The Pandemic Year

Analysis and Opinion

By Irineo B. R. Salazar

The pandemic year is coming to an end, and „the beginning of the end“ of the pandemic may be there as Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin said recently. Prof. Dr. Sahin and his wife Dr. Özlem Türeci are the co-founders of BioNTech, the German firm that produced the new Covid vaccine in partnership with Pfizer. First doses were injected to people in the UK on December 8th. The very first dose was injected by a Filipina nurse. Early this year, hardly anyone had heard of Covid, but a virologist at the reknownedBerlin Charité, Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, had developed the PCR test now used worldwide to detect the new virus.

I shall give my impression of the year based on what I have read and experienced, with focus on Germany and the Philippines plus some of what I know about the rest of the world – by no means a complete story which would probably be a book. Trying to see what lessons we might all learn.




The first Covid cases in Europe were found in Bavaria on January 27th. Following established contact tracing routineshere in Germany, everyone who had come into contact with the Chinese employee of Webasto who had infected her colleagues near Munich was tested. A strong possibility of asymptomatic transmission was seen in a study made immediately after. This was proven right later. By all indications, the first Covid cases in Italy were brought by two Chinese tourists on January 31st. By end of February there were “Red Zones” in the North of Italy, with intensive care overwhelmed.

March had Covid spreading throughout Europe and to the US, and most of Europe was locked down. The Philippines had its first Covid case, a Chinese tourist, on January 30th, while its first known case with local transmission was recorded on March 7th. The Philippines has continuously been in some sort of lockdown since March 2020. Europe’s lockdowns were relaxed from June onwards. Most of East Asia got the coronavirus under control very quickly and effectively.

China’s measures were deemed unsuitable for democracies, but in Germany, whose initial reaction to the virus was good, countries like South Korea were admired for their even better response. The Philippines, initially unable to test inside the country, quickly caught up in terms of testing capabilities but was caught flat-footed by an initially fast spread of the virus. New Zealand and Australia managed to deal with the pandemic well. The United States had a lot of resistance to masks and quarantine, so cases increased exponentially, with politics playing an unsavory role as well.



Europe’s second wave is very bad, even Germany which did pretty well in spring and had nearly normal life back in summer, with a lot of Covid testing even at borders as a security measure. Possible overconfidence as the first wave was beaten down quite well in Germany, which hardly any ICUs overwhelmed and German ICUs even taking in patients from France and Italy, may be a reason for many skeptics getting the impression that there was not as much of a problem as politicians said. Possibly indoor transmission by aerosol from autumn onwards played a major role in this 2nd wave.

Germany tried a light lockdown in November and a harder lockdown is in place now, and as German ICUs are reaching high occupancy levels, lockdown measures may be deepened. France went for a harder locked in November but also cannot quite relax things yet. The USA is in deep trouble now.



Though this will certainly be a topic of analysis for years to come, with entire doctoral theses on some aspects, one can certainly identify a number of factors influencing the pandemic spread:

  1. Geography. The Philippines had a lot of islands without cases in the beginning. New Zealand certainly leveraged its geography better and has had no cases at all for a while. Europe is a continent of course. Eastern Europe which quickly closed borders fared better in spring.
  2. Crowding. Many crowded areas had a stronger spread of Covid. Sweden may have been able to go for a more liberal approach for a while as it has a relatively low population density.
  3. Demographics. There is speculation that the relatively young population of Africa led to it being less badly hit by Covid than originally feared. It could also be a factor in the Philippines.
  4. Psychology. Uncertainty and reduced personal contacts lead to tensions that can cause political unrest to rise and people in general to get impatient and edgy.
  5. Culture. Japanese expats in Europe have long been known to wear masks when they have a cold. Europeans were reluctant to wear masks but now most do. As we know, it was a much harder sell in the United States. Filipino middle classes are I think quite paranoid about disease; the older generation was I feel obsessed with dirty food and water causing cholera. Western Europeans sometimes seem more carefree, maybe because of good medical care.
  6. Politics. Contact tracing apps in Western Europe are mostly decentralized and anonymous, dependent on people actually using them, and informing the app if they test Covid-positive. Contact tracing apps with less privacy like in most of East Asia are inconceivable here.
  7. Governance. Coordinating national, state and local responses proved to be a bit of a challenge everywhere. How much you control centrally and how much you leave to lower levels – subsidiarity – is a big question and depends on a lot of factors. Certainly, science-based leadership is better than guesswork, and decisiveness (in whatever political system) is better than the poser leadership on display in the Philippines under President Duterte.
  8. Economics. In the middle of the pandemic, the EU SURE instrument was created to help mitigate unemployment risk, patterned on similar measures already existing in Germany that have kept businesses alive in crises. Even then a lot of businesses have gone broke.  The Philippines seems to now have a lot of hunger due to the Covid pandemic, while the World Food Program head recently warned of the danger of widespread famine worldwide.
  9. Education. Online learning hubs by the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines became a controversy, though they are the right thing for children without online access. By contrast, printed learning material by the Department of Education has been seen to be full of errors. German states refused to go online to not impair educational quality and were only forced to go online recently with the second wave. India seems to be a leader in online education now.



As of now the UK is vaccinating with the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, Canada has given emergency approval as well as the United States FDA, while the European Medicines Agency is still processing. The approval might be out on December 29th. Germany is already preparing its vaccination centers.

The mRNA vaccine by Moderna may be approved soon as well. Pfizer will be monitoring vaccination and possible side effects for two years. When other vaccines will be ready, approved and how much will be distributed worldwide is a developing story, as well as how long immunization actually lasts.



Different countries have different historical legacies of pandemics. The Bisayan cuss words piste and litse allegedly are derived from “peste” for Spanish flu and “leche” for the unpasteurized milk of old that led to cholera. Cholera also led to modern hygiene science, pioneered in 19th century Munich by Dr. Pettenkofer, and to the discovery of bacteria by Dr. Koch in Berlin, also of the Charité hospital like the Dr. Drosten who developed the Covid PCR test. Rizal was a friend of pathologist Dr. Virchow, a colleague of Koch, but was back in Manila already when Koch contained cholera in Hamburg in 1892.

While the land of Rizal developed backwards, with the shameful episode of the Dengvaxia scare as a defining moment, other Asian countries have advanced. Vietnam is developing its own Covid vaccine. How vaccination will gradually normalize life next year is a big question. Vaccine passes or yellow cards may be used more. Global supply chains may be partly replaced by more regional ones. How will different economies recover and adjust to the present crisis? Will tourism ever be like before?

Who knows how we will see all of this in 5 years. For now, there is just the hope this will all be over.

Irineo B.R. Salazar, Munich, 12 December 2020
(now subject to a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew)


146 Responses to “The Pandemic Year”
  1. Thanks Joe for publishing! This song here is from 1996, has some allusions to the Decamerone by Boccacio and the Mask of the Red Death, but is eerily appropriate to today. Mananitas included.

    English translation of Italian lyrics:

    This is an old story
    already told, so many years ago
    it’s an old story, but it will surely tell you something…
    there were also those dark times
    times when it was blowing, stronger than ever,
    the bad wind of an awful disease.
    it was like this the prince thought about locking himself inside the castle
    only with his friends – that’s how he thought
    to stay put there
    till that fear will pass
    and all that darkness…
    there was hapiness inside the castle
    and people were enjoying each others company
    and they were eating a bit of everything
    and they were dancing a little
    and no one has ever imagined
    that the bad wind could arrive there too
    but it eventually entered [the castle] … I’m writing to you
    these things that belong to a past that
    seems to never go away
    I am writing all this to you
    who will be born someday in the future
    and who knows how things will be
    if this wind will have left the cities…
    I’m writing all this to you
    who will be born someday in the future
    and who knows how things will be
    if this wind will have left the cities.
    I don’t know the world you’ll find
    I just hope you’ll be
    the son of a new
    and more fair humanity

    • It has been a strange year indeed. Oddly, because of the isolation, my family has been healthy without rolling through the sniffles now and then. That may be a bad thing if it has cost us some immunity. It is discouraging that the Philippines will be a laggard in getting vaccinated. There is no end in sight to the peculiar stylishness of our era, masks.

      • Bavarian PM Söder makes it a point to often wear masks with either the Bavarian coat of arms or the state colors. And vaccine centers will be ready, staffed, by Tuesday. It is almost like a movie where the cavalry comes in time, as ICUs over here are bursting at the seams. Got my flu jab end of October so if I get something I know it is likely to be Covid – after years of not having any flu vaccines after I got a bit of inflammation once, normal side effect..

        The buzz is that if the EMA approves the vaccine on the 29th, logistics will get going and distribute the vaccine by Jan 2 and vaccinations start on Jan 4 – by appointment not walk-in as people need a certification what group they belong to from their general practitioner.

        In the USA things are getting going, this is how it seems it is going to play, different from Germany where priorities of vaccination are set on Federal level, in the US it will be local.

        During a news conference on Saturday, Army General Gustave Perna said the first doses of the vaccine would arrive at sites across the country as early as Monday.

        Perna said the first shipments would arrive at 145 sites – mostly large medical centres – on Monday, the next would land at 425 sites on Tuesday, and the final doses would arrive at 66 sites on Wednesday.

        “We note that the road ahead will be tough. We know that situations will occur, but we will figure it out together collectively to solve the problems,” Perna said.

        While 6.4 million doses are initially available, only half will be immediately sent out. The other half will be reserved for inoculated patients to receive a second dose in three weeks, as is required for the vaccine to be effective.

        The doses will be distributed across the US, with the federal government allocating the first batch proportionally to states, territories and five major cities based on their populations.

        State and local officials have the final say on where the doses are allocated within their jurisdiction.

  2. josephivo says:

    Thanks, reflection is highly needed so now and then. Some additional thoughts:

    Missing the mention of Bill Gates beating the pandemic drum with a lot of dollars for years now. Especially in the development of rapid testing and the mRNA vaccine. (or maybe it’s good not to mention him because of his role in many of the ridiculous, but juicy conspiracy theories)

    Trust in situations where you do not have the knowledge, can not experiment yourself or miss the ability to observe first hand. Trust is at the base of all needed change. Trust has an equally powerful twin, mistrust. Trust and communication. Trust in a world of fakes. Populism with its many causes and trust in the “leader”. Trust and complexity. Would love to be a behavioral scientist today analyzing trust with the wealth of date created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      When I saw Bill Gates 5G is the first thing that came to mind.
      I laugh at that conspiracy theory.
      You are right maybe better not mention him.
      I was told by Irineo that he had multiple drafts but decided to shorten and shorten it.

      I like that you mention trust, mistrust and populism.
      Populists use the trust of followers to sow distrust to whatever the nonfollowers say, well that is one way at looking at it.

      • Some articles in the Going Home series had 2-3 “sketches” before them where I just wrote, dropped off and continued later when the stuff got sorted out in my mind.

