Shortcut to the full report for Wednesday

So many things are at or near their nadir in the USA:

  • There are more people in hospitals with COVID than ever before, and the number has passed 100,000.
  • There are more people in ICU beds with COVID than ever before.
  • The current number on ventilators is at the second-highest point ever.
  • Kansas and South Dakota topped every country in the world in both new cases per capita and new deaths per capita.
  • The number of daily fatalities on Wednesday (2,831) is the worst ever.
  • 49 states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) are in the red zone for “new cases.” That’s also the worst ever.
  • 45 states are in the red zone for the fatality rate. That is also the highest ever.
  • 31 states, also the highest ever, were in the triple red zone (new cases, new fatalities, testing percentage).

286 thoughts on “COVID update

  1. “Until there is definitive data one way or the other, we have reason to believe from decades of data from other respiratory viruses that children are very good transmitters,” Dr. Hartert said. “There isn’t a lot of reason to believe that that wouldn’t be the case with this virus.”

    Another disaster looming when schools reopen too soon.

    1. I believe that to be correct. My son and his daughters live in my house temporarily. I told him that they MUST be out of the house and into their new digs before the girls return to school.

    2. Yep, I’m expecting another surge once schools and universities get into full swing — UNC only lasted about two weeks before they bagged in-person classes, and I have no reason to believe they’ll be the only ones.

      To be honest, I think most universities’ decision to start in-person classes was nothing more than a cynical cash-grab. The folks running these schools aren’t morons — they know it’s not going to work. But dangling that carrot in order to secure tuition money was more important than reality.

      1. Adding to my comment: now Notre Dame has pulled the plug after a week. I wonder how these schools are going to attempt to justify playing football this Fall (both UNC & ND are still planning to play the ACC schedule)?

        We all know that the whole “student-athlete” thing is a total facade, but as long as the NCAA clings to it in an attempt to justify screwing these kids, I have to wonder how they’ll square that circle in any sort of even quasi-believable way.

      1. Exactly what has the WHO said, and where is the link?

        An unconditional green light would surprise me, given what happened in Israel.

        It is generally conceded that school re-opening has to be managed carefully, must meet certain screening conditions, and must follow strict guidelines. A blanket opening in a state like Mississippi (with 23% positivity rate) could be disastrous.

      2. Wait, I thought you guys hated the WHO? Now you’re citing them (well, not really, since you didn’t bother to list your supposed source).

        The Right really has a problem with consistency.

  2. Texas Positive-Test Rate at Record

    “Texas’ seven-day average rate of positive tests exceeded Saturday’s record and jumped to a new high of 20.3%, health authorities said.”

    “The state reported 116 new deaths for a total of 8,459. Cases climbed 4,879 to 486,362.”

    “thanks” Governor Abbott…

  3. Any coincidence that the decline in positives and deaths overlaps with the move to have all reporting through the White House????

    1. It’s not related. Only hospitalization data run directly from hospitals to the White House (and they are suspiciously low).

      The stats on cases and deaths come from the state and county health departments.

  4. Reality check..l

    “Florida reported a record 276 new Covid-19 deaths among residents Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total to 8,553. The state reported a cumulative 542,792 Covid-19 cases, up 1.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1.3% in the previous seven days, according to the health department report, which includes data through Monday. The new rate of people testing positive for the first time rose to 10.3% for Monday, from 8.6% on Sunday.”

  5. “The United States reported its highest number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day since mid-May today.“

    The death march continues.

  6. If you want a first person account, I’m waiting on the testing results, but I’m above 90-95% certainty I have it right now. Even if It came back negative, I would consider it a false negative at this point.

    First couple days, it nagging throat cough, nasal issues, chills – which is so vague I didn’t think anything of it. Yesterday it pretty much went into overdrive, the tell tale sign was eating in the afternoon and I’ve completely lost my sense of taste. Not nasal stuffy nose, can’t breathe type of unable to taste, but literally can’t taste or smell. I was so shocked I went in swirled some mouthwash and put toothpaste on my tongue, nothing. It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced.

    Last night I hit 101F on the thermometer and was soaked from sweat through the night. I’ve completely turned off the AC and was bundled up like it was the dead of winter and I still felt cold.

    I’m alright today thus far, but I’m not letting my guard down as I’ve read this sort of ‘false recovery’ happening before. People think it’s let up, then it hits twice as hard. Trying to keep my sense of humor, because if there were ever a time to win a bet on eating something, now would be the time. I’m drinking chicken broth and if I had to do a blind test right now, I would assume from consistency it’s coconut pulp, that’s how crazy it is.

    It sucks, there’s no doubt about it, and the conspiracy theorists can shove it up their ass. They should get some of this smoke and get a bit of a reality check if they want to minimize this stuff.

      1. Thanks, I think I’m alright today so far (knock on wood). As long as I’m not showing signs of pneumonia I think I’ll be alright, and after some research for whatever reason the loss of taste is more associated with milder cases rather than the really bad hospitalization ones.

    1. I have some mild symptoms and was tested Wednesday. I do not have it. I know the dread of waiting for those test results.

      1. Honestly I rather have it confirmed than not at this point, because I would almost assume it to be a false negative, which 30-40% have been stated to occur.

        The only other option I can think of is a pretty hardcore sinus infection, but I’ve never had a pronounced loss of taste where you literally cannot tell what you’re eating outside of consistency and salivary response. And it wouldn’t really explain the 101 fever and pool of sweat I went through.

        I think either way, I will get an antibody serum test around 3-4 weeks from now. If I have them, I’ll go donate my plasma, and at least I’ll have some certainty.

    2. Good luck! Do you have an oximeter? You should get one to measure your oxygen levels. If they drop below the low nineties get yourself to an emergency room. Silent hypoxia is a real danger.

      1. I think I’m good, the symptoms have gone down, except for loss of taste/smell which has improved a bit, but its very dull. My test came back negative, which is very hard for me to believe after all that happened, and the false negative rate is around 30%.

        I did remember thinking getting tested at the center and thinking ‘that was deep enough’ with the swab, even an inch in like is the apparently new standard – but that may just be hind-sighting the process.

        I’ve had fevers and infections before, but spiking like that with no sense of taste period, is nothing I’ve ever experience. I could have had a blindfold on and ate cat food and someone could have told me it was cereal, and I would have believed them.

        I guess in the end it doesn’t matter much to have that confirmation, because I’m quarantining anyway, already working at home, and so on. I did want some peace of mind that I would have the antibodies for semi-protection, but I will get that checked in a couple weeks. Also wanted to donate plasma if possible, but without that confirmation I guess I can’t for sure.

        It sure feels like this entire thing is being winged, which I guess it is, but it adds to frustration that this thing is probably a lot more widespread than we think just from my experience.

  7. My girlfriend, a pediatrician in Holland in her late 30s, had it in April low/medium-level. Rest, lots of hydration, and what were basically over the counter type flu meds got her bouncing back within a few days. She went home from the hospital rather than vice versa.
    Hang in there in any case.

  8. Hawaii is ordering a stay-at-home shutdown for 2 weeks effective Thursday.

    Depending on who you listen to, the number of available ICU beds may or may not be of concern. There’s some kind of political bullshit going on up there.

    The Surgeon General is here, and there is a push to test upwards of 60K people for free. And apparently the COVID-19 tests no longer require a brain sample. Hawaii is apparently in the “yellow” group.

    We have had a total of about 7000 cases, with 49 deaths. So I guess the raw numbers aren’t as impressive as other states.

  9. New coronavirus infections rose slightly in the U.S. for the second day but remained lower than in recent weeks.

    The country reported about 38,200 new cases on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, up a few hundred from Monday but still an improvement from last week, when cases topped 40,000 most days and neared 50,000 on some.

  10. Hey Tanner, you said you don’t trust Chinese scientists to tell the truth. Looking like maybe you need to look a little closer to home today.

    1. Sorry, Tanner. Got you & Indy mixed up. Apologies. Recency bias.
      Due diligence a little harder to do the way we’re managing the covid thread comments here.

      I had tried to make sense of a Chinese study suggesting little asymptomatic spread. I pointed out the study had contact traced exactly 1 patient. Indy said forget Chinese research, waste of time. Totalitarian control makes everyone puppets.

      As it turned out, even people at the top of CDC are bureaucrats. Vulnerable to top-down manipulation. In our own up-and-coming totalitarian state.

      (Roger: Mitch seems to be someone else.)

      1. When did I say the CDC wasn’t susceptible to it? This was never an either/or comment, Chinese authoritarianism controls the messaging. Trump’s regime wants to do the same thing, and exerts influence as well. They’re both one in the same, whereas China actually has full governmental control over information to the outside world, Trump and his staff usually do so incompetently and the freedom of press allows to report when they attempt to do so like recently.

        I’m not sure what your point is, Trump envies China’s authoritarianism, while he plays it off as adversarial because his simple minded trade rules, he would love to be able to do the same thing. China is willing and able to manipulate the flow of information completely. Trump is willing but only partially able to manipulate it. That’s really all there is to it, a shot at one isn’t a support of the other.

        1. I don’t understand your take or what you consider a shortcut.

          We could live 10,000 years and never learn enough to do a deep dive into every subject matter. When you walk into a large building, you’re placing your inherent trust into the structural engineer who designed it, and the construction company to implement the design and that it won’t collapse at any given moment. It’s impossible to know every single piece of information of a subject matter.

          At any given moment, something as simple as driving your car a few miles to drop off a package inside a building consists of a ton of inherent trust pieces on hundreds or thousands of people at any given moment, and you can’t know the details of them all. Similar to this pandemic, unless you’re a epidemiologist, you make logical assumptions off of the information and go from there.

          A someone who very likely had the virus last week, nothing about the testing and reporting is completely certain – but you can get it in the ballpark. That’s what these numbers are – getting it in the ballpark. They can be manipulated by ulterior motives, sure, but you have to weigh where, how, and how much influence those motives wield.

          And in the end, how much does the minutia matter with this? All that really needs to be known on a personal level is the fact it’s a potentially deadly respiratory pathogen spread mainly through the air. If you are obese, have co-morbidity, or are at an advanced age (which usually means lack of exercise or strong repository system) – you are at a higher risk. And reducing gatherings and utilizing masks in public places works to blunt potentially asymptomatic spread.

          Really, the only questions that this even boils down to are the worth and cost of a life versus the economic activities that require activities that are an antithesis to gatherings and spread. One thing is for certain, a virus does not think, and does not care about the constructs our society has invented to base life itself and the ability to survive around economic consumption to provide people shelter, food, and water while allowing the wealthy to gatekeep those things at a high cost. Society controls those constructs and how we decide to collectively behave, society can’t control the behavior of a virus.

      2. Look, we basically agreed. My point was, I’m doing it right. You’re doing it wrong. You take shortcuts. You skimp on the science. I debunked it on its merits. You decided you don’t trust the source. Like most people. But most people’s heuristic gets them in lots of trouble. Especially bias. And bias is a hot button at the moment because eg, cops think a black 8yo kid’s toy is a gun in the hands of a likely criminal (a black hat) while a rifle-toting white 18yo adult male is (a white hat) performing citizenship.

        So I pointed out many of us put stock in CDC & bemoaned the WH for sidelining them. But that too was a shortcut. As it turned out, yet another unwarranted one. Considering the source betrayed us, all the same. Follow the science. Do the math yourself. No more damn shortcuts. Not these days.

      3. Sure, whatever. You’re deflecting. I don’t disagree on most of that. I’ll go along with moms & apple pie.

        For the record, I didn’t start this. You’re the wiseguy rootin tootin driveby shootin knowitall who threw that 1st rock. This paper was raising some public buzz at the moment. I did a simple thing that 100M other Americans equal to you or me could have. I debunked it. You dissed my effort by insinuating if I were smart like you, I could’ve saved my time.

