Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost? (was Do Lockdowns Work?)

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach


Well, I got up today and fired up the weed wacker and went out to sweat a bit in the sun. You can see the mowed part at the bottom and the much larger unmowed part behind … I limit my fun to one tank of gas per day, makes my hands shake afterward.

And while turning tall grass into short grass, I thought …

Rats! I asked the wrong question!

The question is not “Do Lockdowns Work”? The answer to that is obviously yes. All different types of those restrictions, from the mildest to the most draconian, will have some effect on the speed of transmission. So “Do lockdowns work?” is meaningless.

The real question is, “Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost?”

That is to say, will any further extension of the lockdowns make any difference? From what people say below, we don’t see the effects of the lockdowns for three weeks or so after the imposition of the sanctions. Now, thanks to a most interesting site provided by my generally aggravating friend Steve Mosher, the future of the US looks like this (the site also has individual states):

If the peak is in two weeks, and the effects of what we do today won’t be visible for two weeks, and at this point the possible changes are small, is that worth the huge damage this lockdown is doing?

The problem that I see is the cost. One week of lockdown has cost us two trillion dollars, along with thousands of failed businesses, people unable to retire because their 401Ks are in the toilet, hundreds of thousands unemployed, a big uptick in domestic violence, and lots of jobs lost.

Now, I estimate that something on the order of 80,000 people will die in the US from this virus. (Curious me, I also looked up the estimate from the model above … 93,000.) Suppose the “flattening the curve” saves 10% of them. By all indications, it won’t, but let’s use that number.

That means that we have spent two trillion dollars to save maybe 8,000 people.

And that, in turn, means that we’ve spent a QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS PER PERSON, most of them over 70 like me but unlike me with other diseases, and put our economy in the crapper in the bargain. I may be wrong, but somehow I don’t think my life is worth a quarter billion dollars.

Now, think about the alternative—voluntary self-isolation, particularly of geezers like me, along with putting two billion into field hospitals, quarantine hospitals, accelerated doctor and nurse training in quarantine procedures, ventilators, masks, quarantine ambulances, drug production of antibiotics, chloroquine, and whatever drugs we need, instructional videos on social distancing, and the like.

I’d say there’s a good chance that we could save more than the 8,000 people by that method, and no matter how many we saved, we’d end up with a) a medical system second to none, b) a humming economy that just had two trillion poured into increased production, c) on-shoring our drug-production industry, d) no business losses, unemployment, or job losses, and e) no uptick in domestic violence.

Call me crazy, but I do NOT want to spend another two trillion dollars to prop up a mostly “feel-good” lockdown ..

Given the general ineffectiveness of these various lockdown-type interventions in the Western countries, and given that a couple weeks of lockdown have already cost us a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of vanished jobs and failed businesses and unemployed workers …

… given all of that, I have to ask … is yesterday too soon to end the lockdowns?

Don’t give up. Just end the stay-at-home shelter-in-place regulations. Leave a strong VOLUNTARY self-isolation on geezers like myself, retired folks. Test incoming visitors to the US. Keep washing hands. START WEARING MASKS!.

Let’s get the country back to work before any more people go bankrupt or are unable to pay their rent.

Anyhow, that was my morning. How was yours? I’ve changed the title of the post, and left the original title as well, for searching purposes. And now, here’s my original post.

Best wishes to all for good health,



(See, back then they were only talking one trillion. But it’s politicians spending OPM, so of course now it’s two trillion.)

And from everything I’ve seen up to now, I was right. Near as I can tell, the lockdowns in various countries have done little & our health system is still inadequate. However, that’s just anecdotal. So here is some harder data on the question. 

First, almost every country has implemented some forms of health interventions, ranging from the mild to the Chinese-style totalitarian clampdowns.

And as the Koreans have shown, this can work … but only if people are willing to have quarantines enforced with GPS locations and a surveillance state and GPS contact tracing that shows everywhere you’ve been in the last two weeks. As far as I can see, you have to be Korea or China to pull that one off, and no western country has even tried it.

And as a result, there is very little difference between the spread of disease and the concomitant rate of death in any of the western countries. Figure 1 shows the tragic trajectory of death in the 14 countries with the highest death rates.

Figure 1. Coronavirus deaths versus the number of days since the country went over 10 deaths per million people. 

As you can see, there is very little difference in the death rates between the various countries, despite the fact that they all have differing levels of health interventions to try to prevent the spread. They’re all following the same trajectory.

Now, other than lockdowns, what kind of health interventions am I referring to? Glad you asked. Over at ACAP you can download a dataset of the different kinds of measures used by different countries. They list no less than 33 different types of health interventions being used to fight the coronavirus, viz:

  • Additional health/documents requirements upon arrival
  • Amendments to funeral and burial regulations
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Border checks 
  • Border closure 
  • Changes in prison-related policies
  • Checkpoints within the country
  • Complete border closure
  • Curfews
  • Domestic travel restrictions
  • Economic measures
  • Emergency administrative structures activated or established
  • Full lockdown
  • General recommendations
  • Health screenings in airports and border crossings
  • Humanitarian exemptions
  • International flights suspension
  • Introduction of quarantine policies
  • Limit product imports/exports
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Lockdown of refugee/idp camps or other minorities
  • Mass population Testing
  • Military deployment
  • Obligatory medical tests not related to COVID-19
  • Partial lockdown
  • Psychological assistance and medical social work
  • Public services closure 
  • Schools closure 
  • State of emergency declared
  • Strengthening the public health system
  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Testing policy
  • Visa restrictions

So I used that to see if countries with more of those restrictions fared better. Here, for example, are the restrictions imposed by South Korea over time. Some are listed twice because they were expanded or made more rigorous over time:

  • Health screenings in airports and border crossings   
  • Limit public gatherings                              
  • Visa restrictions                                    
  • Visa restrictions                                    
  • Introduction of quarantine policies                  
  • Schools closure                                      
  • Introduction of quarantine policies                  
  • Additional health/documents requirements upon arrival
  • Surveillance and monitoring                          
  • General recommendations                              
  • Additional health/documents requirements upon arrival
  • General recommendations                              
  • Partial lockdown                                     
  • General recommendations                              
  • Introduction of quarantine policies                  
  • Psychological assistance and medical social work     
  • Introduction of quarantine policies                  
  • Surveillance and monitoring 

Quarantine, then surveillance, then more rigorous quarantine, then even more rigorous surveillance and quarantine. I don’t believe that Americans would put up with that.

However, being a graphically minded sort of person, I then made a scatterplot of the number of distinct kinds of restrictions a country has imposed versus the number of deaths per ten million in that country. Figure 2 shows the result:

Figure 2. Scatterplot, number of kinds of restrictions to try to prevent viral spread versus coronavirus deaths per ten thousand.

As you can see, the number of restrictions seems to have little to do with the number of deaths. For example, here’s what Switzerland has done. These are the different restrictions they’ve applied.

  • Limit public gatherings
  • Border checks 
  • Visa restrictions
  • State of emergency declared
  • Schools closure 
  • State of emergency declared
  • Border checks 
  • Visa restrictions
  • General recommendations
  • Strengthening the public health system
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Testing policy
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Border closure 
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Economic measures
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Partial lockdown
  • Full lockdown
  • Partial lockdown
  • Economic measures
  • Economic measures
  • Limit product imports/exports
  • Military deployment
  • Limit public gatherings
  • International flights suspension
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Strengthening the public health system
  • Visa restrictions
  • Economic measures     

So the lack of visible effect is not from a lack of restrictions. Nor is the lack of visible effect because the restrictions haven’t been in place long enough. Switzerland imposed the first restrictions forty days ago, on the 21st of February. They closed the schools. On the 24th of February, the government declared an “extraordinary situation,” and banned all private and public events and ordered restaurants and bars to close. At that point, they had no coronavirus deaths. [UPDATE: A couple of people said that Switzerland’s restrictions had not been in place that long. Upon rechecking my sources, I find they were right and I was 100% wrong. However, my point remains—the different restrictions haven’t made any detectable difference to date, and the crunch is coming in one or two weeks for most countries. So any effect will be minimal, if not detectable, and meanwhile the economic and human cost is horrendous.]

They currently have 433 deaths from coronavirus. Forty days of sanctions with no effect.

Meanwhile, the Swiss have about the same number of deaths per ten million population as say Netherlands, and here’s all that the Dutch have done:

  • Introduction of quarantine policies
  • Limit public gatherings
  • Schools closure 
  • Public services closure 
  • General recommendations
  • Economic measures
  • Emergency administrative structures activated or established

No lockdown, neither partial nor full. No limitations on import/export. No suspension of flights. No visa restrictions. No state of emergency. No border checks. 

And despite that … they are on a par with the Swiss, despite all of the Swiss containment measures. 

Or you could look at it another way. Germany, the US, Portugal, France, and Spain have all instituted the same number of restrictions … but their deaths go from low to high.

So it seems that my intuition was correct. Unless you are willing to impose a full-blown police and surveillance state, these measures do very little. The problem is that this bugger is so insidious. It has a long incubation period when it is infectious but asymptomatic. And it can live on surfaces for days. As a result, in terms of government restrictions, nothing but a major Korean-style full-court press, with surveillance and strict quarantine and a populace willing to follow restrictions to the letter, will cut down the number of cases.

And Americans simply won’t do that. In fact, it’s impossible to get Americans to just shelter in place. If you go out into the streets of the US, there are lots of people working, lots of people going from place to place, grocery stores full of people … control the virus?

I don’t think so.

But regarding controlling the virus, here’s another graph. It’s exactly the same as Figure 2, but it contains Japan as well.

Hmm … they’re in the danger zone, near to Korea and China, so what extreme health measures are they practicing? Here you go …

  • Health screenings in airports and border crossings
  • Visa restrictions

Whaaaa? That’s all the restrictions? … my only conclusion from that is simple.


The one virus health practice that distinguishes Japan from most of the world is that they all wear masks in public. Even the liberal US news media is noticing the effectiveness of masks—a CNN story is headlined “Face masks and coronavirus: Asia may have been right and the rest of the world is coming around” … seems the US specialists were wrong again. Go figure.

A mask cuts transmission down in two ways. First, it keeps you from touching your mouth or nose. This both protects you until you can wash your hands, and if you are infected it keeps you from spreading the virus onto hard surfaces to infect others.

Next, it keeps you from sneezing or coughing a billion virus particles into the air. It’s less effective at preventing you from inhaling such particles, although it helps with that as well. And it is that sneezing and coughing that is the major way that the virus is spread.

And overall, as Japan is showing us, wearing a mask cuts the transmission rate way down.

We’re starting to get there, but it may be too little too late. I see that the genius medical experts who recommended the ineffective drastic lockdown are now thinking about recommending that Americans wear masks. The headline in Politico says “Fauci: Mask-wearing recommendation under ‘very serious consideration’” … under consideration?? They’ve destroyed the American economy without looking back, but a simple recommendation to wear a mask in public requires “very serious consideration”?

Sigh …

We can see above that there’s very little upside to the American lockdown … so let’s look at the downside. First, the economic damage from the current insane “shelter-in-place” regulations designed to thwart the coronavirus is already 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. The people who made the decision obviously were led by doctors, which was good, but they did not listen to economists or social scientists, which was lethal.

To partially compensate the populace for those stupendous economic losses, we’ve just thrown two TRILLION dollars in the general direction of the problem. That’s trillion with a “T”. Most people have no idea how much a trillion dollars is. Consider it this way. 

Suppose you were an immortal who made so much money that you were able to spend a million dollars a day forever. In the first week, you buy 350 ventilators at $20,000 each and give them to the various states. The next day you buy 200,000 face masks at $5 a pop, epidemic prices. Then you decide to take a year and buy a field hospital every day, 365 of them at a million dollars each. That feels so good that you decide to set up full hospitals. They’re something like 1.5 million dollars per bed. So you can buy a 250-bed hospital per year. You spend the next two hundred years doing that, two hundred new hospitals, 50,000 new beds.

Now that’s only about a hundred years of spending a million bucks a day. Suppose further that you started spending one megabuck per day, that’s a full million dollars each and every day including weekends, back on January First way back in the Year One. And imagine that you spent a million dollars a day every day right up to the present, buying medical equipment, expanding medical schools, purchasing test kits, a million dollars a day from the year 1 right up to the year 2020.

Guess what … 

… you still would have spent far less than a trillion dollars, only about three-quarters of a trillion. And to spend two trillion, you’d have to spend a million dollars a day for 5,500 years.

Can you imagine what our medical system would be like if we spent a million dollars a day on it for fifty-five-hundred years?

Instead, we’ve pissed the two trillion away on repairing the damage caused by the lockdown without getting the economy started again, plus wasting it on all the pork that got loaded onto the bill.

Consummate financial idiocy that only politicians could ever think was reasonable, logical, or practical. Mark Twain was right when he said “Suppose that you were a Member of Congress. And suppose further that you were an idiot. But I repeat myself.”

So … how about we all put on masks, keep washing our hands, give up our steamy midnight rendezvous (rendezvous?) with pangolins, increase testing particularly of our medical personnel, start testing for antibodies, and end this stupid lockdown? The pluted bloatocrats in Congress are already dreaming up a new appropriations bill to waste another trillion dollars or so that we cannot afford. Me, I say, let’s quit while we’re behind and get back to work.

Here on my forest hillside where the redwood trees scratch the sky, it’s my great fortune that my daughter, her husband, and my infant granddaughter have come to spend the lockdown in the woods … and both I and my gorgeous ex-fiancée are overjoyed that they are here. They’re working from home, and we’re retired, so all is well chez nous.

So stay well in these parlous times, dear friends. I see that Chloroquine has been approved in India for Covid-19 treatment. I had malaria four times, so I know that drug up close and personal. Plus I took it once a week for a year as malaria prophylaxis. And I used to take three weekly doses per day for three days in a row if I felt malaria coming on, and that would stop it in its tracks. So I’d take it again in a minute.

And I also saw that the advisor to the Italian Health Minister has said that only 12% of the Italian deaths were actually deaths FROM Covid-19, and the rest were deaths WITH Covid-19. So things may be looking up.

Regards to everyone,


The Usual: When you comment please quote the exact words you are discussing, so we can all be clear who and what you are referring to.

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Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 10:08 am

How do we know the US isn’t conflating seasonal flu and other respiratory deaths with CoVid-19 to make the situation appear more serious, rationalize the jack-booted response and the 200,000 deaths that never actually happen a Trump miracle?

