Statistics

Mini-Coronavirus Update: The Blamestorm Is On Its Way: Fauci Walkback

Apologies to regular readers, but I got real busy the past few days. So just a mini-update on our model, which will be useful for making a couple of small points. Plus it’s Good Friday. Regular posting will resume on Monday, after Easter.

All the descriptions, caveats, warnings, explanations and everything else are in the regular updates. All data current 8 PM Thursday EST.

Look to the bottom for the important discussion on the blamestorm that’s coming. It’s on the horizon, dear ones. People are still panicky now, but it won’t last. When this is over, the loss of trillions of dollars is going to be noticed.

The overall reported totals:

Not much change from Monday, which is a good thing, and which is an indication we are post-peak. Total reported cases 2.06 million (small increase from Monday), total reported deaths 142,000 (up 10 thousand from Monday). Not surprising, since the reported deaths peak after reported cases, since you have to have it before you can be reported to die from it.

If there’s a third peak in the fall, or the Lord knows when, this model cannot see it.

Daily reported cases:

Do not expect that plunge to remain. I’d be shocked if it didn’t bump back up. Reports have a high variance. I’ve said it a hundred times, but I repeat it here: we are modeling reports of cases and deaths, and not actual cases and deaths.

The interesting thing will be to predict, using the model, the post panic date. When do the over-reactors and nervous politicians calm themselves? I don’t think you can get it from the global data. Since lock downs and the like are political, you have look at data inside political jurisdictions. See below for USA.

But if you wanted to use just the global, then maybe 7-10 days. Not until new cases and deaths cease being reported, but when politicians feel safe talking about something else. Like the economics of all this.

Daily reported deaths:

Same warming! Regular readers will recall the daily reported deaths have a strong up-down up-down up-down pattern, because of differences in reporting times. You can anyway see the lag in reported cases to reported deaths peak.

I’ll save the acceleration plots, which I don’t think we need anymore.

Here’s the reported deaths divided by reported cases. Still soaring upwards!

Note that we know we’re nearing the end when this thing starts to flatten.

USA!

Totals for USA only.

On Monday the model said “Total reported cases: 510,000. Total reported deaths: 18,500.” But now it says total reported cases: 590,000. Total reported deaths: 28,300. This is a huge jump in reported deaths. We see why in a moment.

First, daily reported cases:

Don’t forget this is across the entire USA, which has areas which start reporting and testing at different rates. Hence the double peak.

The real interest in the daily reported deaths:

What happened? Well, this Birx and others, as we have all heard by now, emphasized the way to report corona virus deaths was to “conservatively” (their word) report any death with as a death from. Incidentally, when some of us worried about this early on, we were called bad names. Ah, well. You can read the CDC guidance on death reporting here.

Dying with and not from necessarily produces higher totals. Our model is a model of reporting, and it cannot see abrupt changes in reporting methods. Tough cookies for our model. This change is not so much abrupt, but a re-emphasis of extant guidance.

On the other hand, we have the double-tap peak in reported cases, too, indicating the additions to testing.

Finally, the reported deaths divided by reported cases.

Same bump can be seen, and it’s also not flattening.

This is all we have. Using this, when does the American panic subside?

Maybe sooner than we think. This Anthony “Don’t Shake My Hand” Fauci is already walking back the predictions of reported deaths. He and his team went from 1 to 2.2 million, to 100 to 250 thousand even assuming full compliance with panic measures, to now admitting reported deaths will be “likely closer to 60,000“.

Words, you notice, which allow him to claim success if it’s 30,000.

If you were a cynic—Heaven forefend!—you might think they Facui-Birx tag team insisted on reporting death-with from death-from because they saw their initial totals were going to be ridiculously high.

The re-emphasis is a good way to boost totals. Not enough to make up the discrepancy to 175 thousand (the median of their full-compliance window), or even to 100,000, their low end.

As I said on Tuesday, anything under 100 thousand is a blown forecast. They cannot claim “social distancing worked even better than we thought!”

No. The low ball 100 thou was with “social distancing”. If under 100K, it’s a blown model. We have to look for other reasons for the corpse shortfall. Like maybe the same causes of what made the other pandemics and flu to go away are more important that the experts thought. Or we have to redefine what “social distancing” means.

