Chinese virus: squashing the curve and heading for Gibraltar town

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Early in the Chinese-virus pandemic, Boris Johnson, the colorful British Prime Minister with the haystack-in-a-hurricane hairdon’t, talked of “squashing the sombrero”: for the curve of a pandemic that is allowed to progress until population-wide immunity is reached is approximately symmetrical about its peak, just as a sombrero is about its crown.

The UK’s chief medical officer showing the Press the difference between a sombrero graph and a Gibraltar graph, March 12, 2020

If, however, the progress of the pandemic is interfered with by a lockdown, the very large number of fatalities at the peak of the sombrero will never be reached.

Instead, the initial exponential growth will be interfered with, the pandemic will reach a far lower peak, and the curve will no longer be symmetrical. Instead, it will resemble the shapely profile of the rock of Gibraltar (British) as seen from across Algeciras Bay. The objective of a lockdown is to head for Gibraltar town by the fastest route, for once one is there one can lift the lockdown.

Late though the British lockdown was (if it had been just two weeks earlier, at least 50,000 of the 70,000 excess British deaths attributable to the virus would have been prevented), it was effective when at last it was introduced. In Britain, both daily new cases and daily deaths are heading not for the crown of the sombrero but for Gibraltar town:

In the United States, deaths are heading for Gibraltar town, though a little more slowly than in Britain. But there may be trouble ahead, because following the lifting of lockdown measures and the mass breaches of lockdown by far-Left demonstrators the number of daily new cases is heading not for Gibraltar town but for the sky. Two or three weeks from now, daily deaths are likely to rise too.

It is worth contrasting countries such as Britain, with a fierce lockdown, the United States, with a less fierce lockdown, and Sweden, with no lockdown at all. Increasingly, there is soul-searching in Sweden about the no-lockdown policy, for Sweden now has just about the highest daily number of new cases and of new deaths per head of population in the world.

Finally, the notion – advocated by many vexatious trolls here – that the coronavirus pandemic is “no worse than the annual flu” must now be dismissed out of hand. If one compares the daily incremental counts of flu and of the Chinese virus in the United States, by June 10 the latter was about six times the former.

Even if one compares apples with oranges – the daily incremental count of the Chinese virus against the estimated total for the entire flu season – the Chinese virus is twice as bad as the worst annual flu in the U.S., and the deaths are still increasing at about 1000 a day, and the daily incremental count is known to be a considerable underestimate.

Incremental daily coronavirus death count in the U.S.A. (cyan) compared with incremental daily counts for various recent flu seasons (solid curves) and with estimated final death counts for flu seasons (dashed curves).

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June 18, 2020 6:23 pm

Annual flu deaths are based on models not a list of names of people who died.

The result is that people dying with pneumonia are frequently blamed on influenza even though there are over a dozen other causes of pneumonia.

Doctors rarely have patients they think died of ordinary influenza — their anecdotes strongly suggest the official range (not one number) of flu deaths grossly exaggerates actual influenza deaths.

A better estimate would be half of the low number in the range provided by the CDC.

I can’t imagine the Covid-19 counts were any more accurate, because hospitals made more money with a Covid19 diagnosis rather than an ordinary influenza diagnosis.

Can’t trust the goobermint = a good rule of thumb.

John Tillman
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 6:30 pm

You are right. There is no single standard either within countries or among them for what counts as death by ChiCom-19. In some jurisdictions, the political pressure is to inflate and in others to deflate the number of deaths from “COVID-19”.

No one knows the actual number now or in the future. It’s all politized. But we can be sure that Monckton’s statist orientation is not only wrong, but has contributed to promoting the ChiCom strategy for weakening the West.

Greg
Reply to  John Tillman
June 19, 2020 12:02 am

Indeed. Once again the vexatious viscount is misleading and misdirecting.

Instead, the initial exponential growth will be interfered with, the pandemic will reach a far lower peak, and the curve will no longer be symmetrical. Instead, it will resemble the shapely profile of the rock of Gibraltar (British) as seen from across Algeciras Bay. The objective of a lockdown is to head for Gibraltar town by the fastest route, for once one is there one can lift the lockdown.

The simplistic models, on which all this is based, promote a strategy of “flattening the curve”. This means spreading the SAME NUMBER of cases out over a much longer period of epidemic in order to spread the load. The ONLY way in which this can save lives is by preventing EXTRA deaths due to health care systems being overloaded.

According to this kind of modelling, as soon as you relax confinement, case number start to increase exponentially from the now lower level and you get the “second wave” we have all been hearing about so often.

One BIG problem for the simplistic SEIR type models is that this ( fortunately ) just did not happen. The models are totally and fundamentally wrong on this point. None of the major points of infection in Europe : Italy , Spain, Germany, UK show even slightest indication of the famous “second wave” despite dropping all confinement rules long ago and only limply retaining some kind of mask-wearing policy.

This can be seen here:
comment image

Anyone with any kind of scientific or moral integrity would now be forced to recognise that there are one or more significant factors in the real disease which to not exist in the simplistic models since the REAL infections do NOT follow the model predictions. [ Where have we seen this before ?]

Late though the British lockdown was (if it had been just two weeks earlier, at least 50,000 of the 70,000 excess British deaths attributable to the virus would have been prevented)

Now this may be true but only since the models were fundamentally wrong. Again, flattening the curve does NOT reduce the number of cases , it simply spreads the case load. To be fair to BoJo on this point, the understanding of the virus on which choices were made was fundamentally flawed. If we had the understanding which everyone else apart from CofB now recognises, that for some reason there is no second wave, the “herd immunity” strategy would never have been adopted.

Instead of misrepresenting what the models predict in a pathetic attempt to say “see I was right” our vexatious viscount should focus on the real reason for catastrophic loss of life in the UK: the disastrous, panic response to alarmist projections which turned the entire NHS into a Covid Health Service, stuffing vulnerable patients back out into the community and worse “care homes” where they would infect tens of thousands of others of the most vulnerable section of the population.

Like NYC, which was even more irresponsible, there has been a deliberate culling of the senior population. These “non productive parasites”, well past any useful contribution to the economy and only representing a burden to already bankrupt pensions funds were cynically eliminated.

Certain estimations say that around half of the deaths in the UK occurred in care homes, where many patients were left to die without proper case while the famous Nightingale Hospitals stood empty and unused.

Once again, ivory tower academics with their cups of tea and massive computers and no experience of real live have totally misinformed government with deliberately exaggerated models in an arrogant attempt to force policy to follow their narrow and simplistic model worldview.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Greg
June 19, 2020 1:00 am

One suspected that a tirade from the rebarbatively discourteous “Greg” would be forthcoming. One need say little more than that the venomous, hate-filled style in which his self-advertising comment is written will not commend it to any rational being.

Like it or not, lockdowns are not the best way to deal with a pandemic. Track, trace and isolate is the best way. However, most nations, including the US and UK, missed that bus. Having missed it, they had to lock down so as to prevent their hospitals, mortuaries and graveyards from being overwhelmed. Now that the pandemic is at last being well controlled, it will now be possible to reintroduce track, trace and isolate, and HM Government – albeit with its usual technological incompetence – is doing its best to do just that.

Greg, who has very little knowledge of mathematics, wilfully misunderstands the difference between exponential and linear functions, wilfully ignores the difference between models (not mentioned in the head posting, though he rants about them) and data (which the head posting presents), wilfully refuses to acknowledge that lockdowns work for the obvious reason that transmission of the pathogen is very greatly interfered with, wilfully refuses to acknowledge that any sufficiently dangerous pathogen will evolve not in accordance with the sombrero curve on which the modelers relied but in accordance with the Gibraltar curve, and wilfully persists in saying that there will be no second wave when in several insufficiently cautious countries such second waves have already been observed.

The fact is that this virus has turned out to be a great deal more infectious, and a great deal more fatal, than “Greg” and his ilk have been prepared to admit. Every day that passes, with its growing death toll, is another knife in “Greg’s” wounded pride.

Responsible governments have fortunately not heeded the mathematically illiterate “Gregs” of this world. They have taken a more prudent course. In doing so, they have saved many, many lives. And, whether “Greg” likes it or not, the saving of lives is what public-health policy is all about.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 1:44 am

I take it you disagree with him then . LOL.
For what its worth I am 100% sharing your point of view.

To confuse a false crisis with a false but profitable non solution (climate change) with a genuine crisis with a flawed, but only possible response (COVID 19) just because the governments are the same in each both cases, is ‘magic thinking’ of the highest order.

If climate change and covid 19 are now, in this blog, simply a matter for partisan belief, and not rational discussion, then this blog is finished.

george Tetley
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 1:50 am

Sir, “GREG, has very little understanding of mathematics”
I profoundly disagree, GREG is in a class of his own, he was educated in Idiotsville.

Vuk
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:41 am

Españoles would like to Rock, but the el Sol flamenco is very infectious too
http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/SC23-Covid.htm

Ron
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 4:31 am

If climate change and covid 19 are now, in this blog, simply a matter for partisan belief, and not rational discussion, then this blog is finished.

I am afraid we missed that bus as well. And I am very disappointed about how easily years of solid criticism of climate science is eroded and discredited by wishful thinking and lack of knowledge about medicine/biology in a pandemic.

richard verney
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 4:58 am

Leaving aside the language used (which is in my opinion unnecessary and objectionable), there is much to commend in many of the points that Greg makes. The real problem in this case (and it is something that pervades climate science) is the shortcomings and unreliability of the data, and the way it is being manipulated, and the failure to look at the big picture. It has also become c0rrupted by politics, and politicians are in CYA mode desperate to justify their failed policies.

Without full autopisies, we have no proper understanding of the cause of death, and what role the virus played. Don’t forget that in early March, the Italians conducted autopsies on 355 patients who had died of CV19 (this was about 10% of the then death toll), and found that only 12 of those patients, had actually died exclusively of the virus. Co-morbidity was the cause of death, in the other 343 patients, and most of these had several serious pre-existing medical conditions. The CV19 virus might have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back, but they concluded that the CV19 merely advanced the date of death by about a week or so, or in some cases the patient would in any event almost certainly died within the year. This no doubt explains why the average age of the patients at death was 81, which is about the usual age at death in Italy.

So what is the position with regard to total deaths this year? According to the US CDC, through to week 34 there were some 1,918,750 deaths in 2018, and this year there have been some 1,978,995 deaths.

Thus 2020, has seen some 60,000 more deaths (through to week 34) compared to that seen in 2018. That would suggest that the CV19 virus has caused about 60,000 deaths in the US, not 110,000, and as Greg points out, this is largely accounted for by the disastrous policy, in Democrat run cities, with respect to failing to isolate care homes, and returning to care home infected patients.

It is noteworthy that these figures are unadjusted figures. If the population of the US has grown by about 2% since 2018 9that is just a guess, I have not researched), then population increase alone would account for nearly 40,000 of those 60,000 excess deaths. Thus on a population adjusted basis, the number of excess deaths over 2018 maybe much nearer the 20,000 mark. That is well less than is being claimed.

Of course, the flu outbreak in 2018 was higher than usual, but what we are seeing in 2020 is nothing particularly exceptional; a bad flu season for sure, but not one that warrants the locking down of society.

There is no hard evidence that lockdowns do anything of significance to reduce the total number of deaths, and you can see that by comparing countries and States that imposed different lockdowns.

The problem with lockdowns is that they are by necessity far too porous which prevents containment and allows the virus to spread, albeit at a slower rate. You therefore end up with less deaths per day, but running over a longer period of time, such that the end result is not much different. You also end up with all the consequential deaths that follow from the lockdown policy (eg., cancer deaths due to lack of timely tratment) and the deaths of despair that follow the economic fallout from the lockdown policy (alcoholism and people taking their own lives, increase in poverty due to austerity etc). Overall, it is likely that the lockdowns will result in more deaths over the coming years than were saved by the lockdown. None of this was taken into account when modelling and when forming policy.

beng135
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 9:04 am

richard verney, thank you for a well-considered reply, bringing up some vital points that the good viscount and others should consider.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 9:44 am

Richard, those are good points, and it may also be worthwhile to point out that according to Worldometer, more people have committed suicide so far this year than have died of Covid-19. (if you grant for the sake of argument that everyone listed as dying of Covid actually died of Covid, which is highly questionable)

So, if we were going to focus on one of those two problems in order to save lives, it should probably be the suicides, not Covid. (And that’s to say nothing of automobile deaths, which are higher still, or other infectious diseases, which cause about 10x as many deaths as Covid and flu put together.)

I’m still not seeing any justification for quarantining healthy people.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 20, 2020 2:57 pm

In response to Mr Verney, in the United States the excess deaths over the four months February to May 2020 were 132,000 [111,000, 153,000]. If the UK is anything to go by, the very great majority of these excess deaths were attributable to the Chinese virus.

Unfortunately, the pandemic is very far from over. As the head posting shows, confirmed cases have departed from the Gibraltar curve as lockdowns are eased and looters and rioters commingle at close quarters notwithstanding the distancing guidelines.

In the UK, the lockdown has worked – so far, at any rate. It is a great shame that it was not introduced a great deal earlier.

Now that we have enough data to be sure that the virus is not often fatal to those under 65, the economy could be restarted completely provided that the elderly and those with comorbidities take extra care to protect themselves against infection.

Mr Verney is right that if lockdowns are unduly prolonged the cost in lives from suicide, alcoholism and lack of routine medical interventions will be considerable. That is why governments are unlocking as fast as they think prudent. This is not a comfortable balancing act.

But it has been a great disappointment to me that several commenters here have not understood the elementary epidemiology that dictates the value of early lockdowns, where governments have failed to track, trace and isolate right from the outset.

The characteristics of the exponential curve that pandemics always follow if unchecked in their early stages are not to be denied – but many here have tried to deny them.

Greg Suhr
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 22, 2020 12:34 pm

Please don’t lump all “Greg’s” in the discourteous group. For personal reasons I’d hate for “Greg” to become the male counterpart of a “Karen.”

As for the “Vexatious Viscount” …. I kind of like the title. Sounds like a Marvel Superhero whose trusty sidekick might be the “Bellicose Baron.” Together they would fight the battle against misguided orthodoxy.

BC
Reply to  Greg
June 19, 2020 8:33 pm

If climate change and covid 19 are now, in this blog, simply a matter for partisan belief, and not rational discussion, then this blog is finished.

Since the Left have hijacked climate change and covid for political purposes, then, naturally, responses in this blog are going to have the appearance of being partisan. The climate hoax is more than adequately documented and doesn’t need to be revisited, but covid deserves some attention. When institutions and individuals campaign against the potentially life-saving drug hydroxycholorquine (read the various articles in WUWT), simply because someone they loathe spoke in favor of it, and also campaign to extend lockdowns, for no other purpose than to trash the economy in the hope that it will cause Trump to lose the election, the ‘debates’ ceased to be about science long ago.

John Hinton
Reply to  Greg
June 19, 2020 8:45 pm

I would appreciate the effort Lord Monckton put into this post, if he’d expended the effort to normalize case/death rates for population.

UK did what they did, after whatever policy advice they paid attention to, but the UK/US comparisons (with TROUBLE appended to one graph) would have been a little more convincing if it had considered population differences.

Or, maybe it wouldn’t have been convincing at all.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  John Hinton
June 20, 2020 3:10 pm

Mr Hinton has perhaps misunderstood the purpose of the head posting, which was to show the difference between the sombrero graph of an uncontrolled pandemic and the Gibraltar curve of a controlled pandemic. I took the UK and the US as examples, because – with the exception of the daily case counts in the US – the cases and deaths reported conform nicely to the Gibraltar curve.

Like it or not (and I don’t), the failure of the US daily case burden to decline towards Gibraltar town over the past ten days or so is a matter of concern. Indeed, the reported cases the day after the head posting was published show an even larger surge skyward. Unfortunately, there is some correlation – with a 2-to-3-week lag – between a rising case burden and a rising death toll. In my submission, it was responsible to indicate that there may be trouble ahead for the United States.

Mr Hinton is of course correct that, as things stand, the cumulative death toll per head of population in the US is well below that in the UK. But that situation may change if in the US the daily case burden – followed in a few weeks by the daily death tool – rises while it stabilizes in the UK.

