Coronavirus

How Many COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Did Lockdowns Avert?

Two new studies create counterfactual pandemic scenarios seeking to answer that question.

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"Flatten the curve" was the urgent exhortation of public health officials as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take off in the U.S. in March. The curve to be flattened was the exponential growth rate of COVID-19 cases so that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed by rapidly rising numbers of sick people as was then happening in northern Italy.

American officials sought to flatten the curve using non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) including stay-at-home guidelines, closing schools, and shuttering crowded venues such as theaters, sports arenas, and restaurants. The qualified good news is that the daily tally of new confirmed cases has stabilized at around 20,000 for the past three weeks while COVID-19 deaths are averaging 750 per day. The bad news is that so far nearly 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with the illness and more than 111,000 have died of it.

Now two new studies published in the journal Nature are suggesting that without the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions many millions more people would have fallen ill and died of the disease. A group of econometricians have put together the more interesting of the two studies. That first study seeks to "empirically evaluate the effect that these anti-contagion policies have had on the growth rate of infections." The researchers look at the growth rate of infections before and after more than 1,700 different NPIs were implemented in states, provinces, and cities of six countries including the United States. In their analysis, each locality prior to the imposition of specific lockdown policies serves as the "control" and the days after policy implementation become the "treatment." They are trying to determine what effect (if any) the policy "treatments" had on the rate of increase in infections in each locality.

"Many of these costs are plainly seen; for example, business restrictions increase unemployment and school closures impact educational outcomes," the researchers acknowledge. "It is therefore not surprising that some populations have hesitated before implementing such dramatic policies, especially when their costs are visible while their health benefits—infections and deaths that would have occurred but instead were avoided or delayed—are unseen."

In his brilliant essay, "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen," French economist Frédéric Bastiat explains the vital importance of discerning the unseen consequences of public policies. Bastiat argues:

Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference—the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come,—at the risk of a small present evil.

So question is, was the COVID-19 lockdown a small present good or a small present evil with respect to the currently unseen great health and economic consequences of the pandemic?

The econometricians estimate that early on the number of COVID-19 infections were growing exponentially by roughly 38 percent per day—that is, infections were doubling about every two days. This estimate is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Princeton University calculations reported back in March.

Once the researchers have spun through their calculations, they estimate across the six countries they evaluate that the anti-contagion interventions globally "prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections" between March 3 and April 6. Their estimate for the United States is that social distancing policies and shelter-in-place guidelines prevented 4.8 million more confirmed cases and 60 million total infections by the beginning of April.

On April 6, there were nearly 340,000 confirmed cases and an estimated 5.8 million Americans infected by COVID-19. The researchers do not estimate the effects of the intervention policies on hospitalization or death rates, but a rough proportional scale up would suggest that there could have been 575,000 patients hospitalized in the U.S. along with 133,000 COVID-19 deaths by early April.

The researchers do offer a big caveat: If people change their behavior in response to new information unrelated to government anti-contagion policies, this could reduce infection growth rates as well, thus causing the researchers to overstate the effectiveness of anti-contagion policies. Of course, the infection rate would slow if individuals were socially distancing in response to either new information or lockdown policies.

How many lives did implementing pandemic lockdowns in 11 European countries save is the question that a team of researchers associated with the Imperial College in London sought to answer in a second study published in Nature. The period they examine stretches from the onset of the pandemic on that continent through May 4 when the lockdowns began to lift. The researchers vary the parameters of their epidemiological model to construct what they call "simplistic counterfactuals" to probe how the unseen future might have turned out had European governments not imposed lockdowns.

The European researchers estimate that the basic reproduction number of the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic was about 3.8, that is, each infected person would eventually transmit it to an average 3.8 other people. They calculate that lockdown policies cut the virus' reproduction rate down to 0.66, a reduction of 82 percent from the initial 3.8 reproduction number. If the reproduction number had not been so steeply reduced by lockdown policies, they calculate in their simplistic counterfactual, the actual toll of 130,000 deaths by May 4 might instead have been 3.1 million people in the 11 countries evaluated.

The researchers estimate by May 4 that between 12 and 15 million people in the 11 countries had been infected, representing between 3.2 and 4.0 percent of their combined populations. If this is approximately correct that would suggest that the COVID-19 infection fatality rate is between 0.87 and 1.08 percent.

In addition, a viral basic reproduction number of 3.8 unconstrained by lockdowns implies a herd immunity threshold of around 70 percent. Herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease that results if a sufficiently high proportion of a population is immune to the illness. Some people are still susceptible, but they are surrounded by immune individuals, who serve as a barrier preventing the microbes from reaching them. You can achieve this through either mass infection or mass vaccination. "Our estimates imply that the populations in Europe are not close to herd immunity of around 70 percent," note the researchers.

"In all countries in this study we find that these interventions have reduced the reproduction number below one and have contained their epidemics at the current time," observe the researchers. "We cannot say for certain that the current measures will continue to control the epidemic in Europe; however, if current trends continue, there is reason for optimism."

Have these two research teams revealed the unseen great good of pandemic catastrophes averted by lockdowns or have they concocted contagion mirages to justify the present great evil of economic devastation? Time will tell.

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  1. The researchers do offer a big caveat: If people change their behavior in response to new information unrelated to government anti-contagion policies, this could reduce infection growth rates as well, thus causing the researchers to overstate the effectiveness of anti-contagion policies.

    So since they can’t estimate that, they made zero attempt to control for what is a HUGE factor-human choice to alter their own behavior. And since that doesn’t factor at all in this study, apparently, their numbers are just a big pile of bullshit.

    Thank you for you calling this to our attention.

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    2. This takes about 5 seconds to break this in about 40 different ways, starting with every one of their assumptions that they must make. Like people go blindly about, completely oblivious to the dangers around them. Hitting the most vulnerable first, and at a rate that far exceeds the eventual average. Herd immunity. Changing weather. Mostly, let’s not count the number of deaths that are directly associated with the lockdown due to poverty, suicide, tension induced abuse.

