WTF Community

🤮 Coronavirus (Community Thread)

(David Bythewood) #381

And it would seem they still plan to.

White supremacists encouraging their members to spread coronavirus to cops, Jews, FBI says

The alert was sent to local police agencies by federal officials.

New York to run out of ventilators in days, mayor says

Bill de Blasio says people to die unnecessarily, due to a ‘widespread shortage’ of basic supplies needed to keep hospitals running

The GOP Slush Fund version of a coronavirus bill has failed to pass.


U.S. Jobless Rate May Soar to 30%, Fed’s Bullard Says

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.

Bullard called for a powerful fiscal response to replace the $2.5 trillion in lost income that quarter to ensure a strong eventual U.S. recovery, adding the Fed would be poised to do more to ensure markets function during a period of high volatility.

“Everything is on the table” for the Fed as far as additional lending programs, Bullard said in a telephone interview Sunday from St. Louis. “There is more that we can do if necessary” with existing emergency authority. “There is probably much more in the months ahead depending on where Congress wants to go.”


T’s Coronavirus response was far later than was safe for this nation, and the delegation of huge responsibility to the State Governors has seemed like an afterthought, and big CYA move.

If T has activated the Defense Production Act, he can task the big companies, the military especially to build hospitals and get things moving. It is an atrocious passing the buck to the State level, who now are competing with one another for bidding for masks and finding ventilators.

Of course, T praises Gov Newsom and Gov Cuomo. These two Governors must have begged and cojoled/praised the President to get the Mercy boat for CA and perhaps NY got the other one.

It is a move probably Kushner came up with so that T had the least amount of political liability and can easily say, it was the State’s job to do all this.

Just another Bozo :clown_face: move on T’s part. And it is a complete shame.

Cuomo said the Trump administration must “order factories” to make “essential supplies” and invoke the Defense Production Act as soon as possible, calling it the “difference between life and death.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that there are now 8,000 cases in his city, with 60 deaths. He pleaded with Trump to deploy the military to the nation’s financial capital, home to more than 8 million people.

April is going to be a lot worse than March, and May could be worse than April,” de Blasio said. “We are very much on our own at this point.”

Anthony S. Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an influential nonpartisan adviser to Trump — appeared to defend the president’s decision-making.

“What the president was saying is that these companies are coming forth on their own,” Fauci said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I think that’s an extraordinary spirit of the American spirit of not needing to be coaxed. They’re stepping forward. They’re making not only masks, but [personal protective equipment] and now ventilators.”

And here’s a wrinkle as to why Gov Cuomo gets some more praise from T
Cuomo wants to cut Medicaid and not take extra Federal funds for it.

From State Senator Julia Salazar


Check it out…GIF below

More of the same GIF

And then Play The Social Distancing Game - see how #StayAtHome works.



(M A Croft) #386

There are currently 102 confirmed cases of Covid_19 in NZ. Almost all - 100 - are directly related to recent arrivals back in the country. The remaining 2 cases would indicate that we now have community transmission of the infection. Today Jacinda Ardern our Prime Minister moved NZ to alert level 3, and in 48 hours NZ will move to alert level 4 (essentially placing all non-essential persons into lock down). All schools, universities, cafes, and non-essential businesses will non-essential travel, etc close, for the duration. Initially projected to be 4 weeks.
Supermarkets, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, fuel stations, food and health logistics, and work to enable essential services to remain viable will of course continue.

The govt also announced major support for all businesses and workers affect by the above move. Grant Robertson our finance minister (BTW I knew his grandfather and father well about 50 years ago - proving there is a max of only 6 degrees of separation here :slight_smile: ) said that a number of measures will also be taken to make sure people can cope, including no rent increases, and support for mortgage holders.


So thorough, so measured. I’m jealous of your briefings! :crossed_fingers::heart:

(Lynn) #388

Just a wee bit of good news…if we can make & distribute them fast enough & to everyone, not just t’s pals & donors…:roll_eyes:

(David Bythewood) #389

He’s lost his damn mind.


(Lynn) #390

I’ve yet to see the evidence it was ever there to begin with.
And I’ve already decided “which way” I want HIM to go…don’t even need 15 days. :smirk:


Harnessing all that is good in humanity…Thank you.:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

While the valve might look like a simple piece of plastic, it’s pretty complex; the hole that diffuses the oxygen is less than a millimeter in diameter.

The day after, we returned to the hospital and gave our valves to a doctor who tested them. They worked and he asked for 100 more. So we went back to the office, and returned to the hospital with 100 more. We hoped that this would last them for a few days. Still, the coronavirus rages on. A few hospitals in northern Italy asked us to make copies of the same piece. We are printing them now.

