Shocking Parallels Between V For Vendetta and Coronavirus Pandemic

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Tyrannical technocrats release virus to put humanity under the boot.

"There Are Only Two Perfect Hedges..."

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"There Are Only Two Perfect Hedges..."

Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com,

“There are only two perfect hedges; the first is a flat book and the other is to be found in a Japanese garden.”

(I must thank my fellow teenage scribbler Anthony Peters for this morning’s quote.)

I warned April was going to be bad. Stocks down,

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bonds up. Everyone shocked and surprised by the Trump’s admission “It’s going to be bad…”, apparently. If you are still looking at the virus news for clues, wake up: It is bad, it’s going to peak, there is a risk of second wave. Stop. You can’t do anything about it. And if you worry about Covid-19, you are worrying about the wrong stuff.

It’s about the economy, stupid! 

I was reading an investment letter from a well known UK asset manager this morning, who are blithely predicting a V-Shaped recovery from the third quarter onwards will get investors their money back.

They had the good sense to caveat it with some “as long as the virus doesn’t change the rules” mumble-swerve. They think QE Infinity packages have “resolved” the debt bubble, the equity market is now realistically priced for a global recovery, governments’ have mitigated the damage, and we will see a massive jump in sentiment, activity and repressed demand when the lockdowns end, and economies reopen with a leap of unfettered joy. 

I want to meet their crack dealer. It must be extraordinary stuff. 

There is certainly going to be recovery – and not just on the back of pent-up demand, but it’s going to be seriously crippled by the damage already done. Whether companies have been shuttered, bankrupted or nationalised, it’s going to impact the speed of their response. Putting millions of people and companies back to work, in a decimated work-scape will not be immediate. Resolving billions of claims and counter claims will be fraught. I suspect it will be a great time to be a corporate lawyer, insolvency practitioner, and forensic accountant. 

How quickly we come out of this depends on how RESILIENT our economies prove to be. I am concerned. 

Governments have made big promises. There is a growing risk many of their support packages, designed to mitigate the effect of lockdown, could be perceived as failing. Perception is reality. Policy Deliverability is a critical component of Government efforts to enhance the Resilience of their economies to this crisis. At the moment the anecdotal evidence suggest they are long promises, short deliverables.  

Give them time… but..

Resilience is a function of confidence the government is doing the right thing. Here in the UK we pride ourselves on our ability to triumph in adversity, get through the bad times, and our National Resilience. That is going to be severely tested in coming weeks. For instance, the dismal performance of equivocating ministers shows it’s clear our “Wartime Government” utterly failed to coordinate the deliverability of an effective testing policy – which has massive implications for effectively handling the virus crisis and particularly timing the end of the economically catastrophic lockdown. 

Failures happen. We learn from them. 

Consider the pitiful confused response of the UK government in the opening years of the Second World War, taking years to find its stride, but eventually delivering a coordinated wartime economy that massively outproduced and outfought our enemies. That took place over 6 years. This time we have a few weeks.  

There are lots of new policies, programmes and plans. There are risks in terms of their long-term consequences and effects, but the biggest risk is their immediate deliverability. Read through the papers this morning and you get snapshots of just how demanding the need for them is:  

  • There have been more immediate layoffs around the globe already than through the whole of the 2007-2009 crisis. UK Universal Credit Claims jumped by 1 mm people last week - UK unemployment is headed for double digits. Norway’s unemployment rate already hit 10.4%. Half a million German SME’s have applied for support to shorten worker hours. Danny Blanchflower, now of Dartmouth College, predicts 10 million Americans were put out of work in March.

  • Most consumers have limited reserves and savings to cope with long-term loss or reduced earnings. The losses we’ve already seen in auto-loans, credit cards, student loans, and rentals are going to multiply. A massive global consumer Demand Shock is imminent. 

  • Companies are complaining government loan guarantees are locked up in red-tape and difficult to obtain. Shuttered shops and restaurants across the UK are receiving threatening demands to pay rent or go to court. (Knight Frank says less than a 1/3rd of the UK high street is paying rent.) Similar is happening across the Occidental world. 

  • Airlines are begging for bailouts. Companies around the globe are scrabbling for cash to withstand a few months of shutdown. Companies are going to be constrained for years by the long-term consequences of surviving this immediate crisis. Just-in-time companies lack time to survive.