John Tillman
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 6:33 pm

Which is exactly what you’d expect from an anti-American scumbag who thinks that the atomic bombings of Japan were war crimes.

Why the enemy of humanity Monckton is allowed in my country, I don’t know.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  John Tillman
June 18, 2020 9:49 pm

In response to Mr Tillman’s intemperate and childishly offensive comment, which is a gross breach of site policy, I am invited to the United States with great frequency, and will hope to be giving a course on logic there in July, because I am known to be a great admirer of your nation, its constitution and the vision of its founding fathers.

As to what constitutes a war crime, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines the deliberate or negligent extermination of large numbers of civilians as a war crime. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs deliberately destroyed large numbers of civilians in two heavily-populated cities. The Allies calculated that those mass deaths would bring the war in the Far East to a precipitate end, saving many more lives than were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nevertheless, no civilized person should ever be content that governments should resort to mass extermination of innocent civilians without such careful soul-searching.

As to reporting of deaths in Britain, the US and Sweden, the three nations principally addressed in the head posting, in general the public-health authorities seem to be making genuine – if less than entirely competent or contemporaneous – efforts to count deaths attributable to the Chinese virus accurately.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics recently made a careful analysis of the surge in excess deaths at the height of the pandemic, before the lockdown succeeded in returning the excess-death count to something like normal. The conclusion was that the great majority of those excess deaths that had not been attributed directly to the Chinese virus in the daily incremental counts published by HM Government were in fact attributable to it. However, the ONS also sounded a warning that unless normal business in hospitals were soon resumed there would be additional deaths caused by interruption of life-saving treatments and interventions, which is one reason why lockdowns should be eased once Gibraltar town has been reached.

Let us end on a note of agreement. Among the many disastrous failures of the World Death Organization in addressing this pandemic was its failure to have instituted a standard reporting protocol, requiring every case and every death to be reported within a day of its occurrence, requiring all the dead to be tested for the presence of the virus and, if it were present, to be further investigated to establish the extent of the virus’ contribution to the death, and requiring that high-resolution circumstantial data on all hospitalized cases and all fatalities be gathered contemporaneously to permit epidemiological analysis.

Had proper, contemporaneous, high-resolution data been gathered worldwide, the extent to which the Chinese virus targets the old and infirm near-exclusively could and should have been established a great deal sooner than it was. It would then have been possible to supply the probabilistic combinatoricists (for epidemiology is a subspecies of probabilistic combinatorics) to calculate not on models but on data the strategy that would allow all those under 65 and not suffering from comorbidities to return immediately to work.

Greg
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:21 am

However, the ONS also sounded a warning that unless normal business in hospitals were soon resumed there would be additional deaths caused by interruption of life-saving treatments and interventions, which is one reason why lockdowns should be eased once Gibraltar town has been reached.

Are you seriously trying to suggest that that has not already been happening ? Normal patient case was suddenly deemed “non essential” and stopped when COVID flared up. The crazy situation in US of many hospital staff being furloughed due to the failure of the most alarmist projections to materialise means that even without the expected level of COVID cases millions were and are not getting the care they need. This is not a hypothetical future it has been happening for months already.

US cases has reached a plateau, though still at quite a high level. This has nothing to do with recent riots which show no visible effect on number of cases, clearly showing the mask wearing fiasco for what it is.

[ ECDC data]
comment image

The plateau in new US cases goes back about 40 days, and largely predates the riots. The riots were neither the cause of end of the decline nor does it show case numbers heading “for the sky” as CofB claims.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Greg
June 19, 2020 1:11 am

The ever-incompetent “Greg” here confuses the United Kingdom with its colony the “United States”. When I wrote that in the United Kingdom the Office for National Statistics had studied the excess deaths and had determined that at this stage nearly all of them were directly caused by the Chinese virus, I was not writing about the United States, though it may well be that a more dispassionate analysis of the U.S. statistics than the tendentious “Greg” is capable of would show a similar pattern in the colonies.

I certainly hope that the departure of the US curve of new reported cases from the Gibraltar curve in recent days does not continue to head for the sky, but instead heads for Gibraltar town. Unlike the self-advertising “Greg”, though, responsible governments cannot simply assume that all will be well.

In the United Kingdom, it is now time to get the national health service back to something more like normal operations, so that those who will otherwise begin to die in large numbers for lack of routine operations will be spared. Nosocomial infections, such as those which spread to care homes in many countries, including Britain, remain a prime source of infection, so governments are having to take cautious steps.

Finally, if “Greg” will get his kindergarten mistress to read the head posting to him, he will find that I attributed the failure of new cases in the US in recent days to conform to the Gibraltar curve not only to the Marxist/Fascist agitators rioting and looting and thus helping to spread the infection but also to the ending of lockdowns in various states.

One appreciates that “Greg” likes to advertise his website under the false guise of trying to attack what I have written, but he is winning few converts. He needs to go and learn a little elementary math. His kindergarten mistress will be able to help.

chemman
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:07 pm

Rome Statute was drafted in 1998 and put into effect in 2002. Has no bearing on 1945 since it wasn’t in effect then. I find that judging the past by our current “moral/ethical” standards to be illogical

Smart Rock
Reply to  chemman
June 19, 2020 5:19 pm

Sorry chemman. The Hague Convention of 1899 prohibited the attack or bombardment of undefended towns or habitations. Signed by UK, USA, Germany, Japan and many other nations. 60 seconds on the internet would have revealed this to you.

I fully agree with you about judging the past by present standards (a very relevant topic in this statue-toppling season), but the fact is all the players in WWII were doing things they had promised not to do, in solemnly executed international treaties.

But it isn’t always easy being ethical when you’re fighting for your survival. Sometimes you have to break the rules to try and prevent greater crimes.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  chemman
June 20, 2020 3:12 pm

I am most grateful to Smart Rock for drawing attention to the Hague Convention, and for his balanced consideration of the ethics involved in the decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:29 pm

I make no comment on the covid19 issue; I comment only on Lord M’s use of the term “war crime” and Mr. Tillman’s somewhat less than charitable response thereto.

By deliberately targeting cities full of civilians, the aerial bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be a war crime under any of the international agreements and conventions that address the subject. Post-hoc rationalisation that justified it by claiming it reduced or eliminated large numbers of later casualties that otherwise would have occurred does not mean that it wasn’t a war crime. The very post-hoc argument that, as a practical and highly visible demonstration of the capability of nuclear weapons against cities full of people, it made the “mutually assured destruction” doctrine an effective guard against their use, even though the superpowers built thousands of them, is actually a very powerful one. But it still doesn’t mean it wasn’t a war crime.

Similarly, the aerial bombardment of Hamburg, Dresden etc. would be war crimes. The usual post-hoc justification that “them other guys started it” (i.e. London, Coventry, Exeter etc.) is a powerful argument, but it doesn’t make them not war crimes. It just explains why it was done, and why it was necessary in the context of the times.

That said, any tabulation of possible and actual war crimes committed by Allied and Axis forces during World War II is going to be extremely lopsided on the Axis side of the page.

There is, however, a school of thought which says that actions that contravene the various conventions of warfare, are only war crimes if they were carried out by those who lost the war in question. Mr. Tillman would appear to subscribe to this school of thought, quite possibly without conscious ratiocination, but definitely with admirably patriotic fervour.

While doing a quick look-up of what defines a war crime, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, apparently, the first codified account of prohibited actions in war was called “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field” and was promulgated by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Good work, America. Again. POW Lives Matter!

Jack Black
Reply to  John Tillman
June 18, 2020 11:39 pm

Logical and reasoned arguments, even if I didn’t agree with your conclusions is fair and proper, but ad hominem, and vulgar abuse is not any kind of refutation. These remarks are ill judged, and actually even Oppenheimer’s team were aghast at the consequences of population bombing. The original plan was to drop a single bomb offshore somewhere as a demonstration of the power. That alone would likely have been sufficient to induce surrender, it was thought.

mario lento
Reply to  John Tillman
June 19, 2020 12:16 pm

John: That was over the top.

Scissor
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 6:50 pm

Yes, and a distinction could be made between died with COVID-19 and died from COVID-19. George Floyd died with COVID-19. It was his unfortunate drug usage and encounter with a Minneapolis policeman that did his in.

In terms of Global and U.S. death rates, COVID-19 will end up approximately in the same range as that of the 1968 Hong Kong flu (probably lower), keeping in mind that global population was half what it is today in 1968. The estimated global death from Hong Kong flu was over 1 million, in contrast to about 450,000 for COVID-19 to date.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 9:58 pm

In response to Scissor, it should by now be blindingly obvious that during the early stages of a pandemic nearly all of the excess deaths will have been caused directly by the pathogen. And that was the conclusion of the Office for National Statistics after it had examined the pattern of excess deaths in the United Kingdom.

The true death rate from the Chinese virus is, therefore, considerably above the 456,000 reported deaths to date – indeed, it could well be at least double. And we are still counting. The global death rate is beginning to climb as the pandemic progresses in South America, India and other places. That is why the repeated attempts by some commenters here to compare the incremental reported-death count at any given instant of the present pandemic with the final death counts for previous pandemics are, statistically speaking, inappropriate.

The head of the International Vaccine Institute has estimated that the Chinese virus is both ten times as infectious and ten times as fatal as flu. On the figures, it is no longer tenable to pretend that the virus is not a dangerous one. Responsible public health policy in the face of a dangerous infection of this kind is to track, trace and isolate (which most countries failed to do), and, in default of that policy, to impose lockdowns until the hospitalizations and deaths have both reached Gibraltar town, and then to allow the fit under-65s straight back to work.

Scissor
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 6:19 am

There does not appear to be any unaccounted for large contributor to excess deaths. Yes, there will be accounted for deaths early in the outbreak before the disease is recognized, but the key is it is early when cases are fewer.

In the U.S., the deaths assigned to COVID-19, within uncertainty, agree (so far).

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

mario lento
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:40 pm

re: “The true death rate from the Chinese virus is, therefore, considerably above the 456,000 reported deaths to date – indeed, it could well be at least double. ”

One has to ask, then: Could the death rate of the Hong Kong Flu be nearly double the reported rate using your same logic?

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  mario lento
June 20, 2020 3:19 pm

In response to Mario Lento, it has long been known that the daily case reports represent a very considerable underestimate compared with the eventual totals discerned by the statisticians after the event. The final graph in the head posting demonstrates that this is the case.

Therefore, the death rate from the Hong Kong flu, as calculated when all the returns were available to the statisticians, is likely to have been not only considerably greater than the daily death count, but also considerably more accurate.

The 456,000 deaths reported to date are mere cumulative daily death counts. We are not yet at the end of the pandemic, but it is already apparent that 456,000 is a flagrant underestimate. China no longer reports deaths from its virus. Spain has also ceased to report them. In Russia, Brazil and numerous other countries, indications of very considerable under-reporting of deaths has come to light. And even if the deaths had been reported fairly by all countries, the excess death toll – nearly all of which is attributable directly to infection with the pathogen, according to the Office for National Statistics in the UK – is between 50% and 100% above the reported cumulative daily death counts.

Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 7:04 pm

Between 1/3 and 1/2 of all china virus deaths are to people with both the virus and pneumonia.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  co2isnotevil
June 18, 2020 10:00 pm

In response to CO2isnotevil, of course a large fraction of the deaths from the Chinese virus are pneumonia deaths, because the virus operates by causing inflammation particularly – though by no means exclusively – in the lungs, causing acute respiratory difficulties.

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 18, 2020 11:27 pm

Viruses themselves do not cause inflammation, rather it is the Human immune response which can cause such symptoms. Improper clinical diagnosis of these natural immune responses, and incorrect remediation, such as inappropriate ventilation methods, actually exacerbated numbers of deaths.

Greg
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 12:52 am

One of the effects of HCQ is reducing that inflammatory immune response. As well a mediating entry into affected cells of zinc, which impedes the viral reproduction.

It seems the medical world has still not understood unusual hypoxia which leads to inappropriate intubation which killed tens of thousands through inappropriate use of high pressure PEEP.

JohnM
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 3:13 am

The over-response to the pathogen was noted, and is known in other cases of viral infection. Treatment proceeded along an established route. It didn’t work. Steroids also suppress the immune system leading to uncontrolled bacterial infections. Intubation is only used when the patient with respiratory distress is approaching exhaustion, in which case options remaining are few. Use of ECMO requires a high number of highly trained staff to perform and operate, which were not available. The virus also evades the bodies immune system in its initial infection: “Human CoVs are the one of the most pathogenic viral infections that develops various immune evasion strategies. Studies have come up with reports supporting the fact that the family of CoVs are significantly able to suppress human immune responses by evading the immune detection mode” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7189399/

Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 7:21 pm

Well put, Richard. I agree.

I find it interesting Christopher that you support the Statist-Status Quo on Coronavirus but are at odds with it on Climate. As a Voluntaryist, a disbeliever in the Coercive God of Government, I am guessing but suppose you support the U.K. government’s non-voluntary lockdown policies unlike your peer, Lord Sumption?

A quote of his:
“The real problem is when human societies lose their freedom, it’s not usually because TYRANTS [my emphasis] have taken it away, it’s usually because people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection against some external threat.”

So Christopher, however you interpret the data on the virus, I hope you will join Sumption and myself in considering the “End” (Coronavirus) does not justify the “Means” (non-voluntary lockdown) just as you do not think it does for Climate Change.

Reply to  Jack Carney
June 18, 2020 9:14 pm

the third time the little boy cried wolf, it was a wolf.
Just because vested interests lie to you about almost everything doesn’t mean a real crisis isn’t happening.
Just because politically convenient measures are introduced on the heels of a real crisis, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Leo Smith
June 18, 2020 10:05 pm

Mr Smith is right and Mr Carney wrong. If Mr Carney will only read the head posting before commenting, he will realize that, in the UK, now that the curve of daily cases and daily deaths has reached Gibraltar town, lockdown can be ended immediately for everyone under 50 with none of the known comorbidities, with everyone else being advised – but no longer compelled – to take care not to contract the infection.

Like it or not, the Chinese virus is a real emergency. It was not taken seriously enough soon enough. The great majority of the deaths that have arisen – and perhaps very nearly all of them – could and should have been prevented if only China had notified the WHO in mid-October 2019 that the virus had emerged, as the International Health Regulations required.

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 18, 2020 11:48 pm

Why the rather arbitrary age divide? Many 50+ year olds are actually fitter and healthier than couch potato younger people. Again there is no actual proof that increased age, other than the fact that very elderly people tend to have accumulated several medical conditions over the decades. Lifestyle is as important as chronological age surely?

Greg
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:38 am

Finally something I can agree on with CogB.

CCP have been grossly irresponsible in thinking that they could contain this locally and sweep it under the rug without anyone becoming aware.

The huge question is why would want to tackle the problem like that instead of openly tackling the problem, which would obviously be much more effective even at the local level.

The only reason for arresting and silencing the doctors who were signalling the presence of a new virus is because they already new EXACTLY were it came from: the risky “gain of function” genetic manipulation of corona virus strains which were being conducted at Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Despite the attempts of the WHO and left-wing campaign platforms masquerading as new outlets in the west to pretend this some bizarre game of “natural” genetic leapfrog going on in a local market, the reaction of the CCP in trying to hide the very existence of sars-cov-2 is probably the clearest indication of the fallacy of the story.

JohnM
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:21 am

Because, Jack, The decline in effectiveness of the immune system is one of age. It starts to decline at the onset of puberty, by the 50s’ it is well established. Thymus degeneration is a fact of life. Now, if you want to be chemically or surgically castrated, then it may start to regenerate….up to you..

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 11:44 pm

@JohnM
I was saying why the arbitrary selection of “50” as a cut off age though. Later in these threads Monckton suggests another arbitrary age of “65” as a cut off. Any advance on 65?
Because all Humans are different and unique, it makes no sense to speculate upon cut offs based on age rather than fitness criteria or indeed degeneration state of various organs. It is the arbitrary nature of those age suggestions I object to, rather than the principal based reasoning which you had used.

Yet at what age is the “Thymus” considered to be beyond practical usefulness? That is a moot point, dependent upon many factors, whose complexity requires a whole article in itself probably. Perhaps you’d care to draft an article on Thymus degeneration and its effects upon immune system efficaciousness with respect to chronological age, and submit it for publication?

