COVID-19: the “second wave” in Europe

By Neil Lock


Charles has asked me to clarify the Blavatnik stringency index I use in this paper. Here’s where you can find its definition: in Chapter 4 of I share Charles’s concerns about the way the index is put together. My own criticisms are: One, they weight their 9 factors equally, without justification. My main objective in this paper is to try to put together some evidence to test that equal weighting! Two, they do not rightly weight regional lockdowns in comparison with national ones. In my view, any regional lockdown should be weighted according to the population affected by it. A lockdown measure in England (84% of the UK population), for example, ought to carry almost 17 times as much weight in the index as the same measure in Wales (5% of the population). All that said, if the Blavatnik data has been put together honestly (and I don’t have any evidence to lead me to doubt that), my inclination is to use it to get the best picture I can.

A month ago, I compared the histories of the COVID-19 epidemic in fourteen Western European countries. At that point, the “second wave” of the virus, which had been building throughout the region for three or four months, was giving governments an excuse to start re-introducing lockdowns. So, I said that I would review the situation in a month or so. That month has now elapsed, so here’s the review. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll now have enough data to form some idea of which lockdown measures have been effective, and which haven’t.

Once again, here is the list of countries:


The data sources are the same as before: Our World in Data and the Blavatnik School of Government, both at Oxford University. The data I used was taken on December 3rd, and it included figures up to and including December 2nd.

In the last week or so, the Our World in Data feed has changed quite substantially. Most data before the third week of January has been deleted. Some countries – France, Germany and Sweden at least – have taken the opportunity to wipe and re-write a lot of their data, some of it right back to the beginning of the epidemic. And the data for UK dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar) and Danish dependencies (Faeroe Islands, Greenland) has disappeared entirely. I would have expected that this data might have been consolidated into the parent country’s; but for the UK at least, I don’t see any evidence of this.

Every so often, the Our World in Data feed adds new data columns. One of these recently added is the reproduction rate (Rt). This is the average number of new infections passed on (as at a given day) by a single infected person. It is usually expressed as a fraction. Rt bigger than 1 means the infection numbers are generally rising, and less than 1 means they are generally falling. In the UK at least, this is modelled data rather than measured data. And, as we’ll see, some countries’ figures are smoother than others, so it looks as if different countries are calculating it differently. But it’s still of interest to compare even a modelled Rt with the observed rate of growth of new cases.

Also, in November the Swedes have also completely re-written their lockdown stringency data, and it now looks as if for months their lockdown hasn’t been nearly as light as we had been led to believe. All this said, I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before: It’s the best data I have, so I’ll use it.


I’ll begin with cases. Here are the total (cumulative) cases per million population over the whole period of the epidemic, up to December 2nd.

Here is a daily cases per million population comparison. The data shown are centrally averaged over a 7-day period. That is, the date against which a count is plotted is the 4th (central) day of the period.

In the great majority of the 14 countries, the new case counts have peaked since late October, and in many have since fallen significantly. So, the recent lockdowns must have had an effect. Which measures have had the most effect, is a moot point at this stage.

Here is the list of daily cases per million as at the end of the month:

To put this in perspective, only Spain, Ireland and France are currently below the 200 new cases per million population per day, at which the WHO considers the virus to be endemic, and no unlocks should be considered. However, four more countries, including the UK, are now only slightly above it.

Another way to look at the cases figures is in terms of weekly new case growth. This is the percentage growth in the (weekly averaged) new cases from a particular day to the same day of the week a week later. This requires the weekly averaged new cases up to 3 days after the current date, meaning there must be at least 6 days of case data after the current date. That is why the graph stops before the end of November.

It’s obvious that, over the last four weeks, the trends in weekly case growth have almost all been downward. So much so, that only three of the countries are now showing positive growth in new cases:

Another way to look at infection rates is to plot the reproduction rate, Rt. This is based on numbers of infections, not cases, so it may show a slightly different picture to the weekly case growth. Later, when I come to plot the two on the same axis, it will become plain that while the two are clearly related, they don’t always move together in perfect sync.

Here are the Rt values supplied by each country over the course of the epidemic. With the exception of Sweden, the Rt rates have been trending down throughout November:

The UK is one of only four of the countries with an Rt rate below 1 at the end of November.

In contrast, the trends in lockdown stringency have almost all been upward since late October:

The UK (pink line) appears to be bucking this trend; but, like most things political, that is a deceit. The apparent drop around November 10th was caused by the release of “circuit-breaker” lockdowns in Wales and Northern Ireland. Yet people in England are (were?) far harder locked down at the end of November than at the end of October. At the moment at least, the figure pulled through to Our World in Data only reports measures which are in place UK wide; it seems to miss additional measures in the individual constituent countries. On top of the currently reported figure of about 64%, these additional measures account as of November 30th for around 5% extra stringency in England, 3% in Northern Ireland and Wales, and around 1% in Scotland.


The number of cases which get found depends, in part at least, on the testing capacity available. Here are the cumulative tests carried out per 100,000 population in each country (except Sweden and France, which do not report cumulative test counts):

Luxembourg and Denmark are well ahead of the rest. In fact, the number of tests done in Luxembourg since the start of the epidemic is more than twice the population!

Another interesting statistic is the cumulative percentage of positives among the tests done since the very beginning of the epidemic:

In many of the countries, the cases per test percentage has climbed significantly in the second wave of the epidemic. I’d guess this is simply because infections have been climbing faster than any increase in the number of tests available. This is consistent with the observation that, in most of the countries, this ratio now seems to be nearing a second peak.


Here are four spaghetti graphs of deaths from the virus. The first is total deaths per million population. The second shows the daily deaths per million, over the course of the epidemic; and I have appended to it a histogram of the deaths per million rates as at November 30th. You can see here which countries have started to “get on top” of the second wave, and which haven’t. The third shows deaths per case, with the cases offset 21 days back from the deaths (21 days being the mean length of the course of the disease, in the UK at least). The fourth and final graph shows the cumulative totals of deaths per case over the whole course of the epidemic.

The UK (pink line) is not doing well in the deaths-per-case stakes. It is second only to Italy in current daily deaths per case. And the UK is now top of the list in terms of deaths per case over the whole epidemic, at about 3.6%. Deaths per case is, I think, a fair indicator of lack of quality in a country’s health care system; for lack of testing capacity, and less effective treatment of those who need hospitalization, will both tend to increase it.


I come now to the meat of this review. For each country, I have plotted weekly case growth percentage (blue line), lockdown stringency percentage (brown line) and Rt rate multiplied by 100 to express it as a percentage (grey line), all on the same graph. Both the weekly case growth and Rt are capped at a maximum of 200%. If a particular lockdown measure is effectual, then I would expect the grey and blue lines to move in the opposite direction to the brown, at or shortly after the day the measure comes into effect. A newly introduced lockdown measure, if successful, ought to visibly slow Rt rate, or weekly case growth, or both, within the incubation period of the virus (maximum 12 days).

This is complicated by the fact that, as you will see from the graphs, the virus has a rhythm of its own. Under conditions of constant stringency, the weekly case growth tends to oscillate periodically. The period can be different in different countries, and sometimes varies from time to time within a country; but 2 to 6 weeks from peak to peak or trough to trough is typical. Left to itself, over the course of many cycles, the weekly case growth will tend to rise. But if a lockdown measure is effective, it may change the overall trend between peaks or troughs from upwards to downwards, and may also start to smooth out the peaks and troughs.

As to the reproduction rate, it too tends to oscillate periodically, in the same direction as the weekly case growth. Peaks and troughs in weekly case growth often show a few days ahead of peaks and troughs in the Rt rate. However, as some of the examples below will show, it is now quite common to have Rt above 1 and case growth negative at the same time.

The other component of my review is the detailed data, which the Blavatnik School of Government provide on the status of 12 lockdown indicators (9 of which contribute to the stringency index) for each country for each day. I have converted these to a list of measures which have been imposed (or unlocked) in each country, with dates, since August 1st. I have also included a summary of the currently active lockdown measures in each country.


2020090636.11Schools: Recommended closed (Regional) International: Ban some arrivals
2020091436.11Face covering: Required when with others
2020091737.04Workplaces: Recommended closed (Regional) Gatherings: Up to 11-100
2020092940.74Stay at home: Recommended
2020101344.91Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional) Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional)
2020101758.8Workplaces: Some closed (Regional) Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020102360.19Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020102764.81Schools: Recommended closed Events: Mandatory cancelled
2020110275Schools: Some closed Workplaces: Some closed Public transport: Recommended closed Stay at home: Required with exceptions Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020111782.41Schools: Mandatory closed Workplaces: Mandatory closed

Current (20201127): Schools: Mandatory closed, Workplaces: Mandatory closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, Travel: Recommended not to travel, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: Open, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: Given the high peaks in both Rt and case growth near the end of October, I don’t think the lockdown measures introduced during September and early October had a whole lot of effect. However, the September 29th “Stay at home: Recommended” did appear to produce an all but immediate downturn in weekly case growth and in reproduction rate. The October 23rd reduced limit on the size of gatherings also seems to have had an immediate beneficial effect. The November 2nd measures also had some positive effect, though it’s not possible to tell which of them were responsible for it. The November 17th measures have continued the drop in weekly case growth, but I don’t yet have the Rt figures to cross-check with.

There’s something else curious about this graph. Look at the peaks in Rt and in the weekly case growth. They seem to be getting vertically further apart from each other. As time goes on, it looks as if it takes a higher Rt to produce a given growth in cases. I wonder, perhaps, if the proportion of infections which do not lead to confirmed cases (for example, because they are asymptomatic) is rising? If so, that’s good news.


2020072962.96Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional) Gatherings: Up to <=10 Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional)
2020080759.26Stay at home: Recommended (Regional)
2020080964.81Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020081258.33Workplaces: Some closed Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: No restrictions
2020082752.78Stay at home: No measures
2020093047.22Events: Recommended cancelled Face covering: Required in some places
2020100147.22Face covering: Required when with others
2020100945.37Workplaces: Some closed (Regional)
2020101954.63Workplaces: Some closed Stay at home: Required with exceptions
2020102956.48Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020110265.74Workplaces: Mandatory closed Events: Mandatory cancelled
2020111663.89Schools: Recommended closed

Current (20201123): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Mandatory closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: I added the July 29th measures to the list above, because they do seem to have had an immediate and significant effect. The only national measure in that group was the restriction of gathering size to 10 or below, so that may have been what “did the trick” at that stage. The precipitate fall in weekly case growth around October 22nd, and in the reproduction rate a little later, looks likely to be due to the October 19th “Stay at home: Required with exceptions.” The November 2nd mandatory closure of workplaces and cancellation of events have in fact been followed by an increase in weekly case growth, though it is still (just) negative. Rt has continued to drop, but there is no “knee” to suggest that these measures on their own made a significant difference.

I will, however, note that the stringent October 1st “Face covering: Required when with others” mandate seems to have done nothing at all to prevent the huge peak in new cases in mid to late October. And it seems to have sent the reproduction rate up, not down! I think that gives us some evidence that mandating face coverings brings little or no benefits.


2020080150.93Schools: Recommended closed
2020082250.93Face covering: Required in some places
2020090947.69Workplaces: Some closed (Regional) Gatherings: Up to 11-100 (Regional) Public info: Co-ordinated (Regional)
2020091950.93Workplaces: Some closed Gatherings: Up to 11-100
2020101041.67Workplaces: Recommended closed Gatherings: Up to 101-1000 Public transport: Open Public info: Co-ordinated Contact tracing: Limited
2020102137.04Schools: Open Gatherings: Up to 11-100 Stay at home: No measures Contact tracing: Comprehensive
2020102639.81Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020110954.63Schools: Some closed (Regional) Stay at home: Recommended Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020111650Stay at home: Recommended (Regional) Travel: Recommended not to travel (Regional)
2020111943.52Schools: Recommended closed Stay at home: No measures Travel: No restrictions
2020112345.37Stay at home: Recommended (Regional)

Current (20201130): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Recommended closed, Events: Recommended cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Recommended (Regional), International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: Open, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required in some places.

Notes: Denmark’s Rt rate looks smoother than either Austria’s or Belgium’s, and it doesn’t show all the peaks and troughs in weekly case growth. It looks as if they may be calculating it a different way from the others.

The last three troughs in Rt (the final one is only just visible) look to have all bottomed out at similar values around 120%, and all at stringency levels near 50%, too. The October 26th reduction of maximum group size, combined with the stay at home and not-to-travel recommendations in force from November 9th to 19th, have brought the Rt down somewhat, but not as much as I would have expected. They may also have contributed to the small size of the following case growth peak; but I can’t be sure. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to draw any conclusions from Denmark.


2020080346.3Face covering: Required outside the home (Regional)
2020081448.15Workplaces: Some closed (Regional)
2020090146.76Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional)
2020090348.61Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020092246.76Schools: Recommended closed
2020092649.54Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional)
2020101043.98Events: Recommended cancelled Travel: No restrictions
2020101749.54Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional)
2020103078.7Schools: Some closed Workplaces: Mandatory closed Events: Mandatory cancelled Gatherings: Up to <=10 Stay at home: Required with exceptions Travel: Mandatory restrictions
2020112875Workplaces: Some closed

Current (20201128): Schools: Some closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, Travel: Mandatory restrictions, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated. Testing: Open. Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: To help make sense of the French data, I’ll also show the daily cases graph:

What seems to have happened is that the French waited until the last possible moment, then on October 30th threw in just about every lockdown idea they could think of, all at the same time. It seems to have “worked,” after a fashion; but it’s been almost as harsh as the first lockdown. Moreover, the French have had “Face covering: Required when with others” nationally since July 20th. So, that rush up to the peak from July to October, I think, is fairly good evidence that face mask wearing by the public doesn’t hamper the spread of the virus.

Note also that, as of mid-November and under stringent lockdown, Rt was still above 100%, and yet new cases were dropping.


2020080759.72Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020080856.94Gatherings: Up to 11-100 (Regional)
2020082459.72Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional)
2020090357.87Schools: Recommended closed
2020090449.54Travel: No restrictions
2020100146.76International: Quarantine high-risk
2020101556.02Stay at home: Recommended Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020102257.87Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional)
2020110259.26Workplaces: Some closed Gatherings: Up to <=10 Stay at home: Recommended
2020111062.04International: Ban some arrivals

Current (20201129): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Recommended, Travel: Recommended not to travel, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: Open, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required in some places.

