back to article White House turns to Big Tech to fix coronavirus blunders while classifying previous conversations

Faced with a growing barrage of criticism over how it has handled the outbreak of the coronavirus, the White House has turned to tech giants to help it tackle the pandemic. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy held a meeting on Wednesday with representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Oh My!

    "At the same time, however, it emerged the White House was also ordering all deliberations over covid-19 to be considered classified, effectively restricting discussions to only those with a top secret classification."

    Does this mean our resident megalomaniac has panicked?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Oh My!

      I can't answer that, it's classified

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: it's classified

        The good news about anything being classified is the president will announce it at the next press conference. Just give him a big map of the US and a marker pen.

        1. Rich 2 Silver badge

          Re: it's classified

          Isn’t that what Twitter is for?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Oh My!

      Panic? Mo, it's just that the Religious Right who are currently in charge of the Oval Office are tired of getting laughed at when they talk complete bollocks about science.

      Hey, guys: It's not working. We're still laughing at you, you fucking idiots! :-D

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Oh My!

        But didn't the White House already promised to sustain the tourism business, which incidentally will give money to Trump Hotels too?

        1. scarletherring

          Re: Oh My!

          > But didn't the White House already promised to sustain the tourism business, which incidentally will give money to Trump Hotels too?

          I read on Politico the other day that UK and IRL are exempt. How convenient.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Oh My!

        I suspect the the reason for classification is so the the public won't hear about Pence and Pompeo speaking in tongues, spouting from the Book of Revelations about disease and pestilence and waiting for a horse called Binky.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Oh My!

          "waiting for a horse called Binky"

          In the third at Aqueduct?

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Oh My!

            Death rides a horse called Binky in the Discworld books.

            Ah ! Just discovered Aqueduct is a racecourse.

            Yeah, Binky will be the last across the line.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh My!

          Dear Chris,

          Believe it or not, some of us that believe in God and take the Bible seriously, are, for that very reason, unhappy with our Dear Leader, who manipulates the greed of so-called Evangelicals. I don't think there are many of us, certainly not enough to effect much change. At some recent count, only one electoral delegate in about a thousand for the Republican Party primaries.

          Because we are not the same, and even if we are just a minority, I would, please, request that you do not mix us all in the same bag. Please just treat us with the respect that you try to use with crazy little minorities. Alas, the Gentleman in Chief got elected because there are millions and millions of like-minded induviduals to his delusions. Puts us in an awkward spot, where we try to get sense into people, and it is very, very hard - for example, I couldn't convince our pastor to stop meetings, until the evidence and pressure was so overwhelming that he had to. People who think, and also believe, is not a contradiction, but I must admit is rather rare.

          Anon because it's obvious that bigots out there are unsafe. As part of a tiny minority, having to deal with persecution requires a bit of paranoias.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh My!

      Rumors:

      * Pence was made chairman of the government's response so that when things go south he can be replaced on the election ticket and Trump can claim no-fault on the deaths.

      * Trump is going on a multi-week vacation, so that he can claim it was all their fault the government didn't turn this around. He really likes blaming other people for fouling things up, and he is blameless of course - "they failed us all" he'll say.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Oh My!

        And when interviewed about the virus at the CDC, all he could do was brag about his poll numbers. That's all he cares about (oh, and on top of this, his brag was a lie..)

        https://apnews.com/7c07f069fdbcfd256703ce7bdf6363fb

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Oh My!

      Since it's classified, no one in the meetings can talk about it and thus, no one can say "what an idiot" to the press.

      On the other hand, it could be that he invited the computer gang in because it's a "virus" and everyone knows IT knows all about viruses.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Oh My!

      I hate to break it to the Whitehouse, but most other governments are giving press conferences about the current state of the SARS-COV-2 (aka COVID-19) multiple times during the course of a day.

      Giving information like how many government run, free testing stations have been set up, how many thousands of people have been tested and how many infections and deaths have been reported...

      1. Mike Shepherd
        Meh

        Re: Oh My!

        Free healthcare? My God, that's COMMUNISM!

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Oh My!

          Maybe a benefit of communism/socialism/normal western democracies that the US might come to regret rejecting. A fascinating programme on the BBC last night (in part) reflected on the impact that the Black Death had on Britain. Having killed off a goodly part of the serf class, the resultant social changes were not what the aristocracy would have wished for (and tried to prevent - ultimately failing n the main).

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: Oh My!

            We ALREADY regret it.

          2. Professor Yaffle

            Re: Oh My!

            What was the program, which channel?

            Sounds interesting.

        2. Jan 0 Silver badge

          Re: Oh My!

          Does the Communist Party USA still put up presidential candidates? It's a long time since I was last aware of one, maybe now's the time.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Oh My!

            Well, there's a commie sympathizer in the Oval Office. Does that count?

            (Has anybody tapped McCarthy's grave yet? He must be spinning fast enough to light up the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan ...)

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Oh My!

        Free testing stations? Where's the profit in that? I don't know what the test kits cost elsewhere, but here in the States, they're around a $1000 (US).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh My!

      Have you seen the Andromeda Strain? The reason they are classified is because they are discussing using tactical nukes on their own people at the behest of the orange one.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Oh My!

        I seem to remember in John Wyndham's 'The Death of Grass', the British government nuking centres of population - because they were just that, centres of population and unsustainable.

        1. Reginald Marshall

          Re: Oh My!

          John Wyndham's 'The Death of Grass'

          That would be John Christopher (alias Sam Youd). But it's not difficult to confuse the two, since Wyndham did have several notable entries in the post-apocalyptic genre.

