Corona Scorecard: Is AK Bad, Wrong, and a COVID Fascist?

Am I a so-called “COVID merchant” peddling fear and BS, as several conspiracy-minded people from both the Left and the Right have alleged? Or have most of my predictions, such as they were, actually (and unfortunately) panned out?

As such, I think it would be useful to have a “tallying up” reference sheet that I can cite when such allegations come up.

  • First raised the alarm: Jan 22.
    • That’s far earlier than most people outside China, though in fairness, lots of people were talking about it then. 8/10
    • Some people, esp. from conspiracy corner, claimed it was a “hoax” from the start. Some do so even now.
    • Just the mere fact of heterogeneity of responses from across ideological spectrum would suggest that the various hoax/it’s NWO plan to enslave you conspiracies are unlikely.
  • IFR: Guesstimated it at ~1% on Jan 24
  • Total Mortality: “Millions”, e.g. on Feb 24 – though obviously highly dependent on policy responses.
    • 321,818 officially as of time of writing [May 21]
    • Sure, off by 1 OOM, but:
      • Has the epidemic ended, or something?
      • This is a lower bound. China, Russia, and Western countries have all underestimated their numbers. In parts of the Third World, it will always remain a black box. Quite possibly, already close to 1M.
    • Explicitly said treating it as nothingburger or as Black Death is “equally ridiculous.”
    • Predictions happen in a social context. Even as late as Mar 25, some 71% of Americans thought there’d be <100,000 deaths in the US.  Richard Epstein, lawyer who shaped Trump admin strategy, predicted 500 on Mar 16. Numerous professional epidemiologists were absolutely wrong.
    • As such, will provisionally give myself 10/10 here.
    • Life expectancy projections based on different infection scenarios still to be assessed.
  • Global spread: Predicted will not remain confined to East Asia, and that multiple clusters had been seeded abroad on Feb 24
    • Confirmed a week later (and in retrospect). So 8/10.
    • Not giving myself full marks as I was on the fence as to China’s ability to suppress the epidemic. Sinotriumph won.
  • World economy: To “crater”, and oil prices to collapse on Feb 24
    • Was made when it was still far from obvious, at least to most people – betting markets giving 30% chance of recession, only modestly up from 20-25% in previous year.
    • So thoroughly confirmed from all around the world that it needs no additional citation. 10/10
  • Geopolitics: Correctly predicted main trend, the acceleration of the “Great Bifurcation” between the “Blue Empire” (US sphere) and the Sinosphere. 8/10
    • “Geopolitically, this will turbocharge what Trump’s trade war initiated: The Great Bifurcation of the world economy between the “Blue Empire” and the Sinosphere” on Feb 24
    • Now: Senate Passes Bill to Delist Chinese Companies From Exchanges [May 21]
    • Predicted that China would benefit more from Corona in terms of soft power influence.
      • Three weeks later: Italians considering a friendly country: China – 52%; USA – 17%.
      • Too early too assess, but seems to be the case – at least outside the “core West.”
  • Country-specific predictions: Overall, I would assess this at 6/10.
    • China:  Was, in retrospect, perhaps too critical of its early response – and uncertain of China’s ability to contain it as thoroughly as it did.
      • Since then, have energetically countered conspiracy theories that it is “hiding” its epidemic by pointing out Italians had become main source of foreign spread by March, not Chinese, and that it was Chinese repatriating from Russia that reignited the epidemic (for a while) in North-East China. 7/10
      • Was blogging about conspiracy theory it came from Wuhan BSL-4 facility months (my odds: ~20%) before the MAGA cultists seized on it to deflect blame from Trump’s incompetent early response.
    • USA: Too optimistic in the beginning, probably quite well-adjusted since then. 5/10
      • Trivial, but prediction that much of its response would be at the state level has panned out.
    • Russia: Too optimistic, overall, on Mar 8. 7/10
      • Though it is still doing better per capita than the US and Western Europe, even after a per capita adjustment. Certainly not (yet?) the horror scenes Western MSM was painting in March. Ultimate assessment still pending.
      • On Mar 19, predicted -10% GDP growth in 2020. To be seen – but clearly already closer than contemporaneous estimates from MinFin & BoA of ~-1%.
      • Dismissed Western MSM-promoted conspiracy theories that coronavirus was already raging through Russia in Jan/Feb.
      • Now argue that Russian deaths are significantly underestimated & that Dagestan is major hotspot. To be seen.
      • Dismissed BCG vaccine protection effects theory. To be seen, but seems I was right.
    • Ukraine/Belarus: Too pessimistic on Ukraine, probably my single worst prediction. Zelensky reacted decisively and most Ukrainians started to wear masks, which mitigated problems with low testing. I am happy for them.
      • At the start, I likewise imagined that least “desovietized” Belarus would do better, perhaps the best in the ex-USSR. LOL. 2/10
    • Other countries: I don’t recall making particularly correct or wrong predictions about other countries. Thought that Brazil, Sweden, etc. would do worse (and they did). Remained bullish on East Asia – and it panned (except for Singapore, which listened to WHO on the masks question for too long). 6/10
  • Practical recommendations: Overall, 8/10
    • Lockdowns – was proponent of “go hard or go home” policies from the start (see also here). If serious about suppression, needed to go cybergulag Wuhan mode. We got both failure to suppress and quarantine unhappiness.
    • That said – I dismissed economic arguments against lockdowns on basis that:
      1. collapsing global economy/reduced confidence dooms economic prospects anyway.
      2. no historical evidence that effect is long-term, or that recessions lower LE.
      3. gave us time to learn more about the virus, reducing likelihood of unpleasant surprises from the tail end of possible bad outcomes.
    • Sweden’s example relative to other Nordics suggests formal lockdowns did contribute positively to “flattening”, even though suppression failed. (But may have worked if combined with more masks/faster response, e.g. Australia).
    • Masks – I was shilling for mandatory mask wearing since March and provided helpful guides/info on Apr 2 (see 1, 2). Western MSM/official takes on this topic were negative value added during this period. This was kind of obvious, and many other people were doing it – many of them a month or two earlier than me – so won’t credit myself too much here.
    • I promoted Roko Mijic’s suggestion to install Far UV lights in public areas to kill off the virus in Apr 24. Three weeks later: New York City will test ultraviolet light to kill coronavirus on subways and buses

