Is Covid-19 Seasonal?

A National Academy of Sciences report suggests not, but that report gets some basic facts wrong

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

One of the great unknowns regarding Covid-19 is whether, like many other viruses, it will have strong seasonality and its spread will slow dramatically in the Summer. A recent National Academy of Sciences report suggests that this outcome is unlikely.

I noticed something odd in the study, however. On page six, the report states the countries currently in "summer" climate, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing "rapid virus spread," and suggests this argues against the theory that heat and humidity will act strongly against the virus.

I happened to have recently perused the Australian Department of Health's website, and according to that site, most of Australia's cases originate from people who traveled abroad and that "currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission of COVID-19."

I'm also not sure where the authors got the idea that Iran is experiencing summer climate. Qom, the city where the Iranian outbreak has been most intense, has not been above 75 degrees this calendar year, and has generally been much cooler. Tehran has been even chillier.

So I'm not in a position to predict how the weather will affect Covid-19 transmission [and I don't know whether Australia and Iran were just sloppy examples, or if the authors actually relied on them to any degreee], but I am quite disappointed that I apparently can't rely on experts consulted by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences to get basic facts right.

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  1. And, oh by the way, Iran is in bed with China with lots and lots of travel back and forth.

  2. Gee, it’s almost like people are tripping over themselves trying to come up with fresh ways to make this sound Big and Scary.

    1. Yeah, it’s a Deep State conspiracy and the National Academies are in on it.

      Or, maybe, it’s just a bad paper. I think Prof. Bernstein’s points are good ones. And for all the attempts to avoid them, it happens. Scientists are human.

      The number of people just going directly to paranoid fiction…

      1. Yes, the seasonality of the virus is proven by the low number of cases in Houston, New Orleans, Florida, and Brazil. Once the American north gets as warm as Houston in the winter, a miracle will happen and we’ll wake up and all the corona virus will be gone. Also, the blind will see, Rush Limbaugh will regain his hearing (but he will probably remain dumb and drug addicted — God can’t do everything, you know), Greg Abbott will walk again (probably kick some hippies’ asses to celebrate), and Donald Trump will stop having unprotected sex with people who have thousands of sex partners. PTL

    2. Well it is scary, however, thank God, its looking like its not going to be as big as many feared. The UW Health institute model hasn’t been too bad, besides very large error bars, but if they are right and its just 60,000 deaths by August, thats just a bad flu season, though admittedly with far few infected due to the drastic shutdown.

      Ill also note its not summer in Australia, its fall. And Qom in Iran is actually north of Wuhan, it was definitely not Summer there when the outbreak hit.

      1. Even if “only” 60k people die, that doesn’t mean it’s “just a bad flu season.” Flu kills vulnerable people. But it doesn’t also result in large numbers of non-vulnerable people, including younger people, being incapacitated and/or hospitalized for weeks.

  3. I guess we should be glad that at least Professor Bernstein didn’t predict that only 500 Americans were going to die of COVID-19. But this post is only a touch less irresponsible.

    The fact that the majority of cases in Australia (and it’s not a large majority, especially in New South Wales) are currently from overseas sources is not incompatible with the claim of “rapid virus spread,” as a few moments of though demonstrates. Not very long ago, every single case in New York City was from an overseas source. Pretty clearly there was also “rapid virus spread.” Australia may simply be less far along that curve, although it appears that Australia did a much better job than we did in flattening the curve. I agree that it would have been helpful if the paper had cited its source for this datapoint, however.

    I read the study as simply demonstrating that there is some inconclusive data on both sides of the question of whether or not the virus is seasonal, and warning that conclusions were premature.

    Unfortunately, conclusions never appear to be premature for law professors to reach – especially about things they know little about.

    1. Are you serious?

      There is no topic which lawyers, all the more so law professors, know little about.

      The J.D. degree, known as an LL.B. in more honest days, confers universal expertise.

      1. But two commenters know the subject so well that they can condemn a law professor as uneducated and ignorant.

        1. Seriously, have you no better rebuttal than “Nuh-uh, you’re a law professor”? bratschewurst at least says something, but his rebuttal assumes he knows better than Prof Bernstein, which rebuts his own argument that only medical professionals know anything and the rest of us must blindly accept everything they say, much like Bible fundamentalists assert every word is literally true, even when in contradiction to other words. bernard11 doesn’t even offer that much, just a blind #metoo chime.

          I appreciate the post because, whether it is true or not, it at least is an independent analysis which does not claim to know the truth. That’s how progress works.

          1. “bernard11 doesn’t even offer that much, just a blind #metoo chime.”

            And he hasn’t said a word about Tara Reade.

          2. “bratschewurst at least says something, but his rebuttal assumes he knows better than Prof Bernstein, which rebuts his own argument that only medical professionals know anything and the rest of us must blindly accept everything they say, much like Bible fundamentalists assert every word is literally true, even when in contradiction to other words.”

            I didn’t say anything like that. But i did spot a contradiction in his argument. What Professor Bernstein did was to spot an unsourced datapoint in a paper full of sourced datapoints. It seems to me as if he thinks that somehow refutes all the sourced datapoints, which is a very lawyerly way to look at argument.

            I don’t have the knowledge or training to evaluate the studies cited in the paper. Nor does Professor Bernstein.

            1. How does it “seem to [you] as if he thinks that somehow refutes all the sourced datapoints”? Which statement of his could possibly have gotten you to think that?

              I don’t have the knowledge or training to evaluate the studies cited in the paper. Nor does Professor Bernstein.

              Which he did not purport to do. Reading is fundamental.

          3. I appreciate the post because, whether it is true or not, it at least is an independent analysis which does not claim to know the truth. That’s how progress works.

            It’s also how error works.

            It’s often the way fraud works.

            It’s absolutely how propaganda works.

        2. I didn’t say anything about the subject. I didn’t say Bernstein was uneducated and ignorant.

          I was opining on the tendency of lawyers and law professors to expound knowingly on all topics, a tendency I’ve observed over the years.

          Richard Epstein, who bratschewurst’s dig was aimed at, is a good example.

          1. But they make up for their Dunning-Kruger affliction by being cheerfully tolerant of non-lawyers who make assertions about the law with which they disagree. So it all evens out!

            1. Sometimes they are cheerfully tolerant, sometimes not.

              Besides, since lawyers disagree among themselves, my opinions must be just as good as theirs. What good are experts, after all? Right? 🙂

          2. You were opining on the subject of non-experts opining on subjects of which they are not experts, which subject you are not an expert on.

