E Death, Economics And Coronavirus

In the past, I have argued that the threat to lives from the shutdown is far greater than the threat to lives from the virus. Not lives in the developed world, but the lives of the 3-4 billion people who live hand-to-mouth outside the developed world. The growing threat of our economic catastrophe threatens massive numbers of their lives. For context, 700,000 have been killed by the coronavirus. The World Food Program estimates 120 million additional people will face acute food shortages. They have lowered their predictions for child death, nonetheless they are predicting 128,000 deaths among children under 5 in 2020. The children are particularly important (not just because they are cute) but because they would otherwise have decades of life in front of them. Even in Sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy has hit 60 years. Each child thus represents 55+ years of life lost while the average coronavirus victim has lost 10.

These impacts are as great as they are because the developing world depends on the wealthy world for all manner of economic activity from textile manufacturing to petroleum and mineral extraction to cash remittances from people working in the developed world. Without that work, the economic structure of entire nations can collapse. The impacts will not only kill, they will destabilize.

For these reasons, it is critical we chart a course back to economic health as soon as we possibly can.

Of course, we can’t do that without any consideration for the lives at risk from the virus in our world. The goal has to be to take both the virus and economic impacts into consideration.

This article is an attempt to analyze the current situation and determine – in more depth than I have before – the path forward for different regions. My prior articles have been very broad in their recommendations. I have actually recommended both paths in this article before – but not at the same time. Unlike previous pieces, this article bifurcates its recommendations by region. This bifurcation is due to the more in-depth analysis in this piece. 

As I see it, the following factors are in play:

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Ayelet Wolf 2 months ago Member's comment
Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

I'm uncertain about this. We haven't see any of the places with little humps seriously drop off yet. Could be that there hasn't been enough continual exposure or not that there hasn't been enough exposure total but we just haven't seen it.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

My predictions: One, we will experience the mildest flu season ever on record, because of the precautions being taken to avoid the spread of C-19. Two, the bottom will drop out of the economy in Q4-2020 or Q1-2021, causing, among other things, the worst housing market collapse in US history.

Dan Richards 2 weeks ago Member's comment

I'm staring to think we may have to concede both the election and our Covid predictions. Yes, deaths are way down, but infections are way up. And in terms of the election, I've yet to see any evidence of wide spread fraud that would be significant enough to flip a state. What are your thought?

Dan Richards 3 months ago Member's comment

I'd say you are spot on with those predictions.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Isn't this common sense? Why have I not heard anyone predict these happenings? Can't wait to say, "I told you so". Oh, and buy a new house at an insane discount off of today's inflated prices.

Flat Broke 3 months ago Member's comment

It makes a lot of sense, but only the wealthy can take advantage of down turns. Many of us are out of work now and can't take advantage of the drop in the realty market.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

I suggest you take this opportunity to build your own business and not rely on being employed by someone else. And, pick a business that can survive a downturn in the economy. Something that people rely on in both good and bad times.

Flat Broke 3 months ago Member's comment

It's a great idea, but sadly it takes money to make money. So once again, it's not an option for those of us who can't even make rent right now. Our options are severely limited. The additional pandemic assistance was great when it lasted but there's no telling when or if, we'll get any more.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Look at local farmers markets as a place to do business. The cost to get started can be just a few hundred dollars. People/Shoppers are willing to fork over four times as much for homemade/handmade cookies or bread, jams, jelley's, pickles, salsas, or whatever. You can easily turn a $100 investment in ingredients and your labor, into $1,000 cash. I know from experience. Hire a few people to bake for you and sell at multiple markets and you will have thousands of dollars in your cash boxes after 4 or 5 hours at the markets on Saturday mornings. I turned a hobby, that became my passion into an extra $100K a year, just because I got bored in retirement. It's immense fun, fills a need in the market, brings tremendous satisfaction to your customers and makes a ton of cash in a very short amount time.

Moon Kil Woong 3 months ago Contributor's comment

There simply is not enough jobs even if people start their own businesses. There won't be enough demand to cover the needed jobs. Corona virus only exacerbates the shortfall in income producing jobs and Trump's tax cuts don't really address the issue. This is why big business is slaughtering all the small businesses and getting even more efficient. They don't want more overhead either.

