END THE AMERICAN LOCKDOWN!!

The economic damage from the current insane “shelter-in-place” regulations designed to thwart the coronavirus is going to be huge—lost jobs, shuttered businesses, economic downturn, stock market losses. This doesn’t count the personal cost in things like increased suicides and domestic and other violence. Think pissed off young men out of a job and drinking on the street because no place is open, even though of course it’s illegal to be on the street.

And on the positive side, as my graph below clearly shows, the South Koreans have managed to contain the virus. How did they manage that?

corona deaths 20200321.png

First, they test widely with fast tests, then they use confirmatory tests to avoid wasting time on false positives.

Then they trace all contacts of infected people and test them, and identify and house quarantine or hospital quarantine SICK people, not HEALTHY people. Plus everyone entering the country is tested and required to do a 14-day self-quarantine.

My oft-infuriating good friend Steven Mosher is living in Korea at the moment. He said that when one person in an apartment building gets ill, they test the whole floor plus a couple of floors above and below where the person lives.

When a guy in a call center got the virus, he said, they tested all 250 people working there. Heck, those jokers even have phone-booth style testing facilities to increase the number of tests per day … they are on it.

 

 

In this manner, using testing, tracing, and quarantining the ill rather than the healthy, they’ve been able to control the spread very well. As of today (2020-03-20) they have only 94 deaths in the whole country and leveling out (see below) and they’re NOT locking down the entire population and destroying their economy like we are.

Let’s emulate success, folks. I don’t mind learning from experience, but generally, I prefer to learn from other people’s experiences, and we have Europe and South Korea to learn from.

Here’s the crazy, bull goose looney part no one is talking about. The US government is about to spend a trillion dollars of your and my tax money to prop up the US economy, whose wheels have just been taken off by the insane shelter-in-place orders of that same US government. Sen. McConnell unveiled a roughly $1 trillion stimulus package on Thursday to help “mitigate the economic pain that tens of millions of Americans are already feeling”.

That trillion won’t put the wheels back on. It won’t get us rolling again. It just pays us for the losses already suffered.

Do you ever think how many ventilators and hospitals and test kits and testing personnel we could buy for A TRILLION DOLLARS OF YOUR AND MY GAD FARKING BOG SPAVINED TAX MONEY!!

Typical ventilator costs US$25,000, in normal times. Say you have to pay double in scarce times. Say we want a half million of them, big number, more than we’ll ever need, but why not? How much of our trillion pinche dollars of tax money remains?

Ninety-seven percent. We’ve bought a half-million ventilators and have hardly dented the pile.

My point is simple. If we’re going to spend a trillion, let’s put out wartime prices with war-time high-speed bidding processes. Say that the government will pay double the peacetime costs for ventilators and mobile field hospitals and beds and the like. Focus on American made. Phone-booth testing sites? Koreans can make them? Americans can make them. Buy all that the Koreans will sell, plus encourage US manufacturers can make them by putting tariffs on them.

Seriously … wouldn’t putting a trillion dollars into getting prepared be far, far better spent than doling it out in dribs and drabs, in grants and loans, a bit here, an overhead cost there, to the inhabitants of an economically blighted landscape?

Because here are two ugly truths.

Ugly Truth 1) Some good-sized proportion of the population worldwide is going to get the coronavirus. Only question is when.

Ugly truth 2) Remember that trillion dollars to pay for the losses occurred so far during the nationwide lockdown? You know how long the lockdown has been going on?

One week. One. Stinking. Week. And it’s ALREADY COST A TERABUCK OF OUR TAXPAYER MONEY. Now, the government is talking about it lasting a month?!? Madness of the highest order.

A trillion dollars to prop up one week? What say we suffer an attack of unexpected sanity and sudden clarity, we cancel next week’s lockdown, and put we the trillion we have saved in just one stinking week into ventilators and beds and field hospitals?

Because the virus will hit, and the only question is how prepared we’ll be when it hits. All this stick-your-head-in-the-sand is doing is delaying it. Why? Well, theoretically so that we can be medically prepared for it with enough beds and ventilators and the like. Which is a very good reason. Gotta have more beds and ventilators than you have sick people, or you end up like Italy. Medical preparation is what we want to achieve.

So … given that being medically prepared is the over-riding issue, how about we

a) stop this mad stay-at-home failed experiment immediately,

b) get America back to work,

c) continue with all the precautions we spent all this time learning—wash my hands, don’t touch my face, no sex with fruit bats, go back to disposable plastic grocery bags, social distancing, and most importantly, that we spend that trillion we just saved by coming off of lockdown on d) …

… you know … urgently, four-alarm urgently, wartime production urgently, getting medically prepared for the wave that we’re damn sure is going to break? Buy field hospitals. Pre-position them. Stockpile ventilators. Distribute them. How many field hospitals does the Army have? Put them all on standby to be rushed to an overloaded city. Buy test kits. Pretend it’s cholera in Haiti, we’ve done this drill before. Pay double pre-war prices for everything if some people can provide it in a crazy rush. GET READY FAST … and critically …

END THE AMERICAN LOCKDOWN!!! We simply cannot afford a dead economy costing us a trillion a week, not even in good times, and especially not at this time when we are preparing to fight a war against a most sneaky and dangerous virus. 13,000 dead worldwide already … let’s add as little as possible to that number.

Best to all,

w.

287 thoughts on “END THE AMERICAN LOCKDOWN!!

  1. So far Willis, we in NZ are approximating the Korean model. We’ve set four levels of alert, which can be applied nationally or by region. At level two now, so all schools are still in. They recommend old farts like me self-isolate because it’s safer, and altruistically reduces the risk of overloading emergency and intensive care facilities. We are the group most likely to need them if we contract Wu flu, so we are cooperating.

    Self-isolation admittedly is easier for us, as Herkinderkin’s Heaven is 80% self-sufficient, and daughter lives next door and will shop for us. We will talk to grandchildren over the fence. Tough on the youngest as she’s not allowed to hug us, but we’ll get through.

    Stay safe, man. And I hope your sage advice gets heeded.

    JJ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. the half trillion spending bill isn’t what was lost this last week, it’s what they expect to spend to cover several weeks of shutdown.

    given the incubation time of 6-14 days, a 2 week period is somewhat reasonable when we don’t really have any idea what the leathality is or how fast it spreads.

    South Korea has a much smaller population, and a very large percentage of that population is in one city. And even so they have tested < 1% of their population.

    The US has a much larger population, much more spread out, so it takes more time to get the testing ramped up, but that is now getting online.

    I fully expect that the Feds will not renew the 'please stay home' at the beginning of April, but I do expect that California and New York are going to keep their lockdowns. Neither Governor is competent to deal with the proverbial boot with instructions on it's sole, and neither of them can think beyond their capital city and assume that the problems that happen there must be widespread everywhere.

    I think the lockdown is overkill, but given the unknowns and the panic being stoked by the media, I understand why Trump made the 2-week request.

    Liked by 2 people

    • davidelang March 21, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      the half trillion spending bill isn’t what was lost this last week, it’s what they expect to spend to cover several weeks of shutdown.

      Yeah, but I underestimated it. Mitch McConnell just proposed the bill and it’s one trillion taxpayer dollars. Since a good chunk of us WILL get coronavirus, I’d much rather we put our money into plenty of ventilators and field hospitals so I know that WHEN the crunch comes, we are prepared.

      South Korea has a much smaller population, and a very large percentage of that population is in one city. And even so they have tested < 1% of their population.

      So is your claim is that testing is too hard so we shouldn’t do it? In my county (Sonoma, California) there are nine cases … how tough can it be? Yes, harder in cities, so let’s get started, shall we? Put some of the trillion dollars into kits and personnel and phone booth testing stations and the like.

      Stay well,

      w.

      Liked by 3 people

      • you assume that they are putting any limit on the spending, I am sure that the money being proposed to send to people/companies is not going to mean one dime less spent on equipment.

        It’s not like they have a budget they need to comply with. (much as they should)

        On the one hand, I agree with you that they should not have over-reacted, adn then planned to throw a lot of money we don’t have at it.

        On the other hand, if throwing $1T at the problem means that in a month we have people back to work rather than half the country loosing their homes because they were prevented from work, it will be an improvement.

        I never said anything about not doing testing because it’s hard. I said that it takes time to ramp up.

        The CDC and FDA are to blame for a lot of the testing problems. They are not setup with the mindset of approving drugs/tests, they are setup with the mindset of preventing bad drugs/tests (the mindset that it’s better to block 100 good things rather than allow one marginally bad thing to get through and get bad publicity)

        Both have a bad case of NIH, and a mindset that a few thousand cases is a ‘big’ event. The Wu Flu overwhelmed their normal mindset if the first few days, but they tried to cope by trying to preserve test capabilities for later when things would be worse. This is why the CDC wasn’t approving testing for people who showed symptoms unless they also had other indications to start with.

