Monday, April 27, 2020

Things are looking up

The Covid-19 crisis is not over yet, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting much brighter. Key financial indicators are moving in a healthy direction, and most countries are seeing clear signs that the viral outbreak is under control.

Here are some chart updates, followed by my impressions of the key things we have learned so far about the coronavirus:

Chart #1

As Chart #1 shows, the Fed has responded rapidly and decisively to the Covid-19 crisis by almost doubling the supply of excess bank reserves in the span of about 6 weeks. This was accomplished by massive purchases of notes and bonds. As with other periods of Quantitative Easing, this most recent move was not massive money printing: it was simply the transmogrification of notes and bonds into bank reserves, which are effectively T-bill substitutes. The economic shutdowns that were sparked by the novel virus caused a sudden and dramatic increase in the world's demand for safe assets, and it looks more and more like the Fed and other central banks have done their job and accommodated the increased money demand with an increased supply of risk-free liquidity. Central bank actions effectively short-circuited what could have been another threatened collapse of financial markets. Bravo!

Chart #2

Chart #2 shows the 3-mo annualized growth in bank savings and demand deposits. This is another way of demonstrating how strong the demand for money has become (off the charts strong) given the uncertainties of the virus and the economic shutdowns. 

Chart #3

The Fed's huge injection of bank reserves facilitated a surge of lending to small and medium-sized business, as Chart #3 shows. This in turn backstops businesses that must survive a period of zero revenues as a result of being forced to close their doors for a month or so.

Chart #4

Chart #4 shows the TED spread—the difference between 3-mo Treasury bill yields and 3-mo LIBOR. This spread is a barometer of the market's confidence in banking systems (tighter spreads = more confidence, and vice versa). Spreads are still elevated, but have come well off their initial surge, and they are nowhere near as wide as they were during most of the 2008-9 financial crisis. The main area of concern for credit markets remains the energy sector, since oil prices have tumbled.

Chart #5

The huge decline in oil prices can be traced to global economic shutdowns. In the US we saw an almost immediate 50% drop in automobile traffic, and that shows up in Chart #5, which shows the plunge in motor gasoline supplied (in thousands of barrels per day terms). Recently there are signs that drivers are beginning to return to the highways, and this will only increase as more and more states lift their lockdowns. That in turn will ease the strain on bulging gasoline inventories and sooner or later allow oil prices to move back in the direction of pre-crisis levels.

Chart #6

Chart #6 compares the level of the S&P 500 index with the Vix index, a measure of the market's fear, uncertainty and doubt. Fears have declined significantly from their peak of about a month ago, but the Vix is still quite elevated. Equities have recovered just over half of what they lost, which is not too bad, given the magnitude of the economic slowdowns that have occurred all over the world. Arguably, the Fed gets a good deal of the credit for limiting the equity market's panic. How? By supplying plenty of liquidity. Presumably, this minimizes the hurdles that economies will have to clear in order to successfully reopen. At this point, all that stands in the way of a reopening are the signatures of the nation's governors lifting their lockdowns.

Chart #7

US equity markets have fared much better than their Eurozone counterparts, as Chart #7 shows. 

Chart #8

Chart #8 shows my calculation of the burden of our federal debt (debt owed to the public, which now stands at $18.8 trillion). I've estimated total interest costs for the debt for the period April through June, and I've guessed that nominal GDP will decline by about 15% in the first half of this year. Repeat: these are my estimates and they are very likely to be wrong to some degree since it is extremely difficult at this point to judge how badly GDP will be affected by economic shutdowns. Regardless, I think the magnitude of the debt burden is very unlikely be much higher than what I estimate, and even then it will still be much lower than it was for most of the 1980s and early 90s. In short, we are not facing imminent financial disaster as a nation.

Chart #9

I used to produce Chart #12. I selected 5 countries and compared them on the basis of total covid-19 deaths per million of population. The dotted red line is the US. Note that all 5 countries (indeed almost ALL countries) have seen a pronounced slowdown in the rate of growth of covid-19 deaths. This shows up as a flattening of the curve, which uses a semi-log scale for the y-axis. In short, the growth of deaths has slowed dramatically, which proves that the virus is no longer spreading at dangerous geometric rates. Note also that the experience of Sweden, which has not resorted to the use of mandatory lockdowns, is substantially similar to that of other European countries and to the US. The virus is running its course, with or without government shutdown help.

What follows is my summary and impressions of the emerging facts surrounding the covid-19 crisis:

More and more analysts are finding that shutdowns haven’t resulted in better results than non-shutdowns. Sweden is the perfect example.

As more and more testing is conducted (especially antibody testing), the denominator of the covid-19 fatality rate (i.e., the total number of people infected) is growing rapidly, and the overall fatality rate is falling. Current estimates place it as low as 0.02% and as high as 0.2%. (The fatality rate of the common flu is 0.1%.)

As the number of those infected and with covid-19 antibodies soars, we are seeing that the vast majority of those who become infected either never experience symptoms or have only mild symptoms.

For anyone who is healthy and under the age of 65, the risk of death by covid is negligible. Thus it is foolish to quarantine everyone, especially those of school age. Isolating children only delays the buildup of herd immunity and raises the risk of a second wave when the flu season starts in October (children have almost a zero chance of dying from covid-19).

