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Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, March 20. 2020
Poll: Americans View Wuhan Virus As A Bigger Threat To The Economy Than To Their Health
The Double-Barreled Coronavirus Threat: Death by Virus or by Ensuing Economic Disaster
"Wow. Bars, clubs, and gyms all closed...my life is about to be seriously the same."
Does he or she need to "get a life"? I have to admit that this mess seriously disrupts my well-planned life routines - work, exercise, play, and social life. Not to mention my local 24-hr Dunkin now opening at 5 am. That's too late for me.
But... Trump touts chloroquine for 'immediate' use treating coronavirus, but FDA wants to see the data first
Is It Time to #CancelChina?
Rep. Michael Cloud: China's coronavirus blunder is the last straw – move past reliance on them
Iran And Italy Are Paying A Hefty Price For Close Ties With Communist China
China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World. Beijing is successfully dodging culpability for its role in spreading the coronavirus.
Biased Press Does China's Bidding on COVID-19
Gavin Newsom Issues Order For All Of California To Stay Home
How does that work? No hiking allowed? No mail?
Senate Republican proposal rejects grants for U.S. airlines, could get equity
Senator Kelly Loeffler dumped $3.1m in stock and Senate Intel chairman Richard Burr sold $1.5m while getting classified briefings on coronavirus before market plunged—then she invested in firm that...
Politicizing the Pandemic: Will Dems' Dark-Money Ads Work?
Special Operations: Forgotten Buried Russian Spyware
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Here is the thing: If the efforts that the federal and state governments are taking are even moderately successful it will save a lot of lives, prevent overwhelming and incapacitating our health care system and make this crisis manageable. That success will make it appear that maybe this crisis wasn't as bad as we all thought it was and the economic impact wasn't worth it. That is success will in some ways look like failure to a lot of people.
On the other hand if we don't get a handle on this crisis the deaths rate will be greater than the Vietnam war, the Korean war and 9/11 put together AND knock out our health care system and hospitals for years.
Either way, there will be major criticism and major misunderstanding about what happened.
Please walk us through how you anticipate this unfolding. Surely you don't believe tanking the economy, until there is a vaccine, is sustainable. After a couple of weeks of shutdown, what keeps the virus from rebounding and putting the country back to Square 1. And no, I don't hate old people; I'm in a vulnerable category myself and have been self isolating for weeks.
I agree that if the deaths are fewer and a health crisis averted, people will say it was unnecessary and an overreaction, and complain that we took an economic hit foolishly. Success will be respun as failure, because that is human nature, to only believe the tragedy that you can see, not the one that happened to someone else.
Folks can look up "exponential growth" and see the graphs. Compare this to the current graph of C19 cases. I don't claim any expertise. I can well see not believing politicians, even the ones you like. If you think you know more than the nation's hospitals about what we are going to be facing, you can follow that. I'm riding with what the people on the ground who have skin in the game are doing.
Agreed. An ER doctor of my acquaintance is seriously alarmed, and so am I, enough to stay home. On the other hand, we've got to designate some industries as essential and keep them going the safest way we can. In the meantime, there will be horrible job loss, and we'll have to have a ton of relief to smooth that out. Some of it can be addressed by emergency temp jobs in areas that will be swamped, especially if the new treatment protocols gain our confidence and we feel we've got a handle on the availability of critical-care beds.
Except that in Washington state the growth is not exponential. It went down yesterday and that’s with magnitudes more testing.
As we get more data I think the picture will get clearer but from just the last couple of days as well as the accumulation over the last two months, it looks this bug is hitting New York all out of proportion to the rest of the country. If there's exponential growth it's from a very low baseline that's probably tolerable with minimal disruptions but New York needs a lot of help or its going to wind up looking something like Italy.
NYS has also done the most testing of any state so of course they have found more cases than anywhere else. They also have a large dense population in NYC and a mayor who sat on his hands far too long.
We just don't have enough data points yet, but those are now coming fast and furious within a trusted system now. None of the numbers from China (or other nontransparent countries) can be trusted I think. Insight and understanding will unfold soon. The worst hit places so far seem to combine suboptimal medical care and high population density in fairly populations, maybe testament to the disease's communicability. It would be very interesting to see some data mining contrasting infections/deaths and census data.
We're about to find out. Watch Gov Cuomo. I agree with a lot of his policies. The federal spokespeople could learn from his approach. Its on YouTube.
The group that is most vulnerable to severe consequenses from the virus is the most financially secure, they get SS, retirement and medicare. Those that are shut down are both less likely to have a medical crisis due to it, and most likely to suffer financial loss. In the long run, it may haste the reduction in SS, medicare, etc. if the productive sector cannot produce. Food for thought.
The isolation should be aimed at the elderly, with common sense self regulation from their friends and relatives.
