30 April 2020


The Very Unstable Lunatic's cavalier 'opening' of meat processing facilities was, clearly, aimed at corporate fatcats' paychecks. More poorly paid, and poorly educated folks die? What, me worry? But there is yet another side effect (or, upstream consequence). It turns out that a huge proportion of American farm product doesn't go into our bellies, but into the original owners of that steak or drumstick.
In the U.S., 36 percent of corn crops being used to feed livestock. Soy is also commonly used in feed, with 75 percent of global soybean crops being fed to livestock. To support these crops, one-third of arable land being used for feed production globally, using vast amounts of land and water resources.

(And, so far as corn goes, here's the tally, and the American dinner table doesn't even get listed.)

Of course, that's just one report among many (happened to come up at the top of my search results), and focuses on issues not related to Covid-19. But read it anyway for the education. In the context of today's meat processing issue, not only are livestock being jettisoned before conversion to human foodstuffs, but, in due time (this is planting time, after all) this will affect farmers. Fewer animals grown for meat, less grains needed to feed same. What's that snake that circles around to eat its tail? The ouroboros.

29 April 2020

Super Nova

Pretty much from the point in the Covid-19 saga where its existence could no longer be denied, the The Very Unstable Lunatic and his sphincter lickers have brayed that the death toll is/would be no worse than a bad flu season. One of the problems with that assertion is that the measure of 'flu season' is fuzzy. No part of the Damn Gummint tests-confirms influenza. What they do is use an, unknown to the general public, algorithm to decide how much each of cold, pneumonia, and flu will be apportioned. Now, if you look at the data, you'll see that 'flu' deaths as commonly portrayed, are way, way majority pneumonia.
To see this, go to the paragraph, "P&I Mortality Surveillance", click on 'View Chart Data", then click through to the spreadsheet. The last two columns are pneumonia and flu, the third from last is 'All Deaths'. As you can see, flu is a small fraction most weeks going back years.

The term of art is ILI, which stands for 'influenza-like illness' and includes both. With Covid-19, so far near as I can tell, opportunistic pneumonia isn't being counted as a death. Those dying outside hospitals, at home for instance, aren't being counted. Deaths in elder care facilities may or may not; I have found reporting that still says, 'no', while other says, 'now they are'. In sum, death from flu or Covid-19 remains more apples to oranges than equivalent.

Which brings us to the Santa Clara county data. It's being reported that a survey showed a much higher percentage of the population had been exposed than previously estimated. There are a raft of such reports, some being more critical than others of how the survey was conducted. Be that as it may, my interest is in what isn't demonstrated by the data.

Here goes with the unanswered questions.
1 - are these long term, non-contagious asymps?
2 - are these long term, contagious asymps, aka Typhoid Marys?
3 - are these asymps within the expected period of asymp on the way to sickness?
4 - are these post-sickness (apparently super mild, since they didn't seem to know it) immunes?
5 - what, if any, is the length and strength of immunity, if that is what is being measured?

Obviously, if these are mostly, or even significantly, in cat 3, Santa Clara is looking at a super nova in sickness. Same, although in a more drawn out manner, if these are mostly, or even significantly, in cat 2.

28 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the twelfth

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 28 April

Iowa again. So Kim Reynolds turns workers into slaves.
Iowa Workforce Development said Monday that failing to return to work out of fear of catching the virus will be considered a voluntary quit, which disqualifies workers from receiving unemployment benefits.

The department urged employers to report workers who don't return to their jobs for a good reason "as soon as possible." It warned that the federal law providing an additional $600 weekly in benefits contains "serious consequences" for fraudulent claims.

OK fatcats, let's party like it's 1850!!!

What else would you expect from these Fascists?

Parallax View - part the second

Ok, so I'm impatient. Today's numbers:
25 to 99 - 666
5 to 24 - 860

Ah symbolism!! Even if I wanted to wait, that is too much to give up.

The elevator is going UUUUUUUUUUP.

It Is Meat and Right So To Do

"Soylent Green is people!" And, today The Orange Shitgibbon proved that he don't care who dies so long as bidness critters can still make money. Anyway, those workers are the lowest of the low. We all know that, don't we?

27 April 2020

Parallax View - part the first

The topo map (not to be confused with the Topos one) allows one to look at the USofA from various points of view. Naturally, I, as most others I suspect, go for the high count (Red) counties. But, I'm not so sure that such is the most predictive view.

If, instead, you choose the two boxes for 5 to 24, you see where the virus has seeded, and where, should the populace be really stupid, the explosions will be in a week or two. As I type, the count for these categories is 876, while for the next (25 to 99) is 653. Next Monday, I'll update and see where things have gone. Or not gone.

Science Free Diet

Well, I wonder how Boris Badenough likes his crow cooked.
On 12 March Boris Johnson warned the country that, as a result of Covid-19, "families are going to lose loved ones before their time", yet took little immediate action to stop the virus spreading.

Now, of course, his tune changes
The first world leader known to have had coronavirus is now leading his nation's response to it, and in a speech outside 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister had a clear message: Don't give up on the lockdown yet.

I suggest deep fried, southern style.

24 April 2020

A Smoking Gun

Well, well, well. My eyes had failed me, until this very minute. Recall from earlier missives, that I pondered the conundrum of all those meat processing plants exploding pretty much at the same time. We know, by now, that the time from initial infection to the geometric expansion of sick folks is about three weeks. So, we can reasonably expect that all those meat processing plants have some factor in common. I speculated that in mid- to late-March, we had the Spring Break Covidiots fan out from Lauderdale to most places east of the Mississippi. Spring Break also happens at Padre Island, Texas, so there's them kids, too.

