Germany R estimate of the day

Germany is being closely watched worldwide as the most successful large European country in curbing the spread of the virus, partly thanks to massive testing, which has prompted a partial reopening of the economy. Merkel has frequently said the reproduction rate of the new coronavirus must be held below 1 to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

But the Robert Koch Institute for public health said the rate hovered above this critical threshold for the third consecutive day with an estimated value of 1.07 on Monday, after 1.13 on Sunday.

That Germany does not have its R below one is, in a nutshell, why short-run measurements of coronavirus responses are not very reliable.  And why “we need to lock down until full testing is up and running” is not necessarily convincing.  Here is the full story.

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Sweden and Belarus are laughing all the way to the bank while others are fumbling around.

Having around the fifth greatest number of deaths per capita is cause for Sweden to have a hilarious trip to the bank? Who knew the Swiss were so eccentric!

Let's see how each country performs by January 1st 2021 before reaching any conclusions...

I can see advantages from coming to provisional conclusions about what works now.

Provisionally, Merkel's premise that "the reproduction rate of the new coronavirus must be held below 1 to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed" has either been proven false by Sweden or shows that Sweden was able to keep R<1 without shut down. One of the two. What we have yet to determine is whether the lower death rates in Sweden's lockdown neighbors (Denmark, Norway, Finland) is temporary or whether it will persist through their upcoming efforts to come out of lock down.

We know that everyone must eventually end up in the same policy place as Sweden: businesses and schools allowed to re-open. That's what's sustainable over a prolonged period (12,18,36 months or longer) as we await a vaccine. The only question is whether the temporary, emergency measures that other countries imposed for 1-2 months produced any gains. (In my opinion, they at least bought some "optionality" because Sweden could have turned out worse.) The mistake many people seem to be making is believing that comparing temporary measures to Sweden's immediate jump to sustainable measures somehow can turn the unsustainable and temporary into sustainable and quasi-permanent.

The Coronavirus has apparently been eliminated here in South Australia. We had 7 new cases in Australia as a whole yesterday. Hopefully it will be down to zero and stay there within two weeks -- although it certainly may take longer to eliminate it. That's a pretty good result. All without a "lockdown" but with restrictions, shutdown of hospitality industry, working from home if possible, etc.

What you describe seems to be what virtually all Western nations have done. Why do you think it worked better in Australia or what did Australia add to the mix to get better results?

Both the UK and the USA appear to be madhouses to me, so I assume I don't need to go into what they are doing wrong. We doubled the dole money unemployed people receive. Handed out a lot of money to businesses. Subsized wages to keep people employed even if they're not doing much. No evictions for six months. No house payments or business loan payments for six months if you want to defer them. Cash payments to pensioners and other low income earners. I don't get anything directly, but I'm getting new toys at work to play with due to the support business is getting. So anyone who can't sit still for a while is being an arse.

Other factors, private car ownership, low public transport use, low restaurant use by developed nations standards, lack of a large underclass, nice weather, etc. are also likely to have helped.

We are not smart or special in Asutralia. And right now we are on borrowed time.

The virus will keep popping up, although it's damage is minor compared to the economic crash that it arriving.

The Australian economy has been driven by immigration and commodities driven and will not handle this downturn well. And the foolishly generous welfare/jobkeeper payment are costing us a fortune and just delay the inevitable adjustments needed

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But you already reached your conclusion. Why can't anybody else?

Nailed him! Myst you look like a fool!

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Myst,

You are providing misinformation.

According to the Financial Times, Sweden's economy is not doing better than its neighbors. https://www.ft.com/content/93105160-dcb4-4721-9e58-a7b262cd4b6e

So, Sweden had more deaths and nothing to show for it.

Myst, please post any links below that support your proposition or quit pissing in the community swimming pool.

You can see the increasing covid cases in Belarus here: https://tradingeconomics.com/belarus/coronavirus-cases

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I would argue that the Swedish policy will probably cause a significantly lower amount of bankruptcies among small businesses. I suspect the incoming wave of small businesses going bankrupt will cause a lot of pain.

Furlough etc and business support does cost as well, and there is higher cost from these lockdown policies (described specifically as a very high cost option we've chosen, and unprecedented by any comparison with the Spanish Flu, by Tooze, a Keynesian and no neoliberal, in his conversation with Tyler).

The whole "exact same costs, more deaths" is a psychological confection conjured up to make a chosen policy into "There Is No Alternative". Meanwhile, we're unsure how sustainable and lockdown measures be; it's more possible, I'd guess that exact same deaths, higher costs, ultimately falls on the non-Swedes.

The way you would research this question is to look at the projections from the central bank, IMF projections, and costs associated with each approach, including costs of death, and the loss of family member support that will have to be picked up by the state later.

I did point to data in the FTimes, and there is also data in a WSJ article, that shows Swedish economy economy experienced same drop off as neighbors but with more death.

Yes, and there will come a time for full analyses and they will only really be known retrospectively; neither you nor I are obliged to do that much work for the sake of an MR comment.

There are various fanciful and debatable things that will come into play in those; I have no doubt that incalculably large costs of "lost years" will be invoked to justify any avoided deaths, however few, as "saving" (no matter how inconsistent, no matter how exorbitantly high, compared with the normal cost logic of healthcare expenditure).

I'm only pointing out here that pointing to a graph of "same drop off" is not an end to a conversation.

That these are strategies with high front loaded costs though, for sure.

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Just a forcast. The actual number in Sweden have been surprising good so far:https://www.scb.se/en/finding-statistics/statistics-by-subject-area/national-accounts/national-accounts/national-accounts-quarterly-and-annual-estimates/pong/statistical-news/national-accounts-first-quarter-2020/

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Bill - the article that you link is primarily about forecasts for the Swedish economy, not what has happened to date. And there are also elements of those forecasts that directly contradict what you're claiming.

"Early figures for Sweden’s gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2020, released this week, suggested that at least in March it had performed better than much of the EU as it recorded a decline of just 0.3 per cent, compared with a 3.8 per cent fall for the eurozone.

But economists argue that Sweden is unlikely in the long term to escape the severe economic pain of the rest of Europe."

"Data on the use of public transport, credit cards and restaurants show big falls in Sweden as authorities urge people to work from home where possible and maintain social distancing. But the declines are less precipitous than other European countries under full lockdown."

"Ms Nyman [chief economist at Handelsbanken] said she believed that without the no-lockdown policy, Sweden would have been harder hit, as in 2008. “If we didn’t have these better circumstances, we would have done worse. Usually, we are more severely hit by a global recession,” she added.

Economists at Swedish bank SEB estimate Sweden’s GDP will drop 6.5 per cent this year, about the same as the US and Germany, but a little better than Norway and ahead of 9-10 per cent falls in Finland and Denmark, all of which have had lockdowns."

Please post the link and sources and I will be glad to post more that I saw earlier this morning to the contrary. Please post the link.

Until you post your source, Realist, let me post some more

1. Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/sweden-has-avoided-a-coronavirus-lockdown-its-economy-is-hurting-anyway-11588870062 "All of that is contributing to what Sweden’s government estimates will be a 6% contraction in domestic consumption this year. Combined with a forecast 10% drop in exports, Swedish authorities predict, the result will be a 7% decline in overall 2020 economic output. The eurozone economy as a whole is projected to contract by about 8% this year, according to a European Commission estimate."

2. Rizbank report: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/30/coronavirus-sweden-economy-to-contract-as-severely-as-the-rest-of-europe.html

As for forecasts, you know as well as I do, that this is a recent event, and that the organization which are quoted for their forecasts are ones that are used by governments before the crisis for their planning. With that being said, the evidence is that Sweden is declining as its western european counterparts and the price they have paid in death has not been worth it.

Am waiting for the sources, and I have more, including Statistics, IMF and others.

I now see that you clipped parts of the story from the FT that I posted to make it appear that the article said something different.

