COVID-19 model predictions continue to be too high


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Two stories off the wire today illustrate again the overheated and over-stated predictions of the computer models being used by federal and government officials are simply wrong.

The first prediction resulted in a panic that caused hospitals nationwide to cease all “non-essential” medical procedures out of fear they would overwhelmed with serious Wuhan virus sufferers. Instead, hospitals sit empty with little activity and some have had to cut staff and hours because the loss of the income from those “non-essential” procedures is bankrupting them. And in New York, the worst hit state, the model was four times too high:

The model projected that New York would need 65,400 hospital beds by April 4, but only 15,905 were actually used, according to former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson.

The second story reports that the IHME model that the White House and state governors have been relying on to justify shutting down the entire U.S. economy, bankrupting millions of small businesses, and putting millions of people out of work, has reduced its prediction for deaths from COVID-19 from about 93,000 to about 82,000, a number is still certainly too high based on the actual deaths so far. Earlier they were claiming hundreds of thousands could die.

Meanwhile, policy nationwide has been based on the assumption, clearly stated by Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force, that “No state, no metro area, will be spared.”

The numbers however make this statement seem absurd. This state-by-state analysis today shows that the bulk of the problem is focused in the New York metropolitan area:

Thus, we can ascertain by these numbers that 53% of all U.S. Coronavirus deaths are coming from the two states of New York and New Jersey.

…If you throw out the numbers for the top five and bottom five states, removing the extreme highs and lows – the other 40 U.S. states (including Puerto Rico) will have suffered an average of 70 deaths from Coronavirus.

In other words, we have allowed our politicians to bankrupt us over an illness that has killed so few people in most of the country (most of which were aged and likely very sick already) that the numbers could almost have been considered rounding errors.

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51 comments

  • Ryan Lawson

    I’m guessing cool, damp places away from direct sunlight are the best breeding grounds for this virus. That’s pretty much the subway system.

    California, with its always sunny, low humidity environment , is a least preferred environment for this thing.

    I thought about inventing a robot dehumidifier with UV light and IPA spray mister to combat Covid like a roomba on crack, but apparently someone may have beat me to it.

  • Gary

    CDC estimates US deaths from the common flu from October 2019 to March 31st is between 24,000 and 63,000 people. This will probably be seasonal, so come Summer we can look back with some perspective. What can’t be answered is what would the Covid-19 numbers looked like come Summer if we had not taken any counter measures.

  • Cotour

    I love this Corona map.

    https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

    Notice, China is nice and contained in that Wuhan region, and America is rotten with it. Our open doors have condemned us to certain costs related to our freedoms.

    Thanks China, thanks for the heads up. You really came through when it counted, when you needed to tell the world about what was what you………….did nothing.

    The Chinese leadership are very cold and controlled operators, no biggie for them.

    Oh, this serves so many masters.

  • Gary wrote, ” What can’t be answered is what would the Covid-19 numbers looked like come Summer if we had not taken any counter measures.”

    At some point I will write about this. If the totals end up where I have always thought they would be (and all data still points in that direction) my guess is that the numbers would not have been significantly different. Yes, the spread was slowed, but not a lot, and the totals one way or the other would have never strained any of the country’s health system.

    What is concerning is that there are probably now a lot of people who have not yet been infected. Almost all would have never gotten sick, or would have only gotten mildly sick. They are still targets.

    In normal saner times, we would have allowed the disease to run its course so that the bulk of the population would have quickly become immune, while acting to protect the most vulnerable. This time we did differently, which means the disease is still a threat to break about again next year in high numbers.

  • Cotour

    One thing for sure is over I would think, but then again, when you think about the players I wonder.

    What is that one “Thing”? OPEN BORDERS, the Globalists mantra and goal.

    But there will still be those in the un and anti American Democrat leadership that will argue for it, totally unmonitored or restricted. As insane as it was before this contagion, and even after we can all see the costs in lives that such policies can result in. Imagine if the president could not limit travel over borders, both to and from anywhere in such an instance.

  • Cotour

    What exactly is meant by:

    “allowed the disease to run its course”

    To do nothing? Or to take reasonable measures like announcing the existence of this particular virus strain and the reasonable personal separation and hand washing, no nose picking, eye rubbing etc. ?

  • Gary

    When the media started this with the sky is falling reporting, I thought they were doing what they could to drive down the economy, because it is difficult to defeat a sitting president that has a good economy. Now, I view this as a cold and calculating China and US politicians put in a position where they have to act. If President Trump went half in, the media would make sure that he would pay a high price and they still would have created the panic that would have driven the economy into a strong recession.
    Regarding straining the healthcare system. My wife works on a Covid floor in the Bay area and you would not be able to convince her, nor any of her co-workers that the system is not strained. We have it easy compared to New York, New Jersey and New Orleans and they still can’t get the protective equipment that they need. Yesterday morning they had to stop going into Covid rooms because they didn’t have eye protection. They have to reuse masks and they are desperately trying to train nurses that don’t work on the floor to replace sick workers and help with a surge. Now, if you want to say that we didn’t have to have such a strain on our system, then I can go for that. Of course, governments are always fighting the last war. I think that anyone that is awake can see how disruptive this is to a society. All of post-Columbian Central America have known this for a long time. Hopefully, the economic tragedy will be offset by better preparation for the next unseen enemy. The economic impact will certainly be dramatic. I fear this more than the virus.

  • Cotour: The latter, which is exactly what I have been suggesting since day one, and what Sweden is doing, wisely.

    In the end, it is essential that the human race build immunity to viruses like this. And our DNA is designed to do so, which is why the younger you are the less likely the virus will do you any significant harm, and why young children are not bothered at all by it.

    Thinking you can stop its spread by putting everyone in house arrest is like sticking one’s head in the sand to make believe something isn’t there.

    And it destroys freedom, something far more priceless.

