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Economic Fallout of COVID-19 Shutdown will Dominate 2020 Elections

As many of you know, I have consistently held the opinion that social and economic fallout from overreaction to this pandemic is going to be far worse and consequential than the final death toll. In case you need a refresher, here are a few links (link 1, link 2, link 3). While yet another post about this general topic might seem tediously repetitive, it is my opinion that even supposedly non-corporate media-types are too fixated on the deaths of 81-year-olds in nursing homes to notice the absolutely unprecedented socio-economic damage and long-term consequences of this shutdown on many western countries. And yes.. the negative effects of this shutdown will be far bigger in western countries and wannabes such as India than their East-Asian counterparts.

1] Many serological surveys in areas with high rates of deaths due to COVID-19 have consistently shown that the number of people who were infected by this virus (and developed antibodies to it) but did not develop symptoms sufficient to seek medical attention is about 10-50 times higher than number who tested positive for the virus with PCR-based tests. Note that PCR-based tests can only detect active infection (in all patients) or post-infectious viral shedding (in a small minority). In other words, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections account for the vast majority of cases. To make a long story short, serological surveys from even the worst hit areas with an older population suggest an Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of less than 0.5%.

Even in areas of northern Italy that are full of old retirees and nursing homes, the chance of an infection leading to death is less than 1 in 200. Now I am sure that some of you are going to tell me that the present generation of serological tests have high error rates etc. And this is in spite of most of you never having performed a serological test let alone have an understanding of the factors which lead to false positive and false negative results in those tests. Once again, to make a long story short, the tests used in most of these surveys were independently validated by the researchers who used them and almost every single one had false positive rates below 1%. To put it another way, while some of the tests could be better, the vast majority were good enough to detect rates of seropositivity over 2%.

In many heavily affected areas, these surveys show rates of seropositivity in the 10-15%, 20-30% and even 50% range. Moreover, the geographical distribution of seropositivity rates in each survey tracks the death rate in those areas. But what does a discussion of seropostivity trends and extrapolated IFR contribute to a post on how the socio-economic fallout of this pandemic will dominate 2020 elections. Well.. let me spell it out for you. An infection, however contagious, with an IFR of less than 0.5% and most likely closer to 0.2% is not much worse than a bad strain of Influenza. Since the end of WW2, we had at least 4-5 Influenza pandemics with similar or slightly higher IFR rates. While some of these pandemics necessitated shutting down schools etc for a few weeks etc, none resulted in a generalized economic shutdown of the kind we are seeing today.

2] Given that the 2020 elections are in early November, which is about six months from today, you can be certain that general experience and many more serological surveys with even better tests will reveal an IFR of around 0.2% (1 death per 500 infections). Since this is no worse for most of the population (below 80 years) than an especially bad Influenza season, people who have been ruined and impoverished through the loss of their jobs and businesses will start asking some very inconvenient questions about the “official response” to this pandemic. Was a general shutdown really necessary? Given the mild presentation and low infectivity of this disease in children and young adults, was the closure of schools and universities really necessary?

Weren’t highly targeted actions meant to protect the most vulnerable (65+ and chronically ill) the better option- especially since we knew, even early on, that the disease caused the vast majority of fatalities in those groups? Given that this virus can easily spread in aerosols beyond 2 meters, how was this whole “social distancing” bullshit any different from post 9/11 security theater in airports. How was the decision to close “non-essential” retail and restaurants a good idea, when studies show that most transmissions occur in private residences, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, aircraft carriers and other unusually crowded and enclosed areas. And the questions will keep get more problematic..

Why did so many elected officials not have a well-thought out (if somewhat unemotional) plan to reopen the economy? Even today, politicians from states such as NY and CA to TX and GA do not have a coherent and well-thought of plan for definitively reopening the economy- the key word being ‘definitively’. Do these elected dumbfucks think that pausing the economy for 12-18 months is possible? This question becomes especially important when it becomes obvious that the IFR is about 0.2% and there is a very clear way to identify those with the worst outcomes? Do these dummies have a plan to successfully develop, mass produce and mass vaccinate hundreds of millions? Given how badly they have bumbled thus far, why would you believe them? Why would you trust people whose poor decision-making skills have already ruined your life?

