Viral dumping ground

Once again, let me get this out of my system, a dump of recent reactions to coronavirus news. Then I can just set it aside and think about more cheerful things for the rest of my day.

  • I am not at all a fan of Max Boot, who I consider an unpleasant warmonger with blood on his hands, but at least he gets one thing right: Trump is the worst president ever.

    So I have written, as I did on March 12, that Trump is the worst president in modern times — not of all time. That left open the possibility that James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Warren Harding or some other nonentity would be judged more harshly. But in the past month, we have seen enough to take away the qualifier “in modern times.” With his catastrophic mishandling of the coronavirus, Trump has established himself as the worst president in U.S. history.

    Then he catalogs Trump’s lethally disastrous policies and errors.

  • You want more reasons? Do you need them? Where have you been? Just watch this nauseating performance.

    I’ve seen this before: the guy who hasn’t done the readings or the homework, called on to explain something, who then tries to fake it with a lot of oozing faux-sincerity and praise for the importance of the question, but who can’t actually say one word of substance.

  • How badly has Donald Trump fucked us over?

    Beyond the suffering in store for thousands of victims and their families, the outcome has altered the international standing of the United States, damaging and diminishing its reputation as a global leader in times of extraordinary adversity.

    “This has been a real blow to the sense that America was competent,” said Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the government’s senior-most provider of intelligence analysis. He stepped down from the NIC in January 2017 and now teaches at the University of Southern California. “That was part of our global role. Traditional friends and allies looked to us because they thought we could be competently called upon to work with them in a crisis. This has been the opposite of that.”

    This article, which retraces the failures over the first 70 days of the coronavirus crisis, is based on 47 interviews with administration officials, public health experts, intelligence officers and others involved in fighting the pandemic. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and decisions.

    You’ve got to read the whole long article to get a sense of how catastrophic this presidency has been.

  • Unfortunately, one of the major contributors to the ongoing clusterfuck is the pseudo-objective “he-said-she-said” style of journalism that has been perfected by the New York Times. Here’s a perfect example of a NYT headline.

    Look at that. The presidential authority figure says testing is fine, but everyone else is saying he’s wrong…so let’s lead with the ass-in-chief lying and make it a story about “he-said-they-all-said” and not offend any Republicans. Even when scientists chime in to point out that Trump is all wet, the reporters stick their nose in the air and ignore the facts.

    Let’s just move on to Yale epidemiologist/infectious disease researcher Gregg Gonsalves kicking the Times’s ass, which sorely offended one of the Times writers so!

    “Move along,” said the pompously wrong New York Times reporter to the infectious disease specialist from Yale.

    Newspapers have responsibilities to the truth. When the NYT ceases to respect that, it’s time to disrespect the NYT.

  • Guess who’s advising the administration on the pandemic? That quack, Dr Oz. Enough said.
  • You may have seen a map going around that plots the distance people travel in a day, showing that southern states in particular were particularly bad at limiting their isolation. There’s a reason for that, and it isn’t that Southerners are stupid.

    But there’s another reason that the red states are also “red states” when it comes to their travel distance. As former Obama White House official Christopher Hale points out, these maps correspond closely to areas that are “food deserts,” where the nearest grocery story requires making an extended trip. “Food deserts” is a term that is often applied to urban neighborhoods where good nutrition is outside of walking range, but these are counties where it takes an extended auto trip to find any kind of nutrition, even bad nutrition. Why? The simple answer is Walmart. These areas represent locations where big box retailers like Walmart have annihilated local grocers, and where the quest for an apple or a box of Pop-Tarts means crossing the county to a store that also sells tires, televisions, and potting soil.

    I’ve lived in one of these “deserts” where you can’t do anything without getting in a car and driving, only it wasn’t the south — it was in a Philadelphia suburb. We had the nice middle-class home in the development, surrounded by lots of other nice middle-class homes, and after we settled in, we realized that there’s absolutely nothing there but middle-class homes. You want groceries, or a movie theater, or a pharmacy, or even a nice walk in the park, you’ve gotta drive.

    This was a bit of a shock. I grew up in a small town where a kid could find everything he wanted in a short walk or a bicycle ride. We had just moved from Salt Lake City, and say what you want about Mormon Town, the city actually was extraordinarily livable and offered a variety of things in walking distance. These horrid suburbs…nope. Worst of everything. They’re designed around cars, and Walmart has taken advantage of that destructive car culture.

