Coronavirus Update XIV: Stretching Your Fear Dollar

Coronavirus Update XIV: Stretching Your Fear Dollar

All the good stuff, caveats, code, data sources and explanations are linked, some in Update III, and the most important in Update II, Update IV, Update V, Update VI, Update VII, Update VIII, Update IX, Update X, Update XI, Update XII, Update XIII, Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus, and the Sanity Check Perspective, so go to them first before asking what-about-this-and-that. Skip to the bottom for the latest model. Thanks to everybody emailing me sources, including Ted Poppke, Jeff Jorgensen, Jim Fedako, Joe Bastardi, Philip Pilkington, John Buckner, Harry Goff, John Goetz, Warren McGee, Robert Kinney III, Paul Hainey, Darren Nelson. Sorry I’m slow answering emails.

Assorted nitwittery

Dictators gonna dictate; or, coronavirus attaches itself to all deeds. If this decision is based on “science”, which it surely is, then science is an ass. We need far, far less science in this country.

“Hey, Bob, CNN says their constant use of ‘Breaking News’ is the best way to increase unnecessary fear and panic.”

“Hold my beer.”

Trump Death Clock’ showing US coronavirus toll in real-time is beamed onto massive Times Square billboard

The enormous ticking tracker was brought to NYC on May 8 and the 56-foot LED screen keeps a running count of the lives lost ‘unnecessarily’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Juicy numbers? Oh go on. Illinois looking to remove inaccurate numbers from COVID-19 death toll

Ezike says that while a majority of the reported deaths came from a COVID-19 related illness, a small number of those deaths may have come from patients who tested positive but died from unrelated reasons, like a gunshot wound or a car accident.

However, if someone died with cancer and COVID-19, they would still be included in the COVID-19 death total. Doctors say that data is important for scientists to examine how the virus attacks patients.

Idiot bureaucrat sits and thinks “I have an idea. Therefore, given my authority, the idea is a good idea.” And then everybody suffers from the idea, which can’t be made to go away. If there’s one thing coronavirus did do with certainty, it increased global stupidity levels.

We only need the headline: YouTube censors epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski for opposing lockdown.

Notice YouTube is only banning the sanest, most rational criticisms from people who know how to think about the subject. This proves the blue-haired harpies and soy-boy Silicon Valley tech police are running scared.

Perfidious Albion & Her Younger Brother

The updated all-cause per capita death, current as of 1 May (the latest), of England & Wales. Dashed lines are all deaths minus official coronavirus deaths.

England is not going to beat, it seems, the 1999-2000 flu season. Totals for all deaths due rise of late reports, but it’s not likely they’ll rise enough to take the cup. Maybe tie the 1998-1999 flu season. Worth mentioning there were no lockdowns for those bad flu years?

Here’s the blow up of the totals:

Again, the dashed line is the total dead minus official COVID deaths. The drop at end of both lines is from late reporting.

Deaths are ordinarily on their way down this time of the year. The dashed lines says they’re up, maybe about ~25K. These are not official COVID deaths. They are therefore deaths caused by other things. Such as lockdowns, with, possibly, some unacknowledged coronavirus deaths thrown in. This graph thus suggests, but does not prove, that lockdowns kill.

From reader Jens, who just made the deadline, we have this BMJ paper: “Covid-19: ‘Staggering number’ of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19.”

Only a third of the excess deaths seen in the community in England and Wales can be explained by covid-19, new data have shown…

However, David Spiegelhalter, chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge, said that covid-19 did not explain the high number of deaths taking place in the community.

At a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre on 12 May he explained that, over the past five weeks, care homes and other community settings had had to deal with a “staggering burden” of 30 000 more deaths than would normally be expected, as patients were moved out of hospitals that were anticipating high demand for beds.

Of those 30 000, only 10 000 have had covid-19 specified on the death certificate. While Spiegelhalter acknowledged that some of these “excess deaths” might be the result of underdiagnosis, “the huge number of unexplained extra deaths in homes and care homes is extraordinary. When we look back . . . this rise in non-covid extra deaths outside the hospital is something I hope will be given really severe attention.”

Now that it’s not just me saying it, you’re free to repeat it to your betters.

Here’s the same per capita weekly dead for the US:

Last week busted the very-short US record, with this week seeing the flu season totals matching the 2017-2018 season. Congratulations, coronavirus! You did it. At least in the US.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing the upward trend we see is due to the aging population. These numbers don’t well reflect the younger people who broke the law the come to the country illegally. Does make you wonder if this new bug had a different name and hit at peak of flu season, whether anybody would have cared. Or if we had a more regular and not such a short flu season—notice the quick peak and drop off in January. Well, this is life.

Speaking of the very short record, does anybody have weekly deaths from before 2009? Yearly deaths we have, but I’ve been unable to locate any weekly numbers.

Here’s the same blow up in numbers:

The different colors are from the two different CDC official sources (green, black). Same late reporting. Same conclusion as before. This graph suggests, but of course does not prove, that lockdowns, directly or indirectly, kill. Not as bad as in England. The difference in peaks is not as dramatic given just last couple of years, less panic-inducing.