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 20, 2020 3:22 pm

In response to Mr Black, below the age of 50 there is very, very little risk of death from the Chinese virus. From 50 to 65 the risk rises a little and ceases to be insignificant. From 65 to 80 it becomes highly significant: and, above 80, the risk is considerable.

Therefore, the fit under-50s can go straight back to work; those between 50 and 65 can go to work with precautions; those over 65 would be better taking precautions that increase with age.

Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 7:22 pm

“I can’t imagine the Covid-19 counts were any more accurate, because hospitals made more money with a Covid19 diagnosis rather than an ordinary influenza diagnosis.”

Luckily this is testable.
IF the diagnosis was driven by economic decisions on the part of the hospitals you would expect
to see vastly different numbers for the US deaths per million.

You dont.

Belgium, Sweden, UK, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, the list goes on
all have higher or similar deaths per million.

When you correct for different age distributions and cormorbidy rates you’ll find the same thing.

The virus kills. it preferentially kills the old and sickly.

There is no need for a conspiracy story.

there is a need for better public health policies

sycomputing
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 9:09 pm

IF the diagnosis was driven by economic decisions on the part of the hospitals you would expect to see vastly different numbers for the US deaths per million.

Meh, not necessarily “vastly different numbers.” The potential for inflated numbers, however, is definitely there.

The 20% increased rate payouts for C-19 diags that fall under the CARES act applies only to Medicare patients and the uninsured. Thus there’d be no benefit to lying about anyone else (unless some state program could come into play).

Or so claims Reuters (I didn’t care enough to actually read Table 5):

https://tinyurl.com/yb4yvfmc

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  sycomputing
June 18, 2020 10:08 pm

Mr Mosher is right and sycomputing wrong. It should by now be self-evident that if anything the daily death counts are underestimates. Even the most elementary analysis of excess mortality rates demonstrates that that is the case. The Office for National Statistics in the UK has carried out quite a careful analysis of the excess deaths, and has concluded that the true deaths here from the Chinese virus are not the 42,000 reported by HM Government but closer to 70,000 – and, alas, counting.

donald penman
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:01 am

Nobody Knows the true number of deaths caused by the coronavirus we just have a consistent method of counting these deaths and hope that our figures follow the true number of deaths. Climate scientist also claim they are looking for true anomalies when they alter climate station data and we see data from these stations trending up where they used to trend down. we are giving up consistency for some unrealistic idea that we can know true data.

sycomputing
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 4:43 am

It should by now be self-evident that if anything the daily death counts are underestimates.

It should also be textually evident that the topic-at-hand was whether or not hospitals had inflated numbers based upon economic decisions.

But that first requires (semi) careful reading of one’s comment prior to typing.

Vincent Causey
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 6:03 am

How do they conclude that? On death certificates I’m guessing. But according to Dr John Lee, retired pathologist, the normal standards for attributing cause of death have been relaxed. something which he described as “a scandal”. The question is then, if the ONS are working on false data, won’t their conclusions also be false?

Zack of Lo'Klas
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 8:48 am

Absent from the author’s last screenshot image in the article is regular old boring heart disease. Unlike auto fatalities(?) and much more relevantly like covid, heart disease is biased towards old people.

That missing line would be straight, and straight off the chart in a non covid year. At 500k, heart disease accounts for a quarter of the US annual 65+ deaths.
But for 2020, when all the data is in, the heart disease line will have a flattened shape then that of prior years. This lack of attention to substitutive “death by” is conspicuous.

A true accounting of “excess” death would have to account for what will likely be a reduction not just of flu, but of all prevalent forms of age related mortality that won’t show up on death certifiates this year.

Fancy math in service of proving lockdown neccessity should account for that substitution effect.

Can it not be true that while some form of public health policy was warranted, perhaps lockdowns of everything and everybody was not the most efficacious way, the only way, the uniquely spectacular and flawlessly implemented way, to keep 0.000625 of people under 65 in NYC alive? ~5,000 out of 8 million succumbed. What benighted and luxurious times in which we live, that rate would have gone unnoticed a mere century ago.

We have unnaturally, cleverly, through medical innovations changed the curve on lifespan. Is it any wonder that being of the natural world, sometimes nature changes that curve back towards a longer norm?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 9:29 pm

Differing reporting standards and data quality issues are irrelevant to comparisons, and don’t impair the validity of conclusions?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 19, 2020 2:59 pm

More wrong as usual Mosher.

Deaths per million are strongly affected by how well people are isolated.

The amount of isolation depends on the official rules, how well people follow the rules, and how many outsiders are allowed into the nation.

When outsiders fly in, they may be asked to isolate themselves for two weeks … or not.

Some nations forced isolation at a dedicated Covid hotel with meals and guards = a big difference versus voluntary isolation.

And this assumes the virus from China was exactly the same as the virus that arroved in Europe and later spread to New York.

There were financial pressures to say Covid19 even without a test to prove it.

This pandemic is still in progress — it is too soon to know the conclusion.

The estimates of influenza deaths are grossly overstated usings models.

There is no logical reason to assume the same people would probide accurate counts of Covid deaths.

Jack Black
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 11:12 pm

The fact remains that there is no cure from any virus, other than the response of the Human immune system itself, evolved over countless millennia. There appears to be quite a number of fundamental misunderstandings in these columns in here about that. Doctors can alleviate harmful symptoms and assist an individual’s immune system, but they cannot “cure” any virus infection. Only the affected can effectively cure themselves.

“Antibodies”, are merely one part of the human immune response to invading pathogens, such as viral RNA, and also toxins. Again there appears to be a lack of appreciation that the “secondary chemical pathway” leading to increased fever, does assist in destroying pathogens. This is actually an important defense mechanism, and ought not to be ameliorated too rapidly, if at all, unless it threatened to permanently harm a victim’s organs.

Misdiagnosis, and mistreatment of symptoms, and failure to properly analyse patient’s blood chemistry most likely caused more deaths, than any other single cause. Failure to appreciate that the mechanism of detection of pathogens is by Type-B leukocytes, which then release the “antibodies”, or polymorphic leukocytes, which then bind in a molecular fashion to, for example a particle of virus, thus changing it into something else ie. no longer a virus. In a way that’s still not properly understood, successfully bound matured T-cells signal to the whole local population of Type-B leukocytes to then produce matured preprogrammed T-cells instead. Finally macrophages then digest the deactivated pathogens, which are then expelled in the urine, via the renal system. The mechanism behind retained memory of patterns for production of “pathogen ready” Type-B leukocytes is not understood, or why and for how long it persists.

These actions do consume significant amounts of vitamins and ionic minerals, notably Vitamin D, and Zinc. Such deficiencies ought to have been tested for in haematology, and replenishment regimes undertaken. Quininic compounds are particularly efficacious in effusing Zinc supplements, and Natural insolation or UV lamp therapy generates ordered of magnitude greater amounts of available Vitamin D, than digestive supplementation. Ignorance, avarice and prejudice prevented such proper actions, and huge numbers of preventable premature deaths occurred as a result.

Listing tables, and plotting graphs of statistical “evidence” of doubtful provenance, proves nothing at all about efficacy of variable treatment regimes in different locales. Again testing with different criteria, and different methods, by myriad different heath authorities, cannot be compared in a “like for like” basis across the World. Wuhan originating sp. Coronaviri chimeras, however aggravating, were not principally causative in the majority of actual premature deaths, in my considered opinion. Ignorance, panic, hubris, neglect, and vested interest avaricious behaviour played a much greater role.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 2:48 am

Well, you obviously know better than doctors, who say that they have cured many patients, they are obviously deluded by their own incompetence.
Perhaps you should enlighten them that they are wrong and the patients got completely well in 2 or 3 days on there own.

Jack Black
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 11:59 pm

I suspect you’ve not fully understood my brief explanation, A.C. Osborn.

Doctors can assist a patient’s immune system, by supplying appropriate supplements after haematology analysis to detect deficits of essential nutrients. Again doctors can relieve stress and overactive responses that may threaten recovery. Ultimately though in cases of virus infection, it will be the patient’s immune system which will clear foreign RNA from the body.

At no time did I suggest any timescale for this process, and indeed it can take weeks or even months, and occasionally may never be fully successful at all, despite the best efforts of doctors.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 2:53 am

Jack Black, thanks for your great insight paralleled with common sense.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 3:40 pm

Your knowledge on immunology is rather dated, circa 1980’s.

Jack Black
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 20, 2020 12:12 am

That’s your opinion, but please do offer your own explanation if you will, though I suspect you don’t have one. Naturally my own brief explanation is pitched at a level that ought to be understood by most intelligent readers in here. I strove to illustrate that politicians who made the decisions are ignorant of even how their own bodies work, rather than merely criticising clinicians who operate under political edicts and codicils, restricted by poor facilities, equipment and materials shortages, time and funding. Of course the entire Human immune system is far more complex than can be explained in a few paragraphs in these columns.

Lotus
Reply to  Jack Black
June 20, 2020 12:28 am

Agree with you sir!

Bruce
Reply to  Richard Greene
June 23, 2020 11:12 am

The number of “new cases” in the US is a bit misleading as testing has increased massively and the vast majority of “new” cases are non-sympomatic so are not even illness, but just evidence of exposure.

John Tillman
June 18, 2020 6:26 pm

Chris,

You are a useful idiot of the Communist Party of China.

The WuWHOFlu virus has shown itself half or less lethal than the Asian flu, the first pandemic of my and your lifetime. Those seers whom you so wrongly castigated as willing to let the old and sick die have bben shown correct, and you an enemy of Western Civiliztion and humanity.

As I and others on this blog tried to educate you, the correct response to the ChiCom-19 attack on the West was to protect those most vulnerable, but not to shut down our economies.

Shame on you for being such a coward. The first pandemic of your and my lifetime, the Asian Flu of 1957, killed twice as many per capita as ChiCom-19, including almost me. It attacked young and old, not just the sick and old, like the new coronavirus.

Surfer Dave
Reply to  John Tillman
June 18, 2020 9:06 pm

Gosh, you are an anti-scientific troll Mr Tillman.
There seems to be no immunity. Even a mild case cause long term tissue damage. What happens when you get it a second, third time – worse each time until death?
It goes directly to the CNS. It is far more transmissible than flu, it is Ebola like in transmission.
We know nothing about it and what happens in the medium term.
You may feel you are some sort of superman who will survive, but that is just ignorant fantasy.
Go take you trolling elsewhere.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Surfer Dave
June 18, 2020 10:12 pm

Surfer Dave is right and the spiteful troll Tillman wrong. Of course there is nothing more embarrassing than to be shown up as wrong, as Mr Tillman has. But resorting to childish invective when events have shown one to be wrong does not help.

There is no conceivable basis for Mr Tillman’s unexplained and inexplicable allegation that I am “a useful idiot of the Communist Party of China”. On the contrary: I have repeatedly stated that the Chinese regime should be haled willy-nilly before the International Criminal Court for the crimes against humanity of mass extermination and of disappearing dozens of whistle-blowers until the whole world had become exposed to the Chinese virus.

Peter Taylor
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 6:06 am

Lord Monkton – I have long admired your forensic mind – since the time of your APS article about Hansen’s equations and imagined feedbacks. However, your political knowledge needs augmenting – the US part-funded the Wuhan laboratory (dual function military/civilian, as with Fort Detrick) for its gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses – even when the Obama adminsitration banned all such US work. The Chinese labs have a poor history of containment. US diplomats warned of this in 2019. Recently, China announced the result of the investigation at the Seafood Market – the original story of origin – no evidence of animal contamination, along with evidence that the first cases were not connected to the market. The finger is pointing to the labs. Even Luc Montagnier – now working in China, the discoverer of HIV, maintains the virus is a lab-created chimera – with inserts from the HIV genome. This is an international error of huge proportions with lessons for all nations equally – Fort Detrick doesn’t have a better record than Wuhan. All gain-of-function research has pandemic potential – and for much worse than we see now.

Scissor
Reply to  Peter Taylor
June 19, 2020 6:51 am

Good comment.

Tom Abbott
June 18, 2020 6:27 pm

A lot of States are doing much more testing than they did a few weeks ago. That will account for some of the increased numbers of positive cases.

President Trump’s rally Saturday will be a good test of just how ready we are to deal with the Wuhan virus.

This test has to be done and done now.

Trump leads the way again.

gbaikie
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 18, 2020 9:30 pm

” This test has to be done and done now.”

It seems a bit crazy to test with a crowded stadium.
I never been to one.
And I don’t know how crowded it will be and how much time one would be spend in crowded area- is at least, outside and during daylight?
It seems everyone should be taking Trump pills, or at least if you are over 50.

It could interesting if everyone one could get tested, there, and then get tested a week later.
As then it could be a more useful test.

Derg
Reply to  gbaikie
June 19, 2020 1:23 am

We should have done that with the protests.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Derg
June 19, 2020 6:58 am

The difference between the protests and Trump’s rally is we will have information on all those who attend the Trump rally, so they can be tracked quite easily for any effects of the Wuhan virus.

They will be missing an opportunity if they don’t turn this into a valid scientific experiment by following up on all the attendees to see how they did after the rally.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  gbaikie
June 19, 2020 6:49 am

“It could interesting if everyone one could get tested, there, and then get tested a week later.
As then it could be a more useful test.”

That is what is being recommended by Health officials. And I would agree it is a good idea. I don’t know if the Trump campaign is officially saying this. But it is a good idea.

People should wear masks, get tested before and after, and should probably self-isolate themselves for 14 days after the rally, and especially avoid those most vulnerable to the Wuhan virus.

After a few weeks we should probably know if large gatherings are going to be a big problem or a small problem.

As for the venue, the BOK Center holds about 20,000 people, and I heard this morning that there is going to be an outside stage and area that could hold tens of thousands of more people, and Trump is going to speak at both locations.

The Tulsa police says they have intelligence that many radical groups (Lefttards) are planning on coming to Tulsa to disrupt the event. So the City of Tulsa is putting up nine-foot tall fences around the area and Governor Stitt has called up some National Guard troops.

So things might get interesting in Tulsa on Saturday night. And it might rain, too.

mcswell
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 19, 2020 12:13 pm

“A lot of States are doing much more testing than they did a few weeks ago. That will account for some of the increased numbers of positive cases.”

The %positive is indeed going down in some states (Massachussets, Illinois, Pennsylvania) and is more or less stable in others. However, in some states, the %positive in tests has gone up in the last couple weeks. If the underlying number of cases were stable or going down while the testing rate was going up, then the %positive would go down. It isn’t in states like Arizona (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/individual-states/arizona) and Florida (same website, change state), and the only explanation for that is that the underlying rate of disease is rising in those states–indeed, rising faster than the testing rate.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 19, 2020 1:59 pm

Tom
“Trump leads the way again.’
Yep he does. Maybe into the abyss. Every read the Pied Piper story?

mario lento
Reply to  Simon
June 19, 2020 2:07 pm

“Maybe into the abyss.”

Simon, you can’t see the abyss through the hole you dug years ago!

brians356
June 18, 2020 6:28 pm

More tests, more cases (some asymptomatic). A better metric is “daily test positivity” which normalizes out test count variance. On the deaths side, “excess deaths” better, since so many “from Covid-19” deaths are really “with Covid-19”. Consider 95% of deaths in most US states were either in nursing homes or had serious comorbidities. And hospitals are monetarily incentivized to err on the side of Covid-19.

Reply to  brians356
June 18, 2020 7:31 pm

“More tests, more cases (some asymptomatic). ”

nope.

This is true only when your tests per million is really low.

It also depends on the stage of the epidemic you are at.

early on if the infection rate is greater than the testing rate ( example, attack rate of 5 % and testing
rate of 1 %) increasing tests will find more cases until the testing rate is greater than the attack rate
when ( as in NY) the Rt falls below 1 and the test rate climbs then more tests will not find more cases.

Pretty much the same case in Korea.

The blanket statement (more tests= more cases) is only true in certain cases. Its conditional on Rt
and conditional on the testing rate.

Positivity rate ( as you note ) is more important, however, it too is conditional on the factors mentioned above.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 8:38 pm

Steven Mosher: This is true only when your tests per million is really low.

It also depends on the stage of the epidemic you are at.

So what is it now, in your judgment, and how can you tell?