Notes: German cases have recently all but stabilized. Here’s the new cases graph:

The most likely causes of this recent stabilization would seem to be the October 15th “Stay at home: Recommended” and “Travel: Recommended not to travel.” Germans will usually do what they are told to! The November 2nd restriction on group size, and the closure of some workplaces, have reduced Rt, but they don’t seem to have had much effect so far on case growth. And for much of November, Rt was well above 100%, but the new case counts weren’t consistently growing.


2020080859.72Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional) Gatherings: Up to 11-100 (Regional) Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020081863.43Events: Mandatory cancelled
2020092152.31Schools: Recommended closed Workplaces: Some closed Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional) Gatherings: Up to 11-100 (Regional) Public transport: Recommended closed (Regional) Travel: Recommended not to travel (Regional)
2020100761.57Schools: Recommended closed (Regional) Events: Mandatory cancelled Travel: Mandatory restrictions
2020102181.48Schools: Some closed Workplaces: Mandatory closed Gatherings: Up to <=10 Public transport: Recommended closed Stay at home: Required with exceptions

Current (20201123): Schools: Some closed, Workplaces: Mandatory closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, Travel: Mandatory restrictions, International: Quarantine high-risk, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required in some places.

Notes: The regional measures of August 8th seem to have brought the immediate problem under control. After that, nothing seemed to have much effect until October 7th. It was probably the national measures, “Travel: Mandatory restrictions” and/or the “Events: mandatory cancelled” that did the trick. And the (over?) draconian measures of October 21st have certainly brought Rt down, and to well below 100%.


2020080850.93International: Ban some arrivals
2020081754.63Workplaces: Some closed
2020091447.22Schools: Recommended closed
2020100655.56Gatherings: Up to 11-100 Public transport: Recommended closed Contact tracing: Limited Face covering: Required when with others
2020101450Public transport: Open
2020102366.67Schools: Some closed (Regional) Workplaces: Some closed (Regional) Gatherings: Up to <=10 Public transport: Recommended closed (Regional) Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional) International: Quarantine high-risk Contact tracing: Comprehensive
2020110676.85Schools: Some closed Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional) Stay at home: Required with exceptions International: Ban some arrivals
2020111079.63Public transport: Recommended closed Contact tracing: Limited

Current (20201125): Schools: Some closed, Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional), Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional), International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Limited, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: The August 17th closure of some workplaces did seem to have an effect. The package of measures on October 6th did have an immediate effect, but not as strong as the Italians might have hoped. October 23rd, for me, looks like the key date; and on that date, the only national measure was the restriction of gatherings to 10 or less. This looks like more evidence that restricting gathering sizes works.

Whether the strong restrictions added on November 6th have made a difference, or are simply “over the top,” I – once again – cannot tell; and it doesn’t help that the Italians haven’t reported any Rt figures since November 20th. But once again, an Rt consistently above 100% has nevertheless allowed case growth to drop significantly.


2020080731.48Events: Recommended cancelled Stay at home: Recommended
2020081234.26International: Screening
2020082139.1International: Ban some arrivals
2020082543.52Workplaces: Recommended closed
2020091340.74Gatherings: Up to 11-100
2020092643.52Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020100643.52Contact tracing: Limited
2020102052.78Schools: Recommended closed Events: Mandatory cancelled
2020103056.48Stay at home: Required with exceptions Face covering: Required when with others
2020112660.19Workplaces: Some closed

Current (20201123): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: Open, Contact tracing: Limited, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: Because Luxembourg is a small country, its weekly case growth will tend to be more volatile than in larger countries. There were also significant adjustments to the numbers of cases in late August. Since then, a significant drop in weekly case growth seems to have started since the October 20th measures. I’m a little surprised by that, as school closures were only recommended, not mandated; perhaps the mandatory cancellation of events was a bigger factor.

The October 31st “Stay at home: Required with exceptions” also produced a drop in Rt, as you can see by the “knee” on the graph. But since then, case growth hasn’t come down much, even though Rt has continued to drop. As to the November 26th closure of some workplaces, we’ll have to wait and see.


2020081850.93Events: Recommended cancelled Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020092048.15Events: Recommended cancelled (Regional)
2020092962.04Events: Mandatory cancelled Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020110465.74Workplaces: Mandatory closed
2020112256.48Workplaces: Some closed Travel: No restrictions

Current (20201122): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Recommended, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required in some places.

Notes: The August 18th restriction on gathering size did seem to pull down the size of the next peak in case growth. How significant the recommendation to cancel events was, I don’t know. But Rt started to increase shortly afterwards, not to decrease!

The September 29th measures, events cancellation and recommendation not to travel, did seem to get the cases coming down at last. Rt also started to drop significantly, a week or so afterwards.

All was well for a while; and by the middle of November, Rt had dropped well below 100%. But the November 4th closure of workplaces seems to have had no beneficial effect at all. In fact, since the middle of November, Dutch cases have been dropping, but more slowly than before.


2020080165.28Face covering: Required outside the home (Regional)
2020081066.2Events: Mandatory cancelled Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional)
2020082555.09Schools: Recommended closed Workplaces: Some closed (Regional) Stay at home: No measures
2020090456.94Workplaces: Some closed
2020091558.8Stay at home: Recommended (Regional)
2020100256.94Workplaces: Some closed (Regional)
2020102360.65Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional)
2020102466.2Schools: Mandatory closed (Regional)
2020103074.54Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020110466.2Travel: No restrictions
2020110660.65Schools: Recommended closed
2020111469.91Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional)
2020111666.2Workplaces: Some closed (Regional)
2020112169.91Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional)
2020112366.2Workplaces: Some closed (Regional)

Current (20201123): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed (Regional), Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional), Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional), International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: Open, Contact tracing: Limited, Face covering: Required outside the home.

Notes: Since early September, all the lockdowns have been regional. They have been quite stringent. And they do seem to be getting on top of the virus, albeit slowly.

The peaks and troughs in Rt in Portugal don’t seem to correspond to any particular lockdown measures being introduced or released at the time. Rt did, however, drop during September, a period when some workplaces were closed nationally. And, though Rt is still well above 100%, new cases have started to drop significantly. The Portuguese must be doing something right; but I have no idea what it is!


2020081060.65Stay at home: Recommended (Regional)
2020081462.5Workplaces: Some closed
2020090760.65Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020100764.35Schools: Mandatory closed (Regional)
2020101364.35Contact tracing: Comprehensive Face covering: Required outside the home
2020102258.8Schools: Recommended closed
2020102571.3Events: Mandatory cancelled Gatherings: Up to <=10 Stay at home: Required with exceptions Travel: Mandatory restrictions

Current (20201129): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Stay at home: Required with exceptions, Travel: Mandatory restrictions, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required outside the home.

Notes: The two sets of lockdowns during July do seem to have had an effect on both Rt and weekly case growth, but they were regional only. Another “sea change” seems to have taken place around October 25th. The measures introduced then were event cancellations, reduced gathering size, stay at home, and travel restrictions. All four of these have been seen to be effective elsewhere, so the Spaniards are probably on the right track as far as dealing with the virus is concerned. Here, too, we see Rt consistently above 100% during November, and yet a significant drop in new cases.

The face covering requirement introduced on October 13th – the most stringent in all the 14 countries – does not appear to have had any effect on Rt. And any effects it might have had on case growth will have been eclipsed by the measures of October 25th.


2020081755.56Schools: Recommended closed
2020111058.33Travel: Recommended not to travel (Regional)
2020111150Gatherings: No restrictions
2020112453.7Workplaces: Some closed

Current (20201124): Schools: Recommended closed, Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Recommended, Travel: Recommended not to travel (Regional), International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Limited.

Notes: The weekly case growth has come down since the end of October, with no particular lockdown measure being an obvious cause. However, Rt – which is unusually smooth, like Denmark’s – has been rising since July, and now seems to have just about peaked. The November 24th closure of some workplaces hasn’t been in force long enough yet to draw any conclusions.


2020091743.06Face covering: Required when with others
2020091843.06Testing: If symptoms
2020101033.8Schools: Recommended closed (Regional) Events: Recommended cancelled (Regional) International: Quarantine high-risk
2020101935.19Gatherings: Up to 11-100
2020102040.74Events: Recommended cancelled International: Ban some arrivals
2020102945.37Workplaces: Some closed Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional)
2020110249.07Schools: Some closed (Regional)

Current (20201123): Schools: Some closed (Regional), Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional), Gatherings: Up to 11-100, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Comprehensive, Face covering: Required when with others.

Notes: This is an odd one. Rt went up enormously during September and early October, perhaps due to the re-opening of schools after the summer break. (There was a similar rise back in May, when schools re-opened after the first lockdown). Weekly case growth and Rt have been coming down almost continuously since then, and Rt is now down almost to 100%. Yet there was no national lockdown measure in early October to trigger that!

New cases peaked and started coming down around the time of the October 29th closure of some workplaces. Looking at Rt, there is a “knee” at precisely that time; so perhaps this measure added to the already existing downward trends in Rt and weekly case growth.


UK wide measures

2020080169.91Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020081366.2Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020083066.2Contact tracing: Limited
2020090164.35Schools: Recommended closed
2020091465.74Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020092467.59Stay at home: Recommended
2020101260.19Stay at home: Recommended (Regional) Travel: Recommended not to travel (Regional)
2020101965.74Schools: Mandatory closed (Regional)
2020102267.59Stay at home: Recommended
2020102375Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020110675Workplaces: Mandatory closed (Regional) Stay at home: Recommended Travel: Recommended not to travel International: Ban some arrivals
2020111063.89Schools: Open Workplaces: Some closed

Current (20201116): Workplaces: Some closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled, Gatherings: Up to <=10, Public transport: Recommended closed, Stay at home: Recommended, Travel: Recommended not to travel, International: Ban some arrivals, Public info: Co-ordinated, Testing: If symptoms, Contact tracing: Limited, Face covering: Required in some places.

Notes: The UK seems to have the best correlation between Rt and weekly case growth of all the countries. There was a sea-change from a rising to a falling Rt trend some time in September, only broken by the huge spike in early October. “Gatherings: Up to <=10” and “Stay at home: Recommended” may have helped with this.

Here is the new cases graph for the UK as a whole:

The “tiered” local lockdowns in place in the second half of October seemed to have just about stabilized the new cases. When a new national lockdown was introduced in early November, cases suddenly went up again! But they peaked around November 13th, and have been going down ever since.

The UK data is particularly difficult to analyze, not only because of the tiers system (a version of which comes back into force on December 2nd), but also because England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own separate additional lockdown rules.

England (84% of UK population)

2020080166.2Stay at home: No measures Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020082766.2Face covering: Required in some places
2020090162.5Schools: Recommended closed
2020091463.89Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020092563.89Face covering: Required in some places
2020101265.74Stay at home: Recommended (Regional)
2020110574.07Stay at home: Required with exceptions Travel: Mandatory restrictions
2020111766.67Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional) Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020113068.52Schools: Some closed (Regional)

Differences from UK wide measures (20201130): Schools: Some closed (Regional), Stay at home: Required with exceptions (Regional), International: Quarantine high-risk.

Notes: The August 27th “Face covering: Required in some places” almost exactly coincided with the start of the second wave. And after the September 25th tightening, cases went soaring! Not good evidence for the efficacy of face coverings. And despite “Schools: Recommended closed,” most schools did in fact re-open, and the results are visible in the cases graph.

Of the November measures, the most likely to have brought about the drop in cases were the stay-at-home requirement and the travel restrictions.

Northern Ireland (3% of UK population)

2020081062.96Face covering: Required in some places
2020082457.41Schools: Some closed (Regional)
2020083155.56Schools: Recommended closed
2020091154.17Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional)
2020092255.56Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020092555.56Face covering: Required in some places
2020101477.78Schools: Mandatory closed Stay at home: Recommended Travel: Mandatory restrictions
2020110268.52Schools: Some closed Travel: Recommended not to travel Contact tracing: Limited
2020111066.67Schools: Some closed (Regional)

Differences from UK wide measures (20201123): Schools: Some closed (Regional), International: Quarantine high-risk.

Notes: Due to the low proportion of the population, these measures are unlikely to have contributed much to the UK wide picture.

Scotland (8% of UK population)

2020080571.3Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020081767.59Schools: Recommended closed
2020082173.15Stay at home: Required, minimal exceptions (Regional)
2020082470.37Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020083164.81Stay at home: Recommended
2020092364.81Contact tracing: Comprehensive
2020092564.81Face covering: Required in some places
2020100464.81Contact tracing: Limited
2020110267.59Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020111764.81Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional)

Differences from UK wide measures (20201123): Schools: Recommended closed, Events: Mandatory cancelled (Regional), Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional), International: Quarantine high-risk.

Notes: Due to the low proportion of the population, these measures are unlikely to have contributed much to the UK wide picture.

Wales (5% of UK population)

2020081659.26Stay at home: No measures
2020090155.56Schools: Recommended closed
2020090862.5Gatherings: Up to <=10 (Regional) Travel: Mandatory restrictions (Regional)
2020091462.5Face covering: Required in some places
2020092562.5Face covering: Required in some places
2020092866.2Stay at home: Recommended
2020101367.59Gatherings: Up to <=10
2020101670.37Travel: Mandatory restrictions
2020102377.78Workplaces: Mandatory closed Stay at home: Required with exceptions
2020110964.81Workplaces: Some closed Stay at home: Recommended Travel: Recommended not to travel
2020111764.81Contact tracing: Limited
2020112366.67Schools: Some closed (Regional)

Differences from UK wide measures (20201123): Schools: Some closed (Regional), International: Quarantine high-risk.

Notes: Due to the low proportion of the population, these measures are unlikely to have contributed much to the UK wide picture.

Some tentative conclusions

In many cases, it’s hard to establish a strong correlation between success against the virus and any one particular lockdown measure. Part of the reason is that governments like to make lots of different regulations all starting on the same date, so it’s hard to determine which worked and which didn’t. The following conclusions, therefore, can only be tentative.

While schools are well known to be a breeding ground for the virus, I couldn’t find any evidence that school closures, either recommended or mandated, have on their own caused a significant drop in case growth anywhere during the second wave.