As soon as CoVid-19 culls the really^3 old and really^3 sick and smokers it will most likely die out on its own amongst the young and healthy.
There are many deaths every day. An additional 1,000 of CoVid-19 is relatively small.
200,000 deaths is 20,000 each day for 10 days. Does that even pass the BS smell test?
Seasonal flu mortality = 5.9%, CoVid-19 mortality – 2.0%, Life mortality = 100%.

Deaths and Mortality
Data are for the U.S. 2017
• Number of deaths: 2,813,503 (7,700/day)
• Death rate: 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population
• Life expectancy: 78.6 years
• Infant Mortality rate: 5.79 deaths per 1,000 live births
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
• Heart disease: 647,457 (1,770/day)
• Cancer: 599,108 (1,640/day)
• Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936 (466/day)
• Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201 (439/day)
• Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383 (401/day)
• Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404 (333/day)
• Diabetes: 83,564 (229/day)
• Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672 (153/day)
• Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633 (139/day)
• Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173 (129/day)

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 11:02 am

“how do we know?”

That’s too easy. We don’t .
Ask me another one.
Like does” self-isolation” mean that you isolate yourself?
Don’t be silly.

Reply to  farmerbraun
April 1, 2020 6:18 pm

There are databases at the state level that record death certificates. Mortality rates can easily be checked; cause of death on death certificates canbe checked (recall, MDs are the ones that sign death certificates and scribble in cause of death).

CDC uses lots of data but uses models (anyone know if their code is public ?) to guesstimate projections of infections, etc. It’s the CDC numbers that SWAGS. However, they do provide lab testing results on the flu-pneumonia at Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report (paste into your search engine). These, hopefully, don’t include non-flu lab tests.

Reply to  cedarhill
April 2, 2020 1:29 am

Death certificates are notoriously unreliable in the best of times. And in some places death certificates record CV if you have tested positive, even if you have terminal cancer and have a week to live. Others don’t.

And a large proportion of deaths are recorded as CV even though any infection would have killed the patient – the very elderly/sick often get pushed over the edge by their third or fourth infection in a row. What the last one is is irrelevant.

Reply to  Phoenix44
April 3, 2020 3:44 am

@Phoenix44 – Yep. They’re going to fudge on the death rate with Coronavirus like they do with opioids. No matter what other drugs are on board, if there is *any* opioid, it’s blamed for the death.

John Endicott
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 11:13 am

where do you get only 10 days @20k a day for the 200,000 total????? If only this situation would be over in 10 days!!!!!

From your own numbers, Chronic lower respiratory diseases (160k) and Intentional self-harm (suicide (at 47k) just slightly top beat out the 200k mark with a combined 207k and their combined per day number is 568/day (439 + 129) not 20,700/day as would be the case without 10 day statistic. Your playing nonsense with statistics doesn’t pass the BS smell test, Nick.

Reply to  John Endicott
April 1, 2020 1:47 pm

Here is a smell test… Italy.
Average age of death 79.5 what is the life expectancy there?
Deaths 95% aged 60 and over.
5% aged 59 and under.

What does this seem to mimic? Typical daily life in the country. Basically, at worst, it brought people close to dying already to the threshold a bit early.

Reply to  astonerii
April 1, 2020 4:52 pm

The average age of Chinese Flu death in Italy is about the same as the average life expectancy, at least for men. I believe it’s higher than the average life expectancy in Spain.

One thing that I didn’t see mentioned in the article is hospital quarantines; I believe hospitals have been quarantined in at least some of the Asian countries which have low levels of infection, whereas in most of the West the medical staff are allowed to go to work, get infected, and then stop at the grocery store on the way home to pass it on to other people.

Reply to  astonerii
April 1, 2020 6:23 pm

totally mortality in Europe at the moment is tracking under trend

would be interesting to track Denmark and Sweden, neighbours taking different paths

Reply to  yarpos
April 2, 2020 7:59 am

Check “Worldometers”/coronavirus site for fairly comprehensive stats on most countries.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 1:26 pm

“Seasonal flu mortality = 5.9%, ” that’s not correct.

Reply to  Shelly
April 1, 2020 7:15 pm

It is if you only use confirmed cases and not the millions of estimated cases they use to bring the rate down.

Reply to  Shelly
April 2, 2020 8:01 am

It’s actually wildly inaccurate. Out by a factor of about 100 I believe.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 1:31 pm

Hey Nick, surely you looked around at the rest of the world…or at least Willis’ other posts here? The US is doing BETTER than most every nation.

COVID-19 has not peaked yet in the US (or world). There are still plenty who are going die. And it has only been with us a short amount of time, so comparing deaths that occur over 365 days – including health conditions that have developed over or lasted several years – to something that has impacted the nation and globe over such a short period of time is silly.

Sure, there are things that kill more people than COVID-19. So? HIV/AIDS isn’t on your list…I guess we don’t need to teach or practice safe sex?

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 2:06 pm

moreover flu kills healthy children-

Study of Flu-Related Deaths in Children Shows Healthy Children at Risk
February 12, 2018 – A CDC study published in the journal PediatricsExternal shows just how vulnerable U.S. children are to the flu each year. The study, titled “Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths in the United States, 2010-2016,” analyzed reported flu-related deaths in children younger than 18 over the course of six flu seasons from October 2010 through September 2016. Results showed that half of flu-related deaths occurred in otherwise healthy children, 22% of whom were fully vaccinated. This is an update to the 2013 WongExternal, et al paper published in Pediatrics in 2013 that showed similar findings regarding overall flu risk in children. One notable difference, however, was the increase in flu-related deaths among healthy children. Previously, fewer than 40% of children who died had no underlying high-risk medical conditions.
These findings also show antiviral treatment was only given in about half of all pediatric flu deaths. CDC recommends that flu antiviral drugs be started as soon as possible when young children and children with high-risk conditions are suspected of having the flu.

During 2010-2016, young children continued to be at the greatest risk for flu-associated pediatric deaths. The findings show that vaccination coverage was low among these children. This supports CDC’s recommendation that all children 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccination each year. Pregnant women and caregivers of infants should also get vaccinated to help protect them.

This study stresses how quickly the flu can become life-threatening for children. Nearly two-thirds of children died within seven days of developing symptoms. Over one-third died at home or in the emergency department prior to hospital admission. In fact, children without other medical conditions that would predispose them to serious flu complications were more likely to die before hospital admission. This is a reminder that parents should seek prompt medical care for young children and children at high risk for flu complications with flu symptoms.

During all six seasons, mortality rates were highest in children younger than 2 years of age. Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native children were also at higher risk.

The greatest number of pediatric deaths in the study occurred during the 2012-13 season while the fewest occurred during the 2011-12 season. Flu A viruses were associated with the majority of deaths in children (65%), while flu B viruses accounted for 33% of deaths.

Bacterial co-infections were more common among otherwise healthy children than among children with a high-risk medical condition. Clinical complications were reported for 75% of children, with the most common being pneumonia (41%) and sepsis (31%).

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 4:30 pm

“How do we know the US isn’t conflating seasonal flu and other respiratory deaths with CoVid-19 to make the situation appear more serious, rationalize the jack-booted response and the 200,000 deaths that never actually happen a Trump miracle?”

We know, because of New York State.
We also know if we look at Europe where most of the reported deaths and
overwhelmed hospitals have occurred.
And it occurred later in New York State because Trump stopped flights from China. Which WHO protested against {as well as other pundits}.
And then Trump stopping flight from Europe which also helped slow the virus from causing New York City from becoming a disaster, sooner than it did.
We are only trying to buy time, so we can get ready to fight it.
But if you want blame Trump, the problem was the US did not test quick enough and with enough tests.
But last I heard, we got a grand total of 1.5 million tests done, and we need about 2 million more test done, within the next week. Then getting about another 10 million should be enough.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 5:09 pm

Firstly, no one knows what the death rates are for any epidemin, flu or corona virus or SPanish Flu. Secondly, comparing death rates between flus, viruses, etc is stupid. The number who die is not a function of the death rate, even if we knew what it was, but the degree of contagion – i.e. how many people get infected, multiplied by the death rate. To see how bad an epidemic is we simply count the number who die, which we know with a high degree of certainity. Except for the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920, the flu death toll every year varies from roughly 20,000 to 60,000 for a bad or severe flu. That is without anyone practicing mitigation. The death toll even with excellent mitigation for the COVID19 looks to be 100 – 200 thousand and without mitigation a couple of million. COVID!( is far and away much worse than the sesonal flu, even if the resulting death rate is held to a minimum and is not far from that of a severe flu, BUT COVID19 is much more contagious andwill infect many more people than the seasonalflu, with or without mitigation.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  ColMosby
April 2, 2020 1:00 pm

“The death toll even with excellent mitigation for the COVID19 looks to be 100 – 200 thousand and without mitigation a couple of million. COVID!( is far and away much worse than the sesonal flu, even if the resulting death rate is held to a minimum and is not far from that of a severe flu, BUT COVID19 is much more contagious andwill infect many more people than the seasonalflu, with or without mitigation.” How do you know that, these are all projections based on models, models that have very little data.. As Willis is point out the lockdown looks to have no effect what so ever. Time will tell what the death rate is and how many people died. The true infection and death rate will come out, what we have no is just speculation and a lot of people dying, we have no idea who is infected, who been infected period.

Doug danhoff
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 1, 2020 6:36 pm

I have Dr friends telling me that some hospitals are putting the c19 tag on every respiratory death

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 2, 2020 1:28 pm

In the end we will not know for a fact but will have a fairly accurate approximation. Simply look at average deaths during the flu season then compare that to this flu season. Is it high, low or average? We don’t need positive tests to be fairly certain how many people died of COVID-19 and unlike the Chinese they are not going to try and hide how many die.

Second thing they’ll look at is the annual death rate to see how we place compared to average. It could be we have a high flu season death rate but hit average numbers by end of year. That will happen if the majority of those that die were already going to die within the year. Seeing how COVID-19 tends to be harshest on already high risk groups I can see this easily happening. May not be PC to say it’s mostly culling the weak and sick but that’s how things are looking. Yes I know some perfectly healthy people have died and will die. That’s a given but it remains to be seen if healthy people dying will be the rule or exception.

This brings up a question I’ve been mulling and with what’s going on we may never know. How many of the “healthy” deaths have undiagnosed underlying issues? With how swamped our medical profession is right now I have a feeling a proper autopsy is going by the wayside. For example: A supposedly healthy 20 something year old may have damaged their lungs vaping that stuff available last summer but never went to their doctor so the damage is undiagnosed. This flu season they get sick, test positive for COVID-19 and die a few days later. Cause of death will be listed as COVID-19, case closed. If they hadn’t damaged their lungs vaping crap would COVID-19 of killed them? All hypothetical I know but how many times has a kid suddenly drops dead on the court playing a game. Kid is considered perfectly healthy but autopsy shows they had an underlying heart problem that had gone undetected. Without the autopsy we would not know about complicating factors that lead to death.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
April 3, 2020 9:16 am

This site may help answer your question:

It’s an animation comparing Covid-19 deaths to average American causes of death per day, over 30 days in March. From last to number 3 in 30 days. Heading for number one with a bullet in a couple more doubling periods of about 4 days. Exponential growth is like that.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DiogenesNJ
April 3, 2020 10:17 am

The animation is misleading because it shows average-annual daily deaths of influenza as a constant while it, like COVID-19, is in flux during the seasonal period of Winter/early-Spring.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 3, 2020 10:25 am

Why not try adding the last couple of days to that chart for yourself and see how much change has taken place?

Has Mr Eschenbach updated his second chart to reflect the current rates?

April 1, 2020 10:14 am

Think masks ‘just’ prevent face touching. They do little to stop virus once damp. And WASH YOUR HANDS!

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 12:25 pm

Are these no. of deaths all at the same stage in the progression of he disease ?

Tim Folkerts
Reply to  Stephen Richards
April 1, 2020 2:06 pm

From the initial graph presented, the answer is clearly “no”. Each country’s data are on the same DATE, not the same number of days since the threshold of 10 deaths was reached.

Since Willis is looking at the # of measures applied, a much better analysis would be to pick certain points (10 days after 10 deaths/10 million, 15 days after 10 deaths/10 million, 20 days after 20 deaths/10 million) and compare death rates on those days vs # of interventions (or vs type of interventions).

I agree with Willis that simply wearing masks would have been an excellent option … but that boat sailed in January when the supply chain could have been ramped up sufficiently to actually have masks available.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
April 1, 2020 1:13 pm

Take you shoes off at the door.

Van Doren
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
April 1, 2020 4:16 pm

A simple OP mask stops up to 90% of viral load.

April 1, 2020 10:17 am

That conclusion regarding masks I agree with. Unfortunately our CDC has said they “do not recommend routine use of respirators (masks) outside of workplace settings.”

The data from China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and S Korea indicates otherwise.

Reply to  John
April 1, 2020 4:47 pm

If US stored masks like we do toilet paper, we would have had enough masks, but we still would have hoarded the masks, like we did the toilet paper.

But as they are now saying now, any kind of mask or scarf can be used, but we still don’t have enough masks for potential future use for medical users- the Public should not hoard the masks that medical users need to use.
And in future the US healthcare should buy masks like US public typically buys toilet paper {plan for emergency toilet paper use- and buy large quantity when on sale]. Or with masks you can reuse them, so have a way to sterilize masks, then you don’t need rooms filled with extra masks]

Robert Terrell
Reply to  John
April 1, 2020 5:46 pm

Masks are not ‘respirators’! They are simply paper or cloth filters, with the hope that they will stop MOST of the airborne viruses. They may, or the may NOT! A ‘respirator’ is a device to force air into the lungs of those who aren’t able to do so for themselves.

Reply to  Robert Terrell
April 1, 2020 7:47 pm

That’s weird. My mask says ‘respirator’ on the box; I guess 3M don’t know the difference.

Reply to  MarkG
April 2, 2020 8:05 am

Hey, my Chev manual says, “Fine automobile”. You’ve got to interpret salesmanese into realityese. Like dealing with Chinese governemnt announcments.

John Murray
Reply to  Robert Terrell
April 1, 2020 10:05 pm

FFP2 (N95) stops inhalation of 94%+ of virus.
FFP3 (N100) stops inhalation of 99%+
Both are respirators.
To anyone with a respiratory condition, they are unpleasant to wear. Those fitted with an exhalation valve do not filter exhaled air !!
Masks are like the surgical facemask, and are considerably less effective than respirators at stopping inhaling infected air.
The numbers coming out of disease modelling are frightening.

