USA: Highest COVID Death toll in the entire world; One of the highest infection rates per capita; and highest number of cases

Making America Great Again – was it really intended to make the USA have the highest Covid-19 death toll in the entire world, PLUS the highest infection rate? What a record!!

Please look at this table, which I compiled from data I found here and here. I have sorted it by the total number of reported Covid-19 deaths and left off almost all of the nations with less than three thousand cases, except for Taiwan and Vietnam.

If you look, you will see that the US (with 105 thousand deaths) is way ahead of every other country — in fact, it’s about the same as the next three or four nations combined (UK, Italy, Brazil, and France).

The US also has the highest number of reported cases in the entire world, with about 1.8 million; that’s roughly the same amount as the next seven nations combined (Brazil, Russia, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, and India).

No Herd Immunity

People have been talking about herd immunity and low fatality rates. My calculations tell me that we are a long, long way from herd immunity anywhere, and that the fatality rates are rather high.

To get herd immunity, you need to have 70% to 90% of the population that has antibodies – either from a vaccine or from having contracted the disease and recovered by their own body producing the necessary antibodies. I simply divided the total number of reported cases (which is probably too low in every case, but I have no idea by what factor) by the population of each country. What I find is that not a single nation has reached even 1% of their population having been infected and recovered. The highest such rates are in the small nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, and Luxembourg, which have about 7 people diagnosed as having been positive per THOUSAND, that’s 0.7%. The US has about 0.55% positive.

No herd immunity there.

High Fatality Rates

If we divide the number of coronavirus deaths by the total number of cases, we get rather large percentages. For the world as a whole, it’s about 6%, and for the very worst-off nations like France, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and Mexico, your chances of dying if diagnosed positive [EDIT] are over 10%.*


Total Reported Cases Total Reported Deaths Calculated fatality rate Population, millions Infection rate so far
World 6,104,980 370,078 6.06% 7594 0.080%
United States 1,811,016 105,295 5.81% 327 0.554%
United Kingdom 274,762 38,489 14.01% 66 0.416%
Italy 233,019 33,415 14.34% 60 0.388%
Brazil 501,985 28,872 5.75% 209 0.240%
France 151,496 28,771 18.99% 67 0.226%
Spain 239,429 27,127 11.33% 46 0.520%
Mexico 87,512 9,779 11.17% 126 0.069%
Belgium 58,381 9,467 16.22% 11 0.531%
Germany 183,411 8,602 4.69% 83 0.221%
Iran 151,466 7,797 5.15% 82 0.185%
Canada 90,516 7,092 7.84% 37 0.245%
Netherlands 46,442 5,956 12.82% 17 0.273%
India 182,143 5,164 2.84% 10 1.821%
Russia 405,843 4,693 1.16% 144 0.282%
China 83,001 4,634 5.58% 1393 0.006%
Turkey 163,103 4,515 2.77% 82 0.199%
Sweden 37,542 4,395 11.71% 10 0.375%
Peru 155,671 4,371 2.81% 32 0.486%
Ecuador 38,571 3,334 8.64% 17 0.227%
Switzerland 30,862 1,657 5.37% 9 0.343%
Ireland 24,990 1,652 6.61% 5 0.500%
Indonesia 26,473 1,613 6.09% 268 0.010%
Pakistan 70,868 1,519 2.14% 212 0.033%
Chile 94,858 997 1.05% 19 0.499%
Philippines 18,086 957 5.29% 107 0.017%
Egypt 23,449 913 3.89% 98 0.024%
Colombia 28,236 890 3.15% 50 0.056%
Japan 16,804 886 5.27% 127 0.013%
Ukraine 23,672 708 2.99% 46 0.051%
Austria 16,731 668 3.99% 9 0.186%
Algeria 9,394 653 6.95% 42 0.022%
Bangladesh 47,153 650 1.38% 161 0.029%
South Africa 30,967 643 2.08% 58 0.053%
Denmark 11,633 571 4.91% 6 0.194%
Argentina 16,201 528 3.26% 44 0.037%
Hungary 3,876 526 13.57% 10 0.039%
Saudi Arabia 85,261 503 0.59% 34 0.251%
Dominican Republic 16,908 498 2.95% 11 0.154%
Panama 13,018 330 2.53% 4 0.325%
Finland 6,859 320 4.67% 5.5 0.125%
Czech Republic 9,233 319 3.45% 11 0.084%
Bolivia 9,592 310 3.23% 11 0.087%
Moldova 8,251 295 3.58% 3.5 0.236%
Israel 17,024 284 1.67% 9 0.189%
Nigeria 9,855 273 2.77% 196 0.005%
South Korea 11,468 270 2.35% 52 0.022%
Sudan 4,800 262 5.46% 42 0.011%
United Arab Emirates 33,896 262 0.77% 10 0.339%
Afghanistan 15,205 257 1.69% 37 0.041%
Serbia 11,381 242 2.13% 7 0.163%
Norway 8,437 236 2.80% 5 0.169%
Belarus 42,556 235 0.55% 9.5 0.448%
Kuwait 27,043 212 0.78% 4 0.676%
Morocco 7,783 204 2.62% 36 0.022%
Honduras 5,094 201 3.95% 9.6 0.053%
Iraq 6,179 195 3.16% 38 0.016%
Cameroon 5,904 191 3.24% 25 0.024%
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2,510 153 6.10% 3 0.084%
Bulgaria 2,453 140 5.71% 7 0.035%
North Macedonia 2,226 133 5.97% 2 0.111%
Armenia 9,282 131 1.41% 3 0.309%
Malaysia 7,819 115 1.47% 32 0.024%
Luxembourg 4,016 110 2.74% 0.6 0.669%
Croatia 2,246 103 4.59% 4 0.056%
Australia 7,193 103 1.43% 25 0.029%
Guatemala 4,739 102 2.15% 17 0.028%
Cuba 2,025 83 4.10% 11 0.018%
DR Congo 3,046 72 2.36% 84 0.004%
Azerbaijan 5,494 63 1.15% 10 0.055%
Thailand 3,081 57 1.85% 69 0.004%
Tajikistan 3,807 47 1.23% 9 0.042%
Oman 11,437 46 0.40% 5 0.229%
Senegal 3,535 41 1.16% 16 0.022%
Kazakhstan 10,858 40 0.37% 18 0.060%
Ghana 7,881 36 0.46% 30 0.026%
Ivory Coast 2,799 33 1.18% 25 0.011%
Guinea 3,706 23 0.62% 12 0.031%
Singapore 34,884 23 0.07% 5.6 0.623%
Djibouti 3,194 22 0.69% 1 0.319%
Bahrain 10,793 18 0.17% 1.5 0.720%
Uzbekistan 3,554 14 0.39% 33 0.011%
Taiwan 442 7 1.58% 24 0.002%
Vietnam 328 0 0.00% 96 0.000%