      But I suppose when you’re a econometrician, the necessity of just throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks becomes a part of one’s survival requirements.

      1. It’s not just seeing what sticks, they know where finding comes from.

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    3. Compare the sharp infection rate declines in places with strict lockdowns with the plateaus or even increases in places that are relatively more open and it’s obvious who is actually full of it.

      Personal behavior undoubtedly plays a role in the overall counts, but unless people in Texas and Arizona are behaving much less responsibly than those in Washington and Mass, the explanation for the difference in outcomes has to be policy.

      1. There is another difference between Washington and Mass and Texas and Arizona. Both of the latter share a border with Mexico. Texas’ rates were rather low and controlled until the virus started hitting Mexico and Central America. As other states rely on the influx of workers to harvest many of those workers go through Texas and Arizona to reach them. I am sure policies affect the spread, but there are many other factors.

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      2. Massachusetts is a poor comparison. Per Worldometer, it has 1,081 deaths per 1 million to date, compared to 150 / 1 million in Arizona and 64 / 1 million in Texas.

        If those figures are all proportional to historical infections – which is reasonable, though not certain – it could be that infections are levelling off more in Massachusetts simply because the share of susceptible population has declined. (Note “susceptible”. There are a lot of hints, though not definitive proof, that far less than 100% of the population is susceptible. That’s seen in everything from studies of household attack rates resulting in numbers < 20% to a study finding that about half of the population may have some immunity from cross-reactive T-cells.)

        Washington state (155 deaths / 1 million) could be a fair comparison with Arizona.

        There's still the question of how you ever get out of lockdown if the goal is never to see an increase in infections.

    4. The answer is to look at Sweden. They bent the curve without any mandates beyond closing high schools (probably beneficial, regardless of the virus) and banning large gatherings. I think it’s reasonable to think that other nations would have followed the same path, more or less, especially after seeing how things were going in Italy.

      Really we won’t know the full answer to any of these questions until after the virus has run its course and stabilized in our population. Then, and only then, can we look back and draw meaningful conclusions about how much it cost to prevent how many infections/deaths. The only metric that matters right now is whether the healthcare system is being overrun, and it isn’t.

  2. Saying that the lock downs reduced the number of infections is like saying that my cutting my leg off fixed my broken leg. Strictly speaking it did. The question is not whether these extreme measures prevented the spread of the infections. The question is whether less restrictive means could have achieved the same effect.

    1. yeah I like this.

      1. Ohhh, feelings!!!!!! Plus you’re agreeing with a dumbass, also racist. Sorry, didn’t mean to trigger you.

    2. The econometricians, they’re ever so pious
      Are they doing real science or just confirming their bias?
      Their Keynesian models are tidy and neat
      But that top-down approach is a fatal conceit

          1. O you scoundrel 🙂

      1. Really hard to respect any “economist” who isn’t a billionaire, or close

        1. Why? It’s a different body of knowledge and skill set than investing, finance, business management, entrepreneurship or invention.

      2. More feelings

    3. “…The question is whether less restrictive means could have achieved the same effect.”

      I’ll go further:
      I’m willing to accept a lesser effect, if that is the free choice of the agents involved.

      1. Oh look, feelings, and someone feeling validated!!!!!

    4. It’s looking like it.

    5. Of course different measures would have not achieved the same effect. Many more thousands of people would have died up till now, and greater chance hospitals would have been overburdened. Many people have antlike memories, but the point of the lockdowns was to flatten the curve and not have unnecessary deaths from hospitals being overcapacity.

      Also the lockdowns gave the slower thinkers weeks to figure out the obvious…that it is smart to wear a mask and engage in social distanciing.

      1. So, by slower thinkers you mean the CDC and other similar apparatchiks — they were initially against masks?

      2. Sweden went very light on the mandates and didn’t have overburdened hospitals, either. Only time will tell whether they end up with more infections and deaths per capita, but I’m betting they’ll be in the pack with everyone else, right where they’ve always been. They’ll probably get to higher totals first, with others catching up later as they reap the benefits of herd immunity sooner.

      3. Georgia barely had any restrictions and most Georgians are not wearing masks and never did, including myself.

        I traveled and Georgia had all sorts of out-of-staters. Georgia currently has ~2,200 deaths out of 10.62 million estimated residents. ~8,000 fall under the JHU sick map hospitalization rate.

        Of course deaths and hospitalizations have not been conclusively proven to be caused by KungFlu, only that the patients test positive. These people might be positive but were going to die from heart disease or whatever natural cause anyway.

        All the evidence from places that refuse to follow the hysterical into the abyss directly counters all what you and the lunatics running Blue States have claimed.

    6. Nicely put!

    7. That’s not actually the question. We know that extreme measures reduces count much more than less extreme. This has been proven over and over again across the world.

      The question is actually whether or not we found the right cost/benefit balance. Would it have been preferable to allow more infection and death in exchange for more economic activity?

      In the end the vast majority of the economic damage would have happened regardless of lockdown because of personal choices. When nobody wants to go to a restaurant or hop on a plane, people serving those industries get fired.

      1. There is great value in letting people decide for themselves, even if they end up getting sick because of it.

        1. What if they get their neighbor sick too?

    8. Actually, the objective is to reduce the long term number of deaths, so the question is whether and how much the lockdown policies accomplished this. Such an analysis requires looking at both sides of the ledger, and must address long term increases in deaths due to deferred medical care, reduced economic activity, and psychological damage. failure to consider these aspects renders any analysis junk science.

  3. More numbers from the people who brought us bad numbers before.
    More assumptions from the people who brought us bad assumptions before.
    More wasted space from the people who have wasted space before.

    Now tell us about the libertarian response to a new virus of unknown virility.

    1. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/n-j-gov-phil-murphy-says-he-cant-imagine-enforcing-social-distancing-rules-on-protesters/

      The wokoltarian response is something like “it is okay to take every right you have unless you want to riot and loot in the name of social justice”.

