Shortcut to the full report for Wednesday:

The USA’s national indicators are still looking much better than they were before this week:

  • New cases are down about 18% from last Wednesday. That is the eleventh consecutive day of declines, and the 14th decline in the past 17 days
  • Fatalities are down about 10% from last Wednesday. That’s the second decline in the past three days.
  • The first decline in new cases began seventeen days ago, and the first decline in new deaths began three days ago, precisely 14 days later.
  • Hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate are flat, albeit at outrageously high levels.

It is noteworthy that both the USA’s new case rate and its new death rate are in the red zone, which means that we have to work even harder, even though we can claim some short-term successes.

Because that’s how they roll:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said in a televised address that Iran will expand its nuclear program and will not negotiate with the United States. Ayatollah Khamenei also said that Iran would maintain its close alliances with militia groups in the region that it uses as proxies.

They say they will manage to evade the sanctions by signing a deal with China, which can fill all its international trade requirements.

(NOTE: The sanctions have done what they were intended to do. Iran’s economy is in shambles.)

There are at least two possible definitions of the ambiguous term “mortality rate”:

1. The percentage of people who die after contracting the disease.

2. The percentage of all people in a country who die from the disease.

The USA does poorly on both scales.

The worldometers.info data lists 218 countries and territories.

  • The USA ranks 150th in “percentage of people with the disease who die.”
  • The USA ranks 209th in “deaths per million population.”

The USA does beat several European countries in both criteria: Belgium, UK, Spain, Italy, France and Sweden, but it will pass most of those in “deaths per million population” in time, because they have brought their numbers way down, while the USA is soaring ever upward.

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have ZERO fatalities, while the USA has more than 140,000. (Vietnam has nearly 100 million people, a long border with China, and NO fatalities.) Because of the brilliant job Eastern Asia has done in controlling the pandemic, anybody with a reasonable grasp of the international numbers, or even the slightest lick of common sense, would know without actually running the numbers that the USA can’t be anywhere near the best in any mortality calculation. Needless to say, Trump has neither of those qualifications.

““Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy — and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them.”

Nothing to see here. I’m sure that the President will issue a carefully reasoned and prudent point-by-point response, eschewing ad hominem argumentation to focus calmly on nothing but the facts.

Trump opposes renaming US military bases named after Confederate leaders

In contrast, General Petraeus wrote:

“These bases are home to soldiers who swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The irony of training at bases named for those who took up arms against the United States, and for the right to enslave others, is inescapable to anyone paying attention. Now, belatedly, is the moment for us to pay such attention.”

A better topic for discussion: I know it’s really impossible to do so, but ignore slavery for a moment and pretend these people fought for some just cause. Even if we forgive that unforgivable sin, we still have to ask, “Why did the US ever have military bases named after men who led troops against the US military?”

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that Washington, D.C. protests were so violent that the U.S. Secret Service recommended President Trump be moved to an underground bunker at the White House.

===========

Trump denied that the Secret Service recommended he move to the bunker for safety reasons. Brian Kilmeade asked him: “Mr. President, they didn’t say to you, ‘You have to go downstairs. My responsibility’s your welfare.’ ?”

TRUMP: “No. They didn’t tell me that at all, but they said it would be a good time to go down. Take a look because maybe sometime you’re going to need it.”

Righteous stats!


Some exit polls do show that Trump got 8% of the black vote but the same polls show him with 10% of the liberal vote, so Trump did worse with black voters than he did with liberals – and you know how much liberals love him!

Also, as usual, she has her facts wrong. Romney got about 6% of the black vote, and he did so running against a black man! That was much better than the 4% garnered by John McCain in 2008.

Also, while some polls show Trump scoring as high as 8% with black voters in 2016, others show that Trump got that same 6% as Romney – not running against a black man, but against a widely disliked white woman.

And Trump pulled 0% among black women!



That Mittens! What a wimp, taking an anti-racism stance. Guy needs to man up if he wants to be a true, macho Republican.

To be fair to Mitt, maybe he’s just out of practice at kicking black asses. There just aren’t many to kick in Utah. Maybe he doesn’t even realize that some people aren’t white.

“Oh, dear, are they saying black LIVES, with a v. I thought they were talking about black LIES – you know, like little white lies and big black ones.”

“Esper irked the White House Wednesday morning when he appeared in front of cameras to proclaim his opposition to deploying active-duty troops to respond to protests around the country — a move that many saw as a break with the president.”

