short life-expectancy without covid.
    This will no doubt be researched in due course and I predict “survivors” will have extended life-expectancy.
    (so 2.5 average years of LE is wrong – 2-6 months I suspect).

    On non-deaths – I’m still waiting for any stats on who gets long covid. This seems to be a secret (and thus generates suspicion). My guess is that there is a similar relation to existing health issues and already short LE for the individual.

    Totally agree that the threat is the Economic reaction, not the virus. Even your 2.5 years of LE is pretty small. That is the equivalent gain of 10 years of progress in healthcare (EU). The effects of say failure to identify cancer early will be a chunk of that. Add in all the other health stuff, murder, suicide, poorer lifestyles in the K recovery, and that is the genuine issue for today.

  8. Another interesting feature of today’s thought climate, is that priorities get repackaged as “ability”.

    [MORE]

    The American unwillingness to use the same level of force against its citizens as some other countries, instead of being recognized as a differing priority, is repackaged as state “capacity”.

    You see this with IQ tests and technology to- failure to develop technology, or poor performance on IQ tests, aren’t reflective of different priorities.

    The assumption is that everyone has the same priorities. Its remarkable that HBD stops at priorities. (Except when high IQ comes with low accomplishment).

    Anyways, as absurd as this assumption is, its a necessary assumption if there is to be any ranking at all. And if you really love ranking things, you will set up your assumptions in such a way that you can, even if it simplifies reality and distorts the truth.

    Its been logically shown, that all systems have at least one assumption that cannot be proved or challenged. To me, this shows the pointlessness of neat explanation systems that purport to be the key to understanding the world – mixing and matching factors betters captures a complex and contradictory reality.

    So much of intellectual discussion is really just emotive propaganda and scholastic defenses of what we believe already on faith.

    But I suppose I’m just coping 🙂

  9. One can only wonder whether the incompetence of US policymakers will continue to expand in the coming new year. Enough vaccines were created to meet the prediction of 20m vaccinated by years end. With only two days to go, only 2m have been vaccinated – what’s up with that?

    Nice post Mr. Karlin – you’ve been my main man on this topic and your predictions seem to have been fully vindicated.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @Mr. Hack


    One can only wonder whether the incompetence of US policymakers will continue to expand in the coming new year. Enough vaccines were created to meet the prediction of 20m vaccinated by years end. With only two days to go, only 2m have been vaccinated – what’s up with that?
     
    I would suspect how late the FDA granted them Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), Operation Warp Speed's (OWS) transitioning from plans to operations in this domain and how that accelerates, and Pfizer's no warning manufacturing "oops" as well as their until very recent total disdain of OWS. And from the CDC's tracking page (always read the fine print! Like those Johns Hopkins folks didn't for all cause mortality):

    Healthcare providers report doses to state, territorial, and local public health agencies up to 72 hours after administration. There may be additional reporting lag for data to be transmitted from the state, territorial, or local public health agency to CDC....

    Numbers reported on other websites may differ from what is posted on CDC’s website because CDC’s overall numbers are validated through a data submission process with each jurisdiction. Differences between reporting jurisdictions and CDC’s website may occur due to the timing of reporting and website updates. The process used for reporting doses distributed or doses administered displayed by other sites may differ. Data will be regularly updated on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Updates will occur the following day after a federal holiday.
     
    So with the preceding mentioned delays, and without yet having today's update, we have 1 million vaccinated and reported to the CDC by 9 am EST by Wen the 24th from an unreliable source I clipped, and 2.2 million by Monday the 28th, just four days later and including the Christmas holiday.

    That's a nice doubling time, we could soon hit the wall of distribution, 11.4 million doses on the 28th and that's probably more up to date. Allow for reporting delays, but also allow for new types of places starting to get inoculations like nursing homes, the 2020 target of 20 million could and may well be hit very early in January. If it's say within around a week, also note including the New Year's holiday, we shouldn't quibble.
  10. If anything, lockdowns have a pronounced mortality-reducing effect (reductions in traffic accidents are one obvious factor)

    US traffic fatalities in Q2 2020 (i.e. the height of the lockdowns) were only 2% down from Q2 2019. In absolute numbers, this amounts to 302 people whose life has been saved by lockdowns.

    On the other hand, we know that US mortality rates had been going up every year after 2009 (except 2019.) This has been extensively discussed here on unz.com; the extra deaths were determined to be deaths of despair. Well, the factors that caused this despair applied in spades in 2020.

    • Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @inertial

    UK: Only 50 Healthy People Aged Under 40 Have Died with Coronavirus Since Start of Pandemic

    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu. Young and healthy people had virtually no risk of dying from this, if such a strategy had been pursued, the older workers could have been given much more generous amounts of money from the government as a form of back pay, as there would be way less claimants.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @RadicalCenter

  11. Did you address the theory of an accidental (not deliberate) virus release from a lab or did I miss it?

    Six months ago I thought that the probability of that was 10% or less. I gradually raised my estimates and now I think it’s closer to 50%.

  12. Countries like Germany, France and Great Britain also have a high degree of social solidarity, demonstrated in the world wars, yet there mask wearing is less than in Japan. Why is this?

    • Replies: @AltSerrice
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Demonstrated 80 years ago. No longer, I'm afraid. And likely there is a HBD answer, or at least a cultural one, for the European distaste for masks.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @Dmitry

    , @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Almost as if there has been a drastic change in the Governments, societies and populations of Germany, France and Great Britain since 1945

    Come on

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    , @EldnahYm
    @AlexanderGrozny

    They have less social solidarity than in the past, the authorities were less consistent with mask advice, they lacked experience with SARS like East Asia had, and what attempts at social solidarity there were often unproductive. For example in the U.K. they had this gay thing where you are supposed to clap for the NHS. In a pandemic situation where the authorities have completely failed, the medical establishment at all levels should have people on their ass demanding to know why they screwed up so badly. That way maybe next time they will have some incentive not to screw up so badly.

    I also don't think Europeans are as paranoid about their health as east Asians.

    , @Kent Nationalist
    @AlexanderGrozny

    France in the Second World War is not the first thing which springs to mind when I think of social solidarity

  13. @inertial

    If anything, lockdowns have a pronounced mortality-reducing effect (reductions in traffic accidents are one obvious factor)
     
    US traffic fatalities in Q2 2020 (i.e. the height of the lockdowns) were only 2% down from Q2 2019. In absolute numbers, this amounts to 302 people whose life has been saved by lockdowns.

    On the other hand, we know that US mortality rates had been going up every year after 2009 (except 2019.) This has been extensively discussed here on unz.com; the extra deaths were determined to be deaths of despair. Well, the factors that caused this despair applied in spades in 2020.

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    UK: Only 50 Healthy People Aged Under 40 Have Died with Coronavirus Since Start of Pandemic

    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu. Young and healthy people had virtually no risk of dying from this, if such a strategy had been pursued, the older workers could have been given much more generous amounts of money from the government as a form of back pay, as there would be way less claimants.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell


    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu.
     
    This is basically the Swedish strategy, only that we didn't -- and still don't quite -- protect the old and frail and from time to time also locked down parts of society.

    The openess we did enjoy was a blessing, though.
    Had I lived in London or New York, some of my fondest memories of the past year would never have been.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    , @RadicalCenter
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Look forward to AK’s response to this rather significant admission by the UK “Authorities.”

    By the way, let me note yet again that many of the people pushing severe lockdown, and accusing others with contrary views of “coping”, have the type of job that enables them to keep working and earning online. That’s our gifted but this time mistaken author. By contrast, tens of millions of people in the USA, and Russia, don’t have that luxury.

    Many lockdown advocates also do not have children. They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. That’s our talented but badly mistaken author again.

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    People who have no children of their own and either don’t realize the terrible costs that lockdowns impose on our children, or don’t much care, or think they can decide for us that “it’s worth it.” THAT's who is most selfish here.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin, @utu

  14. While hindsight is 20/20 (hah) I think it’s worth pointing out just how bad the Western (particularly West European) coronavirus response policies have been — not just in terms of easily quantifiable factors like deaths and GDP decline, but in the more vague and vaporous social effects and likely future economic repercussions.

    Take for instance the effect on young people and their education, who have been unable to attend college and/or school (depending on country). I can tell you all from firsthand experience that online learning is an absolute joke. It’s bad enough for college, and utterly useless for schools. I’d imagine either we will see a huge increase in fails and dropouts, or standards will be forced to drop dramatically this year. This will further damage their future job prospects, which will already be difficult enough.

    You also have massive rises in reported instances of depression due to lack of socialisation among teens. Expect mental health problems, substance abuse, etc. all to rise notably. Younger children who require regular socialisation for their mental development will likely see long-term problems due to being isolated from their peers for such a lengthy period — even in countries that didn’t shut schools, playdates, afterschool hobbies, etc. all practically ceased to exist.

    Between the lockdowns themselves and the social stress of them, countless young relationships have ended. The entire early/mid-20s demographic is out of work too, and many will have moved back to their families. The effects of this year and the slow emergence from recession will likely delay family formation and lower fertility rates even further.

    Of course it’s not just the youth that is affected, but ordinary people of all ages. How many marriages will break up due to the stresses of this year? How many children will have their families destroyed, or worse, never be produced at all? How many lost jobs, bills unpaid, evictions, etc? We have yet to see the full force of this as most governments are either blocking evictions or heavily subsiding lost income, but for how long? Even things like people being unable to perform their hobbies that keep them sane, like going to the gym, will have a knock-on effect that we can’t yet appreciate.

    The extended familial and community ties which are so essential for a healthy and happy life, not to mention for things like first houses and having kids, have been further undone in many Western nations this year. We move more quickly now along the road to total social atomisation, a world of many miserable individuals unconnected to their fellows.

    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question. But the fact remains than an untold number of small businesses have closed, never to reopen. Jobs have been lost that will likely never return. But of course services still need to be provided, and not only have the largest of businesses weathered the storm, many have performed better than ever. If your local clothes shop has closed after being shut by rolling lockdowns for months on end, the average person will simply turn to Amazon. So while the raw numbers may not look ‘that bad’ if your GDP decline is only 5-10%, the reality beneath those numbers is that the economy has seen a major restructuring towards a much worse and more destructive model.

    No doubt there are a thousand other factors I have missed — please post them in the replies — but I think this goes to show that the quality of a country’s response to corona goes much deeper than is apparent.

    My conclusion is that once our lack of state capacity, social cohesion, and inability to control the pandemic became clear back in Spring, the only reasonable thing to do would have been to march unflinchingly into the grapeshot with those brave Swedes. In a loose formation, of course, with all the reasonable precautions and preventative measures that entails.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
    @AltSerrice

    When doing analysis, the most common fallacy is to overcomplicate matters.

    Human stupidity is usually the most accurate answer to most puzzles. In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    East Asia had a dry-run with SARS. This was something many East Asian themselves were writing about in the early days of the pandemic, contrasting the Western/Eastern responses. And then they had MERS.

    The West hasn't had a significant pandemic scare for a very long time, so collective memory atrophied. It isn't really much more complicated than that. The real test is what happens in the next pandemic, because then everyone will be far wiser from the getgo. If we see a repeat/re-run of what we saw thus far, then we can make more long-lasting conclusions.

    It's also worth thinking about Japan, which didn't do what Korea or Vietnam did, yet seemed to escape better than most anyway. So it's not clear it a question of policies. Many people wrote about Japan's culture of cleanliness and orderliness as contributing.

    Replies: @inertial, @Daniel Chieh, @showmethereal

    , @Mark G.
    @AltSerrice


    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/12/01/american-billionaires-that-got-richer-during-covid/43205617/

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

  15. @AlexanderGrozny
    Countries like Germany, France and Great Britain also have a high degree of social solidarity, demonstrated in the world wars, yet there mask wearing is less than in Japan. Why is this?

    Replies: @AltSerrice, @Korenchkin, @EldnahYm, @Kent Nationalist

    Demonstrated 80 years ago. No longer, I’m afraid. And likely there is a HBD answer, or at least a cultural one, for the European distaste for masks.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @AltSerrice

    I can't imagine the societies and culture have changed all that much. In your opinion, what has really changed in the last 80 years in Western Europe that has made there less social solidarity?

    Replies: @Korenchkin

    , @Dmitry
    @AltSerrice

    In the early months, Great Britain ordered to the population not to wear masks. English people have obeyed their leaders, and there was almost no mask wearing in the first wave of the epidemic.

    After English people were told by their government to wear a mask inside (in end of July, if I recall), English suddenly all were belatedly wearing masks inside public buildings and shops, although still not commonly in the streets outside.

    This showed that United Kingdom's population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities - unfortunately the Kingdom's politicians, are not very sensible or intelligent, to say mildly.

    In the first wave of the pandemic in the Kingdom, the government was obsessed with washing hands and singing at the same time.

    London's leadership believed that singing "happy birthday" twice while washing their hands, would somehow prevent an airborne virus.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9xgJp6m5_Q

    Here was an example that belief in "magical rituals" and "incantations", is not something only in Africa, but can still exist in 21st century Europe.

    Replies: @dux.ie

  16. @sudden death
    @Europe Europa


    Very suspicious how rich “white” countries are getting the vaccine first,
     
    Such as Israel? Those cunning Jews aimed the kill shot at themselves too? ;)

    Replies: @songbird

    I’m not conspiracy-minded on this issue, but there are at least two possibilities, which appeal to the imagination, in a science-fiction type of way:

    1.) everyone gets a vaccine: some groups receive the sterilization shot, others receive saline solution to disarm people’s fears.
    2.) all this talk about racism and disparate impact has been a highly elaborate plan, instituted over decades, with trillions of dollars in outlays, just to prioritize the vaccine for blacks (sterilization), and give them it first.

    Though, even I would be surprised if blacks got the vaccine first. For one thing, I think they would be afraid to take it. Imagine, if Africa and blacks were the priority? How afraid would they be to take it, then?

  17. Great post! You have been one of the most knowledgeable people out there on this topic and we are fortunate to be able to interact with you on it.

    Do you have any predictions on when the borders will be opening up, particularly between the USA and EU and between the USA and Russia? There may be economic pressure to do so for the summer tourist season. Do you expect there to be be special vaccine passports?

    • Agree: mal
    • Thanks: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @AP

    It was recently announced that Russians will be able to apply for a vaccination passport from January which will appear on the Gosuslugi website/app. I gather there are similar initiatives in other countries.

    I expect that restrictions/quarantine requirements will vary based on Corona intensity in various countries, as they have during this year.

    I imagine countries will make deals to recognize each others' vaccination passports during 2021. Hopefully the practice becomes widespread. Getting tested within three days of arrival to another country, or even to some parts of your own country (you need it for travel to certain parts of the Russian Arctic, Sakhalin, etc.), is an additional expense and can be a pain in the ass logistically. It will also encourage more people to vaccinate by inconveniencing those who don't.

    Replies: @AP, @Mr. XYZ

  18. @AltSerrice
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Demonstrated 80 years ago. No longer, I'm afraid. And likely there is a HBD answer, or at least a cultural one, for the European distaste for masks.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @Dmitry

    I can’t imagine the societies and culture have changed all that much. In your opinion, what has really changed in the last 80 years in Western Europe that has made there less social solidarity?

    • Replies: @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The catastrophic conflicts, collapses of empires and mass migrations caused by the former 2 and the recent mass influx of Africans and Middle Easterns, for example
    There's also the 1960s cultural revolutions, mass uprooting of the countryside, false sense of security caused by last 2 decades of relative peace and prosperity, etc.

    The reasons are too many to list, honestly

    Replies: @TheStormisComing, @AlexanderGrozny

  19. @AlexanderGrozny
    Countries like Germany, France and Great Britain also have a high degree of social solidarity, demonstrated in the world wars, yet there mask wearing is less than in Japan. Why is this?

    Replies: @AltSerrice, @Korenchkin, @EldnahYm, @Kent Nationalist

    Almost as if there has been a drastic change in the Governments, societies and populations of Germany, France and Great Britain since 1945

    Come on

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin

    The populations haven't seen such a drastic change in terms of growth nor in age structure and nor in terms of density.

  20. @AlexanderGrozny
    @AltSerrice

    I can't imagine the societies and culture have changed all that much. In your opinion, what has really changed in the last 80 years in Western Europe that has made there less social solidarity?

    Replies: @Korenchkin

    The catastrophic conflicts, collapses of empires and mass migrations caused by the former 2 and the recent mass influx of Africans and Middle Easterns, for example
    There’s also the 1960s cultural revolutions, mass uprooting of the countryside, false sense of security caused by last 2 decades of relative peace and prosperity, etc.

    The reasons are too many to list, honestly

    • Replies: @TheStormisComing
    @Korenchkin

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. As the poem by Benjamin Zephaniah goes,

    The British (serves 60 million)

    Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
    And let them settle,
    Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
    Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
    Add lots of Norman French to some
    Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

    Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
    Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
    Vietnamese and Sudanese.
    Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
    And Pakistanis,
    Combine with some Guyanese

    And turn up the heat.

    , @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    Replies: @Europe Europa, @Korenchkin, @RadicalCenter

  21. politely but firmly sequestering a few tens of thousands of people for a couple of weeks

    Romania did that in spring but it didn’t matter in the autumn wave. Running a longish term quarantine within the EU is impossible due to a mobile population endowed with weird things like human rights protected by laws.
    The fines and quarantines decreed in spring were deemed unconstitutional and were stricken down.
    With Romania having an election in autumn the biggest parties were not eager to annoy the voters with more ineffective lockdown theater like quarantining Bucharest. Democracy works!
    The anti mask nationalists won 9% of parliament seats which is amazing for a party that is 1 year old.
    Excess deaths are obvious if the comparison period is a year but they probably will smooth out if you look at 5 years periods because most of those who died of C19 would have died in the next few years anyway.
    This also means that the economic harm was inflicted by lockdowns and fear. C19 deaths hit far more welfare and pension recipients rather than productive demographics.
    With hug-a-chinese initial rhetoric, giant BLM rallies, anti mask sentiment in early days and Cuomo’s murderous incompetence the american left didn’t cover itself in glory, but owning the media machine is a big advantage because it allows them to rewrite history and blame the Republicans for their own mistakes. That means that rightoids are wrong by definition.

  22. @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The catastrophic conflicts, collapses of empires and mass migrations caused by the former 2 and the recent mass influx of Africans and Middle Easterns, for example
    There's also the 1960s cultural revolutions, mass uprooting of the countryside, false sense of security caused by last 2 decades of relative peace and prosperity, etc.

    The reasons are too many to list, honestly

    Replies: @TheStormisComing, @AlexanderGrozny

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. As the poem by Benjamin Zephaniah goes,

    The British (serves 60 million)

    Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
    And let them settle,
    Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
    Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
    Add lots of Norman French to some
    Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

    Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
    Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
    Vietnamese and Sudanese.
    Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
    And Pakistanis,
    Combine with some Guyanese

    And turn up the heat.

  23. @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The catastrophic conflicts, collapses of empires and mass migrations caused by the former 2 and the recent mass influx of Africans and Middle Easterns, for example
    There's also the 1960s cultural revolutions, mass uprooting of the countryside, false sense of security caused by last 2 decades of relative peace and prosperity, etc.

    The reasons are too many to list, honestly

    Replies: @TheStormisComing, @AlexanderGrozny

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    • Troll: AltSerrice, Korenchkin
    • Replies: @Europe Europa
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Most major European nations are "mongrel" nations, I don't know why it's Britain specifically that gets lumbered with that label.

    The native Germans and French are probably more genetically diverse than the native British, bordering so many different countries with varying genetic types.

    , @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Slow migrations of populations originating from this circle are not the same as mass airlifts of illiterate Bantus into your country in the 21st Century



    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/6cbc7228-115d-4f82-94f2-226ad40f51ae_1.37c04c01cd119780fc74cc297580c789.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=ffffff

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    , @RadicalCenter
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The native British typically have very substantial Celtic, French, or German genes. That is it. Not Arab, African, Pakistani, or any of the other components of the recent ongoing immivasion and destruction of Britain.

    https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/international/press-releases/DNA-of-the-nation-revealedand-were-not-as-British-as-we-think

    Replies: @Expletive Deleted, @Expletive Deleted

  24. Among the pundits who “got it right”, Curtis Yarvin with his piece written at the end of January for American Mind also looks quite prescient:

    “ At the moment, what Western scientists are saying about the virus may be slightly understated but is generally true. What Western scientists are saying about what Western governments should do about the virus (by Chinese standards, nothing) is strange and unsound. The Chinese regime is right to ignore them.

    Pervasive error means politics corrupts everything it can. Politics cannot corrupt virology. It can corrupt public policy. Its virology is science. Its public policy is…weird.

    For this virus, there is no way our experts could rethink that public policy in time. Either we get lucky, or the virus is replicating in America within a few weeks.”

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  25. @AltSerrice
    While hindsight is 20/20 (hah) I think it's worth pointing out just how bad the Western (particularly West European) coronavirus response policies have been -- not just in terms of easily quantifiable factors like deaths and GDP decline, but in the more vague and vaporous social effects and likely future economic repercussions.

    Take for instance the effect on young people and their education, who have been unable to attend college and/or school (depending on country). I can tell you all from firsthand experience that online learning is an absolute joke. It's bad enough for college, and utterly useless for schools. I'd imagine either we will see a huge increase in fails and dropouts, or standards will be forced to drop dramatically this year. This will further damage their future job prospects, which will already be difficult enough.

    You also have massive rises in reported instances of depression due to lack of socialisation among teens. Expect mental health problems, substance abuse, etc. all to rise notably. Younger children who require regular socialisation for their mental development will likely see long-term problems due to being isolated from their peers for such a lengthy period -- even in countries that didn't shut schools, playdates, afterschool hobbies, etc. all practically ceased to exist.

    Between the lockdowns themselves and the social stress of them, countless young relationships have ended. The entire early/mid-20s demographic is out of work too, and many will have moved back to their families. The effects of this year and the slow emergence from recession will likely delay family formation and lower fertility rates even further.

    Of course it's not just the youth that is affected, but ordinary people of all ages. How many marriages will break up due to the stresses of this year? How many children will have their families destroyed, or worse, never be produced at all? How many lost jobs, bills unpaid, evictions, etc? We have yet to see the full force of this as most governments are either blocking evictions or heavily subsiding lost income, but for how long? Even things like people being unable to perform their hobbies that keep them sane, like going to the gym, will have a knock-on effect that we can't yet appreciate.

    The extended familial and community ties which are so essential for a healthy and happy life, not to mention for things like first houses and having kids, have been further undone in many Western nations this year. We move more quickly now along the road to total social atomisation, a world of many miserable individuals unconnected to their fellows.

    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question. But the fact remains than an untold number of small businesses have closed, never to reopen. Jobs have been lost that will likely never return. But of course services still need to be provided, and not only have the largest of businesses weathered the storm, many have performed better than ever. If your local clothes shop has closed after being shut by rolling lockdowns for months on end, the average person will simply turn to Amazon. So while the raw numbers may not look 'that bad' if your GDP decline is only 5-10%, the reality beneath those numbers is that the economy has seen a major restructuring towards a much worse and more destructive model.

    No doubt there are a thousand other factors I have missed -- please post them in the replies -- but I think this goes to show that the quality of a country's response to corona goes much deeper than is apparent.

    My conclusion is that once our lack of state capacity, social cohesion, and inability to control the pandemic became clear back in Spring, the only reasonable thing to do would have been to march unflinchingly into the grapeshot with those brave Swedes. In a loose formation, of course, with all the reasonable precautions and preventative measures that entails.

    Replies: @Thulean Friend, @Mark G.

    When doing analysis, the most common fallacy is to overcomplicate matters.

    Human stupidity is usually the most accurate answer to most puzzles. In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    East Asia had a dry-run with SARS. This was something many East Asian themselves were writing about in the early days of the pandemic, contrasting the Western/Eastern responses. And then they had MERS.

    The West hasn’t had a significant pandemic scare for a very long time, so collective memory atrophied. It isn’t really much more complicated than that. The real test is what happens in the next pandemic, because then everyone will be far wiser from the getgo. If we see a repeat/re-run of what we saw thus far, then we can make more long-lasting conclusions.

    It’s also worth thinking about Japan, which didn’t do what Korea or Vietnam did, yet seemed to escape better than most anyway. So it’s not clear it a question of policies. Many people wrote about Japan’s culture of cleanliness and orderliness as contributing.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @inertial
    @Thulean Friend

    Another Japanese (and Korean) secret: not testing anyone.

    No testing -> no cases -> no deaths from Covid. Easy-peasy!

    , @Daniel Chieh
    @Thulean Friend


    In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

     

    For what it is worth, I don't think that any suggestion that Corona itself made any damage to state capacity was suggested. If anything, it might have been slightly supportive by exposing the weaknesses present in Western governments, rather that this is indicative of a generally reduced level of state capacity that makes it ultimately unable to respond to serious challenges as whole.

    To quote Roko in Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/RokoMijicUK/status/1221566557320634369

    An easy mistake here is to laud certain governments as efficient and others as not; all governments are significantly inefficient by the nature of their being. However, even so relative to each other, some governments are even more ineffectual in accomplishing necessary goals and can be more so gutted by crisis.

    Additionally, from a nationalist's point of view, emphasizing the risks of disease is important not only because it is a potentially a bastion of conservatism(several 2008 studies found that conservatives are more innately tuned against disease), but it is one of the strong arguments against freely open borders.
    , @showmethereal
    @Thulean Friend

    True... Though Korea and Japan's economies suffered less than Japan too...

  26. The big debates about lockdowns sort of miss the point. The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden’s failure in testing is still something that puzzles me. The only European country that seemed to get the message was Slovakia, which committed to a mass testing strategy (for EU standards) by selecting 1% of the population each and every day. But they did this way too late, already far into the 2nd autumn wave.

    In reality, as Paul Romer persuasively argued, that number should have been at least an order of a magnitude higher than that. The cost of a mass-testing regime would be easily saved by being able to pick up cases far earlier and being able to track them easier. The less said about the haphazard tracing infrastructure the better.

    As for Sweden’s excess death, looking at the most vulnerable, there were an early spike but the secondary wave has been less intense.

    Looking at November, when the 2nd wave was in full swing, there’s not much evidence that there has been a big hit.

    The 1918 Spanish flu by contrast was truly catastrophic. This will be a blip by comparison.

    If we take the simplistic test of excess deaths + GDP loss, Sweden will have come out better than most. Our debt/GDP will have increased by very marginal amounts and still land at a very low 41% of GDP.

    So if there are any significant mutations ahead of us, far more serious than the current one shapes up to be, we are more than ready.

    I think Swedish Family mentioned it in another thread, 10K deaths for Sweden isn’t really much, especially given that deaths in other causes have been below-average. That still doesn’t excuse the cataclysmic failure on testing & tracing, though.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    @Thulean Friend


    The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden’s failure in testing is still something that puzzles me.
     
    Yes, this failure needs looking into. Björn Olsen, in an interview with Malou von Sivers, touches on the differences between the Swedish and Norwegian test-and-trace setups here (from 02:02 on):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NMwvlHUb98

    And as he notes earlier in the interview, Sweden and Norway both had excellent virus figures going into early fall, so there is little excuse for Sweden's poor showing (unlike in spring, when everyone was groping in the dark).

    Replies: @utu

    , @LondonBob
    @Thulean Friend

    Testing is a waste of time, Oriental countries don't bother, covid just isn't a big deal.

    Replies: @Znzn, @dux.ie

  27. 72% of Britons support Boris Johnson’s recent decision to return to a lockdown.

    I don’t doubt this for a second, the figure, if anything, is probably higher but so what? A similar percentage probably believe that Crimea is Ukraine; you can’t have your cake and eat it. In the UK, as part of the emergency measures, ofcom has effectively prohibited the broadcast media from any dissent with respect to lockdowns, a mirror image to the situation in Russia where the broadcast media had almost certainly been “asked nicely” not to stir up panic regardless of what Putin has said. This is why most Russians, yourself and others notwithstanding, are remarkably relaxed about this and most western office plankton have gone Howard Hughes. Obviously containment would’ve been by far the best outcome, but once that fails you’re in trade-off land and European governments don’t seem to care about anyone besides wealthy pensioners*, so ruining the lives of kids, teens and young adults for months on end and wrecking their prospects to protect the former was always going to happen. The latter are too servile to seriously object anyway even when they were aggressively blamed for the second wave starting in September when anyone with half a brain could see it was seasonality.

    *The UK’s boomer gibs have a “triple lock”, this means that out of the three metrics that the government can use to increase them, the one that increases them the most is chosen. Due to the sheer number of, generally low paid, service workers losing their jobs, the average employee’s pay in the uk has gone up, so that has caused considerable increases in state pension payments (the dole for over 65s).

    • Thanks: Mark G.
  28. @Thulean Friend
    @AltSerrice

    When doing analysis, the most common fallacy is to overcomplicate matters.

    Human stupidity is usually the most accurate answer to most puzzles. In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    East Asia had a dry-run with SARS. This was something many East Asian themselves were writing about in the early days of the pandemic, contrasting the Western/Eastern responses. And then they had MERS.

    The West hasn't had a significant pandemic scare for a very long time, so collective memory atrophied. It isn't really much more complicated than that. The real test is what happens in the next pandemic, because then everyone will be far wiser from the getgo. If we see a repeat/re-run of what we saw thus far, then we can make more long-lasting conclusions.

    It's also worth thinking about Japan, which didn't do what Korea or Vietnam did, yet seemed to escape better than most anyway. So it's not clear it a question of policies. Many people wrote about Japan's culture of cleanliness and orderliness as contributing.

    Replies: @inertial, @Daniel Chieh, @showmethereal

    Another Japanese (and Korean) secret: not testing anyone.

    No testing -> no cases -> no deaths from Covid. Easy-peasy!

  29. @AltSerrice
    While hindsight is 20/20 (hah) I think it's worth pointing out just how bad the Western (particularly West European) coronavirus response policies have been -- not just in terms of easily quantifiable factors like deaths and GDP decline, but in the more vague and vaporous social effects and likely future economic repercussions.

    Take for instance the effect on young people and their education, who have been unable to attend college and/or school (depending on country). I can tell you all from firsthand experience that online learning is an absolute joke. It's bad enough for college, and utterly useless for schools. I'd imagine either we will see a huge increase in fails and dropouts, or standards will be forced to drop dramatically this year. This will further damage their future job prospects, which will already be difficult enough.

    You also have massive rises in reported instances of depression due to lack of socialisation among teens. Expect mental health problems, substance abuse, etc. all to rise notably. Younger children who require regular socialisation for their mental development will likely see long-term problems due to being isolated from their peers for such a lengthy period -- even in countries that didn't shut schools, playdates, afterschool hobbies, etc. all practically ceased to exist.

    Between the lockdowns themselves and the social stress of them, countless young relationships have ended. The entire early/mid-20s demographic is out of work too, and many will have moved back to their families. The effects of this year and the slow emergence from recession will likely delay family formation and lower fertility rates even further.

    Of course it's not just the youth that is affected, but ordinary people of all ages. How many marriages will break up due to the stresses of this year? How many children will have their families destroyed, or worse, never be produced at all? How many lost jobs, bills unpaid, evictions, etc? We have yet to see the full force of this as most governments are either blocking evictions or heavily subsiding lost income, but for how long? Even things like people being unable to perform their hobbies that keep them sane, like going to the gym, will have a knock-on effect that we can't yet appreciate.

    The extended familial and community ties which are so essential for a healthy and happy life, not to mention for things like first houses and having kids, have been further undone in many Western nations this year. We move more quickly now along the road to total social atomisation, a world of many miserable individuals unconnected to their fellows.

    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question. But the fact remains than an untold number of small businesses have closed, never to reopen. Jobs have been lost that will likely never return. But of course services still need to be provided, and not only have the largest of businesses weathered the storm, many have performed better than ever. If your local clothes shop has closed after being shut by rolling lockdowns for months on end, the average person will simply turn to Amazon. So while the raw numbers may not look 'that bad' if your GDP decline is only 5-10%, the reality beneath those numbers is that the economy has seen a major restructuring towards a much worse and more destructive model.

    No doubt there are a thousand other factors I have missed -- please post them in the replies -- but I think this goes to show that the quality of a country's response to corona goes much deeper than is apparent.

    My conclusion is that once our lack of state capacity, social cohesion, and inability to control the pandemic became clear back in Spring, the only reasonable thing to do would have been to march unflinchingly into the grapeshot with those brave Swedes. In a loose formation, of course, with all the reasonable precautions and preventative measures that entails.

    Replies: @Thulean Friend, @Mark G.

    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question.

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/12/01/american-billionaires-that-got-richer-during-covid/43205617/

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @Mark G.

    Thank you, Mark.

    This would be an especially suitable time to impose a hefty tax on the income of the billionaires and their corporations. That is, a tax hike big enough to take every additional dollar they have made because of the police-state lockdowns that they have supported imposing on us and our families.

    Take their ill-gotten extra profits and pay them directly to the people whose family businesses or jobs have been destroyed (as intended) by the lockdowns. Bezos and the other scum who run or have huge stock-holdings in Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, etc., can readily afford to cover the cost of FULLY replacing their lost income, as well as paying their past due mortgage, business, vehicle, and student loans. They should be made to pay or barred from doing business in our country.

    That leaves the question of how these plutocrats and their government lackeys can ever compensate for hundreds of thousands of elderly people dying alone without ever seeing and holding their children and grandchildren again (the elderly people who have the misfortune to have families who are so unduly frightened and hysterical as to submit to the „order“ to never be with their parents and grandparents in person until quote allowed). We know two families who told their elderly relatives not to attend their own grandchildren‘s wedding! They haven’t ever held their new grandbabies (and one great-grandbaby), either. Sick. We know someone who died and whose relatives were mostly too hysterical to attend his funeral. Also sick.

    Something more than higher taxes will be appropriate as lawful punishment for these plutocrats and other pro-lockdown bullies, though they can never make up for the unnecessary despair and loneliness they have caused.

  30. It’s discouraging (though I must admit to the facts) to see the democratic countries failing in their competency to self-govern while authoritarian and even totalitarian governments in East Asia succeed in rational governance.
    This question is larger than just the Corona crisis. Can democracy work (better)? Are we doomed to needing authoritarian government to keep the trains running on time?

    • Replies: @AP
    @rebel yell

    Thulean Friend has a good point that the Asian countries had recent experiences with epidemics and were more ready for this one. The real comparison will be if God forbid another one comes in a few years.

    That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.

    Replies: @g2k, @Astuteobservor II, @showmethereal

    , @martin_2
    @rebel yell

    ...A similar percentage probably believe that Crimea is Ukraine...

    I doubt that one person in a hundred in the UK has the tiniest bit of interest or knowledge regarding whatever is the issue with Ukraine and Russia.

    , @Sinotibetan
    @rebel yell

    Perhaps democracy(Ala Western style, not the more paternalistic /authoritarian Asian style 'democracy') may not be so effective in terms of policy making and enforcement , especially in times of crisis. This is a weakness of Western style democracy.
    Moreover, most Westerners hate the idea of any intrusion to their 'personal freedoms' and the idea of 'human rights' are so pervasive in Western psyche that Asian style draconian policies will only lead to mass rebellion against those policies in Western democracies. Lack of social cohesion and tendency for non conformity is a Western trait which is not so much of an issue in East Asia.

    I think if another similar pandemic strikes , the same issues will resurface. I am not too optimistic that Western politicians have learned much from this pandemic apart from how to politicize issues via a pandemic.

    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don't think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

  31. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    Replies: @Europe Europa, @Korenchkin, @RadicalCenter

    Most major European nations are “mongrel” nations, I don’t know why it’s Britain specifically that gets lumbered with that label.

    The native Germans and French are probably more genetically diverse than the native British, bordering so many different countries with varying genetic types.

  32. @rebel yell
    It's discouraging (though I must admit to the facts) to see the democratic countries failing in their competency to self-govern while authoritarian and even totalitarian governments in East Asia succeed in rational governance.
    This question is larger than just the Corona crisis. Can democracy work (better)? Are we doomed to needing authoritarian government to keep the trains running on time?

    Replies: @AP, @martin_2, @Sinotibetan

    Thulean Friend has a good point that the Asian countries had recent experiences with epidemics and were more ready for this one. The real comparison will be if God forbid another one comes in a few years.

    That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.

    • Replies: @g2k
    @AP

    The British Isles crown dependencies did similarly, (maybe not jersey) and have the benefit of being run by vestigial aristocrats and financiers rather than an irritating harpie.

    , @Astuteobservor II
    @AP

    East asians already wear masks during regular flu season. Majority of them probably look at the anti mask people in the west as complete morons who are selfish to the extreme that have death wishes for themselves and everyone around them.

    Replies: @inertial

    , @showmethereal
    @AP

    "That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly."

    Being a separate land mass also helps. Some Pacific islands had no virus or a handful of cases... The Caribbean did better than mainland North America.

    Replies: @dfordoom

  33. LOL, I did a terrible initial job of predicting corona’s impact -I initially thought the rich world would almost entirely be spared due to wise policy, and incorrectly overemphasized testing as a sufficient predictor of a good response. I always understood the capacity of the virus to spread and basically correctly estimated the IFR, but I thought Western countries would basically all deal with it as well as South Korea and it would become a disease of the poorer nations. At least I updated reasonably quickly, calling the New York pandemic and 500K American deaths (more than 10K just in March) the day before the first recorded New York case. However, given the evidence of corona spreading less in hotter climates, I went to underestimating its spread in the hotter climates at that time (I ultimately ended up being basically right on Indonesia). My worst prediction in February was that coronavirus would have a mild economic impact, as countries would not be so foolish as to implement lockdowns (again, I was going off South Korea implementing no lockdowns, and no other countries implementing mass lockdowns in response to a respiratory virus ever before in history -I thought lockdowns were something quite unique to Chinese Communism).

    I was also initially quite opposed to travel restrictions and was quite disgusted by Moldbug’s Missionary Virus piece.

    Also, South Korea did not institute localized lockdowns, which is how its pandemic is currently at ~1000 cases per day-but Thailand and China are instituting local lockdowns right now. I expect Thailand and China do better at pandemic containment than South Korea, but, ultimately, the vaccines will save them all.

    But as we see from the above table, Taiwan, Australia, Iceland, and South Korea – all countries that notable managed to contain their outbreaks at a low or negligible level – actually saw an overall reduction in mortality.

    Taiwan and South Korea never had lockdowns, though New Zealand had a harsh lockdown and excess mortality was negative relative to a year ago.

    despite the irony of Europeans having brought modern epidemiology into China in the first place

    BTW, here’s the Report of the International plague conference held at Mukden, April, 1911. Clearly a much better pandemic response in 1911 Shenyang than almost anything in Europe in 2020.

    https://archive.org/details/reportofinternatinte/page/249/mode/1up

    • Replies: @utu
    @E. Harding


    overemphasized testing as a sufficient predictor of a good response
     
    You do testing and contact tracing in order to quarantine potential virus carriers. If you do not quarantine them there is no point of testing and contact tracing. I am afraid that in many places they did not get it and were just going through the motions of contact tracing without effective quarantining. This like the difference between taking a reservation and holding it as Seinfeld explains it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-brgkkjnHc
  34. Good post by AK, but there are two nitpicks of mine: While it is true that corona could have mutated in a way that made vaccine development harder, the quick development of multiple vaccines should be taken as evidence that vaccines for various diseases could be created if society were serious about it. Corona got a lot more attention than the average infectious disease, but in general society underinvests in vaccine development. The same is true of antibiotics or microbiology more generally. Unfortunately, I don’t see too many people learning this lesson(just like with quarantines). This doesn’t really contradict AK’s post, but it is a point which I think should be raised in AK’s summary.

    I think AK also should have spent more time bashing health authorities. He mentioned governments, media, academia, and pundits, but almost nothing on the health establishment. It’s worth pointing out how dumb their advice was. AK mentioned early bad advice on masks, but the early advice on hand washing was particularly dumb. There was never good evidence that COVID was spread primarily through surface contact, much less that hand washing did jack all, but nevertheless the brilliant health authorities were advising people they mainly just needed to wash their hands. Anyone with half a brain can look at the many current and historical examples of highly contagious infectious diseases spread by coughing, sneezing, or to a lesser extent kissing, and figure out that surface contact is unlikely to be the cause behind such a widely contagious disease. But that’s way too much for the people who work at the CDC or WHO.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @El Dato
    @EldnahYm


    hand washing was particularly dumb.
     
    I don't see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that's how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)

    There was never good evidence that COVID was spread primarily through surface contact, much less that hand washing did jack all,
     
    "Primarily" is not even an adequate adjective here. And the "jack all" creates a false dichotomy.

    I fact, I'm still much more suspicious of the mask-wearing show. Are there *any* curves at all which flattened after people were told to put on masks? Generally, ater a mask-your-face order, the infections seems to really get going. Which would be understandly by COVID is indeed transmitted by direct hand-to-face fumbling.

    Maybe you need BOTH hand-washing and masks for a positive outcome.

    Also:

    Empty streets vs jubilant crowds: Stark contrast between NYC & Wuhan on NYE provokes envy & accusations

    LOL

    Replies: @EldnahYm

  35. @AP
    Great post! You have been one of the most knowledgeable people out there on this topic and we are fortunate to be able to interact with you on it.

    Do you have any predictions on when the borders will be opening up, particularly between the USA and EU and between the USA and Russia? There may be economic pressure to do so for the summer tourist season. Do you expect there to be be special vaccine passports?

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    It was recently announced that Russians will be able to apply for a vaccination passport from January which will appear on the Gosuslugi website/app. I gather there are similar initiatives in other countries.

    I expect that restrictions/quarantine requirements will vary based on Corona intensity in various countries, as they have during this year.

    I imagine countries will make deals to recognize each others’ vaccination passports during 2021. Hopefully the practice becomes widespread. Getting tested within three days of arrival to another country, or even to some parts of your own country (you need it for travel to certain parts of the Russian Arctic, Sakhalin, etc.), is an additional expense and can be a pain in the ass logistically. It will also encourage more people to vaccinate by inconveniencing those who don’t.

    • Thanks: AP
    • Replies: @AP
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I suppose a silver lining to the Biden win will be improved relations with EU and likelier removal of border restructions/recognition of vaccine passports.

    Replies: @Mr. XYZ

    , @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin

    One might wonder whether it would be more prudent for East Asian countries to offer vaccinations to people in the Russian Far East and perhaps Siberia as well once they will fully vaccinate their own populations. Thoughts? It would be logistically easier than shipping in a lot of vaccines from European Russia, no?

    Replies: @Shortsword

  36. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    Replies: @Europe Europa, @Korenchkin, @RadicalCenter

    Slow migrations of populations originating from this circle are not the same as mass airlifts of illiterate Bantus into your country in the 21st Century

    [MORE]

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin



    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell, @EldnahYm

    , @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @Korenchkin

    The circle is far far smaller than that. As far as 'mongrel nations' go, Britain is one of the least mongrel, not having seen a significant shift in genetic composition for 1000 years, likely 1400 years. The last great invasion was in 600-ish, when Muhammad was still alive! AlexanderGrozny is just repeating pro-Third World migration talking points.

    Ancient invaders transformed Britain, but not it's DNA



    https://www.culture24.org.uk/asset_arena/8/92/12/521298/v0_master.jpg

    https://www.culture24.org.uk/asset_arena/7/92/12/521297/v0_master.jpg

  37. @AP
    @rebel yell

    Thulean Friend has a good point that the Asian countries had recent experiences with epidemics and were more ready for this one. The real comparison will be if God forbid another one comes in a few years.

    That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.

    Replies: @g2k, @Astuteobservor II, @showmethereal

    The British Isles crown dependencies did similarly, (maybe not jersey) and have the benefit of being run by vestigial aristocrats and financiers rather than an irritating harpie.

  38. What do people think about the possibility that the Wuhan leak was an inside job? Chinese dissidents – to include the divergent types like the Hong Kongnese, Taiwanese, Singaporenese, and Falun Gongnese – do not seem any more sane than their Communist counterparts. Even if safety protocols were sufficient to prevent an accidental release, would they have precluded sabotage from a malefactor who was determined to circumvent them? Given the timeline of events that saw essentially prescient reports of a novel disease in Wuhan from Western intelligence and the simultaneous activation of various CIA-associated Chinese dissident assets, is it not more likely that the Chinese were sent to do their own dirty work compared to foolhardy suggestions by Ron Unz and others that the US sowed the seeds using uniformed GIs in Wuhan under false, but utterly transparent pretenses?

    The leak came from the lab, but it was done by the same Chinese who are now exploiting American foreign interests to their own ends under various guises – the Wengui “Miles” Guos and the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TVs of the world. These people do not fundamentally appear to be any more sane and eugenic than their Communist Chinese counterparts, yet they are being allowed to exploit the American people to fulfill their own goals by the US government because why, exactly?

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    @Semaphore

    Conspiracy overload theories tend to fail. Odds of naturally occurring is highest, followed by odds of accidental release, etc. Its usually safe to bet on the stupidity of people, less so on the ability of intelligence agencies to coordinate precise measures.

    I'd believe the CIA randomly releasing a virus that backfires, for example, much more so than them trying to coordinate various assets in a grand scheme. At any rate, the idea of a novel pandemic sweeping the globe is not new and arguably was due to happen by now.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @Semaphore

    Zoonotic events do happen, and I see no reason to alter the probabilities I gave earlier. Though certainly it was slightly weird that the epicenter was Wuhan.

    We may never know.

    Though I do wonder how this bet will resolve - Steven Pinker, or ambiguous: https://longbets.org/9/ (I believe the latter would be appropriate).



    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/1238501613897232390

    Replies: @BS

  39. Well done, Mr. Karlin. I read a lot of people left and right and you are among the few to reliably follow the data where it leads.

  40. @AlexanderGrozny
    Countries like Germany, France and Great Britain also have a high degree of social solidarity, demonstrated in the world wars, yet there mask wearing is less than in Japan. Why is this?

    Replies: @AltSerrice, @Korenchkin, @EldnahYm, @Kent Nationalist

    They have less social solidarity than in the past, the authorities were less consistent with mask advice, they lacked experience with SARS like East Asia had, and what attempts at social solidarity there were often unproductive. For example in the U.K. they had this gay thing where you are supposed to clap for the NHS. In a pandemic situation where the authorities have completely failed, the medical establishment at all levels should have people on their ass demanding to know why they screwed up so badly. That way maybe next time they will have some incentive not to screw up so badly.

    I also don’t think Europeans are as paranoid about their health as east Asians.

  41. A really interesting and intelligent post (the cartoons were a nice guilty pleasure as well!).

    “The result is some piecemeal and largely reactive adaptations of all of the above methods – lockdowns that are economically ruinous but not harsh enough or long enough to achieve full suppression, coupled with patchily enforced mask wearing, scant effort devoted to contact tracing, and travel restrictions that are introduced after the horse had already bolted. All of this accompanied by straight-out showmanship, such as breaking up beach or park outings (infections in the open air are freak occurrences), or making gloves compulsory along with masks even though infections through surface contact are also freak occurrences (a more particular idiocy that I believe might be quite specific to Russia). For bureaucrats and politicians, the appearance of appearing to be doing something is more important than whether it actually works or not.” – Nailed it!

    But here’s another angle: almost certainly COVID came from the asian so-called “wet markets”. This is where our seasonal flu comes from. We could have ended flu season decades ago, with little real effort, but the global elites (asian and non-asian alike) just didn’t care enough – the seasonal flu was just a cost of business, something to put up with. Except now: oops!

    More generally: there are lots of other fun diseases starting to spread: Dengue, Chagas, enterovirus D68 – and in general our elites are just ignoring them. Cost of business, and the elites and their children so rarely mix with proles or fly in commercial airplanes and public terminals. And the asian “wet markets” are still in full operation, recombining and mixing all manner of pathogens in all manner of species and trying them out on masses of people…

    In our arrogance we thought we had mastered Nature, and infectious disease could be ignored as background noise. Nature had other ideas. With about ten billion people and counting, all flying back and forth, the world is a huge Petri dish. We may eventually reduce Corona to a nuisance, but the easy way or the hard way, it’s never going to be the same.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @TG


    But here’s another angle: almost certainly COVID came from the asian so-called “wet markets”. This is where our seasonal flu comes from. We could have ended flu season decades ago, with little real effort, but the global elites (asian and non-asian alike) just didn’t care enough – the seasonal flu was just a cost of business, something to put up with.
     
