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Monday, August 15, 2022

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Terrific Tuesday – Talk of Another $2.2 Trillion Stimulus, Re-Opening Boosts Market

Trump gives governors 3-phase plan to reopen economyCognative Dissonance.

That's the mental state experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time.  On the one hand, the President and Fox News are pushing the idea of "Opening Up America Again" as if their lives depend on it and, politically, Trump's does because if he doesn't "beat" this virus, he won't be re-elected and, if Trump isn't re-elected, he is very likely to go on trial for all sorts of things he's currently being protected from.

 On the other hand, the Senate is about to look at a relief packgage aimed to shore up the states, including paying unemployment benefits (like they are supposed to) for 24M newly unemployed Americans and that "CARES 2" package is looking like ANOTHER $2.2Tn.  So are we ready to open up Amercia just 6 weeks after we locked it down or is this a lingering crisis that requires $4.4Tn of direct Government aid PLUS $4Tn from the FED?  That's cognative dissonance – they can't both be true – but we're acting as if they both are.

All this talk of throwing MORE FREE MONEY around is driving the Dollar down and boosting the market and our Futures are up another 1% as the Dollar drops another 0.5% – which is pretty much the usual relationship between the two.  

It's not much of a rally when the buying power of the currency your stocks are priced in keeps falling but it undoes a lot of technical damage as yesterday the S&P 500 pushed over our Must Hold line at 2,850 and we're also back above the 50-day moving average at 2,800 so, if we can hold that today without going under, next stop is testing the 200 dma at 3,000 and that's just 15% off the all-time high – what virus?

A "recovery" like this sows the seeds of its own destruction as we're going up on stimulus and ignoring the reality of businesses opening up at 25-50% of capacity and the very real possibility that we're re-opening America far too soon (as most medical experts are warning), which will ultimately prolong the lock-down if the virus begins to spread too fast and we're forced to run back inside.

Donald Trump launches new push to expand coronavirus testing ...Trump says we will soon be able to test 2M people a week and that does sound like a big number but it's only 150,000 a day, up from 100,000 per day we've been testing for the past month so Trump is saying that all the resources of the US Government have only been able to come up with a 50% increase in testing and that it will take 150 weeks (3 years for you Fox viewers) just to test everyone once.  Why am I not impressed?

Do you ever get the feeling that Trump's mom must have put everything he did right on the refrigerator – no matter how mediocre it was?  The President acts like every little step he takes is an accomplishment of epic proportions and I spent an hour watching Fox News last night and, guess what, they couldn't agree more!

You really do have to watch Fox once in a while so you can understand what your Conservative friends are talking about.  Yesterday it was mostly about Tara Reade's accusation that Joe Biden assaulted her in 1993, which the mainstream media has investigated and found very doubtful but on Fox it's an absolute fact and a huge cover-up by all other media outlets.  

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. | 1984 by ...To be fair, the media did cover the allegations against Brent Kavanaugh like they were facts and Democrats are not tolerant of sexually assaulting women the way Republicans are so there's plenty of meat on that bone for Fox to chew on – even though it's ridiculous to attack Biden for an uproven accusation from 27 years ago while Trump had many PROVEN sexual situations (there are checks!) and his own admission/boasting about assaulting women that they completely gloss over.  More cognative dissonance…

Cognative dissonance is what Fox News sells.  It's also how the fictional Government of Big Brother controlled the people in 1984 – forcing them to constantly hold contradictory beliefs until they simply had no idea what the truth was anymore – so it became whatever Big Brother would tell them.  They called that DoubleThink.  In the novel, for someone to even recognize, let alone mention, any contradiction within the context of the Party line is akin to blasphemy, and could subject that person to disciplinary action and the instant social disapproval of fellow Party Members.  Sound familiar?

"The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth." – Orwell

That's because George Orwell was a propaganda expert in World War II and wrote 1984 in 1949, as TV was just beginning to become a part of everyone's lives.  He foresaw a future in which the public could be controlled through non-stop manipulation of the media they watched, repeating lies endlessly until the people were unable to remember what the truth was anymore – even taking away the very concept that the truth exists.

The only truth we care about today is the 2,850 line on the S&P 500 but it's all good news this morning as we're ending the lockdown and no one got sick (because we haven't actually done it yet but let's not quibble) so now they can say "I told you so" and encourage more people to go out before the results are in from the first round – why not?  

We just passed 3M confirmed Global Covid-19 infections and, as of this morning, the US will have 1M of those infection (that's 1/3 Fox fans!) with 56,253 deaths so far and, as you can see from this infection graph – it is clearly time to declare victory and go outside because we obviously have this virus under control and our ability to test 1 out of 130 citizens every week tells you how safe and well-planned this is.  

