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When the US began shutting down in response to fears about an impending coronavirus catastrophe, we asserted the health effects would pale in comparison to the economic carnage the pandemic would initiate. That take drew equal amounts of derision and incredulity. Clarifying that coronavirus was the match starting the conflagration rather than the dry brush to be burned made little difference. It was all doomerist nonsense, they said. More than two months on, we’re feeling vindicated:

Ours remains a minority position, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before it becomes the majority opinion. Subsequent waves notwithstanding, the health scare is fading. The economic consequences, in contrast, are only beginning to be felt. They will reverberate through the country for years to come. The worst is yet to come.

When the same question was asked in late March, nearly two-thirds of Republicans expressed more concern about covid’s health ramifications than its economic ones. Now fewer than half of Republicans feel that way. The figures for Democrats have remained unchanged. Among independents, they have shifted marginally away from focusing primarily on the health effects. Expect more independents to move towards the Republican position as time goes on:

 
• Category: Economics, Ideology, Science • Tags: Coronavirus, Economics, Polling 
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  1. You remind us that, on March 16, you wrote:

    We are witnessing the international credit economy on the verge of collapse. There isn’t enough liquidity, there isn’t enough resiliency, there isn’t enough production.

    You might be correct. You usually are. Nevertheless, before the pandemic, the U.S. trade deficit was running about 5 percent of GDP. To a simpleminded approximation, does this not imply that the U.S. was producing at about 95 percent of a self-sustaining rate?

    Even if the dollar is dethroned as international reserve currency, the U.S. still domestically has that 95 percent. That 95 percent seems a pretty broad foundation upon which to rebuild.

    I don’t see a national catastrophe. Am I misreading this?

  2. There was no derision and incredulity from THIS GUY, A.E. It was the usual crowd of doom-hoaxers (haha!)

    The small businessmen, more likely to be Republican, that have and will continue to be hit the hardest economically. I’ve noticed a lot more closed-down-for-good stores and restaurants recently. Were I Ron Unz, I’d be ABSOLUTELY SURE that this was a conspiracy by Big-Biz and Big-Gov planned out long ago, with this kind of evidence. I personally think small business has been kicked around for a half a century, and now it was just a great opportunity to not let a “crisis” go to waste.

    The Blacks and Hispanics are probably just running behind in their thinking, and once the economic fallout is seen better, they will be hardest hit yet again, at least as seen by the Blacks and Hispanics, respectively.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
  3. Nodwink says:

    It is really hard to describe this in either/or terms; health effects become economic effects, whether it’s a heap of people on ventilators, workers in the service industry getting the sniffles, or simply the erosion of public trust.

    The central issue is risk/reward. Is it reasonable to ask a fast-food employee on minimum wage to risk their safety, just so Todd Suburbia can have a Big Mac? Should a 20yo woman lose her job at a trendy bar, frequented entirely by low-risk patrons, to lower the risk for her 80yo grandma?

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  4. @V. K. Ovelund

    Nevertheless, before the pandemic, the U.S. trade deficit was running about 5 percent of GDP. To a simpleminded approximation, does this not imply that the U.S. was producing at about 95 percent of a self-sustaining rate?

    You are making an assumption that the “P” in Gross Domestic Product actually stands for real production.

    Any service that was done for money on the books, useful or not, will be included. If an environmental law firm makes a lot of money suing a building company, who’s law firm on retainer makes a lot of money, all that is part of our huge GDP. Got a 2 million-dollar US Government grant to study the mating habits of the North American earthworm and you spent it all? Great, that’s a part of the ever-growing GDP!

    In the post “Services are now Products” the Peak Stupidity blog noticed that Big-Biz and small business alike like to call services products these days. “Come in today to see our new life insurance products.”, etc, is the thing. Once you start noticing that, you’ll see it everywhere.

    Sorry, back to your point, Mr. Ovelund, that trade deficit as a fraction of the GDP isn’t the only important number. I think an important number is the actual ratio of manufactured imports from China to manufactured exports to China. The Chinese really MAKE STUFF. That’s a big difference from the current US of A. That’s a big problem for us, IMO.

  5. nebulafox says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I think the coronavirus is accelerating long-term trends, and one of them is the barely veiled pro-monopolist sentiment of the leadership of both parties on the Hill.

    Make Trust Busting Great Again.

    > The Chinese really MAKE STUFF. That’s a big difference from the current US of A. That’s a big problem for us, IMO.

    America’s elites, economic and political, uniformly thought two things in the 1990s, with dissenters from Perot to Buchanan to Nader being mocked and marginalized as retrogrades:

    1) Americans displaced by globalization would land better jobs in the “information economy”, by the power of market forces, without any sort of effort whatsoever.

    2) China’s leadership would be forever content with their nation being a low-wage sweatshop, and didn’t actually have long-term ambitions to change the world order in their favor.

    Needless to say, these propositions were radically wrong. But I don’t think they care that they were wrong. They profited, after all, and nowadays they increasingly have 90s Russian oligarch-style latitude to despoil what is left of the American economy.

    Apres moi, le deluge.

  6. Another effect of the COVID-19 is how readily the population accepted being put under de facto house arrest as a result of a quirky, but not particularly dangerous respiratory virus. That passivity has definitely been noticed by the elite, who will now feel free to shout “killer virus, lock everyone up” in every flu season. I know that the poll AE cites has only two choices, but the erosion of civil liberties is likely the greatest long-term effect of this pandemic.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  7. Twinkie says:

    the health scare is fading.

    It’s getting stronger in the more rural, southern part of my state as the region has experienced a dramatic rise in cases and deaths recently – its per capita numbers are now running higher than the far more populated super zip where I live.

