Thursday, April 9, 2020

I predicted Mr. Johnson would be OK and I was right thank goodness.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves ICU but remains in hospital. Downing Street said that the prime minister was in “good spirits” and in the “early phase of his recovery.”

The world would be a much better place if all the ridiculous religions went extinct.

CORONAVIRUS

LIVE UPDATES

SYMPTOMS

WHO'S HIRING

YOU ASK, WE ANSWER

STATE LOCKDOWNS

DAILY LIFE

TESTING

TECH TIPS

DAILY BRIEFING

EN ESPAÑOL


Wall Street Journal

Tanzania’s Leader Urges People to Worship in Throngs Against Coronavirus

President John Magufuli scorns social distancing, sees Jesus Christ as antidote to ‘satanic’ virus.

By Nicholas Bariyo and Joe Parkinson

April 8, 2020

As most of the world goes into lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus, Tanzania’s president is taking a different tack: encouraging people to go pray in churches and mosques to quell a “satanic” virus that can only be cured by divine intervention.

For the past two weeks, the East African nation’s populist leader, John Magufuli, has been attending church services, telling cheering congregations that coronavirus cannot survive in the bodies of the faithful. In recent days, churches and mosques have swelled with worshipers from the coastal capital of Dar es Salaam to the northern cities of Arusha and Moshi. Mosques in the largely Muslim archipelago of Zanzibar are drawing large crowds for weekly prayers. The stance makes Tanzania the world’s only government to actively recommend its citizens attend religious services as a method to combat the virus.

“Coronavirus cannot survive in the body of Jesus Christ, it will burn,” Mr. Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer,” told crowds at the end of March. “That is exactly why I did not panic while taking the Holy Communion.”

There have been some echoes in the U.S. of the Tanzanian president’s flouting of universal advice against large gatherings in the case of places of worship. County authorities in Florida last month arrested pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for “flagrant disregard for human life,” saying he had defied a public-health order by refusing to call off a worship service. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week issued an executive order banning movement for all but essential activities, but designated “attending religious services” as such an activity, sweeping away the right of Florida’s cities and counties to ban them.

Across Africa, home to the world’s largest Christian population, other governments have taken an uncompromising stance, shuttering churches, mosques and other places of worship for fear of a virus that the World Health Organization has warned could quickly overwhelm underfunded health-care systems. In Ghana, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, authorities have arrested evangelical preachers for telling their flocks they can’t be harmed by the virus. A prominent cleric in Uganda, Augustine Yiga, was charged last week with uttering false information after claiming that coronavirus is a hoax, and could face up to seven years in prison. Authorities in Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda have arrested dozens of preachers for defying restrictions on gatherings.

But in Tanzania, a country of 57 million famous for its turquoise coastlines and sweeping savannas, the notion that coronavirus can’t survive in a place of worship is effectively government policy.

So far, the country has reported just 24 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but has also conducted just 273 tests in a strategy nicknamed “wait and see” by analysts.

Tanzania’s stance makes it an outlier in Africa, one of the diminishing band of nations refusing to implement an aggressive strategy against a virus now spreading fast across the globe. There are countries elsewhere whose leaders are resisting social-distancing measures. In Brazil, most state governors and many city mayors tried to ban religious assemblies only to be overruled by President Jair Bolsonaro, who has exempted churches from coronavirus lockdowns as an essential service. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has called coronavirus a “psychosis” that can be fought with vodka, saunas and driving tractors, according to Belarusian state media.

Tanzania’s three international airports remain open, as do its land and water borders, defying radical measures taken by other countries. Churches, offices and shops are open. Countless commuters crowd bus stops and pack buses across the country’s cities. Wildlife safaris are still advertising services, assuring tourists that “there will be minimal inconvenience for their travel” in the country.

Opposition lawmaker Zitto Kabwe accused Mr. Magufuli of misleading the public and taking a gamble with lives.

“The best approach at this moment would be to educate the masses on how they can stay safe,” he said. “This is not the time to argue with scientific facts.”

Huzaria Kasina, a travel agent in northern Tanzania, said she feared that coronavirus may already be spreading in places of worship as people continue to gather there for prayers. “People have been given false hopes, they think prayer will protect them,” she said. “What is happening in churches is scary.”

Millions of Tanzanians still attending church services evidently disagree. Mr. Magafuli’s office didn’t respond to calls for comment. The country’s deputy health minister, Dr. Faustine Ndugulile, said Tanzania was “still far away from a lockdown,” adding he believed control measures like hand washing and closure of schools were working very well.

Dr. Ndugulile said the government believed that until the number of cases rises, there is no need to emulate tougher measures taken by neighboring countries, such as closures of public transport and borders. He also said places of worship could remain open if they adhered to health guidelines such as improved hygiene practices.

“We are comfortable with the current measures,” Dr. Ndugulile said in an interview. “Most of our people live from hand to mouth, if we lock down the country they will die of hunger.”

The policy, designed to minimize disruption to Tanzania’s economy, has angered neighboring countries across porous borders, which have put in place some of the world’s most stringent lockdowns. Citizens in Uganda and Rwanda need written government permission to leave their homes, and churches, offices and shops are closed.

Historians say the arguments advanced by Mr. Magufuli and some pastors in the U.S. and elsewhere that faith should be mobilized to defeat the virus shows the endurance of ideas that can be traced back to medieval Europe. Some religious authorities then suggested citizens gather to pray and fight the Black Death, a plague that ultimately killed more than 50% of some communities across Europe in the 14th century.

“Faced with massive social upheaval, Medieval Christians unsurprisingly looked to their faith for solutions,” said Rory Cox, a senior lecturer in medieval history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “Many believed the plague was a punishment from God.”

Some African analysts say Mr. Magufuli is trying to portray himself as a man of religious faith in a bid to endear himself to voters ahead of election set for October. They warn, however, that the populist leader is taking a big gamble with the disease that has now reached every corner of the globe.

“When it comes to religious matters, some leaders want to be on the side of the masses because the masses take religion seriously and they constitute a huge voting constituency.” said Musaazi Namiti, a Kenya-based independent analyst. “Magufuli belongs to this camp, but at the end of the day the practical approach taken by government to slow the spread of the coronavirus is all that matters.”

I like tomatoes.

North American tomato supplies set to improve

Tomato supplies remain light as the transition of a number of growing regions takes place. In Mexico, the winter crop is nearing its end and in the US, Florida supplies are also waning before the spring crop starts. As a result, suppliers are feeling a tightness in the market.
"We still have some greenhouse tomatoes coming out of Sinaloa, Sonora, Puebla and generally the central parts of Mexico," said Alberto Sevilla of Bellflower Produce. "During April, we will see a transition to the summer crop, including San Luis Potosi, which is around seven to eight hours south of the US border. On our end, supplies are stable, but not as much as we would like. Cooler weather limited volume, but then we had a spell of warmer weather which pushed production higher for a while."

