Coronavirus

If COVID-19 Has a Low Infection Fatality Rate, How Many Will Die?

Rough calculations from two preliminary population screening studies in California.

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Two studies by researchers associated with Stanford University and the University of Southern California have deployed antibody blood tests seeking to determine what percentage of people in two California counties have been infected with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Based on their population screening tests, the researchers estimated that 2.49 to 4.16 percent of the residents of Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) and 2.8 to 5.6 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County have been infected.

In the case of Santa Clara County, that would mean that by early April between 48,000 and 81,000 people had been infected, which is 50 to 85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases at that time. The results of the Los Angeles County study imply that approximately 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county already had the infection. That estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than confirmed cases at that time in that jurisdiction.

The finding that a huge proportion of coronavirus infections in the U.S. have been going undetected immediately attracted the attention of biostatisticians working at other institutions. Many critiqued the Santa Clara County study, suggesting, among other flaws, that its false positive rate was possibly way too high and that the study was enriched with participants who were more likely to have been exposed to the virus than the general population of the county. Those questions are still being hashed out.

Let's assume that the results of these two studies are correct. If so, that means that the infection fatality rate—the percentage of infected people who will die of the disease—is somewhere between 0.12 and 0.2 percent in Santa Clara County and between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent in Los Angeles County. The infection mortality rate for seasonal flu hovers around 0.1 percent. Please keep in mind that the rough calculations that follow are intended to tease out some of the implications about the possible future course of the pandemic from the two California studies.

Let's start by using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from the 2017-2018 influenza season. That season was one of the worst in the last 10 years, with an estimated 45 million Americans becoming infected with the respiratory illness, of whom 34 million were over the age of 18. The adult population in 2018 was 254 million, which means that about 13.4 percent of adults were infected with symptomatic disease. As it happens, a 2016 review article has estimated that about 20 percent of people infected with flu viruses do not experience flu symptoms. This is likely because many asymptomatic carriers have some residual immunity from earlier infections. Nevertheless, those carriers can still shed viruses and infect other people. Including the asymptomatic cases of flu would imply that about 41 million adults, roughly 16 percent of the adult population, had contracted flu during the 2017-2018 season.

The 2017-2018 infection fatality rate (IFR) for symptomatic illness for the whole U.S. population was a bit higher than average at around 0.13 percent. A rough estimate for the IFR for symptomatic U.S. adults suffering from influenza was around 0.18 percent and the IFR for both symptomatic and asymptomatic adults was around 0.15 percent.

Again assuming that estimates in the two California studies are in the ballpark, the big difference between seasonal influenza and COVID-19 is the percentage of the population that is likely to become infected. The extent of influenza epidemics is constrained by the fact that a high percentage of the population has already developed immunity to the disease, either through previous infections or via vaccination. The novel coronavirus is attacking a population that has neither developed immunity to it nor has access to an effective vaccine with which to ward it off.

Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch has estimated that eventually between 20 and 60 percent of adult Americans could be infected with the virus. Again, there are about 254 million Americans over age 18 as of 2018. So let's use the Los Angeles County study's range of 0.1 to 0.3 percent IFR for the coronavirus to get a rough estimate of the number of Americans who might die from COVID-19.

In a more optimistic scenario, only 20 percent of adult Americans are infected and the IFR is only 0.1 percent, thus implying that only 50,800 adult Americans would likely die of the disease. Considering that the current death toll from the epidemic as of April 21 is nearly 44,000, this optimistic scenario seems implausible. Now let's go full pessimism: Assume 60 percent of adult Americans are infected and the IFR is 0.3 percent. In that case, the number of COVID-19 deaths among American adults would exceed 450,000.

The two California studies estimate that the percentage of the U.S. adult population that is infected is between 2.5 and 5.6 percent. This yields an estimate of adult Americans already infected ranging from 6.4 to 14.2 million. Given that 44,000 have died of the disease, this calculation produces IFRs ranging between 0.7 and 0.3 percent.

Yet another way to calculate possible IFRs is to multiply by the low and high rates of undiagnosed cases implied in the two studies. At the low end, the Los Angeles County study suggested that undiagnosed cases were 28-fold greater than diagnosed cases. At the high end, the Santa Clara County study reported an 85-fold ratio. Since about 800,000 cases have been diagnosed in the U.S. as of April 21, that would imply that between 22.4 million and 68 million Americans have already been infected by the novel coronavirus. Using those estimated infections yields a range of 0.2 percent to 0.06 percent for a COVID-19 IFRs.

It is worth noting that a recent German study reported an IFR for COVID-19 at about 0.4 percent.

Many critical biostaticians noted, as I did, that the California studies imply that the COVID-19 infections must be very widespread to produce the excess mortality seen in places like New York City, meaning that essentially most New Yorkers must already have been infected. That seems implausible.

One additional observation: Both California studies were conducted by academic and private sector researchers and supported by private funders. The government efforts at population screening for coronavirus antibody prevalence are lagging behind.

Epidemiologists are trying to see through the murk of the ongoing pandemic. These preliminary studies are part of that ongoing process and absolutely should not be taken as the last word.

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  1. The results of the Los Angeles County study imply that approximately 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county already had the infection.

    I think the complaints about the sampling of this are misplaced. When you are talking about a virus as contagious as this one and numbers this large, I don’t think there is any group significantly more likely to have had it than any other, outside of people living in very isolated areas. If there are 221,000 people in the city of LA who have the infection, then the infection has long passed any point where it could be controlled or there is much variation in the infection rate among groups. So, I think that number is pretty solid.

    What appears to have happened is the models and the experts got it wrong. They underestimated how widespread this disease is and as a result greatly overestimated its fatality rate and the rate of hospitalization. I don’t hold it against them for that. It was a new virus and the best source of information, China, lied it’s ass off about what it knew about the virus. Their assumptions were not unreasonable given what they knew at the time.

    The problem is that they seem to refuse to change their opinion and admit their mistake as more and more information becomes available. Part of that is their own arrogance and moral failing. But part of it is the result of our society forever thinking there should be a perfect answer to every problem and whenever there isn’t it must be because of some evil unseen force or the result of some horrible mistake that should be held against the person who made it forever. Well, sometimes problems are impossible to solve with the information given and sometimes there is no right or ideal option available.

    1. //The problem is that they seem to refuse to change their opinion and admit their mistake as more and more information becomes available. Part of that is their own arrogance and moral failing. But part of it is the result of our society forever thinking there should be a perfect answer to every problem and whenever there isn’t it must be because of some evil unseen force or the result of some horrible mistake that should be held against the person who made it forever.//

      Indeed.

      And this is the most frustrating part about the situation. Overreacting in the absence of knowledge is obviously unwise, but it is at least understandable. Sometimes an overabundance of caution is truly warranted. Continuing to overact (and, indeed, doubling down) when your initial assumptions have been blown out of the water is indefensible.

      I’m very cynical and I think the people making the decisions (politicians, experts, etc.) understood full well that their proposals were not tethered to reality. When it comes to government overreach, my presumption is guilty until proven innocent.

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      2. In Mount Vernon WA a single incident of exposure opportunity following guidelines at the time by asymptomatic people infected 75% of a group of a group of 60 with 2 subsequent deaths.

        Influenza only infected 5% of the population last year in the US.

        Comparing a disease with a low incidence, a vaccine and effective antiviral treatments with an emerging pathogen with high infectivity and no effective treatment is apples and oranges and more than a bit deceptive.

