But is it really no worse than flu?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Some commenters responding to this daily series providing some information about the Chinese virus have repeated what seems to have become something of a mantra among libertarians who, understandably, dislike the idea of widespread lockdowns, with the loss of freedom and the economic damage that they entail. That mantra is that the Chinese virus is no more infections or no more fatal than flu, and that if we had allowed everyone to acquire immunity by catching the infection and throwing it off all would be well.

Look at today’s graph. Though the downtrend in the daily compound growth rate in total confirmed cases now appears well established, that growth rate is still very high, averaging around 8% globally outside China and occupied Tibet, where the numbers are unreliable.

Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 14 to April 7, 2020.
Fig. 1. Mean compound daily growth rates in confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection for the world excluding China (red) and for several individual nations averaged over the successive seven-day periods ending on all dates from March 14 to April 7, 2020.

The red curve shows the case growth rate for the world excluding China. If the 8% daily growth rate were to continue, yesterday’s 1,430,919 confirmed cases (many of which tend to be those serious enough to have come to the authorities’ attention, since testing is still occurring on a tiny scale in most countries) would have risen to nearly 8 million by the end of April, and more than 80 million by the end of May.

It is important, therefore, to ensure that the now well established downtrend is maintained. That is why, for the time being, governments will be keeping lockdowns in place. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

Of course, one might legitimately argue that, if the Chinese virus were really no worse than flu, the crippling social and economic cost of lockdowns would be unjustifiable.

Fig. 2. Monckton’s outdoor personal protective equipment
Fig. 2. Monckton’s outdoor personal protective equipment

But governments cannot afford to make policy on the assumption, perhaps a little too carelessly made by some commenters here, that the virus is no more dangerous and no more infectious than flu.

Here, then, to help us to begin to answer that important question, are some tolerably reliable, real-world data. I am grateful to the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center in London for having made details from its Case Mix Programme Database available. The Case Mix Programme is the national clinical audit of patient outcomes from adult critical care.

The Center has recently issued a report on all confirmed UK cases reported to it up to midday on 3 April, just a few days ago. Critical care units notify the Center as soon as they have admitted any patient with confirmed Chinese virus, together with demographics, initial physiological state, organ support and eventual outcome.

The report concerns 2249 patients, whose mean age at admission was 60 years, compared with 58 years for 4759 patients with non-COVID-19 viral pneumonia, most of them caused by flu, over the three complete years 2017-2019.

Of the 2249 patients, 346 (15%) have died, 344 (15%) have been discharged alive, and 1559 (69%) are still in critical care. The case fatality rate, as a fraction of all closed cases admitted to intensive care, is thus a little over 50%, compared with only 22% for the non-COVID viral pneumonias of the past three years. In each age-group (under 50, 50-69 and 70+), the percentage of patients admitted to critical care with the Chinese virus and subsequently dying in hospital is at least twice the percentage of critical-care patients with other viral pneumonias over the previous three years.

Among those requiring ventilation, two-thirds die by the end of their critical care and only one-third survive. Therefore, the case fatality rate for closed cases where ventilation was required is more than 67%, compared with only 16% for non-COVID viral pneumonia cases requiring ventilation.

Worse, advanced respiratory support for Chinese-virus cases is typically maintained for between 4 and 9 days (average 6 days), while it is not needed at all in non-COVID-19 viral-pneumonia cases, which require only basic respiratory support, and require it only for 2-4 days (average 3 days). The data are similar for cardiovascular support, and for renal support. The Chinese-virus cases tend to require advanced rather than basic support, and to require it for twice as long. And yet, even after all that extra care, the case fatality rate is many times higher than for non-COVID viral pneumonias.

On the assumption that about half of all this year’s critical cases of seasonal viral pneumonia would have occurred by now, and making no allowance for any further exponential growth in Chinese-virus cases in intensive care, and assuming that the summer will stop the virus causing critical cases (an assumption that the authorities, rightly, do not regard themselves as being in any position to make yet), there are approximately three times as many serious Chinese-virus cases than all other viral pneumonias combined, including those caused by flu, in a typical year, and at least twice as many of these will die than with other serious viral pneumonia cases.

Thus, the Chinese virus is six times more fatal than pre-existing viral pneumonias, including those caused by flu.

In the past three years, some 46% of viral-pneumonia cases were female and 54% male. With the Chinese virus, however, only 27% are female and 63% are male.

The report also considers ethnicity. About four-fifths of the UK population is White, but only two-thirds of the critical cases to date are Whites. Blacks, in particular, are three times over-represented in intensive care: they represent one case in seven, but are only one in 20 of the population.

Body mass index was also studied, but the number of cases in the below-normal, normal, overweight, obese and morbidly obese categories is not far out of line with the general population, two-thirds of whom are overweight or obese. Some 72% of intensive-care Chinese-virus cases are overweight or obese.

Interestingly, the number of cases with cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, hepatic, cancerous or immunocompromised comorbidities was quite small. In all these categories, it was less than for the usual viral pneumonias over the past three years.

In the past three years, non-COVID viral pneumonias have put 43% of patients on to ventilators within the first 24 hours. The Chinese virus, however, is worse: it puts 63% on to ventilators within the first 24 hours. Therefore, governments planning hospital capacity for Chinese-virus cases must make extra allowance for the greater demands, both in advanced rather than basic care and in days of treatment, than other viral-pneumonia cases.

The doctor through whom I came upon these figures, who has himself suffered with the Chinese virus and has recovered, is very angry that for political reasons those who understandably dislike lockdowns have been maintaining, contrary to the evidence, that the Chinese virus is “no worse than flu”.

Be in no doubt. This disease is a lot worse than flu. It puts more people into intensive care, where they require costlier and more advanced treatment, where they will be in intensive care for twice the time required by other viral pneumonia-patients, and where they are more than twice as likely to die as those other patients.

So don’t dismiss it lightly. Not any more. Wash hands often. Wear full-face masks when out of doors or away from home. Take Vitamin D3 daily. Be safe.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April 9, 2020 6:06 am

CV-19 UK’s today’s (Thursday) update:

Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2020 6:26 am

Thanks. Very helpful.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Joe Born
April 9, 2020 7:05 am

We are still waiting to hear from Vuk how we should interpret his “hospital mortality” ratio. Calling it a mortality implies we should automatically regard it as bad , despite the fact it’s rise is simply the result of dividing two exponentials. Is this increase worrying just normal evolution of the epidemic?

Would an up up turn be good , because it means the case growth rate is starting to break.

For the nth time: it makes no sense to plot something unless it means something to us .

The deceitful Monckton keeps pumping his worthless graph which simply blurs what data is available. He insists in claiming the fall is direct proof that confinement works, rather than the reality that this just reflects the normal rounding off of the log plot of any epidemic without govt. intervention.

It is important, therefore, to ensure that the now well established downtrend is maintained. That is why, for the time being, governments will be keeping lockdowns in place. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

French data does not show the downturn is related to confinement:
comment image

Itally has almost halved both cases and deaths in the last 2 weeks, however, CofB has now avoided six requests to point out where the “blindingly obvious” effect of confinement measures is visible in the italiian data:
comment image

That is just a perfectly normal evolution of an epidemic.

If the 8% daily growth rate were to continue

Firstly the idea of averaging several distinct populations at different stages of an epidemic and pretending that can be characterised by a simple exponential is BS and he knows it. Even worse pretending that such an exponential growth would continue indefinitely is also NOT what anyone who understands the slightest thing about epidemics would suggest. He’s read enough to know that so it yet more deceitful BS.

Doubtless, like 97% of climatologists , he is so convinced that his initial assumptions are correct he feels entitled to twist the data, publish misleading analyses to convince those lesser beings who inhabit the world outside his mansion they must stay locked inside.

Why does WUWT keep allowing him this daily slot to promote his Mannian graphs and unscientific claims without addressing this obvious problem that his claims are baseless?

Big Al
Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 8:40 am

Thanks Greg.

Reply to  Big Al
April 9, 2020 9:46 am

You’re welcome. The only kink in the italian data is at the peak, that was well after the shutdown + 5 days incubation. The curve was bending before the shutdown and continued to do so afterwards.

Now there may be an effect hidden in there somewhere but it certainly does not stand out as a game changer.

The claim that case data which he chose to present shows anything which could be attributed to the confinement is bogus. He tries to pretend the log plot would be continued straight line had it not been for the drastic measures taken, when it was already bending before they came into effect.

Reply to  Big Al
April 9, 2020 12:00 pm

Big Al+1

A C Osborn
Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 9:00 am

Why does WUWT keep allowing you to ask the same rubbish question day in day out?
You refuse to accept that lockdown is having the desired affect even when the countries involved say it is.
As to your ridiculous statement that “That is just a perfectly normal evolution of an epidemic” is patent bull shyte.
The number of people in each country is no where near herd immunity when epidemics decline.
You even deny that the decrease in France has anything to do with the actions that they have been introducing.
Not that new cases is a very good metric to start with as it depends too much on who they test and when they test them.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 9:31 am

You refuse to accept that lockdown is having the desired affect even when the countries involved say it is.

Quote what I say, not your own straw man version. I have said there is no evidence in the data to support that claim and invited CofB and anyone to else to find some.

This is essentially a challenge to his dishonest claim that the data DOES show that when it is not the case.

We can then discuss the quality of the data an what other factors may be masking the EXPECTED effect of confinement.

I have repeated said the data is not good and have even posted graphs of how french testing was rising exponentially and may be masking any benefit of the measures.

As for “even when the countries involved say it is”, well they would hardly want to say they had taken unprecedented action, destroyed our freedom of movement and cost us all several TRILLIONS of dollars and all for no gain, would they? To suggest they would say anything else than it was working and they had saved their respective country rather than OOPS we’ve destroy your economy is a brainless argument.

As to your ridiculous statement that “That is just a perfectly normal evolution of an epidemic” is patent bull shyte.

Strong words, can you back that up ? I said the gentle curving over leading to the reducing numbers shown in the head graphic is normal. Now back up your claim that is not the normal evolution of an epidemic.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 9:38 am

His denial is deadly… to others.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 9:50 am

You have no proof of your assertions any more than the world governments do. There is simply not enough data. In this case the so called cure is worse than the disease and is highly likely had little to no affect, and yes that is just an opinion.

A C Osborn
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 11:05 am

I am not the one going against the rest of the world, it is you.
I do not need to provide anything at all.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 11:40 am

His denial is deadly… to others.

I am claiming there is not a visible impact in the data CofB chose to present as proof that there is an effect.

If you wish to claim I am “in denial”, doubtless someone with data processing capabilities will instantly back up that insulting claim by pointing to the clear evidence which I am “unable” to see and come to terms with. Go ahead.

I am not the one going against the rest of the world, it is you.
I do not need to provide anything at all.

You picked out one thing I said “That is just a perfectly normal evolution of an epidemic” and called patent bull shyte.

Clearly you have no idea what the “rest of the world’s” models of an epidemic look like.
Of course continuing your bluster is much easier than educating yourself and being either the make a credible scientific argument of shut up with the insults.

I have repeatedly said I also would expect confinement to make a difference. Where I differ from you and CofB is I check my assumptions against fact. When I find the surprising result that there is not visible effect despite it being “blindingly obvious” , take the time to plot a graph and publish it for discussion .

If someone else is processing the same data and falsely claiming it “proves” confinement is working and we must carry on destroying our own futures, I challenge that claim.

So far no one has anything but insult to offer in place of a valid rebuttal.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 1:21 pm

Thank you A C Osborn, I am alarmed that seemingly intelligent scientists and professionals on this blog keep the rhetoric up regarding real data. Monckton is not running models, he is presenting real numbers and real comparisons–and his main point being that it is not comparable to the flu, in death rate, severity and use of resources. It is 6 times worse! Looking at hospital data, as opposed to guesstimating rates of infection and contagion, gives us the real picture. A few days ago, I came across the Dallas county data which only confirms the UK data

It shocked me and answers the questions about comparing it to the flu–see especially table 6.

Monckton, “In each age-group (under 50, 50-69 and 70+), the percentage of patients admitted to critical care with the Chinese virus and subsequently dying in hospital is at least twice the percentage of critical-care patients with other viral pneumonias over the previous three years.”

The above was his point– and if you look at Sweden and New Zealand honestly, you will see that lockdowns do save lives and conserve medical resources.

However, whether saving the lives and medical resources via lockdown is a better option than absorbing higher fatality rates but keeping the global economy afloat is another discussion–one I am not going to weigh in on. But to see you professional guys and gals comparing apples to oranges and downplaying the severity of this really frustrates me. It rivals my frustration with GW alarmists basing their conclusions on modelling and adjusted figures rather than on raw data. Geeze.

Jeffery P
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 2:04 pm

If we listened to government experts, many lives saved by HCQ would be lost instead. Please forgive for not accepting what the government says at face value.

History tells us economic stimulus does not work, that paying people to not work decreases employment and delays economic recovery. But that’s our solution. Spend, borrow and print money does not work.

We should not have enacted such strict lock downs with rigorous cost/benefit analysis and without considering the unintended consequences. Doing that is a denial of reason.

Jeffery P
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 2:38 pm

WUWT should not censor respectful or inconvenient facts. Not everyone considers this question to be rubbish.

Let me ask you, has the question been answered properly already or do you just not want to know the answer?

Gene Horner
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 3:06 pm

A C… you seem to be having difficulty understanding simple English… Or are you locked into a certain belief, the facts be damned?

Henry Bramlet
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 9:54 pm

“Thank you A C Osborn, I am alarmed that seemingly intelligent scientists and professionals on this blog keep the rhetoric up regarding real data. Monckton is not running models, he is presenting real numbers and real comparisons–and his main point being that it is not comparable to the flu, in death rate, severity and use of resources. It is 6 times worse!”

Look, I don’t know whose numbers are accurate but if what you say is true- that this is ***6 times worse*** than influenza, then you are talking about a number of deaths that is about half of Heart Disease. It is about double road accidents.

Consider the cost of this intervention. We will have spent 3 Trillion in direct monetary transfers + whatever we lose in economy.

We as a nation have NEVER thought that spending $3 – $4 Trillion, or ~20% of GDP was acceptable to stop Heart Disease. And we know the major causes of Heart Disease. We could spend $1 Trillion, or 5% of GDP to just crush smoking in this country and we would probably save 1/3 of Heart Disease patients.

I have several nieces and nephews who are out of work. Two are not getting paid because they own nail salons that are about to go belly up permanently. I would never, ever say it was worth it to them to save a bunch of heart attack victims, and I would never say that it is acceptable to save people from COVID.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 10, 2020 6:07 am

Mosher’s Borg collectivism is deadly to many more.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 12, 2020 5:40 am

The Swedes seem to be buying in to the idea that a lockdown isn’t necessary. What could possibly go wrong with that approach? Let’s all watch and find out.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 9:47 am

Greg, a plot might be useful even if its meaning is not known. Sometimes it takes time for insight to be gained or a trend to develop. Often, it is the unexpected which leads to discovery. You’ve made your points, accept that some people aren’t listening to you. Vuk is putting effort into understanding relationships and he doesn’t deserve your scorn.

On Monckton, you claim deceit, where is your evidence of that? Perhaps you should hold yourself to the standards that you wish to hold others.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone interprets their views from a bias. Everyone gets angry at the stupidity of others now and again and everyone makes oneself a fool once in a while at the very least.

It would be more constructive if you would make your case without vitriol. I agree with many of your points, but please.

Could provide some explanation of why you think that our observations are perfectly normal evolution of a pandemic? The experts have gotten this wrong it appears. I’d like to hear your insight here without the name calling and belittling attitude that you are displaying.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 10:43 am

look at every flu season for the last 20 years …

Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 10:47 am

Thanks Scissor
During the last 4-5 days a minor trend is developing with a multiplying factor of k=1.133 which is nearly halving the effect of the previously established k=1.247 trend line. With a new trend after about 5 days the numbers would fall by 50% (currently nearly there at 48%) and after 10 days around 90% in the respect of the longest persisting trend line. It is likely that soon k will head further down towards 1.00, i.e cases will flat-line and when k falls below 1 (k<1), the worst is over and the end of the 'lock-down' may soon follow.

Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 10:55 am

Vuk is putting effort into understanding relationships and he doesn’t deserve your scorn.

I have no scorn for Vuk , he’s a great guy, but I think it would make sense to say what something is and how we should interpret it if someone is going to plot and publish it.

I have made a few suggestions about what we may expect from that line but that’s just trying to start a discussion about what it means. I was hoping he may comment on that. Sadly he just keep reposting and calling it “hospital mortality”. It looks like a rising mortality would be a bad thing, maybe hospitals getting worse at helping or something. I don’t think that is the case.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 11:53 am

Greg, do you actually read anything others write?
You wrote “maybe hospitals getting worse at helping or something. I don’t think that is the case.”
The Hospitals all become overwhelmed by COV19 because the patients need ICU for weeks, not days like the flu.
Once that happens people die in the wards and at home.

Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 11:54 am

Could provide some explanation of why you think that our observations are perfectly normal evolution of a pandemic? The experts have gotten this wrong it appears.

