Tracking the Current Recession

Paweł Skrzypczyński has taken on the task of tracking what he calls the Covid-19 recession as the data come out:

So stay tuned to this site as the data roll in. (Note: the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee has not yet declared a peak in economic activity, and is unlikely to do so for some time.)

Here’s my tracking of just 5 indicators from a few days ago (none of these series have been updated since):

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink), all log normalized to 2019M01=0.  Manufacturing and trade sales for February assumed to be at stochastic trend for 2018-2020M01. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, Macroeconomic Advisers (3/26 release), and author’s calculations.

More high frequency data are used in generating the forecast discussed in this post.

As of today, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow nowcast for Q1 is 1% SAAR, the NY Fed 1.5% SAAR. IHS MarkIt (formerly Macroeconomic Advisers) is at -3.7% SAAR (note this last nowcast uses judgment, while the first two use purely historical correlations to nowcast.)


77 thoughts on “Tracking the Current Recession

  1. Pawel Skrzypczynski

    Thanks for posting the link. What we should expect in coming weeks/months is that these charts will become dominated by current cycle unprecended dynamics and in turn history will become flat… sudden stop is at play. Stay healthy!

    1. Moses Herzog

      Great job Pawel. If you met Menzie’s quality benchmark to get in the post portion up above the comments, you’ve impressed me. I can only dream to get mentioned in that portion of the blog in a positive light. Maybe if I get good with the “R” program, but that’s pretty doubtful.

    2. Abe

      Pawel – Thanks for the comparisons. Not to be picky but the graphs seem a bit busy (too many grey lines without identification). Could you (1) either identify the recessions of each line or color code them and/or (2) maybe average them out.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Abe
        He makes it quite clear, and to my eye they look pretty clear. You need to go to the website friend, the links are in Menzie’s post. The straight horizontal dark black line gives you the time mark of the peak (February 2020). The individual stat is identified in the high upper margin space, and the stat is also the only dark black line (other than the peak time mark) in the graph. I actually like this way, as sometimes lines can seem too thin, or colors can be slightly confusing (beige vs orange, hot pink vs red, purple vs dark blue, etc). Every way/format has a weakness, but Pawel’s presentation is solid.

        1. Pawel Skrzypczynski

          @ Moses Herzog, thanks!
          @ Abe, I added a pdf file with averaged cycles. I still have to add quarterly data to this file, but before NIPA publishes Q1 it will be ready. Thanks!

    1. Ulenspiegel

      “Did you see the NYTimes story on using electric power production as an economic indicator?”

      Why is that considered original? E.g. The lower demand of electrcity in 2018/2019 in Germany could only be explained with a lower industrial production….

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Looking at electricity use has long been an alternative way of measuring output when official measures of GDP are questionable. This has been the case for decades in socieities with large underground/unofficial/non-legal/black economies, with the rate of that changing a lot in the post-socialist transitioin economies in the 90s. We who studied the size and changes in that sector in those economies regularly examined electricity usage and compared it with official GDP numbers as a way of estimating the size of that sector.

  2. Barkley Rosser

    Absurdly, there is a good chance that this event will not register as a standard media-definition recession as defined by “at least two successive quarters of negative GDP gtrowth,” although probably the NBER will declare one, that group not tied to that media definition.

    It depends on if first quarter ends up positive or negative, with this post showing some estimates having it positive. After all, we certainly has positive growth in Jan and Feb, with negative in March, with it perhaps coming down to when in March the data is measured as March only fell off a cliff after a week or so.

    Clearly second quarter will be super negative, but it may be so negative that third will be positive, if not good enough to get us back to the Feb. level. If that is the case, well, only one quarter of negative growth! Hah! No recession! I am sure Trump and his supporters would love to tell that story over and over. Greatest economy ever!

    1. The Rage

      It might have been negative in February. Covid has been effecting data since December.

    2. pgl

      Economy declines by 15% in 2020QII and then sees 2% growth in 2020QII. YEA – MAGA. Never mind we are still about 15% below potential.

    3. Willie

      That thought crossed my mind. If there was positive growth in the first quarter at all, and then positive growth at all in the third quarter, it is not a recession according to conventional definitions.