        This article was written quite smoothly, basically my view of the year with some googled stuff added, though I decided to leave out a lot of details as it would have been too long.

        Gates didn’t enter my head. Moderna I think is Gates-funded while BioNTech is NOT – their vaccine is basically a spin-off of 30 years of research battling cancer if I am not mistaken.

        Trust is important, very clearly. This is why the disinformation of trolls is so toxic. But in today’s world it is also important for governments to be transparent and experts to explain well so that trust stays.

        DDS trust in whatever Dutz and Edsel Salvana or Persida Acosta say is the wrong kind of trust. One can be too skeptical but also too trusting. Where is the right middle way?

  3. One good thing that came out of 2020 was TENET (Christopher Nolan’s film).

    That’s the most important quotes IMHO w/out giving away the story. But relevant to josephivo‘s trust/mistrust , which weirdly is what TENET is all about, this is the other tenet that drives the narrative:

    “What’s Happened, Happened, It’s An Expression Of Faith In The Mechanics Of The World, It’s Not An Excuse For Doing Nothing.”

    To connect to Ireneo’s COVID19 blog, after the 1918 flu pandemic, homes in the US ended up with steam heat radiator systems, Allowing, heating for comfort, while the ability to open windows for fresh air.

    I remember seeing a kid over there sick, can’t go to hospital, so treatment was to breathe in steam from hot water with tanglad (lemon grass) and ginger.

    from Wiki: According to Feynman:

    I received a telephone call one day at the graduate college at Princeton from Professor Wheeler, in which he said, “Feynman, I know why all electrons have the same charge and the same mass” “Why?” “Because, they are all the same electron!”[1]

    Rather than have myriad such lines, Wheeler suggested that they could all be parts of one single line like a huge tangled knot, traced out by the one electron. Any given moment in time is represented by a slice across spacetime, and would meet the knotted line a great many times. Each such meeting point represents a real electron at that moment.


    My point, don’t discount Bill Gates just yet, karl. 😉 Now you’re ready to watch TENET!

    • Here’s something relevant i found googling reviews and analyses to TENET film.

      “Our conceptual understanding of randomness underwent a silent revolution in the late 19th century. Prior to this, formal treatments of randomness consisted of counting favourable instances in a suitable set of possibilities. But the development of statistical mechanics, beginning in the 1850s, forced a refinement of our concepts. Crucially, it was recognised that whether possibilities exist is often irrelevant — only what really materialises matters. This finds expression in a different role of time: different states of the universe can really be sampled over time, and not just as a set of hypothetical possibilities. We are then faced with the ergodicity problem: is an average taken over time in a single system identical to an average over a suitable set of hypothetical possibilities? For systems in equilibrium the answer is generally yes, for non-equilibrium systems no. Economic systems are usually not well described as equilibrium systems, and the novel techniques are appropriate. However, having used probabilistic descriptions since the 1650s economics retains its original concepts of randomness to the present day.

      The solution of the leverage problem is well known to professional gamblers, under the name of the Kelly criterion, famously used by Ed Thorp to solve blackjack. The solution can be phrased in many different ways, in gambling typically in the language of information theory. Peters pointed out that this is an application of the ergodicity problem and has to do with our notion of time. This conceptual insight changes the appearance of Kelly’s work, Thorp’s work and that of many others. Their work – fiercely rejected by leading economists in the 1960s and 1970s – is not an oddity of a specific case of an unsolvable problem solved. Instead, it is a reflection of a deeply meaningful conceptual shift that allows the solution of a host of other problems.”

      transcript here :

  4. pablonasid says:

    While factually correct, there is a red thread.
    It started in December when the first warnings were ignored.
    Then in January when the problems became obvious, there was a lack of action in Europe/America. Instead of taking the warnings serious and closing the borders, we kept welcoming the Chinese visitors. The problems should have been nicked there and then. We had the knowledge, we had the experience. We failed to take the appropriate action.
    Then, in the summer, when the figures went down, Europe celebrated and even when we KNEW about the likelihood of a second wave, we again failed to take action. We KNEW that e.g masks and distancing help, but we failed to implement these simple and basic measurements.
    Now we have 2 lockdowns at a huge social and economic cost. Immediate measures would have cost much less. Much less.

    What is it that makes us ignore well known and basic rules. Some 80% of the population is in favour of sensible rules, but we only act upon the noisy few.

    Have we never learned? What makes us act so irresponsible? Not as a nation, but as the whole “Western” society.

    Why could China act properly? OK, their government is totally different, but Thailand and Vietnam are basically safe and their economic damage is because of the failed tourism, a Western problem again. Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia did much better.

    Philippines is a completely different case alltogether. A basket case and it hardly needs a thorough analysis. Many initial local successes were sabotaged by an inept government sending infected OFW’s all around the country. Simple quarantaine measurements could have prevented spread, but in grand Filipino style, a great advantage was wasted competently. My community is small and isolated on an island and there is a good chance that the strength of the Filipino culture (the barangay community) can prevent the virus on the island through social control. No strangers on the island, lol.
    But I am glad I don’t live in/near a big city.

    3 completely different societies, the failure of the Filipino one is obvious, the (eventual) success of the Chinese one is also obvious. The rootcause of the failure of (most of) the Western societies is more difficult to define. And knowing that there are much bigger problems on the horizon (climate change, waste, food, political instability, economic unbalance), it does not look good on the Western front. China, on the other hand, is using the unbalance smartly and THAT poses the biggest threat to the Philippines but that is now conveniently overshadowed by the pandemic.

    This note started by a failure to contain the virus to China and ended by China using the pandemic to strengthen its reach.

    Coincidence? Maybe, but that is not important. Failing to react effectively is the key. And that is BIG and the troubles seem to gain terrain, not looking very good for the future. Biden/Harris are a little bright spot, but cannot be effective in a split country where the old president and his party still maintain they won.
    What is it that makes the Western society fail to act as we know we should and drag down the rest of the world in the process?

    Locked down in the pandemic, I now stay in Africa. 1300 College kids went to celebrate their final year. 1000 came home and tested positive with corona, 100 cannot be located, 2 died so far. Shit spreads fast if you give it a change, a metaphoric for the virus, nasty politics and rumours. Difficult to keep a balance these days and exhausting.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Balik probinsya(return to province program) was genious( sarcasm)

      We did not follow Taiwan’s lead to block Chinese.
      Thailand was also one of the earliest case influx but they msnaged well and even had a back to school program that surely would never work here

      • Except for the Philippine East Asia reacted very well. Of course those who think “too much democracy” is bad or those who think “the West has lost especially the USA” (there was a Tiglao bullshit article in that vein saying the Philippines is right to bet on China now) will see what is happening now as a confirmation of their POV. I think it is something else, having observed what happened in Europe and the Philippines especially closely:

        1. There is always a certain tension between ME and WE. Some unfinalized thoughts:

        1a. East Asian societies put WE in front of ME. Tsai-Ing-Wen thanked the Taiwanese for the collective effort of doing what was necessary. Sokor and Japan did well, Vietnam which is beside China did extremely well. Thailand I think also did well but I didn’t look too close.

        1b. Europe especially Germany got its act together in the spring. Eastern Europe reacted by closing the borders very quickly so they did not have much of a spread in the beginning. Some went OA with authoritarian/militaristic responsese like Serbia and Bulgaria – Bulgaria even went very anti-poor like the Philippines in some areas, their slum areas are where the Roma (it is now politically incorrect to say gypsies) are had checkpoints in front of them.

        1c. BUT in Europe ME became more important in the summer. Those who wanted to go on vacation because they are used to doing it every year. The youth who insisted on fighting for the right to party somehow and were careless about spreading Covid silently as they are young and healthy. Now I might sound like a grumpy old man now, but it is the same attitude as some of the young over here who don’t watch out for old people when they bike on sidewalks, and don’t have the consideration to think that old people break bones more easily and take more time to heal. It is also the attitude of some of those who are about fun first without considering the consequences. Like some who hike in the mountains without proper gear, or go chasing waterfalls and don’t stick to the rivers and lakes they are used to and then expect public rescue services like the Alpenverein (Alpine Society) to get them out of trouble and the public health system to cure them.

        1d. Europe did MOSTLY go for masks after initial reluctance. But the USA was so totally against masks. This was pathological ME thinking. Now the US is more libertarian, you pay for your own risks there mostly, but still there is public interest.

        1e. The Philippines has WE but only at the more immediate level, if ever. There are groups that care for each other and their own, but society as a whole less.

        2. There are the careful and the careless

        2a. Eastern Europe knew its ICUs would be bursting so they closed the borders quickly.

        2b. Some Eastern European analysts say Western Europe was overconfident they could handle everything, saw things first as a problem only Asia would have, then allegedly the Germans saw it as a problem only for “badly organized Italians” etc. etc.

        2c. The Philippines was overconfident as stuff was not visible in the beginning.

        3. There are the truthful and those who can’t handle the truth

        3a. The Philippines of course is still testing at a very low rate. I seriously doubt the numbers.

        3b. Germany for the most part is quite accurate with the truth and that has compensated for the weaknesses of egoism among some and superiority complex among still many – though like I noted there are those who noted how Sokor and Singapore did so much better

        3c. Denial of truth was strongest among the Donald and his followers. More people died of Covid in the USA than during Pearl Harbor or 911 some days ago, but what reaction?

        OF COURSE China will say the time of the West is ending. Most probably the Asian century is there now, the West could be backsliding like the Late Roman Empire, who knows? I did mention privacy concerns as a major issue over here, I don’t believe in sacrificing privacy too much for order, it always has to be calibrated, BUT temporary travel restrictions like the EU had until mid-June are good. FREEDOM TO TRAVEL is an important freedom and it was too much of a holy cow here to sacrifice even temporarily for too long, possibly.

        BTW the cold chain management in USA was hacked, there was a news report about that a week ago, the EMA was hacked re Pfizer/BioNTech papers, re the US attack I recall that IBM said it was probably sponsored by state actors. I only can think of Tito Sotto when I think of actors in the state, ewan. Lots of loose ends but to research that and find conclusive stuff takes ages so it became out of scope. What I also noticed what strong trolling presence in European media this summer saying Corona was a big lie. And demos in Berlin by anti-maskers. Re governance it might be dictatorial to have IATF in the Philippines but Merkel’s meetings with the heads of 16 states often take hours and certainly a lot of arm-twisting. Bavaria’s presscons are with the four most important cabinet positions talking: the Prime Minister, the economics, interior and health ministers. No need for a task force over here as certain people already have official jobs.There were two mess-ups I know of in Bavaria – one was test results at the border getting mixed up due to manual processing (people were hired to deal with stuff in night shifts) and the other was that the Ministry of Health held back the flu shot reserve and released it only after doctors massively complained of shortages..

        • “3c. Denial of truth was strongest among the Donald and his followers. More people died of Covid in the USA than during Pearl Harbor or 911 some days ago, but what reaction?”