See - owe to Rich
Reply to  John Murray
April 3, 2020 2:56 am

John, thanks for that link. The good news, in contradiction to Willis, is that their modelling estimates that 59000 deaths upto March 31st have been averted (or perhaps just delayed) by the interventions, most of them in Italy. I think that Italy is now near to their peak death rate. Willis can probably fit a Gompertz curve and predict the total. I could too, but I’m concentrating on the UK where I live, and we are still too early for the parameters to have settled down.

Sweden is going to be very interesting if they never order a lockdown. Those figures could yet favour Willis rather than Imperial College London.


kevin roche
Reply to  See - owe to Rich
April 3, 2020 5:19 am

The parenthetical is the critical item–it is likely just delaying, no reason to think the virus will be eradicated, and the vast proportion of people dying are older and infirm, they won’t be any more able to withstand a resurgence than they could the first wave. And unfortunately, even if infected they don’t tend to develop as strong an antibodies and vaccines don’t work as well for them. Immune systems, like everything else, decline in effectiveness as we age. The fact that it is largely just a delay seems to me to be a huge factor in decisions about whether extreme economic shutdowns are worth the enormous pain they cause to so many people.

Reply to  Robert Terrell
April 2, 2020 8:55 am

“a device to force air into the lungs of those who aren’t able to do so for themselves”


A “respirator” is a device designed to protect the wearer from inhaling hazardous atmospheres, including particulate matter such as dusts and airborne microorganisms

Reply to  ChrisC
April 2, 2020 11:54 am

ChrisC — exactly right. Note to others above.

John Tillman
Reply to  Robert Terrell
April 4, 2020 12:10 pm

That’s a ventilator.

A respirator, in this case, is a mask like N95, which fits tightly over the nose and mouth, sometimes with a relief valve so as not to overheat. Its construction is designed to catch small particles, and it lacks the gaps in coverage of a surgical mask, which is designed to protect the patient from the doctor and nurses, not them from the patient.

April 1, 2020 10:34 am

“Wear a mask”

I am just stunned to hear supposed infectious disease specialists telling us that not only do they no good, but they make things worse if you don’t know how to take it off properly, or you always fiddling with your mask and inadvertently touching your face. What a crock of BS.

This will turn out to be the worst advice some Western leaders and infectious disease Drs are telling the general public. We could probably start the get back to work policy asap if we mandated those working to wearing N95 masks. How hard would it be to re-tool some factories and start cranking out masks by the tens of millions. This is just plain common sense, and is certainly a reason why places like Japan, Singapore, South Korea etc have managed as well as they have. This policy of dithering on the effectiveness of masks should be criminal. I feel sorry for President Trump now…I think he had it right 2 weeks ago about the burning and crashing the economy. But it appears even he has succumbed to the supposed ‘experts’. I had a nightmare last night, but it was Michael Mann and Naomi Oreskes standing behind President Trump and they were shutting down the economy over climate change. Talk about merchants of doubt, some of these infectious disease experts.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 11:05 am

“We could probably start the get back to work policy asap if we mandated those working to wearing N95 masks”

That is the requirement for all essential business in NZ. That and disposable gloves.

Reply to  farmerbraun
April 1, 2020 11:53 am

I’m working in IT in government in NZ and have been classed essential in order to provide other workers the ability to work from home. I’ve been going to work each day. I raised concerns that no instruction had been given about wearing PPE and 2 days later got told official advice is that it is unnecessary. I also asked that we be tested as we have many people working in proximity each handling computers that we then courier to users. We’re potentially couriering the virus to people in their homes.
Again was told this is unnecessary but I could call Healthline if I was feeling unwell.
This is a cluster f**k

Dr K.A. Rodgers
Reply to  farmerbraun
April 1, 2020 5:50 pm

No it ain’t.

In Kiwiland suerpmarket checkout operators do not get issues masks. They have to supply their own.

And there is a pic in today’s Otago Daily Times that shows a person administring a ‘fku shot at a drive through. They ain’tv wearing a mask ands theu ain’t using gloves. The nurse that administered mine in a surgery carpark on Tuesday have both plus other safety gear.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 11:14 am

I do go out from time to time, to the grocery store and the pharmacy. I see folks in the stores wearing a mask, but only over their mouth – their nose is exposed. Can anyone explain that?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 12:28 pm

The mask gets hot when they breath into it. So they don’t.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 1:07 pm

They aren’t wearing the mask properly.

Whether you were a surgeon style mask or the N95 style mask it has to cover the nose.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 1:08 pm


Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 1:10 pm

Maybe they discovered the hard way that wearing it over their mouth was much better than when they wore it over their eyes?

Reply to  Klem
April 1, 2020 7:53 pm

No that’s not it Phlem, see MarkW’s comment above.

David Stone
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 2:36 pm

Yes, defeats the purpose to a large extent. The main reason people do it is it’s unpleasant to wear a mask for extended periods of time. You are inhaling and exhaling large quantities of the same air mixed with small quantities of fresh air. It’s also mixed with a variety of unpleasant odors coming from your mouth and stomach – you soon learn a bit about your dental hygiene, diet and whether you’ve got a yeast infection.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 1:17 pm

I’m surprised it hasn’t been said that masks contain too much carbon, especially the plastic parts. Bad for Gaia, but probably not for grandma.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 1:28 pm

“Wear a mask.”
The WHO is correct. A mask does not protect you completely from acquiring coronavirus at the grocery store. However, should *you* be an asymptomatic carrier *your* cloth mask protects *others* from *you.*

Reply to  Old.Professor
April 1, 2020 8:22 pm

Without any testing, how do we know who is infected but are asymptomatic and spreading the virus all over the place? Of course, that is the real purpose for wearing a mask, so as all the unknown super spreaders out there are limiting how much damage is done. If you want to flatten the curve, just assume the majority is infected, and mandate wearing masks in public or at work. That would have really slowed this thing down. The proof is in Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong and maybe China. Many wear masks to limit inhalation of pollution, which then does double duty in high density areas for spreading the virus. Wearing masks in SE Asia is pretty much normal. I even do it, since not big on being around that much real pollution and/or so many people.

But I get it, they lie to us here because there would be a shortage and hoarding of masks. If they were honest about it, I would understand and cut them some slack but they still missed the boat not thinking we needed a stockpile of all this PPE. But lying about is criminal, and I hate liars. This was a major failure of WHO, the CDC and all these infectious doctors who refuse to admit the truth that they didn’t recommend having a stockpile of masks and PPE. We better learn this lesson or we will repeat this again some day. Let’s build some capacity in being able to crank out tens of millions of masks and PPE’s for the future in critical supply reserves and have that ready to go on a moment’s notice to make more when required. It didn’t take Detroit long in WW2 to start cranking out tanks instead of automobiles, so I don’t buy this malarkey that this is just too much engineering. This ain’t rocket science.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Earthling2
April 3, 2020 6:07 am

Apparently they stamp masks with an expiration date, although I am 100% certain there is nothing on them masks that can go bad, except maybe the elastic band after many years.
So many millions have been thrown away for no good reason.
If the public health authorities told the truth, everyone would realize how many masks need to be made and we might be well along in making them.
Anything is better than nothing.
It would be easy to make a mask with a antimicrobial layer in it, and probably also one with a small battery that creates an electrostatic precipitator between two copper mesh layers. That part could be a base and changeable filter elements placed within it. A layer impregnated with iodine would let almost zero live viruses in or out.
It took me about a minute to think of those two things, so why do we not have a virus proof mask?
One reason is this has not happened before…but when public health authorities decide to lie to people instead of just telling the truth, problems will not be solved.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 6:27 pm

Earthling 2 asks:

“How hard would it be to re-tool some factories and start cranking out masks by the tens of millions. This is just plain common sense,”

Short answer is you don’t work in Engineering, do you?

In simple terms if your factory doesn’t already produce masks now, they are still not going to be producing masks tomorrow. Or next week. Or month for the vast majority of manufacturing centres.

Even the companies that do produce masks are not going to be able to ramp up overnight. Some may not be able to ramp up at all. If you are already running 24 you can’t just switch the machines to ‘faster’. You are also restricted by your supply chain and lead times on the raw materials. If your pre-existing policy said it was optimal to produce X units per week then you would structure your goods inwards to supply the raw materials for X units per week and, by extension your supplier would structure their part of the chain only deliver the same amount. Warehouse space costs money. If you can only store what you are about to ship out you can reduce that cost.

Or, to re-word, you can only make what you have materials for, and your suppliers can only supply what they already have in stock. Everything else is lead time.

It’s common sense.

Everything else is unicorns and ‘Will No One Think of the Children’

John Andrews
Reply to  Craig from Oz
April 1, 2020 8:25 pm

MyPillow company retooled in 3 days to produce masks. Producing now.

Reply to  John Andrews
April 2, 2020 8:59 am

“MyPillow company retooled in 3 days to produce masks. Producing now.”

To sew fabric masks, yes. But nothing like N95 masks.

Paul Parks
Reply to  Earthling2
April 2, 2020 12:46 am

I keep seeing Singapore held up as a model of mask usage. I work and live in Singapore (US expat). The government here is actively telling citizens not to use masks unless they are sick. Mask usage in public is still the exception rather than the rule (maybe 15%-20% of people in public wear one).

Reply to  Paul Parks
April 2, 2020 10:28 am

Hi Paul,

I was in Singapore and in Cambodia from early- to mid-March; I can definitely confirm your statement. We returned to Zürich on Monday morning the 16th, surprised that no health or temperature checks were being carried out on arriving passengers; additionally, no social distancing was being practiced, which was quite a contrast from what we experienced in both Singapore and Cambodia (airports, hotels, museums, etc. regularly checked the body temperature of individuals entering; extreme social-distancing was not enforced, but people did not mingle in tight places, either.

Indeed, the train at Zürich Airport from the satellite Terminal E to the main terminal building was jam-packed like a tram at rush hour (used to be). Later that evening (Monday 16 March), the Swiss Government imposed the “partial lockdown”. This was nowhere near as draconian as enforced elsewhere, however.

mark from the midwest
April 1, 2020 10:42 am

I doubt that government “edicts” make any difference at all. It depends on the ability of individuals to recognize the nature of the problem and act in their own interests. That’s going to vary a lot from region to region, country to country, and from inner-city to suburb.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 2:28 pm

I would add that in w’s chart there is possibly a bit of a positive correlation between numbers of restrictions and deaths, suggesting that restrictions tend to be reactive rather than preventive. Maybe that’s sensible {a stated aim of many governments has been to “flatten the curve” so that their health system isn’t swamped) or maybe it comes from a media-driven need to be seen to be doing something. I do get the feeling that the media will not miss any opportunity to make any situation spiral out of control.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 8:24 am

This conclusion seems to be on one data point. Japan is low, Japan wears masks and wash their hands. It might be right but you need to reject every other contributing factor.

If we all wore some sort of face covering (mask) without regard to size or fit all our problems would be solved? My observations of the mask chic dress crowd is that a good number of them are not being properly worn, sized or fitted. I’ve also noticed for years that the medical experts with masks don’t follow sizing, donning or fitting. That’s great if you want to stop your sneezes from infection people. It may give you minor protection and a big false sense of security.

I spent years wearing masks for personal protection in hazardous atmospheres and dusty atmospheres. The difference between a properly fitted mask and one that is not is exciting. Even the Army with it’s protective mask wear has a fit test and a check for proper fit in the 5 second get it on standard.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 1:50 pm

Willis Eschenbach April 1, 2020 at 10:47 am
My point exactly, and that’s what the data is showing, unless the edicts are strictly physically enforced. Which is why we need to end this stupid lockdown ASAP and get America back to work.


you forgot …Back to work with masks on!”

geordie burnett stuart
April 1, 2020 10:43 am

China ? No mention of origins of this corona . Prof Gupta in Oxford is confident the first death in Wuhan was in October 2019 perhaps earlier . So the CCP by delaying telling the world of the problem has wilfully lied with all the appalling consequence we are grappling with . Your graphs are seriously inadequate . Reminds me of Chernobyl . The WHO needs reforming – it has become a political entity to be played with rather than looking after the world’s health .

John Endicott
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 11:20 am

Willis, it’s important to understand the origins and how we got here in order to have a hope of not repeating the same mistakes next time something like this starts to happen (those who fail to learn from history…. well, you can’t learn from history if you are afraid to discuss it due to “inflaming passions”). And the fact remains this started in China, and China initially tried to hide what was happening (to put it nicely), and those facts don’t change just because China wishes to re-write history to hide/deflect from those facts.

mario lento
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 2:23 pm

Willis: You are so good at making factually correct assertions. Keep at it! We’re listening even if we don’t always comment. AKA fanboy by some idiots of past years… sort of like a derivative of one who is in the basket of deplorables 🙂


Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 2:43 pm

We’re one bat soup away from the next one, and it’s just a matter of time if the Chinese don’t get their act together, i.e., stop lying, stop disappearing those sounding alarm, etc., etc.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 5:18 pm

Pretty damn important…it helps to understand the things that did and didn’t happen around the point of origin and how them impacted theinitial spread…seriously. And this will happen again…and again…and again if we don’t learn how this originated and how it initially gained a foothold and spread world wide. I used to respect your reasoning ability. I’m not seeing it in this regard.

John Endicott
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 3:56 am

Thanks for a thoughtful response Willis, that’s a much better response than your blanket dismissal of the origins as “needlessly inflame passions”.

Reply to  John Endicott
April 2, 2020 8:24 am

We actually got lucky with this one. If virulence was higher we would be on our way to a complete worldwide disaster as in the”Black Death”. The origins of this virus must be known and changes made to the response mechanisms.
The fact that this surfaced in Wuhan and was blamed on a market 300 METERS AWAY from the ONLY LEVEL 4 lab in China, which just happens to do research on bat corona viruses, is entirely adequate information for me to say that I have no doubt whatsoever that this virus came from that lab. I need no extra convincing that the government of China is lying every time it speaks.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  John Endicott
April 3, 2020 6:34 am

The more important thing to know is…where will the next terrible new disease pandemic come from?
When would be nice too.
This will be studied for many years to come.
Books, movies, entire degree programs, and likely entire research institutes will have this as their focus for decades, most likely.
But people in the middle of a hurricane are not going to benefit from having in depth water temperature and wind field analysis of the place the thing formed. Afterwards the people effected by it are not the ones doing those studies right away either.
I can tell you for sure…no one is talking about that during or after one.
No one even cares about the particulars except in passing.
“I heard the top wind gust was 117 in the eye wall as it passed through here”
“Oh yeah? Wow. Got any candles?
Maybe a thousand miles away, yes…not where it hit.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 6:29 pm

Sorry, but blame can be useful because no one can guarantee this won’t happen again next week / month / year. Two things need to happen if a kid playing with a gun accidentally shoots someone: 1) Call for help for the victim, and 2) Separate the kid and the gun. Bonus 3) Ensure the kid doesn’t play with a gun again.
I believe the Communist Chinese are both unqualified and disqualified from playing with dangerous diseases anymore.