    Now I live in a small town again, and it is actually a pleasant environment. You need a car to get away from the town, but all your day-to-day needs are conveniently close. We don’t have a Walmart. I hope we never do.

  • Here’s Elon Musk a month ago.

    He got a lot of pushback on that, which crimped his ego, so he rushed to be the ever-helpful billionaire, you know, like the Elon Musk who threw together an impractical submarine to help rescue boys trapped in a flooding cave…that is, he made noise to make it sound like he was a good philanthropist. He promised to put his engineers to work making over a thousand ventilators that he would donate free to hospitals.

    Reality is less impressive. He instead bought a bunch of devices from another company, slapped a “Tesla” label on them, and handed them out…but they’re the wrong kind of ventilator. They’re not totally useless, but they’re also not an appropriate response to a need.

    The tweet features a photo of the “40 ventilators” Musk donated still in boxes labeled with ventilator company ResMed’s logo. Those 40 devices represent a portion of the more-than 1,000 Musk purchased from the San Diego-based ventilator maker.

    A closer look at the photo, however, reveals a device that is not the kind of ventilator hospitals are struggling to find. The American Association for Respiratory Care confirmed to FOX Business that the device is a “bi-level machine” traditionally used to help people with sleep apnea. In particular, the photo shows ResMed’s non-invasive, five-year-old S9 bi-level model.

    Is anyone surprised? This is another example of a billionaire posturing to get attention, but only delivering the goods that salve his ego, rather than what people actually need.

  • You probably don’t want to read this last link. A doctor describes the intubation procedure he has to routinely do to save lives.

    Usually, before this, patients would be on a vent for three to five days. Now we’re seeing 14 to 21. Most of these people have acute respiratory distress syndrome. There’s inflammation, scar tissue, and fluid building up in the lungs, so oxygen can’t diffuse easily. No matter how much oxygen you give them, it can’t get through. It’s never enough. Organs are very sensitive to low oxygen. First comes kidney failure, then liver failure, and then brain tissue becomes compromised. Immune systems stop working. There’s a look most people get, called mottling, where the skin turns red and patchy when you only have a few hours left. We have a few at that point. Some have been converted to “do not resuscitate.”

    I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to get sick.


  1. stroppy says

    And yet last I saw, Trump has a 51% approval rating on his handling of the pandemic. Ridiculous.

  2. Saad says

    stroppy, #1

    And yet last I saw, Trump has a 51% approval rating on his handling of the pandemic. Ridiculous.

    He’s their cult leader. It’s about obedience and loyalty, not the welfare of their children.

  3. llewelly says

    trump is filling fifth avenue with repurposed refrigerator trucks filled with the corpses of his victims, and the new york times politics desk again chooses to immerse itself in the blood of trump’s victims.

  4. Saad says

    llewelly, #3

    trump is filling fifth avenue with repurposed refrigerator trucks filled with the corpses of his victims

    Didn’t he call that in 2016?

  5. robro says

    stroppy @ #1 — If it makes you a tiny bit better, FiveThirtyEight puts his approval rating at only 45.4% and his disapproval rating at 50.3%. That’s “as of 10 minutes ago” according to the site. What’s disheartening is that his disapproval rating has dropped in the last week from 53.1% and his approval rating ticked up from 42.7%. In other words, Americans remain easily bamboozled, Trump is still a con man with a PR team, and we’re fucked.

  6. says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe in a national crisis presidents generally have very high approval ratings, like 60 or 65% or more. So if his approval rating is 45% that’s pretty bad.

  7. cartomancer says

    The thing that floored me (although, after four years of this madness, it really shouldn’t have) is that yourFederal Stockpile of protective equipment, paid for by your tax money and intended for just this kind of crisis, is being shipped out with military protection to be given to private companies to sell for a profit.

    That’s a special kind of evil all of its own.

  8. stroppy says

    @5 & @6

    I do feel a little better. The unrealistic hope, ever crowding the back of my head, would be that Trump’s approval rating should fall below 30% if not approaching single digits.

  9. says

    All I can see this morning is garbage about the “Chloroquine” miracle cure. What a load of shit. Chloroquine will not prevent you from catching the disease. Chloroquine may save your life if you do catch it and enter a very specific situation where your immune system is reacting so hard it’s going to kill you. It’s no good against the virus itself, but it will keep you alive if you’re lungs are slowly filling up with fluid. It’s a “therapy” not a magic bullet. It will save a few lives, but no where near as many as social distancing and masking in public will.