These are all facts of real economic damage. Pile on top of that theoretical damage like a sovereign risk crisis in Europe, a renewed trade war as China tries to muscle in on US allies, and just how bad an oil crisis develops... 

On the topic of China, a must read WSJ piece this morning: China Assets Claim to Global Leadership, Mask by Mask.. It’s got some great quotes:

“When the epidemic started to explode everywhere, it was China who the entire world asked for help, and not the United States, the ‘beacon of democracy,’” the embassy said.

“It is China who lent a helping hand to more than 80 nations. Not the United States.”

Or how about this classic:

“Faced with this great epidemic, the philosophy of a community of shared future for mankind put forward by President Xi Jinping has seen its value for these times magnified,” Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui said in a press conference.

In view of all these points, ask yourself if you’d stay invested in the optimism of the firm that wrote the investment letter I referred to above….

Meanwhile.. Cruising… 

Sometimes even I am surprised. Carnival Cruise Lines raised a $4 bln from a new 3-year 12% bond issue yesterday, secured on its fleet. I thought cruising was finished, but apparently the customers are still queuing up to buy holidays, and 45% of Carnival customers chose credit for future trips rather than a cash refund for cancelled trips. Forget the fact the new cash will only keep them solvent through the summer – when they will need more – or what the ships might be worth.. (there is always scrap.)

On the back of QE infinity – well you can apparently sell anything. New issue bond markets have never been so busy, pumping out bonds the punters are happy to buy, secure in the knowledge the Fed or the ECB will backstop them with QE bids. What’s not to like… 

What’s interesting is BBB rated Carnival is paying 12% on the back of its compromised business and distressed assets. Yet, I am hearing there are funds willing to bid even more aggressively for similar distressed assets in equally troubled industries. (If anyone has a couple of billion to invest in senior secured debt with good security over modern assets, and a 4%+ coupon, give me a shout..) 


I might have upset a few C-Suite execs at Boeing y’day when I described the plane maker as an object lesson in doing absolutely the wrong thing on my Webinar for Iskha on the Outlook for Aviation. I ended up asking the question: “Why bail out Boeing for its appalling corporate behaviour?” 

My reasoning was that it’s a critical part of the US industrial ecosystem, but if the US is really heading for a wartime footing why not address air travel holistically: nationalise it, and pump in the money required to design and build new fuel efficient, composite aircraft that will prove long-term environmentally friendly, and be what airlines and passengers want when the global economy reopens.

Why not? 

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:44

‘Battlefield Medicine’: NY, NJ Doctors and Patients See Anecdotal Evidence of Hydroxychloroquine Benefits in Fighting Coronavirus

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Studies are clearly required to more conclusively determine whether the hydroxychloroquine indeed played a role in patient recovery.

All about Eve: Serpentine trickery in the garden leads to fall fashion

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 Australian fires. African locusts. Worldwide plague. Do we live in Biblical times or what? If the world really is ending, we thought it was time to prepare properly for Armageddon. By, you know, reading the damn thing. The Bible, that is. (Go back to the beginning here.)

 Last time, Adam had a garden to play in, [...]


West Yorkshire Police force do not know their law

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The West Yorkshire Police force do not know their law. The Malicious Communications Act 1988 has no provision whatsoever for "insulting or abusive" messages.

Individuals can be prosecuted for sending messages that are “grossly offensive” or for messages that the sender knows to be false but sends anyway for the purpose of causing annoyance.

“This police force needs to develop a sense of humour and pursue actual crime rather than trying to use the law to cover their own embarrassment. These comments by the West Yorkshire Police again

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show how problematic this section of law is in dealing with social media and it is time to see the ‘grossly offensive’ element scrapped,”  Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said.


Trump, Pelosi Eye 2017 Tax Rollbacks In Next Virus Bill

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Trump, Pelosi Eye 2017 Tax Rollbacks In Next Virus Bill

President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are looking at rolling back some of the more controversial pieces of the 2017 tax overhaul, as the White House and Congress hammer out the next round of economic stimulus.

Under discussion are lifting the cap on state and local deductions, as well as restoring the break for entertaining business clien

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ts, according to Bloomberg.

