Coronavirus

Are We Battling an Unprecedented Pandemic or Panicking at a Computer-Generated Mirage?

A close look at the new study from Imperial College which models worst-case scenarios and makes the case for social distancing.

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A new study generating a lot of buzz this week asks: How bad could an unmitigated COVID-19 pandemic get?

More than 80 percent of Americans would eventually be infected and about 2.2 million would die of the disease, according to the projections in a new modeling study by researchers at Imperial College (I.C.) in the United Kingdom. That implies a case-fatality rate of just over 0.8 percent. In this baseline scenario, in which no public health measures are taken, the death rate would peak at around 56,000 per day sometime around late June.

In order to prevent this dire scenario, the I.C. researchers calculate that the adoption of population-wide social distancing combined with home isolation of cases and school and university closure could cut death rates by more than 90 percent. By population-wide social distancing, the researchers mean that all households reduce their contact outside the household, school, or workplace by 75 percent. To suppress the epidemic and flatten the disease curve, these control measures would have to stay in place until a vaccine is developed and deployed in about 12 to 18 months.

"We're doomed," my Reason colleague Robby Soave argues in the event 18 months of extreme social distancing is actually what would be required to stop the coronavirus epidemic.

Doom in the financial sense is already haunting millions of small businesses as the social distancing recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are implemented. The CDC urges a nationwide halt fo gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. President Donald Trump says that gatherings should be no larger than 10 people. In an effort to reduce mass gatherings of people as a way to slow the COVID-19 epidemic, many states have ordered "non-essential" businesses such as bars, restaurants, casinos, museums, and gyms to shut down. In addition, 39 states have ordered K-12 public schools to close. The CDC also recommends that folks diagnosed with the disease and who are mildly ill to stay home.

All of these measures aim to slow down the course of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Will they work? Interestingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) just last year did a comprehensive review of both empirical and model simulation studies on how various non-pharmaceutical measures aimed at mitigating the effects of pandemic influenza epidemics. It is somewhat surprising how low the quality of evidence provided by many of the studies cited by the WHO researchers is. Keeping in mind that the WHO report is addressing pandemic flu, not coronavirus, what did the WHO report recommend with respect to social distancing measures?

(1) Voluntary isolation at home of sick individuals with uncomplicated illness is recommended during all influenza epidemics and pandemics, with the exception of the individuals who need to seek medical attention.

(2) Home quarantine of exposed individuals to reduce transmission is not recommended because there is no obvious rationale for this measure, and there would be considerable difficulties in implementing it. (This contradicts that I.C. study's recommendation.)

(3) Coordinated proactive school closures or class dismissals are suggested during a severe epidemic or pandemic. In such cases, the adverse effects on the community should be fully considered (e.g. family burden and economic considerations), and the timing and duration should be limited to a period that is judged to be optimal.

(4) Workplace measures (e.g. encouraging teleworking from home, staggering shifts, and loosening policies for sick leave and paid leave) are conditionally recommended, with gradation of interventions based on severity. Extreme measures such as workplace closures can be considered in extraordinarily severe pandemics in order to reduce transmission.

(5) Avoiding crowding during moderate and severe epidemics and pandemics is conditionally recommended, with the gradation of strategies linked with severity in order to increase the distance and reduce the density among populations.

One of the modeling studies cited by the WHO report finds, in a high flu transmission scenario, that a 100 percent "school closure causes a small reduction in cumulative attack rates, but a more substantial reduction in peak attack rates (of up to 40%). Such a reduction in peak incidence could mitigate stresses on healthcare systems and absenteeism in the critical workforce." That is, school closures slow down the epidemic although they do not reduce the overall number of folks who eventually become infected.

It is worth noting that the reproduction number for the pandemic 1918 Spanish flu is estimated to have been around 1.8, that is, each infected person passed the illness on to nearly two other people. The same number for seasonal flu viruses is about 1.3. It's still early in the coronavirus pandemic, but preliminary estimates suggest that 2.6 is the basic reproduction number for that disease. If that number holds up, the novel coronavirus is considerably more infectious than regular or even pandemic flu, making it that much more difficult to control.

The case for adopting the WHO report's more extreme social distancing measures strengthens with the projected severity of the pandemic disease. Are we just at the beginning of an extraordinarily severe pandemic or are we being panicked by a computer-generated mirage?

As spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, how lucky do you feel?