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Also, Realist, this post reply started with Myst 05 asserting that Belarus and Sweden will be laughing all the way to the bank, and a challenge by me for him to prove his assertion, and me asserting it was misinformation, No response with evidence. No evidence either by anyone else that Belarus and Sweden will be laughing all the way to the bank. At best, Sweden is in with everyone else, and it's infection rate is not over yet.

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Bill - those quotes are all from the FT article *that you linked*.

I am wondering if you actually read the entire article or just the headline.

I know, I responded below. You cherry picked an article whose headline was: " Sweden Unlikely to Benefit of No-Lockdown Approach."

Unless you believe the editor or reporter was crazy with the summary in the headline (along with the text which arrives at this conclusion), I submit you cherry picked and got caught. Next time when you read an article that presents balance but has a conclusion and the conclusion matches the headline, don't cherry pick.

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Bill - and it's galling for you to accuse others of "providing misinformation" when you link to an article and then provide an inaccurate summary of its contents.

Obviously you didn't read the article headline along with article content.

Headline of Article: Sweden Unlikely to Feel Benefit of No-Lockdown Approach.

Don't misinform the readers when they can read the article for themselves and the evidence supporting the headline.

Bill - I did read both the headline and content of that article. Did you read the latter in full, or just the headline and a summary paragraph?

The quotes that I posted above are from that FT article *that you linked*. The article itself is far more nuanced about the economic outlook for Sweden than the headline.

FT should get a new editor or reporter who writes the headline that you claim is inconsistent with the text
OR FT has an editor or reporter which summarizes the article and its conclusions.

Realist, all you did was cherry pick and you missed the remaining text, conclusion, and ...headline.

Where is your evidence that Sweden is doing better, or, as Myst says, laughing to the bank.

I encourage people to read the article for themselves and reach their own conclusion. Also, read the article from the Wall Street and CNBC summarizing Rizbank below.

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Swedish from sweden, not Swiss from Switzerland

They were so eccentric they were even confused about their nationalities!

Sweden let’s anyone in, even the Swiss!

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As a (partial) Dane who is not "Dutch" I can relate.

On the top article itself and Tyler's response, I think the article did not bury its lead, but Tyler did:

"Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to Germans on Monday to stick to social-distancing rules to slow down the coronavirus pandemic after data suggested the disease was spreading faster again."

If distancing is the best tool we have right now, anyone who opposes it is embracing failure.

Vote Republican in 2020.

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Let’s not conflate social distancing with shelter in place orders.

Germany has not had anything as stupid as those hotchpotch American shelter in place orders.

That sounds more like an ideological test than a model.

All that matters from the standpoint of R is the degree of social mixing.

And your model, and your life, don't care what the social action and government action mix was to get there.

You just want a low R for more life. Less death.

Germany seems to have a fine handle on the less death part. Along with a framework in place to live with this virus over the longer term.

Nobody is playing live or let die in Germany, oddly enough.

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Is there a difference in kind or only a difference in scale?

Anyone who is going to try to quantitize social distancing for a big multi-dimensional analysis is going to have to create a scale.

Whether it is 0 to 10 or 0 to 100, every single individual action and every single government mandate is going to move that same scale. or a set of related scales, if you want to do it that way. But in action, they work together.

Which of course makes simulation hard, and makes focus on coding errors stupid.

It is the problem that is hard.

Quantitize??

Social distancing is social distancing. Sweden is also social distancing. Shelter in place orders are shelter in place orders. Extreme version is welding doors shut.

I don’t think conflating is useful because it leads many to believe it’s a binary choice between #YOLO and lockdowns.

As you imply there is a spectrum of policy options.

The failure of the Imperial College model is irrelevant to this convo.

I keep saying "you are smarter than this," but maybe I should stop saying that.

The virus, to anthropomorphize, only cares about one thing. That is human to human interactions.

And all those voluntary and mandatory rule changes affect that one thing.

So of course it all normalizes to one scale.

Everything reduces to the degree of mixing in the population.

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But returning to models for a moment, it is incredibly complex in a heterogeneous society with different scientific and political beliefs to figure out how everyone's actions and responses to mandates reduce to actual human interactions.

The model we have been discussing needed 450 parameters? Maybe that's a bad number, but the fact that researchers thought they needed such a high number should be an important note to us as well.

It is incredibly hard to categorize human behavior. A certain number of people will follow shelter in place orders, in a certain number of people will quietly ignore them, a certain number of people will strap on AR-15s and go and protest them.

And this is why I've never been a fan of models at all, and wanted to treat this as a "fog of war" situation.

We all should have been trying for the best strategies in the fog, rather than demanding false certainty from the models.

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To choose one pithy example, it is apparently true that Republicans (on average) believe less in social distancing and mask-wearing. So in your super duper model of disease transmission, do you need to know everyone's political party? Do you need to know the degree of mixing between parties?

"Republicans Ease Off Social Distancing More Than Other Party Groups"

https://news.gallup.com/poll/309611/americans-social-distancing-less-vigilant.aspx

Republicans typically live in more suburban and rural areas compared to Democrats. Density really matters. Dems should put more effort into social distancing to achieve the same effect. This behavior makes perfect sense. Maybe the logical Democrat will back off on the density preferences once this is over.

It's possible that they are detecting population gradients, yes.

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Yes, in hindsight the NYC subways should have been shut down in early to mid February. That would have had dramatically changed the disease rollout in the entire united states. In early March, there were 11 identified cases in NYC. That means there were probably a few hundred cases in the wild. At the end of March there were 38K cases.

But stopping 4 people from golfing together in North Carolina? That has a near zero bearing on the disease transmission.

That is the idiocy in all this: The things that mattered (people in old folks homes in NYC, subwyas) were treated the same way we treated 6 year olds playing in a suburb of Washington state or people sharing a boat. In Illinois, a family of 4 that lives together cannot all be on a boat together. They had to share the boat 2 at a time.

Classic gov cluelessness: Miss the big things (nursing homes and subways) and focus on the minute (how many people can be on a boat together).

It's pithy to say "there are idiots on both sides" but there really are idiots on both sides.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/jim-treacher/2020/05/11/apparently-the-virus-is-over-patrons-pack-colorado-restaurant-n389712

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That's three walls of texts, none of which address the point. You have your standard ad hominem/personal attacks, some thoughts about a failed model, a segue into your belief that models are irrelevant, and an attack on your political out-group.

Mmmmkay

Social distancing is social distancing. Shelter in place orders are shelter in place orders. Sweden is social distancing. Some parts of the US are under shelter in place orders. Wuhan was under a strictly enforced shelter in place order. Policies come with costs and benefits.

Reductio ad absurdum: if the goal is simply to minimize human interaction, go full Wuhan. Of course, you yourself don't believe that's a good policy choice. Thus, you fully understand there are costs/benefits, or "tradeoffs" in any policy choice. So we're really talking about costs/benefits on a spectrum of policy choices.

You know, like adults.

You can lead a horse to water, and not make him drink.

You can walk a dog, and he doesn't know he is dog-walked.

Insults and trolling.

Yes, that's perfectly logical response to "Policies come with costs and benefits."

You nailed it

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Everyone is doing social distancing, though, including Sweden.

Do the dead guys agree?

Obvious trolling is obvious.

Terms have definitions.

Obvious trolling is obvious.

Is that a rebuttal to Sweden social distancing? No, it's not.

Is your whole goal to make a farce of yourself?

You have actually come to a blog on the political economy to say that death rates in a pandemic are off topic in discussion of a pandemic.

You could actually address Skeptical's point, you know. Instead of posting, maybe 10? posts that don't actually address the question. It's not particularly hard to have a rational debate, you spend far more energy avoiding the issue when a simple good faith response would suffice.

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It does seem that there is a lot of pontificating about the current situation without thinking about what the particular end result will be, i.e. is everyone going to get it or not? Looking at China and South Korea, two countries that seem to have had everything under control, as they have opened up, there have been several outbreaks. Some in the chattering class write about how this means even for them, it was too early to open up.