We have all seen the idealised mathematical models of epidemic evolution: in terms of daily cases ( not cumulative totals ) that is a hump with fading tail. The initial exponential rise starts to ease of peaks and turns into an exponential decay. That is what I mean by the normal evolution . That is what we see in the graphs I have provided.

Now if we make a drastic and sudden change to R0 by confining the vast majority of the population with the expressed intention of changing the evolution of the epidemic, that should be visible in new cases within a few days of enforcement, allowing for incubation period.

I don’t think the experts have got this wrong since I don’t see any of them even showing such a graph and trying to find out whether this is working and what the degree of impact on the epidemic is. They seem content to live inside their models and tweak a few parameters to adjust their models to re-estimate a new peak projection.

Evaluating a cost – benefit does not seem to be something they want to look at.

Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 12:56 pm

Greg, do you actually read anything others write?
You wrote “maybe hospitals getting worse at helping or something. I don’t think that is the case.”

why do you need to crop of the first half of that sentence to pervert its meaning when replying.

I was discussing Vuk’s “hospital mortality” on his graph.

Sadly he just keeps reposting and calling it “hospital mortality”. It looks like a rising mortality would be a bad thing, maybe hospitals getting worse at helping or something. I don’t think that is the case.

So I’m saying that I do NOT think this rising line on the graph does reflects what it appears to if you call it “hospital mortality”. As I have explain N times already it rises because it is the ratio of two exponentials which is itself an exponential. So that rising value does not indicate hospitals are failing patients. ( Neither does it mean all is fine. It is a measure of success ). It may make a little more sense if it was lagged by about 2weeks to that it uses deaths of the same population from which new cases were taken from, that itself is debatable.

In fact you have proved my whole point, since you obvious HAVE interpreted this as evidence hospitals are getting saturated and failing to care for patients. I am NOT saying that is or is not the case but what I AM saying is this “ratio” is not measuring that.

You have been fooled by Vuk’s graph , which is I why I have been imploring him to consider what this line shows and discuss it. Maybe he is still convinced this is showing a failure in our hospitals. I’m saying ( with mathematical reasoning ) why that is not the case.

Sadly you are too intent on attacking me to bother reading or understanding anything or attempting a reasoned challenge to anything I say, preferring insults, straw man fallacies misleading cropping of what I write.

Now take a deep breathe , read what I DID write instead of what you think I might have written and try to make a coherent point.

Alan Tomalty (@ATomalty)
Reply to  Scissor
April 10, 2020 2:12 am

https://nypost.com/2020/04/04/long-island-doctor-tries-new-hydroxychloroquine-for-covid-19-patients/ There are 2 points that are not being addressed. 1) The possible cure with hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc and doxycycline 2) Even though I believe that Monckton is correct when he says that this COVID-19 virus is more dangerous than influenza, he still has not proved that we can avoid it by general non essential business shutdown. There will certainly be a 2nd and even 3rd wave of it (in fact we are seeing 2nd waves of it now in China). We can’t lockdown forever and when it is lifted there will always be those in the population who will be infectious and the troubles will start anew. Only herd immunity, vaccines or cures defeat viruses. This one is a particularly nasty one, but we can’t kill it by trying to avoid it.

William Astley
Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 11:53 am


It is my belief that politically there was no choice to isolation. What we missed, however, is the permanent damage isolation has done to our ability to make our world a better place.

Our world is going to get ugly with deadly problems and fights because of the isolation. This is one of the biggest mistakes that humanity has ever made.

The word ‘economy’ does not capture what is happening.

People are scared of death and there is daily news that keeps them scared. That is what everyone is focused on.

As countries get poorer life becomes harder and harder. We are so rich, we do understand what poverty is like in a poor country. We are going to face 30% unemployment in every developed country and stimulus spending will not return us to normal.

Also the ‘novel’ virus is not going away. Every country in the world is going to be forced to end isolation for the general population.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  William Astley
April 9, 2020 12:33 pm

Yes, William. It seems many seem to think that wanting save the economy is just some kind of misplaced materialism but fail to see the social harm we are in the process of creating.

As Willis has been arguing you need to evaluate and balance the costs and benefits. Part of that process is evaluating how much effect confinement is having. It is not a black or white case nor are we allowed to just ASSUME it is the game changer solution just because it seems “blindingly obvious”.

If we find that ACTUAL effect confinement had on the growth we can be less fearful of relaxing it now minimise the future social disaster we are in the process of making for ourselves.

If it is not visible in the data ( and they are flawed ) then we should look at not. Is it data corruption, sampling bias or perhaps that the virus is already much wider spread or with thousands of the most at risk cases already sadly departed the virus is quickly running out victims who develop a need for A&E treatment.

There is not trival answer and those who want trivial answers or black and white issues to shout about are not the ones who will gain the insight we so badly need to tread the high risk paths ahead of us.

Reply to  William Astley
April 9, 2020 12:59 pm

I discovered that I was vitamin D deficient about 12 years ago, when I was not sleeping through the night, and my doctor wanted me to take sleeping pills as an answer. Through my own research I discovered a new vitamin D study, and it identified the root of my problem, which I fixed with an easy and inexpensive non-addicting over the counter vitamin D supplement. This did much more than help me sleep, and safely. Years later my doctor read the same study I had read, and he suddenly decided he needed to check my vitamin D levels. At the time I was taking 8,000-10,000 IU’s per day, and my blood work came back with slightly lower than recommended vitamin D levels. I now take 18,000-20,000 IU’s per day, and my levels and sleep are excellent. As we age, our bodies’ needs change, and there is no one size fits all. I no longer depend on the advice of experts, I become the expert.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  William Astley
April 10, 2020 5:10 am

Glad that I started to buy precious metals starting in the early 80s and continuing to this day. Hyperinflation will be upon us all. Adding to the Sovereign Credit worldwide there is no other place to hind except in food and commodities. The supply chain is almost irreparable as local dairy farmers are dumping their milk in their lagoons. Want to see more of the issue go to ice-age farmer on youtube.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 12:33 pm

I thank both Christopher Monckton and Greg Goodman for their views (and Willis Eschenbach, Rud Istvan, and others commenting here). My view is that governments around the world, except China, are trying very hard to do the best they can for their countries in very difficult circumstances. Hindsight may eventually show what they got right or wrong. In each country, I think the best approach for citizens is to speak their minds clearly but to try to make their government’s approach work even if they disagree with it – it’s the only approach their country has.

In view of the high level of uncertainty in many aspects of this issue, it is very helpful to see alternative views expressed and supported by (an interpretation of) the evidence. On this website, more than just about any other, the dialogue should be able to be conducted civilly, though regrettably it has pushed civil limits at times.


David Hood
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 9, 2020 2:16 pm

Best comment of the day – thank you Mike Jonas.
Your view mirrors my own.
I seem to tilt one way then the next, with the fine offerings of the WUWT articles…as they certainly have sound reasoning…yet taking any one as ‘gospel’ may blind me (us) to what may eventuate as the actual situation.
A little bit of paranoia and ‘gently as we go’ in this situation, may be excusable.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 9, 2020 4:42 pm

I too agree with your sentiments Mike. It seems that this coronavirus is both more virulent and aggressive than the more common virus. Whether it would have run it’s course by now anyway, is not so relevant as the fact that we needed to slow down the pace of the infections so that hospitals had a chance to cope with the numbers.

If global lockdown had not occurred it feel it would have got out of control very quickly, as it is some countries are struggling, the city of New York is in a bad situation right now. Do you know what is happening with the dead? I believe we had no choice, some medical institutions are barely coping even now, it would have been devastating to be hit with a sudden influx of seriously ill people all at once. We don’t as yet know enough about how this virus works, whether there will be a second wave.

The same people who are complaining about the restrictions, would be complaining if we didn’t have them. They would be asking how the government could possibly stand by and do nothing? How could they let all those people die? Why don’t we have more help, the hospitals can’t cope. Even those young people who think that it’s doesn’t matter if the ‘old’ people die would soon be complaining when their grandparents and even parents were dying. I used to think anyone over fifty was old when I was young.

We are not just talking about numbers, we are talking about actual people, family members, friends, colleagues. If we had not made the effort to slow down the pace of this virus then it’s likely we would all know someone who died from it. What is the acceptable number of deaths?

Please, tell me one government, world wide, who would actually ‘want’ to create the economic chaos that is being experienced around the world. Was there a ‘better’ choice?

China does indeed have alot to answer for.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 9, 2020 6:40 pm

My problem is that I dislike being treated like a child. In Sweden of all places, they have asked their population to act like adults and follow the rules voluntarily. I would have preferred this course of action first, rather then allowing third rate politicians deciding that I did not have the intelligence to understand why we needed to distance. wash, stay away from Granmom, etc. And use this pandemic to inflict their disgusting hatred of freedom on me.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 1:01 pm

One must make allowances for panic and hysteria among commenters here: nevertheless, it would be better if both Greg Goodman and Greg were to keep their heads. This pandemic requires rational treatment, which is the purpose of these postings.

Mr Goodman says I “claim” that the daily graph shows lockdowns working. Well, yes it does. Consider the Imperial College predictions for the UK without lockdown, or the McKinsey predictions for New York without lockdown, and then compare them with what these graphs show – a considerable reduction in the daily compound case growth rate – the number that policymakers are most concerned with.

And Mr Goodman’s childish allegation that I have twisted the data lacks any foundation in reality. One understands that he is upset that governments are following advice such as mine rather than opinions such as his, and one makes allowances. However, all that I have done is to take the published data, to discuss the strengths and weakness of those data, and to plot them in a readily digestible form.

There is no modeling, there are no complications: there is just a perfectly standard weekly smoothing to iron out the daily fluctuations, a procedure which, if Mr Goodman will consult any elementary textbook of statistics, he will find is perfectly unobjectionable.

He is, of course, free to produce and publish his own graphs if he wants. But let him take a rather more responsible and less accusatory tone in his future postings. Screaming petulantly does not make his argument seem serious.

However, these articles have also contained proper qualifications of the argument. The graphs for Sweden are shown, for instance, and the numbers are declining there without the strict lockdowns that most other European countries have introduced. But given the delay of five days between first infection and frank symptoms, and of a few more days before a case becomes serious enough to be notified, tested and confirmed, the full effect of the lockdowns will not become apparent until two or three weeks after they are introduced.

Mr Goodman imagines that the current numbers indicate “the normal course of an epidemic”. No, they don’t. Let us imagine that the reported cases are 1% of true cases. Then about 150 million people have been infected worldwide. But that is only 2% of global population, leaving 98% still susceptible.

Therefore, in a normal epidemic one would expect the 20% growth rate that was evident in the three weeks to March 14, when Mr Trump declared an emergency, to have continued – in the absence of lockdowns – until mid-May, by which time those infected would have become a significant enough fraction of the total population to begin to reduce the exponential growth.

However, control measures with various degrees of strictness are having a discernible effect, and the mean compound daily growth rate in confirmed cases is falling daily.

Of course, the numbers infected will continue to grow for some time yet: a mean 8% compound daily growth rate is still far too high to be safe. But, if the lockdowns are held in place for a few more weeks, it will become possible to introduce gradual relaxations, while watching the numbers carefully.

Greg, too, says the assertion that the graph indicates that lockdowns are working is “bogus”. Well, no, it isn’t. The elementary epidemiology of pandemics stipulates that growth will be exponential in the early stages. The exponential growth, however, is definitely slowing. And, since the capacity of an infection to spread exponentially is governed by two numbers – the infectiousness of the pathogen and the numbers that each infected person will meet on average – a severe reduction in social interactions, such as that which even imperfect lockdowns achieve, makes a definite contribution to reducing the spread of the infection.

It is really no good trying to pretend that lockdowns do not work at all. They do, as is well established. And, like it or not, the compound daily growth rates in total confirmed cases are falling steadily now. Provided that the lockdowns are adhered to for a little longer, I should expect that happier trend to continue.

And the fact that a visual representation of the fact that lockdowns are working is now available will assist policymakers in deciding when they can bring the lockdowns safely to an end – which is something we all want.

David Hood
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 2:24 pm

In the discussions or either ‘camp’, I am forced to fully agree with Mr Monckton in this.
Compare and argue as one would, take a look at the reported cases in New Zealand and the deaths.
Now, compare to other countries.
What did we get ‘right’? Could it just possibly be the lock-down? If it is NOT, then what?

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 3:41 pm

You seem to think that the graph is showing that lockdowns work, yet we there is no actual data showing that wearing masks and physical distancing measures aren’t either just as effective or even the actual measure of what is working. The lockdown nonsense is murdering the economy and ruining the savings of millions and the livelihood of further millions. All because of presupposition. I submit that your graph would look precisely the same if governments asked us nicely to practice distancing, not parading about in public whilst sick, wear masks, and wash up regularly. For that matter I further submit that active government encouragement (and payment!) for all of the public who can tolerate the regimen to see their physicians and get prescribed a course of anti-malarial / z-pack / zinc to act as a prophylactic measure would be a much more productive experiment that the one that is currently being run.

I say this as one whose spouse has stage 4 cancer and no functional immune system and has been navigating the world wearing masks and carrying on well for the past 9 months. If my spouse with no immune system can successfully avoid disease at the height of flu season and still live a life then I’m quite sure that others can do likewise.

Greg Goodman
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 3:52 pm

Good evening Christopher. Thank you for finally joining the conversation.

Let me clarify where I think you are making some incorrect assumptions.

Consider the Imperial College predictions for the UK without lockdown, or the McKinsey predictions for New York without lockdown, and then compare them with what these graphs show – a considerable reduction in the daily compound case growth rate

” a considerable reduction” is not really a testable claim. You do not link the studies but I’m au fait with the output of those kinds of models and the effect of parameter tweaking.

Do you have the output of such a model with lockdown applied half way up the expansive phase, what would that look like ? Can you detect that event in your graph?

You have repeatedly said in the last few days that “if the initial exp growth continues unabated …” but that is not what any model shows. They show a gradual bending over of the daily compound case growth rate . This is what happens anyway without govt. intervention. So my objections was that simply showing the end of your graph is lower than the start in no way demonstrates, let alone proves, this is due in any significant way to confinement measures.

You note the odd case of Sweden. This should be telling you there is a problem with your logic since it seems to be showing a fairly steady exponential growth , albeit thankfully fairly slow compared to other countries. Despite apparently still being in the initial exp growth phase it also comes down sharply from your “benchmark” period. Clearly you have not constructed a test which is capable of discerning when a “considerable reduction” is happening.

Because of the noisy bumps ( despite the filtering ) your graph is not really showing much more detail other than the general reduction , a couple of countries bump in the middle ( a result of choosing the same bench mark period irrespective of when the epidemic took off in different populations).

In short your method is incapable to showing anything other than the general reduction in daily compound case growth rate which is typical of any epidemic, without external interference. You have not defined a condition which would be a signature of a “considerable reduction” and demonstrated a method which will detect it.

Until you have demonstrated that you have a means of potentially detecting something if it is present, you are not justified in claiming that you have shown it is present.

Now a few general points that you may like to consider.

1. To establish whether your model can detect the change in growth you should create some test data. There are simple mathematical formulae which would provide credible test data. Stop one half way up the exp growth , reduce R0 by 50% and let it continue. Do your bench mark analysis. Can you see this on you graph?

2. Mixing epidemics in different populations at different phases in their development and then applying the usual epidemic analysis ( as you do with all the world minus commie China ) is not meaningful. The models are not designed to deal with that.

3. Saying “if the current exponential continues for …. weeks” is not reasonable since no models suggest that would happen. Exponential are always rapidly curtailed in nature since an exponentially increasing flow of raw material is never available. Trying to suggest this is what would have happened in the absence of govt. action is not reasonable. The models you refer to do not allow for continuation of the initial exponential period.

4. Running means are crude and crappy filters, they leave a lot of noise you though you had removed and can even invert peaks and troughs in the data. https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/triple-running-mean-filters/ Filtering like this will just hide the onset of any change following a confinement order. I try to avoid filtering if possible but a light 1-2-1 binomial may be a better choice here ( just as easy to do as a running mean ).

But given the delay of five days between first infection and frank symptoms, and of a few more days before a case becomes serious enough to be notified, tested and confirmed, the full effect of the lockdowns will not become apparent until two or three weeks after they are introduced.

5d no problem, arguably add a few more as suggested. Suddenly this becomes “2 or 3 weeks”.
This sounds a lot like post hoc definition of what should be expected to better match the known data and thus claim “just as our models predicted”. But let’s look at France:

comment image

Restrictions came into effect 17th March, day 77. The only notable change in direction is at day 89. You need to stretch 5 d incubation to fully three weeks and it clicks in within a day or two. Colour me not convinced.

Also note that what I described as the normal behaviour of an epidemic was indeed happening up until that point. This corresponds to the drop in your graph. In effect what you are plotting is an estimation of the slope of my log plots. We are essentially showing the same thing. I would suggest my presentation makes changes a little clearer but the two should not be contradictory.

It is really no good trying to pretend that lockdowns do not work at all.

Another straw man . I never said that. I am discussing whether it is detectable in the data. So far it is not , for some reason which needs to be explained. We need to know HOW effective the measures have been to know how quickly we get out of the mess we have got ourselves into.