    While your overall message about elites just not caring about infectious disease control is correct, and in the US extends to our public health community infamously including our incompetent CDC, new flu strains happen in all sorts of ways, and wet markets are I'm pretty sure a very small source compared to a zillions farms where humans and pigs, and/or maybe birds are in close proximity.

    Flu is unusual or maybe unique for human virus pathogens in having its genome separated into segments, with one or very few genes per segment. So one source of drastically different strains, "antigenic shift" is from a human, pig, or maybe bird getting infected by two strains at once, producing hybrid viruses that have segments from both, and a competent strain that transmits better in humans (and/or pigs or maybe birds) breaking out. Or you could just have a zoonotic jump to humans. One way to track shifts is in variants that are so different the H and N proteins are given new numbers, like the 1918-9 H1N1 getting replaced by H2N2 in the late 1950s, and that getting replaced by H2N3 in the late 1960s.

    Antigenic "drift" is much more common, and it's just regular mutations happening to what our adaptive immune systems latch onto to make antibodies. Unlike a bunch of viruses for which we have what I call "eternal" vaccines, our bodies target parts of the flu that are not "conserved," they can undergo major changes and the virus will still virus. That said, the adaptive immune system's memory of old flu strains is reported to be very good, tested for example in 1918-9 pandemic survivors. It's just that ecologically, new flu strains are favored over ones a lot of people are already immune to.
  42. @inertial
    What is China's excess mortality? Shouldn't we look at this first before celebrating their great success in combatting Corona? Do they even publish this statistic?

    You'd think that people would be asking this question but so far I haven't seen anyone even mention it.

    Replies: @E. Harding

    China doesn’t publish any firm demographic statistics, but it has published the results of a nationwide seroprevalence survey from April which confirms the official death statistics are roughly correct:

  43. @Anatoly Karlin
    @AP

    It was recently announced that Russians will be able to apply for a vaccination passport from January which will appear on the Gosuslugi website/app. I gather there are similar initiatives in other countries.

    I expect that restrictions/quarantine requirements will vary based on Corona intensity in various countries, as they have during this year.

    I imagine countries will make deals to recognize each others' vaccination passports during 2021. Hopefully the practice becomes widespread. Getting tested within three days of arrival to another country, or even to some parts of your own country (you need it for travel to certain parts of the Russian Arctic, Sakhalin, etc.), is an additional expense and can be a pain in the ass logistically. It will also encourage more people to vaccinate by inconveniencing those who don't.

    Replies: @AP, @Mr. XYZ

    I suppose a silver lining to the Biden win will be improved relations with EU and likelier removal of border restructions/recognition of vaccine passports.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    @AP

    I wonder if illegal immigrants to the US--including newly arriving ones--are also going to get promptly vaccinated against the Coronavirus.

  44. @AaronB
    I think this whole "cope" way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is "coping". If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I'm "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn't trust them, one is "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.

    Ifs a disturbing new anti-intellectual trend that is growing together with an authoritarian strand in the West.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @Beckow, @E. Harding

    I think this whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”. If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I’m “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn’t trust them, one is “coping”, etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.

    Cope can be real, but the term is thrown around far too frivolously, yes.

  45. @AaronB
    I think this whole "cope" way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is "coping". If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I'm "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn't trust them, one is "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.

    Ifs a disturbing new anti-intellectual trend that is growing together with an authoritarian strand in the West.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @Beckow, @E. Harding

    …declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”
    …whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Unfortunately true. AK has staked his ground back in February and won’t move.

    His own numbers show that for people under 50 the increase in fatalities compared to flu is a factor of 2 to 5, with those in their 20’s close to equal outcomes. That is Flu 4.0 – in other words about as deadly as 4 years of flu for non-elderly.

    I can see the emotional attachment to prolonging the lives of older people – and a few other groups with similar health profiles. By all means, keep them live as long as we can. But let’s be open about it and adjust our societies accordingly: compensate the young for lost income and missed opportunities.

    This common sense argument has been pushed out from allowable discussion – and AK is doing the same here with his ‘coping‘ canard. We have a capitalist world, if you take something away from me that you benefit from, you need to pay.

    What AK’s argument boils down to is a tyranny by the old – their longevity is sacred, their assets pumped up, their comfort not disturbed. In the meantime, the young stare in isolation at blinking screens, forgo education, mating ritual, and an ability to make a living. The weak elderly are protected in the ‘Zoom’ jobs, watch their investments skyrocket while governments issues debt that the young will be expected to pay.

    As long as this reality is avoided we are not having a real discussion. The endless belly-aching about ‘excess deaths‘ (almost all for people in their 70’s, 80’s or really ill younger ones) and complete silence about he impact on everyone else is a form of mental tyranny. It is not something that AK with his ‘coping’ routine should do.

    • Replies: @g2k
    @Beckow

    To be fair he advocated lockdown in march, but not the forever lockdown that Western Europe and Blue America have adopted, but he really ought to have had more foursight. Authoritarian regimes can turn draconian policies on and off like a lightbulb, when democracies enact similar measures an entire bureaucratic eco system is created around them which makes them very difficult to repeal which was the primary reason I was against these from the start, once it has become endemic.


    I've said before that I agree with you mostly on this but with some caveats. The hysteria cuts across generations and is only slightly worse for those in older age groups for whom Corona is extremely dangerous to. Far too many Zoomers and millennials already spend unhealthy amounts of time staring and screens and are already indifferent and/or scared of the physical world. A large number in that age cohort who've got secure office jobs are quite happy to sit at home all day, a lot of the rest are extremely supine. There's certainly going to be a generation of seriously messed up kids coming through the pipeline though, there was even before this, and it's going to be very bad once they start getting into decision making positions. My own opinion is that the western response has fast forwarded by about 20 years a lot of unpleasant and dystopian tends.

    Replies: @Beckow

    , @RadicalCenter
    @Beckow

    You hit the nail on the head, Beckow.

    FWIW, my nearly-80-year-old Mom and her numerous non-hysterical, fairminded friends of similar age agree with you. Most haven‘t altered their lives much during the plan-demic, and almost none of them expect younger people to give up their livelihoods, social and romantic lives, and prospects for the future. God bless them. Would that more people, of all ages, were as rational and GENUINELY compassionate as they are.

  46. @AaronB
    I think this whole "cope" way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.

    Its basically just declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is "coping". If based on my personal knowledge of chaotic Vietnam I doubt its numbers, I'm "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth. If China is known to be corrupt, chaotic, and obsessed with face, so one doesn't trust them, one is "coping", etc, etc, so on and so forth.

    Its a posturing, signaling way of arguing thats without substance. Its meant to shut down challenges with mockery and posing as superior.

    Ifs a disturbing new anti-intellectual trend that is growing together with an authoritarian strand in the West.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @Beckow, @E. Harding

    Singapore allows Vietnamese and mainland Chinese to enter without having to quarantine. Cope.

    • Agree: Supply and Demand
    • Replies: @Not Only Wrathful
    @E. Harding

    Same for Cambodians. Weird how no one mentions them. Too hard to believe that their zero deaths has anything to do with competence or whatever I guess

  47. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @inertial

    UK: Only 50 Healthy People Aged Under 40 Have Died with Coronavirus Since Start of Pandemic

    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu. Young and healthy people had virtually no risk of dying from this, if such a strategy had been pursued, the older workers could have been given much more generous amounts of money from the government as a form of back pay, as there would be way less claimants.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @RadicalCenter

    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu.

    This is basically the Swedish strategy, only that we didn’t — and still don’t quite — protect the old and frail and from time to time also locked down parts of society.

    The openess we did enjoy was a blessing, though.
    Had I lived in London or New York, some of my fondest memories of the past year would never have been.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @Swedish Family

    Good for you, my sensible Swedish friend. Glad to hear it.

    Once my work and our children‘s schooling went all online, the first thing we did was effectively move from Hysteria-fornia to my Mom‘s house on the East Coast (in a still-hysterical and authoritarian jurisdiction, but generally more open and free than Cali, which doesn‘t take much).

    The children are now closer to my Mom than ever, and they have a network of our old family friends showering attention and affection on them, dining and praying and drinking together at her house at least every week. They go to the playground without being harassed by thugs with badges, at least so far. They may even be able to play Little League baseball and attend summer camp here, while that may not be quote allowed in California in 2021.

    Be with your parents and grandparents, people. Live and smile and breathe and stand up to tyranny and poverty pushed by hysterics.

  48. @Thulean Friend
    @AltSerrice

    When doing analysis, the most common fallacy is to overcomplicate matters.

    Human stupidity is usually the most accurate answer to most puzzles. In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    East Asia had a dry-run with SARS. This was something many East Asian themselves were writing about in the early days of the pandemic, contrasting the Western/Eastern responses. And then they had MERS.

    The West hasn't had a significant pandemic scare for a very long time, so collective memory atrophied. It isn't really much more complicated than that. The real test is what happens in the next pandemic, because then everyone will be far wiser from the getgo. If we see a repeat/re-run of what we saw thus far, then we can make more long-lasting conclusions.

    It's also worth thinking about Japan, which didn't do what Korea or Vietnam did, yet seemed to escape better than most anyway. So it's not clear it a question of policies. Many people wrote about Japan's culture of cleanliness and orderliness as contributing.

    Replies: @inertial, @Daniel Chieh, @showmethereal

    In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    For what it is worth, I don’t think that any suggestion that Corona itself made any damage to state capacity was suggested. If anything, it might have been slightly supportive by exposing the weaknesses present in Western governments, rather that this is indicative of a generally reduced level of state capacity that makes it ultimately unable to respond to serious challenges as whole.

    To quote Roko in Twitter:

    An easy mistake here is to laud certain governments as efficient and others as not; all governments are significantly inefficient by the nature of their being. However, even so relative to each other, some governments are even more ineffectual in accomplishing necessary goals and can be more so gutted by crisis.

    Additionally, from a nationalist’s point of view, emphasizing the risks of disease is important not only because it is a potentially a bastion of conservatism(several 2008 studies found that conservatives are more innately tuned against disease), but it is one of the strong arguments against freely open borders.

  49. Yet the total number of Corona dead — even accepting the massively gamed numbers — is an inconsequential blip. The damage done by the lockdowns is orders of magnitude worse, and there is no good evidence that lockdowns, masks, etc. etc. etc. did a thing to limit what deaths there were. It has also ushered in dramatic new levels of arbitrary government control that will NEVER go away now that our “leaders” have the taste of lockdown blood on their tongues. They can now order lockdowns for ANY flu season because reasons.

    As I’ve said all along, if we had done absolutely nothing and not had a media and political panic, 95% percent of people wouldn’t even be aware that anything unusual was going on.

    • Agree: Getaclue
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    @peterike

    I said this in the other thread but I would like hear a counter argument to it. If the current régime is hostile, why would one want to support policies which one believes will lead to increased social stability (and thus régime legitimacy)?

    Do you still believe America can be saved through participation in mainstream society (and if so, why?) or is there another reason?


    Assuming for the sake of the argument that this is all true, I don’t see why “la politique du pire” shouldn’t be applied to this.

    If America is redeemable then it might make sense to support policies that would lessen popular unrest, but if America in its present socio-political formation is too decayed to be reformed then it would be best to hope for the enactment of policies that will increase national revolutionary consciousness.

    The USA is already at 60% “non-Hispanic” White Americans, better to have a financial crisis, hyperinflationary conflagration, a major military defeat against a peer great power, mass unemployment and new “Hoovervilles” or something similar now rather than when the internal positions are worse.

     

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/soviet-corona/#comment-4371947
  50. @Semaphore
    What do people think about the possibility that the Wuhan leak was an inside job? Chinese dissidents - to include the divergent types like the Hong Kongnese, Taiwanese, Singaporenese, and Falun Gongnese - do not seem any more sane than their Communist counterparts. Even if safety protocols were sufficient to prevent an accidental release, would they have precluded sabotage from a malefactor who was determined to circumvent them? Given the timeline of events that saw essentially prescient reports of a novel disease in Wuhan from Western intelligence and the simultaneous activation of various CIA-associated Chinese dissident assets, is it not more likely that the Chinese were sent to do their own dirty work compared to foolhardy suggestions by Ron Unz and others that the US sowed the seeds using uniformed GIs in Wuhan under false, but utterly transparent pretenses?

    The leak came from the lab, but it was done by the same Chinese who are now exploiting American foreign interests to their own ends under various guises - the Wengui "Miles" Guos and the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TVs of the world. These people do not fundamentally appear to be any more sane and eugenic than their Communist Chinese counterparts, yet they are being allowed to exploit the American people to fulfill their own goals by the US government because why, exactly?

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin

    Conspiracy overload theories tend to fail. Odds of naturally occurring is highest, followed by odds of accidental release, etc. Its usually safe to bet on the stupidity of people, less so on the ability of intelligence agencies to coordinate precise measures.

    I’d believe the CIA randomly releasing a virus that backfires, for example, much more so than them trying to coordinate various assets in a grand scheme. At any rate, the idea of a novel pandemic sweeping the globe is not new and arguably was due to happen by now.

  51. several 2008 studies found that conservatives are more innately tuned against disease

    Well, that proved to be completely wrong, didn’t it? In fact, the whole idea didn’t make sense with anyone with a basic understanding of conservatism, which only says anything about human threats, not natural ones. And today’s most widespread versions of conservatism don’t even have anything to say about human threats, instead grieving for the family of George Floyd and calling Dems the Real Racists for supporting increased penalties on cocaine in 1996.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    @E. Harding

    I'd say that there's some truth to it(larger amygdala hasn't been disproven, I believe), but current weirdness of "signal against the opposite tribe mindlessly" gives us what our kind host has noted:


    Even as “the libs” scurried to “clean up” the public record of their predictive failures – Vox recently proudly announced it had deleted two tweets from March about mask-wearing – this “Anti-Masks Cause” was subsequently monopolized by American rightoids, and since stupidity is contagious, by their ideological brethren across the world. It’s one thing to be wrong out of excess caution and professional groupthink, it’s quite another to seize the mantle of stupidity and proudly don it one’s head. Like making geocentrism a lynchpin of your political identity after Galileo.
     
    And so, the rising crop of righteous geocentrists are having quite a day. It does serve a purpose, but probably not worth it.

    https://twitter.com/robkhenderson/status/1301927713234714624?lang=en
  52. Bolsonaro is ranting about how the vaccines are going to turn you into an alligator

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihang

    The term owes its origin to Mughals, who compared the ferocity of the Akali with that of crocodiles.

    Researchers reveal that the Covid-19 virus was in the US long before it reached China and that India was its original source.

    https://www.unz.com/article/china-ten-predictions-for-2021/

    >

  53. Yea, Karlin got Corona Chan pretty much spot on. Also, boo! on the last effort post on the topic, since it means no more miss Chan pictures.

    Anyway, to me, the biggest story of the year and the biggest accomplishment of miss Corona Chan was dropping 10 year Treasury rates below inflation target of 2%. We have been there before, but never as deep and as long, and this time, we are unlikely to come back up.

    My own post on February 24th:

    As proud member of the “smol brain/just a flu” optimist faction, i say this pandemic is nothing to worry about for people of breeding age. If anything, it will reduce long term health care costs by running through the old people.

    It will be blamed for upcoming recession for sure, but that recession was long time coming anyway. On the bright side, it will give Central Banks an excuse to print money, so once stock markets drop a few 1,000 points, it will be an amazing time to buy. Negative interest rates will make Basic Income easily affordable to support global demand. Few million or 10’s of millions of deaths are a rounding error for a population gunning for 8 billion.

    It will all turn out great in the long run – few people even remember 1918 flu today, we will get over this one as well.

    Indeed it was an amazing time to buy for the stock market, but Basic Income was a bit frustrating – I expected more rationality from US government since it was obvious $trillions would need to printed anyway. It was good that we were able to credit $1,200 to ordinary people, but subsequent lack of action was dysfunctional and only reinforced my view that future digital dollars must be distributed via Federal Reserve system directly to the people and bypass Congress zoo.

    It was fun to watch 10 year yield bottom out at 0.3-0.5% and while i did not get the negative Fed funds rate i have been clamoring for (boo! Powell for stopping at 0%), as long as 10 year real yield is negative, I’m good.

    From Q3 2019 to Q3 2020, US financial system has created $7.2 trillion in free money to give out to those asking for it. (Total credit outstanding increased from $74.6 trillion to $81.8 trillion).
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TCMDO
    It was an impressive accomplishment for the ruling oligarchy and they have much to thank Corona Chan for. Good on the American oligarchs, I do hope they enjoy the free $trillions and buy something nice.

    Regardless, debt service costs on $81.8 trillion are such that nominal rates can’t rise much past 0% ever and forever which means conventional textbook economic concepts such as “money”, “savings”, and “capital” are increasingly obsolete. Future is coming faster than I originally anticipated and for that, miss Corona Chan will have my eternal gratitude. I will almost miss her when she is gone.

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
  54. @E. Harding

    several 2008 studies found that conservatives are more innately tuned against disease
     
    Well, that proved to be completely wrong, didn't it? In fact, the whole idea didn't make sense with anyone with a basic understanding of conservatism, which only says anything about human threats, not natural ones. And today's most widespread versions of conservatism don't even have anything to say about human threats, instead grieving for the family of George Floyd and calling Dems the Real Racists for supporting increased penalties on cocaine in 1996.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    I’d say that there’s some truth to it(larger amygdala hasn’t been disproven, I believe), but current weirdness of “signal against the opposite tribe mindlessly” gives us what our kind host has noted:

    Even as “the libs” scurried to “clean up” the public record of their predictive failures – Vox recently proudly announced it had deleted two tweets from March about mask-wearing – this “Anti-Masks Cause” was subsequently monopolized by American rightoids, and since stupidity is contagious, by their ideological brethren across the world. It’s one thing to be wrong out of excess caution and professional groupthink, it’s quite another to seize the mantle of stupidity and proudly don it one’s head. Like making geocentrism a lynchpin of your political identity after Galileo.

    And so, the rising crop of righteous geocentrists are having quite a day. It does serve a purpose, but probably not worth it.

  55. @Semaphore
    What do people think about the possibility that the Wuhan leak was an inside job? Chinese dissidents - to include the divergent types like the Hong Kongnese, Taiwanese, Singaporenese, and Falun Gongnese - do not seem any more sane than their Communist counterparts. Even if safety protocols were sufficient to prevent an accidental release, would they have precluded sabotage from a malefactor who was determined to circumvent them? Given the timeline of events that saw essentially prescient reports of a novel disease in Wuhan from Western intelligence and the simultaneous activation of various CIA-associated Chinese dissident assets, is it not more likely that the Chinese were sent to do their own dirty work compared to foolhardy suggestions by Ron Unz and others that the US sowed the seeds using uniformed GIs in Wuhan under false, but utterly transparent pretenses?

    The leak came from the lab, but it was done by the same Chinese who are now exploiting American foreign interests to their own ends under various guises - the Wengui "Miles" Guos and the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TVs of the world. These people do not fundamentally appear to be any more sane and eugenic than their Communist Chinese counterparts, yet they are being allowed to exploit the American people to fulfill their own goals by the US government because why, exactly?

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin

    Zoonotic events do happen, and I see no reason to alter the probabilities I gave earlier. Though certainly it was slightly weird that the epicenter was Wuhan.

    We may never know.

    Though I do wonder how this bet will resolve – Steven Pinker, or ambiguous: https://longbets.org/9/ (I believe the latter would be appropriate).

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @BS
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Funnily enough, Wuhan's claim to culinary fame is in its breakfast foods (过早 is what it's called locally), all of which are extremely carb-heavy and almost entirely devoid of animal proteins. You have 热干面 which is noodles with sesame and chili sauce, 面窝, which is a variety of donut, 鱼汁糊粉, which is a starchy, vaguely fish-scented noodle soup, 三鲜豆皮, which is rice wrapped with bean curd skins... You get the point. I've been there and there's really nothing good to eat, meat-wise. So my favorite pet theory is that since the locals have apparently never seen a proper meat-based meal, they thought bat soup sounded delicious...

    In all seriousness, the zoonotic origin is likely a byproduct of the increasingly common practice of farming exotic animals like pangolin for use of their body parts for traditional Chinese medicine. Some pangolin-farming peasant probably passed through Wuhan on the way to his backwater Hubei hometown prior to the Lunar New Year and it spread from there. BSL-4 leak is a more likely source than you'd think, I would peg it at closer to 40%. Wuhan isn't tier 1 like Beijing-Shanghai-Guangzhou or even a leader in biotech the same way Shenzhen leads in high tech. It's not a decent magnet for second-rate/less ambitious youth on a national level even on the same scale as a place like Chengdu in Sichuan is. Migration would mostly be from the Hubei hinterland, and only from the subset which is too lazy or dumb to compete at a Tier 1 level. I'd think human capital in Wuhan would be markedly inferior even to former Soviet countries.

  56. @E. Harding
    LOL, I did a terrible initial job of predicting corona's impact -I initially thought the rich world would almost entirely be spared due to wise policy, and incorrectly overemphasized testing as a sufficient predictor of a good response. I always understood the capacity of the virus to spread and basically correctly estimated the IFR, but I thought Western countries would basically all deal with it as well as South Korea and it would become a disease of the poorer nations. At least I updated reasonably quickly, calling the New York pandemic and 500K American deaths (more than 10K just in March) the day before the first recorded New York case. However, given the evidence of corona spreading less in hotter climates, I went to underestimating its spread in the hotter climates at that time (I ultimately ended up being basically right on Indonesia). My worst prediction in February was that coronavirus would have a mild economic impact, as countries would not be so foolish as to implement lockdowns (again, I was going off South Korea implementing no lockdowns, and no other countries implementing mass lockdowns in response to a respiratory virus ever before in history -I thought lockdowns were something quite unique to Chinese Communism).

    I was also initially quite opposed to travel restrictions and was quite disgusted by Moldbug's Missionary Virus piece.

    Also, South Korea did not institute localized lockdowns, which is how its pandemic is currently at ~1000 cases per day-but Thailand and China are instituting local lockdowns right now. I expect Thailand and China do better at pandemic containment than South Korea, but, ultimately, the vaccines will save them all.


    But as we see from the above table, Taiwan, Australia, Iceland, and South Korea – all countries that notable managed to contain their outbreaks at a low or negligible level – actually saw an overall reduction in mortality.
     
    Taiwan and South Korea never had lockdowns, though New Zealand had a harsh lockdown and excess mortality was negative relative to a year ago.

    despite the irony of Europeans having brought modern epidemiology into China in the first place
     
    BTW, here's the Report of the International plague conference held at Mukden, April, 1911. Clearly a much better pandemic response in 1911 Shenyang than almost anything in Europe in 2020.

    https://archive.org/details/reportofinternatinte/page/249/mode/1up

    Replies: @utu

    overemphasized testing as a sufficient predictor of a good response

    You do testing and contact tracing in order to quarantine potential virus carriers. If you do not quarantine them there is no point of testing and contact tracing. I am afraid that in many places they did not get it and were just going through the motions of contact tracing without effective quarantining. This like the difference between taking a reservation and holding it as Seinfeld explains it:

  57. @AP
    @rebel yell

    Thulean Friend has a good point that the Asian countries had recent experiences with epidemics and were more ready for this one. The real comparison will be if God forbid another one comes in a few years.

    That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.

    Replies: @g2k, @Astuteobservor II, @showmethereal

    East asians already wear masks during regular flu season. Majority of them probably look at the anti mask people in the west as complete morons who are selfish to the extreme that have death wishes for themselves and everyone around them.

    • Replies: @inertial
    @Astuteobservor II

    The entire case for effectiveness of masks appears to be:

    - Asians wear masks
    - Asians are smart
    - Therefore, masks work

    This is not convincing, not anymore. I see masks compliance around me at nearly 100%, and yet they say that we are in the middle of the second wave. My lying eyes tell me that masks don't work.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Wielgus, @Astuteobservor II

  58. This is true. For them mask wearing isn’t something new. It’s harder to get to get an entire country to wear masks when no one has done it before.

  59. Botching the response on purpose? I do not think that showing to China that the West can take losses as Tyler Cowen speculates makes much sense. OTOH early in the epidemic when the theory that the virus was seeded in Wuhan by DIA operatives was being formulate and toyed with and the counterargument to the theory was the magnitude of the blow back suffered by the West I considered the “botching the response on purpose” a possibility as a way of making the whole wold, at least the part that botched the response, turning against China. Make your own people suffer so they are ready to hate your enemy. However subsequently I did not see enough China blaming, It was rather anemic and subdued, so my explanation for the botching on purpose must be dismissed, though there will be plenty of opportunities to vilify China in the future.

  60. @Beckow
    @AaronB


    ...declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”
    ...whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.
     
    Unfortunately true. AK has staked his ground back in February and won't move.

    His own numbers show that for people under 50 the increase in fatalities compared to flu is a factor of 2 to 5, with those in their 20's close to equal outcomes. That is Flu 4.0 - in other words about as deadly as 4 years of flu for non-elderly.

    I can see the emotional attachment to prolonging the lives of older people - and a few other groups with similar health profiles. By all means, keep them live as long as we can. But let's be open about it and adjust our societies accordingly: compensate the young for lost income and missed opportunities.

    This common sense argument has been pushed out from allowable discussion - and AK is doing the same here with his 'coping' canard. We have a capitalist world, if you take something away from me that you benefit from, you need to pay.

    What AK's argument boils down to is a tyranny by the old - their longevity is sacred, their assets pumped up, their comfort not disturbed. In the meantime, the young stare in isolation at blinking screens, forgo education, mating ritual, and an ability to make a living. The weak elderly are protected in the 'Zoom' jobs, watch their investments skyrocket while governments issues debt that the young will be expected to pay.

    As long as this reality is avoided we are not having a real discussion. The endless belly-aching about 'excess deaths' (almost all for people in their 70's, 80's or really ill younger ones) and complete silence about he impact on everyone else is a form of mental tyranny. It is not something that AK with his 'coping' routine should do.

    Replies: @g2k, @RadicalCenter

    To be fair he advocated lockdown in march, but not the forever lockdown that Western Europe and Blue America have adopted, but he really ought to have had more foursight. Authoritarian regimes can turn draconian policies on and off like a lightbulb, when democracies enact similar measures an entire bureaucratic eco system is created around them which makes them very difficult to repeal which was the primary reason I was against these from the start, once it has become endemic.

    I’ve said before that I agree with you mostly on this but with some caveats. The hysteria cuts across generations and is only slightly worse for those in older age groups for whom Corona is extremely dangerous to. Far too many Zoomers and millennials already spend unhealthy amounts of time staring and screens and are already indifferent and/or scared of the physical world. A large number in that age cohort who’ve got secure office jobs are quite happy to sit at home all day, a lot of the rest are extremely supine. There’s certainly going to be a generation of seriously messed up kids coming through the pipeline though, there was even before this, and it’s going to be very bad once they start getting into decision making positions. My own opinion is that the western response has fast forwarded by about 20 years a lot of unpleasant and dystopian tends.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    @g2k

    Advocating for a lockdown without an exit is in effect a 'forever lockdown'. As we have seen, the goalposts move very easily.

    I agree that the hysteria is a cross-generational phenomenon and that many of the designated victims (mostly the young and healthier) have been supine. It still doesn't justify dismissing any discussion as 'coping' by 'hoaxsters', or whatever is the narrative of the day.

    The situation is very clear: we have a massive health epidemic that impacts one part of the population dramatically more than the rest. That part of the population also happens to be the main asset owning generation around. It benefits them to freeze the situation, close everything and protect themselves. It doesn't benefit the rest of the people, au contraire, most are foregoing huge opportunities, income, experiences, etc...

    There is a concerted effort to muddy up this clear situation: vague age-group statistics, alluding to 'long corona', an outright lying. The 'coping' meme is simply a part of the defense by the corona beneficiaries. All I say is that we need to discuss it in its full context, winners and losers, and policies need to take that into account. So come on, geezers, are you going to pay?

  61. @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Almost as if there has been a drastic change in the Governments, societies and populations of Germany, France and Great Britain since 1945

    Come on

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    The populations haven’t seen such a drastic change in terms of growth nor in age structure and nor in terms of density.

  62. @Astuteobservor II
    @AP

    East asians already wear masks during regular flu season. Majority of them probably look at the anti mask people in the west as complete morons who are selfish to the extreme that have death wishes for themselves and everyone around them.

    Replies: @inertial

    The entire case for effectiveness of masks appears to be:

    – Asians wear masks
    – Asians are smart
    – Therefore, masks work

    This is not convincing, not anymore. I see masks compliance around me at nearly 100%, and yet they say that we are in the middle of the second wave. My lying eyes tell me that masks don’t work.

    • Agree: Polite Derelict, Wielgus
    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @inertial

    Masks obviously slow the spread (compare the second wave in the relatively maskless Russia), but they are extremely insufficient to stop the spread.

    Replies: @Dmitry

    , @Wielgus
    @inertial

    Masks have been very widespread in Greece - it didn't stop an uptick in the autumn and the declaration of another lockdown in November, still going on.

    , @Astuteobservor II
    @inertial

    It is weird how people are disputing a medical fact that has been true for over a century.

    We keep talking about asians and their countries is because they dealt and are dealing with covid so effectively. And prevalence of mask wearing does help alot.

    Masks lowers r0. It doesn't stop it completely. It takes nation wide effort though, not just your area. Without nationwide effort, it is why citywide and individual state lockdowns are simply stupid, just crashes the economy.

  63. @inertial
    @Astuteobservor II

    The entire case for effectiveness of masks appears to be:

    - Asians wear masks
    - Asians are smart
    - Therefore, masks work

    This is not convincing, not anymore. I see masks compliance around me at nearly 100%, and yet they say that we are in the middle of the second wave. My lying eyes tell me that masks don't work.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Wielgus, @Astuteobservor II

    Masks obviously slow the spread (compare the second wave in the relatively maskless Russia), but they are extremely insufficient to stop the spread.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    @E. Harding

    People even after all these months, still seem to talk as though "mask" refers to a single type of object, rather than wide range of filters, which likely have different effectiveness. (e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28799710 )

    From excess of caution, if the population was fitted, trained, and made to wear the highest level of respirator that could be afforded (or higher than appropriate i.e. N99 respirators*) when interacting with people not from their household, we could unambiguously predict that rates of infection could have been reduced below 1. This should be a mechanical question.

    On the other hand,, even wearing surgical mask will likely reduce the rate of infection, ceteris paribus - and in certain circumstances, making everyone wear surgical mask would be enough to reduce the rate of infection below 1.

    In any case (even if you put the whole population into N99), anything based on making the population wear more PPE, is an extremely economic policy to reduce infection rates, compared to lockdown.


    -
    *Of course, this was unrealistic to expect during the pandemic. But there is a planning failure, that governments hadn't stockpiled enough respirators to distribute to the whole population for use during pandemics. But in Soviet times, there had been preparation for chemical warfare, that included stockpiling of hundreds of millions of gasmasks around the country. So governments can afford to stockpile for this kind of national disaster, with a few years of preparation - and spending some billions to prepare for pandemics like this should have been more common.

  64. 7,7k words? Damn, so that’s what you were doing instead of writing about the Great Bifurcation!

    Now that I’ve made the mandatory joke, let’s see…

    Yeah, for a demographic that insists on genetics and IQ and so on and so forth, there seem to be a lot of… dumbshit among the “right” wing too. If left vs right can even be used anymore. I avoid it.

    A specific brand is a sort of melodramatic crybaby sort of seething, usually full of religious fervor. And you damn well can easily see that their g factor is insufficient for them to actually comprehend the religion they’re worshipping so much – and you know instantly they make a quote about muh satanists muh atrocities muh this muh that and then nothing. And they just cry and cry and cry. I like to drop violent “solution” hot takes there just so see the (dis)honesty of their words. But I digress. These tend to be staunch antivaxers. There’s also a current of “americanized” conservatives that are of course Qtards. Very few “cold” or “soulless” nationalists like myself (though I would claim my brand of rightoidism has an infinite more soul than their shallow rightoid equivalent of virtue signalling)

    I think there’s an agreeableness component in here too – and everyone knows that despite having relatively high IQ’s – Europeans are far less agreeable than Asians.

    For example, a close friend of mine from college, who is probably about as intelligent as myself or slightly less so, but has a better work ethic, is a staunch conservative, Ben Shapiro listening, almost-bible thumper. Which I guess is good enough for a modern woman. Staunch (and I mean STAUNCH antivaxxer). So it’s more than just IQ.

    On the other hand might just be Dinarid/Balkan insanity/schizophrenia. Who knows.

    A lot of antivax can also be blamed on the dumb politicians and the producers which all look like weak little slimey goobers. For me personally that’s one of the biggest off-putting factors. Ugly mouth breathing soft food chewing soylent drinking skinnyfat cuckbois that are on top of that all smug and insistent (in that holier-than-thou manner I described a lot of Serbian “rightoids” except in a liberal/pozzed) are probably one of the top 5 bloodlust-inducing phenomenon in the world.

    If they hired some actually strong and handsome and charismatic people, not associated with globohomo to peddle the vaccines, these problems would be averted. But then again modern politics have become spiritualized and vaccines and taking corona seriously ended up being in the pozzed camp, so it’s automatically heretical to the “based” people. Sad!

  65. In the UK people tend to comply with the mask rules to the minimum extent, in that they will put a mask on when they enter a shop, but immediately remove it upon leaving. Most will do this between different shops on the same street, when you’d think it would make more sense and be easier to just keep the mask on.

    I’ve noticed that people who take mask wearing more seriously and wear one at all times in public are almost always foreigners.

    • Replies: @Svevlad
    @Europe Europa

    Well, wearing a mask outside has little merit, open air transmissions being very rare, no? Especially when there's noone around

  66. @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Slow migrations of populations originating from this circle are not the same as mass airlifts of illiterate Bantus into your country in the 21st Century



    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/6cbc7228-115d-4f82-94f2-226ad40f51ae_1.37c04c01cd119780fc74cc297580c789.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=ffffff

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    [MORE]

    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.

    • Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.
     
    Blacks tend to be the most dysfunctional and cause the most problems. Furthermore, blacks were 3% of the population of England and Wales as of the most recent national census in 2011.

    The obsession is likely due to the American obsession, an obsession that stems from their history with blacks, as well as the recent Africanisation of Western Europe, most notably France but also England.

    https://i.ibb.co/pvy7NN6/London-Murders.jpg

    As for comment #23 made by you

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

     

    First of all, 'British' is a multi-national grouping of English, Welsh, Scots and a subset Northern Irish. These groups achieved an ethnogenesis quite some time ago, probably amongst the first groups in the world to do so. The differences between Scots and English still exist to the extent that there is constant agitation for Scottish independence, and in 2014, 45% of Scots voted for independence in the referendum. Even after all these centuries, there is political friction between English and Scots despite both speaking the same language and being genetically almost identical, why would Africans and Subcontinentals manage to assimilate? How is the multi-ethnic model working for Russia?

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    , @EldnahYm
    @AlexanderGrozny



    Some people worry about things before they become a problem rather than waiting after the fact. Also, Africans are considered highly undesirable.

  67. …and just in time, the fourth wave of COVID is on its way:

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/29/public-health-experts-grow-frustrated-with-pace-of-covid-19-vaccine-rollout/

    And once upon a time, China had the majority of the world’s COVID cases. I expect Poland and France to be almost entirely negrified by the end of the century.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @E. Harding



    There is no way that Poland will be "negrified". I simply don't see it as a remote possibility.

  68. @peterike
    Yet the total number of Corona dead -- even accepting the massively gamed numbers -- is an inconsequential blip. The damage done by the lockdowns is orders of magnitude worse, and there is no good evidence that lockdowns, masks, etc. etc. etc. did a thing to limit what deaths there were. It has also ushered in dramatic new levels of arbitrary government control that will NEVER go away now that our "leaders" have the taste of lockdown blood on their tongues. They can now order lockdowns for ANY flu season because reasons.

    As I've said all along, if we had done absolutely nothing and not had a media and political panic, 95% percent of people wouldn't even be aware that anything unusual was going on.

    Replies: @Hyperborean

    I said this in the other thread but I would like hear a counter argument to it. If the current régime is hostile, why would one want to support policies which one believes will lead to increased social stability (and thus régime legitimacy)?

    Do you still believe America can be saved through participation in mainstream society (and if so, why?) or is there another reason?

    Assuming for the sake of the argument that this is all true, I don’t see why “la politique du pire” shouldn’t be applied to this.

    If America is redeemable then it might make sense to support policies that would lessen popular unrest, but if America in its present socio-political formation is too decayed to be reformed then it would be best to hope for the enactment of policies that will increase national revolutionary consciousness.

    The USA is already at 60% “non-Hispanic” White Americans, better to have a financial crisis, hyperinflationary conflagration, a major military defeat against a peer great power, mass unemployment and new “Hoovervilles” or something similar now rather than when the internal positions are worse.

    https://www.unz.com/akarlin/soviet-corona/#comment-4371947

  69. Anatoly, what are your thoughts on the current British coronavirus strain?

  70. @Anatoly Karlin
    @AP

    It was recently announced that Russians will be able to apply for a vaccination passport from January which will appear on the Gosuslugi website/app. I gather there are similar initiatives in other countries.

    I expect that restrictions/quarantine requirements will vary based on Corona intensity in various countries, as they have during this year.

    I imagine countries will make deals to recognize each others' vaccination passports during 2021. Hopefully the practice becomes widespread. Getting tested within three days of arrival to another country, or even to some parts of your own country (you need it for travel to certain parts of the Russian Arctic, Sakhalin, etc.), is an additional expense and can be a pain in the ass logistically. It will also encourage more people to vaccinate by inconveniencing those who don't.

    Replies: @AP, @Mr. XYZ

    One might wonder whether it would be more prudent for East Asian countries to offer vaccinations to people in the Russian Far East and perhaps Siberia as well once they will fully vaccinate their own populations. Thoughts? It would be logistically easier than shipping in a lot of vaccines from European Russia, no?

    • Replies: @Shortsword
    @Mr. XYZ

    Is shipping really a bottleneck for vaccination?

  71. @AP
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I suppose a silver lining to the Biden win will be improved relations with EU and likelier removal of border restructions/recognition of vaccine passports.

    Replies: @Mr. XYZ

    I wonder if illegal immigrants to the US–including newly arriving ones–are also going to get promptly vaccinated against the Coronavirus.

  72. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin



    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell, @EldnahYm

    [MORE]

    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.

    Blacks tend to be the most dysfunctional and cause the most problems. Furthermore, blacks were 3% of the population of England and Wales as of the most recent national census in 2011.

    The obsession is likely due to the American obsession, an obsession that stems from their history with blacks, as well as the recent Africanisation of Western Europe, most notably France but also England.

    As for comment #23 made by you

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    First of all, ‘British’ is a multi-national grouping of English, Welsh, Scots and a subset Northern Irish. These groups achieved an ethnogenesis quite some time ago, probably amongst the first groups in the world to do so. The differences between Scots and English still exist to the extent that there is constant agitation for Scottish independence, and in 2014, 45% of Scots voted for independence in the referendum. Even after all these centuries, there is political friction between English and Scots despite both speaking the same language and being genetically almost identical, why would Africans and Subcontinentals manage to assimilate? How is the multi-ethnic model working for Russia?

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

  73. The second reason is that we haven’t made any particularly radical discoveries about Corona, or the best ways of suppressing it, which remain – then as now – centered around universal masking, centralized quarantine, mass testing, and travel restrictions.

    Since September results from about a dozen studies have been published showing that Ivermectin is the most effective treatment for Covid and the most effective prophylactic against SARS-2.

    [MORE]

    This is momentous news, especially given the likelihood that vaccination will be slow, will be resisted by many, and will be less effective than expected.

    Here is Senate testimony by Dr. Pierre Kory on ivermectin.

    • Replies: @alan2102
    @Bert

    ... Further, ivermectin is just one prominent example of the array of early treatment options -- safe, cheap, simple, and highly effective. Hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline, fluvoxamine, vitamin D and C, and a number of others. This is HUGE news which, unfortunately, is never mentioned on MSM.

    Replies: @utu

  74. @Korenchkin
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Slow migrations of populations originating from this circle are not the same as mass airlifts of illiterate Bantus into your country in the 21st Century



    https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/6cbc7228-115d-4f82-94f2-226ad40f51ae_1.37c04c01cd119780fc74cc297580c789.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=ffffff

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    The circle is far far smaller than that. As far as ‘mongrel nations’ go, Britain is one of the least mongrel, not having seen a significant shift in genetic composition for 1000 years, likely 1400 years. The last great invasion was in 600-ish, when Muhammad was still alive! AlexanderGrozny is just repeating pro-Third World migration talking points.

    Ancient invaders transformed Britain, but not it’s DNA

    [MORE]

  75. Let’s be clear about what an mRNA vaccine physically is. It is an RNA sequence in a lipid nanoparticle. “Lipid” means “fat” and “nano” means “small.” To make the vaccine, you make the RNA, then put it in a fancy mixer with some special-ass fat. Done.

    An official course of the Moderna vaccine is 200 micrograms. 60kg of a chemical we’ve known how to make for a year would have averted this whole shitshow.

    For the institutions, however—Actively harming 450 people is much bigger than passively letting 250,000 die. Sorry, Grandma!

    In Massachusetts, the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. It was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human, more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States.

    https://graymirror.substack.com/p/2020-the-year-of-everything-fake

    thoughts?

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @sher singh

    Thanks; that Boldmug piece was excellent, and made sense all the way. The 1976 flu scandal reference was the best part of the piece. The "COVID civil liberties machine" reference was also great -Vox was preparing for doing exactly this in March. Definitely one of Boldmug's above average pieces.

  76. All I know is if you wanted to travel now is the time before ticket prices return to normal. Mexico, Panama and Brazil have remained open 95-100% of the time to people from Canada (cheapest was a round trip to Sao Paulo for $550 + tax). A subsidised government vacation if you will.

    Yeah it’s shit you have to wear a jihad mask on a plane like a Mohammedan terrorist for the plebs to feel safe (and get tagged by IR from 80 IQ airport employees) but at least the flights aren’t packed anymore ass-to-crotch.

    As for the other nonsense posted here. Two types of people in the world, those that made a fortune during the crisis and those that failed microbiology.

  77. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.
     
    Blacks tend to be the most dysfunctional and cause the most problems. Furthermore, blacks were 3% of the population of England and Wales as of the most recent national census in 2011.

    The obsession is likely due to the American obsession, an obsession that stems from their history with blacks, as well as the recent Africanisation of Western Europe, most notably France but also England.

    https://i.ibb.co/pvy7NN6/London-Murders.jpg

    As for comment #23 made by you

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

     

    First of all, 'British' is a multi-national grouping of English, Welsh, Scots and a subset Northern Irish. These groups achieved an ethnogenesis quite some time ago, probably amongst the first groups in the world to do so. The differences between Scots and English still exist to the extent that there is constant agitation for Scottish independence, and in 2014, 45% of Scots voted for independence in the referendum. Even after all these centuries, there is political friction between English and Scots despite both speaking the same language and being genetically almost identical, why would Africans and Subcontinentals manage to assimilate? How is the multi-ethnic model working for Russia?

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean

    • Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean
     
    And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican 'Yardie' culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @showmethereal

  78. @Mr. XYZ
    @Anatoly Karlin

    One might wonder whether it would be more prudent for East Asian countries to offer vaccinations to people in the Russian Far East and perhaps Siberia as well once they will fully vaccinate their own populations. Thoughts? It would be logistically easier than shipping in a lot of vaccines from European Russia, no?

    Replies: @Shortsword

    Is shipping really a bottleneck for vaccination?

  79. Whence thither?

    I’m not sure this is what you meant. In nonliterary English, the meaning is literally: “From where to there?”

    I think you meant: “To where now?” (or “Where do we go now?”). In literary English, that would be “Whither now?”

    Words like whence, whither, hither, and thither are relics of a time when English was a synthetic language, i.e., words expressed not only ideas but also relationships to other words.

    An excellent post, by the way. Congratulations!

    • Thanks: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    @Peter Frost


    Whence thither?

    I’m not sure this is what you meant. In nonliterary English, the meaning is literally: “From where to there?”

    I think you meant: “To where now?” (or “Where do we go now?”). In literary English, that would be “Whither now?”
     

    I thought the same on reading the post, but it felt like nitpicking. For what it's worth, "whence, whither?" works to my (Swedish) ears, but "whence, thither?" doesn't.

    Words like whence, whither, hither, and thither are relics of a time when English was a synthetic language, i.e., words expressed not only ideas but also relationships to other words.
     
    Interestingly, куда (where or whither) is as ambiguous in Russian as in English. Swedish still maintains the distinction between the current direction ("whither" [vart]) and the point of destination ("where" [var]).

    Replies: @Swedish Family

  80. …in both incidence and sheer magnitude of idiotic rhetoric, there’s no doubt the righties have ascended head and shoulders above any other political faction, adopting patently losing and incorrect positions that there were under absolutely no obligation to adopt, and which were often outright schizophrenic and self-contradictory to boot

    So why did rightoids insist on scoring own goals? One can speculate endlessly, but ultimately I think it comes down to them having something like 10 fewer IQ points than liberals on average, and 5 fewer IQ points than leftoids. Stupider people tend to make bad decisions and adopt losing positions. Stupider people tend to make bad decisions while putting themselves in a position where they can easily and not even all that unfairly be portrayed as psychopaths by people who dislike them and who also happen to control 90% of the media and tech.

    The Corona-chan must be commended for exposing the stupidity and psychopathology of the rightoids. They will remain oblivious to their own deficiencies and will continue to pontificate about the IQism and the HBDism but they won’t be taken seriously as possible partners in any political project, not even as boots on the ground though still they will be exploited as a revenue source to cynical authors of VDare like Derbyshire or Sailer. Recruiting them will always lead to self-inflicted implosion just like attempts to turn dysfunctional and criminal Negros into Black Panther fighters. The only role that the rightoids can play well is that of useful idiots.

    Who are the rightoids? They are not conservative Catholics or conservative Evangelicals. They are not even the often morally deficient Chamber of Commerce Republicans. How can you identify them? This comes to the ethical test. This is not about the IQ score. They are the ones who fail on the Kant’s Second Categorical Imperative. Most of them are still pre-human and some of them are already post-human. In either case they are not a part of humanity.

  81. @Thulean Friend
    The big debates about lockdowns sort of miss the point. The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden's failure in testing is still something that puzzles me. The only European country that seemed to get the message was Slovakia, which committed to a mass testing strategy (for EU standards) by selecting 1% of the population each and every day. But they did this way too late, already far into the 2nd autumn wave.

    In reality, as Paul Romer persuasively argued, that number should have been at least an order of a magnitude higher than that. The cost of a mass-testing regime would be easily saved by being able to pick up cases far earlier and being able to track them easier. The less said about the haphazard tracing infrastructure the better.

    As for Sweden's excess death, looking at the most vulnerable, there were an early spike but the secondary wave has been less intense.

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-p2kPGczpzAc/X9n9WT68byI/AAAAAAABCxA/RBpY5hJIsxEP5H8QuRaQfWFKQmuAR07egCLcBGAsYHQ/s1186/1.png

    Looking at November, when the 2nd wave was in full swing, there's not much evidence that there has been a big hit.

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-u8lZ361vfmg/X9d0dEIoR3I/AAAAAAABCvI/Et1DoWxhkqkKC-2_UO2OqOCNdmb6ASfjwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1958/1.png

    The 1918 Spanish flu by contrast was truly catastrophic. This will be a blip by comparison.

    If we take the simplistic test of excess deaths + GDP loss, Sweden will have come out better than most. Our debt/GDP will have increased by very marginal amounts and still land at a very low 41% of GDP.

    So if there are any significant mutations ahead of us, far more serious than the current one shapes up to be, we are more than ready.

    I think Swedish Family mentioned it in another thread, 10K deaths for Sweden isn't really much, especially given that deaths in other causes have been below-average. That still doesn't excuse the cataclysmic failure on testing & tracing, though.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @LondonBob

    The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden’s failure in testing is still something that puzzles me.

