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The Coronavirus Thread, brought to you by Randall Flagg
My cat is more well stocked than I am. 6 weeks worth of Fancy Feast.
What's happening in Iran is awful, and, yes, the Trump administration is clearly relishing what's happening to the populace.  Iran also went down the fake news path, instead of facing the crisis head on initially, which really sucks.  Suppressing information certainly became a trend in various countries, sadly.

People in Iran are stepping up when they can:

Quote:A heartwarming message from a village woman in Iran as the country grapples with #CoronaVirus due to authorities' negligence:

"Dear Masih. In our small village, we're helping my grandma sew masks for everyone. This is our sense of duty towards our country"

Kudos to these women


627 new deaths in Italy over the last 24 hours.

National Guard patrolling certain streets in New York City and Baltimore.
A major London hospital declared a "critical incident" after running out of ICU beds due to a surge in COVID-19 cases:

Quote:In a message to staff on Thursday night, Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow said it had no critical care capacity left and was contacting neighbouring hospitals about transferring patients who need critical care to other sites.

The message, seen by HSJ, said: “I am writing to let you know that we have this evening declared a ‘critical incident’ in relation to our critical care capacity at Northwick Park Hospital. This is due to an increasing number of patients with Covid-19.

“This means that we currently do not have enough space for patients requiring critical care.

“As part of our system resilience plans, we have contacted our partners in the North West London sector this evening to assist with the safe transfer of patients off of the Northwick Park site”

The trust said the incident was stood down at 4pm on Friday, as they were able to open some more critical care beds. It has not yet stated how many new beds were opened. 

The hospital is run by London North West University Healthcare Trust, which has reported six deaths related to coronavirus, all at Northwick Park.

The potential lack of critical care beds in England has been the major concern around coronavirus, and trusts are currently repurposing wards and retraining staff to try and create more capacity. National leaders have suggested the number of critical care beds likely needs to rise by several times.

A senior director at another London acute trust told HSJ: “Given we’re in the low foothills of this virus, this is f***ing petrifying.
The Peace Corps is suspending operations:

Quote:The Peace Corps said it will temporarily suspend all operations and evacuate volunteers due to the coronavirus outbreak, which causes a disease called COVID-19.

As of Sunday evening, over 169,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed globally along with around 6,500 deaths. There have been over 3,700 cases in the US alone. 

In a statement published on Sunday, the volunteer service organization comprised of 235,000 people said it understood it was a "very stressful time" for host communities and its staff. 

"It is against this backdrop that I have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all Peace Corps operations globally and evacuate all of our Volunteers," Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen said in a statement. "As COVID-19 continues to spread and international travel becomes more and more challenging by the day, we are acting now to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries."

The Peace Corps evacuated 139 volunteers from China in February, where the coronavirus outbreak originated from.
Damning on an extraordinary level.  Share it with the world.

A few choice cuts before the article:

“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”

Trump stopped a coronavirus update from Azar in January to ask about vaping products.

Trump got upset when Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC official, told reporters in February that the virus could upend daily life in the U.S.  He told Azar that she was scaring the markets.

Quote:U.S. intelligence agencies were issuing ominous, classified warnings in January and February about the global danger posed by the coronavirus while President Trump and lawmakers played down the threat and failed to take action that might have slowed the spread of the pathogen, according to U.S. officials familiar with spy agency reporting.

The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take, issues outside the purview of the intelligence agencies. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak.

Taken together, the reports and warnings painted an early picture of a virus that showed the characteristics of a globe-encircling pandemic that could require governments to take swift actions to contain it. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month, as officials scrambled to keep citizens in their homes and hospitals braced for a surge in patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Intelligence agencies “have been warning on this since January,” said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information.

“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”

Spokespeople for the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, and a White House spokesman rebutted criticism of Trump’s response.

“President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and Democrats chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment,” Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “It’s more than disgusting, despicable and disgraceful for cowardly unnamed sources to attempt to rewrite history — it’s a clear threat to this great country.”

Public health experts have criticized China for being slow to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, and have said precious time was lost in the effort to slow the spread. At a White House briefing Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said officials had been alerted to the initial reports of the virus by discussions that the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had with Chinese colleagues on Jan. 3.

The warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies increased in volume toward the end of January and into early February, said officials familiar with the reports. By then, a majority of the intelligence reporting included in daily briefing papers and digests from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA was about covid-19, said officials who have read the reports.

The surge in warnings coincided with a move by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to sell dozens of stocks worth between $628,033 and $1.72 million. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr was privy to virtually all of the highly classified reporting on the coronavirus. Burr issued a statement Friday defending his sell-off, saying he sold based entirely on publicly available information, and he called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate.

A key task for analysts during disease outbreaks is to determine whether foreign officials are trying to minimize the effects of an outbreak or take steps to hide a public health crisis, according to current and former officials familiar with the process.

At the State Department, personnel had been nervously tracking early reports about the virus. One official noted that it was discussed at a meeting in the third week of January, around the time that cable traffic showed that U.S. diplomats in Wuhan were being brought home on chartered planes — a sign that the public health risk was significant. A colleague at the White House mentioned how concerned he was about the transmissibility of the virus.

“In January, there was obviously a lot of chatter,” the official said.

Inside the White House, Trump’s advisers struggled to get him to take the virus seriously, according to multiple officials with knowledge of meetings among those advisers and with the president.

Azar couldn’t get through to Trump to speak with him about the virus until Jan. 18, according to two senior administration officials. When he reached Trump by phone, the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market, the senior administration officials said.

On Jan. 27, White House aides huddled with then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in his office, trying to get senior officials to pay more attention to the virus, according to people briefed on the meeting. Joe Grogan, the head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, argued that the administration needed to take the virus seriously or it could cost the president his reelection, and that dealing with the virus was likely to dominate life in the United States for many months.

Mulvaney then began convening more regular meetings. In early briefings, however, officials said Trump was dismissive because he did not believe that the virus had spread widely throughout the United States.

By early February, Grogan and others worried that there weren’t enough tests to determine the rate of infection, according to people who spoke directly to Grogan. Other officials, including Matthew Pottinger, the president’s deputy national security adviser, began calling for a more forceful response, according to people briefed on White House meetings.

But Trump resisted and continued to assure Americans that the coronavirus would never run rampant as it had in other countries.

“I think it’s going to work out fine,” Trump said on Feb. 19. “I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus.”

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” Trump tweeted five days later. “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

But earlier that month, a senior official in the Department of Health and Human Services delivered a starkly different message to the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a classified briefing that four U.S. officials said covered the coronavirus and its global health implications.

Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response — who was joined by intelligence officials, including from the CIA — told committee members that the virus posed a “serious” threat, one of those officials said.

Kadlec didn’t provide specific recommendations, but he said that to get ahead of the virus and blunt its effects, Americans would need to take actions that could disrupt their daily lives, the official said. “It was very alarming.”

Trump’s insistence on the contrary seemed to rest in his relationship with China’s President Xi Jingping, whom Trump believed was providing him with reliable information about how the virus was spreading in China, despite reports from intelligence agencies that Chinese officials were not being candid about the true scale of the crisis.

Some of Trump’s advisers told him that Beijing was not providing accurate numbers of people who were infected or who had died, according to administration officials. Rather than press China to be more forthcoming, Trump publicly praised its response.

“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” Trump tweeted Jan. 24. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

Some of Trump’s advisers encouraged him to be tougher on China over its decision not to allow teams from the CDC into the country, administration officials said.

In one February meeting, the president said that if he struck a tougher tone against Xi, the Chinese would be less willing to give the Americans information about how they were tackling the outbreak.

Trump on Feb. 3 banned foreigners who had been in China in the previous 14 days from entering the United States, a step he often credits for helping to protect Americans against the virus. He has also said publicly that the Chinese weren’t honest about the effects of the virus. But that travel ban wasn’t accompanied by additional significant steps to prepare for when the virus eventually infected people in the United States in great numbers.

As the disease spread beyond China, U.S. spy agencies tracked outbreaks in Iran, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and elsewhere in Europe, the officials familiar with those reports said. The majority of the information came from public sources, including news reports and official statements, but a significant portion also came from classified intelligence sources. As new cases popped up, the volume of reporting spiked.

As the first cases of infection were confirmed in the United States, Trump continued to insist that the risk to Americans was small.