        How I waste my time is not your business. We’re both hanging out here, after all. How smart you are isn’t a matter of public interest. Calling ad hom a shortcut was kinder than the usual term: fallacy. If those 100M or so of our peers all followed your advice, that wouldn’t be just not smart. That’s jingoism.

  11. UncleScoopy said: “The total population of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas added together is not much more than half of the Chicago metro.”

    And all put together, they have TEN senators, while California, with 41 million people, has two. We need Constitutional reform, IMO. At the very least, some states should have three senators, and some should only have one. while the rest remain at two. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst times in American history to try to make sensible reforms.

      1. Did this analysis 2/3 yrs ago looking up each state’s current population:

        14 States = 72 Electoral Votes = 32,840,000 pop.

        CA = 55 Electoral Votes = 39,144,000

        America is not a representative anything and each state has their own election laws. The only way to do the electoral college fairly is to use fractions and that’s never gonna happen!

        Yielding back the Balance of my time …

    1. The House is population, the Senate is simply 2 per state. This is so every state in the Union has an equal voice yet the people within them are represented proportionately.

      Gerrymandering is the problem but you’ll never get the GOP to agree to fix a broken system when it’s the only thing keeping them in the game.

      1. Yes, Mitch, I know that. That is the problem. That system is obsolete. The difference in size between the states is far different than it was in 1789, and it has to go. South Dakota, which has a smaller population than the medium-sized city I live in, would just have to man up and get by with one Senator.

        And the GOP? It is the Billionaire & Racist Party. How much of a future has it got? How many Americans are billionaires, racist, and fools? And how many are going to be in 20 years?

    2. It would be cheaper to simply combine those five deserted states into one, thus reducing the taxes in all five as their citizens support one state government instead of five.

      That would also by-pass the need for a constitutional amendment.

      Of course, neither that nor the amendment will happen, so we’re basically jerking off with this discussion.

  12. Well…this is going “well”

    Alabama tops 1,300 cases since classes began last week

    In one of the largest reported campus outbreaks of the coronavirus, the University of Alabama has now tallied more than 1,000 infections on its three campuses after announcing positive tests for 492 students and 51 faculty and staff members Friday.

  13. But Pat Garrett, spokesman for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, said Friday evening that the abrupt increase is a one-time event, reflecting the addition of antigen tests to state numbers.

    The results of about 10,000 antigen tests, previously marked as “inconclusive,” were updated as positive or negative — thereby boosting the number of cases and the positivity rate.

    1. That’s a good sign. Antigen tests are what we need. Doctors are biased toward treatment. PCR tests are best diagnosis. But it’s all ass-backwards. In a pandemic, getting traction against spread is the top priority. What’s needed to restart business. Cheap instant test for antigen is just the ticket. Mass distribute these babies. Let’s start confining outbreaks to small pockets. Make it safe to gather again. Go to movies, concerts, sports. Geez, people. Use our brains!

      1. The problem with the antigen tests is that they have a higher negative rate…meaning they miss more cases than the PCR. A positive antigen test result is considered very accurate, but there’s an increased chance of false-negative results. So antigen tests aren’t as sensitive as molecular tests are. What’s ideally needed is a fast turnaround for PCR tests.

        1. Too much attention paid to sensitivity. That’s been our problem. We’re approaching an EPIDEMIC as patients & patient care workers. When EVERYONE’S life has been disrupted.

          Someone among us needs to think in terms of keeping the virus contained into small pockets. No one at FDA & CDC seems to be ready to fight a pandemic. We’ve all been hypnotized that we can only be safe by individually getting a magic shot.

          I can provide refs if you want. For containment, according to models, low sensitivity tests are just as effective as high.

      2. No, we just have different facts. The 3 antigen tests the FDA basically just greenlit but only halfheartedly, they all look for N protein & yes, thus do not necessarily identify live virus. But e25’s paper strip spit test detects S (spike) protein that stands out in virus pics bc it’s on the outside envelope. THAT antigen is specific to live virus.

        Comprehensive article including political blowback & practical difficulties, but written for general readers. (Give us our lives back. Atlantic 8/14.)

    2. You’re missing the point. PCR tests positive BEFORE the viral load is infectious. Good at getting ahead of the virus for treatment. But THAT patient isn’t sick. Doesn’t go in. Doesn’t get ANY test.

      PCR also catches viral junk long AFTER the patient gets better. Including late-sickness when all the virus is already dead. PCR doesn’t tell us which. Is this patient PRE sick or POST sick? After 9 days waiting for POS result. Waste of $100. Extra week of spreading. Or maybe this person had it, got over it & we don’t even need to know anymore. NO LIVE VIRUS.

      Antigen only tests pos for infectious patients with live virus. Yes, false negs. But cheap & fast. $1. At home. Spit on a strip. Wait 15min. 97% accurate if infectious. Including 2 days before sick. Neg test? Low count. NOT A SPREADER. Tomorrow or next day, you’ll be pos. Stay home. Upload ALL your tests to a crowdsource DB. Including negs. We have ways to make this work.

      Can also challenge test on the way into events/businesses like we’re doing in some cases right now but with actual virus tests, not thermometers. Because flu season soon.

      1. With Covid-19 you’re most infectious before you show symptoms. You’re incorrect about antigen tests only being positive while you have active virus. The antigen test uses monoclonal antibodies to detect the virus’s nucleocapsid (N) protein. That doesn’t mean the virus is active. PCR may show positives before the viral load is high but it’s not clear at what viral load the virus is high enough to be infectious and this level will vary by individual. Let’s see some refs.

        1. OK, fair enough. But balanced is not what we need. Not at all. We need to pick a side & duke it out. Our alternative is deadlock. Then, no prophylactic test plan will ever be deployed. We’ll just rot in hell.

          Until 1 of the vaccines wins the pennant & rides in to save our bacon. Then, PCR will be useless. We’ll need that S antigen test. But we won’t have been producing & using it already. We’ll be dusting off a new idea. Introducing it for the 1st time. Since we’re so smart. So smart, we never looked this far down the road. Our future looks so much brighter if we’d only jump on the chance to get there. Even BEFORE we have that magic bullet vaccine.

        2. P.S. “Don’t bother with the Vox article” isn’t an argument. Please explain. Otherwise, yes, I did avoid it. I gave you that ground. But you didn’t earn it. I take it back. I need to hear your objection. Even if it means I drop a peg on your board. I will not grant you those baseless debate points.

      2. The problem I’m having with you Tanner & the reason I wrongly placed you in Indy’s bucket is perfectly demonstrated by your silence in the face of a fact that contradicts your settled opinion. You’re arrogant. You think you’re superior. That you might be wrong because you simply didn’t know something you thought you’d figured out already, well, that just did not compute.

        To cut a little more finely, you put out signals that you’re deep. But you aren’t. You’re shallow. Sure, I’m the pot calling the kettle black on that score. Takes one to know one. Like Indy, you take shortcuts. You won’t back off. Maybe you can’t. Everyone has this fault to some extent. If you’re intellectually honest, you look for your bias. You update your opinions. You change your mind & freely admit you did.

        Sure, never admitting you were wrong most often leads to unmerited wins. Why do you choose to be that kind of winner?

      3. Tanner: I failed to state my key point. To spell it out. You’re correct. “It’s not clear at what viral load the virus is high enough to be infectious.” But the ballpark is in the millions of live virus in a swab. S protein antigen is more sensitive than that by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude. Like, to a count of 10,000 in a saliva sample. Yes, PCR is an order of magnitude “better” than that. Functionally, this means PCR may detect a positive case on day 2 or 3 vs. S antigen’s day 3 or 4. But that lets you admit the patient into the hospital 1 day earlier. The antigen test readily detects infectiousness 1-2 days before the viral load reaches that point. It’s the perfect tool for the correct goal. And yes, we do absolutely know that. Right the heck now.

  14. I want to know how many of those new infections in Iowa are in counties along Interstates. You gotta figure the bikers returning from Sturgis are responsible for some of that.

  15. New York State reported a surge of infections in Buffalo and shut down a college campus for two weeks after blaming parties for an outbreak. California’s cases rose by the most in a week.

  16. Fuck you and covid….people die….that’s what we do…
    .053 mortality rate in the U.S.
    .00625 worldwide
    Meaning far less than 1% of either population
    3300 people a day die worldwide from auto accidents
    Are u SJWs still driving? How fucking insensitive of you!!!!
    Meanwhile life still goes on until it doesn’t because you can’t pay rent or buy gas or clothes or food
    The deaths are tragic but so are most other deaths and exactly how many causes of those deaths are keeping you locked down for no good fucking reason? and if masks are so fucking necessary why is it Fauci never wears them? You know the little asshole who admitted lying to EVERYONE ? liars generally don’t just lie once….they lie whenever it serves a purpose for them…..wake the fuck up

    1. You don’t seem like a happy camper, Festie. Why is that? What has happened to you or been done to you?

      Oh, and a lot of people would rather not die until it’s unavoidable. That’s why there is such a big effort to avoid getting COVID-19. Because something as simple and easy as wearing a cheap mask really reduces the odds of getting it yourself, or giving it to someone else. Doesn’t seem like much to ask. Does it seem like a lot to you?

      Take care and cheer up, Festie. And let us know what’s going on with you.

    2. What pictures of Dr. Fauci are you looking at? His habitual Washington Nationals masks are pretty well known around here. As is his basic honesty – unlike some Washington figures who are probably heroes of yours.

      1. Oh, there are TONS of pictures of Dr. Fauci without a mask, both outdoors and indoors, Bill Deecee. Of course, they are all from 2019 and before, but I suppose the people Festie listens to have no problem lying
        about that.

        1. True that. If I remember right the film of what was supposed to be evil brown people crashing our border Trump used 4 years ago had actually been filmed in the former Spanish Morocco many years previously.

  17. Yay. Hawaii finally makes the Scoopy update!

    For a moment I thought maybe our local media was just overreacting. I remember a while ago the headline was “# of COVID-19 cases triples over the weekend!” It went from 2 to 6. Ah, the good old days.

    BTW, the reason why Pacific Islanders are the highest hit is because those fakas were the ones throwing the huge beach parties with the giant tents and bouncy castles.

  18. Quick note re: the faux vaccine which may or may not be ready 11/1. 😛

    Told you it would be quick. Seriously one of Trump covid-19 ironies many of his toadies are conspiracy theorists aka anti-vaxxers lol. TBF as a die hard independent liberal even if the vaccine had a realistic 3/4/5 yr vetting process and was certified totally safe would not get a covid vaccine shot.

    But on the other hand if I’m not dead in 3/4/5 yrs hopefully covid-19 will be totally under control by then assuming Trump is no longer in the loop.

    btw, last flu shot was 1988 my last yr in the USN when it was mandatory. Yielding back the balance of my time …

    1. Well, if they get that last laugh, they’ll all be dead and their grandchildren will have to do the laughing.

      Sweden has two neighbors, Norway and Finland, so lets see how they have done so far.

      Sweden, with 10 million people, 5846 dead – 580 per million
      Norway + Finland, with 11 million people, 602 dead – 55 per million

      So they have about 5,200 excess deaths in a tiny nation of ten million.

      Translating the same strategy to a country the size of the United States, just to give it some perspective, that’s the equivalent of a strategy producing 170,000 excess deaths. Even Trump, as incompetent as he is, has not been able to do that. (Well, not YET)

      So is the Swedish strategy now paying off? Let’s look at the last seven days:

      Sweden, 7-day rolling average: one death per day
      Norway plus Finland, 7 day rolling average: NO deaths per day.

      So it doesn’t seem to be paying out on the back end.

      What about economically? Is it paying off in economic health?