  • Cotour

    The latter is reasonable, along with a strong and constant media message.

    That being said, this virus does appear to have a special attraction for certain people who contract it and it takes them to the cleansers. The front line nurses I have spoken to are terrified and they are all burnt out. And the numbers are at plague levels and are scaring the hell out of the politicos.

    And to be honest, they are all, party affiliation aside, behind the curve on this, from the president on down the line to any governor or mayor. All were warned about the potentials and all were busy doing other things with the monies that should have been spent of the essentials.

    But that is just the nature of that beast.

    And yes, this is the perfect vehicle for justifying relieving everyone of certain fundamental freedoms, and rearranging our entire system conveniently. And that is why I am watching closely as best as I can exactly what the Chinese and our own government is up to. I

    I really, when push comes to shove, objectively trust NONE of them.

  • wayne

    Ryan–
    While I know exactly what you mean— let us not forget this is a virus and not a bacterium.
    -Viruses can exist apart from biologic hosts, but they can’t reproduce unless they are inside a biologic host. (They have no internal energy source and are not considered to be “alive” from a biological standpoint.)

    tangentially– hospital rooms are often sanitized using a portable UV-C light generator. (Our atmosphere screens for UV-C, but imagine Mars…)

  • Cotour

    Here is an interesting document about something called “Event 201”, which was a simulation of a world wide pandemic, and it was just executed…..last year. And thinking back, it was funny to find out that on the day of 9-11, what was NORAD doing on that exact morning?

    (“Many Americans are still unaware that numerous “war games” and “terror drills” were being conducted by several U.S. defense agencies on the morning of 9/11, including one “live fly” exercise using REAL planes. The drills included the injection of false radar blips onto the screens of air traffic controllers to intentionally confuse and prevent them from intercepting the three planes that were hijacked that day; two of which dealt devastating blows to the Twin Towers.

    One of the biggest holes in the Bush Administration’s argument is that they never heard of a plan to fly hijacked jets into landmarks on the East Coast. Yet, eerily, on the morning of 9/11, the military was running a drill of flying hijacked planes into the WTC and the Pentagon.”)

    http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/recommendations.html

    Was Event 201 giving a heads up about what was to soon come? Lots of funny coincidences in life, especially when we are talking about things that could be considered executed agenda and strategy. Are these players just so very prescient? S.O.M.? Its just a little bit too much in your face sometimes, its just like in the movies from Hollywood.

    “The next severe pandemic will not only cause great illness and loss of life but could also trigger major cascading economic and societal consequences that could contribute greatly to global impact and suffering. Efforts to prevent such consequences or respond to them as they unfold will require unprecedented levels of collaboration between governments, international organizations, and the private sector.

    There have been important efforts to engage the private sector in epidemic and outbreak preparedness at the national or regional level.1,2 However, there are major unmet global vulnerabilities and international system challenges posed by pandemics that will require new robust forms of public-private cooperation to address.

    Read down the document, I found #3 to be very counter intuitive but something that would serve a purpose for those who would have us all under one umbrella.

    “3. Countries, international organizations, and global transportation companies should work together to maintain travel and trade during severe pandemics. Travel and trade are essential to the global economy as well as to national and even local economies, and they should be maintained even in the face of a pandemic.

    The Event 201 pandemic exercise, conducted on October 18, 2019, vividly demonstrated a number of these important gaps in pandemic preparedness as well as some of the elements of the solutions between the public and private sectors that will be needed to fill them. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation jointly propose the following:”

    You just can not make this stuff up.

  • Rose

    This afternoon’s statement out of Downing Street (by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab; PM Boris Johnson’s condition has worsened and he’s been moved into the ICU) includes these UK figures:
    * 208,837 people have been tested for the virus
    * 51,608 have tested positive
    * 17,911 admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms
    * 5,373 of those who have contracted the virus have died

    Those last two numbers surprised me, as 5,373 / 17,911 = 30% (likely to grow higher for this cohort as deaths lag admissions). I thought the ratio was one half to one third of that. Do we know what the equivalent ratio is in the US?

  • Tom Biggar

    Never let a crisis go to waste.
    1- overstate the problem.
    2- use 1 to justify draconian measures.
    3- the numbers come in under projections.
    4- See! We saved you! It would have been worse without our great work.

  • Cotour

    Rose: Too much over charging here?

  • Cotour

    You gotta love Bannon:

    “Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon unloaded on the Chinese Communist Party and its globalist cohorts in a fiery rant on his podcast Monday, vowing that they would face a massive reckoning from humanity for releasing the coronavirus then covering it up.”

  • Cotour

    You gotta love Trump also:

    And it gets even better:

    Trump confronts Chinese “Reporter” / front woman for the Chinese owned “Phoenix TV” in the White House.

    https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/06/trump-china-phoenix-tv-reporter-hong-kong/

    Phoenix TV, owned by a former Chinese military officer.

    You would never find this happening in Bejing, would you. Do you know why? Because we invite these people into our country, into our White House, the Chinese do not do such things. And if you were to ask such a question or it was found that you were an operative for an American government owned company?

    You would be removed, or worse.

    This in time has the potential to spiral way out of control. And that IMO will in the long term, be a good thing.

  • Andrew_W

    The rate of spread of Covid-19 has been reduced because we’ve reacted to the threat posed, models were tuned to the spread of the disease scenarios in which people stuck with a BAU policy. That did not happen, we reacted to slow the spread, whether by government imposed measures or by people just doing what was in their own interests. But those models were not wrong in working on a premise of no change in human behavior, no modeler claimed “this is what will happen because there will be no change in behaviour”, the models were illustrative and prompted action that saved lives (we can argue whether or not this or that action would have been better overall, and in that regard I’m not supportive of the use of government force that we’ve seen in many countries).

