And the Final Word on COVID-19 Goes to . . . . Liza


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Related Online

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020.” March 18, 2020.

Bendavid, Eran and Jay Bhattacharya. “Is the Coronavirus as Deadly as They Say?” WSJ Opinion, March 24, 2020.

Taghipour, Delaram J. “Immunity to COVID-19: Front line health workers consider deliberate infection.” ABC News, March 24, 2020.


COVID-19: Pandemic Pandemonium


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The District Department of Health said the first known death in the city as a result of the virus is that of a 59-year-old man who was admitted to a hospital last week. The man had fever and a cough, as well as other underlying medical conditions, health officials said.

• A Baltimore County resident in his 60s who suffered from underlying medical conditions has become the second known person to die of coronavirus in Maryland.

The incident reports would seem as generally expected regarding COVID-19 and who dies from it.

Read and reflect a moment (boldface added) —

This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years.

Of course, the experience with older adults involves a virus target numbering in the millions, so the something-new-to-die-of has been making its mark, especially above age 65 with underlying conditions, highest estimates for death ranging from 3 to 11 percent as age increases.

Ageing is not for sissies?

Count the ways: cancers; heart disease; severe respiratory illness (!); other diseases associated with our kidneys and livers.

Most Wanted: a predictive feature for determining whose case may need mechanical or other treatment while others survive in the normal way and may move on with immunity provided by the antigens developed while ill.

Disclosure: the editor of this blog has cause to believe he experienced his worst of the latest between February 15 and February 25 with spiking into a full Bronchial Symphony of Wheezing (you have no idea how many the sounds!) and days and nights without sleep between the 21st and 24th (right on time). Impression: whatever it was dominated the immune system (the symptoms of other illnesses, including allergies – to dust – and cancer (lung) were poking about [but to clear up with the recovery of the immune system]. Three weeks out: all passageways (and voice) stunningly clear and normal! Thank God. Note: the patient was 64 years old with a present but slowly moving leukemia.

For the overwhelming majority of those who experience COVID-19, albeit with exceptions very small, the memory will be that of having had an awful, infamous, and interesting bout with the flu.

Related Online

Rettner, Rachael. “COVID-19 spread is fueled by ‘stealth transmission’.” Live Science, March 17, 2020.


Note: COVID-19, Biological Warfare, and the Odds and Ambiguities


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Start here —

Lee, Bruce Y. “No, COVID-19 Coronavirus Was Not Bioengineered. Here’s The Research That Debunks That Idea.” Forbes, March 17, 2020.

Then go here —

Vorndick, Wilson. “Weaponizing Biotech: How China’s Military is Preparing for a ‘New Domain of Warfare’.” Defense One, August 14, 2019.

Before settling here —

Toosi, Nahal, Daniel Lippman, and Dan Diamond. “Before Trump’s inauguration, a warning: ‘The worst influenza pandemic since 1918’.” Politico, March 16, 2020.

BackChannels acknowledges its most basic function: Collect; Select; Opine.

The first of the series suggests the Coronavirus COVID-19 could not and would not have come out of a laboratory. However, contemporary Big Defense Worldwide addresses novel unknown threats within the dimension referred to as “CBRN”, i.e., “Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear” (Warfare). As indicated by the second piece, the same scans “over the horizon” into both the possible and the unthinkable.

Nahal Toose et al. writing for Politico reports on a Presidential “what-if” congruent with the latest news.

That, of course, seems a little spooky.

Go a little bit backward and sideways: this gem surfaced during the Obama Administration —

Meyer, Josh. “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Politico, December 22, 2017.

Count the Hezbollian transnational crimes; reflect on the truncated FBI investigation (“Project Cassandra”); know that the secret lives of states as well as Transnational Crime Organizations generally become opaque (syn. “black”) the closer one gets to the “business of the business” (i.e. how things work “behind the curtains”).

So: black labs? An untraceable attack (from China)? A “false flag operation” (by the USA)?

The “Open Source” seldom to never knows or tells.

BackChannels has expressed concern (an understatement) in relation to Maryland’s “standing down” its bar and restaurant businesses plus entertainment / events that involve complex business communities on which thousands people depend, and, in many ways, the state’s economy and well-being depend as related revenues vanish right along with associated tax revenues and — should we go more than six weeks (just a guess) with the doctor’s program — jobs and tax base.

Will the now dragging Trump Administration allow the emergency to extend into November with inevitable political unrest and violence as his economy melts down over the bug?

Might the President and states now participating in similar suppression of the transmission of COVID-19 take the opportunity to apply additional “Draconian Measures” for the same reasons?

Could this be America’s Reichstad Fire?

BackChannels notes that the worst of COVID-19 cases require biologically secure environments and ventilators (until better answers come along). The nation has the capacity to produce both post-haste —

Fox 2 Detroit. “America’s next producers of ventilators could be Ford and General Motors.” March 18, 2020.

BackChannels has published on the need for and period of application of emergency measures — – March 18, 2020. – March 17, 2020.

Stand down and buy a month’s worth of time or a little more?