          COVID19 with Trump or Hillary, it would’ve still ended up around the same number of deaths, Ireneo. Because its cultural, you see. Americans really love ME (instead of WE), its in our DNA.

          Hell, even in very Democrat CA, people are still going out in restaurants, and having house parties (since clubs are closed); and because of BLM over the summer, a bunch of Sheriffs and police chiefs have declared to Gov. Newsom that they are not enforcing health compliance arrests. Not so much to spite Newsom (although I’m sure a bit), but because the lack of trust by citizenry of its police thanks to politicians turning their backs when a balanced approach was needed.

          Policing COVID19 right now will only result in more BLM type incidents, use of force gone bad. So how to enforce is the big question here, and how to control Americans.

          This is the age old human rights debate, but instead of the USA going to war over it, its the prac app of said values to and by Americans in America, and like I’ve said in the past, going to war over human rights and dignity, is just no bueno. Atleast we get to experience it for ourselves now, and not watch it on cable news. To quote the boxer Ali, ‘Me;We’. IMHO Frost said it better (idealist vs. realist views),

          • Yep, good fences make good neighbors is something I believe in as well.

            Human rights for instance (for example inviolability of the home from search and seizure without a warrant) are the fences even the state has to respect.

            And of course the question of how to balance the interests of me against concentric we’s (family, city, region, state, world) is answered differently in different cultures. Huge difference between US and Euro cultures, but even in Europe there is the Hajnal line, and I suspect the UK and the US might have many things more in common to each other than to much of Continental Europe. East Asia for the most part very we-oriented. Tribal cultures are often oriented towards the small we, often to the detriment of the larger national WE.

            And of course there are times when WE supersedes ME. Getting a lot of MEs to work together is an art in such times. Even harder I guess if the enemy is kinda invisible.

            I have been through the Covid post-lockdown summer here in Germany where a lot of people acted as if it was all over, and pressure on the government to open even pubs (opened in Bavaria by late summer, now closed again) or clubs (opened in more liberal Berlin but not in Bavaria with the result that youngsters partied on public squares all over Munich, of course all closed now) and enormous tension between states, with strange alliances based more on common culture/habits than on party lines. Of course as Merkel has NO direct jurisdiction over health and education matters which are a state matter over here (one kinda fence I guess), she had a hell of a job convincing all to tow one line. Took the ICUs either at full capacity or close to for the 16 states to come to one common decision just today, which is an almost complete lockdown from Wednesday until January 10th. We all have just two working days left to buy Christmas presents now, all that will stay open are grocery stores and similar stuff, well yes work continues but mostly home office if possible.

            Inside Bavaria the Free Voters Party, which has a lot of small shopkeepers, restaurant, pub and hotel owners etc. among its clientele, somewhat balked at everything but bowed to realities and to its senior coalition partner in state government. Of course the deal is that small businesses get government aid. At Federal level, there is Merkel’s opinion that one can no longer substitute for lost business, just for salaries and fixed costs. So this is a bit like Merkel and the Greeks “ages” ago, but within Germany. Lots of tugs of war really.

  5. Joel Jr Rudinas says:

    Africa has probably handled it far more more better than the Philippines (despite its struggles, particularly in South Africa) because it’s had the experience of handling pandemics before i.e. the Ebola outbreak and are cognizant of the need to act quickly. It’s not just the demographics of the populace or its hot climate. This feat is remarkable because the continent’s healthcare systems, including those of the richest nations (South Africa, Rwanda, Morocco, Egypt) are super fragile.

    There are unfortunately going to be negazionisti (Covid deniers) among Africans, particularly if you read the article about the Chief Justice of the South African Constitutional Court (their equivalent to the Supreme Court of the Philippines) who received backlash for lashing out against Covid and the vaccines; or Tanzania and John Magafuli who have received criticism after it stopped publishing Covid 19 statistics, made religious-tinged statements about Covid-19 denial akin to what Jair Bolsonaro has made in Brazil, and advocated traditional medicine in fighting Covid (i.e. steam inhalation)

    However, they are more likely going to be a minority (albeit a nasty and vocal one) because Africans have actually seen the impact that pandemics have.

    • Thanks for filling us in on this!

      I also have the speculation that Europeans today (especially Western Europeans) unlike the 19th century Europeans who still saw firsthand what epidemics can do, are maybe careless. Of course those who have directly suffered something will be more aware of the relief, probably one reason why belief in science was POSSIBLY stronger in the West in the late 19th and 20th century, while today many now spoiled by modernity take health for granted.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Nice drone-eye-view of the pandemic in a relatively short article, focused on Germany and the Philippines. It is very sad that in the PH, the matter of budget for vaccine procurement is not being critically thought about. We may have to wait until ADB or some such lends a hand? Again, sad when the thinking should be the weighing in on the budget versus the speed of economic recovery if not the general welfare of the people.

    Get that funding!

    • NHerrera says:

      One saving feature in the PH is that Filipinos in general, including the poor, are not like quite a few of those in good old US of A — they wear masks, lately combined with face shields. One may criticize though how virus-infected some of those masks, worn over and over again without replacement or washing or, say, spraying with alcohol for the night at least — for use again the next day.

    • Lots of countries – not just the rich ones but also the likes of Indonesia – pre-ordered vaccines months ago as it was clear supplies would be limited and production not able to serve the entire world or even entire countries at once, and started putting together vaccination strategies as well since the logistics of getting vaccines to the people and keeping track of who needs a second shot are enormously complex.

      Many even pre-ordered from several potential vaccine makers as it wasn’t clear who would be first to get a vaccine tested and approved, to be sure that their regions (EU placed common orders so all 27 countries get full access) or countries get enough.

      BTW it may look as if rich countries have over-reserved but that is also because of that factor, there is also the COVAX initiative of rich and poor countries where financing and supply is taken care of AFAIK. Well unfortunately the Philippines did not join that initiative.

        • Seeking doses and talking to suppliers (like the article says) is not the same thing as signing a guaranteed reservation of X million doses as soon as the vaccine is ready.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Kasi me pa no pre-payment ok to pre-payment pa sya eh.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Mahihirapan tayo bad shot tayo

            * bad mouth of the president
            * documented anti-vaxxers
            * scared because of dengvaxia

            • kasambahay says:

              medyo tama po kayo, KarlG. money talks and since wala tayong pang down payment dahil walang pondo, walang pera at uutangin pa yata ng govt and perang pambili ng covid vaccines, ay ito, charity case muna tayo. magpapalimos!

              unlike the state of calamities that duterte readily declared sa panahon ng mga sakuna and aptly got both national and international aids, itong pandemic is one dead clam he cannot wiggle out, walang contingency fund, paguusapan pa at manghihiram muna, nag-apply na to borrow money kuno pero dont know how soon the application can be approved. foreign banks know our ability to repay loans is next to nothing, and most of our resources go to china.

              I have thought na china would humor duterte and grant him free vaccines, or offer duterte cut price vaccines dahil duterte has given more to china than any countries on earth, tapos ito: china repaid him differently. promise pa naman ni duterte sa mga armed personnel of the philippines na they will all get priority and be vaccinated for free!

              if money talks, duterte is mute, haha.

              • If the Philippines joined COVAX it could get vaccines on loan with low interest rates to repay is what I have understood.

                But then he would have to deal with the EU he hates so much, among others as it is one major force behind COVAX.

                Of course the EU will vaccinate its own people first, those who need and want but just after that will be the poor countries in COVAX.

                Moderna may soon be approved too in USA, also mRNA but -20°C “only”.

                Singapore BTW has also approved the Pfizer vaccine.

  7. Chris Albert says:

    Late to replay sorry mad busy at the moment.
    The first cases in Europe go back as early as November but where missed as nobody knew about it.
    There is a realy interesting bit of news in relation to China…..there seems to be a “loss” in mobile phone connection of the 3 main suppliers there of around 21 MILLION connections/contracts between January and May. the official statement is that those changed to the new 5G network bu the numbers don’t back that claim as those only rose by less then one million in the same time frame.
    Also worth noting that Wuhan did search/employ research scientists for Corona virus research in 2019……..
    There is a huge “Elephant in the Room” about the whole vaccine situation and that is numbers of vaccines given and available for 2021. The Pfitzer/Biopntech one came in short and only has 50 million doses yet. (2x needed per person)
    The AstraZeneca/Oxford one announced it will now “mix” theres with the Sputnik one from Russia what for sure will not help trust in this.
    Moderna will come in at 200 million till end of 2021. I noticed that while we get NUMBERS of new cases worldwide every day….we do not get NUMBERS of vaccines given……..
    I did some digging but all I did find that was serious is an articlke in Nature Magazine and in that it was about 40% doses for the west and less then 10% for the rest of world nations by end of 2021.
    That numbers and the numbers of “anti vaccers” throws some dim light on all this.
    People are confused and tired and a lockkdown over Christmas followed my more bad news might well create problems. Germans, normally the most law obiding people, a;ready revolt, and I see many people from other nations who just “bend” the rules so it suits there own needs and wishes. Sweden is in real deep shit now too BTW.
    I wont comment on the Trump hatred as I am a strong believer that the problem was created before Trump and things look grim now looking at the “Team Biden”.. (e.g Agriculture = Tom Vilsack aka Mr Monsanto). Not my problem Thank God. Not good for Asian nations either that are under threat from China but funny to watch how everyone things he is the Messiah.

    All the while the EU and some others move on and …..try the “Save the Planet” game with electric cars……never mind the batteries etc. 😀 I have a feeling that we will look back some day in 2050 and think….”My God 2020 wasn’t so bad after all”.

    • Thanks. “It’s Complicated”.

      1) at the moment vaccinating frontliners etc then the old and vulnerable first is the best thing that can be done to mitigate ICU overload. The rest isn’t clear yet.

      2) BILD, Germany’s top tabloid, implied yesterday that others are getting A GERMAN VACCINE, the EU is authorizing too slow and the German government is not caring – though the day before Federal Health Minister Spahn urged EMA to go as fast as possible. That plus old people dying and Christmas as the holiest of German feasts affected is like dropping a match in a room full of gas. Even for BILD that is a new low I think, and considering their headlines are on nearly every street corner and in every bakery doesn’t make it nicer.

      3. The logistics of vaccination in detail are mind-boggling. Think of the IATF trying to do that.

      No, I won’t look too much further yet as of now. Pinoy survival mode in a way.

      • The majority of folks here, i presume, including myself… will not be clamoring for a vaccine. Don’t get me wrong, I double mask still. But I’ve never been a vaccine kinda guy. Most aren’t here.

        This I think will alleviate logistics of said vaccines, if say 40%+ of Americans don’t wanna get it. Once the ones who want vaccines are taken cared of, I’m sure the gov’t will then want to force vaccines on its citizenry.

        Which I think will be another human rights issue waiting to happen. Force or not force, trickery, propaganda… how?

        My point, initial roll out logistically its good that many here will not want it. It’s later on that’ll be the problem.

        • Update here is that EU Medicine Agency will check the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week and not after Christmas.

