Friday, July 31, 2020

Highly recommended reading

This is an overwhelming summary of all the facts, figures and charts that are needed to put the Covid-19 crisis into perspective. I urge everyone to read through this and consider the facts and the statistics. The risk of Covid to the world has been blown all out of proportion, and the lockdowns have been totally unnecessary and egregiously expensive. Once again, I reiterate what I said many months ago:

The shutdown of the US economy will prove to be the most expensive self-inflicted injury in the history of mankind.™

We didn't need to do this. It has been a terrible mistake.

And if there is a single chart which makes the point, it would be this chart, which shows that the number of Covid-19 deaths in Sweden, one of the few countries which took no extraordinary measures to lockdown its economy, has fallen to almost zero:

Bonus and related quotation:

"Keeping colleges closed this fall is far more likely to stop the spread of communism than it is to stop the spread of Covid-19." HT: Wesley Mark


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

The Swedish new death chart by itself only tells part of the story. Here's more meaningful context looking at Sweden compared to its two neighbors -- Norway and Finland -- that did take an active approach to COVID management:

New deaths (yesterday's World-o-Meter):

Norway: 0
Sweden: 9
Finland: 0

Deaths per million to date (World-o-Meter):

Norway: 47
Sweden: 568
Finland: 59 was Sweden's approach so good? Both of its neighbors are doing much better.

The problem in the U.S. was simply incompetent leadership and governance from the top.

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

The pandemic is still in progress.

There are no COVID experts yet.

Sweden benefitted from the fact that few Chinese flew there last winter because it was SO COLD.

The virus went where Chinese people flew to.

It's not like Sweden was not affected at all.

Of 200 nations you'd expect some would have fewer cases per 100,000 just by chance.

No one know whether lockdowns were smart or dumb -- one month or two in urban areas might have been smart. In rural areas I doubt it.

You can't compare Sweden now with what would have happened there if people behaved differently -- that's just speculation.

This column should have been about the economy in 2Q which was surprisingly strong.

Unemployment was at 20% of the labor force yet real GDP went down only 8% quarter to quarter.

And the next GDP report in late October is bound to show good news just before the election.

Keeping children out of school while people died in nursing homes never made sense.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

AMEN, Scott.

Sweden update 31 July: Zero deaths in past 3 days; 5 in the past week. No lockdowns, no masks, no panic.
Also, Sweden was the only Western country who's economy GREW last quarter.
Read that again.

LOL at those scrambling to spin this news into something else.

Scott Grannis said...

There is no evidence that lockdowns save lives. See for yourself:

But we know for sure that lockdowns ruin economies and many lives.

Scott Grannis said...

More info on Sweden, which has achieved herd immunity and zero deaths and which avoided a lockdown:

Ron Gruner said...

The article author, Swiss Policy Research, looks very sketchy. No ownership or contributor information. The tag at the end suggesting Bill Gates is part of a COVID conspiracy was the giveaway for me.

The domain info is anonymous which is suspicious. Until March 2020, they were known as Swiss Propaganda Research. See...

Here's a link to a critical article pointing out, among other issues, Swiss German does not use the sharp S...


The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

Using Sweden as proof of anything is junk science.

You might as well pick a state with low covid deaths per 100000 and claim
They did everything right.

How about west virginia?

It is shameful that many writers here treat covid
As two categories and only those who died count
For analyses.


Far more people suffer and survive.

Many have permanent lung damage.

Some have heart damage even though they
Never even felt a need to go to a hospital.

The pandemic is still in progress so
Lessons are still being learned.

Picking one country and jumping to conclusions
DURING a pandemic is data minong, not real

That methodology suggests one's mind was
Made up first and Sweden was confirmation bias.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

LOL at "permanent lung damage" and "heart damage".
Urban myths. Its just another coronavirus.

The reason to focus on Sweden, as everyone knows, is because they didn't do the idiotic lockdowns, unhealthy mask mandates, and purposeful economic destruction that the US and EU did. They didn't force infected patients into nursing homes like NY and Michigan did. They allowed HCQ treatments, unlike most of the US.
Sweden is humming along with positive GDP, no extra debt, no loss of liberty, and deaths are near zero.
Sweden is the model the rest of the world should have followed. We know that now.
Ignoring this lesson shows extreme confirmation bias.

And the 9 US states who didn't shut down didn't suffer any worse than the ones who destroyed their economic bases. In fact, they came out far better by every measure.

The entire shutdown and loss of liberty was horrible, horrible misguided policy.
The world's leading Epidemiologists warned against doing it.
We must learn from this, and never allow these idiots like the midget doctor to do this to us ever again.

cbt696 said...

Cost of postponing herd immunity:

State by State comparisons of lockdown policies

Benjamin Cole said...

Scott Grannis is right. Also, Apple is hitting new all-time highs.

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

To Sweden Covid data miners
Why not pick Norway with far fewer deaths per capita.
How about Wyoming?

Sweden Did have a lockdown.
High schools and colleges closed.
People voluntarily social distanced and avoided crowds.
The death rate was well above the average nation.
GDP GROWTH there in first quarter was near zero.
GDP second quarter growth ikely to be negstive.