  2. Palpy

    Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

    What a surprise. Trump's first response was to deny that there is danger, next to minimize it (not as bad as influenza? COVID-19 has about 10 times influenza's fatality rate), then to blame somebody else (Obama, he said? the regulatory process for vaccines which Trump complained about has been in effect since 1997 and had nothing to do with Obama), and now to cloak his administration's response in secrecy -- as classified information.

    There's been no noticeable, large-scale action by the Feds. They're thrashing, which is a very poor way to respond to any looming crisis.

    But Facebook, Twitter, and Google could make a start by aggressively knocking out misinformation in their respective bailiwicks -- no, drinking bleach will not help; Jim Bakker's silver colloid is completely ineffectual; yes, the virus is spreading; and no, it is not "a common cold" (as Limbaugh said); yes, sanitizing wipes kill the virus as long as they're at least 60% alcohol; no, closing borders at this point will not help. Etc.

    My guess: Zero effective action from the Zuckerman. Near-zero from Twitter. Possibly some window-dressing from Google, ie, notifications on the search page... but no modification of the search algorithm to block or warn about crap-and-scam coronavirus disinformation.

    I'm not sure what "big tech" can do other than work on a vaccine and on anti-viral treatments. Tracking the outbreak using genetics is flashy and cool, but it's tracking, not preventing or curing or even ameliorating symptoms.

    Gonzalo Raposo is quoted: "If big tech gains access to medical data and patterns, they can support containment efforts by quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities."

    Riiiiiight. The US doesn't have the physical capacity to do extensive testing for the virus right now. By the time enough test supplies are manufactured and distributed -- say a month -- the horse will have well and truly left the barn and anything big tech can do to "support containment efforts" will be moot. Afterwards, big tech will do a superlative job of retroactive analysis I'm sure.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

      "not as bad as influenza? COVID-19 has about 10 times influenza's fatality rate"

      Does it?

      It's now looking to be below 1% possibly as low as low as .2%.

      They are cases of people contracting it with NO symptoms at all.

      The figures can look scary, but once you rule out the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions, the numbers are very low indeed.

      In fact resources would be be spent monitoring those in these brackets rather the mass hysteria that is currently going on.

      But sure, put on your face mask on, if it makes you feel better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

        If you don't understand how people die from it, you are free to learn firsthand.

        To crash a person takes time. And much longer if a hospital is actively trying to keep you alive. It is when the immune overreaction has finally killed the mucus-clearing cilia cells then you then get the pneumonia. And then you slowly suffocate, with the lack of oxygen killing various organ systems one by one. Takes time, this dying.

        Look at Italy. You know, 100's per day? That's because they were infected 3-4 weeks ago, and have been critical for up to 2 weeks before finally dying. The numbers of dying - the rate of deaths - go up the farther into the cycle of infection we go.

        "the numbers are very low indeed." Fuck you, and sympathies to Li Wenliang's wife and children.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

          That answer is completely unrelated to the point that was made. We all know how people die from it, but since we don't know how many people have been infected, we can't know what the fatality rate is. All we know is how many of the known infected die, but since we don't know the size of the infected population we can't produce an accurate %age figure.

          1000 people infected, 30 dead, that's 3%, but if there are another 9000 people infected that we don't know about, because they only show mild symptoms, it's "only" a 0.3% death rate.

          No consolation for the loved ones of those who do die, of course, but let's keep a sense of proportion. Over the course of the outbreak number of people dying per day on average is still well below that for 'flu or traffic accidents. Knee-jerk reactions don't help anyone.

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

            Are you really suggesting that 90% of infections are so mild that people don't even realise that they've got it? In that case I will suggest that you're either incredibly stupid, or that you have some sort of agenda for coming out with such crap.

            If 90% of the infected were asymptomatic then infections would be cropping up EVERYWHERE with absolutely no indication of where and when they became infected. Since that is not the case, and tracing recent contacts has identified the source in almost all new infections, then that completely wipes out your 90% argument.

            And at that point the rest of your arguments collapse.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

              Are you really suggesting that 90% of infections are so mild that people don't even realise that they've got it? In that case I will suggest that you're either incredibly stupid, or that you have some sort of agenda for coming out with such crap.

              And your medical qualifications for that diagnosis are what, exactly?

              The official statement from the World Health Organization is: "The most commonly reported symptoms included fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, and most patients (80%) experienced mild illness.." Without thorough random testing we simply cannot know the actual infection rate.

              If 90% of the infected were asymptomatic then infections would be cropping up EVERYWHERE with absolutely no indication of where and when they became infected. Since that is not the case,

              Really? So how do you explain the cases in the US in areas where no identified first case has been found?

              And at that point the rest of your arguments collapse.

              We need much more in the way of hard numbers to reach that conclusion.

              1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

                Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                I am not making a 'diagnosis', and my conclusions require no medical qualifications.

                In countries that have actually been isolating patients and tracing their movements it has almost always been possible to trace them back to a point of contact with someone who has also displayed symptoms of the virus.

                You mention the US having cases crop up with no identifiable source. Perhaps that is because until today your Tweeter-in-Chief has done his best to deny that there is actually anything at all to be concerned about. There has been little testing, no isolation, and no tracing. So I'm not surprised that the US has cases magically appearing from nowhere.

                If as you claim 90% of the infected are asymptomatic then stopping people with symptoms from travelling would only have had a 10% effect on the virus spread, and you would find plenty of instances where one member of a family is infected but the other members show no symptoms at all. Please present your evidence of the virus travelling long distances without a symptomatic traveller, or of groups in close contact where only 10% present symptoms.