Today the US tests per million is 80,750; the deaths per million is 365; the cases per million is 6840. Is that a really low testing rate?

fwiw, I don’t know the answers to these questions. For the US, I think there is variation among the states and cities. I think it is possible that new cases are being disclosed at a higher rate, while they are being created at a lower rate than before; but I do not know how to test this hunch.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Matthew R Marler
June 18, 2020 10:18 pm

In response to Mr Marler, in the early stages of a pandemic it is necessary to keep track of several numbers, preferably with real-time reporting. First, excess deaths per week compared with the five-year mean excess deaths for that week (and every person dying should be tested for the presence of the virus, and the death certificate should state whether the virus is considered to have been the proximate cause of death); secondly, hospitalizations; thirdly, ICU admissions; fourthly, recoveries from hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Population seroprevalence should be established by repeated, large-scale, randomized population sampling, not by a mere crude count of total positives.

Scissor
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 6:57 am

Also, one must consider that the tests used today are different. There are different rates of false positives and negatives.

If the rate of false positives exceeds that of negatives, then a given population will be shown to have the disease even if it is not present. In that population, the greater the number of tests performed, the greater the number of cases found, even if in actuality there are no cases.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 20, 2020 8:26 am

Monckton of Brenchley: in the early stages of a pandemic it is necessary to keep track of several numbers, preferably with real-time reporting.

I would say not just in early stages, but in all stages, since otherwise you can’t tell if it’s past “early stages”.

But my question to Steven Mosher was whether inferences were possible with the data that are available now.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Matthew R Marler
June 19, 2020 3:19 am

Mathew, the worldometers 6840 cases/million population is not the infection rate.
Currently the infection rate is 2,263,756 cases divided by total tests of 26,724,848 which is 84706/million.
Similarly the CFR is currently 120,688/2,263,756 = 5.3%

What some people forget when they compare these values with the Flu is that they are with lockdowns which have not happened with the Flu.
The question should be why is the flu allowed to kill so many without more intervention.

Phil.
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 10:43 am

But when comparing with the flu you should also consider that ~40% of the population has been vaccinated and also some may have natural immunity due to have being previously exposed to a similar virus. Neither of these is true for the SARS-19 virus.

icisil
Reply to  brians356
June 18, 2020 7:38 pm

They are also financialy incentivized to intubate patients, which has probably ki!lled more people than the virus has.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  icisil
June 18, 2020 10:19 pm

Intubation has certainly not helped much in saving lives. Continuous positive airway pressure of oxygen has had a better outcome.

JohnM
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:16 am

Eventually, many patients reach the end of the road (energy-wise) and are unable to continue without forced ventilation. It is not a decision taken lightly. The demands that a totally sedated person makes on the ICE support team is massive.

icisil
Reply to  JohnM
June 19, 2020 4:16 am

Patients are routinely intubated before they need it due to fear of aerosolized virus. And you have it backwards: workload is much greater caring for a patient on some form of high-flow oxygen treatment with proning than it is taking care of a sedated/paralyzed vegetable, which is basically what an intubated patient becomes.

Jack Black
Reply to  brians356
June 18, 2020 11:59 pm

But what are they actually testing for? As far as I understand mostly all of these “tests” are nonspecific tests for so called “genetic materials”, and not antibody tests against isolated samples from Koch’s postulates.

June 18, 2020 6:30 pm

I forgot to mention a typical flu seasonal trend, as the weather gets warmer and people spend more time outside, makes it hard to determine how effective lockdowns really were.

Also, a “lockdown” with foreigners flying into the country is not a real lockdown.

Reply to  Richard Greene
June 18, 2020 7:41 pm

“I forgot to mention a typical flu seasonal trend, as the weather gets warmer and people spend more time outside, makes it hard to determine how effective lockdowns really were.”

in reviewing ALL the clusters in Korea and ALL the documented clusters I can find from other places…

There are NO cases of spread from “outdoor” events.

The spread explodes in INDOOR locations, with little ventilation, where humans are in
prolonged contact in face to face circumstances where they engage in activities like
loud talking, singing, chanting, breathing hard (gyms) and where they are not wearing masks.

basically, close quarters are the biggest risk. Hospitals, churches, prisons, cramped offices,
with little or no ventilation.

This is not to say the virus cannot spread in other situations. But rather this.

cases look like this

1,1,3,2,3,156,1,2,4,2,67,134,1,2,3,190, 1000

This has been known for a long time. case here, case there, then BOOM Cluster.
and the clusters is what drives the numbers.

when you track down cases you find clusters. When you look at clusters it is clear what situations
these occur in.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 10:52 pm

So, aircraft. Why are flights STILL allowed?

Bruce
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
June 23, 2020 11:19 am

Airplanes are constantly ventilated (flushed) with outside air as a result of the pressurization process.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 19, 2020 1:39 am

That information from Korea that outdoor events cause no increase is very significant and should be nailed to the desk of most of our politicians, thank you Mr Mosher. Reason suggests it should be the case, but confirmation is always welcome. So for example, in the warm and mostly dry weather being experienced in the UK there is no reason why school students couldn’t be called in to have lessons seated outside in playgrounds or on school on-site pitches. Even most comprehensives have these kind of spaces.
This leads me to question yet again why we are building hospitals where it is forbidden to open windows because it upsets the air conditioning system which is busily re-circulating contaminated air. As a child I suffered prolonged illness and spent much time in what were then called Open
Air Schools where entire walls were made so that they could be thrown open and pupils benefit from essentially being outside. It was a great idea then and offers a practical solution today to students education being disrupted today by COVID.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
June 19, 2020 3:25 am

Sorry, what applies to S. korea does NOT apply to the UK.
There were at least 2 outside events that caused massive increases in cases in the UK, the Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.
Even outside it depends on how densely packed the people are and if they are expelling a lot of air, as in shouting and cheering etc.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 3:59 am

Not comparable situations and in any case students are the least at risk anyway.
And we know a lot more about COVID now.

Ron
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 4:43 am

Liverpool’s Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.

In that case you cannot exclude people contracted the disease just being in pubs for hours before the game started. That is what many supporters do.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
June 19, 2020 7:24 am

“That information from Korea that outdoor events cause no increase is very significant and should be nailed to the desk of most of our politicians, thank you Mr Mosher.”

President Trump’s rally on Saturday might be able to give more evidence of this finding since he is going to have both an inside venue, that holds 20,000 people, and an outside venue that will probably hold twice that many people. I think the Trump administration will have all the names and other information for all these people, so they will be able to keep track of them after the event.

Followups can be done on both the inside and outside people to find out if they were affected differently by the Wuhan virus.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 19, 2020 1:47 pm

Tom
“President Trump’s rally on Saturday might be able to give more evidence of this finding since he is going to have both an inside venue, that holds 20,000 people, and an outside venue that will probably hold twice that many people. I think the Trump administration will have all the names and other information for all these people, so they will be able to keep track of them after the event.’
Thats one hell of an experiment and one I wouldn’t want to be part of.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 20, 2020 7:30 pm

“Followups can be done on both the inside and outside people to find out if they were affected differently by the Wuhan virus.”
OK Tom so there was no outside and the inside only half full. what happened? I thought a million people wanted to go.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 21, 2020 5:11 am

“OK Tom so there was no outside and the inside only half full. what happened? I thought a million people wanted to go.”

I don’t know. Perhaps Mayor Bynum’s warning the day before that he had intelligence saying lots of bad people were coming to Tulsa to disrupt things, and then slapped a curfew on Tulsa, had something to do with it.

In another recent post, Simon, you said something must be physically wrong with Trump after he appeared to have trouble negotiating a steel ramp at the graduation ceremony for West Point cadets, and you said he appeared unable to drink out of a glass of water without using both hands. The Fake News was claiming Trump had Parkinson’s Disease. Funny, they never mention that disease when they talk about Joe China.

If you saw the rally last night, you would have seen Trump’s explanation for what actually went on and after hearing that you would have to conclude that the Fake News is up to their old tricks again, lying to people and fooling people like you, Simon.

Trump said he was wearing leather-soled shoes which are like walking on ice when you walk down a steel ramp, and that’s why he was “tippy-toeing” down the ramp, to prevent himself from falling on his butt and giving the Fake News another way to bash him. The Fake News cut away from the picture right before Trump reached the ground and started walking normally. Fake! Fake! Fake, Simon!

As for the glass drinking incident, Trump said he held his other hand underneath the glass to prevent any water drips from falling on his silk tie. He also said he had just completed saluting the cadets *six hundred times* right before he took his drink. I wonder if ole Joe China could salute six hundred times in a row?

Fake News, Simon. You shouldn’t take anything the Fake News says about Trump at face value. They lie when the truth would sound better.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 21, 2020 1:39 pm

Tom
But, but, Tom, Trump did the same thing with Clinton last time accusing her of being unfit physically for the job. And what about Trumps own fake news clip of the two kids this week? Anything to say on that?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 21, 2020 5:43 pm

Simon: “But, but, Tom, Trump did the same thing with Clinton last time accusing her of being unfit physically for the job.”

I suppose you are referring to the time Hillary collapsed and had to be carried into her vehicle. That was a real physical problem. Trump’s “ramp walk” was a fake medical problem.

Simon: “And what about Trumps own fake news clip of the two kids this week? Anything to say on that?”

I haven’t seen the clip you refer to but Trump says it was an obvious parody. I’ll go with his explanation.

Another example of the Left deliberately misinterpreting something Trump does to try to make him look bad.

Our president has been under constant attack from U.S. Domestic Enemies, including members of the previous administration, from the day he declared he was running for president. And despite everything the Swamp can throw at him, he is still moving the U.S. forward.

The current Radical Democrats are the most danerous organization in United States history. We don’t have to worry about foreign enemies, what we have to worry about are domestic enemies of the United States. You see them out on the streets right now trying to destroy our society, cheered on by the dishonest, dangerous Leftwing Media.

One of the most important things Trump has done is expose the Leftwing Media as the Liars and Propagandists they are, and he continued with this truth telling in his latest rally.

The Radical Democrats are a great danger to our society, but they would not have nearly the influence they do, if not for having the Leftwing Media promoting the lies and hate of the Radical Democrats. Take away their Media dominance and the Left would have nothing. That’s what Trump is trying to do, among other things.

Our nation cannot survive if we depend on Liars for our information and that’s what is happening when you listen to the Leftwing Media. Their sole purpose today is to undermine the president and the United States of America.

We are going to fight back, though. The Left is not going to push us around. They will find that out one of these days. All it takes is a show of force. And all that takes is political will.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 21, 2020 7:40 pm

Tom
“Our nation cannot survive if we depend on Liars for our information”
The fact that you cannot see the irony of that statement shows how differently we see the world. Trump is light years ahead of any recent president when it comes to misleading (lying) the public. I mean there is no one who would have told a 25% of the lies he spreads daily. Not Ford, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, combined.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 4:39 am

“The fact that you cannot see the irony of that statement shows how differently we see the world. Trump is light years ahead of any recent president when it comes to misleading (lying) the public. I mean there is no one who would have told a 25% of the lies he spreads daily. Not Ford, Obama, Clinton, Reagan, combined.”

What you are describing are the numerous distortions of reality put out by the Trump-hating Leftwing Media. You say Trump lies, I say the Left and the Leftwing Media are the real liars. If you want to drink the Kool-aide, then go right ahead, apparently I can’t argue you out of it.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 1:32 pm

Tom
“If you want to drink the Kool-aide, then go right ahead, apparently I can’t argue you out of it.”
No but you can reason me out of it if you have a case. You seem to happy to dismiss what some of the media are saying by branding them”left wing.” Of course those on the left don’t like Trump just like the right hated Obama. That is politics. Always has been that way. You need to look deeper than that. Ask yourself, why is it so many people have left Trumps team? Not just Bolton but those before him. And all are saying Trump is clueless in the job. That he stumbles from one disaster to another. And these are republicans. Mattis, Kelly, Tillerson the list goes far beyond any recent president. So either they don’t know what they are doing or Trump is the culprit. These people have nothing nice to say about Trump at this point. Do you ask yourself why, or is it all the main stream media, and the left? I don’t think I’m the one who is on the cool aide my friend.

mario lento
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 1:55 pm

Simon: I’d like to stop for a minute and post a scorecard of your record:

So, were you or the Left Media correct on Trump Russia collusion?

Were you correct on Trump committing a quid pro quo by asking to look into Biden’s televised quid pro quo?

When you read the transcripts of the interviews in the House committee, where they all admitted under oath there was never any evidence of any Trump or campaign associates colluding with Russia, do you still claim Trump was colluding with Russia to affect the election?

Did you know there was never any evidence from Crowdstrike that the Russians hacked the DNC?

Answers to these questions, will put you on record right now, as a dishonest shill.

We already know you are a liar. So maybe you’re not as dumb as I think. Maybe you’re just only a liar… and a consistent one at that!

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 4:20 pm

So, were you or the Left Media correct on “Trump Russia collusion?” Mostly correct. Trump new about and promoted Russian involvement in the last election.
“Were you correct on Trump committing a quid pro quo by asking to look into Biden’s televised quid pro quo?” 100% correct. There is no doubt he acted inappropriately and asked for help with Biden in a deal for military aid. There are so many lines of evidence that he did this it is boring. Add to that, that Trump reused to allow those closest to him to testify and it is clear he was covering things up. Ask Bolton now. And clearly Mueller’s report show he obstructed justice during the proceedings.

“When you read the transcripts of the interviews in the House committee, where they all admitted under oath there was never any evidence of any Trump or campaign associates colluding with Russia, do you still claim Trump was colluding with Russia to affect the election?” See above.

“Did you know there was never any evidence from Crowdstrike that the Russians hacked the DNC?” Wake up and smell the roses. No is no doubt Russia interfered in the election in a “systematic” fashion.

Mario Lento
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 4:33 pm

As we can all see: Simon took the bait. He’s a perfect case study from someone incapable of reason or truth. There is never a good reason to discuss anything of consequence with Simon, except to figure out what the Left is up to. Logic, facts, truth need not apply.

Simon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 22, 2020 10:11 pm

Mario Lento
So why are you wasting your time?

mario lento
Reply to  Simon
June 22, 2020 10:43 pm

Mario Lento
So why are you wasting your time?
______________________________
Because you’re a consistent side show. You represent all that is wrong with the misinformed, who can’t be reasoned with. And you increase the number of hits of the site, so all good! Sometimes a foil is a good thing.

Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 6:34 pm

Christopher, trying to not be a troll, it’s certainly true that the WuFlu is a pandemic with a very inflated death rate.

Your graphic shows 104,542 deaths in the 6-month period between January to June, 2020.

In the 5-month November to March 1957-58 pandemic, the flu death rate of 69,800 occurred within the US with a population of 173.5 million people.

If that death rate is extrapolated to the present population (330 million),it equates to 141,229 deaths, about 35,000 more the reported rate for Wuflu over a bit longer time-range.

https://www.britannica.com/event/1957-flu-pandemic

So, it’s true the Wuflu is dangerous But it’s not out of the league of at least one prior pandemic, during which there was apparently no large-scale shutdown.

The Wuflu is also unique in the nearly 30,000 nursing home deaths that can be put on the heads of certain state governors; most notably New York’s Gov. Cuomo (not to forget his best buddy, NYC mayor Bill DiBlasio).

One can surmise that some large fraction of those deaths would not have happened absent their incompetence, possibly categorizable as negligent homicide.

John Tillman
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 7:45 pm

Cuomo and his fellow governors who followed his lead, in sending ChiCom-19 cases back to their nursing homes, have the deaths of tens of thousands on their hands. Yet they’re lionized as heroes in the mainstream media.

DrDweeb
Reply to  John Tillman
June 19, 2020 6:14 am

And that is possibly the worst example of willful negligence I have ever witnessed from elected officials. They should be in the stocks, not lionized by a fawning left wing media.

The West has turned upside down, led by deranged politicians of the left, their propaganda arm, the MSM and their para-military arm ANTIFA with BLM running emotional cover.

What a cluster fu**

Simon
Reply to  DrDweeb
June 19, 2020 1:53 pm

DrDweeb
“And that is possibly the worst example of willful negligence I have ever witnessed from elected officials. ”
Oh I dunno. Trump holding an indoor rally (where people are going to be yelling, coughing cheering and breathing very excitedly) in a part of the country where the virus is accelerating , so he can get his polling numbers back up, has got to be reasonably negligent wouldn’t you think?