Sevilla added that he expects greenhouse volume to pick up in a few weeks once more districts start to come online. "There are a number of regions starting soon or have already started, including Canada," he said. "We have had lower volume the last three weeks but now we are starting to see an increase again."
Second year of year-round supply
For Bellflower Produce, the company is now entering its second year of year-round supply. The company grows Beefsteak, TOVs and Vine-ripened tomatoes with more expansion works in progress. "It's good news for us and we are really happy that we can be in the market year-round," Sevilla shared. "We currently have another 16 acres under construction as well as a number of new programs. We have also expanded our reach to include direct to retail customers. Our new Senior Director of Sales, Joshua Ehle, has been leading that effort."

As well as increasing its tomato production to span year-round, Sevilla said that Bellflower Produce is also experimenting with some new varieties, including new commodities. "We are currently testing some new products like cucumber and mini peppers, but our main income is still derived from tomatoes."
"We have to be well prepared when entering new markets like mini peppers," he continued. "It's generally better to have contracts already in place with customers before you start growing new products. It's very difficult to introduce a new item onto the open market and succeed."
For more information:
Alberto Sevilla
Bellflower Produce
Ph: +1 (956) 739-9345
jose.sevilla@bellflowerproduce.com
www.bellflowerproduce.com

Publication date: 
Author: 
© 

The south side of Chicago. Nobody goes there unless they live there. The violence is out of control.

Even the north side of Chicago can be dangerous. I was attacked on an elevated train. I had to go to court twice to get the stupid asshole in prison for 6 months. What a stupid fucking asshole.

These days I live in a northwestern Illinois farm town. There is zero violence here. People are civilized and always very friendly.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Chicago’s top cop calls spike in violence a ‘pandemic’ that is draining resources from fighting coronavirus outbreak

By GREGORY PRATT, PAIGE FRY and JEREMY GORNER

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

APRIL 08, 2020

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck decried Tuesday’s spike in gun violence in Chicago, saying the shootings strain the city’s health services at a time when hospitals need to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

“Violence of any kind is never acceptable,” Lightfoot said. “But the fact that this is especially urgent now as our ability to treat all Chicagoans is being stretched to the breaking point, we cannot allow this to happen and we will not allow this to happen."

At least 21 people were shot Tuesday, including a 5-year-old girl who was sitting on a porch on the South Side. A man with her was killed. Six other people were shot to death across the city, the deadliest day from gunfire in nearly two years. During a five-hour span on Wednesday, another nine people were shot — one reported as accidental — and two people were killed, including a 15-year-old boy.

The slayings and shootings come as Chicago also struggles to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Chicago has accounted for 6,099 of the state’s 15,078 known cases and 177 of Illinois’ 462 deaths since the outbreak started.

Beck underscored Lightfoot’s dire message on Wednesday, declaring “there are two pandemics in Chicago, and only one is virus induced.

“Every one of those beds, everyone of those ER beds, taken up by a gunshot victim could be somebody’s grandmother, somebody with preexisting conditions, somebody that is in danger of losing their lives because of the pandemic,” he said.

“Every one of those cops, and there are dozens, who are pulled off the street in order to work one of these crimes cannot enforce social distancing, can’t do security at our public safety venues and our health safety venues,” Beck added. “They can’t watch over your home, and they can’t watch over your children.”

Violence has been generally down in the city in the weeks since Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed a stay-at-home order last month to try to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Chicago recorded its fewest fatal shootings for March in at least five years, according to data kept by the Tribune.

Tuesday, however, saw the most shootings in the city in at least a month and the most people killed by gunfire since August 2018, when nine were shot to death. The burst of violence coincided with temperatures in the upper 70s, several degrees shy of breaking a 127-year-old record. On Monday, 13 people were shot in Chicago and three of them died, according to Chicago police.

Since the Tribune began tracking homicides in 2013, there have been eight days with seven homicides, seven days with eight homicides and four days with nine homicides.

“Unfortunately, the epidemic of gun violence continues to plague us every day, every hour of the day,” Lightfoot said during a morning news conference Wednesday. “Just taking yesterday as an example, a warm day where people came outside. Individual trigger-pullers slaughtered people in a totally heinous way. This level of violence is never acceptable. Never, ever.”

She said gunmen “shooting into crowds without any regard for the consequences is the most heinous form of cowardice.”

“I’ve directed the Police Department to spare no expense or resource to bring the perpetrators to justice, and we already have some promising leads,” Lightfoot said.

The mayor made an appeal to the public to turn in the gunmen. “People know who the shooters are. You know who you are. These cowards cannot be given any shelter,” Lightfoot said. “In the middle of this worldwide pandemic, our precious health resources need to be treating COVID patients and those needing acute care.

“Every day we are measuring our precious heath care resources — the number of beds that we have in hospitals, ICU capacity,” Lightfoot added. “To be blunt, if our ICUs are filled with gunshot victims, our ability to respond to this COVID-19 crisis will unnecessarily be compromised.”

The shooting that wounded the 5-year-old happened in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, where two other fatal shootings occurred over seven hours.

Chicago police say the 5-year-old girl was sitting on a porch in the 8600 block of South Damen Avenue with three men in their 20s when a black sedan drove past about 7:35 p.m. Two people in the car opened fire, and someone on the porch may have shot back, Sgt. Rocco Alioto said at the scene.

The girl was shot in the left foot and taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park in good condition. One of the men, 27, was shot twice in the chest and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead. A 22-year-old man was shot several times in the right leg and was taken to Christ in good condition. A 24-year-old man was shot twice in each arm and was in good condition at Little Company of Mary.

At least 10 evidence markers could be seen in front of the home. There were also markers on the lawn of a neighboring home. “Evidence shows the group may have returned fire,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted late Tuesday.

No one was in custody.

About an hour after the shooting, a 19-year-old man was found dead, a gunshot wound to the head, in the front seat of a car about 2 miles away, police said. Officers found the man about 8:30 p.m. after getting a call of shots fired in the 8000 block of South Carpenter Street, also in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. No one was in custody.

Hours earlier, about 1:30 p.m., someone shot at a 28-year-old man and a 19-year-old man in the 7700 block of South Throop Street in Auburn Gresham. The older man was hit on the left side of his chest and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he later died.

The younger man suffered a graze wound to the head and was taken to the U. of C. Medical Center in good condition, police said.

Two people were taken in for questioning, police said.

gpratt@chicagotribune.com

pfry@chicagotribune.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Nobody cares.

I won a very interesting chess game against a very strong opponent. I had the black pieces. Here is the game:

https://lichess.org/cLLXlDDj/black#0

A comment someone wrote at the Wall Street Journal. It's about fucktard Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden.

Lol, sorry, can't see it.

Endless re-reels of creepy hugs and fetish hair sniffing, stories of underage girls stroking his leg hair at the pool, swearing at campaign questions, Dog-faced pony soldier (my personal favorite) and constantly forgetting what's he doing, and where he is. Leadership moments from his basement with minutes of stammering incoherence, criticizing the President, and then discussing his plan --which replicates Trump's accomplishments line for line.

