Statistics

Coronavirus Update XX: Lockdown Madness 2.0: BIG UPDATE

All the good stuff, caveats, code, data sources and explanations are linked, some in Update III, and the most important in Update II, Update IV, Update V, Update VI, Update VII, Update VIII, Update IX, Update X, Update XI, Update XII, Update XIII, Update XIV, Update XV, XVI (doesn’t exist), Update XVII, Update XVIII, Update XIX, Estimated True Infections/Cases, Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus, and the Sanity Check Perspective, so go to them first before asking what-about-this-and-that. Skip to the bottom for the latest model. Thanks to everybody emailing me sources, including Ted Poppke, Jeff Jorgensen, Jim Fedako, Joe Bastardi, Philip Pilkington, John Buckner, Harry Goff, John Goetz, Warren McGee, Robert Kinney III, Paul Hainey, Darren Nelson. https://wmbriggs.com/post/30606/. I’m way, way behind emails.

Google this

This trick is from reader Randy Wysong. Open Google, enter any three digit number followed by new cases. Like this: 123 new cases. Quotation marks are not necessary.

Amazing!

Seems to work with four digits too! Looks like it’s from dodgy news sites, and from all times, but damn curious. Best explanation is from Adam Curry on “NO AGENDA EPISODE 1255 – ‘MASK = LOVE’“, start around 50 minutes.

It’s like we said at the very beginning: every new number is fed into the system as if it were news, and it is published as if it were news, and Google picks it up. It’s all automated. Pure propaganda and fear.

Assorted nitwitery

Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery that BLM terrorism confers coronadoom immunity. Bill de Blasio says so. De Blasio Tells Covid Contract Tracers Not to Ask Positive Cases If They’ve Attended BLM Protests.

Update: Link fixed Did somebody say conspiracy theory? Covi-pass comes close. I’m not saying it’s mark-of-the-beast or anything. But there is no earthly reason for this, no scientific justification, no sane explanation.

Putting all your health info on a chip a private company can control? And which you need to “return to work”? What could go wrong?

We All Scream

The JB Handley Blog kindly linked back to us, and has a nice breakdown of lockdown madness 2.0.

Perhaps some comfort can be had in the uniformity of the American coronadoom response. It started hysterical, proceeded to the middle phase of hysterical, and finally ended with hysterical.

This made it easy to know where you stood.

The first screech storm was to call those who warned of the virus’s origins, and who suggested curtailing travel from China, “racists”. No day went by without full-pitch roaring promises of millions of dead Americans, hospitals besieged, a medical crisis worse than Armageddon. Models said so.

The long middle full-pitch gibbering was the constant berating of those who violated lockdowns—think of that name!—people who took walks in the air, who dared get a haircut or who whined about returning to work to feed their families. Governments promised further and lengthier lockdowns if people didn’t behave themselves.

When it became obvious, even to government, that deaths were waning and the crisis subsiding, and that there was nothing much left for the caring professions to do, new screams arose that only bad people refused to wear a mask.

And, of course, the frenetic howling about “surges”, “spikes”, and “all-time highs” in new cases which followed from citizens regaining their liberty.

This was a second wave! We went right back to the first wave of hysteria, with threats of re-locking. After all, the media and politicians lectured, the surge was because of people finding their freedom and going outside.

Protest For Thee, But Not For Me

But only if they went outside to restaurants or Trump rallies. Venturing forth to riot, loot, vandalize, pillage, and “protest” conferred coronadoom immunity. No, really, that’s what the “science” showed.

Time on 13 June, only a half hour apart, ran these two headlines: “Physicians have joined protests in cities across the country, and an open letter signed by 1,200 health professionals says protests should not be shut down for fear of COVID-19 transmission,” followed by “Hundreds of far-right protesters defy COVID-19 restrictions to demonstrate in London.”

NBC News a day later ran these two headlines, a little more than an hour apart: “Rally for Black trans lives draws packed crowd to Brooklyn Museum plaza”, and “President Trump plans to rally his supporters next Saturday for the first time since most of the country was shuttered by the coronavirus. But health experts are questioning that decision.”

Newsweek on 22 June matched that feat, and ran these back-to-back stories: “‘No Evidence’ Black Lives Matter protests causes COVID-19 spike: Study”, and “Oklahoma reports highest ever daily COVID-19 cases after Trump Tulsa rally.”

This was not an unusual pattern.

We’ve Got Numbers

Nevertheless, cases did rise after lockdowns eased. A rise in cases sounds bad; at least, the media did its level worst to make it sound bad.

