How Many Fatalities Will Governors and Localities Accept?

The shape of the recovery, when it comes, depends on the answer.

New cases are rising in some counties. Those counties account for a substantial share of US GDP.

Source: DB, “Under the Hood: National progress mask worrying county trends,” Economic Perspectives, June 19, 2020.

While pink and red counties don’t seem to account for most of the area, we know GDP is geographically concentrated. Deutsche Bank estimates 30-50% of US GDP is generated by counties with deteriorating trends in Covid cases and fatalities.

Source: DB, “Under the Hood: National progress mask worrying county trends,” Economic Perspectives, June 19, 2020.

No wonder there’s such a high degree of uncertainty regarding the course of the economy. Much depends on state and local government policies with respect to public health.

I discuss these issues on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Morning Time today.



10 thoughts on “How Many Fatalities Will Governors and Localities Accept?

  1. Barkley Rosser


    Figure 14 is a bit curious. Today is June 22, but it shows lines going for maybe a week beyond that date. Right at that date both the lines rise sharply, but beyond what looks like today somehow they drop back down. Is this a projection or what?

    I agree that the apparent increase in cases is probablyi begnning to affect the economy and to slow hear for the latter part of June whatever increase has been happening during this soon-to-end second quarter. What is clear is how little is clear about what is happening right now.

  2. 2slugbaits

    Your patience with a couple of those callers was nothing short of heroic. In keeping with our President’s fondness for nicknames, I hereby dub you St. Menzie, patron saint of diplomacy across the airwaves. I swear that one of the callers was our very own Bruce Hall.

    1. Anonymous

      Menzie did really great the entire interview, my personal favorite was the intonation of his voice when he says “OK….. it is kinda a mishmash”. Somehow I suddenly felt I was in a Seinfeld Episode and George was sitting in the diner trying to explain something to Jerry (I mean that as a compliment). But you know, when you have a PhD economist who thinks the MAGA tariffs are a huge problem with low farmer/producer “margins” and a farmer who thinks COVID-19 means that people don’t eat basic food staples they are producing, “worlds are colliding”:

  3. Willie

    Former hot spots learned the hard way. Now other areas are learning the hard way. It is a shame learning is so hard.

      1. Willie

        As a rural kid, I had to grab the electric fence to see what happens. Apparently it was not fatal. It taught me to listen to what people who know more than me were telling me. Maybe some people just didn’t pee on the electric fence, but should have.

  4. Bruce Hall


    I don’t participate in cluster talks.

    Some data for you:

    County information is fine, but I didn’t get too excited when counties in Michigan had 50-100% increases recently when their absolute base numbers were 5-10. It would be helpful to have more granular data within those counties that aligns with the CDC information above. If the demographic mix is significantly different, that could be indicative of either questionable data or a new trend, both of which prospects should be examined. It would be good to know if there are special circumstances such as more nursing homes being infected or massive public gatherings triggering a spread. I’m guessing that data is probably not available and more than likely any available data is not the result of consistent diagnosis or reporting across the many counties and states.

    The data, at present, appear to indicate a sustained downward trajectory, although I recognize that it may not yet reflect any potential increase in infections resulting from the massive protests in many cities.

    I would hope that you might consider looking at the data before responding with a snarky comment, although I’m sure pgl will have one already prepared. Regardless, I only visit this site occasionally now as it is obvious the discussions are more politically driven than data driven.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Bruce Hall Obviously you didn’t listen to the public radio link. It wasn’t about COVID-19 per se; it was about the economic fallout. One caller sounded like Angela Merkel’s famous “Swabian housewife” and recommended the same kind of austerity policies we heard from Tea Party types ten years ago.

      You would do well to at least learn the basics of mathematical epidemiology. Here’s a nice video of a computer simulation that corrects any misunderstandings you might have about apparently isolated safe zones.

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