      World economic outlook for 2020, GDP growth, per IMF:

      Norway -6.3%
      Sweden -6.8%
      Finland -6.0%

      Sweden is STILL doing (slightly) worse than Finland and Norway in terms of COVID deaths as well as economic growth. Its strategy has been a monumental failure. It is reasonable to assume that if they had pursued the same strategy as Norway and Finland, they would be in the same boat as they are in now in terms of both current COVID deaths and the economy, but with 5,000 additional citizens still alive – and that’s a big number in a tiny country. If China had tried the Swedish strategy, they would presumably would have had an additional 700,000 casualties!

      Of course if you arbitrarily compare Sweden to countries that have totally fucked up and have completely different circumstances, you can make some argument about its success. You can even do that for Trump if you compare him to Peru and Brazil.

      1. I think Sweden’s populace is a little more educated to hunker down on their own as well over time, despite the lack of government’s direct orders. Any improvement was an ‘oh shit’ moment for their citizens to start improving social distancing:

        “‘The reason we have relatively low transmission now is largely due to the fact that so many Stockholmers are following the recommendations to stay home when you’re sick, wash hands and keep your distance,’ Follin said. ”

        In other words, a lot of people still died for no real reason at the start of the pandemic, when it could have been prevented. I give them more credit for actually learning from their mistakes, unlike here where Trumps death cult insists on everything being a hoax. Overall though, they allowed people to die unnecessarily to get to this point though.

      2. There are a couple interesting things in that comparison between Sweden and the U.K. Both of them essentially pursued the ‘herd immunity’ strategy initially. So, if there is any evidence from Sweden that their now low rates of infection are due to having pursued herd immunity, the large increase in cases in the U.K seems to contradict that. I really don’t know what to make of that because the situation in New York City does seem to suggest that there is some possible reality to herd immunity. The U.K situation does strike me as a bit of an anomaly.

        The whole argument from the right in the U.S of ‘herd immunity’ is more evidence of there lack of seriousness in governing. They looked to Sweden, but never acknowledged that Sweden has a strong social security safety net that made pursuing herd immunity somewhat possible: in Sweden it was more possible to isolate the vulnerable in their homes while the young and able went about things normally because Sweden has a social safety net that could provide for the (mostly elderly) vulnerable in their homes.

        In the United States, most social service delivery is provided at the state and county level, and there is no equivalent system to Sweden anywhere in the United States. So, the whole right wing strategy in the United States of ‘let the young and able go about their business while sheltering the vulnerable’ had no existing support system to go about doing it.

        I asked various right wing types on twitter and on their websites how the various U.S government entities could provide this stay at home service to the vulnerable when no system was set up, and was difficult to set up given the stresses caused by the coronavirus to people such as Russell Roberts at the libertarian EconLib, sleazy ‘space historian’ Robert Zimmerman (not Bob Dylan), and Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who is not necessarily associated with the right, but all of whom advocated this approach, and not a single one of them replied to me on this.

        When I asked Russell Roberts this several months ago, I also told him that in order to successfully in the way that he advocated, there would need to be rapid testing capabilities, and he replied, ‘except them to come on line in a couple weeks.’ Russell Roberts is one of those libertarian economists who likes to assume things into existence.

        The obvious upshot of all this is not just that people advocate for things they either know or should know are impossible to deliver, but that modern right wing types are completely unserious about basic governance.

        1. Sorry, a couple edits:
          1.The whole argument from the right in the U.S of ‘herd immunity’ is more evidence of there lack of seriousness in governing.

          s/b ‘their lack of seriousness in governing.’

          2.When I asked Russell Roberts this several months ago, I also told him that in order to successfully in the way that he advocated

          s/b that in order to successfully re-open in the way that he advocated.

          3.and he replied, ‘except them to come on line’
          s/b ‘expect them to come on line’

          1. Anything regarding science is disregarded by right wing extremists, so trying to justify any logic with them is a waste.

            Look at tonight, Trump is holding an indoor rally in Nevada with no masks or social distancing, violating state guidelines. Trump’s pussy ass won’t be standing in close range with any of them, of course, but his dedicated cult will be there to worship their authoritarian cult leader just the same.

      3. Let’s just look at Taiwan in comparison to the UK. Both island nations. Taiwan has 0.3 deaths per million and the UK has 613 deaths per million. QED.

        1. Tanner, pursuant to Indy’s point above about the Right and science, I am sure Boris Johnson would refute your point about Taiwan with something straight out of Monty Python. Probably something about a duck being made out of wood, so we should burn the witch.

    1. At this point in time, unless I’m missing something, the pandemic is the 4th largest ‘event killer’ in US history. 500,000 to 850,000 deaths from the 1918 pandemic, the Civil War with between 620,000 and 750,000 dead, and WWII with over 400,000 dead.

      It would not surprise me to see in the next year the death count rise close to the WW2 level, but it depends on how bad winter is. It’s honestly very pathetic of the top four killers in US history, this has been the most preventable with good policy and federal action and coordination.

      Well, of course preventable, outside of the Confederacy not being able to rationalize not using another human being to rape, torture, and enslave to work to the bone for rich white plantation owners personal gain that Trump supporters still worship with to this very day.

      1. You are forgetting the Bowling Green massacre, Indy. The death toll is unknown because the liberal elite mainstream media covered it up. You notice how no one you talk to knows anything about the Bowling Green massacre? That is because NOBODY survived it. Millions must have died!

        BTW, did you know that in 1865 the Confederate government was trying to figure out how to get slaves to fight for the Confederacy? My god, those people were so obsessed with their own point of view that reality was invisible to them. Reminds of me of the American Right today.

      2. If you want to include enemy casualties, the two world wars would be much higher. If you don’t include enemy casualties, then the number for the Civil War was about 360,000 soldiers and civilians of the USA. The others died fighting for the Confederacy. Based on the current forecasts, we will lose more Americans to COVID (albeit a far smaller percentage of the population – the population of the Union during the Civil War was in the neighborhood of 20 million.).

        As I’ve noted before, we have already lost about the same number to COVID as we did fighting Hitler. (About 150,000 dead in the European theater, about 45,000 in the Mediterranean theater.)

        1. Well Civil War I’m going by ‘both’ as American citizens, but yes you’re right if the numbers aren’t considered all American and only the Union, its smaller.

          And I’m going by what come up for WW2 deaths period, by the US, and it seems to be consensus that varies around 400,000, I’m not sure what these numbers consist of versus yours:

          1. The difference is that the numbers I listed were military actions in the fight against the Nazis and do not include the war in the Pacific and various other casualties. Thus, we have lost about the same amount of people to corona as the number of combatants who died to defeat Hitler.

            The total American casualties of WW2 were about 400,000, as you mentioned. That includes all theaters of operation, civilians, and domestic. Thus, according to forecasts, coronavirus will eventually leave the American deaths in both the Civil War (360,000) and WW2 (just more than 400,000) in the rear view mirror, leaving only the 1918 pandemic in the headlights.

  19. “Olivia Troye is Vice President Pence’s recently departed homeland security adviser, and she’s stepping forward to make her case against Trump. She does so from a unique vantage point: She was involved in many of the White House’s internal discussions on the coronavirus pandemic.”

  20. “Troye went so far as to say that people should be skeptical of a vaccine if it’s released before the election, because of the kind of political pressure she saw being brought to bear.”

    1. I guess it’s nice to have what I already assumed confirmed by an ex-insider.

      I very much hope that if a vaccine is rushed out before the election that everyone in the Trump Administration is injected with it. Being guinea pigs is the highest and best use I can think of for them.

  21. Well…this looks “promising…”

    “Progress in slowing the march of the novel coronavirus has stalled in much of the United States, and the pathogen is spreading at dangerous rates in many states as autumn arrives and colder weather — traditionally congenial to viruses — begins to settle across the nation, public health data shows.
    Organizations that track the virus have logged recent increases in case numbers and test positivity rates — worrisome trends as the United States on Tuesday surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths. Hospitalizations and deaths remain lower nationally than at their midsummer peak, but those numbers always lag several weeks behind trends in new infections.
    Twenty-seven states and Puerto Rico have shown an increase in the seven-day average of new confirmed cases since the final week of August, according to analysis of public health data. Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Utah set record highs Monday for seven-day averages.“

  22. It’s almost like there is a bad virus going around with no vaccine. Who would have thunk it possible for people to catch it?

    1. Trump did…see the Woodward tapes.

      “Bob, it’s so easily transmissible, you wouldn’t even believe it,” Trump can be heard saying on the tape, which Woodward recorded on April 13th, 2020,

  23. better than an antigen test…

    “German industrial group Bosch has developed a Covid-19 test which it says can deliver a result in just under 40 minutes, and be processed using a portable device.

    The test uses polymerase chain reaction technology, which is widely considered to be the most accurate method of testing for the presence of coronavirus.

    Bosch said its test has a “sensitivity” — the ability to avoid false negatives — of 98 per cent, and a “specificity” — the ability to avoid false positives — of 100 per cent.”

  24. If you can’t contain the pandemic (still not out from 1st wave I read), you did a really shitty job and people keep dying with no end in sight, you got to at least brainwash your supporters to keep supporting you, right? SMH

    “The Trump administration is using over $300 million in funding diverted from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make advertisements to “defeat despair” over COVID-19, Politico revealed Friday.

    The ad campaign, reportedly the brainchild of a political appointee and health department spokesperson Michael Caputo, “is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities,” including actor Dennis Quaid, the outlet reported. It is being investigated by Democrats, who see it as taxpayer-funded political ads ahead of an election.”

    1. Dang, I thought Randy was the crazy Quaid. Disappointing to see Dennis giving new life to the expression “as dumb as an actor”.

  25. Just a quick comment to everyone discussing the pro’s and con’s of using PCR, every point I took the time to read was essentially true, but it ignores the promise of qRT-PCR. The “q” stands for “quantitative”. Sorry if someone else already noted this–like I said, I skipped ahead. qRT-PCR would make it possible to determine if someone was pre-, mid- or post-infectious, but would require repeated sampling over several days, or at several-day intervals. Compare the quantitative values at three time points and it is possible to tell if the viral load is rising, stabilizing or falling (pre-, mid- or post-). Expensive, but the reagents are scaleable which should bring the cost down, and compared to the expense of shutting down the economy, bailouts, etc…, well…
    The test itself can be run in about 2 hours–not ideal, but doable. With this method you would have sensitivity and a sense for how the infection is progressing. Covid-19 is truly novel, so I don’t if my experience with other viruses and virus-like organisms would apply, but I had success with this method. I processed 1000 samples a day, working alone at a field station in the New Mexico desert, with everything done by hand. A clinical lab would have teams working together with robotic processing and could easily improve on my numbers. Also, and some of you may disagree (and this point may have already been made), but it seems pretty clear that a false negative is much, much more problematic with Covid-19 than a false positive, except to the person who has to go into isolation.

    1. You forget the key advantage of a fast cheap test: it’s CHEAP. Being able to do frequent testing reduces stakes per test vs. expensive, too slow & scarce. It’s just a completely different mindset. The case we miss today before the viral load is contagious, we do catch tomorrow & still not contagious yet. Everybody wins.

  26. COVID-19 herd immunity in the Brazilian Amazon” preprint

    True, AB decay occurs but is normal & expected. Also, AB are on the tip of the tongue of researchers as their method was AB assay on blood donations applied to a model to estimate prevalence. I believe the researcher quoted was speaking figuratively using AB as proxy for immunity. Longterm immune response however relies on immune cells other than AB. A key function of these cells is to recognize the virus & trigger AB production. When an “immunized” person is exposed to a contagious source, there’s a race between infection & AB production. Assuming the ABs win, immune mop-up in which host cells are destroyed accounting for most of the tissue damage, is limited. The symptoms are milder than 1st infection & survival rate improved. The virus has a head start. It wins for awhile. If peak viral load gets too high, the host becomes infectious & adds to contagion even though host might never get sick.

