New analysis: COVID-19 was already widespread before the lock downs


It was all so unnecessary: A new analysis by scientists suggests strongly that COVID-19 was already widespread within the U.S. population before the national emergency was declared on March 13th and the lock downs thus imposed.

Although the limitations of our analysis limit the precision of our results, we can nonetheless conclude that unobserved SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States by 12 March could have easily numbered in the hundreds of thousands … and quite possibly in excess of 1 million. This result, considered together with extensive presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, suggests that the United States was well past the possibility of containment by 12 March.

Essentially, what their analysis found is that COVID-19 had already arrived in the U.S. when our politicians panicked and destroyed our economy and millions of lives. By the time the lock downs were imposed the disease was here, and spreading fast. The lock downs were pointless, the social distancing was pointless, the house arrests were pointless, and most especially, the requirement to wear masks was pointless.

Like all flu-like viruses, COVID-19 was going to get here regardless. The best we could do is focus on protecting the most vulnerable (the aged sick), and go on with life boldly. Most of our politicians did not do that, and so they not only had more deaths among the aged sick than was necessary, they ruined everyone else’s lives as well.

And maybe the worst consequence of the Wuhan panic is that we now live in a culture that lives in fear of the flu, a disease that is merely a short sickness from which almost everyone recovers. Such a culture can only die, because it won’t have the courage to take any risks at all.

38 comments

  • Andrew_W

    Given that US Covid deaths hit 5200 on March 31, the lag between infection and death, and a fatality rate of around 1% early in the pandemic, the number of infected people being over 100,000 by 12 March would be expected.

    By the time the lock downs were imposed the disease was here, and spreading fast. The lock downs were pointless, . .

    But the point of the lockdowns in the US was never to eliminate the virus, their point was to slow the rate of spread so that systems to reduce the toll could be put in place – Like protecting the elderly, the point was to not have a repeat of the overwhelmed health systems that happened in Northern Italy, to not have the NYC experience x 10 across the whole country all at once – that goal was achieved.

    I agree that the rolling lockdown policy is not a good long term strategy given that elimination of the virus is not an option in the US, Americans do need to adapt to its presence with minimum economic disruption, at this stage for the US the Swedish approach makes more sense.

  • LocalFluff

    I think that the aftermath of this will a great public distrust in epidemiology (with good reasons!) Just like the mass vaccinations during a flu scare in the 1970s, following the really deadly Asian and Hong Kong flues previous decades, caused a great distrust in even well proven vaccines.

    One day we WILL have a really dangerous and contagious virus problem. But authorities have now consumed their confidence capital, and preventive measures will be ineffective when once motivated. “Crying wolf” I think the saying goes.

  • Lee S

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen…. I am going to try and return to posting my pinko commie views after my latest manic episode has blurred into the background that is my memory.
    We are months into this crazyness, and yet still not one unarguably accurate study regarding lockdown Vs no lockdown deaths Vs deaths any other year.
    Boots on the ground info is… My kids went back to school this week… Just like any other year…. The parent meetings are however going to be online..( I consider this a plus…. 90% of group meetings are consumed by one overly enthusiastic parent babbling… Ooops connection interrupted)
    The situation in bars and restaurants looks just like it ever did… A few have shut their doors, but most continue doing business, some with a lower footfall, but open non the less.
    Another poster here claims that the Swedish care workers are getting the crappy end of the stick regarding PPE, but I know 2 careers very well, and they assure me this is not the case…. At least here in North Stockholm, the care workers remain protected, decently paid, and doing a fantastic job…
    Much love and light to all..

  • janyuary

    Andrew, maybe repetition is needed: Covid 19 in the U.S. has killed at most 16% of one million people out of a total of 331 million people. So that means that after being “ravaged” by this “pandemic,” 100% of 330 million people and 84% of the remaining million, survived.

    Those of us who remember what it was like to be alive during a REAL pandemic, such as the Hong Kong and Asian flus, know what one looks like, and Covid 19 is something different.

    ANDREW a life lived in fear is a life half-lived. If you want to live in fear, go ahead but leave us sane, mathematically capable people out of it.

  • Lee S

    On related notes…. My 81 year old father in the UK survived the WuTangFlue, which he caught in hospital in the UK after an operation for a perforated bowel… It’s not been an easy road to recovery for him… But he’s back up and about after a 5 month adventure.
    I myself took the antibody test last week, and returned negative…. I’ve got about the weakest immune system someone can have, and was laid low for 2 weeks with something earlier this year…. So if I haven’t had it at this point I’m not scared of getting it at this point. Our annual works jolly was booked for Berlin this year, but changed to Götland because it involves no flying…. My name is/was down for both. I will get my flue jab as normal, but for once, I and Bob are in total agreement…… The economic effects of this panic will far outweigh any benefits gained from lockdown measures.
    Still take your flu shot, don’t spit in the dip, and don’t take your flued up girlfriend to the party…. And I think we will get thru this!!!