The virus is highly contagious but rarely deadly, except for those who are 65 and older and have a pre-existing health condition. 

Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Being indoors or in any confined space with others for a sustained period of time is unwise and risky, especially for those in the high-risk categories. Thus the mandate to “shelter at home”, and to close parks, beaches and trails was exactly the wrong course of action.

The number of daily new cases is growing by a much slower rate each day or declining in almost all countries and states. Thus, we have almost certainly seen the peak of the pandemic.

The number of days it takes for covid deaths to double (a bullet-proof indicator of how fast the virus is spreading) is increasing dramatically almost everywhere. Thus, we can be almost certain that the virus is no longer spreading geometrically. One factor driving this is seasonality, as temperatures warm up and people are exposed to more sun. The other factor is growing herd immunity. Better medical attention helps as well (including therapeutics such as HCQ). In the early days of the pandemic, days-to-double began at 2; in the US it’s now 23, in the world 18, in the world ex-China 15, in New York 14, In Italy 43, in France 33, in Sweden 30, and in S. Korea 67. Note that Sweden (with no shutdown) is on par with France and better than Italy, both of which instituted dramatic shutdowns.

21 states now meet the federal “reopening” criterion of a 14-day downward trajectory of daily new cases. 22 states meet the criterion of a 14-day downward trajectory in the percentage of tests with positive results. California already meets the second, but not the first. New York (yes, NY!) meets both.

The initial predictions of deaths and hospital over-crowding were so far off the mark (i.e., way too high) as to be almost criminal. The biggest problem most hospitals face today is bankruptcy because so many beds are empty. The mandate that hospitals should accept only covid patients was also criminal. Furthermore, the projected shortage of ventilators—a major factor driving the decision to shut down the economy in order to “flatten the curve”—was a criminal distraction, because it is now clear that curves have flattened everywhere and ventilators are only marginally helpful in preventing deaths. New York is now giving away tens of thousands of ventilators that were never used.

It is now painfully obvious that "The shutdown of the US economy will prove to be the most expensive self-inflicted injury in the history of mankind.™"

It should also be painfully obvious that we should reopen economies asap.

UPDATE: For more information about the risks of being outdoors, indoors, and of a certain age, see Heather Mac Donald’s recent excellent article here. It’s high time we cease wearing masks while walking outdoors or driving our cars.

UPDATE: Highly recommend watching the latest interview (April 28) with Prof Knut Wittkowski here


Peter said...


Have followed your blog for years. I appreciate the sober, rational approach to economics and markets that is difficult to find anywhere.

My family visited your town a few years back. Is so beautiful that I've been watching the real estate market there and wanting to visit again ever since.

Thank you for continuing to share your perspectives.


cbt141 said...

It seems strangely inconsistent that when the CDC gets worried that food shortages are on the horizon (link: Tyson Foods closures), they waive the social distance and quarantine for food processing crews who have tested positive for COVID 19.

The CDC figures food handlers who test positive for a disease that shut down our economy can work safely! But I need to sit 6ft away from my friends to eat it in a restaurant, and my grandchildren can’t go to school? You cannot make this crap up.

“ Meat and poultry processing facilities are a component of the critical infrastructure within the Food and Agriculture Sectorpdf iconexternal icon. CDC’s Critical Infrastructure Guidanceadvises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. ”

cbt141 said...

... The CDC figures food handlers were exposed to those who test positive for a disease that shut down our economy can work safely!

steve said...

The Fed has without doubt done a masterful job thus far in managing an extremely difficult environment. Kudos to Jay Powell and shame on those who were calling for his removal-as our POTUS almost did. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed.

Excellent wrap up Scott. Chart #9 was eye opening.

randy said...

"Even the New York Times, one of the most aggressive purveyors of virus hysteria, could not avoid acknowledging this commonsensical truth about outdoor transmission. [..] Two days later, the Times, back on its crusade to terrorize the citizenry, ran a full page of infographics under the headline: ‘Social Distancing: Why 6 Feet?’ A series of drawings showed the progression of pestilence emitted from a cougher across the six feet separating him from his unsuspecting victim. Eventually that victim is almost invisible under the cloud of death that has descended upon him."

The high and mighty NYT is arguably worse for the world than Fox news ever could be. At least Fox has no pretensions of higher standards. The NYT has the legacy and reputation, and really does have many fantastic journalists. Which makes it so much worse that the reader can't easily sort out the complete irresponsible crap from something worthy. The multitudes of readers that fancy themselves intellectuals based on their NYT competency - the comments section a contest to be the most witty. Since Dean Bacquet took over, the persistent themes of leading identity politics crap from 20 something hip writers is unreadable - except to white intellectuals on the coasts anxious to assuage their guilt for ... something. Its a shame but it deserves to die and I won't grieve for it. If you can't tell, I hate it and hate watching my wife read it every morning over coffee. At least she's learned to not discuss cute readers comments with me anymore.

The Heather McDonald article was fantastic.

randy said...

post rant note - I very much enjoyed and relied on the NYT for decades. That makes all the more difficult for me now that it's so unreadable.

Benjamin Cole said...

Amen. End the lockdowns entirely, and help old people with Meals on Wheels and other types of assistance.

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 will not be helped by the destruction of our economy.

