Latest Statistics on Covid-19 Hospitalizations, Fatality Rates, and Speculation

From NYT, today.

In case you didn’t already know it, fatality rates are much higher for unvaccinated, and hospitalization rates are rising as rapidly as has been recorded (as far as I can eyeball).

The fact that unvaccinated are 17 times (unadjusted for demographics, etc., I think) more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated suggests that there is going to be disproportionate impact – both geographically and along the rural/urban divide.

Given the transmissibility of the omicron variant and its (conjectured) lower degree of severity, I think a good indicator of the impact is hospitalizations. There the trajectory is quite disconcerting, even if it isn’t following closely cases.



CEA Chair Cecilia Rouse comments on omicron and the economy, at NPR.

The Economist has just posted a new article on the impact – mostly speculation of course. Airlines, restaurants, will likely be hit hard.


95 thoughts on “Latest Statistics on Covid-19 Hospitalizations, Fatality Rates, and Speculation

  1. joseph

    November: Governor Greg Abbott sues the Biden administration over the federal COVID vaccine mandate.

    Friday: Governor Greg Abbott announced today that the State of Texas, through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), has requested resources for federally-supported testing locations and medical personnel and additional federal allocations of monoclonal antibodies.

    Covid vaccines cost about $15 per dose. Monoclonal antibodies cost $2,100 per dose plus hundreds more for the IV administration. Which is Gov. Abbott’s first choice — on the federal taxpayers back?

    1. Econned

      Seems the comparison you’re making is disingenuous. Fighting a federal vaccine mandate isn’t anywhere the same as seeking funds for treatment. For one, fighting to block a federal vaccine mandate doesn’t change the price or the availability of the vaccine (that I’m aware of). For two, monoclonal antibodies are, as you note, expensive – so it isn’t surprising to seek funds and especially in an area hit hard. You’re comparing strawberries with durian.

      1. pgl

        Of course his complaint had something to do with this – “Governor Greg Abbott sues the Biden administration over the federal COVID vaccine mandate”. I trust you are not defending this incredibly irresponsible position of this governor.

      2. Baffling

        I would expect more vaccination would result in less need for expensive monoclonal antibodies. Most economists would understand this idea of cost benefit analysis. Nothing disingenuous about this argument.

        1. Econned

          That wasn’t the argument’s premise as I read it. The premise seemed to center on the financial cost differences between treatment and vaccine and the taxpayer burden.

          1. pgl

            Accusing someone of being disingenous as you totally misrepresent what he said. Now that is an art form.

          2. Econned

            January 3, 2022 at 7:36 pm,
            Can you help me read it “correctly”? Isn’t the concluding paragraph solely about the tax burden between the treatment vs vaccine? What are you reading differently?

          3. baffling

            “Can you help me read it “correctly”?”
            I already did. improve your reading comprehension.

          4. pgl

            January 4, 2022 at 4:29 am
            January 3, 2022 at 7:36 pm,

            Baffling – this is what this troll does all the time. The original post had more to do with the Governor of Texas being in bed with Big Pharma. You get the economics, which of course are over Econned limited brain but he is an expert at twisting other people’s words.

          5. Econned

            January 4, 2022 at 8:26 am,
            I’m responding to Joseph’s comment which seems to be about taxpayer burden. Keep up, you sad joke of a clown. And in no way did it with Joseph’s words. You’re an obsessed troll. HonkHonkHonk

        2. pgl

          Most economists also know of models where a firm sells one product (vaccines) that impacts the demand for its other product (anti-bodies). I remember working out the microeconomics during my graduate days but it seems Econned never heard of the concept with his utter dismissal of the opening comment.

          1. pgl

            Joseph – if the little debate between Econned and Baffling on whether Econned misrepresented what you were saying (he did) has bored you, it bore me too. So something that might prove useful. A simple illustration of the Hicks multi-product firm model:


            Now it is quite simplistic but this seminal article spawned a huge literature. Now the trick is to how to apply it to the real world issue you raised.

    2. T. Shaw

      October 20, 2020: “Donald Trump still doesn’t have a plan to get this virus under control. I do.” Joe Biden

      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        T.Shaw: (1) do you think vaccination rates would be higher or lower under Trump? (2) do you think availability (numbers, logistics) of vaccines and medicines would be higher or lower under Trump (remember Puerto Rico) – or would it have been only the rich and well-connected who got the vaccines? do you think policy uncertainty would be higher or lower under Trump (see this post, and the word “bleach”)?

        1. paddy kivlin

          menzie chinn,

          if trump were president he would still be accused of killing the 400k with covid dead since biden ‘took over’.

          what did biden and harris say about warp speed summer 2020?

          asking to speculate is requesting a point be taken that can neither be denied or proven…..

          entertainment on this blog is tiresome.

          1. baffling

            “if trump were president he would still be accused of killing the 400k with covid dead since biden ‘took over’.”
            that is false. if trump were still president, there would be many, many more than those 400k dead of covid. trump did far less to mitigate deaths than Biden. the number would have shown up very clearly, and been much larger, under trump, based on his history of handling the pandemic.

        2. T. Shaw

          I stated fact. I don’t speculate.

