Coronavirus

Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Self-Flattening, or Will It Grind Relentlessly on?

Stanford epidemiological model predicts self-flattening while MIT forecasts continued epidemic growth.

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Seeking auguries of the future, people in the past probed the livers of sheep, observed the flights of birds, gazed into crystal balls, read tea leaves, cast I Ching coins, and traced patterns on burnt bones. Modern prognosticators resort to statistical models.

For example, the initial public health and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were driven by models that predicted imminent catastrophic rates of infection and death at the beginning stages of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Notoriously, the Imperial College (I.C.) infectious disease model projected that as many 2.2 million Americans could eventually die of COVID-19 if no action to stymie it was taken. Later, the I.C. model projections for infections and deaths were drastically reduced once it became evident that the public was adopting measures—lockdowns, social distancing, frequent hand washing—that would greatly slow the spread of the disease.

The I.C. model and its principal investigator, epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, received well-deserved scathing criticism when he initially refused to publish the source code for the model for other researchers to evaluate. However, outside researchers recently reported that they have been able to independently rerun the I.C. simulation and have reproduced its results. That just means that if other researchers use the same assumptions that the I.C. team did, they will get the same results.

Last week, a global team of researchers issued a compelling manifesto in Nature outlining five ways to ensure that models serve society. Modelers, they argue, must take care to frankly assess the uncertainties and sensitivity of their models; avoid obfuscatory complexity; make clear the normative values chosen by the models' developers; avoid spurious precision, and acknowledge their ignorance. "Mathematical models are a great way to explore questions. They are also a dangerous way to assert answers," write the authors. "Asking models for certainty or consensus is more a sign of the difficulties in making controversial decisions than it is a solution, and can invite ritualistic use of quantification."

Since the beginning of the pandemic six months ago, researchers have been trying to figure out how deadly the coronavirus is; that is, what percentage of infected people die of the disease? This infection fatality rate (IFR) is calculated by dividing the number of deaths into the total number of people who come down with the disease. However, it has become increasingly clear that most people who become infected are never officially diagnosed because their illnesses are so mild that they never seek medical care and also because many infected people exhibit no symptoms.

Last week, a team of modelers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management released a preprint of their study that calculates that total global cases and deaths through June 18, 2020, are estimated to be 11.8 and 1.48 times greater than diagnosed cases and officially counted deaths, that is, respectively, at 88.5 million cases and 600,000 deaths as of that date. On the basis of those estimates, they reckon that the global average IFR is just under 0.7 percent.

The MIT researchers further calculate that the infected percentage of each individual country and their IFRs and note that these estimates "vary substantially, e.g., Ecuador (18%; 0.61%), Chile (15.5%; 0.57%), Mexico (8.8%; 0.69%), Iran (7.9%; 0.44%), USA (5.3%; 0.99%), UK (5.2%; 1.59%), Iceland (1.65%, 0.56%), New Zealand (0.1%, 0.64%), but all nations remain well below the level needed for herd immunity."

Interestingly, based on their global estimates of unreported cases and unrecorded deaths, very rough calculations yield IFRs in most countries that appear to be somewhat lower than the ones they report in their study. One possibility for this discrepancy may be how the researchers incorporate excess mortality data in their model so that it increases their calculated IFRs.

In contrast to the MIT estimates, random blood testing surveys to detect the percentage of the population that has produced antibodies in response to COVID-19 infections have been conducted by several countries. (It is worth noting that new research suggests that testing for T-cell immune response will provide a better idea of the proportion of the population that has been infected by the COVID-19 virus.) The results of serology surveys recently conducted by several countries are now available.

One such survey, for example, found that about 5 percent of Spain's population was infected by the beginning of May. This implies that the infection rate is about 10 times higher than diagnosed cases and the infection fatality rate (IFR) is around 1 percent. Another study based partially on serology testing reported that about 4.4 percent of French people were infected by early May, yielding an IFR around 1 percent as well. In the U.S. the CDC suggested in June that the rate of COVID-19 infection may be 10 times higher than the diagnosed cases. If so, that implies a U.S. IFR of just over 0.5 percent.

Based on their model, the MIT researchers project that absent breakthroughs in treatment or vaccination by Spring 2021, the pandemic will grind on and COVID-19 cases will globally rise to around 249 million and total deaths will number about 1.75 million in the 84 countries they analyze.

In stark contrast to the MIT researchers' grave projections, Stanford University biologist and Nobelist in chemistry Michael Levitt and his team argue in their preprint study that the pandemic is essentially self-flattening and is already subsiding in much of the world. The Stanford team tracks data on cases and deaths from COVID-19 outbreaks at 3,546 locations around the world. They find that after an initial steep rise in each outbreak that the rates of diagnosed infections and deaths generally begin to decline at a steady, almost linear, pace.

As Medical News explains, the Stanford team created graphs for each outbreak using data that takes into account four trends. The first three are the total case number, the total death number, and their ratio, that is, the death rate. The fourth measure is the ratio of the total cases (or deaths) for today divided by the same ratio of yesterday. This is known as the "fractional change function." This analysis revealed that, instead of growing exponentially, the epidemics in many regions are actually slowing down exponentially with time. (Interestingly, the daily rate of U.S. COVID-19 deaths has been slowing down, but the daily number of diagnosed cases has started growing once again.) So how does Levitt account for the epidemic's self-flattening behavior?

Levitt and his colleagues argue, "The existence of invisible cases of individuals who are mildly symptomatic and, therefore, not counted as confirmed cases may explain the non-exponential behavior of COVID- 19: the known cases cannot easily find people to infect as the hidden invisible cases have already infected them." They also acknowledge that changes in behavior such as the wide adoption of social distancing and mask-wearing would also contribute to flattening the epidemic.

"Imagine I had a confirmed case of COVID. Unbeknownst to me, a declared case, I've also infected my friends, my kids, people near me. And this means on the first day, I can infect people, but then the next day, I can't find people so easily to infect," explained Levitt in a May 4 interview with The Stanford Daily. "In some ways, what's happening is that invisible cases are having a hard time finding people to infect, because the invisible cases have already infected them. Since then, there's been a lot of extra findings about maybe we have some natural immunity to the virus as well."