    I’ve always been careful to qualify any guesses with “so do nothing: . . “. Claims that we should “allowed the disease to run its course”, which I assume means do next to nothing, and a belief that such a course of action would not result in a worse-than-Lombardy-everywhere result I see as not facing reality. Mr. Zimmerman may consider a repeat of the 1918 flu epidemic as good for us, and that acting to avoid a similar outcome is “like sticking one’s head in the sand to make believe something isn’t there”, I see reacting to a problem and adopting strategies to minimize the damage as the exact opposite of “sticking one’s head in the sand to make believe something isn’t there”, and that doing nothing, allowing the disease to “to run its course” with little or no strategy to combat its spread to be the “head in the sand” “believe it isn’t there” strategy.

  • m d mill

    All people under 50 (66 % of the population) , and not living with an older person, should be free go out into public domain and to their jobs and recreation without undo fear (wearing masks and cotton gloves if they so desire, or perhaps that should even be mandated for a limited time) ,keep schools open, get infected perhaps, get the covid-19 flu perhaps, endure the flu like symptoms if any, and then become immune to the virus and future infection. Some relatively few younger people (under 50) will die, as happens every flu season where 30,000 die annually! The virus will then have few bodies in which to multiply and the “pandemic” will then rapidly die away. Then the elderly can again come out (using common sense precautions) and be relatively safe. By that time vaccines and antivirals may be available.

    The total “shutdown” response of fearful politicians who need to act like they are active virtuous leaders is a cure far worse than the disease. The loss of jobs for tens of millions , inability to pay rent and other bills, hoarding of store goods, business bankruptcies, printing of money, and further debt (multiple trillions!!!), etc, is a disaster that is caused by foolish men, not a virus.

    Of course elderly people and those over 50(?) should stay away from possibly infected people/groups, wear masks and gloves around visitors, stay at home, have groceries delivered, etc to be safer during that time…BUT THE EPIDEMIC WOULD BE OVER IN ABOUT A MONTH.
    Do not respond that any “death of the infirmed elderly” is unacceptable…we accept 30,000 influenza deaths per year without shutting down the economy and much needed job income and national productivity (eg food, energy, clothing, housing, hospitalization and doctor visits.) We are ruining ourselves for no reason…It is amazing to see what has happened in only a month.

    South Korea has NOT shut down their economy or society and have a TRIVIAL number of covid-19 deaths, mostly do to wide spread use of masks in public. But we have been lead in the completely wrong direction by the official government and “expert” baloney artists who are destroying our economy, while clueless as to how to best combat the pandemic, primarily with the use of public masks (and cotton gloves also) for a limited time.

    The use of masks by people under 50 is also just as useful (in fact more useful) by restricting the coughing/sneezing/transmission of people who might be infected. And yet we were told by the government and health spokespeople for months to NOT USE MASKS!!! This is now only being reversed by the CDC and in many counties such as Israel:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-israel/all-israelis-must-wear-face-masks-in-public-as-virus-precaution-netanyahu-idUSKBN21J6KZ

    When the history of this sorry episode is written, this will be seen as the greatest avoidable failing in the US and elsewhere, with devastating societal results; and the Korean example will be seen as the best possible societal response, in a society where covid-19 was just another viral speed bump.

  • M D Mill: Right on! No one has argued that we should do nothing, except in the imagination of those who wish to give the government as much power as possible. To achieve this end they slander anyone who strongly disagrees with the actions that have been taken, making believe that this automatically translates into doing nothing.

    Every action you suggest would have been acceptable to me, especially if they were not imposed by the force of law. A free people must be allowed the freedom to choose for themselves what they think must be done. Americans did not need these government-imposed lockdowns. They have the brains to do the right thing, if given the right guidance.

    In this case they did not get that guidance, and thus we had panic instead.

  • Andrew_W

    Mr. Zimmerman. Judging from others commenters it’s not just me that is uncertain on how to interpret your “allowed the disease to run its course”. I’m quite happy that the South Korean and Swedish strategies are those we should be basing our own (NZ, US and other western countries) strategies on, but when you reply to Gary’s ”What can’t be answered is what would the Covid-19 numbers looked like come Summer if we had not taken any counter measures.” with: “If the totals end up where I have always thought they would be (and all data still points in that direction) my guess is that the numbers would not have been significantly different. Yes, the spread was slowed, but not a lot, and the totals one way or the other would have never strained any of the country’s health system”, and you criticize models that do not claim to take into account government policies or human responses to the threat, it looks like you’re putting a dollar each way, implying that even without those human responses intended to reduce the transmission of the disease that”the numbers would not have been significantly different.”

    Possibly that’s not your intended meaning, but if you have a specific meaning perhaps you should explain it rather than leave us to guess your meaning.

    For now though I’ll go with you reply to M D Mill, that you were always counting on the human responses resulting in changed behavior free of the use of government force to reduce the rate of transmission, that you recognize that if there had been widespread belief that Covid-19 was a “nothing burger” resulting in failing to undertake actions to reduce transmission, itself resulting in people ignoring the threat until there had been far wider spread of the virus that then the result would have been very much in line with the model forecasts that were based on exactly that scenario, ie a very large number of avoidable deaths.

    Quite likely we will get to see that high fatality scenario, in which people are forced to ignore Covid-19 as a threat played out in some of the poorest countries on Earth, countries where people have to carry on with the same routines just to put food on the table, with the high fatality rates that people in richer countries could and did act to avoid.

  • john hare

    Andrew W,
    And if those countries that cannot afford to take these measures also have a low mortality rate??

  • Andrew_W

    “And if those countries that cannot afford to take these measures also have a low mortality rate??”

    If someone is exposed to the virus they very likely become infected.
    Looking at the best data from around the world it looks like the CFR in East Asians and Western countries of those infected average between just under 1% to about 2% as long as health systems aren’t overloaded, and taking into account undiagnosed cases – with up to 2/3 of people infected being asymptomatic. Everything suggests Covid-19 is as contagious as the flu.

