Some People Think Covid-19 Hospitalizations Are Level

Reader Bruce Hall writes yesterday:

Cases continue to escalate; deaths do not; hospitalizations are basically level. The hyperbole around cases is unfortunate because infections are not categorized for action since asymptomatic to severe are lumped together.

I do not think this assertion regarding current hospitalizations are correct (and by definition, those are not asymptomatic cases, so the argument against using cases numbers does not apply). And where hospitalizations go, fatalities have usually followed.

Figure 1: Covid-19 related current Hospitalizations (blue, left scale), fatalities, seven day moving average (red, right scale). Source: Covid Tracking Project, accessed 10/20/20.



63 thoughts on “Some People Think Covid-19 Hospitalizations Are Level

  1. pgl

    ‘Reader Bruce Hall writes yesterday: Cases continue to escalate; deaths do not; hospitalizations are basically level. The hyperbole around cases is unfortunate because infections are not categorized for action since asymptomatic to severe are lumped together.’

    As you note this statement is incorrect. But by now I think it is obvious that EVERYTHING Bruce Hall writes is factually incorrect. But he has an excuse. After all – he is nothing more than Steno Sue for Kelly Anne “Alternative Facts” Conway.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Lately Bruce has been doing a lot of drive-by postings. He’ll dump on this site with some indefensible silliness and then disappear for a few days when called upon to defend it. And it doesn’t matter how many times he gets corrected, he just keeps recycling the same hackneyed arguments over and over and over.

  2. pgl

    “And where hospitalizations go, fatalities have usually followed.”

    Wait for it. Wait for it. Bruce Hall will chime in saying he sees no (contemporaneous) correlation in your graph between hospitalizations and deaths. Of course there is a well established lag. Now I might suggest having this lag incorporated in a graph but if you did that Sammy would go bananas raising hell that “you can’t do that”.

  3. pgl

    “You can’t do that”. If you are wondering where I got this line, recall this interview:

    In an extraordinary clip from Jonathan Swan’s Axios interview with Donald Trump, the president rifled through a sheaf of graphs to claim that the US has lower numbers of coronavirus than other nations. The pair debated Trump’s point that America has a lower number of deaths as a percentage of coronavirus cases, but when Swan pointed instead to the number of US Covid-19 deaths as a population percentage, Trump said: ‘You can’t do that’.

    I love watching this video because when Swan nailed Trump with the facts, it was almost like he had shot Trump’s dog!

    1. Barkley Rosser

      This would not be a big deal. Trump is the first US president in a very long time who does not have a dog. I do not even know who was the last one not to have a dog; I do not think any since at least before FDR, unless maybe Truman did not have one.

  4. pgl

    Before any of the Usual Suspects brings up the Great Barrington Declaration, let’s not why this extremist call if all rightwing politics and very bad health advice:

    It’s name — Great Barrington Declaration — seems an attempt to make it sound important, even authoritative. It is neither. Rather, “it’s callous, dangerous nonsense” in the words of American microbiologist and immunologist John Moore.
    Moore was one of thousands of medical and public health experts reacting to last week’s carefully scripted release of the so-called declaration, which essentially calls for and end to lockdowns and allowing people to be infected by COVID-19, so eventually herd immunity would be realized. The idea is that people most at risk of dying and serious illness would be locked down, and the rest of society would return to “normal,” with people less likely to die being exposed to the virus.
    Herd immunity happens when a significant portion of the population is exposed to a virus, so that it stops spreading because a critical mass of people have become immune to it.
    There are two ways to achieve herd immunity. The first is to administer an effective vaccine. The second, proposed by the three academics behind the declaration, is to basically let the virus run free until enough people become infected.
    The first option is what the world’s medical and scientific community is working feverishly at accomplishing. The second is discredited by virtually all credible experts, other than those driven by libertarian ideology, as appears to be the case here.
    Consider: Since anyone over 65 is automatically at higher risk of serious outcomes, all those people would need to be locked down. In Canada, that would be about 20 per cent of the population. Try to picture what it would look like if 20 per cent of the population was basically locked away while the virus raged unrestrained in the rest of the population.
    Experts say that to achieve herd immunity, 70 per cent of the population would need to be infected. That’s 70 per cent of Canada’s approximately 37.6 million people. That means something like 26 million Canadians would need to be infected in order to achieve herd immunity. To Oct. 15, just under 176,000 Canadians had contracted COVID-19. Even given that many cases have gone unreported, that is an unthinkable rate of disease spread.
    Try to imagine the implications on our health-care system of that many people being infected. It’s true that younger, healthy people generally don’t get as sick as higher risk people, but if only a fraction of those millions became seriously ill, hospitals would be overwhelmed. And imagine how many people would suffer long-term health effects? And how many locked-down at risk people would become sick based on the sheer volume of infected people?