Basically, Levitt is arguing that the various regions his team is tracking are reaching COVID-19 herd immunity much faster and at lower levels than most epidemiologists think likely. While most epidemiologists believe that the COVID-19 herd immunity threshold is somewhere around 60 to 70 percent, "I personally think it's less than 30 percent," said Levitt in the interview. Recent very preliminary research in fact suggests that several regions have already achieved herd immunity to COVID-19.

Based on his analysis, Levitt projected on May 4 that COVID-19 deaths in Sweden should plateau in the next few weeks at between 5,000 to 6,000. As of July 1, the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard reports 5,411 COVID-19 deaths in Sweden. Levitt also predicted on May 4 that the number of deaths in the rest of the world will reach a peak sometime around the next 8 to 14 weeks. It's been nine weeks since his prediction.

According to Worldometers data, global daily COVID-19 deaths peaked in April and have since been on a plateau of around 4,000 per day for the last couple of months. If that daily death rate is sustained through March of next year that would just about match the global projections made by the MIT team.

Will the COVID-19 pandemic grind grimly on racking up ever more deaths as the MIT researchers predict or will it moderate and recede mildly into the background of daily life as the Stanford team forecasts? We should know which of the statistical numerologists is the more accurate by the end of the summer.

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173 responses to “Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Self-Flattening, or Will It Grind Relentlessly on?

  1. I’ve been stuck in europe since February and would love to return home but I’m on flight attempt number 4, and about $6,000 in useless vouchers, hoping the latest doesn’t get cancelled. I’m not surprised of a “spike,” the MSM really won’t free us until Trump is out of office. Those elitist bastards are sharks that taste only blood. Fuck the media, fuck beauracrats, fuck politics, fuck Reason.com, and fuck you. Happy Independence Day.

    1. I have a work colleague who has been trapped in India since the start of this. The good news is he was visiting with his family. The bad news is that in order to keep working, he has been on a night shift, and so never gets to see them during the day while he sleeps.

      This is insane.

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      2. I work from 3 to midnight to stay on Chicago time. Thank god I have my job to stay solvent and sane. But fuck everyone anyway.

    2. Pandemic today.
      Pandemic tomorrow.
      Pandemic forever (unless Biden wins in November, then it gets downgraded to “slightly worse flu bug”).

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    3. Don’t sugar coat it.
      Tell us how you really feel!

    4. Another unintended consequence of this irrational madness of the continued lockdown.

      People stuck around the world.

      STRESS KILLS.

    5. Stressed out? This pandemic has produced such a great opportunity for power grabs, it will stick around until a better reason for martial law comes around.

  2. their study that calculates that total global cases and deaths through June 18, 2020, are estimated to be 11.8 and 1.48 times greater than diagnosed cases and officially counted deaths, that is, respectively, at 88.5 million cases and 600,000 deaths as of that date. On the basis of those estimates, they reckon that the global average IFR is just under 0.7 percent.

    I don’t see how you could ever check these estimates. All we have is confirmed cases. There is no way to know what cases exist that have not been confirmed. So, the MIT study is just garbage. It is nothing but a SWAG. There is absolutely no way to check their estimate and everything they claim flows from assuming it is true.

    The MIT study seems to be a perfect example of why mathematical modeling is so worthless. It is generally just a way for “experts” to avoid answering the actual hard questions but then pretending they have answered it by assuming they have and then applying a bunch of models to predict what might happen if they have guessed right. Pretty much the entire question is how many people actually have and have had this virus. If you could somehow know that, you could deduce a whole lot about how it will spread in the future and how to slow it’s spread down.

    The MIT model does nothing to answer that. Maybe they guess correctly. But I see no reason to think they did outside of dumb luck.

    1. Well you can test it by seeing how deaths track against their predictions. Yes, reporting differences might confound things, but we can still see whether or not they are within orders of magnitude.

      1. WE can test it now, sure. But so what? By the time we know the people will have already died. So what good does it do us? The point of having a model is so you can figure out what to do now. You don’t need a model to just guess and see what happens, which is all following the MIT model would be doing.

      2. Well, no you can’t really track much against their predictions. By the time you actually have enough data to do so, they’ve moved on through at least two completely different models and your tracking becomes a moot point and as interesting and noteworthy as Biden’s week old comments which are equally dismissed. They counter with, “but we have new and better data now”. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that the EXPERTS who we are to listen to have been wrong and really wrong about just about every facet. Hell, most of us could just spout off some random shit and it would just as likely be an accurate predictor.

    2. You know who else will relentlessly grind on?

      1. your mom

        1. Gotta git that paper!

    3. John…One other point here. Bailey, the science correspondent for Reason has not covered himself in glory with his articles. From my perspective, this was his big chance to earn his chops, and he singularly failed at that task. In the last three months, various Commentors have taken Bailey to task over flat misrepresentations in his articles.

      Ron Bailey, do Readership a favor, drop the science schtick, and move on to something you are better suited for: gossip columnist.

    4. “ For me, pragmatism is not enough. Nor is that fashionable word, consensus… To Me consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something that no one believes, but to which no one objects – the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved…”

      Margaret Thatcher (1981)

    5. Getting Paid monthly online from home quite $15k to $18k by simply doing straightforward work. Last month I actually have received $18634 from this straightforward job. This was simply wonderful. i’m a full time college boy and simply doing this in my half time. Read More.

  3. *head explodes*

    1. Gross….

      1. I’ll never get it completely out of the carpet.

  4. It’s a virus.
    Wash your hands, stay home if you are sick.
    Avoid sick people.
    And admit that some people will get sick no matter what.
    And admit that some of the sick people will die no matter what.
    That is what happens with EVERY virus. (and every other type of illness)
    Everything else is political posturing.

    1. Except that asymptomatic people spread the virus. “Everyone dies” is a meaningless contribution to this discussion, of course.