  8. Twinkie says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    not particularly dangerous respiratory virus

    Stop burying your head in sand. It’s killed almost 100,000 Americans in a couple of months.

    killer virus, lock everyone up

    That’s a straw man.

  9. Without a lockdown the economic situation would be even worse than it is. Some people think that people only know and do what the government does and newspapers say and that nobody would notice that there is a pandemic in the world if the newspapers didn’t tel them that there is a pandemic. But this is not true.

    If there was no lockdown people would be even more afraid than they are, there would be hard conflicts as many people would think that they are being sacrificed for profits, the virus would spread faster. We would be in the middle of a complete caos. Only a lockdown can save the economy, if anything at all.

    • Disagree: Stan d Mute
  10. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but why is this post titled “Snowden’s Fatal Wound”?

  11. UK says:

    Stop burying your head in sand. It’s killed almost 100,000 Americans in a couple of months.

    For how many of those deaths was Coronavirus the only cause mentioned?

    7%.

    So what sort of health were people taking a risk with by not choosing to self-isolate and therefore potentially get and die with Coronavirus?

    Or to look at it another way, the demographic group with (quite easily) the largest number of deaths in it is the over 85s!

    And the thing about being over 85 is that self-isolating from flu, and from this, is a well-established method to extend your life. It was known and it is known.

    So why did any over 85s die, nevermind being easily the biggest age cohort for deaths?

    Simply because many over 85s, especially the already dying, would rather spend their potentially little time left free and doing stuff even at the risk of dying a bit sooner. Duh!

    Internet spaz-nerds neurotics who like to pretend to persistence hunt antelope can’t see past big scary numbers and appreciate the perfectly rational choices that underly them.

    Also, it is a “not particularly dangerous respiratory virus”. It is just novel. Were all forms of the flu to go away and then come back in a hundred years, the effect would be much worse.

  12. @Almost Missouri

    I think it’s from the novel and movie Catch-22. Snowden is an airman who is wounded. The protagonist (Yossarian?) notices the first wound, which is to the leg and dangerous, but not likely fatal (the coronavirus). Then he notices a small hole near Snowden’s flak jacket. When he pulls on the flak jacket to investigate further, Snowden literally breaks apart, with internal organs spilling out (the economic consequences of the confinement and economic shutdown).

    At least I think that’s what’s being referred to.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Thanks: A123, Stan d Mute
  13. Lowe says:
    @Almost Missouri

    It is a Catch-22 reference, which means a hidden wound.

  14. iffen says:

    Two observations that worry me. Our level of decline and incompetence far exceeds anything that I had imagined. We are not capable of doing contact tracing and quarantine. The most troubling is the complete totalitarian drive to control information and to dictate what should be heard and accepted as fact. The Facebook moves to eliminate unapproved material tells me that Zuckerberg has concluded, probably correctly, that Biden will be elected and the Democrats will capture control of the Senate. He doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the show trials demanding to know why you aided the Deplorables in spreading unauthorized content.

    On the bright side, the seizure of complete control by the totalitarian left will give impetus (hopefully) to the formation of a real resistance

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  15. Wielgus says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    You’re right but my initial assumption had been that it was about that whistleblower who fled to Russia. Not the most transparent article title.

  16. jsinton says:

    I’ve been trying to tell everyone for months that the virus is a bug on the windshield. The economy is a freight train and we’re stuck on the tracks. But I’m just another ordinary fool who knows nothing. Silly me.

  17. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    Our level of decline and incompetence far exceeds anything that I had imagined. We are not capable of doing contact tracing and quarantine. The most troubling is the complete totalitarian drive to control information and to dictate what should be heard and accepted as fact.

    It’s a cheerful prospect. Totalitarianism, but really really incompetent totalitarianism. Which is worse, incompetent totalitarianism or efficient totalitarianism?

    Would Winston Smith have felt any better if he’d known that the Inner Party had absolutely no idea what they were doing?

    On the bright side, the seizure of complete control by the totalitarian left will give impetus (hopefully) to the formation of a real resistance.

    It might not be the totalitarian left. Look at Britain. The Tories are more totalitarian than Labour. These days totalitarianism is popular across the political spectrum.

    And I have no idea why you think totalitarianism would lead to the formation of a real resistance. Most people go along with totalitarian governments. Hitler was popular. Stalin was popular.

    • Replies: @iffen
  18. @Achmed E. Newman

    I see. Maybe so. I am not yet convinced but we shall soon see.

    If our problem is that the Chinese really make stuff, whereas we Americans make too little, then to suffer the crisis now (rather than later) might be a stroke of good fortune. In 2020, the U.S. remains self-sufficient in food and energy; so, even if A.E. is right, we ought to muddle through okay as far as I know.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  19. A123 says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    That makes more sense.

    I have been trying to figure out the connection between ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden and the post.

    I thought some bit of humor was eluding me.

    PEACE 😷

  20. @Achmed E. Newman

    “Come in today to see our new life insurance products.”

    Since the country was de-industrialized everything is an industry. Of course the Life Insurance Industry has products.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  21. I find these exchanges about the economy interesting. I am not going to get into another long conversation explaining why it will be hard to counter actual whether the shut down was correct or incorrect by any number of variations.

    But I m disappointed that so many have have taken this opportunity to remind yourselves that the economy has not really been healthy for quite some time as other writers have noted —- what was on display right before the shut down was very revealing about it’s efficacy.

    I remain subdued about the opening or closing. Because after looking at the choices of how to address financial redress — there’s really not much there to cheer about. I think a great thought experiment would be to opened business except WS. And another would be to bail out businesses or stocks related directly to the production of a products and services that gets real time use.