And the fact that a visual representation of the fact that lockdowns are working is now available will assist policymakers in deciding when they can bring the lockdowns safely to an end – which is something we all want.

Sadly, as I explain in full detail above you have not shown that is the case. You have not demonstrated a method which is capable of differentiating between the normal bending of any epidemic and the bending of an epidemic with a lockdown half way through the expansion phase of growth.

To “safely” bring lockdowns to an end means ASAP. Baby steps every two weeks is going to be catastrophic for society, not “safe”. Claiming that you have a method which shows measures have been effective when you have not even demonstrated you can detect them at all, is misguided a best.

I would hope policy makers would pass your work through competent statisticians before giving them any weight and they will doubtless raise at least some of the same objections. In particular the need to demonstrate that you could detect the difference between an uninterrupted epidemic and one hit with a modelled confinement on the population during growth phase.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 3:53 pm

Given you appear to have a sub-0.1% death rate, my guess would be that you tested enough people to find most or all of the infected folks after closing the border. The lockdown probably did a bit to help, if it reduced the rate of spreading while those people were found.

But if the death rate is really sub-0.1%, then the whole lockdown economic catastrophe was an utter waste of time and will have killed far more people than the disease. And you now have to keep the borders closed so the disease isn’t brought in from overseas, which will be a disaster for the heavily tourism-reliant economy.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 3:54 pm

“What did we get ‘right’? Could it just possibly be the lock-down? If it is NOT, then what?”

Given you appear to have a sub-0.1% death rate, my guess would be that you tested enough people to find most or all of the infected folks after closing the border. The lockdown probably did a bit to help, if it reduced the rate of spread while those people were found.

But if the death rate is really sub-0.1%, then the whole lockdown economic catastrophe was an utter waste of time and far more people will die from that than the disease. And you now have to keep the borders closed so the disease isn’t brought in from overseas, which will be a disaster for the heavily tourism-reliant economy.

David Hood
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 6:42 pm

MarkG April 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm – and THAT is where I too, flip flop between the opposing thoughts on this matter.
Honestly, I can’t fathom a way to go forward in that – so – don’t.
You may well be right, and as I have completely lost any source of income being a self employed person, fully understand the rationale behind having a more lenient isolation structure.
The cross over point between being overly cautious and plain reckless is, as I ruminate upon, still being decided.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 7:30 pm

David Hood – What did NZ get right?

I wonder whether there’s a false premise. Australia has I believe given some consideration for the economy and has done much less of a shutdown than NZ. Yet the latest figures (worldometer) that I have seen for number of cases per million population are Aus 239, NZ 257. And the charts show a better slowdown over the last week or so in Aus than in NZ. So it doesn’t look prima facie like the draconian NZ measures have been worthwhile. But …

… maybe the difference isn’t in the real number of cases but in the detected cases, and maybe NZ has been better at detecting. Or maybe lockdown does work, but it’s used by governments based on hospital capacity so many countries end up at much the same level anyway.

One area where NZ may be getting it right is in treatment – NZ deaths per m are a fraction of Aus’s (very small samples). Or have they just been less unlucky?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 10:12 pm

“Mr Goodman imagines that the current numbers indicate “the normal course of an epidemic”. No, they don’t. Let us imagine that the reported cases are 1% of true cases. Then about 150 million people have been infected worldwide. But that is only 2% of global population, leaving 98% still susceptible.”

ya, what he forgets is that we have no data on what a “normal” course of an epidemic is
because humanity imposes isolation of some form in every deadly communicable disease
even in the middle ages people apparently figured out to stay away from others.

If someone wants to study the effectiveness of isolation then they need
to compare the treatment case with the no treatment case

There are plenty of examples of this from 1918. St Louis virus Philidelphia

And in the treatment case you need to make sure the people actually TOOK the medicine, actually followed the isolation.

Here one can look at MOBILITY data. In Korea, again, they study mobility data.
At the start mobility ratcheted down by 60%… over time people relaxed. and mobility
went up. And yes, we got more cases, so the government came out with enhanced isolation and enhanced testing, and now we are back down to low mobility and new cases under 50/day

Short version. we know as a matter of biology that a disease that passes person to person will diminish if people reduce their contact. No field experiment required.
virus don’t teleport last I looked.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 10, 2020 6:12 am

If someone wants to study the effectiveness of isolation then they need
to compare the treatment case with the no treatment case

When I refer to “normal epidemic” , I’m not talking about out in the wild animal populations. I’m talking about the normal course of human epidemics which the various academic studies are based on.

All the curves turn over gradually then fizzle out. What we are attempting to do here is interfere with R0 to change the course and “flatten the curve”. We need to be able to differentiate between that and an epidemic with no R0 tampering.

Sadly CofB does not even attempt to do that. He, in effect, claims that all countries would still be in the initial exp growth phase were it not for confinement. That is untenable since all EU countries’ graphs were already showing the curve starting to flatten out.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 10, 2020 6:17 am

Monkton, the predictions take into account various possible counter-measures. The question is whether or not the observations match the predictions from the model versions that asume counter-measures that most closely match what is being done.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 10, 2020 6:35 am

David Hood: why does detail escape ypu here? There are various degrees of lockdown. Even the models acknowledge this. The core issue is not an all or nothing question, and anyone who claims otherwise is a sophistic, cynical demagogue.

New Zeeland is a sparsely populated island and can crack down on all travel to and from it quite easily. So from that standpoint it’s a laughable cherry pick. No other developed country, aside from perhaps Oz, is even close to like that. Furthermore, there are a number of middle of the road options for a lockdown, that do not entail mass accross-the-board closures and household confinement (the extreme at one end of the range of counter-measures).

So I reject

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 10, 2020 8:31 pm

If one cannot remember how to spell Philadelphia, maybe best to just say Philly.
Just sayin’.
Locals pronounce the name of their town something like “Fluffya”.

Andrew Cross
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 11, 2020 8:08 am

It appears that hospitals in US are closing. Doctors, nurses, lab clinicians are getting furloughed. Unfortunately if this is a medical crisis, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 9, 2020 1:23 pm

Hi Greg, I respect your intelligent, eclectic postings I’ve seen over some years here at WUWT. A possible disconect on this topic, though in my view, arises from logic and possibly you can straighten this out for me. Setting aside the economic disaster that lockdowns of any duration will cause, why would quarantining, social distancing and wearing masks … NOT blunt the pandemic to a noticeable degree?

I am with many on the certainty that we will be coping with this virus as a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. The hope is that these measures aren’t likely to be long needed – probably, a little seasonal warming will speed this declining disease as it does for the flu and there is no reason to believe a vaccine won’t be discovered.

Despite being an octagenarian, I am encouraged that its really an old folks disease and the young will largely just end up with some immunity. It seems to me that with 20-20 hindsight, this whole program might best have been narrowed down to the old folks and let the economy prosper.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 9, 2020 1:54 pm

I agree Gary. Many of us wrote here many weeks ago that it would be far wiser to isolate the elderly and infirm, than trying to lockdown the entire population. Having said that, lockdowns also work, but at what cost? If the cure is worse than the disease, then what was the point. And as you say, there are many other things we can be doing, especially us oldsters who should take this very seriously and take the necessary measures to protect ourselves. There is no doubt that this is much worse than any seasonal flu. But I think Willis is also right, in that destroying the economy or locking down the majority of the healthy population will prove to be a mistake. The more immunity there is for Round 2 of this the next season if it is still with us, the lessor there will be asymptomatic super spreaders. But this will only be evident with the benefit of future 20-20 when this is a long gone memory and this Wuhan virus goes extract, just like the original SARS virus likely has. While a total lock down could work in theory, it could only be implemented in a total state controlled population like China or North Korea. Destroying the economy to try and contain this or slow it down, is just delaying the inevitable and will just prolong the agony. This is akin to cutting off our own head to cure our cold or headache.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 9, 2020 1:58 pm

why would quarantining, social distancing and wearing masks … NOT blunt the pandemic to a noticeable degree?

I have said several times that I have the same expectation that it should reduce rate of infection. As to whether it is “to a noticeable degree” I turn to analysis. I see no obvious signal let alone a clear attribution. That is why I raise the question of how effective these measure HAVE actually been. Note I say I raise the question. The data has many flaws and complications, some of which may be masking any effect. There maybe other causes.

But in view of stakes we can not afford to stick with our assumptions. We must try to evaluate how effective the economic self immolation really is. If the effect is a lot less than we anticipated this informs our decisions about how quickly we can release restrictions and get the economy working again before we shoot ourselves in both feet and knee-cap both our own legs.

We now need to redress the keel AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. If we do not examine and determine the degree which confinement has reduced spread, we will be taking baby steps every too weeks and waiting to see what happens. If we conclude in 3 months time that we could have moved quicker it will be too late to know that.

We must do a serious attribution study, country by country or in USA state by state. There is not one-size-fits-all answer here.

I hope that clarifies.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 9, 2020 5:21 pm

I’m not sure the economy would’ve prospered if we hadn’t shut it down, not with an intense outbreak of a communicable disease roaming the streets. Once public awareness reached a critical mass, the outbreak was going to work negatively on the nation, no matter what our official response was. The negativity would’ve manifested differently, but it was going to manifest itself.
Frankly, a general mood of, “No one’s doing anything! We’re on our own! They care more about the economy than us! We’re just anonymous cogs in the great machine!” would’ve had a huge negative impact on the economy. Panic might’ve broken out.
Libertarians will always be a small niche (safely ensconced in the society they fecklessly talk about fraying), because the vast majority of humans want to belong to a community and sense a benefit from community. The Social Contract, especially in democratic societies, required an official response.

Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 10, 2020 4:14 am

All very good points. Also people should note:

1. Everyone claims China data is either just wrong or intentionally wrong but it’s not been excluded from the data.
2. All the US data is confirmed by Dr. Birx, by admission, that the guidance is to always pad the CV-19 numbers even if negative tests and only suspicion as to CV-19 presence.
3. Same Dr. Birx guidelines advise to list CV-19 as the primary cause only if suspicious.
4. all tests have both false negative and false positives; I haven’t found any non-Chinese claim regarding either with the CV-19 testing. See CDC’s assessment of the highly used influenza testing: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/diagnosis/rapidlab.htm

Thus, CDC says always record CV-19. Even if only suspicious and ignore negative test results (as in why would you order a test if you’re not suspicious?). Thus, the numbers are going to be skewed with high case counts and high death counts and be even more bogus than Italy’s numbers. It’s almost as if East Anglia is running the numbers with Phil Jones supervising and performing an on-going Nature Trick.

———— and some references some might find interesting

A good video by an expert Professor Knut Wittkowski, an expert on Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design, “Perspectives on the Pandemic” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGC5sGdz4kg&feature=youtu.be

And France’s chief epidemiologist, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, reported that obesity is a major factor in CV-19: https://news.trust.org/item/20200408103237-l2epf/

Which makes lots of sense when one considers the aging time line and the epidemic of metabolic syndrome (aka insulin resistance). Dr. Paul Mason, MD ( Univ. Sydney with degrees in Physiotherapy, Ocupational Health and a Specialist Sports Medicine and Exercise) provides some details and the cause of the obesity epidemic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBsnk2PtPeo

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Greg Goodman
April 11, 2020 7:28 am

Greg Goodman: Firstly the idea of averaging several distinct populations at different stages of an epidemic and pretending that can be characterised by a simple exponential is BS and he knows it.

It is not BS, it is an approximation which gives an idea of what will be happening soon if nothing changes (or if nothing has changed.) It illustrates one of John Tukey’s maxims: Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Its limitations are known, but more precise methods will probably give results largely in agreement, at least within 25%. All available evidence used as rigorously as possible (with what Galton called “tender caution”, as Christopher Monckton of Brenclley did here) supports his conclusion that COVID-19 is worse than the influenza.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  Joe Born
April 11, 2020 6:25 am

The Uber narcissist Greg Goodman is exhibiting his white hot resentment that Monckton is a peer of the realm while he is not. What will it take to make you happy Greg and calm down? Shall we all call you “Lord Gregory the Good”?

You make clear your exquisite talent for picking up the wrong end of the stick. How is it possible to still not get it, still miss the point, yet continue to claim (along with your cruelly denied peerage) an IQ larger than your shoe size? The only real goal of the lockdown is to reduce the rate of intensive care admissions. Monckton got the nail on the head about the intensity of the intensive care needed by covid19 patients compared with others:

Worse, advanced respiratory support for Chinese-virus cases is typically maintained for between 4 and 9 days (average 6 days), while it is not needed at all in non-COVID-19 viral-pneumonia cases, which require only basic respiratory support, and require it only for 2-4 days (average 3 days). The data are similar for cardiovascular support, and for renal support. The Chinese-virus cases tend to require advanced rather than basic support, and to require it for twice as long. And yet, even after all that extra care, the case fatality rate is many times higher than for non-COVID viral pneumonias.

Do you know what a respirator is Greg? Why all this talk of a shortage, companies like Dyson and Mercedes F1 and Babcock all rushing to make them. For what? Does this rush on respirators happen with every winter flu?

I guess your bottom line is – if (borrowing Monckton’s data) 67% of people entering IC with a respirator will die anyway, why bother? Perhaps once they reach that stage – especially the old and infirm like Boris Johnson – they should just be put down humanely? Perhaps the champions of industry would be more sensibly employed making gas chambers for hospitals?

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2020 7:13 am
Bill Powers
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 8:28 am

How many people had//have serious cases of the cold and flu this year? How many millions?

How many died? And what percentage of those deaths were co-compromised by age and existing conditions?

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Bill Powers
April 9, 2020 8:42 am

“How many died?

Of colds? Few.
Of flu? More than colds, certainly.
Of COVID19? Are you kidding me? Its like asking if they guy you’re in the middle of rescuing from drowning is drowning because he actually had a heart attack first…geeze.

“And what percentage of those deaths were co-compromised by age and existing conditions?”

Hate to break it to you Corky, but if you’re going to count co-morbidity for COVID19, you pretty much have to do that with people who died of colds and the seasonal flu.

Sharpen your pencil.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 10:07 am

Bad analogy. If someone is drowning because he can no longer swim because he had a heart attack, then he is dying of a heart attack.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  JC
April 9, 2020 11:01 am

You remind me of a co-worker who wanted to just code EVERY death as “lack of blood to the brain”

Seriously, some of us have some experience in this as a career you know…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 10:08 am

Excellent response.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 11:28 am

US 2019-2020 flu season: 24,000-63,000 deaths, 39,000,000-55,000,000 infections


Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 5:00 pm

My husband had a heart attack and a triple bypass at 57. That was 11 years ago, if there hadn’t been an intervention then he would have died. Saving a drowning man having a heart doesn’t mean he would have died anyway. Or that he doesn’t have much to contribute having been saved.

Oi mate, can you swim? Have you got a heart condition? Oh, hope you had a good life!

John Broadbent
Reply to  Bill Powers
April 9, 2020 2:52 pm

For the US hot spot of infection Washington State, there appears to be a breakdown of flu like illnesses.


You can view test results for infection of COVID-19 on a daily basis:


This the data from that dashboard. Please plot this as I do not know how to present the graphs on Anthony’s site:

Date Negative Inconclusive Positive Positive_tot Tests %Positive
02/03/20 30 0 1 1 31 3.2
03/03/20 4 0 2 3 6 33.3
04/03/20 202 4 7 10 213 3.3
05/03/20 125 3 0 10 128 0.0
06/03/20 187 2 16 26 205 7.8
07/03/20 220 4 14 40 238 5.9
08/03/20 466 15 79 119 560 14.1
09/03/20 380 5 40 159 425 9.4
10/03/20 721 4 46 205 771 6.0
11/03/20 1113 9 91 296 1213 7.5
12/03/20 1171 11 82 378 1264 6.5
13/03/20 1361 8 95 473 1464 6.5
14/03/20 1529 20 96 569 1645 5.8
15/03/20 1643 9 94 663 1746 5.4
16/03/20 1487 8 135 798 1630 8.3
17/03/20 2134 14 170 968 2318 7.3
18/03/20 2857 31 183 1151 3071 6.0
19/03/20 2072 26 138 1289 2236 6.2
20/03/20 2733 19 193 1482 2945 6.6
21/03/20 1440 14 114 1596 1568 7.3
22/03/20 942 8 94 1690 1044 9.0
23/03/20 987 7 152 1842 1146 13.3
24/03/20 1257 10 141 1983 1408 10.0
25/03/20 1755 19 192 2175 1966 9.8
26/03/20 2406 21 244 2419 2671 9.1
27/03/20 2116 24 244 2663 2384 10.2
28/03/20 2114 33 340 3003 2487 13.7
29/03/20 1280 14 204 3207 1498 13.6
30/03/20 1048 12 166 3373 1226 13.5
31/03/20 2073 23 362 3735 2458 14.7
01/04/20 2350 23 317 4052 2690 11.8
02/04/20 1920 17 235 4287 2172 10.8
03/04/20 2008 19 297 4584 2324 12.8
04/04/20 1750 18 215 4799 1983 10.8
05/04/20 1152 8 111 4910 1271 8.7
06/04/20 1257 13 170 5080 1440 11.8
07/04/20 1734 12 212 5292 1958 10.8
08/04/20 2626 43 307 5599 2976 10.3

Reply to  John Broadbent
April 10, 2020 2:23 am

to John Broadbent: Thank you for posting the data from UW Medicine’s Department of Laboratory Medicine. I commend UW for showing the %positive results (in last column), which is the metric that matters. So, UW did good — unlike everyone else who frightened the public by showing only the daily #cases in the run-up during March.

to Monckton: For UK, the graphs of increasing #cases (#positive results from tests) each day during March should not be used to estimate the growth rate for the epidemic, else the calculation will be wrong and then the models using this wrong rate will give inflated projections. If those graphs were used for that purpose, the public needs to know the sleight. The #cases per day can be made to increase simply by increasing the #tests per day (as was done in USA), so that increase does not show the growth rate or spread of an epidemic, rather, it shows the growth rate of the #tests. The correct metric is, instead, the %positive cases (#cases/#tests) as was kindly reported by UW…. but this correct metric was not reported by the main sources of the public’s news. Where is the graph showing the correct metric — how the %positive cases changed over March, and the true growth rate of the epidemic?

