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Friday, March 20, 2020

Nobody knows anything

Five percent, 24 percent, it's hard to say exactly:
Goldman Sachs predicts the coronavirus crash will be bigger than it originally thought. In a Friday research note, the bank projected a 24 percent drop in the U.S. GDP in the second quarter — a stark revision from its prediction of a five percent drop earlier this week. 
Even that's not going to be enough to clear the outstanding debt issue. But the important thing is not the size of the estimated contraction, it is the fact that the margin of error over the course of less than a week is so massive.

Meanwhile, the federal government is about to prevent Americans from travelling out of the country. Curiouser and curiouser....
The State Department is preparing to issue the strongest travel advisory it can, two individuals familiar with the decision told Politico Thursday. It'll tell Americans abroad to either return to the states or prepare to shelter in place — a Level 4 advisory, those sources said.

China and Mongolia are currently the only countries subject to a State Department level 4 travel advisory due to spread of the new coronavirus. The rest of the world is under a level 3 global health advisory, which suggests travelers reconsider their plans. The escalated level would instruct Americans to halt all travel out of the country; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved the measure, Politico reported.

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105 Comments:

Blogger Tino March 20, 2020 12:36 PM  

My brother is a very successful hedge fund trader, specifically in distressed equities.

He says confusion rules the day and not a single stat is to be trusted.

He hardly ever loses money but the fund has preferred to take losses on his positions than hold the bets, forcing him $18MM down.

Blogger Azimus March 20, 2020 12:50 PM  

If GDP and the DJIA are the only metrics for economic success, we can make sure, pretty easily, that those numbers look as positive as you would like, banker bro.

Blogger justaguy March 20, 2020 12:53 PM  

looking at several medical statistics articles about the data and projected death rates for covid-19, no one knows anything about covid-19 either. The newer ones basically say the stats show we have over-reacted.

Blogger Brett baker March 20, 2020 12:58 PM  

"Nobody told me math was involved!"

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants March 20, 2020 1:05 PM  

I think "nobody knows anything,"is the just perpetual state of things. Every thing. The more access we have, the less people seem to know.

Blogger Duke Norfolk March 20, 2020 1:07 PM  

We are truly in unprecedented times. The economy of just about the whole world is falling off of a cliff. It's stunning.

They built the biggest house of cards imaginable, and Corona-Chan torpedoed it. Maybe the hand of God, maybe not. Maybe He just let us take ourselves down.

One thing is certain: hard times are coming. The good thing is that they create good men.

Blogger Duke Norfolk March 20, 2020 1:08 PM  

The thing that's painful right now for me is that so many people around me have now idea how bad this is going to get. Tell them that a depression is coming and they'll scoff. OK.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2020 1:19 PM  

How much do you want to bet that they are conveniently forgetting that with the -M portion of GDP zeroed out, and so the hit on the gdp is massively overstated.

Blogger Fozzy Bear March 20, 2020 1:20 PM  

This is a natural contraction as non-essential businesses shut down. They won’t bounce back instantly, as people won’t all return to business as usual at the same time, but most businesses will return, particularly if they are given a holiday on interest and principal payments. A bailout would be counterproductive, incentivizing businesses to stay open that should be shutting down and letting their people go home. Just go home and ride this out, with the checks coming from the Feds to ease the pain.

Blogger Noah B. March 20, 2020 1:21 PM  

It's a good thing that deficits don't matter.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 20, 2020 1:22 PM  

At least there is a scapegoat for the current economic downturn in the form of Corona-chan.

Which means this economic downturn won't hurt President Trump's re-election prospects in the slightest.

So long as he doesn't support a bailout of the banksters.

Blogger The Cooler March 20, 2020 1:24 PM  

This one's gonna be on the quiz, y'all.

Blogger urthshu March 20, 2020 1:33 PM  

>stats show we have over-reacted.

That's what Americans excel at

Blogger Jack Amok March 20, 2020 1:38 PM  

looking at several medical statistics articles about the data and projected death rates for covid-19, no one knows anything about covid-19 either. The newer ones basically say the stats show we have over-reacted.

Here's what I know. I know several medical professionals working at Evergreen Hospital (where the initial US outbreak happened). They're freaked out. If they weren't, I'd probably agree we're overreacting, but they see the patients and they are freaked out.

Blogger Homesteader March 20, 2020 2:02 PM  

The numbers for Corona-Chan, and Great Depression 2.0, are too large and dynamic at the moment, for anyone to interpret. Each, by itself, is bad enough- but they will feed each other, in ways we cannot foresee.

That should be glaringly obvious.

We will lose many, many, lives, and much
unearned "wealth", in the process.

We will also find our world permanently transformed.

Beyond that, none can say.

Look to your own, and steel yourself for what is to come.

This show has only just begun.


Through a looking glass, darkly.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville March 20, 2020 2:06 PM  

Here is what I know...jack shit. Same as nearly everyone else. Don't trust anything a panicked man says. It is likely wrong.

When complex systems like the global finance inevitably fail, it would be extremely difficult to pin down how and where that complex system fails.