According to the report, Pelosi says the next round should suspend the $10,000 cap on deducitons for state and local taxes, while President Trump said in a Wednesday tweet that tax breaks for corporate client outings, dinners, sporting games, cruises and concerts should be restored. The 2017 tax law eliminated writeoffs for entertainment expenses, while leaving a 50% deduction for client means untouched. 

"This will bring restaurants, and everything related, back - and stronger than ever. Move quickly, they will all be saved," wrote Trump.

"I think it will open up the restaurant business," Trump said during a Wednesday evening White House briefing.

According to the report, the changes may be easier said than done.

The deduction cap for state and local taxes was a large cost-saving measure in the $1.5 trillion tax-cut plan enacted in 2017, and reversing that would benefit people largely in states run by Democrats. Republicans have already called the idea a “non-starter” and accuse Democrats of using the virus crisis to repeal the most politically contested portion of the tax law. -Bloomberg

According to Veena Murthy, an executive at accounting firm Crowe LLP, Congress would have to roll back decades of tax-code adjustments to make meals and entertainment costs fully deductable - telling Bloomberg "I don't think that's going to happen."


The 2017 law's limit on deductions for state and local taxes largely affect Democratic-controlled regions with high taxes, such as New York, California and New Jersey. As such, Republicans aren't excited about the idea of rolling back the rules.

"I’m not going to allow this to be an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve unrelated policy items they wouldn’t otherwise be able to pass," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a Tuesday interview with Hugh Hewitt.

Discussion of a new round of economic stimulus is in the early stages, and Pelosi said Wednesday the House might take up a bill soon after its scheduled return to Washington April 20.

The SALT limit and other cost-saving measures were necessary to keep the massive 2017 corporate and individual income tax cut below a $1.5 trillion price cap -- a condition of the budgetary process Republicans used to pass it without Democratic votes. -Bloomberg

And according to Bookings Tax Policy Center senior fellow Steven Rosenthal, "Republicans used budget gimmicks to keep the costs down," adding "They took deductions that would have been within the 10-year budget window and pushed them outside of the window."

According to the report, the proposed changes were already on several lawmakers' wish lists.

"At first glance I was like, ‘Really? Wow, way to go lobbyists,’" said Gordon Gray, director of fiscal policy at the right-leaning American Action Forum. "And then I sat down to think about it. We’ve closed a lot of businesses so some of these make sense."

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 11:04

Fauci Says Lockdown Will Continue Until There Are No “New Cases” of Coronavirus

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That isn't going to be any time soon.

What Happened to Ryan Prescott?

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Frankly, the closed orgs have dried up a lot of the material for Thursday Funnies — endless streams of “Get your Pandemic workbook here” and “We command you to do an Extension Course” are just not very funny. We may not see much in the way of Thursday Funnies for a little while… So, I […]

Rethinking VPN: Tailscale startup packages Wireguard with network security

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'A whole bunch of tunnels': Mesh networking with per-node permissions and OAuth security

Interview  WireGuard, a new VPN protocol with both strong performance and easy setup, has been adopted by startup Tailscale as the basis of a peer-to-peer remote networking system that is both secure and quick to configure.…


US Equity Futures Crash Into Red, Gold Spikes After Record Jobless Claims

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US Equity Futures Crash Into Red, Gold Spikes After Record Jobless Claims

Another hope-filled overnight session crushed on the shores of reality...

A worse than expected and simply unprecedented surge in jobless claims has sent Dow futures careening back into the red after a strong night...

And gold is spiking (perhaps on expectations that more helicopter money is coming)...

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Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 08:43

China Gave Faulty, Contaminated Covid-19 Equipment to Several Countries

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List of countries complaining about protective equipment, testing kits, and medical devices from China.

Luckin Coffee Crashes 85% After Admitting "Fabricating $300 Million In Sales"

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Luckin Coffee Crashes 85% After Admitting "Fabricating $300 Million In Sales"

Luckin Coffee says its special committee today brought to the attention of the board information indicating that COO Jian Liu and several employees engaged in certain misconduct, including fabricating certain transactions, starting 2Q last year.

CNBC's David Faber estimates the total 'fake' revenue was around $310 million.