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  1. Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen by late December last year, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news, a Chinese media outlet has revealed.
    A regional health official in Wuhan, centre of the outbreak, demanded the destruction of the lab samples that established the cause of unexplained viral pneumonia on January 1. China did not acknowledge there was human-to-human transmission until more than three weeks later…
    Censors have been rapidly deleting the report from the Chinese internet.

    1. Li and others knew in December the virus was spreading through human contact. But the government publicly denied it until Jan. 20. The World Health Organization tweeted Jan. 14, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” Such lies helped the virus spread more quickly than it should’ve, as Wuhan authorities OK’d a potluck banquet involving tens of thousands of people.

      1. This may all be true, but it is both irrelevant and somewhat suspicious in that the Chinese death toll is well under 4,000 people.

        1. That’s less than 2 days of normal U.S. traffic fatalities.

          1. So, you think 750,000 people die a year in U.S. traffic fatalities? Hint: It’s actually about 32000/year.

        2. It is even more suspicious that the German mortality rate is 0.15% scarcely more than seasonal flu.

          Without uniform definitions about when to attribute a fatality to covid-19, the national numbers are all questionable

        3. “Chinese death toll is well under 4,000 people.”

          Fact not in evidence. There is little reason to believe any information put out by Emperor Xi.

      2. Or maybe the Chinese government blew this out of proportion to test and established tighter controls over the Chinese population and to bankrupt the West. Anyone can come up with a crazy conspiracy theory.

        1. I mean, that at least seems plausible. As far as conspiracy theories go.

        2. Its not crazy since that is what is happening. throwing 4000 people under the bus out of over a billion is a small price to pay for world domination and we paid for it all with our dollars

          1. And lives mean little to a communist dictator.

          2. The problem with this theory is it has hurt his power more than helped, because he lost a lot of confidence. Xi is still in the ruling through respect situation, he’s not ruling through outright brutal force. And nobody thinks he wants to go there, because many suspect the Chinese people wouldn’t accept it anymore. Xi rules because people think he’s doing a good job… If they don’t think he’s doing a good job, that could change.

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  2. When doctors did finally establish the Hua’nan link in late December, they quarantined Ms. Wei and others like her and raised the alarm to their superiors. But they were prevented by Chinese authorities from alerting their peers, let alone the public.

    One of the first doctors to alert Chinese authorities was criticized for “spreading rumors” after sharing with a former medical-school classmate a test result showing a patient had a coronavirus. Another doctor had to write a self-criticism letter saying his warnings “had a negative impact.”

  3. Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen by late December last year, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news, a Chinese media outlet has revealed.

    A regional health official in Wuhan, centre of the outbreak, demanded the destruction of the lab samples that established the cause of unexplained viral pneumonia on January 1. China did not acknowledge there was human-to-human transmission until more than three weeks later.

    The detailed revelations by Caixin Global, a respected independent publication, provide the clearest evidence yet of the scale of the cover-up in the crucial early weeks when the opportunity was lost to control the outbreak. Censors have been rapidly deleting the report from the Chinese internet.

  4. This is no more unprecedented than the Spanish flu, the swine flu, or any other disease that we have discovered.
    People get sick from mew diseases all the time, it is a natural event.
    In the end, it will become just another sickness.
    Unless we let the madness drive civilization over the cliff.

    1. Yep.

      We’re the herd of buffalo that went cliff diving en masse because they saw a lone wolf in the distance.

      The problem is that unless we stop the madness now, it’s too late. The economy is wrecked, and it’s about to get a lot worse.

      1. Yes, but there’s a critical caveat to this: “we” didn’t voluntarily decide to jump off the cliff! We were forcibly thrown over the edge of the cliff by the most evil, ruthless, unscrupulous people in our society: power-mad, deranged leftists. A huge difference.

        1. No, by politicians of all parties who think they always need to “Do something!”

    2. yes and we need to let it play out. BTW it may already have some are claiming it was here last fall even before the Chinese discovered it

    3. Spanish flu was disastrous. To claim this is only as bad as the Spanish Flu isn’t much of a comfort. Swine flu wasn’t that bad, but that was partly because we do have Tamiflu which halts the flu in and individual in a few days.

      1. The thing people who downplay this seem to not understand:

        If this isn’t a massive, near apocalyptic level event, it will ONLY be because we took strong action. If we let this run completely wild and pretended nothing was going on, every hospital in the country would be full in like another couple weeks, and tons of people would be dying of OTHER things because they couldn’t get beds, and millions would die… Including plenty of middle aged people.