Bruce
Reply to  Simon
June 23, 2020 11:28 am

100% of the people at the rally owuld have to die to even come close to the number killed by DemoKKKrat governors in nursing homes.

But I realize math is hard for people trying to push a narrative conjured up from their TDS symptoms.

Henry Pool
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 8:00 pm

Frank you are comparing apples to oranges. The current pandemic is ongoing, and you have made the invalid assumption that the first five months of COVID-19 will not be eclipsed by the 2nd 5 months. Pay attention, the infection rates have not gone to zero, and in fact are currently rising.

fonzie
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 8:00 pm

Pat, i think you also have to account for demographic changes since the fifties, too. Less people of colour back then who are now dying at a much higher rate than whites. The CDC recently recently pegged the ifr at 0.26% which is consistent with an ifr of 0.2% (so i heard) in the flu pandemic that you mention…

Henry Pool
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 8:02 pm

PS Frank, please use global number when making a comparison between what is happening now, and what happened in 1957-58. That is because this is a pandemic and not a simple epidemic.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 9:20 pm

So, it’s true the Wuflu is dangerous But it’s not out of the league of at least one prior pandemic, during which there was apparently no large-scale shutdown.

I can’t believe you wrote that.

Consider:

“Road deaths attributed to a bad batch of tyres are no worse than they were with good tires before seatbelts were made compulsory”

Are you really trying to say that the lockdown had no effect whatsoever, and that without it the death rate would have been exactly the same? And not ten times worse?

Pat Frank
Reply to  Leo Smith
June 18, 2020 10:03 pm

All I’m saying, Leo, is that the US Wuflu death rate is not unprecedented.

There were a total of 116,00 deaths in the US from the 1957 flu pandemic. In a population of about 173 million people.

That extrapolates to about 221,300 deaths in a population of 330 million. Maybe the corona virus deaths will end up exceeding that.

In 1957 a prominent American microbiologist, Maurice Hilleman, saw the flu coming He got a sample of the virus (H2N2) and ultimately sent it to five pharmaceutical companies with recommendations that they develop a vaccine. They had a few months lead, and managed to develop a vaccine in time. Some 30 million Americans were vaccinated.

The Guardian says Wuflu broke out in China in mid-November 2019, but that there was a serious time-lag in reports.

One supposes that if a few months lead time had been available, along with a sample of the covid virus, perhaps a vaccine or a treatment would have been found in time to mitigate the impact.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Pat Frank
June 18, 2020 10:27 pm

In response to my good friend Pat Frank, one of the commonest mistakes is to compare the final estimate from a previous pandemic (which will always be very considerably greater, as well as more accurate, than the incremental reported daily death count) with the incremental death count while a pandemic is in progress.

Early studies have shown the virus to be about ten times more infectious and ten times more deadly than flu. That is why even a comparison of infection fatality rates does not show the true picture. Early in the pandemic I used the tried-and-true technique of casting back deaths and concluded that the infection fatality rate was 0.34%. However, if ten times as many of the population were to become infected as with flu, the final death count would be much higher than for flu.

Also, one should be careful not to compare the outcome of a pandemic without a lockdown with the outcome of a pandemic with a lockdown when assessing which pathogen is the more serious. Had lockdowns not been imposed, the death counts – particularly in countries with high population densities – would have been quite a bit higher by now than they are.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:04 am

“….Early studies have shown the virus to be about ten times more infectious and ten times more deadly than flu….”

One problem with considering fatality rates with a new illness is that fatality rates can be hugely dependent on proper treatment. Bubonic plague can be up to 90% fatal if untreated – 10% fatal with the correct treatment. I suspect that much early treatment of Covid-19 was non-optimal – how much that affected the fatality rate is a figure we do not know. And now we have politicised arguments about drug treatments, which may well delay an optimum response indefinitely…

A C Osborn
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
June 19, 2020 3:29 am

I would suggest it is still “not optimal”.

Scissor
June 18, 2020 6:37 pm

For the most part, the increase in cases in the U.S. is due to increased testing, as well as progression of the disease in areas that were hit later. Some part is due to openings but not much.

More importantly, hospitalizations and deaths are still on their way to Gibraltar Town. In fact, excess deaths in the U.S. in early June were very low. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

We shall see shortly if there is an uptick since the excess death data is a weekly average. It does not seem likely based on daily COVID-19 deaths.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 10:32 pm

In response to Scissor, any epidemiologist worth his salt would be concerned at the increase in reported cases in the U.S.A. That increase was to be expected in consequence of the mass riots that have been occurring, together with insufficient effort among those states ending their lockdowns to persuade the old and sick to keep themselves safe. By contrast, the UK, with a far higher rate of testing per head of population than the US, is showing a continuing fall in cases as well as deaths.

Since the number of reported cases in the US is increasing, one would expect the number of reported deaths to increase also in two or three weeks’ time.

Scissor
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 6:23 am

There does not appear to be a corresponding increase in deaths or hospitalizations in most states, at least so far, and there has been sufficient time for this to appear. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this positive news (the side of the story that is not reported) continues.

TryingtoPlayNice
Reply to  Scissor
June 19, 2020 5:41 am

“For the most part, the increase in cases in the U.S. is due to increased testing, as well as progression of the disease in areas that were hit later. Some part is due to openings but not much.”

You hit a point which seems to pass over most people. The US is a very large country geographically (4th in area in the world, with the 3rd largest population). Why would you expect the virus to spread in the same amount of time as a small country like the UK (78th in area and 1/5 the population of the US)? Many of the new cases in the US are in states like California which has an infection rate so far of 421/100k population vs.the US rate of 676/100k population. The curve started late (it just got going when Michigan peaked) and is still on it’s way up. The virus has just not run it’s course in the US yet.

Herbert
June 18, 2020 6:38 pm

Christopher,
Dr. William Farr saw all this in 1840 when he studied the progress of the Smallpox epidemic.
He wrote to the Registrar General in London to explain what came to be known as Farr’s Law.
All epidemics broadly follow a Bell curve.
This was well before anyone had heard of germs.
As he explained, the real question was not why 5 people died in a week or how that compared with usual deaths in the parish for that time but why the deaths followed a progression of 5,10,20,40,58, 110 etc. and then followed a generally similar regression as the epidemic eased.
As he said, “the only true statistic is the deaths, everything else is inference”.
The deaths from the epidemic, in our case CoVid-19, generally occur within 28 days after infection.
When the infections reach their peak, the decline in deaths will commence about a month later.
This allows governments to plan on lifting the lockdowns.
The problem is that there are inaccuracies in the new infections recorded by Worldometers etc.through different testing regimes and plain errors.
As you remark, lockdowns will slow the top of the sombrero or peak of the Bell Curve being reached.
It is not a pleasant thought that like smallpox in the early 19th century the present pandemic will run its course, without a vaccine, but leaving great fatalities.

Scissor
Reply to  Herbert
June 18, 2020 7:32 pm

I don’t think there is a single country that is exhibiting a sombrero/bell curve, not even Mexico. In fact, the closest is perhaps China and they had one of the hardest lock-downs.

Something is wrong with the theory with this COVID-19. No sombrero. Theory no good.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 10:42 pm

In response to Scissor, a sufficiently dangerous pandemic will not follow the sombrero curve even in the absence of lockdown, because the population will to some extent take their own precautions even if the Government does not order them to do so.

That is why the Gibraltar curve is what is evident in most countries.

Reply to  Scissor
June 19, 2020 1:11 am

Scissor, there is actually a country that shows an almost perfect bell curve – Iceland. The Faeroe Islands also are close to a bell curve for the second half of the epidemic (unfortunately, they don’t seem to have started reporting their numbers “officially” until March 24th).

Scissor
Reply to  Neil Lock
June 19, 2020 6:43 am

Thank you.

Iceland successfully reduced the peak of the sombrero and the disease progression was symmetrical, not showing the tail that is supposed to accompany lockdown.

Iceland is one of those special cases with a small almost homogeneous population, limited ports of entry. Iceland did a good job. Hopefully, this disease dies away in the outside world so that opening borders does not bring a resurgence of the disease in Iceland and New Zealand, etc.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Scissor
June 19, 2020 8:23 pm

Also click on “cases” here… it’s a sombrero…..
https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Herbert
June 18, 2020 10:38 pm

In response to Herbert’s interesting comment, the head posting draws a careful distinction between unchecked pandemics, which follow the sombrero curve, and pandemics interfered with by public-health measures, which follow the Gibraltar curve.

Those nations that transition to competent track-trace-isolate (and HM Government is, as ever, having considerable difficulty in getting the relevant technology to work) will be able to contain the pandemic and prevent further mass fatalities.

Those nations that go for zero lockdown will eventually establish population-wide immunity (and there are some hopeful signs that quite a significant fraction of the population are immune, even if they have not been exposed to this virus, because they have been exposed to coronaviridae in the past). But the death rate will tend to be higher, while the economic cost of the pandemic will be lower. It is an unenviable trade-off.

The best approach, in those countries where the case-counts and death-counts have reached Gibraltar town, would be to allow all who are under 65 and not suffering from comorbidities to go straight back to work. That would open nearly all the economy at once. There would be a few additional deaths in these generally fit people, but probably no more than in a regular annual flu epidemic. The elderly and vulnerable should be advised to take care.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:40 am

What would the mortality curve have looked like had a more rational policy been adopted, namely a strict quarantine for the elderly and infirm only? This would have protected those most at risk while minimising the economic devastation of the countrywide lockdown.

Curious George
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 10:40 am

It took me a while to guess what His Lordship meant by “at least 50,000 of the 70,000 excess British deaths attributable to the virus would have been prevented”. Squashing the curve does not in itself prevent any deaths – maybe indirectly by not overwhelming hospitals. I’ll assume he meant that a track-trace-isolate approach would have prevented them. The devil is a long period when a person spreads the disease before developing symptoms (if at all). This calls for fairly reliable and fast tests, barely available even today.

Closely related, do we know how many people are naturally immune against the virus? Those are people who never become infected nor infectious, as opposed to asymptomatic people who become both infected and infectious. Do models consider this possibility?

philf
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:09 pm

1. <65 go back to work
2. HCQ-Zn-Zpac widely available for initial symptoms
3. Take extra vitC and vitD also for initial symptoms.

Broadie
June 18, 2020 6:39 pm

Covid-19 still sleeping in Seattle!

https://depts.washington.edu/labmed/covid19/

Massive increase in those being tested for Flu like symptoms over the past week without an increase in the percentage of positives to Covid-19.

Scissor
Reply to  Broadie
June 18, 2020 8:45 pm

A mononucleosis outbreak would make them even more sleepy.

Len Werner
June 18, 2020 6:41 pm

Once money is offered for reported cases as in the US–how does the data so generated in such jurisdictions remain trustworthy? I fail to see how such data can be used for any subsequent analysis; in my field it is considered seriously tainted–‘salted’–and is thrown out because you’re on your way to a Bre-X if you use it. Somehow with corona virus–it’s accepted and used to draw conclusions. I admit to being baffled.

How does one watch this and still consider US data valid and usable? I could dismiss and ridicule it, but I bet I still wouldn’t go near Elmhurst hospital if I had a cough.

https://youtu.be/UIDsKdeFOmQ

Scissor
Reply to  Len Werner
June 18, 2020 7:46 pm

And once tests are offered for free, more will get tested. That’s happened recently.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 10:48 pm

In response to Mr Werner, in a well-controlled pandemic – as it now is in the UK, and rather less so in the USA – even with more extensive testing the number of reported cases should be falling. The UK does 25% more testing per million population than the US, and yet the number of daily reported cases per million is currently about one-sixth of that in the US (and the cumulative cases per million are about two-thirds of the US count).

Len Werner
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 8:58 am

I may have become cynical with age Mr. Moncton, but I have little to no confidence that the number of reported cases in the US will fall as long as the government offers money to hospitals for reported cases in dollars per case. Human nature does not appear to remain honest with money dangling in front of its nose, and that principle corrupts the data to a degree where I no longer know what it means–but it is no longer the quality of data that I would consider useful for any conclusions today. You hit the nail directly when you stated further up the comments that if there had been since the past flu pandemics a system put in place where reporting was standardised our data would be better–and usable–but that simply was not done, despite that simple logic would expect it might have been one of the primary tasks of the WHO. It is possible that politics considered that approach too constrictive, or it was just plain incompetence and dereliction of duty.

If you watched the interview with nurse Olszewski I fail to understand how you could still consider US data valid for any purpose without a full investigation into what was the basis of her statements and how widespread was the implied malpractice. I suspect lawyers in the upcoming years will ferret that out.

That said, your treatment of the data was excellent–if the data were valid. My personal view still is that it is not.

(Incidentally when I saw your plot of US cases, the one with the word ‘Trouble’ tacked on to the end, my immediate reaction to the graph was ‘Quota!’.)

Len Werner
Reply to  Len Werner
June 19, 2020 10:18 am

How about looking at it this way–if you found that a government was paying stations for reporting high temperatures, that another jurisdiction was including readings where the thermometer had been exposed to direct sun along with their temperature record, if yet other stations were reported to be deliberately placing thermometers in places of unusually high temperatures, and if every country used a different standard of recording temperatures–would you still use that data for calculations of global warming?

Robert of Texas
June 18, 2020 6:43 pm

Yup, I agree. A lot of very smart people jumped the gun and decided the lock-downs were ineffective and unnecessary. I keep telling people to wait for the data. Well the data is starting to tell a story about just how effective the lock downs were before the mass protests and rioting.

It is ironic that many peaceful protestors will have helped to kill thousands of people that *might* have been spared to protest an unnecessary and tragic death. The violent protestors just don’t care – they outright steal, attack and kill anyway so what’s a few thousand more deaths to them?

Here where I live in Texas, our local infection rate is starting to spike. It isn’t reported because it’s still a tiny number in a great big basket of numbers, but people at hospitals are getting concerned with the rise in infections. I am not looking forward to the Fall – the infection rate could once again start climbing and the stupid virus has had enough time to mutate – just possibly – into a form missed by previously infected people.

I would *REALLY* like to know the genesis of this virus. If it is found to be something deliberately created through gene additions then there should be HELL to pay for China. Even if its natural, China needs to take steps to prevent such viruses from contacting humans where they can – there are world-wide costs to be paid for dangerous practices by any one country.

Now do not get me wrong, I think the lock-downs did tremendous damage to the economy and could have been implemented in more of a “as needed” basis, but they DID work were infection rates were getting out of hand. And they bought many people more time – time to study the virus and improve the odds of surviving.

Scissor
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 18, 2020 8:36 pm

It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Texas in the next couple of weeks, most importantly with regard to hospitalizations and deaths. Cases can spike simply from increased testing. It’s natural for viruses to become less virulent and this appears to be happening.

Globally, only a little over a handful of the most populated countries are in exponential growth phases. Most should peak or pass their peaks in the next few weeks and then it’s off to Gibraltar Town for the entire world.

What happens in the fall will indeed be interesting, but if we don’t isolate the vulnerable, quarantine the ill and let the healthy people remain free, then we have learned nothing.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Robert of Texas
June 18, 2020 10:57 pm

Engineered. See Kyle Bass’s comments on the Chinese couple in Canadian coronavirus lab.

John Tillman
June 18, 2020 6:54 pm

Monckton’s WHO comrades were just as wrong in 1957 as now:

https://bjgp.org/content/59/565/622

What a tool!

Robert J Doyle
June 18, 2020 7:06 pm

Sir,

I see different flu deaths in the U.S. compared to your last chart.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

Please advise.

Regards,

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Robert J Doyle
June 18, 2020 10:51 pm

In response to Mr Doyle, the graph to which he refers came from the YouTube channel entitled Abacaba. If he will visit that video, he will see the sources upon which Abacaba relied. And he will see that one should distinguish between the daily flu counts, which are always an underestimate, and the total estimated deaths at the end of the annual epidemic, which are less precise but far more likely to be accurate.

Stephen W
June 18, 2020 7:16 pm

Reported cases is a meaningless number.
For example tens of millions of positive cases in Italy alone were missed.
Their total cases number as of today is only 238,000. With a large proportion of Italy’s 60 million population already having caught, and recovered from the virus.

