Coronavirus

As More Death Data Becomes Available, COVID-19 Looks Less and Less Like the Flu

Death data from New York State demonstrates a stark difference between the two contagious viruses

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Flu versus COVID-19? Which is worse? It is quite true that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on recent flu deaths report that the number of deaths attributed to coronavirus infections has not yet exceeded estimates for the annual death tolls for the last nine influenza seasons, except for the mild outbreak in 2011-2012. However, keep in mind that the flu season generally runs from October to April, whereas person-to-person community spread of the novel coronavirus was first recognized at the end of February in Washington state.

To get a better handle on the differences between seasonal flu and COVID-19, Max Roser and his team over at the invaluable OurWorldInData compared the average number of weekly deaths in New York State from influenza and all other causes versus the weekly number of deaths from the current COVID-19 outbreak. Keep in mind that the first New York COVID-19 death was reported just four weeks ago. The comparison is worrisome.

Weekly flu deaths versus weekly COVID-19 deaths in New York State

The good news is that the COVID-19 epidemic in New York may be nearing its peak.

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  1. More testing!

    1. I wonder just who might have been talking about the importance of testing early on?

      1. Um….let me guess: Anyone with a brain?

      2. Yeah, but trump really dropped the ball with testing, so we all have to pretend testing doesn’t help. The emperor is dressed in the finest of silks.

        1. If you can test them, you can save them!

        2. “Yeah, but trump really dropped the ball with testing”

          Okay.

          How?

          And can you provide a real, actual example and not just more fevered innuendo from a CNN ‘contributor’ or deep-dive analysis of possible future implications of a tweet?

          1. His federal agencies banned everyone but the federal government from developing tests for 7 WEEKS after the virus genome was published. In other countries, private tests were developed in less than a week after it was published.

            It’s probably a 2 way race between Trump and De Blasio for who bungled this the most

            1. “His federal agencies banned everyone but the federal government from developing tests for 7 WEEKS after the virus genome was published.”

              They were hardly HIS federal agencies—they were / are the deep state’s. (Of course Trump is at fault in not presuring them to get on the ball, and/or doing an end-run around them.)

              1. Of course they are his federal agencies. He dumped all the previous leaders and appointed his own. If it hadn’t been screwed up he would be crowing about his leadership.

                1. > Of course they are his federal agencies. He dumped all the previous leaders and appointed his own. If it hadn’t been screwed up he would be crowing about his leadership.

                  This guy gets it.

                2. The previous leader of the CDC had 8 years to replenish the stock of masks after the H1N1 epidemic in 2009, and failed to do that – probably because they were too busy propagandizing against gun rights and otherwise doing everything but their _job_ of protection against contagious diseases. Trump’s appointees may have done no better, but it wasn’t possible for them to do worse.

                  And if Trump’s heads of the CDC and FDA had fired all the politicized staff, there would have been a massive outcry from the same people that blame Trump now for these agencies’ nonperformance.

            2. “His federal agencies banned everyone but the federal government from developing tests for 7 WEEKS”

              So now you’re mad at him for listening to federal agencies and not interfering. Before that you guys were loosing your shit over the accusations that he wasn’t listening to federal agencies.
              The establishment left is having a hell of a time picking a narrative here.

              1. You don’t need a coherent message if you yell loud enough.

            3. Really Magnitogorsk? What about the WHO? Nancy Pelosi? Virtually every partisan hack, including Joe Biden, who obnoxiously labeled the president a racist for implementing travel restrictions from China?

          2. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/06/coronavirus-testing-failure-123166

            I don’t know why I bother. You are just going to get emotional and turn this into a personal attack, as always.

            Have you not read any news yourself? You never stop to ask yourself how Korea was able to test millions before we had even tested 1000? Never asked yourself the wisdom of placing someone who caused the biggest HIV outbreak in his state’s history and doesn’t believe in evolution in charge of a team of scientists?

            1. How is refusing to use the WHO test which has now been shown to be faulty, bungling anything? Politico and you both fail to answer that.

              “who caused the biggest HIV outbreak in his state’s history”
              What utter horseshit. Why do you think these insane conspiracy theories and demagogic accusations won’t be challenged here?

              Oh, and you want an actual personal attack, DOL?
              Okay, I think you are narcissistic, authoritarian, dishonest and misanthropic. I think you are not only evil, but that you hate good. I find your opinions disgusting and sometimes horrifying.

        3. The cdc was responsible for testing. Initially they only allowed testing on sick individuals who had travelled to infected areas. Pence later relaxed their rules. But the initial testing kits were defective so early testing would achieved little.

          Korea didn’t ban travel from even after trump did, so they were hit first. Keep in mind that they locked down daegu before our shutdown and rely on surveillance to track people. Many Asian nations were hit by viral outbreaks in the past and have some sort of protocol set in place. For us something like sars was no diff from starving kids in NK. It didn’t affect us.

          Hindsight is always 20/20. When would have President Cuomo restricted travel? For a country of our size testing and SD should have begun in early feb. Massive production of testing kits eve earlier. No one had that kind of foresight and libs loathe deregulation. Truth be
          told if NY acted a little sooner we might not be in this mess.

    2. Dur.

      It’s amazing to me that grownups kept comparing the steady state flu toll to an entirely *new* virus which has only *started* to spread, which is both significantly more lethal and more contagious than the flu.

      Also, can we start taking the *flu* a little more seriously? Maybe if you’re sick, wear a mask in public? Don’t go out so much?

      And how about aging?

      Maybe it’s good not to die, instead of shrugging with “well, people have always died from X Y and Z”.

      1. You’re right, there is no comparison. 900k cases in 2018 of flu. 80k dead. You do the math on the cfr

        1. Shhhhh! Don’t point out the actual annual crude CFR data for flu…

    3. #FakeNews

      By this articles “facts” over 40,000 people have died just in the State of New York.

      #FakeNews #EnemyOfThePeople

  2. Now do the United States excluding New York.

    1. Did NY leave the union, and I missed it? 🙂 KungFlu does not equal influenza. It is worse. The NY graph doesn’t lie. It will be very similar look for the People’s Republic of NJ as well. MI, NOLA are not far behind.

      1. No, but NYC, NJ, Detroit, NOLA, and all the other urban areas that get hit hard from it are not representative of areas around the country that are nothing like them. That’s the biggest issue that I, and I think most of us, have with the hysteria. I’m pretty sure it’s not justified even in the hardest hit cities (I mean, look at the temporary hospitals/hospital ships going unused, the tens of thousands of ventilators that were needed until they weren’t, etc.), but I would concede that there is at least SOMETHING there, more than the standard flu. If I were a 70 year old black diabetic smoker in the Bronx, I would be mildly concerned. But there is not one reason to think that I, in rural northern Wisconsin, should have to base my decisions (or more accurately, have the state base their decisions FOR me) on the results they are seeing in NYC. Or even Milwaukee. There is so little in common between these situations, and now that we have data, in almost every single case, states with dense urban areas are seeing almost all of their cases and fatalities come from those regions- more than is proportional to their population. Milwaukee County has ~16% of the population and ~51% of the cases and ~55% of the deaths in WI. Count the surrounding counties in the metro, and it’s probably even more concentrated. You can’t just take aggregate numbers for an entire country, or even state, and base your actions off that.