Listen: those modelers have to justify the spending and loss of trillions of dollars. Not billions: trillions. Trillions! Not just on the printed-money stimulus, but the job losses, the upheavals, the chaos, fear, shortened lives, retirement funds gutted, and on and on. And on some more for years to come.

How’d you like to be the guy who said “We must full on panic!”? Especially when it’s more and more looking like your body count was way off. Brother, I would not want to be that guy. I can’t imagine being responsible for losing a couple of thousand.

What if I was the man held to account for crap-canning trillions? I too might be tempted to do anything I could to make myself look better.

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Categories: Statistics

33 replies »

  1. I would have been fired had I made a similar blunder on the job….I don’t think anyone will be escorted out of an ugly DC building over this.

  2. Broom Fauci/Birx. Trump was taken in. Economic panic now in progress. Never let this happen again.

  3. “…those modelers have to justify the spending and loss of trillions of dollars. Not billions: trillions. Trillions! Not just on the printed-money stimulus, but the job losses, the upheavals, the chaos, fear, shortened lives, retirement funds gutted, and on and on. And on some more for years to come.”

    Consequences for fake panic-mongering?

    Ha!

    We don’t need no stinkin’ consequences!

    Nothing will happen. Some reality-based critics will point out the failures and the rank fear-mongering. They’ll be dismissed as haters, deniers, inhuman non-carers.

  4. All,

    Just got word via email that the Connecticut governor announced “Dear Citizens, Screw You.

    The actual quote is “BREAKING: Non-essential businesses in Connecticut, like bars and dine-in restaurants, will NOT reopen before May 20, the governor says – WVIT”

    Insanity times three.

    They’ll have to walk this back, too.

  5. When the article it linked on Twitter the quote is
    “Apologies to regular readers, but I got real busy the past few days. So just a mini-update on our model, which will be useful for making a coup…”

  6. I work in an administrative capacity for a hospital system in Virginia. Governor Northam’s stay at home order, paired with the cancellation of elective surgeries AND the absolute stock-market DUMP has absolutely hammered us. Talks of Furloughs (if management is focusing on Cash flow) or layoffs (if they’re focusing on net income) are bubbling up from the rumorous deep (this speculation is my own, unconfirmed by the administration). Any revenue we’ll have made from Coronavirus will come at a months-to-years long delay, but all our expenses and losses were incurred today. If Governor Ralph “Home-boy” Northam doesn’t cancel his lockdown, it will create permanent damage to my employer, to the Virginia economy, and to the public psyche. The public trust will reduce to zero, and hordes of unemployed will leave the state for states whose governors who don’t panic.

    This lockdown has been absolutely farcical. The After Action reporting on this whole thing will be extremely enlightening for psychology reasons, political reasons, economic reasons. I hope heads roll but we may never see it. This is going to go down as the worst mass hysteria since the Dutch discovered Tulips.

  7. Tweet vanished. Just like the confinement will when things warm and everyone hits the beach and makes obscene gestures at cops for trying to take them in. Even stupid animals are difficult to keep caged when the weather’s nice….

    (I predict this SARS-CoV-2 will do as SARS the original did and completely vanish in less than 3 years. Hatred for the people who trashed our lives, that will last a lot longer. Much much longer.)

  8. I for one appreciate the higher death-by-C19 guesstimates. That method kept the geniuses who would otherwise be out playing.

    Hearing that 1-2 million would die has a way of keeping even liberals inside.

    And who shouldn’t be happy that the death toll isn’t a lot lower? I mean, c’mon, people…

  9. An important thing to keep in mind is that the initial 1-2 million estimate (from the Imperial College model) *also included social distancing* in their predictions. The media fanfare discussed the main prediction, which assumed we did nothing, but buried in their report is a prediction of what would occur with social distancing (not full blown shutdown, but social distancing of elderly).

    I quote from page 16 of their original report: “In the most effective mitigation strategy examined, which leads to a single, relatively short epidemic (case isolation, household quarantine and social distancing of the elderly [for 3 months]), the surge limits for both general ward and ICU beds would be exceeded by at least 8-fold under the more optimistic scenario for critical care requirements that we examined. In addition, even if all patients were able to be treated, we predict there would still be in the order of 250,000 deaths in GB, and 1.1-1.2 million in the US.”

