Mendacity Watch: Covid-19 Fatality Rate and the Swedish Success

Reader CoRev, commenting on estimates of US Covid-19 fatality numbers, writes:

There are a growing number of reports citing Sweden’s success:

I gag.

If Sweden is a success, then Von Paulus’s 6th Army is about to break out of the Stalingrad encirclement.

(Of course, we were supposed to have won the soybean trade war too, according to this guy…)

179 thoughts on “Mendacity Watch: Covid-19 Fatality Rate and the Swedish Success

  1. pgl

    Under the other thread – I posted the “resume” of CoRev’s new guru. An absolute farce that is so bad than it makes Bruce Hall look good by comparison.

  2. pgl

    CoRev’s Australian Faux News dude told us Sweden was doing better than the UK. Gee it got that right even if everything else he said was dead wrong. Sweden is not the worst. Sweden is not the worst.

  3. pgl

    Let’s take a look at the first derivatives for the top 4 (UK, Sweden, Italy, and the US). Oh wait – let’s call this the slope as in the rate of change in the total death counts, which is basically the daily death rate. I don’t want to lose our preK kids (Bruce Hall and CoRev). The 3 European disaster cases at least have gotten their daily death counts down. But the first derivative (sorry slope) has been rather steep for the past 6 weeks.

    Of course Bruce Hall back in early July predicted we would not see a lot of new deaths. And CoRev to this day is saying Brucie Boy’s prediction was right.

    Now I do not expect either one of these two to know WTF a first derivative even is. But could some preK teacher tell them how to read a graph?

    1. CoRev

      PGL says: “Let’s take a look at the first derivatives for the top 4 (UK, Sweden, Italy, and the US).” I’ll wait breathlessly for your results of Menzie’s above data, but I doubt you understand that cumulative deaths will always grow if not a constant. Unless of course you and Menzie can resurrect the Covid dead.

      I’ll save you the problem of graphing because they are every where. Try It has charts for cumulative cases and deaths, but the needed information is in the daily totals. It’s there where 1st derivatives/slope matters.

      The only mendacity I can see is using cumulative totals and then talking about 1st derivatives as if they are meaningful.

      1. pgl

        “I doubt you understand that cumulative deaths will always grow if not a constant.”

        This sentence is pure word salad. Learn to write coherently. BTW I figured you would not basic calculus as applied to something in the real world. Hey – I hear you still have not learned to tie your own shoe laces.

        1. CoRev

          PGL uses the phrase frequently: “This sentence is pure word salad. ” Most often it is because he is clueless of the meaning. To illustrate cluelessnes I point you to Menzie’s graph above of accumulated deaths. Are there any negative slopes? In an accumulating total could there ever be?
          From your comments it is obvious you don’t understand the meaning of those countries’ achieving flat lines.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            CoRev: in math, generally the cumulation can be negative. Of course, we might call it integration…
            By the way, using Hassett’s cubic spec, decumulation was implied…

          2. pgl

            “From your comments it is obvious you don’t understand the meaning of those countries’ achieving flat lines.”

            CoRev cannot even read a simple graph. The total death count for the US is not flat. Not nearly. Its slope in fact is quite steep. Now maybe the 2nd derivative turned negative in the last few day but the first derivative is still high. As in something near 1000 new deaths per day.

            But none of this basic math is something that CoRev even remotely understands. So all we get is his incessant parade of meaningless gibberish.

            I guess we need to buy CoRev two books.

            Math for Dummies
            Graphs for Dummies

          3. baffling

            “From your comments it is obvious you don’t understand the meaning of those countries’ achieving flat lines.”
            and from your comments it is obvious you don’t understand the meaning of the positive slope on the usa curve. it achieved an inflection point around 100 days, and produced a positive second derivative thereafter. the increasing slope displayed by the usa curve during the month after the inflection point is quite problematic. it means conditions were getting worse daily.

            as for sweden, once one considers the fact the swedish economy has suffered about the same as the rest of the world, it probably was not worthwhile to kill all the old folks. the usa held an advantage when we first locked down. you see it in the curve. but we lost that advantage when we reopened too early. we continue to rise and will probably plateau at a similar level to those other nations since we are no longer acting responsibly as a community to stop the spread.

            the dollars that were lost during the lockdown have now become wasted by people like corev, bruce and dick. irresponsible behavior. and the costs continue daily.

          4. CoRev

            Menzie, another irrelevant statement to the comment. BTW, in math we can have imaginary number too.

            Can you define why: “From your comments it is obvious you don’t understand the meaning of those countries’ achieving flat lines.”?

          5. CoRev

            PGL, just to help you follow the discussion, the focus fo the blogpost was: Mendacity Watch: Covid-19 Fatality Rate and the Swedish Success. Notice not US success.

            BTW, how you doing with that ole US Covid daily death rate? Can you calculate whether it is rising or still diminishing?

          6. pgl

            August 17, 2020 at 9:21 am

            CoRev: Read his comment carefully. He gets the math. He knows the data. He knows how to apply the math and the data. In other words, a very smart discussion based on good logic and the facts. Oh wait – you never bother with anything of the sort. So then babble on at your will..

          7. pgl

            “PGL, just to help you follow the discussion, the focus fo the blogpost was: Mendacity Watch: Covid-19 Fatality Rate and the Swedish Success. Notice not US success.”

            This is CoRev’s lame defense of his utter failure to understand a conversation where he repeatedly lied even as he falsely accused others of liars? OK. But the way – there was no US success. Under the leadership of Donald John Trump, we are an utter failure.

      2. pgl

        Brucie Boy provided us with a really nice worldometers chart that did this as a nation by nation comparison in terms of death per capita. I would say it was very informative but this idiot Brucie Boy had not clue what the data really showed. And it is clear – neither do you.

      3. pgl

        Your lack of candor and/or focus is staggering. Try this:

        OK – the graph entitled

        Total Coronavirus Cases in the United States

        It is far from flat. In fact its upward slope is steep. The slope got more steep after June. So the graph confirms what I have been saying and utterly refutes the BS from Bruce Hall that you keep trying to defend.
        Now are you the blindest idiot ever? Or just a lying argumentative a$$hole? I know, I know – you are likely both.

      4. pgl

        “then talking about 1st derivatives as if they are meaningful.”

        This is from the clown who focused on the 2nd derivative. Now I know that is all over your head but your own dog gets it. Which is why he is rolling on the floor laughing at you!

    2. Bruce Hall

      Some good news (or bad news depending on your perspective):

      With some 5 million “official” cases or up to 50 million unofficial (, this could be the beginning of “herd immunity”. Of course, some people hold that to be a myth or not worth talking about because 200 million people in the U.S. would have to be infected to achieve that milestone.

      However, in a year or so, with 20-20 hindsight, pundits will proclaim that we all “should have known” what the correct policies “should have been”.

      1. pgl

        Herd immunity? Hasn’t worked for Sweden but the Trump sycophant thinks it is about to work here? Come on Bruce – get busy peddling that new “cure” from the My Pillow dude.

      2. pgl

        Neither one of Bruce Hall’s links came close to suggesting herd immunity. I guess he just made this up in his warped little “brain”. We do see this:

        “Currently, there are 2.3 million COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. The CDC’s new estimate pushes the actual number of coronavirus cases up to at least 23 million.”

        So we would need 9 times the number of cases to get to herd immunity. Think about that – 9 times the number of deaths. So when 1.5 million Americans die from COVID-19, Bruce Hall will don his MAGA hat and declare “it is what it is”!

      3. CoRev

        Bruce, what is really bothering them is the results in 30 and 60 days, because pundits are already proclaiming that we all “should have known” what the correct policies “should have been”. That concern is growing for positive results for Trump’s Covid and economic policies coming out just before the election.

      4. baffling

        bruce, i am not sure why you are posting an nbc article that is nearly 2 months old. the latest data suggests that article was not accurate in its estimate. as fauci noted recently, we are not close at all to herd immunity. and the death toll to reach it will be staggering. that is the view of the nations top infection disease control expert. not some troll on a blog that you like to reference.

        1. pgl

          Bruce Hall forgot to read the date of the article again? Sometimes I wonder if this foolish bot ever learned to read.

    3. Bruce Hall

      pgl gets the award again for “putting words in another’s mouth”. My statement was to the effect that deaths would rise, but not nearly approach the New York City fiasco level that the nation saw in April. That is being born out by the “2nd wave” statistics (which I will update tomorrow because I know you are anxiously awaiting them). Hint: cases are up because there is testing of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people which was not done in April; deaths are not following in proportion.

      Speaking of Covid-19 and New York City, “James Altucher, a best-selling author and former hedge-fund manager” thinks NYC “dead”. Like so much of Covid-19 reporting, there is an element of truth and an element of hyperbole. My temporary neighbors from NYC, a database programmer and a Google manager, left NYC in February to live here at his parent’s lake cottage. “Until summer” became “until fall” became “until January” became “until next spring” became “we’re thinking about buying this play; we really like it here.”

      There is a “Catch 22” about the situation in NYC which does lead to a downward economic spiral… for awhile. People leave out of fear, businesses close, tax revenues shrink, public safety suffers, and the city stagnates and declines. It happened in 1967 to Detroit and 53-years later the city is still losing population. New York may be different because there are no ><bnearby geographic alternatives for the international and nation centers located there. When people and businesses left Detroit, they moved 20 or 30 miles outward and it was business as usual… except for Detroit. But that doesn’t mean that NYC isn’t in for a hard time. Broadway is closed so restaurants are closing. Businesses have many of the employees “working remotely” and don’t need as much office space. Rental costs are declining; good for renters, but not for landlords who have to meet the mortgages.

