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.

518 thoughts on “Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost? (was Do Lockdowns Work?)

  1. 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)

    • “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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • @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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

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

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

    • 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?

    • 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%).

    • “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.

    • 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.

      • “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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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?

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

        • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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]

    • 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.

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

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

      • 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.

        • 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.


          • 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.

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

        That’s a VENTILATOR.

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

      • 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.

  4. “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.

    • “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.

      • 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

      • 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.

    • 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?

      • 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.

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

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • “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.*

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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’

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

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

    • 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).

      • 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.


      • 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.

      • 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.

      • *************************
        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!”

  6. 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 .

    • Geordie, all that discussing the origins of this disease does is to needlessly inflame passions. Please take that elsewhere. Some blame Trump. Some blame the Chinese. Blame goes nowhere, it’s a dead end.

      Next, my graphs may indeed be “seriously inadequate” as you say. But for you to claim that without saying why or proposing an alternative means that you are being seriously inadequate …

      Up your game, bro’ …


      • 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.

        • John, is it important how the epidemic started?

          Sure. We always want to learn from history.

          Is a post on whether lockdowns work the place to discuss who’s to blame for the epidemic?

          Absolutely not. You are welcome to find a post discussing that and put up your ideas there. Here, we’re discussing whether lockdowns work, not assigning blame for the entire epidemic. Once we start down that path, it often turns into an ugly blame game.



          • 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 🙂


          • 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.

          • 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.

          • Kalashnikat April 1, 2020 at 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.

            Kat, I said that his point was important. I also said that this is not the place for it. This is a discussion of the pros and cons of lockdowns. Find a post about the origins of the epidemic and discuss it there. How is asking people to stay on-topic in the least controversial?

            And as to my reasoning ability, since I said his issue is indeed important, I gotta say I’m not impressed with your reasoning ability.


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

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

          • Vincent,

            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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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?

      • The effect of the virus on the lungs has a distinctive “ground-glass” appearance on x-ray … or so I’m told.


        • 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)

      • 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.

        • “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.

        • “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.

        • 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.

          • 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

        • 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.

          • Steven

            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.

        • “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.

    • 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.

      • 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. ????

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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!

        • “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.

          • 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).

          • 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.

        • “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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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?

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

  7. 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.

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

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

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

      • 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.

      • 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.

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

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

      • Italy and Spain are currently at 2,000 deaths per ten million population, and may peak at around 4,000 / 10 million. If the US gets to that level, which seems possible, it would be 132,000 deaths … the beauty of exponential growth.

        HUGE CAVEAT: We are measuring a combination of deaths FROM covid and deaths WITH covid. Until we can see total mortality figures the split between the two will be unclear.


        • Willis,
          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?)

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • Does Stimulus Ever Work?

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

    • 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).

  15. 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.

    • Rob
      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?

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • “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.

        • Tom,

          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!

          • “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.

          • Tom
            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.

  16. 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.

    • “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.

      • 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 🙁 )

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

      • 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)

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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.

  17. 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

    • 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.

  18. 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.

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

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

  21. Willis,
    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.

    • 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.

      • 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….

      • “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.

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

      The Japanese… are not.

  22. “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.

    • 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.

  23. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

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

  24. 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.

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

      • rah,
        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.

  25. Willis,
    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.

    • 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

  26. 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 …

    • 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.

      • “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.

      • Mike,
        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)

  27. 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

    • The death figures may well be suspect. Last week we had a blip upwards mid week and there was a suspicion that this was an artifact of the slow collation of weekend hospital figures.

      Then, from The Times this evening:
      Experts pointed out that the fluctuation in daily deaths was partly a result of delays verifying hospitals’ data, with some fatalities taking more than two weeks to show up in the figures. “Hence, it is essential for the UK to provide, ultimately, the correct count for Covid-19 deaths on March 30 2020 by doing so about a week to ten days in arrears,” said Professor Sheila Bird of the biostatistics unit at Cambridge University.

  28. 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  31. 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 ?

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

  32. 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,

    • John,
      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.

  33. 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • Robert, someone with a mask sneezes in your location, you and anyone near them may well get the virus. It can go from one person to a dozen in that instant.

          But if they are wearing a mask, you and they likely won’t get the virus.

          Please explain to us whether this will speed up or slow down the spread of the virus, regardless of the considerations you list …


          • 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.

  34. 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.

    • 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.

  35. 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!!

    • dmacleo,
      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.

  36. 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).

    • 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)

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

    • Neil Lock April 1, 2020 at 12:25 pm

      For me, by far the more important metric is confirmed cases.

      I’m sorry, Neil, but “confirmed cases” is a function of testing. Suppose a country does no testing. How many confirmed cases will it have?


      • 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.)

      • 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

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  39. 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

  40. 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

          • 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

    • 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 !!

  43. 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.

    • Alexander Vissers April 1, 2020 at 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.

      Alexander, there is no noticeable effect in Switzerland after 40 days. Now, you can say that nobody “really expected a notable effect this soon”, but if so, then why the hell are we doing this? Remember, the point was supposed to be to lower the peak cases in the crunch time. The crunch time for the US is later than most, it will be in the next couple of weeks, and if there is no effect by then as you claim, then it has all been trillions of dollars in damages for absolutely no gain.


      • Switzerland does not have a lockdown for 40 days. I don’t know where this false information is coming from. Switzerland was even later than Germany to put up restrictions.

        • Exactly. That was a bit of fake news in the article.

          The Swiss lockdown started in earnest on 17th March. They only closed their ski resorts on 14th March.

          The average daily increase in infections for the following 9 days was 18.9%

          The average daily increase for the next 9 days (26th March to 3rd April) was 6.8%

          Something is working.

          • Yes, I clarified that I was wrong about that a couple of days ago. Check the head post.

            However, your claim that “something is working” isn’t borne out by the data.

            If the growth rate truly had dropped by half in the days after the 17th we’d see a clear “kink” in the trajectory … but we see no such thing. There is no change in the curve.

            Stay well,


    • People living in rural remote communities where the risk levels are extremely low are being impacted financially by this lockdown. This makes no sense at all.

      • Rural communities are “essential services” and should be reanimated ASAP.

        Sadly, too many of those making these decisions are city dwellers, born and bread and their whole mindset is totally blinkered to that context.

        French rules now only allow ONE ‘health’ outing per day limited to a 1km distance from place of residence. I live in a rural context and I does not matter a damn whether I go 1km of 5km up the track. The designed these rules for Paris. Les Parigots think nothing exists ( or at least matters ) outside their little universe.

        • Yes, Greg, there’s a serious disconnect between rural and urban communities.
          Rural remote communities will be impacted financially.
          Is this intentional or is it being done out of sheer ignorance?

  44. Willis
    I’ve recently been troubled by the same concern about the effectiveness of public isolation. I think that something that would be instructive is to compare the shapes of the curves on semi-log graphs for the current epidemics, with quarantines, with past recent flu epidemics. I would expect that if the current quarantines are effective, the downturns should be more abrupt today than they have been for past historical flues with no exceptional attempts to curb the flu beyond vaccinations and palliative care for those who become sick. [Actually, there is a difference in that probably the most serious complication in flu is secondary bacterial pneumonias that respond to antibiotics.] That is, the natural controls on epidemics, notably the reduction in infectable hosts, might be the dominant control, not poorly executed quarantines.

    In summary, does the Gompertz Curve for past flues differ substantially from what we are observing today with COVID-19?

    • Clyde, we’re talking two different things—one is the flu, and the other is a novel virus that nobody has been exposed to. As a result, the coronavirus epidemic is ramping up far, far faster than the annual flu season does. I fear this makes comparisons both difficult and uncertain.


      • Willis
        There doesn’t seem to be anything unique about the method of transmission that distinguishes COVID-19 from the several flu strains. The difference would be in the susceptibility of those being exposed to the virus, as characterized by R0. One would expect something new wouldn’t have any resident antibodies in the population. However, the large percentage of people who are asymptomatic, or only experience mild symptoms, suggests that there is some native or inherent immunity in the general population. The graphs that I have seen suggest that seasonal flues start showing up in September or October, but don’t become really bad until about December, peak about February and then decline rapidly after April. That is, there is an exponential part of the curve that lasts about 3 months and then declines without intervention. That also seems to be the case with COVID-19, except that world health organizations are purposely trying to extend the length of the epidemics to give the medical community time to prepare for the delayed peak.

        I was suggesting a method to establish that the seasonal flues differ significantly from COVID-19, or not.

  45. It appears that we do not as yet have sufficient reliable data to determine whether the virus is very contagious and/or very harmful. Apart from a very limited number of isolated relatively sizable cases (e.g. Diamond Princess) we have no clue as to the total number of infected people, the number of asymptomatic ones thereof, the number of true Corona induced deaths, etc. So far it is hard to distinguish (for instance here in The Netherlands) whether the countrywide total number of deaths and the number of seriously hospitalized people are significantly above normal levels. Impossible to assess the necessity and effectiveness of draconian government measures.

  46. Americans – or better: CONUSians

    Feel free to keep off any lockdown, and to do so as if nothing can happen to you when you won’t do anything more than to wear a mask.

    Probably due to a certain isolation compared with Europe (UK excepted for the same reason), you are just at the very beginning of the pandemic.

    Between March 23 and yesterday, the COVID-19 death / case ratio published daily on the page

    has moved in the US as follows (the case/death lag is not considered here, as it is invariant in the ratio over such a short period):

    23.03.20 | 1.26 ( % )
    24.03.20 | 1.42
    25.03.20 | 1.51
    26.03.20 | 1.52
    27.03.20 | 1.63
    28.03.20 | 1.80
    29.03.20 | 1.74
    30.03.20 | 1.93
    31.03.20 | 2.15 ( % of 4,053 / 188,530)

    We all know: it is in fact not very useful to calculate estimates for such a short time series!

    But nonetheless, we might notice that the predictions for April 6, calculated by different estimates, are as follows:
    – linear: 2.5 %
    – quadratic: 3.0 %
    – cubic: 5.4 % (!)

    We will see on next Tuesday at 9 AM GMT+2 how Worldometers’ numbers look for the US… and see which estimate is the nearest to reality.

    In Germany, France, Spain and Italy, no one is happy about the lockdown.
    We know: Japan and South Korea as well as Sweden did not impose it.

    But we all understand its necessity as explained by renowned health care specialists.

    And, with all due respect: we understand that the opinion of a few persons all around the world – most of them lacking any real experience in medical statistics – and who doubt about the usefulness of lockdowns, counts way way less for us than that of specialists.

    Best wishes to the US, whose president, after having deliberately underestimated, if not even ignored the danger of telling to its nation:

    ‘Oh… It’s no more than a little flu, the spring soon will blow it away’

    now seems to become peu à peu aware of what will inevitably happen.

    And, oh surprise! The bad Russian Communists are helping you with lots of masks! Be happy!

    J.-P. Dehottay

    • Bindidon April 1, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      In Germany, France, Spain and Italy, no one is happy about the lockdown.
      We know: Japan and South Korea as well as Sweden did not impose it.

      But we all understand its necessity as explained by renowned health care specialists.

      And, with all due respect: we understand that the opinion of a few persons all around the world – most of them lacking any real experience in medical statistics – and who doubt about the usefulness of lockdowns, counts way way less for us than that of specialists.

      I can only conclude from that that you know very little about “renowned specialists” and how often they are wrong in all walks of life.

      For example, one of your precious “specialists”, Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College, London, told the UK that if they did nothing they were facing half a million deaths, and that they had to lock down immediately … YIKES! So they locked the country down, because foolishly, like you they trusted him because he’s a “renowned specialist”.

      Then a week or so later, after they’d put in place all the emergency regulations, he came back with his new prediction, which was that the UK was facing …

      … wait for it …

      … 5,700 deaths.

      From half a million deaths to 5,700 deaths in a couple of weeks. And here in the US, the “renowned specialists” are still debating whether wearing masks is a good idea or not.

      So if you want to trust “renowned specialist” folks like that, be my guest. Me … not so much. Been there, seen that, not impressed.


      • The most reliable numbers come from South Korea and they have a death rate of ~1%. With no drug for treatment and no vaccination that means for herd immunity (60-70% of the population got the virus to achieve this) at least 1.96 million deaths. Sounds great, let’s do it! *sarcasm off*

        • Yet the death rate on the infected cruise ship, with an older population than South Korea, was also about 1%. So something seems off here.

          • The numbers of the cruise ship have been to low to make any general conclusion. People with a number of comorbidities are also less likely to go on a cruise so the sample might be just not representative for the whole population.

            South Korea’s and Singapore’s numbers are the only ones which I would trust right now bc of how they are testing, how much they are testing and their quarantine regiment.

            Both are quite open about that w/o SARS and the swine flu’s lessons they would have not been as prepared as they are now. Both as countries as well as societies.

      • W. Eschenbach

        I keep away from this Ferguson polemic (he is unknown to us here in Germany, we trust in the staff of our Robert Koch Institute), because it seems to me that the guy is intentionally misinterpreted.

        He wrote

        In the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour ………. in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.

        As far as I can read, he did not say ‘by end of April’ (or May or June). The German RKI as well did never predict anything the like within such a short period.

        We will see, Mr Eschenbach, what the next 6-9 months will tell us.

        UK just bypassed France today evening at daily death toll, so what!

        J.-P. D.

        • I think you mean London, that`s where most of the deaths have occurred, thankfully no deaths where I live Mansfield Nottinghamshire UK.

        • expect no mercy from Willis when he is attacking modelers.
          oh wait.

          he predicted ~8100 cases for Korea and ~100 deaths.

          Opps, and he still won’t own it.

          • Steve, that’s a pile of reeking horseshit. How could I possibly “not own” a prediction I made very publicly? I made it, I own what I wrote. How could I not? It’s right there for anyone to read.

            However, once again you are LYING about what I predicted, because you don’t have the balls to actually quote my words or link to my prediction. So here they are again.

            The Gompertz Curve estimates that the final total [of cases] will be on the order of some 8,100 cases or so.

            Now, that’s not a hard number, of course. All kinds of things can happen to bend the curve either up or down. But it’s better than just making a blind guess.

            Finally, let’s take a look at the deaths in South Korea. It’s still early, deaths are still happening, so this will be more uncertain. Although the uncertainty in this one is greater, it looks at present like the final total of deaths in South Korea will be on the order of one hundred, give or take.

            And yes, Steve, things happened to bend the curve. Deaths in Korea are up to 165, big whoop. And Korea jacked its testing through the roof so they’ve gotten more cases than I estimated. So what? Seriously, don’t you have better things to do than to whine and bitch endlessly about a very early prediction of deaths?

            Now, as far as I know, you didn’t make any prediction of deaths back then about Korea. And considering how early I made my prediction, and that there were fears of huge numbers of deaths in all countries, I’d say my prediction wasn’t bad.

            So give it a rest. You just look terminally vindictive with your endless lies about my prediction. You’re a smart guy. Act like one.

            We’re in this stupid lockdown in part because some “expert” predicted that 2.2 million would die in the US … how about you devote your skills and energies to getting on the case of the guy who made such a disastrous prediction?

            He’s the same guy who got the UK to lockdown by saying that they’d have a half-million deaths. They locked down, only to see him change his prediction to 6,000 or so. You want a bad prediction to get your knickers in a twist about? Go bother him, and leave honest folks alone.


          • Willis, that would be more than close enough for government work, except you didn’t do it as part of a $1 million contract.

    • the COVID-19 death / case ratio published daily on the page

      UNTRUE, no such ratio is published on that page. That is something you made up all on your own and pretended it meant something.

      As I have pointed out previously to J-P you have two exponential growths: eg. C=exp(c*t); F=exp(f*t)

      when you take the instantaneous ratio C/F you get exp((c-f)*t)

      You should not be surprised if your exponential ratio does not stay constant.

      • And cases slow down before deaths as I know you are aware, so their ratios will not remain constant.

        • The case exp will break before the fatalities exp ( unless some effective treatment is developed ) . At that point the F/C will show a sharp up turn. That is the good news, presumably bibendum will that that is even worse than the current climb which is just the result of two exp growths.

  47. Japan got hit early, like June, and is a hermit society where very few elderly go out anymore.

    So they engage in social distancing as wrote lifestyle the same as they engage in food cleanliness and wearing masks.

    It is very much an anti-viral culture. I’d say the chart needs to include these facts even tho they aren’t government enforced.

  48. I would note that Japan has performed an amazingly small number of tests: 34,508
    I really wonder if anyone knows just how much COVID-19/nCOV is actually in Japan, given this figure. (from Wikipedia COVID-19 testing page)

  49. 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.

    When you look at cumulative totals on a log scale it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that they will all head upwards and to the right. That is not informative and neither supports nor affirms whatever conclusions you may be wanting to put forward.

    Also you are looking at deaths. That can take up to two weeks after symptoms show which is 2-12 days after contact. So how many of the plotted countries have been in shutdown for more than 3 weeks ?

