Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Coronavirus dashboard for June 27: infections -> hospitalizations -> deaths

Coronavirus dashboard for June 27: infections -> hospitalizations -> deaths

Total US infections: 2,480,786,  44,373 new cases
Total US deaths: 125,120,  619 new deathsA quandary over the past month has been why deaths declined so much more than new cases, while cases were declining; and more recently why deaths have continued to decline in the face of soaring new infections.Is it because of better treatments? Changing demographics – e.g., fewer nursing home cases, more younger people? Or is something more even more fundamental with the nature of the virus itself going on? In short, should we expect deaths to continue to decline, or to turn up following the increase in new infections?I am expecting deaths to begin to rise again, imminently.Here’s why: the progression is:
– first, infections increase/decrease
-second, hospitalizations increase/decrease
-finally, deaths increase/decrease.

The problem in the US data has been that hospitalizations have been missing from almost all compilations. That’s because not all States – and most especially, Florida – track hospitalizations.

Conor Kelly, however, *does* track reported hospitalizations from all States which have reported for at least 30 days, which totals roughly 40 States. So if deaths are going to start to increase again, it should first appear in this data. Further, if this is because of the reckless reopening of some States, it should most plainly appear in those regions. With that in mind, here is the data.

Total US hospitalizations bottomed on June 14 at 26,441. In the 12 days since, they have risen by almost 14% to 30,065:

One benefit of Conor Kelly’s compilation is that it allows users to generate customized regions of States. So, for example, here is the data for the East Coast megalopolis from Maine through Virginia:

 

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All 4 coincident indicators of recession improved in May vs. April

All 4 coincident indicators of recession improved in May vs. April

With this morning’s release of personal income and spending, we now have all 4 coincident indicators for May that the NBER uses to determine whether the economy is in a recession or recovery/expansion. And all 4 improved from their “most horrible” readings in April.

A recession is a generalized downturn in production, employment, sales, and income. The “income” metric that the NBER uses is “real personal income excluding current transfer receipts,” (basically, government program payments to individuals) and as shown in the graph below, it improved from April:

Still a horrible decline from February, but “less horrible” compared to April.

 

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Initial jobless claims improve slightly; continuing claims resume decline

Initial jobless claims improve slightly; continuing claims resume decline

Weekly initial and continuing jobless claims give us the most up-to-date snapshot of the continuing economic impacts of the coronavirus on employment. More than three full months after the initial shock, the overall damage remains huge, with large spreading new secondary impacts. The positive news is that the total number of claims, including continuing claims, has resumed being “less awful,” likely meaning more people have been recalled to their jobs than have newly lost them.

First, here are initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers:

Figure 1

There were 1.457 million new claims, only 6,000 less than one week ago. After seasonal adjustment, this became 1.480 million, “only” 60,000 less than last week’s number. While the trend of the past 45 days of slight declines in new claims continues, this is the smallest weekly decline since the worst reading in April. Further, this objectively continues to show huge second-order impacts continuing to spread.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 23: focusing on deaths, and the Trumpist South and Southwest

Coronavirus dashboard for June 23: focusing on deaths, and the Trumpist South and Southwest

Confirmed total US infections: 2,312,302. (+31,433 in past 24 hours)
Confirmed total US deaths: 120,402 (+425 in past 24 hours)

We know that new cases are accelerating again. Is it translating into an increase in deaths? The answer appears to be: not yet, but getting close.

Here is the 7 day average of new deaths in the US:

Figure 1

In the past 3 days, the decline has ceased at roughly 610/day.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 22: a pandemic newly focused on the young appears to be changing the dynamics

Coronavirus dashboard for June 22: a pandemic newly focused on the young appears to be changing the dynamics

Confirmed US coronavirus infections: 2,280,969
Confirmed US coronavirus deaths: 119,977

The 7 day average of new infections in the US has risen 30% from its low of 20,357 on June 9 to 26,546 yesterday:

On a per capita basis, US infections are now roughly 4x those in Europe:

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The 2020 Presidential election as forecast by State polling

The 2020 Presidential election as forecast by State polling

As we all know, in the US Presidential election national polls are of limited use, as the election is actually decided on a State by State basis.

I’ve seen lots of projections of the Electoral College vote based on national polls, but what if we go just by State polls, and in particular State polls that have been reported in the last 30 days?

That, dear reader, is what the following map looks like:

I prepared this map after a slew of State polling was reported on Wednesday. Here’s how it works:

– States where the race is closer than 3% are shown as toss-ups.
– States where the range is between 3% to 5% are light colors.
– States where the range is between 5% and 10% are medium colors.
– States where the candidate is leading by 10% plus are dark colors.

