Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Covid winter is over

Here are just a few important and very encouraging charts—part of a larger picture in which the US  economy is definitely emerging from its long Covid winter.

Chart #1
Chart #1 shows a critical and timely measure of US air travel, which includes data as of yesterday. The green line is the 7-day moving average, which is the one to watch since there are definite trends in travel on the various days of the week. Here we see that passenger traffic has increased 78% (!!) since January 27th of this year. It's still down over 40% compared to the levels which prevailed before the onset of lockdowns, but the recovery is proceeding rapidly. Looking ahead, we still have a lot of good news to look forward to as confidence is on the rise and vaccinations proceed apace. And by the way, the US stands out as leader of the vaccination pack among developed nations, with the notable exception of Israel, which has vaccinated over half of its population.

Chart #2

My state has been one of the hardest hit (mostly due to extreme lockdown measures ordered by our politicians). As Chart #2 shows, big lockdowns didn't flatten the curve at all last year, since they were firmly in place last November, when daily new cases began to surge. Vaccines have helped, but they can't really account for the bulk of the decline year to date, since it was underway well before significant numbers were vaccinated. That means natural immunity (acquired from exposure to the illness or natural exposure to similar viruses over the years must be a very important factor contributing to the rapid demise of this pathogen. Either way, the severity of Covid cases and the growth of new daily cases has improved dramatically. In Los Angeles County (10,000,000) population, there were only a handful of Covid-related deaths in the most recent reported week, and daily new cases have dropped almost 90% since late January. Overall, statewide daily new cases have plunged 92% since late January.

Governor Newsom: please open the California economy NOW!

Chart #3

Chart #3 is one of my perennial favorites, since it shows the Fed has been responsible for almost every recession in the past 60+ years (the notable exception being the brief Covid crackdown recession that started a year ago). Recessions (gray bars) have occurred after every major spike in the real Fed funds rate (blue line) and every major flattening or inversion of the yield curve (red line). The purpose of Fed tightening has always been to increase real interest rates (and effective borrowing costs) in order to break the back of rising inflation. (Higher real interest rates work to increase the demand for money thus reducing the amount of excess money in the system at the same time the Fed is withdrawing reserves and shrinking the supply of money.) A significant tightening of monetary policy also causes the yield curve to flatten and to eventually invert (when long-term rates fall below the level of short-term rates). An inverted yield curve almost always means that monetary policy is so tight the economy begins to suffer and the market realizes that the Fed will soon have to reverse course.

As should also be apparent, we are nowhere near either of those conditions at present. Real interest rates are exceptionally low, and the Fed has promised to keep them there for a looonnnggg time. (I have serious doubts they will actually do that however). The yield curve has steepened a bit, which is a sign that the bond market realizes that the economy is improving and the Fed will eventually have to raise short-term rates at some time in the future. But it is not very steep from an historical perspective. 

Other indicators that have traditionally signaled that monetary policy is so tight that it is threatening economic growth prospects—such as 2-yr swap spreads and Credit Default Swap spreads—are firmly at the low end of their historical ranges. That means that liquidity is abundant and the outlook for corporate profits is positive. In short, there are no warning signs of economic trouble ahead to be found in the market. 

I would ordinarily be ecstatic about the prospects for the economy, were it not for a growing number of disturbing developments such as huge increases in government spending, promises of huge increases in a broad range of taxes, growing federal control over the economy, continued lockdowns and mask mandates, and expanded welfare measures (e.g., higher minimum wages and increased healthcare subsidies). Most troubling is the prospect of a significant increase in inflation, since that inevitably erodes standards of living, raises barriers to savings and investment, and works to transfer the burden of a mountain of government debt to the private sector in devious and pernicious ways.

All the things that worry me share a common denominator: they serve to reduce the incentives to work and invest. In short, they are anti-supply side. As a supply-sider, I firmly believe that the only way to truly stimulate an economy is to increase the incentives to work and invest by reducing tax burdens, keeping the value of the currency stable, and minimizing the amount of government intrusion in the economy.