    I have previously pointed out that case numbers are where the first sign of change, if any, will be seen. Those data have problems too but that is where you can look at this point. One needs to look at daily new cases not cumulative because the eye will not easily see a slight difference is slope caused by restrictive measures: it’s not going to magically kill the exponential in its tracks.

    In this graph of US new cases per day. There is a slowing of the exponential: doubling time from initial 2.3d to 5.8 days. That’s pretty good news if you’re on the front line.

    There I did the break in fitting the slopes 3 days after NYC shutdown which is minimum you could expect to see an effect because of incubation period. There is a slope reduction but it appears to start BEFORE that date. However, with noisy bumpy data, it is not clear where the turn starts.

    Same for France. Again , could have been turning before but difficult to make a definitive turning point:

    Similar analysis for Italy, seems clearer.

    So , I’m not pushing any conclusion, just putting the numbers up there is a way which will expose any changes as clearly as possible in the time we have data for since various countries put measures into force.

    There has been notable and useful reduction in the rate of exponential growth. Attribution of that to the measures in place or possibly other factors is less clear.

    As a closing note Italy , Spain , Belgium and Netherlands have now all cleared the peak in daily new cases in recent days.

    Prof Didier Raould at Marseilles has now tested hydroxychloroquine plus antibiotic on over 1500 patients for 3days ( not definitive result ) with only one death. Remaining patients on other care showed 15 deaths in same period.

    I agree with Willis that we need to play the way to unwind this mess ASAP before we create a second crisis on top of the health care crisis we are already suffering from.

  50. If all the imposed restrictions were effective, how long should it take before the reduction in spread should be evident? Would death numbers as in these graphs be hiding improvement? It seems to me thaty with the proposed incubation period reported for this virus the number of new cases should be dropping like a rock by now. What is it about the spread of this virus has been totally misunderstood by the people in our governments?

  51. Interesting analysis and I agree with you that the measures taken are unlikely to make much difference. It’s good to see these important comparisons being done.

    However, the basic problem with your argument I think is it is based on the figures for reported cases and deaths. Yet these figures are basically meaningless since the reported cases understate the reality and really only show how many tests are being carried out (and what kind). The reported deaths on the other hand, as you note at the end, overstate the reality since (in most places) they include all deaths with Covid-19 and not just deaths from Covid-19. See Dr John Lee in the Spectator here

    The most important recent piece of information to come to light is that the proportion of test-positive individuals in any given population in all countries analysed so far, including the US, is constant at between 5 and 15 per cent depending on the country. It is not increasing over time. The exponential increase in the number of reported cases that we see in the news every day results from an exponential increase in the number of tests rather than a rise in the proportion of individuals who test positive. This suggests that the virus is not currently spreading exponentially in these populations at least. The analysis by Dr Richard Capek is here with an explanation here (scroll down to the more recent updates).

    In addition, you say ‘It has a long incubation period when it is infectious but asymptomatic.’ You may be interested to know the WHO disagrees with this: ‘Transmission in the first 3-5 days of illness, or potentially pre-symptomatic transmission – transmission of the virus before the appearance of symptoms – is a major driver of transmission for influenza. In contrast, while we are learning that there are people who can shed COVID-19 virus 24-48 hours prior to symptom onset, at present, this does not appear to be a major driver of transmission.’

    The other important thing to be aware of is that overall death rates for March so far (up to 25 March) in Europe remain well below average despite coronavirus. This speaks against Covid-19 being an unusually deadly virus that warrants the kind of extraordinary, costly and illiberal responses we are seeing. More info here

  52. The logarithmic nature of the first chart is visually hiding some pretty substantial differences. For instance, France is at roughly half the death rate as Italy at this point in its curve, and a much smaller fraction of that compared to Spain. As for the scatter graphs, they only serve to show the number of CURRENT health interventions, which tend to correlate with how far along each country is on their own infection curve. I don’t see how much useful information can be gathered from these graphs, with the exception of tracking the first graph as it continues to develop.

      • Again I say, measuring cases is worse than nonsense, it is actively misleading! Cases are a factor of testing. For example, here are new US cases.

        Now, if you think that your graph shows that the lockdowns are working … why the sudden surge in new cases yesterday? I say it reflects testing levels, not case levels …

        Suppose we cut testing in half tomorrow. “New cases” would drop precipitously, “total cases” would depart from the exponential growth … and that wouldn’t mean one dang thing about actual cases of the disease in the real world.

        Forget about measurements of cases, they’ll lead you astray.

        Which is why I deal with death numbers. They still have problems, but not as bad as case numbers.


        • Thanks for the reply. I agree deaths are probably more reliable but the delay means you don’t get any input for another two weeks after changes in case load.

          I doubt anyone is going to cut testing in half tomorrow and I would not place any weight on one blip yesterday.

          The problem with the kind of rocket flare graphs you are looking at it that they will not show any down turn if one is present, so it seems rather weak evidence of the absence any effect.

          What change would you expect to see on those graphs if one was present and at what point in time would you expect to see it?

          Maybe fake a down turn in some of that data and develop a method would detect it. Until you establish that you have a means of detecting any down turn , you have no reason claim absence of such an effect.

          • A similar approach and equally uninformative for the same reasons.

            Worse the effect of animating the ‘rocket flares’ makes it even more alarmist.

            gifs with no explanation of method are worthless anyway.

          • Greg, these graphical tools are useful if used appropriately. The narrator of the video gave a few precautions and discussed limitations, etc.

        • I agree Willis, active/cases/recoveries have several ambiguities related to testing not the least of which is that New cases are more related to the wild population than the confined (active cases) population. So for example you can’t compare viral spread on the basis of New Cases/Active Cases between countries because the ratio of Active Cases to In the Wild cases can be wildly different. I have found the only reliable metric of viral virulence is deaths per unit population, or the probability of dying from COVID-19 in your country.

          • Sadly, all of those ‘reliable’ stats can only be assessed when the crisis is over.

            That is why we have to try to do our best with unreliable ones.

      • The protocol is hydroxychloroquine and azithromycine early.

        The European “multi-centric” pure sciency “Discovery” blinded test SCAM is hydroxychloroquine only and late. It’s pure Horseshit Based Medicine as usual.

        • Yes, the EU “Discovery” study is rigged from the outset and it is clear that they are only interested in finding which of their big pharma patented antivirals get a milti-billion order.

          One of the clauses anticipates being flexible and eliminating any of the treatments which don’t perform well. If anything gets eliminated early , I know which it will be .

        • HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) has an effect on the virus by being a Zinc Ionophore. That is, HCQ allows more zinc to get into the body’s cells.
          QCT (Quercetin), an over-the-counter “food supplement” acts as a Zinc Ionophore as well.
          This matters because, in vitro but not yet in vivo, zinc has been shown to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 reproduction.
          Perhaps HCQ works better than QCT. Or not. No one knows the level of zinc in vivo that works. No one knows what dosage is required to get the desired level of zinc inside cells. To my knowledge no one has trialed QCT alone or in combination with HCQ.

  53. Masks are hard to come by. I got some dust masks at the hardware store. Keeps me from itching my nose etc. but that’s probably it. Close relatives don’t like the masks for various reasons.

    So is this pandemic going to be worse that the novel H1N1 “Swine Flu” pandemic of 2009/10?

  54. Japanese have a way better average hygiene than Americans and Europeans. Sad fact but true. They are also way more considerate about trying to not infect anybody else and educated in washing hands very frequently. That is the benefit of social pressure and conformity in their society. Therefore relating the slow spread just to masks is utter nonsense. It’s multi-factorial and founded in their society. Just wearing masks will never have the same impact though of course it’s better wearing them than not.

    • So given that wearing masks is better than not wearing them, what’s your point? Yes, the Japanese do other things as well. So what? We still should wear masks and forget about lockdowns, which is my point.


      • Just wearing masks alone w/o any additional change in behavior will not suffice. And I haven’t seen people changing their behavior at all w/o the lockdown in New York City.

  55. How could lockdowns influence the total number of deaths? I have seen two explanations, both based on the assumption that lockdowns slow the spread of the virus. The assumption looks quite reasonable.

    1. We will have fewer infections every week. Fewer sick people can get better care than when hospitals are overwhelmed.

    2. It buys time. There is always a hope that a new treatment – or even a vaccination – will be developed.

    Do we know other reasons why lockdowns could decrease a total mortality?

    • Curious

      Could the virus slow itself down naturally? I mean at first, it picks off the weak and then people get it and recover?

  56. Simply telling people over 65 or with underlying conditions to stay inside for a couple of months while the rest of population became herd immune would VASTLY cut down on deaths at little economic cost. Grocery stores and other stores could have first 3 hours after opening just reserved for those people. This is a reasonable measure that would not destroy economy. Destroying the economy has so many consequences to everything and everyone, many of the consequences we cannot even see, there are ripple effects everywhere.

  57. Willis asks:
    “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?”
    To which the answer would be that it would be a lot worse than it is now. In 2018 the total amount spent on
    health care in the US was 3.6 trillion. Which works out to about 9.8 billion dollars a day. So Willis is actually
    proposing reducing the health care budget by a factor of 1000!

    • A couple of things, Izaak. First, that is the amount spent on health care, NOT the amount spent on health care infrastructure. The total spent on health care EQUIPMENT, on the other hand, was $93 billion, or about 2.5% of total expenditures. And the critical shortages today are of equipment.

      Next, regarding my EXAMPLE of a million dollars a day for 5,500 years, the reality is we could have should have spent the two trillion over the next year or so, as you well know. And that would be $5.5 billion per day … I’m reminded of Salena Zito’s famous comment about Trump, “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

      We just blew two trillion taxpayer dollars on things that will NOT help our health system much, and I’d like for folks to take that monumental economic stupidity very seriously. There are 330 million people in the US, so that’s a new debt for a family of four of $24,000 on top of the current US debt, which $275,000 for a family of four. That two trillion is gone with little to show for it, and you want to make jokes and divert the conversation?

      Pass …


        • you aren’t suggesting socialising healthcare are you?


          You did just read the below didn’t you?

          “We just blew two trillion taxpayer dollars on things that will NOT help our health system much and I’d like for folks to take that monumental economic stupidity very seriously.”

  58. Lock-downs work, but they have to be done a) early and b) properly.
    New Zealand locked down early (before first death), and it has been done properly here, and the results are clear.

    If this trend continues (yes, I know…) then NZ should be free of new cases by around 12 April.

    However, I don’t believe this is the best way to deal with the virus.
    Dr Didier Raoult has been getting some excellent results at Méditerranée Infection Hospital in France over the past week, using Hydrocychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin (Z-Pak).

    He has reduced the fatality rate from around 1.4% to 0.07% with this treatment.

    A possible path forward could be:
    1) Immediate treatment of anyone with flu-like symptoms with HCQ, even before test results come back;
    2) If tests are positive, add Azithromycin and Zinc. This will stop the progression to ARDS, which is the real killer;
    3) All older people (65+) locked down as much as possible;

    In this way we will develop herd immunity for the general population, but not destroy the economy.
    Otherwise, (even if lock-downs are successful) we won’t have immunity, and will not be able to interact with people from other nations, and we’ll have to self-quarantine after every trip abroad.

    NB: I’m not a medical doctor, see your own for prescriptions.

    • I’ve looked at both of Raoult’s studies – they are both highly flawed.
      The first study: there was a skew towards younger people. We already know younger people are less affected by nCOV. A bigger problem is that the “conclusive” hydroxychlorquinine (HCH) plus azithromycin (AZT) treatment that was so good – neither the control group nor the placebo group had the same types of lower respiratory nCOV. The control group which only got HCH didn’t perform that well at all. The 26 study people were scattered across 3 hospitals in 3 regions. And lastly, the detailed findings – there are many examples where a NEG (negative) result was followed by 1 or more positive results.
      The 2nd study: again, very young skew. No control group. 43% had pneumonia, 1 person died and 3 went into ICU – which about what the present epidemiological breakdown would say for a group of 80 symptomatic nCOV sufferers.
      Both studies are supposedly about HCH – but the age skews and other oddities make these study results not reliable, in fact somewhat suspicious.

  59. The Netherlands were late in their reaction on the present outbreak. Our small country now ranks nr. 7 for total deaths, while we only knew our first death at March 6. This means that we have not been good in prevention.

    In the ranking of graphic 2 of this post it seems the Netherlands did not take many measures. But important measures have been taken: closing schools, no shaking hands, restaurants and bars closed, closing of beaches, no public gatherings of more than three persons, working at home if possible and most important: social distancing of 1.5 meter FOR EVERYONE. The last one is put well into practice. Police controls and you risk a fine if you did not comply with the rule. What I see everywhere is that on streets and everywhere people keep distance to each other. Stay home is another advice. We don’t have face masks (general shortage) so we have to do it this way.

    And what is the result?

    First, to see how Amsterdam looks now see the short video in I must add that there is some more traffic in my own much smaller town but I read that the turnover of gas stations halved, which gives an indication for the total effect of the measures.

    Second, what is the result in numbers? The aim is to bend the curve(s), necessary because with only some 11,000 official cases (at very restricted testing) the health system is already stretched and near max. capacity (the number of ICU’s has to rise nowadays from 575 originally available to some 2400 next week). But the graphic for daily new cases shows a down going trend:

    Furthermore it is suggested by government service RIVM that the important number R0 already went down to below 1 which means that the number of new cases soon strongly should go down. RIVM said that the R0 already went down to only 0.3. The black line in the next graphic is the R0: Today this graphic has been shown to the Parliament. I must honestly say that I was surprised and I want to see in the next two weeks whether the effect will be what the graphic suggests.

    What we actually see happening in an epidemic (number of cases, hospitalisations, deaths) is what in fact happened one or two weeks ago. What does not happen NOW because of the measures taken will first be shown in the graphics one week (for cases) to two weeks (for hospitalisation) from now. The effect on the number of deaths will follow some five days after hospitalisation.

  60. Lockdown is term bandied around as any restrictions on citizens movement but it does mean that-it specifing a total isolation and very few countries have that. A large area lockdown needs martial law or immense social pressure. South Korea’s COVID-19 response isn’t totally working but than other– its health system is on the verge of collapse cant work professionals indefintely hard and they are missing lots of carriers young people testing is bad for their futures. Lockdown when you test is too late- gotta to lickdown and test the general population. People can’t wear.masks for the rest of their lives. South Korean restritions will collapse. Hardly any country has a real solution.

  61. On the Netherlands: “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. ”

    No idea what your source of information is for this, but it is a completely wrong assessment of the situation in the Netherlands.

    This is information from their government site:
    – only go outdoors if needed for work (and if telework is not possible), for (food) shopping, for sporting (walking or cycling) or helping someone in need
    – all gaterings of more than 2 people that are less than 1,5m apart are forbidden
    – all bars and restaurants are closed
    – all professions involving contact are closed (that includes red light districts 😉 )
    – all schools and universities are closed

    Have a look at the departures page of Schiphol airport, hard to find a flight that is not cancelled.

    One can debate about the definition of (partial) lockdown, but this pretty much feels like one.

    “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”. Actually all countries in Europe apply very similar measures (Sweden is a notable exception). A few measures have most of the effect, those are applied in similar ways by all countries. That is the reason that they follow the same trajectory, not because the measures have no effect. The differences are in side measures that have little impact and that are often just instored by politicians to satisfy the public.

    It would be very interesting to be able to plot a country that takes no measures at all. I am very sure it would be a big outlier on the left side of the plot (Belarus is doing an effort, curious what will happen there, but then again their information is probably even less reliable than Chinese data)

    • Yep I don’t know where Willis got that idea almost all the countries in his graph have done the same thing. Sweden is the stand out test case they can still have gatherings of 50 people down from 500 but there is growing descent as the death toll is climbing and they close in on 5000 infected.

      • LdB April 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm Edit

        Yep I don’t know where Willis got that idea almost all the countries in his graph have done the same thing.

        LdB, can you read? Here’s what I wrote:

        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.

        But noooo, LdB is far too important to follow a simple request. And as a result, he’s run afoul of Mark Twain’s quote:

        It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

        I didn’t say that “almost all the countries have done the same thing”. I said they’ve done very different things but the outcomes are all very similar. Next time, quote what I said.

        Eddie, you’re as bad as LdB is:

        On the Netherlands: “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. ”

        No idea what your source of information is for this, but it is a completely wrong assessment of the situation in the Netherlands.

        Dear heavens, PLEASE read the article before exhibiting your infinite wisdom. I both named and linked to my source of information, viz:

        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: …

        I can explain it for you, I can identify sources for you, I can link to the sources for you, but I can’t read it for you. Step up or get out. I’m tired of picking spitballs off the wall.


        • Dear Willis
          I’ve read your source. Our dispute comes down to which source is most credible: the official website of the Dutch government (which I also provided the link for, may I ask you to read my source too, google translate does a pretty good job) or the ACAP website which does not seem to have any representative in the Netherlands – their closest link seems to be a fundraising coordinator in Belgium.