If Esper refuses to carry out the orders of Mad King Don, there is always a Robert Bork somewhere, willing to take the job and do anything he’s told to do. Look for Trump to give Barr double duty as the AG and the acting Secretary of Defense, because Barr gives zero fucks about whether an order is legal or ethical.

“Former defense secretary Jim Mattis compares Donald Trump to NAZIS, accuses him of ‘mockery of the Constitution’ and ‘abuse’ of power and slams ‘military leadership’ for taking part in ‘bizarre photo-op'”

But apart from that, he was quite complimentary.

“Mad Dog” Mattis, a hard-nosed former general in the US Marines, and once the most respected member of Trump’s cabinet, has not been critical of his former boss until now, but he made up for his long silence with some strong criticism. The president. not known for his thoughtful acceptance of criticism, fired back.

In order to illustrate that Trump gets unfair special treatment from Twitter, one guy created a new account and simply Tweeted the exact same thing as Trump. He was soon suspended for twelve hours, exposing Twitter’s hypocrisy.

Stay tuned. He’s going to resume when his suspension is lifted, although it may not work now that Twitter is aware of his scheme.


A former champion of the quiz show “Twenty-One,” Stempel blew the whistle on that rigged competition, leading to exposure of the entire crooked game-show industry in the 50s. Much of America watched Stempel’s winning streak end with a loss to Charles van Doren in 1956, but the entire scenario turned out to have been scripted. Even the prize money was fake. Stempel had allegedly won $69,500 on the broadcasts, but that was all for show. He agreed to accept a lower amount as part of his negotiations with the show’s producers.

He might have been hailed as a hero for having exposed corruption, but was not, because his confession was a matter of revenge rather than conscience. The producers had made some promises to him as part of a crooked bargain which required him to miss a question intentionally. Those promises were not kept, so Stempel went public.

After the scandal, Stempel lived a quiet life in modest circumstances, basically forgotten until the early 90s, when Robert Redford decided to make a movie about the quiz show scandals. Stempel was portrayed by John Turturro in that film (“Quiz Show”), which brought him new fame, but pigeon-holed him as a hapless nerd.

Yeah, it makes good sense. In response to protests against excessive violence by authorities against black people, Trump says we need to use MORE violence. That should help quiet things down.

Given the source, it isn’t really necessary to say that this is utter nonsense, but for the record, there is no mystery, unsolved or other. An autopsy revealed that Lori Klausutis had an undiagnosed heart condition. The coroner concluded she passed out and hit her head as she fell. Although the head injury caused the death, she wasn’t struck by another person. Not that it would matter if she had been. When she died in Florida, Scarborough was in Washington.

In an earlier tweet, Trump asked, “Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious?” Scarborough had announced his decision to exit politics two months BEFORE Klausutis’s accident.

In other words, there’s not a single word of truth to the accusation. The incident had absolutely nothing to do with Scarborough. Trump is just plain nuts.

I’d like to know when Twitter is going to grow a pair, follow its own rules, and ban Trump? If not a full ban, moderate all his Tweets, and delete any which are dangerously false or misleading. The real problem is that Trump’s support base is filled with low-information crazies who will actually believe this nonsense.

(Answer to the Twitter query: never. Like the craven GOP senators, they are afraid of the career consequences. The Trumpites would all pull their accounts, and Twitter’s revenues would tumble.)

The stats: Coronavirus mapped and quantified.

ADDED 5/19: New polling shows that 49 of the 50 governors have a better approval rating than Trump for their handling of the pandemic. The one exception: Kemp of Georgia. How would that feel? “Well, governor, people think you’re the only leader in America dumber than Trump.” It’s interesting that Republican governors dominate both the top and the bottom of the list, with all the Dems in the middle: six of the top seven are Republicans; seven of the bottom eight are Republicans.

ADDED 5/19: Monday’s fatality numbers. Things are going well in the USA in general. Monday was below last Monday – only by five deaths, but down is better than up. It appears that we will soon see a day in which Brazil takes over the top spot, because the gap is quite narrow and the two countries are moving in opposite directions.

2 Weeks Ago Last Week This Week
Friday 1,897 1,687 1,595
Saturday 1,691 1,422 1,218
Sunday 1,153 750 865
Monday 1,324 1,008 1,003
Tuesday 2,350 1,630
Wednesday 2,528 1,772
Thursday 2,129 1,715


ADDED 5/17: This can’t be good: “Hundreds of villages locked down in northeastern China after fresh coronavirus outbreak.” China had almost eliminated the stubborn disease.