      1. But he arrests people for wanting to work.

        Piece. Of. Shit.

        These fucken governors who pulled this shit can all go rot in hell for all I care.

        1. Define want, or did you mean forced?

          1. Were guns involved?

            No.

            Then it wasn’t forced.

            Fucking moron.

  4. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/tyler-o-neil/2020/06/09/antifa-militants-seize-seattle-police-hq-set-up-autonomous-zone-n512621

    Antifa has now taken over part of Seattle. This is how actual civil wars start. Where the hell is the state and or the feds. I won’t even ask about the city because the city governments in these places basically don’t exist.

    1. Capitol Hill neighborhood. Unlike the closed for the season fed building the more idiotic members of the Bundy clan seized, Capitol Hill is not in the middle of nowhere, America. Pretty ritzy part of Seattle, though it isn’t say Queen Anne or where Bill Gates has his house on Lake Washington.

      Now Reason, can we invoke the Insurrection Act? Given there’s a chunk of real estate actually insurrecting and all.

      1. Maybe, just *maybe*, the FBI or DOJ should look into Antifa.

        I mean, if the Klan took over a police department and occupied a block in Charlottesville Reason *might* consider an investigation, you know, in the name of equality. But, as it stands, both groups are nebulous organizations with decentralized leadership that really the FBI/ATF has no real business investigating. We don’t want to chill anyone’s free speech.

        1. Oh, but they are the good guys. Ask the press. Their name is that they OPPOSE Fascism.

          And using their logic, Nazis, in spite of protestations for decades, were Socialists. It’s right in their name, too.

      2. Or we could let the people of Seattle handle it as they see fit.

      3. Seattle. Vote for stupid people, win stupid prizes.

        The Feds do need to look into Antifa. I say they have a duty to do so because that shit has spread into other countries.

    2. I find it ironic that they are protesting police who are armed government agents and the first thing they due is ask for armed volunteers to guard their little hell hole. governments gotta govern and always at the end of a gun.

      1. They’re for gun control….but will need cops to collect the guns.

        I love this game.

      2. The extreme left doesn’t want to de-fund/remove the police. They want to replace the police. Antifa doesn’t want to eliminate the fascists. It wants to be the fascists. These groups know where the power is and they want it.

    3. I’m sure George Floyd died dreaming of a free Seattle.

      1. Not while he was on fentanyl he didn’t.

    4. Pretty amazing accomplishment for a non-existent non-group.

      1. Right, there is SCANT EVIDENCE that Antifa is responsible for any of the violence here.

    5. #(leftist)LibertarianMoment

      1. That article has nothing to do with this.

        1. Believe he is pointing out the Media’s narrative that Antifa doesn’t exist.

          1. Journalist: Antiwho? Never heard of them.

            /Antifa punk throws brick passed its head.

    6. Yeah, WA state officials will get after the treasonous occupiers in Seattle right after they close down Evergreen State.

    7. “Another says, ‘The cops will always be racist because capitalism requires inequality.’”

      Can we stop fucking pretending that the violent radicals are just “taking advantage” of the noble well-intentioned protesters. They’re one and the same, the latter are just dupes at best.

      EVERYTHING that seems good at face value about progressivism is used by the horrible people pulling the strings to gain more control.

      1. Then you support UIB which gives people leverage when looking for a new job?

  5. Since everyone who died while commie virus positive was counted as a commie virus death, we’ll never know. But that’s the point isn’t it?

    They can throw out whatever bullshit number they want to justify this charade. Yay us! We saved lives so fuck your Constitutional rights!

    1. As if they would ever actually admit that it CAUSED a death. When you conduct a study in hopes to find your preferred answer, it is likely that you will find it.

      I’m still waiting for the “study” that offsets numbers of saved lives with those it cost their lives with suicide, abuse, poverty, and economic destruction of lives. Still waiting, but not holding my breath.

    2. Interesting analysis of hospital parking lot satellite photos and China search terms for corona virus symptoms which increased in September, implying the disease was known 2-3 months before they told the world.

      1. I notice in the last pair of photos, the parking lot was under construction in the earlier one.

  6. Time will tell.

    I don’t know that it will.

  7. The curve to be flattened was the exponential growth rate of COVID-19 cases so that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed

    In no single plot depicting a curve being flattened was the ‘capacity’ depicted. Whether we were flattening the curve below capacity or simply prolonging the time at/above capacity was unintelligible from the info- propo-graphic. The point wasn’t to flatten the exponential growth rate, the point was to scientificize peoples’ feelz.

  8. 57 and 68, lots of flu deaths, much smaller population, due the averages. NO lockdown.

    1. They didn’t quarantine all the healthy people? What gives? HATERS! Remove all the statues of people who governed during those times. That will teach em.

  9. sophistry [ sof-uh-stree ] (noun, plural soph·ist·ries) — a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.

  10. COVID-19 deaths are averaging 750 per day

    It’s funny to think that if terrorists were killing 750 Americans per day, the degree of our freakout would be many times greater, and we’d probably be suffering much more severe lockdowns or martial law. So I guess, I’m glad it’s a disease and not terrorists?

    1. Um yeah, but 750 a day from terrorism isn’t a natural event that generally takes the weakest of individuals, right? Losing that many per day during flu season or that many x 2.5 to cancer or heart disease isn’t freakoutville either. Again, natural events that are part of life or what we call natural causes. Between the last two, half the people who die in this country in any given year will die of these two things. WOW! I’m glad these aren’t terrorism too, huh?

      Comparing homicide to a naturally caused death is stupid on its face, and it sure as hell doesn’t justify anything goes. This is the first time we have ever quarantined a healthy population, and it hasn’t worked out very well.

      1. You’re missing my point.

        1. No, he understood your point perfectly and smacked it back in your face.
          Perhaps you don’t understand your point

          1. Ah, the patented Nardz hostility.

            1. Seems justified to me.
              Why are you always inventing new screen names? Are you embarrassed?

              1. Because he says stupid things with old ones so he moves to new ones.

    2. It’s funny to think that if terrorists were killing 750 Americans per day,

      Remember when terrorists killed 3,000 people in a single day? I do. I was at work. So was my wife. I was also at work the next day. So was she. Every day for the next several months as a matter of fact.

