Recognizing the decent people fighting the virus

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto bans POGOs in Pasig [Photo from, article by Hannah Angelique Bacani]


By Joe America

Most of us who defend the Constitution, human rights, decency, fairness, and compassion, are critics of the Duterte Government. It is a daily thing as the Government does deeds we question:

  • Failed drug war with thousands dead
  • Unstable environment for investors
  • Pursuing friendship with China as she claims Philippine economic rights to the seas
  • Ending the VFA and ability to bring US troops on land to help with storms or terrorism
  • Botching the response to the corona virus; testing; PPEs; beds; aid
  • Failing to implement an aggressive Build Build Build Program
  • Seeing money-laundering Pogos as a legitimate industry; favoring Chinese workers
  • Failing to rebuild Marawi, destroyed by Government bombs
  • Corruption, confusion, incompetence, and recycling of inept officials
  • Attacks on media: ABS-CBN, Rappler, social media critics

Oh, there is more, every day, there is more. The craziness is beyond belief on some days, and it is clear that Constitutional checks and balances simply do not exist as officials bow to Executive.

But it is not everyone who is complicit in these goings on. Generally the malaise is from top decision-makers and anyone who is close enough to grab for more power or the taxpayer’s money. House members, for instance. But they are not the whole nation. Not at all. Thousands of people are simply out there doing a job, nine to five or longer, five days a week or longer. And some top officials demonstrate nationalistic character and dedication to the values stated in the Constitution.

Former NEDA head Ernesto Pernia recently resigned rather than accede to economic measures he felt would hurt the nation. Recently, Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez gave a clear and cogent explanation of what was needed to resurrect the economy, including mass testing. Despite funding pressures and economic downturn, the Philippines has retained its stable debt rating. Professionals are at the helm.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones has freed local governments to use their initiative, including on-line resources or other measures, to keep kids moving forward up the steps of knowledge.

My Twitter pen pal Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin has his department cranking on all cylinders to care for OFWs. Some 27,000 have returned home, filling all available quarantine beds. Another 20,000 or more are waiting to return, stuck between nations that can’t take them. Meanwhile, some cleared OFW’s want to return to work abroad, but it is hard to get out of the Philippines. The challenges are tough, the effort superlative.

There are others, for sure. People trying to figure it out. People succeeding in figuring out. LGUs in particular. Pasig City, Iloilo, Cebu. Governors and Mayors have taken the initiative to buy test kits on their own, find and seal off the infestations. Provide aid. Provide rules.

We should not lose sight of these efforts, and praise them when we see them. VP Robredo, for instance, head down, out of politics, doing sterling work to help medical workers.

Doctors and nurses, for sure. Janitors and food delivery people. Farmers. The guy who delivers my drinking water. Even the police who take their jobs as service, not brain beating.

So I must apologize to all these people, for not knowing, for not acknowledging, for failing to grant respect, for the business of hounding of the malcontents who seem to be taking the nation down . . . for not seeing or thanking the good who work amongst us.

To the good, the decent, the honest, the hard working. Thank you so very much for your dedication..

May the twists of fate treat you well, may you be safe, and may you soon find proper reward for your achievements.



138 Responses to “Recognizing the decent people fighting the virus”
  1. karlgarcia says:

    Cheers to those would deserve credit namely those mentioned if lacking then you know who you are.

    Jeers to those who do not deserve praise.

  2. NHerrera says:

    The good, the bad and the ugly.

    The country is indeed populated by a few (10% or less) of the bad and ugly who have done great damage to the country. But we have the many decent and good ones who do good work for themselves and country in spite of obstacles and make us proud. I too want to thank them through my first post in this blog.


  3. karlgarcia says:

    I remember TSOh being chided by not influencing policy so do not bother trying.

    What if those who do influence policy got sick and tired of those who try?

    Joey Concepcion told a medical group to stop complaining. This is regarding the rapid testing.

    • NHerrera says:


      Joey Concepcion’s statement,

      The problem with these doctors is that they keep on talking but are doing nothing. They keep on complaining. What will happen if the Philippine economy closes again is that a lot of people will lose their jobs.

      We can’t afford another lockdown. My appeal to all these doctors, if you have a better alternative, why don’t you tell us that better alternative?

      I believe he should have been more diplomatic. Except for this part — The problem with these doctors is that they keep on talking but are doing nothing. They keep on complaining — the rest seems OK to me under the circumstance.

      The problem of the right balance between safety and economy, a problem in the advanced developed countries, is especially difficult in the PH. A big Gordian Knot to unravel. In the case of Concepcion he just wants to do an Alexander the Great — just cut the darn knot.

      • NHerrera says:

        Among the developed countries, a model of a successful handling of the pandemic followed now by a careful, measured reopening, is Germany . The problem was recognized early, the moves were fast and science-based in a country known for its effective use of science and technical expertise. There is also a solidarity now fading fast in the US. And of course the country has Angela Merkel.

        • The systematic observation of the R-factor by the Robert-Koch-Institut in Berlin ever since easing, the constant, even “OA” constant observation of the 50 persons per 100K population limit per county/town in 7 days as a kind of “red alert” and 35 per 100K as “yellow alert” are the present numbers. The doubling rate is no longer significant as the curve is flattened. It did help that the RKI Berlin devised the first ever coronavirus test kit in the West and spread the technology to hundreds of labs in the entire country.

          The very first cases in Germany in late January where meticulously studied by a large group of doctors and scientists, and were the first indication of possibly asymptomatic spread. The contact tracing done was exemplary exhaustive.

          I once experienced German contact tracing when a neighbor in Bonn got TB in the 1980s. Got my summons from the Gesundheitsamt Bonn (health office) and was tested while my neighbor was quarantined for a while. So that was not a new system, really..


          A flood of infection from ski vacation in Northern Italy and Austria wiped out exhaustive contact tracing and also made testing get prioritized more to conserve resources. In a country that makes not only test kits but also has one company producing reagents, which are needed to get a result from those swabs. There was a point in time during quarantine when Germany was CLOSE to running out of reagents. And CLOSE to reaching ICU and ventilator capacity. This was the height of the curfew measures.

          But just CLOSE. That is the difference between Germany, where Goods Movement programs track how much stock there should be and give a warning on time to order new stock the moment it threatens to go down, and the Philippines where the sales clerks so very often said “out of stock po siiir”, at least that was my experience in the 1970s, also the difference between Bavaria where the Economics Minister said “we have been monitoring our logistics and we were close to being out of packaging two weeks ahead, we are driving in the fog here but we are doing what we can” and the Philippines were the IATF blocked all transport and some factories actually got to the point were packaging was missing so canned goods could not be made, as I read in FB somewhere.

          Or Germany where they let of water out of dams some days before a storm to avoid water release during the storm, shortly before the dam is about to break, which it seems is what happened to La Mesa Dam during Ondoy in 2009, flooding half of the Marikina valley. Sure I have seen the Isar swell threateningly one sunny days before storms as they ordered the Sylvenstein reservoir to let off water, but I have not seen true flooding in over 2 decades. Frustrated when I tried to explain letting out water from a dam as a precaution to some batchmates from Pisay. Yes, Pisay, meaning people who should be able to understand.


          Another aspect of mass testing is to try to find out how many people are immunized. Munich mass test is 100 randomly selected voting districts out of 1000+ total, 30 families per each of the 100 districts selected by “random walk”. Makes 3000 households or on the average 4500 people in a city of 1.5 million people. They are being tested for antibodies. Similar tests are being done all over Germany.

          Of course the other aspect of risk management here was not to close everything down as radically as Spain, Italy, France or the Philippines. Many factories kept running here and getting people back to work – or keeping them at work – was a priority. The Bavarian state government said that the money spread out to subsidize people out of work, in short time work or business in trouble had to be re-earned somehow. Common sense. Public transport kept running over here so no people walked to work like in Metro Manila.

          Now beer gardens and outdoor restaurant tables are open, with social distancing. As a precaution every group of guests has to leave a name and a phone no. or mail address. New laws aim to strengthen health offices in the municipalities and counties. “Mobile containment teams” (literally called like that) are there to support places where the new cases are over 50 persons per 100K within 7 days. Interestingly, the Eastern Europeans are even more conservative than Germany is. Czech Republic MIGHT open the border to Germany by June 15, but only when the infection rate is sufficiently lowered. Interesting phenomenon which also was observed in the US: meatpacking is dangerous. In Germany the horrible housing conditions (dormitory style) for underpaid Romanian meatpackers recently cause outbreaks in several slaughterhouses. Hotels may open soon BTW here, but without pools, sauna, fitness studios which could spread disease. This is all about calculated, manageable risk. It is of course thin ice, like Chancellor Merkel already said.