Any uptick observed, such as in the USA will likely be from increased testing.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Stephen W
June 18, 2020 10:54 pm

In response to Stephen W, increased testing does not – paradoxically – lead to increased cases: it leads to increased control of the pandemic and hence fewer cases in the longish run.

Seroprevalence in the population is best estimated not by the daily case counts but by regular large-scale population sampling.

Even then, the infection fatality rate is not, on its own, enough to establish a comparison with other pathogens: for the infectivity of the pathogen must also be taken into account. And the Chinese virus is highly infectious – about ten times as infectious as flu.

Stephen W
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 3:26 am

What are you trying to say? Are you responding to me?

The confirmed case count is meaningless.
In Brazil they have 1 million confirmed cases. 40% of tests done have a positive result.

How close do you think they are getting to the real number of cases? A tenfold increase in testing rate would certainly find ten times as many cases.
That would not be an alarming or unexpected result. And certainly wouldn’t be a sign of a so called “second wave”.

Current known cases is a meaningless statistic… Except for in Australia or new Zealand where all cases are probably mostly accounted for.

yirgach
Reply to  Stephen W
June 19, 2020 4:35 am

It is starting to look like exposure to the virus (by testing for anti-bodies) is wildly inaccurate:

Anyone who gets infected with the corona virus eventually forms antibodies, and these antibodies can be detected with a blood test. That was our current state of knowledge. But new research is now calling these certainties into question: immunologists at the University of Zurich have discovered that people with a severe course of disease have detectable antibodies in their blood, whereas mild cases hardly ever do. But more than 80 percent of Covid-19 cases are mild. What does this new finding mean for broad-based antibody tests in the population?>/blockquote>

https://swprs.org/coronavirus-antibody-tests-show-only-one-fifth-of-infections/

Scissor
Reply to  yirgach
June 19, 2020 3:13 pm

It would mean that antibody testing is of limited value. As many have pointed out, these tests have been developed and rolled out with little validation and their poor performance is unsurprising.

Paul C
Reply to  Stephen W
June 19, 2020 7:40 am

Yes, it does look like the simplistic modelling of the disease as “one size fits all” completely fails to account for different progress of infections.
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/06/covid-19-coronavirus-longterm-symptoms-months/612679/
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-immune-response/610228/
The modelling appears to be based on the rapid onset of symptoms about 10 days after exposure, with infectiousness being primarily from a couple of days prior to onset of symptoms to a few days after the symptoms emerge. However, the asymptomatic super-spreaders may harbour the virus while supressing the disease for much longer, and the long-haulers may similarly be in a limbo of mildly infectious and chronically sick, but not ill enough for hospitallisation. There are also recorded cases with very rapid onset, and others with much delayed onset of acute disease.
It is this variety of progression of infection that, along with testing appearing to be unable to achieve reliable results, and the failure of secondary peaks of disease to emerge that point towards far wider spread (and partial immunity) to have taken place throughout populations already. Whilst herd immunity has obviously not been achieved, and may not even be posible with long-haul and asymptomatic individuals acting as a reservoir, there may now be, hopefully, much higher immunity than the models suggest.

ferdberple
June 18, 2020 7:22 pm

Unless there is an effective treatment or vaccine, the current lockdown strategy can only delay deaths not prevent them.

The problem is that as soon as the lockdown ends, you are right back at the same place you were when the pandemic started. The infection will once again return to exponential growth.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  ferdberple
June 18, 2020 10:58 pm

Mr Berple nicely captures the difficulty faced by governments. However, lockdowns do achieve various useful purposes. First, they prevent the hospital system from being overwhelmed. Secondly, they buy a little time to allow a new pathogen to be studied. We now know that the death rate among those under 65 is no greater than for flu, which means the lockdown can be safely ended for the under-65s, particularly if they do not have what we now know to be the commonest comorbidities. As for the old and sick, they now know the dangers and can take their own precautions. Therefore, even in the absence of an effective treatment or vaccine, it is now possible to bring lockdowns rapidly and near-totally to an end.

SMS
June 18, 2020 7:24 pm

I’m suspicious of the number of US deaths. Dying “with” covid-19 vs dying “of” covid-19 seems to have been deemed the same.

As long as those who are elderly with health problems are isolated, this pandemic should be considered a nothing burger.

Scissor
Reply to  SMS
June 18, 2020 7:48 pm

Yes, and that’s the terrible part about the response. The elderly in most care facilities are still not being adequately isolated.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 10:59 pm

Deliberate, IMHO. Think of the pension savings!

Reply to  SMS
June 18, 2020 8:11 pm

1. Protecting the elderly and those with health problems is not so easy.
a) there are a large number of deaths from those with unmanaged diabetes
HINT they didn’t know they were diabetic. same goes for high blood pressure.
of course fat people know they are fat.
b) even with strict use of PPE in old age facilities you get spread. Hint, PPE is not 100% effective.

2. The Sequelae of a non fatal case are not benign

Sorry, this disease is a bitch. wishing it were not is not a plan

SMS
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 9:14 pm

What you are suggesting would have meant that all aged care centers would have seen there residents decimated by the disease. Not all aged care homes suffered equally.

What we did see was that those nursing homes where infected residents were re-introduced back to the population created hell on the remaining population. And those homes where the residents were kept fairly isolated did not suffer the extreme number of deaths.

Tez
June 18, 2020 7:29 pm

Too many variables combined with poor data prevents anything meaningful to be deduced from the information so far.
Perhaps the best death count would be to wait a year (or two), then compare the years deaths with those of previous years. Whilst all the focus has been on Covid19, many more people have died of other causes which, to those affected, are just as important.
Sweden’s approach, if more carefully managed, may yet prove to be the best overall action to take, but I am prepared to wait to see how everything pans out.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Tez
June 18, 2020 11:00 pm

In response to Tez, in fact a considerable body of useful data has been compiled. We now know that the Chinese virus is not all that much worse than flu for the under-65s, but ten times worse than flu for the over-65s, particularly with comorbidities. That information allows lockdowns to be ended a great deal faster than they are, provided that the old and sick are warned that they should try not to expose themselves to the virus.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Tez
June 19, 2020 10:38 am

Tez, I disagree, those countries that were very quick to react with Quarantine, Test, Track & Trace or Lockdown have not had the same numbers of cases and not where near the same numbers of deaths per million as those that did not.
Regardless of how many “waves” there might be they will never, ever get anywhere near the sorts of rates we have seen in the badly affected European countries.

BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2020 7:30 pm

M’lud,
Thank you especially for choosing charts that report cases / deaths per million of population, so that we can directly compare country against country. Although, being an Aussie citizen nowadays I am the tiniest bit disappointed that your post failed to show how well we are performing down here in Oz (even better than NZ!) vs the northern hemisphere. PS: Perhaps you should send Boris down here to see how Britain used to be governed!

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2020 11:04 pm

In response to the Hotspur from Tottenham, the head posting had the narrow purpose of showing the difference between the sombrero curve of an uncontrolled pandemic and the Gibraltar curve of a controlled pandemic. The fact that the curves are Gibraltar curves shows that lockdowns have worked – for otherwise, the curves would have been more like sombrero curves.

Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and a handful of other well-organized countries have indeed controlled the pandemic efficiently. However, the economic cost is still heavy, and nations will soon have to take much more careful account of the economic cost of allowing no-longer-necessary lockdowns to persist.

icisil
June 18, 2020 7:32 pm

Subtract out all of the iatrogenic deaths from ventilators, and Covid-19(84) is probably no worse than normal flu.

Ventilators cause deadly cases of Covid-19(84); they generate cytokine storms (out-of-control immune response) that cause organ failure and death. Keep in mind reading the quote below that Covid-19(84) patients typically stay on ventilators for weeks, not mere days.

When hospital patients need assistance breathing and are placed on a mechanical ventilator for days at a time, their lungs react to the pressure generated by the ventilator with an out-of-control immune response that can lead to excessive inflammation, new research suggests.

Lungs respond to hospital ventilator as if it were an infection
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718172835.htm

And the damage is not just to the alveoli (air sacs), but to the pulmonary endothelium (capillaries) as well, which affects distal organs.

Alveolar stretch imposed by MV [mechanical ventilation] did not only induce de novo synthesis of adhesion molecules in the lung but also in organs distal to the lung, like liver and kidney. No [inflammation] activation was observed in the brain. In addition, we demonstrated elevated cytokine and chemokine expression in pulmonary, hepatic and renal tissue after MV which was accompanied by enhanced recruitment of granulocytes to these organs.

Ventilator-induced endothelial activation and inflammation in the lung and distal organs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2811914/

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  icisil
June 18, 2020 11:07 pm

It is no longer tenable to suggest that the Chinese virus is no worse than the annual flu. And the real reason for high death counts is not ventilators themselves (for one is only put on a ventilator if all else has failed and one would otherwise have died anyway), but the bizarre decision of many governments, including that of the UK, to send elderly people from hospital to care homes without checking whether they were carrying the infection with them.

icisil
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 4:26 am

Covid-19(84) patients are put on ventilators as a matter of policy, not physiology. Policy and treatment changed with this panic-demic due to fear of aerosolization of virus and (likely) financial incentives in the US. There is absolutely zero evidence that patients would have died anyways with ventilation. That is simply a rationalization that doctors who don’t know what they’re doing use to deflect blame for administering a treatment that ki!lls patients.

icisil
Reply to  icisil
June 19, 2020 4:32 am

For many authors, the concept of VILI does not include the vascular side of the alveolus which is, in our opinion, of similar importance as the gas side, particularly in COVID. Indeed, the forces of mechanical power (a function of strain, stress, and respiratory rate) are primarily applied to the extracellular matrix to which both the epithelial and endothelial cells are anchored. The strain of these two cell populations contributes through a cytokine release to a further recruitment of inflammatory cells.

https://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1007/s00134-020-06103-5

fonzie
June 18, 2020 7:46 pm

Bravo(!) Nice to see an encore of the famed WUWT Monkton/Goodman posts!!! Here in third world new orleans i lost my wifi at the beginning of all things chinavirus (but, am now finally back on line). That didn’t prevent downloading each and every one of me lord’s posts elsewhere and i must say christopher’s a real standup guy for putting these out there for all us watties to see. And… as alluded to, it was nice to see succinct rebuttals from greg (who really is a goodman). On the one hand these were very informative posts when info was quite scarce, especially here at watts’. On the other hand, our resident beady eyed british aristocrat is still defending the indefensible. Lock downs are a crude solution to a pandemic(!) Like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. (not only do you miss the fly, but you end up wrecking the furniture) What obviously was needed was a targeted approach of fiercely defending the vulnerable while the plague quickly passed through the rest of the populace. Not only would we have flattened the curve, we would have done so without flattening our senior citizens (and flattening our economy as well)…

So, thank you MoB, these posts were very helpful when help was lacking — especially in passing info on to my ninety year old parents. (aaay… 👍)

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  fonzie
June 18, 2020 11:13 pm

In response to Fonzie, I agree that lockdowns are a crude response to a pandemic. Immediate and comprehensive track-trace-isolate is the correct approach. However, it is no longer tenable to imagine that lockdowns do not work. They do – for the obvious reason. They inhibit transmission of the virus. And the earlier they are imposed the better they work, the sooner they can be ended and the less economic damage they do.

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:17 am

This wasn’t borne out in New York City though for example, where the vast majority of new cases were among those who were isolated in lockdown scenarios. It’s not at all clear that lockdown strategy of entire national populations was sensible, given the huge economic damage which also impacts upon future ability to provide sufficient quality healthcare, and the inevitable numbers of further deaths still to come as a result of failure to treat other illnesses, and prevention of early diagnoses of other potentially fatal conditions.

fonzie
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 8:41 am

However, it is no longer tenable to imagine that lockdowns do not work.

It wasn’t my intent to imply that they don’t work. (i may have thrown you with my fly joke here) Indeed, they do work, which is why they should have been used on the elderly and infirmed. And, lock downs for the vulnerable should have been done effectively. (when i see seniors out and about, thats not effective) The bleedin’ obviousness of this proper response has only been out done by the raw stupidity of imposing total lock downs. Perhaps this was understandable in the confusion of the outset, but months have now passed. (advocating for total lock downs at this late stage is no longer tenable)…

CptTrips
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:03 pm

Lord Monckton, to say lockdowns work is dependent on what one is measuring as a success. If the measurement is that the health services were not overwhelmed, then quite possibly they work. If it is preventing people from dying of a particular disease, then it might work.

On the other hand if your measurement is the overall impact on a society, then there is no evidence that the lockdowns worked. Below is just one back of the envelope calculation that one could use to show the lockdown was a failure (at least here in the US).

In the US we’ve spent in the order of 6 to 7 trillion dollars fighting the economic effects related to the lockdown. That’s between a quarter and a third of our yearly GDP. Since yearly GDP is the economic output for the entire nation of 330 million people, the economic value of a year if life for any given person in the country would be the GDP divided by the population. Thus if we spend 25% of GDP we have spent the equivalent of 25% of the populations time for that year. That means we expended 82.5 million man years worth of effort on the lockdown.

On the other side of the equation, we need to figure how many years did we buy for those that would have died if not for the lockdown. To give the lockdown its best chance, let’s say that the models were right and that 2.2 million people were going to die, but with the lockdown the count wil finalize around 200,000. That gives us 2 million lives saved, but since everyone saved is going to die of something else eventually, we need to figure out how many extra years did we buy. Since 80% of the deaths in the US occurred in people over the age of 65, and the average life expectancy is 79, we can say that 15 years is probably the best case scenario for the average saved person. That gives us a max savings of 30 million man years.

Clearly the lockdown is already in a hefty deficit and that doesn’t include those that died prematurely due to the lockdown itself, or the lost economic output while people were sheltering. Those would only make the calculation even more lopsided. If one takes more realistic numbers for deaths prevented and years saved (say 150,000 and 10 years) the lockdowns cost us orders of magnitude more than we saved.

So do lockdowns really work? It all comes down to the measuring stick.

Ron
Reply to  fonzie
June 19, 2020 4:51 am

What obviously was needed was a targeted approach of fiercely defending the vulnerable while the plague quickly passed through the rest of the populace.

That happened nowhere. All serological studies indicate all countries, even the most hit areas, are far away from herd immunity.

And it will not work that way. Most of the people are not compliant with contracting the virus for the greater good of economics. Because they have children and you never know. Because they have elderly they want to protect. Only reason to go to work in a hard hit area and disregard all risks is because you financially have to.

fonzie
Reply to  Ron
June 19, 2020 8:12 am

That happened nowhere. All serological studies indicate all countries, even the most hit areas, are far away from herd immunity.

Ron, quickly is a relative term. If people are not locked down, then herd immunity will be reached in the shortest time. Lock downs merely pro-long the wait for seniors (and other compromised peops). Much, much better to properly lock down the vulnerable for months instead of the very poor protection (that we’re seeing now) for, what, maybe a whole year.

Ron
Reply to  fonzie
June 19, 2020 9:46 am

You forget the second variable: not overwhelming your health care system.

Getting quickly to herd immunity and protect your health care system, you cannot do both as was seen. The numbers from Sweden indicate they will need another year and a half at least with the current rate of spreading.

If you think about obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrom etc. ~45% of the US population fall in the risk category.

Do you want to lock up and protect 45% of the population that way?

fonzie
Reply to  fonzie
June 19, 2020 11:20 am

You forget the second variable: not overwhelming your health care system.

If you protect that profile which is heading into the hospitals, then you won’t overwhelm the hospitals.

Getting quickly to herd immunity and protect your health care system, you cannot do both as was seen.

As was not seen. Sweden was hardly the gold standard for doing this correctly (and they have admitted as such)…

If you think about obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrom etc. ~45% of the US population fall in the risk category.

People under 50 account for just 2% of chinavirus deaths. So your 45% number would obviously be way off the total actually needing quarantine. i don’t think that i need to defend locking down the very most vulnerable here (the 98% 50+ year olds who are dying). No need to go on the defensive. It is you (and every other nutter like you) who has to defend the raw stupidity of shutting down the entire economy without actually protecting the vulnerable.

fonzie
Reply to  fonzie
June 19, 2020 4:44 pm
Ron
Reply to  fonzie
June 20, 2020 8:41 am

People under 50 account for just 2% of chinavirus deaths. So your 45% number would obviously be way off the total actually needing quarantine.

