Sunday assorted links

1. As I had promised I would report, there is now an uptick in the seven day moving average for Covid-19 deaths, take a look.  Here is a claim that the increase is a reporting spike, due to previously unreported past deaths.  “54% of deaths reported in the week of July 11 ( if her data is correct) actually occurred over 2 months earlier.”  At the present time I am unable to confirm the actual distribution of numbers one way or the other — opinions and leads welcome!

2. Confederate descendants moved to Brazil to maintain slavery, and now there is pressure on them to stop displaying the Confederate flag.

3. Thread on the new Klein and Pettis book.

4. Is Shostakovich overrated or underrated?  (I say underrated.)

5. Markets in everything: Meet the company that sells your lost airplane luggage, recommended, excellent link.  It seems to be a natural monopoly as well.

6. Emily Hamilton on how the Tysons redevelopment is going.

7. Resurrection of some BCG results?


Two lessons to learn from Tysons:

1. real estate develop takes too long to be able to respond to changing work habits, demographics, and trends. By the time they finish with making it walkable, all of the retail space will be gone, there will be two dead malls, and no one will want to live in a $600k on bedroom condo with nothing but bars, gyms, or salons nearby.

A large hotel scheduled to be built next to the Capital ONe office towers has been cancelled because of declining demand.

I suspect on the effects of the pandemic is that business travel never really recovers. Too many businesses are going to realize that the business travel was really just a way for employees to pocked expense money and build up frequent flyer points with airlines and hotel chains.

Most business travel was to stroke the ego of those who influenced and authorized purchases.

I have hope that it will be gone forever, but human nature hasn’t fundamentally changed.

Reason is correct. You’ll have two companies with similar products at similar prices and the company that does Skype demos will find that it’s only closing 35% of deals while its rival ,that has people on site, is closing the other 65%.

"there is now an uptick in the seven day moving average for Covid-19 deaths," & opinions and leads are welcome!
why not ask Dr. Birx?
paging Dr. Birx?

We all know how this goes concerning number 1. But doesn't it feel a bit ghoulish to be pointing out the obvious, as promised?

if you knew how this was gonna go you would state your assertion

Shostakovich as a composer of chamber music is underrated. The Preludes and Fugues for piano are his best music, and wonderful. His quartets are the best cycle since Beethoven.
His concerti are excellent, especially the cello concerti, which were written for Rostropovich.
The symphonies are overrated. They define his public image unfortunately.

I thought the article was spot on. I have to disagree on the Preludes and Fugues: some of them are splendid, but quite a few seem anti-pianistic. There are many places in the fugues which are unplayable because they demand a stretch of a 12th or more. This might be acceptable in the preludes, but if you're trying to write a fugue you must make the voices continuous. Having said that, Tatiana Nikolayeva makes you believe that it all works. As to the string quartets, surely nobody else has even attempted to write so many (since Beethoven). Holmboe? Weinberg? I for one would really like to work through the latter.

There are some substantial sets of quartets. Weinberg certainly, but also the Villa-Lobos cycle is surprisingly good. Myaskovsky. And earler, Dvorak.

I thought the article was spot on. I have to disagree on the Preludes and Fugues: some of them are splendid, but quite a few seem anti-pianistic. There are many places in the fugues which are unplayable because they demand stretches of a 12th or more. This might be acceptable in the preludes, but if you're trying to write a fugue you must make the voices continuous. Having said that, Tatiana Nikolayeva makes you believe that it all works. As to the string quartets, surely nobody else has even attempted to write so many (since Beethoven). Holmboe? Weinberg? I for one would really like to work through the latter.

I'm with Ken B. The Preludes and Fugues are second only to Bach's as a work of sustained contrapuntal writing (and if JSW is a pianist, he knows that large intervals you can't hit simultaneously are commonly arpeggiated--Grieg and Rachmaninoff were notorious for writing these "unplayable" intervals). As to the string quartets, most are marvelous--I love how No. 3 goes in a downward spiral from joy to anguish. As to the symphonies, they are admittedly uneven--Nos. 2 and 3 are best ignored--but much better than the article admits. No. 7 takes a lot of hits, but its upside-down riff on Bolero is truly chilling, though Bartok made fun of it. And the article fails to mention No. 15, which is a stunning and cryptic masterpiece. There absolutely is such a thing as a good or bad Shostakovich performance (it usually goes well when you follow the composer's instructions), and I'm pretty sure I've seen other pieces by the article's writer taking the same position, which strikes me as striking a pose. Especially in the UK, the cult of Shostakovich has grown so large that it invites provocations like this. Sure, ignore the party-hack stuff (btw, it was Shostakovich's second wife, who was a party member, who got him to join, possibly by playing on his fear that his children would be harmed ifd things in the USSR went south again), but Shostakovich was an artist of true genius and sensitivity.

15 is marvellous. I think 14 is the best of them though.

2. I'm confident that none of the many Brazil apologists who comment at this blog are descendants of southern slave owners and traitors.

Actually, American-Brazilians, descendant of traitors or otherwise, are very uncommon. Confederates founded a few cities such as Americana ("American" in Portuguese Brazilian), but they were a drop in the ocean of a continental-sized country bigger than America's Lower 48 or the Roman Empire at its height. Brazil has been called by famous writer Stefan Zweig "the country of future".

And yet Brazil has only ever been burdened by its past.

I wonder what the racist Jeffrey Tucker and his AIER frat boy brigade think of Confederate flag flying these days?