      When you’re having a tube shoved down your throat after what is probably your last moment of consciousness, will you still care about who paid for it?

      1. I’m not old or fat or terrified like you are tho

        1. You’re not terrified because your brain has short-circuited and you’ve decided to retreat to the security blanket of Tits and Racism TV instead of understanding what’s going on.

          I find it curious that the “let god sort them out” crowd claims to be universally fit and healthy, and then you see the MAGA hats on TV and they look… not fit and healthy.

          1. “You’re not terrified because” I’m not a fat old queen with an AIDS compromised immune system like you, and I understand statisitics.

            But please, shit your pants harder, your anus afters years of rough trade probably isnt up to holding it in anyway.

            1. Call me fat again, cunt.

              1. Oooh you mad I was right about your anus huh fatty?

                1. The anus comment was flattering.

              2. You sound fat. Not jeff fat, but still fat.

                1. You sound wrong. We’re all fit and healthy here at this right-wing internet message board.

                  1. Cry more fatty. Into your ice cream.

      2. not everyone dies in fact very few die.

        1. I have an idiot leftist friend who is of the opinion that if you don’t wear a mask, you are going to die.

          1. Does his name start with J and end with Free?

          2. Well, he is right.
            There may be room to discuss exactly WHEN however.
            Also if you wear a mask, you will still die.

          3. I encounter people who act like if they SEE a person without a mask, they will die.

        2. But we just can’t lose one 99 year old in a nursing home today to the virus, even if the person dies of heart failure tomorrow. Or that is the theory I hear and see on the news. Oh, and if they do die of heart failure, we must put it down to the virus (confirmed for me by a neighbor that works in hospice).

      3. Except that asymptomatic people spread the virus.
        That is not a unique feature of this virus.

        1. …Just ask all the dudes tony infected with herpes in college. His cold sores had been gone a few weeks, he swore.

      4. When you’re having a tube shoved down your throat after what is probably your last moment of consciousness, will you still care about who paid for it?

        Considering the odds of dying once you go on a vent, what person in their right mind hasn’t already told their family to nope the fuck out of that option if they come down with the coof?

      5. I thought they don’t spread it?

        Also. You’re a pussy.

  5. Models aside, the rational approach is driven by economic considerations, on the one hand, and the number of available hospital beds with ventilators on the other.

    Is there any controversy at all about whether opening up the economy leads to a higher infection rate? I don’t think so. Is there any question about whether our elected politicians will reimpose lock downs as the number of patients requiring ventilators approaches the number of available ICU beds? I think that’s proven true time and time again–whether we’re talking about the Democrat governor of New York or the Republican governor of Texas.

    When Canadian geese fly south for the winter, they fly in a “V” formation. It isn’t because they understand the laws of aerodynamics, and it isn’t because they have superior models. They’re just following the path of least resistance, which is to say the laws of economy. The make the most amount of progress with the least amount of effort when they fly in that “V” formation–so that’s what they do. And that’s what they should do!

    Market forces are like that. They make us behave as if we possessed knowledge we couldn’t possibly posses.

    This is the ingenious way we’re conducting ourselves with our own economic restrictions and scarcities as we confront this virus. Regardless of what the models say, our infection rate will increase as we open up the economy sans a vaccine, and restrictions will continue to be reimposed as the number of serious cases approaches our capacity for hospital beds with ventilators. If a vaccine becomes available and is distributed sooner rather than later, that will be great, and if herd immunity sets in sooner rather than later, that will be great, too.

    Regardless, we will only keep the economy closed down to the extent that people will tolerate losing their jobs by the millions. Regardless, we will only keep the economy opened up so long as the number of serious cases stays below our capacity for treatment.

    Obsessing over the rationalizations for reopening the economy or closing it down again is obsessing over a red-herring. We will continue to reopen and reclose the economy based on the two guard rails I mentioned–no matter what the models say–and I think that’s probably what we should do, too.

    1. I do not think you can count on what governors are going to do, Ken.

      The problem is that the governors feel that they will not know how many beds are going to be occupied 2 weeks from now. By the time they lock down, it could be too late.

      The interesting thing about flying in a V is that the leading goose is briefly shouldering more of the burden, in order to reduce the air resistance for others. As it tires, it starts falling back, and a new tip of the V forms, as another goose assumes the lead.

      No governor wants to be the tip of the V, because he will be singled out and shot (politically) by his enemies. That is how we got to this race to the bottom of our freedoms in the first place.

      1. The other problem is that you can’t live the counter factual. So no matter what happens both sides of the issue can claim it would have been worse had their advice not been followed

      2. No doubt, some politicians are more susceptible to different pressures–and that’s the way it should be, too. But no governor wants to be subjected to criticism for letting people die in the street for lack of ventilator beds, that’s for sure. Some constituencies are more likely to oppose lock downs and others are more likely to jump on politicians for letting people die. But the guardrails are still there. That’s what will determine which direction any given constituency goes (rather than modeling), and that’s probably the way it should be.

        The idea that a model should drive policy for the people of South Dakota as well as the people of Chicago is bad for the same reasons that a national policy is bad. If there’s any policy that makes sense, it isn’t about making decisions for local constituencies about when, whether, and how much they should open or close their economy. It’s about increasing the number of ventilator beds available so that the economy can stay open as much as possible.

    2. Yes Ken, the approach you outline in paragraph 5 is exactly the approach that we should have taken the entire time. When the public health “experts” suggested at the beginning that we needed to “flatten the curve,” it appeared that this was the approach we were going to take. Regrettably, the leftists, as they are wont to do, took it too far, and are now doing everything they can to prolong the pandemic. They’re really banking on the unlikely possibility that we will have an effective and widely distributed vaccine by next winter.

      On a related note, I read that young people are now having COVID parties where they invite an infected person and see who at the party will get infected first. As is typical with the media, the reality is likely that one young person had such a party, but if it’s true, thanks kids. This is what you should have been doing all along. Just don’t invite Grammy and Pop Pop to the party. Note that while infections among the young are increasing substantially, hospitalizations are not. I wish the leftists would recognize this. Unfortunately, fascists gotta fasc.

