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All Such Crises Are Hardly Black Swans

A weekend topic starting with KSL in Utah. “Orn Bodvarsson, an economics professor at Westminster College, said the country is on a decade-long expansion trajectory that shows almost no sign of faltering anytime soon. He said there are a variety of macroeconomic indicators that show the strength of the expansion explaining what’s been driving the ongoing growth. ‘The No. 1 driver has been easy money, a very accommodative Fed,’ Bodvarsson said.”

From Senior Housing News. “‘2020 is, in my view, sort of the reset year for the industry altogether,’ Eclipse Senior Living CEO Kai Hsiao told Senior Housing News. ‘If you don’t do things differently … it’s not a good way to move forward.'”

“For Eclipse, the key is growing in a way that makes the most sense, given its current market presence. That can be tough given the sheer amount of capital flowing through the industry right now. ‘Our biggest challenge right now is saying no, politely,’ Hsiao said. ‘I am concerned that there’s too much capital out there, being a former guy from a REIT on the capital side.'”

From Bisnow Washington DC. “Following a banner year for the multifamily sector during which institutions poured billions of dollars into apartments, large investors and lenders hope to continue increasing their multifamily deal volume in 2020. As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pour billions of dollars into the multifamily sector, Allianz co-head of debt investments Mike Cale said it can be hard to find enough projects to finance. ‘The challenge we have with the multifamily space is we’re competing with the agencies, which are very aggressive in the arena,’ Cale said.”

“Managing Director Jason Hernandez also said competition is among Nuveen’s top challenges in meeting its capital allocation goals, but he is most worried about other debt funds. A proliferation of debt funds has led to more than 180 of them competing for deals, he said, adding that an ideal market would only have about 20. The increased competition has put downward pressure on returns, he said. ‘The thing I’m most concerned about isn’t the state of the market, it’s that there’s an oversupply of capital,’ Hernandez said. ‘There’s too much capital chasing too few deals today.'”

From Housing Wire. “Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria reiterated his previous sentiments that publicly offering stock in the government-sponsored enterprises will only happen when the companies have a sufficient financial base. Last year, the government allowed the GSEs to retain up to $45 billion in combined capital as they move towards exiting conservatorship. ‘Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee a combined $5.5 trillion in single and multifamily mortgages. That is nearly half of America’s residential mortgage market. But when I walked in the door at FHFA, they were limited to just $6 billion in allowable capital reserves. This put their combined leverage ratio at nearly a thousand to one,’ Calabria said.”

“‘Since I came into office, we have nearly quadrupled capital at the Enterprises. But it still stands at nearly two hundred and forty to one – roughly 20 times the average leverage of the institutions represented here today,’ Calabria said. ‘This is far less capital than Fannie and Freddie need to survive even a modest downturn,’ Calabria added. ‘The question I ask myself every day is: Are Fannie and Freddie ready for a stressed housing market? Right now, the answer is no. In their current financial condition, Fannie and Freddie would fail in a downturn,’ Calabria said.”

From ABC News. “A week ago, Australian stocks were riding high, riding on the record-breaking coat-tails of Wall Street. In the space of just six brutal trading sessions, however, the mood has turned from serene optimism to abject fear. Almost every country has some form of debt bubble. In Australia, we hold world record levels of household debt. The US Federal Reserve holds more than $US4 trillion in debt securities that it used to pump up the global economy.”

“China, the world’s second biggest economy, has debt bubbles at government, central bank and corporate levels. And let’s just not talk about Japan, which has a government debt of around 260 per cent of GDP. Then there is the vast accumulation of debt in developing nations, which the World Bank estimated at $US55 trillion in 2018. ‘The size, speed and breadth of the latest debt wave should concern us all,’ World Bank group president David Malpass said in December.”

“The rationale for all this was to spur investment: for individuals and firms to borrow money to invest in new factories, in plant and equipment. It was supposed to create jobs, boost demand and fuel inflation and wages. The debt would then fade into obscurity. Instead, it has mostly just inflated asset prices. Housing prices have gone nuts. Global stock markets have been soaring, scaling new heights even as the global economy has barely been stumbling along.”

“With so much debt issued at record-low interest rates, it has become almost impossible for policymakers to even consider raising interest rates in good times, for fear of creating a debt default avalanche. The companies most at risk will be those labouring under massive debt. That’s why Wall Street is shuddering, for traders now realise just how fragile the foundations of the current boom really are. The rush for the exits is turning into a stampede.”

From Krishna Gupta. “The 2008 crisis was hardly one of a kind and many crises in the past had a similar genesis. Nouriel Roubini, the NYU economist has reminded us that crises such as the speculative bubble in tulips in 1630 in Holland or the Great Depression of the 1930s had a similar genesis as the 2008 crisis. They had the same elements: a boom, followed by speculation in an asset class (tulips in 1630, Housing in 2008), creation of a bubble and the bursting of the bubble. Roubini says that all such crises are hardly ‘Black Swans’ – instead, they follow a predictable path and corrective action should be taken as soon as tell-tale signs appear.”

“It was not as if there were no warnings about the impending crisis. Roubini had warned in 2006 that corrective measures need to be taken since debt in the financial system was rising beyond manageable levels. Raghuram Rajan had also cautioned in 2005 that the compensation of bankers and traders needed to be rationalised so as not to incentivise them to take on too much risk and over-leverage the system. Nassim Nicholas Taleb (of the ‘Black Swan’ fame) had cautioned that financial markets were over-leveraged and many of the investment banks were under-regulated and would not be able to handle ‘fat-tail’ events.”

“Even with the warnings expressed above, the US Federal Reserve under Greenspan was a little late in reacting. In fact, the ‘Greenspan Put’ became well known whereby interest rates were kept low leading to growth in the stock markets. Investment banks were led to believe that low-interest rates would hold and therefore they could enter long positions and sell stocks at a higher price creating a ‘Put’ option. Greenspan was criticised for this policy since it encouraged risk-taking.”

“In the end, Hyman Minsky’s work comes to mind. We may recall that Minsky had argued that instability originates in the very financial institutions that makes capitalism possible. While Minsky had made his comments in the 1980s, his ghost revisited us in the financial crisis of 2008.”

This Post Has 200 Comments
  1. ‘As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pour billions of dollars into the multifamily sector, Allianz co-head of debt investments Mike Cale said it can be hard to find enough projects to finance. ‘The challenge we have with the multifamily space is we’re competing with the agencies, which are very aggressive in the arena’

    ‘Are Fannie and Freddie ready for a stressed housing market? Right now, the answer is no. In their current financial condition, Fannie and Freddie would fail in a downturn’

    A little history about the GSE’s. Even under congressional investigation last decade they openly bought off politicians. Bragged in mid-2005 that they were diving even deeper into subprime. Enron type off shore set-ups numbering in the hundreds. They were a bunch of crooks accountable to no one.

    That might help explain why they are running around ruining markets that have nothing to do with getting first time buyers a shack loan. In fact almost nothing they do does. They are a product of Washington DC, and corrupt to the bone.