      But, when you consider that something like 10% of the workforce could find themselves jobless all of a sudden, I do not see growth in the third quarter. The kind of shock will take a while to overcome.

      Think of all the self employed people and gig workers whose jobs will just flat be gone after a few more weeks. Expanded unemployment insurance will not solve that and may not ultimately help those people all that much. This kind of thing is happening to family members, so it is not an abstract thought.

      1. Willie

        It looks like Q1 will see a decline in output. Q2 certainly will. I expect that Q3 will as well. So there’s three quarters in a row, minimum. So, never mind whether this is a recession or not. I suppose it’s not yet, technically, but it will be soon enough, and the average person sure knows the economy is in the tank.

        1. pgl

          Trump has declared that economic growth in the 2nd half of this year will be the strongest ever in the history of the universe. And we know he is never wrong – right?

    4. macroduck

      The question of Q3 output is a measurement question. The conventional treatment of GDP growth is to compare the average of one quarter to that of another, rather than comparing quarter-end to quarter-end. That means the timing of the bounce within a quarter is at least as important as the strength of the bounce in determining the measured rate of GDP change in that quarter.

      As a result, Q3 GDP growth is to a very large extent a policy choice. If quarantines are lifted in large states on June 30, Q3 will be strong. If they are lifted on July 30, even strong growth in July and August may not be enough to register as a rise in GDP for Q3.

      Dean Baker argues that Trump will decide to lift the federal guidance on social distancing prematurely to generate good economic numbers. Even Kudlow can figure out the timing issue in generating a GDP gain in Q3, so Trump has an incentive to lift the distancing guidance by June at the latest. Trump doesn’t have the power to force state and local authorities to lift quarantines. Baker says politics give Trump the effective power to do so even without the legal power – Baker knows economics better than he knows politics, so who knows? None of this will matter much if Covid-19 is strongly seasonal.

      1. macroduck

        Note that I easily avoided the oxymoron “negative growth” in the above comment. Who started that nonsense?

        Fall, decline, shrinkage, reduce and all its grammatical relatives, collapse in the present situation – all do the job that economists load on this oxymoron. Does Jenny Craig promise negative weight gain? Do doctors recommend trying to negatively raise one’s blood pressure? Better negatively accelerate for that stop sign.

        Negative growth is not just an oxymoron, it’s a stilted oxymoron.

        Wow. I feel so much better now.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          No, macroduck, it is not an oxymoron. You may find it annoying for economists to talk about positive and negative growth, but that is what we do. If you wish us to stop talking about “negative growth” then it would make sense to also stop talking about “positive growth” and substitue some other popular words like “boom” or “expansion” to match the bunch of terms you suggested shold be used for when GDP is declining.

          Maybe posting this made you feel good, but frankly this is a big zero.

          1. macroduck

            Barkley, you seem to have allowed the pitchfork-toting ego-devil on your left shoulder to overrule the little rational fellow on your right. I remind you again, you are not lexicographer-in-chief. No matter how important you think you are, you do not determine word meaning in the English (or any other language, just in case your ego is working overtime). An oxymoron, according to Merriam-Webster, is a word or group of words that is self-contradictory. “Growth” in the sense used in this context, again according to M-W, means “increase”. “Negative growth” means decrease. “Negative growth” is, an oxymoron, pure and simple. One needn’t have done graduate studies in linguistics to have understood this without me explaining it.

            An oxymoron is not problematic in itself (see the funeral speech in “Julius Caesar”). The problem is stilted, gassy writing. There are plenty of ways to express that output or consumption have fallen that are clear and concise. Perhaps that is your objection? Perhaps puffy expression suits you.

            And yes, I do think economists should stop writing “positive growth”. I had thought that was implicit in my earlier comment, but perhaps in your state of mind that was not clear. There is a perfect word to replace “positive growth” that loses nothing in meaning but is more concise – the word is “growth”. I suspect that if you had given your own question a moment’s thought, you’d have realized this yourself. That happens when in a pique. “Positive growth” is twice the words for no more meaning, only useful if the meaning of growth is obscured by the frequent occurrence of “negative growth” in nearby text. If we simply write “growth” and “contraction” as Webster intended, all will be well.

