Saturday assorted links

Comments

(8) the takeaway is that "death rate" is a misleading term for the metrics being calculated. I'm guessing you are using the term here in order to suggest that the actual "death rate" is closer to Germany's metric than the United States, but the article doesn't mention things like lawfulness which predict that true death rate in Germany will actually be lower then the true death rate in the US.

The metrics on doubling period are presumably more comparable across countries, and both NYC and California are reporting numbers that are nearly twice the speed of what was reported in Asia. I haven't seen that number for Germany.

“ but the article doesn't mention things like lawfulness which predict that true death rate in Germany will actually be lower then the true death rate in the US.”

“Lawfulness” does a lot of work in your sentence. Please explain it better.

He's likely referring to this:

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/03/european-fatality-rates-and-lawfulness.html

My takeaway is that Sky News (and its viewers) can only name 18 countries in the world and the rest may just as well vanish for all they care.

Canada, Austria, Norway, Australia, Israel, Czechia, Malaysia, Chile, Russia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Finland, and many, many other countries can sport fatality rate under 1%. Germany's CFR is not that unusual. What do those countries have in common? The outbreak spread there later, and since it takes time for the virus to kill, they haven't racked up the fatalities just yet.

The Case Fatality Rate is useless when the denominator is unknown.

The CFR is highly utile if it supports the agenda, whatever that is.

What are the odds of China invading Taiwan in two weeks?

I don't have an opinion about Taiwan/China war.

What are the odds a Taiwan invasion would be as destructive as was the Chinese/Wuhan Flu invasion at the WH on 15 January 2020 when they signed the trade agreement?

Don’t worry, they only served bat soup at the recent, not filet of civet.

*reception*

Latest Chick-fil-A ad campaign, "Eat Fewer Bats."

Latest Chick-fil-A ad campaign "You might get Avian Flu"

The odds of China invading Taiwan next week are basically zero. What are the odds of Japan invading Guam or the US invading Canada or vice versa over the next month?

About the same as for Taiwan being saved by aliens.

About as likely as the CCP voluntarily giving up power in the next two weeks; it would be political suicide for the CCP to try a stunt like that now (and talk about a golden opportunity for a counterattack against China using germ warfare)

U.S. testing failed because the virus was elusive and the tests inaccurate. The CDC standards would not allow the tests to be used because their false positives and false negatives actually exceeded their accurate results. But here is the thing; this was true for the Chinese, South Korean and all other tests as well. But they choose to use them anyway. SO those success stories were in fact failures that continue to be kept secret. Which do you prefer: honesty or the government hiding their shortcomings?

My preference is the Tyler status quo: let's whine when we think there should more tests available faster (even if they are inaccurate); and whine about the inaccurate results; but under no circumstances should we let those inaccurate results stop us from discussing the results as if they were hardcore facts, especially if we can use these bogus numbers to make it seem that things are especially bad in the US and we can therefore snipe on Trump about it.

Carry on, Ty! You're doing God's work here.

Here’s what’s funny. I agree with everything you said except I think TC always attempts to SAVE Trump’s proposition. Tyler has certainly lead the charge up Mt. Stupid on the FDA/testing fiasco. He knows sooo much about molecular biology, maybe we should let him design the primers.

Here is a good link at looking at US testing effort.
It looks like the U.S. is up to around 100K tests a day now. Probably why the number of cases has jumped so fast.

https://covidtracking.com/us-daily/

duh. so screamingly obvious. so tired of this conversation.

20% positive is still a very high rate

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.23.20041913v1.full.pdf

Hospital staff tested. 1300 out of around 9000, because they showed fever or a cough. 6.4 precept infected, used a PCR test. Almost off of them worked.

Done on March 7 through March 12.

I'm sure if you did antibody tests of the 9000 staff right now, you'd find closer to 50% have had the virus.

Social distancing isn't working; disease is being spread in hospitals and won't balance out until the majority of hospital staff is immune.