Carl said...

Thank you overall for feeding the independent thought process.
"My state has been one of the hardest hit (mostly due to extreme lockdown measures ordered by our politicians)".
One could potentially argue about the cost of mandated and 'public health' enforced measures but to suggest that the measures increased coronavirus-related disease burden is simply mind boggling (if one is into objective analysis of data and evidence).

Scott Grannis said...

California has been among the "hardest hit" because it has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, not to mention other economic stats that show a big blow to the body economic. California with all its lockdowns has not seen a significant difference in Covid cases and deaths per capita relative to Florida, which has had an open economy for the past six months or so.

One pernicious effect of our "lockdowns" (aka "stay safe at home") is that the home is where the great majority of people contract the illness. Being out in the open with lots of sunshine is one of the safest places you can be, but our enlightened superiors closed beaches and parks for weeks and months. So it is entirely possible that lockdowns increased the spread of Covid. Staying inside with little sunlight exposure can result in a Vitamin D deficiency which is highly correlated to the severity of Covid symptoms (more sunlight means more Vitamin D and that means less Covid).

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

It is a myth to assume that 'open' states were significantly different from 'locked-down' states as the economic impact (GDP hit etc) and the virus impact (deaths per capita adjusted for specific risk factors) end up relatively similar over the course of 2020.
While some measures (such as unemployment) have improved faster (last few weeks) in Florida compared to more democrat-leaning states, the difference remains relatively marginal and may be related as much to the general behaviors of individuals (validated by Google mobility data etc) (and a whole set of other variables) and not as an exact result of 'policies'.
Because of an unusual focus on the individual (which is both good and bad), it was not reasonable for the US to achieve the containment achieved in some other places. It is very clear though that the inability to focus on cost-effective measures and to achieve at least moderate homogeneity contributed to a poorer record (deaths, hospitalizations per capita etc). Looking at the flu data for this season, it is clear that individual and mandated behavior changes can have a determinant positive effect on virus transmission in a population. Without restrictions, the disease burden would have been 4-10x worse. The debate is about the cost-effectiveness of those 'measures'.
It is also a myth that vitamin D has a cause and effect relation with the virus (prevention and treatment). I've followed the literature on vitamin D for years including the last with Covid-19. It is simply a marker of risk but the underlying risk is elsewhere. The vitamin D issue is a correlated variable. It's the same principle linking one's longevity with the ownership of a luxury boat. You see the same thing in many 'econometric' studies...
Finally, it is a myth that 'locking down' in homes increases risk at the population level. While it is correct that the transmission risk is lower outdoors versus indoors, the transmission at the population level is related to community transmission. If you don't catch the virus in the community, you won't be able to transmit it in your own household. That's why some countries were able to achieve effective containment.

Of course, what will remain is the fiscal irresponsibility issue compounded by the irrational monetary support but this has been a bipartisan issue for a while..
Good luck to you.
Signed: a Canadian whose destiny is tied to yours.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

I would mot rush to declare the COVID pandemic is over.

In Brazil a new COVID variant has proved very deadly -- the Sinovac vaccine used there was only about 10% effective, and some people who already had COVID are catching the new deadly strain.

In South Africa, a new COVID variant has made the AstraVeneca vaccine only 50% effective, which is not very good.

In Israel, the most vaccinated country on Earth (Pfizer), there were more COVID deaths in the first two months of their vaccination program than in the prior 10 months, affecting significantly younger people than before, as if there is a new COVID variant there too. Puzzling.

It seems like every COVID prediction in the past year has been wrong.

Hopefully the warmer weather will bring more people outdoors where it is much harder to spread the virus ... but then next Fall people will spend more time indoors.
The 1918 - 1919 flu pandemic had two death spikes and then seemed to disappear.
COVID has had two death spikes so far.
Maybe it will disappear.
I hope so, but no one knows.

Even when the COVID threat disappears, we have Biden and Democrats ruining our lives, which is not exactly getting back to the good old days !

