Coronavirus Open Thread

Coronavirus Open Thread

I came back on to see if anybody wanted to blow off steam on the Panic of the Century. I’ll another full update next Tuesday.

Here are just a couple of tweets of interest to get the National Guard rolling. It is my contention that we have lost our minds.

The only thing that will survive in California will be (a) government, and (b) big business.


  1. Someone posted a link in another discussion here yesterday. It was the U. of Washington Viral lab, in the hot heart of the C19 “outbreak,” Seattle, where 35 unfortunate 80-100 year olds in a nursing home passed away, from Feb 28 to March 14, after being infected, in a clearly poorly run facility.

    Remember the babbling about “this is an exponential growth organism, doubling infections daily!” “It’s math!”

    Remember the babbling about “we’ve gotta test more now!”


    They are testing more now. And it appears the growth is linear–or actually, additive. See the red bars in the graph–miniscule rise, even as the number of tests increase more rapidly.

    Real numbers.

    And the roster of deaths in Washington State, with demographic info:

  2. DAV

    Actually, I’m getting tired of hearing about it.

  3. When in worry, when in doubt,
    Run in circles, scream and shout.

    The reaction to an epidemic is remarkably similar to the reactions to enemy artillery fire (and rioting):
    Avoid crowds.
    Don’t be where the action is.
    Hunker down and hope the angel of death passes you by.

  4. Jon

    There’s no risk of over certainty in concluding that those in positions of power know not what they do.

    The public panic is understandable. Just another “irrational exuberance”, this time expressed in terms of ramen and toilet paper. Last time it was flipping houses. Same underlying approach though: current trends will continue unchanged because…

    Leadership failure is inexcusable. Officials should take a minute to think through the knock on effects of policy choices; the effects that go beyond impacts on the next polling or election cycle. Yet they don’t. Knee jerk reactions to “do something to stem this crisis.” Little good can come of that approach.

    With reasonable certainty, I assert that it will be a challenge to unwind the consequences of recent policies. It’s likely that those policies will create new crises demanding more immediate and bold remedies…a perpetual need for collective action and sacrifice not unlike the cultural revolution and great leaps forward. Maybe a 5 Year Plan. Hmmm. Where have I heard those phrases before?

    The upside seems to be that the current crisis seems to have cured climate change, gun violence, and all problems of diversity, inclusion, and equality.

  5. Sheri

    We have not lost our minds. We have lost our will to live, to grow up, to be human beings. We are ourselves very much like the coronavirus–just hanging out doing ourselves in by killing our hosts. We don’t fight. We don’t think. We just exist. Mostly I think the bats that started this are smarter than we are. It’s sad, but human beings are too stupid to feed themselves, their children, etc. I always said those Medicare plans commercials that say “it covers my drugs, it covers my doctors,…..” should also add “they come by and change my nappies and feed me in my high chair”. Humans have dropped to below pond scum in survival instincts. Californians WILL starve. They cannot cook, they cannot feed their children. They will sit there like a frog in water till boiled. As my friend said “I suppose they (the Chinese) are proud they conquered the world with a virus and fear and never had to leave their country.” Note the crisis in China was over in under four months. I’D say think about it, but that seems impossible for most.

    A comment I read compared SARS-CoV-2 to the Titanic. My comment: This is like the Titanic—except it didn’t hit an iceberg, but we’re jumping off and drowning, fighting over life boats, all because there was a loud noise that MIGHT mean we are sinking in the future.

    Seriously, all that AGW crap finally paid off. We are terrified of graphs and willing to just lay down and die. Humans had a long run and they squandered it. All things end and many not well.

    There will some left to carry on, but trying to lock them down will get you shot.

  6. Dan Hughes

    hey Matt,

    I take it to be the case that you are a NY Snow Bunny and have fled the Great White Frozen North for Sunny Shores.

    There are 3, or more, issues with which I am confused.

    (1) My interpretation of your position is that you are sticking with the historical data for “normal” flu virii, tempered with the available data for the present situation and your personal expertise. However, so far it looks like the death/case rate is running significantly higher than the historical rate, by about a factor of 20 to 40, and higher.

    What is the fundamental basis for your approach to characterizing the present situation?

    (2) The source of my major confusion is the enormous differences in the magnitude of the numbers between the regularly-scheduled flu season and the present situation. In the USA alone, 10s of millions get sick and 10s of thousands die. I can’t even imagine what the world-wide totals might be. This morning we’re sitting at about 254,000 cases counted and about 10,400 deaths. Here we are 70 or 80 days out and the case count seems extremely small, especially when all around us people are throwing out R0s and exponentials.