        As shitty as it is, a fairly brisk response is needed. SOME local areas are going too far already… But I think canning stadium shit, maybe restaurant closures, etc are reasonable. But all factories and other stuff should stay open. We need to balance the interests reasonable.

  5. Jesse Watters, on “The Five”, just seemed to endorse a complete shutdown of the economy, no matter what the cost (another Depression?), until the virus is under control. The panic panic is getting out of control.

    1. Well, consider the source – – – – – –

    2. This is more than panic. These people at the CDC and the IC are encouraged to be as conservative as possible. No one is going to hold them accountable for “Jobs Lost”, but they will hold them accountable for “excessive deaths”. So how do they deal with that? Start by overestimating “expected Deaths” and then recommend the most draconian rules to limit those deaths. They don’t even have to do this maliciously- it is just how the incentives line up.

      1. This is exactly it.

        Their job is suggest the measures that might be most effective, other considerations be damned. It’s all theoretical to them. They play with models and act as if they’re playing SIM City. Fallout isn’t a consideration because it’s beyond their scope.

        It’s perverse.

      2. In the CDC report of March 18 they conclude that ICU admissions and death occur in any age group. The break out numbers in the report state that among <19 age group there were no ICU admissions or deaths. They are trying to maintain a narrative to protect themselves from the social mob.

        1. Except in other countries there have been plenty! I’ve seen numbers that showed death rates of 1/500 for basically under 40, and 1/250 for 40-60ish. Not insanely high, but if I was the 1/500 22 year old that died I’d be pretty pissed.

    3. “Jesse Watters, on “The Five”, just seemed to endorse a complete shutdown of the economy, no matter what the cost (another Depression?”

      Given the damage already done, I’m not sure it takes much more to end up in a formal depression.
      The economy isn’t like a light switch you can simply turn back on after you do this sort of damage to the economy.
      No way the economy recovers in 2020 even if Trump and every other chicken little were to put a sock in it right now. Quite a bit of damage has already been done, and done by DESIGN, FFS!

  6. One thing I find interesting is that all of the forecasts, even this one, project a massive reduction in mortality compared to what reality has borne out so far, even this one. To the point of reducing lethality from 3.4% to 0.5%, which is quite an optimistic projection.

    Don’t worry, worst case scenario is that 60-80% of us will get it, and no more than 1.6 million will die.

    Let’s see… 330,000,000… that’s 198-264 million infected… 3.4% dead, unless the hospitals are overrun and it spikes due to inability to treat victims… carry the one…
    6.7 to 8.9 million dead…

    oops, it looks like they must have had a small rounding error…

    1. The 3.4% number that WHO is using is heavily biased by chain smokers living in polluted cities with developing-world health care systems.

      The current outlook in South Korea has around 1% of identified infected dying. And of course we do not know how many before that were infected and got better.

      1. US has an obesity epidemic, though. Obesity has been identified as an increased risk.

        1. It’s only gonna get worse. Everyone is sitting at home and stress eating.

        2. Yeah.

          Also, SK and China both confined the virus before it overwhelmed their medical system.

          Italy failed to do so, and is likely going to surpass the number of deaths in China, and seems to have about an 8% fatality rate right now because they are having to leave some people to die.

          1. Which shows how important it is to at least slow the spread and keep in manageable. How people don’t understand this shit with ALL the info out there is insane.

      2. No. The 3.4% is the number that resulted in a location where the hospitals were overwhelmed beyond capacity for a week or two. Which is why they crash built a total of eleven (I think) field hospitals

        Italy (and prob Spain now) have now hit ‘hospitals full’ point. If they’re lucky the lockdown will reduce the spread quickly. If not – Italy will be as much the Third World with fatality rates like the Third World has in epidemics.

        Great hospitals with all the best equipment and doctors don’t do any good for new cases if they’re full.

        And you’re wrong about Korea too. They tracked and traced and tested those contacts to quarantine them extensively. So the contagion gets directly reduced before you need bigger lockdown

        1. The 3.4% is the number that resulted in a location where the hospitals were overwhelmed beyond capacity for a week or two.

          Think about the inapplicability if not outright falsehood for a minute; All hospitals within a *one-week* radius were filled to capacity and beyond.

