Coronavirus Trends Show a Glimmer of Hope

Mish

New deaths took a big jump on Tuesday but my charts show some positive trends.

Coronavirus Deaths Spike

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There was a lot of chatter yesterday over the "unexpected" surge in deaths.

But here's the deal: As discussed previously, cumulative deaths follow cumulative hospitalizations, with a lag of about a week.

Thus my lead chart was no surprise to me.

Today I added Microsoft Excel generated curves. There was nothing scientific about what I did. Rather I displayed quite a bit of bias on the polynomial death trend, seeking a curve that looked right to me.

Assuming the poly curve is in the ballpark, we are looking at 80,000 to 120,000 deaths,

However, we are not out of the wood just yet as New York heavily influences the lead chart.

New York Coronavirus Cases

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Despite a surge in New York cases, all of the charts show flattening action. But other states like Florida, Louisiana and Illinois may be picking up steam.

Good News

Containment is working. This current death rate pickup will not last. That is what the charts suggest.

Yet, as expected and predicted, the "I Told You So" crowd is congratulating itself on repeated nonsense this is Just Like the Flu.

The fact is, these death counts and hospitalizations are this low only because containment efforts worked even better than projected.

Why the Surprise?

Eliminate social contact and the R0 (rate of person-to-person spreading ) will collapse. And so it did.

But although the rate of spreading will soon peak and turn lower, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths will keep rising due to the huge number of people already carrying the disease with no symptoms.

Rear View Mirror Analysis

Deaths are the rear view mirror.

The flattening of the curve is the future and it may turn down by the end of the April or Mid-May even as deaths still keep piling on.

This is expected and good news.

Economic Front

The containment effort shows promise. Unfortunately, the economic front is way lagging.

In particular, I estimate the unemployment rate will hit 20% in April.

If the rate does do not get that high, the most likely explanation is an enormous increase in part-time work, with employers spreading the work around an cutting hours down to almost nothing.

For details, please see How High Will the Unemployment Rate Rise in April?

And because of the economic damage to households, the Covid-19 Recession Will Be Deeper Than the Great Financial Crisis

Please Look forward to the time you can freely travel about, just don't expect things to ever be like they were as discussed in Nothing is Working Now: What's Next for America?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (80)
No. 1-20
thankyoumrdata
thankyoumrdata

I owe this group an "I was wrong." Someone estimated 150,000 COVID deaths in the USA and I opined that was too high by a factor of 100. That person was clearly close to correct. I really missed on how spoiled Americans would be; how Americans would prefer misinformation to correct information until things got really bad; how many Americans would make bad decisions for as long as they could (and continue to do so). I failed to predict human nature rather than believe the truth about us; I should have known better.

That being said I've mostly stopped reading and sharing in comment threads. I barely have time to read all of the new COVID-19 information that comes out every day to take care of my patients. (Also, when you share honestly in comment threads, random people show up on the Internet to insult you. I can take it, but who has the time for that nonsense. I have a full boat and communities with mutual respect to use up all my communication time every day.)

It is a tragedy. I am taking care of dying patients on ventilators on a near-daily basis so I will go back to that. I wish you all the best and thank Mish for regularly doing his best to inform us ahead of the curve. Good luck all.

IanMorris
IanMorris

Do you believe social distancing will continue for the foreseeable future (well past 4/30/2020)? My gut tells me once society relaxes the social distancing positive COVID patients & deaths will begin spiking up again.

And should social distancing continue through the summer, how much deeper will this economic hole go?

Corto
Corto

Mish, you and Denninger have butted heads in the past and you are on this as well. He flat out believes social distancing has had no effect and the economy should be reopened. You can find any blogger out there spouting any theory and any opinion you want. I value yours and would appreciate a rebuttal to his claims. He has what seem to be valid curves showing lockdowns did nothing to materially change the R0 rate

Sechel
Sechel

This is a case study in transition matrices. infection, symptoms, hospitalization, death or recovery . infections and display of symptoms are early in the pipeline, so even if the pipeline is decreasing hospitalizations last longer than with the standard flu so deaths should be expected to spike while new infections decreasing. reminds me a lot of rmbs servicing where 30 & 60 day delinquencies might fall but REO's an liquidations can still rise. It's not a contradiction.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

I polled family and friends if they had any intention of going back to “normal” if Trump ordered and ALL of them said no. This is from people on both sides of the political spectrum. I do have fam and friends that are working but their work is deemed critical. Many others are working from home and have no plans to leave their home for anything other than essentials.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Excellent article Mish. Thanks for your outstanding and early coverage of this important topic. On top of your outstanding coverage of Brexit, and many other topics, this is a wonderful website.

wootendw
wootendw

"The containment effort shows promise. Unfortunately, the economic front is way lagging."