    This has completely baffled me for 3 weeks, now.

    Given this enormous difference, on what basis has the decision made that destruction of the world-wide economy was the only acceptable response? Everyone, it seems, would understand that without working and buying stuff the only end-point is total destruction and death.

    On what basis was the decision made to declare that a world-wide pandemic was underway? A decision that was made very early in the game at a time when the numbers were exceedingly small.

    I don’t get it. I don’t understand. I am confused.

    For me the only thing that makes sense is that we have not been told of the true properties and characteristics of the present virus.

    Otherwise, the depth of the incompetence of world-wide leadership has become un-measurable.

    (3) The really, really, really bad part of this whole situation starts at the end of this initial 14-day experiment.

    The numbers will not have significantly changed; people will still be getting sick and dying. Can any politician withstand the enormous dump-on that will follow when they admit that we cannot continue to have nothing at all properly working, so the only option we’ve got is to go back to the pre-experiment state.

    On the other hand, how many politicians can stand and say we can make it through without anything at all properly working simply by printing, and giving away, money.

    I continue to wonder what’s going to happen in Fall when the regularly-scheduled flu season starts up. Think about it. If the numbers are publicized to the extent as in the present case, and some “news” organization compares the two situations, the expected response is truly beyond comprehension. During the regularly-scheduled flu season, case numbers sometimes increase by the millions per month, in the USA alone.

    What am I missing??

    Thank you for your work.

  7. Jim Fedako

    Briggs –

    Challenge: Assume no test for covid-19 existed, could you have found it (an indicator that something is different) in the noise arising from this year’s flu season? I say, no. What say you?

  8. Mr. Briggs,

    I agree with your contention “that we have lost our minds” completely. This is the biggest mountain ever made out of a molehill in my lifetime. I argued in an essay at my own site this morning ( that we are foolishly throwing away our freedom and embracing Soviet-style Communism all because we are afraid of a particularly nasty relative of the flu. The Malthusian repercussions of shutting down every economy in the world is likely to kill far more people than the stupid virus. We are signalling to every maniac on the planet that the threat of a biological attack is the most effective means of blackmail. The recommendations make no sense – telling people to stay at home and keep breathing in their tainted air is the way to make an epidemic worse, not stop it. The sun and fresh air are the two biggest natural enemies of any virus. Extended, enforced, “social distancing” will inevitably cause a widespread breakdown in psychological health. We are behaving like fools.

  9. Sander van der Wal

    Doctors in Noord-Brabant, the Dutch Corona Hot Spot are talking about a hospital being four wall around a lot of infected people. They now only handle in a hospital the very ill corona infected people, and the odd cancer patient on chemo-therapy. Everybody else can just sod off and find a hospital on the other side of the country.

    The very ill corona infected people take up to three weeks to recover, and that is in a country where staying overnight is hospital is rare.

    In Italy things are much worse.

    This is not the normal kind of flu. Even though only a tiny percentage of the infected people die, and a somewhat bigger percentage gets very ill, they all do it at the same time, and that is what is swamping the care system.

  10. Sheri

    Sander van der Wal: Again, I ask how it is so much worse to be dead from a virus with a kill rate lower than most any pandemic than from seasonal flu that killed 22,000 plus people THIS YEAR in the US including over 100 kids??? I am still waiting for answer besides either “Orange Man Bad”, “it’s unknown” (again, how is dying from an unknown worse than the known), “it could be horrible” or any other scifi or political answer. At this point, I assume this is 100% FEAR and IRRATIONAL reactions meant to destroy the world economy and, to put it bluntly, screw people over. No one has explained otherwise. “It’s unknown” is NOT A RESPONSE, BUT AN EXCUSE for stupidity.

  11. Sheri

    Anyone can jump in with an explanation, not just Sander. Please explain how many more deaths by known factors is so much more moral and desirable than death by a scary unknown. It’s fear, irrational and no one has explained why it is not. Does Covid 19 look better on your tombstone??? Death by government overreach and suicide due to response to Covid 19??? So impressive, right?

  12. Darin Johnson

    Sheri, I’m basically on the “are you sure about this?” point on the spectrum, so I’m not exactly disagreeing with you. But I do think you might be miss-stating the other side’s argument. The argument for aggressive action is based 100 percent on extrapolation from assumptions such as:
    High infection rate (2-3 per person).
    Relatively high in-case fatality (estimates vary).
    High demand on health care resources (in the hospital a long time).
    And so on.

