Total US confirmed infections: 8,273,296*
Average US infections last 7 days: 59,527 (vs. recent low of 34,354 on Sept 12)
Total US deaths: 221,052
Average US deaths last 7 days: 738 (vs. recent low of 689 4 days ago)
*I suspect the real number is 14-15,000,000, or over 4% of the total US population
Source: COVID Tracking Project
As we head into the cold weather, experts are warning that, as bad as the pandemic has been up until now, it is likely to be far worse over the next few months.
We’ll look at the bad news. But first, let’s look at some good news: 60,000,000 Americans live in two large States that have largely contained the pandemic – California and New York.
My benchmark, as usual is adjoining Canada, which most recently has averaged 6.34 infections per 100,000 people daily:
Canada’s most recent death rate has averaged 0.0534 per 100,000 over the past week (or roughly 1 death daily for every 2,000,000 people):
By contrast, California has most recently averaged 8.11 infections per 100,000 people, and New York 7.18 infections:
These are not much higher than Canada.
California has most recently averaged 0.149 deaths per 100,000 people, and New York 0.0477:
California’s death rate is still elevated, but can be expected to follow its infection rate. New York’s death rate is now *lower* than Canada’s.
In short, over 1/6th of the entire US population – over 60,000,000 people – lives in States (also including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and in terms of cases, Hawaii) where the pandemic has largely been contained due to intelligent and relentless government action.
And now, the bad news. The pandemic is raging in the upper Plains and Mountain States.
Here are the top 10 States for infections:
And here are the top 10 States for deaths:
With the exception of Wisconsin, there are all deep Red States. Wisconsin has a reactionary deep Red Supreme Court which has prevented the governor from taking any effective action.
Four States – Wisconsin, Montana, North and South Dakota – all have rates of infection exceeding that of New York in March and April, and Arizona in July. The “relatively” good news is that treatments have improved so much that even North Dakota’s death rate is only about 1/7th of that of New York’s early in the pandemic, and is not yet worse than Arizona’s in July.
The bottom line for me is that, if California and New York have been able to contain the pandemic during Trump’s malAdministration, then only States that are willfully recalcitrant need to face the pandemic uncontrolled after a few months into a Biden Administration.
Good news: the Social Security
Trust Fund is going to last a bit longer.
About 80 percent of the Americans who
have died from the coronavirus were over 65.
The Coronavirus Has Claimed 2.5 Million Years of Potential Life in the US
NY Times – October 21
In less than a year, the coronavirus has killed more than 220,000 Americans. But even that staggering number downplays the true toll of the pandemic, according to a recent analysis.
Every death represents years of potential life lost, years that might otherwise have been filled with rich memories of family, friends, productivity and joy — trips to the grocery store, late night conversations on the phone, tearful firsts with a newborn baby.
“Think of everything that a person does in a year,” said Stephen Elledge, a geneticist at Harvard. “Who among us would not give anything to have one more year with a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter, a close friend?” …
About 80 percent of the Americans who have died from the coronavirus were over 65. But younger people are still vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus, which, when they prove lethal, can cleave several decades from a life span. …
… Despite making up only one-fifth of the total recorded deaths related to Covid-19, people under 65 accounted for nearly 1.2 million years of potential life that had been lost to the virus. Older people made up the remaining 1.4 million years in Dr. Elledge’s count.
Since January, the coronavirus has killed about 43,000 Americans under the age of 65, all of them too young to qualify for Medicare. Roughly 2,000 of them were younger than 35, and hundreds had not yet turned 25, too young even to legally rent a car. …
Deaths are also not distributed uniformly across the population. Age is certainly one factor that can influence an individual’s risk. Dr. Elledge’s analysis also showed that men, who tend to fare worse against the coronavirus, had lost more potential years of life than women. …
“Good news: the Social Security
Trust Fund is going to last a bit longer.”
The SS so called Trust Fund is a joke — if it supposed to represent some kind of substantial support for future retirees. Coberly posits that the TF was supposed to help SS over the baby boomer bump — that’s all. It might help a little I suppose.