Reply to  Matthew Schilling
April 1, 2020 7:54 pm

It will happen again; pretty much all the major global pandemics of the last few centuries originated in China, probably including the so-called ‘Spanish Flu’, which followed a serious killer flu outbreak in China with the same symptoms.

And it will happen sooner if we keep refusing to blame the people responsible for it, who couldn’t even manage to run a bio-lab without accidentally releasing SARS a couple of times.

Had the Chinese government not covered up the disease when it could have been stopped, we wouldn’t even care whether lockdowns work, because it wouldn’t have got here.

Vincent Causey
Reply to  MarkG
April 2, 2020 5:16 am

Stop your silliness. Spanish flu is known and well documented. It originated from a poultry farm in Kansas.

And as for your assertion that had the Chinese government not covered up the disease it could have been stopped, I simply say, are you suggesting that the US intelligence services, all the telephone tapping of the NSA and spying of the CIA were unable to deduce what was going on? That the NAS/CIA did not know what was happening in China because China didn’t tell us? If that was actually the case, that our intelligence services are that appallingly bad, I would say, that is where the real problem lay.

The truth is, everybody knew what was going on because independent journalists were writing about is as early as late January/early February. Why did our leaders not prepare better, is the question that you should be asking.

Dr Deanster
Reply to  MarkG
April 2, 2020 6:13 am

Vincent ….. “why didn’t our leaders prepare better”.

That is the point of the OP. Our leaders preparation is not relevant. The US stopped flights from China as soon as the news broke. That didn’t stop the virus. Our leaders the. Stopped all flights from the EU, that didn’t stop the virus. We’ve locked down the whole nation, that is not stopping the virus. Even S Korea, with military lock down has over a 1% mortality rate. The US is at a 2% mortality rate, and a whole slew of EU countries are at or above 4%.

The difference between Japan and the rest of the world is Asians, particularly the Japanese, customarily wear mask during cold and flu season. I see it in airports all the time. Their government doesn’t have to tell them, they all do it because that is what they do. And, the data in worldometers indicates that Japan is handling this pandemic better than any western nation. Willis’ analysis identifies the MASK as the only identifiable difference.

Don K
Reply to  MarkG
April 2, 2020 7:17 am

Dr Deanster

I lived in Tokyo for a year in the 1970s. My recollection is that back then wearing a mask in public certainly happened. But not all that often. My impression was that it was intended to convey something along the line of “I’m feeling a bit off and while it may not be anything to worry about, you might want to give me a bit of extra space.” Perhaps I misunderstood. Japan is a wondrous place and chock full of different approaches to everyday life — most of them entirely reasonable once you figure them out. But it tends to be a bit confusing to us Westerners.

In any case, wearing masks in public seems a good idea as long as you can do so without undue discomfort and don’t assume they make you invulnerable. The next question would be where to get one. My local grocery store has been out for weeks. I know because they would be shelved next to the hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol which also have been out for weeks.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkG
April 2, 2020 11:16 am

Did you check by the Toilet paper…which also have been out for weeks 😉

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkG
April 4, 2020 12:24 pm


It is by no means certain that the Spanish Flu started in Kansas. No one knows. Evidence exists for everything from wild ducks in eastern North America, infecting Canadian troops bound for France, to Chinese laborers on the Western Front of WWI, to fowl and swine in provision camps behind the lines there, to other possibilities. The Ft. Riley, KS hypothesis is actually not the best supported, but still possible.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkG
April 4, 2020 12:35 pm

Recent research on Spanish Flu origins shows it was probably circulating by 1915, if not before. Jury still out on continent of origin, but North American ducks a possibility:

But Chinese origin or poultry-pig environment of British commissary base at Etaples can’t be ruled out. Good reason to believe the flu appeared on the Western Front in 1916-17, before US troops arrived.

Reply to  Matthew Schilling
April 1, 2020 8:43 pm

The truth is coming out.

Bob boder
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 8:12 am

Willis while i agree with you, its important to take into account countries that are not producing accurate data when you are doing you analysis. in this case i think it is most of them, some countries (i.e. China, Iran) are flat out lying about the numbers and most other countries simply aren’t testing at levels that could possibly give you accurate data. The US is getting slammed for its testing inadequacy but factually its way ahead of almost every country other than Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  geordie burnett stuart
April 1, 2020 11:01 am

If this is truly a naturally evolved virus, which I doubt, than how would the Chinese have known that this was anything other than influenza back in October?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 1:45 pm

Thanks for this post. I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan and your diagram added to the scatterplot showing where Japan fits in is pretty compelling. I may start wearing a mask myself, should help and don’t see how it can hurt.

Minor point. I’m a med industry guy and the ground glass sign is the primary marker for pneumonia of all kinds. Here ‘s a quote from a public reference source, you can see it’s not only pneumonia that produces this radiographic appearance but it’s the main one:

Ground-glass opacification/opacity (GGO) is a descriptive term referring to an area of increased attenuation in the lung on computed tomography (CT) with preserved bronchial and vascular markings. It is a non-specific sign with a wide etiology including infection, chronic interstitial disease and acute alveolar disease.

Ground glass opacification is also used in chest radiography to refer to a region of hazy lung radiopacity, often fairly diffuse, in which the edges of the pulmonary vessels may be difficult to appreciate 7.

Ground-glass opacities have a broad etiology:

normal expiration
partial filling of air spaces
partial collapse of alveoli
interstitial thickening
lepidic proliferation of neoplasm
Morphological forms
focal ground-glass opacification
diffuse ground-glass opacification
isolated diffuse ground-glass opacification 5
Differential diagnosis
Broadly speaking, the differential for ground-glass opacification can be split into 5:

infectious processes (opportunistic vs non-opportunistic)
chronic interstitial diseases
acute alveolar diseases
other causes
pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP/PJP)
cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonia
herpes simplex virus (HSV) pneumonia
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis: type of infectious bronchiolitis
other infectious causes
viral pneumonias 6
human coronaviruses
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection
severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

John Tillman
Reply to  TW2020
April 4, 2020 12:40 pm

According to ChiCom virus patients, breathing also feels like being cut with ground glass.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 1, 2020 12:27 pm

And how did they manage to curtail their outbreak to just Hubei Province, when millions had already managed to flee to the 4 corners of the world, and everywhere else in China as well before the Lunar New Year. All of China certainly wasn’t quarantined for long enough to do any good so how did they manage to escape an entire country wide pandemic like the rest of the world is experiencing. Something doesn’t add up with this story and I smell a rat. It’s almost like they have the antidote if they claim they only had 3500 deaths and now they are mainly back to work with no significant problems. This virus just goes away in some areas of the world, especially where it started where they have 1.4 billion people? If there is a logical explanation, it is that this started out much earlier throughout China with an earlier version of a corona virus that allowed herd immunity to effectively build up to the Sars CoV-2 virus, and now the virus is mutating in certain places to a much more lethal version to mainly those that are elderly and infirm with pre-existing conditions in locations such as Italy with the COVID-19 disease. Time will tell.

Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 5:43 pm

“If there is a logical explanation, it is that this started out much earlier throughout China with an earlier version of a corona virus that allowed herd immunity to effectively build up to the Sars CoV-2 virus, and now the virus is mutating in certain places to a much more lethal version to mainly those that are elderly and infirm with pre-existing conditions in locations such as Italy with the COVID-19 disease. Time will tell.”
Part of logical explanation, which pretty important, is China lies.
Second it’s quite easy to turn off a ventilator.
One can “learn” when to give up and who to give up on.
And don’t even write down the cause being from Wuhan virus, and a doctor might even not know exactly what caused the death- other then turning off the ventilator.

And once you “solve that problem”, you no longer have a problem.
Or the main problem is overwhelming bed space and limited number of medical personnel to handle the number patients using a bed, or to recover from virus takes about 12 days.
Also China apparently has a lot available lungs- it’s got “criminals” which it kills when it needs lungs or other organs.
So main thing that China has to do is prevent the more important people from dying.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 6:25 pm

“And how did they manage to curtail their outbreak to just Hubei Province, when millions had already managed to flee to the 4 corners of the world, and everywhere else in China as well before the Lunar New Year.”

The Chinese may not have the outbreak contained. There are reports they are shutting things down in Shanghai and other places.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 6:51 pm

What it was like in China in January.

I would say around Jan 20 or so people in Beijing were starting to get nervous.
mask wearing was on the rise. I went out and bought a mask. Then they started
to hand out masks at work around 22nd. On the 23rd Wuhan/Hubei was

What does that mean?
1. All plane traffic stopped
2. All train/buses/taxis, stopped
3/ No private cars on the road, unless they have a special permit.
4. 1 family member can leave the house every 2 days, etc

I could go on, but You get the idea. The thing is A) Their citizens will comply at a high
rate. B) they have the infrastructure to enforce it. ( more on that if you want to know)


from the 22nd to the 24th full on disinfection was going on at the Beijing . every public
surface was cleaned down with bleach. The hotel staff was continuously cleaning
the elevator buttons.
On the 24th I left Beijing. The hotel gave me a parting gift of a mask. At the airport
99.99% of the people had masks on. Saw 1 Russian with no mask. dumbass
landing in Korea passengers were split into 2 groups: if you had been in Wuhan, line 1
others in Line 2. Line 1 went for screening.

From the 24th to Feb 12th I was in Seoul. “soft lockdown” business as normal dont
go outside except for essential travel–work, food, etc.
I felt safe because lets say Korea is a very clean place. At every meal you are given
wet wipes for your hands. This is NORMAL, hand washing is a thing here.

meanwhile, in China everyone was off for CNY. Thats a paid 10 day vacation where
like salmon you return to your hometown. Except no one could go to Hubei
or get out. In Beijing everyone sheltered in Place. Work was off anyways!
The only guys out were the delivery guys.There are no Single family houses
in Beijing, just HUGE “compounds” blocks and blocks of high rises surrounded by gates
You need ID to come and go. Guards at every building checking ID and temperature.
Delivery guys are allowed out. Outside the building was a drop off point. Deliveries
stacked in one place. you leave your building to get your package. During this time
all employees are self reporting temperatures twice a day while on vacation.

people asked me what would happen in America. I told them USA could never do what was
necessary. People would never comply with what was necessary.

feb 12 to 15 I was in Seattle. Flight out from Seoul 100% masks. Flight back?
1%. Me.

Korea blew up. why? 1 person. One lady who refused to comply with voluntary measures
She infected something like a 1000 people.

If you want to see how this spreads the diamond princess is the worst place to look.
Look at the spread in Korea in Hospitals and Churches and businesses.
1 Super spreader… 1000 church people ( no masks)
1 Super spreader.. 150 of his co workers and family
1 Nurse, 60 patients
Or look at the nursing home in Washington. 1 vistor.. resulting in many staff,
other residents, more visitors, family, etc

Bottom Line: it just takes 1

what is “lockdown” like in Seoul since Feb 15th?
1. Voluntary, compliance is 90% plus. you go outside for essentials
work, shopping for food,
2. Quarentine: Both at home and at health centers. if you are under investigating
you stay locked in your room. Some people broke self quarentine, Now they will
be arrested and fined. A brit was just deported for breaking his self quarantine
3. wear a mask. Compliance is at 95% I would judge as I go out around town.

with this program Korea sees about 100 cases a day, 30% from Imports.
testing continues. Now they are actively hunting for it. every hospital,
old folks home, mental institution is being tested 100% coverage.
meanwhile go to work, essential shopping, IF you test positive
you will go into quarantine, either at home or a life health center.
your past movements will be tracked, your movements will be posted online
so people who crossed paths with you will know.

what is Quarentine like? watch

Watch the whole thing to get a sense of what it means to have a public
health system prepared for disasters

So I tend to agree with Willis.

USA can’t do this kind of stuff. People won’t comply. They will find some excuse
to think they are special and don’t need to pitch in. They will say

1. the flu kills more
2. I dont believe the data
3. it only kills the old
4. the cure is worst than the disease.
5. Show me death certificates!
6. Medicine X will cure it
7. its all just models.
8. god will protect me

blah blah blah.

Anyway, in the future you will see a tracking APP for the USA.
Hope you have sense enough to use it.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 2, 2020 1:40 pm

Steven Mosher: “B) they have the infrastructure to enforce it. ( more on that if you want to know)”

WR: I am very interested to hear more about that infrastructure

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Earthling2
April 1, 2020 7:02 pm

Hubei was shut down jan 23rd.
All major cities in China followed similar case trajectories.

They all reached peak cases within 15 to 25 days.

Bob boder
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 2, 2020 9:05 am


Yeah unfortunately here in the US the virus was spread all over the country by people coming back from China and Chinese nationals by the time the Chinese let the rest of the world know what “actually” was going on it as too late. For the most part people in the US are complying and staying home.
“USA can’t do this kind of stuff. People won’t comply. They will find some excuse”
The vast majority are and the virus will be contained, what we wouldn’t do is have a major contagious outbreak and lie to the rest of the world about it and let our problem infect the rest of the world.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Earthling2
April 2, 2020 9:55 am

“And how did they manage to curtail their outbreak to just Hubei Province…”

They didn’t China lied about it and is still lying about it.

Robert Austin
Reply to  geordie burnett stuart
April 1, 2020 11:51 am

So if the first death was in October, it raises the question as to whether some of us have already had COVID 19 in January. Some of us in our family went through a bout of flu like symptoms in January and have heard of others with the same experience.

Reply to  Robert Austin
April 1, 2020 1:36 pm

yes Robert–I got a wicked flu (no fever to speak of) on Jan 20th. Lasted a month with a bad week–and my lungs never cleared up. I live 90 miles from Vegas where a high tech conference took place Jan 4th with tons of folks from China there. I had trouble breathing in February with the lung problem and went to urgent care (no other symptoms but sore throat) and a lung exray showed my lungs inflamed with a look consistent with COPD. I don’t have COPD (or didn’t). My lungs still are giving me trouble with intermittent coughing. I was told it was definitely NOT Covid, but they don’t know what it is. ????