Rick Jones said...

randy said:

> I very much enjoyed and relied on the NYT for decades...

Same here. In fact, a life-long friendship developed over the NY Times when I was stationed in the Persian Gulf back in the '90s.

Going back to around 1970, I had always -- ALWAYS! -- found a way to read the Sunday Times no matter where I was. But there I was, newly arrived in Bahrain, and no idea whatsoever how to find it (this was pre-Internet).

So one day I was walking down a hall, and I happened to glance in an office and see the Sunday Times spread out all over someone's desk. I asked whose desk it was, and found out it was the Admiral's political adviser.

I came back several times over the next few days until I finally found her at her desk. I think she was driving to the airport on Thursdays to get the previous Sunday's edition, and paying an exorbitant price, to boot. So I offered to split the cost with her, and we became NY Times buddies.

And today she and her husband and my wife and I are great friends.

That said, I don't read it anymore, either. I don't find the content as loathsome as you apparently do, but I do find it kind of stale and not really worth the time or effort to read.

steve said...

As far as I'm concerned the only subscription worth having is the WSJ which I've been reading for 40 years or thereabouts. The NYT is so tendentious as to make it a bit of a laughingstock.
FOX (yes, I know no subscription) is a Trump rag for the most part while CNN and MSNBC are the opposite! I start my day by reading The Journal and then move to Realclearmarkets to see what's readable there and of course, check out Calafia Beach Pundit!

randy said...

For good long form journalism, I like In truth though, my attention span isn't as good as I would like to think. I'd rather be outside.

Frozen in the North said...


I agree if what we are seeing is real! In the US testing is lagging -- there is no debate about that! The mid-West is behind the curve with terrible healthcare. Sweden's results are actually rather bad (herd immunity concept). Its possible that America has dodged the bullet. Time will tell.

I certainly hope you are right, it's possible that the damage that was done by shutting down the economy for a month maybe terrible, the opposit will never be tested. If America has one of the highest (after Spain) infection rate.

Funny enough what the NYT was "peddling" is very close to what US intelligence agencies were pushing in early February. As for the WSJ -- yes its very good (as long as you stay away from the editorial page), and I have friends who work there...

Benjamin Cole said...

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and when bad decisions or mistakes are made, I try to think, "Well, you made some first-rate blunders, too."

But let me get this straight:

Governor Cuomo says that old-age nursing homes---housing the one group truly at risk from COVID-19---must accept COVID-19 patients.

Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles says that young people, who are not at risk, cannot go to the beach in the sun and fresh ocean air.

Like my Uncle Jerry used to say, "If you are not confused, then maybe you do not understand the situation."

Welschman said...

Or as Alan Greenspan said, "if you understand what I just said, I must not have made myself clear." Classic

JHCA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JHCA said...

How can you say the death estimates were wrong when shelter in place was likely the DRIVER of the reduction actual rates.

The reduction to est 60k from 100-200k is attributable to the strong actions taken. Moreover, those est are based on annual #'s not just short term. Lastly, we don't know reinfection/immunity. Obviously economic activity needs to come back but callous rhetoric is not the solution

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Scott - thank God for your blog, and the outstanding information that you provide. I've been following you since the dark days of 2008, and honestly, I can't recall you being wrong on anything significant. I appreciate the positive outlooks when the chips appear to be down.

Adam said...

When the GDP decreases and M2 goes up, the money velocity must fall. Does it have any heavy consequences?

Jay Balapa said...

Keep up the good work Scott, I agree with you whole heartedly. I remember Brian Wesbury on radio during the dark days omg 2008 asking the investors to be bullish. I have not looked back after that and your guidance this time around on March 20th was very apropos.

Scott Grannis said...

Re "When the GDP decreases and M2 goes up, the money velocity must fall. Does it have any heavy consequences?"

The velocity of money is typically measured by the ratio of GDP to M2. As you say, a decline in the numerator coupled with an increase in the nominator makes the ratio decline. Now at about 1.34, the ratio is the lowest it has ever been. The inverse of this ratio, M2/GDP, can be thought of as the demand for money, or how much of our annual income we want to hold in the form of money.

I prefer to look at the demand for money, which is now higher than it has ever been, because people are extremely risk averse. This has several potential consequences. For one, if the Fed does not offset the huge demand for money, then the result can be deflation (too many goods chasing too little money). But the thing to worry about now is if and when the demand for money declines. If that happens the Fed will need to reduce the supply of money, or else we will get rising prices.

Think of it this way. Suppose I have decided to keep a year's worth of my $100k annual income in cash at the bank just in case something happens. Suppose every one decides to do the same. If they did, the ratio of M2 to GDP would be 1 (currently it is about .75). Suppose that state of affairs lasts a year or so, followed by everyone deciding they only want to keep 75% of their annual income in the form of cash. Everyone goes to the bank and withdraws a huge amount of money. They will need to spend that money in order to reduce their supply of money. They could buy stocks, bonds, real estate, iPhones, cars, etc. But if everyone is trying to do the same thing, where does the unwanted money go? Someone is left holding the money after each transaction.

The only way this dilemma can be resolved is for a) prices of everything to rise and/or b) the supply of all the things desired to increase. The net result would be to cause nominal GDP to increase significantly through some combination of growth and inflation. That would happen until the ratio of M2 (which remains constant) to GDP (which increases) falls to the desired 75%. Of course, something else could also happen, which would be the best scenario: the Fed could absorb the unwanted money, making it disappear.

