Random Thoughts

LA Times finally wakes up and realizes that collapsing economies do more harm than viruses

How are the United States and other developed nations supposed to help when we’ve shut down our economies? As many fathers scream at their children, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

Born and raised in Brazil’s drought-ridden northeast, she moved with her partner to Rio de Janeiro in 2018, in search of work. He was hired as a janitor; she began selling meals on the street, and soon they were bringing in $280 a month — enough to start saving to one day build a house back home.

The novel coronavirus pushed that dream out of reach. Lima, who has diabetes and heart problems, putting her at higher risk of dying if she contracts the virus, stopped working once the pandemic took hold in her sprawling slum, known as the City of God.

Now it seems that if the coronavirus doesn’t kill her, hunger may.

“We have to pay the rent, and we don’t have the money,” said Lima, 48. “I haven’t even been able to buy beans.”

The economic devastation the pandemic wreaks on the ultra-poor could ultimately kill more people than the virus itself.

The United Nations predicts that a global recession will reverse a three-decade trend in rising living standards and plunge as many as 420 million people into extreme poverty, defined as earning less than $2 a day.

As for the 734 million people already there, the economic tsunami will make it harder for them to ever climb out.

LA Times
Random Thoughts

Once infected you’re immune for life?

Professor Delores Cahill from the University College Dublin says that the worldwide response to COVID-19 is wrong and there was no need for the lockdown and few people should have died.

If she is not correct she should be interviewed by the main stream media and her ideas debunked. But, I’m willing to guess that she is correct and she will be ignored.

Random Thoughts

Software engineer rips apart COVID-19 propagation model that locked down the world

So now we learn that the software used for modeling the propagation of COVID-19 across the world is shit software. It’s something that is over a decade old and written using poor programming practices. It appears to have been translated from one language to another, the same inputs produce different outputs (which it’s not supposed to do), and the modelers knew of all the bugs in their system and tried to cover it up by saying that averaging out the results would be accurate.

A software engineer, formerly of Google, went through the code and was appalled at what he/she found.

The Imperial code doesn’t seem to have working regression tests. They tried, but the extent of the random behaviour in their code left them defeated. On 4th April they said:  “However, we haven’t had the time to work out a scalable and maintainable way of running the regression test in a way that allows a small amount of variation, but doesn’t let the figures drift over time.”

Beyond the apparently unsalvageable nature of this specific codebase, testing model predictions faces a fundamental problem, in that the authors don’t know what the “correct” answer is until long after the fact, and by then the code has changed again anyway, thus changing the set of bugs in it. So it’s unclear what regression tests really mean for models like this – even if they had some that worked.

Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx used this information to help convince President Trump to shut down the country. President Trump’s initial instinct that this was not that big a deal was correct and he should have stuck to his guns.

In essence, we shut down our country and the world for a virus where around 97.5% of the people that get infected fully recover. 2.5% become critical and a percentage of them die. I wish #PeakStupid wasn’t true.

Random Thoughts

What is the real COVID-19 death count?

The news media gets their death count numbers from the uber scary Johns Hopkins COVID-19 death map (see below). It shows the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the US at nearly 73,000.

The CDC, on the other hand, reports that actual deaths from COVID-19 to be only a little over 44,000 (see below).

This is a huge discrepancy. Which one is correct and why doesn’t the media ask this question?

Random Thoughts

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine

I wrote another letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune. They didn’t print my last one but hopefully they’ll print this one.

Did you know that there has never been a vaccine for ANY coronavirus? That’s right. SARS, MERS, or the illustrious Common Cold have never had a vaccine that worked in humans. Why do we suddenly think that a vaccine for COVID-19 will suddenly emerge in 18 months?

“The scientists say.” “Follow the science.” I’m so sick and tired of these phrases. Science is not exact and most of the time science is wrong. Science, if it’s good science, is never settled. The magical belief in a vaccine that is just around the corner is due to a poorly educated population that has been conditioned to cast aside their Constitutionally protected rights in favor of safety that doesn’t exist.

This lockdown is wrong and has to end. Now.

Here’s my letter to the editor:

Governor Pritzker’s 5 point plan that doesn’t allow a return to normalcy until a vaccine, treatment, or widespread immunity is sheer folly. There has never been a vaccine for humans for any coronavirus and from past coronaviruses it seems immunity may only last for months in humans. Waiting to re-open Illinois will result in catastrophic loss of life in a myriad of other ways due to economic collapse. Our state is already effectively bankrupt and now the Governor is asking its citizens go bankrupt as well.