            For anyone perplexed by the venom of Barkley’s response to my earlier comment, here’s what may be going on. Some time ago, I suggested that Barkley’s response to a comment by Moses H was excessive. Barkley reacted by accusing me of taking Moses’ side and something about joining him in the gutter or some such. Barkley is a bit of an intellectual preener and gets surly at the slightest contraction. I suspect Barkley has been waiting in the weeds for an opportunity to slag me off ever since, what with me having joined the evil Moses clique. Don’t be alarmed. Just ignore it.

            (By the way, the current common meaning of oxymoron came into use over a hundred years ago, so if Barkley comes back with a “gotcha!” based on the older definition from rhetoric, don’t be fooled. He has a hard time admitting error.)

          2. 2slugbaits

            macroduck I’ll take a middle-of-the-road, wishy-washy position on this. I agree that there is something a bit odd about “negative growth.” In that use “growth” is used as a noun and “negative” describes it. Used as a noun, most dictionaries point out that the word “growth” refers to something that is always increasing. OTOH, when economists say “negative growth” what they really mean is shorthand for “negative growth rate.” And in this case “rate” is the core noun, with “negative” being an adjective that describes “rate”; however, the phrase “negative rate” doesn’t convey any useful information because it doesn’t describe what’s being measured or described. We need to add “growth” in order to make sense of the phrase. If I say the economy has a “negative rate” you wouldn’t have any idea what I meant. But if I say the economy has a “negative growth rate” it’s immediately clear what I mean. In this case adding the word “growth” further modifies the noun “rate.” Put another way, when used with the phrase “negative growth rate” the word “negative” isn’t modifying “growth” but is modifying the word “rate.” And it’s the same with the word “growth”; it modifies the word “rate.”

          3. John

            @Barkley : growth in itself can be only positive. positive growth is a tautology, though widely used because people are used to it.
            The term negative growth is both an oxymoron and stupid, but widely used because people are stupid.

            @macroduck : “As a result, Q3 GDP growth is to a very large extent a policy choice.” Bernanke would say GDP growth is only a policy choice.

          4. Barkley Rosser

            I agree with 2slugbaits. It really is about growth rates, but often economist, lots of them, simply leave off the “rate.”

            Frankly, Macroduck, you have completely lost it. This whole discussion is just silly.

            If you want to whine further about techniucally incorect things that economists say, then join the mob that is constantly getting all upset when somebody talks about “the Nobel Prize in ecnoomics,” bercause, wow, there is no such thing. It is indeed the Sveriges Rksbank Prize in Economic Sicences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. This will be almost as impressive as this silly whining about oxymorons, which mostly just makes you look like one without the “oxy” (sorry, could not resist that).

          5. Barkley Rosser

            BTW, MD, you are mistaken that I was on your case because you once agreed with Moses in a debate with me. Sorry, but I had forgotten about that. Sorry, but you are not that much on my mind.

          6. Barkley Rosser

            BTW, for the record, macroduck and john , I accept that indeed “negative growth” is an oxymoron. You both get a gold star from your 8thy grade English teachers for that.

            However, so what? People use oxymorons alll the time. They liven up the language, and language is about communication. Anybody who does not know what “negative growth” means should not be commenting on an economics blog. Really.

            Also, while you may want to vamp on about the horrors of contradiction, I note that this is a fixation mired in simplistic Anglo-American instrumentalism. Continental dialects find thesis-antithesis diaelctics prompting sythesis dynamics to be serious stuff. But then I know that 8th grade English teachers do not teach Hegel.

            As it is, current widespread usage of “negative growth” is not that sophisticated. It is just laziness, with the implied “rate(s” on the end that would make it perfectly correct as 2slug notes simply left off out of laziness and not wanting to clutter things up with extra words. And, sorry boys, but perfervid denunciations of the horror or this and how stupid all the economists are who use this will not change things one bit. It will simply make both of you look like silly fools wasting everybody’s time with such nonsense.

      2. Willie

        There’s no evidence that COVID-19 is seasonal. There’s some evidence that it isn’t. If Trump lifts the restrictions early, there will be a resurgence of infections. It could get ugly. I suspect that even devout MAGA types can understand that. The understanding might come too late, after the damage is done, but they will eventually understand the importance of avoiding relaxing too early. Eventual isn’t soon enough to avoid another spike in the death rate if restrictions get lifted too early.