                1. Jaybus

                  Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                  "There has been little testing, no isolation, and no tracing. "

                  That's just simply not true.

            2. Loatesy

              Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

              [Are you really suggesting that 90% of infections are so mild that people don't even realise that they've got it? In that case I will suggest that you're either incredibly stupid, or that you have some sort of agenda for coming out with such crap.

              If 90% of the infected were asymptomatic then infections would be cropping up EVERYWHERE with absolutely no indication of where and when they became infected. Since that is not the case, and tracing recent contacts has identified the source in almost all new infections, then that completely wipes out your 90% argument.

              And at that point the rest of your arguments collapse.]

              Wrong. Simply wrong. Your whole premis contradicts itself.

              We just don't know whether or not a person can catch it and only display symptoms similar to those of the common cold and recover without even realising it. We won't know for sure unless the whole population is tested; at the moment the majority of those actually being tested are a) those with definite symptoms, b) those who have been in contact with those who have definite symptoms, and c) those who have recently returned from areas where there have been outbreaks.

              So far the mortality rate is 3.7% of confirmed cases ONLY. According to the WHO website 4,607 people have died as a result of contracting Covid-19 (out of 124,518 definite cases); but it is simply not known how many people might have contracted it and simply recovered without knowing they ever had it or being tested for it.

              We simply.

              do.

              not.

              know.

              enough about its pathology.

              And probably never will until LONG after Covid-19 is consigned to the history books.

              1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

                Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                No, we don't know what percentage are asymptomatic carriers, similar to Typhoid Mary.

                But what we can say is that from the way we've seen the virus spread so far that the percentage of people that are asymptomatic is certainly not 90%.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                  the percentage of people that are asymptomatic is certainly not 90%.

                  You're the one who brought "asymptomatic" into it, no-one has suggested that those numbers are high. The question is what percentage of people just have sufficiently mild symptoms that they don't report them or get tested. WHO figures suggest that it could be quite high.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                But more importantly... Leaver or remainer? :-)

            3. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

              I think he's suggesting that we keep a sense of proportion and rationality, stop panic buying toilet paper (seriously, wtf is with that? It's not like Covid19 causes diarrhea!) and that people should keep calm and carry on. Preferably with washing your hands a bit more and otherwise taking reasonable and rational actions to limit the ability of the virus to spread.

              Screaming OMG, we're all going to die!1!!11!11! as some people are doing and whipping up a frenzied panic doesn't help anybody, and the economic damage from the panic is going to cause considerably more damage than the worst case deaths. A few years ago in the UK we had a pretty bad year with Influenza (ie; flu) which led to hospitals being overloaded and the elderly dying off in droves to the point the mortuaries were full and they were sticking dead bodies in hired freezers in the carparks.

              Nobody even really noticed that (ok, there were a couple of newspaper headlines) and there wasn't a panic. The stark reality is that from the information reasonably available Covid19 might in the worst possible case be somewhat worse than that was, which was considered completely normal by everybody. This is obviously unfortunate for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems but this is not the end of the world even in the worst case.

              1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

                Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                Screaming OMG, we're all going to die!1!!11!11! as some people are doing and whipping up a frenzied panic doesn't help anybody

                I agree but the problem is we just don't know.

                Some experts predict 100,000 deaths, worst case, though that's no small number

                On the other hand we have the governments of the UK and Germany saying 70% to 80% will be infected, and best evidence from China (100,000 infections, 3,000 dead) is that the mortality rate is 1% to 3%. If that's so; between half a million and 1.5 million will die in the UK and Germany.

                We are also told 20% will become so severely ill that they will require hospital treatment. Despite going into a "delay phase" any day now, no one seriously believes we have the ability to treat that many people.

                That could well mean 10 million dead - So panic may not be entirely irrational.

                1. Baldrickk Silver badge

                  Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                  Well, Trump's health advisor recently broke ranks and said that pretty much everything Trump has said is wrong.

                  The numbers he gave were 1% for SARS-COV-2 and 0.1% for the Flu - so 10x the casualty rate of the flu. if it's any higher (numbers are still changing, it's suspected that China has been heavily massaging their numbers etc...) then it's going to be higher than 10x.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                  "Some experts predict 100,000 deaths, worst case, though that's no small number"

                  However in the US around 35000 die by shooting each year, and roughly the same number in traffic accidents. So 100000 is not *that* big a number.

                  1. Jaybus

                    Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                    By comparison, influenza related deaths range from 12,300 to 61,000 in the US (2010-2019), with known cases ranging from 9.3 to 45 million. But that is comparing real data (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html) for influenza vs. total speculation for COVID-19. So apples - oranges.

              2. veti Silver badge

                Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

                If you and your whole family are going to be confined to the house for a minimum of two weeks, you definitely want to have plenty of toilet paper about the place. Trust me on this.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

              actually, that is the Trumpeteer "reasoning" behind the it's like the flu argument.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

            You don't know how many people are infected with the seasonal flu either, since most people also have mild symptoms and never get tested for it.

            So the percentage for flu is no more, no less an estimate than for COVID19. And it's still 10× lower. And flu has both vaccines and medicine against it to mitigate its effect.

            So yeah, not overreacting is good, but not underreacting also is.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Look at S-Korea

            https://ourworldindata.org/covid-testing-10march

            210, 144 tests for COVID 19 done by 10th March.

            Here are the "Epidemiological links" table:

            https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=&bid=0030

            The back traced from people with Covid 19, back to people they interacted with, then tested those.

            Now the problem with this whole "you catch it, poof your get better" nonsense, is that these people would still show anti-bodies for it and show up in those tests.