            If you were being sarcastic, my bad.

            1. It’s true I’m not an expert on the subject of people opining on subjects they are not expert at.

              I don’t think doing that is some sort of crime against humanity, or even a bad thing, as long as one is a bit careful.

              I really was just noting, perhaps too snarkily, that it’s a habit that lawyers in particular seem to have with respect to almost everything, to a rather high degree. It’s almost as if the profession encourages it.

              And it’s one thing to opine in a comments section, or even in a blog post. The habit seems to extend beyond that.

              Just my observation. Obviously the comment offended some. My apologies.

    2. You might have done a far better job of looking at the progress of infection in Australia, before criticizing DB. For the first two weeks after first clusters the rate was sub-exponential and 25% the rate of growth in the EU. Then followed about 10 days of faster growth still slower than in the EU or US. By day 33, the rates in Australia was flattening to a slow linear growth roughly similar to S. Korea

      1. “You might have done a far better job of looking at the progress of infection in Australia, before criticizing DB. For the first two weeks after first clusters the rate was sub-exponential and 25% the rate of growth in the EU. Then followed about 10 days of faster growth still slower than in the EU or US. By day 33, the rates in Australia was flattening to a slow linear growth roughly similar to S. Korea.”

        That is encouraging, it true, and it could be explained by the virus being seasonal. No doubt it could be explained by other things as well.

        But it would be dangerous to make big decisions about how to handle the pandemic going forward on one datapoint. And ending shelter-in-place prematurely, based on some very conflicting data regarding seasonality, would be a good example of that.

    3. A few moments of thought? You certainly didn’t spend that on the issue of seasonality or humidity and temperature.

      1. “A few moments of thought? You certainly didn’t spend that on the issue of seasonality or humidity and temperature.”

        I’m not competent to judge the studies cited in the paper on those variables. Neither is Professor Bernstein. Only one of us is humble enough to accept that, unfortunately.

        1. When did Professor Bernstein purport to judge any studies at all? What are you talking about?

    4. >The fact that the majority of cases in Australia (and it’s not a large majority, especially in New South Wales) are currently from overseas sources is not incompatible with the claim of “rapid virus spread,” <

      No its not, but it is incompatible with citing Australia as a place that has rapid virus spread. In other words, Australia's current situation provides little or no Bayesian evidence for the NAS report. That they cited Australia as an example for their assertion means they used a flawed methodology.

      Just as the Prof said, this doesn't mean their conclusion is wrong, it just means they got their in a way that is not rigorous, so they need to go back to the drawing board and try again.

      1. “Just as the Prof said, this doesn’t mean their conclusion is wrong, it just means they got their in a way that is not rigorous, so they need to go back to the drawing board and try again.”

        Well, the paper was not positioned as a rigorous study. It was more in the form of a lit review. It was a weakness not to source its claim about Australian virus spread, as I wrote before. I don’t think that invalidates the paper’s conclusion, which is that there’s simply not enough data pointing in the same direction actually to draw conclusions. But casting doubt on an entire paper based on the lack of sourcing of one datapoint, as Professor Bernstein did, seems disingenuous at best.

        1. But casting doubt on an entire paper based on the lack of sourcing of one datapoint, as Professor Bernstein did, seems disingenuous at best.

          I’m beginning to think you didn’t read the post at all.

          1) He didn’t cast doubt on the paper.
          2) He didn’t challenge “the lack of sourcing of” a data point; he cited the incorrect assertion of a data point.

          1. He didn’t cast doubt on the paper.

            The headline of the post reads as follows:

            Is Covid-19 Seasonal?
            A National Academy of Sciences report suggests not, but that report gets some basic facts wrong

            I think a fair reading of that headline is that he’s casting doubt on the accuracy of the report.

            1. Your claim was that he cast doubt “on an entire paper.” He cast doubt on two particular assertions.

    5. Me: “So I’m not in a position to predict how the weather will affect Covid-19 transmission…”
      Brat: “conclusions never appear to be premature for law professors to reach”.

      My only conclusions were that according to the Australian Department of Health, Australia has not had widespread social transmission, and according to weather reports Iran has not been experiencing Summer weather.

      1. “My only conclusions were that according to the Australian Department of Health, Australia has not had widespread social transmission, and according to weather reports Iran has not been experiencing Summer weather.”

        Your conclusion was to cast doubt on the entire paper based on one (or perhaps two) unsourced datapoint. And the Australian Department of Health did not, in fact, conclude that there was no “widespread social transmission” They concluded that the majority of cases to date were imported, which is not the same thing. At a point in time which seems like a century ago, but which was actually just a few weeks ago, the same thing was true of New York City. All of its cases were imported initially; mostly apparently from Europe.

        1. “currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission of COVID-19” is an exact quote from the Australia Department of Health, and since it was quoted in the actual blog post, I have to assume you didn’t actually read the post.

          1. Good catch. I did read the post – and the cited paper. I should have re-read the post.

    6. But even if the virus starts to spread rapidly, it is no longer summer in Australia with daytime highs in the 60’s and lower 70’s in Melbourne.

  4. Could be the U.S. map of cases tends to confirm virus abatement with warm weather. This time of year, the Northeast typically has some of the nastiest weather in the U.S., with plenty of continuing cold, along with northeasters to stir things up. There are parts of Massachusetts which typically risk frost until June 10. Spring comes late to the Bay State. And it is right up there with virus cases, and amidst its chill, it is suffering a continuing upward trend despite nicely disciplined social distancing.

    California, with far more population than Massachusetts is getting a milder hit, in its milder climate. That extends all the way up the coast or Washington, both with regard to climate and virus trajectory.

    Warm Florida, one of the nation’s most flagrant distancing-scoffers, is paying a price. And probably also paying for its surplus of older residents. But compare the overall picture in Florida to that in Massachusetts, and you see Florida’s much-larger—and notoriously less disciplined—population faring somewhat better. At least for now.

    Most years, Michigan, surrounded by chilly lakes, is another place with tardy spring weather. Michigan is getting clobbered by the virus.

    A very tentative generalization—based on U.S map virus overlays and customary weather patterns—suggests that climate is not viral destiny. Other factors are also apparent. But as the weather warms, climate seems to be playing an ameliorating part in what happens. Warmer areas, and areas which get seasonal warming earlier, look like they might be getting a virus-fighting boost.