    3. But geese might be smarter than people.

      Geese will indeed do what improves survival. They don’t have caucuses and political action meetings, and come up with new social paradigms that will improve the lives of down-trodden geese everywhere. They don’t spend their lives complaining about being a goose, or about how some geese have more feathers or fly faster. And geese that abandon the basic mission to live like most other geese don’t get to pass on their genes.

    4. No, we should not be shutting down entire states. Watertown and New York are a bit different.

      The Gov of Ohio, DeWine, today initiated a good program. The various counties get color coded designations depending on the infection rates.

      A county’s alert level is determined by seven data indicators:

      New Cases Per Capita
      Sustained Increase in New Cases
      Proportion of Cases that Are Not Congregate Cases
      Sustained Increase in Emergency Room Visits
      Sustained Increase in Outpatient Visits
      Sustained Increase in New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions
      Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Bed Occupancy
      Additional measurements still in development include county-level data on contact tracing, tests per capita, and percent positivity.

      Detailed descriptions for each indicator can be found on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

      Alert Levels:

      Alert Level 1 Public Emergency (Yellow): Baseline level. County has met zero or one indicator. Active exposure and spread. Follow all health orders.

      Alert Level 2 Public Emergency (Orange): County has met two or three indicators. Increased exposure and spread. Exercise high degree of caution. Follow all current health orders.

      Alert Level 3 Public Emergency (Red): County has met four or five indicators. Very high exposure and spread. Limit Activities as much as possible. Follow all current health orders.

      Alert Level 4 Public Emergency (Purple): County has met six or seven indicators. Severe exposure and spread. Only leave home for supplies and services. Follow all current health orders.

      https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/covid19-update-07022020

      This is exactly the right plan. I understand he is leaving it up to LOCAL officials to institute mandatory protocols, if they choose.

      I just wish he had come up with this in March; it’s the kind of measured response I have been advocating all along.

  6. We’ll find out on November 4th.

  7. How about:
    “It doesn’t matter. Remove all restrictions and allow people to make their own choices.”

    1. You’re in San Francisco, right? Did you read about this?

      “As one of San Francisco’s designated Front-Line Worker Housing (FLWH) hotels, it’s reserved for health-care and public-safety employees working on Covid-19 related matters. But San Francisco is surreptitiously placing homeless people in luxury hotels by designating them as emergency front-line workers, a term that the broader community understands to mean doctors, nurses, and similar professionals.

      . . . .

      The Department of Public Health manages the controversial free alcohol, cigarette, and cannabis program for homeless people placed in the hotels. It originally claimed that money for the service came from private donations, which are not allowed by law. After multiple requests to provide the names of the donors, the DPH conceded that “No such record currently exists.” A public-records investigation into the matter has revealed that, as of June 16, DPH approved $3,795.98 to buy the homeless guests vodka and beer (cigarettes have been scrapped). The funding came from the public treasury, after all.

      —-City Journal

      June 24, 2020

      https://www.city-journal.org/san-francisco-hotel-motel-plan-for-homeless

      We’re paying for this in the hope that keeping these homeless people high, drunk, and happy will keep them abiding by the lock down order?!

      The Department of Public Health, that’s a state agency, isn’t it! Am I paying for this?

      Who’s paying for this shit?

      These are the kinds of COVID-19 policies we can do without. I’d rather they spent my money on a bullet train to nowhere.

      1. “We’re paying for this in the hope that keeping these homeless people high, drunk, and happy will keep them abiding by the lock down order?!”

        One of the more idiotic things that was done early on was Pennsylvania closing down the state liquor stores, causing Pennsylvanians to flock to NJ, NY, MD, WV, and OH to stock up. Of course, this benefitted no one other than the liquor store owners on the border.

        1. That is one thing Texas definitely did right. Abbot passed the Margaritas with your Mexican Food law, as I like to call it, so alcohol could be delivered to your door. It helped that in Texas as long as you don’t remove the top of the straw wrapper off the straw it is considered a closed container.

          1. It helped that in Texas as long as you don’t remove the top of the straw wrapper off the straw it is considered a closed container.

            Texas, Our Texas.

            1. That’s the way they used to serve margs in drive-throughs in Texas.

          2. You guys are still allowed to have straws in Texas?

            No wonder so many Californians are moving there.

      2. ” A public-records investigation into the matter has revealed that, as of June 16, DPH approved $3,795.98 to buy the homeless guests vodka and beer”

        I don’t know, it sounds a lot cheaper than a jail cell and it keeps them off the street. But of course how much is the luxury hotel costing? And who is paying for it? My guess is the Feds are covering the costs “for health-care and public-safety employees working on Covid-19 related matters.” and San Francisco is defrauding the Treasury Department knowing that Speaker Pelosi will cover for them.

        1. I’m sure the homeless are keeping the rooms in excellent condition so the hotels won’t have to spend a small fortune refurbishing each and every one.

  8. It is worth noting that new research suggests that testing for T-cell immune response will provide a better idea of the proportion of the population that has been infected by the COVID-19 virus.

    I couldn’t get into yesterday’s thread to comment. But aren’t T-cells what produce cytokines? And if so – is the presence of those specific T-cells but no specific modulating antibodies the sort of situation that could bring on not immunity – but a cytokine storm response if the next infection has more virions?

    We should know which of the statistical numerologists is the more accurate by the end of the summer.

    I doubt it. The contagion of this virus is going to go up when it can start hitching a ride on a cold/flu cough/sneeze. Depending on where we’ve gotten re herd immunity in various northern hemisphere places by then, it could even get close to the RO in Wuhan in Jan 2020. Which we never saw in full because it really didn’t hit here until cold/flu season was winding down quickly. Herd immunity and exposure % is the only thing we’ll likely know by end of summer

    1. Is it possible you could get this, not have symptoms and then have a cold or flu on top of it and transmit it where you wouldn’t have had you not had the cold or flu? Sure. But that is pretty fucking unlikely and statistically insignificant. Think about what you are saying here. If it were that damned contagious, you likely would spread it anyway.