The former contributes to the latter. And now, there is a study that suggests some people really are getting re-infected.

"a team of researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai has discovered that an alarmingly high number of recovered patients whom they've tested show low, or no, levels of the virus antibodies in their blood. That means a sizable chunk of those who are infected will be vulnerable to reinfection."

RonJ
RonJ

"Eliminate social contact and the R0 (rate of person-to-person spreading ) will collapse. And so it did."

Denninger found that the R naught declined before interventions took place. It peaked in NY the day after Cuomo intervened to shut down the state. Because of lag, R naught would not have been affected by Cuomo's actions until days later.

njbr
njbr

Big take-away from British survey of patients who ended up in intensive care...

It's a 50/50 split between live or die for those intensive care patients whose cases have reached a resolution.

70% of people placed on a ventilator (tube down the throat) in intensive care die.

50% of intensive care cases are between 50 and 70 years of age, 25% younger, 25% older. Median age 61.

Ethnic group cases are in line with population. Obesity rates are in line with population

AWC
AWC

The intent of the social distancing move was to flatten the curve, not eliminate it. To that extent it has been effective. It likely prevented many deaths. But, it has also extended the length of time the epidemic will run.

Seems to me, if the shutdown isn’t lifted prematurely, we will get off lightly. However, if it is lifted too soon, the second wave could be ugly. Fear and prudence vs. greed and profligacy.

Place your bets.

Mish
Mish

Editor

"I polled family and friends if they had any intention of going back to “normal” if Trump ordered and ALL of them said no. "

That excellent comment by @PecuniaNonOlet is why there will not be a V-Shaped Recovery

wootendw
wootendw

"It's not impossible, nor even improbable, that the the immune system economizes and prioritizes by choosing not to maintain lots of antibodies against a freak pathogen which it has only seen once. "

I certainly hope you are correct.

thimk
thimk

ya , see it in the Florida stats- number of new cases declining . however 1 in 7 who test positive are hospitalized .

njbr
njbr

An analysis of death records in the Madrid region covering the second two weeks of March suggests that the real number of coronavirus deaths could be much higher than official figures state. The records show an unexplained rise in mortality of around 3,000 people during this period.

Between March 14 and 31, Madrid’s civil registries issued 9,007 burial licenses, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Madrid regional High Court. This is more than twice as many deaths as were recorded during the entire month of March 2019, which was 4,125 according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The INE data is not available in 15-day intervals, but based on the monthly figures, it is possible to estimate that there were an average of 133 deaths a day in the Madrid region in March 2019, which multiplied by 18 equals 2,394 deaths between March 14 and 31 of last year.

During the same period this year, there were 9,007 deaths – an increase of 6,613. Yet official figures put the number of deaths due to the coronavirus during that time period at 3,439.

Jojo
Jojo

"Assuming the poly curve is in the ballpark, we are looking at 80,000 to 120,000 deaths"

Maybe not! This in today for current project deaths by Aug 4th. Lots and lots of people going to have egg on their face when the actual total turns out to be less than 50% of this lowered number!

APRIL 8, 2020 / 6:48 AM
U.S. coronavirus death projection lowered, New York fears undercount

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected U.S. pandemic death toll by 26% to 60,000.

Tony_CA
Tony_CA

I'm Deninger on this. I have been tracking the cases and document outbreaks in the East Bay in California. Our socially distant efforts have been silly to say the least. From I can gather, the bug seems to going through nursing homes. From I what I can gathered, it doens't to require much hospitalization for nursing home residents. This is one big media driven hysteria.

parks6n580
parks6n580

Containment is working? While I agree it cannot be hurting it would seem that the data suggests that the curve was declining irrespective of the lockdowns. Our buddy Karl Denninger reviews the data quite nicely here. It would be interesting to understand what you believe is wrong with his analysis. https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=238864. He has always been data driven and I appreciate his insights and opinions on topics (as I do yours).

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

Mish: In view of the low testing level in the US (and the extreme time it takes for test to be finalized) the only two figures that count is death and hospitalization.

CanuckDan
CanuckDan

Stay at home helped reduce R0 which is great but what is the exit strategy here? If we all start going back to work it will re-surge. Without a vaccine or a lot of people getting the virus and recovering this will not go away (even that is doubtful as unclear if people are truly immune after they recover). How much longer will people comply with stay at home orders?

Ken Kam
Ken Kam


A Stanford expert in medicine and a member of the NBER gives his view on the current pandemic and our response to it.


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