    Yes, this failure needs looking into. Björn Olsen, in an interview with Malou von Sivers, touches on the differences between the Swedish and Norwegian test-and-trace setups here (from 02:02 on):

    And as he notes earlier in the interview, Sweden and Norway both had excellent virus figures going into early fall, so there is little excuse for Sweden’s poor showing (unlike in spring, when everyone was groping in the dark).

    • Replies: @utu
    @Swedish Family

    "The big failures were in testing and tracing." "Yes, this failure needs looking into. " - The answer is very simple. Why Sweden would develop a countermeasure that would undermine its herd immunity strategy? For the same reason they failed to protect the elderly in the first wave. Hands off laissez-faire philosophy has its inexorable consequences.

  82. @AlexanderGrozny
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean

    And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican ‘Yardie’ culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell



    Jamaicans don't breed the way Africans do, and as of 2011, the median age of a black Caribbean Brit is 40.7 which is 13 years older than that of an African Brit.

    Replies: @Shortsword

    , @showmethereal
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    "And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican ‘Yardie’ culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves."

    So both Jamaica and Ghana were British colonies. Even more than that - much of the slave population the British took to Jamaica they took from Ghana (Akan people)... So why is Jamaica more violent?? Look up the most violent countries per capita and you will find they are almost all the in the Americas. They all have access to US weapons and all help supply the US with drugs.

    Jamaican migrants to England in the 40's and 50's and 60's were not violent and were seen as good workers. Go check what happened.

  83. @E. Harding
    ...and just in time, the fourth wave of COVID is on its way:

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/29/public-health-experts-grow-frustrated-with-pace-of-covid-19-vaccine-rollout/

    @AlexanderGrozny And once upon a time, China had the majority of the world's COVID cases. I expect Poland and France to be almost entirely negrified by the end of the century.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    [MORE]

    There is no way that Poland will be “negrified”. I simply don’t see it as a remote possibility.

  84. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean
     
    And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican 'Yardie' culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @showmethereal

    [MORE]

    Jamaicans don’t breed the way Africans do, and as of 2011, the median age of a black Caribbean Brit is 40.7 which is 13 years older than that of an African Brit.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The demographics statistics on Jamaica are interesting. There are contradicting sources and some statistics look weird which makes me wonder if they are correct.

    According to World Bank Jamaica had 65 year life expectancy in 1960 rising up to 74 years in 1995 but since then the growth has completely stagnated and the life expectancy remains at 74 today. That means life expectancy was close to Western level for many years but because of the stagnation is now a step below. The high life expectancy isn't too weird, life expectancy in general is high in the Caribbean and there are Caribbean countries with black population that has Western level life expectancy (Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda). But life expectancy completely stagnating for the last 25 years? That is interesting, what would be the reason for that?

    Wikipedia puts Jamaica's fertility rate at 1.46 (2017) while World Bank puts it at 1.98 (2018). That's a big difference. Neither would be that surprising. To compare, Barbados has had below replacement fertility since the 80s (by any source) so I could imagine Jamaica being at 1.46.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

  85. Tokyo’s seropositivity rate of almost 50% – would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    @joniel

    It's possible that social distancing, masks, and various other hygiene measures, are reducing viral load that people are exposed to, and that possibly lower viral load initially exposed to could reduce severity of the disease in people after they are infected other things equal.

    If that was true, there would be a further argument in support of social distancing and wearing of masks.

    However, are not these seroprevalence estimates considered to be quite unreliable for various reasons? In this case, it seems to be based on testing employees of a single company. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.21.20198796v1

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @joniel

    Where there is one study suggesting a seroprevalence rate in Tokyo implying the Japanese have uniquely low mortality from Corona relative to anyone else, despite having the highest median age of any country in the world, while multiple ones suggest very low seroprevalence (<1%) in line with its observed (lack of) excess deaths:

    * https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgf2.408
    * https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-96870/v1
    * https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/16/national/science-health/tokyo-coronavirus-antibodies/

    ... I would tend to trust the latter.

    Replies: @utu

    , @Peterike
    @joniel

    “ Tokyo’s seropositivity rate of almost 50% – would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?”

    No. Some races have more natural immunity. It’s very obvious. Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm.

    Replies: @Jtgw

  86. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin



    Why is this site so obsessed with African migration? Black Africans make up about 1% of the UK population.

    Replies: @The Spirit of Enoch Powell, @EldnahYm

    [MORE]

    Some people worry about things before they become a problem rather than waiting after the fact. Also, Africans are considered highly undesirable.

  87. @Peter Frost
    Whence thither?

    I'm not sure this is what you meant. In nonliterary English, the meaning is literally: "From where to there?"

    I think you meant: "To where now?" (or "Where do we go now?"). In literary English, that would be "Whither now?"

    Words like whence, whither, hither, and thither are relics of a time when English was a synthetic language, i.e., words expressed not only ideas but also relationships to other words.

    An excellent post, by the way. Congratulations!

    Replies: @Swedish Family

    Whence thither?

    I’m not sure this is what you meant. In nonliterary English, the meaning is literally: “From where to there?”

    I think you meant: “To where now?” (or “Where do we go now?”). In literary English, that would be “Whither now?”

    I thought the same on reading the post, but it felt like nitpicking. For what it’s worth, “whence, whither?” works to my (Swedish) ears, but “whence, thither?” doesn’t.

    Words like whence, whither, hither, and thither are relics of a time when English was a synthetic language, i.e., words expressed not only ideas but also relationships to other words.

    Interestingly, куда (where or whither) is as ambiguous in Russian as in English. Swedish still maintains the distinction between the current direction (“whither” [vart]) and the point of destination (“where” [var]).

    • Replies: @Swedish Family
    @Swedish Family


    Interestingly, куда (where or whither) is as ambiguous in Russian as in English. Swedish still maintains the distinction between the current direction (“whither” [vart]) and the point of destination (“where” [var]).
     
    Come to think of it, "куда" strikes me as every bit as straightforwardly unidirectional as the Swedish "vart".

    So:

    whither = куда = vart
    where = где = var

  88. [MORE]

    Jamaicans don’t breed the way Africans do, and as of 2011, the median age of a black Caribbean Brit is 40.7 which is 13 years older than that of an African Brit.

    This is more due to the difference in migration histories. Most Caribbean blacks arrived soon after WW2 ended, the African influx was way more recent. As far as fertility is concerned, the only problematic groups are Muslims because their fertility is culturally driven. On the whole, nonwhite immigration is an issue and it should be suspended indefinitely

    Fertility by ethnic and religious groups in the UK, trends in a multi-cultural context

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
  89. @sher singh

    Let’s be clear about what an mRNA vaccine physically is. It is an RNA sequence in a lipid nanoparticle. “Lipid” means “fat” and “nano” means “small.” To make the vaccine, you make the RNA, then put it in a fancy mixer with some special-ass fat. Done.

    An official course of the Moderna vaccine is 200 micrograms. 60kg of a chemical we’ve known how to make for a year would have averted this whole shitshow.
     

    For the institutions, however—Actively harming 450 people is much bigger than passively letting 250,000 die. Sorry, Grandma!
     

    In Massachusetts, the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. It was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human, more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States.
     
    https://graymirror.substack.com/p/2020-the-year-of-everything-fake

    thoughts?

    Replies: @E. Harding

    Thanks; that Boldmug piece was excellent, and made sense all the way. The 1976 flu scandal reference was the best part of the piece. The “COVID civil liberties machine” reference was also great -Vox was preparing for doing exactly this in March. Definitely one of Boldmug’s above average pieces.

  90. @Swedish Family
    @Peter Frost


    Whence thither?

    I’m not sure this is what you meant. In nonliterary English, the meaning is literally: “From where to there?”

    I think you meant: “To where now?” (or “Where do we go now?”). In literary English, that would be “Whither now?”
     

    I thought the same on reading the post, but it felt like nitpicking. For what it's worth, "whence, whither?" works to my (Swedish) ears, but "whence, thither?" doesn't.

    Words like whence, whither, hither, and thither are relics of a time when English was a synthetic language, i.e., words expressed not only ideas but also relationships to other words.
     
    Interestingly, куда (where or whither) is as ambiguous in Russian as in English. Swedish still maintains the distinction between the current direction ("whither" [vart]) and the point of destination ("where" [var]).

    Replies: @Swedish Family

    Interestingly, куда (where or whither) is as ambiguous in Russian as in English. Swedish still maintains the distinction between the current direction (“whither” [vart]) and the point of destination (“where” [var]).

    Come to think of it, “куда” strikes me as every bit as straightforwardly unidirectional as the Swedish “vart”.

    So:

    whither = куда = vart
    where = где = var

  91. Mostly agree, but two points:

    US poverty rate also went down a lot due to CV stimulus. I doubt Brazil is very unique here.

    China’s world reputation went down due to CV. Whatever the precise cause, it was their disease and they spread it worldwide. Don’t forget their ambassador’s threats against Italy for travel restrictions. You can also see this in all the governments dumping China’s 5G spyware hardware, and the new rift with Australia. American propaganda isn’t great, but China’s is consistently horrible.

    • Troll: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
    @Lot

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453


    Mocking people, about their dead loved ones.


    Wrong then.
    Wrong now.

    Replies: @Lot

  92. @g2k
    @Beckow

    To be fair he advocated lockdown in march, but not the forever lockdown that Western Europe and Blue America have adopted, but he really ought to have had more foursight. Authoritarian regimes can turn draconian policies on and off like a lightbulb, when democracies enact similar measures an entire bureaucratic eco system is created around them which makes them very difficult to repeal which was the primary reason I was against these from the start, once it has become endemic.


    I've said before that I agree with you mostly on this but with some caveats. The hysteria cuts across generations and is only slightly worse for those in older age groups for whom Corona is extremely dangerous to. Far too many Zoomers and millennials already spend unhealthy amounts of time staring and screens and are already indifferent and/or scared of the physical world. A large number in that age cohort who've got secure office jobs are quite happy to sit at home all day, a lot of the rest are extremely supine. There's certainly going to be a generation of seriously messed up kids coming through the pipeline though, there was even before this, and it's going to be very bad once they start getting into decision making positions. My own opinion is that the western response has fast forwarded by about 20 years a lot of unpleasant and dystopian tends.

    Replies: @Beckow

    Advocating for a lockdown without an exit is in effect a ‘forever lockdown‘. As we have seen, the goalposts move very easily.

    I agree that the hysteria is a cross-generational phenomenon and that many of the designated victims (mostly the young and healthier) have been supine. It still doesn’t justify dismissing any discussion as ‘coping’ by ‘hoaxsters’, or whatever is the narrative of the day.

    The situation is very clear: we have a massive health epidemic that impacts one part of the population dramatically more than the rest. That part of the population also happens to be the main asset owning generation around. It benefits them to freeze the situation, close everything and protect themselves. It doesn’t benefit the rest of the people, au contraire, most are foregoing huge opportunities, income, experiences, etc…

    There is a concerted effort to muddy up this clear situation: vague age-group statistics, alluding to ‘long corona’, an outright lying. The ‘coping’ meme is simply a part of the defense by the corona beneficiaries. All I say is that we need to discuss it in its full context, winners and losers, and policies need to take that into account. So come on, geezers, are you going to pay?

  93. Also, in a bold move, Hong Kong is now catching COVID cases through sewage (undoubtedly this technique will be transferred to the mainland, given the recent spikes there):

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3115674/hong-kong-fourth-wave-more-50-covid-19-cases

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @E. Harding


    Also, in a bold move, Hong Kong is now catching COVID cases through sewage
     
    Read the article more closely. They're using sewage for monitoring, RT-PCR is a very sensitive technique thanks to PCR's ability to double a sample of DNA in each cycle, so if there is some of the two bits of RNA still hanging together in the sewage, you can detect it. Doesn't mean it is from viable viruses, to find out you need a BSL-3 lab to try to culture samples, and this has been done with some COVID-19 patients.

    Last time I checked which was a long time ago COVID-19 was not thought to be a major threat in transmitting this way, certainly not compared to the normal way, unless perhaps bad plumbing turns sewage into aerosols. Which is believed to have happened in Hong Kong with SARS, which doesn't normally transmit very well except by a relative few superspreaders. So you might expect it to be like what we've lately been reading about asymptomatic spreaders, if it happens, it's not going to be a major driver of the pandemic.

    Replies: @utu

  94. @Swedish Family
    @Thulean Friend


    The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden’s failure in testing is still something that puzzles me.
     
    Yes, this failure needs looking into. Björn Olsen, in an interview with Malou von Sivers, touches on the differences between the Swedish and Norwegian test-and-trace setups here (from 02:02 on):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NMwvlHUb98

    And as he notes earlier in the interview, Sweden and Norway both had excellent virus figures going into early fall, so there is little excuse for Sweden's poor showing (unlike in spring, when everyone was groping in the dark).

    Replies: @utu

    “The big failures were in testing and tracing.” “Yes, this failure needs looking into. ” – The answer is very simple. Why Sweden would develop a countermeasure that would undermine its herd immunity strategy? For the same reason they failed to protect the elderly in the first wave. Hands off laissez-faire philosophy has its inexorable consequences.

  95. Covid exposed many bloggers in the extremely gay HBD-sphere as neurotic freaks. How many balding IT dorks were hoarding masks and hand sanitizer, confidently predicting millions of dead Americans by the end of 2020, back in February? It is to laugh.

    • Replies: @E. Harding
    @Average and Harmless

    Yeah, man! We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!

    Replies: @peterike

  96. @Lot
    Mostly agree, but two points:

    US poverty rate also went down a lot due to CV stimulus. I doubt Brazil is very unique here.

    China’s world reputation went down due to CV. Whatever the precise cause, it was their disease and they spread it worldwide. Don’t forget their ambassador’s threats against Italy for travel restrictions. You can also see this in all the governments dumping China’s 5G spyware hardware, and the new rift with Australia. American propaganda isn’t great, but China’s is consistently horrible.

    Replies: @Blinky Bill

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453

    [MORE]

    Mocking people, about their dead loved ones.

    Wrong then.
    Wrong now.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Blinky Bill

    https://canoe.com/news/world/china-mocks-u-s-over-covid-19-with-lego-like-cartoon

    Replies: @Blinky Bill

  97. @Average and Harmless
    Covid exposed many bloggers in the extremely gay HBD-sphere as neurotic freaks. How many balding IT dorks were hoarding masks and hand sanitizer, confidently predicting millions of dead Americans by the end of 2020, back in February? It is to laugh.

    Replies: @E. Harding

    Yeah, man! We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!

    • Disagree: Hippopotamusdrome
    • Thanks: Jtgw
    • Replies: @peterike
    @E. Harding


    We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!
     
    Yes, a whole 0.13% of the population, at least half of whom would have died anyway, Corona or not. What a crisis.

    So we would have had 332,357,437 people instead of 331,907,437 people (est. as of Dec. 19). We must be barely hanging on given this massive reduction in population.

    Yet the number of people negatively impacted by lockdowns, etc. is in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions. A crisis? Yes, and it was entirely created by our idiot "ruling class."

    Replies: @Jtgw

  98. An informative post, Anatoly — but I wish you spent more time going into how Corona-Chan DESTROYED Virgin Trump and carried Chad Biden to victory. I never get tired drinking COPEr tears, myself. One should never be afraid to craft drinking cups from the skulls of your enemy.

  99. Read about a third of the thread but want to comment. AK you deserve credit for being right on a lot of Corona predictions.

    What I observe so far it seems both sides of an argument if there is one to be had are right. It really comes down to values. A lot we still can not tell. For example excess mortality over five years, trade offs economy VS deaths.

    Values I mentioned is stuff like killing grandma. Righties were always more callous in this regard. Plus more of them are small business owners. I think a lot of the left falls on the side of lock downs for completely selfish reasons. Free money. Most of them work for government and UI benefits are very generous.

    I think the worst is to come. A lot of seed crop was eaten through the pandemic. You can see this with red VS blue state divide in their respective fiscal health.

    Asians definitely proved they are smart even if we take into account they had several pandemic scares.

    I think states that had least GDP fall are well set for what is coming.

  100. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Semaphore

    Zoonotic events do happen, and I see no reason to alter the probabilities I gave earlier. Though certainly it was slightly weird that the epicenter was Wuhan.

    We may never know.

    Though I do wonder how this bet will resolve - Steven Pinker, or ambiguous: https://longbets.org/9/ (I believe the latter would be appropriate).



    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/1238501613897232390

    Replies: @BS

    Funnily enough, Wuhan’s claim to culinary fame is in its breakfast foods (过早 is what it’s called locally), all of which are extremely carb-heavy and almost entirely devoid of animal proteins. You have 热干面 which is noodles with sesame and chili sauce, 面窝, which is a variety of donut, 鱼汁糊粉, which is a starchy, vaguely fish-scented noodle soup, 三鲜豆皮, which is rice wrapped with bean curd skins… You get the point. I’ve been there and there’s really nothing good to eat, meat-wise. So my favorite pet theory is that since the locals have apparently never seen a proper meat-based meal, they thought bat soup sounded delicious…

    In all seriousness, the zoonotic origin is likely a byproduct of the increasingly common practice of farming exotic animals like pangolin for use of their body parts for traditional Chinese medicine. Some pangolin-farming peasant probably passed through Wuhan on the way to his backwater Hubei hometown prior to the Lunar New Year and it spread from there. BSL-4 leak is a more likely source than you’d think, I would peg it at closer to 40%. Wuhan isn’t tier 1 like Beijing-Shanghai-Guangzhou or even a leader in biotech the same way Shenzhen leads in high tech. It’s not a decent magnet for second-rate/less ambitious youth on a national level even on the same scale as a place like Chengdu in Sichuan is. Migration would mostly be from the Hubei hinterland, and only from the subset which is too lazy or dumb to compete at a Tier 1 level. I’d think human capital in Wuhan would be markedly inferior even to former Soviet countries.

    • Thanks: Anatoly Karlin
  101. @E. Harding
    @inertial

    Masks obviously slow the spread (compare the second wave in the relatively maskless Russia), but they are extremely insufficient to stop the spread.

    Replies: @Dmitry

    People even after all these months, still seem to talk as though “mask” refers to a single type of object, rather than wide range of filters, which likely have different effectiveness. (e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28799710 )

    From excess of caution, if the population was fitted, trained, and made to wear the highest level of respirator that could be afforded (or higher than appropriate i.e. N99 respirators*) when interacting with people not from their household, we could unambiguously predict that rates of infection could have been reduced below 1. This should be a mechanical question.

    On the other hand,, even wearing surgical mask will likely reduce the rate of infection, ceteris paribus – and in certain circumstances, making everyone wear surgical mask would be enough to reduce the rate of infection below 1.

    In any case (even if you put the whole population into N99), anything based on making the population wear more PPE, is an extremely economic policy to reduce infection rates, compared to lockdown.


    *Of course, this was unrealistic to expect during the pandemic. But there is a planning failure, that governments hadn’t stockpiled enough respirators to distribute to the whole population for use during pandemics. But in Soviet times, there had been preparation for chemical warfare, that included stockpiling of hundreds of millions of gasmasks around the country. So governments can afford to stockpile for this kind of national disaster, with a few years of preparation – and spending some billions to prepare for pandemics like this should have been more common.

  102. @joniel
    Tokyo's seropositivity rate of almost 50% - would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?

    Replies: @Dmitry, @Anatoly Karlin, @Peterike

    It’s possible that social distancing, masks, and various other hygiene measures, are reducing viral load that people are exposed to, and that possibly lower viral load initially exposed to could reduce severity of the disease in people after they are infected other things equal.

    If that was true, there would be a further argument in support of social distancing and wearing of masks.

    However, are not these seroprevalence estimates considered to be quite unreliable for various reasons? In this case, it seems to be based on testing employees of a single company. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.21.20198796v1

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dmitry

    I thought the lower viral load thing leading to lower Corona morbidity (per infection) was plausible, but then I realized something elementary - in places where there is widespread masking or social distancing, you would be far less likely to be infected via fleeting social contact, while a much larger percentage of infections would occur in situations with prolonged and closer contact where masking or social distancing is unfeasible (e.g. a shared meal). So that can't be true.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @Dmitry

  103. You need to talk about the HCQ suppression and fake research scandals.

  104. @E. Harding
    @AaronB

    Singapore allows Vietnamese and mainland Chinese to enter without having to quarantine. Cope.

    Replies: @Not Only Wrathful

    Same for Cambodians. Weird how no one mentions them. Too hard to believe that their zero deaths has anything to do with competence or whatever I guess

  105. my more pessimistic predictions

    I would say main thing I felt you might have missed to discuss in early months, was the seasonality of the pandemic.

    This seasonality had been predicted in February or March by people like General Secretary Xi Jinping and President Trump.

    What later seemed inaccurate in early coverage of this topic of seasonality, was probably underestimating the extent to which this virus is transmitted indoors as opposed to outdoors. As a result, people were expecting the causal mechanism for its seasonality might be more through the absolute humidity rates of the outside air, rather than behaviour changes.

    However, we saw in Europe a very strong seasonality, perhaps not due to changing absolute humidity rates, but rather likely as a result of the behaviour change that European people go outside more in the warmer weather, and possibly are also opening the windows inside (resulting in lower indoors transmission rates as well, while in the winter people are more resistant to opening the window due to the cold).

    On the other hand, transmission rates of the virus showed a u-shaped relation to the UV index. Too strong sun, also causes people to stay indoors more, where transmission rates were higher. Air conditioning inside public buildings in hot countries, probably also contributed to the transmission. So that the highest transmission was in the summer months in regions like the Middle East, contrasting with the European situation.

    In terms of the cultural difference between Europe and East Asia – this can be in relation to public understanding of airborne diseases in general.

    Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China, had experience with SARS in the early 2000s. But in South Korea and Japan they also seemed to show greater awareness of how to reduce airborne transmission, despite not having experience with SARS. This can be a result of public’s dislike of air pollution in these countries.

    Aside from the cultural difference in terms of use of masks, in Europe, people don’t seem to be aware of air purifiers and HEPA filters. In Europe, there has been some lack of sense that installing HEPA filters in the office might be more effective, than obsessing about cleaning surfaces.

    At least, there is one area Western European policies, was slightly less stupid in early months, than the authorities in Russia, Pakistan and South Korea -at least they didn’t obsess in early months about spraying disinfectant chlorine onto the pavements, or entrances of buildings.

    Even in the “fog of war” of early months, this spraying of disinfected on the streets was like pure superstition.

    • Replies: @windship
    @Dmitry

    Unless they were just spraying diluted hypochlorous acid in a Hot Zone. It's not very harmful, very hard to find in most countries still, but eats Corona Chan's spikes off in a jiffy. Best kept secret of this pandemic!

  106. @AltSerrice
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Demonstrated 80 years ago. No longer, I'm afraid. And likely there is a HBD answer, or at least a cultural one, for the European distaste for masks.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @Dmitry

    In the early months, Great Britain ordered to the population not to wear masks. English people have obeyed their leaders, and there was almost no mask wearing in the first wave of the epidemic.

    After English people were told by their government to wear a mask inside (in end of July, if I recall), English suddenly all were belatedly wearing masks inside public buildings and shops, although still not commonly in the streets outside.

    This showed that United Kingdom’s population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities – unfortunately the Kingdom’s politicians, are not very sensible or intelligent, to say mildly.

    In the first wave of the pandemic in the Kingdom, the government was obsessed with washing hands and singing at the same time.

    London’s leadership believed that singing “happy birthday” twice while washing their hands, would somehow prevent an airborne virus.

    Here was an example that belief in “magical rituals” and “incantations”, is not something only in Africa, but can still exist in 21st century Europe.

    • Replies: @dux.ie
    @Dmitry

    > United Kingdom’s population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities

    https://i.ibb.co/nw3nnw7/lockdownuk.png

    Overall the UK restrictions statistically have flat line zero effects. Though UK has higher infection rate than Australia, the UK response is actually better than that from AU.Vic where after the declaration of lockdown the active pool trend line was kept climbing for quite some time and various restrictions enforced had no visible effects. But through perserverance and the later change of mindset AU.Vic finally did eliminated COVID and for more than 60 consecutive days there was no local transmission, only occasional imported cases from returnees Victorians.

    In UK the rushing for essential items before the lockdown caused a peak 7 days (incubation period) later, and a downward trend after the peak for quite some time. There was no such effect for AU.Vic. If the UK lockdown trend continued much longer there could be a turn around in reducing the active pool. However the talks about immunization halted the decline of new cases. When the date near to the start of immunization people became complacent which caused another higher peak 7 days later. The effects of immunization have to wait for few more weeks to show. Many COVID models assume that the number of new cases is proportional to the size of the active pool and that assumption is not valid for UK.

    https://i.ibb.co/ynLp1dX/viclock.png

    In comparison the initial AU.Vic lockdown efforts were negative, the active SARS2 pool was still increasing. When it reached the declared state of disaster, the population started to hesitate, the datapoints clustered into a small patch for longer than the 7 day incubation period, then miraculously there seemed to be a shift in mindset to obey the lockdown rules and the active pool started reducing toward zero. AU.Vic is supposed to have the longest lockdown period of more than 4 months.

    That could be why lockdowns are not that effective in western countries. Since it is the change of mindset that matters, the constant stream of anti-lockdown messages from the business sectors and protest movements only made the situations worse and prolonged the lockdown period. If the change of mindset did not happen then the situations could be like those in USA. Compared to HK with about 8 weeks lockdown, the AU.Vic prolonged lockdown might have additional 700 fatality. I do not think that there were as many suicides in those period. Sydney is using the mitigation strategy rather than the Melbourne elimination strategy, Sydney is now in the state of lockdwon before Xmas and all other Aus states have closed their borders with it.

    Replies: @utu

  107. @Europe Europa
    In the UK people tend to comply with the mask rules to the minimum extent, in that they will put a mask on when they enter a shop, but immediately remove it upon leaving. Most will do this between different shops on the same street, when you'd think it would make more sense and be easier to just keep the mask on.

    I've noticed that people who take mask wearing more seriously and wear one at all times in public are almost always foreigners.

    Replies: @Svevlad

    Well, wearing a mask outside has little merit, open air transmissions being very rare, no? Especially when there’s noone around

  108. @joniel
    Tokyo's seropositivity rate of almost 50% - would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?

    Replies: @Dmitry, @Anatoly Karlin, @Peterike

    Where there is one study suggesting a seroprevalence rate in Tokyo implying the Japanese have uniquely low mortality from Corona relative to anyone else, despite having the highest median age of any country in the world, while multiple ones suggest very low seroprevalence (<1%) in line with its observed (lack of) excess deaths:

    * https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgf2.408
    * https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-96870/v1
    * https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/16/national/science-health/tokyo-coronavirus-antibodies/

    … I would tend to trust the latter.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @utu
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The paper

    Dynamic Change of COVID-19 Seroprevalence among Asymptomatic Population in Tokyo during the Second Wave
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.21.20198796v1

    according to Google Scholar has zero citations. This may mean that the claim is such a great outlier that nobody mercifully would cite it or even try to correct it for fear of embarrassing the authors. Which is too bad. I would like to know what possibly went wrong. While the sampling was spatially distributed it was limited to employees of one company that had several locations in Tokyo. So it is possible that the results are correct but they may not be extrapolated to the whole city or something went wrong with testing.

  109. @inertial
    @Astuteobservor II

    The entire case for effectiveness of masks appears to be:

    - Asians wear masks
    - Asians are smart
    - Therefore, masks work

    This is not convincing, not anymore. I see masks compliance around me at nearly 100%, and yet they say that we are in the middle of the second wave. My lying eyes tell me that masks don't work.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Wielgus, @Astuteobservor II

    Masks have been very widespread in Greece – it didn’t stop an uptick in the autumn and the declaration of another lockdown in November, still going on.

  110. @Dmitry

    my more pessimistic predictions
     
    I would say main thing I felt you might have missed to discuss in early months, was the seasonality of the pandemic.

    This seasonality had been predicted in February or March by people like General Secretary Xi Jinping and President Trump.

    What later seemed inaccurate in early coverage of this topic of seasonality, was probably underestimating the extent to which this virus is transmitted indoors as opposed to outdoors. As a result, people were expecting the causal mechanism for its seasonality might be more through the absolute humidity rates of the outside air, rather than behaviour changes.

    However, we saw in Europe a very strong seasonality, perhaps not due to changing absolute humidity rates, but rather likely as a result of the behaviour change that European people go outside more in the warmer weather, and possibly are also opening the windows inside (resulting in lower indoors transmission rates as well, while in the winter people are more resistant to opening the window due to the cold).

    On the other hand, transmission rates of the virus showed a u-shaped relation to the UV index. Too strong sun, also causes people to stay indoors more, where transmission rates were higher. Air conditioning inside public buildings in hot countries, probably also contributed to the transmission. So that the highest transmission was in the summer months in regions like the Middle East, contrasting with the European situation.

    -

    In terms of the cultural difference between Europe and East Asia - this can be in relation to public understanding of airborne diseases in general.

    Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China, had experience with SARS in the early 2000s. But in South Korea and Japan they also seemed to show greater awareness of how to reduce airborne transmission, despite not having experience with SARS. This can be a result of public's dislike of air pollution in these countries.

    Aside from the cultural difference in terms of use of masks, in Europe, people don't seem to be aware of air purifiers and HEPA filters. In Europe, there has been some lack of sense that installing HEPA filters in the office might be more effective, than obsessing about cleaning surfaces.

    -

    At least, there is one area Western European policies, was slightly less stupid in early months, than the authorities in Russia, Pakistan and South Korea -at least they didn't obsess in early months about spraying disinfectant chlorine onto the pavements, or entrances of buildings.

    Even in the "fog of war" of early months, this spraying of disinfected on the streets was like pure superstition.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxT50HOt9J8

    Replies: @windship

    Unless they were just spraying diluted hypochlorous acid in a Hot Zone. It’s not very harmful, very hard to find in most countries still, but eats Corona Chan’s spikes off in a jiffy. Best kept secret of this pandemic!

  111. @Dmitry
    @joniel

    It's possible that social distancing, masks, and various other hygiene measures, are reducing viral load that people are exposed to, and that possibly lower viral load initially exposed to could reduce severity of the disease in people after they are infected other things equal.

    If that was true, there would be a further argument in support of social distancing and wearing of masks.

    However, are not these seroprevalence estimates considered to be quite unreliable for various reasons? In this case, it seems to be based on testing employees of a single company. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.21.20198796v1

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    I thought the lower viral load thing leading to lower Corona morbidity (per infection) was plausible, but then I realized something elementary – in places where there is widespread masking or social distancing, you would be far less likely to be infected via fleeting social contact, while a much larger percentage of infections would occur in situations with prolonged and closer contact where masking or social distancing is unfeasible (e.g. a shared meal). So that can’t be true.

    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I still believe more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection. I think morbidity and chance of infection are on the same scale. As in no infection/mild infection/severe infection/death. I belive immune system and quality of care are also involved. So a study that controls all three is probably very expensive and hard to put together.

    With this in mind even if you are in a situation where there is a lot of exposure it would be hard to tell if it was the viral load you received or if you are fat or what treatment you received at onset had the most impact on your outcome.

    There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that viral load makes a difference like healthy young doctors in Wuhan dying. Or a woman getting sick from her "it's a hoax" husband by making out and then she is the one that dies and he is a fatso.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    , @Dmitry
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I think the idea is if you assumed threshold of amount of viral load to create infection can be low, and if causal masks people wear is only reducing viral load you are exposed to a level that is still often above that threshold (i.e. commuters with cloth mask with no face seal), and if the average severity of illness correlated positively with the amount of viral load provided initial exposure, and that non-severe illness could still provide immunity after.

    Japan has had no real lockdown (Japanese government does not have legal power to order real lockdowns), so the level of "fleeting social contact" working people have in Tokyo is very high all year. On the Tokyo metro - 7 million passengers a day. Meanwhile, Japanese are stereotypically introverted and might have significantly more infrequent non fleeting social contact than would expected in Europe.

    The probability that average residents would each day have fleeting social contact to infected people could be hundreds or thousands of times higher, than having non-fleeting social contact.

    I agree that it sounds like the more implausible explanation for what is happening in Japan. More likely, that the better hygiene and higher introversion, is just reducing the reproduction of the virus, so that fewer people are infected each day.


    Japanese have uniquely low mortality from Corona relative to anyone else, despite having the highest median age of any country

     

    The numbers would not really make sense. Japan doesn't show excess mortality in for the months known so far in 2020.
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.09.20143164v9.full-text So imagine how low the infection fatality rate would have to be, if you assumed that half of Tokyo was infected.


    -

    Still it is strange about the fact retail and public spaces can be running as normal in Tokyo (minus the tourists) - densely populated city of 37 million, dependent on mass transit, didn't have lockdowns, and where the virus has been freely circulating at least to some extent all year? Meanwhile London is periodically completely frozen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PeHnWIJLNI

  112. @AlexanderGrozny
    Countries like Germany, France and Great Britain also have a high degree of social solidarity, demonstrated in the world wars, yet there mask wearing is less than in Japan. Why is this?

    Replies: @AltSerrice, @Korenchkin, @EldnahYm, @Kent Nationalist

    France in the Second World War is not the first thing which springs to mind when I think of social solidarity

  113. Sometimes I ask myself on this website when I come across the latest “The Jews are secretly eating children have been since the Middle Ages and are suppressing the Truth about it by promoting Darwinism” Unz Review article, why do I read this garbage?

    This essay is excellent. This is why I bother to sift through all the garbage. . . and zero genuflections towards diversity, feminism, LGBTQZXCV, progressivism and the rest of the abominable American State Religion.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    @Tulip

    Wait sir you don't think jews are eating children?

  114. The issue is between eastern rightoids, who support ethnic homogenity, social conservatism, as well as big government( for their own group) – they did much better at understanding the Covid threat, as they do not like things that weaken the country/ethnicity/group, and western rightoids, who are too libertarian of the type “don’t tell me what to do”, “muh free market”, “liberty”. This anti-community, libertarian stance is born out of extreme narcissism and lack of care for even their own group. They have gone crazy due to the restrictions on their personal liberty precisely due to the lack of care for their own group and thus lack of understanding that Covid will ultimately weaken them, including their countries and their ethnic groups

    The western rightoids proved to be dumb. The eastern rightoids performed relatively well.

    The difference comes from the different attitudes – western rightoids saw anti-Covid measures as something that will restrict their freedom, while eastern rightoids correctly understood that not reacting to Covid will weaken their country and their group.

    And yes, East Asia is right wing – socially conservative with relatively big income inequality. But it is also more left wing than western rightoids due to their sense of common group, culture and community, as well as suppport for a strong government as something that is ultimately good for the right – as strong government is needed in environment of ethnic and country competition.

    Looking at how dumb and naive western rightoids are, it is not a surprise that they got totally taken over by (((liberals))) and are being wiped out. Naive and narcissistic people that could be easily used due to their lack of care for their own group, caused by too much self-obsessed muh liberty narcissism. This led to their demise.

    The eastern rightoids are still in game, so the 21st century will be a battle between a West, taken over and terraformed by liberals, and the eastern rightoids.

    In this sense, Karlin is right to notice the stupidity of western rightoids. Your only hope is a win for the East and a multipolar world where there is a place for different systems and cultures. But you are too dumb to get it, and too invested in propping up something (the old West) that is dead and taken over by parasites. Propping up the Empire that will eat them later.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @Passer by

    You have a point as to some American republicans and independents, for sure. But it is overstated.

    I sense that you are not all that well acquainted with americans considering themselves quote conservative or at least opposed to the social agenda of the establishment left / neoliberals (not the same thing, in fairness to the more sane, real populist economic-justice left).

    A large and growing number of self-identified conservatives or independents are not libertarian by any stretch, including me and my wife. I was libertarian but have since recovered.

    We are all for a guaranteed income and universal medical and dental insurance for citizens of our country (not for noncitizen legal residents and certainly not for illegal aliens) — especially if it is paid for by large tax hikes on the ultra-rich, revenue from nationalization of our God-given natural resources (the oil, natgas, and minerals under our land), and HUGE cuts in military / war spending.

  115. To be straight about this, you make a lot of good points.

    But I have to put in a list the things you state without any evidence:
    – “10 megadeaths” (on current trajectory, including vaccinations. Even Burn-Murdoch can give no support to such a claim; see also 4th point below. Also you are ignoring the “low-hanging fruit” view – how many of the persons most susceptible to bad outcomes have already been hit? A first vs. second wave severity comparison seems to give credence to that view. Also what about the possibility of near future sub-par death numbers, and their effect on life expectancy?)
    – “no pre-existing herd immunity” (Are you trying to imply there was also zero pre-existing immunity? Impossible to prove or disprove without highly unethical experiments, but critical thinking should strongly doubt that number is zero or even close to zero)
    – “mass variolation” (I had also for three weeks liked that idea, until I realized we have no idea about the long-term aftereffects of Corona on surviving patients!)
    – “third-world undercounting” (of deaths!? Those require zero sophisticated technology to count and report.)

    You completely ignore:
    – critical thinking on mRNA

    I also see a lot of trolling in your article. Although you give lip service to criticizing leftoids, it is clear you believe you can virtue signal your better understanding (and higher IQ) by cheap-shots on clueless folks who at least tried to think for themselves (you get my stab at leftoid NPCs here?)

    Overall more a letdown than a epiphany of an article.

    • Replies: @Donald A Thomson
    @Mikael_

    “mass variolation” (I had also for three weeks liked that idea, until I realized we have no idea about the long-term aftereffects of Corona on surviving patients!)

    At last, one of the few who seems to have noticed this. It looked ok at the start and, despite some unsettling indications, it may still turn out to be ok but what a hell of a gamble on the long term effects of a new disease. [email protected]

  116. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dmitry

    I thought the lower viral load thing leading to lower Corona morbidity (per infection) was plausible, but then I realized something elementary - in places where there is widespread masking or social distancing, you would be far less likely to be infected via fleeting social contact, while a much larger percentage of infections would occur in situations with prolonged and closer contact where masking or social distancing is unfeasible (e.g. a shared meal). So that can't be true.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @Dmitry

    I still believe more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection. I think morbidity and chance of infection are on the same scale. As in no infection/mild infection/severe infection/death. I belive immune system and quality of care are also involved. So a study that controls all three is probably very expensive and hard to put together.

    With this in mind even if you are in a situation where there is a lot of exposure it would be hard to tell if it was the viral load you received or if you are fat or what treatment you received at onset had the most impact on your outcome.

    There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that viral load makes a difference like healthy young doctors in Wuhan dying. Or a woman getting sick from her “it’s a hoax” husband by making out and then she is the one that dies and he is a fatso.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dreadilk

    Sure, I certainly don't dispute that "more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection." Nor ofc that masks reduce all those things.

    But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect where those infections that do happen are strongly shifted towards situations where viral load imparted is going to be higher (e.g. intimate gatherings/dinners, vs. on a bus or subway).

    That is, it's a further argument against the idea that lots of Japanese have already been infected and that we didn't notice it.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @AP, @utu

  117. @Tulip
    Sometimes I ask myself on this website when I come across the latest "The Jews are secretly eating children have been since the Middle Ages and are suppressing the Truth about it by promoting Darwinism" Unz Review article, why do I read this garbage?

    This essay is excellent. This is why I bother to sift through all the garbage. . . and zero genuflections towards diversity, feminism, LGBTQZXCV, progressivism and the rest of the abominable American State Religion.

    Replies: @Dreadilk

    Wait sir you don’t think jews are eating children?

    • LOL: Mark G.
  118. On Covid 19 and masks, i will recommend the discovery of an asian professor – salt your masks. The salt coating actually increases filtration efficiency of masks and kills the germs falling on the mask. It can be used for a long time period.

    It is now backed up by 3 studies using various masks and materials.

    Good discovery.

    • Thanks: Dreadilk
  119. @Dreadilk
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I still believe more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection. I think morbidity and chance of infection are on the same scale. As in no infection/mild infection/severe infection/death. I belive immune system and quality of care are also involved. So a study that controls all three is probably very expensive and hard to put together.

    With this in mind even if you are in a situation where there is a lot of exposure it would be hard to tell if it was the viral load you received or if you are fat or what treatment you received at onset had the most impact on your outcome.

    There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that viral load makes a difference like healthy young doctors in Wuhan dying. Or a woman getting sick from her "it's a hoax" husband by making out and then she is the one that dies and he is a fatso.

    Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Sure, I certainly don’t dispute that “more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection.” Nor ofc that masks reduce all those things.

    But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect where those infections that do happen are strongly shifted towards situations where viral load imparted is going to be higher (e.g. intimate gatherings/dinners, vs. on a bus or subway).

    That is, it’s a further argument against the idea that lots of Japanese have already been infected and that we didn’t notice it.

    • Disagree: utu
    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I agree with the serotological reasoning. I also think they do not have a high %.

    , @AP
    @Anatoly Karlin


    Sure, I certainly don’t dispute that “more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection.” Not ofc that masks reduce all those things
     
    It would seem to be intuitive that wearing a mask would reduce but not eliminate the amount of incoming viruses from the environment, thereby reducing viral load and all things being equal resulting in a relatively milder course of illness for the mask-wearer who gets sick:

    https://www.healthline.com/health-news/wearing-a-mask-may-reduce-how-sick-you-get-from-covid-19#:~:text=%20%20%201%20It%20has%20been%20thought,may%20translate%20to%20less%20severe%20illness...%20More%20

    Is that wrong?

    Replies: @Dreadilk

    , @utu
    @Anatoly Karlin

    "But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect..." - Frankly I do not follow the logic. If we plot infections number versus the viral load for two identical countries A and B that differ only by practice of masking the curve of A where masking is practiced would not exceed the curve B where masking is not practiced anywhere. There would be no amplification of infections in any region of viral loads due to masking.

  120. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dreadilk

    Sure, I certainly don't dispute that "more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection." Nor ofc that masks reduce all those things.

    But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect where those infections that do happen are strongly shifted towards situations where viral load imparted is going to be higher (e.g. intimate gatherings/dinners, vs. on a bus or subway).

    That is, it's a further argument against the idea that lots of Japanese have already been infected and that we didn't notice it.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @AP, @utu

    I agree with the serotological reasoning. I also think they do not have a high %.

  121. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dreadilk

    Sure, I certainly don't dispute that "more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection." Nor ofc that masks reduce all those things.

    But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect where those infections that do happen are strongly shifted towards situations where viral load imparted is going to be higher (e.g. intimate gatherings/dinners, vs. on a bus or subway).

    That is, it's a further argument against the idea that lots of Japanese have already been infected and that we didn't notice it.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @AP, @utu

    Sure, I certainly don’t dispute that “more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection.” Not ofc that masks reduce all those things

    It would seem to be intuitive that wearing a mask would reduce but not eliminate the amount of incoming viruses from the environment, thereby reducing viral load and all things being equal resulting in a relatively milder course of illness for the mask-wearer who gets sick:

    https://www.healthline.com/health-news/wearing-a-mask-may-reduce-how-sick-you-get-from-covid-19#:~:text=%20%20%201%20It%20has%20been%20thought,may%20translate%20to%20less%20severe%20illness…%20More%20

    Is that wrong?

    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    @AP

    I think we are all on the same page here. What makes this confusing is that we discussing both the reason why we think 50% serotogical study is bunk and that viral load effects outcome.

  122. @AP
    @Anatoly Karlin


    Sure, I certainly don’t dispute that “more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection.” Not ofc that masks reduce all those things
     
    It would seem to be intuitive that wearing a mask would reduce but not eliminate the amount of incoming viruses from the environment, thereby reducing viral load and all things being equal resulting in a relatively milder course of illness for the mask-wearer who gets sick:

    https://www.healthline.com/health-news/wearing-a-mask-may-reduce-how-sick-you-get-from-covid-19#:~:text=%20%20%201%20It%20has%20been%20thought,may%20translate%20to%20less%20severe%20illness...%20More%20

    Is that wrong?

    Replies: @Dreadilk

    I think we are all on the same page here. What makes this confusing is that we discussing both the reason why we think 50% serotogical study is bunk and that viral load effects outcome.

  123. Maybe the difference is in individualism vs collectivism, top-down Eastern society vs. more consensus driven Western cultures, where the public is supposed to have an input on decision making, instead of some big head man barking orders and people obeying, deference to authority among Eastern cultures, Confucianism among Far Eastern cultures meaning you have a culture that gives more deference to what experts say? Shame driven face-saving cultures among Far Eastern societies leading to greater conformism on perceived crucial issues? More social pressure among Eastern societies to wear masks, and social pressure having a larger impact in controlling individual behavior in more collectivistic shame driven Eastern cultures, where conforming to social norms is all important? I cannot think of any Eastern societies that has the equivalent of a New England town hall meeting of deciding community issues, or Athenian style democracy among ancient Eastern societies.

    • Disagree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @128

    Yes I think this is quite true for East Asians in general. We tend to believe in experts of their respective fields and certainly don't question or doubt expert opinions as much as Westerners tend to. Has its pros and cons, of course.

    Another thing is, especially in the so called Sinosphere countries , we believe in 'meritocracy' rather than 'democracy'. We don't necessarily view every opinion by every individual as having equal value or importance. Every opinion needs to be judged by its merits. In a way, I have to admit, to a certain extend, it's my belief too but not as rigid as Neo-Confucianists. Historically, we used to revere and almost worship the smart and the scholarly. In ancient Chinese dynasties to be the top scholar of the country was a very huge thing, worshipped to almost God like status. Also, many of us (still) believe that the majority of mankind are not smart and unable to decide what is best for the country. That should be left to the smartest elites. The belief is that Democracy at its purest form leads to anarchy and instability if you leave decision making by concensus to the majority who have conflicting interests and presumably 'lesser intelligence'. The majority is thought to not necessarily know what is best for themselves or their country. It is the ruling elites who must lead the way and enforce the policies, the majority is to adhere and obey. It's based on Confucian ideals of the relationship of the Ruler and the ruled. The ideal ruler should have the character of a sage to be both wise and intellectually superior to the rest. Of course meritocracy failed the Sinosphere countries in the past especially when their scholar-bureaucrats only knew Confucian ideals but were totally ignorant of Western superiority in science, maths and technology. To me Asians have a cult of worshipping the smart, the well educated, the learned and intellectual as well as 'high culture' but nowadays many more worship mammon. In the past, in Sinosphere societies, businessmen were considered amoral and lower social status than peasants. Scholars were held in higher regard. See:-

    https://mmsamee.weebly.com/ancient-chinas-social-classes.html

    I also agree, conforming to social norm is important to us. However, wearing a mask to partially protect us from covid 19 is generally viewed as common sense rather than a social norm here. East Asians are very concerned about self preservation and the idea is there is no harm done at all in donning the face masks. To us Western politicking and huge debates about wearing or not wearing masks in this pandemic amuses us Asians. It is a total non issue here. The idea of infringing on one's personal freedom is also amusing to us and never came across our mind - generally we think such persons as selfish. Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it's common sense to wear those masks. If it does not work, well the virus spreads anyway. If the masks work a bit, we somehow get protected a bit. Where is the harm? and the thought of the government infringing our personal freedoms just because Government laws insist on mask donning never occurred to us - the whole Western arguments abt personal freedoms vs mandatory mask donning seem nonsensical to us Asians. We often discuss this and shrug in disbelief that it is an issue in the West.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    , @Daniel Chieh
    @128

    I thought about this for awhile, and I think I disagree pretty considerably(though not totally). Its an image, similar to the "oriental despotism" idea that was popular in the West, but it is largely inaccurate to understanding Chinese culture and history, and indeed overstates the amount of state centralization that China possessed.

    China hasn't really had a "big man" society for thousands of years, the last one that might fit would be Emperor Qin(and as I'll note later, I'm skeptical). The notion of a divine Emperor was ultimately much more Japanese and Zheng Chenggong noted the tremendous lack of enthusiasm in Chinese soldiers to "die for the Emperor" as compared to his native Japan. The Emperor as a God-King concept seemed to have been dismissed in most practical levels, and opposed even by the Emperors themselves, for example, when Tang Taizong(probably China's greatest Emperor) mostly refused to waste time by going to shamanistic activities as the intermediary of the heavens.