  • Ray Van Dune

    Oh look, right there in the center of the room… an 800 lb. gorilla!

    What’s that on his sash? “Democrat-enhanced crisis #12 – COVID-19”

  • Andrew_W

    Lee S: blurred into the background that is my memory.
    I’m sure I read it but have no recollection of what you’re referring to.

    . . still not one unarguably accurate study regarding lockdown Vs no lockdown deaths Vs deaths any other year.
    But plenty of information available on excess death rates.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/30/covid-19-england-had-highest-excess-death-levels-in-europe-by-end-of-may

  • janyuary

    LocalFluff — “One day we WILL have a really dangerous and contagious virus problem. ”

    YUP!!! We have in the past, at least twice in my lifetime that I can remember well, affected hugely as I was living/working/socializing in both small towns and mega-tropolis exceeding ten million. And we will have such again.

    I hope that what REALLY comes out of this is a great public wariness and shunning of ANY partnering of medicine and government — they should remain SEPARATE because when medicine partners with government authority, TYRANNY IS GUARANTEED; one ceases to own oneself and becomes so much livestock to be immunized in the eyes of the all-knowing “we are men of science!” state.

    Stand strong for liberty and the Constitution.

  • Andrew_W

    janyuary: Andrew, maybe repetition is needed

    All you’re trying to do is to frame the deaths in a way that serves an ideological purpose, I can do that too:
    The US fought in WW2 from early December 1941 through to August 15 1945, a period of 1350 days, during that time the Americans war death toll was 418,500, that’s a rate of 310 deaths /day.
    The US has been fighting Covid since early March, through to now that’s a period of about 170 days, the death toll is now over 170,000, that’s a rate of 1000 deaths /day.

    So Covid is killing Americans at over 3 times the rate that WW2 did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • janyuary

    Andrew, YOU are the one who cannot handle plain simple math.
    You must use such crutches as projections, opinions, and absence of context in order to frame an amazingly infinitesimally TINY number of deaths in the context of the real pool of real people, as something to fear.
    Your fear is built on faith in doctors and men.
    My courage is structured on plain math, life experience, and common sense.
    I will believe my lyin’ eyes and honest math before I’ll believe a bunch of doctors and politicians.

    If a survival rate of 99.9999% isn’t good enough for you after six months … WHAT IS?

  • janyuary

    As for the WWII argument, those were young men who put themselves in harm’s way.

    It is “framing the deaths in a way that solves an ideological purpose” to compare those deaths with those of mostly elderly folks who may well not have lived out the year in any case (viruses DO prey on the weak and elderly, always have and always will no matter how many laws and vaccines you demand) …
    …however …
    It is downright deceptive of you to ignore the fact that hospitals and municipalities have a financial incentive to declare a death, any death, due to Covid 19, and have almost from the start. That ALONE alerts any sane thinker to understand that therefore the claims will certainly be exaggerated and padded. My point is that even if we accept your numbers at face value, they represent, in actual human terms, virtually zero threat to people on the streets.

  • Edward

    Lee S,
    You wrote: “We are months into this crazyness, and yet still not one unarguably accurate study regarding lockdown Vs no lockdown deaths Vs deaths any other year.

    Welcome back. The lack of studies showing that lockdowns are better than hand washing and travel bans, as has been emphasized in every other flu year, tells us that lockdowns do no better than not locking down. If they did better, it would be very clear.

    As you noted, later, the economic tragedies outweigh the benefits, because there were no benefits to the lockdowns. Even deaths in the U.S. were worse than predicted by the experts — worse than predicted for the non-lockdown scenario. There were other ill effects, such as lost liberty, lost human connection and family connection (including being forbidden from going to non-John-Lewis funerals), lost healthcare (at least in the U.S.), and increased tyranny. The good news is that the virus is not spread during any liberal gatherings, such as riots.

  • Lee S

    @Andrew_W…. I had missed that little gem, even though I am a Guardian reader… Thank you!
    Even tho I am a skeptic, and enjoy debunking conspiracy theories, I am begining to wonder if there is some sort of “plandemic” in operation here… I always take the flu shot, and will this year, but I am seeing lots of articles pushing the flu shot to avoid a “twindemic”… The same term being used everywhere.
    As far as I am aware, no country has had their healthcare system overrun… Indeed, the massive field hospital built just south of Stockholm has not seen a single patient, in the country with one of the loosest approach to handling the virus in the world.
    Something smells bad to me… I guess only time will tell.