          As global supply won’t go up that fast and the EU has a large pre-order there might still be enough for those that need it then those that want it in EU+USA.

          Moderna is also close to approval in the USA and I guess the EU will be about 2-3 weeks after.

          If there is oversupply the EU is part of COVAX which helps the poorer countries and many not so poor have reserved pre-orders like Indonesia.

          So I guess the US will try to convince the vaxx-reluctant (I wouldn’t bother the antis) when all the rest are covered which ain’t even gonna be by summer. Let’s see.

          • Chris Albert says:

            Trying to roll out the Pfitzer vac in the Philippines is close to fallacy. Needs to be kept at CONSTANT -70C until no more then 1h before administering. Also Pfitzer so far has 50 million doses (2 needed)… Germany btw get 4 million of those I think……… I leave you to do the maths yourself who will get it.
            Anti vaccers and people who still wait will have severe limitation of what they can do including travel or attending things like cinemas, concerts, school etc etc.
            Seeing that it will take till end of 2021 we are nowhere near the end of this.
            The “failed” communication on this from politicians all over the world will cause real unrest I think.
            Major points
            How long does the vaccine protect
            How often does the virus mutate
            How soon are enough doses available worldwide

            • The estimate is that the vaccine gives one year immunity, so I guess it is best to vaccinate quickly. It will have to be done 2-3 times each year if that estimate is proven true.

              As for doses I have seen different estimates, so I am waiting until there are clearer numbers – the 50 million doses of Pfizer is what they have till end of this year and next year there is substantially more, but I no time to Google now.

              • “Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.”


                Ok that is 650 million people not even a tenth of the world by end of next year.

                In any case the impatience and potential unrest in developed countries does mean no choice but to vaccinate here first especially among the vulnerable to stabilize societies and economies.

                Moderna on its way too, I wonder how their capacities are and that vaccine doesn’t have to be kept as cold.

                Astra Zeneca possibly delayed but that one is room temperature.

                Heard of Novavax just recently:


              • Chris Albert says:

                google and check the article in Nature magazine. Pfitzer and all other Pharmas are in a game of boasting for cash…. That article is the only believable peace I could find and when I asked my two sources (one Trinity Uni Dub one in the Gov…they didn’t deny the numbers but also wouldn’t comment further.

                If we need yearly vac for this then we are in deep shit (excuse the language). Also as Karl asked below what does it help if many nations have no vaccinations….well short answer is nothing as you most likely still carry the virrus hence can infect others. This will mean quarantine rules will apply for another year or more.

              • Definitely next year will not be fully back to normal. The Munich mayor wanting an Oktoberfest 2021 is wishful thinking IMO. If the frontliners and risk groups are vaccinated then at least the ICUs will not burst or be close to like now, and a partly normal but masked and socially distanced life will be possible and Western economies won’t tank due to long inactivity.

                Re ICUs Augsburg is not admitting any more except for ER. Nuremberg is close to full. Could be the Filipina I mentioned is at Klinikum Stuttgart so if 5 Covid nurses are in quarantine due to Covid that means they are in trouble now as well.

                If many nations are not vaccinated that will mean travel restrictions for them and those vaccinated will open to mutual travel like Oz and NZ are doing now, with respect to that I don’t expect the world to be like before at least until 2022.

      • kasambahay says:

        ay, Irineo, speaking of survival mood, I heard airliners will soon be requiring passengers to be vaccinated vs covid. those not vaccinated are not allowed on board airplanes. cruise ships will probly follow suit.

  8. Karl Garcia says:

    PGH, Lung Center brace for possible surge of COVID-19 cases after holidays

    *With our wish to have the vaccines by March.
    Those unprepared will be overwhelmed again like the so calked low risk areas where face to face schooling will resume.

      • kasambahay says:

        everyone is waiting for the march 2021 when covid vaccines are here in our country, but what if that’s not the case? at kung may plan B man, yong mga may kaya are going to pool their resources together, umangkat ng bakuna and have themselves privately vaccinated.

        good advice yan, to wear face shields and face mask each time outside their homes sila.

        • Karl Garcia says:

          Me gumagawa na daw nyan sabi ni Yorme at bawal daw ang pagbabakuna ng patago

          • kasambahay says:

            patago-tagong bakuna? same as those labs yata, gumawa ng covid tests kuno and yet failed to submit test results data time and again. makes me wonder tuloy if the same labs are culpable all the time and still allowed to do more testing only to charge govt tests fee yet again.

            kung panay collection of covid test specimens lang ang ginagawa ng mga labs na ito at no further test results data available dahil hanggang collection lang talaga ang kaya nila, e, hindi sila tunay na labs, fake labs sila, haha.

            anyhow, ping lacson et al should be able to show light on bakunang patato-tago, reminds me tuloy of patago-tagong hospitals illegally constructed to treat chinese covid patients only. ping lacson instead deflected the issue and went after duque for failing to submit documents that would have made our country recipient of pfizer vaccines in jan 2021.

            if ping lacson is truly righteous, he should have made patago-tagong bakuna not patago-tago anymore so other filipinos can avail of the vaccines at hindi lang sila ni romualdez.

            • kasambahay says:

              methink, private hospitals that angkat covid vaccines on their own, without duque’s blessings and input, I doubt if they patago-tago their their modus. though they may keep quiet or not share records of private patients vaccinated by them, private records kasi yan at hindi domain of public health. hence, off limits to all and sundry.

              • Hello, This is not entirely accurate.

                The law used in the health emergency is 11332.

                This is the section I can believe be used if read liberally to require all health facilities/ workers to report vaccinations.

                (c) All public and private physicians, allied medical personnel, professional societies, hospitals, clinics, health facilities, laboratories, institutions, workplaces, schools, prisons, ports, airports, establishments, communities, other government agencies, and NGOs are required to accurately and immediately report notifiable diseases and health events of public health concern as issued by the DOH;

              • kasambahay says:

                law is excellent po, if well and truly implemented.

  9. I was just talking to a couple of people virtually who got COVID19 severe, and opted not to go to hospital. Whether you opt out or just cannot go, one thing I got from them was that they upon getting the drowning feeling they

    just followed instinct and switched positions a lot, constantly attempting to alleviate issue with lungs. on stomach, laying up, upside down, sideways, etc. …

    I’m not sure what the protocol now is in hospitals but I remember reading one big issue earlier in the year was that intubation, induced coma was deemed too soon. So with no medical knowledge myself (backed by googling and questions, caveat), I just figured…

    Maybe the moving around part , basically using gravity and positioning, may be useful to faster recovery. That’s if you’ve opted not to go, or cannot go (religious/economic reasons) to the hospital. I’m sure this is related to deep breathing techniques,

    as both require use of lung functions. instead of just laying in bed waiting for death. Your body will want to move around, let it.

  10. A Filipina nurse (and blogger) who has (wo)manned the Covid ICU station in Stuttgart clinic for 9 months has just tested positive including four of her colleagues..

  11. Karl Garcia says:

    Duque dropped the ball again.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      What good is a covid vaccine visa requirement if the host country has zero vaccinated.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        *Covid vaccination to get a visa

        • kasambahay says:

          gaya po ng sinabi ni Irineo, if WHO make it compulsory for travelers to be vaccinated vs covid, and if IOM (international office of migration) backs up WHO and also adapt covid vaccination as one of visa/travel requirements, all overseas travelers may have to comply.

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Yes but if the hostbor destination country’s population have yet to be vaccinated then the vaccinated people may still spread covid.

            But this hopefully woukd not be the case on 2023.

    • This is probably the Nature article Chris Albert meant, the doubts he has mentioned are all in here and I agree with them, plus that the side effects and actually immunity duration have to be closely monitored (I think Pfizer is monitoring for two years closely). What is most worrying is that it does mention that new variants of the virus genome should be monitored, even if SARS-Cov2 is not as changeable as the flu virus. The article does say that nobody knows what will happen if selection pressure due to a vaccine favors new variants – and the article above about the new variant in London does imply that the spike protein structure has changed – no indication that it affects the present vaccines but if such a worst-case event happens that is truly bad. Several variants like dengue would be a true curse.

      Re pre-purchase agreements:

      USA has reserved 100 million doses of Pfizer, 100 million doses of Moderna vaccine – that means with the vaccines one can already count on it can vaxx 100 million of 330 million.

      EU has reserved 200 million doses of Pfizer, 80 million Moderna for 450 million people meaning it can for sure vaccinate 140 million out of 450 million.

      So the USA and the EU each now can only vaxx around 1/3 of their respective populations. Hope more vaccines to come as those already vaxxed in 2021 may have to re-vaxx in 2022.

      As for the Philippines I read that the private sector has secured AstraZeneca doses but these are for private sector and government employees mainly. If as Galvez said it will take 3-5 years to vaccinate everyone – and I doubt they have considered re-vaccination – the Philippines may become a place blacklisted for international travel for a while, especially if many countries are able to achieve herd immunity and want to keep it – or are close to it.

      Even after herd immunity flare-ups are to be expected – and total eradication like for smallpox is difficult. After all it was a goal to eradicate polio worldwide and that was not reached either. Nope it really doesn’t sound good but there is no other way forward.

      • kasambahay says:

        flare ups in the future can only be expected po, but by then hospital staff already have hindsight of both covid data and knowledge, are well equip and getting better at treating covid patients. covid parameters are already known and hospital staff wont be treating covid patients blindly again.

      • kasambahay says:

        I think duque did not pay the 10 per cent deposit and so, did not get allotment of pfizer vaccines. had duque paid the deposit, it would have signaled his intent, that he is committed to buying the vaccines and ready to make a deal.

        • TBL: “Anyone says the delay was caused by Pfizer requiring that it be held free and harmless for any harm caused by its vaccine. All vaccine makers demand the same free and harmless clause. I mean fucking all. Also Pfizer never demanded downpayment. Come up with better b.s. Next.”

          • I think this is TBL shooting down Duque’s or Go’s bs as Duque and Go look for ways to wiggle out of accountability. TBL believes he put his name on the Pfizer deal and the incompetents are sullying it.

            • kasambahay says:

              uhm, my kind po, can say the same b.s. to tdl, for his failure to secure cooperation with the powers that be and take them on board. tdl failed to look both ways and got blindsided. if tdl is acting as agent for prizer, he’s doing a poor job and lack finesse, diplomat pa naman siya, in possession of excellent people skills, his communication skills 2nd to none.

              estados unidos and other countries pre-paid and pre-ordered their vaccines and pfizer delivered. this is pandemic and there’s no precedent, gotta seize the day.

              the incompetents that shot down tdl’s would be victory, from one bully to another, have a nice day! patas sila ngayon, both duque and tbl lost, the country lost too. the only certainly is the expectation that covid cases will rise this christmas season, more deaths and the economy will tank further.

              duque has resorted to carrying yantok! no replacement yan for covid vaccine.