* EDIT: The divisor here is the number of people who have been formally and medically diagnosed as positive. The number of people who have actually been exposed to COVID-19 is probably considerably higher than the number of people who have tested positive, since no country is testing every single citizen, and the technicians are not testing people randomly.

By what factor is the reported positive rate in the various nation’s populations too low? I cannot say, and I’m positive it varies a lot from nation to nation and even within any country or state or region.

CDC gives a much lower fatality rate than I do – they estimate it to be under 1%, which would mean that every single reported positive case represents about 10 to 60 people who got the infection and fought it off unknowingly. That’s the only way you can lower a 6% fatality rate to 0.6% or 0.1%. Does that sound reasonable to you? It would be nice if that were true, but I rather doubt it.

There is NO Herd Immunity in the US but we have a High Fatality Rate

covid cases reported each day, USA

Notice from this pink graph that in the USA, technicians are still detecting twenty to 25 THOUSAND new cases of COVID-19 per day. These folks didn’t all get sick; they just all tested positive for antigens and/or antibodies. Some did get sick, some less so, and some more so, and some died.

One of the key questions is, what is the fatality rate? We now have some idea, which we can get by comparing the total number of cases reported so far with the total number of deaths. This yellow graph shows the cumulative ECDC-reported number of cases in the USA. Right now it’s a bit over 1.7 million people – roughly one half of one percent of the population, which is roughly 330 million.

One half of one percent of the population is nothing like herd immunity! You need 70 to 90% or more of the people to have been exposed to reach that level according to JHU.

total covid cases to date, may 30

Now let’s compare that to the total deaths each day and cumulative.

covid deaths per day

As you can see from the white graph above, the US is recording something like 1000 to 1500 deaths from COVID every day. (My guess as to why it’s going down has to do with the fact that the vast majority of the population is engaging in social distancing.)

Total, cumulative deaths can be seen below:


The above graph shows that at present, a bit over a hundred thousand people have been killed in the United States so far by this virus at this writing. Now let’s compare that total number of deaths, namely 102,836, with the total number of detected cases, which is 1,747,087. Get out your favorite calculator and divide. If you divide the big one (~1.7 million) by the smaller one (~103 thousand), you get roughly 17 — which means that about ONE OUT OF EVERY 17 PEOPLE IN THE USA WHO HAS TESTED POSITIVE, HAS DIED.

Let that sink in.

If you are infected, it looks like you have a one-in-seventeen chance of dying.