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Shelly
April 1, 2020 5:04 pm

I had a similar experience, from late December until mid- February. All the classic symptoms (well, 9 out of the 13 most common ones). I had 2 doctor visits in the UK, and 2 in South Africa, a CAT-scan of my lungs, and a couple of blood tests. There was a ground glass appearance on the CAT scan, but there are other reasons for that. At the time, there were no cases in South Africa, so I don’t think the medics there were thinking in terms of Covid-19.

After the symptoms cleared up, the general feeling of fatigue and breathlessness gradually disappeared over about a month.

I had never experienced anything like it in my life, and am normally very healthy.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard Barraclough
April 1, 2020 6:31 pm

An estimate yesterday said that possibly up to 25 percent of people who get infected with Wuhan virus don’t have any symptoms, although they can infect others around them even if they don’t have symptoms.

This is probably the best reason we all ought to be wearing masks out in public. Some of us are spreaders and don’t even know it. With a mask on, there is much less chance of spreading the disease by preventing coughing on people and surfaces.

Jason Heinrich
Reply to  Robert Austin
April 1, 2020 2:40 pm

I have heard similar anecdotes. Which is why we need wide-spread antibody testing, to find out who is immune and can get back to work!

mario lento
Reply to  Jason Heinrich
April 1, 2020 2:54 pm

“Which is why we need wide-spread antibody testing,”

I disagree. I think we need to know how wide spread this was so we can know the mortality rate. If the rate is low, we worry much less… if we never know what happened, we cannot learn from this perhaps huge mistake of over reacting.

Reply to  mario lento
April 1, 2020 4:55 pm

Jason and mario – either I’m misreading or you two are pretty well on the same page: we need wide-spread testing (for two or more reasons).

mario lento
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 1, 2020 7:28 pm

Yikes. It is me who misread you. I was rushing through and thought I read “not” in there, but the rest of what I read was cogent and we agreed. Thank you for pointing that out. We should change disagree to agree.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jason Heinrich
April 1, 2020 6:39 pm

“I have heard similar anecdotes. Which is why we need wide-spread antibody testing, to find out who is immune and can get back to work!”

At Trump’s news conference today Dr. Birx mentioned what I think she called a “Lisa” test which I believe is an antibody test and she said she was challenging universities in every state to deveop this test for use on the hospital workers in their state so they would be able to tell the medical workers whether they had already been infected with the Wuhan virus and now had immunity and could relax and not worry about infecting their families.

Dr. Birx said the universities could have this test up and running by Friday of this week, if they put their minds to it!

So, if they can ramp up this kind of test for the hospitals, then when they get done with them, they can test the rest of the population of their state.

I know nothing about this test so would love to hear from some of you who do.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 1, 2020 9:16 pm

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA test, detects immune responses in the body, including hormones, bacterial antigens, and antibodies. ELISA is also called a “titer test”.

ELISA is a common test used for detecting measles (for instance) antibodies in potential health care workers, to make sure they won’t get the measles and pass them along to patients. I have had that test.

In a previous essay at WUWT:

the author, Alec Rawls, reported that a team at Mt. Sinai Hosp developed an ELISA test for Covid19, posted Mar 14 on MedRxIV:

That paper describes in excellent detail how any lab with ELISA experience can make the test.

Why Fauci is dragging tail on this is beyond me. I don’t care for that guy, but I’m a harsh critic of … well, many people.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 2, 2020 6:35 am

Thanks, Mike.

Yes, it is puzzling why Dr. Fauci is not promoting doing this test more. It appears to be accurate and simple and cheap to do and university medical centers can do it, so it is not a burden on the medical community (and I bet the universities will love this challenge). I don’t see any downside, and the antibody test is the way we are going to finally bring this disease under control. The sooner the better.

Reply to  Robert Austin
April 2, 2020 8:39 am

Who knows? I have been slightly sick for a month with headaches, tiny touch of fever and dry cough. To boot, I am a transplant patient on immuno-suppresants. My response is to get up and go to work. I figure if is covid then I am not getting the severe reaction that I would expect and so that is unlikely. If it isn’t covid then I sure don’t want that on top of what I already have. I don’t want to be a spreader so I’m taking all the normal precautions and severely limiting my exposure to others.
At this point I’ve dodged so many medical bullets that I’m either invulnerable or overdue. I’ll deal with whatever happens when it happens.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  john harmsworth
April 3, 2020 7:46 am

I think the way the Wuhan virus works is you either start getting better within about 10 days, or you get dramatically worse after 10 days. Some people seem to develop severe symptoms almost overnight, but we don’t really know how long they had the infection before they showed up at the hospital.

The malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, has been reported to clear the body of the Wuhan virus in as little as six days. In another study, it was cleared in nine days. The difference might be the level of infection of the person when they first received the drug.

The shorter the period of time the virus is in the body, the better.

According to the news this morning, doctors all over the world are prescribing hydroxychloroquine for the Wuhan virus. The United States seems to be lagging behind with about 25 percent of American doctors prescribing hydroxychloroquine.

I wonder how the supply of this drug is doing?

Vincent Causey
Reply to  geordie burnett stuart
April 2, 2020 5:07 am

Really? The NSA and CIA with all their intelligence gathering capability didn’t know what was going on in China?

dale seppa
April 1, 2020 10:45 am

Willis take a look and follow up with Sweden at the English language newspaper

Thanks for all your excellent posts. Although many are over my head because of my lack of adequate technical knowledge all appear well done and I enjoy them.

April 1, 2020 10:45 am

I understand Sweden hasn’t instituted any shutdown or strong restrictions but is going for herd immunity.

April 1, 2020 10:47 am

Not sure if lockdowns work for Conv-19, but politicians LOVE them for various other reasons.

Reply to  beng135
April 1, 2020 11:17 am

Um, cancelled primaries, no public appearances by one set of candidates, ….

What happens if we are still on lockdown at the end of October?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 1, 2020 6:25 pm

Willis will be ropeable and more worked up 🙂

John Endicott
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 2, 2020 4:06 am

If you are thinking “orange man stays president beyond his term, perhaps indefinately” think again. If there’s no president-elect when Trump & Pence’s terms ends in Jan (IE no vote so no re-election of Trump nor the “other guy” be it Bernie, Biden or yet-to-be-named brokered candidate) then the Next in line becomes president (IE the Speaker of the House) – President Pelosi. Trust me, nobody wants that.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 2, 2020 12:05 pm

Retired, dopacraps realize any of their candidates will lose. All they care about at the moment then is continuing to attack Trump & that their current “leadership” stays in place (Pelosi, Schumer, the hordes of deep-state regulators, etc) after the election.

April 1, 2020 10:49 am

Hi Willis,
Did you check any relatations on number of deaths with the TEST and Isolate protocol used in Azia?

April 1, 2020 10:52 am

Of course these measures are nonsense and a massive waste of time and money. Even from the outset, the reputable health authorities (CDC) weren’t promising fewer deaths or infections, but just “flattening the curve” to reduce the “expected” strain on the healthcare system (without any consideration of the downstream poverty, costs, loss of life, consequences of postponing elective surgeries, etc.).

They have always said the area under the before/after curves would still be roughly the same. Nobody asked any economists to weigh in and provide an opposing point of view on the matter.

Also, I’ll bet if you graph Deaths per 10 Million vs. Average Age of Population a main causal factor will materialize right before you eyes.

David Stone
Reply to  SteveB
April 1, 2020 2:57 pm

Age related to death? Preposterous, that’s like saying the sun has something to do with the climate. Michael Mann is working on a graph that will show it’s a lifetime of breathing in co2 that’s done the elderly in, not co19.

Bloke no longer down the pub
April 1, 2020 10:53 am

One factor with the Japanese regularly wearing face masks is that they will have plenty of stock. In countries where the wearing of masks is not the norm, stocks held will be much smaller and very soon there are not enough even for essential workers.

April 1, 2020 10:54 am

Masks come in multiple types. From dust masks sold in DIY stores to full blown Hazmat masks. Surgical masks should be worn by anyone with symptoms but are only effective for about an hour or so. The ones that should be worn as PPE are FFP3 standard. Visors are needed as the virus can enter the body through any mucus membrane including the eyes. The actual transmission method is still not clear.

With regards to testing: the tests can have false positive results.

In the U.K. if a patient is tested positive for the virus and they subsequently die then the certificate will include CoViD 19 as a cause, due to the disease being notifiable.
Not everyone is tested, only those presenting to the emergency department, therefore the actual number of infected persons is not known.

Reply to  John
April 1, 2020 12:29 pm

I agree.
Mask can be recommended, but try to find the appropriate one in the USA at the beginning of this year.
As for the surgical mask, one would be needed at least once a day. Try to find a box of them. Not available.

April 1, 2020 10:57 am

Willis: can you somehow restrain your common sense? You know that’s why no one listens to you or heeds your advice, yet you persist in being yourself. Just stop it.

Robert W. Turner
April 1, 2020 10:57 am

I’m glad more and more people are waking up to what is going on. I’ve said from day 1 that this “solution” is akin to cutting off one’s head – guaranteed to get rid of the common cold, but…

And $2,000,000,000,000 is just the first “stimulus” (more like life support), I’ve heard estimates that this will add $6,000,000,000,000 to the deficit from increased spending and the severe drop in tax receipts. I hope I’m wrong but after hiding in our caves and only allowing 0.5% of the population to contract this virus, that leaves us in the exact same scenario next season.

John Pic
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 1, 2020 3:02 pm

100,000_200,000 deaths in us according to Dr fauci. How is that possible if there are only 3,000 to date

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 3, 2020 10:22 am

don’t know that you ‘follow up’ older postings …

On the subject of Italy, I found some of the information in a piece (No Tricks Zone – Pierre Gosselin) quite interesting. Do you, or any Italian commenters have an opinion?

The part that grabbed my attention was that Italy seems, for a similar size population, to have a mortality rate some 3x that of The UK for a ‘typical’ Influenza season.

If one assumes ‘equivalence’ in everything else(1), is it the difference in social interaction that accounts for the differing mortality rates? Which begs the question … Is Italy a firm basis from which to model other, more ‘socially conservative'(2) nations?

Do you think that differences in culture could partially account for the high death rates in Italy (and Spain) as compared to The UK or eg The Netherlands?

(1) Healthcare provision, Scientific and medical research …

(2) Here in The UK we generally meet family and friends at arms length and ‘large table get together’ occasions are confined to well defined holiday times (Xmas?)

Reply to  John Pic
April 1, 2020 6:21 pm

John Pic April 1, 2020 at 3:02 pm
100,000_200,000 deaths in us according to Dr fauci. How is that possible if there are only 3,000 to date

Firstly there have been 5,000 deaths in the US so far, that number doubles every three days, so if that persists for a week we’ll be at 20,000, for two weeks we’ll be at 80,000!
We went from 11 to 110 in ~2weeks from 110-1100 in ~8 days, 5 days to go from 1,000-5,000, no sign of a fall off in the slope.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Phil.
April 1, 2020 6:56 pm

ya I am recalling the arguments I had here at WUWT when USA was at 0 deaths and 68 cases
and doing virtually no testing.

it is futile to talk sense to these people because they will always interprete uncertainty to preserve their world view.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 1, 2020 3:17 pm

Does Stimulus Ever Work?

History says no, but it makes people feel like government is doing something.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 1, 2020 6:29 pm

That’s why I fear that having people cut their own heads was the entire plan.

John Endicott
Reply to  Robert W. Turner
April 2, 2020 4:28 am

And $2,000,000,000,000 is just the first “stimulus” (more like life support), I’ve heard estimates that this will add $6,000,000,000,000 to the deficit from increased spending and the severe drop in tax receipts

You heard wrong.

The 6T figure comes from the effect of the fed lending the money. Basically, the 2 Trillion stimulus package has 454 Billion marked for loans programs. The Fed takes that 454B and leverages it: Because the Fed expects most borrowers to pay back, it does not need one-for-one support. As a result, a mere $10 billion from Treasury can prop up $100 billion in Fed lending. so 454B becomes 4.5T in loans plus the remaining 1.5 of stimulus money gets you the 6T figure.

Bottom line: Only 2T is added to the deficit (money the US government owes) even though it results in 6T circulating into the economy (via leveraged loans to businesses made by the Fed, note: the Fed and the US government are two separate entities).

April 1, 2020 11:01 am

Relating to Roy Spencer`s piece and the Lockdown now in place in Lagos Nigeria.

No need for drug trials they have already been done in real time.

The population of Nigeria is 204,800,000, it has the largest death rate from malaria in the world, the population is mainly poor. The capital Lagos is a port city of 14.4 million people, the majority are poor and live in dense shanty type accommodation with poor sanitary provision. This is ideal for the spread of Covid-19 yet only 82 people have been infected in Lagos and up to 1st April there have been NO deaths, there are only 139 confirmed cases throughout the whole of Nigeria and only 2 deaths have occurred. The government banned the use of chloroquine in 2006 as it was only 35% efficient. The problem is that the recommended drug is far to expensive for the majority of the population therefor most still use chloroquine. It cannot be a coincidence that the 4 countries that have the most deaths from malaria and mainly use chloroquine as protection for malaria have the fewest deaths from Covid-19.

Chloroquine appears to be the key here, this links nicely to the medication being used by the US Dr Zelenko and the French study.

As the first confirmed cases in Spain and Lagos Nigeria occured about the same time between 25th-26th Feb 2020 you would expect( especially in the densely populated city of Lagos ) a similar level of infection to have occured up to the present time, that is not the case as can be seen below.
The first confirmed case in Nigeria was 26th Feb 2020 … n-nigeria/

The first case confirmed in Spain was 25th Feb 2020 … 48920.html

Spanish population 45,700,000 Corona cases 102,136—- 9,053 Deaths

Nigeria population 204,785,000 Corona cases 135—- 2 Deaths

Lagos population 14,368,332 corona cases 82—-Deaths 0

Kenya population 53,460,000 Corona cases 59 deaths 1
Congo Population 89,560,000 Corona cases 109 Deaths 8
UGANDA population 46,356,000 Corona cases 44 Deaths 0

correct as of 1st April 2020.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rob
April 1, 2020 12:32 pm

While there may well be a black market supplying the banned HCQ to the local populations in Nigeria, its continued use is speculation. Do you have any reliable statistics on the number of people using it?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2020 12:50 am

No stats I am afraid, there is this though,

If my theory is correct and there is hope or it is just clutching at straws the theory could be tested.
There are 2 groups of patients in the UK and around the world that take hydroxychloroquine on a regular basis, they are suffers of Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus, both are autoimmune disorders I believe. Those two groups according to my theory should have a certain level of immunity to Covid-19 similar to the populations of Africa. I have no way of knowing how many of that group have died of the virus, if any.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Rob
April 1, 2020 1:27 pm

Use of the anti-virals is becoming more commonplace in US hospitals apparently. My daughter is a nurse in Warren MI and her floor was recently converted to a Covid positive unit. She shared a document outlining their protocols so that is how I know about the drugs they are using. At the same time (up until apparently today) Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s policy has been to threaten Doctors with license action in a vaguely worded letter for prescribing those, and recruitment of mind-reading pharmacists.

