/Links 5/8/2020

Links 5/8/2020

US households had record debt when the coronavirus hit. Things are likely to get worse CNN

Debt relief for US consumers leaves investors flying blind FT

Your Credit Card Company May Be Asking About Your Job Status Bloomberg

Fed funds futures begin pricing in slightly negative fed funds rate in 2021 but U.S. Fed won’t take rates negative, say fund managers, economists Reuters

What do negative US interest rates mean? Macrobusiness

The Case for Deeply Negative Interest Rates Kenneth Rogoff, Project Syndicate

Voodoo priests recommend voodoo to stop covid-19 The Economist


The science:

The Problem With Stories About Dangerous Coronavirus Mutations The Atlantic. “As an epidemic progresses, the virus family tree grows new branches and twigs—new lineages that are characterized by differing sets of mutations. But a new lineage doesn’t automatically count as a new strain. That term is usually reserved for a lineage that differs from its fellow viruses in significant ways. It might vary in how easily it spreads (transmissibility), its ability to cause disease (virulence), whether it is recognized by the immune system in the same way (antigenicity), or how vulnerable it is to medications (resistance).” This is the distinctiont that the Los Alamos paper (“Spike mutation pipeline reveals the emergence of a more transmissible form of SARS-CoV-2,” linked to at NC on 5/6) does not make.

Clinical Characteristics and Results of Semen Tests Among Men With Coronavirus Disease 2019 JAMA. “In this cohort study, we found that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 may still be detected in the semen of recovering patients…. This study is limited by the small sample size and the short subsequent follow-up.” Nothing on transmission.

Estimating The Infection Fatality Rate Among Symptomatic COVID-19 Cases In The United States Health Affairs

How do children spread the coronavirus? The science still isn’t clear Nature

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A snapshot of coronavirus in the U.S.: A high plateau of new cases portends more spread STAT

California’s first case of community spread started in a nail salon, governor says CNN

Salon owner released from jail after Texas governor changes coronavirus orders CBS

COVID-19: PCR screening of asymptomatic healthcare workers at London hospital (PDF) The Lancet. “If our results are generalisable to the wider HCW population, then asymptomatic infection rates among HCWs tracked the London general population infection curve, peaking at 7∙1% and falling six-fold over 4 weeks, despite the persistence of a high burden of COVID-19 patients through this time (representing most inpatients). Taken together, these data suggest that the rate of asymptomatic infection among HCWs more likely reflects general community transmission than in-hospital exposure.”

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Reopened restaurant told workers: Don’t wear face masks — or don’t work CBS

Mask or no mask? New social tension splits Seattle-area residents in coronavirus era Seattle Times

‘You could literally kill someone’: Masks become a new COVID-19 battleground Los Angeles Times

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Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 NEJM. “In this observational study involving patients with Covid-19 who had been admitted to the hospital, hydroxychloroquine administration was not associated with either a greatly lowered or an increased risk of the composite end point of intubation or death. Randomized, controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine in patients with Covid-19 are needed.”

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Uncertain Diagnosis: The Murky Global Market for Coronavirus Antibody Tests OCCRP

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Materiel shortages:

Pay Attention to Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer on the Pandemic Bloomberg. “[T]he big idea of Kremer and his colleagues is that the urgency of a vaccine is so great that it’s almost impossible to overspend on research, development, and manufacturing for it. What would look like wasteful redundancy in any other context is highly economical in this one.”

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Economic effects:

A Third of Americans Didn’t Pay Their Rent or Mortgage in May, Survey Says Vice (Re Silc).

75,000 Americans at risk of dying from overdose or suicide due to coronavirus despair, group warns CNN. Looks like deaths of despair have their own NGO now, the Wellbeing Trust.

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Corporate response:

Is the coronavirus giving banks an excuse to spy on employees? The American Banker

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Political response:

Coronavirus Is Attacking Our Political Weak Spots John Authers, Bloomberg. “Creaking Federalism.” See the charts on the distinction between states hit by the virus and states hit by economic damage. Well worth a read.