To me, it means that instead of going for zero new infections, you need to focus on the original goal of making sure hospital capacity isn't overwhelmed, which is a combo of keeping a lid on infection growth (not total infections) and increasing temporary capacity. Probably focusing the testing on nursing homes and requiring masks pretty much everywhere will get you most of the way to where you want to go.

If everyone is going to get Covid anyway (because the vaccine ain't comin' anytime soon), then the first country to herd immunity wins!

Alternatively, the people who don't get it until after a much better treatment regimen is worked out win.

Time will tell.

Depends on how quickly a new treatment regimen comes into existence and whether you have lost your livelihood due to and extended shutdown. I just haven’t seen anybody who advocates extended lockdowns say what the endgame is. All I’ve seen is test and trace this or that, but test and trace doesn’t really work without massive social distancing. And if everyone is going to end up getting it, South Korea is probably not taking the right approach.

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What "several outbreaks" in South Korea? I see one from a few days ago. There was a tiny percentage increase on May 2nd but that may not have been an outbreak.

South Korea's increase in cases a day from April 1st fell from 0.9% to 0.5% by April 7 then down to 0.3% by April 11, down to 0.1% on April 18, down to 0.09% on April 30.

The percentage increase had fallen further to 0.03% a day in early May but on May 7 that increased to .11% then .32% - the recorded outbreak - and most recently fell to .25%, which will continue downward. South Korea has also had five days of no deaths until two were added yesterday.

So what you are saying is cases and deaths have increased after they started opening up. Which is exactly what I’m saying.

Cases and deaths were hardly increasing before reopening April 21 and are hardly increasing now. South Korea went four days without a a death and then two yesterday. It's not as if they can eradicate the virus.

"It's not as if they can eradicate the virus." That's exactly right. As we open things up more people are going to get it (which is what the data you cited shows, cases began increasing 2-3 weeks after restrictions let up) but most of the commentariat are acting as if things are bad if cases increase at all. Now cities in South Korea are shutting down bars and clubs (with more to come I bet). But if their hospital capacity is fine, shouldn't they actually just let things continue until they show the slightest hint of getting out of hand. That's what flatten the curve is about. All the criticism of Sweden has been about the number of cases and deaths but their health system has yet to be overwhelmed.

Again, if everyone is going to get this, we should be using hospital capacity and not cases as the metric. If capacity can handle it, there is no reason not to open things up.

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You would be stupid to trust Chinese figures on corona virus (or anything, there is evidence about 10 times as many have died there as official stats indicate.
Not that this is particularly alarming. A sober look at the stats indicates this virus is not that dangerous but with social media, the news cycle, and perverse incentives to label every death with corona virus as being caused by corona virus many are scared out of their minds here.
China does not have those pressures.

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Testing is good; more testing is better. Any confidence intervals around est R0 minisculy above one on two days?

Just politicians being risk averse, in the face of great success!

Gimme a break.

Have already defined that a rate of new infections above 50 in 100,000 over a seven day average means local lockdown restrictions to bring the rate back down. And since local councils have already been stricter since March than what is permitted by a Bundesland, this is not anything new.

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+1.

The problem I have with all "post lockdown, monitor R0 carefully then shift things around dynamically to manage it" is, how are you going to monitor this noisy estimator, and react on a day to day basis to slight changes that are perhaps within your standard error, and then propose proportionate public measures on that, measures which wildly change what economic activity is possible?

Sewage sampling seems like a plausible real time tracking mechanism, but my impression is that nobody in the world is close to doing it at scale, and that nobody seems all that serious yet about making it happen.

MIT is doing it.

Sewer sampling only tells about the community; it does not tell about an individual, so individual testing is necessary to prevent spread, rather than to measure community spread.

But you theoretically could measure trends in R0 from sewage, which is the question.

That gives you information about the community, no doubt, but you would also see that trend with hospital admits. It would give you an earlier data point as to the community, but it is no substitute for tracking and quarantine those detected.

It might give you info on trends about 10 days ahead of hospitals admits, which sounds useful.

That's what I said: It would give you an earlier data point. It still does not give you a tool to lower transmission.

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Sure; is it sufficient to measure R0 shifts at what are believed to be low bounds though? Be really useful if it is.

I have no idea if it is feasible, but in general, our ability to track incredibly tiny amounts of chemicals in the environment has grown vastly over my lifetime, so I have hopes.

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Today's Guardian provides insight into how Germany is handling things - "Outside the German capital, four municipalities are currently trying to contain new outbreaks of more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days – the threshold for more localised lockdowns announced by chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

In the states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig Holstein, North-Rhine Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, abattoirs and food-processing plants have been identified as the centre of these new outbreaks, shining an unforgiving light on the working conditions of the country’s meat industry.

Health authorities believe that while the virus may not have spread in the processing plants themselves, it would have found a fertile ground in crammed accommodation where Eastern European contract workers share rooms and washing facilities.

Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, said on Tuesday that the recent rise of the virus’ reproduction number – which has stayed above 1 for three days in a row – may be linked to these outbreaks in the meat industry."

Four regions judged using a week average avoids the problems of using daily data, with the result that such regions have proportionate public measures applied at a fine level of granularity. Consider that even by Bundesland, the current increase in local lockdowns affects a quarter of the German states.

This is not a difficult challenge, at least after getting the number of new cases to a reasonable level.

+!

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Not enough information. Doing lots of tests means what? Early in the infection time is of the essence; you could get tested and isolate due to the result, but have spread the infection for three days. And does a positive test mean that there is a follow up of every contact you have made?

357 new cases. 83 million people. That is pretty close to what we have in this province. Are the German hospitals full or near capacity? What is the problem?

Lots of tests? I don't have figures, but we get tested whenever the chance arises - e.g. I was at my medical doctor last week for something unrelated to COVID, and he routinely did a Covid-19 test for me (and btw: that did not even cost me a cent). And yes, positive tests are followed up - of course. What do you think? Don't know why you would doubt that.

German hospitals have high free capacities in the ICUs, at the moment. That's why the lock-down is being softened and why we take up foreign patients from other countries.

"that did not even cost me a cent"

Your econ teachers are crying.

What I meant was: the Covid-test did not cost me extra. And of course, you are right: the insurance companies resp. the insurance system, are paying for it and hence every employee and employer, including myself. One might then ask whether it costs the national economy more to test everyone, or whether testing will pay out economically. I don't have data on that, but I believe that it pays out.

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I don't doubt that. Simply the article had no information. Thanks for the clarification.

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I count this as the 7th time R has risen in Germany since it's peak. I definitely hope they don't Hokkaido on us, but I wouldn't panic yet. (My recommendation is to panic three months ago.)

Note that once a nation gets to the tail end R will go up with every individual cluster found and then go down again. Things get lumpy towards the end.

Apparently the outbreak in Hokkaido wasn't so bad.
Germany Covid-19 deaths: 7,500
Japan Covid-19 deaths: 600

On a per capita basis, 20 times as many Germans have died from the virus as Japanese.

Yeah, but Hokkaido had a big rebound after restrictions were relaxed that was worse then their initial -- not too bad -- wave. A rebound of the same proportionate size in Germany would be a massive disaster. Fortunately, that probably won't happen.

It's not that simple as there weren't really restrictions to relax in Hokkaido. A state of emergency was declared there on February 28, lifted, and then reinstated after three weeks but there was no lockdown.

Do you have the numbers for "big rebound" in Hokkaido?

There were no restrictions on private enterprise but the Hokkaido government asked many businesses to voluntarily shutdown. How can I put this if you're not familiar with Japan? They ASKED them POLITELY to shut down for the good of the community. That's like, I dunno... serious stuff, man. And they did. And then community representatives politely begged the government to no longer politely ask them to voluntarily shutdown. So the Hokkaido government stopped doing that. Then they went from about 50 COVID-19 cases or less to 279 on the 14th of April and were up to about 500 on the 22nd.

