Change in Cases, US-ex.Tri State, Texas and Florida

Guess it didn’t disappear, like a miracle.

Source: I. Rosenberg, “Global Economics Comment: Tracking Coronavirus,” Goldman Sachs, 27 June 2020.

36 thoughts on “Change in Cases, US-ex.Tri State, Texas and Florida

  1. Willie

    Washington state numbers are ugly today. They fit that trend line. Wr were doing ok until it got established east of the mountains. Now we are not. I hope the people over there take the mask requirement seriously. If not, we will be Florida.

      1. Willie

        It would be easier to do that most people who don’t live her would think. There are not all that many ways over the mountains. But, there’s a whole lot of links, and it would be a problem on a lot of levels to cut those links. The unfortunate fact is that most of Washington, with the exception of the larger cities, is harder right wing than you would expect. And, with that hard right tilt comes the idea that somehow masks are socialism and tyranny. It makes no sense at all, but there’s no getting through to a person who has that mindset.

  2. AS

    Professor Chinn,
    I thought we were told by the medical experts to expect that most of us would get the disease eventually. As I recall, a contagious respiratory disease was described by Dr. Fauci as his worst fear related to pandemics.
    Unless people stay home or wear masks when in public and don’t get too close to others, this virus seems so contagious, the early warning of expect to get the disease seems very true.
    I assume that the disease will either burn through the susceptible (which I assume I qualify) until there is herd immunity or be controlled by developing a long-shot vaccine or by discovering therapeutic treatments to minimize death or serious infections.
    Not happy thoughts, but I fear describes reality.

    1. 2slugbaits

      AS Many of the EU countries have demonstrated that the virus can be contained and we don’t have to rely upon the chimera of ‘herd immunity.” It just requires leaders with guts and an electorate with an IQ that’s not in single digits. What we’re seeing across the globe is that about 5% of confirmed cases result in death. Granted, there are no doubt a lot of people who have been infected and don’t know it, but even if you assume nine people infected for every one confirmed case and even if you assume asymptotic cases are homogenously distributed (which they are not), that’s still a lot of deaths. In this country it would be 5% * (1/10) * 331,000,000 = 1,655,000 deaths. If there is such a thing as “herd immunity”, then this might be achieved at something like 70% infections, so that drops the death count to 1,158,500. And that not only assumes people develop a lasting immunity (which we don’t know), but that people with very mild cases (i.e., he asymptomatic cases) also develop a robust immune response…something else we don’t know. Herd immunity is a loser strategy. It’s a lot smarter to just close bars & restaurants and require people to wear masks. If you read the early studies they were always condition-based projections, not unconditional predictions.

      If the “medical experts” genuinely believed that most of us were doomed to get the virus, then what would be the point of trying to contain it? Who needs doctors in that case? So I don’t think they meant that as an inescapable sentence on humanity. My take is that there were two groups of “medical experts.” One group was saying that if we did nothing, then we were all doomed to get the virus eventually, so we better do something. The other group of “medical experts” weren’t really medical experts, but talking heads on Fox Noise who were pushing a short-term pro-business approach that was trying to rationalize why we shouldn’t put parts of the economy in a temporary coma. These were people that believed they could insulate themselves from the virus and didn’t have any concerns about the unwashed hoi polloi getting infected as long as the money kept coming in. I’m talking about Trump’s donor base.

      I don’t think a vaccine is a long-shot. There are several vaccines in the works and there’s a good chance that at least one of them will provide meaningful protection. The first generation vaccines may only provide immunity for a few months, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask people to take three minutes out of their day once every few months to get a simple shot. Vaccines should be free, globally available and mandatory unless there is some underlying health reason why a person should not get a vaccine. Anti-vaxxers be damned.

      Have you noticed that Bruce Hall has avoided answering my question about face masks being mandatory? Maybe he’s still waiting to hear from the Central Committee for an approved party line reply.

          1. Bruce Hall

            Okay, 3/1,000,000. 10 million people in Sweden. So that’s 30 per week died? Old people? Young people? Muslims concentrated in Malmo?

            But death are generally declining. Sweden is a bit more compact geographically than the U.S., so one might expect a more complete infection in a shorter period. That’s why I compare Sweden to Michigan which has the same population, the same general climate, and drastically different approaches. What did Michigan do wrong? (note: same day as article about Sweden).