Across these main eight categories, I score myself 68 out of a possible 80 points (85%).

Now I hardly want to claim I am uniquely prescient, or something. In all likelihood pundits such as Steve Sailer, Davide Piffer, Lyman Stone, Greg Cochran, JayMan, a whole bunch of other people, and the smarter half of frog Twitter would have done at least as well or better.

But I’d be surprised if the average “normie” pundit topped 50%.

Irony is, it would have been far better for the world if I/we had been wrong. But we weren’t. Which makes the attacks on us all the more absurd, if psychologically understandable (cults often become more deranged when their prophecies fail to materialize).

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Korenchkin says

    Heavy handed tactics seem to have stopped the situation in Serbia from getting out of hand

  3. IFR: Guesstimated it at ~1% on Jan 24
    See also here, here.
    Completely vindicated. 10/10

    Iceland has a CFR of 0.5%. There’s no way a country has a CFR of half the general IFR.

    I presume you’re therefore being ironic below. If not, I
    can’t believe you’d so obviously overcompensate for your doubts…

    Completely vindicated. 10/10

    Talk about being in a cult. Your cult of doom has actually ended up causing a degree of doom…and all because you couldn’t deal with the thought of getting a disease that interferes with your breathing. Yes, it reminds you of your panic attacks. Big deal…you could just have isolated yourself instead of demanding everyone else do it.

    AK: To address your one relevant point cherry-picking one very small and very rich country that did more tests per capita than anyone else (so CRF will be closest to IFR), which suppressed its outbreak, where more infected were I assume tourists returning from Europe than the average in most places (so younger/more vigorous), doesn’t prove anything.

    AK: Otherwise, I have no obligation to tolerate your personal attacks. Banned. Unbanned.

  4. Dieter Kief says

    I – IFR

    I don’t agree with the IFR being 1% in the long run. Has died with or through CO-19 is the distinction at work here that is not taken into account as much as it should be. So – if I look at Switzerland or Austria, it might well turn out, proper IFR will turn out to be below 0.5%.