Norway closed borders and had a far lower covid per capita death rate.
Why not use Norway as a best practice approach ?

The claim that masks CAUSE disease is ignorant anti-science conspiracy theory.

Masks are annoying but better than no masks.

Permanent lung damage has been obvious and heart damage is just being discoveted.

These are being reported in independent scientific studies and can not be brushed off as an urban myth.

It's hard to learn during a pandemic with
no prior Covid experience as a guide.

Its too easy to jump to conclusions,
As Deputy Dawg and Scott have done,
While the pandemic continues
But hard to wait until next year
To better understand what happened.

Too much death per capita in Sweden for
Anyone with sense to call what happened
There to be a medical success.

Ron Gruner said...

These mask protests are a tempest in a teapot.

In our Naples, FL home during the spring many were protesting masks. Going out to dinner in May, our 65 year old neighbor mocked the two young women greeting restaurant guests for wearing masks. Nuts.

Returning to Massachusetts in late June, we stopped at "Butcher Boy" in North Andover to pick up some basics. There was a short line as an employee was metering people in so too many people wouldn't be standing at the meat counter, etc. Everyone was wearing masks. No complaining. My wife and I were amazed.

A couple days later we drove up to New Hampshire (license plate: "Live Free or Die") to go to Best Buy. Had to check in at the front door, give our email address in case contact tracing was required, and wear a mask. No complaints by anyone we saw.

Over 8,600 people in Massachusetts have died of COVID or related issues in the last six months. Even if half are mis-characterized, most people take the pandemic seriously.

honestcreditguy said...

quick facts
chances of dying from CV19 .02%
40% of all deaths in US are from nursing homes
80% of all deaths are aged 75 and over
death chances double if obese, as a nation of grape soda and sugar land elephants lots of really unhealthy people were going to die...Look at Mexico now, they have the worst obesity issues population wise....

Poverty will kill more people than CV19 does by 1000%

the flu has always taken a high number of people who are old, fat and have existing health a fact

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

There are four categories at least for
Covid, not just died or survived.

1 no obvious or very mild symptoms
2 feels like a cold and stays home
3 went to hospital and recovered
4 died

A friend in her 60s suffered a lot
For three weeks at home under
The care of her son, a doctor,
Who later got it too. She, a
Retired doctor, survived, but
After a lot of suffering.

A friend's daughter got it
and lost her sense of smell
and nothing else happened.

Actually ordinary flu affects young people more ... but the alleged deaths are grossly overstated according to doctors, based on models, not an actual list of victims by name. Computer game nonsense just like global climate models. I hope Covid death data are not overstated too. It's too easy to say everyone who died of/with pneumonia was a flu victim when that is not true.

Scott Grannis said...

Here's one more highly recommended article, about how as a society we have forgotten the wisdom of the past, and how the only way societies have coped with viruses throughout history is by developing herd immunity. Instead we relied on computer models and politicians who usurped our personal liberties in a futile attempt to "beat" the virus by keeping everyone safe. It just doesn't work that way.

HT: reader cbt966, who is currently in day 10 of Covid ICU, where he will be for at least another 10 days. Despite his travails he nevertheless continues to contribute to our knowledge with his thoughtful posts and educational links.

Scott Grannis said...

Sorry, I was referring to reader "cbt696" in the comment above.

Benjamin Cole said...

Good luck cbt696.

cbt696 said...

Thank you.

Flying Robot said...

Scott, I think you tread on dangerous territory w/r/t Covid-19. That link you start the post with is a questionable site. It appears to mix good information with disinformation and misinformation, and links to both good and discredited/noncredited sources as if they are equally valuable. Also, you might note that US daily deaths have rebounded substantially. There are still many variables at play.

Postkey said...

“A May 2020 evidence review cited by The Lancet – a review of dozens of scientific studies – found:
‘The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at stopping spread of the virus when compliance is high. The decreased transmissibility could substantially reduce the death toll and economic impact while the cost of the intervention is low. Thus we recommend the adoption of public cloth mask wearing, as an effective form of source control, in conjunction with existing hygiene, distancing, and contact tracing strategies. We recommend that public officials and governments strongly encourage the use of widespread face masks in public, including the use of appropriate regulation.’”

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

There are no shutdowns.
Just partial shutdowns.
Local shutdowns in the NYC area
Made sense when hospitals
Were overcrowded to flatten
The curve. THEY DID THAT.

I say partial shutdown
Because enough Americans in
2Q were employed to produce
93 percent of the GDP they
Produced in 1Q 2020.

Amazing with 20 percent
of he labor force collecting
unemployment checks.

Local lockdowns where
hospitals were overcrowded
Was science based.

Everything else is a
Result of Trump Derangement kill off the
Low unemployment and high
Stock market to win an

Rich Dems are talking about
Avoiding stock purchases
Before the election or even
Selling stocks to tank
The market and make Trump
Lose. I know this because
I heard it a second time
In person.