            I’ll let Sweden respond:

            In March, I asked Don Boudreaux what the economic cost of the U.S. following its approach was versus Sweden following its approach. It was too early to get a good analysis. So, I’ll ask you.

            FRED’s data not current enough:

            Now, was that the result of the U.S. states beginning to shut down their economies while Sweden stayed open?

            There are many comparisons that could be made country-to-country, but there are many factors to consider as well. Demographic profile, international travelers, poverty levels, population density…. Why would Michigan with strict shutdowns have much higher infections/deaths than Wisconsin? Certainly not the fault of the University of Michigan is it? Should they have followed the University of Wisconsin profile? After all, they are very similar universities.

            Perhaps the variances are more explained by the attitudes and economics of the populace than the policies of the government.

          2. 2slugbaits

            Bruce Hall Perhaps the variances are more explained by the attitudes and economics of the populace than the policies of the government.

            I see. Blame the victims…especially the poor and minority victims. How very Trumpian of you.

            What did Michigan do wrong?

            What it did wrong was open to early because the governor was getting too much political pressure from people like you. Again, Michigan had the virus well under control with an Rt of 0.70. It was only after “Liberate Michigan” that we started to see things go to hell.

            Okay, 3/1,000,000. 10 million people in Sweden. So that’s 30 per week died?

            No, it’s not. Why would you calculate a rate that way? Here is the raw daily data for Sweden. Download the spreadsheet and select the tab identified as Antal avlidna per dag (Number deaths per day).

            The first tab also shows you the number of positive cases by region. It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. There’s also a tab showing positive cases and deaths by age group. Sorry, but no story you can put together is a good news story for Sweden. Quit listening to Fox Noise.

          3. Bruce Hall


            What it did wrong was open to early because the governor was getting too much political pressure from people like you. Again, Michigan had the virus well under control with an Rt of 0.70. It was only after “Liberate Michigan” that we started to see things go to hell.

            Here is Michigan’s tracker:

            Please point to where “we started to see things go to hell.” Yeah, you can’t. What you can see is the 7-day moving average of the number of cases go up slightly as testing has expanded and at about the same rate at in early May (after you delete the anomaly).

            If discovery of cases meant things were out of control, then the CDC estimate that there have been 10-times the reported number of cases means every state has been and is out of control despite shutdowns.

            What we have now is a GIGO system where the best data is the number of deaths and even that is suspect.

          4. 2slugbaits

            Bruce Hall Ugh!!! Please learn how to interpret data. Learn the difference between the observed number of cases and the transmission factor. A transmission factor less than 1.00 means the virus is under control and will be on the path to dying out. Geez, we’ve been over this enough times. The transmission factor is what drives future positive cases. The Rt was going down until Trump and his gang of impatient morons demanded that Whitmer allowed them to get drunk at bars.

            Please point to where “we started to see things go to hell.”

            I’ve already give you the link. The date when Rt went above 1.00 was 27 May. At the 80% confidence interval it could have been as early as 23 May.

            What we have now is a GIGO system where the best data is the number of deaths and even that is suspect.

            Ah yes, the old GIGO argument. The last refuge of a losing argument.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall not all that different from… no less than many European countries.

          For someone who likes to talk about the need for data, you sure don’t seem to understand how to use or interpret data. France and Italy initially had much higher death rates than Sweden, but then again they were among the first EU nations to get hit. And France Italy have gotten their COVID-19 cases under control, unlike Sweden. But a big difference is in population densities. The population density of Stockholm is only 4800/sq-km. The density for Milan (the heart of the outbreak for Italy) is 7551.3/sq-km and the density for Paris (where my sister lives) is 10,374/sq-km. And in Brussels it’s 5384/sq-km. In NYC the density is comparable to Paris at 10,194/sq-km. Sweden not only had advance warning of the pandemic, but its population density is much lower than the other EU countries hit hard by the virus.

          If you worked for Ford, I can only guess that your job was to put the blue bolt in the blue hole. God help Ford if you were supposed to be some kind of data analyst.

          1. Bruce Hall


            It remains to be seen if Sweden’s approach of letting the virus generally take its course was faulty or if the opposite approach in most of Europe has simply delayed the inevitable spread of the virus. If there is no vaccine, new cases cannot be prevented unless you hermetically seal off your country. China has learned that.

            So the real question is: does infection confer immunity to the survivors? If it does, then Sweden’s “experiment” will mean a return to more normal conditions more rapidly while other countries continue to face the threat of a more serious 2nd or 3rd or 4th wave.