    In Italy and Spain especially, there were lots of factors (highest antibiotics-resistance in Europe) that did intensify the deaths of the elderly. Not to forget, that the hospitals did the wrong things at the beginning (Intubation/ Ventilators), the concentration of highly infectious people there without proper protection (no masks, no disinfectants…).
    This might not reoccur in the future.

    This (little) having said: Congrats, Anatoly Karlin – I loved to read your posts!


    As far as masks are concerned, one should have a close look at Austria (masks obligatory) and Switzerland (no masks) and at the German cities of Jena and Rostock. Rostock did practise a strict isolation from early on and Jena chose the path of masks early on. Both doing better than othr German cities but no big difference between them.


    I don’t speculate, but for those who do I recommended your predictions. And at least one of them says he did make money on that basis quite easily.

  5. Dieter Kief says

    Albania is an interesting case too. 11 deaths / million even though they have very close ties to Northern Italy. They reacted early on with quite decisive actions. President said, he had been looking closely at Taiwan!

  6. It would be nice if Karlin was a fascist, instead he has embraced the disturbing transhumanism ideologies.

  7. AltSerrice says
  8. Blinky Bill says

    Great job Anatoly, you were spot on with most of your prediction. As far as I’m concerned they should make you, by the Grace of God :

    Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod; Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan, Tsar of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Chersonese Taurian, Tsar of Georgia; Lord of Pskov and Grand Prince of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, Finland; Prince of Estland, Livland, Courland, Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, Tver, Yugorsky land, Perm, Vyatka, Bolgar and others; Lord and Grand Prince of Nizhny Novgorod, Chernigov, Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Belozersk, Udorsky land, Obdorsk, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all of the northern countries Master; and Lord of Iberia, Kartli, and Kabardia lands and Armenian provinces; hereditary Sovereign and ruler of the Circassian and Mountainous Princes and of others; Lord of Turkestan; Heir of Norway; Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, and Oldenburg, and others, and others, and others.

    Emperor Karlin lead us to a based and red pilled future !

  9. It’s clear (and was from the start, I think) that there would be significant heterogeneity in IFR between countries – average age; whether or not it rampages through care homes; heck, even factors like lung capacity, which are higher in Germanics than Meds – and that does indeed appear to have been the case.

    The meta-analysis I cited in my last post suggests worldwide IFR might be something like 0.75%, which is certainly very plausible.

    Given existing uncertainty, I think going with 1% back in January (as opposed to, say, 5% – or a “just the flu” 0.1%) qualifies as a correct prediction.

    Interesting point on masks, thanks. Austria appears to have done far better than Switzerland – 3x fewer deaths despite similar population. Though in fairness, the comparison might be better between Austria and Germanic Switzerland (Italian-speaking Swiss were the worst hit).

  10. My only complaint about AK is his binge and fast poasting pattern, which doesn’t allow me to keep up, even under lockdown, during the binges, and leaves me starved for content during the fasts. Other than that, his prescience on corona allowed me to get a head start on protecting my family’s health and financial security. For this I am eternally grateful.

  11. Doomerista says

    “Infection fatality rates ranged from 0.03% to 0.50% and corrected values ranged from 0.02% to 0.40%.’

  12. I said that moderate lockdowns would need to be maintained for months for the virus to be eradicated, e.g. Curve flattening is still better than no mitigation, since guarantees no hospital overload, while economy is doomed anyway; finally, on the chance that vaccine arrives before herd immunity is reached naturally, countries that “let it rip” will feel stupid.

    Comparing like-to-like (e.g. Belarus/Russia – considering esp. that Belarus has no megapolises like Moscow/SPb; Sweden/other Nords – ), lockdowns have clearly worked. For all we know, India might well be a Brazil-tier disaster by now with no lockdown. Though I’m generally not sure lockdowns are warranted for poor countries in general –

  13. Contrition says

    AK: OK, unbanned in that case, seeing as this was a coincidence rather than intentional.

    I am sorry.

    Were I aware of your medical history rather than inferring it from your attitude towards the Coronavirus and the language you used about it, then I would never have written my comment in that way.

    Especially if I had known that you had openly discussed it.