Hokkaido is the northernmost prefecture of Japan, with an average temperature for March (Sapporo) between 4°C and 5°C lower than that of Tokyo.

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I realize what happened in Hokkaido and some shops stayed open as well. Hokkaido had 279 cases on April 14th but when were they at 50 cases?

I guess it was around the 20th of March, but you'll have to check that yourself.

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Germany currently has half as many new cases as the U.S. has deaths-

Maybe Rnought is only one relevant measure. Much like testing numbers, as Germany currently has considerably less need for large scale testing to reduce Rnought and case numbers than 3 weeks ago. Pandemics are never monolothic, nor are responses to them.

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What is the standard deviation of the estimation of R ? 0.2 ? 0.3 ?

Good question. Also could this be an example of Simpson's paradox? Different cohorts now.

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"The collapse in the number of people with and passing on the disease in the community means that now the epidemic in care homes is a much greater share of the average. And that means, even though the R in care homes hasn’t gone up, the average R in total has"

https://unherd.com/2020/05/what-the-headline-covid-figures-dont-tell-you/

So spread is increasingly concentrated in specific institutions where social distancing is hard like packing plants, old folks homes, and naval ships?

What does that imply for the general public?

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Shouldn't leaders be telling us: Here's what we've learned over the last two months:

- It's extremely important to continue to do X, Y, and Z.

- But, it turns out, it's not terribly useful to do A, B, and C. (E.g., "Sorry about all our hysteria about packed beaches of doom. It turns out that we were hornswoggled by the telephoto lens effect.")

But instead, The Experts keep screaming at us to do X, Y, Z, A, B, and C indefinitely as if they haven't managed to learn a damn thing.

I agree. I think by far the most important things are to avoid super spreader events and to protect the elderly. I think it is better to tell the population to avoid super spreader events and to protect the elderly, than to tell everyone to be locked up at home until a vaccine is developed.

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Leaders have more data but less understanding than attentive amateurs. They are primarily trying to project an image of competence while trying to avoid saying anything that will make them look like idiots a week from now. They're scared, not so much of the virus as the political pitfalls it represents. Fortunately, we are able to work around them.

Do:

1. Get outside
2. Get sunshine (maybe take Vitamin D supplements)
3. Exercise
4. Practice social distancing
5. Wear masks in indoor public places
6. Wash your hands after you've been in a public place

Do not

6. Go around touching stuff in public places, especially if you can't keep your hands off your face
7. Congregate for extended periods of times indoors; the smaller, stuffier, more crowded, and more poorly ventilated, the worse.
8. Go back to the office just yet if you can avoid it
9. Travel by air just yet if you can avoid it

The data and common sense are driving the timetable, not our leaders. Let's be careful out there.

I haven't seen a lot of 80/20 thinking -- you can eliminate 80% of your chance of getting infected by avoiding these 20% of your activities -- even though 80/20 thinking is usually a big help in life.

It's out there. The list above is what I have compiled (I might add: pay particular attention to door handles and elevator buttons).

If our leaders were simply trying to produce the best public health/economic outcome, they would be doing this. But they are trying to do something more complicated, which is to achieve the best public health/economic outcome consistent with them achieving and/or maintaining power. This is a tricky and scary game, and they don't really know what's going on cuz they never scienced much, but the prize makes it all worth it.

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Alex was the first person I saw calling out large arenas as low-hanging fruit.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/03/covid-19-event-risk-assessment-planner.html

Seems so obvious now, but that's how dumb we were 2 two months ago.

I still see The Establishment obsessing over the Crowded Beach Menace, not having yet figured out that they were getting played by professional photographers with long telephoto lenses that they annually use to exaggerate how big the crowd was at the beach on the Fourth of July.

There's a big problem that nobody in positions of influence feels like they dare admit: Actually, we may have been off-base about that idea back in March, so let's move on to some ideas that have proven more valid.

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Whilst everything you suggest is sensible in terms of avoiding it. Why are we urging people to avoid it? The effects for the young and healthy are in the vast majority of cases minimal. The more healthy people who get it and get over it the closer the whole population is to the magical herd immunity (whatever percentage that is)

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It is a big problem that politicians feel they cannot admit that they were wrong.

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The way it works here: the governor announces a date for some re-opening or other, then our extremely pompous mayor pompously announces the city will do same one or two weeks later than that date, then the county judge announces that the county (less dense, obviously, in every way, than the city) ludicrously announces that the county will follow *one week after that*. The goal is to out-compassion one another. The county judge is running for state senate (election postponed now until summer), so I guess that's why she really needs to win the compassion stakes. We're a town of feelers.

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I always read that Germany is "the most successful... thanks to massive testing".
What is the evidence of Germany doing massive testing than its neighbours?
What is the evidence that massive testing is the cause for Germanys performance?
(I actually don't know)

I am surprised that Tyler does not talk about the anti-lockdown protests in Germany. This shows that long-term lockdowns are not the solution.

My impression is that the Teutonic countries have had a much lower percentage of the hospitalized died than the Romance language countries. Perhaps that is due to testing, although the causal connection is not obvious. It would seem more likely they are doing something right in the hospitals that the Italians and Spaniards didn't do, but what that might be, I have no idea.

Or maybe it's a different strain north of the Alps?

Thanks Steve, these are very interesting points.
I also heard that the French and Italian speaking part of Switzerland had more cases/deaths than the German speaking part (I have no idea if this is true though).

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My guess - it is smoking, and also better protection of hospitals and care homes. In UK and Italy pretty clear that there was no initial protection for them, maybe the Germans were better at doing this. As everyone knows now this is mainly a disease that kills vulnerable elderly people. If the 70+ vulnerable population were not hit in Italy the crisis would have been much much smaller (still an issue though).

Belarus has the most cigarettes per capita in the world at 2,900 per person a year.

Germany 1,600
Japan 1,600
Korea 1,600
Spain 1,500
Italy 1,500
Poland 1,400
U.S. 1,000
Sweden 700

It's more complex because you'd want to know about smokers over 60 but the above probably correlates well with that,

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First, don't assume Belarus statistics are not being manipulated. Dictators have a way of making cool aid.

From wiki: As of 30 March, Belarus has not initiated a nation-wide quarantine effort.[25] That, as well as the gradual decrease in transparency of the official reports on the pandemic, led to criticism from the press and population, emphasizing absence of the up-to-date information about the territories affected by the virus, decreased update frequency and increased ambiguity of the official reports, as well as restraint of the non-governmental media from the government sessions on the epidemiological situation in the country.[86]"

I’m sure they lie about everything.

But if there were bodies piling up we would know by now.

Belarus is one of the most secluded countries of Europe, in the sense that it receives few visitors from outside (mostly from Russia, another country with a low incidence of Covid-19). The virus needs human hosts to get into a country, it doesn't just cross borders by itself, its hosts must cross those borders.

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I'm not sure I've heard it mentioned, but an aggressive testing regime is likely to identify cases earlier than a passive approach, and I suspect a portion of those infected could be easily treated if caught early but end up dying if treatment is delayed.

So, delayed reaction (Spain, Italy, New York) produces maybe double the fatality rate as an aggressive (Norway, Germany, Austria) response all by itself.

Has any country figured out what to do about meat packing plants? Or am I going to be eating peanut butter for protein for the rest of 2020?

Shut them down, give them a good clean, wait for the staff to recover and start it back up again. Mind you, as far as I am aware we only have one that was shut due to the Coronavirus here in Australia, so we're not exactly short of spare capacity. I presume we are trying to export extra meat, but I have no idea if that's actually happening.

You could fly in teams of meatworkers from Australia, but they would have to be paid a shedload of money, and if US meat plants were willing to spend shedloads of money they probably could have protected their workers in the first place.

Besides, a bunch of unsavory looking types with knives and chainmail and Australian senses of humor might be arrested as potential terrorists.