          The other example I quoted is very clear: you say (probably based on ACAP data): no flight restrictions. This is the page with departures in the main airport of The Netherlands: Almost all flights are cancelled.

          ACAP is some organisation, specalised in developing countries, that is trying to collect a dataset, but clearly their data is insufficient.

          • Dear Willis
            I’ve read your source. Our dispute comes down to which source is most credible: the official website of the Dutch government (which I also provided the link for …)

            Eddie, I fear you’re not being clear. I gave a list of the imposition of the various measures in the Netherlands. You seem to think it is wrong. But that goes nowhere unless you tell us exactly what is wrong and where. Here’s the ACAP data. You’ll see that most of them are sourced to … wait for it … the Dutch government.

            Introduction of quarantine policies	Yes	residents with symptoms requested to self-quarantine for 14 days	Not applicable	06/03/2020	Government	Government
            Limit public gatherings	No	limit of public gatherings to 100 persons until 31 March	Not applicable	12/03/2020	Government	Government
            Schools closure 	No	closure of schools and nurseries from 15 March to 6 April	Not applicable	16/03/2020	Government	Government
            Public services closure 	No	All bars, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, gyms, saunas, sex clubs and coffee shops to close until 6th April. Takeaway/meal deliveries remain permitted. Coffee shops allowed to do collective orders.		15/03/2020	Government of NL	Government
            General recommendations	No	Everyone in the Netherlands is requested to keep at least 1.5 metres’ distance from each other		15/03/2020	Governmnet of NL	Government
            Economic measures	Yes	The SME credit guarantee (BMKB) scheme will be extended to the 1 April 2021, to help SMEs that are affected by the coronavirus secure bank guarantees and bridge financing. 		16/03/2020	Netherlands Chamber of Commerce	Government
            Economic measures	Yes	 The Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW,Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid) will provide financial help for employers to help pay their employees' wages. You can claim a max. of 90% of wages for up to 3 months with possibility of extension. Can be claimed from 1st of march, but was implemented somewhere around 20th.			Netherlands Enterprise Agency	Government
            Economic measures	Yes	Self-employed professionals can apply for an extra, temporary benefit for self-employed professionals (Bbz) soon. The requirements for applying will be relaxed. Not implemented YET. Date of announcement 17/03/2020.			Netherlands Enterprise Agency	Government
            Limit public gatherings	No	All gatherings are prohibited until 1 June, even gatherings of less than 100 people. This is a tightening of the existing ban (that applied up to 6 April). An exception is made for funerals and religious weddings.	Fines	23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Limit public gatherings	No	Gatherings of 3 or more people that do not keep a 1.5 meter distance are forbidden. This does not apply to children or to people in the same household, such as families.	Fines	23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Emergency administrative structures activated or established	Yes	Mayors will have the option of enacting an emergency bye-law, to more easily and more quickly initiate enforcement activities. Mayors can also order specific locations to be closed, including parks, beaches and campsites.		23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Limit public gatherings	No	Public transport and shops are required to take measures to ensure that people keep a good distance. For instance, by limiting the number of people allowed in the shop at the same time.	Fines	23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Limit public gatherings	No	Limit the visitors at home to three visitors.	Fines	23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Public services closure 	No	Businesses in contact-based industries, such as hair salons and beauty parlours, must be closed until 6 April. 	Fines	23/03/2020	Government	Government
            Public services closure 	No	Casinos are now subject to the same restrictions as establishments serving food and drink, and will be closed from 24 March 2020.	Fines	24/03/2020	Government	Government


        • Take a deep breath Willis … you are a little worked up on this topic. Personally I don’t know why we have to have virus junk on the climate website every 3 posts but just breath and lets walk thru what I said.

          You say “I said they’ve done very different things but the outcomes are all very similar”, It is that I am totally disagreeing … so are we clear I disagree on the point they did different things. Now it is probably needed a comma between “idea” and “almost” or phrased better but that is what you get when people don’t really give a rats about the subject. So you are carrying on like a pork chop about the wrong thing I disagree with you on (which is mildly amusing).

          So clarifying bar Sweden, Singapore and South Korea almost every country in that graph went to a lock down situation so I disagree they did different things. If you want to argue semantics some like USA are partial lock downs. You can argue some went late some went partial but all went into lockdowns.

          So my second issue is this isn’t something for a climate change blog. You can take it up with your government representatives or create or find an actual blog on the subject. The politics is locked in at each local level and even if I believe you an accept everything you say it’s meaningless it isn’t going to change the lockdown. Now as I understand 34 US states have now gone into at least partial lockdown so your head is probably going to explode. From my point of view that is just a fact and to some degree I couldn’t care a less, join the club. So what I am saying is you probably need to take a cold shower before writing articles or answering comments because you come across unhinged (which is unusual for you).

          • Couldn’t agree more. I have posted clear counter evidence on what Willis posted on the Netherlands. Yet Willis did not read it and instead launched some personal insults.

          • LdB April 2, 2020 at 7:17 am Edit

            Take a deep breath Willis … you are a little worked up on this topic. Personally I don’t know why we have to have virus junk on the climate website every 3 posts but just breath and lets walk thru what I said.

            LdB, it’s clear from your comment that you are not interested in reading about this topic on WUWT, so please do us a favor and just SKIP THE DAMN POST if you don’t think it should be on WUWT.


          • Yeah I don’t really give a dam about the topic and the 10 crazies who go around the same stuff in a jerk circle over and over and over again … it’s boring as hell.

            Can I leave you with a something for you to think about …. you know you really sound like Zoe and her blog … it’s actually funny 🙂

          • LdB April 2, 2020 at 7:09 pm

            Yeah I don’t really give a dam about the topic and the 10 crazies who go around the same stuff in a jerk circle over and over and over again … it’s boring as hell.

            If you truly don’t give a damn about the topic, you’d simply NOT READ THE POST. So I’d say you’ve only come here to complain. WUWT puts up a new post every four hours, eight of them a day. So whenever a post has a title that you “don’t give a dam [sic] about”, skip to the following post, duh.

            Because coming here to proudly announce to everyone that you’re not interested in what you know people are discussing here is … well … bizarre behavior is the kindest term I can think of at the moment. Go someplace that interests you, is that too much to ask?

            Can I leave you with a [sic] something for you to think about …

            Sure … as long as you promise to actually leave and not come back.


  62. We need to be asking more questions like “Do Lock Downs Work?” Asking and demanding answers.

    What is the mortality rate for healthy people outside the high risk groups? How dangerous is this virus to adults in their 20’s, 30’s 40’s, etc?

    • I don’t think that those questions can even be answered at this time.

      China, for example, as I understand it, does not have any reliable system in place, to register even normal death rates. How can they be expected to, all of a sudden, have a reliable system in place to register a specific death rate, in a population for which they do not even have a certain system to register an ordinary death rate?

      We don’t even know how many people are carrying the virus, which would provide a true baseline for measuring death rates. We only know “confirmed cases” as the basis for figuring mortality, and “confirmed cases”, as I understand it, could have different meanings in different countries, and so you might be comparing apples to oranges.

    • The number of articles about covid19 on a climate change site is growing tiresome but demanding answers on a climate change site about a virus pandemic … you do get how that looks.

      • I do not expect readers of WUWT to know the answers. We need to ask questions and seek answers.

        The world’s media is not interested in asking questions.

        Isn’t asking questions and seeking answers real important science stuff?

      • Yep, “food” for thought. Half of the US population is obese, and that is an underlying health condition….

        It continues to shock me that people who smoke or who are obese are afraid of dying from a virus with a rather low mortality rate at all ages 65-. They should worry about other things than corona.

  63. Willis,

    I too am frustrated by the current strategies, and also that we may never have reasonably good data to figure out what works.

    Two weeks ago on Saturday I wrote three Senators with an idea I thought would work better than shutting down the economy. I have had no response to date from two of them, and the third sent a form letter bragging about the stimulus. But I digress….

    The idea is this. My wife’s family had a child who was an early test subject of transplant therapy. They lived in a city of 30,000. The city did not shut down each time there was an outbreak of flu or the cold to protect this person, and the family itself even suffered bouts of flu and colds — the mother even had a bout of bronchitis. Instead, they observed a strict protocol when disease broke out. Inside/outside shoes. Confinement of the vulnerable person, and confinement to room of any sick person in the family. Pretty strict flow of trash, dirty dishes, etc. Sterilizing lots of things using just using 4 hours of good old sunlight. The child was kept safe for nearly two decades, and went out on his own to college and then into society with care. Heck of jazz guitar player.

    The Swedish approach seems very similar. Isolate the vulnerable. Let the economy run. We will see how it works.

    Neil Ferguson actually had a very broad range of scenarios, and people simply neglected the low end. I got castigated by someone on another thread yesterday about this; but the second time I read the Ferguson study I noticed things I hadn’t first time. For example, he seems to think we can repeat our current strategies if the virus returns, and that we could tolerate the current regime for maybe 18 months. Neither is remotely possible. He also stated that this virus will not be among those circulating next cold season (a personal correspondence with another researcher), that banning mass gatherings has little effect, and finally that his simulations are intended to minimize mortality, which is far too narrow an objective for something this all encompassing, but is just exactly how an MD would think. I have a ton of criticisms about that report…The whole mess reminds me of that MD in “Apollo 13”.

  64. I see ‘social distancing’ as somewhat analogous to chemotherapy. Both are intrinsically destructive, but are advocated because they are (hopefully) less destructive against essential biological systems than against whatever is threatening those systems. With chemotherapy the threat to healthy cells is biological, and medical researchers pay a great deal of attention to these undesirable “side” effects. With ‘social distancing’ the threat is indirect, mediated by psychological and economic phenomena. I used this quote from the CDC in a comment several days ago, which I think bears repeating:

    “Suicide…was responsible for more than 47,000 deaths in 2017…In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.”

    A recent article published by the Pacific Legal Foundation claims that “…as the unemployment rate increases by one percentage point in a given county, the opiod death rate in that same county increases by 3.6 percent. Emergency room visits increase by 7 percent.” Unfortunately the writer cites no sources for these figures, and one can argue correlation vs. causation, etc. But though perhaps unproven these effects are plausible. The medical people may be too busy to investigate them, but there are plenty of intelligent people in other specialties who can. (Maybe even a politician or two.)

    For those who dismiss the economic effects by incanting “human lives are at stake” we should remember that a society’s ultimate life support system is its economy. Take a look at what happens to the citizens’ health when the economy disintegrates. Venezuela comes to mind….


    I disagree.

    The reason for the lock downs is to prevent overwhelming the health service, but because the virus spreads so quickly there is no way on Earth that any amount of money is going to build up a well organised health service in so short a time.

    America should have had a health service like the NHS years ago, and although I didn’t agree with Obama on many things, the universal health service is totally and absolutely necessary. Now America is paying the price for not getting it’s act together much sooner.

    This is why America is seen as being like a third world country. As a Brit, it’s weird to hear stories of ambulance staff saying “how are you going to pay?” as the first thing they ask to a potential patient after a road accident or whatever. it’s like something from medieval times!

    Let’s hope America learns from its mistakes, and spends the money on building up a health service AFTER the lock down has done its job.

    If the health service is overwhelmed, then the pandemic becomes unstoppable. The only thing that can tame it is a total lock down.

    And lessons learnt from the Spanish flu show that those cities/countries that had the most stringent lockdowns fared the best:
    “The authors estimate that cities which imposed tougher-than-average restrictions suffered 560 deaths per 100,000 people, on average, compared with 730 per 100,000 elsewhere. They also found that governments which implemented stricter policies, such as banning public gatherings and shutting down churches and schools, fared better than those which pursued more lenient ones.”

    • “The authors estimate that ….”

      I’ll stop reading that one at this point.

      We did not even now about viruses in 1918, what is the point in the comparison? Also living in trenches during a war of attrition may have been “tougher than average” conditions. Did that help?

      Anyone trying to imply lessons for the current situation by referring to the Spanish is not to be taken that seriously. We are living on a different planet now.

    • US has 1046 deaths today and per million has 15 deaths
      But UK with only 60 million pop is having far more deaths per million: 35 deaths. And today death: 563

      The brief time period UK decided to get virus so as to get larger immunity quicker, was an idea which seems to have wasted a few days {of doing the right thing}.

      • The herd immunity strategy is NOT intended to minimise fatalities *this week*.

        Your stats are irrelevant to the point you think you are making.

      • gbaikie,
        You’ve left out one huge factor – population density makes a huge huge huge difference. America is considerably more spread out and considerably less densely populated. High density areas are naturally a high risk because of the likelihood of spread.

        Just look at New York where the virus is rampant, and MUCH higher than London which is of comparable area and population. As of today, New York has had 2000 deaths with London at 590.

        That’s the reason for the UK’s high figures. What’s the reason for the USA’s high figures? Answer: a third-world standard health care system.

    • First, let me give you some perspective from a 2012 article which is old and cannot be biased by the current panic — this compares assets in the U.S. health care system vs. others. There is a lot more to the article, but the gist is that the private insurance system subsidizes the public systems like Medicare and Medicaid to a huge degree. National health care systems are in a sense cheap.

      Some who favor government-run health care are pointing out that the U.S. has fewer hospital beds per capita than other countries, but that’s in part because more surgeries are performed at outpatient centers where patients are less likely to catch infections. A more important metric is the number of intensive-care units, which have sophisticated equipment and a high staff to patient ratio. These are crucial for patients in respiratory distress.

      A 2012 review in the journal Current Opinion in Critical Care found that the U.S. has 20 to 31.7 ICU beds per 100,000 people compared to 13.5 in Canada, 7.9 in Japan and between 3.5 and 7.4 in the U.K. Differences in how countries define “ICU” account for some of the disparity, the article notes, and the U.S. needs more ICU beds because it has a higher incidence of chronic conditions like heart disease. But importantly, the article finds that health spending is correlated “with increasing delivery of critical care.”

      When this is all over we will see who fares well and who doesn’t, if we don’t have so much hiding of data that we can’t decide anything.

      Now with regard to the “Economist” I once subscribed, but I finally got sick of their pompous editorializing when the writers obviously knew nothing about the U.S. I dropped my subscription 20 years ago. I am certain it has only gotten worse. The scatter diagram you posted has an enormous number of explanations. I view it as fake news until one can figure out how they handled the confounding influences.

  66. Willis
    1)Your point about Japan may be a good one. Have you tried emailing the White House about it? Use a title like” a better way to fight COVID-19″ or something that will get their attention.

    2)Figure 1 may be a bit deceptive because the log scale on the left de-emphasizes the differences. So some of those practices may be more effective than they appear.

    3)But definitely if wearing masks works better it is definitely the way to go. I’m sure the President would love to do that rather than crush the economy with measures that aren’t very successful. If it works the Prez might even give you an award.

    • Log scale is fine, it is the cumulative total that turns everything into amorphous ‘rocket flares’. Plus the fact that there is typically 2 weeks between symptoms and fatal outcomes, so hardly any of the plotted countries would be showing it anyway.

      Willis seems to as freaked out by the economic impacts as many are about the virus and it seems to be clouding his usually incisive thinking. ( I agree with him about the relative importance of the two and I share his sense of urgency ).

      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.

      I can see a difference between Belgium and Spain and on a log graph that means the exponential are quite different. Most of it us such a muddle of big fat ugly lines that it’s worth no more than “Mike’s Nature Trick” hockey stick graph.

      I’m not arguing that there is a detectable effect. Though it would be surprising if such radical measures to not affect the spread of infection, I have yet to see conclusive evidence of such.

      What I am saying is : show me a method capable of detecting an effect where one exists, before telling me “as you can see”.

      • Greg April 1, 2020 at 5:30 pm .

        Willis seems to [be] as freaked out by the economic impacts as many are about the virus and it seems to be clouding his usually incisive thinking.

        Greg, we just blew TWO TRILLION dollars ameliorating one weeks worth of lockdown, and the government is talking about it lasting months. The stock market is down by a third, so many people’s retirement 401Ks are in the toilet. And we have hundreds of thousands of people not working, unable to pay their bills, and in many cases those jobs won’t return.

        If you’re not freaked out about that massive money loss you have no clue what a trillion dollars is.

        And perhaps you don’t give a damn about hundreds of thousands of people who are not just in an epidemic, but unemployed and broke in an epidemic.

        Some of us, however, do care about those things. And although obviously you don’t, trying to lecture those of us who do care just makes you look like … well … grab a mirror. It’s not pretty.


        • Hey Willis, I think I have consistently said I share you opinion that the induced economic damage will be worse than the virus and that we should start unwinding the shut down ASAP.

          You quote my words then cut off the very next sentence where I say I share your sense of urgency and start your saying I “obviously don’t ” care.

          ( I agree with him about the relative importance of the two and I share his sense of urgency ).

          That does not mean I have to agree that a graph which would not show any effect if one was there is proof that shutdowns do not work.

