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Ep. 116 Libertarian NYC Doctor Explains the Physiology of the Coronavirus

Levi Machado is a Brazilian pathologist who trained and now works in the NYC hospital network. As a fan of libertarian writers, Levi recognizes the problems with coercive “solutions” to a pandemic. However, Levi explains in the discussion what COVID-19 actually can do to the body, and why it’s not really comparable to the flu. The conversation wraps up with tips on staying healthy.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Marko on 04/17/2020 at 6:50 AM

    Are you aware of prof. Knut Wittkowski? Does not look like a nutjob and he openly states he does not work for the government, so he can tell what he thinks.

    His position is the radical herd immunity. Measure he suggested in his paper and in his interviews is simple: isolate the elderly and other people under big risk. Let the virus spread AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE to the rest of the population. Accept the lethality rate and other damages during this time, and both are very similar to other respiratory diseases. Consequence: elderly and people under risk will not overwhelm the hospitals because the respiratory diseases are explosions, they are very quick to appear but also very quick to die off, if they are let alone. By prolonging it, the risk of reaching the elderly increases and this is what overwhelmes the health system. Due to current, non selective, lockdowns, he forecasts at least another important wave, comming later this year.

    • Tel on 04/20/2020 at 11:55 AM

      I agree with that strategy although not perhaps quite so radical.

      My reasons are slightly different … I worry about a disease that is both widely available for troublemakers to utilize and also which has minimal natural immunity. This is an excellent tool for either political terrorism or “Fourth Generation Warfare” and the longer we are sitting in the “no immunity” condition the worse the situation gets as the power shifts towards the terrorists. We could get a “sucker punch” very easily.

      Consider, the difference between a fire front (which is controllable) and a firestorm (which cannot be controlled). The same distinction also applies to epidemics. The worst possible next step would be if a whole bunch of organized and hostile agents had stored up the virus in the previous wave and then simultaneously hit a bunch of targets (particularly high profile targets) in the next wave. Of course I don’t know for sure this will happen … but it could happen, and the type of people who might cause that do exist.

      Better medical techniques, better testing, and better overall self-protection strategies would reduce the impact … but do not discount the possibility of encountering people who actually want you to get sick (for various reasons) as well as those who are happy to make political mileage out of the crisis.

      The other thing I worry about is this social fracturing of young people vs older people, setting those groups against one another. This has the smell of a “Cultural Revolution” type scenario. Thing is that if the young people get sick they will probably recover, so if they can avoid spreading the disease to vulnerable people that’s great, but once the young people have built some immunity they end up actually protecting the older people. Instead we have been given this whacky message that young people must never get sick because somehow that automatically implies these people have done something sinful, but there’s no particular logic to it. I have a terrible feeling that we are being played, and manoeuvred into a situation where everyone is most vulnerable.

  2. Scott on 04/20/2020 at 2:37 PM

    Interesting and informative episode!

    But…is it just me, or is it a bit creepy that this doctor couldn’t talk about death and disease without giggling? Like, at one point he just straight up laughed and said “y’know?” after saying thousands of people died.

    I mean, I get it, he’s used to death, and he’s trying to make sense in his second language, and was probably nervous and star-struck, but you can HEAR him smile wider when death comes up and it gave me the willies.

    • Not bob on 04/22/2020 at 4:50 AM

      Really? I didn’t get that impression from the Dr. at all. He seemed very neutral and professional to me.

    • Wesley Forbes on 04/22/2020 at 4:20 PM

      How many willies? Are they related to Slick Willie?

      • Scott on 04/30/2020 at 5:10 PM

        What a surprise! A libertarian comment section full of sarcastic bullies.

  3. Tyrel on 04/29/2020 at 12:49 AM

    First of all this is the absolute best source of information on what’s going on with this virus. Thanks to Bob on asking clarifying questions throughout, and to Dr. Machado for explaining so thoroughly and soberly.
    I dont understand the distinction between dieing of pneumonia caused by the flu and dieing from the flu. Is that not a distinction without a difference? Moreover, wouldn’t that mean people aren’t dieing from COVID-19 if the lung complications it causes kills them? I believe the acronym from the episode was ABRS?
    I’m trying to see if I understand what he was saying about the differences between this and the flu. It seems like he is treating the causes of death differently between the two, but I could be confused.

    Also if this virus is so highly contagious and infection grows exponentially, doesn’t it follow that everyone will get this virus eventually, not just 60% as was discussed hypothetically in this episode?

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