      So, no, it won’t be hitching a ride on anything. Put some clean underwear on and get yourself together.

      1. This virus does not, generally, have sneezing as a symptom. And coughing is not particularly common during its main window of contagion.

        What will happen when people have both infections is that it will expand the window of contagion (a bit) and create a much stronger means of contagion (sneezing and coughing are like heaven for a respiratory virus).

        Up to now – in almost every place outside Wuhan, covid19 has spread to either pre-known close contact people or via superspreader events (like music concerts or bars or Mardi Gras or somesuch). What the dual contagion thing will increase is the more random spread characteristic of cold/flu. Not just via the sneeze/cough cloud – but through all the door handle, gas pump, surface-type stuff because people cough/sneeze into their hands

        1. There is an entire debate concerning whether this virus will transmit in people without symptoms. No one knows for sure but the evidence that is there says no.

          So your claim that symptoms don’t show up when it is contagious is complete and utter bullshit. If it were true we would know that it transmits without symptoms, which we don’t

          If you are going to make shit up, try making shit up that at least can’t be proven false by deductive reason

          1. I kind of agree that it doesn’t really transmit much from people who are asymptomatic. But increase the virion load from a single infected asymptomatic – or the frequency of a lot of little virion loads – and things can change.

            What is certain is that IF asymptomatic doesn’t currently transmit, it is not because they have a sign inside their nose/mouth that says Asymptomatic. Virus not allowed to exit here.

          2. So are cases skyrocketing out of control in the US because a bunch of people with fevers decided to go socialize shrine s pandemic?

            Who were the people socializing just before this? I seem to remember it was some cohort.. . Not people with fevers but people with serious obesity issues at least.

            1. If you actually dig into the numbers you find two things…large swaths of these new infections are just asymptomatic people, or people who are probably already cured, getting tested because it was required by their employer to return. A large bump in this is actually due to the pro sports leagues mass testing now that they’re trying to reopen. Which leads to the second conclusion..

              Many states, like Ohio and PA, are now including positive antibody tests in their “total new infections” number, which is disingenuous. In these states you need to look at confirmed vs presumed cases, and the actual confirmed tests is very low. The big increases are in the presumed case numbers, which is where the antibody/serology tests are tallied. And a very large number of those people are already cured, not contagious.

              But that’s why the media only focuses on the total. Because they know the average uninformed voter, like you tony, is too ignorant and stupid to investigate the numbers themselves. It’s also why you haven’t heard cnn mention the covid death rate in almost 2 weeks. Because their narrative is crumbling and they need manipulated data to keep it going.

    2. ” is the presence of those specific T-cells but no specific modulating antibodies the sort of situation that could bring on not immunity – but a cytokine storm response if the next infection has more virions?”

      Please stop trying to hysteria this into something, you shit your pants over nothing.

      1. Fine. You tell me how cytokine storms happen medically. Those were apparently the MAIN cause of death in 1918. An IMMUNE response that went berserk rather than rendering immunity.

        1. I dont know why you don’t understand that I only respond to you to mock your pantshtting.

          1. Well stop using all your different socks then. Be like Sevo – then you can just rant away and I can just ignore you.

            1. Did your mommy say is was safe to come out today, you cowardly piece of lefty shit?

            2. Suck my cock pantshitter I’ll do what I like.

        2. Yes, 1918 included a lot of death on the healthy 20-50 crowd. This covid does not. Your comparison is done solely to be a chicken little.

          1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200409/why-is-covid-19-sometimes-severe-in-young-adults

            So far, the main driver of serious illness among all patients, young and old, appears to be an immune system gone into overdrive.

            Fact is – the biggest failure almost everywhere has been a failure to keep covid19 from nursing homes and very very early on. How many 20-50 year old deaths would you expect when the outbreak is in a nursing home? Or for that matter 20-50 year old infections from nursing home residents who head out to the bars before they fall deathly ill?

            I have yet to see a single antibody/serology study that is broken out by AGE. So there is no public knowledge re the IFR of this disease by age. You are assuming that the antibody % is identical among all ages. Which has never been the case for any contagious disease before – at this stage. Because once hospitals themselves become a source of infection, then the average age of the infected begins to approximate the average age of (patients+workers). That is not a crowd that still gets carded when they buy a beer. Average age of doctors is over 50. Average age of nurses is close to 50. The younger employees in less-skilled jobs also tend to be non-white – how much serious socializing is there across racial lines (assuming this isn’t some ad on TV)?

            1. BTW – I do not expect anywhere near a 1918 outcome here. Deaths, hospitalizations, and symptomatic cases all skew older and part of my overall projection was that roughly 2/3 of fatalities would be over-65. Which is certainly lower than the current number – but as I said I expect the early deaths to skew older than the final total anyway

  9. I think rightwingers are essentially cowards. It’s why your brains can’t handle massive existential problems like climate change and pandemics, so you replace them with childish alternate narratives consisting of transparently absurd conspiracy theories. You might as well have spent the last 50 years pissing your pants and shutting up.

    That frees you up to worry about what you think are the real threats: college students who get a little emotional about their activism. At the far end of the spectrum you have the bigots picking on marginalized people. You’re all cowards and bullies and that’s why you believe, or disbelieve, the things you do.

    1. Why do you and yours want to prolong the pandemic?

      1. I don’t. You do. Do you understand that wishful thinking doesn’t make viruses go away?

        1. Neither does wearing a mask it only..

          prolongs it.

          You, too stupid and fat to understand this just got owned.

          1. Delays it? You think viral pandemics just burn out like a forest fire? Is that how you think it works?

            1. There wasn’t a vaccine for the one in 1918 nor 1969. What ended those pandemics?

              1. Everyone either died or had immunity. Is your solution to sit around and watch how many people it kills?

                1. Without a vaccine, those people were going to die regardless. Without a vaccine, the people who have or will die from this were doomed the moment that Chinese researcher caught the WuFlu.