(Note: For correct calculation, the #cases and #tests must be for same day, not lagged as is done by CDC in USA, and the testing must be representative, not drifting toward more “hot spots” over the month.)
I think that a freshman Statistics 101 class could evaluate the hypothesis that the %positive cases was not increasing and the epidemic was not spreading at all during March.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 8:42 am

that study is shit

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 9, 2020 8:47 am


Can’t imagine this scenario: grade school science genius is fast tracked through high school, then gets a coveted MIT scholarship.

Building robots? Space vehicles? Microbots?

Nope. Suit up, you’re going into the sewer…

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:45 am

It does imply a very low IFR – 0.04% of something.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 6:19 pm

True comment, to former classmate, from his older brother:

“It just ‘friggn’ blows me away that you went to school for five ‘friggn’ years just so and you can can go out and count turds in a pipe”

Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 9, 2020 9:33 am

“that study is shit”

One of your all time best drive-bys Mosh’ . Cracked me up.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 9, 2020 12:50 pm

‘that study is shit’

How does it compare to your assertion last week that McDonalds workers were picking their noses before handing you your order?

Jeffery P
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 9, 2020 3:36 pm

Another insightful analysis. /sarc

Seriously, have a look at “How to Win Friends and Influence” people. It will help with your inability to communicate without p/o everybody.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Jeffery P
April 9, 2020 10:15 pm

surely a little poop humor is in order

Reply to  Jeffery P
April 10, 2020 4:34 am

Shouldn’t that be “How to Win Friends and Influenza”?

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:00 am

This is great. Very valuable

Thank you.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:12 am

This study says 5% of Boston samples has the virus between March 18 and March 25 – pre lockdown. Thats likely close to 12-20% today.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 12:01 pm

What exactly is it they tested about the sewage?
Were they looking for virus quantity or something like that?

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 1:24 pm
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 2:58 pm

Yes, I made several comment on this a while back, but the entire issue never really got any traction.
And more recently there was a report that seemed to be saying that doctors in the US were unable to find the virus in feces of patients.
I regret not saving that item in one of my folders.
Perhaps I misread it.

In any case, I am surprised they think they have enough information on the specific concentrations of virus to make a person per day or hour rate of virus which they expect to see for a given number of people with the disease.
I have a lot of questions if this is what they are doing, such as other viruses in the mix, whether it is stable in sewage, how the amount of virus might change from person to person and stage of disease, etc.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 3:01 pm

Hmmm, i wonder now:
““Our next step to make our Covid-19 case estimation model more accurate is to model the person-to-person variability in SARS-CoV-2 shedding in stool…”
Do they really think they can model this?
Based on what?

Steven Mosher
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 10:23 pm

Looking for virus in poop since it may be shed there.

you won’t recall this but in HK there was a tragedy with SARS and a building
that did not have a good sewer system. Faulty P traps in the Amoy Garden
apartment complex led to an outbreak.

With COVID-19 in HK officials have looked into a case in Hong Mei House ( 35 floor building) because there were two cases 10 floors apart. I think it prompted all building
owners to check their P Traps

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Steven Mosher
April 10, 2020 9:12 pm

I recall it perfectly well. I have mentioned it several times as long ago as Early February.
I wrote several comment expressing concern that possible toilet aerosols are being completely ignored.
Also fecal oral route transmission.

What surprises me is the idea they know enough about virus concentration in feces to make even a wild guess about the number of people in an area.
IN fact I do not think they do do.
As they admit in the article.

Steven Miller
Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2020 9:15 am

The numbers coming from the UK are at least partially explained by their abysmal socialised medical system. We had a friend in the UK who had chest pain from a partially blocked artery in his heart. This is something that would have received immediate attention in the USA. Indeed my father had the same problem and was out doing his normal routine in a couple of weeks. Our friend in the UK waited for two years until his health deteriorated so badly from it that he died.

He had the money to get it fixed in Thailand, Singapore, Mexico, or the United States, but wanted the NHS to do it largely because of National pride.

My wife and I live in the eastern part of King County Washington, the place where the coronavirus first was discovered and caused deaths in the USA this year. University of Washington researchers discovered early on that we had community spread here probably starting sometime in December weeks before the first case was discovered in mid-January. My wife and I have been frequent visitors both paid and volunteer at the ill fated Life Care Center in Kirkland, so we were warning from personal experience to all who would listen that this was a serious pathogen.

The UW researchers initially modelled that we could have tens of thousands of deaths just in our local area. But we peaked in the eastern part of King County nearly three weeks ago. Our hospital Intensive Care Units went back to normal and the deaths from coronavirus slowed to a trickle. Now the entire state has had just over 400 deaths, most of them “presumptive” and not actually confirmed to be coronavirus. The UW has bern lowering its death estimates daily. Yesterday they were down to 614 by August for the the entire state from tens of thousands for just King and Snohomish Counties.

So while I am a huge fan of Christopher, having just lived through this “crisis” I am more than a little skeptical of his charts and conclusions today. Our peak happened long before governor’s “stay at home order” could have had any effect at all.

Reply to  Steven Miller
April 9, 2020 10:00 am

I’ve heard of several people with similar stories and in particular claims that the virus was in the U.S. in December or even late November and that it just wasn’t recognized. I’m skeptical.

With regard to the early cases in WA, have you seen any official reporting about this? If so, please provide a reference.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 11:05 am

Well, we can trace HIV back to the 50s technicall.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Scissor
April 9, 2020 12:51 pm

My brother has a daughter in Law who lost and uncle in December to an unknown pneumonia. Sound to me like he may be one of the first victims of the virus. I have a sister in law that came down with a bad flu in December after she and my brother returned from Hawaii. I am interest when the blood test for antibodies comes out if she will test positive or not. A friend of theirs does have COVID-19.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Steven Miller
April 9, 2020 11:43 am

Your claim about the NHS is simply not justified. The current life expectancy in the UK
is 81.77 years while in the US it is 79.11 years. In addition average health care costs per
are $9892 per person in the US and $4192 per person in the UK. So the “abysmal socialised” medical system is working better than the US’s while costing half as much.
Similarly much of Europe and the developed world have socialised medicine and all have
better life expectancies than the US (where it has in fact been decreasing for the last few years) at significantly lower costs.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 9, 2020 11:50 am

You can not compare life expectancies in the UK to those of the US, very different demographics. Has little or nothing to do with quality of healthcare.

Reply to  Gator
April 9, 2020 1:32 pm

The numbers coming from the UK are at least partially explained by their abysmal socialised medical system.

It is very misleading to be this simplistic. UK developed a socialised medical system after WWII and it worked pretty well until late 70s. The neoliberal Thatcher came to power and began to undermine it and aimed to make market based. This processed was accelerated by the similarly neo-liberal Blair and Brown “New Labour” project : Thatcherism with red coloured flag.

Blair tried to reform the NHS by sacking doctors are bringing in fleets of managers and management consultants. Under Blair and Brown “hospital trusts” were set up where private investments paid for a hospital and were then allowed to exploit if commercially to 20y, with the taxpayer picking up the tab.

It has been cut to the bone in the process and all it has in common with Ernest Bevan’s 1947 project is the name NHS.

Similarly the US set up of 52 state monopolies is hardly a “free market”. Trump’s attempts to open them up to real commercial competition have been thwarted by lobby groups and vested interests.

This really is not a nice simple comparison of free market capitalism vs socialised medicine.

If one health care system seems to shine above the rest in coping with this epidemic it’s the German one. Once this shit storm passes there will be time to look at what other countries can learn.

Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 2:40 pm

Demographics will always be a major player.

Reply to  Steven Miller
April 9, 2020 1:14 pm

In response to Mr Miller, it is very easy to say with hindsight that nothing needed to be done. However, at the time when Mr Trump introduced his state of emergency, the global mean daily compound confirmed-case growth rate was about 20%. It would simply not have been responsible for governments to sit on their hands and watch the hospitals become overwhelmed. So action was taken and, to the fury of a few commenters here, it is working. Though on any view the numbers infected to date are insufficient to reduce the numbers still susceptible by more than a tiny fraction, the case growth rates are dropping.

Would they have dropped so fast if governments had assumed that no action needed to be taken? No, they wouldn’t.

it is very easy for armchair epidemiologists with no particular experience either of modeling real-world epidemics or of service at a senior level in government to shout the odds – and, in a democracy, there is nothing wrong with their shouting the odds.

Responsible governments, however, cannot merely assume that the Chinese virus is no worse than flu. It is, as today’s posting evidences, a great deal worse than flu. Governments were right to be careful, even though there is a heavy cost to being careful.

The advice of those scientific experts who argued passionately that nothing need be done other than to allow the population to become infected, let the old and sick die and leave the remainder with “herd immunity” was heard by governments on both sides of the Atlantic, but it was – in my view rightly – rejected in favour of honoring the ancient principle that the safety, health and well-being of the people comes first and is not to be risked by mere guesswork at a time when there has been insufficient testing to permit the vital parameter of this pandemic to be determined definitively. Sorry, but responsible governments have to be careful.

Mr Cuomo, in today’s press conference, said that on current central-case to worst-case modeling the hospitals would have been overrun within weeks in the absence of precautionary measures. Of course it is possible that McKinseys and the other modelers on whom he relied may have been wrong, but given the grave and immediate threat to life and limb if they were right he took the same decision that many other governments have taken, and that decision has saved lives and spared the hospital system from outright collapse.

David Hood
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 2:30 pm

Sir – this is so correct.
In THIS case, the precautionary approach was and is the one which had to be followed – until such time as new data was available – at which point, a course correction could be considered.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 2:58 pm

So action was taken and, to the fury of a few commenters here, it is working.

Fake news spittle. Name one commenter in any thread who is furious that “action is working”.

It’s this kind of deceit that makes you a counterproductive ally in the climate change wars. One not worthy of the usual courtesies.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 9:09 pm

I wonder about a few other mortality factors, not cited as co-morbidities or “health problems”: How many were smokers (of anything) or vapers? How many were deficient in vitamins D, C, or A? What was the average BMI? What has been the most common blood type?

Reply to  Steven Miller
April 9, 2020 9:01 pm

I live just north of you in British Columbia, Canada, where we are enjoying the exceedingly good fortune of having a certain Dr Bonnie Henry as the province’s Chief Medical Officer. There many places in the world that would benefit greatly from having a courteous and above all unflappable and absolutely levelheaded individual like her in charge of the virus mess.

One of the defining aspects of her management of the outbreak is the refusal of our province to engage in modelling and projections – unlike the other provinces and the clueless feds, all of whom have produced outlandish forecasts.

Like my ex – MD, paediatric ICU and lung specialist- and your truly, Dr Henry appears to accept at face value three metrics only: number of/increase or decrease in ICU admissions and number of deaths.
Like Stanford’s Ioannides, she appears to have been operating on the premise that
until the arrival of reliable instantaneous serological testing, current testing efforts are not only an exercise in futility but in actual fact feed the GIGO modelling that dangerously generates the surreal casualty projections we’ve seen elsewhere, including the 100,000-240,000 dead for the US.

At her kind but persuasive insistence, the BC population has generally been observing a reasonable stay-at-home-unless-necessary policy based on transparent detailed daily updates, and so far the province, population 4.8 million, has seen 1,300 confirmed cases and 50 deaths, a large majority of which have been in assisted living facilities, and an ICU system that has not been loaded above 60% of capacity.

Based on today’s update, we are seeing a decelerating trend in ICU admissions/occupancy and corresponding falling number of deaths.

Only a post-mortem (bad pun, sorry) including a hard nosed factor analysis will allow us to start figuring out whether and which of/combination of, confinement, testing, etc. actually influenced outcomes. Until then, anything else is to put it charitably, no more than marginally educated guesses.

Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2020 2:54 pm

You say: “ It may make a little more sense if it was lagged by about 2weeks to that it uses deaths of the same population from which new cases were taken from”

By 12th of March total number of people hospitalised was 590, 14 days later by 26th of March there were in total 578 patients dead, giving mortality of 98%
On 12 of March number of patients entering hospital was 130, 14 days later on 26th of March there were 113 patients reported dead, giving mortality of 87%.

Reply to  Vuk
April 9, 2020 4:10 pm

I know, if you lag it the numbers look far worse ( 14d seem about right for France , means stay before death in Italy was 5 days ! I guess UK would be different again).

That leaves the question of what such ratios indicate. It is not the mortality of the virus, and I don’t believe, even when lagged , it is a success rate for the hospital.

There maybe something there but I’m still trying to work out what it can tell us.

Warning, totally speculative line fitting. Easy to invent stuff which is not really then you let lines prejudice the eye.
comment image

old white guy
Reply to  Vuk
April 10, 2020 5:34 am

So far the death rate hasn’t come anywhere near the death rate of the annual flu world wide. It will have to top 3 million deaths to get there.

April 9, 2020 6:11 am

Neil “Michael Mann” Ferguson-

“Take Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London — arguably the single most influential person in the world right now: it was on the basis of his doomsday report that both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Trump were frightened, against their liberty-leaning instincts, into instituting the lockdowns which are killing jobs, businesses and the economy.

Ferguson’s predictions of mass deaths — 500,000 in Britain alone — would be huge if they came true.

But it has since emerged that Ferguson has a track record of getting things spectacularly wrong. For example, his recommended response to the UK’s 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic is now widely recognised as having led to the needless slaughter of millions of animals. (What’s the word for such an unnecessarily zealous response? Oh yes. ‘Overreaction’)

His modelling has been described by critics as ‘not fit for purpose.’ Worse — a breach of the most basic scientific etiquette — he has been reluctant to share the code which he used to model his doomsday conclusions”

Reply to  richard
April 9, 2020 1:27 pm

In response to Richard, the daily compound rate of growth in recorded Chinese-virus deaths in the UK in the two weeks March 7 to March 21 was of order 40%. Now it is about 17%.

On 21 March deaths in the UK totaled 233. Had a 40% daily growth rate persisted for just over three weeks, there would have been 500,000 dead. As it is, there have been 10,000 deaths in the UK. At a mean compound daily growth rate of 17%, there would be 500,000 dead in the UK in less than six weeks.

That is why the UK Government decided that those who wanted to treat the Chinese virus as though it were no worse than flu should be overruled.

Ferguson was, therefore, right to sound a warning to the Government, based on the established case growth rate at the time when he made the forecast. As the above numbers show, we are still in some danger of seeing 500,000 deaths in the UK from this pandemic in the coming months, unless the lockdown can be left in place for a few week longer.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 2:35 pm

and yet we did not see those figures on the cruise ship , Princess Diamond, which had a high viral load. These projections are not seen in Japan with no lock down.

Projections are interesting but ….

Reply to  richard
April 9, 2020 5:21 pm

Richard you need to look up the Ruby Princess fiasco. That ship alone was responsible for many of the corona cases we have here in Australia.

Reply to  Megs
April 9, 2020 11:52 pm

virus’s travel , it was always going to reach Australia, I am not sure of your point?

Reply to  richard
April 10, 2020 4:42 am

Richard when the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney Harbour more than 100 passengers were sick with an undetermined illness. It’s been claimed that this was disclosed to the relevant authorities, these passengers had not been tested for Wuhan virus at this stage. There is controversy and an investigation now as to how 2700 passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney harbour. Many of our coronavirus illnesses and deaths have since been attributed to this event. Hundreds of passengers and crew on this ship have been since been diagnosed with the coronavirus and this event was directly responsible for spread of the infection within Australia. The Health Minister and the State Premier have alot to answer for this negligent event.

I’m sure there a full details online if you are really interested, simply Google Ruby Princess. This event should not have happened.

Reply to  richard
April 10, 2020 2:39 am

Feb 6 Various experts..
Cruise ships a concern but should be OK

April 5th Not so flash

Current cruise ship voyages into Sydney linked to confirmed COVID-19 cases are Ovation of the Seas which docked 18 March (84 cases), the Voyager of the Seas which docked 18 March (34 cases, as well as 5 crew members), the Ruby Princess which docked 19 March (342, as well as 9 crew members), the Celebrity Solstice which docked 19 March (12 cases).