          Trump is not POTUS. Biden is.

          COVID is not under control.

          In conclusion, not saying Trump could do a better job on the virus – just better on every other issue under the Sun.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            T. Shaw,

            The two variants of Covid that were around when Biden became president, alpha and beta, are under control. We just have gotten new variants. Or maybe you did not notice?

            Of course if Trump were pres he would have sent them back to Mexico to hang out with all those rapists he would be preventing from coming here because of that wall he built that was paid for by Mexico.

    1. Moses Herzog

      How did you manage to get the keys to the gate of the fence encircling the funny farm where you used to rest your head?? You watched “Escape from Pretoria” a bunch of times, didn’t you??

  2. macroduck

    There are a couple of issues I keep coming back to un thinking about the economic consequences of the pandemic. One is the shift in consumption toward goods and away from services:

    The other is the effectiveness of government policy in maintaining effective demand through the early quarters of the pandemic:

    If airlines and restaurants are the big victims of omicron, then service demand will come under fresh pressure. Is it a given that goods demand will rise in response? Don’t think so, at peast not nearly as much as last tiime. The second chart suggests that goods demand will respond less strongly to a slowing in service demand in a omicron shock than in the prior shock(s). Transfers made up for lost income until recently, but pandemic transfer programs have mostly expired.

    Any new school and daycare closures will curtail growth in the labor force in the near term. Who knows what effect it will have on the longer term; the “great quit” may have a while yet to run.

  3. Econned

    “Given the transmissibility of the omicron variant and its (conjectured) lower degree of severity, I think a good indicator of the impact is hospitalizations. There the trajectory is quite disconcerting, even if it isn’t following closely cases.”
    I’ve been thinking/wondering the same. Although I’m not sure about the hospitalization – it seems the major problem with Omicron’s transmissibility might be it’s impact not on hospitalization (though that isn’t to be minimized) but the impact on disruptions within the workforce – healthcare workers who are infected and can’t work, Amazon delivery drivers, waiters, etc… that seems to be the potential (and already realized) major problem.

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Thank you for this actually substantive comment. I have given you so much grief for so much you have posted here, I feel I should congratulate you when you finally post something useful and insightful. Really. Please keep at it.

      1. Econned

        I’m still waiting to “congratulate you when you finally post something useful and insightful” instead of a troll-like attempt at a backhanded compliment. F-off old man.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Of course you are correct that my genuine, if “back-handed,” compliment of what seems to be about the only correct and substantive comment you have ever made here was merely “troll-like” As by far the biggest troll here, you are the expert and would know.

          It is a sign of not only the vacuity of your rare attempts at substantive comments rather than just repeated personal insults that you end up contradicting yourself. So, on the one hand in the thread you were so annoyed Menzie reprinted you declared “there is no doubt Shelton is an eminent economist.” But then in arguing with pgl in the thread before this one you declared “I do not think Shelton is an eminent economist.”

          It is funny that you declared more than once that Menzie “tacitly” agreed with your silly definition distortedly pulled from one dictionary. But it is pretty clear from his posting of that thread with his introductory remarks that you are wrong. He tacitly disagreed with you until he decided to make it explicitly clear that he though you were being very foolish and ridiculous with all that. You could not even get the Cambridge definition right, which includes the word “respect,” which is not what the vast majority of professional economists think of her, you included, assuming you are a professional economist.

          There have been many occasions here when I was the first person to note a change in a trend of an important variable and did so accurately, on some occasions in the face of mocking and ridicule. So, I was the first to see that third quarter 2020 GDP growth was likely to be very rapid when I reported that consumption grew in May, 2020 at an all time record rapid rate. Our good old Moses got on my case for that one big time, but I was right on both what happened with consumption that month and that growth in the third quarter would be very rapid.

          Late this fall I was the first to point out here that crude oil prices were declining, which would bring an end to the rapid rise of gasoline prices. I was also the first to point out that they started rising again. But the rapid rise of gasoline prices did stop, with them even declining a bit, although even now most of the media has barely noticed this. There have been many other such examples.

          However, as for you, can you name a single substantive point you have made here that was both accurate and the first time anybody made the point? Maybe this comment you just made here that I back-handedly complimented you on. But can you name another, even one? You are challenged. Name one, or you stand yet again revealed for what you are.

          1. Econned

            The old man is either lying again or being disingenuous again.
            Let’s pick apart the senile economist…
            1) you omit obvious context as it relates to my comment in the prior thread. For completeness because we all know honesty has never befitted ’ol Barkley, I stated…
            “ I don’t “think” that Shelton is an “eminent economist”. I know that based on the definition of the word “eminent” as provided by a respected dictionary, that Shelton is “eminent”.”
            That’s the quote. See how Barkley cherrypicks? Shame on you, old man!
            2) as it relates to Menzie tacitly agreeing that Shelton is eminent…
            Menzie stated Shelton is “Important – yes. Eminent – no.” But it isn’t up to Menzie to decide a word’s meaning. As anyone following this ridiculous topic knows, the first entry in the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition for eminent is as follows:
            “famous, respected, or important”
            There’s not an “and” in the above entry. It’s an “or” and it’s there in plain English. Like it or not.
            3) the point is you’re a troll and your comments often provide zero substance to the discussion. 99.99% of the time that you and I go back and forth is because you start the mudslinging and then can’t handle when it’s slung back at you – and this is a perfect example.