    There are a few conditions that differ between the wealthy countries and the poorest countries apart from just per capita GDP:
    The age structure, higher birth rates and lower life expectancy considerably reduce the percentage of the population over 60 years old.
    The populations of poorer countries suffer from different ailments to richer countries, malnutrition and parasites vs obesity and diabetes.
    The poorer countries are closer to the equator, possibly the virus has a shorter survival time outside the body in warmer climates.
    Poorer countries have far less sophisticated and less resourced health services.

    Any of these factors could and likely will alter the overall mortality rates compared to Western and East Asian countries, some upwards, some downwards.

  • sippin_bourbon

    m d mill.

    No. Heck no. I am in that category, reasonably healthy and still say no.

    This disease is not the measles, its not the flu, its not chicken pox.

    There are reports, slowly increasing, of long term damage caused by the disease. Perhaps even permanent. It is still too early to know. However, the possibility of long term reduced lung capacity and cardiac damage is enough of a side effect to for me to say that your idea is a bad one.

    There have been reports of people with a recurring case. There have been reports of people still being carriers after most symptoms have cleared. There are still too many unknowns. And a prediction that it would be over in a month is based on what scientific facts?

    Its not just the elderly at risk. The immunodeficient are also at risk. Do you know who in your social circles that is? Would you even know, unless they specifically told you they have lupus, Graves or some other auto-immune disease, or are a transplant recipients, who must suppress their immune systems daily through meds, or even have an diagnosed condition that has the same effect?

    I know several family members that are in that category, and they do not choose to advertise it, because it is no one else’s business. They are all under 50. They would have to remain not only sheltered but even more so, under a full quarantine almost, because of your plan to avoid the increased risk created by it.

    There are too many unknowns. The reports mentioned above are still anecdotal, because there has not been time to correlate the data, as they are still trying to keep people alive.

    So, no. Its a bad idea.

  • Lee S

    854 new deaths in the UK yesterday…. Making a total of 5373. The yearly death rate for flu in the UK between 2014 and 2019 averages 17000, with a high of 28300 and a low of 1690.
    https://fullfact.org/health/coronavirus-compare-influenza/
    With the peak of the curve not yet reached, and given that historically pandemics seem to come in 3 waves, and given the possibility of a vaccine or anti viral being swiftly developed, and the fact that there are no official numbers I can find on non Corona flu related deaths, I can state with certainty that the only thing we can be sure of is nobody has a bloody clue how this is going to pan out…. It’s fun to discuss, and speculate, but to state ANY conclusions as fact this early in the game is hubristic.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Lee

    In regards to your father, is the UK trying the hydroxychloriquine + AZ or Zinc treatment?
    Do you know if they tried it with your dad?

    I am curious, nothing more.

    Watching the debate on this course of treatment. It is really kind of pathetic.

    Our media here would have us believe that Trump is ramming is down people’s throats.
    And the self appointed MDs on social media make it worse.

    On the flip side, even the medical community seems unsure about it.
    Some are saying they see real results. Others not so much.

    Outside of France, I do not know who else is trying it.

  • Cotour

    From the real world:

    Where do the more strong arm theories about insisting that the public adhere to the proscribed rules being laid down by, specifically the politically empowered mayor and the governor of NYS and NYC come from? NYS and NYS as we all know are densely populated and international destination hub area of the country.

    (Remember, the people of NYS and NYC voted for these kinds of leaders and there is always a price to pay for those choices and the balancing of their power as it relates to the peoples freedoms that any elected politico makes in the course of doing their job)

    While the vast majority of people are conscious and aware and are generally staying away from people, wearing masks and gloves if they so choose, and are being very respectful of other peoples space. They are preserving their health as best as they can and still operate at some reasonable level. 95 plus or so percent of the people are doing this, but there are the 5 or 10 percent (?) that are just ignorant and oblivious of respecting other peoples space and Right to exist. No different than any other instance.

    I myself have had to limit people and move them on when needed and I am much less tolerant. I have had to produce two versions of signs to assist me in communicating my wishes.

    1. “ONLY 2 PEOPLE IN THE STORE AT A TIME, 5 MIN MAX” (In other words: Come in, get what you want, pay for it, and go home)

    2. “NO DILLY DALLYING”. (In other words, no male apendaging around, don’t get comfortable. I wanted to use other words, words that are banned here on BTB, but I chose the less confrontational “No Dilly Dallying”. It gets the message across to most, but not all )

    I am not wearing either a mask or wearing gloves, I am wearing safety goggles, and the door is open and I have a fan blowing past me and out the door, and I wash my hands after every transaction or if I touch something.

    And even though I have these signs up, and am less welcoming and more to the point, and what is going on is going on in the world, there are still those who are totally oblivious and I have to “Positively” interact with them. And this human condition, this self absorbed ignorance is what is stressing the NY mayor and the governor out.

    And it mostly usually comes from a “Lower” level of citizen, but not exclusively. And the line of freedom and Rights are pushed further and further because of these kinds of people, But that’s life. Nothing new here.

    At some point people must take responsibility for themselves and who and where they associate, and there exists risk in life. Two inescapable facts.

    We will move through this and adapt and move some how into the future. If not then everyone needs to begin to line up at the nearest bridge.