            So you might wish there are a whole load of people infected that just got over it, but that would not fit the data. Any one that got ill, would then flag a whole range of contact testing in South Korea which would then count all these "got better" people.

            "No consolation for the loved ones of those who do die, of course"

            I'm sure there will be some Republicans offering "thoughts and prayers"! Like they usually do.

      2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

        So it is OK is elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions die, maybe getting infected by their grand kids who had the virus but no symptoms?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

          Of course not, and that's not what they meant.

          Wash your hands - with soap, while muttering or humming whichever 20sec sequence helps you.

          Clean surfaces.

          Avoid casual close contact. Don't shake hands, don't kiss, etc.

          Above all, don't panic.

          If you go out and stockpile all the soap, then someone else will have none. Then they will spread it, perhaps to someone whose body can't handle the infection. That someone might be you, or someone you love.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So it is OK is elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions die?

          Depends whether your Government refuses to close Schools or not:

          Petitions: UK Government and Parliament

          Petition: Close Schools/Colleges down for an appropriate amount of time amidst COVID19.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: So it is OK is elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions die?

            Is it too much to hope that such a decision would be taken by those medically qualified to do so, and not as a result of social media-inspired ignorance and stupidity?

            1. Julz Silver badge

              Re: So it is OK is elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions die?

              Yes :(

            2. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: So it is OK is elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions die?

              Is it too much to hope

              Probably.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        SARS-CoV-2, SARS mk 1 death rate was 9.6%

        If you rule out the dead, its 100% recoverable.....

        Current death rate is 6% of outcomes, expected to be 3.4% based on the Chinese data. Symptoms appear in people infected but showing no signs in about 2 days. SARS Mk 1 had a death rate of 9.6%.

        It's tempting to imagine millions of people running around infected with no symptoms would make that number look better. Perhaps you imagine you are immune?

        @"The figures can look scary, but once you rule out the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions, the numbers are very low indeed."

        I assume your belief is that you are not elderly or have a respiratory condition and thus immune. Li Wenliang was only 33, had all the medical treatment possible. He went from infected to death in 4 weeks. Your belief in yourself is misplaced.

        Wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid busy public places, avoid unnecessary contact, you are not immune, just stupid.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: SARS-CoV-2, SARS mk 1 death rate was 9.6%

          "I assume your belief is that you are not elderly or have a respiratory condition and thus immune. Li Wenliang was only 33, had all the medical treatment possible. He went from infected to death in 4 weeks. Your belief in yourself is misplaced."

          Statistically Li Wenliang was a very unfortunate man, normally someone at that age would not die from COVID-33. it's more that possible that he had compund factors due to his job. It's been made abundantly clear who is "statistically at risk", Li was not ... That doesn't mean that 33 wont die, it jus means that there is a very low risk.

          You my friend have been found guilty of scaremongering by the court of Common Sense...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            He was an optician

            " it's more that possible that he had compund factors due to his job"

            Stay home, stop your twaddle, you have 12 days till the Italy scenario, 6.6% of current outcomes in Italy were deaths, the fix is to take the threat seriously, and isolate now.

            Don't confuse wishful thinking with common sense.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: He was an optician

              What percentage of those Italians were pack+ per day smokers?

              I've been to Italy. Gut feeling says all of 'em.

            2. veti Silver badge

              Re: He was an optician

              You don't want to isolate yourself too early. Isolation is the hardest part of dealing with the disease. Isolate before you need to, and you're just prolonging that.

              Isolation for two weeks is hard. Three weeks is very hard. Four-plus weeks is akin to being in prison, but without the regular feeding. If you put yourself into lockdown now, and in 12 days' time your government announces that everyone has to do it for two weeks, then you'll have condemned yourself to almost four weeks of that.

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                Re: He was an optician

                I feel this is a flaw in the current UK advice. Self isolate for seven days if you have a persistent cough. Fine. Then you get another persistent cough (I mean, hayfever season is starting, I spend months with a persistent cough...), you surely have to self isolate again, because you've no idea whether the first one was coronavirus and this one is fine, or the last one was fine and this one is coronavirus.

              2. A-nonCoward
                Boffin

                Re: He was an optician

                The alternative is NOT to self-isolate, and keep spreading the joy. cough cough.

                Every single contact, every single meeting, kiss, hug, French kiss, that has 0,0000000001% chances to result in a case of infection. To many people, that seems to translate to zero, no reason to change things.

                However, ALL those events added together, mean the certainty of catastrophic spread.

                People who are self isolating are making it harder on themselves, but better for society as a whole. You welcome.

                Those who are waiting for statesmen and well informed scientists to tell them what to do, meanwhile getting infected and infecting others, are the reason why we cannot have any of the nice things.

                Your choice, if you will take it, is to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

                Icon because facts and evidence just don't seem to have a chance when they meet common sense. As it is becoming clearer and clearer, it takes uncommon sense to make the necessary choices and accept the hardships of something like this.

      4. Alan Johnson

        Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

        I think it would be foolish for anyone to make very confident statements about the virus as yet but even if its fatality rate is as low as 0.2% which does nto seem to be the case then that is a big issue because no one has immunity. If we assume that close to 100% of the UK get it then we would be looking at more than 100k deaths, not a small number. In the US we would be looking at more than 0.5 million deaths. Then we have the possibility that it might be an order of magnitude or so worse than that and it is clear that this is not an insignificant threat.

