Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

    Support MFO

  • Donate through PayPal

American Exceptionalism on the Virus



  • edited July 2020
    no, I had a CIS account not long after, and had left newspapering and then the public sector for high-tech, where I have largely been since

    trying to remember which usenets I was in

    I see I needed to have inserted widespread before tech abetting to anticipate your response

    and I disagree, content now is insanely high-quality --- we are in a golden age of longform analytic and investigative journalism

    but vetting and curation do remain a problem, of course
  • The usual, "everything is bad" when your guy isn't in the white house.
    But hey, Joe Biden makes sense (link):-)
  • If you think everything is right with the current individual in the white house you are one gigantic sorry little man. Also your continued use of the smiley face to cloud over the situation is indicative of how shallow your thought process is.

    You've been asked before to list any positives of this administration to the country as a whole and here we sit empty handed. Sums it up I guess.It has been said that ignorance is bliss. Choke on it why don't you.
  • edited July 2020
    I just had a thought. With numerous WH aides infected, Secret Service agents for both Pence and Trump off duty due to Covid 19 infections, even the girl friend of Donald Jr. testing positive, and yet they carry on with these big rallies w/o masks or social distancing ....

    All of that only makes sense if they are trying (secretly, of course) to push the virus to rampage through the population as fast as possible, resulting in something approaching herd immunity a month or two before the November elections. Other nations have taken that tact with mixed results. May have worked in Sweden. Back-fired like a trick cigar when Johnson attempted it in the UK and found himself hospitalized near death with Covid.

    Haven’t seen this theory reported anywhere. Just an original idea on my part. I’m often wrong. But if I was an unscrupulous devoid of principle politician desperate to win in November, I think that’s the course I’d pursue and hope the Covid 19 “thing” pretty much quiets down and recedes from public attention a month or two in advance of the vote. If the stock market’s way up by than, it might work.
  • edited July 2020
    Misconception being pushed but it hasn't worked in Sweden, in fact a dismal failure IMHO.
    Sweden population ~10 million with ~5000+ deaths
    Finland/Norway population together ~10 million with ~600 deaths
    These countries are right next to each other. The difference: Finland and Norway acted quickly and decisively.
    Another look: Deaths per million Sweden ~524 Finland/Norway ~53
  • edited July 2020
    Thanks for that info @royal4. I've been very curious as to how that experiment would pan out, but haven't seen much press coverage. "Herd Immunity" via doing nothing doesn't sound very promising. I suppose eventually it might work, but the herd would certainly be a lot smaller. I've had to wonder if some of this sort of thinking on the part of Trump, Bolsanaro, and even Sweden's leaders might be inspired by a sort of fatalistic Darwinism: oh well, if the oldest and weakest get knocked off we'll save on health service and pensions...
  • edited July 2020
    - Yes - I meant to say ... herd immunity for the remaining smaller, younger, thinned-out herd. Yes. If they believed in science I’d give them credit for misapplying the legitimate theory of Darwinism.

    - Haven’t followed Sweeden that closely. Thanks for the update.

    PS - I was about to apologize for posting a Covid 19 comment under this American Exceptionalism thread. Upon reflection, however, my observation would seem to fit when driven to its logical extension. If the virus is allowed to rampage the population, with the tacit approval of our highest leaders, the remaining surviving population will not only be younger. It will also be whiter and richer. It’s seniors, non-whites, immigrants, and the poorest among us who the numbers show to be dying in disproportionately large numbers. It’s not hard in looking over the Administration’s often vitriolic rhetoric to understand how this new demographic would fit their idea of American exceptionalism. (often referenced as making Americagreat again).
  • edited July 2020
    Regarding the current situation in Sweden, here are some excerpts from a current article in the New York Times (subscription required):
    LONDON — Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

    This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

    “They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”

    The results of Sweden’s experience are relevant well beyond Scandinavian shores. In the United States, where the virus is spreading with alarming speed, many states have — at President Trump’s urging — avoided lockdowns or lifted them prematurely on the assumption that this would foster economic revival, allowing people to return to workplaces, shops and restaurants.

    Implicit in these approaches is the assumption that governments must balance saving lives against the imperative to spare jobs, with the extra health risks of rolling back social distancing potentially justified by a resulting boost to prosperity. But Sweden’s grim result — more death, and nearly equal economic damage — suggests that the supposed choice between lives and paychecks is a false one: A failure to impose social distancing can cost lives and jobs at the same time.