The first chart is visually deceptive and I have no idea why it is repeatedly used here. Air passenger traffic is down about 40% but the chart makes it appear much less -- looks like 20% -- because of the deceptive use of a log vertical axis.

Carl said...

This is only an online discussion. :)
Disclosure: if an adult in the US, starting with the Reagan years up to 2016 i would have voted Republican; i'm not sure about 2016 (independent?).
Anyways, the effect of behavior changes (individual or 'collective') about virus impact on populations is based on basic knowledge about virus transmission in populations (i have very reasonable training and experience about this). It's not that complicated. Look at the flu data for this season (especially the % of visits and pediatric deaths):
Please don't come out with a conspiracy-inspired CDC comment. The data and methodology are robust and are being reproduced globally. If you think human behavior cannot alter disease, there is not much that can be done. It may helpful for you to widen your 'academic' sources in order to form a more balanced and evidence-based view.
When you look at what happened in North or South Dakota, Sweden or Florida, it's not a binary yes or no situation. There were differences but the differences were quite marginal at the population level. In Sweden for example, it was shown that people spontaneously and without more coercive messages adopted different and adaptive behaviors and effectively displayed comparable protective behaviors for themselves and others.
Yes, the costs have been high (and too high in many respects) and some of this could have been better managed somehow but failure to collaborate effectively did NOT help and a way to get back to a productive future is to find some kind of middle ground.
If you spend some time on the addiction problem in the US, you will find that this 'disease' has been growing over a long period and 2020 is simply a continuation of previous trends.
It's possible to appreciate (and respect) both Milton Friedman and Anthony Fauci.

Anonymously Famous said...

Man, it is amazing what we will argue over; there is no reasonable adult debate. It’s always “keyboard yelling”. I’m right, you’re wrong.

And with COVID, good lord. I’ve never met so many medical experts in my life. It’s amazing how every banker, truck driver, insurance salesman or stay-at-home dad KNOWS “the data” and impresses it upon everyone else.

Who cares now? What was done, is done. We now need to figure out the way forward to a sustainable, job-filled, economic recovery. It’s like me whining my life was ruined because mom and dad were divorced and spending YEARS convincing people which parent was to blame.

Time to pull-up the big-boy / big-girl pants and get productive.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

Respectfully submitted, the time wasted arguing nonsense (Rep-leaning to Dem-leaning and vice-versa) around deep secular problems will do nothing to solve the underlying problems.
The US has chosen to let it slide but i bet that you will eventually turn this around somehow although i suspect the transition will be messy.
Mr. Grannis suggests that the Covid winter is over but winter is coming.
Good luck (you will need it).

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

i'm not sure it's worth it but let's try to communicate.
First, a real life example. Early in 2020, in-hospital transmission was a significant problem. The issue was studied and protocols were adjusted (basically a more detailed mask, distance, hand hygiene and some equipment as well as certain protocols). Can you guess what happened in places where the new protocols were applied consistently and in a homogeneous way? Yes, transmission rate went close to zero (i have data from a major hospital where there was persistent and high-level community spread).
Now let's picture two hypothetical hospitals:
Hospital 1 is led by a certain kind of ideology 'A' CEO and 55% of employees share this ideology.
Hospital 2 is led by a certain kind of ideology 'B' CEO and 55% of employees share this ideology.
The headline will be that the two hospitals are run very differently but i would argue that the lack of cohesion contributed in explaining overall similar results.
This is not to say that one ideology is right or wrong because you need to look at the cost-benefit equation but suggesting that one hospital is fully open and show similar results despite that 'open' status is a poor conclusion.
Just because Disney was open more in one state does not negate the fact that both states have much more in common than you may suspect.

marcusbalbus said...

more cheerleading by the sancho panza of wall street.

Roy said...

"As a supply-sider, I firmly believe"

So, basically, it's an ideology. Why not try and apply scientific reasoning instead? List the possible outcomes and your estimated probabilities.