    Mental issues affect people’s decision-making. Unacknowledged ones are harmful and should be called out when recognised. And truly, in a non-platitudinous way, I am certain everyone has mental problems…otherwise they’d be “enlightened.”

    That you have acknowledged this before, changes what tone would have been appropriate, but I didn’t know.

    You may not believe that I only inferred from your attitude to the Coronavirus and I accept that it is a stretch for you believe me. It is something I am excellent at in real life though…of course you might ask what type of issues would cause someone to so finely develop a skill…long-term unacknowledged lack of self-worth and fear that no one will like them otherwise .. ha

    Nonetheless, I am very sorry, you should take that on faith.

  14. Felix Keverich says

    For all we know, India might well be a Brazil-tier disaster by now with no lockdown

    Or maybe not. You praise the Ukraine for following your recommendations, and castigate Belarus. In reality both countries show similar trend of flat cases and daily deaths. There is no real evidence that lack of lockdown is hurting Belarus.

    I don’t agree about “economy doomed anyway” part. Latest data shows industrial output in Belarus contracted 7% YoY in April. It would have been much worse with a lockdown. The Ukraine lost 16%. And funny enough, Russia lost 6,6%.

  15. @Anatoly, what do you make of the virus declining in the summer and then coming back in the fall and killing much more people? Ie the second wave.

    I’d like youbto update your predictions to account for this scenario.

  16. Swedish Family says

    We still know far too little about the virus to assign scores. The few certainties about the Swedish front, which I know best:

    1. Daily new deaths and ICU cases have been in steady decline for about a month. Possible reasons:
    • RE fell below 1.0 in mid-April (the official view), either from public and private measures or a mix of these and “near-immunity” (from strong health, genes or previous exposure to similar viruses). (More exotic reasons are possible, of course, e.g. changing weather or something in the virus’ genes weakening it over time.)
    • Relatively fewer old and frail infected (this could be checked by comparing the ICU distributions for given dates).
    • Better treatments (no idea about this one).
    1. Some 5% of Swedes tested positive for antibodies in the week of April 27, which means that this was the total number of infected 2-3 weeks before. Where this figure stands today depends on the RE, so we’ll have to wait for the follow-up study. This study does, however, give us an upper bound on age-group IFR for those infected before mid-April:

    IFR 0–19 ~ 0.0% (0 / [0.047 x 2,347,000] = 0%)
    IFR 20–64 ~ 0.083% (316* / [0.067 x 5,675,000] = 0.083%)

    Two things to note here: (1) IFR for the 20–64 group is many times lower than the estimates based on Chinese data, and (2) it might be that even Sweden’s rather modest measures pushed RE below 1.0. I can’t recall anyone predicting that back in February-March.

    • Includes half the deaths in the 60–69 group, so the true death figure should be quite a bit lower (since fatalities skew older).
  17. Swedish Family says

    Or maybe not. You praise the Ukraine for following your recommendations, and castigate Belarus. In reality both countries show similar trend of flat cases and daily deaths. There is no real evidence that lack of lockdown is hurting Belarus.

    From what I’ve been told, the Ukrainian lockdown has been far from perfect. A friend lives by one of Kiev’s popular parks, and by her account, when the police cleared it of people, it only took minutes for it to fill up with people again. She also claims mask-wearing has gone down in the past weeks. Whatever the case, Ukraine is seeing a second relaxation of its lockdown this weekend, so we should expect Belarus and Ukraine to trend similarly in the months to come.

  18. The bottom line always was and continues to be just how many deaths justify imploding the world economy? Pandemics have come and gone over history, but they never turned off the key to the motor before. How much economic damage will justify the irrational policies? Sweden exposed the world for the fools that they are. When do we admit that? Is this the globalist planned-demic to cull the world from too many people? It would make a great movie script.

  19. Daniel Chieh says

    You can begin your obedience by increasing your donation amount.

  20. Felix Keverich says

    Anecdotal evidence like this is not reliable. My superficial impression is that Poland > Ukraine > Russia > Belarus in terms of lockdown enforcement. You can see it in the degree their economies contracted (Poland’s industrial output fell by 25% in April!), but not necessarily in their “curves”, where Poland shows the same trend of flat daily new infections, slight decline in daily deaths. Poland is far from overcoming its epidemic. But economic cost is palpable!