        1. You can’t just take aggregate numbers for an entire country, or even state, and base your actions off that.

          “Oh, yeah? Just watch us!”

        2. NOTHING about this first wave is going to be ‘broadly representative’ across the US. This wave is about stopping the infection growth that started with a patient zero at a single location halfway around the world. The contacts of that person were not random or ‘representative’. They just were. We failed at the only way you actually effectively address that first sort of wave – by identifying the positives, tracing their contacts, testing them, isolating the positives and then tracing and testing their contacts etcetcetc. Instead of doing that, we (and much of Europe as well) waited and ignored it and then had to simply resort to a general quarantine and basically a form of lockdown or cordon sanitaire.

          The second wave will look nothing like this. There will be no single patient zero. There will be 1000 or more. All over the world. There will be no decision-making at that point either. Whatever we learn from this wave – and apply as preparation for the next – will either be in place or not.

          Pretty certain that those areas that believe they are somehow the ‘victims’ of some other areas won’t learn a thing from this. At core because the only thing that is creating the ‘teaching experience’ here is the virus itself. How does it spread, how is it best treated for different patient types, what are the different timelines of recovery and/or longer-term medical issues, what are the capacity bottlenecks for that stuff. Not the totally pointless politics that you are comfortable with.

          It will be interesting to see the different reactions of rural areas that aren’t affected much this wave. Some will no doubt view themselves as victims of the hoary old partisan politics they love. Others will view this as the golden opportunity to actually learn how to deal with the virus without the death counts and trauma/stress of this wave. Those latter counties, assuming they do something with that learning between now and then, are the ones with a very bright future in the long-term.

        3. U_P…Isn’t it the governors and state legislatures who put the restrictions into place? They’re all accountable to the voters. If they over-reacted, you get your chance to unceremoniously dump them from office this November. That is how the system is set up.

          I agree with your point about granularity – completely. That has been my chief complaint. The lack of good data. We are getting there. Not having good data is a looming problem. To solve it, we need rapid deployment of testing.

          If it were just old guys with comorbidities who were dying off, it would be different. We literally have millions of the 18-59 cohort who suffer from immunological disorders (PsA, RA, UC, transplant patients, asthma patients, etc) who are productive members of society, and are at high risk.

          1. My 36 year old wife is one of those otherwise healthy people with a compromised immune system. Also fully employed and productive.

        4. If I were a person under 50 without any history of asthma, diabetes or any immune disorder, and if I was not overweight and did not have high blood pressure, and was a non smoker and I lived in a rural area I might not worry. However, there are a lot of people with compromised health who think they are really healthy and rural hospitals don’t have much capacity. There is an appreciable risk of hospital under-capacity until there is some herd immunity or vaccines and treatments are developed.

          Also cities drive the economy. If cities are still socially isolating you can go to bars and restaurants in rural areas and the economy will still be depressed.

      2. NY/NJ is a sardine can and their deaths per million pops are much higher than other states.

        https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

        1. NY is 360 deaths per million. If you look at the 7 counties that make up Central Ohio with Columbus at the center, there have been 18 deaths out of 2M people, that’s 9 per million.

          1. All hail our savior, Dear Leader DeWine!

            Ya better stay home and do as you’re told!
            Get outta the road if ya wanna grow old!

    2. JB, let’s see what the next month brings. NYC is far ahead of most of the rest of the country, and did a rotten job of preparing (thank you Mayor D) the populace. You could watch the death rates for each of the states hit so far, WA, MI, LA, NJ as they reach lift-off.

      The other way to view this is by population density. Look at sub-state regions, e.g. NYC area, greater CHI, greater DET, etc. That will tell us a lot about the relative dangers for someone in rural MT vs LosAngeles, for example. NYC vs upstate would be instructive.

      1. What’s interesting is that these 9 states that did not shut down have faired better than most other states. Certainly their population is way more spread out than most, but it does point out that one size does not fit all.

        https://www.newser.com/story/289176/9-states-remain-shutdown-holdouts.html

        1. But, but, but….NYC!

          Notice how whenever you point out current realities, the response is always “well yeah, but the future is gonna be worse!”….

        2. Peak has already hit, its over and was less than half of standard flu:
          http://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

          Fucking duped

  3. Lovecon and his band of merry Trump asskissers will be along shortly to explain that there’s nothing worrisome about these stats. There’s nothing to worry about at all in fact, it’s all a hoax. Its just the flu!

    1. They’ve been nicely silent the last couple of days. Let’s hope it stays that way.

      1. Yes, let’s definitely hope the economy stays locked down due to a virus that kills fatties and the elderly.

        1. D’oh!

    2. “it’s all a hoax”

      Oh wow, you nutbags are still trying to push that “Trump called it a hoax!” lie even after getting your asses handed to you on it.

      1. Try reading my post again, it’s not very long. No where does it suggest Trump called the virus a hoax

        1. What a fucking weasel you are.

          “There’s nothing to worry about at all in fact, it’s all a hoax.”
          “Try reading my post again, it’s not very long. No where does it suggest Trump called the virus a hoax”

          We both know that several weeks ago you guys were losing your minds over a dishonest rumor that Trump called the virus a hoax. LoveCons been mistakenly calling the fears overblown, but he has never called it a hoax.
          It’s blatantly obvious you were referencing the Trump rumor.

      2. We didn’t need to shutdown the planet. 60 and up could have quarantined and nothing would have changed about our world in the least.

        Did no one notice the 24 hour a day propaganda campaign? You know, the one infecting your goddamn brain as you type your parroted data?

        They repeated it so many times it’s become a religion.

  4. Correction: More and more like the flu.

    Stop the panic mongering. Several members of my immediate and extended family, myself included, have been infected and we ….. survived. Our ages range from early thirties to late sixties. And, it was not bad at all. At no point were our lives in danger. It was not life threatening.

    Did it suck? Absolutely. Being sick sucks. And the more people we speak to, the less and less “deadly” we learn it is.

    I know of one acquaintance that died — an 86 year old colleague that was on the losing end of a years’ long battle with leukemia. Everybody was saddened, but nobody was surprised.

    1. And, I live in NYC … in the epicenter of the epicenter.

    2. This is like saying “I’ve been smoking for years and I didn’t get lung cancer. Therefore, the dangers of smoking are overstated.”

      1. First, the dangers of smoking ARE overstated, as far as lung cancer is concerned. People that never smoke get lung cancer and, statistically speaking, the risk of developing lung cancer from smoking is minimal.

        Second, even taking all the deaths into consideration as a percentage of diagnosed cases … we are still talking about extremely minimal risk.

        7,000 dead in a state of more than 20 million?