      So, is New York then next Detroit? No. It won’t take 50-years to see a turnaround (which is barely happening in 10 out of 140 sq. mi. in Detroit); it should be more like 50 months to see things returning to pre-Covid levels… with good management.

      You can blame Trump and I’m sure you will, but Cuomo and de Blasio share some of that blame. The woman next door from NYC is a low-level Democratic Party volunteer operative and as much as she hates Trump, she detests de Blasio… “He’s and idiot.” One of the things Detroit learned the hard way is that you can’t gut the police force and expect good results. You end up with the “the crime capital of the world”. Let’s see what de Blasio’s defunding of the police department brings to NYC, especially given all of the other current problems.

      Happy reading:

      1. pgl

        “My statement was to the effect that deaths would rise, but not nearly approach the New York City fiasco level that the nation saw in April.”

        No one on the planet were predicting deaths would rise that dramatically on a national scale. So go ahead and reframe the intellectual garbage you wrote over and over again.

        1. Bruce Hall

          pgl, just what you been waiting for so anxiously. My weekly update.

          Based on CDC counts for weeks 2 and 3 over the latest weekly reports (highlighted in red) we should expect a flattening and perhaps slight decline in the C-19 deaths in a couple of weeks.

          Cases are declining as are hospitalizations. Of note, of course, is that far fewer older people are being hospitalized now versus the New York City epidemic.

  4. 2slugbaits

    CoRev has been posting for many years. I cannot recall a single important policy issue in which he was right. He was convinced Saddam had WMD. He was a big supporter of the Iraq War. He denied the possibility that Iraq would become an Iranian client in the wake of the war. He was a big Tea Party supporter and marched in DC for austerity. He was sure that Bush 43’s tax cuts would pay for themselves and allow us to run a surplus. And we all know his track record at this site. It’s hard to imagine how one individual could be so consistently wrong about every major issue. He’d do better if he just picked his positions randomly. I don’t know what value he brings to blogs like this one. He prides himself on not having read any macroeconomics. He has no math skills. And statistics or econometrics? Fuhget about it. He just cruises the internet stopping at all of the crazy right-wing nutjob sites. And pretends that Rupert Murdoch owned media outlets have credibility. Fox & Friends is must see TV. And the Claremont Review of Books? Good grief. His one meaningful contribution is that his posts remind the rest of us that there are a lot of ignorant voters out there who sincerely believe they are well-informed. We have a lot of work to do.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Don’t forget that without his crucial input, the US would not have put a man on the moon. Sort of. Maybe.

  5. Rick Stryker

    Speaking of mendacity, it’s amazing how progressives move the goalposts.

    Back in late March and early April, the public health technocrats told the world that lockdowns were necessary to “flatten the curve.” The technocrats presented their models that predicted catastrophe if there were no lockdowns and disaster even with lockdowns. They consistently predicted that hospitals would be overrun even with lockdowns. The model that got the UK and US to shutdown, the Imperial College Model, predicted 2 million deaths in the US and 500,000 in the UK with no lockdown.

    Sweden was one of the few countries to publicly disagree with this analysis. They said they did not believe the predictions. In response, the public health technocrats in Sweden implemented the Imperial College Model for Sweden , which predicted that if Sweden followed its announced policy, by June 1 there would be 9 million cases and 95,000 deaths. Also, they predicted that Swedish hospitals would be completely overrun if Sweden followed its relaxed policy.

    Who was right? SWEDEN WAS RIGHT. To date, there have been about 84,000 cases in Sweden and about 6000 deaths. Hospitals were never in danger of being overrun. The whole justification for the lockdown was demonstrated to have been false by Sweden. But now progressives want to move the goalposts, comparing deaths per million between countries as if that were ever a justification for the lockdown.

    Menzie’s charts above prove that Sweden was right all along because the original prediction was that Sweden’s cases and deaths should have been over 10 times higher than they turned out to be. Moreover, the chart above mendaciously hides the actual facts. Why is Norway included but not Belgium for example? Belgium is a small country like Sweden, but it followed the prescription of the technocrats to lock down their economy, and yet has experienced 857 deaths per million vs Sweden’s 572. Sweden’s per capita death rate is lower than other European countries that locked down, such as Spain. But that wasn’t supposed to happen. It was supposed to be an order of magnitude higher. A country’s death rate from Covid is more a more complicated story than whether they followed the prescriptions of the public health technocrats.

    We must keep in mind who was wrong and who was right this November. Progressives world-wide, Democrats in the US, and in particular Joe Biden and Kamela Harris, were wrong. We must punish Biden and Harris at the ballot box this November, just as we punished Hillary Clinton in November 2016.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: Sweden was right because it didn’t get a massively higher death rate (per capita), just one a lot higher than Norway, Denmark, etc., and even the US. You’re the one using a crazy metric for forecast accuracy (and you know the 550K estimate is not the mid-point scenario — you’re pretty disingenuous to keep on saying it is). I dare you to find one reference to the IMperial model in my blogposts, by the way.

        1. Dr. Dysmalist

          From conservatives, every accusation is a confession. That phenomenon is not exclusive to the ones who comment on this blog.

    2. Ulenspiegel

      “Hospitals were never in danger of being overrun. The whole justification for the lockdown was demonstrated to have been false by Sweden. But now progressives want to move the goalposts, comparing deaths per million between countries as if that were ever a justification for the lockdown.”

      What nonsense: The Swedish model was sold as positive because it avoids high economic damage. However, Sweden has now the same or even higher economic damage as/than neighbour countries but a much higher number of cov-19 deaths. That is a clear failure, only a success in your trouble mind. In best case you deliver proof that some model were wrong, not that Sweden did it right.

      Minor point: You can avoidoverrun hospitals by not sending old people with cov-19 into hospitals, people who die then at home. It is a form of triage.

      1. Bruce Hall

        Minor point: you can avoid overrun hospitals by sending infected elderly patients back to nursing homes where they infect other patients and the staff; a strategy used effectively in New York and Michigan.

        1. baffling

          minor point: if you do not control the virus in the community, you will never avoid the problem of high covid deaths in nursing homes. it is impossible to protect the nursing homes without suppressing the virus in the community. as long as you take an anti-lockdown and anti-mask approach, you will always have the trump virus in circulation, and it will continue to attack the nursing homes. if you promote in person back to school without controlling the virus spread, you will continue to let the virus attack the nursing homes. bruce hall, since you are closer to entering a nursing home than most of us on this blog, you should consider this when promoting your views to permit the virus to circulate unchecked in the community.

          1. CoRev

            Baffled, this statement is the only truth in your comment: ” you will always have the virus in circulation…”. Stop confusing the virus circulating and infecting people with immunity and/or successful treatment/cure.

        2. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall Yes, you can. That was Sweden’s policy. If you were over a certain age and required hospitalization…too bad. The local death panel sent you back to the nursing home.

        3. Ulenspiegel

          “Minor point: you can avoid overrun hospitals by sending infected elderly patients back to nursing homes”

          You still have to make a contribution that may have substance. How could Sweden manage with only 500 ICU beds and a daily death rate of 70 for two months?

          And you miss the point, Sweden’s problem was not at the beginning, they screwed up later, no chance to explain high deaths rate with sick older people sent back to nursing homes.

        4. pgl

          And you can turn this into a total disaster by following Bruce Hall’s advice. When are you doing to help the My Pillow dude peddle Trump’s new snake oil?

    3. Moses Herzog

      The 6th ranking through the 10th ranking in the world on deaths per 100k of population, from John Hopkins University Resource Center

      Confirmed Deaths Case-Fatality Deaths Per 100k population
      6th Spain 342,813 28,617 8.3% 61.25
      7th Italy 253,438 35,392 14.0% 58.57
      8th Sweden 84,294 5,783 6.9% 56.79
      9th Chile 383,902 10,395 2.7% 55.50
      10th US 5,361,165 169,481 3.2% 51.80

      Is anyone here curious where “socialized medicine” Canada is right now on the deaths per 100k population??
      Canada 123,825 9,072 7.3% 24.48

      Canada is 22nd on the world list. 27 deaths LESS for every 100,000 people than MAGA land

      1. Moses Herzog

        Menzie, I apologize for the readability of the columns. I will manually retype that. Menzie, delete that entire comment, and I will try to send you a “cleaned up” version where the columns are more readable.

    4. Moses Herzog

      The 6th ranking through the 10th ranking in the world on deaths per 100k of population, from John Hopkins University Resource Center:

      Confirmed Deaths Case-Fatality Deaths per 100k population
      6th Spain 342,183 28,617 8.3% 61.25
      7th Italy 253,438 35,392 14.0% 58.57
      8th Sweden 84,294 5,783 6.9% 56.79
      9th Chile 383,902 10,395 2.7% 55.50
      10th USA 5,361,165 169,481 3.2% 51.80

      Is anyone here curious where “socialized medicine” Canada is right now on the deaths per 100k population??
      Canada 123,825 9,072 7.3% 24.48

      Canada is 22nd on the world list, 27 deaths LESS for every 100,000 people in MAGA land.

      1. Moses Herzog

        OK, apparently it won’t even let you manually type it right…… I give up, delete it, send it to blogger hell, post it to humor yourself, I hate formatting sometimes.

        I apologize Menzie, I guess I’m mentally challenged at the moment.

    5. noneconomist

      Punished at the ballot box?
      Clinton 65,853,514
      Trump. 62,984, 828
      That’s a 2.8 million vote difference. The “punishment” came in the form of electoral votes by very slim margins in four key states.
      Speaking of vote totals, Biden may well double that popular vote margin, given what’s transpiring in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and elsewhere.
      Scary thought for Trumpers: if Biden wins Florida and ____________(name a state, doesn’t matter which one and he’s leading in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona as well as Florida), that’s ball game. Sing, Fat Lady. And watch the Fat Man cry.