        Shelter in place works by clearing the cases of infection one way or the other so new cases can be effectively contact traced. The less perfect that isolation is the longer the problem will persist.

        Fortunately we have states that are willingly going to serve as test subjects for the rest of us. May we learn from their example and hope an effective antiviral therapy emerges. If we have that, then all high risk and pulmonary symptom cases can be treated preemptively. That plus an eventual vaccine will be what allows us to get back to something like the way things were before.

        Pretending there isn’t a highly infectious disease spreading that kills in a manner that simultaneously overwhelms the health care system if cases numbers aren’t suppressed isn’t a reasonable solution.

    2. Oh good you made my post so I don’t have to.

    3. There are actually multiple problems here. It could be that many have been infected, but it could also be that many people have had the chance to be infected, and just didn’t get it.

      If you look at the stats on worldometers, you see that we have 800k cases of Covid in the country, off of 4 Million tests. As we know, testing has largely been held to people who have symptoms and reason to believe that they came in contact with someone infected. It is a pretty heavy sampling bias towards people you’d expect to be infected, and yet we are only running a 20% infection rate.

      Even in New York, it is only approaching 40% infected among those tested.

      This is the problem with the models: They largely assume a rate of infection that is constant- it is one of the basic inputs. But what we seem to be seeing is that the infection rate is extremely variable region to region- in new york subways, it is much more infectious than even the crowded areas of Orange County california. So these models that tried to apply an infection rate across the entire country are always going to produce bad results, because the infection rate has so many changes die to confounding factors.

      1. This is the problem with the models: They largely assume a rate of infection that is constant- it is one of the basic inputs.

        These models fail for the same reason central planning in economics fails; they don’t account for adaptive behavior. Once people know there is a pandemic they start acting differently and the infection rate changes. It never stays constant. Beyond that, things like the weather or the nature of the population or the physically geography changes as well. I think it is probably a good guess that the virus has a different infection rate in say Italy where the population is older and everyone smokes and people live in close quarters than it would in say Tennessee where the population is younger and people don’t live so close together.

        I don’t think there is any way to know the real infection rate without doing a ton of sampling and data collection and calculating it after the fact.

        1. Yep, the failure to account for variable change is one of the biggest weaknesses of these things, and it’s why crafting national policy around them is extraordinarily stupid.

        2. Not even adaptive behavior- just complexity in general. Weather is a complex system. The stock market is a Complex Adaptive System.

          Certainly in an adaptive system, you have to account for how individuals will innovate and adjust their approach. But even in a complex system like weather, you have tons of non-linearity and leverage points. Slowly increasing humidity increases temperature retention until suddenly you increase by one more % and precipitate a rain storm.

          The point is that these epidemiological models are too simple, and don’t even allow for the type of non-linear, confounding variables, such as how much sunlight is present during human to human contact. In a subway, not so much. In a football stadium, maybe more.

          1. The problem is that you don’t know those variables when you do the model. You can only find out those variables from empirical data. You don’t just figure out that it spreads slower when there is more sunlight where people interact. Your figure that out from empirical data that shows that it does that.

            That is the catch 22 I am talking about. The whole point of the model is to describe and predict how the virus will spread. But you can’t build a model that does that without understanding how it spreads. It is a chicken and an egg problem. These sorts of models are never correct at first. They have to be developed over time and adjusted as more data becomes available.

            1. You don’t know the variables. But if you talk to someone who has studied lots of epidemics, they know that it only starts out as exponential growth (which is very slow at first) and quickly is damped. There is no reason to assume that this wouldn’t unfold like any other moderately severe respiratory epidemic.

        3. Most people don’t go to their doctor, much less to a hospital, if they have the seasonal flu, so even the baseline infection rate is unknowable. While there is a test for Covid-19, how many people are even tested for seasonal flu? All the numbers are bogus and the models based on them are misleading and useful only to politicians who see this as a chance to do the previously unthinkable.

          1. Seasonal influenza deaths are estimated from a statistical model of excess deaths during the winter months, *not positive flu tests* or influenza being determined by a medical examiner. The true apples to apples comparison to COVID-19 would be an analysis of excess mortality in the USA during March/April compared to 2019, which would likely be much higher. In many towns in N Italy for example, excess mortality compared to 2019 showed a 2-3x undercount of COVID-19 deaths.
            It’s a terrible virus, much worse than influenza. Current mitigation strategies are unsustainable and economically crippling. Both things are true.

            Let us debate the mitigation strategies and the balance between economic survival vs virus suppression, not the basic facts of COVID-19 vs influenza.

    4. It was a new virus and the best source of information, China, lied it’s ass off about what it knew about the virus. Their assumptions were not unreasonable given what they knew at the time.

      Not to be generous to China but, more intrinsically, as should be understood with thinking individuals; ask 3 for their opinion and you’ll get 4 opinions. So, the expectation that a singular organization could get its act together and come up with answers on that sort of time scale is ridiculous. Larger groups are for longer term and lower level thinking. The CDC and medical professionals noticing people succumbing to the flu around them and thinking “Holy Shit! We need to talk to China.” is the casting of pearls before swine. By the time any nation, especially China, has found its ass with both hands, quarantine will be too late.

    5. That’s the disconnect that was always present–if this thing is as contagious and deadly as the doomers claimed, then anything short of welding everyone inside for six months and completely shutting down all travel into or out of the country was going to result in a rapid spread throughout the entire population in a matter of weeks, which is why the modelers all thought every single healthcare facility was going to be overrun with COVID patients coughing up their lungs and dying in the hallways. So we apparently got the rapid spread, but relatively few infections or deaths; indeed, the ones who were most vulnerable to it were populations that are, by their very nature, cloistered and in ill-health to begin with in nursing homes. Places that practiced voluntary social distancing but no lockdowns are seeing the same infection and mortality trends as places that did do the lockdowns.

      The problem is that they seem to refuse to change their opinion and admit their mistake as more and more information becomes available.

      Yes, this is definitely the biggest issue going forward. The media was quick to push a narrative that these experts needed to be treated as some kind of secular priesthood, whose predictions and recommendations always needed to be taken as gospel and never questioned. When it turned out their predictions were WAAAAY below what they assumed, even with social distancing, they’ve dishonestly massaged their models to make it look like they predicted the lower figures all along. The Hale-Bopp cult looks practically modest and sober-thinking next to these guys.

      1. “The media was quick to push a narrative that these experts needed to be treated as some kind of secular priesthood, whose predictions and recommendations always needed to be taken as gospel and never questioned.”

        And this gets to the heart of my problem with Bailey.

        1. N: With respect to your notion that I somehow have been “pushing a narrative” and taking predictions as “gospel,” you might actually want to review my reporting. That is, if you want to be fair. In any case, let me point to my March 6 article, “Trump Says COVID-19 Death Rate Will Be “A Fraction of 1 Percent.” Is He Right?” and my April 3 article, “What Percentage of COVID-19 Patients Are Likely to Die?

          1. The narrative pushing is your continues promotion of 400k deaths, which you even did here, as well as your choosing one study to demean a drug you dislike (I wont comment why) and then shortly pushing one study on a drug you prefer. You ignored many studies for the first one, even using the terms anecdotes in previous articles, yet focused on the one study you even admit in your article was probably staged in the wrong stage of infection. That is dishonesty pure and simple. The fact that you went and defended the valid points people brought up against that study showed even more dishonesty. You could have admitted they were valid points since your own article made the question on the study’s effectiveness.