His plan--what plan is that? Hate Trump. It's the only one he's got. Compelling perhaps to 35% out there; but enough to motivate anybody to the polls? - let alone Independents?

Not likely.

Islam



Dr. Anthony Fauci is brilliant.

John McCain (who is now dead, nobody cares) was a god-soaked fucktard. I wrote a comment at the Wall Street Journal about the moron for Jeebus.

Google:

"March 29, 1973. Over nearly a decade, as the U.S. fought the North Vietnamese on land, air, and sea, more than 700 American prisoners of war were held captive by enemy forces. For those locked inside the Hanoi Hilton, this meant years of daily torture and abuse."

At the god-soaked Wall Street Journal I found this bullshit:

"John McCain said there were no atheists in the Hanoi Hilton."

McCain thinks all 700 prisoners were cowards who couldn't exist without the ridiculous god fantasy.

Some good news

I suggest click this to see the video:

Boris Johnson’s condition is improving

This is interesting.

https://knewz.com/

A comment someone wrote: "Why does it sound like a car engine with a bad fuel pump trying to start?"

https://twitter.com/HongKongFP/status/1247175409902342145

Fucktard Bernie Sanders is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic race for president. So for sure fucktard Biden will be the Democratic candidate even though he's a fucking moron, not to mention senile.

Bernie Sanders Is Dropping Out of 2020 Democratic Race for President

Mr. Sanders, a democratic socialist making his second run for the White House, will withdraw after a series of losses to Joseph R. Biden Jr., who emerges as the presumptive nominee for the general election.

More stuff about lichess.org.

This is where people talk about why they love Lichess.org:

https://lichess.org/forum/lichess-feedback/thank-you-lichess-3

I love Lichess.org except when they fuck things up.

Lichess.org has something called ANALYSIS BOARD. It's a free computer analysis of people's chess games. I use it frequently every day but now there's something wrong with it. The problem is it doesn't exist.

Lichess likes to improve its perfect website. I wish they would stop doing that because they frequently fuck up and things stop working. This problem will be fixed, hopefully very soon, but it would be so nice if they didn't fuck it up.

https://lichess.org/blog/WN-gLzAAAKlI89Xn/thousands-of-stockfish-analysers

UPDATE:

I have been using the web browser "Google Chrome". I decided to see if the Analysis Board works using Safari. It works perfectly. So from now on or until it works with Chrome, I'm going to play chess and study computer analysis using Safari.


ANOTHER UPDATE: I was good for something today.

Thanks for responding. I'll try a different browser and see if that fixes the problem. If it fixes the problem I'll make sure to post it.

It's the browser, I can't believe I didn't think of that lol. Well thanks a lot, I tried it on internet explorer and it works now! Awesome!

Edvard Grieg - Peer Gynt - Suite No. 1, Op. 46 - IV. In the Hall of the Mountain King

What Is a Poisoned Pawn?

"A poisoned pawn is one that looks like it can be won freely, but in fact cannot be captured without suffering consequences."

An example: Yesterday I was losing a chess game because of a dumb mistake I made. As usual I looked for a way to win despite the odds. Instead of defending one of my pawns I made a move that would kill his king if my opponent took my free pawn. Fortunately he made the mistake I was hoping for. He took my poisoned pawn. My next move was a surprise. I threatened checkmate in 2 moves and there was nothing he could do to save the game he was winning.

When an opponent does not defend a pawn, it's wrong to assume he or she made a mistake. It could be a poisoned pawn.

This is the game I won. I had the white pieces. https://lichess.org/RuxFJaGg/white#0


What Is a Poisoned Pawn? Learn What Makes the Poisoned Pawn So Tricky in Chess?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This is why the United States is called Idiot America. This is a mental illness and there is no cure.

"We believe that the entire Bible is inspired by God, written without error and on whose authority we base our faith, conduct, and doctrine."

I live in Henry County in northwestern Illinois. Thank goodness I don't live in Chicago.

https://weather.com/coronavirus/l/41.2504,-89.9568

Henry County

As of Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 7:39 PM EDT
CONFIRMED CASES13550%Since last week
DEATHS0

Illinois

CONFIRMED CASES13549
DEATHS380

Chess requires lots of thinking.

A lot of interesting stuff about chess. I putting this here for myself.

https://chessentials.com/

https://lichess.org/@/chessentialsBLOG

"Some bodies lay unattended in the streets."

Wall Street Journal

OPINION

GLOBAL VIEW

The Coronavirus Threat South of the Border


Latin America isn’t ready for Covid-19. Infected migrants could flee to the U.S.

By Walter Russell Mead

April 6, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has yet to strike Latin America and the Caribbean at full force, but the region’s fragile societies are already groaning under the stress. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, with hospitals and morgues overwhelmed, relatives have been storing the bodies of the deceased in their homes; some bodies lay unattended in the streets. That could be a sign of things to come; Latin America is almost completely unprepared for the multifaceted catastrophe now headed its way.

After decades of underinvestment in health systems, most of Latin America and the Caribbean are nowhere near ready for a pandemic. The region’s average annual health-care spending per capita is $949: less than one-fourth of average spending across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and only two-thirds of the level in the Middle East and North Africa. The region’s health systems are already stretched beyond capacity to meet the needs of a “normal” year; going into the crisis, Mexico had fewer than 6,000 ventilators for a population of almost 130 million, and even relatively well-developed Costa Rica has less than half as many hospital beds per 1,000 people as the U.S.

While conditions vary both among countries and within them, “social distancing” of the type employed in Asia, Europe and North America faces stark limits in Latin America. Across the region, 50% or more of the population work in the “informal sector,” performing domestic labor, casual construction, working in markets or other undocumented jobs. If they don’t go to work in the morning, many will have nothing to eat. Even workers with formal jobs often live in sprawling, underserved urban slums. Millions suffer from malnutrition and untreated health conditions that are risk factors for severe coronavirus complications. Guayaquil may not be the only city where a surge of infection and mortality swamps local services; much of South and Central America lies virtually helpless before the advancing disease.

It isn’t just the disease. The region is experiencing the greatest economic shock of modern times. Capital flight, along with the simultaneous collapse of commodity prices, tourism and export markets, has knocked the supports out from under the region’s always fragile economies. Remittances from workers abroad (up to 20% of gross domestic product in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) will fall sharply as unemployment grows in the U.S. Even the region’s problematic economic success story of recent decades—the boom that has made its drug cartels the richest and most powerful in the world—has come under threat. The impact of the pandemic both reduced production of raw materials for drugs like crystal meth in China and disrupted the transport chain, leaving drug cartels short of critical supplies. The closure of frontiers and the abrupt decline of civilian air and maritime transport has crippled the traffickers’ distribution networks. These violent cartels and their private armies, which in many places exercise more power than national governments, may now fall into anarchic and murderous competition over dwindling resources.