This is a big problem. Japan hasn't solved it after decades of terrible readjustment.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

It will take years before we get back to the low unemployment numbers we saw before the politicians destroyed the best economy on US history. Trump can lead us there, but only if the Marxists Dumbocrats are defeated in November. As long as they hold office, they will do everything they can to destroy the economy, either willingly or by their ignorance.

Angry Old Lady 3 months ago Member's comment

DRM, I'm a Democrat, but i'm no Marxist. Nice lumping everyone you oppose together into one stereotype. I see hwy you like Trump so much.. peas in a pod.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

There are exceptions in both parties, but it's clear that the Democrats have embraced the Marxist ideology. Having spent most of the past 6 years in the former Soviet Union, I can tell you from personal experience, Marxism ("Social Democracy", "Socialism", "Communism", "Leftism") does not fulfill the dreams that the Marxists embrace. Their infrastructure is crumbling around them. It's been almost 30 years since it's collapse and they are still oppressed both politically and economically. There are no smiles on the faces of the masses which I was, at first, astonished to see, especially in the metro, which were built hundreds of meters underground, in order to withstand a nuclear attack. There is no middle class, only mass poverty, by US standards and the extremely rare and excessive wealth of the oligarchs. Those who oppose the regime are either assassinated or poisoned to death. The riots we're seeing in the Democratically ungoverned cities and states would be violently and instantly quashed by Marxists if they were in power here in the USA. Feelings and dreams blind those who embrace the time and again proven failures of the Left!

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

All of this is why I've suggested restructuring the tax and social support systems to supercharge the economy. talkmarkets.com/.../empowering-america?post=265437

Texan Hunter 3 months ago Member's comment

New Zealand had been able to eradicate Covid from its borders, but it's now back and they have finally figured out how. If this is accurate, it seems no country can ever be safe until there is a vaccine:

www.foxnews.com/.../live-coronavirus-meat-seafood-study

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

Or:

1) The virus becomes so prevalent that we get community immunity. Still some level of death, but far far reduced

2) We learn how to treat actual cases. Dexomethazone is helping with critical cases and it appears that Kamada's focused antibody drug is working with early stage cases. More innovations may occur

3) The virus itself becomes less dangerous

Texan Hunter 3 months ago Member's comment

I don't understand your comment in how it relates to my comment. They actually tested the imported food and found it to be contaminated.

Sure, improvements in treatments will help, but it means even if we lockdown completely, we can't completely prevent infection.

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

Totally agree. We can't eradicate infection. I think we should stop seeking absolutes and be looking at tradeoffs instead. Coronavirus will be with us for a long while, we should be seeking to minimize its impact.

That will require a mix of public health, economic and other policies. But it should also take into account the changes in our ability to deal with the virus itself.

If we acquire community immunity (knocking down death rates to the rates seen by a killer like car accidents), get better at treatment or find the virus itself has gotten less dangerous then we should adjust our policies to reflect that.

David Newmark 3 months ago Member's comment

Good read. Any updates on this?

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

I'm working on another project so I haven't been updating.

But my general position remains. US death rates have fallen some. It seems the second 'echo' is beginning to pass. But I expect them to rise as a third batch of states goes through a round of infection and then effective protection.

Israel's death rate is higher (they missed some cases earlier) but they had very little exposure the first time around so it makes sense.

New York's very high exposure and death rates in Ultra-Orthodox communities seems to be coinciding with a very low death rate (although continuing infections) in that community despite large weddings with multi-state attendees. They seem to be echoing Sweden. They paid a heavy price but are showing that community immunity is possible.

As I see it, the data still supports the serological survey and current mortality risk assessment approach.

David M. Green 3 months ago Member's comment

For Joseph, DRM and others who said that Sweden's path was the right way:

Sweden Records Highest Death Tally In 150 Years edition.cnn.com/.../index.html

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Explain why the C-19 death rate per million in Sweden, which did not lock down, is lower than the UK, Spain, Italy and Belgium, and about the same as the USA, all of which locked down? Mayors and governors around the USA and the federal governments of these other countries, stripped the citizens of their civil rights and jobs, to no benefit! People have become lemmings! And, here in the USA, the insanity continues. Thank God that Biden will never be elected, because he said he'd lockdown the entire country, if elected. It seems no one in power can see the truth, which is, lockdowns do damage, not good. People die! It's part of humanity. 56 million people die every year, worldwide. Approximately 3 million Americans die every year. How many more will die this year and next year because of the lockdowns? They don't work!!! By the way, this year is probably the worst in many years for many countries, not just Sweden.