        Given all this I don't see much panic to be honest. Sure there is a bit of hoarding and people are not going out very much but you could argue that is sensible. Genrally people seem quite stoical about it, but I am in the UK and it may be different elsewhere.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @as Limbaugh said

      Rush Limbaugh also said smoking doesn't kill anyone. He has lung cancer now. His weezes don't carry much weight.

      My "thoughts and prayers" to Rush Limbaugh on his "advanced lung cancer."

      THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS. Lots and lots of thoughts and prayers. I'm sure some Republican snowflakes will think I'm being sarcastic and cruel, gloating over the impending death of an evil man the world will not miss, but no, I am genuinely offering BOTH *thoughts* AND *prayers*. The full thing, not just "thoughts OR prayers".. *AND* not *OR*.

      Not healthcare or treatment. Now is not the time for "healthcare and treatment" for Rush, now is the time for him to accept our "Thoughts and Prayers". It's what he would have wanted/offered to others. Be sure he knows our "Thoughts and Prayers" are with him before he dies soon.

      Thoughts and prayers Rush, Thoughts and prayers.

      1. Palpy

        Re: @as Limbaugh said, and thoughts and prayers for Rush

        I didn't know Limbaugh has lung cancer. However, the only way to escape death is to never be alive. Limbaugh was born, therefore Limbaugh will die. Thoughts, prayers, good vibrations won't change that. For any of us.

        He'll have all the morphine he needs to go out in a soft pink haze, until life stops. If you made him choose between "thoughts and prayers" and drugs, then you bet he'd take the drugs. So will I, when my time comes. (And it will, one way or another. That's a 100% solid bet.)

        So my point is, Rush Limbaugh is a man who has used lies, racism, denigration, and hate in order to make a fortune as a talk-show clown. He's driven wedges of hatred deep into American society. Now he's got cancer. Tough break. But I'll keep my thoughts and prayers for others. He'll be much happier with the morphine.

        1. A-nonCoward

          Re: @as Limbaugh said, and thoughts and prayers for Rush

          Let me wish you the morphine and the corresponding machine is available when you need it. My mother, cancer "en cuirasse", we have been told the most painful possible, happened in a corrupt nation over there. Not even with all the Euros I had, could I get one of those drip machines, simply not a single one in the largest city there. Had to have her have injections, so either she was in terrible pain, or completely passed out, no way to drip it safely. Took forever to die, too, she was built though.

          As this thing goes, you're lucky if you get infected soon and get it over with. Otherwise, those and other advanced machines might not be available when our turn comes...

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

      You are unduly pessimistic about testing. The US has improved its position enormously since last week, commissioning sites in (I think) every state to run COVID-19 tests locally. Nationwide, the processing capacity for tests has gone up from "hundreds per week" to "thousands per day".

      Of course, it's still a clusterfuck. When people are scared that if they get a test, (1) they'll have to pay for it, and (2) they'll then have to stay home and earn no money for at least two weeks, they are still not exactly going to rush for those tests.

      Extending sick pay is one of the more effective measures being suggested here (and long overdue in its own right, even without a pandemic). But none of them does anything to help the unemployed, or gig workers, or those dependent on tips. I wonder how long it will take to dawn on Washington, collectively, that a "screw the poor" approach to public health really doesn't work, even for the rich?

      1. Palpy

        Re: Testing in US is not as bad as reported?

        I'm not sure about that. You may be right, but what I'm reading hasn't yet borne that out. As of yesterday, the reports indicated that the US has tested about 23 people for every million people. Fifteen times lower than the rate in the UK. About 25 times lower than South Korea.

        Here's an excerpt from a news story written by Brian Resnic and David Scott yesterday (March 11):

        "Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease scientist, called the testing situation a 'failing' at a congressional hearing on Thursday."

        “'The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it — we’re not set up for that,' he said. 'Do I think we should be? Yes. But we’re not.'“

        "While the testing situation in America is getting better — private industry has stepped up to fill in the slow rollout of tests from the CDC, and the Cleveland Clinic announced it has developed a new rapid test that gives results in eight hours, rather than taking days — problems remain. The number of tests that can be performed per day is still limited and varies by testing facility. Part of that is due to a shortage of key chemicals needed to run the tests. It’s becoming increasingly clear that too-stringent testing guidelines early in the outbreak stymied researchers in knowing if Covid-19 was spreading in the US."

        “'There was clear lack of foresight,' Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, says. 'We were very slow to roll out testing capacity to individual places — wherever that came from, it was a very bad strategy.'”

        "Part of the confusion here is that there are different figures floating around for the number of tests that have been done. As private labs take up the slack from public health facilities, there’s no centralized database of numbers."

        “'I think that we could have probably controlled this, if we had effective testing,' Angela Rasmussen, a Columbia University virologist, says."

        "We haven’t. As of March 11, according to an investigation led by the Atlantic, a little more than 7,000 Covid-19 tests have been performed — a number far behind other developed countries. (The Atlantic’s investigation is in partnership with independent researchers and is being updated daily.)"

        "South Korea, for example, has tested more than 140,000 people and has even set up drive-though testing stations for people to access. So far, the Trump administration’s promises to increase testing have fallen flat."

        1. mrobaer

          Re: Testing in US is not as bad as reported?

          Testing in the US is not as bad as being speculated. It's not very practical to compare what's being done here to other countries, such as South Korea. South Korea is smaller than many of the States that make up this country, and the population there is much more dense. Geographically, all the cases in my state (20 so far) are on one side of the state near a large metropolitan area. As of four hours ago, there are 219 people under investigation, 116 have tested negative, 81 are pending results, 20 presumptive positives, and 2 confirmed positive by the CDC. Our Department of Health for this state has assured us that we have enough tests for the current 'demand' and do not foresee running out of them. There have been just over 13,000 tested and we've found less than 1,300 positive results, I would speculate that testing is not falling horribly behind.