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Shares crashed 85% in early trading....

In a 6k released today they admitted:

Luckin Coffee Inc. (“Luckin Coffee” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: LK) today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) has formed a special committee (the “Special Committee”) to oversee an internal investigation into certain issues raised to the Board’s attention during the audit of the consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 (the “Internal Investigation”).

The Special Committee is comprised of three independent directors of the Board, Mr. Sean Shao, Mr. Tianruo Pu and Mr. Wai Yuen Chong, with Mr. Shao serving as its chairman. The Special Committee has retained independent advisors, including independent legal advisors and forensic accountants, in connection with the Internal Investigation. The Special Committee has retained Kirkland & Ellis as its independent outside counsel. Kirkland & Ellis is assisted by FTI Consulting as an independent forensic accounting expert. The Internal Investigation is at a preliminary stage.

The Special Committee today brought to the attention of the Board information indicating that, beginning in the second quarter of 2019, Mr. Jian Liu, the chief operating officer and a director of the Company, and several employees reporting to him, had engaged in certain misconduct, including fabricating certain transactions. The Special Committee recommended certain interim remedial measures, including the suspension of Mr. Jian Liu and such employees implicated in the misconduct and the suspension and termination of contracts and dealings with the parties involved in the identified fabricated transactions.  The Board accepted the Special Committee’s recommendations and implemented them with respect to the currently identified individuals and parties involved in the fabricated transactions. The Company will take all appropriate actions, including legal actions, against the individuals responsible for the misconduct.

The information identified at this preliminary stage of the Internal Investigation indicates that the aggregate sales amount associated with the fabricated transactions from the second quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2019 amount to around RMB2.2 billion. Certain costs and expenses were also substantially inflated by fabricated transactions during this period. The above figure has not been independently verified by the Special Committee, its advisors or the Company’s independent auditor, and is subject to change as the Internal Investigation proceeds.  The Company is assessing the overall financial impact of the misconduct on its financial statements. As a result, investors should no longer rely upon the Company’s previous financial statements and earning releases for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and the two quarters starting April 1, 2019 and ended September 30, 2019, including the prior guidance on net revenues from products for the fourth quarter of 2019, and other communications relating to these consolidated financial statements. The investigation is ongoing and the Company will continue to assess its previously published financials and other potential adjustments.

*  *  *

Finally, we note that in late January, both Citron Research and Muddy Waters highlighted these issues with Luckin.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 09:05

Video: Woman Threatens to Call Police on Neighbor For Violating Lockdown

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"Your ass is grass!"

Magecart Hackers Inject iFrame Skimmers in 19 Sites to Steal Payment Data

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Cybersecurity researchers today uncovered an ongoing new Magecart skimmer campaign that so far has successfully compromised at least 19 different e-commerce websites to steal payment card details of their customers.

According to a report published today and shared with The Hacker News, RiskIQ researchers spotted a new digital skimmer, dubbed "MakeFrame," that injects HTML iframes into

Oil Surges On Report China Buying For Strategic Reserve, Hopes For Saudi-Russia Truce

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Oil Surges On Report China Buying For Strategic Reserve, Hopes For Saudi-Russia Truce

Oil surged as much as 13% this morning following a report that China is planning to start buying cheap crude for its strategic reserves, as well as speculation that President Trump said he thought Saudi Arabia and Russia would resolve their differences in the oil price war that has sent supply soaring even as global oil demand tumbles.


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ing massive builds in crude in the US as reported by the DOE and API, and amid sporadic reports that various storage facilities are starting to fill up:



... overnight, Bloomberg reported that Beijing instructed government agencies to start filling state stockpiles after oil plunged 66% over the first three months of the year, while the global benchmark’s nearest timespread also rallied strongly.

Beijing has asked government agencies to quickly coordinate filling tanks, Bloomberg source said. In addition to state-owned reserves, it may use commercial space for storage as well, while also encouraging companies to fill their own tanks. The initial target is to hold government stockpiles equivalent to 90 days of net imports, which could eventually be expanded to as much as 180 days when including commercial reserves.

According to Bloomberg calculations, 90 days of net crude imports translated to about 900 million barrels. By comparison, the U.S. currently holds about 635 million barrels in its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to government data.