“I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine,” he said on Feb. 10.

“We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it,” he said four days later. “It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

On Feb. 25, Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC official, sounded perhaps the most significant public alarm to that point, when she told reporters that the coronavirus was likely to spread within communities in the United States and that disruptions to daily life could be “severe.” Trump called Azar on his way back from a trip to India and complained that Messonnier was scaring the stock markets, according to two senior administration officials.

Trump eventually changed his tone after being shown statistical models about the spread of the virus from other countries and hearing directly from Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, as well as from chief executives last week rattled by a plunge in the stock market, said people ­familiar with Trump’s conversations.

But by then, the signs pointing to a major outbreak in the United States were everywhere.
That Peace Cops story is five days old and seems so quaint now. Johns Hopkins lists 275,429 known positive tests right now with 19,624 from the US. The US will easily be third in the world by Monday.
Folks like the Peace Cops might be sending the willing back in.
This acquaintance of mine on FB wants martial law to be implemented here in California. We're already in a statewide lockdown and she wants us to more closely follow China and Italy's methods?
So many people I know are losing their jobs. This is a nightmare.
(03-20-2020, 06:25 PM)noirheaven Wrote:

More on this:

Quote:Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon received as massive pay raise on Friday.

“Chief Executive David Solomon got a 19% raise in 2019, a message likely to resonate poorly among traders and bankers who saw their own bonuses cut and who are facing a long period of economic uncertainty,” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“Mr. Solomon earned $24.7 million in 2019, the bank said Friday, including a $7.7 million cash bonus and almost $15 million in stock. That is up from $20.7 million the year before, most of which he spent as CEO-in-waiting, and makes him Goldman’s best-paid chief since Lloyd Blankfein took home $41 million in 2008,” the newspaper reported.

“His top lieutenants also received pay bumps. John Waldron, the banks’ president and chief operating officer, was paid $22 million and finance chief Stephen Scherr received $20 million,” The Journal noted.

The pay increase came as Wall Street is seeking bailouts due to COVID-19 coronavirus.

Perhaps, a better explanation:

Quote:Pandemic aside (this is 2019 pay and was negotiated weeks ago) this won't go over well with rank-and-file traders and bankers whose bonuses were flat or down last year.

"Pandemic aside" is one hell of a way to open a sentence.
I hope we can beat this back before the worst happens, but I imagine the 25th amendment will be invoked before this is all over with.
(03-21-2020, 12:39 AM)serpico jones Wrote: So many people I know are losing their jobs. This is a nightmare.

San Francisco:

Quote:Chef Brenda Buenviaje cries more often than she laughs these days. When she thinks about all of the employees she had to lay off at her Bay Area restaurants this week, she said she feels like throwing up.

Last week, Buenviaje, along with her partner, Libby Truesdell, oversaw a workforce of about 200 employees at their successful New Orleans-inspired restaurant empire, among the Bay Area’s most popular restaurants: Brenda’s French Soul Food and Brenda’s Meat and Three in San Francisco, and Brenda’s in Oakland. On Monday, Buenviaje made the difficult decision to let go all but 15 employees. The layoffs were a direct result of drastic declines in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place orders.

“A lot of my staff has been with me since the beginning,” Buenviaje said. “Writing a schedule for the skeleton crew we have left just doesn’t feel right. It’s hard to believe what’s happening.”

Bay Area restaurants have been particularly hard hit by Monday’s “shelter-in-place” order directing people to stay away from public gathering spaces and for restaurants to switch their businesses to take-out and delivery only. As a result, restaurants are seeing a near complete loss of revenue, and despite efforts by some to pivot to delivery service, mass layoffs are tearing through top-name Bay Area restaurants like the French Laundry, Delfina, Mister Jiu’s and Spruce. Many business owners see the decisions as temporary, though they admit the path to re-opening, let alone re-hiring, remains unclear. They also fear what the massive disruption will mean to the future of the restaurant scene.

“There’s just nothing left to pay people. Restaurants already operate on razor-thin margins and without customers, there’s just no money,” said Jen Cremer of Oakland’s Sister restaurant, who this week laid off 50 employees. “For our restaurant, especially, we don’t have any financial backers. Any revenue that goes in goes back into labor and costs of goods and insurance.”