            Go to bed, old man. Get some rest. Allow your glucose levels some time to regulate so that your frontal cortex is operating at a pace to accommodate respectable and coherent public discussion. I’ll wait.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            Still waiting for you to provide us with a substantive new comment you have made here that was not just a pile of barely coherent personal attacks like this drivel. I note that in a more recent thread you have actually been making more substantial remarks. Fine. Keep it up.

            On this, oh, on the one hand you said that “undoubtedly” Judy Shelton was an eminent economist, but now you note that you “don’t think” she is one. Sorry, but that does not get out of being in contradiction. If she is “undoubtedly” one, then you “thinking” she is not one is still worthless bs. No wonder Menzie posted that thread to show how out of it and hypocritical you are.

            Ah yes, indeed, there is an “or” in that Cambridge definition while every other major dictionary has an “and” if they even mention “famous,” which many do not. So Cambridge will allow Adolf Hitler to be “eminent.” This is exactly why Menze thinks your definition is completely out of touch with what most people think. Most people think what the other dictionaries say, not what the less prestigious Cambridge one does. Nobody can be “eminent” if they are not respected, despite that silly “or” in the definition you managed to find.

            Oh, btw, how about you provide a definition for that word you wanted me to, you know the one that begins with an “s.” As you know, I am kind of old, so I sometimes forget things, so you had better remind me of what it is. However, I would suggest that you use a more eminent dictionary than the Cambridge one. Their editing is pretty terrible, not even able to put an “and” in place of an “or” where it clearly belongs.

            BTW, it is a cliche that the biggest whiners about bullying are people who themselves the worst bullies. That applies to you.

            And I am not going to comment further on this thread, although if you want to answer the challenge I put to you rather than just piling on with more less than credible sliming, then do tell us about a post you put up here that was substantial and provided new and important information for people reading this blog. Maybe one of those ones you just put up on a newer thread. You may be improving, but not so far on this thread.

          3. Econned

            No. You can’t read. I clearly stated it isn’t about what I think. It’s about knowing the definition based on the definition. What I think is irrelevant. What you think is irrelevant. What Menzie thinks is irrelevant. The definition is clear rendering one’s opinion as irrelevant. Please stop distorting my comments and try to keep up.

            Your opinion that “nobody can be “eminent” if they are not respected” is your opinion that does not align with a respected dictionary.

            Your absolutely absurd comment that the Cambridge Dictionary has a “silly “or” in the definition” goes to show exactly how arrogant and stupid you are. You. Are. A. Fool.

            Again, it is you who always starts our back-and-forth and you know this. You sling mud yet you’re unable to handle when the mud is slung back into your face.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Evergrande still in the news. This strikes me as pretty extreme, especially if the buildings and units are completed. Why not sell it off to settle some of the debt?? If the units are finished and the buildings are structurally sound, it has to be worth boatloads of money in that location. Why take something of very high value and turn it into a demolished parking lot?? They could sell the properties and still punish Evergrande–so the question is “Why??” It seems to be either vindictive/punitive by authorities, or both. But they can very easily punish Evergrande, and still use the proceeds from selling the buildings to “make whole” or pay off investors and creditors. Even viewing it from an incredibly dysfunctional and clusterF**k government, that one is hard to figure.

    1. baffling

      I have been perplexed by Evergrande, and some of the other actions taken by the ccp on the Chinese tech companies. I thought they might have some grand scheme, but not sure of that anymore. I think the actions we are seeing (on the economic front) are consolidation of power actions, not economic vision. the ccp, and xi, seem willing to stall economic growth if the action results in the maintaining of power. a good economy under somebody else’s control is not an acceptable outcome. expect the economy (and technology prowess) to be stunted in china over the next few years.

  5. Moses Herzog

    “as far as I can eyeball”

    Your eyes aren’t fooling you. Fauci saw the same thing you did and called it “a vertical increase”.

    Kids, when Mr Empirical Menzie Chinn trusts “the eyeball test” in Vaccine rates that’s not a good sign. At least the news on individual case severity still seems to be positive.

  6. ltr

    January 3, 2022

    Chinese mainland reports 161 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 161 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 101 linked to local transmissions and 60 from overseas, data from the National Health Commission showed on Monday.

    A total of 35 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded, and 562 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    Confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland now total 102,666, with the death toll remaining unchanged at 4,636 since January last year.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

  7. ltr

    January 3, 2022

    Nearly 2.85 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses administered on Chinese mainland

    BEIJING — Nearly 2.85 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered on the Chinese mainland as of Sunday, data from the National Health Commission showed Monday.