    1. 2slugbaits

      People also misunderstand what “herd immunity” actually means. It doesn’t mean the population is immune from getting the virus; it simply means that enough people will have achieved immunity that the virus can no longer spread wildly. But it still spreads and will continue to seek out new victims. just at a much lower rate. Allowing the virus to spread in order to achieve herd immunity has another drawback that tends to get overlooked; viz., it likely increases the chances of the virus mutating. Not good.

      Try to imagine the implications on our health-care system of that many people being infected.

      Bruce noted that there’s been a drop in the case fatality rate. That’s true. But what Bruce failed to mention is that one reason for that drop is that hospitals are no longer overwhelmed with COVID patients and can therefore provide much better support. The therapeutics have certainly improved, but so has the amount of attention healthcare workers can devote to each patient. Ramp up the number of hospital admissions and a lot of that improved drop in mortality rates goes away.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Another reason death rate may have fallen somewhat is that it is my understanding that the recent increase in new cases has been more concentrated among younger portions of the population, sort of a Great Barrington effect, as it were. But I have not double checked figures, so could be wrong on this one.

        1. Moses Herzog

          It’s more likely to be medical/health professionals are getting better at finding out what works against the virus and fine-tuning treatments. For example recently there’s been increased discussion about using steroids against Covid-19. The “Great Barrington Declaration” (as that is what it is, a declaration and not an “effect”, lots of hot air, the type of hot air Barkley Junior revels in) has no basis in reality, as the more young people who become infectious and can transmit the virus, there is apt to be some comparative increase (or “rate” of increase) in the elderly population with which the young people have contact with.

          Barkley Junior is much more apt to get the virus if his grandkids get it. Not all of the “Barkley Juniors” will get it just because their grandkids get it (very very hopefully some Barkley Juniors are more clever than others….. ), but the odds drastically rise Barkley Junior will be infected if Junior’s grandkids get the Covid-19. There is probably an associated “rate” of infection there between young and old, with some provisos like local mask mandates and education levels. But we can bet there is an associated rate of transmission between young and old. The death rate however is likely to lower as things like the steroids lowers the death rate of those post-infection.

          I think vitamin D could help you fight the virus if you get it Junior. Please avoid it. That’s non-expert advice just for your individual potential case Junior.

          1. Barkley Rosser


            More off-the-wall losing it by you.

            This was a simple tentative declaration of fact by me. It happens to be true. I just checked. A CDC report on Oct. 2 clearly states that prior to June the largest proportion of covid-19 cases in the US were among seniors. Since then it has been among 20-29 year olds.

          2. pgl

            “A CDC report on Oct. 2 clearly states that prior to June the largest proportion of covid-19 cases in the US were among seniors. Since then it has been among 20-29 year olds.”

            OK – this statement is true. But we have all known this for months. Did we really need some libertarian nut cases pointing out the obvious?

            BTW – these libertarian nut cases clearly do not get externalities. As in some 25 year old kid visiting grandma giving her COVID-19.

          3. Barkley Rosser


            Moses declared that I was “full of hot air” when I stated this point that you say is only believed by “libertarian nut jobs.”

            I do not think Moses is a libertarian, but he has recently been acting more like a nut job than usual. I think it is stress over the upcoming election that has him so bonkers.

        2. pgl

          “sort of a Great Barrington effect”.

          Effect? It is a called the Great Barrington Declaration and it is a bizarre political statement at best. It certainly is not science so pardon me for saying so but there is no “Great Barrington effect”.

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ pgl
            I’m afraid that Barkley Junior is as good at comprehending the difference between “Declaration” and “effect” as he is grasping the difference between SAAR for Quarterly GDP and monthly consumer spending. This happens intermittently when Junior forgets to take his cholinesterase inhibitors.