    In other words, the argument is that a lot MORE people would die of this than any normal flu if we did nothing.

  13. Goetz John

    A few interesting reads:

    John Ioannidis of Stanford writing that the current information on the virus is so poor that we are making very bad policy decisions based on the available data.

    An early paper trying to see if there is a signal in the CDC and WHO flu data indicating COVID-19 was present in the US much earlier than previously thought.

    Article on a paper describing a new test that looks for tell-tale antibodies to the coronavirus in people’s blood, and is similar to the most widely used type of test for HIV. This would identify people who had the virus but never were tested for it, and have recovered.

  14. Dan Hughes


    Yes, it appears that those extrapolations of assumptions might be a basis. However, note the characterization: (1) extrapolations of (2) assumptions.

    (1) The infection rate is probably higher than your regularly-scheduled flu, I do not know for certain. But, doesn’t that beg the question. What “abnormal” infection rate justifies shutting down the world-wide economy? Who would make such a decision and at the same time decide to which countries it applies.. At some level the cure of zero economic activity and printing money is certain to result in more deaths than letting the virus run out its course. The world cannot continue to print money without inducing truly dire consequences.

    (2) My impression is that the data available at the time the decisions were made to shut down the world economy could not have been sufficient to justify such drastic measures.

    (3) Are the data now available sufficient to (a) justify the decision and/or (b) revisit the decision and change course.

    (4) The initial in-case fatality rate in China was very high, and now maintains at about 4.0 deaths/case. However there are countries running at 1+ to 1++ and others running at about 0.2+ to 1-

    (5) Has anyone seen ongoing analyses of the incoming data that are attempting to verify the assumptions.

    (6) At the end of the current 15-day experiment, how will it be explained that (a) the assumptions were wrong and we can stop now, or (b) the assumptions were correct so we must continue the destruction of the world economy, no matter the consequences?

    Number 6, in my opinion, is gonna be a toughy.

  15. Sheri

    Darin: You pretty well covered what I would have said. I have been reading on SARS (the original, including a study involving chloroquine shortly after the epidemic ended), MERS, flu, the Hong Kong flu, etc. etc. I cannot find any evidence that the horrifically damaging actions taken here are anything but totalitarian, draconian and should scare anyone who values their lives and freedoms. It is totally insane. Number 6 is indeed the question. “Flattening the curve” just means the same number of cases, over a longer time. It’s to keep hospital beds open, not to stop the spread of the virus. The virus will do what the virus will do. I am hoping usage of chloroquine will prove valuable in curing the virus and the stop of the spread. It’s impossible to even guess, but if a virus so terrifies us, I think we’re in deep do-do.

  16. Dan Hughes

    Oh my, I overlooked the best part; (A) 100 percent based on (1) extrapolations of (2) assumptions.

    We don’t get to do that in engineering. We would be told to go away and come back with a solution. For the extremely high consequences of the present situation, I can say we would never be allowed to get away with this approach. And in this case, never does apply.

    It appears that many countries were not prepared to handle the black swan degree consequences.

  17. The Impoverished Lasts

    Where can one get reliable, current numbers?

    I am not the skeptical type with these things. But you see article after article claim “new cases SOAR”. It starts making you think you’re almost in a dream because reality doesn’t seem to match with what’s being claimed.

    Also, is this typical that someone dies and a day later they can quickly declare “THE VIRUS!!!”. Would we know that with certainty?

    But the biggest thing for me is that you can’t even dare to question it now without being pointed at and screamed at.
    It reminds me of the Intelligent Design/Evolution debates.

  18. Dave

    @Kent Clizbe
    Looking at one labs’ testing probably isn’t best way to judge the growth of confirmed US cases.

    Looking at total confirmed US cases is a better way to do it. For Western countries, the growth rate has been about 33% per day in total confirmed cases (not active) until drastic actions are taken:

  19. Kent Clizbe


    Well, maybe “one lab” wouldn’t be a good choice–except…that “one lab” is the exact center of the “pandemic outbreak” in the USA.

    The first cases, the first fatalities, all came from Seattle.

    So, that one lab is an excellent indicator of the virulence, “exponential growth rate,” and deadliness of the virus.

    If the projections/guesses/scare-mongering were correct, and this virus was a super-exponential infector, you would see the rates reflected at ground zero of the outbreak–Seattle.