And Diamond Princess…aound 700 infections, 18% asymptomatic and 8 deaths [a smigden over 1%]

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 2:42 pm

The problem with Ferguson is none of his work has been peer reviewed.

“Several researchers have apparently asked to see Imperial’s calculations, but Prof. Neil Ferguson, the man leading the team, has said that the computer code is 13 years old and thousands of lines of it “undocumented,” making it hard for anyone to work with, let alone take it apart to identify potential errors. He has promised that it will be published in a week or so, but in the meantime reasonable people might wonder whether something made with 13-year-old, undocumented computer code should be used to justify shutting down the economy. Meanwhile, the authors of the Oxford model have promised that their code will be published “as soon as possible.”

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 4:25 pm

Had a 40% daily growth rate persisted for just over three weeks…

But this never happens, so doing silly extrapolations of exponential function is just scare tactics.

we are still in some danger of seeing 500,000 deaths in the UK from this pandemic in the coming months, unless the lockdown can be left in place for a few week longer.

I’m sorry that kind of projection is nonsense. This kind of claim is like “sea level rise by 2100 maybe as much as 6 meters ” and 6 deg C warmer than today. You have always been vociferously opposed that kind of thing here. Why are you now adopting it wholesale?

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 10, 2020 2:07 am

Waow ! what sort of logic, sorry I really appreciated your work on global warming but here it is non sense.

I just check South Korea and their number of death once it starts exploding after the epidemy was confirmed, 18th of February (remember no lockdown in South Korea).

From 22nd of February up to 6th or 7th of March, the daily grow rate in South Korea was at a respectively 27% or 25%.

Had this grow rate continue, South Korea will have now between 108.000 and 166.000 deaths (in fact more, no much more than the rest of the world alltogether). Instead South Korea has 208 deaths.

Also of interest for you and based on cured people (either recovered or dead) at one point in the beginning of the epidemy the dead ratio was above 40% for 6 days in South Korea, it is now at a low 2.8% and going down. So maybe you should question the quality of the type of medicine given and that there is a learning curve for the medical profession (it is disapointing that countries can’t learn from each other). Some professors have clearly criticized the use of ventilator as being worst than anything else. But they are not listen.

Finally to extrapolate any trends is to assume that people will not react. Here in Belgium once the cases from Italy returns from the february holidays on the week-end of 29th February and 1st of March, social distance starts to be applied by stopping shaking hands and kissing to great people as we do here and hand washing become more and more used. Now even if government , yes you know those that cant think more than lockdown, have not imposed or advise using masks, people take the power and start using masks, in one week in my neighbourhood masks used has increased from less than 10% to 25% , a friend told me that in his neighbourhood it has increased from 50 to 80%. I believe that in a week time the great majority of people in Belgium will wear a mask, whether or not the government advise it, we don’t give a s**t!

Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 6:12 am

Thank you! I am so sick of hearing this bug is just another flu. The only way one can say it is just like flu is to assume with flu most of the herd has some immunity so when the flu hits, most of us don’t end up in the ICU because our immune systems have encountered this big before. Maybe, if this coronavirus had swept through the population over and over again each year and a large chunk of the population was immune, we would have stats similar to flu. However for now, being an entirely new virus our immune systems have not encountered before, it is certainly not just flu. People who say that are being irresponsible.

Just Jenn
Reply to  Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 6:25 am

I agree, it is not the flu. And anyone saying that it is “like the flu” is ill-informed and probably scared to think that it is different, the flu is known and therefore not unknown.

My problem is with the data. The data to date is not enough–and for 1 reason only, we have no antibody testing going on. We are testing for the virus, not for the antibody to the virus. Until we have antibody testing, we won’t know exactly how and/or why this virus is so aggressive in some and yet not in others. Or how many of those “others” may be the “some”.

As this is not the flu, we need to stop comparing it to the flu IMO. It is NOT the flu and doing so, leads us down a path we probably don’t want to go, of both extremes.

John Endicott
Reply to  Just Jenn
April 9, 2020 7:03 am

I agree it’s not the flu as well. However, when someone says “it’s like the flu” that are not saying it “is the flu”. They’re merely making a comparison (however a poor comparison it may prove to be). They are using something that is relatively well known (the flu) as a benchmark for evaluating the data (flawed as it is) about something that is unknown (the Wuhan virus). They are not saying the two things are identical, and to pretend that that are is to be as ill-informed as you complain that they are.

You can cry “don’t compare them” all you want, but that won’t stop the comparisons, it’s human nature to take something known/experienced that may have some (however superficial) similarities and use that as a benchmark for evaluating something unknown/previously unexperienced. Such comparisons can be useful or they can be useless, but they’re gonna happen regardless.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  John Endicott
April 9, 2020 7:10 am

Well the “its like the flu” is only a bit less dumb than the “X die of car accidents”, but barely.

As I’ve mentioned repeatably, while people would never brag about being illiterate, they willingly show off their innumeracy and often brag about it as well.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 7:31 am

Exactly, it’s not like the flu at all. Corona virus infections can cause symptoms like sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, fever and cough.

They’re not even remotely similar to influenza symptoms…oh wait..

A C Osborn
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:03 am

The symptoms may be similar, but the attack on the body is not.
The Flu is an Upper respiratory desease and COVID19 is a Lower respiratory desease that directly attacks the lungs.

Ian W
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:05 am

Around 30% of ‘common colds’ are caused by corona viruses. Normally those colds that become ‘chesty’ coughs. It may be that they are all as infective as COVID-19/Novel SARS CV. I presume that it could be that there is a ‘herd immunity’ to the corona viruses in general but some people particularly those low in dietary zinc do not have sufficient immunity. That could explain the huge number of asymptomatic individuals.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Ian W
April 9, 2020 10:37 am

True. I read years ago that one of the major European plaques developed resistance to HIV.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 10:00 am

No one compares the virus to car accidents. What they are saying is that we don’t stop the world because people die in car accidents. We live in the natural world and this will happen again. We can’t stop it and hiding in our houses won’t change it.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  JC
April 9, 2020 10:41 am

Are you kidding?!?

That is PRECISELY the type of innumerate “argument” that complete idiots make as you can’t understand multiplicativity.

Seriously, you can’t understand that because:




it doesn’t mean:


Here’s a hint: 8 is MORE than 6.

Jebus, don’t make me sic Taleb on your sorry tuckus.

Wilson H
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 11:53 am

I don’t believe this… both are viruses that cause a similar set of symptoms. Theres an annual flu epidemic that kills tens of thousands of people in every industrialized country across the globe, the corona virus is an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of people across industrialized countries. The flu is a great benchmark, as a viral epidemic, to use.

John Endicott
Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 10, 2020 2:49 am

No it’s no. That’s your lack of reading comprehension showing if you interpret the comparison of response to one type of death to the response to another as being “innumerately comparing a virus to car accidents”. The fact is there are huge amounts of death related to various activities (car driving being but one of many), several of them even surpassing the current estimated numbers for the Wuhan virus. Yet we don’t shut down the world’s economy over them. That’s not innumerate, that’s simple facts. like it or not. You can either deal with the facts or you can mindlessly and inaccurately shout “innumerate” to your hearts content. Clearly you’ve chosen the later. Rational people will tend to choose the former.

Joel Snider
Reply to  John Endicott
April 9, 2020 9:04 am

Comparisons to the flu are not to be dismissive, but simply keep some perspective.

Whatever the case, I’m anxious to get out of the spot we’re in now, where everyone seems to be in a virtue-signaling contest to see which of our rights and freedoms they can restrict faster and more completely, and perhaps permanently.

Reply to  Joel Snider
April 9, 2020 5:52 pm

If we want to go by statistics alone, we don’t want to ride the motorbikes either.

Motorcycle riders are 26 (not 6) times more likely to die in a crash … this is per mile driven, so it is not a statistical exaggeration in any way.

I wouldn’t be the first, or loudest, to complain if someone tried to eliminate or restrict motorcycles as a travel (or more often than not simply a recreation) mode, but I would absolutely complain; I would even likely ignore an edict that says I can’t ride a bike.

When someone points to a 6x statistic and states it is important to save lives, & obviously ignores a personal 26x statistic … well, that someone should look in the mirror while explaining personal freedoms & responsibilities to their own self. If they won’t do that, I don’t want to hear them advocating for taking away any of my current rights or freedoms.

When I am in a car, my risk is way less than the ’26x’.

When I stay away from others, my risk of the ‘6x’ is way less.

I like to make my own choices.

Reply to  DonM
April 9, 2020 6:19 pm

Don my whole family rode motorbikes. We all rode motorbikes before we learned to drive cars. My husband taught me and subsequently our four sons to ride motorbikes and he taught us all to drive cars too. None of us went to ‘driving school’ and fortunately none of had anything more than a minor fall. We couldn’t afford to buy vehicles for all four boys, so they started with motorbikes which they bought themselves working part time jobs after school.

Tried to teach them to be self sufficient, tried to teach them that they wouldn’t always like their boss or decisions that are made for them but to choose their battles because sometimes they themselves were going to be wrong too.

Reply to  Joel Snider
April 9, 2020 6:30 pm

Lordy, lordy, lordy,

I blew the stats by a ‘little’.

For our U.K. friends, the multiplier is ‘61.5 x’

(they base it more appropriately on vehicle miles rather than passenger miles).

61.5 times more likely to die … not 6 times more likely to die.

If I am the one on the bike, I don’t really see the ‘61.5x’ as an issue. So I don’t try to keep others off bikes either.

If I am old and susceptible, maybe I stay home more & avoid other contacts for a while. But I don’t try to keep others in their own homes as well.

Reply to  John Endicott
April 9, 2020 9:18 am

The main argument which is being misrepresented as “it’s just like flu” without citation ( typical straw man fallacy ) is to point out that the excess mortality this year is only going to be like an average flu year.

The populations which typically die of flu will die of COVID-19 this years.
That is what meant by “it’s just like flu”.

most of us won’t end up in the ICU , we will not even know we have been exposed.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 10:02 am

I felt like hell for several weeks over the winter – not enough to put me down, but it CLUNG – a friend of mind who took a flight between Oregon and DC during the same stretch – with a bunch of Chinese passengers wearing masks – said the same thing.

Reply to  Just Jenn
April 9, 2020 7:29 am

Yes, I’m really scared. That’s why I think the UK YTD deaths are lower than average. That somehow has influenced the data.

Nobody says “it’s the flu”. What they say is, it’s no worse than the flu. And they compare it to the flu, because both diseases kill mainly the elderly with health problems. If we don’t go into crazy lockdown for flu, why do we do it for this disease?

As for everything else you say, we don’t know anything about flu or many other diseases either. Every year, flu kills young, healthy people. Not many, but some. Why? No idea. Every year, flu appears in winter then disappear. Why? No idea. How many people get flu each year? We don’t know, because we don’t test everybody with symptoms. We assume its flu but maybe its not.

It seems to be the ones who scared are the ones thinking its bad, not those who think its like a lot of other diseases we probably havent noticed yet.

don rady
Reply to  Just Jenn
April 9, 2020 11:35 am

The flu is probably more deadly to young people, and to people that are healthy with no pre-existing conditions.

I think there is a biased on WUWT because most who read and respond are old and retired.

Reply to  Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 7:27 am

The more important public health issue is: How does society better protect the most vulnerable to dying with C19. Locking down EVERY ONE is the wrong approach.

Why? The most vulnerable are people age 60+ with complicating health conditions. See:
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus (scan down to get to the age distribution)

The other very vulnerable group is adults age 40-59 with complicating health conditions.

These people know who they are. Family members know who they are. Their health care providers know who they are. A benefit to society is: Those who want to live & those who care about them WILL WILLINGLY take adequate precautions.

Furthermore, they account for less than 10% of most post industrial country populations. The 10% figure is limited to those with complicating health conditions. DIRECTLY protecting these people is much more effective and uses fewer social resources than locking down 100% of the population. It also avoids a surge in anxiety related deaths (suicides, overdoses, heart attacks … ) caused by lost earned income, diminished stock market portfolios, lost interest income, overhyping of C19 by the press and politicians …

Finally, the likely surge in NEED (as opposed to want) for health care services can be dealt with satisfactorily in the following way. Give priority to the truly vulnerable. Everyone else should be told to take aspirin and stay home for 10 days or so. This procedure was put in place across the US, and has dramatically increased the # of hospital beds & other resources available for C19 cases and others truly needing immediate hospitalization.

In the event you think the prior paragraph is cold hearted, please consider the following. Flattening the curve does LITTLE to reduce total deaths with C19 over the span of the plague. Take a careful look at IHME, and similar, calculations.

Let’s focus on how to help best the truly vulnerable and to minimize adverse repercussions for the rest of society.

Reply to  DM
April 9, 2020 7:34 am

Why are you saying COVID is any different from the many other infections that “kill” the elderly with health problems? Most of the time, many of the people who die in the West are infected just before they die, and that’s the thing that pushes them over the edge. In normal times, we don’t stick them in ICU and ventilate them, because they will die anyway.

In almost every country, the majority of deaths are deaths that would have happened anyway, with whatever the next infection was. That’s the reality of our counts at the moment, and by say end of May, we will have some inkling of whether there has been any excess deaths this year.

Reply to  Phoenix44
April 9, 2020 12:22 pm

Phoenix44, let me rephrase your reply. Why are US officials, and those elsewhere, treating C19 differently than other infections? That is a great question. It is better to ask Dr. Fauci plus the governors of CA, OH, IL, VA, NY … plus relevant European officials … than me.

I think the official US response violates a basic health care tenet: Either help or do not harm. Lockdowns FAIL to directly protect the most vulnerable. And, they hurt the least vulnerable.

The exception might by Italy. When C19 began ravaging that country, officials could not learn from experience elsewhere. So, locking down part or all of Italy might have been prudent.

Reply to  DM
April 9, 2020 1:34 pm

In response to DM, Phoenix44 et al., there is a distinction to be drawn between armchair epidemiologists, on the one hand, and governments on the other. Governments, faced with uncertain data and warring scientific factions, one activist and one passivist, must decide whether they can take the risk that the activists are wrong.

The hard evidence from the report summarized in the head posting is to the effect that in numerous respects the Chinese virus is worse than flu. Governments have to base their life-or-death decisions on evidence, not on opinions. The evidence is that this infection might have killed millions to tens of millions worldwide, and may yet do so unless the daily growth rate in confirmed (i.e., more serious) cases can be brought down very considerably from where it is now.

That is why the passivists have lost the argument, almost everywhere, and the activists have won. In time, we shall know who was right all along. At present, the data are insufficient to draw conclusions such as those drawn by DM – conclusions at odds with the evidence summarized in the head posting.

Reply to  DM
April 11, 2020 2:44 pm

MoB, you mischaracterize my position. NO where do I dispute the threat SARS cov 2 poses to public health. Furthermore, I deliberately AVOIDED the “no worse than the flu” issue and the libertarian vs statist quarrel.

Because I recognize SARS cov 2’s potential and KNOWING the major victims in S. Korea, Taiwan, Italy, WA state, NY state … , I reach the following well informed and reasoned conclusions. Society should directly protect the most vulnerable. Doing so is far more effective and uses social resources far better than locking down entire populations. Doing so is also far more effective than measures imposed by too many US states. Those measures typically FAIL to protect directly the most vulnerable. They also do little to reduce the total death count over the course of the plague. They merely increase the time span over which deaths occur

An understanding of SARS cov 2’s tragic potential and the unknowns is reflected in my explicit tolerance of Italy’s lockdown and implicit acceptance of measures implemented by S. Korea or Taiwan.

Although we disagree on the best approach to SARS cov 2, your insights, explanations and underlying analyses of this and other issues are profoundly appreciated. All are informative and stimulate thought. That is as good as it gets. Many thanks.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Phoenix44
April 9, 2020 2:44 pm

Depending on how you define ‘excess’, there will almost certainly be excess deaths this year.

Most years we have a flu epidemic, which you can easily trace in the mortality figures. These are often designated ‘excess’. Cloud has already caused a rise in the figures – therefore there is an excess. It remains to be seen whether this will be like a mild, medium or heavy flu year….

Reply to  DM
April 9, 2020 8:59 am

“The other very vulnerable group is adults age 40-59 with complicating health conditions.”

The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

A Post analysis of available data and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.



In both Louisiana and Chicago, for example, recent statistics showed that roughly 70% of COVID-19 deaths occurred among blacks, even though they are a minority in both areas.


Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 12:04 pm


My main point is: Directly protect the most vulnerable, whoever they are.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 12:25 pm

Latitude, this is also true in NYC per analysis that came out two days ago. DeBlasio was making a big political deal about it yesterday.

Rate of infections is likely related to living conditions–disproportionately poor, crowded.

There is also a disproportionate amount of hypertension (55%) and diabetes (35%) in that segment of the NYC population, which are the two principle ones in the NYC study. So the 6x fatalities is probably related to the known higher prevalence of co-morbidities.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2020 1:38 pm

Rud Istvan is right. It will be at least another generation or two before all races have the same opportunities.