      2. New Zealand completely shut down, but it isn’t shutting down for months. It shut down for weeks. And now is on the verge of eliminating the virus. It took its stand early so it was easier. But China did it in about 75 days. That is a bit more than a couple months, but it is not welding everyone inside for 6 months. The way out is to really isolate everyone for several weeks and have enough testing and contact tracing in place when you open up to contain the virus.
        One other very critical point – infection rate is an important component of understanding how deadly the disease is, but the Ro is the other important factor. Covid19 may have the same fatality rate as the flu, but if 2-4 times as many people get infected, we are going to have substantially more deaths than a typical flu.

    6. No people didn’t underestimate how widespread coronavirus is. We already knew the number of infections were much higher than the confirmed number of positive tests. We alredy knew that supposedly up to 80% of the infected show no symptoms. Why is any of this surprising.

      1. Fuck off you sad fucking lockdownie

      2. So you’re saying you intentionally promoted panic?

      3. Chipper – the claim “80% show no symptoms” is completely false, not going to the hospital does not mean you “show no symptoms”. This has been a huge misconception. Some of the 80% who were not hospitalize, like 25% of total patients, report they never felt sick. But out of the other 55%, they knew they were sick, and often felt miserably sick.
        Turning “well, I never went to the hospital” into “I never felt sick” is not going to lead to any good reasoning about the disease.

    7. I studied this pretty extensively, for a layman with no prior education except one beginning microbiology class a long time ago.
      This study show a lot more people infected than the tallies we see from Johns Hopkins or the CDC is being criticized as very badly flawed.
      Because they did not use a random sampling of the population to get their study participants, it has no validity, is what the critics are saying – and the false positives for this test screw the numbers up very badly.
      It would be great news if true – but a very large scale study (not random but much large scale than this one) in Wuhan seemed to not find any big number of people who were missed from the known stats. Meaning, in China at least, the case fatality rates were pretty accurate -and they are far above what this study finds- since there was often no particular medical intervention in the people in the LA study, unless our cough medicine cures Covid19, there is no good reason to think our case fatality rates are much different than theirs.
      THIS IS WISHFUL THINKING – i do not want this disease to kill 3% of those who get infected, but it appears that is what it does -even in the US, even if the hospitals are not overloaded- and, no offense to the doctors and nurses here, but so far, trying to read all the latest stats, it does not even seem clear the medical interventions done here are very effective. I mean, they may help significantly in terms of, if you are sick, lowering your chance of dying from 4% to 2.5% may be huge, but the 2.5% rate is still very high.
      I urge everyone who cares about this to really, really study the problem, look at all the studies and fully understand them before forming some opinion based on wishful thinking.
      A couple more points to make before I go:
      1. The disease is extremely contagious – maybe 3 times more than the flu – combined with it’s case fatality rate being 30 times the flu, it is, literally, about 100 times worse than the flu.
      2. Even accepting the claim this study is valid, it comes up with maybe 4% of people being immune. To get herd immunity with 60% immune, we would need to have roughly 15 times, maybe 20 times – (again the study is probably NOT valid, this is based on assuming it is) the current case tally.
      So, we could need to have somewhere between 15 and 20 times as many sick people and deaths – 15×40,000 = 600,000. 20×40,000=800,000. That is just deaths, it is becoming clear that Covid 19 will leave far more people permanently damaged than flu does – about as many people as die will have heart, lung or kidney damage, some will be made unable to do a lot of jobs they previously held.
      If there is a better political solution, it seems to lie in demanding very widespread and very rapid testing of vaccinations which might work, This is what politics comes in- the medical establishment were all raised on “First do no harm” and will not, for example, give out an experimental vaccine to say 1,000 people, then infect them with the virus a month later to see if if works, and is safe. They will take 2 years to evaluate the same vaccine. The catastrophe of an ongoing epidemic, AND the efforts to limit is, makes the risk to the people in the vaccine testing one well worth taking. But our ultra conservative medical establishment will not do it. And sadly, Trump and the Congress and even our state officials, in the big wealthy states, will not make them do it.

    8. John, I think it goes beyond not wanting to admit the models were wrong. One need not get into a discussion of the models to observe that in all but a few locations the health system never came close to being overrun. Whether that’s due to bad modeling or social distancing is irrelevant. Most locations can severely relax the lockdowns down. If the curve starts skyrocketing they can re-implement. The health systems are so far away from saturation that there’s little risk of not being able to correct. (In Orange County, CA we’ve had 33 deaths in a population of 3 million and we aren’t allowed to play golf!) But almost no one on the closers side is even discussing this.

  2. You’ve already torched any credibility you had, tranny hack

    1. Wow, wotta loss.

    2. What did he do? I think Bailey does a pretty good job being reasonable and factual. He’s doing what he can with the numbers available. Doesn’t seem to me like he is trying to gin up more panic.

      1. ” I think”

        Cool but no one cares.

        1. Then why are we here? This is nothing but a collection of people stating what they think about things.

      2. The articles shilling for one drug over another, pointing out the flaws in the hydrochloroquine study while whitewashing the exact same flaws (and worse) in the resemdeciver (or however its spelled) study, and as recently as a few days ago putting out a “conservative” estimate of 300,000 dead – this is what Bailey (recently, we’ll ignore the shitty global warming science for now) did.
        Ron Bailey is a fraud

        1. Oh no. The guy who wants to murder progressives, and who propagates conspiracy theories from ZeroHedge, thinks Ron Bailey is a fraud. He must be crushed.

          1. Fuck off morty

            1. No.

              1. Fuck off morty

                1. Fuck off, slaver.

            2. I’m Morty. I’m not this chemjeff guy. And I haven’t even been participating in this comment thread.

              1. Well, then pay attention to the dishonest ways Lying Jeffy posts, and how your own posts are similar, and then stop posting like that.

                1. Chemjeff seems to be a libertarian, expressing libertarian views. Since this is a libertarian website, you are going to run into other people like me who think similarly to chemjeff.

                  1. Again with the reading comprehension? It’s not really about his views, in a lot of cases it’s about the dishonest ways he argues, and the inconsistencies of his views.

                    Which is why people think you’re Jeff. I’ll pretend I believe you’re not Jeff and are new here and explain. Several times in the roundup thread you made a straw man. For example others were criticizing the high number of coverage Trump and his Tweets get.

                    You didn’t disagree by arguing that Reason’s level of coverage was warranted. You misrepresented what they were saying, and argued against there being ANY coverage of Trump and his Tweets.

                    And shit like that is what Jeff does on a regular basis. I’m a libertarian. I’d bet I agree with Jeff on a lot. But when I had an argument that we didn’t agree on, he constantly misstated what I said, changed the subject mid argument (almost always “yeah but Trump did this other thing”), etc.

                    If I had to throw a dollar in the pot I’d bet you’re a sock, but I’ll keep an open mind.

      3. Zeb, there is no debating with people like Nardz, the Geraje turd, or Jesse, or the 3 or 4 socks Tulpa has running in this thead. On this thread, John and mad.casual are the only two Trumpists that are open to reason and debate. The rest are to be ignored or ridiculed for your own amusement.

        1. You mean the people who constantly demonstrate how shallow your reflexively progressive thinking is by citing articles and developing the evidence of logic that contradicts it, eunuch?
          Keep trying so hard, you’ll find tons of “friends” in the pro lockdown crowd

          1. You propagate conspiracy theories, your “evidence of logic” consists of projecting strawmen onto people, and you continually insult and threaten violent acts against people you don’t like.