    You don’t. As of yesterday, positives were going down. Tests (which require symptoms) were going down.

  20. Dave


    Seattle started implementing drastic preventive actions around March 12-13. For instance, they closed all public and private schools for six weeks. On March 15th, they closed dining-in at restaurants. We’d better hope such actions can stop the spread from continuing exponential growth rates. Do you think the extreme actions in Wuhan helped slow it down there? Or was that a coincidence that would’ve happened naturally?

    Also, there is no true “ground zero” in the US. It came to the US in many cities. That’s why you should look at the the US cases in total. It is indeed growing at an exponential rate up until now.

    Since our testing is still lagging and there can be long incubation periods, I would expect for US confirmed cases to continue the exponential pace for 1 to 2 more weeks. But I think after that you will see it start to flatten out due to all of the work from home and social distancing precautions that are being taken now.

    I just don’t see how anyone can look at the overflowing hospitals in Italy and Spain where they are making choices about “who gets the ventilator” based on age, and say this is no big deal and preventative actions are unwarranted. Are they genetically different than us? Are the reporters lying? What’s your logic?

  21. Josh Postema

    “I would expect for US confirmed cases to continue the exponential pace for 1 to 2 more weeks.”

    It’s not even exponential *now* (4500 new cases yesterday, 5200 today). And this likely the result of an incredible increase in testing.

    The Twitter stats guy doesn’t compare total tests performed against the case rate, which is a more interesting statistic than cases. Nor does he make predictions that can be tested, only showing “trends”. That’s probably intentional, because the models I’ve seen for two weeks have failed to predict anything. It appears that governments have an insatiable appetite for models that give the predictions they want even if they fail to predict accurately.

    Even more importantly, out of about 19,000 cases in the US, 64 are in serious or critical condition. If those rates hold (and they’ve only gotten better), this will be less serious than the seasonal flu, except in very specific places. And not just less serious. Several magnitudes less serious. If this *is* less serious than the season flu, well…

    It’s a shame no journalist in the country reports those numbers. By this point, it would probably get more clicks than another “Cases Soar! We All Gonna Die!”

  22. Kent Clizbe


    USA is not Italy, and is not China, and is not Iran. Italy’s population is much older than the US. They also all have socialized, government-run health care systems.

    “…the average age of people who died from the virus in Italy was 79.5…Italy’s population is the second-oldest in the world, after Japan’s, and the country has suffered the worst outbreak in Europe by far.”
    “…99 per cent of coronavirus deaths in Italy are patients with existing medical problems…Research into 355 deaths found that only three of the victims, 0.8 per cent, had been clear of illnesses before they were infected. Nearly half of them – 48.5 per cent – already had three or even more health conditions before they were diagnosed with Covid-19.”

    The Seattle experience is a perfect sample for the entire USA. If this virus was so virulent, exponential, and deadly, then Seattle should show evidence. They had the first infections, and the first deaths, including 35 in an old folks home.

    Clearly, there was a time when the infected were moving about freely, spreading this horrible, exponentially increasing infection, as the deaths and initial numbers show, regardless of later efforts. If it grew exponentially, there was enough time when the infected were roaming freely for Seattle to be pretty much swamped with infections. And if it was so generally deadly, there should be bodies stacked in the streets. See the testing data, and the victim count: No to both.

    You can’t just wave your hands and ignore Seattle. It’s showing us what an infected community looks like, who’s affected, and how it grows, in the USA.

    Just like the seasonal flu, elderly, immuno-compromised, and already sick people suffer the worst effects. The vast majority of deaths are 70-100 years old.

    Bottom line: destroying the American economy in response to C19 arriving here might be worth it–if the infection was as the fear-mongers claim: exponentially spreading and dropping victims dead in greater numbers than other infections (flu, TB, SARS, swine flu). It is neither, in the USA.

    Regardless of “projections,” “computer models,” or any other wishful thinking spread by the Washington Post and other vectors of panic.

  23. Dave

    Josh Postema,

    You cannot, under any circumstance, use just two data points to determine whether something is following an exponential trend. But this is what you just tried to do, so maybe you don’t quite understand exponential trends?

    Also, I was referring to the total cumulative confirmed cases in the graph I linked to, not the daily cases. This is also the metric Briggs refers to when he speaks of the logistic curve… logistic curves start as something close to exponential. This is what people refer to when they say a trend is exponential or logistic or linear or whatever. The cumulative total confirmed cases are increasing at roughly ~33% per day in many countries, including the US. That is an exponential trend. Over many days (more than two data points). Many countries seem to be able to get themselves off the exponential trend by taking action.