    Source: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

    And I agree with the assessment that the 100-240K prediction from the federal government was based on *full social distancing*. I quote from page 8 of their preprint discussing their model and their initial predictions (publicly available 3/30, so we’re at least one week after): “For states that
    have not implemented 3 of 4 measures (school closures, closing non-essential services, shelter-in-place, and major travel restrictions), we have assumed that they will be implemented within 7 days, given the rapid adoption of these measures in nearly all states. ”

    source: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.27.20043752v1.full.pdf

  10. There is no chance–absolutely none–of any real retribution for anyone either supporting the farcical lockdowns or because of them! There will more likely be parades for people whose “decisive action saved so many lives.” (The fact that the original models *included* full compliance to social distancing we be lost of most people.) #NothingToSeeHere

  11. Meanwhile, PC-Progs lament the fact that a medical modeler, out on bail awaiting sentencing for research fraud, is not allowed access to government computers to perform her model magic.

    “In December of last year, she was charged in U.S. District Court with two felonies — one involving falsified information on an annual certification required for an ongoing $40,000 National Science Foundation grant…Lee pleaded guilty on both counts and is awaiting a decision in the case by a judge on May 21.”

    “Local, simultaneous modeling is necessary. I cannot do it on a single computer,” Lee said. “All the talent and knowledge I have is perfect for this purpose.”
    But for now, she added: “My wings are clipped.”

    Yeah, that must be the missing piece here–just one more computer model/modeller and we’ll surely have this thing licked! Convicted fraudulent felon? No problem! She’ll fit right in!

    https://undark.org/2020/04/09/eva-lee-georgia-tech-fraud-covid-19/

  12. Dr. Briggs,

    I am struggling to wrap my head around a Twitter argument about the purpose of the IHME model or for any prediction model in general. Scott Adams (@scottadamssays) is arguing that the purpose of a model is not accuracy but, usefulness. He says “Prediction models are not designed to be accurate. They are designed to be useful…” arguing that no one can predict the future accurately – if you could, you could get rich placing all kinds of bets – which can’t be done. He says the point of a model it to change behavior, to persuade. He says it is a distinction most people don’t understand, but anyone who has had to model for a living understands – and in his corporate life, he made many models. He claims that the experts first reach a consensus based on the experience and expertise and use the model to quantify and communicate a picture, a graph or a statistic to the masses as a way to communicate.

    His point is that the arguments over whether the models have been accurate are not even relevant or in the right ballpark. As it relates to Coronavirus, in the end, the IHME model persuaded people to change behavior massively.

    Any thoughts about this line of thinking. I am in charge of forecasting for a large company – earnings, growth, expenses. If I spoke the way Scott does about models, I would not have a job. However, I am sympathetic to his argument, because I do see senior management biased to their view even before seeing models.

  13. “A phlebotomist working at Roseland Community Hospital said Thursday that 30% to 50% of patients tested for the coronavirus have antibodies while only around 10% to 20% of those tested have the active virus.”

    So the case rate could be 5 x higher based on this, reducing mortality rate by 1/5.
    Also, the Navy death ship results are in :
    95% Tested
    14% Positive
    ZERO Hospilitizations.

    Oh Well, just a couple trillion dollars and billions of miserable people worldwide.

  14. Briggs…”If there’s a third peak in the fall, or the Lord knows when, this model cannot see it,”
    This is the best part the house arrest virtually guarantees a
    3rd wave of cases & deaths this fall just before the election. Timing is everything
    & there’s more than one way to skin a Trump cat. And after all to be fair they
    have tried pretty much everything else. Is that too cynical is life really just one
    big coincidence piled upon the next? One thing is for sure when this is all over
    the store shelves will be simply bursting with cheap Chinese goods for you to purchase. They all went back to work weeks ago and cynically just stopped
    any negative or factual reporting on the plague…..except to declare victory.

  15. @Scott, Derb has a great quote about people that gets to the heart of why so many models are built to tell the story that folks want to tell. Data driven decision making is mostly a lie told to shareholders or board members, much like six sigma, lean, agile, etc.