That article is preposterous. Brazilians were not the ones who fought their own countrymen to keep Blacks enslaved!!!!!

Many/most Southerners who moved to Brazil did so to survive and try to maintain their Southern culture. It is silly and untrue that they moved there to keep slavery alive.

And what was the one indispensable piece of that culture? You know, the one that they lost a war over ....... I'm OK, actually, with folks arguing that their ancestors were honorable people who believed in their cause ....., but don't try to pretend that it was really about anything other than the perpetuation of chattel slavery. It was not an accident that they ended up in Brazil, last place in the Western hemisphere to finally abolish the "peculiar" institution.

Yeah... But I'm a Yankee so you go that wrong. There were maybe 10,000 or so Southerners who actually owned slaves. Most everyone else in the South lived a life barely better than the slaves. The reasons for the South wanting to leave the Union and going to war were more complex than slavery. Many Southern slave owners died during the war. Most everyone left never owned slaves but they were going to be punished by the federal government and the carpet baggers so they left. Slavery as we discuss it was an African institution run by Muslims. Most of the slaves brought to America came here before we were a country and were brought here by foreign ship captains and without our permission or approval. When you begin including those facts in your narrative you might begin to understand what really happened.

Alexander Stephens is a better guide to the South's rebellion (and a proto-Progressive who believed in science!):

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science."

I also consider that quote defining of the CSA. Stephens was a honest man, and, in many ways, a decent and brilliant man, but his racist views disqualify him as a man to be admired. Nevertheless, I always recommend people read his books and a good book about him to understand the Civil War. Another person to read about is Thomas Cooper. His defence of slavery, something he had once opposed, rested upon racism, and helps explain why racism, as a concept, got worse in the years leading up to the Civil War. Finally, there's this guy called Robert E Lee..".Madam, don't bring up your sons to detest the United States government. Recollect that we form one country now. Abandon all these local animosities, and make your sons Americans.
Advice to a Confederate widow who expressed animosity towards the northern U.S. after the end of the American Civil War, as quoted in The Life and Campaigns of General Lee (1875) by Edward Lee Childe, p. 331. Also quoted in "Will Confederate Heritage Advocates Take Robert E. Lee’s Advice?" (July 2014), by Brooks D. Simpson, Crossroads, WordPress. This quote is sometimes paraphrased as: "Madam, do not train up your children in hostility to the government of the United States. Remember, we are all one country now. Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring them up to be Americans."

And this letter...

"My engagements will not permit me to be present, and I believe if there I could not add anything material to the information existing on the subject. I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the example of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered.
Letter regarding war monuments (1869), as quoted in Personal reminiscences, anecdotes, and letters of gen. Robert E. Lee (1874), by John William Jones, p. 234. Also quoted in "Renounce the battle flag: Don't whitewash history" (26 June 2015), by Petula Dvorak, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. This quote is also given as: "I think it wisest not to keep open the sores of war, but to follow the example of of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, and to commit to oblivion the feelings it engendered."

Sadly, he seems to be unread.

This exchange in Breakfast at Tiffany's has always amused me:

Holly Golightly: Mag Wildwood. She’s a model, believe it or not, and a
thumping bore. But just look at the goodies she brought with her.
Paul Varjak: (Referring to the Brazilian who just entered the apartment) He’s all right I suppose, if you like dark, handsome, rich-looking men with passionate natures and too many teeth.
Holly Golightly: I don’t mean that one, I mean the other one.
Paul Varjak: The other one?
Holly Golightly: He’s Rusty Trawler.
Paul Varjak: Huh?

so mush for handsome Brazilians.

According to experts, Brazilians are among the most beautiful people in the world thanks to the harmony of their bodies and the elegance of their features.

Dunno about that but they've produced some fine music. That Tom Jobim, eh?

Yep. Tom Jobim, João Gilberto, Clube da Esquina, 14 Bis, Milton Nascimento, Legião Urbana, Mutantes, etc. There is good reason to believe Brazil might have produced more interesting music for a longer time than any country in history.

Maria Bethânia

She, too, is pretty good.

Wrt COVID-19 stats, regardless of which particular “starting point” you care to measure from we are many months into this. Is there any other earth-shaking event for which plenty of data (some of which was deliberately corrupted on the way in) not have been thoroughly analyzed and reported out in a way to foster understanding by mere mortals?

It’s enough to make you think there are other agendas at work.

If you forced everyone to take an IQ test, the numbers of idiots would similarly dramatically increase.

I asked my doctor. "When will the China virus end?" He answered, "How do I know? I'm not a politician."

FYI. Birx and Fauci are politicians.

No, they are doctors. As opposed to Trump and FOX News hosts.

For decades spending billion $$$, Birx and Fauci have strenuously strived to protect America from pandemics and this is what we get.

Enough about China.

"Enough about China."

The country with much more inhabitants and way fewer deaths? Again some countries' managed the crisis relatively well, some has an abysmal perfomance and well... Trump is desperate to find some to blame for what he did.

It is a mistake to believe that any country can "manage" itself out of having this disease. China deaths may exceed a million but they are lying about it. Other countries that a month ago were bragging how well they were doing are now having record numbers of new cases and deaths. The problem is that you are looking at an incomplete pandemic and making assumptions based on things that have not yet happened but they will. In 18 months of so then we will know what worked and what didn't. In the mean time it is all politics

#1 Good Lord, look at that South Korea line! Amazing.... Throw in Japan if you wish, also. Similar.