3] Talking about those who have suffered due to incompetent leaders making poor decisions.. how can all these unemployed people afford to keep on paying rents, mortgages, car payments, health insurance payments, university fees etc. While it might be tempting to point out that the Trump administration has been especially incompetent and stingy at delivering cash payments to average people- even countries which have done a much better job have not been able to make average people whole again. Small business in this country face a similar problem, because most of the trillions in government aid has gone to large companies and multinationals. Long story short, even if the economy all over this country was opened tomorrow, there would tens of millions who would be unemployed and many millions whose small businesses had failed for no fault of theirs. Do we have the political will to implement a decent social safety net?

Democrats, such as that corrupt dago from NY and that neoliberal from CA, are now positioning themselves as the new ‘resistance’ against Trump. They keep on mumbling random bullshit, which they don’t understand, such as “science based plans” for reopening economy etc. Are you fucking serious? Have these democrat dumbfucks even performed a back-of-envelope reckoning of the number (and percentage) of newly unemployed people and failed business in their state? Are they stupid enough to imagine that people won’t blame them for destroying their livelihoods? Then again the democratic party was stupid enough to nominate HRC in 2016 and that dementia patient.. Joe Biden.. in 2020. So, I guess it is possible. Also note how establishment democrats such as that hag with bad plastic surgery.. Nancy Pelosi.. and her compatriots have pretty much disappeared from the public arena. It doesn’t help that these losers haven’t come up with anything beyond a few “means tested” and very inadequate programs to help those affected by biggest financial crisis since the great depression.

Yes.. you read that right. The COVID-19 pandemic, specifically its aftermath, is the biggest financial crisis since the great depression of the early 1930s. The GFC of 2008 now looks almost quaint compared to how bad things have gotten so far, and we are nowhere near the end of this one. And you something else.. when such a large scale disaster or crisis strikes any country, affected people always look for scapegoats. The last time we had an election with over 20% unemployment in this country was in 1932, about 88 years ago- and we know how that went. Heck, even a now minor one like the one in 2008 made many people vote for a black guy who sounded good on TV than anyone remotely connected to that mess. Some partisan democrats (MikeCA) might think that this crisis will translate into a victory for his cult. I wouldn’t be so sure.. because in this crisis, democrats have visibly fucked up at least as much (if not more) than their republican counterparts- and it shows.

Establishment types in the democratic party seem to believe (almost as a matter of faith) that Trump’s fuckups will somehow magically hand them the presidency in 2020. However, as I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, there is more than enough blame to go around, and this will be very apparent by early November. At that time, many tens of millions of impoverished and angry people will want to find and lynch a scapegoat.. any scapegoat. Chances are that Trump’s rhetoric of “opening the economy for business” might sound far better to them than “lets keep it all closed (or close to that) until some undefined date in the future”. This outcome is especially likely once it becomes obvious that the IFR is somewhere between 0.2-0.5% and even lower (0.1%) in working-age population. In any case, the economic fallout of the response to this pandemic is going to totally overshadow the number of deaths from it by November 2020.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. This blog has gone down in quality as of late...
    May 3, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    I remember when I mentioned an “exit plan,” I was mocked by your little sidekick yusef. Now you critique that there is no exit plan. You previously post that this *may* have been created in a lab. If you actually believe that, would that not bring about a host of new possibilities such as being infected but being asymptomatic will result in them getting this again months or even years later and not being asymptomatic? Is that in the realm of possibilities or not?

    You act as if you are “enlightened” but I don’t think you are pro-labor at all. You haven’t mentioned how bargain basement lex author is making a killing out of all this yet his “contingent workforce” is risking their health without benefits and conditions that rival the meat industry as far as risk of getting covid.