Is it? Well, a case (manifest illness needing or having official treatment) or an infection (just catching the bug, and no treatment needed or sought), are not as bad as a death from the bug. Here is a picture of the CDC’s official weekly COVID-19 deaths, current as of 26 June (the latest numbers available):

There is no “spike” or “surge” in deaths.

It’s important to distinguish between these official CDC deaths and media-reported deaths, which have been consistently higher by about 10% (see the Atlantic’s COVID-19 Tracking Project). As of 26 June, the CDC ascribed 109,188 deaths to coronavirus, while the media said 118,031, almost 9 thousand higher.

The CDC’s numbers are also likely too high, with some deaths with coronavirus being labeled of or caused by coronavirus. Nobody knows the extent of this overstatement, which might takes years to sort out.

What we can do instead is look at the all-cause death reports. These are the weekly counts of deaths from any cause, normalized by population, from 2009 until late June (the CDC has two official sources, which have minor differences; both are plotted here).

The spike caused by coronvirus and seasonal flu are obvious, but then so is the drop off in deaths at the end. The drop off is not as dramatic as it seems, because it takes, according to the CDC, up to eight weeks to gather all reports, though after about two weeks the counts are usually more-or-less complete. The last three weeks are indicated with black dots.

Since this graph is difficult to read, here is blow up, showing the actual counts (not per capita):

The solid line are the all-cause deaths, whereas the dashed line are the same subtracting official COVID deaths. Again, these numbers are subject to revision, but it’s clear, even with delays in reporting, the count of deaths have dropped to usual seasonal levels.

The crisis, at least with respect to deaths, appears to be over. True, deaths might surge again at some future date, but that is a trivial logical true. Deaths might also drop if people start eating better, and that is another logical truth.

On The Case

If deaths are dropping, how are “cases” rising? The infection is probably still spreading somewhat, but most “new” cases are revealed because of testing. When people were locked down, many avoided going to the doctor and hospital for non-COVID ailments. After the lockdowns eased, they returned to have their bunions checked, were given routine covoronavirus tests, and were found either to have an active or past infection. If positive (active or past), they were officially recorded. Hence the “surge” and “spike”.

The media, incidentally, is nowhere close to distinguishing between new and old cases and infections, reporting all tests as if they are new and serious.

Testing is also ramping up by official policy. For instance, the media trumpeted that Oklahoma recorded its “highest single-day increase” in cases. But they forgot to report that the state advertised free testing for that day, which led to higher than normal testing rates.

You can’t find what you didn’t test for. Even using the media’s worst-case-scenario numbers, by 27 June there were 2,498,822 reported positive tests and 119,156 deaths. That’s a death rate of 4.7%. There is no way the virus is killing 4.7% of the people it infected.

What’s happening is that most infections and cases aren’t being measured. This is not in the least unusual. Most who had the bug never had treatment, and many didn’t even know they were infected.

One study by Penn State estimated about 9 million Americans had an infection by March. The CDC says the actual number of cases are at least ten times higher than reported.

We can picture this using more careful estimates of infection and case rates got by planned surveys of testing (rather than just looking at hospital reports; details are here). The estimated true rates give an idea of the true number of infected and true cases, defined as infections needing but not necessarily receiving official treatment.

The tiny solid line at the bottom are the reported number of cases, which are now about 2.5 million (as noted above). The true number of cases are, however, anywhere from 10 to 40 million. The true number of infections are 45 to 80 million.

Increased testing is revealing some of these previously unmeasured infections and cases.

They Won’t Let The Fat Lady Sing

These numbers suggest we are close to herd immunity, the point at which spreading the disease to new people becomes difficult to impossible. The drop, and continued fall in both official COVID and all-cause deaths, also indicate we should be growing less and not more concerned.

It’s curious, then, that that media and government officials at certain localities suggest the crisis is growing worse.

These people tell us routinely how smart they are, meaning they must know the statistics shown in graphs like those above. Why they are selling a message opposite of what the data tells us is therefore an open question, which I’ll let the reader answer.

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Categories: Statistics

24 replies »

  1. It really is mass hysteria and mask requirements really are loyalty badges. It’s all designed to keep people agitated and uneasy in advance one November and anyone refusing to play along is being ostracized by their own government.

    In some counties in Texas they decided to co-opt business owners and turn them into enforcers of the state ideology.

    “You don’t agree with us that it’s worth panicking about? Then you can’t engage in commerce [, Comrade]. Only good citizens may go into the grocery store to buy milk or into the drugstore to buy medicine. Only good citizens may go into the government office to renew their car registration, so therefore only good citizens can avoid a citation if their registration expires. Put on the mask and you will become a good citizen and have these privileges, too.”