            You don’t even have a coherent definition of what a “progessive” is. It basically means “doody-head” to you. Just another insult.

            You’re a radicalized right-wing tribalist steeped in conspiracy theories.

            1. Fuck off morty

            2. That’s weird Jeffrey, the only people who actually posted scientific commentary on ronnie’s hydroxychlorine threads were those who you seem to be against. your side just worshipped Ronnie as right and didn’t offer up one substantive argument.

              1. “Jesse Declares Himself The Winner”
                Quelle surprise

            3. I think all you need to know about these troglodytes is that anyone that disagrees with them is a “progressive,” even though most people on here have never promoted or defended progressive policy positions. It’s laughably pathetic.

        2. No socks today you sad fucking lockdownie.

        3. That’s cool Chipper, you don’t actually debate. You’ve never offered up a substantive post. Challenge, prove me wrong. Link your last substantive comment.

          1. I don’t debate YOU, Jesse, because it would be like arguing with a gobbler as it kept aggressively pecking at it’s own reflection in something shiny.

        4. Nardz and Geraje have reasonable or interesting things to say often enough that I feel I can converse with them. We are likely to still disagree on many things in the end, but that’s OK.
          I’d rather they spent less time being unnecessarily shitty to people, but what are you going to do?

    3. Trans-rights are human rights!

      1. Ron is a “transhumanist”
        Thus he implicitly rejects human rights

        1. >transhumanist
          Is that like Shaun King being trans-racial?

          1. No, it’s dumber

    4. Please shut up.

      Mr Bailey may have been wrong- indeed he often says stuff to disagree with. But he also is one of the few authors willing to discuss his position in the comments. Yeah, he was pretty bad in how he compared studies. That said, he generally argues in good faith, and has never, ever been a quarter as toxic as you.

      I would rather read comment sections filled with the likes of Bailey and even (shudder) Shikha than what you post here constantly.

      1. “Please shut up.”

        Or what? You’ll bitch about things you don’t like some more?

        1. Maybe he won’t subscribe to Reason magazine. Leatherman and Grape Juice Boy might have to look for jobs in the free market.

        2. Why does there need to be an “or what”? In your view, is it impossible to have a discussion and attempt to convince someone to change their ways? Why do you even post, then?

          Mind you, I don’t honestly think Nardz/you will stop being an autistic prick. But it won’t be because I declined to call him out on it. And at least Ron knows that there are some people willing to discuss these matters, so that he will perhaps continue to do so.

          1. Because Bailey is “special”?
            The guy is a fraud – paid to literally mislead readers, and you want others to hold him in reverence?
            No wonder government keeps growing

            1. He’s better than 99% of the people writing about this stuff in non-specialist press.

          2. “it impossible to have a discussion and attempt to convince someone to change their ways?”

            ““Please shut up.””

            Do you want him to shut up or have a discussion?

      2. Don’t really give a shit, overt.
        Bailey being a fraudulent ass who continues lying in comment sections doesn’t give him any special fucking privileges.
        You sound like one of those “only the press has freedom of the press” people right now.
        Stop defending hacks

        1. Please explain to me how he engages in fraud. I have not ever seen that. Does he have biases? Yes. I have not seen him lie (and I watched the bizarre defense of studies he gave in the article yesterday, and that wasn’t lying).

          I don’t give him any special privileges other than the ones I am bizarrely giving you. That is, I engage him in conversation, call him out when I think he is wrong, and try my best not to rise to the level of toxicity that you seem to engage in daily.

          Look, I get that you are angry. I lose my patience too, and sometimes post things I regret in the comments. The difference is that you don’t seem to regret what you do. Given that I assume you have a passing self awareness of what you are doing, I would much rather people who add value, like Mr Bailey, understand that I would like to see them participate in the comments over you.

          1. If you think Bailey adds value, you’re already lost.
            If you think direct confrontation with mean words is more “toxic” than selectively publishing lies of omission and cherry picked questionable data, you’re already lost.
            But keep white knighting for the gifted who consistently bolsters the narrative of those most hostile to liberty.

            1. Damn it
              “gifted” should be “grifter”

            2. Or maybe you are lost and wrong. It’s possible.

            3. I’m beginning to regret defending you above.

          2. Ron dares to posit things speculatively, while showing what went into the speculation. He doesn’t lick Trump’s boots, therefore he is a fraud.

      3. I like the fact that Bailey comments on his own article. It’s possible to have a discussion with him and he’s one of the better writers for it.

        1. Honestly, even when I disagree with him, it’s a big reason he’s one of the best columnists here. At least he’s willing to follow up and explain his position further.

  3. Oh good more projections.

    Serious question Ron, it appears spme of the initial projections were…off.

    Will you be updating how you handle prohections from thin data in the future? By doing things like referring to this situation to caution people against using such projections, or maybe not even covering them at all?

    1. What the heck is it with all these complaints against preliminary calculations? All calculations are preliminary in some respect; they only become “final” when people stop calculating because the event has been eclipsed by some new event.

      The more information, the better.

      1. So i can’t ask if this event has changed how he intends to cover such thimgs in the futire?

        It’s a fair and honest question.

        What EXACTLY are you shitting your pants about NOW SQRLSY?

      2. “What the heck is it with all these complaints against preliminary calculations?”

        Are you fucking kidding me???

      3. We kind of shut down the economy over preliminary calculation. Not sure if you noticed or not.

        1. So, are you saying that means no one should ever publicize a preliminary calculation? That some ideas are too dangerous to let out in public? That sounds like some po-mo marxist shit to me.

    2. It is almost like models are only as good as the assumptions and data that go into them. Who knew?

      The model is the easy part. Anyone with a decent understanding of math and maybe programing can make a hell of a model of virtually anything. The problem is making sure the data and the assumptions of the model fit with reality. In a way it is a catch 22. You can’t build the model unless you understand the processes that it is describing but you can’t understand the processes without the model. Indeed, the model is built so you can understand the processes.

      This is why mathematical modeling of complex systems is really hard and generally doesn’t work very well. If it does work, it is the result of years of trial and error. Maybe this whole experience tells us something about other fields like maybe the climate?

      1. Maybe this whole experience tells us something about other fields like maybe the climate?

        Whoa, there, John — let’s not go overboard!

        1. Bailey presumably thinks the datasets are very different. Apparently, there are people (SQLRSY) who don’t want us asking him to elaborate on such things.

      2. The model is the easy part. Anyone with a decent understanding of math and maybe programing can make a hell of a model of virtually anything. The problem is making sure the data and the assumptions of the model fit with reality. In a way it is a catch 22. You can’t build the model unless you understand the processes that it is describing but you can’t understand the processes without the model. Indeed, the model is built so you can understand the processes.

        Also, living in a world where most of our day to day problems have been solved by the giants who came before us, it gets easy to forget that some problems aren’t reducible to algorithmic solutions and are truly ‘wicked’ if not unsolvable entirely. Part of what makes ‘wicked problems’ truly wicked is the fact that there aren’t any one-off solutions, if there are, they don’t work twice, and awareness of the model components that they are being manipulated by a model voids the premise of the model(s).

        The fact that we’ve got rioting in multiple countries over these lockdowns and a very small hill of bodies to show for it strongly indicates that even if social distancing did work this time, it won’t work the next.