It is hard to look at a pandemic map and not notice the low numbers across the African malaria belt. This also holds in Central America and SE Asia, and maybe to a lesser extent, South America.

Reply to  Rob
April 1, 2020 1:29 pm

Rob – go to the John Hopkins site and check out Bahrain. They’re reporting about a 2/3 recovered rate, WAY better than any of their neighbours , Europe or NA. My understanding is that they started using hydroxochloroquine since the end of Feb. If true, what more evidence do we need to start using a treatment that we already know has few side effects, and so no real harm if it turns out it doesn’t help.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  davidmhoffer
April 1, 2020 6:56 pm

“hey’re reporting about a 2/3 recovered rate, WAY better than any of their neighbours ”

Maybe we will see our own recovery rate pick up and deaths decline in the next few weeks because there are a lot of people out there in the good ole USA using hydroxychloroquine.

Governor Cuomo banned the use of hydroxychloroquine in New York for everyone except those involved in a clinical trial. Governor Cuomo should cancel this order and give all New Yorkers the opportunity to try hydroxychloroquine if they think they need it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 2, 2020 11:10 am


Self-medicating with prescription drugs is always fraught with danger. Even OTC drugs can be dangerous if used for long times or the warnings on dosage are ignored. Several people on this blog have advocated the liberal use of HCQ based on their unsubstantiated claims that the risks are low. Note that this linked article observes that HCQ has been used in Africa for abortions and suicide:

The label on my VA prescription HCQ bottle states, “Avoid prolonged or excessive exposure to direct and/or artificial sunlight while using this medication. [While some are calling for more exposure to sun to boost vitamin D!] Call your doctor immediately if you have mental/mood changes like confusion, new/worsening feelings of sadness/fear, thoughts of suicide, or unusual behavior.” It also notes that it should not be taken with antacids, and encourages one to read the more extensive list of known side effects and contra-indications provided with the prescription. Does this really sound like something that should be made as widely available as aspirin?

I would ask of those who are advocating widespread use just what the daily dosage should be and how long the regimen should be continued? Note that HCQ is toxic at about twice the dosage commonly given for rheumatoid arthritis! The only wide experience is with microscopic organisms in the blood, and auto-immune diseases, for which the dosages differ. On what basis would you prescribe its use for a virus, considering the narrow range of non-toxicity? Note that people often start feeling better after 72 hours when using an antibiotic, but are typically warned to keep using it for 7 to 10 days, and sometimes longer. The ‘cure’ could easily end up being worse than the disease if everyone were to take it!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 3, 2020 7:57 am

“Self-medicating with prescription drugs is always fraught with danger.”

I agree and understand your caution, which is perfectly reasonable. I’m only suggesting that people use what is prescribed by their doctor. The FDA has given doctors permission to use the malaria drug for Wuhan virus.

If I had the Wuhan virus, I wouldn’t hesitate to take the drug if it was cleared by my doctor, based on what I’m seeing of the effects of the drug. There appears to be very little downside for the average, healthy person. Some people with particular heart problems might have a problem with taking this drug, but their doctor should be able to tell them if it is safe for them and their particular condition or not.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 3, 2020 9:56 am

What I find interesting about hydroxychloroquine is the wide range of known side-effects. In my case, I exhibited anomalous reactions that my rheumatologist was initially unwilling to accept because they weren’t on the list. And, when one is seriously ill, the last thing they need is high blood pressure or some other symptoms to confound the physician’s diagnosis.

You might find this to be interesting:

I inquired from a woman I know who is from Rwanda. It is her opinion that the African response is more a result of the climate and strong immune systems from the many challenges they encounter, than it is from the use of HCQ.

Eventually, we may find out the truth about this. However, knowing what I know about the drug, it is my opinion that it should not be the course of treatment of first resort. It should be the last resort when all else has failed.

April 1, 2020 11:01 am

Hi Willis, I agree about face masks. Yesterday I sent to WUWT essay about face masks by email, not sure if it will be released.
There I wrote exactly one fact which differs Asian countries from western and this is face masks.
My opinion is that face masks alone are giving countries up to 10 days per doubling instead of 2.
Just add 2 countries to your test pool, Czech Republic made face masks mandatory 9 days ago and Slovak Republic made face masks mandatory 23 days ago.
And check where are Slovakia and Czechia on Covid 19 safety ranking:
Outbreak in Slovakia started 6th March, now there are 400 positive, mostly imported. Just compare it with New York which started week later.
Face masks works.

Reply to  Peter
April 1, 2020 2:47 pm

“one fact which differs Asian countries from western and this is face masks.”
Yes, that is one factor, but as this excellent interview shows South Korea was ready and that is what made the difference.

Reply to  Loydo
April 1, 2020 6:16 pm

Good interview – quite informative and instructive about how we should respond & adapt.

Main thrust –
realism & rationality,
no ‘stopping’ this virus from happening,
no alarmism & panic,
no chasing headlines,
just cool-headed, professional appraisal of the observations, and the best way of navigating life with this reality.

Oh that such scientific standards were embraced in all disciplines.
(Y’all know what I’m referring to 🙁 )

Reply to  Peter
April 2, 2020 2:57 am

Czech and Slovak are very small countries, the death rate per 10million of the population would be comparable.

Reply to  Lenka
April 2, 2020 4:06 am

15 million more than enough for test sample.
Check Covid-10 curve of Czech Republic:
They forced face masks 10 days ago. Last 3-4 days on the curve you already see change of steepness to around 10 days for doubling.
And curve of Slovakia is around 10 days for doubling from the start as face masks are mandatory from start of outbreak. (harder to find on this page, but it is possible, it is almost identical with Taiwan)

Reply to  Peter
April 2, 2020 5:24 am

My point was you cannot compare absolute values. And mortality rate per 10mil is comparable in Czech rep. to other countries on the chart so far. The same for confirmed cases, you need to look at confirmed cases of COVID-19 per xxx people, but this number is even highly correlated with number of test done, and Czech rep. does not have enough tests.

Reply to  Lenka
April 2, 2020 6:40 am

Lenka, I’m not comparing absolute values, nor number of deaths, this is low number in case of Czech and Slovak republic, thus without statistical meaning.
I’m comparing steepness of total cases curve. Less steep curve the slower is virus propagating.
On page I provided above you can check that in case of Czech Republic for last 4 days and Slovak Republic from start, curve is parallel to one representing doubling of cases per 10 days.

Reply to  Lenka
April 2, 2020 8:05 am

Peter My first comment was related to the main article, comparing death rates, I was not talking about anything else. If you just want to talk about masks, still, number of positive cases are correlated to number of tests that have been done. And there are not enough tests in the CRs. They test only people with severe problems. And many tests show false negative results. So till this is solved or changed the curve doesn’t have much informative value.

April 1, 2020 11:02 am

A possible option for those not inclined to take chloroquine, for whatever reasons, is to take zinc with natural zinc ionophores quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG). Both are readily available. Can be used at earliest sign of symptoms, or if you’re sick and having to wait for testing or treatment. If symptoms go away, fine; if not you have other options.

Zinc ionophore activity of quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate: from Hepa 1-6 cells to a liposome model

mario lento
Reply to  icisil
April 1, 2020 2:20 pm

icisil: you wrote: …”zinc with natural zinc ionophores quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG)…”

I am going to call this the best advice. Now, I take lots of supplements, Green tea extract is a source of EGCG… which I also take every morning with my nutrient dense drink. The powdered veggie and fruit extracts I include also contain Quercetin and loads of other great things, but I take Wellness Formula too when sick, which has many of these ingredients for sickness treatment including Zn. I also supplement Zn to get close to 100% from CA/Mg/Zn tablets I take 3x day. So I believe in Zn for virus abatement. When I do get a cold they are gone stat compared to everyone else who does not follow my regimen.

Seems with all this new research, the naturopath’s, of which my wife is one, have knowledge that works. As a process control engineer, I find the research of special interest.

My Covid 19 lasted 5 days and was gone. And I have always had lung issues… so I am a perfect test case.

I have also reversed and eliminated skin cancers including actinic keratosis and basal cell carginoma, which had my skin doctor amazed.

April 1, 2020 11:03 am


Good work!


Paul Ashby
April 1, 2020 11:07 am

Willis, Thank you for asking these tough questions. I think that your analysis is too course grained by treating whole countries as one. I don’t have good data but the best comparison that I think can be drawn is between California and New York. The bay area was one of the first to go into shelter in place while Bill De Blasio was encouraging everyone to continue life as normal, kind of like how the Italians were very blase. The results are that NYC and Lombary are overwhelmed and there is excess death while in California, we might just stay under the threshold of being overwhelmed. We will know in a week.
I think I agree that this might have the same mortality as a bad flu but the difference is the relatively high R0 (~3 vs 1.5). The rate of infection and need for care makes a difference to the quality of treatment.
The data I am looking at are at the following link.

April 1, 2020 11:09 am

I’d say we all wear motorcycle helmets with a thick scarf als long as we need to be in proximity of others 😉

Reply to  JuergenK
April 1, 2020 6:04 pm

NASA spacesuits will be a fashion item next year.

Don Jindra
April 1, 2020 11:09 am

We’re in the middle of this thing. Unfortunately there is nowhere enough data to draw such conclusion.

Ben Vorlich
April 1, 2020 11:12 am

Thanks or an interesting article, I had puzzled over the difference between Italy and Japan as the median age in Japan is greater than that of Italy, exceeded only by Monaco; when older people are more likely to suffer fatal consequences from an infection.

I’m going to invest in masks at the earliest opportunity and use them in future.

B d Clark
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
April 1, 2020 11:54 am

Face masks were discouraged in the UK because they claimed they were ineffective, at the same time we were told there needed for nurses on the front line, there is still not enough face masks/PPE equipment for NHS front line staff, the government knew there was a shortage so tried to put off people buying them so front line staff could gain all the stocks. This is simply a lie by the government that masks dont work ,to cover the fact the government had no stockpiles of basic PPE

Personal protection equipment.

Reply to  B d Clark
April 1, 2020 6:00 pm

the Brits have spent millions on cameras and facial recognition software on every street corner that is rendered useless if they now push masks on anyone outdoors….

B d Clark
Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 1, 2020 6:16 pm

Good point

Tom Abbott
Reply to  B d Clark
April 1, 2020 7:03 pm

“This is simply a lie by the government that masks dont work ,to cover the fact the government had no stockpiles of basic PPE”

That’s exactly right. If the masks work for medical people, then it will work for the average person.

I think the only reason they don’t come out and recommend masks for everyone is because the supply is too low to outfit everyone. This will change fast, but in the meantime, we are short on masks.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
April 1, 2020 9:12 pm

The Italians are a very hug’n’kiss culture, all the time, everywhere.

The Japanese… are not.

Michael Carter
April 1, 2020 11:18 am

“Wash your Hands”

There is an assumption here: That with containment the outbreak will eventually fizzle out leaving a large portion of the population un-exposed or infected by a much weakened strain. That’s a big if. For the moment I don’t buy it.

I feel it far more likely that we will all be exposed. Consequently, I take no precautions other than to live by the rules of my countries lock-down. I may as well be infected now, rather than later.

Official terms used to describe the social distancing range from “lock-down” to “shelter in place” . Does this reflect the potential mass rebellion in different countries? I rank this risk as high. You cannot lock up the young and randy for long, especially given that they are subject to little personal risk.

Reply to  Michael Carter
April 1, 2020 12:12 pm

My grandson and his girlfriend, both 15, were at his father’s out of town house when the schools closed, so they stayed there. Its now 2 weeks on. How long before we expect a great-grandchild? And even when not locked down in the same house, randy teens with less than normal to do will find a way.

Reply to  FranBC
April 1, 2020 3:09 pm

I think it takes nine months….

April 1, 2020 11:19 am

I’m not convinced that masks work.

Suppose you have the virus in your lungs/mouth/saliva. You have a mask on. You sneeze. Now the inside of the mask has the virus on it, and you are breathing in recirculated viruses, because convection around your ordinarily open face no longer takes place.

Further, was the mask in a sterilized, sealed container when you put it on? Were your hands virus free when you picked up the mask and applied to your face? Are you washing/sanitizing the mask before and after each and every use? Did you lay the mask on a surface, from which you then picked it up, leaving the virus from the sneezed-on mask on the surface where you placed it?

The chain of contamination does not magically stop where you think it does. The steps required to use the mask properly in a way that guarantees sterility each and every time seem incredibly impractical and impossible for most people to execute consistently, each and every time, for days and days on end.

Masks, therefore, seem to make people feel better, but, again, I am doubting how much actual effectiveness they have. Again, the chain of contamination does not magically stop where you want it to.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 1, 2020 2:02 pm

Oh, so there could be exceptions where a mask doesn’t work, therefore you’re not convinced that masks work…period.

Come on. That’s like saying you’re not convinced condoms work because some break and some aren’t put on properly.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
April 1, 2020 3:06 pm

No, read the logic of how I stated my doubts. Is there a flaw in it? If so, then point it out. Merely stating generally that I am mistaken is not a specific enough criticism to change my mind.

Your analogy is not sound. Condoms do not recirculate the sperm entering the targeted area. Masks, on the other hand, seemingly recirculate the viruses that are sneezed or breathed into them by the people wearing them. It’s not a question of breakage or ill fitting — it’s a question of actual removal of the offending item from the area where it is not wanted.

You sneeze, wearing a mask. The mask remains in place. Where are the viruses that you sneezed into the mask? On the mask, right? And the mask is still on your face afterwards, right? And you are still breathing air that passes through the concentration of viruses that you just sneezed.