    1. How long have they been in business?

      In many business organizations, there is an initial period of idealism and good sense, with a sense of mission, under the founders. Sometimes this continues under their immediate successors.

      Over time, office politics self dealers eventually take over. To grab more and more in the short term, they end up sacrificing the long term and screwing workers, customers, investors, what have you. It is never enough.

      Eventually their replacements arrive, and the result if bankruptcy. Without bankruptcy, which divests the vested interests, the rot just keeps getting worse.

          1. What’s stopping you from forming your own political party? You could call it the More Equal Than Others Party.

          2. “What’s stopping you from forming your own political party?”

            Snoopy for President!

            (Eye have a t-shirt, that makes it legitimate!)

          3. From yer link:

            According to a Wall Street Journal article, “Science and science-fiction writer Jerry Pournelle estimates that for what the Iraq war has cost so far, the United States could have paid for a network of nuclear power stations sufficient to achieve energy independence, and bankrupt the Arabs for once and for all.”

            Thee.poor.$ad.murderou$.$audi$, would knot take kindly to that American idea.

          1. Tricky Dick for President 2020! He’s tanned, rested & ready. Since his head is pickled in a virus proof jar, he can’t get COVID-19!

    2. If we look at the debt load of most large companies, they are really in no better shape. They all took on debt in order to buy their own stock. I mean… how could they be more irresponsible to employees and shareholders (from a long term perspective). Really it’s a big shaft to the employees who do not receive RSUs or stock options.

      It also appears that the corporate debt market is not very liquid. When this thing goes tango uniform there are going to be a thousand elephants trying to exit a door the size of nat’s ass.

  2. ‘the key is growing in a way that makes the most sense, given its current market presence. That can be tough given the sheer amount of capital flowing through the industry right now. ‘Our biggest challenge right now is saying no, politely…I am concerned that there’s too much capital out there’

    Nobody could see it coming – even though I’ve found statements like this for years.

    1. ‘The No. 1 driver has been easy money, a very accommodative Fed.’

      Seems like the market knows this and has been looking for a reason to sell off. It may have found it, though I don’t think it’ll go the full 40%-ish blow-off it needs.

      1. There are already hints being released to the news media from Fed officials that an intervention is in the works. The big question seems to regard the appropriateness or effectiveness of monetary intervention at a point when the financial system remains flooded with the aftermath of a full decade’s worth of extraordinary monetary intervention, in the face of a virus-driven supply shock. Will pushing Treasury yields a little bit closer to the zero bound possibly defeat the coronavirus?

        1. Will pushing Treasury yields a little bit closer to the zero bound possibly defeat the coronavirus?

          No, but it’ll help finance the ballooning US budget deficit.

        2. I believe not, and I know a lot of reasonable people that agree with me. I would like to be convinces I’m wrong though.

        3. Could the added liquidity be used to get new or obsoleted manufacturing and supply chains up and running more quickly?

  3. ‘Almost every country has some form of debt bubble’

    Couldn’t, see, it coming!

    ‘The rationale for all this was to spur investment: for individuals and firms to borrow money to invest in new factories, in plant and equipment. It was supposed to create jobs, boost demand and fuel inflation and wages. The debt would then fade into obscurity. Instead, it has mostly just inflated asset prices’

    Central bankers must be stupid. And reckless. Let’s remember that crack-pipe ass-hat Bernanke said straight out he was targeting shack prices. And the MSM is sh!tting their pants -AGAIN – when this whole, open to anyone with eyes, scheme stunk to high heaven all along.

    1. Let’s remember that crack-pipe ass-hat Bernanke said straight out he was targeting shack prices.

      And his puppet Obama was making the rounds talking up the whole scam:

      So less than a month after I took office, I came here to Arizona and I laid out steps to stabilize the housing market… So because of all these actions we’ve been taking, our housing market is beginning to heal. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in seven years. Sales are up nearly 50 percent. Construction is up nearly 75 percent… So you should be proud of what you’ve done here. Home prices in Phoenix have risen by nearly 20 percent over the last year. New home sales are up by more than 25 percent.It’s pretty simple: When more people buy homes and play by the rules, home values go up for everybody…

  4. This sucker could go down.

    It doesn’t sound so funny this time… I’m afraid we won’t get as much joy watching the crow-eaters stamp their feet as I had hoped, since we’ll all be eating canned beans and exhausting Netflix for the next few weeks.

    Sometimes it sucks to be right.

    1. Ya, that looks like a possibility. I got propane + beans for weeks bro…

      The US healthcare infrastructure isn’t exactly an ace up our sleeve. When the ebola virus hit, two of the nurses treating the patient got it, one died.

      Of the medical professionals treating the 100 or so quarantined people in San Antonio, ten have now come down with the virus. There’s a whole high school in Oregon that got exposed. There are several other stories like these.

      The coronavirus is coming from inside the house!

      1. My wife went early to Costco today in San Jose. I went there yesterday, and all water and rice were sold out. Today, she took pics and send them to me. It was more crowded than on Black Friday. All water were sold out in minutes. Somehow, she got 5 cases but they ran out of the rice she wanted. We should have water until May LOL.

        1. I have to make a trip down to costco today for normal necessities (no 100lb bags of rice). Ill report back 😉

        2. My wife was giving me shite the other day for giving her a list of things to get at the store. When she went on Wednesday, she said people were giving her strange looks. (They had the “normal” goods in their carts whereas she had the zombie apocalypse package in hers).

          By Friday when she went to Costco for hand sanitizer as the last item to get, she said she could tell a little panic was setting in. Lots of people with wipes, non-perishables, etc. and very long lines. She grabbed one of the last 10 bottles of sanitizer at the checkout area and after doing so said 3 people in line left their carts to get some. Glad we already had the pantry stocked and were ahead of the game this week.

          1. Nothing wrong with having some rations just make sure they get eaten before the expiration date if this all ends up OK. At my local Costco all the Bulk dry rice and beans other than the white rice are sold out. Still tons of canned goods. Wipes and sanitizer seemed to be in normal stock. Plenty of water. All my families normal items all available and thats what i got. Ive lived through a major earthquake and the food and water shortages from that but that ended up being OK. If SHTF ill bug out of town to a families ranch commune rather than deal with drug withdrawing zombies robbing me for my rice bags here. Thats my emergency plan.

          2. In my area, the only thing that appears to be running out is bleach. I’m seeing normal shoppers here, at least at the grocery stores and Wal-Mart. I stay away from Costco.

            I’m stocking up on what they call “peacetime food,” which is just normal food. I have an extra freezer so I have a lot of meat and frozen veggies.

      2. “Of the medical professionals treating the 100 or so quarantined people in San Antonio, ten have now come down with the virus.”

        Problems like this are what overwhelmed the Chinese health care delivery system in a short period of time. But don’t worry, because the Housing Bubble Blog’s resident coronavirus expert in absentia has offered his personal assurance that it is different here in America.

        1. A day or two ago I read a quote from a federal bureaucrat stating that the USA no longer has the ability to manufacture a sufficient amount of personal protective gear for the populace (particularly hospital and EMS workers) in the event of a massive outbreak similar to what has apparently happened in China. Way to go, globalists!