    No offence WS, am a fan, I just think you have zipped off the reservation of sound economics and the country is paying the price. in a myriad of ways.

    as bad as I think the system is and it is really really really bad — as has been written about repeatedly — I am not as paniced as some of you sound. We have deep structural issues and returning them returns us to the status quo. I think for all of the complaining about the Iraq and Afghanistan mess, and et als in spades, the same thinking is still at play short sighted quick fixes that are not fixes at all.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  22. @Twinkie

    “It’s killed almost 100,000 Americans in a couple of months.”

    People who take a pose of superiority as they throw these numbers around offer no perspective.

    On average 3 million Americans die every year. During the ten weeks of this virus, they counted 100,000 deaths. But a normal 10 week period features 576 thousand deaths (10/52 x 3 million). So at the height of the pandemic *******we aren’t even in the same ballpark as the normal number of deaths during that period!!!!!****** And of that relatively modest number of deaths, it was almost all among the very old.

    Meanwhile 40 million Americans have been thrown out of a job, so far.

    Snowden’s Fatal Would — a great title of the blogpost. That seems like a great analogy here. Thanks for the commenters who explained it.

    Folks (hello, Scott Adams) who imagine this is merely a shift from companies of the past to companies of the future I think are missing the point.

    Google and Facebook are basically advertising companies. From Encyclopedia.com: “Spending on advertisements—from local classified ads to major campaigns in national media—plunged by more than 60 percent between 1929 and 1933”

    The Google search engine was better than all of the others because of the PageRank algorithm, US Patent No. 6285999. That patent has recently expired. What if Google’s valuation can’t hold up? They and their ilk are looked to as our saviors.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @utu
  23. Twinkie says:
    @DanHessinMD

    On average 3 million Americans die every year. During the ten weeks of this virus, they counted 100,000 deaths. But a normal 10 week period features 576 thousand deaths (10/52 x 3 million). So at the height of the pandemic *******we aren’t even in the same ballpark as the normal number of deaths during that period!!!!!****** And of that relatively modest number of deaths, it was almost all among the very old.

    Do you know what “excess deaths” are?

    I have a very close friend (who is my age) on a ventilator right now – he’s been fighting for his life for the past week, so I’m not in the mood for all your “It’s less than a flu” hoaxers right now.

  24. anon[235] • Disclaimer says:

    BBC notices something already obvious. Many Western uni’s (UK, US, OZ, etc.) have had a nice herd of cash cows in the form of foreign students. Almost all the foreign students were sent home from the US back in March / April.

    What if they don’t come back next term?

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52508018

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  25. @V. K. Ovelund

    Whattaya mean “production”?

    Since when does the US “produce” anything?

    Now China, they produce things. And they beat the virus (as much as possible) and are back to producing things.

    It’s just all the waiters and waitresses and cashiers selling Chinese things are out of work, and so they can’t buy more Chinese things.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
  26. anonymous[376] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    How old are you and your friend? Does he have any other medical issues? Obesity?

  27. False choices.

    It’s not “virus vs. economy”.

    It’s “virus vs. personal freedom, liberty, and the constitution”.

    As usual the Retarded Right allowed the (((elites))) to set the frame for this “debate”, making the Retarded Right look Retarded by yelling about muh economy.

  28. @Twinkie

    “I have a very close friend (who is my age) on a ventilator right now – he’s been fighting for his life for the past week”

    Anecdotes are not data — and this ‘just so’ story — which seems rather fishy to me, has no room for analysis. If your story were true, it would be much more powerful you and your close friend were identified. We are a bunch of dolts who need waking up before everybody dies. Help us out. This shocking story must be told! If you can show your story is real and your own, then I promise to donate $500 to your best friend’s family. I am not holding my breath.

    One would be hard pressed to find a pandemic notable in history where the peak of pandemic death in its worst weeks does not even approach the background level of death. Maybe the fall wave will be bigger but

    Fortunately, we will begin to see soon enough whether the economic worriers were right to be concerned.

    My expectation is that this will be the defining negative economic shock in the whole history of the world, when viewed millenia from now. Actually forget I said that. Live your delusion, at least for a bit.

    • Troll: Twinkie
    • Replies: @Twinkie
  29. Twinkie says:
    @DanHessinMD

    this ‘just so’ story — which seems rather fishy to me

    Don’t be a jackass. I’ve been in an emotional rollercoaster this whole week, because I have been getting news that my friend’s oxygen level and BP have cratered several times intertwined with better news that they have improved.

    If you can show your story is real and your own, then I promise to donate $500 to your best friend’s family.

    I don’t care whether you – an internet stranger believes this or not. And you can shove your $500 you know where.

    You still don’t seem to understand the concept of “excess deaths.” Where did you get your MD (if you have one at all), Grenada?

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @DanHessinMD
    , @res
    , @Stan d Mute
  30. When the same question was asked in late March, nearly two-thirds of Republicans expressed more concern about covid’s health ramifications than its economic ones. Now fewer than half of Republicans feel that way… Expect more independents to move towards the Republican position as time goes on

    This change is an inevitable consequence of the simple existence of a Coronavirus response.

    Let me explain. Imagine a hypothetical scenario where the government and society did nothing to respond. In that case 100% of people should logically say “health effects” are worse, even if there is only one minor illness in one person, because “economic effects” would be zero. As the response gets more serious, that 100% value should start to decrease. Now several months ago, there was uncertainty as to the scale of the response. Today, it is pretty clear that the response was significant, if incompetent. That additional information would naturally cause a shift in the median answer.