    Some Emperors(as suggested by Sinotibetan) were quite tyrannical, like the Yongle Emperor of Ming but as a general rule, the emperors seemed more frustrated than dominant(even tyrannical emperors can only kill people, not increase the organization or efficiency of systems). Tang Taizong was effective but only through tireless politics(that took quite a significant personal strain on him), Tang Xuanzong appeared to burnt out and allowed the An Lushan rebellion to overtake him - the same can be said of the Wanli and Jiajing Emperors(and countless others, really), and that's not considering the ones that were dominated by concubine politics or family clans. The extremity of this could be seen where courtiers attempt to actively deceive the Wanli Emperor on the basic point of Japanese negotiation(they lied to him that the Japanese accepted their loss, while the Japanese claimed victory - a hilariously insane contraversion of reality), but also in the number of agencies for spies that were needed because of lack of faith in the local officials.

    So in practice, I think that there's actually more consensus needed in China due to the expectations of multiple overlapping unspoken rules and expectations, and you can sort of see this even in casual things; a CEO in the West can be expected to downsize his company without much comment, while in Asia there are "social considerations" that may be applied to him.

    That said, yes, I think there's more respect for an "expert class" such that deference is extended not toward any specific individual, but toward the idea of a class of individuals who have education(and this is where you see even the modern Chinese obsession with credentialism). That, and collectivism means that orders to mask up and fall in line can happen, but this is not usually a dynamic or speedy process(I believe the Wuhan administration, fittingly, concealed CORVID from the central government as well).

    China, in particular, really should be seen as the child of the great beasts of bureaucracy, because then as now, its really most notable for having a huge number of mostly well-educated and reasonably intelligent individuals in a position of authority responsible for others, and this has been noted elsewhere that China is an "excellent middle manager country," which ultimately really rather sidelines both the notion of exceptional godlike leaders or mass popular agreement to future objectives. This can work well, when the levers of the great beast of bureaucracy agree on what it is to do(and they did, with Corona), but imo that's usually not the case. Rival politics are endemic, with the major modern change that the ancient family clans have been broken forever.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh

  124. @joniel
    Tokyo's seropositivity rate of almost 50% - would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?

    Replies: @Dmitry, @Anatoly Karlin, @Peterike

    “ Tokyo’s seropositivity rate of almost 50% – would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?”

    No. Some races have more natural immunity. It’s very obvious. Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm.

    • Replies: @Jtgw
    @Peterike

    I wondered about the natural immunity thing. Of course, even if East Asians turn out to have more immunity than Caucasians, that doesn’t help us. We still need to take more proactive measures. Or are you saying the measures have had literally no effect and the virus would have advanced at the same rate if nothing had been done?

  125. @AlexanderGrozny
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell



    Jamaicans don't breed the way Africans do, and as of 2011, the median age of a black Caribbean Brit is 40.7 which is 13 years older than that of an African Brit.

    Replies: @Shortsword

    The demographics statistics on Jamaica are interesting. There are contradicting sources and some statistics look weird which makes me wonder if they are correct.

    According to World Bank Jamaica had 65 year life expectancy in 1960 rising up to 74 years in 1995 but since then the growth has completely stagnated and the life expectancy remains at 74 today. That means life expectancy was close to Western level for many years but because of the stagnation is now a step below. The high life expectancy isn’t too weird, life expectancy in general is high in the Caribbean and there are Caribbean countries with black population that has Western level life expectancy (Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda). But life expectancy completely stagnating for the last 25 years? That is interesting, what would be the reason for that?

    Wikipedia puts Jamaica’s fertility rate at 1.46 (2017) while World Bank puts it at 1.98 (2018). That’s a big difference. Neither would be that surprising. To compare, Barbados has had below replacement fertility since the 80s (by any source) so I could imagine Jamaica being at 1.46.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Shortsword

    One thing is for certain though - Jamaica certainly isn't a high fertility country like Nigeria or such.

  126. @E. Harding
    @Average and Harmless

    Yeah, man! We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!

    Replies: @peterike

    We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!

    Yes, a whole 0.13% of the population, at least half of whom would have died anyway, Corona or not. What a crisis.

    So we would have had 332,357,437 people instead of 331,907,437 people (est. as of Dec. 19). We must be barely hanging on given this massive reduction in population.

    Yet the number of people negatively impacted by lockdowns, etc. is in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions. A crisis? Yes, and it was entirely created by our idiot “ruling class.”

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @Jtgw
    @peterike

    It is not true they would have died this year otherwise. The excess mortality stats clearly show 400k more deaths this year than normal.

  127. Mr. Karlin

    A fine blog post and there is not one obvious flaw in what you have written here. BUT you do not even hint at the elephant pooping in our living room here.

    Old people have a propensity to die. Our society-culture deals with this fact with immense waste and destructiveness. If you were really clever you would take advantage of the opportunity to open this can of worms. Hint: Ray Kurzweil is a goddam idiot.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Morton's toes

    Even the not too polite company as the UR commentariat has turned out to be won't tolerate advocacy of gerontocide. People who bring it up providing that they are not provocateurs are missing something basic in their psychological make up. They are at odds with fundamental values of our civilization, not just Western Judeo-Christian civilization. How people like you came to being and what unfortunate events in your life lead you to the point of entertaining the ideas of killing old people should be looked at and remedies what to do with people like you should be considered. Should the society put you on an ice floe?

    Replies: @Passer by

  128. @Peterike
    @joniel

    “ Tokyo’s seropositivity rate of almost 50% – would the low mortality of the virus there be solid evidence that mask wearing reduces the severity of the disease?”

    No. Some races have more natural immunity. It’s very obvious. Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm.

    Replies: @Jtgw

    I wondered about the natural immunity thing. Of course, even if East Asians turn out to have more immunity than Caucasians, that doesn’t help us. We still need to take more proactive measures. Or are you saying the measures have had literally no effect and the virus would have advanced at the same rate if nothing had been done?

  129. @peterike
    @E. Harding


    We only got 450,000 dead Americans by the end of 2020, only ninety-seven times as many as dead Chinese! Absolutely miniscule crisis!
     
    Yes, a whole 0.13% of the population, at least half of whom would have died anyway, Corona or not. What a crisis.

    So we would have had 332,357,437 people instead of 331,907,437 people (est. as of Dec. 19). We must be barely hanging on given this massive reduction in population.

    Yet the number of people negatively impacted by lockdowns, etc. is in the tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions. A crisis? Yes, and it was entirely created by our idiot "ruling class."

    Replies: @Jtgw

    It is not true they would have died this year otherwise. The excess mortality stats clearly show 400k more deaths this year than normal.

  130. @Mr. Hack
    One can only wonder whether the incompetence of US policymakers will continue to expand in the coming new year. Enough vaccines were created to meet the prediction of 20m vaccinated by years end. With only two days to go, only 2m have been vaccinated - what's up with that?

    Nice post Mr. Karlin - you've been my main man on this topic and your predictions seem to have been fully vindicated.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

    One can only wonder whether the incompetence of US policymakers will continue to expand in the coming new year. Enough vaccines were created to meet the prediction of 20m vaccinated by years end. With only two days to go, only 2m have been vaccinated – what’s up with that?

    I would suspect how late the FDA granted them Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), Operation Warp Speed’s (OWS) transitioning from plans to operations in this domain and how that accelerates, and Pfizer’s no warning manufacturing “oops” as well as their until very recent total disdain of OWS. And from the CDC’s tracking page (always read the fine print! Like those Johns Hopkins folks didn’t for all cause mortality):

    Healthcare providers report doses to state, territorial, and local public health agencies up to 72 hours after administration. There may be additional reporting lag for data to be transmitted from the state, territorial, or local public health agency to CDC….

    Numbers reported on other websites may differ from what is posted on CDC’s website because CDC’s overall numbers are validated through a data submission process with each jurisdiction. Differences between reporting jurisdictions and CDC’s website may occur due to the timing of reporting and website updates. The process used for reporting doses distributed or doses administered displayed by other sites may differ. Data will be regularly updated on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Updates will occur the following day after a federal holiday.

    So with the preceding mentioned delays, and without yet having today’s update, we have 1 million vaccinated and reported to the CDC by 9 am EST by Wen the 24th from an unreliable source I clipped, and 2.2 million by Monday the 28th, just four days later and including the Christmas holiday.

    That’s a nice doubling time, we could soon hit the wall of distribution, 11.4 million doses on the 28th and that’s probably more up to date. Allow for reporting delays, but also allow for new types of places starting to get inoculations like nursing homes, the 2020 target of 20 million could and may well be hit very early in January. If it’s say within around a week, also note including the New Year’s holiday, we shouldn’t quibble.

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
  131. A lot of libertarians really shot themselves in the foot with their denialism. The incompetence of the government was clear enough but hard to blame CDC and WHO for counseling against masks when you’ve committed yourself to denying that masks make any difference or that the virus is even dangerous.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Jtgw

    Libertarians' response to masking is psychotic in essence. Very similar to their response to the seat belts requirements in 1970s. Then a 'research' was done to demonstrate that seat belts would increase fatalities because drivers would be engaging in more risky behavior. The 'risk compensation' meme was entered into the debate:


    The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation, Sam Peltzman, Journal of Political Economy
    Vol. 83, No. 4 (Aug., 1975), pp. 677-726

    “Technological studies imply that annual highway deaths would be 20 percent greater without legally mandated installation of various safety devices on automobiles. However, this literature ignores offsetting effects of nonregulatory demand for safety and driver response to the devices. This article indicates that these offsets are virtually complete, so that regulation has not decreased highway deaths.”

     

    Lo and behold in August 2020 some hacks from some business school published this gem:

    Risk compensation during COVID-19: The impact of face mask usage on social distancing
    https://www.onmedica.com/documents/mask_compensation_manuscript

    Consistent with risk compensation, we found that participants indicated they would stand, sit or walk closer to the stranger when either of them was wearing a mask. This form of risk compensation was stronger for those who believed masks were effective at preventing catching or spreading Covid-19,

     

    Even in this thread 'peterkike' (#125) claims that masks are killing us: "Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm." Libertarian psychosis seems to be incurable.

    That libertarians are idiots is beyond dispute. That their idiocy keeps procreating and that they were not weeded out by some evolutionary process demands an explanation. They persist because their idiocy is useful to some groups of interests. The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    In 1970s it was the Auto Industry that was opposing the seat belts requirement that was benefiting from libertarian useful idiocy and now in 2020 and the universal masking issue we may speculate that it is the Big Pharma that benefits from the activism of libertarian useful idiots. Why the Big Pharma? The paradigm of fighting flu like epidemics was developed over the years with the input form the Big Pharma that excluded the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures. The Big Pharma is in the business of selling drugs and annual vaccines. That's why WHO and CDC were poo-pooing masking in the beginning. Technically they were not lying. Still in May 2020 CDC even published the meta study justifying their position. They knew already then that they were wrong so they were covering ass at that point.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
    Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures (May 2020)

    Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
     
    Finally after August 2020 they publicly endorsed the universal masking:

    CDC director Robert Redfield said face masks may be more effective than a vaccine in preventing individual coronavirus infections”
    https://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-director-masks-better-than-vaccines-at-stopping-coronavirus-2020-9

    The World Health Organization’s senior official in Europe said Thursday that blanket national lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 wouldn’t be necessary if governments could convince their citizens to wear masks.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-europe-who-masks-could-prevent-coronavirus-lockdowns-school-closures-dont-work/
     
    Take-home point: The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    Replies: @Jtgw, @Mark G.

  132. “East asians already wear masks during regular flu season”: and anyone with half a brain would immediately wonder if this has had any effect on flu epidemics in the past compared to the West. So far, epidemiologists have found none.

  133. @Shortsword
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The demographics statistics on Jamaica are interesting. There are contradicting sources and some statistics look weird which makes me wonder if they are correct.

    According to World Bank Jamaica had 65 year life expectancy in 1960 rising up to 74 years in 1995 but since then the growth has completely stagnated and the life expectancy remains at 74 today. That means life expectancy was close to Western level for many years but because of the stagnation is now a step below. The high life expectancy isn't too weird, life expectancy in general is high in the Caribbean and there are Caribbean countries with black population that has Western level life expectancy (Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda). But life expectancy completely stagnating for the last 25 years? That is interesting, what would be the reason for that?

    Wikipedia puts Jamaica's fertility rate at 1.46 (2017) while World Bank puts it at 1.98 (2018). That's a big difference. Neither would be that surprising. To compare, Barbados has had below replacement fertility since the 80s (by any source) so I could imagine Jamaica being at 1.46.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    One thing is for certain though – Jamaica certainly isn’t a high fertility country like Nigeria or such.

  134. @rebel yell
    It's discouraging (though I must admit to the facts) to see the democratic countries failing in their competency to self-govern while authoritarian and even totalitarian governments in East Asia succeed in rational governance.
    This question is larger than just the Corona crisis. Can democracy work (better)? Are we doomed to needing authoritarian government to keep the trains running on time?

    Replies: @AP, @martin_2, @Sinotibetan

    …A similar percentage probably believe that Crimea is Ukraine…

    I doubt that one person in a hundred in the UK has the tiniest bit of interest or knowledge regarding whatever is the issue with Ukraine and Russia.

  135. @TG
    A really interesting and intelligent post (the cartoons were a nice guilty pleasure as well!).

    "The result is some piecemeal and largely reactive adaptations of all of the above methods – lockdowns that are economically ruinous but not harsh enough or long enough to achieve full suppression, coupled with patchily enforced mask wearing, scant effort devoted to contact tracing, and travel restrictions that are introduced after the horse had already bolted. All of this accompanied by straight-out showmanship, such as breaking up beach or park outings (infections in the open air are freak occurrences), or making gloves compulsory along with masks even though infections through surface contact are also freak occurrences (a more particular idiocy that I believe might be quite specific to Russia). For bureaucrats and politicians, the appearance of appearing to be doing something is more important than whether it actually works or not." - Nailed it!

    But here's another angle: almost certainly COVID came from the asian so-called "wet markets". This is where our seasonal flu comes from. We could have ended flu season decades ago, with little real effort, but the global elites (asian and non-asian alike) just didn't care enough - the seasonal flu was just a cost of business, something to put up with. Except now: oops!

    More generally: there are lots of other fun diseases starting to spread: Dengue, Chagas, enterovirus D68 - and in general our elites are just ignoring them. Cost of business, and the elites and their children so rarely mix with proles or fly in commercial airplanes and public terminals. And the asian "wet markets" are still in full operation, recombining and mixing all manner of pathogens in all manner of species and trying them out on masses of people...

    In our arrogance we thought we had mastered Nature, and infectious disease could be ignored as background noise. Nature had other ideas. With about ten billion people and counting, all flying back and forth, the world is a huge Petri dish. We may eventually reduce Corona to a nuisance, but the easy way or the hard way, it's never going to be the same.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

    But here’s another angle: almost certainly COVID came from the asian so-called “wet markets”. This is where our seasonal flu comes from. We could have ended flu season decades ago, with little real effort, but the global elites (asian and non-asian alike) just didn’t care enough – the seasonal flu was just a cost of business, something to put up with.

    While your overall message about elites just not caring about infectious disease control is correct, and in the US extends to our public health community infamously including our incompetent CDC, new flu strains happen in all sorts of ways, and wet markets are I’m pretty sure a very small source compared to a zillions farms where humans and pigs, and/or maybe birds are in close proximity.

    Flu is unusual or maybe unique for human virus pathogens in having its genome separated into segments, with one or very few genes per segment. So one source of drastically different strains, “antigenic shift” is from a human, pig, or maybe bird getting infected by two strains at once, producing hybrid viruses that have segments from both, and a competent strain that transmits better in humans (and/or pigs or maybe birds) breaking out. Or you could just have a zoonotic jump to humans. One way to track shifts is in variants that are so different the H and N proteins are given new numbers, like the 1918-9 H1N1 getting replaced by H2N2 in the late 1950s, and that getting replaced by H2N3 in the late 1960s.

    Antigenic “drift” is much more common, and it’s just regular mutations happening to what our adaptive immune systems latch onto to make antibodies. Unlike a bunch of viruses for which we have what I call “eternal” vaccines, our bodies target parts of the flu that are not “conserved,” they can undergo major changes and the virus will still virus. That said, the adaptive immune system’s memory of old flu strains is reported to be very good, tested for example in 1918-9 pandemic survivors. It’s just that ecologically, new flu strains are favored over ones a lot of people are already immune to.

    • Agree: Sinotibetan
  136. @Anatoly Karlin
    @joniel

    Where there is one study suggesting a seroprevalence rate in Tokyo implying the Japanese have uniquely low mortality from Corona relative to anyone else, despite having the highest median age of any country in the world, while multiple ones suggest very low seroprevalence (<1%) in line with its observed (lack of) excess deaths:

    * https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgf2.408
    * https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-96870/v1
    * https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/16/national/science-health/tokyo-coronavirus-antibodies/

    ... I would tend to trust the latter.

    Replies: @utu

    The paper

    Dynamic Change of COVID-19 Seroprevalence among Asymptomatic Population in Tokyo during the Second Wave
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.21.20198796v1

    according to Google Scholar has zero citations. This may mean that the claim is such a great outlier that nobody mercifully would cite it or even try to correct it for fear of embarrassing the authors. Which is too bad. I would like to know what possibly went wrong. While the sampling was spatially distributed it was limited to employees of one company that had several locations in Tokyo. So it is possible that the results are correct but they may not be extrapolated to the whole city or something went wrong with testing.

  137. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dmitry

    I thought the lower viral load thing leading to lower Corona morbidity (per infection) was plausible, but then I realized something elementary - in places where there is widespread masking or social distancing, you would be far less likely to be infected via fleeting social contact, while a much larger percentage of infections would occur in situations with prolonged and closer contact where masking or social distancing is unfeasible (e.g. a shared meal). So that can't be true.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @Dmitry

    I think the idea is if you assumed threshold of amount of viral load to create infection can be low, and if causal masks people wear is only reducing viral load you are exposed to a level that is still often above that threshold (i.e. commuters with cloth mask with no face seal), and if the average severity of illness correlated positively with the amount of viral load provided initial exposure, and that non-severe illness could still provide immunity after.

    Japan has had no real lockdown (Japanese government does not have legal power to order real lockdowns), so the level of “fleeting social contact” working people have in Tokyo is very high all year. On the Tokyo metro – 7 million passengers a day. Meanwhile, Japanese are stereotypically introverted and might have significantly more infrequent non fleeting social contact than would expected in Europe.

    The probability that average residents would each day have fleeting social contact to infected people could be hundreds or thousands of times higher, than having non-fleeting social contact.

    I agree that it sounds like the more implausible explanation for what is happening in Japan. More likely, that the better hygiene and higher introversion, is just reducing the reproduction of the virus, so that fewer people are infected each day.

    Japanese have uniquely low mortality from Corona relative to anyone else, despite having the highest median age of any country

    The numbers would not really make sense. Japan doesn’t show excess mortality in for the months known so far in 2020.
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.09.20143164v9.full-text So imagine how low the infection fatality rate would have to be, if you assumed that half of Tokyo was infected.

    Still it is strange about the fact retail and public spaces can be running as normal in Tokyo (minus the tourists) – densely populated city of 37 million, dependent on mass transit, didn’t have lockdowns, and where the virus has been freely circulating at least to some extent all year? Meanwhile London is periodically completely frozen.

  138. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Dreadilk

    Sure, I certainly don't dispute that "more viral load = more morbidity/chance of infection." Nor ofc that masks reduce all those things.

    But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect where those infections that do happen are strongly shifted towards situations where viral load imparted is going to be higher (e.g. intimate gatherings/dinners, vs. on a bus or subway).

    That is, it's a further argument against the idea that lots of Japanese have already been infected and that we didn't notice it.

    Replies: @Dreadilk, @AP, @utu

    “But what masks do (unless my logic is very wrong) is create a selection effect…” – Frankly I do not follow the logic. If we plot infections number versus the viral load for two identical countries A and B that differ only by practice of masking the curve of A where masking is practiced would not exceed the curve B where masking is not practiced anywhere. There would be no amplification of infections in any region of viral loads due to masking.

  139. @Morton's toes
    Mr. Karlin

    A fine blog post and there is not one obvious flaw in what you have written here. BUT you do not even hint at the elephant pooping in our living room here.

    Old people have a propensity to die. Our society-culture deals with this fact with immense waste and destructiveness. If you were really clever you would take advantage of the opportunity to open this can of worms. Hint: Ray Kurzweil is a goddam idiot.

    Replies: @utu

    Even the not too polite company as the UR commentariat has turned out to be won’t tolerate advocacy of gerontocide. People who bring it up providing that they are not provocateurs are missing something basic in their psychological make up. They are at odds with fundamental values of our civilization, not just Western Judeo-Christian civilization. How people like you came to being and what unfortunate events in your life lead you to the point of entertaining the ideas of killing old people should be looked at and remedies what to do with people like you should be considered. Should the society put you on an ice floe?

    • Agree: AP, Passer by
    • Replies: @Passer by
    @utu

    I heard somewhere that the disdain for old people could be a western thing. The West definitely leads the world in elderly homes and those were death traps back in the Spring.

    Replies: @Europe Europa

  140. @Bert

    The second reason is that we haven’t made any particularly radical discoveries about Corona, or the best ways of suppressing it, which remain – then as now – centered around universal masking, centralized quarantine, mass testing, and travel restrictions.
     
    Since September results from about a dozen studies have been published showing that Ivermectin is the most effective treatment for Covid and the most effective prophylactic against SARS-2.



    This is momentous news, especially given the likelihood that vaccination will be slow, will be resisted by many, and will be less effective than expected.

    Here is Senate testimony by Dr. Pierre Kory on ivermectin.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgOAaLmoa68

    Replies: @alan2102

    … Further, ivermectin is just one prominent example of the array of early treatment options — safe, cheap, simple, and highly effective. Hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline, fluvoxamine, vitamin D and C, and a number of others. This is HUGE news which, unfortunately, is never mentioned on MSM.

    • Replies: @utu
    @alan2102

    I believe that in time of emergency like the epidemic the corners can be cut and repurposed drugs should be studied but I understand the inertia and resistance coming from the official medical establishment to keep the quackery and charlatanry under control. Even the best well intentioned medical practitioners can be fooled by their results particularly when they are too well intentioned. The double blind standard in studies on medical treatments efficacy was introduced for a good reason.

  141. Recent Japanese lab study on mask effectiveness using real virus aerosols. Note that the scale in graphs is logarithmic.

    Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2
    https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00637-20/article-info

    The authors qualify:

    To allow quantification, we conducted our studies by using a relatively high dose of virus, and under these conditions, it is possible that the protective capacity of the masks was exceeded.

    meaning that the results possibly would be better if done on lower dose levels.

    Providing that there is a minimal threshold of virus load that needs to be crossed to initiate infection a nonlinearity must be introduced in data analysis of mask effectiveness that leads to the inequality:

    N(virus with masks)/N(viruses w/o masks) > N(infections with masks)/N(infections w/o masks)

    The right hand side of the inequality can be even zero when the left hand side is larger than zero. The effectiveness of masks is higher than what the ratio of mask-to-no mask viral dose indicate.

    NB: I have noticed that some people wear super duper masks like N95 or better but the masks have the exhale valve which means that the most important role of masks which is to reduce the amount of virus pumped into the environment is defeated.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Passer by
    @utu

    Although 3M mask's exhale valves are designed to push the emission in downward direction. Also one could put a surgical mask over it to fix that.

    A salt coated surgical mask gets close to N95 and FFP 2 masks in filtration efficiency, but fit will be worse.

    Replies: @utu, @utu

  142. @alan2102
    @Bert

    ... Further, ivermectin is just one prominent example of the array of early treatment options -- safe, cheap, simple, and highly effective. Hydroxychloroquine, doxycycline, fluvoxamine, vitamin D and C, and a number of others. This is HUGE news which, unfortunately, is never mentioned on MSM.

    Replies: @utu

    I believe that in time of emergency like the epidemic the corners can be cut and repurposed drugs should be studied but I understand the inertia and resistance coming from the official medical establishment to keep the quackery and charlatanry under control. Even the best well intentioned medical practitioners can be fooled by their results particularly when they are too well intentioned. The double blind standard in studies on medical treatments efficacy was introduced for a good reason.

  143. Which strategy is / was right depends on on success of vaccine development. Not long ago the general public was told by experts that it is not sure a vaccine would be developed and if one would be developed it could take years. Without the vaccine I am not sure whether the “elimination” strategy is the right one. In this situation some combination of selective protection for vulnerable people and “flattening the curve” or even herd immunity could be right. People would have had to learn to “live with the virus”. Now we know different vaccines have been developed fast enough, so in hindsight is has become clear which strategy was right – the elimination strategy.
    Anyway in such a situation of uncertainty in which we were some months ago it would haven best to assume a vaccination would be developed soon enough and choose the “elimination” strategy. If a vaccine would not have been developed one could have started with “flattening the curve” strategy. Also people in relevant positions have probably had information about the good progress in vaccine development.

  144. @E. Harding
    Also, in a bold move, Hong Kong is now catching COVID cases through sewage (undoubtedly this technique will be transferred to the mainland, given the recent spikes there):

    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3115674/hong-kong-fourth-wave-more-50-covid-19-cases

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

    Also, in a bold move, Hong Kong is now catching COVID cases through sewage

    Read the article more closely. They’re using sewage for monitoring, RT-PCR is a very sensitive technique thanks to PCR’s ability to double a sample of DNA in each cycle, so if there is some of the two bits of RNA still hanging together in the sewage, you can detect it. Doesn’t mean it is from viable viruses, to find out you need a BSL-3 lab to try to culture samples, and this has been done with some COVID-19 patients.

    Last time I checked which was a long time ago COVID-19 was not thought to be a major threat in transmitting this way, certainly not compared to the normal way, unless perhaps bad plumbing turns sewage into aerosols. Which is believed to have happened in Hong Kong with SARS, which doesn’t normally transmit very well except by a relative few superspreaders. So you might expect it to be like what we’ve lately been reading about asymptomatic spreaders, if it happens, it’s not going to be a major driver of the pandemic.

    • Replies: @utu
    @That Would Be Telling

    By monitoring viral load in sewage in Thessaloniki they could show how effective their lockdown was. Now I can't find the graph but here is one article.

    https://www.ekathimerini.com/259307/article/ekathimerini/news/increase-in-thessalonikis-wastewater-viral-load-slowing

  145. @utu
    Recent Japanese lab study on mask effectiveness using real virus aerosols. Note that the scale in graphs is logarithmic.

    Effectiveness of Face Masks in Preventing Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2
    https://msphere.asm.org/content/5/5/e00637-20/article-info
     
    The authors qualify:

    To allow quantification, we conducted our studies by using a relatively high dose of virus, and under these conditions, it is possible that the protective capacity of the masks was exceeded.
     
    meaning that the results possibly would be better if done on lower dose levels.

    Providing that there is a minimal threshold of virus load that needs to be crossed to initiate infection a nonlinearity must be introduced in data analysis of mask effectiveness that leads to the inequality:

    N(virus with masks)/N(viruses w/o masks) > N(infections with masks)/N(infections w/o masks)
     
    The right hand side of the inequality can be even zero when the left hand side is larger than zero. The effectiveness of masks is higher than what the ratio of mask-to-no mask viral dose indicate.

    NB: I have noticed that some people wear super duper masks like N95 or better but the masks have the exhale valve which means that the most important role of masks which is to reduce the amount of virus pumped into the environment is defeated.

    Replies: @Passer by

    Although 3M mask’s exhale valves are designed to push the emission in downward direction. Also one could put a surgical mask over it to fix that.

    A salt coated surgical mask gets close to N95 and FFP 2 masks in filtration efficiency, but fit will be worse.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Passer by

    The statistics will probably show that more affluent society is more people are in retirement and nursing homes. But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds. We are supposed to be loyal to the Truth and if family bonds prevents you from reaching for the Truth you may have to cut the family bonds:


    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10)
     
    Catholic church put a lot of energy to increase the number degrees of consanguinity in marriage in order to weaken the family and tribal bonds. Perhaps not enough in regions of Sicily or Calabria where mafia flourished.

    Replies: @showmethereal

    , @utu
    @Passer by

    "... the emission in downward direction..." - This is not good enough. Universal masking works because it both reduces the amount of virus put into the environment in the exhale phase and the amount of virus passed by mask during the inhale phase. The mask with the exhale valve go against the whole philosophy of masking. It rather fits the "I am protected and fuck you" schools of philosophy.

    If everybody had N95 mask with the exhale valve it would be OK. But there are too many who wear only N50 masks that's why for their sake the exhale valves should banned. The exhale valves belong to industrial masks not medical masks.

  146. @utu
    @Morton's toes

    Even the not too polite company as the UR commentariat has turned out to be won't tolerate advocacy of gerontocide. People who bring it up providing that they are not provocateurs are missing something basic in their psychological make up. They are at odds with fundamental values of our civilization, not just Western Judeo-Christian civilization. How people like you came to being and what unfortunate events in your life lead you to the point of entertaining the ideas of killing old people should be looked at and remedies what to do with people like you should be considered. Should the society put you on an ice floe?

    Replies: @Passer by

    I heard somewhere that the disdain for old people could be a western thing. The West definitely leads the world in elderly homes and those were death traps back in the Spring.

    • Replies: @Europe Europa
    @Passer by

    This seems to be mainly an Anglosphere and perhaps Germanic trait than a Western trait as a whole. In the UK it's a common stereotype that Spanish and Italians don't put their elderly parents into old peoples homes but look after them at home instead.

    I don't know if old peoples' homes are common in Russia/Eastern Europe, but I would assume not.

  147. @Jtgw
    A lot of libertarians really shot themselves in the foot with their denialism. The incompetence of the government was clear enough but hard to blame CDC and WHO for counseling against masks when you’ve committed yourself to denying that masks make any difference or that the virus is even dangerous.

    Replies: @utu

    Libertarians’ response to masking is psychotic in essence. Very similar to their response to the seat belts requirements in 1970s. Then a ‘research’ was done to demonstrate that seat belts would increase fatalities because drivers would be engaging in more risky behavior. The ‘risk compensation’ meme was entered into the debate:

    The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation, Sam Peltzman, Journal of Political Economy
    Vol. 83, No. 4 (Aug., 1975), pp. 677-726

    “Technological studies imply that annual highway deaths would be 20 percent greater without legally mandated installation of various safety devices on automobiles. However, this literature ignores offsetting effects of nonregulatory demand for safety and driver response to the devices. This article indicates that these offsets are virtually complete, so that regulation has not decreased highway deaths.”

    Lo and behold in August 2020 some hacks from some business school published this gem:

    Risk compensation during COVID-19: The impact of face mask usage on social distancing
    https://www.onmedica.com/documents/mask_compensation_manuscript

    Consistent with risk compensation, we found that participants indicated they would stand, sit or walk closer to the stranger when either of them was wearing a mask. This form of risk compensation was stronger for those who believed masks were effective at preventing catching or spreading Covid-19,

    Even in this thread ‘peterkike’ (#125) claims that masks are killing us: “Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm.” Libertarian psychosis seems to be incurable.

    That libertarians are idiots is beyond dispute. That their idiocy keeps procreating and that they were not weeded out by some evolutionary process demands an explanation. They persist because their idiocy is useful to some groups of interests. The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    In 1970s it was the Auto Industry that was opposing the seat belts requirement that was benefiting from libertarian useful idiocy and now in 2020 and the universal masking issue we may speculate that it is the Big Pharma that benefits from the activism of libertarian useful idiots. Why the Big Pharma? The paradigm of fighting flu like epidemics was developed over the years with the input form the Big Pharma that excluded the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures. The Big Pharma is in the business of selling drugs and annual vaccines. That’s why WHO and CDC were poo-pooing masking in the beginning. Technically they were not lying. Still in May 2020 CDC even published the meta study justifying their position. They knew already then that they were wrong so they were covering ass at that point.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
    Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures (May 2020)

    Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.

    Finally after August 2020 they publicly endorsed the universal masking:

    CDC director Robert Redfield said face masks may be more effective than a vaccine in preventing individual coronavirus infections”
    https://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-director-masks-better-than-vaccines-at-stopping-coronavirus-2020-9

    The World Health Organization’s senior official in Europe said Thursday that blanket national lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 wouldn’t be necessary if governments could convince their citizens to wear masks.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-europe-who-masks-could-prevent-coronavirus-lockdowns-school-closures-dont-work/

    Take-home point: The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    • Thanks: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Jtgw
    @utu

    There was a time I would have bridled at what you said but now I mostly agree. I think libertarianism can offer some useful insights on some issues but observing ideologues trying to be Armchair epidemiologists has really disillusioned me.

    , @Mark G.
    @utu


    The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer. See my comment #29. The lockdowns have made the rich even richer so the lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class. The libertarians are the ones on the side of the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations and lives disrupted and economic futures crippled.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @Anatoly Karlin, @AP

  148. @That Would Be Telling
    @E. Harding


    Also, in a bold move, Hong Kong is now catching COVID cases through sewage
     
    Read the article more closely. They're using sewage for monitoring, RT-PCR is a very sensitive technique thanks to PCR's ability to double a sample of DNA in each cycle, so if there is some of the two bits of RNA still hanging together in the sewage, you can detect it. Doesn't mean it is from viable viruses, to find out you need a BSL-3 lab to try to culture samples, and this has been done with some COVID-19 patients.

    Last time I checked which was a long time ago COVID-19 was not thought to be a major threat in transmitting this way, certainly not compared to the normal way, unless perhaps bad plumbing turns sewage into aerosols. Which is believed to have happened in Hong Kong with SARS, which doesn't normally transmit very well except by a relative few superspreaders. So you might expect it to be like what we've lately been reading about asymptomatic spreaders, if it happens, it's not going to be a major driver of the pandemic.

    Replies: @utu

    By monitoring viral load in sewage in Thessaloniki they could show how effective their lockdown was. Now I can’t find the graph but here is one article.

    https://www.ekathimerini.com/259307/article/ekathimerini/news/increase-in-thessalonikis-wastewater-viral-load-slowing

    • Thanks: That Would Be Telling
  149. There seems to be a correlation between level of patriotism and willingness to comply with COVID restrictions and lock downs.

    I would say the English have lower levels of tolerance for lock downs and COVID rules than Ireland and other European countries. Other Europeans seems more inclined to be of the opinion that their governments are taking these decisions in the interests of the population, whereas English people seem more more skeptical and cynical of it.

    I think this is fundamentally because English people are a lot more atomised and less patriotic, less motivated by the argument that they should do something that inconveniences them if it benefits society as a whole.

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Europe Europa

    WW2 proves that isn't true. Their solidarity during the war was patriotic and anything but atomised.

    Replies: @Matra

  150. @Passer by
    @utu

    Although 3M mask's exhale valves are designed to push the emission in downward direction. Also one could put a surgical mask over it to fix that.

    A salt coated surgical mask gets close to N95 and FFP 2 masks in filtration efficiency, but fit will be worse.

    Replies: @utu, @utu

    The statistics will probably show that more affluent society is more people are in retirement and nursing homes. But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds. We are supposed to be loyal to the Truth and if family bonds prevents you from reaching for the Truth you may have to cut the family bonds:

    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10)

    Catholic church put a lot of energy to increase the number degrees of consanguinity in marriage in order to weaken the family and tribal bonds. Perhaps not enough in regions of Sicily or Calabria where mafia flourished.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
    @utu

    "But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds."

    The context of what you quoted was related to identifying the Messiah. Everything else in "the book" teaches to obey family elders and authorities in society. So that is a "wrong" culture. Jesus/yeshua even told his disciples to pay taxes to the hated Romans. He also upbraided the religious people of the day who refused to financially take care of their parents and using money to give as an "offering".

    Replies: @utu

  151. @Passer by
    @utu

    I heard somewhere that the disdain for old people could be a western thing. The West definitely leads the world in elderly homes and those were death traps back in the Spring.

    Replies: @Europe Europa

    This seems to be mainly an Anglosphere and perhaps Germanic trait than a Western trait as a whole. In the UK it’s a common stereotype that Spanish and Italians don’t put their elderly parents into old peoples homes but look after them at home instead.

    I don’t know if old peoples’ homes are common in Russia/Eastern Europe, but I would assume not.

  152. @Blinky Bill
    @Lot

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453


    Mocking people, about their dead loved ones.


    Wrong then.
    Wrong now.

    Replies: @Lot

    • Troll: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
    @Lot

    Why would you post something so callous, so lacking in empathy?
    A grandfather dying in his wheelchair. His daughter calling the morgue for her deceased loved one.


    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453



    I'm not interested in the reasoning of others, or their motivations. I want to know why you found it so amusing to post such a thing? Is it because they aren't your family? That's why I still remember your post all these month later, because I can't understand the contempt directed at his daughter by you.

    Replies: @Lot, @Bashibuzuk

  153. @Europe Europa
    There seems to be a correlation between level of patriotism and willingness to comply with COVID restrictions and lock downs.

    I would say the English have lower levels of tolerance for lock downs and COVID rules than Ireland and other European countries. Other Europeans seems more inclined to be of the opinion that their governments are taking these decisions in the interests of the population, whereas English people seem more more skeptical and cynical of it.

    I think this is fundamentally because English people are a lot more atomised and less patriotic, less motivated by the argument that they should do something that inconveniences them if it benefits society as a whole.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    WW2 proves that isn’t true. Their solidarity during the war was patriotic and anything but atomised.

    • Replies: @Matra
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Widespread rejection and disdain for our elders and Western civilisation in general among Western youth began with those who came of age in the 1960s and has been promoted and incentivised ever since by those who dominate media & education. Those born in the 1940s & 50s are now experiencing some of the same disdain they displayed towards their own parents and communities. If it is even possible to return to the pre-60s normalcy it would require some kind of struggle, like a multigenerational economic depression or perhaps a traumatic civil conflict.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

  154. Anyway, I think the first thing we have learned from COVID is this: 1 COVID death is an unspeakable crime of the CCP, 4600 COVID deaths is a tragedy, and 450,000 deaths is a statistic unworthy of mention.

    • LOL: Jtgw, Anatoly Karlin
  155. @utu
    @Jtgw

    Libertarians' response to masking is psychotic in essence. Very similar to their response to the seat belts requirements in 1970s. Then a 'research' was done to demonstrate that seat belts would increase fatalities because drivers would be engaging in more risky behavior. The 'risk compensation' meme was entered into the debate:


    The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation, Sam Peltzman, Journal of Political Economy
    Vol. 83, No. 4 (Aug., 1975), pp. 677-726

    “Technological studies imply that annual highway deaths would be 20 percent greater without legally mandated installation of various safety devices on automobiles. However, this literature ignores offsetting effects of nonregulatory demand for safety and driver response to the devices. This article indicates that these offsets are virtually complete, so that regulation has not decreased highway deaths.”

     

    Lo and behold in August 2020 some hacks from some business school published this gem:

    Risk compensation during COVID-19: The impact of face mask usage on social distancing
    https://www.onmedica.com/documents/mask_compensation_manuscript

    Consistent with risk compensation, we found that participants indicated they would stand, sit or walk closer to the stranger when either of them was wearing a mask. This form of risk compensation was stronger for those who believed masks were effective at preventing catching or spreading Covid-19,

     

    Even in this thread 'peterkike' (#125) claims that masks are killing us: "Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm." Libertarian psychosis seems to be incurable.

    That libertarians are idiots is beyond dispute. That their idiocy keeps procreating and that they were not weeded out by some evolutionary process demands an explanation. They persist because their idiocy is useful to some groups of interests. The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    In 1970s it was the Auto Industry that was opposing the seat belts requirement that was benefiting from libertarian useful idiocy and now in 2020 and the universal masking issue we may speculate that it is the Big Pharma that benefits from the activism of libertarian useful idiots. Why the Big Pharma? The paradigm of fighting flu like epidemics was developed over the years with the input form the Big Pharma that excluded the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures. The Big Pharma is in the business of selling drugs and annual vaccines. That's why WHO and CDC were poo-pooing masking in the beginning. Technically they were not lying. Still in May 2020 CDC even published the meta study justifying their position. They knew already then that they were wrong so they were covering ass at that point.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
    Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures (May 2020)

    Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
     
    Finally after August 2020 they publicly endorsed the universal masking:

    CDC director Robert Redfield said face masks may be more effective than a vaccine in preventing individual coronavirus infections”
    https://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-director-masks-better-than-vaccines-at-stopping-coronavirus-2020-9

    The World Health Organization’s senior official in Europe said Thursday that blanket national lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 wouldn’t be necessary if governments could convince their citizens to wear masks.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-europe-who-masks-could-prevent-coronavirus-lockdowns-school-closures-dont-work/
     
    Take-home point: The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    Replies: @Jtgw, @Mark G.

    There was a time I would have bridled at what you said but now I mostly agree. I think libertarianism can offer some useful insights on some issues but observing ideologues trying to be Armchair epidemiologists has really disillusioned me.

    • Thanks: utu
  156. @inertial
    @Astuteobservor II

    The entire case for effectiveness of masks appears to be:

    - Asians wear masks
    - Asians are smart
    - Therefore, masks work

    This is not convincing, not anymore. I see masks compliance around me at nearly 100%, and yet they say that we are in the middle of the second wave. My lying eyes tell me that masks don't work.

    Replies: @E. Harding, @Wielgus, @Astuteobservor II

    It is weird how people are disputing a medical fact that has been true for over a century.

    We keep talking about asians and their countries is because they dealt and are dealing with covid so effectively. And prevalence of mask wearing does help alot.

    Masks lowers r0. It doesn’t stop it completely. It takes nation wide effort though, not just your area. Without nationwide effort, it is why citywide and individual state lockdowns are simply stupid, just crashes the economy.

  157. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Europe Europa

    WW2 proves that isn't true. Their solidarity during the war was patriotic and anything but atomised.

    Replies: @Matra

    Widespread rejection and disdain for our elders and Western civilisation in general among Western youth began with those who came of age in the 1960s and has been promoted and incentivised ever since by those who dominate media & education. Those born in the 1940s & 50s are now experiencing some of the same disdain they displayed towards their own parents and communities. If it is even possible to return to the pre-60s normalcy it would require some kind of struggle, like a multigenerational economic depression or perhaps a traumatic civil conflict.

    • Agree: Sinotibetan
    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Matra

    You don't think Covid is that struggle that brings us together?

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk

  158. @Mikael_
    To be straight about this, you make a lot of good points.

    But I have to put in a list the things you state without any evidence:
    - "10 megadeaths" (on current trajectory, including vaccinations. Even Burn-Murdoch can give no support to such a claim; see also 4th point below. Also you are ignoring the "low-hanging fruit" view - how many of the persons most susceptible to bad outcomes have already been hit? A first vs. second wave severity comparison seems to give credence to that view. Also what about the possibility of near future sub-par death numbers, and their effect on life expectancy?)
    - "no pre-existing herd immunity" (Are you trying to imply there was also zero pre-existing immunity? Impossible to prove or disprove without highly unethical experiments, but critical thinking should strongly doubt that number is zero or even close to zero)
    - "mass variolation" (I had also for three weeks liked that idea, until I realized we have no idea about the long-term aftereffects of Corona on surviving patients!)
    - "third-world undercounting" (of deaths!? Those require zero sophisticated technology to count and report.)

    You completely ignore:
    - critical thinking on mRNA

    I also see a lot of trolling in your article. Although you give lip service to criticizing leftoids, it is clear you believe you can virtue signal your better understanding (and higher IQ) by cheap-shots on clueless folks who at least tried to think for themselves (you get my stab at leftoid NPCs here?)

    Overall more a letdown than a epiphany of an article.

    Replies: @Donald A Thomson

    “mass variolation” (I had also for three weeks liked that idea, until I realized we have no idea about the long-term aftereffects of Corona on surviving patients!)

    At last, one of the few who seems to have noticed this. It looked ok at the start and, despite some unsettling indications, it may still turn out to be ok but what a hell of a gamble on the long term effects of a new disease. [email protected]

  159. @Passer by
    @utu

    Although 3M mask's exhale valves are designed to push the emission in downward direction. Also one could put a surgical mask over it to fix that.

    A salt coated surgical mask gets close to N95 and FFP 2 masks in filtration efficiency, but fit will be worse.

    Replies: @utu, @utu

    “… the emission in downward direction…” – This is not good enough. Universal masking works because it both reduces the amount of virus put into the environment in the exhale phase and the amount of virus passed by mask during the inhale phase. The mask with the exhale valve go against the whole philosophy of masking. It rather fits the “I am protected and fuck you” schools of philosophy.

    If everybody had N95 mask with the exhale valve it would be OK. But there are too many who wear only N50 masks that’s why for their sake the exhale valves should banned. The exhale valves belong to industrial masks not medical masks.

    • Agree: AP, Blinky Bill
  160. Along the same line of the mystery explanation for differences between meds/nords etc… The Peru/Ecuador death numbers are interesting to consider along with Greg Cochran’s past comments on the Amerindian genetic adaption to altitude (apparently inferior to the Himalayan one): https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/islands-in-the-sky/

    There was much talk of racial variation in covid response that ended up a nothingburger in the early part of the pandemic, but this seems more than coincidence. Bolivia has a high death rate too.

    Combo of direct negative effects of living at high altitude + corona might trump a potential genetic effect once investigated – but an interesting question to look into.

  161. @Lot
    @Blinky Bill

    https://canoe.com/news/world/china-mocks-u-s-over-covid-19-with-lego-like-cartoon

    Replies: @Blinky Bill

    Why would you post something so callous, so lacking in empathy?
    A grandfather dying in his wheelchair. His daughter calling the morgue for her deceased loved one.

    [MORE]

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453

    I’m not interested in the reasoning of others, or their motivations. I want to know why you found it so amusing to post such a thing? Is it because they aren’t your family? That’s why I still remember your post all these month later, because I can’t understand the contempt directed at his daughter by you.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Blinky Bill



    http://www.toyota-4runner.org/attachments/5th-gen-t4rs/235338d1484920725-how-much-people-paying-new-4runner-img_0509.jpg

    , @Bashibuzuk
    @Blinky Bill


    because I can’t understand the contempt
     
    You are aware that you still seem to expect some empathy for Goyim from an ethnocentric Jew?

    Perhaps you're being a bit idealistic here.
  162. @Blinky Bill
    @Lot

    Why would you post something so callous, so lacking in empathy?
    A grandfather dying in his wheelchair. His daughter calling the morgue for her deceased loved one.


    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453



    I'm not interested in the reasoning of others, or their motivations. I want to know why you found it so amusing to post such a thing? Is it because they aren't your family? That's why I still remember your post all these month later, because I can't understand the contempt directed at his daughter by you.

    Replies: @Lot, @Bashibuzuk

    [MORE]

    • Troll: Blinky Bill
  163. @rebel yell
    It's discouraging (though I must admit to the facts) to see the democratic countries failing in their competency to self-govern while authoritarian and even totalitarian governments in East Asia succeed in rational governance.
    This question is larger than just the Corona crisis. Can democracy work (better)? Are we doomed to needing authoritarian government to keep the trains running on time?

    Replies: @AP, @martin_2, @Sinotibetan

    Perhaps democracy(Ala Western style, not the more paternalistic /authoritarian Asian style ‘democracy’) may not be so effective in terms of policy making and enforcement , especially in times of crisis. This is a weakness of Western style democracy.
    Moreover, most Westerners hate the idea of any intrusion to their ‘personal freedoms’ and the idea of ‘human rights’ are so pervasive in Western psyche that Asian style draconian policies will only lead to mass rebellion against those policies in Western democracies. Lack of social cohesion and tendency for non conformity is a Western trait which is not so much of an issue in East Asia.

    I think if another similar pandemic strikes , the same issues will resurface. I am not too optimistic that Western politicians have learned much from this pandemic apart from how to politicize issues via a pandemic.

    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don’t think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @Sinotibetan


    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don’t think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.
     
    We could still be lucky with a future cirusvirus pathogen like the one you posit, for not all parts of a virus can mutate and still result in it being viable. For enzymes, imagine them as a lock, into which a key must fit more or less precisely.