I Got Nothin’ Eschaton

SBA slashes disaster-loan limit from $2 million to $150,000, shuts out nearly all new applicants WaPo

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Social determinants of health:

Coronavirus and the Politics of Disposability Black Agenda Report

Racial Health Disparities and Covid-19 — Caution and Context Merlin Chowkwanyun and Adolph L. Reed, NEJM

The Nod JAMA

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Many States Fall Short of White House Reopening Criteria Bloomberg. With map:

‘Covid’s not the only health issue’: inside the rural counties defying California’s lockdown Guardian

Michigan state House and Senate sue Gretchen Whitmer over state of emergency extension CNN

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Exit strategy:

A Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Already Starting David Sirota, Too Much Information. It’s bipartisan!

Policy and Punditry Need to Adapt to New Virus Data RealClearPolitics
Scientists: ‘Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?’ The Onion

Exclusive: Virus exposes gaping holes in Africa’s health systems Reuters

How Our War On Terror Killed COVID Resilience In These Countries The American Conservative


US-China trade negotiators vow to save phase one deal on first call during pandemic South China Morning Post

U.S. Farmers Plant More Soybeans as China Buys More Caixin

Chaos at Hong Kong’s legislature as lawmakers battle for control of committee as democrats ejected Hong Kong Free Press

Lawsuits Against China Escalate Covid-19 Blame Game With U.S. Bloomberg

Education is the way out:


Indian train kills 14 workers laid-off in coronavirus lockdown Reuters

More Rise in Cash Circulation Between January and April Than Entire 2019: RBI The Wire


Rare Saudi Resistance Hits Futuristic Megacity Project Barron’s

Qatar’s migrant workers beg for food as Covid-19 infections rise Guardian

Exclusive: OPCW chief made false claims to denigrate Douma whistleblower, documents reveal Aaron Maté, The Grayzone


Spain’s deputy PM calls for EU to step up or risk extinction FT

The United Kingdom’s contact tracing app could be a preview of America’s digital tracing future Recode

New Cold War

Kto-Kogo: Putin vs. COVID-19 Russia Matters. (Kto-Kogo is a Bolshevik slogan: “Who, whom?”)

How Putin Changed Russia Forever Foreign Policy

How plot to overthrow Venezuela’s Maduro ran aground FT. A little reputational damage for quondam special forces beardo gun humper “warrior” mercs is long overdue.

COVID-19: Ecuador Persecutes Opponents as Virus Exposes War on Public Sector Consortium News

Trump Transition

Donald Trump and the entire White House staff will be tested DAILY after Navy valet who served president tested positive for coronavirus – but Trump will NOT be quarantined because says he’s ‘essential’ Daily Mail

Scoop: Trump officials’ dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug Axios

House investigators find holes in early virus screening of passengers Politico

Opinion analysis: Unanimous court throws out “Bridgegate” convictions SCOTUSBlog

Harris, Sanders, Markey propose $2,000 monthly payments amid coronavirus pandemic The Hill. Should have been in the first bill.


Exclusive: 1996 court document confirms Tara Reade told of harassment in Biden’s office San Luis Obispo Tribune. Who exactly did the vetting for Biden in 2008, 2016, and 2020? There do seem to be a lot of these time bombs lying about.

Tara Reade sits down with Megyn Kelly for on-camera interview The Hill

Ocasio-Cortez: Biden allegation ‘not clear cut’ The Hill

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Father, son charged with murder in Brunswick area shooting Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ahmaud Arbery.

Imperial Collapse Watch

Big Navy Frigate Risks Oversized $1.4 Billion Cost Per Ship Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Return to work, or else Popular Information

Obsession With Fraud Sabotages U.S. Aid to Millions Without Jobs Bloomberg

Food Banks Can’t Go On Like This The Atlantic

Op-Ed: Enjoying nature during the shutdown is easy — but only if you’re rich Los Angeles Times

Why America Can Make Semiconductors But Not Swabs Bloomberg. “In a typical production process, there are a million-and-one things that can’t be written down. Process knowledge is thus represented by an experienced workforce… What the U.S. really needs to do is reconstitute its communities of engineering practice…. [C]orporate America should start viewing workers not purely as costs to be slashed, but as practitioners keeping alive knowledge essential to the production process.” Let me know how that works out.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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