Covid-19 Fatalities, Excess Fatalities, and Conspiracies

In the latest conspiracy theory, some have argued that since only about 6% of Covid-19 fatalities state solely Covid-19 as a cause of death, pandemic fatalities are incredibly overstated. Inspection of the statistics suggest reported Covid-19 fatalities are, if anything, understating pandemic fatalities.

Figure 1: Weekly fatalities due to Covid-19 as reported to CDC for weeks ending on indicated dates (black), excess fatalities calculated as actual minus expected (teal), fatalities as tabulated by The Covid Tracking Project/Atlantic (dark red). Source: CDC accessed 9/5/2020 vintage, OurWorldinDate accessed 9/5/2020 and author’s calculations.

From week ending February 29th through the week ending August 8th , the cumulative CDC fatality tally is 166.7 thousand. Cumulative excess fatalities is 226.1 thousand, implying an additional 59.3 thousand Covid-19 fatalities above the official tally over this period.

Notice that the unofficial tally declines slightly (per week), so the CDC data is clearly understating directly attributed and excess fatalities in the most recent data.

Update, 9/6:

If you’re going to push a conspiracy theory forward, at least push forward a mathematically plausible one. If only 6% of CDC listed Covid-19 fatalities, then one has to explain the 226.1 thousand excess deaths over expected, or — if one is particularly suspicious of statistical methods, the 231.8 thousand deaths over and beyond what happened in the same time period in the previous year (2019). (All stats refer to week ending 2/29 through week ending 8/8.)

Figure 2: Weekly fatalities as reported to CDC for weeks ending on indicated dates reported in 9/2 vintage (black), reported in 8/14 vintage (red), expected fatalities in 9/2 vintage (gray), fatalities in corresponding period in 2019 (light blue). Source: CDC accessed 9/5/2020 vintage, and author’s calculations.

Update, 9/7:

A relevant article from the Onion.

67 thoughts on “Covid-19 Fatalities, Excess Fatalities, and Conspiracies

  1. Moses Herzog

    I have found it’s relatively easy to find excess deaths on a national level. NYT has occasion posts on it, and they have a GitHub site. My fear is that even NYT’s GitHub site now is leaning on the CDC, or linking back to the CDC for their excess deaths statistics (and my personal opinion is, the CDC is no longer a reliable source for very obvious reasons). Two questions. Does anyone know of any other sites, such as say IHME, or maybe one of the “models” sites on Nate Silver’s blog which could be a secondary or third string running back source for national excess deaths?? Also, does anyone know of a source which breaks down by individual U.S state the excess death numbers??

    I would be grateful if anyone has any ideas on this. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves with my local journalists around where I live, because I can neither get them to talk about the “Rt” number (not so annoying because I can look it up on a website) or the excess death numbers for our state (much more annoying because I cannot find these numbers, but seemingly only once every 6 weeks stories from NYT’s visual data folks.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Thank you Menzie. I really do think it’s semi-shocking there aren’t more places to go on excess deaths by state (or even national really). Is it because it’s hard to find the “baseline” deaths form prior years?? Or just too many lazy SOBs like me out there that don’t want to crunch the numbers?? I think it’s weird. Aside from the sheer size of the numbers, the math involved doesn’t seem that daunting.

      2. Moses Herzog

        This is not a criticism of you Menzie, as we will all take what is available, and if that is all we have, then that is all we have. But If I am looking at the right place (it has the CVS dataset download nearby somewhere nearby there)……… OMG…….. look at how they have them organized on the spreadsheet on the CDC site at the bottom of that page. You have only two choices to view the data (if you aren’t willing to download all that data, then maybe faster??). Let’s say you want to view the data from say Kansas, or maybe Oregon. both in the middle of the alphabet. Your two choices are start off at Wyoming and spend roughly 5 years of your life clicking the right arrow button going backwards through the states, or….. starting with Alabama and clicking the right arrow for the next 5 years going forward through the alphabet. Holy cr*p. Unless the CVS dataset is much easier to scroll through on your own computer after you download the dataset (how could it be any worse??) it’s literally going to take forever just to see the excess deaths from your own state. Did Ron Vara do the consulting work with CDC on how to outlay this dataset interface??? Or was it Eric Trump??

        1. Bruce Hall


          Download the data. I do this each week and it automatically opens in Numbers (Macbook Pro). You can manipulate the data to your heart’s content. You can also do the same thing with Excel where you can filter or use pivot tables to summarize quickly.

          I’ll say this about the COVID-19 numbers: they are good estimates just as GDP data are good estimates. Sure, there are inconsistencies from state-to-state classifying and reporting, but even with that the data give good estimates of the magnitude of the epidemic. The categorization of deaths by COVID-only and COVID-related is too much of a fine line to support the idea that the only legitimate associated deaths are COVID-only. But if you really want a confusing display of data, look no further than here:

          Government data presentation at its finest.

