What’s Causing Job Loss

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve read claims on the web that the job losses in the US were due to the virus itself, and to the fear of the virus making people cut back on activities. The claims are that the job loss is more from that, and not so much a result of the American Lockdown. So I thought I’d take a look at the weekly new claims for unemployment insurance. Of course, the different states have been hit differently by the changes. Here’s the graph of weekly new unemployment claims for one of the least affected states, Oregon.

Figure 1. Weekly new unemployment claims, Oregon, since 1999. “Usual” refers to the one-year period preceding the record rise.

I saw that and I thought something was wrong with the program I’d written to download and graph the data. But nope. In fact, every single state’s new unemployment claims looks just like that. I said YIKES! I’d heard that things were bad, but I had no idea things were that bad.

Now, there are a few interesting things about Figure 1. First, you can see the results of the 2007-2009 global financial crisis in the increased unemployment peaking in 2009. We thought unemployment was bad at that time … and it was.

Since then, new unemployment claims had been steadily decreasing.

You can also see that this increase in Oregon unemployment was not caused by the coronavirus. Nor was it caused by fears of the coronavirus. It was a result of the American Lockdown.

Finally, Oregon is doing better than almost all other states, and it is still seeing eleven times the number of unemployed as was typical for the previous year. Wow. That’s the good news?

Next, here’s a state from the middle of the pack, California. It has seen a seventeen-fold increase in unemployment, with over two million people out of work in California alone.

Figure 2. Weekly new unemployment claims, California, since 1999. “Usual” refers to the one-year period preceding the record rise.

Just as in Oregon, the jump in unemployment was sudden, and coincided with the American Lockdown.

Here’s the truly crazy part. There have been just under a thousand deaths in California. Bending the curve didn’t save them, nor was it supposed to save them. Instead, it was supposed to have delayed the hospitalizations and deaths so they hit over weeks rather than days. We don’t know, and may never know, the extent of that delay if any.

We do know that most of the deaths are among the group you might call “at death’s door”.

So in California, we’ve thrown at least two million people out of work in order to delay, but not prevent, the deaths of a thousand or so people, most of whom had other serious illnesses.

Am I the only person who thinks that making two million people jobless, merely to delay but not prevent a thousand deaths, is a bad deal for society?

Let me close my look at state-level data with a state that you’d think would have seen increased unemployment from the virus itself, and not just by governmental action. Between fear of flying, fear of crowds, and fear of the virus itself, I expected Hawaii to show a different pattern from the two above. Here’s their unemployment record:

Figure 3. Weekly new unemployment claims, Hawaii, since 1999. “Usual” refers to the one-year period preceding the record rise.

To my surprise, no increase in unemployment due to the virus itself. But once again unemployment is way, way up, thirty times the usual amount Normally Hawaii sees four thousand new claims every three weeks, as they saw right up to the week ending March 21. But now they have over a hundred thousand unemployed in three weeks and counting … madness.

Finally, here’s the corresponding graph for the entire US.

Figure 4. Weekly new unemployment claims, US, since 1999. “Usual” refers to the one-year period preceding the record rise.

Twenty-one times the normal three-week count of new unemployment claims … and fifteen million unemployed.

But wait, as they say on TV, “There’s More!”

As with all such data, it takes a bit of time for the Fed to collect it and post it up. The most recent data on all of the graphs is the most recent data the Fed has posted—I pull the data from the Fed site for each graph as I create it. That data is for the week ending April 4th. I’m writing this on the 18th of April. So there are two weeks of unposted data up to the present.

We have to assume that the new unemployment claims won’t be back to pre-lunacy levels any time soon. During the week ending two weeks ago (2020-04-04 in Figure 4) there were Six. Million. New. Unemployment. Claims.

And there were another six million the week before that. For that two weeks, the US was losing jobs at a rate of almost a million more unemployed EVERY DAY!

So perhaps ten million still in the pipeline, 15 million filed claims already. That’s 25 million unemployed …

The human carnage in that number, twenty-five million, the wrecked dreams, the failed businesses, the broken relationships, the stress on marriages, the increase in suicides and domestic violence …

There are about 130 million people working full-time in the US. As of two weeks ago, governmental action had thrown more than ten percent of them out of work, with more since then.

This sudden spike in joblessness is totally unprecedented. It needs to be stopped immediately. Hundreds of thousands more unemployed every single day that this madness continues is simply not acceptable. Too much pain, far too little gain.

Here’s my plan. You had to know I have a plan. Here’s my plan.

Whenever any governmental official forcibly throws people out of work by unilaterally making their business illegal, that official and everyone under their purview should immediately lose all salary, benefits, housing, insurance, transportation, and any other benefits.

Now I can hear you thinking, “How can Willis justify that?” Simple. It’s under the same doctrine they use. They’ve divided human activities into two groups. Only one of these groups is permitted. The other is forbidden.

Of course, everyone making a living doing something which is now forbidden is suddenly thrown out of their job. Wife and husband work for a now-forbidden company? Sorry … go home and fight with each other.

And to return to the question of how I could justify throwing all those government people out of work?

The answer is in the fact that the two groups of activities, one permitted and one forbidden, the government calls these two groups “Essential” and “Non-Essential” activities.

I rest my case.

So. What should we do?

I say put on any and all health and sanitary regulations we can think of that do not pull the wheels off of the economy. We don’t have to destroy the economy in order to slow the progress of the virus.

I say every part of the economy depends on every other part. As a result, excessive “staging” will retard the resurgence of the economy.

I say that “staging” is more judgment calls by the unqualified that will still outlaw people’s jobs.

I say that every day that the pluted bloatocrats governmental officials dither and sit on their thumbs and spin, more than half a million more people lose their jobs. Unconscionable.

I say that another layer of specialists and meetings and committees is simply putting or keeping people out of work.

And as a result of all of that, I say what I’ve said from the start …

End the American lockdown now. Not next month. Not next week. Now. Not in “stages”. Not in “phases”. Now.

Lots of talk about May 1. Gotta love the symbolism. May Day. I hope we’re back to work well before that.

But if not, let me suggest a peaceful workers revolt, the one where on May 1st we all just go forward to work. Not back to work. Forward to work. Everyone goes to their usual place of work on May 1st. No fanfare. Wear masks. Social distance. Wear gloves. Testing where appropriate. Whatever you need. And go forward to work.

Will that lead to flareups of coronavirus? I suspect so. However, future flareups will happen whether we go to work all at once or bit by bit. That virus will not go gentle into that good night no matter what we do …

Protip for those in charge. Historically, and for good reasons, in epidemics governments have used extraordinary powers to quarantine the sick. This was done to slow the spread of the disease, just as we’re attempting to do today.

Currently, however, it’s the healthy who are getting quarantined …

And to return to today’s point—quarantining the sick doesn’t destroy the economy and drive 25 million people out of work. Here are some of the measures cities used during the Spanish Flu:

Lots of things we can do to flatten the curve without flattening the economy in the process.

Finally, a plea for some perspective on this pandemic. As pandemics go, it’s not a rock star. Here’s a comparison.

I’ve lived through two pandemics with far higher death counts, and today they are hardly even remembered …

My best to you all, stay healthy, stay well, smell the flowers …


The Small Print: When you comment please quote the exact words you are discussing. It avoids endless misunderstandings.

330 thoughts on “What’s Causing Job Loss

  1. This lockdown is infuriating. We cannot continue to believe that everyone not in hospital with the virus or dead from the virus is carrying the virus. That is not living. It’s barely even existing. Enough with the buggy computer simulations and the cowardly politicians. Protect the vulnerable, quarantine and assist the sick. Let the rest of us get back to living.

    • I agree with you Willis – I made the same call independently in mid-March, and it is proving correct here in Alberta and most locations elsewhere.


      “I believe this UK Covid-19 estimated mortality range “between 0.5% and 1%” (deaths/infections) is ~correct for a typical country’s population distribution , and my hunch is “closer to 0.5%” – that is not very scary except if you are in the “high risk” group – over 65 years of age or otherwise high-risk (with other medical problems) – Covid-19 deaths are heavily concentrated in the high-risk group.”

      One large hospital in Calgary has only 2 Covid-19 patients – the hospital is almost empty, cleared out awaiting the “tsunami” of patients who never arrived.


      Here in Alberta, the Covid-19 lock-down has resulted a debacle.

      Most of our deaths are in nursing homes – our policy seems to be “Lockdown the low-risk majority but fail to adequately protect the most vulnerable.”

      The global data for Covid-19 suggests that deaths/infections will total 0.5% or less – not that scary – but much higher and clearly dangerous for the high-risk group – those over-65 or with serious existing health problems.

      “Elective” surgeries were cancelled about mid-March, in order to make space available for the “tsunami” of Covid-19 cases that never happened. Operating rooms are empty and medical facilities and medical teams are severely underutilized. The backlog of surgeries will only be cleared with extraordinary effort by medical teams, and the cooperation of patients who die awaiting surgery – patients who were too impatient…

      This may look like 20:20 hindsight, but I called it this way in ~mid-March.

      Regards, Allan



      I still think my ~mid-March assessment of this situation was the correct one:
      “Isolate people over sixty-five and those with poor immune systems and return to business-as-usual for people under sixty-five.
      This will allow “herd immunity” to develop much sooner and older people will thus be more protected AND THE ECONOMY WON’T CRASH.
      If tests prove positive, use chloroquine and remdesivir or other cheap available drugs ASAP as appropriate.”

      With rare exceptions, we have not seen the “tsunami of cases overwhelm our medical systems”, and we have trashed our economies and severely harmed hundreds of millions worldwide who live from paycheck to paycheck. Considering the pro’s and con’s, the full lockdown was a bad call.

      Regards, Allan

      [excerpt- posted 21Mar2020]

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

      • I still think my ~mid-March assessment of this situation was the correct one:
        “Isolate people over sixty-five and those with poor immune systems and return to business-as-usual for people under sixty-five.
        This will allow “herd immunity” to develop much sooner and older people will thus be more protected AND THE ECONOMY WON’T CRASH.

        Allan, I agreed with you in March and agree yet today. What can be done, at least in Alberta? Do we have to march on the Legislature building to get attention? Latest stats show 3 people died under 60 and ALL had underlying causes. This is out of 4.3 million. This is shear madness.

        • do you know of proof that vaccines are going to work or that you cannot be re-infected having recovered. No literature as of18th April suggests that re-infection is not possible.

          Would you care to share your info please

          • The record for development of a vaccine to public distribution of hundreds of thousands of doses…..is four years….

          • There is increasing evidence that this Covid-19 illness is not that different from other virus flu’s and milder than many – it barely touches the young and healthy – many are asymptomatic – and it is high-risk to the elderly and unwell.

            Therefore, it makes little sense to lock-down and over-protect the low-risk population and under-protect the high-risk, which is what has been done – a huge percentage of deaths are in old-age homes.
            The economy has been trashed in this incompetent process, and many young people ‘s lives have been damaged/destroyed by throwing them overnight into unemployment and poverty.

            Attaboys all around for this gross over-reaction/under-reaction to this almost-average flu.

            Told you so one month ago.

      • Sorry, but 0.5% to 1.0% mortality rates for an entire country is equivalent to fighting a shooting war.
        It is a huge catastrophe.
        I agree that the lockdowns are not the best way to combat nCOV, but trying to dismiss the danger of nCOV is ridiculous.

        • In reply to:

          “sorry, but 0.5% to 1.0% mortality rates for an entire country”…. is bad and not acceptable to those who would die.

          This financial crisis caused by covid -19 isolation is a serious a major world war. We are just too ignorant, to understand how serious and permanent the damage is. Covid isolation is causing small and large business bankruptcy. Bankrupt companies do not restart.

          A large section of our economy, sports, live music, theatre, restaurants, bars, and so on is dying.

          We need an microbiological option that reduces the death rate by factors of 10 and 100 which would allow most of us to face covid-19 and get immunity.

          Through the use of Zinc supplements and Vitamin D supplements (see my comment above for links and details)….

          … and for those most at risk add a Zinc Ionophore.


          Zn 2+ Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of These Viruses in Cell Culture

          Chloroquine Is a Zinc Ionophore


        • c1ue April 19, 2020 at 9:05 am

          Sorry, but 0.5% to 1.0% mortality rates for an entire country is equivalent to fighting a shooting war.
          It is a huge catastrophe.

          Umm … perhaps, but we’re a full order of magnitude less deaths than that. Here are some past “huge catastrophes” to compare it with. I’ve added this graphic to the head post as well.


          • Willis, for your info – and to all the fearful who’ve lapped up the lamestream propaganda:


            Study in Germany found actual infection rate is close to 15% of population. And then the Santa Clara study found up to 80x more people actually infected (with basically no symptoms) than the official numbers.

            This puts it at or below the normal flu death rate of 0.1%.

            This lock down nonsense is like your getting a sliver in your thumb, and instead of using a surgical forceps to remove it, you use a 5 pound sledge hammer to smash the whole hand – rending it useless forever…. overkill will do more damage in this kind of scenario.

            Remember people, lock downs will NOT prevent ANY deaths. All it was designed to do is prevent too many really sick people from overwhelming the health care system. It was to flatten the curve over a longer period of time – the area under that curve remains the same! (for the math challenged that means the total deaths are the same under both curves)

            There are only 3 things which will stop the virus:

            1) enough people in the general population get it, and get over it and achieve [herd] immunity.

            2) a vaccine is developed and deployed

            3) it stops propagating because it mutates to something less lethal.

            Item 1 above is the fastest and only certain way to stop the madness. Item 2 takes too long, and may not even work – remember people the common cold consists of several “coronavirus” cousins – and we cannot provide a vaccine for the common cold. Item 3 – is a wish and prayer and not worth considering.

            The health care system has not been overwhelmed – so the only logical and practical next step is to open up the economy, isolate and protect the really vulnerable, so that herd immunity can run it’s course.

            We are actually not that far from herd immunity, if in fact as much as 15% of the general population has antibodies (immunity) already!

            Furthermore, people are being severely misled. A Virus is NOT ALIVE! It is a teensy bit of genetic code. This one on the order of 200 nm (yes as small as a wavelength of UV light). It cannot remain intact long outside of a living body. It uses the living host to replicate and then send out these “seeds” of bad genetic code, hitching rides on fluid droplets excreted by living humans, breathing, coughing and sneezing. (masks are primarily to prevent you from spreading the virus to others, not really to protect you from getting it)

            The ignorant masses have been led to believe this thing is alive and airborne – wearing masks when jogging alone or bicycling alone is a reflection of this mass delusion.

            Ironically as mentioned it is fragile out of a host body. UV light destroys it very quickly. So the notion of encouraging people outdoors, alone or even it small groups to wear masks – is the antithesis of destroying the virus! Any virus expelled in your spittle or droplets emanating from your nose and mouth, will rapidly be destroyed when outdoors – but a mask will let it avoid UV destruction….

            Watch this insightful video with two experts which high levels of credentials:

            Specifically at 20:00 to 21:00, the credentialed expert indicates that chance of dying from the WuFlu is about the same as driving 9 to 450 miles per day in a car.

            Duhhh, if the risk is about the same as driving in a car for a few hours a day – then cratering the economy is nonsense. (unless of course you secretly want to destroy civilization so you can create your socialist utopia with iron fisted gov control of everything)

            In fact one or the other of the experts Levin had on his show last night, indicates in no uncertain terms that the lock downs are in fact slowing and hampering “herd” immunity which as discussed above is the only rapidly feasible way to knock down the so called pandemic.

            This info, when combined with Willis’ aligned graphs of Sweden vs the US – the former not locked down and the latter locked down – with the same curve – shows by evidence – lock down is no different in outcome than not locking down. I would add, except that Sweden will achieve herd immunity faster than US if we remain locked down.

        • The stated mortality rate is not for the entire population. Instead it’s the mortality rate among the infected. You imply if we end the lock down, the entire population will be at risk and the deaths will skyrocket. Exact figures are unknown, but among known cases of Covid-19, the percentage with no or mild symptoms are reported to be in the 90% range.

      • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/20/un-climate-change-fund-calls-coronavirus-an-opportunity-to-re-shape-the-world/#comment-2973043

        Pre-coffee calculations are always suspect, but:

        I say that in Iceland THE DEATH RATE [Total Deaths/Estimated Total Infections] IS LESS THAN 0.1%, SIMILAR TO OTHER SEASONAL FLUS.


        Covid-19 appears relatively mild, often showing no symptoms among younger people, but is dangerous to the elderly and the infirm.

        As I wrote in March:
        [excerpt- posted 21Mar2020]
        “This full-lockdown scenario is especially hurting service sector businesses and their minimum-wage employees – young people are telling me they are “financially under the bus”. The young are being destroyed to protect us over-65’s. A far better solution is to get them back to work and let us oldies keep our distance, and get “herd immunity” established ASAP – in months not years. Then we will all be safe again.”

        Have we wasted many trillions, harmed billions of young people and trashed our economies for nothing? Seems so. We should end this unnecessary lockdown now!

        Next time, listen to your Uncle Allan, who tries his best to take good care of all of you. 🙂

        – Allan MacRae

        WHAT’S THE STATUS OF COVID-19 IN ICELAND? Last updated April 21, 2020

        Iceland has the best Covid-19 data, having ~randomly tested >43,000 cases, ~13% of their country’s population.

        Active cases peaked on 5April2020. On 4May2020 the Icelandic government will begin relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in Iceland in general. Icelandic preschools and elementary schools will return to regular operation; salons, massage parlours, and museums will reopen; and gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed. Swimming pools, gyms, bars, and slot machines will remain closed for the time being.

        Iceland Total Tests to 21Apr2020 ~43,143
        Confirmed infections 1773
        Population of Iceland 341,250
        Total Tests/Population 12.6%
        Infections/Tests = 4.1%

        Extrapolating to Iceland’s population = (341,250/43,143) * 1773 = 14,023 estimated total infections in Iceland

        Ten deaths have been recorded to date.
        10 deaths/1773 confirmed infections = 0.56%
        10 deaths/14023 estimated total infections in Iceland = 0.07% = LESS THAN 0.1% MORTALITY RATE IN THE GENERAL POPULATION
        10 deaths/341,250 population = 2.9*10^5 = 0.003%

        • Just received this. More confirmation of “Covid-19 is ~just another seasonal flu.”

          Iceland data is better than California data:
          Covid Mortality Rate (Total Deaths/Total Infections) is ~0.1% of general population.


          In a press conference, Barbara Ferrer, director of the LA County Department of Public Health, said that based on the survey’s prevalence estimate, the county’s [Covid-19} mortality rate is between 0.1 and 0.2%, rather than above 4% as reflected by the official caseload. The Santa Clara survey also estimated a mortality rate between 0.1 and 0.2%.

  2. In consistency with your reasoning ,you should be the first to volunteer to die from coronavirus to help support the profits of the billionaires. But of course you’ll be safely isolated at home on your computer, urging the worthless masses to die for MORE PROFITS. But of course this remark will be censored by your freedom-loving website.

      • I think we learned in the AGW debate that the “Lerners” of the world will never learn.
        The position they adopt was never based on logic; ergo , it cannot be corrected with logic.
        Something about wrestling with the pig wasn’t it?

        No offence to pigs , of course 🙂

    • The billionaires aren’t the ones getting hurt, it’s everyone else. They won’t have less coming out of this they will buy up tons of their competition and watch an every larger amount simply go out of business. They are one of only two groups that won’t get hurt the other being anyone that works for the government.

    • Eric Lerner April 18, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      In consistency with your reasoning ,you should be the first to volunteer to die from coronavirus to help support the profits of the billionaires.

      Eric, the government takes away the jobs of a woman and her husband, closes their kids’ school, and mandates that the whole family can’t leave the house.

      I’m arguing to restart the economy, but not for the billionaires or their profits. That’s crazy talk. I said nothing of the sort.

      I want to restart the economy for that couple lying awake at night wondering how they’ll pay their bills, and for the single mom who was just making ends meet on her waitress salary until the government shut the restaurant down, and for the other 25 million unemployed who it appears you don’t care about in the slightest … we can flatten the curve without flattening the economy.


      • Be careful with this response. The Federal Government is paying every unemployed worker $600 a week in addition to the state unemployment compensation, around $400 per week. Thus, you are better off unemployed if you were making less than $1,000 per week prior to the COVID crisis. Now I do not know how to value the dignity of work. We will find out when the supplemental benefits expire. I fully expect demands for continuation.

        • Yes, the $600 per week of additional unemployment is one of the leading causes of the surge. In Florida, the form for filing unemployment asks if your unemployment or reduction in hours is due to COVID-19. If you answer “Yes”, you need no other explanation and you are exempt from having to look for new employment. The maximum dollar amount for weekly unemployment in Florida is $275. When you add in the $600 federal subsidy, you end up with $875 per week. There are many who did not make that much in their pre-lockdown pay. So what is the incentive to are continue to work for less $$ than those who are not working?
          I am a perfect example. I have a nice retirement job to supplement my SS. I have been working an average of 28 hours per week at a modest $13 per hour in an essential business. After taxes my take home averaged about $330/week. I currently qualify for $183/week in unemployment benefits so when you add in the additional $600/week that brings me $783/week. Well, why should I continue to work? I can justify my layoff as someone who is over 65 and has an underlying medical condition so that puts me in a high risk category and thus I should be staying home, no other quesitons asked.

          • That is insane! My wife was a Social Worker and was recently laid off due to the expiration of her companies contract with the state. This happened just before the Covid19 thing started to become an issue. She has her Bachelors Degree and worked hard hours everyday dealing with families and their little children with some serious health defects helping to provide council and resources to help improve the lives of their children. As a Social Worker, she was actually paid well making around 50k per year. That works our to roughly 960.00 per week.
            When she was laid off, she chose not to apply for unemployment benefits since the weekly amount was going to be around 200.00 to 240.00 per week. So instead of keeping our little children in daycare and having to try and find a new job right away, she chose to stay home and be with our kids.
            However, looking at things today, if indeed they are giving you an extra 600.00 per week and from what I hear they want to make it 1000.00 per week, why would anyone ever want to go back to work! For a person like my wife who would get around 200.00 to 240.00 per week on unemployment here in AZ with an additional 600.00 to possibly 1000.00 per week on top of that from the government for up to two years is ridiculous! That can equal 1240.00 per week and even more in some states! I’m an engineer and do well so my wife doesn’t need to work but shoot, at this point, I may ask her to apply for benefits if its that much. After all, its tax money…Might as well hold out our hands and eat at the trough we all paid into.

            This lockdown will lead all these young people, single moms with kids or those who don’t have many marketable skills along with anyone who was on the fence about socialism to grow very fond of it. Being paid to not work is very appealing to someone in their 20’s who owns a large flat screen and a game console.

      • Willis… Eric Lerner misunderstands the key thing. He thinks the lockdown is needed to preent us all from getting sick so you must be crazy.

        The lockdown is NOT to prevent anyone from becoming infected. It won’t do that. It is to prevent the hospital facilities from being owvewhelmed. That’s all. The plan is still for everyone to get sick and hopefully become immune…eventually… just at a slower rate than results from not locking down.

        The ‘unless’ to that statement is ‘unless’ there is a working treatement or vaccine cobbled together,tested, manufactured, distributed and supplied to almost everyone real soon.

        • That was the original plan but it changed around 17 March with the doomsday Imperial College report predicting millions of deaths. The plan now is indefinite lockdown until we have a vaccine. Yes it’s that crazy. They have hugely overestimated how deadly this virus is and lost all sense of proportion.

          • The shutdown of dental offices except for emergencies was due to the inability to replace all the masks used by the dentist, the assistants and the hygienists. It had nothing to do with the virus itself.

          • Tom in Florida, that’s not correct. Working in someone’s open mouth, close enough to be regularly breathed upon by a carrier was a major concern. So was a sitting room full of potential carriers. The virus inhabits both the throat and the lungs. No mask, N95 or otherwise, was going to ensure that either the dentist or the hygienist could work safely in someone’s mouth, let alone from six feet away, according to dentists I know.

          • BobM,
            My wife runs a dental office. They and other dentists in Florida were ordered to see emergencies only because of the number of masks used each day. Her office sees around 30 patients per day, most for hygiene and others for actual dental work. Multiply that by the thousands of dentist in the state and you can see the problem with mask resupply. The issue was that those masks were needed elsewhere for actual COVID cases. Prior to that her office had already started a policy of screening patients and rescheduling anyone with any kind of illness symptom whether it met the COVID threshold or not.

      • A lot of people don’t get the fact that without businesses, and especially small businesses, there are no jobs except government ones.

        Government jobs can’t exist without taxes from businesses and their employees, either.

        • Exactly. The left is simply not rational. Many flu deaths can be saved by having the whole country locked down forever but that is not done.

          • The carbon! Think of the reduction in CO2!!! Frankly, if the atmospheric PPM doesn’t budge in the midst of this worldwide brake-slam, CAGW as a theory is TOAST.

        • I think most people know that they just also prioritize other issues you dismiss. I agree small businesses are very important and they employ the most numbers of people but I still disagree with the argument. You just don’t want to try to understand why that is or care what we think.

        • The ’90’s called – they want your “Government jobs can’t exist without taxes from businesses and their employees” line back.
          The Fed Gov’t has been running on borrowed/printed money for a long time. For a long while, other people and entities bought up that debt. Now the Fed Reserve buys most of it. “Buying your own debt” is just a convoluted way to print it – mostly so they don’t have to say they printed it.
          Soon, the Fed Gov’t will fund the state gov’ts, so one more massive section of government will become completely untethered from the private sector. At least until the whole thing crashes.

          • @Matthew Schilling — Do you expect that can go on like this forever? Inflation will kick in. Very few of us have defined benefit retirement plans. Inflation robs people of their savings and investments.

            To believe that deficits and printing money doesn’t have consequences is irrational.

    • Mr Lerner makes it sound like only billionares profit from the entire economy. If you remove the greater NY city area from the countries numbers the virus is barely making a dent in the nations health. It mostly effects those already knocking on heavens door. Yes, there are sad, tragic cases and no one wants anyone to ever suffer be sick or die, but alas all of those are part and parcel of the human condition. Being realistic is not being hard hearted. Grow up. The evidence is piling up the over reaction is insane. The madness and the power mad have the reins and it is past time to take it back.

    • “you should be the first to volunteer to die from coronavirus to help support the profits of the billionaires.”

      man if you/we/us do not produce — especially food, water( treatment, and delivery ), electricity and medication, we all die.

      who do you think produce that –Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy?

      • Do not leave out all the residential appliance sales and repairs. We have been running 8-10 service calls a day for non working refrigerators, stoves and washing machines. We continue to sell, deliver and install new refrigerators that need replacement. We are a small, family owned business with 10 employees.
        There are many other small, family owned businesses that service and repair everything we all need in our lives. Most have less than 25 employees but they make the world go round in local communities.

        • Its interesting that this is happening in Florida as the same thing is happening here in Nova Scotia. My retirement hobby job is at a discount appliance store where sales have skyrocketed. When the social distancing rules started we stopped home service except for non working refrigerators. Within the week the sales of stoves, washers, and dryers took off, also sales of parts with over the phone troubleshooting advice. We have also started getting over the phone purchases sight unseen with delivery to the front yard.

      • The trouble with Socialism, is sooner or later you run out of other peoples’ money. Sooner, in this case . . .

        • That saying is so 20th Century. Now they just print it. They are going to ride the pervasive faith in the US Dollar all the way to the bitter end. I’m not sure what will happen then. I do know the mighty Inca Empire simply disappeared, having been swallowed by the forest

          • In the Weimar republic, people were wheeling barrows full of cash through the streets to buy a loaf of bread. If a dray horse fell down in the street, they cut it up for food.

            Any further questions about that printing-money thang?

    • Eric is obviously one of those not affected by the lock-down.

      He thinks himself as an essential service, immune from the rest of society.

      A public servant lech, unsackable even for gross idiocy and incompetence.

    • I’m high risk – mid-70s with a damaged lung and still recovering from recent surgery. So I think my opinion counts when someone like Willis suggests a course of action which has the potential to make life a lot riskier for high-risk people (OK, he’s in the USA and I’m in Australia, but the same equations apply). So how severely would I condemn Willis’s recommendation? I’ll tell you in 3 words: He is right.

      • We are in the process of destroying the prosperity of a whole generation of young people. The governments will not be able to put the Humpty Dumpty economies they are gleefully breaking back together again. They will implement all sorts of heroic bureaucratic schemes (evidence the U.S. 2-plus trillion dollar ‘tip-of-the-iceberg’ we are now pissing away) that will lead to bigger governments, more regulations, smaller economies and fewer small businesses: The socialist utopia where we are ruled by big government and big business elites.

        Molon Labe.

        • What we’re seeing is a dry-run for the Green New Deal and Agenda 21. And they didn’t even have to “come and take it,” We the Sheeple handed it all over from fear of the boogeyman. The WWII vets are spinning in their graves.

    • Mr Lerner I have already volunteered to die, my living will states no extraordinary measures are to be taken to keep me alive. You and people have already violated my living will. Insisting and shutting down the economy is and extraordinary measure and are directly against my wishes. Now on a person level and you want to climb under a rock go ahead, but please do not insist the rest of us do that. We are big we won’t interfere with you and other decisions about what is right for them but don’t force us to be snowflakes. There is an old saying that need to brought back, that is live free or die, it about time you snowflakes learn that yes there are always winners and losers and when a game is played the score is always keep by someone and a participation ribbon teaches you nothing of value.

    • Mr. Lerner,

      The lockdown is ENRICHING BILLIONAIRE Jeff Bezos!! Amazon stock ROSE 33% between mid March & the present. It ROSE to a RECORD HIGH, while most other stocks tanked, bankruptcy threatens family owned restaurants (including Chinese, Mexican … restaurants) & other businesses, 22+ million people of modest means have lost earned income …

      Other billionaires benefiting include Sam Walton’s heirs. Walmart stock ROSE to a record high AFTER the lockdown. It is up 15+% since mid March.

      • Bad economies usually favor the bigger companies.

        But where would we be without Walmart and Amazon right now? Too many local businesses shutdown because of the lock down. Where are you going to shop when the stores are all closed? Walmart and Amazon, to name 2 places.

    • Why do you think everyone who goes to work is going to die? Why do you think that waiting will protect those people? Do you think we can wait 4 years with no economy for a vaccine? Social distancing and lockdowns only flatten the curve, they do not save lives. You panicked fools make me sick.

    • Eric,
      You are an ignorant fool. Being exposed to this virus is NOT a death sentence for healthy people under 60. Even if you get infected you have greater than a 99% chance of surviving it. People willingly face worse odd than that all the time. Get a grip and stop spreading fear.

    • Eric, you don’t have to buy from the billionaires. Let the people who work from them all lose their jobs to punish the owners.

      Profits pay for everything. No profits means very little taxes. No taxes means no government income. That forces massive deficits and diluting the value of the dollar because that means more money has to be printed.

      Have you ever considered maybe people don’t want to live in a world of massive unemployment and hyperinflation? Life is full of risks and millions are willing to take a reasonable risk by going back to work.

          • Sweden here.
            In the local town, sized 10,000 people, I noticed that most of the factories keep manufacturing as long as they have supplies. In one factory, assembling cooling systems for large industrial machinery and wind turbines, has filled their huge courtyard with the finished products.

            The company’s problem is that their customers, mostly abroad, are not collecting the goods, due to the lock-down outside Sweden.

            I strongly believe Sweden would have far less unemployment increase, if US and EU had just implemented the soft sensible precautionary measures that Sweden has adopted.

        • For millions of unemployed, the lock down puts their lives at risk. Domestic violence and suicides are up. No word yet on divorces. Many courthouses are shutdown so a decrease in civil legal proceeding are expected.