By deciding, as you do, that everything is due to X, regardless of circumstances, you are a victim of your own biases and you will certainly twist and deform your reasoning and conclusions regardless of the data.

What a waste of a good mind.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy said...


You are right about air traffic numbers:

It's still significantly lower.

This misuse of log scale has been used on this blog before, to support whichever arguments.

Regarding Israel, it takes time for the vaccination to become effective, there's a delay. But, yeah, indeed there are variants in Israel and all over the world. This will continue as long as Covid is raging anywhere so there will have to be continuous booster shots.

This means that cumulatively, because of new variants, people who are not willing to be vaccinated will catch multiple variants and will eventually either die or have considerable long term damage.

BTW regarding the "natural immunity", Italy for example, had plenty of that and yet now it's all over again.

Carl said...

Mr. Grannis,
Thank you for these periodic comments and for this discussion forum.
Have you read The Wisdom of Crowds?
i think it's a really good book. The author James Surowiecki describes three necessary conditions for optimal crowd outcomes:
1-need independent thought process
2-need a diversity of valuable opinions
3-need an effective way to aggregate the above 2
Your efforts help with the above.
These days, apart from some investment themes, i read Common Sense by Thomas Paine as it seems relevant to the present period.

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

In my earlier comment I deleted many details to make to comment shorter, and also because I have no idea what they mean:

Concerning COVID deaths and hospitalizations in Israel during their first two months of vaccinating almost everyone over age 60 with the Pfizer vaccine.

The people over age 60 are getting benefits from the vaccine so far, although we have no idea for how long, or if there will be any long term side effects, or if new COVID variants will cause problems.

This is a huge science experiment.

These facts about younger Israelis
mainly NOT vaccinated, are puzzling:

During the two months of intensive inoculations
aimed at people over age 60, with the Pfizer vaccine,
Israel doubled the total number COVID deaths
in the prior ten months !

76% of new Covid-19 cases were under age 39.
and 40% of critical patients were under age 60 !

Covid-19 cases among infants soared by
1,300%, from 400 cases in under two year olds
in November 2020, to 5,800 in February 2021 !

-- Concerning Brazil:
São Paulo’s health secretary, Jean Gorinchteyn told reporters (in early March 2021) that in many of that state’s ICUs half of patients were now under 50. “I’m talking about 26 and 29 and 30-year-olds – often in a very grave condition,” he said, urging citizens to avoid crowds and remain at home. “We all need to understand that what is happening right now is a different pandemic from the one we saw last year.”

Once again younger people getting sick with COVID than before.
The nation is using the Chinese Sinovac vaccine which has been ineffective with the new P1 COVID variant.

Carl said...

^Yes vaccines are always some sort of experiment but the benefits of vaccines to society at large have been monumental and the new versions are likely to follow the same pattern.
Most reliable indicators indicate that Covid-19 is becoming endemic and won't be much talked about in a few months.
In Israel, there was a large wave of transmission forming when vaccinations started and evidence shows vaccinations had a massive, independent and positive effects. The fact that younger people have (in proportion) become relatively more frequent cases in hospitals is a sign of vaccines working in people who have gotten vaccinated.
Please get vaccinated. If not convinced at the individual level, you can argue otherwise but please use good quality evidence and analysis.

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

"Unknown", you may have misunderstood
some thoughts my prior comment about
COVID in Israel.

I was not talking about the proportion
of COVID patients and deaths becoming
younger than before. With most people
over age 60 being vaccinated, and perhaps
only 25% under age 60 being vaccinated, that
was expected.

I was talking about a large increase
in the total number of deaths, and
the surprising explosion of infections
in young children in Israel during
the two months while so many people
were being vaccinated. That was not
expected. Not that anything about
COVID seems to be expected.

In addition. I didn't mention that
ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel,
who were taking the vaccine,
were having a lot more
with COVID infections
than Arab Israelis
who were avowing the vaccine.
That is also puzzling.

