Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda: Livelogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps: Between the town of Ilerda and the neighbouring hill where Petreius and Afranius had their camp there was a level space about five hundred yards wide and almost in the middle of this there was a small hillock. Caesar was certain that if he seized and fortified this eminence he would cut off the enemy from the town and the bridge and all the supplies which they had collected together in the town...

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Deplorably, the Trump Movement Is Made Up of Grifters, Ghouls, & Their Victims

Deplorably, a large number of easily-grifted morons thought Trump was their friend—or at least that the people lower down in the Trump base were their prey to be scammed...

Back in 2015, I concluded that the Donald Trump campaign was a deplorable multi-level marketing scam. At the top, a few grifters running lots of cons. In the middle-levels, a bunch of people who thought that they could take advantage of the situation to get rich—or richer—but who were actually easily-grifted morons themselves. And at the bottom, people who thought that Trump was their friend, rather than viewing them as suckers he could take.

Nothing I have seen since has changed that opinion of mine.

Deplorably, one of the easily-grifted morons in the middle was former Godfather's Pizza executive and Republican politician Herman Cain:

On June 20, 2020, Herman Cain was boasting that he was having a "fantastic time" at Donald Trump's massless, non-social distancing Tulsa rally:

Cain at tulsa

Trump had required attendees to: "acknowledg[e]... that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury..."

On June 24, 2020, Herman Cain wrote, with respect to the public-health emergency measures of March and April: 'Never again. We now have the evidence it didn't help at all...'

On July 1, 2020, Herman Cain wrote very approvingly of Trump's next rally: 'Masks will not be mandatory for the [Mt. Rushmore] event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!: South Dakota Governor: "We will not be social distancing. We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country, and to talk about our history...'

Also on July 1, 2020 Herman Cain was hospitalized for coronavirus. On July 30, 2020, life support measures were discontinued, and Herman Cain died.

At some point the 'Masks will not be mandatory... PEOPLE ARE FED UP!' Post on twitter was deleted from Herman Cain's account.

After his hospitalization, Herman Cain's twitter account was run by a rather cynical gang of ghouls.

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Briefly Noted for 2020-08-03

Clinton Foundation: Administration Alumni Conversation with President Clinton and Secretary Rodney Slater https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SG-jcTuV5A: ‘Administration Alumni Conversation with President Clinton and Secretary Rodney Slater…

St. Ignatius of Loyola: _Prayer for Generosity https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/prayer/traditional-catholic-prayers/saints-prayers/prayer-for-generosity-saint-ignatius-of-loyola/: ‘Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God,/Teach me true generosity./Teach me to serve you as you deserve./To give without counting the cost,/To fight heedless of wounds,/To labor without seeking rest,/To sacrifice myself without thought of any reward/Save the knowledge that I have done your will./Amen…

DOL: News Release: Embargoed Until 8:30 A.M. (Eastern) Thursday, July 30, 2020: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

FRED: Weekly Unemployment Insurance: Initial Claims https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/ICSA#0

FRED: Weekly Unemployment Insurance: Continued Claims https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CCSA

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DuBois: The Comet—Noted

Worth reading. What we call “Lovecraftian” but in a profoundly anti-Lovecraftian way: the real horror comes not from alien species, or the dead uncaring stars, or death from the comet, but from white men—northern white men—doing what white men naturally did… do:

W.E.B. DuBois: The Comet http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15210/15210-h/15210-h.htm#Chapter_X: ‘He stood a moment on the steps of the bank, watching the human river that swirled down Broadway. Few noticed him. Few ever noticed him save in a way that stung. He was outside the world—"nothing!" as he said bitterly. Bits of the words of the walkers came to him. "The comet?" "The comet—" Everybody was talking of it. Even the president, as he entered, smiled patronizingly at him, and asked: "Well, Jim, are you scared?" "No," said the messenger shortly...