The potential for economic and humanitarian disasters to create social unrest in Mexico is something no American president can afford to ignore. The Trump administration’s achievements in managing migrant flows with cooperation from Mexico and its Central American neighbors are unlikely to survive these troubles. Waves of refugees in a chaotic region pose grave humanitarian and political challenges. U.S. voters won’t easily welcome large numbers of possibly infectious refugees pouring across the border. Yet the American conscience also won’t tolerate the suffering that, absent a decent provision for desperate people, will accompany the closing of frontiers throughout the region, including our own.

Venezuela is in no shape to withstand even a relatively limited Covid-19 outbreak. The collapse in world oil prices means that Venezuela can’t sell oil for more than its cost of production. Its hospitals—understaffed, underequipped, often without power or clean water, to say nothing of medications—are inadequate even for everyday needs. Much of the population is malnourished and stressed. Millions have already fled the collapse, and millions more will seek to follow them. In the next few months, if it accepts America’s offer to drop sanctions in exchange for a move to free presidential elections, Venezuela may begin to return to some kind of civilized order—or descend to depths of misery on a scale rarely seen.

Even if the worst-case scenarios prove overstated, the pandemic has already disrupted U.S.-China relations, opened up a colossal rift in the European Union, thrown global energy markets into disarray, and set both America and the world on course for a greater economic disaster than the 2007-09 financial crisis. Tempted as they may be to overlook the Western Hemisphere in the face of dramatic events elsewhere, Washington policy makers need to remember that the security and prosperity of our home region remains a core national interest. Geography matters; this is a time when the U.S. must stand with its neighbors.

Some important news in New Zealand.

New York Times

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered reassurances to the children of New Zealand, announcing that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy had been designated essential workers. She cautioned that, because of distancing rules, “the Easter bunny might not make it everywhere this year.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The wrong bishop and the wrong rook pawn.

An interesting thing about chess endgames. In the game I just played, I had nothing but my opponent had one bishop and one pawn which is usually enough to win the game, but I was able to get a draw because my opponent's pawn was on a rook file and he had the wrong bishop. He could not force my king to get out of the way.

Long before the game ended I knew I could force a draw.

Here is the game. It was a stalemate. I had the black pieces:

https://lichess.org/a0qYW6yX/black#165

This is from Wikipedia:

Wrong rook pawn

In chess endgames with a bishop, a pawn that is a rook pawn may be the wrong rook pawn. With a single bishop, the result of a position may depend on whether or not the bishop controls the square on the chessboard on which the pawn would promote. Since a side's rook pawns promote on opposite-colored squares, one of them may be the "wrong rook pawn". This situation is also known as having the wrong-colored bishop or wrong bishop, i.e. the bishop is on the wrong colored squares in relation to the rook pawn. In many cases, the wrong rook pawn will only draw, when any other pawn would win. A fairly common defensive tactic is to get into one of these drawn endgames, often through a sacrifice.

In some endgames such as having a bishop and pawn versus a lone king (perhaps with pawns), the wrong rook pawn is the one whose promotion square is the opposite color as that on which the bishop resides, which makes the stronger side unable to win. This was known at least as early as 1623 because of an endgame study by Gioachino Greco.

The federal government is going to give more money I don't need. For me, the coronavirus is a good thing.

The Washington Post

Worried that $2 trillion law wasn’t enough, Trump and congressional leaders converge on need for new coronavirus economic package

What I wrote at the Washington Post:

"another round of direct checks to taxpayers"

I'm going to get $1,200 in a few days and now I find out I will probably get another $1,200 in a few more days. That's $2,400 I don't need. What a great country this is.

Felix Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream - Overture

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Queen of the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth will be 94 years old this month, April 21, 2020. Everyone should listen to her speech about the coronavirus.

I never met a Catholic who wasn't a stupid fucking asshole.

A comment I wrote at the disgusting god-soaked Wall Street Journal:

“I’m concerned that when I get back to my church it’s not going to be as full as it was."

In other words, he is concerned he might have to get a real job.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

This Wall Street Journal article is about the fucktards who have made religious insanity their career. Here is the whole thing. My comments are in CAPITAL LETTERS and in BOLD.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

WORLD

As Coronavirus Halts Masses, Conservative Catholics Push Back


A vocal minority of conservative Catholics are criticizing the suspension of Masses, arguing that believers need the church now more than ever. MORONS NEED A CHURCH TO BE ABLE TO SUCK UP TO THE MAGIC JEEBUS MAN.

By Francis X. Rocca

April 5, 2020

A vocal minority of conservative Catholics are criticizing the suspension of Masses in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that such a crisis is precisely when believers need the church most.

Over the past month, Catholic dioceses across the U.S., as in most countries around the world, have stopped offering public Masses to limit the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Most churchgoing Catholics have accepted the policy as a necessary public health measure, many turning instead to watching the liturgy on TV or over the internet as Easter approaches. INSTEAD OF WASTING THEIR TIME IN A CHURCH THEY'RE GOING TO WASTE THEIR TIME WATCHING THE PREACHER MAN ON TV. WHAT A BUNCH OF FUCKING MORONS.

But some have protested the decision, arguing that the ability to worship together and receive the sacraments is essential for Catholics. CATHOLICS FEED THE CHILD ABUSERS EVERY TIME THEY GO TO CHURCH. CATHOLICS ARE STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLES.

“Just as we are able to purchase food and medicine, while taking care not to spread the coronavirus in the process, so also we must be able to pray in our churches and chapels, receive the sacraments, and engage in acts of public prayer and devotion,” U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who now lives in Rome, wrote last month. PUBLIC PRAYER = SHOWING OFF HOW HOLY THEY ARE.

AS IF A MAGICAL MASTER OF THE ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE IS GOING TO LISTEN TO GULLIBLE MORONS ON THIS TINY INSIGNIFICANT PLANET TALK TO THEMSELVES. THE STUPID IS OVERWHELMING.


“Canceling church services is the wrong response to the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote R.R. Reno in the conservative Catholic journal First Things. “In a time of pandemic—a time when Satan whips up in us all fears of isolation, abandonment, and death—churches must not join the stampede of fear.”

THIS ASSHOLE FOR JEEBUS THINKS SATAN IS REAL. THESE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING INSANE.

HEY CHRISTIAN FUCKTARDS, WATCH OUT FOR SATAN BECAUSE IT WILL WHIP UP FEAR OF ISOLATION, ABANDONMENT, AND DEATH.

HOW CAN SO MANY PEOPLE BE SO FUCKING STUPID?


While all U.S. bishops have suspended public Masses, in compliance with civil authorities’ limitations or guidance on public assemblies, they have varied in their policies on other restrictions, with some shutting churches entirely and others leaving them open for private prayer. Some have allowed innovations that permit social distancing, such as drive-through confessions and outdoor adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where faithful pray facing the host displayed in a monstrance.

A number of the bishops have also explicitly dispensed Catholics from their obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and other holy days, an obligation not considered binding when attendance is impossible.