Workplace closures appear not to have been beneficial in Belgium or the Netherlands, and their effectiveness in Germany is doubtful. There is, however, some evidence that they did make a difference in Italy; and perhaps in Portugal and Switzerland too.

In most of the countries, large scale events have been (and still are) cancelled. But when a country has relaxed this measure, re-imposing it often seems to have had a beneficial effect on new case counts; at least in Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain. But there seems to have been no clear benefit from re-imposing this measure in Belgium.

The reduction in maximum gathering size to 10 or less seems to have been effective in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK. The only country where it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference is the Netherlands.

Public transport closures do not appear to have been a significant factor during the second wave of the epidemic.

Stay at home requirements look to have had a significant effect. Even just recommending stay-at-home has produced effects in Austria, Germany and the UK. Mandating stay-at-home seems to have made a difference in Belgium and Spain, and perhaps in Luxembourg.

Travel restrictions, too, do make a difference. Even a recommendation not to travel has had beneficial effects in Germany and the Netherlands. Mandatory restrictions on travel have been effective in Ireland, and arguably in Spain. And a mixture of the two has, probably, had some effect in the UK.

The only countries which changed their international travel rules in October or November are Germany, Switzerland and Italy. I would expect that the effects of these changes will have been negligible; since international travel bans and quarantines would have far more effect in times when the virus is at a low level in a country, than when – as now – it is higher than in the rest of the world.

As to face masks for the general public, evidence from Belgium, France, Spain and the UK suggests that they have no beneficial effects. Indeed, it’s not implausible, given the data, that requiring the public to wear face coverings actually helps to spread the virus.

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Laurence Lowne
December 6, 2020 2:42 am

Super bit of research – well done.

Love your final paragraph:

‘As to face masks for the general public, evidence from Belgium, France, Spain and the UK suggests that they have no beneficial effects. Indeed, it’s not implausible, given the data, that requiring the public to wear face coverings actually helps to spread the virus.’

Ouch, ouch and more ouch.

Interspersed with Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Your conclusion fails to surprise me.

Face coverings were designed to protect the WEARER, and not protect others.

The Government spin on this one subject has been truly questionable.

Reply to  Laurence Lowne
December 6, 2020 8:16 am

Masks do not protect the wearer. Surgeons wear them to minimise contamination of the sterile field. When I worked in the A&E/ED/ER if a patient presented with pulmonary TB, they were given a mask to wear as they were the source of infection, similarly if a patient presented with a compromised immune system then staff wore masks again the potential source of infection.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  JohnC
December 6, 2020 1:42 pm

There are a lot of caveats about wearing masks. In a controlled health facility environment the wearer often also wear gloves and knows not to touch their masks unnecessarily. They generally use better masks than what is available to the public. A patient is not generally wandering about shaking peoples hands and performing other virus spreading activities.

For people on the street who resent the idea of a mask in the first place, who wear cloth masks and not are wearing gloves all the masks can do is reduce the spread of droplets. If people continue to touch masks, then their faces they perform no function at all (other than to annoy). Maybe they serve as reminders…maybe.

The most obvious path to reducing infections is for people not to be around other people. The possible conclusion that work lock downs are not effective is somewhat surprising and may depend on air regulations for offices, open wimdows, and filtering the air, or maybe it is just social distancing inside the offices.

Bryan A
Reply to  JohnC
December 6, 2020 3:42 pm

N95 masks are supposed to protect the wearer, just try finding one though.
Most other masks deter the spread from the infected wearer

Reply to  JohnC
December 7, 2020 6:52 pm

“Masks do not protect the wearer. ”

Perhaps masks play a role in reducing spread from asymptomatic infected cases to the balance of the population, if all wear them.

Charles Higley
Reply to  Laurence Lowne
December 6, 2020 8:25 am

Yes, lots of math and graphs, but it is meaningless when you include that the PCR and antibody testing are 90 to 100% false positives and, since the particular virus in question is long gone (having already passed through the population, they are NOT detecting a second wave. They are detecting the new flu season salad of viruses. This is a crappy test which cannot be specific for a virus no one anywhere has isolated, cultured, and shown to cause disease. Simply a nonstarter.

However, we have countries and states all over the world pretending they are detecting a 2nd wave of a mythical virus. Where do they think these new victims are coming from, once an infectious virus has blown through a population? So, they pretend, falsely, that one does not gain immunity from having the virus and thus can get it over and over. If that is true, why would a vaccine be any better? Yeah, I know, follow the science, but we should be following the real science.


Bill Powers
Reply to  Charles Higley
December 6, 2020 10:50 am

Charles you bring a calm, rational, logic with a sound conclusion to counter a poli/health issue that assumes with certainty that every virus moving forward is the “Rona. Added to the assumptive media broadcast narrative that contagion equals death sentence despite a 99.98 survival rate averaged over all demographics and age groups.

your thinking will not be received well in Blue Circles. Had the poli/socio zeitgeist managing media realized the extent of their power they would have been reporting cold and flu season with background funeral marches for the past 20 years. They now have half the population goose stepping and reporting on their neighbors for non compliance. So be careful you might draw unfavorable attention to yourself.

Reply to  Charles Higley
December 6, 2020 2:29 pm

I tend to agree, Charles Higley. We are being told that the number of cases is up, but “up” means a comparison with first wave, and we have no way of knowing how many cases there were in the first wave.
It seems to be true that we are detecting more cases, but we can infer nothing about whether there are more cases.

Reply to  Charles Higley
December 6, 2020 2:50 pm

Deaths are a more meaningful statistic.
A graph of Canadian deaths (always summed from July through June as noted on the page) clearly shows a slight multi-year acceleration due to the aging Baby Boomers, but no visible impact from “first wave COVID.”

Reply to  boffin77
December 6, 2020 4:15 pm

Deaths are pretty much the only thing that matters. And it’s clear from these graphs that the number of deaths are pretty much irrelevant compared to the economic and mental damage these ‘lockdowns’ and other measures have caused.

Reply to  MarkG
December 7, 2020 5:37 pm

Mark G.:
“Deaths are pretty much the only thing that matters.”

You must be a mortician?

Roger Taguchi
Reply to  boffin77
December 8, 2020 2:12 am

Excellent point and reference.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Charles Higley
December 7, 2020 12:12 am

Charles Higley – I agree with your dislike of PCR testing. It’s expensive, slow to give results (up to 9 days), and it delivers “positives” on people who have long ago recovered from Covid. In the week that a truly sick person would wait for his test results, he may have infected many others. PCR tests can cost up to $100 or more. Since the test derives a positive response from non-infective virus “fragments” in people who seem perfectly healthy, we come away with the impression that Covid-19 is a chimera – a figment of somebody’s imagination, or worse, a plot by health authorities with some kind of malevolent intent.

Our continued reliance on its inflated “positives” is baffling, especially when there is another type of test available. I don’t understand it. I would want to know if I had the virus even if I was asymptomatic. I would not want to take the PCR test.

Michael Minna of the Harvard School of Infectious Diseases has been talking about the need for a rapid paper saliva test as an alternative to the PCR test. Dr. Roger Seheult on his MedCram website explains the paper rapid test and why it would be a game-changer:

In brief, these tests (apparently many of which were developed in March and April early in the virus’s appearance in the U.S.) are very cheap ($1- $5 apiece), their results are delivered in minutes rather than days or weeks, and they only register as positive for the high viral loads which last for around 5 – 7 days during which we are infectious. You spit in a tube and sample this with a paper strip. The strip changes color to show infection, something like a home pregnancy test. No machine or “reader” is required. They can be mass produced and made publicly available at retail stores. People would buy enough to self-test every day or a few times a week.

The self-test would require no contact tracing or follow-ups, because a person with a positive would know that he needs to stay home – or isolate from his family, or delay a trip or errand. Though they could be a mandatory “admission ticket” for, say, school children to come to class each day, or for a health-care worker, a self-administered test could probably work on the honor system for most facets of our society without the need for intruding in our privacy. Many New England schools have been employing these rapid tests to remain open, and the NFL, NBA, and MLB teams have used them to maintain normal seasons, only isolating the players who were truly sick.

When there’s uncertainty about a false result, you simply take a second “confirmation” test (coded to a different form of the virus) which would likely come with your kit.

Government would need to help with the mass production and distribution of these tests with the cooperation and public trust trust vested in CDC, NIAID, FDA – a big ask of these administrations, but Fauci is hero in may quarters, and he’s already promoted the need for these tests. I can imagine a massive testing progam with these “spit tests” deployed within a week in a current hot spot like Minnesota. Given to the entire populus of the state, the sick people who dropped out of circulation overnight could lower the “R” value in days. Once its validity were proved there, it could be expanded to other states in a nationwide distribution effort.

Mina’s plan clearly has some loose ends which need to be adddressed. Why, for example, do we even need any testing when the virus seems to pose minimal threat and since we have vaccines on the horizon in any case. From what I can see, the virus is a real threat to vulnerable groups. Two elderly residents in my mother’s care facility recently died from the disease and all are meanwhile locked down. Morevoer, the herd immunity healthy people may eventually obtain from vaccines and exposures is still a long way off, and until then, we are swimming upstream to reduce unemployment, unclog the over-run ICUs, bring back the thousands of businesses which have sunk into bankruptcy, and encourage people who have left the workforce. Any strategy that simply allows us to get our kids back to school and workers back on the job could save billions of dollars and months of shut-downs. Mina’s solution is a practical, simple and cheap response to problems that have dragged on far too long.

At its most personal level, an accurate quick test tells someone with a sense of curiosity if they’ve been exposed, and informs them whether they should limit their interactions with others.

Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 7, 2020 5:33 pm

Bill Parsons
You make too much sense.
Governments are in charge.
So we get nonsense, not sense.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 7, 2020 8:56 pm

Thank you. Just channelling an expert with a very good idea.

I’ve written my governor, who with his hospitalized and worsening “partner”, is also fighting Covid-19; also to both congressmen. I see some movement toward getting this done, but unfortunately Biden seems to be the only one interested. As far as the government dropping the ball, I’d say it’s Hahn at CDC that’s most culpable.
CDC just gave EUA to one of these tests – but with the stipulation that it is prescribed by a doctor and the results be reported. That’s not what is needed. They need to relinquish their control and get millions of tests out to be used just like a home pregnancy test – by people who want it and who will then determine for themselves what action to take.

Reply to  Charles Higley
December 8, 2020 3:48 pm

Looking over this very detailed, well intended, masterful juggling of published numbers and graphs, I cannot help but think of looking at a similar masterful treatment of gold coins on the ground caused by careless leprechauns, where the underlying primary assumption is unfounded, namely the existence of leprechauns.

In this case, the leprechauns are the …….. “cases”. We are using a diagnostically unfounded measure to irrationally contrive a false state of emergency, namely the PCR [clear throat] … “test”.

Reply to  Laurence Lowne
December 6, 2020 12:50 pm

It is recognized that ventilation (dilution of the viral forms as aerosols) plays a part in spread of an airborne virus. But even experts in the field admit that too much emphasis is placed on masks and locdowns, and not enough on the science of viral spread. I have provided before ( ) some of this science, but much more work needs to be done to get it past uneducated editors to the attention of the public.
Most intelligent people I speak with want evidence. Here is some:
Unlike the hedonist residents of NA, Europe has millions upon millions of people who live happy, mostly contented lives without all the “things” Americans buy and think they cannot live without. One of these is whole-house air conditioning and heating systems.
Like the old homes on Davis Island at Tampa, many European families use whole house fans in milder weather, and room-by-room heating in Winter. Unfortunately, as fall approaches, they turn off the whole-house fans, and close business doors, thus eliminating viral reduction by ventilation.
Zingo! Viral infections start to rise.
So simple! Somewhat more expensive than cloth masks, but at least it works.
So does Hydroxychloroquine and zinc, helped by vitamin C and D3.

Reply to  Laurence Lowne
December 6, 2020 2:00 pm

Another blow to face mask demonology. Confirms everything in my own reading of the literature.

Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 2:49 am

I would recommend that bullet point conclusions should be at the start as this is such a long contribution. In my view death rates claimed for Covid-19 need to be compared with seasonable death rates by any cause in previous years by country to get a more balanced picture.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 3:20 am

Peter F Gill, I agree totally with you.
Here is an easy summery of graphs, which is much easier to draw conclusions from. Personally I prefer the section “Z-scores by country” towards the bottom of the page:

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 7:02 am

The excess deaths graph for 0-14 years of age shows much higher for 2019, all other age group graphs show 2020 as higher.

Is this a mistake, what killed all these extra kids last year?

Peter F Gill
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
December 6, 2020 8:51 am

Another valid comparison would be overall deaths by all causes by year for say the past 5 years for each country. This would deal with wrongly allocated deaths by cause as well as hastened deaths due to contracting Covid -19 or other viruses by the people with “underlying health issues”.

M Courtney
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
December 6, 2020 9:12 am

Or alternatively, what could cause 0-14 year olds to avoid dangers this year while they have been stuck indoors with adult supervision for most of the year?
Hmm. That seems to make sense.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  M Courtney
December 6, 2020 10:59 am

Teen suicides are way up, as are child/spousal abuse cases.

Maybe the reduction is in fewer family car trips (accidents on the roads).

December 6, 2020 2:50 am

Have you taken into account the amount of testing being done?
Bear in mind that a “case” here in the U.K. at least is a positive RT-PCR test result, no signs or symptoms are required, neither is the necessity to see a GP or other clinician.
As the RT-PCR test produces a positive result from a single partial strand of RNA due to the excessive number of steps (40-45), the figures have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
This is despite the official government guidelines stating that the test cannot give any indication of whether the person is infected never mind infectious.
The Notification of Infectious Diseases Statistics (NOIDS) from public health England give a different story.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  JohnC
December 6, 2020 3:39 am

I was going to make the same point. However, I think it likely that the death rates tell the real story.

Reply to  Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 5:37 am

Especially about the uselessness of RNHS.

Reply to  Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 6:07 am

Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 at 3:39 am

Not in EU Peter… at least not correctly.

No any country in EU, despite this uge panicking counter to the Pandemic,
to the point that most have almost depleted and burned their “granaries” and almost entirely jeopardized their health care systems ,
still no one has yet even attempted let alone doing a confirmation of the cause of the deaths in consideration of SARS CoV-2 infection disease… at least not officially.
Where a considerable number of deaths not even under pneumonia.