Institutionalize emergency measures into an ongoing American reality that will become a quagmire of suffering and violence (outcomes possibly worse than the illness itself)?


Localities and states may need to embrace the idea of ponying up for temporary facilities and ventilators PDQ to keep their economies afloat and even vigorous while Washington, the President, and the Federal Government on the Emergency Management and Politicking side of things dick around with other “bugs” up their butts.

Disclosure: the editor of this blog has cause to believe he experienced his worst of the latest between February 15 and February 25 with spiking into a full Bronchial Symphony of Wheezing (you have no idea how many the sounds!) and days and nights without sleep between the 21st and 24th (right on time). Impression: whatever it was dominated the immune system. Three weeks out: all passageways (and voice) stunningly clear and normal! Thank God.

Related Online

This reference section includes citations updated through March 23, 2020.

AP. “Trump Disbanded NSC Pandemic Unit That Experts Had Praised.” The New York Times, March 14, 2020.

Arms Control Association. “Biological Weapons Convention Signatories and States-Parties.” September 2018.

Bender, Bryan and Megan Cassella. “Will Trump be able to get emergency medical supplies fast enough?” Politico, March 18, 2020.

BESA. “China and Viruses: The Case of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu.” January 29, 2020.

Bocchi, Alessandra. “China’s Coronavirus Diplomacy: Rome praises Beijing’s ‘solidarity’ in sending ventilators, face masks, doctors and nurses.” WSJ Opinion, March 20, 2020.

Geraghty, Jim. “The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies.” National Review, March 23, 2020.

Lanese, Nicoletta. “Only one lab in China can safely handle the new coronavirus.” Live Science, January 22, 2020.

Pauls, Karen. “Canadian government scientist under investigation trained staff at Level 4 lab in China.” CBC, October 3, 2019.

Qiu, Jane. “How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus.” Scientific American, March 11, 2020.

The Conversation. “Why Singapore’s coronavirus response worked – and what we can all learn.” March 18, 2020.

Tsan-Yuk Lam, Tommy and Marcus Ho-Hin Shum, Hua-Chen Zhu, et al. “Identification of 2019-nCoV related coronavirus in Malayan pangolins in southern China.” bioRxiv, February 13, 2020. This technical paper points to the Pangolin as a potential intermediate conveyor of COVID-19 between bats and humans.

Wikipedia. “Pangolin“.

Wikipedia. “Wuhan Institute of Virology”.


FTAC: A Note on COVID-19 and America’s Complex Basic Services Economy


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This period of catching up and becoming prepared (what emergencies have we been preparing for — and paying for — all along?) needs must be truncated at some near rather than far point.

Inspiration: Foer, Franklin. “The Coming Bailout Is a Moral Failure.” The Atlantic, March 17, 2020.

As fits BC’s normal operating routines, I posted Franklin Foer’s essay to the BackChannels page on Facebook but with this rant following the placement of the URL.

BackChannels believes America has only a short window — two to six weeks, best and worst case — to get back to business or watch (in horror) for lack of earning and spending in the complex ecology defining dining and event services in their totality. Eviction relief and a thousand-dollar payoff against normal business, family, and personal expenses: who’s kidding whom on that?

We generally understand basic checks against basic expenses, but we don’t always take in larger images where, when restaurants close, even the rats may starve — or start to hunt new food sources. I’ll post above this one an example of how complex our economy has become and dependent on the reliability of basic private business services. Suffice it to say that every small business we have — and some, as with the chains, quite large — serve a lot more “stakeholders” than their owners and customers. That little bit of financial productivity down on the corner pays for space and insurance, supports suppliers of every kind (even if just a little bit as they make their rounds) — and then all engaged, employed, and investing have their lives and spending _upward_ (money trickles up in healthy economies before it trickles back down in discretionary spending). This period of catching up and becoming prepared (what emergencies have we been preparing for — and paying for — all along?) needs must be truncated at some near rather than far point.

Posted on BC/FB above Foer’s piece: Paynter, Ben. “This App Delivers Leftover Food to The Hungry, Instead Of To The Trash.” Fast Company, May 3, 2018.

So far, the company claims to have diverted 900,000 pounds food—about 850,000 meals. In some cases, that’s pre-made sandwiches, but it’s also bulk ingredients, which community groups figure out how to use.

Imagine taking out that kind of carefully developed and efficient service for three months.


FTAC: COVID-19: One Question, Please


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From CDC —

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Situation Summary, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 15, 2020

So how much higher are COVID-19 rates of infection and morbidity compared to the full suite of respiratory illnesses involving the same set of variables, especially x patient / target’s age, preexisting conditions, and vulnerability (physical condition)?


Afghanistan’s Violence-Stalling Peace-Encouraging Doha Agreement


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Left: Diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, U.S. Department of State; right: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Chief of Taliban’s Diplomatic Office, Doha, Qatar. Screen capture, February 29, 2020.

Where it may have begun —

Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.

How it may have been sustained —

Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. “Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top U.S. general confirms.” The Washington Post, April 24, 2017.