          1. Uffish

            Re: Testing in US is not as bad as reported?

            Fuck testing - the one true problem is that the human race has no immunity to this new (for humans) virus (excluding probably those who have caught but survived covid-19).

            If you have a strong immune system you will beat the virus, if you have a weaker immune system you will get very ill before beating (or not) the virus. It is the sheer number of people with weaker immune systems (or no luck) that frightens most governments - no one runs a health care system sized for the worst worst-case scenario. Hence all the emphasis on flattening the peak infection rate, not reducing the overall infection numbers.

            The overall infection numbers are "close to everyone". The question for politicians is "how many dead before I'm toast".

    4. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh my goodness -- the US administration is thrashing?

      "If big tech gains access to medical data and patterns, they can support containment efforts by quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities."

      Purely coincidentally, that's exactly what big tech have wanted for a while. Even better if it's an emergency measure bypassing current safeguards. Conspiracy theory about the root cause of the virus, anyone?

  3. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The White House response...?

    They'd have been more constructively occupied so far doing a musical number...

    I can't think of anything more suitable than 'Anything Goes'...

    Anything goes in.

    Anything goes out!

    Fish, bananas, old pyjamas,

    Mutton! Beef! and Trout!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: The White House response...?

      The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere were brought up on a steady diet of the likes of The Cramps Everything Goes ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

        ... were put into a large locked room with some blankets infected with Coronavirus.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

          I'm not so sure about that. Survival of the fittest would mean that those who come out again would be the meanest, toughest ones.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

            Who said anything about ever unlocking the door again ?

        2. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

          You realise that those that are actually alien lizards are immune?!?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

            Which is why we introduced it of course.

            mWahahaha ...

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: The entire world would be better off if all politicians everywhere ...

          I have a feeling that most of the UK cabinet have already done the equivalent of the same to themselves, without any help from others, by putting themselves in a room with Nadine Dorries, and then refusing to get tested themselves and continuing to hold meetings...

          The cynical amongst us might suggest that this is what happens when you deny science..

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Well that was a televisual shitfest for the eyes

    Americans, you have until 00:00:00 or 23:59:59 on Friday in one of your three timezones to get out of Giliad and into sanctuary in Canada.

    I also made the mistake of looking at Trump's Twitter feed to clarify the time thing perhaps expecting a link to more details and bumped into a 50-50 mix between nonsensical bot army and real people also lobotomised down to their level. That's the real pandemic that will wipe out the human race, perhaps Twitter could be socially isolated before it's too late.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Well that was a televisual shitfest for the eyes

      Which three of our six, or nine, or eleven timezones would those be?

      (Admittedly, I don't think I'd be trying to escape to Canada from, say, American Samoa. That's quite a hike.)

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Well that was a televisual shitfest for the eyes

        More of a swim

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top secret classified meetings with social media to identify people with symptoms. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      I'm surprised they haven't been talking to Weibo about how they manage to get rid of all that unpatriotic chatter about how the government is failing in its response: that seems to be Trump's priority.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        I am sure they have been. Lessons will be learnt.

        1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

          "I am sure they have been. Lessons will be learnt."

          If there's any justice, the next president not named Trump will declassify any records of the deliberations as part of the post-mortem (as it were) of the U.S. government's response and How To Do Better Next Time™.

          1. 2much2young

            I don't have much faith that this crew are using the standard systems for anything so while I like the idea the cupboard might be bare.

  6. LDS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities"

    Which in other countries is usually done by a working and universal health system, without any need to involve IT barons and their "AIs" to finally put their hands on data that escaped them till now to fully monetize them too.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities"

      Yes, basically, the government sets up testing stations and quickly tests people with symptoms, "for free".

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: "quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities"

        No need to use scare quotes.

        We all know that our taxes pay for the NHS - but universal healthcare provision is just basic human decency.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: "quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities"

          Universal healthcare also costs less than half as much.

          Cheaper and better.

          There have even been studies showing that if the USA switched to a single-payer system, and paid a multi-year redundancy to all the insurance workers who wouldn't be needed anymore, it'd pay for itself in less than one year.

          Sadly, the USA will never do this until something kills off a significant number of old, rich white men.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: "quickly pinpointing the source of illness within vulnerable communities"

            Can we use guns for that problem, their replacements might see fit to reduce that particular insanity as well...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Visions...

    .... worried Europeans evading Donald Duce's Schengen Ban by extraordinarily rendering themselves to a shithole country via packet-switched networks routed through the UK diced up in cans of Italian Plum Tomatoes.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Visions...

      You probably shouldn't eat so much cheese before bedtime.

  8. John Sturdy
    WTF?

    Usual rules apply

    This presumably won't deter them for criticizing the Chinese government for having tried to keep some of the information suppressed.

  9. John Savard Silver badge

    Obvious Reason Why

    Well, since accurate information about COVID-19 could possibly indicate that President Donald Trump may have been mistaken about certain things, of course it has to be classified.

    Pity impeachment wasn't successful.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Obvious Reason Why

      "Pity impeachment wasn't successful."

      Actually, he was impeached. However, the Senate chose to ignore facts and allowed him to remain in office. For the moment. (Gut feeling is that even the conservative ultra-right old guard doesn't want that fucking nutcase Pence in the oval office, not even for a couple of months ...)

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Obvious Reason Why

      Pity impeachment wasn't successful.