So, I just fired up the Tectonix map of the Covidiots again, and lo and behold, if you look at the extreme southwest corner of South Dakota (the second state line above the 'United States' graphic), there they are smack dab where the Smithfield plant is. Fire up the CNN map, and you find a large cluster in the vicinity of each 'node' of Spring Breakers.

Spring Break did it. Mammy Yokum has spoken. Now, if any media organization would just do some tracing, looking into where the kids of Papa and Mama meat packer were during Spring Break. Please?

Oh My God!

This is just unbelievable. For those who remember The Great Recession, also remember that name Blythe Masters
She is widely credited with creating the modern credit default swap [while working for JP Morgan], a derivative used to manage credit exposure to underlying reference entities.

The reason AIG, et al crashed not only itself(s) but the entire global economy was that the CDS was just a gambling scheme: anyone with a few bucks could bet on the failure of Corporation X. Such bettors aren't required to have any 'skin in the game', leaving the seller of CDS with, essentially, infinite exposure. Not only that, but the bettors can buy CDS against Corporation X from anyone willing to sell CDS. That's what took down AIG, et al. The best recap of Blythe's legerdemain is Salmon's.
Li's copula function was used to price hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of CDOs filled with mortgages. And because the copula function used CDS prices to calculate correlation, it was forced to confine itself to looking at the period of time when those credit default swaps had been in existence: less than a decade, a period when house prices soared. Naturally, default correlations were very low in those years. But when the mortgage boom ended abruptly and home values started falling across the country, correlations soared.

OK, so Blythe is the banker from hell more than a decade ago. So imagine my shock to see
The lawsuit also names as a defendant Phunware (PHUN), a data firm that works for President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

Phunware, which is listed on the Nasdaq, appointed former JPMorgan exec Blythe Masters as its chair on March 30, three days after the PPP program was authorized by Congress. Masters left JPMorgan in 2014 after nearly three decades with the bank.

Phunware received a $2.85 million PPP loan through JPMorgan on April 10, according to an SEC filing. That was just two days after it applied for the loan, the lawsuit said.

Now, she's stealing from Mom and Pop and giving to the Rich. Such a nice girl.

23 April 2020

Compare and Contrast

Here's an interesting exercise. Open a couple of tabs in your browser. In one, show the Lauderdale Covidiots, in the other, the map of closed meat plants, updated today. It could be that the Covidiots are, to some extent, complicit. Little Joses trekking off from community college for some tanning time. With the meat plants exploding at, pretty much, the same time, it's logical that they were all seeded at, pretty much, the same time. Spring Break Covidiots fit that requirement. May be we'll find out, some time.

The South Shall Rise Again

So, campers, how's this for a conspiracy theory? One that fits like a glove on the paw of The Orange Shitgibbon.

The latterly members of the CSA 'open up' their states to all sorts of close encounter of the third kind businesses. Naturally, many more infections are generated, but are monitored by the state health officials, who ship them off to northern Blue Cities to regenerate community contagion in those beset populations. Sent up while still asymps, of course. They then return to their handlers to infect more native shitkickers, but only showing that they had been in those self same northern Blue Cities just prior. "Those Godless Liberals are out to get us!!!" No mention, surely, of the initial foray North. Kill two birds with one stone-ism: re-infect the North, and blame the North for infecting the South.

Fanciful, yes. But not all that difficult to pull off, given the tribal inculcation of poorly educated shitkickers who still insist that the War of Northern Aggression never ended. Martyrs for The Stars and Bars.

One might also wonder how the wee little critters got into all of those meat processing plants way up North in the first place at nearly the same time? Southern bio-sabotage? It's not as if the workers have either the time or the money to go traipsing around the country. Reports, so far, have stated that the infections are in line workers, not Anglo managers (who can afford the time and money to go traipsing). Or, are we seeing the effect of those 100s of thousands of Spring Break Covidiots (both Texas and Florida, I remind)? The timing for same is just about right. Papa and Mama bust their butts cutting up pigs packed shoulder to shoulder with other Mamas and Papas of other little Joses so all their little Joses can go to community college, and little Joses thank them by frolicking on Lauderdale and Padre Island beaches in the middle of epidemic? Could be. But it is an important epidemiological question: who brought Covid-19 to so many meat processing buildings all to once?

20 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the eleventh

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 20 April

Iowa again. Meat packing goes boom. Seven states have issues with Covid-19 in meat processing facilities. Profit over people.
"I can't speak on behalf of Tyson or Gov. Reynolds but I do know that we here at Black Hawk County have seen the surge because of Tyson," Cisse-Egbuoyne said. "At the moment I can confirm 151 cases from Tyson. But we've been…we are still backlogged in terms of just our investigation but we know the bulk of it are Tyson-related."

Since that report was published this morning, the count has gone to 356. There'll be no Covid-19 in God fearing real America; right?

Georgia again. Moron governor has decide hair salons are essential business.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Monday that gyms, hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen in the Peach State on Friday—even as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Well, at least your coif will look good in your coffin. May haps your loved ones will vote The Orange Shitgibbon and Kemp into oblivion. Perhaps it will all work out; the only dead are the brain dead right wingnuts?