But they wear masks right? That's effective in preventing spread

4. quite good is an understatement
in a viral pandemic or not
biology/ists bigly underrated

that Dr. Birx has about 30 I.Q. points on cnn.com "journalist" joe lockhart
who after completely mischaracterizing her statement called her
a "stepford" doc!
yet another good reason to not let the "media" censor the
daily news conferences in the midst of a viral pandemic

7. Guidance from on high. Is Mars high enough? Relax lending rules so home owners can tap into billions in equity? Jeepers! Within a month all equity will have evaporated. On monetary policy, NGDP targeting does what when businesses are failing, jobs are bing eliminated, and asset prices are collapsing. As for giving authority to the Fed to buy corporate bonds and equities, have these folks not learned that rising asset prices is not the path to prosperity. Eliminate tariffs? While I agree with this suggestion for many reasons (including the effect of tariffs on intermediate goods that have hindered U.S. manufacturing), Trump reminds us daily that the Chinese are responsible for this crisis: it's the "Chinese virus". Lift tariffs on the Chinese, who are responsible for the carnage. Libertarians are God's punishment for America's sins. Jeepers.

I have been measuring my fever with my Chinese thermometer, communicating with my contacts using my Chinese-built smartphone, and my antigen test is scheduled to arrive from China on Monday if the American FDA doesn't manage to intercept it.

Cool you have to buy cheap Chinese stuff. Maybe learn to code or make bank so you don’t have to by that crap you poor clinger.

I would offer to replace you with a small shell script but it seems like you don't serve any useful function and should probably just be deleted.

Good to see your comments. I was getting worried about you.

Anybody else nostalgic for the days when there were only a half million covid19 cases? Two days ago.

And 700,000 seems likely in another couple of days at most, so we can feel nostalgic about the current total of 631,766 .

And for those using the Epstein scale of global fatalities, we are at 58% of 50,000.

Not me. I'm happy at least one country is ramping up testing and not trying to exaggerate the case death rate by completely ignoring 95%+ of cases.

We Are The World . . .

If 50,000 Earthlings die of Wuhan Flu, what is the percentage of Earthlings that survive the Wuhan Flu.

Lessee 7,799,950,000 / 7,800,000,000 = 99.999359%. Check my Math.

Seems correct to me. Now the number of world wide deaths will certainly pass 50,000 soon. The question is where it stops

4. You should avoid posting stale articles . This one says 33k tests to date. On March 19, there were already 100k tests; as of 4 PM yesterday almost 627k tests done.

Simple answer: the Centers for Disease Control had one central mission and it failed miserably.

The one central mission of all bureaucracies is to survive and grow. The CDC's website, however, suggests that its mission is wordy bragging. Maybe that comes down to the same thing.

'CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.

CDC increases the health security of our nation. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise.'

There's a PR manual of style public agencies use in New York that appears to have been copied by federal agencies. It's heavy on sales talk and light on brass-tacks descriptions of what the agency employees are commissioned to do. The CDC is not the worst offender by any means.

Yes, whatever the range across the ideological spectrum we are all members of the MR family. May TC, AT and all the commenters and their families stay safe and healthy during these turbulent times.

Considering how many of the commenters were socially-isolated basement dwellers even before this began, I think this is a low-risk population.

Hometown here in Fresno is seeing a bit if phase two with about a third of new cases being locals, not travelers. But they only test in hospitals and, last I hard, only 200 test kits were in store. Total cases still less than forty in this town of half a million.

#5: http://epidemicforecasting.org

ACTIVE INFECTIONS (MAR 27, 2020) - USA
---------------------------------------------
Confirmed Estimated Population
99,207 1,428,536 328,239,000
14x... (044% Pop)

ACTIVE INFECTIONS (MAR 27, 2020) - United Kingdom
---------------------------------------------
Confirmed Estimated Population
13,649 392,727 66,440,000
28x.... (0.59% Pop)

ACTIVE INFECTIONS (MAR 27, 2020) - Italy
Confirmed Estimated Population
66,414 1,354,714 60,601,000
20x... (2.24% Pop)

Hmm....

7. Copy and paste. Wouldn't Mercatus offer up these solutions to anything? "Stubbed your toe? Cut tariffs!'

Nowadays, free market think tanks have a tendency to overrate economic efficiency and underrate innovation.

"Think tanks are lobbying firms with bow ties."
- ClarkHat

Pay rent so they can claim to be at a university.

https://www.livescience.com/how-coronavirus-tests-work.html

How do the new coronavirus tests work?

Well if you listen to some reporting on what the Czecks say about the Chines quick test, they work really badly -- like 80% fails.

You might check on the Abbott Labs PR sight as I just saw they have something that will provide results in hours and is mobile meaning front line people can use them.