      That debacle at least showed that power mattered more than principle to the majority of Republican senators. The only one who voted to impeach stated that he did so from fear of his god rather than out of his duty to uphold the constitution, which basically says that if he hadn't been reminded of his oath of office at the beginning of the hearing he wouldn't have given a shit.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if Trump cancels elections?

    You're missing the potential catastrophic scenario:

    One of the usual dodgy Republican States (e.g. Florida) cancel elections "for public safety".

    Trump joins them declares martial law and cancels elections, "for public safety"

    Elections never happen again.

    There is no mechanism to force Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, and Trump to comply with any law in any way. The judicial branch can do all the rulings they like, but the enforcement of those rulings is blocked by Barr. The House can do all the impeachments it likes, but the enforcement of those impeachments is blocked by Moscow Mitch. Contempt of court cannot be enforced against Barr because those people who would arrest Barr, work for Barr.

    Don't think they'd be that brazen?

    Do you also think the meeting in Trump Tower was about adopting orphans?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: What if Trump cancels elections?

      I thought it was about using them as a food suply?

  11. VibhorTyagi

    They Should've Done Better

    The WH is nonchalant at best concerning the spread of this deadly disease. There are even talks about a mass quarantine now - the likes of a concentration camp! There is no news about a safe cure, or how long this is going to last. The last I checked, companies like UBER and Googdle were about to engineer AI to help with tracking and subsequent quarantine measures. While the disease is unmitigated, the response shouldn't have been - only because there used to be a Pandemic response team in the CDC - now, its not.

    ~Engineer.AI

  12. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Prediction - America will suffer a shit storm

    I sincerely hope I'm wrong with this prediction, but America really does seem to be in the perfect position for a complete shitstorm of Covid.

    The lack of free health care means that low income people wont go to get tested, meaning that if they are infected, they will pass it on to everyone they know. The same people even if they're a bit ill wont take sick days (because of the lack of paid sick days), and they absolutely wont take 2 weeks off as a precaution if they're exposed to someone who had Covid, because frankly without the sort of safety net you get in the rest of the western world, most people cant afford to take a couple of days off work (let alone 2 weeks!) and still meet their bills. That will also be a driver for people not to get tested, even if it suddenly became free, because the risk that they're ordered not to work, could mean them being unable to meet rent/afford food, etc.

    In the rest of the western world, we have paid sick days, paid holiday, and unemployment benefits that mean that if someone is forced to not work for 2 weeks, they're unlikely to get into too much trouble, but the lack of any sort of safety net will only exacerbate the problem in the US.

    As for trump, there was a great opinion piece in the BBC this week, that explained how the only thing that trump really cares about is keeping the stock market high (he's tweeted on average every 2 days throughout his presidency about the stock market one way or another). If the stock markets high he can argue the economy is great and thats what he campaigns on. Covid likely puts a big dent in that, it's driving down the stock market massively (more than 20% in the last few days), so is it any surprise he's trying to keep a lid on it and downplay it.

    But the silly thing there is, by downplaying it, he's increasing the risk that Covid will be around for the long term in the US. Hit it hard and fast, get people reacting to it, and you can likely stop it relatively fast, well before the next election cycle, and you can point to that as an achievement, the economy would back up to normal levels, and Trump would be back in prime position. By reacting slowly, downplaying it, its effects are likely to be felt for so much longer and maybe into the next election. And Trump will bare the brunt of that. Still I shouldnt really be surprised, long term planning in a business man like Trump doesnt come naturally...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Prediction - America will suffer a shit storm

      Well, at least your scenario will be the first step for the Billionaire's Club plan to reduce the world population to 500 million.

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Prediction - America will suffer a shit storm

      And of course in the last day, the Republicans have blocked a bill to support those of low income who are/will suffer from Covid-19... How wonderful /s

    3. mrobaer

      Re: Prediction - America will suffer a shit storm

      Not going to the hospital to get tested because you can't afford it is a bit ... silly. They'll do the tests and send you a bill. If you're too poor to pay it, more often than not, for critical things (such as this) the county/state pays for it. This is why even with a few cases of COVID-19, most states have declared an emergency of sorts, that allows more funding to become available.

      The sick days thing, yeah that is a huge problem. Where I work we have to use our vacation time to cover sick leave or risk losing our job. We've brought up the 14 day quarantine with HR and they're "looking in to it." We do have unemployment benefits if your hours are reduced at work, such as a 14 day quarantine would do.

      Let's look back at how my government (under Obama's care) responded to another outbreak: the 2009 swine flu. The response then was slower than the current response, and in four months there were 25,000 cases. We ended up with about 12,000 fatalities from it in a year's time. To be fare, this outbreak began much closer to home.

      Most of the public has been aware of this risk from the get go. With so many gatherings, events, etc, being cancelled right now, and the months of media alarm sounding, I would say the biggest threat are the meatheads who were downplaying the seriousness of it. I see this all the time on social media, some tool claiming the seasonal flu is more dangerous, blah blah blah. Right now, the majority of Americans are not at an elevated risk for becoming exposed to this. We'll see how long that remains true.

  13. karlkarl Silver badge

    Keep the plebs ignorant

    It is probably to ensure that messages like "Gah, that coronavirus really hurt" get replaced with "meh, was just a cold".

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Keep the plebs ignorant

      ‘Tis but a scratch

  14. Tom 35

    growing barrage of criticism

    I expect Trump wants them to remove the criticism and replace all instances of coronavirus with Joe Biden.

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When Such is So, is Everything Easily Eerily Changed .....

    According to officials, dozens of classified discussions that covered issues like the size and scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions were held at a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

    Were many or any of those held before Wuhan transpired/happened?