    Nothing is exponential forever, of course, and I’ve already stated when I expect the US trend to change. But it’s based on actions taken.

    You are correct that some of the increase in confirmed cases is a result of increased testing. But of course the only hard conclusion we can take from this is that the number of true infections is *higher* than the reported confirmed cases.

    You also state that out of the 19,000 cases only 64 are in critical condition. Umm… 201 are dead. The 19K are cumulative cases, so those deaths are relevant to the case number. Not saying that’s a particularly high rate — it’s lower than several other countries so far, thankfully — but there’s more damage than just 64 in critical condition.

  24. Kent Clizbe

    What’s new?

    Italy’s flu deaths: 2013 to 2017

    “In recent years, Italy has been registering peaks in death rates, particularly among the elderly during the winter season. Influenza epidemics have been indicated as one of the potential determinants of such an excess. The objective of our study was to estimate the influenza-attributable contribution to excess mortality during the influenza seasons from 2013/14 to 2016/17 in Italy.

    “In the winter seasons from 2013/14 to 2016/17, an estimated average of 5,290,000 [flu] cases occurred in Italy, corresponding to an incidence of 9%.
    • More than 68,000 deaths attributable to flu epidemics were estimated in the study period. [17,000 average per year]
    • Italy showed a higher influenza attributable excess mortality compared to other European countries. especially in the elderly.”

  25. Fredo

    It’ official we are now beyond the wall of sleep. Guess they finally managed
    to shave off those few critical IQ points from the mass of sentient protoplasm
    that passes for civilization and we are being transported back to the dark
    ages. Whatever happens you can rest assured this will be trumpeted as
    howling success until we’re collectively dragged back down the rabbit hole
    for the next new and improved pandemic. They have successfully aborted
    one of the best economic recovery’s in fifty years and turned the country
    on it’s head to shake the few remaining coins from our pockets. Make no
    mistake about who will be paying it’s all going on that collective credit card
    known as the national debt.

  26. Dave

    Kent Clizbe,

    You are using confirmation bias. You are using one lab in one city, where they took drastic action before the middle of March, and using that to claim that cumulative confirmed cases have not followed an exponential trend, when there is plenty of evidence that I’ve shared that it is rising (at least so far) exponentially in the US and many other countries. I think there’s a general misunderstanding around here about what exponential growth is. Something can have a 0.00001% growth rate per day and still be exponential. Exponential growth can also start with small numbers (like 1), and take awhile to build to large numbers. The point is that the growth surprises people at some point as the number of new cases keeps rising. And the whole point of taking early action is to avoid such a surprise.

    Also, there was likely lots of unmeasured infections in Seattle, since it was likely spreading undetected for 6 weeks in the community ( and Now, that’s partly good news: it means that to many people the symptoms aren’t so bad. But it also suggests that they way under count these infections.

    As far as what actions are appropriate, I won’t pretend to know what the proper trade-off is between the economy and public health. But I wouldn’t suggest you pretend either. We still don’t know much about this. There are even reports of several patients becoming sick more than once.

    Do you agree or disagree that the actions in Washington slowed the infection rate?

    Your quotes about Italy only show that the older people and those with pre-existing conditions are at risk. Do we not have people like this in the US? Perhaps not as many, but we still have a lot. And hospital capacity is limited. That’s the potential issue.

    I’m sure after everyone has socially isolated for a couple of months and the trend decreases, you’ll say something like, “See? I told you it was nothing,” and completely ignore the stories of overflowing hospitals from other countries that acted too late.

    Anyway, if this isn’t a big deal, please go to your local Super Market and lick the touch pads at the checkout counters and report back in three weeks…

  27. Dan Hughes

    Deaths/case has decreased to about 1.32 % and will very likely continue to decrease. Hopefully we’ll get to the 0.2 range, and maybe even into 0.01.

  28. Sheri

    “Anyway, if this isn’t a big deal, please go to your local Super Market and lick the touch pads at the checkout counters and report back in three weeks…”

    I sincerely hope this was sarcastic and that no one can be that uneducated, dense and unthinking.

  29. Dan Hughes

    Google 2017 2018 flu usa

    Deaths/case has decreased to about 1.32 % and will very likely continue to decrease. Hopefully we’ll get to the 0.2 range, and maybe even into 0.01.

