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April 18, 2020


(death toll is ~10k)

For the record, the current tally on Johns Hopkins side for NYC is 14,604.

For the record, the current tally on Johns Hopkins side for NYC is 14,604.
10k is a nice round number, but 14k makes those results for deathrates even less believable. When was the last time there were mass burials in NY for the seasonal flu?

I look forward to all of those densely packed folks going without protection losing their health insurance when the packed court declares Obamacare illegal, along with Medicaid, and trump de-funds both programs down to a pittance.

I wish both sides did it equally. In fact I wish my side was ten times more ruthlessly better at it.

bc wrote: trump bloviations and the media bloviatiors bloviatots back

Man, your underestimation of trump's achievements in breaking the tie is impressive. Even Genghis Khan gives him more credit.

Both sides bullshit.

I'm starting a group to push for the end of social distancing and the mainstreaming of libertarian lepers. Those people have suffered enough.

They'll be coming to your door soon so you can succor their scabs personally.

There is nothing in the Constitution .....full stop.

I'm also instituting in my chain of libertarian bat soup covidterias, to enlarge my clientele, the concept of pangolin-free lunches every Wednesday for the discerning diners who may be scared shitless of coming out of their homes and experiencing freedom.

The bat buffet will feature copper surfaces and sneeze guards to minimize viral contamination and charging stations for portable ventilators for those suffocating on the premises, but are nevertheless bellying up to the bar.

We welcome all dining ideologies.

Hand washing is optional. As long as you wash mine by paying your bill, I could give a shit whether you wash yours.

What am I, your mother?

When was the last time there were mass burials in NYC for the seasonal flu?

Giuliani was Mayor, and al Qaeda claims there were mass burials for the 3000 who passed on simultaneously from the flu in the Twin Towers while coincidentally the buildings fell down because of architectural irregularities.


Mick Mulvaney told the Conservative Group called Predatory Jackals On The Hunt that what better way to reduce the federal employee headcount without going thru regular channels.

His mother, we know her, agreed.

Here's a link to the actual press release from LA County Public Health so that you can read the info without all of the artificial flavors and colors that Reason routinely adds to their commentary in order to please libertarian palates.


You can see the experts' recommendations there, absent the napkin doodles of the amateurs.

Last Monday, Stephen Moore, a right-wing pseudo-economist and close Trump ally who has spent weeks pushing back on public-health guidelines, was quoted in the press saying, “In the next two weeks, you’ll see protests in the streets of conservatives; you’ll see a big pushback against the lockdown in some states.”

such a heartfelt outpouring of true grievance.

we need to respect their deep true feelings of loss and their manly dignity and TYRANNY !!!


A lot of people will make a personal assessment of what their risks are and will continue to self-quarantine regardless of what businesses are open.

This is the fatal flaw in the libertarian ethos. It assumes that people making a "personal assessment of what their risks are" have the information and context to actually make a reasonable assessment of what their risks are. It assumes that, regardless of what information and context they have, their assessment will be rational, dispassionate, and accurate. It assumes that we are all purely rational actors, armed with complete and accurate information.

Same deal with the free market ideologues.

None of those assumptions are sound. Ponder this for, perhaps, a minute and a half, and I think you might grasp this.

There are actually people out there in the world who have made a lifetime study of communicable diseases and how they spread in human populations.

All of those people say "stay the hell home".

I will listen to those people, and I will avoid, literally like the plague, the people who decide on the basis of their "personal assessment of their risk" whether it's safe for them to mingle with other folks in public places.

Frankly, I wish that all readers of Reason magazine, specifically, would wear a great big badge indicating that, so I can know to stay the hell away from them if I should encounter them on the rare occasions when I have to go into some public place.

Republicans, too, for that matter. No offense. The virus is a game of odds, I prefer to keep mine in my own favor.

I'll extend my first paragraph above:

And it assumes that nobody else is affected by any individual's "personal assessment", nor does anyone else have any say or claim on what the person making the "personal assessment" does.