        Trump kicked them and they approved an automated test that rolled out last week, increasing the number of tests that could be run in a day by at least one order of magnitude. The test approved today will bump it up more. These numbers are still small compared to the population, and a negative test doesn’t mean that you won’t catch it 5 min from now (potentially from the ‘phone booth’ test facility),so testing everyone isn’t useful (and testing Trump multiple times because the press keeps demanding to know hen he ws tested and testing celebs/sport stars, etc doesn’t help)

        but look at the chart they showed of the number of tests completed in the saturday press briefing, they number is shooting up and new testing capacity is still coming on line.

        did the CDC bungle things, yes. The FD is getting in the way rather than helping, but as they are messing up, Trump is jumping on them to get better, and they are improving (or at least getting out of the way if not actually helping)

        The n95 mask fiasco is a perfect example of them getting in the way initially and now getting out of the way (at least temporarily by llowing all m95 masks to be used by medical folks rather than only a small subset that were ‘medical grade’) and the CDC possibly helping by documenting how to safely re-use masks rather than having one person go through dozens/hundreds of masks a day.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with David for one or two weeks. But in the meantime, let’s follow Willis’s advice and prepare for getting the medical priorities in place.

    I’m in Canada, and all our useless Government has done is implement a lockdown so useless that incoming overseas flights are still happening, and illegal immigrants (queue-jumping economic migrants) are allowed in, AND getting tested ahead of the natives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As W. M. Briggs states, this is Martial Law with a Happy Face. I don’t even see how this massive stoppage of the economy could pass legal muster.

    I sincerely question the alleged exponential rise in the propagation of this virus given the one superb isolated test of its seriousness – the Diamond Princess cruise ship where 83% of the passengers and crew did not contract the disease, and only seven old folks passed away.

    Per Bloomberg News, 3/20/2020: The Italian government reported the average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions. More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.

    There are quite a few virologists questioning the wisdom and sanity of some of those drastic measures; however, MSM which includes FOXnews does not air their input.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you Willis. Lockdown is nuts! Why focus has not been on ramping up medical facilities/ equipment/ personnel is beyond me. Especially given the fact that there now seems to be an effective treatment (hydroxychloroquine + Remdesivir + antibiotic) that is readily available and (except for Remdesivir) not expensive.

    I’ve written to all my State and Federal representatives expressing exactly this view. Let’s hope they listen!

    Like

    • There is treatment that _MAY_ be effective in reducing the fatalities. It has not been through a clinical trial, so it may or may not be as effective as hoped.

      I hope it is, but even if it is, it’s far too early to depend on it. I needs to be tried (i.e. get the FDA out of the way) and evaluated (how many people are going to opt to NOT get the treatment? which could make doing a traditional blind trial hard to do, especially with everyone in panic mode). But the Scientists deriding it because it hasn’t been through a clinical trial need to back down a bit (and to be fair, in the saturday press briefing, the one CDC Dr did seem to back down a bit and explain his point of view better than he had before)

      Minimizing contact for a week or two as testing ramps up is very reasonable, what California and New York has done goes beyond reasonable IMHO. The San Francisco and New York City areas have problems and may need a lockdown, but not all of California and New York State are anywhere close to the same conditions. The lockdown order should have been much more targeted.

      Like

  6. Willis – maybe part of the problem here is that the medical authorities are inclined to “do no harm” and thus to delay the introduction of new medications until they’ve been exhaustively tested. The bright spot here is that Chloroquinone and its derivatives are known drugs, the reason why they stop Corona virus from multiplying in known in vitro and has been shown to work in clinical trials on Covid-19 patients, and that supplies are being manufactured right now.

    There will likely be more tests before it’s considered reasonable to supply it to the majority of people (there will be some where medical history indicates it would be a problem) as a prophylactic measure, but if that is done then the people taking maybe 500mg once a week cannot be infected by the virus. Without that reservoir of infectable people, the virus will then die out and we can all go back to normal.

    Yep, there are some not-nice side-effects from long-term use of Chloroquinone, but we’re talking about a term of maybe 4-6 weeks for almost-everyone needed in order to make the virus extinct in a country. Back in 1986 I took it for 3 weeks in order to visit India, and didn’t notice any side effects. Seems that Hydroxy-chloroquinone has fewer side-effects, too.

    Looking at what’s happening in Italy right now, I understand the panic elsewhere. From your graph above, Spain isn’t that far behind and on the same trajectory. I suspect the true figures from Iran would be far worse than admitted officially. If “social distancing” and shutdowns were the only tool we have to avoid that happening, then the mass testing (and quarantining the people with the disease) would be logical. Also preparing for lots of hospitalisations and ventilators would be logical to do.

    I agree that the shut-down is massively expensive and it’s preferable to find a way to avoid it. Given the year or more before an effective vaccine can be produced in enough quantity, it would seem likely that, as you say, the majority of us will get exposed to it and maybe 1% or so of those who get it will die (more once the hospitals get overwhelmed).

    Still, there’s a possibility that the anti-malarial drugs will stop people getting (and passing on) Covid-19 too, and thus stop any new cases. If that works, then the majority of the problem is solved. Funny thing is that this is point in favour of the “socialised” medical systems we’ve been talking about, since we’d need to get that prophylactic dose to everyone whether they can afford it or not. Since these are cheap medicines, the cost for each person for 6 weeks of treatment (might be long-enough to extinct the virus, but I’d let professionals argue about that) is less than $3. Maybe $1B for the whole USA, which is a far smaller cost than the shutdown.

    In the UK, my daughter is on a personal isolation week, and has effectively lost her job at a stroke along with a huge number of others in a similar situation. No-one knows how they’ll pay the rent, or how long before they can get a job again. Could be weeks, months, maybe a year.

    Despite the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve been wondering for a while when such a pandemic would occur and Covid-19 is far less of a problem than I thought might happen. Imagine instead something with the kill-rate of Ebola but with infectiousness (of the order of Measles so a high R0) happening several days before any symptoms were seen. Given the amount of travel between countries, it could spread around the world before it was realised that a new disease was around. Our defences against that are shutting the stable door, but that horse is already in the next field and multiplying…. I think that this was a problem waiting to happen, and we should improve the systems to be able to cope with the next one. Incidentally Ebola outbreaks do seem to keep happening, and a mutation there could produce something more infectious with a longer incubation period. I’m pretty sure that technology will continue to improve, and that we’ll find faster ways to respond in a technical way, but the social side of things normally takes longer to change. Globalisation has effectively merged humanity into a monoculture because there is such a lot of movement of people between countries. It’s normal to go visit exotic places for holidays, and to have various conferences with delegates from around the world who then take any disease back home with them along with the other mementos. Monocultures are unstable and can suddenly die from a single cause that they can’t cope with, whereas a diverse culture may just lose one part from the same challenge. It seems to me that we may need to change our culture and avoid all that face-to-face contact in future. Electronic communication travels faster than people, anyway.

    Like

    • “Funny thing is that this is point in favour of the “socialised” medical systems we’ve been talking about, since we’d need to get that prophylactic dose to everyone whether they can afford it or not.”

      We didn’t need a socialised medical system to get polio shots to American schoolkids in the 1950s.

      Like

      • Salute!

        Thank you, Owen.

        From the fifties in New Orleans:

        We didn’t have Medicare or Medicaid or Aid To Dependent Children either.

        Grew up in a very low income family, but Mom and Dad bit the bullet and my sister and I got the polio shot soon as it was approved, ditto for measles, smallpox and other things. I will bet big bucks that the shots those days were much cheaper than it would be today. Somehow, when government starts to subsidize anything, the price goes up.

        Oh! We did not have air conditioning, even a window unit, until I got a scholarship from high school and folks didn’t have to pay money for my education. One family down the street had window AC units, but I never saw a whole house unit until early 60’s. And this was New Orleans. Made my tours in that stoopid war easier, as I was used to the heat and humidity and mosquitoes.

        And BTW, I took those big chloro-xxxx pills each week for months to stifle the malaria bugs. They even had a dispenser on the door frame as you went into the messhall or O-club. If the pills had serious problems, we pilots would have been the first ones to demonstrate them because we had frequent, super, duper physicals and knew if our eyes were going south.

        Gums sends…

        Like

        • Gums – I also took Chloroquine for a few weeks back in 1986 for a trip to India. No noticeable side effects. I’d figure that a large-enough percentage of people would be able to take it to establish herd immunity, providing tests show that it does indeed stop the Covid-19 virus from multiplying in the body. Chances look pretty good that that will be so.