The only change since Wednesday is that there was a Minnesota poll that gave Biden a 16% lead, enough to bring the average for that State over 10% in favor of Biden.

As of now, all Biden has to do is win the States in which he leads by 3% or more in the polling, and he wins the Electoral College, even without winning a single “toss-up” State as shown on the map.

The only surprising negative for Biden is that Pennsylvania remains a toss-up. Surprisingly, little polling has been done in that State, but while Biden has a slim lead on average, there are several polls dating from May that show a slight Trump lead.

I expect some of the Confederate States to return to the Trump fold.  He always polls his worst when he appears both cruel and clueless. And that’s exactly what he has appeared between his actions on both COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter. His stands are unpopular, and his P.R. stunts (most notably the photo-op at the church) simultaneously have looked tin-eared and execrable.

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 19: infections and hospitalizations have increased; it may be too late for Arizona

Coronavirus dashboard for June 19: infections and hospitalizations have increased; it may be too late for Arizona

Let’s start with the basics: total US coronavirus infections are 2,191,371. Total US deaths from coronavirus are 118,436. Those are official numbers; the real numbers are obviously higher.

The number of daily new infections averaged over a week has started to rise decisively. After a low of 20,357 on June 9, as of the 18th it has risen to 23,923:

Not all States keep track of hospitalizations, so most dashboards don’t cover them. Conor Kelly does, and his measure shows that hospitalizations have also increased over the past three days as well:

 

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New and continued jobless claims level off, as spreading secondary impacts and job recalls balance

New and continued jobless claims level off, as spreading secondary impacts and job recalls balance

Weekly initial and continuing jobless claims give us the most up-to-date snapshot of the continuing economic impacts of the coronavirus on employment. Three full months after the initial shock, the overall damage remains huge, with recalls to work roughly balanced with spreading new secondary impacts.

First, here are initial jobless claims both seasonally adjusted (blue) and non- seasonally adjusted (red). The non-seasonally adjusted number is of added importance since seasonal adjustments should not have more than a trivial effect on the huge real numbers:

There were 1.433 million new claims, which after the seasonal adjustment became 1.508 million. This is “only” 58,000 less than last week’s number – the smallest weekly decline since the worst reading in April but nevertheless is the lowest so far since the virus struck.

 

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Coronavirus dashboard for June 17: the second wave of the tsunami comes ashore

Coronavirus dashboard for June 17: the second wave of the tsunami comes ashore

As of yesterday, there were 2,137,731 total documented coronavirus infections in the US. Total known deaths were 116,963.

As I have stated several times in the past month, I believe that coronavirus infections and deaths will wax and wane around the April-May plateau of roughly 20-25,000 new daily infections and 500-2000 daily deaths, at least as long as Trump remains President. This is because, absent competent Federal leadership, the US lacks the political and social will to do what is necessary – distancing + mask-wearing + tracing – in order to “crush the curve” as almost every other industrialized European and Asian country has been able to do.

The current situation in the US is divided by region. In the early hard-hit areas of the Northeast and Midwest, effective measures were put in place and have been relaxed more gradually. As a result, the infection rates there have continued to decline. By contrast, in the Confederacy, the High Plains, and the Southwest, lockdowns were put in place late if at all and lifted early without any meaningful restrictions. As a result infection rates have begun to rise, in a few States at an exponential rate.

Yesterday the COVID Tracking Project finally released graphs for each region per capita, shown below:

In the Northeast and Midwest, the 7 day moving average of new infections has fallen to roughly 40 and 45 per million, respectively. In the South and West, it has risen to 89 and 76 per million, respectively.

 

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The Coronavirus Recession may already (technically) have ended: sales and production both increased in May

The Coronavirus Recession may already (technically) have ended: sales and production both increased in May

 – by New Deal democrat

Sales and production are two of the four things that economists look for in gauging whether the economy is in expansion or recession, and this morning both of them – retail sales and industrial production – were released for May.

So it’s true: as defined by the NBER, the Coronavirus Recession may have only lasted two months, from February through April. That’s because, just as February was the peak of economic activity before the coronavirus hit, April may well have been the trough. And recessions technically end, not when the economy becomes objectively “good” or “fair,” but simply when the level of activity is less awful than before. If the trajectory is positive, and activity goes from really awful, to slightly less really awful, the recession has ended, even if the economy is still, well, awful.

To the graphs! First, here are retail sales, both nominally and as adjusted for inflation:

Both increased 17.7% in May, after declining over 14% in April. Both are also slightly higher than their levels in March. Clearly the “reopening” of the economy in large portions of the country led to a splurge in spending.

 

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