Based on MY OWN potential risk,
versus potential reward, analysis,
I have chosen to not participate
in the COVID vaccine experiment.

I will provide additional information
that informed my decision
that may interest readers here.

This is an experiment, unlike
introducing a traditional vaccine:
mRNA is an unproven technology
that Moderna previously tried to use
treat Crigler-Najjar syndrome, and it

the new COVID vaccines were developed
in nine months versus the usual 3 to
10 years for conventional vaccines,
with no liability for manufacturers,
no knowledge of how long immunity
will last, no knowledge of whether the
vaccine will prevent transmission,
no knowledge of side effects beyond
the first few months, and no evidence
they will work as well with COVID
variants (mutations).

Considering personal experiences of
friends who have had positive COVID
tests (10): Five only had mild symptoms,
like an ordinary cold), or just the loss of smell
(one loss of smell person only was 70 years old!),
and five had typical flu symptoms (two of
those five had severe flu symptoms)

None of the 10 were hospitalized.
None of the 10 died.

Of the many people I know who
have had one or both flu shots, all had
side effects. Two had long lasting
side effects (up to one week),
but none of the other side effects
were very serious.

Why don’t we know definitely
how well Covid vaccines prevent

Because the trials
testing the vaccines
weren’t set up
to answer that question
-- they were designed
determine if vaccines
would prevent people
from getting sick, and
overwhelming the
medical systems.

Absolute risk reduction
from the Pfizer and modern
vaccine is very small,
and those numbers,
in my opinion,
are more informative
than the 95% claimed
relative risk reduction,
whether the 95%
is accurate, or not.

Absolute risk reduction is the:
% taking placebo getting COVID symptoms
% taking injection getting COVID symptoms

I believe the numbers below
were based on a few months
of data before the injections
got their amazingly fast
emergency approval:

For the Pfizer/BioNtech injection:
Type of COVID % taking placebo % taking injection
"Non- severe" 0.88% 0.044%
"Severe" 0.04% 0.005%

For the Moderna injection:
Type of COVID % taking placebo % taking injection
"Non- severe" 1.33% 0.08%
"Severe" 0.22% 0.00%

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

CORRECTION to the above comment:
In addition. I didn't mention that
ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel,
who were taking the vaccine,
were having a lot more
COVID infections than Arab Israelis,
who were avoiding the vaccine.
That is also puzzling.

$%#& spell correction!

KB said...

Thanks Scott

I thoroughly enjoy your posts on the economy. I've been reading your blog for so long the charts you use are like old friends.

Kurt Brouwer

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Markets got over the absurd Covid panic back in April.
We are just reflating back to where we were, and then resuming the GDP uptrend.

I think all the horrible policies being done at warp speed right now will be masked by the Covid rebound, and next year we go back to the old tepid Obama trajectory. Barack’s “recovery” left $3 Trillion of GDP growth on the table. This will too.
I still think the Fed’s challenge then will remain DEFLATION once yields and beaten up industries re-flate back to pre-Covid areas.
The long term trend of the 10 year yield is still down since those 1994 highs. Yields are just rallying up to that downtrend.

Curve is steepening, so banks/financials are galloping back to new highs.
Powell is stealthily tightening by not buying as many bonds as the crisis mode.
KBE (S&P Bank index) is knocking on the door of ALL-TIME highs from early 2007.
What happens when they move chunks of those loan loss reserves back to earnings?

Meanwhile, the gap between value/growth & large cap/small cap has continued to widen further over the past month in Covid recovery.
RPV (S&P 500 Value) up 25% ytd
RPG (S&P 500 Growth) is now DOWN 2% ytd

OEF large cap up 4% YTD
IJR small cap up 22% YTD

Suddenly, bonds may look “attractive” again, once the 10 year gets over 2% and approaches 3%.
Gold is down over 15% since August when FAANG peaked out. Starting to look “attractive” perhaps.

REFLATE! Then JoeBama kicks in again. What a waste of potential.

Benjamin Cole said...