What if the spread is due more to the living conditions of the imported workers willing to do the job for less than natives? I thought we were told Germany wouldn't have a problem with meatpacking plants - there was that video went around showing their much greater level of automation, their pigs moving along Jetsons-like. In that case, do we pay more for animal protein, and eat less - which would not hurt us at all? Or is that the moment this thing comes to be equated with highway deaths? Something we accept because of its manifold "benefits" and all discussion is at an end?

Australian meatworkers are somewhat famous for a lack of concern for personal safety. Also it's a low paying job, which means more crowded living conditions, poorer than average health, larger families, more children which make good disease vectors in general, etc.

Most meatpacking plants in most countries have had outbreaks. But there are exceptions, including in America. Sanderson took small steps early that meant it will only lose 4% of its capacity with few workers sick:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-05-07/coronavirus-closes-meat-plants-threatens-food-supply

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There are a few ways of measuring testing. One is the number-per-capita The other is how many of your tests are positive.

If you have a low percentage of positive tests, it means you are reacting a lot earlier, and contract-tracing is viable.

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Maybe Germany is doing better because Germans naturally social-distance all the time anyway.

Cultural/economic differences can make for large differences in disease transmission. For example the HIV infection male/female ratio is 1:1 in Africa while in the US it's 4:1.

The African practice of dry sex + large gay male population with wives is the obvious explanation here.

I hope Skeptical is just your name and you're not about to tell me that it's not due to a cultural/economic difference, it's only because they do things differently over there.

I was just giving the operative cultural difference.

It’s bizarre how much we talk about HIV in Africa without ever mentioning the specific cultural differences that make it spread so easily.

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Cowen: "That Germany does not have its R below one is, in a nutshell, why short-run measurements of coronavirus responses are not very reliable." Precisely. It's not the short-run measurements, but the trend that matters. And in Germany the trend has been fewer coronavirus cases. What economists can offer in this crisis is a clear-eyed view of how to interpret and use data, rather than the politically exploitative approach that interprets and uses data for political expediency.

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Here's an accurate account of Sweden's strategy for the coronavirus: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/05/12/swedens-coronavirus-strategy-is-not-what-it-seems/

Are there any posted scientific papers documenting the claim I keep reading that 1/3 of Stockholm's population has already been infected? I never find links to anything very persuasive, but I keep seeing claims to that effect.

If the Swedes know how to have 1/3 infected in Stockholm without a New York City-style disaster, they should really tell us what they are doing right.

Otherwise, it just sounds like wishful thinking.

Sweden's "strategy", not Sweden's data. Critical (as in close) reading takes practice.

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The current death rate for Stockholm seems to be 61.5 deaths for every 100k population, and that translates to a death rate of 0.06%. If 1/3 Stockholm's population has been infected and assuming there is nothing special about those already infected, then you could project a "final" IFR of 1.8%.

Didn't Johan Giesecke (former chief epidemiologist of Sweden) say that he beleived IFR to be 0.1% ??

I'm sorry, I meant a "final" IFR of 0.18%

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People need to learn more about exponential growth.

This week I applied ant killer outside around the sidewalk when I first found an ant mound. I did the same thing last year. Not as much ant activity all summer, but the previous your, when I did not act early, I was applying it all the time.

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What concerns me is that we are not talking about false narratives and behavior by others which is making it more difficult to control the virus.

From the same article;

"German politicians expressed alarm on Monday over anti-lockdown protests held in major cities at the weekend, warning that conspiracy theorists and others with an agenda were exploiting frustration with measures to contain the pandemic....The protests were mounted in part by proponents of conspiracy theories blaming everyone from vaccine makers to billionaire software tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates for the disease." https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-germany-protests/merkel-urges-prudence-as-germanys-infection-rate-remains-critical-idUKKBN22N1P3

If you see some crazy conspiracy theory, or crazy claim, it is your duty to ask for data and links to data or other evidence.

Bad information has a high Rnaught and is just as dangerous to public health and our civil society.

Let's start focusing on the crazies and how they make it more difficult to control this disease, and how they use the internet and fake stories to do so,

Lizardman constant fail.

If you see some crazy conspiracy theory, or crazy claim, it is your duty to ask for data and links to data or other evidence.

Sure, I’ll start with:

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

Who was part of the latest protest in Stuttgart, at the explicit invitation of Michael Ballweg, the man who is organizing such protests under the aegis of Initiative Querdenken 711. The percentage of people being exposed to Ken Jebsen and his views is considerably higher than 0% at such anti-lockdown protests or through the net. You may be Skeptical, but many people aren't. Jebsen undoubtedly is able to weave Soros into the picture too, but we all know what an utter fringe conspiracy theory it is use Soros's name to make a point, unless one has a point behind the point (which Ken does of course), in the neverending struggle against 'cosmopolitans'.

The video 'Gates hijacks Germany' on KenFM has had 3 million views since May 4. on a youtube channel with 475,000 subscribers. Undoubtedly the Lizardman constant means that millions of views and hundreds of thousands of subscribers were only people laughing at the very idea. Unsurprisingly, KenFM reaches the conclusion that Gates wants to makes vaccination mandatory worldwide, which a few steps later leads to a German dictatorship. Sounds like a certain variety of MR reader in outline, not some crazed fringe figure. No wonder it is easy to dismiss.

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I don't understand the word Lizardman and how it leads to a rational discussion, but assume it is an ad hominem which merits no response.

As for the prevelance of conspiracy theorist and their number, or effect, let me point you to some materials and challenge you to dispute them or offer contrary evidence as to their prevalence, number or effect:

Experience of an ER doc dealing with conspiracy theorists: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/what-are-we-doing-doctors-are-fed-conspiracies-ravaging-ers-n1201446

New Yorker article on prevalence conspiracy theories: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-dangerous-coronavirus-conspiracy-theories-targeting-5g-technology-bill-gates-and-a-world-of-fear

A Forbes article on the same subject: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/04/19/bill-gates-is-now-a-target-of-covid-19-coronavirus-conspiracy-theories/#61632d576227

By the way, Russia is also part of the disinformation campaign:

"On February 22, U.S. officials alleged that Russia is behind an ongoing disinformation campaign, using thousands of social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to deliberately promote unfounded conspiracy theories, claiming the virus is a biological weapon manufactured by the CIA and the U.S. is waging economic war on China using the virus.[207][9][208] The acting assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, Philip Reeker, said "Russia's intent is to sow discord and undermine U.S. institutions and alliances from within" and "by spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response."[207] Russia denies the allegation, saying "this is a deliberately false story".[209]" From Wiki

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Sigh. No, Bill. The lizardman constant is not a personal attack.

https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/04/12/noisy-poll-results-and-reptilian-muslim-climatologists-from-mars/

You've provided nothing but anecdote journalism. So I'll say it again.

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

Note that not one of your links has any data at all outside of Youtube views.

Ha Ha.

Dismiss support by saying you provided nothing but anecdote journalism.

I'm still laughing.

Seriously, though, you have a problem. You do not provide data for your claims. You call people names. You dismiss journalist reports in newspapers and magazines that have high subscription rates.

Everyone can read your post and my reply (and Check into Ken Jebsen's as well) and make a judgment for themselves as to who is providing information and who is not.

By the way, Skeptical, here is a Deutsche Welle on the rise of covid conspiracy theories and the alt right in Germany: https://www.dw.com/en/pandemic-populism-germany-sees-rise-in-conspiracy-theories/a-53240063

I don't expect you to read it, or for it to have an effect on your decision, but it is being offered to others who may wish to read it.

"The protests were mounted in part by proponents of conspiracy theories blaming everyone from vaccine makers to billionaire software tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates for the disease."

This is a classic journalistic hit piece tactic, where you find one small group of people (or even one crackpot) with an outrageous and stupid opinion, and create the false impression that these views are representative of the much larger group of people you are covering.

Skeptical pointed out that it's unlikely these crackpot ideas are wide spread (aka it's just polling noise) and that the reporter picked them because that creates a sensational story and denigrates an outgroup.

Read the Deutsche welle article and other articles I have offered.