              • kasambahay says:

                cda, confidentiality disclosure agreement in simpler terms meant the vaccine or drug may not be a silver bullet and could be harmful if taken without doctor’s advice. all doctors knew that, duque specially. that at doctor’s discretion, they may vaccinate an already immunucompromised patient knowing full well the covid vaccine may offer less than the projected protection, that instead of the recommended two doses, three doses may be given or vice versa.

              • Yes, one could say that Sec Locsin could have done more. Or Bong Go could have. Or the Senate. It was Locsin who put Pfizer on the front burner by asking Sec Pompeo to talk to Pfizer, which he did, and Pfizer cooperated immediately via Ambassador Romualdez. The paperwork was sent to Duque who sat on it. Until Singapore took the PH allotment. In order of responsibility for the disaster, Duque was number one. Duterte and Go numbers two and three. Locsin and Romualdez four and five with appropriate thanks for getting the deal to Duque. Sixth would be Pfizer for not holding the vaccines for the clearly incompetent and corrupt Philippines with huge thanks for making it available. Last would be Secretary Pompeo for not giving Duterte a call and telling him to get his ass to Hawaii.

              • Missed Galvez, the vaccine Czar. Slot him as number 2 and kick everyone else down a notch.

              • kasambahay says:

                duterte going to hawaii? he risk being magnitsky-ed. foreign sec locsin and ambassador romualdez are both reps of the phil, both can stand in for duterte and negotiate on his behalf. or both can put almighty pressure on duque and kept going until duque starts having nightmares and relented.

                not for sec pompeo to do the running around and chasing duterte, he’s not duterte boy friday. though pompeo may already have the feeling it is for nought. duterte is anti-american in thought, in words and in deeds. call duterte and pompeo risk having the phone slammed on him!

                bansa natin was not meant to have pfizer vaccine, else filipinos would have moved heaven and earth just to get the stock.

                if we cannot afford the 10 per cent deposit to immediately secure the vaccines, sec locsin and ambassador romualdez could have put in their very expensive watches and shoes as collaterals!

                that should convince pfizer how serious we truly are and hold the stock for us.

                kaso, duterte was the bigger problem, the valkyrie both locsin and romualdez should have gotten blessing first, before going on merry pfizer vaccine goose chase.

              • Sec Locsin says Pfizer asked for no money, just a signature on the commitment. Also, the presumption he did not consult with others is presumption.

              • I’ve had similar discussions on twitter where it seemed to me people’s dislike for Locsin (well earned by him) drives the alignment of argument to condemn him. But it seems to me he is in the category of people trying to help.

              • Locsin’s tweet this morning. “Great phone conversation with Mike Pompeo last night. Lotsa laughs at others. But on the most serious note I asked him to help Babe and I get back even a fraction of the 10 million doses of Pfizer after someone dropped the ball. He’ll give it his best try. Babe’s securing Moderna”

            • kasambahay says:

              there are many balls, teddy locsin said, and if all the balls drop on his watch . . .

              anyhow, teddy has learned some lessons, hopefully. and next time, he’ll push to ensure cda (confidentiality disclosure agreement) paper work is submitted on time.

              cda can be few pages long, america being a litigatious society, ours getting just as litigatious. truly, duque is no stranger to cdas and their equivalents. he must be sick of them by now. these days kasi anyone having procedures done in hospitals are asked to sign waivers, similar to cda, whereby hospitals are absolved of wrongdoing in case of patients adverse outcome. if patient wont sign, the next of kin can, and if next of kin refused to sign as well, then the patients is denied the hospital procedure and can go home. no treatment given.

              lawyers have proven cdas and equivalents are not blanket cover and have successfully sued hospitals.


    ..Exhibition halls, concert halls, supermarket storage facilities, hotels and former refugee centers are among the 440 locations across the country where vaccinations will be administered. Indoor playgrounds and youth hostels are still to be made available.

    The German vaccine commission has drawn up a list of priorities detailing who gets the vaccine :  First in line, the elderly, patients with serious health conditions and medical staff. That’s a total of 8 million people.

    Next are vital workers such as teachers or engineering staff in power plants.
    The federal government will cover the cost of the vaccinations and will organize the central storage and transport of the vaccine — €2.7 billion ($3 billion) has been earmarked for this. The 16 federal states will be responsible for distribution to the vaccine centers.

    The vaccine must be stored at very low temperatures (-70 degrees Celsius), for which special equipment is needed. And defrosting exactly the right amount will require careful calculation.

    Medical teams will be dispatched to care homes to administer the vaccine to those who are not mobile enough to make their way to a vaccination center.

    Inside the center careful organization will be required to get patients from initial registration to an information session with a doctor, then to the administration of the actual vaccine and finally to a room where they are monitored for fifteen minutes for possible allergic reactions. The centers need to observe rules for wearing protective equipment as well as social distancing measures. 

    After a few weeks, the patients need to go through the entire procedure again for the administration of the second dose..

    • kasambahay says:

      yay! if people dont have adverse reaction to 1st covid dose, it is highly likely they wont have adverse reaction to 2nd covid dose.

      covid vaccines are not made equal po. some are better than others. the west have been quite honest and transparent about adverse reactions, notably the allergies and duly informed the world. whereas china and russia are not so forthcoming with their vaccines adverse reactions. already, the chinese and the russians have been vaccinated en masse and still we have not heard of adverse reaction duly reported by world media.

      apparently, western covid vaccines are performing better than expected, their vacinees may not need yearly covid jab. maybe once in every 5yrs only.

      it’s the vacinees of weaker covid vaccines that may need the yearly jab, is what I heard.

  13. chemrock says:

    Thanks for a good read, Irineo.

    Josephino’s ‘trust’ issues are at the fore in this covid cloud.

    Bill Gates’ funds brought a bankrupt Mordena back to live. The vaccine contract gives it a revenue path it never had. The ‘trust’ issue is Moderna had never ever produced any vaccine but in its mRNA we are supposed to trust.

    Re Pzifer’s vaccine that requires -70 deg C storage, imagine the logistics of shipping out all over the world. I read that Singapore Intl Airlines are well positioned, indeed, have been pre-contract by big Pharma, for this job. SIA has specialty planes for this kind of payload. On the other hand, I’m wondering does PH have this kind of storage facility? Perhaps that’s the reason they switched to the Chinese vac.

    Reporting on the experience of Spore. We resisted early border shut down because the govt wanted to demonstrate commitment to globalization. Spore’s heartbeat is a global city. We can’t shut out the world. Because of govt policy, we suffered twice. First the influx of Chinese workers and tourists continued right into Feb. I think zero ground was a load of Wuhan tourists than came in Feb. The govt was also not pro-mask and lockdown out of not wanting to create panic, keep economy going, and great faith in our healthcare services.

    By arround April we were forced to close borders and a regime of masks and social distancing came into force. Then followed a disaster due to govt oversight. Despite warnings from civil societies, Manpower ministry neglected the foreign workers dormitories where mostly Indians and Bangladeshis are housed. Breakouts occured and our statistics went from the lowest to highest in the world. Fortunately, due to capacity of available housing, we were able to spread the workers out to contain the spread. It helps that these workers are all young.

    The second phase we suffered is the refusal of govt to close Indian borders in July onwards when the numbers in India spiked. We have hundreds of thousands of workers from India. We have hundreds of positives coming in from India where they have poor testing capabilities. That is happening as of todate, but the numbers are coming down.

    I think govt assistance have been fantastic. Incoming positives were quarantined in 5 star hotels in our Sentosa tourist island, free of charge. Locals received all sorts off cash assistance. Personally, as a self-employed, I picked up about 400,000 pesos. Govt gave a lot of cash assistance to companies, schemes meant to keep small businesses open and employees retained. There are credit schemes to corporations to provide liquidity to keep them going. Infected foreign workers who were quarantined also received cash support. There were jokes that was counter productive because some workers purposely got infected to avail of the generous cash aid that was higher than their salary for some.

    Govt dugged into the reserves (something the govt never does in ordinary times by law and discipline). But there was an oddity that nobody noticed and of which I blogged. I dare say mine was the only voice on this. It marked the first time in our history that the central bank printed money. There has been a significant increase in M2 because of this. To Micha and Lance – this was not MMT! It was central bank as bank of last resort.

    We had a month’s lock down sometime in May I think. But a lot of essential services were still open. The only inconvenience was temperature check and recording for tracing purposes. In all these, I never felt any differently. I still go for my twice weekly jogs (when exercising, no-mask is permitted), malls and foodcourt, met with friends (no more than 4 in a group).

    Next year, the World Economic Forum will be held in Spore in May. Its selection is due to a confidence the pandemic situation has been relatively well contained in the Lion City.

    I would conclude by saying that I’m beginning to feel covid-19 is actually a case of a very infectious and severe flu. Relative to pop size, our number of infection is very high (predominantly foreigners), but the death rate is extremely low. It is a matter of having good healthcare facilities and management, and not having the services overwhelmed.

    We are also having Pfizer. Vaccination will be free. But if you are conducting a survey, I’m one of those who don’t want the needle..

    • Many thanks, Chemrock. The rumor in high-tech Munich about -70°C cryo-freezers is that that even labs in the world-class Martinsried biotech cluster just outside Munich that are ordering them now is they take months to deliver. Seems the vaxx effort has reserved most production while -20°C freezers, the kind that Moderna requires are pretty “normal” in medicine.

      BioNTech CEO Sahin said they are working on a -20°C version and a normal freezer version but have to test these first so it may take some months more. Seems the lipids used to protect and carry the mRNA make the difference.

      Well, flu and colds are also coronaviruses. A lot of livestock diseases are also caused by them.

      In Germany there are the pro-vaccine people, those who will take a vaccine if it is proven safe, the vaccine skeptics and the minority of total anti-vaxxers.

      Re money I have the impression Europe is also in emergency mode.

      • “To Micha and Lance – this was not MMT! It was central bank as bank of last resort.”

        I agree, chemp. It’s not MMT. But its MMT-esque, kinda like the Pemberton case… my point, hey maybe the guy’s not gay, but since he’s already in the middle of it, knee deep if you will, why not When in Rome… just do it. Enjoy.

        Here it’s the law enforcement industry, especially corrections too, that’s feeling it first. Furlough’s already happening albeit quietly. Print money, go MMT. In this metaphor, “Jennifer” Laude would be said industry (canaries in mine), while bankers/economists are Pemberton.

        Just go gay Pemberton, save Laude. Win-win. What you say will happen after, chemp, ledger stuff, in bigger context IMHO pales in comparison. Hence, MMT. Still a go for me. That and crypto, don’t put eggs in one basket philosophy.

        Have you seen TENET yet. This is what I’m espousing in a nutshell…

    • Micha says:

      “There has been a significant increase in M2 because of this. To Micha and Lance – this was not MMT! It was central bank as bank of last resort.”

      Stop bullshitting your way around again chempo. The FRB created trillions out of thin air and gave much of it to rich people and mega corporations and they ain’t complaining. That ability and power of the central bank is available at government’s disposal – the core of MMT insight.