          For the “socialised medicine” bit, I’d figure that here we’d need to make sure that the street people are also medicated, and the poorest families where a few dollars extra is a big deal. In the UK, the NHS buys so much medicine that it can negotiate much lower prices than most, in much the same way as a union of workers can and does negotiate higher wages for one set of employees. One of those (unusual) things where the government actually buys things cheaper than an individual could. Personally, I see a problem in the USA method of paying for medicine, where if you don’t have medical insurance you pay the ticket price which is massively inflated (and where the insurance companies have negotiated a large discount). Thus cost of Insulin for a month is around $1000 in the USA, whereas if you bought it over-the-counter in Canada it would be around $25. I’ve no idea what the NHS spends on Insulin for one user, but I’d expect it would be a lot less than Canada. See https://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/documents/s19160en/s19160en.pdf for prices across the world in 2010.

          It would be a lot cheaper for the country to give the Chloroquine (or more preferably, maybe, Hydroxy-chloroquine which seems to have lesser side-effects) for “free” than to shut the country down and send cheques for $1000 or more to every worker. Whether you consider that “socialised medicine” or not, it would save a lot of hassle. There would need to be some medical oversight, in that some people with existing conditions would need to avoid it, and medical people would need to watch for bad side-effects and maybe stop some individual from taking the medicine. Probably only be a few percent of the population where there would be problems. It would only be needed for a limited time of maybe 4-6 weeks, but it would need to be applied simultaneously across the world (or to ban travel from countries where it had not yet been applied).

          There are downsides to socialised medicine as well, in the forms it currently exists. Where there’s no cost to the user, people tend to not value the time of the doctors so much and visit more often than is actually needed. There may be a better system possible, if enough thought is applied. Still, I’d point out that getting people back to productivity quickly after they fall ill or have an accident, rather than making them bankrupt from medical fees or just leaving them to get better or not on their own, is likely better for the country as a whole. It’s also maybe worth considering that, as automation spreads into medical diagnosis and treatment, that it’s going to get effectively cheaper in future and thus better value than in the past.

          Like

    • “ Still, there’s a possibility that the anti-malarial drugs will stop people getting (and passing on) Covid-19 too, and thus stop any new cases. If that works, then the majority of the problem is solved. Funny thing is that this is point in favour of the “socialised” medical systems we’ve been talking about, since we’d need to get that prophylactic dose to everyone whether they can afford it or not. Since these are cheap medicines, the cost for each person for 6 weeks of treatment (might be long-enough to extinct the virus, but I’d let professionals argue about that) is less than $3. Maybe $1B for the whole USA, which is a far smaller cost than the shutdown.”
      I am not sure that we would need or want prophylactic treatment. It might be better to just let the virus spread and treat those who get serious life threatening illness. Prophylaxis could be reserved for the high risk populations (but they would probably be a higher risk for complications from the treatments too).

      Like

      • Michael – I think this depends on how fast the production of the various anti-malarial drugs (Chloroquine, Hydroxy-chloroquine, maybe other derivatives) can be ramped up, as well as whether they stop multiplication of the virus in the body as is demonstrated in vitro and has been seen in the few non-blind human tests that have so far been done.

        Iff the anti-malarials stop multiplication in the body as expected, then that is effectively the same as making that person immune to the virus – they will not get infected and thus will not pass the virus onwards either.

        Note that I’m not an epidemiologist but an engineer. However, the virus is a bit of genetic code that needs new bodies to infect in order to grow. Without those new bodies, it will simply die and disappear, since it won’t stay viable on surfaces for more than around a week.

        The idea of just letting the virus spread is aiming for the same end-point where enough people become immune to the virus that it stops spreading and can’t find new non-immune bodies to infect, and thus dies out. Unfortunately, that will also involve a lot of deaths and overload of the medical facilities (thus leading also to excess deaths from other diseases that also need ICU facilities).

        Herd immunity seems to kick in when around 80% of the population has become immune, and by the time you’ve reached 95% of the population immune (which either means they’ve had the disease and overcome it or have had a vaccine that works) then the 5% non-immune are very unlikely to meet an infectious person and thus are unlikely to become ill. Judging by current figures, getting to even that 80% immune level will involve a huge number of deaths with maybe 10-20% of your medical staff dying as well since they will be exposed to higher viral loads.

        It seems to me that prophylaxis, if it works, is far preferable. Doing that early on, before the virus has enough time to evolve to beat the anti-malarial medicines, also seems preferable to doing it later on when it has maybe mutated. We don’t need everyone to take the anti-malarials, just enough to achieve herd immunity. 90-95% should be enough to eradicate the virus and make it extinct. On the other hand, just letting the virus rip through the population and caring for those who become ill will lead to new variants of the virus that will, next year, be able to infect the people who have become immune to the earlier version, leading to a recurring problem.

        Like

  7. When I am driving in traffic, and don’t really know what is going on, I pull over to the side of the road and have time to think. A week or two of shelter-in-place is society’s equivalent: it gives us time to see what does and doesn’t work, and gear up production. Meanwhile, the spread of the virus slows, so we won’t make things that much worse while we’re thinking.

    Beyond a couple weeks, the sheltering and distancing becomes worse than the threat of disease.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This particular virus has already spread throughout the US so more people getting it is a fact. Slowing how fast it spreads is helpful, it will only work so long. We are already seeing it mushrooming up in multiple states and cities, so expanding rapidly treatment and isolation for the actual sick makes the most sense.
    Had travel restrictions and medical screening of those entering America been started during the last week of December, as Orange Man Bad wanted to do, the situation would be radically different. Perhaps, instead of hoarding toilet paper, people should spend their time compiling lists of all those who openly and publicly opposed securing our borders so we can punish the living sh*t out of them so they never do it again. THAT would be far more useful to America than this asinine “shelter in place” crap.

    Like

    • “Had travel restrictions and medical screening of those entering America been started during the last week of December, as Orange Man Bad wanted to do, the situation would be radically different.”

      err probably not.

      Travel restrictions ( unless they are complete and total) only lead to a sense of
      COMPLACENCY.
      which is exactly what happened in the USA.

      Like

      • Travel restrictions, even incomplete, can slow the spread.

        10 people getting through is far less of a problem than 1000 people getting through.

        David Lang

        Like

      • The restrictions were blocked for political reasons, had they been implemented the situation WOULD be radically different. Hell, had the restrictions called for 2 years ago been put in place it would have been much easier to specific target individuals when the Chinese virus began being exported in mass by CCP. Remaining on a blind lock down nationwide is not helping. Keeping those at high risk isolated is the smart play, healthy people WILL catch it and recover and immunity will spread through the population, people at high risk of dying are who we should be concentrating on. Misdirecting allocation of personnel and resources is not helping, political grandstanding in Congress and state legislatures is not helping.

        Like

        • remember, as of Jan 14 China was still telling the world that human-human transmission was not possible. Trump blocked travel from China on Jan 29th

          I really don’t see much room between those two dates where it would have been reasonable for Trump to move much faster. As it was he was condemned (including by WHO) for imposing the ban, but did it anyway

          there are a lot of things that have been done wrong in the handling of the situation, but saying that the travel ban should have been implemented sooner doesn’t seem to match the data that was available at the time.

          Like

          • He wanted travel restrictions at the end of December and was roundly vilified for even mentioning it, not to mention the restrictions and screening he tried to put in place over two years ago. Had we an effective policy on entry by persons who are medical risks to begin with(Ellis Island anyone?) we would not be seeing increases of measles, tuberculosis, polio and other highly communicable diseases, much less Chinese virus.

            Like

          • “Trump blocked travel from China on Jan 29th”

            no he did not.

            The ban was on people who flew from Wuhan.
            Folks entering from Beijing and other places were not even questioned.
            the ban was half measures.

            Taiwan of course did it right. ALL travelers from China were quarantined. 14 days. home quarantine
            Tracked of course via mobile phone. Not perfect. but better.