  • Lee S

    @sippin_bourbon, if they are conducting any trials in the UK, my father has not been taking part, basically they are treating him symptomatically.
    I listened to a podcast a few days ago… Unfortunately I can’t remember which one, so that makes this anecdotal, but there was a seemingly knowledgeable virologist who ripped the results of the published studies so far to pieces, pointing out a metric ton of flaws in them, no peer review, biased subject selection, etc… One apparently acctually removed subjects who “they couldn’t find to record follow up results” … Implying they could even be dead.
    That said, she was all in for running better controlled studies at an accelerated pace, even suggesting protocol’s that could be waived and still return meaningful results.
    Basically, like what seems everything else in this mess… The jury is still out.
    The media over here is the same…. A workmate told me today that he had heard that Trump has shared in a French company that produces quinine…. I’ve found no evidence at all of this… Is this what he means by “fake news”?
    At the end of the day, in the Glory days of the British empire, in India, the Brits all drank gin and tonic, as the quinine content kept malaria at bay, I have no idea of the quantity required, but it’s an interesting idea should one feel like a little self experimenting… ( Just don’t forget the ice and a good slice of lemon… Vitamin C … Good for the immune system! ;-)

  • Gary

    Governments are the only arbitrators when considering your right to do what you want and my right to remain free of your bad choices. So, I doubt that anyone here believes that a Covid carriers should have the right to act in a way that passes it to a person in the at risk cohort. Absolute freedom is not a reasonable expectation. So, after analyzing the spread of Covis-19 and we still are free to call it the Wuhan Virus, we will have a better idea where your freedom to act and my freedom to live resides.

  • Lee S

    If anyone is interested, I can look back thru my podcast history to dig it out…. Definitely worth a listen .

  • Lee S

    @cotour…. Boots on the ground incoming..
    Pretty much every store I’ve been into in the last week have installed perspex screens between the cashier and customer, they are all wearing gloves, and wipe the card reader down after every transaction that involves touching it, ( most are contactless )… Spacing distance markers are on almost all shop floors.. the government recommend distance is 1.5mt (5′ in American).
    All that said, as spring has finally sprung here, apparently the parks have been full of youngsters milling around…. Youngsters gonna be youngsters… But this worries me….
    The jury is so very much still out here if Sweden’s attitude is gonna work out or not…

  • Cotour

    As always, wishing you and the rest of the Swedes the best.

  • Rick

    My county in NC, which just had it’s 3rd case confirmed, is starting a curfew Thursday.
    9 pm to 6 am, unless you have an excuse, such as grocery store or doctors visit. Who does that during those hours? All stores are closed then.
    It’s a useless act, but now they can say that they are doing “something”.
    We will see how many times I get stopped, since I go to work at 4:30 am.

  • Lee S

    @Rick, even here in the land of the free ( for the next 2 days, if I’m reading things right..) there are total bullcrap policy’s in place…. My kids school are allowing 5th and 6th graders to attend as normal, but 7th are doing mornings, and 8th doing afternoons… My son loves this as the missed sessions are done online, so he can work in his boxer shorts… ( Like any teenage boy would!) But I fail to see any form of logic in this system… Except that the school can be seen to be doing “something”

  • Lee S

    @Cotour, thanks my friend…. I hope you and yours stay safe also…. ( And I got the “rest of the Swedes”…. I just refuse to bite! ;-)

  • Edward

    Andrew_W,
    You wrote: “But those models were not wrong in working on a premise of no change in human behavior, no modeler claimed “this is what will happen because there will be no change in behaviour”, the models were illustrative and prompted action that saved lives

    You are wrong. I don’t know about the models you have worked to in New Zealand, but here in the U.S., the only model that assumed no action would be taken was the one that predicted 2 million deaths (over some unspecified time frame). The model that had us do simple action, such as restricting flights from China and social distancing, showed that such simple actions would save 90% of the predicted deaths. The current models that are based upon the draconian actions that we took have all predicted more deaths and hospitalizations than we have, here in the U.S. or for any region in the country.

    As for the models being illustrative, that is poor basis upon which to shut down an entire economy and destroy the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. Early methods to reduce infection rates were taken, but were not accounted for in the models that were used to direct our economy be destroyed. Somehow a destroyed economy is supposed to continue to work to keep the population alive and healthy, but when we are struggling just for sustenance, it is difficult to work on further development and progress. Just look at how poorly we have done over the past three weeks, now that other health care facilities have become unavailable. (I have a crown that came off a tooth, last week, but I cannot get it replaced, because it is not a dire condition.)

    To present bogus models in order to scare us into taking action is unconscionable, and is a poor way to conduct policy making. As it turns out, some of the predictions here in the U.S. were intentionally made in order to scare us into action, but our policymakers were frightened into taking too much action. How can we ever again trust them to set good policy? They have ruined more lives with their economic destruction than they could possibly have saved.

    To base policy upon emotion rather than rational thought is how a society gets into trouble. This is how we got policy makers telling us that we should visit San Francisco’s Chinatown, because it would be racist not to. It is how we got policy makers telling us that we should go to New York’s crowded Chinese New Year parade, because it would be racist not to. This is how both of those metropolitan areas ended up sheltering in place three weeks later. Italy has a similar tale of emotional policy-making woe.

    Indeed, the more that we learn that we are under virtual house arrest because of flawed policy making (due to bogus science), the more upset we Americans become at our situation and lost liberty.

  • wayne

    Edward-
    Good stuff.

    Highly recommend the Tuesday 4/7/20 Mark Levin radio show.
    Interview with Sean Davis from the Federalist = very enlightening.

  • Rose

    @Lee S: “A workmate told me today that he had heard that Trump has shared in a French company that produces quinine…. I’ve found no evidence at all of this… Is this what he means by “fake news”?”

    Not fake so much as overblown. He owns shares in a number of mutual funds which hold stakes in the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi which produces hydroxychloroquine under the brand-name Plaquenil as a minor offering in their lineup. Most discussed has been Trump’s holding — via three trusts which each include between $1K and $15K of a fund with 3.3% invested in Sanofi — of between $99 and $1,485. (Information via Trump’s 2019 financial-disclosure.) The New York Times article which first brought this up was primarily centered on the medical community’s mixed reaction to Trump’s “aggressive advocacy” of hydroxychloroquine, and it dismissed the investment as a “small personal stake” and clearly not the motivation behind that advocacy. That was responsible reporting. Other outlets have pushed the angle harder, and while I’ve not seen any explicitly lie, they haven’t put it in proper context, which I suppose qualifies as “fake news” in most circles these days. But so then would stories defending him with headlines that his investment may be as small as $99, without mentioning the upper range.