Harry Goldstein 3 months ago Member's comment

There's always a better way... According to Sweden's chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, due to Sweden's very high death rate, he would have reconsidered Sweden's strategy:

"Asked if the country’s high death toll has made him reconsider his unique approach to the pandemic, Tegnell told Swedish radio, “Yes, absolutely.”

According to the national health agency, Sweden, a nation of 10.2 million people, has seen 4,542 deaths linked to COVID-19, which is far more than its Nordic neighbors and one of the highest per capita death rates in the world. Denmark has had 580 coronavirus deaths, Finland has seen 320 and Norway has had 237, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

“If we were to encounter the same disease again, knowing precisely what we know about it today, I think we would settle on doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell, considered the architect of the unique Swedish pandemic approach, told SR."

Source: www.usatoday.com/.../3142761001/

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

My point is, locking down a city, state or country does not work! The numbers bear this out. Why destroy an economy and many lives, with something that has been proven to not only be ineffective, but detrimental? Why are politicians and those who listen and believe in them so stupid?

Anne Barry 3 months ago Member's comment

The answer may very well be some solution in between the two extremes. Finding the right balance is key.

Alexis Renault 3 months ago Member's comment

It's very confusing because half of what I read says "Sweden was right, they beat coronavirus without a lockdown and saved their economy." And the other half says "See, Sweden didn't lockdown, their population was decimated with a massive deathrate, and their economy still took a hit."

So which is it? They can't possibly both be right. Joseph Cox or anyone else, can you please explain the correct answer in as simply terms as possible, without any spin?

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

I don't argue that Sweden has been either right or wrong. My position is that we can learn from what they did. What they have to teach is that community immunity is possible. Death rates are *now* very low and they still haven't locked down.

The virus seems to be either better dealt with or less virulent. Knowing that community immunity (imperfect, but not mass death) can be reached we can look at the current danger of the virus, the current extend of T-Cell or antibody protection, and assess the costs of staying open.

Sweden paid a terrible price, but the rest of us have a chance to learn from their ongoing experiment.

Finally, Sweden death rate may have been heavily driven by their decision not to treat the elderly. 90% of nursing home residents diagnosed with the virus were never admitted to hospital. It tore through the nursing home population because of this policy (which also exposed other people in nursing homes). That was clearly a mistake. Death rates may have been significantly lower had they done more for those nursing homes.

Bill Johnson 3 months ago Member's comment

Yes Ayelet, it seems depending on what site you go to, the data means something else. Sadly, everyone has an agenda these days. But to clarify,i it's not quite accurate to say that Sweden did nothing. They did ask all citizens to social distance and practice proper hygiene, and they did ban gatherings over 50. I would say even in countries where such practices were mandated by law, a high percentage of the population ignored the mandate.

Dan Richards 3 months ago Member's comment

That's correct Bill, but it also makes DRM 's point. If so many people are going to ignore the mandate anyway, why force it on people and take away their right to choose? Leave it up to individuals to make the proper choice. And DRM and I agree that the correct choice is to wear a mask and be socially distant.

But people have literally been killed from all the fights over whether to wear a mask or not. If some people refuse to wear a mask, we'll simply see Darwin's theory play out. But I suspect a lot more people would have been willing to wear a mask if it wasn't forced on them. For many it was not a health issue, but a civil rights issue.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Agree 100%!

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Look at the numbers. The numbers don't lie. See the link below. If lockdowns worked, the death rate in Sweden would be much higher than the average. They're not!!!

www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

Bill Johnson 3 months ago Member's comment

This is a great link DRM, thank you. I've been searching for something like this for a long time. But it seems to counter your own argument. If you click on the "Deaths/1 Million Population," to sort by that specific criteria, Sweden, though not the highest, is ranked very very high at #8. Even higher than the US which is at $10

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Well, if you exclude San Morino and Andorra, two insignificant, tiny countries, Sweden has the 6th highest death rate. But why aren't they number 1, if lockdowns work and they didn't lockdown? No one can prove that a countrywide lockdown would have reduced C-19 deaths. NYC had a lockdown and look how many people died there! The problem in NYC and Sweden was not protecting/isolating those who were at risk, the elderly living in "old folk's homes". Why take everyone's civil rights and freedom away when only a few need to be protected? As Joseph Cox has stated numerous times, the effect of the lockdown's is far worse than the virus.