      3. I am an engineer specializing in a certain type of fabricated metal products. There is a nationally recognized code we work to, that has been around for a hundred years. Somewhere in there, long ago, it was decided that down to a certain temperature you are exempt from doing certain additional testing on your material and welding processes across the board. Below that, it becomes more of a case-by-case thing. At this point, no one really knows why that temperature was decided on and what technical justification was given. But it’s well-established, and for years and years and years, the entire industry has been building product with that rule, and I am not aware of any significant failures that can be attributed to that exemption. A couple years ago, some “experts” were sniffing around in the code trying to solve some other problem, and latched on to that. They did some analysis, and promptly pronounced that there was no technical justification for this exemption, it was dangerous, and must be removed immediately. There was great concern among committee members, and an action to eliminate this gained significant steam very quickly. Until someone said… if this is such a big problem, where are the failures? Of course the experts say we must have just gotten lucky for the past however many decades, but it’s coming! And that is pretty much where it sits today, stuck between a group that says “look at our models!” and one that says “but reality is not agreeing with your models.”

        The models may be right, and we may have just gotten lucky, and change may be warranted. But as with most things, I put a great deal of importance on history and empirical data, and if substantial real world results show one thing and models/analysis/theory another, the model needs to be revisited and revised until this can be explained. If something has changed, and can be pointed to as an objective reason to explain why things are different now, then OK. But just saying “well, we don’t know why, but regardless of what is actually happening our models have to be right and we need to change everything” is not an acceptable answer.

        1. But just saying “well, we don’t know why, but regardless of what is actually happening our models have to be right and we need to change everything” is not an acceptable answer.

          Unless you work in climate modeling, in which case it is the only acceptable answer.

        2. history and empirical data

          Could be where the number came from in the first place.

          1. Almost certainly. There was a time when engineers were comfortable using theory and calculation, which was limited to what they could manually do themselves (and therefore generally UNDERSTAND), in combination with real-world experience and testing to make informed decisions. Now people feel like they must know and control everything, and if a computer doesn’t spit it out it’s no good. Tried and true industry practices get thrown out the window, but any nonsense that makes a pretty colored FEA model is good to go.

    3. Coincidentally, I had a similar type of conversation with my parents just the other say. (Who are about as big of Trump fans as the usual right-wingers around here are.)

      Bottom line, they are angry that the media isn’t honest. But they don’t think the media ought to scare people, either. So when some scientist publishes a study that makes some scary projections about coronavirus, they don’t think the media should cover that. Even though that would be dishonest to deliberately ignore a newsworthy story. So they want the media to be honest, except when it’s bad news, then they think the media should censor the bad news. That’s basically what I got from them out of it. It makes no sense.

      1. Ah, the unreliable narrator
        A fun trope

        1. I spoke to his parents too recently, I told his mom to roll over so I could finish on her face and I told his dad over in the corner to keep it down

        2. There’s some “evidence of logic” right there!

          1. Fuck off morty

          2. Treating you, a piece of shit, like you are a piece of shit is perfectly logical.

      2. Fuck off morty

      3. >radical individualist
        >parents
        Throw those slackers off your back and live free!

  4. Now what I’d like to see is some estimates on how many people are dying because of the response to the virus. Suicide, ODs, violence and neglect of other health problems is going to take a serious toll.

    Even if 200,000 people or more are going to die from SARS Jr, it’s not worth it.

    1. That number is impossible to get. It involves so many second order effects and guesses, I wouldn’t believe any number claimed to be it. But, the distancing has a real cost. And it can’t go on forever. That should be enough to get people to start thinking rationally about this. But sadly, nothing seems to be enough.

      1. It should be possible to compare total deaths year over year. We would be able to see if there’s an increase in deaths due to Coronavirus or a reduction overall due to fewer traffic accidents etc. I’ve seen lots of estimates of an increase in deaths related to a failure to access medical care due to quarantine and the fear of entering the healthcare system

        1. “It should be possible to compare total deaths year over year”

          This, but I haven’t seen it mentioned except in the comments.

      2. I’m not saying it could be done totally accurately. But if peopel are going to be throwing around their wild-ass guesses at how many will die from the virus, someone might as well take a whack at how many will die from the response to the virus.

    2. If we can save one life and one job, we need to! #BanAutomobiles

    3. Even if 200,000 people or more are going to die from SARS Jr, it’s not worth it.
      ————-
      The thing is, those 200,000 are going to die ANYWAY, because it’s far too late to “stop” the virus. We were trying to prevent excess deaths that happen in an overwhelmed medical system, and we have done that so well that nurses are getting laid off.

      The press has started pretending like this virus is something that can be stopped, and that’s totally irresponsible. The horses left that barn in December.

      1. Yup. Pissing in the wind.

    4. I don’t have the citations but I’m fairly certain there have been multiple studies essentially showing that poverty kills. In the end, I think there will be substantially MORE deaths from either COVID-induced poverty or COVID preventing those needing care to seek it, than from COVID itself.

      1. Yes. I think there is a pretty well established correlation between unemployment rates and suicide too.

      2. Definitely. Been saying and thinking this for months. I dared Patton Oswalt for a wager, that globally, especially Level 3 and 4 countries will suffer more deaths from collateral damage than from the virus itself. It was on Twitter. He didn’t reply.

    1. It was not immediately clear whether any of the posters actually lived in New York City.

      LOL

    2. Bravo

  5. //Many critical biostaticians noted, as I did, that the California studies imply that the COVID-19 infections must be very widespread to produce the excess mortality seen in places like New York City, meaning that essentially most New Yorkers must already have been infected. That seems implausible.//

    //Now let’s go full pessimism: Assume 60 percent of adult Americans are infected and the IFR is 0.3 percent. In that case, the number of COVID-19 deaths among American adults would exceed 450,000.//

    If we posit it is plausible for 60% of Americans to be infected, why is it implausible to assume that most New Yorkers have already been infected?

    1. I don’t see how it is.

    2. They are unrelated. The 60% quote was just an upper bounds estimate. Being an upper bound means it is pretty unlikely. Just like the IPPC climate scare estimate. If you want to be like the climate alarmists, go ahead and pretend the upper bound is plausible. You can’t have it both ways.

      1. But none of the estimates mean anything. As far as I can tell, they have no accurate measure of how many people have the infection at a given time. Without that, they have no way to determine its actual mortality rate. Without knowing the mortality rate, there is no way to know the significance of any given infection rate. If the mortality rate is high enough 20% of the country getting it could be a complete disaster. On the other hand, if the mortality rate is low enough, 60% getting it is no big deal.

        So, none of these numbers mean anything. They are all just guesses that are just as likely to reflect the truth as any other guess.

        1. Let’s take your comments (several) in this comment section to their logical conclusion. Having read your posts (agree with them)….put yourself in a governor’s shoes in the time period of March 1-10. Not so long ago. Let’s make it easy…assume you’re the governor of a state in the extended DC metro area (where you are).

          On March 11th, all you know about the Wuhan coronavirus is that it kills people, and it is unusually contagious. You do not know incidence. You do not know lethality; only that there are people who die from it. There is no treatment. There is no vaccine.

          Would you have, on March 11th…
          – Close schools
          – Close nonessential businesses
          – Prohibit groups of more than 10
          – Close the courts
          – Require work-from-home
          – Require wearing a mask in public

          1. Make that: No, you cowardly piece of shit.

            1. Have you always been this much of a dick?

            2. Sevo…chill out. Please.

          2. Intriguing.

            But even more intriguing would be a detailed exposition of the reasoning the governor of a state in the extended DC metro area used to answer your questions.

