22 thoughts on “Cases, Fatalities, Cross Country over Time

  1. 2slugbaits

    Well, in Trump World more deaths means more TV news conferences and higher ratings. And the added bonus is that the deaths will likely come disproportionately from Democratic leaning precincts. It’s a win/win for amoral MAGA Land. CoRev and Bruce and sammy are probably cracking open the champagne bottles.

    1. Willie

      That won’t last. Rural areas have the advantage of space. But they have the disadvantages of more old people and fewer resources. They lag, but they will likely get hit.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ Mr. Goldhammer
      I can’t quote you the sources at the moment, but I had heard from at least 2 people I respect that May was most apt to be the peak time. I’m actually not sure if they meant cases or deaths or both. I kind of assumed they meant cases. Tell you, I live in middle America which is getting some of this stuff “late”, but I’ll be shocked as hell by any metric used if the peak is in April and IMHO, even May is going to be a stretch. You said “the US is relying”, maybe you just meant to rag on donald trump?? In which case, I agree.

      @ Willie . I’m watching the state map semi-closely of the state I reside in. It’s a VERY rural type state. What you see at the moment in the official documented count is about 3/4 of the rural counties only have between 1-3 cases. But comparing it to a wildfire isn’t that far off base. Everyday you see about 3 counties pick up their first case. We have 481 total now, with a huge chunk in the state’s two largest metro areas. But today there was a University hospital guy on state TV, and he said he thinks there’s already 5,000 cases right now. So you’d take the 5,000 minus the 483 to get an extremely rough estimate on undocumented cases. That in essence tells me the entire state is going to fall to it—EVERY county. This is a “red state” where people think FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, and Alex Jones are mediators for the word of God—you think the guy in Yates Center Kansas with in essence an 8th grade education is going to take social distancing serious when all his news sources are saying COVID-19 is “Liberals’ April fools Joke on you”?? These places are lucky if they have a damned clinic in town, much less a hospital. It’s going to be near chaos—arguably worse than densely populated areas. And when do they get documented in the official count if they can’t even get to a clinic and the nearest hospital is a 90 minute drive?? Good luck being the stats tabulator on that one.

  2. Moses Herzog

    If we look at the death rate over the expanse of all the USA states, we have to assume the death rate—– the numerator of death/ over the denominator of documented cases is going to get bigger (as a percentage). It is easy for those who have more resources than the poor or lower middle class to lecture that survival is often a matter of personal will. For example the Hobby Lobby CEO’s wife can tell cashiers and staff at Hobby Lobby “Just work as normal, Jesus told me you won’t get the COVID-19” while she stays safe and quarantined with her bastard husband,

    donald rump can also say 200,000 dead Americans means donald trump “did a very good job” while Ivanka, donald jr., and Eric stay quarantined and in cloistered upper class confines.
    I grew up “lower middle class” for most of my childhood, until I would say my very late teens. I am fortunate where I am now and safe (even in this dumb-A$$ managed state that I inhabit). But I do think personal will can play a part.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASOp97ervjY (2 minutes, no vulgarity)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k20VFZeLKY (11 minutes, no vulgarity)

  3. Willie

    Washington State appears to have hit some kind of inflection point in part. I say appears. I’ll believe it when it keeps up for another week. For now, western Washington seems to be fairly stable. Eastern Washington is not yet.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Scroll not very far down, it’s a mostly light-blue map:

      Could the rural areas become dark blue later, or already be dark blue but cases not documented?? I don’t know population density by county, but I wager this is a very open question. I also don’t know if rural health care in Washington state is good—I’d bet a large pile of cash Washington state’s rural healthcare apparatus is better than OKlahoma’s. That would play into how many rural cases get documented in the official numbers.

  4. baffling

    china seems to be capping off at around 3000 deaths total. we seem to be moving toward a range of between 100,000 and 1,000,000 deaths. who responded appropriately? looks like texas won’t peak until may. we are still in the first inning of this contest…

  5. baffling

    trump claims he has not heard about issues with coronavirus testing in weeks!
    i am flabbergasted. he is either lying to absolve himself of this problem, or he really does not know? seriously, the single best thing we can do today, barring a therapeutic, is to develop a testing capability, which is currently lacking. and he claims he has not heard about this problem in WEEKS! trump and everybody who has supported that serial cheat are going straight to hell. doctors and nurses are dying on the front line and this is the response we get?