      So, did you never utter the phrase ‘never forget’ or did you just underestimate how much your condition would retard your mental abilities?

    3. 2.8 million people die in the US every year. This includes sick people. Go freak out elsewhere.

      1. Ah, the patented JesseAz hostility.

        1. Seems justified to me.
          Why are you always inventing new screen names? Are you embarrassed?

        2. You’re broken sweetie.

        3. You only fuck with people I generally disagree with. But you are the worst fucking commenter on this site including Racist Kirkland and the dementia guy.
          I used to troll for fun before I had a job and a girl and a car, so I get it. But, fucking a, man…. give it a rest some times.

    4. So what you’re saying is that we should lock down the country to prevent people from dying of heart disease?

  11. It’s simple math, people. If the numbers double every two days if we do nothing, we could expect to have seen approximately 1 quadrillion cases by now and if even a small fraction of those were fatal, deaths would easily be in the hundreds of billions. Since the number of both confirmed and suspected coronavirus deaths is at most around 10 billion, that’s still hundreds of billions of lives saved. Quibbling over a few hundred million cases or a few million deaths here or there is just nitpicking and refusing to accept that the experts were pretty close with their numbers. Close enough for government work at any rate.

    1. Right…. but obviously you’re not a econometrician, so you obviously don’t understand. Everyone else understands that econometricians are basically gods, so if you like question their assumptions or conclusions, you’re obviously like a xenophobe or racist, or at least a puppy-hating KKK member who loves Hitler.

  12. “this many people would have died anyway” v. “this many people died of the covids”

  13. “In all countries in this study we find that these interventions have…contained their epidemics at the current time,” observe the researchers.

    At no point in time, the researchers continued, will we consider the lives lost due directly to the interventions (e.g. to suicides and delayed medical treatment for other diseases), nor can we be troubled to provide even the simplest cost-benefit-analysis. We will simply use made up multipliers to spit out the benefits we want and hand-wave away the costs.

    For an article that talks at length about the unseen there is scant mention of the costs of the intervention. Especially since a great deal of it is very easy to see.

  14. The Nature study is garbage. It’s an indictment of the peer-review process that such a poor study could get published.

    Simply put, they failed to control for the trend of disease progression. Disease progression is not a simple exponential curve. Diseases follow an S-shaped “Gompertz” curve. Such a curve looks exponential at first, then flattens and then inverts to a logarithmic curve. By looking only at disease rates before and after the implementation of a lockdown measure, the researchers conflated causal effects with the logarithmic decay of disease progression that would have occurred anyway.

    A better and more valid analytical approach would have been to match jurisdictions that did and did not implement controls. Fortunately, that study has also already been done. And the results generally demonstrate that, absent a few outlier decisions such as New York’s policy of forcing COVID patients into nursing homes (in hindsight, the worst possible place for them), the majority of lockdown measures had no statistically significant effect on disease progression.

    1. If you want a different criticism of the Nature study, consider that “flattening the curve” involves spreading the hospitalizations out over time. That’s all it can ever do. The area under the curve – that is, the total number of infections – is the same no matter what. These researchers managed to completely miss that the total number of infections is not and never will be anywhere near their projections. Regardless of what you think the lockdowns did to the timing and distribution, that should have been a big clue that their projections were unreliable.

      1. You win the Internet for today.
        I have been like a lost soul crying in the wilderness when I say flattening the curve does not prevent even one death.
        It’s only supposed to stop the hospitals from being overwhelmed so that the heart attack and appendicitis patients are not dying in the parking lot for lack of beds.
        There is absolutely nothing the government can do to reduce the number of people who are going to die of coronavirus.
        Whether we lock down or not, or flatten the curve or not, the same number of people are going to die of Covid.
        How come no one else seems to understand this?

    2. My Nature sub is expiring soon (they show me with two subs, hard to tell what is going on) and I am in the mood to let it drop. They have gone so far to the political side that the science left is hidden in the back pages, far as I’m concerned. Gun control, praising Greta, peer-reviewed hit lists of climate deniers, and all this recent coronavirus panic news. Too far gone to be a real science journal any more.

      1. Well, they are British and therefore dedicated to social engineering, elimination of fear and risk, and cross-dressing.

      2. “Economist”, say 10 years ago. Bagehot’s approaching red-line.

    3. “The Nature study is garbage. It’s an indictment of the peer-review process that such a poor study could get published.”

      Oh, it’s worse than you think.

      https://www.rappler.com/science-nature/society-culture/263442-nature-global-academic-strike-against-anti-black-racism

      Nature can now be safely dismissed as intrinsically silly from here on. Bailey, you might want to find a new source.

    4. Can you provide a link for the better study you mention? I’d love to read it!

  15. So the same models that predicted millions would be saved with lockdowns now proved lockdowns saved millions. This is called circular reasoning.

    Also I believe one of these papers is the one being heavily criticized for not comparing levels of lockdown among countries analyzed. Basically making the analysis worthless as it didnt actually used lockdowns as a control measure.

    1. Ronnie… I just feel bad for you at this point. Some of the issues can be found just by the citations in the paper. From the first linked:

      Ferguson, N. M. et al. Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand. Tech. Rep., Imperial College London (2020).

      Flaxman, S. et al. Report 13: Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries. Tech. Rep., Imperial College London (2020).

      They are literally using discredited models as part of their study on lives saved… For fuck sake’s ronnie, did you even read these? The first paper is literally using the failed outputs of failed models based on failed assertions to prove the failed assertions..

    2. “The econometricians estimate that early on the number of COVID-19 infections were growing exponentially by roughly 38 percent per day—that is, infections were doubling about every two days. ”

      THIS ISN’T FUCKING HOW DISEASE WORKS. For fuck sakes. The rate doesn’t keep doubling until 100% of people are infected. This is the stupidity that JFree was pushing.