      3. Barkley Rosser

        On this I thnk Trump and his advisers are being stupid in a self-destructive way. We have already seen it. If he had moved once Fauci changed his mind in mid-February at about the peak of the stock market, we would have probably seen a lot fewer cases and deaths, as well as smaller declines in the stock market and the broader economy, with as well a likely sooner point of solid turnaround. He did all his damaging delaying out of an idiotic and incompetent effort to prop up the stock market and his reelection chances, but almost certainly harmed them.

        Now we may be about to see more of the same, with apparently Dean Baker not figuring out the bottom line, although obviously he is right about the motive, Trump again wanting the markets and economy to go up sooner and faster to help his reelection chances. As it is, those would be maximized by having the economy and market clearly growing solidly at the time of the election in November, along with the virus clearly being under control. But the economy and markets are simply not going to grow in a sustained way untile the virus is under control. This idiotic effort to reopen soon, beginning of May perhaps, with this to be psuhed by a “second coronavirus team” with no physicians on it but possibly led by Art Laffer, would very likely lead to an initial burst of economic expansion in May, but soon after we would likely see a reemergence of the virus in a second wave as is happening in some other nations, with this then leading to a second round of shutdowns and so on, which will extend the recession and all that much further, much more likely into the election season this fall, thus ending up damaging Trump’s reelection chances. But he and his top advisers are clearly just way too stupid and incompetent to figure this out.

        1. John

          @Barkley : elections are in November and everything will be hunky dory then in the U.S.A. These numbers are only statistics, and you know Winston Churchills quote …

  3. Moses Herzog

    “note this last nowcast uses judgement”. Menzie, you’ve been out of control and shown a lack of discretion for quite awhile now. One more obscene outburst like this and…… and…… and……. we won’t let you attend PBR rodeo at the next Jackson Hole Fed Meeting.

  4. pgl

    I have suggested Bruce Hall is even dumber than Donald Trump on pushing their snake oil scam re COVID-19. Check this story:


    we can’t wait for rigorous studies of the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

    Dr. Andre Kalil responds:

    In fact, the anti-malarial drugs have never been found to work against any viral disease, including Ebola. (Malaria is caused by a parasite, not a virus.) And the drugs have side effects, including damage to the liver and bone marrow, as well as heart rhythm disturbances that could be fatal in older people and young people with serious medical problems. Even worse, Dr. Kalil said, is the promotion of the antibiotic azithromycin in combination with the anti-malarial drugs to treat Covid-19 patients. Azithromycin also may cause serious heart rhythm problems, and the combination of drugs, Dr. Kalil said, has never been tested for safety in humans.

    1. Willie

      Anti-malarial drugs were being tried in Europe. Not any more. They were killing too many people without providing a benefit. Surprise.

      1. pgl

        Did you not get the White House memo written by Bruce Hall? We are not supposed to report negative news on Bruce’s snake oil. Fake news, fake news.

  5. pgl

    Trump just declared that we will see the great economic growth ever in the second half of 2020 and we will see the best stock market gain in “50 years”. Wait, wait – I thought 1970 was a bad year for Wall Street. Who is feeding Trump this BS? Oh – it must be Lawrence Kudlow.

  6. pgl

    Trump and Bruce Hall insist using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 is safe. This treatment has shown no evidence of any benefit but a major French hospital knows it can kill patients:

    A hospital in France has had to stop an experimental treatment using hydroxychloroquine on at least one coronavirus patient after it became a “major risk” to their cardiac health … “There were reports of suspected more serious side effects than we first thought,” he is quoted as saying. “We cannot rule out serious side effects, especially from the heart, and it is a hard-dosed drug. The fact that some seriously ill COVID-19 patients have acute heart problems has raised concerns that chloroquine may be harmful to some patients.”

    The good news is that these French doctors monitored their patients and stop using this snake oil although the Gilead Yahoo Finance board is suggesting 4 did die. Look – I doubt this reality is going to slow down either Trump or Bruce Hall from advocating this potentially dangerous snake oil. After all they want to money off of it and could care less about the lives of these patients.

  7. Moses Herzog

    Am I the only person who thinks Susan Rice would be a grand slam home run choice for Biden’s VP??