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Briefly Noted for 2020-08-02

Parker Molloy: 'Here’s a mashup https://twitter.com/parkermolloy/status/1287772516342267905 that the amazing @JohnnyHeatWave made to go along with my @mmfa article. It’s depressing. https://t.co/ObiRMSsocE.... It’s all even more ridiculous if you look at the number of times the same person credulously talks about Trump’s “new tone”...

Paul Krugman: With the Coronavirus Pandemic, Republicans Are Flunking Microbe Economicss https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/opinion/republicans-keep-flunking-microbe-economics.html: ‘The question of whether or not to dump raw sewage into a public lake isn’t something that should be left up to individual choice. And going to a gym or refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic is exactly like dumping sewage into a lake: it’s behavior that may be convenient for the people who engage in it, but it puts others at risk.

Heidi Przybyla: MOAR Trump Corruption https://twitter.com/HeidiNBC/status/1289172345614000128: ‘Trump overspent for ventilators by as much as 500 million... paid 4-5 times as much... Didn't enforce prior contract or try to build on it...

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Steve M.: The Post-Trump GOP Is Likely to Be Even Worse—Noted

Steve M.: The Post-Trump GOP Is Likely to Be Even Worse https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-post-trump-right-is-likely-to-be.html: ‘The Lincoln Project.... I believe the Project's founders and allies when they say they're disgusted with the Republican Party and want to reform it. I'm not saying I'd like the party they hope to create...

...But in some areas, I think the party the Lincoln Project wants to create would be at least be a slight improvement.... As Max Boot notes, Stuart Stevens, a former Republican consultant, now calls the GOP "a white grievance party” and acknowledges that “there is an ugly history of code words and dog whistles in the party.” Boot writes, "If you accept Stevens’s searing critique of the Republican Party—and I do—then it is incumbent on the Lincoln Project to target not just Trump but also his enablers. That’s just what it has done with commercials such as this one urging the defeat of Republican senators."

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Wikipedia: Trans-Mediterranean Barbary Slave Trade—Noted

Nunn's estimates: trans-Atlantic slave trade: 10.5 million; Indian Ocean slave trade: 900,000; trans-Saharan slave trade: 3.2 million; Red Sea: 1.3 million:

Wikipedia: Trans-Mediterranean Barbary Slave Trade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_slave_trade: 'Robert Davis... estimates... Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone enslaved 1 million to 1.25 million... from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th from bases on the Barbary coast, North Africa, the Barbary pirates raided ships traveling through the Mediterranean and along the northern and western coasts of Africa, plundering their cargo and enslaving the people they captured...

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Against 'Ideology for Ideology's Sake'—Note to Self

Lincoln douglas

Smart young whippersnapper and Equitable Growth alumnus Marshall Steinbaum attempts to solve the problem of corrupt interests and corrupt ideology with... MOAR IDEOLOGY! Ideology that he hopes, somehow, will be reality-based.

I do not think this will work:

Marshall Steinbaum: 'In order to know what to do https://twitter.com/Noahpinion/status/1016333284320526337, we have to know how things work. To me, the sentiment @Noahpinion expresses here is the moment I get off the 'empirical revolution' train, because this is where it turns toward 'maybe we can avoid ideology after all'. Nope..."

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Lacker: GPT-3 vs. Turing—Noted

Much of our intelligence is devoted to constructing models of other minds based on observations of actions, expressions, and words. We have a strong tendency to overdo it. Thus we can be very easily grifted to really, really believe that there is another mind—another Turing-class entity—back there when there isn't: the lightning does not really come from a large red-haired guy with a big hammer and anger management problems who drives a cart pulled by two goats. The latest example of this is GPT-3:

Kevin Lacker: Giving GPT-3 a Turing Test http://lacker.io/ai/2020/07/06/giving-gpt-3-a-turing-test.html: ‘An interesting corollary is that GPT-3 often finds it easier to write code to solve a programming problem, than to solve the problem on one example input...