    6. pgl

      “Speaking of mendacity, it’s amazing how progressives move the goalposts.”

      Another absurd rant from THE RICK that starts with a real howler. Trump told us back in April that at most 70 thousand people would die from this virus. We just reached 170 thousand and this total is increasing by almost 1000 deaths per day. But now “it is what it is”. Now that is moving the goal post so far it ended up in another part of the nation.

      1. macroduck

        Progressive must be moving the goal posts because “We must punish Biden and Harris at the ballot box…” Every word from Rick (made-up manly last name) Stryker is in service of politics, of getting the worst president in U.S. history re-elected so that he doesn’t have to go to jail.

        Good science begins with the facts as we know them to reach valid conclusions. Fake science begins with a conclusion and lies about anything and everything to reach that conclusion. The same distinction can be made between swing voters and political hacks. Swing voters respond to the facts as they know them. Political hacks distort the facts in an effort to mislead swing voters. Polls say swing voters are not being misled – not this time. Trump will be punished at the ballot box, and then he’ll be punished by the State of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, bankruptcy courts and history books.

        1. Dr. Dysmalist

          Amen, Amen, Amen. They always start with the ideological conclusion they want, then hunt for bits of data that are technically true but do not reflect the entire series or mean something very different when in the context of the rest of the data. The result is inconsistent at best, usually grossly misleading, and at worst a truly perverse version of actual reality, i.e., lying most of the time.

          When I’m feeling maximally charitable, I think they’ve been trying to defend the indefensible Trump for so long that they no longer have the ability to recognize facts, truth, and reality. In my usual semi-cranky state, I figure they’re simply trying to match Trump evil-for-evil because he makes it seem OK.

    7. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker Sorry, but this was not one of your better efforts.

      the Imperial College Model, predicted 2 million deaths in the US and 500,000 in the UK with no lockdown.

      That’s false. The Imperial model predicted up to 550K deaths in two years under a DO NOTHING policy. That is not the same as a no lockdown policy. There’s a lot of space between “do nothing” and “lockdown.” In fact, the Imperial model offered a suite of policy options that predicted different mortality numbers. Table 4 of their report showed 80 different predictions depending on the assumed Ro and policy responses. The worst case was 550K, but the most optimistic case was 5,600. The cell that best captures the UK’s actual policy response for an Ro of 2.4 was 90,000 deaths. But keep in mind that those numbers reflected a two-year total. Currently the UK is showing 41,366 since March. So I’d say the Imperial model didn’t do too badly considering that it was an early model dealing with a completely new virus.

      As to Sweden, the fact is that it didn’t take long before the official herd immunity policy was effectively replaced by an unofficial and emergent social-distancing policy. In the early days of the pandemic Sweden was going to hell in a handbasket. Then people effectively ignored the official policy and started to work from home (highest work-from-home in Europe) and stay in their own lonely residences (39.8% of households are single member). And in order to avoid overwhelming hospitals, Sweden had “death panels” that would refuse active treatment for the elderly. They were just sent home to die or not, depending on their luck.

      Why is Norway included but not Belgium for example?

      It’s not just Norway that did better than Sweden. it’s all of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany). They all did much better than Sweden. Belgium did poorly for two reasons. One, Belgium has a population density of 11.8K per sq-mile. Sweden has a population density of 64 per sq-mi. Are you surprised that a country that is 185 times as dense also has a higher number of COVID infections? And according to the WHO Belgium’s initial infections were categorized as “imported” whereas Sweden’s were categorized as “local transmission.” Brussels is an international and banking hub. Stockholm…not so much.

      Sweden’s per capita death rate is lower than other European countries that locked down, such as Spain. But that wasn’t supposed to happen.

      Sweden’s positive cases per capita is much higher than Spain’s. Spain is an example of what happens when you don’t flatten the curve and the hospital system is overwhelmed. That’s why Spain saw a sharp spike in deaths. But Spain also saw a sharp drop in deaths after they went into lockdown mode. Sweden never saw that same kind of sharply falling trajectory. Spain also had the additional handicap of being a vacation playground. Not something that comes to mind when thinking about Sweden. Still, yesterday Spain had zero reported deaths. Sweden reported 8 deaths, although given Sweden’s piss poor reporting system it’s anybody’s guess when those 8 people actually died.

      As to flattening the curve, I only wish that our political leaders had moved the goalposts. What I’m hearing is that flattening the curve is being used as an excuse for not taking more aggressive actions to extinguish the curve. Flattening the curve was a reasonable goal when cases were exploding, as was the case in NYC. But now that we got past the exploding phase leaders should have moved the goalposts to try and get the disease reduced to the point where it would have been safe to reopen schools. But opening bars in May was more important than opening schools in August.

      We must keep in mind who was wrong and who was right this November.

      So presumably you’ll be ingesting Clorox or Lysol. As to mendacity, the king of lies is Donald Trump. Perhaps the WH should adopt the Swedish model and not require daily testing or strict lockdown procedures surrounding Trump. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      1. pgl

        All true but remember – CoRev’s map of the world has Belgium located between Norway and Sweden. Yes – he is this stupid.

      2. Rick Stryker


        I see you are up to your usual sloppy standards. The Imperial College Report is Report 9 , which was used in Deborah Birx’s presentation on March 31 to say that as many as 2.2 million people would die in the US in the absence of a shutdown. Please refer to Figure 1 in the paper to see the source of Birx’s number. As you’ll see, the Imperial College also projected that 510,000 would die in the UK if there were no shutdowns.

        Both numbers just as I said.

        As usual, you have the facts completely wrong. But I’m in a magnanimous mood and will a accept a genuine, contrite apology from you.

        1. baffling

          i have taken that position regarding dick striker and a few others as well. menzie is much more generous than i am with liars.

        2. baffling

          “The Imperial model predicted up to 550K deaths in two years under a DO NOTHING policy. That is not the same as a no lockdown policy. There’s a lot of space between “do nothing” and “lockdown.” ”
          dick striker, 2slugs already explained this to you. again, you are really getting slow and dense in your old age. idiot.

        3. 2slugbaits

          Rick Stryker Once again, you’re being less than honest. When someone says “as many as …” they are not saying that is the most likely projection. Over the years you have demonstrated a weak understanding of the English language, so I’ll try to help you out. You see, “as many as…” is always interpreted as the upper limit. It’s not the mean. It’s not the median. It’s not even the mode. It’s the extreme upper limit. Furthermore, it was the extreme upper limit to a policy that was not ultimately adopted. Birx and the Imperial study cited that as possible under a do nothing policy. And notice that you didn’t want to talk about the other numbers in the Imperial study, such as the lower limit.

          Two suggestions. First, take an undergraduate refresher course in the English language. For all I know English might not be your mother tongue. Second, learn to read all of the cells in a table that specifies several conditional forecasts.

        4. Moses Herzog

          Oh yes, the great political wisdom of Rick Stryker:

          “I think people think of Trump as the anti-establishment candidate, which is his appeal. Trump has almost no support from the Republican establishment, which will make it difficult if not impossible for him to get the nomination. I’m not sure that Richard Nixon could succeed in today’s Republican party.”

          “I’ve think I’ve made it clear that I’m not a Trump supporter. However, I think Trump was referring to the length of the Great Wall as originally built as opposed to its length today. According to China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage, archeological evidence suggests that as built the Great Wall was 13,170 miles long.”

          “As I’ve reminded you before, Trump was a self-admitted Democrat until recently, bashing Bush and praising John Kerry and Hilary Clinton. Even now, he has not repudiated his belief in single payer or taxes on the rich. You don’t really believe Trump means this, do you? This is Trump’s way of dealing with Ted Cruz pulling ahead of him.”

          “Here’s the question: if Trump thought he had a better shot at the nomination as a Democrat, would he now be embarrassing the Democratic party? Yes, I think so.”

          Trump wouldn’t have won the Democrat nomination as Democrats aren’t generally impressed with illiterates who think passing a cognitive test most mentally disabled could pass proves he’s a “genius”.

          This is why donald trump was drawn to run on the Republican ticket because of its illiterate base made for an easy “mark”. But Rick baby was right about one thing, trump is an embarrassment to any political party that’s dumb enough to nominate him.

          Well, this has been almost as fun as pulling out Barkley Junior’s old comments.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Now now, Moses, Rick Stryker is not nearly as good as moving goal posts as I am. And he does not have nearly as many holes in his feet from shooting at them. And, heck, I bet if he took that dementia test, like Trump he would be able distinguish a giraffe from an elephant, whereas I am not even sure I have even heard of any of those animals.

          2. Moses Herzog

            @ Professor Rosser
            I’m giving you full credit on this one, you got me to laugh. For the record (I actually don’t think it need be said) I’m putting your personal ethics and humanity above a Mr. Rick Stryker’s.

            Oh!!!!! …… Oh!!!!!! ……. that was exceedingly painful. I can’t believe I said that. I really gotta get my little bottle of Beringer Wine tomorrow. 3 weeks without alcohol is definitely having negative effects on my general perception of things and mental health.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            I would say something appreciative, Moses, but I am so out of it I am not quite sure what you said.