    1. Arizona (where I’m spending my Coronacation) has had a significantly lower number of case per 100k of population than New York (45 vs 889). It also has a drastically lower number of deaths per 100k (1 vs 40). These things ring true for Cali too. (54, 1), New Mexico is (52, <1), Nevada (89, 3), Utah (69, <1) and Texas (44, <1). Washington is (140, 7).

      New York is what it is because it’s been cold, damp and overcrowded the whole run of this disease. It has the highest population density in the US. San Francisco is second in density, but it’s still almost half as dense as NYC.

      Now I’m no epidemiologist, but it seems to me that this virus is nastier in cold, moist, overpopulated climates than warm, dry ones that are sparsely populated.

      1. Some so called “experts” are saying there are two different strains to explain the difference between the coasts. The west coast strain came directly from China and is less deadly, the east coast strain came from Europe and is a more deadly strain. I don’t know. What I do know we will know if it is seasonal after we go through a year and experience next winter. Until then it is all speculation.

    2. There’s an old Yankee saying of “open winter, open grave” and this has been an ‘open” (snowless) winter. Notwithstanding what some have said about higher levels of humidity and virus mortality, it’s dry when it’s cold (below 20 F) even drier when its below zero, and I’ve often found it chillier in Boston than Bangor because of the humidity. While my preference is reversed if I am driving, I’d rather be walking in a howling 20 F blizzard than a wet spring Nor’Easter.

      One other thing — back when Sears was a significant retailer, they would sell the same number of winter coats in Bangor, ME and Atlanta, GA. Each year, both stores would sell roughly the same number of the exact same coats. Bangor which would get about a week when it didn’t go above 0 F, and Atlanta where it might dip below freezing one night during a cold snap.

      The same number of the exact same coats.

      Warm and cold are relative concepts…..

      1. Since there are about 100 times as many people in Atlanta as in Bangor, I’m not sure how informative this statistic is.

    3. A very reasonable analysis. I think the temperature does affect virus propagation, but as one of many factors.

  5. According to models which have never been even close to correct, cases will spike in summer.

    1. The more the social distancing works, the later the peak. It is that simple

      1. Cases where I live peaked a week ago

      2. Don Nico, no, not correct, and not simple. The more social distancing is delayed, the later the peak. But with luck, and if the virus proves seasonal, delay may turn out to be paradoxically virtuous, and blunt the peak by moving it into warmer weather.

        The opportunity to do that was not uniformly distributed. The Northeast never had that chance, because the virus got going so strongly there before social distancing was a thing. The paradox is that a blunter, later peak in a few states will not be good for the nation.

        Fingers crossed, in hindsight, social distancing will prove to have been an enormous lifesaver. It will be a lifesaver on some scale even for warmer states in the nation’s interior, where governors have buried their heads in the sand, and will get around to social distancing only later, after the virus forces their hand, maybe even next fall. Failure to do it sooner may impose yet more, needless social distancing on other states which have already been through it. Possibly, there may even be a few successful free-rider states, where governors get politically-sufficient virus protection from other states’ suffering, while indulging themselves at the rest of the nation’s expense by never locking down.

        In a sanely run nation, there would have been a New England/New York style lockdown simultaneously, nationwide. About six to eight weeks of that, starting in early March, would have delivered an economic upheaval similar to what we see now, but would have created such a mild disease experience it would probably have gone down in history, mistakenly, as an economically costly blunder. Had such a comprehensive lockdown started in mid-February, probably New York would not now be burying hundreds in mass graves. But of course, such a timely start to costly counter-measures would have been a political impossibility.

        Maybe the experience of this pandemic will create sufficiently lasting memories that the politics will work better during the next one. Almost certainly, available counter-measures will be better maintained in the interim, at least until the generations which carry memories of this experience die. Of course, the Baby Boomers, who have been most affected and most traumatized, will be gone fairly soon.

        In any case, there will be a giant amount of work to do as overt virus abates nationally, and covert virus becomes the new management challenge. Self-indulgence, minimization, and opportunistic politics will predictably pose major public-health obstructions to getting that work done. So will virus leakage from the free-rider states, which will probably resist politically any proposal to test their populations and trace contagion. There may yet be a national need to force compliance. If Trump is still president, expect that need to go unmet.

        We can count on the Trump administration to double down on every kind of obstruction. The Republicans have accommodatingly made themselves powerless to rein Trump in, and that is where his impulses lead.

        History’s judgement will be that the Trump administration broke every presidential record for moral corruption and incompetence. He needlessly imposed a horrific human cost on the nation. Trump undermined preparedness, and delayed response until long after his duty to do so was plain to people more responsible, better informed, and less feckless than Trump himself—which was almost everyone.

        Historians have grown ever-more reluctant to ascribe great historical occurrences to particular powerful figures acting with enormous influence. The complexities of history suggest that kind of story is too simple. The Trump coronavirus episode will stand for many generations of scholars as a malign counter-example against that thoughtful trend. What historical debates there are will center around how much to blame Trump, versus how much influence to ascribe to Trumpism and its causes.

        In historical hindsight, social distancing will be overwhelmingly recognized as a necessity. Expect nations to make it standard practice for coping with novel pandemics.

        1. “In historical hindsight, social distancing will be overwhelmingly recognized as a necessity. Expect nations to make it standard practice for coping with novel pandemics.”

          While the trend is always towards despotism, and the latter well may be the case, the Kabuki Theater known as “Social Distancing” is nothing but the Kabuki Theater of the TSA writ large.

          Handwashing is/was effective, and we’ve known the effectiveness of handwashing for a couple centuries now. The hand to eye/nose/mouth and hand-to-mouth and anal-oral routes of transmission are *known* to be the primary means of transmission for all other pathogens (including other corona viri) and historians will note that being the case here too. But social distancing is asinine.

          There is an interesting study of Massachusetts sewerage which indicates that an unnamed community actually had 2,300 people infected when there were only 446 confirmed cases in the region. That’s off by more than a factor of five, and it means that a lot more people have had the virus than the authorities believe — something that is also appearing in the early antibody tests. See: https://nypost.com/2020/04/09/coronavirus-traces-found-in-massachusetts-wastewater/

          I’m reminded of Stanley Milgram’s infamous 1963 compliance experiment — based on philosopher Hannah Arendt’s argument that Adolf Eichmann was no more inherently evil than anyone else. I’d always felt that Milgram somehow screwed up his methods — until now. Watching how quietly people are tolerating the fascism of social isolation, the often truly asinine fascism of it, I no longer have any doubt that the overwhelming majority of people would electrocute another person just because they were told to do it.