Which ever way, lack of a proper death cause confirmation leaves the door quite wide open for a lot of manipulations and fear mongering… with no any confidence of what the true story could be or the real story could tell.


Reply to  Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 2:04 pm

Look at the data, cases follow testing (false positives of various kind) and deaths follow cases, people die. All case deaths do not and the are on a par with seasonal viruses in this so called second wave.

Reply to  Newt2u
December 6, 2020 3:37 pm

It’svery interesting to follow several numbers:
new cases – infected people – new infected people – serious or crtitical infected – new serious or critical infected – deaths.
You may see, the number of cases / new cases include certainely many false positives, at least during the “second wave” in Germany.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  Newt2u
December 7, 2020 1:10 am

Thereby hangs a tail newt.

Reply to  JohnC
December 6, 2020 9:28 am

I see little evidence that in the UK people were ‘staying at home’ other than in the March to april lockdown. There were many people out and about during the November lock down lite.


Reply to  JohnC
December 6, 2020 9:49 am

It’s far more damning than that: at a standard ~40 cycles the PCR test leads to a approx. 2:1 false positive ratio, because the test will pick up RNA long after it’s ceased to be active.
In other words, you’ve got a positive who’s not contagious. Which means governments are locking down on fundamentally erroneous data.

December 6, 2020 2:52 am

Additionally, patients in hospital are tested. Also if a person dies within 28 days of a positive test result then that counts as a CoViD19 death irrespective of true cause.

December 6, 2020 3:02 am

No second wave, a continuation of the first wave?

Peta of Newark
Reply to  mwhite
December 6, 2020 5:05 am

Quote from the video:

“It’s Too Big To Fail”

Just like Global Warming
Just like (the war on) Saturated Fat
Maybe include the Ozone Hole, Mad Cows, diesel cars, ‘drugs’
How about the 100+ vaccinations US kids get before age=5?
(I struggle with that, is it true?!!??)

The damage, to people, their lifestyles & freedom(s) and their economies are just too great for ANYONE to ever admit to and thus, easily turn around.
(Why am I thinking ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ also ‘The Somme’ from WW1)

Civilizational Suicide

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 6, 2020 10:57 am

“How about the 100+ vaccinations US kids get before age=5?”

It certainly wasn’t when I was age 5 (53 years ago). In fact, most of the vaccinations and such I got were after age 5. Through grades 1-3, and I’d say it was only 4 or 5.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 6, 2020 12:47 pm

Civilizational Suicide

Or premeditated elimination?

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  mwhite
December 6, 2020 5:13 am

Some places/regions are having a second wave.
In several regions/areas, the first wave began in Sept such as most of the northern states in the US, wisconsin North Dakota, south dakota, nebraska, colorado, montana, idaho wyoming.
Most of the southern US, Texas, florida, georgia, alabama, mississippi, their first wave began in june 2020, the upswing in sept / oct appears to be more of a continuation of the first wave with a minor lull in late july / august.

What is frustrating in the Approved narrative is that the “US is having a Third wave”

The reality is that the US has had 3 separate 1st waves with a few regions / areas having a start of a second wave.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 5:39 am

The upswing now in Florida is more than likely to the arrival of the northern snowbirds. License plates from NY, PA, MA, CT, OH, and ILL now saturate our roads. Venice hospital has seen their COVID ward go from a constant 3-4 people at any one time to now over 25. The hospital employee who told me this added that the increase is mostly from non-residents or relatives who have been exposed to those coming here from out of state.

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 6:09 am

I would somewhat discount that explanation since the first surge starting in June, the lull in august and the uptick in sept/oct/nov is fairly consistent across all the southern states.
Same with the 1st wave across several of the northern US states starting in sept and the second wave across europe starting in Sept.

These patterns are fairly consistent across multiple states/regions, etc and these patterns are fairly consistent with prior influenza epidemics / outbreaks

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 6:10 am

Likewise in El Paso, TX. The hospitals are filling up with Mexicans flooding across the border from neighboring Juarez for free healthcare.

Reply to  mwhite
December 6, 2020 7:15 am

December 6, 2020 at 3:02 am

The problem of waves, as propagated, is solely meaning a consideration of this Pandemic as one length time period happening in a proposition of exponential
growth, where waves are periodic “spikes”….
where at some point it will be
stopped only by the draconian measures or come to an end due to the lack of further
successful propagation after causing a devastating loss of life, globally.

Kinda of proposing a pick and choose there.

In such a sold out scenario to the masses, no matter what the draconian measures, still get to be considered as efficient enough and a must do regardless of other consequences.
Where comparing of the waves played as a proof that the measures do work to a given point but must still be continuously applied, without a doubt and maybe even more expanded and stringently so… and whatever other counters needed shall be regardless of
the social inhumane non civic attributes associated and with no contest.

Not at the slightest the waves are considered as a natural seasonal recurrence of this latest and new cold viral infection disease as that will be a stringent contradiction to all said and done by this debil and mad global organized criminal cartel.

The cartel already knew about the second wave well before the first was out… how strange.

In the proposition of waves, there are two very different meanings in consideration of reality, one the seasonal recurrence and the other,
well you must know it by now…
a path for imprisonment, tyranny over the masses for the benefit of the masses…
enslavement of nations… through the panic fiat and fear mongering at massive global scale.
If your country, your nation, is and remains (still) strong enough economically and therefore politically, it will enjoy the freedom and independence,
else slavery is only a matter of contract… dictated by the “master” not the “slave”.


Ron Long
December 6, 2020 3:04 am

Thanks to Neil Lock for presenting all of this data in clear form. As I read the text and view the figures I can’t help but think their is a clear seasonal effect in this pandemic, and the seasonal effect may be more pronounced the further away from the equator you are. Since I live in the southern hemisphere I am going into summer, and in contrast the area studied is going into winter. Here (here is Argentina) the Coronavirus cases are going down substantially, and I don’t see too much difference in the conduct of the more risky segment of the population, although the quarantine/restrictions were stricter during our passing winter. However, notice how quarantines/restrictions follow the infection rate rather than lead it? No government locks things down unless infection rate motivates them to do so. Presumptive President Elect Joe Biden says he will ask for 100 days of the total USA population to wear masks as he assumes office (still an assumption) and one has to wonder what this does, other than produce an uproar.

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Ron Long
December 6, 2020 5:54 am

Steve McIntyre at climate audit has been running a twitter commentary

There is a 10+ year old textbook on influenza epidemics that covers the history of epidemics and the variations by regions of the world. There is a definite seasonal nature of influenza and the seasonal timing varies across the world by various factors by latitude and other factors. (one of the authors was boyles? – if anyone can provide the info – please do).

The general consensus is that the waves of covid are following a similar pattern with prior epidemics

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 9:04 am

Yep and our efforts to “control it” is like thinking whistling by a grave yard helps keep the ghost away.

Reply to  Mark A Luhman
December 6, 2020 4:17 pm

Or that we can control the planet’s temperature by not driving SUVs.

Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 5:37 pm

You don’t need any textbook.
Just common sense.
The disease spreads easier when you are indoors, close to other people, in relatively dry air with no wind.

When the weather gets cold, people spend more time indoors.

When the weather gets hot and humid (down south) people spend more time indoors for AC cooling.

Did that require any textbook?

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 7, 2020 5:31 am

Rich Greene – my comment regarding timing and seasonal nature of influenza documented in textbooks deals with the timing and patterns observed over time.

For example, most of Europe is experiencing a huge surge which started in Sept, continuing through December, Same with most of the Northern states in the US. which early fall.
The southern states in the US had their first wave starting in June. Austrailia had their first wave in July / August which is their early winter.

These patterns in the various regions (largely governed by latitude) have been fairly consistent over the last several centuries.

What is astonishing is the belief that lockdowns/ masks etc can have a significant impact on the trajectory of the historical patterns

Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 7, 2020 4:10 pm

Maybe people should be locked outside of their homes where the disease is leas likely to spread rather than being locked inside their home where the disease is more likely to spread?

I see a Nobel Prize coming for this brilliant proposal !

December 6, 2020 3:07 am

Thank you for an interesting article, but it is severely limited by the data that’s available. Use of ‘cases’, instead of deaths, for instance. Ordinarily, using cases would be very informative, except for the Covid panic. With Covid, cases aren’t cases, but are only positive tests. Some countries (eg, the UK) double-count these tests (if a person has a retest, then both the original test and the retest are counted as separate cases).

Worse, the use of a PCR test to identify cases is arse-about. The correct approach is to identify patients with symptoms that match a disease and then do a clinical test to confirm the tentative diagnosis. This, then, identifies genuine cases. With Covid, every positive PCR test is labelled a case, even ones that are later identified as false positives through a second test. In Australia, political and medical authorities were begging people to go out and get tested so they could have more cases to justify yet more stringent lockdown measures even though the ratio of positive tests to total tests was ever-shrinking.

Finally, the PCR tests use a variety of sensitivity values (the replication count). Many jurisdictions crank the replication value up to ludicrous levels. If you replicate 30 times, you have a billion-fold increase in the sample material. This is the limit at which disease can be caused. If you do it 45 times (and I have heard of this number being used) you have 16 thousand times the material, and there’s no chance that it could cause disease.

These reasons are why the current situation is often referred to as a casedemic.

Reply to  Hivemind
December 6, 2020 3:10 am

Correction: 2^15 is 32 thousand, not 16 thousand. Oops.

Reply to  Hivemind
December 6, 2020 5:15 am

It’s worse than that. The labs that got the contracts for the scaled up testing are staffed by people who have been ‘trained’ at the last minute. There have been reports in the UK from people who went to work in the labs and it’s not pretty. Far too much scope for contamination of samples.

Reply to  Hivemind
December 6, 2020 3:44 pm

There was a report in Augsburg / Germany, dating around begin of November, where 58 out of 60 tests were wrong. They realised that falling over to fast and anormal increasing positives, they had doubts and find out the the error rate of 96,6% .
“Reason”….. overworked people was said.
No proof of a maybe bad charge, even not a control of the charge has been mentioned.

Mark - Helsinki
December 6, 2020 3:18 am

COVID Doom is a mass delusion, a politically and financially exploited mass delusion that is reinforced by the tech companies and media and almost everyone who’s part of a group exempt from lockdown rules (the media for example, won’t ask questions, they love this special privilege)

You only have to look at who’s exempt and who breaks the rules they themselves set to know that this is a perfect example of how you manipulate the whole planet into being scared.

I won’t hold my breath for the medical establishment to hold its hands up and say “we really messed up and killed a lot of people who may have survived because we put them on ventilators when Oxygen might have well been enough)

There was a mass panic to get more of the very machines that was doing more harm to patients than COVID.
Especially really overweight patients, the ventilators was almost always the cause of their slightly premature deaths.

COVID only deaths <10% or likely much less.. of the total attributed deaths to COVID, out of an estimated by now almost 1 billion cases globally, the death rate from COVID only, is 0.00000something

We are truly fooked as a species, we are going backwards in many ways, regressing.

Steve Case
December 6, 2020 3:18 am

As to face masks for the general public, evidence from Belgium, France, Spain and the UK suggests that they have no beneficial effects. Indeed, it’s not implausible, given the data, that requiring the public to wear face coverings actually helps to spread the virus.

I am reminded of the 1993 EPA Meta Analysis of Secondhand Smoke

…out of 30 studies, only five found a statistically significant risk at the 95% confidence level, and one showed a statistically significant negative risk (a protective effect). The remaining 24 studies showed no statistically significant increase or decrease in risk.

December 6, 2020 3:20 am

Second wave cannot be compared to first wave because definitions changed in Netherlands.
First wave: a covid case defined after positive test. Tested only with symptoms
Second wave: a covid case is defined after positive test. Tested also without symptoms.
So first wave definion does not find cases without symptoms.

Mark - Hesinki
Reply to  Hans Erren
December 6, 2020 3:21 am

as much as half of all positive tests may not be positive such is the reliability

December 6, 2020 3:21 am

As to face masks for the general public, evidence from Belgium, France, Spain and the UK suggests that they have no beneficial effects. Indeed, it’s not implausible, given the data, that requiring the public to wear face coverings actually helps to spread the virus.

I, for one, would be surprised if masks made any difference.

Aside from the fact that they only really work on a psychological level, people here in London (at least) regularly cover only the mouth, sometimes only the chin or even the neck. They remove them to talk to cashiers in supermarkets and shops, or funnily enough to blow their nose.

One thing you have to factor in now is people have had enough and patience is wearing thin. One of the big debates in the UK is what is a substantial meal? In Tier 2 you can’t get a drink without one.

Reply to  fretslider
December 6, 2020 6:44 am

One thing you have to factor in now is people have had enough and patience is wearing thin. One of the big debates in the UK is what is a substantial meal? In Tier 2 you can’t get a drink without one.

Many of the greatest revolutions find their origins in bars and taverns.

Reply to  fretslider
December 6, 2020 7:46 am

“sometimes only the chin”

aka Chin diapers

(Credit to Trey Parker/Matt Stone)

Reply to  fretslider
December 6, 2020 9:00 am

Placebo effect. In America, businesses started with physical isolation of people with different risk profiles. For example, they set aside several hours on certain days exclusively for the elderly. This policy changed with the normalization (i.e. press, social media, experts, government) of masks as an effective, intuitive mechanism to control viral spread. This was despite several controlled studies (e.g. surgical centers across the nation) over the past 40 years that demonstrate a progressive effectiveness and infection rate, and worse performance in the general population by untrained individuals.

December 6, 2020 3:23 am

In summary, masks don’t work.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Klem
December 6, 2020 3:44 am

Its the psychological effect of masks that is desired, they know they don’t prevent the spread.

Masks as are being used never stopped flu

Heck, in China, those masks they wear do nothing for the air they breathe in either. They do work we;ll for the CPP in dehumanizing a society though

Reply to  Mark - Helsinki
December 6, 2020 5:38 am

They work to produce fear, not reduce infection.

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Klem
December 6, 2020 6:02 am

Masks do work , though masks provide a very insignificant reduction in the risk of transmission.

The assumption is that because the reduce the risk of transmission in high risk environments, that they provide the same level of risk reduction in all environments.