Scott Grannis said...

Re "How can you say the death estimates were wrong when shelter in place was likely the DRIVER of the reduction actual rates?"

We can't prove a negative. But one thing we do know is that Sweden experienced the same slowdown in the growth of deaths as other European countries without instituting a radical shelter in place policy. Similarly, a number of analysts have looked to see if there are correlations between states that took early and severe shutdown steps and their subsequent death rates, and whether the biggest and earliest shutdowns were followed by bigger death rate declines than states that did less. No one has found any evidence in the data to suggest that bigger shutdowns led to lower death rates.

Also keep in mind that it takes at least 2-3 weeks between commencing a big shutdown and expecting to see any meaningful change in the number of deaths. (a slowdown in infections takes 4-5 days to show up as a slowdown in cases, and you won't see deaths from those cases for another two weeks. Nevertheless, the slowdown in cases and deaths started showing up relatively quickly just about everywhere, which is what you would expect to see in a normal viral outbreak.

rhapsody said...

I saw a headline I thought was cleaver and immediately thought of you. The headline referred to our current economic situation as "The Great Repression".

Maybe you've already seen it. But I thought it fit well with your opinion on the way things are.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I always learn something new!

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Here is a link to a brand new interview from yesterday with Professor Knut Wittkowski which follows up his EXCELLENT interview a month ago (when the virus infections had already peaked in the US)

HIGHLY recommended. The whole thing is science, data, and fact-based.
We dont need a vaccine. SARS and MERS never had a vaccine.
We should open NOW. Open schools immediately. All to save lives.
Continue to keep the elderly and infirm isolated and protected.
The assault on Nursing homes by moving infected hospital patients there was horrible policy. Murderous.

Basically, the entire shutdown of the economy was horrible for mankind, and a waste of time for fighting the virus.
Now the old people have to shelter in place for a longer, instead being free already.
This shutdown has cost lives and will cost more.
Enjoy the Truth Bombs

Kieran McCarthy said...

In New York City, 12,067 people are known to have died from the virus, out of a population of 8.4 million. This is a rate of 0.14% of all people. Not just infected people. All people.

Current estimates are that between 1 and 6 and 1 and 4 New Yorkers have antibodies, which would make a CFR of.56% to .84% a reasonable range .

Your claim that the CFR for COVID-19 has a CFR of .02% to .2% fails a basic plausibility test.

I'd be happy to make a public bet on this, if you're so confident.

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

The COVID-19 pandemic is still in progress.

There are no "experts" now.

Especially this blog.

All we have now is speculation based on incomplete data.

We have no idea if people staying home was smart.

We do know this is the first time in history that healthy people were "quarantined".

It is wise to open some economic activity and see what happens.

A one size fits all 'solution" makes no sense for every county in the US.

There is no vaccine for any other corona family virus.

Let's hope there will be one for COVID-19.

There is no guaranty any drug will be a cure.

I believe there have been enough dead Americans for this blog to recognize that COVID-19 WAS a big deal and is still in progress.

While other corona viruses have a strong seasonal pattern, there's no guaranty COVID-19 will.

Statements and conclusions made DURING an epidemic are usually wrong, or too generic to be helpful.

Trump made a serious mistake by talking too much on TV -- and his so called "experts" did not know any more than he did.

Fauchi should have retired long ago -- he has been consistently wrong.

Beware that most of the available antibody tests arer not very accurate.

Some mistake other coronavirus antibodies (from ordinary colds) for COVID-19 antibodies.

We may never know if the partial economic shutdown made sense.

In a week or two we will find out if opening the economies in several states made sense.

It's nice to know stock investors are optimistic again -- they tend to be a smart group.

steve said...

Cliff, I do not always agree with you but on your last post you are SPOT ON. Everybody's a freakin expert when it comes to a virus that no one understands!

We'll know in fairly short order if partially reopening is a good idea. Color me skeptical.

Iris said...

Very disappointed at the coverage of coronavirus health science in this blog.
It will turn out that deaths during this period are many fold higher than what is now being reported (and I have first-hand knowledge of a 2-3 fold increased number of deaths during this period from a person now working in the coroner's office in Maryland).
The lack of testing has meant that many deaths are not designated as coronavirus-related, when they likely are.
Re Sweden, this country is experiencing a high death rate per population (22 per 100K vs 7 in neighboring countries see
This differential is a huge number in a country our size, and I for one am very happy that governors in the US were not willing to sacrifice us.
We will recover from this pandemic- but only if we are not dead.

steve said...

Over 60,000 dead in the US alone IN TWO MONTHS but this is NOT a pandemic! I'd hate to see the death toll if it were...

cbt141 said...

The next step in reopening will not be made based on private gossip or hairsplitting over the error parameters for mortality rates.
It will be made by deciding whether the obvious improvement in the overall understanding of the treatment and spread of this disease merits continuing a program whose obvious flaws have created havoc in the hospital system and brought the food industry’s supply chain to its knees.

COVID 19 is not the flu, but it is certainly not the killer of millions of Americans either. It can be handled by reasonable precautions such as taking temperatures, washing hands, not crowding each other, wearing masks when appropriate.
We need to get back to living our lives, enjoying our friends, earning a living and contributing goods and services to our neighbors.