ADDED 5/16: President Trump actually said this in opposition to “overrated” testing: “When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” Sometimes you hear what he says and you wonder, “Could he really be that stupid, or is he just playing to his base?” Of course we would have exactly the same number of cases at any given moment whether we test nobody or could miraculously test everybody at the same second. The difference is we just won’t realize how many there are if we test nobody. Trump’s statement is 100% accurate if you replace “have” with “know about.” The real point is that we will have more cases tomorrow if we don’t know about cases that exist today.

ADDED 5/16: Remember when Trump asked, “What do you have to lose?” about hydroxychloroquine? The answer is “your life.” “Clinical trials, academic research and scientific analysis indicate that the danger of hydroxychloroquine is a significantly increased risk of death

UPDATED 5/16: US weekly jobless claims again hover around 3, bringing the eight-week tally to about 36 million. That is more than 20% of the American work force. In the worst single week after the crash of 2008, claims reached just 665,000.

ADDED 5/14: The number of fatalities caused by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be understated by about 20,000 to 30,000. “Many Covid-19 deaths were simply listed as some variant of ‘respiratory failure’ or ‘multisystem organ failure.’”

ADDED 5/9: “Scientists explore a simple question with big implications: Can people be reinfected by COVID-19?”

UPDATED 5/9: In a bizarre irony, hospitals are making mass lay-offs in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The institutions are suffering financially because they have had to eliminate all the most profitable parts of their business in order to treat corona victims. In all, 1.4 million health care workers lost their jobs in April, 135,000 of those in hospitals.

ADDED 4/29: New evidence reveals: “Coronavirus infections greatly outnumber confirmed covid-19 cases, potentially by a factor of 10 or more.” My guess it that it’s somewhere between 3-to-1 and 6-to-1. The USA has a ratio of about 18 cases per death. The proper ratio, based upon South Korea and other countries, is probably between 50 and 100 cases per death, indicating a fatality rate between 1% and 2%. That’s a wide range because the calculation is an oversimplification on my part. There are many factors going into the fatality rate, and it’s not necessarily fair to compare areas, but my guess is probably in the right ballpark.

ADDED 4/27: U.S. deaths soared in the early weeks of the pandemic, far exceeding the number attributed to covid-19

NEW 3/28: The data reveal that covid-19 is much more dangerous for men. The data are consistent from country to country: men make up 72% of the intensive care unit admissions in Spain, 73% in France, 75% in Norway, 71% in the UK. While researchers cannot yet determine how much of the gender disparity can be attributed to behavioral components, it seems clear that the significance of the gap across cultures means that there must be some biological explanation.

NEW 3/27: An MIT study, Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?, suggests that 90% of transmission occurs within a narrow temperature band (37 to 63 F) and a limited band of absolute humidity. The scientists do not claim that transmission ceases outside those temperature and humidity bands, but that the spread occurs more slowly. If that holds, the Asian monsoon season, as well as the North American summer, should work against the disease.

March 9:

March 4: A lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild. They will get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.”

Feb 26: “We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.”

Feb 26: We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time..”

Feb 26: We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up..”

Feb 26: The 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb 24:

 


The Dow was at 27,960 that day. One month later it was at 18,592.

Jan 24:

 

Jan 22: We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

President Trump announces his latest cure for coronavirus:

“Let’s shake in a dollop of tickles, an ounce of regret, and a single shooting star, then stir counterclockwise for two shakes of a lamb’s tail and we’re almost there,” said Trump, clapping his hands with glee as he began pedaling a bicycle connected to a bellows in order to fan the flame below the vials.”

The President now claims that his bleach-injection cure was “sarcasm.” I’m pretty sure that: (1) he was totally serious, since he repeated the suggestions after he walked them back; (2) he undoubtedly has no idea how to define the word “sarcasm.”

But assuming he was really being sarcastic, a different thread on this blog had some good observations on that:

Throughout history, the one distinguishing trait of the great leaders is sarcasm in the face of human suffering.

Very true. Very few people realize how sarcastic Lincoln’s delivery of the Gettysburg Address was. And radio allowed FDR to roll his eyes all the time during his fireside chats!