        3. Barkley Rosser

          20-39 year olds, not 20-29 year olds. Sorry for the typo.

          BTW, I am going to assume that your recent increase in bizarre outbursts is due to stress related to the upcoming election, Moses. You are forgiven.

      2. pgl

        Add to that if we test more we find more cases. The ratio of death/cases is such a misleading statistic and Bruce Hall knows this (I am assuming his IQ is about single digits so who knows). Trump knows this too. The metric that matter is deaths per capita which is incredibly high on a total basis for the US v. the rest of the world. And as we see 700 new deaths per day, we are adding to this statistic faster than any other nation besides the disaster known as Mexico. For Bruce Hall and his minions to tout this as a success story is beyond disgusting.

  5. pgl

    Trump tax records highlight multiple business dealings in China

    President Trump has tried to portray his Democratic opponent Joe Biden as being a “puppet” and calling his family a “crime family” because of his son Hunter’s business dealings there, but according to an analysis of Trump’s tax records, his business history is filled with financial deals and projects involving the Chinese state.

    It seems Trump did pay a lot in taxes in China even as he did not pay that much in taxes here.

  6. ltr

    October 20, 2020



    Cases ( 8,520,307)
    Deaths ( 226,149)


    Cases ( 7,649,158)
    Deaths ( 115,950)


    Cases ( 930,745)
    Deaths ( 33,885)


    Cases ( 854,926)
    Deaths ( 86,338)


    Cases ( 762,542)
    Deaths ( 43,967)


    Cases ( 380,898)
    Deaths ( 9,955)


    Cases ( 203,688)
    Deaths ( 9,794)


    Cases ( 85,704)
    Deaths ( 4,634)

  7. ltr

    October 20, 2020

    Coronavirus (Deaths per million)

    US ( 682)
    Mexico ( 668)
    UK ( 647)
    France ( 519)

    Canada ( 259)
    Germany ( 119)
    India ( 84)
    China ( 3)

    Notice the ratios of deaths to coronavirus cases are 10.1%, 5.8% and 3.6% for Mexico, the United Kingdom and France respectively. These ratios are high, but have been significantly higher, while falling recently.

  8. ltr

    October 21, 2020

    Chinese mainland reports 11 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland on Tuesday registered 11 new COVID-19 cases, all from overseas, the National Health Commission announced on Wednesday.

    No deaths related to the disease were reported on Tuesday, and 22 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals, the commission said. A total of 403 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    The COVID-19 tally on the Chinese mainland stands at 85,715 infections, with 4,634 fatalities.

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

    [ There has been no coronavirus death on the Chinese mainland since May 17. Since June began there have been 3 limited community clusters of infections, in Beijing, Dalian and Urumqi, each of which was contained with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine, with each outbreak ending in a few weeks.

    Currently there is another apparently limited community cluster in Qingdao, with mass testing, contact tracing and quarantine again being used to identify the origin of as well as to contain and end the outbreak.

    Imported coronavirus cases are caught at entry points with required testing and immediate quarantine. Asymptomatic cases are all quarantined. The flow of imported cases to China is low, but has been persistent.

    There are now 247 active coronavirus cases in all on the Chinese mainland, 3 of which cases are classed as serious or critical. ]

  9. pgl

    On the political smear front, Rudy G. and Steve Bannon are stirring up lies about Hunter Biden that will excite the QAnon crowd as if that laptop never owned by young Biden has alleged pictures of him with underaged girls:

    My bet? Some Russian operative got a young girl to have sex with Donald Trump Jr. and then photoshopped it. But maybe someone should warn this poor girl she now has not only some weird STDs but also COVID19.

    1. sammy


      “My bet? Some Russian operative got a young girl to have sex with Donald Trump Jr. and then photoshopped it.”

      This is an extremely bad bet.

      1. pgl

        And you know it is a bad bet because it was YOU and not a Russian who pulled off this stunt? Good to know Sammy. But be careful as you have just admitted to all sorts of felonies. Maybe we can start a collection so you can hire a good criminal defense attorney.

      2. baffling

        it is as valid of an argument as the one provided by giuliani regarding the hunter biden video. you think that argument is credible? really? even as the old man tugs on himself while awaiting a massage from his honey trap? at this point you need to take giuliani for what he is, an old alcoholic pervert grabbing for any dollar offered his way. his own daughter has dismissed him as a loser.