Do what you like, when and if it doesn't affect anybody else.

Stanford put out a study similar to USC's about a week ago that conjectured 50 times as many total cases as confirmed cases in Santa Clara county. Among other issues they assumed specificity of greater than 99% in the antibody tests, which seems unlikely.

None of USC's press release, LA County's press release or the LA Times article link to the actual report. I gave up after the first page of Google results, so I can't compare on that front.

South Korea's response to Covid has basically been to identify every damned case. They're reporting a fatality rate of above 2%. Other countries with high rates of testing and non-overwhelmed health systems have similar death rates. That along with the NYC numbers mentioned above make the .1% death rate impossible to believe, sadly.

It's hard to give a convincing death rate number when you aren't in a position to do serious testing. Because that means you are doing division by a flat guess. I don't understand why Stanford or USC even bother to publish stuff that's this poorly based.

Trump halts all immigration to America.

Like funding for WHO, food and meat inspection, and environmental regulation, immigration will never be resumed under subhuman republican nativist fascism.

We have a binary choice.

The Statue of Liberty should be blown up.

And then take down the rest of pigfucker America.

Fuck you, conservatives.

The only role for the federal government starting tomorrow is protecting your sorry asses from what is coming as you put into place the entire corrupt vermin conservative program you have yearned for these many decades.

Call your government. You are going to need it's help to remain among the .
living. Swallow your conservative pride and suck trump's cock. It's all that's left you as the fury descends upon your heads.

If you have relatives and friends or you yourselves don't have your papers in order, kiss their and your asses goodbye.

South Korea's response to Covid has basically been to identify every damned case. They're reporting a fatality rate of above 2%. Other countries with high rates of testing and non-overwhelmed health systems have similar death rates.

In the US, 2% of the population is six and a half million people.

Yup, just like the flu. Which is what an old friend said to a family member of mind yesterday as his reason for going about his life as usual.



Joe Exotic will be pardoned and placed in charge of murdering liberals.

One side bends over. The other side does it.

Your country is garbage.

Trump is smarter than all of the conservatives combined who have posted and commented here since Moe Lane thought he was smarter than Pat Buchanan and Tacitus stifled a yawn at Gary Farber's fact finding.

You made this world.

And now you will eat it.

I have an interesting post on my experience with wet markets in the hopper.

Fuck it. Delete button activated.

Why cast pearls before conservative swine.

classroom sized crowds of patent losers.

2500 in Olympia. all crowded together.

More than 2,000 people gathered at the State Capitol to challenge Washington State’s stay-at-home mandates. Organizers touted that the gathering was on the anniversary of the “shot heard round the world” that triggered the Revolutionary War.

The event drew some far-right groups, including the Three Percenters militia, named after the supposed fraction of colonists who took up arms during the war. With signs and speeches, the attendees called on the governor to lift the mandates.

“We will not tolerate this as the new normal,” said Tyler Miller, who led the gathering. He likened the group to the minutemen.

The Washington State Patrol estimated that 2,500 people attended the gathering. Few attendees wore masks, and many gathered tightly around speakers against the guidance of public health officials who recommend a six-foot distance to limit the spread of the virus.

At least three Republican state lawmakers participated in the events, including Representative Robert Sutherland, who called for “revolution” if the governor didn’t lift mandates. He later said that a violent revolution was not the intention Sunday but that the people have a moral obligation to fight back against abusive government.

Also these studies need to account for the fact that it's not just COVID cases, but COVID deaths that are being significantly undercounted:


According to current numbers at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, the world's leader in per-capita testing is Iceland. They've tested over 12% of their population.

They currently have 1778 total cases, with 351 still active. Their deaths total 10, with 5 of their active cases listed as serious/critical.

If you assume the 5 serious/critical cases will result in death, you get a death rate of 0.8% of total cases.