    8. baffling

      i must say, i usually expect a better response from dick striker than what we received. he must be losing his edge. at any rate, as pointed out by another commenter, the issue with sweden was the amount of community spread to begin with. sweden was very lucky that the spread was not endemic throughout their community when they first responded. this permitted a semi lockdown-which is what occurred in sweden-to have some success. sweden had the good fortune to see the virus as a problem in other parts of the world, before it became endemic in their country. thus any type of remedial action would be helpful. and lets be clear, sweden did participate in remedial action. people like corev, bruce and dick would like you to believe no action was taken. but action was taken by the community. their outcome certainly could have been worse. but calling it a success is naive or disingenuous.
      similarly, the us had opportunities to control the spread. while parts of the east and west coast became overwhelmed due to virus spread prior to full understanding, other parts of the nation should have been spared. texas, arizona, florida, alabama and georgia should NOT have experienced the spikes in infections that occurred. we have seen that early intervention can control the virus. but a laissez-faire approach resulted in unnecessary deaths. these were avoidable if the trump administration had promoted a proper response.
      we have a choice come november. we can either continue with this catastrophe for another four years with trump, or we can put biden-harris in office and begin the necessary steps to eliminate the trump virus and return our nation to some semblance of normalcy. i am not sure our democracy can handle another four years of trump disasters.

        1. macroduck

          You should ban him. This goal is to misinform. We know that misinformation works. In this case the cost is very high, high enough, I would argue, to overcome any argument for open debate.

          You don’t want foul language on your site. Anti-science propaganda in the age of Covid is worse than a four-letter word. Much worse.

          1. pgl

            OK but he would have to ban CoRev and Bruce Hall too. And then we would have no fools to make fun of.

          2. Moses Herzog

            @ macroduck
            I have kinda argued this point in the past with Menzie, but due to my kinda pushing the envelope on vulgarity and video links (which are kinda a hassle to clear out on comments) I think it’s one of those things Menzie doesn’t wanna hear from me.

            That being said, if Menzie errs one side or the other, I’d rather him let the comments through (not mine specifically, I mean in general). While I do agree Stryker’s comments have an ill intent of trying to deceive and mislead, vs say an Ed Hanson or Peakloser, who actually believe they can win money regular playing slots at the casino. But it gets to be a pretty complicated game, trying to guess people’s intent in order to clear comments.

          3. 2slugbaits

            macroduck I disagree. It’s very revealing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Bruce and CoRev and Rick Stryker usually form a kind of tag team. Bruce takes his turn getting beat up for a while. Then when it gets rough we see CoRev make an appearance. His job is to try and distract and lie his way out of things. I see CoRev as Bruce’s relief pitcher. Throwing up smoke. But when CoRev gets himself tied into more knots and lies than he can keep straight, then we see Rick Stryker enter the picture. I’ve seen this pattern repeated over and over.

            In any event, paying attention to their whacko arguments is helpful because it’s a good way to understand how the knuckle draggers and low information voters think. That kind of insight comes in handy when you have to argue with knuckle dragger relatives and friends.

    9. Alan Reynolds

      Graphs showing cumulative deaths over the past six months are largely dominated by happened in March and April, telling us almost nothing about what happened recently. Daily, weekly or bi-weekly counts of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden rose steeply in April but have since fallen like a stone ever since, to virtually nil. This same pattern is observed to a lesser extent wherever there was a steeply rising epidemic curve four or five months age – such as New York, Italy and Spain – unlike places with relatively flat curves such as Texas, Arizona and Florida where relatively small percentage of the population have yet been infected, much less died. It is impossible to explain the falling death rates in places that suffered severe, steep epidemics as the result of tougher government restrictions,. Those restrictions differed greatly (e.e., almost none in Sweden) and have eased rather than tightened in places like New York, Italy and Spain. The well-earned tranquility in countries and states that were previously worst-hit can only be explained by regional pockets of COVID-19 resistance (partial T-cell or antibody immunity) in places where about 20% or more have been infected and recovered. Such misnamed “herd immunity” may be local rather than national (think of Queens New York), but in Sweden’s case the drop in deaths appears too impressive to be confined to just big cities.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Alan Reynolds Graphs showing cumulative deaths over the past six months are largely dominated by happened in March and April, telling us almost nothing about what happened recently.

        On this we agree.

        It is impossible to explain the falling death rates in places that suffered severe, steep epidemics as the result of tougher government restrictions,. Those restrictions differed greatly

        Here we disagree. Lockdown policies were essentially the same in Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Milan and NYC. But it’s not just official policies that were roughly similar in those places, so was human nature. As was the case with Sweden, people adopted strict social distancing policies even if official governments did not. If you go to some of the COVID simulation sites you will almost always see graphs that identify when this or that intervention policy was implemented. Almost always you will start to see positive cases turn the corner shortly after new interventions are imposed and then new positive cases start to rise as intervention orders are relaxed.

        in Sweden’s case the drop in deaths appears too impressive to be confined to just big cities

        You first have to believe that Sweden’s numbers are accurate. If you’ve followed the daily spreadsheet from Sweden (here it is: )
        you would see that Sweden consistently reports the last month’s number of cases and deaths very close to zero. Then those numbers get revised upwards. If back in June you had relied upon Sweden’s spreadsheet numbers at that time you would have thought the virus had been extinguished in Sweden. Two months later those numbers are a lot higher. Sweden’s reporting has been decentralized, voluntary by region and simply horrible.

      2. Ulenspiegel

        “but in Sweden’s case the drop in deaths appears too impressive to be confined to just big cities.”

        Sweden has only one big city, the other cities are only in the 100000 – 200000 range. Many people in rural areas.

        Austria has the same structure as Sweden, same population, same distribution of cities but a much much lower mortality.

        What was the difference?

    10. Willie

      Punish Biden and Harris for what? covid donnie is the man in charge of the botched response. Neither Biden nor Harris has had any say in how the US Government mishandled things, nor have they had any influence over what covid donnie does with or without masks. They have not set up potential superspreader events. They have not suggested internal use of Lysol. I could go on. Your guy covid donnie is that person. You get things all bass-ackwards, quite clearly. and, as far as moving goalposts, I’ll leave you with a quote from covid donnie: It is what it is.

    1. CoRev

      2slugs, when and where did I say or claim this: “So much for CoRev’s claim that Sweden’s pseudo-herd immunity strategy didn’t sacrifice economic growth.”?

      BTW, 2020 GDP forecasts for the Nordic countries, Sweden Norway etc.,
      has Sweden falling the least:
      Sweden -4.7
      Norway -5.1
      Denmark -5.1
      Finland -6.5
      Iceland -7.8

      1. 2slugbaits

        CoRev when and where did I say or claim this

        You have short-term memory issues. You said it just yesterday:

        Only Sweden has achieved the economic benefits.

        Note that you are posting GDP forecasts from early July. Interesting that you didn’t mention a companion article in that same source that noted Sweden had just recorded a 40 year drop in actual growth:

        In quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted terms, the decrease in Q2 was the fastest since at least 1980. It was driven by a fall in exports of goods and services, in addition to weaker private consumption, according to a statement by Statistics Sweden. A more comprehensive breakdown of the Q2 reading will be available when new data is released on 28 August.

        Our panelists see GDP falling 4.8% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and increasing 3.6% in 2021.

        1. CoRev

          2slugs 2 issues with your comment. 1) My question was a copy of a direct quote from you. It appears my memory is in tact as you did not repeat that direct quote. 2) The context of your provided quote of mine was comparing the results from NY and Sweden.

          As to your comment I did not dispute your 2nd Qtr Sweden results, I provided forecasts resulting from those policy differences for the neighboring countries. There are very few countries that didn’t have a significant 2nd Qtr drop.

          Were you serious in pointing out Sweden’s 40 year drop in actual growth in a discussion over economic results of the pandemic policies when the US headlines were: “The US economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record, …” The subject was different economic results for different pandemic policies, and you just confirmed my comment. Sweden did better than the US and NY is a big part of the US.

          1. 2slugbaits

            CoRev There you go again…pulling another CoRev. Yesterday you said that Sweden’s policies allowed them to achieve economic benefits that other countries weren’t able to achieve. The referent “this” wasn’t my comment, it was this comment of yours: “when and where did I say or claim this.” Once again, you’re resorting to intellectual dishonesty to try an wiggle out of being cornered. “Pulling a CoRev.” It used to be a well known phrase on the internet because of you reputation for dishonest argument.

            Were you serious in pointing out Sweden’s 40 year drop in actual growth in a discussion over economic results of the pandemic policies when the US headlines were: “The US economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate from April through June, its worst drop on record

            First, you can’t do math. What a shock. The 32.9% drop reflects the SAAR number. The 8.6% number for Sweden is the difference between the 1st and 2nd quarters. If you want to translate Sweden’s drop into a comparable SAAR value, then it would be a 30.2% drop. Sweden did very slightly better than the US in terms of economic growth but much, much worse in terms of COVID deaths. That’s a bad trade. Second, Sweden did significantly worse than all of the other Nordic countries in both economic growth and COVID deaths. If Sweden made the right choice, then please explain why Sweden did so much worse than its Nordic peers.

      2. pgl

        WTF? 2slug provides observed changes in GDP and you come back with the forecast? I thought you would have learned the difference given all your stupid confusion over soybean prices as in mixing up spot rate v. forward rates. Hey we need to pitch and buy you two books:

        Finance for Dummies and
        Economics for Dummies

      3. pgl

        CoRev is following Bruce Hall in not reading his own links:

        “The economy will have contracted notably in the second quarter after slowing in the first quarter. Although the economic sentiment indicator, which measures business and consumer confidence.”

        This was written on June 30 and qualitatively is consistent with what 2slug just said. OK, 2slug provided us with the actual decline in Sweden’s real GDP during 2020QII. And CoRev thinks his link rebuts what 2slug told us?

        I have to say – CoRev takes the prize for being the dumbest troll ever!