An additional co-factor is sunlight. Whites evolved fair skins so that in these northern latitudes they would get enough Vitamin D3 from sunlight. Everyone living in temperate climes should take daily Vitamin D3 suppementation, but those with darker skins are particularly at risk of Vitamin D3 deficiency, and it is vital that they should take supplementation every day. See Martineau et al. (2017) for an interesting meta-analysis of clinical trials involving between them more than 10,000 patients, showing that Vitamin D3 both inhibits infection and symptoms in respiratory diseases.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2020 6:13 pm

Lord Monckton, right on. A personal anecdote.
My significant other here in south Florida has much skin damage from previous youthful sun exposure exuberance. So now covers, and slathers sunscreen.

So, was blood tested a few years ago just one whatever above clinically deficient D in our sunshine state–as do 1/3 of all residents for similar precautionary reasons. D supplement is now standard daily praxis for us both, despite my moderate tan.

Josh Postema
Reply to  Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 7:28 am

There are many reasons people compare this to the flu, and not all of them are so easily dismissed.

For example, I have compared it with the flu when responding to ethical positions such as “we must do everything we can to save even one life”. Mayors, governors, and world leaders have said variations of this slogan for weeks.

The comparison works here because the standard of “doing everything we can to save even one life” is impervious to mortality rates or any other attribute. It’s all-or-nothing. And so whoever holds such a position about one form of death and not another is a hypocrite.

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame worded it differently, saying “How many grandmothers would you sacrifice to get back to work? Go ahead, make your case.” Again, comparisons to flu are apt, because certainly shutting down the economy would save many grandmothers every winter from seasonal flu. Yet he and everyone else has no problem “sacrificing” those ladies to keep the economy going.

Tired Old Nurse
Reply to  Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 9:31 am

The flu season of 2017-2018 some 60,000 people died of the flu in the US alone. I don’t recall any lockdowns. The facility I was doing primary nursing did nothing special about it. Those who died didn’t get green or blue or what color lights put up for them. I guess those people didn’t count because it happens every year? The current pandemic isn’t particularly different from the pandemics we have EVERY YEAR. Deal with it. I flat refuse to change my behavior any more than I am forced to and I will most certainly break any law that tires to put more limits on my constitutionally protected rights.

Health care amounts to about a seventh of the US GDP and it is getting devastated. Not because we are overwhelmed but because we can’t get work. If the surgery is a success but the patient dies the patient is still and forever dead.

Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
April 9, 2020 4:49 pm

Amen! Eloquently stated!,,

anna v
Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
April 10, 2020 6:34 am

Some simple math: divide the 60.000 people dead by flu by 100 winter days when flu rages.That is on average 6000 deaths per day. Divide that by the more than 6000 intensive care beds in the US ( https://www.aha.org/statistics/fast-facts-us-hospitals . Even if the flu victims were on intensive care for ten days,a lot of beds were free for heart attack victims, strokes , road accidents, industrial accidents , measles complications etc etc. The doctors and nurses would cope.

The difference between flu and the COVId-19 infection is that Covid burns so fast through the population that the hospital beds are overfilled ,doctors have to choose who dies, and coffins line up in ice skating grounds because funeral parlors cannot cope. See this https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-italy-doctors-forced-to-prioritise-icu-care-for-patients-with-best-chance-of-s

I hope your not following rules will not be the cause of one extra death in the sum, or worse, the spread to a new community of the virus.

The rules are enforced so that hospital care can be given to everybody that needs it, including all those with other ailments than Covod.

anna v
Reply to  anna v
April 10, 2020 9:48 am

sorry, my pronitin error, it is 600 deaths per day

Reply to  Justin Burch
April 9, 2020 9:45 am

The problem is that people are told the symptoms are: temperature > 37.8 and/or persistent cough and/or breathlessness.
They are also asked if they have flu like symptoms: e.g. muscle aches, fever, cough, lethargy.
Flu like symptoms covers a multitude of illnesses including influenza, cellulitis and sepsis, although for the latter a temperature below 36 is significant.

Bear in mind that although Covid19 is notifiable and hence should be subject to coroners inquest, this has been suspended by the emergency powers act recently enacted.


April 9, 2020 6:19 am

Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is of no use at the point except perhaps in a few place with wide testing. Agreed its worse than the flu but on the order of 1-2.5x. The other issue when comparing is the flu start with vaccinations of 20% of people which limits the spread. Europe is probably over 20% immune now on average and likely higher, so you can start to treat it like a flu unless you are high risk. IFR is certainly <0.20% heavily weighted above 65 years old.

I can't stress this enough; number of confirmed cases is not relevant. Stop looking at it and using it for any analysis until the sample is massive – such behavior cause this lockdown. It only guides to how likely you are to die if you have serious symptoms, NOT if you get infected. Big, big difference.

We are close to herd immunity (~60%) in Europe, and the greater NY area. Let it spread but limit the speed with minor measures, mostly gatherings over 30 people, lockdown the high risk and get herd immunity by mid summer..

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 6:33 am

Why do you want to tell the data what to do, instead of being willing to learn what the data says?
What makes you want to offer an opinion…yes it is only your opinion and you should say so and realize it yourself…that contradicts what the actual circumstance is?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 7:07 am

I’m just giving you what the literature says and outputs from all the good private models. Its all out there, just not well read. For example:


This site has a good IFR estimate from Nic Lewis if you read it.

Here is why you can’t use CFR for Covid yet and the problems with confirmed case count:


There is much more – and interesting study came out a few days ago with an IFR of 0.1%-0.18% based on excess influenza. They believe 9mm Americans had COVID on March 15th – long before any lockdowns.


If you want more I’ll give them. All the sero studies are confirming the same. Wide distribution of the virus with no symptoms. This makes it in some ways much like the flu (IFR and distribution)

A C Osborn
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 9:07 am

Not the same Nic Lewis that based his analysis on an old Diamond Princess report and therefore got the numbers completely wrong?
The people on the Diamond Princess were put in Cabin Isolation almost from the first couple of cases.

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 9:22 am

Yes and he had too low IFR because he didn’t update for later fatalities. There are many studies around that vessel. The IFR median is about 0.18%. The difference is they only conducted one set of PCR tests and certainly missed some recovered assymptomatics.

Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 1:31 pm

Guest, It does not make it much like the flu! I don’t care if 1 billion people get Covid and 1 billion get the flu, 3 billion get covid and 70 million get flu, or any combination–the final hospital and mortality numbers are what matters for comparison, “The case fatality rate, as a fraction of all closed cases admitted to intensive care, is thus a little over 50%, compared with only 22% for the non-COVID viral pneumonias of the past three years.” 50 percent admitted to intensive care don’t make it as opposed to 22% for all other viral pneumonias combined! Not just the flu–all others.

Mike From Au
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 7:39 am

Without random testing for antibodies, how on earth is it possible to get a sense of how many have been infected? The percentage of population infected…it could be as high as 60% in certain, hot-spots/clusters/regions/demographics

I hear in Australia random testing is set for next week in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory)

Took a while.

Reply to  Mike From Au
April 9, 2020 9:00 am

Well there is some random anti-body testing (though limited) as well as Diamond Princess, Vo, Italy, etc… (including that interesting Boston study from above). Its summarized in the links provided.

You can also infer IFR by looking at development in different areas. It all paints a picture.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 9:32 am

Oh you mean make a guess.
None of the current Anti body test kits tested in the UK are any use at all.

John Finn
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 6:42 am

We are close to herd immunity (~60%) in Europe

Do you have any evidence for this claim? I doubt any more than 10% have developed Covid-19 immunity. .

Reply to  John Finn
April 9, 2020 7:06 am

” I doubt any more than 10% have developed Covid-19 immunity. .”

Do you have any evidence for this claim?

John Finn
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 8:14 am

My ‘claim’ is an opinion based on the data.

No government would be prepared to risk lifting lockdowns based on a “might be”. I’m fairly confident we, in Europe, are well short of 60% herd immunity. A rapid slowdown & decline in cases would have been seen by now.

Reply to  John Finn
April 9, 2020 9:35 am

I don’t agree with “Guest” but I was pointing out that your dismissal applies to your own personal guess just as much as his.

Reply to  John Finn
April 9, 2020 7:21 am

Yes there are lots, but for simple hand math, lets use a median IFR if 0.2 for Spain or Italy (its higher there due to older population than other areas). So 20/10,000. Over the past week about 800 people died each day from Covid and the infectious period is about a week. That means that about two weeks ago (average time from infection to death), about 2.8mm Italians were infectious (not have been infected but infectious). 2.75mm are not immune two weeks late and 5,500 are dead.

Of course those people 2.8mm were infected from 1.4mm people (assuming and R of 2) and so forth. The R goes down and you reach immunity once R<1 (R=1-1/R0). And that was two weeks ago. Those 2.8mm spread it to another 2.8mm who spread it again (R0 is dropping due to lockdown at that point) but if you model it out and add up the numbers, 10-20mm Italians have it. Thats 20-40% of the population as of today.

There are lots of ways to approach modeling this but assuming the disease is roughly the same, you can use different spreads to constrain IFR to something that fits everywhere. And yes that many people are indeed immune now in Europe. Less so in western North America.

Its notable that NYC area likely peaked before lockdown and are closer to herd immunity than anywhere. The lockdowns were too late and are likely unnecessary at this point.

Sorry to rush through it, just busy.

John Finn
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 8:51 am

The accuracy of your ‘analysis’ relies on the assumption that IFR is 0.2% (why?) -and you still can’t get the number infected to 60%.

And this is using the 2 countries in Europe which had the earliest outbreaks. The combined population of Italy & Spain is less than 20% of Europe total.

I think I’ll wait until we get a bit more data before declaring Europe immune to Covid-19.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 9:29 am

Rubbish, NYC were no where near the peak when they introduced lockdown.
Care to show me where the peak is here

Reply to  A C Osborn
April 9, 2020 12:30 pm

The peak is defined by the peak in infectiousness (because that’s when its being spread) which precedes fatality by 2-3 weeks and hospitalizations by 1-2 weeks. Just back up that March 30th hospitalization peak 10-14 days and Bobs your uncle.

Its a real thing – you can mark it here when the serum IFR tests they finished end March are published. There will be no 2nd peak there. It over. Safest Covid place on the planet right now.

John Finn
Reply to  A C Osborn
April 10, 2020 4:01 am

Guest April 9, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Its a real thing – you can mark it here when the serum IFR tests they finished end March are published. There will be no 2nd peak there. It over. Safest Covid place on the planet right now.

I very much doubt you’re right on this. If the virus had been allowed to circulate freely with no intervention measures implemented then – YES , there would have been a natural peak & decline (and a lot more deaths). But the majority of NY population are still likely to be susceptible. The spread of the virus was mitigated by strong measures.

Early indications are that the level of immunity in affected locations is disappointingly low. Single figure percentages in most cases.

John Endicott
Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 7:07 am

We are close to herd immunity (~60%) in Europe


Otherwise I’ll have to assume it falls into the category of:
“80% Of Statistics Are Made Up “

Reply to  John Endicott
April 9, 2020 7:26 am

Sorry that was poorly written. Herd immunity threshold is 50-60% depending mainly on density. Most of Europe is around 30% recovered – most of which happened pre-lockdown. Some ways to go to herd immunity but the virus will not spread easily now with so much immunity in place.

Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 8:53 am

Herd immunity threshold is dependent on the R0 for the infection. We do not yet know this value for Coronavirus, but it’s estimated to be between 2 & 3. It could be higher as we do not have a clear accounting of asymptomatic/minimally symptomatic infections. The model also would need to account for the likelihood that these undercounted cases will also be less infectious.

Based on the R0 above herd immunity is going to be reached at 60% minimally and may be over 80%.

Reply to  Lonald
April 9, 2020 9:18 am

Over 80% is unlikely. Thats an R0 of 5 (R0 varies by region)!! If this started in China in December with an R0 of 5 it would be everywhere. Maybe an R0 of 4 in a hyper dense communal area with limited hygiene (like NYC), but not everywhere. We’d all have it by now if that were the case. Herd immunity is achieved at much lower levels.

Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 9:08 am

Exactly, that is why the curves of all european countries are bending over and peaking. This is normal epidemic development.

That is the reason Monckton’s graph is showing reducing %ages, that is basically a crude approximation to the slope of the log plot of new cases.

There is no evidence in the graph he has been pushing every day to support the claim that without confinement the exponential would still be climbing unaltered and would soon exceed the total population of the Earth if we did not act.

He clearly realises that by now ( if he did not realise to start with ) and has no rebuttal. He just ignores it and carries on mis-informing to push his authoritarian agenda.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 9:37 am

There you go spouting your “normal epidemic development” unproven and unprovable statement again.
How you can say it will be normal with social disatnces and lock downs in place is denying facts.
How can it be spreading “normally” when people are not acting normally?

Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 10:01 am

You have previously made some cogent rejoinders to M of B’s posts. However, this post seems little more than an attack devoid of substance.

He quantified the relative morbidity and extended intensive care requirements vis-a-vis influenza.

By what means to you presume isolation makes no difference in rate of infection and subsequent ICU case loads?

I’m not an Epidemiological but I’m 100% certain that I cannot be infected if I remain home and free of contact with infected people.

This is axiomatic to all reasonable people. Of course, this in no way obviates the need to balance economic concerns with controlling infection rates.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 3:12 pm

Rob, I made this exact comment several days ago back when Greg and I were “friends”.
Since then, he seems to have decided he hates anyone who does not share his inane views about all issues pertaining to this situation.

Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 8:45 pm

By what means to you presume isolation makes no difference in rate of infection and subsequent ICU case loads?

It is astounding the propensity of people who are capable of reading something other that which is written, extrapolating what they think someone “meant” in place of what they wrote and then attack them for what they did not say. Remember Willis’ Law : quote what you disagree with.

In your particular case you also seem confused about the difference between the rate of infection and statistics derived from inconsistently applied tests for the pathogen in a very small % of the population.

What I am saying is that I’m surprised that there does not seem to be a visible trace of this “blindingly obvious” effect when we look at the data. That does NOT equate to “presuming” there is no such effect.

I am challenging CofB’s claims about his graph but I have gone into that in detail in my first reply to him today, so I won’t repeat it here. You may like to look back on that if you are still confused.

Reply to  Guest
April 9, 2020 1:44 pm

Guest is incorrect to say that the case fatality rate is of no use at this point. It is of use, because during the early stages of a pandemic the least unreliable way to estimate it is as the ratio of deaths to closed cases – i.e., cases where those infected have either recovered or died.

Unfortunately, innumerate governments, not realizing this, have kept a reasonable track of deaths (subject to endless arguments about whether people have died of or with the infection), but have been lamentably poor at keeping track of those who have recovered. At present, the case fatality rate by the standard early-stages method I have described is a whopping 25%, which shows just how poorly governments are recording recoveries from the infection. If they made a proper effort to record recoveries, and a careful effort to distinguish the “died from” from the “died with”, they would by now have a pretty fair idea of something like the true case fatality rate.

With Sars 1, a couple of decades ago, the WHO thought the case fatality rate was 2%. It turned out to be nearer 10%. With the present Sars 2, the WHO thought the case fatality rate was 2%, then close to 4%. But it could be higher. We really need to know how many have recovered.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 4:37 pm

The ICU case fatality rate is high, and the pathophysiology of Covid-19 for these patients is quite different from the Influenza cases in the ICU and accounts for the mortality rate difference for this population.

Of note, the threshold for ICU admission will vary significantly from hospital to hospital, and within a hospital by whether capacity is being reached. This means that the population of patients in the ICU will vary in clinical presentation and this makes the statistics more unreliable.

Similarly, the threshold for hospitalization will be even more variable. Some regions have a lower and others a higher standard (higher and lower do not imply quality). The team at Dartmouth has done yeoman’s work at demonstrating such variances. We cannot say apples to apples.

Additionally, I have not seen any prevalence data of consequence. Given the mortality is restricted to an extreme response, what percent of infected patients develop such a response? It is not unreasonable to say it is below 0.1% of infected patients, when all are taken into account. Similar to Influenza, as the Influenza numbers are not based on testing, but on known patterns for spread of infection in a community. In the US, around January is when we stop testing patients as the extent of the infection is then known. With Covid-19 we do not have a clue as to the extent of community infection.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
April 9, 2020 4:48 pm

Excellent point Lord Monckton,
and one which has gotten little attention.
It does increase skepticism of the data sets on the whole, I might add.
Although on balance, I am not too terribly surprised if the reason is that the individuals who are supposed to be recording, reporting, compiling, and then disseminating this information may be either overwhelmed, understaffed, working from home, or some combination thereof.

Saxe Roberts
April 9, 2020 6:19 am

Thank you for the analysis. But one glaring error in your analysis is using “corona death” as one of your data points. Governments world wide have changed the way in which we determine cause of death. One can now merely be a carrier (no cough or fever) while dying from other illnesses such as lung disease, cancer, etc. In the US, our CDC has now demanded not only carriers but anyone “presumed” to be a carrier (i.e. no test needed). Dr. Bhakdi, the most cited disease specialist in the history of Germany, pleads how wrong this is. It is not scientific and goes against all prior precedent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MARVdS-pHdQ. An article in US explains the “boost” in numbers. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/04/03/change-to-death-certificates-could-boost-covid19-counts

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 9, 2020 6:21 am

Thanks for that clear summary. Six times worth sounds about right.