The mask mandates are equivalent to seat belt or motorcycle helmet mandates

Seat belts save lives in auto crashes, therefore you are mandated to wear a seat belt when sitting on the couch.
Motorcycle helmet saves lives in crashes therefore helmets are mandated when you are walking the dog.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 7:13 am

bingo …

Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 5:31 pm

Joe: It appears that you aren’t reading the data. Almost all data conclusively proves that masks don’t work __AND__ the method masks are currently being used has a high probability of both spreading any disease more and having deleterious effects on the wearer.

Such uninformed machinations as “…oh masks might work..” is a thin veneer to base totalitarian public policy on. In a civil society you have no right to make me sick so you can feel better about yourself…and rest assured, masks make many people sick!

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  BIll
December 6, 2020 6:08 pm

Bill – I hope your are not misinterpreting my comparison.

While masks do work ( in tight environments) its that incremental reduction in the risk of transmission is trivial. Social distancing and reduction of time of interaction are the two primary factors which reduce the risk of transmission. The incremental value of masks is trivial

Reply to  Klem
December 6, 2020 7:00 am

Obviously they are better than sneezing into your elbow for those who have it. And also obviously, they aren’t stopping the spread if the sneezer doesn’t have it, which is 95% of the population….And also obviously your N95 isn’t going to help you when breathing the aerosol droplet contaminated air of the local singles bar…..What is not obvious is how much worse it might be if people didn’t wear masks since only 5% are carriers…..

Marilyn Reed
December 6, 2020 3:37 am

Even deaths are unclear. A coroner in PA (near OH border) who is a friend of a friend told him that if patients dies in a nursing home from Covid, but the patient is listed as a resident from OH, he is required to report the death in both PA & OH. So some deaths are counted twice as well.

Mark - Helsinki
Reply to  Marilyn Reed
December 6, 2020 3:47 am

Out of 1billion estimated cases globally, 0.0000something % were covid only deaths

This is not about saving lives.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  Marilyn Reed
December 6, 2020 4:02 am

From a British perspective: If you were a senior politician and had by your actions and policies caused huge unemployment, put many large and small companies out of business and generally wrecked the economy, saddled the country with monumental debts etc., don’t you think that you would need to have high death rates and say that without the hardships that have resulted from your policies death rates would have been far higher? You would not want people providing evidence that the latter is not true. So you would not wish to encourage people to compare the death rates this year with those for say 2018 and 2019.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Peter F Gill
December 6, 2020 5:29 am

The UK only had a plan for flu so has been using that. The handwashing comes from that and is not required for SARS. The facemasks could be from the plan as well but it falls under ‘being seen to be doing something’ – reminds you of Ronald Reagan’s ‘I am from the government and here to help you’.

The UK has had a lot of nosocomial deaths due to taking Covid cases into hospitals and infecting other patients who are vulnerable to dying from Covid. This happened to a friend of mine’s mother only 2 weeks ago. The great sainted and much-clapped NHS will never admit to the infection being rife in hospitals.

Coroners in the UK were also told to record all deaths as Covid to save on holding post mortems at the start of this. Not certain if this continues, but it hardly helps provide accurate data.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 6, 2020 7:28 am

I can only agree with most of what you say Gerry. Of course with the government’s approach, it is not possible to challenge the next step which is to use a messenger RNA vaccine on an unsuspecting population. Such a vaccine has never before been authorised for use on humans and in the absence of any knowledge of side effects beyond a very short time period. Given the DNA changing aspect of such an approach little long term side effects of say chicken pox (shingles) are possibly the least to worry about. I cannot see that the BBC (British Broadcasting of propaganda Corporation are likely to run a panorama programme on MRNA vaccines and their modus operandi.

Paul C
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 6, 2020 12:28 pm

The Public Health England data show up to 25% of hospitalised cases of COVID-19 as being healthcare acquired infections. As they define these as being negatively tested on admittance, and becoming positive only after at least two weeks in hospital, it only includes infections of fairly long-stay in-patients, so would miss the majority. These patients are likely to be in hospital for a sustained duration from their original condition if they survive, which probably does inflate the statistic. However, most patients would not even qualify as they are discharged before the two weeks incubation, and would then be counted as community spread. At least the public at large seem to be catching onto the need to supplement with Vit D – judging from depletion of supermarket shelves.

December 6, 2020 3:43 am

As to face masks for the general public, evidence from Belgium, France, Spain and the UK suggests that they have no beneficial effects. Indeed, it’s not implausible, given the data, that requiring the public to wear face coverings actually helps to spread the virus.
Why am I not surprised. These masks are not safe in any way. They do not filter the virus out.
And people touch their faces now more then ever before, because of the masks, infecting people as they do so.
If masks where so succesfull, why do people not have to dispose them as biohazardous waste?
Masks are only making people even more afraid of the virus and each other.

Reply to  Scarface
December 6, 2020 9:18 am

Done properly, masks should protect the wearer. I am talking about real (N95) masks, not the single cloth layer type. Used correctly (worn once, carefully removed and burned after use) I think they may help a little.

But observational evidence around here (About 25 miles SW of Portland, Oregon) is that people use and re-use the same one. I went to pick up a pizza the other day, and watched a woman get out of her car, and while walking up to the door, pulled a cloth mask from her pocked and put it on just before entering, then reversed the process on the way out.

Then there are those that insist on having their noses hanging out over their masks….

I was fortunate that I had a small stock of 3M 9211 N95 masks before this started. They are getting re-used more than I would like, because it seems impossible to buy any more at realistic prices. Went to visit the doctor and as I walked into the hospital, they insisted that I not use that because of it’s valve, and use one of their cloth masks instead. I did, but next time, I think the cloth mask will just go over my N95.

Reply to  Philip
December 6, 2020 5:51 pm

And we should take seriously the snarky comment “…there are those that insist on having their noses hanging out over their masks…” from someone who lives around Portland, OR? Clearly, you aren’t understanding the large amount of data available which proves such musings are nothing more than first level thinking.

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 3:49 am

Hivemind hit all the points spot on.

To that, may I add that we have to look at the larger picture and not just focus on technicalities like diversity in infection rates, treatment success, etc.
We have to put much more interest in why this particular pandemic being abused like Climate Change to a degree where the basic science is censored and all forms of common sense is trashed as conspiracy.
We have had wake-up calls, not least regarding COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2, but these calls only stay visible for a very brief moment of time on common medias.
It aught to be our duty to repeat these small spikes of censored moments as often and widely as possible, in order not to submit our sanity and self-worth to feudal leadership.
May I suggest having a look at two videos, not for the fainthearted:

Interview May 12, 2020 interview with nurse Erin Marie Olszewski regarding COVID19 patients
and if it should be disappeared

From May 2020 is the interview with Dr. Judy Mikovits by Mikki Willis.
The content revolves around virus, SARS-CoV-2, infections and economic reason for rejecting long proven, cheap and un-patented medicine.

Doug Huffman
December 6, 2020 4:02 am

Benoit Mandelbrot, colleague of occasional commentator here n.n. Taleb, is reported to have called “reality fractally complex.”. (I do not recall a good citation.)

Merry Christmas. Timely share the Kiss of Peace. Freemen throw off your masks, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 4:19 am

If you would like to know what ~20,000 people Düsseldorf (Germany) today 13:00 GMT think about COVID-19, injection and lock-down, have a go at the live stream:
H/T Samuel Eckert

P.S.: Several giant demonstrations planned many places in Germany for this weekend have been denied by the authorities, mainly with the poor excuse that there might also come right extremists to the demonstrations.
Therefore this demonstration is announced very late and goes as a peace demonstration.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 7:38 am

Thanks Carl

It is ironic a Turkish linked group posted a Facebook comment opposing the “Lateral Thinking” protest:
Oppose right-wing alliances! Together against right-wing extremists, lateral thinkers, corona deniers, hooligans, anti-Semites, racists and Nazis. The Corona demagogues are budding fascists!

I found it interesting that Querdenken 211 says on their website that they are simply calling for the German government to uphold the Constitution and abandon all the corona regulations that ignore it.

Those who want to uphold law and order are certainly no anarchists. It is, however, anarchists who disparage and demean their opponents but never engage with them in civil reasoned debates. “Climate deniers” and “corona deniers” face the same mindless assailants who only know a string of ad hominems but not the science.

Chris Wright
December 6, 2020 4:39 am

Many thanks to Neil Lock for putting so much work into this interesting post. But there is a big problem: the data he uses is heavily dependent on the PCR test. As well as actual “cases” it will also heavily influence the data for hospital admissions, number of beds in use and deaths.

The UK government website gave these values for PCR false positives: 0.8% to 4% (Matt Hancock says the rate is 0.8%, so he conveniently ignores the 4%). At least one scientist has stated the false positive rate is around 5%, and the huge expansion of testing will almost certainly increase that figure e.g. from cross contamination of samples.
A family member works in a UK care home. Recently *everyone* at the home tested positive. When they re-tested everyone was negative. That strongly suggests serious cross contamination.

If you look at graphs of cases it’s obvious they are completely implausible: according to them the number of recent cases is five to ten times higher than during the first wave. That’s clearly nonsense. The only explanation is that the numbers of cases have been hugely inflated by mass testing.

There is one metric that does not rely on any kind of tests: death from all causes. In the first wave, deaths from all causes correlated pretty well with “deaths from Covid”. That’s probably because, in the early stages, most cases were based on people actually being ill. Apart from a few exceptions, all the countries in Europe show deaths from all causes in the second wave to be very similar to normal for the time of year. Unfortunately the huge inflation in cases caused by mass testing has caused a panic that led to new lockdowns which almost certainly were not warranted.

As Hivemind noted above, what we’re probably suffering from now is not a pandemic but a casedemic.

In some cases Neil Lock assumes that the peaking and subsequent falls in cases were due to lockdowns. The problem is that cases will peak and then fall naturally due to increasing herd immunity. Indeed, before the new UK lockdown in early November, cases and deaths were flattening, and during the first two weeks of lockdown started to fall significantly. These falls were clearly natural as it would take several weeks for a lockdown to affect the cases and particularly deaths. Clearly, a peaking and subsequent fall in cases and deaths does not automatically mean it was caused by lockdown.

Lockdowns will certainly have some effect, but I suspect it’s fairly minor. My guess is that the most effective measure is social distancing. If we all keep our distance then it’s very difficult to get infected. With that in place, adding lockdown is almost futile. And very likely lockdowns will kill far, far more people than the virus ever could. One study suggests that the UK lockdowns will, in the long run, kill around 500,000 people – ironically, a similar figure to the junk computer model that sparked off the panic in March (it predicted 510,000 deaths if no lockdown).

For the world, Covid has been a huge catastrophe. But most of the harm has been caused by governments panicked into hugely damaging measures that probably had minimal effects on the overall trajectory of the virus. Does this sound familiar? It should because it’s eerily similar to climate change fear mongering.

It is certainly a nasty virus, largely because it was a new variant. But in reality it is little different to common flu in terms of illness and mortality. Most people who get infected don’t even get ill. The vast majority will have symptoms no worse than a severe bout of flu. In the UK the average age of those who died from Covid is 82 years.

Quite possibly the vaccines will finally end this nightmare. But, as it’s likely we already have a high degree of herd immunity, the effect on illness and deaths may be relatively small. I suspect the real value of the viccines is something else: they will provide an effective antidote against hysteria and fear mongering.

If only big pharma could develop a similar vaccine against climate hysteria and fear mongering!

Reply to  Chris Wright
December 6, 2020 9:05 am

Thanks to Neil for the article and to Chris Wright for the comment. Another problem about PCR tests is contact tracing: When lockdowns forbid contacts, the number of (legal) contacts per person goes down. So when someone tests positive, the amount of people who subsequently get tested because they met the first person also goes down. To assess the effectiveness of lockdowns, we need to take into account the number of PCRs and the rate of positive results week per week. Does anybody know whether this data is available somewhere?

vincenzo mamone
December 6, 2020 4:51 am

Just look what happens when your politicians become medical Doctors, 99% can’t even play politician .
AIDS/HIV. ,kills millions but no lockdown on SEX,
I am 83 years old and the real pandemic in the last 83 years is political
Perhaps a budding Nastrodsmus can fortell the reaction to this present catastrophe in 5 years. In the USA it is all Trump ,,,, perhaps?????

December 6, 2020 4:53 am

Everybody seems to be ignoring the basic math of epidemics– depending on the exact values of factors for diffusion of infectivity vs resistance, which can be slightly modified by masks, social distancing, etc , epidemics always exhibit waves and hot spots. The math is exactly that corresponding to the development of coat patterns on animals, predator/prey population dynamics or even the fascinating designs of the inorganic Belousov -Zhabotinski Reaction.

December 6, 2020 4:54 am

Great analysis, but some vital pieces (in my opinion) of information is missing.
The median age of death and hospitalization including ICU.
The key reason for lockdowns was to protect the vulnerable from being in contact with carriers.
This data does not seem to be highlighted anywhere in the official reports by governments, they just seem to concentrate on cases and deaths without providing the age of death.

This begs the question, just how many age related deaths have been substituted for COVID deaths in the figures, it seems to me that someone with multiple ailments who is over 80 years old dies and they had COVID, it is COVID that is recorded as cause of death as opposed to the heart failure or whatever else they had at the time.

Reply to  Phil
December 7, 2020 11:19 am

More than one Phil on WUWT. Just saying.

December 6, 2020 5:05 am

I’ve heard or read that a PCR test if positive just tells you you have a virus but doesn’t identify which virus you have? Survival rate is 99.8% if that’s true why the need for mass vaccination. They’ve been trying to make a vaccine for viruses for decades without much success and now we’re expected to believe they’ve done it in a matter of months. The figures for deaths appear to be all over the place, different countries different ways of counting. Did the dead die with or of covid. I know two people who have lost family members, one to cancer and one to heart failure in both cases covid was on the death certificate. It’s very confusing. Do our leaders and their experts know what they are doing? I have serious doubts. Are my thoughts correct?

Reply to  Notanacademic
December 6, 2020 6:05 am

Everything you said is on track. For a fuller picture add in excessive deaths from wrongful diagnoses that led to aggressive mechanical ventilation. It still happens, but was especially severe in March and April before the cover was blown off the preemptive/early intubation scandal.

PCR tests for the public run at cycle thresholds (Ct) of approx. 37-42. Anything above a Ct of 34 is detecting viral fragments instead of infectious virus (per Anthony Fauci and many others). One doctor I follow says that viral fragments spread immunity, not disease.

Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2020 6:58 am

This recent peer-reviewed (yeah, I know) paper examines the problems you describe with a too-high Ct:

“Complete live viruses are necessary for transmission, not the fragments identified by PCR. Prospective routine testing of reference and culture specimens and their relationship to symptoms, signs and patient co-factors should be used to define the reliability of PCR for assessing infectious potential. Those with high cycle threshold are unlikely to have infectious potential.”

I keep asking our local Public Health bureaucrats to disclose the Ct used in their tests, and whether the Ct has changed since testing began. They have no interest in replying, however.

Matthew R Marler
Reply to  PaulH
December 7, 2020 10:45 am
Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2020 7:43 am

Thanks I appreciate your reply. So it’s likely that someone with a positive test is wasting their time self isolating, they should be out and about spreading immunity. I’m reminded of Christopher Booker’s Scered To Death.

December 6, 2020 5:06 am

The accuracy of data being dispensed by governments really needs to be questioned. I live in Portugal and know from experience that what comes out of Lisbon is often not quite what we in the real world experience. In my area, kids are attending school. People are working. There is enough traffic on the Autostradas to be called traffic, in other words, about what it always is. We must wear a mask to enter a restaurant but can remove it as soon as we are seated. Masks are required in all places of business except restaurants but the servers have to be masked. Most people on the street are unmasked but I sometimes see couples out walking where one is masked the other is not.

Just recently a group of tourism-dependent folks held a week-long hunger strike in front of the government building in Lisbon. They were demanding that tourism be restored as this is a huge part of our economy and a major source of income in Portugal. A mediation was reached and everyone went home to eat. However, nothing was resolved and tempers are still running high.

It seems very strange to me that in 2020 there have been only Covid deaths, few to zero deaths from heart disease, cancer, liver failure, kidney disease, stroke, and a host of other causes of death in a “normal” year. The total number of deaths appears to be on track for the exact same number as 2017, 2018, and 2019. What, exactly, is going on here?

December 6, 2020 5:08 am

Absolute deaths of the Dutch national bureau of statistics CBS shows the second wave is smaller than the first wave. (week 33 are heatwave deaths.)

Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 5:20 am

A better comparison is with prior influenza epidemics and prior influenza outbreaks.

According the analysis, the spread of covid slowed after the lockdowns were reimposed.
But how did prior influenza outbreaks perform after the same period of time (and time of year in each region) compared to covid (with and without the lockdown)

It should be noted that Kansas University (center for policy analysis at KU) ran a comparison of infection rate between mask mandated counties vs no mask mandate counties.

The non mask counties’s infection rate was only 13% higher for the period August 1 through Oct 23, 2020 over the mask mandated counties.

John C
Reply to  Joe - the non epidemiologist
December 6, 2020 8:16 am

Am I crazy or just curious? During a lock down, doesn’t the number of tests go down? This would make it look as if the lock down helped. Just being logical.

John Endicott
Reply to  John C
December 7, 2020 10:04 am

That rather depends on where tests are being done and who they’re being done on. Hospitals are still taking in and testing patients, even during lockdown – so business as usual there. People should still be contacted from contact tracings during a lockdown, so no changes in those tests. Lockdowns don’t, as far as I’m aware, close down any of the other test centers. Those too are still open for business the only question would be if they seeing a lockdown drop off in business as about the only population I can think of are the asytmptomatic/mildly symptomatic who stay in their homes rather than getting their going to one of those testing locations to get a tested. In short while there may be some drop off in testing, I don’t think it is necessarily that huge of a drop off.

Andy H
December 6, 2020 5:35 am

Anyone any idea what has happened in Germany?

Their case numbers have stabilised as of the beginning of November but the number of deaths did not stabilise around November 20-25. The number of deaths continue to rise. It is like people reduced the amount of tests they did or they stopped getting tested when they felt ill. Or there is a new strain with a higher % of symptom-less people but is equally fatal to the old and weak.

This is weird.


PS- the peak number of cases/deaths tends to be 2.75 times the number at the inflexion point on the upward rise. This is pretty consistent- so it is possible to predict the maximum number of cases or deaths once the relevant inflection point is clear. If you do this for the number of cases and then apply the ratio of cases to deaths 18 days later (UK is 63:1) then you get a rough estimate of the peak death rate a month before it happens. No computer models needed- just look at the graphs!

Reply to  Andy H
December 6, 2020 7:42 am

If you follow the numbers, you realise, they increase with the beginnig with the new, partial lockdown since Nov. 2.
Construct a line diagramm of the following numbers Nov.1 – Dec. 5 of the new deceased:

You will see a verry interesting alignment.

Andy H
Reply to  Krishna Gans
December 6, 2020 9:52 am

Odd isn’t it. The death figures should have been baked in 3 weeks earlier which would be a bit before the German recommendation not to travel happened on the 15th. Also linear increases are not really what viruses do.

December 6, 2020 5:38 am

I understand that these are European Statistics, but here are official Canadian Statistics from Statistics Canada, a federal government department.

You can draw your own conclusions as to whether the death rate from all causes in 2020 is greater than all deaths in previous years.

Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 5:48 am

I think that is too simplistic to draw any real conclusion.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 6:54 am

This was in reply to Joe – the non epidemiologist December 6, 2020 at 5:20 am above.

Joe - the non epidemiologist
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 2:42 pm

Tom – I will reply here since you responded at the wrong comment

I agree the data is too fluid/simplistic to draw any definitive conclusion.

A) The Delta was only 13% between the mask mandated counties vs the non mask mandated counties
B) The non masked counties had several counties with abnormally high infection rates. This would indicate a few super spreaders, unrelated to wearing masks or not wearing masks
C) in the mask mandated counties, there is always some level of non compliance while at the same time, the non mask mandated counties will have had some level of mask wearing.

One point that was made by the advocates of mask wearing is they promoted a 50+% delta – but failed to note that the 50+% delta was only for the month October and not for the entire period of the study.
They also failed to note that the delta dropped to approx 16 % for the first two weeks of Nov – A little dishonest presentation of the study results

Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 5:56 am

Here is a simply test everyone can do to see just how psychological masks are.
Go to your local supermarket. Stand in an area that has shoppers. Have your mask on and take two deep breathes. Now remove your mask and take two more deep breathes.
Without the mask, do you feel like you did something to expose yourself to becoming ill? Do you feel that you were unsafe without the mask? Will you worry that you have to wait up to 10 days to see if you caught something?
I would love to hear the results.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 6:22 am

I’d love to see people going to supermarkets and doing the face mask challenge. Namely, exhale vape “smoke” while masked and declare to observers that masks don’t filter aerosols.

Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2020 8:33 am

in a mask blow your vape smoke and see how far you can get it. now try that without the mask.
Is there any difference?

Reply to  ghalfrunt
December 6, 2020 9:24 am

It doesn’t matter. People don’t live in cartoon world where everyone’s a static figure that doesn’t move. As you walk down the store aisle you’re walking into what the person(s) who previously occupied that space breathed out. The smaller the aerosols, the longer the hang time.

S Swinden
Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 6, 2020 8:14 am

WRT climate then I’m as skeptical as any on here.

But it is often posted that posters should know what they are posting about and not give alarmists the means to demonstrate that we dont.

The reason for wearing a mask is not to stop you from getting infected. It is to stop you from infecting others. You may be infected and not know because you are asymptomatic, but may still be a spreader.

Whether the mask stops you from spreading is another question, but know what the question is before asking for an answer.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  S Swinden
December 6, 2020 12:45 pm

So I f everyone else is wearing a mask and that keeps them from supposedly spreading it to you, then my test still applies.
But again, if you have access to a dental mask it will help protect you because they have a droplet barrier on the outside to protect the wearing from splash coming out of the patients mouth as they work on them. And again, it must be worn correctly and changed often.

Reply to  S Swinden
December 6, 2020 5:44 pm

“The reason for wearing a mask is not to stop you from getting infected. It is to stop you from infecting others. ”

For which the kind of masks most people are wearing don’t work, and may well spread it more effectively.

“You may be infected and not know because you are asymptomatic, but may still be a spreader.”

For which there’s very little evidence. Asymptomatic carriers have been pretty much debunked at this point… in actual science.

Natalie Gordon
December 6, 2020 6:15 am

Nice work overall. I was interested to note that a voluntary lockdown recommendation seemed to lower infection rate. The Israelis just published data suggesting that asthmatics are 30% less likely to die to COVID-19. ( The researchers have not yet teased out if that is because asthmatics are presumed to be at higher risk of dying and so asthmatics are voluntarily and effectively self isolating and locking down because they are assuming they are more vulnerable or if there is something protective about being asthmatic. The protective aspect runs counter to the Chinese data according to the researchers. So that fact that voluntary recommendations have a positive effect would seem to indicate the former.

Reply to  Natalie Gordon
December 6, 2020 6:33 am

It might be the inhalers. Nebulized steroids (e.g., budesonide) are reportedly effective against covid (see Dr. Richard Bartlett).

December 6, 2020 6:17 am

This is a really good effort which has thrown more light on the situation.

Adding to the data, here is my summary:

1. Antibody testing proved that only 0.03% of people are extremely vulnerable to covid-19. The maximum infection rate has been calculated at 0.5%, which is half the rate of seasonal flu. Declaring “everyone” is susceptible to covid-19 (which some politicians would like you to believe) is just laughable.

2. Herd immunity is achieved, according to the latest calculations, at around 20%. This is the point at which everyone who is vulnerable has been exposed and either survived and become immune themselves or died and those who are not vulnerable have been cross-infecting the vulnerable while their own immunity has been updated with the new virus.

These figures are not set in stone and have been argued over by scientists and other interested parties and are still being disputed. None of this alters the fundamental truth that every version of the flu (rhinovirus, influenza and coronavirus) appears every year in “waves” and proves lethal to a tiny minority of the public then fades away. This is exactly what has happened this year. The “flu season” came and went, the only difference being the coronavirus made a slightly later appearance before burning itself out in mid-May. The politicians had to pretend the virus was still potent so they came up with all the mask mandates and their highly destructive lockdowns in order to keep the covid fear going in the six months’ gap until the next wave of flu appeared, which it now has.

Reply to  Sasha
December 6, 2020 6:57 am

Here is my completely untested theory supported by no data whatsoever.

Proposition: Some strains of the SARS-CoViD-2 virus are harder on a given person than others.

(If there is no truth to that, then nothing further matters)

The more deadly version killed, hospitalized or isolated its host, reducing the spread of that particular strain.

The less potent strains show little to no symptoms of those infected so the infected, and those around them take no additional precautions and the weak strain proliferates.

Looking at a phylogeny chart It appears that the L and V strains died out pretty quick about the time mortality rates dropped.

Also at this time, those with poor metabolic health (e.g. in nursing homes) were in bad shape, and the course of treatment was still being sorted out, so mortality rates are distorted by those factors. To what degree, I don’t know, and the various reporting agencies have done their part to ensure that we really won’t ever know.

Reply to  Sasha
December 6, 2020 5:54 pm

Sasha sez
“1. Antibody testing proved that only 0.03% of people are extremely vulnerable to covid-19. The maximum infection rate has been calculated at 0.5%, which is half the rate of seasonal flu.”


Does “extremely vulnerable” refer to deaths? If so, deaths are now very low, perhaps 1 in 1000, for people outside of nursing homes who are already sick and in the last year or two of their lives.

” Declaring “everyone” is susceptible to covid-19 (which some politicians would like you to believe) is just laughable.”


“2. Herd immunity is achieved, according to the latest calculations, at around 20%.”

BALONEY, not even close to 20 percent.

That’s three balonies = you strike out

You have no idea what you are talking about and should not be spreading your ridiculous numbers to other people.

John Endicott
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 7, 2020 9:57 am

1) declaring something baloney when you didn’t understand what was meant (you asked several questions, that answers of which might not be what you assumed when making your baloney assessment) is rather poor debating.

2) whether “Declaring “everyone” is susceptible to covid-19 …. is just laughable” is baloney rather depends on what is meant by “susceptible”. if Sasha meant “susceptible” as is “could catch it”, as you appear to assume, then yeah what Sasha said is baloney, but if Sasha meant “susceptible” as is will die from it, than no, it’s not Sasha’s statement that is baloney but rather the sentiment Sasha is talking about. Not recognizing that important distinction is another debate fail.

3) Sasha appears to have gotten the 20% number from the work, from a few months back, of Sweden-based epidemiology professors Paul W. Franks of Lund University and Joacim Rocklov of Umea University based on the observations of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in which only 20% of passengers and crew were infected And in similar outbreaks on military ships and in London, Stockholm and New York where the 20% ceiling on infections had also been seen.

Whether or not it’s baloney is something you should take up with Franks and Rocklov (and the media outlets that reported it), Sasha’s just repeating it. But than you didn’t even know what Sasha was referring to, another debate fail for you.

3 debating fails = you strike out, Mr Greene. Par for the course for you, it seems. Pity your business school didn’t cover debating 101.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 7, 2020 4:46 pm

There goes John Endirott again, the self proclaimed expert on everything, a legend in his own mind, character attacking me once again!

I have to assume when Sasha wrote “susceptible” , it meant what most people would assume it meant — susceptible to being infected with COVID-19. Everyone without antibodies is susceptible. Their “symptoms” can have a wide range, from none to death.

Sasha’s claim that “antibody testing proved that only 0.03% of people are extremely vulnerable to covid-19” is BALONEY TOO.
I have to assume “extremely susceptible” meant death. Outside of nursing homes, where people are in the last year or two of their lives, the death rate was down to about 1 in 1,000, or 0.1%, at leaest temporarily, way above 0.03%.

People have argued with me that my claim of one death in 1,000 is understated, because 1 of 100, or even 2 of 100, were dying in April 2020.

It’s hard to know how many people are COVID-infected because so many have no obvious flu symptoms and will never ne tested.

Also, there are so few deaths claimed from ordinary flu strains that it appears deaths being blamed on flu (which is always a CDC guess) are way understated, with COVID deaths way overstated. There are financial incentives for hospitals to call deaths with failed lungs “COVID deaths.”

It was not entirely clear what Sasha was trying to say. So he gets one more BALONEY for not writing clearly. That’s four. And another baloney for allowing you to defend him with your BALONEY. That’s a lot of BALONEY.