          But please understand, the lock down only delays deaths, not saves them. The lock down was to flatten the curve and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. It’s impossible to continue the lock down until the threat is gone. The lock down is also preventing the US from getting herd immunity because the young and healthy aren’t getting exposed to the virus.

    • Ok, so perhaps you can explain which life is worth $2T ? Remember, this person is going to die anyway, we are just arguing about when.

    • I’m sure the sentiment comes from a good heart, but it is fundamentally wrong.

      Across time and across society, lives do not have the same value and so saving one life is not the same as any given other life at any given time.
      Think of it this way: two people are waiting for a liver transplant and a liver suitable for both potential recipients becomes available. One is a 60 year old male with obesitas and the other a 28 year old male with a MSc in Engineering. Who gets the liver?

      In a number of diverse European countries- think the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany or France – the healthcare system already operates on the basis of “qualy”, basically an index of factors taken into account to put a relative value on any given life on a time scale.

      That may be objectionable to some, but those are hardly uncultured, barbarian countries, that please note, do not have Sanders-like socialized public health systems – all are mixed public/privately financed systems- that have come to accept that finite healthcare resources cannot be applied equally across a rapidly ageing and longer lived population.
      A bit Vulcan perhaps, but quite realistic.

    • No! if 10 die for one saved. Terrorists base their actions in the hope people will give in to just a few deaths. Just open the doors to dictators like Stal*n and Ma*; they will only kill tens of millions if you let them. Some organisations want to ruin economies and reduce population so they can benefit. A response should benefit the most people all the time.

    • It achieved nothing for Sweden check out it’s economic data, it might as well have shutdown. I still think economically that tactic might work for some countries but clearly Sweden was not one of them. About all Sweden got to do was have a few more liberties but it’s death rate is ugly and the hit to the economy is massive with the unemployment rate at 8.2% by Feb and expected to hit over 10%.

      • ” expected to hit over 10%.”
        There would be one or two countries that would consider less than 15% , in the current circumstances, to be reasonably good result.
        But it is very early days for those sorts of numbers.

      • Let’s wait to judge Sweden’s response. While Sweden’s death curve may have a higher peak than many, in the end their death rate will probably be not much different than average, with their curve dropping below average for a long period. And even as it is, it seems Sweden’s health care system has not been over taxed.

        • Look closely at the demographics of the Swedish population.
          Look closely at the number of large cities with air pollution.
          Look closely at the number of people on welfare.

    • And where do you think the money comes from to pay them? Just print it out of thin air? Do you know what the total payroll impacted by just the layoffs to date is? And for how how long should we keep paying them with this printed money? Of course, there will be no economic consequences from just printing money to pay people. If there weren’t that is what we would do now, nobody would have to work, we would just give them money.

  3. I have argued that if the GDP drops then there Js to be a proportional drop in size of government. This is simply because tax revenue has declined which pays for the government. Once government bureaucrats are subjected to the same rules that they shove onto others they will change their tune very fast.

    • The chance of that happening is about the same as me having a hot, young girlfriend. Zero!

  4. Willis,
    I still want to know what value you put on a human life? The EPA for example uses a figure of 10
    million dollars when doing cost/benefit analyses. Without a lockdown somewhere between 100 000
    and a couple of million more people will die something even you admit. So where is your cost-benefit
    analysis comparing the cost of additional people dying to the cost of a couple of months of high
    unemployment. And as a comparison during the Spanish flu epidemic the cities that had the strictest
    lockdowns were the ones that recovered the quickest.

    • Izaak Walton April 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      Without a lockdown somewhere between 100 000 and a couple of million more people will die something even you admit.

      I don’t recall “admitting” anything even remotely like that. Link?

      And since in e.g. California no lives were saved by the lockdown, I’m not sure why I need a value. Two million are out of work in order to delay the deaths, not prevent but delay the deaths of a thousand people.

      I say that’s a bad deal. YMMV.


      • To be fair, some deaths may have been able to be prevented if deaths were delayed enough. We don’t know how many, however, and we could prevent most by investing in healthcare for now and the future instead of a lockdown.

      • Willis,
        the claim that no lives were save by the lockdown in California is just nonsense. Do you really
        think that if everyone had gone about their normal buisness for the last month the death toll
        would still be only 1000? Or would San Fransisco be more like New York? And last but not
        least it is worth noting that traffic fatalities are down by 50% since the lockdown saving
        several billion dollars.

        • Hey, brilliant plan, Izaak! We’ll just keep the lockdown in place, and live off of the profits from having fewer auto repair and hospital bills because there are less car crashes …


        • If reducing deaths is the goal lockdown forever as that will drastically cut both flu deaths, and car deaths, and deaths from accidents on the job.

          • Ah, yes. No death from contagious diseases, no accidental deaths (outside of clumsiness in your own home) – Utopia!

            Of course, the deaths from famine will far exceed the “Great Persian Famine” of 1917-18. Eight to ten million out of a population of nineteen million. All of the famines engineered by previous despots will be reduced to brief footnotes.

            All kudos to our farmers – my family is from that stock in Kansas – but for every one of them that is standing in his field, there are more than twenty others making his work possible. From agronomists in their laboratories, to the seed producers, the drivers that bring the seed grain in and the harvested grain out, the makers of parts for their machinery (and all of that chain, from miners in the earth to mills and foundries), the oil men who produce the fuel for that machinery, and the feed stock to chemical plants for fertilizer and pesticides for the fields, the grain millers, the bakers, the livestock feed haulers, the grocery store truckers, the grocery store stockers… (I’ve maybe listed ten percent of all of the laborers that put food on the table. But the idiots will still believe in the magic.)

      • Using that logic as everyone is going to die eventually, California will be in lockdown forever so they live forever … you either prevent a death or not 🙂

    • Izaak,
      I think that is an unfair question. The choice is not “the cost of additional people dying to the cost of a couple of months of high unemployment.”
      The reason I say that is because:
      1) it is not possible to just turn off the lock-down after a couple of months and expect the economy to pick up again where it left off. Many of the jobs will have disappeared for good because companies will have gone bust.
      2) there will be increased suicides, mental illness, people simply dying of cold and hunger (especially the homeless because charitable donations are falling, I believe), and there will be increases in domestic violence with couples and kids stuck in the same house.

      I’m not going to put you on the spot and ask you what value you place on these “damaged” lives. It is too hard. Similarly, I will not ask you what value you place on a fit 20 year old and a poor-health 80 year old. The former has most of his/her productive life remaining, and the latter has no productive life remaining and just a few years of calendar life remaining.

      My view is:
      a) most of the people dying are Old People with pre-existing medical conditions; the sort who will die in a year or two, and it is unethical to penalise our working population just to keep them alive a bit longer.
      b) trying to put numerical figures on the value of lives of different people, in different circumstances, is too hard to be useful; and will give figures with which there will be no agreement.
      c) it will take a generation for the world to recover and for GDP to get back to what it was before, if we carry on with the shutdown for another couple of months.
      d) the pain is being felt by the private sector, and felt most by the kids in the “gig-economy”; the pizza delivery guys and uber-drivers. The people who live pay-check to pay-check, or customer to customer are the ones hurting most. The public service have job security and they are less concerned (as Steve said, above)

      So I conclude that the most HUMANE course of action is to finish the lock-down RIGHT NOW, and let the nation’s workers get back to work.

      One more thought, sir. The lock-downs can continue only be public consent. I reckon by the end of May (ie in six weeks) that consent will have evaporated. People will have started going out more-and-more and doing whatever work they can and by the end of May the lock-downs will no longer be effective.

      Why not read the writing on the wall and stop this misguided policy now?

      • re: “Why not read the writing on the wall and stop this misguided policy now?”

        The ‘wordy’ (those who use excessive verbiage to express an idea or concept) and those in search of “being needed” aren’t nearly finished writing either their ‘tomes’ (1st group) or getting enough attention (the latter group, although there is overlapping of the two) …

      • Oldcynic,
        You might say that it is too hard to be useful but that is what insurance companies
        and governments do all the time. It is hard and there is not much consensus but it drives
        a lot of policy decisions from whether or not to ban smoking in public places, whether
        lead in petrol is allowed, speed limits, whether or not medicines are covered by insurance etc.

        You say that you conclude that the most humane course of action is to end the lockdown. My
        question would be on what basis? What are your calculations about the additional loss of life,
        the suffering involved from those extra deaths, and how do you weigh those suffering against
        those who are out of work, stuck at home with an abuser etc? There are real costs involved on
        both sides and I don’t want to minimise them but to claim that a particular course of action is
        the best then you need to present your calculations about all those costs.

        • Izaak:

          You might say that it is too hard to be useful but that is what insurance companies . . . do all the time.

          This is a financial calculation based upon a specific class of actuarial business logic, not a moral one.

          What are your calculations about the additional loss of life, the suffering involved from those extra deaths, and how do you weigh those suffering against . . .

          This is a moral question, not a question of actuarial business logic we’d find in insurance calculations.

          Surely you’ll agree this is a textbook example of the False Equivalence fallacy?

          • syscomputing,
            Rather than being a “false equivalence” it is the very real issue facing politicans
            around the world right now. Different society will come to different answers but
            everyone has to make that decision right now. And what politicans need to do is
            to make such calculations transparently and openly.

            The other question that is worth asking is what sort of society do you want to live in?
            One that places GDP above everything else including the lives of the most vulnerable
            or one that prefers kindness and is willing to make collective sacrifices to save lives?

          • Izaak:

            Rather than being a “false equivalence” it is the very real issue facing politicans around the world right now.

            You need to answer the objection better than simply to dismiss it. Since you haven’t, I take it then that we’re agreed your inclusion of insurance companies into your original argument was a critical mistake on your part. Politicians aren’t making their decisions based upon the same set of criteria that insurance companies are.

            As to your second question, once again you seem to compare to the incomparable, i.e., an entire nation’s GDP (or even part of it) versus the “lives of the most vulnerable.” Here again, we have an economic decision versus a moral decision. Never the two shall meet. The two scenarios don’t exist in the same logical domain.

            E.g., if you were to ask me to sacrifice my wife’s life in order to save the GDP of the United States of America, I’d tell you to pound sand. Were you to pose the choice to the body politic, my wife would be a Kong treat in no time. And you really couldn’t blame them could you?

            With all due respect, I would argue your logic is based more upon emotion rather than a good critical thinking methodology.

            What say you?

          • It’s not Either/Or. It is Both/And.

            A society should be able to maintain a health GDP while simultaneously making necessary sacrifices to save lives. After a thorough “post mortem” analysis of this viral scare and all of its unintended consequences, I hope our nation establishes future protocols that refrain from using a sledgehammer to kill a flea.

          • syscomputing,
            economic decisions versus moral ones happen all the time in government. The EPA
            for example has recently changed its rules concerning the amount of mercury power
            stations are allowed to emit. The upside to this is purely economic — power stations
            are more efficient and so people get cheaper power bills (or more likely shareholders
            get more in dividents) while the downside is that more people will become sick and die.
            Governments have to be able to compare the two in a consistent manner. If you want to
            claim that the two are imcomparable then how would you decide how to set levels of poisons that companies are allowed to emit?

            Insurance companies do the all the time when setting premiums and deciding what
            to cover. When you insurance company says that a particular drug or treatment is not
            covered they have put a price on a life and decided that it isn’t worth it. They have to
            do this else premiums would be too high and nobody would be able to afford them resulting in more deaths. If you get life insurance to cover your mortage for your family
            you are relying on them to put a value on your life and do so fairly and reasonably.

          • A thorough assessment of the mistakes made in this enforced lockdown is already occurring. Voters will not forget this financial fiasco that has led to non-confidence in governments.

          • Izaak:

            If you want to claim that the two are imcomparable then how would you decide how to set levels of poisons that companies are allowed to emit?

            Seems like you’re making my argument for me by confusing moral decisions with pragmatic ones. Governments aren’t making moral decisions when they decide how much poison to allow companies to emit. Or in the case of philosophically Progressive governments, e.g., China, N. Korea, Russia, etc., how much poison they allow themselves to emit.

            With regard to the citizenry, if the death of a few is acceptable in order to further the needs of the many, I’m sure the average politician would argue that’s a pragmatic decision, not a moral one. Otherwise, it seems to me that under your assumptions any agency of government making decisions on poisons (e.g., EPA) is inherently immoral and should be disbanded. But I have a feeling that you’d advocate for MORE government in the lives of the citizen, not less, true?

            When you insurance company says that a particular drug or treatment is not covered they have put a price on a life and decided that it isn’t worth it.

            Once again, no, not really. What they’ve decided is that from a business standpoint it isn’t practical (i.e., pragmatic) to cover that particular treatment because to do so for the needs of a few customers would endanger the needs of the majority (and therefore, their business, the reason they exist). You said it yourself:

            They have to do this else premiums would be too high and nobody would be able to afford them . . .

            Are you saying that because you use an insurance company with your healthcare needs that you are inherently immoral? I mean, under your assumptions you ARE if you do, since you participate in the profit/loss margin for that particular company, no?

            If you’re going to re-categorize business decisions for insurance companies as moral/immoral, then to be consistent you’re going to have to do so for all businesses, regardless of what type of business it is, otherwise it seems like you’re just contradicting yourself.

            What say you?

      • “Why not read the writing on the wall and stop this misguided policy now?

        because they are looking at more than deaths.

    • “I still want to know what value you put on a human life?”

      only individuals involved know that.

      I can tell you price is going to be different if you are in your 20thies or in your 70thies.

      And price is going to be different if you pay or if government pay ( which is theft )

    • I’d happily take $10,000,000 or even a figure less than that than $0 in a collective system. What figure is priceless? Is it infinity or is it nothing? Or is it more than nothing, but far less than a number that any of us would individually pick? 100,000 lives saved times $10,000,000 is $1 trillion dollars. U.S GDP last year was $21.5 trillion. We can probably successfully recover from a loss like that or even three or four times times that, but I would be very fearful if the loss was 15 times that or even approaching it. If we’re on the latter track then we need to get off of it quick even if it is much riskier, but not entirely unavoidable.

    • Izaak Walton
      April 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      I still want to know what value you put on a human life?
      To get to the answer of that question, properly, start from how humanity approached that since time began.
      Zero value, no value at all for any human life that causes and inflicts death and destruction to other humans, where even in the modern times, as now, still some people and nations consider full termination of such human life, and right to life of such humans.

      Zero point zero value for the murderers, especially the sadistic ones… including life or right to life of such as…. price of life there non at all… void.

      The “value” of life you looking for and implying there in your argument, once upon the time was considered and known as “blood money” (usually as compensation or a service payment)…
      clearing one for and from the act of terminating or causing loss of human life, due to given accepted circumstances in society… and that was simply a payment in consideration of the life damages or loss of life, nothing to do with the value of life.

      Completely non applicable or claimed or considered, at all, in the case of death by nature.
      (where self defense considered and consisting as one of main life natural responses)

      Only those who suffer god complexity will consist in considering some actual value as a given price on human life… and demand or propose or attempt to justify actions based in such non existing metric.

      The dead do not get payments.
      The living do sometimes, do in behalf of the dead, as a means of correction, to stop and reduce the unnecessary further loss of life and way of life and life standard.


  5. “So in California, we’ve thrown at least two million people out of work in order to delay, but not prevent, the deaths of a thousand or so people, most of whom had other serious illnesses.”
    No, it is to prevent the many deaths that would have occurred without counter-measures. Going back to the Math of Epidemics, the exponential growth phase of infections were shown. Something has to happen for that to change. The Gompertz curve is based on herd immunity, but that requires at least half the population to be infected. The alternative is to reduce the infectivity by social measures. California did that, and it worked.

    Here is how the situation looked in that Willis’ post on 13/3, when the distancing measures were just beginning:

    “Please be clear, though, that I’m not minimizing the danger. A virus of this nature can do immense harm if we don’t stay ahead of it. What I’m saying is that China and South Korea show that we indeed can stay ahead of it.