Taiwan as well.

For developed countries, amount of litter on the ground as predictor of Covid deaths still looks more accurate than any policy difference.

To pass your Turing test, please look at the screen - Greece has less trash on the streets than the Sweden.
(Result evaluation - did subject start laughing Y/N? Further criteria - did subject mention Ray Lopez Y/N?)

To continue your Turing test, please look at the screen again - America has more litter on the ground than Belgium.
(Result evaluation - did subject start laughing Y/N? Further criteria - did subject mention NYC and/or Cuomo Y/N?)

These Turing Tests are virtually cut and paste.

To err, blah blah.

Prior_approval! You missed your post! There's one specifically for you today.

Anyways, yes, I didn't say it would be 100%. There will be randomness and outliers.

This dude thinks knowing someone's "actual pseudonym" is more important than a global pandemic.

"especially humorless and obnoxious and I would say neurotic"

Why would I believe it's more important than a pandemic?

Ah, ad hominem, par for the course from you.

You sure did not address the content, whether your crazy (*) trash idea had already been falsified.

* - crazy because it seems more designed to free us from personal and immediate responsibility, and push things off to a future data analysis question.

Hopefully a real engineer would realize a counterexample does not falsify statistical significance. At all. There was no content to address other than that.

Predictive models aren't designed to free anyone from anything. This reeks of 'science is violence' and 'objectivity is violence'. It will either be statistically significant or not. It's not exactly an emotionally laden question.

I'm betting it will be, and willing to take an offer for charity

I wondered if you would stoop to that, and I guess you did.

"It's not my theory that is wrong, it's the data!"


I'm saying it will be statistically significant and am willing to bet money to charity as a signal of commitment.

It's the exact opposite of what you're saying. I'm saying I have a theory and the data will show it to be true......

You're LARPing as an engineer dude, you need to at least pretend to be numerate. $50 sound good to charity?


You have zero math and simply assert that future data will prove your point.

This despite documented evidence to the contrary.

By the way, I don't care about your stupid offer to bet for money.

I care about a global pandemic.

When I say I'm willing to bet it will be I mean I'm willing to bet if we tested it right now the p value will be under 0.05. Not future data. Data now. As of 7/12/2020.

It's either correct or incorrect, you cannot possibly be this innumerate. Remember, you're LARPing as an engineer!

By the way, I don't care about your stupid offer to bet for money. I care about a global pandemic.

Okay Boomer, no money then. Gentleman's agreement. You believe this hypothesis is false? Or will you wiggle around and change the subject?

What I hear is that you are now more interested in your bet than you are in a global pandemic.

And for what it's worth I have made fairly significant contributions already, fighting the pandemic directly, and supporting local food banks.

You believe this hypothesis is false? Or will you wiggle around and change the subject?

What I hear is that you are now more interested in your bet than you are in a global pandemic.

Immediate attempt to change the subject. It's hilarious that every single time you're faced with falsifiability you run away. It's a massive sign that even internally you know your priors are factually incorrect

You realize you can just say "I believe I'm factually wrong but I feel that....." It'll save everyone time

At this point I'm just going to feel sorry for you, buddy.

Yes that's obviously short for:

"I believe I'm factually wrong but I feel that...."

You could have saved us a bunch of time.

To pass your Turing test, please look at the screen - Finland has 9 times less trash on its streets than Sweden.
(Result evaluation - did subject start laughing Y/N? Further criteria - did subject mention Swedish Model Y/N?)

To continue your Turing test, please look at the screen again - Bulgaria has less litter on the ground than Finland.
(Result evaluation - did subject start laughing Y/N? Further criteria - did subject mention outgroup homogeneity fallacy Y/N?)

These Turing Tests are virtually cut and paste - continue Y/N?

Prior_approval! We missed you on your autism thread!

Yes, I can precommit now to believing there's a statistically significant correlation between deaths and litter. For developed countries.

I assume you're committed to believing p is > 0.05. Is this true?


Might be possible, but if so tough to show it's not just be an "ice cream sales" type correlation.

But do Warsaw and Budapest and Prague really have less litter on the streets than Paris and New York? I really don't know. I'm not sure how'd you'd even get a set of nationally representative measures of "litter on streets" to test the hypotheses.

In this thread:

I have a clear falsifiable hypothesis. People engage in ad hominem and stupidity, yet adamantly refuse to take the other side of the hypothesis.

Also prior confuses statistical significance with a linear relationship for some reason.

Additional falsifiable hypothesis:

Neither anonymous nor prior_approval actually believe they're factually correct. Neither one will make even a $0 bet as to the p value being > 0.05.

Lesson from rationalists: people who immediately run from falsifiable hypotheses don't even believe their own bullshit

You're feeding the local Troll. He cares about the attention above all else.

You and I come here in pursuit of knowledge. You can't tie him down because he's not even playing the same game.

Maybe graffiti would work better.

3. From the link: "Part of the reason the US has been willing to sacrifice some manufacturing jobs is that whole new industries have been created. This book ignores those new industries." The U.S. wasn't "willing to sacrifice some manufacturing jobs", American industry shifted production to China because costs were lower in China and because it facilitated tax avoidance. Duh. As for "those new industries", well, I'd say, "please don't let the door hit you on the way out".

