Trump’s political masterstroke [UPDATED]

Featured image President Trump says he will sign an Executive Order to ease the suffering of those harmed by the pandemic-related shutdowns and to stimulate the economy. Congress has failed to agree on a new package to accomplish these things. Trump’s Executive Order would include these four components: (1) a payroll tax holiday until the end of the year, (2) an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits until the end of the year, »

Coronavirus in one state (83)

Featured image Fatalities attributed to COVID-19 continue at an extremely low level in Minnesota. Over the past two days the authorities have attributed 7 (8/6) and four (8/7) new deaths to the epidemic. The median age of decedents is 83 (per the Department of Health’s weekly report dated 8/6). Of the 1,640 deaths attributed to the epidemic, 1,241 — 75 percent — have occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. Long-term care »

COVID and the Death of Common Sense

Featured image Why are so many panicked over the Wuhan flu, a relatively minor disease? Of course, COVID can be deadly, like virtually all diseases, but if you are 25 or under it is less lethal than an average seasonal flu, and it is overwhelmingly the very elderly and infirm who are at risk. So why the hysteria? In part, at least, because most people have a wildly distorted idea of the »

Coronavirus in one state (82)

Featured image Our efforts to understand the epidemic in one state are clouded by the efforts of the authorities to sustain one-man rule and the panic on which it is based. They are also clouded by the faithful alliance of the press with the authorities. Over the past two days in Minnesota the authorities have attributed four (8/4) and 9 (8/5) new deaths to COVID-19. Seventy-six percent of all deaths attributed to »

Did Lockdowns Work? Evidence Says No

Featured image With talk of ordering more widespread shutdowns to fight the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, it is worth taking note of a paper released over the weekend on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) by Prof. Christian Bjørnskov of Aarhus University in Denmark. The paper is “Did Lockdown Work? An Economist’s Cross-Country Comparison.” The abstract is both direct and concise (a rarity in academic writing): I explore the association between the »

Coronavirus in one state (81)

Featured image The authorities attributed only two new deaths to COVID-19 in the data reported yesterday. Neither decedent was a long-term care facility resident. Woo hoo! Yet long-term residents continue to account for 76 percent of all deaths attributed to the epidemic. Yesterday’s results continue the low fatality rate in the data since mid-June — unexpectedly. The authorities told us we were to be inundated by thousands of hospitalizations and deaths this »

Gov. Hogan overrides county executive, enables private schools to reopen

Featured image Last week, Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, issued an order prohibiting all non-public schools from opening for in-person classes before October 1. Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican governor, promptly went on Twitter to express his disagreement with this decision. He tweeted: I strongly disagree with Montgomery County’s decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools. As long as these school develop safe plans that follow CDC and state »

Germans March Against Shutdown

Featured image The Associated Press reports on opposition by Germans to their government’s shutdown order. The AP, of course, has a position on the issue: Thousands protested Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration marking what organizers called “the end of the pandemic” — a declaration that comes just as authorities are voicing increasing concerns about an uptick in new infections. Got that? The demonstrators are wrong! The AP wouldn’t want »

Who deserves a funeral?

Featured image The double standards in public health guidelines, left-wing protest, and all the rest might be enough to make a reasonable observer wonder if the plague is all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone other than Amber Athey gone in for a close-up and asked the obvious questions in connection with the funeral of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis? Athey asks the pointed question: “Who deserves a funeral?” Answer: »

Coronavirus in one state (80)

Featured image The beat goes on in. The authorities attributed six new deaths to COVID-19 yesterday. Two of the new decedents were in their 90’s, two in their 80’s, one in his 70’s, and one in his 20’s (“with significant underlying conditions”). A total of 312 hospitalizations are attributed to the epidemic, with 151 of these in intensive care. The median age of decedents is 83. The daily total of new cases »

Coronavirus in one state (79)

Featured image Over the past two days the authorities have attributed four new deaths (7/28) and nine deaths to (7/29) COVID-19. In yesterday’s report, 7 of the 9 new decedents were residents of long-term care facilities and 8 of the 9 decedents were in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. One was in his 50’s. Long-term care residents account for 76.5 percent of deaths attributed to the epidemic. And yet the beat goes »

A COVID Border Battle

Featured image Have shutdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus done any good? I doubt it. My guess is that in future years–once President Trump is safely out of office–a consensus will emerge that the shutdowns that U.S. governors have imposed, like the governments of a number of European countries, were a disastrous policy error. I think history will conclude that the shutdowns turned a relatively mild epidemic into a relatively »

The Wuhan coronavirus makes a comeback in Europe

Featured image Not everywhere in Europe. Germany, Italy, and the UK seem to doing fine right now. However, it’s a different story in Spain, France, and Belgium. Let’s start with Spain. Throughout June, reported new cases were about 500 per day. Daily deaths attributed to the virus were practically nil, if one believes the data. (The numbers cited herein come from Worldometer.) Now, in late July, reported new cases are about 2,000 »

Coronavirus numbers from three key states

Featured image The acceleration in the number of reported cases and deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S. has been driven to a considerable degree by infections in three states: Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Thus, it makes sense to take a closer look at the numbers from these states. (Unless otherwise indicated by a link, all data cited below are from Worldometer.) Before diving in, it’s important to note that per »

Coronavirus in one state (78)

Featured image New deaths attributed by the authorities to COVID-19 are vanishingly low. In the data posted over the past three days, the numbers are five (7/25), three (7/26), and two (7/27). The two deaths tallied yesterday both occurred among residents of long-term care facilities, who now account for 76.6 percent of all deaths attributed to the epidemic. Hospitalizations also remain low. It should be difficult for Governor Walz to continue one-man »

Smart Talk About COVID

Featured image Last week I hosted a webinar featuring Avik Roy of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity and Karin Housley, a Minnesota state Senator who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Family Care and Aging. The event turned out better than I could have expected. Roy, with whom I hadn’t worked before, is a brilliant guy who, more than anyone else, has analyzed the demographics of COVID and has documented the »

No positives among more than 4,000 Covid tests of NHL players

Featured image Positive coronavirus test results are disrupting the major league baseball season, but there is good news from the National Hockey League. The NHL administered 4,256 tests to more than 800 players last week. None came back positive. During training camps, there were just two positive tests. During an earlier phase of the restart, dating back to June 8, the league reported 43 positive test results. All told, there have been »