          I’m still convinced that I’d have told Milgram that I intended to go next door to check on the other guy, with or without him unlocking the door first (his choice). But, sadly, I can see Arendt’s point.

          1. Yeah, when I look at the little tape lines in the supermarket all I can think of is ‘Fascism’

          2. While the trend is always towards despotism, and the latter well may be the case, the Kabuki Theater known as “Social Distancing” is nothing but the Kabuki Theater of the TSA writ large.

            You might not be aware of the case of the Skagit Valley Chorale. On March 10, 121 choir members got together for a rehearsal – which of course involved expelling large quantities of air in close proximity to each other for several hours in a closed room. Three weeks later, 45 had been diagnosed with COVID-19, three were hospitalized, and two were dead.

            Maybe cancelling that rehearsal would have been Kabuki. No doubt, had they cancelled it and no one had gotten sick, they would have been accused of that by people like you. But it appears that the lack of such “Kabuki” resulted in a very bad outcome.

            Honestly – after reading a story like that, would you recommend to anyone you loved that they go to their next choir rehearsal?

        2. “Don Nico, no, not correct, and not simple. The more social distancing is delayed, the later the peak. But with luck, and if the virus proves seasonal, delay may turn out to be paradoxically virtuous, and blunt the peak by moving it into warmer weather.”

          Stephen, I don’t follow this, at all. Are you sure it is written as you intended, no logical inversions?

          To my simple mind, if you delay social distancing, you peak higher and sooner. I don’t see how delaying social distancing, i.e., doing nothing early, flattens anything. Social distancing should flatten the peak and move it further out, no?

          1. Publius, I don’t think so, but I don’t pretend to actual expertise. I will try to explain.

            My take on it is that for a particular premise—a given number of total infections—what you say is right—you flatten the curve, and lower the peak, which makes the peak come a bit later. But the premise which makes the comparison valid—the given number of total infections—goes out the window when you delay social distancing. During the delay, you get geometric increase, more or less unimpeded, through multiple generations, while you wait to begin social distancing. The population experiencing active infections increases accordingly—which means increasingly rapid increase.

            So long as the delay continues, the delay itself is already moving the peak to a later and later date (at least until a natural peak induced by herd immunity is reached, but I take the natural peak to be irrelevant to this discussion, because the casualty cost of reaching it will prove unacceptable). So, when the mayhem can’t be ignored anymore, you implement social distancing, but with the active case load higher than it needed to be, maybe much higher. Thus, to achieve the same degree of curve flattening as before, the peak must also be higher. That geometry points to a higher, wider curve, and thus to a longer interval of social distancing. So you get a later peak because of the wider curve, and that rightward push down the calendar is added to the initial delay.

            All the specifics would be case dependent, but the reasoning almost certainly points to a later end to your crisis, maybe much later. And you get that time penalty on top of extra casualties.

            During a novel pandemic, with essentially no one immune at the start, beginning social distancing as early as possible seems like the formula for the earliest end to acute crisis, and for the fewest casualties. Of course, that amelioration is purchased at the cost of delaying natural immunity for most survivors—which means your overall management task has to continue longer. In principle, you are trying to use social distancing to buy time, and afterwards change the means of management to something far less disruptive than social distancing (although maybe more intrusive with regard to privacy.)

            In conclusion, I am heartened because an earlier tendency of the more skeptical commenters to minimize the seriousness this crisis seems to be diminishing, though not yet gone.

        3. Stephen, I am pretty sure i disagree with you on quite a few things
          but that was pretty good

          [golf clap]

          Many will disagree, and while I will take advantage and blame trump, I think others in his place would have made similar errors for different reasons. Or maybe the same reason. Political fear. Fear of looking afraid, or silly

          1. arpiniant1, thank you for that. I have always regarded you as one of the saner critics of views like mine.

        4. New York certainly did have that chance. They were impacted later than the west coast – particularly Washington. But Washington was hit in a nursing home right off the bat and a bunch of old people died quickly. That got everyone’s attention.

          Meanwhile, New York City had a mayor who was more concerned with the school lunch program.

          While Florida tracked people who were infected from cruise ships and flights – even when they were not in the state – New York downplayed the whole thing.

          They were a couple of weeks behind Florida, even though NYC is the most densely populated city in the country. South Florida counties shut down their school systems within 24 hours of the first Dade county school teacher testing positive.

          There is no “hindsight” component to this. Florida government acted very aggressively early on. New York government did not, even though the threat in New York was much greater due to population density and extensive use of mass transit.

          “Regular Joes” in both locations ridiculed government crackdowns. I thought it was a bit silly to close down the schools – since kids were really not thought to be at risk of death from the virus in a significant way. This is where hindsight comes in handy – average Joe was wrong. New York delayed action and cases piled up in NYC even faster than they did in Italy.

          1. While I agree that New York acted late, and paid for it, so did Florida. The testing was not done in any systematic fashion when it came to flights, and the shut-down order came very, very, late.

            I’m not the biggest Newsom fan, but everyone I read says California is the model jurisdiction on this.

            1. There’s your problem — you need to read outside your comfort zone.

            2. That’s not right.

              Florida’s governor went to Trump twice about shutting down travel from New York – long before NY became a huge peak. A big chunk of the Florida innoculum was from NY residents escaping the lockdown there.

              Also, Florida bought more tests than all other states combined early in the epidemic.

              The only thing that nobody did was to track and quarantine all exposed individuals. That might have worked, but would have required a travel ban since nobody else was doing it. And governors have no such power. I don’t think anyone does in the US internally… at least not at the moment.

              1. But travel from New York was closing the barn door after the horse was already out of the barn. It was more scapegoating than effective policy.

                You needed the full social distancing that we’re (mostly) all doing now, and Florida was very late.

                (No that the New Yorkers fleeing didn’t suck).

                1. Not true at all.

                  South florida was locked down and social distancing while De Blasio was still vowing that he’d never close the schools under any circumstances.

                  When they finally shut down bars and restaurants in NY and told people to stay home, all of the flights to florida filled up.

                  So we got a huge bolus of infection from people who were not going to listen to their governor when he said to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel. How well do you expect they followed those edicts when they got to Florida.

