The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

April 1st US Covid-19 Data

Courtesy of our benefactor. Death rate continues to climb. The best practice death rate seems to be about 1%, this is 2.1%, but much of that may be due to under-counting cases given the lack of testing. Deaths will also be under-counts, but not as much as infections.

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The Terrible Impulse to Rally Around Bad Leaders in a Crisis


April 2nd US Covid-19 Update


  1. bruce wilder

    The daily increase which has been rising since late February is now around 75,000 — almost as many new cases in a day (!) as China now reports as recovered.

    We had a chance to stop this and U.S. authorities blew it.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Almost everyone outside Asia did. We’re corrupt and decadent.

  3. My Pillow

    I\’m not buying Chris Cuomo tested positive for the virus. He may have, but until I see the proof, I\’m not buying it. He and his brother are leveraging this crisis for maximum political gain and using it as a political power grab. In fact, everyone who is someone is gaming this crisis in one way or another (the congressional \”stimulus\” package was an enrichment scheme by the already fabulously wealthy so they can now be even more fabulously wealthy as pretty soon people will be dropping like flies on the sidewalks) and that\’s precisely why American deaths will number in the millions versus tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. It\’s as though the goal is to maximize American deaths. Every action taken, and every action not taken, is in furtherance of the goal of maximum deaths. It\’s an inarguable assertion. It\’s obvious on the face of it. This goes beyond incompetence. This is mass murder.

    So many in the media are lying and misinforming about this virus and its effects and implications. The model the WH is using to arrive at 100,000 to 240,000 deaths assumes comprehensive mitigation, so these numbers are the low end. There is no comprehensive mitigation in place and there never will be. Therefore, the 240,000 deaths are the low end if everything is done right, whatever right is in this regard.

    Yes, Trump and Fauci and Birx are lying, but so too is the media as they bend over backwards trying to prop up the insane flailing Trump and make him somehow seem legitimate (\”Donald Trump is finally realizing how serious this really is,\” they are now saying). The media is misreporting the message from the modeling and claiming the 240,000 is what the number of deaths will be. Fauci, even though he is using this model from Washington state, is contradicting it by saying the 240,000 is the most deaths America will experience and if comprehensive mitigation is implemented now, the deaths will be much less. That\’s not what the model says so you can\’t use the model if you do not accept its parameters. Fauci is a liar. He has no credibility and yet he is heralded as some kind of noble saint. He is a coward and a fraud and he deserves to have his ass kicked to the point he can never walk again.

  4. Dan Lynch

    The global fatality rate for all cases is currently 5%, based on the data at the worldometers site.

    But … more telling, I think, is that the global fatality rate for *closed* cases is 19%. Pay attention to that number because all cases will eventually close.

    As for data error due to not testing everyone, there has never, ever been an epidemic or even an ordinary flu where 100% of cases were tested. I suspect coronavirus is the most tested flu ever. Realistically, only seriously ill people are getting tested, so you might interpret the data as the “fatality rate for seriously ill people.” Fair enough. But that is no different than ordinary flu, and no different than the Spanish flu, so it is an apples to apples comparison.

  5. My Pillow

    This sums it up perfectly, doncha think? It\’s from Cormack McCarthy\’s Outer Dark, except in this case I\’d say there is no distinction of dark, meaning there is no outer versus inner versus anything else; \”As a matter of fact, it\’s all dark.\”

    Hey, she said.

    Hey yourself

    She was watching him go on. You ain\’t a doctor are ye? she called after him.

    He stopped and looked back. No, he said. A lawyer. I get the winners, he gets the losers.

    As doctors and nurses and all manner of healthcare workers not only get the losers but the losing end of the stick, as this virus and its lack of an effective response annihilates the healthcare system in America that was already on intractable shaky ground, the lawyers, which is pretty much the entirety of D.C., get the winners and the win.

    But, thankfully, it\’s a pyrrhic victory. See, as the wise adage goes, every dark (outer and otherwise) cloud has a silver lining.

  6. Stirling S Newberry

    What we had to do is convince people that ultra-neoliberal economy caused the great pandemic, in that it decided to pay for the consequences not pay for the preventative measures. This works extremely well when the consequences do not happen, but it is a serious toll when they do. But the neoconservative and neoliberal of the for consequence not pay for effective measures has a real cost, and that could be you.

  7. Collected the premiums with no intent to ever pay the claim.

  8. From Michael Coudrey’s twitter feed:

    The national task force in India has just recommended doctors begin taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic to help protect their healthcare workers against coronavirus infection.