        2. Italy is at 8% fatalities the highest reported in the world. The world average is ~4%. The national rate is uncorrelated with average age of the population, The very wide spread in reported mortality from 0% to 8% suggests that there are some other important hidden variables. If the rate were really ).15% as Germany reports, destroying the economy harms more people than it helps

      3. I just read a study that posits a full 86% of ALL cases are undocumented, because those people were never sick enough to seek medical attention.

        86%. So that means the vast majority of people who catch it suffer little or no symptoms at all. Which puts the death tolls much, much lower than whatever bullshit line we’re being fed. The real number is more like 1/7 of that.

    2. The argument is that asymptomatic and lightly symptomatic people aren’t included in the case numbers, and if included, would bring down the case fatality rate by bringing up the denominator.

      I would counter that people keep mistakenly calculating case fatality rates as
      Deaths/(Deaths + infections)
      instead of
      Deaths/(Deaths + recoveries)

      So far, I don’t see recoveries. Except …

      Except on small but convincing studies with 100% recovery rates using chloroquine. Unless something incredibly weird happened with those studies, chloroquine is basically a cure. Probably not for everyone, but it will significantly lower fatality rates, infection rates, and hospitalization rates.

      Choloroquine is a *preventive* medicine used to fight *getting* malaria. If we *all* used it on a short term basis, we’ll basically end the large scale societal threat.

      All scenarios that don’t take chloroquine as a treatment option into account are entirely overplaying the danger.

  7. many states have ordered “non-essential” businesses such as bars, restaurants, casinos, museums, and gyms to shut down. In addition, 39 states have ordered K-12 public schools to close

    , indicating public schools are also “non-essential”.

    1. indicating public schools are also “non-essential”.

      Every so often the truth slips out.

    2. Government schools are child abuse.

    1. Doesn’t matter:
      SHUT DOWN THE ECONOMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. If I were a paranoid sort, I’d say this shutdown over what is essentially a brutal cold is evidence of the NWO.

    2. That makes it ok?

      What percentage of all age brackets do you think have *no* pre existing illnesses?

      Diabetics and pre-diabetics by themselves are 122 million adults. Now add in smokers. Those with hypertension. Cardiovascular disease.

  8. By population-wide social distancing, the researchers mean that all households reduce their contact outside the household, school, or workplace by 75 percent.

    Just speaking for myself, but cutting my contact outside of “the household, school, or workplace by 75 percent” would, for all intents and purposes, reduce my contact to zero. Apparently I was practicing social distancing before it was cool… oh God, does that mean I’m a hipster? If so, kill me now.

    1. If flattening the curve works, CA may have to wait a while.

    2. Me, too, except there’s no chance I’m a hipster. I was just reading an article on what constitutes “necessary activities” during a shelter in place order. It turns out that other than perhaps 4 or 5 days a month and going to a workplace, the article basically described my life. For once, I’m ahead of the times…

      1. Introverts rise up! This is *our* time!

    3. Same here. I haven’t spoken to anyone face to face aside from my wife in nearly a month now. I’m a bit of recluse by habit perhaps but even this is starting to grate on me.

    4. There’s a meme going around:
      “The face when you learn that your lifestyle is called quarantine.”

  9. I caught the cold my GF is getting over. I have no idea if it’s Wuhan coronavirus or just a cold. Since the school is going to be closed for a bit, I was going to do some side work, but most of my customers are elderly, so I guess I’m sidelined, at least until I’m not coughing.

    1. Hope you get better soon, brother.

    2. Yeah seriously…..get well. I hope it is just a garden variety cold.

      1. Even if it’s coronavirus his odds are very good. Can we stop pretending this is a very dangerous disease?

        Everyone should (re)watch Contagion if they haven’t. The disease in that movie is truly devastating; an actual plague. It will hopefully put into context how mild coronavirus is.

        1. It’s not PC to say that a virus that doesn’t kill children, or virtually anyone else under the age of 70 who doesn’t have some other mitigating health factor isn’t dangerous.

          The world is fucked. The effects from our incredibly stupid decisions to destroy the economy and welcome government rule will linger every bit as long as the bullshit resulting from 911 and 2008.

  10. Hey I know a way we can get out of this mess – why don’t we just go to war with China? I’m sure our military has been working diligently to ensure some sort of confrontation – at least by proxy.