                  And still… even though the first cases here were before NY, the number of cases is a small fraction of NY.

                  Now, part of that is undoubtedly the unique situation of NYC, with high density and a uniquely public-transit reliant society.

                  But the fact remains… .if you want to measure “effective response”, all you have to do is point to the scoreboard. NY is easily dead last on “effective response”, coming in even below Italy on the “how well did you flatten the curve?” calculus.

          2. Cyto, I do not think the facts back your comparison of government responses in New York and Florida.

            Florida was one day ahead of New York in closing schools, on March 17. But New York issued a stay at home order on March 22; Florida waited until April 3 to do that. New York closed down non-essential services on March 22; Florida still has not done that on April 11.

            I doubt you are correct that Florida was hit first, but if you are correct, that just throws a harsher light on Florida’s notoriously lax management of its developing crisis. If your point is that New York should have acted sooner, I agree with that.

            1. That is at a state level. Schools in south Florida were closed down with the first cases.

              Reference: I live here and work extensively in the school system. I personally complained when they started “overreacting” and cancelled all after school activities.

              The response was entirely driven from the bottom up. DeSantis was way ahead of most other state level leaders. And he was well behind the county and city leaders. On purpose. Because the need in Miami was not the same as the need in Jacksonville. There was nothing “notoriously lax” in Florida. As I note above, when the test kits first became available, Florida bought more than all other states combined.

              And the need in Montana is not ever going to be the same as the need in New York.

              Florida is somewhat unique in that the Miami area is closely tied to the New York area and has a high traffic back and forth to New York… while the area north of Palm Beach County is basically a different state. The epidemic has hit the disparate areas very differently. New York continuously exported infected individuals to Florida – with a giant bolus when Cuomo issued shelter in place orders. People wanted to escape to their vacation homes if they were not going to be able to go out.

              Of course, there was nothing to do here. The beaches, restaurants and bars had all been closed a long time before NY shut down.

              1. Florida famously kept Spring Break open, despite urges not to.

                Sure, Florida tried lots of stuff other than a stay at home order. But only that worked, and so that’s the metric I use. And Florida was really late in doing that.

                1. All of that is just flat wrong.

                  Maybe don’t go to the New York press for your analysis of how New York did in relation to Florida.

                  Here’s the truth: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were the only counties really affected by Covid in the first couple of weeks. They all closed down schools and beaches very early on. Long before New York closed down restaurants and bars, the beaches in South Florida were closed. (restaurants and bars were also closed).

                  And you know how I know that this was right? Look at the number of cases in Florida. They were on par way back when the first cases were reported. And Florida did not see the rapid, exponential growth that NY did. Because they actually did have some effective response and people actually did stay home.

                  The state didn’t shut things down across the board for 2 weeks, because they didn’t need to. Counties with zero cases, or 4 cases didn’t really need to shut everything down yet.

                  And you’ll see the opposite effect as the epidemic washes through. New York will likely be one of the first locations to open back up.. because the infection will run its course faster. NY might very well pass their peak 3 or 4 weeks before we do here in Florida. We still only have a few thousand cases – and our numbers should end up in the couple hundred thousand range. So we have a long way to go.

                  1. I’m not comparing NY to Florida, I’m comparing both to the general national response, and BOTH did pretty badly. And both are suffering for it.

                    1. With over 20 million people, Florida is comparable in size to Italy.

                      Florida currently sits at under 20k total cases of Covid-19. (per Hopkins map) That puts them at 9th in the USA, despite being in the top 3 in population.

                      New York City, with less than half that population is nearing 100k cases.

                      Meanwhile, New York State is pushing toward 200k cases, with a similar population to that of Florida.

                      The effectiveness of the disparate responses are not really questionable. These are order of magnitude differences. It isn’t that subtle.

                    2. The inescapable conclusion of those numbers is that you’ve been led astray by politically motivated reporting.

                      Florida is doing measurably better than average, and New York is vying for the most rapid rate of spread in the entire world. Yet your perception is that both failed at a similar level. This is not a personal failing… .how could you know anything beyond what you’ve seen and read.

                      This is why the press is my hobby horse of late. They have been pushing Cuomo as a heroic figure, valiant in the fight. This is incompatible with the numbers.

                      Nobody in the national press seems smart enough to ask the salient questions. They are happy to play “gotcha” with idiotic wordplay and fake outrage questions, but nobody asks “Why do the numbers for case fatality rate at 10x those of the flu seem so incompatible with the count of fatalities we see? (which are far, far less than 10% of the count of flu fatalities in a typical season, thusfar).

                      That’s not a critique of the experts. There are loads and loads of numbers and facts out there… and I’m quite confident that the guys at the CDC and WHO and elsewhere understand them quite well. But the press seems to view it as their responsibility to find controversy rather than enlighten, so they as Fauci to disagree with Trump instead of asking for better explanations of things that don’t make sense to laymen.

                      Things that end up being endlessly speculated about on internet forums, precisely because nobody can get a coherent picture from the information available.

                      Just one smart and properly educated person in the room could make a world of difference. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have such a person.

                      Instead, we get CNN crowing about what a great job their host’s brother is doing, and what a terrible job the governor from the opposing party is doing, despite numbers that are inescapably in opposition to such an assertion.

                      So, back to the numbers. I messed up in my post above.

                      Italy is the world standard for worst response. With 60 million people, they have 160k confirmed cases and are approaching 20k deaths.

                      New York has 19 million people. They have 200k confirmed cases. 20,646 deaths.

                      Florida has a population of 21.5 million. 19k cases. 446 deaths.

                      Now spend a moment comparing your perception with those numbers. New York has 1/3 the population of Italy, but more fatalities in a shorter time frame. But who did you perceive as having the worst response?

                      Florida has a larger population than New York. But New York has more than 45 times as many fatalities as Florida. Yet your perception was that both states had similarly botched responses.

                      Where did that perception form? That’s the important take-away from this. Somehow you formed a strongly held opinion that is completely incompatible with even a cursory look at the facts. But you are not a rube. You are not illiterate. You are not unread. You are actually informed and up on the relevant events. Yet somehow your perception was wrong at flat-earth levels.

                      That’s why the media’s competence is my stalking horse of late.

                    3. “New York has 19 million people. They have 200k confirmed cases. 20,646 deaths. ”

                      The source I have been using is worldometers (and drilling down from there for US State data). They are in general agreement with most of your numbers, but your 20646 deaths for NY is twice their number (9385 at this moment).