  10. ltr

    October 21, 2020



    Cases ( 8,545,453)
    Deaths ( 226,664)

    Serious, Critical Cases ( 15,771)

    Notice the number of coronavirus patients listed as “serious, critical.” This has been the situation for months.

  11. pgl

    Is this true? Sinclair News guy asks Trump a softball question as to what he might have done differently with respect to this COVID-19 crisis and Trump’s answer was “not much”. Of course any honest answer would have been that the government should have done a lot of things differently. But I’m assuming the government is run by someone who cares about our citizens. Which in Trump’s case is certainly not the reality.

  12. baffling

    i think it is obvious to everybody, folks like bruce hall are not interested in making an honest and factual assessment of the covid situation. the talking point has already been determined by the white house: coronavirus is not a problem and things continue to improve. now this is in direct contradiction with what can be observed in the real world. but people like bruce hall and trump are not interested in reality. they are interested in promoting their world view, which tends to be advantageous to them personally. truth and fact are not of concern. winning the discussion is the only thing that matters, even if your argument is incorrect. bruce hall really does not care how many people die in the process, so long as donalds argument is pressed forward.

  13. macroduck

    The goons who lie about the Covid pandemic are the same goons who lie about taxes, about black lives matter demonstrations, about education, about health care. It’s a living.

    The motive for these lies extends beyond Trump’s limited remaining tenure in office. When Biden takes over and Congress votes for steps to contain the virus and to support the economy, these goons will have laid the groundwork to vilify Democrats for doing what science suggests and voters have called for.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: You have data through week ending 10/10. I am showing higher frequency data (daily) going through 10/19 – more than one week more data than you have plotted.

      1. Bruce Hall

        Menzie, I recognize that; however, I am using official CDC data. There may be an upswing, but depending on how you display the data, the levels show a sharp uptick (squeeze the horizontal axis and stretch the vertical axis) or a slight one.

        This is from 13-years ago.

          1. pgl

            Oh joy – climate change denial via Lying with Statistics. I guess you missed the tributes to the fellow who wrote the 1954 book. And he was later nailed defending tobacco company claims that smoking does no harm.

            And here we have his modern day stooge Lying with Statistics on COVID19. It is certainly funny that such a lying stooge like you takes pride in his deceptions!

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: Sorry, what was from 13 years ago?

          Latest vs. trough is 37744 to 28608. That’s a 31.9% increase in current hospitalizations. You wrote in your original post: “hospitalizations are basically level”. In what world are you in?

    2. pgl

      “it’s all in how you show it”.

      Yes – your political masters are teaching you all sorts of ways to lie about statistics. Throw little Brucie boy a bone.

  14. Moses Herzog

    Which one of our “usual suspects” on here has been working overtime at making China America’s “enemy #1” for all the wrong reasons?? Was it CoRev?? I’m too lazy to pick through the old threads today. What are we to think about a U.S. “president” who keeps a hidden Chinese bank account?

    I wonder what rationalizations Bruce Hall, CoRev, Ed Hanson, and Rick “Disingenuous Phony” Stryker have to say about our orange pumpkin head president having a hidden Chinese bank account?? Does this mean donald trump believes in socialist economies now?? Rick “Disingenuous Phony” Stryker, we know you hover over comments, are you going to be “Chester” to trump’s “Spike” in this surreal cartoon??

    1. Moses Herzog

      BTW, Rick “Disingenuous Phony” Stryker only likes “gorilla warfare” on blogs, where he has easy ground to tread on, don’t expect Stryker to show up with a logical argument here. Rick “Disingenuous Phony” Stryker likes to vote “absentee” when he knows he’s going to lose. donald trump’s hidden Chinese bank account isn’t as easy a rhetorical win as tying one hand behind his back and making Barkley Junior look like a fool with statistics computations.

  15. joseph

    Megapixel Stryker should be proud. Today Trump was on the stump in North Carolina claiming once again that his inaugural crowd was larger than Obama’s. Yes, four years later he’s still fuming over his humiliation and lying about it.

    Recall that Rick Stryker was among to first to loyally leap to Trump’s defense, claiming he had megapixel pictures to prove Trump’s bogus claim.