  21. Mr. Hack says

    I still think that you’re grading yourself too highly regarding the Total Mortality column. You point out that officially there are currently 321,000 deaths, yet sneak in that there could possibly already be 1M fatalities? The next 3 months will be crucial in determining what the total fatalities will be for the year. There still seems to be some question as to how exactly the warmer summer months will effect the spread of this pandemic. Let’s all hope that it will be more fun in the sun?

  22. Blinky Bill says
  23. Belarusian Dude says

    Based artist making Tolik look Chechen

  24. Mr. Hack says

    As I understand it, you purposely left out the Galician lands, but how about the land of the Kazakhs?

  25. Thanks.

    To put forward the self-analysing counter to my original point: a totally nonchalant attitude and matching set of actions towards the Coronavirus may be seen as the type of non-fatal suicidal behaviour that someone, who finds not breathing comforting, would potentially engage in.

    I don’t think it is anymore, for various reasons too long to share, but it is certainly something that would have strongly affected me in the past. Like going for a nighttime walk in a local favela because “why not?” Or many other examples.

    And this is reflected more widely in the many commenters here, often particularly measured types (and therefore self-possessed and good at accomodating other people’s emotions/bad at accomodating their own) who worry about an increase in suicide due to lockdown.

    They know people like they were/are and understand how hard quarantine is for many people.

    Paradoxically, it is much harder for those who might find not breathing comforting than those who find it terrifying. Regardless, of the cause of the quarantine, which, coincidentally, relates closely as well!

    Thankfully, for me though, the quarantine, has actually been pretty useful, but, were it to happen a few years ago, it would have been very bad indeed.

    And I would also add that it would be entirely reasonable for someone to point out that perhaps my view of the event is coloured by who I am…and not in a silly SJW way…but really, individually, how I have previously been prone to being.

    Sailer’s dismissive “he-man” comments are kind of in that direction but tonally they’ll fail to resonate with those they’re directed towards, I think. The problem is the implication is that such “he-men” value themselves a lot when really the opposite is true. Again, a generalisation but I think it gets a large part of the point.

  26. Blinky Bill says
  27. Swedish Family says

    All in good time !

    Is that Nicolas Cage?

  28. Anuxicus says

    There actually is evidence that recessions lower life expectancy – what happened in Russia between 1990 and 1998.

  29. Blinky Bill says
  30. Curmudgeon says

    I can’t speak for others, but my version of the “hoax” was not that the virus was a hoax, whether natural or created, but the response is. Testing rates correlate with higher “infection” rates. We don’t test for “normal flu” so we have no idea how many people contracted “normal flu” in years past. For all anyone knows, the “infection” rate could have been 90%. In years past, I came in close contact with others who had colds and flu symptoms, or later developed symptoms of a cold or flu. Sometimes I “got” that cold or flu, sometimes I didn’t. I have no idea if, during the infectious stage where people are asymptomatic, I passed the virus on, in cases where I was either symptomatic or asymptomatic. There are hundreds of millions like me, world wide. Epidemiology is not the exact science people think it is. It’s not a knock on epidemiology, just an acknowledgement that they aren’t always 100% correct.

    When the “lock down” went into place locally, I checked the local stats for “normal” flu deaths. At the time the only ones available were for Sept 30/19 – Feb 1/20. The stats for Covid deaths from March 2 to date is the same as “normal flu” deaths (actually, it’s less, but statistically insignificant).

    It is important to remember that the WHO method of counting deaths is patients “with” Covid. A terminally ill cancer patient who contract Covid is reported as dying “from” Covid. People with weak immune systems are at higher risk for all communicable diseases. What that means, is that they are a much higher risk to suffer from the symptoms of the disease. People in nursing homes are always high risk, because older people, generally speaking, have weaker immune systems, and ones in nursing homes weaker still.
    Let’s put something in perspective: the US aircraft carrier Roosevelt and French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle have both tested about 50% positive for crew infections, for a total of approximately 2300 infections. To date, one American aboard the Roosevelt has died, and the majority of those infected were completely asymptomatic. It is unknown whether the sailor who died had an underlying medical condition diagnosed or un-diagnosed. If social distancing were really an issue, the rate of infection would have been higher, and if the virus was that deadly, a lot more people would have died. Instead, they are in line with the statistics Iceland, which has tested 15% of its population, has produced.
    Being “infected with” Covid 19 means little, unless you already have a weakened immune system.

