Shortcut to the full report for Wednesday:

The USA’s national indicators are still looking much better than they were before this week:

  • New cases are down about 18% from last Wednesday. That is the eleventh consecutive day of declines, and the 14th decline in the past 17 days
  • Fatalities are down about 10% from last Wednesday. That’s the second decline in the past three days.
  • The first decline in new cases began seventeen days ago, and the first decline in new deaths began three days ago, precisely 14 days later.
  • Hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate are flat, albeit at outrageously high levels.

It is noteworthy that both the USA’s new case rate and its new death rate are in the red zone, which means that we have to work even harder, even though we can claim some short-term successes.

Per the site:

In a new theoretical study appearing in Nature Scientific Reports, a pair of statistical researchers have warned that rampant human consumption has sent us on a tailspin towards a rapid catastrophic collapse — which could happen in the next two to four decades. Forest density, or the current lack thereof, is considered the cataclysmic canary in the coal mine, according to the report.

Frankly I don’t know how seriously I should take this, and I don’t have the time to study it, but this and the recent “covid could last for decades” news, with its corollary implications for our new normal routines, lead me to wonder if my generation was the one to experience “peak human life” and that it will never be as easy again.

“An outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 14

Although life can feel normal some days, this serves as a reminder of just how far we really are from returning to life as usual.

For example, Fauci says he won’t go in a plane or eat in a restaurant. (Nor will I!)

Attorney General William P. Barr will nominate Jay Clayton to serve as the new U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

There is a criminal investigation into Deutsche Bank currently occurring in SDNY. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s principal lender and possesses all of his financial data. Jay Clayton counted Deutsche Bank as a client and defended them in a massive money laundering scandal.

There is also an ongoing criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani, which will presumably disappear when a Trump sycophant takes over the office.

So … usual corrupt shenanigans.

Except for one thing. The current guy did not actually step down!

So … usual chaos.

UPDATE:

UPDATE #2:

Berman has cleaned out his desk. Barr and Berman seem to have reached a compromise. Berman’s trusted deputy will continue in the US Attorney position until the Senate can confirm a replacement. I assume the Democrats will delay the confirmation of Jay Clayton as long as possible

Nothing to it. He’ll snap his fingers like Thanos, and …

racism … gone
bigotry … gone
police brutality … gone

Just as he made the coronavirus go away “like a miracle.”

President Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a ‘beautiful scene’ and describing the National Guard’s actions ‘like a knife cutting butter.'”

This is a joke that starts with the punchline.

Yes, this guy. The one on the left. (The one on the right was not available.)

I just became aware of this today. I looked it up after having seen it used without any clarification in several internet articles. The fact that it is used without explanation seems to indicate that I missed the memo.

“In dozens of YouTube videos, they promise armed rebellion if the government tries to take their guns – a civil war, or Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo.” The name is spun off a Golan/Globus movie from about 35 years ago, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. That I remember. It’s basically a multi-cultural “slobs vs snobs” movie about street dancing. The plot is the usual cliche: girl’s dad wants her to study dance in Paris, but she opts instead to help some street dancers save a community center from an evil developer.

The stats: Coronavirus mapped and quantified.

ADDED 5/19: New polling shows that 49 of the 50 governors have a better approval rating than Trump for their handling of the pandemic. The one exception: Kemp of Georgia. How would that feel? “Well, governor, people think you’re the only leader in America dumber than Trump.” It’s interesting that Republican governors dominate both the top and the bottom of the list, with all the Dems in the middle: six of the top seven are Republicans; seven of the bottom eight are Republicans.

ADDED 5/19: Monday’s fatality numbers. Things are going well in the USA in general. Monday was below last Monday – only by five deaths, but down is better than up. It appears that we will soon see a day in which Brazil takes over the top spot, because the gap is quite narrow and the two countries are moving in opposite directions.

2 Weeks Ago Last Week This Week
Friday 1,897 1,687 1,595
Saturday 1,691 1,422 1,218
Sunday 1,153 750 865
Monday 1,324 1,008 1,003
Tuesday 2,350 1,630
Wednesday 2,528 1,772
Thursday 2,129 1,715


ADDED 5/17: This can’t be good: “Hundreds of villages locked down in northeastern China after fresh coronavirus outbreak.” China had almost eliminated the stubborn disease.