I won't respond by claiming this is a classic denialistic response, as it would not offer any information the reader does not already know.

But, the reader can form their own opinion by reading the links to articles, papers and other sources, including Check above, and form their own opinions after doing some research.

I did read them. They are exactly the type of stories I'm talking about. Sensationalist pieces that rely on anecdotal evidence.

This is the start:
"From January to March this year, they examined around 120,000 Facebook posts from various German media outlets."

So naturally you expect some statistics to follow, but no, you get this:

"The result? Alongside the extensive coronavirus reporting by established newspapers and broadcasters, there was also a rise in the number of posts by so-called "alternative media" outlets,"

Well no shit! I'm shocked that there's a rise in Alt-Media coverage of coronavirus. Aren't we all glad these researchers dug up that startling conclusion.

You'll note that nowhere in that DW article does it state how prevalent the beliefs are. Nor does it attempt to contrast it with similar other conspiracy beliefs.

Is it surprising that the person that believes in the healing powers of crystals or that the Jews are running Wall Street, now believes that Bill Gates and 5G towers are the cause of Covid19? No, it's not.

Yeah, I know, Barrons, Reuters, Deutsche Welle, people who read the posts of the alt-right demonstrators are all part of a deep conspiracy to suppress the spontaneous rallies of informed citizens petitioning their government and offering factual support for their positions.

I don't think any reporting from these sources would convince you otherwise. So be it. But, others can read for themselves and form their own opinion.

That's obviously not what JWatts said.

But whatever, as long as everyone is on the same page that it's basically 0% of the population that believes Corona is a conspiracy by Bill Gates, I think we can move on with our lives

People can read what he said,
Without your magic eraser:
" They are exactly the type of stories I'm talking about. Sensationalist pieces that rely on anecdotal evidence."

He never claimed there exists a

deep conspiracy to suppress the spontaneous rallies of informed citizens petitioning their government and offering factual support for their positions.

Those are your words, not his. We can have rational discussions that rebut what people actually say.

So you disclaim his statements for him. OK. You disclaim it by ignoring claims like: " Sensationalist pieces that rely on anecdotal evidence."

or "This is a classic journalistic hit piece tactic, where you find one small group of people (or even one crackpot) with an outrageous and stupid opinion, and create the false impression that these views are representative of the much larger group of people you are covering." (See Welle and Check into Ken Jebson facts)

or
The general denial of reporting by reputable news organizations.

No Bill, I'm not disclaiming his words. What I am doing is not extrapolating wildly and inserting tribalism bullshit into my reading of his words.

You cannot possibly be this innumerate. The reporting does not have any evidence to support your claims.

Everyone should read the posted articles from reputable news sources.

I wish to thank Skeptical for causing me to gather additional information for you in response to his assertions.

If you are a knife, you need a stone against which to sharpen. Thank you Skeptical for helping me by being the stone against which I could sharpen the argument and provide additional sourced information to present to the reader. And, I didn't even need to use the word bullshit in response as you did.

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I'm not calling you names, Bill. Lizardman constant is a theory about social science survey responses. It's not a personal attack at all.

I looked through every article you linked, as well as your latest one. There's not one shred of evidence as to the number of people who hold the view "Bill Gates caused the Corona-virus."

Not one poll, not one social science survey, not one anything. There's no evidence here whatsoever, outside of anecdotal journalism.

Skeptical, you are seeing up a standard of a poll and are ignoring the many sources of information and support.

You know that you don't use polls as a measure when there are demonstrators (a small percentage of the population) and you know as well that you look at the Facebook, websites, and other media sources they use to rally their members to a demonstration.

If you wish to fashion a conspiracy theory that Forbes, the New Yorker, Reuters and Deutsche Welle are engaged in some conspiracy to disinform, you may do so, but others can read and make their own judgment,

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In addition to calling this a polling question (%of the population rather than percentage of protesters) you also shifted to limiting the conspiracy theory just to Bill Gates and not the other conspiracy theories as well which motivate the demonstrators (including covid is no more harmful than the flu, vaccine makers are behind this, etc.) See those listed in the articles.

You can try these techniques of change and limitation, but I will always point them out to the reader.

Bill, let's review. This is what I said. Verbatim. The actual claim I made:

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

I haven't shifted, changed, or limited my claim at all. You've provided no data at all to refute this. None.

Anecdotal journalism is just that, anecdotal. I haven't claimed there's a conspiracy among news publishers, that's absurd. Notice how there is no indication as to the actual prevalence of this particularly insane belief. None.

Extraordinary claims require at least some form of evidence. Anecdotal journalism without any actual #'s are not proof of anything.

I love it.

Dismiss Reuters, Deutsche Welle, Barrons, New Yorker evidence as: Anecdotal journalism.

They are not reporting anecdotes, they are giving first hand information based on their observations.

Also, those news organizations have editors, the organizations compete with each other and have an incentive to report their competitors failings, and they actually fire reporters if they have given a false report, an act, which I would bet, Breitbart et al. has never done.

People can judge whether Reuters, Barrons, the New Yorker and Deutsche Welle are "anecdotal" journalist.

If I tell you a story of why I believe something or you interview me, or if you go to the organizers website, and you report it, are you an anecdotal journalist?

Bill, come on dude.

They are not reporting anecdotes, they are giving first hand information based on their observations.

You've defined an anecdote.

Dismiss Reuters, Deutsche Welle, Barrons, New Yorker evidence as: Anecdotal journalism.

My contention is that the articles themselves provide no evidence that there is more than a roughly 0% proportion of the population that believes Bill Gates unleashed Corona-chan unto the world.

Not one of the articles you posted links to even bothers to try to provide said evidence. This entire debate is ludicrous.

People can judge whether Reuters, Barrons, the New Yorker and Deutsche Welle are "anecdotal" journalist.

This is an argument from authority fallacy, but it's not even relevant because none of those news publishers is making a claim about the prevalence of this particular insane belief.

We agree, right? It's about 0% of the population. Those articles don't claim anything different.

English must be your second language if you claim that reporting first hand information based on observation is an anecdote.

You also do not address the views of the protesters but go back to what percentage of a population believes. No. Its what the protesters believe.

Finally , Reuters et al are news reporting organizations. They report what they see, and, apparently not what you want to see. It must be a very confusing universe for you if you disregard all of these news sources, each with editors, each with a competitive incentive to turn on the other for bad reporting.

This is ludicrous, this has to be a troll. You cannot possibly be this unhinged.

Reporters wrote anecdotal articles. No data. No studies. No quantitative evidence at all. The entire set of articles was anecdotal. But most importantly, they never claimed anything about the prevalence of the belief that Bill Gates started the Coronavirus You're reading something that is not even in the text. It's in your head, Boomer.

Show me evidence. Show me data. Show me anything whatsoever that would give evidence to your outlandish theory. Because in the absence of evidence, the null hypothesis is the obvious conclusion.

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

Not only have you provided absolutely no evidence to the contrary, you've lost your mind at the conclusion that it was an insane proposition. Ad hominems, conspiracy theories, and wild accusations.

You've dropped several articles, none of which even ATTEMPT to support your claim

You cannot possibly be this bad at reading comprehension.

You ain't f'ing T14.

When a fish bites the hook, and hangs on tightly, it is easier to pull into the boat. Your responses -- claiming journalists are anecdote collectors -- is really beyond the pale.

Instead of using bold type, next time try ALL CAPS and end sentences with hysterical exclamation points!!!

I am so glad you gave me the foil against which to present news and magazine articles for the reader.

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By the way, Skeptical, here is an analytical piece by University of Munster referred to in the Deutsche Welle article showing the alt right conspiracy theory disseminators and claims through alternative media.

Evidently you did not read the material that had been posted, so here is the original source research:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2004.02566.pdf

Everyone should read this to understand the alt-right conspiracists in Germany and the covid pandemic.

Learn how to confront people with facts and information and do not back down when you see disinformation.

Finally you brought some actual numbers to the table.