          I’m not “lecturing” anyone about who cares and who doesn’t , I was criticising your method as not being able to show the presence or absence of what you claim is shows is not there. You avoid even commenting on that, instead preferring to fabricate your ad hom attack.

          I guess that means you cannot address my point.

          I understand the state of panic but let’s try to remain civil and objective not bend the data presentation to support a priori oppinions of what needs to be done. That is too close to what everyone here has been battling for the last 10-20 years.

          • Greg April 2, 2020 at 2:11 am

            Hey Willis, I think I have consistently said I share you opinion that the induced economic damage will be worse than the virus and that we should start unwinding the shut down ASAP.

            You quote my words then cut off the very next sentence where I say I share your sense of urgency and start your saying I “obviously don’t ” care.

            ( I agree with him about the relative importance of the two and I share his sense of urgency )


            That does not mean I have to agree that a graph which would not show any effect if one was there is proof that shutdowns do not work.

            Greg, you said that I was “freaked out” about the economics and claimed my work was like Michael Mann’s famous Nature trick … now you claim that you agree with my position on the economics? Say what? How does that work? Here’s your comment:

            Willis seems to as freaked out by the economic impacts as many are about the virus and it seems to be clouding his usually incisive thinking. ( I agree with him about the relative importance of the two and I share his sense of urgency ).

            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.

            I can see a difference between Belgium and Spain and on a log graph that means the exponential are quite different. Most of it is such a muddle of big fat ugly lines that it’s worth no more than “Mike’s Nature Trick” hockey stick graph.

            And now you’re all offended that I objected? Just what the hell did you expect after a broadside like that?

            You continue:

            I’m not “lecturing” anyone about who cares and who doesn’t , I was criticising your method as not being able to show the presence or absence of what you claim is shows is not there. You avoid even commenting on that, instead preferring to fabricate your ad hom attack.

            I guess that means you cannot address my point.

            Your point seems to be that you think you can see some small difference between Belgium and Spain, and thus my claim that the lockdowns haven’t made any discernable difference is wrong. I found that so illogical and so laughable that I ignored it.

            Plus my blood was boiling because you had the arrogant stupidity to compare me with the known liar, cheat, and fraudster Michael Mann. If you want a civil and scientific answer, then keep a civil tongue in your mouth.

            In any case, here’s Belgium and Spain. Please point out how they are “quite different”.

            I understand the state of panic but let’s try to remain civil and objective not bend the data presentation to support a priori oppinions of what needs to be done. That is too close to what everyone here has been battling for the last 10-20 years.

            Since YOU are the one who came in the door swinging, accusing me of being a fraudster, and being neither civil nor objective, once again I find that laughable. Now you are accusing me of “bending the data presentation”?? Is there no end to your sleazy insults?

            Perhaps you and your friends might bend your data presentations. Me, I try to be as clear and honest as possible.

            Yes, there are differences between the countries. My point is that despite everything, despite different cultures, different lockdowns, different social customs, different starting dates for the spread of infection, different medical systems, different average ages in different countries, despite all of that, all of the countries shown in Figure 1 are following very similar paths. Yes, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other, as you point out, but that is an unavoidable result of them being so similar.

            I find that extremely significant. It shows that in those countries, the infective power of the disease overwhelms our puny defenses.

            Now perhaps you don’t think that’s significant, that’s why we have horseraces and science, differing opinions … but don’t compare me to a damn liar like Michael Mann just because you don’t find it significant. As you may have noticed over the years, I tend to hit back twice as hard.


        • Greg, we just blew TWO TRILLION dollars ameliorating one weeks worth of lockdown, and the government is talking about it lasting months.

          The COVID scare is a second bank bailout under another name.

          As Rahm Israel Emanuel famously said: never waste a good crisis.

    • I took all of the countries, sorted them by deaths per 10 million, and selected the top ones. Canada wasn’t among them. That’s a good thing.


  67. Naive maths alert!
    I’ve been plotting simple numbers of new daily deaths in a number of countries.
    The y axis naturally is on a log (10) scale.
    I looked for some simple metric of whether the curve of deaths per country was steepening, staying linear or “flattening”. Now in crappy Excel almost none of the “trendline” options work, so I was left with second order polynomial. OK howls of protest at bad maths. But I am looking quickly for something really approximate.
    So I obtained the quadratic (square) term of the fit of daily deaths over the last ten days.
    That is, in y = ax^2 + bx + c, the quadratic is a.
    Then I divided a by each country’s population for normalisation.
    Finally this number which was really small was multiplied by a billion to make it above 1.
    Anyway here are the results, I think they give an idea of which countries still have an accelerating outbreak (UK, Belgium, Sweden) and which are starting to flatten the curve (Italy, Spain, Netherlands):

    UK, 94.75
    Belgium, 77.05
    Sweden, 43.35
    France, 32.40
    USA, 6.24
    Germany, 3.69
    Iran, -5.21
    Portugal, -8.38
    Netherlands, -30.43
    Spain, -83.22
    Italy, -125.82

  68. Willis, great work. I hope this will be widely reported on social media and picked up by mainstream media..

    What has been overlooked is the spread of the virus by asymptomatic individuals, because people release droplets into the air during normal speech. Using a mask would significantly reduce this.

    These do not need to be N95 masks which are in short supply. If fact many N95 have an exhaust vent and do not protect against release of droplets.

    As such, a simple bandana such as popularized by villains in westerns may be more effective than a vented N95 mask.

    • Agreed. Masks are most useful for not infecting others. Important if visiting at risk folks. Anyone of good health probably should be contributing to herd immunity by getting some exposure and developing antibodies, rather than hiding in a cupboard.

      The human race already has the capacity to produce a “vaccine”, we should be putting our evolutionary finely tuned systems to work, not praying for the vultures in big pharma for salvation.

    • Suppression is GONE. It worked pretty well in S.K. because they got in early with a lot of tests and followed up. They now have the task of “dancing” on a high wire preventing the protected and non exposed population exploding into a new epidemic.

      In EU and US that boat sailed long ago. However smart you think strategy may be, that is now an academic, historical discussion.

      Jo’s info on home made masks in interesting , I’ve recommended that to a mate who was freaking out about not being able to buy masks anywhere. ( He is in an at risk category since he had heart surgery about 10y back and has been on ARBs ever since ).

      Some of the info Jo copies is highly suspect, like hanging “masks” in the sun to sterlise them. Just in case no one noticed the sun light is pretty straight and always seems to come from the same direction. How that is supposed to sterilise all the surface of a used mask seems to have escaped attention.

  69. The scatterplot simply shows that governments get more desperate as rate of deaths climb. Most are reactive and way behind what was necessary to control the spread and avoid massive death toll. POTUS Trump is now justifying his initial lack of response to CV19 saying he was distracted by impeachment proceedings. All US states will end up with severe restrictions as their tolls mount. So far only WA is showing effectiveness.

    There are still dingbats who are advocating let it rip.

    Australia has some natural benefits regarding virus spread like being a sparsely populated island. But we have plenty of dingbats who need government intervention and enforcement to keep people apart – fines have already been levied for breaking quarantine and hosting/attending group functions. As at 2nd April, Australia has 22 deaths and 345 recovered. Our states are locked down and some rural communities, within states, have been locked down.

    Australians can be thankful to Lewis Hamilton who was vocal and influential in preventing the Australian F1 GP from running. If that event had been held with a crowd of some 250k flying in from around the globe and mingling, Australia would be in dire straits now.

  70. Willis

    I have no comment to make about the virus, it will unfold and be resolved one way or another. I do think that people need to feel that they are proactive.

    I want to thank you for sharing your beautiful letters. I know that generally speaking this site covers particular ‘issues’, and that was it’s purpose. But every now and again people touch on some small aspect of their personal life and it’s a reminder to me of our humanity, that each and every one of us has a story.

  71. Ask any Nuclear Plant Radiation Worker if they would wear an N95 in an airborne particulate radiation contaminated area. 50 years working at military and commercial nuclear power plants and I do not recall ever seeing a paper mask. You will notice that at the University of Nebraska isolation facility hospital employees used Positive Pressure masks and had received instructions on their use.
    N95 filters only 95% of the particulate coming through the mask. They do not filter the air that does not go through the mask but around the sides. And that is why they are not used for radiation.
    You may also want to ask a painter how effective the majority of the mask you see people walking about are. Used one once for spray painting and from then on used the much more expensive ones that work.

    • I’ve used respirators every working day, for decades. In dusty environments. Sat through many “proper face-fit” training sessions. If the person is clean shaven, then a good fit is easy to obtain. If the job requires wearing of a respirator, and the employee has facial hair, then it is shave or go home (or the employer has to buy a full-face respirator with air supply). PPE is issued “free” in the UK, and if issued, its use is mandatory. They work. Paint sprayers have to be provided with air-fed masks.

  72. Willis, as I said before its a case of slow it down e or let it happen as per the yearly flu.

    He in Australia and no doubt elsewhere there is much talk of “Flattening the curve””.

    That to be sounds like, “”We do not t have enough beds as per cutbacks over the years, so lets cover that up by making things happen a little slower

    The is a saying from I think UK PM , “”Never let a crises go to waste””

    Politicians love to create a so called emergency, then save us from the effects. Please remember we saved you, so vote for us next time.

    I would like to see the actual death figure if a normal l flu season. Trump is right in saying the the cure is worse than the virus and shutdowns.


  73. There’s another way of sorting.
    What if we could sort by degree of economic damage.
    It would be interesting because the least economic damage is done by letting ‘er rip and culling the herd of the aged and infirm. Kinda rough, but in the long term, that’s what will happen. The herd gets immunity, the economy is doing fine and the taxes are rolling in.
    If I was a King or a Queen or an Emperor, why would I not be thinking that way?
    So I think that a sort by regime type could be interesting.
    Who still has a King or a Queen?
    Sweden , Netherlands, Denmark, U.K. , Belgium , Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Spain etc.

    • Then we might predict that Socialist outfits like NZ at present, would “improve ” the economy to align with certain desirable economic outcomes that they want to do anyway, and which always produces disaster anyway, and pretend not to cull the herd while ensuring that the less essential are sacrificed.
      Makes sense , doesn’t it?

  74. Willis,
    In a rare case, sadly, I disagree with you about masks. I think they might have positive psychology for those who feel that they must do something. Not much more.
    To date, I have not seen epidemic data sufficiently good to be credible for the types of graph analysis you show. Readers can misinterpret log graphs if they are not used to them.
    There are too many further factors that differ country to country.
    I understand government desires to flatten the curve but have not seen evidence of it working. Not enough time has elapsed.
    I regard wearing masks as like putting on a life vest when a tsunami is approaching. It might help a few.
    I stress that in the main, you and I think alike about problem solving.

  75. “…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.”

    Wouldn’t that also be the case with any bad flu or virus epidemic? Any bad illness is likely to push the elderly or those with underlying conditions over the edge. But that doesn’t mean they might not have lived for several years longer without the virus speeding up the process. If I shoot someone with stage 4 cancer, should I be able to avoid conviction for murder because they were likely to die anyway? I just don’t see why the above stat means that things are “looking up.”

  76. If you would put Korea in Figure 3 (figure 2 with Japan added), it would be somewhere close to Japan. The number of fatalities is relatively low and the number of restrictions is also small. The government is strongly encouraging all sorts of social distancing (work at home, musea closed, no events, …), but it is far away from a lock down.

    In my opinion, the fact that people wear masks is one of the measures that has helped to keep the total number of infected people down. Even before Corona, Koreans were used to wearing masks once in a while, when air pollution levels were high. While Americans want to stock on toilet paper, Koreans stand in line to buy masks.

    Other thing that has helped in keeping the total number of infected people down is less physical contact, which is a cultural thing. In the US and in Europe, people hug, kiss or shake hands when they meet. In Korea, people do not kiss or hug their friends, colleagues and relatives. Very often a polite bow and verbal greeting is enough.

    • Does China follow those practices?

      …..never mind I don’t trust the Chinese regime at all

  77. Forget lockdowns, how about racism?
    Here is the reaction of the manager of my local coop in Brattleboro VT to the situation:

    Fear has been on my mind lately. You’d think, after living several (some might say many) decades in this society, that I would not be surprised at the centrality of fear to our human reactions and decisions. In my continuing education about white supremacy and my privileged existence, the constant drumbeat of fear in the appallingly consistent steps that we have taken against populations of color is overwhelming. What in the world are we so afraid of?

    What planet is this person living on? What is it they so afraid of and what in the friking world does it have to do with white supremacy? Am I missing something here?
    Why have people become so delusional? Is it something in the water?

    • Why have people become so delusional?

      Some, not all, faith based belief systems demand it.

      Is it something in the water?

      No, it’s a faith based belief system called, “Progressivism.”

  78. Three (four) types of lockdowns:
    1. lock down everybody
    2. lock down the elderly
    3. lock down the infected
    (and no effective lockdown)

    1. ruins the economy, or at least some of the people who used to be in it
    2. has been proven a failure, since those locked in care homes are the hardest hit
    3. would be best, but for the problem that there is no way to tell who is infected

    The alternative to lockdown, social distancing, has only made a marginal difference so far, and does not reduce R0 enough to stop the virus from spreading.

    The alternative to social distancing is social shields, aka masks.
    Masks are not understood. Seen as protection for yourself, true it’s only partial. But it is protection for others.

    “I protect you, you protect me.”

    The graph which makes the point very clear:

    Don’t Breath On Me!

  79. did you help or hurt?

    lockdowns only work if you have compliance.
    compliance depends upon believing their might be a problem
    Did you work to create doubt?

    1. Did you try to minimize the problem? its just the flu
    2. Did you question data when you dont have the skills to understand it?
    3. Did you model the disease when you dont understand the field?
    4. Did you compare deaths from covid to car wrecks?
    5. did you cherry pick a dataset ( diamond princess)
    6. did you ask for covid death certificates?
    7. did you promote cures that dont have double blind tests? all the while demanding you
    were a defender of the scientific method?
    8. did you call people with concerns alarmists?
    9. Did you suggest warm weather will help? ( I did this one)
    10. did you call for antibody testing when its weeks away?
    11. did you demand reliable data in order to make decisions, thus undermining the
    necessity of making decisions under uncertainty?
    12. Did you suggest there might be less lethal strains?
    13. Did you question experts and promote your own nonsense?

    In short did you do anything to help convince your fellow citizens that their compliance
    with common sense was not important,. In short, did you ensure that voluntary “lockdowns”
    would not work?

    My favorite comment of all was this, undermine sensible suggestions ( more tests) with
    a strawman argument


    ‘Steve won’t be happy until we have weekly, mandatory testing of everyone in the country.”

    More funny were the people arguing about death rates when there 68 cases in the USA

    I know 1 thing. volunary lockdowns like we have in Korea appear to work, But that’s because the public
    complies and they listen to the civil defense experts.
    The nutjobs who go to church and believe Jesus will protect them are getting sick.
    Darwin I suppose

    • You stay where it’s safe, Steven – those of out in it, will do our best to keep everyone else supplied with your essentials.

    • No wonder New York is in strife. Their need outstrips capacity by a factor of 10. The military will be collecting bodies in a matter of days.

      Pentagon is ahead of the game here seeking 100,000 body bags:

      The Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested 100,000 body bags, known as Human Remains Pouches, through an interagency group that directed it to the Defense Department. The Pentagon is looking into buying more bags and will draw some initially from a stockpile of 50,000 it maintains, according to two people familiar with the request.

    • I question this data in that for the state I live in, Nebraska, they declare that there is NO Stay at home directive, NO closed schools, NO work closures, NO travel restrictions. However, all of the counties around Omaha, and Lincoln have done this with the exception of “Travel Restrictions.” If their model uses/assumes no restrictions on the population for their projection the results would be wrong. Cursory view of other states on that chart makes me think the same lack of county restrictions effect is probably true for other states.
      Looking at the Johns Hopkins COVID19 MAP you can see that there is little need of the restrictions outside of Lancaster, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington county. ~90 percent of the population lives in those counties.

    • 25% is an exponential growth with a doubling time of 3 days. The early variability is just noise due to low numbers.

      He does not even state which states he has cherry picked, which line is which state or when any restrictions came into force in any particular place.

      That is a meaningless spaghetti graph with which he tries to suggest something but does not provide any relevant information to confirm or refute the hypothesis.

      • So just like how so-called Climate Science operates! No wonder the drive-by king was drawn to it.

  80. No one in my household has been in a public building for nearly two weeks. I do go outside, but not within 20 feet of anyone else (much less 6 feet). Nor will I be for the foreseeable future, if I can help it.

    A mask accomplishes nothing in my case, so I don’t wear one. Save them for people who do.

  81. Willis,

    You write “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.” However, Italy’s deaths/ 10 million people is 2180, while Germany’s is 110. That seems a very big difference to me. Also, Germany’s first reported case was on Jan. 26, and Italy’s was on Jan. 29. Their trajectories aren’t even close.