            When I entered the USA (Feb 12) after coming out of china ( via Korea), nobody asked me shit. No temperature, aircrews not wearing masks. I didn’t touch my food on the airplane. Wore a mask etc

            Lets put it this way. I felt safer in China on Jan 24th than I did in Seattle on Feb 12-14

            Travel BANS only work if they are in fact BANS and if
            you use the time to prepare.

            lets give you an idea about how china has done it.
            1. They detected Imported cases.
            2. ALL flights from outside china are directed to ONE wing of the airport. (limits contact)
            3. Swab up the nose, and mandatory quarentine. Phone app for reporting health. You pay for Quarentine
            4. Lines got too long, so ALL inbound foreign flights to Beijing are diverted to 12 different
            airports: test Locally. layovers up to 12 hours. Sit and wait for your test results
            5. Still overwhelms the system. No more foreign visitors. Airline routes limited to 1 per week

            Korea has a different approach, less draconian.. but swab up the nose nevertheless.
            If you test Positive you are sent to a facility. Paid a wage even if you are a non citizen.
            ( meh 300 bucks a month). Foods great though! Nationals who return from Foreign
            lands are also tested. If you are negative you still have to self quarantine. You’ll be fined
            if you don’t comply and sued if you make anyone sick. Korea has debtors prison. pay your bills.
            You will also receive a very nice welcoming package of gifts sent to your house. I’ll try to find a photo
            of it, its quite impressive

            Like

          • The ban was half measures because he was fought tooth&nail at every step, hell, they are still fighting against anything he puts forward no matter that what he has ordered IS WORKING. They are far more concerned with scoring political points for re-election than they are in saving American lives. Coumo has had to admit he lied about stockpiles of medical equipment in NY. Why did he do that? Political advantage.

            Willis? I know you don’t want politics in this, sorry, they are inextricably intertwined in it. Far too many leftist politicians, no matter the party name they hide behind, are willing to let people die in order to advance their political agenda.

            Like

    • What we really need for prevention of this type of incident is:
      1) A reliable and incentivized Early warning system. One was built in China after SARS but it wasn’t incentivized (actually was suppressed). Taiwan and S. Korea both heard early warnings from China and did not trust the official numbers.
      2) Better models meaning a better understanding of what is needed as data: all cases, active cases, seriousness, deaths, etc.
      3) Better data collection
      4) Plans to ramp up supplies, personnel, etc. and deliver them where, when and as needed (We supposedly have these but they seem to have been caught off guard).
      5) Hierarchical Focused responses, meaning the ability to rapidly respond to the actual conditions so we can start slowly and ramp up as data indicates, including quarantines, treatments, vaccines, etc.

      Like

      • Simply put people, in general, need to be more aware of health concerns. Instead of commercials for random pharmaceuticals to treat stupid, inconsequential crap there should be regular PSAs about current infectious disease outbreaks. Many lives could have been saved in America from this season’s flu, much less fighting Chinese virus. Hell, the rise in STDs, in older people AND younger people, has hardly been addressed publicly.

        Like

  9. Add a line item to the spending bill: After spending a trillion on this virus, we will proudly call it an American Virus. That should ensure a Democratic support.

    Like

  10. “South Korea has a much smaller population, and a very large percentage of that population is in one city. And even so they have tested < 1% of their population."

    This is why you cannot look at the percentage of population tested. Cannot

    INFECTION IS SPATIAL.

    In Korea the infection was concentrated in a medium sized city of 2.5M

    we have tested 360000 people.

    about 300K of that in Dague.

    Seoul is 10Million, we have 337 cases and a lot less testing.

    The key is changing the criteria for testing.

    Here we test and track
    Let me give you the best example. Its an example of you should not use the diamond princess to understand
    transmission.

    An employee of a call center in Seoul, was infected.
    Office had 207 people.
    March 8th. he tested positive.
    EVERY person in that office was tested. today 152 have tested positive, they tested
    floors above an below his floor. Today 3 more from the 11th floor were found and 1 contact.
    They are now tracing the contact, and the contact's contacts. All will be tested. The business
    was in a residential building. 553 of the people in that building were tested. floors 13-18
    This little beastie lives on surfaces for up to 3 days. See that elevator button? the hand rail on the stairs?
    the bathroom door handle? the coffee cup that pretty girl behind the counter handed you?
    it's there. Now in my building we have hand sanitizer by the elevator buttons. you get in the habit
    of not touching public pretty quickly. Trust me I am not a germ phone, but the changes have been simple when they are reinforced.

    let me give you a little taste of the highly detailed info we get.
    Info that is shared daily in one spot, I will include some of the earlier call center case snippits

    "In Daegu, every person at high-risk facilities is being tested. 87 percent completed testing and 192 (0.8 percent) out of 25,493 were confirmed positive. From Daesil Covalescent Hospital in Dalseong-gun, 54 additional cases were confirmed, which brings the current total to 64. In-patients on 6th and 7th floors are under cohort-quarantine."

    "From Guro-gu call center in Seoul, 7 additional cases (11th floor = 2; contacts = 5) were confirmed. The current total is 146 confirmed cases since 8 March. (11th floor = 89; 10th floor = 1; 9th floor = 1; contacts = 54)"

    "From Bundang Jesaeng Hospital in Gyeonggi Province, 4 additional cases were confirmed. The current total of 35 confirmed cases since 5 March (20 staff, 5 patients in inpatient care, 2 discharged patients, 4 guardians of patients, 4 contacts outside the hospital). The 144 staff members who were found to have visited the hospital’s Wing no. 81 (where many confirmed cases emerged) were tested, 3 of whom tested positive."

    Five additional confirmed cases have been reported from the call center located in Guro-gu, Seoul, amounting to a current total of 129 confirmed cases from the call center since 8 March. As of now, 14 confirmed cases in Gyeonggi Province has been traced to have come in contact with a confirmed patient who is a worker at the 11th floor call center at a religious gathering. Further investigation and tracing are underway.

    Test, Trace, Test more.

    A random test in Iceland found 1% infected. 50% asymptomatic.

    If the US persists in only testing the symptomatic you squash this bug.

    Our cases are going up in Seoul. So we will have 15 days of voluntary social distancing.
    go to work
    stay away from crowds
    wash your hands
    wear a mask
    don't touch your face

    Like

    • Thanks hugely for that, Steve. Folks, Steve is living in Korea and understands how they do it better than anyone I know including me. He’s laid out the path, now we just need to follow it.

      And welcome to the blog. Although sometimes your comments drive me nuts, you’re a good and wicked-smart man, always worth listening to.

      w.

      Like

    • Two questions:

      Is the test / trace / test strategy S Korea employs even legal in the US?

      Does the US have enough test kits and trained personnel to invoke this strategy?

      Seems like “No” to either of these questions might be why it’s not happening here.

      Thanks.

      Like

      • to answer your questions.

        I know that a lot of folks (especially older ones) don’t carry a cell phone with
        them everywhere (they leave it at home frequently).

        There are also a large number of people (again more so among the older folks)
        who pay in cash.

        So I think that implementing the level of tracking in the US would be FAR harder
        to do, even if it is legal.

        our testing capability is still rampin up, look at the first graph on this
        article
        https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/nr-coronavirus-update-10-u-s-states-with-500-cases/

        even a few days ago, it is clear that testing at the scale needed was not
        possible (they are still working through the backlog of tests), and it’s not
        clear how many tests would be needed

        Remember, we don’t have a single area to cover, we have a fair number of large
        cities that have problems.

        Then you add the fact that people in the US are not going to comply with things
        that they don’t agree with (see all the younger folks ignoring the stay at home
        orders) and you will have a very hard time finding people who don’t want to be
        found, let alone testing them.

        If we had the current testing capacity in mid Febuary, that may have been
        possible, but at this point I don’t believe that it’s possible to surround it
        like that.

        Like

        • You dont need a cell phone to do it smarter

          ○ From the call center building in Guro-gu, Seoul, 3 additional cases were confirmed. All three additional cases are contacts related to a church (SaengMyeongSu Church) which a confirmed case (11th floor) visited. The current total is 163 confirmed cases since 8 March. Of the 163 confirmed cases, 97 are persons who worked in the building (11th floor = 94; 10th floor = 2; 9th floor = 1), and 66 are their contacts.

          ○ From Second Mi-Ju Hospital in Daegu, 1 inpatient was confirmed with COVID-19 on 26 March, prompting testing of 355 persons (staff = 72; patients = 286), of which 61 (patients = 60; caregiver = 1) were confirmed. In total, 62 cases have been confirmed. Since this hospital is located in the same building as Daesil Convalescent Hospital (which had already produced many cases), all staff had already been tested and their results returned negative on 21 March. However, 1 inpatient began displaying symptoms which prompted testing and the case was confirmed. Investigation into contacts and the chain of transmission are underway. (The figures may differ from those in Table 2 as the figures in the table are based on cases reported to the KCDC before 0:00 of 27 March.)”

          QUESTION? did that 1 caregiver infect 60 patients?

          Like

      • enough test kits? I dont know, Korea is selling some to the US.

        For now the US is focusing test on those with symptoms because of limited PPE.
        The test personal consume PPE, but there is an oversupply of PPE in China that is FDA approved
        But customs is fighting the import.
        On N95 masks my friend is importing 27M masks into Germany. Too hard to get it into USA
        I have access to millions and millions of regular surgical masks, 50 cents a pop. better than nothing.