Bill Johnson 3 months ago Member's comment

I don't know why. I don't have an answer to this. But it's still pretty darn high. And there were countries like Italy and the UK which were overwhelmed pretty early and were not prepared - they didn't even know to do basics like be socially distant back then. Initially the UK did not lockdown either.

What I find more interesting is why countries like Iran and China are so much lower down on the list. I believe they are lying about the numbers. China had only 3 deaths per million? That puts them as one of the best in the world even though it started there before they even knew what it was. I highly doubt that.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

If we can't trust the numbers that our government reports, we sure as hell can't trust the Iranian or Chinese governments. The numbers aren't high. Put things into perspective! The deaths in Sweden are less than 6/100ths of 1 percent. They have supposedly lost 5,800 lives, depending on how they count C-19 deaths. Our idiot politicians count anyone who has has C-19 and later died for any reason as a C-19 death. INSANITY!!! Anyway, approximately 100,000 people die every year in Sweden. So, it's sad that 5,800 have died from C-19, but that's a very small number compared to the total that die every year. Lastly, most of those who died we very old, basically at the end of their lifetimes.

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

I didn't say Sweden's was the right path. Multiple times I have said they paid a very heavy price. What I did say was that we can learn from them about community immunity and what they have now achieved (albeit at a high cost).

David M. Green 3 months ago Member's comment

For DRM who said kids unlikely to be infected with covid and rarely get sick when they do... rates are rising in children. Only 45% of them are asymptomatic.

www.foxnews.com/.../cdc-says-number-rate-of-coronavirus-cases-in-children-rising

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

Simple question: Why are so many people, of all ages, asymptomatic, when this is supposed to be such a deadly virus? It's a fact that younger people are more or less unaffected by C-19. Yes, some children have gotten sick and some have died. However, "experts" say that the flu is more deadly to younger people than C-19 and the facts, so far, bear this out.

David M. Green 2 months ago Member's comment

More on how kids can be asymptomatic super spreaders:

edition.cnn.com/.../index.html

DRM 2 months ago Member's comment

Severe coronavirus disease, death 'rare' among kids, UK study finds

www.foxnews.com/.../severe-coronavirus-disease-death-rare-kids-uk-study

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

Here is a better article on the same subject. Rather than lots of scary suppositions it actually logically breaks down what we do and do not know.

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53946420

In my opinion, given what we know about infection doses, children might be *ideal* spreaders. They might spread, but because they aren't coughing up powerful doses of the virus their spread might result in more mild cases around them. This might explain studies that indicate low rates of child-to-adult transmission where hospitalized patients are used as the starting point.

Either way, my article doesn't take a position on children. Although if children can spread mild cases that would be a boon.

David M. Green 3 months ago Member's comment

Yes, it is certainly very odd. One of the strangest things there is about this disease. The very young CAN die, but most are completely asymptomatic. Most people are. And while a million people may likely die before this is all over, we now know the morbidity rate is far lower than we initially thought, because we initially were only looking at those with symptoms.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

If we look at what "could" happen, no one should get out of bed in the morning.

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

"Evidence suggests about 45% of pediatric infections are asymptomatic, the CDC said." What evidence? It could well be, but given how little we know about the statistical prevalence of the virus in the general (untested) population, I'd be surprised if they know this.

This is entirely anecdotal, but at my five-year-old son's kindergarden, a teacher's aide got sick (loss of taste and smell, no other symptoms). There were 15 kids. The main teacher (a woman in her 60s) was also infected, but was fine.

Three other kids were tested - one because his mother worked with elderly people and couldn't return to work until the kid was also cleared, one because the kid had a bit of diarrhea and a third because he had a slight fever. One test (the diarrhea) came back positive.

They didn't test anybody else because that's not the protocol.

My wife was tested two weeks later (at the end of our isolation period), she was negative.

I wonder what percentage of those kids were actually infected. Close quarters, extended time together... Either the infectivity among this group happened to be very low or the level of illness was...

Duke Peters 3 months ago Member's comment

I had no idea that COVID-19 had destroyed NYC so much!

talkmarkets.com/.../nyc-is-dead-forever-heres-why

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

C-19 did not destroy NYC. Two politicians did. The mayor and the governor! Thank you Marxists!

Andrew Armstrong 3 months ago Member's comment

That's ridiculous. Of course the pandemic was the primary factor for decimating NYC. But unlike the author, no matter how famous he may be, I do believe that the city will bounce back. New York'ers don't roll over and give up. But it could take a year or two before it fully recovers.