          3. With what was known then, I would have probably done all of the above. And it is looking like I would have been wrong and overreacting. But, I wouldn’t have known that at the time. So, I don’t think doing that would have been an unreasonable decision. I would, however, today be walking back from all of that and opening the economy back up. I can forgive the initial decision. It is getting harder and harder to forgive not changing it.

            1. I wouldn’t have done those things, but I’m a crazy individualist libertarian verging on anarchist.
              But I can understand governors making that decision at the time.

              Now it’s time to admit they were wrong and stop this madness. But I don’t see any doing that. All this shit about “we have to gradually re-open, blah, blah” is such crap. No we aren’t going to fucking hobble ourselves until there is a vaccine. This is not the black death. This is a slightly worse than usual cold/flu type deal.

            2. Yes, totally agree. Others do not, as you can see. 🙂

            3. Spot on. Now do it for almost every other location in the US. They never even had the hospital saturation that NYC had, yet many are still locked down.

          4. I would ***suggest*** that people that can work from home, do so. To those that cannot work from home, I would suggest exercising extra precautions; wash your hands frequently, avoid touching or coughing on strangers and, if possible, wear a mask.

            Why are is every option in your scenario a mandatory government diktat?

            1. We should all know what the initial response should’ve been by now:
              “Heads up – there’s a new cold/flu bug that escaped from a lab in China going around. Don’t freak out, because it’s not that big a deal, but maybe take some precautions like washing your hands more often and avoiding crowding right up next to someone. Postpone visiting the grandparents for a few weeks. And if you’re old, fat, or have respiratory or immune conditions, stay home for awhile. Otherwise, go about your life like normal. That is all.”

              1. Amen.

                And if this was 2019, or 2021, that is exactly what would have happened.

                1. 2021? Not a chance anymore. We’re going to lockdown every time someone sneezes.

                  1. Yea, but only because 2020 happened first.

          5. Well, closing (public) schools and closing courts are the only options that should really be on the table, because NONE of those other things are legitimate demands, or even requests, of the state. As others noted, I would have made sure people were aware and what precautions they could take. I may have set up programs to ease any burdens of doing things like allowing employees to work from home (not sure what that would be), and may have tried to figure out some way to help vulnerable people who WANTED to stay home to do so (have cops available to deliver supplies or something). But that is all that would be morally right to even consider.

          6. Nope.

            Would I:
            – Make public statements far and wide about the danger and potential severity of the disease and encourage people to take extra precautions
            – Encouraging people to stay home and encouraging schools to figure out how to accommodate students and staff who choose to do so
            – Encourage those who choose not to shelter in place to respect the boundaries of those who do. Especially encouraging them that, if they choose to socialize normally, they should be redouble their efforts at social distancing when interacting with susceptible and/or high-risk friends and family members
            – Close government buildings and other institutions as possible and make other accommodations to keep government functioning online.
            – Delegate to regional authorities who have better understandings of their risks, demographics, and communities
            – Advise people what masks or other mitigation factors are effective and any notable status of said supplies, which treatments are being looked into, and which population appear to be especially vulnerable

            Probably the most ‘authoritative’ or action I would make would be to close state-mediated transit, effectively closing borders and air and sea ports or reducing them to minimal activity as possible.

            All of the above would be in the context of ‘further information as it develops’.

      2. Of course they are related.

        Even if it is an upper bound estimate, it is still within the realm of possibility, even if unlikely. So, if Ron believes it is possible (even if unlikely) for the infection rate to hit a threshold of 60%+, how can it be the case that most New Yorkers already having been infected is inherently “implausible”?

        It is entirely possible that this virus had already been circulating for quite some time, and people were reacting normally, exactly the way they react in a typical flu season … until the hysteria drove everyone to sit at their computers counting up the dead and immediately running to the hospital over a slight cough.

        1. It is totally possible that most people in New York have already had it. And without knowing whether that is true, there is no way to tell what the results of a given number of Americans getting it would be.

          1. I agree.

            I am just trying to understand how Ron can accept one premise, and reject the other outright as “implausible.”

        2. GG: Let’s do a quick back calculation: 10,301 COVID-19 deaths out of a population of 8 million yields a low infection fatality rate of 0.13 percent. Now let’s assume that only 60 percent of New York City residents have been infected, that yields an IFR of 0.21 percent. Less implausible but still requires a lightning fast rate of infection over just 3 months. Since the CDC is slow and screwing antibody testing, maybe we can hope that some epidemiologists and Columbia or New York Universities will take this on.

          1. My only point is that it is not inherently implausible, and you seem to agree.

            Given that the lockdowns in NYC did not kick off in earnest until late March (and, even with the lockdowns, people were still permitted to go to groceries, liquor stores, and generally use public transportation) it is very possible that millions of people were infected in January/February/March. If this is something that spreads quickly and is capable of hitting a 60% infection rate, with long periods of asymptomatic transmission, many New Yorkers have probably gone through this already, and brushed it off.

            The deaths we are seeing, it seems, is what happens when the virus finally filters through to the vulnerable. These deaths skew the rates, and make the virus appear deadlier than it is (kind of like studying rates of serious sunburn at the beach with using a bunch of ginger Irish kids, rather than a group of tourists from Nigeria.)

      3. The question was about Ron’s choices, try to keep up.

    3. The NY ‘paradox’ is probably resolved by looking at disease distribution by age. It’s not implausible that the disease incidence in densely urban NYC differs by age distribution from rather spread out LA.

    4. I agree, it doesn’t seem that implausible. Last I checked the number of deaths in NYC from Covid-19 stood around 10,000. If the IFR stands around 0.3%, doesn’t that suggest an infection count of something around 3.3 million? The population of NYC is around 8.5 million, so while that’s not 60%, it’s getting into the ballpark.

      1. Yes, it is definitely close.

        But this definitely outlines that even in a city such as NYC, where social distancing is really just a pipe dream, we are only talking about 10K deaths. This is not a “deadly” virus, at least not in any statistical or epidemiological sense.

        And, to boot, of those roughly 10K deaths, 4,865 are classified as “probable deaths,” defined as “people who did not have a positive COVID-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19″ or an equivalent.”

        So, close to 50% of the reported deaths in NYC are “probable,” which raises serious questions about the accuracy of the reporting in the first place. If we discount those deaths (which is by no means an absurd suggestion), we are talking about roughly 5,000 truly confirmed deaths over a bit more than a month in a clustered city of approximately 8.3 million (and probably closer to 10 million, if you count illegals).

        This virus is a joke.

        1. Most people are looking at it without any perspective. I think that’s a big part of the problem. 10,000 dead sounds like a lot. And it’s certainly more than usual, but it’s not unprecedented when you are talking about flu-like diseases.
          Most people are surprised to hear that the flu kills between 25-80 thousand every year in the US. And no one loses their shit over it. People have no frame of reference and the media which failed to give them any bears a lot of responsibility for this mess.

          1. //People have no frame of reference and the media which failed to give them any bears a lot of responsibility for this mess.//

            A blessing and a curse, I think.

            If people followed deaths as a result of “X” as closely as they do SARS-COV-2 deaths, you can be certain the ban hammer would be dropping on virtually everything that makes modern life possible, or pleasurable.

          2. Another frame of reference – the average number of daily deaths in the US in 2017 was about 7700. I’ll be curious to see what that number looks like this year.

  6. Epidemiologists are trying to see through the murk of the ongoing pandemic.

    The Fog of War on Death.

  7. If Harvard is correct and 20-60% get infected then I’m simply going to have to drastically reduce the number of random strangers I have makeout sessions with.

