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    • Big update from Malaysia

      While the rest of the country is still under the Movement Control Order (MCO) which was recently extended to the 14th of April, two districts in the southern state of Johor have been placed under an Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) for 14 days. This after an abnormally high number of COVID-19 cases were detected in these two districts.

      How does the EMCO differ from the ordinary MCO?

      1. Everyone currently in these two areas are not allowed to leave their homes at all. This includes residents and whoever is visiting once the EMCO takes effect (midnight tonight). This EMCO is expected to affect a total of 3570 residents from 650 households.

      2. People who are not in these two districts won't be allowed in for any purpose.

      3. All businesses will be temporarily suspended.

      4. Adequate food supplies will be provided by the Department of Social Welfare.

      5. A medical base of operations will be opened in these two districts.

      6. All roads in and out of the districts will be closed and the area will be patrolled by a combined force of the police, army, and the civil defence force.

      This is the first such EMCO issued in the country, justifying the decision to extend the original MCO which was due to be lifted after the 31st of March. Hopefully Malaysians continue to abide by the MCO/EMCO so we can flatten the curve.

      Otherwise, they'll get an earful like in this clip below.

    • Last night on the news they showed police officers in India beating people with poles for breaking the curfew - or, it what is one of the most surreal moments for me in all this, forcing people to do push-ups or squats like military trainees being disciplined.

    • Think North Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Venzuela, or even Russia - has anyone heard any reliable news of these nation's responses to the pandemic??

    • Actually requiring people to do some exercises (not too many) might be a gentle way to discourage those who break curfew. I don't understand why people think that a year of incarceration is more humane than 10 minutes of mild pain or that 30 years of incarceration is more humane than a day of pain (if medical care is provided to prevent long term health problems.

    • Interesting, when I search for the economic consequences of the 1918 Spanish flu, I do not sem to find a depression, but a decade of very high economic activity in the 1920s.....WHat happened there??

      I believe what happened may be similar to what happened after the Plague during the Middle Ages. It is a grim thing to think about, however, the repercussions of mass deaths results in three impacts to the survivors:

      One, there are fewer workers left so most people who want a job are employed.

      Two, employers have a significant shortage of workers available to hire, and therefore wages are increased to compete for talent. (You might think that there would be less demand for consumer goods, and this is true; however, you still need the same number of people to maintain the infrastructure (roads, bridges, electric grids) as well as a required baseline of employees for a company regardless of demand.)

      Three, during the Plague, those who survived were the inheritors of the estates of family members who passed away.

      Like I said, this is grim stuff, however if you want to read more here’s an excerpt from a history after the Middle Ages Plague.

      There were two kinds of people who especially benefited from the squabbles brought about by the Black Death and the endless litigation that was the result. The first were the "common lawyers" (so-called to distinguish them from civil - Roman - lawyers who practiced in ecclesiastical courts).

      The common lawyers were graduates of the Inns of Court, the four residential law schools cum bar associations located in Westminster in London (they are still there today). They made their money protecting, expanding, and defending the gentry estates. There was actually a shortage of them, and their fees were high, but no gentry family could endure long without their services. Since medieval English procedure did not allow a defendant to be represented by an attorney in a criminal trial, the criminal justice bar was almost nonexistent.

      Many of these barristers specializing in property and inheritance cases were on permanent retainer to leading families. It was not enough to know the law - not an easy thing to do because property law was frequently changed by judicial decisions as well as by occasional legislation (as in the United States today). They also had to be expert at drawing complicated documents in a highly specialized language, law French, and it also helped to know Latin and English, which were also used in the law courts. Above all they had to be expert "pleaders" (later called barristers), attorneys who were licensed to appear in court, stand on their feet, and with little or no aide-memoir argue immensely complicated cases before judges and juries for hours or days on end.

      The other beneficiaries of the plague, besides the lawyers, were women of the gentry class. The common law had a procedure for protecting widows, partly because the gentry landlords engaged in serial marriages with wives who died like flies in childbirth and were often gone by age thirty.

      The heir to the family estate was usually a product of the first marriage and the widow, wife number two or three, was his stepmother, sometimes younger than the heir. Oedipal tensions ("that sexy young wench, my father's third wife and now his widow, is eating up the old man's estate," a great plot line that Shakespeare and Hollywood missed) could inflame an heir's greedy disdain for taking care of his stepmother or even his actual birth-mother, in this cruel, selfish society.