    And do you see any connection which suggests the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic be akin to a Critical Global Mass Psychotic Episode. ....... Servered by All Manner of Media Machines as if in Consort and Cahoots ?!.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: When Such is So, is Everything Easily Eerily Changed .....

      Just a Coincidence or Counter Intelligence Incident?

      The 2019 Military World Games, officially known as the 7th CISM Military World Games, was held from October 18–27, 2019 in the capital of Hubei Province in Wuhan, China.

      The 7th Military World Games was the first international military multi-sport event to be held in China and also it was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competed in 27 sports.

      After the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak, conspiracy theories about COVID-19 being the CIA's creation to keep China down were all over the Chinese internet, according to The Economist. Some articles on popular sites in Chinese have accused American athletes participating in the Wuhan Military World Games to have deployed the virus. They claim the inattentive attitude and disproportionately below average results of American athletes in the game indicate they might have been in for other purposes and they might actually be bio-warfare operatives, and that their place of residence during their stay in Wuhan was also close to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the first known cluster of cases occurred. ...... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_Military_World_Games#List_of_participating_nations

      Curiouser and curiouser :-) What's not to believe?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When Such is So, is Everything Easily Eerily Changed .....

        Reminds me about that story that the AIDS epidemic got its big push during the Tall Ships event in New York for the US Bicentennial. The argument goes like this: sailors from all over the world, making friends with each other, you know...

  16. mspanner

    Is the AI going to start culling people?

    Really they only thing that they are good at "disrupting" is currently regulated parasites with illegal technological substitutes.

  17. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Needs more tech

    Big Tech would be able to use AI and data tools to provide useful insights as it unveils new measures for tackling the crisis

    What, no blockchain? No serverless? No IoT? No DevSickOps?

    I can't see how Big Tech could possibly achieve anything without deploying at least half a dozen more buzzwords.

  18. SVV Silver badge

    Facebook and Twitter

    The perfect tools to help.... spread mad conspiricy theories, market pricy quack cures to the ignorant, profit from shortages, hijack the crisis for unpleasant personal and political agendas and facilitate mob rule when things get really nasty.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Facebook and Twitter

      It's not prognostication when it's already happening.

      I wonder how long it'll be before Europe automatically goes into lockdown because somebody sneezes in Japan ... The world is losing it's tiny little collective mind over this thing.

      We need to get a little perspective here ... How many people will die TODAY from the effects of smoking? How many will die THIS YEAR from Corona, it all its variations?

      And more importantly, how many supposed Corona victims would NOT have died if they weren't smokers? Does that make Corona the killer, or tobacco?

  19. Marty McFly
    Megaphone

    Testing kits

    Total fake news. My sister is a nurse. The "testing kit" is a long flexible Q-tip with a sterile tube to place it in. It is not some magic special thing in short supply.

    Sort of like when California air dropped test kits to the cruise ship while it was in harbor - instead of just sailing up an handing them over like ever other cruise ship boarding.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Testing kits

      "Sort of like when California air dropped test kits to the cruise ship while it was in harbor"

      It wasn't "in harbour" at the time. It was over 50 miles offshore.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Testing kits

      The q-tip and tube are just for taking the sample. It's not the test.

      - I'm reasonably sure there's also some guff in the tube to keep the sample stable so it doesn't disintegrate before reaching the lab, but you wouldn't necessarily notice it and it'll be common and cheap.

      A lab somewhere has to actually do the test itself - sufficiently quickly that any virus particles haven't fallen too much to bits, and of course in time for the testee to do something useful about the result.

      The lab work needs rather more complex stuff, specific to the test being done.

    3. Palpy

      Re: You're writing about sample swabs. Testing requires more.

      The detection requires analysis and identification of the genetic material of which the virus consists. It ain't just a Q-Tip. Either you, or your sister, or both, are ... shall we say, misinformed.

      Here's a list of what is needed to test for COVID-19. "IRR" stands for International Reagent Resource.

      Equipment and Extraction Kits – These kits are used in the preparation of specimens

      1. QIAGEN with QIAmp DSP Viral RNA Mini Kit (obtained from IRR)

      2. QIAGEN EZ1 Advanced XL with EZ1 DSP Virus Kit (obtained from IRR)

      3. QIAGEN QIAcube with QIAmp DSP Viral RNA Mini Kit (obtained from IRR))

      4. Roche MagNA Pure LC with Total Nucleic Acid Kit

      5. Roche MagNA Pure Compact with Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit I

      6. Roche MagNA Pure 96 with DNA and Viral NA Small Volume Kit

      II: rRT-PCR Test Kits (CDC 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel) – These kits include vials of test reagents that detect the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens (obtained from IRR)

      III: Reagents –

      1. Master Mix Kits (rRT-PCR Enzyme Mastermix (TaqPath™ 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix, CG) –

      These kits contain the enzymes and other components needed to run the PCR test. (obtained from IRR)

      2. Human Specimen Control (HSC) (obtained from IRR)

      3. EUA Positive Control (obtained from IRR)

      The reason the USA in particular is experiencing a shortage of the chemicals required for the testing is ... well, those in charge did not order them when most other countries did. Everybody else got in line ahead of the USA.

      1. A-nonCoward
        Flame

        Re: You're writing about sample swabs. Testing requires more.

        Everybody else got in line ahead of the USA.

        Oh, just like with what happens with toilet paper! Hamster-something they call it in Germany!

  20. ibmalone Silver badge

    tech giants

    representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and others in a bid to figure out how to get a handle on the problem.

    What are they going to do? Advertise to it?

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