    Their “corrected” prevalence was that 2 of 3 Manaus residents had the virus. Peak of which suggests some 4000 cases/million were needed to establish “herd immunity”. Resulting in many deaths. Later surge suggests herd immunity declined. As opposed to waning AB which is expected. AB decay is exponential & levels in the blood are effectively 0 in a few months anyway. Immunity durability will affect how much, post-vaccine, the virus smolders on or dwindles out. It’s looking like eradication may be unrealistic. Likely we’ll need to fire-suppress for years.

    1. That’s an unpleasant picture for the most vulnerable parts of the population. How effective will a vaccine be for the elderly, for example?

    2. You’re not wrong. I don’t like it. I left out booster shots to reduce immune decline. The thrust is to keep the virus tamped down so people aren’t even exposed to it. If lots of people are killing the virus, it dies out most places. But fires still break out.

      I’m pessimistic but try to be open to hope. I’ve always thought we should push for a vaccine ASAP. But not as a magic bullet. Every little bit helps. I’m a “small-ball” baseball fan. PPE, masks, washing hands, social distance, quarantine, contact tracing, surveillance, effective treatment for the stricken. No one of these the answer, but together could’ve been pretty effective had we done them early on.

      By surveillance I mean like RADAR. Whatever tests can cast a wide net. Give a quick read so we react in time to cut short the spread. Sampling must be random. Not only symptomatic. Studies show this approach to epidemic control does not depend on a perfect test. Ie, not sensitive to sensitivity. Significant false negatives can make this less effective but not ineffective. In particular, we don’t want to trigger quarantines & contract tracing at low viral loads that aren’t contagious. And unlike a vaccine, many of these steps we can plan, prepare in advance, or develop & ramp up quickly.

      The eventual picture is limited outbreaks, few & far between. Not great, but “manageable”. Like the flu. Many die of that, after all. Particularly among the elderly. Effective treatments can mitigate.

  27. huh… Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s most senior advisers, has tested positive for the coronavirus, three people familiar with the matter said Thursday night…but it must be a “hoax.”

    1. Thanks! I should really subscribe. I’m not hot on heroes, but if I had ’em, I reckon Zeynep might be one o’ mine. I mean, she’s a great lay… article writer. Among I’m sure many other virtues.

      She makes my point & more, as I told a friend who’s a chem/bio type, that we’re listening too much to immunologists. It’s because we focus on a magic bullet that we assume comes in the form of the basic science: vaccines, tests, treatments. Instead, we need to get our heads around the directly applicable expertise of epidemiologists. My case for massive testing even if less sensitive has gone over like a lead balloon. Zeynep saying it gives that argument instant credibility. She argues it better, of course.

  28. Kellyanne Conway is the latest Trump sycophant to test positive. It looks like that Saturday event is turning into RBG’s revenge. Those testing positive all attended what is turning out to be a superspreader event.

    1. I loathe Trump and his toadies. I think he, and they, are getting what they deserve. But I think Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a better person than I am, and revenge would not be on her docket.

      1. What about the time she killed that right-wing drifter and buried him in the desert?

        I think it was impressive that she killed him with her bare hands, despite the fact that he was three times her body weight.

        (Not to mention getting his lifeless 300-pound body into the trunk of her car.)

        Makes me wonder if it was a rehearsal for killing her “friend” Scalia.

  29. “Wisconsin residents have watched with growing alarm as virus cases have exploded. Three of the four metro areas in the United States with the most cases per capita were in northeastern Wisconsin, and one hospital in Green Bay was nearly full this week.”

    virus central…?

  30. Apparently Chris Christie has been in the hospital for five days, and nothing on his social media accounts. The guy was about as high risk as it gets, and may literally die from drinking the Trump Kool-Aid.

    1. I wonder if Christie will renounce Trump if he lives? I feel sorry for Christie’s family, and I hope the doctors can ease his suffering, but he is the one who decided to kowtow to Trump.

  31. Huh, so mandating masks and closing establishments where people crowd together in close proximity reduced the rate of infection, who’da thunk it?

    Oh, right — everyone who’s not a moron. Oh well — I’m sure the fact that Arizona figured it out eventually will be ample solace to those who lost family members or will suffer long-term complications from the virus needlessly.

    1. Those deaths are the price of freedom, Kevin, and any true patriot should be honored to pay it, just like Herman Cain was, I assume. It’s just like the way school shootings are also the price of freedom. Harlon Carter or Wayne LaPierre said so, IRRC, and they ought to know. Yes, freedom is expensive. But the greatest patriots, like Trump, know how to keep the price to them down to about $750 a year. Smart!

  32. Things regarding Covid look bad but not just in the US…Spain and the UK are particularly bad….it’s never good to mix politics and a pandemic.

  33. Herd immunity….guess again.

    There are now about eight or nine cases of re-infection that have been reported, Fauci said. “The protection doesn’t last decades and decades. It lasts more [like] many months to a year or two.”

    1. From the outset, the re-infection possibility has been the worst case scenario. It is a logistical nightmare to give a vaccine to an entire population every six months, or even every two years. It is possible, but unwieldy. It would work if we could get every single person immune for six months, allowing the disease to disappear from a lack of hosts, but there are always enough anti-vaxxers around that the number of cases will never reach zero, and will probably never even come close.

      And although Fauci’s point is still speculative, the evidence we have, mimimal though it is, suggests without contradiction that the good Dr. F is correct.

      1. We already give annual vaccinations for influenza. And for the flu the vaccine has to be modified every year (it’s not clear that this would be the case for coronavirus). Granted, it took years to develop the processes in place to do this, but it’s not impossible.

        Even discounting the anti-vaxxers, the goal of getting to near-zero cases like with smallpox and measles is probably unrealistic at this point

        1. A vaccine can be more effective at providing immunity than simply coming down with the disease.

          I came down with mumps twice as a child. The first was a mild case likely due to receiving a low viral load. The second time two years later was a severe case. Similar results may hold for those infected with a mild covid-19 case.

  34. Regarding the herd immunity strategy. At the core is the philosophy of American Exceptionalism, meaning that what happens elsewhere doesn’t apply to the US. In particular, Sweden tried to do it, and didn’t achieve herd immunity, and communities in Spain and Italy with very high infection rates, also didn’t achieve herd immunity.

    Besides the deaths, a big factor is long term disability in the survivors, in some cases severe. Resource-wise, a death is much easier to manage than a disability.

    1. Oh, I think “American exceptionalism” is too abstract and intellectual a cause for the herd immunity strategy, Yimin Rong. I thing the cause is wishful think and a desire to pretend that doing nothing is the best strategy, so that the Trump Administration’s failure to respond effectively can be portrayed as the correct thing to have done. Otherwise, I agree with everything you say.

  35. an above comment…

    “John says:
    September 19, 2020 at 9:32 am
    South Dakota’s Governor seems confident in her response. Do you think she should change course?”

    I think we have our answer….

      1. I wonder how long it will take people to realize that there are a wide variety of things they used to do, and very much want to still do, that are now a bad idea to do, both for themselves and for others?
        Apparently six or seven months is not enough.

        I suppose motorcycle riders have a different attitude toward risk than the average person. I wonder how many of them still think the rally was worth the cost? Maybe most of those who did not get gravely ill. That seems to be human nature.

    1. That’s a break for the coronavirus task force, if you ask me. We don’t want them all down with Covid. Trump’s political staff, OTOH – who cares?

    1. I wonder if one of Trump’s pharmaceutical golf buddies ask him to get rid of the vaccine office? Or if pharma industries lobbyists asked for it? The amount saved must have been trivial, but it fits with the Republican/Big Money agenda of “reducing regulations” – i.e., endangering public safety to increase profits.

  36. “A fresh coronavirus outbreak in the White House has infected two of Vice President Pence’s top advisers and a third person who is on his staff, officials said late Saturday night, though officials said Pence tested negative and plans to continue his heavy schedule of campaign travel.”

    Pence is head of the WH coronavirus task force. The White House shit show continues.

  37. A Covid-19 surge in Belgium leads to serious shortage of doctors, teachers and police. Belgium dropped their national mask mandate and loosened social restrictions earlier this month.

    Trump’s idiot Dr. Atlas says masks are useless….

  38. Trump’s now signed an executive order that would enable him to fire Dr. Fauci, as well as scorch the earth for more death when he’s voted out in the lame duck period. I doubt this will hold up in court, but rest assured, he’s going to make sure as many people as possible die:

    “Donald Trump’s latest executive order could give him the power to mount a scorched-earth campaign which would cripple a future Biden administration.

    In the event the incumbent president loses his re-election bid, this order could give him largely unfettered authority to fire experts like Dr Anthony Fauci while leaving behind a corps of embedded loyalists to undermine his successor, according to federal employment law experts.

    The order, which the White House released late Wednesday evening, would strip civil service protections from a broad swath of career civil servants if it is decided that they are in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” — a description previously reserved for the political appointees who come and go with each change in administration”
    – The Independent

    1. Wow, real last days in the bunker in Berlin move for Trump there. Completely to be expected of Trump, of course. The spiteful bastard.

      One prays that some Republican Senators with an iota of self-reservation will overcome their slavish obedience and help the Democrats clamp down on this. I think the odds of that happening are at least three out of seven!

      OK, two out of five. One out of three? Oh, hell, will this Presidency never end?

    1. Well, if I was going to say something like that, I would say oligarchy, not autocracy, because an autocrat has not arisen yet. IMO, Trump is personally too weak for that role and his main concern is his personal wealth and prestige, not power. And I would say we are not so far down the road to oligarchy that we cannot still come back without revolution. Coming back is the task we face in A) getting rid of Trump, and B) after Trump is gone.

      But maybe that’s just me.

  39. I’m pretty sure that neither Trump not the United States is repsonsible for the rise in numbers on the rest of the planet.

  40. Five more days and it’s the endgame for four long years of this piece of trash and his supporters.

    Biden’s poll numbers have been coming in as strong as ever, even in places like Florida and North Carolina. Just to give a comparison, in 2016 Trump had a 35% shot to win according to Nate Silver/538. Biden is 89% to 11% right now with no letup, he’s actually seeming to strengthen and becoming more solid, and it’s looking more like blowout territory than gigantic upset.

    I think since the last debate, that was Trump’s last chance, and the ridiculous email-gate part II last gasp has completely crashed and burned. You live by the sword, you die by the sword, and Trump’s days are numbered.

    1. I agree with you, Indy. Now we just need to get the piece of trash and his supporters to go quietly.

      Speaking of last chances, Tucker Carlson had documents that really gave him the goods on Joe and Hunter Biden! The election was in the bag for Trump!!

      Then Tucker’s dog ate them, or something. Isn’t that always the way?

  41. But a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release says:

    “Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC,” the news release sent to reporters read. “From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

    who knew?

  42. Four days, after four long years.

    Bunker bitch cancelled his big Trump Tower party for election night and is going to stay hunkered down election night.

    Just to repeat, 538’s forecast four years ago was Trump with a 35% shot to win this many days before, and his modeling now shows 10%. Which essentially is taking the concepts of gerrymandering and hoping Trump runs the table winning a small fractional percentages in Pennsylvania where he’s heavily down in, and then win by a fractional percentage in about 5-7 states he’s down or even in.

    His days are numbered, we’re almost there for this shit era of idiocy and damage to be over.

    1. I watched the Daily Show last night and they had one of those segments where Jordan Klepper goes to a Trump rally and talks to his supporters. It’s supposed to be funny, I suppose, but it’s actually heartbreaking. They either have no information (“I don’t want to live in a socialist country”) or wildly incorrect information (denying facts that Klepper tells them) when asked why they are voting for Trump.