          • NHerrera says:


            An opinion writer, Roger Cohen, writing in nytimes, wrote about statements by two high German Officials.

            German Angela Chancellor Merkel on the occasion of the establishment of a USD545 billion pandemic recovery fund backed by borrowing by the entire EU bloc said:

            “The nation-state alone does not have a future.”

            Cohen writes: it was a direct challenge to President Trump’s “America First,” the slogan whose poison keeps on giving. His United States has become the most unserious of nations.

            Complementarily, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe said:

            “Germany’s past is a fractured past — with responsibility for the murdering of millions and the suffering of millions. That breaks our hearts to this day. And that is why I say that this country can only be loved with a broken heart.”

            In this Cohen writes: for an American, suffering the daily drivel of the Blather-Mouth in Chief, Steinmeier’s statement is powerful — in its honesty, its humility, its seriousness, its decency, its morality, its courage. The Trump administration consigned all those words to the American past.

            Cohen writes further:

            I don’t think it’s easy, even for a German, to speak of brokenhearted love of country, nor to pronounce, as Merkel did, the demise of the “nation-state alone.” Nationalism is the most facile and effective of political tools, as well as the most dangerous. It was important, in the midst of a pandemic that has revealed a world incapable of a coordinated response and devoid of American leadership, that Europe’s most powerful nation step forward with honor.

            The European Union, that entity with a stubborn heartbeat, has emerged better from the pandemic than China or the United States. The fear-driven Chinese cover-up of the coronavirus and the chaotic denialism of the Trump administration have been the two main contributors to the disaster. President Xi Jinping’s tightening despotism and the dilapidation of American democracy were evident

            IRINEO, it must warm your heart about Germany, for an American — not European — writing about Germany in those glowing terms relative to the Unites States and China.

            • NHerrera says:


              I recall, correct me if wrong, there is a certain highly-rated blog hereabout edited by one with German roots, isn’t it? That nytimes article must warm his heart too.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Does the editor/blogger have any the same name mentioned in your last paragraph?
                Your memory is impeccable unlike me who forgot all about Chempo’s previous blog about the money topic.

              • sonny says:

                I think I know whom you’re refering to. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:


      • karlgarcia says:

        He needs a very industrials scissors.
        Buhay o kabuhayan?
        Life or livelihood?

        Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?

        The meat factory reopening worldwide was done sans an effective safety measure.
        In North America meat factories became an outbreak hub so they closed them and disinfected them and planned for safety measures.

        But will the plans not go awry?

        • You need HEALTHY employees to make a profit. Good employers know that.

          Those who think the pool of employees can be replenished endlessly might fail.

          The plumber next door, the pharmacy around the corner over here in Munich have separate teams that NEVER meet. Just in case one team has one who gets sick and spreads it to the rest, the chance of at least continuing with the other team is there.

          The plumber has teams that work separate groups of customers – and admin people working from home office, mostly – and the pharmacy has a morning and afternoon shift. The place CLOSES for half an hour so there is no contact between the teams.

          What else. Most cashiers, takeout counters etc. have plexiglass now to protect personnel against those people who spit while talking. No, actually we all create some aerosol when we talk, which is why masks are a good thing except that we smell our own bad breath.

          Busses don’t let you enter in front anymore. There is tape in front of the frontmost seats, so it is not possible to sit to close to the driver.

          Masks are mandatory in stores and public transport. I don’t see any sense in a mask when biking through the woods or a park. I do wear a mask when I know the streets will be full.

          Construction works went on in Germany during the curfew period. A lot of work is done by machines anyhow so socially distancing the few workers was not an issue. And it was a good opportunity to fix stuff without disturbing traffic.

          The strategy here – keep as much as possible running to keep the economy up a little while flattening the curve enough to be able to slowly restart, but in a monitored way – has been proven to work so far. I am a bit wary of how far the borders will reopen and hope they will not trust the countries that are not yet out of the woods too early. A bit of Eastern European style caution would be good now. Trump is allowing Europeans to come back in to the US but I hope German Interior Minister Seehofer wins with his opinion that allowing wholesale travel to the USA again at this point is very dangerous. Same thing though with Turkey, Russia, Brazil or even the UK. Stay at home may mean vacation close to home this year, and make sure the others monitor at similar levels. That next phase is interesting.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Thanks again for your insights.
            I hope enough protective measures are done here, but we always see videos of powerful and random nobodies violating something and we just shout at them from our computers or TV sets.

            Last weekends video of a sort of shop or window shop with revenge here were blamed on the poor even with public transport still not allowed.

            There is a misplaced class discrimination as ever.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Speaking of plans that go awry.
          The meat factories do have safety measures in place even as far back as 2018.

      • This is a feature on Angela Merkel’s leadership style through the pandemic.

        Two main aspects have been honesty and reliance on expertise.

  4. NHerrera says:


    I start with a technical preface here. The second part below goes to the heart of this comment.

    Herd Immunity Threshold

    In the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, the parameter that is now familiar to readers and TV news watchers is the Reproduction Number R0, the average number an infected person passes on the virus to others. An accurate global average of R0 for this Pandemic is not yet known since the pandemic is far from over. Also, this must vary from region to region and country to country.

    Unconstrained by mitigating measures such as frequent hand washing, social distancing, staying at home and wearing of masks, analysis of the progress of the virus in the explosive phase of the virus spread yields an R0 that ranges from about 2 to about 3.

    When an effective vaccine becomes available, the question that relates to the reproduction number R0 is the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated for the return to “normal” life without the measures of staying at home, social distancing, etc. No doubt the proportion needs to be stratified to consider the demography of an area and its density even within a country. The epidemiologists will have the expertise to advise on this. But let us grant homogeneity for our purpose here.

    What herd immunity threshold (HIT) corresponds to an R0 of 2? Of 3? Let us first define the population proportion to be vaccinated as p. We then have

    R1 = R0*(1 – p),

    where R1 is the reduced Reproduction Number because of the immunity provided by the vaccine.

    If p = 0, the Rep Number remains as R0. If p = 1 or 100%, that is the whole population are vaccinated, R1 becomes zero. No more virus reproduction. Clearly, all countries will weigh the cost of such vaccination effort. Relevant is the Herd Immunity Threshold for p so that R1 become 1.0 — noting that p above HIT is better because R1 is then below 1.0. But let us stick to the threshold for the moment. With R1 = 1, the above equation, re-arranged, becomes:

    p = 1 – 1/R0, so that

    for R0 = 2, p = 50%
    for R0 = 3, p = 67%.

    • NHerrera says:


      The drug company, Moderna [of Cambridge, Massachusetts] has encouraging good news in developing a coronavirus vaccine — which may optimistically be available for use in 12 to 18 months considering the associated manufacturing and distribution logistics required. There are a lot of companies worldwide similarly racing in vaccine development. Including I believe some PH groups which were given an incentive of PHP10 million to the first one to successfully develop a vaccine.

      This brings up the serious business of planning for the vaccine application to the PH when such effective vaccine becomes available. DOH must do all the spade work and detailed planning now and not be subject to pressures this way or that way — because if the past teaches us a lesson, it will not take time for people to think how to profit from this, again at the expense of the general public. Let us hope it will be different this time.


      I have no way of knowing how much a covid-19 vaccine shot will eventually cost when such becomes available. I know that a flu shot costs about PHP2,000 or about USD40. Even at this price and taking the herd immunity threshold of 67% (see Technical Note above), the cost will amount to

      PHB147B = (110million)*(0.67)*(PHP2,000).

      There is “gold” in that number. And we are talking only of USD40 = PHP2,000 per shot. What if it is USD100 = PHP5,000 per shot? That will yield a total of PHP369B.

      I just hope that our dear Dr. Persida Accosta, PAO Head, Anti-Dengue Vaccine advocate and pet peeve of TSH Contributor Irineo does not dip her pretty manicured fingers into the discussion. [By the way, the prefix Dr. is for her having a PhD in Social Development from the University of the Philippines. She is a lawyer.]

      • NHerrera says:


        I would like to more or less complete the concept I started with above. The HIT — herd immunity threshold — corresponds to the fraction of the population with immunity resulting, theoretically, in an average reduced Reproduction Number of R1 = 1. Meaning on the average an infected person will in turn infect only one person.

        The vaccinated are not only protected from the ill effects of the virus but as is true in the case of flu, the coronavirus vaccine will hopefully do the same — that is, will not shed the virus to infect others. Thus, with proper design of the vaccination with stratification — such that, say, NCR, is given more weight even if the national HIT averages 67% this may work so that as days pass, the effective R1 starting with 1.0 becomes lower and lower until the concern is reduced.