Exactly. It wasn't the collective US that decided this. It was the CoC crowd raping the US factory workers with the useful idiot libertarians chanting the "free trade!" mantra without a basic understanding (or willful ignorance) of currency manipulation, tax differences, or environmental arbitrage.

The problem is Milton Friedman argued that paying workers to work was bad because it prevented economic profit, and he argued that the only way to create jobs was by not paying workers, ie profits. He was arguing against Keynes who called for the euthanasia of the monopoly and rentier capitalists and turning capital into the durable good that cost exactly what it to pay workers to build, and then consume.

Friedman understood that not paying workers would eliminate almost all business revenue, so he called for government to establish minimum consumer spending: the government put money in consumer pockets to ensure consumers pay businesses a minimum income.

I think he suggested something like $5000 a year, vaguely. Which is vaguely $30,000 today, or $600 a week.

So, what happens to the $600 a week Trump and Mnuchin put in consumer pockets each week? They pay banks and businesses and maybe landlords.

But the GOP does not like government putting money in consumer pockets but they do like employer not putting money in consumer pockets.

So, the GOP loves imports from China because that means employers don't need to put money in US consumer pockets, while businesses look at China and think the Chinese government will put as much money in Chinese consumer pockets as US consumers got in their pockets in the 60s, or the 80s when consumers were borrowing from future government money going into consumer pockets.

But in China there is no Social Security so consumers save half the money employers put in their pockets for the rainy day they know will happen, unemployment, old age. But instead of just putting in a bank, they invest it by paying workers to build housing in China, build factories in China, build businesses in Chinaa, so US businesses paying Chinese workers a $2 aren't getting $3-4 in Chinese consumer spending like in the US, they get only $1. And China can buy from other nations at lower prices, like the Gulf states, Australia, Africa instead of the US.

But the US does create all the money in the world so the Fed and shadow banks can print money so the US can buy and consumer more than the US produces.

The core flaw is the economic theory that workers are never consumers, and consumers are never workers.

Thus workers suck money and wealth, into blackhole.

And its government's job to put money in consumer pockets.

Every GOP candidate promises to put more money in consumer (voter) pockets, and promises to cut costs, and costs are always labor costs, but never profits, so businesses support the GOP increasing their profits by cutting labor costs and putting more money in consumer pockets.

China, however, read Keynes and totally embraces Keynes idea that paying workers more puts more money in consumer pockets, the opposite of Friedman.

Thus China grows faster and consumers are happier while the US grows slower and US consumers are angrier and angrier. Except in leftist US cities where living costs grow rapidly requiring consumer incomes increase rapidly.

The angry consumers getting less money put in their pockets vote for the GOP and Trump who promise government will put more money in their pockets.

#2 Actually Brazil banned slavery in 1888 because slavery is antithetical to the Brazilian national character. It not required a war to accomplish that. I spent a few weeks innBrazil last year and I can assure you racism (except imported varities such as Confederate) is almost unheard of in Brazil, a country which has much tot each to America and the English-speaking world.

Brazil was one of the last countries in the world to ban slavery, so it would appear to be less antithetical to its ‘national character’ than almost everywhere else, including the US.

I teach public health (among other things); it's one of my academic specialties, although mostly from a historical angle (that's my original training--I am not a quantitative epidemiologist).

The current rise in death rates is exactly what you would predict. It takes 4-6 weeks from re-opening for the pandemic to really get going. It takes 4-6 weeks from that point for the surge to be reflected in the death rates, partly because people take their time dying, but partly because additional mortality reflects a lot of ancillary factors, like people getting scared and not going to the ER when they should. I get that people want everything to happen RIGHT NOW, but that's not how public health stuff, and epidemics in particular, ever work. Even if this disease killed people really fast, like ebola, it would still take a few weeks for infection rates to drive up death rates.

This is not rocket science. There are a lot of hot takes out there spinning cute theories about little bumps in the data, but take it from someone who has spent a lot of time reading and thinking about outbreaks: this one looks pretty normal. It has done pretty much exactly what you would expect it to do, if you aren't getting cute with funky theories to explain exactly why THIS spike and THAT dip and OH! THAT REGIONAL DISCONTINUITY!!! There are always wacky lacunae in outbreaks; data is noisy because reality is complicated. But to a first approximation this pandemic is ticking along like clockwork.

Also, July is going to be bad, but people are starting to get scared, so August might get back going back in a good direction.

Of course, the weaponized China virus could be the end of the World.

Look on the bright side, extinction is preferable to four more years of Trump.

How many people more you think should die to allow Trump get his re-election? #1 in deaths is not enough?

Trump was down in the polls vs. Biden before the pandemic, and his numbers tumbled far more in response to the Floyd protests than they did as the pandemic worsened. I know it isn't a popular take, but if Covid hadn't happened, I think Trump would still be an on-balance underdog. Less of an underdog, sure, but the expected outcome would still be a Trump loss. He just isn't very good at his job. You can still win election despite incompetence--voters support candidates for lots of reasons other than "good at the job"--but it makes you vulnerable when stuff happens, and the thing about the world is that stuff has a tendency to happen on a pretty regular basis.

Enough about the 2016 election polling.

In February 2020, the markets were at all-time highs, all demographics' unemployment rates were at record lows, GDP growth was highest in a decade, etc.

It wasn't the China virus, it was the insane reaction to the virus to Get Trump that brought America to the brink.

Your myopic view of what's was achieved in America before the pandemic panic is telling.

I know, right? It's amazing that someone could be so bad at his job that he was polling behind Joe Biden despite having a roaring economy. But there you go.