  5. “Since I came into office, we have nearly quadrupled capital at the Enterprises. But it still stands at nearly two hundred and forty to one – roughly 20 times the average leverage of the institutions represented here today,” Calabria said.

    A leverage ratio of 240 to 1 is robust, the new normal. 🙂

    *Leverage is a ratio of the company’s debt and equity. To calculate the debt ratio, we take total liabilities divided by total assets. If a company has a high debt ratio, usually greater than 40%, they are considered highly leveraged.

    1. Arrived Saigon last week, LAX-TPE-SGN, China Airlines. No problems. The usual masks worn by the Asians, and now the white boys are catching on…kind of a novelty. They look so self-conscious…and they use those fancy masks mostly. Kind of a fashion accessory. Me?…meh.

      At the check-in counter, the agent asked only one question: Have you ever been to Hong Kong? Huh?

      Seems this virus thing has totally taken the spotlight off of the uprising in Hong Kong.

      I caught the Hong Kong flu circa 1968. I was 11. It was a big pandemic. I was sick for a week and recovered.

      Millions of people died, but i guarantee you the stock market did not crash because of it.

      Horse shit…it is a fricken’ flu bug and NOTHING like the Spanish Flu, circa 1918. Now THAT was a bad one…H1N1…but wait…that was the same H1N1 as the swine flu of 2009! Whatever.

      Hong Kong flu evolved from H2N2, which was an Asian pandemic in 1957, into H3N2.

      Hundreds of thousands of people die of the flu every fricken’ year FGS.

      Black Swan my ass!

      Black Scapegoat more like it. A convenient ruse for a upcoming housing crash? If so, bring it!

      Which MSM outlet do you trust the most? Answer: absolutely none!

      ‘This whole world is wild at heart and wierd on top.’ —Lula Pace Fortune

      BTW: The VN .gov has assured us that all 16 virus cases have made full recoveries! 🙂

      1. The commies in the VN government are lying through their yellow teeth 🙂

        I trust them as much as I trust the number officials published.

  6. Guys, I’m going to make a plea: let’s resist the urge to make this political. This blog actually has a lot of smart and reasonable people on it. For example, some folks lean right and some folks lean left but we all agree cheap money has wreaked havoc on our economy.

    We can agree that the virus will be bad. As the professor likes to say, it’s a math problem. A country’s administration will be blamed no matter what they do, no matter who is president, simply because this will be bad.

    Let’s keep it constructive. People on here have good ideas. I’d like to hear them.

    1. “let’s re$i$t the urge to make this political”
      Nice try …

      Apologies, this article is 8 day$ old.New$!

      Wall $treet has a new $logan for why $tocks keep going up as the world fall$ apart: ‘Nothing Matter$’!

      BusinessInsider |By Linette Lopez | Feb 23, 2020,

      (funny image: man in tuxedo with cigar)

      The mantra on Wall Street these days is “nothing matters.”

      It seems no matter how huge the event — a debilitating virus ravaging China, the rise of Bernie Sanders — none of it matters. Stocks just go up, and in credit markets good debt trades close to junk.

      Consider this an extension of the inertia that has gripped US policymaking. We are frozen in an uncomfortable moment, and it will take the realization of a powerful event to change our circumstances.

      (This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author)

      If “buy stocks” is the answer to every question in investing, then the entire game of Wall Street doesn’t matter. There’s no point figuring out what something is worth. Value has no meaning when everything is the same. Good is just as good as bad, because bad is probably fine.

      In truth the market has been nihilistic like this for some time. But that it’s persisting in this way despite the fact that a virus has brought the second-largest economy in the world

      Guggenheim Investments CIO Scott Minerd likened this creepiness in the face of coronavirus to the calm that settled in Britain just before WWII, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain convinced himself and his peers that the world was entering a “peace for our time,” and told everyone to ignore the red flags all around them.

      “For those investors who perceive the disconnect between risk assets which are priced for a rosy outcome and the reality of the looming risks to growth and earnings, any attempt to reduce risk leads to underperformance,” Minerd wrote. “It is a mind-numbing exercise for investors who see the cognitive dissonance. The frantic race to accumulate securities has cast price discovery to the side.”

      Unfortunately that means Wall Street is crowding now, which creates a dangerous situation in the event that there is a rush to the exits.

      Wall Street will play this game until it’s over. Standing up for value might be the right thing if you’re a moralist, but it won’t win you clients. Ultimately that means everyone in this market is chasing the same ok-yielding credit and blue chip or growth stocks. That’s what happens when no one trusts the market.

      The question is why this inertia taken over. I tend to think of it as lagging the inertia in our political system

      1. Nice post Hwy…

        The frantic race to accumulate securities has cast price discovery to the side.” ??

        And everything else…R/E, Cars, Paintings etc…All because Cash is Trash due to the Central Bankers…

          1. The kind of guy that your daughters would be proud that you support…

            Yet you were here touting Mike “non-disclosure agreement” Bloomberg. Partisan hypocrites like you are so nauseating. Check your TDS.

          2. “non-disclosure agreement” ??

            LOL…You are such a twerp…Trump has a few of them now doesn’t he…What a F@#!ing hypocrite you are….

          3. I never said he didn’t. I was just pointing out your pathetic hypocrisy as you tried to present yourself and your presumed candidate as shining examples of the moral high ground as compared to BlueSkye and the current POTUS when, in fact, there is no difference. Twerp? You’ve lost it, man. Go for a hike or something. You’re clearly way too emo to handle anonymous people on a blog.

  7. Filed.under: “It’$ different thi$ time!” + “Defict$.don’t.matter$.anywho! ”

    The world’$ ma$$ive debt pile$ is making a coronavirus$ $hock e$pecially dangerou$ right now

    BusinssInsider | By Linette Lopez 3 hours ago

    The impact of coronavirus will be worsened by the fact that the world is holding a record amount of debt$ right now.

    In the US, American households have $1.5 trillion more in debt than they held the last time debt levels peaked in 2008.

    With these conditions an economic shock can do a lot of damage, as people and businesses don’t have the cash flow to make debt payments.

    The markets know all this, so Donald Trump can freak out all he wants. It’s not going to stop a sell off.

    (This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.)

    There is never a good time for a global pandemic, but this moment is especially bad. And that is because the world is more in debt than it has ever been.

    According to a report from the International Institute of Finance the global debt-to-GDP ratio hit 322% in the third quarter of 2019. In developed markets debt hit 383% of GDP. This includes everything from household debt to corporate and sovereign debt.

    “Spurred by low interest rates and loose financial conditions, we estimate that total global debt will exceed $257 trillion in [the first quarter of] 2020, driven mainly by non-financial sector debt (now approaching $200 trillion),” said the report.

    In these conditions an economic shock can do a lot of damage. Think of it like going into fire season after weeks of drought. Debt itself won’t be the problem, but if there is a significant slowdown debt will exacerbate that problem. It doesn’t matter how low interest rates are if businesses and individuals simply don’t have the cash flow to make debt payments.