    “The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list. “

  16. Logic seldom precedes events but it positively explodes once everything’s
    over. Nate you’re twisting that shopworn quote into a pretzel it can
    used to explain everything or absolutely nothing.

  17. I have heard muffled talk of a “second surge” that will delay normal business activities in my field into and throughout the fall. No one knows for sure if there will be a second wave of cases, and I don’t know what model is predicting this, but business decisions will be made on the “what-if” as in, “what if we get sued for failing to protect our employees and clients/customers?” (From something that hitherto, there had been no liability).

    Brings to mind a story I heard about some kind media executive who had the sniffles and apologized for/bragged about having caught “Pierce Brosnan’s cold.”

  18. And what if the death count is growing because of the criminal decision by the federal government to label every death with kung flu present a kung flu death?

  19. Below is a link to an article written by a highly respected nutrition writer.

    Why should you read it?

    Morell asks a question that few ask and more should consider: Can EMF exposure, especially the new 5G roll-outs throughout the globe, be precipitating factors for Covid-19 in susceptible individuals ?

    Before sneering, recall:

    When X-ray technology was first widely disseminated, no one realized that it was dangerous, even lethal in addition to being useful. Wide-spread cases of so-called radiation sickness led to the discovery of X-ray’s dangerous properties when exposure was prolonged and/or the “dosage” high.

    In addition to the compelling information in the linked-below article, likewise compelling are the two videos referenced by the writer:
    * The talk by Andrew Kaufman, M.D. (about 30 minutes); and
    * The 5-minute video by Cameron Kyle-Sidell, M.D. currently working on the front lines in New York City.

    Read the article; watch the videos.

    Here’s the link:
    https://nourishingtraditions.com/is-coronavirus-contagious/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=how-to-protect-yourself-from-coronavirus-or-any-virus_1

  20. “Can EMF exposure, especially the new 5G roll-outs throughout the globe, be precipitating factors for Covid-19 in susceptible individuals ?”

    No, probably not. 5G is most common in highly populated areas, which is the more likely reason for greater spread in those places.

    Their correlation-as-causation reasoning could be used to say that tall buildings cause viral infections.

  21. Fredo wrote “…the house arrest virtually guarantees a
    3rd wave of cases & deaths…”

    This “flattening of the curve” stuff – the sciencey folks say we have to do this to avoid overwhelming the ICUs. The non-sciencey talking-heads shorten this to “save lives”, but is that really accurate? On the charts I’ve seen, admittedly not to any sort of scale, the area under the flattened curve usually looks bigger than the area under the peaked curve. Do the sciencey folks perhaps know their models predict more overall deaths due to curve-flattening, and that’s why they only talk about overwhelming ICUs and not saving lives?

    If the antibody testing does actually show that a much larger percentage of the population than expected has been exposed, meaning the virus must spread much quicker and more easily and more asymptotically than thought, will the wisdom of the nationwide quarantine be viewed any differently in hindsight?

    In other words, will society learn anything useful from this whole thing?

  22. Josh,

    Keep in mind that both/and thinking is particularly useful when dealing with so many variables as well as so many matters that don’t quite add up.

    With this in mind, may I gently suggest that it would make more sense to comment after (at least) reading the article?

    It would make even better sense to read the article, listen to Dr. Kaufman’s talk and watch Dr. Kyle-Sidell’s short video before commenting. Links are provided in the piece.

    NB: You will be pleased to observe correlation-is-not-causation disclaimers in the article while pointing out other matters that haven’t been considered.

    Inasmuch as there is a great deal that isn’t quite adding up surrounding all of this, the wisest course might be to remain open to the possibility of the unexpected.

  23. Do the Math – USA numbers:
    16697 x 0.9% = 150 Deaths without pre-existing Conditions
    See https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/04/numbers-150-americans-date-no-pre-existing-conditions-died-coronavirus-0-9/
    Of course the 16697 will change as we go forward but not the 0.9% – As of Saturday night 4/11/2020 11:18 CT
    Updated Math is
    20577 x 0.9% = 185 Deaths without pre-existing Conditions
    Here is an interesting take on reason why –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPrg_lhNYRM&feature=emb_logo

  24. For a site that’s constantly preaching the gospel of humility regarding uncertainty, there’s an awesome surfeit of certainty in the absence of data.

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