    Healthcare workers in the United States should be able to do the same.

    I intubate Covid+ patients, and neither my hospital,
    @Safeway or @Walgreens will let me self-prescribe OH-chloroquine to protect myself. If I don’t get some by the start of next week, I will stop treating these patients.


    I hate to say it, but I agree with Michael. Somebody needs to hit the federal government over the head with a 2×4. If they were doing everything possible to meet current and expected needs, then I might feel differently.

  9. Other news from Michael Coudrey’s twitter feed:

    “Gov. Whitmer of Michigan reverses course on coronavirus drugs and is now asking the federal government for hydroxychloroquine.”

    link to: “Italy Finally Starts Mass Treatments with Hydroxychloroquine”

    “The national task force in India has just recommended doctors begin taking hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic to help protect their healthcare workers against coronavirus infection.”

  10. Astrid

    As this article linked below shows, the US hospitals and governments are not serious about acquiring PPEs for their staff. Couple that with firings for whistleblowing or refusal to work without PPEs, all while the administrators are safely ensconced in teleworking from vacation homes, “working hard on over 400 emails a day”.

    The up to now privileged health care workers are learning that they’re as expendable as Amazon warehouse workers or Instacart gigsters. But I’m not holding my breath that they’ll learn anything else from the experience. After all, the approval rates for Trump and Biden are apparently overwhelming, and Pompeo is all ready to go with wars with Iran and Venezuela.

    People…are the worst.

  11. Astrid

    This far, the evidence of Hydroxychloroquine hurting people (from misuse and accidental OD) are far stronger than any evidence of clinical usefulness. The 2 trials are both very small and poorly conducted, and the French one was led by a known academic fraudster.

    I guess better data will be generated soon. Hope it is actually useful.

  12. Aqua Lung

    The system thinks My Pillow is spam, so, so much for that. Aqua Lung is equally as pertinent & appropriate.

    About those unemployment benefits. Word from the street, or this street per my daughter who is a bartender working her way through college (wildlife biology) who\’s been furloughed, is the state is automatically putting the money on debit cards and not giving you a choice even though per the screen it appears you get a choice of debit card or direct deposit. Those who choose direct deposit are still getting their money by debit card instead.

    Why does this matter? Because it goes to show that the graft and endemic corruption have no line in the sand. Everything and anything will be exploited and gamed, including unemployment benefits. See, the debit cards charge a fee for pretty much everything you want to do with the card, especially if you need to pay bills with it like the rent or the utilities or a car payment or tuition or you name it.

    The system is evil incarnate and the virus has exposed its pervasive insidiousness to the viral light of day.

    Nothing short of a bloody revolution will change the trajectory. Politics won\’t and can\’t get it done. It\’s a large part of the reason we\’re in this mess. We know that now. I\’ve known it for a while now, in fact. Even a revolution is no guarantee, but it\’s the only option left. Otherwise, they, and we know who they are, will kill us all with extreme prejudice. If this latest crisis isn\’t proof of their intent, no further proof need be provided. In otherwords, it\’s all the proof we need.

  13. I want everyone around here who’s ever had a comment go into moderation to take note: all you gotta’ do to get around it is change your nym.

    The need for Revolution has been agreed upon here for many moons, the topic at hand is what are we to do on the other side of it?

  14. Ian Welsh

    Aqua lung went into moderation, so no, that’s not all you need to do.

  15. Ché Pasa

    The Revolution should certainly come this time, especially as systems deteriorate and collapse, but so far, there’s no sign of it in the English speaking world, and scant signs elsewhere. Some grumbling among the rabble at the increasing inconvenience and death load, but it hasn’t reached critical mass anywhere. Yet.

    Leadership nearly everywhere is atrocious. The US may have the worst leadership under the circumstances, and underlying it is the necessity to please corporate/financial interests first and foremost and flatter Himself constantly. It’s not so much that the skills aren’t there to do better, it’s that the will isn’t there.

    The health care screw ups we keep hearing about, from lack of preparation and supplies, to threats against doctors and nurses for speaking out, to the endless litanies of death and despair in the ERs and ICUs are due almost entirely to the financialisation of health care and the insertion of an administrative and extractive class into the higher eschelons of the industry. It’s all about the money, who gets it, and how much. The actual care component is an expense, and must be, will be, limited. No matter what. It isn’t just insurance that does this, so do the hospital cartels and the government that serves them.

    It’s a situation that won’t change via politics and elections. But there are some opportunities for localities to seize closed hospitals and — somehow — operate them. That’s where the Revolution falters: how will seized hospitals operate when the system in place will deny them everything they need — from supplies to personnel to food and water and electricity? This goes for any and everyone who would rebel.