  10. raven says

    The Covid-19 pneumonia is often severe even by pneumonia standards.
    Infectious disease and pulmonary doctors are shocked by what they’ve been seeing.

    Ventilators, BTW, aren’t all that much of a panacea.
    Over half of the people on ventilators are ending up dead.

    Ventilators Are No Panacea For Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients NPR April 2, 20203:43 PM ET Jon Hamilton

    Most coronavirus patients who end up on ventilators go on to die, according to several small studies from the U.S., China and Europe.

    It gets even worse.
    .1. “And many of the patients who continue to live can’t be taken off the mechanical breathing machines.”
    .2. The few who don’t die and do get off of the ventilators often have permanent lung damage and a long and difficult rehabilitation.

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    cartomancer @ 7

    And why isn’t that front page news or the lead story on every major news feed? I’ve only seem them on the alternative media. Unless I’ve missed them on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, why aren’t Americans marching to the White House with torches and pitchforks (or their “modern equivalents”) to drag this president out of power?

  12. birgerjohansson says

    More idiocy, from Britain this time. More than 20 telephone towers have been vandalised because of conspiracy theories.
    Britain has bought 5G tech from Chinese company Huawei, and this is now somehow associated with the spread of coronavirus.
    So, the Chinese are somehow teleporting virus particles into the bloodstream of people using ceĺlphones, with 5G tech?
    In the old days, epidemics were caused by jews poisoning the wells. Progress!

  13. Ridana says

    No matter how much oxygen you give them, it can’t get through. It’s never enough. Organs are very sensitive to low oxygen. First comes kidney failure, then liver failure, and then brain tissue becomes compromised. Immune systems stop working.

    IANAD, so this will be a really stupid question, but why can’t they use the equipment used during lung transplants that reroute blood supply to be directly oxygenated, like dialysis for oxygen? Wouldn’t that keep other systems from failing while waiting for the immune system and/or drugs to get the upper hand on the viral attack? If the person didn’t need to be physically breathing to get oxygen, nurses could be doing suctioning or whatever they do to relieve the fluid buildup in the lungs and perhaps allow some healing there too, instead of blowing out alveoli with excessive pressure trying to get past the fluid and mucous.

    Since they’re not doing this, I assume there’s a reason why it can’t work. Could someone fill me in?

  14. robro says

    cartomancer @ #7 — Remember a week or so ago when Trump was wondering where all the PPE was going, and that maybe someone should investigate? I had this intuition that the reason he was wondering that is because it’s exactly what he would do. So now we begin to get info that his guys are doing that, at least in a way.

  15. robro says

    Ridana @ #13 — A wild guess…not enough equipment and trained operators to make a dent. Plus, it probably comes with it’s own risks.

  16. davidc1 says

    @12 I knewed it all the time along .And the plod are going into the parks and stopping people from sun bathing ,not quite the weather for it .And a guy who drove from Market Drayton to Cosford because he wanted some crisps (chips to you Amuricas ) has had hie car taken away from him by the plod .
    Only good thing about this pandemic is bojo has been carted off to hospital ,hope he suffers .
    The brass neck of the bastard ,clapping on his doorstep to show his support of the NHS while the tories have been underfunding it for ten years ,bastards everyone of them .

  17. springa73 says

    That headline should read: Trump Suggests Lack of Testing is No Longer a Problem: Everyone Who Knows Anything Disagrees

  18. blf says

    On the wrong kind of ventilator… A French company, Sefam, which makes sleep apnea units, has figured out how to repurpose its product to be the type needed. (The following is a reconstructed and slightly edited cross-post from poopyhead’s current [Pandemic and] Political Madness All the Time thread.)

    French factory adapts its ventilator for the fight against coronavirus (video):

    It’s all hands on deck in a factory in eastern France that typically makes a non-invasive ventilator used to treat sleep apnea. The factory’s 35 workers are now producing a version of this machine that allows coronavirus patients to be ventilated outside of intensive care units, reducing the burden on hospitals.“We are overloaded with work and we are on our feet,” one worker told FRANCE 24. “But we’re in good health, so it’s quite right that we put in the hours.”The factory’s first order was marked for Grenoble, France, with successive ones bound for Spain, Poland and Colombia.

  19. robro says

    So the other day Trump and team were warning about America’s “Pearl Harbor moment”. Today it’s “light at end of tunnel.” I believe “light at the end of the tunnel” harkens back to Vietnam War days…about the time the US effort collapsed. I assume Trump and his PR team think the war metaphors will pump up the base, but they are tiresome.