      And yet, even if he loses this election, he has probably changed the country more than any President since FDR. Every standard of behavior we assumed for our President has been violated. Every principle of governmental honesty has been compromised. If the Dems control both houses, the Congress will probably have to spend a year writing laws to prevent the same sorts of things from happening again. The “post-Watergate” cleansing will have to pale in comparison to the post-Trump housecleaning. We need laws that separate a President’s financial interests from his decisions. We definitely need stronger laws about special counsels and inspector generals that allow them to go their jobs freely when investigating the President or his henchmen. Given that a 2/3 Senate vote to remove a President is nearly impossible to achieve for political reasons, the President cannot be allowed to obstruct investigations into himself without some kind of consequences.

      I suppose the framers of the Constitution could not have conceived of a situation where a President could be as publicly corrupt as Trump and not be convicted in the Senate. I guess they were Age of Enlightenment idealists who believed in the general honesty of the people’s elected representatives.

      What a bunch of maroons.

      To me the saddest consequence of the Trump era is that it has forever destroyed the legitimacy of the conservative movement. There is no more room for reasoned debate. I tend to agree with Trump on many issues. Take tight immigration controls, for example. I’m at the point where I just don’t want to defend the legitimate points because Trump has poisoned the whole discussion with racism and child separation and “shithole countries.” As a result, when you argue for establishing limitations, tight procedures and priorities for accepting immigrants and refugees, you feel about the same as if you were defending pedophilia.

      1. I’m not a conservative, and I agree with you on almost every point.

        It’s going to be near impossible for me in the future to discuss politics with someone without first knowing whether they were a Trump supporter, because if they were, then I know that they are coming from an absolute vacuum of morality.

      2. The problem now with laws that Trump has broken, and with the ones UncleScoopy proposes, is that they are no use if they are not enforced, or cannot be enforced if the Senate refuses to act. (I suppose the same would be true if the House refused to act.) Trump SHOULD have been impeached, and earlier than he was, the various drivelings of people like McChesney, Steverino, and the Bonker notwithstanding.

        Obviously nothing can be done if the President has the support of a genuine majority. In that case, the laws would simply be changed. What is unprecedented is the control of the Senate by a minority party because of the effect of the two-Senators-for-every-state rule. That needs to change, but what are the odds of that?

        I agree with UncleScoopy that new laws are needed. But there may have to be new mechanisms for enforcing them. UncleScoopy has suggested some. In particular, the status of the Attorney General may need to change. I have no idea how.

        I particularly agree that Trump’s supporters are very often heartbreaking. But a fair number of them are hateful, and not a few are crackpots who long for violence. Win, lose, or draw, the election is going to be a nailbiter.

        1. I think that statehood for DC and PR would alleviate some of the Senate problem.

          Maybe VI should be a state as well. The GOP would scream bloody murder about admitting a state with only 100,000 population, but there is plenty of historical precedent. In fact, that’s kind of a typical size of newly-admitted states. Many were smaller.

      3. I think a reasoned debate has been long gone since Republicans decided to not accept the consequences of their own ideological failures that came with the Great Recession. In fact, they’ve doubled down on them, and shown that really in the end it’s never been that deregulation and trickle down economic policies ever benefited anyone except the wealthy – most of which they are a part of, or directly benefit from.

        Trying to make immigration an issue at all when there’s clear failures in society exponentially higher than what an immigrant does, is just deflection by Republicans using race and tribalism to point towards minor societal ills. The fundamental issues of immigration always seems to be, they’re using our resources, and they’re criminals. Yet most of them pay more in taxes than they use resource wise, and the crime rate is no different than anyone else.

        Meanwhile, we don’t even address the actual issues of inequality. When’s the last time a conservative addressed the myth of meritocracy in our society? Accruing massive amounts of wealth has nothing to do with the merits of your work or worth to society any longer when individuals like Jeff Bezos control $200 billion dollars by playing the metagame of finance and legal loopholes to accrue wealth by divesting risk, and profiteering benefits through corporate welfare and manipulation.

        We’re supposed to care about alleged immigrant criminals when society allows a psychopath to go in and kill dozens of kindergardeners and not even a single legislation was passed? We’re supposed to care about ‘fiscal responsibility’ (this will be the playback under Biden) – when conservatives lower corporate tax rates to allow executives to buy back stock, in which raises the prices of their own compensation, and it goes unchecked?

        There’s no reasoned debate anymore because the fact is, reality actually leans left with regards ACTUAL solutions to problems. The fundamental paradigms that conservatives say are reality, are completely not to scale of what the impact of what they claim to say it is, or the fundamental beliefs flat out are objectively wrong.

        Medicare for all is *actually* a thing because indeed the VAST amounts of overhead from profiteering numbering in the trillions every year is EXTREMELY expensive, which is why a single mishap could ruin someone for life. The Green New Deal is *actually* a thing, because in reality, all hell IS breaking loose right now, and the only way to mitigate it to prevent mass death and migrants is extremely measures that should have been done long ago.

        Republicans don’t want to discuss these things though, because in the end it could take something away from their never fulfilled appetite for wealth and power. They rather spend the time pointing a spotlight on someone who is spending $100 of food stamp money wrong, or an undocumented immigrant getting a janitorial position for $8 an hour, rather than why Moderna’s or Regeneron’s executives are pulling out tens of millions in stock after receiving governmental grants.

        The combinations of fundamentals, scale, and focus of conservatism are simply not based in reality.

    2. I hope for future generation sake, for the country sake and frankly, for the world, Biden will be known as Bunker bitch buster.

  43. Face it gentlemen, the America you live in today is a dystopia. Due in a significant part to the action and inaction of its own citizenry.

    1. Tanner? Yes, America has problems, big ones. And yes, they are largely due to “the action and inaction of its own citizenry”. (What else would they be due to, BTW? Putin only had any clout here because we were asleep at the switch.)

      There is either something we can do about those problems, or there is not. If there is, I wish you would focus on suggesting what. If there is not, why are you posting? How does it help us? Or are you just letting us know how much better off you are because you live somewhere else?

      In case you don’t realize, it, the gloom and doom of your post here, for example, is effectively an argument for doing nothing. Is that what you intended?

      1. Roger, thanks. What a terrific take. I personally think if Biden wins & manages to drag the Senate with him, there’s a lot of good they could do. But I’m pessimistic that they’d actually go far enough to pull us very far back from the brink. Even the sorts of things Scoopy hopes for are just window dressing.

        Democracy hasn’t been working for most of us for a long time. The main way this cripples us is that half of us have no faith in self-government. Conservatives may be taking their base for a ride, but correctly peg their desire to scrap the key ingredients of a civilization. Democracy needs a seat at the table for every citizen. But we’re split down the middle into 2 inimical factions. One side’s core vision is undemocratic, the other’s, if anything, even more unrealistic, under the circumstances.

        The problem with laws curbing fascism is that they’ll only be reversed when the pendulum swings back. Even if we could somehow bulletproof such laws, we’d in effect disenfranchise the half of us who’re dead set against moves in that direction.

        The only way around the doom & gloom that I can see would be reversing the real dystopia that so many of us experience. In spite of the emotions, opinions & politics that stand in our way. For example, massive infrastructure for all the lagging places in our country. Against the will of many of us. They oppose it without quite grasping why. But it’s because we’ve always given them half-measures that never addressed root causes. Like, what good is cash to tide you over, when there’s no better prospect waiting for you at the other end? What good is job training when the real problem is job shortage?

        We have to completely solve intractible problems, while our Haves oppose every conceivable effective solution for our Have-Nots. That’s my counter to gloom & doom. Ha ha. It’s hard to see anything like it coming to fruition. Well, maybe if we squint. Ha ha.

        1. Not only do they oppose it, but for the rural brainwashed, they don’t understand they’re the ‘welfare queens.’ Trying to blame “Democratic states and cities” needing bailouts is pretty damn hypocritical when most of the money paid into the federal government comes from blue states at a MAJOR deficit pay in, while red states like Mississippi get more money from the federal government than they pay in.

          And not only that, blue or red states alike, its the ‘Democratic cities’ who’s tax money funds public services in red rural counties for the the state.

          I mean if we want to play the divide between who’s money is allotted where, and to burn down any government intervention, lets have all the states keep their federal money, all the blue cities keep their tax money in city, and let the rural counties rely on the lack of both. I’m guessing that smug entitlement would go away without functional public services like water, electricity, law enforcement, or emergency service.

          They want to make it a Democrat vs. Republican world? Then let them get a taste of what rural Pakistan is like for a couple months, and feel what it’s like without those ‘blue cities and states’ paying for their public service welfare.

        2. Mike P, thank you. And I agree that anyone who thinks Biden’s election will bring a new dawn of democracy is kidding themselves badly. It is going to take a lot of sturm and drang to overturn 40 years of Republican progress toward oligarchy. It’s going to take continuing voter turnout, it’s going to mean a lot of campaign contributions, it’s going to mean constantly refuting right-wing lies, it’s going to mean constant lawsuits and funds for lawsuits. It took 40 years to get here, it’s going to take decades to reverse that and make new progress.

          One huge obstacle is the vast power of the immense wealth of the Haves. That needs to be addressed fast. There should be a WEALTH tax, at least on wealth over $100 million, for at least three years, as an emergency measure to fund the Covid relief already needed. There needs to be an inheritance tax again, and a hefty one. The capital gains tax break needs to be eliminated, or reduced to something small, like 5%, just to offset inflation. And there needs to be a new, high, top rate on income over $1 or $10 million a year. Oh, and with gas cheap now and people driving less, this would be a good time for a gas tax increase. (Oh, and the IRS budget will have to go up by 5 or 10 times to enforce this.)

          All of that will cause an ENORMOUS howl. It needs to be done in 2021, before the Democrats’ crusading fervor has ebbed and the wealthy have time to buy the new Democrats the way they bought the old Republicans.

          You are right in many of the things you say, especially in your fourth paragraph, I think the things we have going for us are that A) much of what the Left wants to do will tangibly benefit people, B) the Republicans as a group are older and dwindling as time goes on, C) Trump has very much exposed the Republicans and the Right for what they are, and D) the Have-nots greatly outnumber the Haves.

          But as I said, their money, is a terrible force, especially because of the non-stop lies they can spread with it. Such a force ruined both the Roman Empire and Royal France. We have to hope that we are better at dealing with it. If we fail, well, “apres moi le deluge”.

      2. Too many Americans are in denial (I talk to people like that several times a week) and insist on “pretending” that things are not serious at all… I get a lot of America is No. 1 from them, the current state of affairs not withstanding. That’s who I am addressing.

        1. tanner, when you say things like “Face it gentlemen, the America you live in today is a dystopia….” it has a negative impact on ME, and you and I are pretty much in agreement. You either need to be constructive and hopeful, or you are just going to be ignored. And for good reason, too. And once again, if things are hopeless, why bother posting.

          1. Half the time Tanner comes here to say something worthwhile; the other half he comes here to sneer at us.
            Autocracy, banana republic, dystopia… It gets pretty old at times.

          2. so have you donated to the Dems and Biden? I meet Americans who complain endlessly about Trump but haven’t donated a dime. That strikes me as indicative of apathy and that’s a problem. I’ll be interested to see the turnout. For example:
            “The situation is particularly stark in Florida where Republicans currently have a 9.4% turnout advantage in Miami-Dade County, a place where analysts say Biden will need a significant margin of victory to carry the state.”

          3. I voted for Biden, what the hell does money do? Hillary outspent Trump in Florida by a ton and still lost, and peole were STILL apathetic about her. Trying to buy an election clearly doesn’t work, as Bloomberg learned.

            More rallies and more TV ads don’t change who a person is and what they’ve done, so donations level equaling apathy has no correlation.