    [ Chinese coronavirus vaccine yearly production capacity is more than 7 billion doses. Along with nearly 2.85 billion doses of Chinese vaccines administered domestically, more than 2 billion doses have already been distributed to more than 120 countries internationally. Nineteen countries are now producing Chinese vaccines from delivered raw materials. ]

  8. New Deal democrat

    Prof. Chinn:

    A good source for hospitalization numbers can be found here:

    It looks like hospitalizations lag cases by one week, and deaths lag cases by about 3 weeks. I saw a good graph overlaying deaths on cases, with a 3 week lag and cases multiplied by .013 for scale. I don’t think we can say anything about US deaths from Omicron yet. Hospitalizations, unfortunately, do look like they are tracking cases with not much attenuation. I leave it to your superior regression graphing skills for a best fit.

  9. mikesmith

    I have some issues with this. First, you should be looking at all cause death rates, not just covid deaths. Even if covid deaths go down, we are worse off if total risk of death is up. For example: “Indiana life insurance CEO says deaths are up 40% among people ages 18-64” Second, CDC has become an unreliable source of information, possibly because of collusion between them and the pharma co’s. I am sure we both know there are any number of ways that data can be abused to create misleading stats if an entity is ethically compromised. For example: “CDC Caught Lying About Big Pharma Bribery And Collusion” (2015, this did not just start with the super – profitable covid vaccines) A third point: although we were told that Delta was less lethal than the previous variant that afflicted the US, there were more covid related deaths AFTER the introduction of vaccines than before. The fact that VAERS reports are higher for these vaccines than for all previous vaccines since VAERS was created continues to be ignored, and most adverse events are probably not even reported because there are so many it would bog the reporting system down. Nor has the strange phenomenon of healthy young athletes suddenly dropping dead from heart attacks since the advent of these vaccines been explained. Immunity experts say the risk of a more deadly variant emerging goes up when you administer an ineffective (“leaky”) vaccine in the midst of an epidemic, yet their warnings are being ignored by both governments and journalists. Finally, these so called vaccines are not real vaccines because they provide neither herd nor individual immunity. They do reduce the risk of severe effects, but that is only temporary since these “vaccines” wear off quickly, which is why Israel is already dispensing its fourth round of jabs in less than 12 months. If all you want to do is prevent sever symptoms, we have at least 3 off patent drugs that do that very effectively and safely, and can also be safely used in combination, and one of them has even been shown to be a highly effective prophylactic, versus highly profitable “vaccines” that not only have not been tested for longer term safety but recently news has even emerged that the short term testing was improperly done to make it look safer than it likely is.

    Conflicts of interest that were illegal before 1980 have now become ubiquitous. For example: [quoted passage follows] The Bayh-Dole Act – a law passed in 1980 – allows scientists involved in developing a drug to SHARE IN THE ROYALTIES on sales of the drug.

    This fact was publicly disclosed in 2005 when Dr. Fauci was involved in an Interleukin trial gone wrong. Patients were getting sick and dying of toxicity and complaining that Dr. Fauci had failed to disclose he had a financial interest in the drug. Dr. Fauci, along with an NIH physician, Joseph Kovacs, was a co-developer of Interleukin-2. Under Bayh-Dole, this was one of the many patents from which Dr. Fauci could derive drug royalties.

    The test subjects might have felt differently about their decision to enroll in the trial had Dr. Fauci informed them he would benefit with a portion of the $8.9 million in royalties.

    Today, it is unknown exactly how many patents in which Dr. Fauci has a direct or indirect financial interest. But, according to David E. Martin, PhD, a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia and an expert on Intellectual Property rights (patents), the answer could be as high as 3,500.
    As you review the 100+ patents created on the coronavirus….

    Pfizer and other vaccine makers are prominent financial sponsors of the mainstream media news org’s, and Bill Gates, who has publicly boasted of his 20 to 1 return from vaccine investments, has recently been reported to have funneled $300 million to mainstream, for profit news media org’s. Both Gates and Fauci (through a grant arranging agency which he controls) have documented ties to Moderna (contrary to some headlines which falsely denied this) which have probably been under investigated. In short, conflicts of interest are everywhere and one must be exceedingly skeptical of vaccine cheerleading from the medical profession, businessmen, journalists, bureaucrats, and politicians (who legally engage in insider trading, or at least Congressmen do).

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      mikesmith: Wow.

      Well, let me deal with the issue of fatality counts. I’ve noted elsewhere on numerous occasions the fact that the official count using death certificates is likely to undercount. Hence, I have cited excess deaths –most recently in this post.

    2. Macroduck

      “Finally, these so called vaccines are not real vaccines because they provide neither herd nor individual immunity.”

      Who appointed you lexicographer in chief?

      vaccine: suspension of weakened, killed, or fragmented microorganisms or toxins or other biological preparation, such as those consisting of antibodies, lymphocytes, or messenger RNA (mRNA), that is administered primarily to prevent disease. –

      You just made up that stuff about “not a real vaccine”. Or, just as likely, parroted what somebody else made up.

      The rest of your whiney complaint has nothing to do with public health, which is the issue at hand. You claim to have problems with what Menzie wrote, but mostly didn’t address what Menzie wrote. Looks more like you were itching to unload a file of anti-vax talking points when you stumbled across Menzie’s post.