    So let me suggest that we take all precautions, wash hands, social distancing, canceling large gatherings, testing as and when required, self-quarantine, it’s very important to slow the virus down … and that we also dial way back on the hysteria and the politicization of the issue.”

    In Australia (and NZ) lockdown-like provisions were brought in at an early stage. We now have just 69 deaths total (many cruise passengers). But more importantly, last date there were only 32 new cases. We are now looking at a switch from containment to elimination.

    • Typo there Nick.
      “lockdown -like ”

      Should be lockdown -lite.

      You’re welcome.
      FB in NZ

      • We might have some chance of eliminating Covid-19 in NZ due to lockdown measures, but even if that happens, then what? Does the NZ government keep the borders closed until the rest of the world eliminates it? Until there is a vaccine, 12-18 months from now? Otherwise what’s to stop it coming in on the next flight?

        I’m with Willis on this one. Quarantine and protect the vulnerable, let the rest of us get back to living.

    • Good luck with that. It’s in every part of the world, unless you are going to lock down your borders 100% indefinitely, in will be back soon enough.

      • We could potentially quarantine everyone entering the country until a cure or vaccine is found. Right now we are, and not letting non-citizens in at all unless essential.

    • In Australia and NZ we have very spread out communities. My town has no town of comparable size for 500 km, for example.

      We are outliers.

        • I live in a farm community of 8 people (counting the two grandchildren) on one square mile.
          On the same -sized piece of dirt, in a slum in India, reside 700,000 people.
          Not quite the same, really.

          • Locking down rural remote communities, especially where there are no cases, has been an over reaction.

        • I think one of the best tactics for reviving the Australian economy will be to maintain a ban on travel from the US. Not only do Americans make up one third of global cases but, like a global Typhoid Mary, one of the main sources of infection in many countries is travellers from the US.

          • Let’s see; China had an internal lockdown of Wuhan in place yet allowed international flights to leave for points all over the world especially the US and Italy, and you want to blame the US for the spread of the Dem-panic? I don’t think that is a memory hole you have your head stuck in; you might want to consider pulling it out unless you are being paid by the Chicoms to spread propaganda and disinformation!

          • “Surely we can test that with precision by now?” Well yes its probably become more accurate in the weeks and months since the virus emerged. You can’t lie to a virus.

            Relax, most of the “travellers” I’m talking about are my fellow countryfolk returning from the US. “One third”? But thats the point AMan, right now where is the disease? Which country has 3/4 of a million cases? If some leader didn’t want their country to get more cases, which travel routes should they be most worried about? TDS? Save your exceptionalism for when its absolutely necessary.

          • Loydo
            April 18, 2020 at 9:06 pm


            Completely the opposite, upside down mind.

            AUS and NZ, do not show any signs of facing yet the wave of COVID-19.

            Which means these two countries definitely, according to the “brilliant” thinking of people like you, should stay in self isolation from the rest of the world till facing and passing the wave….
            as else in the first sign of being hit by the wave, with no national isolation measures in place,
            the rest of the world may resolve in being too tough and aggressive with imposing forced isolation and long lasting travel and otherwise bans and restrictions to these two.

            The world can not afford to take a second chance, especially with a country like NZ, which clearly shows that it has not being really touched yet thus far… and quite far away with no much weight in global economy.
            You see, NZ ain’t China… and with the winter approaching soon… things may be not so pleasant for the people in NZ.

            Many countries may not need to think at all, if the COVID-19 wave shows up in NZ, as to how dealing with it.
            Could be a simple instant taken measurement, a proper temporary removal of NZ from their maps.
            Where the very close good neighbour AUS could be one leading the pack.

            Don’t cha think!


          • You can’t lie to a virus.

            Not sure what that means, but otherwise, great, we’re agreed then: death totals are probably inflated. That means Trump hasn’t “killed” those additional many thousands I thought I read you claim he has?

            Relax, most of the “travellers” I’m talking about are my fellow countryfolk returning from the US.

            Right. Even better. Now that we’re agreed we can test who has it, we can surely know how many “Mary’s” are bringing it home. You sure do? Or at least you know who does? I’m interested, and I can’t find that info anywhere.

          • “I thought I read you claim he has?”
            I’m not backing down from that. He downplayed for weeks when he should have been up-playing. Leadership delayed is leadership derelicted.

            “I can’t find that info anywhere.”
            I’ve been looking for it. I based my comments on some stats I saw a few weeks ago about the source of infections in Australia, the majority were ex-pats returning home and it gave a breakdown with ‘from the US’ the biggest fraction. But I can’t remember where I saw it.

          • At least with leadership questions we could intelligently quibble. But how do we talk about statistics that aren’t? Come on now, you’re not a dumb guy – of this there’s no quibbling. Individual personalities ought not get in the way of justified true belief.

            I’ve been looking for it.

            Fair enough. I’m satisfied you saw something *somewhere*. Take care! 🙂

        • So do I but in the winter it must grow by at least a million. I grew up in a town(village) of 1300. I spent 11 years in a town of about 500. Each had it good and bad. I now live in the Phoenix area, I grew up in northwestern Minnesota, spent most of my adult life in North Dakota. The climate and demographics could not be more extreme between Minnesota/North Dakota that Arizona yet I enjoy it here. I hope to never see -40 F and below weather ever again. Although I was up in Bismarck North Dakota in January on the first morning it was 8 below.

      • It isn’t the spread that makes a difference it is not allowing gatherings of over 2 people not from the same family and locking down your borders. Broome a remote town of 13,000 in North Western Australia had an outbreak because a single health worker from Perth flew there with it. That one person infected 5 other health care workers which became 29 case before it was contained.

        The statement from Rick above is partly correct both Australia and NZ borders will require 14 day isolation to cross 100% indefinitely so long as the virus exists and has no cure.

    • “No, it is to prevent the many deaths that would have occurred without counter-measures.”

      But you do not know number of lives that is going to be saved, and you do not know number of lives that is going to be destroyed because of lockdown.

      man if we do not work and produce all of us are going to die.

    • Stokes
      You can be smug at the moment. However, if it turns out that COVID-19 is seasonal, you may well experience an onslaught of infections that will present you with the dilemma of continuing your lockdowns for 6 months longer than the Northern Hemisphere, and devastate your economies, or accepting the loss of life. Your primary hope is that a vaccine or cure is developed before your economies melt down. If you are really lucky, the vaccine/cure may also work on the common cold(s) and un-novel flues. Get back to me in a couple of months and let me know how things are working out.

    • If the lockdown had been effective, we should have seen a significant step down in the number of deaths around 19 days (average 5 days to first symptoms, 14 days to eventual death) after the first day of the lockdown. Not visible on the graphs in any country.

      • “If the lockdown had been effective, we should have seen a significant step down in the number of deaths around 19 days (average 5 days to first symptoms, 14 days to eventual death) after the first day of the lockdown. Not visible on the graphs in any country.”

        lockdowns only work if

        A) people follow the rules
        B) you separate the infected from others.

        Locking down the infected with their families gets you Chris cuomos wife.

        Thats why china, when learning that 80% of transmissions are family to family, would
        isolate the sick from their family and test the family.

        That meant.

        Taking over school gymnasiums and turning them into isolation wards for people
        who were infected but with slight symptoms or no symptoms.

        ya’ll doing lock downs wrong.

        doing the lockdown wrong gets you

        1. minor improvements in the spread
        2. A busted economy

        • Steven Mosher April 18, 2020 at 11:52 pm

          ya’ll doing lock downs wrong.

          doing the lockdown wrong gets you

          1. minor improvements in the spread
          2. A busted economy

          Agreed. As I’ve said before, the virus laughs at the Western-style “lockdown”.


          • watching people bungle the testing ( contamination at CDC)
            and then bungle the lockdown
            I have no doubt they will bungle the re opening.

            Once again we are faced with a situation where one group is panicked
            another group shouts hoax.

            and reasonable people can’t be heard

          • India-style “lockdown” is probably even more hilarious. If the virus doesn’t spread in india, it’s not thanks to the lockdown. I see it first hand.

    • Are you really comparing Australia and New Zealand at the end of summer to the Northern Hemisphere at the height of cold and flu season?

      There’s a reason why it’s called “cold and flu season”. Get back to us in 6 months.

      • It is mid-Autumn here, and mid-Spring in NH. But the thing is, we had a run-up of cases peaking in late March, which could reasonably be called late summer. Over 400 a day on three days, total 6547. Counter-measures were phased in starting mid-March. As the weather cooled into April, the daily cases diminished rapidly, and are now close to zero. The plot of Johns Hopkins data is here (from the utility here).

  6. Willis the data man at his best.
    Thank you Willis.

    Here in Thailand, two weeks into lockdown (or is it 3?) the government realized that 44 of our provinces have no corona virus cases. They are getting ready to re-open these provinces. My province is among the 44.

    • I noticed low cases in Thailand compared to rest of world despite the high Chinese tourism. Could it be due to hot weather not causing virus to spread as fast ? I saw a number of cases come out of boxing events where large crowds were gathered. I imagine these events are air conditioned. Good luck to you !

  7. ” Eric Lerner
    April 18, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    In consistency with your reasoning ,you should be the first to volunteer to die from coronavirus..”

    Frank Herbert :
    I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.

    • I thought of that line from Dune too.

      P.S. There is a new Dune movie coming out. I will never see it. The person directing it stated directly that Arrakis was the future of earth under capitalism. And one of the characters will be a gender bender. Another person who can live of life of luxury only because of the very thing they hate.

    • I have a bracelet with the litany against fear etched into it, to remind me not to let fear rule my life. Found it on eBay.

      • re: “I have a bracelet with the litany against fear etched into it, to remind me not to let fear rule my life.”

        Kinda goes along with the Desiderata. Some of it would be applicable to person found here too. These used to be sold at Spencer’s Gifts and the like. This was before going ‘full Catholic’.


  8. “most of the deaths are among the group you might call “at death’s door””

    Death’s door as in would have been dead in days or weeks anyway? I’m not disagreeing with the thrust of the post but this is a wild exaggeration. Or are you suggesting anyone over 60 is at death’s door?

    My guess would be that the “death’s door” category is probably in the single figures. “Most” of the dead while elderly were still active and fit for there age and were not on their deathbed – they were on cruises or in restaurants or at least ‘out and about’ enough to catch it in the first place. Some were obviously on their last legs, but the majority? Nuh.

      • Hey we can golf in full lockdown just only 2 people per group … only illegal in a couple Australian states. Just can’t play 4 ball best ball well in the same group 🙂

    • Loydo, of all of the deaths in New York, only one percent of them had no co-morbidities. And many of them had two or three. And the majority of them were old, 70 and above.

      Now, I don’t know whether “at death’s door” accurately describes an 82-year-old man with diabetes and congestive heart failure … but I sure as heck wouldn’t call him “young, fit, and healthy”.


        • A 103 year old woman from Kentucky just recovered from COVID-19.

          She said that she has to live to 2030 to prove that that global warming is bullshit (or something like that).

          • That’s the spirit 🙂

            Reminds me about the stress factor being very important to your immunity.

            Lots of unemployment cause many more people with high stress levels, less immunity and finally more premature deaths.

      • Only one percent of the US population have no comorbidities. Comorbidities are more often than not chronic conditions which are not necessarily life-threatening, at least not in the short term. People with asthma, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, chronic heart disease, even some forms of cancer can live for a very long time. They can die quickly and unexpectedly if they contract an acute disease like Covid-19 or the flu.

        • I have four commodities, Asthma is the number one I can die at any time, it been that way all of my life, all I need is a trigger, I fear the southwest fire ant more than COVID-19 since their sting can cause me to have allergic reaction even at that I still go outdoors. Any cold, flu or lung infection can kill me, last flu I had I though i was going to die, I feared going to sleep. I was sucking on my emergency inhaler regularly. I am also precancerous, it is being monitored but it develops into cancer I will be dead in months. What really aggravates me is I am need of a shoulder replacement it bone on bone, I cannot get good sleep because laying down aggravates the pain, kind hard to sleep when you arm is jabbing you with pain. The replacement has been delayed due to the lock down even though here the hospitals are empty. To the most part this lock down is not saving lives, lives saved and lives lost maybe a wash. Don’t pin you hopes on a vaccine coming soon enough to make a difference let alone we get one at all.

          • I looked at the list of co-morbidities from the New York data and all of them are highly associated with either metabolic syndrome or are autoimmune in nature. I’ve spent the last 10 years following the growing debate on chronic disease health issues and I’m fairly well convinced that metabolic syndrome and autoimmune issues are caused by a diet high in grains, sugar and vegetable oils – basically what the government says is healthy and tells you to eat.

            I was headed down a bad road – I was fat, my eyesight was getting worse, I had hand tremors, asthma and hayfever. All of these went away when I removed grains, sugar and vegetable oils from my diet. My eyesight is so much better I was able to throw away my glasses – how many other 50+ year olds can say that?

            The consensus over diet and chronic disease is very much like the global warming scam – it was pushed initially by some very influential people, government jumped on board and now you’re a crank or a crook if you question the dogma. The information is out there though – I would highly recommend to all if you see your health failing and your doctor is saying “there’s little I can do, it’s just part of the ageing process” then you can probably do a lot better for yourself by ignoring the doc and changing your diet. I think you’ll be amazed at the improvement in very little time. Like for me my asthma went away in 3 days. YMMV.

        • My bad, Loydo. I didn’t make it clear that I was speaking of the New York City data.


      • And many of the deaths in New York are victims of unknown causes; they were not tested. As of this morning, up to 4,500 of these are now called “presumed” COVID-19 deaths. Meaning, if I got bucked off my mare, they’d say her name was COVID-19 and write that on the death certificate!

      • Yes. This also goes for a vaccine that may not be fully tested. Giving it to a young person is risky because we don’t know long term effects. What if it causes infertility or increases risk of cancer ? But giving it to older high risk patient has less risk because first they may die without vaccine if they catch virus, and secondly any side effects from vaccine are more likely to be low compared to their existing conditions.

  9. Another thing I don’t understand is we have the drug remdesivir which works quite well to cut mortality rate. There are some problems with it giving higher liver enzymes when on it. But if a person is 80 and has other serious health issues liver enzymes would be the least concern. How does this drug change the dynamics of the lockdown ? If the drug reduces fatality below that of the flu then why the lockdowns ? It is illogical.

    • Too short a supply and too long a lead time to produce. The company couldn’t possibly cover the demand for years yet.

    • I saw a group of homeless people the other day sharing some kind of beverage, I presume an alcohol one. High concentrations of ethanol likely denature the virus.

  10. Willis,
    There appears to be a distinct periodicity of 5 cycles per year in almost all of the data. Does your periodogram verify this? I certainly can’t think of anything relative to joblessness that happens regularly at five cycles per year.

  11. Here in Michigan, there’s what… maybe a thousand or 2k cases in 90% of the state. Yet we’re 100% locked down because of o e city. So much so that I can’t even take my kids fishing in my boat. My county has less than 100 cases, and our hospitals are all but closed down due to lack of work, but our power hungry governor won’t even consider making life better for 90% of the Michigan landmass. I started out fearful and trying to follow all the rules, but I’m about to the point where I no longer give a shist. How is our area expected to build immunity when we have no cases?

    • At first the story was to do lockdown as to not over load medical system. I don’t hear that argument much any more. They are moving the goalposts. Hospitals seem to be able to handle the cases now pretty easily. So why not start things up partially and monitor. if cases appear to be increasing too fast then lockdown can be tightened. The Democrats want to hurt the economy to reduce Trump’s chances of re election. That is why they keep moving the goalposts.

      • “At first the story was to do lockdown as to not over load medical system. I don’t hear that argument much any more.”

        That would be because the lockdown successfully prevented the medical system from being overloaded. Governor Cuomo was pleading for 40,000 ventilators at one time. Now Governor Cuomo is sending ventilators to other States that need them.

        The first purpose of the lockdown is to try to determine how infectious and lethal the virus, while at the same time hindering its path into the population. It also helps to reduce the load on the medical system.