  31. AltSerrice says

    Thanks man

  32. Yes, certainly there’s a chance (if things become more optimistic) that I will have to downgrade that predictions from 10/10 to 8/10 if deaths really do now peter out and don’t rebound. It will still be way better than average because the average was so bad.

    But right now, I don’t think I’m making some special exemption for myself by not downgrading, because epidemic obviously hasn’t ended. We have yet to even see what happens once we’ve been reopened for a few weeks. Signs from Iran (which reopened in mid-April, and saw cases begin to increase again this May) haven’t been encouraging.

  33. And it didn’t happen during the Great Depression, nor does it happen in typical recessions in modern Western countries. (In fact mortality tends to go down). These are probably more useful comparators, especially considering that they did not have massive alcoholism epidemics which were unleashed by the deregulation of the Soviet vodka monopoly.

  34. Swedish Family says


    Aha, I thought it was an actual Kazakh lookalike. 🙂

  35. Mr. Hack says

    What’s the deal with your replies, that if they’re a bit longer or include an illustration they disapear into [More] & [Hide More]? Is this something that you do, or…..

  36. All we can say for now is that ultimate efficacy of the lockdowns that have been implemented (unlike, say, mask wearing) is still uncertain:

  37. Mr. Hack says

    Counting deaths seems to have emerged at the forefront of the ideological war being waged through the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, at least in the US. The perception is that those on the left (blue state governors etc) would like to see greater numbers because this would enhance their abilities to increase their role as everybody’s Big Brother, and those on the right (red state governors, etc) that prefer less intrusion into individuals’ lives. With you presenting numbers that are higher than what’s so far being proven, perhaps, this is why so many right wing readers here perceive you as being a “Corona Virus fascist” People here do generally hate the Pelosi crowd, as you probably know.

  38. Anuxicus says
  39. Blinky Bill says

    I learnt it from Talha. When threads become long, several hundred comments many with pictures, they load slowly, at least for me. This I dislike, also for aesthetic reason. Many people don’t want to read/look at my childish contributions, so in part I do this as a courtesy for them. Each person can choose based on their own intellectual level whether or not to engage with me.

  40. Well you can argue that this corona depression is just giving the final kick to industries that are on their way out anyway, such as retail, chain restaurants, a lot of marginal restaurants, and working in the office, we are already seeing trends moving away from those, it is just this event accelerated it by a few years, and is in fact freeing resources to be used in more productive areas, if you are in a field that has a very strong fundamentals such as data science or computer engineering/science, or robotics research, or just run a food delivery business with no actual restaurant space, this event will have negligible impact on future demand, and act as a catalyst to actually increase revenue, or may even cause an increase in demand due to corporations and governments needing more people to analyze the data from this event.

  41. In America, life expecancy dropped following Great Recession as unemployment and hopelessness took its toll.

    In Russia of the 90’s, it was alcohol, in modern US is was opioids. Social insecurity is a very serious issue, it kills off consumers and depresses future demand in a spiral of depression, and ruins economies.

  42. The welfare system in the US has more in common with a third world craphole than a Western European country, so there is that to consider, plus the GOP is opposed to giving any more income support.

  43. It is actually the long term effects of depression, the 90s in Russia came at the end of a 20 year period of bad economic conditions stretching back 20 years or more, good government policy, or a v shaped quick bounceback like Germany did after 2008 actually has negligible effects. And based on this graph 2008 Eurozone financial crisis actually did not cause a drop in life expectancy. And for the drop in the life expectancy of US whites, that was due to a host of factors stretching back to the past 40 years or so, dating back to the start of the rust belt. A short, sharp contraction, followed by a quick bounce back like China is unlikely to lead to any lasting effects, especially if people feel that they can get back on their economic feet after a year or so.

  44. Mr. Hack says

    Your altruistic bent is duly noted. Now, how do you actually do it?