                2. So it did burn out like a forest fire then?

                  1. Well, after it killed everyone it was gonna kill. That’s the worst case scenario, it should go without saying, yet it’s being offered as the solution.

                    And people quarantined themselves during that pandemic the same as every other pandemic in history, since most people in history (not you guys) place not dying from disease as more important than Donald Trump’s poll numbers.

                    1. You assume that prolonging the WuFlu will save more lives than doing a b-line toward herd immunity. That’s quite a leap. Gammy and Pop Pop are going to want to see their grandchildren this Christmas.

                      “And people quarantined themselves during that pandemic the same as every other pandemic in history…”

                      No they didn’t. Cite please.

                    2. Well except the ones that killed everyone I suppose.

                      There are entirely genres of literature written while under quarantine during the Black Death. Self-isolation was a key feature of the response to the Spanish flu.

                      Only you among all the victims of pandemic in history have put Donald Trump’s poll numbers ahead of this basic, incredibly obvious tactic.

                      And it’s not even going to work is the absurd thing. The US is going to continue doing the worst job of containment in the world (not because we quarantined too much) and Trump is never going to recover in the polls.

        2. We either achieve herd immunity or develop an effective vaccine. There is no door #3. Your approach only delays, significantly, reaching herd immunity. So you are really counting on the vaccine route. If we don’t get one soon, then yes, your policies are the ones that will prolong this. It’s really not hard to understand. How many Christmases do you want Gammy and Pop Pop to spend in isolation?

          1. What utter Hirseshit. Europe had returned to baseline by going to near universal lockdown for long enough. The US uniquely among countries has cars skyrocketing. We started at the same place as Europe. They just don’t have Trump.

            The only reason you’re being this ludicrous is as a desperate attempt to shield Trump from criticism. And that’s criminally pathetic. Because the doctors and nurses and policy experts are not saying what you guys are saying. Only the Trumptards, who will adopt nihilism and mass murder if it means not having to admit that an (R) did something wrong.

            1. What utter Hirseshit

              Tony admitting he didn’t know how this worked.

              The only reason you’re being this ludicrous is

              Says the guy who went full screaming retard once he qas told he was dmonstrably wrong.

              Look closely. You can see that Tony realized he got shut up and hates it.

            2. And if you look VERY closely you can see Tony knows that there is no door #3 and he is literally totally ignorant of why he’s wearing a mask.

              If he had a door #3 he wouldn’t have gone full screaming retard like he did.

              1. I’m actually done with Tony now. We can all see his idiocy front-and-center, as always. None of his prescriptions make any sense whatsoever without the assumption of a successfully deployed vaccine within the next nine months.

            3. I guess you should check out what’s been going on there lately. You should also check out the per capita death rate in Western Europe compared to the U.S. You’ll find that the situation is not as you believe it to be.

            4. It’s true that Europe recovered from the virus more quickly than the U.S. The charts reveal that they did not succeed in “flattening” the curve (even a tiny bit). The U.S. did succeed. Clearly a bad idea.

    2. This is a libertarian webiste you’d have better luck crying somewhere else

      1. Rightwinger is as rightwinger does.

        “Trump is smarter than the global medical community!” = stupid rightwinger.

        1. This is a libertarian webiste you’d have better luck crying somewhere else

          1. Fatty.

    3. ^This is why I’m a Tony fan: he’s just such a perfect, succinct example of the progressive.
      Never change, Tony. You’ve validated like a decade of theorizing I’ve done

      1. They used to be better at hiding it, but you could still figure it out. Tony is just obvious about it. Recently though, most progrssives are becoming more Tony like and less surreptitious

    4. You think a lot of stupid shit daily.

  10. I am confused here as to how we can have two groups of experts saying two different things. We have been enjoined to believe the experts so how can there be any conflict? One of these groups is not experts and you should be ashamed of yourself for spreading misinformation like this. I hope you have already been banned from Facebook and Twitter for spreading this pernicious and diabolical lie that the science is not settled, the experts aren’t agreed, that they don’t know everything and that we should worry that things may not be in the best of hands.

    1. Someone needs cancelling ASAP!

    2. Remember Dionne Warwick and her fabled psychic friends? And otherwise serious publications would end of the year annually feature those psychics whose wild ass predictions came true this year and what they predicted for the next year.

      Likewise, these global health and pandemic experts aren’t functionally much different than those psychics, economists, pollsters, and weather forecasters. They call all be wrong most of the time because there will be that one time they got it right [even by the ‘broke clock is right twice a day’]. They just have to get it right once, and suddenly they are revered. How Fauci is still getting up there and giving predictions is beyond me. He predicted 2 million first and then dropped it to 60K, and now we are 3x that, so he’s jumped back to the millions again. I’m embarrassed for him…. but he’s getting a hell of a paycheck out of it.

      I don’t have their “expertise” [no such a thing as a pandemic expert], but they are still trying the one size fits all global models, even when it’s clear in hindsight that there are many models and a list of contributing factors that are relevant in one place, but not another.

      1. I would at least have gained a little respect back for Fauci if he got up there and said, “honestly, I haven’t got a fucking clue”.

      2. He’s actually doing better now than he did with his predictions about AIDS mortality in the 80s. He refused to believe, despite all available information, that AIDS was spread primarily via male gay sex. I don’t know why the left idealize this guy. Actually I do; it’s because he’s an “expert.” He’s worked in government all his life so has never been held accountable. For them, that’s a feature, not a bug. Heck, the leftists still think that Paul Ehrlich is a genius.

        1. I have pondered how those on the left would tolerate the same lock-down, zero contact strategy if applied to AIDS.

          1. They did with respect to that virus’s specifications. Sex practices (sex being how that particular virus is transmitted) were changed not just in the immediate timeframe, but forever, for everyone.

            And the fucking Right politicized that one too. That was extra evil because they got to take a shit on the gays (for Jesus), which I’m sure they got a kick out of.

            1. They did with respect to that virus’s specifications

              LOL what a sad fucking lie lololl

            2. Yes, they did do that…eventually. I have no truck against gay people. How AIDS was actually spread was based on exactly no political considerations whatsoever, unless of course you think that the HIV virus hates gay people. Fauci screwed the pooch on it. Can’t you at least admit that?