      It’s the politics of it that dilutes the narrative. When it’s the mega banks that were the recipients of the bailout, you won’t hear much objections. If there’s a proposal to bailout small businesses and struggling individuals then you hear increasing decibels of “oh-my-gawd-we-can’t-afford-to-increase-our-deficits-again”.

      For example, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican had just about now tried to curb the Fed’s power to finance the latest round of rescue package being negotiated by Speaker Pelosi and McConnell in an apparent attempt to stymie the incoming administration’s efforts to effectively respond to the pandemic crisis.

      Nota Bene:

      Any update on your projection of irreversible ruin if federal debt went past a certain threshold? Sometimes it is good for your soul to admit mistakes, chemp.

      • chemrock says:

        I’m not taking the bait in the first place in deference to Irineo’s blog topic that I don’t wanna hijack. In the 2nd place I’m tired of a debate with a wall that does what it only can, throw bricks.

        All I did was to say we in Singapore are’nt doing any MMT even though we are printing money. I would expect someone attentive enough to say hey, how’s it done? Can’t we do it in Philippines also, instead of having to go and borrow to provide for pandemic assistance?

        Compare your comment to Lcpl’s. He is basically hey it looks like MMT, if it works, jolly good. Yours is a ‘neo-diatribe’ for which, in the season of holiness and good tidings, I’m not going to bother except to remind you perhaps ’tis a good time to take heed of Will’s gracious advice to you many blogs ago.

        • Micha says:

          chemp, I don’t know what’s going on in your small island but you’re throwing MMT and my handle name in there so I was compelled to post a response.

          It’s not even clear at this point if you actually understand MMT enough to make the assertion that what your central bank is doing is not MMT.

          If you don’t want to discuss it, then don’t throw categorical assertion on the subject of which you seem to be allergic to, okey?

          • Karl Garcia says:

            Remember one link I showed you about MMT. I engaged the author on twitter.

            • Micha says:

              Good to know.

              Also, Scott Fullwiler, leading MMT scholar and researcher based in UMKC has co-authored a paper with Jesus Felipe and Gemma Estrada from Ortigas based Asian Development Bank.


              “The purpose of this paper is to describe “monetization” through operations and accounting, within the context of four countries’—Philippines, Singapore, China, and the United States—experiences during the first half of 2020 in response to COVID. The next section presents three core points for understanding “monetization” from the operations and accounting in real world CBs. The subsequent four sections each deal with a significant part of the countries’ response to COVID-19 relevant to “monetization.” In the end, consistent with the use of quotes here around the term, “monetization” is not what most think it is. Instead, it
              is not nearly as dangerous as its critics argue, but also not necessarily as useful as its supporters claim or hope. And, without most even knowing it, it is already happening, even in normal times.”

            • chemrock says:

              Thanks for the article by Juego. I checked it out. To me, it is one of those articles written 50,000 feet in the clouds. You know that the type where ‘neoliberalism’ is an ism that will be mentioned without fail. A casual reading and one might be impressed with the English and the high sounding technical jargons. A careful reading you will realise actually one learns nothing.

              There is not a single down-to-Earth suggestion of what Philippines should do. Unlike you Karl, you are always giving ground suggestions – Dept A do this, Dept B do that etc.

              A little less theory and more practical would be wonderful. Of course to show his progressive thoughts, leaving us deplorables behind, he talked MMT, again in the clouds. I dropped him a comment, asking exactly what would he recommend. How should Philippines proceed. As I said to him, the Q&As can only come after he has laid out the practical aspects. Awaiting his response.

              • Micha says:


                In our modern scientifically literate world, nobody gives a hoot anymore on what the flat-earthers assert as it has become self-evident that we have a spherical world spinning as it revolves around the sun.

                Similarly, a few years from now, nobody will give a hoot anymore on what your outdated orthodox narrative of a nation’s financial and monetary system is in light of our modern post gold standard world of central banking.

                The fact that you have acknowledged an increase in M2 in your small island nation as a result of fresh infusion of pandemic rescue money from your central bank is already conceding half the ground from your old outdated narrative.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Again, I am not taking sides just looking from both sides, I will just remove the bitter attacks from the two of you and learn from your perspectives. Thanks again as we laymen must do if we want to learn from the experts.

              • Karl Garcia says:

                Your comment was replied to Chempo.

                What you wrote above was almost verbatim to what you commented there.

    • chemp, you two always get stuck in the same place. That’s in rhetoric; both your logics/grammar are valid.

      So allow me more of these metaphors. To push the subject along and connect it to vaccines.

      Vaccines; paintings; home values; money, digital currency, etc. etc. Whatever items we’ve imbued with value thus wealth. All that is magic. It requires consensus. Science/medicine requires consensus. Banking as well. Thus economics, and MMT.

      All require people to agree what’s going to happen or what has happened. Like the miracle in Fatima, or if you’ve seen “the Professor and the Madman” (Mel Gibson’s comeback role), lexicon, where Dr. Murray argues all words are valid in the English language.

      Take for example, Bitcoin, the ledger is blockchain, like Uber or Tinder, its an algorithm which allows more people to participate; your banking ledger has to be done by well educated, highly trained experience folks such as yourself, chemp.

      Apple’s M1 arm architecture vs. Intel and AMD’s x86 cpu architecture.

      Like before cabbies in London had to master the map and layout of the city; now with smartphones, anyone can drive people around now.

      You’re a London cabbie, chemp. Thru education and experience you’ve mapped out the whole city. But now there’s algorithms and GPS and people willing to trust that info or info based on that tech, instead of old school ed and experience.

      chemp, you said it yourself why trust Moderna; of course i agree w/ you. I don’t trust pharma that creates its own market all based on the magic that if you take their vaccine you’ll be healthy. Cost derived therein.

      It s all wealth creation and value making. You’re only talking about the numbers that need to be written back and forth, not really address ing how those numbers are created, chemp. Go with your Moderna take and expand that to MMT and value making process.

      That i think will move the discussion further to relevance. Thanks.

      • chemrock says:

        I understand what you are saying.

        I’m no dinosaur Lance. Of course there are some things I like old world, some things I’ll take to new world tech. Even though there are stuff new world that I have no interest, I appreciate new generation likes them. If I like it, I can pick things up pretty fast. When internet started, I self-taught Frontpage and I wrote my first website within one week using a mix of Frontpage and html.

        I have discussed MMT before and everyone knows my stand. Todate I’m still waiting for someone to write a book or an article detailing how it is to be done. There’s a thousand books on the theories out there, narry one that shows how it can or should be done.

        Regarding vaccine, I have no problems with people taking it. It may well be the solution for the world’s current problem. It’s personal choice.

        I just have trust issues with the covid vaccine. And I also worry about the aluminium nanoparticle that is used to deliver the antigens. Long after the antgens past due date and they have cleared out of our system, the nano aluminum remains in us. Nano particles are so tiny it can breach the blood-brain barrier. The damage this can do has never been studied. What is already well known is EMR impact on the blood-brain barrier due to our high exposure to mobile phone, cell towers of M3 M4 and coming M4, high tension cable and dirty electricity all of which has led to massive increase in mental problems, altuism, leukemia and other forms of cancer, depression and agitation, reproductive organ issues such as damaged sperm cells, and a whole host of other problems.

      • chemp, i’m with you RE nanoparticles. Kinda like drinking hot coffee in a styrofoam cup or seeing rice cooked in aluminum pot.

        at molecular levels that’s being soaked up into our bodies via coffee and rice. but it’s all relative, Lewis & Clark expedition, Lewis treated Sakagewea with mercury its thought that she had some STD ongoing symptoms that came and went. Lewis himself and countless others in the 1800s took mercury. So not just now,

        my point, but ever since humans found out they were “smart” they tended to introduce foreign substances to their bodies. Have you noticed the stocks to the 3 big companies bringing psychedelics into market. Talk about penny stocks, chemp.

        But in trying to analogize both MMT and vaccines… unless those practical apps of MMT actually being acknowledged and mapped out , instead of all this Do as I say; Not as I do crap, chemp (espoused by gov’t the world over nowadays, Micha’s correct here),

        then the closest to really understanding MMT is Bitcoin. Which will cap at 21 Million (only) bitcoins. Unlike our current system, which you are in the middle of , chemp (by the way i didn’t mean to say you’re a dinosaur i’m sure youre tech savvy more than myself, only that youre of the old guard, unable to take said leap of faith re MMT).

        Our current system is not finite, is unlimited. And why say some fancy schmancy painting JayZ and the Queen B purchases as 7 mil will become 8 million the next year and 9 million the next, and so on… Now this concept of infinite and unlimited is what’s always bothered me,

        ever since RHiro/Micha vs. yourself have talked about banking and MMT. Again like manna from heaven, only the rich get to say what doubles in value and what doesn’t. Like magic.

        MMT seems the backwards of that, value now is directly imbued in the money. But if it still is finite and unlimited then ergo, its diluted not real. Again magic. Hence , my view that all this is comparative judgement, which is the lesser evil.


        But Bitcoin system, after its been mined by the very folks employing blockchain, open to everyone with time and energy to do so, once 21 million is mined, boom, it’s done; I believe this event is forecasted in 2030 give or take? Mining stops; people who use Bitcoin will then pay people or companies to keep the blockchain system going (they get paid for said service).

        on surface, makes sense.

        But i don’t think 21 Million can run a whole world economy; hence we return to Micha’s each country does its own MMT. except cryptocurrency doesn’t depend on states, but people participating in said currency. So multiple cryptocurrencies, like MMT.

        The paradox of cryptocurrency it seems that the more you have of this digital money, the more you’ll have to go analog, like actual penciling in your codes so its on online or digital. but that’s just the crypto side of cryptocurrency, i’m sure solutions abound.

        Vaccines also are finite and limited. Since you’re taking issue with nanoparticles, i’m sure a vaccine company will say Hey , chemp, we have no nano particles just your old school vaccine. People will have their preferences, the more vaccines go to market. But unlike most people, who’ll not really care for proof of ‘effects’ of nano particles, chemp,

        vaccines will rise and fall; same with cryptocurrencies; same with banking norms– only diff i perceive here is that COVID19 vaccines we’re seeing real time, rise and fall; cryptocurrencies for about a decade or so now, so lets say yearly rise and fall;

        but your banking regime seems to rise and fall by decades at a time, so like a butterfly perched on a tree, you seem to be in the mind that the tree is constant. Hence there’s subjects you seek , nay demand, evidence for; but others not so much thus a big or a little leap of faith seems enough.

        If you can do a compare and contrast on types of proofs necessary for different matters, that I think would help too, MMT and vaccines I couldn’t really connect solidly. But reading more on Marian apparitions, especially in Fatima, these leap of faiths events I ‘m confident can be made uniform, thus banking and Fatima; or crypto and MMT, will have the same or

        similar levels of threshold for proofs. Critical mass + leap of faith = pretty good system (until we find a new one). Also the space motifs (stars, planets, etc) of these Marian miracles, Fatima and Guadalupe, not so sure about Lourdes yet, is also very interesting. But that’s a completely different matter, chemp. Although related to infinity and unlimited. To God.