    Yep coronavirus was the kick in the pants we needed to find someone to unleash the economic juggernaut of American pride on the world.

  11. “…In this baseline scenario, in which no public health measures are taken, the death rate would peak at around 56,000 per day sometime around late June.
    In order to prevent this dire scenario, the I.C. researchers calculate that the adoption of population-wide social distancing combined with home isolation of cases and school and university closure could cut death rates by more than 90 percent…”

    Ignoring what seems to be a small flare-up from tourist-transmission, China seems to be close to ‘over it’.
    China has a population of ~1,000,000,000, a lot of it densely populated, with medical care levels far below the US, a lot of medical ‘issues’, and they didn’t take a lot of effort to isolate the disease until after the horse was out of the barn.
    China is reporting >4,000 deaths. Let’s say they’re lying by a factor of 100(!); call it 400,000 total.
    And this guy is predicting 56,000 DAILY US FATALITIES?
    Doesn’t anyone else wonder “WIH?” when presented with predictions this blue-sky?

    1. That number is assuming that we do absolutely nothing to contain the virus.

      If we adopt aggressive containment measures like China, we will see far fewer overall fatalities.

      1. You mean those “aggressive containment measures” that didn’t even start until after the virus had already spread?

        China’s numbers are falling because that’s what epidemics do. They do not follow exponential curves. They can’t. (If they could, then at some point, the next day would require the deaths of more people than exist on the planet.) Epidemics always follow an S-shaped curve – the technical name is a Gompertz curve – which peaks at an upper asymptote. Containment measures stretch the curve horizontally but do not change the height of the asymptote. China’s daily infections are declining because they are approaching the asymptote.

      2. “If we adopt aggressive containment measures like China, we will see far fewer overall fatalities.”

        Try reading my post for what it says this time.

      3. “Libertarians” believing government numbers from Emperor Xi.
        #ClownWorld

  12. This is absolutely a panic.

    1. Welcome aboard , Pat.

  13. This disease is ridiculously infectious, as is very obvious by the extremely rapid spread of the disease in a number of countries. This makes it a huge problem to deal with.

    How bad is it?

    The thing I think a lot of writers on Reason don’t realize is that the “low” fatality rate amongst heavily screened populations is because of excellent medical care for them.

    We only have a limited number of respirators. 20% of people who get infected need hospitalization, and some percentage of those need respirators or die.

    What this means, in other words, is that the case fatality rate would increase massively if a large proportion of the population got sick at the same time, resulting in a much, much higher fatality rate than we see in small populations.

    If we look at Italy, the case fatality rate there is almost 8% – for every 12 confirmed infections, they had 1 death. Italy has run out of equipment and is now having to do triage and leave some people to die. There will be more deaths in Italy than there were in China (at least according to official Chinese statistics).

    China has managed to lower the infection rate to close to 0. They only had 13 new cases yesterday.

    This can be contained, and the number of fatalities reduced to almost nothing. Sadly, this could have been contained in Wuhan, but the Chinese lied about it, and now it is a global problem.

    1. Yeah, that, or it’s been around for quite a while. This thing is spreading surprisingly fast. Like all of a sudden 19 elderly care facilities in Florida are all infected. Come one, people don’t visit their elderly relatives THAT much.

    2. Those are all based on documented cases.

      But it’s estimated that around 86% of all infected people are UNDOCUMENTED. Which throws all your numbers down the shitter.

      That DRASTICALLY lowers the death rate and puts the “epidemic” in a much different light.

      https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/13/science.abb3221

      1. And there it is–

        Presently, there are four, endemic, coronavirus strains currently circulating in human populations (229E, HKU1, NL63, OC43). If the novel coronavirus follows the pattern of 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza, it will also spread globally and become a fifth endemic coronavirus within the human population.

        When this began I researched as best I could and found the common cold. And I pointed out that 15% of colds were caused by human corona viruses–i.e. corona viruses endemic to humans. And I noted that this issue would eventually be ‘solved’ by moving COVID-19 into the family of human corona viruses that already cause colds.

        The question is, can we do this before the ‘well intentioned’ destroy civilization in the name of preventing that goes mostly unnoticed by over 95% of the people who get it?