        1. Anonymous

          That rebuttal wasn’t meant for slugger. It was meant for bystanders who might be deceived by a claim and a link. The point of junk science is to keep doubt alive when real science leaves no serious room for doubt. Look at how many times Brucey and CoVid and Rick of the Manly Made-Up name have been wrong in their central assertion about facts. Look at how often they link to sources which likewise are wrong. This is junk science. They don’t care about well-informed discussants. Their target is those who are less well-informed and may doubt the findings of real science.

          The U.S. has lagged in dealing with greenhouse gas emissions and failed in its role as a world leader on the issue because junk science propaganda made it possible for the self-interested and the ignorant to cling to a destructive way of life at a great cost to future generations. The science on tobacco’s link to cancer, emphysema and heart disease was “inconclusive” for a generation because of the junk science trick. Our little stinkers look like junk science ducks and certainly quack like junk science duck. Their job is not to persuade us. It is to generate doubt, so that corrupt politicians can crawl through one more election before having to take difficult action. They are failing, because the consequences of Covid-19 are immediate and close to home, unlike the consequences of greenhouse gas emission and smoking.

          Menzie, the ethical thing to do is to ban your junk science stinkers. The price of giving them a platform to lie is too high to let scruples about open discourse stand in the way.

          1. baffling

            “Rick of the Manly Made-Up name”
            if you google him, you will see that is the name of a gay porn star. considering ricks views on the lgbqt community, i find that rather ironic.

          2. 2slugbaits

            Anonymous Assuming that these “junk science stinkers” are sincere in their ignorance, then I believe those of us who were blessed with good educations and intellectually stimulating environments have a moral burden to try and enlighten the unenlightened. It’s a thankless job, but someone has to do it. These folks should be pitied. It’s not their fault that they weren’t born with low IQs or were reared in downscale socioeconomic environments. As Spiderman might say, with great knowledge comes great responsibility.

          3. Dr. Dysmalist

            I just can’t fully get on board with banning them, although I am very close to agreeing with you. I have been reading this blog for far, far longer than I’ve been commenting here. I think they started out with ‘good’ intentions, i.e., bringing some truth to what they perceived as a liberal blog. They still cannot understand that, as Krugman has stated ad nauseum, the facts have a liberal bias. I can have some sympathy for their inability to recognize that the world, and people, do not conform to their ideological biases. Their beliefs and assumptions probably were new concrete in 1980 and have only grown more rigid since then. They don’t understand that even concrete starts eroding before 40 years pass.

            What brings me oh so close to your position is that I can’t agree with 2slugs below (above?) when he ascribes sincerity to their ignorance. I know that they have had more than several, more than ample, but many, many, MANY opportunities to learn a great deal of: a) economic theory, practice and application; 2) statistical theory, practice and application; and 3) the basics and extensions of analyzing a data set.

            InnumerableEvery times they have refused to learn any of those lessons. They have chosen to not only be ignorant but to shout it from the proverbial rooftops. It’s this willful, belligerent ignorance that brings me to the brink of advocating for the ban.

            For now, I choose charity. My patience with them, however, is as thin as the hair that actually grows from the top of Trump’s head.

  6. Moses Herzog

    This last one is positive news, and being the world renowned armchair epidemiologist that I am (I am professionally certified by the “Princeton”Kawpits’ Institute of Consultants and certified by The Huber Professional Association of NMDs) I had strongly suspected this to be the case, but didn’t “know” it for a fact.

    *This message sponsored by Zinc Miners and Cayenne Herbs. Plus blueberries, which, when consumed in plenteous amounts causes the body to process Regimbartia attenuata beetles more quickly and they can exit your body only slightly soiled. All recommended by your local NMD.

  7. The Rage

    Scandinavia didn’t have the long uninhibited community transmission that southwest Europe had. If they had the kind, Sweden locked down like UK, which also tried that strategy, until they were overwhelmed and Boris almost died.

    Uninhibited community transmission is the key. By the time is was snuggling into Scandinavia, the media sensation had begun.

  8. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “We must punish Biden and Harris at the ballot box this November, just as we punished Hillary Clinton in November 2016.”

    That would be a catastrophe. I don’t know if the country can take another week of Donald Trump whining like a four-year-old about the embarrassingly small crowds at a second inauguration.

  9. pgl

    Trump eyes new unproven coronavirus “cure”

    To the alarm of some government health officials, President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works. Driving the news: The experimental botanical extract, oleandrin, was promoted to Trump during an Oval Office meeting in July. It’s embraced by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell, a big Trump backer, who recently took a financial stake in the company that develops the product.

    I bet if Bruce Hall promotes this snake oil, Lindell will send him a free pillow!

  10. Ulenspiegel

    For me, the basic issue with Sweden still is, that nobody really explains how Sweden managed two months (April, May) with daily deaths in the 60-100 range with only 480 ICU beds. From German data I know that the average ICU case needs the ICU for more than one week, some of the ICU capacity was needed for other non cov-19 cases.

    Or from a different POV: Germany has per capita 5 times the ICU beds as Sweden but only half the daily cases per capita at the peak of the first wave, i.e. the German ICU system was strained one order of magnitude less than the Swedish. However, we saw days with only 30% spare capacity in Germany.

    How could you not overburden the Swedish system?

    P.S. Friends of mine, two scientists, being on vacation from Sweden voiced the same issue.

  11. Alan Goldhammer

    Fortunately for CoRev, Bruce Hall, and Rick Stryker, President Trump has a new medical advisor for COVID-19. Dr. Scott Atlas will thrill them with his widespread knowledge and ability to speak out on key issues: Unfortunately, for the rest of us who have some knowledge about public health measures and pandemics, this is not particularly good news. The last thing we need is a sycophant who refuses to look at data.

    BTW, over the weekend two more negative papers on the usefulness of hydroxychlorquine came out. Perhaps this zombie drug has finally had a stake driven through its heart.

    1. 2slugbaits

      One of my big criticisms with current CDC guidance is that its standards for reopening schools is too loose. First, why look at positivity tests for the total county or local area rather than look at positivity tests for school children? If the goal is to be on the watch for school children, they why test adults? My second problem is that their 10% recommended threshold is too high. Many (probably most) county tests will come from a small sample size. If you test 28 people and you get zero positive results, the positivity rate is 0%. But the one-tailed 95% confidence interval is between 0% and 10.1%. If you test 20 students and 2 of them test positive (10% positivity rate), then the CI would include an actual positivity rate of 28.2%. A better approach would be to have a variable threshold based on results from an Exact Binomial Test. A lot of school systems are going to find out the hard way that a 10% positivity rate doesn’t mean what they think it means.

      1. baffling

        actually 2slugs, if you are not actively testing the school children, then none of this really matters. if the virus is circulating in the community, then it will be in at least a small sample of children. if those children attend the school, then it spreads exponentially. they way you handle this is to do large scale testing of children and teachers in the school. the virus is much more contagious than the flu. this is why living in a nursing home in an area with community spread is essentially a death sentence for a large number of those folks. if you cannot socially distance and enforce masks, schools will spread exponentially.
        unfortunately, the trump administration was never interested in building out the large scale testing required to reopen schools safely. trump is more interested in promoting college football than to keep the schools safe. we had an opportunity to attempt a safe reopening of the schools this fall. trump squandered the opportunity.

        1. 2slugbaits

          baffling they way you handle this is to do large scale testing of children and teachers in the school.

          I probably wasn’t clear. That was exactly my point. Counties and local communities are committing two sins with respect to managing school openings. The first sin is that they are testing the wrong population. They should be testing teachers and students. The second sin is that the math behind small sample sizes tells us that even very low positivity rates provide very little statistical confidence that the true positivity rate is less than the target positivity rate. We need lots of large sample sizes at schools.

          1. Baffling

            And this means we need to test as a screening protocol, and not just to confirm illness. But trump has absolutely no interest in obtaining this type of testing environment. It will reveal the true nature of the trump virus. So fall is going to be a mess.

    1. pgl

      “”If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms … a lot of people are going to die,” he said.

      Fauci noted that with the number of people with diabetes and obesity in the U.S., “the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable” if everyone got infected.

      The World Health Organization has also warned that relying on herd immunity to combat COVID-19 is a “dangerous” idea.”

      How much is enormous? I think Bruce Hall and his defense of this dangerous idea sort of gave us an estimate of the number of deaths, which I put at 1.5 million. Of course Bruce Hall will tell us having 1.5 million people die is a small price to pay to re-elect Trump.

      1. baffling

        dick striker already pointed this out. the imperial college study estimated 2 million people die if we adopt a herd mentality solution.

    1. pgl

      Go back to
      August 17, 2020 at 5:05 am’

      He was hopelessly battling with 2slug here. He sort of looked like a fool even before reading what Krugman wrote. Now that we have read Krugman – CoRev has been elevated to the Stupidest Man Alive!

  12. ltr

    Sweden, taking a nihilist or herd immunity approach to dealing with the coronavirus, has just passed mainland China in total coronavirus cases or 85,045 to 84,849 respectively.  Counting deaths, little Sweden has had 5,787 in all to 4,634 for China.

    1. pgl

      Sweden population is only 10 billion. China’s is 1300 billion. Doing this in per capita terms should be fun!

    2. The Rage

      Yeah, but I think China is probably hiding cases/deaths. Probably it would still look bad for the other. Even if 105,000 died, that would be amazing squeezing out of the virus.

      1. baffling

        “Yeah, but I think China is probably hiding cases/deaths”
        probably no different than florida hiding their cases.
        that said, as of today, i would probably feel safer living in china than living in many parts of the usa. at least as far as covid is concerned.