    So lowering interest rates — which is what policymakers have been doing in the face of any kind of slow down since the financial crisis — may not be that helpful if things really go south.

    Meanwhile, President Donald Trump — who has called himself the “king of debt” — seems most interested in keeping confidence up so the stock market doesn’t fall. This is cosmetic. His administration crippled America’s ability to respond to pandemics a while ago, so it’s clear his interest has never been in solving problems like the one coronavirus poses — he just wants everything to seem fine. Debt will make all of that more difficult.

    Down for a count:

    Americans households are $14.5 trillion worth of debt, according to data compiled by the New York Federal Reserve. That’s about $1.5 trillion more than we were holding the last time household debt peaked in 2008. The biggest chunk of this debt is held in mortgages, then student loans, then auto loans followed by credit cards.

    That means that if a significant economic slowdown does come, and people are forced to work less or not at all, they’ll have trouble paying down the debt they owe. We already know that coronavirus is causing massive supply chain disruptions. Manufacturing jobs, especially, depend on factories having every part they need to build what they build. Those parts come from all over the world, especially China. And in China, especially hard hit provinces like Guangdong and Hubei.

    If factories can’t open, employees will likely see their hours cut back. For Americans living paycheck to paycheck that could mean the difference between making and missing debt payments. Enough of this kind of household financial strain could slow the entire economy, especially since consumer spending is its brightest spot right now.

    “The American consumer really is the firewall between an expanding economy and a recession,”


        1. Here’s the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in grade school: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

          In a “republic,” I am not responsible for my neighbor’s debt, nor the banker who made the loan. End of story!

    1. That is the real issue here: the global crisis of demand due to higher inequality, kept at bay by Americans spending more than they were paid. And the government doing it for them.

      Everybody knows this, but “markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” So everyone was waiting for the dog whistle to get out before everyone else.

      But here is another question. For the past 25 years we’ve been floated by the “global savings glut” coming out of East Asia. It is the only environment many can remember. But demographics, as those countries age (and as Baby Boomers in the developed world demand to keep consuming more while producing less) could gradually turn that around.

      I wonder if the coronavirus might end the “gradually” part, as the countries affected need to bring home their $ to meet their own needs? It seems inconceivable, but so did a 1.2% 10-year Treasury as of 1995.

      1. Fear$ knot! Wanker.Banker$ alway$ are ready to $upply an ea$y, ea$y $olution!

        (Ma$$ forward this article to$! A$AP)

        Home | Economy & Politic$ |Project $yndicate

        The be$t emergency-respon$e plan$ for COVID-19 is to flood the country with money!

        MarketWatch | By Larry Hatheway |Published: Feb 28, 2020

        Tax cut$, central-bank liquidity injection$ and state block grant$ — anything to boo$t companie$’ and consumer$’ purcha$ing power

        Deficit$ are tomorrow’s problem. The challenge today is to fight COVID-19 and its harmful economic effects. Not acting forcefully and immediately would be akin to letting the patient die just to teach him a lesson. Partisan$hip and zero-$um politics are no excuse for governments to shirk their fundamental obligations to citizens. Indeed, if any good can come from this crisis, it is that politicians might finally find a way to set aside their differences and do their job.

        The COVID-19 epidemic is accelerating, and it is increasingly likely that the economic impact will be severe. Alongside intensifying public-health responses, governments must step in to mitigate the virus’ impact on growth, employment and living standards.

        There are three reasons to worry that COVID-19 will hit the global economy hard. T

        Fir$t, regional and national travel restrictions will curb the flow of goods and services across borders and within countries. This is already happening in China, where growth forecasts for the first half of 2020 are being slashed. As the world’s second-largest economy and home to much of the global supply chain, China’s slowdown is already being reflected in large U.S. and European companies’ (reduced) earnings forecasts.

        $econd, increased uncertainty will translate into reduced “big ticket” spending by households and small businesses. Holidays and business travel are already being reconsidered, as evidenced by the 200,000-plus airline cancellations so far this year. Auto and home purchases will likely follow suit. Before long, businesses will put off investment in structures, plant and equipment, creating major negative ripple effects across the world’s economies.

        Third, $harp declines in global equity markets, if sustained, will harm the real economy. Plunging markets stoke fear and uncertainty, reduce household wealth and therefore erode consumer spending. They also raise the cost of capital for firms, which means less hiring and reduced capital expenditures. In short, COVID-19 and the responses to it could easily lead to a global spending shortfall, which would soon be followed by mounting job losses, potentially pushing real economies everywhere to the brink of recession.

        Immediate relief$:

        So what, specifically, should governments do?

        Fir$t, they must implement measures to stabilize commercial activity without delay. Corporate tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other measures with delayed effects are ill-advised. Tax holidays or reductions of payroll, sales and value-added taxes have more to recommend them. The point is to boost disposable purchasing power within days, not months, by putting more money in the hands of middle- and low-income households, who tend to spend a greater fraction of their incomes. Wisely, that is what the United States, the United Kingdom and many other countries did during the 2008-09 “Great Recession” (though many economists, including me, would have preferred an even bigger stimulus package).

        $econd, even if the effectiveness of monetary policy has been diminished after a decade of low and even negative interest rates, the major central banks should announce fresh rate cuts and liquidity provisions. When fear strikes, the demand for money can spike. Central banks should make clear far in advance that they will meet or even exceed that demand. As former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi demonstrated at the height of the eurozone crisis, a stated commitment to do “whatever it takes” may well be the most powerful weapon in monetary policymakers’ arsenal.

        Third$, governments everywhere should adopt legislation to increase and extend unemployment benefits, at least temporarily. As with cutting regressive taxes, increased unemployment benefits will put cash in the hands of those most likely to spend it in the near term, providing a necessary offset to weaker spending elsewhere in the economy.

        1. For 40 years, the solution for every problem has been to cash in a little more of later-born generation’s futures.

          Even many families.

          You had Generation Greed. You had my generation, Generation Apathy. “We’re screwed anyway, let’s just worry about ourselves.” Uh huh — check out that life expectancy for those now age 40 to 60. And our children, Generation Even More Screwed.

          Trump didn’t help, and neither will Sanders. It’s a social tsunami.

          1. It’s been a multigenerational Age of Borrowing. It is based on lies and delusion.

            If that age passes, people will be fine in the Age of Doing. The arts of Frugality and Optimism are not dead.

      1. Is COBRA still a thing? If not, welcome to the joys of the unAffordable Care Act. If so, I’m not sure which would be better/worse.