  45. Mr. Hack says

    It’s the large chain restaurants that have the financial abilities to weather the storm. Smaller, boutique restaurants and bars are the ones hardest hit, and ones that are more interesting to visit and patronize. You’re probably right about office space going by the wayside. Rent is extremely high and most employees (sales people anyway) complain about what a drain it is to their bottom line. FA’s (Financial Advisors) are working more and more out of their homes these days, visiting clients at their offices or residences. We’ll see what happens?…

  46. First, kudos to Karlin. Of course in many cases the full proctor can only be known many months from now when the various statistics are reconciled as is standard practice.

    Secondly: a lot of the lockdown critics seem to be still obsessing solely about deaths without taking into the other half of the equation: danger of hospital capacity (workers, beds, drugs, equipment) being overwhelmed.

    To highlight the second point: a CFR for acute appendicitis would be close to 0% with access to appropriate medical care; but shoot up to 100% without it. Indeed that’s why for example developing nations have higher mortality stats than developed nations for the same diseases and why US sanctions which impact hospital effectiveness (chiefly drugs and equipment) lead to higher deaths in the targeted countries.

    So given a fast moving unknown virus with no vaccine, unclear treatment which had already overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan necessitating extreme measures – by a Government which already has extreme surveillance of its population and has no need for an excuse for it – inspite of damage to its economy, clearly immediate response was needed. And some countries in East Asia which thanks to SARS were already prepared reacted much more quickly than others across the world leading to the virus to spread out of control. While hospitals being overwhelmed in Qom evoked a “well these guys are just underdeveloped” superiority shrug from the West (and indeed across the world where the West is seen as most successful at everything), it was not till hospitals being overwhelmed among the richest parts of Italy in Lombardy did it become apparent globally that a more serious response would be needed.

    The danger with COVID-19 or indeed any novel disease which doesn’t have a historical comparison is that even if the mortality with treatment is low, say 0.1% of infected cases Or even less, if that treatment requires hospitalization for extended periods of time (as even the majority of COVID-19 cases who survived did as compared to the flu), then you will run out of capacity and even those who could have got saved with treatment would die because of lack of it.

    Net net, once it was realized that this novel virus was asymptomatically spreading in an uncontrolled manner, lockdowns made sense for Govts to get a handle on various dangers including hospital capacities. The health risk – both direct deaths by COVID-19 as well as the danger to hospital capacity collapsing – necessitated action vs waiting (as indeed happened for at least a month if not two after Wuhan went into drastic lockdown).

    In the three months from late Feb till date when the majority of lockdowns across the world took place, there is much more statistics about the behavior of the virus and impact – leading to better modelling – as well as health impact because of lockdowns. In addition, testing capacity has been boosted, various deficiencies in healthcare capacity have been identified and so there can be more informed discussion in each country about what the “right way” forward is.

    And in general, the “right way” would be something like that as long as we can ensure the hospital capacity in any region won’t be breached, lockdowns can be lifted with social distancing/masks in place to mitigate with a certain number of deaths being acceptable (just as every society accepts significant deaths due to the flu, road accidents, alcoholism without resorting to extreme measures).

  47. Blinky Bill says

    I’m uncertain of what you mean ? If you mean how to insert a more tag. Simply choose the point you want to insert it in your comment. Then there are 4 boxes above the comments box B I Blockqoute and Insert MORE tag. Simply hit the last one. Everything you type after that will be under the more tag when you publish your comment. If that’s not what you meant please clarify.

  48. Manfred Arcane says

    Just to be clear, the “Agree” is for UK, not AK.

  49. The Alarmist says

    Suppression was always going to be a losing strategy.

  50. Felix Keverich says

    It’s quite certain in terms of economic devastation. So, perhaps you shouldn’t lambaste countries that declined self-destruct themselves economically, based on a novel pandemic management policy, whose usefulness is still uncertain.

  51. Winfried Koehler says

    2020 will be remembered as the year when a global panic was caused by a flu like illness:

  52. Hyperborean says

    I am curious, what is the story behind this?