        • chemrock says:

          Haha Lance what I like about you is your ability to pull all sorts of crazy stuff ideas out to entice a challenge. But I’m not really gifted with a quick mind so most times I have no ready answers for you. But to some of you points, I’ll try to explain my mind.

          Re vaccines, I’m just fearful for myself for reasons I indicated. so I’ll pass, even though the first planeload from Pfizer arrived yesterday and it’s free of charge for us. I was just sharing something I felt, not advocating anything. I certainly hope I am proven wrong and that the vaccines will work with no bad side effects. But no leap of faith for me.

          Re MMT I just have a contrarian view based on my perspectives from a practical point of view vs the theoreticals. This one I’m more vocal on my position because I consider myself to have sufficient knowledge. From people like you to OAC that want MMT, all I’m saying is please don’t go into all those high falutin or esoterics, just explain to me the practical applications. There is’nt any literature on this. How its done, step by step, agency by agency. When the details are out, then we can have a good Q&A and things will progress and make sense. Flowery neoliberalisms explain nothing.

          Re Bitcoin, again I have a contrarian view. It’s a big con job. It’s the geeks’ idea of what money should be. Of the transactions taking place, do you know how much is of people paying for goods and services? 1.3%. Nobody is actually using Bitcoins for it’s intended purposes. The transactions are almost entirely by speculators. The players are majority Chinese. 70% of the miners are in China.

          • Awhile ago that’s where I was re crytocurrency and Bitcoin in particular, chemp.

            I agree like the gold rush or any bubble for that matter, speculators abound. That’s why I for one wouldn’t invest, I’d rather invest in psychedelics, I have a better feel for psychology & people and that industry I think. Oh, and when I say invest, it’s just a couple hundreds, not really some nest egg but more like affirmation for my hunches, i suppose. Like a hobby.

            That said, Bitcoin at 21 Million bitcoins is an interesting thing to imagine, that is , chemp, after all the mining. I was mistaken above more like early 2020s is when mining is complete.

            Then you have 21 Million bitcoins imbued with value, chemp; very much like how paintings are also imbued with value and traded by the wealthy and drug lords, warlords and praise the lords typa folks. lol.

            But paintings I surmise are similar to gold and silver, hard to move around, hence only a very few peeps can partake in moving said type of wealth around.

            Bitcoin is different because it’s digital; which does upend paper money, plus its not tied to the state. So after all this speculation and mining, you have 21 Million bitcoins of value, whether 1 is to 1, 1 is to 2,000, i’m less interested in, chemp… just that its of value.

            Micha’s MMT is still tied to the state as the guarantor , whereas Bitcoin its not the state but the blockchain (which has been tweaked since Bitcoin came out). This is where you come in chemp, blockchain algorithm is basically you and your industry of bankers and accountants.

            and you’ve stated already how some accounting can be magical like in NY finance and or 3rd world, though the ideal is Singapore.

            Well, this blockchain stuff seems the least magical of all these wealth/value transfer processes. The most democratic and unlike the Wizard of Oz typa dealings in corporate and gov’t sectors, the most transparent.

            Like i said, the main problem seems to be securing your key codes once you’ve gotten these bitcoins, which weirdly requires you to go analog, keep it away from hackers. Not the blockchain process.

            So your issue with MMT has always been the process, of keeping track of everything, well blockchain seems it, chemp. Not trying to entice a challenge , chemp, more like fishing. 😉 Another fine hobby.

            • chemrock says:


              I think the image you post here is a few MB or maybe it’s time to change my old laptop,

              Your 2030 is correct. Bitcoin is algorithmatically set to have its last block mined in 2030. The addition to the coinbase, that is, the printing of new bitcoins, is 6.5btc per new block added and this rate is halved every 4 years. So new coins coming out will be lesser and lesser in the years ahead till 2030.

              The beauty of bitcoin is in the technology. And what the geeks are gushing about is how Saitoshi has solved one big problem in distributed network system, something called the Byzantine Fault or Two General’s Dilemma. Google this, too long to explain here. Basically in central server systems, all data is in one place so the updates are no problem. In distributed systems, there is no central server, so data integrity is a big problem. How do you ensure everyone has the same latest data? Bitcoin’s proof of work methodology solves this problem. That’s what geeks and techies are gushing about. Technically, this is a big deal.

              You believe what’s important is that at the end of the day, bitcoin has a value. Try to understand this. It’s technology that drives bitcoin, right? There is nothing there behind bitcoin to provide value. No government, no economy of a country. Absolutely nothing. So if it’s just technology, there will come a day when a new crypto will have much much more appealing technology behind it. Players will switch. How long did Netscape last, if you can recall.

              I have actually written a long article on bitcoin, a contrarian view where I showed all the fallacies that’s been said about bitcoin. I am just learning to put it on youtube, jazz it up a bit of animation. Not easy.

              “,,, your issue with MMT has always been the process, of keeping track of everything”
              That’s not really the case. My issue is really economy is driven by demand-supply tussle and in this, limited resources is the key balancing factor. With MMT capital is no longer a limited resource. It won’t work. My consistent push for process is a crying request to advocators to please show me the steps how you can go about implementing it. There is absolutely no literature on this. Because the moment you show the process, a hundred questions will come pouring in, each step of the way. Advocators need to defend and explain away the details. Only then can we make headways into understanding why it can, or cannot, function.

              • Ah,thanks, karl! I must ‘ve been on hiatus for this blog, as i don’t remember it nor did i comment on it. It was a good read, and now caught up on chemp’s take re Bitcoin and blockchain.


                Wasn’t familiar with Two General’s Dilemma; i get the basis now of blockchain and looks to me like anti-terrorist strategy— up down vs. all around. Even redundancy in military procedures. Computer science, above my head but I get the concept here, and why it poses as a game change.

                As for bitcoin as value on in its technology, i’d have to disagree. The value I’m seeing is in the ease of use, sure based on tech but like 140 characters can woo or boo people, twitter tech has nothing to do really with what is written poetry or prose. So i view the tech and its value as separate here , chemp.

                As i understand it,

                Web 1.0 was basically companies slapping dot com on everything. And lots of webpages. Just pamphleteering and selling. Hence the dot com bust. Amazon survived.

                Web 2.0 was different in that social networking was the central tenet. Sure Netscape, then Yahoo, then Google won. People appreciated Google’s frontpage simplicity. Amazon still survived.

                Web 3.0 is suppose to be block chain, social networking still but as you say more direct now because it cuts out the middle men, like facebook, Twitter, etc. Your Biblical worries in your 2018 blog I can totally see. Amazon still here.

                Worries aside, I’m more focused on value and wealth creation. And blockchain seem to transcend switching, sure Netscape was beaten by Yahoo, then finally Google won. but search engine does not equal blockchain tech. Thus analogy is wrong, chemp.

                Web 3.0 seems to be peer-to-peer, ‘to’ being blockchain tech, whilst ‘peer’ can either be human, or non-human, IoT, AI, etc. Though there will be switching, like we use dollars, pesos, euros, pounds, etc. transaction will still be transaction, your demand-supply tussle.

                As for the idea of backing “No government, no economy of a country. Absolutely nothing.” the fact that the underground market has used it, does give it legitimacy. It works, the dark web was able to transfer goods/services and transact.

                Plus the no backing is kinda the whole point, no? That people imbue it with value, not state or corporations.

                Thanks, chemp.

              • Think of our past blogs and commentaries here as blockchain. There’s value in what we share as thoughts, hunches and propositions; and we transact as we’re doing now. Some transact more with others, others stay clear of certain others bad transaction in the past, but the market place here is still open.

                We don’t rely on WordPress tech per se, this is essentially peer-to-peer. Our history of interactions is the blockchain. The value is individually dependent, but overall especially when more people interacted on here, the exchange was the point, chemp. Is value backed?

                Yeah, by consistency and continued creativity in thought, when I scroll thru certain avatars I read first. Its low tech, but this is how I imagine blockchain works. Basically, its street creds and rep.

      • sonny says:

        LC, I followed what i could in the discussion of MMT vs. “classic accounting language (CAL),.To keep my mind clear I borrow a term from computer technology: “ALIAS” MMT is the alias of CAL. This term allows us to take a position of advantage as Karl describes – “… I will just remove the bitter attacks from the two of you and learn from your perspectives. Thanks again as we laymen must do if we want to learn from the experts.” 🙂

        • sonny says:

          PS: The concept of ALIAS was what computer programmers used to transition from REAL to VIRTUAL MEMORY operating systems.

  14. Vaccine priorities for Germany are out:

    Group 1: elderly in care homes, those over 80, highly exposed frontliners

    120K pax in Munich = around a tenth of the population but initially just 90K doses so they will prioritize, it will take two months in all of 🇩🇪 to vaxx Group 1.

    Group 2: over 70s, people with high risk diseases, people in refugee and homeless shelters, riot police, close contacts of those in care homes

    Group 3: over 60s, people in food retail, teachers etc., people with risky conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension etc.

    The rest certainly don’t get vaccinated before the summer. Further details depend on how manufacturers can ramp up supply and how many more vaccines are approved.


    ..FedEx Express and UPS are mobilizing their delivery networks to begin shipping Moderna Inc.’s (NASDQ: MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration late Friday issued an emergency use authorization.

    In a repeat of last week’s schedule for the first release of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS) trucks are expected to begin rolling out of distribution centers on Sunday with boxes of vaccine packed in dry ice. Dosing sites will begin receiving vaccines on Monday..

    ..Moderna’s vaccine can be shipped and stored at standard freezer temperatures. The less severe temperature conditions and smaller units (Pfizer’s container holds 975 vials) will make it easier for small and rural areas to store and dispense the drug.

    Operation Warp Speed has allocated 5.9 million Moderna doses and 2 million more Pfizer doses for delivery next week to 64 vaccine jurisdictions and five federal zones. UPS and FedEx delivered 2.9 million Pfizer doses this week.

    More than 3,700 administration sites and local storage facilities will receive shipments next week. Moderna’s product is targeted for 3,285 dosing sites compared to 636 for Pfizer in last week’s initial rollout..

  16. “..Emerging pieces of evidence of an actual COVID-19 learning loss and of its likely implications for the future of the generation currently in school show that it is essential to mitigate the long-term effects of the pandemic as much as possible..

    .To reduce and reverse the long-term negative effects, countries need to implement learning recovery programs, protect educational budgets, and prepare for future shocks by building back better..”

  17. ..Fiscal responses have been large in Singapore (12.8 percent of GDP) and Thailand (14 percent), but are strikingly low in the Philippines (3.5 percent) and Indonesia (2.8 percent), said the report, written by Maybank analysts Chua Hak Bin, Lee Ju Ye, and Linda Liu.