        Pardon me for not panicking.

        1. First, the dangers of smoking ARE overstated, as far as lung cancer is concerned. People that never smoke get lung cancer and, statistically speaking, the risk of developing lung cancer from smoking is minimal.

          Lol. Ok, we are done here.

          1. Yea. You’re done. You were done with your first comment. No need to announce it.

            1. He’s a fifty-center. Derailing comment threads is what he’s paid to do.

          2. Everyone I my family died of lung cancer in their late 70’s or 80’s. Shame they didn’t make it just a couple more years, they could have died of coronavirus instead like everyone else this year.

            Numbnuts.

    3. Did you ignore the graph that shows the virus death rate as being about 15X that for the flu?

      The symptoms may be like the flu, but it’s a flu we have never encountered before so no one – NO ONE – has any residual immunity. So the virus can run wild, encountering no one whom it cannot infect, unlike the flu.

      1. Did you ignore the graph that shows the virus death rate as being about 15X that for the flu?

        Did you ignore the data that shows it primarily kills older people with severe underlying medical conditions?

        1. And that’s not an exaggeration–NYC, the epicenter of the epidemic here, shows that only 1.5% of all their deaths have had no underlying conditions. The vast majority–roughly 66%–had at least one, and the rest are pending.

          If you’re not a lardass or have a suppressed immune system, the chances of you having to be hospitalized with this are low, and the chances of actually dying even lower than that.

          1. Most americans are overweight and over 40% are obese.

            1. Labor camps will handle that. Everyone is guaranteed to lose weight, and it saves lives.

              1. I did laugh at that one.

                Albeit, I’m reminded of the line from Holidays in Hell where the old Soviet woman tells P.J., “The two hardest things in the Soviet Union are to get enough to eat, and to lose weight.” One more way we can demonstrate American Exceptionalism, I suppose.

              2. Arbeit Macht Fett Frei.

            2. Guess this is going to either result in some people changing their diets, or we’re going to have some fatties kicking the bucket, then. Either way, the nation’s BMI is set to be shaved off a couple points.

              1. Red Rocks White Privilege doesn’t care if 40% of Americans die.

                1. Delusional to the extreme.

                2. If you’re not a fatass, you have nothing to worry about.

                3. Believing that 40% of Americans will die is beyond absurd, for one thing. What’s even more absurd than that is if you believe that figure, it’s hard to see how the government could do anything about it at all.

                  Whoops.

              2. Libertarians for the unequal value of human life based on age and body composition!

                Hmm, too wordy?

            3. Yes, all those obese rural folks who think they are invulnerable are at high risk actually.

        2. And the fact that the graph magically begins in March, with a huge spike, as though there were no COVID-19 “related” deaths prior to that.

          Stop fucking with the numbers, and people will take you seriously.

          1. Bailey’s back probably sore from carrying those goalposts

          2. Keep in mind that the first New York COVID-19 death was reported just four weeks ago.

            1. Because if it’s reported, it is reported 100% accurately. And, if it isn’t reported, it never happened. That’s how you get retarded models and panicked idiots.

              1. Is your argument that this isn’t that bad because it was killing more people for longer than we realized? Or is that we don’t have to worry that weekly deaths attributed to COVID-19 are higher than the average for *all* causes because we might be misattributing some and they should have a different color curve?

                1. Or, maybe it was killing less people, and there’s a spike now, for various reasons, that is not representative of its actual lethality. What is causing the spike? Is it COVID? Are people infected with COVID and flu? Other coronaviruses? Rhinoviruses? Strokes? Heart attacks? What are the populations whose deaths are being reported? How are the deaths being reported? Dying with and dying of COVID are different measures. In addition, you have averages being measured against raw numbers, so you are not seeing spikes vs. spikes. This is completely misleading.

                  My argument is that the graph is shit because we know next to nothing about the numbers being used.

                  Garbage in, garbage out.

                  If your first priority is PANIC! then, naturally, you aren’t asking any of these questions.

                  1. The curve starts from zero, so I’m not sure how it could have been killing less people. It’s possible that the spike is not representative but has anyplace else seen a huge, rapid spike in deaths, only to then see them crater with no obvious explanation? I don’t trust the reporting on this to be 100% complete, but I certainly have not seen anything like that. So it seems more likely that the increase is a result of a rapid rise in infections and that it will turn over in response to a drop in transmission (with an obvious time lag). Hopefully that happens soon! But the curves I have seen from other areas make one think that the drop off will be gradual at first.

                    Even if COVID-19 alone is not responsible for the spike, you would have to discount it by 30% from the peak to get it down around the average for *total* number of weekly deaths. So *something* has suddenly started killing an atypical number of people in New York, and those people are either testing positive for or have symptoms consistent with COVID. It seems reasonable to believe the culprit is COVID. COVID + something else killing a lot more people in the last week than is typical from just something else still implicate COVID as the cause of the excess mortality.

                    Your point about comparing averages over many years to just this year is a good one, but it doesn’t make the numbers garbage. It just means you have to be careful about interpreting them. COVID (or possibly COVID + something else) seems to have killed a lot more people than is typical in the past week. It’s possible that in some other years, some other things caused some big spikes in some weeks. That’s useful information but it doesn’t change the fact this week is aberrant. Unless the argument is that any given year will have all kinds of huge spikes but since they aren’t correlated with time, they average down? I’d be interested in seeing anything you know of that speaks to that. Certainly, plotting the standard deviation in any given week would help clarify that and is generally good practice when plotting averages. That’s a valid cricitism.

                    The flu numbers wouldn’t seem to suffer from this, though, because they are not yearly averages (as far as I can thell). They could suffer from a difference in what counts as a flu vs a COVID death. I don’t know enough about the underlying methodology to comment on that. If you have some sources on that I’d be interested in seeing them.

                    Also, I’m not panicking, and I’m not trying to panic others. I’m interested in trying to determine how bad COVID is. That informs my judgement about the cost/benefit of the lockdowns. It’s hard to find good data, which is frustrating. So I’m trying to consume what data is out there with healthy skepticism, but not an agenda.

                    1. //COVID + something else killing a lot more people in the last week than is typical from just something else still implicate COVID as the cause of the excess mortality.//

                      I don’t think that implicate COVID any more than it would implicate the flu. We just don’t know. Perhaps COVID alone wouldn’t have been lethal, but COVID with flu is. Or, the flu was already well on its way to killing grandpa, but then he got COVID on top of it. The problem is that people seem to resolving all doubts in favor of an increasing COVID lethality, rather than the other way around? No sure why that is the case, other than some combination of fear and anxiety about unknowns.

                      There could be a rapid spike if the particular population afflicted is particularly vulnerable – for example, elderly people with various comorbidities. In other words, the deaths are clumped together because the virus finally got to that population of people whereas previously, and perhaps after, it will level off since – naturally – the people that are most vulnerable are dying off. The spike may very well be an aberration. Most spikes are.

