Friday, March 27, 2020

America's Government Gets "Big Fail" On Covid-19 Test

Because of hidden agendas, incompetence and inconsistent or a lack of testing we have no idea how far this has spread across the world. The covid-19 crisis has been poorly handled in America.  The first article on this site concerning this subject appeared way back on February 2, this was well before it was on most people's radar. As a matter of fact, it started to get a bit embarrassing to be this focused on a distant virus. Looking back I found that since then, eight articles had covid-19 or coronavirus in the title, others probably mentioned it as a factor in events that were unfolding.

Best Interactive Chart Ever (click to enlarge)
We could say the world has gone "corona crazy.' Whether it is an overreaction is difficult to say but one thing that stands out is that America's response has been an appalling series of flip-flops and disinformation. This pandemic has brought with it a lot of variables that are difficult to predict. Simply declaring this a war against covid-19 and pledging to win is no substitute for implementing a sound strategy. The government has failed both on the medical side and economically.

Italy and Spain remain the go-to countries for the truth of what is happening, they are just a couple of the few telling the truth. It is clear the fast-moving Covid-19 is spreading across the globe and just how bad things will become remains to be seen.  Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft which has studied the subject of pandemics and predicted that something like coronavirus was coming recently revealed his thoughts on what needs to be done. Gates indicated we face a major challenge.

 Politics And Grandstanding For The Masses
Like many Americans frustrated by how dysfunctional Washington has become, I vehemently opposed the second federal covid-19 economic rescue package. The 110-page bill, which Trump fully supported rapidly worked its way through Congress with overwhelming support and became law. The chamber approved the bill less than an hour after the text was released. This bill aimed at assisting millions of Americans directly was in addition to the $8.3 billion emergency spending bill already approved to curb the spread of covid-19. Two major reasons for strongly objecting to this bill were, we have no idea what it will cost and it missed its target while dealing a crushing blow to small businesses across America.

Following a major selloff in the stock markets, the White House and Senate leaders announced they reached a deal during the wee hours Wednesday morning on another massive stimulus package. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) proudly hailed the legislation as "the largest rescue package in American history." The bill which totals 883 pages is their answer as to how we prevent the nation from falling into a deep recession because of the coronavirus crisis. The Hill reports the Senate proposal will inject approximately $2 trillion into the economy. It will provide tax rebates, four months expanded unemployment benefits and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at shoring up individual, family and business finances.

The celebration started with markets embarking on the largest one day rise in decades and this was before negotiations were even finished. Staffers worked into Wednesday morning to finish the text of the bill which was to be voted on before the ink was dry on the printed version. “At last we have a deal. ... the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement," McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor after 1:30 a.m. McConnell pledged the Senate would pass the bill later in the day. The legislation includes $500 billion for a major corporate liquidity program, $367 billion for a small business loan program, $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments but the poorly crafted pork-packed bill does not stop there.

A major component to many Americans is that it gives a one-time check of $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000. This is the kind of "throw the kitchen sink at it" stupidity that drives many financially aware Americans crazy, individuals with no or little tax liability would receive the same amount but if you make $75,001 your screwed. When politicians go into full-scale pandering fairness is not an issue as long as they have the cover of calling it "bipartisan" and can claim things would be far worse if they had not taken action. It should be noted this bill limits stock buybacks by some companies but at the same time injects such a massive amount of fresh money into the economy many people expect it to send stock prices higher, how high and for how long has yet to be determined.  

It must be pointed out, that two trillion dollars translates into $6,000 per man, woman, and child in America, and yes this is deficit spending!
Virus Curve (click to enlarge)
In order to protect the economy, President Trump has put out a timeline for when Americans should put this behind us and return to work. This may not be prudent or appropriate. This will not end well if we decide to put our heads in the sand. Using the chart at the right for a relevant comparison, we see, at this point, the US and several other countries are at the very start of the curve. This means we should expect things to get much uglier in the coming weeks.