    Yeah, there is a very simple path for the incompetent Trump to win. All the covidiots who are going on protests right now will venture out to vote for him. Everyone else won’t bother to vote for creepy Joe Biden (even with mail in ballots.) Nov 2020 will likely have the lowest voter turn out of all time and there won’t be any conspiracy theory about it no matter how much MikeCaCa protests. And as far as Putin, he will be revealed to be just as incompetent as everyone else…

    I know you are enjoying this as some men just want to watch the world burn. I suppose you are “working from home” ordering pizzas and getting half-price discounts from your escorts. I guess I am jealous of you but somehow glad that I am not you. And, yes, I really don’t have much better to do than leave comments on this cesspit of a blog. My mental health is probably questionable right now but visiting this place is somehow therapeutic although you would wish it wasn’t if I correctly understand you…

    (The correct response to this would be your LOL in bold letters but I expect no response…)

    As I have said in the past..


    As far as this virus is concerned, it was probably created in a lab to study ‘gain of function’ mutations so that the lab in question could publish more papers, but it escaped. So ya.. it was created, but not as a biological weapon.

    About the ‘exit’ plan.. ya, I have said since the beginning of this crisis that these morons lack a definitive exit plan and it is going to make things much worse than otherwise. Yusef has too much faith in elite competence.

    Amazon has to be destroyed through nationalization and then by breaking it up into parts. In fact one of the pieces I am trying to write concerns the effect of this crisis on business monopolies.

    Yes, unless something changes a lot- this will be a very low turnout election.

    Nah.. I am bored even though my job is more secure than most people and can be performed remotely- for the most part.

    • doldrom
      May 4, 2020 at 5:52 am

      I don’t think it is a bio-weapon either. But there is a reason for pause, and that is the amount of money and effort government and defense in the broadest sense is willing to pour into this kind of research. Looking at the cooperation and funding on many projects, you could well conclude that this kind of research has been outsourced to China, in a kind of ethical norms arbitrage. Just as the US has rendition camps in cooperative countries, so they can’t run afoul of American law, they can have bio-research done in China where less people seem to care about dual-use research, and violations of ethics norms with gain-of-function experimentation.

      The greatest irony is a quote from the “bat-lady” Shi Zhengli: We have to go find the virus before it finds us. There is something risable about scouring exotic bats for all kinds of novel viruses (some of which turned out to be already capable of human transmission) and seeing how you can make them more dangerous to get ahead of the “curve” so to speak, only to land up introducing them into general circulation by accident.

      Like testing the building for earthquake resilience and bringing it down. Actually, hubris is a better term: the gods punishing the heroes who are blind to their own infirmities and overstepping the bounds of mortals.

      We have to go find the virus before it finds us. Oops.

  2. May 3, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    November Vote-By-Mail?

    And the Dem govt union postal worker machine only counts the votes they need to win.

    Maybe they’re right to feel complacent?

  3. MikeCA
    May 3, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    ” To make a long story short, serological surveys from even the worst hit areas with an older population suggest an Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of less than 0.5%.”

    As it turns out, one of my previous degrees is in Microbiology.

    This is all somewhat uncertain. The population of New York City is 8,400,000. Serological surveys currently suggest that about 25% of the people in NYC have been infected. This means about 2,100,000 people were infected. There were 18,231 deaths in NYC as of a few days ago. That works out to a 0.86% IFR. Even if you assume 100% of the people in NYC were infected, then the IFR is still 0.21%

    Antibody production to a new (never before encountered) antigen takes about 2-3 weeks to ramp up to levels that are easily detectable. If 25% of NYC had antibodies to COVID-19 on May 1 (for example) that reflects levels of infection in first to 2nd week of April. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that those levels are probably close to 50% by now, especially in working-class areas of that city. A final IFR of 0.2-0.4% is what I would expect for a city with a decent percentage of older people.

    Also everyone seems to quote 0.1% as the IFR for the seasonal flue, but I think that is a rate extrapolated from a models by the CDC. While they tell you there are 20,000 to 60,000 flue deaths a year, the actual recorded number of deaths where the cause was confirmed by a flue test ranges from 4000 to 15,000 according to some data. The CDC extrapolates the higher numbers from models that assume some number of pneumonia deaths are really flue deaths.

    In short, COVID-19 ain’t just like the flue.