But the European clade dominates because Trump left borders open to wealthy disease carrying migrants who spread it to their domestic help so it would spread across all the US working class.

Who stage the stage for China to infect the World?

It wasn't Trump.

#1 I think she has a point. Generally it seems that 90%+ of the deaths are reported within 5 weeks but the week of July 11 was particularly egregious with backdating, with 54 % of the deaths at least 2 months old.
This of course makes it hard to see the true picture. They should account for the deaths when they occur even if it means updating past published data and clearly state that.

Once deaths per day started to decrease from 2,000 in April and more notably in May, Sundays and Mondays have always had the lowest reported deaths per day with Saturday the third lowest.

That happened over the 4th of July weekend where I was only a little surprised to see deaths so low since they were low two weeks ago: Sat 500, Sun 300, Mon 300.

Sat 4......300
Sun 5.....200
Mon 6....300

But very surprised to see an inexplicable spike the next four days:

Tue 7....1,100
Wed 8...900
Thu 9....900
Fri 10....900

But... but... but... Fauci and Birx are politicians! Take that!


Individual works by Shostakovich may be overrated or underrated, but that is true for most composers. Overall, his reputation is where it should be.

BCG has been rationed for years in the USA, as apparently it is sole-sourced and the source has been unable to keep up with demand. For the past forty years or so it has been the primary treatment for early-stage bladder cancer.

So, lotsa luck obtaining an adequate supply quickly if it turns out to be useful for treating COVID-19, as it apparently takes some time to produce even after one has built a reliable system to produce it.

(Question for the curious: if BCG were a primary treatment for breast cancer, does anyone suppose any shortages in the USA would have been promptly and effectively addressed years ago?)

At least a half dozen companies manufacture over 150 million does of BCG vaccine per year, which until recently, has been commonly been standard childhood vaccination in much of the world,, EXCEPT the US.

I remember as a child getting TB tests in school most years. I remember the debate about giving BCG vaccinations which would make detecting TB outbreaks much harder. That was the 50s/60s.

By the 60s, TB was uncommon in the US, so vaccination was not needed to prevent epidemics.

Production problems of biologics have in a number of cases caused more disease than they prevented, so Congress mandated FDA inspection, etc. The FDA inspects factories in Europe, India, Israel, as well as the US, as does Europe.

While not a big expense, why pay for FDA inspection when there is zero demand in the US for say at least 10 million doses? BCG vaccine existed before Congress required FDA approval, but only one manufacturer kept making and selling it in the US. It got FDA approval, and a monopoly as orphan drug treatment for bladder cancer in 1999, which has probably expired.

The reason for granting monopolies is economists called for monopolies to generate profits so drug makers would develop treatments for infrequent diseases which include existing drug, especially traditional drugs like quinine, etc, or drugs developed by government, especially the military, like the anthrax vaccine.

The leftist answer of government funded research and government run factories is deemed too expensive and too slow to meet free market demand. But as government, especially military spending was cut by conservatives, drug companies complained they couldn't make a profit, so economists argued for monopolies and government mandated payments because the free market allows chosing to not buy and thus pay the high profits economists say are required.

There is no shortage of BCG vaccine, just a huge shortage of high profits for selling it in the US. In the rest of the world, BCG vaccine is produced and sold for zero economic profit, just normal business profit for commodities drugs, just like zero profit on commodity food, etc.

1. It is still about the counterfactuals, the lives (or years) lost (or suffering) vs (1) normal years or (2) better covid response.

Improving treatments compete with spreading disease to produce a pain, suffering, and death toll. Improved treatments are fantastic, but there may be a level of spread that defeats them.

Therefore (and I would say no surprise) limiting spread must be a priority. We tried pretending it would go away, and that did not work.

We tried guessing how much road tripping and dining out was safe, and that did not work.

Trivia: emergency rooms are seeing less kids because there is less football

But it is not football season. Wouldnt you expect essentially zero football injuries out of season?

1. Uh-oh:

FUD farming by a far left publication that wants to destroy the economy to enable a progressive uprising.

Some good quotes:

“We do not know how much immunity to expect once someone is infected with the virus, we do not know how long that immunity may last, and we do not know how many antibodies are needed to mount an effective response. And although there is some hope regarding cellular immunity (including T-cell responses)...

“I am aware that my patient represents a sample size of one...FUD”

vox would be the last place we would go for information about the
viral pandemic or medical information in general

#2 No rush on eradicating slavery from Haiti and Africa though!

Actual slavery is still taking place in 2020. However it's more tempting to try to extract some rents from whites for slavery that happened in 1800!

#1. There's definitely a lag for reporting deaths, the question is how much and why. Some states, like New York and New Jersey, have been particularly bad in the timely reporting COVID-19 deaths, where they've randomly come out with upward revisions numbering in the hundreds covering deaths that occurred months earlier. Here's a site for tracking state-by-state COVID time series data where you can see the NY and NJ spikes in the context of the top 5 states now reporting coronavirus-related deaths.

Looking at the most recent data, I would suggest the timing the Fourth of July holiday means that almost all states are now playing some degree of catch up in reporting deaths, which would make for a short term bump in the reported figures now because of the associated lags in reporting - the reconciled data being reported by individual states confirms the deaths did indeed occur earlier.

That said, it is more concerning that California has become a national leader in number of deaths per day during the last week. Although its COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents is lower than other states, its large population means the increase it is experiencing is going to drive the national numbers up.