It is ridiculous to cling to the practice of what is an entirely unsustainable life style. End the lock down now, end the cascade of caution that has gripped government and get back to reasonable living.

Adam said...

There are actually two countries in Europe, which did not close: Sweden and Belaruss. The president of Belaruss stated clearly that closing the economy because of the flu is ultimate stupidy. This is very interesting watching so called "last dictator in Europe" outsmarting big free and democratic country politicians.

Scott Grannis said...

Iris, re Sweden: Sweden's death rate per population falls right in the middle of Italy and France and it is only ⅓ higher than the US overall death rate. So it's arguable whether or not their strategy has failed. Nevertheless, you are overlooking a very important fact: by not locking down its country, Sweden is achieving herd immunity at a much faster rate than those countries with lockdowns, and that has advantages that cannot be ignored.

This needs to be emphasized: lockdowns do NOT eradicate the virus, they only flatten the curve. The viral cycle will not end until a majority of people become infected or vaccinated. Minimizing infections now only prolongs the period during which the virus will continue to spread. Sweden made an informed decision to suffer more infections early instead of more later, in the belief that it was better to build herd immunity rather than spending an enormous amount of time, money, and effort to try to minimize infections early on. Time will tell if their strategy proves successful. It is too early to make that determination today.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

We actually do NOT know there are 12000 people who have died from COVID in NYC. That number may be high for the whole country.
The data set has been so corrupted with non-standard procedures, that a real audit will never be possible. Co-morbidities ignored. Most N.Y. deaths truly from COVID were caused by the state forcing infected hospital patients into nursing homes, killing thousands of the most vulnerable there. Nice way to pad numbers and get a check. CDC this month adjusted past years’ flu deaths down. Suddenly COVID looks more fatal than it really is. Hmmmm.

The new Bill from Congress gives financial incentives to nursing homes and hospitals to mark deaths as COVID when they are not. Doctors pointing this out, had their video banned from YouTube after discussing the pressure that ER Docs get to fraudulently code deaths as COVID.

If you’re buying into this panic from leftists, media and bureaucrats, you are getting played.

The good news is that the market knows it’s BS, and sees right thru it. That’s why the VIX has plummeted from 85 to 31. That’s why nearly every supply/demand indicator reversed up from historic lows over a month ago. That’s why up days had strong volume, and down days had weak volume. People who bought a month ago, as I did (told you so) have accounts which are positive YTD, and getting close to hitting all time highs this morning. We shall see if the sectors get thru resistance. Several bond managers have publicly stated that the Fed is violating the Federal Reserve Act with current and planned purchases. Would love to hear Scott comment on their current actions vs. their allowed powers. What if they have to “pull back” as an October Surprise??

Record high accounts with empty hospitals, nationwide, tell me the “pandemic” was political, rather than medical. This economy is opening up, and the shut down was a massive mistake, scientifically. There’s something else going on. There was NEVER any data to justify it. Never. And there still isn’t. Now it’s all rear-end covering by bureaucrats and Governors. Nobody knows how it plays out.

Comments sections all over the internet have been rife with doom, gloom, and disinformation abounding about this virus. Stick with facts and data, and time-tested market indicators. Relative strength wins.

NEVER, EVER give up your Constitutional rights to power mad bureaucrats again. If we learn this lesson, we have a very bright future as a nation.

Scott Grannis said...

Johnny Bee Dawg: many thanks for the link to the latest interview with Wittkowski. One may or may not agree with him, but he is a legitimate scientist with plenty of experience in these matters. I for one find his arguments persuasive and very much in line with other experts I have read. I would urge everyone to watch this video.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Things that make you go, Hmmmmm....

One of these things just doesn’t belong.
Anybody got a good reason for this??

Updated stats from today:

Toyko - 37 Million 117 Deaths
Delhi 28 Million 54 Deaths
Sao Paulo 21 Million 2049 Deaths
Mexico City 21 Million 328 Deaths
Cairo 20 Million 359 Deaths
Mumbai 19.9 Million 400 Deaths
Dhaka 19.5 Million 163 Deaths
Osaka 19.2 Million 39 Deaths

NYC 8.6 Million 17,683 Deaths

Los Angeles 4 Million 1000 Deaths
Chicago 2.6 Million 1347 Deaths
Houston 2.3 Million 663 Deaths (State of Texas)
Phoenix 1.7 Million 137 Deaths
Philadelphia 1.5 Million 1716 Deaths
San Antonio 1.5 Million 44 Deaths
San Diego 1.4 Million 118 Deaths
Dallas 1.3 Million 663 Deaths (State of Texas)
San Jose 1 Million 106 Deaths
Charlotte 872,000 44 Deaths

cbt141 said...

Gaston County leaders plan to defy Gov. Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order.

Commission Chairman Tracy Philbeck said he will sign an order that will put Gaston County businesses back to work starting 5 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 29.

"We're letting our folks know, we support them going back to work," Philbeck announced at a 10 a.m. press conference.

County leaders, which included Commissioner Tom Keigher, County Manager Kim Eagle and health department director Chris Dobbins, said they knew their order defied Gov. Roy Cooper's stay at home order.