    Meanwhile, acting Secty of Navy Modly speaks to the crew of USS Roosevelt and disses their former commander for speaking out on their behalf.

    And a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tests positive for COVID-19.

  20. Saad says

    Akira, #11

    why aren’t Americans marching to the White House with torches and pitchforks (or their “modern equivalents”) to drag this president out of power?

    a) because probably at least half of us support him in this, and b) it was gonna be pizza night tonight with our favorite Netflix shows in an air-conditioned comfortable family room

  21. rgmani says

    I still don’t understand why PZ harbors such extreme hate for Elon Musk. Seriously, there is a middle ground between “Elon Musk is the savior of mankind” and “Elon Musk is an evil creep.”

    Regarding ventilators, perhaps you could take a look at these tweets. Tesla has started making the “correct” kind of ventilators in its factories and is donating them to NYC and Detroit hospitals. As best as I can tell, they are the only automobile company currently doing this. GM and Ford are also supposed to make ventilators but I am not aware of any deliveries yet. Regarding those supposedly useless BiPAP machines, turns out they are quite useful after all.

    For the record, I regard Musk as an (extremely) flawed human being who has done some questionable things as well as some positive things. His original “panic” tweet was dumb and irresponsible in the extreme. What he is doing right now is something that is positive and I’m happy to give him credit for that.

  22. Saad says

    Oh, wait there’s a c

    c) Life sucks but it’ll be even suckier if we’re imprisoned or shot and leave our kids with no one to look after them

  23. Dunc says

    IANAD, so this will be a really stupid question, but why can’t they use the equipment used during lung transplants that reroute blood supply to be directly oxygenated, like dialysis for oxygen?

    They can – it’s called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) or extracorporeal life support (ECLS). However, there are very few ECMO units available, and it has all sorts of severe and potentially life-threatening complications. However, it is being used in some cases.

  24. unclefrogy says

    I remember it this way “the light at the end of the tunnel is a train going the opposite direction”
    I knew that there was never going to be a nice easy way for the US to become just one among many, and not be the boss of everyone. the idea is much different form the experience of living through it (I hope!)

    uncle frogy

  25. AstrySol says

    @13 We do have that kind machine: ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). However, the problems mentioned by @15 is definitely true:

    1) There are too few of the machines in the world. US has less than 500 and that’ll be less than 0.2% of the total diagnosed people right now.
    2) The risk involved is much higher (infection, etc.) and more staff is needed to start / maintain / stop it.
    3) It costs a lot to operate (although not as much as what has been dumped into the stock market, but apparently the current administration have different priorities).

    By the way, China had quite a number of ECMO systems after SARS and got many more at the beginning of COVID (when the government switched gear) but they were still considered as last-ditch effort.

  26. says

    #21 I’ll give that giant asshole Musk credit if and only if he sets himself on fire and stops wasting everyone’s oxygen

  27. robro says

    I was not aware until just a few minutes ago that Cpt. Crozier of the USS Roosevelt has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine.

  28. Mark says

    Trump leapt from saying the virus response was a “democrat hoax” and that the virus was like the flu and would go away by itself to within two weeks calling it a national emergency. Then he claimed he saw the seriousness of the virus before everyone else did. All Americans should be forced to watch the movie Gaslight (1944). The term “gaslight” originated from the play on which it is based. The husband in the movie mentally bulldozes his wife, for criminal purposes, always telling her she’s mistaken about her recollection of events. He manipulates her into doubting herself so much that she ultimately questions her own sanity. But, of course, one has to be mindful and skeptical to detect manipulation. Trump supporters are mentally clouded, so they don’t. My own sibling thinks Trump is doing a great job. Trump supporters don’t care what he says, only how he says it. He pretends to be a strong leader, so therefore he must be one. In reality, he’s makes it all up as he goes, like a conman who continuously scans his audience for reactions and weaknesses.

  29. Ridana says

    Thanks to all of you who answered my question. I kinda figured it was something along those lines, but I hadn’t seen anyone mention it at all, let alone say it had ever been tried, and it was bugging me. Carry on.

  30. Rich Woods says

    @Saad #20:

    b) it was gonna be pizza night tonight with our favorite Netflix shows in an air-conditioned comfortable family room

    And I don’t want to miss the latest Doctor Who episode, Quarantine of the Daleks.