Dona Savitsky, owner of Tacubaya and Doña in Oakland, had to cut her staff of 50 down to 10 or 12 people. Nite Yun, chef-owner of Oakland’s nationally celebrated Cambodian restaurant Nyum Bai, let go of all 15 of her employees this week. At Doppio Zero in San Francisco, a pizza restaurant with multiple Bay Area outposts, manager Gabriele Modica said he was one of around 100 people to recently be laid off as the company shuttered all of its locations in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t know how many restaurants will be able to open after this,” Modica said. “This could change everything.”

The trend is also playing out on a national scale. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality group, which operates award-winning East Coast restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, announced this week it laid off 2,000 employees due to loss of revenue amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the New York Times.

Bay Area chefs and restaurateurs are laying off employees now so they may be eligible for unemployment, which can net them roughly $450 per week in benefits in California. But in cities like San Francisco, where the average monthly cost of living exceeds $5,000, including $1,700 in housing costs, according to a 2019 report from the financial think tank the Economic Policy Institute, the amount isn’t nearly enough. When factoring in the number of undocumented restaurant workers who are not eligible for the benefits, the situation for local bartenders, servers and bussers appears even more dire.

To help, restaurants are turning to the community.

GoFundMe campaigns appear to be the most common approach. Yun’s Nyum Bai and Cremer’s Sister restaurant both have accounts soliciting donations, with proceeds earmarked for their recently laid-off employees. As do restaurants like Forge in Oakland, San Francisco’s El Rio bar and Mister Jiu’s, and the Bacchus Management Group, which has multiple Bay Area restaurants including Spruce in San Francisco and Selby’s in Atherton.
I have no faith in something like that. The dye has been cast, and it'll take Joe fucking Biden to resolve this disgrace.

I wish I believed in God, or something.
Brigadier Cousins on PSN
(03-21-2020, 12:14 AM)ravi Wrote: This acquaintance of mine on FB wants martial law to be implemented here in California. We're already in a statewide lockdown and she wants us to more closely follow China and Italy's methods?

People keep calling the shelter-in-place order a "lockdown." Save that term for when that happens. Right now, here in Berkeley, I may be out of work but there's still considerable, if subdued, traffic and activity outside.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
If anyone is desperate for live sports during the global shutdown the Australian Football League is going forward with an empty arena season, and FS1 is televising it.
“A billionaire investor said it would be easy to get his hands on a test if he wanted one, but that the real scramble among the elite in New York is for reserving a hospital bed.”

The U.S. health care system at work:

Quote:Nervous basketball stars on a cross-country flight hatched plans to get access to scarce coronavirus tests. The New York and Hamptons elite called in favors to grab medical care. Across the country, ventilator makers fielded calls from people who didn’t care about prices.

As the deadly Covid-19 outbreak spread across the U.S., millions of Americans were forced to choose between losing paychecks or showing up at work despite the health risk. The rich, powerful and connected spent the first 10 days of the pandemic living another reality.

Coronavirus didn’t invent the gulf between the rich and everyone else, it has just exposed gaps that were already there. In the past two weeks, the sick tried and failed to get tested, the nervous watched their retirement savings shrivel, and thousands have already lost their jobs. Money and power, however, have been tickets to comfort and protection.

“The coronavirus loves the inequitable health-care system that we’ve got,” said Arthur Caplan, who directs the NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s program in medical ethics. “The 1% can pull strings,” he said, while millions of people can’t get tested: “It’s wrong, but it’s true.”

Staffers for the Brooklyn Nets boarded a March 13 charter flight from California before the team’s stars and their families got on. The staff disinfected the plane and placed hand sanitizers and masks alongside vitamins in the common area. The NBA had just suspended its season and players were on edge. Some team personnel had coughs and runny noses, so each player was given a piece of paper and asked to write how they were feeling, if they’d been around anyone who was sick, or if they have any family members in a high-risk category.

“Players wanted to be tested. It wasn’t even close,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in an interview. “Everybody wanted the testing.”

The team owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. billionaire Joe Tsai arranged for tests using a private lab called Viracor Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics. On March 17, the Nets announced that four players had tested positive -- Kevin Durant, a former league MVP, said he was among them.