Philbeck said Gaston County will support businesses that can open while still practicing "social distancing."

"We're going to put our people to work and we're going to do it in a health-minded way," Philbeck said.

He called the governor's order "extreme."

Check back for this developing story.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

AMEN to this Gaston County board!
News like this proves we are still the land of the free.
Time to open up everything.
Old & sick stay home.

Hopefully these type actions will inspire the rest of the country.

Welschman said...

Bella Ciao

cbt141 said...

Meanwhile, folks who were in the care of “trusted experts:”

“Nearly 70 residents sickened with the coronavirus have died at a Massachusetts home for aging veterans, as state and federal officials try to figure out what went wrong in the deadliest known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the U.S.

While the death toll at the state-run Holyoke Soldiers' Home continues to climb, federal officials are investigating whether residents were denied proper medical care and the state's top prosecutor is deciding whether to bring legal action.

"It's horrific," said Edward Lapointe, whose father-in-law lives at the home and had a mild case of the virus. "These guys never had a chance.”"

David Landy said...


Would you provide the reference for the 0.02% lower bound on Covid fatality?

Also, would you also provide a link to the mandates (or an example of a mandate) for hospitals to only accept Covid patients?

cbt141 said...

USS Roosevelt
1 death; 856 infected-> 0.0012

“More than 17% of the ship’s approximately 4,845 sailors have tested positive for the coronavirus — 856 sailors. A handful of results are still outstanding, the Navy said Friday.

Four sailors are in the hospital at Naval Base Guam. Another, Chief Petty Officer Charles Thacker, 41, died of COVID-19 on April 13.“

18.000 deaths; 2,100,000 infected ->0.009

“Nearly two months into the region's coronavirus pandemic, New York released new data Monday showing that nearly 15 percent of those tested had antibodies to the virus — suggesting as many as 2.9 million New Yorkers may have been infected at some point, fully 10 times what the state has reported officially.

The numbers are even higher in New York City — antibody testing found a positivity rate of 24.7 percent in city samples, suggesting almost 2.1 million city residents could have been infected at some point.“

If the assumption is made that 15% of the US population (330,000,000) is infected, then 61,000 deaths implies 0.0012 rate of infection.

Overall, assuming a total COVID 19 death toll of 80,000, a person living in the United States has a 0.0002 (ie 80000/330000000) chance of dying with COVID 19.

Rick Jones said...

cbt141 said:

>Overall, assuming a total COVID 19 death toll of 80,000, a person living in the United States has a 0.0002 (ie 80000/330000000) chance of dying with COVID 19

That's a totally silly statement, on par with the one about the guy who had his head in a hot oven and his feet in a bucket of ice water and said, "It's great...the average temperature is 72 degrees."

I won't insult your intelligence by telling you what the problem is with your statement, but you should take a few minutes to see if you can figure it out.

cbt141 said...

Mr. Jones

I imagine you’re referring to Bayes Theorem, and that certainly applies to the Covid19 lockdown and how it should have targeted only the elderly, particularly those confined to rest homes; while asking everyone else to wash their hands, cover their coughs and keep a comfortable distance from one another.

However, the lockdown did not target the most vulnerable. They have suffered terribly. The lockdown closed businesses, churches and schools indiscriminately, made inconsistent determinations of which activities were essential, left hospitals resources grossly under used, etc..

The lockdown was a blanket laid across the entire population, and a blanket calculation of the mortality rates across the entire population reflects what a blunt tool it was.

Rick Jones said...

cbt141 said:

>I imagine you’re referring to Bayes Theorem...

No, I'm not. I'm simply referring to the blanket statement you made. There were no conditions or caveats, just a blanket statement about what someone's probability of dying is. And it was a silly statement.

But speaking of Bayes's Theorem...with Bayes's Theorem you begin with a prior and then adjust your posterior as data becomes available.

What were the priors leading up to the lockdown? What was actually known? Can you say?

It will be easy to be an armchair general or a Monday morning quarterback for this thing for a while, but there are two facts:

First of all, I haven't heard anyone on this board -- or in very many places -- credibly say that they've ever been faced with a decision regarding the life and death of other people. I don't think anyone who's been criticizing the decisions have ever faced such monumental decisions.

Second, it will be at least a year -- possibly longer -- to get any real sense of what the right decisions were. Watch Sweden, Norway, and Finland...three relatively similar countries right next to each other. Sweden did not shut down; Norway and Finland did. Right now Sweden has 244 deaths per million, while Norway and Finland have 38 and 37, respectively. Let a year go by, and see what the people of those three countries think of the respective decisions.

That's all.

cbt141 said...

Mr. Jones

My priors would have been that the elderly and those in the poorest of health are in need of the most resources and attention.
This seemed to be apparent from the tragedy in Washington State’a rest homes, and has been confirmed in New York’s experience along with the recent news from Holyoke Veterans Home.

If the policy is to be a blanket shut down, then making a blanket calculation of overall mortality points out the problem with the shut down.

For some reason you have decided to become the resident scold on this blog site.

In the hope of dampening your enthusiasm I will point out that
• You are not alone in having made a career out of managing risk under uncertainty. Who doesn’t?
• The rest of us come to this site to read Scott Grannis’s opinion and ask questions about his reasoning in a respectful manner.
• You earlier comments reveal an inadequate understanding of the situation in WTI May 2020, but no one (until now) felt compelled to rub your nose in it.