See what I did there, that last part was CLEARLY the opposite of what is true yet you WANT it to be true so, DESPITE starting right at factual evidence that contradicts every word I was saying – you start losing your sense of what is real and what is not – Cognative Dissonance!  

$4.4Tn is a very real amount of money being pumped into the market and, as you can see from the chart on the left, we should be heading towards a record recovery and there's nothing at all to worry about because $4.4Tn was found between the cushions of the couch in the Oval Office and there's probably $4.4Tn more where that came from.

Cinemas Across America Are Screening George Orwell's '1984' In ...

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” – Orwell 

 

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Marz, thanks for haring, and as a runner about your age I'm wondering about your recovery and how it goes. Lot's of folks are well wishing your recovery but you have significant recovery left to go it sounds like. I've been reading a lot about folks struggling with recovery.

Phil dismisses me ("laughs at me") for some odd reason but the misconception this virus is "like the flu" and everyone will be flying normally again doesn't reflect reality. It sounds like a high percentage of recoverees aren't back to "enjoying life as usual." 

shhhhhhhh don't tell the Russel this.

Hi Ilene.  I do not mind if you share my story—especially if you think it can help people.  And BDC, you are correct—I am about four weeks into my recovery and I am far from being back to normal with respect to my breathing.  Otherwise I do feel fine though.

Marz / covid

really sorry to hear it man – but eerily similar to me. 

im 36, also healthy and live in Astoria.

I believe i contracted it from my wife (school teacher) as the timing of me being at home didn't make sense. Her classroom assistant was complaining of no taste and smell before it was a documented symptom. My wife never showed any symptoms.

I was in bed for almost a week – but it never really developed into severe breathing problems, my pulseOx meter would read low sometimes but then level out the next day. All the other symptoms of a bad flu, the exhaustion was so intense, you could have told me Obama was at the front door to congratulate me on my life's work and i would have likely stayed in bed. –

HOWEVER,  day 10, i was feeling a lot better, or so i thought, and really just having a lot of anxiety from cabin fever, so i went for a run.  I got home, extremely short of breath, burning in my lungs, chest pain – i almost called 911.  Lasted about 4 hours.  Many days of sore throats followed, lingering cough, sour taste in mouth.

Long story short (and after a few more days of fear), its turned out to be acid reflux.  Something i have NEVER even remotely suffered from in my life. I didn't even know what the sensation of heartburn felt like.  

I did a video call with my ENT doc and she said that a lot of post-'Rona patients of hers have been suffering from similar symptoms. There may be some underlying trauma from the lung infection that affects the esophagus.  The stress of the disease both physically and mentally plays a huge roll too. 

I was prescribed an antibiotic to kill off any lingering sinusitis and then reflux meds which have made a huge difference. I feel like full recovery is in my sights. 

This is just one mans story but i wanted to share incase it was an avenue you hadn't explored yet. 

 

One last anecdotal thought..  The absolute biggest problem with Covid19, is the unknown.  Stories like yours, to people dying terrifying deaths, to people feeling like that had a heavy weekend on the booze and just need to rest for a night, to people literally have ZERO symptoms and everything in between.  

Combine that, with the massive differences in state populations, the different types of people in every city and it really does remind you of how hard it is to manage these united states on any level. 

Potter—thank you for sharing and I’m sorry you’re going through all of this as well.  Definitely sounds like a typical ‘rona story—and the after-effects we keep hearing about, like yours, are mind-boggling. I saw my primary care last week and she said my lungs sound good and that she’s seeing a lot of “recoverees” with the same lung issues I’m having.  She said to take it slow and ease back into exercising, and if I don’t see any improvement in the next month or two she will refer me to a pulmonologist.   Time will tell, but I agree with Phil on taking the emotion out of it and looking at it from a numbers/actuarial perspective—as this is a website about investing, after all, that’s why we’re here—but when you add in the personal stories coupled with the wide swath of how and who this impacts, it is quite worrying.  But I do appreciate everyone’s perspectives on this board, as it’s good to hear different points of view. I hope stories like mine and Potter’s can help give people some insight and perspective though.

rperi – If you look at the charts on the DPH website the # of new cases and # of deaths IS decreasing significantly each day and has been the last couple of weeks.  If you are tracking total cases, that is meaningless as it is a commulative number.  Of the 25,000 cases, only 4,900 were hospitalized.  I believe the virus is more widespread than thought and i expect cases to continu.  However, I also believe it is not nearly as deadly as we have been led to believe. Since we are testing more more positives will show up, but they are people who are not requiring hospitalization. Even hard hit Albany still has bed capacity.  

