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Member since: Tue Apr 12, 2005, 10:15 PM
Number of posts: 6,201

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The Coronavirus Crisis Free-Falling: U.S. Oil Drops Below $2 Per Barrel As Demand Disappears

Updated at 1:44 p.m. ET

How low will oil prices go?

A key American oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, fell by more than 80% on Monday as global oil markets continue to grapple with a pandemic-driven collapse in demand.

At the start of 2020, a barrel of WTI cost around $60.

Shortly after 1:40 p.m. ET on Monday, a barrel was trading for less than $2 — the lowest price the WTI futures market has ever seen.

The plummeting price of WTI is driven by a trading contract deadline; oil traders have until Tuesday to sell off the current futures contract. Other types of crude, without a deadline coming up that quickly, have not dropped nearly so sharply.

Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Apr 20, 2020, 01:57 PM (5 replies)

No, You Did Not Get COVID-19 in the Fall of 2019

On Tuesday, KSBW, a news station in Monterey, California, aired a story about California’s potential “herd immunity” to the novel coronavirus. The piece opens by discussing a new study from Stanford Medicine in which researchers are conducting blood tests that detect antibodies, which can show whether an individual has or previously had COVID-19. The reporter then goes on to cite Victor Davis Hanson, a Stanford-affiliated source who advances the theory that COVID-19 might have actually begun spreading in California in fall 2019. “[Stanford’s] data could help to prove COVID-19 arrived undetected in California much earlier than previously thought,” KSBW reported.

The piece has spread widely. An accompanying web story posted to the TV station’s website has been shared more than 58,300 times, and has also been picked up by SFGate. The theory is appealing to some, particularly those who had respiratory illnesses in late 2019 that they now believe could’ve been COVID-19. In their minds, that might mean they have some immunity to the virus—and if a large portion of Americans have some immunity, we can begin our move out of lockdown. But that theory has no scientific basis, and it spreads dangerous misinformation.
Let’s start with the facts. I reached out to Stanford Medicine to try to understand the goals of its antibody test, and how it relates to Hanson’s fall 2019 theory. The short answer on the latter is that it doesn’t. “Our research does not suggest that the virus was here that early,” says Lisa Kim of Stanford’s media relations team.

Neither does anyone else’s, it appears. “There is zero probability [SARS-CoV-2] was circulating in fall 2019,” tweeted Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who has been tracking SARS-CoV-2’s genetic code as it has spread. Allison Black, a genomic epidemiologist working in Bedford’s lab, says this is apparent from researchers’ data. As the virus spreads, it also mutates, much like the way words change in a game of Telephone. By sequencing the virus’s genome from different individual samples, researchers can track strains of the coronavirus back to its origins. They have been continually updating their findings on Nextstrain. (In case you’re wondering, the strains have nothing to do with severity of illness. They’re simply a way to track the virus’s mutations over time.)

Check out the source of the California story:

So what’s really behind this theory? It might be worth considering the source. KSBW’s piece begins by mentioning Stanford Medicine’s research, then quotes Victor Davis Hanson, a Stanford-affiliated source; the piece reads as if Hanson is one of these aforementioned Stanford Medicine researchers. But Hanson is a military historian, not a doctor or scientist; he is affiliated with Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank.* (I reached out to Hanson for comment, but he has not responded; we will update this article if he does.) The piece makes no effort to clarify what the Hoover Institution is, and it delves into Hanson’s “theory” as a prelude to a brief explanation of Stanford Medicine’s study. Hanson’s recent work, published in National Review, suggests he is eager to reopen the American economy. It would be quite convenient, then, to claim that the virus has already torn through the U.S. and granted us immunity. (In that article, Hanson also claims that “much of the virus modeling is nearly worthless” and refers to it as “science,” in scare quotes.)


A great person to follow on Twitter for this ongoing info is Trevor Bedford
Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Apr 13, 2020, 09:26 PM (8 replies)

Heartbreaking thread on Twitter from Lisa Rowe - her husband Scott posted on DU

Lisa Rowe

I just want him back. Not even 24 hours ago I had a live husband. How is he gone? I don't understand.

Posted by womanofthehills | Sun Apr 12, 2020, 06:31 PM (28 replies)

Washington Post today - Now Americans on SS have to file a tax return (discrepancy)

The Trump administration is requiring Americans who receive Social Security to file a tax return to receive their $1,200 economic stimulus payment, an added step that is causing confusion and could prevent millions from easy access to relief.

further down article:

But, the Internal Revenue Service posted a notice on its website on Monday instructing Social Security recipients who do not normally send in a return to file a “simple” tax return, which will be available soon.