    1. pgl

      She is a very smart person. Alas our nation seems to dislike smart and capable women for some odd reason.

  8. 2slugbaits

    I haven’t seen a lot of discussion as to how deep the drop in the inventory component of GDP will be.

    1. Julian Silk

      Dear AS,

      It would be better if they had been more specific about their data. A direct link to what may be the weekly unemployment claims is

      This corresponds with the U.S. Department of Labor calculation that the unemployment rate has reached 4.4%. But of course, it will not stay there.


      1. AS

        Julian, thanks for the reply.
        I have been trying to use the Louisiana data from the paper to see if I can forecast PAYEMS and UNRATE for April 2020. I need to read the paper more carefully.

        Off topic forecasting comment. I have found the Gompertz model to be quite satisfying on forecasting the progress of the virus cases, both for the US and for California. It looks like the total cases in the US may have peaked, today’s Johns Hopkins data may help to confirm my humble forecasting efforts. To me it looks like there will be about 1.2 million US cases from this first virus attack. California may have as few as 55,000 cases and deaths of about 5,000 to 8,000. With each days release of data, the model jumps around a bit, but is jumping less each day.

    1. 2slugbaits

      sammy Yes, “of course” has it exactly right. It’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Texans. And in another month Gov. Abbot will be begging the rest of the country to bail his sorry ass out of trouble. I expect something similar from that dimwit Gov. Ivey of Alabama.

    2. Baffling

      Of course abbott would argue for this. The state of texas still had very limited testing capacity as of this past week. From gov idiots perspective, the state does not have a problem, because so few people have tested positive-artificially. But the lockdown has been in effect less than two weeks. The surge in the state is just now starting, and the peak is not expected until end of april. Gov idiot is looking to free up the economy just as the peak will be occurring. The term exponential spread means nothing to the uneducated like abbott. Texas was on its way to controlling the virus, but alas victory was fleeting due to another idiot leader trying to kiss the ass of trump.

    3. pgl

      I bet Sammy put on his MAGA hat when he read this. But take a look at this:

      ‘Top health officials stressed, however, that it’s far too soon to declare victory as the number of Texans infected continues to grow. Gov. Greg Abbott said he’d issue an order next week to lay the groundwork for reopening the state’s economy … The number of Texans that have been tested for the virus is 115,918, according to the latest DSHS figures. That figure has continued to alarm many given how tiny of a fraction it is of Texas’ population, which numbers nearly 29 million people.’

      Ending social distancing with outbreaks still rising and not nearly enough testing is a recipe for a disaster in Texas. Oh wait – I bet Sammy is hoping those that die from this irresponsible move will be Hispanics and Blacks, which will help keep Biden votes down as dead citizens cannot vote. MAGA!

      1. 2slugbaits

        I bet Sammy is hoping those that die from this irresponsible move will be Hispanics and Blacks, which will help keep Biden votes down as dead citizens cannot vote.

        I don’t know if that’s what sammy is hoping for, but sadly I suspect it’s what quite a few Texas GOP politicians are hoping for. Wisconsin’s recent experience showed us just how immoral state level GOP politicians can be.

        1. pgl

          Fauci says US could see a ‘rolling’ reopen starting next month but warns of a ‘rebound’ in outbreaks later this year

          Before the Trump sycophants go ape over what is a clearly cautious message, let’s note:

          “Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that public health officials could consider measures to reopen the country next month, depending on the status of the outbreak in different states and cities.”

          I bet Houston or Dallas are not good candidates for reopening but that is not going to stop their governor from ignoring the medical professionals.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          sammy: And perhaps even more Republicans, since all the vote tampering episodes of the past couple years have been on the Republican side…

          1. pgl

            Love that part about Lisa Britt. In his defense I guess, he was just helping members of his family to get jobs!

          1. noneconomist

            Trump claims—for benefit of Sammy and the true believers— that there were 1 million illegal votes in California in 2016. If all those were cast for Clinton, he would have lost by “only” 3.2 million votes!

    4. noneconomist

      Good thing the virus can’t cross state lines (from Louisiana or New Mexico). That 180 mile stretch between Shreveport and Dallas-Fort Worth pretty much ensures that metro area will be totally safe. Houston shouldn’t worry either.