  8. The Carlton Residence | Reduced | Open Sunday & Tuesday

    8428 CARLTON WAY, SUNSET STRIP, CA | $6,995,000

    $6,995,0004 bd
    5,300 sqft
    Price cut: $500K (2/28)8428 Carlton Way, Los Angeles, CA

    Price history
    2/28/2020 Price change $6,995,000 (-6.7%)
    1/7/2020 Price change $7,495,000 (-1.3%)
    9/23/2019 Price change $7,595,000 (-8.4%)
    8/8/2019 Price change $8,295,000 (-7.8%)
    6/17/2019 Listed for sale $8,995,000 (+259.8%)
    12/6/2016 Sold $2,500,000 (-3.8%)
    10/5/2016 Listed for sale $2,599,000 (+23.8%)

      1. FWIW, I married artwork in the flesh. Tall, broad shouldered, not busty, blonde, cold blue-gray eyes, narrow hips, an awesome “seen from behind thigh gap” resting on long femurs and not a single cottage-cheese dimple on her “ash” or thighs despite being 57-yrs old. She has never colored her hair once, ever, zero gray hair, and her teeth are white, straight and beautiful. When she wanted a job she never submitted more than one resume, ever. The recent elbow dislocation was a personal tragedy, being very athletic but osteo problems are an older woman’s fact of life.

        1. You might consider looking into Testosterone therapy. BioT pellets are a popular option. The normalization of test levels for both males and females is important for preventing the diminishment of both muscle and bone mass. It will improve other factors for aging female bodies as well.

          1. She isn’t taking any pharmaceuticals preferring diet adjustments, and she sees the same doctor regularly. I am still a walk-in patient, no issues yet. She has a stellar diet, and won’t buy any process foods at the store, not even for me; I have to do my own shopping. While not perfect in every way, she does have so many good qualities that I won’t challenge unless I could do better; I cannot. We are also polarized politically, but we manage to dine at the same table. She is more stubborn than 4,000-psi concrete while I am a listener and malleable. Fortunately, we are both happy to live within our means as we set the example for our children to emulate.

    1. Dutch auction is a time-tested method of asset sale, but if they don’t reduce the ask price more aggressively, they may never attract a bid.

    2. Some more price history, not sure what happened here in 1999:

      11/30/1999 Sold $1,400,000
      3/23/1999 Sold $735,000

  9. … how viruses vacation 101

    Well, May bee this is “the.x1thing” that will reduce ones encounter$ with “$” @ human.$$.

    (Is yer doggy a licker?)

    Dog Found to Have ‘Low Level’ of Coronaviru$ in Hong Kong
    Bloomberg |By Dominic Lau | February 27, 2020

    he pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has been found to have a “low level” of the virus, the Hong Kong government said early Friday.

    The dog tested “weak positive” for the coronavirus, the city’s agricultural and fisheries department said in a statement, without giving further details. Officials will carry out further tests to confirm whether the dog has really been infected with the disease, or if it was a result of environmental contamination of its mouth and nose.

    Much is still not known about the virus that is spreading around the world after emerging in central China late last year. It is thought to have transferred to humans from bats and has been shown to spread in a number of ways, but the Hong Kong agricultural department said it doesn’t have evidence that pet animals can be infected, or be a source of infection to people.

    Coronavirus Likely Began With Bats, an Omen for Next Epidemic

    If confirmed, the dog would be the first case of a pet catching the coronavirus amid a global outbreak that’s now infected more than 82,000 people and claimed more than 2,800 lives.

    The dog is being quarantined at an animal facility, the Hong Kong government said. The department strongly advised that pets of confirmed virus patients also be put under quarantine.

  10. Woe$er & Woe$er … $ad.

    ($adly, this article is x4 day$ old, … now @ $45.86)

    MARKET NEW$: Published: February 25, 2020

    Oil Cra$h Intensifies Following Dire Warning$ from Energy Watchdog$

    Author: Sam Bourgi |

    Crude oil resumed its plunge on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) trimmed its forecast for oil demand growth, citing ongoing coronavirus risks to global supply chains.

    “black commodity” “True.Believer$!” are $eldom $haken!:

    Despite the downward pressure on oil prices, the black commodity tends to rebound after viral outbreaks, according to the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API).

    In an interview with CNBC, API President and CEO Mike Sommers said:

    “… we also look at the history of such viruses so if you go back and look at the SARS virus that was really a couple of quarters that were affected and oil prices rebounded after SARS epidemic receded.”

    Sommers said he expects a similar bounce as the threat of coronavirus weakens over time.

    1. So conversely, if the virus threat continues to grow, we should expect ever lower oil prices?

      It amazes me how many experts are certain this thing is going away overnight, right after it spread over 46 countries over the span of two months.

  11. “The rationale for all this was to spur investment: for individuals and firms to borrow money to invest in new factories, in plant and equipment. It was supposed to create jobs, boost demand and fuel inflation and wages.

    That was the stated rationale, but what we got instead was an orgy of speculative malinvestment and the oligarchy using its free Yellen Bux to buy up the distressed assets of the proles. Which was the plan all along: to concentrate all wealth and power in the hands of a corrupt and venal .1% in the financier oligarchy.

        1. So if it went pending before the “For Sale” sign went up, how did 20 people even know to walk through?

          1. figment of imagination

            So the seller lied to the neighbor across the street. That makes more sense. 🙄

      1. Eye think it’$ moving very slowly across New.knot.Old Mexico, dodging windmill$ that cause cancer. Resting just now,$ide.its.$hell.

    1. Sh*t’s about to get really real yo.

      My mother just turned 75, we were discussing the coronavirus on the phone a few days ago. She acknowledges she is high risk because of her age but there’s nothing we can do but wait and see what happens…

      1. nothing we can do

        Avoid crowds, wash hands frequently, disinfect surfaces. Little things that can make a big difference.

        1. In other words, the exact precautions she (and everyone) should take during every flu season.

          1. yep, it’s just the flu….all this will be wiped away come summer, like you wouldn’t believe! V-shaped recovery with 3 rate cuts coming down the pipe

          2. China has had many flu seasons prior to this one, and I don’t recall a similar official response. Fingers crossed!

    2. My wife was over at Overlake the other day – where 2 cases were just confirmed.

      Consensus is that it’s only a matter time until we are exposed.

        1. > Whose consensus?

          A few of my friends locally. We’ve done the late-night college BS session things comparing how many people at our companies travel, our kids in the school, our spouses going to the stores and work, etc against the apparently strong ability for it to spread before symptoms appear.

          Conclusion – it’s going to be damn hard to avoid, given all the confirmed cases popping up right around us.

          1. You most likely already have it….incubating for weeks and weeks, until it rears it’s ugly head. Not from bat-soup fyi

  12. Stock-market expert says what many are thinking as Dow sheds 3,600 points in a week: ‘This market is not normal’
    By Mark DeCambre
    Published: Feb 29, 2020 12:08 p.m. ET
    U.S. stock market heads for its worst week since 2008
    Thomas Lee is the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors LLC.

    The breadth and intensity of this week’s coronavirus-fueled selloff in U.S. stocks has some analysts scratching their heads.

    Thomas Lee, founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, may be one of the few to acknowledge that something isn’t right with a market that was just enjoying a record close days ago.

    This is not normal, and the market is clearly indicating to us a change,” Lee said in a research report on Friday.