And there is neither a vaccine, nor a cure, nor herd immunity, nor any contact tracing to speak of. Testing is still rationed tightly, or else you have to pay a LOT for it. Will that ratio continue to hold in the future? I don’t know, but it’s alarming all the same.

If you divide the little one by the big one, you will get about 0.05886. That means 5.886% chance of dying – nearly 6% fatality rate!

That is one hell of a lot more lethal than the flu.

If we open up again without contact tracing and effective and humane quarantine and/or medical care of those who test positive, I am really afraid of what will happen.

5.886% of the population of the USA is over 19 million people.

I’ve checked about a dozen other countries, and their fatality rates range from about 2% (Taiwan) up to 19% (France).


How we have been split in the past 50 years

T.C.Weber explains how today’s public splits have a history, going back to the anti-Vietnam War protests and the murderous official responses of exactly 50 years ago .

As I flipped from public shaming to public shaming, it was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Vehicles hurling towards each other, the outcome beyond doubt, yet no means offered to alter the quickly approaching calamity.

Tales of people without masks intentionally coughing on those with masks, packed swimming holes in the Ozark’s or Texas, a 70-second video of a confrontation between a white woman and a black man in Central Park, videos of customers verbally chasing a non-mask wearing person from a grocery in Staten Island. I watched all of it as I recoiled in horror. Is this what we aspire to? Is this the world we are preserving for our children?

Yesterday’s trip began with NPR, who was running a special on the anniversary of Kent State. 50 years ago this month, protesters and police squared off against each other on the Ohio campus, each empowered by their sense of righteousness. The national guard were viewed as imperial authoritarians, minions of a fascist regime. Students were perceived as entitled children who sought to destroy all order. Both secure in their perception of the other. Tensions mounted, peaking in shots ringing out and 4 students losing their lives. Two of which, just trying to go about their daily lives, never realizing that they were on the precarious perch of history.

These days, I look at our country and I can’t help but think that 50 years later we are setting the stage for a reoccurrence of those tragic events, only on a grander stage. We are all so angry and so willing to make value judgments about others based on the scantest of evidence. Both sides rushing to dehumanize those they perceive as being a threat. Lost is the ability to extend any grace. Complexities are stripped away and everyone is reduced to their simplest form.

We all wrap ourselves in our moral coats as we regale each other with horror tales about the other side.  Those that support the president are all salivating three-headed monsters intent on killing everyone, with little compassion for those less fortunate. Those who oppose the president are in turn painted with a color of cowardice and an intent to rid the world of all choice and financial reward, merely searching for wealth redistribution and free stuff. Both seemingly unwilling to extend grace to the other side. This is not a path paved for success.

As we move into summer, and temperatures outside heat up, how long will it be before our national cauldron boils over? What will it take before cooler heads prevail, and we realize that public shaming has never been an effective means of public policing? How long will it be until we reclaim the ability to look at people without reducing them to the most simplistic version of themselves?  We seem so intent in condemning everyone to an designated silo, that we refuse to even consider that people’s behavior is based on multiple stimuli.

Kent State, and by extension the Nixon administration, mark a turning point in our nation. It is where we collectively lost faith in our democratic institutions. That loss of faith has proven detrimental to all of us. We have become a nation with no faith in the entities meant to bring order and enrichment to our lives. It’s a loss of faith acerbated by the current occupant of the White House. The free press, the intelligence community, judges, and the court, are all painted as enemies of the people while our current commander-in-chief portrays himself as a modern-day savior. A wedge is being driven among us that was first hammered 50 years ago and with every blow is threatening to drive us further asunder. Yet we refuse to put the hammer down.

Like the Nixon administration, the events of today will continue to play out long after this administration leaves the White House. A fate that will haunt both supporter and opponent, as long as we continually allow him the power to bring our worse angels forth.

In an effort to halt this downward spiral, the Democrat Party bings forth a flawed candidate. One that will likely do little more than drive us even further apart. One that demonstrates that choice is not always between a good option and a bad option, but rather a varying shade bad. One that’ll lead to just more of us yelling at each other, as if we can bludegon the other side into submission.

I don’t know how we get there, but I do know, there is no better time than a holiday dedicated to those who fought to preserve our freedoms to reflect on our own actions and how they serve to protect those lofty aspirations for which others have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve. We have to translate that reflection into action. At some point we have to do more than just listen to each other, we have to start hearing each other.