        Why so? Let us try this scenario. An infected person from the province comes to NCR which is say vaccinated to a weight of 70%. So the chances of contacting a vaccinated person is 70 against 30. Thus, the chance of spending his “quota” of R1 = 1 person is “done” on an average basis, and so on. So on an average basis the infection with time will peter out.

        In the province with the open air and idyllic living in a nipa hat with floor of airy bamboo slats [is there such a one still? 🙂 ] with a weight of say 65 to 35, the chance of infections petering out is also there.

        There will of course be some infections and deaths but this becomes close to the typical risk in normal human activities/ behavior — e.g. eating Big Mac hamburger of the beef kind, big fries and big cup of Coke three times a week.

        Better of course if the proportion vaccinated to start with country-wide is such as to make R1 below 1, say, 0.9.

        With R0 = 3, p = 70% will do it instead of our earlier 67%:

        R1 = R0*(1 – P) = 3*(1 – 0.7) = 0.9

        I would like to be corrected if I am talking sense here.

        • NHerrera says:


          I ran a Monte Carlo Simulation using my trusty Excel spreadsheet.

          First note, that as defined above, HIT or the population herd immunity threshold via vaccine is the application of vaccine to a percentage of the population so that the R or
          Reproduction Number reduces to 1.0.

          This is what I got in the MC simulation. Depending on R and the percentage level of HIT, there will be more percentage infections — as would be expected — for an unconstrained population with homogeneous demographics (the vaccinated being mixed in the population with the uninfected):

          For R = 2, HIT = 50%: the additional population infection is 25%, a total of 75%.

          For R = 3, HIT = 67%: additional population infection is 17%, a total of 84%.

          This roughly matches with my reading of 70-90 percent of population to achieve herd immunity. It has been written too somewhere in the current blog.

          • sonny says:

            NH, following the ‘mathematical behavior’ of the R0 equation with the P parameter, lurking in the equation is some constant term related to the presence of a vaccine or an initial immunity differential among different populations that will make the trend go downwards rather than up.

            • NHerrera says:


              Perhaps I may explain the concept behind the Monte Carlo Simulation I did. The diagram below may assist in my explanation. I took the case of a virus with R = 2. That is each infected person, on an average, infects two persons.

              I also took the case of vaccination to the level p such that it is equal to the Herd Immunity Threshold (HIT) — that is, such as to reduce the initial R from 2 to R1 = 1.

              The formula R1 = R*(1 – p) makes R1 = 1 if p is 0.50 or 50% as one can see by substituting numbers:

              R1 = 2*(1 – 0.50) = 1.0

              Thus p = HIT = the herd immunity vaccination of 50% of the population corresponding to R=2.

              The diagram’s legend explains the 216 points (persons), with half or 50% (106) vaccinated and does not infect, etc. I illustrated this with three infected persons among the un-vaccinated.

              Now let us be clear about R being an average number. In the case of A, it infects two un-vaccinate un-infected persons; in B, he tries but not infect two vaccinated ones; in C, he tries with a vaccinated person, no dice, but infects an un-vaccinated, un-infected one.

              I ran the simulation with random probabilities with no preset arrangement other than there is a homogeneous mix. I will not go into details of the simulation.

              The newly infected ones will go on to infect others, will be hospitalized if symptomatic and treated or dies. If he recovers, he may become immune or given another treatment to boast his immunity. As time goes on, there will be less and less of the white (uncircled) dots so that eventually the virus will not find enough hosts to become a great concern.

              Sonny, sorry for belaboring with the above since I am not sure what you have in mind. I thought my explanation may somehow answer your question or you can frame your query in terms of my explanation here.

              • sonny says:

                NH, I like the simplicity of R1 = R0*(1 – P) so I’ll stay with it using your definition of each variable. The equation I was looking for is of the form R1 = R0*(1 – P) + func(vaccinated, immunity) where (func) is a term that’s a constant or another equation that will always decrease R1. But thrash my wish for now and I will concentrate on understanding R1 equation as you are modelling it. I hope for a eureka! moment amidst my cobwebbed logic. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                Nope. No cobwebbed logic. We are all learners here. I will give that a thought. Meantime, I have added two more images. It shows how the three Infected points/ persons A, B and C progressed and ends in the second picture. The other white points are Un-infected and survivors to the onslaught of the virus. In MC simulations, different such progress and end images may occur.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Remember when herd immunity was first mentioned by the Brits we thought that they mean no quarrantine and lockdown for uk and let our immune systems see who is fittest.
      Matira, matibay.

      After the world went to lockdown and herd immunity is once again mentioned, saying we have bit achieved it yet.
      I am not pretending not to be confused because I am.

      • NHerrera says:


        I hope this will help. My understanding of the phrase herd immunity is the immunity of a relatively large fraction of a population against the effects of the virus and may come from either or both of the following:

        – immunity from natural means, meaning the person infected has somehow developed his own immunity without the intervention of a vaccine;

        – immunity via a vaccine.

        My readings so far is that no herd immunity has been attained so far. Sweden seems to desire or hope that their more relaxed anti-virus measures will achieve for them some sort of immunity without a vaccine.

        This may not help you. I hope some contributors here can do better. I want to be corrected if mistaken in my understanding.

        • karlgarcia says:

          First my bit achieved is supposedly not achieved it yet.
          Yes I also read that we have not achieved herd immunity yet.
          Immunity without vaccine for me is like having Mumps, measles or chicken pox
          After having it you are immuned for life, does this mean have COVID and suck it up?

          I am reading this posts about a certain infectious disease expert encouraging people to go out as long as you wash your hands and keep distance.

          Even as a layman and non expert, I beg to differ because of fear.

          • Even with measles – which I had as a child – you can get it, survive and be immune for life, or you can die of it, which is something anti-vaxxers tend to forget.

            If Sweden has only 1/3 or 1/4 of herd immunity, just multiply their mortality rate per 100K people by one thousand to get how many people have to die in the Philippines to achieve herd immunity there. In pre-medicine, pre-vaccine days that was normal, today it isn’t.

            Looking closely at middle-class family graves in Munich’s Old Southern cemetery is scary if one sees how many children did not make it to adulthood, or how many young adults died due to the cholera epidemics that hit the city every ten years or so.

            Proper hygiene, meaning toilets, a real drainage system still used until today, not killing animals in backyards anymore but in the central slaughterhouse – still used until today – all made a difference. Dr. Pettenkoffer of Munich was proud of his hygiene accomplishments (fresh water from the mountains – used until today – instead of from the river, and proper drainage systems, also used until today) and would not believe Dr. Koch of Berlin that bacteria were the main cause – even drinking cholera bacteria and thinking he had proven his case when he did not get sick.

            Both were right in their own way, but even (and sometimes especially) scientists can have huge egos. The airs of Dr. Salvana and others are nothing new under the sun.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Did my memory fail me when I recalled that an expert in UK suggested not to lockdown and just achieve herd immunity in the early days of Corona?

        • Correct, herd immunity is if a large enough percentage is immune, making it harder for the virus to statistically find people to jump over to. The more virulent the virus, that means the higher the R0 – my understanding – the more % have to be immune. Maybe 70-80%.

          Sweden has achieved estimated 20% immunity in (for Swedish conditions) densely populated Stockholm. The German village of Gangelt in Heinsberg, one of the worst hit areas, has achieved around 15% immunity. Far from 60%.

          A painful idea of how many casualties one may need for NATURAL herd immunity:

          Around HALF of Oberammergau’s population, 81 or 84 people by different accounts, died of the plague from late 1632 to spring 1633. After a vow to stage a passion play every ten years, allegedly no more people died and the sick recovered.

          Probably by then the sick who recovered were immune and those who had not gotten sick just were asymptomatic. In any case the debt to God or herd immunity has been repaid roughly every 10 years since then. This year’s passion play was postponed to 2022.

          Agricultural societies that planted their own food I guess survived such pandemics pretty well, while I think it is more catastrophic for urbanized and modern societies.

          • caliphman says:

            As of yet, the consensus among top epidemiologists is that there is an essential premise for natural herd immunity to make sense at all. It is that a person infected with Covid-19 and recovered from it cannot again be reinfected or continue to spread it to others. The basis for this premise as you pointed out is measles and other similar viruses had this characteristic. But this is not necessarily true as there are viruses like HIV which behave differently and although treatments are available, vaccines are not. Even in the case of flu, vaccines will only work or the risk of reinfection is minimal if the the same flu strain is involved. The most recent findings are that recovered Covid cases can continue to carry the virus using the more accurate and proven PCR tests even after no longer having symptoms and testing negative. The yet inconclusive and hoped for explanation is that this is just dead Covid residue but this has not established so far.

            Secondly, as you point out, the Covid virus is much more lethal than the flu.
            It is 10 to 20x more lethal than the flu. To achieve natural herd immunity, the best estimates are 70% of the population would have to be infected. At a best case 1% lethality, the Philippines would have to be prepared to accept an estimated 1 million fatalities. The US about 3 5 million, assuming no social restrictions.