"with some shutting churches entirely and others leaving them open for private prayer." MANY YEARS AGO I WALKED INTO A CATHOLIC CHURCH. NOBODY WAS THERE. IN THE LOBBY I FOUND A LARGE WAD OF CASH. IT WAS A DONATION. I PUT THE CASH IN MY POCKET AND GOT OUT OF THERE. WAS THAT WRONG? I DON'T THINK SO. CATHOLICS ARE FUCKING MORONS.

In the U.S., the debate over Mass suspensions and other restrictions has played out in the Catholic press and on social media, acquiring an ideological tinge as the strongest advocates for public Masses and access to the sacraments have been conservatives. They include Cardinal Burke, a critic of Pope Francis, and First Things magazine.

“U.S. dioceses are really turning into the political equivalent of red dioceses and blue dioceses, depending on their bishop,” said Kenneth J. Wolfe, a contributor to the traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli. “The difference between Baltimore, which is forbidding even the sacrament of penance, and nearby Arlington, which has almost every church open for 10 or fewer people, is staggering.”

According to the website of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “It is no longer deemed safe to administer the sacrament (confession) during the present health crisis, therefore the sacrament is only available to those for whom death may be imminent.”

In the U.S., some critics fault the bishops for not objecting to legal restrictions on public worship as infringements of religious liberty.

Exactly how far bishops should go in response to the coronavirus has been controversial at the highest levels of the church. In mid-March, the morning after Pope Francis’ own Diocese of Rome announced that all of the city’s churches would be shut to the faithful, the pope warned during a live-streamed Mass that “drastic measures are not always good.”

A few hours later, the diocese reversed its policy and reopened the churches, pointedly noting that the pope had been consulted before the decision to close them. But public Masses are still prohibited in Rome, as they are throughout Italy, in accordance with a national decree prohibiting public assemblies in houses of worship.

When the pope leads Holy Week and Easter celebrations at St. Peter’s Basilica this week, the faithful will be able to watch only by electronic means.

THE POPE IS PART OF THE CATHOLIC CHILD ABUSE PROBLEM. THE POPE IS A STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE AND HE BELONGS IN PRISON.

Critics warn that if the suspensions go on for much longer it will be hard to get people to attend again once public worship resumes. A new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 46% of U.S. Catholics who had typically gone to church in the past had switched to online or televised Masses by late last month.

“I’m concerned that when I get back to my church it’s not going to be as full as it was,” said Kari Beckman, executive director of the Georgia-based Regina Caeli Academy, an educational network that works with Catholic home-schoolers. “Isolation breeds disbelief eventually, so it’s important to come together and worship together.”

RIGHT ASSHOLE. IT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU BECAUSE YOUR MORONIC CAREER DEPENDS ON IT. GET A REAL JOB YOU FUCKING RETARD.

Phil Lawler, editor of the conservative Catholic World News, says that it has become harder to find priests who will turn a blind eye to faithful attending their private Masses. “One of the problems is they get swamped,” he said. “Enough people show up that it’s hard not to notice.”

Mr. Wolfe says the only public Masses he knows of in the Washington, D.C. area have been offered by priests of the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway traditionalist group that rejects many of the modernizing changes introduced into the church by the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, who have celebrated the Traditional Latin Masses outdoors with members of the congregation sitting in their cars.

In Philadelphia, after some uninvited laypeople attended a Mass being live-streamed from the cathedral last Sunday and received Communion, the archdiocese announced that the cathedral would be shut during coming Holy Week and Easter celebrations to prevent unauthorized attendance.

At the beginning of April, a group of conservative Catholics, including Ms. Beckman and Mr. Lawler, began circulating a petition called “We Are an Easter People” asking all U.S. bishops to “do everything you can to make possible some form of a public Mass, especially the Easter liturgy, and then encourage pastors to conduct it” and to “demand that civil authorities recognize religious services as essential services.”

The online petition, which had received almost 10,000 signatures by Sunday morning, encourages drive-in Masses and hygienic ways to distribute Communion.

“We Are an Easter People” YOU FUCKING RETARDS THINK YOUR DECOMPOSING MAGIC JEEBUS MAN MAGICALLY BECAME A ZOMBIE. CHRISTIAN FUCKTARDS WORSHIP AN IMAGINARY ZOMBIE. THE STUPID, IT BURNS.

The website displays a historical illustration of a priest, during an 18th-century outbreak of the plague in France, using an 8.5-foot-long spoon to give Communion to a woman facing out of a window. Other suggestions include tongs that would be sterilized after every use.

STUPIDITY IN THE 18TH CENTURY IS EQUAL TO THE STUPIDITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY. STUPID CAN'T BE FIXED.

“The heartfelt requests from the faithful to reinstitute Communion before the coronavirus is largely eradicated reveals the real hunger among Catholics for the sacraments,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the communications committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement. “This hunger is a good thing, but it must be met with prudence to ensure that our religious celebrations and devotions do not increase the spread of this deadly virus.”

"the faithful" PEOPLE WHO HAVE FAITH IN ANY RIDICULOUS FANTASY THAT MAKES COWARDS FEEL GOOD. FAITH = BRAIN DAMAGE.

But Mr. Lawler said the patience of some faithful is running out.

“People are getting frustrated and a lot of good priests are feeling the same frustration,” he said. “The longer it goes on, the more people are going to say this is unnatural and we have to do something about it.”

GOOD IDEA CHRISTIANS. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU COULD GROW UP, FACE FACTS, AND STOP BEING A COWARDLY KNOW-NOTHING ASSHOLE FOR JEEBUS.

Mr. Johnson should be OK in a few days. He probably has the best doctors in the UK.

The Washington Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sick with covid-19, is moved to intensive care after his condition worsens

The British leader has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab "to deputize for him where necessary," according to a Downing Street statement.

Morons for Jeebus

Fucktards can't exist without their ridiculous god bullshit.

Johann Strauss II - The Blue Danube Waltz

This is something I wrote in my younger days, 9 years ago. It's about the breathtaking stupidity of religious fucktards.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

If you're stupid enough to believe there's a magic god fairy hiding somewhere in the universe, then you're stupid enough to believe any bullshit.

Hello Christians (and your Muslim terrorist friends). I'm going to be completely honest about you assholes in this post. I don't like you. I'm convinced every single one of you is a fucking idiot. Instead of contributing to human progress you drooling morons are constantly getting in the way. Even worse you tards do everything you possibly can to make your children (and everyone else's children) superstitious imbeciles like yourselves.

In this post I'm going to try to explain to you Christian subhumans a very important concept. It's called reality. Here's the dictionary definition (by the way you Christian idiots should use the dictionary instead of making up your own definitions of words). Reality: The quality or state of being actual or true.

Understand Christians? This means the bullshit you believe in is not reality. Your religious bullshit is called fantasy. Fantasy: An imagined event or condition fulfilling a wish.

For example you cowardly Bible thumpers and terrorists wish for a life after death. You don't appreciate the fact that you're extremely lucky to have the one life you really have. Instead you greedily wish for a 2nd life and you wish your 2nd life is in a paradise where everything is magic. What you cowards wish for is ridiculously impossible but you stupidly believe it anyway, never caring that your childish heaven fantasy makes terrorism possible.