    Those of us living in reality land are dissidents and we are being punished for our wrongthink.

  2. No, no, no. We NEVER need another lockdown. Those magic, 100% effective, save-us-all masks are all we need. All the cool guys say that—Fauci, Biden, Cuomo. ONLY MASKS. NEVER ANOTHER LOCKDOWN. Remember that should any worm try and weasel out of the SCIENCE of the matter. You heard it from THEM.

    Forget the Covi-pass conspiracy crap. We heard it with social security numbers and all kinds of other crap. My former neighbor refused to sign those credit card machines at the checkout, claiming that was the mark of the beast. Besides, the mark of the beast is sexual and there’s no doubt who’s wearing it. NO doubt at all. (Whether the beast is actually here or not, we don’t know.)

    American response to everything for the last four years has been “hysteria”. Covid is no different.

    Again, I remind you Sars-Cov-2 is a virus, Covid 19 is a communist political tactic.

    Again, science is DEAD and has been for a very long time.

    As for cases after rallies, you have to wait TWO WEEKS to be sure. Anything claimed to be the rally sooner than two days after and most likely a week is just gibberish by lying, horrid creatures who hate humans.

    Those-who-are-our-superiors return to the lie they started over and over. The lockdown was to FLATTEN THE CURVE, not to STOP THE CASES. Yet the media lies and lies and lies and lies (sorry, got into the moment there) and pretended it would stop the cases. How those demons hate human beings.

    Testing should NEVER EVER EVER have been done. Testing is a political tool to mark people, control people and scare people. Yet stupid, stupid, stupid Americans jumped right in and are now totally tagged and bagged. I guess stupid people deserve this…..
    (On the other hand, at least the people with half a brain know we were lied to as to the death rate.)

    They will let the fat lady sing when the replacement fat lady shows up to take over.

  3. Sheri:

    No one has challenged me yet, although I’ve only been forced to do it twice: once at the UPS Store and once at the car dealership, where both times I had no alternative but to put it on to get my business done when there were no alternatives (like curbside grocery shopping).

    Both of my messages were fairly “polite” but still got stares. One message was about forced humiliation and the other was about Covid being a hoax. I have some others that are more outrageous, naming “useful idiots” personally calling out politicians, but my good manners makes me reluctant to full on go out and start a fight over it.

    Once with

  4. I live in NJ. Our governor literally just closed indoor dining again after opening it.

    Why?

    He thought not enough people were social distancing or using masks.

    Madness.

  5. “As of 26 June, the CDC ascribed 109,188 deaths to coronavirus, while the media said 118,031, almost 9 thousand higher.”

    You know better, CDC reports are a week behind.

    And whatever number they end up with will not be the final number

    Models

    The 2017-2018 flu season was originally reported by the CDC as 80,000 deaths. Later in October? of 2018, the CDC downgraded the flu deaths to 61,000 (only a 37% participation rate in flu shots that year – assuming they got the “cocktail” right)

  6. JR: So far I have not had to wear a mask. Considering I have difficulty breathing in the first place, I’m not happy with the idea, though as I mentioned before, I have some very porous fabric that looks so cool. No one will notice.

    I truly intend to label the masks appropriately, though not enough to start a civil war, unless that seems necessary……..(I have cactus fabric and actual cactuses in the yard. I’m considering a hybrid, with real cactus spikes on the mask to encourage social distancing!!)

    Sad that we have all become lemmings or have a gun to our head courtesy of the people who want us to buy from them. My purchasing has dropped by 75% or more and I don’t care if the economy ever comes back if I am to be treated like a slave to the government just so I can buy something I don’t need and frankly no longer want. Make me a slave, I cut off the cash flow.

  7. I think I’ve read all these posts but may have missed one so if this was addressed and I missed it, sorry! Is there ANY evidence that singing spread Covid? Not the theory — evidence. Surely if this were the case, giving the huge numbers of choirs and singing groups around the world, there would be evidence that this is an inherently dangerous Choir Killing activity. I haven’t seen any, yet group singing is outlawed all over the place.

  8. I don’t think that news agencies expect to be convincing anyone of anything anymore. It is all ritual statements designed to publicly demonstrate your commitment to the new order.