ADDED 5/16: President Trump actually said this in opposition to “overrated” testing: “When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” Sometimes you hear what he says and you wonder, “Could he really be that stupid, or is he just playing to his base?” Of course we would have exactly the same number of cases at any given moment whether we test nobody or could miraculously test everybody at the same second. The difference is we just won’t realize how many there are if we test nobody. Trump’s statement is 100% accurate if you replace “have” with “know about.” The real point is that we will have more cases tomorrow if we don’t know about cases that exist today.

ADDED 5/16: Remember when Trump asked, “What do you have to lose?” about hydroxychloroquine? The answer is “your life.” “Clinical trials, academic research and scientific analysis indicate that the danger of hydroxychloroquine is a significantly increased risk of death

UPDATED 5/16: US weekly jobless claims again hover around 3, bringing the eight-week tally to about 36 million. That is more than 20% of the American work force. In the worst single week after the crash of 2008, claims reached just 665,000.

ADDED 5/14: The number of fatalities caused by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be understated by about 20,000 to 30,000. “Many Covid-19 deaths were simply listed as some variant of ‘respiratory failure’ or ‘multisystem organ failure.’”

ADDED 5/9: “Scientists explore a simple question with big implications: Can people be reinfected by COVID-19?”

UPDATED 5/9: In a bizarre irony, hospitals are making mass lay-offs in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The institutions are suffering financially because they have had to eliminate all the most profitable parts of their business in order to treat corona victims. In all, 1.4 million health care workers lost their jobs in April, 135,000 of those in hospitals.

ADDED 4/29: New evidence reveals: “Coronavirus infections greatly outnumber confirmed covid-19 cases, potentially by a factor of 10 or more.” My guess it that it’s somewhere between 3-to-1 and 6-to-1. The USA has a ratio of about 18 cases per death. The proper ratio, based upon South Korea and other countries, is probably between 50 and 100 cases per death, indicating a fatality rate between 1% and 2%. That’s a wide range because the calculation is an oversimplification on my part. There are many factors going into the fatality rate, and it’s not necessarily fair to compare areas, but my guess is probably in the right ballpark.

ADDED 4/27: U.S. deaths soared in the early weeks of the pandemic, far exceeding the number attributed to covid-19

NEW 3/28: The data reveal that covid-19 is much more dangerous for men. The data are consistent from country to country: men make up 72% of the intensive care unit admissions in Spain, 73% in France, 75% in Norway, 71% in the UK. While researchers cannot yet determine how much of the gender disparity can be attributed to behavioral components, it seems clear that the significance of the gap across cultures means that there must be some biological explanation.

NEW 3/27: An MIT study, Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?, suggests that 90% of transmission occurs within a narrow temperature band (37 to 63 F) and a limited band of absolute humidity. The scientists do not claim that transmission ceases outside those temperature and humidity bands, but that the spread occurs more slowly. If that holds, the Asian monsoon season, as well as the North American summer, should work against the disease.

March 9:

March 4: A lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild. They will get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor.”

Feb 26: “We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.”

Feb 26: We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time..”

Feb 26: We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up..”

Feb 26: The 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb 24:

 


The Dow was at 27,960 that day. One month later it was at 18,592.

Jan 24:

 

Jan 22: We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Florida beaches are OPEN (with rules and limitations)

Residents can go for a walk, swim, surf, run or fish, as long as they are adhering to social distancing guidelines. However, sunbathing, camping overnight and gatherings of more than 10 people will be banned.

UPDATE: they corrected the story to read 10 people, not 50! Either the Daily Mail made a typo or Florida backed down. I don’t know which.

————

Texas to begin softening COVID-19 restrictions next week

State parks in Texas will be open starting Monday. One of the governor’s executive orders that he signed on Friday allows the state’s retailers to start using a temporary “Retail-To-Go” starting next Friday.

What a shit-show:

The stats: Coronavirus mapped and quantified.

ADDED 4/9: The USA’s # of cases held flat with the previous day (actually slightly down to 1,940 from 1,971).

The USA can be fairly compared to the “Big 5” European corona countries (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, UK), which together have a population of 323.4 million, which is almost identical to the population of the USA (327.2).

America has 435,000 corona cases, versus 575,000 for the Big 5
America has 15,000 deaths, versus 53,000 for the Big 5.
America has conducted 2.2 million tests, versus approximately 3.4 million for the Big 5.
America reported more new cases yesterday: 32,000-25,000
The Big 5 reported more new deaths yesterday: 3,100-2,000

The Big 5’s test numbers are estimated because of Spain. Worldometers has the up-to-date numbers for The UK, Germany and Italy. Worldometers has the wrong number for France, but the correct number can be calculated. France reports that 27% of their tests have been positive. Given their number of positives, they must have conducted about 418,000 tests. Nobody seems to know how many people Spain has tested, so my estimate of 600,000 for Spain is a total guess, based on assuming 25% positive tests, which is the average of France (27%) and the UK (22%).