Even a luggard like me 'knew' two things in early February:
- just because you've only found 50 cases of a highly infectious novel contagion doesn't mean you've avoided epidemic
- the already documented spread couldn't be driven just by coughing and sneezing infected; asymps had to be contagious, Typhoid Mary was real
- geometric progression fools you until it's too late

STAT has unlocked its Covid-19 stories, and this one is worth your time.
Then Caitlin Rivers, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, gave me that Epidemiology 101 lesson: It takes time, she explained, for an outbreak to build to the exponential growth phase, where cases appear to mushroom and hospitals get overrun.

I suspect, but have yet to read from a 'professional', that the main reason for the lackadaisical response was the fact that earlier coronavirus infections exhibited short incubation/contagion periods and death tolls that were not impressive. In a nutshell, both SARS
The incubation period for SARS is typically 2 to 7 days
Available information suggests that persons with SARS are most likely to be contagious only when they have symptoms, such as fever or cough.
and MERS
The incubation period (the time between infection and start of symptoms) is about five days
The contagious period (the time that a sick animal or human is infectious) for MERS-CoV is not known but may last as long as virus is being shed.
incubated quickly and took out the patient long before he could infect many others.
The case fatality rate (CFR) in patients infected with MERS-CoV is high—estimated at 43% in 147 patients reported so far by World Health Organization (WHO).3 This rate is higher than that of SARS—estimated at 15%, and is strongly age- and sex-dependent.

Total fatalities: SARS 744 and MERS 842 (MERS continued for some years, at that).

In such cases, one can expect that carriers won't spread, in a geographic sense, very far or much. And, in fact, both SARS and MERS were 'easily' contained. That notion in the case of Covid-19 should have been blown out of the water with the New Rochelle 50-bagger.
Lewis Garbuz has given periodic social media updates about her husband, 50, who spent five days in a Westchester County hospital before he was diagnosed with coronavirus on March 2.

March 2 campers. Clearly he had instigated a long and far-reaching contagion. All other infectors would behave the same. Gad. It seems clear that he got infected in Manhattan where he worked. To no one's (with a working brain) surprise, NYC became and remains the epidemiological analog to the last scene in "Fail Safe".

19 April 2020


If you care about things STEM, set your dvr (or just watch) the re-run of Science Channel's 2 hours of Hubble starting at 11:00 pm Eastern.

Mixing Bowl

I've not seen this sort of data anywhere else, yet. Of most interest, and contrary to much received wisdom, is demographics:
- more females than males
- geezers are not the largest segment

As it happens, I grew up in Springfield, out west where the Boston folk don't have a clue. Williamstown, a college town (literally as far north and west as you can get) and not a whole lot else, is considered a hotspot.

Suffolk county is metro Boston (most of it), so it's logical to be high count. But Middlesex is suburbia. It's been too long since I lived there to know why it's way ahead of the southern suburbs. Norfolk and Plymouth counties to the south make up the rest of the Boston MSA.

Sing A Song of Singapore

It's deja vu, all over again. In the last couple of weeks, we've seen South Dakota (over 1,300 infections), among other 'God's country' locales, blow up. Said blow up started out in sweatshop confines, makin bacon. Oh the horror!! No more bacon.

But, there's been clear evidence that such an outbreak, and eventual vectoring into the wider community, was inevitable for some time before South Dakota blew up. I give you Singapore.
Many of the new clusters have been connected to Singapore's vast migrant worker population, in particular those workers -- most from South Asia -- living in cramped dormitories, who appear to have been overlooked in the initial wave of testing. Multiple dormitories have been quarantined and the government is ramping up testing for all workers.

Singapore, as the report repeats, was considered the model of containment. It wasn't, as events turned out. Bermuda, also an island, though much smaller, didn't keep the wee little critters away, either. Bermuda, so far as I know, doesn't pack foreign workers into sardine can living quarters, although one might see the cruise ships as such. But it has congregant living quarters just like any civilized country, and those are centers of infection, just like any civilized country.

So, crowded production facilities, crowded living quarters, and, tada, congregant living facilities are perfect incubators for Covid-19. And, nobody knew!! Bullshit, of course. Pandemics of all types have always flourished in just those conditions. And, of course, gave/gives rise to the cockeyed notion that heading for the empty spaces is to safety. The highest per capita infection rates are in such isolated, but dense, situations.
On the whole, rural recreation counties suffer from a rate of Covid-19 cases that is more than two and a half times higher than for other rural counties

Naturally, I give you Sioux Falls. Not a recreation county, but a city with a bomb on its doorstep. The Ski Covidiots, in earlier missives, are such an example.

As Singapore's experience shows, relaxing too soon can backfire disastrously.

Will the Red state fucking moron governors listen? The reasonable person might doubt it. DeSantis has shown his reptile brain, already. Again.

It's called a pandemic for a reason. Unless a vaccine can be found, and most of the ones under consideration use a mechanism of action that isn't really established. These new fangled vaccines are theoretically better in some ways, but proof that they can work is sparse. Again, no vaccine has ever been approved for any coronavirus. Given the length of contagion of asymps, low response cases, and ease of travel for such folk, the phat lady ain't even started to warm up those vocal chords. It'll be many months til she sings the first note.

17 April 2020

G'Day Mate

Here's one approach, from Australia by way of Bermuda.
Two days ago, a 35-year-old Australian by the name of Jonathan David was sentenced to six months and two weeks in prison, and fined A$2,000 (about $1,260).

His crime, admitted to by way of a guilty plea in Perth Magistrates Court, was failing to follow a directive to remain under quarantine in these desperate times dominated by the novel coronavirus.

The magistrate, in imposing the sentence, described David as "selfish in the extreme" for leaving a hotel facility to visit his girlfriend.