UAE is the next best, not considering the Faeroe Islands and the Falkland Islands because of their extremely small populations.

UAE has tested 8% of their population, has total cases of 7755, 46 deaths, and 6266 active cases, one of which is serious/critical. Those are some odd numbers, given the high number of active cases relative to total cases and the single serious/critical case.

But adding that one serious/critical case to the number of deaths, you get a death rate of 0.6%.

South Korea is surprisingly (to me, anyway) low on the list sorted by per-capita testing - behind the US, in fact. I don't know if it's a reporting issue or what. At any rate, following suit with the previous calculations, you get a death rate of 2.7% for South Korea.

What all that means, I leave to people who know more than I do.

I think I'm in the spam bucket. That or I screwed up when attempting to hit the "post" button.

Released. -- ed.

maybe the protestors should try kneeling, silently.

that seems to get people's attention. and has no negative repercussions.

Thank you, whoever got me out of jail.

I had the same thought, cleek. White guys with guns gathering during a contagion and blocking ambulances are just expressing their point of view.

Black guys kneeling silently during the national anthem before a football game are sons of bitches (or whatever fearless leader called them at the time).

The protests in Colorado on Sunday were apparently small and mild compared to other places. I watched the video feed from the news helicopter for a while. I'd guess 300 people or so on the Capitol's west lawn. I've seen much bigger demonstrations there. Two categories of people: one wearing masks and maintaining spacing, one crowding together on the sidewalks. Reports are that two people were openly carrying firearms, but left to put them away (in cars?) when Denver PD told them to (Denver does not allow open carry). The planned traffic blockages didn't really occur; Denver PD was shunting vehicles off onto one-way streets that left the Capitol vicinity.

That it was a very nice day after last week's nasty weather probably hurt the turnout a lot.

To Ufficio's point about the Stanford tests and the USC tests being reported by LA County, they can't link to the actual reports because those reports are not yet published and likely have not yet been through review. All we really have at this point is initial results - and possibly just a first impression of those results.

I spent a couple hours looking for info from the Stanford studies back when the right wing news sites were pasting Victor Davis Hanson's yawp over the top of the data. Even with a deep dive into the UC library databases with access to institutional-subscription-only journals, I turned up nothing about the research under any of the names associated with the study.

I'm betting it is all still at the draft-being-shared-around-on-email stage. Which is what you'd expect.

Maybe I'm just being overwrought, but I wonder if McT is working for Smithfield...

Was there any way to prevent the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in South Dakota from becoming one of the country’s largest known coronavirus clusters, with more than 700 workers infected? It’s hard to know “what could have been done differently,” a Smithfield spokesperson said, given what she referred to as the plant’s “large immigrant population.”

“Living circumstances in certain cultures are different than they are with your traditional American family,” she explained. The spokesperson and a second corporate representative pointed to an April 13 Fox News interview in which the governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, said that “99%” of the spread of infections “wasn’t happening inside the facility” but inside workers’ homes, “because a lot of these folks who work at this plant live in the same community, the same buildings, sometimes in the same apartments.”

via LGM

Per Ufficio and nous's mention of "Stanford" and LA county reports, here is what Cheryl Rofer at BJ said tonight in a comment on Tom Levenson's post about Niall Ferguson:

There’s a lot of this [the "bullshit" of the post's title] around.

I cite the Stanford “studies” of immunity in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, for which they have not made their methods clear and are not responding to their critics, who are many.

One of the co-authors is a venture capitalist, with no experience in statistics or epidemiology. The LA study is available only in the form of a press release.

I saw a very patient thread on Twitter from a real statistician, who was hoping to get a reply from the authors. Seems to me we should just ignore what they’ve done and anything they may do in the future.

If it's only at the "draft being shared around by email" stage...who chose to give it to the media in the first place? Or was it a Twitter blockbuster?

I doubt I really want to know.