From page 15 of the report:

Site number of posts
Compact - 1 post; 555 comments
Pravda TV = 1 post; 17 comments
Russia Today (RT) (German branch) = 1 post, 2000 comments

I'm pretty sure Bill alone has already exceeded the 17 comments about Bill Gates being the cause of coronavirus. (rough count says around 30 comments here)

Congratulations Bill you have generated a significant amount of the comments about the subject. Good job! I'm pretty sure that you are now classified as an Alt-Right conspiracy theorist.

Only the alt-right and the German alt-right can take the credit for generating the amount of comments from their defenders. I just humbly point out what is out there, waiting for the flies to be attracted to the flypaper, where they get stuck ignoring the obvious demonstration websites, statements and leaders. You are responsible for the effort I take to find newspaper articles, magazine articles, background materials and the like.

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The lizardman constant refers to the 3-4% of people who will consistently indicate on a survey that they believe many people are secretly lizard-people wearing human bodies as suits. (Or any other similarly insane proposition)

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I admire Bill Gates. On the other hand, I also have a conspiracy theory about him: that he took control of education in the U.S. from roughly 2005-2015 by buying up educational think tanks. Gates promoted a lot of dumb ideas, like first "small learning communities" and then, after that failed (as he admitted in 2009), "Common Core."

The man has a lot of money, energy, and intelligence. I think he means well, but he also has a documented history of spreading so much money around that he can push his pet ideas further than they deserve.

On the other hand, almost nobody besides me and Diane Ravitch is interested in our conspiracy theory about Bill Gates hijacking the education reform movement for a decade or more. The kind of people who like conspiracy theories don't much like true conspiracy theories.

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Skeptical has still not responded with any evidence for his assertion, nor any evidence to rebut my information and that of Check into Ken Jebson.

My assertion is the null hypothesis.

Neither you nor prior_approval (seriously how do you not recognize him) has provided any data at all that the percentage of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for the Corona-virus is above roughly 0%.

Inb4 "but muh youtubes", yeah that's not how that works. Lizardman constant reigns supreme.

I again am directing readers to read the sources listed above.

Skeptical has decided that he wishes a percentage of the population test as proof that reports in newspapers, magazines and other trusted sources are incorrect when they say there are alt-right conspiracy theorists who are participating and motivating public protests. Please read the materials posted above which link to the reports. Skeptical has not offered any evidence or rebuttal for his position, and so it remains.

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

You've provided absolutely no evidence to the contrary. Not one of your links has any data attached. Not one of your articles has any social science surveys. The articles in fact barely mentioned Bill Gates at all.

I have the null hypothesis here, your extraordinary claim needs at least some evidence to be plausible, let alone provable.

I figured this would end in a debate about whether 0.5% is "roughly zero" but you don't even have evidence it's that high.

Again, you go back to percentage of the total population, and not the views of the percentage of the demonstrators, which are being reported by these news organizations listed above. I am sure there are very few Nazis in the total US population, but I am also sure that the Nazis and white supremacists at Charlettesville Virginia exceeded those percentages the US population.

Who is living in the fantasy world: a person who collects new reports, or the one who denies them with no supporting facts.

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero. Show me any evidence to the contrary that’s not easily explainable by the Lizardman Constant.

My claim hasn't changed. You've provided absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

Read my comments on percent of population as not being relevant but rather views of demonstrators and those who organize them and on views of demonstrators reported by the media above.

Okay, so we agree to agree that :

The % of people who believe Bill Gates is responsible for Corona-chan is roughly zero.

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I came across the Bill Gates conspiracy a month ago in Yahoo comments. I wanted to see if I could track down the source of the story but I’m too lazy. I am really impressed at how creative some people are and how gullible others are. I wonder if the originator of the conspiracy has bets with friends to see how long until the story is covered by a mainstream outlet. I also wonder if some of this is simply a social science experiment being done out of a university somewhere. Just to see how well misinformation spreads.

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as i am sure has been pointed out elsewhere, r0 can increase even while decreasing in every subset of the population

if the r0 in the 'community' is < the r0 within hospital/nursing homes1, even if both community transmission and hospital/nursing home transmission decrease, overall r0 can increase if hospital/nursing home transmissions come to represent a higher proportion of overall transmissions.

this is one reason among many that these estimates are not particularly useful at this juncture. it's also another item on the list of 'ways in which the coronavirus continues to fool us with randomness'

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Interesting how Bill Gate had replaced George Soros and the Right's anti-Christ.

I disagree.
1) A large part of the European right is pro-vaccination, pro-lockdown and pro-Bill Gates. I do not think this is the case with Soros and his open border policies.
2) A lot of the European left is anti-Bill Gates and anti-vaccination. Though the left is not really anti-Soros and anti-open borders.

Borders are for poor people. If you're wealthy enough, you can acquire permanent resident status in just about any country on the planet.

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Well, Soros and Hillary have been quiet lately.

They'll always have Obama.

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Anti-vax tends to be a progressive position.

> Anti-vax tends to be a progressive position.

And a wealthy progressive position at that.

Only half true. There is a very vocal right wing and religious component.

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"In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 2 thousand adults which concluded about 12 percent of liberals and 10 percent of conservatives believed that childhood vaccines are unsafe."

It has a slight Left wing tilt, but it's best characterized as a non-partisan issue.

I'd guess "Non-partisan" may be more apt than it seems, if it is literally a rarer stance among partisans. (I get the impression that the stereotype of anti-vax is politically centralist, family-oriented, somewhat mistrustful of government and "experts".)

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: https://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article207913961/Corona-Zahlen-zu-ungenau-jetzt-fuehrt-das-RKI-einen-neuen-R-Wert-ein.html

The RKI introduces a new R estimate ("smoothed R estimate"). In the last week this value has never been above 1 in Germany.

Germany has reached the point that an outbreak in a place like Birkenfeld, centered on Müller Fleisch, has a large effect on the statistics for Germany, not only BW or Pforzheim. (Weil die Fallzahlen in Deutschland insgesamt sinken, hätten einzelne Ausbrüche wie in einem Schlachthof einen größeren Einfluss auf die Reproduktionszahl, so Schaade.)

The U.S. is so far away from German 'Verhältnisse' that postings like this are more a sign of ignorance than anything else, especially for someone who claims to be thinking about the future of easing lockdowns.

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What happened, I was under the impression that the UK was a shining model of the "tough love" approach to pragmatic herd immunity. Did something happen to the UK? How come we aren't talking about them anymore?

BJ got the virus and had a rough go of it. That's what happened in the UK.

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It's weird. Today their number of COVID-19 deaths equals the civilian lives lost in the Blitz and they're not even boasting about their accomplishment.

Specifically, Brexit letting them accomplish something that in the past would have involved Germans.

The deaths of old people most of whose equivalents in Australia will likely die in perhaps 3-12 months, is not in the same ballpark.

Estimates vary, but each death in the UK and US from COVID-19 represents an average of around 10 years of life lost.

I've seen how those are constructed. Really just the weighted average of remaining life expectancy, weighted by age of deaths. It assumes that deaths are from people who are not particularly likely or unlikely to die sooner than average, of their age group. With at best a few adjustments for conditions that aren't very predictive of mortality (diabetic, obesity).

We'll only know if that's actually true when looking at the age distribution of deaths in the post outbreak period.

I would guess the assumption there is quite likely to be untrue.

I don't see how you get from "these estimates are flawed" to 3-12 months.

I think they're so flawed that a guess is better. But I don't have 100% confidence in my guess.

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Mortality displacement is certainly a thing though. You'll see more of ii in Australia as the global temperature goes up (heatwaves and periods of compressed deaths of the very sick and old).

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Completely wrong.
All studies which purport to show that had 2 major flaws.

1. They ignored nursing home deaths. Mean stay in a nursing home is 1-2 years (and they don't go home)
2. They assume a person who died with coronavirus and other conditions is of average health for that statistical group. The high likelihood is that they were less healthy than the average (and that contributed to their death)

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German here. Just to give some more context.