I'll be really pissed if Trump gives the banksters a pass this time around.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 20, 2020 2:08 PM  

Goading Trump into a bank bailout will be the next scheme...created by people rubbing theirs hands as they concoct it... To make home lose reelection. And that would be merely by people not showing up for Trump as Democrats deploy a fleet of busses and vans so big it causes a spike in gas prices.
Trump will float something and actually respond, even in part, to backlash. Which is as close to direct democracy we will get. Usually it's the neocon or neolib giving us dead silence, or the Obama-like courtesy of "smug face" at least, as they carry out decisions already made. So expect to hear of Trump being pressured, he'll say things to make it look like he's going to comply, but then wait a few days.

Blogger Nihil Dicit March 20, 2020 2:27 PM  

An entire planet, livin' paycheck to paycheck (or handout to handout). Always one hiccup from hell.

I know several medical professionals working at Evergreen Hospital (where the initial US outbreak happened). They're freaked out.

People freak out all the time. "Professionals" are no exception. My family is full of medical professionals (excepting me) and they're mostly meh on the whole thing. Precautions yes, pants-wetting panic no.

Blogger SigSyndicate March 20, 2020 2:27 PM  

Corona-chan is indeed freaky. It's super infectious and the severity of the symptoms ranges from "literally nothing" to "slight coof" to "fever and aches" to "respiratory failure". The incubation period is two weeks and can be unknowingly spread during that time.

I'd say our reaction is appropriate and exactly what's necessary for the time being. Honestly, we should have locked down international travel earlier than we did.

Blogger Longtime Lurker March 20, 2020 2:34 PM  

" . . . the margin of error over the course of less than a week is so massive."

Tell me about it. It's the same with oil market forecasts. Huge range of possible outcomes. All bad. Yet we had one client ask about bullish oil market outlooks. I stifled the urge to blurt, "no, but if war breaks out in the Persian Gulf and oil infrastructure gets smashed up, yeah, expect the price of oil to surge."

Blogger Jack Amok March 20, 2020 2:49 PM  

People freak out all the time. "Professionals" are no exception. My family is full of medical professionals (excepting me) and they're mostly meh on the whole thing.

Any of 'em been working in a Covid ward for the past two and a half weeks?

Blogger Oswald March 20, 2020 2:50 PM  

Still let us not hit the panic button just yet. My understanding is Europe's economy boomed after the black death. I see several ways this could work out for us.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville March 20, 2020 2:51 PM  

I just learned about something called the "precautionary principle" that directly addresses the pants wetting panic from both the professionals and the public. The precautionary principle is not a good thing. It is the mindset that drives the nanny state and produces a nation of sheeple. Here's a great article on it related to COVID-19.

https://science20.org/david-zaruk/20200320/coronavirus-shows-our-reliance-precautionary-principle-has-ruined-our-ability?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Blogger Up from the pond March 20, 2020 2:51 PM  

>>"Precautions yes, pants-wetting panic no."

This is what I see, too. Pants-wetting panic is always useless, anyway.

Blogger Zander Stander March 20, 2020 3:04 PM  

Think of this as a weeding or clearing of the underbrush. The non-essential businesses that are closing illustrates exactly how non-essential they are. Like weeds sucking up nutrients that the larger trees could have used, small business is in the way of monopolies. The value of solid assets is depreciated and can now be bought for a song. The hidden hand of the market does not lift a finger in this case due to irrational fear. This is a controlled demolition. The sucking noise you hear is wealth gushing upwards. Leviathan is feeding.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia March 20, 2020 3:17 PM  

Want some lotsa fun margin of error discussions?

Go to the article by Stanford prof John Ioannidis....

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

...versus genetics gadfly/guru Greg Cochran.

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/john-ioannidis/

I've weighed in on the commentary at Cochran's site. It's been fun!!

I know our esteemed BLOG proprietor here finds the silver lining in what's happening as the draining of the usurious lechers out of the financial system.

Here's a possible non-precious metal potentially radioactive lining: SJWs with authoritarian sensibilities who manage large governmental entities grabbing control of the social/economic structure in order to "save" the people from this pandemic.

Always a good idea to be careful what you wish for.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2020 3:23 PM  

>>stats show we have over-reacted.

> That's what Americans excel at

Hiroshima and Nagasaki agree.

Blogger jkmack March 20, 2020 3:24 PM  

What a time to be an E-girl.

Blogger Brett baker March 20, 2020 3:26 PM  

Twist the knife in the Boomers! That's what they're afraid of; they won't be able to spend their great-great-great-grandchildren's inheritance.

Blogger Krymneth March 20, 2020 3:32 PM  

Oswald wrote:Still let us not hit the panic button just yet. My understanding is Europe's economy boomed after the black death. I see several ways this could work out for us.

This is one place where I do trust Trump, far, far, far more than his competition. He knows what to do, or more importantly, what not to do, to get things going again even after a lot of damage.

We are still rich on an unprecedented scale compared to history. We still have tons of capital of all kinds lying around, even if the paper gets wiped clean. We still have tractors on farms, and people who know how to use them, and factories, and railroads, cars, people, computers, etc. etc. I think people will be shocked at how fast it all comes back together.

I am not saying it's all going to be fun and games the whole time. Like Vox said on the Darkstream in a different-but-related context last night, it's going to be hard and there will be some reason to worry about your future and your loved ones... but I will say that it will probably be just a time, and a shorter time than the current mood of despair would indicate. (Not necessarily despair here, but I seem some despair setting in with the normies right now.)