"On the other hand if we don't get a handle on this crisis the deaths rate will be greater than the Vietnam war, the Korean war and 9/11 put together AND knock out our health care system and hospitals for years. "
Bullshit. You have absolutely no way of knowing this. Stop lying.
I have a bachelors in math. I understand statistics and I can process the numbers. It took 75 days for the number of people sick to go from 0 to 100,000 worldwide. It took 12 days to go from 100,000 to 200,000. This is exponential growth and does not bode well.
The death rate in Italy followed a similar trajectory and most of their deaths come from a fairly small corner of their country.
We are about two weeks more or less behind Italy in the outbreak. Two weeks ago Italy had a total deaths from covid19 of 150. Today it is 4032 deaths.
It really doesn't take a degree in math to understand these numbers but it does take an open mind. What will those numbers be in the U.S. in 14 days? I don't know. If Trumps efforts are somewhat successful It may not be that bad. We could go from 256 dead today to a mere 3-4 thousand dead in two weeks. If fate is cruel it could be 5000 or more. The experts have made estimates of half a million dead in the U.S. Again no one knows with certainty but I do know that simple and understandable math tells me that half a million is very possible in 12 months time.
Thank you for your insightful and thought provoking reply.
It's time to set a date for America's Grand Re-opening. Subject to adjustment, perhaps. But humans don't do well with indefinite detention.
We need to shine a light in this tunnel. Life itself is full of uncertainties, we seem to have drugs that can treat the worst afflicted.
Let's be brave and get on with life.
That's what has been bothering me. What indicators and forecasts are being used to determine these restrictions are necessary, and what conditions are defined that will lead to them being lifted? If you can't tell me that then you're just issuing this order to look like you're doing something, not to solve a problem.
Of course it's just DO Something! That's why you close down parks and open spaces that would actually be the best social distancing AND healthy to get out in the sun and fresh air.
So you don't want the person at the toll booth to the park to be exposed? Close the booth and open the gate.
re Poll: Americans View Wuhan Virus As A Bigger Threat To The Economy Than To Their Health
Great! Sometimes the sagacity of the American people surprises me.
OTOH it just could be that so many people are being adversely affected by the draconian, economy killing measures that they can't help but see the light.
Now, if only sufficient political pressure can be put on our ruling masters . . . . but will they listen??
My magic 8-Ball says, "Ask again later."
Yes, the ones who don't die or have friends or relatives die will resent what happened to the economy, sure.
You seem to think you know the numbers on that. Your guess may be better than mine, sure, but I haven't seen any basis beyond cynicism.
We have to agree to disagree AVI.
The numbers associated with the coronavirus are miniscule compared to the general population, and those that have it are generally recovering,
OTOH, the economy is contracting at an alarming rate, and the numbers are there to back that up. I would remind you that families with economic health tend to have better physical health, and millions stand to lose their jobs if this goes on much longer.
I find the situation on the Diamond Princess pretty interesting as on data point about what we might expect. Over three thousand passengers and crew living closely together. 700 were infected. Many in the high risk populations were oddly unaffected. Seven died.
I know you can't straight-line a correlation to the population as a whole, but it implies that the situation MAY not be as dire as many expect.
Along with that, there are several promising therapies. I would hope that if any of them show anywhere near the effectiveness that recent testing implies that they be used on a large scale.
The sooner the economy is restarted the less damage that will have been done to it. There is an economic component to health that should not be ignored.
Trump waives FDA regulations on chloroquine and some other drugs...great. Now get the FDA out of the regulation of test kits for diseases. Test kits are neither food or drugs and they only latched onto regulating test kits during the Obama administration without any authority to do so. The administrative state is too slow at duties that require prompt attention. The CDC can only be improved by narrowing its focus on disease instead of politically correct topics such as guns. Perhaps after the Kung flu is properly addressed they might try addressing TDS if they wish to go beyond disease.
Cancel China...yea, how about a retroactive tariff on Kung flu.
The senators who sold their stocks etc early to avoid the losses from the coronavirus epidemic might have gotten their info from China, not necessarily from the intel briefings. Senator Feinstein, Senator Ross and the others have questionable connections with China, Feinstein even had a Chinese communist agent as her driver for 20 years. Makes a cynical old retired Army sergeant suspect things.
The senators who sold their stock might have been born with ESP or a direct mind-meld link into Warren Buffet's brain, but since they both sold in the days following classified intelligence/health briefings, I'll go with "Acting-in-cynical-self-interest-at-the-expense-of-my-fellow-countrymen-at-the-worst-possible-moment-in-optics". The timeline of their activities should be carefully scrutinized (after all, this is the Press) but if found wanting, there should be no mercy. Of course both parties are well represented, although only one is getting the attentive criticism.