      1. Moses Herzog

        That 10 person maximum congregating at one time rule is a great one. According to the CDC right after you go to 11 the virus starts spreading like wildfire. Me and 9 guys had some spicy wings at the house today, and I coughed on another guy and he freaked out, I said “Don’t you know the CDC’s 10 person rule?? We’re in the clear dude.” He just kinda looked at me funny. Then he said he thought it was strange only about 3 counties of 77 counties in our state required masks in public and our Governor has never been seen wearing a mask. I said “Don’t you know he has the super cool Christianist and conservative juice in his blood?? It makes him immune to disease and hypocrisy”. He just shrugged and said he had to go because he forgot to feed his kitty.

        The whole thing was strange, I mean, this is Christianist conservative Oklahoma, who forgets to feed their kitty?? I mean if the SOB didn’t like my spicy wings he could have just said it. I hope he at least knows the CDC’s “drive-thru pick up and curb side pick-up rule” which states on the CDC website that when food is transferred from one person to another in this way, both parties are immune to the virus. I better call him right now to tell him. Seeyehz laterz!!!

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Willie: My guess is that Abbott’s utility function ascribes near zero weight to non-donor lives, so I’m sure he’ll be plenty happy.

      2. noneconomist

        Largest minority groups in Texas? Hispanics/Latinos (either 32% or 39% depending on how you classify) and African Americans (13%).
        Groups being hit hardest by the virus? Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans.
        Not to worry. the always-on-the-ball Sammy says opening the economy COULD be a disaster. And, I’m guessing, Sammy thinks that’s just for whites. For others, far worse.

  9. sammy

    Totally gutsy move on the part of Abbot, per Texas. Yes, it could end in disaster, but what I think is more likely is that other states, red states, will follow and start to open up the economy again. Libs will catcall from their bunkers, a la Econbrowser, but will eventually follow suit, YMMV.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      sammy: I don’t think either I or Jim have made a statement on Econbrowser regarding opening up the economy, so you are pre-emptively mischaracterizing the Econbrower stance. However, it is true that plenty of macroeconomists have spoken out against an early restart, e.g. Eichenbaum et al., or they condition on having some ability to track the infection via testing; please read some informed literature, say starting at

    2. Baffling

      In houston people seem to be viewing the position abbot is taking very skeptically. The medical community is upset, because they barely have enough resources if the area stays strongly socially distanced. The hospitals do not have the capacity if we relax the current standards. Rationing of healthcare will occur. NRG stadium has already been converted to overflow medical facility. I guess abbot wants to test the facility. Sammy, should those that want to break the standard early still receive medical care from an over burdened system?

    3. noneconomist

      It COULD end in disaster? Brilliant observation, Sammy. As usual.
      There are 18 million plus people living in the combined metro areas of Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Three cities (Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio) are among the top ten most populated cities. Austin and Forth Worth are in the top 15.
      Texas is a huge importer and exporter and depends on traffic from the southern border that Trump periodically threatens to close. Mexico is likely still their #1 trade partner. I take it opening up the economy means not messing with the border and the hundred of thousands of jobs dependent on that border being open.
      And being as close to Louisiana as they are, what do the centrally and easterly located areas–Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington and Houston– have to worry about? Maybe Louisiana will open up its economy too. and other red states will follow! (maybe Florida’s idiot governor will also follow suit and open up the beaches again too)
      Honest to God, Sammy. You never cease to amaze.

    4. pgl

      “Yes, it could end in disaster, but what I think is more likely is that other states, red states, will follow and start to open up the economy again.”

      Wow Sammy just told us something about his utility function here. So there is a 60% chance that his stock portfolio will get a 10% gain and a 40% chance he will die. Sammy takes the bet. Of course no sane person would do the same unless his name was Lawrence Kudlow.

    5. macroduck

      Sammy, I think you have it about right. Republican-majority states will open first. Not because it’s safe, but because Trump wants them to. Other states will re-open later. That’s implicit in Republican states going first.

      That order doesn’t mean Republican politicians are right, only that they hold the lives of others in lower regard than the rest of us.

  10. sammy

    ” I don’t think either I or Jim have made a statement on Econbrowser regarding opening up the economy”

    Well Menzie, it’s time to take a stand. You are supposed to be an intellectual who evaluates data to come to some kind of conclusion. Analysts who say “shut it all down” or “we need more data” are a dime a dozen. The analyst who says based on x risk, this is what we should do, are who we need. This is what Trump has to do. Unless you are willing to do this, you should refrain from criticizing, either passively or actively, those who do.