          4. Money helps drive voter turnout, for one. Currently GOP turnout in Miami-Dade exceeds the Dem turnout by almost 10%.

            “Some Biden advisers have expressed concerns about a lack of investment [in Florida] and are urging the campaign, so far unsuccessfully, to spend more money to target these [minority] voters in the final stretch…”

          5. No one turned out for Bloomberg, with his massive amounts of campaign money.

            Personally, I rather put my money towards charity, rather than into advertising revenue for a television conglomerate. The only instance I would have likely donated for is Bernie Sanders if he was in a competitive battle and half the candidates didn’t drop out to support Biden right before Super Tuesday, where fate was sealed.

            I won’t donate to any candidate who accepts corporate or money from the ultra wealthy, and I consider where most campaigns divert money to be wasteful and not up with modern ways of motivating voters. AOC did a three hour stream on Twitch with half a million viewers, absolutely free, to connect to younger generations. Campaigns will burn through tens of millions with very little effect, and I rather my money go to something that actually matters.

          6. I have donated to Warren (before Biden won the nomination), Biden, many individual Democratic Senators up for re-election or running against Republican incumbents, and the major Democratic campaign organizations – the DNC, the DGA, the DLCC, the DSCC, and the one for House races, whose initials I cannot remember. I started doing this back in May, I think, and sent small amounts every month. Same thing for the SCLU, People for the American Way, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Planned Parenthood. Oh, yes, the Progressive Turnout Project and Katie Porter’s and Tammy Duckworth’s House campaigns. Those last three I only started more recently.

            I did NOT do that in 2016, and I have been kicking myself ever since. I will have to keep some of them going monthly from now on, like the ACLU and the Brennan Center.

    2. Yes, the US is majorly screwed up right now and it’s going to take a while to set things right. But there are reactionary anti-science regimes popping up multiple places around the world (Poland, Turkey, Brazil, Philippines, etc.) Wherever you are, I wouldn’t be so smug as to think it can’t happen there.

      1. A democracy needs “tender care and feeding.” Without that, autocracy can truly happen anywhere. Americans haven’t tended to their democracy in ages. See the growing split between the have and have-nots and the increasing lack of social mobility in the US. “Socialist” Denmark today has considerably more social mobility than the “capitalist” US. In the US it’s pretty much who you know, who your parents are and not what you know that determines your success. I expect there was a time when this was less true.

        And endless wars don’t do a democracy good. A draft provides a reasonable check,on military adventurism.

  44. Tanner: Not to Biden (he hardly needed it) but to Harrison. Kelly. and Greenfield.
    Apathy not appearing to be a problem this year. The Texas numbers are staggering.

    1. Glad to see that you’re doing your part as an engaged citizen…hopefully you’re not a voice in the wilderness among the US population. I have little doubt that the majority in the US will vote for Biden but the “game” in the US requires winning the undemocratic Electoral College contest.

      With respect to Texas, Florida so far is not looking that great wrt to Dem turnout …and it is a key swing state. In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted. Texas may be an early turnout anomaly yet still staying red.

  45. Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight released some info on what the election would look like right now if the same exact polling error margins in 2016 occurred again in Trump’s favorite.

    The results?

    Biden wins 335 electoral votes to 203.

    Three days.

    1. Not that you’re dead wrong, Indy, but I’m not engaging in chicken-counting just yet. As I see it, the EC race comes down to PA. Trump can win.

      Going by 538 path to victory (snake chart) & taking strictly < 5pt blue margin as losses, only PA at +5pts is in play. Switching to Tipping Point breakdown, PA is more likely to be decisive than 2nd place FL by almost a factor of 4. On top of that, FL GOP turnout's beating our pants off. In IA newspaper poll, Trump's surged ahead. Was a dead heat 1wk ago, but seems to have turned into a big margin. Well, IA's only 6 EC. In my book, was gonna be red anyway.

      I played the snake game exactly like this last time & concluded the EC was going to be *tight*. In particular, I couldn't understand why no one worried about the 3 "blue wall" states. They looked dicey. Back then, I stopped watching returns when the 1st of those 3 fell. I was certain we'd lost. It's possible that was an unwarranted gut feeling, but I did turn out to have been right. I know this isn't a valid methodology. It's my own crude guesstimate. YMMV.

      P.S. Latest Nate Silver headline: "I’m Here To Remind You That Trump Can Still Win."

      1. sad but true…doesn’t inspire confidence. Dem turnout in Florida has been uninspiring so far. Iowa is protofascist outside of the bigger cities.

        1. Uhhh,
          8,974,896 have already voted in Florida. In total in 2016, 9,580,489 voted in Florida.

          Republicans usually do very well in the advanced vote in Florida, so that the numbers between the two parties being very close isn’t a surprise.

          However, this also leaves out the, according to the polling anyway, the No Party Affiliation is heavily Democratic in the United States this cycle.

          These are the total Florida early votes:
          Democrats 3,512,211 39.1
          Republicans 3,404,088 37.9
          Minor 124,949 1.4
          No Party Affiliation 1,933,648 21.5
          TOTAL 8,974,896 100.0

          The evidence based on the polling and the shifts in votes does suggest that Florida is a genuine tossup, but much of this concern with Democrats not showing up is media sensationalism.

          1. Hope you’re right…Biden campaign is running some panic ads regarding their internal polling. Is it “chicken little?”

          2. I stand corrected. Tanner reported it 1st. He said, correctly, that the FL turnout debacle is happening in *Miami-Dade* county. I glossed. Sorry, I spoiled my ballot (figuratively). Just saying, little snags can matter. We’ve learned our lessons from 2016, intellectually. But emotionally, I still watch in horror as pundits & intellectuals alike thrash minutiae hopefully while the potential downside of losing feels touch-&-go to me.

            In particular, I’m skeptical of theories that oversimplify a complex analysis (apart from my own peculiar version), such as trying to characterize local results by X percent edge in national polling, or tying voting patterns to the narrowing of national approval ratings. Sure, if I’m wrong in a good way, I’ll happily eat my hat. But we can each do what we can & beyond that, que sera, sera. Confidence in the outcome before the fact only suppresses our own turnout. Conservatives have taken advantage of their own fear & hatred. Liberals are plagued by complacency.
            Even now, the further left on the spectrum, the greater our disengagement. Our youth, those on the left, being generally pretty far left. They’re dissatisfied if the whole country’s Overton window doesn’t jump all the way to the left. They don’t show up. They don’t get it. That, direction matters. If we aren’t moving forward, we don’t just stand still. We’re going backwards. Every setback we tolerate pushes us just a little closer to oblivion.

  46. So exactly how many Iowans outside of the “bigger cities” do you know? I know 14 – relatives. One proto and one crazy uncle, the rest are as un-proto as you’d like. You do get a little carried away with the very long distance profiling at times.

    1. Years ago, I passed through Iowa as a student driving an early Prius hybrid model. In a number of the rural Iowa towns, it caught people’s attention. The no. 1 question I got was “Is it solar powered?” That opened the door to semi political conversations with the inhabitants in the various rural Iowa towns. That’s what informs my opinion. By the way….in no other state that I passed through back then did I get that question.

      1. On the basis of having talked to a few Iowans, you classify the state as protofascist? Give me a break. The political reporters who go all over the state during the Caucus period every four years never seem to have that impression of them. And the leading Iowa wingnut Steve King just got bounced by the voters (3 of those bouncers being cousins of mine who live in his soon to be former district and are happier than hell about it).

        1. umm…no..lets see take closer look at Senator Joni Ernst. She didn’t elect herself. Then let’s look at Steven King, Congressman from Iowa for 18 yrs. “Representative Steve King, the closest thing to an open fascist in the US Congress…” is a description that I didn’t come up with. This individual was elected for 9 terms. You apparently think your 14 relatives define Iowa. My sampling was a considerably more statistical sampling than your relatives.

          1. The day you know more than me about Iowa politics is the day I know more about electoral happenings in Uri, Schwyz and the former Unterwalden.

  47. I know the news seems dire with the additional cases increasing each week, but that is to be expected. These things always grow exponentially, it’s just a fact of disease transmission. What’s more important are statistics like doubling time, that is, how long it takes the population of infected to double. We want this statistic to be increasing, increasing means we’re getting on top of the problem. Here the news has been generally good, for example, at month’s end these were the corresponding doubling times in days (d), using the previous week statistics:

    March: 7 d
    April: 28 d
    May: 36 d
    June: 40 d
    July: 45 d
    August: 64 d
    September: 81 d

    This was really good progress, even including surges in India and second waves in Europe. However, for October, we’ve backtracked a bit:

    October: 59 d

    To put in real terms, the difference between September and October is that for September doubling times, we could expect to reach 100 million infected by early February 2021, whereas for October, it’s now early January 2021. This lost month could have a significant effect on already limited medical services.

    Hoping next month is better! Will update.

  48. Well, if your point is that it’s better than it would be if it was much much worse, that’s true but trivial.
    It’ s not a single undamped exponential, that’s good. But the later, slower doublings involve many more people than early days. It’s not “good progress” by any stretch.

    1. They may have been laid off, Indy. Or they are standing in line all day to vote for the Maximum Leader. Or they got Covid and are in intensive care, like a friend of mine was last week. (He’s out now and getting PT after two weeks in bed).

  49. It’s positively amazing that Trump got over 70 million votes with Covid fatalities over 240k and counting largely due to his major mismanagement of the Covid crisis. The same for the relatively strong GOP showing in the Congressional races. Cheap rhetoric doesn’t get rid of a pandemic and the GOP Congress worked to completely enable Trump. Apparently, a good many Americans don’t have much respect for human life or they’re utter imbeciles.

    Empathy etc. appears to be in short supply among a significant number of Americans…that doesn’t bode well for the future.

    1. I’m goin’ with the imbecile thing. I think we’ve all seen how Trump can turn some totally ridiculous claim into gospel among his faithful.

      Jordan Klepper, of the Daily Show, has done a series of reports from Trump rallies. He asks people why they like Trump, and the answers are jaw-dropping. They repeat every bit of Trump’s misinformation, and even add their own spins, based on either ignorance or racism. It’s not surprising that some of these people exist – but 70 million? Almost half of the voters? That’s freakin’ scary.

      My daughter and I have been ruminating about this and we’ve come to the conclusion that, in addition to other institutions in America, the school system has utterly failed us. We have a whole country full of people who simply accept the words of Hannity and Trump uncritically, no matter how ludicrous their pronouncements. They then proceed to condemn the words of the fact-checkers, no matter how solid their facts and reasoning. We somehow have totally failed to teach critical thinking skills.

      Yes, I know tribalism dictates some of that – but not all.

      1. We are reaping the whirlwind of 35+ years of relentless propaganda and brainwashing by right wing outlets that have never been effectively countered. Combined with the intentional dumbing down of the educational system and the rise of prosperity gospel, there is now a sizable populace that have embraced the herd mentality and won’t be easily convinced of anything that falls outside their comfort zone.

        1. I agree with both Mr. Haney here. UncleScoopy is right that many people lack critical thinking skills; heck, I do myself, and am constantly surprised by things that UncleScoopy and others think of here.

          But partly these people (Trump supporters) do not WANT to think critically. They have chosen what they WANT to believe. The truth is readily available; heck, it is knocking on their door (or TV screen, or computer monitor). They don’t like the truth, for whatever reason. It is like team loyalty in professional sports, another thing I don’t think has been good for America.

      2. When people say “the school system is failing”, they usually imply criticism directed at the high school level, and usually only more recently say the last 10-20 years or so.

        According to Pew Research, 56% of Republican voters are over 50, (compared to 50% for the Democrats). You would have to implicate the last 40-60 years of education being at fault. Which is quite possible, but again not usually what people mean when criticizing the education system.

        A much bigger gap exists in college education (29% of Republicans vs 41% of Democrats).