    3. pgl

      “these so called vaccines are not real vaccines because they provide neither herd nor individual immunity. They do reduce the risk of severe effects, but that is only temporary since these “vaccines” wear off quickly, which is why Israel is already dispensing its fourth round of jabs in less than 12 months.”

      How dumb is this? A lot of vaccines would fail this herd immunity “test”. And getting booster shots is an age old issue with prior vaccines. Sorry dude – you comment is not real.

    4. Barkley Rosser

      Probably should not waste time with this, especially as “mikesmith” is probably a fake name like most of them around here, but I have to ask.

      So back in 1960 I was good friends with a guy named Mike Smith in Princeton, NJ, where I lived then. Are you him? My suspicion is that you are not, even if you are here under your real name. I remember him being a lot smarter than you appear to be.

  10. pgl

    This appears to be the 5th wave of hospitalization since the beginning. Of course we were told it would all “wash away” by Easter Sunday 2020 following that 1st wave. At least we have the vaccines – which alas a lot of people are still refusing to get.

  11. pgl

    Cecilia Rouse was certainly upbeat on the future of the economy and also predicted inflation would be half of what it has been, which I take to be less than 3.5%. Let’s see how her forecast pans out.

    She is a very good labor economists which is why I found it annoying that she kept mentioning the 4.2% unemployment rate. I would have expected at least some mention of the employment to population ratio.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ Mr. Skrzypczynski
      Always enjoy/appreciate your contributions here. Never hesitate to join in here, it improves the thread dialogue.

    2. Macroduck


      Question: Is your data for all of December? The payroll employment survey is take during the week of the 12th. Open Tables weekly data, if I read then right, show the plunge later in the month.

      The job loss may show up in January, or not at all if there is a recovery in employment before the January survey.

      1. Paweł Skrzypczyński

        @ Mr. Herzog, as always you are far too kind.
        @ Macroduck, there are two types of conditional forecasts reported in my twitter post, one takes the monthly average of seated diners and the other takes the 15th of the month as reference. Both are visibly down versus previous month. But of course it may also be the case that BLS data will capture the potential fall in January not December.

  12. Anonymous

    You can definitely see the difference with vaccination and death rate. Probably need to compensate for age and (if possible) co-morbidity. But such a dramatic effect, even without a multiple regression, that I expect to see the difference persist.

    However, I’m really waiting to see a study with Omicron differences (vaxxed and unvaxxed). You are seeing Delta in US OCT/NOV data, (I think). South Africa analysis would be good, but it is supposedly confounded with a lot of natural immunity. Maybe UK data would give a good analysis here.

    I think Omicron is fizzling out as an economic danger. The severity is much lower. The vast majority of cases will either not even know they had it or will experience symptoms that are cold-like, below what they would normally seek medical help for. Even the “have to be cautious, not sure it is less severe” crowd is admitting what the data from SA and UK is showing us.

    It’s also going to go through the population extremely fast. The SA experience shows us this and just basic modeling or thinking about a s. uper transmissive (very cold like) makes it reasonable to expect fast exposure.

    I think the NFL data would make an amazingly interesting study. One of the issues with other surveys is they are all outcome based, with minimal testing of asymptomatic or mild individual cases (even with Delta). But the NFL had (until recently) weekly testing of vaccinated individuals and daily (!) testing of unvaxxed players. Yes, there’s an unfortunate (for data analysis) difference in data collection. But it’s still way more comprehensive than looking at general public. Where basically most tests are for international travel or for sickness. (Yes, there are a few people that test anyways, but I bet the numbers are small versus general unwashed masses.)

    NFL hasn’t really haven’t shared all their info. For instance a simple thing would be %positives with unvaxxed and vaxxed. They have to know that since they (used to) test everyone and since they know every individual in their population’s status (vaxxed or not, positive or not). Given they have 95% vaxxed players and have had about 500+ positives (maybe 30% of the league) pop positive, there has to be a reasonable strong rate of infection of vaxxed players.

    They have shared that Omicron was the cause of nearly every positive (some delay, but we have that insight now). Also that about 2/3 of the positives were asymptomatic and that the the majority of those with symptoms were mild.

    It’s interesting to me that the NFL has basically thrown in the towel on a harsh testing regime and quarantine of positives. For vaxxed players (which is almost all of them), they have STOPPED testing pre-emptively. No more weekly testing, only with symptoms. This might seem irresponsible, but realize we don’t test the general population and we don’t even test health workers weekly. And they are clearly sick of holding out players with no symptoms. (And for a hyper transmissive disease, it;s doubtful that most players woudln’t be exposed anyways, regardless).

    They’ve also backed down on the length of quarantine after a positive (with symptoms) from 10 to 5 days. This was put out by the CDC also. But regardless, it shows organizations taking less harsh measures on Omicron than on previous Covid.

  13. Moses Herzog

    The one thing I will agree on with certain parties here. Fauci is not Santa Claus . Fauci is not Mother Teresa. Fauci is not Florence Nightingale, Alexander Fleming, or Louis Pasteur. He is a man who at the start of the virus, told regular Americans not to use masks or purchase N-95. If he was the saint he likes to prop himself up as, the same as the fraud Bill Gates, he would have told hospitals to have a large backlog of masks before the Covid-19 virus existed and he would have told nurses and hospital staff to have a personal stock/supply of 30–50 masks. That would have been the act of a hero/saint. not telling regular Joes and regular Janes “You don’t have the right to purchase masks now”.