    These parts of the virus are "conserved," and if unlike the flu the body's response manages to include targeting of conserved parts of it, both natural and vaccine immunity can be "eternal." See all the RNA vaccines with higher mutation rates for which we have such vaccines, like measles and polio.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

  164. @utu
    @Jtgw

    Libertarians' response to masking is psychotic in essence. Very similar to their response to the seat belts requirements in 1970s. Then a 'research' was done to demonstrate that seat belts would increase fatalities because drivers would be engaging in more risky behavior. The 'risk compensation' meme was entered into the debate:


    The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation, Sam Peltzman, Journal of Political Economy
    Vol. 83, No. 4 (Aug., 1975), pp. 677-726

    “Technological studies imply that annual highway deaths would be 20 percent greater without legally mandated installation of various safety devices on automobiles. However, this literature ignores offsetting effects of nonregulatory demand for safety and driver response to the devices. This article indicates that these offsets are virtually complete, so that regulation has not decreased highway deaths.”

     

    Lo and behold in August 2020 some hacks from some business school published this gem:

    Risk compensation during COVID-19: The impact of face mask usage on social distancing
    https://www.onmedica.com/documents/mask_compensation_manuscript

    Consistent with risk compensation, we found that participants indicated they would stand, sit or walk closer to the stranger when either of them was wearing a mask. This form of risk compensation was stronger for those who believed masks were effective at preventing catching or spreading Covid-19,

     

    Even in this thread 'peterkike' (#125) claims that masks are killing us: "Masks do nothing positive and cause a good deal of harm." Libertarian psychosis seems to be incurable.

    That libertarians are idiots is beyond dispute. That their idiocy keeps procreating and that they were not weeded out by some evolutionary process demands an explanation. They persist because their idiocy is useful to some groups of interests. The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    In 1970s it was the Auto Industry that was opposing the seat belts requirement that was benefiting from libertarian useful idiocy and now in 2020 and the universal masking issue we may speculate that it is the Big Pharma that benefits from the activism of libertarian useful idiots. Why the Big Pharma? The paradigm of fighting flu like epidemics was developed over the years with the input form the Big Pharma that excluded the non-pharmaceutical countermeasures. The Big Pharma is in the business of selling drugs and annual vaccines. That's why WHO and CDC were poo-pooing masking in the beginning. Technically they were not lying. Still in May 2020 CDC even published the meta study justifying their position. They knew already then that they were wrong so they were covering ass at that point.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
    Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures (May 2020)

    Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
     
    Finally after August 2020 they publicly endorsed the universal masking:

    CDC director Robert Redfield said face masks may be more effective than a vaccine in preventing individual coronavirus infections”
    https://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-director-masks-better-than-vaccines-at-stopping-coronavirus-2020-9

    The World Health Organization’s senior official in Europe said Thursday that blanket national lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 wouldn’t be necessary if governments could convince their citizens to wear masks.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-europe-who-masks-could-prevent-coronavirus-lockdowns-school-closures-dont-work/
     
    Take-home point: The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    Replies: @Jtgw, @Mark G.

    The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer. See my comment #29. The lockdowns have made the rich even richer so the lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class. The libertarians are the ones on the side of the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations and lives disrupted and economic futures crippled.

    • Agree: Wielgus, Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Mark G.

    This year has seen a remarkable trashing of individual liberties, governments in many places revelling in the opportunities to introduce virtual police states on the back of a virus. The virus will eventually depart, perhaps even in the new year. The freedoms lost may take much longer to be regained, if ever.

    It is interesting to compare the UK with Greece. In the latter, mask-wearing was already common in the summer, but it did not stop an autumn uptick in cases and deaths. Then Greece went into a second lockdown in November, still going on, which seems to have been more about social control than actual disease prevention, with some state practices not seen since the military rule period of 1967-74 returning. For the most part, Greeks have put up with it but then there is that authoritarian DNA in their 20th century history that the British do not have. Cases and deaths seem to be declining but that is after seven weeks of lockdown, and many small businesses that barely survived the spring lockdown in Greece have gone under.

    Replies: @Europe Europa

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year.
     
    Meanwhile, China has ended the Year of Corona by breaking up Jack Ma's business empire.

    It's almost as if oligarchy and state capture grows out of deep-rooted political dysfunction as opposed to epidemiological measures. But keep barking, rightoids.

    Replies: @AaronB, @128, @Astuteobservor II

    , @AP
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year
     
    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer
     
    It would be good if there were some sort of windfall tax that would involve Bezos and others helped by this natural crisis helping out brick and mortar stores who were harmed by it.

    But not only Bezos benefitted. A lot of working class guys doing contracting work have seen a windfall because rather than spending money at bars and restaurants or in travel, people are upgrading their homes. In my area there was a long wait for windows and doors, furniture, etc. Truck drivers have done well too, we are friends with a couple of them.


    The lockdowns have made the rich even richer
     
    Rich get richer regardless of lockdowns.

    lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class
     
    That’s like saying seatbelt, child seat, or airbag proponents are “useful idiots” of auto part manufacturers and Graco.

    the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations
     
    Owners of small businesses dependent on foot traffic such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hair or nail salons and boutiques have indeed been screwed, as have been owners of gyms and movie theaters. People in medical specialties whose work is elective in nature have also lost a lot of money. All such people ought to be helped, perhaps by a windfall tax on the ballooning profit of amazon or online retailers during this natural crisis.*

    However, workers in those businesses have had generous unemployment benefits that have often exceeded their salaries, plus the stimulus check. For this reason some employers going back to business have struggled to rehire:

    https://www.winknews.com/2020/07/24/employers-are-having-trouble-hiring-they-blame-the-federal-600-unemployment-bump/

    Many have been happy about the long paid vacation. I know a few 20-something unemployed people who took the opportunity to spend a month on an epic camping trip in the national and state parks out West (some have been closed which is stupid but others have not). This is called “funemployment.”

    Those who have kids have spent more time with them than they would have otherwise. Summer has meant more time biking around outside while socially distancing, going to the beach and woods rather than some city for leisure, not an unhealthy thing.

    * There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @That Would Be Telling, @jay

  165. @Mark G.
    @utu


    The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer. See my comment #29. The lockdowns have made the rich even richer so the lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class. The libertarians are the ones on the side of the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations and lives disrupted and economic futures crippled.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @Anatoly Karlin, @AP

    This year has seen a remarkable trashing of individual liberties, governments in many places revelling in the opportunities to introduce virtual police states on the back of a virus. The virus will eventually depart, perhaps even in the new year. The freedoms lost may take much longer to be regained, if ever.

    It is interesting to compare the UK with Greece. In the latter, mask-wearing was already common in the summer, but it did not stop an autumn uptick in cases and deaths. Then Greece went into a second lockdown in November, still going on, which seems to have been more about social control than actual disease prevention, with some state practices not seen since the military rule period of 1967-74 returning. For the most part, Greeks have put up with it but then there is that authoritarian DNA in their 20th century history that the British do not have. Cases and deaths seem to be declining but that is after seven weeks of lockdown, and many small businesses that barely survived the spring lockdown in Greece have gone under.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @Europe Europa
    @Wielgus

    I find it odd how the Irish seem to be much more willing and positive about their government imposing lock downs at short notice and even more stringent rules than in Britain, such as only being allowed to travel a maximum of 5km from their home and police checkpoints being set up to enforce it.

    The British government have not imposed rules like that and set up police checkpoints because it would be extremely difficult to enforce here, people would not take it well. I think they would need the military on the streets to impose such rules here.

    I'm not saying the British government won't eventually enforce curfew rules and have checkpoints, but I strongly suspect they will be manned by soldiers, not police.

    Replies: @Wielgus

  166. @Wielgus
    @Mark G.

    This year has seen a remarkable trashing of individual liberties, governments in many places revelling in the opportunities to introduce virtual police states on the back of a virus. The virus will eventually depart, perhaps even in the new year. The freedoms lost may take much longer to be regained, if ever.

    It is interesting to compare the UK with Greece. In the latter, mask-wearing was already common in the summer, but it did not stop an autumn uptick in cases and deaths. Then Greece went into a second lockdown in November, still going on, which seems to have been more about social control than actual disease prevention, with some state practices not seen since the military rule period of 1967-74 returning. For the most part, Greeks have put up with it but then there is that authoritarian DNA in their 20th century history that the British do not have. Cases and deaths seem to be declining but that is after seven weeks of lockdown, and many small businesses that barely survived the spring lockdown in Greece have gone under.

    Replies: @Europe Europa

    I find it odd how the Irish seem to be much more willing and positive about their government imposing lock downs at short notice and even more stringent rules than in Britain, such as only being allowed to travel a maximum of 5km from their home and police checkpoints being set up to enforce it.

    The British government have not imposed rules like that and set up police checkpoints because it would be extremely difficult to enforce here, people would not take it well. I think they would need the military on the streets to impose such rules here.

    I’m not saying the British government won’t eventually enforce curfew rules and have checkpoints, but I strongly suspect they will be manned by soldiers, not police.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Europe Europa

    Ireland had a civil war in the 20th century and war with British rule before that. The Republic also has a background of emergency practices, often used against the IRA. It is a small country, not very densely populated, and police can probably see people a mile off.
    The UK, especially England, is a different matter.

  167. @128
    Maybe the difference is in individualism vs collectivism, top-down Eastern society vs. more consensus driven Western cultures, where the public is supposed to have an input on decision making, instead of some big head man barking orders and people obeying, deference to authority among Eastern cultures, Confucianism among Far Eastern cultures meaning you have a culture that gives more deference to what experts say? Shame driven face-saving cultures among Far Eastern societies leading to greater conformism on perceived crucial issues? More social pressure among Eastern societies to wear masks, and social pressure having a larger impact in controlling individual behavior in more collectivistic shame driven Eastern cultures, where conforming to social norms is all important? I cannot think of any Eastern societies that has the equivalent of a New England town hall meeting of deciding community issues, or Athenian style democracy among ancient Eastern societies.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan, @Daniel Chieh

    Yes I think this is quite true for East Asians in general. We tend to believe in experts of their respective fields and certainly don’t question or doubt expert opinions as much as Westerners tend to. Has its pros and cons, of course.

    Another thing is, especially in the so called Sinosphere countries , we believe in ‘meritocracy’ rather than ‘democracy’. We don’t necessarily view every opinion by every individual as having equal value or importance. Every opinion needs to be judged by its merits. In a way, I have to admit, to a certain extend, it’s my belief too but not as rigid as Neo-Confucianists. Historically, we used to revere and almost worship the smart and the scholarly. In ancient Chinese dynasties to be the top scholar of the country was a very huge thing, worshipped to almost God like status. Also, many of us (still) believe that the majority of mankind are not smart and unable to decide what is best for the country. That should be left to the smartest elites. The belief is that Democracy at its purest form leads to anarchy and instability if you leave decision making by concensus to the majority who have conflicting interests and presumably ‘lesser intelligence’. The majority is thought to not necessarily know what is best for themselves or their country. It is the ruling elites who must lead the way and enforce the policies, the majority is to adhere and obey. It’s based on Confucian ideals of the relationship of the Ruler and the ruled. The ideal ruler should have the character of a sage to be both wise and intellectually superior to the rest. Of course meritocracy failed the Sinosphere countries in the past especially when their scholar-bureaucrats only knew Confucian ideals but were totally ignorant of Western superiority in science, maths and technology. To me Asians have a cult of worshipping the smart, the well educated, the learned and intellectual as well as ‘high culture’ but nowadays many more worship mammon. In the past, in Sinosphere societies, businessmen were considered amoral and lower social status than peasants. Scholars were held in higher regard. See:-

    https://mmsamee.weebly.com/ancient-chinas-social-classes.html

    I also agree, conforming to social norm is important to us. However, wearing a mask to partially protect us from covid 19 is generally viewed as common sense rather than a social norm here. East Asians are very concerned about self preservation and the idea is there is no harm done at all in donning the face masks. To us Western politicking and huge debates about wearing or not wearing masks in this pandemic amuses us Asians. It is a total non issue here. The idea of infringing on one’s personal freedom is also amusing to us and never came across our mind – generally we think such persons as selfish. Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it’s common sense to wear those masks. If it does not work, well the virus spreads anyway. If the masks work a bit, we somehow get protected a bit. Where is the harm? and the thought of the government infringing our personal freedoms just because Government laws insist on mask donning never occurred to us – the whole Western arguments abt personal freedoms vs mandatory mask donning seem nonsensical to us Asians. We often discuss this and shrug in disbelief that it is an issue in the West.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @Sinotibetan

    "Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it’s common sense to wear those masks."

    Maybe there is an East Asian difference. During the Korean War, Westerners made much of Chinese "brainwashing". The Chinese probably thought of it as encouraging group cohesion or something like that.
    I would be more inclined to wonder if certain practices help or harm rather than just assume it is good because Johnson, Mitsotakis or Mao say so. For example, mass campaigns to kill sparrows and small birds orchestrated by Mao had disastrous effects but Chinese were doing what they were told to do - like with the masks. With regard to masks, wearing one, especially in hot weather, causes me to have attacks of breathlessness, enough to make me seek out a quiet spot and lower it a bit to improve my breathing. Are you really sure masks a) protect you from the dread contagion and b) don't have harmful side-effects of their own?

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

  168. @Europe Europa
    @Wielgus

    I find it odd how the Irish seem to be much more willing and positive about their government imposing lock downs at short notice and even more stringent rules than in Britain, such as only being allowed to travel a maximum of 5km from their home and police checkpoints being set up to enforce it.

    The British government have not imposed rules like that and set up police checkpoints because it would be extremely difficult to enforce here, people would not take it well. I think they would need the military on the streets to impose such rules here.

    I'm not saying the British government won't eventually enforce curfew rules and have checkpoints, but I strongly suspect they will be manned by soldiers, not police.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    Ireland had a civil war in the 20th century and war with British rule before that. The Republic also has a background of emergency practices, often used against the IRA. It is a small country, not very densely populated, and police can probably see people a mile off.
    The UK, especially England, is a different matter.

  169. @Sinotibetan
    @128

    Yes I think this is quite true for East Asians in general. We tend to believe in experts of their respective fields and certainly don't question or doubt expert opinions as much as Westerners tend to. Has its pros and cons, of course.

    Another thing is, especially in the so called Sinosphere countries , we believe in 'meritocracy' rather than 'democracy'. We don't necessarily view every opinion by every individual as having equal value or importance. Every opinion needs to be judged by its merits. In a way, I have to admit, to a certain extend, it's my belief too but not as rigid as Neo-Confucianists. Historically, we used to revere and almost worship the smart and the scholarly. In ancient Chinese dynasties to be the top scholar of the country was a very huge thing, worshipped to almost God like status. Also, many of us (still) believe that the majority of mankind are not smart and unable to decide what is best for the country. That should be left to the smartest elites. The belief is that Democracy at its purest form leads to anarchy and instability if you leave decision making by concensus to the majority who have conflicting interests and presumably 'lesser intelligence'. The majority is thought to not necessarily know what is best for themselves or their country. It is the ruling elites who must lead the way and enforce the policies, the majority is to adhere and obey. It's based on Confucian ideals of the relationship of the Ruler and the ruled. The ideal ruler should have the character of a sage to be both wise and intellectually superior to the rest. Of course meritocracy failed the Sinosphere countries in the past especially when their scholar-bureaucrats only knew Confucian ideals but were totally ignorant of Western superiority in science, maths and technology. To me Asians have a cult of worshipping the smart, the well educated, the learned and intellectual as well as 'high culture' but nowadays many more worship mammon. In the past, in Sinosphere societies, businessmen were considered amoral and lower social status than peasants. Scholars were held in higher regard. See:-

    https://mmsamee.weebly.com/ancient-chinas-social-classes.html

    I also agree, conforming to social norm is important to us. However, wearing a mask to partially protect us from covid 19 is generally viewed as common sense rather than a social norm here. East Asians are very concerned about self preservation and the idea is there is no harm done at all in donning the face masks. To us Western politicking and huge debates about wearing or not wearing masks in this pandemic amuses us Asians. It is a total non issue here. The idea of infringing on one's personal freedom is also amusing to us and never came across our mind - generally we think such persons as selfish. Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it's common sense to wear those masks. If it does not work, well the virus spreads anyway. If the masks work a bit, we somehow get protected a bit. Where is the harm? and the thought of the government infringing our personal freedoms just because Government laws insist on mask donning never occurred to us - the whole Western arguments abt personal freedoms vs mandatory mask donning seem nonsensical to us Asians. We often discuss this and shrug in disbelief that it is an issue in the West.

    Replies: @Wielgus

    “Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it’s common sense to wear those masks.”

    Maybe there is an East Asian difference. During the Korean War, Westerners made much of Chinese “brainwashing”. The Chinese probably thought of it as encouraging group cohesion or something like that.
    I would be more inclined to wonder if certain practices help or harm rather than just assume it is good because Johnson, Mitsotakis or Mao say so. For example, mass campaigns to kill sparrows and small birds orchestrated by Mao had disastrous effects but Chinese were doing what they were told to do – like with the masks. With regard to masks, wearing one, especially in hot weather, causes me to have attacks of breathlessness, enough to make me seek out a quiet spot and lower it a bit to improve my breathing. Are you really sure masks a) protect you from the dread contagion and b) don’t have harmful side-effects of their own?

    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @Wielgus

    You brought up interesting observations. Thank you.
    To be honest, I am not sure if masks actually protect us, even a bit, from the contagion. I remember being told by a medical friend(but I did not verify this) that masks prevent the infected from spreading the virus but not the uninfected from catching it.
    I think masks can have some undesirable side effects. I am allergic to wearing masks at prolonged periods : I get allergic rhinitis and very bad post nasal drip.
    Yes, I think Westerners do have some points in their doubts about mask wearing in this pandemic - my reply to 128 was regarding Asian views about the issue : it's not really social norm, it's appeal to so called 'common sense'.
    I think there are just too many conflicting views about mask donning protecting us from the contagion that I give it benefit of doubt. The allergic issue (in my case) is not too concerning for me personally.
    In fact this East Asian appeal to common sense or intuition may also be a reason why they were not so curious about the sciences in the past and stagnated in that field for the longest time.
    Regarding the example of Mao, yes you are right about the weakness of Asian more pro-authoritarian thinking. The ideal ruler is supposed to be sagacious in Chinese thought but how often do you get a so called sagacious leader.... And even worse expecting even a so called 'sagacious' leader to never make grave errors or stupid policies. This is the weakness in such ideals. Killing sparrows is not the worst of Mao's lunacy. Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward massacred millions of Chinese. I actually blame Mao and his enablers for the near destruction of Chinese civilization on Mainland China. Indeed, in practice, even in past dynastic times, rulers relied on the advice of supposedly smart scholar-bureaucrats. In Chinese history, Emperors were disaparaged for their folly and refusal to heed sound advice from officials, the corruption and incompetence of many scholar-bureaucrats are also well known - these are all weaknesses of the meritocratic system. Democracy, meritocracy, whatever systems devised have their strengths and weaknesses.
    And many times in dynastic times, the Confucian Ruler-the ruled relationship can be offset by rebellion by the people based on the principle of Mandate of Heaven(derived back from Zhou dynasty to justify their overthrow of the Shang). If the Ruler was inept and the country experienced disasters (supposedly due to the Ruler's moral failings), this principle okayed a rebellion to dethrone the dynasty and install a new one. These elite replacement transitions were often violent and chaotic. I think democracy, theoretically at least, provides a less violent and humane way for such transitions - unfortunately the political elites in the West(and other democratic countries) have learned the skill of manipulating the population to retain and maintain power.

    I think different political systems or thought are more successful or less depending on the circumstances. Just my opinion.

    Replies: @Znzn

  170. @Blinky Bill
    @Lot

    Why would you post something so callous, so lacking in empathy?
    A grandfather dying in his wheelchair. His daughter calling the morgue for her deceased loved one.


    https://www.unz.com/isteve/black-history-month-2/#comment-3693453



    I'm not interested in the reasoning of others, or their motivations. I want to know why you found it so amusing to post such a thing? Is it because they aren't your family? That's why I still remember your post all these month later, because I can't understand the contempt directed at his daughter by you.

    Replies: @Lot, @Bashibuzuk

    because I can’t understand the contempt

    You are aware that you still seem to expect some empathy for Goyim from an ethnocentric Jew?

    Perhaps you’re being a bit idealistic here.

  171. @Wielgus
    @Sinotibetan

    "Whether the masks work or not is besides the point, we just think it’s common sense to wear those masks."

    Maybe there is an East Asian difference. During the Korean War, Westerners made much of Chinese "brainwashing". The Chinese probably thought of it as encouraging group cohesion or something like that.
    I would be more inclined to wonder if certain practices help or harm rather than just assume it is good because Johnson, Mitsotakis or Mao say so. For example, mass campaigns to kill sparrows and small birds orchestrated by Mao had disastrous effects but Chinese were doing what they were told to do - like with the masks. With regard to masks, wearing one, especially in hot weather, causes me to have attacks of breathlessness, enough to make me seek out a quiet spot and lower it a bit to improve my breathing. Are you really sure masks a) protect you from the dread contagion and b) don't have harmful side-effects of their own?

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

    You brought up interesting observations. Thank you.
    To be honest, I am not sure if masks actually protect us, even a bit, from the contagion. I remember being told by a medical friend(but I did not verify this) that masks prevent the infected from spreading the virus but not the uninfected from catching it.
    I think masks can have some undesirable side effects. I am allergic to wearing masks at prolonged periods : I get allergic rhinitis and very bad post nasal drip.
    Yes, I think Westerners do have some points in their doubts about mask wearing in this pandemic – my reply to 128 was regarding Asian views about the issue : it’s not really social norm, it’s appeal to so called ‘common sense’.
    I think there are just too many conflicting views about mask donning protecting us from the contagion that I give it benefit of doubt. The allergic issue (in my case) is not too concerning for me personally.
    In fact this East Asian appeal to common sense or intuition may also be a reason why they were not so curious about the sciences in the past and stagnated in that field for the longest time.
    Regarding the example of Mao, yes you are right about the weakness of Asian more pro-authoritarian thinking. The ideal ruler is supposed to be sagacious in Chinese thought but how often do you get a so called sagacious leader…. And even worse expecting even a so called ‘sagacious’ leader to never make grave errors or stupid policies. This is the weakness in such ideals. Killing sparrows is not the worst of Mao’s lunacy. Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward massacred millions of Chinese. I actually blame Mao and his enablers for the near destruction of Chinese civilization on Mainland China. Indeed, in practice, even in past dynastic times, rulers relied on the advice of supposedly smart scholar-bureaucrats. In Chinese history, Emperors were disaparaged for their folly and refusal to heed sound advice from officials, the corruption and incompetence of many scholar-bureaucrats are also well known – these are all weaknesses of the meritocratic system. Democracy, meritocracy, whatever systems devised have their strengths and weaknesses.
    And many times in dynastic times, the Confucian Ruler-the ruled relationship can be offset by rebellion by the people based on the principle of Mandate of Heaven(derived back from Zhou dynasty to justify their overthrow of the Shang). If the Ruler was inept and the country experienced disasters (supposedly due to the Ruler’s moral failings), this principle okayed a rebellion to dethrone the dynasty and install a new one. These elite replacement transitions were often violent and chaotic. I think democracy, theoretically at least, provides a less violent and humane way for such transitions – unfortunately the political elites in the West(and other democratic countries) have learned the skill of manipulating the population to retain and maintain power.

    I think different political systems or thought are more successful or less depending on the circumstances. Just my opinion.

    • Replies: @Znzn
    @Sinotibetan

    I believe scholar officials have a greater batting average over 2500 years give or take a few centuries than eunuchs, emperors listening to eunuchs, or leaders produced by democracies.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

  172. @Sinotibetan
    @Wielgus

    You brought up interesting observations. Thank you.
    To be honest, I am not sure if masks actually protect us, even a bit, from the contagion. I remember being told by a medical friend(but I did not verify this) that masks prevent the infected from spreading the virus but not the uninfected from catching it.
    I think masks can have some undesirable side effects. I am allergic to wearing masks at prolonged periods : I get allergic rhinitis and very bad post nasal drip.
    Yes, I think Westerners do have some points in their doubts about mask wearing in this pandemic - my reply to 128 was regarding Asian views about the issue : it's not really social norm, it's appeal to so called 'common sense'.
    I think there are just too many conflicting views about mask donning protecting us from the contagion that I give it benefit of doubt. The allergic issue (in my case) is not too concerning for me personally.
    In fact this East Asian appeal to common sense or intuition may also be a reason why they were not so curious about the sciences in the past and stagnated in that field for the longest time.
    Regarding the example of Mao, yes you are right about the weakness of Asian more pro-authoritarian thinking. The ideal ruler is supposed to be sagacious in Chinese thought but how often do you get a so called sagacious leader.... And even worse expecting even a so called 'sagacious' leader to never make grave errors or stupid policies. This is the weakness in such ideals. Killing sparrows is not the worst of Mao's lunacy. Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward massacred millions of Chinese. I actually blame Mao and his enablers for the near destruction of Chinese civilization on Mainland China. Indeed, in practice, even in past dynastic times, rulers relied on the advice of supposedly smart scholar-bureaucrats. In Chinese history, Emperors were disaparaged for their folly and refusal to heed sound advice from officials, the corruption and incompetence of many scholar-bureaucrats are also well known - these are all weaknesses of the meritocratic system. Democracy, meritocracy, whatever systems devised have their strengths and weaknesses.
    And many times in dynastic times, the Confucian Ruler-the ruled relationship can be offset by rebellion by the people based on the principle of Mandate of Heaven(derived back from Zhou dynasty to justify their overthrow of the Shang). If the Ruler was inept and the country experienced disasters (supposedly due to the Ruler's moral failings), this principle okayed a rebellion to dethrone the dynasty and install a new one. These elite replacement transitions were often violent and chaotic. I think democracy, theoretically at least, provides a less violent and humane way for such transitions - unfortunately the political elites in the West(and other democratic countries) have learned the skill of manipulating the population to retain and maintain power.

    I think different political systems or thought are more successful or less depending on the circumstances. Just my opinion.

    Replies: @Znzn

    I believe scholar officials have a greater batting average over 2500 years give or take a few centuries than eunuchs, emperors listening to eunuchs, or leaders produced by democracies.

    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @Znzn

    I am not sure. There were always a lot of court intrigues and the constant fear was to lose the Emperor's favour or worse, incur his wrath. Many a scholar official were beheaded because of the machinations in court and what was most feared was the "nine familial extermination" :-
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_familial_exterminations
    Brutal and evil punishment ensuring no relatives or even friends would be alive to avenge!
    Perhaps smarter ones were 'scholar hetmits' - smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things....

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @AaronB

  173. @Sinotibetan
    @rebel yell

    Perhaps democracy(Ala Western style, not the more paternalistic /authoritarian Asian style 'democracy') may not be so effective in terms of policy making and enforcement , especially in times of crisis. This is a weakness of Western style democracy.
    Moreover, most Westerners hate the idea of any intrusion to their 'personal freedoms' and the idea of 'human rights' are so pervasive in Western psyche that Asian style draconian policies will only lead to mass rebellion against those policies in Western democracies. Lack of social cohesion and tendency for non conformity is a Western trait which is not so much of an issue in East Asia.

    I think if another similar pandemic strikes , the same issues will resurface. I am not too optimistic that Western politicians have learned much from this pandemic apart from how to politicize issues via a pandemic.

    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don't think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling

    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don’t think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.

    We could still be lucky with a future cirusvirus pathogen like the one you posit, for not all parts of a virus can mutate and still result in it being viable. For enzymes, imagine them as a lock, into which a key must fit more or less precisely.

    These parts of the virus are “conserved,” and if unlike the flu the body’s response manages to include targeting of conserved parts of it, both natural and vaccine immunity can be “eternal.” See all the RNA vaccines with higher mutation rates for which we have such vaccines, like measles and polio.

    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @That Would Be Telling

    Point taken and agree with you.
    It's just that the way our politicians (especially those of the so called 'big powers', Western and non-Western) responded to this pandemic crisis is so pathetic with all the partisan politickings and geopolitics. There was near total breakdown in international cooperation and in democracies, cooperation of political parties. If we had a virus like the one I posited, and if these leaders behave the same way(which I think they would), the situation would be very dire till we have the vaccine ready.

  174. @Thulean Friend
    The big debates about lockdowns sort of miss the point. The big failures were in testing and tracing. Sweden's failure in testing is still something that puzzles me. The only European country that seemed to get the message was Slovakia, which committed to a mass testing strategy (for EU standards) by selecting 1% of the population each and every day. But they did this way too late, already far into the 2nd autumn wave.

    In reality, as Paul Romer persuasively argued, that number should have been at least an order of a magnitude higher than that. The cost of a mass-testing regime would be easily saved by being able to pick up cases far earlier and being able to track them easier. The less said about the haphazard tracing infrastructure the better.

    As for Sweden's excess death, looking at the most vulnerable, there were an early spike but the secondary wave has been less intense.

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-p2kPGczpzAc/X9n9WT68byI/AAAAAAABCxA/RBpY5hJIsxEP5H8QuRaQfWFKQmuAR07egCLcBGAsYHQ/s1186/1.png

    Looking at November, when the 2nd wave was in full swing, there's not much evidence that there has been a big hit.

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-u8lZ361vfmg/X9d0dEIoR3I/AAAAAAABCvI/Et1DoWxhkqkKC-2_UO2OqOCNdmb6ASfjwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1958/1.png

    The 1918 Spanish flu by contrast was truly catastrophic. This will be a blip by comparison.

    If we take the simplistic test of excess deaths + GDP loss, Sweden will have come out better than most. Our debt/GDP will have increased by very marginal amounts and still land at a very low 41% of GDP.

    So if there are any significant mutations ahead of us, far more serious than the current one shapes up to be, we are more than ready.

    I think Swedish Family mentioned it in another thread, 10K deaths for Sweden isn't really much, especially given that deaths in other causes have been below-average. That still doesn't excuse the cataclysmic failure on testing & tracing, though.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @LondonBob

    Testing is a waste of time, Oriental countries don’t bother, covid just isn’t a big deal.

    • Troll: Znzn
    • Replies: @Znzn
    @LondonBob

    Why are you such a moron? Are you mentally retarded?

    , @dux.ie
    @LondonBob

    > Testing is a waste of time

    HongKong had implemented various restrictions but with no visible effects. Then HongKong called in the Chinese mainland testing team. The shock of being tested by the Chinese team immediately turned the trend around to reduce to very low new infection rate.

    https://i.ibb.co/XygFcr8/hklock.png

    Replies: @LondonBob

  175. @That Would Be Telling
    @Sinotibetan


    We are lucky the Sars-Cov 2 virus is not so lethal but contagious, and the mutation rate is far less because of unique proof-reading replicase in Coronavirus compared to other RNA viruses. There will be more pandemics to come. If the virus in such a pandemic is a high mutation rate RNA virus, combining easy and initial asymptomatic transmilitability with later stages of high mortality, I don’t think humanity will be ready. The devastation from such a pandemic will make the current one as a mere blip. We are lucky this time.
     
    We could still be lucky with a future cirusvirus pathogen like the one you posit, for not all parts of a virus can mutate and still result in it being viable. For enzymes, imagine them as a lock, into which a key must fit more or less precisely.

    These parts of the virus are "conserved," and if unlike the flu the body's response manages to include targeting of conserved parts of it, both natural and vaccine immunity can be "eternal." See all the RNA vaccines with higher mutation rates for which we have such vaccines, like measles and polio.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

    Point taken and agree with you.
    It’s just that the way our politicians (especially those of the so called ‘big powers’, Western and non-Western) responded to this pandemic crisis is so pathetic with all the partisan politickings and geopolitics. There was near total breakdown in international cooperation and in democracies, cooperation of political parties. If we had a virus like the one I posited, and if these leaders behave the same way(which I think they would), the situation would be very dire till we have the vaccine ready.

  176. @Znzn
    @Sinotibetan

    I believe scholar officials have a greater batting average over 2500 years give or take a few centuries than eunuchs, emperors listening to eunuchs, or leaders produced by democracies.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

    I am not sure. There were always a lot of court intrigues and the constant fear was to lose the Emperor’s favour or worse, incur his wrath. Many a scholar official were beheaded because of the machinations in court and what was most feared was the “nine familial extermination” :-
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_familial_exterminations
    Brutal and evil punishment ensuring no relatives or even friends would be alive to avenge!
    Perhaps smarter ones were ‘scholar hetmits’ – smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things….

    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
    @Sinotibetan


    Perhaps smarter ones were ‘scholar hetmits’ – smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things….
     
    This.

    https://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/H/HanshanColdM/images/HanshanColdM.jpg

    The wise know that true containment is to be found in simplicity.
    , @AaronB
    @Sinotibetan


    Perhaps smarter ones were ‘scholar hetmits’ – smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things….
     
    It was extremely common for officials to grow disgusted with petty politics and retreat to the mountains.

    One of the things that kept China stable for so long was this culture of the "drop out" - you could simply opt out of society if you weren't interested in getting involved in its stupidity, or were different or had a deeper or larger vision in any way. "Drop out culture" was respected and accepted by the mainstream - entire mountain districts were crawling with hermits.

    What led to all the revolutions in the West, is that there was no real drop out culture, so if you were different, you had to fight to gain social acceptance. The social rules were the "logos".

    And the more intelligent members of society are always drop outs - beyond a certain IQ, you cant take mainstream life seriously anymore, with its petty ambitions and fears.

    Later, lots of Europeans found escape in the exotic colonies of Eutopean powers, and in the newly opened up primitive places, but after that dried up, the pressure was back on.

    Its a pity.
  177. @Matra
    @AlexanderGrozny

    Widespread rejection and disdain for our elders and Western civilisation in general among Western youth began with those who came of age in the 1960s and has been promoted and incentivised ever since by those who dominate media & education. Those born in the 1940s & 50s are now experiencing some of the same disdain they displayed towards their own parents and communities. If it is even possible to return to the pre-60s normalcy it would require some kind of struggle, like a multigenerational economic depression or perhaps a traumatic civil conflict.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    You don’t think Covid is that struggle that brings us together?

    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Covid is that struggle
     
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/20/europe/greta-thunberg-coronavirus-climate-change-trnd/index.html

    https://api.time.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/greta-thunberg-fridays-future-protest.jpg?w=600&quality=85

    https://time.com/5918448/greta-thunberg-coronavirus-climate-change/

    And the World will be as one...
  178. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Matra

    You don't think Covid is that struggle that brings us together?

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk

  179. @Sinotibetan
    @Znzn

    I am not sure. There were always a lot of court intrigues and the constant fear was to lose the Emperor's favour or worse, incur his wrath. Many a scholar official were beheaded because of the machinations in court and what was most feared was the "nine familial extermination" :-
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_familial_exterminations
    Brutal and evil punishment ensuring no relatives or even friends would be alive to avenge!
    Perhaps smarter ones were 'scholar hetmits' - smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things....

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @AaronB

    Perhaps smarter ones were ‘scholar hetmits’ – smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things….

    This.

    The wise know that true containment is to be found in simplicity.

    • LOL: Sinotibetan
  180. @LondonBob
    @Thulean Friend

    Testing is a waste of time, Oriental countries don't bother, covid just isn't a big deal.

    Replies: @Znzn, @dux.ie

    Why are you such a moron? Are you mentally retarded?

  181. Now if you had written about ten METALLICAS, I’d be even more interested.

  182. @AlexanderGrozny
    @Korenchkin

    Britain has always been a country of immigrants. There is no such thing as a pure Brit or a native Brit. Brits are the original mongrel race, and it has never affected social cohesion in the past.

    Replies: @Europe Europa, @Korenchkin, @RadicalCenter

    The native British typically have very substantial Celtic, French, or German genes. That is it. Not Arab, African, Pakistani, or any of the other components of the recent ongoing immivasion and destruction of Britain.

    https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/international/press-releases/DNA-of-the-nation-revealedand-were-not-as-British-as-we-think

    • Agree: Sinotibetan
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    @RadicalCenter

    That Ancestry thing is a bit cock-eyed. The "German, Iberian, Italian" (God help me) etc, components refer to periods in remote prehistory (apart from ze Chermanz).
    Primary neolithic through to early bronze age, when it all kind of stopped, and the Brits messed around a bit, trapped on their reef, and became .. Brits. And separately, so did the Irish. Around 2400BC. Before Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy were recognisable (Italy's still debatable, Prinz Metternich).



    The various teutons and frogs who rocked up later were the long-lost cousins and indeed direct descendants of exactly the same late Michelsberg/sub-Corded-Ware groups on the adjacent continent who had supplanted and bred with (somehow!) the pathetically few Western HunterGatherer bands (think; damp and horseless Indians) still hanging on in the island after the Channel was formed.

    A few thousand actual Romans (and not e.g. Batavian foederati), a bunch of consciously self-isolating Norman aristocrats (from the exact same ancestral sources as the current islanders), and a few Flemish merchants and Huguenot refugees from the opposite coast do not account to an ethnic makeover. Early mediaeval "germans" from the nearest landfalls were a big chunk, Frisians, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Danes, Norwegians, even some Swedes.

    The biggest recent influx was Industrial Age Irish, for many reasons. Guess where their pre-Hibernian ancestors originated? (and don't give me that old guff about Spain, Milesians and so forth. The Iberian component in both islands seems to have come up the whole length of the west side of the archipelago via Brittany in the very earliest Impressed/Cardial neolithic, just as the Paris Basin boys, a slightly-(by this time)-related middle-Continental mob, landed in Kent and East Yorkshire, both six-thousand-odd years back).

    I'd like to ask all the CCP fans on this site, since this "yu can no be indigenous" crap is their big push over here recently via their not-so-secret (ham-fisted and embarrassingly dim) minions, what was the ethnic makeup of, say, East/Southeast Asia forty-five centuries ago? Were there any "indigenous" people there? Ever? What? Not even in faraway Tibet? Formosa? Or Mongolia?

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    , @Expletive Deleted
    @RadicalCenter

    Not getting at you, Rad, you're completely correct.
    It's just that this sort of thing has been rather prevalent Over Here of recent (even the ur-Briton, Cheddar Bloke, is somehow not really British, but .. BlackityBlack. Despite traces of his clan-mates in our makeup. And in no-one else's; well maybe the odd Belgian).
    And it tends to set me off on a characteristic saloon-bar rant. I'm old, and have a red face, so I'm allowed.

  183. Biggest news of the day: China and EU sign the massive BIT trade deal. This comes after RCEP. You fucked up, Donald Trump.

  184. Ten Megadeaths implies that 10 million have died from Covid-19

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @William Oliver

    Ten million is a realistic estimate of what the death toll would be without any lock downs or distancing measures.

  185. Biggest news of the day: China and EU sign the massive BIT trade deal. This comes after RCEP. You fucked up, Donald Trump.

    As for Trump-tards – your only chance was to cooperate with China, Russia and Iran. But you are dumb animals so you blew it. Enjoy being wiped out from the US.

  186. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @inertial

    UK: Only 50 Healthy People Aged Under 40 Have Died with Coronavirus Since Start of Pandemic

    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu. Young and healthy people had virtually no risk of dying from this, if such a strategy had been pursued, the older workers could have been given much more generous amounts of money from the government as a form of back pay, as there would be way less claimants.

    Replies: @Swedish Family, @RadicalCenter

    Look forward to AK’s response to this rather significant admission by the UK “Authorities.”

    By the way, let me note yet again that many of the people pushing severe lockdown, and accusing others with contrary views of “coping”, have the type of job that enables them to keep working and earning online. That’s our gifted but this time mistaken author. By contrast, tens of millions of people in the USA, and Russia, don’t have that luxury.

    Many lockdown advocates also do not have children. They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. That’s our talented but badly mistaken author again.

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    People who have no children of their own and either don’t realize the terrible costs that lockdowns impose on our children, or don’t much care, or think they can decide for us that “it’s worth it.” THAT’s who is most selfish here.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk, inertial
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    @RadicalCenter

    You make a lot of assumptions about AK without knowing him.

    It should be noted that he also supports UBI and as far as I know, as never signaled against financial support for those disadvantaged by the pandemic. If anything, I believe that he once opined hope that pandemic support would lead into more general acceptance of UBI.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    @RadicalCenter

    It's clear that you either haven't read my article or at least don't want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:


    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.
     
    I don't tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a "yes" or a "no", as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling ("enjoy wearing that face diaper" style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can't say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to "but think of the children."

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @RadicalCenter, @Mark G., @Chinaman

    , @utu
    @RadicalCenter


    "They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. "
     
    I have noticed that recently the "Think of the children" rhetorical cliche is being deployed by the opponents of the counter-measures as if they all got the memo with new talking points recently. The same people who want as now to "Think about the children" not so long ago did not want us to "Think about the old" and who advocated for the de facto gerontocide. "Think about the children" and "Kill their grandparents" is what they re saying. They are morally obtuse. What else you can expect from libertarians?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children
    "Think of the children" (also "What about the children?") is a cliché that evolved into a rhetorical tactic. Literally, it refers to children's rights (as in discussions of child labor). In debate, however, it is a plea for pity that is used as an appeal to emotion, and therefore it becomes a logical fallacy.

    Jack Marshall described "Think of the children!" as a tactic used in an attempt to end discussion by invoking an unanswerable argument. According to Marshall, the strategy succeeds in preventing rational debate. He called its use an unethical manner of obfuscating debate, misdirecting empathy towards an object which may not have been the focus of the original argument.
     
    Few weeks ago Anders Tegnell who is responsible for circa 7000 avoidable deaths spent a big part of his interview wanting us to think about the children or rather virtue signaling that he himself thinks about children so much that he had no time to think about the old:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15ikQ1BAHU0&feature=emb_title

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

  187. @William Oliver
    Ten Megadeaths implies that 10 million have died from Covid-19

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny

    Ten million is a realistic estimate of what the death toll would be without any lock downs or distancing measures.

  188. @Mark G.
    @AltSerrice


    And what the raw GDP numbers do not reflect is perhaps the most important issue of all, that this year has seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the elite, perhaps in all of modern history? Maybe someone can educate me on that question.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/12/01/american-billionaires-that-got-richer-during-covid/43205617/

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    Thank you, Mark.

    This would be an especially suitable time to impose a hefty tax on the income of the billionaires and their corporations. That is, a tax hike big enough to take every additional dollar they have made because of the police-state lockdowns that they have supported imposing on us and our families.

    Take their ill-gotten extra profits and pay them directly to the people whose family businesses or jobs have been destroyed (as intended) by the lockdowns. Bezos and the other scum who run or have huge stock-holdings in Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Target, etc., can readily afford to cover the cost of FULLY replacing their lost income, as well as paying their past due mortgage, business, vehicle, and student loans. They should be made to pay or barred from doing business in our country.

    That leaves the question of how these plutocrats and their government lackeys can ever compensate for hundreds of thousands of elderly people dying alone without ever seeing and holding their children and grandchildren again (the elderly people who have the misfortune to have families who are so unduly frightened and hysterical as to submit to the „order“ to never be with their parents and grandparents in person until quote allowed). We know two families who told their elderly relatives not to attend their own grandchildren‘s wedding! They haven’t ever held their new grandbabies (and one great-grandbaby), either. Sick. We know someone who died and whose relatives were mostly too hysterical to attend his funeral. Also sick.

    Something more than higher taxes will be appropriate as lawful punishment for these plutocrats and other pro-lockdown bullies, though they can never make up for the unnecessary despair and loneliness they have caused.

  189. @Beckow
    @AaronB


    ...declaring that anyone who disagrees with you is “coping”
    ...whole “cope” way of arguing is emotive, defensive, and low IQ.
     
    Unfortunately true. AK has staked his ground back in February and won't move.

    His own numbers show that for people under 50 the increase in fatalities compared to flu is a factor of 2 to 5, with those in their 20's close to equal outcomes. That is Flu 4.0 - in other words about as deadly as 4 years of flu for non-elderly.

    I can see the emotional attachment to prolonging the lives of older people - and a few other groups with similar health profiles. By all means, keep them live as long as we can. But let's be open about it and adjust our societies accordingly: compensate the young for lost income and missed opportunities.

    This common sense argument has been pushed out from allowable discussion - and AK is doing the same here with his 'coping' canard. We have a capitalist world, if you take something away from me that you benefit from, you need to pay.

    What AK's argument boils down to is a tyranny by the old - their longevity is sacred, their assets pumped up, their comfort not disturbed. In the meantime, the young stare in isolation at blinking screens, forgo education, mating ritual, and an ability to make a living. The weak elderly are protected in the 'Zoom' jobs, watch their investments skyrocket while governments issues debt that the young will be expected to pay.

    As long as this reality is avoided we are not having a real discussion. The endless belly-aching about 'excess deaths' (almost all for people in their 70's, 80's or really ill younger ones) and complete silence about he impact on everyone else is a form of mental tyranny. It is not something that AK with his 'coping' routine should do.

    Replies: @g2k, @RadicalCenter

    You hit the nail on the head, Beckow.

    FWIW, my nearly-80-year-old Mom and her numerous non-hysterical, fairminded friends of similar age agree with you. Most haven‘t altered their lives much during the plan-demic, and almost none of them expect younger people to give up their livelihoods, social and romantic lives, and prospects for the future. God bless them. Would that more people, of all ages, were as rational and GENUINELY compassionate as they are.

  190. @Swedish Family
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell


    A better strategy would have been to isolate vulnerable demographics (i.e. elderly people and/or those with underlying conditions) and allow the rest of us to go about and catch the virus, as one would any seasonal flu.
     
    This is basically the Swedish strategy, only that we didn't -- and still don't quite -- protect the old and frail and from time to time also locked down parts of society.

    The openess we did enjoy was a blessing, though.
    Had I lived in London or New York, some of my fondest memories of the past year would never have been.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    Good for you, my sensible Swedish friend. Glad to hear it.

    Once my work and our children‘s schooling went all online, the first thing we did was effectively move from Hysteria-fornia to my Mom‘s house on the East Coast (in a still-hysterical and authoritarian jurisdiction, but generally more open and free than Cali, which doesn‘t take much).

    The children are now closer to my Mom than ever, and they have a network of our old family friends showering attention and affection on them, dining and praying and drinking together at her house at least every week. They go to the playground without being harassed by thugs with badges, at least so far. They may even be able to play Little League baseball and attend summer camp here, while that may not be quote allowed in California in 2021.

    Be with your parents and grandparents, people. Live and smile and breathe and stand up to tyranny and poverty pushed by hysterics.

  191. @Sinotibetan
    @Znzn

    I am not sure. There were always a lot of court intrigues and the constant fear was to lose the Emperor's favour or worse, incur his wrath. Many a scholar official were beheaded because of the machinations in court and what was most feared was the "nine familial extermination" :-
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_familial_exterminations
    Brutal and evil punishment ensuring no relatives or even friends would be alive to avenge!
    Perhaps smarter ones were 'scholar hetmits' - smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things....

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @AaronB

    Perhaps smarter ones were ‘scholar hetmits’ – smart fellows who refused to serve the Imperium and lived as recluse in some secluded mountain minding their own things….

    It was extremely common for officials to grow disgusted with petty politics and retreat to the mountains.

    One of the things that kept China stable for so long was this culture of the “drop out” – you could simply opt out of society if you weren’t interested in getting involved in its stupidity, or were different or had a deeper or larger vision in any way. “Drop out culture” was respected and accepted by the mainstream – entire mountain districts were crawling with hermits.

    What led to all the revolutions in the West, is that there was no real drop out culture, so if you were different, you had to fight to gain social acceptance. The social rules were the “logos”.

    And the more intelligent members of society are always drop outs – beyond a certain IQ, you cant take mainstream life seriously anymore, with its petty ambitions and fears.

    Later, lots of Europeans found escape in the exotic colonies of Eutopean powers, and in the newly opened up primitive places, but after that dried up, the pressure was back on.

    Its a pity.