    1. Or at the very least stop cruising the retirement homes and homeless shelters.

      1. Nope.

    2. I wish my customer allowed me to posit an uncertainty covering a nearly 50% window. Why do they keep asking me to collapse my confidence intervals?!?

  8. If COVID-19 Has a Low Infection Fatality Rate, How Many Will Die?

    Enough to justify the destruction of the entire economy.

    /prog

  9. So your worst case estimate, assuming these studies can be trusted, is 0.7% IFR? Do you honestly think that’s worth panicking over?

    How low does IFR have to be before we can decide it was wrong to panic?

    1. If we knew what we know now a month ago, what would you have done?
      I’d love to get an honest answer to that question out of some people, but i doubt I will.

      1. Early March, I already realized this virus was going to behave much like the common flu, then again I’m keenly aware of how deadly flu is, globally (500k). And I was immediately aware of how much death and destruction was going to happen from the lockdown measurements. Btw, I recently started volunteering for Covid-19 testing. Everyone was super relaxed, we didn’t shake hands but had normal conversations. We are pre-med students, Physician Assistants and PharmDs. We are bantering and chatting amicably. Zero panic among us. Are we careful, in our PPE, handing drivers the self-administered nasal swab tests? Yes. But during breakfast we’re sitting next to each other, and talking. It was the most normal social setting I’ve been in lately. So, why was I not concerned in March? Could be denial, could be instinct, could be having recently read “Factfulness” and being reminded NOT to panic and assess the situation for what it is. Or being optimistic. Within days I realized authoritarians were overreacting. And I have years of reading Reason, and the comment section, to thank for that. I’ve also survived an epic parachute malfunction, took statistics at a technological university which did not grade on a curve, and am a medical provider. I reasoned that IF this virus is as contagious as the experts say, extra hand washing and getting a belated flu shot was going to help. Anything more was overkill. Unfortunately the lockdown measurements will cause more deaths and despair than the virus itself. Human lives as collateral damage. I also spend a year in a spinal cord clinic and am hospitalized four times a year. I refuse to be afraid and live in fear. I did, for a few days, because my world collapsed. Not from the virus but from the measurements. Then I adapted and I’m stronger for it. Ironically, Covid-19 meant I’ve lived life to the fullest, the last few weeks. But I am keenly aware how fragile human life is, for those in the margins whether that’s life in a Level 1 or a Level 4 country.

  10. “Considering that the current death toll from the epidemic as of April 21 is nearly 44,000, this optimistic scenario seems implausible.”

    Trump claims to be a “Wartime President” due to the C-19 pandemic. Well, accepting his own analogy, he is a remarkably bad one that is costing more Americans their lives in much less time than his predecessors. Trump’s 44,000 Americans lost in these past few weeks are more than Truman lost in the three years of the Korean War and Trump, Obama, and Bush lost in their nineteen years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Trump’s stolen valor “Wartime President” ploy is failing as badly is his pandemic response.

    Trump Tries On The Mantle Of ‘Wartime President’
    https://www.npr.org/2020/03/22/819672681/trump-tries-on-the-mantle-of-wartime-president

    1. Notice you left out other war presidents.

      1. Obama had to drop 2,000 lbs on those children or else they would have become radicalized!

      2. This war isn’t over, and both awful lists are sure to grow.

    2. “Well, accepting his own analogy, he is a remarkably bad one that is costing more Americans their lives in much less time than his predecessors. Trump’s 44,000 Americans lost in these past few weeks are more than Truman lost in the three years of the Korean War and Trump, Obama, and Bush lost in their nineteen years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq”.

      You are, of course
      Full.
      Of.
      Shit.

    3. Only thing is, with those wars the Presidents actually could have prevented 100% of those deaths by simply not sending US citizens off to fight wars on behalf of foreigners. Seeing as Congress never actually declared war in any of those cases its all on them.

      Considering how many asymptomatic and mild cases there are, its quite likely that eradicating this virus was never an attainable goal, even had China been a model of honesty and openness.

      Even closing borders would have done nothing since testing everyone who enters the country is an impossible task, even if there was a big beautiful wall to impede the unofficial and untested flow.

    4. Trump claims to be a “Wartime President” due to the C-19 pandemic.

      Personally, I think this is why he changed his tune on coronavirus: one of his lackeys whispered into his ear that he could project an image of himself as a “wartime leader” and that wartime presidents have an easier time getting re-elected.

      1. If we don’t fight the virus in New York, we’ll fight it in our neighborhoods!

      2. Fuck off morty

      3. “Personally, I think this is why he changed his tune on coronavirus: one of his lackeys whispered into his ear that he could project an image of himself as a “wartime leader” and that wartime presidents have an easier time getting re-elected.”

        You are, likely, correct.

        Cowardly Cadet Bone Spurs saw it as an easy way to stolen valor.

        1. You can criticize Trump but you should respect the office and those bone spurs. He earned both!

    5. This is poor analogy. Does Trump get credit for all the viruses patients have killed by their immune systems? Millions of enemy dead? Do other wartime presidents have to count disease non-battle deaths in their total as well? Try again.

      1. It is Trump’s own analogy.

        Cowardly Cadet Bone Spurs made the analogy.

        If he is hoisted on his own Stolen Valor petard, Trump has only himself to blame.

  11. How many will die depends on how many old sick people there are. At some point, we run out of those guys.

    1. Let the Boomers hit the floor!
      Let the Boomers hit the floor!
      Let the Boomers hit the FLOOOOOORRRR!

      1. I know you’re a troll, but the thing is as much as is made about this being a Boomer thing, except for the very oldest among them (and the sick), Boomers aren’t in the most highly vulnerable populations. This is just finishing off the Greatest Generation and taking a good chunk of the Silent Generation.

        1. Anything to save Social Security and Medicare from the fiscal cliff. I’m very upset Trump didn’t cut spending when he passed the tax reform – in fact, he increased MILITARY spending! Not every Millennial is a commie retard – I want the government off my back and out of my wallet.

        2. Also, I’m here to shitpost and chew bubblegum and I’m all out of bubblegum.

    2. Agree-average age of death from Covid-19 in Europe is early 80s, yet it seems that the media keeps parading these young, previously healthy victims in front of us as if they represent the majority.

  12. So clearly it’s time to open the economy up, and let the ones who cower in fear stay in their homes. Wear your masks and gloves if it makes you feel better.

  13. “The extent of influenza epidemics is constrained by the fact that a high percentage of the population has already developed immunity to the disease, either through previous infections or via vaccination. ”

    False.

    1. Evidence for your assertion.

      1. It is **your** assertion. Where is your evidence?

      2. Flu *epidemics* are by definition flu strains we don’t have resistance to, because they have novel antigens. See, for example, the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine on the nature of flu pandemics.

        The ’57 flu was used as an opportunity to examine the effect of vaccines on an unprimed population – that is, a population with zero immunity. (Those flu vaccines didn’t work so hot). It’s not just terminological, epidemic flu involving no resistance is historically validated.

        So flu epidemics are not limited by already developed immunity, because only flu strains for which there is no immunity become pandemic.

  14. For flu in the 2017-2018 season, the infection rate as a fraction of the total population was 45/326 = 14%. The infection fatality rate was 0.13%/0.8 = 0.16%. The deaths were 326,000,000*14%*0.16% = 73,000.