        Like

    • yes, this has gotten wild. The greatest economy (s) is/are being driven into the ground. And for what, If old sick people want to shelter in place, very well, that is great. Give them the first hour of each day to get their shopping done and let the rest of the world rotate 20 hours a day.

      Like

  11. Willis, I totally agree with you on implementing the South Korean protocols. However we are totally unprepared for that. There is no way we have on hand sufficient test capability, or can come up with it in time. New York City just announced that they were running low on testing supplies and are restricting testing to only those people that have already been hospitalized. Our neighbor, who has all the symptoms of COVID-19 and her husband and their two kids have been sick for the last three weeks, was told by the nurse at the closest screening center (at the state university) that “testing was not for the general population.” She was also told by her Physician’s Assistant (PA) that if she could find a place that would test her it would cost $1,000. He gave her Azithromycin in case her pneumonia happened to be bacterial.

    As far as preparation, supposedly the CDC and the NIH have been tasked with developing procedures for handling a virus pandemic since their inception. But, as with any government bureaucracy, especially those tasked with planning for some fairly low probability future, the only way they can justify their annual budget is by generating procedures. Those procedures don’t have to be rational, workable, or testable, just written such that they fit well into their operations manual. Typically, after several years of stacking new procedures on top old procedures with no method to test them and no budget to game them the whole process becomes so hidebound it’s totally unworkable — which explains the current situation. (Note: I can’t find the reference but someone commented over at Anthony’s site recently that his company had set up a gaming for a coronavirus pandemic back in October of last year and no government workers chose to attend.)

    Like

  12. Hi Mr. Eschenbach,
    On the subject of tracing contacts in S. Korea, Professor Jung Won Sonn (University College London) wrote last week: “What hasn’t been so widely reported is the country’s heavy use of surveillance technology, notably CCTV and the tracking of bank card and mobile phone usage, to identify who to test in the first place. And this is an important lesson for more liberal countries that might be less tolerant of such privacy invading measures but are hoping to emulate South Korea’s success.”

    He goes on to say: “First, credit and debit cards. South Korea has the highest proportion of cashless transactions in the world. By tracking transactions, it’s possible to draw a card user’s movements on the map….Second, mobile phones can be used for the same purpose. In 2019, South Korea had one of the world’s highest phone ownership rates….Finally, CCTV cameras also enable authorities to identify people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. In 2014, South Korean cities had over 8 million CCTV cameras, or one camera per 6.3 people. In 2010, everyone was captured an average of 83.1 times per day and every nine seconds while travelling.”

    https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-south-koreas-success-in-controlling-disease-is-due-to-its-acceptance-of-surveillance-134068

    The article gives a very interesting perspective on S. Korea’s success in containing Covid 19.

    Best wishes from an appreciative reader of your WUWT posts.

    Like

  13. Hi Willis,

    I posted the following yesterday on wattsup – similar ideas.

    This full-lockdown scenario is especially hurting service sector businesses and their minimum-wage employees – young people are telling me they are “financially under the bus”. The young are being destroyed to protect us over-65’s. A far better solution is to get them back to work and let us oldies keep our distance, and get “herd immunity” established ASAP – in months not years. Then we will all be safe again.

    Regards, Allan

    ____________________________

    ALLAN MACRAE March 21, 2020 at 10:22 pm
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/21/to-save-our-economy-roll-out-antibody-testing-alongside-the-active-virus-testing/#comment-2943724

    This brief data analysis is far from comprehensive, but here are my preliminary conclusions:
    CORONAVIRUS – STRONG CONTAINMENT (3% INFECTED IN S. KOREA) VS POOR CONTAINMENT (21% INFECTED ON THE CRUISE SHIP).
    1% FATALITIES OF THOSE INFECTED IN BOTH CASES.
    ON THE CRUISE SHIP, ALL DEATHS WERE PEOPLE OVER 70 YEARS OF AGE.
    REPORTEDLY DEATHS TYPICALLY OCCURRED TO PATIENTS WITH POOR HEALTH AND POOR IMMUNE SYSTEMS.
    REPORTEDLY YOUNGER INFECTED PEOPLE OFTEN HAVE MILD OR NO SYMPTOMS.

    LET’S CONSIDER AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH, SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION OF THE ABOVE CONCLUSIONS:
    Isolate people over sixty-five and those with poor immune systems and return to business-as-usual for people under sixty-five.
    This will allow “herd immunity” to develop much sooner and older people will thus be more protected AND THE ECONOMY WON’T CRASH.
    If tests prove positive, use chloroquine and remdesivir or other cheap available drugs ASAP as appropriate.

    Best, Allan

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/18/the-danger-of-making-coronavirus-decisions-without-reliable-data/#comment-2942582

    CORONAVIRUS – STRONG CONTAINMENT (3% INFECTED) VS POOR CONTAINMENT (21% INFECTED) – 1% FATALITIES OF THOSE INFECTED

    Following is a comment by Julian from the original paper at
    https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

    “Why is this article’s main source of data the Diamond Princess when we have a much, much larger data set in South Korea? As of March 15th, South Korea had tested 248,000 people, and confirmed 8,162 cases, and recorded 75 deaths. That represents a case fatality ratio of 0.9%. If governments should base their policy decisions on a range of reasonable possibilities, it seems like the South Korea example, where they have conducted the most testing, should be the benchmark – not the Diamond Princess.”

    OK Julian, here it is:

    SOUTH KOREA – STRONG CONTAINMENT – 3% (8652) OF TESTED GROUP POPULATION (316,664) INFECTED, OF WHICH 1.1% (94) DIED TO DATE.

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Headquarters for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 20, 00:00:.
    Data: https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=0030

    In South Korea as of 0:00, 20 March 2020:
    A total of 316,664 were tested and 8,652 cases have been confirmed (3%), of which 2,233 cases have been discharged from isolation (1%). Newly confirmed cases are 87.
    6325 patients remain in isolation (2%), 94 have died (0.03% of those tested, and 1.1% of confirmed cases).
    15,525 are being tested and a total of 292,487 tested negative (97% of those with test results to date).

    In South Korea only 3% of all those tested to date were positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus – this suggests a strong level of containment.

    DIAMOND PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP – POOR CONTAINMENT – 21% (634) OF TESTED GROUP POPULATION (3063) INFECTED, OF WHICH 1.1% (7) DIED TO DATE.

    On the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship by 20Feb2020:
    Data: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.05.20031773v2.full.pdf

    There were 634 cases (21% of the 3063 tested), of which 328 (11%) were asymptomatic, out of 3663 passengers and crew.

    On the cruise ship Diamond Princess 21% of those tested were positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus – this suggests a poor level of containment.
    The cruise ship stats also reflect the very old age of the average passenger. There were 1231 people over age 70 (34% of the total population).
    By 1Mar2020 there were 7 deaths, all over age 70 (2.4% mortality of the 288 over 70’s who tested positive for the virus)

    Like

  14. There are a lot of national statistics available but limited data pertinent to individual risk. One’s personal risk is related to age, underlining conditions, population density, personal hygiene, etc. If you live in a sparsely populated county and practice good hygiene and social distancing your risk should be lower. I’ve searched for a source of statistics showing percentage of population with confirmed cases and deaths by county but have been unable to find such data. The “red dot” JHU world map is very misleading. A county based map, like shown for national elections, would really help folks understand their risk better. Do you know of or can you make such a plot.

    Like

  15. From WUWT

    > you know … urgently, four-alarm urgently, wartime production urgently, getting medically prepared for the wave that we’re damn sure is going to break? Buy field hospitals. Pre-position them. Stockpile ventilators. How many field hospitals does the Army have? Put them all on standby to be rushed to an overloaded city. Buy test kits. Pay double pre-war prices for everything if some people can provide it in a crazy rush. GET READY … and critically …

    There is absolutely no reason why any of that are mutually exclusive with the shelter in place policies.

    Like

    • There absolutely is a reason why they are mutually exclusive—you can only spend money once. And we’re about to spend two trillion dollars, more than half the annual federal budget, on repairing the damage just done by the government.

      And none of that is going to either get the economy rolling again, or ramp up our medical preparedness, the two things that we need to do.

      And we still have the regular Federal budget items to pay for …

      Finally, that doesn’t even touch the loss that people have suffered in their 401k’s and pension plans. More trillions of dollars.

      And as a result, now we’re left trying to ramp up production of medical supplies with half the country staying at home, suppliers shut down, the population worried and impoverished, and the economy in a shambles.

      Brilliant plan, that.