The private lab told Bloomberg News it’s cleared to analyze samples of patients based on a physician’s discretion. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s testing guidelines prioritize patients with symptoms who are sick, elderly, or have chronic conditions. But many of the basketball players didn’t have symptoms. In a statement, the Nets said the team was fully transparent with the private lab and didn’t “misrepresent the condition of those tested.”

David Morgan, an executive with Eurofins, the lab’s parent company, said the lab wouldn’t do testing without the proper authorization from a health-care professional. “If they put a diagnosis code down for coronavirus infection and send us a specimen, we have to assume the patient falls under the criteria for the testing, which is symptomatic,” he said.

Since then, other NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics, have all received testing for players who exhibited no Covid-19 symptoms. Other celebrities are getting tests too. On Friday, Andy Cohen said in an Instagram post that he had tested positive “after a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great.”

Around the same time, a 41-year-old insurance consultant in Long Beach couldn’t get a test despite his worsening headache and dry cough.

“I always knew that money gets you better treatment, that’s how money works in this country,” said Matt Friedrichs, the consultant. “It’s just shocking to me that the government did not react quickly enough so that everyone who needs it can be tested.”

One private concierge health service said it has hazmat suits for home visits and personal relationships with virus-testing vendors. A billionaire investor said it would be easy to get his hands on a test if he wanted one, but that the real scramble among the elite in New York is for reserving a hospital bed. The billionaire, who has personal connections to a major New York hospital, said he’d only pull strings for family or his best friend. Inside another billionaire’s Hamptons estate, the worries this week weren’t about life and death: Calls went out for a dermatologist who could provide Botox injections, according to a person in the house.

Ventec Life Systems, which makes portable ventilators, has received hundreds of inquiries from individuals about getting their own. “A lot of folks are asking, ‘Can we buy and how much?’” said Chris Brooks, chief strategy officer at Ventec. “Cost is not something they’re concerned with,” he said. The company does not sell directly to individuals.

In Manhattan, patients have been asking the concierge physician George Liakeas “what kind of access” he can give them in a worst-case scenario. They want to be able to jump the line, he said, but doctors will prioritize ventilators and other resources for the sickest people: “It’s not going to be like in the Titanic, where the wealthy got the lifeboats and the boats are left half empty.”

The outbreak could eventually act as an equalizer, according to Harold Koplewicz, medical director of the Child Mind Institute in New York.

“The way the health-care system has been developed is that if you can pay fee for service, if you are connected, if you are someone who is very philanthropic, clearly the health system can respond differently to you,” Koplewicz said. “When you’re in this kind of war-like mentality, whether or not you’re a donor or a board member or a very important person, I don’t think it’s going to change the fact that someone who is sicker than you will be triaged ahead of you.”

At a briefing this week, President Donald Trump said the rich and connected shouldn’t jump to the front of the health-care system’s line. “That does happen on occasion, and I’ve noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly,” he said. “Perhaps that’s been the story of life.”
A quick request:

As the news is coming in fast, could people please not post url's without any context, but at least add a one sentence summary? Makes it a bit easier to keep track of everything. Thanks. And stay safe all!
Everything is a shit show:

Quote: In the end, said passengers who fled a cruise ship because of a coronavirus outbreak at sea, the evacuation and journey back to the United States was more harrowing, chaotic and frightening than their ill-fated maritime voyage.

Weak and sick from no food for nearly 24 hours, several passengers fainted. Two went into respiratory distress. Others had fevers so high that they had to be separated from the rest of the travelers aboard the chartered flight. Several had severe coughs.

“This was almost as much of a debacle as the cruise was,” said Jennifer Catron, a former medic who spent the entire nine-and-a-half hour flight providing medical care. At one point, she took over the in-flight announcements and begged passengers to donate spare peanuts to help revive those who were passing out from low blood sugar.

“It was probably scarier than the cruise,” Ms. Catron said of the flight, which landed at about 6:30 a.m. Friday and then idled on the tarmac in Atlanta for about five hours, because health officials learned that three of the evacuees had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The test results became known to officials during the flight, triggering the hourslong delay that frustrated, angered and scared those on the plane. The Carnival Corp. confirmed that the tests were taken before the passengers left France, but the results came while the plane was en route.