  31. leerudolph says

    #26: “#21 I’ll give that giant asshole Musk credit if and only if he sets himself on fire and stops wasting everyone’s oxygen”

    Setting himself on fire would be one last waste of oxygen. There must be some alternative!

  32. sparks says

    There is: Strap him behind the wheel of one of his cars and launch that thing to the heart of the Sun.

    Just sayin’.

  33. raven says

    From Friendly Atheist

    MAGA Cultist Who Downplayed COVID-19 Dies of COVID-19
    About two weeks ago, Karen Kolb Sehlke posted a rant on Facebook claiming the COVID-19 pandemic was “media driven” and “controlled by the radical people in powerful places.” She said abortion was far more serious a problem. She declared the government response the “beginning of socialism.” And she acted like the stock market’s crash was part of that plan.
    Karen Kolb Sehlke: “… You don’t need hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Lysol. You need common sense, a sense of direction, faith, a will to fight, and of course guns!
    And next!!!
    Sehlke died this week, apparently of COVID-19.

    A GoFundMe page on her behalf explained how she tested positive for the virus and it “caused her to go into Kidney failure and septic shock.”

    This fundie/MAGAt woman has died from the Democatic party hoax they call the Covid-19 virus.
    Apparently her guns and jesus failed to protect her from a viral infection.

    Cult xians died at higher rates during the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009.
    They are going to do it again in 2020 with this pandemic.

  34. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I don’t see a link in PZ’s post, but if you haven’t read Gregg Gonsalves phenomenal 13 part response to Martin damning the NYT’s reporting, you absolutely should. I don’t do the twitters, but maybe this will work.

  35. birgerjohansson says

    Just in: British PM and Trump clone Boris Johnson has been placed in intensive care after his condition took a turn for the worse. Dominick Raab is acting PM in his absence.

  36. robro says

    Per the Guardian on BJ: “It is understood Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit just short of an hour and a half ago. The prime minister is understood to be conscious and to have been moved as a precaution in case he needs ventilation.”

  37. logicalcat says

    The kind of ventilators used to treat sleep apnea are very useful in treating respiratory distress. Paramedics carry them in their kit. I’m not trained enough to understand why or how to use them as I’m just a low level EMT but just know that they will be used well. Musk is an idiot no doubt. His response to both children in need and downplaying the pandemic is evidence of that. And its pretty clear that philanthropic efforts to deal with the pandemic are lackluster at best. So I agree with the general sentiment despite you being wrong here.

  38. Mark says

    @39 — Dominick Raab, the Brexit Secretary who sat before the North Ireland Selection Committee and was forced to admit that he hadn’t read the most relevant document, the Good Friday Agreement, which is only 35 pages long. We’re truly living in a nightmare if he ends up PM.

  39. LeftSidePositive says

    @35 raven: unfortunately, people of color will also die at higher rates, as they are more likely to have jobs that necessitate them coming into contact with the public, and they will be more vulnerable to the virus because of chronic conditions brought on by a lifetime of medical injustice and the lingering effects of systemic racism. And when the fundies in their megachurches start getting COVID in numbers too large to ignore, I have this horrible sinking feeling that they will just double down on their cultish and hateful thinking. Everything about this is just so fucking awful.

  40. robro says

    Not only is BoJo sick and in ICU, his fiancee Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, is also sick. And, the Guardian reports that “key advisers such as Dominic Cummings, his chief aide, were not at No 10 because they too were ill and isolating, while criticism was being levelled at the health secretary, Matt Hancock, himself only back at work on Thursday after developing symptoms.”

    I suppose the entire Johnson government could be out of commission and/or collapse. Not great timing.

    Wonder how the Trump team is managing to not fall prey to the virus. Maybe they’re covered in the blood of Jesus. (Ooooh, icky, icky, ick.)

    Side note: Being “covered in the blood of Jesus” reminds me of a description I read of the way the taurobolium was used in ancient Rome. Someone…priest per one source or person footing the bill…would stand in a pit with a slatted roof under a bull that was slaughtered. The person would emerge covered in the blood of the bull.

  41. canadiansteve says

    PZ make some reference to it here, but not enough is being made of the failure of the news media in the US. It is not an accident that news agencies are rated on their political bias, not on their truthfulness, nor thoroughness in covering something. In depth news, ie anything that takes more than a 10 second soundbite, doesn’t sell. Profit first, support political masters second… truth and accuracy are the last priority

  42. leerudolph says

    @45: “The person would emerge covered in the blood of the bull.”