  13. ltr

    August 17, 2020



    Cases   ( 85,045)
    Deaths   ( 5,787)

    Deaths per million   ( 573)


    Cases   ( 84,849)
    Deaths   ( 4,634)

    Deaths per million   ( 3)

  14. ltr

    August 17, 2020

    Covid-19 Is Creating a Wave of Heart Disease
    Emerging data show that some of the coronavirus’s most potent damage is inflicted on the heart.
    By Haider Warraich

    SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was initially thought to primarily impact the lungs — SARS stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome.” Now we know there is barely a part of the body this infection spares. And emerging data show that some of the virus’s most potent damage is inflicted on the heart.

    Eduardo Rodriguez was poised to start as the No. 1 pitcher for the Boston Red Sox this season. But in July the 27-year-old tested positive for Covid-19. Feeling “100 years old,” he told reporters: “I’ve never been that sick in my life, and I don’t want to get that sick again.” His symptoms abated, but a few weeks later he felt so tired after throwing about 20 pitches during practice that his team told him to stop and rest.

    Further investigation revealed that he had a condition many are still struggling to understand: Covid-19-associated myocarditis. Mr. Rodriguez won’t be playing baseball this season….

    Haider Warraich is a cardiologist and researcher at Harvard Medical School.

      1. Moses Herzog

        I suspect the heart conditions for Rodriguez were already there. But pgl, I’m pretty certain you agree withe me—this is the whole problem, it takes things that are mild problems and nudges them over to life threatening. The Hank Gatherses and the Len Biases are out there—and this virus is going to hunt them down like a hound dog going after an escaped prisoner. Meanwhile “Karen” does not want to wear a mask.

        This nation is literally getting dumber by the minute.

  15. Manfred

    Since so many in this blog assert to believe in science:

    16 Possible Factors for Sweden’s High Covid Death Rate among the Nordics

    What accounts for Sweden’s high Covid death rate among the Nordics? One factor could be Sweden’s lighter lockdown. But we suggest 15 other possible factors. Most significant are: (1) the “dry-tinder” situation in Sweden (we suggest that this factor alone accounts for 25 to 50% of Sweden’s Covid death toll); (2) Stockholm’s larger population; (3) Sweden’s higher immigrant population; (4) in Sweden immigrants probably more often work in the elderly care system; (5) Sweden has a greater proportion of people in elderly care; (6) Stockholm’s “sport-break” was a week later than the other three capital cities; (7) Stockholm’s system of elderly care collects especially vulnerable people in nursing homes. Other possible factors are: (8) the Swedish elderly and health care system may have done less to try to cure elderly Covid patients; (9) Sweden may have been relatively understocked in protective equipment and sanitizers; (10) Sweden may have been slower to separate Covid patients in nursing homes; (11) Sweden may have been slower to implement staff testing and changes in protocols and equipage; (12) Sweden elderly care workers may have done more cross-facility work; (13) Sweden might have larger nursing homes; (14) Stockholmers might travel more to the Alpine regions; (15) Sweden might be quicker to count a death “a Covid death.” We give evidence for these other 15 possible factors. It is plausible that Sweden’s lighter lockdown accounts for but a small part of Sweden’s higher Covid death rate.

    1. baffling

      the abstract indicates that sweden was simply not prepared to face a pandemic using limited lockdown. it indicates that if one is to pursue a light lockdown, other preparations are needed. otherwise you simple achieve the death rates the lack of a lockdown would indicate. or in other words, if you pursue herd immunity, you should expect large scale deaths.

    2. Ulenspiegel

      ” (2) Stockholm’s larger population; (3) Sweden’s higher immigrant population; (4) in Sweden immigrants probably more often work in the elderly care system; (13) Sweden might have larger nursing homes; (14) Stockholmers might travel more to the Alpine regions”

      These arguments sound very fishy in comparison to Austria, which performed much better and has some of the same features as Sweden.

    1. Baffling

      Did anybody with a rational mind believe any other outcome was possible. How do you put 30,000 students together with no realistic screening and testing protocol, and not expect a virus with exponential spread ability will not win?

  16. ltr

    16 Possible Factors for Sweden’s High Covid Death Rate among the Nordics

    Daniel B. Klein
    George Mason University

    [ There we have it. Guy finds out there are scary immigrants in Sweden, and realizes right away that those scary folks must have done it. ]

  17. Moses Herzog

    Through all this long comment thread, with over 85 comments, I just realized people may have missed the most important question and pressing issue of this thread!!!!!

    Wait for it…… Wait for it………. Wait for it……..

    Are PhDs in Dane County statutorily permitted to gag??

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Can people who got their PhDs in Dane County but are not there now also gag?

      BTW, Kamala Harris’s maternal uncle, Gopalan Balachandran, now in Dehli and 80 years old and proud of his niece, also got his PhD at UW-Madison, in his case in both economics and computer science, a factoid I bet Menzie does not know. Bala is a real live wire, and yes, I knew him then,

      1. Moses Herzog

        Moving account. Emotionally electrifying even. Are the rumors authentic that they will make the deep life affirming story of your personal relationship with Gopalan Balachandran into a Disney film?? Working title “The Moral Fables of Gopalan and the Barkmeister”??

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Yes, they probably should,Moses. You are always right.

          Buy it is curious that I know both her father, Don Harris, now emeritus prof at Stanford as well as her maternal uncle, Bala Gopalan, as I knew him. The only time their relation was brought up to Bala when I was there he lost his usualeffervescence and got an unhappy look on his face and refused to say anything beyond acknowledging the connection. This would have been when the Harris marriage was falling apart, and as all account say, it was “bitter,” although I know no details. But I was close to both of them, with Don on my thesis committtee before he absconded to Stanford in 1972.

          They are very different in character, although I can see that Kamala has both of these sides in her. Don (who is also still alive, but on the outs with Kamala over her wisecrack about Jamaica and smoking pot) is very proper and socially conservative, despite his fairly leftist political-economic views. He comes frmo the Jamaican elite and is always impeccably dressed. He is a serious and extremely precisse man to the point of anality, e.g. always dusting off a chair before sitting on it.

          Bala is humorous and gregarious, not at all a stuffed shirt. The photo I saw in the news when I googled him showed him in blue jeans and wearing a bandanna, with a big grin. No way you would ever see Don Harris looking like that. If Don continues to lay low and not come out for his daughter, quite possible, I think they should bring Bala in. The US media would love him, a full-blown character. Assuming Biden-Harris win, he may well become an important figure in US-Indian relations, having in more recent years before retiring worked in the American Affairs section of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis in Delhi, associated with the Indian government.

          BTW, I would say that Kamala has her mother’s eyes and mouth, but her nose and the shape of her head come from her dad. A line her mother supposedly told her about gong through customs when they would visit relatives (and alao passsport control), which I think you can appreciate, Moses, having crossed at least semi-hostile borders more than once is “Stand up striaght. Don’t laugh. Don’t fidget. Have your stuff. Be prepared.”

          To Menzie: Besides Tim Smeeding, other colleagues of yours, now all retired, who might remembrer Don and Bala would be Bob Havemann or Bobbie Wolffe.

  18. Not Trampis

    Sweden had an informal lockdown. They wore masks and maintained social distancing. google stats showed little difference between Sweden and Germany when it had its lockdown.

    if anything an informal lockdown breeds ignorance.

    1. Baffling

      If only half the population observes the lockdown, then you will still have a big problem. Lockdowns and social distancing require serious commitment to succeed.

  19. ltr

    Sweden is a tragedy, calling to question whether the country is actually social-democratic. Sweden is nowhere like Germany:

    August 17, 2020



    Cases   ( 85,045)
    Deaths   ( 5,787)

    Deaths per million   ( 573)


    Cases   ( 226,686)
    Deaths   ( 9,296)

    Deaths per million   ( 111)

    1. Ulenspiegel

      “Sweden is a tragedy, calling to question whether the country is actually social-democratic.”

      As long as most Swedes are “happy” with their government your argument does not make sense. Swedes accept the results of their government’s decision, there are no large protests. Social democratic does not mean flawless government or flawless public opinion.

  20. pgl

    Michelle Obama got under Donald Trump’s skin:

    “He accused Obama of pre-taping her remarks on the basis that she had said “more than 150,000” Americans have died from COVID-19 (as of Tuesday there have been more than 170,000 deaths in the U.S.).”

    She did say more than 150 thousand. But yea deaths have been going up quite rapidly in the last few weeks. Donald’s method of “gotcha” reminds me of CoRev. He makes a wee point that may be technically true but undermines the $hit of his general argument. Trump must be taking pride that he has the greatest death count in the world! MAGA!

    1. 2slugbaits

      she had said “more than 150,000” Americans have died from COVID-19

      Of course, by my math 170K is more than 150K.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Heretic!!!!!! “greater-than” math symbol is Satanic—QAnon says so!!!! It is the whole of the law.

        And with that, I’m going to get semi-sauced now, so hopefully I will be sleeping instead of watching AOC only on for two minutes and then my brain turning into hot lava anger towards a bunch of DNC morons. Remember kids, ignorance is bliss, that and/or alcoholic slumber.

  21. ltr

    “Sweden is a tragedy, calling to question whether the country is actually social-democratic.”

    Simple as that, and there is no question in my mind but that the course of action in Sweden has been socially immoral.

  22. MOses Herzog

    O know all these numbers don’t “synchronize” like women’s Olympics swimming, er something, but how do y9ou get 17 deaths, on a 615 case count, when the other days had like, 900 deaths and 3 deaths?? And then all the OKlahoma journalists just sit there like sexual blow up dolls as the numbers are announced. How doe that make sense??