Another great post by Scott Grannis.

It is an irony that Trump, who may have had the worst personality of any president ever, also had some of the best economic, foreign and trade policies of any president.

The country prospered under Trump until Covid-19. Will the country prosper under Biden?

Keep an eye on inflation. Many nations are engaged in large deficit spending and monetary stimulus. Australia, for example. Yet in each nation the outlook is tame for inflation.

Japan is an example of a nation that has engaged in deficit spending, monetary stimulus and quantitative easing for a great many years, and they are in mild deflation.

Carl said...

On the inflation threat:
"Keep an eye on inflation. Many nations are engaged in large deficit spending and monetary stimulus. Australia, for example. Yet in each nation the outlook is tame for inflation.

Japan is an example of a nation that has engaged in deficit spending, monetary stimulus and quantitative easing for a great many years, and they are in mild deflation."
Japan has been at it (monetary and fiscal) for decades now. The BOJ now owns about 50% of all JGBs (!) and is getting towards 10% ownership of all stocks (!) through their ETFs purchases and there is no tendency for 'reflation', in fact, to the contrary (last reading in deflation territory). Japan's limit may occur with currency devaluation (where is the limit?). It appears that the US is still very far from this limit, especially with the international reserve currency status and reaching their inflation target may not occur until much more heroic attempts are done and when it is too late (helicopter-type, MMT Rubicon crossed etc).
It appears that the deflation risk remains the most significant at this point, given the debt overhang.

Benjamin Cole said...


I suspect you are right, and this is exactly the opposite of what has been taught in conventional macroeconomics.

Indeed, highly intelligent luminaries of the industry, such as Paul Volcker or Martin Feldstein spent decades, and then more decades, warning against pending soaring inflation and interest rates. Instead the opposite happened.

As a famous economist said, "I am absolutely convinced, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that inflation rates should have been much, much higher from 1980 to 2020 than they were."

This time may be different---due to COVID-19 lockdowns, some supply has not been just bottlenecked, but crushed. OPEC is artificially raising prices through production ceilings, and there may be shortages of semiconductors. This is a strange time, and yes monetary policy has been accommodative.

My guess is we might see inflation in low single digits, but then bottlenecks will widen and OPEC may overplay its hand. BTW, pray the solid-state batteries work. If EVs are commercialized, OPEC has a long road to hell ahead. It could not happen to nicer guys.

Loosening property zoning would just about fight inflation to a halt.

Stray comment: When Reagan was Reagan, the Wall Street Journal argued that getting inflation under 5% annually was good enough. Through much of the 1980s, inflation ran between 3% and 5% and the US prospered.

Somehow, a 2% inflation totem was erected, and the macro-profession began worshipping that.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has a 2% to 3% inflation band target. Maybe a better idea.

Carl said...

@Benjamin Cole
The history of the human world has been one of, in the main, slow inflation and many people don't seem to realize that the 20th century has been highly unusual on the inflationary front. With the present global monetary system and fiscal experiments, it's likely that currency (even the USD) depreciation will be the name of the game but it's the how we get there which is interesting and it's hard to see how the voyage doesn't include a deflationary bout (debt deflation, à la Irving Fisher).
Yes, there are many short term factors that will tend to lift inflation (bullwhip effect from supply chains, direct deposits by the Treasury with most of the debt assets ending at the Fed etc) but this inflation-is-coming without endogenous money creation from private market participants has never materialized even if always expected with the new monetary-fiscal 'regime' in place.
i see many people getting exciting with the housing market and it is hard not to worry as a result of the absolutely artificial (and potentially detrimental: affordability, risk of asset bust etc) support. Yes there are supply forces that can be adapted but (opinion) it's the real demand side that may prove to be disappointing if any (or all) part(s) of the asset price bubble starts to dissipate.
i'm a stock picker at heart but the macro stuff may prove to be all-encompassing.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy said...