    The shifting numbers show that the authorities are at least trying, though in this case ineffectually, to do their job. If 90% of people agreed that the “health effects” were worse, it would actually be a much greater indictment of the government because that would indicate its priorities (economy vs health) were really far off. As it is, the data still suggests the restrictions should be left in place, but not as overtly as it did in March.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
  31. @V. K. Ovelund

    To a simpleminded approximation, does this not imply that the U.S. was producing at about 95 percent of a self-sustaining rate?

    It would be more fair to say the US was producing and selling enough to purchase 95% of its needs. Now, how much of that 95% was produced for foreign consumption that was repaid in goods the US did not at that time produce.

  32. @LoutishAngloQuebecker

    It’s “virus vs. personal freedom, liberty, and the constitution”.

    You know, this is exactly the logic that abortion advocates use. Human life is less important than my freedom and convenience. Of course, even they at least try to shield themselves from the horror by claiming that the unborn aren’t human, something which you (I hope) don’t subscribe to in regards to Coronavirus victims.

    Now, I’m not just trying to secure a cheap shot, but it is legitimately hard for me to reconcile the totally swapped positions of conservatives and liberals on this point. Are you pro-life? And if so, what, specifically, justifies believing in this but not that? Is it the average age difference?

    • Troll: Stan d Mute
  33. @Twinkie

    Oh well — that offer is sincere.

    • Troll: Twinkie
    • Replies: @Twinkie
  34. @V. K. Ovelund

    In 2020, the U.S. remains self-sufficient in food and energy; so, even if A.E. is right, we ought to muddle through okay as far as I know.

    One would thing that, assuming we can remain in control of our land and assets. However, with the dollar being treated like toilet paper by the FED, without manufactured products to earn any real money, these assets of ours can jut be bought up by entities in foreign lands with the cheap dollars that they are accumulating (in various forms).

    Look at Australia and the Chinese. Australia has the raw materials – it gets treated like a colony, just as how the Euros used the new-to-them North and South American continents as colonies. The Euros had the money, and lots of the timber, furs, sliver and gold, etc. were sent back there.

  35. Twinkie says:
    @DanHessinMD

    Oh well — that offer is sincere.

    Are you a clueless dolt? I’m grappling with the near death of a very dear friend of mine, and you think I’m going to play games with you, a total stranger on the internet, over a few bucks? And I’m going to reveal things about my friend and me? And you are supposed to be an MD who lives and dies by HIPPA?

    What. A. Jackass.

  36. @Nodwink

    Is it reasonable to ask a fast-food employee on minimum wage to risk their safety, just so Todd Suburbia can have a Big Mac?

    It’s a lay down misère that the covid-related death risk for a randomly-selected fast food employee is zero (measured to 5 decimal places). They probably have a greater risk of getting burned by a fryer, going to hospital, and being among the ~200K annual iatrogenic deaths by medical accident.

    As far as general covid19 illness risk – same story. covid19 illness intensity varies log-linearly with age + a couple of key cofactors, and very few people of fast-food-employee age have those cofactors.

    So yes, because minimum wage already compensates people for their working conditions, and there is no marginal covid-risk to the worker.

    In the same way: minimum wage compensates him for a bunch of other risks… the risk of being attacked by werewolves; the risk of spontaneously turning into a lizard; the risk of having a 15 ton banana fall out of the sky on his car.

    If Tood wants a shitty sugar-laden meat-paste sandwich, he’s retarded. That’s a different thing.

    Should a 20yo woman lose her job at a trendy bar, frequented entirely by low-risk patrons, to lower the risk for her 80yo grandma?

    Absolutely not. She can choose to give up her job if she misprices the risk to grandma, but that’s her problem. She certainly shouldn’t lose her job – by government fiat or any other mechanism.

  37. iffen says:
    @dfordoom

    And I have no idea why you think totalitarianism would lead to the formation of a real resistance.

    What are you? Some kind of professional buzz-killer? A purveyor of a basket of negative vibes?

    Because muh freedoms and we are exceptional. Duh.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  38. Twinkie says:
    @Kratoklastes

    very few people of fast-food-employee age have those cofactors.

    I don’t go to fast food restaurants, except Chik-fil-a where employees seem to be mostly white and Asian teenagers (at least where I live), but aren’t they full of NAMs with obesity, high BP, etc.?

  39. @Diversity Heretic

    Thanks. That was a little obscure, even for a former Heller reader like myself. But then I never finished Catch 22.

  40. @Kratoklastes

    Excellent, Krato except, I’m sorry, but those sugar-laden meat-paste sandwiches are pretty damn tasty. I’ve almost quit cold tur .. pasty, though.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  41. res says:
    @Twinkie

    I don’t think Dan has ever officially confirmed how to interpret his username, but consider reading that as a state at the end.

    Best of luck to your friend.

    P.S. Is that why you haven’t commented as much lately? I was wondering what was going on.

    P.P.S. I get that the two of you appear to have struck some nerves, but hopefully you both sort it out. You are both among the better commenters here and I miss the good comments.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  42. The economic wound definitely is fatal. The United States, which has already been a zombie country since 2008, is now a zombie arms-and-torso country crawling along the ground after getting both legs blown off by a shotgun.

    I got to thinking the other day that this insane Covid-19 response is the real 50th anniversary of Woodstock. This is Woodstock in its old age. The generation that once “mass-gathered” in a New York dairy farm no longer has any use for sex, drugs, and rock & roll, nor for dating, starting a family, getting an education or a job, going to church, eating in restaurants, or going to ball games, and they don’t really give a damn if anybody else doesn’t get to do these things either. It’s all about them, just like it was all about them when they turned the social order upside down when it was time to boogie-woogie in their own youth.