    3. They’re not respirators. They’re ventilators. Respirators are what you wear when you sand furniture. If you’re going to act like you know what you’re talking about, try knowing what you’re talking about. 99% of the fatalities in Italy were of people with pre-existing conditions and their average age was 80–and that’s straight from their socialist health department. So yes, let’s do look at Italy, and then stop fucking panicking and acting like this is worse than the flu. The flu, by the way, killed 80,000 Americans last year. Did you self-quarantine over it and panic-buy Purell?

      1. He’s another freshly minted internet epidemiology and mathematics expert bleating complete bullshit.

      2. Doesn’t the US have much more intensive care equipment per capita than Italy as well?

        And far far more than China?

      3. Your 80,000 is actually 34,000.

    4. “China has managed to lower the infection rate to close to 0. They only had 13 new cases yesterday.”

      If you believe the CCP.

  14. I woke up this AM thinking about statistics and ran the numbers. At the Italian level of infection (1/2000 as of this morning), if you’re willing to allow a 1% chance of infection, and if the reproduction number were 1:1, then you could have a meeting of about 20 people. No sweat.

    Then, through the day, it dawned on me that this was not the number in one meeting, but the cumulative number…. no so good. Think how many people you encounter just picking up groceries.

    I’m not saying this is the Apocolypse, and I’m not personally worried (except for elderly parents and in-laws), but maybe this is the time to be at least a bit cautious.

    The sad thing is, the powers that be have been crying wolf for so long, that I think many of us have a knee-jerk rxn to just say “meh, again?”.

    1. For me it’s exceptionally hard to trust CDC numbers after purposefully misleading America for MONTHS (and for as long as they possibly could until they simply couldn’t play charade any longer) with the “vaping illness.”

      The CDC has an agenda, and that’s to provide cover for whatever “public health” officials decide they want to do.

      1. Well we will never really know. The Spanish flu killed an estimated 50 million world wide. If this virus kills less, we will be told it was because of world governments extraordinary efforts. If the virus kills more we will be told it is because people just didn’t follow governments instructions.

        1. If the virus kills more we will be told it is because people just didn’t follow governments instructions rogue nationalists in the vein of Donald Trump didn’t act quickly or decisively enough.

      2. But but but – Trump cut their funding! They have to do something – entitled CDC employees need their jobs! If it takes a pandemic declaration to raise awareness, so be it. The CDC is sacred because (fill in the blank)

        1. Actually Trump did not cut the CDC funding. He proposed to do so, but Congress ignored it and increased funding.

          1. Wow, way to impose your fact privilege on me.

  15. “Are we just at the beginning of an extraordinarily severe pandemic or are we being panicked by a computer-generated mirage?“

    That is the million (trillion?) dollar question. I eagerly await Mr Bailey’s opinion on the answer.

  16. Remember when people would say there is no deep state because how would they let Donald Trump be president? Well here we are.

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      1. I liked to string those guys along for as long as I can, then tell them to please hold while I find my credit card.

  18. Beautiful. When the deaths of healthy people fail to happen, the experts and the media can declare success. Ministry of Truth is working 24/7

  19. The overall mortality rate of people infected with COVID-19 is likely far below 1%, and a large percentage of the population will never get infected because they seem to be naturally immune. Furthermore, social distancing isn’t intended to stop the disease, just to “flatten the curve”.

    An order of magnitude more people will die from government countermeasures than from COVID-19.

    1. China had ~80,000 cases, with over 3,200 deaths. That gives a mortality rate of 4%. Currently, Italy has 47,000 cases, with over 4,000 deaths, for a mortality rate of 8.5%. So tell me about your “far below 1%” again?

    2. Naturally immune?

      Citation?

  20. In mid-January the SK government called in the heads of all their major bio-tech firms and basically said “come up with tests asap, we will waive whatever regulations are necessary”. They had the first approved test 7 days later.

    Meanwhile our government banned everyone but the CDC from making tests until SIX WEEKS later. We see how that turned out. By the way, we had our first death the exact same day as South Korea’s first death.

    The main story of this pandemic is yet another abject failure of central planning compared to markets. Unfortunately the takeaway for many will be that it’s all Trump’s fault and everything will be fine once he’s gone.

    1. Yes, indeed. This is the thing people keep forgetting. Widespread testing could mitigate the need for draconian measures in favor of more targeted measures.

    2. FDA gonna FDA.

      They were rewarded with greater power because of their “success” in delaying thalidomide for no reason but bureaucratic inertia.

      Turns out there is sometimes a downside to bureaucratic delay. Who knew?