If we don’t adjust soon and instead keep mindlessly hurtling forward, I fear it’ll be a lot more than 4 dead in Ohio

Published in: on May 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm  Comments (2)  

MAGA is a fascist movement

From Jared Sexton Yates, author of AMERICAN RULE:
We have to talk about Trump, “good blood,” Henry Ford, the relationship between Nazi Germany and the United States, and how Make America Great Again is a white supremacist, fascistic movement.
What you need to understand is that Trump’s comments yesterday speak to a really, really disgusting part of America and the world’s history and give us a glimpse into his views of white supremacy, the same that Ford and Nazis had.
Again, Trump went into a Ford plant and talked about Henry Ford’s “good blood” and “good bloodlines.” This is a direct reference to the concept that talent and worthiness are inherited and genetic, a cornerstone of fascistic philosophy.
This isn’t saying Trump understands what he was saying or referencing, and he may very well have known exactly what he was doing, but it speaks to an inherent thing Trump believes and has talked about for decades: that people are born with superior genes.
To begin this story, we have to start with Henry Ford, a lauded American icon whose history is just filled with disgusting moments that have helped shape our modern world, its prejudices, and enabled some of the worst actors to wield murderous power.
Trump praised Ford as having “good blood,” and we have to examine our dark history wherein Henry Ford was one of the foremost propagators of anti-semetic conspiracy theories that caused the Holocaust and have enabled continued fascism throughout the world.
Ford was first introduced to anti-semetic conspiracy theories aboard his “Peace Ship” he used to try and bring peace during World War I. He heard a rumor that Jews ran the world and, being gullible, quickly believed it.
He then dedicated his life to highlighting this rumor.
In his newspaper The Dearborn Independent, Ford started publishing completely false and inflammatory anti-semetic excerpts from conspiracy theories, telling readers that Jews controlled world affairs, causing wars, economic turmoil, and human suffering.
He collected these anti-semetic conspiracy theories in The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem.
It was an international bestseller and found an audience with prejudiced people around the world, including Adolf Hitler, who based his worldview around it.
The book was based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy, which was actually a plagiarized version The Dialogue In Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a play that was actually criticizing WHITE SUPREMACIST political manipulation.
A quick note: all these conspiracies, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the New World Order, the Deep State, QAnon, Obamagate, all of it is a projection of white supremacist manipulation onto people of color.
It is an illusion to hide white supremacist machinations.
Like all authoritarians, Hitler used the International Jew conspiracy theory as a means to blame his country’s problems on a vulnerable population in order to gain power to fight the problem.
Henry Ford gave Hitler his underlying narrative.
What the International Jew did for Hitler was give him an excuse as to why Germany lost World War I.
Like America, Germany believed itself exceptional and its defeat could only be because of outside manipulation and internal betrayal.
What Hitler, a veteran of WWI, crafted, was the “Knife In The Back” conspiracy, which alleged that European Jews and German liberals conspired to undermine the country’s war efforts, meaning they needed dealt with like traitors.
This was a new national movement in Germany.
Hitler and the Nazi loved Ford. They called him Heinrich Ford and awarded him a medal on his 75th birthday.
Hitler kept a portrait of him in his office and expressed a desire to install him as a fascist president in the US and promised shocktroops to make it happen.
But any conversation about Henry Ford’s influence over the Nazis would be incomplete without a larger discussion about the complex and strong relationship between the United States and Nazi Germany, which shared strong, strong ties in the early 20th century.
American and Germany history were linked by a common nationalist philosophy. In Germany, that idea eventually turned into Nazism.
In America, it came earlier in the form of Manifest Destiny. Both were born out of Romanticism, which heralded races and destinies.
In America, we talk about Manifest Destiny like it was some romantic pioneer mission, but it was actually a push for Caucasians to realize their white supremacist destiny and conquer the continent, disposing of Native Americans and enslaving black people.
Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party of the 19th century pushed this white supremacist philosophy, claiming Native Americans were savages and needed to be conquered for their own good.
In action, thought, and principle, this is weaponized white supremacy.
What resulted was the genocide of the Native Americans, which Hitler cited as one of his inspirations for the Third Reich and his Holocaust.
He saw Manifest Destiny in America and recognized the philosophical bond between his regime and the America.
Similarly, Hitler cited his admiration for the Confederate States of America, the eventual successor to Jacksonian “Democracy,” and admired it as a society founded on racial difference entrenched in law and social order. He saw it as a precursor to the Third Reich.
In fact, Hitler took much of his philosophy from Americans, including Madison Grant, who wrote what he called his “bible.”
1916’s The Passing of the Great Race was a phenomenon in America and Grant helped advised with the disgusting Immigration Act of 1924.
Warning of “immigrant conquerors,” Grant warned America that its white supremacy would be challenged by immigrating people of color and advised that radical action must be taken.
Hitler, again, called this his “bible” and Grant was lauded within America.
Quick Aside: If you can’t tell already, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN is a philosophical heir to all of this.
In Donald Trump’s favored terms, you could even say MAGA shares bloodlines with explicitly white supremacist American and Nazi philosophies.