Q: Write one line of Ruby code to reverse an array.
A: ary.reverse

Q: Write one line of Ruby code to count how many X's are in an array.
A: ary.count { |x| x == 'X' }

Q: Reverse the following array: [1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 4, 2, 77]
A: [10, 6, 4, 2, 77, 3, 5, 1]

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Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom—Noted

Steve Randy Waldmann: Social Democracy & Freedom https://www.interfluidity.com/v2/7557.html: ‘So who is right here? I say Milton Friedman is. “Free speech” stops being real, stops being a practicable ideal, once the consequences of unpopular expression are so great you’ll be banished from the communities you value and be unable to earn a decent living. Both the woke and their discontents should be able to speak their piece...

...We want a society where—in practice, not just as a formal, legalistic matter—the public sphere can accommodate a wide range of expression, some of which each of us will find abhorrent. But Friedman’s conjecture that capitalism plus a light-touch state would be an effective way to ensure this state of affairs was wrong. Because it was never really “capitalism”, in his argument, that protected political freedom. It was decentralization....

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Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign II: Two days later Caesar arrived with nine hundred cavalry, whom he had kept as a personal bodyguard. The bridge which had been broken down by the storm was almost rebuilt; he ordered it to be completed that night. He himself ascertained the nature of the surrounding country and leaving behind all the baggage train, together with six cohorts to protect the bridge and the camp, he set off on the following day towards Ilerda, advancing with his forces in a triple column...

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Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda; Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign: Fabius’s orders were to make haste to seize the passes over the Pyrenees, which at that time were being held by the troops of Pompey’s lieutenant, Lucius Afranius. He ordered the remaining legions, which were wintering farther away, to follow on. Fabius, obeying orders, lost no time in dislodging the guards from the pass and proceeded by forced marches to encounter Afranius’s army...

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Kades: Antitrust Hearing—Noted

If you want to know what happened at the tech antitrust hearing, your best source is Michael Kades’s twitter account. I have still not thought this through, so go and read what he has to say: Michael Kades https://twitter.com/Michael_Kades/status/1288543592114462725: ‘So far, my biggest takeaway, the Republican Staff memo tried to paint this as a partisan issue. So far, between Gaetz and Buck, that framing has failed… .#equitablegrowth #noted #2020-08-01


Fischer & Gould-Werth: How Systems for Delivering Economic Relief Failed—Noted

This is very good and very important. My grandfather always mourned that, when he got his Ph.D., he thought he was getting a Ph.D. in “public administration” but found, instead, during his career that his discipline had turned into "political science”. Here Amanda Fischer and Alix Gould-Werth try to fill in this gap, and largely succeed.

Amanda Fischer & Alix Gould-Werth: Broken Plumbing: How Systems for Delivering Economic Relief Failed https://equitablegrowth.org/broken-plumbing-how-systems-for-delivering-economic-relief-in-response-to-the-coronavirus-recession-failed-the-u-s-economy/: ‘Below, we detail four delivery systems tasked with providing relief during the coronavirus recession...

...relief targeted to small and large businesses, Unemployment Insurance, direct payments to consumers, and paid leave programs—each of them emblematic of a different plumbing problem. Looking at business rescue programs, we see pipes well-designed to flow easily to people with power, while the taps of the less powerful remain dry. Looking at Unemployment Insurance, we see the failure to invest in pipes, preventing these benefits from flowing smoothly to people who need them the most.

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Boushey: How to Deal with the Coronavirus Plague Recession—Noted

Where are the Republican economists? Yes, the coronavirus plague recession has a supply-shock component, but it has a larger demand-shock component as well, and a social insurance component. We should be fighting all three:

Heather Boushey: Testimony Before the Joint Economic Committee on the Coronavirus Recession https://equitablegrowth.org/testimony-by-heather-boushey-before-the-joint-economic-committee-on-the-coronavirus-recession/: ‘Addressing the administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is the only way to fully restore confidence and put us on the path to economic recovery...