You are making a mistake.

Even from the oldest patients only 20-30% in hospitals die. So for every person that dies you have multiple in the hospitals, among them 20-30y old people, even without risk factors, more with.

And you are ignoring how long they stay in the hospitals and how long they suffer from the disease.

Sweden didn’t protect their most vulnerable well enough but even by taking that risk they are nowhere close to herd immunity. Nobody is.

Even in Bergamo somewhere 40% have antibodies (curiously only 30% of med staff) and they had an excess death rate of 700-800% resulting in an IFR of 1%!

Scott
June 18, 2020 7:46 pm

My two cents worth

I have never been tested for flu, when I did go to the doctor I was diagnosed with the flu as opposed to a cold because of different symptoms not due to any test procedure. So how do you compare positive COVID cases against a flu which has no comparable testing regime?

I know many people suffer from the flu every year, never going to the doctor to be diagnosed just laying low at home.So how do you compare the diagnosed flu numbers with COVID cases via a test?

The flu has a vaccine which varies every year in effectiveness and uptake and as such reduces the number of infected and while this can be used to say COVID is worse because there is no vaccine, it can also be stated that this underestimates the number of flu cases.

as mentioned above COVID numbers are suspect due to incentives to report positive cases such as dying with versus from, if the same methodology was used for flu I suspect flu case numbers for each year would skyrocket.

I think unless they are compared like for like it is impossible to draw a conclusion that COVID is any worse than a normal flu season.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Scott
June 18, 2020 11:18 pm

In response to Scott, it is no longer tenable to suggest that the Chinese virus is no more dangerous than flu – except in those under 65 and with no comorbidities.

The head of the International Vaccine Institute, Professor Jerome Kim, says the virus is ten times as infectious and ten times as fatal as flu. The growing death count worldwide confirms daily that he is right.

To deal with the inadequate data mentioned by Scott, one starts by examining excess deaths. In the UK, for instance, the excess deaths at the height of the pandemic were far greater than the average for the previous five years, and the Office for National Statistics has determined that nearly all of those excess deaths were from – not just with – the Chinese virus.

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:36 am

Argumentum ad Verecundium ?
….. and there’s been quite a lot of that.

I’m highly suspicious of anybody who comes out with obviously arbitrary numbers, such as “ten times as infectious and ten times as fatal”. This whole lockdown panic started off by some other noted “authority figure” coming out with some other large arbitrary number. Wasn’t it 500,000 will die in UK unless they locked down? Didn’t that same author get it seriously wrong on at least two previous occasions and causing huge economic damage in UK? Wasn’t the computer models he relied upon later analysed by a Google expert colder, and discovered to be largely plagiarised from some primitive 20th century computer game, which had known bugs and flaws?

Much more diligence required, and stricter adherence to peripatetic principles.

Derg
Reply to  Jack Black
June 19, 2020 1:42 am

Golf clap for Jack. Well put!

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Derg
June 20, 2020 3:26 pm

Mr Black, who continues to be tendentious, perhaps knows better than Professor Kim. But when a scientist mentions that one thing is ten times another he is not using “arbitrary numbers”: he is using what mathematicians call an “order of magnitude”.

The very high case fatality rate for the Chinese virus remains a cause for concern, as does the ease with which the pathogen transmits in the absence of measures calculated to inhibit transmission. Professor Kim is by no means the only virologist to have come to the conclusion that this virus should be treated with respect.

Mr Black may perhaps care to look again at the last slide in the head posting, which does show that the Chinese virus is considerably more dangerous than the annual flu. Indeed, that graph shows that the order-of-magnitude conclusion is not an unreasonable one.

fred
June 18, 2020 7:54 pm

If the lockdowns were effective the virus would have already died out. There is source of the virus that is continually feeding into the population which is the only explanation for the strange linear declines. My vote is it is the healthcare and nursing home workers that blew up the whole idea that lockdowns would work. The CDC should be defunded and the top officials should be jailed for this horrific failure. It’s not a killer virus that justified sabotaging the entire world economy.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  fred
June 18, 2020 11:22 pm

In response to Fred, if the lockdowns had been introduced earlier the virus would have been contained much more effectively. Had Britain locked down just two weeks before it did, some 50,000 of the 70,000 excess deaths that have occurred would have been prevented.

Even then, this is a highly infectious pathogen. Indeed, there are some signs in its genome that it was engineered precisely so that it would be highly infectious, so that it could be studied with a view to discovering a vaccine against all coronaviridae. Therefore, outright eradication is going to be difficult, and one cannot expect that to happen overnight, even with lockdowns.

Contrary to what Fred says, this is indeed a killer virus, and a remarkably dangerous one. It would have killed many more people if lockdowns had not been introduced. To understand this, all one needs to understand is the mathematics of an exponential curve.

Old Cocky
Reply to  fred
June 19, 2020 3:13 pm

New Zealand has done that, and Australia is coming close.
Being able to really close borders works wonders.

Peter
Reply to  fred
June 22, 2020 1:13 am

Slovakia did it too. Median on zero for weeks. But unlike New Zealand it is not island, borders are open, so imported cases are still showing.

June 18, 2020 8:05 pm
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 18, 2020 10:42 pm

++

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 18, 2020 11:48 pm

I agree with Mr Mosher and with Mr Stokes: Tomas Pueyo’s analysis is masterly. For those who have no time to read his beautifully clear analysis, I shall summarize it. Step 1 in response to a new pandemic is to track, trace and isolate. If you miss that bus and the pathogen is as dangerous as this one, you have to lock down until you reach Gibraltar town. Once you are there, track, trace and isolate once again becomes possible, and that is what you should do. That strategy is cheaper than not locking down. Sweden’s economy has already suffered nearly as much as lockdown countries’ economies, and its death rate is now five times higher than all other Nordic countries combined, and despite the absence of lockdown it is nowhere near population-wide immunity.

fonzie
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 9:06 am

MoB, why do we continue to hold up sweden as the gold standard for no lock downs? Even they admit that they have failed their seniors. (they would have done things slightly different) Why do we assume that relatively ineffective total lock downs are better than effective targeted lock downs? This is a bizarre adherence to perhaps the biggest policy blunder in history. (ration thinking on this one has been thrown out the window)…

fonzie
Reply to  fonzie
June 19, 2020 9:23 am

ration should, of course, read rational (😖)…

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  fonzie
June 20, 2020 3:33 pm

In response to Fonzie, I have been reporting the Swedish figures in these posts because those who argued against lockdowns kept on saying that Sweden showed what could be achieved without them. My response, during the last of my daily pieces early in the pandemic, was that the coming weeks would show whether or not the Swedish approach had been successful. It is now apparent that the Swedes have not pursued a successful strategy, and that even in the absence of a formal lockdown they have endured considerable economic damage.

We do not “assume” that lockdowns such as that in the UK are better than other strategies. It is, however, essential to get a grip at the earliest possible moment, for the later one leaves the lockdown the more widespread it must be. If Britain had tracked and traced the earliest cases, there wouild have been no need for a lockdown at all. If it had instituted local lockdowns once there were more than the 5 cases nationally that Public Death England were able to track and trace, there would have been no need for a national lockdown. But once these earlier decisions had been fumbled, a national lockdown was the only way out – it was, in effect, a series of regional lockdowns, one for each region. For each region had by that stage suffered enough cases to justify its own lockdown.

Fonzie will appreciate, therefore, that the thinking behind the national lockdown was rational. What was irrational was the terrible neglect of the pandemic during its earliest stages. The creaking British bureaucracy proved itself strikingly inept, and at least 50,000 lives that could have been spared if officials had been halfway competent were needlessly lost.

Jo Veragio
Reply to  fonzie
June 27, 2020 3:04 am

What rather seems to have blown it for the Swedish cause was not only failing to protect their most vulnerable from infection but failing to treat their most vulnerable who were resident in care homes.

A policy of administering morphine, rather than oxygen when needed, may have proven fatal to not only large numbers of their elderly population but to any hope of their Covid-19 response of very limited lockdown getting a fair hearing.

This BBC report was perhaps the first acknowledging in the mainstream of efforts by one Swedish GP to change that culture of senicide.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52704836

jorgekafkazar
June 18, 2020 8:06 pm

In 1957, I knew at least one young (<22) person who got the Asian flu twice. Any illness that doesn't result in immunity is very scary.

Andy Espersen
June 18, 2020 8:12 pm

It is miles too early to come up with any meaningful statistics. The epidemic is only in its 6th month. We cannot expect to see the true picture, the true death rate, for another couple of years. Statistics now vary from country to country because they are so different geographically, culturally, demographically, etc. – also because of the wildly varying points of time when the virus actually got going in a particular country.

Come back in 2022, Christopher Monckton – show us your graphs then. My bet is that the countries best off then will be the ones with the least restrictive lock-downs. The epidemic is now endemic which means that eventually it will catch up with each and every person on the globe – and, in the long run, cause the exact same number of fatalities. And nothing we can do about it.

Scissor
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 18, 2020 8:58 pm

We’ll have good first wave numbers at least in a couple of months or so, particularly after Brazil, Russia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia reach Gibraltar Town. The question of what happens in subsequent waves is not known.

The hypothesis that 60-80% have some immunity from other corona virus infections might be correct and hopefully it is. Fatality rates should decline as treatments are improved from experience, as well as new effective treatments and vaccines are developed.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Scissor
June 18, 2020 10:35 pm

Scissor – you talk blithely about “effective treatments and vaccines [being] developed”.

It is worth reminding ourselves that so far it has proved impossible to create vaccines against any other corona virus.

Scissor
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 19, 2020 6:14 am

There are not corona virus vaccines for humans because it has not been economic to continue the effort required to complete the effort. Certainly it does not appear to be an easy task, but vaccines for SARS were within reach but when the threat dissipated, so did the need for a vaccine and the effort declined.

There are corona virus vaccines for equine and canine diseases.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 18, 2020 11:56 pm

In response to Mr Esperson, Sweden – which had very little in the way of a compulsory lockdown – has suffered almost as badly as many countries that have had tight lockdowns. Yet it has not yet come anywhere close to achieving population-wide immunity.

And the elementary probabilistic combinatorics of pandemics (epidemiology being a discipline within p.c.) already gives us quite enough information to tell us that this pathogen is an order of magnitude more infectious and an order of magnitude more fatal than flu.

I don’t like lockdowns. I wish HM Government could have been persuaded to track, trace and isolate right from the start, as South Korea did. But once that bus had been missed a lockdown was the only possible solution, so as to prevent healthcare systems, mortuaries and graveyards from being swamped.

I don’t need to wait till 2022. Just look at the last graph in the head posting.

fonzie
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 9:18 am

But once that bus had been missed a lockdown was the only possible solution…

No it wasn’t(!) A partial (and effective) lock down of the vulnerable populace was also a possible solution. (MoB defending the indefensible once again)…

Scissor
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 10:33 am

In response, Mr. Monckton, you seem to suggest a singular “flu” that is invariant in infection and fatality. In actuality, there is quite a bit of variation in these characteristics.

Climate believer
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 19, 2020 1:11 am

“It is miles too early to come up with any meaningful statistics.”

Well some meaningful statistics are available to us now which I hope will guide our reactions to any future recurrence of this virus. Our capacity to survive this virus is dependent on many factors of course but I think it’s clear now that age, and premorbid status are a major component.

Age breakdown of coronavirus deaths in France between the 1st of March and the 12th of May 2020 show that 70% of the victims of the new virus in France were aged 75 or more, and another 18% aged 65-74.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 20, 2020 3:36 pm

In response to Mr Esperson, the final graph in the head posting shows that one can indeed come up with meaningful conclusions by looking at the rate of growth in cumulative reported daily cases compared with the rates of growth reported daily during previous pandemics. It is already more than obvious that the Chinese virus is a great deal more dangerous than any other pandemic this century.

TRM
June 18, 2020 8:19 pm

14% of Sweden’s population have developed antibodies, which suggests previous exposure to the virus. This is an absolute minimum as we don’t know how long the antibodies last in humans. If it is similar to other corona viruses then the antibodies might be shorter lived.

This means a MINIMUM of 1,432,200 Swedes have had COVID-19. 4,939 have died. This is a MAXIMUM case fatality rate of 0.0035%

So people can bash Sweden all they like but they and Belarus were the smart ones who did not trash their economies on a GIGO model.

OldFogey
Reply to  TRM
June 18, 2020 9:35 pm

Well said, sir

Reply to  TRM
June 18, 2020 10:49 pm

“14% of Sweden’s population have developed antibodies,”

In fact, the infected fraction seems more like 6%.

And the economy has fared no better than neighboring countries.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 19, 2020 8:25 am

Nick Stokes – claims that Sweden will be as badly off economically as countries with strict lock-downs don’t make sense. Small business owners in particular are much better off – as are the many thousands cruelly banned from visiting their dying relatives. There is also an ethical aspect to lock-downs which not many seem to worry about.

Lock-down legislation is inequitable and uncharitable – it harms some population groups far more than others. For legislators with their secure income, secure jobs and roomy homes they can be positively enjoyable! I wonder if such legislation would ever be passed if each and every legislator knew with certainty that as a result, they personally would become insolvent and be queuing up for charity food parcels

Peter
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 22, 2020 1:26 am

You both are still disputing about lockdowns. But lockdown is not the most powerful measure against coronavirus. Mandatory face masks are first line of defense against coronavirus. It is possible to defeat virus without economy breaking measures. Check Slovakia, coronavirus defeated without lockdown and with 100 times less deaths per 1M population 500 vs. 5.
Sweden currently suffers from isolation from other European countries, where virus is already under control.

KAT
Reply to  TRM
June 19, 2020 3:04 am

TRM
Am I the only person that believes that the “lockdown” is indirectly responsible for the waves of rioting, arson and looting taking place in multiple countries world wide? Idle hands and all that!
I am closely watching for signs of civil unrest in Sweden in order to disprove my theory!

Power failure in NY city circa 1977 triggered citywide mayhem & destruction.
https://time.com/3949986/1977-blackout-new-york-history/

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  KAT
June 19, 2020 4:41 am

KAT,

Do you also concede that the wearing of masks against Covid allowed protesters some immunity from detection and made them more athletic in their rape/burn /loot lawlwss acts? That lawlesness costs a lot of money.
How do you quantify that mask/violence variable? Geoff S

TRM
Reply to  TRM
June 19, 2020 5:02 am

There is problem with the IFR I stated above. It should read 0.35% or 0.0035

Scissor
Reply to  TRM
June 19, 2020 3:27 pm

As pointed out by yirgach above, new research indicates that tests do not detect antibodies after the majority of cases (mild) are over. This raises several questions but it basically says that the 14% number is inaccurate and low. This would make the actual fatality rate lower.

TRM
June 18, 2020 8:25 pm

Recently Yoram Lass (formerly director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Health) gave an interview and said the following:

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/05/22/nothing-can-justify-this-destruction-of-peoples-lives/

“Mortality due to coronavirus is a fake number”
and
“The only real number is the total number of deaths – all causes of death, not just coronavirus”

And with that in mind here are the latest in the “excess deaths” count.

For 2020 the USA has an “excess death” rate about 6.6% (60,607) higher than the previous 4 year average for weeks 1 to 16.
As a comparison I checked the first 16 weeks of 2018 compared to the previous 4 year average and it was 7.2% (63,260).
There is also a preliminary week 1 to 21 (end of May) in the dropbox showing 6.8%. It is missing a combined 8 weeks (Connecticut=3; North Carolina=4; West Virginia=1). I’ll update as the data becomes more complete.

Using the same data I downloaded on 2020-06-05 I ran it for each month. The CDC tracks by week not month so it is a bit of a kludge but this is the weeks that approximately correlate to the months:
Weeks 1 to 5 ~= January (Entire USA was -0.8%)
Weeks 6 to 9 ~= February (Entire USA was +0.3%)
Weeks 10 to 13 ~= March (Entire USA was +3.9%)
Weeks 14 to 18 ~= April (Entire USA was +28.7%)

After that the data is still too incomplete to be of use and even week 18 is missing too much for my liking.