Another of Hitler’s favorites was American Lotthrop Stoddard, who would eventually be invited to Nazi Germany and receive an audience with the fuhrer himself.
Stoddard was incredibly famous in America and his white supremacy a popular topic in political circles.
Stoddard’s “The Rising Tide of Color Against White Supremacy” warned that a new white supremacist coalition was necessary to stave off advances by people of color.
Published in 1929, this gave Hitler an idea to call for white nations to cooperate to solve the problem.
Stoddard called World War I a “white civil war,” a moniker that Hitler adopted as he called for America and England to join him prior to World War II.
He was adamant that he didn’t want to war with the US or UK, saying they had white supremacy in common as a goal.
In addition, America was the first nation to fully embrace eugenics with forced sterilization.
Individuals like Harry Laughlin laid the foundation for thousands of forced sterilizations, and his work was copied verbatim by Nazis in creating their eugenic state.
As the Nazis put together an apparatus to sterilize “lesser people” and kill them, they used American law as a template and invited several American eugenicists to come, tour their facilities, observe their trials, and consult on how to better “the bloodline.”
As the Nazis pushed harder and hard to streamline their genocide, they looked to Henry Ford again and his vaunted assembly line.
They used the principles of Ford’s machine to build the framework for what would eventually become an industrial genocide: The Holocaust.
It’s terrible to admit, but the Holocaust was the industrial revolution and American ingenuity put into practice with the sole purpose of eliminating “lesser people.”
Much of the Nazi machine was borrowed, inspired by, or explicitly American in action and thought.
But that’s not to say Nazism or fascism was limited to Europe.
We don’t like to talk about it, but fascism thrived in America prior to WW2, including American Nazis, who held a rally in Madison Square Garden and attracted thousands.
For a time, hero Charles Lindbergh and the America First movement seemed prime to become a political party that could win elections, touting white supremacy, white solidarity, and a desire to work with Adolf Hitler instead of fighting him.
In his speeches and writings, Lindbergh called on America to join Nazi Germany in a union of white supremacy to guard against minorities and the so-called Rising Tides of Color.
He was explicit in this and echoed Hitler’s own machinations and appeals.
In one notorious speech, Lindbergh echoed Ford and Hitler’s anti-semetic conspiracies, charging that Jews were in charge of the media, the economy, and were manipulating America into war with Hitler.
He accused FDR of being part of the conspiracy and called for action.
A quick note: Lindbergh was very popular and had political aspirations. Several had considered whether he could have been president, or whether America’s fascist movement would have gained more permanent traction had Pearl Harbor not happened.
But this history is hidden.
Because we don’t talk about our inherent fascism or influence on Nazi Germany, America has continued to tout itself as exceptional and dedicated to freedom, liberty, and equality, even while the powerful and rich continue to believe fascistic tenets.
Including…the Trumps.
Donald Trump himself has been profiled as believing in supremacy through genes and blood, believing in “a racehorse theory of human development.”
This is, as you can tell, fascistic, eugenic-like philosophy, and Trump has made several references to it.
Trump’s biographer once quoted Donald Trump Jr. that, with his dad being an “incredibly accomplished guy” and his mother “an Olympian” that he believes “genetically I’m predisposed to better than average.”
Considering Trump believes in inherent supreriority and has shown himself as an unrepentant white supremacist you need to understand that fascism can exist without uniforms, torch-lit rallies, military insignia, and overt displays of fascism.
It is a philosophy, a worldview.
When we’re talking about walls against immigrants, we’re talking about protecting against “the rising tide of color against white supremacy.”
We’re talking about protecting white people, who are inherently “superior” from stock that would hurt their blood and culture.
When we’re talking about “Make America Great Again,” we’re talking about reaffirming white supremacy in our laws and culture.
We’re talking about white supremacy in action and in practice as the right and true nature of the world and in defeating attacks against it.
Trump’s politics shares a direct “bloodline” with the politics of Lindbergh and white supremacist authoritarians. It even uses the same phrases, the same stances, the same philosophy of how the world works and that some are inherently better than others.
That…is fascism
These things are glaringly obvious when you know the history. You can hear what Trump is saying, what he’s hinting toward with remarks about Ford and bloodlines and “good people.”
It is a worldview that is inherently prejudiced and inherently white supremacist.
The problem is that American history is scrubbed clean of its fascistic and white supremacist elements in its common teaching.
This is on purpose and it is meant to propel the myth of American Exceptionalism and hide our generations’ of crimes.
And when American history is scrubbed clean of its crimes and stains, what happens is that the myth grows into a political and secular religion.
That’s what Trumpism is. A concentrated and dedicated fight to protect white supremacy and the altered reality that aids it.
Make no mistake, fascism is not relegated to an aberration in the 20th century in Europe.
Fascism is part of the human condition and can happen anywhere, including America, which has a rich and frightening fascist history.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing that now.
You have to learn this history, the real history of America, to understand where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going.
There’s nothing innocuous about Trump, Trumpism, or this fascistic rhetoric. It’s a call to our past and unfortunately our future.
Write a comment…

Published in: on May 23, 2020 at 6:52 am  Comments (3)  

It’s uncharitable, but…

I hope that the moron in the White House ends up suffering from the side effects and higher chance of death from hydroxyquinone.