Blogger Jack Amok March 20, 2020 3:37 PM  

This is what I see, too. Pants-wetting panic is always useless, anyway.

They're not pants-wetting - the people I know. They're taking this thing very seriously, and are on edge (aka freaked out) about what could happen. Already two ER docs (neither over 50) are in critical condition with Corona-chan up here. That doesn't happen with a normal flu. If I didn't know these things and all I was looking at were the official stats being released by various government agencies, I'd think we were overreacting too.

Whatever the hell is going on behind the scenes, and whatever the real source of Kung Flu turns out to be, it's a real thing.

Blogger Dyspeptic March 20, 2020 3:41 PM  

I am astounded by the number of comments here cheering on the prospect of an economic catastrophe because of some over hyped viral infection. What the hell is wrong with you people. What is it about trillions of dollars in unmitigated and random economic destruction that is worth celebrating. As is always the case the crony capitalist elites will be protected and made whole while the rest of us lose our retirement savings and have to work shitty jobs into our 80's until we are carted off to the old folks home to die penniless. All because of a Mainstream Media pandemic hoax that is cynically exploited by our megalomaniacal political overlords. You’re a bunch of nihilistic nitwits and you better hope you don't get what you wish for.

Blogger Nathan Hornok March 20, 2020 3:44 PM  

@VD Can you please walk us economic newbies through how this debt deflation works.

It is that banks and other financial entities hold loans as assets, but when the borrower defaults, that asset just vanishes? And since these vanishing assets decrease the total units of account (money) in the economy, the money supply is decreasing, hence deflation?

Do I understand it correctly?

Blogger MATT March 20, 2020 3:46 PM  

The panic and the incompetence is what has lead to the terrible situation. It would have been bad no matter what, but if you have to spend 4 hours on hold with the CDC just to get a test, while the rich and famous are getting them with ease, it makes everything much worse. Here in NY, the piece od garbage Cuomo issues a half assed "lockdown" devree that atill leaves millions to go about their day and walk around, ride public transportation, go to work. He wanta Federal funds and will watch us all cough to death juat to get it. Definitely selling my house and getting the hell out of NY for good when this is over. Screw this city.

Blogger Wazdakka March 20, 2020 3:54 PM  

Am I alone in being surprised that there hasn't been a run on the banks yet?

Blogger Hammerli 280 March 20, 2020 4:22 PM  

It did not help that the Propaganda Press was doing everything in their power to whip up a hysteria. They have a hell of a lot to answer for.

Preferably on a gallows.

Blogger Kiwi March 20, 2020 4:39 PM  

We've already had yanks cutting holidays in other countries short and heading to NZ. I've seen them saying they can't get back to America and wanting accommodation on farms etc, which is lies as they could still go back. I'm surprised by how angry the locals are at them, and it's not the folk like me, it's the tame ones.

Blogger Glenn March 20, 2020 5:00 PM  

Wazdakka wrote:Am I alone in being surprised that there hasn't been a run on the banks yet?

I removed all non essential cash from banks last week.

Blogger papabear March 20, 2020 5:11 PM  

@32 Instead of trusting in your retirement savings you should have invested in the next generations.

Blogger Starboard March 20, 2020 5:13 PM  

37. Kiwi,

Yanquis go home!

They have to go back.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville March 20, 2020 5:19 PM  

@35 Early stages on the bank run. I've already made mine. I did the same back in 2008.

Blogger Homesteader March 20, 2020 5:21 PM  

Dyspeptic wrote:

"I am astounded by the number of comments here cheering on the prospect of an economic catastrophe because of some over hyped viral infection. What the hell is wrong with you people. What is it about trillions of dollars in unmitigated and random economic destruction that is worth celebrating.."

Never let your position influence your appraisal of the situation, both medically, or financially.

1. This virus is NOT an "over-hyped viral infection". It is a
previously zoonotic organism that has jumped to humans, HIGHLY contagious, and 20 times deadlier than influenza A. Please, stop with your asinine denial. My hospital is rapidly filling with its victims. It is NOT hype.

As for the financial aspect- downturns ALWAYS hurt retirees.
Since, oh, the South Sea Bubble.
And, no one here seems happy- just phlegmatic, as rational adults should be.

No one wants you dying at the drive-thru window in 10 years.

It's not personal-so just stop.

Blogger Kraemer March 20, 2020 5:22 PM  

Here's the thing: debt goes both ways. If you individually fail to make a loan payment, the bank can collect the collateral and write you off.
If everyone stops paying their loans, the bank suddenly has no money coming in. Understand that these places have zero actual money, it's all lent to someone somewhere. And they themselves borrow money from the Fed and other places. Without any money coming in, the bank goes bust, as do its outstanding balances. I'm no economist, but this is the basic idea

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 20, 2020 5:25 PM  

Am I alone in being surprised that there hasn't been a run on the banks yet?

Many people live on credit and don't have enough money in the bank to be worth running to get, especially those who are most short-term oriented.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 20, 2020 5:45 PM  

The only way out is through

Blogger James Dixon March 20, 2020 5:48 PM  

> Am I alone in being surprised that there hasn't been a run on the banks yet?

https://beincrypto.com/new-york-sees-cash-shortages-amid-coronavirus-panic/

Also reported by Bloomberg and NYT, but I decided to link to a more trustworthy source.