As the pandemic continues to worsen in other countries, we would like everyone to know that we are willing to share our 3-D model. There’s a catch, though; The model we recreated is called a Venturi valve, and different ventilators likely need different types of valves. People in other places might have to step in with new designs.

This sparked a second idea: to modify a snorkeling mask already on the market to create a ventilation-assisted mask for hospitals in need of additional equipment, which was successful when the hospital tested it on a patient in need.

We don’t say this to brag, but to show what is possible. In a moment of crisis, and in a moment when commerce globally is shutting down, there are still many do-it-yourself ways of helping the people around you.

(David Bythewood) #392

Another thread about the new GOP Tax Scam.


McConnell wants to stave off another Stock Market drop, but the bill is loaded with hugely questionable pieces - particularly the $500 B slush fund which Sec of Treasury Mnuchin can use as he wishes (no oversight) and curry favor with the big Corporate guns. And not to mention there is not enough relief for the little guy.


More explanations as to the procedural vote today and R’s were not able to reach a 60 vote majority. Now that several R Senators are not going to vote (I believe) due to health concerns - COVID-19, there’s a new attempt in the morning for Mitch to ram this one through quickly.

Republicans and the White House insist that a deal has to be reached by Monday or financial markets will further deteriorate, exacerbating an already precarious position for the U.S. economy.

Late Sunday night, McConnell was forced to reschedule a repeat of the same vote he lost. McConnell had wanted to hold it at 9:45 a.m., shortly after Wall Street opened, to pressure Schumer and Senate Democrats.

But Schumer objected to that schedule, and now the re-vote will be held at noon Monday.

“Maybe there will be some miraculous coming together tonight. I hope so,” McConnell said as he left the building. “If not, we will now be voting at noon rather than 9:45.”

Even as McConnell walked out, Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were huddling in Schumer’s office off the Senate floor, their seventh such discussion of the day.


And more details from History Professor Heather Cox Richardson (3/22/20)

The biggest news today is that the Senate has been unable to move forward with its massive economic stimulus package because the Democrats refuse to accept a $1.6 trillion bill they say is largely a handout to corporations with little protection for ordinary Americans hurt in the economic crisis created by the novel coronavirus. Democrats hold more power than usual because five Republican senators are in isolation because of exposure to the coronavirus—Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT), Mitt Romney (UT), Cory Gardner (UT), and Rick Scott (FL)—which means that the GOP majority is now only 48-47. The stimulus bill needs 60 votes to pass the Senate, so it needs bipartisan support.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell developed the bill without Democratic input, arguing that such a move would be faster than trying to negotiate with Democrats in the writing phase, but what has emerged is a bill that Democrats won’t choke down. Among other things, it gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin extraordinary power to use up to $500 billion with little oversight to shore up teetering businesses. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been vocal in her disapproval of an expensive bill that does not protect ordinary Americans.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested the House will write its own bill. This measure will include an expansion of unemployment insurance, funding for hospitals and medical supplies, grants for small businesses that are in danger of going under in this crisis, and cash payments to poorer Americans.

It sure looks to me like the national mood is changing from a determination to protect those at the top of the economy to protecting ordinary Americans. We’ll see what Monday brings. (newsletter for 3.22.20)

(David Bythewood) #396

This video was taken in a hospital in Spain. Beds are so full patients are laying on the floor.

How long before this is us?

(David Bythewood) #397


FEMA Director has no idea how many masks are available for hospitals.

He also says Trump has not directed companies to make masks and ventilators even though Trump claims he has.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Peter Gaynor struggled Sunday to detail how many masks and other pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) the federal government has stockpiled — and how much of this stockpile has been sent to health care providers dealing with the coronavirus.

The Trump administration has faced questions about its role in coordinating the distribution of protective equipment in recent weeks as health care workers and state officials have become increasingly vocal about a severe shortage of masks and other forms of PPE that allow them to conduct coronavirus tests, treat infected patients, and minimize exposure risk for patients seeking non-coronavirus-related treatment.

Sunday, Gaynor appeared on several talk shows; on each, he was asked about what FEMA — which has been tasked with PPE distribution — is doing about the shortage. And in each appearance, he refused to share details of his agency’s response.

When CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Gaynor for an estimate of the number of masks the Trump administration has bought, and how many of that number have been distributed to providers, Gaynor said, “I can’t give you a rough number.”