      1. You fucking R twits. That growth doesn’t slow down until the infectious runs into a SIGNIFICANT portion of the population that has already been exposed. That does not change the growth at the BEGINNING of the growth phase. It changes it at the END. And it is precisely at the beginning when you asswipes were saying – no one is infected so who cares.

        On March 13 – the day Trump announced the state of emergency – YOU said
        You should really wait until the number of deaths broach 100 before declaring yourself a winner. Flu is already at 20k. But hey, tortoise won in the fairy tales.

        Well guess fucking what. The deaths are now 100,000+. And you are still pretending that you’ve been right all along. And that ‘tortoise’ made it to 100,000+ in about two and a half month. Hell of a fast tortoise eh?

        1. God you are fucking dumb. Hint… go read a few posts above mine. An infection curve is never exponential. It can look exponential near the beginning as cases mount, but it is never exponential. The R value is not constant. It changes over time. It is a closed system of a fixed population where the R value is dependent on the outputs of the previous time step. The population of those who can be infected decreases as those who are infected increase. It is a closed system.

          I’m sorry you’re too fucking retarded to understand basic science. Here, since you can’t be bothered to read even a few posts up.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gompertz_function

          Yes. I said 100 initially before I would even consider it an issue. I also claimed at the same period that this was most likely a bad flu at worse. Which it has been. The 100k numbers were exacerbated but terrible nursing home policies. Nearly half of the deaths were from nursing homes from those near end of life. Sorry you’re too fucking retarded to understand this JFree.

          Likewise I said consequentially in a thread you were not freaking out that anything less than 1% of the population was not a worry. And it is especially not a worry based on the age and health indicators of the group most likely at harm. At that time you were still claiming 300k+ dead from a random distribution of people, not those near end of life.

          My prediction is far fucking closer than your chicken little bullshit. Nobody here respects you and your lies of chicken little bullshit. Grow up.

          1. My apologies JFree. I went back and looked. You even pushed the IHME and Imperial College models predicting 2 million dead. You were so close buddy.

            I kept pointing to the 80k bad flu numbers… you predicted 2 million. Tell me who is closer to 100k

            Fucking dumbass.

            1. LINK TO THAT SUPPOSED PREDICTION YOU LYING SACK OF SHIT

              1. Lol. You know you said it dummy. You supported the fucking lockdowns. You pushed an IFR above 1 for over a month. You ignored all contrary information like the Princess Cruise study.

                Sorry buddy. Maybe if you wish hard enough 1.9 million. More will die.

                Or you can admit that 100k is statistical noise given the 2.8 million average death count.

                Which one are you going to continue with?

                Even assuming there is zero overlap from average yearly with covid numbers (even using your died with numbers) the excess death rate is 3.9%. Let’s assume 500 a day through the rest of the year (which you probably actually think) the excess death rate would be 8%. This, remember, is assuming no overlap. But of course with the average age and condition of those who died (for example 80 years of age in Pennsylvania) you know the overlap is non zero. But assuming worst case… you locked down the country for 3 months over an excess death rate, under 1 standard deviation assuming gaussian normal, for this.

                You are the irrational one buddy. We wont even discuss the death and poverty numbers bound to come out of a lockdown.

                So do you want to keep playing chicken little?

              2. “LINK TO THAT SUPPOSED PREDICTION YOU LYING SACK OF SHIT”

                STUFF YOUR PANIC!!! FLAG UP YOUR ASS, AND SIT ON IT YOU COWARDLY PIECE OF LEFTY SHIT!
                Did you think posting in all caps would suggest you are other than a cowardly piece of lefty shit, you cowardly piece of lefty shit?
                Stuff your PANIC!!! flag up your ass, you cowardly piece of lefty shitk and sit on it.

        2. Remember fuck tard, you spent a month here crying for the government to lock everything the fuck down like a scared little bitch. Hope you remember.

        3. And on a final note… the 100k number is still a lie. The WHO, the CDC, Colorado, et al have all admitted the 100k number is a “died with” not a died of number. Colorado cut off a quarter of their deaths when they switched the metric.

          Odd you deny that as well.

          Grow up child..

        4. “Well guess fucking what. The deaths are now 100,000+. And you are still pretending that you’ve been right all along. And that ‘tortoise’ made it to 100,000+ in about two and a half month. Hell of a fast tortoise eh?”

          No, we’re not ‘pretending’ anything.
          We’re pointing out that cowardly pieces of lefty shit like you have no right to run our lives, regardless of the outcome.
          Fucking weenies like you can crawl in a hole and stay there untill mommy says it’s safe.
          Stuff your PANIC!! up your butt, stick first, and sit on it.
          Fuck off and die, slaver.

    3. And finally… Berenson already ripped the study apart here:

      https://twitter.com/AlexBerenson/status/1270045219371847680

      1/ They don’t disclose the infection fatality rate they’re using (it is over 1%, though – it has to be since they project 720,000 deaths in France, which has 67 million people). That’s 4x the best estimate from
      @cdcgov

      2/ They estimate the lockdown reduced deaths in Sweden by 90% – though, say it with me, SWEDEN DID NOT HAVE A LOCKDOWN…

      3/ To make the numbers work, they theorize transmissibility falls IMMEDIATELY by as much as 80% ON THE DAY LOCKDOWN is imposed (not before, not after, that day) – but then, weirdly, starts to rise again before tapering off. So infections look like this everywhere, even Sweden…

      Please just submit your resignation Ronnie.

    4. And for the takedown of the other Nature article…

      https://twitter.com/AlexBerenson/status/1270032299648827398

      Okay, so your first clue this is bunkum is on THE VERY FIRST PAGE: Note when the paper was received. Yep, March 22, basically before the epidemic had EVEN begun in the United States or social distancing had been in place for very long anywhere else.

      Why do you do this to yourself Ronnie….