              1. How AIDS is spread is through sex. Why it was ignored and turned into something to be ashamed of was because of politics and its oh-so-productive marriage with religion. A completely different religious superstition (still Christian) contributed to war-crime levels of neglect of AIDS in Africa too. Fauci was working on the problem while all the politicians you inexplicably worship were letting people die for no reason whatsoever. Remind you of anything?

                1. You forgot dirty needles spreading AIDS. Any exchange of bodily fluids that can get into the blood stream. Transfusions also.

                  AIDS was first seen in some Haitians and almost the same time in gays.

                2. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

                  1. No, only having to pay taxes and be polite to trans people.

            3. “Sex practices (sex being how that particular virus is transmitted)…”

              Were there any particular sex practices that spread the HIV virus more than others?

              1. Yes, penetrative.

  11. The ironic thing is that this is actually what the I.C. model said all along. The conclusion section stated that Corona was going to be around for about 2 years and that England should open and close different parts of the country at the local levels as each area reached hospital capacity. It stated the local level which in the U.S. could mean city, county, or state. Because the original do nothing numbers were so off and because he was boinking his mistress that projection is discredited but the idea of opening and closing in waves as things come and go is exactly what is going to happen.

  12. I’m seeing a range of fatality rates but, so far, all of them are under 1 percent. Of every 1,000 people who get it, fewer than 10 will die. Furthermore, the deaths will be highly skewed to the elderly.

    That’s sad for them and their families (and I know a couple) but I’m still trying to figure out how this justified shutting down the country and trashing the economy. My children are in their 20s They’ll be paying the price for many years because we treated this like it was ebola.

    1. Because we don’t sacrifice the elderly for the economy, as we are not supposed to use 70s dystopian sci-fi movies as how-to guides.

      How quickly people become the most draconian collectivists possible when economic growth is on the line. I thought individual rights mattered to some degree here.

      1. we kill the babies when they are inconvienent so why not kill off the old farts as well

        1. Babies cannot get a pistol permit, for one thing.

          1. Neither can many of the elderly these days.

      2. Since when do we sacrifice the economy for the elderly?

        Those over 70 yo die at a 13% yearly clip. People die dummy.

        1. Yeah everyone dies. You will die, Tulpa will die, only I will live forever, so what point do you think you are making? Because it sure sounds like you’re asking the old and sick (and fat and diabetic, etc. like half the country) to take one for the team so you can go to your beer chug sports event or whatever.

          Actually the terrible thing is that’s not even it. You are asking the country to sacrifice the old and sick in a last ditch effort to improve Trump’s poll numbers, and that’s it.

          1. Tulpa will die

            Rent free!

            Because it sure sounds like you’re asking the old and sick (and fat and diabetic, etc. like half the country) to take one for the team

            Whereas you’re asking the ENTIRE country to take one for you because you’re a fat coward who pretends to moral high ground he has no claim to.

            1. Just the intellectual high ground.

          2. Terrible. Just terrible. And unfair.

            1. Says someone who’s never whined about anything insignificant I’m sure. Not at a right wing message board!

      3. We never had to sacrifice them. They are the ones who should be self-isolating. If they choose not to do that, it’s on them. You and yours are the draconian collectivists, not us.

        1. You can tell them to self-isolate until the end of time, but asking you to practice basic pandemic hygiene is evil tyranny.

          1. Staying inside is actually basic pandemic hygiene you selfish cunt, demanding masks is asking people to take on an increased risk because you refuse to self isolate.

            1. Wow all this desperate fake overconfident pencil-dick posturing and you still don’t even know that masks prevent spread of the disease from you to other people.

          2. Again, this presumes that we don’t want this to spread among those who otherwise should not be self-isolating.

      4. You’re either a fucking liar or you’re delusional. First, it’s not “sacrificing” anyone. People die from living in a free choice economy… and also from living in a no-choice economy. “Sacrifice” requires a purposeful choice to kill someone, not an understanding that no matter which way you go, people are going to die. Or are you saying that willing to condemn people to poverty, depression, and suicide, or addiction/death from substance abuse? It’s funny how it can be turned around, right?

        Second, I don’t buy for a second that if given the choice between personal suffering through poverty and watching your family starve that you wouldn’t literally pull the trigger and off a few old people…. purposely, if it let your family eat again. Opening the economy knowing that there will be some people who suffer isn’t that choice OR a “70s dystopian sci-fi movie”. It’s understanding that there are NO perfect choices and there is no way to predict let alone know the global consequences of your choices, and understanding that unintended consequences happen no matter how fucking noble you think you are.

        Whether you or I go to work tomorrow could end up in someone’s death one way or the other, but it is FAR from certain, and statistically very unlikely. Why the fuck do you insist that you have the potential to make any choice in which you can control the unintended consequences? You and I aren’t that important or powerful.

        1. But in only one of the options does Tony and his friends get to imagine themselves as statist heroes controlling the masses.

        2. Yeah Trump is smarter than medical experts because yolo! Heard it already.

          1. medical experts

            Ah yes the ones that lied about masks not working, then admitted they lied.

            You literally believe liars lololo

            That sounds just like you actually ahahaahaaj

            1. There are more things wrong with that post than there are words in that post.

  13. Well, Stanford could kick MIT’s ass in basketball, football and baseball both mens and womens. So, the self flattening thing must be true.

    1. But what about gender studies and intersectional justice?

    2. Well, Stanford is home to the Hoover Institute, so obviously the guy from there must be an alt-right science denier.

      I’m being sarcastic here, but seriously this is how progs think

  14. Let us all hope and pray to the Marxist gods the pandemic continues.
    This way the bourgeois and the petit bourgeois finally fall into the abyss of history.
    The masses are too self-reliant, free and enjoy too much of the fruits of their labors.
    Keeping the pandemic going will ensure our enlightened governors to keep businesses closed, more unemployment, and people eating up more of their unearned and undeserved life savings.
    Then when all of America is finally bankrupt, then our brave allies in the BLM and Antifa movements can destroy all remnants of middle class symbols as homes, cars and indoor plumbing for the sake of our Glorious People’s Revolution.
    Then our brave and noble betters will finally be able to usher in true socialism complete with terror, mass murder, oppression, suffocating poverty for the masses and best of all, sweatshops where the great unwashed will learn the joys of working for starvation wages just like they do China for Nike.
    So let us cheer on the pandemic, real or not if we are to have a real socialist revolution.