    I don’t think Covidstock has enough cachet to go viral as a term, but that’s how all this will eventually be remembered. The Pig in the Python generation is headed out the back end, leaving the country looking like a limp, deflated fire hose lying forgotton amid the burned out wreckage and ashy puddles.

    • Agree: Lowe
    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  43. @Twinkie

    I have a very close friend (who is my age) on a ventilator right now

    Knowing a victim is a retarded basis for pretending to understand the data. It’s ‘victim as expert‘ at one remove… and ‘victim as expert‘ is a HousewifeTV concept and should be rejected a priori.

    I know a lady in the Navy who has a silver pocket knife.

    By extrapolation from my anecdote:
     • all people I know are women;
     • all people in the Navy are women;
     • all women have silver pocket knives.

    Anecdotes lead to bad inference, is my point.

    As I noted yesterday: the CDC’s National Mortality Statistics show that overall – year to date – total deaths are 2% (~18,000) higher than expected, and ‘peak dying season’ (i.e., the depths of winter) is past – as is “peak covid” (and very possibly peak-Doomer).

    In that comment, I pointed out that the week ending March 28 was the first week in which deaths were significantly above expectations (6% above, in fact). That’s because history doesn’t contain years with a lot of respiratory deaths in March.

    I also pointed out that the CDC thinks it takes ~8 weeks to be sure that all the numbers are in; as of today it’s 8 full weeks since March 28th.

    Between January 26 and March 28, there had been 520,323 deaths from all causes in the US. The CDC had expected 523,393 – meaning that for the weeks in which final numbers exist, 0.59% fewer people died than were expected to die. That’s well within the margin of error.

    In subsequent weeks (which are not ‘final’ yet), the total deaths are much higher than expected. This is the period that contains the bulks of covid19 deaths-from, deaths-with, and deaths-not-even-with.

    So it turns out that covid19 deaths have happened during a part of the year where the expected number of deaths starts to fall. By mid-May, the CDC expects ~42,000 deaths a week (down from a peak of 60,000 in early February).

    The great thing about the CDC’s table is that it’s possible to recover expected deaths for each week: it looks like this ->

    Note that ‘Feb-01’ means the week ending February 1st, so includes deaths between January 26 and Feb 01. Deaths between January 1 and January 25 inclusive aren’t in the CDC’s Table 1. That would add ~180,000 to the all-cause total (and zero to codiv19).

    It’s now a very well-established fact that most covid deaths-[all] involve chronically-ill elderly people; 35,118 deaths have occurred in aged-care facilities. Overall it’s 42% of nationwide deaths; in 23 states it’s half or more of the total deaths in the state, and for 10 states it’s more than 60%.

    The awful truth about aged-care homes is that people are sent there to die. Of those 35,118 covid19 care-home deaths, more than half of them would be expected to die before the end of the year – which renders those deaths irrelevant to annual excess all-cause mortality. (This is why I was so confident as to offer a bet against all-cause excess mortality for calendar 2020 being statistically zero).

    Another important thing to note, is that these numbers are all provisional. To get a handle on just how provisional: the NVSS (National Vital Statistics System) most recent detailed data for all-cause mortality id for 2018.

  44. utu says:
    @DanHessinMD

    How is you business selling humidifiers in Manaus doing?

  45. AaronB says:
    @iffen

    Bet you miss my basket of rainbows by now 🙂

    • LOL: iffen
    • Replies: @iffen
  46. Twinkie says:
    @res

    Best of luck to your friend.

    P.S. Is that why you haven’t commented as much lately? I was wondering what was going on.

    Thanks.

    Yes, partly. My friend tested positive, was asymptomatic (didn’t even know he had it) and then suddenly he stopped responding to my texts. I was getting a bit frantic after a week of no reply and no other forms of communication, and had to track him down. Since then it’s been up’s and down’s – he was near death at one point, then he seemed to make a miraculous recovery, then his oxygen level and BP would crash again.

    It’s not his time. It shouldn’t be. I can only pray. Obviously I can’t even visit him.

  47. @Kratoklastes

    (This is why I was so confident as to offer a bet against all-cause excess mortality for calendar 2020 being statistically zero).

    Guh. Unwiedly.

    To “offer a bet against” is to invite counterparties to take the ‘bet against’ side. The offeror is betting on the thing in question (all-cause excess mortality for calendar 2020 being statistically zero).

    I’m nolt getting Doomerish in my old age.

    Should have been able to express that more betterer.

  48. dfordoom says: • Website
    @UncommonGround

    If there was no lockdown people would be even more afraid than they are

    That certainly seems plausible.

    If you want the economy to start booming again you may have to keep a few things like masks and social distancing, just to make people feel safe enough to go out and spend the money to make that economic recovery happen. And to make people feel safe enough to go back to work.

    Maybe masks aren’t terribly useful but they do make people feel safer. If people don’t feel safe the economy is not going to recover.

    • Agree: UncommonGround
  49. @Achmed E. Newman

    those sugar-laden meat-paste sandwiches are pretty damn tasty

    They’re certainly crafted to hit all the pleasure centres at once – so long as you don’t think about where the grey meat-paste puck came from.

    Hungry Jacks (Australia’s Burger King) has a plant-based burger that is genuinely tasty, and once this corona horseshit is done with we might finally get the Impossible Burger at non-ruinous prices.

    I tried a Beyond Burger (cooked at home with all other inputs as I like them: savoury) and if the Impossible Burger is better than that, it’ll wind up getting a permanent slot in the meal rotation and I will probably go full-veg.