  • Andrew_W

    Lee S, what I’ve seen around the world is as expected given the nature of the virus and human nature and society as it is today . . . infection numbers start to rise – and people and governments react to that rise, instinctively acting to reduce rates of transmission, through government actions and through people power. In countries with high levels of social capital (social unity) the people act together, in countries like the US that are virtually at war with themselves the issues around the virus are converted into an ideological battleground, the virus is just another fuel in the war is against the opposing ideology.

    I look at Edward’s comment above and it’s as if he’s on another planet: If they did better, it would be very clear. It is very clear: Infection numbers rise here or over there, people and governments reacts, and about two weeks later infection numbers start to decline, with death rates following a couple of weeks later. That’s been the pattern everywhere, even in the many US states and cities where most are fighting a different war – making the response against the virus haphazard and less effective.

  • janyuary

    AndrewW, I look forward to your explaining why the current survival rate of greater than 99.99% in the United States after six months of being “ravaged” isn’t low enough.

  • mkent

    If a survival rate of 99.9999% isn’t good enough for you after six months … WHAT IS?

    Oh good grief! The COVID-19 survival rate in the United States is currently 94.59% (3,152,030 / 3,332,414).

    There are reputable sites that track statistics like this daily. You don’t have to make them up.

  • jackson_a

    So…was the crush of patients in New York fake? The near collapse of the healthcare system in the northeast a ‘Democratic hoax’?
    Yes, the survival rate for this virus in young and otherwise healthy people is very, very good. What is also true is that in the elderly and those with certain underlying conditions it causes severe illness with far more frequency than the average strain of annual influenza. The lockdowns were to ‘flatten the curve’…remember that phrase? It was to prevent the healthcare system from being completely overwhelmed throughout the country in much the same way that it was in New York City. To deny that the healthcare system in New York was overwhelmed is to deny reality.
    Even though the lockdowns may not have directly benefited young and otherwise healthy people, having a functioning healthcare system is important for everyone. Even young people get in car accidents and have other random illnesses that require medical attention.

  • janyuary

    mkent, it looks like you are talking about survival rate as in percentage of people who tested positive for it, who survived. Viruses prey on the weak and the elderly …

    I am talking about number of Americans who have succumbed to this virus in the USA in the past six months. It is, if one accepts at face value numbers that are very likely inflated, 17% of one million. If the USA has 321 million people, then that means that 100 percent of 320 million plus 83% of the remaining one million, have survived. I’d say that was at least in the 99.999thhh percentile of survivors in the USA of this pandemic.

  • Andrew_W

    janyuary: If a survival rate of 99.9999% isn’t good enough . . . why the current survival rate of greater than 99.99% . . .
    99.999thhh percentile of survivors
    .

    Perhaps you could work out how many decimal places you want to use and then get back to us.

  • janyuary

    How about you answer my question, Andrew, WHAT is a good enough for you — when 99.99 percent of Americans are still alive after six months?

    And after you answer what is good enough for you, then answer: Do you dispute that 99.99 percent of Americans have survived, if we accept your claim of 170,000 deaths in a nation of 331 million?

  • jackson_a

    You are correct that from a percentage standpoint this pandemic has not killed a significant number of Americans. But the projections for degree of spread and deaths in the absence of the lock downs, distancing, masking and other mitigating measures put the death count into the millions. We have such a ‘low’ death count (and I put that in quotes as I don’t really consider 175K+ dead to be a low number) because of what we did to slow the virus. The stay at home orders and other measures were not a useless activity that did nothing other than damage the economy. They saved perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives and kept the medical system from being pushed to the verge of collapse.
    You do realize that you are arguing that because the lock down and other mitigating measures were so successful they therefore were not necessary, right? See how silly that sounds?

  • Andrew_W

    Do you dispute that 99.99 percent of Americans have survived, if we accept your claim of 170,000 deaths in a nation of 331 million?

    Yes.

    You do realize that you are arguing that because the lock down and other mitigating measures were so successful they therefore were not necessary, right? See how silly that sounds?

    Well put, but don’t be too hard on Janyuary, s/he’s just repeating what others keep saying.

  • janyuary

    Andrew: Explain why you dispute that math of what percentage of Americans have been killed by this virus. Are you saying that the number of Americans who survived C19 so far is LESS than 99.99%? It’s not a yes or no question.