    Whatcha gonna do?

  16. Mark Pontin

    Stirling N. wrote: ‘What we had to do is convince people that ultra-neoliberal economy caused the great pandemic, in that it decided to pay for the consequences not pay for the preventative measures.’

    Oh, the ultra-neoliberal economy caused the pandemic far more directly than by just not paying for preventative measures.

    It’s the expanded (and brittle) global supply-chains that enabled the global spread of COV19. And it’s the financiers, corporate managers, and politicians from Clinton onwards who deliberately _chose_ and actively worked to offshore millions of manufacturing jobs to places like China and to create the accompanying global supply-chains so as enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of the population.

  17. Aqua Lung

    Paper or plastic? Heavy hand or empty hand? These seem to be our choices until, or if, a revolt changes the equation — for the better. The heavy hand, at least as far as this crazy unprecedented virus is concerned, saves more lives. Its a utilitarian approach. Individual rights and libertarianism are sacrificed for the greater good even if that sacrifice must be violently coerced. The empty hand is the losing hand all the way around. Its the Hobbesian approach and in the face of a pandemic, its sure to collapse a society that is predicated on greed and avarice and every man for himself. Not that such a society could stand for too long either way and not that such an arrangement has any business being referred to as a society, but surely a pandemic will hasten the inevitability of the collapse of such an arrangement. The heavy hand is the far better bet in weathering this viral storm. The empty hand is massive death. America is the empty hand. China is the heavy hand.

  18. Stormcrow


    How is your friend calculating doubling time?

    Here’s how I’m doing it.

    Assume exponential growth between yesterday (t=0) and today (t=1).

    Define c(t)≡confirmed cases for day t.

    Then c(t) = Keᵃᵗ = K2ᵇᵗ, for constants K, a, and b.

    a and b, of course, are related; if we have one we can easily get the other.

    Doubling time will be 1/b, once we have b.

    Calculate a from c(t)=Keᵃᵗ by taking the derivative and dividing it by c(t):

    c'(t)/c(t) = Kaeᵃᵗ/Keᵃᵗ = a

    Get b from a by rewriting the doubling version of exponential growth:

    c(t) = K2ᵇᵗ = K(e ˡⁿ⁽²⁾)ᵇᵗ, since x = eˡⁿ⁽ˣ⁾ by the definition of the natural log function.


    c(t) = K(e ˡⁿ⁽²⁾)ᵇᵗ = Keᵃᵗ
    ⇒ ln(2)b = a
    ⇒ b = a/ln(2) = c'(t)/(ln(2)*c(t))
    ⇒ doubling time 1/b = (ln(2)*c(t))/c'(t)

    Now our data is discrete points, not a continuous function, so we must approximate the derivative at t = 1. I’ll do this by the divided difference:

    c'(t=1) ≅ [c(t=1)-c(t=0)]/[t₁-t₀]

    Time difference between adjacent data points is 1 day, so t₁-t₀ = 1.

    Approximate c between c(t=0) and c(t=1) by the average ½[c(t=0) + c(t=1)]

    So here’s the final approximation, in terms of the data points:

    Doubling time ≅ln(2)*[c(t=0) + c(t=1)]/2*[c(t=1)-c(t=0)]

    Here’s what I’m getting with your dataset:

    date cases doubling estimate
    3/24/2020 46319
    3/25/2020 55060 4.0
    3/26/2020 69015 3.1
    3/27/2020 85788 3.2
    3/28/2020 104543 3.5
    3/29/2020 124357 4.0
    3/30/2020 142720 5.0
    3/31/2020 164226 4.9
    4/1/2020 189018 4.9

  19. Mark Pontin

    Latest Matt Stoller —

    How Bad Antitrust Enforcers Kill People: How A Merger Killed the Ventilator Market

    ‘There are a lot of lessons here. The first is don’t allow illegal mergers to consolidate power over product markets. The second is don’t let consolidation happen throughout industries in general. And the third is make sure that when the government pays for research and development, it can serve as a latent competitive threat if its contractors get bought out.’

  20. Stirling S Newberry

    “It’s the expanded (and brittle) global supply-chains that enabled the global spread of COV19”

    The long chains are part of not paying the prevention.

  21. Zachary Smith

    One of the themes we’re going to be hearing about is how Poor Trump was so distracted by the Impeachment that he couldn’t do the job of “Presidenting”. It’s nonsense, but what else can the Trump Fluffers say as the death count mounts. The first of my links is a left-wing blogger who tears the argument to pieces.