                      I have no idea how this chart was compiled. But, on its face, it is questionable. It was also prepared by an economist, no an epidemiologist, so I have serious doubts about the numbers being represented.

                    2. But (to use your example) the breakdown of flu deaths by week from previous years would seem to indicate that typical flu doesn’t kill as many people as flu+something else. And, again, unless the standard deviation on the yearly average is really high, then the total death average would also seem to indicate that something else doesn’t kill as many people as COVID+something else. So while it’s true that flu, or heart disease, or COPD may have killed specific grandpa last week regardless of whether he got COVID, it seems unlikely that flu, or heart disease, or COPD would have killed average grandpa last week if he hadn’t gotten COVID. And sure, those things would have killed average grandpa eventually, but something will eventually kill all of us eventually, but maybe average grandpa had 12 or 48 or 120 (I’m not sure how old average grandpa is) good months of life left if not for COVID. To say nothing of other cohorts.

                2. If we didn’t even realize it was killing old and sick people during flu season, then WAS it bad?

                  1. Exactly my point.

                  2. Before it had spread widely it wasn’t that bad. But that’s sort of like saying “before my house caught on fire it was really quite safe”.

                    Now, if it was really widespread and we didn’t notice, then that’s more akin to “I thought my house was on fire but it turns out I just had the heat turned up to 85”. I don’t think that’s the case.

                    Of course, there are things in between “the house is burning down” and “I forgot to turn the heat back”. We’re trying to figure out where between those two extremes we actually are.

                    1. We’re trying to figure out where between those two extremes we actually are.
                      ————
                      Well, some of us are. The people who can actually make the decisions seem determined to NOT find out.

                    2. I think some of them truly are, but at the same time feel a lot of pressure to make decisions in the absence of that information.

                      Some are just opportunists, to be sure.

        3. RR: You do know that around 70 to 80 percent of influenza deaths are also in among folks age 65 and older? So both viruses kill primarily older people, but COVID is just a lot more lethal.

          1. Maybe you have this stat handy, Ron? What’s the death rate from acquiring influenza in an 80 plus year old?

            We think we know from the non-Chinese death data that it’s about 10-15 percent if you catch Covid at that age. But to say this is much deadlier than the flu, it helps to know what the flu’s death rate is for a similar cohort.

            Anecdotally, the flu kills 80 year olds pretty well; I just don’t have any numbers to go with that suspicion.

            1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm

              If I’m interpreting the CDC numbers correctly, for 65+ the CFR was 0.1% in 2017-2018. Data for other years is also available. I know you asked about 80+. The raw CFR from China for 60+ seems to be around 5%. As has been widely reported, that is probably an overestimate.

              That’s what I was able to find based on a quick Google search.

          2. And? Was it still worth shutting down the economy to try and prevent something that even JFree is admitting can’t be prevented?

            1. I’d say putting 16 million people out of work to potentially save 2.2 million (a number that we now know was wildly exaggerated thanks to fraudulent models) wasn’t really worth the tradeoff.

              1. And just to emphasize the point:

                IHME, them of the fraudulent COVID prediction models, ramped back their prediction on deaths from this to 60,000. Keep in mind they ALREADY assumed social distancing measures in place before they dramatically lowered their predicted resource needs before the 5 April and 7 April updates.

                They’ve been so off in their predictions, that now their models are showing that the deaths from this thing will be equal to–a really bad flu season.

              2. Do you seriously believe that those thrown out of work are now unemployed solely because of govt clampdowns in their states? The TIMING of that unemployment is probably governmental. But the FACT of that unemployment is because that was marginal employment. It was either a)not going to survive the moment all those TP hoarders decided to lock themselves down or b)not going to survive the second those employees incurred the related medical expense and the employer realizes how expensive it is.

                That latter in particular is gonna be a real surprise to the markets overall when companies announce their 2Q earnings in Jul/Aug/Sep. Those Americans who have been perfectly happy with employer-paid coverage are going to find out their employers are no longer happy with providing it. It will seriously change the politics of medical care.

                1. My prior is that government-enforced closures significantly increased the magnitude of the unemployment, not jut it’s timing. I don’t have a good feeling for the effect size but I suspect it is more like 10s of percent, not 1s of percent.

                  1. Anecdotal example: Where I am in central Virginia I’d estimate that about 70% of the sit-down restaurants we typically go to are totally closed even though they could technically still do take-out/delivery. I’d expect a higher fraction of restaurants to voluntarily close or simply not be able to sustain their operations than the average across all businesses (is that a good assumption?). That leads me to a very large fraction, maybe even a majority, of businesses that had to close by government order would have otherwise remained open in some capacity.

                2. Do you seriously believe 16 million people would have been thrown out of work due to any other factor?

                  But the FACT of that unemployment is because that was marginal employment.

                  “Those healthcare plans jobs were just shitty healthcare plans jobs anyway; what they have now with Obamacare funemployment is much better!”

      2. //So the virus can run wild, encountering no one whom it cannot infect, unlike the flu.//

        I don’t you understand how an immune system works, or what constitutes an infection.

      3. You cannot possibly be this uneducated on the issue. You’re using confirmed cases to get to a death rate 15x higher than the flu. Literally, no educated person thinks that the confirmed cases is anything close to the number of actual cases, which drives down the death rate. This is basically 3rd grade stuff.

      4. Did you get a realistic number of people actually infected in order to properly gauge a death rate that the rest of the world somehow missed?

      5. Did you ignore the IFF from Germany and Iceland showing it to be between .005 and .37%?

        You fucking boot licking pseudo-humans are fucking it up for the rest of us who don’t want to be slaves.

    4. dum da-dum dum dumdum dummmmmm

  5. Ronald, you can’t make conclusions based on one data point. If you look at the European death toll (car accidents, heart attacks, etc..) there was a big spike over the past week but it matches previous Influenza outbreaks:
    https://www.euromomo.eu

    It looks bad because there are a lot of people with co-morbidities “stacked up” waiting for a virus to push them over the edge. This year we basically had herd immunity to the last big influenza strain, so it happened to be Covid-19 that pushed them over the edge. Mark my words, by August you won’t have seen even 60,000 US deaths (lower than prior Influenza outbreaks).

    1. August you won’t have seen even 60,000 US deaths (lower than prior Influenza outbreaks).

      Lower than which influenza outbreaks? Standard flu deaths range between 12,000 and 50,000 (although the CDC has estimated those deaths to run as high as 61,000). So if we take that high number, 61,000, that would be a “particularly bad flu season”.

      However, we’re in the middle of a nationwide ‘lockdown’, and as I keep repeating, if the lockdown measures are successful, then the death count will look like a disease that wasn’t that dangerous.

      There’s a lot of evidence that this ISN’T just a “particularly bad flu season” as Italy and Spain can attest. Also, it’s not common for a ‘standard flu season’ to have a 30% death rate in a single nursing facility as Washington saw in the early days of this outbreak.

      And again, for the disclaimers, I am not advocating for a particular policy that’s currently coming out of either the federal or local governments.