  16. The new Corona virus was actually circulating since August of 2019. Which means, the lockdowns, travel bans and extreme measures by politicians the world over was based on insufficient scientific data. ???????? https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/new-coronavirus-may-have-emerged-in-summer-2019-study/ar-BB15fYF7

  17. This is the wrong question to ask. Social distancing spreads the impact of the virus over time. The area under the whole curve may not decrease a whole lot. However spreading the impact over time does 2 very good things

    1. Prevents overload of health care system which prevents unnecessary deaths due to causes other than COVID
    2. Buys more time to get effective meds and a vaccine. That will save lives from COVID in the long term.

    There are counterbalancing effects of social isolation (Suicide) and more poverty. Have not seen good research on that and it make take a while to compile. Fear may be moee deadly than any enforced restrictions. People with stroke symptoms are avoiding emergency rooms for fear of catching the virus.

  18. So we’re just pretending the ‘lockdowns’ didn’t exempt things like grocery store visits? Sorry, but they didn’t prevent any infections they merely delayed them at best.

    I was right though, the narrative has already become ‘how many people did we save’ instead of ‘how effectively did we flatten the curve’.

    Neither can really be proven, but that won’t stop anyone from taking credit.

    1. Considering the number of healthcare workers that we’ve furloughed and put out of work, it’s almost certain that we hammered the capacity of the system much harder than we hammered the spread of the virus.

      Don’t worry, if there is another wave, there will be plenty of beds for COVID (and other!) patients to die in unattended.

  19. Isn’t all of this irrelevant since coronavirus was here months before their models, studies, and shutdown policies pretend it arrived?

  20. The econometricians estimate that early on the number of COVID-19 infections were growing exponentially by roughly 38 percent per day—that is, infections were doubling about every two days. This estimate is in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Princeton University calculations reported back in March.

    Well this is just nonsense. Both the CDC and Princeton calc are conflating growth in confirmed/observed cases with growth in infections – and specifically at points when places were playing ‘catch up’ re the testing. From everything I’ve read about the disease itself and the contagion window, there is no chance in hell that the doubling time was ever 2 days. That was my initial worry when I read that first report that the RO was 4+. An RO that high could have that sort of doubling time. Once that was revised down – and it emerged that it’s really a droplet not aerosol spread, then that means the doubling time for the infection itself was prob more like 4-5 days in that ideal RO window of late winter/early spring (the 50F air temp area).

    That 4-5 day doubling – not some artificial 2 day doubling in OBSERVED infections during a testing catch-up – is the important number.

    Further a lot of these other conclusions look like flim-flam and bamboozle. They FAILED to actually do public health in most countries – and now they are trying to rationalize that failure by post-facto making shit up. There are only a handful of countries – a TINY handful of countries – that actually know what they are doing. AU, NZ, SG, SK, TW, TH, VN, IS, DE. Maybe a couple more but that’s it. And I wouldn’t trust any epidemiologist from any other country. Not in their knowledge of public health or epidemiology OR stats. I call BS. They’ve been using stats to disguise the fact that they don’t actually know shit about public health. I TA’d stats for three years in college and if there is one thing I myself learned from that experience it is that the vast vast majority of people (95%) are utterly dishonest – Humpty Dumpty on steroids – when it comes to stats. And that lack of ethics is what drives ‘conclusions’. From academia to business to everything else.

    1. You’re still fucking retarded. Keep believing the R0 is constant. LOL.

      1. Where do I say the RO is constant? FFS you lying sack of shit. I EXPLICITLY STATE IN THAT COMMENT the doubling time for the infection itself was prob more like 4-5 days in that ideal RO window of late winter/early spring (the 50F air temp area)

        That means outside that ‘ideal’ window, the RO is DIFFERENT. YOU ARE FUCKING INCAPABLE OF READING – OR OF UNDERSTANDING. YOU ARE DISHONEST TO YOUR FUCKING BONES AS WELL. AND ALL IN SUPPORT OF SOME BABOON YOU VOTED FOR.

        1. “…ALL IN SUPPORT OF SOME BABOON YOU VOTED FOR.”

          So this is all about your TDS rather than your cowardice?
          Nice try, you pathetic piece of cowardly shit.

      2. JFree’s comment here is perfectly reasonable Jesse. Try reading what he actually wrote.

        1. I responded after he responded to me. JFree isnt reasonable as he pushed a constant R0 earlier. Only when he is driven wrong does he change his argument. Maybe he is just a slow learner. But in all honesty I stopped largely reading his comments as he has pushed bullshit for 3 months and everytime something changes he claims he was right the whole time.

          Learned behavior is to call put his bullshit.

          1. as he pushed a constant R0 earlier.

            Well I’m sure you can link to that too. Of course.

        2. And by the way, R0 is not a function solely of weather, it still has a function based on infected population as mentioned above. He seems to think there is a single variable input into the calculation which has always been his problem.

        3. “JFree’s comment here is perfectly reasonable Jesse…”

          You misspelled “irrelevant”:
          Let’s start with the FACT that cowardly pieces of lefty shit are NOT allowed to tell me what to do and when; JFree and his ilk can jam their PANIC!! flags up their asses, stick first and sit on them. His ‘reasonable’ comment is his to use as he pleases.
          Other than that, he can fuck off and die.
          Further, any relevance is built on fake numbers; the ‘>100K’ deaths are ‘covid related’, by admission.
          Finally, let’s add that even if they were true, they approximate a bad year of seasonal flu, even with vaccines.
          Suffice to say, JFree is a cowardly piece of lefty shit, zigging and zagging in the hopes that his shittyness is somehow papered over.
          JFree? Fuck off and die. Make your family proud and the world a better place.

  21. Mr. Bailey,

    Did either study attempt to control for the *incubation period*. From your description, it sounds like they didn’t. The ‘control’ was all days before lockdowns, and the test was all days after lockdowns. But new infection detections *after* lockdowns would have been caused by transmission *before* lockdowns, possibly for over two weeks! (Because we’re not dealing with symptom onset, but detection by laboratory test, which means not just the ~5 day incubation period but also however long it took to seek medical care and get a test result after developing symptoms.)