April 14th. After Trump criticized the World Health Organization for praising China’s supposed transparency, he was asked about the fact that he did the same thing. His response: “I don’t talk about China’s transparency.”

But …

The stats: Coronavirus mapped and quantified.

ADDED 4/9: The USA’s # of cases held flat with the previous day (actually slightly down to 1,940 from 1,971).

The USA can be fairly compared to the “Big 5” European corona countries (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, UK), which together have a population of 323.4 million, which is almost identical to the population of the USA (327.2).

America has 435,000 corona cases, versus 575,000 for the Big 5
America has 15,000 deaths, versus 53,000 for the Big 5.
America has conducted 2.2 million tests, versus approximately 3.4 million for the Big 5.
America reported more new cases yesterday: 32,000-25,000
The Big 5 reported more new deaths yesterday: 3,100-2,000

The Big 5’s test numbers are estimated because of Spain. Worldometers has the up-to-date numbers for The UK, Germany and Italy. Worldometers has the wrong number for France, but the correct number can be calculated. France reports that 27% of their tests have been positive. Given their number of positives, they must have conducted about 418,000 tests. Nobody seems to know how many people Spain has tested, so my estimate of 600,000 for Spain is a total guess, based on assuming 25% positive tests, which is the average of France (27%) and the UK (22%).

US testing is still in the second tier. Germany has tested 15 people per 1000, Italy 13. The USA and France are about half that level. The UK lags far behind at 4 per 1000. Spain, as noted, is unknown.

UPDATED 4/9: BoJo, covid positive, still in intensive care, but now improving.

ADDED 4/8: Key coronavirus model revised downward, now predicts 60K deaths in US by August. The previous prediction from the same model was 81,000. You can find the data for your own state here. Click on “The United States of America” in green and white, and it will produce a drop-down menu of countries and states.

NOTE: this model assumes full social distancing in all 50 states until May 31, even though many states will be down to 0-2 deaths per day by May 1. I fear that many governors, seeing the numbers drop so dramatically, will rescind their stay-in-place orders, and that would create a new bump in the curve. I hope the forecasters are right in predicting a steady decline in fatalities after April 12th. That suggests we are nearly over the hump.

ADDED 4/7: This can’t be good. 51 recovered coronavirus patients test positive again in South Korea. For now, the KCDC’s director-general, Jeong Eun-kyeong, believes it is likely the infection was re-activated after remaining dormant in the patients, as opposed to them being reinfected. Either way, it strengthens fears that the contagion remains a hidden danger even after it appears to have gone — with whistleblowing Chinese doctors previously warning it is even deadlier the second time.

ADDED 4/3: The Unemployment Rate Is Probably Around 13 Percent. It’s almost certainly at its highest level since the Great Depression.”

NEW 3/28: The data are beginning to reveal that covid-19 is much more dangerous for men. The data are consistent from country to country: men make up 72% of the intensive care unit admissions in Spain, 73% in France, 75% in Norway, 71% in the UK. While researchers cannot yet determine how much of the gender disparity can be attributed to behavioral components, it seems clear that the significance of the gap across cultures means that there must be some biological explanation.

NEW 3/28: Why is Germany’s death rate so much lower than everyone else’s? Nobody is certain. There are several possible reasons: (1) aggressive testing has identified many mild cases; (2) the average age of those infected is low – for example, it’s 46 in Germany, 63 in Italy; (3) they have a good healthcare system and an aggressive government; (4) the fatality numbers are not-apples-to-apples because other countries are routinely doing post-mortem tests on those who were not tested in life, while Germany is not. (When a corpse is tested positive, it adds to the infected total, as well as the total of those who had covid-19 and died – in effect weighing in a 100% death rate for that group.)

An MIT study, Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?, suggests that 90% of transmission occurs within a narrow temperature band (37 to 63 F) and absolute humidity band. The scientists do not claim that transmission ceases outside those temperature and humidity bands, but that the spread occurs more slowly. If that holds, the Asian monsoon season, as well as the North American summer, should work against the disease.

Feb 26: “We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.”

Feb 26: We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time..”

Feb 26: We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up..”

Feb 26: The 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb 24:

 


The Dow was at 27,960 that day. One month later it was at 18,592.

SCOOP’s NOTE: The altitude of Seoul is probably just a coincidence. It’s hard to imagine Trump looking up a fact. I base that on the Maynard G Krebs rule, which states that Trump’s reaction to “facts” is the same as Maynard’s reaction to “work.”