While most of us are focused on ourselves and protecting those we love, a report from NBC News highlights the fact covid-19 threatens to inflict "carnage" on refugees around the world who often live in cramped conditions, lack access to clean water and are in countries with failing or stretched medical systems. This is also true in many poor and developing nations. Because of the absence of extensive testing at refugee camps in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, it's unclear whether the virus has already reached them and is rapidly spreading. Humanitarian aid groups and organizations told NBC News that from Syria to Bangladesh to Uganda, the people who have fled war and persecution are at risk, and only urgent international action can avert a catastrophe. Sadly, countries are so mired in their own problems little aid is forthcoming.

If you are into analogies, it could be said that we are all like frogs in a pot of water and the water temperature is slowly rising. I see a giant problem brewing. let us do some numbers. In a city of a quarter of a million people, some experts estimate 40% to 80% of people may get this bug. Of those American health officials say as many as 20% may need to be hospitalized.
So go with 50% catch rate= 125,000 infected
     go with only 10% hospitalized rate = 12,500
We sure don't have the beds in my area. Note, this is 5% of the population.
I'm not focused on how many people die - handling the care of these people alone creates a massive problem!

Readers of AdvancingTime should be aware that an article on March 8, predicted the corona-virus had the potential to foster a major liquidity crisis, call it a liquidity issue if you want, that would cause the system to freeze up as people and companies decided to, or were  forced, to hoard the money they have as fear grew that new cash would not be rolling in. The first article on AdvancingTime concerning the coronavirus occurred on February 2, when it was only a blip on the radar and contained to China where there were only 17,205 confirmed cases. At that time AdvancingTime warned it would make markets impossible to predict. I write this to remind you covid-19 has been a growing part of the landscape for some time. Like many of you, I will be glad when we can move on to other topics.

Footnote; Below is a list of covid-19 articles that have appeared on AdvancingTime.


  1. The hospitalization rate is far less then 20%. Most mild cases go undetected, especially with poor testing thus far. In fact, we are lucky with this virus. It is not the Spanish Flu redux.

  2. Where do I start? First you criticize the U.S. govt's response saying it has "failed" medically and economically, and then you criticize the huge 2 trillion dollar stimulus package which is to help the economy because it is deficit spending! Yes, there's a small amount of pork in it, but overall it's a good measure. Plus, last I checked, our health care system is predominately private, not govt.-run, so how exactly did they fail medically? What would you do? Your charts are also misleading, like those scary charts put out with the big red dots making the problem look much more severe than it really is. You quote some "experts" who say 40-80% will catch this virus, 20% of whom will need hospitalization. Where are you getting these numbers? It's nowhere near that right now. Half of the cases in the entire country are in NYC alone. I live in a county with 75,000 residents and there are as yet no cases here. This will get somewhat severe in high population density areas like NYC, but in most areas it will not be so bad. The latest estimates from the real experts, like Admiral Giroir Assistant Secretary of Health, are that the mortality rate is between 0.1 and 0.5%, slightly worse than Influenza. You are hyping this up and engaging in fearmongering just like the left wing "journalists" who take their orders from the Democrat party and disseminate their propaganda every day. I like many of your past articles, but you're really not making much sense where this coronovirus issue is concerned.

    1. The mortality rate is 10% in ltaly and chinas was obviously way higher than they claim. It's only just begun in the US. The billion dollar bailouts are great for corporations.$1200 for individuals is chump change when your one bedroom apt goes for $1600 a month and you've lost your job..

  3. Thanks for the comment and thoughts but I agree to disagree on a few issues. First, this is by far the biggest financial relief package in our history. The two trillion dollar package is far larger than what we did during the 2008 crisis. We are creating $6,000 of new debt for every man, woman, and child in America.
    Second, while I consider this virus vicious and fast-spreading, most adults can if properly advised, take precautions to reduce the spread. Total quarantines may be an overreaction.
    People need to step up and take a bit more responsibility. This separates me from fearmongering left-wing "journalists" and those wanting to just print money as a solution.

  4. Here's a thought, when the US leader says everything is well, under controlled, 'it's like a flu', its nothing to be worries about - this is seen as flip-flop, misinformed.
    When some other countries says it, its full blown "propaganda and coverups". The world's media is way too bias, all those "neutral" news agencies claiming freedom of press, but all factual information gathered are not factually reported, but manipulated using fancy words and skewed facts. History will tell when this fail will shows how western media's downplaying the impact (influenced by politics) are causing the big fail.