    If you want to go around selling/promoting yourself as the guy who “foresaw these viruses would effect our society” then, by extension, you should have told them long ago, they should have a backlog supply of masks—or—STFU about “what you foresaw would be a problem”

    1. baffling

      “He is a man who at the start of the virus, told regular Americans not to use masks or purchase N-95. ”
      this is not the whole story. fauci understood that we had very limited ppe, which needed to be available to front line workers and not hoarded by the general population who made occasional trips to the supermarket and wore there masks outside during a solo walk. this was a situation that had no good outcome. but it did have worse outcomes, especially if ppe were wasted sitting in somebody’s house. given the balance fauci had to play with trump, not sure what more you could actually expect of the man. he could have fallen on his sword with trump, sure. but then we would have had Peter Navarro dictating public health policy. you think that would have been better?

      1. Moses Herzog

        I’m hopeful that if Rochelle P. Walensky ever tires of playing policy whiplash with the American public that Neera Tanden can takeover as head of the CDC. I hear Neera has a mastery of legal and regulatory issues, not to mention the fact Neera “kills it” on Twitter:

        Well, anyway……. as a famous astronaut once said, that’s one small step forward for gender equality, one giant step back for science.

  14. Moses Herzog

    The one thing I will agree on with certain parties here. Fauci is not Santa Claus . Fauci is not Mother Teresa. Fauci is not Florence Nightingale, Alexander Fleming, or Louis Pasteur. He is a man who at the start of the virus, told regular Americans not to use masks or purchase N-95. If he was the saint he likes to prop himself up as, the same as the fraud Bill Gates, he would have told hospitals to have a large backlog of masks before the Covid-19 virus existed and he would have told nurses and hospital staff to have a personal stock/supply of 30–50 masks. That would have been the act of a hero/saint. not telling regular Joes and regular Janes “You don’t have the right to purchase masks now”.

    If you want to go around selling/promoting yourself as the guy who “foresaw these viruses would effect our society” then, by extension, you should have told them long ago, they should have a backlog supply of masks—or—STFU about “what you foresaw would be a problem”

  15. Anonymous

    (non Covid, energy economics):

    NGL field production (i.e. not including refinery sales) hit a new record last month. Blip from Covid, but fast recover.

    This is unlike natty or crude (still coming back towards pre-Covid levels). Then again, overall growth in NGLs has been faster over last decade than crude or natty. Up about 3x, whereas crude gained about 2.5and natty about 2x (even using their pre-Covid records).

    Ethane is kind of interesting to follow, since it requires special facilities (liquefaction and special ships). Sort of like LNG. Not quite as bad (little higher temp, but still). But way different than propane or butane, which are easily transported in barges and low pressure canisters.

    Haven’t looked at it for a few years, but we are up to 0.4 MM bopd (last 6 months average) of exports. And a couple months above half a million bopd. China seems to be driving the variation (I guess sporadic cargoes). India quite strong though. Hadn’t really looked at this since 2018, but they are pretty consistently above Canada (pipeline to Sarnia, Ontario cracker).

    A few years ago, IHS predicted we would reach 0.6 MM bopd exports by 2025. Seems like we are on pace for better than that. But donno.

    Just starting to re-engage on this market. It’s probably strongly affected by export (liquefaction, ships) bottlenecks. But I really haven’t researched capacities recently. It’s easier to build than LNG plants, but still a medium big deal. Suspect we need some more capex for facilities. Probably go into the Gulf Coast, given all the political issues with pipelines and construction in the NE (Mariner projects had a lot of opposition, delays cost them).

  16. rjs

    the state of New York posted 84,852 new cases on Friday; that was more than six times the average of new cases for the whole country over the month of July, before the Delta strain hit…it was also five times greater than any York total in this wave before December 15th, and more than 4 times New York’s new case peak in January 2021….point is that even if Omicron results in 75% less hospitalizations, we’re still in a heap of trouble…

    1. rjs

      the silver lining to Omicron is that we’ll be over with it in less than a year, cause it will run out of people to infect..

      Setting a global record, US tops 1 million Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

      More than 1 million people in the U.S. were diagnosed with Covid-19 on Monday as a tsunami of omicron swamps every aspect of daily American life.

      The highly mutated variant drove U.S. cases to a record, the most — by a large margin — that any country has ever reported since the pandemic began more than two years ago. Monday’s number is almost double the previous record of about 590,000 set just four days ago in the U.S., which itself was a doubling from the prior week.

      America’s daily case count on Monday was more than twice the number seen in any other country at any time. The highest number outside the U.S. came during India’s delta surge, when more than 414,000 people were diagnosed on May 7, 2021.

      The stratospheric numbers being posted in the U.S. come even as many Americans are relying on tests they take at home, with results that aren’t reported to official government authorities. This means that the new record is surely a significant under-estimate.