Sweden is roughly the same size in population as Illinois. They have roughly the same number of infections and deaths. Yet, they never locked down their country, they never closed their schools, and business continued to operate. Sweden did the right thing by their citizens.
90% of Illinois’ COVID-19 infections and deaths exist in the Chicago metropolitan area. It makes absolutely no sense to subject the rest of the state to Pritzker’s draconian measures. At the very least the one size fits all policy for the entire state needs to end.

Here are links to articles backing up my opinion.

Random Thoughts

What’s the daily death count for businesses?

Every day governors get in front of the camera to report their daily death count. Governor J.B. Pritzker is one that seems to love to get up and tell us Illinoians what we need to do. He seems to think that he is the daddy of us all and we need his protection. He extended his bullshit stay-at-home order to the end of May. THE END OF MAY!! Because he believes it’s the “right thing to do.”

When giving his report he should also report on businesses throughout the state that have died because of his draconian lockdown order.

MacMurray College survived the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars, but not the coronavirus pandemic. The private liberal-arts school in central Illinois announced recently it will shut its doors for good in May, after 174 years.

Like many small schools, it faced declining enrollment and financial shortfalls. To lure prospective students, it was using steep discounts to its $30,000 listed tuition. Then the global health crisis brought unexpected costs for shifting classes online and partially reimbursing room and board for students forced to finish out the spring term at home. The loss of a $3-million-plus bridge loan was the final straw.

The pandemic “squeezed out the last rays of hope,” said President Beverly Rodgers.

The Wall Street Journal

A lockdown that wasn’t necessary for anyone under the age of 65.

Random Thoughts

Here’s why you shouldn’t use the same policies for different cities and states

The panic around COVID-19 caused the people and most governments of the United States to chuck common sense in order to listen to “the experts.” The experts that were crazy wrong about most things with this pandemic. The numbers below from an article on show how stupid it is to treat places like Kentucky, Idaho, and Kansas like New York City. Heck even the rest of the State of New York didn’t have to be treated like New York City.

I’m in the Chicago area and it is stupid to treat the rest of the state like the Chicago metropolitan area. A majority of the cases in the State of Illinois are all in Cook County and the collar counties surrounding Chicago.

We reached #PeakStupid in this country.

There is no question that New York State has borne the brunt of the crisis. The Times reports that one out of every three Americans who has died from Covid-19 has been a New Yorker — 17,000 in all. New York City is one of the few places in the country — along with Detroit and New Orleans — where the hospital system has been stretched to capacity. (Although even in New York City, the most catastrophic expectations never came to pass: for instance, the Naval hospital ship Comfort, which came to New York to provide emergency beds, is being returned after treating just 179 patients.)

New York is the densest city in the country, and density is a crucial factor in spreading the virus. Yet cities and states that are far less dense have imposed the same restrictions as New York State. Idaho has a stay-at-home order; it has had 172 hospitalizations and 58 deaths as of Tuesday. 1 Kansas: 504 hospitalizations and 124 deaths. Maine: 163 hospitalizations and 51 deaths. Meanwhile, Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas never instituted a shelter-at-home order — yet the state has only 104 current hospitalizations and 52 deaths. Which suggests an obvious question: Does it make sense for these less dense places to be imposing the same restrictions as New York?
Random Thoughts

About 97.5% of people recover from COVID-19

I just took a course on immunity and COVID-19 at During the course there was an interesting graphic showing how COVID-19 affects the body and the percentages of severity that people experience when they get infected.

I’ve seen these numbers before in other places but I thought this graphic puts it all in a nice nutshell.

We’ve shut down the U.S. economy when only about 2.5% of those in critical condition from COVID-19 die. That is just nuts.

If you want you can take this course too. It’s not for layman but it’s clear enough to get an overview and understanding as to why people are dying and the cause.

Link to the course. It’s FREE

Random Thoughts

Hospitals and doctors get a spiff for COVID-19 patients

It’s always nice to get a pay bump. But in this case we’re the suckers paying the bill. Are the number of infections and deaths related to COVID-19 inflated in order for the hospital systems to cash in because they can’t perform elective procedures? Hmmmm…

Hospitals and doctors do get paid more for Medicare patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or if it’s considered presumed they have COVID-19 absent a laboratory-confirmed test, and three times more if the patients are placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.

This higher allocation of funds has been made possible under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act through a Medicare 20% add-on to its regular payment for COVID-19 patients, as verified by USA TODAY through the American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on the topic.

USA Today
Random Thoughts

Boston University Failed AOC

She is so poorly educated. It’s unconscionable that she received a degree from Boston University. They should refund her money or shut down the economics department if this is the kind of nonsense they teach.