  192. @128
    Maybe the difference is in individualism vs collectivism, top-down Eastern society vs. more consensus driven Western cultures, where the public is supposed to have an input on decision making, instead of some big head man barking orders and people obeying, deference to authority among Eastern cultures, Confucianism among Far Eastern cultures meaning you have a culture that gives more deference to what experts say? Shame driven face-saving cultures among Far Eastern societies leading to greater conformism on perceived crucial issues? More social pressure among Eastern societies to wear masks, and social pressure having a larger impact in controlling individual behavior in more collectivistic shame driven Eastern cultures, where conforming to social norms is all important? I cannot think of any Eastern societies that has the equivalent of a New England town hall meeting of deciding community issues, or Athenian style democracy among ancient Eastern societies.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan, @Daniel Chieh

    I thought about this for awhile, and I think I disagree pretty considerably(though not totally). Its an image, similar to the “oriental despotism” idea that was popular in the West, but it is largely inaccurate to understanding Chinese culture and history, and indeed overstates the amount of state centralization that China possessed.

    China hasn’t really had a “big man” society for thousands of years, the last one that might fit would be Emperor Qin(and as I’ll note later, I’m skeptical). The notion of a divine Emperor was ultimately much more Japanese and Zheng Chenggong noted the tremendous lack of enthusiasm in Chinese soldiers to “die for the Emperor” as compared to his native Japan. The Emperor as a God-King concept seemed to have been dismissed in most practical levels, and opposed even by the Emperors themselves, for example, when Tang Taizong(probably China’s greatest Emperor) mostly refused to waste time by going to shamanistic activities as the intermediary of the heavens.

    Some Emperors(as suggested by Sinotibetan) were quite tyrannical, like the Yongle Emperor of Ming but as a general rule, the emperors seemed more frustrated than dominant(even tyrannical emperors can only kill people, not increase the organization or efficiency of systems). Tang Taizong was effective but only through tireless politics(that took quite a significant personal strain on him), Tang Xuanzong appeared to burnt out and allowed the An Lushan rebellion to overtake him – the same can be said of the Wanli and Jiajing Emperors(and countless others, really), and that’s not considering the ones that were dominated by concubine politics or family clans. The extremity of this could be seen where courtiers attempt to actively deceive the Wanli Emperor on the basic point of Japanese negotiation(they lied to him that the Japanese accepted their loss, while the Japanese claimed victory – a hilariously insane contraversion of reality), but also in the number of agencies for spies that were needed because of lack of faith in the local officials.

    So in practice, I think that there’s actually more consensus needed in China due to the expectations of multiple overlapping unspoken rules and expectations, and you can sort of see this even in casual things; a CEO in the West can be expected to downsize his company without much comment, while in Asia there are “social considerations” that may be applied to him.

    That said, yes, I think there’s more respect for an “expert class” such that deference is extended not toward any specific individual, but toward the idea of a class of individuals who have education(and this is where you see even the modern Chinese obsession with credentialism). That, and collectivism means that orders to mask up and fall in line can happen, but this is not usually a dynamic or speedy process(I believe the Wuhan administration, fittingly, concealed CORVID from the central government as well).

    China, in particular, really should be seen as the child of the great beasts of bureaucracy, because then as now, its really most notable for having a huge number of mostly well-educated and reasonably intelligent individuals in a position of authority responsible for others, and this has been noted elsewhere that China is an “excellent middle manager country,” which ultimately really rather sidelines both the notion of exceptional godlike leaders or mass popular agreement to future objectives. This can work well, when the levers of the great beast of bureaucracy agree on what it is to do(and they did, with Corona), but imo that’s usually not the case. Rival politics are endemic, with the major modern change that the ancient family clans have been broken forever.

    • Thanks: Dreadilk
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    @Daniel Chieh


    China hasn’t really had a “big man” society for thousands of years, the last one that might fit would be Emperor Qin(and as I’ll note later, I’m skeptical).
     
    I forgot to expand on this. Emperor Qin also did not really have quite the same presence as say, Alexander the Great; Chinese Legalism does affirm an all-powerful state, but it is built to have the system to be so all-grinding that ultimately even the kings are only functions within itself. Honestly implemented, it can result in a situation like Shang Yang, the inventor of legalism, being killed by his own system because he developed and championed a law requiring proper identification and thus was arrested(and executed brutally) when he tried to escape and was identified with it. An ideal Legalist system destroys the whims of the individual. Qin himself was not particularly able to foster effective heirs and the Qin Dynasty collapsed not too long after his death*.

    Nor is that a fringe idea: Mohism had a similar idea, seeking to limit rulers via metrics and arguably setting a lot of the meritocratic nature of Chinese governance via exams. I think really only Confucianism even really allows for a more independent autocrat/ruler, with the qualification that he is presumably of great virtue and wisdom(Confucianism never precisely defines such things). Neo-confucianists also borrowed the notion of exams from Mohism, and China has had a certain technocratic form of governance since, struggling with the various political natures and family clans.

    The modern variation of this, after the destruction of the family clans and the levelling of patronage networks(though this is still extant to some extent), is the much greater prominence of technocratic governance, literally assisted by technological developments.


    * hilariously, not everyone followed the idea that government needed to have a system of stability. One of the major rebels that destroyed the Qin was a man named Xiang Yu, who basically commanded an army and ran around winning for awhile with the basic idea of "I AM VERY BIG AND STRONG. ALSO YOU HATE QIN DONCHA."

  193. @Mark G.
    @utu


    The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer. See my comment #29. The lockdowns have made the rich even richer so the lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class. The libertarians are the ones on the side of the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations and lives disrupted and economic futures crippled.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @Anatoly Karlin, @AP

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year.

    Meanwhile, China has ended the Year of Corona by breaking up Jack Ma’s business empire.

    It’s almost as if oligarchy and state capture grows out of deep-rooted political dysfunction as opposed to epidemiological measures. But keep barking, rightoids.

    • Agree: Dreadilk
    • Replies: @AaronB
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Income inequality is higher in China than the US.

    Its almost as if in China, the government forms an independent oligarchich bloc that will brook no rivals to its right to exploit the people, and can apparently do so more harshly than elsewhere.

    But hey, appearances are what matter, not substance. A Chinese oligarchhas his power limited by an autocratic government. Must be a victory for the prople, not autocracy.

    Replies: @Passer by

    , @128
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Or maybe such state interference ends up deterring innovators?

    , @Astuteobservor II
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Jack ma tried to do an unlimited lending scheme with his ant group. If that was allowed, I am 100% sure it would create a bubble of epic proportions. Which if popped, would make 2008 look like kids playing war vs WW2.

    Jack ma's empire is getting cut up because he just tried to kill the Chinese economy = ccp. He is fucked. I read he isn't even allowed to leave the country right now.

    Chinese style "govt over money" saved themselves and the rest of the investors like me.

    I feel like jeff Bezos gets too much hate for no reason. It would only be justified if he created n released covid to create the enormous profit his online shopping mall is making.

    What should be done is to tax every amazon sale. It would help the country alot in theory, but I don't have any hopes for the shit politicians of this country to do the right thing. Like the laws that would never be allowed to passed if they weren't attached to the covid relief bill.

    Fuck them all.

    Replies: @Chinaman

  194. @RadicalCenter
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Look forward to AK’s response to this rather significant admission by the UK “Authorities.”

    By the way, let me note yet again that many of the people pushing severe lockdown, and accusing others with contrary views of “coping”, have the type of job that enables them to keep working and earning online. That’s our gifted but this time mistaken author. By contrast, tens of millions of people in the USA, and Russia, don’t have that luxury.

    Many lockdown advocates also do not have children. They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. That’s our talented but badly mistaken author again.

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    People who have no children of their own and either don’t realize the terrible costs that lockdowns impose on our children, or don’t much care, or think they can decide for us that “it’s worth it.” THAT's who is most selfish here.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin, @utu

    You make a lot of assumptions about AK without knowing him.

    It should be noted that he also supports UBI and as far as I know, as never signaled against financial support for those disadvantaged by the pandemic. If anything, I believe that he once opined hope that pandemic support would lead into more general acceptance of UBI.

  195. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year.
     
    Meanwhile, China has ended the Year of Corona by breaking up Jack Ma's business empire.

    It's almost as if oligarchy and state capture grows out of deep-rooted political dysfunction as opposed to epidemiological measures. But keep barking, rightoids.

    Replies: @AaronB, @128, @Astuteobservor II

    Income inequality is higher in China than the US.

    Its almost as if in China, the government forms an independent oligarchich bloc that will brook no rivals to its right to exploit the people, and can apparently do so more harshly than elsewhere.

    But hey, appearances are what matter, not substance. A Chinese oligarchhas his power limited by an autocratic government. Must be a victory for the prople, not autocracy.

    • Replies: @Passer by
    @AaronB

    Not as bad as the US

    https://www.economist.com/img/b/300/309/90/sites/default/files/images/print-edition/20170218_FNC830_0.png

    https://blogsmedia.lse.ac.uk/blogs.dir/99/files/2019/03/Figure-6a-China-inequality.png

    Replies: @AaronB

  196. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year.
     
    Meanwhile, China has ended the Year of Corona by breaking up Jack Ma's business empire.

    It's almost as if oligarchy and state capture grows out of deep-rooted political dysfunction as opposed to epidemiological measures. But keep barking, rightoids.

    Replies: @AaronB, @128, @Astuteobservor II

    Or maybe such state interference ends up deterring innovators?

  197. @RadicalCenter
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Look forward to AK’s response to this rather significant admission by the UK “Authorities.”

    By the way, let me note yet again that many of the people pushing severe lockdown, and accusing others with contrary views of “coping”, have the type of job that enables them to keep working and earning online. That’s our gifted but this time mistaken author. By contrast, tens of millions of people in the USA, and Russia, don’t have that luxury.

    Many lockdown advocates also do not have children. They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. That’s our talented but badly mistaken author again.

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    People who have no children of their own and either don’t realize the terrible costs that lockdowns impose on our children, or don’t much care, or think they can decide for us that “it’s worth it.” THAT's who is most selfish here.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin, @utu

    It’s clear that you either haven’t read my article or at least don’t want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    I don’t tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a “yes” or a “no”, as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling (“enjoy wearing that face diaper” style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can’t say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to “but think of the children.”

    • Agree: AP, Daniel Chieh, Dreadilk
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @Anatoly Karlin

    If you were only advocating a mask mandate, I‘d react differently, although I‘d disagree with that. But you‘re supporting far more severe restrictions on our liberty, lives, and livelihoods than that, and being a wise-ass about it too. Really disappointing, though I know you have put a lot of thought into reaching your conclusion about the necessity of lockdowns. Ironically, if more people put as much thought into it as you have, more of them would be closer to my position, ;)

    Happy new year.

    On a non-pandemic note for a change, each year our family enjoys watching the trilogy of Russia‘s „Six Degrees of Celebration“ movies for New Year’s. Hope they make more sequels:

    https://www.amazon.com/Six-Degrees-Celebration-English-Subtitled/dp/B00TAG3D0O

    , @RadicalCenter
    @Anatoly Karlin

    You are focusing now on masks, but you support far more intrusive and damaging restrictions on normal life than that.

    My inability to receive timely medical diagnostic procedures and then fuller treatment for a serious, permanent spinal injury for months due to lockdown is not a „trifle.“

    The fact that people of our acquaintance lived their final months alone and died alone, is not a trifle. It‘s hard to avoid getting personal, as I really wonder about people who are apparently so sanguine about never hugging and personally visiting their older relatives for prolonged periods.

    Nor is our children‘s inability to have normal relationships and interactions for months, probably years on end, a trifle. Just because people have used „think of the children“ for nefarious purposes, doesn‘t mean we‘re not entitled (and obligated) to carefully consider the effects of public policies on children, who have no voice. I reiterate that people without children can easily fail to acknowledge the degree of harm that prolonged lockdowns (and systematically less effective instruction) have on other people‘s children.

    I also continue to adhere to the observation that people who can work well online and haven‘t lost everything, can be awfully cavalier about the supposed necessity of forcing tens of millions of their countrymen to lose all they have.

    I do regret insulting you, and you‘ll note how much I‘ve defended the quality of your work as well as your personality, humor, and good faith. But I still think you‘re very wrong about the lockdown and not sufficiently attuned to the greater harm that others are suffering from it. (Note that I would oppose lockdown even if I thought the virus were as lethal, based on honestly and accurately compiled cause-of-death statistics, as you think it is.)

    I will continue to do my tiny, likely futile part to fight lockdowns, but wish you both continued good health and success in the new year ahead.

    , @Mark G.
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I’ve not developed a strong position on masks since people I consider intelligent have taken both sides on that issue. I also think travel bans and lockdowns might have worked at a very early stage but by the time they were instituted in the U.S. it was a case of locking the barn door after the horse escaped. This was a failure of the American political class. When the virus was heading in our direction they were focused on the silly Trump impeachment proceedings. Trump dithered about locking down but so did Democrats like de Blasio and Cuomo in New York. They gambled the virus wasn’t serious and lost the gamble. It may have helped Trump lose the election but the liberal media has covered for Democrats and stories such as the following have been forgotten:

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/04/03/biden-flip-flops-now-supports-trumps-travel-ban-with-china-he-once-called-hysterical-xenophobia-n384575

    If there was a point where extended harsh lockdowns did more harm than good, then discussing lower cost interventions, including masks, would have been a good idea. The focus on lockdowns may have prevented this discussion from taking place as much as it needed to. Things such as inexpensive nutritional supplements to boost immune systems, HCQ, suggesting people lose weight, home humidifiers, encouraging employers to allow telework plus protecting elderly people using methods such as onsite nursing home workers, subsidizing home delivery of groceries and taxi service to obviate the need to use public transportation and, now, prioritizing these same high risk elderly people for getting the vaccine first.

    , @Chinaman
    @Anatoly Karlin

    It is mind-numbing to watch a bunch of white dude argues incessantly about the merits of mask wearing or that how it is an affront to their freedom.

    There’s 2 way Asians think about this.

    1. Risk-reward. Common sense will tell you that masks stop\filter some of the discharge coming out of one’s orifices. Even if its efficacy is only 1%, it is a no-brainer since there are not downsides to it beside a bit of discomfort. Looking like a freak or that it lower oxygen level? Those who claims it lowers oxygen level don’t need the oxygen anyway since they don’t have a brain.

    2. It is a simple matter of etiquette and hygiene. I don’t t want to be in close proximity of someone in public, let alone talk to someone without a mask. So if people want to interact with me, they need to wear masks. If only 20% of the population feels that way, it is enough to ensure everyone wears masks in public because that’s the only way social interaction can continue. On the other hand, if I believe I might have COVID, I don’t want to infect others. It is simple as that.

    Neurologists should put Asians and white people in a fMRI machine to see which part of their brain lights up when they think about masks or simply test the IQ of those who don’t want to wear masks. Pretty sure we will have some interesting findings.

    Replies: @128

  198. @Passer by
    The issue is between eastern rightoids, who support ethnic homogenity, social conservatism, as well as big government( for their own group) - they did much better at understanding the Covid threat, as they do not like things that weaken the country/ethnicity/group, and western rightoids, who are too libertarian of the type "don't tell me what to do", "muh free market", "liberty". This anti-community, libertarian stance is born out of extreme narcissism and lack of care for even their own group. They have gone crazy due to the restrictions on their personal liberty precisely due to the lack of care for their own group and thus lack of understanding that Covid will ultimately weaken them, including their countries and their ethnic groups

    The western rightoids proved to be dumb. The eastern rightoids performed relatively well.

    The difference comes from the different attitudes - western rightoids saw anti-Covid measures as something that will restrict their freedom, while eastern rightoids correctly understood that not reacting to Covid will weaken their country and their group.

    And yes, East Asia is right wing - socially conservative with relatively big income inequality. But it is also more left wing than western rightoids due to their sense of common group, culture and community, as well as suppport for a strong government as something that is ultimately good for the right - as strong government is needed in environment of ethnic and country competition.

    Looking at how dumb and naive western rightoids are, it is not a surprise that they got totally taken over by (((liberals))) and are being wiped out. Naive and narcissistic people that could be easily used due to their lack of care for their own group, caused by too much self-obsessed muh liberty narcissism. This led to their demise.

    The eastern rightoids are still in game, so the 21st century will be a battle between a West, taken over and terraformed by liberals, and the eastern rightoids.

    In this sense, Karlin is right to notice the stupidity of western rightoids. Your only hope is a win for the East and a multipolar world where there is a place for different systems and cultures. But you are too dumb to get it, and too invested in propping up something (the old West) that is dead and taken over by parasites. Propping up the Empire that will eat them later.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    You have a point as to some American republicans and independents, for sure. But it is overstated.

    I sense that you are not all that well acquainted with americans considering themselves quote conservative or at least opposed to the social agenda of the establishment left / neoliberals (not the same thing, in fairness to the more sane, real populist economic-justice left).

    A large and growing number of self-identified conservatives or independents are not libertarian by any stretch, including me and my wife. I was libertarian but have since recovered.

    We are all for a guaranteed income and universal medical and dental insurance for citizens of our country (not for noncitizen legal residents and certainly not for illegal aliens) — especially if it is paid for by large tax hikes on the ultra-rich, revenue from nationalization of our God-given natural resources (the oil, natgas, and minerals under our land), and HUGE cuts in military / war spending.

  199. @Anatoly Karlin
    @RadicalCenter

    It's clear that you either haven't read my article or at least don't want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:


    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.
     
    I don't tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a "yes" or a "no", as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling ("enjoy wearing that face diaper" style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can't say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to "but think of the children."

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @RadicalCenter, @Mark G., @Chinaman

    If you were only advocating a mask mandate, I‘d react differently, although I‘d disagree with that. But you‘re supporting far more severe restrictions on our liberty, lives, and livelihoods than that, and being a wise-ass about it too. Really disappointing, though I know you have put a lot of thought into reaching your conclusion about the necessity of lockdowns. Ironically, if more people put as much thought into it as you have, more of them would be closer to my position, 😉

    Happy new year.

    On a non-pandemic note for a change, each year our family enjoys watching the trilogy of Russia‘s „Six Degrees of Celebration“ movies for New Year’s. Hope they make more sequels:

  200. @Daniel Chieh
    @128

    I thought about this for awhile, and I think I disagree pretty considerably(though not totally). Its an image, similar to the "oriental despotism" idea that was popular in the West, but it is largely inaccurate to understanding Chinese culture and history, and indeed overstates the amount of state centralization that China possessed.

    China hasn't really had a "big man" society for thousands of years, the last one that might fit would be Emperor Qin(and as I'll note later, I'm skeptical). The notion of a divine Emperor was ultimately much more Japanese and Zheng Chenggong noted the tremendous lack of enthusiasm in Chinese soldiers to "die for the Emperor" as compared to his native Japan. The Emperor as a God-King concept seemed to have been dismissed in most practical levels, and opposed even by the Emperors themselves, for example, when Tang Taizong(probably China's greatest Emperor) mostly refused to waste time by going to shamanistic activities as the intermediary of the heavens.

    Some Emperors(as suggested by Sinotibetan) were quite tyrannical, like the Yongle Emperor of Ming but as a general rule, the emperors seemed more frustrated than dominant(even tyrannical emperors can only kill people, not increase the organization or efficiency of systems). Tang Taizong was effective but only through tireless politics(that took quite a significant personal strain on him), Tang Xuanzong appeared to burnt out and allowed the An Lushan rebellion to overtake him - the same can be said of the Wanli and Jiajing Emperors(and countless others, really), and that's not considering the ones that were dominated by concubine politics or family clans. The extremity of this could be seen where courtiers attempt to actively deceive the Wanli Emperor on the basic point of Japanese negotiation(they lied to him that the Japanese accepted their loss, while the Japanese claimed victory - a hilariously insane contraversion of reality), but also in the number of agencies for spies that were needed because of lack of faith in the local officials.

    So in practice, I think that there's actually more consensus needed in China due to the expectations of multiple overlapping unspoken rules and expectations, and you can sort of see this even in casual things; a CEO in the West can be expected to downsize his company without much comment, while in Asia there are "social considerations" that may be applied to him.

    That said, yes, I think there's more respect for an "expert class" such that deference is extended not toward any specific individual, but toward the idea of a class of individuals who have education(and this is where you see even the modern Chinese obsession with credentialism). That, and collectivism means that orders to mask up and fall in line can happen, but this is not usually a dynamic or speedy process(I believe the Wuhan administration, fittingly, concealed CORVID from the central government as well).

    China, in particular, really should be seen as the child of the great beasts of bureaucracy, because then as now, its really most notable for having a huge number of mostly well-educated and reasonably intelligent individuals in a position of authority responsible for others, and this has been noted elsewhere that China is an "excellent middle manager country," which ultimately really rather sidelines both the notion of exceptional godlike leaders or mass popular agreement to future objectives. This can work well, when the levers of the great beast of bureaucracy agree on what it is to do(and they did, with Corona), but imo that's usually not the case. Rival politics are endemic, with the major modern change that the ancient family clans have been broken forever.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    China hasn’t really had a “big man” society for thousands of years, the last one that might fit would be Emperor Qin(and as I’ll note later, I’m skeptical).

    I forgot to expand on this. Emperor Qin also did not really have quite the same presence as say, Alexander the Great; Chinese Legalism does affirm an all-powerful state, but it is built to have the system to be so all-grinding that ultimately even the kings are only functions within itself. Honestly implemented, it can result in a situation like Shang Yang, the inventor of legalism, being killed by his own system because he developed and championed a law requiring proper identification and thus was arrested(and executed brutally) when he tried to escape and was identified with it. An ideal Legalist system destroys the whims of the individual. Qin himself was not particularly able to foster effective heirs and the Qin Dynasty collapsed not too long after his death*.

    Nor is that a fringe idea: Mohism had a similar idea, seeking to limit rulers via metrics and arguably setting a lot of the meritocratic nature of Chinese governance via exams. I think really only Confucianism even really allows for a more independent autocrat/ruler, with the qualification that he is presumably of great virtue and wisdom(Confucianism never precisely defines such things). Neo-confucianists also borrowed the notion of exams from Mohism, and China has had a certain technocratic form of governance since, struggling with the various political natures and family clans.

    The modern variation of this, after the destruction of the family clans and the levelling of patronage networks(though this is still extant to some extent), is the much greater prominence of technocratic governance, literally assisted by technological developments.

    * hilariously, not everyone followed the idea that government needed to have a system of stability. One of the major rebels that destroyed the Qin was a man named Xiang Yu, who basically commanded an army and ran around winning for awhile with the basic idea of “I AM VERY BIG AND STRONG. ALSO YOU HATE QIN DONCHA.”

  201. @Mark G.
    @utu


    The only role for libertarians is to play the role of useful idiots.

     

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year. Jeff Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer. See my comment #29. The lockdowns have made the rich even richer so the lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class. The libertarians are the ones on the side of the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations and lives disrupted and economic futures crippled.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @Anatoly Karlin, @AP

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year

    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer

    It would be good if there were some sort of windfall tax that would involve Bezos and others helped by this natural crisis helping out brick and mortar stores who were harmed by it.

    But not only Bezos benefitted. A lot of working class guys doing contracting work have seen a windfall because rather than spending money at bars and restaurants or in travel, people are upgrading their homes. In my area there was a long wait for windows and doors, furniture, etc. Truck drivers have done well too, we are friends with a couple of them.

    The lockdowns have made the rich even richer

    Rich get richer regardless of lockdowns.

    lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class

    That’s like saying seatbelt, child seat, or airbag proponents are “useful idiots” of auto part manufacturers and Graco.

    the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations

    Owners of small businesses dependent on foot traffic such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hair or nail salons and boutiques have indeed been screwed, as have been owners of gyms and movie theaters. People in medical specialties whose work is elective in nature have also lost a lot of money. All such people ought to be helped, perhaps by a windfall tax on the ballooning profit of amazon or online retailers during this natural crisis.*

    However, workers in those businesses have had generous unemployment benefits that have often exceeded their salaries, plus the stimulus check. For this reason some employers going back to business have struggled to rehire:

    https://www.winknews.com/2020/07/24/employers-are-having-trouble-hiring-they-blame-the-federal-600-unemployment-bump/

    Many have been happy about the long paid vacation. I know a few 20-something unemployed people who took the opportunity to spend a month on an epic camping trip in the national and state parks out West (some have been closed which is stupid but others have not). This is called “funemployment.”

    Those who have kids have spent more time with them than they would have otherwise. Summer has meant more time biking around outside while socially distancing, going to the beach and woods rather than some city for leisure, not an unhealthy thing.

    * There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Disagree: Polite Derelict
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @AP

    A thoughtful comment, sir, although I disagree with much of it.

    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.“

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth.

    The top one percent of households by wealth own 38% of all stock value in the US.

    The entire bottom half of Americans by income have roughly a ZERO net worth and negligible stock holdings at best. (And as far as i can tell, the explanation for most of them is not laziness.) So a big rise in the stock market is little to no direct help to more than half of Americans. Here is a recent article from Forbes magazine, hardly a hotbed of anti-stock-market or socialist thought ;)

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/teresaghilarducci/2020/08/31/most-americans-dont-have-a-real-stake-in-the-stock-market/

    While definitely not in the top few percent by income or net worth, my wife and I certainly have seen a hefty growth in our retirement investment accounts this year. That‘s a welcome development, but most Americans are not even in our position.

    Replies: @AP

    , @That Would Be Telling
    @AP



    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year
     
    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.
     
    If you ever choose to argue on the basis of data, it's incumbent on you to be generally familiar with it, so you can for example notice this most bogus of tricks, picking convenient beginning and/or ending points. See for example the economists or bloggers who claim to be learned in the subject who use the extreme of 1980 or so for a beginning point (still in the insane Phillips curve destroying 1970s inflation and unemployment "stagflation," while Carter's new head of the Fed had tightening the screws to fix the former, prime rates were 20% or higher in this general period).
    , @jay
    @AP

    "* There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Regardless financial hardships will still result in more long-term deaths anyway for those who suffer from it. Its a shit choice either way.

    A stronger economy as a result of biting the bullet like Sweden should make it easier to eat healthy and afford medicines in the long-term.

    Replies: @LondonBob

  202. @Anatoly Karlin
    @RadicalCenter

    It's clear that you either haven't read my article or at least don't want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:


    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.
     
    I don't tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a "yes" or a "no", as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling ("enjoy wearing that face diaper" style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can't say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to "but think of the children."

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @RadicalCenter, @Mark G., @Chinaman

    You are focusing now on masks, but you support far more intrusive and damaging restrictions on normal life than that.

    My inability to receive timely medical diagnostic procedures and then fuller treatment for a serious, permanent spinal injury for months due to lockdown is not a „trifle.“

    The fact that people of our acquaintance lived their final months alone and died alone, is not a trifle. It‘s hard to avoid getting personal, as I really wonder about people who are apparently so sanguine about never hugging and personally visiting their older relatives for prolonged periods.

    Nor is our children‘s inability to have normal relationships and interactions for months, probably years on end, a trifle. Just because people have used „think of the children“ for nefarious purposes, doesn‘t mean we‘re not entitled (and obligated) to carefully consider the effects of public policies on children, who have no voice. I reiterate that people without children can easily fail to acknowledge the degree of harm that prolonged lockdowns (and systematically less effective instruction) have on other people‘s children.

    I also continue to adhere to the observation that people who can work well online and haven‘t lost everything, can be awfully cavalier about the supposed necessity of forcing tens of millions of their countrymen to lose all they have.

    I do regret insulting you, and you‘ll note how much I‘ve defended the quality of your work as well as your personality, humor, and good faith. But I still think you‘re very wrong about the lockdown and not sufficiently attuned to the greater harm that others are suffering from it. (Note that I would oppose lockdown even if I thought the virus were as lethal, based on honestly and accurately compiled cause-of-death statistics, as you think it is.)

    I will continue to do my tiny, likely futile part to fight lockdowns, but wish you both continued good health and success in the new year ahead.

    • Agree: Polite Derelict
  203. @AP
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year
     
    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer
     
    It would be good if there were some sort of windfall tax that would involve Bezos and others helped by this natural crisis helping out brick and mortar stores who were harmed by it.

    But not only Bezos benefitted. A lot of working class guys doing contracting work have seen a windfall because rather than spending money at bars and restaurants or in travel, people are upgrading their homes. In my area there was a long wait for windows and doors, furniture, etc. Truck drivers have done well too, we are friends with a couple of them.


    The lockdowns have made the rich even richer
     
    Rich get richer regardless of lockdowns.

    lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class
     
    That’s like saying seatbelt, child seat, or airbag proponents are “useful idiots” of auto part manufacturers and Graco.

    the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations
     
    Owners of small businesses dependent on foot traffic such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hair or nail salons and boutiques have indeed been screwed, as have been owners of gyms and movie theaters. People in medical specialties whose work is elective in nature have also lost a lot of money. All such people ought to be helped, perhaps by a windfall tax on the ballooning profit of amazon or online retailers during this natural crisis.*

    However, workers in those businesses have had generous unemployment benefits that have often exceeded their salaries, plus the stimulus check. For this reason some employers going back to business have struggled to rehire:

    https://www.winknews.com/2020/07/24/employers-are-having-trouble-hiring-they-blame-the-federal-600-unemployment-bump/

    Many have been happy about the long paid vacation. I know a few 20-something unemployed people who took the opportunity to spend a month on an epic camping trip in the national and state parks out West (some have been closed which is stupid but others have not). This is called “funemployment.”

    Those who have kids have spent more time with them than they would have otherwise. Summer has meant more time biking around outside while socially distancing, going to the beach and woods rather than some city for leisure, not an unhealthy thing.

    * There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @That Would Be Telling, @jay

    A thoughtful comment, sir, although I disagree with much of it.

    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.“

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth.

    The top one percent of households by wealth own 38% of all stock value in the US.

    The entire bottom half of Americans by income have roughly a ZERO net worth and negligible stock holdings at best. (And as far as i can tell, the explanation for most of them is not laziness.) So a big rise in the stock market is little to no direct help to more than half of Americans. Here is a recent article from Forbes magazine, hardly a hotbed of anti-stock-market or socialist thought 😉

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/teresaghilarducci/2020/08/31/most-americans-dont-have-a-real-stake-in-the-stock-market/

    While definitely not in the top few percent by income or net worth, my wife and I certainly have seen a hefty growth in our retirement investment accounts this year. That‘s a welcome development, but most Americans are not even in our position.

    • Thanks: AP
    • Replies: @AP
    @RadicalCenter

    Thanks for the article.


    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.
     
    This half includes a lot of poor people who refuse to work, recent established immigrants, etc. Working class people who have lost jobs during this crisis have been given very generous unemployment benefits. These have now been extended, on lower but still decent terms.

    I do agree that we should not dismiss the concerns of any Americans however.

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth
     
    According to the Forbes article, 61% of nonhispanic White households have stock (typically in the form of retirement accounts) and their median value is $51,000 (median holdings in Black households is only $12,000). That plus social security is obviously too low to retire on but it includes all households including young ones, as households age and approach retirement the number grows. Average household of any race has about $80,000 after age 55 and $100,000 over age 65:

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/25/more-than-half-of-u-s-households-have-some-investment-in-the-stock-market/

    So stocks are important to the solid middle, not just upper middle and rich, probably around 2/3 of European-Americans.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

  204. @Anatoly Karlin
    @RadicalCenter

    It's clear that you either haven't read my article or at least don't want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:


    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.
     
    I don't tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a "yes" or a "no", as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling ("enjoy wearing that face diaper" style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can't say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to "but think of the children."

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @RadicalCenter, @Mark G., @Chinaman

    I’ve not developed a strong position on masks since people I consider intelligent have taken both sides on that issue. I also think travel bans and lockdowns might have worked at a very early stage but by the time they were instituted in the U.S. it was a case of locking the barn door after the horse escaped. This was a failure of the American political class. When the virus was heading in our direction they were focused on the silly Trump impeachment proceedings. Trump dithered about locking down but so did Democrats like de Blasio and Cuomo in New York. They gambled the virus wasn’t serious and lost the gamble. It may have helped Trump lose the election but the liberal media has covered for Democrats and stories such as the following have been forgotten:

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/04/03/biden-flip-flops-now-supports-trumps-travel-ban-with-china-he-once-called-hysterical-xenophobia-n384575

    If there was a point where extended harsh lockdowns did more harm than good, then discussing lower cost interventions, including masks, would have been a good idea. The focus on lockdowns may have prevented this discussion from taking place as much as it needed to. Things such as inexpensive nutritional supplements to boost immune systems, HCQ, suggesting people lose weight, home humidifiers, encouraging employers to allow telework plus protecting elderly people using methods such as onsite nursing home workers, subsidizing home delivery of groceries and taxi service to obviate the need to use public transportation and, now, prioritizing these same high risk elderly people for getting the vaccine first.

  205. @AP
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year
     
    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer
     
    It would be good if there were some sort of windfall tax that would involve Bezos and others helped by this natural crisis helping out brick and mortar stores who were harmed by it.

    But not only Bezos benefitted. A lot of working class guys doing contracting work have seen a windfall because rather than spending money at bars and restaurants or in travel, people are upgrading their homes. In my area there was a long wait for windows and doors, furniture, etc. Truck drivers have done well too, we are friends with a couple of them.


    The lockdowns have made the rich even richer
     
    Rich get richer regardless of lockdowns.

    lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class
     
    That’s like saying seatbelt, child seat, or airbag proponents are “useful idiots” of auto part manufacturers and Graco.

    the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations
     
    Owners of small businesses dependent on foot traffic such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hair or nail salons and boutiques have indeed been screwed, as have been owners of gyms and movie theaters. People in medical specialties whose work is elective in nature have also lost a lot of money. All such people ought to be helped, perhaps by a windfall tax on the ballooning profit of amazon or online retailers during this natural crisis.*

    However, workers in those businesses have had generous unemployment benefits that have often exceeded their salaries, plus the stimulus check. For this reason some employers going back to business have struggled to rehire:

    https://www.winknews.com/2020/07/24/employers-are-having-trouble-hiring-they-blame-the-federal-600-unemployment-bump/

    Many have been happy about the long paid vacation. I know a few 20-something unemployed people who took the opportunity to spend a month on an epic camping trip in the national and state parks out West (some have been closed which is stupid but others have not). This is called “funemployment.”

    Those who have kids have spent more time with them than they would have otherwise. Summer has meant more time biking around outside while socially distancing, going to the beach and woods rather than some city for leisure, not an unhealthy thing.

    * There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @That Would Be Telling, @jay

    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year

    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    If you ever choose to argue on the basis of data, it’s incumbent on you to be generally familiar with it, so you can for example notice this most bogus of tricks, picking convenient beginning and/or ending points. See for example the economists or bloggers who claim to be learned in the subject who use the extreme of 1980 or so for a beginning point (still in the insane Phillips curve destroying 1970s inflation and unemployment “stagflation,” while Carter’s new head of the Fed had tightening the screws to fix the former, prime rates were 20% or higher in this general period).

    • Agree: AP
  206. @RadicalCenter
    @AP

    A thoughtful comment, sir, although I disagree with much of it.

    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.“

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth.

    The top one percent of households by wealth own 38% of all stock value in the US.

    The entire bottom half of Americans by income have roughly a ZERO net worth and negligible stock holdings at best. (And as far as i can tell, the explanation for most of them is not laziness.) So a big rise in the stock market is little to no direct help to more than half of Americans. Here is a recent article from Forbes magazine, hardly a hotbed of anti-stock-market or socialist thought ;)

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/teresaghilarducci/2020/08/31/most-americans-dont-have-a-real-stake-in-the-stock-market/

    While definitely not in the top few percent by income or net worth, my wife and I certainly have seen a hefty growth in our retirement investment accounts this year. That‘s a welcome development, but most Americans are not even in our position.

    Replies: @AP

    Thanks for the article.

    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.

    This half includes a lot of poor people who refuse to work, recent established immigrants, etc. Working class people who have lost jobs during this crisis have been given very generous unemployment benefits. These have now been extended, on lower but still decent terms.

    I do agree that we should not dismiss the concerns of any Americans however.

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth

    According to the Forbes article, 61% of nonhispanic White households have stock (typically in the form of retirement accounts) and their median value is $51,000 (median holdings in Black households is only $12,000). That plus social security is obviously too low to retire on but it includes all households including young ones, as households age and approach retirement the number grows. Average household of any race has about $80,000 after age 55 and $100,000 over age 65:

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/25/more-than-half-of-u-s-households-have-some-investment-in-the-stock-market/

    So stocks are important to the solid middle, not just upper middle and rich, probably around 2/3 of European-Americans.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @AP

    Agree with most of that, AP. You make an especially good point about many people having little stock ownership when they are young but a decent amount as they approach retirement age. I should have noted that.

    But averages are not very useful here. The median is much more useful for finding out how people actually live.

    For example. If incomes at the top have gone up greatly, it can cause average income to go up. But it does nothing directly to help all the people whose incomes did not go up, or went up only nominally i.e. not enough to keep pace with price and rent inflation.

    There are many millions of americans who are neither lazy nor recent immigrants who are not able to scrape together enough to buy stocks or bonds. They are trying to survive.

    Replies: @AP

  207. On the subject of children in lockdown. My kids are too young to attend school but I never planned to send them, I prefer home school.

    Anyways if your kids are suffering due to stupid rules set in by public school pull them out. Example excessive screen time.

    People keep talking about missed education, have you seen public schools? There is zero educational value in them. Granted there is a big difference between different public school systems.

    Now as far as social contact, nothing is stopping you from interacting with close relatives. Some of my friends got corona and now are immune, we invite them over all the time.

    So basically how you respond to adversity has a big impact on your outcomes under the new regimes and while I don’t agree with a lot of stupidity I also don’t think it is as onerous as some people say.

    From a personal point I did not mind masks until it became mandatory now its a stupid hassle sometimes. Like when you are in at work and have to keep them on for hours. Anyone notice if you are chatty that some masks are not as good long term when face is moving a lot. They tend to slip too far down on the nose making it uncomfortable as you tend to constantly adjust.

    One area where I agree is not enough support for small business and the poor. US actually gives a ton of support. UI being 85-100% of low income. It could and should be more. But the disruptions due to a pandemic even with no lock down will hurt an economy anyways. This argument was made early on and it has not changed. As I said previously no matter what we do we are in for a rough time.

    • Replies: @AP
    @Dreadilk


    Some of my friends got corona and now are immune, we invite them over all the time.
     
    Heh, same here. Even rented a cottage by the beach with them.

    Wife got vaccinated, I’m scheduled for next week, kids are fine due to age, our life should be more or less normal in February, God-willing.


    One area where I agree is not enough support for small business and the poor
     
    Small business owners should get a lot of aid. Poor don’t seem to have been affected; workers got good unemployment.


    Happy New Year! Was supposed to have been celebrating in Russia this year, maybe next.

    Replies: @Dreadilk

  208. @Dreadilk
    On the subject of children in lockdown. My kids are too young to attend school but I never planned to send them, I prefer home school.

    Anyways if your kids are suffering due to stupid rules set in by public school pull them out. Example excessive screen time.

    People keep talking about missed education, have you seen public schools? There is zero educational value in them. Granted there is a big difference between different public school systems.

    Now as far as social contact, nothing is stopping you from interacting with close relatives. Some of my friends got corona and now are immune, we invite them over all the time.

    So basically how you respond to adversity has a big impact on your outcomes under the new regimes and while I don't agree with a lot of stupidity I also don't think it is as onerous as some people say.

    From a personal point I did not mind masks until it became mandatory now its a stupid hassle sometimes. Like when you are in at work and have to keep them on for hours. Anyone notice if you are chatty that some masks are not as good long term when face is moving a lot. They tend to slip too far down on the nose making it uncomfortable as you tend to constantly adjust.

    One area where I agree is not enough support for small business and the poor. US actually gives a ton of support. UI being 85-100% of low income. It could and should be more. But the disruptions due to a pandemic even with no lock down will hurt an economy anyways. This argument was made early on and it has not changed. As I said previously no matter what we do we are in for a rough time.

    Replies: @AP

    Some of my friends got corona and now are immune, we invite them over all the time.

    Heh, same here. Even rented a cottage by the beach with them.

    Wife got vaccinated, I’m scheduled for next week, kids are fine due to age, our life should be more or less normal in February, God-willing.

    One area where I agree is not enough support for small business and the poor

    Small business owners should get a lot of aid. Poor don’t seem to have been affected; workers got good unemployment.

    Happy New Year! Was supposed to have been celebrating in Russia this year, maybe next.

    • Replies: @Dreadilk
    @AP

    God willing. Happy New Year to you as well.

  209. @AP
    @Dreadilk


    Some of my friends got corona and now are immune, we invite them over all the time.
     
    Heh, same here. Even rented a cottage by the beach with them.

    Wife got vaccinated, I’m scheduled for next week, kids are fine due to age, our life should be more or less normal in February, God-willing.


    One area where I agree is not enough support for small business and the poor
     
    Small business owners should get a lot of aid. Poor don’t seem to have been affected; workers got good unemployment.


    Happy New Year! Was supposed to have been celebrating in Russia this year, maybe next.

    Replies: @Dreadilk

    God willing. Happy New Year to you as well.

  210. @RadicalCenter
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Look forward to AK’s response to this rather significant admission by the UK “Authorities.”

    By the way, let me note yet again that many of the people pushing severe lockdown, and accusing others with contrary views of “coping”, have the type of job that enables them to keep working and earning online. That’s our gifted but this time mistaken author. By contrast, tens of millions of people in the USA, and Russia, don’t have that luxury.

    Many lockdown advocates also do not have children. They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. That’s our talented but badly mistaken author again.

    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.

    People who have no children of their own and either don’t realize the terrible costs that lockdowns impose on our children, or don’t much care, or think they can decide for us that “it’s worth it.” THAT's who is most selfish here.

    Replies: @Daniel Chieh, @Anatoly Karlin, @utu

    “They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. “

    I have noticed that recently the “Think of the children” rhetorical cliche is being deployed by the opponents of the counter-measures as if they all got the memo with new talking points recently. The same people who want as now to “Think about the children” not so long ago did not want us to “Think about the old” and who advocated for the de facto gerontocide. “Think about the children” and “Kill their grandparents” is what they re saying. They are morally obtuse. What else you can expect from libertarians?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children
    “Think of the children” (also “What about the children?”) is a cliché that evolved into a rhetorical tactic. Literally, it refers to children’s rights (as in discussions of child labor). In debate, however, it is a plea for pity that is used as an appeal to emotion, and therefore it becomes a logical fallacy.

    Jack Marshall described “Think of the children!” as a tactic used in an attempt to end discussion by invoking an unanswerable argument. According to Marshall, the strategy succeeds in preventing rational debate. He called its use an unethical manner of obfuscating debate, misdirecting empathy towards an object which may not have been the focus of the original argument.

    Few weeks ago Anders Tegnell who is responsible for circa 7000 avoidable deaths spent a big part of his interview wanting us to think about the children or rather virtue signaling that he himself thinks about children so much that he had no time to think about the old:

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    @utu

    Yes, kill the grandparents. You have got us figured out. Brilliant.

    Funny how our children‘s grandmother, with whom they have effectively been living almost full-time since their schooling went online, doesńt agree with you about the systematically exaggerated virus — nor about the need for a police state and destruction of normal human interaction, education, commerce, romance, and even medical treatment even if the virus were as bad as you believe it is.

    And by the way, we are nowhere near libertarian.

  211. @AaronB
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Income inequality is higher in China than the US.

    Its almost as if in China, the government forms an independent oligarchich bloc that will brook no rivals to its right to exploit the people, and can apparently do so more harshly than elsewhere.

    But hey, appearances are what matter, not substance. A Chinese oligarchhas his power limited by an autocratic government. Must be a victory for the prople, not autocracy.

    Replies: @Passer by

    Not as bad as the US

    • Replies: @AaronB
    @Passer by

    https://news.umich.edu/income-inequality-now-greater-in-china-than-in-us/

    Replies: @Anon99, @Passer by

  212. @Passer by
    @AaronB

    Not as bad as the US

    https://www.economist.com/img/b/300/309/90/sites/default/files/images/print-edition/20170218_FNC830_0.png

    https://blogsmedia.lse.ac.uk/blogs.dir/99/files/2019/03/Figure-6a-China-inequality.png

    Replies: @AaronB

    • Replies: @Anon99
    @AaronB

    China recognizes this and are taking steps to reduce the Gino coefficient. What is your country doing? Oh wait...nothing because it has already been captured by the plutocracy.

    Replies: @The Alarmist

    , @Passer by
    @AaronB

    The vast majority of sources point to greater income inequality in the US, including the World Bank, the UN and the CIA.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

  213. The west is ruled by malicious people who despise those they rule over. This makes a big difference in policy.

  214. @LondonBob
    @Thulean Friend

    Testing is a waste of time, Oriental countries don't bother, covid just isn't a big deal.

    Replies: @Znzn, @dux.ie

    > Testing is a waste of time

    HongKong had implemented various restrictions but with no visible effects. Then HongKong called in the Chinese mainland testing team. The shock of being tested by the Chinese team immediately turned the trend around to reduce to very low new infection rate.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @dux.ie

    Had nothing to do with it, back in the spring CLSA had the top virology people in HK, many who had been in Wuhan, do a conference call on covid, they said it is a nasty bug but will be gone by summer and will then benignly circulate like all other coronaviruses.

    If there wasn't endless mass testing with flawed PCR tests, government and media hype, misclassification of deaths then Britain would look a lot like East Asia.

    Replies: @LondonBob

  215. @Dmitry
    @AltSerrice

    In the early months, Great Britain ordered to the population not to wear masks. English people have obeyed their leaders, and there was almost no mask wearing in the first wave of the epidemic.

    After English people were told by their government to wear a mask inside (in end of July, if I recall), English suddenly all were belatedly wearing masks inside public buildings and shops, although still not commonly in the streets outside.

    This showed that United Kingdom's population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities - unfortunately the Kingdom's politicians, are not very sensible or intelligent, to say mildly.

    In the first wave of the pandemic in the Kingdom, the government was obsessed with washing hands and singing at the same time.

    London's leadership believed that singing "happy birthday" twice while washing their hands, would somehow prevent an airborne virus.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9xgJp6m5_Q

    Here was an example that belief in "magical rituals" and "incantations", is not something only in Africa, but can still exist in 21st century Europe.

    Replies: @dux.ie

    > United Kingdom’s population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities

    Overall the UK restrictions statistically have flat line zero effects. Though UK has higher infection rate than Australia, the UK response is actually better than that from AU.Vic where after the declaration of lockdown the active pool trend line was kept climbing for quite some time and various restrictions enforced had no visible effects. But through perserverance and the later change of mindset AU.Vic finally did eliminated COVID and for more than 60 consecutive days there was no local transmission, only occasional imported cases from returnees Victorians.

    In UK the rushing for essential items before the lockdown caused a peak 7 days (incubation period) later, and a downward trend after the peak for quite some time. There was no such effect for AU.Vic. If the UK lockdown trend continued much longer there could be a turn around in reducing the active pool. However the talks about immunization halted the decline of new cases. When the date near to the start of immunization people became complacent which caused another higher peak 7 days later. The effects of immunization have to wait for few more weeks to show. Many COVID models assume that the number of new cases is proportional to the size of the active pool and that assumption is not valid for UK.

    In comparison the initial AU.Vic lockdown efforts were negative, the active SARS2 pool was still increasing. When it reached the declared state of disaster, the population started to hesitate, the datapoints clustered into a small patch for longer than the 7 day incubation period, then miraculously there seemed to be a shift in mindset to obey the lockdown rules and the active pool started reducing toward zero. AU.Vic is supposed to have the longest lockdown period of more than 4 months.

    That could be why lockdowns are not that effective in western countries. Since it is the change of mindset that matters, the constant stream of anti-lockdown messages from the business sectors and protest movements only made the situations worse and prolonged the lockdown period. If the change of mindset did not happen then the situations could be like those in USA. Compared to HK with about 8 weeks lockdown, the AU.Vic prolonged lockdown might have additional 700 fatality. I do not think that there were as many suicides in those period. Sydney is using the mitigation strategy rather than the Melbourne elimination strategy, Sydney is now in the state of lockdwon before Xmas and all other Aus states have closed their borders with it.

    • Thanks: Bashibuzuk, Brás Cubas
    • Replies: @utu
    @dux.ie

    What is on the x axis in your plots?

    Replies: @dux.ie

  216. How much of the mortality is also down to the diets too like those that yield higher levels of Zinc and Vitamin D?

    What about Vitamin C in reducing the mortality and morbidity of Coronavirus?