          The real data issue, as I perceive it, is the “flexibility” of the identification and reporting of “cases” or infections. This area is quite sloppy and, while giving directional information, is a disaster for period-to-period comparisons. As I used to say at Ford, “What gets measured gets manipulated.” That’s just a truism.

          Beyond data, the critical issue is policy. Depending on your mindset, you will see a 1% of population infection rate as a widespread epidemic or a highly-contained epidemic. Depending on your mindset, you may see 80% of the deaths in people 65-years old and older as evidence of the need to have targeted policies or you may see 85 deaths nationwide for children under 18-years old as evidence they must stay home from school.

          “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” — H. L. Mencken

          1. pgl

            “You can manipulate the data to your heart’s content.”

            The first honest statement you have ever made! Yes – we have seen your serial manipulation of the data.

          2. Ooe


            i know now the wrong-wingers are a pro-death cult. Tell me how many of the 189000 deaths and counting… are acceptable to you?

          3. pgl

            ‘Cases and hospitalizations dropping rapidly.’

            There was some lying troll named Bruce Hall who used to say only death counts mattered. Of course these are not dropping rapidly so this lying troll named Bruce Hall changes the metrics!

            ‘Hope you enjoy the “manipulations”.’

            I’m laughing my arse off. So is your own dog.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Moses Herzog I can neither get them to talk about the “Rt” number

      Getting the correct daily infection data is a real pain in the ass, as I told Rick Stryker. It’s hard enough getting the correct data at the state level, but very difficult to get at the county level. The national/state/county daily infection numbers that show up at most websites are actually just the net daily changes. If you want to estimate Rt then you really need the actual date of the infection, or at a minimum the date of the actual test. The data pulls for most websites only reflect the change in the total count for each day. So a test result from two weeks ago that didn’t get reported until yesterday gets lumped in with a test result from two days ago that is also reported yesterday. If you want to compute Rt, then you really need to know the actual date of the test. And if you want to compute positivity statistics, then you have to be able to connect the test result with the date of the test. It is possible to get that data (at least for some states), but as I told Rick Stryker, it’s a real pain in the ass. And once you get it the results will probably change as older test results get reported and matched up to when the test was taken.

      1. Barkley Rosser


        I have not dug into this data source, but I think you are right that local data is both hard to get and far less reliable that state level data, where some of the errors at the local levels get washed out and offset.

        So where I am in Harrisonburg, VA, a local man who used to be mayor and also was in journalism has been trying to track daily infection rates here and posting them on Facebook. Since JMU reopened the numbers have gone gonzo inseveral ways. First of all we have had a major spike, with JMU getting over 600 cases, which has made JMU go totallly oline, (it was initially a mixed bag). But this guy, Joe Fitzgerald, has documented that there are now massive discrepancies going on in the local numbers because many of these students are being recorded as being in their parents’ location. Needless to day with these numbers, we are now a Red Zone, there are serious distortions regarding which locales are getting which cases. But given that the majority of students are in-state, the errors between the in-state locales wash out, with caases unreported in one area getting reported in another, so the aggregate state numbers are not so badly distorted.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          That is nice, Bruce, but does not necessarily solve the problem. Virginia localities have such websites. The problem is that many are inaccurate, especially if they have academic institutions in them, with this problem of confused reporting about where student cases get reported: in the county where they are in school or their home county? I do not see that Michigan has this problem resolved.

          Again, the problem in VA is not about counties lacking websites on cases, it is that what is going into those data bases may be inaccurate.

          1. pgl

            Bruce’s latest excuse for the terrible COVID19 performance is a lack of public resources. And he thinks he is defending Trump and McConnell????

  2. Moses Herzog

    OK, in case anyone is wondering, it’s become official now~~~I’m an idiot.

    If you find that “Excess Deaths” CDC page, If you find that area in the lower right it’s a “preview table”, when you scroll down on that page it’ll be at about 5 o’clock or 4:30 on your hour hand on your sun dial, Right?? yeah, just the lower right. Anyways on the right hand side you will see a small navy blue rectangle that says “view data”, click on that small navy blue rectangle that says “view data” in white letters (I’m imagining in my mind Menzie figuring this out the first time he looked at it in about 4 seconds, while I figured this out after taking a shower about 4 hours later). Anyway……. It’ll bring up a bigger spreadsheet style screen, with basically the same data you saw in the “preview table”. Now here is what most people might consider the hard part. You’ve still got the damned Alabama data on screen. Now I don’t know if it’s the same appearance in every internet browser, but in mine the “search function” or box to do a key word search is damned hard to see, But if you look in the upper right you’ll see about 7 tabs “more views” “Filter” “Visualize”, “Export”, “Discuss”, “Embed”, and “About”. BEHIND those tabs in the upper right, half covered up by those 7 tabs, you’ll see your search box. Click in there, put the full name of your state, and BAM, you found the data for your state,