  21. What is the combined mortality rate for the Corona virus and next years flu?

    The vulnerability factors are extremely similar, and those who croak because of the Corona virus won’t croak from the flu that might otherwise have killed them.

    1. “The vulnerability factors are extremely similar, and those who croak because of the Corona virus won’t croak from the flu that might otherwise have killed them.”

      I wonder about this too… A projection of tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths from this CAN’T be a projection of incremental deaths, can it? There’s going to be some kind of overlap in the populations that are vulnerable and would be exposed to one or the other or both. And what about people who were “going to die anyway” because of their underlying conditions?

      We have about 2.8 million deaths in the US in any given year. If COVID-19 increases that to 2.85 million and is just changing the attribution away from other proximate causes of death, that’s entirely different than if it increases the annual number to 3 million.

  22. You’re panicking over nothing. 80,000 Americans died of the flu last year. Who lost their shit over that? No one. Ninety Americans die in car accidents every goddamned day, and who loses their shit over it? No one. The NTSB doesn’t recommend staying off the roads. 99% of the fatalities in Italy had pre-existing conditions. Meanwhile everyone’s lining up to clip the government’s leash on their necks, for saaaaaafety. Fuck that and fuck anyone who buys this hoax.

  23. So we know most of this stuff doesn’t work, and yet our governments ordered it anyway… Whee.

  24. Speaking of computer generated mirages, if you can tolerate anime, I highly recommend the second Patlabor movie. The story deals with exactly that; a computer-generated attack against Japan that is not real in any physical sense of the word and seeing how society changes as the hoax progresses.

  25. No matter what Leftist Media and doomsday proselytizers day, Hydroxy-quinone (which is now being made available all over the US, by President Trump will finish off this disease in 4-6 weeks.

    But it is not an innocuous drug and has some side effects that may damage some Corona-19 patients.

    We will have to just “deal with those.” But after it is released to Country wide use, it should “finish” the epidemic in 4-6 weeks

    THEN, we have to repair the enormous economic damage.

    Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)

    1. To be fair, the UK analysis was *before* people knew about hydroxychloroquine.

      The discovery renders the UK analysis irrelevant to the future. Like you, I expect the chloroquine is a game changer. We could knock the coronavirus on it’s ass in a month if we all just took it prophylactically, like they do for malaria.

      But FDA gonna FDA and drag this out.

  26. Comparisons to Spanish flu are hopelessly wrong. The reason the mortality rate (~10%) was so high was that both medicine and medical care were comparatively antediluvian, there was poor sanitation in most places, and it was not caught, even initially, until it was well under way. And also keep in mind that the second wave of that flu was FAR worse than the first.
    While we have better sanitation, and much better medical care and medicine, we are still in the earliest stages of COVID-19. And this may be, as some at CDC, WHO and NIH are suggesting, only the first wave. It may settle down and the infection curve may level off by summer, but there is no guarantee it will not re-appear in fall/winter, perhaps even more virulently.
    Current “raw” mortality rates are hovering at 7%-10%, though these do not account for the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of untested cases that are undoubtedly already out there, which would bring the mortality rate down. Still, according to CDC, WHO and NIH, the actual mortality rate for COVID-19 is expected to be between 2% and 5% – twenty to fifty times worse than the average seasonal flu, which has a mortality rate of ~.1%. As well, WHO believes that many countries and other places are grossly understating the actual number – either unwittingly or outright lying.
    So unless you believe that the CDC, WHO and NIH are all in cahoots to simply make us THINK that all of this is happening, I would not be so cavalier about how we think about the present situation. We can only pray that even the hopelessly late measures that have been taken by various countries and States will help to keep this from being worse than it might be.

    1. “Current “raw” mortality rates are hovering at 7%-10%, though these do not account for the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of untested cases that are undoubtedly already out there, which would bring the mortality rate down. Still, according to CDC, WHO and NIH, the actual mortality rate for COVID-19 is expected to be between 2% and 5%”

      This doesn’t conform with the numbers I have seen.

      On the JHU dashboard, as of 3:43PM 3/19/2020, there are 242,191 confirmed cases world wide and 9,843 deaths, for a “raw” rate of about 4%. South Korea (a best case) has 91 deaths out of 8,565 cases: a “raw” rate of just over 1%. I might not be understanding your definition of “raw” rate though.