        By now, we have some pretty good data on the Wuhan virus, which allows us to modify how we deal with it. We did not have this information initially, so had to assume the virus was very infectious and very lethal until proven otherwise, and the lockdown was part of proving it otherwise as safely as possible.

    • Go fishing. If you get a citation accept it and then take it to court and fight it. Most cases will likely be dropped. There are so many lakes and places in MI that you have a greater chance of catching the disease than getting a citation.

      What area are you from? Have you ever been to Hell (near Pinckney)? I grew up not far from Hell.

  12. Am I the only person who thinks that making two million people jobless, merely to delay but not prevent a thousand deaths, is a bad deal for society?

    Absolutely not

  13. South Korea shows the way. Much pain could have be avoided if more widespread and more efficient testing was done earlier. Lesson learned. The US won’t be so slow next time round ( likely ~100 years away).

    As for re-opening, my guess is most things apart from large gatherings will come on line soon. Sorry, sports fans, no crowds but watch it on TV.

    • My bet is virus spreads mainly through large gatherings, schools and packed bars. Then through a family. Anybody with young kids knows they bring home every cold and flu out there.

    • South Korea shows the way.

      The way to what? They’ve painted themselves into a corner. They must, if they can, maintain this highly invasive, emergency stance forever. COVID-19 is never going away and their population has no immunity and no chance of achieving it (without a miracle vaccine).

      The only way out for them is to relax the controls and suffer the pain that everyone else will have gone through. Likewise with the lockdowns. There is no way of avoiding the pain, the illnesses and deaths; they’re going to happen eventually regardless.

      The only sensible route is to pace the infections so the illnesses can be treated and the deaths can be handled, whilst not destroying the economy and crushing liberties. Sweden shows the way.

    • South Korea is still increasing in cases. Currently tending to 1/50th of most western countries’ rates by using high testing and isolation of +ves. Looks good today. But, very likely they will reach a breakout level that will show where efforts to contain a virus that is already “in the wild” simply fail, due to virus distribution during the incubation period. That will be instructive for future epidemiologists. Or, unless it is seasonal, they will just take 50 times as long to infect the same portion of the population.

  14. I certainly have sympathy for Mr. Eschenbach’s feelings here. But that’s basically it: sympathy, because I can’t begin to analyze this quantitatively.

    Specifically, here are numbers I pulled out of the air. If the lockdown costs the U.S. 10% of one year’s GDP, i.e., around $2 trillion, and the average remaining lifespan of the Americans whose lives it saves is ten years, then, if we value a year of life at $100,000, the lockdown would have to save 2 million lives to be worth it.

    But I just pulled those numbers out of the air. In particular, it’s pretty clear to me that much of the economic damage comes not from the lockdown but rather from spontaneous reactions to the epidemic itself, so the lockdown will probably cost Americans much less than that $2 trillion. On the other hand, although it’s not true that the lockdown avoids no deaths at all as opposed to merely delaying them a few months, the number of American deaths it does avoid will certainly be far south of 2 million. To discuss this rationally, therefore, we’d need to replace those numbers with more-certain values.

    Moreover, even doing that wouldn’t take into account that a more-targeted approach could possibly save most of the lives that would otherwise be lost to the Wuhan virus. The paper at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764658?guestAccessKey=913ec584-d2cf-4175-b583-b60e9cb15412, for example, suggests that this might be achieved through centralized quarantines of mild/moderate cases together with contact tracing.

    In short, there may be information out there that’s good enough to base decisions on, but I haven’t seen anyone marshal it yet.

  15. The OVERALL death rate in New York State has tripled. It is simply false to say these are people who would have died tomorrow in any case. Even with the belated lockdown, more than 0.1% of the entire state population has already died. When this spreads to the rest of the country that means 300,000 dead. If all the lockdowns end without testing and tracking in place, there will be far more dead since nearly everyone will get the disease long before a vaccine is ready.

    The REAL economy does not suffer from being partially shut down for weeks. The real economy is based on the workers who actually do everything in the economy and the machinery and other infrastructure that allows them to do it. To maintain the workers all is required that essential industries–food transportation and power mainly–keep running and none of the lockdowns have proposed shutting them. Everyone non-essential can stay home. The machinery just needs minimal maintenance, except for some continuous process industries like steel which again no one has proposed shutting down. The way to make sure people get the goods they need to maintain their lives is to simply maintain their monetary income while they are at home. No brainer! The government needs to send them that income.

    But the FINANCIAL economy is suffering a meltdown because profits are hurt and asset values are hurt. Oh dear–that hurts mainly the 0.1% of population that actually owns most of those assets. To defend those stocks and bonds, the Fed, Congress and the President has directed 90% of the rescue package to supporting the shareholders and bondholders and 10% to supporting the workers who actually keep things running. And of course they want to get back to making profits as soon as possible. If a few hundred thousand workers die off, who cares?–there are others to take their places right and we all have to go sometime. Nothing counts more than 10,000 more points on the DOW, right, guys?

    • re: “The OVERALL death rate in New York State has tripled.”

      Breakdown the demographics of those who died –

      Or you’re just spreading Fear Factor Fodder … and besides, NY is reaping what it sown (see DeBlasio and company who advised no precautions were necessary at one point.)

      • The real question is not what the death are now it how will the year work out and next year. If this year has a higher rate and by the end of the year I highly doubt it will be triple and next year it lower, that means live were shorten yes but not prevented.

    • Most of the country is very different from NY and will not suffer the same high rates of cases and deaths. Most Republican controlled states will suffer far less.

      • Scissor
        You said, “Most of the country is very different from NY …” That is an understatement if I ever saw one!

        • There are some similarities between large cities, like Chicago, Detroit, Philly, SF, etc. but your’re right, NYC is unique.

      • Just so. One analysis – if you take “downstate” New York as a separate country (Kings, Queens, New York, Suffolk, Bronx, Nassau, Westchester and Richmond Counties) – that country is, by far, NUMBER ONE in both cases and fatalities per million. Just about twice that of any recognized country. The rest of the USA doesn’t even break the top ten.

        Now, I do feel badly for the denizens of the downstate; I know several good people there (most of them in my over-60 age bracket). But they did allow an open and proud Communist to become Mayor, along with its band of merry theys. Some mistakes turn out to be fatal.

        • To add to that, most of the cases in Florida are centered in the SE portion where New Yorkers (city that is) have been infesting the area for years.

    • Eric
      You have no idea how an economy works. You speak as if the “Financial” economy is somehow removed from the individual humans that make it work. Almost like watching the news.

    • It means a harder retirement for me if the DOW does not come back. Just because I did not piss away my money when I worked and over my lifetime my pay was seldom over 50,000 a year. Putting away 18% of you income every year for a large number of years does pay, especially when the boss matches the first 6%!

      Now let us get to New York City. Only a fool would extrapolate COVID-19 damage done to the New York Population since New York has 27,000 people per square mile and that population is wholly depend on public transportation. To say a North Dakota that average about three people per square mile. Most people in North Dakota don’t even live near public transportation let alone use it! So the Ro will be much different between the two populations. Also most North Dakotan’s do not have damage lungs.

      Grow up snowflake and quit worrying about other peoples money and learn to take care of you own, you might some day also watch the stock market also and said swing of 1000 points can mean 10,000s of dollars to you.

    • Eric, your display of ignorance about economics is breathtaking. You are so “not even wrong” that it would take decades to even dent your ignorance and hubris. So I won’t try.

    • Neue RKI-Zahlen widersprechen Kanzlerin Merkel – Punkt.PRERADOVIC mit Prof. Dr. Stefan Homburg

      I listened to the whole interview, thanks J. Seifert.

      For those not understanding German, the essence was that CoVid-19 had peaked and fallen to to a certain level before the lock-down. The level right before the lock-down has been steady ever since.

      The professor emphasize that the lock-down in Germany, did not change the rate one tiny bit regarding the virus itself, but is bound to cause havoc to the economy, social welfare and general health.

      • The problem a lot of folks have with this thing, is that they look at the number of deaths. There are a lot of people that catch thing virus, and recover. However this virus is much more serious than the flu. Instead of three or four days to recover from the flu, it takes you two weeks to recover. I’m betting that Eschenbach’s parents are no longer alive, because if they were, he’d be singing a different tune.

        • I think there is a deeper issue in times of crisis people need someone/something to blame and fight. If you let it spiral out of control and the hospitals collapsed and peopled died then it would be the governments fault as well. Everyone needs to blame someone.

          This topic and the people who are really fired up about it as as toxic as hell in exactly the same way as those in the CAGW crowd are toxic. You can’t have a reasoned argument they just get abusive and go off the deep end.

        • What are you talking about? I’ve had flus in the past that have taken weeks to months to get over. A decade ago I had one that left me deaf in one ear and with a persistent cough that remained for almost a year.

          From what I can tell, cvd-19 is little more than a bad cold.

          • You sound like the old war vetran, “I once took a piece of shrapnel in the back I didn’t even feel and still fought on”.

            or as Monty Python would do

            “We had to get up before we went to bed and lick the road clean with our tongues and when we got home there was no super”.

          • I had a cold that got in my lungs(no fever) it made me feel like I was on deaths door, I have Asthma could not breath. That took far more than a week to recover. I a flu when I was in my forties was down for nearly two weeks, that one did not end up in my lungs. I been through four pandemics if the number end up the the latest models say(good luck with that) it will be lightest pandemic in my life time, funny no one shut down for the last three, hell the last one was not in the paper so you would have notice.

          • I had an aunt that no longer resides on this “mortal coil.” She had related to me once that before the widespread availability of antibiotics, it was not unusual for someone to get a cold or flu that would last all Winter; they would not get better until Summer. I suppose that is where the term “walking pneumonia” comes from. They were not bedridden, and continued to do their farm chores so that they and the rest of the family could eat.

        • Henry Pool April 18, 2020 at 8:10 pm

          I’m betting that Eschenbach’s parents are no longer alive, because if they were, he’d be singing a different tune.

          I’m betting that your mind-reading powers suck. At 73, I’m in the high risk group myself. Since that hasn’t caused me to start “singing a different tune”, neither would my parents make me change singing styles if I were younger and they were my age.


    • Pool
      Are you implying that most of those dying are the doctors and nurses treating the ill?

    • Henry Pool April 18, 2020 at 7:39 pm

      “We do know that most of the deaths are among the group you might call “at death’s door”.”

      Are you implying that the doctors and nurses treating the ill are “at death’s door?”

      Nope. I’m implying that “most”, curiously enough, does not mean “all”.


  16. This crisis has made me and my clients a very decent profit.

    I’ve used that to keep my employees on the payroll with a 10% bonus.

    My clan is safe. Is yours? I hope so.

    • I do consulting work for a hedge fund. The fund did well. It uses computer models to trade and somehow the models picked up on the market crash. Generally we like market volatility. We still cut our risk quite a bit though. Personally I made some money buying sp500 near market low, but lost lots on my Real estate Reits. Damn REITs are suppose to be safe !

      • I used China as a harbinger. Around Jan 25th, I looked at the type (commonality) of chinese-based instruments that made money in the last 2 months, and I tried to duplicate that for Eupope/US. I then looked at the worst performaning instruments and shorted those.

        That was my highest risk bracket. This short/long strategy net me 21% profit YTD.

        Medium risk was just to long Gold, Mail Order Companies, Discount Stores, and Software. Net 26% YTD.

        The lowest risk strategy was to short all currency but long US. Net 7% YTD.

        The medium risk was the best.

  17. “Whenever any governmental official forcibly throws people out of work by unilaterally making their business illegal, that official and everyone under their purview should immediately lose all salary, benefits, housing, insurance, transportation, and any other benefits.”

    A good start but not enough, Willis. Such a government official – or non-elected MD giving lawless orders – must be tried, removed from office and jailed. We must teach future power-mad morons not to do something like this again.

    As G.K. Chesterton said, “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”

  18. 53% of the dead in New York State are under 74 years old. The average American at 74 has a life expectancy of 14 years. Not exactly dying tomorrow.

    • And NYC comprises what % of the population of New York State?
      Nice cherries you got there.

    • A link supporting the 14 additional years the average 74 year old American should expect to live would be nice, but absent that:
      I’ve a hard time believing the average American at 74 years old can expect another 14 years but it will stand until someone else asks for a link to proof.

      You might consider that: “The average American at 74” is a blend of the healthy ones and those whose span is being extended by medication and regular trips to facilities where they’re more likely to catch the WuFlu than if they wandered around New York City. One cohort is generally susceptible to seasonal respiratory illness, the other has about the same survival rates as the rest of us. One requires frequent trips for medical attention, the other doesn’t.

      One trait they both share is: without a functioning economy, one where labor is generating money to pay for medical care, both will die sooner.

      • To be fair, I looked up life expectancy at 74 and the 2016 SSA tables had males at 11.8 years, females at 13.7.

        I should be so lucky, and I consider myself healthy.

    • In NYC they just make up mortality numbers. The latest addition was a 50% increase of 3700 who were presumed to have died of corona-chan without having tested positive. A real racket.

    • In NYC they just make up mortality numbers. The latest addition was a 50% increase of 3700 who were presumed to have died of corona-chan without ever having tested positive. A real racket.

    • Eric, either your information or you math skills suck. Average life expectancy in US is just under 80.

  19. Willis – great analysis. But there are two issues not addressed here or on the sites I have looked at. The first is the last two parts of Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, “. . .nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Are these two property issues germane? Has Government (in)action deprived people of property or taken property?
    The second issue relates to the epidemiological models that are the root cause of this economic disaster. Commercial computer models are slathered in exculpatory clauses in the end-user license agreements. These absolve the suppliers of the computer models and prevent the end-users from suing the model authors. But the EULAs are between the model authors and the users (CDC, various government entities). The public suffering damage is not a party to the EULAs. Can the public via class action get compensation from the modelers? I would be happy to get $1, knowing that the full $25 million has bankrupted the modelers.

  20. Willis,
    Please correct this scenario. It is about cost: benefit from lockdown.
    Mohatdebos earlier noted unemployed getting $600 + $400 from Fed and State. That money comes mainly from previous taxes. The recipient might not notice much difference from the change of $ source. In time, that tax source will run out. The way to keep flow going is to tax those able to pay more, like the wealthy, and to restart certain businesses that are agreed to be essential.
    People formerly on unemployment do not feel much difference. Pensioners, etc. What about others? Here we need to talk essential and non-essential jobs.
    Does it really hurt the economy if a restaurant goes out of business? Former customers will find other food sources. This is an example of small non-essential.
    Does it really hurt the economy if a major national airline goes bust? Not really for people carriers, maybe for freighters. People simply do not spend on tickets, they have the money for spending on essentials, less drain on the tax pool, but more unemployed airline staff to live off it.
    There is scenario after scenario, but some broad principles emerge. Like, the exercise is incomplete unless and until the money flow from ordinary people to billionaires is reversed. Like, there are some essential jobs that must not be shut down, example medical treatment of the sick and disabled. Like, it boils down to maintaining jobs that create new wealth and not worrying so much about jobs that recycle existing wealth with a cut on the side (the old Christine Keeler appendix joke). The basic thesis is that lockdowns can go on for a long time if we place a realistic value on shutting down non-essentials, the money recyclers. Here we meet a social obstacle because this includes sectors like banking, insurance, gambling, commercial sport, alcohol and tobacco, tourism, advertising, entertainment, the media and so on. None of these is really essential, particularly at present bloated levels. Of course, these sectors have loud voices and have shown abilities to complain about endangerment of their cash flows.
    This is a rambling account of a complex subject viewed from an angle where many people have never gone. I do not have 50 pages here to elaborate, so I will just conclude with some broad assertions.
    Do not imagine that a cost:benefit analysis of a national lockdown means very much if done with conventional thinking. The true consequences of a lockdown are much deeper and less conventional than we might imagine.
    We are at the start of a shock to established ways of life (which I define as protection of existing wealth benefits). Use the shock to introduce and examine how society can change its entrenched ways and be better for all.
    Ask not what my $ can do for me, but what my $ can do for my country.
    Geoff S
    (I have not gone stupid, just expressing some concepts in attention-seeking ways, not very good at that.)