    I was sort of aware of that (even saw a Mithraeum once, which I think would have been equipped as you describe) but it never occurred to me until just now that such ceremonies must be behind all that “Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?” imagery.

  43. says

    @#11, Akira MacKenzie

    Unless I’ve missed them on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, why aren’t Americans marching to the White House with torches and pitchforks (or their “modern equivalents”) to drag this president out of power?

    Because everybody knows that there would be no hesitation whatsoever to mow the crowd down with machine guns and then arrest anybody who survived and cart them off to Gitmo.

    @#21, rgmani

    I still don’t understand why PZ harbors such extreme hate for Elon Musk. Seriously, there is a middle ground between “Elon Musk is the savior of mankind” and “Elon Musk is an evil creep.”

    Elon Musk is an evil creep. There’s basically nothing he has ever done which isn’t evil creep behavior. He’s always described as “founder of Tesla motors”, in that specific phrasing. Do you know why? It’s because he didn’t actually found the company, he bought it. And in the paperwork, he insisted that one of his titles should be “founder”. He has no actual qualifications to do much of anything or comment on current events; his fortune was made in shady financial deals. He’s a fairly public drug-user who basically avoided going to prison for it by being rich. People like to claim that Terry Pratchett’s character Reacher Gilt from Going Postal was based on Trump, but he’s much closer to Musk.

    @#28, Mark:

    And, as usual, the problem with castigating Republicans for their ignorance and willingness to ignore reality is that as soon as you examine the establishment Democrats and their supporters, you find the same thing. We’re now being asked to support a guy who thinks we should be holding primaries in person right away, who has demonstrated in his public appearances that he has no answers to questions about coronavirus or understanding of the issues involved and still thinks — in the face of over 10 million Americans losing their jobs in 2 weeks — that private insurance is better than single-payer. And that’s just one issue, and after decades of making wrong choices (Iraq, Libya, NAFTA, DHS, ICE, drug policy, drone bombing, etc/) and fighting against the things the party says it values (he’s the last pro-segregation Democrat, and one of the ones not to be retired and out of the news!). Democrats cannot really look down on Republicans as being out of touch with reality or uninformed.

    @#41, logicalcat:

    You’re just outright wrong there. Among other things which make it unsuitable, a CPAP machine disperses the outgoing air unfiltered. Hooking up a coronavirus patient to one would make them hugely dangerous to everybody in the area, regardless of distance, and eventually even on the other sides of doorways, as you would know if you bothered to do 30 seconds of research with Google before running your mouth off.

  44. chrislawson says

    Ray Ceeya@9–

    It’s worse than that. There is NO solid evidence that hydroxycholoroquine helps. It might be helpful in COVID cases, but it might be harmful. The problem is that many people rely on it for treating their existing rheumatoid diseases and ever since Trump’s irresponsible announcement, Plaquenil has been almost impossible to get for people with a proven need.

    Now that Trump has announced he is going to stockpile it, that’s only going to make things even worse. The purpose of stockpiling is to have a necessity on hand in case of a crisis. Stockpiling during a crisis is utter idiocy. So all the people in the world (not just the US — these are drugs with international supply chains) who need Plaquenil are not only competing with idiotic arseholes who bought up all available supplies, now they’re competing with an idiotic arsehole mobilising the full economic force of the US against them.

    Except of course, Trump doesn’t see it as his way of distributing much-needed medications to the community. It’s really his way of monopolising supply and doling it out to those people who do him favours. And he really doesn’t care that millions of people with rheumatoid disease will suffer.

  45. chrislawson says


    I don’t this to turn into another Musk thread*, but for what it’s worth all of the self-aggrandising technophiles who have come up with engineering solutions to what is essentially a social problem have ignored the single most important problem with ventilator use:

    The limiting factor is not the number of ventilators, it’s the number of trained nurses and doctors to run them. I am a working primary care doctor, and I have no idea how to run a ventilator, let alone ECMO.

    *for the record, Musk is an evil creep; he undeniably showed that with his submarine fiasco; I am also thankful that he forced the automobile industry into developing electric vehicles; these are not points on opposite ends of a spectrum

  46. John Morales says

    The Vicar @48:
    “He’s [Elon Musk] a fairly public drug-user who basically avoided going to prison for it by being rich.”

    Heh. You think drug use merits imprisonment?

  47. says

    @#51, John Morales:

    No. But the law says that it should, and tens of thousands of people are in prison for it, where Musk is not, despite flaunting it. Regardless of whether I agree with a law or not, somebody who gets away with very publicly breaking it only because they are rich is a creep.