She added: "You chose to roll the dice with other people's lives and that was breathtakingly arrogant. We must protect the community from those who do not care."

Another case of those who do not care.

After reading this nonsense, the stupidity of Red blooded Americans becomes ever more clear.
Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler's latest attempt to deflect attention from her seven-figure stock sell-off just a month before the stock market collapsed because of impacts from the coronavirus may be her most creative yet. In short: It's socialism -- or something.

If you live all by yourself on an island, then go ahead and give the finger to the community.

Death in God's Country - part the second

Well, that didn't take long
The bump in coronavirus cases is most pronounced in states without stay at home orders. Oklahoma saw a 53% increase in cases over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over same time, cases jumped 60% in Arkansas, 74% in Nebraska, and 82% in Iowa. South Dakota saw a whopping 205% spike.

The remaining states, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming each saw an increase in cases, but more in line with other places that have stay-at-home orders. And all of those numbers may very well undercount the total cases, given a persistent lack of testing across the US.

Morons all. Let this be a lesson to you. And, of course, they'll suck up The Orange Shitgibbon's dick, getting even bigger spikes over the next months or so. Remember, it's 3 to 4 weeks from patient zero to mass infections. These states are just getting started. Hope you've got a freezer full of bacon.

16 April 2020

Death in God's Country - part the first

It's clear from The Orange Shitgibbon's behavior that he's still doing the Rural Red State boogie. And they're doing the Trump Tango. And it's also clear that those Empty States are rattling their sabres to end these inconvenient mitigation efforts. So, let's go see what happened with the last major novel virus: 1918 flu.

Here's a report that you ought to read. Failing that, it's written like a newspaper item, with the lede at the top
In urban communities, less than 1 in 100 inhabitants died from Spanish flu in 1918, but in isolated communities up to 9 out of 10 died.

Of course, 1918 USofA is somewhat different from today, but mostly by quantity rather than quality. The dearth of rural healthcare is well documented. There is an increase in reporting of deaths in 'congregant facilities', which was fully predictable, and continues to be reported that the Damn Gummint isn't including these deaths in the published counts.
Even now, some people who die at home or in overburdened nursing homes are not being tested, according to funeral directors, medical examiners and nursing home representatives.
But in Wyoming — the only state that had not reported a covid-19 death as of Saturday — Laramie County Coroner Rebecca Reid said she is ready to test anyone with symptoms who dies at home.

"We need an accurate cause of death to give the family some closure and make sure they have been safe," she said. "It's also very important that the public knows the truth."

She has supplies to test five people, she said.

Not to mention what's going on in prisons. Read the real news.

15 April 2020

Fucking Morons - part the first

The first in a continuing series highlighting stupidity and/or lying from The Orange Shitgibbon and his minions. Yes, this series could have begun way back in November, 2016. But, better late than never. Devoted, in general, to their clusterfuck of Covid-19 and dedicated to Rex Tillerson who first went 'public', kind of, with the revelation.

Today's example Kellyanne her own self.
This is Covid-19, not Covid-1, folks. You would think that people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that. This is just a pause right now. So there is an investigation, examination to what happened. But people should know the facts.

Naturally, anyone with a functioning brain knows that the '19' refers to 2019, the year in which it was identified. Not, of course, the 19th Covid virus. "Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown" - The Stones, of course, since she obviously is.

By the naming convention, it's the 2nd member of the SARS species of coronaviruses.

14 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the tenth

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 14 April

Florida again. Just when you hoped that adults were leading this parade, DeSantis goes full time mullet.
Professional sports in Florida are getting the green light to resume production after the Florida Governor's Office deemed them "essential services."
"As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance," reads the WWE statement.

Watching staged gladiator fignts has "been woven into the fabric of society"??? Only the 'poorly educated' part; which one hopes is diminishing. One hopes.

Indiana. Well, what's a few million dead? We've got plenty more. That's what Mao said. You can look it up.
Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth asserted that, while he appreciated the science behind the virus' spread, "it is always the American government's position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life, of American lives, we have to always choose the latter."

You too can die for Der Fuhrer.

South Dakota again. Another moron Republican governor shits the bed.
Despite pleas from cities across the state, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has held out on issuing a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Went from 80 on the 9th to 545 today at the Smithfield plant. Given how contagious Covid is pre-symptomatic, one might expect that all of Sioux Falls and South Dakota is in the crosshairs. And this floozy thinks the state is protected by... God? The Orange Shitgibbon?

Nebraska again. Let's re-open a yuge mall!
A Nebraska shopping mall is already planning its reopening for later this month. According to the Omaha World Herald, the owner of Nebraska Crossing Outlets spoke last week with Gov. Pete Ricketts—who has rejected a stay-at-home order—and they planned a soft-reopening for April 18.

As the saying goes, 'what could go wrong?'

Wisconsin again. Take that Orange Shitgibbon!!
A few hours later, fears of a grand electoral larceny had swiftly melted away: Karofsky had won, and with a nearly 11-point margin in a state Donald Trump had carried by less than a single percentage point in 2016, it wasn't even close.

Is that The Orange Shitgibbon's sphincter going black hole contraction? Likely. He got the elector college votes by only 22,748 votes in 2016. Karofsky's margin was about 120,000. Take that Orange Shitgibbon.

The Tyranny of Average Cost - part the eleventh

Well, even Apple isn't immune.
Apple is virtually unchallenged as far as high-performance Arm tablets go, and even then, the number of iPads they sell has always been a drop in the bucket compared to the number of iPhones they sell. So there are fewer devices to amortize the costs of chip development against, and all the while chip development costs are continuing to rise with each new generation of photolithography technology. In short, at some point it has to stop making sense to create new chip designs on a yearly basis for mid-volume products, and Apple may very well have finally hit that mark with their tablet SoCs.