      I’m 73, so I’m in the at-risk population. Here’s the thing. Most of the at-risk population, geezers like me plus immunocompromised people, are not working full-time. If you don’t want to end the insane lockdown, how about just locking down the at-risk folks, and let the others get back to work?

      Stay well,

      w.

      Like

      • On Mon, 23 Mar 2020, Skating Under The Ice wrote:

        > There absolutely is a reason why they are mutually exclusive—you can only
        > spend money once. And we’re about to spend two trillion dollars, more than
        > half the annual federal budget, on repairing the damage just done by the
        > government.

        we are about to snap our fingers and make $2T out of thin air. We were already
        close to $1T over budget for this year anyway

        > And none of that is going to either get the economy rolling again, or ramp up our medical preparedness, the two things that we need to do.

        it’s actually going to do both

        1. it’s going to go towards keeping the economy from tanking, so it hopefully
        stutters, but doesn’t come to a complete halt.
        2. this is buying a lot of medical equipment

        > And we still have the regular Federal budget items to pay for …

        sunk cost

        > Finally, that doesn’t even touch the loss that people have suffered in their 401k’s and pension plans. More trillions of dollars.

        some of that is permanently lost due to people panicing and selling as value
        dropped, some of it will come back as the stock market recovers.

        > And as a result, now we’re left trying to ramp up production of medical
        > supplies with half the country staying at home, suppliers shut down, the
        > population worried and impoverished, and the economy in a shambles.

        the population paniced by bad reporting, hopefully less impoverished than you
        are fearing (due to the $2T you are complaining about)

        > Brilliant plan, that.

        so you argue that we should try to ignore the Wu Flu and the reaction of the
        media to every death and say ‘business as usual’? Trump tried taking reasonable
        measures early on and trying to get people to not panic. He lost the panic war
        with the media and shifted to respond and take it into account.

        > I’m 73, so I’m in the at-risk population. Here’s the thing. Most of the
        > at-risk population, geezers like me plus immunocompromised people, are not
        > working full-time. If you don’t want to end the insane lockdown, how about
        > just locking down the at-risk folks, and let the others get back to work?
        >
        > Stay well,
        Because we don’t know how badly the Wu Flu will spread among the less at-risk
        people at work and how many will then take it home to the at-risk folks (or
        contaminate the stores so the at-risk folks get sick when doing their critical
        shopping)

        a short shutdown combined with increasing testing will give us a better handle
        on what’s really going on.

        We are a week in to the two week pause, and one thing that is being shown is
        that the ‘worst case’ numbers being touted by the media, the Democrats, and the
        ‘medical professionals’ are not what’s actually happening. As they said today,
        9/10 of the people who take the test because they have symptoms that could be
        the Wu Flu test negative. As we expand testing, we will find more people who
        have it but don’t show symptoms. reducing the death rate compared to ‘confirmed
        cases’

        a couple useful things to look at

        Real Clear Politics has a table on their page that shows rates per 1m people as
        well as totals.

        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/

        the first graph on this article shows how the testing is ramping up
        https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/nr-coronavirus-update-10-u-s-states-with-500-cases/

        Like

    • One thing that people don’t seem to realize, you can’t just order a factory to start making something and expect to get it the next day. It takes time for the factories to adjust to produce something different.

      you can bet that every factory that can produce ventilators right now is doing so at the fastest pace they can. And any factory that can quickly ramp up ventilator production is doing so, but it can take a few weeks to
      make the transition.

      ordering factories to shift production is probably a 30 day lead time.

      lettting factories that you never imagined could produce something, but who have ways to make things ramp up and contact you to tell you what they can do is a far better way of getting the needed product in the hands of
      those who need it. This is what we are seeing happening.

      I just hope that the government keeps buying after the initial emergancy passes so that the companies don’t loose too much money for making the transition. (the worst case would be companies that operate in places like
      Texas where they get taxes on unsold inventory and who overproduce and then have trouble selling things)

      David Lang

      Like

  16. > So is your claim is that testing is too hard so we shouldn’t do it? In my county (Sonoma, California) there are nine cases … how tough can it be? Yes, harder in cities, so let’s get started, shall we?

    Wait a minute. Trump has said over and over that anyone who wants a test can get a test. He’s talked about how the testing is going perfectly. You’re saying we need to get started? You apparently haven’t been listening to Trump. I’m disappointed in you.

    Like

  17. What is your reason for plotting the per 10 million numbers? Not that you should care about what I’m interested in, but I think that the comparative growth rates in the absolute numbers is more meaningful.

    Like

    • Joshua, I do that so I can compare different countries. Otherwise, China would swamp everyone.

      And the comparative growth rates are the same whether or not it’s raw data or per 10 million population.

      Suppose, for example, that your country has 100 million population. And suppose your deaths per 10 million are 4, 5, 7, 9, 14.

      The raw growth rate in actual deaths for you is 40, 50, 70, 90, 140 … see what I mean?

      w.

      Like

  18. I only do that with Trump apologists, Willis. And also because it really does bother me that he lies do much about something do important. He other constantying i care less about. This is consequential. Very. The lack of testing is very consequential. He shouldn’t lie about it. Toy talked about the importance of testing but omitted an important factor – his lack of accountability

    And I am not responsible for other people’s behaviors. So if someone else’s happiness is a function of Trump bring brought into the discussion that has nothing to do with me. My happiness has nothing to do with Trump being part of the discussion.

    Like

    • Joshua March 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      I only do that with Trump apologists, Willis. And also because it really does bother me that he lies do much about something do important.

      Look, Justin. I’ve had it up to my ears with xholes like you trying to bring Trump into every discussion of every subject in every location at every time. Your TDS is terminally boring.

      Try it again and it will get snipped. You can blather on all you want about ORANGE MAN BAD elsewhere, but not on this post. This post is about the coronavirus and whether the lockdown is justified. Leave your politics at home and your contributions will be welcomed.

      Otherwise … not so much.

      w.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And yet YOU are the one bringing Trump into the discussion. Just because you hate OrangeMan Bad does not mean anything you think has any relevance to reality. Want to bring him into it? OK. Who tried to stop travel from infected countries and start medical testing those coming from said countries? For bonus points, why did you screech “racist” when he tried to do those things? Don’t be shy, just shout the answer out if you know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. > . Otherwise, China would swamp everyone.

    I think the rate of growth in absolute numbers is the most important metric (not as much as the absolute totals).

    Like

    • Joshua March 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      > . Otherwise, China would swamp everyone.

      I think the rate of growth in absolute numbers is the most important metric (not as much as the absolute totals).

      The rate of growth is absolutely the most important metric, but absolute numbers are not important for that.

      Suppose your country has 100 million people. And as in my charts, suppose we express deaths per 10 million people. Your country over time has 1, 2, 4, 7, & 11 deaths per hundred thousand.

      And in absolute rather than per capita numbers, you have 10, 20, 40, 70, & 110 deaths … so clearly, the important metric, the growth rate, is identical whether or not it is per capita.

      w.

      Like

  20. > There absolutely is a reason why they are mutually exclusive—you can only spend money once.

    ? You don’t have to spend the same money twice. The key factor is the lack of effort to provide tests, ventilators, masks. etc. Those failures are not a function of the lockdowns.

    And the economic impact, and the stock market crash, aren’t merely a function of the lock downs either (although obviously the lock downs factor in).

    Like

  21. SNIP – I requested that you leave politics off the thread. You, of course, knew better.

    You’re more than welcome to post on other aspects of the lockdown.

    w.

    Like

  22. WE: “I’m 73, so I’m in the at-risk population. Here’s the thing. Most of the at-risk population, geezers like me plus immunocompromised people, are not working full-time. If you don’t want to end the insane lockdown, how about just locking down the at-risk folks, and let the others get back to work?”

    As another old, cancer+chemo compromised, expendable, I express enthusiastic agreement. On the other hand, as an expendable, I’d be willing to attempt some carefully designed “risky” tasks that aren’t strictly necessary for the younger and healthier.

    I think many of us would welcome tasks designed for the home-bound, much as members of earlier war-time generations knitted helmet-liners, rolled bandages, and served doughnuts to passing trainloads of troop. My cancer clinic always offers knitted caps made by volunteers to those chilly from hair loss after chemo. Similar craft groups could make “reminder” masks (not surgical filters, but just a thing to wear to restrict coughs a little bit and encourage us all not to touch our mouths or noses). Soak rags in Listerine and seal in ziploc bags as expedient wipes. Obviously I’m not the best designer of such products, tasks, and services. But I’d volunteer to make that contribution — since I and mine are in “lock down” any how.

    Like

  23. What is the relationship between population density and these rates? It is better to live in a City or the Suburbs when it comes to contagious disease?

    Like

  24. Hi Willis,

    You do good work with the data, but I’m afraid you’re missing the forest through the trees.