  6. JS

    There seems to be a general misunderstanding about ‘bending the curve’ and I would like to get the group’s thoughts. A lot has been made about ROK’s success through testing and isolation. However in my limited understanding of the mathematics of infectious disease with an R-0 of 2.5, this thing will not cease until 60% or more have immunity, either through antibody or vaccine. What that equates to is bending the curve is just that bending it, if we integrate we are left with the same area. Now I appreciate the benefits of bending the curve primarily of not overwhelming the healthcare system, but it seems that the masses believe that bending the curve leads to a lower infection rate overall. Am I viewing this wrong?

    1. baffling

      js you seem to be correct. the public is under the misconception that bending the curve will keep them from getting infected. it won’t, unless the time we buy produces a therapeutic to treat the disease. with an exponential growth, you only have a very limited, very early time period to cut off the spread. after that it will spread throughout, but its rate may be different. now we are relying on a therapeutic or vaccine will help compensate for the blunders early on.

      1. JS

        There were plenty of blunders to be sure but I am not sure they would have made much difference, in the medium or long-run. Unlike other viruses which can be contained because of their nature I do not think this could have been. An R-0>2 and long asymptomatic period means it was going worldwide regardless of what was done in Wuhan or domestically in the US. On the brighter side, my intuition is that the denominator is dramatically bias to 0. The current thinking is by one order of magnitude but I think we will find out it is two or three orders which further tells me that like 25-50% of NYC has already been infected and that 2-weeks from now places like that will be awfully close to 60% and will be truly ready to recover.

        And this is truly the problem with testing. Testing symptomatic people has little value given there is no therapy. The only real result is to further spook people by producing a fatality rate that is again bias to 1 by two orders of magnitude. If there were adequate testing capability it would allow public health professionals to do what is actually needed – random population testing. This could then be used to inform the important parts of the debate including transmission, fraction infected and a true estimate of fatality.

        1. baffling

          “Testing symptomatic people has little value given there is no therapy.”
          it helps to then keep those folks from more vulnerable populations. my inlaws can babysit if we are all safe. they cannot if our home status is unknown. you can’t bring older folks into a potential virus zone. this issue is occurring all over the nation right now.

          1. baffling

            not your fault, but this is why i have been rather adamant on this blog about testing, and our failure to get an adequate testing program up around the country. we are costing lives because we cannot test. it is hard to win this war fighting blind. our administration was ignorant of this early on, and more concerned about saving wealth and the economy than saving lives. as a result, china has 3,000 deaths and we will probably be closer to 1,000,000 than 3,000. there are some folks on this blog who argue china has no respect for human life. this episode should make you think again. devastating.

  7. JS

    In summary, every city will go though something similar to what NYC is going through right now and it is an error to think otherwise.

    What we have is a lot of people that are spooked by the virus – which is made a lot worse by the lack of clear federal communication. In the short-run the only way to overcome that is through some therapy which, if even only mildly effective will help people get unspooked.

  8. Frank

    Hello Professor Chinn,

    I’m still reading Econbrowser. Thank you very much for the all the Econbrowser articles.

    I don’t live very far from Dougherty county in Georgia. As of today, April 2, Dougherty county, in south west, Georgia has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths of any county in Georgia. The population of Albany is an order of magnitude smaller than the Atlanta metro area.


    The Census.gov demographics for Dougherty County show 70.9 percent Black or African-American,


    The Georgia Online Analytical Statistical Information System show deaths by age, cause, race, etc.


    The CDC gives factors for those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19:


    In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp only learned on Wednesday how the coronavirus spreads. Gov. Kemp issued a SIP on Thursday, April 2, 2020:


    I wonder if the social scientists/epidemiologists could write a peer-reviewed model for susceptible populations in Dougherty county in Georgia? Or pretty much Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, etc… , well pretty much Dixie. Say, states with white Republican Governors in Dixie?

    My modeling knowledge is limited to the causual life-long learner experience.


    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Drk: Not sure, but did the comparison for S. Korea vs. US fatalities yesterday; looks bad for US still. In a few days, US will look worse than Italy, even adjusting for population.

  9. Drk

    Yes the US which should have been a leader helping the world undercut itself over the last three years and failed to act when it could have. With the current level of testing and contact tracing (grossly insufficient) I have little hope that peak will actually be in two weeks as some are predicting. My most optimistic hope is that we will be an example that helps the world for future events

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