The administrator added, “I can tell you that it’s happening every day. And my mission is operational coordination of all of these things. And that’s my focus.”

As coronavirus has spread across the globe, there’s been a worldwide shortage of the personal protection equipment necessary for health care workers to stay safe from the virus. The US — which identified its first coronavirus patient at the end of February and has more than 32,000 confirmed cases as of March 22 — has such a shortage of needed medical supplies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is already suggesting workers resort to homemade masks.

Wednesday, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, which allows the administration to direct private manufacturers to make supplies in a time of need in order to help alleviate this shortage.

But despite Trump claiming he’s put the act into “gear” to ask private manufacturers to begin making those needed supplies — from masks to ventilators — it isn’t clear that this is actually the case. When asked whether the administration has directed companies to create supplies, Gaynor told Tapper, “We haven’t yet.”

Watch the video (below). Appalling. FEMA has no clue. Director Gaynor is just spouting platitudes and rah-rah speak – no situational awareness, not one fact or statistic about what’s actually being done. I give Trapper credit, he asks over and over what the actual inventory is, but Gaynor ducks and weaves every time.

TAPPER: I’m going to start off by looking for clarity on a pressing issue facing healthcare workers across the country. How many masks does the federal government have right now, and when can they get to local hospitals?

GAYNOR: Well, first, when it comes to supplies, we have been shipping from the national stockpile for weeks… [blah, blah, blah]

TAPPER: Do you have any specific numbers on how many masks the federal government has been able to acquire and how many have gone out the door to hospitals?

GAYNOR: It is a dynamic and fluid operation… [blah, blah, blah]

TAPPER: Do you have even a rough number?

GAYNOR: I can’t give you a rough number. I can tell you that it’s happening every day… [blah, blah, blah]

Equally appalling is Gaynor’s blunt contradiction of Trump’s claim that he has put the Defense Production Act in “gear.”

TAPPER: Has the President, as of now, Sunday morning, ordered any companies to make more of any of these critical supplies?


(David Bythewood) #399

Denmark’s Idea Could Help the World Avoid a Great Depression

“We are freezing the economy.”

While the White House and lawmakers haggle over the terms of an emergency economic-stabilization package, Denmark has gone big—very, very big—to defeat the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus.

This week, the Danish government told private companies hit by the effects of the pandemic that it would pay 75 percent of their employees’ salaries to avoid mass layoffs. The plan could require the government to spend as much as 13 percent of the national economy in three months. That is roughly the equivalent of a $2.5 trillion stimulus in the United States spread out over just 13 weeks. Like I said: very, very big.

This response might strike some as a catastrophically ruinous overreaction. Perhaps for Denmark, it will be. But we are at a fragile moment in American history. The U.S. faces the sharpest economic downturn in a century, and statistics that seem impossibly pessimistic one moment look positively optimistic hours later. In weeks—even days—Denmark’s aggressive response could be a blueprint for how the world can avoid another Great Depression.

To find out more, I corresponded with Flemming Larsen, a professor at the Center for Labor Market Research at Denmark’s Aalborg University, over two days of emails and an hour-long Skype call. The following interview blends those conversations, which have been edited for length and clarity.

Derek Thompson: Could you first give me a sense of what’s happening on the ground in Denmark? What do the streets look like?

Flemming Larsen: Denmark has nearly entirely closed down universities, schools, public institutions, restaurants, museums, cinemas. No assembly of more than 10 persons is allowed. The borders have been closed too.

Thompson: Denmark’s government has announced a very aggressive plan to help workers in the next few months. Tell me what it’s doing.

Larsen: Denmark’s government agreed to cover the cost of employees’ salaries at private companies as long as those companies do not fire people. If a company makes a notice saying that it has to either lay off 30 percent of their workers or fire at least 50 people, the state has agreed to take on 75 percent of workers’ salaries, up to $3,288 per month. (This would preserve the income for all employees earning up to $52,400 per year.)

The philosophy here is that the government wants companies to preserve their relationship with their workers. It’s going to be harder to have a strong recovery if companies have to spend time hiring back workers that have been fired. The plan will last for three months, after which point they hope things come back to normal.

Thompson: So the government is offering to pick up the tab for workers whose employment is threatened by the downturn. Couldn’t companies easily defraud the government and collect the money anyway?

Larsen: Maybe, but the workers compensated are not allowed to work in the period. Workers staying with the company do not receive the 75 percent compensation.

Thompson: Some American economists say the U.S. should copy Germany’s work-sharing plan, Kurzarbeit, in which workers’ hours are reduced and then the government takes on part of workers’ salaries. Is Denmark’s plan like that?