    As for my “repeating what others keep saying,” EVERY SINGLE WORD of all of my posts are original thinking of my own. I have never ONCE seen anyone break the math down as I have, nor have I heard it.

    Please explain HOW you came to the conclusion that I am “just repeating what others keep saying” when I know for a fact that that charge is false?

  • janyuary

    Silly is killing the patient with the cure, jackson.
    Dangerous is censoring and obfuscating context and treating projections of flawed science as “fact” in order to push an agenda.

  • janyuary

    Edit for Andrew: Are you saying that the numbers of Americans who have NOT been killed by C19, is LESS than 99.99%? Are you saying that C19 has taken MORE than 1 100th of a percent of American lives? You say yourself that it has taken something like 170,000 lives (forgive me if I don’t remember the number du jour). The USA has 331 million, according to a basic search. Your mileage may vary, but it’s in that neighborhood.

    If you are talking the number of people’ who’ve tested positive for it who are still alive, (which is where you get into the 94% range) then that is useless in any case because the data is entirely corrupt; folks who’ve had it and survived may test as if they never had it.

    Better yet, Andrew, just do the right thing and if YOU are afraid, stay home and order out and let the rest of us live our lives with courage. Be responsible for your own health and your own FEAR.

  • Andrew_W

    Are you saying that the numbers of Americans who have NOT been killed by C19, is LESS than 99.99%?

    Yes.

    EVERY SINGLE WORD of all of my posts are original thinking of my own.

    I seriously doubt that.

    I have never ONCE seen anyone break the math down as I have, nor have I heard it.

    That specific claim I could not dispute.

  • jackson_a

    “Silly is killing the patient with the cure, jackson.”

    Do you really believe that the current economic interruption was not worth saving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of lives? Do you really think that the lock downs were worse than a body count in the millions?
    It is fair to question projections…no real way of knowing if they would have been correct. But your man DJT himself, just today in North Carolina, boasted that the lock downs saved millions of lives and that we are on track for a ‘super-V’ economic recovery. So…is he wrong to claim those things? Or does that internal conflict not bother you? Facts don’t matter? Truth isn’t truth?

  • mkent

    If a survival rate of 99.9999% isn’t good enough for you after six months … WHAT IS?

    I’d say that was at least in the 99.999thhh percentile of survivors in the USA of this pandemic.

    Are you saying that the number of Americans who survived C19 so far is LESS than 99.99%?

    Obviously. 180,765 / 331,288,117 = 0.0546% population fatality rate (PFR)

    The inverse of that is 99.9454% Only off by a factor of 546 / 54.6 / 5.46.

    At least you’re going in the right direction.

  • Steve Richter

    covid is killing 2.5% of those infected. And it is much more infectious than the flu – just look at how the pandemic is continuing in the Summer months. If people were not wearing a mask there would be many more infected, causing many more deaths.

    Ending the lock down would entail more deaths, agreed?

  • Steve Richter: I disagree with you on so many levels when it comes to masks and lock downs it leaves me depressed. With masks I have repeatedly documented how there is zero evidence of their effectiveness in stopping the spread of the virus, but plenty of evidence of their uselessness and even heightened risk if used improperly. And since 90% of the population uses them every improperly, making them unsanitary pathogen bombs on their faces where they breath, they can only be increasing the spread of the disease.

    I will have a post up today outlining the failure of lockdowns and masks, as documented by actual data. The data also shows that the epidemic is largely over, and that we should go back to normal life, but I doubt you will celebrate. You, like almost everyone in America, have come to love your fear of COVID-19, and will refuse to give it up.

  • Andrew_W

    Ending the lock down would entail more deaths, agreed?

    Yes, but continuing them entails economic damage which also causes deaths.
    I think for most countries unable to eliminate the virus the best solution is to train their people to live with it with voluntary behaviors that reduce transmission rates, that’s what countries like Taiwan and Sweden have done. As a whole Americans might not be so inclined to such “socially responsible” behaviors.

  • Andrew_W

    The data also shows that the epidemic is largely over,
    You’ve been mining such “data” for months now, and you predicted that there would not be the increase in US cases that happened over the last month. Your credibility is shot as an analyst on Covid-19.

  • janyuary

    So Andrew, you provide zero explanation as to why you reject my plain math that proves that out of a pool of 331 million Americans, the deaths attributed to the virus in the past six months of 170,000 represent 17% of one million … meaning that it represents a nanopercentage out of 331 hundred million. All you can say is that you disagree but you have ZERO debate points.