                    4. “I’m not comparing NY to Florida, I’m comparing both to the general national response, and BOTH did pretty badly. And both are suffering for it.”

                      Can you expand on that? I haven’t really been following state by state data, but the worldometers data (click on ‘Tot cases/1M pop’ column header a couple of times to sort) shows Florida in 18th place, and below the national average. Does that disagree with your data?

                    5. Ooops, my bad. The default view on that page is ‘now’, which bounces around during the day as states report in. Better to click the ‘yesterday’ button to get more comparable numbers (the difference isn’t large, Florida drops a bit to 19th).

                    6. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

                      seems to be a go-to source for the most up to date numbers.

                    7. New York deaths seem to have been glitching when I was looking those numbers up. NY is showing 9,385 deaths and 188,902 cases. Both are about 10k less than they were showing earlier, so JHU must have imported some bad data.

                      Still, the overall point remains. NY has a much steeper curve than any other major player. Florida has a much less steep curve, so far. Since this is the only measure of success in “flattening the curve”, which is our singular mitigation strategy….. your perceptions are out of alignment with reality. And it ain’t because you are stupid or uninformed. You have been illinformed.

                    8. Another thing I’ve noticed: Nobody quotes numbers for Europe or the EU. They compare the USA, China and Italy, Germany…. The EU is roughly the same size as the US and has a similar patchwork of governing bodies. I wonder why nobody ever quotes the EU as a total number.

                      Remember when we learned that there was a name that you’d never heard of for the EU countries? You know, when Trump gave in to his racist and Xenophobic tendencies and banned travel from there?

                      But showing that number would show that Europe has many, many more infected than the US. Why nobody wants to say that is beyond me…. but it certainly isn’t an accident. All other numbers get quoted as the EU or Europe – economic numbers, population, refugees, car sales, imports, exports, etc. Even influenza. But not Covid-19.

                    9. BTW, from now on I’m going with that worldometers site. Much easier to deal with than the cooler JHU map site.

                    10. With over 20 million people, Florida is comparable in size to Italy.

                      Seriously, continuing to make stuff up does not do much for your credibility.

                      Florida has 20 million people. Italy has 60 million people. 20 million is not comparable to 60 million. (Unless you meant geographic size, which would be an odd thing to focus on, and would also be entirely wrong. Italy is almost twice as big as Florida.)

                    11. Florida currently sits at under 20k total cases of Covid-19. (per Hopkins map) That puts them at 9th in the USA, despite being in the top 3 in population.

                      New York City, with less than half that population is nearing 100k cases.

                      Meanwhile, New York State is pushing toward 200k cases, with a similar population to that of Florida.

                      “Hey siri, if I don’t conduct tests, can I conclude that the lack of people testing positive means that people aren’t infected?”

                  2. Here’s the truth: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were the only counties really affected by Covid in the first couple of weeks. They all closed down schools and beaches very early on.

                    None of them closed down schools early on. They closed schools the same day that New York did.

        5. Where did you get you information Stephen. It is directly contradicted by the first Imperial College calculations. Besides that is exactly why the NYC peak will come earlier than the peak in CA.
          For initial responses, the SEIR model works reasonably well, My comment was based on that model, not on your politically based screed.

          1. Don Nico, what information are you talking about? And why are you answering in such hostile terms?

            The dates of the various closures came from the widely-relied-upon University of Washington models for hospital resource timing, state-by-state. You can Google the web site and see a full discussion of premises and methods.

            Based on things Trump says in his press briefings, I think he uses information from those models. I don’t suppose Trump actually consults the information directly. He probably gets it from Fauci, and then uses whatever parts he finds convenient for the arguments he wants to make.

            If you think I am analyzing the overall situation wrong, then try to explain specifically why you think that. For instance, show why the models you cite contradict what I say. I could very well be mistaken, but you are not even starting to convince me yet. You will have to cite specific data you rely upon, and then show your reasoning, and how it applies to specific assertions I make which you disagree with.

            1. lathrop…Well for starters, your attempted analysis of FL vs NY is pretty flawed.

              The facts speak for themselves. NY is the epicenter, not FL. Ineffective response, particularly from Mayor Putz, directly lead to thousands of sickened NYC dwellers.

        6. New York is not now burying hundreds in mass graves. At least not people who’ve died of Wuhan Disease. The increase in burials at Hart Island, from a normal average of about 25 a week to a current level of over 100 a week, is entirely due to the coroner clearing out storage in anticipation of a surge in Wuhan Disease victims.

  6. I believe that influenza will be the appropriate model for coronavirus, and for analogies.

    1. People vastly more informed about the issue who happen to be expert epidemiologists have repeatedly addressed this speculation and repeatedly said people like you are wrong.

      It has a much higher transmission rate than the flu, and it is much more lethal than the flu. You’ve had months to have been properly educated on this matter. No excuses.

      1. First, that’s not true. The consensus among ‘expert epidemiologists is that there is no consensus. We just don’t have enough data yet.

        Second, even if your claim were true, that’s an example of the ‘appeal to authority’ logical fallacy. Deference to experts is justified only when the experts actually are expert in their field. The ‘expert epidemiologists’ who are saying that the COVID-19 disease progression is very different from the flu are the same “experts” who produced the infection and death predictions which we are now finding were inflated by several orders of magnitude. “Experts” who are wrong are not experts and deserve no special deference no matter how many initials are after their names.

        1. Be fair, Rossami.

          Some of those “predictions” you criticize were not predictions of what would actually happen, but of what would happen if no countermeasures were taken. Certainly that’s true of the much-publicized numbers produced in England.

          And countermeasures were taken.

        2. Rossami, the assertion that Covid-19 is identical to the seasonal flu may have all sorts of logical-sounding supports which appeal to you. Those get brutally refuted by the pictures of NYC burying hundreds of victims in a mass grave dug in a trench on Hart Island, off the Bronx—a trench dug to accommodate three boxes deep and two boxes across, end to end. Google “Hart Island.” Then stop reciting nonsense just because you think it sounds plausible.

          1. Well, Stephen, you started with a strawman fallacy. I never said that COVID-19 is identical to seasonal flu. But then you make it worse by conflating completely normal behavior with the crisis. The mass graves on Hart Island have been a regular occurrence since 1869. The city uses that graveyard to inter indigent dead – that is, people who don’t have families to take custody of the body. The graves are typically dug for 150 people at a time. The only thing that’s changed as a result of COVID-19 is that the city recently hired a private company to dig the graves rather than forcing convicts to do it.