You're a bit early - the final numbers aren't in for the day. We'll now at 645k and by the end of the day be over 650k. 700k tomorrow (at which time we'll probably have 35k confirmed fatalities).

#14 What is the problem with you guys?! Are you out of fricking minds?!
1) President Captain Bolsonaro is not to blame. Quarantine decisions are made at the state and city levels. Brazil is a federation.
2) Lots of people oppose quaratine measures. There have been lots of street protests against them. What you want? A civil war?
3) Mr. Bolsonaro was tested three times. He is not Beetlejuice. Two of his tests have been posted. Stop speculating about his health.
4) Mr. Bolsonaro's aides were infecfed in America at CPAC.
5) Mr. Bolsonaro is a national hero and a former pentathletes‎. I doubt coronavirus would a problem to him.
6) New York alone has more cases the Brazil.
7) As President Trump pointed out, Mr. Bolsonaro is America's #1. Stop slandering him!
8) Brazil's federal government is studying a "vertical isolation" plan. Schools and offices re-open, but non-essential oldsters and immunodeficient people are sent home and kep isolated. The rest of the population can study and work, which keeps the economy humming and builds herd immunity.
9) There probably will not be any vaccine available in the next few months so building herd immunity is the way to go.
10) An economic collapse would kill much more people than the coronavirus ever could.
11) Most people dying were already sick (you know the score, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer, etc.).
12) As Mr. Bolsonaro pointed out, innocent people will die anyway. It is time for action based on cold, mature, rational thought, not on hysteria, populism and sentimentalism.

Sounds similar to what Mexico's president is saying, only Lopez Obrador is of the left and won't get the same amount of criticism.
What people do not understand is that the amount of people living day-to-day in Mexico and Brazil hugely higher than in Italy or the USA. Closing down the economy means deaths (starvation, stress, weakened immune systems, crime) in the short term. Plus, the populations are much younger and so mortality is likely to be much lower there.

Your point 10) is increasingly relevant as COVID-19 starts to increase in the Global South. Although perhaps youthful demographics and the "warm weather" theory will mitigate the impact.

People who were living paycheck-to-paycheck in developed countries have access to safety nets through extraordinary relief measures, but lockdown really isn't an option where state capacity is limited, certainly not for the length of time that would be required on purely public health grounds. India for one might try, but they are a bit notorious for imitating first-world regulatory measures that do not necessarily alter the reality on the ground. We can only wish them some amazingly improbable success.

I think even wealthy Western countries will find themselves constrained to let lockdown enforcement lapse de facto before exit strategy criteria are met. We'll see.

Good points. If wishes were horses, I would be a horseowner. We have to face the realities on the ground. When the coronavirus was starting, Brazil was healing from the greatest economic crisis of its history and from a severe political crisis. It seems unfair to blame the president for everytging bad that happens.

Aside from the conspiracy, and despite however hard Tyler gets from the idea of a democratically elected government being overthrown, it is much too early to say whether the costs of following the Swedish example outweigh the benefits. Lock down doesn't appear to make any difference in New York but that could just be Cuomo' s ineptitude.

On the other hand, it is time to bring the terrorist governors of Nevada and Michigan to justice. As a political stunt, to deny patients access to legally prescribable medications that are successfully being used around the globe to treat victims of the disease, is a crime against humanity and should be dealt with accordingly. More published data on the drugs' efficacy keeps coming every day: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/03/more-evidence-of-the-efficacy-of-hydroxychloroquine-and-azithromycin.php

On the other hand,

#4: Bless her young heart, but she doesn't realise that "negligence, incompetence, and deliberate conspiracy" is just a synopsis of "regulatory hurdles at the federal and local levels, shortages of supplies, equipment, and certified personnel, as well as technical challenges associated with the test itself".

The article in Spanish in El Pais is very informative. Basically, they are taking the deviation from the expected deaths and attributing this to coronavirus. I don't speak Italian but I would wonder whether this would also be the case in Italy.
Of course, this approach means that they are also massively understating the number of people infected, as is fully admitted in the quotation below. I will paraphrase in English:
“Estos datos confirman que aún nos falta mucho por conocer de la epidemia. Ya sabíamos que la cifra real de infectados es mucho mayor que la detectada. Ahora descubrimos que también hay muchos más fallecidos. La conclusión es que el impacto del virus está siendo mucho más importante de lo que nos dicen los datos disponibles”, afirma Daniel López Acuña, exdirector de Acción Sanitaria en Crisis de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) y actual profesor asociado en la Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública.
He is saying that the data confirms that there is still too much that we don't know about the virus. We already knew that the number of people infected was much greater that what we detected, now we know that mortalities are also understated.