In the end, only the Bean Counters win.

I Told You So - 14 April 2020

Well, well, well...
Looky here (you'll have to scroll down):
Stung by seeing one of its Pacific fleet aircraft carriers stuck in Guam with almost 600 coronavirus cases, the US Navy said an Atlantic fleet carrier will extend its time at sea to keep it virus free.

The USS Harry S Truman will delay its homecoming to its Norfolk, Virginia, homeport, after a deployment to the Middle East, Navy officials said.

The carrier, which left on its current deployment in November, will complete what the Navy calls the "sustainment" phase of its operation at sea, the officials said.

[yesterday's musings on just this subject]
Now that a sailor from the TR has died from Covid-19, we know that Capt. Crozier was right and the knuckleheads at the Pentagon were wrong. More to the point, we should ask the following question of said knuckleheads.
Why did the Navy not cancel all shore leaves from November? A ship is a natural quarantine, of course. Or petri dish if a virus takes hold.

Yes, the Pentagon denies that there was 'a product' titled as such. But does that mean the IC didn't report their findings? Given the gravity of the findings, only an imbecile would buy that.

13 April 2020

Thought For The Day - 13 April 2020

Now that a sailor from the TR has died from Covid-19, we know that Capt. Crozier was right and the knuckleheads at the Pentagon were wrong. More to the point, we should ask the following question of said knuckleheads.
Why did the Navy not cancel all shore leaves from November? A ship is a natural quarantine, of course. Or petri dish if a virus takes hold.

Yes, the Pentagon denies that there was 'a product' titled as such. But does that mean the IC didn't report their findings? Given the gravity of the findings, only an imbecile would buy that.

12 April 2020

Open and Shut Case

There's a bit of a pseudo-battle raging: to open or not to open? The Faux News side of the battle says, 'why did we close at all, so let's get back to dog-eat-dog America!'. The MSNBC side, and 99.99% of the medical/science community, says, 'slow down Ferdinand, lockdown is now bending the curve, and anywhere it's rescinded, "to the moon, Alice"!'. And they assert that there's nothing The Orange Shitgibbon can do about it, because the lockdown, etc. orders are from/by state governors.

Well, don't underestimate the evil that The Orange Shitgibbon does. He has routinely flouted Congress' fiscal strictures in the past. So, all he has to do is, by edict, simply stop sending Congressionally mandate funding of all types to states that don't follow his 'order' to 'open'. Is Congress going to stop him? The Red state congresscritters sure won't.

Mammy Yokum has spoken.

11 April 2020

Don Quixote

There's much talk of how long it'll take to have a Covid-19 vaccine. The standard answer has been 12 to 18 months. But a couple of facts float through the ether without landing together in the various news feeds often enough. Well, or at all in my consumption.

There are yet to be vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.

And, second:
There is no vaccine yet for the virus; and because it's different than the influenza virus, traditional methods like using eggs won't work. As scientists race to find a cure, the huge US stockpile of eggs won't be of any help.

The first fact is kind of obvious, in that if there were a vaccine for a coronavirus class virus (people need to remember coronavirus is the name of a class of viruses, not the name a virus), that would be the common cold. Influenza virus is another class of virus. And so on. They all behave differently, and it's clear from the fact that the cold virus is just a nuisance, so no one (it seems) has made the effort to develop a vaccine. The other members of the coronavirus class aren't so benign.

The second fact isn't obvious to civilians, of course, but has at least as large an impact of getting these United States protected. There's a mammoth vaccine infrastructure, just around the egg supply, as you can see from the CNN report. The plant and equipment for non-egg production isn't even known yet. More to the point, near as I can find, no mRNA or DNA vaccine has been developed and approved for any indication. It's a 'Star Trek' mission, "to go where no man has gone before".

The candidates for a coronavirus vaccine are based on messenger-RNA (aka, mRNA) or DNA. But, of course no one knows whether these vaccines are the answer.
There are no approved mRNA or DNA vaccines, and neither has ever been tested in a large-scale clinical trial for an infectious disease. "The COVID crisis is a great opportunity for those technologies to be pushed."

Warp speed Mr. Sulu.

10 April 2020

Yer Out!

So, all you rock ribbed rural Red state real Americans, you still think you're safe and you can't be touched by Covid? Ya got another thing coming. You're in the sights of the armada of wee little critters floating on wafts of air.
A teenager from an isolated Amazonian tribe who tested positive for Covid-19 has died, raising concerns about the coronavirus' impact on the region's indigenous people.

Thank you President Bolsonaro
"Today, without a doubt, the main vector for the spread of COVID-19 inside the Yanomami Indigenous Territory is the more than 20,000 illegal miners that go in and out of the territory without any control," ISA said in a statement on its website.

Death Of An Island

There is some chance, how large I can't say, that the Block Island I've grown to belove will not exist this time next year. It has no native industry which earns US bongobucks by selling some product into the mainland. None. There are fishing charters, but that's about it for revenue generating activity that takes place not smack dab on that land.

Today's 'Block Island Times' has a report on the town budget. Oddly, it was last night that I began to conceive of Block Island without those 20,000 visitor days from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and somewhat smaller crowds in May, September, and October. The summer homes pay some amount of property tax no matter what. They also pay, from what I gather, pro rata utility fees. How much those fees include implicit subsidy for the Islanders, I don't know.