  30. Shane


    You mentioned Italy above and asked, essentially, what the difference is. To my knowledge, there are a number of factors which could explain the particularly bad time Italy is having with this.

    One has already been mentioned: the population is on average more advanced in age than most other places.

    Another is that Italy has a higher rate of air pollution and of smoking than many other European countries. Perhaps consequently, it also ranks very low in Peak Expiatory Flow (PEF), a measure of lung health. The only other countries on the chart I saw which are lower than Italy? Spain and Portugal. Yep: Spain. Interesting, isn’t it?

    Although I think this is a lesser point, it’s still part of the overall equation: according to a 2015 Gallup poll throughout Europe, Italy, Spain, and France all rank quite low in terms of hand-washing hygiene.

    Another is that from the data I have been able to dig up, it looks like Italy has around a six times greater mortality rate from seasonal influenza than the US. (I would be happy if someone had more explicit numbers; I had to calculate it from data in a study and could always have made an error). This would certainly imply, especially in the context of the information above, that Italy would be expected to suffer more serious cases of other respiratory illnesses like covid-19, but it’s easy to miss that, more than that, it’s a compounding factor: if they have a more difficult time with the regular seasonal flu, then when covid-19 comes around they’re *already* going to have hospitals dealing with some more serious flu cases and then they’d have covid-19 on top of it.

    Another is that according to commentary from one French health official (which conveyed a message I’ve since heard repeated elsewhere), many Italians wanted to be tested at hospitals rather than seeing their PCPs and flooded the hospitals, but the hospitals did not separate these people from other patients, meaning that not only did they likely spread the illness around the hospital, but it seems to me they also would have specifically been infecting people with pre-existing conditions which necessitated their being at the hospital.

    Another is that Italy (and Spain) both have few ICU beds per capita, as compared to for example Germany and the US, both of which have much lower death rates right now and both of which have about 3 times as many ICU beds.

    I seem to recall that there may be one or two other things that might explain why at least Italy is having a rougher time, but these are a number of reasons that make a great deal of sense.

  31. Kent Clizbe


    “Now, that’s partly good news: it means that to many people the symptoms aren’t so bad. But it also suggests that they way under count these infections.”

    Didn’t even begin to address that issue because you’re so far gone with unreasoning panic and fear. But since you brought it up: there are likely large numbers of non-symptomatic, non-tested, non-identified cases running around. That means that the virus is less deadly (deaths/total infected x 100 = death rate; raise the total infected and the rate plunges–maybe even exponentially!) than the fear freaks are pushing. Yes, it is good news. But it totally destroys the case for fear-mongering.

    Just look at other flu seasons, and the last pandemic flu: Swine flu in 2008-2009.

    Here’s what the curve looked like for swine flu–with NO crashing of the economy and NO locking people in their houses. (Note: Obama’s handlers waited until the US had 4000 deaths before taking any action):

    Gosh, looks a lot like where we are now. Maybe this cold virus is not so unusual or deadly after all. Why the panic? Why the unreasoning sowing of fear?

  32. Sylvain Allard

    I can’t say I disapprove but it seems that by the next election Trump will have lost a large chunk of his voters to this disease. You guys really keep your activities as if nothing was happening.

    Only good thing can come out of this. Don’t forget to party with Foxnews host. These guys need to feel your love.

  33. Joshua Postem

    “I can’t say I disapprove but it seems that by the next election Trump will have lost a large chunk of his voters to this disease. You guys really keep your activities as if nothing was happening. Only good thing can come out of this. ”

    The hype around this virus has changed many things, but it hasn’t changed the monopoly on hatred (up unto wishing death on one’s political opponents) of the Left.

  34. Jimmy Haigh

    I’ve been calling it the first global “panicdemic”.

  35. Becky

    The most vulnerable medically are the least vulnerable economically. We really aren’t all in this together. The ones paying the biggest price are the private worker and business, and they are the least medically fragile. So how does that graph look, or can it be charted.

  36. Uncle Mike

    Fifty years ago there was another panic — over a useless war and the growing number young men (some of them my friends) shipped home in body bags. I recall my surprise and dismay over the sheer volume of outright lies told by newspapers and politicians.

    At the time I resolved to never again believe a single thing I read or heard from those liars. I have kept that resolution ever since.

    There is a cure for the virus: hydroxychloroquine + zinc phosphate + azithromycin. If you suffer severe respiratory distress from WuFlu, demand those meds. Chances are your doctor will prescribe them anyway.