I'm *really* looking forward to the mortality numbers for all of 2020.

Will they be approximately the same as 2019?

I would bet on yes.

I just realized, the numbers will likely be confounded by the global hysteria. We may actually have considerably higher mortality numbers in 2020 than in 2019.

Thrilling.

"I am right, and if I am wrong, it's because I was really right!"

Or they may just be admitting what should be obvious once their health system reaches a point of collapse (or comes close to it). That other causes of death only have a certain mortality rate (whatever that mortality rate is) under normal (non-collapse) conditions, but under current conditions the mortality rate of other illnesses also rises.

It would be nice to have a breakdown by cause of death (pneumonia, other) of these extra deaths in Italy and Spain.

#4. I disapprove of the article's slant. It minimizes the negligence of the people who should damn well have known better in pedantically requiring all the i's dotted and t's crossed while the infection spread. I have no doubt that their excuse is "I was following orders (or regulations or the legislation)." My understanding is that "I did it to save lives." is a valid justification for violations of law, regulation, policy and orders. Am I wrong?

In some cases they might be the case, in others it will probably require a jury call and in some the law is the law and you don't get to make exceptions on your own.

Probably a more important questions is the counter factual one. What if more testing was done but it was low quality testing?

I'm hoping that anyone who was instrumental in denying some medical facility's request to open or expand under Certificate of Need laws winds up on a guillotine, or the equivalent thereof.

14.- It's amazing how much attention English speaking media pay to any kind of irresponsible behavior they may see in the international leaders they don't like (Bolsonaro, B Johnson). On the other hand they mostly ignore what the leaders they do like (López Obrador) or don't care about (Khamenei) do and say.

(4) I'll take issue with this being a good article. The author is obviously a PCR expert, but nowhere in the article do they discuss antigen tests or culture tests.
Antigen tests have the advantage that you don't need to send swabs to a lab or buy expensive new machines that can do the PCR test in minutes onsite: you can do the test at home and have the results in minutes. This is one way that Singapore screens new arrivals. Given the malfeasance of American public health officials and the increasing shortage of health care professionals, the antigen test is an important tool.
Culture tests are difficult, slow, and the least likely to give a false positive. A Chinese study found that PCR tests would return positive for nearly a week after the culture test was negative, presumably based on the detection of inactive RNA fragments. You do the economic math.
Note that unlike most of the studies where Western scientists have insisted on replicating Asian disasters before calling for action, it is very important to be conservative on this one.

You’re apples and oranges on this. I agree that an antibody test is important but it still requires a blood draw. And are you referring to an ELISA or micronuetralization assay when you say culture tests. Please cite the Chinese study too.

To use the metaphor of your casual dismissal, I'm pointing out that there are other important kinds of fruit than the apples discussed in the article.
There are antigen tests that use a pinprick, not a blood draw.
ELISA is an antigen test I thought. Culture test is basically doing an in vitro infection followed presumably by microscopy to see if it took.
Note that I post things I've learned here in case Tyler wants to amplify something. I am not a research monkey for random aggressive commenters.

I note that you didn’t respond to the substance of my comments but then just lurched off into an ad hominem. Just cite the Chinese study please?

I don't track everything I read. You aren't interested in learning, and I'm not interested in arguing.

#15 is straight out of Family Guy.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lethal_Weapons

Whenever I'm feeling in a good mood, just have to visit MR and I'm down in the dumps again.

#8 is good.
#9 is worrisome and deserving of greater attention.
#15 is infuriating. Yankee go home!

6. Should be re-titled-“I’m not good at running a restaurant as a business, look I’ll prove it to you.”

I mean 22k profit on 1.2M gross is just terrible business.

Every part of her business model is awful. She’s basically running that high labor cost restaurant for the benefit of her employees. 15 years down the road when she’s older, not as energetic, and still relatively poor, she’ll regret her “generosity”.
-

the numbers if meant as a generalization of restaurant economics dont make sense since no bank or landlord would finance something like this and the only people in the restaurant business would then be trust fund babies.

Yes that’s pretty accurate. My parents tasteful country home #1 has two much bigger and much less tasteful neighbors. Both owners are third generation wealthy and both own restaurants

Maybe owning a restaurant is a hobby for rich people.