            Therefore, the enormous toll in human life on the basis of an unproven immunity premise is simply an unjustifiable approach from a public health standpoint. This is why the need for an effective Covid vaccine is so urgent as it avoids this toll and relying on a yet unproven premise.

    • sonny says:

      NH, I admit I’m slow on the uptake to an adequate understanding of the facts of economics and science surrounding our battle against the corona/covid adversary/virus. Inspite of this I would like to suggest to read these primers on viruses in general and corona species in particular. From a mere juxtaposing of your explanation of HIT, Karl’s comments, and caliphman’s insights and this primer on viruses I can see intuitively, for now, the explanations for our important questions. The primers contains why RNA-related diseases mutates while DNA-related diseases behave differently; what happens when RNA mutates; why corona survivors can still be vulnerable to recurrence, and many other questions. (Note: After reading this primer I can see why Dr Fauci and Pres Trump are at odds while looking at the same science and economics: Dr Fauci will not abide by the number of human lives he foresees will be lost in the absence of an effective vaccine).

      • NHerrera says:


        Thanks. Although my learning is slow on the contents, the two links you posted gave me some birds-eye view:

        – of DNA (double-stranded) and RNA (single-stranded) with common nucleobases: cystosine, guanine, adenine; but with the difference: thymine in DNA, uracil in RNA;

        – SARS-COV-2 [which results in the covid-19 disease] is of the RNA kind;

        – that virus mutation is not necessarily a bad thing; that a vaccine that may be developed for SARS-COV-2 may hopefully be longer-lasting than the one-year immunity that the flu vaccine provides.

        I have bookmarked the links for reference. Thanks again.

        • sonny says:

          NH, the articles were real eye-openers for me, together with, as I mentioned comments from Karl & caliphman’s synthesis & your HIT piece.

          At random:

          Corona is an RNA not DNA – this is important, these nucleic acids have different chemical pathways vaccine-wise and replication/virulence-wise;

          RNA is more easily ‘remembered’ by our immune system, viz antibody production;

          RNA mutation is more tractable by our virologists, IMO; the double helix structure is the stuff of life’

          Wuhan RNA has already mutated: to more deadly form, less likely; to weaker form, always possible;

          Your R0 equation says a lot.

          • NHerrera says:

            Re your random notes, I find these comforting:

            RNA is more easily ‘remembered’ by our immune system, viz antibody production;

            RNA mutation is more tractable by our virologists, IMO; the double helix structure is the stuff of life’;

            Wuhan RNA has already mutated: to more deadly form, less likely; to weaker form, always possible.


    • Herd immunity is just scientific talk for cost/benefit , how many deaths can you as a nation absorb and while still saving a sense of normalcy.

      Like caliphman said 1M for Filipino , lets round off and say 4M for the US.

      Preliminary stats here, i dunno there, is that most black and Hispanics are affected disproportionately . I think because of diet, more fast food joints in poorer black and Hispanic communities here.

      So already there is a race element over here, the Republican vs. Dems divide is also largely race base.

      For example, I went to Santa Barbara the other day, I can just by walking/driving around tell who’ll vote for Trump and who’ll vote Biden, and who was in the Bernie camp that will likely not vote at all. Just by how they dress and what they drive, etc.

      And sure enough , guess who weren’t wearing masks? Republicans.

      I think over there, it would be topsy turvy, most rich well off there tend to be obese, taking diabetes and heart meds, etc. Most poor are getting by with rice and some salted fish, if no fish then seaweed, or gulay. which is kinda healthy.

      The irony here is hospital floors are largely non-White, non-Republicans. And if you live long enough in Socal, you can tell who’ll vote whom such is this divide i speak of, so will quality of care change in hospitals?

      I can’t stress enough that life in the Philippines is worth P15,000 (maybe P20,000 now), so Filipinos just might be able to absorb 1M death, but 4M in the US will cause some very serious upheavals.

      Even if they discover a vaccine tomorrow, most Americans will opt not to take it. Again, on the same lines illustrated above.

      • karlgarcia says:

        In fairness to statistics.
        We may say we can already “tell” just by observation.

        Man those statistics you mentioned are also from observation and interviews, they just tallied them , computed them etc.

        And I am sure those stuff you google is not from acting on a Jungian quote on the sequence of thinking.

        Lastly, I do not understand the placard in the picture
        When it is reported that healthworkers are overwhelmed, it may mean inundated and not necessarily the nurses are afraid to care for covid patients and nurses saying: “no we aint”.
        But who knows, that is just my observation.
        It is more than meets the eye

        • That’s a Trumpian protest in San Diego,

          ‘overwhelmed’ is referring to the fact that California never experienced what NYC experienced, karl. The surge never came here. All ERs are empty, hospitals are reminding people that if they need to go to the hospital , to please go (but people were told not to go like a month ago, so people are still refraining). The surge never came here to California, we’ll see after Memorial Day weekend because people are out and about, and w/out masks, karl.

          Here’s the back side of her sign…

        • NHerrera says:


          You may want to read these tweets.

          Tweets from two former Goldman Sachs bankers about reopening the US economy:

          Neel Kashkari
          May 22

          Genuinely curious, Lloyd: are you going back out to movie theaters, restaurants and commercial planes? Or are you sequestering until there’s a vax since you are in high risk age group? The people will determine the lockdown based on their own sense of safety.

          Lloyd Blankfein
          May 22

          Hospitals are not overwhelmed; most of us will be exposed anyway since we can’t sequester until there’s a vax; and we know which groups need protection from worst outcomes. Is the public health benefit from broad lockdowns at this point worth such extreme damage to livelihoods?


          Take your pick.

          Also, ask friend Lance if he will go to a movie theater or a restaurant or take a commercial plane right now — with or without face mask. 🙂

    • NH,

      I don’t intend to be part of that 4M that caliphman estimated there.

      I double mask it when I do my groceries which is first thing in the morning, when not too many people are around. I wear a mask whenever I go outside, but make it a point to just go out at dawn. Again, I don’t wanna be a statistic— though I think i’ve already gotten COVID19, but just in case i’m taking all precautions.

      With that said, I’ve been calling for a reboot, been arguing the Thanos line here for awhile now. Now i’m not gonna tip the scales one way or the other, but I am rooting for COVID19 to precipitate this reboot. I also know that this reboot, may just get out of hand and burn the whole house down.

      With everything re-opening now, I watched Gov. Cuomo talk about reopening NY too today, there’s no ifs buts or whatnots, America is going to reopen, even while the curve point upwards. So with R0 at 3; fatality at 1% , people are gonna die. The surge that never really came to California, there’s a good chance now that it will.

      After two months, state and local governments are tanking; hospitals are going broke, no patients no insurance, no ones paying. chemp wants social economics; Micha is saying MMT is coming to save the day; I’m saying zombies are gonna come out soon.

      There’s people walking around with no masks on; there’s people that are so fearful they are washing their hands til their skin cracks and bleeds, which nullifies the whole point of why you have skin. I’m just observing and reporting all this, trying to forecast 6 months to 1 year from now, as is everyone.

      Yup, a lot of people will die here; so too around the world.

      I’m not calling for opening up America, but I am cheering for COVID19, hoping that 4M will be mostly unessential personnel will not include me, and a reboot to our economic system will occur having shed some weight. Not the most popular position to take, but if COVID19 represents nature’s reckoning, then play “Nature Boy”, and sit back and read “the Road”.

      It will get worst. a lot worst.

      • p.s. — whatever Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation puts forward, I’m totally for, Microsoft teams; Microsoft personalized AI learning; Terrapower; , etc. etc. etc.

        “PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. PATH takes an entrepreneurial approach to developing and delivering high-impact, low-cost solutions, from lifesaving vaccines and devices to collaborative programs with communities. Through its work in more than 70 countries, PATH and its partners empower people to achieve their full potential.”

        After the dust settles, and the house doesn’t burn completely down, then i hope all these programs and ideas come forth, and lead a leaner world forward.

      • “I’m cheering for COVID19” is pretty sick, to me. These are real people. Essential mothers to kids and fathers, essential fathers to kids and mothers, kids who have a long future if they stay healthy. I can’t comprehend the heartlessness of that comment. You can hope for a reboot of the economy without deaths, to prevent them now and the future. Kindly keep your line of thinking out of my blog. It is not suitable content here.