Is there any standardisation in the US on defining a Covid death? If not what are the numbers worth?

Wouldn't you be better off looking at death rates, or excess death rates? At least you can trust doctors on Fact of Death if not on Cause of Death.

The US has never had a real national ID and a real citizen database. This is by design. There are departmental firewalls and limits to national data collection.

The Social Security Administration wants to know, but only as relates to benefits.

The Internal Revenue Service wants to know, but only has relates to taxes.

The CDC wants to track cause, but without that national database, it is limited to compiling State results, such as they are. You may also remember the controversy when the CDC wanted to know about gun deaths. They were the only ones who might have built that database, but it was politically rejected.

Most of the time Americans want the government not to know. Perhaps most the time that's fine, but it might also limit our response to real problems.

Here the problem may not be mislabeling of deaths but delay in reporting.
54% of deaths reported in the week of July 11 ( if her data is correct) actually occurred over 2 months earlier.

There is standardization.

Anyone who dies with COVID is counted as a COVID death.

This includes gunshot wounds, car crashes, overdoses, etc.

there is also a littany of public health officials admitting this practice.

This ensures COVID deaths are overcounted.

"Anyone who dies with COVID is counted as a COVID death.
This includes gunshot wounds, car crashes, overdoses, etc."

Where did you get that in the CDC's "Guidance for Certifying Deaths Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19)"?

2. The “heritage not hate” argument is a lot stronger in the context of the Confederados. There aren’t millions of Brazilians descended from people enslaved under the Confederate flag, so having the Confederate flag up in Brazil should not be nearly as offensive as it would be in the US. The Confederate flag in Brazil is one of those quirky cultural things that I hope is preserved (much as many ethnic social clubs in the US do and should feel free to celebrate their ultranationalists from the old country).

3. The idea that excess inequality causes trade surpluses is patently absurd. The countries with the largest trade surpluses relative to GDP are developed East Asian and Northern European countries that are also among the most income-equal countries on Earth (certainly far more income-equal than America). The US deficit is mostly caused by the dollar being a reserve currency. If we don’t like it we should try to create an alternative reserve currency that is not under the control of any government or at least internationalized so that it is not controlled by any single government (many countries would happily join in this effort). But our ultranationalists want to have it both ways where our government can use the dollar as reserve currency to control all other countries and still get cheap imports to increase our buying power and living standards, while at the same time having no trade deficit. Pretty hard to see how that could be accomplished without turning the entire world into a planned economy run from Washington.

You're saying the demand for US currency is pushed to the right due to reserve status, thereby pushing net exports down due to artificially inflated currency?

Or put more simply: The export imbalance is artificially sustained by 'reserve status' not allowing the currency to depreciate in line with trade imbalances?

Interesting. I would say savings rate differentials are more than enough of an explanation........

Yes, the dollar’s status as reserve currency means that people in other countries have to hold dollars both to protect themselves from economic crises and in order to engage in international trade, especially for oil (countries that try to sell their oil for other currencies such as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or recently Venezuela tend to meet unfortunate ends). This creates extra demand for the dollar, which increases the value of the dollar.

The higher value of the dollar rationally leads Americans to have low savings rates. If you could borrow virtually unlimited money at zero interest that could be rolled over indefinitely because other people need the paper only you can print to engage in trade, why would you ever save?

This is our modern method for getting tribute from our empire and is a big part of why American living standards and private consumption are so much higher than those in the rest of the world. However, one side effect of all these benefits is a trade deficit. People who want to reduce the trade deficit ought to explain how they propose to do so without giving up these benefits or why they think giving up these benefits is worth it.

That's an interesting theory, I think it's completely factually incorrect. Traders do not give 2 sh*ts what currency they trade in as long as it's stable.

A much more likely explanation is that demand for US assets is relatively high. The paradox of capital flows! It's not flowing to high return, it's flowing to high rent seeking.

Savings in Asia means trillions in capital flowing out of unstable institutions into corrupt but stable institutions. Much better to buy an apartment in NYC with cash than have yuan sitting in a Chinese bank.

The trade deficit will slow once China has institutions that pass a bullshit test. Right now everyone in China knows every yuan in China could be 0 yuan tomorrow.

+1, currency value stability and value, and therefore international demand, mostly endogenous to different political regimes, not mostly determined by malign American "imperialism".

To the extent currency manipulation happens, China artificially weakening, reducing demand for yuan to boost export orientation and boost US import orientation. Not anything the US has done.

Also consider China's corporate debt mountain. Where are the logical homes of safe assets for that to flow to?

Foreign savers want to invest in US assets, and to a lesser extent the assets of other anglophone countries like the UK, because of their sophisticated and transparent financial sectors, and speaking English does not hurt either. This is correct.
In as much that a high US dollar hurts US industry, the US is much more the victim of foreign savers than a boogyman forcing everyone to hold dollars...or else. Although the high dollar does benefit some Americans even as it hurts others.

LOL! As the Pettis book shows these countries are not as equal as you think and have become more unequal and the trade surpluses track this increase in inequality. I can tell you as someone very familiar with Germany the analysis there is spot on.

If we don’t like it we should try to create an alternative reserve currency that is not under the control of any government or at least internationalized so that it is not controlled by any single government (many countries would happily join in this effort)

Didn't spot this earlier. Zaua now also MR's only open fan of the Euro in its present state and fiscal integration without political or central banking integration?