    For COVID-19 now, the infection-rate midpoint as a fraction of the total population is speculated to be three times that of that bad flu, at 40%. The infection-fatality rate midpoint from the representative LA county sample looks to be 25% higher than that of that bad flu, at 0.2%. The deaths would be 331,000,000*40%*0.2% = 260,000.

    Simplifying the two calculations makes it easier to compare the two calculations to be able to see what effort is needed to better examine the COVID-19 calculation’s bases. Here, there are three natural directions to proceed:

    1. Investigate whether the infection rate of flu-like COVID-19 will really most-plausibly be 3x that of a decade’s worst flu, or will really most-plausibly be the same or less given the intensive focus on COVID-19 transmission. Choose a plausible scenario and call that the best estimate.

    2. Estimate how the infection-fatality rate will most-likely be changed by immediately-available or soon-to-be available therapies like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, prone positioning, and remdesivir. Choose a plausible scenario (it’s not zero reduction) and call that the best estimate.

    3. Compartmentalize the COVID-19 calculation into one calculation for New York City and a second calculation for everywhere else in the USA, and see whether that produces a more-plausible best estimate.

  15. In recent years, around 2.8 million Americans die each year. Assuming a morbidity of 66% and a mortality of 1% (CDC current predictions if we abandoned social distancing, etc), that would result in around 2 million more deaths this year caused by COVID-19. When also factored for age, the average person’s death rate is about equal to their current age + 4 years. Yeah, let’s destroy the world economy because 1.4% of the population is going to die this year instead of 0.8%. Everyone is losing perspective.

    1. We need to start at Year 0, like Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Destroying the economy is just part of the first step.

    2. Influenza infection rate is confounded by a mass vaccination program so it is not so straight a comparison. Before the vaccine influenza infection rates were higher as was the mortality rate owing to seasonal pneumonia and influenza (hard to separate the two). Also there are some studies pointing out that overall mortality rates for influenza fell over the 20th century and this event was unassociated with vaccination. In other words the natural disease history of influenza has changed over time. (see Pubmed ID https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov/pubmed/18381993/)

      The comparison of SARS-COV-2 with influenza is not so good. It may look more like influenza before the vaccine. But that said, the impact has been profound health wise

    3. Lets see. 1.4 million additional deaths just in the US. Each life is valued at ~7 – 9 million dollars (US OMB number for value of a life). That would be between 9.8 trillion and 12.8 trillion dollars just this year.
      Even if the number is fudged for quality life years lost (say $129000/year) that is a lot of money: over 1 trillion by my calculation.
      And that 66% morbidity: that is health care spend, wages and lost income for those coming down with the disease, which is not factored in to this analysis. There will be a rude lesson in how a market based health care system rations care and just watch what happens with premiums.

      1. You need to amortize those life values by age, because a 90 year old is not valued the same as a 30 year old. The average age of death from covid is in the mid-80s somewhere, so there’s going to be a substantial reduction in the value/life from that.

        And then you need to calculate how many excess deaths shutting down the economy is going to cause – suicides, domestic violence, stress-induced medical complications, and just the raw loss to shutting down the economy for months.

        (In the no shutdown world, the economy doesn’t blink – ’57 and ’68 flu pandemics prove that.)

        Also, it was never going to be 1.4 million additional deaths. A real worst case is like 200k from covid – anything higher is just ridiculous fear-mongering. And they’re *not all excess*, because covid-19 mostly kills people with life expectancies measured in *months*, ie, many of them were going to die this year from *something*. Look for a statistically excess deaths calculation later this year.

        1. “You need to amortize those life values by age”
          Totally get that point and I made a stab at that calculation in the comments.
          The influenza pandemics of 57 and 68 are an interesting case study. The 68-69 pandemic lead to about 100,000 deaths in the US. Another month of COVID and we’re there. Secondly the fatality rate for the 68-69 flu was overall much lower than previous pandemics. Some of that was owing to herd immunity from previous infections. None such for Covid.

  16. seriously if you just watched the arcgis site every day it was easy to discern this wasn’t a killer on the scale it was being reported.

  17. Debating the shutdown is missing the point.
    If/when we got better safety equipment and teach people how to use it property, we could pretty safely go back to work.
    The way to go, since this is pretty easily spread by air, despite the early lies about that, is a system with a helmet which covers the entire head, supplied with pressurized highly filtered air, probably from a backpack with a battery, air pump, and most important, a very effective filter system .
    Another alternative is small air tanks – like SCUBA but lighter as you have to carry them.
    The other thing that needs doing is really aggressive testing of vaccines and therapies – if the usual safety rules/red tape was swept away, we could know what works and start making it in a few months.

    1. “….If the usual safety rules/red tape was swept away, we could know what works and start making it in a few months.”

      Uh….no… Take it from a pharma research professional. Immunology, pharmacology and drug discovery do not work that way. Drugs on hand can be repurposed and tested quickly, new drugs and vaccines are two years away at the earliest. And even with the repurposed drugs, clinical studies can be noisy and more than a few replicates are necessary.

  18. Might be a different way to view the results. “Facts” are generated by a measurement system. So before everyone gets frothy about the facts and concludes or interprets too much, pay attention to the measurement system. I design bioanalytical tests for a living and you always have to worry about the sensitivity and specificity of a test. That is to say what is the projected rate of false positives of the test system (the specificity) and false negatives (sensitivity). This study appears to be a case of the false positive rate being being ill-defined and in fact likely too high to make the conclusions the authors have made.

    Below is a link to a great thread that goes over the Covi-19 test measurements sensitivity and specificity.

    https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/04/19/fatal-flaws-in-stanford-study-of-coronavirus-prevalence/

    This is a great read and is basic probability theory. Bottom line is that your facts are only as good as your measurement and in this case the measurement is likely flawed, certainly enough to nullify the headline claims.

    PS Something I had not picked up but was related in the above thread. One of the authors, Andrew Bogan, pushed the views of the study in the WSJ. I would very much hope that confirmation bias is not working for these authors.

    PPS. The linked thread is also remarkable for another reason. Not one person slandered, bullied or otherwise crapped on. Nice debate, pros and cons. Facts lead, opinions follow.

  19. “…studies imply that the COVID-19 infections must be very widespread to produce the excess mortality seen in places like New York City, meaning that essentially most New Yorkers must already have been infected. That seems implausible.”

    Not at all implausible. In a highly compact international city like NYC with approx 28K people per square mile, virtually all taking public transportation, and all bumping shoulder-to-shoulder everyday, it is actually expected. Personally believe that the virus was well on it’s way prior to any actions being taken. The horse was already out of the barn.

    We will know more if and when NYC opens up. If most residents (5,740,000 of approximately 8,400,000 by my calculations) have been infected, then any resurgence of the virus should be less than in other places that started their lockdowns sooner in their curve.

  20. The 1957-1958 Asian Flu pandemic killed 116,000 Americans. That was 0.066% of the U.S. population. Our population was 175 million at the time. Our current population is 328.2 million. 0.066% of 328.2 million would be 216,000 deaths. However, in response to the Asian Flu pandemic, we did not panic and did not impose extreme lockdown measures; as a result, we did not put tens of millions of people out of work, did not force thousands of businesses to close, did not close schools all over the country, and did not require people to wear masks. Why did we not panic back then? Why are we panicking now?

    The 1968 Hong Kong Flu pandemic killed 100,000 Americans. That was 0.05% of the U.S. population. Our population was 200.7 million at the time. 0.05% of our current population would be 164,000 deaths. As we had done with the Asian Flu, we did not panic and did not impose drastic lockdown measures. Why not?

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