    The lockdown is in place to prevent our healthcare systems and medical personnel from being overwhelmed and get a highly infectious virus out of the population. Isolation (lockdown) is a proven effective way to stop the spread of this virus and end it. This is a very infectious virus, not sure accurate numbers on that are available or will be available for months.

    Certainly S. Korea is a model that all countries will study and try to implement in the future, it doesn’t seem we have the testing availability nor the necessary logistics and personnel to implement it effectively here at this time. It would be great if we could make it happen, in say 1-2 weeks!

    Age-linked quarantines are an interesting idea but there’s plenty of patients hospitalized in the 25-60 range, careful study must be done. Additionally, without enough isolation the virus will remain circulating in the population and when the age quarantines end they’ll be infected.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, those who choose to compare Covid-19 stats to influenza stats fail to pay heed to the extreme measures of population isolation keeping the Covid numbers from being far greater.

    This is about not losing lives to overwhelmed medical systems and getting a very infectious virus out of the population ASAP. If Trump wants to get people back to work we need to have an effective Korea-type model or continue to self isolate until the virus has run its course.

    Gary

    Like

  25. Salute!

    I need to hear from some of the “MD’s” here more about that malaria pill that Willis and I and a few million U.S. soldiers and airmen took for almost a decade in that stoopid war of our time. Willis was down there about same time I was, and taking the the big pill once a week with a meal was part of the standard drill.

    Some media and others are talking about serious side effects and such. Seems to me that we G.I.’s would have been perfect clinical trial subjects, huh? And I prolly got more physical attention as a pilot than the grunts, nobody I flew with for several tours there had any propblems. And trust me, we had shots for typhoid, plague, hepatitis, almost anything you think of. We also took antibiotics for even simple scratches. Strangely, more folks had bad dreams after coming home than ever had severe reactions to that big pill.

    Jez curious

    Gums asks…

    Like

    • Hey, Gums, good point about the military use of chloroqune. And people are currently taking chloroquine all over the world for malaria.

      I didn’t take it in the military, though. I took it during the nine years that I lived in the Solomon Islands, where malaria is a very common occurrence. I had malaria four times, I could pass on a fifth time.

      As for my experience in the military, see here … not a pretty picture. As you might have guessed, I’m not really much for taking orders.

      w.

      Like

  26. Pingback: The Italian Connection | Watts Up With That? – All My Daily News

  27. This is a case of taking the advice of a doctor who calls for a diabetic patient to have their leg amputated below the knee to avoid gangrene, when they have an infected ingrown toenail!

    It is without risk to the doctor and even allows them to claim success in keeping diabetic patients alive, but devastating to the patient.

    Like

  28. Coronavirus: There is no need to shut down the economy. Quarantine the high risk group and let the low risk group keep working.

    Very quickly the low risk group will become immune and the virus will die out. The high risk group can then gradually come out of quarantine.

    This will minimize deaths and minimize damage to the economy.

    Like

  29. > Coronavirus: There is no need to shut down the economy. Quarantine the high risk group and let the low risk group keep working.

    That isn’t going to happen. It’s not even remotely close to happening. Along with the pathetic lack of testing, they’ve essentially given up in contact tracing. It’s not happening. They’re just telling symptomatic people to go home. There is no realistic infrastructure for quarantining the “high risk” group. Many, many, in the “low risk” group will continue to spread the virus on an exponential scale. And how do you draw the line between the high and low risk groups in a way that will ensure compliance? There are many people who will die in the rather large number of people between the high and low risk groups. And there will be many people who will be very sick without dying. Many who will need hospitalization. Many who will be very sick for weeks.

    Some credible projections are that without serious social distancing – of a sort that will only come with local municipalities/governments stepping in to declare closing of daily business activities – as many as two million Americans will die from this disease. Vastly more will be seriously ill. And the virus will likely continue to spread through large populations of non-symptomatic people… which will eventually lead to the deaths of your quarantined high risk group. You can’t possibly quarantine so many people effectively for a very long period of time.

    What do you suppose the economic cost will be from the virus left to spread without any mitigation among your vauge “low risk” group – with the many who would be very sick if not dead? With the many who would be afraid to go to work for fear of getting ill, or the many who might be fired for not reporting to work at a workplace where someone was reported I’ll, or the many quarantined who would die because it’s impossible to effectively quarantine people for a very long time?

    > Very quickly the low risk group will become immune and the virus will die out. The high risk group can then gradually come out of quarantine.

    Very quickly? Please, do show your math.

    IMO, this is a false choice thst is being peddled. IMO, this is not a choice between large-scale, government led, social distancing and economic health. This is a voice between large scale economic damage along with death and illness on a serious scale, and death and illness on a massive scale along with large scale economic damage.

    If we had society that functioned as we see in South Korea, there might be a choice as you assert with total confidence but no actual empirical support.

    But we don’t live in such a society. The potential of an effective approach with extensive testing, and comprehensive contact tracing, and build up of medical infrastructure, without government directed social distancing, if it ever existed in the US, is non-existent at this point if it ever existed at all.

    I am “high risk” and my chances of dying from this disease are not insignificant. My life may well lie in the balance if there is no government directed social distancing. Perhaps your data free confidence justifies your belief that my life is probably a good trade off for saving the economy. All I can say is that if I die (and you don’t) I hope for your sake you’re right to be so confident. Otherwise you’ll have some ‘splainin to do.

    Like

    • contact tracing doesn’t have a chance of working when you start with hundreds of people without a common connection, it was never a realistic option for New York of San Francisco (even if we had testing at the level we have today)

      the big hot spots are going to need to continue with the containment and quarantine approach.

      But as we are getting testing ramped up to something near faster testing than the rest of the world combined, it will be a very valid option for the rest of the country so they can get back to work (this includes most of California and New York, just not the big metro areas)

      Southern California and the bay area going to be an interesting problems. I’m sure that there are hot spots, but given the lack of city borders, is this something that can be contained in a few areas rather than having to have the entire area locked down (I work from home anyway, so the lockdown doesn’t have a huge effect on me, a mile inconvenience more than anything else)

      Like

  30. It’s interesting to see a group of people who have been sailing under the flag of uncertainty for so many years now being so certain about such an incredibly complex problem with no solid data to use as a reference and not even offering any attempts to present empirical arguments – just a bunch of handwaves and pleadings for actions based on purely speculative and highly ideological counterfactuals.

    Like

    • Joshua, you cast aspersions on others for what you feel is their tone of certainty in this highly uncertain time. Yet, you yourself sound quite certain in your own views.

      You might consider the following as possible — and there is both data and reasoning to support this view — that the number of people who have contracted the disease in China, Europe, and the US is far, far greater than is reported because testing has been so limited. There is reason to believe the disease has already spread much further into populations than is realized. Thus, we are much further along on the infection rate curve than believed based on reported data. And, thankfully, the death rate is far lower than is being reported.

      Read the OpEd in today’s WSJ, “Is COVID-19 as Deadly as They Say?” Two Stanford medical professors evaluate the available data and suggest the above view is very possible. To select one quote from that article, “Since Italy’s case fatality rate of 8% is estimated using the confirmed cases, the real fatality rate could in fact be closer to 0.06%.” [based on the actual number of cases because testing is so limited].

      It is possible, based on reasonable data and analysis, that the impact on health (i.e., death rate) will be much lower than widely reported currently and the progression of the infection through the US and global population will be much faster, thus ending sooner. If so, extended economic shutdown would not be warranted.

      You may believe differently. Fine, but in highly uncertain situations like this it is particularly important to acknowledge all reasonable possibilities. Otherwise, one can be driven by emotion, which rarely results in the best response under high uncertainty.

      Keep an open mind.

      Like

      • JP –

        > Yet, you yourself sound quite certain in your own views.

        Then I didn’t convey my opinions clearly. I think that there is a great deal of uncertainty on this issue all the way down, from infection rates, to death rates, to the impact of disease mitigation policies, to the differential economic impact of those policies.

        > You might consider the following as possible […] that the number of people who have contracted the disease in China, Europe, and the US is far, far greater than is reported because testing has been so limited.

        Of course I think thst is possible – in fact likely.

        It is possible, based on reasonable data and analysis, that the impact on health (i.e., death rate) will be much lower than widely reported currently and the progression of the infection through the US and global population will be much faster, thus ending sooner. If so, extended economic shutdown would not be warranted.

        If so, perhaps not. But if not so, perhaps the economic shutdown will not only be worth it when weighed against public health benefits, it might also be worth it in terms of longer-term economic outcomes.

        My point was thsr vast uncertainties are being ignored here.

        > You may believe differently.

        I don’t.