    1. pgl

      Sammy takes a stand! It is a dumber than rocks stand but hey – he just might get an appearance on Fox and Friends!

    2. 2slugbaits

      sammy The analyst who says based on x risk, this is what we should do, are who we need. This is what Trump has to do.

      When asked to describe his metrics for opening up the economy, Trump simply pointed to his head. He might as well have pointed to his oversize gut. I thought Trump’s answer was revealing because it showed us that Trump does not intend to follow any the kind of formal risk analysis that you suggested “Trump has to do.” Now I happen to agree with you that a structured risk analysis is what should be done. The problem is that Trump has explicitly told us that he’s not going to do that kind of thing. Instead, he’s going to just shoot from the hip. He has no metrics. We know this because he already told us that he won’t be using any kind of objective metrics; just whatever happens to pop into that reptilian part of his brain. And given Trump’s poor business track record and multiple bankruptcies, I don’t think you want anyone like him trying to assess the risks of opening up the economy.

      you should refrain from criticizing, either passively or actively, those who do.

      I think the point of our criticisms has been that Trump has not been doing the kind of deep thinking that he should be doing. Trump has been unable to explain his thinking. That’s the problem. Instead of explaining his plan, he just gets up on the stage and emotes, bullies and lies.

      It’s funny that you of all people should be insisting that Menzie provide a formal risk analysis since it’s pretty obvious that you have never actually done one yourself.

    3. baffling

      “The analyst who says based on x risk, this is what we should do, are who we need. This is what Trump has to do.”
      sammy, let us be clear, this is NOT want trump is doing. trump is not taking in the information on the risk and developing a well thought out plan of action. trump is looking at his reelection prospects, and determining what helps or hinders those prospects, and acting accordingly. if trump were considering the risks, he would have shut down the country long ago, and made advanced preparations for testing and treatment of patients stricken with covid19. he did no such thing, which is why states are competing with each other and fema to obtain limited ppe and testing supplies.
      i will ask the question of you that i did for all the other morons who have minimized the severity of the issue in the past month. since you are adamant that reopening the economy early is the prudent thing, why should the medical professionals on the front line risk their lives to help a person who intentionally puts themselves and others in harms way. sammy, please go out and make your buck if you want. but honor the medical front line, and promise not to seek treatment if you become infected. they have plenty of other patients already. are you (and others of the same mindset) willing to make that promise? or you do you want those brave medical professionals to clean up the mess you made yourself, since you are incapable of caring for yourself?

    4. macroduck

      Trolls who say whatever comes to mind to support their political tribe, without regard to the truth, are a dime a dozen. What we need now are people who put truth above politics. Unless you are willing to do this, you should refrain from criticizing, either actively or passively, those who do.

  11. Moses Herzog

    I think many people foresaw this happening, based on the slow reaction and the hiding of initial cases by Russian officials:

    Meanwhile, China reports “99 new cases, 0 deaths……” Hmmmm, seems very believable. I guess it’s easier for China to count the dead bodies when you have state run crematories running 24/7 and notifications to families to shut up their traps or be put in prison for “spreading rumors and undermining morale”. Seems our own U.S. state governors could learn from Beijing the proper way to lie. Instead of refusing to test people dying alone in their homes for COVID-19 and ignoring families that make noise about it, they could just cremate the bodies and then threaten their families. Republican governors like Kevin Stitt could THEN say “How can a run a blood test on cremated remains?? I cremate ‘for the people’ “.