Blogger Uncle John's Band March 20, 2020 6:10 PM  

Many here consider systemic collapse inevitable, extending perhaps to a US break-up within 20 years. None of those underlying reasons vanish because of Corona-chan reactions. What does the lead-up to that collapse look like? What about the aftermath?

Corona is a catalyst, not a cause. We may be in the first tremors of the big collapse and/or facing an opportunity to start early on what comes next. The latter would be the blessing in disguise. But the system had a shelf-life regardless. Whatever happens, it's going to be different, and there's no way to know how.

Blogger MATT March 20, 2020 6:58 PM  

Moat have no money anyway. Theyll be on unemployment, which can be deposited right into your account. No need for bank runs yet, and when it is, its too late, so who cares
Everything can be paid without cash, and we'll be locked inside soon. Only the truly worthless will be desperate for food and toilet paper. Theyd be in shitsville anyway, whatever the situation.

Blogger JohnofAustria March 20, 2020 7:16 PM  

Sounds like they're taking a short position and trying to crash the market tbh

Blogger Riejun March 20, 2020 7:31 PM  

The level 4 travel advisory was published yesterday. USG is working on evacuating AMCITs from several countries. We are planning our own "March Up Country" from my AO...

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

Blogger The World War II Fanatic March 20, 2020 7:53 PM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGHwz0tRcWo

Blogger James Dixon March 20, 2020 8:06 PM  

> Sounds like they're taking a short position and trying to crash the market tbh

Possible. But so far it's been a standard bear market, down a bit over 30% from the peaks. The drop has been faster than previous drops, but with programmed trading you would expect that. Both 2000 and 2008 saw drops on the order of 50%. It wouldn't be too surprising to see that this time too.

What the worst we could get? Well, the 1929 sell of was on the order of 90%, so that's probably your worst case scenario. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 20, 2020 8:21 PM  

Looks like somebody knew something. Feinstein and several other senators were dumping stocks before the market turmoil started. Oh wait, they were on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Purely a cohencidence.

Blogger Dr. J March 20, 2020 8:36 PM  

It is a previously zoonotic organism that has jumped to humans, HIGHLY contagious, and 20 times deadlier than influenza A.

Only one of the things you cite has been proven - the transmissibility. But that truth renders your third point false. Influenza infected 35 million and killed 32000 per the CDC in 2018-2019, or 0.09% death rate. In China the apparent rate of death was over 3%, in South Korea 1% - but the denominator is unknown. Estimates place the detection rate at 14% of all cases. A high rate of transmission naturally means the total number of cases is vastly greater than will be detected, whereas it's fairly difficult to miss the deaths.

Meanwhile, vast swaths of the country are going to be put through unemployment, bankruptcy, small business failure, and the other general suffering that comes with grinding poverty. Our state has effectively shut down our medical practice with no end in sight. We'll be effectively insolvent in 2-3 months, with 100+ employees depending on us - which includes health care coverage.

The "cure" is worse than the disease. But guess what - when it turns out to be no worse than influenza, our overlords will cheer and celebrate that the onerous and unnecessary measures they forcibly implemented without consent were an unparalleled success!

PS - South Korea has handled this better than anyone else, and somehow managed to do it without destroying their entire economy. Germany looks to be pulling off the same.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 20, 2020 8:56 PM  

@DR J, do you really not understand how logarithmic rates of increase work? And You're a doctor? The death rate in china was so low because the Chinese government welded apartment doors shut and other draconian measures. Saying "See it's not that bad, the death rate in China was tolerable" is just plain stupid, or dishonest. With no restritions of trade and travel, and a death rate of 1%, that's 4,000,000 dead.
China is a very very very bad example to use if you want to argue that what we're doing is over the top.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 20, 2020 8:58 PM  

The collapse was coming anyway.

THE COLLAPSE WAS COMING ANYWAY.

The only question was timing and mode.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 20, 2020 9:10 PM  

I don't know much about South Korea, but I'm going to assume that their economy wasn't already a giant debt bubble just waiting for something to prick it. I'm also going to assume that their productive native workforce isn't supporting a foreign underclass that nearly outnumbers it.

Blogger Dr. J March 20, 2020 9:13 PM  

@Snidely

And you don't grasp basic division. Numerator = deaths. Denominator = total cases. I told you 86% of cases were estimated to be undetected. The cases aren't spreading logarithmically - the rise in detection is. Covid-19 has been stateside since at least December.

The South Korean death rate was even lower than China's and they didn't do any of the moronic shutdowns that we're doing. Same for Germany. Stop being willfully obtuse. What's happening stateside is a naked power grab. The hospitals that have lobbied to have surgery centers shut down have openly said it would be "unfair" to let outpatient centers keep working while the poor massive hospital systems don't get those higher paying cases.

Blogger Jack Amok March 20, 2020 9:23 PM  

The death rate in china was so low because the Chinese government welded apartment doors shut and other draconian measures

Another reason the death rate in China was so low is they're lying their Han asses off about it.

Officially, their case growth went to near-zero about a month ago. Oddly, right about the same time the Italy, Iran and Washington State realized they had their own epidemics starting. The Chinese hushed things up quick, and sent out talking points to their minions to say anyone connecting the virus with China was racist.