Rick Jones said...

>My priors would have been that the elderly and those in the poorest of health are in need of the most resources and attention...

I'm sorry, I thought that perhaps you actually knew something about how Bayesian reasoning might work in a situation like this. My bad.

>You earlier comments reveal an inadequate understanding of the situation in WTI May 2020...

I don't recall having said anything about WTI May 2020 (other than to tell Scott that he wrote a great post about oil). I mean, I don't know jack about WTI, and I try very hard to keep my opinions to the things I know something about. Can you point me to what I said about WTI that you're referring to?

>The rest of us come to this site to read Scott Grannis’s opinion and ask questions about his reasoning in a respectful manner.

Well, you know, that's originally why I came here, too. And I have said to Scott that I find his economic thoughts and opinions worthwhile. If Scott were to stick to just economics, I might think you have a point there.

But the coronavirus is about potentially catastrophic levels of death, and Scott has made some really, really stupid and factually wrong statements. He being a thought leader of sorts, I think it's important to call him out as strongly as possible when he does that.

Sorry if I upset you, but here's a time many years ago I had a boss tell me, "If you're going to go through life being Rick Jones, you have to be willing to pay the price for being Rick Jones." And within the context, he meant it as a compliment.

So there you have it. That's who I am, and I am going to continue going through life that way. It's worked out for me great so far.

cbt141 said...

“ Considering these numbers, people above 60 must be better protected, while restrictions should be loosened on those below 50. Older people who are vulnerable should stay at home. Food should be delivered and they should receive no visitors. Nursing homes should be isolated together with some of the staff until other staff who have acquired immunity can take over. Younger people should go back to work and school without older coworkers and teachers at their sides.

While the appropriate magnitude of countermeasures depends on time and place as it is necessary to avoid hospital overload, the measures should still be age-dependent. This is how we can minimise the number of deaths by the time this terrible pandemic is over.”

“While it is not perfect, Sweden has come closest to an age-based strategy by keeping elementary schools, stores and restaurants open, while older people are encouraged to stay at home. Stockholm may become the first place to reach herd immunity, which will protect high-risk groups better than anything else until there is a cure or vaccine.“

“The current one-size-fits-all lockdown approach is leading to unnecessary deaths. Protecting older people and other high-risk groups will be logistically and politically more difficult than isolating the young by closing schools and universities. But we must change course if we want to reduce suffering and save lives.”

Source: Martin Kulldorff is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

cbt141 said...

“What flattening the curve does is keeps people away from one another – and away from the virus. So the virus doesn’t spread. But you also don’t cultivate any immunity if you do a really effective job of locking everybody in place and preventing viral transmission. There’s still some low-level potential for viral exposure out in the world but very few of us get that exposure. The minute you release those clamps, and let people back into the world, we’re all vulnerable. So most of the models suggest that flattening the curve makes sense in Phase one so you don’t overwhelm medical systems, for example.

But you’ve got to have a Phase two. If you don’t transition to a Phase two, whenever you release the clamps, the virus is out in the world waiting for you. Everybody is vulnerable, and that big peak in that case isn’t – that big peak in deaths that you were trying to avoid really just happens at a later date….

If you lock everything down, you destroy livelihoods, you destroy jobs.And, and what I was saying in – what I didn’t really think was, uh, controversial at the beginning – is there’s really more than one way for this situation to hurt people, or even kill them, and all of them are bad.And there’s more than one way to protect people and save them, and all of those are good. So one thing we want to do is keep those vulnerable to severe infection away from this nasty bug, but we don’t want to destroy people’s lives and livelihoods and means of feeding their families….“

Dr. David Katz is the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center He has these letters after his name: MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM, a physician trained in epidemiology and public health and author of 17 books and numerous articles.


rhapsody said...

Good to see GoofyHoofy in the house. Ultra-left-wing, condescending cheap shots can get grating. But, just remember troubled souls are just that.

Regina said...

Dr. Ioannidis on Results of Coronacirus Studies:

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Its almost as if Marcus Ballbust is back with a new handle and a mask.

Benjamin Cole said...

Rick Jones---

But you have already indicated, far from being a fierce independent sort, that you held down a government job for long enough to receive a rather fat government pension.

I do not blame you for taking that course in life, which was open. Why not? On some days I wish I had. (As an aside, a good friend of mine served two years as a clerk-typist at Fort Dix during the Vietnam War days. Thereafter he received lifetime free government medical care, including an appendicitis operation and a cataract operation.)

But others of us rely on the private sector for our livelihoods and medical care. And believe me, there wouldn't be any financing of government programs without the private sector and the taxes you Levy upon us.

Christophe said...

Skipping the cause of this situation (i.e virus) and the debate about isolation measures. I am also very interested in Scott's and other expert perspectives on the catastrophic economic numbers we are seeing unfold:

- 30 million unemployed and still climbing fast

- Historical GDP contraction for Q1 likely to be even higher for Q2.

How to we make sense of these numbers with SP just 10% off record highs?

How can this play-out with the market avoiding a major collapse (ala 08/09) given that reality?

Rick Jones said...