  15. you keep writing articles and I’ll keep ignoring the pandemic and eventually the herd immunity dream will be reached whether anyone likes it or not

    1. Isn’t it amazing how maximum laziness is always the solution to everything?

      1. dude 5000 years we’re lower on the chain than viruses. there is no “containment” there is only don’t die.

  16. We should know which of the statistical numerologists is the more accurate by the end of the summer.

    Do any of these modelers apply their work to old epi/pandemics for which data exist? If you can’t get your “predictions” to fit those results, perhaps something’s wrong with your reasoning.

    1. I’m just going to say that there are no global pandemics for which data exists to compare this to. The few pandemics in history didn’t exist in a world with 7.6 billion people or modern transportation. Each of those right there and many others on their own make everything else irrelevant, even if there was centralized daily data collection and certain diagnostics.

  17. The flattening result is going to cancel those researchers. It is not what the powers that be want. Endless war, endless chaos, is how the world is going to be from now on.

    1. So first the virus comes from Eastasia, then from Eurasia?

    2. We have always been at war with Eurasia.

      1. FU Ltbf. You posted while I was still sifting through the comments. Just kidding. You stay you.

  18. It’s clear that the
    ‘experts’ can’t see the forest. There’s another population. I call them the “resistants”. Their t-cells can fend off an average exposure of COVID without an observable anti-body response. Makes most testing and models a joke. Between Recovered, Resistants, and culled (meaning the virus has killed the most vulnerable AND available) COVID-19 will recede dramatically.

    1. It feels like all they’re doing is reacting to data points and not employing deductive reasoning and critical thinking.

      We’re supposed to be so much more advanced than those icky people from olden times.

      Yet, all we have is: More cases! Argghh. Shut down! Wear masks!

      Pathetic beyond belief.

      STOP GIVING PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS THE KEYS TO THE CAR.

  19. I’ve been following Prof. Levitt’s analysis ever since he started discussing the numbers coming out of China way back in late January. His method of analysis is very interesting – assuming that the cases in an outbreak follow a “Gompertz” distribution – and I’ve been doing my own analysis ever since the outbreaks started. I should mention that I’m also a scientist and a professor, though I’ll admit that most scientists and professors are crackpots. It’s very exciting to me that Reason is covering his analysis and I would suggest that folks who are interested in his mathematical methods watch his youtube videos as well.

    What’s fascinating is that some countries/states follow the Gompertz distribution really closely, especially those that don’t appear to have shut down before their infection rates were totally out of control. The countries/states that shut down too late follow a modified version of the Gompertz distribution where the logarithmic rate of increase does not linearly decrease over time but rather falls exponentially over time, which seems to lead to a “flattened” curve.

    One caveat is that Prof. Levitt is dealing mostly with case numbers, which are totally unreliable. The deaths over time are almost certainly a much more reliable statistic and follow the Gompertz distribution even more closely, which is what I’ve been tracking for a few months. Additionally, his method of analysis is very accurate early in an outbreak but becomes far less accurate later on where the number of new cases/deaths is significantly smaller than the total number of cases/deaths, so the prediction of the end of the outbreak seems tricky. Many countries, like South Korea, followed the Gompertz distribution early on but broke with it later in their outbreak.

  20. Pop quiz hotshot:

    If the only way to save your grandmother from dying a painful, wrenching death was Trump had to lose the election, would you take that deal? What about my grandma?

    1. “If the only way to save your grandmother from dying a painful, wrenching death was Trump had to lose the election, would you take that deal? ”

      The thing is, here in the real world, it is not. Do you have another unrealistic hypothetical to pose? Your grandma needs to stay home. Can you not be bothered with bringing her her groceries and prescriptions? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you can’t. You expect the government to do that so you don’t have to be bothered with it.

      1. Everyone is already doing that!

        1. Lol.

    2. Your inability to be intellectually agile is impressive.

      In a sad way.

    3. Pop quiz:

      One poster in this thread has brought up his least favorite politician at least a dozen times, while almost nobody else has.

      Does everything in Tony’s life revolve around trump? How does one get so sick? Review and discuss.

      1. Then you tell me why some people are defiant against basic hygiene. Are they just terrible disgusting people?

  21. Progtards delight in every worst case scenario. They are cheering that the pandemic is getting worse right now, especially in red states. Just like they cheer on extreme weather hurricanes, floods, and even earthquakes) as signs of climate change. They want so badly to be proven right, just like religious freaks want everything to be a sign of the end of days, only the progs are looking to Uncle Joe for salvation.

    1. If we wanted the worst-case scenario we would have voted for trump so that it was assured. And look, we were right.

    2. And the ones doing it never missed a pay check.

      I pray they have to learn to code.

    3. “Progtards delight in every worst case scenario.”

      A crumbling US empire is hardly a worst case scenario. I grant you seeing healthy people masked and isolated is a sad and pathetic sight but it won’t last forever.

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  24. Levitt’s prediction seems to align with historical pandemics (which seem to achieve 25-33% population penetration) – the ‘epidemiology consensus’ on herd immunity at north of 60% is crazy and not historically warranted. (Not to mention based on mathematical models that are so badly flawed even an idiot could see the error if the model was explained to him).

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  26. Seeking auguries of the future, people in the past probed the livers of sheep, observed the flights of birds, gazed into crystal balls, read tea leaves, cast I Ching coins, and traced patterns on burnt bones. Modern prognosticators resort to statistical models.

    What Ronald Bailey fails to mention is these are all equally effective at predicting the future. Which is to say, not at all.

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