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

May 18th US Covid Data

More slow decline.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – May 17, 2020


May 19th US Covid Data


  1. bruce wilder

    I do not know how to fit the data to a story. New York/New Jersey peaked at a catastrophic rate and fell off. California has continued a slow but apparently steady rise in the number of cases to a rate of around 2,000 new cases per day.

    Maybe there is a story of how the virus spreads that can take full account of both cases, but I cannot quite see how.

    Also, with reports that pet cats and dogs pick up the virus, it hard to see how the virus is not already endemic.

  2. Hugh

    Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine. He’s an idiot, but what is interesting about this is that he needed a physician’s prescription for it. And prescribing hydroxychloroquine, a drug with significant side effects and no proven benefit, and to do so prophylactically, that is giving it to someone who has not tested positive for the virus, is malpractice.

  3. Hugh

    One number to keep in mind is 116,516, the number of US deaths in the First World War. Trump looks well on his way to being deadlier to the US than all but two of its wars, –and doing it in record time.

  4. Zachary Smith

    Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine.

    I love the way you phrase that. The Orange POTUS could be lying – as he does with just about everything else. He could also be shaking out a pill from a bottle labeled “Hydroxychloroquine”, but Ivanka might have made sure he is actually taking a Lactose placebo. This would permit her 1) not to lose a father and/or 2) to maintain a wonderful grifting operation.

    Regarding the doctor, I’d imagine he could – in good conscience – give Trump the real McCoy while justifying his action by saying to himself DC was a notorious swamp, and he is really protecting Trump from any stray malaria mosquitoes which might find their way into the rose garden.

    Now if Trump really wants to practice what he preaches, let the guy hold a huge weekly rally where all his favorite Denier Rednecks crowd around him yelling and screaming how he is the Greatest Ever. No Masks Allowed! Hit that handshake line hard!

  5. krake


    I think thing’s will be clearer in 3 to 5 weeks, assuming a new spike from the widespread institutional impatience with prevention and prophylaxis.


    Perhaps c-19 torched through NY and NJ’s most vulnerable, most densely compacted populations, hence the horrible crescendo of death.

    Mass has been following a similar trend, about 3 weeks behind, and PA is rising now – but with less dense pop concentrations, their curves haven’t risen as precipitously as NY and NJ?

    The other city with pop density similar to NYC is SF, but its leadership did not deblasiate, or face a half decade of cuomizing reduction in beds, stockpikes and consolidation. (See the ProPublica story comparing NYC to SF.)

  6. bruce wilder

    population density certainly has something to with it. I am still puzzling over that platonic ideal, R0 The reproduction rate has to be lower in a less densely populated, less touchy feely culture. Centrality in the global network of travel and population exchange must matter, too. Iran, I suppose, just had bad luck and unfortunate religious rituals, but Belgium, New York, Moscow and London pay for their airline schedules. Ah, to be remote, or an island! Especially a warm island!

    I cannot reject the hypothesis that U.S. lockdowns could only be decisively effective if almost unimaginably early. Too late and the virus is like a grass fire spreading out in the vast open meadow of the U.S. There no barriers, no easy choke points with which to isolate. People will react if some dense, dry clump here or there burns brightly, but basically the disease will just continue to reproduce at a rate just above 1 until a sufficient percentage of the susceptible have at least some temporary immunity.

    I can well imagine the news media will find numerous stories of clusters of contagion: an unsuspecting Angel of Death at a business conference or a grocery store or among college-age party-goers on a possibly “underground scene”. But for all the drama, unless the weather is a much bigger factor than is currently apparent, it will settle into a long slog. The virus may well evolve to become less lethal, more commonly the cause of only mild symptoms.


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