Saxe Roberts
April 9, 2020 6:22 am

World renowned disease scientist, Dr. John Ionnidis, believes we have three excellent case studies. The do show this virus to be similar to influenza in mortality rates. They are The Diamond Princess, Iceland, and Vo’, Italy. He explains in detail starting here https://youtu.be/G3xEOcJ3YUw?t=103.

April 9, 2020 6:23 am

You are still citing the number of confirmed cases as though they tell us anything except how many are being tested. This is perpetuating misinformation about the spread of the virus.

Many doctors have questioned whether people are being put too quickly onto ventilation, which is a brutal form of intervention that it is feared may do more harm than good.

Almost no one has said it is no worse than flu. Many specialists have said it is not much worse than flu, or like a bad flu. The point is not that it is not a serious illness that is killing people, but that it is not so much worse than what goes around some years to justify such a stupendously costly response – a response that itself is killing people.

It is wrong to accuse people who disagree with you of being politically or ideologically motivated. You should engage with their argument and not make assumptions about their motives. Here is a selection of specialists and medics who oppose lockdowns as a response to this virus:
– Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, a world renowned expert in medical microbiology, says blaming the new coronavirus alone for deaths is „wrong“ and „dangerously misleading“, as there are other more important factors at play, notably pre-existing health conditions and poor air quality in Chinese and Northern Italian cities. Professor Bhakdi describes the currently discussed or imposed measures as „grotesque“, „useless“, „self-destructive“ and a „collective suicide“ that will shorten the lifespan of the elderly and should not be accepted by society.
– Pietro Vernazza, a Swiss infectious disease specialist, argues that many of the imposed measures are not based on science and should be reversed. According to Vernazza, mass testing makes no sense because 90% of the population will see no symptoms, and lockdowns and closing schools are even „counterproductive“. He recommends protecting only risk groups while keeping the economy and society at large undisturbed.
– The President of the World Doctors Federation, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, argues that lockdown measures as in Italy are „unreasonable“ and „counterproductive“ and should be reversed.
– German Professor Karin Moelling, former Chair of Medical Virology at the University of Zurich, stated in an interview that Covid19 is „no killer virus“ and that „panic must end“.
– German immunologist and toxicologist, Professor Stefan Hockertz, explains in a radio interview that Covid19 is no more dangerous than influenza (the flu), but that it is simply observed much more closely. More dangerous than the virus is the fear and panic created by the media and the „authoritarian reaction“ of many governments. Professor Hockertz also notes that most so-called „corona deaths“ have in fact died of other causes while also testing positive for coronaviruses. Hockertz believes that up to ten times more people than reported already had Covid19 but noticed nothing or very little.
– The Argentinean virologist and biochemist Pablo Goldschmidt explains that Covid19 is no more dangerous than a bad cold or the flu. It is even possible that the Covid19 virus circulated already in earlier years, but wasn’t discovered because no one was looking for it. Dr. Goldschmidt speaks of a „global terror“ created by the media and politics. Every year, he says, three million newborns worldwide and 50,000 adults in the US alone die of pneumonia.
– Professor Martin Exner, head of the Institute for Hygiene at the University of Bonn, explains in an interview why health personnel are currently under pressure, even though there has hardly been any increase in the number of patients in Germany so far: On the one hand, doctors and nurses who have tested positive have to be quarantined and are often hard to replace. On the other hand, nurses from neighbouring countries, who provide an important part of the care, are currently unable to enter the country due to closed borders.
– Using data from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, Stanford Professor John Ioannidis showed that the age-corrected lethality of Covid19 is between 0.025% and 0.625%, i.e. in the range of a strong cold or the flu. Moreover, a Japanese study showed that of all the test-positive passengers, and despite the high average age, 48% remained completely symptom-free; even among the 80-89 year olds 48% remained symptom-free, while among the 70 to 79 year olds it was an astounding 60% that developed no symptoms at all. This again raises the question whether the pre-existing diseases are not perhaps a more important factor than the virus itself. The Italian example has shown that 99% of test-positive deaths had one or more pre-existing conditions, and even among these, only 12% of the death certificates mentioned Covid19 as a causal factor.
– The renowned Italian virologist Giulio Tarro argues that the mortality rate of Covid19 is below 1% even in Italy and is therefore comparable to influenza. The higher values only arise because no distinction is made between deaths with and by Covid19 and because the number of (symptom-free) infected persons is greatly underestimated.
– German Virology professor Dr. Carsten Scheller from the University of Würzburg explains in a podcast that Covid19 is definitely comparable with influenza and has so far even led to fewer deaths. Professor Scheller suspects that the exponential curves often presented in the media have more to do with the increasing number of tests than with an unusual spread of the virus itself.
– The two Stanford professors of medicine, Dr. Eran Bendavid and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, explain in an article that the lethality of Covid19 is overestimated by several orders of magnitude and is probably even in Italy only at 0.01% to 0.06% and thus below that of influenza. The reason for this overestimation is the greatly underestimated number of people already infected (without symptoms). As an example, the fully tested Italian community of Vo is mentioned, which showed 50 to 75% symptom-free test-positive persons.
– A new study by the University of Oxford concludes that Covid19 may already have existed in the UK since January 2020 and that half of the population may already be immunised, with most people experiencing no or only mild symptoms. This would mean that only one in a thousand people would need to be hospitalised for Covid19. (Study)
– Professor Gérard Krause, head of the Department of Epidemiology at the German Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, warns on German public television ZDF that the anti-corona measures „could lead to more deaths than the virus itself„.
– The director of the University Medical Center Hamburg, Dr. Ansgar Lohse, demands a quick end to curfews and contact bans. He argues that more people should be infected with corona. Kitas and schools should be reopened as soon as possible so that children and their parents can become immune through infection with the corona virus. The continuation of the strict measures would lead to an economic crisis, which would also cost lives, said the physician.
– Professor Martin Haditsch, specialist in microbiology, virology and infection epidemiology, sharply criticises the Covid19 measures. These are „completely unfounded“ and would „trample on sound judgment and ethical principles“.
– Professor John Oxford of Queen Mary University London, one of the world’s leading virologists and influenza specialists, comes to the following conclusion regarding Covid19: „Personally, I would say the best advice is to spend less time watching TV news which is sensational and not very good. Personally, I view this Covid outbreak as akin to a bad winter influenza epidemic. In this case we have had 8000 deaths this last year in the ‘at risk’ groups viz over 65% people with heart disease etc. I do not feel this current Covid will exceed this number. We are suffering from a media epidemic!“
– In a 40-minute interview, the internationally renowned epidemiology professor Knut Wittkowski from New York explains that the measures taken on Covid19 are all counterproductive. Instead of „social distancing“, school closures, „lock down“, mouth masks, mass tests and vaccinations, life must continue as undisturbed as possible and immunity must be built up in the population as quickly as possible. According to all findings to date, Covid-19 is no more dangerous than previous influenza epidemics. Isolation now would only cause a „second wave“ later.
– Dr. Andreas Sönnichsen, head of the Department of General and Family Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna and chairman of the Network for Evidence-Based Medicine, considers the measures imposed so far to be „insane“. The whole state is being paralysed just to „protect the few it could affect“.
– Professor Klaus Püschel, head of forensic medicine in Hamburg, explains about Covid19: „This virus influences our lives in a completely excessive way. This is disproportionate to the danger posed by the virus. And the astronomical economic damage now being caused is not commensurate with the danger posed by the virus. I am convinced that the Corona mortality rate will not even show up as a peak in annual mortality.“ In Hamburg, for example, „not a single person who was not previously ill“ had died of the virus: „All those we have examined so far had cancer, a chronic lung disease, were heavy smokers or severely obese, suffered from diabetes or had a cardiovascular disease. The virus was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. „Covid-19 is a fatal disease only in exceptional cases, but in most cases it is a predominantly harmless viral infection.“

Reply to  Will Jones
April 9, 2020 1:21 pm

Hi Will Jones, – Your compilation reflects the core of intelligent disparate professional opinions I’ve been coming across. Thanx for putting it out today.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Will Jones
April 9, 2020 7:30 pm

Puschel says, “I am convinced that the Corona mortality rate will not even show up as a peak in annual mortality.“

But that’s because the lockdowns will halve deaths from auto accidents, workplace accidents, and ordinary flu.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Will Jones
April 9, 2020 7:35 pm

Püschel says, “I am convinced that the Corona mortality rate will not even show up as a peak in annual mortality.”

But that’s because the lockdowns will halve the deaths from ordinary flu (due to distancing and avoidance of cold weather) and from accidents (auto and workplace). If the lockdowns hadn’t been put in place, deaths from Wu-Flu would sit atop the deaths from those everyday causes.

Reply to  Will Jones
April 10, 2020 2:50 am

Thank you Will Jones for this good summary of what I have read in the last 2 weeks. I think nearly every good opinion/ news is there ! Good work.

old white guy
April 9, 2020 6:23 am

If it is worse than the seasonal flu we should expect at least 3,177,204 deaths as that was the toll from the seasonal flu in 2018. The world did not shut down. Now can someone please tell me just why the current death rate demands that which was not done in any other year?

Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 6:32 am

Yes they can
That person is Christopher Monckton. Perhaps you should read his post above?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 6:41 am

Old White Guy,
If you do not know by now, and have to ask such questions, i very much doubt anyone can tell you, and also doubt any explication on the subject would suffice to convince you perhaps you need to change your mind.

I will say this to every single person reading:
If you have not changed your mind or admitted you were wrong about anything regarding this disease and this virus and this outbreak over the past several months, then you are either a liar, or abjectly obtuse, completely unteachable, and far too dense and rigid of mind to be anything like a scientist.
When someone has a belief that is belied by the facts, what that means is that person is out of touch with reality.
This is a new situation, with new information, and much to be discovered.
And already so many have locked themselves into some preconceived notions of what is what.
We all know how that goes.
Intelligent people, people with objective minds and attitudes that are compatible with the scientific method, know when they do not know something, and change their minds when new information becomes apparent.
If you have not changed your mind when new information has come into view…you ought to know and need to be told…you are out of touch with reality.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 9:52 am

“well if you don’t know by now, I can’t tell you” has to be one of lamest non arguments every invented. You are not female by any chance?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Greg
April 9, 2020 12:45 pm

If you want to insult someone, why not use what they actually said, rather than making up a lie, putting it in quotes, and saying it is lame?
But you have evolved into one of the most insincere and dishonest people on the entire internet, so I am not a bit surprised.
You should know all about not being able to be told anything.
You are 100% bone headed and immune to actual information unless it confirms your prior bias.

In any case, your hatred of women is noted.
I do not even need to ask if you are homosexual.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 10:27 am

No kidding. Early models were wrong. We learned that China cannot be trusted. We learned that. We learned that NY is a unique sad case. We learned that people get the virus and exhibit no symptoms. We learned people get the virus and recover. We learned that Governors have no rules to stop stay in place orders or to shut down non “essential” businesses. We learned that people will not go to the doctor now. We learned that millions of people are losing their jobs 🙁

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Derg
April 9, 2020 1:20 pm

I have learned a lot more than that.
I am trying to find the common thread of the ones you mention.
I never paid any attention to models, early or later ones.
I never trusted China.
Did we learn why New York is so much worse than any other city in the US?
Is it only unique in the US?
IDK…I am not spending time looking at the details with that much granularity.
I think we already knew the vast majority of people do not die.
Kind of surprising that there is such a large number of people who get nothing or next to nothing, and then also a large number who get really sick.
I learned that it is not unusual for a lot of people to get a disease and have no symptoms…I would have guessed it was rare.
But I am still trying to think of one that has so many with a mild case or nothing, AND at the same time makes a lot of people get pneumonia.
I would have guessed that these two things are inversely proportional…more people that get really sick means a disease is highly virulent and so fewer people get it and have a mild case.
This one is like a barbell…two big clumps at each end.
Not clear exactly what you are saying about Governors.
I am surprised that healthy people can be quarantined without declaring martial law.
And that no one seems to be suing, or at least it is not being widely reported if they are.
I am still kind of shocked at how people have reacted to this, but I am not trying to hard to figure it out. I do not think I would have said I would be able to guess exactly what would happen. I never really thought about that part of it in detail.
Do they have authority to shut down such businesses?
Staying away from where the sick people are in an epidemic seems like a rational response to me.
Regarding the jobs, I knew as soon as the NBA cancelled that this would be very bad for the economy. Everything is interrelated. When MLB, Disney, movie theaters, and concerts all shut their doors, what I guessed might happen was confirmed.
Remains to be seen what happens with the jobs.
I guess that depends a lot on how soon this ends, but I am not seeing the exit ramp, personally.
I think someone could declare it all over and ring the all clear and most would not pay attention.
I think at this point, the people who do not want to get COVID need to hear about a treatment or a vaccine or something that changes the odds of a bad outcome.
Dying is not the only bad outcome.
Getting so sick you need to go to a hospital and maybe an ICU sounds very bad to me.
I have never been that sick.
I think most people that get pneumonia have damage that may be permanent to some degree.
I could be wrong about that…just my general sense of the long term consequences of that sort of lung damage.
A lot of people are getting very sick for what seems to me to be an unheard of amount of time for a virus thing.
Four weeks is over twice as long as the flu usually lasts, which is typically a several days to a week.
And this one has people getting to that stage after as much as a week or more of just being kind of sick.
It seems very weird to take many days to start to feel sick, and then a bunch more of being regular cold or flu type of sick, and then getting a whole bunch worse and having that last for weeks and weeks.
That is nothing like flu, not that I ever heard of.

If the malaria drugs are as potent as so many seem to think, hopefully we will see the proof of it soon.
Really strong results are easier to prove.
The more time goes by though, the less hopeful I am.
I do not think anyone knows how to push a restart button on a whole economy.

And I am wondering how travel can start back up as long as people still have this virus.
I do not think it is gonna go away.
So, what happens in places that have snuffed out the epidemic if people travel there who have it? Who wants to get on a plane if they might be tested and quarantined on arrival someplace?
Hard to see how we get back to where we were.
Normally I would say…everything will be fine, people never change, but I am really not feeling that for this situation.

So at this point I am hoping I am wrong about a whole bunch of stuff.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 1:42 pm

The degree of sickness is likely due to multiple factors – one which is the initial dose received and another is the route of exposure. Perchance a high dose received by inhalation could result in pneumonia whereas a low dose via ingestion or contact w/ the eyes, may be asymptomatic. But with a handle of Farmer, what do I know?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 3:17 pm

Chemical engineer too?
I would think that means you know a lot.
I have posted studies with scads of evidence that route of exposure and infectious dose can have a large influence on whether someone shows illness from an infection of several other types of viruses.
It seems that some of them showed that even having antibody protection could be overcome by a large enough dose for some viruses, while others had no protection conferred from having antibodies.

Here it is just in case you would like to have a look.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 6:04 pm

Thank you Nicholas. It follows that face coverings (whether N95, surgical, scarf, etc.) can reduce dose and thus improve CV19 outcomes.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 10, 2020 8:38 pm

Yes, that is one of the things that has become very clear to me, from this and many other sources and inferences.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Derg
April 9, 2020 7:40 pm

“We learned that NY is a unique sad case.”

Thanks to foot-dragging and “denial”:
“3 Ways New York Botched the Coronavirus Response in March
“A hapless mayor and overpraised governor made false promises, gave inaccurate health information, and helped turn Gotham into the pandemic’s epicenter, according to The New York Times”
MATT WELCH | 4.9.2020 12:45 PM Reason magazine

Caligula Jones
Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 6:50 am

Here’s a freaking clue: its called a flu SEASON and its starts in November in the northern hemisphere, and goes until April.

NOW DO THE MATH: divide those seasonal flu deaths by 6 and get back to us.

Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 7:03 am

… the seasonal flu…

You need to think on that.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 7:23 am

Old white guy,

Maybe the answer is that CV19 has spread around the world and the numbers of fatalities have mounted exponentially in just a fraction of a year, not a whole season like 2018. We can compare “seasonal deaths” once this season is over. Our best hope for the economy getting off the economic ventilator is that we can use CV19 models that are verified with real data, unlike the climate models. The precautionary principal may be better suited for a pandemic, not so good for climate change which even the so-called experts can’t predict.

(Thank you Viscount MoB for the information.)

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 8:13 am

If we would let the virus run wild and become endemic in a population without immunity then the analysis indicates a total death toll of at least 6 times your 3.2 milion, that’s roughly 20 million, 6% of the US population. When the capacity of the health system to treat the ones needing ventilators is outstripped, then those patients will have no chance at all and will perish too which would increase the death toll by another factor of 3 or 4. One can understand why the Chinese, when they realised that they had let the cat out of the bag, resorted to such draconian measures.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 9, 2020 10:53 am

The draconian measures were more likely a response to quell the insurrection in Hong Kong and protests in Wuhan over the gross air pollution there. And it worked; at least temporarily . One thing the communist party is terrified of is the rebellion in Hong Kong spreading to the rest of China. But it will… eventually.