#6 was fantastic.

#14

Bolsonaro is folkloric, but has not been bad for Brazil. It looks a bit like Trump, but less nasty and way more cogent when he speaks.

Regarding Covid, Brasil has apparently 16 infected every million people, 20 times less than the US and 100 times less than Italy. Friends tell me it is because Bolsonaro is keeping the real numbers under wrap, but it is difficult to believe the true number might be much higher. This virus brings people to hospitals, and Brazil has a very good press, I am sure La folha has people in all the main hospitals of the large cities. Possibly, it depends on the weather, it is summer there. All the large countries close to the Equator seems to have a much lower infection rate: check Indonesia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Central America, Colombia. Brasil does not look like an outlier.

The piece seems rather partisan, though. I don’t like Trump or Duterte right populism, but this default leftist attacks are even more disgusting. What the hell is “a parliamentary coup”? Also, I think Bolsonaro’s policies are way more classical-liberal than those two mentioned above. He is not a guy that I would like to have a beer with, but Dilma and Lula were much worse for Brasil.

Exactly. Mr. Bolsonaro might not be the president Brazil deserves, but it is the president it needs right now.

Indonesia went from 0 to more than a hundred deaths in just 17 days. The Philippines went from 1 to 68 in 23 days. Fatality rate is 6.3% in the Philippines and 8.8% in Indonesia.

They don't seem to me to have a much lower infection rate, they seem to be underreporting.

Figure out the likelihood of people fleeing NYC:

Trump "considering a quarantine"

If you quarantine, you announce it; you don't consider it.

How many people do you think are leaving today
To goto
Mara Lago.

Where is Junior?

"If you quarantine, you announce it; you don't consider it."
Considering it before announcing it before enforcing it was how it was done in France (and I think other European countries as well). I am not saying that it was good, but you seemed to like European quarantines, IIRC.

Wow! Is this a record for greatest number of "assorted links" ever?

#6, maybe for this restaurant, but in general the numbers don't look right since why would anyone finance a business like this? The people washing dishes or moving plates of food from one spot to another make a lot more than the owner?

Because it’s better than having your kids sit around doing coke with other trust fund kids. I take you don’t know many trust funders. Instead of doing blow and cursing the Mediterranean they open restaurants now.

(11) Abe didn't "acknowledge the situation is much worse than had been recognized", and Motoko Rich to her credit doesn't say he did (normally I assume she's full of shit). I watched Abe's statement today. He said literally that explosive growth in infection isn't something that cannot happen in Japan, which is obvious on the face of it because the country is not magical, and he said it in order to get everyone more scared and more cooperative.

Now that the Japanese government and business have been forced to accept the postponement of the Olympic Games, I think the Japanese will have permission to get sick and even die if it suits them.

Japan and South Korea only had about 100 deaths from H1N1 in 2009/2010 whereas the U.S. had over 10,000. Currently, Japan has about 50 deaths from Covid-19 and South Korea has 130.

Exactly! I don’t know why Cowen has such a boner for conspiracy theories. Things may change in the future but at thi moment Japan is doing very well. The ratio of recovered to confirmed cases supports this.

#5 Something is wrong with these models. This one shows 4% peak active infection with no mitigation measures. The Neil Ferguson paper says 81% total infected in the same case ( no mitigation). I tried integrating the #5 model visually under the curve to get ~ 25% infected overall. That's quite different from the Ferguson paper. We're asked to trust models that are all over the place.

There's a new feature now which displays the integration:

> (For the US) The total number of people infected will be 170M-260M (53-79%)

The low peak infection stems from using a model with a short infectious period. There's certainly work to be done to clarify things here; and perhaps display a better y-axis (such as new infections per day per 1000 people) -- but there certainly isn't as much disagreement with the Ferguson paper as claimed.

I find even the low number ( 170M infected 3 months from now =53% or higher) implausible.
The Asian Flu (57-58), the Hong Kong Flu (68-69), the 2009 flu were all below 20%. The Who joint report on the Wuhan mission said no children were found positive in November and December 2019 and they could not find a case of a child infecting an adult.
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf
Another paper from Wuhan says children are 7 times more likely to be asymptomatic than adults( 30-39) and have a lower attack rate ( probability of acquiring the virus). With this large subpopulation harder to infect and less likely to transmit the virus, it's just not that believable to get so many infected so quickly
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.19.20027078v2

The U.S., U.K., Spain and Italy all show exponential growth in cases with no sign of serious slowing. China was following a similar path before they took extreme measures to limit further spread. There is no evidence to date that the infection in a given population simply runs out of steam on its own.