      I’m guessing that we had done nothing during this outbreak, and just gone through our regular routine, we’d have seen a death rate much higher than the 61,000 (the highest of the high end of standard flu seasons).

      Also, for the record, I don’t believe the 4% or even 2.4% initial death rates reported because of the large numbers of people who apparently contract the thing, and quietly get over it. But given that standard flu has a .1% death rate, even a say a .4/.5/.6% death rate would probably be pretty sobering.

      1. The CDC says the US had 80,000 deaths from Influenza over the 2017-2018 winter season: https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/26/cdc-us-flu-deaths-winter/

        I’m saying Covid-19 will probably not equal that, partly on the basis that it can’t seem to kill young people, which influenza can, and people over 100 years of age have survived Covid-19. It’s not particularly deadly compared to Influenza. Yes it will wipe out people with co-morbidities, but that’s life. They are always waiting for a virus to wipe them out and this year it happened to be Covid-19 because Influenza wasn’t around.

        1. Other than being old as hell, the 104-year-old that recovered from it seemed to be in pretty decent health otherwise.

          The ones who are getting hammered are the 60-80 year olds with bad health conditions.

          1. 104 years old means he lived through the Spanish Flu years.

            Damn.

        2. Thank you for your link.

          I do note:

          “That’s huge,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. The tally was nearly twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.

          In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to — in the worst year — 56,000, according to the CDC.

          so my initial figure was more correct about ‘standard flu season’. I didn’t know that the 2018 year was such a bad year, however.

          I think this quote from your link is important, and possibly instructive:

          Making a bad year worse, the flu vaccine didn’t work very well. Experts nevertheless say vaccination is still worth it, because it makes illnesses less severe and save lives.

          So they had a vaccine, but it didn’t work very well. Do note that the “Novel” part of the “Novel Coronavirus” is called that because it hasn’t been seen before. So what I’m inferring from that is the vaccine they had for 2018 was… close, but not exact. My understandings about COVID is that we have no vaccine at all– not even one that’s close. And that’s what makes this so potentially dangerous. There’s no herd immunity from prior years as is with a regular flu season.

          I still contend that had we done nothing, that this would have been worse than the 80,000 figure from 2018. Much worse. How much worse? I can’t say. But given the rapidity of the death rate before anyone took action, I’m sure some models by epidemiologists can be created.

          1. We’ll easily be able to determine if all these drastic interventions were worth it because countries like Sweden, Japan, The Netherlands, Singapore, and some other countries are not doing drastic interventions. Swedish kids still go to schools, restaurants and businesses are still open, etc… But if the per capita rates are similar to the US when this is done, we can confidently conclude that the interventions were largely pointless if not destructive.

            1. There potentially (probably) are other confounding factors that will make a direct comparison difficult.

            2. I agree totally. Hopefully whatever the outcome here, we’ll be able to study all this data and be better prepared next time.

        3. LW: Actually the 2018-2019 deaths were subsequently revised downward to 34,000 by the CDC.

          1. LW referenced flu deaths for the 2017-2018 season. Your reference to the downward revision to 34,000 flu deaths is for the 2018-2019 season – the next year.

            However, the 2017-2018 figures were also downgraded, but to 61,000: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2017-2018.htm

        4. The CDC says the US had 80,000 deaths from Influenza over the 2017-2018 winter season:

          Not the actual CDC that actually has its own website where they collect influenza data – for say 2017-2018.

          61,000 deaths
          44,800,000 symptomatic infections

          They no longer publish the asymptomatic v symptomatic infections (probably because the antibody test sampling expense is no longer a budgeted expense unless it is part of the next year’s flu vaccine development) – but historically that asymptomatic was about 80-100% of the symptomatic – so roughly 40-50% of the total infected.

          But hey – I’m sure your CDC is much more accurate than the other fake CDC with its fake ‘CDC’ website.

          1. 61,000 deaths, huh?

            Let’s see what IHME says will be the final body count by August:
            60,415.

            Looks like someone’s trying to hedge their bets.

      2. //if the lockdown measures are successful, then the death count will look like a disease that wasn’t that dangerous. //

        Conveniently, there is no way of actually measuring whether the lockdown was successful or not. But that won’t stop anyone from taking credit, without ever having to prove a damn thing.

        1. Or to reinstate them when the 2nd wave hits.

        2. there is no way of actually measuring whether the lockdown was successful or not.

          One suspects there is (e.g., statistical comparison with other countries) but it will not get much airplay.

          1. Comparisons with China, for example? They seem to be doing a much better job than us … at cooking the books.

        3. You can tell if lock-down was successful or not. Countries like Sweden and Japan are not doing drastic intervention, with schools, stores and restaurants operating as usual. So if they see similar per capita deaths to the US by the time this situation is resolved it means the lock-down largely did nothing.

          1. Ok, and if countries like Italy and Spain lockdown hard, and still see more and more deaths, does that mean the lockdown isn’t working? There are far too many variable to account for, including voluntarily distancing (without enforced lockdowns) and population densities in major cities across various countries. There is average age of infected, prevalence of comorbidities, availability and effectiveness of treatment, hospital capacity, etc.

            You can take a stab in the dark, but that is all it will ever be. You cannot reliably draw comparisons.

            1. I’ve said it many times, but I suspect we’re going to be studying Spain and Italy for years to come, and hopefully some good science can come out of it, allowing us to better target our response instead of shutting down our whole economy*.

              *that’s as close as I’ll come to weighing in on any particular policy being enacted.

              1. Here’s why I think the lockdown are complete theater, at least in NYC.

                First and foremost, everyone is still permitted to go shopping for food. If the experts are right about this, COVID-19 lives longest on plastic and paper surfaces; in other words, supermarkets are depositories, not havens. Everyone has to purchase food, and everyone is going to end up in the supermarket at some point and chances are if they catch the virus, it will be while shopping.

                Liquor stores are still open, same story. Laundromats are still open, same story.

                Arguably, the infections will be more localized, so a person from Queens isn’t going to be infecting someone from Manhattan. Instead, everyone in Queens is still going to infect everyone in Queens; everyone in Manhattan is still going to infect everyone in Manhattan.

                I don’t know how the numbers play out, but it seems a stretch to assume that a lockdown is actually reducing the total number of cases, or the rate of infections. I don’t how they are even going to measure any of these things reliably.

                1. Lockdown is purely to limit the rate of infection. Nothing more, and nothing less. In theory, sure, if everyone stayed home for a month it might stop the spread but that’s an impossible goal.

                  It is inevitable that just about everyone will be infected at some point in time.

                  1. But is it really limiting the rate of infection? I just don’t see how clumping everybody into a supermarket over and over, presumably where one infected person could shed the virus and infect numerous others, is going to stop the rate of infection. I think it probably takes away some of the diversity as to how one gets infected, but the overall rate? I don’t think that’s a safe assumption at all.