Shostakovich great.

Guys, I was really hoping one of you would settle my mind about the chart on the Twitter feed in #1. I am seeing an astonishing number of the deaths that make up the worrying trend, or most recent surge, having taken place in another month entirely. Kyle Lamb says he is getting the death dates from the CDC a few days after the blanket total is released for the day. This was a reply to Nate Silver, to which he did not respond. Maybe Silver thinks a surge in reporting or reclassifying is as significant as actual deaths in a day or week. Only trends matter, not their definitions. And maybe this week's smaller numbers will be revised heavily upward when decedents' death certificates are duly reviewed for the word respiratory, and Covid retroactively assigned. Maybe we will see those excess deaths leave the range of "normal" again. (How would we not ...?) The twitter author doesn't deny this is a possibility, or even likely. But tell me if his chart is correct, how that does not make reporting like Nate Silver's seem at best oddly crude or at worst non-straightforward?

the trend is bad
but its unclear how bad

and it's unclear what the trend is denoting

not exactly
-the trend is many states strongly suggests increased infections, increased hospitalizations and increased deaths.
-it has been reported a new more virulent strain has been identified
in houston

#4 I think Brazilian Carlos Gomes is way superior to Shostakovich, who is too formalist.

From the Guardian, some not encouraging news.

People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds.

In the first longitudinal study of its kind, scientists analysed the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust and found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.

Blood tests revealed that while 60% of people marshalled a “potent” antibody response at the height of their battle with the virus, only 17% retained the same potency three months later. Antibody levels fell as much as 23-fold over the period. In some cases, they became undetectable.

“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around,” said Dr Katie Doores, lead author on the study at King’s College London.

Why nobody checks directly if the patients had been vaccinated with BCG instead relying on country wide 'vaccination indexes'?

4. I don't Shostakovich is overrated, but he's played too much, at least in my country (Serbia). I guess it's understandable since he's done great work in almost all orchestral and chamber genres. Still, I don't think everyone of his symphonies deserves live performance. I would rather hear a Walton, Barber, Harris or Bernstein symphony than he's lesser work, but it seems like orchestras are wedded to an idea of playing at least 2-3 symphonies by Shostakovich a year.

TC and readers, go to worldometer web page and sort by Tests/1 million population. The US is 23rd (128k test per million). What surprised me was how low Germany (42nd at 76k), South Korea (88th at 27k) and many others. So, what are your opinions and leads?

You don't need to test much if you have the virus under control.

How do you know if you aren't testing?
Regardless, the limited research so far on recovered Covid-19 patients shows that not all patients develop antibodies after infection. Some patients, and particularly those who never develop symptoms, mount an antibody response immediately after infection only to have it wane quickly afterward — an issue of increasing scientific concern.

What’s more, repeat infections in a short time period are a feature of many viruses, including other coronaviruses. So if some Covid-19 patients are getting reinfected after a second exposure, it would not be particularly unusual.
Enclosed spherical forms do not have regular vaccine solutions. A vaccine can trigger one reaction at a time, we need two, one to crack the shell and one to protect from the thing inside the shell.

Our goal is to crack shell with artificial immuno globulin, an inhaler. Think of it as an internal mask, it wraps the shells and we can metabolize then or sneeze them. But they won't be spheres, they will not have aerosol properties, and spread goes way down.
Then a vaccine for the thing inside may not even be needed, we cannot know for sure until we start cracking shells.

Shosty is the last of the great classical composers, he turned out the lights when he left. He was in a very difficult position and created greatness again and again.

#4: not nearly as underrated as Rachmaninov, the greatest Russian composer ever.

1. The 7 day average for the official US COVID-19 daily deaths is up 44% from one week ago. The figure for yesterday isn't bad, but the death figures always slump on the weekend. (In Australia we make public servants -- like my sister -- work weekends during a pandemic. And then we cancel their pay increases just to crush moral when it's needed most. We are so stupid. Our level of incompetence is unbelievable.) I suspect the death rate will increase for at least weeks as daily new US infections have been increasing for weeks.

You're right: we're having a bad May, though April is still pretty cruel too.

Australian new cases yesterday:

Australian Capital Territory 0
New South Wales 5
Northern Territory 0
Queensland 0
South Australia 0
Tasmania 0
Victoria 273
Western Australia 1

We did wonder if the Victorian habit of licking the nostrils of strangers would result in problems. We have, of course, used the army to seal that state off from New South Wales. It was already sealed off from South Australia since we didn't want to have to shut the pubs again.

On #1:

The data looks right, but I don't think it actually means what the twitterer thinks it means. Most of the public reporting of the deaths is exactly that on the top of that spreadsheet in the pinned tweet. If you will notice, the CDC reports of deaths from COVID ran as much as 24,000 death behind the public reports from the individual states as of May 9th, but then the CDC started to catch up after that, and the difference was down to 7,000 by the week of July 11th. That is/will be captured in the table as all that 24,000 difference is made up as the past weeks are updated.

What you actually need to know is how the individual states are accounting for date of death. For example, Florida reported 45 deaths yesterday (Sunday), but I don't when those 45 people died. Florida knows this, and this information is what the CDC uses to assign the death to a particular date, but the CDC doesn't do this completely, at this point, for more than two months.

The Covid Tracking project doesn't keep track of this either. New Jersey, a couple of weeks back, on a single day, reported an extra 1800 deaths that had occurred in March, April, May, and early June. However, the tracking project just added all those 1800 to the day they were reported (June 25th or 26th is my memory) instead of adding them to the dates they actually occurred.