DRM 3 months ago Member's comment
DRM 3 months ago Member's comment

You don't understand. Yes, C-19 was a problem, but how the mayor and governor reacted was the root cause of NYC being decimated, them and the other NY politicians allowing crime to run rampant through the streets. New Yorkers are leaving the city in droves. NYC won't recover until all of the politicians are replaced with individuals who at least possess common sense and civil order is reinstated.

Andrew Armstrong 3 months ago Member's comment

Yes, some mistakes were made. Cuomo with his nursing home debacle, and I've never liked de Blasio. But overall, NY did a great job of actually getting the numbers down. I don't know enough about the local politics though to know if the violence was related to COVID-19 or the BLM movement. And from what I understand, while there were calls for de Blasio to resign among my NY friends, Cuomo became wildly popular and his nightly press briefings became required watching in the early days.

Moon Kil Woong 3 months ago Contributor's comment

Sweeden facts about cases and about their cultural behaviors to social distance etc.

www.statnews.com/.../covid19-accidental-sweden-fall-could-be-catastrophic/

www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

Limited social distancing has led to a collapse of deaths - in Sweden. Initial deaths were high, as I've noted 90% of nursing home cases were never admitted to hospital. And now those rates have collapsed. And the economy would have been fine if the rest of the Western world had lemminged off a cliff.

The stats aren't there for the ultra orthodox community in the Northeastern US, but they too have seen deaths almost totally disappear. And I *know* they are having large weddings (hundreds of people) with people from the entire region attending.

www.jpost.com/.../could-brooklyns-hasidic-jews-have-herd-immunity-634393

Moon Kil Woong 3 months ago Contributor's comment

We require proof to show that these are isolated groups and proof or at least an article to prove that the rest of Sweden is immune given Sweden is increasing not decreasing their restrictions due to Corona. The following report is saying that even with a vaccine and limited dosing of the population we will not get this. www.news-medical.net/.../...n-the-US-unlikely.aspx

Frank J. Williams 3 months ago Member's comment

Thanks for the link, very interesting view.

Texan Hunter 3 months ago Member's comment

This is promising. A new report says that long lasting and herd immunity is possible. The completely contradicts earlier findings:

www.foxnews.com/.../lasting-immunity-seen-mild-covid-19-infection-studies-say

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

Just curious: are you a hunter from Texas or do you hunt Texans?

Ayelet Wolf 3 months ago Member's comment

Some good news out of Israel today:

"Saliva Test For COVID-19 With 'Less Than 1 Second' Results Enters Trial Phase In Israel"

talkmarkets.com/.../saliva-test-for-covid-19-with-less-than-1-second-results-enters-trial-phase-in-israel

Tom Callahan 3 months ago Member's comment

Wow, that could be a way to finally reopen travel!

Moon Kil Woong 3 months ago Contributor's comment

Except that it takes time to grow so you can test yourself quickly after quarantining yourself for a while. The problem with travel is stopping it is the same as temp checks. If it doesn't exhibit the infection immediately then the test alone won't stop the spread over boarders alone.

Tom Callahan 3 months ago Member's comment

Maybe Putin was telling the truth about their vaccine. I realize they still need to do more testing but it is a ray of hope.

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

We are not going to suppress it into non-existence. Won't happen. It is here and unless there is a miracle vaccine here it will stay. So you either limit it or limit its effects. You don't shut down the world forever because of it. Rapid testing at borders can slow its spread by catching lots of cases.

The real value of this, imo, is rapid testing among high-risk populations. If you can protect them then a host of policy options open up.

Adam Reynolds 3 months ago Member's comment

Maybe Putin? I don't think we can trust Putin to tell the truth about anything.

Joseph Cox 3 months ago Author's comment

There are lots of more promising vaccines. Their 'durability' is the issue. They have to be cheap enough for the undeveloped world or else those populations will continue to have the virus - meaning that developed world populations will continue to be exposed. It has to be strong enough to trigger long-term immunity, which the virus itself doesn't do. And it has to be broad enough to cover a virus that will gradually mutate or else we'll need new vaccines every few months when our immune systems aren't regularly exposed to the latest versions of the bug.

A vaccine could definitely fast-forward us to a Swedish situation, but I doubt it will eliminate the risks.