JanieM - Both studies are real. What happened with the Stanford Medical test was that a right wing media site took one piece of initial data mentioned in a press release and used that as an excuse to trot out Victor Davis Hanson’s old speculation about “herd immunity” to amplify Limbaugh’s disinformation. Not sure where the stuff about venture capitalists is coming from. And the LA County study is, IIRC, being done by USC and the higher rate of infection was being reported as a warning that relaxing public gathering restrictions would be disastrous given how much more quickly it would spread. But again, Reason leaped upon that to try to argue for a lower case fatality rate. True, perhaps, but cold comfort when you start to pay attention and realize that it all points to more deaths on the horizon rather than fewer, despite a somewhat less deadly virus.

The studies are legit, it’s the right wing disinformation industry that’s the problem.

"To sum up each side in the language of their angriest opponents: The "Closers" want to demolish nearly all Americans' ability to live and destroy nearly all the wealth our society has built up over decades, by halting the wheels of most commerce for the foreseeable future. And the "Openers" are so dedicated to keeping GDP growing and so ignorant of science they want to see hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Americans die of a hideous disease because they don't understand how contagion works.

Both Closers and Openers, though, have a combination of reasons, theories, guesses, and value judgments of a sort many sane people have always made, that make their respective positions make sense to them. Neither side should be blithely written off as either idiotic or sinister or not thinking, in their own way, of human well-being."
What Each Side of the COVID-19 Debate Should Understand About the Other: The war between Openers and Closers shouldn't be seen as a fight between idiot death-worshippers and unnecessarily frightened tyrants.

The "Closers" want to demolish nearly all Americans' ability to live and destroy nearly all the wealth our society has built up over decades

Who the hell wants to demolish anything?

And the "Openers" are so dedicated to keeping GDP growing and so ignorant of science they want to see hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Americans die of a hideous disease because they don't understand how contagion works.

this would be a better caricature if not for the existence of, for example, GA Gov Brian Kemp.

There is a qualitative difference between "want to" and "is willing to". Of course, there is no middle ground to find. We are a completely binary nation.

The evidence from past pandemics is that letting them run uncontrolled ends up being worse economically than the alternative. So the choice between economy and lives is in all likelihood illusory.

It is not an easy problem to manage, and whatever government decides (or doesn't decide) to do, we will all be poorer in a year's time.

Crushing the pandemic via lockdown, and then managing it with track and trace testing until vaccines are available is probably our least worst option.

The best would have been South Korea/Germany style management, but that it not open to us without going through the harsh economic pain of lockdown.
I'm not happy about it - it's conceivable I could lose my business if this carries on too long - but I don't see the alternative.

There is a qualitative difference between "want to" and "is willing to"

the subtle difference in the state of mind whose actions cause a thousand deaths will be of precious little concern to those who mourn those newly dead.

Q to Trump: A man said his entire family got sick because they listened to you and didn't stay home. Are you concerned that downplaying the virus got people sick?

A from Trump: A lot of people love Trump.

but maybe he's doesn't want people to die. he just doesn't care if they do and his actions ensure that more will die.

let the magats worry about the distinction.

... in the state of mind of a person whose...

"What do you have to lose? Take it"
- Trump on hydroxychloroquine

A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.


About 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. About 22% of those getting the drug plus azithromycin died too, but the difference between that group and usual care was not considered large enough to rule out other factors that could have affected survival.

he doesn't know. he doesn't care. he doesn't care to know. his words and inactions are killing people.

but it's important to defend him against mean people like me.

The evidence from past pandemics is that letting them run uncontrolled ends up being worse economically than the alternative. So the choice between economy and lives is in all likelihood illusory.

But it's an easy illusion for those whose "planning" horizon is measured in hours, or days at most. Short-termism at its finest.

nous | April 22, 2020 at 03:05 AM

-- Thanks, nous. I don't know what Cheryl meant, then; she's usually pretty careful. On the other hand, I should have just stayed out of it, since I had completely ignored earlier references to those studies, since what was being reported seemed so full of holes.

but it's important to defend him against mean people like me.