  23. Rick Stryker

    I see that a number of progressive commenters have called for me to be banned for spreading “misinformation.” That just means that they are worried that I’m making effective arguments that they don’t know how to refute.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: Really, that is the most funny thing you’ve said in years. Almost as funny as your assertion 500,000 new jobs/mo was typical in a recovery, or Kansas was doing just great…

    2. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker progressive commenters have called for me to be banned

      Not me. As a true progressive I’ve always believed in the redemptive power of education. There’s always hope for your soul.

      1. baffling

        here is the funny thing. menzie and 2slugs have actually defended ricks right to say on the blog. personally, i think it is because they enjoy giving him a good beating every now and then. but as educators, i understand their desire to educate the ignorant.
        on the other hand, ” progressive commenters” is really not a description of me, so rick, your argument is false. my dislike of you is related to your intentional attempt to confuse an issue to promote an ideology. for instance, rick stryker is a gay porn actor (google it) who believes it is defensible for somebody to discriminate against others in the gay community. such folks waste my time, and i would rather such disingenuous folks not be permitted to spread their misinformation on this informative blog.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Even if some posters argue in bad faith rather than out of ignorance, it’s still important to knock down those kinds of arguments for the sake of other “silent readers” of this blog who might otherwise be fooled by misinformation. Banning bad faith posters only encourages them to post in places where their misinformation and mendacity is allowed to go unchallenged. In the case of Bruce Hall or CoRev, my sense is that they truly do post out of ignorance but their personalities won’t allow them to admit when they’re wrong. Rick Stryker is a different case. He knows perfectly well that a lot of the stuff he posts is nonsense. As Moses Herzog’s post reminds us, Rick Stryker was a Never Trumper before Trump became the GOP nominee. His criticisms of Trump were every bit as stinging as mine. His support for Trump is purely cynical. He knows it’s bad policy, but following Thrasymachus it’s only natural that a wolf eats the sheep. He sees rubes and downscale white Trump supporters as useful idiots that can be manipulated to serve his personal interests.

          BTW, I’m not a professional educator. The closest I ever came to that was in the pre-pandemic days when I did some volunteer tutoring through one of the local colleges. And back in college I picked up some beer money tutoring high school kids.

        2. Rick Stryker


          I believe I see your argument: you are saying that since you googled me, and out of all the rick strykers you could have picked to represent me from google, you picked a porn star by that name, and since the porn star wants to discriminate against gay people even though he’s gay, he’s being disingenuous, and therefore I’m being disengenuous since I have the same name, and therefore I should be banned.

          Whew. That illogic is breathtaking, even for you. Your “argument” reminds me of this classic scene .

          1. baffling

            actually rick stryker, i dislike you because i think you are dishonest and detrimental to a nation that i love.
            i just find it ironic that a conservative would embrace the name of a gay porn star. i have no problem with the lgbt community. but you have taken positions which support discrimination against them on this blog. i find this ironic. i guess you do not. perhaps you should have chosen a different name?

    3. noneconomist

      To paraphrase the late Bo Diddly, this blog is where you come to get whomped with an Econ stick.

    4. Barkley Rosser


      Count me also among those not calling for you or anybody to banned from here, anymore than I have banned anybody from Econospeak even as some people there have called for banning certain individuals.

      1. Not Trampis

        I am with Barkes and Sluggsy.

        no banning unless bad language or using annualized figures is involved

  24. John Smith

    The Theater of the Absurd.

    Any country could easily have a zero COVID-19 death rate if everyone stayed at home all the time, forever. But Sweden faced up to the pandemic like adults and carried on with life. They didn’t shut down and didn’t suffer badly, and the only reason their economy suffered was because OTHER countries they trade with didn’t do what Sweden did.

    It’s a pandemic, and not a particularly bad one. A natural occurrence. Some people will die. Not much worse than a bad flu season, in fact. We’re officially at about 800,000 total deaths globally from the China virus, and the death rate is declining. Asian flu in 1958 killed an estimated 2 million (equivalent to about 5 million today when you account for the change in population). Hong Kong flu in 1968 killed 1 million (equivalent to about 2 million today).

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      John Smith: Or should I say “Obergruppenführer John Smith” (reference for Philip K. Dick fans). Aren’t we on target for 200,000 by Sept. 9th in the tally, and already over 200,000 excess deaths in the US now? Remember the 1918 influenza ran for two years in the US, so under Mr. Trump, we may be catching up fast.

      1. Baffling

        Implied in the john smith response is the assumption the trump virus is over-which is a false trump talking point. These are not final death tallies, by a long shot. In fact recent work suggests the virus is just as deadly as the 1918 pandemic. Neither sweden nor the usa has responded well to the pandemic.

      2. Rick Stryker


        You are engaging in data-free speculation about where the epidemic is going. I estimate using the Cori et al method that the 7-day average R0 for the US as of yesterday is 1.02. R0 may go up again as people relax or as the weather gets cooler, but this pandemic ain’t 1918–never was, never will be.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Rick Stryker: Am I going to believe (anonymous) you, or something like IHME with 295K fatalities by December 1 — 44% of the estimated 675K that died in the 1918-19 Camp Funston flu (or as Trump would term it, the 1917 flu that ended World War II).

          1. Rick Stryker


            You need to adjust for population differences to get an equivalent figure today to compare to the 1918 flu pandemic. 675 X (330/102) = 2.2 million

            Now, let’s do some simple data-driven analysis. My estimate of R0 currently is 1.02. That estimate is consistent with other estimates using different methods. Jones and Fernandez-Villaverde also get 1.02 for the US as of August 6 data using their SIR model. Using a different method still, Rtlive , which measures R0 by state, also estimates R0 in this vicinity. Finally, in my own SIR model, which is different from Jones et al, I get a current R0 in the neighborhood of 1.

            Everybody who estimates R0 over time for the US gets pretty much the same result: R0 dropped below 1 in early April, climbed back over 1 in early June, peaked at about 1.25 or so, and then has been coming down again. This behavior is consistent with an R0 that’s endogenously determined. As the public sees more cases and deaths, it increases social distancing. And when it sees a plateau, it relaxes social distancing.

            One way to estimate the final result of the epidemic is to use the relationship implied by the differential equation form of the SIR model (and implied by my version of the SIR as well):

            I = (-1/R0)*ln(1-I)

            where I is the percent ever infected and R0 is as usually defined.

            If we assume, counter to experience, that R0 goes up and stays up so that on average R0 = 1.25 over the life of the pandemic, then we can solve that equation for the per cent ever infected. We get I = 37%.

            Assuming an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.6%, we can estimate the total number of fatalities then to be .37 X 330 X 0.6 = 735K, about 1/3 of 1918. I used an IFR of 0.6% for that calculation, but I believe that IFR is too high. I think it’s really 0.3%. If I’m right, then we’d get a total death toll of 368K.

            Probably the numbers will never really get as high as these calculations would suggest because 1) R0 will not stay up above 1 permanently if deaths and cases are increasing; 2) better treatments and a vaccine are on the horizon, unlike in 1918

            Like I said, this pandemic ain’t 1918.

        2. Ulenspiegel

          “average R0 for the US as of yesterday is 1.02.”

          OMG. R0 of 1 only means there is a constant number of infections per day. You are still in the 40.000 (!) range in the USA and this means that you will see around 700 deaths per day the next three or four weeks.

          Without a clear change of politics and behaviour we will have >200 000 deaths end of September in the USA.

        3. 2slugbaits

          Rick Stryker I estimate using the Cori et al method that the 7-day average R0 for the US as of yesterday is 1.02.

          No, you’re estimating the effective rate of transmission (Rt) at around 1.02. That’s probably about right. The Ro is the initial transmission rate; hence the subscript “o”. The Ro is what’s used to estimate the percent needed for herd immunity. The Rt tells you whether the virus is increasing or decreasing. An Rt of 1.02 tells us that it’s increasing.

          By the way, if you work with the 1918 data and run it through the usual Rt incidence models, you’ll see that Rt dropped quickly to something around 0.80 but then came back again in waves. I agree that this isn’t the 1918 pandemic. It would probably infect more people if we followed the same strategies we followed 100 years ago. Why? Because people were infectious for less time because they died sooner, so the Rt went down. That’s how the “nu” parameter in the basic SIR/SEIR models works. It’s also one reason SARS and MERS were contained…people died before they had a chance to infect others.

          1. Rick Stryker


            It’s R0(t) as a function of time. It’s also sometimes called the instantaneous R. In my version of the SIR model, for example, R0(t) is defined exactly as in the version in which R0 is constant except one of the underlying parameters that defines R0 is time-varying.

    2. Ulenspiegel

      ” They didn’t shut down and didn’t suffer badly, and the only reason their economy suffered was because OTHER countries they trade with didn’t do what Sweden did.”

      Fact free drivel. If your thesis were right Denmark and Finland would be in a worse position. Are you really too stupid/lazy to check numbers first?
      Or are you actually not interested in a fact based discussion?

  25. Rick Stryker

    I thought I’d elaborate on John Smith’s excellent comment.

    When people discuss Sweden’s policy today, they usually point to deaths/capita compared to Denmark or Norway and then note relative economic performance, as if the point of Sweden’s policy was to achieve the same Covid outcome as its neighbors, but with better economic performance. But that was never the goal of the policy. To understand its policy, we need to review recent history.