“Sasha’s” 20% herd immunity claim is nonsense for any flu strain in history, and I doubt if Sasha (or you) even know what herd immunity means.

“Your” 20 percent number from a cruise ship has nothing to do with herd immunity in any nation.

A nonsense claim of herd immunity at 20% does not become real science because someone wrote a study, and some media source reported the study. Modern ‘environmentalism’ consists mainly of a huge number of “studies” predicting a coming climate/environmental catastrophe that we have been reading about in the media since the 1960s. Yet the actual climate gets better and better! And the catastrophes never happen.
Isn’t the internet fun?

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
December 8, 2020 2:54 am

Bwahahaha. pointing out where you are wrong is “character attacking” Bwahahahahahahaha. Mr Greene, get a life.

“Your” 20 percent number

Not mine, I told you where Sasha got the number from. Take it up with professors Paul W. Franks of Lund University and Joacim Rocklov of Umea University, it’s their number. Publish your own scientific study that debunks them. Since you seem to know it all about how science works that should be easy peasy for you, so why haven’t you done so? Oh that’s right, you are too busy being a hypocrite on the internet. How’s that working out for you?

Reply to  John Endicott
December 8, 2020 7:42 am

There is no other example in the history of the flu where 20 percent was claimed to be a herd immunity level. It is the job of the person making the 20 percent claim to prove his theory, not my job to disprove every wild claim I read. Especially a conclusion about a SARS2 pandemic that is still in progress, that has never happened before.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 7:56 am

For some reason your comments remind me of Robin Hood. Perhaps it is because I get the feeling that you may take from the rich and give to the poor. Or of course it could just be my mind playing tricks.

John Endicott
Reply to  John Endicott
December 8, 2020 3:03 am

Oh, and “It was not entirely clear what Sasha was trying to say” then the proper response is to ask for clarification, not make strawman assumptions so you can call “baloney”. The former is how normal people react, the later is how trolls react. It’s clear from your behavior which of the two you are.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 8, 2020 7:47 am

A “proper response” on the internet ?
That’s against the rules !
Internet Rule 3b, to be precise.

“It was not entirely clear” meant Sasha’s claim in his comment was so bizarre, it could have been a typo.

My day would not be complete with a scolding from you,
Mr. Endirott. Or your ghostwriter.

December 6, 2020 6:50 am

Approximate number of people tested are 2.2 million. See bottom of page six (light colour=individuals, dark color=tests performed). More links and details here:
On page 14 of veckorapport-covid-19-v48-final_2 you have patients in intensive care per 100.000 population. As you notice it is again mostly the old and infirm living in care homes.
N.B. there are no prohibitions in Sweden. **Everything is advice that you may or may not follow at your own discretion.** Only thing that is enforcable is physical distancing in restaurants and bars and such and the number of people allowed for “organised public gatherings” (i.e. theatres, concerts, cinema, christmas markets and similar). In that case the maximum is 300 people with a physical distancing of one metre. So yes a restaurant may have more than 300 guests unless they e.g. hold a concert in which case the lower 300 person limit applies. If the meter rule cannot be enforced the maximum is eight.
Deaths are currently within normal bounds for the period (stats in the excel file here: Currently 6145 people have died with laboratory verified coronavirus infection. Analyses of the medical history and medical journals performed in three counties/regios indicate that about 15-20% died of Covid, that in 50-60% Covid may have affected the outcome and that approximately 15-20% of the deaths were mis-labeled and not caused by Covid. Further investigatiions are under way and the final tallies may differ.

The Dark Lord
December 6, 2020 7:20 am

any article with more than 3 or 4 graphs tells me the author is a spaghetti cook … he is throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks …

in one sentence he refutes his own conclusion …

“In the great majority of the 14 countries, the new case counts have peaked since late October, and in many have since fallen significantly. So, the recent lockdowns must have had an effect. ”

since a lockdown takes weeks have an effect no lockdowns instituted since early Nov could possibly have caused the Oct peak …

Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you can draw conclusions from the measurements (and since the measurements are all biased country by country they are not fit for purpose)

This is simply useless …

John Endicott
Reply to  The Dark Lord
December 7, 2020 8:52 am

Yes it is a lot of graphs. But to be fair, he’s covering a lot of countries (14), which, even at a single graph per country, would require more graphs than your “3 or 4” threshold. Even if he limited it to just summary graphs containing all 14 countries, he’s looking at multiple variables (New cases, Total cases, deaths, types of lockdowns, etc.) that’s going to require multiple graphs (there’s no way to fit that much information into 3 or 4 graphs and be able to make it readable). So yes, it’s a lot of graphs, but given the subject and data being covered, it requires more than “3 or 4” graphs to properly cover it.

I’d like to see you present the same data (14 countries with multiple variables) in only 3 or 4 readable and understandable graphs. Somehow I doubt you’ll even try.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 7, 2020 5:52 pm

Too many graphs.
Too soon for conclusions.
Point in time data from a pandemic still in progress.
None of the charts support the questionable conclusions at the end.
So we have the longest article ever at this website, with unsupported conclusions. And that adds up to a big pile of nothing.
Your comment on the number of charts ignores the low quality of the conclusions.

John Endicott
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 2:59 am

Mr Greene, do learn how to read for comprehension. I was addressing one point from a specific post. I specified the point I was addressing (specifically the “3 or 4 charts” claim). There are plenty of other posts in this comments section addressing plenty of other points including the quality of the conclusions.

So, again, if you think you can present the sheer amount of data that was presented (14 countries, multiple variables) in 3 or 4 charts and still be readable and comprehensible, that stop your nonsense whining and please do so. I bet you won’t, you’ll just continue on about something other than the one specific point that was being addressed. If so, just do us all a favor and go back under your bridge.

John Endicott
Reply to  Richard Greene
December 8, 2020 3:46 am

Ah, I see now (after seeing your latest behavior in the other thread). You’re just my groupie following me around from post to post and replying regardless of the quality of the reply. Since you are so desperate for attention I suggest you keep dancing little groupie.

Reply to  John Endicott
December 8, 2020 7:49 am

You got the last word in !

Thomas Gasloli
December 6, 2020 7:23 am

I have to take issue with the idea of any of the measures “working”. In what sense? If every time you put on the measures the infection drop, only to come back immediately after they remove them, do they work? Or do they only delay the inevitable? Epidemics end when you hit herd immunity. No, that isn’t a dirty word or a conspiracy theory, it is THE SCIENCE. You may be able to help reach herd immunity with a vaccine, but you must hit herd immunity none the less.

And looking forward, what is plan B, if the vaccines work against what COVID was in Dec 2019, the source for the vaccines, but not for what COVID strains have evolved in the various isolated continents and regions since then?

Nick Schroeder
December 6, 2020 7:25 am

It’s not that complicated.
Cases are a function of testing.
Deaths are what matter.

Per US CDC data:

85.6% of C-19 CASES are among those – UNDER – 65 years of age.
80.1% of C-19 DEATHS are among those – OVER – 65 years of age.
24% of C-19 deaths occurred in nursing homes and hospice care.

The death rate for those over 85: 11,313 per million.
The death rate for those 75 – 84: 4,404 per million.
The death rate for those 65 – 74: 1,641 per million.
The death rate for those under 65: less than 700 per million.
Japan has the highest percentage of 65+, 27%, yet just barely 2,000 deaths.
What do they know/do the rest of the world does not?

(Graphic is posted on my LinkedIn site. Data sources WHO & CDC)

Covid-19 is not a problem for the young and healthy herd.
Mother Nature and her buddy Grim Reaper are just doing their jobs, culling the herd of the too many, too old and too sick warehoused together as Medicare/Medicaid cash cows in poorly run contagious lethal elder care facilities.

The US, Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK together have more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of the world combined.
The top ten countries account for more than 2/3rds of the global deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a wide-spread, contagious, lethal pandemic.

NYC and six states together account for more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of the country combined.
The top fourteen states plus NYC account for over 70% of the C-19 deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a national problem.

Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Adams counties together have more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of Colorado.
The top ten Colorado counties account for 87% of the C-169 deaths.
Covid-19 is NOT a state-wide problem.

There are about 2.8 MILLION deaths every year in the US. That’s about
233,000 PER MONTH
53,800 PER WEEK
7,700 PER DAY
320 PER HOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nationwide Covid-19 deaths are about 9% of all deaths, but each state is a different story.
For instance, leading the pack NYC Covid-19 represents almost 30% of ALL the deaths.

Good job, Cuomo!!

Curious George
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
December 6, 2020 8:24 am

2018 US deaths from drug overdose: 67,367.

Coach Springer
December 6, 2020 7:50 am

So, you’re saying that restriction on our already restricted movement over the last 9 months needs increasing? “According to” Dr. Fauci, through at least 2021 with or without vaccine and improved treatment. An emphatic no to that, if you understand emphatic to mean “I’ll burn your house down.”

The key fallacious assumption underlying the world approach to this particular virus is that the most important thing in the whole world – now and forever – is to not die with the virus, let alone from the virus. This is not remotely close to the extinction event you are treating it as.

Curious George
December 6, 2020 8:02 am

“While schools are well known to be a breeding ground for the virus..”
Based on what data?

Reply to  Curious George
December 6, 2020 1:26 pm

Yeah, I was wondering where that came from too.

John Endicott
Reply to  TonyG
December 7, 2020 9:05 am

Probably on the “well known” idea that schools are a breeding ground for viruses/illness (normally the common cold, the flu, and the like). A room full of snot nosed kids is not exactly the most hygienic and germ free of environments at the best of times. Schools tend to be germ petri dishes. The experience of most families with kids tends to be: during the school year, illnesses that go through the household tend to start with the children brining it home from school.

December 6, 2020 8:19 am

And you trust the data, why?

December 6, 2020 8:21 am

Off topic since this post is related to US data : evert

One can filter and export data as needed.

I compared excess mortality data from 2017 to 2020.
Data is almost complete until week 43 :
– 2% difference with worldometers data until week 26,
– 3,9% difference until week 43.

Comparison can be done between 2020 and years 2017 to 2019 with respect to, for example :
– excess mortality without COVID19 (deaths – (excess deaths – CODIV19 : see data) : this is usefull to measure the deaths caused by lockdown,
– excess mortality with COVID19 only, compared to previous years excess mortality : this is usefull to measure the actual mortality of SRAS-COV2 in the US compared to previous flue seasons (2017-2018 is a good example).

The excess mortality due to all causes deaths causes except COVID19 is staggering when compared to previous years’ all causes excess mortality.

All those data can also be compared to Sweden, where despite no border closure, no lockdown, no excess mortality is observed between 2020 and previous years’ mean excess mortality :

2020 data are yet incomplete, but the trends are clear in the US CDC data and in the swedish data :
– lockdowns did not save a single life from SRAS-COV2, but killed thousands of people in the US, and there is no reason Europe countries did anything better.

Another way to see that lockdowns did not save anyone :

Those who imposed lockdowns are a disgrace to humanity.

With respect to masks, it’s known since the beginning that they don’t work (see p. 100) :

Reply to  Petit_Barde
December 6, 2020 8:37 am
Eric H
December 6, 2020 8:52 am

Would love to see the same research done on California. We have some of the harshest restrictions and have had the longest Mask Mandate in the US, yet our cases are increasing substantially.

Also, would love to see these graphs with the size and dates of BLM/Antifa and Anti-Lockdown protests. I think we could see some interesting correlations there that researchers may be afraid to look into especially in regards to BLM protests…

Thanks for the hard work!

December 6, 2020 9:36 am

For all interested in early treatments…

Prophylaxis trial of 788 health care workers (HCW): 12mg ivermectin/week + carrageenan nasal spray 4 x/day. Zero caught covid over 3 months vs 58% of control HCWs infected.

The interesting thing for me about this is the carrageenan nasal spray, which I knew nothing about, but apparently it has good efficacy against viruses. Sold OTC as Betadine nasal spray. Available worldwide. Apparently it works by trapping viruses in its gel matrix.

Reply to  icisil
December 6, 2020 10:26 am

Carrageenan-based composite nasal spray may help prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection

Not sure how many sprays are in 20 ml, but Betadine could get expensive. So DIY…

How to make an antivirus saline-carrageenan nasal spray at home (links to pdf)

December 6, 2020 10:02 am

The data is the best available, but the data is not complete.

If you have symptoms you should get a test, but if you do test positive then the world closes in on you and your contacts, so lots of people don’t get a test!

So right from the start, nobody knows.

December 6, 2020 10:22 am

FL governor Rick DeSantis has just issued an order for PCR testing companies to report the PCR cycle threshold used for each test. Contact your state governors to get them to do the same.

Mandatory Reporting of COVID – 19 Laboratory Test Results: Reporting of Cycle Threshold Values (links to pdf)

Clyde Spencer
December 6, 2020 10:36 am

I suspect that the so-called Second Wave showing up at a time when upper-respiratory infections normally ramp up is more a matter of seasonality of COVID-19 than it is a failure of the different ‘Rain Dances’ that the various governments are engaging in.

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 11:32 am

Good vaccine song: “We are the 99%!!!”

The British are actually singing very well.

In case it should be removed:

December 6, 2020 12:00 pm

Many above have commented that ‘cases’ is a very bad measure of anything, and spaghetti graphs ‘interpreted’ one at a time show very little. All cause mortality is the only meaningful statistic. For Canada, the crude number of deaths for the year ending June 2020 does show a bit of a bump from about 285,000 to 300,000. From this the trend line for increasing deaths each year must be subtracted (50k increase over 10 years due to age structure and population increase) which brings the ‘bump’ down to a maximum of 12k or 4%. Between 2014-2015 there was a 6-8% increase in deaths, but no panic. Thus, deaths might be up due to the first wave, but its not very clear.,300%2C314%20deaths%20reported%20in%20Canada.

Covid deaths are reported at about 12,300 (ie, all excess deaths) with 71% over 80. In BC the median age of a covid death is 85! This is the life expectancy for a 65 year old in BC (2009 data).

A pandemic that does not alter life expectancy is a total fraud.

Reply to  Fran
December 6, 2020 12:54 pm

Cases: past, probable, possible, and progressive. There seems to be a correlation between mortality, disease progression, and age, but it may be a correlation with certain comorbidities and conditions with age. Planned Parent facilities were real and an early, observable cause of excess (e.g. accelerated) deaths in the first few months of 2020.