God only knows what's really going on over there right now.

Blogger Lazarus March 20, 2020 9:38 PM  

The people in the Blitz in London said "Keep Calm, and Carry On"

NOT "When in trouble, when in doubt, run around and scream and shout".

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 20, 2020 9:40 PM  

Dr. J wrote:The South Korean death rate was even lower than China's and they didn't do any of the moronic shutdowns that we're doing.
Yes, they did.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-city-shuts-down-as-south-korea-raises-highest-coronavirus-alert-11582465932

Blogger Lazarus March 20, 2020 9:43 PM  

Know what the traditional treatment for Ebola in Africa was? (Heard this from an epidemiologist).

If some one or a family got it, they threw some food and water into the hut and blocked it up. If they emerged after 2 weeks, they were fine. If not , the villagers burned the hut to the ground.

That's some social distancing right there.

Then the medicos got involved and now it is a recurring problem.

Blogger crazyivan498 March 20, 2020 9:52 PM  

I am in healthcare as well on metro Detroit. We have one confirmed case that's very sick. Most of what we are doing is waiting for test results of our normal patients coming my in short of breath, which means they are isolated until test results come back on 5 days. Faster test results would help with resource management

Blogger Cinco March 20, 2020 10:03 PM  

Anything coming out of China is to be viewed with suspicion. They just kicked out all of the western journalists. They would not have done that if there was nothing to hide...

I guess I need to go buy another 100 rounds of 7mag just in case.

All this to save the elderly... Mark my words, I will not spend my children’s inheritance sitting in a hospital bed. Greatest generation my ass, we are about to destroy our economy to save people 5-10 years left.

It would have been more intelligent to just dig mass graves and continue on as if nothing was wrong. This will have been a hard lesson to learn.


Blogger Lazarus March 20, 2020 10:14 PM  

Yes, they did.

One city that was the epicenter. Not the whole country

Blogger VFM #7634 March 20, 2020 10:20 PM  

China is a very very very bad example to use if you want to argue that what we're doing is over the top.

It's also likely that their caseload is rising again, assuming of course they don't just send any new cases into a joycamp somewhere in the Gobi Desert.

The South Korean death rate was even lower than China's and they didn't do any of the moronic shutdowns that we're doing.

Yes, they did.


That was Daegu, which was much harder-hit than anywhere else in the country. Dr. J's point about Germany and South Korea holds: aggressive diagnosis is important. It's why Italy, Spain, and Iran are having mass deaths even though their "caseloads" are similar to Germany's... because their real caseloads are much, much higher and undiagnosed people are still spreading the virus all over the place. At one of President Trump's news conferences the other day, one doctor mentioned that the reason the U.S. caseload is soaring right now is precisely because they're working through a backlog of untested individuals, and that this is actually a good thing. Right now, based on cases per death, we're doing better than France at diagnosis, and on par with South Korea, albeit not as well as Germany.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 20, 2020 10:21 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:@DR J, do you really not understand how logarithmic rates of increase work? And You're a doctor?
Snidely, have you ever met a numerate physician?
Dr. J wrote:Numerator = deaths. Denominator = total cases.
Wrong. You have obviously not thought this through. The disease is growing exponentially, doubling every 3 to 7 days. It takes around 14 days to go from symptoms to dead, 21+ to go from symptoms to cured. That's 2 or 3 doublings from symptoms to dead. The correct denominator is the number presenting with symptoms 14 days ago. Your proposal will give 1/4 to 1/8th the actual mortality rate, until the logistic curve starts to flatten out.

Using total fatalities to date in the numerator and total recovered to date in the denominator will give a high estimate, probably by a factor of two-ish, for similar reasons. Divide that estimator by two and you have a reasonable guess on the mortality rate to date, among those who present with symptoms.

Unless we implement near-universal testing, we will never know how many asymptomatic cases there were. Since it's crazy-infectious, probably a great many. The data from the Plague Princess in Japan suggests that a majority of us are not vulnerable, won't present with symptoms. That's no consolation to the vulnerable and their surviving kin.

The mortality rate among those who present with symptoms is a big deal: it tells us whether this is serious. It absolutely is serious. It really doesn't matter what the effects are on the invulnerable, what matters to our society is what it does to the rest of us.

Blogger Joe Smith March 20, 2020 10:25 PM  

@64 You probably meant something more like: "China is to be viewed with suspicion, but at least they just kicked out all the garbage western journalists." Kicking out western journalists is about the best thing you can do with them, if you're not willing to just shoot them.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch March 20, 2020 10:27 PM  

Front line medical worker, here. So much so, that I expect to catch this thing soon.

I'm limited with what I can say. But I'll just state this: the U.S. preparation was appropriate. People who blow this off and scoff at our collective "overreaction" are incorrect. This is a serious pandemic that's begun taking lives in my community.

It replicates at an exponential rate, and we are still only at the beginning. If we DO somehow come out of this with minimal casualties, then it's because we've triumphed in the face of adversity---not because it was never serious to begin with.

Blogger Lazarus March 20, 2020 10:32 PM  

Cinco wrote:Anything coming out of China is to be viewed with suspicion. They just kicked out all of the western journalists.