From today’s CDC report:


A study published in The Lancet aimed to evaluate the treatment benefit of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients. The retrospective study utilized medical records from a total of 96,032 patients across 671 hospitals on 6 continents. Among these patients, 14,888 were included in one of the 4 treatment groups—chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with macrolide antibiotics (eg, azithromycin)—and 81,144 patients were included in the control group. This appears to be the largest study of the drugs conducted to date. Patients who received remdesivir or who were already on mechanical ventilation when the treatment was started were excluded from this study.
After adjusting for a range of demographic and risk factors—including age, pre-existing health conditions, and baseline COVID-19 severity—the researchers found no evidence that chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine provided benefit to the patients. Rather, the patients in all 4 treatment groups exhibited statistically significant increases in mortality as well as increased risk of ventricular arrhythmia. The authors comment, “In the absence of reported randomised trials, there is an urgent need to evaluate real-world evidence related to outcomes with the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine” in COVID-19 patients. While not a randomized control trial (RCT), this study leverages data from nearly 100,000 patients across a broad range of hospitals and countries. The absence of a detectable positive benefit with respect to COVID-19 mortality—and in fact, finding significantly increased risk of death—provides further evidence that hydroxychloroquine is not effective as a treatment for COVID-19 and may, in fact, be harmful to patients

Published in: on May 22, 2020 at 5:43 pm  Comments (1)  

The best way to re-open the economy is to defeat the virus. Not by yelling slogans.

By Alex Tabarrok and Puja Ahluwalia Ohlhaver in the Washington Post

May 15, 2020 at 10:06 a.m. EDT

With the unemployment rate at its highest level since the Great Depression — 14.7 percent and climbing — many Americans are clamoring to reopen the economy, even if it means that thousands of daily covid-19 deaths become part of the backdrop to life. It’s time to move on as “warriors,” President Trump has said, because “we can’t keep our country closed down for years.” We, too, favor markets and share the president’s eagerness to stop economically ruinous shutdowns. But the choice between saving lives and saving the economy, the latter of which Trump has endorsed implicitly, is a false one.

In fact, framing the issue that way could kill many Americans and kill the economy.

The dangers of reopening without disease control — or a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic breakthrough — are illustrated by events at the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, S.D. Smithfield offered workers a bonus if they showed up every day in April. Normally, bonus pay would increase attendance. But in a pandemic, encouraging the sick to haul themselves into work can be disastrous. The plan backfired. Hundreds of Smithfield employees were infected, forcing the plant to shut down for more than three weeks. If we stay the current course, we risk repeating the same mistake across the whole economy.

The economy consists of people who have hopes and fears. As long as they are afraid of a lethal virus, they will avoid restaurants, travel and workplaces. (According to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll last week, only 25 percent of all Americans want to “open businesses and get the economy going again, even if that means more people will get the coronavirus.”) The only way to restore the economy is to earn the confidence of both vulnerable industries and vulnerable people through testing, contact tracing and isolation.

As covid-19 spreads through Nebraska meat plants, workers feel helpless and afraid

There is already a bipartisan plan to achieve this; we helped write it. The plan relies on frequent testing followed by tracing the contacts of people who test positive (and their contacts) until no new positive cases are found. It also encourages voluntary isolation, at home or in hotel rooms, to prevent further disease spread. Isolated patients would receive a federal stipend, like jurors, to discourage them from returning to workplaces too soon.

But our plan also recognizes that rural towns in Montana should not necessarily have to shut down the way New York City has. To pull off this balancing act, the country should be divided into red, yellow and green zones. The goal is to be a green zone, where fewer than one resident per 36,000 is infected. Here, large gatherings are allowed, and masks aren’t required for those who don’t interact with the elderly or other vulnerable populations. Green zones require a minimum of one test per day for every 10,000 people and a five-person contact tracing team for every 100,000 people. (These are the levels currently maintained in South Korea, which has suppressed covid-19.) Two weeks ago, a modest 1,900 tests a day could have kept 19 million Americans safely in green zones. Today, there are no green zones in the United States.