    A more important factor, I think, is that the Chinese government flat out lied about the start of the spread, how contagious it was, and how many cases and deaths they actually had. If that bug had been running loose since Dec. 2019, with no one aware of the fact, it could have spread far and wide before people started dying. Shutting things down after those horses had left the barn won’t help the people already infected, but it can limit the exposure of people who missed catching it the first couple of months.

    As for the two trillion bucks, look at the bright side: the money is going to US citizens and businesses — who paid those taxes — so look at it as just a whopping tax break/credit.

    A final note: The CDC estimates that up to 69,000,000 Americans were infected with swine flu back in 2009; around 13,000 died. That’s a mortality rate of approximately 0.02%. Right now, the estimated mortality rate of COVID-19 is 2%. If 69 million Americans caught this bug, 1,380,000 Americans could die — nearly twice the number that died of Spanish flu back in 1918.

    That would probably wreck the economy as well, AND we’d have a massive death toll. Maybe having only a damaged economy is worth it.

    • James Schrumpf

      ” That would probably wreck the economy as well, AND we’d have a massive death toll. Maybe having only a damaged economy is worth it. ”

      Thank you James Schrumpf for these wise, useful AND necessary words.

      How is it possible not to agree with you?

      J.-P. Dehottay

    • so look at it as just a whopping tax break/credit.

      nice to try to be optimistic but your taxes have already been give to the owners of the Federal Reserve bank cartel to pay for existing loans of the fiat currency you allowed them to print and then sell to your govt.

      The “stimulus” is just another banks bailout, like 2008 with no controls or conditions. You will start pay the interest on that in the next accounting period.

    • As for the two trillion bucks, look at the bright side: the money is going to US citizens and businesses — who paid those taxes — so look at it as just a whopping tax break/credit.

      Wow let me say thanks for the brilliant insight here JS. Just a couple questions though:

      Do you think turning the Treasury Department into a large investment bank with almost unlimited discretion is a recipe for cronyism, favoritism, poor results, and taxpayer losses? Or do you believe that government is overall efficient, just, and careful with everyone else’s money?

      Some $299.4 billion is provided for small-business loans in this bill. The definition of small business includes non-profits. Shall I “look at” this scenario as those “who paid those taxes”? Did the non-profits pay any taxes, Jim? Further, the loans aren’t based upon creditworthiness, but rather simply whether or not the business existed as of 3/1/20. Could you define the “bright side” of offering loans of my money to, e.g., 1) morons who don’t know how to run a business or 2) those who just started their business back in February, with no track record of success?

      Did you know that a large proportion of these “loans” aren’t loans at all, but in effect, grants? “Section 1105 provides that businesses taking these loans ‘shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a covered 7(a) loan in an amount equal to the cost of maintaining payroll continuity’ from March 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020.” Look at that, there’s no need to pay my money back! Now let me ask you Jim, given the “gubmint” does not have a track record of taking losses upon itself, what do you think it’s going to do when it needs all that money back that it just gave me?

      But hey, what bad stuff can happen when government is in charge of giving your money away indiscriminately right? Thanks for helping us to see the “bright side” Jim!

      • Sycoputing,

        I’m sorry that my writing skills were not sufficient to transmit my intent that “look at the bright side” was meant to be a throwaway line.

        Who’s “Jim” BTW? Did you mix up your attributions?

        • I’m sorry that my writing skills were not sufficient . . .

          Obviously my fault, thus no need to apologize. I should’ve known your comment was in reality a throwaway from the content of the argument itself.

          Who’s “Jim” BTW? Did you mix up your attributions?

          My fault again, James. I made an assumption that you’d be familiar with the diminutive of your own name. “Never assume” shall be my lesson learned from this experience. Thank you!

    • If 69 million Americans caught this bug, 1,380,000 Americans could die . . . That would probably wreck the economy as well, AND we’d have a massive death toll.

      So you’d argue that 1.3M Americans dying, and thus going out of the workforce, “would probably wreck the economy” like 6.6M Americans out of work along with the entire country’s economic engine shut down? This brings a certain light to, “How is it possible not to agree with you?” don’t you agree?

      Do you live in Himmelsfee Deutschland as well, Jim?

      • Sycoputing,

        One path leads to a wrecked economy with 1.4 million dead, and another leads to a wrecked economy and many fewer dead.

        Take your pick.

        • Take your pick.

          Well, see you went and did it again. I think you’ve assumed yourself into a textbook False Dilemma logical fallacy. I don’t believe the choice is as you say Jim, that’s the point.

          At any given point in time in the United States, +/-1M people are unemployed for various reasons already. In a total workforce comprising +/- 157M individuals, that’s around .6%, if my math is correct (and one may not assume it is without checking). Now let’s double that according to your assumptions. Explain how that’s going to wreck the economy of the United States of America.

        • This is the kind of absurd numbers and fuzzy thinking that is driving the current bad policy making. That death rate is simply absurd, there is no evidence anywhere to support that. But even worse, the vast majority of deaths are of older people who aren’t in the workforce. So the impact on employment of those deaths is minimal. No one wants to see any excess deaths or illness, but to make up numbers and then do a false balancing is a big part of the problem. And so far, all anyone says that the extreme lockdowns are doing is deferring infection and death, not eliminating, with the possible, and it is only a possibility of excess deaths due to overwhelmed health resources. So if your numbers were right, we are going to get most of those deaths eventually anyway.

    • Steven Mosher

      “… including the avoidance of congregate settings. ”

      Exactly. Exactement / Genau.

      And maybe it’s good to add: the denser a population, the less its willing to discipline, the greater will be the necessity to keep it at home, unfortunately at the cost of many drawbacks, of which increasing home aggressivity against women and children certainly is not the least.

      J.-P. Dehottay

        • I could tell you about two extremely violent and dangerous women that I know and another two who are narcissistic psychopaths. The first two share the same traits as the second two except that they could kill you if you if you provoked them. The second two would totally crush you psychologically and then tell others how badly you treated them.

    • How are we supposed to trust data, papers, coming from China? Report from CIA yesterday indicates they have been less than truthful.

  82. The US is on the same track as Italy was 18 days ago. Italy could reach 100,000 US equivalent deaths within the next 6 days as they seem to be reaching a plateau of around 750 deaths a day the last 6 days which is equivalent to 4500 US deaths per day. Italy is sitting today at 13155 deaths which is the equivalent of 72400 US deaths. Italy appears to have plateaued. We have yet to reach the turn Italy has made. So the will see 100,000 deaths in 3 – 4 weeks if we just stay on track with Italy. See the following chart:


    “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. ”

    IF this 12% actual deaths from COVID-19 over the reported figure in Italy is actually the case, and unless the US is following that same standard of over reporting COVID-19 deaths here, then the US is certainly doing a much poorer job with respect to a death outcome when compared to Italy. Italy did travel containment in the northern region early on and implemented a travel ban with flights from China on the same day the US did. If that is the case I don’t think “maybe things are looking up”.

    You do make a compelling case for masks, and that never made any sense what the US was saying about not wearing masks. The US slow response in producing plenty of PPE early on has been a disaster, and that is what Trump will be judged on in the next election. Fairly or not.

    • ‘”750 deaths a day the last 6 days which is equivalent to 4500 US deaths per day”

      should read

      “820 deaths a day the last 6 days which is equivalent to 4500 US deaths per day”.

    • It was only in the last few days that any doubts were expressed about masks; less than a week. Up until that point masks were a given, and doubt was only expressed about healthy people wearing masks and causing a shortage of masks for medical workers and others who really needed them. Their efficacy was never in doubt.

      I fail to see how anyone can say “the US is certainly doing a much poorer job with respect to a death outcome when compared to Italy.” Italy has 1906 cases/ 1 million population and 230 deaths / 1 million population, while the US has 735 cases / 1 million population and 18 deaths/ 1 million population. It boggles the mind that someone could look at those numbers and say the US is doing worse than Italy.

      • Did you look at the graph? I stated that US is on the same track as Italy was 18 days ago. So if we continue down Italy’s trajectory, we will have the same death ratio in 18 days as Italy has today.

        We are Italy delayed by 18 days. I am not looking at cases only death, which is the best indicator.

  83. “Cluster A. A woman aged 55 years (patient A1) and a man aged 56 years (patient A2) were tourists from Wuhan, China, who arrived in Singapore on January 19. They visited a local church the same day and had symptom onset on January 22 (patient A1) and January 24 (patient A2). Three other persons, a man aged 53 years (patient A3), a woman aged 39 years (patient A4), and a woman aged 52 years (patient A5) attended the same church that day and subsequently developed symptoms on January 23, January 30, and February 3, respectively. Patient A5 occupied the same seat in the church that patients A1 and A2 had occupied earlier that day (captured by closed-circuit camera) (5). Investigations of other attendees did not reveal any other symptomatic persons who attended the church that day.”

    “Cluster F. A woman aged 58 years (patient F1) attended a singing class on February 27, where she was exposed to a patient with confirmed COVID-19. She attended a church service on March 1, where she likely infected a woman aged 26 years (patient F2) and a man aged 29 years (patient F3), both of whom sat one row behind her. Patient F1 developed symptoms on March 3, and patients F2 and F3 developed symptoms on March 3 and March 5, respectively.”

    “Cluster B. A woman aged 54 years (patient B1) attended a dinner event on February 15 where she was exposed to a patient with confirmed COVID-19. On February 24, patient B1 and a woman aged 63 years (patient B2) attended the same singing class. Two days later (February 26), patient B1 developed symptoms; patient B2 developed symptoms on February 29.”

    Similar investigations in China ( from CCTV on buses) and In Korea ( churches)

    “Presymptomatic transmission might occur through generation of respiratory droplets or possibly through indirect transmission. Speech and other vocal activities such as singing have been shown to generate air particles, with the rate of emission corresponding to voice loudness (7). News outlets have reported that during a choir practice in Washington on March 10, presymptomatic transmission likely played a role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission to approximately 40 of 60 choir members.*

    Now of course skeptics will question the “correlation ” between singing and catching the critter.
    They will doubt any evidence Because they can!

    See all those clusters in churches? well, its not proof as any skeptic will tell you
    where are the death certificates! it could be dying WITH covid , not from Covid.
    doubt reigns supreme, carry on as usual.

    Any way, doubters will continue to behave the same as they always behaved because no one has Proved to them that they are wrong. And they will encourage you to doubt!
    This is a soft form of medical advice.

    doubters will continue to get infected because they know better, and don’t trust experts, and the Chinese data is shit, and this is just the flu, and because they think lockdown don’t work, and because chloroquine is a cure, blah blah blah, they will continue to get infected. It’s their right.

    Doubters will continue to get infected ( they do here in Korea)
    and that doubter probably just handed you your take out bag at the McDonalds window after
    picking his nose. he’s not concerned, therefore you should not be.

    • Republican strategist Stuart Stevens here being interviewed and explaining some of the underlying reasons why the US has become exposed as the world’s least prepared western nation.

      • Griff-ter:

        The US is clearly not the least prepared Western nation.

        Deaths per million people:

        Spain 266
        Italy 263
        Belgium 125
        France 116
        Netherlands 103
        Switzerland 79
        UK 73
        Sweden 40
        Denmark 31
        Portugal 29
        USA 28

        Germany (18) and Austria (23) have lower death rates than the US only because they don’t test the dead.

        The majority of US deaths attributed to WuFlu are in the NYC metro area, due to its high incidence of Chinese nationals, same as Lombardy, the European epicenter.

    • Well, Chinese data IS the shit. Chloroquine might be a good treatment, but not necessarily a cure.

    • I can’t imagine the agony of getting Wuhan virus all for seeing the Yellow Crane Tower.

  84. a possible complication with the idea of comparing countries in this way and interpreting differences in terms of policy is that there are other differences among these countries and their citizens.

  85. Masks have been the subject of many comments on this thread. No one has mentioned the non-particulate aspects of wearing one.

    Simple masks create a more humid environment for the wearer. This is anathema to corona-viruses’ virulence. There was a very recent WUWT guest post where I mentioned this.

    For readers still checking this thread I’ll merely repeat my informative source: “Low ambient humidity impairs barrier function and innate resistance against influenza infection” ; free full text is on-line.

  86. Illiteral nonsense.
    Of course, the lockdowns work.
    Even Italy and Spain report much reduced rates of new infections.
    Counting dead is plain wrong. These are retarded by 2-3 weeks.

    • Agreed, I’ve pointed this out several times. To conclude that there is no effect you need to have a method which would show an effect if one existed.

    • Or maybe the disease picks off the weak and dies out?

      Counting deaths seems logical. Unknowns like false positives or negatives otherwise skew results.

      • It is logical in retrospect, once the epidemic is over . It is totally useless until you are 2 or 3 weeks into a shutdown to assess whether it is working !! In 3 weeks you’ve done a lot of damage.

        Cases data are contaminated by many factors like levels of testing but unless you think there is less testing, or figures are being suppressed to falsify an effect, a slow down in cases can not be put down to testing changes.

        the lower slope ( slower doubling time ) starts BEFORE the shut down but there are lumps in the data which mean that is probably not significant.

  87. you have to wait to draw conclusions. after one week or two you can draw very different conclusions.. but frankly i don’t know..
    and may be lockdown was too late.. two many people infected in the population..

    but i very much doubt lockdown is enough to avoid deaths..

  88. Blocking measures are needed to contain a pandemic. Economic evaluations may also suggest that the correct way is to increase the response of the health system, the correct way is to accept a certain number of deaths (residual damage), and more as expressed in the article. But there are some considerations to consider:
    1) it is not fully known (even now) how it works and the potential of coronavirus;
    2) to increase the yield of the health system it takes time (… and time is missing, even for the United States);
    3) if a State does not adopt measures of social distancing or does not stop its industries it would be obliged to close the transport from and to the States that do not adopt the blockade;
    4) a state that does not adopt social distancing as the pandemic progresses would still have problems guaranteeing safe work for its workers in its industries;
    5) there would be huge problems regarding the ethical evaluation of the choice not to operate social distancing (with huge political frictions in a democratic state);
    6) I doubt that “going back to work immediately” for the United States will solve all the economic problems triggered by social distancing (at least until more than half the world applies social distancing measures).
    I strongly agree with the reference to the use “without if and without but” of the masks. The use of devices such as masks or devices capable of guaranteeing similar protection must be compulsorily imposed on the population.

    • The problem is that cases are still on the rise. If these same types of videos are out there showing the same thing in a couple of weeks, then we have a problem.

  89. My county ha been in lockdown now for 2 weeks. Yesterday we had 10 new cases being total cases to 53.

    There are 220k people here.

    Of the 10 cases, 8 were reported to be community spread. That to me is crazy, but we have large college community so maybe this from students socializing and not abiding by lockdown.

    The grocery stores, bank drive throughs, hardware stores, restaurant drive throughs are open.

    • Of the 10 cases, 8 were reported to be community spread. That to me is crazy,

      you blame that on the large college community but ignore the fact that “grocery stores, bank drive throughs, hardware stores, restaurant drive throughs are open” (all potential sources of community spread). Is your “large college community” even open? From what I’ve seen most schools at all levels have been closed in areas that are in lockdown (not to mention most colleges tend to be on spring break around this time of year, at least here in NA).

      You also don’t seem to have considered the possibility of community spread from neighboring communities. Essential workers (Doctors, Nurses, grocery store employees, etc.) don’t all live in the counties they work in, not to mention that some people might live in a county that’s in lockdown but work in a county the isn’t (or is at least one that is less restrictive) and might skirt the lockdown in order to continue going to/from work everyday. Short of blocking all travel in/out of the county and pulling over every car on the roads to verify that only essential personnel are traveling about, there’s not much that can be done about that.

      • John ,The police in UK are pretty much pulling over all cars, they have been issuing fines to people who have no valid reason to travel, there doing this by road blocks, drone surveillance (although they have been ticked off about drone surveillance) even dying ponds at local beauty spots black, all national parks are on lockdown with car parks locked, coastal areas patrolled by the police.thats the state of play here.

        • BdC
          Are they afraid of infecting the local wildlife? It seems that they have lost sight of the purpose of “lockdowns” — social distancing! If someone, or even a couple that live together, are walking on the beach, they are not a threat to others.

          • Clyde

            It’s a them and us situation, they really dont believe people are capable of keeping 2 meters apart.

  90. Professor Ferguson of Imperial in the UK told parliament last week that as many as 2/3rds of coronavirus deaths would have happened anyway – if it hadn’t have been CV it would have been something else. That might be an underestimate. There are huge differences in the number of deaths reported because some countries say any death in which CV was present, others only those directly attributable to CV.

    So the data graphed above is meaningless. It mixes and matches different bases. What you are actually graphing is (largely) the growth in testing as it catches up with the infection rate amongst those who die each day anyway. That will reach a peak and as the infection naturally goes away, because it has infected so many people it cannot continue to grow, it will decline.