  48. John Morales says

    So, Vicar (The), you’re not referring to puffing on a joint in a state where it’s legal to do so, but rather some other public drug use where his wealth actually exculpated him?

    It sure seems to me you were reaching for something — anything — with which to denigrate him.

  49. logicalcat says

    @The Vicar

    I wager my EMT license over your 30 seconds of googling any day you fucking moron.

    As I said, I’m not trained enough to understand how to use the machine in a medical sense, but I am trained enough to know that it is often used with pt’s undergoing respiratory distress which happens to be one of the main causes of death from covid19. As its non invasive procedure, its not as effective as using ventilators, but it might help with those who do not require such an invasive procedure, which I remind you most do not. I wish I knew enough to know (you clearly don’t, yet pretend to). When I get back to work (under isolation atm) I’ll make sure to talk to my paramedic peers or nurses during one of my many hospital visits. The way I see the CPAP machines can limit the need for non invasive ventilators which can better serve more critical pt’s.

    Also I’m pretty sure you pulled that “makes it dangerous to everyone even outside” either from your ass or a non reputable source. Here let me do some quick googling.


    Oh I see, you got this shit from NPR. And then apparently didn’t finish reading the article because it actually agrees with me! Imagine that. It flat out says you can use CPAPS for covid19 pt’s who are less severe especially if you either retrofit it to function as ventilators (if they are BIPAPS) and use intubation. Imagine that. Also unless the hospital system gets overwhelmed (which might happen) nurses wont care about spreading it to the air because the pt’s will be in isolation rooms. In fact, its already happening, thats why you see nurses with full gown, face shield and masks, because except for very critical pt’s, whatever oxygen you use will end up spreading the virus to the air. Literally the same link that PZ put up interviewing the doctor who recovered from it, mentioned he only had a non-re-breather for oxygen therapy. Thats high flow oxygen fyi (though not as high as others such as HFNC which would expel air similar to CPAPS, and yet being used all over to treat the covid19 right now as we speak). That mask will put the virus all over the air as well. Here’s an actual link which mentions that CPAP and HFNC can still be used with reduced risk of aerisolization if you use the proper mask. Although it does mention that the risk of aerisolization means there’s a debate on whether to use it or not, it mentions in simulations this could work.

    And I must remind you, that neither of us knows how any of this works. Regardless of how you feel about Musk, more products that help people breath is a net good regardless, as we do not understand how this shit works (especially you) and its an evolving situation where things could change dramatically as more evidence comes out and it would be better to have it and not use them, than need them and wont be at hand.

    So sit the fuck down.

  50. bassmanpete says

    birgerjohansson @ 12

    Yes, idiocy (and viruses) recognise no borders. Around about the turn of the century a doctor in south Wales had graffiti scrawled over her house. The reason? The vandals were confused over the words “paedophile” and “paediatrician”!

  51. says

    @#54, logicalcat:

    Had you bothered to investigate further, you would have found that the CPAP machines Musk donated have no official conversion method — there is another company which does do that, so it is, as you say, possible, but not with those ones. Funny how people like you always identify with cretins like Musk to the point of getting hot under the collar and defending him.

  52. blf says

    A snippet from Hydroxychloroquine: how an unproven drug became Trump’s coronavirus miracle cure:

    With help from Fox News and Elon Musk, a misleading French study prompted a wave of misinformation that made its way to the president

    [… A]n experiment in which 15% of the treatment group and 0% of the control had poor clinical outcomes could end up being reported as showing a 100% cure rate.


    [One of the bogus study’s “investigators”, quack Didier] Raoult also found a dedicated and effective English-language publicist in Gregory Rigano, the lawyer who appeared on Fox News with a chyron that falsely labeled him an adviser to Stanford Medical School. Rigano wrote a Google document promoting the use of chloroquine with James Todaro, a blockchain investor who received a medical degree from Columbia University but does not appear to practice. (The document initially listed a third co-author, a retired biochemist who disclaimed any knowledge of it when contacted by Wired.)

    The Google document, which was formatted in a way that made it appear to be a scientific paper, found an audience among Silicon Valley’s elite. It was shared on Twitter by a number of influential investors before it hit the virality motherlode: on 16 March, the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted the link to the document to his nearly 33m followers. […]

    That car salesman is pure evil.

  53. says

    It’s obviously not immediately helpful, but this particular problem makes me wonder how hard it is to oxygenate blood outside the body. Presumably the technique is used during lung transplants, and dialysis is pretty common.