...The United States is experiencing the most uncontrolled and deadly outbreak of any high-income country in the world. Compared to the European Union, we now record 10 times as many daily coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths. Until the virus is contained, however, there are key actions that can bolster economic confidence and rein in uncertainty. Specifically:

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Coronavirus: My Personal Guess as of 2020-07-31

The epidemiologists, the public health specialists, and the data collectors produce lots of tables and graphs about coronavirus prevalent in the United States, but somehow nobody produces the graphs and tables that I really want to see: estimates not of confirmed cases but of true cases. The United States’s massive failure of testing and surveillance makes all such estimates nearly impossible to produce and subject to enormous uncertainty. Here, for what it is worth, is my personal guess:

My guess is that we are now running at 1.5 million new case a week up from a mid-June low of 650000 cases a week, which is itself down from our late-March infection peak of 2.7 million cases per week. We seem to be stuck: when cases fall, social distancing is relaxed; when cases rise, people get scared and hunker down. The prospect appears to be for depression—national income 10 to 15 percent below potential—and for 6 million infections and 40000 deaths a month until something changes, with any form of herd immunity years away at this pace of infections. But I may well be very wrong, and have missed something very important here: Coronavirus in the U.S.: My Guesses as to Where We Are:

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/coronavirus-in-the-us-my-guesses-as-to-where-we-are.html: As of 2020-07-30: New weekly deaths: 7800…. New weekly inferred cases: 1478400…. Weekly R: 0.97…. Past three weeks’ R: 1.08…

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Beauchamp: Free Speech Has Not Been “Canceled”—Noted

Ken White calls this “the problem of the preferred first speaker“. Whose is the speech that needs to be responded to with norms of respect, deference, and civility? Whose is the speech that should be cut short when it tries to exceed its time, and hooted out to make space for somebody wh would otherwise not have their voice heard? How does one move from the fringe to the center of the public sphere and of public reason? Those who cloak themselves in “civility“ and “free speech“ these days seem in many cases to be bad or thoughtless actors: people who want to hold on to places of centrality, power, and wealth of which they may well not be worthy.

But anyone who says that these issues are not hard ones is grifting you:

Zack Beauchamp: Free Speech Has Not Been “Canceled” https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/7/22/21325942/free-speech-harpers-letter-bari-weiss-andrew-sullivan: ‘Abstract appeals to “free speech” and “liberal values” obscure the fact that what’s being debated is not anyone’s right to speech, but rather their right to air that speech in specific platforms like the New York Times without fear of social backlash...

...Yet virtually everyone agrees that certain speakers—neo-Nazis, for example—do not deserve a column in the paper of record. The real debate here is [about:]... hat sorts of speakers should be excluded from major platforms? When can giving a platform to one kind of person actually make it harder for other people to speak their minds freely? And what kinds of social sanctions, like public shaming or firing, are justified responses to violations of these social norms?...

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All the Facts: Lorem Ipsum—Noted

All the Facts: Lorem Ipsum https://www.lipsum.com/: ‘"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..." "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..." What is Lorem Ipsum? Lorem Ipsum is simply... the printing and typesetting industry['s]... standard dummy text...

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Briefly Noted for 2020-07-30

Paul Krugman: KrugmanToday https://www.krugmantoday.com/
Teleprompt.me: Voice-Powered Teleprompter https://teleprompt.me/
Paul Alcorn: Intel's 7nm is Broken, Company Announces Delay Until 2022, 2023 https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-announces-delay-to-7nm-processors-now-one-year-behind-expectations
Boichik Bagels https://boichikbagels.com/index.html

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Stross: Cardiac Damage from the Coronavirus Plague—Noted

This is very bad news indeed. Hopefully this will turn out to be a false alarm. But I fear it will not:

Charlie Stross: No Comment Necessary http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2020/07/no-comment-necessary.html: ‘Post-infection cardiac damage found in 78% of recovering COVID19 patients. That's 78% of a cohort, average age 49, of whom 67% had recovered at home (ie. disease was not categorized as severe enough to need hospitalization). Cohort was normalized with respect to other risk factors relative to uninfected patients. Diagnosis by MRI. Looks reasonably solid, at first glance, publication in JAMA Cardiol. (Journal of the American Medical Association, cardiology). Study coordinated via a German hospital. Reason for "no comment necessary" is that this suggests most COVID19 survivors—including mild disease survivors—suffer cardiac damage. You don't want to get this virus… .#noted #2020-07-30


Herman Cain's Memory Would Be a Blessing If It Triggered Pence to Use Amendment 25 to Remove Trump: Sheth & Eliza Relman: Herman Cain Has Died from Coronavirus—Noted

Herman Cain's memory would be a blessing if it triggered Pence to use Amendment 25 to remove Trump: Sonam Sheth & Eliza Relman: Former Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain Has Died After Being Hospitalized for Coronavirus https://www.businessinsider.com/herman-cain-dies-after-being-hospitalized-for-covid-19-2020-7: 'Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died, according to his official website and the conservative website Newsmax. He was 74. Cain tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month, 11 days after attending President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He tweeted a photo of himself at the rally where neither he nor those surrounding him were wearing masks. The day before he was hospitalized, Cain sent a tweet expressing support for the Trump campaign's decision not to require masks at a July 4 Independence Day celebration held at Mount Rushmore... #noted #2020-07-30


Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive, and then they go back on their word. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Massilia, and Vibullius Rufus to command the Pompeian legions in Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Resistance at Massilia: On arrival [at Massilia], [Caesar] learned that Vibullius Rufus, whom he himself had captured and released again at Corfinium a few days before, had been sent by Pompey to Spain. He learned also that Domitius had gone to take over Massilia, with seven fast ships which he had requisitioned from private persons in Igilium and around Cosa, and had manned with his own slaves, freedmen and tenants...

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Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

pompey

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

And so he acts.

And in three months Cæsar is master of the central core of the empire, with an army without a leader—Pompey's legions—to his west in Spain, and a leader without an army—Pompey and the Optimate faction of the Senate—to his east in Greece.

I guess the key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year?

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The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society Annual Banquet

John bell hoods defeat at franklin

The John Bell Hood-Max von Gallwitz Society! https://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/07/the-maximillian-von-gallwitz-john-bell-hood-society.html: Dedicated to celebrating the memory of two field commanders who may well have been the worst in history: Drink a toast to John Bell Hood on the 7/28 anniversary of his defeat at Ezra Church:

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Kaplan: The "Domestic Insurrections" of the Declaration of Independence—Noted

Sidney Kaplan (1976): The "Domestic Insurrections" of the Declaration of Independence https://www-jstor-org.libproxy.berkeley.edu/stable/pdf/2717252.pdf: 'In his original draft of the Declaration... Jefferson.... "He is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them"...

...David Brion Davis... correctly observes that Jefferson... "condemned King George for... inciting American Negroes to rise in arms against their masters."... He concludes: "Congress struck out the entire section.... [But] Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration... [lacked] the opening clause of the twenty-seventh charge in the final and approved document: "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us".... Jefferson deplores the deletion by Congress of the clause "reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa"-but he says nothing, and never would, about the deletion of the clause... which reprobates George III for fomenting revolt. And why should he, if, in fact, the addition of "exciting domestic insurrections amongst us" to the twenty-seventh charge-which he voted for with the rest of the signers-amounted to substantially the same thing?...

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Alwan: What Exactly Is Mild Covid-19?—Noted

Nisreen Alwan: What Exactly Is Mild Covid-19? https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/07/28/nisreen-a-alwan-what-exactly-is-mild-covid-19/: ‘I went out for a 20 minute slow walk yesterday evening with my little girl...

... who was desperate to see the flowers on the way. My exercise capacity is still terrible, and I knew that by doing that I would pay the price the day after. Indeed, I woke up with the familiar chest heaviness and utter exhaustion which gets worse by sitting at my desk to work.

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