The return trip itself had been a harrowing all-night odyssey, with busloads of the passengers stuck for hours in Marseille, France, before boarding the flight to Atlanta.

The long voyage had been doomed almost from the start.

The Costa Luminosa cruise ship, owned by Carnival, left Fort Lauderdale on March 5. Its destination: Venice, Italy.

Three days later, an Italian woman was evacuated in Puerto Rico because she had symptoms of the coronavirus. Her test results were delayed, and it took a week for the ship’s captain to enact strict sanitary protocols.

Another man, who had been on an earlier leg of the trip, died of the disease in the Cayman Islands on Saturday. The same day, several passengers with symptoms got off the ship in the Canary Islands.

“It made our cruise actually living hell,” said Anna Smirnova, 67, from California. “People were scared, and nobody knew what to do next.”

The cruise was to be a grand affair with stops in Antigua, Puerto Rico, Málaga, Spain, the Canary Islands and Marseille. But Antigua and Spain would not let the 1,400 passengers disembark.

Since last Saturday, the passengers had been isolated in their cabins. The ship arrived on Thursday at Marseille where the Americans, Canadians and French were allowed to get off.

The French health authorities tested a few dozen people who had fevers, and the French media reported that 36 of the French people’s tests came back positive. Carnival said the French authorities have not shared that information with the company.

Before the test results for the Americans were known, the passengers climbed aboard buses and headed to the airport, where they sat in a parking lot for five hours. They then took a red-eye that the cruise line chartered, with nothing to eat but juice and snacks.

“It was so crowded. There were so many sick people coughing,” said Nilda Caputi, 82, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. “It was horrible. I’m old, but I’m healthy. These people were really sick and very old, in wheelchairs with a pitiful cough.”

In emails sent from the plane, Ms. Catron chronicled the journey: “This plane is a medical disaster,” she said at one point, adding that one man looked about “60 with bronchitis like coughs” and like he was going to “fall over at any minute.”

“This is NUTS!” she wrote.

Ms. Catron said the crew considered diverting the plane to Bermuda, but feared that if they did, the local hospitals would turn them away once they learned the passengers had been aboard a cruise ship with travelers who had the coronavirus.

Once the plane landed in Atlanta, Kelea Edgar Nevis, 47, texted journalists in real time whenever someone fainted.

7:58 a.m.: Another HOUR. We’re stuffed in here like sardines and it’s hot.

8:09 a.m.: People are starving.

8:11 a.m.: People are starting to gather. We’re going to have a mutiny on here shortly.

8:30 a.m.: Even the crew doesn’t know what we’re doing as we race across runway after runway to who knows where.

9:20 a.m.: Everyone is up in arms.

At 9:46 a.m., more than three hours after landing, Ms. Nevis wrote that the plane no longer had toilet paper or tissues. “Still no food since lunch yesterday French time,” she texted. Ms. Catron called 911.

Eventually, health officials removed the sick passengers before the others walked off the plane.

Nobody told Ms. Catron or the others, they said, that two people from Florida and one from Massachusetts had tested positive for the virus.
Quote:Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon received as massive pay raise on Friday.

“Chief Executive David Solomon got a 19% raise in 2019, a message likely to resonate poorly among traders and bankers who saw their own bonuses cut and who are facing a long period of economic uncertainty,” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“Mr. Solomon earned $24.7 million in 2019, the bank said Friday, including a $7.7 million cash bonus and almost $15 million in stock. That is up from $20.7 million the year before, most of which he spent as CEO-in-waiting, and makes him Goldman’s best-paid chief since Lloyd Blankfein took home $41 million in 2008,” the newspaper reported.

“His top lieutenants also received pay bumps. John Waldron, the banks’ president and chief operating officer, was paid $22 million and finance chief Stephen Scherr received $20 million,” The Journal noted.

The pay increase came as Wall Street is seeking bailouts due to COVID-19 coronavirus.

(03-21-2020, 12:39 AM)serpico jones Wrote: So many people I know are losing their jobs. This is a nightmare.

I'm seeing local and long distance friends losing their jobs already. I'm sickened for them and frankly scared for myself and my family.