  3. Moses Herzog

    OK, I’m still digesting the data for my state and what these columns mean. But I notice when it breaks the upper threshold it says “True” instead of “False” and all of those where it reads “True” is the times you have a spike in deaths. One back in April, and two in basically late July. I think I will get a grasp on these better as I look at them. Here is one thing that jumps out at me, and I think is a large part of the point Menzie is making here, in the “Description” of the CDC or NCHS data:

    “Observed counts are compared to these upper bound estimates to determine whether a significant increase in deaths has occurred. Provisional counts are weighted to account for potential underreporting in the most recent weeks. However, data for the most recent week(s) are still likely to be incomplete. Only about 60% of deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death, and there is considerable variation by jurisdiction. More detail about the methods, weighting, data, and limitations can be found in the Technical Notes.

    So, If I am “getting this” right on my brain, that green line above in Menzie’s graph, and really the black line also, the black line and the green line, on the right part of the graph are going to eventually start lining up (as the black and green rise with the lagging reports) with the red line because of the gaps in the actual time of death (causing the green line and black line to be lower than reality NOW. As the death reports come in, the green and black lines become closer to reality, but on a “lag” because to the 10+ days, depending on jurisdiction to make the report of the death.

    i.e. the black and green lines on reflecting “on the ground” reality as it stand now, and the red line, though not yet verified, an estimate, is probably still closer to current reality.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Those last 2 sentences I wrote in the above comment barely qualify as English. Another way I might say it, is, the black and green lines are lower than the current reality because the time lag in death reports. Whereas the red line is nearer to reality (even though it is an estimate) because it very probably closer represents (though not verified) the actual number of COVID-19 deaths.

  4. pgl

    The WHO on the prospects for a COVID-19 vaccine:

    The World Health Organization is “not expecting to see widespread vaccination [for coronavirus] until the middle of next year,” spokesperson Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva Friday.

    There are currently 34 vaccines globally carrying out human trials, according to WHO, with 142 vaccine candidates currently in the pre-clinical trial phase.

    Harris was speaking the same day that the first peer-reviewed results of phase one and phase two clinical trials of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine – the world’s first approved coronavirus vaccine for public use — were published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.

    Although Harris did not reference the Russian vaccine, Harris emphasized the importance of safety and efficiency checks saying that phase three trials “will take much longer” in order to “see how truly protective” and safe any vaccine is.

    Remember: Scientists not involved in the study of the Russia vaccine said while the results are a positive sign, only larger, phase three trials can confirm whether the vaccine actually prevents illness with Covid-19.

    1. The Rage

      Positive sign??? Much like most vaccines, the effectiveness has already worn off. It didn’t work. There never will be a effective vaccine for a cold.

      1. Ulenspiegel

        “Positive sign??? Much like most vaccines, the effectiveness has already worn off. It didn’t work. There never will be a effective vaccine for a cold.”

        OMG. We know for SARS-1 that even 17 years later there is an immune response. Therefore, there is a good chance that a vaccine for SARS-2 will have a lot of positive effects, making an infection weaker or the infected person not a spreader of the virus….

  5. pgl

    The Moscow Times calls out Putin on his “Sputnik moment”

    ‘Putin Is Playing Russian Roulette With the Coronavirus Vaccine – Bad science and politicians looking for easy answers can lead to trouble.

    This isn’t Russia’s new Sputnik moment. The approval of a supposed vaccine for the coronavirus by Russia harkens back to something less savory in the country’s history, when research was subservient to politics, and strongmen got the science they wanted to hear, no matter the costs to the Russian people.
    President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a successful vaccine against the coronavirus has been met with universal derision by the scientific community around the world. Why? Not because of jealousy or any anti-Russian sentiment. The new candidate vaccine was simply not tested properly.’

    China is pushing hard on its vaccine candidate. And then there is Trump’s “warp speed”.

    “when research was subservient to politics, and strongmen got the science they wanted to hear, no matter the costs”. That when is NOW!

  6. pgl

    Trump has been excusing his disdain for fallen soldiers (something about being losers and suckers) by claiming he has increased their pay by more than any other President. This did not sound right so I tried to find something that would show how pay evolved over time. This link shows nominal increases by year, which of course needs to be adjusted for inflation:

    Let’s consider the pay raises under George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump as these are stated in nominal terms and inflation rates for the past 20 years have been modest. It seems pay increases under Bush were high even relative to inflation. The Obama years started with decent nominal pay increases but later pay increases barely compensated for inflation. I would guess, however, that real military pay in 2016 was higher than it was in 2000.

    For the first 3 years under Trump, nominal pay increased by a mere 2.4% per year. In real terms, military pay only slightly increased. OK the pay increase for 2020 will be 3.1% in nominal terms. This increase is not even up to what we saw in Obama’s first two years.

    In other words, when Trump brags he has done more for the military than anyone else ever has – he is lying. But what’s new?