    If the inflection point really is ‘near’ the lockdown orders, it’s really unlikely the lockdowns actually caused them, because of the time delay.

    I guess I need to go read the methods, but your description of them does not give me a good impression.

    1. Skimmed the study. Here’s the damning claim:

      “To do this, we use our estimates to predict the growth rate of infections in each locality on each day, given the actual policies in effect at that location on that date (figure 3, blue markers).”

      So yeah, no time lag to account for incubation period or delays between symptoms and seeking medical attention. *insert favorite facepalm gif here*

      Note: according to figure 3 for the US, the peak in infections was right almost right when lockdowns were declared.

      1. That last sentence should remove the first “right”. Where’s my edit button?

    2. Probably also worth pointing out that they seem to be using raw confirmed cases, which risks conflating more testing with faster virus spread…. That’s also really bad.

  22. This study sounds like such utter worthless bullshit that I can’t, for the life of me, even spent the time to share this. The only justification he offers, “Will these hypothetical models of possible past events with multiple flaws in design shed any new light? Let’s wait and see.”

    The answer is no, Bailey. I get that COVID-19 is like your beat right now, but you can attempt to shine the spotlight on people who are looking at the virus intelligently.

  23. If this threshhold they calculate for herd immunity of 70% is correct, isn’t that the only number that matters? It says 70% of the population will eventually be infected. The only remaining question is, how soon?

  24. One thing I rarely – if ever – hear talked about is the fact we may have overreacted and based policy on what happened in northern Italy. Policies that included faulty models. Then, we managed to not learn a key lesson from Italy: Don’t send sick patients into nursing homes.

    Part of the cases/deaths figures – anywhere between 65-80% – came from the nursing debacles in places like New York, New Jersey and Quebec thus distorting the numbers.

    What if we remove this from the figures? Wouldn’t it give a more sober account of the virus?

    I’m almost willing to bet the next time around – assuming there’s a second wave – it won’t be like in March because presumably we’ll be better prepared and go into social distancing mode so there shouldn’t be a need for draconian measures except where strategically necessary – ie nursing homes – which will keep the break out at bay.

    A combo of China lying to the world, governments refusing to close down air travel from known epi-centers (calling them racist as we saw in Canada and NYC) and sending people to their deaths in nursing homes arguably SKEWED the pandemic worse than it potentially would have been.

  25. As for the trade-offs.

    I don’t think it takes too much brain power to recognize the cure was worse than the disease.

    Even if the infection rate would have been higher with fatality rates thought to be anywhere between .8 to 2 fatality, the unseen consequences are pretty measurable even now. The suicides, kids regressing, domestic spousal and child abuse, 40 million jobs lost, 265 million people on the brink of starvation according to the UN last month, the undo stress, social friction and angst, increased debt, and so on. Never mind we quarantined HEALTHY people for the first time in history which really sends a bad signal to kids teaching them to cower and go to extreme measures before actual thoughtful considerations. Then again, they see that all the time in politics now. Just look at how people went nuts after Floyd before it actually playing out in court.

    I even wonder about the notion of when you pull people off their routines for more than 60 days there’s going to be some weird changes in habits on some level.

    NEVER MIND, the spectacular hypocrisy of government, media and ‘Lockdowners’ pissing over and bullying people who protested wanting to open the economy to go to work calling them ‘selfish’ while arresting others only to allow BLM protestors and criminal rioters to go on with full media and government support.Apparently, ‘racism pandemic’ is a public health issue but wanting to avoid starvation is not.

    It’s thoroughly astonishing.

    I think ‘The great evil to come’ is already here.

    1. For some reason I find it hard to add anything meaningful to your posts, so I’ll just say that I think your comments have been dead on throughout this entire saga. Appreciate you Rufus

      1. Wow. Thanks.

    2. I think there will also be some benefits to the forced lockdowns that need to be accounted for, though I have no idea how to do it. The lockdowns may ending up permanently changing how some businesses behave for the better. Some that were reluctant to start more telework, for example, were forced to finally do the experiment and find that it works. Just an example, but I think this lockdown will have a lot of impacts that are hard to measure.

      Not that I’m advocating for the lockdowns, of course. I’m just saying the effects will reach into many aspects of our lives for many years to come with unexpected and hard to measure results.

  26. Trillions wasted, tens of millions unemployed, lives and livelihoods shattered, and all to save the lives of people who were more likely than not to die in the next six months anyhow.

    And guess how many government employees will be sacked for that blooper?

    1. Imma guess….0!

      Certainly no medical bureaucrats. That’s not exactly true, apparently Florida fired their health commissioner? She was a totes whack job from what I read. The NY commissioner Barbot is a walking SJW travesty. We have Tam who serves as the equivalent to her.

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  28. The real question can’t be answered by doctors: will the lockdown cause a spike in global food prices, triggering famines and wars for resources in the third world, and how many deaths will result from that?

  29. How Many COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Did Lockdowns Avert?
    The truth is we will never know. Any number is speculation.

  30. In his brilliant essay, “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen,” French economist Frédéric Bastiat explains the vital importance of discerning the unseen consequences of public policies.

    In other words, what is vital is the ability to predict the future. Unfortunately, no one has that ability.

    1. You can’t predict the whole future, but you can predict parts of it and estimate others. Like if you double the minimum wage a bunch of people are going to get laid off. Or, if you shut down most retail businesses a bunch of people are going to get laid off. Or if you create an asset bubble with loose monetary policy a bunch of people are going to be laid off when the bubble pops.

  31. You are familiar with @Disraeli-Twain statistics?
    First, from your article:
    “daily tally of new confirmed cases has stabilized at around 20,000 for the past three weeks while COVID-19 deaths are averaging 750 per day. The bad news is that so far nearly 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with the illness and more than 111,000 have died of it.”