        • Pablo says:

          Although I agree with Joe that it is awful to cheer for Covid-19, I can understand the statement coming from elderly people. In many countries they have been treated as ‘expendable’, there was (and still is) not enough protective equipment for the caretakers, there have been statements that it is not worth taking elderly people to hospital etc.etc.etc. Fact is that elderly people have been dying like flies in many countries. We all knew it was coming and we all have seen over the past years that in spite of this, money for care was cut, resulting of ‘the system’ not being able to spend any respurces to prepare. So, elderly people tell me that they feel that it is very convenient for society when they leave this earth. The pension funds are cheering, care costs will decrease.
          So, when people left in this situation tend to kneejerk and cheer for Covid-19, I wonder if we should not stop and think about the background. Maybe there are some very real grievances.

          If it would have come from a resident of NZ, Taiwain or Korea, it would be disgusting, but let’s be real, Trump calling 100k fatalities ‘an honour’, Bolsonaro calling it a little flue etc.etc.etc., I expect very harsh reactions from those in real danger.

      • NHerrera says:

        The deaths may just grow in horrible order of magnitude but what a thing to say. It is to me heartless to make that statement — “I’m cheering for COVID19” — especially in the light of an elderly like yourself who described this routine in growing to the grocery:

        I double mask it when I do my groceries which is first thing in the morning, when not too many people are around. I wear a mask whenever I go outside, but make it a point to just go out at dawn.

        Gee whiz.

  5. Pablo says:

    “Doctors and nurses, for sure. Janitors and food delivery people.” Those are the people putting themselves at great risks. We can applaud them, but we have to ask ourselves what we can ask from them. Have “we” not put them in a very dangerous position by not locking down early enough, by not providing them enough protective equipment, by ignoring all warnings? Why do we ask them to fight a war without sufficient resources? In my direct environment, I see nurses getting very (very!) sick, I see nurses going bonkers and probably shellshocked for life. They also have families and I wonder if we have asked too much from them.
    I see other people doing just stupid things endangering others (in varying degrees, from leaders refusing a timely lockdown to neighbors running around the barangay)
    My suggestion would be a general strike from our hero’s, the doctors and janitors and delivery people until “The Stupids” get their act in gear or are removed.
    From what I have observed from (Filipino) nurses in the UK, a significant part is marked for life, many did not survive. Was it worth it? After this is over, they will not receive any thanks and our leaders will forget about all their sufferings. Same must be happening back home.
    In my training, I learned to stop, think, analyze and decide in any dangerous situation.
    I would suggest to our hero’s to think twice and take the consequences.
    For those who continue, I feel an enormous amount of respect and admiration, for those who quit, I think they did the right thing.

    • NHerrera says:


      I appreciate your comment.

      If I may:

      – If these people, especially the Doctors, acted the way they did or are still doing so knowing the great risk to their lives –when they could have shied away because their savings, diminished through the days, is still enough for their family to live on, though frugally — then, like you, I cannot but be awed by what they are doing. They are the Mother Theresa’s in spirit, perhaps more than the latter.

      – If they knew the consequences but acted the way they did because they have no choice because their family’s survival is equally imperiled then I understand and commiserate with them (choosing one risk over the other).

      • Pablo says:

        But when this is over, we must MUST! not forget what important roles they have played, from janitors to doctors, from teachers to policemen, from shopkeeper to the mailman. They deserve to be rewarded properly and not just being taken for granted. Have we finally learned how important these ‘simple’ people are??? How interconnected this society is? If we learned to give respect to the essential workers, then maybe all this was worth it.
        I see two completely different streams, New Zealand which has pulled together and (almost) everybody survived and the US/Brasil where everything is politicized it became a disaster. Will we look and learn?
        Will we ever learn?
        Will we?

        • NHerrera says:

          Yes — WE MUST NOT FORGET.

          Will we ever learn? I hope so. But will certainly not bet my little house on it.

          Current Leaders of US/ Brazil: birds of a feather causing more unnecessary coronavirus deaths in their respective countries. Oh boy.

          • Pablo says:

            Those leaders were chosen. These were “democratic countries”. Somehow, the people of these countries got what they wanted. And the end is nowhere in sight. I agree: Oh boy.

  6. Dominguez recently lecturing Imee on how her father’s Masagana 99 in reality failed, that rural banks went broke and had to be rescued, and retorting to Imee’s statement that “at least we exported rice” that “we never exported rice” was a magnificent day in Philippine media, recently.

    DFA is a story on its own. I think it started shaping up in its attitude to migrants and OFWs from 1986 onwards, when this group of people smelled freedom and started to demand service. Maybe even earlier, when during Martial Law OFWs protested successfully against “forced remittances” which went via the Embassies and via the official exchange rate that gave little pesos for foreign currencies, the exchange rate tourists also got at banks in those days. From 1986 there also was an influx of idealists into the DFA, people who had been part of the February revolution, people with “crazy” ideas like human rights. Sure, there were also elitists on the yellow side, like one high official who snorted after a meeting with some Filipino and mostly Filipinas “what do they with their low level of education know about politics in the Philippines?”. But there were others as well.

    From the junketeers and loyalist asskissers of the 1970s (with some old-school Filipino government professionals in between, but these were formalistic, not service-oriented types) to the idealists of the 1980s (and some fights between the two batches) to today’s mostly PROS is an interesting story (which I only know in part as I distanced myself from that world in the 1990s) of how organizations can become completely different over time. Of course OFWs and migrants don’t directly have to fear “the mayor’s men”, meaning goons, like a lot of simple Filipinos back home.

    What I do see as a martial law baby, raised during that difficult period, is that Filipinos today are more outspoken than in the 1970s. There are enough people who openly discuss with authority. Probably one reason why some things are better than before, inspite of still negative stuff around. Similar to the process that happened to DFA, Filipino governance may yet change as people hold the line, maybe just out of embarassment or loss of image like in some recent cases, but eventually a new spirit of service may take hold. In fact it could even be with new generations.

    Vico Sotto is the nephew of Tito Sotto. Nancy Binay often makes sense inspite of her parentage. Just to show it isn’t just local governments. Local is easier as it is more immediate, less abstract. National has a colonial heritage, as shown by how high-hatted some government officials still are to Filipino citizens, as to how PNP and AFP still act like Spanish Guardia Civil towards some Filipinos, and national is often abstract. The institutions like Senate and Congress were in the 1960s purely gentlemen’s clubs practicing “country club management” style. Then after 1986 both idealists and crooks came in, but at some point Filipinos of all walks of life may yet realize that a country is not run like a city and a good mayor may not make a good President. Filipinos who work in IT and related professions wonder about the mess in testing, in governance such as distribution of aid, in disparate government databases, in a dearth of opendata and transparency. Possibly, the “Raiding, Trading and Feasting” system of ever since tribal chieftains – raid enemies, trade with allies and feast supporters – might be replaced by modern governance. Or it may destroy it.

    • Micha says:

      How and why Masagana 99 failed?

      • This is the video of the discussion.

        • Micha says:

          No discussion or clarification from Dominguez about why, after initial success, Masagana 99 became non-viable.

          He didn’t say that farm input subsidies were discontinued or that NIA was de-funded for their irrigation projects and maintenance.

          Why did the Marcos gov’t discontinued subsidies and funding for Masagana 99?

          Because Marcos was under the spell of the World Bank. He was showered with dollar loans but was told to stop subsidizing Filipino rice farmers.

          He instead built roads, countryside electrification, Bataan Nuclear plant, CCP, Lung Center, Folk Arts Theater, etc..

          All nice projects to ensure national food security there, don’t you think?

          • chemrock says:

            Once again your one liner explains everything.

            “Because Marcos was under the spell of the World Bank. He was showered with dollar loans but was told to stop subsidizing Filipino rice farmers.

            And that line explains the failure of Masagna 99. A simple answer to a complex problem.

            It’s as if World Bank said here’s $100M, don’t give this farmers, use it for roads, nuclear plant etc..

            For the records, Bataan Nuclear project was financed by commercial loan facilities.

            It’s as if recipient countries such as Philippines are so stupid when World Bank and IMF provides assistance, they bowed to the funders and did everything as requested.

            First and foremost, recipient countries screwed up their economies, they approach World Bank and IMF for assistance.

            World Bank and IMF offered assistance and such aid comes in 3 components — financing assistance (some soft loans, some guarantees, some donations), structural reforms, and macroeconomic policy changes.

            Structural reforms and macroeconomic policies are based on the Agencies knowledge base. Of course they may be wrong, of course they have been wrong before, but they have also been right. Donor countries of these agencies are from the open-market economies of the world. Of course they will promote open market doctrines which have been successfully pursued by successful countries. Don’t expect socialist thinking in their strategies. It is what it is.

            The aid programmes are placed before the countries. Certainly the leadership and legislatures, such as Marcos, all studied it. They negotiatiated, they suggested changes, they requested this and that — all these are to be expected. Mahathir rejected the World Bank’s assistance because he refused devaluation as one of the conditions. To suggest recipients are handcuffed, feet-tied and mouth gagged are simply mongering without understanding world affairs.