    • “, not very good at that.”
      On the contrary, it leaps out of the page, because it addresses the elephant in the room – “the fundamental transformation” of economies around the world, that we are all looking forward to so much.
      Well , maybe not all.

    • Geoff: “we need to talk essential and non-essential jobs.” Essential to whom?

      Further, who decides what is “essential?” Is a computer programmer’s job “essential?” A government bureaucrat, who decides which jobs are “essential?” A small shopkeeper? A barber? A hotel keeper? A priest? A psychologist? A politician? An “illegal” immigrant who picks fruit? A university professor that researches “climate change?” A taxi driver? An entrepreneur? A soldier?

      And you say, “Ask not what my $ can do for me, but what my $ can do for my country.” You were a government employee, were you not? Those of us, whose careers and $ (or £) have been screwed by the political class, think exactly the opposite. The flow of wealth for the last 40 years has been to the big boys corporate and political, from us human beings. From the politically poor, to the politically rich.

      But you’re right: “We are at the start of a shock to established ways of life.” May it be a shock for the better.

  21. The rationale (if you can call it that) seems to be that a death from COVID-19 is a uniquely tragic event, and all measures must be applied to prevent it. Meanwhile, everybody eventually dies, and many people die of infectious diseases, and yet we don’t lock down the country to slow the progress of any of those diseases.

    The point that we don’t sacrifice the economy to limit deaths from the flu is valid. The panic over COVID-19 seems to be based on the novelty of it, and the initial belief that it would kill millions of people of all ages. We now know beyond dispute that the risk of death is negligibly small in people under 50, and that half of the dead are 80 are older. Most of the media accounts of the disease either bury the fact that so many of the dead are very old deep in the story, or just ignore that fact altogether.

    It’s as if we are pretending that human beings are immortal, and are furiously reacting to the latest evidence that people really do decline and die. It’s as if we think that sacrificing material prosperity will somehow please a vain God, who will then reward us by abolishing death.

    • “The point that we don’t sacrifice the economy to limit deaths from the flu is valid.”

      No, but many people promote the mostly useless and sometimes harmful flu vaccine, or make it mandatory in the US.

      Because the Left doesn’t really believe in “my body, my choice”. It’s “my body, the CDC, FDA, or governor’s choice”.

  22. Here’s North Carolina:


    As you can see, a significant declining trend over the past twenty years turned into a … rocket stick (as opposed to MM’s hockey stick).

    I used the noted data source and graphed it using LibreOffice Calc., plus a bit of refining with GIMP.

    Pictures can be inspiring, … or terrifying, in this case. I’ll be sending this to the governor as a picture-worth-a-thousand-words additional squeak in the crowd to re-open the state.

  23. Sweden, not closing work, not closing restaraunts, not closing bars. They must be shooting through the roof with Covid-19? Nope, they are better than most of the rest of Europe, about the same as us on a per capita basis. Japan is about the best large country in the world, they are still packing subway trains, and going to work. Thank god for these examples, otherwise, we’d never know what we don’t know. For instance we didn’t know that shutting down work would be completely ineffective in slowing the spread of the disease. Now we know. Lets get back to work.

    • How many minority ghettos does Sweden have?
      How many large cities with air pollution does Sweden have?

      • So are you saying that if a state, province or country can rate itself sufficiently like Sweden, as in “no big ghettos really”, then those jurisdictions can immediately take themselves off any business lock downs? I’m sure that there are many millions of people around the world who would love to get back to work on that basis!

        In reality, I’m pretty sure they have industry and pollution, and relatively poor areas in cities like Stockholm, not that much different, in the most general aspect of things, from any other major country where people actually live? If there is no bad ‘signal’ of increased spread of CoVID disease that anyone can verify from Sweden’s *not* having business lock downs, then *that* is a definite sign that the lock downs don’t help much. Trying to say that business lock downs ‘obviously’ must have worked in Spain or Italy, because ‘Sweden doesn’t count’ is really just seeing what one wants to see, confirmation bias, excuse making!

        Mentioning Spain, that country apparently has a quite high count of’ total cases per million’ , that being ‘4191’ right now, as listed on the chart at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries
        Now, thinking of Spain with over 4000 cases per million, just compare that to the number for neighboring Portugal, at ‘1982’ cases per million. Say what, not even half as many cases per million, for a country right next door? Explanation anyone, like Portugal must have locked down ever so much more tightly than Spain, or maybe those bad Spanish people touch their face twice as much, etc? Note that the “tests per million” for Spain and Portugal is quite similar, so the “cases” number *should* compare, but it doesn’t! If there is any real explanation for the patchiness of the spread of this virus, I certainly haven’t heard it. So it is pretty hard to justify economy wrecking procedures when one has no idea if those are even helping?

        • I was pointing out that in the US the highest number of cases and the most deaths are in locations that have:
          1) significant minority ghettos
          2) air pollution

          Is there a connection? I don’t know but I don’t think that has been looked into.
          Just want to be sure comparisons are apples to apples.

  24. I farm and I haven’t stopped. Neither have my neighbors. Our rural town is busy. All the stores are open, even the Big Boxes. Some retailers have had record weeks, selling their shelves bare.

    I’m not sure how that relates to the rest of the country. The Big Cities may be in total freefall for all I know: tumbleweeds in the glass and concrete canyons, fearful urbanites peeking out their tiny windows, while Big City cops are busy arresting the occasional escapee from solitary confinement.

    Mr. Eschenbach is exactly correct, though. State government coffers are stripped. The functionaries cannot be paid much longer, because states don’t print money. PERS funds have dried up. The governors are demanding the Feds bail them out, but Congress is dysfunctional to the max.

    So the troughsuckers may be up the creek. Furlough the Government; they have always been non-essential.

    But tell them not to worry. I’ll give them a job in my fields chopping weeds with short-handled hoes. And when they ban diesel fuel, I’ll yoke them to my plow. Because useless mandarins have to eat, too.

    • And Furlough Academia especially. Every time I read another quacky climate research paper with tree rings and funky models I am reminded of what Dana said to Venkman in Ghostbusters, “You know, you don’t act like a scientist. You’re more like a game show host.”

  25. At the end of the day government has to let us know what level of death is acceptable for an infectious disease. The left dances around this issue and never answers the question. In a country like the USA is 40k allowable or 100k ? Because the bottom line is that infectious disease is not going away and will be here for years. The first argument they used was lockdown to not overflow hospitals. But that argument no longer holds water because many areas of the country are ok with hospital capacity.

    The hard cold fact is that we do NOT lockdown for flu, but locking down would save flu deaths. So why don’t we lock down for flu ? The only answer is the politicians accept a level of death from flu but won’t admit it. Frank and honest discussion is important and I have yet to see that.

  26. https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/newt-gingrich-the-job-killing-democrats

    Newt Gingrich: Like Marie Antoinette, Princess Pelosi enjoys luxuries but ignores needs of desperate people

    “”So, while voting to starve small businesses, Pelosi wanted America to see her in front of “the best luxury refrigerator.” She then went a step further and explained: “And we just restocked the ice cream for Easter Sunday because we were, shall we say, enjoying – I don’t know what I would have done without ice cream.” “”

    “. . . her highness, the princess of San Francisco, is smothering her anxieties with $11.60-a-pint ice cream while making you go bankrupt.”

    • That one clip will feature prominently in an AOC-endorsed primary challenger’s ads, John. Does a Republican even run for election in her district?

  27. “But if not, let me suggest a peaceful workers revolt, the one where on May 1st we all just go forward to work. Not back to work. Forward to work. Everyone goes to their usual place of work on May 1st. No fanfare. Wear masks. Social distance. Wear gloves. Testing where appropriate. Whatever you need. And go forward to work.”

    Well, I can’t join your planned peaceful workers revolt, because I am already working, but we could pretend I am part of a peaceful workers revolt.
    Question: How many people work in jobs related to travel, hotels and restaurants. So you have international travel and travel related to things like business conventions.
    I think Japan shouldn’t cancelled the 2020 Olympics{moved to 2021}, I think should possibly delay it by maybe month, perhaps.
    But question when do we open international air travel?
    I quite happy to keep air travel to China closed indefinitely. I think no one in free world should travel to China until we at least get some questions, answered.
    But I think we open the daycare {public schools] on Monday- get kid going 1/2 week and less kids in classroom and try that for week and see when the kid can go 5 days a week. So there a fair amount jobs connected to that. If kids can go to school every week day, then parents could go to work every week day.
    As far as public transportation, I don’t want you want buses full of passengers, in near term, but maybe by May 1.

  28. Willis,
    I’m with you.
    Here in Mariposa the town is almost a ghost town, with older people scared to move. Zero cases in teh County.
    In Fresno, I’m perceiving more and more people are venturing out in their cars and on sidewalks. I think people are fed up. They are tired and are recognizing that 300 cases out of 750,000 residents doesn’t make sense.
    Ben Shapiro had stats on his show today about the age breakdown of deaths. Almost zero for less than 15 years. Very few for under 40. Some for under 65. Vast majority are over 65 and with detrimental diseases that were already killing them. Somebody is hiding these stats.
    In my county the health officer admitted to me that he reports case numbers, not per capita numbers, because he says that’s what people expect and understand. I think he is also afraid that per capita stats would show the real story.
    I am glad I am retired, but I am devastated emotionally and financially by the loses in my funds. Scary personal decisions may be coming.
    Yes, the lock down has been successful. Way too successful. It must end soon. Thanks fully, the Trump Admin is starting to say the right things, but I fear it is too late for many small businesses, farmers, dairies, hairdressers, etc.

    • “So how many Grannies are you willing to kill so that you can get back to work?” will be the question you get…So what’s your recommended answer to that ?

      • re: So how many Grannies are you willing to kill so that you can get back to work?” will be the question you get

        NONE of you ppl seem to understand nature, or natural cycles, like the life and death cycle; the Grim Reaper is simply “front loading” (look that term up) the forth-coming winter flu cycle with deaths earlier in the year rather then those that would first succumb in the fall or early in winter this calendar year.

        You (1) ASSUME everybody lives forever and (2) that flu/seasonal viruses do not add or change the ‘timing’ of seasonal deaths.

  29. The entire basis for the Wuhan death rate is bogus, ginned up to evoke fear. Look at the CDC guidelines for attributing any death to the virus.
    Stanford’s recent report says there are 50-80 times more people who have had it than tested, so most likely the death rate is below the flu.

    I want to go back to work!!

  30. Willis writes

    This sudden spike in joblessness is totally unprecedented. It needs to be stopped immediately.

    I’m late to this party and I expect its already been mentioned but many of the job losses will have been because of reduction in (foreign) tourism and that’s not going to be fixed by ending the lock downs.

    • Sorry, Tim, but if the job losses were from the reduction in foreign tourism we’d have seen them before the lockdown … but we haven’t seen that anywhere, including Hawaii where I’d expected to find it for the very reasons you mentioned.

      Given that, I can only conclude that the lockdowns are in fact responsible for the job losses.


      • we’d have seen them before the lockdown

        Does that allow for lag? On both being let go and getting onto the unemployed lists?

        There is no question a “tourist job” cant be done from home but it also cant be done with no tourists.

        • Tim, the unemployment applications spiked immediately when the lockdowns were put into place, so I’m not buying the idea of some significant “lag”. For most people I’ve known, if they lose their job in the morning they’re at the unemployment office that afternoon …


          • Well whether the trigger was the lock down or not, the fact remains that many jobs aren’t viable until tourism picks up again. In my home State in Australia, we’re heavily tourist oriented and according to the Government statistics, 17.2% of jobs directly rely on tourists.

          • We’ve been consulting with a building contractor to remodel a 2-car garage.
            Now we are waiting for the crew to be allowed to work. In Washington State that might be May 4th. Our Great Leader Jay will decide.
            No tourists involved!

          • Right. So when the lock downs end, many people will return to work. But people in the tourism industry…not so much.

            This thread is about causes for unemployment in the light of the virus.

        • Tim
          A Novel thought is to let the market determine the outcome not a central government lockdown.

    • Mmmm, let’s see — forbid people from working on a mass scale, … unemployment skyrockets beyond any figure known in my own state by twice the amount of any other time in the past TWENTY YEARS.

      Let us debate constructively the possible causes.


      • unemployment skyrockets beyond any figure known in my own state by twice the amount of any other time in the past TWENTY YEARS.

        This is an interesting observation. About 20 years ago was 911 where US aviation immediately stopped and tourism similarly crashed. The causes of unemployment are many and varied but dont underestimate the impact of tourism on the figures.

  31. This Economic lockdown is completely insane.

    A recent Massachusetts Wuhan flu antibody test showed 33% tested positive, with the vast majority being completely asymptomatic…. grrrrrr…..

    This crazy lockdown combined with the equally insane $6 trillion Wuhan bill recently passed may very well create a global economic collapse far exceeding the Great Depression.

    The Fed’s disastrous money printing to pay for this madness may also lead to hugh inflation and may even lead to hyperinflation if they don’t stop printing money like toiket.

    In addition, all the toxic waste the Fed is adding to the “assert” portion of their ledger can’t be unwound because so much of it is worthless.

    The lunatic Left wants to the economy locked down at least until the November elections, but not to “save lives”, but rather to increase their chances of winning the presidency, and get/maintain majorities in the House and Senate…

    This is stupid lockdown is all about the Left weaponizing the Wuhan flu to gain political power and get as many people as possible dependent on the government for their livelihood, and “paid” for by printed funny money…

    The Leftist political and media hacks need to held responsible for the panic they inflamed and the insane spending, lockdown and agenda-driven policies they‘ve implemented under the guise of “saving lives” from the Wuhan flu…

    Leftists’ Wuhan flu disinformation and destructive policies are criminal in scope.

    As Leftists like to say, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”, which they haven’t…

  32. If we continue to lock down, arguing in the extreme, we get to a hunter-gatherer society. The people who survive are then doing essential work.
    Somewhere down that path we meet conditions that are are different to now, but not automatically worse. With thought, we can imagine societies better than present because there is less load on people to pay for non-essentials.
    Lsson, we should not automatically seek back to business as before. We should not do cost:benefit purely in $ but include intangibles. Ask if there are some sectors you would rather get rid of. The is no $ concept in hunter-gatherer societies at that far end of the spectrum. Geoff S.

    • Is it even physically possible for this many people to be hunter gatherers? — I think not. First, we would have to have lots of brutal killing, the likes of which have never been seen before, in order to weed out the weak who would be competing for resources with the strong. … Lot’s of gruesome dead bodies would litter the landscape. In other words, first the strongest would hunt the weakest — doing the very thing that the virus would have done, except not as bloody and brutal.

      I suppose, if you prefer an even more exciting train of events, then that would be the way to go.

      Speaking for myself, I would prefer the less stressful alternative.

  33. Willis,
    Thank you for another informative post. My condolences for having to put up with the juvenile and infantile commenters who think that only China Virus deaths are preventable. I would be much more open to their criticism if they were donating a nice chunk of their salary or wealth to the multitudes who have been forced out of work by the MSM and DemoKKKrat overreaction to this serious illness unnecessarily spread around the world by the Chinese Communist Party’s paranoia and ineptitude. We MUST hold the Chicoms responsible for the extent of this contagion but should never forget how the MSM and DemoKKKrats did everything in their power to exacerbate the situation and shift the blame to President Trump. Now they are trying to extend the length of the suffering with blatantly partisan policies and no concern for the vast majority of the US citizenship who are affected far more by the shutdown than the virus!
    What is the difference between slavery and Communism/Progressivism? Just asking for a friend.

  34. Willis
    You always ask people to quote the words they have issues with, so here goes:

    “Am I the only person who thinks that making two million people jobless, merely to delay but not prevent a thousand deaths, is a bad deal for society? ”

    I take issue most of all with the word “merely”.