    The second one is to the very Right Wing National Review, and while they are a little more polite and dance around quite a lot, they also shred the “distraction” thing.

    Third, a president can reasonably be held responsible for doing his job in full even during an impeachment. It was entirely within his power to cut back on tweeting and cable viewing to take in a few more briefings about public health.

    Trump didn’t have to make stupid “tweet” at all hours. He didn’t have to watch the Fox channels during the time he ought to have been doing that “Presidenting” stuff.

    Finally, an observation of my own. Trump was hardly ever even pretending to be on the job. He was going to his trademark rallies to hear the clueless faithful scream how much they love him. Then there were the golfing trips to Florida. The link’s last recorded visit was March 8, 2020!

    Cost to Taxpayer: About $133,000,000** (since taking office)

    Can you imagine how many N95 masks could have been bought for that kind of money?

    This won’t fly if Pelosi and the DNC and the Clintonistas agree to keep quiet about it. They just might do that – Trump has been a generally wonderful president from the viewpoint of those groups and their Billionaire Backers.

    On the flip side, it could be the GOP will use this stuff to throw Trump to the wolves. Weak, puny defenses would permit that. I could see this happening if the Democrats field Biden with a good, solid Neocon/Corporate hack as VP. Heck, the GOP might be trading up on such a swap. That’s the way it worked out in 2008 when Obama came in to replace the Codpiece Commander. BHO immediately became the Savior of the Billionaire Class. And the “2020” new guys with the “D” on their hats just might “whack” Iran. (chorus of Glory, Hallelujah from the Apartheid State)
    Yeah, this could also happen.

  22. Mark Pontin

    Stirling N. wrote: ‘The long chains are part of not paying the prevention.’

    We can debate this. But it seems to me the primary and _ongoing_ harms such chains create are:
    [a] labor arbitrage that immiserate millions of workers in the developed countries by moving overseas the livelihoods they and their parents would once have had and;
    [b] massive inefficiencies and ramped-up release of hydrocarbons as products cross oceans in container ships several times before they’re fully assembled and sold.

    These are implicit, built-in, and permanently ongoing costs that the rest of us and the planet itself must bear as long as these global supply-chains continue their operation. Neoliberalism actively intended the rest of us to bear those costs so capitalists could make greater profits.

    By contrast, COV19 is a one-time accident that’s also impinged on corporate profits for once and whose costs capitalists never intended to bear.

  23. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    If I understand your analysis correctly, it is that the Republicans will sacrifice Trump to let Biden and a pro OverClass VP win the election. That could well be what the Republican Inner Party is thinking.

    Meanwhile, the Democratic Party wants to throw the election to Trump.

    It seems the two parties both want to lose. Both can’t lose. One will be forced to eat a Pyrrhic Victory.

  24. Zachary Smith

    I’d prefer to phrase it as the Billionaires not caring who wins so long as the candidate is either Trump or his “D” clone. Nobody except most of us peasants is wanting anybody resembling Sanders in the White House.

    As things stand now, “we-the-people” lose no matter what happens this November.

  25. gnokgnoh

    I much prefer the cyclical view that Ian references in his post – the three to four generation cycle of growth, flourishing, decadence, and death. An idealistic, fantastical view of nobility is exactly that. I don’t buy that ideal, full stop. Noblesse oblige was in my history classes typically stated with sarcasm and spittle.

  26. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    That too is a way to look at it. If a critical tipping-point mass-load of “we-the-people” decide to SEE that we have lost no matter what ends up happening this November, then that critical tipping-point mass-load of “we-the-people” will have gained some wisdom.

    In which case, will that wisdom be regarded as an invitation to world-weary fatalism and resignation? Or will it be regarded as a lever to pry events around if we can find a proper fulcrum ( fulcrums) for that lever? And also, might we view that wisdom as being a tire iron for smashing any kneecaps-of-opportunity which may present themselves?

    Perhaps someone will re-write the famous old ” Acres Of Diamonds” speech as ” Acres Of Tire Irons”. There are tire irons lying on the ground all about us, waiting for us to pick them up and use them. The System has a thousand kneecaps. There is a tire iron for every kneecap, and a kneecap for every tire iron. The System Lords can’t protect all the kneecaps at once.

  27. It has been argued that our economic system itself has much responsibility for creating the virus and/or injecting its hunter-killer form into the population:

    Don’t know about this, but it is certainly true that factory farming is the dominant reason why we are losing antibiotics.

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