        >. but in highly uncertain situations like this it is particularly important to acknowledge all reasonable possibilities

        I agree. Wholeheartedly. That was my point.

        Like

      • death rates.???

        nasty critter. kills your doctor and shuts the hospital

        https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1887020/nine-doctors-die-from-coronavirus-in-philippines

        The point?

        “global” death rates ain’t very helpful in assessing personal risk. or making decisions for Others.

        hey Doc! this is just like the flu, why the hazmat?

        I will repeat my analogy. If a hurricane is headed your way, you would not calculate the average windspeed across the nation to understand your risk.

        Like

  31. Dear Willis, I always look forward to reading your penetrating analyses on just about everything, not just climate. And thank you for relaying Mosher’s experiences in Korea, where the response of the authorities seems to have been as good as one could hope for. Lessons were learnt in E and SE Asia from earlier epidemics that have been largely ignored in Europe and N America.
    Germany (where I am based just now) seems to be well ahead on the testing front, at least by Western standards. Just down the road from me is a drive-through Covid-19 test facility, one of 3 in our city, Those without a car can walk through, but they prefer to administer the test through a car window. The test is not available to everybody, only to those in ‘system-relevant’ occupations such as hospital workers (which includes cleaners, not just medical staff), and those in the fire and emergency services. Others can get tested through their own GP (family doctor) if they have symptoms, There is a cost per test, but it is not excessive. More important is that the costs of any subsequent hospital treatment will in almost every case be fully covered by insurance. Few people in Germany, including the unemployed and asylum seekers, lack health insurance. This contrasts with the situation (as I understand it) in the USA. I can believe that for many Americans (maybe 1 in 10? or more?) the last thing they want is a test that might tell them they that they may be sick; if they are sick they can’t afford to do anything about it. Or that is the impression I get from articles like informationclearinghouse.info/54063-c.htm
    Anyway I hope you stay healthy in your forest retreat with your ex-fiancee. The world needs all the good scientists it has.

    Like

    • Korea was not perfect, especially in the beginning.
      that’s how the super spreader patient 31 got us.

      And we still don’t have this thing under control.
      cases up by 146, a lot of imports.
      wack a Mole
      and you have to play wack a mole because 1 super spreader will ruin your whole day.

      Like

    • That article is very misleading.
      Among other things, Hospitals in the US are not allowed to turn away someone because they can’t pay, they are required to treat them and get them stable before discharging them. Now this can be very expensive (hospital rooms are not cheap), but once you get past a given cost, you aren’t going to be paying it (because you can’t), and the hospital will send it to collections, and either settle for pennies on the dollar or write off the costs.

      There is nobody in the US refusing to take a Wu Flu test because they are afraid of the results. There are still more people who need to be tested than there are tests available. The last report was ~75k tests per day with them expecting to ramp up to 150k tests a day in the next several days. At 150k tests/day it would take 6 years to test everyone in the US (and some people are going to get multiple tests over time)

      so it’s always going to be a matter of ‘test those who need it’ rather than testing everyone, or even just those who want a test. Right now they are still working though the backlog of tests (but hoping to get caught up soon) and after that they will test you if you show signs of being seriously sick, or in some less impacted areas, if there is a reason to believe that you have been in contact with someone who has been sick.

      All of Obamacare is to deal with <1 in 10 americans, so if everyone covered by Obamacare was to loose their coverage, it would be less than 1 in 10 (and note, many of these people _had_ coverage before Obmacare, but it was easier to drop the coverage as "Obamacare would take care of it". As I understand it, somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the people eligible for Obamacare do not have coverage. I was one of them when I was between jobs because the costs (monthly payments and deductibles) was just too high, so I made the bet that I wouldn't get that sick before finding my next job, which let me keep current on my other bills (which I would not have been able to do if I had paid the Obamacare premiums)

      Like

  32. Salute!

    TNX, JP

    Unlike the global warming alarmist’s unverified data and unproven models that do not use traditional, accepted “scientific methodology”, we have fairly good, public raw data for this bug’s invasion and a fair amount of data for treatment and disease progression and……. We still do not have great, positive results on various treatments in various venues and so forth. Big deal.

    That being said, Willis and I and others here have undergone swallowing that big malaria pill once a week for years. Big meal helped. Tho” even that was not possible for many of we folks over “in-country”, or where Willis was in the South Pacific if they had a bad day fishing, yet we had insignificant medical problems and virtually zero malaria cases.

    I will listen and learn as much as I can from the medical community presentations and studies and advice. And that is because, unlike the global warming crowd, the medical folks are publishing and releasing data and study results fast as they can.

    Gums sends…

    Like

      • Salute!

        My point (s), David:
        – we have a count of real world people getting sick and dying versus looking at some pollen at the bottom of a lake that was deposited thousands of years ago, or a tree ring someplace in Eurasia, or an untested climate model based upon the same questionable data
        – as Mosh has implied, we may have missed thousands or even millions of folks that have been infected due to our lack of tests. The good news is, if that is the case, than the damned bug may not be as bad as the end of the world in 12 years if the temperature goes up 2 degrees. Huh?
        – Somehow, I trust the medical profession epidemic models from history ( hundreds of years ago in Europe to just ten years ago here in the U.S.) a lot more than the Manntastic ones.
        – Lastly, we have studied the malaria compounds since before Willis and I were even born. The medical community must make it clear that basic FDA approval for one type of treatment does not mean that the same drug or compound cures everything!! Secondly, if you are already on some regimen of drugs, there could be unpleasant reactions. That being said, I was glad to see the NIH doctor say he would have his patient use one of the malaria compounds.

        Gums sends…

        Like

        • my problem is that most of the medical models have been ‘this is the worst case’ frequently using assumptions that are shown to be overly pessimistic in the days between the model being created and the results being published.

          And there’s the same problem as with Climate Change “look, this model says X, it must be true”

          even if the models were accurate at the rate of spread, their estimates of the casualties are going to be hopelessly wrong due to GIGO, if you don’t have accurate information of the number of current cases to compare with the number of current fatalities, then when you magnify the number of cases (especially if you do so based on exponential spread), your predicted fatalities are going to be enormously higher than what actually is going to happen.

          driving public policy based on these bad model results results in public policy. Political leaders being told that this has a 6% mortality factor is going to produce VASTLY different reactions than if it has a 1% mortality.

          So I think the to situations re very similar, the people producing the models with bad/limited data have a vested interest in producing scary reports to ensure that what they consider ‘the appropriate actions’ take place.

          Like

    • I don’t know if you’ve seen this one yet either:

      https://www.unz.com/pescobar/why-france-is-hiding-a-cheap-and-tested-virus-cure/

      Raoult is opposed to the total lockdown of sane individuals and possible carriers – which he considers “medieval,” in an anachronistic sense. He’s in favor of massive testing (which, besides South Korea, was successful in Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam) and a fast treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Only contaminated individuals should be confined.

      Like

    • Willis you may be onto something … LOL

      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387

      One of the authors is a Dr Fauci (yes that Dr Fauci).

      “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS”

      Like

  33. Pingback: The Italian Connection – EIKE – Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie

  34. Pingback: The Italian Connection - BAYERN online

  35. Pingback: The Italian Connection – finger’s blog

  36. If they actually wanted to determine the rate of infection (at least at that point) they should take a random sample of the general population and use that to actually determine how infectious it is and then track the cohort to see how many actually got sick and how many are acute and die.

    S. Koreans might have numbers if you could get them. Supposedly when they find a case in an apartment complex they test everyone on that floor and 1 above and below. Of course you then need to follow that group til they’re past the incubation period.

    Like

    • Testing has moved to the airport , land in Korea, get a bonus welcoming gift
      Swab up your nose. Same in China.

      Assume that random people with no symptoms got on a plane.
      two days ago 51 of those random people tested positive when they landed in Korea.
      I don’t know the denominator. sorry.

      serological testing can not come soon enough

      Today abbot labs release a 5 -15 minute test.

      Hopefully folks will test the right groups of people.

      Like

  37. Pingback: The Italian Connection - Leserbriefe

  38. Hi Willis,
    There is also a bunch of data on Kaggle which you may find interesting. There are people making some good models. This is one I find particularly good:
    https://www.kaggle.com/pradeepmuniasamy/covid19-inside-story-of-each-countries
    Most are written in Python Notebooks so the code may be as foreign to you as R is to me!
    May I ask a question which and please don’t take it as a criticism. Do you store all the code you write in that one big file?

    Like

  39. Hi Willis, You seem to be using some tab files for your constant values in your coronagraph.R and Willis Functions.R. Would you be so kind to add them to the Dropbox? Thanks!

    Like

You are invited to add your comments. Please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all be clear on your subject.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s