But, given that it contains all of three years of full pay out (not counting an extra year to maintain legal “solvency” — okay to keep up payments if there is a temp shortfall while Congress catches up with a patch up — happened a couple of times in the distant past) …
… it is hardly supposed to take care of generations into the future — unless it is supposed to work on the “loaves and fishes” principle (feeding 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes). Or if the TF is timed to run out on the exact date that Jesus returns — and ends the world (but even the angels in heaven are not supposed to know when that will happen). If working on the latter two principles we should call it the JCF instead of the TF. :-O
We have at Angry Bear one of the most recognized authorities on Social Security in the nation. To your point on lasting a bit longer, trump Covid incompetency is killing off thousands of the elderly on SS and those who will be on it soon. Of course, it will last a bit longer.
Bigger problem in Wisconsin than the slightly less red Supreme Court is the gerrymandered super majority the GOP has in the state Senate and Assembly. Not only do they constantly undercut the Governor and bring the law suits allowing the Supreme Court to strike down his orders, they constantly downplay the seriousness of the virus to their constituents. Sound familiar? Apparently a number of senior state GOP officials have Covid due to some maskless super spreader events they have had but as shown by Ron dumber than a rock Johnson getting Covid has no effect on Wisconsin Republicans attitude that Covid is “ just like the flu”. Meanwhile my 57 year old sister remains hospitalized and while not going downhill not recovering like the MIC either.
You really need to stop showing your ignorance regarding SS. Just wasted bytes.
Disease isn’t funny, but this style of argumentation is a bit. Now that the prospect of a Biden administration seems realer and is clearly closer the finger starts to point at states. “See, NY and CA didn’t even need heavy-handed federal interventions, so if it really isn’t better in a lot of the country after a few months of Joe, well it is going to be those darn recalcitrant states’ fault”. I got hooted at strenuously for suggesting that there might be many reasons to vote for Joe, but a significantly more effective federal coronavirus set of policies wasn’t one of those. Have I made a convert?
Not a chance in the world. The idea of someone living in Wisconsin advocating for the states to decide all policies shows a total lack of sense.
Record number of new cases almost daily, record number of deaths almost daily, and you want your imbecilic state legislature and Supreme Court to set policy?
“The SS so called Trust Fund is a joke”
I’m sure that most believe the Soc Sec Trust
Fund is backed by the Full Faith & Credit
of the federal US guv’mint.
But amid this jumble, one clear pattern is emerging.
So far, schools do not seem to be stoking community transmission of the coronavirus, according to data emerging from random testing in the United States and Britain. Elementary schools especially seem to seed remarkably few infections.
As they say, “It’s an ill
wind that blows nobody good.”
Drug company insiders are profiting handsomely from the world’s desperate hope for a COVID-19 vaccine
via @BostonGlobe – October 24
They are, in many ways, the hope of humanity as the global death toll from one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks in history climbs past 1.1 million, with cases surging in many countries around the world.
But insiders at companies developing experimental vaccines and treatments to ward off COVID-19 aren’t waiting until they finish the job to collect their reward. Executives, board members, and related investment funds have made fortunes from the dizzying rise in their companies’ stock prices before a single vaccine has proven safe and effective or a game-changing treatment has been approved.
Since the pandemic upended life in the United States in March, these insiders at a dozen companies in the race to create a new vaccine, treatment, or test have sold more than $1.3 billion in company stock, up from just $74 million in the same period last year, according to information compiled by Equilar, a data provider based in Redwood City, Calif., and analyzed by the Globe.
Three of the companies — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.Y.; Moderna of Cambridge; and Vaxart of South San Francisco, Calif. — accounted for more than $1.1 billion of the stock sales, attracting regulators’ attention and generating uncomfortable publicity. Earlier this month, Tal Zaks, chief medical officer for Moderna, faced criticism for systematically liquidating all of his company stock in a series of pre-planned trades that have made him roughly $1 million richer each week. And Vaxart has faced shareholder suits accusing it of misleading investors while a hedge fund with ties to board members cashed in hundreds of millions of dollars in stock.
The trades have been particularly controversial, because many of the companies have received lucrative support from the US government to help finance studies of the drugs and ramp up production of potential vaccines as part of Operation Warp Speed. The federal government has offered Moderna nearly $1 billion to sponsor clinical trials for its experimental vaccine, including a massive study of 30,000 volunteers now underway. And it has agreed to spend up to another $1.5 billion to help Moderna manufacture and deliver the vaccine, including buying 100 million doses.