  91. Seems you missed on important country… Taiwan… and apparently they have had very good control because they acted earlier than everyone else…

  92. I’ve added the following update to the head post, and struck through my error but left it so it is clear what I’ve done.

    [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.]


    • However, my point remains—the different restrictions haven’t made any detectable difference to date,

      You have yet to explain how your method would detect an effect were one to be present. Since deaths will take typically incubation + 2 weeks illness produce deaths which of those lines on your fat spaghetti graph is supposed to show the effect ?

      This method shows there is a change, ( which is not the same as attribution ) so you can look at what the cause of that change was. Did Cuomo engineer a down turn by throttling back tests ?

      • Greg
        You overlook the fact that those being locked down will be in all stages of incubation/asymptomatic disease and non-infected. That is, some will be at the end of their incubation and almost immediately show symptoms. Whereas, others (the majority) will be protected from infection and not develop it. Therefore, over a 2-week period, there should be a gradual decline in the rate of new infections showing up. What Willis is saying is that he isn’t seeing a decline that should theoretically be present.

  93. Leredo Texas now mandating masks:

    The Laredo City Council passed a mandate obtained by Reuters dictating that beginning Thursday, “all persons over the age of five (5) are required to wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief, when: entering into or inside of any building open to the public; when using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares; or when pumping gas.”

  94. Italy and Spain lockdowns are clearly working. Italy has now a doubling of deaths of 9 days, from about 3 days a couple of weeks ago. Spain has a doubling of deaths of 6 days, after a couple of weeks of lockdown. I think the health authorities in both countries are pleased with this development. US has now a doubling of deaths pr 3 days.

    • Thanks, nobody. If that slowdown were from something other than the previous progression of the disease, which in Spain and Italy has been slowing for a while. we’d see a bend in the death numbers, a “kink” where the slowdown changed. Please point out the kink in the curve.


    • Hmmm. There is an estimate of a total of 100,000-240,000 US deaths from the virus. Let’s consider the worst case. Take the estimated US population 320 million. 240,000/320,000,000 = 0.075%. Less than one tenth of one percent killed by the virus. No holocaust here.

    • I would not expect a “kinck” in the curv from Italy, Spain and most other countries in Europe. I would expect that lock-down makes a bend. The reason for this is that thousand of people were already infected before the governments reacted. There were even thousand of asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases. People living together were infected in great numbers, for days and weeks. The virus had already infected a lot of hospitals and health institutions, without the health authorities recognize it. It was a big train driving in high speed without brakes. We need a better analysis than looking for the kinck to understand what has slowed it down.
      I am often impressed with your analysis Willis. But not this time. There are great differences in the development of the illness, and you have not given me the answers why.

  95. Australia isn’t included in your analysis but it imposed travel restrictions from China on 1 February as did the US and has continued with further interventions.

    Australia recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 24 January and had fifteen cases on 15 February. Germany also had fifteen cases on 15 February after recording its first case on 26 January. Six weeks later (30 March), Germany has over 60,000 cases or about fifteen times as many as Australia. Even if we equalise for population differences, Germany has more than four times as many cases per million inhabitants as Australia after identical starting points for both countries in January.

    According to the Worldometer Coronavirus site, Germany had 77,981 cases and 931 deaths on 2 April equating to 11 deaths per million inhabitants. Australia had 5,137 cases with 25 deaths equating to 1 death per million inhabitants. Taiwan’s performance is even better with only 339 cases, 5 deaths and 0.2 deaths per million inhabitants.

    Full article available at

  96. Just rereading Sir James Bisett’s “Tramps and Ladies ” and he writes of arriving in New Orleans in 1905 aboard the SS Texan and the Pilot informing them that 200 people a day were succumbing to Yellow Fever.
    Mother Nature is certainly tough.

  97. Willis
    is deaths/10^7 really a valid measure of social distancing effect?
    Using this metric Luxemberg with a population of 364000 and 2 deaths without increase for last 10 days has a staggering 555 deaths/10^7.

    most of Europe is densely populated and social distancing will have more effect if there is one
    Russia and most US is low pop density so social distancing measures will have little effect

  98. Willis,

    It appears most of the need in the US to “lock it all Down!!!!!” is being generated from 1 website:

    Dallas county for sure is using this website, because we are subjected to daily monotone press conferences using graphs directly from instead of weather and other news (at least they cut away when Wheel of Fortune comes on).

    I am not a model expert, but the models on this website appear to be complete crap, If I’m reading it right, even with social distancing 69% of a state gets it in 3 months. They also appear to use the same rates of transmission for Nebraska as they would be in NYC. Currently they are advising South Dakota to lock everything down for 3 months…or else….Really? Why?

    The models are open source on the website. Everyone needs to check them out.

  99. What self quarantine is like

    1. Someone at her husbands work came down with covid.
    2. he was classified as a close contact because he spent 1 minute in the guys presence.
    3. She is classified as close contact.
    4. they are confined to home for 2 weeks, subject to a fine.
    5. the health worker calls them 3 times a day.
    6. they get a care package and instructions.

    That is how a modern liberal democracy does a “lock down”

  100. Thank you for this great article. I agree with you, killing the economy is not the right solution.

    On your Graph 2 it will be good to plot South Korea.

    I am puzzled by Japan as I read this article today: where it seems masks is also a problem.

    An interesting case also is Iceland , the country that did most tests (5% of the population) so they identified very early the positive asymptomatic cases. However they also moved more and more on lockdown even with only 2 deaths so far, ie 6/ millions.

    Here in Belgium recomendations are no masks and so called “experts” can’t agree. However one University professor and specialist on infectious diseases is part of a recomendations that people should wear mask and make them . He is part of an association presenting how to produce your own mask which will be FFP2, N95 in the US. I give you the link here :

    I believe that citizen and textile industry should start producing these masks that can be reused and washed, I am going to buy some for 5€ each. It is as you said a very small cost that will protect us and allow most of us to be able to continue working. IF these masks were sold for € 5 to €10 then 1) soon it will give business for a lot of people, 2) it will allow people to get back to a social life and 3) soon it will allow back to work for everybody.

    Austria is now making masks compulsory to shop ! Nothing better to go back to normal life without to much restrain to our private life and right !

    • John says: “Things which have proved to be right in the past”

      Like their work on Creutzfeldt-Jakob

      then he waffles on for about 20min without actually saying anything about the models used or anything which provides deeper understanding. He just promotes the claim that UCL think shut downs are working.

      I could have read the same amount of information in about 90s !!

  101. Didn’t Japan close all schools and aren’t the schools still closed, and wasn’t school closure one of the major factors shown to be effective in the 1918 Pandemic?

  102. Recent work published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests social distancing guidelines are based on outdated research, as summarized in this post: My concern is that all the mitigation measures have some level of futility, given that, like most viruses, this one will or has become community dwelling. Mitigation that only spreads infection rates isn’t preventing deaths, just delaying them. Meanwhile, the economic damage is certain, and has serious health consequences as well. We are making very, very unbalanced and bad choices

    • ” Mitigation that only spreads infection rates isn’t preventing deaths, just delaying them.”

      That is all the shut down can achieve, a little breathing space for a totally inadequate health system.

      • well, not sure the evidence supports that notion. New York clearly doesn’t have mitigation down very well, and while a lot of it is jerry-rigged and not a good way to deliver health care, so far no one is attributing any deaths to the inadequacy of health resources. I have worked in health care for 45 years and New York City has about the worst public hospital system in the country, mismanaged for years and it is hanging in there. While it could still be overwhelmed, the US health system has the most ICU beds per capita in the world, so we are as well prepared as anyone. The biggest risk I think, is health care worker fatigue and infection.

        And I think people do not generally understand that all the damage being done by the lockdown is to delay deaths not prevent them. The only way it saves deaths is if there is an inability to provide care that would have saved a life, or if the infection spread is deterred long enough to get to a vaccine, which is a year out at best, according to Dr. Fauci. Think we can lock down for even two months much less a year?

  103. Two european countries with similar population and similar early infection history, Sweeden and Denmark. Sweeden with little lockdown and a doubling of deaths of about 3,5 days. Denmark which has closed down many working places and institutions, and doubling of deaths of 6 days.

    • And Sweeden admit some failure:
      “It is the Stockholm region that is most severely affected by the corona pandemic in Sweden. It was also revealed that over 90 Swedish municipalities have had or suspect that they have had coronas infection at their nursing homes. This corresponds to every third home in Sweden, writes Swedish Radio. Based on those figures, the state epidemiologist admits to having failed partially with Sweden’s corona strategy, according to Aftonbladet. When asked by the Swedish Radio during the press conference on Tegnell, the authorities believe that they have sufficiently managed to spare the elderly population from the corona center, Tegnell replies: – No, we obviously haven’t done that. It’s very unfortunate, because that’s exactly what we’ve been trying to prevent, says Tegnell, according to Aftonbladet.”

  104. I agree completely with the case for masks.

    Let me make a general observation about the pandemic: The magic number seems to be 10 % growth in cumulative deaths, on a downward trend. This happened in China about 27 days after first reported death (FRD) and in Italy about 36 days after FRD. The magic number happened when daily deaths likely peaked.

    10 % growth on a downward trend might be happening today in Spain on day 50. (Spain went 19 days between FRD and second reported death.)

    • Off topic but encouraging, today’s numbers indicate that Spain has joined Italy on the trend to recovery.

  105. Lockdown in Germany shows no visible effect at first view.
    With the start of lockdown, schools etc were closed, homeoffices were introduced bars and restaurants limited, social distancing asked.
    The second, stronger Lockdown: shops closed, bars and restaurants closed, delivery are ok, only groups of 2 persons allowed or 3 living together as family in the same home etc, police monitoring at critical points, parcs etc…

    • You need at least 2 full weeks to see an effect. So in theory it does not make sense to apply a stronger lockdown already after one week. I believe the reason they do so is to make the change it people’s live a bit more gradual. Or because in the mean time they better realised what happened in Italy

  106. @ Willis

    Love your daily charts. Would be more informative if you would please add a line for the numbers of the common influenza deaths for the USA to the “Coronavirus deaths versus the number of days ” chart.

    I keep reading that the Total of Both COVID19 deaths AND Influenza deaths are not exceeding the 2017/18 deaths.


  107. Don’t know what to think about Fig. 2.

    It would seem that “full government lockdown” would about cover all the other social distancing impositions, but here counts as only one? Iran, for example seems to rank #1 in terms of fewest constraints… unless their society is already so oppressed by its military / religious leaders that they need impose no others to keep people isolated.

    Wiki says Iran has executed between 500 and 1,000 of its citizens each year in the last decade:

    Iran retains the death penalty for a large number of offenses, among them cursing the Prophet, certain drug offenses, murder, and certain had crimes, including adultery, incest, rape, fornication, drinking alcohol, “sodomy”, same-sex sexual conduct between men without penetration, lesbianism, “being at enmity with God” (mohareb), and “corruption on earth” (Mofsed-e-filarz).[142] Drug offenses accounted for 58% of confirmed executions in Iran in 2016, but only 40% in 2017, a decrease that may reflect legislative reforms.

    Maybe ACAPS simply failed to find out what governmental social distancing measures were actually imposed there.

    U.S. meanwhile, may have slapped 12 or 13 madates on its citizens, but from what I can see every state, city and individual appears to take these suggestions (?) with a different degree of seriousness. Testing? The hardware guy I talked to a few days ago just got over his “presumptive positive” case when he suffered all the enteric problems (diarrhea) from a follow-on case of flu, and though he was back on the job two days later, he did not look good. There’s no clear policy for testing, so he was never tested. Limited group size? Forget that. The cat-herders haven’t got themselves organized yet.


    Curious as to why French number of cases was still rising when many other EU countries are clearly over peak new cases, I want for test data.
    I Just managed to get some data on the number of COVID-19 hospital based tests done in France. Earlier reports gave daily, now it’s weekly lumps. Why hide the detail?

    3rd week of March had twice as many tests and … twice as many confirmed cases. We already knew that the reason Germany shows a lot of cases and very few fatalities is that they have a lot of test kits available and use them.

    Now France has been rising a lot slower over the last 20 days but it was becoming odd that there was no peak in new cases. The doubling of tests will obviously be pumping up the number of “confirmed cases”. There was also the introduction of city based private analysis centres being authorised to COVID testing from 8th March, though it seems the number are only about 10% of the number of hospital tests.

    Now there was a big jump up in cases on 24th and again 1st April.

    We will have to wait some time for these sparse reports to have some more updates on whether this was also driven by test numbers.

    This raises the question of whether increasing stats for new cases are being inflated by test availability and exploited to justify ever more draconian restrictions on movement.

    • The exponential rise in test numbers ( MORE than doubling each week ) would more than account for the milder increase in cases ( 8 day doubling time ) .

      That would suggest that COVID spread in France probably peaked over two weeks ago and they forgot to mention it before putting the whole country on confinment orders.

  109. Willis, I usually like your arguing, that you take data and let it show things. But this made me just disappointed. The data we have this early have a lot of inaccuracy, bias and hidden factors. As a European, I look scared stiff the bad logic going rounds in both MSM and social media. European countries are doing very differently. The Italian language zone is doing much worse than the German one. We don’t see the end yet, the fat lady needs to sing first, but people will have a lot of explaining why the epidemy hit Italy so badly.

    Also of worth noting. PM Löfven of Michigan sized Sweden is behaving like a fatalist, where neighbouring Norway and Finland are not taking that given. You can already see the difference in mortality.

    But the MSM here seem to think Trump is doing worse than social democrat Löfven. Why? Because the US has over 200k cases. They seem to genuinely think Trump stopped flights just because he’s racist, and try to call him out for not taking corona seriously enough. Yet NY has Oxiris Barbot, who really was a part of the problem, not solution. The MSM in Europe always copy the US D talking points, and that has caused a lot of damage.

    MSM here was impeaching in January and much dismissed risks related to Wuhan lockdown as a right wing conspiracy — right until they started to claim the right wingers are not taking this seriously enough. In Finland, the far left is in the coalition government, and they pretty much swallowed the right wing opposition requirements of border lockdowns to Russia, Estonia, flight bans and serious limits to in country travel. The lockdown appears *not ineffective*’ but masks have not yet been introduced.

    For me, that China lies about corona is the proof they knew about it earlier than they admit. They lied, and now liberal very not-racist huggers die in NY.

  110. That is simply not true, that they test only people with severe problems. If somebody is detected with problems and positive for Covid-19 people who were in contact with him are tested too. If virus was spread much more than official numbers new cases would pop up exponentially, which is not the case. 8 million New Yorkers got in 20 days from 100 to 50 thousand by 9 doublings (100×2^9). Slovak 5.5 millions got in 20 days to 400 by 2 doublings (100×2^2). There is no underlying epidemy going. A.k.a face masks works. Nice day.

  111. There is actually a third and possibly most important reason masks help.

    They raise the humidity level in the nasal cavities which makes it much more difficult for the virus to gain entrance. It’s also why it’s a good thing summer is approaching up here in the North.

  112. Yes lockdowns work. Look at the San Francisco success story.

    “While it is difficult to attribute the difference to any one factor, it seems likely that early action by political and corporate leaders made an enormous difference. On March 16, the mayors of San Francisco and the five surrounding counties issued orders mandating that all citizens “shelter in place” — stay at home for all but essential needs such as shopping for food or receiving health care. With this order came the closure of restaurants, bars, gyms and many businesses.”

    • Not sure lockdowns are responsible. California has a relatively low number of cases, which may be due to weather or other factors. And you have to remember lockdowns are only good for as long as they last. They are unlikely to eradicate a virus or prevent re-emergence. Please note that the area of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico seem to all have a low number of cases. Could be a number of factors but may not be lockdowns. An excellent paper here: also describes very well the issue of deferral rather than elimination of infections and deaths.

      Willis is definitely right about getting rid of the lockdowns. On any reasonable cost/benefit analysis they are not supportable. We now have at least 20 million lost jobs. That joblessness results in substantial health and other social harms, including excess deaths. And I agree with the points in the paper I referenced above and that are found at, that the current mitigation efforts are merely delaying tactics.

      • they are only designed to be delaying tactics !

        Flattening the curve is all about buying some time for a woefully inadequate healthcare system to get its act together and get the means in place to deal with a surge of patients.

        This is not a discovery, it is the declared aim.

        The containment boat sailed long ago and is not coming back. This is about mitigation and spreading the caseload over a longer period to render it more manageable.

        Ultimately this virus will fizzle out because of herd immunity. We are simply negotiating how we get there.

        Latest french data issued 24th March, shows this year is band on the seasonal average. This is not even a “bad flu years” so far.

      • If you are saying the weather in CA is responsible for the low numbers in the SF bay area then compare San Francisco with stable numbers to New Orleans or Miami where cases appear to be ballooning out of control. The difference is the early and continued lockdown (and compliance). It’s all about not overloading the health system, as Greg explains below.