        1. Yes, I’ve pointed out several times that the basic divide in America is now poorly educated white people (about 2/3 Trump) vs all other (about 2/3 Blue).

          But the real key there is WHY those white people with high school educations think the way they do. It’s not because they lack knowledge or access to knowledge, but because they lack critical thinking skills – and that points to a major systemic flaw in how they are educated.

          Or maybe the “true believer” impulse is just too strong to be overcome. I noticed something in college that I’ve never forgotten. The loudest political radicals, left and right, SDS and YAF alike, never took any math electives. Same was true of the religious nutbags. I ran into them only in the kinds of classes that are dominated by the loudest voices, things like the humanities and the social sciences. I was an English Lit major but I took as many math classes as possible, not just because they were easy for me, but because I found math classes to be refreshingly free of loud opinions. The “true believers” hate dealing with immutable laws and facts because they can’t cobble them into their weltanschauung.

          1. Think you’re onto something with the math. And I suspect you can get the same kind of effect from doing serious language work, particularly if you get to the point of translating original text, and other indirect benefits, such as improvement in writing (Latin helped me there).
            I had a decent math SAT, which mystified me at the time but didn’t take college math courses until long out of school. Eventually ended up writing the original formulas/calculations section of the Treasury’s Uniform Offering Circular (the contract governing marketable debt sales), which completely jawdropped one of my old HS teachers when he heard about it.

          2. I agree that both quantitative sciences (if not necessarily math) and foreign languages (per Bill Deecee) are important adjuncts to critical thinking.

            Math provides a ideal of intellectual rigor and languages an exposure to looking at the world differently.

            The overwhelming majority of Trump voters are quite deficient in both.

          3. I forgot to add: my original point was that if the school system is failing, it’s not a recent phenomenon. It’s been failing for a long, long, long time.

      3. “Look at all the Democrats who are genuinely interested in understanding the Trump voter. Look how many encourage you to ‘reach out’ or want to reach out themselves to help them understand their mindset.

        Now look at how many Trump voters want to reach out to befriend and understand Democrats. I’ve never seen one do it in my entire life.”

        There’s the lack of empathy…

    1. If it’s a typical Trump job, his legacy will be cemented using too little rebar by guys who only think they’re getting paid.

  50. Looks like a major fail…

    Now autumn is here, and hospitalisations from Covid-19 are currently rising faster in Sweden than in any other country in Europe, while in Stockholm — the epicentre for both the first and second waves in the country — one in every five tests is positive, suggesting the virus is even more widespread than official figures suggest.

    “So far Sweden’s strategy has proven to be a dramatic failure,” said Lena Einhorn, a Swedish virologist and prominent critic of its strategy. “Four days ago we had eight times higher cases per capita than Finland and three and a half times more than Norway. They were supposed to have it worse off than us in the autumn because we were going to have immunity.”

  51. The death toll has reached 1,000 a day on average over the past seven days, according to Covid Tracking Project data. More than 234,328 people in the US have died since the pandemic began, and the number in hospital reached 67,000 on Thursday.

  52. From a nurse in South Dakota who spoke on CNN today, the brainwashed are literally dying and fighting with the nurse that it’s a hoax and must be something else:

    “I have a night off from the hospital. As I’m on my couch with my dog I can’t help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm.

    They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that “stuff” because they don’t have COViD because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can’t stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn’t going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It’s like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There’s no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again.”

    1. I saw a transcript of what the SD nurse said on There are a lot of hate-filled fanatics in the US, clinging to their beliefs at the cost of their lives. I am afraid Trump’s “The election was rigged” is going to become their “We were stabbed in the back by the Jews”.

      The thing that could ameliorate this would be good economic times for people OTHER than the top 1% or 0.1% or whoever the Republican Party’s masters are. Of course, these very fanatics will fight that tooth and nail because of rugged individualism and no socialism and stuff.

      PS – I had to look up Vapotherm. I gather it’s a heated and humidified oxygen delivery system, so these folks needed pure oxygen. I have a friend who was in the VA’s ICU for that. HE is very grateful.

  53. Anyone with common sense would know Trump is criminally negligent in a massive way and there’s an obvious dereliction of duty to protect Americans from invisible threat. Worse, he encouraged people to liberate, go against health guidelines, discredited health experts and sow mistrust in doctors that they make money when more people die. There were so much more than I care to state (i.e. hoax, like a flu, disinfectant, shining light, etc…).

    So I wonder if Trump can be sued, once out of office, in civil suit by families of 1/4 million people who died from covid. I really hope this can and will happen and he’ll or his estate will have to cough up to the last penny.

    1. I doubt it. Public officials never seem to get sued for blunders in office. And is Trump’s net worth greater than zero?

        1. That’s what I mean. Facts about Trump and his finances cannot be established, because he has never allowed them to be, or even wanted them to be. As I understand it, he first got on the Forbes list by lying about himself.

          Non-liquid assets may be mortgaged to the hilt and beyond. I would be surprised if they were not, given the way Trump operates.

          1. In the WAPO a few years back there was a mea culpa by the Forbes man gulled into it by “John Baron” himself. Seems the Donald was claiming the Fred’s assets as his own. His revisit led him to conclude that Trump’s own singly-held assets assets had been worth only $5 mil or so. Not much when he’d been paid a salary starting at 82 thou since he was eight. Sloppy work by Forbes seeing both Trumps made the list based on one’s worth.

          2. The total of singly-held assets is not really a relevant measurement of worth. It is especially irrelevant in the real estate world, where Trump’s wealth is concentrated. There are few singly-held assets in major projects because of the high entry barrier. It is customary for companies to share the risk (and reward), and to sell off portions (like the street-level retail space) to others.

            For example, Trump owns 30% of 555 California Street in San Francisco, and 30% of 1290 Avenue of the Americas in NYC. Even if those were his only assets, he would be a billionaire (approximately), but his worth in singly-owned assets would be zero.

            Furthermore, that $5 million estimate of his singly-held assets must be from more than 35 years ago. Trump owns and has always owned 100% of Mar-a-Lago

            1) That alone is worth some quarter of a billion dollars.
            2) It has never been worth less than ten million since he bought it in 1985.

          3. Actually, it is possible to make a pretty good estimate. Forbes uses things like public data.

            For example

            1. We know just about everything about the value and annual profit of 555 California Street from the report of a publicly held company that owns the 70% that Trump does not own. Therefore, we can calculate the precise value of his 30%

            2. We can estimate the value of Trump’s other real estate holdings by calculating the value of, let’s say Manhattan office space per square foot, and multiplying that times the square footage of his holdings.

            These estimates are not 100% accurate, so they result in a pretty wide range in his possible net worth, but Forbes’ best guess is that his assets are worth $3.7 billion. Based on the NY Times articles and Forbes’ own estimates, his liabilities are about $1.1 billion. That still leaves him very rich. Not Bezos rich, but plenty rich nonetheless.

            But the squeeze will come when those loan payments come due. He may be able to wrangle some refinancing by pledging assets as collateral, but if the lenders want their money, Trump would have to start selling off some of his treasures.

          4. NOTE: The WAPO thing is about Trump in the early/mid 80s. I thought that was clear. I have the article somewhere and should have put the exact year in. Lazy. And it was very clear that Donald was claiming Fred’s money.

  54. Things in the US won’t get better until people disavow the GOP. Sadly, I don’t see that happening. Too many imbeciles in the country.

  55. And yet, with all that these clearly horrible number staring us in the face, more than a million morons traveled by air the day before Thanksgiving, and god only knows how many drove to large Thanksgiving gatherings.

    We are our own worst enemy; current-day Americans wouldn’t make it through a month of a WWII situation before they would be protesting against rationing, etc. We are truly weak, myopic, and egocentric — wholly pathetic.

    1. American attitudes towards the Spanish Flu weren’t any different. The country shot itself in the foot then, punched itself in the dick 10 years later with the Great Depression and then still got its shit together for WWII.

  56. Behavioral economist explains our “irrational” intuition.

    When we do low-probability risky behaviors and nothing happens, we not only feel “we got away with it”, which we did, we start to feel maybe the probability is even less than we thought. We keep doing it, nothing happens, again and again. He makes a number of similar points to this clarifying how human fallibility is running so rampant all around the world right now. It’s worth watching the whole clip.

    1. I’ll go one deeper, the probability is pretty darn low in a lot of age groups and health factors, and people just flat out don’t CARE if someone dies.

      Honestly, that’s pretty much it to the core. All the togetherness and coming together on both sides is just a bunch of bullshit. It just ignores that a pretty large populace of people, are just horrible people, and that’s it.

      Here we are with the vaccine LITERALLY on its way, and it only needing to scale up a few more months with solid distribution channels to stop in it’s track, but no.

      For some people, its literally just all about them, and to the level they would rather someone die than inconvenience them or challenge what their identity in even a very small way.

      1. It’s not so much that I disagree with your assessment as that the observation by itself doesn’t lead to an acceptable path forward. You’ve been called out on this before. In a way what you seem to be calling for is a kind of ethnic cleansing. Or less hysterically, some sort of disenfranchising of half the population. I don’t mean to tar you by comparing this to Jim Crow. Even apart from that problem, you’re basically saying democracy is dead. It’s a failed idea. We had Apartheid in S.Africa. The hardliners in Israel effectively want that in Israel. Apart from those 2 special cases, the solution around the world seems to be genocide. The governments around the world that seem to me both decent and halfway successful are still all democracies. Many of them are running into the same problems as America.

        I’ll agree with you as far as we shouldn’t delude ourselves that arguments that seem to us to end the question don’t work unless our counterparts share our values, which we, many of us moderate to left leaners, assume without thinking. In the face of clear contradicting evidence that’s stared us in the face for years. We take what we choose to believe on faith and refuse to see the truth. That’s a losing position and “libtards” is a perfectly good characterization of us if we keep pounding our heads against the wall.

        The way to win those people over in the long run is to prove to them their ideas are wrong and our ideas are right, or at least can work. Which to date, compromising has meant that our ideas really don’t work, not for the majority of Americans. In the short run, our only hope of progress toward that long run goal is to reach for what’s achievable and not let our unachievable aspirations break our solidarity. That’ll just take us back to the last 4 years. The 2nd wave will be more devastating than the 1st.

        Which means we have to move left, which Biden surely won’t, not nearly far enough. But still, in the long run, too far to the left breaks too many things. We have choices to make. We have to pick our battles. Avoid the bad ideas. Find our winning ideas and do them fully. There are any number of ways we can grow the economy by solving the climate crisis. We need to figure out how to increase what I’d call fairness but the fashionable term is social justice, while maintaining basic freedom.

        If you’re thinking this sounds like a lot of hooey, well, yeah, I’m pessimistic about it, too. It’s just that it’s what I could think of that extends the American experiment. So far, every other idea I’ve heard will fail to do that, in my own best judgment. Which I concede is not infallible.

        1. I’m calling for an ethnic cleansing – of who – white people? When I’m a white person? Or conservatives?

          The point is working together is a myth. The right wing cult may dress it up a little nicer, but they’re always going to be horrible. There is no ‘winning them over’ – they make up their own reality at this point. There was nothing as accepted as part of the countries history as the election, where you have the cult STILL promoting or STILL not saying anything about the result. How the hell do you prove to people who believe Jeff Soros and Bill Gates are taking the world over with 5G that triggers COVID so they can force vaccinations to track you or some stupid shit?

          Deplatform and hold the individuals who promote objectively wrong information as fact legally liable and force to pay to a victims fund, for starters.