    If you have read what I have written in previous posts, you should know that I am comparing COVID-19 to the Influenza pandemic of 1957-1958 that killed about 100-120k people in this country when population was 175 million. Today the population is 331 million (~1.9x of 1958). Multiply 120k * 2 = 240 k.

    The 1968 Influenza pandemic killed about 100k people in this country when population was 201 million. 100k * 1.65 = 165k. Note that median age in USA during both periods was somewhere around 28-29 compared to over 38 now

  4. MikeCA
    May 3, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    “Antibody production to a new (never before encountered) antigen takes about 2-3 weeks to ramp up to levels that are easily detectable. If 25% of NYC had antibodies to COVID-19 on May 1 (for example) that reflects levels of infection in first to 2nd week of April.”

    It also takes 2 to 3 weeks for someone to die after infection, so this is a reasonably fair comparison. There are still hundreds of people dying in NYC. Also NYC has been under a lock down order, which should have reduced the rate of new infections in the last few weeks. It has reduced the rate of new hospital admissions.

  5. MikeCA
    May 4, 2020 at 11:58 am

    The hope was that the federal government would have used the time of the shut down to come up with a plan for gradually opening the economy with lots of testing and contract tracing. Trump however has washed his hands of that problem and pushed it down to the states who don’t have the emergency powers to force companies to produce enough tests and testing equipment/supplies. We are starting to open up the economy, but there are not enough tests to even test all the people showing symptoms much less do contract tracing.

    They had since Jan 2020 to come up with a plan, but every one of them from Trump to Cuomo and Newsom failed. Also, there won’t be enough tests for everybody since there are just not enough machines to read the outputs- even if they had enough test kits.

    It looks to me like the Trump administration has given up on containing or managing the virus spread. They just want to open things up and let the virus spread until we reach heard immunity. That is not really a viable plan for many reasons. First, large parts of the economy are not going to come back until people feel safe going out. The travel and tourism industries, bars, restaurants, night clubs, and places like Las Vegas are simply not going to get back to normal until the virus has been contained and people feel safe visiting them. If they open, there will be some people come, but no where near the numbers before.

    Given the option of endless continued lockdowns, it is a viable plan. Also, it is reasonably easy to implement procedures to protect most vulnerable (those in nursing homes + people over 65 with serious comorbidities). We could just give them free face masks, hand sanitizers, maybe a membership for Amazon Prime and Walmart online shopping. This would certainly be better than whatever half-assed plan they are trying to implement now.

    I expect as things open up you will see lots of local shut downs like the closure of all roads into and out of Gallup, New Mexico. Gallup is a town of 22,000 people that now has more than 1000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and local officials are in a complete panic.

    I would be more concerned about their age profile and comorbidities, than the number.

    Trump is apparently betting big on rapidly developing a vaccine. I’m not a medical expert but some people who are have cautioned that a vaccine may not be possible. Clearly if a vaccine is possible or even might be possible, we should go full speed ahead on that. At one press conference when asked who was leading the task force to accelerate vaccine development, the answer was Trump himself. That does not sound promising.

    Developing and producing an inactivated whole-virus vaccine for COVID-19 which would provide better than 90% protection is trivial and can be done with same facilities currently used for making Influenza A vaccines. Thing is.. effective immunity against coronaviruses using inactivated whole-virus vaccines in animals requires a booster (so two shots spaced apart by 2-3 weeks rather than a single shot). So there is that hurdle..

  6. MikeCA
    May 4, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    “Also, there won’t be enough tests for everybody since there are just not enough machines to read the outputs- even if they had enough test kits.”

    Why can’t they build more machines to read the outputs? Are they so complicated to build that production of the machines cannot be scaled up?

    Well.. most of manufacturing of such machines, including parts, occurs in East Asia and Western Europe.
    Here is an example of a diagnostic-quality PCR machine- https://lifescience.roche.com/products/lightcycler-2-0-instrument

    There is another PCR-like technique, Loop-mediated isothermal amplification, which can deliver results in 5-15 minutes. Here is an example- Alere™ i

    I assume that you are referring to PCR tests. Some people have said they think the Trump administration is counting on antigen tests to increase testing capacity. Antigen tests are quick and should be inexpensive, but of unknown accuracy. Antigen flu tests are not considered very accurate but antigen strep throat tests are considered accurate. There are no antigen tests currently available, although several are under development.