At least, when you sneeze into your arm or into a tissue, you can immediately remove the tissue or your arm — you do not continue to breath through the sneezed on tissue or with the arm sneezed into still over your face. And you can then wash your hands or your arm, or later wash your garment, if a garment was covering your arm at the time of the sneeze.

Viruses are to masks … are NOT … as sperm are to condoms, therefore.

John Endicott
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 2, 2020 4:45 am

Robert his analogy is apt, because it’s an analogy of how a product (masks and condoms) don’t work when not used properly, which is the entirely thesis of your original post – you don’t think masks work because masks can be used improperly. When masks are handled properly, they work. Can people put them on improperly thus reducing/eliminating their effectiveness? sure. Same as with Condoms – they generally work unless put on improperly. The analogy is a good one for the point it was making, Your nonsense against the analogy has nothing to do with the point it was making.

Another point against your illogic. The point of the mask is to prevent the spread of germs to you (from others) and from you (to others). It’s not to prevent the spread of germs from you to yourself. If you’re sneezing virus particles, that means you already have the virus, mask or no mask. If you’ve got the virus, the mask isn’t there to prevent you from getting the virus, it’s already too late for that, but it can help to prevent you from spreading the virus to others.

Reply to  John Endicott
April 3, 2020 1:21 am

Once they are damp, say 10 minutes, they don’t stop virus.
Wash your hands, or wear gloves.

Steve Fitzpatrick
April 1, 2020 11:21 am

Hi Willis,
It is true that Japanese do often wear masks, but mainly when they are sick or think they might be, not all the time. The annual average number of deaths per million population from influenza is about 200 in Japan, while in the USA it is about 160. So for influenza at least, the mask wearing does not seem to have much of an impact. Of course, it could be that with the new corona virus threat, all Japanese are now wearing masks in public. Maybe there is some way to verify if this is the case.

Reply to  Steve Fitzpatrick
April 1, 2020 11:36 am

I would suggest that the Japanese population concentrations are much greater than found here so that comparison is not really valid.

Steve Fitzpatrick
Reply to  rah
April 1, 2020 6:17 pm

Sure, the population density is higher, but why would that not also apply to Coronavirus 19? The Japanese also do a lot less public hand shaking, hugging, and kissing than the Italians do…. and for that matter, than Americans do. There is a lot less international travel to Japan than there is to many other countries. There are plenty of factors which can impact transmission rates. I would not hang my hat on *just* the use of masks without careful consideration of other potential factors.

Reply to  Steve Fitzpatrick
April 1, 2020 8:44 pm

Keep an eye on the Swedes.

Jo Nova posted on. Sweden’s gamble with very limited restrictions on social interaction.

The situation is compounded the relative shortage of ICU beds vis-a-vis other developed countries.

A science experiment in the making. Unless they reverse course, they are courting disaster.

John Tillman
Reply to  Steve Fitzpatrick
April 5, 2020 8:42 am

Japanese population is also older on average.

J Mac
April 1, 2020 11:24 am

The Washington state Department of Health is having problems with their Wuhan virus tracking data base.
“We are experiencing technical difficulties with our COVID-19 data repository. We are working diligently to resolve these issues. For more information, please view our statement on the delay in data posting, 3/31/20 (PDF).”
As best I can ascertain, they have not updated the state provided public access data since 3/29. The WA Covid-19 Case dashboard displays individual county data up to 3/29 only.
While the state ‘dashboard’ shows only 195 deaths in WA, other sources pin the number at 225, as of 3/31.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  J Mac
April 1, 2020 8:27 pm

Yesterday and today, this has been in the news.
Thus, it is no longer news. They are working on it.
The State of Washington has been pre-occupied with solving climate change and banning “single use” (sic) plastic bags.
State officials cannot be expected to be doing 3 things at once!
– – winking smiley face – – Poe’s Law

old white guy
April 1, 2020 11:27 am

John, good info.

The Dark Lord
April 1, 2020 11:27 am

a lockdown of the at risk seniors in America (about 5 million) would have worked to keep them from catching and then dying from it …

locking down everyone else just keeps people at no risk of dying from it from possibly catching it (unless like in Italy you as an at-risk senior get locked down with infected family members) …

If the goal is less dead you only needed to lock down the at risk seniors … yes locking down everyone might accomplish the same thing … but so would have locking down just the at risk folks …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 1, 2020 2:44 pm

Agree. And most of the high-risk have already retired, so it would have little impact on the economy. It’s a shame that Donald Trump (and his advisers) couldn’t push the US in that direction after having talked about not making the cure worse than the disease. I think a great opportunity has been missed.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 1, 2020 7:30 pm

“Agree. And most of the high-risk have already retired, so it would have little impact on the economy.”

Age might not be as much of a factor with regard to the Wuhan virus. A doctor on tv just now who is actively treating patients with hydroxychloroquine says his experience, which is in line with the Washington State experience, is the most at risk people are diabetics, pre-diabetics and people who are overweight to the point of being obese, a bmi of 30 or more. And this applies to all ages. He said he had a slim 75-year old that did just fine. He said none of his patients who recieved five days of treatment had to be intubated.

He said it is a game-changer.

John Endicott
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 2, 2020 5:24 am

1) there are a sizable number of seniors (65+) still in the workforce/not fully retired. And a good percentage of them work in public facing jobs in the service industries – meaning they come in contact with lots of people on a daily basis.
2) It’s not just the elderly that have high-risk, it’s those with underlying conditions which can affect any age group. (just look around you at the number of under 40 Americans who are overweight and/or smoke – just for starters. Diabetes, High blood pressure, heart conditions, Lung conditions – these things don’t just magically appear when you turn 65)

Jeffery P
Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 1, 2020 3:19 pm


April 1, 2020 11:28 am

This is a fast moving target. In the UK:
yesterday’s death/10M was 275 people
today’s death/10M was 361 people
an increase of 31%
Today’s update here

Reply to  Vuk
April 1, 2020 2:31 pm


April 1, 2020 11:34 am

Some people are denying this is the real deal. It’s real.
My daughter in-law is an ICU nurse in Indianapolis. Talked to my son today and he said she had a crying jag last night. She is doing COVID-19 only and has been working extremely long hours of course. Says that she has 4 patients to deal with, all on respirators. Working in an adhoc ICU. Being the caring individual she is this is really hard on her. She says that from her perspective in the ICU the patient ages are scatter shot. The youngest 31 the oldest 80 y/o. Peak surge has not hit Indianapolis yet. They are doing OK with the N-95 masks though they are sanitizing them for reuse. Their worst shortage in PPE are the disposable gowns.

April 1, 2020 11:34 am

Here is a preprint article from the US CDC on the policy decisions which Taiwan used.
Willis, generally speaking, where does Taiwan fit on your scatter plot?

Reply to  yirgach
April 1, 2020 1:16 pm

OK, so Taiwan reports 5 deaths with a population of 23.57M, the deaths per 10M is around 2.

Down near the Japan level.
From the above article after SARS, they do have a mask wearing culture.
Another thing they did was develop a 4 hour PCR test and did extensive testing.
It certainly seems that having a knowledgeable public health care system in place as well as high population densities enables early control without too much draconian measures.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  yirgach
April 1, 2020 7:33 pm

I think Taiwan instituted a travel ban early, too.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
April 1, 2020 8:13 pm

Yes, the travel ban was mentioned in the CDC link above.
As far as Taiwan, I don’t know where that level of government intervention fits into Willis’s scale.

Jan E Christoffersen
April 1, 2020 11:36 am

In Asian countries, people commonly wear masks in public when suffering from some ailment (cold, flu), a practice quite rare in the West. So masks are readily available. The shortage of masks in western countries is the likely reason they were not recommended for use by the general public. An official recommendation to wear masks would have created a buying stampede and, hence, severe shortages for medical staff. Catch 22.

Masks probably do work to reduce infection rates, contrary to what some of our health professionals – and politicians – have stated.

Paul Penrose
April 1, 2020 11:39 am

I don’t think surgical masks really do much, even in Japan. The fact of the matter is that the Japanese are probably the biggest germaphobes in the world. The are incessant hand washers and wipe down/disinfect surfaces often. This is almost certainly the biggest reason they don’t have as many infections of either CoViD 19 or Influenza.

Capell Aris
April 1, 2020 11:44 am

Do lockdowns work>:
(12 noon BST 01/04/20) from which a summary:
‘The US is now the global centre of the pandemic, with the number of new cases increasing every day, and total infections in the last week alone passing 100,000.’

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Capell Aris
April 1, 2020 1:26 pm

The US has a much smaller death total and deaths per population than most countries. The reason we have so many positives is that we have many more tests made and they are more accurate. The most likely death to positives when all people are tested is almost surely far below 1%. Any country with a higher percent and higher number than US is likely due to tracking deaths well, but not positives.

Capell Aris
Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
April 1, 2020 3:29 pm

Well, I guess we’re all going to find out just which policy is best, if one appears, in about a year’s time . . .
I see no evidence of an optimal strategy from any of the graphs.

April 1, 2020 11:44 am

I read on WUWT the other day that the virus doesn’t like high temps and high humidity, and spreads further in cold and dry conditions.

Perhaps a face-mask will raise temperature and humidity around the mouth and nose of the wearer, and offer a bit more protection ?

April 1, 2020 11:48 am

The Coronavirus Hug-fest: Israeli Hippies Brazenly Flout the Rules

The two dozen people at a refuge in the north say group cuddling and a communal bed are among the best ways to bolster the immune system against COVID-19

Adrian Mann
Reply to  john
April 1, 2020 5:40 pm

They should go and repeat the exercise in Gaza and see how that goes. Looking forward to that.

John Finn
April 1, 2020 11:56 am

I’m not sure this sort of analysis means much at this stage.

Firstly, it takes at least 2 weeks before any effect will be observed. In Wuhan the lockdown was introduced on Jan 23rd. The decline in confirmed (tested) cases began on Feb 4th. There are good reasons for this, i.e. incubation period and development of symptoms.

Secondly, intervention measures have not been applied uniformly across countries. Italy’s began in specific provinces in Lombardy and has been gradually extended across the country ever since.

Thirdly, countries are at different stages of the pandemic. The Fig 2 graph reflects the fact countries are responding to the seriousness of the problem, i.e. the measures have increased because the cases have increased,

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Finn
April 1, 2020 12:41 pm

You said “Firstly, it takes at least 2 weeks before any effect will be observed.” Because the doubling period is less than the incubation period, one can expect to start seeing an effect within a few days, with maximum effect after about 2 weeks of isolation.

April 1, 2020 12:09 pm

The problem with masks is that they are currently disposable. It is not possible to produce the number of disposable masks required in the U.S. If you give each person in the US one disposable mask, you needs over 300 million masks. What is reasonable use? One mask per day for 30 days? Make that 9 billion masks. It would not be a bad idea to have a non-disposable full-face respirator that can be decontaminated regularly with hydrogen peroxide or bleach. Hopefully we are learning things from this pandemic. I hope the impracticality of disposable personal protective equipment in a pandemic is one of them.

There is only one way out of this. Vaccine, testing, and drug therapy. The testing seems to be solved, finally, with a 15 minute turnaround time test of sufficient reliability. Unfortunately that will not identify the symptomless carrier of the virus. We would have to be prepared to give 300 million tests on a periodic basis to catch the mild cases. An 18 month clinical trial for a vaccine is not going to be acceptable. There has to be an emergency fast track to put it out now after minimal safety and efficacy testing and an informed consent letter. Give it only to those at high risk. That should prevent excessive hospitalizations, the real crisis. To bring length of hospital stay down a drug therapy is needed. Emergency fast track approval required, given only to those hospitalized with informed consent. There are two now well known candidates and dozens of candidates on the back burners. All must be tried now. The solution acceptable to the existing FDA system is simple. Everyone who is hospitalized is enrolled in a clinical trial. No controls. Everyone gets one med or another, the outcomes of the various meds are compared. to each other, not to placebos

We have to realize that people with lung disease, cardiac disease or metabolic disorders are probably going to die. So protect them. Lock down the nursing homes and retirement communities.

I just want to add a pet peeve. Cubicles in offices are terrible for infection control. Not only are they hated universally by employees, they pack people together in high density in the same air space. No one should be allowed to go back to work in a cubicle until the pandemic is over. It is the employers’ problem to work out.

Reply to  Jim
April 1, 2020 12:55 pm

Ordinary cloth works, you can iron it or wash it. Reusable.

Reply to  Peter
April 1, 2020 3:24 pm

Describe the procedure, step-by-step, that you would go through to produce and use/reuse an “ordinary cloth” mask.

How do you insure that it is virus free, upon its first application? Spray with alcohol, maybe? Then how long would you wear it at a time? Are your hands completely sanitized when you touch it the first time? How exactly do you place it on your face? How exactly do you take it off your face? Where do you place it, after you take it off your face, so as not to contaminate a surface? Do you answer all these questions in such a way that the chain of contamination is completely sanitized, each and every step of the process, … each and every time you place the mask and remove the mask?

If it were dust we were talking about, then sure, I see the value of a mask — I use one, when I mulch leaves, to keep out the leaf dust, and I spray it with alcohol, when I’m done breathing on it.
But we are talking about a virus. Is it really possible to effectively control the locations of these with a barrier like this? Again, I have doubts. I’m not convinced that it is practically possible for such masks to actually make any difference.

Masks make people feel better. They signal an intent and a consciousness of a contaminant. Intent and general consciousness does not magically cause the chain of contamination to stop where you want it.

B d Clark
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 1, 2020 3:35 pm

I wear a mask when I leave the property , I dont ware it to protect others I ware it to help protect me, the virus is airborne in water droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, the mask will help prevent me breathing in the snot of some one else=virus , it’s not fail safe but it gives me time to ditch the mask (in a plastic bag) and burn it when I get home. Unless you have a full face mask with air filter cans stuck on the end ,its the best people can do when they have to out.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 1, 2020 11:13 pm

Robert, in my country, Slovakia, masks are mandatory now. We had same problems with availability as all countries. Then after few days many women, locked down volunteered and started sewing masks. Manual was viral on Youtube, Facebook.
After another few days small sewing companies started to produce masks in hundreds batch. Now everybody who wants mask can get one.
Those masks are created from cotton, so you can iron them on high temperature. After ironing with 120C/270F iron it is sterile. This is point of ironing for hundreds of years.
Mask have rubber strings, which you put behind your ears. Whole manipulation is done by strings, to not touch front area. It is simple.
Another way how to sterilise mask is to put it into oven at 120C/270F for 10 minutes.
And of course washing it. Detergent plus high temperature water kills viruses.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 4:24 am

Yes Willis, my guess is that ordinary cloth face masks protects you for around 10%, but protects other for 70% getting virus from you. So mutual protection is (1-0.1)x(1-0.7)=0.27. That means that chance to get virus when all wear face masks is reduced to 27%.
This alone can reduce R0 of Covid from 3.5 to around 1.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 2, 2020 3:32 am
Here is manual how to produce face mask.
Sterilization? Iron it, bake for 10 minutes on 120C/250F, let it sit for hour or more on direct sunlight, wash it in machine.
Manipulation? Get it on or off only by strings behind your ears.