            Also, remember that if the CDC estimate is correct that the cases have been understated by ten times, then our economic pain may have been completely in vain.

          2. 2slugbaits

            Bruce Hall
            If there is no vaccine, new cases cannot be prevented unless you hermetically seal off your country.

            You need to think this through by setting up a system of expected values given some nontrivial chance of a vaccine. Even if it turns out that we don’t get a vaccine, the correct policy choice would still be to contain the virus because the expected value function is higher.

            does infection confer immunity to the survivors? If it does, then Sweden’s “experiment” will mean a return to more normal conditions more rapidly

            No it doesn’t. If infection confers an immunity, then so will a vaccine. OTOH, it’s entirely possible that an infection does not confer immunity if the virus load is too low to “teach” the cells how to respond. However, a vaccine dosage can be controlled to boost immunity in the same way that the Medicare flu vaccine is four times the strength of the non-Medicare vaccine. This stronger does ensures an immune response. The most likely case is that both infections and vaccines confer a limited immunity that lasts for a few months. If that’s the case, then you give everyone periodic booster shots until the virus dies out.

            The CDC estimate of ten times is the upper limit, not the most likely number. And even if we assume it’s true, that still means 306 million Americans have not been infected and are still vulnerable. You’re still talking about at least another million deaths even assuming mortality rates at the low end of the spectrum. That’s at least three times the number of GIs killed in WW2. As to the economic pain, how painful is it to wear a mask? How painful is it to stand six feet apart? How painful is it to not go to bars or restaurants or theaters? Even assuming that we shut down 80% of all leisure and hospitality businesses in the country, that puts our GDP output at a level comparable to where it was in 2017. Is that too high a price to pay for saving over a million lives? I suspect that the real concern isn’t economic, it’s the misguided belief that opening up the country will somehow revive Trump’s political fortunes. Except for a brief period in early April, Trump has been in denial about the pandemic and is utterly clueless as to how to handle it.

      1. AS

        2 slugs,
        I don’t think we disagree on much here. I put the “long-shot” comment in because I want to be wrong. If I said we had likely vaccines, then most likely I would be wrong. I would rather be wrong with the long-shot comment. If we do get a successful vaccine it will be light-speed compared to many past vaccines.
        I think my comments about staying home, wearing masks and not getting too close to others coves the bar and restaurant caveats you mention. It is fairly difficult to have proper separation from others in a bar. Since I don’t drink and have not been to a restaurant for months, no argument about those not being too healthy a place to be. I notice in Sacramento, CA that restaurants are serving outside, taking-over sidewalks and perhaps part of streets according to the news.
        I suppose the only place we disagree is on the numbers who may ultimately be infected. I thought the whole reason for the lock-down was to “flatten the curve” so as not to overload hospitals. The original bell curve charts as I recall seemed to show that the same number of folks were expected to get the disease in the long-run, but would be spread-out by flattening the curve.

        1. 2slugbaits

          AS I think those charts described what would happen if we didn’t have effective intervention strategies or some kind of vaccine. In the absence of a vaccine and less than perfect mitigation, then yes, “flattening the curve” was just a way of keeping the caseload manageable. But even that didn’t make a lot of sense because at the time there was no proven therapeutic, and without a proven therapeutic it’s hard to see why going to a hospital would improve outcomes. If there’s nothing that the doctors can do, then flattening the curve doesn’t accomplish much over the long run. And I do think there were some folks who thought flattening the curve would not change the total number of people infected. But as the EU has shown, you can do better than simply flatten the curve, you can bring it down.

          1. AS

            For serious cases,I think hospitals felt they could do something even if advanced therapeutics were lacking. We had a big fuss about ventilators. Folks need to be in the hospital to access them given the complexity of ventilator therapy. Now from what I read ventilators may not be the best treatment, oxygen may be the preferred treatment to allow the body to fight the virus.
            Also, hospitals can assist with secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia through use of IV antibiotics. In addition, I read that a lot of the problems from the virus are caused by the body’s overreaction, so hospitals can help to calm the body’s overreaction. I have not followed European cases, so I will have to take your word for Europe’s better handling of the virus.

      2. Willie

        There are good reasons to contain the virus even if most of us eventually get it.
        1. It may mutate and become less lethal.
        2. Medical science will figure out far better treatments over time.
        3. The medical system will get overwhelmed, like it is in Houston now, if we don’t contain it.
        4. Keeping the virus at bay will allow more vulnerable people to live fairly normal lives without being constantly bombarded by the virus.