Do you even hear yourself? Western MSM journalists produce fake news. THEY must be viewed with suspicion. So you think they lie all the time about what goes on in the US but tell the truth about China?

Blogger Woodwose March 20, 2020 10:33 PM  

Hej Sverige, är allt detta på riktigt!? Min gode vän arving till en media mogul bara försvann in i en skåpbil! Det var som skuggor exploderade ut ur bilen och sedan skuggor in i bilen sen försvann han!

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 20, 2020 10:46 PM  

"The collapse was coming anyway.

THE COLLAPSE WAS COMING ANYWAY.

The only question was timing and mode."


And this timing was perfect. If the collapse "just happened", the president would be getting all of the blame. A correction was a long time coming no matter who the president was.
But this is 24D chess. The media tries to blame the virus on the president, but lo and behold their friends in the senate are caught dumping stocks based on intel reports they were getting in early January.
There was some kind of plan going on that the globalists and leftists had cooking, but as is said, these are not smart people. The plan backfired on them.
I don't know what's going to be emerging on this trip around the dark side of the moon so to speak, but anything is better than the lifetime of melancholic slog towards mediocrity, stupidity, and soullessness that I had witnessed.
The "Sweet meteor of death" meme was around long before the internet. I don't think we get such drama delivered, but God has been more subtle since the flood.

Blogger Homesteader March 20, 2020 11:04 PM  

Dr. J. Wrote:

"The "cure" is worse than the disease. But guess what - when it turns out to be no worse than influenza, our overlords will cheer and celebrate that the onerous and unnecessary measures they forcibly implemented without consent were an unparalleled success!"

I doubt the Italians are just indulging their penchant for commedia dell'arte, Doctor.
This virus is ravaging their country. It's a BIT worse than influenza. Our hospital is running out of beds. That's never happened with the flu, before.

That being said- I am sorry that your practice has been shuttered. I disagree with that; but the fact that your interests have been affected does not change the nature of the illness. We ALL have oxen being gored, at the moment. Not just you.

And as for it being a power grab-
you did notice they're Democratic cities and states? Of COURSE they grab power! It's what the vile left does, every chance they get.

After all-Rahm Emmanuel, & Saul Alinsky, are their mentors.

Many truths can exist simultaneously, in these situations. Accepting new, disruptive truths can be difficult.

Time to start.

Blogger SirHamster March 20, 2020 11:06 PM  

Jack Amok wrote:Another reason the death rate in China was so low is they're lying their Han asses off about it.
One interesting indirect stat: Chinese cellphone company reported 8 million less users.

Twitter >source.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 20, 2020 11:08 PM  

Lazarus wrote:One city that was the epicenter. Not the whole country
Yes, the whole country. The difference is that Koreans are compliant. The government had merely to recommend or suggest, and it was done by their good friends in industry and commerce,a nd the public at large.
That won't work here, not least because almost half the people in this country are not Americans.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 20, 2020 11:34 PM  

Oops, my @67 had a mistake. The numerator should be deaths, the denominator should be recovered plus deaths.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 20, 2020 11:39 PM  

"This virus is ravaging their country. It's a BIT worse than influenza. Our hospital is running out of beds. That's never happened with the flu, before."

When I saw the video out of Bergamo with the army trucks I recognized the street as one I driven one once. Spent some considerable time there.
Thing is, the place is full of oldsters. It seemed like every other person was a geezer. And they were active geezers too. Not the American kind that's too fat to go out. What happened there is of no surprise.
From looking at what the symptoms are, it's hard to figure. Old people with mild symptoms, younger people ending up in the hospital. Suspiciously this is looking like a disease that gets it's hooks into consumption. An older person of particularly good health will be ok. A youngster who was raised on prozac, hot pockets, and Ritalin is probably going to be in trouble. Some say that AIDS was a bit of a hoax of sorts considering the lifestyles of the men who were prone to it. If you do nothing but go go go in disregard fatigue and drug yourself past that and weariness it invites some dark things to happen to your health. I know for having been there. Running on pure sperg energy has a cost.

Blogger VFM #7634 March 20, 2020 11:41 PM  

I doubt the Italians are just indulging their penchant for commedia dell'arte, Doctor.

They're also fond of getting in each other's personal space. Also, based upon personal experience, they're much freer with their germs when they have a cold than we are, and less likely to avoid someone with a cold even if they know he has one.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 20, 2020 11:49 PM  

Chinese cellphone company reported 8 million less users.

I saw that too. They don't all have to be dead; they could be people who got disconnected because they couldn't pay the bill, being boarded up in their homes and all. But that's probably a more useful piece of data to work from than the official numbers they're admitting.

The difference is that Koreans are compliant.

Right. When we heard that bars and restaurants were shutting down Monday, everyone went out Sunday night and packed the bars for one last night out. If Corona-chan was already in town and just not identified yet, it could have gone home with ten times as many people. And the Spring Breakers are probably incubating a nice batch of it right now, that they can carry home to every corner of the country. Even now, we're not *really* acting like it's deadly serious.

Blogger weka March 21, 2020 12:39 AM  

1918 influenza
1600 plague
1400 black deat
We get through those. The bankers failed. We got going again.

This is not that horrible compared with those, and yes it is serious. What will happen is a needed depression. We need the Rorts (usurious cons) to unwind and the nation's to take control

Blogger Reader March 21, 2020 1:01 AM  

Chinese cellphone company reported 8 million less users.