    The only meal that’s currently a walk-up start every week is a small huevos rancheros “a mi manera” – which is the fast-breaker 3 times a week.

    (no idea why I took the photo before the cilantro and grated reggiano went on)

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  50. Nodwink says:
    @Kratoklastes

    because minimum wage already compensates people for their working conditions

    It doesn’t compensate enough. This is what experts mean when they say many jobs simply aren’t coming back. There are plenty of marginally profitable businesses that will never re-open, but there are people who simply won’t tolerate the conditions they were working under.

  51. iffen says:
    @AaronB

    It’s almost as if doom doesn’t believe that people are smart enough to govern themselves. I believe that if they see the light, they will get out of the tunnel before the train runs over them.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  52. @anon

    What if they don’t come back next term?

    The West becomes more like Paradise?

  53. Anonymous[217] • Disclaimer says:
    @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    That’s not the logic I use. Only left-wing pro-abortion people use feminism, personal choice, bodily autonomy and freedom as reasons.

    The reason I am pro-abortion is because of the type of woman who gets one, and the type of man who gets her pregnant.

    They are almost always one or more of the following: poor, low IQ, uneducated, unmarried, promiscuous, mentally ill, rape victims, gestating a defective fetus, or have no parental instincts.

    Now why would I, a net taxpayer, want to financially pay for these people and their spawn?

    If the demographics of abortion were to flip upside down, I would turn anti-abortion in most cases.

  54. @Twinkie

    I am not an MD and never claimed to be. My handle includes the state where I live. I am an Engineer.

    My comment probably seemed/was unsympathic. Apologies. I sincerely hope your friend pulls through. I have been fortunate in that none of the several people I know diagnosed and suspected with this virus had major problems. I brought care packages including my family’s outstanding beef stew and vitamin supplements and zinc to about one dozen people in the last ten weeks. Those cases were stressful.

    If I came across as an ass, please chalk it up to aspergery tendencies on my part. I’ve burned more than one bridge that way and my own siblings have learned to forgive my hard edges.

    As an Engineer, I think rationally and in a utilitarian way. Death is natural and is always everywhere. Religion is the tool that society has used for millennia to cope. Perhaps it is ironic to emphasize rationality on the one hand and religion on the other but as a utilitarian I see religion as one of the most essential tools ever discovered.

    When my grandfather who I greatly respected died I went into a years-long tailspin and it took religion to pull me out. Nothing else worked. Until I figured that out in my mid-twenties, I was an emotional cripple and sometimes a burden to the people around me.

    All that said, it is clear that the response to this virus — i.e. shut everything down — has been destructive like nothing I have seen in my lifetime. Seeing that, I hope you can understand my frustration.

    Those who came before us functioned and thrived with far higher levels of dying than anything we are grappling with today. Best wishes.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  55. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    It’s almost as if doom doesn’t believe that people are smart enough to govern themselves. I believe that if they see the light, they will get out of the tunnel before the train runs over them.

    My point was merely that I think you underestimate the difficulties of opposing totalitarianism, and overestimate the likely degree of opposition.

    Let’s look at some totalitarian regimes. Italian fascism only came to an end due to defeat in war. Was there any effective resistance to Mussolini prior to that? If there was I haven’t heard about it. Nazi Germany only came to an end due to defeat in war. Was there any effective resistance to Hitler prior to that? Communist China. They’re not communist any more but they’re still moderately totalitarian, the regime is still in power and seems to be extremely popular. North Korea? The regime is still firmly in the saddle and there appears to be no effective resistance at all.

    The Soviet Union is an interesting case. The Soviet regime only collapsed after it ceased to be totalitarian. It was glasnost that brought down the regime. Totalitarianism did not fail. Glasnost failed.

    I need to make it quite clear that I am no advocate of totalitarianism. I’m simply pointing out that from the point of view of maintaining a regime in power totalitarianism has been remarkably (and depressingly) successful.

    The one hope is that as western nations drift towards totalitarianism, as Britain has been doing for a couple of decades now, it might turn out to be such colossally incompetent totalitarianism that it might fail. The great thing about the British Tories is that although they’re very enthusiastic about totalitarianism they’re also staggeringly inept. Maybe American totalitarianism will also be too incompetent to survive. But I wouldn’t count on it. You already have all the apparatus in place for successful totalitarianism – you have your secret police (the FBI), the US government has extraordinary surveillance capabilities, the government and the media will co-operate willingly, the police and the military will be fully onboard and you have a political system so corrupt that it defies belief.

    • Replies: @iffen
  56. iffen says:
    @dfordoom

    My point was merely that I think you underestimate the difficulties of opposing totalitarianism, and overestimate the likely degree of opposition.

    This may well be true, but your comparisons are invalid. Russia and China never had democracy and freedom, and Germany had only a brief experience before Nazism. We are considering something unprecedented; a country with hundreds of years of experience with freedom and democracy descending into totalitarianism. It will be an uphill fight, but the fat lady has not sung.

  57. @Twinkie

    Stop burying your head in sand. It’s killed almost 100,000 Americans in a couple of months.

    Scared it’s gonna outdo your record as Super Ninja Twinkles? That you’ll lose your title as mostest dangerous thing on the internets?

    Are orientals predisposed to terror of small things? Is that why they’re always squinting?

    How’s about letting us round eyes get on with the business of our lives and livelihoods? Go squint at viruses back home.

    • LOL: Mr. Rational
  58. @Twinkie

    I have a very close friend

    Sure you do Twinkles. Everyone believes that as well as your stories of Super Ninja derring-do..

    I think there’s even an anime celebrating your story, “Super Ninja really does have a friend”.