    That New York Times article appears to have missed Trumps investment in some broader European stock-market index funds, which might give him another few thousand dollars invested in Sanofi. Still small beans.

  • m d mill

    Sippin bourbon:
    Your objection makes no sense to me… if you want a locked down society then stay locked down. If I choose to roam outside or go to work (with a good mask) how does this effect you as a practical matter, since you are locked down? Any one who feels threatened by the virus can stay locked down personally, and even keep their children home with home/online schooling if they desire.
    Are you arguing the Koreans did it wrong, and are being foolhardy? Admittedly, Korean DID delay they start of the school semester by about month(?) and are now starting online classes instead. I cannot argue with that for the safety of their parents or grandparents (the children themselves are virtually unaffected), especially if online schooling is a temporary option. But that is not a shutdown of the economy.

    In hard hit Washington state the peak death rate was March 27. The death rate is now seemingly already down to a third of that peak. The 1/3 peak to 1/3 peak width of this curve will likely be less than 1 month… and this was with only partial shutdown/social distancing in place …theoretically the width is even smaller under less severe conditions see here:
    https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/coronavirus-peak-apex-statebystate/2020/04/07/id/961754/
    and here
    https://www.doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus

    I am an at risk person, but I cannot demand the entire society to shut down because of my situation, nor should it. I will perhaps disagree with RZ that temporary MANDATORY use of a mask in public is acceptable to me, in that I do not fundamentally have a right to unknowingly infecting someone elses air in a public place. Unfortunately such mask production (high-quality and mid-quality) has not been an emergency priority for the authorities, even after spending 2 TRILLION DOLLARS!!! So one must be inventive, e.g., reuse an old painting mask and quadruple fold a handkerchief inside and under the perimeter for a pretty good seal and pretty good filtering of microscopic droplets.

    Nothing i have proposed (except perhaps resumption of physical schooling (perhaps that IS to much)) endangers anyone, except those who may feel no risk or acceptable risk…But more importantly, it does not shut down the economy and much needed job income and national productivity (eg food, energy, clothing, housing, hospitalization and doctor visits.) destroying small businesses and the personal finances of 10’s of million of people. We are ruining ourselves for no reason…It is amazing to see what has happened in only a month. I don’t think most people understand the extent of the economic damage, especially as this drags on and into the next flu season…IMO. Businesses are like people, in that if they are sick they can still return to good health, but if they die (full bankruptcy) they do not arise from the dead…they must be reborn and nurtured with prodigious work, money, and time which many will not be able to duplicate.

    I also expect that this virus does not work/destroy lung cells MUCH differently than any normal flu virus, except that it is simply so novel in its specific structure that people with poor immune systems (especially the elderly) have no relevant latent antibodies to help deal with it, and therefore the scarring is worse than otherwise (especially for people with auto-immune problems as well); and especially since most people have no or mild symptoms to this “super virus”(?). We shall see.

  • Rose

    I thought we had greater testing capacity than this:

    Mark Levine, Chair of NYC Council health committee, says there used to be 20-25 deaths at home daily in NYC, but there are now 200-215. They assume that a significant number of the increase are due to COVID-19, but lacking the testing capacity to check home fatalities for coronavirus, they are not being reported as such.

    And here I was, thinking that testing had ramped up sufficiently to start random testing of asymptomatic individuals in order to finally get a handle of just how widespread the infection is.

  • Andrew_W

    Edward: “You wrote: . . .”
    But the first sentence in the paragraph you quote me from I wrote:
    The rate of spread of Covid-19 has been reduced because we’ve reacted to the threat posed, models were tuned to the spread of the disease scenarios in which people stuck with a BAU policy.

    So you quote me out of context, I was not referring to the recent models when I wrote what you quoted me on, I was referring to the original BAU models that did not take into account future government policies and peoples reactions to the threat.

    The model that had us do simple action, such as restricting flights from China and social distancing, showed that such simple actions would save 90% of the predicted deaths.

    Stopping flights from infected countries might have prevented the virus arriving in the US and NZ, but social distancing has not proven to “save 90% of the predicted deaths” it certainly does slow the rate of transmission and in so doing at least defers infections and the resulting deaths.
    But I’ve made no argument that that would not have been a better approach than the destructive lock-downs anyway, so in terms of government action you’re not making any point that I disagree with.

    As it turns out, some of the predictions here in the U.S. were intentionally made in order to scare us into action,

    Unless you’re willing to specify which predictions all that claim amounts to is arm waving. Models are models, they’re never going to and their creators never claim that the models predict the future, I thought the models that projected 100 to 200,000 deaths in the US not far off, given the information, and those models have so far not been disproven.

    To base policy upon emotion rather than rational thought is how a society gets into trouble.

    Indeed, which is why I’ve been taking issue so much with Mr. Zimmerman’s claims, which appear to have a dearth of scientific support, all based on some sort of ideological buy-in on science which will not change to whatever he wishes it to be.

    Indeed, the more that we learn that we are under virtual house arrest because of flawed policy making (due to bogus science), the more upset we Americans become at our situation and lost liberty.

    I have not disputed that the draconian measures taken by government were not necessary, so addressing that to me is pointless.

    Sweden will be a demonstration of what Westerners can do without the imposition of government force, for now the jury is still out, they’re not doing too bad, but the number of infections and deaths (591 vs 89) is starting to outstrip Norway which has gone with more government force, and yes, policies that are more economically damaging in the short term at least.

  • Andrew_W

    Rose: And here I was, thinking that testing had ramped up sufficiently to start random testing of asymptomatic individuals in order to finally get a handle of just how widespread the infection is.