    1. pgl

      Kevin Drum is a national treasure:

      “Chart of the Day: Military Pay Raises Since 1993

      Every year the military gets a standard across-the-board pay raise. Sometimes it’s enough to keep up with inflation, sometimes it’s not. In the 26 years since 1993, the pay raise has been positive 16 times and negative 10 times after accounting for inflation. Over time, however, it tends to outpace inflation by a bit. Adjusted for inflation, military pay rose about 4 percent during the Clinton presidency; 9 percent during the Bush presidency; and 4 percent during the Obama presidency. During the Trump presidency, it’s been negative both years so far, and the cumulative pay raise has been about -0.1 percent.”

      Kevin’s post was written back in the summer of 2018 so he might want to update it for 2019 and 2020 increases which were not that high even in nominal terms.

      But again – when Trump brags that he has done for the military than anyone else in history, the claim is a bald faced lie.

    2. 2slugbaits

      It’s the reports concerning Trump’s attitude towards the WWI graves in France that struck me. My paternal grandfather served with the Marine 2nd ID and was wounded in July 1918 at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry and received a Purple Heart. They patched him up and he was wounded again at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge in October 2018. The wound was slight and he was heading back to get medical attention when a German machine gunner ripped up his left side. He received a second Purple Heart, but strangely only for the initial (relatively light) wound and not for the more serious wound. Navy/Marine rules only allowed one Purple Heart per battle!!! Anyway, he was permanently disabled for the rest of his life and when my grandmother died when I was a small kid he came and lived with us until he died years later. The effects of that war were life changing for him. He would sit in a chair for hours in some trance with his fingers tapping out marching rhythms. But here’s the thing. Despite all that he never regretted his service, which I always thought was bizarre. It was the central event of his life. Now pretty much all wars are stupid to some degree, but surely the First World War has to rank right up there with the Thirty Years War as one of the all time dumbest and unnecessary wars in human history. But here’s the thing. Trump was surely wrong to refer to those dead soldiers as “losers” and “suckers”, but any honest assessment of the Great War has to come to terms with the fact that indeed a lot of lives were wasted for one of the stupidest and most calamitous events in human history. Were soldiers in the French army “losers” and “suckers” after that army mutinied or were they “losers” and “suckers” when they were being slaughtered earlier in the war? The Great War lacked any morally justifying casus belli, so what motivated the soldiers of the AEF after the French army had already mutinied and abandoned the battlefield? In their own way Trump’s crude, clumsy and insensitive remarks do make you wonder why soldiers like my grandfather fought there without any apparent regrets.

      1. pgl

        Your grandfather went through hell for our nation. My father served in the Navy during WWII. No injuries that I know of but he like a lot of war veterans were very reluctant to discuss the hell they saw. All I know is that guns were never part of my childhood home which is interesting given I grew up in Georgia. I guess once one saw first hand mass deaths, the idea of having a stupid gun around is not an option.

        As far as Trump – I lived near Trump’s 57th and 5th Penthouse for a a few years. I could not stand the arrogance of the uppity East Siders which is why I moved to Brooklyn.

        1. Willie

          A cousin served on a battle cruiser in the Pacific in 1944 and 1945. He did not suffer any physical injuries, but like your father, he did not talk about it. Near the end of his life, he opened up a bit about why. He had a safe shore-side job and actually had to wirk at it to get posted to a ship and sent into harm’s way. Even with the horrors he saw, he did not regret stepping up like that.

          Another action no trump will ever do or understand. We are not heroic people, but unlike trump and his ilk, we seem to know what this country means and is worth.

      2. Willie

        My grandfather likewise fought in the Great War. He was gassed. He was awarded a purple heart and silver star. Then he had to spend a number of years reassembling himself due to what was then called shell shock. He died a little over a year before I was born.

        No trump will ever go through anything like that or understand why anybody would do it.

        1. Moses Herzog

          There’s many many many Republicans with this same attitude about those who are either drafted or volunteer for the military, that they are all “fools” and “naive idiots”. They signal or reveal this with their actions, rather than be dumb enough to straight speak it out to military men and colleagues. donald trump has many sadistic qualities. My educated guess is that the not very subtle subtext of the convo with John Kelly, who the orange creature probably wasn’t getting a long with at the time, was “How could you let your own son join the military when you knew it raised his chances of ending up in that grave there??”.

          Again, this is a very very commonly held belief among Republicans that those who join the military are “idiots” and “fools”. They camouflage that belief by holding a gun in their hands, and waving Bibles and flags around in the air:

          Oklahoma Republican legislator Ralph Shortey with his guns—->>

          Oklahoma Republican lawmaker Ralph Shortey with his wife—–>>

          Oklahoma Republican legislator Ralph Shortey caught in a cheap hotel, attempting to have paid homosexual intercourse with a minor he had met that same night,

          don trump junior, with one of his heroes in life—–>>

          This is why it’s so ironic guys like Bruce Hall think Republicans “protect their values”. Most Republicans couldn’t care less about Bruce Hall or any of his friends whose relatives died in an American war. Why should they??~~~when all they have to do is wave a gun, a theater prop flag and a theater prop Bible around and repeat the same 3 cliches over and over and over to get their vote. Nobody can respect anyone THAT dumb.