A C Osborn
Reply to  old white guy
April 9, 2020 9:44 am

Someone who doesn’t know where to put the decimal point.

Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 6:30 am

This is excellent data and much needed.
Some of these questions regarding the particulars have not been addressed anyplace else I have seen, and I have looked plenty.
So thank you Mr. Monckton!
I have to spend some more time looking and cross referencing and then comment some more.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2020 12:31 pm


And the NYC study from two days ago lends strong support to this UK data. NYC deaths 61% male. 63% over 70. 84% with co-morbidities, biggest two by far being ~55% hypertension and ~35% diabetes.

Disproportionate deaths among Hispanics and Blacks. BUT those two NYC population subsegments also have known higher prevalences of hypertension and diabetes, both correlated to higher obesity incidence.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2020 4:41 pm

Thank you Dr. Istvan,
I appreciate your reply.
Having confirmation from another large city far removed is strong evidence that these results can be taken at face value, I completely agree.

Besides for those specific details, I was also struck by what appears to be confirmation of another aspect that has stood out to me as very unusual, that being the length of time that this illness persists.
We knew that the length of the illness was very long compared to seasonal flu. I was not sure of how long other forms of viral pneumonia took to resolve, but suspected that COVID was keeping people sick for an uncommonly long time even once they reached this third stage of the disease.
Besides for the CFR, the number of people and the length of time with severe illness are a very large part of this situation, which in my view appears to not be very well appreciated by some.

Simply stated, a large number of people are suffering critical and possibly life altering illness for a shockingly long period of time. A far larger than the number who ultimately succumb.
I suspect that many of these people will not survive for as long as they might have expected to had they never contracted this virus. In fact I am sure of it.
Not only is this, for me anyway, a very strong reason to take the CFR as only part of the bad news for patients, it is obviously a very large part of the reason for the huge impact on hospitals and the medical teams caring for the patients. I am sure it is both exhausting and horrifying for the doctors and the nurses and the other people tending to these patients.
For one thing, it magnifies the impact of COVID hugely, and distorts any comparison that only looks at mortality in the short term.

April 9, 2020 6:35 am


“Pope Francis said he believes the Chinese coronavirus pandemic is “certainly nature’s response” to humanity’s failure to address the “partial catastrophes” wrought by human-induced climate change.”


Caligula Jones
Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 6:54 am

Sure, the MSM will put up a video of a crazy fundamentalist Christian, or a Shi’a licking a mosque door handle, or a group of Orthodox Jews not practicing social distancing…but this guy doesn’t sound crazy because he wears a funny hat and dresses in robes and more importantly, speaks to the Green Religion narrative.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
April 9, 2020 9:20 am

Yeah, since when did a supposed Catholic, heir to St. Peter no less, start worshipping Gaia right up to referring to nature as a sentient “she?” Sounds like some fruitbat braided-beard Druid mumbling around Stonehenge with a skull on a stick! When are devout Catholics going to recognize this guy is an imposter who doesn’t even believe in the religion he was elected to head?

Reply to  Goldrider
April 9, 2020 11:21 am

I’m no expert but when someone talks about retribution from the earth God Gaia, it sure sounds like paganism to me.

I’d say the current Pope should step down and join the other Pope, then they can aimlessly wander the musty halls of the Vatican together.

Reply to  Goldrider
April 9, 2020 2:21 pm

It’s happening, Goldrider, v-e-r-y slowly!! It would take quite a while to explain in detail why it is hard for Catholics to disagree with Papal pronouncements (and it’s nothing to do with infallibility!) but this latest interference in matters he doesn’t have a clue about is one big step along the way!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Newminster
April 9, 2020 6:02 pm

I had this guy pegged as a complete fake from about the first thing I heard from his mouth.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 6:59 am

Is it fair to laugh at the Pope, when so many people seem to hang on his every word?

I wonder how he explains that 8 of the 800 people in the Vatican have been taken ill. Perhaps they were a little behind with their confessions.

And when I read this comment –
“Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate the natural world.”

I first misread it as “reproduction”, and wondered if he would start handing out condoms in St. Peter’s Square

Reply to  Richard Barraclough
April 9, 2020 11:42 am

Right about now, “Is the Pope Catholic?” is a good question, not a joke!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard Barraclough
April 9, 2020 1:24 pm

The Pope sounds like a true authoritarian.

Conflating Coronavirus with Human-caused climate change. That’s about as ignorant as conflating Human-caused CO2 with weather events.

Next thing you know, the Pope will be defending the World Health Organization. The Catholics have a socialist politician as their leader. A rather delusional socialist politician, at that.

Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 7:06 am

yeah well popeland started at 1 and over the weeks isnow at 7 in the holy see
I ‘see theyre beingquiet about that

Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 8:12 am

It doesn’t worth listen to the pope as to any climate alarmist. Both have their set of beliefs.

Reply to  Latitude
April 9, 2020 2:08 pm

i used to be a Catholic. Wouldn’t admit it now.

April 9, 2020 6:35 am

None of the numbers are reliable now that authorities, including the CDC, have admitted that they are falsely recording deaths as from coronavirus when they are actually people infected with the virus but who died from heart disease or pneumonia. The numbers are made even more worthless by the fact that different countries have different methods of recording deaths. Italy has completely reversed it’s method and now says that only about 12% of previously recorded deaths were actually down to the virus.

Rich Lambert
Reply to  Reginald Vernon Reynolds
April 9, 2020 6:52 am
Reply to  Reginald Vernon Reynolds
April 9, 2020 7:14 am

I dont see that myself
if you had a heart condition but were otherwise well managed then you got the covid andit brought stress to the heart by struggling to breathe?
id say the virus was what actually caused death
aus had cancer patients got infected on wards
they may have been going to die of cancer but may well have been “cured” or given some time
the virus they got while on chemo/after surgery was the cause of death to me
and the covid causes pneumonias in many nastier it appears than standard onset
so again covid was what killed by causing it.
usually a few days of antibotics and youre sorted , doesnt seem to work that way with this bug
i WOULD like to know what strains of pneumonia are the most prevalent in the eu etc pops
the chinese data listed quite a few strains some were MDR variants of unusual strains. rarely seen, that could be down to lifestyle job or envirnments there too, hard to know.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
April 9, 2020 1:12 pm
Reply to  Reginald Vernon Reynolds
April 9, 2020 7:19 am

Very many infected after about 5 days get so high fever that they lose consciousness. Quite regardless of age. Whoever experiences the cytokine storm feels like he has returned from the world of the dead.

Reply to  ren
April 9, 2020 8:02 am

Exactly, no influenza infection has ever caused symptoms like that before…

Reply to  Klem
April 9, 2020 9:43 am

I know, that it may happen. I expierenced it for 5 times in my life, within an hour I got high fever and was quickly far away. In a short moment of presence, I measured above 40 °C, no chance for a phone call. About one day later, all was gone, I wasn’t able to walk more as to the kitchen for drinking some water.
I had no symptoms of what ever. The doctor I consulted the next day had no idea what that should have been. That was very strange….

Reply to  ren
April 9, 2020 1:47 pm

Hi ren, – The Spanish Flu had many WorldWar 1 USA soldier recruits waking up seemingly normal & by evening collapsing. Their young immunological systems were so strong that when viral replication got going their hearty immune systems produced such a “storm” of cytokines it overwhelmed some of their own organs.

Wuhan Flu seems relatively to need time to elicit any strong cytokine reaction. Then, depending on each viral victim’s underlying health (& genetics) the side effects of any of their own cytokines, if any, are reflected in the known spectrum of individual symptoms.

I believe this means WuhanFlu may enter a cell, but it’s novel amino acid substitutions incorporate some dynamic which causes a delay in a kind of RNA fragment (or possibly some other unidentified viral metabolite) from interacting with a cell mitochondria. It is such an upstream interaction with mitochondria which precipitates cytokine synthesis downstream [as I detailed in last month comment].

Reply to  Reginald Vernon Reynolds
April 9, 2020 7:36 am

Italy is still counting every death when somebody test positive, as it the UK. Germany does not. It shows up well in graphs – plot daily cases against daily deaths and the UK and Italy have an R2 of over 0.8. Germany’s is 0.3. But shift Germany’s forward seven days to allow for infection then illness, then death, and it goes up to 0.8.

Steve Richards
April 9, 2020 6:39 am

Most interesting.

Can I request you change the colours in your graph please. Some colours are very similar and difficult to distinguish.

Perhaps 7 solid lines and 7 dotted lines, so 7 colours in total?

Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 6:41 am

‘More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.’

‘The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.’

Instituto Superiore Di Sanita 17 March 2020

That is pretty much bang on natural mortality.

No, it isn’t like ‘Flu’ at all; it much more closely resembles other coronaviruses causing the common cold.

John Finn
Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 6:56 am

The common cold doesn’t bring down a healthcare system in the developed. The common cold doesn’t cause the death of 100 frontline medics. Of course, the virus causes higher mortality among the older population, that’s often the case. Younger people tend to survive all sorts of trauma better than older people. The fact that a major traffic accident might kill a higher proportion of older people doesn’t mean the accident is perfectly natural.

You cite reports from March 17th when Italy had around 2.5k deaths. They now have over 17k. And, no, it isn’t just the elderly who have died. Right across Europe people in their 30s and 40s have succumbed to this disease.

Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 7:19 am

My dear, this was a MONTH ago.
There is up-to-date figures

Tim Bidie
Reply to  Alex
April 9, 2020 11:09 am

Weird, because Hamburg numbers were very similar, except that no-one, that would be no-one, died of Covid 19 who had no prior illness.

‘So far, not a single person with no previous illnesses had died of the virus in Hamburg: Everyone we have examined so far has had cancer, chronic lung disease, were heavily smokers or obese, had diabetes, or had cardiovascular disease. Covid-19 is a deadly disease only in exceptional cases’

‘In quite a few cases, we have also found that the current corona infection has nothing to do with the fatal outcome because there are other causes of death, such as a cerebral hemorrhage or a heart attack. ‘Corona in itself is a ‘not particularly dangerous viral disease’ says (Professor Klaus Püschel, head of Hamburg forensic medicine) the medical examiner. He advocates statistics based on concrete research findings. ‘All speculations about individual deaths that have not been properly examined only stir up fears.’

‘The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg had recently, contrary to the requirements of the Berlin Robert Koch Institute, started to differentiate between deaths with and from coronaviruses, which led to a decrease in Covid 19 deaths’

Hamburger Abendblatt 02 April


Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 3:10 pm

So if someone has a heart attack after being in a hospital with viral pneumonia for some length of time, that is not attributable to having viral pneumonia?
Oh, well, do not want to tell him how to do his job, but as others have noticed, this seems illogical.
So it seems some people are trying to over count the disease, but are others doing the opposite?
It seems to me if everyone is counting deaths the same way, we can compare countries with each other, otherwise, not.

I doubt very many people over 60 and especially 70 have nothing that could be considered a “comorbidity” if needing to take a pill for hypertension, or being a few pounds overweight count.
One reason, a big one I think, that so many people are living longer than in previous times, is because few people are dying of such things.

To my way of looking at it, the question ought to be, “Would this person have likely died now if they had never got this virus?”

Steve T
Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 8:05 am

“No, it isn’t like ‘Flu’ at all; it much more closely resembles other coronaviruses causing the common cold.”

Sure it is, that’s why the death rate from common cold is so high in medical and ancillary staff in hospitals isn’t it.


Tim Bidie
Reply to  Steve T
April 9, 2020 9:09 am

‘Rhinoviruses and coronaviruses cause the majority of common colds and play a part in more serious respiratory illnesses that lead to increased morbidity and mortality. Patients who are infants or elderly, have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or are immunosuppressed have increased frequency of rhinovirus-related respiratory complications.’

‘Rhinovirus and coronavirus infections.’ U.S. National Library of Medicine

‘Rhinovirus infection in the adults was associated with significantly higher mortality and longer hospitalization when compared with influenza virus infection.’

‘More patients in the rhinovirus group developed pneumonia complications (p = 0.03), required oxygen therapy, and had a longer hospitalization period (p < 0.001), whereas more patients in the influenza virus group presented with fever (p < 0.001) and upper respiratory tract symptoms of cough and sore throat (p < 0.001), and developed cardiovascular complications (p < 0.001).'

'Unexpectedly Higher Morbidity and Mortality of Hospitalized Elderly Patients Associated with Rhinovirus Compared with Influenza Virus Respiratory Tract Infection'

International Journal of Molecular Sciences Feb 2017

Intemperate language invariably signals the wrong end of the argument.

Reply to  Steve T
April 9, 2020 1:58 pm

Thanks Steve–right on.

And that is why so many die of the common cold after their cruise ship vacations or all the massive numbers that die in clusters in nursing homes when the common cold breaks out in a community. /sarc

Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 8:08 am

Yeah, and common cold corona virus likely give false positives on the tests too.

Reply to  Tim Bidie
April 9, 2020 10:10 am


saxe roberts
April 9, 2020 6:41 am

Stay with me here. We often here that CCP is “covering up” the amount of dead. But I have a question for you people who are much smarter than me. So, China had first case Nov. 17, 2019, they then locked down Wuhan Jan. 23. By the end of Feb, they had nearly 2,900 dead. (3 months from 1st case) In America, first case in WA was Jan. 21. Most of America locked down mid-March (months from 1st case). In America, we have around 13,000 deaths (close to 3 months from first case).

Wuhan: With a population of 11,000,000, .00026 of their total population died (2,900/11M).
American: Using .00026, we should have nearly 85,800 should be dead.

And I’ve read the CCP may have had up to 100,000 die. If that is the case, we should have 3,000,000 dead

We are boosting deaths be redefining “cause of death”. Even with that, we’re nowhere close to 85,800 and certainly not 3,000,000. So, where is America hiding the bodies?

April 9, 2020 6:45 am

Missing in the above is sensitivity to ACE-2 proclivities, smoking, and effect of age. But overall, conclusion that this virus is MUCH more fatal than normal pneumonia is important for all to know.
My sister-in-law has been on a ventilator for nearly 3 weeks and has difficulty in keeping her O2 saturation up. Anecdotal information is that Covid-19 attacks Heme in the blood, reducing one’s ability to move oxygen (from the deteriorating lungs) to other organs.
The fact that the USA defense stockpile of N95 masks was allowed to deplete after N1H1 and not rebuilt will obviously be part of the Lessons Learned from this disaster.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Enginer01
April 9, 2020 8:06 am

It is a lesson taught.
Whether the right people will learn it…another question.

April 9, 2020 6:45 am

This is a terrific summary. The ICNARC report can be downloaded from this page:


We urgently require community immunity testing on a population basis. Something similar to political polling using a representative sample from a defined geographical area. From this, we can calculate:
– the true prevalence of past Covid-19 infection
– the relationship between true prevalence and confirmed cases; hospital admission rate; ITU rate and death

If it turns out that a majority of Londoners are already infected and we are not close to ventilator/ O2/ staff capacity, then the economic lockdown must be ended.

April 9, 2020 6:47 am

Yes, I too found the ICNARC report (via the Worldometers page for the UK). This article gives a very accurate and concise summary of that document. Thank you, Christopher. This bug is very definitely not flu; the radically different profiles of the two when broken down by ethnicity proves that beyond doubt.

BTW, the ICNARC document is here: https://www.icnarc.org/DataServices/Attachments/Download/76a7364b-4b76-ea11-9124-00505601089b.

April 9, 2020 6:47 am

Is it possible the use of ventilators is making the situation worse for ill patients?

M Courtney
Reply to  Mark Albright
April 9, 2020 11:18 am

There is a shortage of ventilators. We know what happens when they are not used. We know what happens when they are used.
They do not make the situation worse for ill patients. Someone would have noticed.

Roger Knights
Reply to  M Courtney
April 9, 2020 7:58 pm

“There is a shortage of ventilators.”

Except in NY City, and Washington state, where there now appears to be an excess of them.

M Courtney
Reply to  Roger Knights
April 10, 2020 2:40 am

The world is bigger than the USA.

April 9, 2020 6:47 am

This is great.
Whats the stats for Africa?

son of mulder
April 9, 2020 6:54 am

The annual flu jab in the UK has saved many lives over the years on years. Many elderly folk are alive now because of it but as such have lived to be at the mercy of Covid.

John Dowser
April 9, 2020 6:55 am

Then again wearing motor helmets outdoors,as the author seems to suggest by example, just for protection seems pathological in itself. It won’t filter out that much as the air one inhales still would have the microscopical “drops” potentially.

There’s no reason to assume that social distancing without masks, outdoors, would elevate any risk, statistically at least. The numbers quickly become meaningless here.

In transport, offices and occupations which require close contact: there’s a case. The rest if panic induced control mania, IMO.

Roger Knights
Reply to  John Dowser
April 9, 2020 8:05 pm

“Then again wearing motor helmets outdoors,as the author seems to suggest by example, just for protection seems pathological in itself.”

I don’t recall MoB saying it was for his protection. The attached face shield, which you forgot t