            Before you tell other people to use Google, maybe you should try it yourself.

            1. Yes, the “mass graves” is a widely reported fallacy. It was even covered here at Reason.com. More than once, actually.

              1. Yes, and that Reason coverage also explained that in fact people are being buried there at significantly higher rates than normal.

                1. They are, but only because the coroner is clearing out storage to make room for anticipated Wuhan Disease victims.

          2. Those get brutally refuted by the pictures of NYC burying hundreds of victims in a mass grave dug in a trench on Hart Island,

            That is not happening. It may yet happen, but it has not happened yet.

        3. “We took steps to mitigate the spread of a fatal disease, which proves that it wasn’t as fatal as the experts said it was.”

          Answer this honestly: How often do you think before you post?

  7. [img]https://d2eehagpk5cl65.cloudfront.net/img/q60/uploads/2020/04/NewYorkStateDeathsFluCovid.jpg[/img]

  8. What this article and the ensuing discussion points out is the power of motivated reasoning.

    This is why we have the scientific process. Even smart and trained scientists are extremely susceptible to motivated reasoning. (the legal profession seems to be entirely founded upon motivated reasoning, FWIW)

    The opinions of experts in a given field are certainly more weighty than non-experts on topics where that field is relevant, but only insofar as they have a broader knowledge base. The real power of science is in following a process that eliminates bias, opinion and supporting a desired conclusion.

    It doesn’t appear that this “study” follows a rigorous and disciplined model, but rather cherry picks some surface data. This is typical for preliminary studies. If the topic is of interest to other scientists, this type of flaw tends to be pointed out and follow-up studies with more rigorous methodologies are used to confirm or deny the initial claims.

    Unfortunately, in a fast moving situation like this, that is of little utility. Decisions are being made on the basis of what appear to be little more than wild-ass guesses by well-meaning but inadequately equipped experts.

    1. Great comment, Cyto.

  9. It’s been autumn in Australia for what, six weeks now?

  10. There is a lot of bad science going around. Studies without controls, studies with samples sizes too small to be probative, studies that treat a population as a random sampling, etc.

    These studies are useful only in an aggregate of many studies, and maybe not even then.

    As a general rule, and especially in medical science, don’t trust a study unless it’s either longitudinal or has been replicated.

    1. “After a 3 year, high-powered, longitudinal study, it has finally, firmly, without a doubt proven the efficacy of drug AlphaBeta against the virus.”

      Umm…crisis is over. We needed the drug 2 years ago. Everyone died already.

      1. I’m talking about what the public should believe, AL (thus ‘don’t trust a study…’.

        You are talking about therapies. Different problems, different soclutions.

        Don’t trust these corona studies, either about death rates, or about the latest miracle cure.

    2. ” useful only in an aggregate of many studies, and maybe not even then”

      They are only useful in the aggregate if they are based on different actual data sets, use the same calculational methods and the same assumptions and “boundary conditions.” Please not that non-local injection of infection centers is very difficult to model and could be an area of important difference model to model,

    3. This has been my pet peeve….a lack of reliable data. We are getting there, but ‘oh so slowly’.

  11. Read the report, people.

    This was not a study at all. There was no methodology to declare “flawed,” no model to subject to uninformed ridicule.

    This was a summary of various studies of the question, some in the lab, some environmental. Were they “cherry-picked?” Maybe, but if you think so tell us what relevant studies they omitted, and what the agenda is.

    In addition, they don’t really conclude firmly that there are no seasonal effects. In fact most of the studies they cite suggest that there may well be such effects.

    Here is the paragraph that contains the reference to Australia and Iran:

    Some limited data support a potential waning of cases in warmer and more humid seasons, yet none are without major limitations. Given that countries currently in “summer” climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed. Given the lack of immunity to
    SARS-CoV-2 across the world, if there is an effect of temperature and humidity on transmission, it may not be as apparent as with other respiratory viruses for which there is at least some preexisting partial immunity. It is useful to note that pandemic influenza strains have not exhibited the typical seasonal pattern of endemic/epidemic strains. There have been 10 influenza pandemics in the past 250-plus years – two started in the northern hemisphere winter, three in the spring, two in the summer and three in the fall. All had a peak second wave approximately six months after emergence of the virus in the human population, regardless of when the initial introduction occurred.

    And the conclusion:

    In summary, although experimental studies show a relationship between higher temperatures and humidity levels, and reduced survival of SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory, there are many other factors besides environmental temperature, humidity, and survival of the virus outside of the host, that influence and determine transmission rates among humans in the ‘real world’.

    1. Australia had… 29 cases reported when it his autumn. 1 death. The tropical northern area still has hardly any cases.

      1. when it *hit* autumn

      2. Ok. That’s interesting.

  12. To me, the big question is why there are many densely populated, tropical/subtropical countries with low numbers of cases — look at Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria, for example. All have disproportionately few cases reported, despite high population densities.

    I can think of three main explanations:

    1) They are underreporting the number of actual cases for any number of benign and/or not-so-benign reasons.
    2) They are “late to the party” and are just starting to accelerate the number of cases (this will be really bad if true).
    3) Hot, humid weather retards the spread of the virus.

    Another factor to be considered in the prevalence of air conditioning, particularly in larger buildings. That could explain why more advanced countries (like Singapore) in hot, humid climes, have a higher incidence than their less developed neighbors. Or it could be completely irrelevant.

    1. The only way to estimate, with some accuracy, how many deaths there are is to compare actual deaths with normally expected deaths.

      Probably, the best way to estimate total cases is to back into the total from deaths. Not great, but given the likely lack of testing, especially of the dead, it may be the best method available.

      1. Number 1 is certainly true. It’s also true here.

        That doesn’t preclude #2 or #3.

  13. One of the problems with “motivated reasoning” is that it seems to lead to the conclusion that everyone is engaging in it on every topic. That actually isn’t true. I think it’s clear that Professor Bernstein is engaging in that; obviously there’s a movement on the right side of the spectrum to end social distancing as soon as possible, and thus every straw that might lead to that is grasped at.

    That does not mean that the scientists studying the virus and concluding that extending social distancing is the best course of action, at this point in time, for reducing and eventually ending the pandemic are equally driven by tribal concerns.