      1. rjs

        on the other hand, there’s a downside to our ‘let ‘er rip” policy, too…

        Texas Children’s reports COVID cases more than double in one week with 12 babies in ICU

        Texas Children’s Hospital reports an alarming surge in the number of children being hospitalized with COVID-19, primarily with the omicron variant.
        At a news conference Monday, the Houston hospital reported 70 pediatric patients are currently hospitalized with COVID. A week ago, TCH had 30 young COVID patients. The week before that, they had 15.
        More than one-third of patients hospitalized in recent days are younger than 5 years old, according to Dr. Jim Versalovic, who leads TCH’s COVID-19 Command Center. Unlike adults, Versalovic said it’s too early to say whether the variant is milder for young children.
        “We are seeing cases of viral pneumonia and respiratory distress, serious lung infections in children even under two years of age,” the doctor said. “There’s no question that omicron is making a real impact in the youngest of children.”
        The patients include several babies who are very sick from the virus.
        “Just last week, we had 12 babies in the ICU with COVID,” TCH spokesperson Natasha Barrett said. “It’s heartbreaking what we’re seeing in the halls of our hospital right now.”

        1. baffling

          we are too slow in approving vaccines for young children. those numbers would fall even further if we could vaccinate children under 5.

        2. pgl

          And Econned got angry when Joseph dared to criticize the Texas governor. What was the old line – Give me liberty or give me death. I guess these MAGA hat wearing Texas got their right to die.

          1. Econned

            Wrong. Again. Econned (me) did not get angry “when Joseph dared to criticize the Texas governor.” Why on earth would I get angry? And I never once said anything regarding liberty. Where do you come up with all the hogwash that comes from your keypad/keyboard? You silly clown.

          2. baffling

            no econned. i simply said you were playing dumb. that is not name calling, it is a description of your actions. you, on the other hand, were name calling. once again, you need to improve your reading comprehension.

    2. baffling

      rjs, what are your error bars? the precision with which you present your data is unrealistic compared to the error bars. please go back and give a better analysis, and show me how the uncertainty in your data wipes out any accuracy you are posting.

      1. rjs

        huh? i’m quoting media reports, not analyzing data…everyone is entitled to be as skeptical of those reports as they’d like…

        1. pgl

          I guess baffling has become a wee bit overwhelmed with all those rsm comments. I think we are all overwhelmed!

      2. rjs

        it occurred to me, baffling, that you could have been referring to my first comment, which was uncited…the source of my numbers was
        and my comparisons were, as we like to say here, were “author’s calculations”…

        you can question that site’s data if you like, but i’ve found them to be in line with the data provided by the NY Times, Johns Hopkins, and the CDC, even a little lower than other totals quoted recently, as ltr’s follow up comment shows….i was not aiming for precision in my comment, as phrases like “more than six times” attest to…and i assume every one reading comments at Econbrowser is aware enough that exact Covid case totals quoted from any source should be taken with a grain of salt..

          1. rjs

            it isnt “my data” and i have no idea what the error bars would be….i am not “afraid” of “error bars” when i know what they are; let me cite my recent comment on new home sales as evidence:

            let me clarify the revisions to new home sales in this month’s report, since FRED doesn’t give that data…

            sales new single family homes in October were revised down by 83,000 from the annual rate of 745,000 reported a month ago to 662,000, while home sales in September, initially reported at an annual rate of 800,000 and revised to a 742,000 annual rate with the last report, were also revised lower, to a 723,000 a year rate with this report, and while August’s annualized home sale rate, initially reported at an annual rate of 740,000 and revised from the initially revised from a 702,000 a year rate to a 693,000 a year rate with the last report, were revised down to a 668,000 rate with this release…

            so the reason that new home sales were at a 6 month high was because prior month’s sales were revised lower by more…the Census Bureau reports that November new home sales “were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 744,000…12.4 percent (±17.2 percent)* above the revised October rate of 662,000, but is 14.0 percent (±20.5 percent)* below the November 2020 estimate of 865,000″

            those asterisks indicate that the Census does not have sufficient data to determine whether new home sales actually rose or fell over the past month, or even over the past year, with the figures in parenthesis the most likely range of the change indicated; in other words, November’s new home sales could have been down by 4.8% or up by as much as 29.6% from those of October, with even larger revisions outside of that range eventually possible..

            chances are you won’t find anyone on the web who pays as much attention to margins of error and subsequent revisions as i do…

    3. rjs

      just five countries have accounted for nearly two-thirds of the new Covid cases globally over the past week: the US, France, the UK, Italy and Spain (the US alone is 31% of the global total)…since their average rate of increase is greater than the global rate, their portion of the global total will continue to increase until that changes…

      per capital case and death counts and other global data are here:
      note that’s a continuously updated site, so what you see may not match what i’m now seeing…

  17. SecondLook

    More generally, in darker corners of my mind, I’ve lived with the guesstimate that we would match the population-adjusted toll of the Spanish Flu before it effectively over.
    676,000 out of 106 million for the Spanish, so say a little over 2 million, give or take a few hundred thousand.
    I obviously want to be very wrong, but if I were still young and cold and working for one of the RE’s that would be my briefing.