Getting back to the title of this post, I noticed the tards who are gullible enough to believe in a magical god virtually always believe in several other bullshit ideas. I already mentioned the wishful thinking called heaven. There is also another equally childish wishful thinking called "god loves you".

How do you tards know your invisible fairy loves you? Has it ever occurred to you lunatics that a Magical Master of the Universe, if that idiotic fantasy was real, might not give a shit about you, especially since you are just one of seven billion human apes on an insignificant planet in a vast universe of countless trillions of planets. You accept the "god loves you" fantasy as fact only because that's exactly what you wish for.

You Christian scum need to understand that wishful thinking virtually never makes anything true. This is what reality is all about. Reality can't be changed just because you don't like it or because you're too cowardly to accept it. Instead of wishing for the impossible what you should do is grow up, educate yourselves, and face facts. Learn how to make the most of reality. Be grateful for what you have instead of acting like a greedy child.

Your religious fantasies are a terrible waste of a life. The time you waste reading your worthless disgusting holy book or praying to your dead Jeebus would be better spent trying to understand the discoveries of 21st century science, especially evolutionary biology. You will find out reality is many thousands of times more interesting than your boring supernatural bullshit.

Thank goodness for America's Federal Reserve.

NPR

Fed Goes All Out To Keep Economy Alive During Coronavirus Shutdown

April 6, 2020

SCOTT HORSLEY

Led by Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve has moved quickly and creatively to pump money into the rapidly shrinking U.S. economy.

As the United States tumbles into a coronavirus recession, the Federal Reserve is using its nearly unlimited power to generate cash to cushion the fall.

"The Fed is doing everything they can to keep financial markets functioning and credit available to households and firms," former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a forum organized by the Brookings Institution.

Since the middle of March, the Fed has purchased more than $1.2 trillion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, and the central bank has made it clear that it will continue buying as much as necessary to keep credit markets from seizing up.

With help from the Treasury Department, the Fed is also branching into nontraditional markets. It will now lend money directly to corporations. And it's preparing to roll out a "Main Street" program to help finance smaller firms.

CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES
Staggering: Record 10 Million File For Unemployment In 2 Weeks


"The Federal Reserve is really throwing out all the stops in an effort to contain a health crisis from becoming an economic or financial crisis," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com. "Issue No. 1 for the Fed is to get the plumbing of financial markets working properly again."

The Fed's actions have made a difference, preventing the financial pipes from clogging up, though credit is still harder to come by than it was before the crisis. The challenge now is whether the central bank can extend its helping hand to ordinary businesses whose customers have suddenly disappeared.

The $2 trillion relief bill passed by Congress to address the coronavirus fallout includes $454 billion to backstop Fed lending programs. That should allow the central bank to pump as much as $4 trillion into the economy. That's more than the Fed spent on its bond-buying program in the six years after the financial crisis.

Although the central bank has already exhausted some of its firepower by cutting interest rates to near zero, Fed Chair Jerome Powell insists he and his colleagues still have potent weapons at their disposal.

CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES
Get Money Out To The Economy Quickly, Ex-Treasury Secretary Says


"When it comes to this lending, we're not going to run out of ammunition," Powell told NBC's Today show. "Where credit is not flowing, we have the ability in this unique circumstance to step in and provide those loans."

That's important at a time when countless businesses are closing their doors and millions of workers are losing jobs. Goldman Sachs predicts the U.S. economy will shrink at an annual rate of 34% in the next three months, thanks to a deliberate effort to slow the spread of the virus.

"This is a situation where people are being asked to step back from economic activity," Powell said. "Close their businesses, stay home from work."

By shoveling money out the door, the Fed hopes to keep the economy on life support long enough to outlast the pandemic.

"In principle, if we get the virus threat under control fairly quickly, economic activity can resume," Powell told NBC.

The Fed has moved much more quickly in recent weeks than it did during the financial crisis a dozen years ago.

THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Why We Are Deliberately Allowing Our Economy To Go On A Downward Spiral


"It's kind of crazy how they've almost done as much in this week as they did in several months in 2008," J.P. Morgan's chief U.S. economist, Michael Feroli, said during a week in which the Fed unveiled several new lending programs. "Now, they do have the advantage of just being able to dust off Bernanke's playbook."

Some of the Fed's new lending efforts are recycled from those that then-Chair Ben Bernanke and his colleagues set up during the financial crisis. But the Main Street program now on the drawing board would push the central bank into new territory — making cash available to midsize firms in an effort to keep them afloat during the coronavirus shutdown.

"The longer the economy has that downtime, the more significant the hangover is going to be and the tougher it's going to be for the economy to bounce back," McBride said.

"What the Fed is trying to do is provide as much liquidity and capital that's requested in markets, so businesses can continue to function, banks can continue to lend and consumers can still have access to credit," he added.

covid-19
jerome powell
janet yellen
coronavirus
ben bernanke
federal reserve
fed
credit

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The President of the United States talks about the coronavirus problem. Well done!

France: This is what happens when Muslim scum are able to enter civilized countries. Trump is a moron but he has enough common sense to not let Muslim assholes enter America.

BBC News

France launches terror probe after knife attack

French police have launched a terrorism investigation after two people were killed and five wounded in a knife attack in south-east France.

The attacker entered a tobacconist shop in Romans-sur-Isère, near Grenoble, and stabbed the owners and a customer.

He then attacked more people at two other shops before being arrested.

Prosecutors said the suspect was a Sudanese refugee in his 30s who lived in the town. Two other people have also been arrested, police said.

At the time of his arrest on Saturday, the man was "found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic", prosecutors said.

Fucktard Biden, Democratic candidate for President of the United States. Even the Democrats think he's a fucking moron.

What I wrote about Fucktard Biden at the Washington Post:

This is Biden: "Hey everyone, look at me. I'm not senile."

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

What someone else wrote about Fucktard Biden at the Washington Post:

Good God. I can't believe we have to vote for a senile, ignorant, knee-jerking fool like Biden to get rid of Trump.

April 5, 2020 - Boris Johnson in hospital

The Washington Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital because of “persistent” symptoms of the coronavirus, a spokesman confirmed Sunday. Johnson tested positive for the virus 10 days ago and has been self-isolating at his official residence.

Trump likes to suck up to Idiot America's Christian fucktards.

New York Times

Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ While Also Revisiting Easter Sunday Services

At one point Mr. Trump, who initially set Easter Sunday as a target date for re-opening the country before backing off, said that the holiday would be a particularly “sad” day for Americans prohibited from gathering in large numbers. He said he would again like to consider relaxing social distancing rules for Easter services and that he had told advisers, “maybe we could allow special for churches” gatherings that were possibly outside with “great separation.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Easter celebrates the ridiculous and totally impossible magical resurrection of the Magic Jeebus Man. It's a big fucking deal in Idiot America.

"Duh, duh, he has risen, duh."

Christians are gullible morons. They buy any bullshit that makes them feel good.