    Here’s testing figures for some states and countries:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_testing#Testing_statistics_by_country

    What my take away from NYS, New Jersey and Michigan is that testing is being used primarily to confirm diagnosis done by other methods, mostly they’re testing people that they already believe to have the virus, how else could they get 41 – 47% positive test results? such an approach is not going to identify those infected that do not have very significant symptoms.
    That to me strongly suggests that the vast majority of cases in those three states remain undiagnosed.

    Most sites are giving a mortality rate by simply dividing deaths to date by cases diagnosed to date, but that method would only make sense if the people that died did so on the same day they were diagnosed. Obviously there’s a delay of several days between diagnosis and death.
    For NYS I’ve been working on that delay being just 7 days (other states and countries with positive test rates of 5% or less I see as using the test to locate asymptomatic and presymptomatic individuals), and that in NYS the actual mortality rate is ~1.5%, 1.5% being in line with other countries with far better tracking of infected people.

    So we divide deaths to date by numbers diagnosed 7 days earlier, for NYS today that’s 5489/75833 = 7.2% fatality rate of diagnosed cases, using the 1.5% that would mean that that the actual number of infected people in NYS 7 days ago would be 7.2 /1.5 = 4.8 times the recorded number = 364,000. If the number infected today is still 4.8 times the number diagnosed infected as of today that would mean: 4.8 x 140,400 = 674,000 people actually infected in NYS.

  • Rose

    Putting some numbers in perspective, yesterday’s COVID-19 death toll in the US was nearly 2K, and in NYC was over 800. In normal times, the US typically experiences about 8K deaths daily, so COVID-19 is only adding an additional 25%. But with NYC representing about 2.6% of the US population, you’d expect their average death rate in normal times to be about 210 per day. With 4 times as many now dying from Wuhan disease, it is easy to see how the local system of morgues, mortuaries, and crematoria would become overwhelmed.

  • m d mill

    Sweden has implemented virtually NO economic or social shutdown (EVEN SCHOOL GRADES K-8 REMAIN OPEN), and currently have the SAME COVID-19 DEATH RATE PER CAPITA AS THE U.S., except their GDP for 2020 and 2021 will be healthy. And they did not shut down their economy and much needed job income and national productivity (eg food, energy, clothing, housing, hospitalization and doctor visits.) destroying small businesses and the personal finances of 10’s of million of people. We are ruining ourselves for no reason…It is amazing to see what has happened in only a month. I don’t think most people understand the extent of the economic damage, especially as this drags on and into the next flu season…IMO. Businesses are like people, in that if they are sick they can still return to good health, but if they die (full bankruptcy) they do not arise from the dead…they must be reborn and nurtured with prodigious work, money, and time which many will not be able to duplicate.

  • Andrew_W

    and currently have the SAME COVID-19 DEATH RATE PER CAPITA AS THE U.S.
    Actually Sweden’s is about 50% higher, but such comparisons are meaningless anyway.
    The Swedish rate of increase has been far lower than that for the US for a month or more, and the effects of the US lock-down are only starting to show now, it’s the comparison over the next couple of weeks that’ll really show if the different policies are having different results – if the Swede’s can do what the South Korean’s achieved. They may not, but that could be due to S Korea having a far more proactive testing policy than Sweden.

  • Andrew_W

    My guess of the progress of the disease in the US made on the 26th March:
    https://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/covid-19-is-not-going-to-overwhelm-our-healthcare-system/#comment-1078058

    The total US cases would reach 500,000 – 600,000.

    US deaths would peak about 15th April at about 1000/day.

    Cumulative US deaths would eventually reach 20,000 just over 2 months from now.

    I was wildly optimistic.

    Now I’m expecting the peak in deaths to be close to 3,000, still about 15 April, total deaths 80,000 – 100,000. I think the drop off in the death toll will be at half the rate of the increase in death toll before the peak, which is what appears to be happening in Italy. I’m basing that on the median time for death in the worst affected states being 7 days after diagnosis but with the mean time for death in the worst affected states being 2 weeks after diagnosis.

  • sippin_bourbon

    md mill

    This article is about a month old.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-survivors-lung-damage-ards-fcim-intensive-care-research-2020-3?op=1

    Because it is older, the data may change. But based on what it says the potential damage is more severe than just the flu, as you suggest.

    As I stated before, it is still to early to see how long this type of damage takes.
    If I can find similar articled on the cardiac damage I will post those..

    You stated 66% of the population is under 50. Okay, of those, some would STILL have to stay locked down for the reasons I stated (immunodeficiency in themselves). I have no source for a number, but let assume its small. Say 3 or 4 %. 65 Million, or roughly 18% of the US live in multi-generational households. That knocks down your 66% of the population significantly.

    So around than 20% of the the US is either at risk, or lives with someone at risk. These are ball park estimates, so don’t shoot me. But the group that you say should be okay with getting sick so they can develop immunity is now smaller.

    What percentage of the population is needed for a disease that has such a high transmission rate among asymptomatic carriers to allow us to attain herd immunity?

    Now consider that exposure to the disease can leave someone with a disability. Your 66% is also the prime workforce. What happens to the economy if say, 5% of your workforce can no longer return to work because their lungs or heart are messed up. They cannot work, so they get paid disability instead, which is an economic harm to the system. The recovery from all of this is now pushed out further. The result is the same as Obama’s recovery from the “great recession”, which basically means things will stay stagnant for 4 or 5 years.. again.

    I admit it is still too early to know if these damages are as bad as they say. But I don’t think we should gamble people’s livelihoods on it.

  • sippin_bourbon

    m d mill

    Totally separate from my above argument, I have a concern about allowing the population to be a petri dish.

    If you allow a large part of the population to be exposed, what are the chances of an increase of mutation.
    The virus is already a mutation from animals. And other species can still get it.
    If it mutates significantly again, all of this could start over.