    Lee said the oddities playing out in the market, including two and potentially three days of 1,000-point drops in the same week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, -1.39%), signifies four things … :

    – A significant change in economic fundamentals
    – A significant increase in ‘risk’ to the fundamentals
    – The market’s financial plumbing is breaking down
    – A meteor or alien invasion to end global existence has been spotted but its arrival is unknown (or a virus pandemic)

    1. One hypothesis Mr. Fundstrat seems to have overlooked:

      We’re returning to a normal stock market, including the risk of losing money, after an extraordinary period where central bankers provided free risk protection insurance, leading investors to believe that indefinite returns above the risk-free rate were there for the taking.

    2. So the 40 percent increase from 2016, when Trump said the stock market was overinflated and heading for a crash, WAS normal?

      The stock market will be merely very high when the S&P hits 2,000.

      1. We didn’t have enough debt to support the market then….obviously we do now…so we’re in a totally normal market, like you wouldn’t believe!

  13. It’s hard to ignore the perspective of the author whose article I am about to post. I once saw him give a live presentation, during the rollout of Microsoft Excel circa 1988, which definitely left a lasting impression.

    1. The New England Journal of Medicine
      Responding to Covid-19 — A Once-in-a-Century Pandemic?
      List of authors.
      Bill Gates
      February 28, 2020
      DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2003762

      In any crisis, leaders have two equally important responsibilities: solve the immediate problem and keep it from happening again. The Covid-19 pandemic is a case in point. We need to save lives now while also improving the way we respond to outbreaks in general. The first point is more pressing, but the second has crucial long-term consequences.

      The long-term challenge — improving our ability to respond to outbreaks — isn’t new. Global health experts have been saying for years that another pandemic whose speed and severity rivaled those of the 1918 influenza epidemic was a matter not of if but of when. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed substantial resources in recent years to helping the world prepare for such a scenario.

      Now we also face an immediate crisis. In the past week, Covid-19 has started behaving a lot like the once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about. I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise.

      There are two reasons that Covid-19 is such a threat. First, it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems. The data so far suggest that the virus has a case fatality risk around 1%; this rate would make it many times more severe than typical seasonal influenza, putting it somewhere between the 1957 influenza pandemic (0.6%) and the 1918 influenza pandemic (2%).

      Second, Covid-19 is transmitted quite efficiently. The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase. There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill or even presymptomatic. That means Covid-19 will be much harder to contain than the Middle East respiratory syndrome or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which were spread much less efficiently and only by symptomatic people. In fact, Covid-19 has already caused 10 times as many cases as SARS in a quarter of the time.

      1. Why is the media telling the public not to wear masks and that they are not effective, but the government is working with 3M to boost production of masks for healthcare workers? This is the kind of bullshit that I’m tire of.

        We’re in the middle of a full-blown media war of lies and misinformation. It’s become clear that we are never going to get the truth about this virus and what’s really going on.

        1. Masks need to be worn by the medical workers. Unless you’re wearing scuba gear, some paper over your face isn’t really going to do much….just look at China

        2. Or my favorite nugget: “Stay home if you’re sick.” Unless of course, you’re NOT sick and you can still catch and spread it. And there are millions upon millions of people who would lose their jobs if they just stayed home.

          Granted, staying home if you’re sick WILL slow the spread of the disease. I’m going to guess that asymptomatic spread has a much lower R0 number than symptomatic spread.

          1. Or my favorite nugget: “Stay home if you’re sick.”

            None of the people making stuff and delivering it to us while we hide from the virus are going to stay home if they are sick. They’ve got bills to pay and no sick days.

    2. “…during the rollout of Microsoft Excel circa 1988…”

      I remember when Lotus 123 bought VisiCalc and shut it down. Spreadsheet software was $495 back in those days!

        1. Indeed. When Microsoft introduced their Office package with bundled applications, all on a single CD-ROM at a deep discount, it was game-over for the specialty developers.

        2. I for one still use Quattro Pro & Wordperfect. Bought that software over 10 years ago & it still works. I did inherit an old laptop with a working set of Office software on it, which I could use if I must.

  14. Given all the policymakers dropping hints about forthcoming stimulus measures to herd investors back into stocks, would now be a good time to buy the dip?

    1. The Financial Times
      Opinion Global Economy
      Buying the coronavirus dip would be bold indeed
      The global economy was already looking a bit ropey and vulnerable to shocks
      Merryn Somerset Webb

      But here’s the thing. The global economy was already looking a bit ropey after decelerating Chinese growth and record levels of global debt. That makes it vulnerable to shocks that would be minor if valuations were low across the board. But valuations are not low.

      Brokers can always find a way to argue that overall global markets aren’t hugely overpriced. However, some segments are very expensive even after the 10 per cent-plus falls this week, among them growth stocks, a lot of technology and bond proxies. Much of the US market has long been priced for perfection rather than pandemic. Many investors have been nervous — even waiting for an excuse to sell — for some time. Now they have that excuse and they are using it.

      So buy on the dip if you are convinced that the virus will be contained and that supply chains and behaviour will soon go back to “normal”. You must also brush off the rising evidence that globalisation has an awful lot of thoroughly unpleasant downsides and be sure that markets entered this non-financial crisis fairly priced.

  15. It’s on a smaller scale, but in its own way the Iran coronavirus situation is scarier and more tragic than China’s.

    And unlike China, apparently Iran’s leaders don’t understand the critical importance of quarantines to stem a disease outbreak.

    The New Yorker
    How Iran Became a New Epicenter of the Coronavirus Outbreak
    By Robin Wright
    February 28, 2020
    A man disinfects the shrine of Fatima Masumeh in Qom Iran against coronavirus on Monday.
    Photograph by Ahmad Zohrabi / ISNA / AP

    Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, was pale and drenched in sweat during a press conference on Monday as he told reporters that the Islamic Republic had “almost stabilized” the country’s outbreak of coronavirus. He mopped his brow so often that an aide scurried to the lectern with a box of tissues. Harirchi dismissed as hype an Iranian lawmaker’s claim that fifty people had already died from COVID-19. “I will resign if the numbers are even half or a quarter of this,” he said, adding that Iran had only sixty-one confirmed cases, with twelve deaths. Iran opposed quarantines, he said, because they belonged to an era before the First World War—“to the plague, cholera, stuff like that.” The next day, Harirchi confirmed in a video—from quarantine—that he had contracted coronavirus.

    Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday. So did Elham Sheikhi, a member of the women’s national soccer team, who was twenty-two.

    1. 8-18% mortality? Anyone else suspect a mutation here? This is much worse than anything coming out of China or Italy.

      1. Early stage, the number infected is much larger than the number known to be infected. So they are dividing deaths by too small a number.

    2. they belonged to an era before the First World War—“to the plague, cholera, stuff like that.” A fine example of boneheaded refusal to learn from the past.

    1. It’s likely there are more coronavirus cases in the United States than the numbers show
      By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent
      Updated 11:07 AM ET, Sat February 29, 2020

      (CNN) If you show up at NYU Langone Health in New York City with a fever and a cough, they’re going to assume you have the novel coronavirus.
      “We don’t care if you’ve traveled to us from China or from Queens, we’re going to put a mask on you,” said Dr. Michael Phillips, an infectious disease specialist at NYU.
      The New York University doctors and other experts are convinced there could be more novel coronavirus cases in the United States than have been officially announced. More than 60 cases have been identified in the US.