      Therefore, the law stepped in and decreed that every widow had a right to "dower," one-third of the income (not the capital) of her husband's estate until she died. Within forty days of her husband's demise she was supposed to vacate the family mansion. But one-third the income from the family lands would allow her to live comfortably elsewhere and play the role of the grand dowager. (source)

    • Yes, I understand completely. This occurred in Europe around 1350 and onward... But apparently the economy in the 1920s was very good too, early on at least. Maybe for some of the reasons you mentioned.

      Lots of land/jobs available and fewers laborers.

      Inherited property - no one likes to spend money more than the inheritors of somebody elses life savings....

      The latest bad joke on FB is to wander your neighborhood dressed in rags ( medieval constumery ) pulling a wagon or wheel barrow, yelling "send out your dead"....

      I did say that health care workers sometimes have morbid senses of humor. didn't I?

      I see it in nurses, X-Ray Techs; surgical nurses may be the worse, and even some physicians - you cannot endlessly cry and wail at the injustice of the Universe and remain functional.

    • The US is now the epicentre of the pandemic with the highest number of cases in the world. Considering how lacklustre testing is (reportedly), there could actually be a whole lot more cases than that being reported.

      Remember when Trump said it was a hoax and that they had it under control?

    • And it could get much worse in the U.S. as the testing ramps up. Note that our growth rate is far higher than anyone else's. Germany's is pretty high, but that's because they test a lot. We don't test much yet.

    • Looks like the US (and other nations) and Malaysia are closer than I knew with regards to fighting this pandemic.

    • I think the only man in America more credible than Dr. Fauci is this guy, because he doesn’t have to be careful what he says and he knows the economy. This is the clearest explanation I’ve heard:

    • The President announced last week out of nowhere that General Motors will be producing ventilators,

      GM didn’t know this but scrambled to comply.

      This week, their estimate is double the current cost of ventilators.

      The White House decides it’s not worth spending $1 billion and says it would just create an excess supply of ventilators for the future.

      At the center of the discussion about how to ramp up the production of ventilators is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House aide, who has told people that he was called in two weeks ago by Vice President Mike Pence to produce more coronavirus test kits and who has now turned his attention to ventilators.

      Two officials said the suggestion to wait on the General Motors offer came from Col. Patrick Work, who is working at FEMA. Some government officials expressed concern about the possibility of ordering too many ventilators, leaving them with an expensive surplus.

      By Sunday, Mr. Trump appeared to suggest on Twitter that a deal had been completed to mass-produce the ventilators, even though it was unclear who would pay to equip the General Motors plant or how long that process would take.

      “Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema,” he wrote. “Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?”

      Not for the first time has Mr. Trump jumped the gun.

    • The virus doesn’t seem to be cold-weather dependent. First deaths reported in South Africa.

      Reporter from Johannesburg

    • Interesting excerpt from a Der Spiegel interview with a ventilator manufacturer.


      DER SPIEGEL: How do you decide these days whose order gets filled?

      Dräger: That does, in fact, present some difficulties. We are currently receiving news every hour about the situation in various countries that we need to take into account. This means we put human factors first.

      DER SPIEGEL: Car manufacturers and other firms have announced that they can manufacture ventilator components. Is that purely a PR move or is it actually helpful?

      Dräger: There is little point in adapting unused production capacity to manufacture respiratory aids. I spoke with Daimler over the weekend. They would also like to help. But it’s unfortunately not so simple. We can’t build cars either. Before we invest too much thought into this, we should focus on getting devices that are sitting around in a basement somewhere back into working order. Or can we repurpose other devices? There is a lot of potential there.

      DER SPIEGEL: Where do you think these kinds of reserves would come from?

      Dräger: I believe it’s possible to use devices from ambulance service or anesthesiology departments. Such devices aren't meant for long-term respiration, but they can serve that purpose. We estimate that in Germany alone, 5,000 devices could be mobilized from this reserve. To make that possible, hospital staff, of course, need to be instructed in how to use these devices. And it also requires action on behalf of the regulatory authorities.


      Tagging @Factotum