        That’s four reasons I can come up with right off. I’m sure there are plenty more. Even if I end up infected, I would far prefer to be infected at the end of 2021 than now.

        1. AS

          Can’t agree more on your points.
          If we can defer getting the disease forever, great, if not, it would be best to get the disease in the distant future when the disease is better understood, with perhaps greatly improved therapeutics and hopefully the game changing vaccine.

  3. pgl

    If the number of cases near Tulsa spikes, Team Trump may be a contributing factor:

    In the hours before President Trump’s controversial rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week, his campaign directed workers to remove thousands of “Do Not Sit Here, Please!” stickers from seats, which were put in place by the venue to encourage social distancing … According to video and photos obtained by the Post and a person familiar with the matter, staff at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa had already placed nearly 12,000 distancing stickers on every other seat in the arena when the Trump campaign put a stop to the effort. Trump campaign staffers then reportedly started removing the stickers from the chairs themselves. The Post obtained a video that reportedly showed two unidentified men pulling the stickers off the seats ahead of the rally. While there were thousands of empty seats at Trump’s June 20 rally, social distancing efforts were largely ignored during the event, which was billed as a masks-optional affair.

    Few people wore masks. But there were wearing MAGA hats. I bet these clowns think the MAGA hat prevents the spread of COVID-19.

    1. Willie

      There doesn’t seem to be a big spike in cases coming from BLA protests. Maybe that’s because a significant percentage of the protesters were wearing masks, and the protests were outside. MAGA rallies are a radically different phenomenon. A spike from the protests could still turn up. We won’t see a MAGA spike for another week or two.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Willie Looking at the state and national levels you probably won’t be able to see a spike, but it’s pretty apparent at the county and zip code level where there were significant protests. Of course, you may not see an immediate uptick in deaths or hospitalizations because many of the protesters were young; but if those protesters interact with older family and friends, then we probably will see more deaths. But that will take several weeks to play out and may not happen if the protesters self-quarantine.

      2. Moses Herzog

        @ Willie
        I must confess to having mixed feelings on this issue. Not the importance of masks, which I think everyone should wear, but on “BLM” protests effects on the spread of the virus. I will say I watched a lot of the Minneapolis protest LIVE on “Unicorn Riot” streams as they were happening late into the night. I think people would be surprised how many African Americans, and other protesters, were in fact wearing masks in Minneapolis. I have little doubt that it was upwards of 80% (I am making that a conservative guess in the name of accuracy). In reference to your thoughts Willie, I think the unique thing about the Tulsa MAGA event, is it may have been the first public event which could have been described as BOTH a MAGA rally, AND a “BLM” protest. So on this, Republicans can get their cake and eat it too. They spread the virus by walking around without masks, then turn around and blame “BLM” (who were much more conscientious about masks in Tulsa) for the spread of the virus. And one way where it’s easy to see this very striking differentiation is if you watch the video of the Tulsa MAGA rally, 95% of people inside the BOK Center are not wearing a mask, and when you look at the people outside the BOK Center, 80%+ of those in the “BLM” group were wearing masks.

        There is no doubt, whoever generic person “X” wishes to blame, the virus has markedly increased transmission because of the Tulsa event.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          In support of your main argument, while I do not have the links (shame on me), there was a recent Slate article reporting that in the vast majority of BLM protests the vast majority of participants have worn masks. I do not know what local data 2slug has in mind, but I am unaware of any major upsurge in new cases in localities with BLM protests but no major counter protests.

          I did see two claims of such local upsurges from debatable sources. One was for Boulder, CO and the other for Lansing, MI. But, of course, Lansing has also had some major counter protests, all those gun carriers ivading the state capital in response to Trump’s call to”Liberate Michigan!” Anyway, that possible example can be ignored, although there may be some localities whete there was not much mask wearing and new cases have risen. But it does not look like a widespread phenomenon as of now. Those trying to blame the general increase in new cases on the BLM protests are clearly mistaken.