    Take that Newsweek tweet. It directly quotes the article that says that cases had been increasing steadily from June 1 to June 21, and that what was worrying was the 7 day average. So obviously that increase would have a lot to do with a high 7 day average on June 22. And since there is an incubation period for the disease and people are obviously not getting tested immediately after leaving the rally, you wouldn’t see an increase from the rally on June 22 even if it DID lead to lots of people getting sick.

    But wait, it gets better. If you actually go to the article from the tweet:

    https://www.newsweek.com/oklahoma-reports-highest-ever-daily-covid-19-cases-after-trump-tulsa-rally-1512486

    you’ll find that it was written before the rally and only includes information up to June 21. So they are literally blaming the rally for things that happened BEFORE the rally even took place.

    There is no way that this is meant to convince anyone of anything. It has to be intentionally false as a humiliation ritual to get people to display their allegiance to the holy narrative.

  9. Slight correction: I got the dates wrong. I thought the rally was on the 22, but I guess it was on the 20. So it’s not quite as bad as I thought, though my analysis is still largely accurate: there’s no way that people could have gotten sick at the rally and gotten tested in only one day, and the article makes it quite clear that they are looking at a 7 day rolling average of a statistic that was increasing long before the rally. Still something that is obviously false.

  10. Sheri,
    Why do you say this:
    “Those-who-are-our-superiors return to the lie they started over and over. The lockdown was to FLATTEN THE CURVE, not to STOP THE CASES.”

    Is this the claim “lockdowns don’t work” again?

    The fact about locking down or taking measures to restrict in person social activity, in any similar epidemic, is that the occurrence of cases falls over a longer period of time rather than in a narrow time window. That is what the methodology is known to do and it isn’t controversial except because covid 19 is now a political hot potato.

    Science is not dead. People just aren’t telling the truth and others are repeating lies unwittingly or on purpose in a noisy mixture. The media is all over the science community like a rash. The other side comes along and exaggerates until there’s such a din it’s like the teacher’s given out the percussion instruments!

    The strict social distancing measures such as were seen enforced stringently in China and less so everywhere else, are a response to an epidemic that IS or is JUDGED “out of control” enough to be managed by routine methods which are carried out for other more serious infectious diseases as they occur.

    That people think the disease is a hoax is a shame. It clearly exists. People are clearly dying of something.
    The response from media and the political groups around the world are definitely dishonest and blatantly so.

    The real argument is about individual freedom and responsibility. Which is a political debate. Covid is an excuse to introduce political change of all kinds. Rent a mob will always be at the ready it’s just that the media class and those losing political power are now all on the same page.

    Where you and I definitely disagree, Sheri, is that they are losing. I say they are on a losing wicket. It’s just a matter of time.
    ~~~
    Regarding the Johns Hopkins numbers:

    Discovered yesterday that one of JHU’s professors has interests in “Bloomberg philanthropy” and in some kind of covid awareness work.

    Follow the money…now makes a little more sense why they became involved in Eurovision covid contest.

    Bloomberg’s been the UK’s enemy for years. They are pro EU, pro Germany, pro climage in their reporting in my reckoning…Can’t stand that the UK’s out of the box they prepared earlier.

    Some very filthy rich people around the globe are going to loose a hell of a lot of money unless they can control, or try to, the flow of good information until they’ve shifted their own financial liabilities.

    Then, watch the subject change and climage be dropped like a stone for something “newer”; maybe even truer, but not necessarily because they’ve discovered the truth but because they’re being forced to follow those who know better (While pretending to be leading in the ideas department )

    If it’s a bad idea, ‘they’ can’t make everybody invest forever. The wheels fall off eventually.
    ~~~
    Maurice Strong moved to China…

  11. Rudolph Harrier: There is no way that this is meant to convince anyone of anything. It has to be intentionally false as a humiliation ritual to get people to display their allegiance to the holy narrative.

    Theodore Dalrymple: In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

  12. According to medical experts, the time from contact with an infected person to symptoms averages 4-5 days. The time from symptoms to death averages 11-18 days. So the average time from contact to death is about 23 days.

    According to the CDC, 10 times more Americans have been infected than confirmed cases. And therefore many more people had current infections than widely understood, when….

    On 5/26, protests erupted across America. By 5/30, millions of Americans had completely abandoned any notion of social distancing to launch protests in over 2,000 North American cities that lasted hours, days, and weeks.

    Despite all this, and despite being well past 23 days since those protests started, the rate of deaths per day continues to decline, and the 7 day average is over 40% lower than it was on 5/26.

    So my question is, how can it be true that universal social distancing saves lives and that ignoring universal social distancing results in no increase in deaths?

    Any help is appreciated.