Interestingly weeks 10 to 13 (March) show very little except for New York City at +49.7% and only a few others breaking double digits (Montana=10.1 ; South Carolina=11.7 ; Louisiana=11.7 ; New Jersy=12). Also noteable were the states well below the 4 year average (Connecticut= -12.6 ; Pennsylvania= -19.2%). Pennsylvania was -14, -29 and -19 for the first 3 months.

Weeks 14 to 18 (April) is where the biggest hit took place.
New York City = +415.9%
New Jersey = +169%
New York State = +87.7%
Massachusetts = +85.5

How much of that is due to political mismanagement (sending sick back to the nursing homes and restricting the use of HCQ+Zinc) is anyone’s guess. We won’t see “Cause of death” numbers from the CDC for 2-3 years. They have 2012-17 available but 2018 is still in “preliiminary” status.

The script and all related files are here if you want to kick the tires:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fh9x5fngmfbeiiu/AAAH-OtOMqiY_R9qqG6YccCRa?dl=0

PS. I’ll be adding “Weekly” to the “Year To Date” and “Monthly” ones already online when I get some time. Weekly is the finest resolution I can get with the CDC data.

Joel O'Bryan
June 18, 2020 8:45 pm

Death rate is what matters. Infection rate not so much. The US death rate is declining.
Infection rate in > 65 yr demographic is the key metric because that is the most likely group to be hospitalized and possibly die.
Every other demo < 65 yrs old the infection rate should be allowed to go wherever society takes it. The higher the infection rate in the healthy working age population, the quicker we get this behind us. As it's the better for quickly obtaining herd immunity and protecting the vulnerable.

Zigmaster
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 18, 2020 10:53 pm

Joel
Couldn’t agree more. There seems to be this paranoia about second waves, new cases etc.The only number that matters is deaths. In Australia it’s almost a month since anyone died from Covid yet we still have plenty of restrictions and our internal borders remain closed in certain states. In Singapore the number of cases rose from 900 to over 40000 in the Last 2 months with people saying that this is an example of what happens with a second wave. However on the first 900 cases 11 people died on the next 40000 odd only 15 have died. Similar impacts in Japan and Korea where any upticks in active cases have not been met with proportional increases in deaths. It’s clear to me that as societies open up if you have well prepared hospital systems , increased testing, advanced tracking, protection of elderly and vulnerable everyone can get back to normal. Yes active cases may increase but deaths won’t increase to any great extent. In the US they say how terrible it is that the number of cases have spiked but they don’t emphasise that the number of deaths have fallen. In the end that deaths is the bottom line and the only stat that matters. If no one dies , we don’t have a problem . The biggest problem I see that a desperate media in cahoots with left wing political parties are desperate for the sense of crisis to remain As long as possible to achieve certain dramatic political and social changes.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Zigmaster
June 19, 2020 12:05 am

Zigmaster’s analysis is good. One might add that many of the most vulnerable have already died, so that one would expect a slowing of the death rate.

In the UK, excess deaths are about 70,000 above the five-year average, and the Office for National Statistics attributes nearly all of these directly to the Chinese virus.

We have now reached Gibraltar town: the death count – which is the one that matters most – is at last under control. I suspect it would now be possible to unlock completely for the under-65s with no comorbidities, while advising everyone else to be careful.

Jack Black
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:41 am

Once we reach the Spanish Border, then it’ll be time to cheer !

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Zigmaster
June 19, 2020 12:12 am

Too many people, including politicians are too focused on positive tests as simply “Bad.”
On the contrary, We need positive tests in healthy persons under 65 yr old.
Get it. Isolate. Get over it. Go on with your life and then be a barrier to the virus.

Every person who has had SARS-CoV-2 and is virus-free (thus immune) is another person who will NOT transmit the virus to a vulnerable person. That person becomes a dead end for the virus. We need dead ends for this virus to stop it. Waiting another 12 months for only a partially effective vaccine is a fool’s game.

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Ron
Reply to  Zigmaster
June 19, 2020 5:21 am

If no one dies , we don’t have a problem

Very simplistic view at a disease that can cripple people for months maybe a lifetime. Not to mention the possible longterm effects on life expectancy.

At the moment that is a gamble with unknown outcome.

Editor
June 18, 2020 8:50 pm

The Death rate of UK is nearly double that of USA.

UK: 623 deaths/ 1 million

USA: 365 deaths/1 million

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Sunsettommy
June 19, 2020 12:07 am

In response to Sunsettomy, the UK has paid a very high price for locking down far, far too late. Some 50,000 of the 70,000 excess deaths this year could have been prevented by locking down just two weeks earlier.

Climate believer
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:57 am

Whoa…easy tiger.

I’m not trying to be facetious here Viscount, but from whence did you procure that little pearl of certainty?

UK and Germany shutdown dates were the same, and I’m presuming time is your only causal factor in saving 50,000 lives. I’m having a hard job making that tally up.

(worldometers) As of 19/06/2020 total Covid19 deaths:
UK- 42,288
Germany- 8946

Ron
Reply to  Climate believer
June 19, 2020 5:17 am

No, the number of deaths and additional infections vary greatly depending on how many people have been infected at the time of the lockdown. The curves look very different then even if the initial number of infected people was the same:

comment image

What is not very easily to see in the upper graph is the ~14 days lack from implementing the lockdown to peak of the cases.

So here are easier graphs to comprehend:

https://miro.medium.com/max/2000/0*PpLQ0mQR8D1StQAC

https://miro.medium.com/max/2000/0*3UZ2gfo4w0HdAojq

Climate believer
Reply to  Ron
June 20, 2020 2:21 am

Interesting, thanks.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 1:30 pm

Yes, but with the virus now being endemic, we would eventually have the exact same number of fatalities.

We’ve just kicked the can further down the street.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 20, 2020 3:40 pm

Mr Esperson is not perhaps familiar with epidemiology. The most important thing to know about any new and sufficiently infectious and sufficiently fatal pathogen is that the earliest and most determined action to prevent transmission has the greatest chance of success at the least cost.

Allowing the pandemic to rage unchecked would have been very much more expensive than containing it. And it is not true that containing it merely spreads out the same number of deaths over a longer period. For viruses tend to mutate over time so as to become less fatal. Therefore, playing for time is of great advantage.

niceguy
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 21, 2020 11:33 pm

“Allowing the pandemic to rage unchecked would have been very much more expensive than containing it.”

You sound like a climate “scientist”.

June 18, 2020 9:00 pm

I still wonder whether lockdowns and other measures might have increased the number of deaths in the given time interval of a few months, where the number of people dying per day was actually higher for a longer period in those months than if nothing had been done, thereby giving a large peak number of deaths in a short time, BUT a smaller, ever decreasing number of deaths through successive days after the big peak, resulting in fewer deaths overall during those few months.

Maybe the lockdown INCREASED average number of deaths per day over a longer interval, whereas no lockdown would have allowed for the progressive reduction of deaths at a faster rate over that interval.
Gibralter Town might be less pointy, but Sombrero Town might have seen fewer deaths overall, because, after that big peak, deaths fizzled out relatively quickly, instead of continuing at a steady pace, caused by the very actions intended to stop death.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 20, 2020 3:42 pm

In response to Mr Kernodle, epidemiology has the advantage of having studied previous pandemics. it is by now well established that it is the direct fatality caused by the infection that far outstrips consequential fatalities.

By way of confirmation, the Office for National Statistics in the UK studied the excess deaths since the turn of the year and found that very nearly all of them were directly attributable to infection with the Chinese virus.

niceguy
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 21, 2020 7:53 pm

Epidemiology has the advantage if having studied the previous HOAX pandemics like the swine flu (which was less lethal than the regular flu).

ICU
June 18, 2020 9:03 pm

“14% of Sweden’s population have developed antibodies”

Around 6% in Sweden have developed COVID-19 antibodies – Swedish Health Agency
JUNE 18, 2020 / 7:40 AM / UPDATED 15 HOURS AGO
https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-sweden-immunity-idUSL8N2DV3N2

And get this. It ain’t over yet.

pochas94
June 18, 2020 9:08 pm

Since a Covid-19 death can be monetized and there are a horde of folks with a political interest in the death count, there is no possibility of an accurate count. I watch instead the ILInet which counts all influenza-like illness cases including Covid-19:

“The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) provides data on visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) (fever [≥100○F] and cough and/or sore throat) to approximately 2,600 primary care providers, emergency departments and urgent care centers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mild COVID-19 illness presents with symptoms similar to ILI, so ILINet is being used to track trends of mild to moderate COVID-19 illness and allows for comparison with prior influenza seasons.

“Nationwide during week 23, 0.7% of patient visits reported through ILINet were due to ILI. This percentage is well below the national baseline of 2.4% and represents the eleventh week of decline after three weeks of increase beginning in early March. The percentage of visits for ILI in week 23 remains low among all age groups. Nationally, laboratory-confirmed influenza activity as reported by clinical laboratories is at levels usually seen during summer months which, along with changes in healthcare seeking behavior and the impact of social distancing, is likely contributing to the low level of ILI activity.”

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcovid-data%2Fcovidview.html

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  pochas94
June 19, 2020 12:10 am

In response to Pochas94, there is no incentive in the UK to report a non-Chinese-virus death as a Chinese-virus death. And the Office for National Statistics has determined that nearly all of the 70,000 excess deaths this year compared with the five-year average are attributable to the virus. And that is after quite a strict lockdown. The numbers would have been far worse without it.

pochas94
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 12:35 pm

When you share a home with 5 other people, what good is a lockdown going to do? One gets sick, they all get sick. Not an effective stratagem. However, social distancing seems to be important. You should avoid crowds when an infective disease is present.

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 2:59 pm

We get panicky and frazzled hearing of big numbers of fatalities. But human beings have always, every day, run the risk of dying prematurely from illnesses, wars, famines or accidents. What has changed?

We are a cowardly, immature generation, molly-coddled from birth. We can’t cope with facing the possibility of catching an infectious illness – and prefer to ruin the world’s economy just to prevent that. Re big numbers of fatalities: bear in mind we die only one death each – which none of us can avoid sooner or later. What really counts is that we during our brief lives are charitable, rational, helpful and industrious in all our activities. By effecting lock-downs we are not.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Andy Espersen
June 20, 2020 3:44 pm

Mr Esperson is entitled to his prejudices, but responsible governments must bear in mind the risk of very large death tolls, particularly in centers of high population density such as New York and London.

niceguy
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 22, 2020 9:16 pm

“very large death tolls” caused by lockdowns?

frankclimate
June 18, 2020 9:38 pm

The blame game: “because following the lifting of lockdown measures and the mass breaches of lockdown by far-Left demonstrators …”
This is some kind of foolish IMO. It can’t be, that the “liberate xx” ( for xx set a state) calls of the POTUS, see https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/17/donald-trump-calls-three-us-states-liberate-coronavirus-lockdown-12573002/ is the real reason for the present problems? Indeed these much too fast relaxes of the lockdowns is the real reason for the 2nd lift up of the cases from my sight. The POTUS tried to accelerate the business for his election battle again in the hope that the summer conditions will stop the virus. It didn’t work and a second lockdown is not to avoid. Some kind of backfire… And: the common blame game won’t work either.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  frankclimate
June 19, 2020 12:15 am

In response to frankclimate, I stated correctly in the head posting that lockdown measures are being lifted, that there have been mass breaches of lockdowns by far-Left demonstrators, and that following these two circumstances the daily numbers of new reported cases are no longer heading for Gibraltar town.

I take the rational approach, which is that to state the truth – however inconvenient that truth – is not blameworthy.

It is arguable that no second lockdown would be necessary, provided that the violent marxist/fascist agitators can be kept off the streets and the people take sensible precautions to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

frankclimate
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 1:14 am

“It is arguable that no second lockdown would be necessary,..” I don’t think so , at least in some states. Look at the new positive cases in Florida and Texas, we have an exponential increasing there again. The pandemic is out of control! And this is NOT the result of breaches of lockdowns but a much too hasty and uncontrolled lift off. Sometimes one can’t twitter a virus away.

Derg
Reply to  frankclimate
June 19, 2020 1:51 am

Frank we will get the virus and get over it.

frankclimate
Reply to  Derg
June 19, 2020 5:48 am

Derg, of course we will, no doubt. But what’s the price?

Derg
Reply to  Derg
June 19, 2020 10:05 am

For most…Maybe flu like symptoms.

Scissor
Reply to  frankclimate
June 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Cases are not growing exponentially. In Texas, it appears that they’ve even been falling for 4 days in a row. If hospitalizations and deaths increase substantially within the next two weeks, then their declining trend will have been broken, and this would be concerning. It hasn’t happened.

Scissor
Reply to  Scissor
June 19, 2020 7:22 pm

Apparently, day 4 was up and not down in TX. It’s still not an exponential trend though.

yarpos
June 18, 2020 9:45 pm

Why do we talk about the UK lockdown as if it was a real thing? Sure the people of the UK where locked down but for months the borders were still open and the country was continuosly seeded with 100,000’s of thousands of arrivals.

Only in recent weeks have they even looked at quarantining arrivals and even then its only a lip service self quarantine that will be widely ignored. The whole UK Covid story looks like complete madness yet the population seems to have swallowed it , and is happily out clapping and singing we are all in this together.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  yarpos
June 19, 2020 12:18 am

In response to Yarpos, the UK lockdown was late, and was indeed far from complete. Nevertheless, it has at last proven effective, as the Gibraltar graphs for the UK in the head posting demonstrate. Both daily cases and daily deaths have reached Gibraltar town.

Now it is possible to begin dismantling the lockdown, and I suspect it could be done a lot faster than it is being done. We shall be late out of lockdown as we were fatally late into it, and the economic as well as the human cost of governmental dithering and delay will be enormous.

Lowell
June 18, 2020 10:16 pm

I suspect the current CFR is about .35% one out of every 300 people depending how well you isolate the most at risk. But there is another problem. After recovering it can leave your lungs damaged. I don’t know if your lungs recover in one or two years or if its permanent. In my case I now max out at about two miles per hour walking. I was what they consider a mild case. I’ve heard scuba divers who get this disease are unable to dive any more because of the lung damage.

In view of this I think it will cause too much suffering to go for the Swedish model of protecting those the most vulnerable and going for herd immunity in the rest of the population. Until last week I advocated the Swedish model. Now because of the lung problems I believe we should slow the pandemic by going full mask and using contact tracing with selective quarantines to root out the virus.

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Lowell
June 19, 2020 12:23 am

In response to Lowell, globally the case fatality rate is between 2 and 5 percent. The infection fatality rate that I calculated by casting back deaths a couple of months ago is about 0.34%, which agrees with Lowell’s estimate.

I am very sorry to hear that Lowell is suffering lasting effects from the virus. I suspect that the damage caused to those who survive the infection has been under-reported and too little studied.

I agree with Lowell that track-trace-isolate with protection for the most vulnerable is indeed the best approach.

Ron
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 19, 2020 5:02 am

The infection fatality rate that I calculated by casting back deaths a couple of months ago is about 0.34%, which agrees with Lowell’s estimate.

The number is probably too low:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.03.20089854v2.full.pdf

Everything from 0.5-1.5% IFR is still plausible. My bet would be from 0.7-1%. More to the upper bound probably.

Steve Richards
June 18, 2020 10:27 pm

Is it an indicator of a poor health system that certain causes of death increase a hospitals income?

Monckton of Brenchley
Reply to  Steve Richards
June 19, 2020 12:25 am

In response to Mr Richards, if certain causes of death increase a hospital’s income incorrectly, then there is a market-distorting incentive in place that ought perhaps to be removed. No such incentive is available in the UK: yet our death rate per million is considerably above that in the US.

niceguy
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
June 21, 2020 5:53 pm

“No such incentive is available in the UK”

How would you know? Do you have any real knowledge of UK’s health system? I guess not.

Duncan_M
June 18, 2020 10:46 pm

A large part of the reason reported new cases in the USA is not dropping is the expansion of testing. We should have seen big spikes by now from the anti-police demonstrations – why aren’t there any?

Deaths in the USA are tracked on reported date, not date of death. New York City is still reporting hundreds of deaths each week that occurred in March and April. The peak back then would look much higher, and the drop-off to today much sharper, if