You can see here the latest statistics about Israel:

"In people 60 y/o and above, who were vaccinated first, since the peak in mid Jan.:

86% fewer cases
73% fewer critically ill
91% fewer deaths

Declines seen across all age groups

Economy now nearly fully open"

The vaccines work, they are not perfect but they work. And, yes, there are variants that impact younger ages more, compared to the initial variant. The vaccines are not as effective for these variants but still very effective.

There will be continuous development.

If you can get vaccinated, get the shot. Today. Don't be fooled by religious fundamentalists or extremists in complete denial of reality. Protect yourself and your family.

Roy said...

BTW, regarding "ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel", just like Christian religious fundamentalist in the USA, they do not vaccinate, as a rule. Recall the chicken pox outbreak in NY (?) from a few years back.

From Feb:

"Israel’s Leaders Clash With Ultraorthodox Over Covid-19 Lockdowns, Vaccines
Reluctance among some members of the religious community undermines government’s success in rolling out vaccination campaign"

My understanding they have now started to accept the vaccination, one can also hope the religious fundamentalists in the USA -- also known as the religious right -- will follow.

Europe is a complete fuck-up with rates under 10% and now having a third wave.

Carl said...

You can have the last word after this.
It's not about fancy or sophisticated models, it's about elementary reasoning (disease process, transmission in the community etc). Also, it's not a political or tribal exercise.
Respectfully submitted, comparing the US to other places where the "lockdown" policies were implemented in a marginally better way (places like Germany, Israel, Canada etc), the Covid-19 death rate per million population is 2-3x more elevated in the US. I really like the US but the poor performance (disease burden) is not because of too much "lockdown"...

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

You can have the last word after the following. My first name is Carl and am not a bot.
i've always admired the US and submit that you may not realize that you are about to go through similar levels of polarization as in the first years of your Republic.
One of the founding fathers i admire the most is James Madison. Despite holding strong views about federalism and the role of central government, he was able to evolve over time. And, even if he was wise and quite a reasonable man overall, he regretted, late in his life, the intensity of some exchanges. Somebody talked about this recently:
Apologies to the owner of this site for these unrelated developments.

John said...

If I read this analysis of our social, epidemiological, political, and financial status, a broad range of economic possibilities may visit us going forward and, however it goes, you've predicted it. Well done sir!

The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

The COVID good news started in mid-January 2021, before vaccines could have had more than a small effect.

Here is a portion of my COVID update article titled:

"COVID numbers and the U.S. economy -- exaggerations, truth and expectations"

at my finance and economics blog:


... "In the US (and elsewhere) COVID cases have fallen sharply since mid-January 2021.

That was mainly due to inaccurate numbers in 2020.

For COVID-19 in 2020, every positive test was called a “case”, even with no symptoms -- not the traditional medical definition of a "case".

The “second wave” was likely the result of increased testing -- more testing results in more positive tests.

US cases, deaths and hospitalizations have been going down sharply since the middle of January 2021 -- too early for the COVID vaccinations to have had more than a very small effect.

The cause was revised World Health Organization (WHO) PCR COVID testing guidelines on January 13, 2021.

WHO recommended asymptomatic positive COVID tests be repeated.

This followed WHO instructing labs to use lower cycle thresholds (CT values) for PCR tests, because values over 35 were producing too many false positives.

WHO ensured testing would produce fewer false positives.

That made it much harder to be labelled as an “asymptomatic case”.

So, we have been seeing a decline in healthy people being labelled “COVID cases”, based on false positives, from an unreliable testing process.

And that means fewer people dying of pneumonia, heart disease, cancer, or other diseases, are having “COVID-19” added to their death certificate, based on testing criteria that caused a lot of false positives" ...

Roy said...

"The COVID good news started in mid-January 2021, before vaccines could have had more than a small effect."

It rose up to mid-January due to prior cold weather + holiday season 1. people tend to stay indoor due to weather/holiday season 2. seasonality of viruses!

You can see similar patterns in European countries but because *they are not sufficiently vaccinating* they are now in a *third wave* due to new variants.