  59. @Twinkie

    I’ve been in an emotional rollercoaster this whole week

    Sounds like your estrogen levels are high there Twinkles. Look, your friends are all okay. Ross and Rachel are back together again..

    (Little known fact: Twinkles spent his childhood in the rice paddies dreaming of being the seventh Friend. His sole lifelong ambition has been to actually have a real live round eyed Friend in America)

  60. @Kratoklastes

    Krato,

    It gets even more sinister and evil.

    Here in Canada, we get a “DAILY EPIDEMIOLOGY UPDATE”. You can see it here;

    https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/surv-covid19-epi-update-eng.pdf

    If scroll down to page6….. They have a case severity breakdown by age that lists hospitalizations, ICUs, ventilators, deaths. Something that really stood out and bothered me was number of deaths in the 80+ age group compared to the number of hospitalizations. In every age group, hospitalizations far exceeds deaths…which makes sense. You get covid… you feel so bad that you go to ER, then you get worse and go to ICU and then you die. Why would 80+ age group have 1500 deaths but only 1200 hospitalizations ??

    This data bothered me for weeks. Finally, a colleague introduced me to the chief of staff at a nearby hospital with an adjoining long term care facility. When I asked him about the anomalous number of hospitalizations; he told me:

    ‘We were told on conference call, by Provincial Authorities to “care in place” for all residents of long term care facilities to prevent spread. We were not to admit them to hospital.’

    In other words….. In Canada, if you were in an old age home and tested positive for Covid and your condition got really bad –you were NOT ALLOWED TO BE ADMITTED INTO HOSPITAL! You had to get better on your own.

    There are no ventilators in LTCs ….no ICU facilities …no IV bags….No specialized staff…

    The Vermin in charge, signed the death warrants for these elderly and then capitalized on the fear caused by the reported deaths….its beyond despicable.

    We know how these idiots love to copy each others policies so they can hide behind (‘all the other countries were doing it’). I wouldn’t be surprised if many other countries have similar policies and a significant proportion of Covid deaths are directly a result of lack of provision of care.

  61. dfordoom says: • Website
    @iffen

    We are considering something unprecedented; a country with hundreds of years of experience with freedom and democracy descending into totalitarianism.

    Do you think that experience with freedom and democracy will be an asset or a liability? It’s possible that people in democracies are much too trusting of government and that they take their political freedoms way too much for granted. They just can’t believe that those freedoms might actually be disappearing. That’s why governments in Britain and the US have been so successful in gradually eroding freedoms and legal protections – people cannot accept that it’s actually happening even when they see it happening before their very eyes.

    Maybe democracy makes people gullible? After years of David Cameron and Theresa May openly creating the conditions for a police state the British still trusted the Tories and elected Boris Johnson. Would Russians have been that stupid?

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  62. @Twinkie

    “Snowden’s Fatal Wound”

    What the hell. I clicked on this thinking I’d get some Ed Snowden-J. Assange stuff. Hey, chart-boy. False advertising.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  63. @dfordoom

    “Maybe democracy makes people gullible?”

    A real democracy would have the opposite effect. We live in an illusion that is readily apparent to those only half-awake.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  64. dfordoom says: • Website
    @SunBakedSuburb

    A real democracy would have the opposite effect.

    Is this a variant of the “you can’t condemn communism because real communism has never been tried” argument?

  65. @Twinkie

    you think I’m going to play games with you, a total stranger on the internet, over a few bucks?

    Of course not! Everyone can plainly see that you, in your time of profound emotionalism, are playing games with a stranger for FREE.

  66. RSDB says:
    @iffen

    Freedom is relative, political freedom especially so.

    Consider the case of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, where the failure of a ridiculously weak central government to control a monied and landed aristocratic class helped cause the complete breakdown of the country. Or consider ancient Rome, where a republic of longer standing than the US obliterated its republican features to gain a measure of peace (among other reasons, of course). Or look at the way the apparently somewhat republican gana-sangha system completely disappeared from ancient India.

    I’m not saying any of those situations will happen here –each of them is very different from us– but your description brings them to mind.

  67. @Twinkie

    I have a very close friend (who is my age) on a ventilator right now – he’s been fighting for his life for the past week, so I’m not in the mood for all your “It’s less than a flu” hoaxers right now.

    Best wishes for a rapid recovery. Always a difficult situation. What drove the risk home to me was when I found out about the death of an acquaintance from this virus. Works for a fairly well-known company with excellent health benefits, gets the bug, is put on a respirator and dies while on it. Since the docs know more about treatment options now than in the first days of this pandemic, hopefully your friend will make it through this just fine. Fingers crossed.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  68. ” that trade deficit as a fraction of the GDP isn’t the only important number.”

    Two comments here:

    1. The point is that a trade deficit is indicates one is spending more than makes — a debt generator. Over time that debt adds up.

    2. And I am concerned that anyone actually trusts the method by which we currently assess GDP.

    if we measured GDP by actual grosses minus the debt we currently count as profit — one would understand just how deeply over leveraged we are and that we are basing policies on that should send one – to spivies hair on fire and all.

  69. Twinkie says:
    @DanHessinMD

    I appreciate the apology.

  70. Twinkie says:
    @Johann Ricke

    Thank you for the kind words. It’s frustrating that I can’t even see him. The hospital currently allows only ONE person to visit or be present bedside even in end-of-life cases. When he was near death twice this past week, I only found out via text from his family after the fact. Just sitting by the phone, waiting and waiting without being able to do anything but praying just feels helpless.

    Even when my father died years ago, unexpectedly, I didn’t feel this helpless. I also just can’t stop feeling horrible for his children. They are still so young.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Johann Ricke
  71. @SunBakedSuburb

    RTFN

    N ” stands for novel. Catch-22 is one helluva catch, and one helluva novel too, IMO.

    (I wouldn’t have figured it either, SBS, but for a few other posts with this theme.)

  72. @V. K. Ovelund

    In addition to the mismatch between what is imported and exported, there is what I view as the more important thing–that production has declined a lot in the US. That 95% figure has shrunk in an absolute sense. It’s not just that we’ve lost the 5% (to keep things simple), it’s that the pile comprising that 95% is much smaller than it was a year ago.

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
  73. @UncommonGround

    The fundamental issue with this analysis, beyond it being an untestable counterfactual, is that whatever the efficacy of the lockdowns, they were overkill. Maybe only modestly so, maybe they were only marginally effective, but they were more than what is needed. We know that because they were sold as being a necessary tactic to keep the health care system from being overrun. It never came close to be overrun anywhere.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  74. @Almost Missouri

    It’d probably be wiser to stop trying to come up with cryptic or clever titles and instead be staightforwardly descriptive with them, keeping the basics of SEO in mind. Pray for my eventual prudence.

  75. @Twinkie

    Sorry to hear, hope he pulls through.

    If it’s not too much to ask, it’d be great if you could share what you witnessed regarding the trajectory of the virus through your friend’s battle with it. Descriptions are all over the place. I don’t know anyone who has had it and I don’t trust anyone who has described it up close. Now I’ll have someone I do trust.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  76. @obwandiyag

    Whoa, whaddya mean? We produce corn and soybeans, lumber and oil–just like any good colony does!

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  77. @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    Had governments done nothing at all, there would’ve still presumably been both negative health and negative economic effects, though, wouldn’t there have been? People would get sick, other people would refuse to go to work or stop patronizing businesses, etc.

  78. iffen says:
    @Twinkie

    without being able to do anything but praying just feels helpless

    Damn, suck it up Twinkie, don’t do away with prayer, it’s an essential for many.

  79. res says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    Maybe a straightforward title and clever subtitle, or vice versa?

  80. @Audacious Epigone

    Had governments done nothing at all, there would’ve still presumably been both negative health and negative economic effects, though, wouldn’t there have been?

    Sure, I agree. It was meant more as a thought experiment; the baseline rate of people saying “health” probably wouldn’t be a full 100%, but something pretty high, which would go down as more action is taken.

  81. Twinkie says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    I don’t have all the details. What I pieced together so far: He had an urgent (not emergent) case and was found to be infected. No symptoms, but was isolated. Seemed to be okay for a few days and then at some point he couldn’t breathe. His oxygen and BP fell rapidly, he was put on a ventilator, and I got a frantic text saying that he was near death. I spent the next 24 hrs calling the various people in medicine I know (he’s at a tertiary hospital where I know the head of one of the larger departments). Everybody was super professional and abided by the HIPPA privacy rules.

    Then I heard from his family that he was doing much better. Oxygen level up, BP still low, but better. He had some secondary complications, and of course, lung damage. But seemed to be on the mend. Big sigh of relief. Then a couple of days later, his oxygen level cratered again, his BP was extremely low, I don’t know if he coded, but was given some pressers to restore BP. He is still alive, but there could be some brain damage (when BP crashes, the organs do okay for while, but not the brain – the brain needs blood all the time).

  82. Twinkie says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    It never came close to be overrun anywhere.

    It did in Northern Italy. NYC came close in our country, but the intensive care system – thankfully – turned out to be much more robust than expected.

    • Replies: @Toronto Russian
  83. @Audacious Epigone

    It’s along time since I read Catch-22 , I was thinking of Edward Snowden and couldn’t make the connection.

  84. @Audacious Epigone

    I like mind puzzles as much as the next guy, but I like them more if I know I’m embarking on one.

    The “Snowden” title misleads in 2020 because Edward S. looms in recent memory.

  85. @Audacious Epigone

    Is Russia a colony too? If so, of whom?

    cornwheat and soybeansrye, lumber and oil

  86. @Twinkie

    You threw your friend’s story out there explicitly for the emotional manipulation value. If some people refuse to be emotionally manipulated, that’s not their fault.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  87. @Twinkie

    And now in Mexico City. The continent’s fattest population and the policy of “ignore disease, keep hugging”
    (endorsed by their president early on) were the combination that lead to predictable results.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  88. @Elmer's Washable School Glue

    I don’t know, did you just get here from The Daily Wire? Snap out of your red team vs. Blue team mindset. Muh libruls muh conservatuves.

    Have I ever told you my position on abortion?no?

    So shut the fuck up

  89. @Twinkie

    Even when my father died years ago, unexpectedly, I didn’t feel this helpless. I also just can’t stop feeling horrible for his children. They are still so young.

    If your buddy comes out of this in less than tip-top condition, his wife is going to have her work cut out for her, between caring for her disabled spouse and providing for young children. A very daunting prospect.

    It’s an uncomfortable question to ask, but the practical side of me wants to know – was he in fighting trim like you are? Or did he have the average physique of someone his age – overweight, and not particularly fit? Nothing to do with public policy – just a gauge of how vulnerable individuals are to this bug based on physical conditioning and/or congenital issues.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  90. Twinkie says:
    @Johann Ricke

    I’m too depressed to write about my friend right now. Maybe in a few days.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  91. Twinkie says:
    @Toronto Russian

    It’s happening in Brazil.

  92. @iffen

    Before Anatoly Karlin switched to full-time Corona blogging, he had a large number of posts about the old Imperial Russia, all of which showed it had a respectably large measure of political freedom relative to that period of time and relative to past Russian experience.

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