  53. Blinky Bill says
  54. reiner Tor says

    He already gave the answer: “deregulation of the Soviet vodka monopoly.” This is not typical in a recession or depression. And you can see that even then, the death rate reached its local low point in 1998-99, the absolute worst point of the economic crisis, and then temporarily rose again during the recovery. It started to drop with the drop in alcohol consumption, but the drop got steeper during the economic crisis in 2008-09, only to resume the slower rate of decline during the recovery. It’s pretty obvious that it’s the alcohol, more specifically the “deregulation of the Soviet vodka monopoly” what caused the issue.

  55. reiner Tor says

    following Great Recession

    Following the Great Recession, i.e. during the recovery.

  56. Ms Karlin-Gerard says

    Yes, what you are describing is correct including, as with Russia, non food shops getting around bans on being open by having one small shelf with hand sanitisers and face masks!

    However, your overall impression is wrong…. Kiev and the rest of Ukraine are now into about the 10th or 11th week of the strictest lockdown of any country in Europe. Of course more people are out in the parks and streets (though not much in comparison to other countries) because they have very strictly followed the lockdown for 6-7 weeks, and the situation is untenable to do anything else but get fresh air. Everybody recognises that this is going to be yet another economic catastrophe ( double digit) so they need to re-start ASAP.

    “second relaxation” LOL….. the first was pretty much like full lockdown for most countries.

    Gruzia has probably been as strict.

  57. I am citing WorldoMeter statistics, which are basically show the same figures as those of the WHO and the John Hopkins dashboard.

    If you think I am inventing them, show what in particular, here, will even give you a list of resources to get you started on your research!

    The idea that deaths are underestimated is based on excess mortality calculations based on incoming mortality data, e.g. EuroMOMO in Europe. There’s no other “special events” occuring right now, e.g. heatwave, so if you get a sudden departure from trend, reasonable to think that most or all of it is due to Corona.

  58. Anuxicus says

    If by 2025 40% of Americans are in poverty (similar to Russia circa 1998) then I don’t see that correlated with improvements in mortality.

  59. IFR: Guesstimated it at ~1% on Jan 24
    See also here, here.

    Completely vindicated. 10/10

    Completely wrong.

    1.0% was completely wrong, and as much in the realm of scaremongering as the wackos preaching “3%! 5%! Who knows! We’ve NEVER seen anything like this before!”

    It saddens me that there are people who continue to ignore all the evidence from the all-population studies and push scare stories about huge numbers of deaths.

    The rate is in the range of 0.1%, that according to every randomized population study.

    It really was Just The Flu. The pro-Panic side has liked to mock the line “just the flu,” but it turned out it really was.

    The real “corona fatality rate is in the ballpark of seasonal influenza,” found Dr. Ioannidis from randomized population testing (a fact totally ignored by the pro-Panic media), as did every other similar study. The only people still preaching 1.0% deaths are the pro-Panic holdouts and those embarrassed to have promoted the Panic, and are using data not reflective of the whole population.

    In Sweden, the best case to study, because they never closed and the virus more-or-less spread like every other flu virus, the epidemic is ending (see below) and total population loss will be under 0.05%, depending on the exact number of “deaths with vs. deaths from.” I believe the best estimate is 0.02% net loss. Nothing special. A bump so inconsequential it would not have been noticed by anyone if not for pro-Panic strangehold on the media.

    How does one explain why the masked majority still believe the extremists? I believe signs point to the aggressive efforts of the media and others triggered the creation of a literal (non-metaphorical) religious cult. A cult breakthrough ascended to state religion, with disastrous results for all of us.

    The sad thing is it was so totally unnecessary. The cult was a sham. The new corona god was a god of destruction, and a liar.

  60. Mr. Hack says

    I was just reiterating what you yourself wrote:

    321,818 officially as of time of writing [May 21]…Sure, off by 1 OOM, but:

    and questioning how you could give yourself a 10/10?

    My days as a number cruncher, thankfully, are long past. I once spent four long years doing mostly calculations in a job as a pension plan designer (work similar to actuarial) and thought that I was going to go blind and crazy doing so. I was good at it, but didn’t particularly enjoy that kind of work, so I will pass on any offers to research and try and supplant your own calculations and projections.

    I, like so many others here, am truly indebted to your hard work in trying to keep us all objectively informed about what is going on. Carry on and Tally Ho!