            Masagna 99 failed for many reasons. Talking about the removal of subsidies is wrong in the first place because Masagana 99 was not about subsidies. World Bank approach was to raise the productivity, not subsidies. In this, the World Bank made a major blunder. Because a large segment of the rice farmers were are too small for marginal revenue from productivity gains to cover the cost of machinisation and use of imported fertilisers necessary for IR8. Only the bigger farmers, with economies of scale, benefited from increased productivity and thus PH was able to export rice for a while.

            The thrust of the assistance was credit facilities. Farmers had access to credits to acquire machinery. The failure of Masagna 99 led to bankruptcy of 800 rural banks. Why? Because Marcos controlled the interest rates (I covered the importance of price discovery of interest rates and the yield curve in the previous article). To make credits cheap to farmers, interest rates of depositors in rural Banks were suppressed.

            Low performing smaller farms turned to cash crops leading a significant portion of land no longer producing food crops such as rice. Assistance to bigger farms became political tools susceptible to corruption and misuse of resources. A typical debtor moral hazard issue.

            This Masagna 99 is complicated stuff.

            Imee Marcos (whose father ran the show) saw success.
            Domiguez (who was the problem-fixer) saw failure
            You saw the big bad wolf World Bang-IM-US cabal.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Here is what stuck.
              Imee: At least we exported rice.
              Domnguez: We never exported rice.
              Me: Huh?

            • Micha says:

              Hey chemp, World Bank makes loans in dollars that poor indebted countries have difficulty paying back. It’s what is called debt bondage. Loans became a tool for imperialism. Conquering other countries need not involve sending armies and tank brigade. If debtor countries cannot pay, they surrender some (if not all) of their policy making and sovereignty and that is exactly what happened under Marcos. He became a puppet of US-World Bank imperial power..

              Don’t give me your bullshit complicated stuff about Masagana 99. It worked for awhile until it couldn’t because funding for subsidies were discontinued. You don’t need dollars to plant rice. We have the fertile lands, a favorable climate, and water resource for irrigation. We can be productive and self-sufficient if we wanted to.

              • chemrock says:

                “If debtor countries cannot pay, they surrender some (if not all) of their policy making and sovereignty

                You are constantly juxtaposing one liners for contrafactual effect not based on reality.

                Countries ‘surrender’ (actually a more proper term would be acquiesce) some policy and solvency autonomy in order for World Bank-IMF structural reforms and macroeconomic policy changes to be implemented. They don’t ‘surrender’ because they cannot pay. And no single country has surrendered sovereignty.

                I don’t think you have heard of HIPC? Of course you don’t because the past few years of your lambast on the World Bank-IMF-US cabal you have never ever mentioned this.

                This is the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The joint IMF–World Bank comprehensive approach to debt reduction for impoverised countries. 36 countries in Africa, and elsewhere, have qualified for this. There are people and agencies working on how to resolve these problems in a meaningful and organised way, equitable to all parties, taking care of long term implications, and all sorts of related issues.

                But of course, to you, this is another way for US to control such countries.

                “He became a puppet of US-World Bank imperial power..

                Ah I see. So I guess Marcos was ordered to impose martial law and commit all those atrocities. Very neat.

                “We can be productive and self-sufficient if we wanted to.

                Yes this one liner explains everything. Filipinos choose to remain in poverty.


            • Micha says:

              “It’s as if recipient countries such as Philippines are so stupid when World Bank and IMF provides assistance, they bowed to the funders and did everything as requested.”

              That’s simpleton bullshit!

              World Bank and IMF don’t provide assistance! They provide loans! And they mean to collect it (plus interest) after a period of time.

              If debtor countries cannot pay, then World Bank and IMF gets to influence which policy track to take. They get to implement the neo-liberal Washington Consensus bullshit that poor countries in Asia and Latin America has to contend with. Do you understand?

              • chemrock says:

                World Bank and PH govt archives contain all records of WB-IMF programmes in the country. Hundreds of them over the years. Let me just pick on one current one :

                “The development objective of the Improving Fiscal Management Development Policy Loan (DPL) Project for Philippines is to support the high-level objective of the Government of the Philippines to improve fiscal management with three development objectives: (A) strengthening tax policy; (B) enhancing public finance management and budget planning; and (C) strengthening fiscal risk management of public assets. This DPL forms an integral part of the Philippines country partnership strategy (CPS) which aims to support the government’s fiscal and budget reforms. This operation responds to a direct request from the government to support the acceleration of fiscal reform efforts in the Philippines. While the Philippines has a robust macroeconomic framework and strong reform program, due to changing global market conditions it is experiencing an increased government financing need. The government’s commitment to maintaining reform momentum is evidenced in the recent efforts in advancing further tax reforms, as well as a significant demand for technical assistance which the World Bank is responding to with other development partners.”

                The last sentence is self-explanatory.

                World Bank_IMF is not in the business of dishing out loans. I told you no less than 3 times, their programmes have 3 components, but of course such details don’t mean nothing to you.

              • I’ll end the discussion between you and Micha at this point. It’s gotten personal. I’ve deleted Micha’s last two posts for offensive language. Kindly stop the discussion between the two of you so I don’t have to end the discussion entirely.

            • Pablo says:

              Chemrock, thank you for the comprehensive answer. You indicated that the loans were meant to improve efficiency, also for farmers to invest in machinery and thereby improve yield. But only big farmers could benefit from this.
              But agrarian reform made the situation worse, wasn’t it?
              It completely destroyed farming efficiency country wide. Big farms being split and now managed mainly by tinkerers. The beneficiaries of agrarian reform were not farmers. Farm workers are not necessarily farmers. A farmer is a craftsman, an economist, a worker, an engineer all in one. And a certain size of a farm is required to make it an efficient producer of food for the country. In the Netherlands, we got a program in the 1950’s where farmland was re-distributed. Farms became bigger, smaller farmers were often bought out. The resulting increase in efficiency put the Dutch farmers in a world class position.
              As opposed to the Agrarian Reform which nullified the WB efforts to increase the Filipino efficiency in food production
              Do you think that this is another side of the story?

              • Micha says:


                Efforts to increase Filipino efficiency in food production need not involve the World Bank.

                All Filipino farmers need are national gov’t subsidies like what other farmers from other countries with robust agriculture production get.

              • chemrock says:

                I really have not much knowledge here. It’s too complicated. My comment was directed at specific masagna 99- WB issues. There have been reforms, flip flops, roll backs – who is responsible for what, who knows? At the heart of the matter is Land Reform. Everybody knows that, but how? Joe wrote an article on this some time back.

                I notice one problem with properties in PH. It tends to subdivide into smaller and smaller units in the testacy process one generation to the next. We end up with tiny units that function inefficiently.

              • Pablo says:


  7. I don’t know if you guys are seeing these images in South America, but forget hospitals and masks for awhile. How do you deal with the dead bodies???

    The Muslims in Mindanao are pretty practical when it comes to burials, and after they don’t even visit cemeteries. BUT funerals in the rest of the Philippines are like parties, could last for days, with cards playing and other games. How do you ensure that the virus from dead bodies don’t end up in the food source or water?

    I believe there was a plan for Los Angeles County, though there never really was the expected surge here ala NYC, but there’s were to just get all bodies straight to crematoriums , which promised they could handle surges by simply stacking bodies in the oven, which makes sense less exposure to bodies with virus if in bulk instead of the more

    dignified one at a time approach.

    • karlgarcia says:

      During the lockdown the dead are instantly( after a a number of hours) cremated here.

      • Thanks, karl.

        I remember back in the mid-2000s, the idea of cremation wasn’t very popular amongst Filipinos, after life stuff and all.

        I do know the Catholic church put out an edict of sorts that cremation was okay, clarified recently i believe. Though ashes have to be buried in cemeteries or other holy sites, i think the point here is to keep up the Day of the Dead tradition. No scattering of ashes or keeping it in the house.

        I also know that Catholic masses have been a form of protest here of late, although I’ve read of priests using water guns to shoot parishioners with holy water, etc. but they want to open up masses back, as essential service.

        I wonder if the Catholic church over there are pushing back on all this, similar to over here.

  8. NHerrera says:


    According to NEDA the highest job losses due to coronavirus come from these sectors:

    1. Construction,
    2. Education,
    3. Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles,
    4. Tourism,
    5. Finance and insurance activities,
    6. Arts, entertainment and recreation,
    7. Sports and fitness,
    8. Professional, scientific and technical activities,
    9. Repair of other items,
    10. Real estate.

    When one adds the coming back of Dollar-Earning OFWs by the tens of thousands the info indicates a grim picture moving forward.