Larsen: Not exactly. In the German plan, the government and the employer share the cost of paying for work . Here, the government is paying companies for employees who are going home and not working . These workers are being paid a wage to do nothing. The government is saying: Lots of people are suddenly in danger of being fired. But if we have firing rounds, it will be very difficult to adapt later. This way, the company maintains their workforce under the crisis and people maintain their salaries. You are compensating people even though they have to go home.

Thompson: I think I understand you, and I’m going to try to summarize, but tell me if this summary is wrong: Denmark is putting the economy into the freezer for three months. You’re saying: We know that all these people won’t be able to work for the next few months. It’s inevitable. Rather than do rounds of firing followed by rounds of hiring, which will delay the recovery, let’s throw the whole economy into a deep freezer, and when the virus winds down we can thaw it out and almost everybody will still be with the company they worked for in January.

Larsen: That’s exactly it. We are freezing the economy. Because otherwise the government is afraid of the long-term damage that this will do to the entire system. The hope is that this will be over in three or four months, and then we can start up society again.

Thompson: What else is Denmark’s government proposing?

Larsen: There are a few things. To prevent the financial sector from shutting down, the state will guarantee 70 percent of new bank loans to companies. This will encourage more lending even in the case of more bankruptcies.

Also, people on unemployment benefits are put on pause. Typically, people have to go to meetings at job centers and make a certain number of job applications to receive jobless benefits. There are a lot of rules. But those rules are suspended for now. There are no requirements. The other part of the pause is that, while you can only be on unemployment benefits for two years in Denmark, people who pass that threshold will still receive benefits. Again, we are freezing everything.

Also, the state agreed to compensate companies for their fixed expenses, like rent and contract obligations, depending on their level of income loss. If they typically sell $1 million in a period, but now they can only sell $100,000, they lose 90 percent of their income. That will qualify them to receive large government help to cover fixed expenses.

Also, the spring payment of taxes for companies have been postponed until autumn, and all public employees will keep their salaries when sent home.

Thompson: This sounds incredibly bold and incredibly expensive. How much does the government expect this is going to cost?

Larsen: The cost is 287 billon DKK. [ Over email, we worked out that this is the equivalent of approximately 13 percent of the country’s GDP. In the U.S., that would be about $2.5 trillion. ]

Thompson: How does this response compare with what Denmark did during the global financial crisis in 2008?

Larsen: Back then, there was nothing at all at this scale. There was no huge amount of spending. The government was worried about public debt. There was a huge, long debate about whether Denmark should spend a lot of money at all. And Denmark had one of the highest increases in unemployment during the last crisis.

But today, the Danish economy is extremely strong. We have a huge surplus. We have a negative interest rate. There is a lot of public savings. So there is a lot of room to do this now. Also, the political environment has changed. We’ve tried to make higher investments in welfare spending in the last few years.

Thompson: It sounds like 10 years ago, there was a debate about stimulus. But today, everybody agrees that you just have to save the economy.

Larsen: Yes. They just want to save the economy. The philosophy is, if we don’t do it now, it will be more expensive to save the economy later. We’ve seen what the virus can do in Italy, in Spain. So I think people are very concerned. We are facing a huge, huge crisis.

Thompson: I have to admit that it’s rather jarring to hear about a country agreeing in a matter of days to do something this big. Your government could spend more than 10 percent of your GDP before July. Meanwhile, in the U.S., we’re still debating the size of government-signed checks that citizens might not receive for several months. There is a profound difference in both the speed and size of the government response.

Larsen: I have to say that the decision-making process in Denmark has been very extraordinary. We have 10 parties in Parliament. From the very left-wing to the really, really right-wing. And they all agree. There is nearly 100 percent consensus about this. And that’s really amazing. People are convinced that it’s wise to do this now.

Many of these policies are made as tripartite agreements between unions, employers’ associations, and the state. That’s because, in Denmark, most labor-market regulation is done by the unions and the employers’ associations. They regulate the labor market mainly through their own collective agreements. To make all this possible, you need the unions and employers’ associations to be a part of these agreements. That is very difficult. But they succeeded rapidly. In a matter of days, this was a signed agreement.

Thompson: Do you think it’s a good idea?

Larsen: I don’t know. Nobody knows for sure. This is unknown territory. I think it’s a good attempt. If you ruin people’s private lives and companies go bankrupt, it will take years to build this up again. So I think it’s a wise decision.

(David Bythewood) #400