US testing is still in the second tier. Germany has tested 15 people per 1000, Italy 13. The USA and France are about half that level. The UK lags far behind at 4 per 1000. Spain, as noted, is unknown.

UPDATED 4/9: BoJo, covid positive, still in intensive care, but now improving.

ADDED 4/8: Key coronavirus model revised downward, now predicts 60K deaths in US by August. The previous prediction from the same model was 81,000. You can find the data for your own state here. Click on “The United States of America” in green and white, and it will produce a drop-down menu of countries and states.

NOTE: this model assumes full social distancing in all 50 states until May 31, even though many states will be down to 0-2 deaths per day by May 1. I fear that many governors, seeing the numbers drop so dramatically, will rescind their stay-in-place orders, and that would create a new bump in the curve. I hope the forecasters are right in predicting a steady decline in fatalities after April 12th. That suggests we are nearly over the hump.

ADDED 4/7: This can’t be good. 51 recovered coronavirus patients test positive again in South Korea. For now, the KCDC’s director-general, Jeong Eun-kyeong, believes it is likely the infection was re-activated after remaining dormant in the patients, as opposed to them being reinfected. Either way, it strengthens fears that the contagion remains a hidden danger even after it appears to have gone — with whistleblowing Chinese doctors previously warning it is even deadlier the second time.

ADDED 4/3: The Unemployment Rate Is Probably Around 13 Percent. It’s almost certainly at its highest level since the Great Depression.”

NEW 3/28: The data are beginning to reveal that covid-19 is much more dangerous for men. The data are consistent from country to country: men make up 72% of the intensive care unit admissions in Spain, 73% in France, 75% in Norway, 71% in the UK. While researchers cannot yet determine how much of the gender disparity can be attributed to behavioral components, it seems clear that the significance of the gap across cultures means that there must be some biological explanation.

NEW 3/28: Why is Germany’s death rate so much lower than everyone else’s? Nobody is certain. There are several possible reasons: (1) aggressive testing has identified many mild cases; (2) the average age of those infected is low – for example, it’s 46 in Germany, 63 in Italy; (3) they have a good healthcare system and an aggressive government; (4) the fatality numbers are not-apples-to-apples because other countries are routinely doing post-mortem tests on those who were not tested in life, while Germany is not. (When a corpse is tested positive, it adds to the infected total, as well as the total of those who had covid-19 and died – in effect weighing in a 100% death rate for that group.)

An MIT study, Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?, suggests that 90% of transmission occurs within a narrow temperature band (37 to 63 F) and absolute humidity band. The scientists do not claim that transmission ceases outside those temperature and humidity bands, but that the spread occurs more slowly. If that holds, the Asian monsoon season, as well as the North American summer, should work against the disease.

Feb 26: “We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.”

Feb 26: We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time..”

Feb 26: We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up..”

Feb 26: The 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb 24:

 


The Dow was at 27,960 that day. One month later it was at 18,592.

Wrong: Coronavirus is bad, and the extent of the problem can be attributed to America’s poor leadership


Right: Coronavirus is actually good


“If you happen to utter the word “coronavirus” while waiting, say, for the bus in the white-marbled capital Ashgabat, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested. Plainclothes police officers are also arresting people who wear face masks.”

The Turkmen government has been run since 2006 by “the flamboyant dentist-rapper strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.”

Heckuva job, Gurby!

SIDEBAR: I’m pretty sure than I’ve never typed “dentist-rapper-strongman” before. That’s almost as rare as my position as “philosopher prince / masked luchador” (emeritus).

FOLLOW-UP: He was wrong. The police got him before the Rapture. To be fair, his arrest may not stop him from holding services again next Sunday. Stay tuned.

The original story:

“This is the clear and present danger … people continuing to congregate — squeezing into close quarters like sardines — and that’s exactly what happened Sunday at a Florida Church. The River Church in Tampa was packed to the gills with worshipers who clearly were looking for hope. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, who presides over the megachurch and has been reportedly defiant over social distancing, has claimed he’ll cure coronavirus just the way he did with Zika.”

So FAR.

Trump loves a challenge. I’m willing to bet he can top it. If he gets four more years, I can just about guarantee it.

The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort. What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”