    In March, a number of epidemiological models came out arguing that if countries did nothing, there would be a disastrous number of cases and deaths, with hospitals completely overrun. The policy prescription from the health technocrats was to shutdown for a time, not forever, in order to either “bend the curve” or “crush the curve.” The reason to do the first policy was to avoid overrunning hospitals; the reason for doing the second, more draconian policy, was to reduce the number of new cases sufficiently so that a test and trace protocol became practical. Importantly, these policies were never designed to save lives, except to the extent that they prevented hospital overruns or they set the stage for testing and tracing. In these discussions. All these policies do is just shift cases and deaths that would have happened into the future. That may be justified if you think that hospitals would be overrun if you don’t do it or if you think that testing and tracing could be a practical policy. Most Western countries went for the “bending the curve” strategy, because they were convinced by the health policy technocrat models that hospitals would be overrun if they didn’t do so.

    My view has been since March–and it’s the same view the chief epidemiologist of Sweden has–is that the models were very wrong, highly exaggerating the fatality rate and the risk of hospitals being overrun and therefore the choice of whether to shutdown is merely whether you want to take more cases and fatalities now or delay them into the future. Sweden’s view was that it is better to not have a draconian shutdown. The justification for this view was that the disaster the models were predicting wasn’t actually going to happen; therefore hospitals were not going to be overrun. Given that, why do a draconian shutdown? At some point, you will have to relax the shutdown anyway. Better to learn how to live with the virus and also attempt to get some degree of herd immunity earlier rather than later in the process. The underlying assumption, which I think is correct, is that people can decide for themselves how many precautions to take, based on the evidence they actually see. So, you can have a light shutdown, as Sweden has, and people will all by themselves, without government mandates, decide how much to social distance. And in doing so, they learn what works and what doesn’t. In the Swedish model, the level of R0 is endogenously determined.

    All of this history has been lost, however, in the politicization of Covid. Now, people attempt to claim that Sweden believed that it could get the same results as other countries but with less economic damage. But that was never the reason for the policy. The policy was purely a judgment about the underlying epidemiology of Covid. As John Smith pointed out in the above comment, Sweden’s economy would unfortunately be caught up in the general downturn, given that it is an export-centric economy. But that doesn’t invalidate their strategy.

    Thus, to judge whether Sweden was right, we shouldn’t be comparing deaths/capital or economic growth rates. The question is whether Sweden experienced the disaster that was predicted for it or not. As I pointed out in another comment, Swedish health technocrats were so determined to get Sweden to change course that they implemented the Imperial College model for Sweden and made dire predictions with it. Those scare tactics had worked in the US and the UK after all.

    Sweden stayed the course. And Sweden was right. The large number of cases and deaths never materialized. The hospitals were not in danger of being overrun, anymore than they were ever in danger of being overrun in the US. Sweden proved that government mandates were not necessary to control the virus. And that’s the major reason that Sweden is constantly being attacked by proponents of government control.

    It’s true that Sweden has a higher per capital death rate than some other countries. However, different countries are in a different phase of the epidemic. Those that shutdown have merely delayed the cases and deaths they will experience into the future, when they are forced to relax their policies. The fallacy that I see on this blog and elsewhere is to look at per capita deaths rate at a point in time.

    The other fallacy I see on this blog and elsewhere is to look at excess fatalities at a point in time. Since so many of deaths are among the very elderly with co-morbidities, excess fatalities are being frontloaded. Moreover, the deaths being caused by the shutdown–cancers that aren’t discovered and treated for example—are being backloaded into excess mortality later on. And those front-loaded Covid victims who died a year or 6 months earlier than they otherwise would have won’t be added to excess fatalities a year from now, reducing the number later.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker Wrong on so many counts. First, I don’t know where you were last spring, but hospitals were overwhelmed. Tell the hospital workers in Milan that the system wasn’t stressed. Tell the hospital workers in NYC. My sister and her husband couldn’t be admitted to a hospital in Paris because the medical system was overwhelmed. Now it is true that hospitals in Sweden were not overwhelmed; however, that’s because Sweden adopted “death panels” and refused treatment for seriously ill COVID patients. They were simply sent home to die.

      Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, has admitted that things didn’t work out as he planned. He still (rather sheepishly) defends his herd immunity approach, but he does so by moving the goalposts. He now admits that Sweden will not achieve herd immunity, so instead he now pretends that herd immunity was never Sweden’s policy. His latest story is that he knew all along that Swede’s would self-incorporate social distancing and there would be no need for government orders. Imagine that…Sweden as the enemy of the nanny state!!! Do you think MAGA hatters in Michigan and college students in Florida are likely to show that same level of self-discipline in this country??? This is revisionist history plain and simple. And now Sweden’s government is in deep political trouble, with support for the government falling 18 percentage points in two months.

      I agree with you that initially the standard WHO/CDC approach was to flatten the curve. That was an understandable goal at the time given that the virus was overwhelming hospitals in cities where it was running rampant. My criticism is that once that goal was achieved we should have moved the goalpost to nearly extinguish the virus. That’s a proven strategy that has worked with other viruses.

      Finally, trying to convince us that Sweden’s experience was a success because it didn’t rise to the level of a complete catastrophe is a pretty low bar. Sweden has more deaths per capita than any of its peers, but has not done any better economically. I suspect that you’re one of those persons who is lucky enough to be able to shield himself from most of the helath risks associated with COVID-19. Your principle risks from the pandemic are to your portfolio, so it doens’t come as a surprise that you would try to convince the gullible rubes that they should all go back to work, shop till they drop and pretend all is normal. I have a challenge for you. Why don’t you go to west Africa and practice the gospel of herd immunity as a response to Ebola. Let’s see how long you last.

      1. baffling

        just as i suspected, 2slugs wants to keep rick on the site simply because he likes to give the fool a severe beating every now and then. 2slugs claims to want to educate rick, but this beating shows that he is out for blood. if there is no ref to stop this beating, it will get very ugly for rick.

        1. 2slugbaits

          It’s not one of my prouder moments, but I once reduced a bird colonel to tears (literally) in front of a room full of his peers after he presented an especially sloppy analysis. So yes, deep down there is a bit of a cutthroat in me, but I try to keep in in check.

      2. Rick Stryker


        More fact-free, anecdotal points. US hospitals were never in danger of being overrun. If you watched the early forecasts of the IHME model on hospital utilization, they often over-estimated by factors of 3, 5, etc. depending on the area. In fact, there were so few patients and most hospitals were so empty that Covid created a hospital financial crisis, as this Washington Post article reported. The hospital models badly overestimated the Covid-related demand and now hospitals are suffering for it.

        If you want anecdotes, I had a medical issue during the covid crisis. I had no problem getting tests or treatment at the University Hospital. When I’d go there, it looked like a ghost town. The technicians I talked with were all afraid of getting furloughed or fired as a result of the lack of patients. Many already had.

        If you really want to reduce me to tears, you’re going to have to actually cite some sources for once.

    2. Ivan

      “therefore the choice of whether to shutdown is merely whether you want to take more cases and fatalities now or delay them into the future”

      The failure of that rationale has become painfully clear in recent data. The chance of dying from Covid-19 was much higher back in March/April than it is now. Who could have imagined that doctors would become better at treating and saving peoples life the longer they had to learn how to deal with the severe symptoms of a brand new disease!?!. If I was destined to be diagnosed with Covid-19 in NYC I would have a much better chance of survival now than back in March/April. The “might as well take it now and get it over with” crowd base their rationale on two false presumptions: 1) that we will all get this disease sooner or later anyway (discounting the development of vaccines and preventive treatments, before its all over) and, 2) that the morbidity and mortality consequences of being infected will remain the same throughout the time until we all have had it. They also fail to understand that in contrast to shut down policies government are not able to enforce a “everybody just get out there and get it over with” policy. I know plenty of people who will not go out there and consume at their regular pace until this disease is under control.

  26. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “And those front-loaded Covid victims who died a year or 6 months earlier than they otherwise would have won’t be added to excess fatalities a year from now, reducing the number later.”

    Nice to see Striker sign onto the Kopits position that there is no such thing as excess deaths, only unfortunately premature ones. Great minds think alike.

    They are all psychopaths, along with their Dear Leader Trump. As Trump says, no big deal, it is what it is.

  27. Ivan

    What people seem to miss is that Sweden did indeed “lock down”. Lots of people stopped shopping, worked from home etc. That is all in the economic numbers, cell phone records etc. It is just that their government believed its population are mature adults, based in reality, and with trust of facts/experts. So the government didn’t order things to shut down, but things shut down based on a populations mature behavior and dedication to making individual sacrifices for the better of the community (I know – what socialists!). But they kind of overestimated the maturity of their population and underestimated the infectivity of the virus. So in the apples to apples comparison to their very similar Scandinavian peers (Norway, Finland), they had a catastrophic outcome.

  28. Rick Stryker


    In the R epidemic consortium you linked to, they list epiestim to estimate time-varying R0. That’s what I used to estimate R0 to be 1.02 for the US.

    Another method one can use is contained in this Jupyter notebook, if you are a python user.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Don’t use Python. That’s what the youngsters use. The 1.02 value is probably about right. That’s consistent with other estimates.

      The EpiEstim package is pretty straightforward. A more complicated model that accounts for repeated contacts over time in a network environment (e.g., small social networks, family members, schools, etc.) is EpiModel. It also allows for stochastic compartmental models as well as the usual deterministic compartmental model. The National Institutes of Health has a description of the model here:

  29. baffling

    for those who argue trump is clueless and failed in developing a testing plan to reopen schools and the economy, i would argue you are only partly correct. trump has failed to implement a plan, to be sure. but he sure has developed an effective testing and tracing plan for the white house. its too bad he cares less for anybody not in the white house. trump has developed the basic ideas of constant testing and tracing to eliminate the virus from the white house environment. why can’t we implement the same protocol in our nations schools, allowing us to send our kids back and continue their education safely? why does the administration have the answer, but refuse to implement the solution? what a tragedy.

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