  • Andrew_W

    Heh, Worldometer is showing an embarrassing mistake at the moment with new cases in Nevada at 22,547, a number at least 20,000 too high. That error has been included in total new cases for the US, which at 45,870 is also about 20,000 too high.

  • Andrew_W

    . . . and they’ve fixed it.

  • m d mill

    Sippin:

    MY mistake, I said death rate per capita…I meant to simply say deaths per capita currently. These are about identical for Washington State ,the U.S., and Sweden. How this changes in a month, we will see.
    Most everyone in the country will eventually get exposed( by vaccine if nothing else), get immunity, and mutations will have no more danger than normal flu virus mutation. This is not a super virus…IMO it is simply novel(think bat soup). Are we going to stay shut down forever because of mutation fears?
    The human race IS a petri dish, and trying to forestall that reality by continual lock downs is a losing proposition .
    The percentage of all people under 50 to develop severe covid-19 lung damage is very small (much much less than your 5 %), and should be expected to be very small . People with auto immune diseases (like myself-which causes most lung damage in this case), should of course take extra precautions including possible self lock down or quality mask usage in public (see your doctor for a fitting).

    Herd immunity was not my main argument above, though it has benefits. My main point was
    “Nothing i have proposed (except perhaps resumption of physical schooling (perhaps that IS to much)) endangers anyone, except those who may feel no risk or acceptable risk…But more importantly, it does not shut down the economy and much needed job income and national productivity (eg food, energy, clothing, housing, hospitalization and doctor visits.) destroying small businesses and the personal finances of 10’s of million of people.”

    i also specifically said “All people under 50 (66 % of the population) , and NOT living with an older person…

    I also specifically said”Your objection makes no sense to me… if you want a locked down society then stay locked down (yourself). If I choose to roam outside or go to work (with a good mask) how does this effect you as a practical matter, since you are locked down? Any one who feels threatened by the virus can stay locked down personally, and even keep their children home with home/online schooling if they desire.”

    I have answered or even agree with most of your concerns in the original posts, but it is as if you ignore them.

    Bottom line..We can get most of the health benefits of a full economic/social forced lock-down without actually enforcing a full lockdown and its economic devastation.
    A very light “lock-down” such as perhaps mandating masks in public (forget the 6 foot “social distancing” paranoia ,its ineffective –particles from a sneeze/cough will hang in the air for a long time and you will walk into it and breath it in. Masks for prevention are a much better solution) for a very limited time (maybe 2 months), and perhaps making physical school attendance optional for a very limited time, etc.

    So, yes the current forced lockdown approach in the U.S. is about the worst possible with devastating financial results , and the Korean (and Hong Kong) and even Swedish alternates (with a few possible alterations) are examples of much better options..IMO

    So i disagree with you to that extent, but will end my discussion there on this thread.

  • Edward

    Andrew_W,

    You misstated: “So you quote me out of context, I was not referring to the recent models when I wrote what you quoted me on, I was referring to the original BAU models that did not take into account future government policies and peoples reactions to the threat.

    The very first model I referenced was in fact the model that was used to declare virtual house arrest, and it did not take into account any policies, future or past. It was not a recent model, so its use was not out of context. It did not take into account the travel ban. It did not take into account the social distancing that was already policy in my area for a week prior to our house arrest order.

    I gave the other examples to show how the failure of these models has propagated throughout this whole cluster bleep, turning us into prisoners in our own homes.

    Stopping flights from infected countries might have prevented the virus arriving in the US and NZ, but social distancing has not proven to “save 90% of the predicted deaths …”

    So are we in agreement that the models are too terrible to use for making policy?

    … it certainly does slow the rate of transmission and in so doing at least defers infections and the resulting deaths.

    Which is why it was implemented a month and a half before the mass house arrest was ordered. Unfortunately, our leftist leaders directed us to get close to the population most likely to be contagious. A few days after that is when the panic buying and super-cleanliness started in the San Francisco area. A week after that we started practicing the new concept of social distancing, and the week after that we were under house arrest (New York took another week to order mass house arrest). The reduction in hospitalizations in my area came a couple of weeks after the onset of social distancing, so a week of house arrest had not yet been able to have an affect.

    Models are models, they’re never going to and their creators never claim that the models predict the future, I thought the models that projected 100 to 200,000 deaths in the US not far off, given the information, and those models have so far not been disproven.

    Read Robert’s post, above, sometime. They have been proved wrong about the numbers that they gave for the dates they gave them for. If they were not supposed to predict the future, then why are we under house arrest?

    What about the models you keep working on to give us your own predictions? Are you not claiming that yours predict the future? If not, then why are you bothering making your models? Why are the experts bothering making models if they don’t claim that they predict the future and that policy should be based upon them? Why are we using them to maintain their policies that keep us locked up in our own homes?

    Mr. Zimmerman’s claims, which appear to have a dearth of scientific support,

    Again, read the above post. The predictions do not match the predictions, which are still being used to keep us under house arrest.

    What my take away from NYS, New Jersey and Michigan is that testing is being used primarily to confirm diagnosis done by other methods, mostly they’re testing people that they already believe to have the virus, how else could they get 41 – 47% positive test results?

    The experts claim that this is such a contagious virus that half of us could already have been infected. To answer your question, that 50% infection rate would produce such a large positive result.

    that would mean: 4.8 x 140,400 = 674,000 people actually infected in NYS.

    Your method/model assumes that all infected people are tested. You get a low result of the number or people infected, because you consider only those who have been diagnosed, not the entire infected population, which remains unknown in your analysis. It could be 50%. For the State of New York, that would be 10 million, not two thirds of a million.

    sippin_bourbon asked: “What happens to the economy if say, 5% of your workforce can no longer return to work because their lungs or heart are messed up

    A whole lot less bad happens than would happen if we shut down the other 95% of the economy as well. Oh, wait …

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