  12. pgl

    Here’s an interesting comparison of two potential treatments for COVID-19. The bad news in this story relates to that anti-malaria treatment that Trump and Bruce Hall have been dishonestly pushing as THE miracle cure:

    “On a less optimistic note, France’s drug-safety agency has released data indicating that hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug Trump has pushed as a potential miracle drug for treating Covid-19, appears to have serious side effects on the heart when used for Covid-19 patients, and should be used under medical supervision. The report details 43 cases of “heart incidents” tied to hydroxychloroquine. “This initial assessment shows that the risks, in particular cardiovascular, associated with these treatments are very present and potentially increased in COVID-19 patients. Almost all of the declarations come from health establishments,” the agency said, according to the Hill. “These drugs should only be used in hospitals, under close medical supervision.” The report doesn’t offer definitive evidence on how safe it is to use hydroxychloroquine, but it underscores how dangerous it is for non-experts — such as the president — to enthusiastically tout it as a promising cure when there is not definitive evidence that it works or is safe to use. Trump has encouraged the public to use it, albeit only with a doctor’s approval, in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin — asking “what do you have to lose?” at press conferences when discussing it as a treatment that he’s eager to get behind. But scientists and medical professionals have cautioned against viewing it as an effective treatment yet. That’s in part because, as Vox’s Nicole Narea has reported, the drug has serious side effects, and its benefits for Covid-19 patients are not yet proven:”

    We have no evidence that this snake oil works but we have plenty of evidence that it could kill some users. But what makes me laugh is how Bruce Hall just ignores the careful research on another treatment being done by ethical and smart people at Gilead Sciences:

    “Biotech company Gilead Sciences published an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday tracking the responses of 53 patients with severe cases of Covid-19 to remdesivir therapy given out on a compassionate-use basis — that is, patients were given the unapproved drug because no other options are available. According to the report, doctors observed clinical improvement in 36 of the 53 patients; 8 got worse, and 7 died. Doctors were able to take 17 of the 30 patients who were on ventilators, life-support devices that help people breathe, off the machines. The authors of the study note that the death rate of the patients they observed — 13 percent — is lower than the death rate of 17 to 78 percent in China among people who are severely ill with Covid-19. Side effects included diarrhea, rash, renal impairment, and hypotension. There are huge limitations on what conclusions can be drawn from this analysis. There was no randomized control group, which would have allowed the authors to compare how patients given a placebo performed relative to those given remdesivir. And the total number of patients, spread out across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, is very small. Still, the authors of the study and outside experts have described the results as reason to feel hope. “We cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data, but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received remdesivir are hopeful,” said Jonathan Grein, lead author of the analysis and director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, in a statement from Gilead. “We look forward to the results of controlled clinical trials to potentially validate these findings.” “Results are indeed hopeful and promising from this uncontrolled remdesivir intervention study,” tweeted Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “TRIALS TRIALS TRIALS PLEASE,” he added. Paul Goepfert, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Washington Post that “It’s still a promising drug, but it doesn’t definitively prove anything.” He added, “The main thing you can gather from this study is it doesn’t cause any untoward harm.” Daniel O’Day, Gilead’s chairman and CEO, said that many studies are needed to understand if and how remdesivir could treat Covid-19. “In studying remdesivir, the question is not just whether it is safe and effective against COVID-19 but in which patients it shows activity, how long should they receive treatment and at what stage of their disease would treatment be most beneficial,” he said in an open letter discussing the new report on Friday. “Many answers are needed, which is why we need multiple types of studies involving many types of patients.”

    Notice the careful statements and continuing hard work on figuring out how can take this treatment safely, who can benefit from the treatment, and the optimal time to take it as well as the right dosage. Daniel O’Day’s recent letter was incredibly insightful and honest – which is just the opposite from what we from the dangerously dishonest snake oil sales people for Bruce Hall’s unproven and perhaps deadly “miracle” cure.

  13. pgl

    RED DAWN?!

    “WASHINGTON — As the coronavirus emerged and headed toward the United States, an extraordinary conversation was hatched among an elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions around the nation. Red Dawn — a nod to the 1984 film with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen — was the nickname for the email chain they built. Different threads in the chain were named Red Dawn Breaking, Red Dawn Rising, Red Dawn Breaking Bad and, as the situation grew more dire, Red Dawn Raging. It was hosted by the chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Duane C. Caneva, starting in January with a small core of medical experts and friends that gradually grew to dozens.”

    Our medical experts knew. People in our Federal government knew. But they had to resort to Red Dawn to communicate as not only was Trump unwilling to listen to them but he is prone to attack smart people who bring him bad news. So this nation wasted a full 10 weeks before any serious policy responses were taken. Which is why our nation has been hit harder by this virus than any other nation in the world. Our Federal government failed us in such a deadly way.

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