How many people have died and will die because of this blog/comments which are literally fox news level of incompetence? Enough.

If you guys get sued will you also claim that “No Reasonable Person” would have believed this nonsense?

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

Looks like HDX is vying to take JBD's spot for "most Provocative". It's funny how these comments are so CERTAIN when in reality economic prognostication is anything but.

HDX said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cliff Claven of Finance said...

I wrote:
"The COVID good news started in mid-January 2021, before vaccines could have had more than a small effect."

ROY said:
"It (COVID) rose up to mid-January due to prior cold weather + holiday season 1. people tend to stay indoor due to weather/holiday season 2. seasonality of viruses!"

My comment:
Then why would positive tests go down after mid-January -- was there a sudden heat wave, with people going outdoors to sunbathe?

Your explanation IS incompetent.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Covid went away because Joe got coronated.
At that precise moment, the seas stopped rising, the birds sang again, the virus died, and we could finally all be free again.
Every time Mitch McConnell fist bumps Barack, an angel gets his wings.

Jay, Joe and Janet gonna save us. That's all the economic "prognostication" anybody really needs, Steve.
Its a little after 2pm. Im calling a Lid.

randy said...

"Every time Mitch McConnell fist bumps Barack, an angel gets his wings."

JBD - that was genuinely funny. FWIW I'm not so hard that I fail to enjoy a Wonderful Life scene.

Johnny Bee Dawg said...

Time will tell if Bedford Falls turns into Pottersville.

Anusha Todurkar said...

A big thanks to Dr Oselumen i never believe that there still exist a real death spell caster after all this years of disappointment from the enormous spammers on the Internet who go about scamming people, until i was opportune to meet Dr Oselumen a real spell caster, through a close friend called Jennifer who Dr oselumen had helped before, when i contacted him with his email via droselumen@gmail.com i explain how my ex have been giving me problem in my marriage, he never allowed me a moment of peace, and i need to end it by killing him, and i don't want to make use of assassin because it will be risky so i needed to do it in a spiritual way that's why i decided to contact him, he assured me not to worry as i have contacted the right person at the right time, i co-operated with him and in less than a week my ex was dead, he slept and never woke up all thanks to Dr Oselumen indeed he's really a humble man. you can contact dr oselumen for any death spell, such as to kill your superior in the office and take his or her place, death spell to kill your father and inherit his wealth ,death spell to kill anyone who have scammed you in the past ,spell for increase in salaries, spell for promotion at the office, spell to get your ex lover back, if things is not working well in your life then you need to contact him now via Email droselumen@gmail. com call or add him on whatsapp +2348054265852. 

Rhonda Potter said...

I admire the work of DR AMBER that uses his spells for good. This man is a very strong Haiti Voodoo Doc who gives out numbers that can never fails. I am a winner of $200,000.00 dollars today because Dr Amber casted a lottery spell for me and I am very grateful to him for giving me the right numbers to play the lottery. Now my long awaited dream has finally come to pass and I thank Dr Amber for his help. If you need his help, you can email { amberlottotemple@yahoo.com } or call/text him with his current number +1 (808) 481-5132.

Joe Thwaite said...

I love playing the Lottery and I buy tickets every 2 weeks after I get paid. I never wanted to get greedy but I did want enough to live more comfortably. Generally, my luck is pretty terrible. I took a chance when I found a website called [ amberlottotemple.com ] that offers spells to help people. It was the best £415 Pounds I have ever spent! I had to save up for a couple of weeks to be able to afford the spell. I had the spell targeted towards the National Lottery. I heed to DR Amber instructions to buy the ticket after 3days and have faith that I would be the winner. I kept my faith very strong just as DR Amber told me to do. The next morning I got up and saw an email from the National Lottery saying, "Good news, you've won a prize". Today my wife and I are proud winners of £184,262,899.10 Million Pounds. We are here to Appreciate the good deeds of DR Amber. You can reach out to him by email .…. amberlottotemple@yahoo.com