    The lockdown is about much more than the number of deaths. I really don’t know why you persist with using this as the sole metric for the importance and effectiveness of the lockdown. It is important to lower the curve for ther reasons such as:
    Ensuring enough ventilator and ICU capacity at any one time
    Ensurig hospitals are not swamped or even closed for lack of medical worksers, so that other diseases can be treated as well
    Having enough mortuary capacity at any one time
    Keeping critical facilities open, such as food processing plants
    Ensuring the supply chains for food and other essentials keep operating
    Buying time for testing facilities to be developed and rolled out and maybe even for a vaccine to be developed

    I do not underestimate the economic impact of the Lockdown – it could be much larger than many people imagine – but we need to buy time and use it effectively to be able to move onwards from this virus.

    • I said, regarding California:

      “Am I the only person who thinks that making two million people jobless, merely to delay but not prevent a thousand deaths, is a bad deal for society? ”

      AndyL April 19, 2020 at 1:03 am replied

      The lockdown is about much more than the number of deaths. I really don’t know why you persist with using this as the sole metric for the importance and effectiveness of the lockdown. It is important to lower the curve for ther reasons such as:
      Ensuring enough ventilator and ICU capacity at any one time

      Not an issue in California.

      Ensurig hospitals are not swamped or even closed for lack of medical worksers, so that other diseases can be treated as well

      Not happening, in fact the opposite is happening in most places. Other diseases are NOT being treated, and some hospitals are going broke with few of either COVID nor non-COVID patients.

      Having enough mortuary capacity at any one time

      Again, not an issue in California.

      Keeping critical facilities open, such as food processing plants

      Huh? I’m not seeing how the lockdown does that.

      Ensuring the supply chains for food and other essentials keep operating

      The lockdown has had the exact opposite effect on that, snarling up supply chains and transportation systems.

      Buying time for testing facilities to be developed and rolled out and maybe even for a vaccine to be developed

      Maybe … but only if you can show that the Western-style lockdowns actually work. Since Sweden has about the same death rate as the US, without a lockdown or much in the way of social distancing, I fear you’ll have a hard time showing that the lockdown did much.

      Heck, South Dakota didn’t lock down and it has one of the lowest death rates in the US … go figure.



      • Willis,interesting point:

        Heck, South Dakota didn’t lock down and it has one of the lowest death rates in the US

        I was looking at the map on the https://wattsupwiththat.com/daily-coronavirus-covid-19-data-graph-page/ page and noticed New Mexico has way more deaths/M than Arizona!
        Back in the 1980’s I lived both places for a few months and didn’t much of a difference.
        Does NM have stricter bans than AZ?
        Or, is there another explanation?

      • Willis
        you have nitpicked my examples without engaging my main point. Why do you persist with using the number of deaths as the sole metric for the importance and effectiveness of the lockdown?

        • Andy, I use deaths as the metric of all aspects of the pandemic because the other measure in general use, confirmed cases, is merely a function of testing. Double the testing and you’ll double the confirmed cases. Cut testing in half and you’ll think cases are decreasing.


    • Poor Ecuadorans can no longer afford to buy food since the economy collapsed. Many of them are chronically malnourished anyways. That’s what’s responsible for the large death numbers.

    • It puzzles me why people are disappointed that these things are not happening in their country and complain about empty hospitals.

      • disappointed

        In the left coast State of Washington the politicians made serious errors in judgement, easily seen at the time by many.
        They brought an Army hospital unit, got it set up and then closed it without treating anyone. They opened a recently closed bankrupt hospital in Yakima, WA for non-virus people — no information provided since doing so. I wonder why.
        So I am not disappointed.
        WUWT will not print the words describing my feelings regarding our government officials.
        In the rural county where we live not a single person has died from this virus. No one. Zero.
        I do know people whose business has died.

  35. Excellent work Willis. Please keep providing a sane voice as it is refreshing to read your considered data based views. Thanks

  36. End the American lockdown now. Not next month. Not next week. Now. Not in “stages”. Not in “phases”. Now.

    I agree mostly. The lockdowns were state actions, and the ending can be by state action on a state-by-state basis. The New York metropolitan area and New Orleans might want to keep theirs for a while, but there is no longer any justification for California, S. Dakota, N. Carolina or Texas to stay in lockdown.

    I wear a mask when I go out shopping to protect other people from me in case I get infected. Most people I see are wearing masks. Little work is critically impeded by the wearing of a mask, and the work is too valuable to keep locked away for any longer. I advocate a program of civil disobedience now that the foolishness of continued lockup is obvious.

    • MRM: California, S. Dakota, N. Carolina or Texas

      Yes, I know S. Dakota is not in lockdown, but the Gov has been criticized and it is clear that there is no justification for the criticism.

    • If the lockdowns are shown as obviously abusive and not grounded in reality, why wouldn’t the President be able to lift them? Just asking, IANAL.

      • niceguy: why wouldn’t the President be able to lift them?

        This is one of the powers that the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution reserve to the States, and to the People.

  37. Willis,

    Please check your units on the left-hand axis of in figures 1-4 “New Unemployment Claims (millions).” The axis number of 10000 becomes 10000 million or 10,000,000,000. There aren’t that many people on the planet.

    • It’s interesting that many hours have passed and 178 comments have been posted and this is the first to call attention to the error.

      (there may be others but searching the comments on “million” — which was how I found this one –returned only this comment.)

      • “You can also see that this increase in Oregon unemployment was not caused by the coronavirus. Nor was it caused by fears of the coronavirus. It was a result of the American Lockdown.”

        Jumping to Conclusions maybe?? Are you that guy in Office Space that invented the game? Was Italy, Spain, France, or Belgium unemployment a result of “the American Lockdown.” Sweden only looks good likely because it’s a Northern-tier country. Sweden’s mortality rate is 2.4 standard deviations above the average of the northern-latitude countries. Telegraph that to the coronavirus hot zones with lockdowns in the more temperate climates.

    • Thanks, Farmer, fixed. Like Speed, I’m amazed it took so long for someone to notice.


  38. Izaak Walton, April 10, 8:02 PM: You need to state explicitly what value you place on a human life before you can ever start to claim that the cure is worse than the disease.

    My response: The cost side of cost/benefit analysis should be measured in lives, not dollars….

    Izaak Walton, April 18, 6:32 PM: I still want to know what value you put on a human life?

    We don’t seem to be getting anywhere here, Izaak. The benefit is lives lengthened with respect to the novel virus. The cost is lives shortened from other causes. In our original exchange, you asked:

    …do you have an estimate for the number of deaths that would result from doing nothing? And how that compare with your estimates from the number of deaths due to the lockdown?

    I’m afraid my response may have been unclear, but the answer is “no”, there is insufficient data to make a reliable estimate for either option. But the possibility of an irrational lockdown causing more casualties than it saves, seems to me entirely plausible. Various pathways to this outcome have been mentioned in current discussions.

    I wrote before about irrational aspects of the California lockdown as they affected me: Dental work incomplete because the dentists office was closed; car with stolen plates grounded because the DMV offices are closed; follow up on melanoma with respect to suspicious lesion postponed for a couple of months.

    I can now add another example. LA County schedules hazardous household waste roundups at various times and places throughout the year. Having waited for months, I loaded up the trunk of my car yesterday and drove to the advertised site here in Azusa. Only to find that the pickup had been cancelled.

    This cancellation is so ridiculous it is almost funny. If the readers have never participated in one of these roundups, let me explain. First, you’re not allowed to get out of your car. The material you are getting rid of is to be in the trunk. You just pop the trunk the sanitation workers, clad in their own protective clothing, unload it, and you drive out. The closest you come to anybody is when they hand you a survey through the window on your way in, and pick it up on the way out. The survey could be easily discontinued. The only significant effect of this cancelling the collection is to put more people out of work.

    In the meantime, I’ll be driving around with a trunkload of hazardous household waste.

  39. Is everybody stupid? don’t answer that, I know they are. Shut down the economy and you get job losses. There is no language that you use can rationalize this and come up with any other answer than, you shut the damn thing down.

  40. The reason for job losses is an American concept of “at will” employment, that is companies can fire employees whenever they want. It is obvious that pandemics is such e moment. So if you live in a place with “at will” employment be ready to get fired if anything goes bad.

    • Wrong. Businesses need good employees to make the business work for the owner. They don’t fire people just because they can. Now, if you are a marginal employee working just hard enough to get by and not get fired, then you can be replaced by a better employee, which happens with or without any kind of crisis. In such a case, everyone wins except the marginal employee who brought the firing upon them self. And that is the reason “at will” employment works so well. Dead weight employees do not last very long.

      • Due to “at will” employment the employees firing is the easiest-to-make cost cut possible. Especially due to legal reasons. All other alternatives are more expansive, more prolonged and can end up with a costly court battle.

        For example during a lockdown it would make the most sense to get rid of paying rent in locations that are locked down anyway as the primary way to cut costs for corporations. But the real estate marked does not have the “at will” clauses enshrined by laws, that would make it possible for tenants to get rid of lease at their will. So any such attempt would end up with a court battle and a possible huge loss.

        Same with let’s say intellectual property and licensing fees – no “at will” suspension of license fees, even if you don’t use the software due to current circumstances, or give up on licensing and pay a penalty. Same with time-constrained utility deals, telecom deals etc. – where you sing for N years, and the only way to get rid before the term in a deal i via paying a penalty fee.

        Thus firing employees in “at will” legislation becomes the only legal way to quickly lower costs without paying any penalty fees, going to court etc. So it is used exactly for that purpose, as the first measure.

        • TomR
          Are you suggesting that businesses not have a legal method of quickly reducing their expenses in an emergency, thereby risking going bankrupt, and not being able to provide employment for the employees they would have retained with the alternative?

  41. From the article: “You can also see that this increase in Oregon unemployment was not caused by the coronavirus. Nor was it caused by fears of the coronavirus. It was a result of the American Lockdown.”

    The American Lockdown was the result of fears of the coronavirus.

  42. From the article: “Am I the only person who thinks that making two million people jobless, merely to delay but not prevent a thousand deaths, is a bad deal for society?”

    You didn’t know how many deaths would result from the Wuhan virus when it first appeared. It’s easy to criticize “after-the-fact”.

    You wouldn’t be saying anything if the Wuhan virus had killed 500,00 Californians by now.

    When the virus first appeared you didn’t know whether it was that lethal or not. Noone did. Only a fool would assume the Wuhan virus was not very deadly when it first appeared. President Trump is not a fool. His American Lockdown was the right course of action. Your criticism based on the number of deaths known now is missing the point.

    Any sane leader would have done social distancing under the circumstances. Monday-morning quarterbacking of this issue is getting a little bit ridiculous. And it’s not helpful because it misses the point and confuses and stresses people unnecessarily.

    • Thanks, Tom. I fear you missed my message, likely my lack of clarity. Let me give it another shot.

      It is entirely possible to take a number of strong medical actions to slow the virus without pulling the wheels off of the economy. That’s the goal—take all possible actions, but for heaven’s sake, DON’T DESTROY THE ECONOMY, duh …

      The first of these actions is to test, contact trace, and quarantine people with contagious infections. We’re doing it backwards—we’re quarantining the HEALTHY instead of the SICK.

      The next is to strongly encourage the wearing of masks in public. Where I live it’s a new county ordinance. I think that sucks, seems like overkill, but there it is.

      And given keeping physical social distance, with those and other interventions the economy can go forwards. I gave a list of possible interventions that don’t destroy the economy in the head post.


      • “It is entirely possible to take a number of strong medical actions to slow the virus without pulling the wheels off of the economy. That’s the goal—take all possible actions, but for heaven’s sake, DON’T DESTROY THE ECONOMY, duh”

        Well, we don’t know that we have destroyed our economy with the actions taken yet, now do we. Although Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are trying their best to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

        I think we are in good shape with the economy considering the circumstances, and if we get back up and running here in the next few weeks and months, then we are going to be fine.

        I was a little bit concerned about my previous post where I mentioned “fools” and got to thinking maybe you might think that was directed at you, but it was not. I certainly don’t consider you a fool and you have never advocated “rolling the dice” with a new virus, so that statement did not apply to you, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that. I have great respect for your opinion and love reading your posts where I learn something new just about every time.

        I do think it is important not to undermine the basic premise of the lockdown using comparisons of numbers of flu victims verses numbers of Wuhan virus victims. And by focusing on those differences, it casts doubt on the lockdown mechanism in people’s minds, and in this situation where people are already stressed, I don’t think it is a good idea to put these doubts in their minds causing them to think they are not doing the right thing by social distancing.

        The unknown infectiousness of the disease and its lethality is the reason for the lockdown. The difference between the flu and Wuhan virus is a separate issue, which should not be conflated with the primary reason for the lockdown.

        If another unknown virus appears, could we handle it differently than the way we handled this one? Yes, and no, We are currently putting in place a mechanism to combat unknown viruses. Everything we need that we were short of at the begiinning of this pandemic is being ramped up quickly to the point that in the near future we are going to have all the medical equipment we need and we will have all the testing we need to combat a new virus right out of the gate. I imagine a box of N95 masks will be a staple in most people’s homes in the future, just in case.

        But, we still have to assume an unknown virus is very infectious and very lethal until we can determine otherwise, and it might be necessary to socially distance again in the future. But, if that happens, society will have had experience of doing this, and the quarantine may only last a short time because we will be prepared by that time, and if our economy recovers nicely after this Wuhan virus incident, then people will have confidence in this type of lockdown action in the future, seeing it as necessary and temporary and successful.

  43. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me the solution is simple. Those people with the factors likely to increase their potential of dying from the virus should continue to shelter in place, those who are afraid should not go to work and those who are ready, willing and able to work, should.

    • Sounds so simple.

      It’s important to isolate and prevent introduction of the virus into nursing homes and hospitals for that example. Fast anti-body screening would be a very useful tool.

  44. We are just doing what China set us up to do. They shut down, set the precedent. Then they fed numbers to their lackeys in academia to make absurd charts showing 500,000 brits and 2,200,000 Americans might die. Their lackeys in the media fed those charts to the people. The “experts” all of which love them some communism set Trump up to force him to give guidance to shut down the economy to flatten the curve and save the healthcare system. Once it was proven that the healthcare system was adequate and we could reopen, they moved the goalpost to preventing deaths until September.
    China is in control and will remain in control. They are the major nation on the planet still open for business.
    Sweden did not lock down, it is a smaller nation, and we are basically following their path. Which means the lock down did not save us anything.

  45. Looking at our elected representatives on TV, they don’t seem to look any worse lately. I guess that the arts of makeup and of hairdressing are essential on thet level.

  46. This lock down was ass backwards. It should have been lock down the elderly and compromised, and allow the economy to continue, since now the cure is most definitely worse than the disease. A lot of the pre-mature deaths have been from carelessly operated seniors/retirement and old folks homes. Much more care and attention should have been focused there beginning mid Feb. This is one of the big lessons we need to learn from this. It would also help for every normal flu season.

    This will be what we should learn from this going forward, is that locking the relevant affected potential victims out of harms way, (seniors and vulnerable) and ensure that they don’t become infected. Yes, that may cost something as well, but it is far less than destroying the economy and all the healthy people for no good reason. We never get back much of this lost opportunity that has disappeared forever now. How many years will it take to recover, and we are all less well off economically as the increase in money supply will just be devalued from our accumulated savings. There will be the cause of future intense inflation from this, and we will all be losers forever because of the following of experts.

    Many of us said this very thing here 4-6 weeks ago, before they locked the economy down. I know I am high risk, so I have acted appropriately and locked myself away in the great wide open, under blue skies a 100 miles from most people.

    President Trump got bamboozled by his experts, but when you rely on the narrow focus of experts, this is what you get. He will have an out though, because he did what the majority of experts and politicians recommended, which was to lock the economy down. Not much political opposition to what has happened either, so President Trump won’t wear this long term. He was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t. Let’s learn from this. We can’t just cut off our nose to spite our face every time a significant crisis comes along.