What antibody tests can teach us about potential coronavirus immunity

Most Americans — about 298 million — live in yellow zones, where disease prevalence is between .002 percent and 1 percent. But even in yellow zones, the economy could safely reopen with aggressive testing and tracing, coupled with safety measures including mandatory masks. In South Korea, during the peak of its outbreak, it took 25 tests to detect one positive case, and the case fatality rate was 1 percent. Following this model, yellow zones would require 2,500 tests for every daily death. To contain spread, yellow zones also would ramp up contact tracing until a team is available for every new daily coronavirus case. After one tracer conducts an interview, the team would spend 12 hours identifying all those at risk. Speed matters, because the virus spreads quickly; three days is useless for tracing. (Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are all yellow zones.)


A disease prevalence greater than 1 percent defines red zones. Today, 30 million Americans live in such hot spots — which include Detroit, New Jersey, New Orleans and New York City. In addition to the yellow-zone interventions, these places require stay-at-home orders. But by strictly following guidelines for testing and tracing, red zones could turn yellow within four weeks, moving steadfastly from lockdown to liberty.


Getting to green nationwide is possible by the end of the summer, but it requires ramping up testing radically. The United States now administers more than 300,000 tests a day, but according to our guidelines, 5 million a day are needed (for two to three months). It’s an achievable goal. Researchers estimate that the current system has a latent capacity to produce 2 million tests a day, and a surge in federal funding would spur companies to increase capacity. The key is to do it now, before manageable yellow zones deteriorate to economically ruinous red zones.


States can administer these “test, trace and supported isolation” programs — but Congress would need to fund them. The total cost, we estimate, is $74 billion, to be spent over 12 to 18 months. That sum would cover wages and training for contract tracers, the cost of building voluntary self-isolation facilities, stipends for those in isolation and subsidies to manufacture tests.


That amount is a lot, but not compared to the cost of a crippled economy. In Congress’s latest relief package, $75 billion went to struggling hospitals alone, $380 billion to help small businesses and $25 billion toward testing. But hospitals and businesses will continue to hemorrhage money and seek bailouts as long as they can’t open safely. Not spending on disease control means new waves of infection followed by chaotic spikes in disease and death, followed by more ruinous cycles of economic openings and closures. Economists talk about “multipliers” — an injection of spending that causes even larger increases in gross domestic product. Spending on testing, tracing and paid isolation would produce an indisputable and massive multiplier effect.


States have strong economic incentives to become — and remain — green zones. Nations that have invested the most in disease control have suffered the least economic hardship: Taiwan grew 1.5 percent in the first quarter, whereas the United States’ gross domestic product contracted by 4.8 percent, at an annual adjusted rate. (Taiwan was fortunate to have its vice president, Chen Chien-Jen, a U.S.-trained epidemiologist; under his guidance, the island acted quickly with masks, temperature checks, testing and tracing.) The second quarter will be worse: The projected decline for U.S. GDP, at an annualized rate, is an alarming 40 percent.


Looking forward, we will see stark economic contrasts across states, depending on their investment in disease control. With $74 billion, Congress could close the gap between states and relieve pressure on state budgets hamstrung by collapsing revenues. In the spirit of federalism, states would then become laboratories for discovering the best ways to implement testing, tracing and isolation. States might choose to form interstate compacts that pool and move testing resources across state lines as the disease travels and surges; county health officials might tap firefighters or other municipal workers to build regional contact-tracing workforces (as is happening in Tyler, Tex.). When local and state governments become accountable for adopting strategies that work, we can expect more innovation.


How do we know that testing, tracing and supported isolation would work? It already has worked in New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan — where there have been few to no new daily cases recently. Taiwan never had to shut down its economy, while New Zealand and South Korea are returning to normal. It would work here, too. Since March, Congress has passed relief bills totaling $3.6 trillion to support an economy devastated by a virus — and $3 trillion more is on the table. We should attack the disease directly so we can stop spending to alleviate symptoms. Following this road map, we can defeat the coronavirus and be celebrating life, liberty and livelihood by the Fourth of July.

Slight Downward Trend in Daily US Covid-19 Deaths After More Than 90 Thousand Die

This graph shows the daily reported number of deaths from COVID-19 in the US since March 10. As you can see, the daily reported death numbers fluctuate rather wildly from day to day, but that’s probably because of the bureaucratic hurdles involved in reporting a death (and many offices are closed on weekends, so it’s probably not because fewer people die on Sundays and Mondays).