    There is no cure for pathological liars with agendas. Sad but true.

    Fortunately for me, I have been prepping for societal breakdown for 50 years. That was my response then, and it became my predilection, then my lifestyle, and now my joy. Life on the retirement farm, quarantined from the madness, is Heaven on Earth. It took years to get here, but in my rural dotage I’ve never been happier.

    Back to the land. Hands-on resident stewardship. I’ve heard it called (sarcastically) “Wendell Berryism”. Call it whatever you like. Sorry you can’t join me — I’m sequestered — but I’m praying for you, if that helps.

  37. Law Clerk

    Evidence to support that Patient Zero was found in Mid November instead of Early December:
    and which also says there were already 27 cases when WSJ’s patient zero was discovered:

    National Institutes of Health commission/task force on the virus uses the WSJ date, still finds generally low transmissibility:

    If the date of patient zero was three weeks earlier, and the NIH is counting it from three weeks later, does that mean that statistical models are in danger of being corrupted by a three-week head start being given to the virus?

    Thanks in advance for helpful answers.

  38. Sander van der Wal


    We currently do not know how many people will die one way or the other. The German death rate is a lot lower than the Italian one, but what is causing that? Plenty of theories, and not a lot of data. That data will be abundant after the pandemic has run its course, but then it is too late for everybody who has died and who could have been saved.

  39. Shecky R

    TrumpApocalypse Now… such a great time to have a pathological narcissist, fraudster, & Hitler-wannabe, with his squirrelly bunch of sycophants, running the show. Let the real fun begin, and as always, follow the money….

  40. Sheri

    Sylvain and Shecky: Trump will declare martial law and cancel the election. You may start sobbing now.

    Schecky: So Trump is a dictator OF THE WHOLE WORLD? Cause this is EVERYWHERE, you fool.

    Sanderwal: If someone was injured in a car accident a year ago and died of an injury we could cure now, should we stop driving? Every flu season there is a very real and often materialized chance of a new strain and more deaths. Do we shut down for all flu seasons? People honest to God believe we are able to save ourselves from death daily and that we damn well should or else. There would be no America or anything else if the people 200 years ago were this cowardly and lived in such a fantasy. People will always die of things that are suddenly cured the next week. We can’t change that and locking down the entire economy, causing massive pain and suicides, hell on earth, to save that one person is frankly as immoral as it comes.

  41. Dan Hughes

    Exponential and Exponentiation

    Exponential generally refers to when the derivative of a function is proportional to the function’s current value. A simple differential equation that expresses this property, with the proportionality taken to be 1.0, is

    dy/dt = y

    and the solution is

    y = a e^t

    Where e is the base of the natural logarithms; e= 2.7818… and a is the initial value

    Exponentiation generally refers to a quantity representing the power to which a given number or expression is to be raised, for example the 4 in 2^4 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16.

    For the present situation,

    y = a (1 + gf )^n

    where the exponent n is usually taken to be a sequence of integer values. That is not necessary and the equation can be written

    y = a (1 + gf )^t

    where gf is a growth factor. In the present case, the growth factor is stated to be gf = 0.333

    It is clear, then, that unless the growth factor is greater than e-1 = 1.7818, exponentiation results in slower growth that the exponential function. That value of gf means a 178 % change.

    The difference is very significant as a simple calculation will illustrate. Take a = 1, and gf = 0.333, then at t = 10, the Exponential gives y = 22,026.5 and Exponentiation gives y = 17.7134. Actually, the difference between gf = 0.333 and gf = 1.0 is amazing. If gf = 1.333, y(10) = 4776.9

    For all I know, when the word Exponential is used in the literature associated with growth of virii, that may in fact imply Exponentiation. I do not know the default nomenclature. When I use the word Exponential, I mean y = a e^t .

    Correctos for any incorretos will be appreciated.

  42. Darin Johnson

    Dan Hughes,

    You’re putting me in the uncomfortable position of having to defend decision-makers I don’t much agree with. However, your approach is worse, so here goes.

    “Oh my, I overlooked the best part; (A) 100 percent based on (1) extrapolations of (2) assumptions. We don’t get to do that in engineering. We would be told to go away and come back with a solution. For the extremely high consequences of the present situation, I can say we would never be allowed to get away with this approach .”

    This situation actually is a bit like engineering — but how engineering really is, not how engineers think it is. There are costs and benefits to every decision, even the decision not to decide until more data come in.