      3. Moses Herzog

        @ Willie
        In my opinion neither the county level or the state level has done a good job trying to track or even count correctly the number of cases or deaths. They don’t even report hospitalizations number on the weekend. But the two numbers I pay attention to (other than “Rt”) is the 7-day rolling average on cases, and hospitalizations which tends to be a leading indicator on deaths: You’ll find the 7 day at the bottom of the black box “dashboard” thingy:

        Hospitalizations tend to be reported in the evening, so maybe check after 7pm everyday if you’re curious about the Tulsa event’s long-term effects. I’d say certainly 6 weeks out from the exact date of the rally any effects would be seen by then—certainly in the hospitalizations number if we’re focusing on deaths.

        1. Willie

          I pay attention to the averages and then extrapolate a trend from there. Washington is having a surge in cases, but the big surge in not in areas that had large protests. The cases are rising fastest in MAGA-land areas. This does not conclusively prove anything yet, because, as you point out, the asymptomatic transmissions may result in rising infection rates later than two or three weeks.

  4. Rick Stryker


    As usual, you and other progressives dishonestly allude to a quote from Trump taken out of context, in order to make him look bad. Here is the full quote:

    “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear. And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.

    The fact is, the greatest experts — I’ve spoken to them all. Nobody really knows.”

    But since you are making coronavirus knowledge an important criterion for a presidential candidate, let’s not forget that Joe Biden recently said that the coronavirus has killed over 120 million Americans. As Trump rightly points out, there are mistakes, and then there are mistakes. Someone who is capable of making an error like that, even for a moment, is dangerously incompetent.

    If progressives really believed in competence, none of them would or could vote for Joe Biden. But they are not serious about competency and most will vote for Biden despite his obvious serious intellectual challenges. Everyone should bear in mind that progressive hypocrisy anytime one of them brings up Trump’s alleged incompetence. Just ignore them.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker No, there are deliberate mistakes and then there are gaffes. Biden is and always has been a gaffe machine. It was perfectly clear that he meant to say 120 thousand rather than 120 million. It’s the equivalent of a verbal typo. The other day he said “fourteen” rather than “four.” But everyone knew what he was talking about. There was no intent to mislead. You can’t say that about Trump’s deliberately misleading statements. It’s true that the experts didn’t know what was going to happen, but they sure as hell knew what was NOT going to happen, and that was a miraculous disappearance. I can’t tell you whether GDP next year will be $18T or $23T. And no expert can either. But I’m quite sure no expert believes it will be $180T.

      Biden makes gaffes. Trump lies so much he can’t tell truth from fiction. A President Biden will have someone at his side to correct his gaffes. A President Trump will fire anyone who dares to correct him.

      Trump must be rubbing off on you because your arguments are getting as intellectually dishonest as anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth.

    2. baffling

      rick stryker believes trump is perfectly fine telling folks to drink bleach to kill the virus. real leadership there, dick.

  5. sammy

    I looked up the definition of “New COVID cases” and found this at the CDC:

    Laboratory Criteria
    Laboratory evidence using a method approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or designated authority:

    Confirmatory laboratory evidence:
    Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 ribonucleic acid (SARS-CoV-2 RNA) in a clinical specimen using a molecular amplification detection test
    Presumptive laboratory evidence:
    Detection of specific antigen in a clinical specimen
    Detection of specific antibody in serum, plasma, or whole blood indicative of a new or recent infection*

    Pay particular attention to the last two lines. The presence of antibodies, that is a prior infection, are counted as new cases. I don’t know the percentage of new cases that are antibody driven, but if significant would be overstating the spread.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      sammy: Fatalities should not be dependent on measurement error in testing; take a look at the gradient for Florida, Texas for fatalities (on log scale) — easy to see at if *adding* antigen tests to overall test results were biasing results overwhelmingly, shouldn’t we have expected the pace to decline?

      1. sammy

        Time, Menzie, time.

        On the subject of death rates, if the CDC studies are correct, the death rate is 6X to 24X lower

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          sammy: I am referring to per day fatalities, not per confirmed cases. Deaths per day are decreasing in US, but at a slowing rate (in terms of growth rates). Death rates per day are rising in Florida, Texas — those figures are not sensitive to testing rates.

          1. Baffling

            Denialists conveniently ignore the very hard data of hospital and icu beds filling up when they spout the increased testing nonsense. Hospital beds are filling up at high rates in houston because the republican governor reopened the economy into an early exponential spread condition of the virus. Only an idiot would have thought a massive spread would not occur. Texas will need to shutdown again. Economically this will be much more costly than a more intelligent and data driven reopening would have been. Very poor leadership. Abbott forced houston to open too soon, against the wishes of local leaders.

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