Is The Coronavirus Curve Bending?

Left uncontrolled, the coronavirus would probably kill about 0.5% of a country’s population. (Assuming 1% mortality and 50% infected.)
One of my more innumerate commenters doesn’t think that’s very many. But 1.7 million dead Americans is actually kind of a big deal. Most would be over 70, but perhaps 100,000 would be under 70. And since when do 70 year olds not matter?

Of course there won’t be 1.7 million dead Americans from the virus, maybe not even 1% that many. And that’s because we’ll take measures to prevent that outcome. And those measures will likely cause at least a brief recession. (A longer slump will depend on monetary policy choices.)

I look at the data each day, and today’s the first time I’ve seen a tiny sliver of evidence of a slowdown in the virus in Europe. The growth rate finally seems to be slowing in a few countries (especially Scandinavian), from the roughly 33% daily growth rate of recent weeks. Of course East Asia still leads the developed world in controlling the spread of the virus, and the tropical regions still have low totals (albeit rising.) And there have been previous false dawns, so it will take a few more days to ascertain whether the growth rate is actually about to slow.
I’m still confused by the fact that the mortality rate in Italy is 100 times higher than in Scandinavia (7% vs. 0.07%). Commenters always give me explanations when I raise this point, but the explanations are the sort of thing that would explain a 2 or 3-fold difference, not 100-fold. And yet there must be some reason.Presumably one of my commenters is right, even if the explanation seems implausible.

PS.I am including Finland as one of 5 Scandinavian countries, although I believe it is actually Nordic, not Scandinavian.

PPS.I have a new column at The Hill on the Fed and the epidemic.

PPPS.I was really glad to hear that Walmart and other firms will be opening testing facilities, as our government is unable to even tie its own shoe laces.The Pelosi/Trump spending deal seems like a nothingburger, at least in terms of stimulating the economy.Perhaps it can be justified on egalitarian grounds, as lots of low-income people will suffer during this period.

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Larry Ramer 8 months ago Contributor's comment

In early January, a Lyft driver from Italy told me that the government there is completely corrupt and inefficient. Assuming that most of its hospitals are run by the government, that would probably explain a lot.

Also, I've heard that Italy is closely connected to China economically, so maybe some visitors from Wuhan w/ powerful strands of the viruses arrived there.

Ayelet Wolf 8 months ago Member's comment

Italy is a mystery - it's death rate is more than double the rest of the world and keeps rising. I read almost 400 people died there yesterday alone.

Larry Ramer 8 months ago Contributor's comment

I mean no idea what theyre doing in terms of treating and quarantining the sick.

Larry Ramer 8 months ago Contributor's comment

I think the answer is they have no idea what they're doing.