    We are firmly in the realm of making decisions under *extreme* uncertainty. We don’t know, for example, the rho-naught. We have some range we think it might fall in, and we have ranges of interventions overlaid on that range. Multiply by a dozen variables and a dozen more intervention strategies.

    Not deciding isn’t one of the options available. The decision to do nothing *is* a decision, and make implicit statements about the decision-maker’s assumptions regarding those variables.

    In other words, extrapolations from assumptions cannot be avoided. Full stop.

    “The infection rate is probably higher than your regularly-scheduled flu, I do not know for certain. But, doesn’t that beg the question. What “abnormal” infection rate justifies shutting down the world-wide economy?”

    It doesn’t beg the question, but it does raise it. And like you, I suspect that we’re making a bad trade. I suspect decision-makers are not struggling with credible ranges for various important parameters, but are instead thinking, “What will it look like if I don’t shut down my state after they did in California and New York? I’d be the biggest idiot ever.”

    “Who would make such a decision and at the same time decide to which countries it applies.. At some level the cure of zero economic activity and printing money is certain to result in more deaths than letting the virus run out its course. The world cannot continue to print money without inducing truly dire consequences.”

    This is my concern, too. Well, I’m less concerned with printing money than with the drastic shut-down of the economy. First, that will kill people — we just don’t know which ones. Second, we don’t actually value a human life infinitely. Time to grow up.

  43. Becky

    I’m thinking I need to learn how to do probablity to win the lotto.

  44. Sheri

    I found the actual study about a week or more ago when researching the SARS and MERS outbreaks.
    I admit, I was instantly MAD when I read it. They KNEW. They also know full well Covid 19 is a variation of the SARS virus, thus, SARS-CoV-2 as the original name. It’s unforgivable that this was simply ignored. (Yes, the study was peer-reviewed for those who care about such things.)

  45. “I’ve been calling it the first global “panicdemic”.”

    Borrowing someone else’s term: The Wuhan is not a global Pan-Dem-ic.

    It is an American Dem-Panic.

    A political drama–act 3 in the political dramas that began Jan. 20, 2019.

    The PC-Progs have been pushing fake panics since that day (of course, they laid the foundations for their fraudulent accusations much earlier).

    Led by the Willing Accomplices in the media, and the recently uncloaked members of the administrative State that never quits, the push to destroy the economy has been successful.

    Beyond their wildest dreams–remember the Received Wisdom last year, as the Russia-Russia-Russia hoax collapsed, that a recession was coming! Well, they crashed the stock and bond market, sent home a huge chunk of the workforce, and shut down much American economic activity. Success!

    Dem-Panic; not Pandemic.

  46. Frans van Eeden

    Dear fellow condemers of our impending doom,

    Does anyone know where to find a graph plotting Covid-19 vs influenza vs heart disease deaths during the current crisis or where to find the data (then I can do it myself) ?

    Have a nice self isolation!

  47. Update from the hot heart of pandemia: Seattle.

    The excellent virology lab at U. Washington continues to tirelessly crank out corona 19 tests.

    See the bell curve here:

    March 20, 2020’s results:
    2760 tests showed no sign of corona 19
    193 tests were positive for corona 19

    March 21, 2020’s results:
    1,440 tests showed no sign of corona 19
    114 tests were positive for corona 19

    March 22, 2020’s results:
    943 tests showed no sign of corona 19
    94 tests were positive for corona 19

    Hmmmm…exponential! Explosive! Deadly!

    Or not so much?

  48. Thank heavens for “Science!”

    Scientific American just published the crucial missing piece of science to beat this thing. Ready?

    Here it is: “Trust the government.”

    Ok corona, it’s over now!

    “Trust Is The Key to Fighting the Pandemic
    “Containing the spread of COVID-19 may require that citizens have faith in both their government and one another”

    “Crucially, both social trust and political trust vary greatly among nations and sometimes also within them. In China, for example, close to 80 percent state that they trust their government and about 60 percent believe that “most people can be trusted”—which may partly explain why, despite initial missteps, China could curb the epidemic rather quickly. Worryingly, however, the levels of both social and political trust in the U.S., which were high in the late 1960s, have since fallen substantially. Less than 40 percent of Americans trust one another and even fewer—about 20 percent—trust their government. These figures suggest that, in the absence of immediate trust-building measures by civil society and the government, the U.S. may find the pandemic exceptionally difficult to contain.”

    See, you just lack trust in our government. Relax. Let them handle it. Trust us, we’re from Washington!

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