    My guess is that the equipment is just bulky and rare.

  54. says

    Journalism 101:

    If Trump says it’s raining and the scientists say it’s sunny your job isn’t to report what both sides say.

    Your job is to get off yor lazy asses, go outside and report who is telling the truth.

  55. logicalcat says

    @56 The Vicar

    And if you bother to actually address what I said instead of dogmatically taking the route you are going with you would see that regardless of conversion or not CPAP MACHINES HELP TREATING PATIENTS WITH RESPIRATORY DISTRESS. Caps for emphasis. I even mentioned that you dont need to covnert them to be useful. The page I linked also mentioned that. But because you are desperate you resort to dishonest representation and ended up digging yourself in deeper as a result.

    Sit the fuck down. You don’t know what your talking about. You are just a dishonest motherfucker. In my original post I even mentioned that Musk is an idiot for various reasons and yet you dishonestly claim that people like me (and what kind of people am I Vicar?) identify with Musk. I don’t. But dishonestly claiming those CPAP machines wont be useful is factually wrong. Remember facts? You stopped using them the moment purity politics became the priority.

    And you guys wonder why no one wants to participate in your revolution.

  56. logicalcat says

    And just like I thought, the Bipap machines Musk gave are the kind that can be converted to ventilators with the right know how. Another example of dishonesty from the BernieBro Vicar. I’d say follow your own advice and research but its pretty clear your only goal is to promote dishonesty. Funny how this hypocrite chastises Musk for his dishonesty (Which Musk is being dishonest to be clear) and yet does the exact same thing.

  57. Kagehi says

    @49 chrislawson

    Actually, its likely worse than even that its unknown if it will help. There are plausible reasons to think it might, but, in reality, we know next to nothing about what specific mechanism(s) are responsible for choloroquine doing what it does. Though, there are some reasonable theories (just no actual clear cut certainties). However, hydroxycholoroquine, and its other variations (the hydroxy in this case, I believe, just means they tacked on like an OH, and maybe a carbon to attach the OH to, which allows it to dissolve easily in water), does have one clear, and very dangerous, effect, if you take too much of it. Also, the margin between “just enough” and “too much” is a bit.. slim for my liking, as I understand things.

    Basically, it blocks transfer of potassium out of cells, especially muscle, when the muscle is “resetting” from a state of relaxation. In general, not enough “sodium” in your system means your muscles can’t contract. Not enough potassium means they can’t relax. How ever, this is because of how and why the two are used. When muscle relax it dumps sodium, and intakes potassium. No potassium to absorb and your get cramps, because the muscle can’t trade out the sodium for the potassium. Not enough sodium, and muscles can’t constrict, since you need to dump potassium out, and intake sodium, to fire the muscle.

    So, what happens if you insert something, in enough quantities to be a problem, into this process, such that you have the right balance of salts in your system, but.. your muscles can’t expel one of them, at all? Well… then you get a muscle, like say the heart (whoops), which relaxes, between beats, but cannot reset its internal state, by expelling potassium, and.. contracts either very weakly, so that it can’t pump blood, or worse, won’t contract at all.

    Yeah.. Definitely a “cure”, but.. its the sort of cure you imagine coming from some idiot suggesting people go out and buy X product, because its known to kill Y, and drink Z amount of it – while ignoring the poison warning on the bottle. Even if, in “proper” amounts it harmless, or even beneficial, only an idiot would try to, say, self treat a heart condition by eating rat poison (i.e. taking unspecified and unsafe levels of Warfaren), but this is exactly the stupid shit this nutcase is, more or less, suggesting to people.

  58. KG says

    This is sad news, but won’t mean much, if anything, unless you’re interested in mathematics – particularly the more bizarre and amusing parts of it: John Horton Conway has died of Covid-19 at age 82. discoverer of important theorems in numerous branches of mathematics, publisher of serious papers with titles such as “Monstrous Moonshine”, and inventor (or discoverer) of surreal numbers, the cellular automaton Game of Life (on an aspect of which I’ve spent, cumulatively, several years’ work/play, and published a few papers), the two-person game sprouts, and many other odd and entertaining abstractions. We are very unlikely to see his like again.

  59. Saad says

    KG, wow, that is sad to hear.

    I’ll always remember my one single (online) interaction with him back in my high school days where he called my question “trivial”. I was quite happy with having asked a trivial question because it got a reply from Conway :D