  7. ltr

    September 5, 2020

    How Many of These 68,000 Deaths Could Have Been Avoided?
    Nursing home residents and staff members account for around 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. There’s no justifiable reason for that.

    July 8, 2020

    Does Cuomo Share Blame for 6,200 Virus Deaths in N.Y. Nursing Homes?
    A state directive sent thousands of Covid-19 patients into nursing homes, but the Cuomo administration has given other reasons for the virus’s spread.
    By Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Amy Julia Harris

    May 13, 2020

    Buried in N.Y. Budget: Legal Shield for Nursing Homes Rife With Virus
    In New York, 5,300 nursing home residents have died of Covid-19. The nursing home lobby pressed for a provision that makes it hard for their families to sue.
    By Amy Julia Harris, Kim Barker and Jesse McKinley

    1. Ivan

      No Cuomo does not share blame for the 6200 Covid-19 deaths in NY nursing homes. The explosion in cases occurred before they began sending recovering (non-infectious) Covid-19 patients back to nursing homes. The receiving homes got strict infection control guidance. NY has an excellent tracking system and no outbreaks in nursing homes have been tracked back to the return of recovering COVID-19 patients.

  8. ltr

    September 5, 2020



    Cases ( 6,431,152)
    Deaths ( 192,818)


    Cases ( 4,110,839)
    Deaths ( 70,679)


    Cases ( 623,090)
    Deaths ( 66,851)


    Cases ( 344,164)
    Deaths ( 41,549)


    Cases ( 317,706)
    Deaths ( 30,724)


    Cases ( 251,056)
    Deaths ( 9,401)


    Cases ( 131,495)
    Deaths ( 9,143)


    Cases ( 85,112)
    Deaths ( 4,634)

  9. ltr

    September 5, 2020

    Coronavirus (Deaths per million)

    UK ( 611)
    US ( 582)
    Mexico ( 518)
    France ( 471)

    Canada ( 242)
    Germany ( 112)
    India ( 51)
    China ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 12.1%, 9.7% and 10.7% for the United Kingdom, France and Mexico respectively.

  10. ltr

    Knowing that the coronavirus was highly infectious, knowing that select classes of people were highly susceptible to serious infection, knowing that quarantine was proper for coronavirus patients, American state political leaders or health authorities repeatedly ordered or allowed thousands of coronavirus patients to be housed and cared for along with otherwise well but vulnerable men and women.

    1. Moses Herzog

      I believe it was China who pulled this stunt, most notably in Wuhan city and Hubei province. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Chinese leaders pulled that stunt in many provinces. BTW we don’t put COVID-19 infected in glamorized warehouses, they are usually put in hospitals. Now if you would like to say that America’s hospital administrators often “float” nurses from one hospital floor where they take care of COVID-19 patients to
      another hospital floor where there are those yet to be infected with the virus, that would be a very valid charge and an good example of poor American management.

      ltr,If you’re going to be working for the Chinese government wandering around trying to spread cynicism among American voters, you need to improve your English and get a better understanding of how things are done here. It doesn’t work very well to accuse other nations of the same exact behaviors Beijing bureaucrats engage in like you are playing some form of “tag, you’ve got the cooties”.

      There, see how nice I am to mainland Chinese?? I just gave you a more believable lie to tell on the next blog you visit ltr. Try to model your propaganda more like the Russians, they make their propaganda much more professional and do their homework before making a satire laughingstock of themselves.

      1. baffling

        as i said awhile back, ltr operates more like a government troll than an inquiring mind. the purpose of his latest posts is to sow distrust and discord, rather than to solve a problem. i don’t mind discourse and debate, even if i don’t agree with your view, as long as it is an honest attempt. i do not rate the latest commentary from ltr as an honest attempt at discourse and debate.

  11. ltr

    What I would like to understand is why the general approach to the coronavirus spread in the United States has left us so vulnerable while failing even to be economically protective.  I do not understand, but I know that the reasons are beyond this particular administration.  Why did the governor of New York, among other governors, not only fail to quarantine coronavirus patients but send thousands of these patients to nursing homes where ordinary residents would be especially susceptible to serious infection?  Actually, a few days after the Chinese decided that quarantine would be necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the New York Times was dismissing the Chinese decision.  Possibly the governor of New York was led in turn to entirely dismiss a need for quarantine.

    I would like to understand.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ ltr
      America is guilty of many bad things. We have many sins, both in the current context of MAGA, and throughout our history. One positive thing America has going for it right now is we don’t use “wet markets” out in the open in public view. And with rare exceptions, we don’t transport animals in a fashion where one animal poopoos and peepees on another animal during transport.