So, in summary, the twitterer is basically wrong- he is confusing/conflating the public reports of deaths during the week of July 4th-11th with the CDC numbers for the same date intervals. The public reporting is that during that week, there were 4286 deaths, but the CDC number of additional deaths that are numbered 6617, of which none of them are from that 4286 value- those won't start to be added to the CDC totals until this coming week with the next red box in that spreadsheet- the last red box of 302 was for the week ending July 4th.

Like I wrote above, you need to get this information from the states themselves- what fraction of today's reported deaths actually occurred more than a week in the past? You only get a sense of this in the sudden spikes like that seen in New Jersey two weeks ago, but otherwise it is all opaque until you get the CDC data that eventually gives you the number of deaths each week of this pandemic. From the tweet, you can see that the CDC still hadn't finished reporting the week of March 21st yet- they just added nine deaths this week. What I would like to know is when those nine deaths showed up in the public report. When did the states report the 1235 that the CDC just this week added to the week of May 2nd? Were those 1235 added during that week in the public report, or were they also added weeks later? It is just too opaque, but the CDC actually does have all this data somewhere.

"For example, Florida reported 45 deaths yesterday (Sunday), but I don't when those 45 people died. Florida knows this, and this information is what the CDC uses to assign the death to a particular date ..."

I'm sorry - this is clear as mud to me. Isn't that what the twitterer is saying - that each day's national total on the Covid tracking site is comprised of deaths that may be from this week and deaths that may be from weeks or even more than a month ago - and we can't see that until the CDC dates those deaths? Or are you saying that each day's Covid tracking national total is never about this week's deaths?

I think what I'm hung up on is that "you need to get this information from the states themselves" - my impression is that the daily total *is* from the states, and not at all from the CDC.

The twitterer made a specific claim- that the deaths reported during the week ending July 11th were mostly from people that died back in April, May, and June. This is true with regards to the CDC tables, but the CDC is always about 4-6 weeks behind in the COVID death tally to the "public tally". What I am saying is that the table isn't evidence that the public tally is overweighted towards older deaths in the same way- we simply don't know. When Florida reported 45 deaths yesterday, it could have been people who died in May, or not, but the CDC isn't evidence one way or another. That was the mistake.

The only real evidence is when you see a big spike way above the trendline in a particular state that then quickly returns to the trendline. See New Jersey on June 26th and July 8th. The states could do a better job of being transparent by updating their "daily deaths" to the specific date, but I understand this being a particularly difficult thing to do, but they could just described the dates each day so that people interested could make the adjustments for them.

Okay, I think you're saying the Covid tracking and CDC tallies are not really coupled in the way he thinks. I'm lost as to the distinction, but someone on his twitter feed did say this: "I think TD [TC?] might be overstating your claim. He is suggesting you claim 54% of the CTP/media reported deaths for the week *starting* 7/11 are 2 months old. You are only talking about the CDC numbers reported *on* 7/11. Two different things."

I mentioned the spike in New Jersey on June 25th. Well, they also did a new dump of old deaths on July the 8th when they reported 142 deaths when they had been running at a 7 day average of 35. There are other states that show this same behavior- sudden unexplained single/two day spikes that suddenly returns to the previous trend on day 2 or 3. So, I know a number of the state are reporting deaths that likely occurred weeks ago. There is a lag to be expected- I wouldn't be surprised to find the lag between a death and when it is reported publicly is about 7-10 days, and this isn't problem in interpreting the data unless you start doing dumps from 20-60 days ago, but then don't disclose this is what you have done.

#3 Like some other reviewers of this book this guy misses the forest for the trees again. Some of his comments are good points but once again people get stuck up on just the export side of things - the book talks about trade deficits exports - imports not just why some countries export more.

Shosty aside, once someone is widely considered "underrated," aren't they now being overrated? And vice versa? Kind of a King Crimson syndrome.

At any rate, "underrated" is often pretty self-congratulatory -- I'm savvy enough to like someone you've never heard of, or grasp some nuance youdoltishly ignore! Everything I like is tragically underrated, but if it was overrated I probably wouldn't like it so much.

I am indifferent as to whether Shostakovitch is "over-" or "under-rated" by bloviators like Jonathan Gaisman, or anyone else. The music speaks for itself.

In addition to the 24 Preludes and Fugues (which are in their way comparable to those of Bach, while also in a sense orthogonal to them), and the Quartets, his Violin Concerto #1 and the Piano Trio #2 (from which the former quotes the danse macabre figure of the latter) are among my favorites.

Let us not forget "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk", which contains some of his most exquisite music, in a setting of utter human depravity. Yeah, he could be ironic.

Greatest composer of the 20th century.

Turkey can eat FL plague and die with the Rubio French Islam and rich rancho can see more dead cancer victims and more dead NM estianians nobody cares especially the Palestinians. Also Rubio can leave my airspace with his Wiccan USA klan. Maybe pelosi will admit to being broken winehouse robot or I guess she is the new queen, turkey bought pelosi with the Yemen child sacrifices and gay Islam people in France and also more disease for San Jose CA and San Francisco except the asisans who are in compliance with sin leads to death the American democrats are the worst population on the entire planet so I guess more nuclear diseases for democrats, yes the Gop gets the exact same medicine but are more in compliance with the game. I don't like it either it's just the rules

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