Here, from Macro Trends, is U.S. year-end death rate from 1950 to 2019. Deaths are show as annual numbers per 1,000, and not 100,000 as above. Note the end is 2019, before the bug started whacking people in the States.

It does’t appear likely the corona year of doom will surpass dates from the 60s and 70s. We won’t know until after Christmas.

Global Model

In my boredom of having repeated it an endless number of times, last week I forgot to remind us these are models of reports and not actual numbers. Nobody—and here I mean no human being—knows the correct actual numbers.

Global reported totals:

New projected totals: reported cases 5.2 million, reported deaths 330 thousand. Last week “4.5 million cases, 300 thousand deaths.” Obviously, testing is, as we predicted, revealing lots of extant cases, which is really pushing reported cases up. Reporting for deaths up, too.

Daily reported cases:

I warned us that they’d use “new cases” as the metric to frighten people as deaths decrease. I lost count of the number of media sources doing just that. When we know, as I have been stressing week after week, that extant cases must be much larger than reported. Here’s how we know this.

Reported deaths divided by reported cases:

There is no way, given the independent and careful sampling evidence, that this bug is killing 6.5% of those it infects. If, as some evidence indicates, it’s killing 0.5% to 0.3%, then we know there must be anywhere from 64 million to 107 million already present cases.

Daily reported deaths:

Our old friend, the weekly cycle in reporting, is there and now very plain. It’s very clear our naive model is not capturing the more gradual tail off, lagging by, say, two to three weeks.

We’re now about the same level as we were on 1 April, and by then, we recall, the panic was already in full swing.


Reported totals:

New projected totals: reported cases 1.6 million, reported deaths 88 thousand. Last week “1.39 million cases, 79 thousand deaths.” As above, testing is, as also predicted, revealing lots of extant cases, pushing reported cases up. Reporting for deaths up here, too.

Indeed, the USA still reports about a third of all worldwide cases, and a quarter of all reported deaths! This should amaze you.

Daily reported cases:

Just as above, they’re using “new cases” as the metric to frighten people as deaths decrease. Here again is how we know there must be many more cases than tests have revealed.

Reported deaths divided by reported cases:

As before, there is no way this bug is killing 5.7% of those it infects. If the real dead rate is 0.5% to 0.3%, then there must be 17 to 28 million Americans already infected.

Daily reported deaths:

The media is touting 84,640 total dead, as of Monday night, and which are the numbers I’m using in the models. But the CDC says 62,515. This is a discrepancy of 22 thousand. Peanuts!

The weight of evidence leans toward the CDC, of course, because of the picture of weekly all dead.

The model is still not capturing the more gradual tail off in reports. But it’s not as bad as Imperial College’s model claiming 2.5 million dead Americans.

Look: the CDC may be right and the media wrong, but it’s the media numbers that count. They are responsible for causing a great deal of the panicked overreaction. This is why I stick to using their reports. And why I insist on modeling reports, and not trying to estimate actual deaths.

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  1. Harry G

    The news reports indicate that the Northern Hemisphere is “rapidly” relaxing lockdowns. Just in time for the Northern Summer when things should get better anyway with all that outdoor air and UV light to help.
    Meanwhile down in the Southern Hemisphere the politicians and their Advisers are about to start relaxing the lockdown requirements because “we have all been good”. My prediction: Northern Hemisphere GOOD, Southern Hemisphere BAD, solely because of the prevailing weather and nothing to do with the actions of politicians and their manic advisers.
    Just for the record coldest day in Perth Western Australia for 8 months – nothing like a few cold days to keep people cooped up together and inflate a few numbers eh?
    Australia has just gone reached 100 deaths attributed to WuFlu according to the official statistics as published. My take – its a virus that affects older people with pre-existing conditions, not as bad as flu – not yet anyway. However people like our friend Briggs are not to be found in the public service bureaucracy are they? – the tenet seems to be never let a pandemic go to waste.

  2. Dan Hughes

    “Indeed, the USA still reports about a third of all worldwide cases, and a quarter of all reported deaths! This should amaze you.”

    yep, and then when you look at the 3 or 4 Hot Spots in the USA, and then the singular Hottest Spot ( Chronological Maturity to the max ) within those, the percentages approach an unbelievable level. And, apparently, this holds World Wide.

    There must be 100s (1000s ?) of millions of sick people out there who are unaware that they’re sick. That or R0 is either close to 0, or works on only the Chronologically Mature and/or otherwise Health Challenged.

  3. Sheri

    Pennsylvania is trying to prevent fleeing the state. And encouraging bankruptcies and just walking on the house. As oil and gas die, so goes Pennsylvania. Guess the Governor is mercy killing the state.

    “Unnecessarily?” Only those arrogant GODS of the Democrat party say that. Funny GODS, though, they will kill you with drugs, have death panels (well, only Cuomo) for nursing homes, and let cars and subways kill you and criminals let out of jail murder you. One wonders what “unnecessarily” actually means. (I know, it means “Orange Man Bad”. I’m just being sarcastic.)