(03-21-2020, 01:25 AM)ChrisW Wrote: I hope we can beat this back before the worst happens, but I imagine the 25th amendment will be invoked before this is all over with.

Agreed with arjen. If they haven't 25thed Pumpkins yet, they ain't gonna. McConnell has also proved surprisingly stupid about this though I suspect he'll find his footing quickly.

I'm also not heartened that apparently Pumpkins' ratings of the crisis have gone up with the promise of cash to Americans. He's literally buying the election at this point.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
Soldiers returning to Fort Bliss, Texas, from war zones in the Middle East told the Associated Press they were denied water and bathroom access, then quarantined with little food amid the coronavirus outbreak:

Quote:It wasn’t the welcome home that U.S. soldiers expected when they returned from war zones in the Middle East in the past week.

When their planes landed at Fort Bliss, Texas, they were herded into buses, denied water and the use of bathrooms, then quarantined in packed barracks, with little food or access to the outdoors. “This is no way to treat Soldiers returning from war,” one soldier told The Associated Press in an email.

The soldiers posted notes on social media about the poor conditions. Their complaints got quick attention from senior Army and Pentagon leaders. Now changes are under way at Fort Bliss and at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where the first soldiers placed under quarantine also complained of poor, cramped conditions.

Quarantining troops on military bases is becoming a greater challenge for military officials. While continuing missions and training, they also have to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus by enforcing two-week quarantines of soldiers who have spent months overseas.
I was told nobody loves The Troops more than Donald Trump!
Quote:He's literally buying the election at this point.

Imagine how someone who is so desperate to win and who couldn't give a flying fuck about the ballooning deficit, could abuse those stimulus cheques. They'll probably have his photo or a tacky personal logo on them or some shit like that, just watch. He'll give them a catchy name too, so that voters remember who to thank.

While everyone is understandably distracted by the deadly pandemic, Rs can continue to quietly advance their agenda like thieves in the night (also probably a great time for a pardon or two). Use emergency powers to force businesses to do what they want, and redirect even more green into their own pockets. A brand new way to demonize those nasty diseased foreigners, shut down the borders, and place certain riskier groups into convenient special "hotels". When things get worse and people start knifing each other over the last charmin, send the military in on the pretext of maintaining order. Screw privacy, we have to know if you're infected! Shut down dissenting voices once and for all, just like they always wanted. We're fighting a WAR against this Chinese virus, so stop spouting their commie talking points and get on board! Might even need to delay the election, until we can figure out what the hell is going on (backed up by some obscure loophole or whatever that one of the more diabolical lackeys found).

This Coronavirus could end up being the greatest gift to these people. I'm not sure I want to know what the masses would go along with when everyone is scared shitless on such a deep primal level.
I'm 100% confident Trump will sleaze his way into re-election, whether by accident, by the incompetence of the DNC, plain stupidity of the voters, or just all of it.
Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox says Trump’s early handling of COVID-19 is “is the most irresponsible act of an elected official that I've ever witnessed in my lifetime.”

Quote:LARRY BRILLIANT SAYS he doesn’t have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. “A billion people would get sick," he said. “As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.”

Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say “I told you so” too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google’s nonprofit wing,; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.

We talked by phone on Tuesday. At the time, President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis had started to change from “no worries at all” to finally taking more significant steps to stem the pandemic. Brilliant lives in one of the six Bay Area counties where residents were ordered to shelter in place. When we began the conversation, he’d just gotten off the phone with someone he described as high government official, who asked Brilliant “How the fuck did we get here?” I wanted to hear how we’ll get out of here. The conversation has been edited and condensed.


Quote:We are being asked to do things, certainly, that never happened in my lifetime—stay in the house, stay 6 feet away from other people, don’t go to group gatherings. Are we getting the right advice?