    Your other debating point is “liar liar pants on fire.” You choose not to believe that I can actually think with my own head; you assume that (perhaps like yourself) marching orders are involved.

    The only ones with marching orders are the ones who want to inconvenience everyone else, kill businesses and basic society, because they are afraid BECAUSE they believe what they are told.

    Again, my courage comes from my own sense and brains. Your fear comes from believing “experts” who are demonstrably fallible.

    You engage in fake debate and forfeit my regard.

  • janyuary

    mkent … so by your own math, after six months of being “ravaged” by this “pandemic,” 99.9454% of Americans still live …

    The handwriting on the wall is this: If “men of science” insist that that low number poses a threat, and insist on bring that percentage DOWN and using government authority to do it in order to save the human race … because poor dumb rubes like thee and me are too dim to understand such lofty concepts as the black magic of mathematics ……..

    It is a pretense for total tyranny over your body as well as your mind. It is why this is a REAL battle for liberty.

  • Andrew_W

    Janyuary, typically 1.4 million Americans die over a 6 month period, 180,000 dying in the last 6 months from Covid-19 is a very significant number in that context, if 180,000 more Americans than usual were to die in car crashes, or drownings, or from homicides, or from heart disease, or from cancer, or from starvation, or in battle in 6 months than is typical there would be drastic measures taken to address what would be recognized as a national catastrophe.

  • jackson_a

    Andrew_W,
    Your dedication to countering the malignant ignorance and general misinformation here is admirable, but certainly you must realize that you are wasting your time. Their minds are made up. Facts are irrelevant and anything that goes against their point of view is fake news and the lies of elitist scientists. They don’t want data or facts. They want to believe that the entire world conspired against them and DJT.
    Keep up the good fight, but I am out.

  • Edward

    jackson_a asked: “So…was the crush of patients in New York fake? The near collapse of the healthcare system in the northeast a ‘Democratic hoax’?

    Considering that the Comfort had a total of fewer than 200 patients (and that only after the federal government complained that the ship was not being used at all) and the field hospital built in Central Park had a total of zero, then yes. It was a hoax, either by the Democrats or the press, if there is a difference. There was no crush of patients in New York and no near collapse of the healthcare system in the northeast. Unless you think that banning non-Wuhan patients as part of the collapse, in which case it was a political problem, not a disease problem.

    The reality is that New York didn’t come close to being overwhelmed. Otherwise the extra care units would have been needed. The rest of the country also was not close to being overwhelmed.

    This seemed to bother Cuomo, because he sent Wuhan ailing patients into nursing homes, which generated more patients sent to hospitals as well as a great number of deaths in the homes themselves.

    But the projections for degree of spread and deaths in the absence of the lock downs, distancing, masking and other mitigating measures put the death count into the millions.“.

    Wrong. The measures mentioned brought the projections from 200,000 to 60,000. The travel ban and hand washing changed the projection from 2.2 million to the 200,000. Social distancing (staying 6 feet from each other) was supposed to drop it to 100,000, and the three-week lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression was supposed to drop it to 60,000. The death count is now three times that amount because the extended Great Oppression was so much worse than the (unnecessary) attempt at not overwhelming the hospitals. Even New York discovered the futility of the lockdown when it noted that half the cases were coming from those who were locked down. If lockdowns worked, then those who were locked down wouldn’t have contracted Wuhan flu. Duh.

    You do realize that you are arguing that because the lock down and other mitigating measures were so successful they therefore were not necessary, right? See how silly that sounds?

    Only if “success” is measured in three times as many deaths as we were supposed to have had by imposing the Great Oppression. The Great Oppression was supposed to save lives, but instead we have more lost lives than, with the lockdown, predicted. The lockdown cost saved no lives and cost us three times as many lives. I call that an epic fail. Actually, I have called it in the recent past: worse than a cluster bleep.

    Because jackson_a does not understand even this one (of many) disastrous result of the Great Oppression, he is the one sounding silly.

    Further evidence of the futility of the Great Oppression is the countries that did not lockdown also did not have the huge numbers of lives lost as jackson_a projects. Their per capita losses were similar to the losses in the Great Oppression countries, and to make matters worse, the Great Oppression countries worry about a second wave while the Liberty countries do not.

    But your man DJT himself, just today in North Carolina, boasted that the lock downs saved millions of lives

    Oh, well that makes it correct then, right? Forget the facts and the reality, if Trump says so then it must be true.

    jackson_a,
    You have shown an ignorance that even the left-wing press tried to correct. Clearly, unsuccessfully.

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