    “If there’s one thing coronavirus did do with certainty, it increased global stupidity levels.” They were already astronomically high or this would not have happened. Maybe it just revealed the height.

    As for “not knowing the numbers”, Wyoming is now at 10 deaths. TWO occurred over a month ago OUT OF STATE and were not reported until now. So, yeah, bogus all the way with the numbers reporting.

    We’ll be at the level we were April 1 through at least April 1, 2021 or longer if the media can maintain this while doing the “Orange Man Bad”, “Senile Fool Good” during the election. Could overtax them…..Be happy this did not happen under Obama. We’d still be locked down and Hillary would be president.

    The USA is proclaiming “We are the stupidest sheep out there and proud of it”, plus, we’re too stupid to count. Reminds me of daycare again…

    Briggs: The model and method of counting Covid 19 cases and deaths is the same as the GAO uses for all government accounting. Need I say more?

  4. Ken

    Re “we need far, far less science in this country”

    No, we need the good science and less bad science, including the sensibility to reject the bad.

    By what logic is a certain [vaguely described] discipline rejected based on the abuses and/or errors of some – not all – practitioners? By that kind of thinking instead of bemoaning improper use of p-values, just advocate for far, far less statistics.

    That aside, as the media sensationalizes the data it’s way why not sensationalize the data “your” way – such as by adding another benchmark (a scale on the right y-axis) for trending abortions. Toss in pent up demand there, as no doubt the lockdown is delaying some, or, are those killings designated as “essential?”

    Those ongoing killings are headed to over 500,000 Dead this year. For convenience, mostly. Cumulative since Roe v Wade is over 40 Million killed (USA only!). Consider that relative to recent benchmarks:

    Greater Than 4x the population of Sweden killed for convenience.

    Roughly 2/3 the UK population….

    If one avoidable Covid-19 death in NY is too much, why are 1000s killed for convenience ok?

    This is a good time to call out our liberals for the death-dealing hypocrites they are.

  5. Fredo

    In trying to contextualize events, and given the over the top response
    in China locking down some 300 million people, it seems clear that
    they knew they were dealing with a bio-weapon from the start. I think
    the top leadership in many countries were aware of this and certainly
    top level elements in the virology community knew immediately either by
    sequencing the genome, information supplied by Chinese virologists,
    or by some Orwellian Malthusian Magician, somehow they knew exactly
    what this was and panic or plan promptly set in.

    The Herculean efforts to stamp this out and claim this is a naturally
    occurring pathogen reveals high level efforts to hide this from the public,
    probably in order to save their labs and continued research into weaponized microbes. It’s not necessarily the crime but the cover up that will eventually
    reveal the truth. The torrent of articles denying this is a lab made creation so quickly from the usual suspects, (Nature magazine The Economist Forbes etc.), reveals much more than it conceals.

    Thanks for all you do Dr. Briggs and for dealing with the statistical
    malfeasance that permeates so much agenda driven science now
    bombarding humanity on a daily basis.

  6. Sheri

    If this was a bioweapon, China is very, very poor at creating them. A bioweapon should kill many, many more than seasonal flu, etc. The model originally presented should have come true and more. Now, it could be a bioweapon in the sense it’s testing how incredibly stupid humans are…..

    Speaking of stupid, our landfill just spent nearly a million dollars to upgrade the balefill and now it’s shut because “Covid–we have to bury the trash every day, so it goes out to the landfill, not the baler.” A million dollars for zip. So adorable. What wonder other stupid ideas are costing millions a day.

  7. Fredo

    Sheri I think the only consideration left at this point is was it accidental
    or purposeful. It may have been accidental and being synthetic extreme
    measures were taken to contain it, or it was released with other nefarious
    goals in mind. The lock down reaction and extreme measures point to fore-
    knowledge either way. Significant unknowns in terms of the virus’s
    pathogenic potential remained, invitro and invivo testing in human and
    animal cells can only tell you so much. Either way this is a world altering
    event of unprecedented magnitude and we need to put a stop to this type
    of research. The logic is fallacious golly we had to create this super bug,
    that would have never occurred in nature to find a vaccine for it. It’s
    another endless arms race, this type or research is already illegal under
    the Nuremberg Code.

    As this virus spreads and is assimilated by millions of people it will
    change and mutate generally to a weaker state though it will remain with
    us a part of us forever. Who knows what unknown sequelae might
    emerge later irrespective of it’s current leathality. It’s a roll of the dice
    on a scale never before imagined with four distinct HIV surface protein
    sequences sitting on top of what was once a relatively harmless cold
    virus. A;ready people sneezing and coughing has taken on a whole new
    dimension of something ominous and foreboding.

  8. Grima Squeakersen

    Do a web search on the terms: “coroner”; ‘covid-19″; “death”; “dispute”
    You may find skimming the hits startling. Let this account represent dozens of other, similar results:
    ***Pa. removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, data accuracy Pa. removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, data accuracy***
    “Jeffrey Conner, the coroner in Franklin County, said he was blindsided by the department’s news on Tuesday that 10 people had died of COVID-19 in the county. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said, he was aware of only one death.”

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