It appears that the Wuhan virus epidemic is peaking, both globally and in the U.S. New York has more COVID deaths than the next nine states combined, but that state’s hospitals are now discharging COVID-19 patients much more rapidly than they are admitting them.
I have published this chart before. It comes from the Centers for Disease Control’s web site and shows the number of COVID cases in the U.S. by date of illness onset. As I have said before, one uncertainty about these data is that the chart only accounts for a little over 1/4 of U.S. cases. I don’t know of any reason why that would not be a representative sample, but I don’t know that it is representative, either. So take it for what it is worth, but the CDC’s numbers appear to show a plateau in new cases, even accounting for the fact that the last week’s worth of data are incomplete:
This is where we stand now, according to the World Health Organization and the CDC. The four bars in this chart represent the number of global fatalities in an average flu season, per the WHO; the current number of COVID-19 fatalities worldwide, per the WHO; the number of U.S. fatalities due to the seasonal flu in the 2017-18 season, per the CDC; and the number of COVID-19 deaths to date in the U.S., per the CDC.
So far we are about one-sixth of the way to a normal flu season worldwide, and a little under one-fifth of the way to the death total in the U.S. due to the seasonal flu virus two years ago.
The best news is economic rather than medical, in my opinion. Over the last 36 hours, both Larry Kudlow and Steven Mnuchin have said that the Trump administration wants to re-start the economy in the relatively near future:
President Donald Trump’s administration hopes that “in the next four to eight weeks, we will be able to open the economy,” Kudlow told Politico in an interview on Tuesday, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin issued similar statements to Fox News about the administration’s desire to re-start the economy.
“The president is very much looking at how we can reopen parts of the economy,” Mnuchin said on the network. “There are parts of the country, like New York, where obviously this is very, very concerning. There are other parts of the country where it’s not.”
Geography is one way to approach the process. Most of the U.S. has in fact been little affected by the virus.
“The president would like to reopen the economy as soon as he can and we are planning internally,” Kudlow said on the network, adding that the spread of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus is what will determine when the economy is reopened. “I am hoping … we’re only a few weeks away from a reopening. We’ll see,” he said.
Depending on what “a few” and “reopening” mean, that could be excellent news. The administration needs to push aggressively to end the shutdowns that have unemployed millions, destroyed countless businesses, devastated the financial markets and put the economy–and the lives of hundreds of millions–in a state of suspended animation.