      Now would I name reference a respiratory virus based on ethnocentric geography?? No, I would not, because I think each and every nation probably carries some “sin” as it relates to issues of hygiene and ways they could make society safer from disease and virus. However…….. if I was based out of a country where the most recent pandemic virus had been given birth to…… I think I might make half an effort at being a little more humble in my proclamations.

    2. CoRev

      ltr, a simple question with a VERY COMPLEX answer. My 1st guess is that we need to look at US history, US political structure, and human nature for PARTIAL understanding. US history is rife with conflicts over personal liberties as defined by the US Constitution. Our political structure, democratic REPUBLIC, splits and shares decision making and responsibility between the Federal Government and the States. Even within the states they are further shared with lower government units. Human nature can only take limited time under locked down conditions. Prisons have bars and even my 80+ YO SIL gave up the need to stay home in June making a trip to see her granddaughter and great grand child. Quoting her:” ” I couldn’t take it any more and had to get out.” Historically, we have a generation and strain of US citizens believing that fighting government constraints is a RIG?HT.

      Our political structure and independent underpinnings make it nearly impossible for a Federal leader to establish and enforce nationwide mandates; furthermore, we are a very geographically diverse country. Any mandate established for an urban area’s residents is nonsensical to the residents in a rural area. In those areas masks and social distancing mandates are unnecessary, as they are socially distanced naturally with no need for a mask unless entering an urban or group environment. This is a virus that is quite infectious and dangerous for a mostly limited populace. It is mostly spread by contact in a group setting. Wearing masks when in these group settings and staying out of them (social distancing) are the two strongest limits to spreading, making sense for the whole country.

      As for blame, just which enumerated powers in the Constitution or which laws give the President the power to make nationwide mandates? BTW these mandates are typically called laws and which branch of Government makes laws? Which mandates would have worked in our political and human nature constrained country? When and where should they have been implemented? These questions are for the TDS sufferers.

      1. baffling

        “Our political structure and independent underpinnings make it nearly impossible for a Federal leader to establish and enforce nationwide mandates”
        that does not stop a good federal leader from stepping up and saying we should all be using masks and social distancing. that is what a leader does. that is NOT what trump did. it was a failure in leadership.

        1. CoRev

          Baffled, I bet you recommend we follow the science. “At the end of February, the surgeon general’s Twitter account put out an all-caps plea to Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS” because they were “NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.”
          Then in early April CDC changed its recommendation: “: The Trump administration is advising people to start wearing face masks in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus, a reversal on previous guidance that urged people not to wear masks.” Yes,at the time Trump did say it was voluntary to use masks, which was correct for guidance.

          Remember the word is guidance and not mandate. Please list the enumerated powers and/or law that allows Trump to mandate. Its a simple question. Even you should be able to answer.

          1. baffling

            corev, dishonest as usual. the reason for the february recommendation not to wear a mask in public was that we had a SEVERE shortage of ppe, and it was better that people in hospitals wore them rather than people out in public who most likely did not encounter somebody with the virus throughout out most of the country. if you do not understand this simple aspect, it simply reinforces the fact you are an idiot.

            as for april, it was great that the cdc advised people to wear a mask. these were not trumps words. he should have also advised them to social distance. looking at his behavior at the time, it does not seem he decided to follow his own administrations guidance.

            now lets get back to the point at hand. you want to argue about guidance versus mandate. but that does not change the fact, as a federal leader, trump could have used his position to “guide” them on the correct behavior. he resisted doing this until it was no longer possible to ignore the facts in front of him. in fact, to this day, he does not encourage social distancing or mask wearing. this is a FAILURE of leadership.

            we have laws all over the country that say no shoes, no shirt, no service. trump could not even do that. it was a failure of leadership corev. in fact, trump encouraged governors throughout the country to do the opposite. why you continue to make excuses for trumps failures is truly baffling.

          2. CoRev

            PGL, why wouldn’t CDC use any means possible to release guidance? How dense you are?

            Baffled, I see you failed to answer my request, and just went off on another semantical journey. You actually confirmed that the “science guidance” was contradictory: “the reason for the february recommendation not to wear a mask in public was that we had a SEVERE shortage of ppe, and it was better that people in hospitals wore them rather than people out in public who most likely did not encounter somebody with the virus throughout out most of the country.”

            Even funnier, when the “science guidance” changed Trump announced it. As I pointed out above. Remember follow the science!

          3. noneconomist

            At “the end of February “, didn’t Trump refer to covid as “…the Democrats ‘ new hoax”? Science?
            By April, Trump is now advising people to wear masks because it’s no longer a hoax?
            Your point?

          4. CoRev

            Nonec, your TDS is showing. If you can not understand that the sciency masks recommendations changed, then your TDS is overwhelming your capabilities for logical thinking. If you are Baffled you claim that the early guidance was because masks were in short supply, and that was due to Trump, because he failed to rebuild the inventory after the YEARS EARLIER Obama/Biden H1N1 flu epidemic draw down.