      Several factors, such as testing delays and the fact that the virus can spread before an infected person shows any signs, have led them to this conclusion.
      Recent US cases of coronavirus support that theory.

      While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been focused on finding coronavirus among travelers from China and their close contacts, on Wednesday it announced the first US case with an unknown origin. The patient hadn’t traveled to China and had no known exposure to someone with coronavirus. Since then, more cases of unknown origin have been identified in the United States.

      “That suggests that the virus is out there in the community, and that means pretty much that everybody’s at risk,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infection disease specialist at UC Davis Medical Center, where one of the California patients is being treated, told CNN affiliate KCRA. “We don’t know who might be carrying it. We don’t know who we can get it from.”

    2. Another conundrum is: do “recovered” patients continue to shed the virus, if so, for how long? These patients might not look or feel ill in any way whatsoever, but they could leave a trail of new infections wherever they go.

  16. China purchasing indexes sink to record lows as coronavirus epidemic hits economy
    By Rachel Koning Beals
    Published: Feb 29, 2020 11:52 a.m. ET
    Official manufacturing purchasing managers index tumbled to 35.7 in February, indicating a deep contraction
    Getty Images
    Workers sewing at factory this week making hazardous material suits to be used in the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, at the Zhejiang Ugly Duck Industry garment factory in Wenzhou. The outbreak is preventing Ugly Duck Industry from resuming its normal production of winter coats.

    Official gauges of China’s factory and nonfactory activity plunged to record lows in February as the domestic economy struggled to resume normal production amid the coronavirus epidemic.

    The official manufacturing purchasing managers index tumbled to 35.7 in February from 50 in January, indicating a deep contraction. February’s reading from the National Bureau of Statistics released Saturday was the first official data for a full month of economic activity in China since the coronavirus began affecting the economy in late January.

    The 50 mark separates expansion from contraction for this key leading indicator. The index dropped to 38.8 in November 2008, when the financial crisis gripped the world.

    As for the broader view, China’s nonmanufacturing PMI, also released on Saturday, sank to a record low of 29.6 in February from 54.1 in January. This includes key sectors such as retail, aviation, real estate and construction.

    The February result came in far below the median forecast of 43 by economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.

    1. Officials said the risk to the general public remains low.

      No matter what government agency we are talking about, local, state or federal, this same tired old talking point is regurgitated. It is a disservice to people. What they should say is “the risk is serious and everybody should be preparing.”

          1. And regarding honesty, I am a big fan, although the concept seems to be at great risk of casualty during the trying times we experience. It always amazes me to what lengths certain posters here will go to push a line of thinking or information sharing which is obviously specious. What is the big appeal of pushing idiotic lies down others’ throats?

        1. The problem as I see it is the only way to sufficiently protect oneself, given what we’ve seen out of China, would be to bug out for at least several months with zero contact with other humans. This is very difficult to achieve.

        2. I’ve been prepped for a month or two for a very long time. Eventually it will be beans and rice and the occasional squirrel. It may be more likely that the stores will be of little use for some time if the news gets frightful ahead of real events.

          There are a couple of family farms, but I’ll stay in place no matter what happens. One of the problems with a family farm is, well, all the family.

          Laugh if you want, but I’d also stay because I could be of some help to my neighbors only if I am here. I could maintain and operate the water plant if we lost our village engineer. I could deliver meals, of which we already have a system set up by volunteers for the old folks. With my luck, if I take a chance I’ll be fine. If I go hide in the forest (which I actually know how to do) I’d be screwed immediately, and without a good book to read.

        3. I’m already prepped. All I’m worried about is missing work. In my little section of gov, the show must go on, even if at a skeleton level.

      1. The risk is especially serious for the several elderly candidates running for president. The mortality rate for that age range is grim. I doubt they will be glad handing at town halls for long.

    1. I wonder if the breaking coronavirus news out of Seattle will slow down their red hot housing market?

        1. Right, but now they have a convenient excuse. It won’t surprise me at all if ten years from now, the advent of bubble collapse gets blamed on the virus.

      1. The retirement community reporting the cluster is in Kirkland, site of Costco headquarters.

        Coronavirus: Nation’s first cluster and death reported in Seattle area; Santa Clara County also adds new case
        Two cases in facility, unrelated to earlier death. More than 50 other cases are suspected.

        Health officials announced an outbreak of coronavirus at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington. The facility provides skilled nursing and rehabilitation services.
        By Lisa M. Krieger and Nico Savidge Bay Area News Group
        PUBLISHED: February 29, 2020 at 1:05 p.m.
        UPDATED: February 29, 2020 at 4:17 p.m.

        The coronavirus’ deadly spread across the globe took an ominous turn Saturday, with the United States recording its first death and a Seattle-area long-term health care facility scrambling to contain the first cluster of infections among patients and their caregivers.

        The developments are troubling news for the Bay Area, where on Friday a Santa Clara County woman became the second person in Northern California to be hospitalized for the illness without any of the previous risk factors connected to the virus’ origin in China. And on Saturday, health officials here, announced another woman who lived in the sickened Santa Clara County resident’s home tested positive for coronavirus, even though she wasn’t showing symptoms.

        “We expect more cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our county and have been preparing for community transmission,” said Marianna Moles of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

        1. You can expect a lot more stories about “community transmission” ahead.

          Fourth Case of Coronavirus Confirmed in Santa Clara County
          By NBC Bay Area staff • Published 45 mins ago • Updated 24 mins ago
          NBC 5 News
          A microscopic view of the coronavirus.

          Santa Clara Public Health Department said Saturday a fourth case has been confirmed in Santa Clara County.

          According to officials, this case is in an adult woman who “is a household contact of the third Santa Clara County case.”

          The county said in a press release that they have been preparing for “community transmission” since previous cases were confirmed.

        2. This thing is spreading like wildfire now. These are all lagging indicators. The slow incubation period duped a lot of trolls into thinking it was a big ol’ nothingburger.

          1. Where is AQ Dan and his death rate? Maybe we should have focused on the transmission method instead.

        3. From the TheHill article: “There are two presumptive positives associated with the facility, one a health care worker and the other a woman in her 70s.”

          How much you want to bet that the health care worker was an illegal immigrant or at least Latino? Latinos are famous for living in close quarters and not quite embodying the height of sanitation.

  17. Question for those who understand the appeal of physical gold: Does buying it now entail coronavirus risk?

    1. About the same risk as buying any item at a store where somebody else touches it and you have to stand in front of them and pay for it.

  18. “Ding-dong”

    [Package delivery from Amazon]

    Is it safe to bring these boxes into our home?

    Safe to open them!?

    1. Not really safe. According the everything I have read, to be you’re supposed to remove your shoes before entering your house, then remove your clothing and put it into a bag, then take a shower in order to be as safe as possible.