Benjamin Cole said:

>But you have already indicated, far from being a fierce independent sort, that you held down a government job for long enough to receive a rather fat government pension...

Benjamin, you've looked at my LinkedIn profile. Shame on you for telling such lies.

Benjamin Cole said...

Rick Scott:

I did? Give me a clue, and I will Link to you.

Perhaps I confused you with someone else. Or you confused me with someone else.

I thought you had represented yourself to this forum as someone who did more than 20 years in the US military....

Rick Jones said...

>I did?...

Yes, about six or seven weeks ago I looked at yours, and you immediately looked at mine. And there was no use (or used) the same photo on LinkedIn that you use on this forum.

I thought you had represented yourself to this forum as someone who did more than 20 years in the US military....

LOL! Oh, this is your idea of someone holding down a government job?

>...a rather fat government pension...

And you think a military retirement is a "fat government pension"?

Dude, you are so incredibly far removed from reality that I wouldn't even know where to begin...

amritsari said...
This confirms my suspicion that the reported number of flu deaths are greatly exaggerated. THEY ARE ESTIMATES. Counted deaths of covid-19 are much higher than counted deaths for the flu. Stop comparing covid-19 to the flu. It is much more deadly.

cbt141 said...

“We’ve learned that way more people, far, far more people have actually been exposed to the infection without any knowledge of it. That makes the overall death rate much lower,” said Yealy, who is UPMC’s chair of emergency medicine. “Many people just didn’t feel sick at all and recovered without difficulty.”
Yealy went on to offer a hypothetical scenario of 3% of Allegheny County residents being exposed — a conservative number compared to the findings of the New York and California studies.

That would mean about 36,000 people in Allegheny have been exposed to the coronavirus. With 94 COVID-19 deaths in the county as of Thursday, it would mean 0.25 percent of people exposed to the coronavirus had died, he said.

Yealy said only 2% percent of the UPMC system’s 5,500 beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients and the number of new COVID-19 patients is declining.

He cited that figure in explaining UPMC’s plans to quickly increase its volume of the non-emergency surgeries that were largely banned to conserve beds and supplies for COVID-19 patients. The ban is now being eased as the volume of COVID-19 patients falls short of worst-case predictions.”

cbt141 said...

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged that special attention be given to seniors. “It’s so clear that the overwhelming weight of serious disease and mortality is on those who are elderly and those with a serious comorbidity: heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, respiratory difficulties,” Fauci told the American Medical Association. He said there would always be exceptions but that “if you look at the weight of the data, the risk group is very, very clear.”

Indeed, early reports from around the world showed that death rates from the virus soared with age. Among those who also had other major health issues, the rates were off the charts.

For example, a study released in Italy on March 17 found that more than 99 percent of 355 coronavirus fatalities there suffered from other health issues. The average age of those who died was 79.5 years.”

Rick Jones said...


The U.S. just passed 64,000 deaths.

According to the CDC's Disease Burden for Influenza page:

37,462 is the estimated average number of deaths per flu season since 2010.

61,000 is the preliminary estimate for the number of deaths in the worst flu season since 2010 (2017 - 2018).

(Oh yeah, and there were 58,220 American deaths in the Vietnam War.)

I'm not sayin' this virus is anything out of the ordinary that we need to concern ourselves with. Just sayin'...

rhapsody said...

Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted
List of authors.
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., H. Clifford Lane, M.D., and Robert R. Redfield, M.D.

If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.

(Oh yeah, and there were 58,220 American deaths in the Vietnam War.)

On the subject of "irrelevance":

449,511 Road traffic accident fatalities this year

Rick Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Jones said...

Covid-19 -- Navigating the Uncharted
If one assumes...

Yes, dated 26 March. How's that assumption working out?

And on the subject of "bullshit"

449,511 Road traffic accident fatalities this year globally

But only 36,560 road traffic deaths this year in the U.S.

(I wish I could say, "Nice try," but that was just lame. You should be ashamed of yourself for that one.)



I'm sorry, did I say 64,000?

I just checked, and it's over 65,000.

cbt141 said...

The longer the lock down continues the less the marginal benefit derived and the greater the damage being done.

“Unemployment Kills: The Longer Lockdowns Last, the Worse It Will Get “

Research, discussion and analysis:

rhapsody said...

I wish I could say, "Nice try," but that was just lame.

I believe I prefaced my link by indicating it was irrelevant. Perhaps reading comprehension is not your "thing". Sorry. They won't let me type in crayon.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

The market doesnt believe the fake inflated death count, and the market doesnt GAS about the Remdesivir approval.
HQC works better. Gottlieb is FOS. Fauci is FOS. More going on, here.

"9 members of the NIH panel that establishes U.S. treatment guidelines for COVID-19 have disclosed an active financial interest in Gilead (researchers, consultants, board members, etc), which makes Remdesivir, the drug being hyped as a treatment option."
Let that sink in. Read it again, if you must.

The only thing the market is actually worried about AT THIS POINT, is that China lied, and was in cahoots with the EU and the DEM Party. Been saying this is not about a fake virus. Goal??

If so, the USA is going to have to fundamentally change our relationship with Communism overseas on multiple continents.
Think about it.
Account are at all time highs as of yesterday. Pandemic???
We are getting played.

Rick Jones said...

> They won't let me type in crayon.


Welschman said...


asa said...