            Of course, if you want to point to the April 2020 changed sciency mask guidance due to the Obama/Biden ability to increase mask availability, then you would surely be even more deeply afflicted with TDS.

            I’m still waiting for an answer to: Please list the enumerated powers and/or law that allows Trump to mandate. Its a simple question. Even you should be able to answer.

          5. 2slugbaits

            CoRev You asked about the CDC’s initial guidance that recommended people not wear masks. I was never thrilled with that advice, but the CDC did have some defensible reasons for recommending against mask wearing:

            (1) There was a shortage of N95 masks, so those scarce resources needed to be saved for health workers and first responders. That’s not an unreasonable rationale.

            (2) There was a concern that people would not wear and remove N95 masks correctly, which would not only defeat the purpose of wearing a mask, but could actually contribute to spread. That’s especially true if wearing a mask incorrectly gave people a false sense of security that could increase risky behavior.

            (3) At the time the main concern was with masks protecting the wearer. The CDC correctly noted that cloth masks provide some but not great protection for the wearer. The revised guidance that came out later emphasized cloth mask wearing as a way to protect others. That was a later realization. And it’s still true. The benefits of my wearing a mask are marginal to me, but significant for you. And that’s why the CDC is now emphasizing mask wearing. Their guidance regarding masks protecting the wearer has not changed; what’s changed is their thinking about masks protecting people other than the wearer.

          6. baffling

            corev, your response is simply silly. you seem to want to dispute reality. fauci was very clear early on, his concern with masks had more to do with saving them for the front line workers. he did not say they do not help. he was dealing with the constraint of a limited resource. the science was still clear, wearing a mask is good. the science did not really change, the constraints of limited supply is what changed.

            “YEARS EARLIER Obama/Biden H1N1 flu epidemic draw down.”
            trump was in office for THREE years before the trump virus struck. how many more years does he need to prepare things properly? this blaming others for a complete lack of preparation is boring.

            no shoes, no shirt, no service. not sure why we cannot modify to no shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service. not only did trump not try to do this, he actively encouraged others to impede this simple approach. failure in leadership. and when you hear the latest recordings of him knowing the severity and still not acting to protect the nation, it starts to fall beyond dereliction of duty and nearly criminal.

          7. 2slugbaits

            CoRev I don’t think anyone is saying that Trump had the power to mandate mask wearing. But it was certainly within Trump’s power to make a point of wearing a mask himself instead of ridiculing and mocking people who did. It was certainly within Trump’s power to require attendees at this rallies to wear masks. It was certainly within Trump’s power to decide against “Liberate Michigan” tweets. It was certainly within Trump’s power to go on Fox & Friends and urge his supporters to wear masks. Trump didn’t have to tell his supporters that it was all a “Democrat hoax” or that it would miraculously disappear or that it was just like the flu or a thousand other lies.

            Then in early April CDC changed its recommendation

            It wasn’t just the CDC. In early April there were a few days when Trump himself actually behaved in a sensible way. He appeared in daily briefings and made responsible comments and recommendations. He seemed to be taking the pandemic seriously. And it showed in his polling numbers which ticked up a few points. His disapproval rating actually dipped below 50% and his approval rating flirted with 46%:


            But that only lasted for about a week before Trump reverted to form.

          8. CoRev

            2slugs, another irrelevant comment. The sciency reasons are all true, and as the science changed the guidance was promulgated and mostly followed in those areas where appropriate. Follow the bouncing ball of science.

          9. noneconomist

            Very poor attempt at evading reality, CoRev. Didn’t work in your sophomore English class in high school. And, since you haven’t advanced past that, it won’t work now.
            Your fear of facts–and your desperate attempts to evade them–make your foregoing statements more gibberish than you usually produce.
            On February 7, Trump called the virus “deadly stuff?”
            Three weeks later, on February 28, he called the virus “a Democrat hoax”.
            And three weeks after that, he told Bob Woodward, he “wanted to always play it down.” No hoax. It was always the real thing.
            Not sure noting this is proof of any DS. But it certainly would suggest that Trump remains a daily candidate for “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” any time he opens his mouth. And your appreciation for liars with their pants on fire has been obvious for quite some time.
            As for you and your view of Trumpland, you’re edging closer to the role of the young Helen Keller played so brilliantly by Patty Duke all those years ago. Except, of course, SHE was acting.

      2. pgl

        “a simple question with a VERY COMPLEX answer.”

        Actually the answer is simple. Donald Trump is both incompetent and a liar who does not give a rat’s ass who dies. Of course he has his minions who lie for him all the time. One of these pathetic minions is name CoRev. But do pretend it is all complicated as that is all you have.

  12. ltr

    ——- is guilty of many bad…

    [ I suggest seeking counseling for the racism. Racism is a serious, dangerous illness that counseling can help.