If you're a Christian read this: Dead people stay dead because they are fucking dead. Your Jeebus is dead. Grow up you fucking retard.

Stupid can't be fixed.

"Do you believe that God created Adam?"

That's a fantasy for god-soaked uneducated morons. How hard is it for you fucking retards to grow up and educate yourselves?

Nobody cares.

This game was fun. I had the white pieces.

Germany is doing everything right. Way to go Germany!

New York Times

A German Exception? Why the Country’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Low

The pandemic has hit Germany hard, with more than 92,000 people infected. But the percentage of fatal cases has been remarkably low compared to those in many neighboring countries.

By Katrin Bennhold

Published April 4, 2020

April 5, 2020

They call them corona taxis: Medics outfitted in protective gear, driving around the empty streets of Heidelberg to check on patients who are at home, five or six days into being sick with the coronavirus.

They take a blood test, looking for signs that a patient is about to go into a steep decline. They might suggest hospitalization, even to a patient who has only mild symptoms; the chances of surviving that decline are vastly improved by being in a hospital when it begins.

“There is this tipping point at the end of the first week,” said Prof. Hans-Georg Kräusslich, the head of virology at University Hospital in Heidelberg, one of Germany’s leading research hospitals. “If you are a person whose lungs might fail, that’s when you will start deteriorating.”

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: China holds a day of mourning as its virus toll is questioned.

Heidelberg’s corona taxis are only one initiative in one city. But they illustrate a level of engagement and a commitment of public resources in fighting the epidemic that help explain one of the most intriguing puzzles of the pandemic: Why is Germany’s death rate so low?

The virus and the resulting disease, Covid-19, have hit Germany with force: According to Johns Hopkins University, the country had more than 92,000 laboratory-confirmed infections as of midday Saturday, more than any other country except the United States, Italy and Spain.

But with 1,295 deaths, Germany’s fatality rate stood at 1.4 percent, compared with 12 percent in Italy, around 10 percent in Spain, France and Britain, 4 percent in China and 2.5 percent in the United States. Even South Korea, a model of flattening the curve, has a higher fatality rate, 1.7 percent.

“There has been talk of a German anomaly,” said Hendrik Streeck, director of the Institute of virology at the University Hospital Bonn. Professor Streeck has been getting calls from colleagues in the United States and elsewhere.

“‘What are you doing differently?’ they ask me,” he said. “‘Why is your death rate so low?’”

There are several answers experts say, a mix of statistical distortions and very real differences in how the country has taken on the epidemic.

The average age of those infected is lower in Germany than in many other countries. Many of the early patients caught the virus in Austrian and Italian ski resorts and were relatively young and healthy, Professor Kräusslich said.

“It started as an epidemic of skiers,” he said.

As infections have spread, more older people have been hit and the death rate, only 0.2 percent two weeks ago, has risen, too. But the average age of contracting the disease remains relatively low, at 49. In France, it is 62.5 and in Italy 62, according to their latest national reports.

Another explanation for the low fatality rate is that Germany has been testing far more people than most nations. That means it catches more people with few or no symptoms, increasing the number of known cases, but not the number of fatalities.

“That automatically lowers the death rate on paper,” said Professor Kräusslich.

But there are also significant medical factors that have kept the number of deaths in Germany relatively low, epidemiologists and virologists say, chief among them early and widespread testing and treatment, plenty of intensive care beds and a trusted government whose social distancing guidelines are widely observed.

Testing

In mid-January, long before most Germans had given the virus much thought, Charité hospital in Berlin had already developed a test and posted the formula online.

By the time Germany recorded its first case of Covid-19 in February, laboratories across the country had built up a stock of test kits.

“The reason why we in Germany have so few deaths at the moment compared to the number of infected can be largely explained by the fact that we are doing an extremely large number of lab diagnoses,” said Dr. Christian Drosten, chief virologist at Charité, whose team developed the first test.

By now, Germany is conducting around 350,000 coronavirus tests a week, far more than any other European country. Early and widespread testing has allowed the authorities to slow the spread of the pandemic by isolating known cases while they are infectious. It has also enabled lifesaving treatment to be administered in a more timely way.

“When I have an early diagnosis and can treat patients early — for example put them on a ventilator before they deteriorate — the chance of survival is much higher,” Professor Kräusslich said.

Medical staff, at particular risk of contracting and spreading the virus, are regularly tested. To streamline the procedure, some hospitals have started doing block tests, using the swabs of 10 employees, and following up with individual tests only if there is a positive result.

At the end of April, health authorities also plan to roll out a large-scale antibody study, testing random samples of 100,000 people across Germany every week to gauge where immunity is building up.

One key to ensuring broad-based testing is that patients pay nothing for it, said Professor Streeck. This, he said, was one notable difference with the United States in the first several weeks of the outbreak. The coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress last month does provide for free testing.

“A young person with no health insurance and an itchy throat is unlikely to go to the doctor and therefore risks infecting more people,” he said.

Tracking

On a Friday in late February, Professor Streeck received news that for the first time, a patient at his hospital in Bonn had tested positive for the coronavirus: A 22-year-old man who had no symptoms but whose employer — a school — had asked him to take a test after learning that he had taken part in a carnival event where someone else had tested positive.

In most countries, including the United States, testing is largely limited to the sickest patients, so the man probably would have been refused a test.

Not in Germany. As soon as the test results were in, the school was shut, and all children and staff were ordered to stay at home with their families for two weeks. Some 235 people were tested.

“Testing and tracking is the strategy that was successful in South Korea and we have tried to learn from that,” Professor Streeck said.

Germany also learned from getting it wrong early on: The strategy of contact tracing should have been used even more aggressively, he said.

All those who had returned to Germany from Ischgl, an Austrian ski resort that had an outbreak, for example, should have been tracked down and tested, Professor Streeck said.

A Robust Public Health Care System

Before the coronavirus pandemic swept across Germany, University Hospital in Giessen had 173 intensive care beds equipped with ventilators. In recent weeks, the hospital scrambled to create an additional 40 beds and increased the staff that was on standby to work in intensive care by as much as 50 percent.

“We have so much capacity now we are accepting patients from Italy, Spain and France,” said Prof. Susanne Herold, the head of infectiology and a lung specialist at the hospital who has overseen the restructuring. “We are very strong in the intensive care area.”

All across Germany, hospitals have expanded their intensive care capacities. And they started from a high level. In January, Germany had some 28,000 intensive care beds equipped with ventilators, or 34 per 100,000 people. By comparison, that rate is 12 in Italy and 7 in the Netherlands.

By now, there are 40,000 intensive care beds available in Germany.

Some experts are cautiously optimistic that social distancing measures might be flattening the curve enough for Germany’s health care system to weather the pandemic without producing a scarcity of lifesaving equipment like ventilators.

“It is important that we have guidelines for doctors on how to practice triage between patients if they have to,” Professor Streeck said. “But I hope we will never need to use them.”

