April 1, 2020: US Death Toll

Just to keep track of the nonsense that has wrecked our economy and generally made our politicians run around as if their fool heads were on fire, each day I publish the corona virus total death toll in the US based upon the latest data I can find.  A single death is an immense tragedy if you love the person.  However, we are not talking about love, but rather public policy, which should always involve a sober analysis of risk and cost.  Please recall that in a bad normal flu year our death toll in the US can be as high as 90,000.


Note this will be a total death toll since the beginning of this bad farce, and not a daily toll.  As of the beginning of April 1 the death toll is 4,056.  May the Perpetual Light shine upon them.

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  1. We are quite a ways to go before we get to the 20,000 ( or more) cases of Flu that kill our family and friends each year.
    What makes Covid19 so much more difficult to fight than the The Flu? I think I have heard the term “ventilator” more times over the past week than during my 50 years before.
    Does The Flu, in those that it kills, simply do so with such rapidity that a person has died before anyone noticed something was seriously amiss? Does Covid19 do so in a much more dramatic, if slower fashion? Perhaps the treatment for Covid19 is just more expensive?
    Are there many more people in the hospitals with Covid19 than truly need to be there, due to fear of a medical malpractice lawsuit? Or perhaps NYC, LA, Detroit, Chicago get overwhelmed every Flu Season and we do not notice.
    I told my son this was all political, but my, the social pressure to wear a mask is intense.

  2. DJH, my sons noticed that, unlike the flu, Covid-19 doesn’t appear to discriminate based on income. The Flu, like many things, hits poorer people harder more than it does the well to do. With this, that is not the case. It appears the way it hits has a stealth about it, and if you get it – as we’re seeing with so many pols, doctors, national journalists, celebrities, athletes and others with huge bank accounts – all the money in the world doesn’t help. Janitor or corporate CEO, this doesn’t seem to distinguish based on money. Which could be why the powers that be are so willing to demand anything and everything be sacrificed to stop this, while each year the most we get about the flu is ‘make sure you get your shot.’ In the end, their money, fame and power can’t help them,, and they’re scared.

  3. This disease is: highly contagious, with a long incubation period and it is said to have a 1.5 to 2 percent mortality rate. The number of dead is a “flag” point but not the whole story. I do think we may be in some ways overreacting (@$&! media) but this is very very serious.

  4. Folks who die of flu-and-pneumonia (that’s the “flu” numbers) are usually reported as having died of complications after an illness, usually an extended illness.

    Right now we have guys who were dying of lukemia being reported as “covid-19 deaths.”

    I’ve noticed some kinda hysterical responses to the yearly flu deaths, where the ones that might worry folks get blamed on the victim– a kid is one of those rare deaths from convulsions associated with a fever, and even though they’d literally just come back from the hospital for the more at-risk younger sibling for exactly that issue, where the doctors told the family that those aren’t dangerous, the mother got crucified over it.

    Ditto the increasingly violent demands that people be vaccinated for the flu, even while much more effective steps are pushed aside.

    Folks want to feel like they’ve got it under control.

    We don’t.

    This is just making it so people can’t pretend, anymore, and they’re flipping out.

  5. David WS-
    This disease is: highly contagious, with a long incubation period and it is said to have a 1.5 to 2 percent mortality rate.

    That, combined with the contagious-without-having-symptoms, is why I was extremely worried when we first heard about this out of China.

    But it’s based almost entirely on what we know are false claims out of China– the virus cannot be as highly contagious as has been claimed, as deadly as claimed, and infectious when there are no symptoms, or it would have started spreading when that guy from China who thought he had a bad cold did a lay-over in SeaTac before flying to Spokane, back in mid-January.
    New York would’ve been hit, and much harder, back when they did the #WuhanStrong thing– and then again as some of those folks rode the subway before figuring out they weren’t having allergy symptoms.

    Hell, Korea would not be getting the kind of numbers that it is:
    They’re as close as we can get to a decent sample, and they’re still going to miss the roughly 50% who never had symptoms and recovered before being tested because they’re only checking for the virus, plus of course over-sampling those who died because they are testing those who died with pneumonia symptoms to try to contact-trace.

  6. Foxfier, I submit I/we -really don’t know. If we did not shut down, would there would be 1-2 million dead in this country? Are there large numbers of unknown people who are already immune? I/we don’t know. There is no antibody testing just yet.

    What I/we do know is social distancing will create an artificial herd immunity with the importance of flattening the curve. We’re flying in uncharted territory, no instruments, with only the guidance of CDC experts over the radio. I hate that just as much as anyone. I have members of my extended family with diabetes, COPD, heart disease, asthma and under going cancer treatment. (I will) Stay the course and fly blind, trusting the CDC, the terrain flown will prove things out in the next month. Dave WS

  7. Dave WS, I’ve said that’s a problem. We’ll never know if we did enough or too much. If it spirals out of control, they can always say we didn’t do enough or do it fast enough. If it ends up fizzling and nowhere close to even the least bad predictions, they can say it’s because we did just what they told us. Where in all this will we know we did too much? How could we find out? Who would say? I’m just curious. I’m curious because we know millions are being hurt by these measures, even if they’re mostly on the low income scale of things. Will we ever have a way to know it was worth it, or they didn’t need to be hurt as they were?