And while the current size of China’s state reserves is unknown, and Beijing could use a different method for calculating net imports, oil traders and analysts at SIA Energy and Wood Mackenzie estimated it could amount to China buying an additional 80 million to 100 million barrels over the course of the year before it ran into logistical and operational constraints.

In September, the head of development and planning at the National Energy Administration said the country had total oil reserves, including strategic stockpiles, for about 80 days. In December, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. said on its website that the government intends to boost the capacity of its strategic petroleum reserves to 503 million barrels by the end of this year, an indicator of the maximum amount the government can store.

The volume targeted is about the same as the Trump administration proposed buying last month for U.S. reserves to help that country’s drillers. The plan was thwarted after Democrats blocked a request for funds.

China is also planning to announce the fourth batch of strategic reserve sites, the people said. The expansion project has the dual advantage of creating larger emergency reserves and as an economic stimulus project to spur construction opportunities as the country recovers from the coronavirus.

While the purchases could help soak up some excess supply, traders said it will fall well short of offsetting the overall glut created by the virus lockdowns and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

As Bloomberg adds, China’s move comes as the physical crude market shows deepening signs of strain as supply explodes and demand collapses due to the coronavirus. Dated Brent, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s physical supply, was assessed at $15.135 on Wednesday, the lowest since at least 1999. Crude has slipped below $10 in some areas including Canada and shale regions in the U.S., Belarus wants to buy Russian oil for $4, while some grades have posted negative prices.

“News that China will take advantage of lower prices to add to reserves has clearly provided a boost to the market,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING Bank NV. “But given the extremely bearish outlook for the market it is difficult to believe that this strength is sustainable.”

And speaking of the Saudi oil price war, overnight President Trump painted a more optimistic tone in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, saying he thought the two would work out the differences even as Saudi Arabia began ramping up output to record levels in recent days. The rhetoric and the possibility of action from the White House sparked hopes for a truce in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Speaking late on Wednesday, Trump said he expects the situation with Saudi and Russia will be resolved. He also said he’s planning to meet with independent oil producers in addition to the majors. “They’re negotiating, they’re talking, and I think they’ll come up with something,” Trump said. “I do believe there’s a way that that can be solved or pretty well solved.”

According to the WSJ, Trump is set to meet Friday with the heads of some of the largest U.S. oil companies to discuss measures to help the industry as it fights for survival. The chief executives of Exxon Mobil and Chevron are expected to attend.

Also attending the White House meeting will be Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm, who has called for the Trump administration to intervene in the Saudi-Russian price war. Other shale companies have called on state regulators to enforce production cuts in Texas.

Trump also said he was confident Saudi Arabia and Russia would resolve their dispute over oil output and prices in the coming days.  In response, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that oil producers should cooperate to mitigate the market decline, adding that Moscow is discussing the condition of the oil market with Washington and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The main driver of oil’s rally was “the announcement by Trump telling the world ‘we’ve been talking with the Russians and the Saudis and he’s quite proud of these oil diplomacy efforts,” said Bjørnar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at consultancy Rystad Energy. “He’s trying to save the U.S. industry from collapse.”

Still, the oil rally faded and sellers emerged later in the morning as many oil-market watchers remained skeptical about the impact of any end to the price war given the impact of the lockdowns on demand.

“I don’t think this meeting significantly changes things, the oil market is still way out of balance and oil stocks are still rising at an unprecedented rate,” said Spencer Welch, director of oil markets at IHS Markit. “Producers are going to have to involuntarily cut production because there’s going to be nowhere for the oil to go."

And as the world awaits for a change in status quo, oil storage around the world is beginning to fill up, prompting some companies to enact production cuts. Brazilian state-owned giant Petrobras last week became one of the first major companies to announce such reductions. Even with Thursday’s rally, oil prices remain below the cost of production for the U.S., Canada and Russia. Meanwhile, in the U.S. stockpiles grew by the most since 2017 on Wednesday, while consultants from IHS to FGE have said that world inventories may be full within weeks, an event Goldman previously said would be a game changer for the industry and prompted the bank to expect prices to dip in the teens if only for a short while.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 07:57

Coronageddon: Pentagon Ordering 100,000 Body Bags

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FEMA has been directed to the Defense Department to secure a frightening number of 'Human Remains Pouches'

Scientology is dying to keep you well from the pandemic it doesn’t believe in

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 Don’t miss our bonus coverage last night about Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter’s inspection of the Flag Land Base.

According to Slaughter, Scientology was keeping things at the base clean and also making sure people kept their distance from each other. Many of our readers, however, remained skeptical.

But there’s no doubt that many Scientologists have thrown [...]


Global Coronavirus Cases Edge Toward 1 Million As Deaths Surge In US & Europe: Live Updates

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Global Coronavirus Cases Edge Toward 1 Million As Deaths Surge In US & Europe: Live Updates



Before we get started today, let's take a minute to review...





  • 3/10 1,000

  • 3/11 1,267

  • 3/12 1,645

  • 3/13 2,204

  • 3/14 2,826

  • 3/15 3,505

  • 3/16 4,466

  • 3/17 6,135

  • 3/18 8,760

  • 3/19 13,229

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  • 3/20 18,763

  • 3/21 25,740

  • 3/22 34,276

  • 3/23 42,663

  • 3/24 52,976

  • 3/25 65,273

  • 3/26 82,135

  • 3/27 101,295

  • 3/28 121,176

  • 3/29 139,773

  • 3/30 160,377

  • 3/31 185,469

  • 4/01 199,729




    ...and on Thursday? 4/02 216,722





    US Intelligence Report Concludes China “Concealed The Extent Of The Coronavirus Outbreak”

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    "China’s numbers are fake."
    0 View

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    Rush Slams Media For Hysterical Reporting Of Coronavirus Hospitalizations

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    'If you listen to the media and Drudge you’d believe there’s not a hospital bed to be found,' he says.

    Here's what Europeans are buying amid the COVID-19 lockdown – aside from heaps of pasta and toilet paper

    logicfish Business heres what europeans buying amid covid-19 lockdown aside from heaps pasta toilet paper All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
    Clue: Home working might have played a bit part, even in return of the desktop

    The rush to work from home as COVID-19 grips Europe has led to bumper sales of related tech for distributors, official stats confirm.…


    German Infectologist Decimates COVID-19 Doomsday Cult In Open Letter To Merkel

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    German Infectologist Decimates COVID-19 Doomsday Cult In Open Letter To Merkel

    Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, released a now-viral video in which he calmly explained why nationwide lockdowns are “collective suicide”.

    Now he has written an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel and it is fantastic...

    Read More

    Via Anti-Empire.com,

    A medical expert with integrity asks the German Chancellor five devastating questions about her mindless coronavirus lockdown...

    Open Letter

    Dear Chancellor,

    As Emeritus of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz and longtime director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, I feel obliged to critically question the far-reaching restrictions on public life that we are currently taking on ourselves in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    It is expressly not my intention to play down the dangers of the virus or to spread a political message. However, I feel it is my duty to make a scientific contribution to putting the current data and facts into perspective – and, in addition, to ask questions that are in danger of being lost in the heated debate.

    The reason for my concern lies above all in the truly unforeseeable socio-economic consequences of the drastic containment measures which are currently being applied in large parts of Europe and which are also already being practiced on a large scale in Germany.

    My wish is to discuss critically – and with the necessary foresight – the advantages and disadvantages of restricting public life and the resulting long-term effects.

    To this end, I am confronted with five questions which have not been answered sufficiently so far, but which are indispensable for a balanced analysis.

    I would like to ask you to comment quickly and, at the same time, appeal to the Federal Government to develop strategies that effectively protect risk groups without restricting public life across the board and sow the seeds for an even more intensive polarization of society than is already taking place.

    With the utmost respect,

    Prof. em. Dr. med. Sucharit Bhakdi

    *  *  *

    1. Statistics

    In infectiology – founded by Robert Koch himself – a traditional distinction is made between infection and disease. An illness requires a clinical manifestation. Therefore, only patients with symptoms such as fever or cough should be included in the statistics as new cases.

    In other words, a new infection – as measured by the COVID-19 test – does not necessarily mean that we are dealing with a newly ill patient who needs a hospital bed. However, it is currently assumed that five percent of all infected people become seriously ill and require ventilation. Projections based on this estimate suggest that the healthcare system could be overburdened.

    My question:

    Did the projections make a distinction between symptom-free infected people and actual, sick patients – i.e. people who develop symptoms.

    2. Dangerousness

    A number of coronaviruses have been circulating for a long time – largely unnoticed by the media.  If it should turn out that the COVID-19 virus should not be ascribed a significantly higher risk potential than the already circulating corona viruses, all countermeasures would obviously become unnecessary.

    The internationally recognized International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents will soon publish a paper that addresses exactly this question. Preliminary results of the study can already be seen today and lead to the conclusion that the new virus is NOT different from traditional corona viruses in terms of dangerousness. The authors express this in the title of their paper „SARS-CoV-2: Fear versus Data“.

    My question:

    How does the current workload of intensive care units with patients with diagnosed COVID-19 compare to other coronavirus infections, and to what extent will this data be taken into account in further decision-making by the federal government? In addition: Has the above study been taken into account in the planning so far?  Here too, of course, „diagnosed“ means that the virus plays a decisive role in the patient’s state of illness, and not that previous illnesses play a greater role.

    3. Dissemination

    According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, not even the much-cited Robert Koch Institute knows exactly how much is tested for COVID-19. It is a fact, however, that a rapid increase in the number of cases has recently been observed in Germany as the volume of tests increases.

    It is therefore reasonable to suspect that the virus has already spread unnoticed in the healthy population. This would have two consequences: firstly, it would mean that the official death rate – on 26 March 2020, for example, there were 206 deaths from around 37,300 infections, or 0.55 percent – is too high; and secondly, it would mean that it would hardly be possible to prevent the virus from spreading in the healthy population.

    My question:

    Has there already been a random sample of the healthy general population to validate the real spread of the virus, or is this planned in the near future?

    4. Mortality

    The fear of a rise in the death rate in Germany (currently 0.55 percent) is currently the subject of particularly intense media attention. Many people are worried that it could shoot up like in Italy (10 percent) and Spain (7 percent) if action is not taken in time.

    At the same time, the mistake is being made worldwide to report virus-related deaths as soon as it is established that the virus was present at the time of death – regardless of other factors. This violates a basic principle of infectiology: only when it is certain that an agent has played a significant role in the disease or death may a diagnosis be made. The Association of the Scientific Medical Societies of Germany expressly writes in its guidelines: „In addition to the cause of death, a causal chain must be stated, with the corresponding underlying disease in third place on the death certificate. Occasionally, four-linked causal chains must also be stated.“

    At present there is no official information on whether, at least in retrospect, more critical analyses of medical records have been undertaken to determine how many deaths were actually caused by the virus.

    My question:

    Has Germany simply followed this trend of a COVID-19 general suspicion? And: is it intended to continue this categorisation uncritically as in other countries? How, then, is a distinction to be made between genuine corona-related deaths and accidental virus presence at the time of death?

    5. Comparability

    The appalling situation in Italy is repeatedly used as a reference scenario. However, the true role of the virus in that country is completely unclear for many reasons – not only because points 3 and 4 above also apply here, but also because exceptional external factors exist which make these regions particularly vulnerable.

    One of these factors is the increased air pollution in the north of Italy. According to WHO estimates, this situation, even without the virus, led to over 8,000 additional deaths per year in 2006 in the 13 largest cities in Italy alone. [7] The situation has not changed significantly since then. [8] Finally, it has also been shown that air pollution greatly increases the risk of viral lung diseases in very young and elderly people. [9]

    Moreover, 27.4 percent of the particularly vulnerable population in this country live with young people, and in Spain as many as 33.5 percent. In Germany, the figure is only seven percent [10]. In addition, according to Prof. Dr. Reinhard Busse, head of the Department of Management in Health Care at the TU Berlin, Germany is significantly better equipped than Italy in terms of intensive care units – by a factor of about 2.5 [11].

    My question:

    What efforts are being made to make the population aware of these elementary differences and to make people understand that scenarios like those in Italy or Spain are not realistic here?

    *  *  *

    This is an unofficial translation; see the original letter in German as a PDF.

    Tyler Durden

    Thu, 04/02/2020 - 05:00

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