  217. @AP
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year
     
    March is when the stock market tanked and it has gone up dramatically since then. Not only billionaires, anyone with a retirement account (much of the middle class) has seen a massive increase since March.

    Bezos, for example, is now 90 billion dollars richer
     
    It would be good if there were some sort of windfall tax that would involve Bezos and others helped by this natural crisis helping out brick and mortar stores who were harmed by it.

    But not only Bezos benefitted. A lot of working class guys doing contracting work have seen a windfall because rather than spending money at bars and restaurants or in travel, people are upgrading their homes. In my area there was a long wait for windows and doors, furniture, etc. Truck drivers have done well too, we are friends with a couple of them.


    The lockdowns have made the rich even richer
     
    Rich get richer regardless of lockdowns.

    lockdown proponents are the useful idiots of Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class
     
    That’s like saying seatbelt, child seat, or airbag proponents are “useful idiots” of auto part manufacturers and Graco.

    the small business owners driven into bankruptcy, their workers who have lost their jobs, and young people who have had their educations
     
    Owners of small businesses dependent on foot traffic such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hair or nail salons and boutiques have indeed been screwed, as have been owners of gyms and movie theaters. People in medical specialties whose work is elective in nature have also lost a lot of money. All such people ought to be helped, perhaps by a windfall tax on the ballooning profit of amazon or online retailers during this natural crisis.*

    However, workers in those businesses have had generous unemployment benefits that have often exceeded their salaries, plus the stimulus check. For this reason some employers going back to business have struggled to rehire:

    https://www.winknews.com/2020/07/24/employers-are-having-trouble-hiring-they-blame-the-federal-600-unemployment-bump/

    Many have been happy about the long paid vacation. I know a few 20-something unemployed people who took the opportunity to spend a month on an epic camping trip in the national and state parks out West (some have been closed which is stupid but others have not). This is called “funemployment.”

    Those who have kids have spent more time with them than they would have otherwise. Summer has meant more time biking around outside while socially distancing, going to the beach and woods rather than some city for leisure, not an unhealthy thing.

    * There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @That Would Be Telling, @jay

    “* There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Regardless financial hardships will still result in more long-term deaths anyway for those who suffer from it. Its a shit choice either way.

    A stronger economy as a result of biting the bullet like Sweden should make it easier to eat healthy and afford medicines in the long-term.

    • Agree: Mark G.
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @jay

    His assertion is based on the fundamentally flawed argument you can did anything to stop the rona.

  218. @jay
    @AP

    "* There is something really repugnant about people who think it is worth sacrificing the lives of old or diabetic people to spare financial hardship of bar, restaurant or shop owners though, as if human life is less important than bankruptcy. For some malignant libertarian idiots, even the inconvenience of having to wear is mask is too much of an imposition of “muh freedom.”

    Regardless financial hardships will still result in more long-term deaths anyway for those who suffer from it. Its a shit choice either way.

    A stronger economy as a result of biting the bullet like Sweden should make it easier to eat healthy and afford medicines in the long-term.

    Replies: @LondonBob

    His assertion is based on the fundamentally flawed argument you can did anything to stop the rona.

  219. @dux.ie
    @LondonBob

    > Testing is a waste of time

    HongKong had implemented various restrictions but with no visible effects. Then HongKong called in the Chinese mainland testing team. The shock of being tested by the Chinese team immediately turned the trend around to reduce to very low new infection rate.

    https://i.ibb.co/XygFcr8/hklock.png

    Replies: @LondonBob

    Had nothing to do with it, back in the spring CLSA had the top virology people in HK, many who had been in Wuhan, do a conference call on covid, they said it is a nasty bug but will be gone by summer and will then benignly circulate like all other coronaviruses.

    If there wasn’t endless mass testing with flawed PCR tests, government and media hype, misclassification of deaths then Britain would look a lot like East Asia.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    @LondonBob

    https://twitter.com/ClareCraigPath/status/1344183266958594048?s=20

  220. @LondonBob
    @dux.ie

    Had nothing to do with it, back in the spring CLSA had the top virology people in HK, many who had been in Wuhan, do a conference call on covid, they said it is a nasty bug but will be gone by summer and will then benignly circulate like all other coronaviruses.

    If there wasn't endless mass testing with flawed PCR tests, government and media hype, misclassification of deaths then Britain would look a lot like East Asia.

    Replies: @LondonBob

    • Troll: utu
  221. @EldnahYm
    Good post by AK, but there are two nitpicks of mine: While it is true that corona could have mutated in a way that made vaccine development harder, the quick development of multiple vaccines should be taken as evidence that vaccines for various diseases could be created if society were serious about it. Corona got a lot more attention than the average infectious disease, but in general society underinvests in vaccine development. The same is true of antibiotics or microbiology more generally. Unfortunately, I don't see too many people learning this lesson(just like with quarantines). This doesn't really contradict AK's post, but it is a point which I think should be raised in AK's summary.

    I think AK also should have spent more time bashing health authorities. He mentioned governments, media, academia, and pundits, but almost nothing on the health establishment. It's worth pointing out how dumb their advice was. AK mentioned early bad advice on masks, but the early advice on hand washing was particularly dumb. There was never good evidence that COVID was spread primarily through surface contact, much less that hand washing did jack all, but nevertheless the brilliant health authorities were advising people they mainly just needed to wash their hands. Anyone with half a brain can look at the many current and historical examples of highly contagious infectious diseases spread by coughing, sneezing, or to a lesser extent kissing, and figure out that surface contact is unlikely to be the cause behind such a widely contagious disease. But that's way too much for the people who work at the CDC or WHO.

    Replies: @El Dato

    hand washing was particularly dumb.

    I don’t see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that’s how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)

    There was never good evidence that COVID was spread primarily through surface contact, much less that hand washing did jack all,

    “Primarily” is not even an adequate adjective here. And the “jack all” creates a false dichotomy.

    I fact, I’m still much more suspicious of the mask-wearing show. Are there *any* curves at all which flattened after people were told to put on masks? Generally, ater a mask-your-face order, the infections seems to really get going. Which would be understandly by COVID is indeed transmitted by direct hand-to-face fumbling.

    Maybe you need BOTH hand-washing and masks for a positive outcome.

    Also:

    Empty streets vs jubilant crowds: Stark contrast between NYC & Wuhan on NYE provokes envy & accusations

    LOL

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
    @El Dato


    I don’t see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that’s how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)
     
    The advice of experts gave the impression that COVID was caused by surface contact and that the main thing people need to do to reduce their chances of getting it was to wash their hands. This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad. My point wasn't that washing your hands was dumb. There are plenty of good reasons to wash your hands.

    Replies: @The Alarmist

  222. AK, it is still a bit early in the game to be patting one’s self on the back. For argument’s sake, I’ll stipulate that some measures might have spared a few lives from more immediate Corona-culling, but how many hundreds of millions of productive lives will be attenuated by several years by being reduced to penury and despair in a world of increasingly limited mobility and opportunity?

    Your problem is that you confuse existence for living.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk, RadicalCenter
  223. @dux.ie
    @Dmitry

    > United Kingdom’s population was very herd-like and obedient to the authorities

    https://i.ibb.co/nw3nnw7/lockdownuk.png

    Overall the UK restrictions statistically have flat line zero effects. Though UK has higher infection rate than Australia, the UK response is actually better than that from AU.Vic where after the declaration of lockdown the active pool trend line was kept climbing for quite some time and various restrictions enforced had no visible effects. But through perserverance and the later change of mindset AU.Vic finally did eliminated COVID and for more than 60 consecutive days there was no local transmission, only occasional imported cases from returnees Victorians.

    In UK the rushing for essential items before the lockdown caused a peak 7 days (incubation period) later, and a downward trend after the peak for quite some time. There was no such effect for AU.Vic. If the UK lockdown trend continued much longer there could be a turn around in reducing the active pool. However the talks about immunization halted the decline of new cases. When the date near to the start of immunization people became complacent which caused another higher peak 7 days later. The effects of immunization have to wait for few more weeks to show. Many COVID models assume that the number of new cases is proportional to the size of the active pool and that assumption is not valid for UK.

    https://i.ibb.co/ynLp1dX/viclock.png

    In comparison the initial AU.Vic lockdown efforts were negative, the active SARS2 pool was still increasing. When it reached the declared state of disaster, the population started to hesitate, the datapoints clustered into a small patch for longer than the 7 day incubation period, then miraculously there seemed to be a shift in mindset to obey the lockdown rules and the active pool started reducing toward zero. AU.Vic is supposed to have the longest lockdown period of more than 4 months.

    That could be why lockdowns are not that effective in western countries. Since it is the change of mindset that matters, the constant stream of anti-lockdown messages from the business sectors and protest movements only made the situations worse and prolonged the lockdown period. If the change of mindset did not happen then the situations could be like those in USA. Compared to HK with about 8 weeks lockdown, the AU.Vic prolonged lockdown might have additional 700 fatality. I do not think that there were as many suicides in those period. Sydney is using the mitigation strategy rather than the Melbourne elimination strategy, Sydney is now in the state of lockdwon before Xmas and all other Aus states have closed their borders with it.

    Replies: @utu

    What is on the x axis in your plots?

    • Replies: @dux.ie
    @utu

    > What is on the x axis in your plots?

    The active pool of confirmed cases, i.e. Nconfirm-Nrecover-Ndeath. It is the fundamental relationship in many of the differential equation models that Nnew is linearly proportional to the active pool, c.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-space_representation . The plot for UK might suggest that that assumption might not be always true (zero gradient) especially when there are random human interventions. And if the situation is under control there might be two distinct gradients like that in the HK and AU.Vic case.

    Replies: @utu

  224. I think this coronavirus crisis shows that Western countries are way too free in all the wrong ways, and that a little more state control in the right direction (like what happens in China, where the state using its police power to get what it wants is not a problem) would have a favorable cost-to-benefit ratio result.

  225. Obviously unlike the French police, the Chinese police would not have problems breaking up a rave party like this.

    About 2,500 partygoers attended an illegal New Year’s Eve rave in an empty warehouse in north-west France, violently clashing with police who failed to stop it and sparking concern the underground event could spread coronavirus, authorities said on Friday.

    The revellers had set up the illegal rave in Lieuron, south of Rennes in Brittany after skirmishes with police, said a statement from the local prefecture. Many were still on the site on Friday as a sanitary cordon was thrown up around it.

    Local gendarmes tried to “prevent this event but faced fierce hostility from many partygoers” who set one of their cars of fire and threw bottles and stones, the statement said, adding that those present had come from across France and even abroad.

    Such mass gatherings are strictly prohibited across France to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and an 8pm curfew – which was not lifted for New Year’s Eve – applies across the country.

    Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the illegal organisation of a musical gathering and premeditated violence against persons in authority.

    Vehicles registered from all over France were still parked at the site on Friday and many revellers were present as loud music continued, an AFP journalist said.

    In the southern city of Marseille, security forces halted an illegal party of about 300 people, police said. More than 150 people were warned and the three suspected organisers have been arrested.

    The interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said that 132,000 police had been deployed across France for the new year celebrations to ensure security and that the curfew was respected.

  226. On the flip side, I wonder if the Sinophiles here would truly be, if they get a chance to put their money where their mouth is, and can get to live in China for the next 10 to 5 years, but the catch is that they basically have to live as a normal Chinese person, with all of the rights, or lack thereof, a Chinese person gets, without the protection of being an expat, with a foreign passport. And within those 10 or 5 years, they can not leave China, just because they have a change of heart, and can not stand to live there anymore. Does Kim Philby ring a bell?

    • Thanks: RadicalCenter
    • LOL: AaronB
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
    @128

    https://youtu.be/TLL5ZK-9MPw

    , @jaichind
    @128

    During the 1990s and 2000s over 1 million people from Taiwan Province of ROC lived in PRC for business and economic reasons. This number as declined as the relative competitiveness ROC business declined with local PRC business in the 2010s. But all in all these 1 million people from ROC had no issues living on the Mainland for years and years. The main complaint was more about the health care system which was not as good as what it was on ROC. Even on that point the PRC has closed the gap considerably sine the early 2000s.

  227. @AP
    @RadicalCenter

    Thanks for the article.


    I‘d note that nearly half of Americans do not own any stocks or bonds at all. That‘s what we see when we focus on all Americans, as we should, rather than just „the middle class.
     
    This half includes a lot of poor people who refuse to work, recent established immigrants, etc. Working class people who have lost jobs during this crisis have been given very generous unemployment benefits. These have now been extended, on lower but still decent terms.

    I do agree that we should not dismiss the concerns of any Americans however.

    Of those americans who do own stock shares and bonds, in retirement accounts or otherwise, most own very little in the context of our cost of living, as in $20,000 or $40,000 worth
     
    According to the Forbes article, 61% of nonhispanic White households have stock (typically in the form of retirement accounts) and their median value is $51,000 (median holdings in Black households is only $12,000). That plus social security is obviously too low to retire on but it includes all households including young ones, as households age and approach retirement the number grows. Average household of any race has about $80,000 after age 55 and $100,000 over age 65:

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/25/more-than-half-of-u-s-households-have-some-investment-in-the-stock-market/

    So stocks are important to the solid middle, not just upper middle and rich, probably around 2/3 of European-Americans.

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    Agree with most of that, AP. You make an especially good point about many people having little stock ownership when they are young but a decent amount as they approach retirement age. I should have noted that.

    But averages are not very useful here. The median is much more useful for finding out how people actually live.

    For example. If incomes at the top have gone up greatly, it can cause average income to go up. But it does nothing directly to help all the people whose incomes did not go up, or went up only nominally i.e. not enough to keep pace with price and rent inflation.

    There are many millions of americans who are neither lazy nor recent immigrants who are not able to scrape together enough to buy stocks or bonds. They are trying to survive.

    • Replies: @AP
    @RadicalCenter

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/25/more-than-half-of-u-s-households-have-some-investment-in-the-stock-market/

    I’m sorry, I mis-wrote. The figures I cited were all for median not average stock holdings. It should have written:

    “According to the Forbes article, 61% of nonhispanic White households have stock (typically in the form of retirement accounts) and their median value is $51,000 (median holdings in Black households is only $12,000). That plus social security is obviously too low to retire on but it includes all households including young ones, as households age and approach retirement the number grows. Median household of any race has about $80,000 after age 55 and $100,000 over age 65.”

    Those median figures are probably higher for groups who are more future-oriented and tend to save. So stocks are meaningful for a good majority of working people, not just rich Goldman Sachs speculators/parasites.


    There are many millions of americans who are neither lazy nor recent immigrants who are not able to scrape together enough to buy stocks or bonds. They are trying to survive
     
    I agree with that. The solution ought to be increased earned income credit (a sort of UBI but only for those who actually work).
  228. @utu
    @RadicalCenter


    "They in particular don’t seem able or willing to acknowledge the great psychological and spiritual, educational, and even physical harm that accrues to our young children from the destruction of normal social interaction in school, church groups, playgrounds, restaurants, massive hours on blinking screens rather than in the company of actual human beings, not being able to see smiles and facial expressions, not being able to make friends, not being allowed to exercise, compete, and simply enjoy team sports, etc. "
     
    I have noticed that recently the "Think of the children" rhetorical cliche is being deployed by the opponents of the counter-measures as if they all got the memo with new talking points recently. The same people who want as now to "Think about the children" not so long ago did not want us to "Think about the old" and who advocated for the de facto gerontocide. "Think about the children" and "Kill their grandparents" is what they re saying. They are morally obtuse. What else you can expect from libertarians?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_of_the_children
    "Think of the children" (also "What about the children?") is a cliché that evolved into a rhetorical tactic. Literally, it refers to children's rights (as in discussions of child labor). In debate, however, it is a plea for pity that is used as an appeal to emotion, and therefore it becomes a logical fallacy.

    Jack Marshall described "Think of the children!" as a tactic used in an attempt to end discussion by invoking an unanswerable argument. According to Marshall, the strategy succeeds in preventing rational debate. He called its use an unethical manner of obfuscating debate, misdirecting empathy towards an object which may not have been the focus of the original argument.
     
    Few weeks ago Anders Tegnell who is responsible for circa 7000 avoidable deaths spent a big part of his interview wanting us to think about the children or rather virtue signaling that he himself thinks about children so much that he had no time to think about the old:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15ikQ1BAHU0&feature=emb_title

    Replies: @RadicalCenter

    Yes, kill the grandparents. You have got us figured out. Brilliant.

    Funny how our children‘s grandmother, with whom they have effectively been living almost full-time since their schooling went online, doesńt agree with you about the systematically exaggerated virus — nor about the need for a police state and destruction of normal human interaction, education, commerce, romance, and even medical treatment even if the virus were as bad as you believe it is.

    And by the way, we are nowhere near libertarian.

  229. @El Dato
    @EldnahYm


    hand washing was particularly dumb.
     
    I don't see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that's how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)

    There was never good evidence that COVID was spread primarily through surface contact, much less that hand washing did jack all,
     
    "Primarily" is not even an adequate adjective here. And the "jack all" creates a false dichotomy.

    I fact, I'm still much more suspicious of the mask-wearing show. Are there *any* curves at all which flattened after people were told to put on masks? Generally, ater a mask-your-face order, the infections seems to really get going. Which would be understandly by COVID is indeed transmitted by direct hand-to-face fumbling.

    Maybe you need BOTH hand-washing and masks for a positive outcome.

    Also:

    Empty streets vs jubilant crowds: Stark contrast between NYC & Wuhan on NYE provokes envy & accusations

    LOL

    Replies: @EldnahYm

    I don’t see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that’s how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)

    The advice of experts gave the impression that COVID was caused by surface contact and that the main thing people need to do to reduce their chances of getting it was to wash their hands. This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad. My point wasn’t that washing your hands was dumb. There are plenty of good reasons to wash your hands.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    @EldnahYm


    This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad.
     
    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.

    Replies: @EldnahYm

  230. @RadicalCenter
    @AP

    Agree with most of that, AP. You make an especially good point about many people having little stock ownership when they are young but a decent amount as they approach retirement age. I should have noted that.

    But averages are not very useful here. The median is much more useful for finding out how people actually live.

    For example. If incomes at the top have gone up greatly, it can cause average income to go up. But it does nothing directly to help all the people whose incomes did not go up, or went up only nominally i.e. not enough to keep pace with price and rent inflation.

    There are many millions of americans who are neither lazy nor recent immigrants who are not able to scrape together enough to buy stocks or bonds. They are trying to survive.

    Replies: @AP

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/25/more-than-half-of-u-s-households-have-some-investment-in-the-stock-market/

    I’m sorry, I mis-wrote. The figures I cited were all for median not average stock holdings. It should have written:

    “According to the Forbes article, 61% of nonhispanic White households have stock (typically in the form of retirement accounts) and their median value is $51,000 (median holdings in Black households is only $12,000). That plus social security is obviously too low to retire on but it includes all households including young ones, as households age and approach retirement the number grows. Median household of any race has about $80,000 after age 55 and $100,000 over age 65.”

    Those median figures are probably higher for groups who are more future-oriented and tend to save. So stocks are meaningful for a good majority of working people, not just rich Goldman Sachs speculators/parasites.

    There are many millions of americans who are neither lazy nor recent immigrants who are not able to scrape together enough to buy stocks or bonds. They are trying to survive

    I agree with that. The solution ought to be increased earned income credit (a sort of UBI but only for those who actually work).

    • Thanks: RadicalCenter
  231. The best summary of the corona hysteria.

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/12/30/what-is-left-to-say/

    • Thanks: Mark G., Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
    @LondonBob

    COVID-19 is significant in that it is the first time that a biological factor is wilfully used to alter social structure.

    This is novel and quite remarkable. In the past epidemic outbreaks and diseases exerted a heavy toll on human populations, but they were not used as a social engineering tool. Today, biology itself is becoming a means to achieve certain social outcomes.

    Humankind is going through a deep transformation, and the majority of humans don't even seem to understand that.

    Many thanks for the link, it is a good and clear summary indeed.

    , @utu
    @LondonBob

    What does your Scottish Dr. Malcolm Kendrick has to say? Does he make any verifiable/falsifiable statements? Actually he does not like verifying results of his fuzzy logic reasoning which really sound more like whining than a product of a sound mind? The fact checkers are his enemies:


    I even got attacked by factcheckers, the self-appointed know-it-alls who are, it seems, capable of judging on all matters of scientific dispute.

    We just need to ask the Fact Checkers for the answer, to any given question.
     

    Replies: @Bert

  232. Bashibuzuk says:
    @LondonBob
    The best summary of the corona hysteria.

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/12/30/what-is-left-to-say/

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @utu

    COVID-19 is significant in that it is the first time that a biological factor is wilfully used to alter social structure.

    This is novel and quite remarkable. In the past epidemic outbreaks and diseases exerted a heavy toll on human populations, but they were not used as a social engineering tool. Today, biology itself is becoming a means to achieve certain social outcomes.

    Humankind is going through a deep transformation, and the majority of humans don’t even seem to understand that.

    Many thanks for the link, it is a good and clear summary indeed.

    • Agree: Bert
  233. @AaronB
    @Passer by

    https://news.umich.edu/income-inequality-now-greater-in-china-than-in-us/

    Replies: @Anon99, @Passer by

    China recognizes this and are taking steps to reduce the Gino coefficient. What is your country doing? Oh wait…nothing because it has already been captured by the plutocracy.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    @Anon99

    The ‘Gino’ coefficient? Is that some measure of Italians in the community? Is this how Gov. Cuomo decided this was a European flu, from Italy, or does it reflect the degree of Italian Cuomo’s influence in shunting recovering COVID patients into old folks’ homes to facilitate the virus to kill the most vulnerable?

    Replies: @Anon99

  234. @EldnahYm
    @El Dato


    I don’t see this at all. Hand washing is pretty cheap & easy to do. How can that be dumb? (In fact, that’s how Ebola was contained, even in Africa)
     
    The advice of experts gave the impression that COVID was caused by surface contact and that the main thing people need to do to reduce their chances of getting it was to wash their hands. This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad. My point wasn't that washing your hands was dumb. There are plenty of good reasons to wash your hands.

    Replies: @The Alarmist

    This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad.

    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.

    • Replies: @EldnahYm
    @The Alarmist


    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.
     
    Studies which have attempted to measure the effect of washing one's hands more frequently have failed to show any effect on reducing COVID transmission. It is bad advice to tell people to do one thing that doesn't have much effect rather than to take other actions which have some effect. The hand washing advice gave people the wrong impression about the virus. You are arguing that hand washing is good. I never suggested it wasn't.

    COVID isn't especially virulent. It spread very easily though, so it can kill lots of people even while having low virulence.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

  235. The advocates of lockdowns, beyond whatever might be necessary to preserve hospital function after the epidemic had been allowed to get out of control, ignore three facts:

    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.

    The epidemiologists produced worthless advice (possible exception: the Israeli authors who modeled periodic 10-day long lockdowns alternating with 4-day periods of normal activity, all coupled with contract tracing/quarantine). The bureaucrats could not think outside their respective boxes. The politicians were too lazy or corrupt to decide independently on a bold plan, excluding Sweden.

    The only heroes are the critical-care clinicians who did their jobs with intelligence, creativity and courage, like the ones who developed the MATH+ and I-Mask+ protocols below.

    The History of Methylprednisolone, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine, and Heparin Protocol and I-MASK+ Ivermectin Protocol for COVID-19
    https://www.cureus.com/articles/47669-the-history-of-methylprednisolone-ascorbic-acid-thiamine-and-heparin-protocol-and-i-mask-ivermectin-protocol-for-covid-19

    In the first half of 2020 the hospital mortality rate of patients treated with MATH+ was 5%, in contrast to a standard of care rate of approximately 23% [1]. Due to this difference in mortality rates the authors of the MATH+ protocol did not consider performing randomized controlled trials ethical. As other parties refused to overlook this requirement, widespread adoption of the protocol did not occur.

    And needless to say, hospital physicians are still letting people die who could be saved. As recorded by the state health department, my local hospital has had 52 deaths among 51 over-85 Covid patients (presumably they tracked someone down at home and killed him there). In this hospital the Covid death rate for ages 74-85 is 90%. For all Covid hospitalizations regardless of age, mortality in this charnel house is 45%.

    The message is clear. Everyone is on their own, and to an extent that most never could have imagined, unless as a youth in combat they had been ordered draw fire from an enemy machine gun.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert


    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.
     
    This is nonsense. Countries with very high foreign born population (8% to 19%) like Finland and Norway did very well in contact tracing while Poland and Czechia did horrible job in contact tracing having 5 to 10 times lower foreign born population. You have strong anti-immigration bias commonly exhibited here in UR commentariat.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.
     
    This sounds good on paper but the implementation of it would be a huge logictic problem requiring shutting down and isolating 40% of population. Besides in the eraly stage we did not know age dependent IFR values well and we still do not know how infectious are the asymptomatic carriers.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.
     
    CFR or IFR dropped because of better treatments. And possibly can be even 3 times lower now than in the early stage of epidemic.

    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry. Any physician that claims that megadoses of, say vitamin C can cure something is compromised in the eyes of sound medical science.

    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree. Earlier he was pushing iodine as cure for Covid-19. Now he is pushing vitamins C and B1 which is a common quackery.

    I agree that ivermectin seems to be promising. Unfortunately most anecdotal reports are coming form the 3rd world countries.

    Blind or double blind protocols have been invented for a good reason. Good and well meaning physicians were often fooling themselves and more well meaning they are it might be even more likely.

    Replies: @Bert, @dfordoom

  236. @Anon99
    @AaronB

    China recognizes this and are taking steps to reduce the Gino coefficient. What is your country doing? Oh wait...nothing because it has already been captured by the plutocracy.

    Replies: @The Alarmist

    The ‘Gino’ coefficient? Is that some measure of Italians in the community? Is this how Gov. Cuomo decided this was a European flu, from Italy, or does it reflect the degree of Italian Cuomo’s influence in shunting recovering COVID patients into old folks’ homes to facilitate the virus to kill the most vulnerable?

    • Replies: @Anon99
    @The Alarmist

    Opportunities out there for someone to create a better auto-correct. Lol

    Replies: @The Alarmist

  237. @LondonBob
    The best summary of the corona hysteria.

    https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2020/12/30/what-is-left-to-say/

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @utu

    What does your Scottish Dr. Malcolm Kendrick has to say? Does he make any verifiable/falsifiable statements? Actually he does not like verifying results of his fuzzy logic reasoning which really sound more like whining than a product of a sound mind? The fact checkers are his enemies:

    I even got attacked by factcheckers, the self-appointed know-it-alls who are, it seems, capable of judging on all matters of scientific dispute.

    We just need to ask the Fact Checkers for the answer, to any given question.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu

    From Dr. Kendrick, as proof of a sane mind:


    Then, if you look further, there are anomalies all over the place. Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and did exactly the same things as the rest of the UK with regard to lockdown, masks etc. At least it did in the earlier part of the year. However, it shows a completely different pattern to England. Or, to be fully accurate, it shows no pattern at all. No waves, and nobody drowning.
     
    Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen. They could beat off SARS-2 better than the Lower Slobovians in the rest of Europe. That's a damned important supplemental data point to what we've known since 1780 and 81.

    Replies: @utu

  238. @Bert
    The advocates of lockdowns, beyond whatever might be necessary to preserve hospital function after the epidemic had been allowed to get out of control, ignore three facts:

    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.

    The epidemiologists produced worthless advice (possible exception: the Israeli authors who modeled periodic 10-day long lockdowns alternating with 4-day periods of normal activity, all coupled with contract tracing/quarantine). The bureaucrats could not think outside their respective boxes. The politicians were too lazy or corrupt to decide independently on a bold plan, excluding Sweden.

    The only heroes are the critical-care clinicians who did their jobs with intelligence, creativity and courage, like the ones who developed the MATH+ and I-Mask+ protocols below.

    The History of Methylprednisolone, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine, and Heparin Protocol and I-MASK+ Ivermectin Protocol for COVID-19
    https://www.cureus.com/articles/47669-the-history-of-methylprednisolone-ascorbic-acid-thiamine-and-heparin-protocol-and-i-mask-ivermectin-protocol-for-covid-19


    In the first half of 2020 the hospital mortality rate of patients treated with MATH+ was 5%, in contrast to a standard of care rate of approximately 23% [1]. Due to this difference in mortality rates the authors of the MATH+ protocol did not consider performing randomized controlled trials ethical. As other parties refused to overlook this requirement, widespread adoption of the protocol did not occur.
     
    And needless to say, hospital physicians are still letting people die who could be saved. As recorded by the state health department, my local hospital has had 52 deaths among 51 over-85 Covid patients (presumably they tracked someone down at home and killed him there). In this hospital the Covid death rate for ages 74-85 is 90%. For all Covid hospitalizations regardless of age, mortality in this charnel house is 45%.

    The message is clear. Everyone is on their own, and to an extent that most never could have imagined, unless as a youth in combat they had been ordered draw fire from an enemy machine gun.

    Replies: @utu

    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.

    This is nonsense. Countries with very high foreign born population (8% to 19%) like Finland and Norway did very well in contact tracing while Poland and Czechia did horrible job in contact tracing having 5 to 10 times lower foreign born population. You have strong anti-immigration bias commonly exhibited here in UR commentariat.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.

    This sounds good on paper but the implementation of it would be a huge logictic problem requiring shutting down and isolating 40% of population. Besides in the eraly stage we did not know age dependent IFR values well and we still do not know how infectious are the asymptomatic carriers.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.

    CFR or IFR dropped because of better treatments. And possibly can be even 3 times lower now than in the early stage of epidemic.

    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry. Any physician that claims that megadoses of, say vitamin C can cure something is compromised in the eyes of sound medical science.

    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree. Earlier he was pushing iodine as cure for Covid-19. Now he is pushing vitamins C and B1 which is a common quackery.

    I agree that ivermectin seems to be promising. Unfortunately most anecdotal reports are coming form the 3rd world countries.

    Blind or double blind protocols have been invented for a good reason. Good and well meaning physicians were often fooling themselves and more well meaning they are it might be even more likely.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu


    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree.
     
    You are such a sucker for your own confirmation biases. Turkia is simply reporting on the results of work by the critical-care department heads from Eastern Virginia Medical Center and hospitals elsewhere who formed themselves into a task force to find treatments for severely ill patients. Some of their work is documented in Turkia's citations. For example:

    Kory P, Meduri GU, Iglesias J, Varon J, Marik PE: Clinical and scientific rationale for the "MATH+" hospital treatment protocol for COVID-19 [IN PRESS]. J Intensive Care Med. 2020.

    Marik PE: Thiamine: an essential component of the metabolic resuscitation protocol. Crit Care Med. 2018, 46:1869-70. (This is a peer-reviewed paper published before the epidemic.)

    I trust these clinical experts more than someone like you who does not know the research literature, and worse who simply spouts the WHO, CDC, MSM and Open Societies totalitarian propaganda.

    , @dfordoom
    @utu


    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry.
     
    Yep. And the claims by flaky physicians get taken up by idiot rightoids.
  239. @utu
    @LondonBob

    What does your Scottish Dr. Malcolm Kendrick has to say? Does he make any verifiable/falsifiable statements? Actually he does not like verifying results of his fuzzy logic reasoning which really sound more like whining than a product of a sound mind? The fact checkers are his enemies:


    I even got attacked by factcheckers, the self-appointed know-it-alls who are, it seems, capable of judging on all matters of scientific dispute.

    We just need to ask the Fact Checkers for the answer, to any given question.
     

    Replies: @Bert

    From Dr. Kendrick, as proof of a sane mind:

    Then, if you look further, there are anomalies all over the place. Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and did exactly the same things as the rest of the UK with regard to lockdown, masks etc. At least it did in the earlier part of the year. However, it shows a completely different pattern to England. Or, to be fully accurate, it shows no pattern at all. No waves, and nobody drowning.

    Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen. They could beat off SARS-2 better than the Lower Slobovians in the rest of Europe. That’s a damned important supplemental data point to what we’ve known since 1780 and 81.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert

    "Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen." - This is what it is about? Virus is sectarian? Does your Dr. Kendrick have data on Catholics and Protestants?

    Anyway I do not see much difference: UK has 1,089 deaths/1M while N. Ireland has 704 deaths/1M. Note that N. Ireland has about half population density of the United Kingdom.

    You have nothing and your Dr. Kendrick has nothing. He is a sloppy thinker prone to unwarranted generalizations and dramatization like lamentation of an old woman in Greek tragedy. He needs an emotional support. Perhaps a pet. A sheep would be perfect for Scotsman.

    Replies: @Bert

  240. @utu
    @Bert


    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.
     
    This is nonsense. Countries with very high foreign born population (8% to 19%) like Finland and Norway did very well in contact tracing while Poland and Czechia did horrible job in contact tracing having 5 to 10 times lower foreign born population. You have strong anti-immigration bias commonly exhibited here in UR commentariat.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.
     
    This sounds good on paper but the implementation of it would be a huge logictic problem requiring shutting down and isolating 40% of population. Besides in the eraly stage we did not know age dependent IFR values well and we still do not know how infectious are the asymptomatic carriers.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.
     
    CFR or IFR dropped because of better treatments. And possibly can be even 3 times lower now than in the early stage of epidemic.

    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry. Any physician that claims that megadoses of, say vitamin C can cure something is compromised in the eyes of sound medical science.

    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree. Earlier he was pushing iodine as cure for Covid-19. Now he is pushing vitamins C and B1 which is a common quackery.

    I agree that ivermectin seems to be promising. Unfortunately most anecdotal reports are coming form the 3rd world countries.

    Blind or double blind protocols have been invented for a good reason. Good and well meaning physicians were often fooling themselves and more well meaning they are it might be even more likely.

    Replies: @Bert, @dfordoom

    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree.

    You are such a sucker for your own confirmation biases. Turkia is simply reporting on the results of work by the critical-care department heads from Eastern Virginia Medical Center and hospitals elsewhere who formed themselves into a task force to find treatments for severely ill patients. Some of their work is documented in Turkia’s citations. For example:

    Kory P, Meduri GU, Iglesias J, Varon J, Marik PE: Clinical and scientific rationale for the “MATH+” hospital treatment protocol for COVID-19 [IN PRESS]. J Intensive Care Med. 2020.

    Marik PE: Thiamine: an essential component of the metabolic resuscitation protocol. Crit Care Med. 2018, 46:1869-70. (This is a peer-reviewed paper published before the epidemic.)

    I trust these clinical experts more than someone like you who does not know the research literature, and worse who simply spouts the WHO, CDC, MSM and Open Societies totalitarian propaganda.

    • Thanks: Mark G.
  241. @The Alarmist
    @Anon99

    The ‘Gino’ coefficient? Is that some measure of Italians in the community? Is this how Gov. Cuomo decided this was a European flu, from Italy, or does it reflect the degree of Italian Cuomo’s influence in shunting recovering COVID patients into old folks’ homes to facilitate the virus to kill the most vulnerable?

    Replies: @Anon99

    Opportunities out there for someone to create a better auto-correct. Lol

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    @Anon99

    I know the feeing :)

  242. This 2018 paper

    Marik PE: Thiamine: an essential component of the metabolic resuscitation protocol. Crit Care Med. 2018, 46:1869-70.

    has only 8 citations.

    Miyamoto, Yoshihisa et al. Association Between IV Thiamine and Mortality in Patients With Septic Shock: A Nationwide Observational Study

    shows that

    “There were also no significant differences between the 100-mg thiamine group and the control group (risk difference, 0.6%; 95% CI, –0.3% to 1.4%) or between the 200-mg thiamine group and the control group (risk difference, –0.3%; 95% CI, –1.3% to 0.8%).”

    The other paper by Kory et al is in press. I could not find independent reviews though there are three related documents but also authored by Pierre Kory.

  243. @Bert
    @utu

    From Dr. Kendrick, as proof of a sane mind:


    Then, if you look further, there are anomalies all over the place. Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and did exactly the same things as the rest of the UK with regard to lockdown, masks etc. At least it did in the earlier part of the year. However, it shows a completely different pattern to England. Or, to be fully accurate, it shows no pattern at all. No waves, and nobody drowning.
     
    Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen. They could beat off SARS-2 better than the Lower Slobovians in the rest of Europe. That's a damned important supplemental data point to what we've known since 1780 and 81.

    Replies: @utu

    “Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen.” – This is what it is about? Virus is sectarian? Does your Dr. Kendrick have data on Catholics and Protestants?

    Anyway I do not see much difference: UK has 1,089 deaths/1M while N. Ireland has 704 deaths/1M. Note that N. Ireland has about half population density of the United Kingdom.

    You have nothing and your Dr. Kendrick has nothing. He is a sloppy thinker prone to unwarranted generalizations and dramatization like lamentation of an old woman in Greek tragedy. He needs an emotional support. Perhaps a pet. A sheep would be perfect for Scotsman.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu

    Sorry utu, but my post was a prankish test. And it demonstrated that you have no sense of humor and are entirely too tightly wound. I think you would benefit most from a pet.

    Replies: @utu

  244. You cherry picked one thiamine study that showed no result. Others do.

    Here is some vitamin chicanery for you to munch on.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert

    "You cherry picked one thiamine study " - I did not. It was the only thiamine study that cited the paper you promoted here. There was another paper on thiamine but it concerned Shoshin syndrome.

    You should stop promoting papers on thiamine.

    Replies: @Bert

    , @utu
    @Bert

    You linked to recent paper on vitamins D after I shot down your paper on thiamine. Typical moving goal post tactic. So let's look at what we know about vitamin D:


    High dose vitamin D improves total serum antioxidant capacity and ICU outcome in critically ill patients - a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. (26 December 2020)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876382020314529#!
     
    This paper has two problems: (1) Small sample N=30, (2) It comes from Iran.

    In 2016 there was study

    High dose vitamin D administration in ventilated intensive care unit patients: A pilot double blind randomized controlled trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939707/

    which was also was for small sample (N=31) and have similar optimistic result.

    But in Dec. 2016 there was study on large sample N=1360
    Early High-Dose Vitamin D3 for Critically Ill, Vitamin D–Deficient Patients
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1911124

    which concluded "There were no clinically important differences between the groups with respect to secondary clinical, physiological, or safety end points. The severity of vitamin D deficiency at baseline did not affect the association between the treatment assignment and mortality."

    And in Feb. 2019 sample N=610

    Vitamin D Supplementation in Mechanically Ventilated Patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jpen.1520

    that concluded: "These results suggest that VITD supplementation during critical illness may not provide benefit and that further research investigating potential supplementation in ambulatory patients at high risk of ICU admission (eg, severe underlying chronic disease) is warranted."

    So as you can see results are mixed. Also vitamin D deficiency was studied (N=216):

    Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
    https://academic.oup.com/jcem/advance-article/doi/10.1210/clinem/dgaa733/5934827

    that concluded: "We did not find any relationship between vitamin D concentrations or vitamin deficiency and the severity of the disease."

    But this paper from India make opposite claim (N=372):

    Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77093-z

    that concludes: "The fatality rate was high in vitamin D deficient (21% vs 3.1%)."

    So as you can see there is no consensus. Papers from Iran or India will have much lower impact than papers form the West. So the "official" position is 'Not enough evidence':

    Covid and vitamin D: 'Not enough evidence' for treatment. (Dec. 2020)
    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55333063
  245. @utu
    @Bert

    "Dr. Kendrick demonstrates the genetic superiority of Ulstermen." - This is what it is about? Virus is sectarian? Does your Dr. Kendrick have data on Catholics and Protestants?

    Anyway I do not see much difference: UK has 1,089 deaths/1M while N. Ireland has 704 deaths/1M. Note that N. Ireland has about half population density of the United Kingdom.

    You have nothing and your Dr. Kendrick has nothing. He is a sloppy thinker prone to unwarranted generalizations and dramatization like lamentation of an old woman in Greek tragedy. He needs an emotional support. Perhaps a pet. A sheep would be perfect for Scotsman.

    Replies: @Bert

    Sorry utu, but my post was a prankish test. And it demonstrated that you have no sense of humor and are entirely too tightly wound. I think you would benefit most from a pet.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert

    Many of your claims are pure mumbo jumbo so it is hard to notice when you make an attempt of self-parody.

    Replies: @Bert

  246. @AaronB
    @Passer by

    https://news.umich.edu/income-inequality-now-greater-in-china-than-in-us/

    Replies: @Anon99, @Passer by

    The vast majority of sources point to greater income inequality in the US, including the World Bank, the UN and the CIA.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

  247. @Bert
    You cherry picked one thiamine study that showed no result. Others do.

    Here is some vitamin chicanery for you to munch on.



    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876382020314529

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076020302764?via%3Dihub

    https://c19vitamind.com/

    Replies: @utu, @utu

    “You cherry picked one thiamine study ” – I did not. It was the only thiamine study that cited the paper you promoted here. There was another paper on thiamine but it concerned Shoshin syndrome.

    You should stop promoting papers on thiamine.

    • Agree: Astuteobservor II
    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu



    You should stop propagandizing against treatments that can save lives. Clearly there are public health professionals who recognize that they have a duty to counter misinformation like yours. Those below are promoting vitamin sufficiency, a crucial condition for health in old age. How unprofessional according to you !

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428453/#:~:text=As%20antibodies%2C%20and%20importantly%20T,SARS%2DCoV%2D2%20infection.

    Replies: @utu

  248. @utu
    @dux.ie

    What is on the x axis in your plots?

    Replies: @dux.ie

    > What is on the x axis in your plots?

    The active pool of confirmed cases, i.e. Nconfirm-Nrecover-Ndeath. It is the fundamental relationship in many of the differential equation models that Nnew is linearly proportional to the active pool, c.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-space_representation . The plot for UK might suggest that that assumption might not be always true (zero gradient) especially when there are random human interventions. And if the situation is under control there might be two distinct gradients like that in the HK and AU.Vic case.

    • Thanks: Bashibuzuk, utu
    • Replies: @utu
    @dux.ie

    I do not see any benefit or advantage of plots df(t)/dt vs. f(t)

    Replies: @Bert

  249. @RadicalCenter
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The native British typically have very substantial Celtic, French, or German genes. That is it. Not Arab, African, Pakistani, or any of the other components of the recent ongoing immivasion and destruction of Britain.

    https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/international/press-releases/DNA-of-the-nation-revealedand-were-not-as-British-as-we-think

    Replies: @Expletive Deleted, @Expletive Deleted

    That Ancestry thing is a bit cock-eyed. The “German, Iberian, Italian” (God help me) etc, components refer to periods in remote prehistory (apart from ze Chermanz).
    Primary neolithic through to early bronze age, when it all kind of stopped, and the Brits messed around a bit, trapped on their reef, and became .. Brits. And separately, so did the Irish. Around 2400BC. Before Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy were recognisable (Italy’s still debatable, Prinz Metternich).

    [MORE]

    The various teutons and frogs who rocked up later were the long-lost cousins and indeed direct descendants of exactly the same late Michelsberg/sub-Corded-Ware groups on the adjacent continent who had supplanted and bred with (somehow!) the pathetically few Western HunterGatherer bands (think; damp and horseless Indians) still hanging on in the island after the Channel was formed.

    A few thousand actual Romans (and not e.g. Batavian foederati), a bunch of consciously self-isolating Norman aristocrats (from the exact same ancestral sources as the current islanders), and a few Flemish merchants and Huguenot refugees from the opposite coast do not account to an ethnic makeover. Early mediaeval “germans” from the nearest landfalls were a big chunk, Frisians, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Danes, Norwegians, even some Swedes.

    The biggest recent influx was Industrial Age Irish, for many reasons. Guess where their pre-Hibernian ancestors originated? (and don’t give me that old guff about Spain, Milesians and so forth. The Iberian component in both islands seems to have come up the whole length of the west side of the archipelago via Brittany in the very earliest Impressed/Cardial neolithic, just as the Paris Basin boys, a slightly-(by this time)-related middle-Continental mob, landed in Kent and East Yorkshire, both six-thousand-odd years back).

    I’d like to ask all the CCP fans on this site, since this “yu can no be indigenous” crap is their big push over here recently via their not-so-secret (ham-fisted and embarrassingly dim) minions, what was the ethnic makeup of, say, East/Southeast Asia forty-five centuries ago? Were there any “indigenous” people there? Ever? What? Not even in faraway Tibet? Formosa? Or Mongolia?

    • Replies: @AlexanderGrozny
    @Expletive Deleted

    Here is a poem titled "The British" by Benjamin Zephaniah:



    Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
    And let them settle,
    Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.

    Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
    Add lots of Norman French to some
    Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

    Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
    Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
    Vietnamese and Sudanese.

    Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
    And Pakistanis,
    Combine with some Guyanese
    And turn up the heat.

    Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
    Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
    Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
    And Palestinians
    Then add to the melting pot.

    Leave the ingredients to simmer.

    As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
    Binding them together with English.

    Allow time to be cool.

    Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
    Serve with justice
    And enjoy.

    Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.

    Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause pain. Give justice and equality to all.

    Replies: @Expletive Deleted

  250. @RadicalCenter
    @AlexanderGrozny

    The native British typically have very substantial Celtic, French, or German genes. That is it. Not Arab, African, Pakistani, or any of the other components of the recent ongoing immivasion and destruction of Britain.

    https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/international/press-releases/DNA-of-the-nation-revealedand-were-not-as-British-as-we-think

    Replies: @Expletive Deleted, @Expletive Deleted

    Not getting at you, Rad, you’re completely correct.
    It’s just that this sort of thing has been rather prevalent Over Here of recent (even the ur-Briton, Cheddar Bloke, is somehow not really British, but .. BlackityBlack. Despite traces of his clan-mates in our makeup. And in no-one else’s; well maybe the odd Belgian).
    And it tends to set me off on a characteristic saloon-bar rant. I’m old, and have a red face, so I’m allowed.

  251. @The Alarmist
    @EldnahYm


    This predictably turned out to be wrong, therefore the advice was bad.
     
    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.

    Replies: @EldnahYm

    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.

    Studies which have attempted to measure the effect of washing one’s hands more frequently have failed to show any effect on reducing COVID transmission. It is bad advice to tell people to do one thing that doesn’t have much effect rather than to take other actions which have some effect. The hand washing advice gave people the wrong impression about the virus. You are arguing that hand washing is good. I never suggested it wasn’t.

    COVID isn’t especially virulent. It spread very easily though, so it can kill lots of people even while having low virulence.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    @EldnahYm

    Virus transmits by air n breathing.

    And his advice is washing hands.

    ☠☠☠

  252. An excellent effortpost, which demanded effortreading over several days to do it justice.

    Given the continued failure to contain Corona outside East Asia, it is only thanks to the timely development of vaccines and a stroke of good fortunate in that the critical protein spike on which many of these vaccines latch on to did not undergo significant mutations that should not expect to see comparable death rates beyond this annus horribilis.

    fortunate -> fortune, and it would be more accurate to say that due to a lot of previous vaccine work on SARS type coronaviruses, it was vaccine developers excluding the inactivated whole virus ones like Sinovac and their CoronaVac who latched onto the spike protein. In turn, our adaptive immune systems latches onto various parts of it, and we sincerely hope some of those are “conserved,” cannot undergo significant mutations or “the virus won’t virus.”

    You quote Greg Cochran saying something very silly:

    Knowing the basics about perennial plagues like smallpox and falciparum malaria, or short-term-visitors like the English sweat, helps clarify the mind of people that say silly things about evolution always favoring milder strains that spare the host: apparently nobody told smallpox about this, since its CFR was around 30% for thousands of years.

    He’s asking the wrong question about smallpox. Which should be, but we of course can’t know, how much did it mutate after it first jumped to humans? The thesis that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab is based in part on how much SARS-CoV(-1) mutated in its first few known months of contact with humans, vs. how little SARS-COV-2 has, see for example Alina Chan’s work, or so I’m told, I’ve got it in my queue to read.

    Accelerating regulatory approval of the new vaccines, e.g. the Moderna one was ready in two days’ time. So far as 80 year olds are concerned, the “Russian roulette”-level risks of getting Corona are in any case vastly higher than those from any vaccine.

    From everything I’ve learned this year about vaccine failures, even 80 year olds could have been much, much more harmed by a bad vaccine followed by an infection than no vaccine at all. Especially since even for 80 year old people the odds are in their favor if they get COVID-19.