    Active infections are best diagnosed with PCR tests (gold standard). Antigen test (like the standard pregnancy test) are useful if the tests are well validated.

    There is a difference between accuracy of stick-based antigen tests and full-scale ELISA assays in a proper machine. The later is far more sensitive and accurate. Note that these measure presence of antigen and therefore active infection- not antibodies

    Is the Trump administration not pushing for more PCR testing machines because they expect antigen tests to be available before they could build more PCR test machines?

    Because the Trump administration, like others before it, is full of morons who haven’t worked a honest job in their alleged “field of expertise”.

  7. doldrom
    May 5, 2020 at 1:03 am

    In Europe opening up will raise the specter of people free to move around their own countries, but as soon as you cross the border, 2 weeks quarantine. This makes absolutely no sense, as if everybody has eliminated the virus within its own borders, but is afraid of viruses with the wrong passport. This whole episode shows so much triumph of BS over common sense that it begs for other explanations. Most people, including law enforcement, have settled down on the interpretation that we have to stay vigilant forever in an attempt to never get the virus. Nobody is facing the fact that everybody will be exposed sooner or later, and what that implies going forward.
    There are also no provisions being discussed for a get out of jail card for those who have had it. If there were, people might go to Corona parties to get it over with. There is only talk of vaccination passports, even though the best vaccination is having had it.
    Everyday I keep asking myself, What the f… is going on here?

  8. MikeCA
    May 5, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    Trump administration is in the process of washing its hands of the whole Covid-19 pandemic and economic melt down. They are now going to blame everything on the state governors.

    Pandemic hots spots in your state overwhelm hospitals … it’s your governors fault for opening too soon.

    Crushing unemployment in your state … it’s the governors fault for not opening the economy faster.

    Still can’t find a test when you have symptoms … governors fault for not solving the testing problem.

    And don’t forget it’s Donald Trump’s brilliant leadership that allows him to blame all problems on the governors while he proclaims the federal government response to the coronavirus outbreak “a great success story”. [sarcasm off]

    • P Ray
      May 5, 2020 at 11:36 pm

      Sounds like pickup artists and coaches blaming regular/ugly guys for their failures.

      Looks like the “just-worlders” are being exposed!

  9. PLANdemic movie
    May 6, 2020 at 12:58 am
    • MikeCA
      May 6, 2020 at 11:56 am


      She was fired from a private research institute over a paper that she had authored in 2009 linking a kind of retrovirus (XMRV) to chronic fatigue syndrome. This had nothing to do with vaccines. The paper was not reproducible and was eventually retracted in 2011. After she was fired, she refused to return a laptop computer and some notes that the institute felt were their property and this led to her arrest. The case was eventually dropped in part because the founder of the institute was in trouble himself for illegal contributions to federal officials and prosecutors did not think he would make a credible witness.

      All of her work on XMRV has been debunked by other researchers, but she is apparently making a living now writing books promoting wild conspiracy theories.

      In this video she claims that in 1999 she was working at Fort Detrick to “teach” Ebola viruses how to infect human cells. She says before 1999 Ebola could not infect humans. This is nonsense. The first known Ebola infections were in 1976 in Sudan and Zaire. The strain of the virus was different in Sudan and Zaire, but 151 died in Sudan and 280 in Zaire. There was a second Ebola outbreak in Zaire now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1995 that killed 254 people. It is just nonsense to say the Ebola could not infect humans before 1999.

      I would not take seriously anything this woman says.

    • PLANdemic
      May 6, 2020 at 1:01 pm

      “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.”

      That’s how everyone can KNOW it was the truth.

      • MikeCA
        May 6, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        I watched the video before it was removed. It is obvious nonsense.

        Here is another link for those who want to see it. Yes.. it is mostly bullshit and half-truths, but I oppose censorship because it validates the nutcases.


    May 9, 2020 at 7:23 am

  1. May 14, 2020 at 9:51 am
  2. May 20, 2020 at 1:11 pm

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