On the contrary, covid-19 shows signs of being more infectious than the flu.

https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html

not good, not terrible.

#7...On Testing, Drones, Telemedicine, and a few others, I still haven't seen the issue of liability insurance addressed. Is it an assumption that negligence, fraud, and other actionable actions can't occur in a crisis? I assume I'm missing it. Or is it that only the government could take on such liability, some people not willing to admit or accept that?

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/489987-cuomo-says-national-guard-may-be-trained-to-use-manual-bag-valves-if
Cuomo says National Guard may be trained to use manual bag valves if short on ventilators
---
It didn't look official from the picture and they looked cheap to build. If we had this in the home medical kit then we can take the slow rote to hospital, no red lights, costs drop.

# 2 ought to be pretty straightforward, a reasonable definition of "unemployed" and replacement of a high % of lost wages (based on W2's) for as long as high unemployment lasts.

#3 These regulations probably do not pass cost benefit assessments even in normal times. What else is new?

# 4 "Before we get into the weeds here, it is important to remind ourselves why FDA regulations exist: to protect the consumer — us — from being given incorrect medical information."

But the need for testing is not primarily for diagnosis but for epidemiology. This looks like a major flaw in the FDA's assessment of costs and benefits of testing.

"But regulatory hurdles exist here as well: to process at-home tests, labs must provide substantial evidence that these samples are reliable relative to those collected by trained individuals." No they do not. For epidemiology, one just needs to know the frequencies of false positives and negatives. Again, the tests are being regulated like therapies rather than research tools.

# 7 A very good list. There is nothing "Libertarian" about it, nothing that can't be justified by old fashioned neo liberal welfare economics.

coming soon to a donut shoppe near you
the South Korean Dr. Fauci

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAk7aX5hksU

I like many aspects of link 6, restaurant margins. That is summed up in the need to have operational costs transparently provided to all the staff so they do understand the ramification of day to day activities.

However, the story does not seem to talk about the owner's pay anywhere so that 22K on a million plus in sales is perhaps a bit misleading. Unless we're talking about a business with outside, non operating owners but then that will be related to share price and not sales.

The Certificate of Need law is one of the most egregious anti-competitive laws on the books of many states in my opinion. It is equivalent to Starbucks wanting to open up another location in Boston and Dunkin Donuts saying that there are already enough coffee shops in Boston and thus it would be "unfair" for Starbucks to open and compete.

What on earth does it mean for Boston to "need" another coffee shop? For anything but hospitals, we let businesses decide whether to enter the market, compete, and try their hand at making a profit

Imagine if barbers, restaurants, and lawyers had to prove their "need".

These laws are clearly a way to ensure oligopoly, Unfortunately, Americans in states with these laws will pay dearly for it.

8. It's also an indication that the hospital system is less overwhelmed, if they are able to test more cases and identify more mild ones. Another thing I am noticing looking at the case load in Europe . The worst hit countries are Italy, Spain, France - all countries where kissing to greet is the norm. (Iran is also a country where people kiss). Germany has a higher hasload than france, but that's likely because they have identified more mild cases. In actually, france probably has more cases than Germany, if you go by the death rate, and assume they havn't caught as many mild cases.

Also noteworthy, in India, people also use a touchless form of greeting, the "namaste", where people place their palms together in from of them and bow slightly. This could also explain the relatively low caseload of India.

It seems like the amount of touching involved in greeting is pretty correlated to which countries have the highest caseloads and highest R0, which makes perfect sense.

#6 I expected some sort of study of the (independent) restaurant business; what I got was a sample size of one.

I am skeptical that restaurants have such slim margins, for new restaurants fail with some frequency and therefore if at least some of the survivors aren't seriously profitable then why would anyone invest in one?

Opening an independent restaurant is risky, and is anything more basic to financial markets than the realization that few if any will accept substantial risk unless they can expect to be well compensated for doing so?

If that's somehow not the case here (perhaps those who open restaurants wildly over-estimate the potential profitability, or somehow fail to understand the risks?) then readers are due an explanation for why that's not so.

You should change your sources on Brazil.

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