  8. Dave G., there’s a lot of things IDK, however I do know that each day they’ll be feeding new information into the models they have and be honing the predictions and response, and tools available to test, treat and mitigate will increase.
    There’s no 30 day plan set in concrete, there’s a 30 day plan as of yesterday, plans are subject to change.

    From what we’re told the “crush” will come in the next few weeks. After that, and even now, no where to go but up. Things will improve.
    Dave WS

  9. “they’re mostly on the low income scale of things”.
    Nope. I know of mid level production managers and their production staffs being laid off. Nearly all production is on hold in the industries i work with. Others, such as my son, has been reduced from 50+ hours a week to less than 20 hours. Most restaurants are teetering on permanent closure. Many business will close and NEVER reopen. There will be much fewer jobs to “come back” to. This will make the Great Depression look like a picnic.

  10. Regarding a new Great Depression, the quote from Red Dawn may be appropriate. “Maybe somebody just forgot what it was like”.

  11. This will make the Great Depression look like a picnic.

    Per capita product in this country (in real terms) was in 1921 about 6% lower than it had been in 1918. The pandemic was not the only vector influencing that. You also had the reconversion of war industries and contractionary monetary policy. Per capita output in 1933 was 31% lower than it had been in 1929. I don’t think the pandemic and public health measures will make that look like a ‘picnic’.

  12. A quick search…
    “The highest rate of U.S. unemployment was 24.9% in 1933, during the Great Depression.1 Unemployment remained above 14% from 1931 to 1940. It remained in the single digits until September 1982 when it reached 10.1%.2 During the Great Recession, unemployment reached 10% in October 2009.”

    From multiple sources today, “Federal Reserve predicts 32% unemployment rate thanks to coronavirus”

  13. I am no statistician, nor am I a scientist like Dr. Kurland, but as I look at the graphs here:


    I see when plotted on a log scale mortality rising a decade about every 10 days. It looks like in a few days (April 4th?) we’ll be at 10K dead. Then on April 14th we’ll be at 100K dead. Then on April 24th 1M dead.

    Now the slope of the line on the graph could level off. The White House estimates between 100K and 240K dead before the curve bends. But with all due respect to Donald, I really think the curves I see would be a whole lot worse if we hadn’t shut down the country.

    PS, I wish I were wrong. I pray for Donald to be right. And I refuse to fight over this. But I am a nuclear professional, and when I see a constant slope rise on a logarithmic graph, I get very concerned. If I say reactor startup rate is rising by 1 decade per minute and we’re at 1% power, then I know that without counterbalance we’ll be at 100% power in 2 minutes. Fortunately there’s the point of adding heat and the negative temperature coefficient of reactivity. With COVID-19, where does a similar mechanism come into play to turn the curve? At 10K dead? 100K dead? Or 1M dead?

  14. From multiple sources today, “Federal Reserve predicts 32% unemployment rate thanks to coronavirus”

    Except the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. These news stories are quoting the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which is curiously prominent among sources quoted in the media. They have not published a working paper on this subject, though they may have an off the books study. The forecast in question is an opinion offered by the President of the Bank that up to 30% of the working population may be idled over the next three months.


    That’s not the most rigorous assessment. How you got from there to 12 years worth of mass unemployment and below trend production levels is something I cannot figure.

  15. Then on April 24th 1M dead.

    The Italian data indicate that 95% of the deceased thus far have been over the age of 60. We have 69,000,000 over the age of 60 in this country. The Diamond Princess data suggest the disease kills about 4% of symptomatic sufferers over the age of 60. If that holds, we’ll have 23 million symptomatic sufferers over the age of 60. Half the people that tested positive on the Diamond Princess had no symptoms and not all the passengers were tested. You’d have to infect 2/3 of the population with this bug. (Symptomatic flue infections if I understand correctly generally do not exceed 15% of the population or about 22% not inoculated).

  16. Per Worldometers, the daily death toll in Italy has since 20 March fluctuated between 600 and 920, with today’s toll 727. That in Spain has since 24 March been between 650 and 920, with yesterday’s toll 748 and with the current toll reported for the day at 667. (Spain’s totals are reported in installments each day, Italy’s in a single report).

  17. It’s that “[h]alf the people that tested positive on the Diamond Princess had no symptoms” thing that has me thinking most of our models are compromised.

    I’m tempted to say “garbage,” but I don’t want people thinking I’m not taking this seriously.

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