“These drug companies have a great scheme going,” said Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for Accountable.US, a progressive group in Washington, D.C., that says it is committed to exposing corruption. “Taxpayers cover the upfront investment costs and shoulder any downside, while their executives and shareholders can capture the upside if their drugs pan out and are shoveling obscene amounts of money into their pockets throughout the process.”
To be sure, companies have made rapid progress developing potential treatments and vaccines. Pfizer said it hopes to request emergency authorization for its experimental vaccine as early as next month. And Moderna chief executive Stéphane Bancel said his company hopes to win emergency approval of its vaccine by the end of the year. Bancel has personally sold nearly $58 million in stock since March, including transactions this month, but has held onto the vast majority of his shares.
Insiders sell stocks for many reasons, including time limits on when they can exercise stock options and a need for cash, but when senior executives and board members liquidate significant portions of company stock, it can raise questions about their faith in the company’s prospects.
One business professor who has followed the biotechnology industry for decades says executives and board members appear to be hedging their bets by continuing to sell their holdings. Historically, the vast majority of promising drugs flame out in clinical trials as harmful side effects emerge or medications prove ineffective.
“What insiders at the company know is that it is a lot easier to get a little bit of data that is encouraging than it is to get a product on the market,” said Erik Gordon, clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “You announce a sliver of positive hope about a product and your stock price goes up. You know the chances of that product panning out might be relatively low.”
And even if companies are able to successfully produce an effective vaccine or treatment, there is no guarantee the products will ultimately generate enough sales to justify a firm’s current stock prices, let alone drive them any higher, especially since companies are likely to face so much competition.
McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm, identified 250 coronavirus vaccine candidates around the world, while the World Health Organization recently counted 44 vaccines already in human trials with more more in earlier stages of research. Companies are also testing an arsenal of potential drugs to treat the disease, including the first one to win federal approval, Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, though some say it offers only modest benefits.
It’s still far from clear which of the vaccines and treatments, if any, will become blockbusters, but companies are seeing skyrocketing stock prices driven by the promise that they might have the winner — Vaxart, for instance, has seen its stock rise from 27 cents a share to as high as $17.49 over the past year. The company has just begun clinical trials of its vaccine, which has been particularly notable because the company says it could be swallowed as a tablet, rather than injected like most traditional vaccines.
Several companies that have had big insider sell-offs pointed out that directors and executives have made most of the stock trades based on automatic trading plans set up long in advance. Under some plans, stock sales are triggered when the stock hits a certain threshold, which could help explain why stock sales have increased recently as pharmaceutical shares have soared. Regeneron also pointed out it’s natural for executives and board members to cash in some of their shares when the stock is doing well. In addition, many insiders have continued to retain much of their holdings. …
Other good news. What is now called The New Hampshire
Union-Leader’ newspaper, a leading conservative light
in the Granite State, endorses Joe Biden.
Our choice is Joe Biden*
NH Union Leader – October 25
… In the race that has dominated political discourse for the past four years the choice is murkier. There is no love lost between this newspaper and President Donald J. Trump. The Union Leader was very quickly dismissed by then-candidate Trump after we failed to bestow on him our endorsement in the Republican primary four years ago.
We were hopeful with Trump’s win that he might change, that the weight and responsibility of the Oval Office might mold a more respectful and presidential man. We have watched with the rest of the world as the mantle of the presidency has done very little to change Trump while the country and world have changed significantly.
President Trump is not always 100 percent wrong, but he is 100 percent wrong for America. Trump has many admirable accomplishments from his first term in office. We can find much common ground with Trump supporters, including judicial appointments, tax policy, support for gun rights, even inroads to Middle East peace. Trump has been able to accomplish this despite many in the media and Congress working to stop him at every opportunity. …
Their caveat: * While Joe Biden is the clear choice for president, it would be a disservice to the country to send him to the White House without a backstop. We suggest splitting the ballot and electing a healthy dose of GOP senators and representatives. …
That paper can fuck the fuck off.
Yeah, Trump is an AH, but let’s leave McConnell running the Senate.
There are so many caveats in this ‘endorsement’,
with no specifics about how/why Trump is ‘100%
wrong for America’ that it’s annoyingly depressing.
But, it is what it is. With any luck, NH will remain blue.