    2. How badly do you need/want the contents? If you’re really concerned, wear disposable gloves to open the box outside. Make sure not to touch the desired contents with the gloves. Take one glove off by inverting to entrap the potentially contaminated surface. Dispose of all packaging materials and gloves outside.

      1. I’m not seriously concerned at this point, though maybe I should be considering how little testing has been done in the U.S. so far. What you don’t know can hurt you in this case.

        1. This is a positive development.

          In bid to rapidly expand coronavirus testing, U.S. agency abruptly changes rules
          By Jon CohenFeb. 29, 2020 , 5:39 PM

          The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today recommended a dramatic shift in how it implements regulations that control whether laboratories can use diagnostic kits created in-house to test for infections of coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19). “We issued a policy this morning that allows us to have a lot of flexibility around the development of diagnostic tests,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn at a White House briefing with President Donald Trump this afternoon. “We expect this policy to have a significant impact.” The change could greatly expand the number of laboratories able to do coronavirus testing.

          1. This is a positive development.

            After an “oh $hit” finding.

            “The U.S. government has come under severe criticism for not providing nearly enough tests needed to understand the extent of spread in the population. A test kit produced and distributed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was shelved after state and local lab trying it out discovered that it contained a faulty reagent. As a result, many labs that have the capability to test themselves have not been allowed to do so.” (emphasis added)

            “’It’s their method of saying just go ahead and start doing the testing, it’s sort of got out of hand, and if you don’t hear from us in a year, just keep testing,’ says Mina.”

          2. I guess at this point we basically have no idea how many U.S. citizens have coronavirus. I realize that according to the Housing Bubble Blog’s coronavirus expert in absentia, only those who test positive have a case, so perhaps it’s good that so few have been tested.

            U.S. Coronavirus Response and Testing Kit Problems Present a ‘Colossal Failure,’ Warns Doctor
            By Kashmira Gander On 2/28/20 at 5:32 AM EST

            A doctor has described the U.S. response to the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus as a “colossal failure” after a COVID-19 case in California highlighted problems with testing.

            Infectious disease doctor Dr. Matthew McCarthy made the comments on MSNBC’s The Last Word after it emerged the first COVID-19 patient in the U.S. believed to have caught the virus in the community wasn’t tested immediately for it because she didn’t fit certain criteria—she hadn’t been to China and hadn’t been in contact with an infected person.

            McCarthy said: “What we’re seeing is just a colossal failure. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] created tests, sent them to all 50 states and then after they arrived they said ‘oh wait a minute the tests are flawed don’t use them.’ And we have been beating the drum begging for new tests for weeks.”

            During a news conference on Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has “just a few hundred testing kits and that’s surveillance testing as well as diagnostic testing. That’s simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing that is required to address this issue head-on.”

    3. Is it safe to bring these boxes into our home?

      First of all, it’s not safe going out on your porch, and it never has been.

      I like the suggestion of leaving the box on the porch and just taking in the contents. Boxes are biodegradable anyway, right?

      Time is your friend, wait until later. Sunlight is your very best friend, conveniently found right there on your porch. Remember to turn things in the sunlight, like you would on the BBQ.

      1. We really can’t wait. But I am willing to conjecture the risk of box contagion is very low at this stage.

        If it explodes as it did in China, South Korea, and Iran, we’ll lay off the Amazon deliveries for a while.

        1. We really can’t wait.

          OK, what is it in those boxes that you can’t let sit in the sun for a few minutes?

          1. No I didn’t mean we couldn’t afford to let them sit in the sun. Rather we can’t wait for days before opening. I really can’t get excited about transmission risk at this point…

        1. I’m just east of you in the Finger Lakes so I know. However, the clouds do not block out the UV.

  19. Why was tRump$i$* reporting the person who died from coronavirus as a woman in her 50s when it was a man? Seems the information sharing is really bad, even stateside.

    *nickname credit to Hwy

    1. Maybe he identified as a woman?

      Seems from the limited information we have there may be people who are super spreaders, shedding virus like a volcano spitting out lava at some point in their infection but otherwise it may not be that transmissible or even fatal to the average person in decent health. The US has natural advantages over other countries – better sanitation, better health care infrastructure, less populated, less public transportation utilized (somewhat ironically), plus the southern half is warmer and a desert in the west with the worst of winter behind us.

      Ive read most of the european cases are traced back to the contact with Iranians in northern Italy. Various dogs having tested positive is odd – whats going on there?

  20. The problem with locking down cities, regions and even single hotels is it leads to other issues. Ships in places they shouldn’t be, employees in places they shouldn’t be and in this sad case an OAP in a place his medicine are rapidly running out.

    Alan Cunliffe was meant to have come home to Whelley on Friday after a fortnight in the Canaries.

    But while the 82-year-old former builder is resigned to being kept in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in La Caleta for at least another week, he is increasingly worried that the supply of pills he took with him for a stomach condition will soon be exhausted.

    1. I don’t think Xi worries too much about the small personal costs, similar to the example you gave, of locking down millions of people when there is an epidemic to quell.

  21. The Financial Times
    Public health experts call coronavirus a ‘pandemic’
    Doctor treating US cases says hospitals should prepare for surge of patients

    1. Six new countries were added to the list on Friday.

      World News
      February 27, 2020 / 5:55 PM / Updated a day ago
      Global downturn looms as countries struggle to contain coronavirus outbreak
      Stephanie Nebehay, Ryan Woo

      GENEVA/BEIJING (Reuters) – The coronavirus spread further on Friday, with cases reported for the first time in at least six countries across four continents, battering markets and leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise its impact risk alert to “very high.”

      Hopes that the epidemic that started in China late last year would be over in months, and that economic activity would quickly return to normal, have been shattered.

      World shares were on course for their largest weekly fall since the 2008 financial crisis, bringing the global wipeout to $5 trillion as supply chains were disrupted, travel plans postponed and major events canceled.

      The WHO said it was raising its assessment of the global risk to ‘very high’ from ‘high’, which its head of emergencies Dr Mike Ryan said was intended to put national authorities on full alert.

      “I think this is a reality check for every government on the planet – wake up, get ready, this virus may be on its way and you need to be ready,” Ryan said.

      The latest WHO figures indicate over 82,000 people have been infected, with over 2,700 deaths in China and 57 deaths in 46 other countries.

      Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Lithuania, Belarus and Azerbaijan reported their first cases, all with travel history connected to epicenters in Italy and Iran. Mexico is the second Latin American country to register the virus, after Brazil.

      1. It will be interesting to see how quickly it spreads in Mexico. Was thinking of a trip to Cancun in May, but have changed my mind.

        1. My sister and parents are scheduled for an Alaska cruise around then and I’m trying to convince them that it’s a bad idea even if everything seems all clear.

          1. Alaska cruise

            My spam box is filling up with offers. Sorry, I am not the idiot you are looking for.

          2. Heck, even the norovirus was enough to deter me from boarding any cruise ship. And those things are enormous! The old 1970’s “Love Boat” is tiny by comparison.

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