Yeah, cleek, and furthermore you're contributing to how divided the country is. It's all your fault!

Trump republican conservatives and their "media" will turn around and blame the VA for prescribing hydroxycholoraquine in the first place, and Lindsay Graham will call hearings, I expect by next Tuesday, to push for privatizing the entire kit and kaboodle so that the pirate (inadvertent misspelling, but I find it felicitous) sector, that isn't required to be transparent like the long lunch takers at the VA are asked to be, can flip the numbers and send them to the White House, so they can say "lookee here, the man is a genius!"

Predicting what these filth will do is like shooting fish in a bucket.


Too many money quotes, but this near the end:

It turns out that scientific experts and other civil servants are not traitorous members of a “deep state”—they’re essential workers, and marginalizing them in favor of ideologues and sycophants is a threat to the nation’s health. It turns out that “nimble” companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that. It turns out that everything has a cost, and years of attacking government, squeezing it dry and draining its morale, inflict a heavy cost that the public has to pay in lives.

It's really challenging to keep track of all of the different studies being done by all of the different universities without tracking the names of the lead researchers. Stanford Med has a lot of studied going on. They also have a lot of other academics not in the medical school who are doing their thing on stuff related to COVID. Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute there. I'm sure that there are others doing quant stuff, too, that are doing other things with tech backing. Unless one is careful, those different studies can get conflated.

And a large chunk of the RW fringe media makes a cottage industry of getting clicks and narratives out of making collages of it all and using the "Stanford" label to get buy-in.

It all takes time to disentangle, even with good research skills.

It appears that Robert Mercer and Ken Cuccinelli are two names behind the death rallies.

Please read the article. These people are monsters, and the Trump administration is crawling with them.

It appears that Robert Mercer and Ken Cuccinelli are two names behind the death rallies.

Now if they would only attend these (or the other RWNJ) rallies that they foment....

Ben Carson M.D., too.

He was known at Johns Hopkins for not washing his hands before brain surgery, and when asked why, he said, well, it's not exactly brain surgery.

True, perhaps, but cold comfort when you start to pay attention and realize that it all points to more deaths on the horizon rather than fewer, despite a somewhat less deadly virus.

I don't know why this isn't obvious to (more) people. I'm going to make up pseudo-scientific factors for simplicity's sake to illustrate what seems to me to be the basic concept, and putting it in very broad terms at a level 3rd-graders can understand.

Let's say there's C, which represents "contagiousness." Then there's D, which represents "deadliness." Finally, there's N, representing the number of people who will die in a given amount of time. You get N = C x D.

So maybe D is only one tenth what we thought it was, but C is twenty times what we thought it was. That means N is going to be twice what we thought it was going to be.

Running around telling people how great it is that D is only one tenth what we thought it was while ignoring the rest of the story wouldn't be appropriate, now would it? (And I would prefer that more people would immediately see through it when someone tried to do it.)

For many, multiplying "more" times "less" results in "whatever I wanted to believe in the first place." Actual numbers need not apply.

Yes, I should have been more specific. The "Stanford" study I meant was this one:


It's a non-peer-reviewed preprint and seems to have myriad methodological issues. It does contain this helpful caveat, though:

We consider our estimate to represent the best available current evidence, but recognize that new information, especially about the test kit performance, could result in updated estimates. For example, if new estimates indicate test specificity to be less than 97.9%, our SARS-CoV-2 prevalence estimate would change from 2.8% to less than 1%, and the lower uncertainty bound of our estimate would include zero.

I don't know why this isn't obvious to (more) people.

I think people who are making this argument are pushing the "let's get to herd immunity" line.

Order of magnitude more infections implies somewhat higher R0 value, which implies slightly higher number of cases to get to herd immunity, which is more than balanced out by lower death rate.

Not endorsing this line of thinking at all.

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