    It’s embarrassing to see someone like Stryker debase himself so thoroughly in obeisance to his Dear Leader.

  16. Moses Herzog

    PBS has a documentary on this guy that is very worth watching. I think the world will miss this man, and the world needs more people like him. If only we had a person as good at exposing frauds like donald trump. I greatly admire him and hope people won’t forget his contributions and efforts to be a positive force to the world around him, won’t be forgotten:

    1. Barkley Rosser


      More off-the-wall losing it by you.

      This was a simple tentative declaration of fact by me. It happens to be true. I just checked. A CDC report on Oct. 2 clearly states that prior to June the largest proportion of covid-19 cases in the US were among seniors. Since then it has been among 20-39 year olds.

  17. Moses Herzog

    You “folks” wanna now how “interesting” (interesting here, read as~~backwards) this “red state” I live in is??~~~that calls itself “conservative” and overwhelmingly voted for kookball Mormon Romney and atheist disguised as Fundamentalist Evangelical donald trump (and they will vote for him in droves in about 12 days). Let me give you a little “snack” of the type of people who live here, both in the city and in rural areas, though this particular type tends to bend towards rural areas~~~you know~~~those “conservative” “traditional” “folk” who “can’t stand the people who live in the city”. Enjoy one of the stories in just this morning’s newspaper, in the lower right of the front page of the hardcopy version of the paper. Then tell me with the possible exception of about 5 deep south hell hole states, you aren’t glad you don’t live in this state:

    Did I mention they LOVE donald trump here??? Poteau is located in Le Flore County, where 77.6% of the people voted for donald trump in 2016.

    Kinda makes you wistful for Judge Roy Moore, doesn’t it???

  18. John Smith

    It sure looks like hospitalizations are level to me, from the chart. Just minor fluctuations, but no big increases after it peaked in April.

    What I don’t understand is why Democrats are so terrified by this disease. Flu kills around 50,000 in a typical year, and several times that in a bad year, and yet no one bats an eyelid. In 1958, flu killed over 100,000 in the US, which, adjusted for population increase, would be equivalent to about 200,000 today.
    The CDC now puts the fatality rate for COVID-19 at around 0.2%, which is not much worse than a flu. For people below 50, the fatality rate is LESS THAN for a typical flu.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Obergruppenfuehrer John Smith: On that graph, the increase is 31.9%. You can call that a “minor fluctuation” if you want; I think most would disagree.

      We are about 7 months into this pandemic. You have compared 7 months worth of Covid-19 fatalities against 1 year’s worth of flu.

      1. baffling

        it should also be pointed out we have over 200,000 deaths while including very drastic measures like local lockdown and mandatory mask orders. if we had treated this outbreak like the “flu”, and really done nothing in the way of prevention, you would easily be approaching 500,00-1,000,000 deaths today. probably double that in another year’s time.

    2. pgl

      John Lott had Mary Rosh.

      Bruce Hall has John Smith.

      Hey John – how does it feel being Brucie’s Minnie Me?

    3. pgl

      “Flu kills around 50,000 in a typical year”.

      And in just 7 months – COVID19 has killed almost five times that much.

      Ah John – you need to read Lying with Statistics (1954) as you really suck at this.

    4. John Bowman

      Flu kills about 10,000 – 60,000 people a year, averaging about 35,000/year over the last 10 years, not an average of 50,000 (Wikipedia.) In a bad year, flu kills ~60K, not “several times 50K”. Comparing deaths in 1958-medical-technology US with deaths today is… pretty bad analysis… think of how many COVID deaths there would have been with 1958 level medical technology. Another comparison: life expectancy in the US in 1958 was slightly under 70 years, whereas today it is about 9 years more. That’s a really big increase!

      Might want to check for mortality rates. The fatality rate for the US is about 2.7% using confirmed cases as a baseline; if you want to get to 0.2%, you have to assume we’ve had 13x as many actual as confirmed cases, or ~ 110 million so far. 1/3 of the US population infected in, basically, 8 1/2 months! That’s one enormous transmission rate.

      1. pgl

        Your link also shows total deaths per capita. Note we passed the UK a while back but trail Spain, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico. We’re only #5. OK Trump has decided we need to test less. I guess he wants us to be #1 here.