      1. China had 80,000 cases and 3200 deaths, for a mortality rate of 4%. Italy currently has over 47,000 cases and 4000 deaths for a mortality rate of 8%. The numbers don’t lie. “Raw” simply means accounting only for known cases and known deaths. Obviously, if we account for the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of cases untested (and thus unconfirmed), the mortality rate would go down. In this regard, CDC and NIH have been saying almost since the beginning that the actual (not raw) mortality rate would end up between 2% and 5%. Given a current average of near 4%, it sounds like the final mortality rate will be closer to the top end of their estimate.

      2. You, and most everyone, are calculating the case fatality rate incorrectly.

        The relevant number for case fatality rates are deaths divided by *resolved cases*, not *all* cases.
        Deaths/(Deaths + Recovered)

        Of the 8565 cases in SK, < 3000 are recovered yet. If every one of the remaining active cases lives, then you get the case fatality rate you calculated.

  27. It might help if the media would report something other than utter panic combined with Chinese propaganda.

  28. Panicking at a Computer-Generated Mirage

    Government is swinging its dick and trashing the economy and the stock market while the media ramps up the fear-mongering…

  29. The “experts” are extrapolating based on data insufficient to make such projections. We have no idea how many in the population are actually infected. The death rate is based on deaths attributed to Co-vid and the “confirmed” cases, not the true number of infected. Garbage in Garbage out. Without a random sample of the US population providing the actual number of infected we have no idea what the fatality rate is or what the number of deaths will be.

  30. I think I have it, but instructions are for me to stay put at home unless the symptoms are severe. So, nobody knows except my family members. How many more are like me — just staying home and keeping quiet about it?

  31. I know it’s a figure of speech, but we shouldn’t base our decisions on luck. We should be able weigh too enormous costs on a scale, damage to the economy and deaths due to coronavirus, and come up with some kind of compromise. It shouldn’t be blasphemy to make that calculation. The economy is part of life. It’s people serving one another, meeting one another’s wants and needs. There’s no easy answer. We should be facing the hard question of how much life to sacrifice to save lives.

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  35. The Financial Action Task Force invents and sells laws to wreck non-communist economies since the 1989 Bush-Biden downturn that let to recession till past 1991. Sumptuary laws plus the Communist Manifesto income tax, which the GOP and Dems call the 16th Amendment, cause crashes and depressions. The coolest thing about this Chinese Communavirus is it draws attention away from Chinese communist Xiangmin Liu–president of this Crash-and-Depression Doomsday Machine within the fractional-reserve banking system. It’s like putting Kim Jong-un in charge of the Federal Reserve board.

  36. The study referenced seems to show two extremes. There is do nothing, with 2.2 million dead and dying at a rate of 56,000/day by June, or enact their social distancing, shutdown scenario for 12-18 months, with 220,000 dead. While I don’t believe these numbers due to modeling bias, they are at least a starting place for a conversation.

    I would of liked for the article to have addressed two other points.

    First, how many people are going to die from shutting down the economy for 12-18 months. I have no idea what that number is but it could well be in the tens of thousands of people.

    Second, were incremental models run with different scenarios showing a cost of lives vs damage to the economy. There has to be some ideal point on the curve where as many people are being protected from the virus spread as possible while at the same time, limiting economic damage to the country.

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  39. Can we end the Damn Open Seating Plan offices? Every one of them counts as an event with more than 50 people.

  40. My goodness. Is there any way you can stop saying “folks”? It’s so…folksy. What’s next? Folks ain’t listenin’ to the gubberment mandates?

  41. vek
    March.21.2020 at 4:19 am
    “The thing people who downplay this seem to not understand:
    If this isn’t a massive, near apocalyptic level event, it will ONLY be because we took strong action.”
    BTW, I’ll happily rent you my magic rock which keeps tigers away. I can prove it does every bit as well as you can prove your claim.

    “As shitty as it is, a fairly brisk response is needed.”
    A ‘brisk response’ was already in action; people were avoiding contact, working from home, etc.
    This claim is the same as the climate catastrophists’ assertion that if the government isn’t doing it, ‘we’re doing nothing’
    Bullshit.

    1. Insanity in individuals is quite rare. In large groups of people … it is quite common. Thus opined Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic. That’s what we’re seeing now. Folks, the cure is worse than the disease … you should get on with your lives. Turn off Fox News and CNN, then go outside and enjoy your life.

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