“People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment," the IRS said. “Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.”
A request to IRS and the Treasury Department for comment about the discrepancy was not returned. Democrats and some Republicans are upset that the Trump administration isn’t doing more to help ensure that as many Americans as possible get these payments during this national health emergency.

Forty-one Democratic senators sent the White House a letter Wednesday asking why the Trump administration is placing this “significant burden” on senior citizens and the disabled. GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri called it “ridiculous."

Posted by womanofthehills | Wed Apr 1, 2020, 07:24 PM (6 replies)

NYT opinion piece - Why telling people they don' need masks backfired

I am now wearing a mask when I go out. I have sewed some pretty ones with flowers, but I do have one N95 mask that my friend gave me for cleaning out my chicken coop before this all started. I barely used it cleaning my coop so I feel so grateful to have this mask. There are now lots of mask making videos - some putting coffee filters inside cotton masks.

First, many health experts, including the surgeon general of the United States, told the public simultaneously that masks weren’t necessary for protecting the general public and that health care workers needed the dwindling supply. This contradiction confuses an ordinary listener. How do these masks magically protect the wearers only and only if they work in a particular field?

further down in article:

Third, of course masks work — maybe not perfectly and not all to the same degree, but they provide some protection. Their use has always been advised as part of the standard response to being around infected people, especially for people who may be vulnerable. World Health Organization officials wear masks during their news briefings. That was the reason I had bought a few in early January — I had been conducting research in Hong Kong, which has a lot of contact with mainland China, and expected to go back. I had studied and taught about the sociology of pandemics and knew from the SARS experience in 2003 that health officials in many high-risk Asian countries had advised wearing masks.

Fourth, the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. told the public to wear masks if they were sick. However, there is increasing evidence of asymptomatic transmission, especially through younger people who have milder cases and don’t know they are sick but are still infectious. Since the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. do say that masks lessen the chances that infected people will infect others, then everyone should use masks. If the public is told that only the sick people are to wear masks, then those who do wear them will be stigmatized and people may well avoid wearing them if it screams “I’m sick.” Further, it’s very difficult to be tested for Covid-19 in the United States. How are people supposed to know for sure when to mask up?

Fifth, places like Hong Kong and Taiwan that jumped to action early with social distancing and universal mask wearing have the pandemic under much greater control, despite having significant travel from mainland China. Hong Kong health officials credit universal mask wearing as part of the solution and recommend universal mask wearing. In fact, Taiwan responded to the coronavirus by immediately ramping up mask production

Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:23 PM (1 replies)

Rand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate

"Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor," Romney's office said in a statement on Sunday.

He was preceded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who became the first senator to announce he would self-quarantine because of Paul.

"Upon learning that my colleague Sen. Paul tested positive for COVID-19, I consulted the Attending Physician of the U.S. Congress Dr. Harding," Lee said in a statement. "Given the timing, proximity, and duration of my exposure to Sen. Paul, she directed me to self-quarantine for 14 days."

Posted by womanofthehills | Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:36 AM (5 replies)

from The Lancet - hypothesis - people on ACE inhibitors at risk for higher infection

No problem with calcium channel blockers.

Human pathogenic coronaviruses (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV] and SARS-CoV-2) bind to their target cells through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is expressed by epithelial cells of the lung, intestine, kidney, and blood vessels.4

The expression of ACE2 is substantially increased in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are treated with ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers (ARBs).4
Hypertension is also treated with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, which results in an upregulation of ACE2.5
ACE2 can also be increased by thiazolidinediones and ibuprofen. These data suggest that ACE2 expression is increased in diabetes and treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs increases ACE2 expression. Consequently, the increased expression of ACE2 would facilitate infection with COVID-19. We therefore hypothesise that diabetes and hypertension treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-1

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30116-8/fulltext - (link is not working - I posted article below)

Posted by womanofthehills | Sun Mar 15, 2020, 06:29 PM (16 replies)

So why are the SC polls NOT polling many young people? On purpose or not?

So Clemson thinks that only polling 3% of people aged 18-24 is a representative poll. With 84% of people polled over 41 yrs old.


AND PPP polling has 66% of people polled older than 46


Posted by womanofthehills | Wed Feb 26, 2020, 02:22 PM (10 replies)

Trump in Iowa going round the bend - "They want to kill our cows. That means you're next"

Posted by womanofthehills | Thu Jan 30, 2020, 09:33 PM (9 replies)

Pence totally clueless on Trumps Medicaid & Medicare cuts

Posted by womanofthehills | Thu Jan 30, 2020, 08:56 PM (4 replies)
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