That report also notes that the Island-wide (still not sure if it'd be a municipal utility) fiber internet project is paused. That's not surprising. About the only benefit of not having an 'open' Block Island is that the wind farm will be sending over lots more energetic electrons than the Island ever uses.

So, what might happen? The good news would be that Covid-19 withdraws enough by Memorial Day that all the usual suspects can go on to business as usual. I give that about a 1% chance. Infections across the Northeast continue to rise, and if The Orange Shitgibbon browbeats enough governors into ending mitigation efforts, infections will come back with a vengeance. That's a 25% chance. While some states, latterly Utah, are attempting to 'manage' their borders, that's clearly not Constitutional. From the point of view of RI and Block Island, they would have to bar entry, somehow or another, to those from states ending mitigation or as New York now, in high transmission. We know that NYC was infected by outsiders, now most likely Europeans. Despite what The Orange Shitgibbon insists, New York (city and state) didn't create the epidemic on its own. It would be fairer to require states which end mitigation before medically safe to quarantine their citizens within their borders, in order to protect the remaining states from these fucking morons.

Unless Providence ships gobs of financial support to the Island, a positive future is hard to conjure. The most that town government might be able to do unilaterally is forehead fever scan everyone coming off the boats and airplanes. That won't catch asymps, unfortunately. The bulk of the 20,000 come over on multiple ferries in the morning and return that day. Can the police require that anyone with fever stay on the boat and go back to the mainland on the next trip? Where to put such folks? The upper, open, deck downwind of the clean people. When it's above 50 degrees and not raining, of course. A 50 minute leper colony. Same for the airport, although those planes are flying sardine cans; would they be required to make separate 'infecteds only' return trips?

As the Island's doctor has made clear: the medical center isn't equipped to handle even on Covid-19 patient. The one there was may be a native (the report doesn't say whether NYC or the Island is primary residence, but leads me to believe he's known by name to the Islanders), and was shipped off Island. That's a medevac helicopter flight during summer season. The dayhoppers disappear after a few hours; long enough to infect Islanders and imported service staff. The latter don't live in quarters possible to social distancing, should they get infected. And are not likely to have insurance and moolah to pay for a medevac flight and hospital stay.
Each base handles about 300 transports a year, and the rides cost about $11,000 each, according to the report.

The whole situation begins to spin away from simple answer to complicated problem before you've finished your-wake-up-to-pick-your nose ritual. I hope there is still the Block Island of the last 20 years, when it's safe to have one. But it could well devolve into a summer season-only playland for the 1% set. Nantucket on LSD. Well, both Nantucket and the Vineyard face much the same difficulty.

09 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the ninth

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 9 April

Oklahoma. Yet another Red Knucklehead governor. From a knucklehead state, naturally.
The Republican [mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum] said he understood the economic peril his decision [to close restaurants] would cause the people in his city -- even some of his good friends. But the alternative, the science and public health experts told him, was that people would risk getting coronavirus and the hospitals could get overrun.
It's the same choice leaders at the federal, state and local levels had to make across the country. What made it even more challenging is that Oklahoma's Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, has mandated that vulnerable citizens stay home, but is resisting the kind of shelter-in-place order that the vast majority of governors have implemented.

Aunt Eller is mad. One hopes, anyway. Vote these morons into an insane asylum.

Transactional Immunity

That phrase/term comes up at least once a week on the "Law&Order" re-runs. Looking it up, finally, one finds it's what used to be called, on the TeeVee shows at least, "blanket immunity". Every now and again the ADA makes a really bad deal, by granting immunity to a witness for 'other crimes' outside of that prosecution. It turns out the witness is also a perp with many, now immunized, bad behaviors. Face plant time. What sort of immunity can be expected from a Covid-19 vaccine, if one can be developed?

Contrary to what many folks think vaccination, on the whole isn't lifelong. Of those on the list, only measles is so named. Many are long lasting, though.

Amongst all the sites I lurk on, I found an intriguing comment:
There is not one vaccine for any coronavirus.

That'll get your attention. But is it true? The comment contained no link to a research paper or media report making that assertion. So I've let my fingers do the walking through the Yellow Googles. Let's see what I can find.

First, in "Nature" is a paper on vaccines for Covid-19.
If humans do develop immunity, how long does it last?

Immunity is short-lived for the coronaviruses that cause common colds; even people who have high levels of antibodies against these viruses can still become infected, says Stanley Perlman, a coronavirologist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

A bummer from the start. What, no herd immunity? I guess it's because civilians think that a virus is a virus, just like Rose, and you get one Polio shot for life (that's how most view it, anyway). Well, by now the informed civilian should know better.
The evidence is more equivocal for the two other coronaviruses that have triggered epidemics: those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Perlman says his team has found that after people recover from MERS, their antibodies against the virus drop precipitously. He also says that his team has gathered data — not yet published — showing that SARS antibodies are still present in the body 15 years after infection. But it's not clear whether this immune response is enough to prevent reinfection. "We don't have good evidence of long-lasting immunity, but we also don't have really good data from both SARS and MERS," Perlman adds.

Still no better.

So, after one research paper, chalk one up, mostly, for the truth of the commenter's assertion.

Next, somewhat off point, but full of information is a "Wired" piece from early March. Doesn't directly address the question of existing coronavirus vaccine existence. It does offer up a bit unpleasant history of vaccines
In the 1960s, scientists at the National Institutes of Health were working on a vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a common, very contagious virus responsible for most of the colds that infants and toddlers get. During clinical trials, some children who received the vaccine later went on to get terribly sick when they caught RSV in the wild. The vaccine produced an exaggerated immune response, causing extensive damage in their bodies. Two kids died.