I predict Biden will never
Debate and the wife predicts
He will be replaced before
Election day maybe by Hillary
CLINTON.I predict Susan Rice
As VP because she is a very
Professional liar. MICHELLE
OBAMA as VP would get Biden
More votes.

Enough on Covid ecause it's mainly
Politics now. More discussion
On the economy here.Please.

WealthMony said...

Yesterday (8/03/2020) the state of Florida and the county in which I live registered its fewest number of deaths since June. That's good news. Let's hope we are seeing the end of COVID-19 terror in the US.

Unknown said...

Totally not related to COVID, but M2 and inflation. From Brian Wesbury this morning. Here's a chart:

Illuninati said...

This entire discussion is irrelevant. Hindsight is always 20/20. At the time we shut down the economy Italy was reporting a 10% death rate. You have to act on the information you have, not the information you wish you had.

Postkey said...

“A reasonable view is that reliance on banking systems to finance budget deficits will keep money growth positive, at annual rates at least in the mid- single digits %, over the next year or two. The evidence is universal and compelling, that agents’ money-holding preferences are stable in the long run. Whereas in spring and summer 2020 ratios of money to GDP (i.e., the inverse of the velocity of circulation) have climbed dramatically, in coming quarters they will drop sharply, closer to long-run averages. The rates of increase of nominal GDP and the price level will soar, probably after or in association with asset price inflation.”

Lucio said...

@Johnny Bee Dawg. Sweden GDP last Q contracted 8,6 per cent DESPITE not having imposed a strict lockdown. And in doing that, they have had ten times more deaths that their neighbours. I'll call it utter stupidity and total lack of respect for the human being.

Fred said...

Sweden's GDP decline was less that the EU's 12.1% 2nd quarter decline. Its death rate per 100,000 is also less than the UK's, Spain's and Italy's- all countries that had hard lockdowns. You also ignore the tremendous health costs associated with lockdowns such as suicide, missed cancer screenings and overall depression. There are costs to lockdowns which must be figured in policy choices. It's not just a matter of "total lack of respect for the human being." Also, Sweden's next door neighbors new cases increase are 3X as much as the percent drop in new cases in Sweden, probably due to herd immunity in Sweden. Did the world not value human life in prior pandemics when no country did a lockdown? Where is the science to back up the value of a lockdown? The main problem in Sweden was not protecting the aged in care homes, much the same as in NY, that did have a lockdown, and which had a horrible death rate.

Iris said...

thirteen hundred people a day are dying in the US right now, we could easily be at a quarter million dead before the election - and some of you on this blog still vote for opening up and further increasing the rate of infection?

this disease is NOTHING like the usual flu. If you are one of the unlucky 20% with a serious case, you will likely die earlier than you would have expected from the permanent lung damage you incurred. That is a hidden societal as well as health care cost.

Value of a lockdown? look at the death rate before and after we locked down each state. Use Italy as an example of a REAL working lockdown (as opposed to our partial lockdowns). Their lockdown was so severe that they can now engage in normal activities --because they can effectively stamp out small outbreaks with testing and contact tracing. Here in the US we STILL can't get test results back in a reasonable time (one of my employees got his test back TWELVE DAYS LATER)- so that can't be done-- even if we did have a controllable number of cases, which we don't,in order to do effective contact tracing. German and French kids are able to go back to school!

Just because you don't personally know anyone who has died or gotten seriously ill (I know both) doesn't mean you shouldn't believe the thousands of doctors who treat these people. And the really concerning health and death statistics which should set policy.

I cannot believe how bad the national response to this crisis has been. As one example, it is STILL difficult to get surgical masks in this country, though not in most others (I ordered a case in early May for my employees and the estimated delivery time is now at the end of Sept.) Why?!?

Fred said...

US is lower than 8 other countries, including Italy, in deaths/100K and ahead of 23 countries as far as case fatality ratio, so your argument that US response is so much worse than other countries is without merit. Also, Sweden didn't lock down and their kids are going back to school. I know a lot of people who had both mild and serious cases and they are fine now. It's possible there will be long term consequences just as there are sometimes with flu but we obviously won't know this for a while until there are studies done. Many with serious underlying conditions could have died or will die anyway regardless of Covid. As far as surgical masks are concerned, my corner Walgreens has dozens of boxes available every day. My daughter works at a children's hospital in Texas and has no trouble getting PPE either in the hospital or at her local drugstore. Have you tried Amazon?

is100 said...

So I believe this whole time those who dismiss covid-19 as just another flu have been living a normal life hugging, kissing, shaking hands with random people, basically the whole Sinatra thing. Sweden a country with 10mil people vs 300mil in the US is apples to oranges. Oh, did you forget culture? In Sweden, you find all-white bread and in the US -- a tapestry of ethnicities. It's the winter get your swimsuits

Scott Grannis said...

It is with heavy heart that I note the passing last night of "cbt696" due to complications from Covid. He had been a prolific contributor to the comments section of this blog in recent months. He was 74 and a good friend and fellow researcher and market watcher.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

That is horrible news about cbt696. Always enjoyed his contributions, here.
Sorry about your friend, Scott.
He will be missed.