Well, as you reach me, I'm pretending that I'm in a meditation retreat, but I'm actually being semi-quarantined in Marin County. Yes, this is very good advice. But did we get good advice from the president of the United States for the first 12 weeks? No. All we got were lies. Saying it’s fake, by saying this is a Democratic hoax. There are still people today who believe that, to their detriment. Speaking as a public health person, this is the most irresponsible act of an elected official that I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. But what you're hearing now [to self-isolate, close schools, cancel events] is right. Is it going to protect us completely? Is it going to make the world safe forever? No. It's a great thing because we want to spread out the disease over time.
Today at my retail job they're handing out paperwork they want employees to carry around at all times. It says I'm "part of a retail operation that has been deemed essential to help address the COVID-19 pandemic." I'm seriously considering cashing in that 2 weeks of vacation time I have saved up.
Mangy Wrote:TCM 2 is like sentient cocaine.
Do it if you can. Us retail serfs are all expendable anyways. You could end up laid off with no way to cash in the PTO.
(03-21-2020, 03:03 PM)kyle reese 2 Wrote: Do it if you can. Us retail serfs are all expendable anyways. You could end up laid off with no way to cash in the PTO.

If you sense ANY risk at all that your retail business may go under, cash in your PTO now.  NOW NOW NOW.  That's money due to you via the fruits of your labor, but you lose it if the business goes under.
With Facebook and Fox News suggesting that COVID is actually a Chinese or Russian plot to destroy the West (which shows how many people don't think about things for even 2 seconds), who was ACTUALLY caught trying to weaponize COVID?

Domestic terrorists. Specifically, white supremacists.

Quote:“Violent extremists continue to make bioterrorism a popular topic among themselves,” reads the intelligence brief written by the Federal Protective Service, which covered the week of Feb. 17-24. “White Racially Motivated Violent Extremists have recently commented on the coronavirus stating that it is an ‘OBLIGATION’ to spread it should any of them contract the virus.”

The Federal Protective Service, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is a law enforcement agency responsible for protecting buildings owned or leased by the federal government. 

The intelligence brief, marked for official use only, noted the white supremacists “suggested targeting … law enforcement and minority communities, with some mention of public places in general.” According to the document, the extremists discussed a number of methods for coronavirus attacks, such spending time in public with perceived enemies, leaving “saliva on door handles” at local FBI offices, spitting on elevator buttons and spreading coronavirus germs in “nonwhite neighborhoods.”
Gamertag: Tweakee
The governor of West Virginia jib-jabbed last night, urging against inaction WHILE ALSO refusing to close anything down, leading to the great headline below. Pretty amazing watching the GOP, which at this point is a sentient Facebook thread, attempt to battle science.

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I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
… I'm going to hide this tape when I'm finished. If none of us make it, at least there will be some kind of record. The virus has been hitting us hard now for 2 weeks. We still have no TP to go on. Every random cough slams your brain through your skull...was that 'wet' or 'dry'? One other thing: I think it fucks up your logic when it takes you over. Windows found some half-empty jars of colloidal silver and well- chewed tube of Alex Jones' "THE TOOTHPASTE THAT CAN CURE ANYTHING!!" toothpaste in the trash but the name tag was missing. They could be anybody's. No...nobody trusts anybody now, and we're all very tired. There's nothing more I can do, just wait. This is R.J. MacReady, Senior Manager, Dairy Queen, 2142 University Square Mall Spc 226B, Tampa, FL 33612, USA...
...don't do it
White House is coordinating efforts to ramp up their “Wuhan Virus” bullshit, a gaslighting campaign to pin the blame on China for orchestrating a coverup and creating the global pandemic. I fear many Americans are dumb enough and/or scared enough to buy it.

I suppose it won’t ever matter that Trump was praising the way Xi was handling things just 2 weeks ago.
(03-22-2020, 10:54 AM)fuzzy dunlop Wrote: White House is coordinating efforts to ramp up their “Wuhan Virus” bullshit, a gaslighting campaign to pin the blame on China for orchestrating a coverup and creating the global pandemic. I fear many Americans are dumb enough and/or scared enough to buy it.

I suppose it won’t ever matter that Trump was praising the way Xi was handling things just 2 weeks ago.

Don't you just love these asshats…?
...don't do it
Gov. Cuomo:

Quote:I’m calling on the Federal Government to nationalize the medical supply chain.

The Federal Government should immediately use the Defense Production Act to order companies to make gowns, masks and gloves.

Currently, states are competing against other states for supplies.
Not surprised to see what’s going on with Best Buy. Greediest corporation I ever worked for.

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