          1. No, not whites. Yes, conservatives. You say deplatform and prosecute, I said disenfranchise. Potayto, potahto.

            I agreed that there’s no winning a big bloc of “them” over. But if one thing is clear from this election, exactly who “them” is vs. who’s winnable and by what arguments, was the difference in many races we needed to win. Which we lost a bunch of. The left half of the left take our focus off local issues that we need to hammer on to win. As you’ve pointed out, our moderates still believe the reason we need to be moderate is to win some people over who are just immovable. That’s untrue. It’s because most solutions that can actually work out are more modest than we expect. While most of the aggressive solutions we like to dream up fail catastrophically.

          2. Clarity: The purpose of “in the long run” was to say we do want unity of purpose (needed for democracy), someday, aspirationally, even if we can’t see light at the end of that tunnel today. That’s why “solidarity” is so important for now. If Dems fragment like we always do, we lose. The bad guys win. If we let that happen just this one more time, there’s a good chance we lose everything forever. The far left’s pipe dream of a marxist revolution may be all we have left. That’s the death of America.

        2. A couple of points:

          1) I don’t recall Indy calling for anything like ethnic cleansing. Could you point to a date and subject that illustrates what you mean?

          2) The question is not whether “our counterparts share our values”. They do not, and they do not want to. The question is whether they will admit that facts are actually so. Fact like who won the election, whether Covid is a real thing, whether George Soros is…well, you name it, or whether QAnon, for god’s sake, has the REAL truth.

          The answer here is also that they do not, and currently do not want to do so. I see this as a disastrous and insurmountable problem. It will prevail as long as there are billionaires who either want to make money from the lies, or wish to fund the lies for their own benefit. Rupert Murdoch is an example of both, perhaps.

          3) I agree with you about Biden moving left. Where I disagree is that a move to the left eventually “breaks too many things.” I think it is essential, and if Biden doesn’t move far enough, a fanatical far-left will develop. That is just my opinion. It is also my opinion that we do not need more extremists.

      2. @Tanner, I’m keenly aware of Greece and Rome and just now rewatched Frontline From Jesus to Christ to be able to comment on it elsewhere. Their movement succeeded in large part because their good works (following their beliefs about their relation to God) served the unmet needs of the poor and slaves — a large constituency the existing class system left out. Modern “terrorists” have internalized this lesson and routinely provide social services that the govts they oppose fail to. E.g., Hamas.

      3. @Roger, 1) Indy was called out before for what I had called him out for in the preceding sentence, not for what I might have been prospectively about to call him out for in the succeeding sentence. That is, he tears down possibilities with no clues to ways out. He’s not constructive. The result if matters are left where he leaves them can only be to encourage his listeners to give up. FWIW, I was using “ethnic cleansing” figuratively — literally, it’s generalized from genocide to encompass forced migration. I see the dilution of democracy as it’s come to be understood in American jurisprudence until recently — and by dilution I mean disenfranchising lawful citizens — to be counter to the democratic ideal America has peddled to the world. It achieves the same end as literal ethnic cleansing, with an appearance of reduced brutality. In the long run this apparent difference blurs rather badly.

        2) The value that liberals believe constitutes the American way is participatory democracy. Conservatives do not share that value. They elevate freedom above it, so dominantly that it completely obliterates it. Their motto “elections have consequences” means whoever wins lawfully, makes the laws. Never mind that injustices ensuingly spiral out of control. They also say America is a republic, not a democracy. They mean what they say.

        So, I meant we liberals take our own value of democracy, which doesn’t work unless everyone agrees on some ground rules, as given. Conservatives take “a system of laws, not men” at bare metal. There are no “ground rules”, only laws. Period. Within the scope of what’s etched into stone, no holds are barred. That’s why we can’t expect them to meet us halfway. Halfway to us is halfway to Hell, as they see it.

        This is surmountable. But only by actual laws, never the assumption of common purpose and ground rules (“norms”). Liberals must brutely dominate politics and lord it over the enemy until such time as we can make them buy into democracy again. To do this, we must be a bloc. Forget our disagreements. Whatever we cannot reach consensus on among ourselves is out of reach and will remain so for a long time. I say we must. I doubt our staying power. I expect us to fail. I hope I’m wrong.

        3) You misquoted me. Please don’t do that. I didn’t say a move to the left breaks things, I said TOO FAR left breaks things. I mean almost all the things democratic socialists believe in — e.g., any reasonable understanding of their motto to “end capitalism” — is too far. We have to move left because this “government IS the problem” mantra has been treated as a legitimate political position for far too long. It’s inimical to democracy. We need to strike it down. Liberals have to dominate politics until self-government is a thing again. We need climate action, it needs buy-in, so some shoving down throats; and we need substantial progress towards equitability. No such thing goes ahead even an inch without some leftward motion.

        We have just seen how close we are to the abyss. Having a Trump to beat was a fluke. Despite that advantage, we lost ground. Our POTUS win didn’t bring us our gimme wins in down ballot races. We can’t trust numerical advantage to hold us atop the precipice. Our position is too precarious. The devil is in the details now. We need mastery across the board. We can’t afford to sacrifice one jot or tittle. Am I not being crystal clear about the stakes?

        1. Re: 2) The value that liberals believe constitutes the American way is participatory democracy. Conservatives do not share that value. They elevate freedom above it, so dominantly that it completely obliterates it.

          I think you are reading too much into Republican behavior here. Not that long ago, when one American nurse didn’t have Ebola, Republicans engaged in fear mongering to try to force her to be quarantined.

          Also, maybe the Republican Party has changed a lot from the 1980s, but when AIDS became a serious concern Republicans were hardly libertarian on that then.

          Maybe it’s a matter of who is effected. When it was the one nurse or mostly LGBTQ+ people with AIDS, the Republicans could make demands on them knowing their voters wouldn’t be effected.

          However, I personally think the bigger reason is that the two biggest groups in the Republican hierarchy are both negatively effected by these lock-downs: business owners and mega churches.

          In a similar vein to this, there is a new Slate article pointing out that now a majority of U.S Supreme Court Justices have signaled they either support eliminating or greatly curtailing the Administrative State. At its most extreme, this would eliminate regulations dating back to around 1937, which happens to be the same year FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court. Not coincidently, all five of these Justices were lawyers for the Federalist Society which, of course, advocates for extremely limited to no regulations on business and that religious rights be placed near the top of the hierarchy of rights.

        2. MikeP,

          1) my reply to your reply to my previous #1: I think you are confusing Indy with Tanner. Now there is a negative nancy when it comes to the US, even though he is intelligent and well-informed. He has given up on us. I have mentioned that to him. I do NOT see Indy doing that. I guess I agree with Indy too much for that.

          2) The “freedom” that conservatives value seems to be the freedom to oppress others, like gays, blacks, jews, muslims, etc. Also the freedom to own the means to commit mass murder at will.

          I am puzzled that you say that “elections have consequences” is a slogan of theirs, since they firmly believe that when it comes to Trump the 2020 election has no consequences if they believe hard enough that he won it. As I said, they feel entitled to have the facts they prefer.

          3) I think it is irrelevant that I neglected to quote you as saying “TOO far to the left breaks too many things things….”. (For the Republicans, the election of Biden is a move too far to the left. They are already calling him, or Kamala Harris, a “radical socialist”, IIRC.) Without some definition of what “TOO far” is”, someone will call ANY move to the left “too far”. Is Bernie Sanders too far? Is AOC?

          My grandmother used to say, “Don’t cry until you’re hurt”. Let’s try moving left, and seeing what is a bridge too far for the people on OUR side.

          I think a much more likely problem is that Biden is going to spend too much time and effort trying to reach out to people on the right. That’s a waste of time. He tried that to get their votes, and they spurned him. We need to convert them by showing that what we want from government works, and benefits them and their children. “Deeds, not words.”

          You are being crystal clear about the stakes, and you are right about them. Where I disagree is about what is likely to alienate voters currently on our side, and what is likely to convert others to our views – if that is possible.

        3. Thanks for the link, tanner. It’s a good piece, and states things well. The only thing I would say is that sure, if you are talking to a Glock-packing hard-right state congressperson, you don’t say “we are undergoing an epistemological crisis”. You say “You have a right to own opinions. You don’t have a right to your own facts. Unless we can agree on what the facts are, this country is going over a cliff. If you don’t want that, there has to be some kind of what to prove things to you, if if you don’t WANT that thing to be true.”

          1. “…If you don’t want that, there has to be some kind of way to prove things to you, even if you don’t WANT that thing to be true.”

            Jeebus, I need to proofread better.

          2. “Trump raised $495 million since mid-October, including a massive haul fueled by misleading appeals about election fraud…”

            If the US were my country I’d be very concerned.

  57. New coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 200,000 cases in a day on Wednesday, while hospitalizations topped 100,000 for the first time. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that the covid-19 death toll could reach 450,000 by February, with this winter possibly “the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”

    1. What is left unsaid is that we only have ourselves to blame (and I get why they don’t, because it’s not going to be helpful at this point).

      The Thanksgiving gatherings surge should be seen just before Christmas. Wonder if that will change any behaviors?

      1. It does change some behavior. People who are responsible are more likely to not go out. It will not change the behavior of the irresponsible people.

        There is a prominent medical ethicist in the United States who argues that people who refuse to wear masks should go to the back of the line for treatment when resources are scarce (like now.)

        He put it something like “if somebody says give me liberty or give me death, they should be held to that. Not, if they get Covid should they be able to say give me liberty and if that fails, give me a ventilator.”

        I think also having seen some of the stories on the politicians and health officials who were seen not living up to what they said. This is the flip side of that. If only politicians or health officials who speak of the need to take the precautions seriously get punished when they don’t act that way themselves, it creates an asymmetrical situation where those say ‘no restrictions!’ can do what they want with no fear of being held to account.

  58. Something I have been mulling over…

    Fire needs oxygen to survive…

    The more we talk, debate and repeat what nonsensical garbage these inflammatory wankers spew, the stronger they grow, fanned by the winds we provide.

    Starve them of oxygen by simply ignoring them and not helping them propagate their bullshit… just stop giving them oxygen.

    Ignore, turn your back and stop fanning the flames… it only strengthens them!

    1. Yes and no. There is no point to simply antagonizing them; like many people, they enjoy a good bout of righteous (in their mind) anger. Name calling, simply adding to the hate, makes things worse.

      On the other hand, failing to refute their lies, failing to say you feel their opinion are not just wrong, but bad, constitutes tacit accpetance, IMO. This does not need to be done with hate on our part. It can be done with reason and some degree of civility. If they insist on being wrong, or become abusive, it is better to cut them out of your life.

      “Beau of the Fith Column”, a YouTube commenter I admire, has done a number of videos about reaching about to people on the Right.

      Failing to point out that lies and evil are lies and evil is wrong. It is sometime expedient, particularly when you can see it will change nothing, but a better person than I am would find some way to do it.

  59. Just a general comment I made at 538 a mo. ago and basically have been saying since joining the interwebs in 1998. What has changed in the last (40) yrs? 24/7 ad nauseam right wingnut radio dominating the airwaves. Indeed, these folk live, eat and breathe conservative dogma. Their goal? Total world domination of their minority opinion(s).

    And 24/7 cable news.

    What has changed in the last (25) yrs? The internet dominated by right wing blogs iow keyboard commandos safeguarded in their own homes er daddy’s homes. These folk never miss a day at their fav blog(s).

    And idiotic, brain dead social media.

    What has changed in the last (4) yrs? Trump making the KKK, national white socialists, racists etc. etc. acceptable in “polite society”.

    Generalizations to be sure and yes, Libs have their own diehard fools, but not nearly the size of the opposition. And of course covid-19 has exacerbated the situation to the nth degree as people are staying at home in greater #s.

    Feel free to disagree 🙂 as I’m not even gonna bring up the education level of some of these redneck yahoos. :-p No won’t do that. 🙂

    As always, America survives despite itself! 😮

    We now return you to thousands of Americans dying daily basically because of their combined stupidity.

    Yielding back the balance of my time …

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