Joel Snider
April 1, 2020 12:10 pm

Honestly, I’m one of the lucky ones in my state. I still get to go to work – turns out I’m an essential service (Yeah, I know – who knew – I’ve always felt very redundant) – we service truckers, farmers, the city and county, and utilities – so we’re actually doing tons of volume.

But that can only last as long as our customers continue in business themselves.

The biggest issue as far as the economy is that there is no ‘end’ – this holding pattern simply can’t last – there is no point of ‘zero-risk’ – LIFE is risk.

I think, to a large extent, we’ve been spoiled by the illusion of absolute safety – to the point where it seems to be taken for granted.

Reply to  Joel Snider
April 1, 2020 12:52 pm

I work part time for landscape company (so plowing in winter) and we are essential also. sort of makes sense since we do commercial lots like parts stores and apartment buildings. luckily these are all under contract with money set aside so we get paid but yeah…our customers suffering bugs us too. we also plow lot of residential and we gave them breaks the last week from storm plowings.

April 1, 2020 12:20 pm

the forced quarantines are pretty much common sense being forced onto people at the point of a gun.
by that I mean due to the exclusions most of it is useless, people with common sense were already practicing good hygiene and distancing, and was a very small subset of people acting like idiots.
those idiots still gonna act that way only difference is now local/state governments get to see (1) how easy it is to strip away (in the US) constitutional rights, (2) how easy it is to jail any member of the populace for any reason with the stroke of a pen, and (3) how easy it is to gain yet another income stream from the fines.
And once a government has seen how easy it is to gain power of=ver a populace lets see how hard it is to get them te reduce that power back to the pre-edict days. Hint…it never happens. Any rollbacks always are much less than the pre-edict days.
This disabled vet (peacetime in germany when all we had to deal with were red army pukes and baader-meinhof pukes…yeah they were not violent at all) is disgusted about how easily the populace is giving up a huge % of their freedoms for a facade of safety due to their feelings. I got hurt basically for no damned reason.
color me fking disgusted!!

Paul Penrose
Reply to  dmacleo
April 2, 2020 4:23 am

You are not alone. I too believe that these sweeping lock-downs are unlawful and unconstitutional. It’s only a matter of time before someone who is asymptomatic is arrested and charged under one of these orders and challenges the legality of it. Then we will see if we are still a nation ruled by laws, or by men.

And your sacrifice was not for nothing – I for one am grateful. Thank you for your service.

April 1, 2020 12:22 pm

I live in Colorado. I keep asking officials what the government’s estimate is for keeping the current rules in place (stay at home, social distancing, businesses shutdown, etc). So far I haven’t received an answer. And “forever” and “as long as necessary” aren’t answers to my question. (The answer may be classified).

John Endicott
Reply to  littlepeaks
April 2, 2020 5:02 am

So far I haven’t received an answer

Yes you have: “as long as necessary” is an answer, it’s just not an answer you like. The fact is no one knows a definitive answer to your question because the answer is “it all depends” (which effectively means “as long as necessary” in regards to the rules) as in it all depends on how things go, how quickly the virus dies down (as it will at some point, but nobody know when that point it and if anyone claims to know, they’re lying). You looking for a timeline, and no one can give you a timeline because no one knows what the timeline will end up being (and again, it anyone claims to know the timeline, they’re lying)

April 1, 2020 12:24 pm

The only spending that makes sense for ‘refugee’ resettlement is for transportation returning them to their country of origin. Economic refugees don’t qualify for asylum and it’s these kinds of illegal immigrant refugees that the Democrats want to resettle. I would have no problem spending money on this if a condition for resettlement was that the recipient must have entered the country legally and has a valid asylum claim.

If being poor and/or having a corrupt and incompetent government was a criteria for asylum, we would be overrun with the billions of people around the world who would qualify. America has always been a generous country, but there are practical limits to our generosity. To get around these limits, the Democrats have become racists who break the law by extending this exceptionally generous privilege to only ‘people of color’ from Central America and Mexico who ILLEGALLY crossed the border to get here. To add insult to injury, they call anyone who opposes their agenda a racist. It’s just another example of the projection they frequently use as a deflection tactic.

Merit based immigration is what most of the world does and we should do the same. Anyone who crosses the border illegally should be sent back with no exceptions. A policy like this was enacted due to Covid-19 and should stay in place permanently. If someone has a legitimate asylum claim, they must go through the proper channels. The Democrats don’t want this because those immigrants who respect US law will probably not vote for a Democrat (or a Socialist) if they were to become a citizen.

April 1, 2020 12:25 pm

For me, by far the more important metric is confirmed cases. Of course, there are differences in the way cases are reported, as between Italy on the one hand and Germany on the other. But given a consistent reporting scheme, confirmed cases (if it’s all the one virus – and that’s an assumption) will translate to deaths in a way that should be fairly consistent across countries with similar medical systems. At 2 to 3 weeks out. Though it does look as if new cases are starting to decline in many European countries.

And in reply to your question “Do lockdowns work??” my answer is an unequivocal Yes. For those that want to suppress human rights and freedoms.

Ed H
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 3:05 pm

To me the most important metric is level of hospital load or overload. Seasonal flu does not overload the hospitals. If they could handle the load with no lockdowns, then the lockdowns probably should ease. But right now in more and more locations they are becoming overloaded even with deferring all non-elective procedures. Death rate per million is not useful to determine the measures taken. Neither is # tests or # cases. It is the impact on the health system itself. So something along the lines of % of critical resources consumed in a given area. Problem is, it is too late once overloaded, so as flawed as models are if the trends or models are pointing towards overloading 2-4 weeks in the future, the time for action has arrived because of the length of the incubation period. Once hospitals have more equipment and the # serious admissions levels or starts to decline, then it is a different story.

The fact that measures were put in place across entire states overshoots basing it on overloading of particular service areas, but it is far easier to implement and communicate than drawing maps around service areas (which do not tend to correspond to any particular governmental boundaries.)

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 1, 2020 5:18 pm

If you look at the number of confirmed cases in any one country, you can take the variability in the testing regime out of the equation – well, almost.

In the Swiss example, confirmed new cases continued to increase at over 20% per day until 21st March.
Then followed 4 days with between 10 and 20 per cent.
The last week’s daily increases have averaged 7 per cent.

On this basis, I would suggest that the draconian Swiss lockdown measures have started to work, implying that there was a built-in 2 to 3 week increase in the pipeline already, before their effect kicked in.

Similarly, I can imagine that the rate of increase in daily deaths will start to decline a couple of weeks or so after the start of the decline in new cases. In other words, somebody who catches the disease today is only likely to become a death statistic in 2 or 3 weeks’ time.

Sweden has taken the opposite approach, with many public amenities still open as normal.

It will be interesting to see how these 2 countries compare over the next month

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2020 2:41 am

If a country does no testing beyond those who report symptoms (as looks to be the case in the UK, and very probably in some of the other countries too), then you will – obviously – get less confirmed cases than if you test random samples of the general population. And less still than if you aim to test everyone (which is probably out of bounds on cost grounds). Nevertheless, you will still get a, more or less useful, count of confirmed cases. It’s better than nothing.

Adrian Mann
Reply to  Neil Lock
April 1, 2020 5:36 pm

Bravo Neil! Your inalienable right to be an egocentric, short-sighted imbecile must in no way be infringed! That would probably be Comnism or sumfink. Celebrate your freedom and individuality by buying more guns!
Naturally, I’m perfectly happy for you and your hideous moronic tribe to infringe my right to have my wife, with Stage 3 emphysema/COPD live long enough to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in 2 months time. She might be dead by then, drowned by fluids filling her lungs, but at least she’d be free and her rights would not have been infringed. You’ll be alive and free so spread your ghastly, ignorant TRUTH, I’ll replace the flowers when I can. Twat.

Elle Webber
Reply to  Adrian Mann
April 1, 2020 9:02 pm

Adrian, I’m sorry your wife is so ill, and I’m sure you are over the edge with worry. But, your wife does not have a “right” to survive, nor do you, nor do any of us. Pretending we are immortal is an illusion. You and your wife do have every right to lock yourselves down and not emerge until this is over. Locking everyone else indoors and impoverishing them to boot might make you think something is being done for your wife, but it is a fantasy. Her best bet is personal isolation and assuming everyone she contacts, including you, is an asymptomatic carrier. Good luck to you both.

Tim Bidie
April 1, 2020 12:29 pm

Unfortunately Uk statistics regarding Covid 19 will, quite shortly if not already, further reinforce prejudices against ‘experts’. That is a pity, because some of them really seem to know what they are talking about:

‘Now look at what has happened since the emergence of Covid-19. The list of notifiable diseases has been updated. This list — as well as containing smallpox (which has been extinct for many years) and conditions such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague and rabies (which most UK doctors will never see in their entire careers) — has now been amended to include Covid-19. But not flu. That means every positive test for Covid-19 must be notified, in a way that it just would not be for flu or most other infections.

In the current climate, anyone with a positive test for Covid-19 will certainly be known to clinical staff looking after them: if any of these patients dies, staff will have to record the Covid-19 designation on the death certificate — contrary to usual practice for most infections of this kind. There is a big difference between Covid-19 causing death, and Covid-19 being found in someone who died of other causes. Making Covid-19 notifiable might give the appearance of it causing increasing numbers of deaths, whether this is true or not. It might appear far more of a killer than flu, simply because of the way deaths are recorded.’

Dr John Lee, recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS consultant pathologist

April 1, 2020 12:30 pm

I agree.
Mask can be recommended, but try to find the appropriate one in the USA at the beginning of this year.
As for the surgical mask, one would be needed at least once a day. Try to find a box of them. Not available.

Reply to  rd50
April 1, 2020 2:54 pm

Could you cook the mask and reuse it? Would that work? Just asking.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 1, 2020 9:52 pm

You can heat the mask so that you can reuse the mask. One study said if you heated the mask to:
132F it would take 90 minutes to sterilize
152F it would take 60 minutes
167F it would take 30 minutes

Or you could leave it in a plastic bag for 9 days and then reuse

Reply to  Lowell
April 2, 2020 11:48 am

How about microwaving it. Wouldn’t this excite any water molecules in the viral particles and cause them to explode from within in a much shorter time then heating them from the outside?

I’ve seen one study that says uwaves do kill the virus, but tends to melt the masks. This tells me that they were using too high of a power setting or cooking it for too long. If it was heated enough to melt, then it got to a much higher temperature than required to kill any viral particles.

J Mac
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 2, 2020 11:48 pm

Dampen the mask. Place in a bowl covered with a saucer. Microwave until steamed thoroughly (15 – 30 seconds, depending on your microwave). Remove and let dry.

April 1, 2020 12:38 pm

Well I’m not sure if what seems to be happening these days. What we’re told and what appears to be happening are different. For example in South Dakota restaurants and bars are open as are all manner of stores. Virus growth rate is same or less than states with everyone fully locked in place. If problem is related to lockdown then the rates ought to reflect this, then by all rights SD ought to be ballooning. It’s not. This says that infectiousness isn’t as claimed. It’s not about totals or testing but about rates. In minn most of the ICU beds and deaths are related to the virus being in long term elderly care facilities. This despite the confirmed cases being fairly evenly represented across age groups 20-80. Growth rate in minn is fairly flat ie 50 cases per day rather than 50-70-90 over 3 days as we’ve been told is what to expect.

April 1, 2020 12:41 pm

It is possible that this virus simply converts a death that would soon have occurred anyway in a quiet hospital bed into one that, before it occurs, requires assistance with breathing via oxygen or a ventilator.
In that case one would see that particular speciality overwhelmed whilst it becomes quieter than average in the rest of the healthcare system.
Of course it would add some additional deaths because it is added on top of the average disease burden but such deaths occur from respiratory problems all the time. My wife lost a good friend many years ago, in her 20s, to pneumonia so such deaths are hardly unprecedented.
The key is to observe how much of an increase in deaths occurs over and above the normal national death rate so that is the parameter to keep an eye on.
At this moment the average death rate in the UK is running a bit less than normal due to a mild winter. It is likely to rise from Corvid 19 infections but by how much ?
The issue, then, is whether any such rise is enough to justify closing down economic activity because that can also increase death rates from mental distress and problems in the supply of food and medicines worldwide.
Is this really a problem for the UK NHS as a whole or just a burden on a specific specialised facility within the NHS ?
Are we fighting a phantom and causing the cure to be worse than the disease?
There is a reason why pneumonia was often referred to as ‘the old man’s friend’. It may have carried him off a bit sooner but saved him a load of suffering in the process.
Something that alarms me is the idea of sick people in the process of dying quite naturally within a year or two being kept alive and aware artificially by means of painful, distressing, damaging ventilation when they might have preferred to pass away quietly under sedation.
In most of Europe the mild winter has resulted in a low influenza season which has created a pool of senior citizens who would normally have died already with flu imposed on top of underlying illnesses exposed to the depredations of Corvid 19 but in the end will the total death rate be much higher than normal ?
Questions, questions.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
April 1, 2020 2:19 pm

Yes much of the death count attributed to COVID ( or the normal flu ) is done to make it sound dramatic. It is often a life shortened by a year at most. When you are at the end of your force, it only takes a little problem to push you over the edge.

They play the same game with PM2.5 etc. claiming it costs xxxx million lives per year, when this is just a snip from a statistical result saying that it shortened those lives 2.54 days on average !!

Alexander Vissers
April 1, 2020 12:45 pm

Willis,I believe you really should have waited at least one month, better a year. Nobody really expected a notable effect this soon, just getting away from the logarithmic growth and we know so little. Probably Sweden is acting the most rational, persons over 70 to be quarantined, public life taking mostly its normal course. The success of Japan and the mask wearing however are really convincing. In the Netherlands there is a plea for letting children go to school again and since they are not at risk I strongly support the idea.