    • Earthling2
      You stated, “It should have been lock down the elderly and compromised, …” It is not the place of government to force well people into ‘house arrest’ with the threat of institutional confinement. The government has a responsibility to protect the weak and vulnerable from those who are, or might be, a threat to their well-being. Now, any rational person in the high-risk category would take precautions to keep themselves well. It is the responsibility of government to provide information, to all, on the risks present, and to make suggestions on behavior to minimize that risk, particularly for the most vulnerable. I don’t want a government that is prepared to shoot me to keep me from hurting myself.

      The government mandates working conditions that it is incumbent on employers to comply with, such as providing Personal Protective Equipment for employees, providing hazard and safety training, and having first aid and respirators available, as appropriate. The government doesn’t have the right to forbid people from working in hazardous conditions, only to set standards and enforcement that minimizes the risk to employees. It is the government’s duty to go after criminals, not to lock up their potential victims.

      • Nor sure I understand your point Clyde, other than the choice of words regarding being locked down, in regards to nursing and retirement homes which Willis was relating to the economy and majority of healthy people being locked up under mass quarantine. Up/down, don’t know that it matters about choice of words in this matter as what I was saying is keep the elderly and frail at risk in the nursing homes out of harms way by not exposing them to the virus. They are the demographic risk group getting hammered by this plague, being vulnerable with both age and comorbidities. That should have been a much easier task to isolate that smaller demographic than the entire population. Much more easier than tanking the economy and tens of millions of people out of work and having to go on relief and and now the extra QE money supply issues going forward. Maybe I misunderstood your point, or you misunderstood mine.

  47. Willis: Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. I must admit, however, that while I usually look forward to your missives because they generally are reflective of the world as it is and certainly anchored to your own very interesting experiences, the following “challenges” that notion….

    You say:

    And as a result of all of that, I say what I’ve said from the start …

    End the American lockdown now. Not next month. Not next week. Now. Not in “stages”. Not in “phases”. Now.”

    Ok. My initial response to this is…what universe are you occupying where you think that this is a possible action right now, here, in the United States, with the current 380 million odd inhabitants (no substitutions allowed..:))? I relish many of the posts and (some of) the comments on WUWT because I think they generally adhere to knowledge and actions that might actually exist, or at least be plausible. We are in the midst of a group panic. The sheep smell (or think they smell) a wolf. They (we) are not going to just settle down and keep eating the grass no matter what you and I might think is a more rational action. Calling people who are panicking the equivalent of “stupid” (my word, not yours) will not reduce the panic. Panic always subsides (or at least quiets down until the next sniff of “wolf” :)). The key is to be part of the solution…and that solution is to minimize the damage the panic creates. Once we are in a grazing situation again, we can effectively work on mitigating the next panic.

    Two suggestions:
    1) Don’t effectively call people who are in a panic “stupid” (again, MY word, NOT yours). It doesn’t help. Think of how we can mitigate the panic damage, and reduce the level of panic. I think we do that by acknowledging that we really don’t have a good idea of what is going on. Is there a wolf, or not? We reduce the fear causing the panic not by declaring there is no monster under the bed, but by coaxing the “panicee” to perhaps peak under the bed….with somebody holding their hand. We have to acknowledge that our flashlight is weak however….
    2) Once grazing has resumed, then we can engage is meaningful debate about how we 8 billion or so inhabitants of earth can deal with the fear of the unknown. I think we do this by lobbying and teaching and mentoring that not having an answer is not always a bad thing, and thus avoided.

    I reiterate a previous post I made. I make a personal appeal to you Willis. You don’t know me from Adam. I only know a bit about your from your writings. I ask you to take the following seriously as one rational being to another:

    “Hi Willis

    Thank you again for a thoughtful missive.

    I will be frank, however, that the most valuable “take away” (for me) from your discussion is not the details of your position, but in the differences between your discussion and the other interesting missives of Christopher Monckton, David Middleton, Dr Roy Spencer, Eric Worrall…and others that I have missed. Add Dr Fauci and Dr Birx. Certainly not an all inclusive list by any means…just some of the most obvious people I have paid some attention to.

    I will admit right up front that I do not “believe” there is any clear “right” answer(s) to dealing with Covid-19 disease. It is a chaotic mix of poorly understood biology, combined with intrinsically chaotic politics, with a large measure of ego thrown in. In other words, a typical human reaction to any problem dealing with disease.

    If I were in charge, my first action would be to lock the above mentioned folks in a room and LISTEN to them for a couple days. A moderator might be nice to minimize bloodshed (:)). I would be focusing on what the differences are between their various positions. From this I think one could draw useful information about what we don’t know. This then would lead to a slightly better ability to understand what we do know. From there, I think one could begin to formulate an incrementally “better” way forward.

    I harbor no illusions of some binary solution here. The most honest assessment is: It’s complicated, and I really have very little idea of what is going one, and therefore I have very little real ability to manage a path forward. This is the intrinsic status of humanity, but I do think we make incremental progress. There are, after all, nearly 8 billion of us, and we clearly live longer than we used to. Some measure of progress (to some…)”

    Ethan Brand

  48. My previous comment is very general in nature. I provide below a specific example of my version of peeking under the bed. To all WUWT adherents concerned about “lock downs” in your state (or country), follow the bread crumbs and try to understand the legal basis of the “lock downs”, and specifically how you might lobby to improve things before the next panic.
    Comment I wrote to my local Michigan Representative, Daire Rendon:

    Dear Representative Rendon

    Thank you for your reply.

    I have two comments:
    1) Current situation (ie Covid-19) Emergency. As you note, the EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ACT Act 390 of 1976
    explicitly requires the approval by both houses of the legislature to approve the Governors ability to continue a state of
    disaster or emergency beyond 28 days. An additional 14 days has been approved (expire on April 30). I will highly
    encourage both houses (and you specifically) to not approve any additional time without explicit agreement from the
    Governor to reign in some of the more egregious elements of the last stay at home order. I do note that the
    construction of 30.403 only vests the legislature with the authority to approve an extension of the state of
    disaster/emergency and does not vest the legislature with any of the executive powers/responsibilities associated with
    the declaration. Messy. Once you have granted an extension, regardless of any stated desires or requirements
    pertaining to the extension, the Governor continues to enjoy the ability to do as she pleases within the overarching
    purpose of Act 390 and Act 302 (more on this on my second comment). In other words, however the legislature might
    want to reign in the governor, once an extension is granted, she is perfectly entitled by law to ignore such restrictions.
    Good luck!

    2) Future changes to Act 390 and 302. I think changes to the two Acts is clearly needed. Overall, the two are
    somewhat in conflict due to overlapping purposes. Act 302 should be revoked (but I suspect is was not because of the
    firearms element in item (3). Act 390 should be revised to provide for some level of legislative input into executive
    action after the initial declaration period has expired. Obviously this is fraught with problems. The overall purpose of
    390 and 302 is to provide for immediate and unimpeded capability to deal with emergencies. For the vast majority of
    cases we can all deal with the inconsistencies and problems for short term declarations. The problems rapidly escalate
    with longer term problems. I might suggest that 390 be amended to mandate some sort of executive/legislative council
    to approve and or oversee executive actions as a optional condition for declaration extension. As an alternative, perhaps
    allowing for a super majority (60%?) vote by both houses to override specific actions by the executive. At any rate any
    change to 302 and 390 will be difficult as it deals with two messy areas, Emergencies, and Executive Power. I encourage
    you to lobby for these kind of changes in the long run…I expect that the only circumstance that would allow such
    changes would be Republican control of both houses and the executive…a situation I am sure will eventually return to at
    some point in the future.

    You have a really difficult job. Thank you for all your hard work!


    Ethan Brand”

    This was followed by another comment from more research:

    “Dear Representative Rendon

    Pursuant to my last email, I found the following law: DECLARATION OF STATE OF ENERGY EMERGENCY (EXCERPT)
    Act 191 of 1982 ( which contains some logical limitations on the executive powe)r:

    “10.85 Executive order, proclamation, or directive issued by governor; rescission or amendment; duration; continuation
    for extended period; dissemination; notification of legislature.
    Sec. 5.

    (1) The governor may issue an executive order, proclamation, or directive having the force and effect of law to
    implement this act. The governor may rescind or amend an executive order, proclamation, or directive.
    (2) An executive order, proclamation, or directive issued under this act shall be effective for the duration of a state of
    energy emergency as provided in section 3(2). If the legislature approves an extension of a state of energy emergency
    pursuant to section 3(3), an executive order, proclamation, or directive shall continue in effect for the extended period
    unless by a concurrent resolution adopted by a record roll call vote by a majority of the members elected to and serving
    in each house of the legislature disapproves the executive order, proclamation, or directive, or unless the executive
    order, proclamation, or directive is rescinded by the governor pursuant to subsection (1).
    (3) An executive order, proclamation, or directive issued under this act shall be disseminated promptly by means
    calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public and shall be filed promptly with the secretary of
    state and the department of state police.
    (4) The governor shall notify the legislature promptly of an executive order, proclamation, or directive issued under this

    Given the existence of 10.85 (2), it might be a bit easier to revise 30.403 to add the same restrictions.

    Ethan Brand”

    Keep asking questions, ask why people disagree, listen to their answers.

    Ethan Brand

  49. Willis
    You suggested “… a peaceful workers revolt …” I like the sentiment, but what happens when they get to their office building and find it is locked up? Or, if they are in a service industry, and customers don’t show up because they are too afraid to venture out? The business owners need indemnity from the government, and the potential customers need assurance that it is relatively safe to venture out with protective gear. The government created the problem and it is going to have to be part of the solution.

    • Thanks, Clyde. The gov’t should just pick a day and say “OK, May First, everyone goes forward to work. Every part of the economy depends on every other part, so all parts need to come back. Citizens, shop with gloves, masks and hand sanitizer, but shop. Don’t be stupid. Don’t touch your face. No passionate bat-sex. Avoid mass gatherings for a few months. Vulnerable groups, you know who you are, take precautions. Forwards. Let’s go to work.”

      It seems that the state governments are gradually noticing that with no economy there are no taxes, duh … and the reality is setting in of nearly A MILLION NEW UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS EVERY DAY for the latest two weeks of record (and that’s just to April 4th).

      My guess? There are and will continue to be more business deaths than deaths FROM coronavirus.


      • Willis
        I’m a former Californian, but now living in Ohio. The governor has announced that there are going to be cutbacks in government agencies to cope with the anticipated drop in taxes.

  50. >So in California, we’ve thrown at least two million people out of work in order to delay, but not prevent, the deaths of a thousand or so people, most of whom had other serious illnesses.

    That is not the reason for lock downs. Lock downs are imposed to avoid overwhelming the health facilities. Have you seen what happened in Lombardy ? People dying in halls because there was no space? coffins in storage because the funeral facilities were also overwhelmed? Doctors deciding euthanasia of the old by choosing according to age and probability of recovery?

    Was the economy of Lombardy functioning normally?

    Then they imposed lock downs.

    The problem is not between deaths and the economy. It is whether a country can survive without a health system. Lockdowns are because the powers that be decided that the country cannot survive without working health facilities.

    The real question is “would the economy and jobs survive if there were no lock downs and the virus raged until it burnt out? “( herd imunity). I do not know the answer.

    Have you modeled the interval until herd immunity is reached? The numbers coming from a boat , say 50% are asymptomatic, of those 50% with symptoms how many will be over 60? Of those how many will be high level executives ? What is the survival rate for over 60 years old, if there is no health care? Johnson would have died if there were no hospitals.

    What about schools if 50% of teachers are sick with home leave? Productivity in factories? People buying and selling ? Will the markets work with 50% of people indisposed ( I am not talking of deaths , which also will be there, because no health care a lot more deaths)etc etc.

    I do not know the answer. But considering that economy is mostly psychology, the possibility of a great recession if the health sector fails will also have millions of unemployed.

    It needs modeling.

    • “The problem is not between deaths and the economy. It is whether a country can survive without a health system. Lockdowns are because the powers that be decided that the country cannot survive without working health facilities.”

      it is more than just the health system collapsing.

      Its your police force getting infected and being off the job
      Its your food workers getting infected

      Its basically all your essential workers getting infected,

      They don’t have to die for their to be mass disruption.

      This is an impossible calculus

      we don’t want to face these kinds of questions because it’s beyond math and science and logic.

      There is no controlled experiment to tell what the optimum thing to do is
      There is no past experience with a new virus to guide your choices.
      There is a world of anecdotes ( look at Sweden, no look at Korea! no look at NYC,
      No look at Hong Kong! what about Japan! etc etc), but no clear path that we can all
      agree on.

      we think information will solve this, but we don’t trust information.

  51. Willis, I can’t believe anyone is seriously suggesting that the epidemic itself is causing even a miniscule fraction of the economic and job loss that the lockdowns are. Over 20 million jobs have been lost, that is all due to the business closure and stay-at-home orders. In my home state of Minnesota, almost 20% of all jobs are gone. These are readily available statistics, look at the astonishing number of jobs in restaurants and bars, the hotel industry, the airline industry, sports and other entertainment and retail establishments. The layoff percentage and number of those jobs is astonishing, as is also easily accessed. Even in industries like health care, there have been been substantial layoffs. Consumer spending is 70% of the economy, we have eviscerated that. Every business I know, including the ones I have invested in or am on the board of, is having to lay people off because of astounding revenue declines. This is truly economic suicide.

    The economic costs of the actual epidemic on the other hand, are miniscule in comparison. Health payers have discovered that due to postponement of non-emergency services, health costs are actually down, not up. There is some cost to absenteeism, and there would be some effect on consumer spending just from the fear factor, but nothing like the revenue loss businesses are currently experiencing. A useful comparison would be Sweden, where if you leave out export driven revenue loss, the economic hit is far less. So I just can’t see how anyone can argue that job loss is driven by the epidemic rather than the lockdowns. We didn’t see anything like this with swine flu or other large epidemic years in which there was no lockdown or stay-at-home order.

  52. I’m happy for you to go ahead and remove or ignore the lockdown in the US.
    The rest of us will be about a month or so behind you (perhaps depending on your results).

  53. In South Africa, add the ‘excessive force’ applied by police and army to citizens who break the lockdown. And the “Tw*t in the Hat” of a Police Minister who is running riot against “stuff he doesn’t like”. So, during the three week lockdown and its extended two weeks, we can’t console ourselves with drink or smoke. Sale and transport of alcohol has been banned, so our wineries can’t export. Sale of cigarettes has been banned, so smuggling across the borders is rife. And the Minister would like the ban to be permanent! Apparently, he has never learned the lessons of the USA’s “Great Experiment” of Prohibition. As if the Cape’s gang problem isn’t currently bad enough!

  54. Willis – I scanned through the comments to see if the following was mentioned but didn’t spot it:
    It is my ‘theory’ that unemployment caused by the Government lockdown is very different from the usual unemployment and the statistics, reactions, etc are NOT comparable.
    This unemployment is caused , not by the absence of jobs- the usual case – but by the absence of workers directly restrained by the government from performing their jobs.
    Since the cause is so different, statistical comparisons like ‘this unemployment rate is the WORST ever’ etc are not relevant at all.
    The government in typical monopolistic fashion simply prevented a large portion of the population from creating wealth – at all, ANY wealth. For a political “feel good” purpose.

    • Spot on. This isn’t an unemployment as a result of economic conditions (IE lack of jobs), it’s unemployment as a result of governmental conditions (IE government preventing workers from working) which is a unique situation, we really haven’t had that happen before. So any comparisons are, to be frank, highly suspect.

      We don’t lack jobs. Once government allows the workers to get back to work and businesses to get back to business, a the majority of those unemployed will be employed once again. To be sure, it won’t be as many as were employed previously:
      – there will be a number of businesses that simply didn’t survive the government stop work mandate. Sadly, those jobs will be gone.
      – there will be a number of businesses (particularly cruises and other large gathering events) that will be slow to recover as the customers will be slow to going back to those kinds of events due to safety fears. such businesses will likely need less workers until their businesses get back up to normal speed.

Comments are closed.