Where it may have ended this day —

George, Susannah and Dan Lamothe. “U.S. signs peace deal with Taliban, a turning point in the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post, February 29, 2020.

Related on BackChannels

Civilizational Narcissism

Related Online

Bellis, Charlotte. “US-Taliban talks: Who is Mullah Baradar? Taliban Cofounder turned political chief, Abdul Ghani Baradar has wored in the shadows his entire life.” Al Jazeera, May 2, 2019.


Threat Assessments Unthinkable, But They Are Here — and Sometimes Actionable


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Two articles have caught my attention from the damnably nasty regions of Biological and Chemical Warfare:

Bob, Yonah Jeremy, Neville Teller. “Ex-CIA official warns of Iran, ISIS drones armed with chemical weapons.” The Jerusalem Post, February 10, 2020.

Kania, Elsa B. and Wilson Vorndick. “Weaponizing Biotech: How China’s Military is Preparing for a ‘New Domain of Warfare’.” Defense Once, August 14, 2019.


It may be a taste of poison on the sophisticated tips of the arrows developing in radically different kinds of quivers.

One bullet point from the list included in the Defense One article:

In 2015, then-president of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences He Fuchu (贺福初) argued that biotechnology will become the new “strategic commanding heights” of national defense, from biomaterials to “brain control” weapons. Maj. Gen. He has since become the vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences, which leads China’s military science enterprise. 

What New Demons are these of formerly great Dynasties?

Totalitarian genius cannot be but evil.

Drone Bomb Swarms?

From The Jerusalem Post piece:

The greatest threat confronting the US and Israel may be swarms of drones armed with chemical weapons released by Iran or ISIS, an ex-CIA official has told The Jerusalem Post.The warning takes on greater meaning following a call on January 28 by ISIS’s new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, to direct greater attention to attacking Israel and Jews, including using chemical weapons.

In relation to the latter piece, attack have been already thwarted but with the details withheld by the CIA.


FTAC: A Speculation Involving Bernie Sanders and Felix Adler


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America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”

Times of Israel blogger Fred Maroun asked on his Facebook page, “Is Netanyahu racist, as Sanders claims?”

After taking care of the Netanyahu question — not racist! — Maroun went on to defame Sanders. Here’s what he said:

Sanders, on the other hand, is an antisemite. He’s using the antisemitism of many on the left to gain support, and he has no problem associating with virulent antisemites like Linda Sarsour. He’s never apologized for any of it, on the contrary, he only gets worse. His accusation against Netanyahu is part of his game to attract those people. If he wants to criticize Netanyahu on the settlements, fine, but he knows that wouldn’t distinguish him from other Democrats, so he accuses the leader of the Jewish state of being a racist, code word for Jews being racist. His antisemitic base loves it. He uses exactly the same tactics to attract antisemites that Trump uses to attract right-wing racists.

Those who support Sanders are engaging in the the exact same moral acrobatics as those who support Trump. Shame on them.

Bernie Sanders may or may not be far from the habits known to the most religious of synagogue goers — the form of his personal ablutions are an I-Don’t-Know for me (and I don’t want to know!) — but one may recognize in Sanders the crossing point where Judaism became a Jewish Humanism so oriented toward people — and not so obsessed with God — that the rabbi who chose his conclusions over his upbringing (Felix Adler) would go on to establish a new American religious society represented by the term “Ethical Movement”.

From the Awesome Conversation

My response to the accusation: Sanders — anti-Semite!

Sanders has the frameworks of the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left — a term I used to use as I arrived here a conservative, and, sigh, the Left of my youth seemed to have drifted toward Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges on the barricades. That could have been just the way I arrived and “channeled” into Facebook.

Judaism’s Orthodox–>Conservative–>Reform Spectrum has had a last note pinned to it in the figure of Felix Adler.

— In 1876, Adler at age 26 was invited to give a lecture expanding upon his themes first presented in the sermon at Temple Emanu-El. On May 15, 1876 he reiterated the need for a religion, without the trappings of ritual or creed, that united all of humankind in moral social action.[7] To do away with theology and to unite theists, atheists, agnostics and deists, all in the same religious cause, was a revolutionary idea at the time. A few weeks after the sermon, Adler started a series of weekly Sunday lectures. In February 1877, aided by Joseph Seligman, president of Temple Emanu-El, Adler incorporated the Society for Ethical Culture. —

One might imagine, easily, that those promoting and living a strongly behavioral view of Judaism and Jewish Law bound into Jewish Obedience to the Commandments and related codes (“613 Commandments”) were not too happy with Professor Adler.

Sanders may have that ethical-humanist strain of ultimately Jewish thought in him, but he must also know as a Jew that he is not part of Russo-Soviet complex on the left that spread the “Protocols” throughout Russia and conveyed the same through White Russian emigre into Germany. America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”

Bernie’s a liberal Jew. (I’ve been part of Reform Judaism — and Ethical Society much, much earlier — but am tired now “of all that” and prefer a quiet supper in a good restaurant on the Sabbath). Regarding Sanders’ political and social views, I would bet his position similar to Adler’s and what I without study would refer to as “Jewish Humanism”.