      2. baffling

        “The fatality rate for the US is about 2.7% using confirmed cases as a baseline; if you want to get to 0.2%, you have to assume we’ve had 13x as many actual as confirmed cases, or ~ 110 million so far. 1/3 of the US population infected in, basically, 8 1/2 months! That’s one enormous transmission rate.”
        i don’t think anybody credibly predicts that we have had 110 million infections in this country. what your numbers imply is that the 0.2% number is simply too low.

        1. John Bowman

          Yes, far too low, esp. considering that we have no doubt failed to count a substantial number of coronavirus deaths..

          I think we are on the same page, but just in case not… this was a response to John Smith and his comment “The CDC now puts the fatality rate for COVID-19 at around 0.2%, which is not much worse than a flu.” I find it hard to believe that the scientist wing of the CDC puts the fatality rate at 0.2%, for obvious reasons.

    5. 2slugbaits

      John Smith You’re comparing apples and oranges, or in this case CFRs and IFRs. The CFR for seasonal flu is around 0.2%. The IFR for COVID is also in the 0.2% to 0.5% range. But the IFR for the flu is around 0.01% to 0.02%.

      1. baffling

        and for those who miss the point, that is an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE difference between flu and covid. not a trivial difference.

    1. pgl

      That is a lot for a single day but do note certain members of the Usual Suspects will fire back with their usual venom if you do not report this as a 7-day average. There were a couple of days when the daily death count actually dipped below 500.

      Maybe our host can provide such a series.

  19. joseph

    John Smith: “It sure looks like hospitalizations are level to me, from the chart.”

    You may think it is just trivia when I bring up Trump’s fixation on his inaugural crowd. But it was a signal from day one that Trump was demanding that his cultists literally disbelieve what they see with their own eyes. And here we are four years later and John Smith says “looks level to me.”

    And folks like Rick Stryker, Bruce Hall and John Smith just hopped right on board the crazy train while eagerly slurping up the Kool-Aid.

    1. pgl

      Trump keeps saying we are turning the corner. Of course around this corner is a Mack Truck that is going to run over us. MAGA!

  20. Alan Goldhammer

    I’m working on tomorrow’s COVID-19 newsletter right now and came across this preprint: the authors look at the prevalence of COVID-19 among young people as compared to older adults in states experiencing surges. “Prevalence of COVID-19 for adolescents and for youth was significantly greater than for older adults (p<.00001), as was percentage observed ÷ percentage expected (p<.005). The percentage deviation was significantly greater in adolescents/youth than in older adults (p<0.00001) when there was an excess of observed cases over what was expected, and significantly less when observed cases were fewer than expected (p<0.00001). "

  21. ltr

    October 22, 2020

    Iowa Never Locked Down. Its Economy Is Struggling Anyway.
    President Trump has blamed Democratic officials’ rules for impeding the recovery. But even where restrictions are few, business is far from normal.
    By Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley

    As far as the law is concerned, there is no reason that Amedeo Rossi can’t reopen his martini bar in downtown Des Moines, or resume shows at his concert venue two doors down. Yet Mr. Rossi’s businesses remain dark, and one has closed for good.

    There are no restrictions keeping Denver Foote from carrying on with her work at the salon where she styles hair. But Ms. Foote is picking up only two shifts a week, and is often sent home early because there are so few customers.

    No lockdown stood in the way of the city’s Oktoberfest, but the celebration was canceled. “We could have done it, absolutely,” said Mindy Toyne, whose company has produced the event for 17 years. “We just couldn’t fathom a way that we could produce a festival that was safe.”

    President Trump and many supporters blame restrictions on business activity, often imposed by Democratic governors and mayors, for prolonging the economic crisis initially caused by the virus. But the experience of states like Iowa shows the economy is far from back to normal even in Republican-led states that have imposed few business restrictions.

    A growing body of research has concluded that the steep drop in economic activity last spring was primarily a result of individual decisions by consumers and businesses rather than legal mandates. People stopped going to restaurants even before governors ordered them shut down. Airports emptied out even though there were never significant restrictions on domestic air travel.

    States like Iowa that reopened quickly did have an initial pop in employment and sales. But more cautious states have at least partly closed that gap, and have seen faster economic rebounds in recent months by many measures….

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