    Per million people, Sweden has suffered 40 percent more deaths than the United States, 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland and six times more than Denmark.

    The elevated death toll resulting from Sweden’s approach has been clear for many weeks. What is only now emerging is how Sweden, despite letting its economy run unimpeded, has still suffered business-destroying, prosperity-diminishing damage, and at nearly the same magnitude of its neighbors. In short, Sweden suffered a vastly higher death rate while failing to collect on the expected economic gains.

    Here is one takeaway with potentially universal import: It is simplistic to portray government actions such as quarantines as the cause of economic damage. The real culprit is the virus itself. From Asia to Europe to the Americas, the risks of the pandemic have disrupted businesses while prompting people to avoid shopping malls and restaurants, regardless of official policy.
  • Yup, that's what I have been reading as well. Has anyone seen any figures or data from Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia and the like? Curious what they might have done and how it worked out.
  • beebee
    edited July 2020
    @Mark, The Yugo has helped the Slavians with social distance since the car's debut.

    "I would rather not ride in that...You go by yourself"
  • edited July 2020
    Here is a little more info that has bearing on the Swedish response to the pandemic. It suggests it may not be possible for a country to achieve naturally occurring herd immunity to Covid-19.
    ...the facts are already quite clear: herd immunity will likely never be achieved for Covid-19 or any other coronavirus. We know this thanks to new research on the development and decline of Covid antibodies and from a wealth of epidemiological evidence on coronaviruses as a whole.

    ....the antibodies of those infected decline rapidly. In one of these studies, neutralizing antibodies decreased significantly within just two months.

    ....studies have also shown that only 15% of those who test positive for antibodies make the neutralizing antibodies necessary to develop immunity in the first place. And not all of those who make neutralizing antibodies make them at high levels. Some of those infected make no antibodies at all.

    No naturally occurring herd immunity will likely stop SARS-CoV-2 from spreading on its own -- not now and not ever.
  • Thanks for that, @davfor.
  • The last line quoted doesn't say that herd immunity may not be possible. It just says that the studies suggest natural herd immunity for SARS-COV-2 can't happen.

    The sentence in the CNN piece immediately following the one quoted calls attention to this distinction: "This is not cause for dismay but rather a call to action; it will be by our own hand that we stop the spread of this disease." Vaccinations can also create herd immunity.

    For example, with the adequate use of vaccinations, a region could have immunity to measles. But it's highly unlikely that natural penetration would be high enough to develop measles herd immunity.

    Looking at the numbers, the CNN piece asserts that the herd immunity threshold is "approximate[ly] 60%", though the NYT source it cites for that figure gives a higher range of 60%-80%. That NYTimes Upshot page says that even this range "is still uncertain".

    For perspective, the measles herd immunity threshold is at least 90%. The page I cited gives 93%-95%. Here's another page saying that the number "is typically stipulated at 90–95%."

    Since vaccinations are not 100% effective, a vaccine penetration rate must be even higher than a herd immunity threshold.

  • @msh Thanks for your observation. I modified my comment. It now specifically refers to naturally occurring herd immunity.
  • edited July 2020
    Well, the background of the report is focused on Sweden, specifically on the apparent failure of their attempt to evolve a natural herd immunity. So it's no surprise that this data did not consider vaccination penetration issues, since that option (which of course doesn't yet exist) was not relevant to the Swedish experiment.

    The Swedish experiment involved an attempt to achieve herd immunity, basically by taking no preventative measures such as isolation, business and social shutdown, etc. In that respect it seems similar to the basic "do nothing to impact the economy" Trump approach.

    With respect to that, on the surface it may seem unfair to castigate Trump while generously allowing the Swedish situation to be labelled "an experiment". But consider the background:

    • based on a long-established track record of general administrative ability it's plausible to interpret the Swedish decision to have been a failed bet by otherwise competent medical and administrative entities. That may be of little comfort, but at least it was made with the best of intent.

    • simply put, based upon the overall track record (albeit, mercifully, only three years) we cannot extend that latitude to the Trump administration. It's therefore reasonable to attribute their lack of adequate performance to wilful ignorance, amplified by placing more importance on reelection politics than on the health and welfare of Americans. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Sign In or Register to comment.