  13. Thank you for the link, John B,
    I read as far as the storm troopers, have three A4 pages but think there’s got to be a quicker way to respond. That’s another reason why I put myself through this nonsense, it helps me organise my thoughts in writing.

    Right now, it looks like people are just missing the point accidentally on purpose because they’re in a political row.

    I’m not sure why you think I should have read that piece since it’s all been discussed way back in the early spring and what he’s claiming is not what was claimed by experts and politicians over here and therefore over there (since it’s obvious both countries have been comparing notes while pretending not to). What Trump knows, ours know and vice versa. What is known about basic life support and medical management of respiratory conditions isn’t controversial either.

    “where he’s coming from”
    is from a position of political bias without a background in medicine or healthcare provision.

    I’ll think about responding to each “fact”, it’s important.
    Seems our man Handley could just have listened to Chris Whitty for an hour back in March and have learned the extent of knowledge of infectious disease control in general principle and he’d have been able to see the wood for the trees.

    It’s a nicely written piece and he’s included links, which I didn’t click but assume he’s providing back up for what he’s saying. Trouble is, what he’s saying isn’t necessarily argued except by those with an interest in pushing restrictive measure on people for no reason.

    P.s. I gave up trying to convince people who have already made up their mind about things. What interests me is why they conclude (in my view) wrongly. If that can be discovered, people might get somewhere.

  14. Joy : That’s another reason why I put myself through this nonsense, it helps me organise my thoughts in writing.

    It shows, you are getting better at expressing yourself

  15. John B
    If Handley’s around tell him not to take no notice

    Just a few thoughts: It’s from 30/05/20 of course, which might explain some of the points of “contention contention”
    Regarding fact 1: The Infection Fatality Rate for COVID-19 was predicted correctly, with a degree of certainty by our CMO and Science advisor to be lower than 1 percent and possibly much lower. So decisions weren’t based on an exaggeration there.
    It’s common with new diseases to think the rate is higher because the cases are not all measured. Affecting the denominator. Similarly thinking there’s an epidemic or increase of something because testing becomes more sensitive or widespread. Why would a thinking person think that quality medical staff and science advisors would miss this point? It’s a very low bar to be measuring experts against.
    Re “same as for seasonal flu”: It is not the fact that the rate is the same or even similar that is as important as that there is no cure and was no therapies or treatments established to work. It wasn’t behaving like flu, either. That is one of the points lost on the skeptics, it seems.
    Numbers will naturally be far higher: no cure, no herd immunity. Just as with Spanish Flu, potentially, the death figure was huge because the population infected / cases were large.
    “Is that acceptable” was the question.

    On Fact 2: Mortality risk factors were known from the Chinese numbers back in March from case fatality numbers. If it needed restating in May, it’s because media rumours were saying otherwise, probably.

    On Fact 3: Asymptomatic spread:
    People who eventually become ill with covid are usually asymptomatic for five days but CAN be up to fourteen days before they test positive. During that time they are ignorant of the fact that when they cough or breathe into someone’s face for a while, they might be spreading the disease. “symptomatic” is also subjective, it can take someone a while to even notice! This is why it is assumed that household members WILL generally spread it to each other unless they’re quite lucky.

    The argument reopened by the slow WHO, was about asymptomatic cases, where no symptoms occur at all. That is said to be a lower number than originally hoped. Not good news, more asymptomatic cases, more herd immunity.
    Thanks again for the link.
    He’s right about Sweden’s approach being as it was back then but they’ve since altered with benefit of hindsight. It’s that countries thought they COULD treat it like flu, to start with, that things went wrong. If it were really like a new flu, lockdown wouldn’t have been necessary. Each country in turn thought they knew better than the one before, that’s how I read it. China could have been more helpful. The Chinese Drs were very helpful when they were allowed…because they’re medics.

  16. “The CDC’s numbers are also likely too high, with some deaths with coronavirus being labeled of or caused by coronavirus. Nobody knows the extent of this overstatement, which might takes years to sort out.”

    Or it might be sorted out right now. A webinar of European pathologists conclude that “No one has died from the coronavirus”.

    https://off-guardian.org/2020/07/02/no-one-has-died-from-the-coronavirus-president-of-the-bulgarian-pathology-association/

  17. Let me guess, they died “with” coronavirus and “of” such things as pulmonary embolism, pulmonary failure, cardiac arrest, multi organ failure, sepsis, kidney failure, or “old age”, and on and on.
    That’s why age adjusted all cause mortality is the comparison which almost everybody agrees is the way to tell the full extent of the virus.

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