    • Indeed. I’ve read a couple of notes about PH ability to handle the virus economically. Bottom of the pack.

      Here’s one:

      • NHerrera says:

        Not a pretty spot to be in. Of the three categories — High Level, Med Level, Low Level — we are at the worst place in the worst category.

      • NHerrera says:


        In this regard, I have this concept. Before I go on look at the daily coronavirus cases in the Philippines and Sweden, shown respectively below.

        On an average basis, after the initial rapid rise in the daily cases, there is a broad and persistent plateau of these daily cases in both countries.

        In the Philippines with so-called Enhanced Community Quarantine or “lockdown” in the highly affected areas such as Metro Manila, no clear downtrend (on an average basis) is seen as yet. If this persists along with confusing or haphazard tests being conducted, reopening or partial reopening of economic activities will be problematic.

        In the case of Sweden there is no forced lockdown or quarantine, trusting the populace to take responsibilities, so reopening of economic activities is not a problem. Irineo above cites that Sweden may have achieved about 20% non-vaccine immunity or herd immunity.

  9. Micha says:

    “Recently, Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez gave a clear and cogent explanation of what was needed to resurrect the economy…”

    What did Dominguez exactly explained, joe?

  10. An interesting feature by Deutsche Welle about the factors that lead to more and more pandemics in this day and age: population, travel, climate change, mass consumption of animal products..

  11. chemrock says:

    Not to forget the hundreds of millions of peso donations from Filipino corporations (including ABS-CBN) and foreign entities in Philippines, as well as unsolicited aid from foreign countries (US about Php250m).

  12. NHerrera says:

    Worrying about a member of the family or someone they know catching the coronavirus:

    Filipinos: 87%
    British/Australians: 78%/75%
    Americans: 79%

  13. NHerrera says:


    Since April 6 when the daily case was 414, the daily COV cases were lower than 339 (attained in May 7); yesterday, April 26, the daily case was registered at 350. The long rough average plateau of the daily cases remains — no clear sign of abatement. If the phase of testing is more than what is being done currently, I believe more cases may result.

    • The uptick appears to be from quarantined OFWs returning to PH, held 2 months to clear procedural hurdles. When a suicide was reported, the situation went viral and the President ‘freed them’ by decree. Except those who tested positive.

      • Pablo says:

        My wife’s cousin died from lungcancer. His son was already 4 weeks in quarantine, he was tested but “the results were not released yet”. His father died. We found the result and he was released. A day too late. Complete incompetence and disrespect for the people who keep the country afloat with their remittances. And the president gets bonus points for his decree? Don’t let me laugh, it is his administration who is responsible for this mess. No wonder that the sailors in my family don’t want to return and keep extending their contracts and the medical family is not even thinking of ever returning. The waste in brainpower is just amazing.
        In this Covid situation, we spend first 4 months in Europe because of family issues and got stuck in South Africa on our way back. A good opportunity to compare. Philippines is for us 14 % more expensive than Europe and 35% more than SA. Looks like Covid is saving us money. Sad situation.

      • NHerrera says:

        @TSH: Thanks for connecting that statistics to the on-the-ground development.

    • NHerrera says:


      Today’s new COV cases spike of 539 essentially brackets the previous highest daily case of 538 recorded on March 30.

      This as President Duterte OKs the implementation of the so-called General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for Metro Manila by June 1 — 72 days since the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was implemented on March 17.

      • The Philippines is stuck in a bad place, squeezed between its poor testing (leading to ignorance about where the virus is) and an economy on the brink of collapse. Aquino didn’t do it, leaving trolls with diversions and nonsense.

        • kasambahay says:

          stuck in a bad place, so true. philippines seems to enjoy being stuck in a bad place. first up, those terribly expensive ppes made in china bought by doh, nearly 2x the price of private ppes donated by citizens via the vice president’s office, leni robredo. same quality, same materials, but big difference in price. I suppose those made in china cost more because of shipping and freight charges. had doh bought the local made ppes and being cheaper, doh would have gotten 2x the amount of ppes, more for out health workers to use. and at the same time po, provide jobs to local manufacturers of ppes. on the way na sana tayo to being not so dependent on china. we can manufacture our own and ably so.

          seems to me doh is not supportive of local products, gusto imported. though health workers got no qualms about using local products, thankful pa nga sila.

          2nd, philippines is woefully stuck in covid plateau, still high with no downward curving.

          3rd, hard for me to comprehend po doh sec duque is also philhealth administrator. he wears two very important hats, yan ang narinig ko. and sometimes, he trips and each time he does, there is seismic health ripples. and consequences are often dire.

          4th, we should be able to do mass testing, UP have already developed test kits, nuon pa. locally made and cheaper test kits, approved by FDA. then suddenly, there is brake. cannot do mass testing. tapos asking pa sila for more contact tracers, to do what exactly? more contact tracers around 90K of them could only mean more testing, maybe even mass testing.

          but if testing is to be cut back, no need for more contact tracers then, right?

          • That seems like a fair summary of things. To me, DOH operates like most agencies operate, with lousy discipline and unorganized record-keeping, much of it on paper. Yesterday, they blew up the trend reporting on cases by revealing that yesterday’s 1,046 cases consisted of 1,000 old cases not yet recorded and 46 “fresh” cases. So they are basically saying the history is bad. So the nation has been making decisions while flying blind. Well, I’ve been saying for some time that they are just measuring testing capacity, not the disease, so that was proven true.

            I think there is a lot of testing going on at LGUs but it is disorganized where it comes together because of the gap between LGU designation of a case and central’s validation of that. I believe nothing coming from DOH right now, but continue to track what they put out.

            • NHerrera says:

              I believe nothing coming from DOH right now, but continue to track what they put out.

              Good because I suddenly became tired of tracking with that record-keeping mess. Tracking the baloney we are being fed is OK if it’s the real bologna.

              • Haha. Yes, it’s exasperating, for sure.

              • kasambahay says:

                those old cases brought alongside and counted with the new cases, the 1st thing that comes to my mind is – recycled.

                and all that money, our country has secured loan of 4.55billions from foreign institutions for our covid response. it’s not surprising then doh is updating data kaagad to justify sizable expenses. and hiring more nameless and faceless contact tracers to be put on the payroll. pls let them not be ghosts, pls let them not be ghosts, pls let them not be ghosts.

                p.s. never had it so easy, these contact tracers, ghosts or not. we’re in quarantine and lockdowns and people are rarely going nowhere. easier then to trace and line up people for histologicals and testing.

      • sonny says:

        Since an effective vaccine is the game-changer here is a sobering report on the ‘ease’ of developing the Covid19 variety:

        “There are still many unknowns with respect to Covid-19, including for how long any vaccine will provide protection. A strong indication of this will be whether people who have recovered from the disease can catch it again. There have been anecdotal reports of re-infection, but the phenomenon is not well understood.”

  14. NHerrera says:


    See the image below superimposed over the US Map. It shows a parallelism to the coronavirus
    hot spots in the US. This one though is a clearly man-made one. The red squares are the locations
    of protests that erupted since Wednesday in at least 75 cities across the United States in the days after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody.

    • NHerrera says:

      Oops that didn’t come out quite right. The border of the US and States Map is missing. But you get the picture — for those of us familiar with the US map.

      • I watched all day yesterday several protests in the L.A. area (on TV), NH. I can tell you that around noon the protesters were of all ethnicities (even gender predispositions). At some point, let’s say around 3pm, anarchist/belligerents come to fore— this is where MLK jr.’s “riot is the language of the unheard” quote comes in.

        Protest is towards or about what happened in Minneapolis; riot is more generalized pissed-off’ness at the world, I would’ve liked to see someone with a pro-MMT sign.

        Then at around 6pm, wholesale looting starts, MLK jr. didn’t say anything about looting, so TV anchors couldn’t say a cute pithy quote about that. Destruction of gov’t property and cop cars and police structures, i lump with riot; once looting starts that happens simply because cops aren’t around to stop it , overwhelmed.

        Where protestors were from all walks of life; rioters were generally young, i saw a bunch of Portland-Seattle types, white and Asians with black hoodies and back packs;

        looters, were generally blacks and Hispanics, favourite stores to loot were computer/phone stores, shoes and vaping stores. They looted a Whole Foods at Fairfax, Joe if you remember K-mart use to be here (across from the Farmer’s Market), but they i think were just thirsty or hungry, I didn’t see them cart off meats or other groceries.

        Politicians are beside themselves, tripping all over themselves, offering up apologies and “siding” with protestors. Instead of trying to explain exactly what happened. Sure law suit usually means not being able to comment, but comment on the videos available in public then.

        What I saw from that 9 minute footage is a simple take down of a suspect. The aberration is in the duration. So i’d like to know what exactly the suspect was arrested for, ie. did the style of arrest fit his crime?