                    I think all we are achieving is localized infections, at the same rate and, ultimately, infecting the same number of people. Does it really matter if I got infected at work, or at my local KeyFood? Or, my local liquor store, as opposed to a train? Multiply that by thousands of neighborhoods in big cities and it really seems like nothing more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

                    1. Except now I’m not only sick anyway, but also out of a job.

                    2. I think people are modifying their behavior more than you give them credit for. Personally, my wife and I haven’t gone to the grocery store for three weeks (curbside pickup), we haven’t gone to a restaurant in four weeks (take out or delivery), we haven’t gone to a bar or liquor store in four weeks, we haven’t been in close proximity to friends or work colleagues for four weeks (we are lucky enough to be able to work from home…I’m sincerely sorry that’s not an option for you), we aren’t visiting family (I did see one side of my family a couple weeks ago for a funeral [non COVID related]), we are washing our hands more, washing surfaces around our house more, doing what we can to wash containers that groceries and take-out come in…

                      Multiply those behaviors by lots of people and it seems hard to believe it wouldn’t slow the rate of infection to some degree.

                    3. There are far too many people in NYC for curbside pickup to be a feasible option (and, in any event, what is to say that the groceries delivered aren’t covered in viral particles?)

                      In NYC, there are not enough people to make the deliveries, so people have to go to the supermarket at some point. It is unavoidable. The most crowded urban areas in the country, the ones where the lockdown was “supposed” to work, was need to work, I suspect are not working at all.

            2. Italy locked down hard and also withheld care from anyone over age 59 because health care is a right, or something. They caused deaths that didn’t necessarily have to happen, but those deaths are still attributed to Covid.

          2. Sweden is not really testing at all. They (and Norway to a lesser extent) made a decision in early March to only test the really serious cases. They changed their paid sick leave law so that a doctor’s note is no longer required beyond 14 days. But effectively while that was meant deliberately to encourage the symptomatic to remain in isolation, it also meant they no longer test for people who merely ‘go to the doctor’. They only test the hospitalized in risk-groups and medical staff w symptoms.

            It means their data won’t be useful at all. No one outside the preconceived risk-groups or medical staff will die of it because they never had it. They are building field hospitals specifically for ‘other patients who appear to have those symptoms that might require isolation’ but those people aren’t being tested either. They certainly made the decision to go full ‘herd immunity’ but it’s not on the basis of transparency or informed consent or even an ability to figure out whether the specific policy is working or not. Methinks even superficially, they won’t be pleased re ‘the competition’

            SE – 9140 cases, 793 deaths
            NO – 6160 cases, 108 deaths
            DK – 5830 cases, 237 deaths
            FI – 2605 cases, 45 deaths
            IS – 1648 cases, 6 deaths

            1. KTH in Stockholm started development on a “pinprick” style antibody test a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t seen anything about it since, nor have I seen what plans the Swedish government has for widespread antibody testing.

              Denmark and Taiwan just announced a jointly developed fast non-PCR antibody test, but it only has a 90% accuracy. I didn’t see data on the false positive vs. false negative rate, and it’s probably too soon for either government to have firm rollout plans in place.

            2. That’s not quite correct, you don’t need to test for Covid-19 at all to determine how many people died from it in a country. You will be able to tell pretty accurately (but not exactly) how many people died in Sweden from Covid-19 based on excess deaths. It will jump out from any plot because they know roughly how many normal deaths they get everyday, as per this chart:
              https://www.euromomo.eu/

        4. Conveniently, there is no way of actually measuring whether the lockdown was successful or not. But that won’t stop anyone from taking credit, without ever having to prove a damn thing.

          I’m not sure if that’s true, and I don’t have the credentials or knowledge to debate it, but I do have a certain amount of faith in our best epidemiological modeling– places like the London College of Medicine etc.– to be able to make good estimations.

          I’m no doctor (or lawyer) so I have no way of debating this point with any authority.

          1. Fair enough. I have no faith in our epidemiological modeling whatsoever. We went from 2 million deaths to “probably less than 60K deaths” in about two weeks.

            I guess we can say they’re guessing – which is what all the models are, at the end of the day.

            1. Look, I get where you’re coming from on this thing. I’m currently more afraid of losing my job than I am about the disease. Again, I’m not advocating for any particular draconian measure or policy. But I do stand by my assertion that– whatever the real damage of this disease is or could be… it’d probably be much worse than a “standard flu season”. Yes, individuals (such as yourself) get it and hardly notice. No one is debating that. But when it kills, it kills fast and in some cases, even people who have well managed co-morbidities which is a concern.

              1. It may be worse than a standard flu season, certainly. Possible. But, is it worse than a bad flu season? In many ways, the comparison to the flu is misleading. COVID is maybe deadlier, but far less widespread. Or, more widespread than reported, and therefore less deadly. Comparing raw numbers isn’t very helpful and there is a lot of information missing.

                Another wrinkle: How many people with COVID also had flu, or any of the other countless rhinoviruses and coronaviruses that float around seasonally? I’ve seen absolutely nothing even attempting to make that analysis, as if it is somehow impossible to have multiple infections by different pathogens.

                1. My understanding is that the goal of distancing and lockdowns have always been about keeping the number of serious infections at any given time below the capacity of local health care systems. Therefore, people who need treatment can get it, therefore the fatality rate goes down, therefore the total number of deaths go down even if the total number of infections isn’t really impacted much.

                  If the lockdowns fail to do that to a significant degree, then it may very well be the case that the total number of deaths remains pretty similar and we just spread them out over a longer period of time, but with more economic and social pain.

                  1. I understand what the stated objective is. My objection is that there is no reliable way to measure whether we are actually “flattening” the curve. We may think we are doing it, but we can’t really prove it.

                    Secondly, how many of those that require hospitalization, and whose conditions are severe, actually survive when they receive treatment? In other words, if the hospital is just a change of scenery for those that would die in any event, what are we achieving? How many people are being admitted to hospitals out of an overabundance of caution, and receive minor treatment, that was unnecessary.

                    A personal anecdote: I am now reading that one of the guidelines for admission to the hospital is bloody phlegm, as it can be a sign of pneumonia, or sever bronchitis. Immediate treatment is recommended. Well, I had bloody phlegm. So, I called my doctor. The advice was … don’t come to me; go to the hospital, get yourself admitted. I asked, “Can this resolve on its own?” He answered, “Maybe. I wouldn’t take the risk.” I did not go to the hospital. I drove out to Long Island to a drive through testing facility, and came back positive. By the time I got my results back, my cough had cleared up. I did not require any hospital treatment.

                    Had I listened to my doctor (phone consultation), I would like have been hospitalized and isolated for symptoms that resolved on their own in a matter of a few days. How many cases are there like that? How many people are flooding hospitals when they don’t really need to?

                    Does the curve we are trying to flatten really exist, or has it been created by a panic among medical professionals, compounding by an even greater panic among local governments?