    A tangential note: Apparently the percentage of adults who suffer from needle phobia is around 15%+.
    If that statistic is reasonably accurate, it would account for a larger percentage of the population who refuses to be vaccinated – and would indicate that R&D in alternative means of inoculation, a la the famous sugar-cube solution should be a priority.

  18. Anonymous

    South Africa (most advanced time-wise in Omicron experience) continues to show this strain of Covid is very mild. Even with increased transmission, hospital admits and serious intervention (ventilation) much lower. Also, the “wave” went fast through the population.

    US data tends to lag more, but if you look at NFL as a population proxy (I think reasonable, even if you say they are more in contact with each other, they also have more controls than the general population also), then Omicron is already raging through the population and seems to breakthrough vax (at least in terms of positive tests).

    Not clear how much benefit vax (or previous wave exposure) has with Omicron severity. The SA studies so far have been a little frustrating in not giving the whole story. And NFL hasn’t shared either. Impression I have from the snippets of data we do see is a moderate improvement for Omicron. Not a huge difference as with previous waves.

    Also, the overall average experience is milder, so maybe that’s reason for less difference. But wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just less efficacy (natural immunity or vax) versus a naive immune system. After all the breakthrough and reinfect rates already show that something is different with this variant. But this is a bit Bayesian, as we don’t have the full segmentation, get snippets of info.

    Overall, from an econ perspective, think this means less severe lockdowns, quarantine, etc. SA said from the beginning it was mild and not to overreact. The US hesitated and now is even making some gestures towards easing things. A few EU countries reacted hard with lockdowns and travel bans, pre-emptively. Others hesitated as US did. But would not be surprised to see the harsh reactors reverse themselves. We have a month more data than when they acted. And it’s coming out more and more to the effect that Omicron is mild.

    1. baffling

      “And it’s coming out more and more to the effect that Omicron is mild.”
      this seems to be more of the case with the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. even if it is slightly milder for the unvaccinated, the fact that it is more transmissible makes it more dangerous to those without a vaccination. there is now doubt in my mind, at the end of this wave everybody will either have been vaccinated or acquired the omicron variant. there will be few left without a vaccine and never exposed. the fact that the hospitals are filling up shows the danger to the unvaccinated. personally, i would like to see the government modify there current approach, and only cover covid medical costs for those with a vaccine. that would be a game changer, and save the taxpayers billions. every fiscal conservative should be on board with this idea.

      1. Anonymous

        Do you have a link to show that’s the case? For Omicron. Not for old variants? I’ve been looking pretty hard for that data and haven’t seen it.

        We do know that there’s a substantial difference with vax/unvax for the old variants. But I have not seen good breakout for Omicron.

        The closest I have found is this discussion of a JAMA letter that is pretty unfortunate in not giving the full details, but looking at what they do tell us, the difference seems mild. See minutes 8:40 forward:

        unvax: 66%
        vax: 34%

        Hospital admits:
        unvax: 66.4%
        vax: 24.2%
        (The missing 9.6% is unknown hospital admits.)

        If you just scale the data, we’ve got 34/24.2 over 66.4/66. That’s 1.4:1.. A pretty moderate difference for an intervention. Not 5:1 or the like.

        Especially when you consider that’s a 40% difference on top of a pretty low admit rate, itself. This is total Fermi math, but that article is describing a large multi-hospital chain. So if they had ~1000 admits, it’s probably from a potential population of well over 100,000+ (making it up, “Fermi estimation”, piano tuner case). So you’re looking at something like a 1.4% chance of needing an admit if unvaxxed versus a 1% chance with the vax. Or 0.4% reduction. (Again, piano tuner case math, but to explore order of magnitudes. 40% risk reduction means a lot less in terms of importance when scaled on a low risk to start with.)

        In any case, I’d love to see a link to a high quality Omicron vax/unvax study. If you have it, love to see.

        1. baffling

          i don’t have the data. but they have been reporting from the texas medical center quite often recently. the commentary from those on the front line is that vaccinated people may come to the hospital, but they do not go to the icu or intubation. that has been mostly the unvaccinated or immunocompromised. the point they emphasized is that the vaccinated enter but leave the hospital rather quickly. little to none go to the icu. the unvaccinated require more extensive treatment. and are younger.

          1. Anonymous

            I think there’s a benefit to vaxxing. Just the impression I get is the differential benefit is less for Omicron. (And on top of it being a less serious threat). Makes sense mechanistically since it is more distant from the variant trained on. Also, the breakthrough rate seems to show some lower efficacy in the vax (for Omicron).

      2. Anonymous

        Also, looking at SA, they are about 1/3 vaxxed. But overall hospitalization (versus earlier waves) is running at ~1/4 the rate. Ventilation is ~1/10. And deaths very low. So even if all of those suffering were unvaxxed, it would seem that Omicron is milder than previous waves.

        Anyhow, I’m vaxxed so that’s double protection for me. Mild disease variant overall and then the benefits of the vax (even if not as directly targeted on the later variant). I would think the societal analysis is similar. Even if we are only 70% vaxxed, it means less people at risk. It’s better than 33% in SA. (And they haven’t been that hard hit.)

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