  113. Hydrochlorquine is not being used in the UK, a BBC radio investigation tonight reported, the official treatment in the UK is paracetamol and ventilation, the reason we dont use hydrochlorquine is we have not done our own tests, two doctors who remained anonymous said” this is crazy we are ignoring tests and studies and successfull treatments across the world. The health service and NHS have banned the use of the drug, although doctors can use a untrialed drug if the gains clearly outway the risks, well there clearly not using the drug!!.

    Such is the backward nature of the UK, allowing it’s own people to die rather than try a drug that is successful in other countries.

    • Big pharma are dictating policy. Blair similarly blew about £1.5bn on flu vaccines ‘just in case’. Never used.

      Follow the money. There is not money in an old cheap, out of patent drug which even 3rd world countries can make.

      The EU “discover” study has queered the pitch against Hydrochlorquine by ensuring it is only trailed in conditions it is already know NOT to cure.

      that just leaves the pharmaceutical’s latest novelty anti-virals which have a chance of winning EU wide approval and multi-billion euros orders.

      Luckily tests on the ground in Marseilles are going ahead with an effective protocol and will prove its effectiveness before the rigged antiviral trails are completed.

      • All over Europe, many children were wrecked by these useless, dangerous flu vaccines.

        (And in Europe, very few children have their parents brainwashed enough to get them vaccinated.)

      • jeez another old git who is going to keep listening to his crap to get one scrap of information I could read in 10s. Screw Utube as a means of communication, life is short and getting shorter, very quickly !

        • But you did not get the information here that the old git published did you, nor did you publish the information which is relevant to the topic, you need to cool down and stop being so judgmental of people, his aftermath analogy is just as relevant as anything you have to say.

    • Makes good sense Willis… I love the evolution on this topic. I now see a path to us getting back to work sooner than I did before reading your post.

      Let’s add that the course of action is guided by political winds, and by this s-storm from the Left, that no matter what decisions are made, the Left will provide damning condemnation. So your deep logic bolsters the case for getting out NOW or yesterday. Add to that, the growing potential from readily available Zn-ionophore-based options to help weaken the virus’ ability to replicate… and I see the light… thank you for spreading hope.

  114. “Most people have no idea how much a trillion dollars is.”

    An astute observation. This is a number outside most peoples’ experience. So let me put it in perspective for you. If you had a trillion dollars, and you spent one dollar per second, it would take you ONE TRILLION SECONDS to spend it all.

    There, I hope that gives everyone some sense of proportion.

    • Now, to make it more like what is happening…how much could you spend at a given rate of interest and never run out of money?

      • And account for inflation… Every dollar that gets created out of thin air, has the effect of a stock split.

  115. Official french report from 24th March ( latest ) . This shows a near exponential rise testing , increasing about x2.5 each week . The out weighs the persistent climb in reported confirmed cases which is only doubling in 8 days.

    Taking those two facts together suggests that France went through peak infection rate at least a week ago, maybe two weeks. The just forgot to notice.

    I started digging this since I thought it improbable that the figures kept rising when other countries had peaked, The curve itself just did not smell right.

    At best if it peaked two weeks ago , we should see a peak in fatalities in the next week.

  116. The real question is, “Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost?””
    From my knowledge of writing code to simulate essentially every aspect of a nuclear Power Plant for use in both Accident Analysis and Training Simulator design it is obvious to me that all of the charts I have seen so far PREDICTING the future are BS. In essence, they only provide a good guess of what could happen AND an excuse for you to use if it is wrong and your actions do not achieve the intended goal. I do not see any real information being input into these graphs that will provide data that I would trust to make a life or death decision. The computer models I wrote were accurate to within less than 1/10 of a percent of actual events – both normal operation and design bases accidents.
    The real decision being made is by people that want to maintain their position in elected offices and both sides of the problem have opposite views of what should be done. Each want the person they are running against to lose and them to win. However they have to take actions in a fashion that makes them look like they are doing the correct thing AND not make a decision that is not supported by these BS predictions. As I said in a previous comment.
    The chart on Mosher’s recommended site indicates that Nebraska has No lockdown, Shelter in place. That is not the case. The Governor of NE let the Counties decide. The highest populated counties DO have shelter in place and ten person rule. All restaurants, bars, theaters, etc are closed. Most government offices have, few, if any people in them, far fewer than ten. It is about ten per building. Playgrounds, basketball courts, etc are closed. Only two people in a gas station or auto repair. Vet only lets one person in at a time and they are directed to an empty waiting room, and neither person in the office got within 6 feet of me. It sure seems like a lockdown to me. Thus whatever effect a lockdown would have is not shown in that chart, prediction, if they are following the assumptions at the top of that page. With twenty plus states in a partial lockdown and counted as no lockdown I am highly suspicious of the results. Kinda resembles CAGW results to me.

  117. Going from “Do Lockdowns Work?” to “Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost?”
    It would have been better as a new post.
    The new question is more relevant for many individuals but even harder to answer.

    What we need to do is lower the R0. By now we should be calling it Rt, or R(t), as knowledge of the virus does change behavior, which changes the R value.

  118. Uzur,
    My reservations about the quality of data input to these epidemic models are also strongly informed by experiences with radioctive decay. I once owned a fast neutron generator for activation analysis, for one small example of relevant mathematics.
    The past radiometric modelling had the advantage that it could be tested and verified. This epidemic modelling does not have that luxury, yet many feel that it is necessary for future management of medical responses to the emergency. Maybe it would help if researchers routinely put proper estimates of uncertainty onto their figures. Not limited to an ignorant Excel stats
    figure from the fit of points to a graph, but the full Monty on accuracy such as the effects of various ways to assign mortality to a measured, rather than inferred cause.
    It is all so hard when epidemiologists and onlookers who write about this topic are making the same errors about uncertainty that tainted global warming “science” from the beginning and made it unbelievable.
    Geoff S

  119. The numbers from IHME don’t compare to the AHA numbers? The AHA claims there are over 800,000 beds in over 6,000 hospitals in the US – excluding Federal Hospitals (about 213 Federal hospitals, VA, military hospitals, etc). Point is there are lots of beds. Over 60,000 ICU units excluding neonatal, burn units, etc.

    Then there are the videos of private citizens visiting their local hospitals and recording that nearly all have empty admissions and emergency areas and rows of ambulances with their crews watching Netflex, etc. Parking lots nearly empty. And these at the “epicenter”. Hospitals have shuttered, in most states, all elective procedures. Even urgent and somewhat urgent care is beginning to be like Canada – getting a bonex set took takes days to schedule as a nephew of mine found out last week.

    And then there’s the malarial cures many clinics are reporting. At the rate this is being used, there’ll be no need for clinical trials – the FDA and the good folks at CDC and the various governors can simply use a few tens of thousands of patient actual clinical treatments instead.

  120. I am very familiar with the hospital industry and other facilities in our health system. We will find the beds. Equipment is a bit more of an issue. The real problem is health workers.

    And Willis you are asking exactly the right question. But you are way off on jobs lost, 15 to 20 million already. The unemployment claims filing is an undercount because people who get any severance have to wait, but we are at over 10 million new unemployment filings in two weeks. Can you imagine the insanity of that, we destroyed 20 million jobs so far to defer a relatively few deaths, maybe save a very small number.

    • KR, yes.

      Over 10,000,000 unemployed in two weeks, vs 6K dead. The medical professionals are giving us worst-case, proved wrong by the last few, H1N1, etc…

      Ours will be the first economy in history to self-destruct, and when a business goes under, it is gone, does not pop right back up to the surface. The Donald would say that it will pop right back up, but he also knows this is not true. Time for him to step up and be the businessman that he is. Trump, save some jobs, quarantine the most at-risk and we know who they are even if one teen-ager died, and put America Back To Work!!!!!

      • He could say whatever he wants, but this did not start on his say so and will not end because someone says open up the ball parks, go back to the movies, open the schools, take a vacation, go shopping, go to the park, throw a party, etc.
        No one wants to get sick…so he would merely lose credibility and no one would listen anyway if he did.
        Looking at the death rate and ignoring that a far larger number get very sick for anywhere from a week to a month or more ignores the big picture.
        No one wants to get sick, no one knows if they will get unlucky, and the numbers would be far higher if everyone tried to pretend it was not happening.

  121. “..think about the alternative—voluntary self-isolation, particularly of geezers like me,…”

    Why ‘particularly geezers’?

    Today’s news has a 101 year old man and an 89 year old woman recovered from Covid-19 in Italy, or maybe it was Spain…

    It would make more sense to isolate diabetics, asmahtics, those with high blood pressure, heavy smokers, etc..

    But self isolation is difficult to impossible for some people, so there has to be organized support provided to keep them fed, medicated, etc.. Otherwise they’ll be out there taking their chances.

  122. Willis: “Is Extending Lockdowns Worth The Cost?”

    WR: At this stage (huge breakout of the virus) the right question should be:
    “What is the [total] cost of continuing the social distancing (different forms) vs. the [total] cost of the disruption of society and economy in case of an uninterrupted spread of the disease?”

    I think it is not possible to answer that question at this moment: both are unknown experiments for modern times. We can only infer from the experiences of the Spanish Flu that an uninterrupted spread of a devastating virus also (!) disrupts societies at very high costs. In modern times spread is enhanced by all modern means of transport and the spread of fear is multiplied by all modern communication.

    I am afraid that a high damage for the economy can not to be prevented anymore. We are now paying a high price anyway because we have not been preparing society to fight the next dangerous virus – as Bill Gates has been asking years ago. *

    Our economic problems are not [mainly] caused by the choices we make now. The cause for our present problems lies in the past. Wrong choices have been made: the Green Madness attracted all attention to imaginary problems and not to real ones that FOR SURE would be happening: only the date was not yet known. Only very smart persons like Bill Gates were warning us.


    • Excellent comment!
      Think about, or do the math for, using all the money wasted on Wind and Solar instead of on building CO2 free Nuclear Power and the amount not needed on power used on public health.

    • We’re not ready for the next CME, the next nuclear war, the next ice age, etc., etc., either. It’s ridiculous for Bill Gates and other fat cats to cry and wring their hands. The problem is that our system of government promotes sociopathic leadership and sheepish middle management, guaranteeing mediocrity and skulduggery. The rich and influential have no interest in saving the poor, except those few they need as servants and entertainers, so their primary efforts are to bolster their security with lifeboats (tickets off planet for plan C or D), and all the rest is PR to fool the angry peasantry and their newly “educated” offspring.

      I find it impossible to believe that all the world’s leaders are so stupid as to swallow whole the posturing and panic mongering of the WHO and the CDC which has led to the disastrous disruption of the world economy. Yet it’s taken two months for any dissenting voices to be heard even over the most absurd directive of the above – that face masks should never be worn by the healthy except for health professionals.

      • Otropogo: “that face masks should never be worn by the healthy except for health professionals”

        WR: EVERYTHING that brings down further contamination helps to end up this epidemic. The quoted sentence above is spoken by authorities and politicians who know THAT THERE ARE NO FACE MASKS. We have not been prepared for a virus outbreak. Politicians know that (now) and that’s why there is so much panic and confusion.

        We have not been prepared for the real problems that ever will be here. After the virus a new realism will change future directives. This virus will mark a break in politics and will divide history in ‘the era before the virus’ and ‘the era after the virus’.

        In the future real safety will play a dominant role. This virus shows that ‘feeling safe’ is a dominant driver for the acting of people. We even accept a temporary disruption of our economy to avoid the unsafety the virus causes.

        This virus marks the start of an new ‘Era of Realism’. UN will have to concentrate on solving real problems: infrastructure for the poor, sanitation for the poor (making the world (!) safer), diminishing inequality (which will make many places safe again for ‘all other people’) etc..

        Real science again will have to be restored by making Science again independent from politicians: money for (smaller?) universities again must be secured without the result of science to be influenced. Our experts again will need to be independent as well: not influenced by money nor politicians. The same for critical high quality media that completely disappeared in the last decades.

        The ‘need for being safe’ will be recognized as the main driver for people. This will change the way we organize our societies.

        The next goal for societies could well be Prosperity for All in a Safe Environment.

        • The UN is a sham, a place holder for real world government. It’s there to make sure no such entity will ever evolve. One good thing that has come out of this disaster is that anyone still capable of independent thought will see that the UN and its “health” agency , the WHO, are nothing but beggars and charlatans.

          If it’s not their job to plan for pandemics, or at least to warn the people of the world that their governments have not planned and provisioned adequately for them, then whose job is it?

          Just today I heard a medical “expert| warn against using stale dated N95 masks, despite the fact that recently published tests of such masks stockpiled in the USA showed that the great majority of such masks were still performing within spec more than four years after their expiry date.

          And on another news report, a stockpile of millions of N95 masks was said to have been found stale-dated in the Province of Ontario, Canada, and therefore deemed unusable.

          Apparently, our governments would rather let thousands be unnecessarily exposed to serious illness or death than test their existing stocks of masks for effectiveness. The same happens with “expired” medication constantly, despite convincing studies that almost all medications retain most of their potency years after these money making dates, and that there is no evidence of any toxicity resulting from their use.

          This situation is particularly dangerous when a medication is only rarely required, such as rabies vaccines and thyroid blockers for radiation exposure. During the Fukushima incident, the Canadian government got pharmacists across the country to refuse to sell thyroid blockers to their customers while it pretended that it would provide this medicine to the public as and when needed. Exactly the same thing happened in China.

          Of course, the real reason for this obstruction was that neither China nor Canada had enough stock of the product to fill demand. And the governments wanted to keep the existing stock for their own purposes.

          The scarier conclusion that follows is that if the product were urgently needed, they would conceal the fact from the public. So even those who had some wouldn’t know to take it in time unless they had a personal radiation alarm. Those alarms were reportedly flying off the shelves in Tokyo and Hong Kong in the Spring of 2011.

          Can you really expect such governments to change course?

          Our current democratic system of government is based upon secrecy, hypocrisy and deceit. What chance is there for justice, fairness, or compassion in a society in which no honest person can hold onto public office long enough to achieve anything?

      • “We’re not ready for the next CME, the next nuclear war, the next ice age, etc., etc., either. ” And we now have a culture that the federal government SHALL provide all necessary material, workers, equipment, material, medicine, transportation shipment storage and purchase them for these “emergencies” with a moments notice and provide them to the needed communities the same day.
        Factor that into the next federal budget an guess what your taxes will be.

        • Switzerland manages to keep three months’ worth of food, water, medicine, and coffee for all of its citizens in nuclear bunkers. Yes they have higher taxes, but they also have better health care, and they’re not starving.

          But don’t worry. In Canada and the USA the reason for not preparing AT ALL for large emergencies is that it’s bad for business. Our governments don’t just fail to prepare, they DISCOURAGE us from properly preparing privately, and for the same reason.

          As for our culture – when the broadcast media bring out the big guns, that “culture” will turn on a dime. Take masks, for instance. Yesterday, masks bad, BAD. It was starting to look like there would be laws and major fines for ILLEGAL POSSESSION of an N95 mask… Today, maybe masks not so bad. Tomorrow, you may get harassed, fined, or arrested if you’re not wearing one… Dr. Fauci is like a weathercock spinning in the wind, with the media following like lemmings.

  123. How do we know if we are having an effect? At best we are saving perhaps 1/3 of the people who go on a ventilator, or even less.

    No way to know if the 1/3 would have survived without ventilation. The whole point of this lockdown is to prevent overloading the ventilators. And now we are finding they may be mostly or wholly ineffective anyway?

  124. Willis — I know you’re not an economist, but what do you think happens to the $2 trillion? It doesn’t get put in a big pile and burned. It goes to people who make something or provide some service, or to people out of a job who will spend it on something. It will go back into the economy.

    I’m not a Keynesian — I don’t for a moment believe the “multiplier” is greater than 1 for government spending. But it’s not zero, either. So your calculation of dollars spent per life saved ignores any benefits from that spending, which doesn’t make sense.

    • Does the money get “put in a pile and burned”? Nope. But if all the Government doing is providing a lifeline for people who the Government actions have just put out of a job, it doesn’t move you forwards. Instead of running in the same spot, we could have kept our economy cranking and upgraded our hospital facilities to be the best in the world, provided dozens of field hospitals, converted unused buildings to quarantine facilities, produced hundreds of ventilators and thousands of masks, the possibilities were endless.

      Now, we know for sure that those actions would have saved lives. Whether it’s more or less lives than the lockdown is an open question.

      But at the end of the lockdown we have an economy in a shambles and hundreds of thousands out of work. At the end of the path I recommended before the lockdown, we’d have a humming economy and a medical system that would be the envy of the world.

      Easy choice on my planet.

      I’m reminded of the story of Milton Friedman in China, probably apocryphal but apropos. It’s said that Milton Friedman was once visiting China when he was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, thousands of workers were toiling away building a canal with shovels. He asked his host, a government bureaucrat, why more machines weren’t being used. The bureaucrat replied, “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton responded, “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, you should give these workers spoons, not shovels!”