                    1. One thing is for sure: We certainly can’t use any of that $2T to find out.

                    2. Those are good questions and it is frustrating that we don’t have the data to answer them.

                      But I can appreciate at least some of the reasons why we don’t have that information. For example, organizing a CRT where some people don’t get hospital care except maybe for hospice once their fate has already been sealed. I realize we sort of do this with drug trials but “let’s run a CRT with an experimental drug vs our default program of care” seems different to me than “let’s run a CRT with no care vs our default program of care”. I don’t think I’d enroll in that CRT, so it’s not surprising to me that someone else isn’t running it. I’m honestly not even sure if it would pass ethical review.

                      And while I appreciate your experience, that’s also not good data to base policy off of.

                      We probably won’t know if we are really “flattening the curve” (I’ve come to loathe that phrase) until after this is all over, and even then it might be tough to tease it out with any confidence. That does nothing for us in the moment. In a situation like this, you do your best to weigh costs and benefits with the information you have. And while I *wish* politicians and policy makers would take a big picture view of that balance, I do understand that the incentives are very strongly weighted towards “take action to save uncertain number of lives now and mitigate the fallout later”. I may very well make a similar judgement in their shoes, as much as I’d like to think I’d be immune to those pressures.

                2. It depends on what you mean by “a bad flu season”. The “Spanish” flu in 1918-1919 killed at least 670,000 Americans, out of a much smaller population. COVID-19’s death toll will almost certainly be under 1/3 of that. And we didn’t shut down the country for the Spanish flu, or even quarantine the troops coming home.

                  OTOH, COVID-19 may be deadlier for older people with other health problems and pregnant women. The most unusual thing about the Spanish flu was that healthy young adults were nearly as likely to die as children and elders.

        5. Exactly. If the death toll is really high, the big government coronapocalypse promoters will be like, “see, it’s REALLY bad!” And if the death toll is only 60k, they’ll say, “see, we had to do these lockdowns, that’s why the numbers are so low.” It’s a genius way of making yourself irrefutable.

          1. I mentioned this early on. The only way the politicians pay a price is if they do nothing AND it’s really bad. Therefore, being the cowards they are, they will DO SOMETHING so they can claim victory no matter what.

      3. “Also, it’s not common for a ‘standard flu season’ to have a 30% death rate in a single nursing facility as Washington saw in the early days of this outbreak.”

        Uncommon to say the least. But, I work in long term care facilities, and if anything what we have had for the last few years is very mild flu seasons, with “less than I remember” numbers of losses. So much so that I can recall multiple late spring/early summer conversations at QAPI or other meetings to that exact effect.

        I have no doubt that aggressive vaccinations have contributed heavily to that success. What they have also done is create large populations of people whose bodies are not prepared to deal with something new and something relatively harsh. Much like improper types of fire suppression in wild lands leads to an accumulation of fuel, many of these people were living on borrowed time waiting for that one wrong spark.

        So, to some extent, we are victims of our own success at being able to improve longevity, but also being shown the very real limits of those same skills.

        1. “Much like improper types of fire suppression in wild lands leads to an accumulation of fuel, many of these people were living on borrowed time waiting for that one wrong spark.”
          You hit the nail on the head. A lot of people see the sudden deaths from people with co-morbidities, look at the chart that shows a huge spike in deaths, and think to themselves, “Gee, this could get out of control.” But in truth there are a limited supply of people at any given time with multiple co-morbidities. They got “stacked up” to higher numbers lately because influenza didn’t take them out this year. You can see how ineffective influenza was this year in the European charts: https://www.euromomo.eu/

        2. Damn, I use that “dead brush becoming fuel” analogy as well! Nicely put.

      4. Does anyone even fucking know someone with the damned virus? And not “I heard a friend of a friend had it.”

    2. The latest pooled estimates from the EuroMOMO network show a steep increase in excess all-cause mortality overall for the participating European countries, related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      I think you are looking at the time-series data and comparing the size of the recent spike to past years? But if that pools across all of Europe, then isn’t it possible that countries with little COVID-19 spread are diluting the numbers for countries with widespread COVID-19, while with the flu it would be distributed across all countries?

      This is a question — I don’t know the details of what is being presented.

      1. California peaks at 68 deaths per day on the 15th – but ya let’s shutdown the whole goddamn planet.

        Our species deserves what it gets

    3. “It looks bad because there are a lot of people with co-morbidities “stacked up” waiting for a virus to push them over the edge.”

      And this goes along with the point Ra’s was making in the Roundup today, about a bunch of cardiologists and neuro guys not having much to do, because they had a big drop in the number of heart attack and stroke patients. The people who would be keeling over now from a heart attack, are instead doing it from Covid. Or are still having their heart attack, but are also infected, and then classed as a Covid death when they die.

  6. Wow. This author fails at a basic level of understanding science and statistical analysis. You do not take an outlier and use that as some kind of meaningful average. Usually you’d throw New York out of your data as some kind of odd aberration. Just like Italy, where they were improperly collecting death data. Outliers are outliers usually for a reason.

    The entire argument of this article is deeply flawed and simply not scientific.

    1. S: Isn’t the population of New York State comparable to the populations of many European countries? Do we throw those out too?

      1. Do we throw those out too?

        If the only attribute they have in common is population then yes, we throw those out too.

  7. since every death that occurs while having the Kungflu wether or not the kungflu caused it or was even tested for Kunglfu is being listed as Kungflu hence there are a lot of deaths but all the numbers are dubious. I don’t want teh Kungflu burt i do want teh Truth and we are not getting that form any one and I doubt they ever will but they will use this method for now on to prevent other viruses based on false numbers

  8. And what would the flu curve look like if it were a completely new virus that no one had ever been vaccinated against?

    1. Good question.

    2. Excellent. I’ve been wondering this myself. How can we say it’s deadlier than the flu when we have vaccines AGAINST the flu and which are relatively successful at keeping that disease at bay?

    3. Well, you could look at the curve for the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic, which was caused by a novel virus (at the time – it’s just another flu virus now). I didn’t find any charts after a quick search, but maybe you’ll have better luck (or more persistence).

  9. Bailey pulled this chart from some fuck on Twitter.

    Go to the Twitter page, and you will find about a hundred different ways in which people rip it apart. This is garbage science, coupled with garbage math. But, it’s Bailey. At this point, expecting anything more than bullshit is pointless.

    1. GG: Why don’t you spend some time reading OurWorldInData? And yeah, sure, Max Roser is just “some fuck.”

      1. //I am an economist working at the University of Oxford. My research interests are the growth and distribution of living standards and how to make progress against the large global problems the world is facing.//

        Epidemiologist of the year.

        Maybe next time you can cite a graph by Paul Krugman.

  10. I remain skeptical that number of deaths DUE to Corona virus are actually due to corona virus.

    Ron, what do think about that?

    1. “If it’s in the graph, it must be true, because that’s science.”

    2. Even if 30% of the COVID-19 deaths shown in the last data point in that chart are being misdiagnosed, the remaining 70% would still equal the average all-cause deaths.