    I’m a doctor. A positive test is not a “case,” nor is it the “illness.”
    Did you know that 15% or so of humans carry strep, same with staph, and some of that is MRSA? They’re not sick. Everytime a read such a report I ask “what is ‘a case'” usually frustrating the reporter.

    We all heard stories of people dying of other causes happening to have a postive CoV2 test and having their deaths attributed to same.

    Lastly, trials of therapy are notoriously unreliable. It’s going to be a long time — if ever — before we really know what happened; “scholars” and “experts” will debate until the stars fall from the sky for you and I.

    Personally, the only reason I participated in any or the prescribed public health measures — many of which have already been disproven — is to not get arrested or to scare people. Actually, t made very little difference until the yoga school closed, and even then.

    Over the long term — the very long term — it won’t matter.
    He who fears for his life has already lost it.

  32. It’s possible, and even very likely, that curve-flattening can and has truly averted some deaths due to health care capacity being overwhelmed by high numbers of simultaneous cases, the idea that it’s averting infections is dubious until we actually have a working vaccine in widespread use.

    There’s a more accurate word for “averting” something based on a specific time range; that word is “postponed”. If we end up having to reach herd immunity through natural exposure/infection due to either to the time it takes to get a vaccine, or to never getting one at all (which is possible for this virus), then extending the time it takes for enough people to obtain natural immunity isn’t going to reduce the portion of the population that will have to do so for herd immunity to be reached.

  33. Gosh, have our 3 Month Crash & Burn Lockdowns actually PREVENTED death?

    The most fundamental truth of human mortality has somehow been defeated by a 3 month ‘don’t go outside/don’t congregate/wash your hands’? That would be amazing.

    OR — has Death, at best, simply been a bit delayed? Maybe.

    Today’s newspaper told me about a 102 yr. old woman, born during the Spanish Flu Pandemic who just died of WuhanV. Remarkable. Of course at 102 she might have just died of eating breakfast…or not eating breakfast….or standing up too fast….or tying her shoes. Heck the odds of dying simply from living at the age of 102 are immense even without the Virus. And yet, she too is another Covid19 Victim.

    The truth is we don’t really know a whole bunch of anything at this point.

    We don’t know what the true Infection Fatality Rate is (the number of people who are infected and then die)…because we don’t really know how large the population of infected/asymptomatic actually is. The Santa Clara/Stanford study indicated that number could be 50X+ the ‘known infected’. If true that pushes the mortality rate down from the the 1% estimated above to about .1%. If true.

    We also don’t really know what differentiates those who don’t experience any symptoms post-infection, from those who experience only mild symptoms, from those who experience catastrophic symptoms. We don’t really know why the Virus particularly afflicts the Aged, Men, and Blacks more than the Young, Women, and Non-Blacks. What we do know is that something like 93% of fatalities are associated with comorbidities (averaging 2.5 comorbidities/per).

    We also know that as time passes our treatment options improve as our experience improves and our emerging expertise deepens. We also know that sunlight kills the virus and we suspect warm weather/high humidity might also work against viral viability. Maybe. So we don’t really know how much of the differential between the March fatality rates and the June fatality rates are driven by environmental factors and/or treatment factors….or even by virus mutation factors. [There is emerging evidence that the virulence of the virus is itself decreasing.]

    We suspect that infection occurs when an infected symptomatic individual spends significant time in the proximity of the yet-to-be-infected. But whether that’s aersol-borne infections or the transfer of fomites from the hands to the eyes/mouth/nose….we’re not sure. We’re not at all sure about asymptomatic viral transfer. On Monday we’re told it’s very rare based on world-wide experience (now captured via contact tracing). On Tuesday we’re told that’s not really true.

    Most fundamentally what we don’t know about WuhanV and both the factual and counter-factual death counts and projections: how many of these deaths are truly incremental? And how many are simply ‘pushed’ (meaning Betty very probably would have died sometime in the next 3 months anyway (she was 102!)….but the virus ‘pushed’ that death 3 months earlier)?

    We might contrast the casualties America suffered in WW2 (about 407K…almost all of them incremental as the victims were most typically healthy young men) to what we see listed in our current death tallies (primarily comorbid and elderly). What we don’t know and won’t know for at least a year or two: will we see a huge incremental bump which boosts our daily death tally well above it’s normal 8000 deaths/day average….or will we see a Spring peak followed by declines in the summer & fall (below the 8000/day average). That latter option would be evident if some significant portion of the deaths are ‘pushed’ vs. incremental.

    Right now all we know is that, in a normal year, across the 15 some weeks the Virus has been active, we would have seen about 840,000 ‘normal’ deaths. We also know that in that same time frame, we’ve experienced about 115K Virus deaths (about 14% of the normal ‘harvest’). What we don’t know is whether our actual 2020 death count is around 955,000 (if all 115K are incremental) or is still around 840K….or…. is it somehwere in-between (most likely).

    Lots of unknowns on the Virus side of the equation.
    On the lockdown side, though, we know the world economy has been cratered and nations trashed. We know 40M some unemployed; tens of thousands of businesses shuttered, industries collapsed. We know deaths of despair and incidents of violence and abuse spiral upwards (perhaps a major unspoken reason for the thousands of angry people marching in the streets). We know that global supply lines have at least temporarily destroyed and that, per the NYTimes, over 265M people may be facing starvation in the next 6 months.

    So tell me….what did we really ‘save’ (and by save I mean, at best, delay) by Locking Down the World….and what did it really cost us (a cost which won’t be totally apparent for years)?

    The real question: can we afford to stop living in order to incrementally reduce the chances of dying?

  34. Kind of like declaring the Super Bowl winner at the end of the first quarter. I’m becoming more and more convinced that when the economic disaster that was caused by the world’s Chicken Little response to a bad strain of the flu is viewed on a broader scale, the U.S. and most of Europe will be seen as self-centered and spineless.

    The economic toll that this will continue to take over the next 5 years or longer may make the direct deaths from COVID-19 look like chump change. I’m not looking forward to the 4th quarter.

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