This could also be due to families being together at home and not calling each other throughout the day.

Blogger Jack Amok March 21, 2020 2:33 AM  

An older person of particularly good health will be ok. A youngster who was raised on prozac, hot pockets, and Ritalin is probably going to be in trouble.

Some early evidence indicated it uses AC3 receptors as an infection pathway. Common hypertension and diabetes drugs impact AC3 receptors. Folks with hypertension and diabetes are said to be more at risk. Maybe it's not the underlying condition as much as it is the medication those folks are on.

Who knows?

Blogger Zander Stander March 21, 2020 2:36 AM  

Getting liquidity so they can buy when the bottom is reached? Look for the jitters in the graph, very much like ground effect on an aircraft. Stock up on stocks, not ammo. Gonna amount to the same thing.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 21, 2020 2:53 AM  

"It really doesn't matter what the effects are on the invulnerable, what matters to our society is what it does to the rest of us."

That depends on the ratio of vulnerable. If the ratio of the vulnerable to the point of being testable and popping poz is, say, 20% or less, the cure probably is worse than the ailment. 2-3% of 20% is only 0.4-0.6%. Worse than the flu, but not very significantly. Even if the hospitals flood and of that 20% the full 5-6% presenting serious symptoms die, while tragic, it's not that bad on the higher scale of things, still coming in at ~1% of the pop.

If on the other hand the ratio of vulnerable is 80%, we're potentially in for some hurt. The same goes for if it manages to mutate to a form that less are invulnerable to and/or is more lethal.

"Even now, we're not *really* acting like it's deadly serious."

True. I keep hearing apocryphals about medical professionals that either are having to deal with patients and are fairly afraid, or don't have any yet and are brushing it off as nothing. It's getting really irritating hearing this stupid crap. Neither are reliable indicators. One is surrounded by the worst case scenarios in extreme disproportion and the other hasn't seen jack, and both are anecdotal.

As others have noted, our country is mixed and divided, simultaneous inflamed with conflict and numb to what is killing it. The lies and exaggerations in both directions are never going to stop flying.

Blogger Amethyst Dominica March 21, 2020 2:57 AM  

@81 It sounds like the numbers were completely shut down. Here's some info from the Farms:

https://kiwifarms.net/threads/wuhan-coronavirus-megathread.65421/page-972#post-6178346

Blogger Jack Amok March 21, 2020 3:10 AM  

This could also be due to families being together at home and not calling each other throughout the day.

One child policy. China's families aren't very big.

Blogger Zander Stander March 21, 2020 4:45 AM  

So where exactly is your hospital, and how big is it since you are running out of beds? Then all the staff has to be in full NBC suits. Kool Aid is best with ice. Chill the shill.

Blogger Dire Badger March 21, 2020 5:38 AM  

Lazarus wrote:The people in the Blitz in London said "Keep Calm, and Carry On"

NOT "When in trouble, when in doubt, run around and scream and shout".


Funny story. That 'keep calm and carry on' thing? 99% fiction.

in the 70's they found a medium sized (8.5x12) poster that was created by some twit in Britain's war department in '43. Cooler heads prevailed, and the thing was discarded.

However, it was not discarded completely. A copy was left for future historians to find and make up lies over. I can assure you, however, that not even the British Morale agencies were stupid enough to use such a blatantly stupid piece of shite.

Blogger Lazarus March 21, 2020 6:22 AM  

Korea learned from the MERS outbreak of 2015

South Korea learned its successful Covid-19 strategy from a previous coronavirus outbreak: MERS

Blogger Brett baker March 21, 2020 6:33 AM  

Debit cards still work, credit cards still work. People are complaining about the Fed dumping money into the economy.
Bank runs happen when these things DON'T happen.

Blogger Scuzzaman March 21, 2020 6:34 AM  

The Italian National institute of health reports that 3% of the dead had no prior serious conditions, that 2/3 had 2 or more, with over 40% having 2.

They also reported that they were treating these people with ribavirin, a potent antiviral with “life-threatening” side effects for those with circulatory and/or heart problems.

They further reported that the AVERAGE age of the dead was 79.3 years.

(I’m pretty sure most 80+ year olds with pre-existing conditions will have some kind of circulatory or heart problem)

Make of all that what you will.

As far as Goldman Sucks goes, I’m pretty sure accurate calculations have never been their major concern, seeing as they will again put their grabbling hands in all our pockets to make up for any losses.

Blogger Zander Stander March 21, 2020 6:42 AM  

I am signing off until the second week of April. Canyons to carve. Choices, choices. The German brute or the red Italian rapier? All before the curfews and helicopter patrols kick in. And to see if my dime-to-dollar stock purchase paid off. You guys digest those reams of spergfodder so thoughtfully provided by the WHO and CDC. Knock yourselves out. If I am wrong, I shall post a single acknowledgment and then forever hold my peace on this blog.

Blogger Lazarus March 21, 2020 7:44 AM  

But the important thing is not the size of the estimated contraction, it is the fact that the margin of error over the course of less than a week is so massive.

Less drastic predictions for Korea:

The COVID-19 outbreak, however, has darkened this picture. Projections for South Korean GDP growth in 2020 stood at 2.3 at the start of the year, but now the central bank projects that this will drop to 2.1 percent due to the virus, only slightly up from the likely 1.9 percent GDP growth of 2019.