    “Headline numbers for fiscal programs look exceptionally large for some countries like Malaysia (17 percent of GDP) and Thailand (14 percent),” it said.
    “But figures are flattened by loan moratoriums, government loan schemes and relaxation of pension withdrawal rules,” the report said.
    Not including non-budget items, it said direct fiscal support was highest in Singapore (8.1 percent of GDP), Thailand (5.8 percent), Vietnam (3.6 percent) followed by Malaysia (1.9 percent), the Philippines (1.4 percent) and Indonesia (1 percent).
    In the Philippines, bulk of direct assistance goes to households with P200 billion or 1.1 percent of GDP earmarked for cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 for 18 million low-income households.
    Support for businesses, the report noted, “is relatively small at 0.2 percent of GDP.”

  18. “The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating around five allergic reactions that happened after people were administered Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States this week.”

  19. Karl Garcia says:

    This is the good part about ppp, if this is ppp or just a private initiative.
    If we wait for the government, nothing will move.Vaccines will come at 2022 or 2023.


    ..HIV emerged from a type of chimpanzee and mutated into a world-wide modern plague. SARS, MERS and the Covid-19 virus known as SARS-CoV-2 are all coronaviruses that jumped to humans from unknown “reservoirs” — the term virologists use for virus’ natural hosts — in the animal kingdom. Covid-19 is thought to have originated in China, possibly in bats.

    Does Muyembe think future pandemics could be worse than Covid-19, more apocalyptic? “Yes, yes, I think so,” he said.

    Since the first animal-to-human infection, yellow fever, was identified in 1901, scientists have found at least another 200 viruses known to cause disease in humans. According to research by Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, new species of viruses are being discovered at a rate of three to four a year. The majority of them originate from animals.

    Experts say the rising number of emerging viruses is largely the result of ecological destruction and wildlife trade.

    As their natural habitats disappear, animals like rats, bats, and insects survive where larger animals get wiped out. They’re able to live alongside human beings and are frequently suspected of being the vectors that can carry new diseases to humans..

  21. Karl Garcia says:

    Animal farming methods past ,present, future and pandemics.
    They can spread to milk, meat and whatelse.

    Now you pack them like sardines in an industrial farm and inject them daily with antibiotics.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Bacteriophages, CRISPR, stem cells, nanotechnology is the direction of research.

      In HiV research, the Berlin patient was injected with stem cels from someone immune to HIV ( did not know it was possible) to cure his leukemia and HIV.
      He died recently after being Aids free for almost a decade.
      But it is not back to square one with the technologies mentioned above.

      Hopefully Malaria, tough parasites,hcv
      Will have the time of big pharna and the trillionaires.(in peso)

  22. Karl Garcia says:

    Man you were in attack mode from the ghetto I mean get-go.
    Not every author is spelled M-I-C-H-A

    I would not be surprised of the author would no longer respond .

    • Karl Garcia says:

      Oops wrong comment box

      Comment was for Chemrock.

    • chemrock says:

      Haha, I got carried away. Happens to all of us.

      Karl I’m seriously trying to engage this get. Go into the practicals, step by step. It’s virgin territory. Each step I will question why it’s not possible or the problems or ramifications, and he can defend and explain why my concerns are wrong.

      I hope he engages me.

      It’s not a challenge. It’s really trying to establish MMT at the practical level. No talk of every country with monetary sovereignty ….. . Let’s see how we can do it.

      • Karl Garcia says:

        Okay Thanks. There is a newer article by a European author I think Swedish, but you can browse the site. Its about Economic Sovereignty of developing countries. Dec 2.
        Do not go guns ablazing.

        Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas Chem and the rest of TSOH!

      • Micha says:


        For the nth time chempo, MMT is, at its core, a description of a sovereign country’s fiscal and monetary tools and operation that’s been made available in a post gold standard regime.

        If you could wrap that concept around your head, you’d easily realize how silly your demand for “practical level application” has become. It’s a description, not a prescription. Do you get the difference?

        Because most policy makers here in the US are still stuck in the gold standard narrative, a full MMT operation is limited to some degree by fiscal and deficit hawks such as Mitch McConnell who signed in on the severely reduced pandemic rescue package ($600 on every citizen) only after he figured his senate presidency might be lost if voters in Georgia reject his Republican candidates.

  23. – Thai biotech:

    A growing number of start-ups are being spun out of universities, a relatively new phenomenon in Thailand. However, Dr Teparkum notes that the scientists behind these are often research-focused and can struggle with the business side of their ventures.

    One start-up that has been overcoming those challenges is Baiya Phytopharm, which was born out of the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences and the CU Innovation Hub at Chulalongkorn University. It was founded in 2018 by Dr Waranyoo Phoolcharoen, a researcher in plant-produced protein systems, and Dr Suthira Taychakhoonavudh, a health economics expert. Baiya has received the backing of the BOI as an innovative, research-driven biotech venture, and has been making headlines for its cutting-edge innovations during the pandemic.

    “People know us because of our COVID products, but we have also been producing proteins for treatments of different diseases, and for other industries, including cosmeceuticals for skin care,” points out Dr Taychakhoonavudh.

    Baiya’s overarching aim is to produce lower-cost medicines for Thais and people across Southeast Asia, says Dr Taychakhoonavudh. “And our company’s work is aligned with Thailand 4.0, the government’s push to an innovative and value-based economy.”

    Using their plant-based development platform, Baiya created one of the world’s first COVID-19 antibody tests in March 2020, carrying out a successful screening pilot project of 30,000 people in a local area with a high incidence of cases.

    The company’s researchers are currently developing a COVID-19 vaccine utilising the plant-based platform, explains Dr Phoolcharoen. The process involves inserting genes into a type of fast-growing tobacco plant, which then produces the required proteins, which are extracted, purified and used for the vaccine. The planned vaccine works by stimulating the body’s immune system to make antibodies that fight the virus.

    “Because it is a plant-based platform, there is less waste compared to other methods, which is in line with BCG aims,” notes Dr Phoolcharoen.

    • Karl Garcia says:

      I wish PH would partner with Thailand re affordable meds, generics, herbals and other health care concerns.

      Rich pinoys go there for stem cell therapy etc

  24. Karl Garcia says:

    Guys even if this is a pandemic year I still wish everyone a Merry Christmas!


    ..There are three moments in the yearlong catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic when events might have turned out differently. The first occurred on January 3, 2020, when Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke with George Fu Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which was modelled on the American institution. Redfield had just received a report about an unexplained respiratory virus emerging in the city of Wuhan.

    The field of public health had long been haunted by the prospect of a widespread respiratory-illness outbreak like the 1918 influenza pandemic, so Redfield was concerned. Gao, when pressed, assured him that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. At the time, the theory was that each case had arisen from animals in a “wet” market where exotic game was sold. When Redfield learned that, among twenty-seven reported cases, there were several family clusters, he observed that it was unlikely that each person had been infected, simultaneously, by a caged civet cat or a raccoon dog. He offered to send a C.D.C. team to Wuhan to investigate, but Gao said that he wasn’t authorized to accept such assistance. Redfield made a formal request to the Chinese government and assembled two dozen specialists, but no invitation arrived. A few days later, in another conversation with Redfield, Gao started to cry and said, “I think we’re too late.”..


    ..another scary question is: What about the next pandemic? Have globalization and humanity’s increasing encroachment on animal habitats put us in higher danger of novel pandemics like this one? What can we do to limit the danger or prepare better?

    A.I.: Human behaviors such as deforestation, intensive animal farming, urban crowding, poor sanitation, and water storage practices have led to accelerated emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases in humans. Increase in world travel has allowed faster and wider transmission of infectious agents. I think it is time to take a hard look at our behavior and make changes where possible. For example, we should consider limiting the large indoor crowding events and make some of these virtual. If remote working is possible, encourage that over in person working. On the other hand, human interaction is absolutely important, especially for children and elderly. We need to ensure safer public and community indoor environment for schools and nursing homes.

    N.S.: And why, after a long period of not worrying about coronaviruses at all, have we seen two novel coronavirus pandemics — SARS in 2003, and now COVID-19 — in less than two decades? Was that just a coincidence?

    A.I.: You are right that these betacoronaviruses made zoonotic transmission and subsequent human to human spread in relatively short time period. This likely reflects more frequent encounter between humans and animal reservoir hosts. SARS and SARS-CoV-2 use ACE2 as entry receptor. It turns out that SARS-CoV-2 can use ACE2 expressed by a wide range of mammalian hosts including minks, cats, and other domestic and wild animals. So the evolution of the virus within and between these types of animals and jumping over to humans can lead to zoonotic transmission. Some of these viral strains capable of person to person transmission will have the pandemic potential.

    It is important to remember that during this period, other infectious agents also succeeded as emerging endemic and pandemic infections in humans, including H1N1 swine flu, Chikungunya, and Zika virus. So the threats of future pandemics can come from multiple viral types..


    ..COVID-19 will neither be the last pandemic nor the worst. Its lessons will dictate how well the U.S. prepares for the next one—and the country should start with its understanding of what preparedness actually means. In 2019, the Global Health Security Index used 85 indicators to assess how ready every country was for a pandemic. The U.S. had the highest score of all 195 nations, a verdict that seems laughable just one year later. Indeed, six months into this pandemic, the index’s scores had almost no correlation with countries’ actual death rates. If anything, it seems to have indexed hubris more than preparedness.

    The idea that “America and the West are more advanced than Eastern and African countries is not true, but is seeded in the way global health operates,” said Abraar Karan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “But when the tires hit the ground, the car didn’t start.” In retrospect, many Western health experts were too focused on capacities, such as equipment and resources, and not enough on capabilities, “which is how you apply those in times of crisis,” said Sylvie Briand of the World Health Organization. Many rich nations had little experience in deploying their enormous capacities, because “most of them never had outbreaks,” she added. By contrast, East Asian and sub-Saharan countries that regularly stare down epidemics had both an understanding that they weren’t untouchable and a cultural muscle memory of what to do..

  28. Tiktok – 2020 review

  29. James says:

    I think we’ll really know the truth about this pandemic in twenty years …

  30. – interesting overview of global vaccination progress:

    Israel is first with around 3/4 having gotten their first jab
    The Seychelles follows with around 60%
    Then the Emirates with nearly 50% including OFWs I have seen
    Then the UK with 25% (seems NHS is doing excellent work)
    Then the USA, Bahrain, Maldives, Serbia and Chile in the “teens”
    Turkey around 7%, Switzerland 6$+, Singapore EU just over 5% as of now
    China just 2% and Russia just 1.5% though they are exporting vaccines
    Brazil just 3% though it has its own vaccine also, Canada around 3.5%
    Several Latin American countries, Saudi, Oman just over 1%
    Many like Bangladesh, Japan and Indonesia just at the start
    Sub-Saharan Africa mostly not at all yet, Philippines as well
    Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam none yet but mostly Covid-free

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