John Deere parts counter has a logical distancing thing for the parts counter. Card tables lined up to keep you back, with a mouse for you to click your purchase.
Good thinking. Logical.
This is actually a crisis of Faith(lessness). If you believe in predestined God, your number is going to be up. No matter what. You can hide all you want. It's going to get you.
On the other hand with Faithlessness, Run! Maybe you can get away this time!
That is a really assumption. I suppose you don't have children or if you do you never got them vaccinated or had regular checkups. I hope you are joking.
Not joking at all. At the time of writing, I had met with numerous trades people. Backing away from all of them. Some of them didn't realize what I was doing, and moved in closer. Then that realization. If you're going to get it, you're going to get it.
I'm a farmer. Probably exposed to things daily that would kill a city person with low to no immunity.
Coupling that with Faith, the best I can offer you is backing away. & it will make no difference if it's 10 feet or a mile. We can not change Gods destination.
And yes I do have kids. They are vaccinated. They do get regular checkups.
The rest of the days interaction with people and conversations was THE SAME RESPONSE! Did not know I was surrounded by so many people of Faith. One response though was "What about the other person?" Does not change the underlying premise that God controls your life, even if YOU don't believe in HIM.
Not trying to pick a fight, Emu. Just talking. Be safe out there.
And just like that, Kelly Loeffler’s nascent Senate career was finished.
I’m in Georgia and people are angry and incredulous that she did this. The fact that she’s defending herself on Twitter is just fuel on the fire at this point.
For about the last year, the stock market has been due for an "adjustment" - different gurus were talking 15-20%. We haven't been buying and have been selectively selling for cash to tide us over the adjustment period. It doesn't take much to forecast that some sort of crash in China, source of a goodly percentage of the global manufactured goods, would cause a dip in the stock market. Combined with the global oil glut and Boeing's problems (largely of their own making), any stutter in the economic outlook could easily be predicted. I blame myself only that I didn't sell big enough. However, I would like to examine ALL the congresscritters' transactions published against their public utterances. Note that here Burr seems to be the worst.
I would like to hear all of that, and see an above-board examination of all of their timelines, emails and cell phone records (I hear Adam Schiff is good at digging that stuff up), but mostly I want to see the sumbitches explain to us proles why they thought it was worth risking the public's perception of impropriety in order to line their pockets - explain to us why they don't hold their position as Congressmen in sufficient sacred regard to want to avoid that potential outcome.
I'm not interested in hearing their explanation of how they didn't do anything wrong, which is really just saying that they think they've figured out how to leave no evidentiary traces. That 'Blind Trust' manure excuse has fully composted now and no longer carries any meaning.
Come in you guys are smarter than this. Read Nassim Taleb. Do the math. Quit retreating to stupidity.
One of the problems with making good decisions on this disease is the lack of information and the age of information. The rate of infection is doubling on average every 5 days. But take Italy for example because of approximately 20 days between contracting the disease and dying from it that yesterdays record number of deaths were all first infected 20 days ago. But 20 days ago it wasn't yet a serious problem in Italy. In the next 20 days the death rate could increase by 800% because of infections just begun today. That is the problem, i.e. we are looking at current data that was chiseled in stone 20 days ago and we cannot know what will happen 20 days from today even though that is now predetermined. Was Italy successful in slowing the spread of the virus (flattening the curve) such that 20 days from now the death rate does not rise dramatically or maybe even declines? We don't know and by the time we do know it will be too late to change it. THAT is the fear that our leaders and doctors have and cannot (or at least have not) properly communicated to us. THAT is why the actions they call for appear draconian but in fact may not be sufficient.
What does "not sufficient" mean and why should we care? The 'potential' death rate from this virus is 5% of everyone who gets it and the prediction is that 70% of every country will get the virus before it runs it's course in 18 months or so. Imagine the worse case where 5% of your population dies from covid19. "Won't happen" you say. The death rate is much lower; look at South Korea. Yes! Because South Korea implemented draconian quarantine rules early. Because they did their hospital was not overwhelmed. Because their hospital was not overwhelmed their death rate stayed on the low end. In other words they flattened their curve.
The simple fact is if we flatten our curve the death rate will be low. Let's say .1%. That means that in 18 months 70% of our population gets the virus (that's 231 million people) and only .1% die (that's 231,000 people). BUT if we don't flatten the curve and the hospitals are overwhelmed the death rate 'can' be 5%. That would be 11,500,000 people in the U.S.
All of this is speculation and it is even speculation based on data that is 20 days old in a fast moving situation. But I can tell you this; a very serious and covid19 dedicated think tank has the worst case prediction for U.S. deaths over 18 months at 27 million. That's worst case! That means our hospitals are overwhelmed.
That's what we know/think and that is why our leaders are running scared and implementing strict measures even though it may create an economic disaster.