Blogger xevious2030 March 21, 2020 8:34 AM  

Well, another what if. What if it were engineered, was released to very limited but hammed up effects in China, and is designed for an actually high mortality rate among symptomatic European descendants? Fall hammer for the now asymptomatic?

Blogger VFM #7634 March 21, 2020 8:45 AM  

Chinese cellphone company reported 8 million less users.

This could also be due to families being together at home and not calling each other throughout the day.


Unlikely. I don't live with my family, and I've been calling them much more because there's much less to do out in the real world.

Blogger Stilicho March 21, 2020 9:22 AM  

You"re both right. The death toll should be compared to the infections at a prior point. However, the denominator is the total infections, not just the ones we happened to know about or have confirmed via testing.

Blogger Homesteader March 21, 2020 9:48 AM  

Zander Sander wrote:

"So where exactly is your hospital, and how big is it since you are running out of beds? Then all the staff has to be in full NBC suits. Kool Aid is best with ice. Chill the shill."

Oh, Zander- would that I were a cool-aid drinking shill.

It's in the Bay Area- would you like my home address, too?

We went from 5 confirmed cases, to 60, in ONE week.That doesn't count PIU (Persons Under Investigation). We are now expanding to a second unit, for all the patients. Do the math- at this point, we are running out of beds with nurses to staff them.

As for staff in full NBC suits- you watch a lot of TV, I see.

PAPR (Positive Air Pressure Respirator) suits are rare, and have a 6 hour battery, for a 12 hour shift. It's yellow gowns, N95s, and eye shields. Wish us luck, buddy!

I don't do kool-aid, and try to vigilantly self-edit before I post anything here. I have too much respect for our host, and the other commenters.

Enjoy your canyon carving.

I'll be at work.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 21, 2020 9:48 AM  

This could also be due to families being together at home

UsERS, not usAGE. Eight million fewer customer accounts. And the Chinese use their phones even more than we do for things like banking and shopping. They're not likely to drop their accounts just because they're confined at home with family for a while.

Eight million Chinese would only be 0.6% of the population.

Blogger Stilicho March 21, 2020 9:50 AM  

As for leftists grabbing power, sure it's what they always do, but they are actively trying to sabotage the American economy with their shutdowns in order to harm Trump. Wuflu is just a convenient excuse.

Blogger Up from the pond March 21, 2020 9:50 AM  

Most people in America have health problems nowadays. Young'uns too.

Hell, have you seen how fat most people are these days?

Have you taken a real hard look at people in the last ten years?

And don't get me started on how many pills people are popping, again both young and old.

Lot of disabled, sick, or crazy folks in America. How will they survive when the hospitals, the pills, and the liquor run out? What will they do when the TV goes off? Someone said half the people will just stare at the TV set waiting for it to come back on and the other half will go immediately insane.

The point is, ARM YOURSELF TO THE TEETH. When these m*therf*ckers realize they got nothing to lose, they will come after your stuff, they will put their ham hands around your windpipe, they will burn down every building over two stories tall while shouting that Trump did this to them. Don't wait 'til you see the whites of their eyes. Their eyes are mostly bloodshot from smoking marijuana cigarettes all night "for medicinal purposes." Keep a steady trigger finger and remember the ultimate prepper's rule, always keep one bullet back, so you can roll to your rifle and go to your God like a soldier. It's important!

Blogger VFM #7634 March 21, 2020 11:34 AM  

Lot of disabled, sick, or crazy folks in America.

I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that the hardest-hit places in America also have the most homeless people.

Blogger Damelon Brinn March 21, 2020 11:37 AM  

Most people in America have health problems nowadays. Young'uns too.

Yeah, the idea that we can just lock up the old people and let it pass is laughable. Apparently a 27-year-old Italian woman just died of it soon after giving birth. Lots of people are susceptible to disease for reasons other than age or vice. And that ignores the possibility of a mutation that expands the target demographic.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 21, 2020 11:53 AM  

Stilicho wrote:However, the denominator is the total infections, not just the ones we happened to know about or have confirmed via testing.
Unfortunately, we'll never have the total infections number, because the US is aggressively NOT testing. Therefore, present deaths divided by lagged infections is going to be off - not just off, but totally bogus. The problem with using official stats is that they are always manipulated, often made up, and usually don't mean what the title implies when they are honest.

The denominator is deliberately not being recorded. Odds are good that the numerator data will be obfuscated also. We're never going to get any kind of accurate deaths/infected number.

What we can do is estimate the fatality rate among those who present with symptoms. That's going to be something like (lagged deaths)/(today's recovered + lagged deaths). Total deaths/(total recovered+total deaths)/2 is going to be a ballpark estimator for that, until the logistic curve gets pretty flat.

Blogger Kiwi March 21, 2020 5:03 PM  

@40. Starboard

I've seen good experiments that show "racism" is based on accent rather than skin colour.

Their appearance might help the foreigners blend in here but their speech, and they do like to talk, will give them away.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 22, 2020 12:25 AM  

"I've seen good experiments that show "racism" is based on accent rather than skin colour."

No. I'm sure accent plays a role, but it'd inferior to physical characteristics.

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