      So you’re right. The money doesn’t disappear … but if you want a canal (or a hospital) built, don’t use spoons.

      Best regards, stay well,


      • What you just described is exactly what freedom looks like if you can keep it. You’re right again Willis. This ain’t a binary choice.

        Automation, mechanization along with cheap energy (being the slave to humans) leads to more stuff being made more effectively, which leads to abundance, which leads to lower cost per thing made, which means there is more stuff to go around. This is the definition of productivity, which drives cost per unit down, and keeps inflation low! This is how wealth accumulates.

        When governments give you money that was not earned by making something of value, (not tied to productivity), you get what you’re paid for –nothing. When there’s not much stuff, cost goes up and leads to inflation.

        In summary, printing money ALWAYS inflates the cost of stuff… this is not in doubt.

      • In NZ the money is being spent to give non-essential folk a very mild taste of what they are going to get when the Depression hits hard , when they are to be locked down in very miserable conditions; the lockdown being necessary then to maintain law and order when the sheer poverty and misery bites.
        This is the plan we have followed , pretend to shut the border , pretend to quarantine arrivals from infected area , and pretend to lock down the non-essential, who are in fact just running around holidaying at taxpayer expense.

        It’s the biggest psy-op since AGW. And it achieves the same goals.

      • Does the money get “put in a pile and burned”? Nope.

        Sadly , to large extent yes. It’s gets give to the Federal Reserve cartel. To a large degree this is 2008 all over again. Determined not to learn from the errors they made last ( if it was an error ) they are not putting strict conditions on the banks actually passing the money on.

        We are already seeing stories of Bank of America ( which the public purse bailed out last time ) refusing to give credit to small businesses who are not already in debt with them. Businesses customers not already owing money to the bank are refused PPP loans.

      • “Easy choice on my planet.”

        On the planet of wishful thinking that is.

        Missing ventilators and beds is only one part of the problem. Missing health care workers a more serious one. Cause you cannot produce them in the same amount of time as equipment. These people are specialists and need training and experience to function. They are not machines and need rest and you cannot compensate easily for the staff that gets infected or worse dies.

        If the system is overwhelmed by cases that need a lot of care other health issues will not get treated as they normally would worsening the overall health care. That is not a guess that is what already happens in New York. And they are asking for a lot more staff already with being probably 2-3 weeks away from the peak maybe even more.

        • Thanks, Ron. In 1968, the Hong Kong Flu killed 100,000 people. Given today’s population, that would be 150,000. And it happened without hysterics. It happened without lockdowns. It happened without “social distancing”. There was no economic crash, no mass unemployment, no thousands of businesses not surviving.

          So it’s not “wishful thinking”. We’ve done the experiment.

          Yes, it is possible that the American Lockdown might save some lives. Maybe 10%, although that seems doubtful. But how many lives could we have saved by putting that 2 trillion dollars into upgrading our medical system, buying plenty of PPE and ventilators, setting up quarantine hospitals in appropriate buildings, purchasing field hospitals, and upgrading our entire medical system?

          I’d say it would be of the same order of magnitude as the lives possibly saved by the Lockdown … except that a) we KNOW that improving our medical system would save lives, and we BELIEVE that the lockdown would save lives, and b) at the end we’d have a functioning economy, nobody out of work, and a medical system that would have been the envy of the world.

          Like I said … easy choice on my planet … and at 73, I’m in the high-risk group. Give me the improved medical system over the lockdown any time.


          • Hi Willis,

            there are two points you either miss or not really grasp. The first is the limitation of the health care system by the availability of qualified staff. For example Germany has 23k of beds for intensive care and they could double the number by short notice but they have not at all sufficient health caretakers for all those units. And that is something all the money in the world cannot solve. Okay, you can hire people from other countries but that is just redistributing the shortage not ending it. There is no short term solution to that problem.

            Second is a corona virus is not influenza. It just isn’t. It’s like trying to substitute salt with sugar as both are crystalline and of white appearance. Just out of laziness I’ll cite myself from Lord Monckton of Brenchley’s article:

            “What people don’t get about vaccination is that everybody produces DIFFERENT antibodies against a vaccine or a virus. So their antibodies work eventually very well against related viruses for some people just bc of the nature of their own specific antibodies are just by chance working against similar strains as well. If the similarity between the viruses is pretty high the antibodies will worked nearly all the time against both strains though I doubt one will achieve 100% just the way antibodies are produced by the immune system.

            That is the same mechanism behind using an intentional infection with the cowpox to prevent death by a smallpox infection. The whole word vaccine comes from the latin word vacca for cow bc it was the first application of this idea in history.

            Unfortunately, for COVID-19 that is just not the case cause most people were not exposed to something similar ever making it as big as a problem as it is.”

            And that is exactly one reason why the Hong Kong flu was not that pandemic:

            “The 1968 pandemic was caused by an influenza A (H3N2) virus comprised of two genes from an avian influenza A virus, including a new H3 hemagglutinin, but also contained the N2 neuraminidase from the 1957 H2N2 virus.”

            There was already some immunity in the population. This time there is none. From the Korean numbers it’s not the death rate that worries me (that’s 1% which is not exceptional) it’s how contagious the virus is and how fast it spreads bc nobody has any immunity that would prevent its spread.

            In case of influenza people who have already working antibodies from a just related but similar enough strain or vaccination will get infected but they will not spread the virus. Their immune system contains the virus without incubation time. That’s the tiny but game changer difference to asymptomatic infections without immunity where people are contagious without knowing it.

  125. In addition to contact reduction and masks, I think the most important factor is testing, which leads to the quarantine of infected people. The countries with the lower death rate have relatively the most tests (Austria, Iceland, Norway, Germany) and are also on the more favorable side in Figure 1.

  126. Willis, IMO what we’re seeing is massive, almost global group-think combined w/appallingly-low competence of our goobermint “leaders” and their cohort of regulators, “experts” & advisors. These factors are far more contagious and dangerous than the virus. Culture has been rotting from within for many decades and now really showing up.

  127. Comments here reminds me of an experience I had 45 years ago.
    One of my first jobs as a nuclear engineer was the calibration of the plant radiation monitoring equipment. We had sources in little plastic chips like used in playing checkers. These came with their NBS traceable data on initial dose and disintegrations, and other data needed to determine the disintegrations expected for calibrating detection systems. I was responsible for writing the procedure that the technicians would use to calibrate the equipment. The Manufacture gave a laboratory type calibration procedure that was not practicable for the average technician to use. I used this as the bases for my procedure. Problem is that they use a plus/minus 10% for the expected count numbers for each of the three chips needed to assure the entire range was in tolerance. While verifying the procedure I wrote I discovered that after calibrating the device that if I came back a few days later the device was out of calibration. I had the meter calibrated again and again a few days later some of the readings were not in spec. I discovered that the problem was that disintegrations are random in nature and will also include the normal background radiation, which is important for low level meters. Luckily I found a book on Statistics of Detection Systems and a great explanation on the statistics involved which helped me write a procedure that worked and supported my change to the counting time and the calculation for the achieving 10% accuracy.
    I provide this story in that contacting a virus, succumbing to that virus and even dying from tat virus are essentially the same as the random nature of a radiation source disintegration. Developing a curve of what to expect or predict what will happen should have as a minimum a 1 sigma tolerance. This tolerance should be shown on the chart. And that is only the case if you know everything about everything involved! Which we do not know and will not know when this is over.

  128. Hi Willis, it wasn’t until after I started looking for an updated graph like your first graph did I realize that nobody else seems to be putting out a graph like yours that doesn’t mislead readers because it compares countries at the same point on its “deaths” curve, compares deaths (not cases), is logarithmic, and shows results as a percentage of population (not raw number of deaths). The closest I’ve found appears here ( and is updated daily but shows raw number of deaths.

    I assume you created your graph yourself from the raw data? If so, you would provide a tremendous service to update it periodically and publish it. I would follow it closely!

    Or if anyone reading these comments knows of anyone updating such a graph that meets the 4 criteria above, please let me know by replying to this comment. Thanks!

    • “I assume you created your graph yourself from the raw data?”

      Speaking of raw data, I was frustrated and surprised today while searching for the age breakdown of Quebec’s 64 COVID-19 fatalities. I was motivated by seeing a video this morning in which Quebec’s director of public health said, referring to the 25 additional death reported today:..”you have to understand that most of these people are older than 70 and mostly older than 80 or 90″.

      I searched several different ways for Quebec covid-19 fatalities by age, and found nothing. Not only that, but none of the many other hits from other jurisdictions that appeared showed anything of the sort either. The only statistics offered were “risk” of death by age group as a percentage of “known” infected people in that group.

      Does anyone know where one can find the breakdown of Quebec’s 64 covid-19 fatalities by age and sex?

  129. As previously, the so called “left”, esp. extreme left, is loving the idea of giving the keys of power from democratically elected representatives to Big Pharma shills!

    During the H1N1 fake crisis, Mélenchon, the French Corbyn, said “vaccinate first, ask questions later”.

    • That’s because they have an authoritarian mindset where individual choice of what THEY inject into OUR bodies is not important.

  130. Willis, I apologize for straying a bit off this specific topic, but I didn’t know where else to comment.

    I’d be very skeptical of the modeling site you linked the latest post on your daily graph page at the top. (see )

    For example, compare projected deaths between New Jersey and Alabama. Does this make sense to you?

  131. Dear Willis

    Allow me to quote you: “You seem to think it is wrong. But that goes nowhere unless you tell us exactly what is wrong and where.”. Please find herewith a too detailed analysis of exactly what is wrong with the ACAP data.

    Let’s check in detail what the ACAP database contains on the Netherlands and Switserland. I’ve done it line by line. Actually what is mentionned in the db is factually correct (apologies, I should have been more clear on that), and they do correctly mention their source. The problem is that a lot of information is lacking or misleading.

    Social distancing
    Both have schools and univerities closed, correct.
    Both have bars and restaurants closed, correct.
    Netherlands ” Limit the visitors at home to three visitors. Switserland: “maximum 5 person gatherings are allowed”.
    Switserland: “Companies are obliged to enable work from home “. No mention of a similar measure for the Netherlands in the db. But: ( “Only go outdoors if you need to for work if you can’t homework, for shopping, for exercise or for helping another.” The teleworking in the Netherlands is not mentionned in the db. Missing data.
    Netherlands still has shops open ” shops are required to take measures to ensure that people keep a good distance “. A similar (more stringent) measure in Switserland is in a different categorie. Not an indication of a high quality database.
    Netherlands: ” Businesses in contact-based industries will be closed”. No similar measure mentionned for Switserland, another flaw in the database.

    Public health measure
    The Swiss have “awareness campaigns” listed as a measure. As if there are none in the Netherlands. And it wouldn’t be necessary in any case, all newspapers are full of Corona news and guidelines.
    Both have “general recommendations”.
    The Swiss have a ” Strengthening the public health system” measure. Not mentionned for the Netherlands, as if they did nothing to prepare the public health system. A closer look clarifies things: Switserland: “private health institutions may be requested by cantonal authorities to accept patients; all health institutions are required to postpone non-urgent procedures; hospitals are required to communicate their capacities “. Let’s dig this down, because nothing at all is mentionned for the Netherlands. Switserland has private health institutions. The Dutch health system is essentially completely public. There is no need to force private hospitals to accept all patients. So no measure because it is simply not applicable. Dutch hospitals have been postponing non essential interventions too – it is even a policy of the public health authority ( The Dutch have a nationwide tracking of hospital capacity in place as well (, even more, the government drives a plan to redistribute patients over the country to less loaded hospitals. So the ACAP database mentions in one line 3 different measures that are in place in Switserland. They are either not applicable or equally in place in the Netherlands but not mentionned in the db. So what is the value of the database?
    ACAP on Testing Policy in Switserland: “Only those who are at high risk are being testing “. No testing policy mentionned for Netherlands. The website of the Dutch government body for health says “in pinciple only those people are tested who are seriously ill and need to be hospitalized” ( The db is again incomplete here.

    Movement restrictions
    7 listed for Switserland, none for The Netherlands?? To start: Switserland is an independent island surrounded by EU states, borders are a bit more a concern for them.
    “Border checks”. None for the Dutch? They are surrounded by countries that severely restrict movement of their citizens (Germany, Denmark, Belgium). They are basically forbidden to move far from home. No need for border checks by the Dutch. Border traffic in any case is neglectable compared with traffic within major cities.
    ACAP mentions a measure International Flights Suspension: “Ban of all international passenger flights”. None for The Netherlands? Well, the measure for Switserland actually says “except for Zürich-Kloten, Genf-Cointrin und Basel-Mulhouse “. The Swiss only have one big international airport (Zurich) for which the ban does not apply… The Dutch have one big international airport (Schiphol) for which nothing is mentionned. What is the difference? See for yourself the departures in Zurich:, is this a ban of all international flights??? You only saw the first part of the measure “ban on international flights”, not the second part “except…”.
    Visa restrictions: Switserland: ” travelers from risk countries are banned from entering, Italy, Germany, France, Austria “. Nothing mentioned for the Netherlands. However ( “The Netherlands does not allow passengers from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain, Austria” Basically similar restriction. Another flaw in the database.
    Conclusion: the db lists no movement restrictions for the Netherlands, and several for Switserland. But in reality the same apply for the Netherlands.

    The big word. “lockdown”. The db mentions no lockdown measures in the Netherlands and a Partial Lockdown in Switserland. Switserland: “Reasons for leaving home are for groceries, health, help someone and work “. What is actually the case in the Netherlands:
    – “Only go outdoors if you need to for work if you can’t homework, for shopping, for exercise or for helping another ( The db refers often to the Dutch government, but they lack too many items from that same government, such as this one
    – most shops are allowed to be open in the Netherlands, if customers are made to keep safe distance. In practice: a lot of major chains are closed (Ikea, Bijenkorf (similar to JCPenny)). Shopping streets nearly empty ( Shops are even reducing opening hours because of too few visitors. But indeed, on this point the Dutch have more relaxed measures than the Swiss.
    – the Dutch prime minister calls the situation in the Netherlands an intelligent lockdown (google ‘Rutte intelligent lockdown’). In Switserland it is a partial lockdown. What’s in a name?
    – to be complete: there is a full lockdown in one region in Switserland counting 350.00 people
    Social and economic measures.
    – It lists 3 economic measures for the Netherlands and 4 for Switserland. Mainly financial aid, none seem to have a direct significant impact on health, so will not discuss further
    – The Swiss have a ban on export of medical goods. The Dutch not; but there is a EU ban, so equally applying to the Dutch, not listed though for the Netherlands – another example where this database is flawed.

    The db just contains an incomplete and sometimes misleading list of measures. A correct way of working would be to define a number of important measures, to track in detail to what extend they are imposed, and to report where you may be incomplete.

    Your statement on The Netherlands ” 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. ” is thus not correct because it is based on a flawed database.

    That being said, based on what I read in European newspapers, The Netherlands are indeed a bit more relax on measures than most other countries, the shops are a good example, and they rely a bit more on guidelines than on strict rules. But, just as in most of Europe, government is very much behind the steering wheel for everything healthcare.

    Now, assume I am completely wrong. The Netherlands would have much less lockdown in place than Switserland and it wouldn’t make a difference on number of deaths. For what it’s worth: Worldometer: Netherlands: 1651, Switserland: 641 deaths. The comparison should actually not be made since there are so many not understood variables, not in the least the way of counting deaths.

    Furthemore, measures by themselves don’t tell everything neither. As important is how well they are being respected. They might be much more respected in authoritarian countries (China) or cultures with strong respect for rules (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong…). There are way more variables, all together making it very difficult to come to accurate conclusions.

    I rest my case, you make a claim here based on flawed data. That being said, let’s look back 6 weeks from now at how Sweden did, we’ll know if a lockdown works.

    • Thanks, Eddie, for all of your work.

      My point remains. The different European countries have used very different types, styles, and amounts of lockdown measures … and despite that they’re all following very similar paths. And that includes Sweden, with what I believe are the most lax lockdown of all.

      So yes, we’ll look back in 6 weeks … but sadly, by then, in the US thousands of businesses will be closed forever, hundreds of thousands will be out of work … and for what?

      In 1968, the Hong Kong flu killed 100,000 in the US. If they’d had today’s population it would have been 150,000. And we did nothing in the way of lockdowns, no social distancing, no masks. And the result was no dead businesses, no stock market crash, no widespread unemployment.

      That’s the part folks don’t seem to understand. We did the experiment in 1968 and it came out fine.

      Grrrr …


  132. Taking zinc daily with the supplements (ionophores) as quercetin, EGCG, and CoQ10. These are on top of vitamin D, resveratrol, and pterostilbene. My immune system is ready for bear.

    see Medcram update #35 for the mechanism then do the lengthy lookup on research for each.

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