As far as the ages, 18-59 is a pretty large range.  The DPH did have a breakdown of the deaths but has taken it off the website.  The breakdown showed most of those were over 50 and almost all had an underlying condition. Not sure why the took that down, unless they felt it might show young healthy people that the virus is not that dangerous to them.  

Hello All. I am a physician and of course have been following Covid Story  since it got started. There is a lot we don't know and understand about this virus currently. I am a Radiologist and recent data shows a very high incidence of Pulmonary embolism and unusual Large Vessel Occlusion Strokes in young people. The NYC EMTs are also seeing much higher rates of chest pain calls where the patient is dead when they arrive. Are these Thrombotic Myocardial Infarcts also? Maybe the new onset reflux is direct effect of virus on Esophaeal muscle, we just don't know. It certainly causes heart inflammation, myocarditis in some patients. Bottom line its this is just not "the routine flu" and we still have a hell of a lot to learn about how this effects people

Thank you, Marz17!

Marz17 and Potter – thank you thank you thank you for sharing your experiences.

Seeing 1Mil+ affected and 55,000+ deaths on the various covid stats tracking website is one thing but realizing that there is an agonizing (and some times deadly) story behind every one of those cases gives you a different perspective on life.  Glad to hear you are both on the mend and hopefully no relapses. Once again, thank you so much for sharing.

potter:  Studies have shown gastrointestinal manifestations of CovID-19 for a few months now: 

https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(20)30281-X/pdf

Apparently the virus enters through ACE-2 receptors which are expressed in the lungs (obviously) but also in your gastrointestinal lining, kidneys and liver.  Which is what scares me, because I have a history with liver disease.

It can even effect the Brain and Central Nervous System directly. One of the NYC ER physicians was so overwhelmed by the personal trauma of caring for so many dying patients she committed Suicide. It is taking a fierce toll.

millardd: Yes coronaviruses CAN have physiological effects on the nervous system.  Some neurons also express ACE2 and that is believed to be the reason why some people lose their sense of smell and taste in the early stages becauses the viruses enter through that area of the brain.

COVID-19/ after hours

A lot has been written today about it. First, I am very happy that one of our PSW members is almost recovered. I hope he continues to get better. 
We have heard about the symptoms caused by this virus. These include, but perhaps are not a complete list:

General: FEVER above 100.5F, malaise, weakness, listlessness, joint pains, muscle aches, loss of apetite,

Respiratory: COUGH, nasal congestion, sinus pain, shortness of breath, chest wall discomfort/pain, wheezing

Heart: severe chest pain (different from chest WALL pain and likened to a heart attack), pain radiating to arm, neck, jaw and associated shortness of breath.

Neurological: loss of taste, loss of smell, headache, blurred vision, partial loss of vision, stroke, confusion, severe neck stiffness

Gastrointestinal: general pain in abdomen, right upper abdominal pain (from inflammation of liver), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

ENT: loss of smell, loss of taste.

Vascular: see below.

As noted by others, the virus can cause damage to the heart muscle, as well as blockage of the heart blood vessels, inability to breath from blockage of lung/pulmonary blood vessels (pulmonary embolism), direct inflammation of brain (encephalitis), and stroke from brain blood vessel blockage from clots. 

Personally, I think that while we have seen the maximum risk of complications and mortality in the older population, the younger are not necessarily without risk as cardiac arrhythmia, myocardial infarction and myocarditis, pulmonary embolism and generalized clotting in the body ( hypercoagulable state) are increasingly being documented.
There are so many features of this virus that we are discovering as we continue to see more and more patients. Even the nuances of respiratory support are different from other conditions associated with respiratory distress/failure. The biggest issue is that besides the known risk factors, we don't know who (besides the elderly) will get really sick very quickly and how to identify these patients beforehand. It also appears to be one of the most easily transmissible viruses out there, as evidenced by anecdotes of restaurant diners getting sick from one person, presumed due to air conditioning, taxi drivers getting sick from passengers, whether from the passenger breathing or from contact with luggage or other surfaces in the taxi? 

We are learning…
Just putting out a little information, and you all may know all this already, but if it helps anyone avoid even a single complication or loss of life in a loved one, I would be thrilled.

Thanks, Maya – the rest of you, she didn't mention it, but Maya is one of PSW's physician members; that's why she can give a good, clear description. Me, I'm a retired med school teacher, but please don't bring a patient around me – my field is epidemiology so I diagnose and treat populations.
 

Maya & Snow, thanks to you both for your contributions, I read all your posts.

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