But overall there seems to be a slight downward trend since a high point near April 15. Most of that longed-for reduction seems to be from massive numbers of people practicing self-isolation, washing hands, wearing masks, and so forth, rather than because of a vaccine (none yet) or highly effective drugs that aid in recovery (only in experimental phases so far), or because of any skilled, consistent, and scientific help from the lying megalomaniac currently residing in the White House. (Nobody has seen any skills, consistency, or knowledge of science emanating from Mango Mussolini, except for his breathtaking abilities to swindle and fool a large subset of the American voting public.)

daily COVID deaths, USA, from ECDC

This second graph shows the cumulative numbers of Americans who have died from this pandemic. It is clearly not an example of exponential growth, but it also has clearly not leveled off.

total covid deaths to date

I got this data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a website with both daily Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 deaths for just about every country in the world. You can find it here.


Perhaps a slight downward trend in new COVID cases?

Prompted by a former colleague, I did some tedious work at the CDC site on the numbers of COVID-19 cases each day, going back to January. I found what looks like a weekly up-and-down oscillation pattern that might have to do with whether offices are open and whether reports are made promptly, or might have to be delayed until the end of the weekend. However, it does appear to me that there might be a slow, but real, downward trend over the last few weeks — mostly because the vast majority of us are practicing self-isolation. Here is the graph I made:

new covid cases in the US, per day

Clearly, we are no longer seeing either a steady increase in the number of new cases each day as we were seeing from week 6 to week 10 nor (God forbid!) exponential growth as we were seeing back in March. If we were having exponential growth, it would show up as a horizontal line in the graph below.

daily rate of increases

However, if we stop the social distancing, if we all stop wearing masks and washing hands, if we all start going to movies and restaurants and museums and bars as if this is all over, and if kids go play on playgrounds and go back to school as normal, then exponential growth will raise its ugly, feverish head, and perhaps millions will die.

By the way, I cannot easily find equivalent data on the CDC website for daily deaths; just new diagnosed cases. The COVID death data may be there, but it’s really difficult to dig out. Maybe someone has a source?

I got tested!

I finally got COVID- tested today. It took quite a lot of phone calls, and leads from a bunch of people, and searches through clinics until I hit pay dirt. Mine was through Kaiser Permanente, our medical plan. I probably could have done it through the DC government as well, again for free.
A few days ago I got a form reply to a request I had made to my KP GP for a test; the reply said that I didn’t fit the profile of someone who needed one. I found a number of places where I could spend $150 to $2200 for one out of pocket.
Today I talked to my doctor, and I checked off enough boxes in the questionnaire he gave me to qualify: 70 yo, Crohn’s disease, immunosupressant (infliximab./Remicade) and plus I had sniffles and a stomach ache…
My reason for testing is to go help with grand-toddlers in NC while my son and DIL are trying to keep their business afloat remotely and – hopefully – reopen in a week or two if all goes well.
I don’t remember whether I got the antigen test or the antibody test, but I guess I’ll find that out tomorrow. on Monday the 18th. EDIT: It was the antigen test.
The testing procedure itself was very efficient: I had a 12:30 appointment. There were several parking spaces set aside with cones, in front of a huge medical van, on 2nd St NE in DC, on the street opposite Kaiser’s Capitol Hill center. I drove in, showed my ID at a distance to somebody in a mask on my right, on the sidewalk; he went back to the van, and less than a minute later a nurse (I guess) in full PPE came out, took a closer look at my face and my ID, checked that against the printout she had; then she stuck a long Q-tip into each nostril, and then she told me I was all done.
That sort of efficient testing is what Trump and Brix promised would happen ‘next week’ when he declared on March 13 a national emergency, for anyone. It’s still only for some people, TWO MONTHS LATER.
Such a fine job. Not.
I just got the results this morning (5/18/2020) for the antigen test, and it was negative. As I strongly suspected.

The Pandemic Is Far From Over

While the rate of increase per day in the number of deaths is generally down, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. In general, more people are still dying each day in the US from this disease than the day before, as you can see from this data, which is taken from the CDC. The very tall bar on day 27 is when New York City finally added thousands of poor souls who had in fact died from this virus. (Day 27 means April 9, and Day 41 means April 30, which is today.)

Opening up the economy and encouraging everybody to go back to work, play, and school will mean a rebirth of exponential growth in deaths and in diagnosed cases after about 2 weeks, since this disease takes about that long to be noticed in those who have been exposed. And once everybody is back on the streets and in the stores and schools, the disease WILL spread exponentially. Opening wide right now, when we still can’t test or follow those who may be infected, would be a huge mistake.

us covid deaths per day

Only somebody as clueless as our current Grifter-In-Chief and his brainless acolytes could be recommending something so irresponsible, against the advice of every medical expert. Maybe they think that only the poor, the black, and the brown will get this disease. Wrong.

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