    As for the response, I always know the writing will be racist and never look at more than a couple of words.

    Do look for counseling, which insurance should cover. ]

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ ltr
      Too bad China doesn’t offer insurance for such things as mental health—or really any kind of health insurance, and they look to the children’s and son-in-law’s income as their “nest egg”. Don’t worry, when grandma starts to look really bad you can hide her off in the secret room of the house and make her feel shame while you tell the visiting house guest “Laowai” that China “respects the elderly more than Americans do”. He’s sure to get some wry laughs out of it inside his head, because if he laughs out loud you’ll feel “insulted” for finally seeing your true family dynamics. Friend, 7 years tells you a lot about a place, even many of the “secrets” become self-apparent with not a whole lot of deductive reasoning needed.

  13. ltr

    ——- is guilty of many bad…

    [ Also, racism is intimidating and meant to be intimidating. I do not care to be and will never allow myself to be so intimidated.

    Please do seek counseling. ]

  14. ltr

    Interesting that referencing and quoting the New York Times and simply setting down data means being awful. No matter:

    September 7, 2020



    Cases   ( 6,469,236)
    Deaths   ( 193,305)

  15. ltr

    September 7, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

    The Chinese mainland registered 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, all from overseas, the country’s health authorities said on Monday.

    This is the 22nd consecutive day without new domestic transmissions in the Chinese mainland.

    On Sunday, there were no deaths linked to the coronavirus disease, and 18 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed cases stands at 85,134, and the death toll at 4,634, with 329 asymptomatic patients under medical observation.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since May 17. There has been no community or domestic coronavirus case for 22 days. Since June began there have been only 2 limited community clusters of infections, in Beijing and Urumqi in Xinjiang, both of which were contained with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, and both outbreaks ended in a few weeks. Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine. Asymptomatic cases are all quarantined. ]

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ ltr
      You just got through talking about New York times, and then turn right around and give us CGTN links, which is the China’s own version of Russia’s “RT”?? No one here criticized you for NYT links that I am aware of, not even our “usual suspects” have gone after you on that front (which actually is rather amazing when I stop to think about it). Can’t you at least quote the South China Morning Post, which aside from a few Chinese bloggers sitting in prison or dead is the only media you have that’s worth the medium it’s printed on??

      You know this is why I super-applaud Menzie for letting some of the worst comments onto the blog. I know Menzie doesn’t agree with 98% of what you say ltr, so why does he do it?? [rhetorical question] Because it gives us a taste of reality from the country continually whining and pouting like the 5 year old child at the grocery checkout that can’t get Mom to buy him that candy he wants. China always crying and whaling to Mommy because its “internal affairs” are being “interfered” with. This from a country that can’t go two minutes without trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine info from western governments and research institutions. What’s the problem ltr?? Did your government finally figure out that papermaking, printing (take that Johannes Gutenberg!!!), gunpowder, and the compass wasn’t cutting it in the year 2020?? I know you guys put air-fans near the water fountains, so really Freon compound is just an “ornamental” part of A/C units that the Chinese invented. Great job. Who can top the sophistication of a hand crank by a water fountain??

  16. ltr

    As for the need for and effectiveness of quarantine, the Chinese built 2 entire hospitals in Hubei, with negative air-pressure rooms.  There were other Chinese hospitals built or entirely renovated for patients.  Ambulances were renovated for negative air-pressure transport of patients.  Medics were isolated, using otherwise empty hotels…

    There is obviously need for respect and need to learn.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ ltr
      Those were cheaply built warehouses, not “hospitals”, where many COVID-19 infected people immediately infected others who were false positives on infection tests. Congratulations, your government killed its own citizens (sound familiar to you at all??) unnecessarily, take a bow. Please take a bow now.

  17. ltr

    September 7, 2020

    Chinese-made vaccine able to fight all mutations: developer
    By Leng Shumei

    Will be ready for mass vaccination at low price

    Chinese military infectious disease expert Chen Wei said a COVID-19 vaccine her team produced can be effective against all existing mutations of the novel coronavirus, noting that they are preparing for mass vaccination at a low price whenever phase three clinical trial results come out….

  18. ltr

    September 8, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 10 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

    The Chinese mainland registered 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, all from overseas, the country’s health authorities said on Tuesday.

    This is the 23rd consecutive day without domestic transmissions on the Chinese mainland.

    No deaths from the disease were reported on the mainland on Monday while 15 patients were discharged from hospitals.

    The total number of confirmed cases stands at 85,144 and the death toll at 4,634, with 324 asymptomatic patients under medical observation.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  19. ltr

    There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since May 17.  There has been no community or domestic coronavirus case for 23 days.  Since June began there have been only 2 limited community clusters of infections, in Beijing and Urumqi in Xinjiang, both of which were contained with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, and both outbreaks ended in a few weeks.  Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine.  Asymptomatic cases are all quarantined.

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