    I read the beginning of Philippe Lemoine’s first article, and it’s not just garbage, but you can tell from the way he describes for example how the WHO found out about it that he knows he’s lying about at least some of the story (WHO staffers in Bejing used open source intelligence, violating their agreements the PRC didn’t formally tell them). This is something I followed closely for some time, for initially we believed and were very impressed about how the PRC/CCP had turned a new leaf and was being responsible instead of pulling the same sorts of stunts they did with SARS. Turned out everything in their/the WHO initial narrative/timeline was a lie.

    To take the very most important event that also tells us a lot about when it was realized something dreadful was going on in Wuhan, by the third week in December the novel coronavirus eventually dubbed SARS-CoV-2 was already being sequenced. As far as we can tell, sequences were only released 17 days later because one BSL-3 lab at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre did the right thing for the rest of the world and published the one they’d sequenced five days earlier on one of the standard Western repositories, and was shut down the next day for “rectification.”

    Think that could be a lie? Perhaps, but months into the pandemic the PRC was still refusing to share cultures, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was still the case (tried some searching just now, but only the CDC’s page on available cultures is well indexed). That delayed a whole lot of work outside the PRC by a month or more.

    How much Lemoine knows he’s lying about, how much he’s just ignorant of, but in particular how much he uses outside the PRC reactions to cover it all in a huge cloud of squid ink, it doesn’t really matter, if you read his account you’ll be worse off than if you’d ignored it.

    Otherwise, allowing for your more gothic preferences in Corona-chan art, a superb piece of work.

    • Replies: @inertial
    @That Would Be Telling

    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven't. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.

    Another reason is Chinese government's behavior. It's just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II, @That Would Be Telling

  253. @Anon99
    @The Alarmist

    Opportunities out there for someone to create a better auto-correct. Lol

    Replies: @The Alarmist

    I know the feeing 🙂

  254. @utu
    @Bert


    1) That most countries, especially the U.S. and those in Europe which have large immigrant populations, could never have managed to implement a competent contact tracing/quarantine program.
     
    This is nonsense. Countries with very high foreign born population (8% to 19%) like Finland and Norway did very well in contact tracing while Poland and Czechia did horrible job in contact tracing having 5 to 10 times lower foreign born population. You have strong anti-immigration bias commonly exhibited here in UR commentariat.

    2) That people from 15-35 disproportionately spread the virus but disproportionately suffer little harm from infection, such that this age-class could have been encouraged, by exhortation and payment, to acquire post-infection immunity; by doing this an approximation of herd immunity could have been reached by mid-year.
     
    This sounds good on paper but the implementation of it would be a huge logictic problem requiring shutting down and isolating 40% of population. Besides in the eraly stage we did not know age dependent IFR values well and we still do not know how infectious are the asymptomatic carriers.

    3) That death rates of older age-classes could have been lower by a factor of 4 if governments had joined rather than stifled the efforts of critical-care clinicians to find treatments using existing medications.
     
    CFR or IFR dropped because of better treatments. And possibly can be even 3 times lower now than in the early stage of epidemic.

    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry. Any physician that claims that megadoses of, say vitamin C can cure something is compromised in the eyes of sound medical science.

    The article you lined is by Mika Turkia who has no medical degree. Earlier he was pushing iodine as cure for Covid-19. Now he is pushing vitamins C and B1 which is a common quackery.

    I agree that ivermectin seems to be promising. Unfortunately most anecdotal reports are coming form the 3rd world countries.

    Blind or double blind protocols have been invented for a good reason. Good and well meaning physicians were often fooling themselves and more well meaning they are it might be even more likely.

    Replies: @Bert, @dfordoom

    I agree that not enough is being done to look at repurposed drugs but the main stream medical community is correctly cautious particularly because many claims are coming from physicians who are somewhat flaky like associated with vitamin charlatanry.

    Yep. And the claims by flaky physicians get taken up by idiot rightoids.

  255. @128
    On the flip side, I wonder if the Sinophiles here would truly be, if they get a chance to put their money where their mouth is, and can get to live in China for the next 10 to 5 years, but the catch is that they basically have to live as a normal Chinese person, with all of the rights, or lack thereof, a Chinese person gets, without the protection of being an expat, with a foreign passport. And within those 10 or 5 years, they can not leave China, just because they have a change of heart, and can not stand to live there anymore. Does Kim Philby ring a bell?

    Replies: @Blinky Bill, @jaichind

  256. @Bert
    @utu

    Sorry utu, but my post was a prankish test. And it demonstrated that you have no sense of humor and are entirely too tightly wound. I think you would benefit most from a pet.

    Replies: @utu

    Many of your claims are pure mumbo jumbo so it is hard to notice when you make an attempt of self-parody.

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu



    All of your claims are globalist propaganda. There's not even a unitary "you." Sometimes utu can write decent English, sometimes utu can't. Given division of a workday into 8-hour shifts, there are clearly at least two utus on the troll payroll.

  257. @That Would Be Telling
    An excellent effortpost, which demanded effortreading over several days to do it justice.

    Given the continued failure to contain Corona outside East Asia, it is only thanks to the timely development of vaccines and a stroke of good fortunate in that the critical protein spike on which many of these vaccines latch on to did not undergo significant mutations that should not expect to see comparable death rates beyond this annus horribilis.
     
    fortunate -> fortune, and it would be more accurate to say that due to a lot of previous vaccine work on SARS type coronaviruses, it was vaccine developers excluding the inactivated whole virus ones like Sinovac and their CoronaVac who latched onto the spike protein. In turn, our adaptive immune systems latches onto various parts of it, and we sincerely hope some of those are "conserved," cannot undergo significant mutations or "the virus won't virus."

    You quote Greg Cochran saying something very silly:

    Knowing the basics about perennial plagues like smallpox and falciparum malaria, or short-term-visitors like the English sweat, helps clarify the mind of people that say silly things about evolution always favoring milder strains that spare the host: apparently nobody told smallpox about this, since its CFR was around 30% for thousands of years.
     
    He's asking the wrong question about smallpox. Which should be, but we of course can't know, how much did it mutate after it first jumped to humans? The thesis that SARS-CoV-2 came from a lab is based in part on how much SARS-CoV(-1) mutated in its first few known months of contact with humans, vs. how little SARS-COV-2 has, see for example Alina Chan's work, or so I'm told, I've got it in my queue to read.

    Accelerating regulatory approval of the new vaccines, e.g. the Moderna one was ready in two days’ time. So far as 80 year olds are concerned, the “Russian roulette”-level risks of getting Corona are in any case vastly higher than those from any vaccine.
     
    From everything I've learned this year about vaccine failures, even 80 year olds could have been much, much more harmed by a bad vaccine followed by an infection than no vaccine at all. Especially since even for 80 year old people the odds are in their favor if they get COVID-19.

    I read the beginning of Philippe Lemoine's first article, and it's not just garbage, but you can tell from the way he describes for example how the WHO found out about it that he knows he's lying about at least some of the story (WHO staffers in Bejing used open source intelligence, violating their agreements the PRC didn't formally tell them). This is something I followed closely for some time, for initially we believed and were very impressed about how the PRC/CCP had turned a new leaf and was being responsible instead of pulling the same sorts of stunts they did with SARS. Turned out everything in their/the WHO initial narrative/timeline was a lie.

    To take the very most important event that also tells us a lot about when it was realized something dreadful was going on in Wuhan, by the third week in December the novel coronavirus eventually dubbed SARS-CoV-2 was already being sequenced. As far as we can tell, sequences were only released 17 days later because one BSL-3 lab at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre did the right thing for the rest of the world and published the one they'd sequenced five days earlier on one of the standard Western repositories, and was shut down the next day for "rectification."

    Think that could be a lie? Perhaps, but months into the pandemic the PRC was still refusing to share cultures, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was still the case (tried some searching just now, but only the CDC's page on available cultures is well indexed). That delayed a whole lot of work outside the PRC by a month or more.

    How much Lemoine knows he's lying about, how much he's just ignorant of, but in particular how much he uses outside the PRC reactions to cover it all in a huge cloud of squid ink, it doesn't really matter, if you read his account you'll be worse off than if you'd ignored it.

    Otherwise, allowing for your more gothic preferences in Corona-chan art, a superb piece of work.

    Replies: @inertial

    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven’t. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.

    Another reason is Chinese government’s behavior. It’s just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    @inertial

    You drank too much MSM koolaid.

    , @That Would Be Telling
    @inertial


    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven’t. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.
     
    That's not a strong argument because we haven't even vaguely begun to catalogue all the viruses in nature. See Saint Fauci paying the Wuhan Institute of Virology for 4-5 years to collect exotic bad viruses. So unless you're lucky, like finding MERS in camels (which is also unlucky, they're a reservoir of MERS-CoV, so it's still with us), proxies like a string of mutations adapting to humans are probably the best we have.

    Another reason is Chinese government’s behavior. It’s just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

     

    Could you distinguish that from the same thing, minus the industrial accident? There's also questions like how likely and eager would the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) be to confess. Although that would depend on whether and how much they were keeping various authorities informed of the work their were doing, particularly the really dangerous work that should only be done in their BSL-4 lab like this sort of gain of function research. The PRC's bioweapons establishment should be kept in the loop, but that doesn't mean it was done.

    There's also questions about how long it took for news to filter up from the front line to municipal, provincial and then central government authorities. Some of the delays in the whole process were observed to coincide with important Communist Party meetings at for example the provincial level.

    Replies: @inertial

  258. @Bert
    You cherry picked one thiamine study that showed no result. Others do.

    Here is some vitamin chicanery for you to munch on.



    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876382020314529

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960076020302764?via%3Dihub

    https://c19vitamind.com/

    Replies: @utu, @utu

    You linked to recent paper on vitamins D after I shot down your paper on thiamine. Typical moving goal post tactic. So let’s look at what we know about vitamin D:

    High dose vitamin D improves total serum antioxidant capacity and ICU outcome in critically ill patients – a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. (26 December 2020)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876382020314529#!

    This paper has two problems: (1) Small sample N=30, (2) It comes from Iran.

    In 2016 there was study

    High dose vitamin D administration in ventilated intensive care unit patients: A pilot double blind randomized controlled trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939707/

    which was also was for small sample (N=31) and have similar optimistic result.

    But in Dec. 2016 there was study on large sample N=1360
    Early High-Dose Vitamin D3 for Critically Ill, Vitamin D–Deficient Patients
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1911124

    which concluded “There were no clinically important differences between the groups with respect to secondary clinical, physiological, or safety end points. The severity of vitamin D deficiency at baseline did not affect the association between the treatment assignment and mortality.”

    And in Feb. 2019 sample N=610

    Vitamin D Supplementation in Mechanically Ventilated Patients in the Medical Intensive Care Unit
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jpen.1520

    that concluded: “These results suggest that VITD supplementation during critical illness may not provide benefit and that further research investigating potential supplementation in ambulatory patients at high risk of ICU admission (eg, severe underlying chronic disease) is warranted.”

    So as you can see results are mixed. Also vitamin D deficiency was studied (N=216):

    Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
    https://academic.oup.com/jcem/advance-article/doi/10.1210/clinem/dgaa733/5934827

    that concluded: “We did not find any relationship between vitamin D concentrations or vitamin deficiency and the severity of the disease.”

    But this paper from India make opposite claim (N=372):

    Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77093-z

    that concludes: “The fatality rate was high in vitamin D deficient (21% vs 3.1%).”

    So as you can see there is no consensus. Papers from Iran or India will have much lower impact than papers form the West. So the “official” position is ‘Not enough evidence’:

    Covid and vitamin D: ‘Not enough evidence’ for treatment. (Dec. 2020)
    https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55333063

  259. @Anatoly Karlin
    @Mark G.


    According to USA Today, the net worth of the 614 billionaires in America has increased by 931 billion dollars since March of this year.
     
    Meanwhile, China has ended the Year of Corona by breaking up Jack Ma's business empire.

    It's almost as if oligarchy and state capture grows out of deep-rooted political dysfunction as opposed to epidemiological measures. But keep barking, rightoids.

    Replies: @AaronB, @128, @Astuteobservor II

    Jack ma tried to do an unlimited lending scheme with his ant group. If that was allowed, I am 100% sure it would create a bubble of epic proportions. Which if popped, would make 2008 look like kids playing war vs WW2.

    Jack ma’s empire is getting cut up because he just tried to kill the Chinese economy = ccp. He is fucked. I read he isn’t even allowed to leave the country right now.

    Chinese style “govt over money” saved themselves and the rest of the investors like me.

    I feel like jeff Bezos gets too much hate for no reason. It would only be justified if he created n released covid to create the enormous profit his online shopping mall is making.

    What should be done is to tax every amazon sale. It would help the country alot in theory, but I don’t have any hopes for the shit politicians of this country to do the right thing. Like the laws that would never be allowed to passed if they weren’t attached to the covid relief bill.

    Fuck them all.

    • Replies: @Chinaman
    @Astuteobservor II

    Don’t sell your BABA just yet. This is just a slap on the wrist. A warning to show who’s the boss. Happened to Tencent and others. They still need more innovation from alibaba b4 they finally take it over...the stock is shaking out SoftBank and the foreign investors.

    BABA will recover in 2021.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

  260. @inertial
    @That Would Be Telling

    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven't. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.

    Another reason is Chinese government's behavior. It's just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II, @That Would Be Telling

    You drank too much MSM koolaid.

  261. @EldnahYm
    @The Alarmist


    How can you reach that conclusion? The advice is good for pretty much any pathogen that attacks through mucous membranes, which COVID does. Aside from long-term exposure to an infected person in an enclosed space, the next most likely vector is contact with a contaminated surface before touching one’s own eyes, nose, or mouth, which is frequently an issue for a “normal” cold and flu season.

    Maybe many people wearing masks are getting it after touching the concentration of particles building up on their masks and then not washing their hands before rubbing their eyes or blowing their noses, so they might actually be better off not wearing a mask and washing hands frequently.

    If COVID was as virulent and deadly as our experts led many to believe, I’m surprised the experts didn’t tell us to put decon showers and construct changing rooms with fresh changes of clothing at our front doors.

    I’ll believe this is a serious crisis when they start burning piles of bodies in the streets or fields; for now it is a bad respiratory-illness year.
     
    Studies which have attempted to measure the effect of washing one's hands more frequently have failed to show any effect on reducing COVID transmission. It is bad advice to tell people to do one thing that doesn't have much effect rather than to take other actions which have some effect. The hand washing advice gave people the wrong impression about the virus. You are arguing that hand washing is good. I never suggested it wasn't.

    COVID isn't especially virulent. It spread very easily though, so it can kill lots of people even while having low virulence.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II

    Virus transmits by air n breathing.

    And his advice is washing hands.

    ☠☠☠

  262. Do debts really matter if you have your own currency and can print money at will, and do not suffer from production bottlenecks? For the previous episodes of hyperinflation, you also had serious problems on the supply side of the economy.The government can just bail out the consumer debt, and it will be a good way to increase consumer spending, if salaries can not be raised, and the government does not want to hand out cash to consumers, such as in the case of the US. As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.

    • Replies: @Bashibuzuk
    @128

    The MMT will only work when we will have a centralized global cryptocurrency issued by the BIS and distributed by the "national" Central Bank franchisees as a basket of interconnected "local" cryptos.

    , @dfordoom
    @128


    As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.
     
    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.

    We need to accept the unpalatable truth that people like globalism because globalism is very very good for consumers. Globalism has made life better in many ways. It really is more efficient.

    Of course it has come at a price. That's the way life works.

    Economic globalism makes a lot of sense. Other types of globalism (political and cultural globalism for instance) are clearly dangerous and damaging.

    Rather than having a knee-jerk response that globalism is an evil conspiracy we need to find ways to try to get the benefits of globalism whilst minimising the deleterious effects.

    Replies: @g2k

  263. @128
    Do debts really matter if you have your own currency and can print money at will, and do not suffer from production bottlenecks? For the previous episodes of hyperinflation, you also had serious problems on the supply side of the economy.The government can just bail out the consumer debt, and it will be a good way to increase consumer spending, if salaries can not be raised, and the government does not want to hand out cash to consumers, such as in the case of the US. As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @dfordoom

    The MMT will only work when we will have a centralized global cryptocurrency issued by the BIS and distributed by the “national” Central Bank franchisees as a basket of interconnected “local” cryptos.

  264. @inertial
    @That Would Be Telling

    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven't. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.

    Another reason is Chinese government's behavior. It's just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

    Replies: @Astuteobservor II, @That Would Be Telling

    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven’t. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.

    That’s not a strong argument because we haven’t even vaguely begun to catalogue all the viruses in nature. See Saint Fauci paying the Wuhan Institute of Virology for 4-5 years to collect exotic bad viruses. So unless you’re lucky, like finding MERS in camels (which is also unlucky, they’re a reservoir of MERS-CoV, so it’s still with us), proxies like a string of mutations adapting to humans are probably the best we have.

    Another reason is Chinese government’s behavior. It’s just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

    Could you distinguish that from the same thing, minus the industrial accident? There’s also questions like how likely and eager would the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) be to confess. Although that would depend on whether and how much they were keeping various authorities informed of the work their were doing, particularly the really dangerous work that should only be done in their BSL-4 lab like this sort of gain of function research. The PRC’s bioweapons establishment should be kept in the loop, but that doesn’t mean it was done.

    There’s also questions about how long it took for news to filter up from the front line to municipal, provincial and then central government authorities. Some of the delays in the whole process were observed to coincide with important Communist Party meetings at for example the provincial level.

    • Replies: @inertial
    @That Would Be Telling

    I don't see what the big deal is with finding the virus in nature, if that's where it came from. If Chinese government is as competent as they say, they could easily source the animal in the wet markets, or wherever this came from. With the original SARS it took only a few months to discover the virus in, famously, civets. The fact that they cannot do it with SARS 2.0 makes you think. I am not saying it's a proof of anything but it makes you think.

    And the way CCP behaved in the early stages of crisis followed a familiar (to me) pattern - first they tried to to resolve it hush-hush, under the wraps, and when that failed they panicked and started to throw kitchen sink at the problem. Again, this doesn't prove anything but it does make you reevaluate probabilities.

    And then there is the supposed whistleblower. Now, maybe she is a liar and/or crazy and/or a CIA plant. Then again, maybe there is something to what she says. In combination with other circumstantial evidence, this make the hypothesis just so much more probable.

  265. @Thulean Friend
    @AltSerrice

    When doing analysis, the most common fallacy is to overcomplicate matters.

    Human stupidity is usually the most accurate answer to most puzzles. In the case of Corona, I take any grand claims about permanent damage to state capacity with a pinch of salt.

    East Asia had a dry-run with SARS. This was something many East Asian themselves were writing about in the early days of the pandemic, contrasting the Western/Eastern responses. And then they had MERS.

    The West hasn't had a significant pandemic scare for a very long time, so collective memory atrophied. It isn't really much more complicated than that. The real test is what happens in the next pandemic, because then everyone will be far wiser from the getgo. If we see a repeat/re-run of what we saw thus far, then we can make more long-lasting conclusions.

    It's also worth thinking about Japan, which didn't do what Korea or Vietnam did, yet seemed to escape better than most anyway. So it's not clear it a question of policies. Many people wrote about Japan's culture of cleanliness and orderliness as contributing.

    Replies: @inertial, @Daniel Chieh, @showmethereal

    True… Though Korea and Japan’s economies suffered less than Japan too…

  266. @AP
    @rebel yell

    Thulean Friend has a good point that the Asian countries had recent experiences with epidemics and were more ready for this one. The real comparison will be if God forbid another one comes in a few years.

    That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.

    Replies: @g2k, @Astuteobservor II, @showmethereal

    “That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.”

    Being a separate land mass also helps. Some Pacific islands had no virus or a handful of cases… The Caribbean did better than mainland North America.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @showmethereal



    “That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.”
     
    Being a separate land mass also helps.
     
    It didn't help Britain.

    Maybe the difference is that New Zealand didn't have a clown like Boris Johnson in charge.

    Replies: @g2k

  267. @That Would Be Telling
    @inertial


    Do you know if they finally found this virus in nature? Last I heard they haven’t. This is the chief reason I am beginning to believe that the virus had escaped from a lab.
     
    That's not a strong argument because we haven't even vaguely begun to catalogue all the viruses in nature. See Saint Fauci paying the Wuhan Institute of Virology for 4-5 years to collect exotic bad viruses. So unless you're lucky, like finding MERS in camels (which is also unlucky, they're a reservoir of MERS-CoV, so it's still with us), proxies like a string of mutations adapting to humans are probably the best we have.

    Another reason is Chinese government’s behavior. It’s just my intuition, but my Soviet experience tells me that CCP behaved in exactly the same way the Soviet authorities would do after some industrial accident whose consequences are slipping out of their control.

     

    Could you distinguish that from the same thing, minus the industrial accident? There's also questions like how likely and eager would the Wuhan Institute for Virology (WIV) be to confess. Although that would depend on whether and how much they were keeping various authorities informed of the work their were doing, particularly the really dangerous work that should only be done in their BSL-4 lab like this sort of gain of function research. The PRC's bioweapons establishment should be kept in the loop, but that doesn't mean it was done.

    There's also questions about how long it took for news to filter up from the front line to municipal, provincial and then central government authorities. Some of the delays in the whole process were observed to coincide with important Communist Party meetings at for example the provincial level.

    Replies: @inertial

    I don’t see what the big deal is with finding the virus in nature, if that’s where it came from. If Chinese government is as competent as they say, they could easily source the animal in the wet markets, or wherever this came from. With the original SARS it took only a few months to discover the virus in, famously, civets. The fact that they cannot do it with SARS 2.0 makes you think. I am not saying it’s a proof of anything but it makes you think.

    And the way CCP behaved in the early stages of crisis followed a familiar (to me) pattern – first they tried to to resolve it hush-hush, under the wraps, and when that failed they panicked and started to throw kitchen sink at the problem. Again, this doesn’t prove anything but it does make you reevaluate probabilities.

    And then there is the supposed whistleblower. Now, maybe she is a liar and/or crazy and/or a CIA plant. Then again, maybe there is something to what she says. In combination with other circumstantial evidence, this make the hypothesis just so much more probable.

  268. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell
    @AlexanderGrozny


    Of that 3% though, many are not Black African but Black Caribbean
     
    And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican 'Yardie' culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves.

    Replies: @AlexanderGrozny, @showmethereal

    “And where did those Black Caribbean originate from? If anything I have found the West Indian blacks to be far worse than African blacks. This is a result of Jamaican ‘Yardie’ culture. And the London murder statistics speak for themselves.”

    So both Jamaica and Ghana were British colonies. Even more than that – much of the slave population the British took to Jamaica they took from Ghana (Akan people)… So why is Jamaica more violent?? Look up the most violent countries per capita and you will find they are almost all the in the Americas. They all have access to US weapons and all help supply the US with drugs.

    Jamaican migrants to England in the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s were not violent and were seen as good workers. Go check what happened.

  269. @utu
    @Passer by

    The statistics will probably show that more affluent society is more people are in retirement and nursing homes. But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds. We are supposed to be loyal to the Truth and if family bonds prevents you from reaching for the Truth you may have to cut the family bonds:


    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10)
     
    Catholic church put a lot of energy to increase the number degrees of consanguinity in marriage in order to weaken the family and tribal bonds. Perhaps not enough in regions of Sicily or Calabria where mafia flourished.

    Replies: @showmethereal

    “But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds.”

    The context of what you quoted was related to identifying the Messiah. Everything else in “the book” teaches to obey family elders and authorities in society. So that is a “wrong” culture. Jesus/yeshua even told his disciples to pay taxes to the hated Romans. He also upbraided the religious people of the day who refused to financially take care of their parents and using money to give as an “offering”.

    • Replies: @utu
    @showmethereal

    Christianity is against the amorality of "my family right or wrong." There are higher values than family. But it can get too far when taken literally by simpletons eg. Pavlik Morozov. In Western legal tradition you can excuse yourself from testifying against family members.

  270. @showmethereal
    @utu

    "But there is something about our culture that goes back to Christianity that makes it more likely to rebel against family bonds."

    The context of what you quoted was related to identifying the Messiah. Everything else in "the book" teaches to obey family elders and authorities in society. So that is a "wrong" culture. Jesus/yeshua even told his disciples to pay taxes to the hated Romans. He also upbraided the religious people of the day who refused to financially take care of their parents and using money to give as an "offering".

    Replies: @utu

    Christianity is against the amorality of “my family right or wrong.” There are higher values than family. But it can get too far when taken literally by simpletons eg. Pavlik Morozov. In Western legal tradition you can excuse yourself from testifying against family members.

  271. @128
    Do debts really matter if you have your own currency and can print money at will, and do not suffer from production bottlenecks? For the previous episodes of hyperinflation, you also had serious problems on the supply side of the economy.The government can just bail out the consumer debt, and it will be a good way to increase consumer spending, if salaries can not be raised, and the government does not want to hand out cash to consumers, such as in the case of the US. As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.

    Replies: @Bashibuzuk, @dfordoom

    As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.

    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.

    We need to accept the unpalatable truth that people like globalism because globalism is very very good for consumers. Globalism has made life better in many ways. It really is more efficient.

    Of course it has come at a price. That’s the way life works.

    Economic globalism makes a lot of sense. Other types of globalism (political and cultural globalism for instance) are clearly dangerous and damaging.

    Rather than having a knee-jerk response that globalism is an evil conspiracy we need to find ways to try to get the benefits of globalism whilst minimising the deleterious effects.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @g2k
    @dfordoom


    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.
     
    Can't disagree with this statement but there's a certain danger to all of this. It's enabled the Corona restrictions to be sustainable for far longer than would've been the case 20-30 years ago. If most internet connections were still 56k office workers would never have been sent home and the Corona deaths would have been simply accepted as fact of life. The lack of discontent and defiance from the young has been the most shocking thing about this; If you actually obey the UK's Corona nonsense, going on a date has been a criminal offence since September ffs and will probably be so until July. There's a sentiment amongst nerdy millennials and zoomers, who are very well represented here and our author has a streak of this, that the physical world is passe and that sitting on your ass staring at a screen all day in a tiny flat isn't dystopian nor represents gigantic fall in living standards, but is simply the future.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @dfordoom

  272. @showmethereal
    @AP

    "That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly."

    Being a separate land mass also helps. Some Pacific islands had no virus or a handful of cases... The Caribbean did better than mainland North America.

    Replies: @dfordoom

    “That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.”

    Being a separate land mass also helps.

    It didn’t help Britain.

    Maybe the difference is that New Zealand didn’t have a clown like Boris Johnson in charge.

    • Replies: @g2k
    @dfordoom

    I don't want to defend the clown for one second, but that's probably unfair. UK Corona policy has been de-facto in the hands of a cabal of scientists who flipped from "let it rip" to " forever lockdown" in mid-March.



    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2XRc389TvG8

    https://youtu.be/lhFfp5V28uc

    Here's another one
    https://youtu.be/ZcmHsxz6y00
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/we-need-even-tougher-curbs-to-fight-this-new-coronavirus-strain

  273. @utu
    @Bert

    Many of your claims are pure mumbo jumbo so it is hard to notice when you make an attempt of self-parody.

    Replies: @Bert

    [MORE]

    All of your claims are globalist propaganda. There’s not even a unitary “you.” Sometimes utu can write decent English, sometimes utu can’t. Given division of a workday into 8-hour shifts, there are clearly at least two utus on the troll payroll.

  274. @utu
    @Bert

    "You cherry picked one thiamine study " - I did not. It was the only thiamine study that cited the paper you promoted here. There was another paper on thiamine but it concerned Shoshin syndrome.

    You should stop promoting papers on thiamine.

    Replies: @Bert

    [MORE]

    You should stop propagandizing against treatments that can save lives. Clearly there are public health professionals who recognize that they have a duty to counter misinformation like yours. Those below are promoting vitamin sufficiency, a crucial condition for health in old age. How unprofessional according to you !

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428453/#:~:text=As%20antibodies%2C%20and%20importantly%20T,SARS%2DCoV%2D2%20infection.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert

    The article you linked: "Be well: A potential role for vitamin B in COVID-19" is an editorial which basically states that nutrition and balanced diet including vitamins is good and important for you and now when we still do not have good treatment for Covid we should pay attention to blah blah blah.

    There is nothing in it. No research, no new results, no new claims. The authors just capitalized on Covid to publish easy meaningless paper by including Covid in the title. You will get fast track publication. There is gold rush and many are jumping on Covid bandwagon to have another useless publication added to their list. Perhaps even you could write one: "Important of drinking water in Covid-19"

    Why are you giving links to useless papers that you haven't read?

    Replies: @Bert

  275. COVID is not an IQ test, it is the famous Stanford Marshmallow experiment but for adults
    It test for delay gratification and executive functions. It is correlated to IQ but people like to call it “grit”.

    White people are like 5 year old Chinese children who can’t control their basic urges. Losers.

    WW3 have just been fought and China won. Learn some mandarin to save you ass.

    • Agree: Bashibuzuk
  276. @Astuteobservor II
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Jack ma tried to do an unlimited lending scheme with his ant group. If that was allowed, I am 100% sure it would create a bubble of epic proportions. Which if popped, would make 2008 look like kids playing war vs WW2.

    Jack ma's empire is getting cut up because he just tried to kill the Chinese economy = ccp. He is fucked. I read he isn't even allowed to leave the country right now.

    Chinese style "govt over money" saved themselves and the rest of the investors like me.

    I feel like jeff Bezos gets too much hate for no reason. It would only be justified if he created n released covid to create the enormous profit his online shopping mall is making.

    What should be done is to tax every amazon sale. It would help the country alot in theory, but I don't have any hopes for the shit politicians of this country to do the right thing. Like the laws that would never be allowed to passed if they weren't attached to the covid relief bill.

    Fuck them all.

    Replies: @Chinaman

    Don’t sell your BABA just yet. This is just a slap on the wrist. A warning to show who’s the boss. Happened to Tencent and others. They still need more innovation from alibaba b4 they finally take it over…the stock is shaking out SoftBank and the foreign investors.

    BABA will recover in 2021.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    @Chinaman

    Alibaba would be fine without jack ma. Jack ma would not be fine without Alibaba.

    Fuck him n people behind ant group.

  277. @dfordoom
    @showmethereal



    “That having been said, democratic New Zealand handled this crisis brilliantly.”
     
    Being a separate land mass also helps.
     
    It didn't help Britain.

    Maybe the difference is that New Zealand didn't have a clown like Boris Johnson in charge.

    Replies: @g2k

    I don’t want to defend the clown for one second, but that’s probably unfair. UK Corona policy has been de-facto in the hands of a cabal of scientists who flipped from “let it rip” to ” forever lockdown” in mid-March.

  278. @Anatoly Karlin
    @RadicalCenter

    It's clear that you either haven't read my article or at least don't want to conscientiously engage with what I said (as opposed to your strawman of what I said).

    That said:


    Who’s selfish, then? People who keep their jobs, homes, vehicles, and hope for the future and lecture about the “need” for lockdown to people who ARE losing everything, including their family businesses built over generations, including their life savings, or soon to lose it all.
     
    I don't tend to take things in a personal direction, but since you have had no compunctions about openly assessing my degree of moral character (or lack thereof) and fitness to have children on past threads, I will rejoinder in kind and say that you yes, you are quite clearly selfish. Not on account of the anti-lockdown stance (a nuanced topic that cannot be a reduced to a "yes" or a "no", as I just spent a few thousand words arguing) but on account of your incessant anti-mask signaling ("enjoy wearing that face diaper" style comments) in spite of the fact that masking imposes near zero costs and indeed, practiced sufficiently universally and conscientiously, obviates the need for more onerous measures. But even this trifle deeply annoys you, but you can't say so outright without losing public sympathy, so you resort to "but think of the children."

    Replies: @RadicalCenter, @RadicalCenter, @Mark G., @Chinaman

    It is mind-numbing to watch a bunch of white dude argues incessantly about the merits of mask wearing or that how it is an affront to their freedom.

    There’s 2 way Asians think about this.

    1. Risk-reward. Common sense will tell you that masks stop\filter some of the discharge coming out of one’s orifices. Even if its efficacy is only 1%, it is a no-brainer since there are not downsides to it beside a bit of discomfort. Looking like a freak or that it lower oxygen level? Those who claims it lowers oxygen level don’t need the oxygen anyway since they don’t have a brain.

    2. It is a simple matter of etiquette and hygiene. I don’t t want to be in close proximity of someone in public, let alone talk to someone without a mask. So if people want to interact with me, they need to wear masks. If only 20% of the population feels that way, it is enough to ensure everyone wears masks in public because that’s the only way social interaction can continue. On the other hand, if I believe I might have COVID, I don’t want to infect others. It is simple as that.

    Neurologists should put Asians and white people in a fMRI machine to see which part of their brain lights up when they think about masks or simply test the IQ of those who don’t want to wear masks. Pretty sure we will have some interesting findings.

    • Replies: @128
    @Chinaman

    Relative risk tolerance? East Asian societies put a higher premium on agreeableness than Western societies, due to the importance of maintaining face, plus Confucianism naturally selects for agreeableness traits. Plus East Asian culture puts greater emphasis on collectivism and deference to elders and authority.

  279. @dfordoom
    @128


    As for Amazon, I simply do not like a single company dominating a sector. And I also enjoy going to main street and seeing various retail shops and watching shoppers buy things there, instead of it all being online, it is healthier for the community in normal situations if people can get to interact face to face, instead of online only.
     
    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.

    We need to accept the unpalatable truth that people like globalism because globalism is very very good for consumers. Globalism has made life better in many ways. It really is more efficient.

    Of course it has come at a price. That's the way life works.

    Economic globalism makes a lot of sense. Other types of globalism (political and cultural globalism for instance) are clearly dangerous and damaging.

    Rather than having a knee-jerk response that globalism is an evil conspiracy we need to find ways to try to get the benefits of globalism whilst minimising the deleterious effects.

    Replies: @g2k

    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.

    Can’t disagree with this statement but there’s a certain danger to all of this. It’s enabled the Corona restrictions to be sustainable for far longer than would’ve been the case 20-30 years ago. If most internet connections were still 56k office workers would never have been sent home and the Corona deaths would have been simply accepted as fact of life. The lack of discontent and defiance from the young has been the most shocking thing about this; If you actually obey the UK’s Corona nonsense, going on a date has been a criminal offence since September ffs and will probably be so until July. There’s a sentiment amongst nerdy millennials and zoomers, who are very well represented here and our author has a streak of this, that the physical world is passe and that sitting on your ass staring at a screen all day in a tiny flat isn’t dystopian nor represents gigantic fall in living standards, but is simply the future.

    • Agree: Wielgus
    • Replies: @Wielgus
    @g2k

    In the 1990s, Sandra Bullock starred in a film called The Net in which her character is like that - she has virtually no social interactions. It makes her very vulnerable.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Net_(1995_film)

    , @dfordoom
    @g2k


    There’s a sentiment amongst nerdy millennials and zoomers, who are very well represented here and our author has a streak of this, that the physical world is passe and that sitting on your ass staring at a screen all day in a tiny flat isn’t dystopian nor represents gigantic fall in living standards, but is simply the future.
     
    It is possible to take a more nuanced view. The internet is neither all bad nor all good. It's a mixture. Online shopping has been overwhelmingly a net positive. Social media has been overwhelmingly a net negative.

    The problem isn't people buying stuff online. The problem is people wasting their lives on social media.

    It's possible to choose to embrace the good things about the online world and reject the bad side of it.

    As a shopping mall the internet is superb and has made people's lives much better. As a substitute for an actual social life it's a disaster and has devastated people's lives.
  280. I don’t understand why socialists in the West have such liberal, deranged social policies that alienate anyone conservative minded or frankly anyone normal. If they were socially conservative, but economically left wing I believe that they would trounce the traditional right in Western countries.

    The reason the neocon “capitalist” system survives, especially in the UK and US, is because the parties that promote that sort of economics are also the most socially conservative.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    @Europe Europa


    I don’t understand why socialists in the West have such liberal, deranged social policies that alienate anyone conservative minded or frankly anyone normal.
     
    It could be because they're not socialists.

    If they were socially conservative, but economically left wing I believe that they would trounce the traditional right in Western countries.
     
    The mainstream Left abandoned economically left wing beliefs decades ago.

    The reason the neocon “capitalist” system survives, especially in the UK and US, is because the parties that promote that sort of economics are also the most socially conservative.
     
    Nonsense. There is nothing remotely socially conservative about the Conservative Party in the UK. There's nothing remotely socially conservative about any of the mainstream parties of the Right anywhere in the Anglosphere. The mainstream Right abandoned socially conservative beliefs decades ago.
  281. @Bert
    @utu



    You should stop propagandizing against treatments that can save lives. Clearly there are public health professionals who recognize that they have a duty to counter misinformation like yours. Those below are promoting vitamin sufficiency, a crucial condition for health in old age. How unprofessional according to you !

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428453/#:~:text=As%20antibodies%2C%20and%20importantly%20T,SARS%2DCoV%2D2%20infection.

    Replies: @utu

    The article you linked: “Be well: A potential role for vitamin B in COVID-19” is an editorial which basically states that nutrition and balanced diet including vitamins is good and important for you and now when we still do not have good treatment for Covid we should pay attention to blah blah blah.

    There is nothing in it. No research, no new results, no new claims. The authors just capitalized on Covid to publish easy meaningless paper by including Covid in the title. You will get fast track publication. There is gold rush and many are jumping on Covid bandwagon to have another useless publication added to their list. Perhaps even you could write one: “Important of drinking water in Covid-19”

    Why are you giving links to useless papers that you haven’t read?

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu

    The relevance is that Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, zinc and selenium insufficiencies are associated with cytokine storm deaths. Many such deaths would have been prevented by educational efforts involving public health agencies contacting individuals aged 50 and above by letter to advise them to attain vitamin and trace mineral sufficiency.



    Glad that you brought up the question of motivation. The reason that I have posted, more than anyone else here, links to early treatment protocols and prophylaxis protocols is that in the absence of any officially-recognized medical solutions for Covid, which of course were blocked in the interest of a corporate, globalist solution, I consider it a duty to share what I have learned in the past year.

    Just as you consider it your job to cast doubt on any solution other than lockdowns, vaccination, and many deaths. Enjoy your paychecks.

    Replies: @utu

  282. @dux.ie
    @utu

    > What is on the x axis in your plots?

    The active pool of confirmed cases, i.e. Nconfirm-Nrecover-Ndeath. It is the fundamental relationship in many of the differential equation models that Nnew is linearly proportional to the active pool, c.f. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State-space_representation . The plot for UK might suggest that that assumption might not be always true (zero gradient) especially when there are random human interventions. And if the situation is under control there might be two distinct gradients like that in the HK and AU.Vic case.

    Replies: @utu

    I do not see any benefit or advantage of plots df(t)/dt vs. f(t)

    • Replies: @Bert
    @utu

    Your supervisor should have instructed you to avoid criticism of or interaction with other trolls. Nevertheless, here's the answer.

    dux.ie's troll job is to conjure up a scenario to compete against the obvious idea that SARS-2 came from China. He found a paper on optimal control theory as applied to the epidemic and, most folks not having any idea about the math of OCT, he uses it to buttress a biogeographically impossible hypothesis of interspecies transfer of the primordial virus. The praxis of rhetorical confusion is explained by the late Senator Huey Long in the video below. Hipopalorum versus Lopopahirum. Doesn't need to make sense if it provides a gloss of explanation.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MKb35NK0F0

  283. @128
    On the flip side, I wonder if the Sinophiles here would truly be, if they get a chance to put their money where their mouth is, and can get to live in China for the next 10 to 5 years, but the catch is that they basically have to live as a normal Chinese person, with all of the rights, or lack thereof, a Chinese person gets, without the protection of being an expat, with a foreign passport. And within those 10 or 5 years, they can not leave China, just because they have a change of heart, and can not stand to live there anymore. Does Kim Philby ring a bell?

    Replies: @Blinky Bill, @jaichind

    During the 1990s and 2000s over 1 million people from Taiwan Province of ROC lived in PRC for business and economic reasons. This number as declined as the relative competitiveness ROC business declined with local PRC business in the 2010s. But all in all these 1 million people from ROC had no issues living on the Mainland for years and years. The main complaint was more about the health care system which was not as good as what it was on ROC. Even on that point the PRC has closed the gap considerably sine the early 2000s.

    • Agree: showmethereal
  284. @g2k
    @dfordoom


    I remember the good old days before online shopping. The good old days were crap. A very limited range of over-priced products. We should not sentimentalise the past too much. Online shopping is popular because it is much much better than the good old days of bricks-and-mortar stores.
     
    Can't disagree with this statement but there's a certain danger to all of this. It's enabled the Corona restrictions to be sustainable for far longer than would've been the case 20-30 years ago. If most internet connections were still 56k office workers would never have been sent home and the Corona deaths would have been simply accepted as fact of life. The lack of discontent and defiance from the young has been the most shocking thing about this; If you actually obey the UK's Corona nonsense, going on a date has been a criminal offence since September ffs and will probably be so until July. There's a sentiment amongst nerdy millennials and zoomers, who are very well represented here and our author has a streak of this, that the physical world is passe and that sitting on your ass staring at a screen all day in a tiny flat isn't dystopian nor represents gigantic fall in living standards, but is simply the future.

    Replies: @Wielgus, @dfordoom

    In the 1990s, Sandra Bullock starred in a film called The Net in which her character is like that – she has virtually no social interactions. It makes her very vulnerable.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Net_(1995_film)

  285. @Chinaman
    @Anatoly Karlin

    It is mind-numbing to watch a bunch of white dude argues incessantly about the merits of mask wearing or that how it is an affront to their freedom.

    There’s 2 way Asians think about this.

    1. Risk-reward. Common sense will tell you that masks stop\filter some of the discharge coming out of one’s orifices. Even if its efficacy is only 1%, it is a no-brainer since there are not downsides to it beside a bit of discomfort. Looking like a freak or that it lower oxygen level? Those who claims it lowers oxygen level don’t need the oxygen anyway since they don’t have a brain.

    2. It is a simple matter of etiquette and hygiene. I don’t t want to be in close proximity of someone in public, let alone talk to someone without a mask. So if people want to interact with me, they need to wear masks. If only 20% of the population feels that way, it is enough to ensure everyone wears masks in public because that’s the only way social interaction can continue. On the other hand, if I believe I might have COVID, I don’t want to infect others. It is simple as that.

    Neurologists should put Asians and white people in a fMRI machine to see which part of their brain lights up when they think about masks or simply test the IQ of those who don’t want to wear masks. Pretty sure we will have some interesting findings.

    Replies: @128

    Relative risk tolerance? East Asian societies put a higher premium on agreeableness than Western societies, due to the importance of maintaining face, plus Confucianism naturally selects for agreeableness traits. Plus East Asian culture puts greater emphasis on collectivism and deference to elders and authority.

  286. Although the nuance here is that Korean and Chinese culture is more similar then Japanese and Chinese culture, for example Japanese corporate culture is more consensus-driven and has a flatter power structure than Korean or Chinese corporate culture.

  287. @utu
    @Bert

    The article you linked: "Be well: A potential role for vitamin B in COVID-19" is an editorial which basically states that nutrition and balanced diet including vitamins is good and important for you and now when we still do not have good treatment for Covid we should pay attention to blah blah blah.

    There is nothing in it. No research, no new results, no new claims. The authors just capitalized on Covid to publish easy meaningless paper by including Covid in the title. You will get fast track publication. There is gold rush and many are jumping on Covid bandwagon to have another useless publication added to their list. Perhaps even you could write one: "Important of drinking water in Covid-19"

    Why are you giving links to useless papers that you haven't read?

    Replies: @Bert

    The relevance is that Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, zinc and selenium insufficiencies are associated with cytokine storm deaths. Many such deaths would have been prevented by educational efforts involving public health agencies contacting individuals aged 50 and above by letter to advise them to attain vitamin and trace mineral sufficiency.

    [MORE]

    Glad that you brought up the question of motivation. The reason that I have posted, more than anyone else here, links to early treatment protocols and prophylaxis protocols is that in the absence of any officially-recognized medical solutions for Covid, which of course were blocked in the interest of a corporate, globalist solution, I consider it a duty to share what I have learned in the past year.

    Just as you consider it your job to cast doubt on any solution other than lockdowns, vaccination, and many deaths. Enjoy your paychecks.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Bert


    "The relevance is that Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, zinc and selenium insufficiencies are associated with cytokine storm deaths."
     
    I see you added to the list of wonder cures selenium supplementation after your claim about thiamine turned to be a fake and the claims about vitamin D were greatly exaggerated (see the thread of our exchanges). What you stating is trite banality from which it odes not follow that supplementation does work.

    Here is a paper that tries to explain clinical studies results that show antioxidants therapies are ineffective:


    Rethinking Antioxidants in the Intensive Care Unit (2013)
    https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201307-1380CP

    Recently there was yet another clinical trial using antioxidants that failed in patients with critical illness. In this perspective, we suggest that antioxidants likely interfere with the normal immune response, thus contributing to the lack of efficacy in patients with critical illness.

    Thus, oxidative stress has been an attractive therapeutic target in critical illness, and antioxidants have been tested in critically ill patients for decades. Overall the results have been inconsistent without a clear benefit (1)

    Recently, the largest clinical trial targeting oxidative stress in critically ill patients was completed and reported no clinical efficacy of antioxidant supplementation and a trend toward increased mortality with glutamine administration (2).

    A second strategy to combat oxidative stress has been to restore endogenous antioxidants by supplementing vitamins A, C, and E or selenium, alone or in various combinations (22–24). This approach, sometimes referred to as “immune nutrition,” has been studied in various trial designs, including randomized placebo-controlled studies, with inconsistent results.

    With this in mind, Heyland and colleagues designed and performed an appropriately powered, multicenter clinical trial in which they tested the efficacy of intravenous and enteral antioxidants (i.e., selenium, zinc, β-carotene, and vitamins E and C) and glutamine (a precursor for glutathione) in mechanically ventilated patients (2). The study had a factorial design and enrolled more than 1,200 patients.

    The authors reported that supplementation was associated with an increase in plasma glutamine and selenium levels but found no significant reduction in days of mechanical ventilation or mortality.
     
    Stating that we need sufficient amount of nutrient and micronutrients is trite just like stating that dehydration is bad for you. Drink water and eat well. So this is one thing but stating that elevated doses or even megadoses of vitamin D, C or selenium will do you any good is pure charlatanry.

    As far as the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the so called anti-oxidants which is the foundation of the Food Supplements Industry the thinking has been changed. It was shown that some anti-oxidants can do more harm than good. The best known is that of vitamin E.

    Does Vitamin E Prevent or Promote Cancer?
    https://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/5/5/701
     

    Vitamin E and lung cancer risk
    https://www.nhs.uk/news/cancer/vitamin-e-and-lung-cancer-risk/

    The study behind the news report looked at the use of supplemental vitamins (multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate) and new cases of lung cancer. Overall, the study found no protective effect of supplements on lung cancer. It also found a barely significant increase in risk of lung cancer associated with vitamin E supplementation.
     
    The role of ROS is more complex. They are not just bad guys as the Food Supplements Industry portrays them. Fore example here

    Hekimi S, Lapointe J, Wen Y. Taking a “good” look at free radicals in the aging process. Trends Cell Biol 2011;21:569–576.
     
    the authors showed that elevated ROS levels can extend lifespan in roundworms.
  288. @utu
    @dux.ie

    I do not see any benefit or advantage of plots df(t)/dt vs. f(t)

    Replies: @Bert

    Your supervisor should have instructed you to avoid criticism of or interaction with other trolls. Nevertheless, here’s the answer.

    dux.ie’s troll job is to conjure up a scenario to compete against the obvious idea that SARS-2 came from China. He found a paper on optimal control theory as applied to the epidemic and, most folks not having any idea about the math of OCT, he uses it to buttress a biogeographically impossible hypothesis of interspecies transfer of the primordial virus. The praxis of rhetorical confusion is explained by the late Senator Huey Long in the video below. Hipopalorum versus Lopopahirum. Doesn’t need to make sense if it provides a gloss of explanation.

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