      I can’t speak the accuracy of those numbers, but your skepticism seems to accept them at face value, at least for the sake of argument.

      1. Hopefully we get more precise information as this goes on. I’m expecting that the actual studies that come out will carefully establish causes and proximate causes of death.

        Right now I suspect it’s sloppy, and then that’s filtered through the press and other entities that are self interested into cashing alarm.

  11. Sadly we can’t trust the CDC numbers any longer since presumed cases are lumped in with actual positive tests. If the covid made your insides boil out, maybe that wouldn’t be a problem because it would be obvious. But covid symptoms are EXTREMELY FUCKING COMMON.

    1. That’s my complaint too. We saw a prime example in the story about the 13 year old who died of seizures and was presumed to have Covid-19.

      Less starkly misidentified, how about graphing all US deaths from viral pneumonia. Does that increase or not? Since Covid-19 is a subset of viral pneumonia agents, if it’s an added one, then you’d expect that figure to increase. If it doesn’t, then we’re seeing the usual phenomenon of viral pneumonia, of which we have the ability to track this one agent genetically, and it’s just getting the blame for all viral pneumonias.

      I just emerged from having to bypass the squirrels here. Yesterday abruptly it became impossible for me to post. While waiting for the webmaster to fix it, I decided it’d be simpler to start a new account rather than proceed as Robert, and that apparently fixed it.

  12. Considering there hasn’t been enough testing to see just how widespread CV is in the population the number of deaths presented on the graph don’t tell us the most important thing we need to know. What is the true death rate? Presenting the number of deaths without comparing the total number of infected does not give a clear picture about how lethal the virus is. Obviously it kills elderly/vulnerable people in disproportionate numbers, and, typically, so does the flu. If during the 2017-18 flu season the press had acted the way the are now, they could have come up with charts like this and made that season seem worse than it was. 60,000 to 70,000 people died that season. Presenting raw numbers without perspective could have made the flu seem much more lethal than it was. But just as the CV, the 2017-18 flu season had many more infected people than usual which led to more deaths. We’re in in an panic induced economic mess because of relatively meaningless stories as the one presented here. Just enough information to cause extra unwarranted fear.

    1. If during the 2017-18 flu season the press had acted the way the are now, they could have come up with charts like this and made that season seem worse than it was

      The chart in the article shows the weekly flue deaths in NY during the 2017-2018 season and they don’t come anywhere near what was attributed to COVID in the last couple weeks.

  13. Compare to pandemic flu (’57 and ’68), not seasonal flu.

  14. “The good news is that the COVID-19 epidemic in New York may be nearing its peak.”

    Except that we have no evidence of C-19 being seasonal, like the flu; indeed, as a corona virus, like the common cold, it is more likely a year-round threat. If it is, as is likely, year-round it will again surge at any relaxation of social distancing and / or other protective measures. Even if it is seasonal, the second season may be the real killer, as it was in 1918.

    1. One of those two scenarios are the most likely outcome.
      We are stacking kindling, and going broke at the same time.

      1. Meaning that if the model of a new agent acting as the powers that be claim is correct, we’re getting the worst of both ends. In that case, rather than flattening the curve, we’d’ve been better off spiking it, getting this virus thru the population ASAP, but trying to keep it away from the elderly and debilitated while doing so. We should’ve encouraged especially children (pre-adrenarche, while they’re short on ACE-2 receptors) to spread it thru schools, parties, general kid mayhem, whatever. It worked that way with other viral diseases that were mostly harmless to children but more dangerous later in life, like mumps.

        Trying to do the opposite, flattening the curve, would really never end, or if it did, might take years, obviously too long a time to maintain isolation. And for what gain? Making sure that the debilitated had enough doctors and hospital beds so a few more of them might survive a little longer?

      2. It would also be like maintaining people on a schedule of increasing narcotics, and thus lowering their quality of life (not pain patients), because withdrawal is too much to bear, and a steady state doesn’t provide the high they’re accustomed to.

        It’s also like forest management was practiced for too long, growing vast tracts of living kindling while choking off new growth.

        Or like any number of subsidy programs for flood insurance, farming, “lemon socialism”, etc.

      3. Yes, all of the stimulus spending and Fed interventions to preserve a pre-C19 economic and social status-quo are likely a doubly costly waste, imposing both their direct costs and the opportunity costs of delaying the adaptations needed for a new viral reality. While they may allow pols to look like they are doing something and put government checks in some pockets, they will stifle growth, adaptation, and innovation for a generation or longer. They may even allow the virus to subsequently kill more by enabling a return to the same old lifestyle that lets contagions spread so readily.

  15. First the idea of “testing” is predicated on very early understanding you have a problem and having the manpower to track down positives from the testing. I”m not sure this was Trump’s fault as much as the CDC dragging their feet most likely because no one thought this was going to be much of a problem.

    Second, NY State (actually 95% NYC) is running at about 45-50% of total deaths in the country. Top four states are about 70%. And none of these States is West coast gateway cities to China so you have to ask yourself what is going on in these four states. What is the % false positive to the “tests?”

    Third how many of the NYC deaths are just “rebates” deaths that would have occurred in the next few months anyway. I’ve lost family members who were on deaths doorstep and died from the flu.

    If there is any failure or blame I put it on Cuomo’s refusal to quarantine NYC…the only way you get ahead of this since the plague man has known it is quarantine fast…we didn’t do that.

  16. If this virus is killing many people who would anyway have died in the coming months, then that means that the death rate will be lowered in those subsequent months. Which will make the current counter measures appear more effective than they actually were.

  17. If current guesstimates are averaged, it looks like only around 329,400,000 Americans will survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

  18. The CDC is telling hospitals to put everything down as covid death. Inflating the numbers pushes the agenda.

  19. There is growing Hypothesis amongst Epidemiologists that the Covid Virus came to the US in Early or late fall. That Western states were the first to develope herd immunity and the virus moved slowly east. This explains the unusualay low infections rate for Americas most populace and least prepared state – California. It also explains the devastation currently being experienced by New York as the virus ends its run. The New your Lock down blocked herd immunity and then via mismanagement provided more infected persons because of population density. There are no epidemiologists advising President Trump only past and present employees (Birx, Fauci and Birx’s Daughter who currently works for Gates) all talking gloom and doom versus the optimism and common sense of Epidemiologist.Talk about a conflict of interest.

  20. We guaranteed infection of maybe a third of the population by locking everyone down in their homes. If your mom had the virus, by now do do you. Millions of college kids are back at home.

    The death rate and severe case are still low in some states. We’re basically putting up with a mild police state to prevent massive hospitalization. Because even a fraction of the population that needs ventilators is enough to overwhelm hospitals.

    But so far that’s not happening everywhere. The la county hospital my sister works at has maybe 6 covid patients. No one has that protective gear on.

    If we reopened hair salons and computer repair shops and have them take the necessary precaution, will the death rate rise by 30%? “If only to save one life” cannot be used to indefinitely prolong the status quo.

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