    1. Actually, everyone engages in motivated reasoning all the time. The also happen to be right sometimes. Maybe even most of the time.

      The two are orthagonal. You use objective measures to find out if you were correct.

  14. “Actually, everyone engages in motivated reasoning all the time.”

    Fairer to say that everyone engages in motivated reasoning some of the time.

    One of the measures of competence in any line of work is seeing that what one wants to be true isn’t necessarily so. A good lawyer may want a client’s case to be a good one. But a good lawyer won’t, as a consequence, tell that to a client if in fact it’s a bad case. And he/she most certainly won’t tell that to themselves.

    1. If lawyers didn’t engage in motivated reasoning in their jobs, we wouldn’t see ideological splits on the court like we do.

      The reason we see that entirely predictable result is that these most esteemed jurists are starting with their preferred answer and backing in to the argument to support it. If that wasn’t the case, you’d rarely get predictable, partisan and ideological splits. You’d get a lot more of the perfunctory “this is what the law says” unanimous decisions instead.

      People don’t think like we think we do. We “intuit” an answer and then look for a solution much more often than you’d like to think. This is part of our wiring. Our survival always depended on it. If you had to sit around and reason through all the alternatives, you’d get eaten by a lion. So we evolved extremely good pattern matching engines that can come up with a best approximation very quickly. Then we look around for evidence that confirms our initial hunch.

      There’s a ton of research on the topic, and it is quite interesting stuff. There’s a reason we have to work so hard at building properly designed scientific experiments. We are hard-wired to fool ourselves. Remember the story of N-rays… very prominent scientists spent a lot of time researching and publishing papers on N-rays, a phenomenon that turned out not to exist at all. And it took a magician to explain the flaws in experimental design to parapsychology researchers that allowed them to believe they were measuring psychic phenomena. Even people who think they are avoiding “motivated reasoning” wind up doing it all the time.

      That is why science is such a fundamental breakthrough for humanity. Having a methodology to determine “fact” from “opinion” is critical to understanding the world. Unfortunately most situations don’t lend themselves to that technique. So, as you point out, the best we can do is be aware of the problem and test our ideas as best we can. This is one advantage lawyers have – their ideas will inevitably be tested against a similarly equipped opposition on a routine basis.

      1. The application to finance has sparked a wealth of behavioral science research = So we evolved extremely good pattern matching engines that can come up with a best approximation very quickly. Then we look around for evidence that confirms our initial hunch.

      2. If lawyers didn’t engage in motivated reasoning in their jobs, we wouldn’t see ideological splits on the court like we do.

        I don’t think that’s true of a competent lawyer evaluating a position in litigation; at least that’s not been my experience in dealing with lawyers, and I’ve dealt with a fair number over issues both of case law and litigation. I’ve seen plenty who would have loved for their analysis of an issue to be wrong, but who understood that the law simply didn’t support their view.

        SCOTUS judges are definitely motivated by priors in some cases, although it appears that in quite a few, the differences of opinion are really about what the law says rather than what they’d like it to say – obviously less true in cases with high political content.

        One difference between the two sets of lawyers is, of course, that litigators have to convince third parties that they’re right. SCOTUS judges have to convince no one.

        That is why science is such a fundamental breakthrough for humanity. Having a methodology to determine “fact” from “opinion” is critical to understanding the world. Unfortunately most situations don’t lend themselves to that technique. So, as you point out, the best we can do is be aware of the problem and test our ideas as best we can. This is one advantage lawyers have – their ideas will inevitably be tested against a similarly equipped opposition on a routine basis.

        Well put.

  15. A National Academy of Sciences report suggests not, but that report gets some basic facts wrong

    Because when I look for accurate and timely science information I go to

    wait for it…

    a Law Professor.

    What brings someone like Bernstein to think he has any qualifications to comment on this?

    1. Does it take some sort of special expertise to read a factual assertion and check with a source to see if that’s true?

  16. I was just poking around with an interactive NYT map which shows per-capita Covid-19 infections by county. One easy-to-identify pattern might be worth mentioning.

    Throughout the nation, hot spots show up here and there, in remote areas. Indeed one of those, in central Idaho’s especially remote Blaine County, features what seems to be the highest per-capita concentration of cases nationwide, outstripping even NYC. What these remote locations with extreme per-capita case concentrations seem to have in common is that they host destination ski resorts. In Idaho, it is the Sun Valley resort.

    From the point of view of the climate sensitivity issue, maybe that means you do not want cold, dry conditions, at high altitudes. And if you have those, you especially do not want a high turnover of visitors jetting in from everywhere, sticking around for a few days, and then jetting out to be replaced by more of the same. Probably, an above-average incidence of socializing in crowded indoor conditions figures in too. Taken together, that formula looks like pure Covid-19 poison.

    You might also suppose that the jetting-out part is a notable threat to whatever destinations the travelers end up at. The role of the ski industry as a Covid-19 incubator/vector-generator might be worth an epidemiologist’s special attention.

    1. The version of that I heard from the Western Colorado newspapers was ‘jetsetters with second homes in Vail, Telluride, etc leaving the metropolis to get away from the epidemic, and bringing it with them’. Dunno if it’s true, but that was the local take.

      I doubt there is anything ski-specific to it; if true it would instead be second (rural) home specific. What do the Hampdens or the shore getaway locales look like?

      1. A related article.

        “After analyzing data from the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and the U.S. Census Bureau, Carson determined that in the nation’s nearly 200 rural counties where seasonal housing accounts for 25 percent or more of available houses, coronavirus cases were more than twice as high as in other rural counties and 15 percent higher than in urban areas as of April 5.”

    2. lathrop…I saw the same NYT link. I was not particularly impressed. Impress me by downloading the county level data, and then making informed judgments based on actual data. All you have is speculation.

  17. You are over looking an important seasonal factor that effects the virus. The length of the summer days and the corresponding increase in UV light. UV light interacts with moisture in the air to generate hydroxy radicals and hydrogen peoroxide and slightly higher levels of ozone. All three have the effect of making our air cleaner and free of pollutants and an array of benign viruses which tie up our immune system. Also we breath in the hydrogen peroxide and ozone which helps further to kill the virus and keep the virus from giving us a lower respiratory infection.

    I just never bought the emphasis on temperature in seasonal flu. It is warmer in Austin and Miami in the winter than it is in Northern Minnesota in the late spring yet Minnesota has no flu in the late spring and austin definitely has the flu in the winter.

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