1) Germany did a first wave of opening up a bit more than two weeks ago (shops, some schools). People are also seeing many more friends now, from what I’m hearing anecdotally. That’s what this higher R is reflecting. Last week, many German states went much further in opening up (more schools, restaurants, some states plan to even theaters later in May). I would expect this to be reflected in the R in two weeks or so.

2) Germany is not doing “mass testing.” They are doing about the same number of tests per capita as the United States. Up until a couple weeks ago, not even everyone with symptoms was officially allowed to get tested according to RKI guidelines. What Germany did have was this testing capacity was ramped up earlier because of less insane regulations than US. This allowed it to be aware of the outbreak in progress earlier and shut down earlier.

3) I think the nyt and liberal media praising of Germany is highly deceptive. Mainly, to be honest, Germany got lucky. It had a very small outbreak when Italy, France etc had very large outbreaks already. Kind of like comparing some very unaffected state in US to NYC. Up until a week or so before the shutdown, everyone (even top scientists) were saying it’s just the flu. Many in the country seem to be reverting to that attitude now, which is why so much is being opened up—even though Germany was very close to following eg Korea’s path if it could have gotten cases down a bit further.

+1, Interesting post.

Yes, it is interesting but this part hasn't shown up in the data yet:
"Many in the country seem to be reverting to that attitude now, which is why so much is being opened up—even though Germany was very close to following eg Korea’s path if it could have gotten cases down a bit further."

Increases in cases in Germany a day on average:

Apr 13 to 19: 2.2% (still closed)
Apr 20 to 26: 1.4% (first week open)
Apr 27 to May 3: 1.0%
May 4 to May 11: 0.5%

It's all going swimmingly in Germany just as it is in South Korea.

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2) & 3) I agree. I feel like the media just uses Germany to bash Trump. In the article they randomly included the completely unnecessary statement "partly thanks to massive testing" (really, the article would be much better without it). Often I also hear how if the US had a "calm Merkel", there would be no protests in the US. Well guess what - Germany is having protests, too.

"they randomly included the completely unnecessary statement "partly thanks to massive testing""

I was struck by that too. Since the US has a much higher number of tests run (3x Germany) and is only 10% less on a per capita basis, the statement is misleading. Frankly, the statement is just wrong. But it feeds into the popular narrative and many people don't bother with actual numbers and facts.

The US has far and away the most Covid19 tests run and is still increasing the daily number of tests run. But people are stuck in the reports from 2 months ago and are media has failed to correct this perception.

There's nothing wrong with Germany's approach, and they've done better than the US, but certainly not a lot better. South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are the really stellar success stories.

JWatts, Your assertion about US testing is unsupported by the data on a per capita basis. Here is a link which shows testing over time by country (note that as countries get control of spread they may reduce testing, so testing over time is something interesting to watch).

Here is the link: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/tests-of-covid-19-per-thousand-people-vs-gdp-per-capita?time=2020-01-01..2020-04-11

Count how many countries have a higher per capita testing rate than the US and post below.

"JWatts, Your assertion about US testing is unsupported by the data on a per capita basis. "

Bill, where has your reading comprehension disappeared to?

What I said:

US has a much higher number of tests run (3x Germany)
Data - US: 9.6M Germany 2.8M

9.6/3 = 3.2 So yes more than 3 times Germany

"and is only 10% less on a per capita basis "
Data (per Million) - US: 29,063 Germany 32,891

32,981/29,063 = 113% (so to be precise, I should have said the US is 13% behind Germany)

Yes we are behind Germany on a per capita basis, and if you run the graphics you would see how far behind Germany and South Korea at the time where they got this under control.

What I object to is when people say: Oh, the US ran more tests than country X. Well, Dah, we have a higher population, than country x.

The person making that statement obviously knows they are misleading, or trying to mislead, when the correct measure should be testing on a per capita basis.

The time feature IS relevant as it relates to where we are today.

That said, I do apologize because you later said our rate today is 10% less than Germany, however, as you can see from the graphic, when a countries infection rate declines and they get things under control, testing per capita declines making time a relevant variable..

I'd think better of you for admitting you were wrong and apologizing to me about your accusation:

"Your assertion about US testing is unsupported by the data on a per capita basis."

My assertion was precisely supported by the data on a per capita basis.

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Source: shorturl.at/yFWXZ

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German, You should look at the testing rate of Germany over time relative to other European countries. The relevant statement is EARLY testing as well as the per capita amount of testing. Countries that got control reduced testing, since in many cases testing was based on persons coming to a health care facility claiming they might have covid, and the test was limited to them, where as other countries tested early and more widely.

Here is a link which you can run showing testing rates over time compared to other countries: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/tests-of-covid-19-per-thousand-people-vs-gdp-per-capita?time=2020-01-01..2020-04-11

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@LA

Thanks for providing some specifics. Media coverage is so maddeningly vague. Couple questions:

"People are also seeing many more friends now, from what I’m hearing anecdotally."

Going inside houses or hanging outside where they can maintain some distance? Masks or no masks?

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As always, everything devolves to your testing fetish.

Use protective equipment, isolate the elderly, keep the stadiums and the concert halls closed, have people keep their distance from others, end public singing until further notice, hold your church services in plein air under tents, have your diners and restaurants put space between people, and craft an indemnity program for diners and restaurants.

Yep. Testing is simply not going to happen at scale in the US. At this point, it is pretty obvious that the US congress has no interest in seriously investing in scaled testing needed to to do the test and trace and isolate strategies Tyler wants. Private business doesn't seem that interested and would rather get liability waived and get back to BAU.

Folks are sick of corn teen and people have already started congregating again and business are opening up.

We're heading to a split economy where middle aged and older people don't participate in non-essential activities or associate with younger people.

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nevermind the bollocks
this is the smartest thing anybodys sed this week
Dr. Cowen we need to lock down until full testing is up and running is not necessarily convincing."
then look at the newyorktimes.com position

rasumussen poll suggests liberals more likely to sntich

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Related to R estimates, R in the US, by state- https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-social-distancing-stabilized-covid-.html

"The researchers found a surprising consistency across the country.

"There's a lot of talk in the news about this patchwork of responses among the states, and it's easy to get the impression, incorrectly, that the states are all over the place and doing totally different things," Wagner said. "What we found when we were doing this research was that, in terms of the policies we considered, there was not that much difference in terms of what was closed and when."

They considered the closure of K-12 schools and restaurants as their benchmark for the start of social distancing. Forty-one states, they found, closed schools between March 16 and March 19. "You end up with a very clear before and after," Wagner said."

Plot of their paper's R, before and after interventions, colored by red (Republican governorships) and blue (Democratic governorships): https://imgur.com/a/M7i0B62

Post-intervention, all states are in a pretty narrow band of R, Republican states slightly lower (average around 1 vs 1.1), but pretty close.

Pre-intervention, very wide dispersal of R. Most very high R states Dem and in North East, plus Louisiana.

Because the interventions don't matter. People were going to stay at home and quit going to restaurants regardless of government response given all the media hype. The right counter factual isn't to look at what would have happened without government shut down because, all else equal, there still would have been a recession without government lock down as people VOLUNTARILY socially distanced. A better counter factual would be government shut down of cable news, blogs like this, and the encouragement of business as usual.

You can see the falloff in restaurants and small retail before the shutdown. And, you can see the falloff in "essential businesses" that are still open. Look at the airlines: they were never shut down. Do you see people choosing to travel. They are not denied the right to travel from within the US. But, they don't.

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Their analysis literally shows before and after effects with specific timing.

"We must lockdown because it doesn't matter if we do or don't, people will behave exactly the same. Exact same economic damage is inevitable." has got to be the consistently weirdest contribution to these discussions.

M, Please look at the data which shows the falloff more than two weeks or more before social distancing. Just because you don't like evidence, it doesn't mean you or anyone else, can ignore it.

It is weirder, frankly, to ignore this, and then call it weird.

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