Peter F Gill
Reply to  n.n
December 6, 2020 1:07 pm

I have seen an analysis that takes the ratio of the number of deaths by an age grouping claimed for Covid-19 to the number of deaths from all causes by the same age grouping, suggesting that on that basis the differences between age groupings are not so pronounced. Sorry I don’t have time to look for the paper.

Kevin kilty
December 6, 2020 12:28 pm

Points to consider:

1. People are incredibly variable by genetics, vigor of health, behavior, and so forth. This is one of the factors causing potential bias in all medical trials and what randomization hopes to neutralize. Good luck dealing with it in the context of this reported data of unknown quality and full of biases resulting from financial incentives. R0 thus varies all over the board locally and in various sub populations. Modeling seems pretty pointless.

2. What matters is compliance with mandates, and it is darned difficult to measure such. I did some surveys of mask compliance and determined it may have been higher locally before the mask mandate. The mandate order exempted so many people that compliance may have gone down.

3. Masks don’t seem to matter at all. I have looked at the epicurves from many dozens of jurisdictions and can find no relation to mask usage. Then, there is the scientific literature going back a long way. At one time people were interested if mask usage would have an impact on influenza, and concluded they did not — or at least the effect could not be presumed to be different than chance. Recent randomized, and non-random trials suggest the same.

4. Day of onset of symptoms from exposure is a random variable with a median of 5.5 days or so, and a dispersion of several days per sigma. Then people are using 7 day, 14 day, or 21 day one-sided mean filters with attendant phase distortion. These can actually show an epidemic wave in decline when in fact it is rising.

5. Actual measurement of particle attenuation by cloth and gauze masks is nil. Only N95 respirators have an impact, and the 95% confidence interval of their effect includes the value of nil.

6. The data are a mess: I just recently had acquaintences of mine go under quarantine. Family of six. The five-year old had sniffles for one day on day zero. Mother got a positive SARS-COV-1 rt-PCR test on day 7. She never developed symptoms. One daughter had one day of body aches, got a positive PCR result. Father had a bad cold coming on at day 6. He got a doozy of a cold, never had any but negative PCR tests. One daughter had some vertigo, never a positive PCR test. One son never got a positive test and never developed any symptom. So there. Every result imaginable in a group of people all quarantined together for three weeks — but all are lab confirmed cases or presumed so. Many similar stories from this county. By the way, all these folks are now exempt from testing for the next 3 months. So, they may get sick, but with mild symptoms they can spread the disease anywhere they go.

7. Anthony Fauci, if you research this a bit, has had a fixation for decades about an epidemic wherein 25% or more of the population are sick at any one time, and it is this morbid vision of his that seems to drive the CDC and then the various local health agencies into hysterias and silly rules.

8. Mandates are imposed, but are utterly inconsistent and irrational. In cases they worry about behavior that might reduce probability by one-millionth, but then ignore things a thousand times bigger. It is a case of needing to be seen doing something. There is also a huge and noisy mask mandate mob to placate.

Joel O'Bryan
December 6, 2020 12:46 pm

The lockdowns will certainly have an effect on virus transmission as reducing contacts lowers R0, but it still leaves the population vulnerable to resurgence.
The only thing that actually ever stops a highly contagious respiratory virus is herd immunity. Herd immunity is either acquired by natural infection or artificially by vaccination.

But simply slowing the infection of this low-mortality corona virus while simultaneously destroying the economic lives and learning opportunity windows for our children is a horrible tradeoff. It is a bad trade-off that will we undoubtedly deeply regret one day.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 6, 2020 5:58 pm

Herd immunity only means the number of cases has stopped growing.

Not growing does not mean “stops”.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 6, 2020 6:57 pm

“…destroying…learning opportunity windows for our children is a horrible tradeoff.”

This is nothing more than child abuse. Those gnarly totalitarian leftists believe they’re all perfect humans and the rest of us are cattle to be controlled.

December 6, 2020 12:50 pm

Mask mandates? They restrict breathing, not (e.g. evaporation then ingestion and ejection) the virus or bacteria. They encourage touching (e.g. fecal transmission) vulnerable surfaces: eyes, nose, and mouth. They create a false sense of safety and security discouraging scientifically sound means to mitigate spread and progression. They are an intuitive, mechanistic alternative to reduce overhead caused by separation of vulnerable classes and shift responsibility. Do Europeans deny or stigmatize effective, inexpensive, low rirks early treatments that reduce mortality and hospitalization by 80 to 90% and more?

December 6, 2020 12:52 pm

Has anyone looked at the “COVID-19 Deaths: A Look at U.S. Data” from Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Hopkins.

Reply to  chickenhawk
December 6, 2020 4:40 pm

Yes, she reports that in the USA reported cases of deaths form WuhanVirus is peculiar since the reported cases of deaths from coronary issues (for 1 example of a major USA killer) is way down. Yet statistically the total number of coronary related deaths per population in the USA in previous years had been fairly constant & much higher for this example; making it unlikely to suddenly abate.

Briand looked at total USA deaths in this WuhanVirus period & found that statistically, per population, that the official count total for deaths of all causes is actually similar to the total deaths from all causes of previous periods. In other words: if a lot of people are dying from this WuhanVirus where is the increased number of dead supposedly added to the usual USA totals from those common causes of death that every year occurred even before the WuhanVirus spread.

John Endicott
Reply to  gringojay
December 7, 2020 9:33 am

While I would expect the total deaths of all causes to be up by some amount (after all some who died from complications of Wu-Flu might have survived until next year or beyond without it) it’s not too surprising that it’s not as much as the media would like to make you believe. The fact is the Wuhan Virus tends to kill those that are most vulnerable to soon dying from other causes anyway. Whether someone dies from Wu-Flu in April or a heart attack in June or a stroke in July, makes no difference for the total death for the year from all causes number- not to sound heartless but they’re dead either way, it’s just that they’re dead a few months sooner than they otherwise would be.

December 6, 2020 1:29 pm

I produced a video last month comparing case and death data from Belgium (mask mandate) and Netherlands (no mask mandate) and posted it on social media. Mask mandators didn’t like it.

Carl Friis-Hansen
December 6, 2020 1:36 pm

This may be too awful to announce here, but despite Christmas time it aught to be discussed between mature grownups.

It is a repeat of a similar child abuse event I wrote about in 2009, where re-published it and helped issue a protest to the British authorities:

The following may be even worse, as kids to the age of 3 years old are mentally learning to live and react according to what they learn in this age (pre-learning).

RTE Exploits Kids to Promote the Pfizer’s Vaccine? | The Late Late Toy Show

donald penman
December 6, 2020 2:03 pm
Not much of a second wave here in the UK here despite you pseudo mathematical study to discredit every health system in the world apart from the USA. Lockdowns have had no effect and wearing masks should not be mandatory. The virus will go away without any of the measures deemed needed to tackle it by politicians by next year everyone will have forgotten about it.

December 6, 2020 3:32 pm

Good analysis but I think too much credit is being given to lockdown measures of any sort.

I would highly recommend the following for further viewing.

Ivor has done a fantastic job showing the lockdowns and masks are highly ineffective.

Ian Coleman
December 6, 2020 3:41 pm

Much of the reaction to the pandemic is based on the belief that deaths from COVDI-19 are preventable. Heart disease kills far more people, but we have come to believe that deaths from heart disease are not preventable, or at least not preventable by measures that can be adopted by most people. So we don’t ruin millions of people to prevent deaths from heart disease, even though COVID and heart disease display the same age-to-mortality graph.

In Canada, the median age of the COVID dead us 82. I t is true that the deaths of people that age can be deferred by shielding them from COVID but, at that age, death is imminent. In fact quality of life at that age is pretty bad, and death for most people past 80 is probably a relief. You can’t really explain this to young people, who think that old people are pretty healthy, more or less, and then die abruptly by quietly going to sleep. Anyone who has witnessed the death of anyone from old age knows just how wrong this is. Dying of old age, usually over the course of a year, is terrible. A man who dies suddenly in a car wreck, when he is a healthy 70 year-old, has been granted a gift.

I think that the death of anyone over 80 is far less tragic than the summary impoverishment of anyone raising dependent children. It infuriates me that all the people who make the policies to suppress the spread of the virus are themselves well-insulated from the financial harms those policies must cause.

Andy Espersen
December 6, 2020 7:17 pm


It’s futile to come out with any readings or statistics about Covid 19 – until it has run its course. We are not even half way through the epidemic yet.

Come back with an analysis in a couple of years, Neil Lock.

John Endicott
Reply to  Andy Espersen
December 7, 2020 9:13 am

Andy, when embarking on policies that affect the lives of millions of people, it’s prudent to evaluate things as you go along. If you are on the wrong course, it’s better to catch it sooner than later. a couple of years from now the damage will be done and it’ll be too late to prevent, whereas if you can spot when you are on the wrong course early, you can change course before the damages accumulate too greatly.

You are flying a plane across country. Would you rather evaluate the situation and realize that the plane is currently plummeting from the sky while you are still in the air, so you can adjust the planes trajectory (or else bail out) or would you rather wait until the flight is over when it’s too late to save your life?

Tom Abbott
December 6, 2020 7:55 pm

I know I’m going to aggravate a person or two by posting his link, but I promised that the next positive mask link I ran across, I would post, and this is it:

Those who already have their minds made up on the subject can skip the link.

Tom Abbott
December 6, 2020 8:11 pm

And as I read along I run across more positive articles about wearing face masks:

The CDC Just Changed This Big Face Mask Rule For All

“On Tuesday the CDC issued new mask guidance, citing numerous studies showing that masks can prevent both outgoing and incoming transmission.

“Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (“source control”), which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions,” they write. ” Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (‘filtration for personal protection’).”

end excerpt

We had a person a couple of days ago claim in another thread that the Wuhan virus can’t be spread by asymptomatic people. As you can see, that person was wrong.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 7, 2020 9:46 am

Hmm; “Post-lockdown SARS-CoViD-2 nucleic acid screening in nearly ten million residents of Wuhan China” is quite precise about who might be spreaders. Free full text is available online.

Quote: ” There were no positive tests among 1,174 close contacts of asymptomatic cases …. no evidence that the identified as positive cases were infectious ….”

Tom Abbott
December 6, 2020 8:18 pm

Just in case you thought the previous CDC notification is outdated:

by: Deja Brown
Posted: Dec 5, 2020 / 09:12 PM CST / Updated: Dec 5, 2020 / 09:12 PM CST

The CDC issues its strongest mask guidance yet during the Covid-19 Pandemic, calling for “Universal Mask Wearing”.

This means they suggest masks be worn in all activity outside of an individual’s home, when at least 6 feet of social distancing can’t be maintained..

“The new recommendation comes at the end of a week when the USA saw its deadliest day of the Pandemic so far, with more than 3,100 deaths on Thursday alone.”

end excerpt

Tom Abbott
December 6, 2020 8:41 pm

Here’s more. Be careful what you ask for:

“Controversy regarding face coverings

Around the world, there has been a lot of controversy around wearing a face cover appropriately. Despite this, wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings remain the main agenda of public health campaigns by all major health bodies worldwide. Masks remain one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of this airborne infection, write the researchers, and this study was conducted to show the efficacy of wearing face coverings correctly in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The team looked at the underlying physics that prevents the entry of particles with diameters > 1 micron into the nose and mouth of the wearer. As well as analyzing the efficacy of simple cotton or surgical masks, the study attempted to answer several questions regarding the viral load of airborne exhaled particles and the infectious dose from the infected person to the healthy person.
Type of mask

The team wrote, “Agencies like the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommend members of the public wear reusable fabric coverings, whereas disposable surgical masks are more common in East Asian countries such as China.”

end excerpt

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 7, 2020 7:30 am

thank you for sharing, but you will note that (a) you shared articles, not studies, and (b) no study linked in said articles were controlled studies, all of which, thus far and for at least 60 years, have shown no benefit.

The observational studies that were linked:
“Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing – I didn’t see anywhere in this one that specifically separated mask use only vs other protective measures, which has been a weakness of most observational studies I’ve seen.

“The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019” – This one looked ONLY at mask use, again not accounting for other protective measures. And I find a pretty big problem with this comparison: We observed 11 COVID-19 clusters in recreational ‘mask-off’ settings compared to only 3 in workplace ‘mask-on’ settings – for a proper analysis they really should have compared similar settings. More than one variable was changed, so how do they know that masks are the controlling variable? Seems a lot like CAGW, where there is an inherent assumption that one variable is the controlling one, so the others are ignored.

“New and Improved COVID Symptom Survey Tracks Testing and Mask-Wearing” is linked as a study, but is a voluntary self-reporting survey, and even so states “Of course, correlation is not causation, and there are many differences between these states beyond their use of masks” (At least they acknowledge this)

“Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US” provided no details that I was able to access.

So far, all of these have the flaw of considering only one variable among many and assuming it to be the controlling variable. Also, so far, as I’ve said before, every controlled study on the subject shows that masks alone don’t do much at all. Interestingly, the Danish study had a very hard time getting published, too, because it ran against the politically correct position being touted. Doesn’t that remind you just a little of some other peer-review gatekeeping we’ve seen?

And finally, not a one of these studies is addressing N95’s, which was what you were claiming you were talking about. Have we changed the topic of discussion?

Matthew R Marler
December 7, 2020 10:15 am

Neil Lock, thank you for this essay. Well done!

December 7, 2020 10:21 am

” … [N]o statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed” … influenza, respiratory viral infections, respiratory infection and influenzalike illness … “using N95 and surgical masks” …. was found in 6 randomized controlled trial according to 2020 report “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: a systematic review and meta-analysis”; free full text available on-line.

The N95 had a positive impact only against laboratory confirmed bacterial colonization in randomized controlled trials.

Matthew R Marler
December 7, 2020 10:49 am

I also want to thank the many discussants for their comments.

Matthew R Marler
December 7, 2020 12:08 pm

brief review of gruesome current US statistics.

Granted the limitations of the testing accuracy, involvement of comorbidities, attribution of cause of death, and others written of above, this is still a serious problem. This is not a mythology.

Ulric Lyons
December 8, 2020 8:41 am

Ivor Cummins does a great presentation of the US and Europe data: