April 1, 2020

HMM: China reports asymptomatic cases — nearly 150 — for first time. This UPI story seems to equate what China reports with what’s actually happening in China, which seems likely to be a mistake.

KUROSAWA FILM FESTIVAL STARRING TOSHIRO MIFUNE: Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Toshiro Mifune. Powerline film critic Scott Johnson examines TCM’s Kurosawa with Mifune festival.

FASTER, PLEASE: Phage capsid against influenza: Perfectly fitting inhibitor prevents viral infection.

MORE ON THE SLOW-JOE-TO-CUOMO SCENARIO:  Will the Democrats Junk Joe?

GOOD NEWS FROM ABOVE THE LAW’S DAVID LAT: “Not an #AprilFoolsDay Joke: after 17 days at @nyulangone, including 6 days on a ventilator, I’m being discharged!”

FROM MY NECK OF THE WOODS: Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports 77 COVID-19 cases, drive-thru testing coming. “Knox County reported a total of 77 on the health department website Wednesday, up from 63 reported on Tuesday. The number of recovered cases grew to 28. Twelve of the 77 cases have resulted in hospitalization at any point during the illness. This figure does not reflect the number of patients currently hospitalized in the county. . . . The KCHD is also declining to give additional condition information on those who have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since there are so few cases hospitalized with COVID-19.” Well, I’m glad we’re not seeing many in the hospitals yet.

AS SAM JACKSON SAYS, “STAY THE F*** AT HOME”: How a bridge tournament led to 4 coronavirus deaths in El Paso County and exposed hundreds to COVID-19. “El Paso County is home to the country’s sixth-highest case fatality rate from the coronavirus.”

I live in El Paso County.

(Neoclassical reference in the headline.)

OUT: THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. IN: THE MOON IS A GRATEFUL URINAL. Astronaut Pee Could Be a Great Building Material For Future Moon Bases.

PROGRESS: Coronavirus: Japan begins clinical trials of anti-flu drug Avigan.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Hollywood’s ‘Trump Is Hitler’ Argument Even More Pathetic Now. “The current crisis reveals how badly far-left celebrities embarrassed themselves.”

To be fair, embarrassment requires a degree of self-awareness rarely seen in Hollywood.

GIVEN CUBA’S FAMOUSLY GREAT HEALTH CARE, WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO BE ANYWHERE ELSE DURING A PANDEMIC? COVID-19 strands Chilean leftist and Castro regime supporter in socialist Cuba, pleads for help to escape.

POWERING SMART SENSOR NETWORKS with wireless waste energy. “The electricity that lights our homes and powers our appliances also creates small magnetic fields that are present all around us. Scientists have developed a new mechanism capable of harvesting this wasted magnetic field energy and converting it into enough electricity to power next-generation sensor networks for smart buildings and factories.”

PRIVACY: Two more macOS Zoom flaws surface, as lawsuit & government probe loom.

The second flaw, which is arguably more concerning, allows a local user or piece of malware to piggyback on Zoom’s camera and microphone permissions. An attacker can inject malicious code into Zoom’s process space and “inherit” camera and microphone permissions, allowing them to hijack them without a user’s knowledge.

While local exploits like these typically require physical access to a computer, they’re usually much more common and difficult to prevent should the rest of the criteria that are needed are fulfilled.

The class action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Zoom gave personal user information to third parties without being explicitly clear about the data-sharing practices, CBS News reported. New York Attorney General Letitia James has also launched a probe into Zoom’s privacy policies.

In a separate development, Zoom may also be inadvertently leaking user email addresses and photos to complete strangers, according to Motherboard.

It’s pretty safe to conclude that Zoom is Chinese spyware masquerading as a videoconferencing app.

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NEWS YOU CAN USE: Lessons Learned by NYC Makers Producing Personal Protective Equipment for Medics. “Focus on what health workers actually need, rather than what you think you can invent.”

JOURNALISTS ARE SELDOM HEROES, EXCEPT IN THEIR OWN MINDS: Mike Lindell, Not Yamiche Alcindor, Is the Hero.

BATTLESWARM BLOG: Dispatches from the Texas Lockdown.

FACEMASKS: Have we been asking the wrong question all along? Officials in the UK say face masks don’t protect us. In China they agree but wear them because they protect others.

Plus, bureaucracy at work:

It is a matter of orthodoxy at the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that surgical facemasks are a no-no as far as the public are concerned. Officials have long taken the view that paper masks do not protect against viruses and do not hold emergency stocks of them.

That thinking, like so much else, is now being tested. On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – a long standing ally of Whitehall in the no-mask camp – was reported to be about to change its advice. Surgical masks should be used, not for personal protection, but to protect others from Covid-19, it was expected to announce.

It’s another virus-fighting lesson that has been borrowed from the east and raises important questions. Might population-wide use of face masks have slowed the spread of the pandemic in the west? And were our public health officials asking the wrong question all along?

I first thought about face masks at around 4pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2007, when a small but agitated civil servant flung open the door of my office shouting, “Take it down! Take it down!”. I was editing the NHS website and we had just published a story which suggested that face masks had helped bring the 2003/4 Sars epidemic under control in south east Asia.

The official was part of the DHSC’s pandemic planning team. She was very angry and wanted the story taken down immediately. She had just been to see the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and had explained to him, “in terms he could understand”, that there was really no need for the UK to hold a stockpile of masks, she said. The story we had just published threatened to undo all of that by giving credence to an “minor academic paper” which said the opposite. I told her to hop-off.

Good.

EVERY SHEET IS SACRED: 18-wheeler carrying toilet paper crashes in Dallas.

HOW CAN HE BE RIGHT WHEN HE DOESN’T BELIEVE IN SCIENCETM? Trump Was Right: Coronavirus Death Rate Much Lower Than Previous Estimates, Study Says.

CHINA LIED, PEOPLE DIED: The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies.

NO GOOD REASON: There Is No Reason to Believe China Is Reporting Its Coronavirus Cases Accurately. “And yet media outlets have taken the numbers at face value.”

Pushing the Communist Party line makes Trump look bad, and anyway is a longstanding habit for the American press.

WELL, THERE WAS MORE GRAFT AVAILABLE IN THE FORMER: Focused on climate change, Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to equip New York for the coronavirus crisis.

DUMB: 28 University of Texas Spring Breakers Who Flouted Health Advice Are Now Sick With Coronavirus. “About 70 students from the University of Texas at Austin, all in their 20s, chartered a plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in late March. They took the trip despite public health advice to avoid crowding as well as nonessential air travel. On Tuesday, Austin public health officials announced that 28 students, more than a third of the young people who took the trip, had returned and tested positive for the coronavirus. Many of the remaining students are under public health monitoring.”

FROM MICHIGAN, WHERE THE GOVERNOR JUST FLIP-FLOPPED FROM DENOUNCING THIS TREATMENT AS A TRUMP LIE TO DEMANDING THAT THE FEDS SHARE STOCKS OF THE DRUG: Henry Ford Health System uses hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 symptoms, says benefits outweigh risks.

“We feel that there is data both from the early published studies as well as from our colleagues in China that have treated a number of patients to justify its use in the therapy of sicker patients that are hospitalized with coronavirus infection.”

Dr. Zervos says the goal of using hydroxychloroquine is to prevent patients with symptoms like shortness of breath and pneumonia from progressing further in their illness, and to get those patients already in an intensive care unit and on a ventilator off the ventilator earlier and out of the hospital.

“What we know about the drug now is that it does reduce viral shedding, you know, the amount of virus a person has, it’s lower. There have been studies from China to show that patients have shorter hospitalizations, fewer complications, lower likelihood of progression.”

It’s not the best drug imaginable, but it is the best drug available. They’re combining it with Azithromycin and also with Doxycycline.

ABOUT AS SHOCKING AS FINDING ME AT A BAR: Democrats and U.S. Media Star in New Chinese Propaganda Video.

AND BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE FOR HIS MISTAKES: Preparing for the Wrong Emergency. Focused on climate change, Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to equip New York for the coronavirus.

CHINA LIED, PEOPLE DIED: China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says.

BLUE STATE BLUES: LA County Fires Sheriff as Head of Emergency Ops Center … During an Emergency.

ROGER SIMON: Should We Postpone the Presidential Election One Year?

BUREAUCRACY KILLS: America Could Import Countless More Face Masks if Federal Regulators Would Get Out of the Way: Markets are trying to meet spiking demand for face masks, but importers are stymied by the FDA and CDC. “According to the CDC’s own data, it takes an average of 95 days to approve new certifications for face mask suppliers. That’s far too long, even at the best of times.”

The CDC and the FDA have not covered themselves with glory in this crisis.

WHAT A STRANGE THING FOR A COUNTRY TO DO AFTER THEY HAVE NO NEW CASES: Chinese Backed Company Raids Australia’s Medical Supplies, Ships Them Back to China.

#JOURNALISM: “Tight white polo shirts,” “perfectly weathered face”: Holed up in coronavirus quarantine, love-starved NYC female writers churn out Andrew Cuomo bodice-rippers. “Like a velveteen gravity blanket for my soul, the second I see this man’s perfectly weathered face and tousled curls, the moment his Pacino-like accent fills my living room with its mafia-like authority, my blood pressure drops, my breasts seem to perk up on their own, and a tingly feeling of optimism washes over my imprisoned body as I think to myself… I think we’re gonna be okay….”

YALE CONTRIBUTES JUST BY EXISTING, AND ALLOWING NEW HAVEN TO BASK IN ITS GREATNESS: New Haven residents criticize Yale’s municipal contributions during coronavirus pandemic.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Down the Coronavirus Classic Sports Rabbit Hole. “I spent much of the day reliving my favorite moments from that Super Bowl on the NFL YouTube channel. To my surprise, the trip down Memory Lane was just what the quarantine doctor ordered. Revisiting happy sports moments was a nice respite from coronavirus news.”

PJMedia VIP Gold members can join Kruiser and me for an Ask Me Anything-style video live chat today at 4pm Eastern.

There will be cocktails.

SEEN ON FACEBOOK:

Actually, Farhad Manjoo is one of their more sensible writers . . . .

UPDATE: “No evidence.”

TEACHERS URGE GOVERNMENT TO REOPEN SCHOOLS BEFORE STUDENTS LEARN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

From, not surprisingly, America’s Newspaper of Record.

FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS: Coronavirus is killing the Biden campaign — and making him look like a fool.

It is hard for anybody to compete with the president of the United States — regardless of what party he or she is in. That’s why the responses to the State of the Union addresses usually fall flat. So Biden and his campaign were admittedly fighting an uphill battle going up against Trump. Compounding this challenge is the need for sensitivity — it is important for Biden to criticize the president, but he can’t seem petty, small or overly political in a moment when the people crave real leadership.

This would be a major challenge for a Winston Churchill or Franklin Roosevelt. For Biden, it turned out to be impossible. His public statements this week have been unfocused, error-ridden, full of awkward gaffes. They ran directly contrary to the message that his campaign is trying to convey: that he is battle-tested and ready to handle any crisis. Unsurprisingly, the Biden campaign canceled a major address.

Biden is clearly not working for the Biden campaign.

So what is his team going to do? Probably very little for now. The news is all coronavirus, all the time. If Biden doesn’t have anything productive to add to that conversation, he isn’t going to be involved in it.

As I wrote last week, Biden couldn’t even handle a fake press conference that somehow took four days to set up.

OK, LET’S GET THIS ONE OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE PALM SUNDAY: Easter is coming, so expect to hear in the mainstream media and cable entertainment channels objections to the Resurrection among the intellectualoids, one of the most common being that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. He escaped and fled to India or Japan (and no, that’s not an April Fools Day joke, there are people who actually believe it).

One of three big reasons that’s beyond far-fetched, according to retired LA detective and cold-case expert J. Warner Wallace, is that Roman executioners knew dead bodies when they saw them. Something to think about as Americans mark the holiday for the first time ever while staying at home.

PAUL BEDARD: Historian: Trump best to handle virus crisis, ‘born for this moment.’

It’s been just shy of three months since the administration took its first action to fight off the coronavirus spread, and historians are already sizing up President Trump’s leadership.

Most have focused on what they view as his “offensive” use of the term “China virus.”

But author, historian, and former presidential adviser Doug Wead, who has followed every president since Gerald R. Ford, has been doing a back-of-the-envelope comparison of how the seven most recent presidents would have handled the crisis — and if they would have been successful.

The current fight favors a president quick to decide, willing to let businesses help out, friendly with the media, and with “a deep desire to do it right,” said Wead, whose latest book is Inside Trump’s White House: The Real Story of His Presidency.

Of the seven, he told us none had everything going for them, but two had three of four needed traits: Trump and Bill Clinton.

Hmm.

MAN IN BROOKLYN ARRESTED FOR Black Market Sales of Masks, Gowns. “The arrest comes after President Trump claimed that some medical supplies were being swiped from New York City hospitals, which Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed as insulting.”

SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “Any good reason why all civilised countries shouldn’t recognise Taiwan tomorrow?”

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS THE NARRATIVE: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) explains the lengths to which The New York Times will go to deny President Donald Trump was illegally targeted by elements of the Obama administration using the intelligence community, the Department of Justice and the FBI.

SHE KNOWS WHO HER CONSTITUENTS ARE: Party of the Working Man? Pelosi Proposes Something That Will Give Millionaires Billions in Benefits.

IDENTITY POLITICS HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IRRELEVANT: The Covid-19 crisis has exposed just how self-indulgent the identitarian left has become.

True, but expect them to ramp up even more online as the Big Shutdown grinds on. As Woody Allen said in Manhattan, people “are constantly creating these real unnecessary neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe.”

Related: Orwell & SJWs: “Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn’t they do the same in a situation where there’s so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we’re busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves.”

UM: FDR As Conservative Champion.

CORONAVIRUS INFECTION FATALITY RATE ONLY 0.66 PERCENT? Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis.

This is a more complicated mathematical model for what people have been reading in the medical literature if they read past the headlines. See, for example, Anthony Fauci in the New England Journal of Medicine:

If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

THE SAME PEOPLE WHO CHEERED ON IMPEACHMENT ARE NOW BLAMING TRUMP FOR NOT BEING LASER-FOCUSED ON THE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS IN JANUARY: Mitch McConnell told Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that in the early days of the global coronavirus pandemic, the government was distracted by impeachment.

They’re also the same people who called Trump a racist and a xenophobe for banning flights from China back then.

DISPATCHES FROM THE GREATEST GENERATION: Oregon veteran, 95, beats coronavirus: ‘I survived Guam, I can get through this bulls–t.’

THIS IS WHY DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES AND THE MEDIA — BUT I REPEAT MYSELF — WANT THEM TAKEN OFF THE AIR: Eight in 10 have heard Trump virus press conferences.

DECOUPLING, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG: Spain’s foreign minister hopes health crisis can lead to closer ties with Chinese medical equipment suppliers.

Seems to me like Spain could use a foreign minister who knows which country she’s supposed to be ministering to.

THE HISTORY OF SOAP: Now that we’re all washing our hands repeatedly throughout the day, check out The History Guy’s account of how we got soap. Did you know archeologists discovered a recipe for soap in the ruins of ancient Babylon, circa 2200 BC? BTW, is The History Guy Tucker Carlson’s older brother?

QUESTION ASKED: Why are the airlines still flying out of New York?

SOMEONE NEEDS TO EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT HE HAD HIS TURN AND IT’S OVER: Chicken Little Obama Frets About Trump’s ‘Climate Denial’ Amid Coronavirus Pandemic.

I’D CALL IT A CLOWN SHOW EXCEPT THAT IT’S NOT FUNNY: IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed.

NEWS YOU CAN USE!  Does It Flush?

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: A Third Of MBA Admits May Defer; 43% Want Tuition Lowered If Classes Are Online.

CHINA’S HUAWEI GAMBIT: Beijing spies with a 5G virus?

USNS COMFORT ARRIVES IN NEW YORK CITY: The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives in New York City in support of the nation’s COVID-19/Wuhan virus response efforts. In 2010 the USNS Comfort deployed to Haiti. Here’s a snapshot of the ship anchored off Paita, Peru (taken in 2011).

RELATED: From 2006, a post discussing the USNS Mercy‘s deployment to Indonesia and the diplomatic pay-off. Here’s a photo of the USNS Mercy and one of its “band-aid boats.” The photo was taken in 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

JUST DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH WHILE YOU WAIT FOR BUREAUCRATIC APPROVAL:  Mercedes Formula 1 engineers help develop coronavirus breathing aid.

OKAY, OKAY, I KIND OF FELL SHORT ON THIS ONE. UNHINGED ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE:  MSNBC Just Keeps Getting Kookier .

ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE ABOUT COVERS IT:  Madness and Maddow.

LIKE THE UN, THE WHO IS ABOUT AS HELPFUL TO US AS AN ACCORDION IN A BATTLE FIELD:  We Can Fight Pandemics Without The Communist-Allied World Health Organization.

WHAT? SCRATCH FACE WITH MIDDLE FINGER OBAMA? CLASSLESS? SO, BASICALLY DAY ENDING IN Y? NOTE THAT ALL THE “TONE” ENFORCERS LOVED HIM, THOUGH:  Obama’s Use Of Wuhan Flu To Push Politics On Twitter Is Shameful.

AND AGAIN, LOOK AT HOW SHOCKED I AM:  Virginia Governor Bans Worship But Considers Abortions ‘Essential’ During Months-Long Virus Lockdown.

OF COURSE THE LEFT HATES HIM:  My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell Steps Up for America.

INTERESTING:  COVID19 update, March 31, 2020: a brief look at Belgium.

March 31, 2020

NO, JUDGING BY THIS COLUMN IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE AN IDIOT: Why I watch Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings (and no, it’s not because I’m a masochist).

THAT’S A HOLLOW THREAT, GIVEN THEIR STAFFING PROBLEMS: Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear. “Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.”

And the claim that this is about protecting “patient privacy” is bullshit.

ALL MODELS ARE WRONG. SOME MODELS ARE USEFUL. But to be really useful, models must be based on accurate data, and a clear understanding of the processes being modeled, two things nobody has for the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. ARE COVID-19 MODELS A SOUND BASIS FOR PUBLIC POLICY?.

That said, all policymaking, even in unforeseen emergencies, is based on some sort of model, even if it’s just decision makers’ rough impressions of what’s likely to happen. And I’ll be very happy if things are no worse than the IHME model predicts.

And why has no one modeled the effect of quarantining New York? Good question.

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SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN: We must end China’s drug control, bring production back home. “Americans deserve better than this from their pharmaceutical supply chain.” True.

BUREAUCRACY KILLS: How the FDA is Thwarting Distilleries Trying to Make Hand Sanitizer During the Epidemic.

OPEN THREAD: Be here now.

ENCOUNTER IS RUNNING A PROMOTION ON MY THE SOCIAL MEDIA UPHEAVAL, which is now $1.99 on Kindle.

You can also get it for $1.99 on Nook.

CHINA SYNDROME: Coronavirus: Countries reject Chinese-made equipment. “Thousands of testing kits and medical masks are below standard or defective, according to authorities in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands. . . . On Saturday, the Dutch health ministry announced it had recalled 600,000 face masks. The equipment had arrived from a Chinese manufacturer on 21 March, and had already been distributed to front-line medical teams. Dutch officials said that the masks did not fit and that their filters did not work as intended, even though they had a quality certificate.”

China must be made a pariah.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Stratolaunch to launch hypersonic vehicles from world’s biggest airplane.

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