Ah, just shove HCQ down everybody's throats. They'll be fine.

Wiki to the rescue (didn't come up early in the walk through the Yellow Googles). Well, not to refute the assertion, alas
Previous projects to develop vaccines for viruses in the family Coronaviridae that affect humans have been aimed at severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Vaccines against SARS[5] and MERS[6] have been tested in non-human animal models. As of 2020, there is no cure or protective vaccine for SARS that has been shown to be both safe and effective in humans.[7][8] According to research papers published in 2005 and 2006, the identification and development of novel vaccines and medicines to treat SARS was a priority for governments and public health agencies around the world.[9][10][11]

There is also no proven vaccine against MERS.[12]

And we already know that the Common Cold coronavirus has no vaccine. I'd wager because it's effects are sufficiently benign (well, close to anyway) that a vaccine would hardly be used.

In sum, my walk through the Yellow Googles doesn't gainsay the comment. And even if it did, there is a previous coronavirus vaccine, there isn't strong evidence that immunity would even be durable.

Don't Believe What You Read

Just a short snort. AnandTech reports on Samsung's new phones. They are the mid-priced '5G' phones. Well, almost:
The key aspect of the phones is that they are 5G capable. Samsung here integrates the modem onto the chip, capable of support sub-6GHz networks (mmWave capability is missing — both due to technical lack of ability and the associated higher costs).

I don't know about you, but that's an odd way to describe a half-assed phone! OTOH, they ain't be much real 5G anywhere here in surfin' USA.

No Man Is An Island - part the third

It appears that Bermuda is, in fact, in trouble.
Bermuda could suffer as many as 700 Covid-19 deaths it was warned last night as the country recorded its third fatality from the disease.

If we take ~70,000 as the resident population, that calculates out as 1%. The current death rate here in the USofA, based on (questioned) data is 3.4%. But that number is based on a paltry testing total confirmed infections. And a growing number of reports of people dying out-of-hospital, untested and untreated but said to have had the symptoms, none of whom are being counted as victims. Bermuda has the opportunity to thoroughly test, if it wishes to. And government has instituted a 14 day shutdown, in progress, which should keep the death total toward the lower end of any estimates. But, as we know by now, any region's Patient Zero was sprinkling them wee little critters along the bridal path for at least a week and possibly as many as three before presenting as ill; those clandestine asymps. In a densely populated[*] place as Bermuda, that is not a good thing.

* According to the wiki page, 9th ranked 'country' on the planet.

08 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the eighth

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 8 April

Kansas. The stupid rubes in the legislature just un-did the only thing that is proven to work. Rock ribbed Right Wingnuts, as you would expect.
In a dramatic rebuke, Republican leaders on the Legislative Coordinating Council voted 5-2 Wednesday to overturn the Democratic governor's executive order banning churches and funerals from having more than 10 people at services, which followed a wider directive from March 24.
Already, Kansas officials say three clusters of coronavirus have been tied directly to church events. Those and nine other outbreaks from group settings have led to 165 illnesses and 12 deaths combined. And dozens of states have limited church gatherings.

I guess these asshats are convinced that God's on only their side. And will protect them from being infected. Fucking morons.

9:47 pm 9 April
Rachel is about to cover this. If you miss it, she re-runs after midnight.

Banned In Boston

If you're like me, and you must be to read this drivel, the insistent proclamation from The Orange Shitgibbon that he 'banned travel from China' sounds ever so much off. Doesn't it? Well, yes it is. What's surprising, at least to me, is that the first complete report from my fingers walking through the Yellow Googles is from 'The Washington Times', a notorious Right Wingnut organ. Memory tells me that it was/is a Moonie organ. Yup, still is, through more corporate spider webs, of course.
That the Trump administration "banned flights," "closed the borders," or "stopped flights" from first China and later the European Union to halt the spread of COVID-19 has become a staple of its defense of its response to the pandemic. But it simply isn't true. At no time through the course of this awful period have flights even once been halted between either China and the U.S. or Europe — including even Italy — and the United States.

And, if you look, you'll find that airlines had been reducing seats and flights before the 'order' from The Orange Shitgibbon, simply because people weren't traveling there.

07 April 2020

Keeping Count - part the seventh

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 7 April

"On Wisconsin!"
Republicans who have insisted on keeping the election on schedule won two legal battles Monday, as the state Supreme Court blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' bid to delay it until June and the US Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling that gave voters six extra days to return their ballots by mail.

An unambiguous case of vast right wing conspiracy.
One party, the Democratic Party, is always trying to do things to raise turnout. The Republicans, not so much. In a recent interview on "Fox & Friends," President Trump let slip the reason for this. Higher turnout is good for Democrats. Bad for Republicans.

No Man Is An Island - part the second

Well, it had to happen, as I said it would. Bermuda records its first deaths. What next? Certainly can't say for sure, but remains proof that no moat is wide enough. Just how much trouble Bermuda is in remains to be seen, but it's clearly deeper in the muck than when I last typed about them. Will a 14 day shutdown make a difference? How long, should it happen, until the hospital is overwhelmed? Yes, that's singular; there are two outpatient facilities in addition.
KEMH has 120 acute care beds
There are nine beds in the ICU
And so on. If 120 beds for 71,000 citizens seems a tad short, well it is. Works out to 1.69/1,000. That's about where Colombia is. If Covid progresses as it does everywhere else, that ICU won't last long.

Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said the public should reduce their movements as much as possible.

He highlighted there were still people who were "not taking this seriously" and leaving their homes.

One aspect of Bermuda that I found unexpected when we visited is that Bermudians cleave to the USofA as much, if not more, than the UK, of which it is, sort of, a member. And Southern USofA, at that. Bermuda of the 1860s cleaved to the Confederacy. It appears it still does. Much of the import shipping comes from Charleston, SC. And, of course, the governor just, finally, made a sieve-like 'work or home' order. Yeah, that'll work. I guess our influence rubs off even at a distance.

05 April 2020

An Ounce of Brains Is Worth... not much?

There's that old saw, "the clap, the gift that keeps on giving". May be a bit naughty. There's also this, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

Well The Orange Shitgibbon sorta, kinda blends the two: "an ounce of brains keeps giving death". Here's his take on the 8 Republican governors who refuse to lockdown
"We have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish," Trump said Saturday, praising the decision of the governors. "Now in some cases we'll supersede ... it depends on the individual state that you're talking about. ... If I saw something wrong, if I saw a massive outbreak, of which there's not, I would come down very hard."

Of course, he's spent 3 years shredding the Constitution, and, or course, 'a massive outbreak' means that the horse has long since left the barn. A fucking moron of a President. Putin must be laughing his ass off.

Just Venting

The Orange Shitgibbon and his minions keep evading the obvious. How do we know that the number of deaths will skyrocket? Because the number of patients who get a ventilator and survive is well below 50%. It's too early to have exhaustive data, but here
A paper from China involved 710 Covid-19 patients; 52 were admitted to an ICU. Of the 22 who eventually required mechanical ventilation, 19 (86%) died. Another early study reported 31 of 32 (97%) mechanically ventilated patients died.

and here .
And a study of 18 ventilated patients in Washington state found that nine were still alive when the study ended, but only six had recovered enough to breathe on their own.

So, if we're lucky, half of ventilated patients make it. So, how many ventilated patients are there right now New York City?
Right now, there are 6,500 ventilators deployed in downstate New York, according to the John Bruno, the Director of Public Information for the NYS Department of Health.
[byline date is 3 April]

and this should keep your attention
The Society of Critical Care Medicine, a health professional organization, recently pointed to one estimate that projected that nearly a million patients would require ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak.
[that million patients is USofA, not global]

If that million comes to pass, then ~500,000 will die. Just a cold, right Rush?

04 April 2020

Small Town Justice - part the second

One might suppose that vacation places have a higher proportion of absentee (i.e. much less than 12 months residency) houses than your standard subdivision. Block Island is such a place
Block Island has an unusually low housing occupancy rate, in that the majority of housing units are considered vacant because they are not occupied year-round. As counted by the 2010 Census, the number of seasonal housing units is 1,253 out of 1,808 total housing units, nearly 70%.

I suspect that's approaching Nantucket territory.

The censuses have been topping out at 1,000 true Islanders for some years. The last count I can find on the innterTubes puts the count at 971. The Ground Hog Day census hasn't been posted for some time, alas. One day we'll go over to be counted.

These scraps of demography are mentioned because of another story in 'The Block Island Times'
An island resident has been arrested on a misdemeanor charge for what New Shoreham Police Chief Vin Carlone termed as an incident of "harassment" of a long-term, multi-generational island homeowner who was driving in a car with out-of-state plates.

Paranoia strikes deep, as the lyric says. It's worth mentioning that many Islanders have made fun of their own. To wit: when the mainlanders have left after the off-off-season (people like us, for instance), Islanders go into drinking mode. They line up at the Red Bird for their daily bottles. Now, that might just be exaggeration to tickle the naive mainlander. But, given the level of isolation in normal off-off-season and now Covid-19 limiting travel twixt the mainland and the Island, one might suspect that further isolation, a bit more hooch than usual, and a presumed mainlander bringing disease...

Keeping Count - part the sixth

Let's continue the tally of states that The Manchurian President is setting up to toss him out in November.

-- 4 April

A bunch all at once. Just read up the report. Nothing to add. It'll curl your hair. If you're lucky enough to have any. Hopefully the few that still live in November will rid us of The Orange Shitgibbon and their governors.

North Dakota
South Dakota
South Carolina

Georgia again. And Kemp goes wild! No, not that old football player from New York, alas
As the Pentagon ordered 100,000 body bags to store the corpses of Americans killed by the Coronavirus, Governor Brian Kemp dictated that Georgia beaches must reopen, and declared any decision-makers who refused to follow these orders would face prison and/or fines.
-- Shirley Sessions, Mayor of Tybee Island

These right wingnuts have no shame. I guess they won't kill so many citizens, that the survivors won't notice.

Deadly Future - part the fourth

Well, here we go again. If you saved the Kinsa maps since at least 31 March (or if not; it will still work), you'll notice, as I did, that the Atypical map looks identical since then. How can that be? My guess is that they're using some historical time-series estimate of flu fever baseline, and flu fevers are running somewhat below that. I finally decided to choose the Trends display, since back on 31 March and 1 April they didn't imply much. Today, 3 April data, is a whole nuther story. The Spring Break Covidiot explosion is clear as a bell.

01 April 2020

Lesson Learned

We'll never know, really, how it came to be but Bermuda's administration has called for a 24/7 14 day lockdown. Last I looked, there were 'only' 32 confirmed cases. Population is ~71,000, but kind of in the middle of nowhere. If only The Orange Shitgibbon had as many smarts.