The time it takes for the number of infections to double has slowed to about eight days. If it slows a little more, to between 12 and 14 days, Professor Herold said, the models suggest that triage could be avoided.

“The curve is beginning to flatten,” she said.

Trust in Government

Beyond mass testing and the preparedness of the health care system, many also see Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership as one reason the fatality rate has been kept low.

Ms. Merkel has communicated clearly, calmly and regularly throughout the crisis, as she imposed ever-stricter social distancing measures on the country. The restrictions, which have been crucial to slowing the spread of the pandemic, met with little political opposition and are broadly followed.

The chancellor’s approval ratings have soared.

“Maybe our biggest strength in Germany,” said Professor Kräusslich, “is the rational decision-making at the highest level of government combined with the trust the government enjoys in the population.”

Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting.

Free newspaper at the farm town grocery store I went to this morning: The Prairie News. Everything you always wanted to know about the coronavirus in northwestern Illinois.

online @ illinoisweeklies.com Volume XVIII, No.10 • April 3, 2020 • Published by Lampe Publications LLC Serving 7,000 customers in the communities of Wyoming, Toulon, Bradford, Duncan, Galva, LaFayette, Stark, Speer, Castleton, Bishop Hill, Camp Grove, Princeville, Edelstein, Laura, West Jersey, Monica, Elmira, Modena, Saxon, Lawn Ridge, Broadmoor, Elmore, Lombardville, Milo and rural customers at Kewanee and Williamsfield.

Rural areas safer - but not 'safe'

The Prairie News By Bill Knight

The coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading like an untended grassfire, inadequate testing means the number of cases is unclear, and attempts to slow the outbreak struggle to make a difference. So it’s difficult to keep up with the threat.

For instance, The Weekly Post on March 12 featured an article by Liz Carey of the Center for Rural Strategies headlined “Researchers say rural areas face less risk of coronavirus,” which noted how everyday close proximity puts people at risk – a reason social distancing is important, even in small towns where folks are used to going to churches, school activities and taverns. Carey’s story was accurate – three weeks ago.

Now, however, new information requires new caution: People in rural areas are generally less vulnerable to the virus, but we’re not exactly protected, much less immune. The Center last weekend reported, “So far, nonmetropolitan counties [counties with no city of 50,000 or more] account for only 3% of the total cases.”

“Only” is a loaded word since that statistic means that more than 3,000 rural Americans have become infected, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Systems, Science and Engineering, whose data base said U.S. cases as of Tuesday topped 164,000 (with 3,170 deaths), including more than 5,000 in Illinois, with 7 in Peoria, 4 in Tazewell and 4 in Woodford.

“There is no reason for us to believe that any county is safe or going to miss the impact of this virus,” said Brandie Combs from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Right now, I’m confident that every county has a positive case. Projections are very, very alarming.”

Cities are still the “hot spots” for the virus, said Matt Boyce, a researcher at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University.

“Travel to and between cities has played a major role in how this outbreak has spread, but that said, the disease can still spread to rural areas,” he said.

Comparing the number of cases per million people (back on March 23), Medium metro areas (250,000-999,999 people) and Small metros (50,000-249,999) had lower rates than big cities – 48.8/M and 42.8/M, respectively, where Major metros were 202.4/M. But statistically, rural areas aren’t that much better off, at 28.4/M.

Last week, more than 100 rural counties reported their first COVID-19 case on Wednesday; by the next day about one-third of the country’s 1,976 rural counties had a COVID-19 case, and the death toll there almost tripled, from 11 Wednesday to 32 by Friday.

There are dire factors beyond the ease of transmission.

“It is important to consider how rural areas may be differently affected,” said sociologist Shannon Monnat, codirector of the Policy, Place and Population Health Lab at Syracuse University. “Rural parts of the U.S. may be comparatively better off than urban places due to lower population density. On the other hand, there are several features of rural populations and places that increase their risk of coronavirusrelated mortality and other long-term impacts.”

Those include rural America’s older population, the prevalence of serious health conditions, a healthcare infrastructure not as strong as urban areas, and economies more vulnerable to crises.

The Centers for Disease Control says that about 80 percent percent of COVID19 deaths have been among adults 65 years old and older.

“This is bad news for rural America,” Monnat said. “The average share of the population that is age 65+ is 21.7 percent in the smallest nonmetropolitan counties.”

Public-health experts say people with underlying medical ailments are at greater risk, and rural Americans have higher incidences of such disorders – respiratory disease, depression, diabetes, heart disease and lung cancer – than city-dwellers.

“This means that although transmission rates may be lower in rural areas, the percentage of cases resulting in death and other serious complications could be higher in rural than in urban areas,” Monnat said.

Also, there are fewer rural hospitals nationwide. About 125 shut down in the last decade, and the Associated Press reported 51,000 Intensive Care Unit beds in urban counties and 5,600 in rural areas – less than 1 percent in areas where 19 percent of Americans live. A handful of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm a rural clinic.

All that is complicated by a lack of testing that’s worse than cities – Illinois’ testing rate is 70 per 100,000 people compared to more than 400 per 100,000 in the state of Washington.

Lastly, the virus hitting rural areas – whether the stricken have stayed at home or worked in farm fields (agriculture is an “essential service” under Ill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “shelter-in-place” order) – could ripple over the continent, including urban neighbors.

“Rural America supplies disproportionate shares of the nation’s food, energy, military personnel and natural recreation – these are resources urban America depends upon,” Monnat said. “Rural, urban or somewhere between – we are all in this together.”

And rural areas feel the economic impact beyond closed retailers.

Corn used for ethanol faces price drops, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Todd Hubbs.

“Since the release of the February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, USDA’s Energy Information Agency (EIA) released a short-term energy outlook that lowered domestic gasoline consumption for 2020 due to impacts from the coronavirus,” Hubbs said. “Depending on the effect from the virus on the summer driving season, the current projection for corn used for ethanol may be under question.

“If the EIA projection is correct, the production level of ethanol sits lower,” he added.

I never met a religious leader who wasn't a fucking moron.

Washington Post

Religion

With Passover, Easter and Ramadan looming, clergy scramble to create holidays at a distance


••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

A comment I wrote at the Washington Post:

The clergy should get a real job. We don't need religious insanity in the 21st century. We know things these days.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

A comment someone else wrote at the Washington Post:

Why do people need to gather once a week to be told what to do? Don't they understand the basics? Be kind, generous, respectful, tolerant and don't steal, cheat, hurt, harm or kill. It's simple. We atheists have it down. We don't need to be reminded once a week.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Another atheist wrote this comment:

Pray it away.

Religion will be the death of humanity. Like the superstitious fools in Africa who killed the doctors fighting Ebola, evangelicals are the first to blame science. Their brainless reaction mirrors the mob of Muslims in India who came together to pray the disease away.

Gee, what happens when religious fools gather together when there's a pandemic?

God doesn't save you. The disease spreads.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Unlike the god-soaked Wall Street Journal, virtually everyone who reads the Washington Post is a normal person, aka atheist, and that's a good thing.