        I read forgery then counterfeit, well counterfeit (of a $20 bill) is pretty easy to get out of, Officer, I didn’t know that was a fake, it was in my wallet i dunno when I got it and I used thinking it was a twenty. Both are non-violent crimes.

        So maybe George Floyd was arrested for something else, maybe outstanding warrant.

        Let’s say the arrest was legit,

        Floyd resisted (not combative, fighting attempting to hurt the cops) but simply didn’t wanna get into the police car,

        there were already 4 cops at the scene, all they had to do was carry him inside the car. But instead they (or 3, with 1 as look out) the police officers, decided to just sit on him, one ‘s knee was on Floyd’s neck, but I think it was the officer whose weight was on Floyd’s back (the Arab looking cop) that eventually killed Floyd, then a third was controlling Floyd’s legs, the other white cop.

        Asian cop was protecting, the arresting process.

        But why or what the officers were waiting for (the ambulance?) is still a mystery and I think the MPD chief should’ve explained this part… ie., was it policy to have to wait for the ambulance, because you can divert the ambulance and just meet it either at the precinct or jail.

        The knee on the neck, the most dramatic part of all this, and a great metaphor for how everyone feels in general (which I think is why this got so much traction, also COVID19 stress), I don’t think contributed to the death at all. Coroner’s report show no evidence of strangulation and/or asphyxiation , so it had to have been the cop on his back.

        Now for sure closing off both carotid arteries to the brain, will knock you out, but if you notice the carotids weren’t really closed off (ie. sleeper hold).

        With all that said, without the 3 cops sitting on him , Floyd would’ve still be alive. So i’d like to know for sure what he was arrested for, and why the cops took 9 minutes of their day, on the street, hunched over for folks to just drive by and take pot shots at them, why they thought tactically speaking why hunching over like that for 9 minutes was wise.

        Now the kicker, if the knee on the neck was not what killed Floyd, pathology wise Coroner’s report, how do you attribute cause of death? How do you delineate fault? That’s a legal question i have not heard being asked in the news coverage here of late,

        though every reporter on TV seems to know MLK jr’s quote about riots being a language of the unheard.

      • kasambahay says:

        if the virus is not killing americans, the americans are killing each other re: the killing of the unarmed black man followed by rioting and looting, and both spreading like the virus: quick and fast and infectious.

        • NHerrera says:

          A very combustible combination — a still raging virus pandemic with deaths in its wake, a horrible death of a black man under police custody, and a very toxic politics with the Twitter-In-Chief calling for “healing” while adding fuel to the fire.

          • NHerrera says:

            Earlier, epidemiologists warned of a second wave of the virus pandemic. Their crystal ball must have been clouded. They did not see that this man-made pandemic is the second wave; or that it will cause the second wave of the virus pandemic.

            • kasambahay says:

              ay, kinilabutan po ako watching all those protesters with no face masks on and within close proximity to one another, all those mouths shouting and frothing saliva on the loose, their passion so palpable, the environment toxic, the virus never had it so good, hello transmission one and all.

              people die for their own belief. I dont question that anymore. my gripe is when sinama nila ang iba, innocent bystanders like their family members back home who were not rioting. the virus is indiscriminate.

              I thought the protesters would use technology and gizmos to howl in protest and not physically litter the streets of themselves. use drones to drop leaflets and to make louder noise, the sky dark and full of warring drones. hands free protest. there but not there. venting their anger and at the same time, keeping themselves safe.

              instead, new normal resorted to the old normal, gathering on the streets again and shouting as their forefathers once did. old habits die harder.

              • NHerrera says:

                I notice the trend of a declining phase of US coronavirus daily infections to a flatter one – presaging (?) an upturn as a result, among others, of the early easing of lockdowns and the recent “social-closeness” in protests in the wake of George Floyd killing.

      • sonny says:

        A report from Miami shows (Viber photo) – when the protesters were approaching, the squad of police that was to face them went down on one knee, apparently all uniformed spread on steps and pavement; ‘people began crying and praying together …’ I didn’t see the incident played back on CNN montages or other networks we were watching on TV. The photo was contrapuntal to the other images that were streaming in, IMO. My biased interpretation: must’ve happened in a Catholic locale, I don’t think kneeling is cultural meme generally; communicates a ray of hope & sanity.


          I saw this almost happened yesterday here in Santa Monica over here, sonny. But the squad leader thought it unwise because of the bad elements present in the crowd, but I heard on tv the negotiations between organizers and cops, stating after, how about you guys march with us then.

          All fine sentiments, at the start of all this, which was around 12pm yesterday. but by 2pm, while the organized protests was marching around Santa Monica, blacks and Hispanics in cars went to Santa Monica mall (surrounding areas) and began looting.

          Thus the downward spiral began yesterday. Similar in Long Beach, 20 minutes away.

          cops can read a crowd, if its a good crowd, sure kneel, march together, hug, cry together, whatever, but when there’s bad element there, the wisest thing is to keep everyone safe, and do proper crowd control.

          That’s a video of black women in organized protest yelling at two young white females spray painting BLM on walls of Farmer’s Market at Fairfax (on Saturday). What happened in Fairfax on Saturday, was these Whites, yes even Asians too, in black hoodies, essentially with hammers,

          they seem to be setting off the vandalism on stores (you’ve seen this before in Portland and Seattle), then the looting follows with mostly Blacks/Hispanics.

          Yesterday on Sunday in Santa Monica, i didn’t see AntiFa types (anarchist types) on tv , but reporters on the ground did describe, kids with hammers and chain/cable cutters i presume that’s them, so the AntiFa types are creating the conditions for looting.

          protest=all genders/identities;

          riot= antifa/anarchists;

          looting= blacks/Hispanics;

          what I noticed in Pasadena was a truck, with American flag/Don’t Tread on Me flag, driving like he/she intended to run people over; then there was report that in Minneapolis, a truck driver attempted to run people over on the highway.

          So, vigilantism = MAGA types will join the fray soon, if cops can’t control this by the end of the week. Store owners are already arming themselves and camping of their stores, this will get bloody, IMHO.

          That’s all recipe for disaster, sonny, a perfect storm.

        • kasambahay says:

          the power of the knee, genuflecting. george floyd was sent off by a knee. apt lang po for knee to redeem, to unite. here I am, I’m listening.

        • NHerrera says:

          A different montage — of action and words:

          Trump who retreated to an underground bunker when protesters began demonstrating in front of the WH; Trump who told the Governors that “most of you are weak.”

    • NHerrera says:

      Below is the better image to the one I posted above in

      NHerrera says:
      May 31, 2020 at 7:53 pm

  15. NHerrera says:


    While on the subject, I show below the latest chart showing the global daily cases of the coronavirus. From the early April to about May 11 the average daily cases is relatively flat, but from then on there is another phase which is the growth of the daily cases. This shows to me that while the virus growth in the developed countries – US, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Spain – have plateaued or declined, the developing and poorer countries virus growth, such as in Brazil, have more than offset these declines.

    I also show the daily cases status in the PH.

  16. NHerrera says:

    In an article posted in the NY Times on June 2, 2020 two epidemiologists, Dillon C. Adam and Benjamin J. Cowling, reported that 20 percent of the COV infection spreaders are responsible for 80% of the infections.

    Let us see this by some numbers, assuming:

    • 10 initial spreaders = 2 (20%) super-spreaders + 8 (80%) ordinary-spreaders;
    • 10,000 total infections (including the 10 spreaders) = 8,000 (80%) caused by the former + 2,000 (20%) caused by the latter.

    Then we have 2 (20%) super-spreaders causing 8,000 (80%) infections and 8 (80%) ordinary-spreaders causing 2,000 (20%) infections.


    The implication here is clear: if only we can identify in advance or quickly identify after the fact these super-spreaders and their contacts, we can go a long way to reducing the pandemic without the indiscriminate restrictions and lockdown that have been imposed so far. Alas, we have no way of definitely knowing at the moment.


    The finding is consistent with Pareto’s 20-80 Principle: for example, 20% of the facts are critical to 80% of the outcome.

    • NHerrera says:


      It is interesting to note that scientists tell us that people with the coronavirus who are loud and obnoxious in a closed room are the biggest super-spreaders of that pathogen. And internet experts tell us that people who are loud and obnoxious online are the biggest super-spreaders of political pathogens.

      That is a quote from NYTimes Columnist Thomas L. Friedman

    • NHerrera says:

      Again, especially in the light of this super-spreader finding and for those of us who are elderly:

      The three C’s to avoid to reduce the probability of catching the coronavirus absent an effective vaccine: closed spaces, crowds and close contacts.

      And along with that and in practical terms: social distancing, wear mask and wash hands frequently.

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