The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released a new model yesterday that estimates a total of 74,000 Americans will have died of the coronavirus by early August — an increase of about 6,000 since its previous estimate from just last week. The modelers foresee a slow increase over the next few weeks before the total begins to plateau around mid-May.
There are two things you should know about these estimates.
First, both this week’s and last week’s estimates are not just inaccurate — they were almost certainly closer to the running total of American deaths at the time they were published. In other words, when IHME projected that 74,000 Americans are likely to die of coronavirus by August, I suspect roughly 74,000 Americans had already succumbed to the disease (before the calendar even turned to May).
Yes, that’s a strong claim for someone who has about as much expertise modeling epidemics as Richard Epstein. Here’s why I feel comfortable making it: IHME’s projections are based on current figures that have been reported by hospitals and public health officials. But the modelers don’t account for excess deaths in recent weeks that were almost certainly also caused by the pandemic but have not been included in official totals:
Continue reading Donald Trump is planning to Hurricane Maria the coronavirus
A lot of celebrities and public figures (but I repeat myself) have recently undergone sudden attitude adjustments when it comes to coronavirus and public health.
In early March, British PM Boris Johnson was shaking hands with everybody. After he was hospitalized with the virus, Johnson released a video in which he made it clear he is finally taking the disease seriously.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert went from touching all the microphones to donating half a million for COVID relief efforts.
Donald Trump has gone from dismissing the coronavirus entirely to… whatever he’s doing now. It’s still not easy to pin him down, but it’s clear his thinking has evolved since last month (not to mention yesterday).
Even people who only came into the public eye by dint of their relaxed attitude towards “corona” have reconsidered that stance.
Continue reading The public figure who’s come the farthest on public health during this pandemic
Since I resumed writing last month, all ten posts I’ve written have — one way or another — concerned the coronavirus. Not surprising. It happens to be the big story right now and, indirectly, the reason I started blogging again in the first place. But even in the midst of a pandemic it can’t be all corona, all the time. So as Wisconsin prepares for its inexplicable decision to move forward with the Presidential primary next week, let’s revisit a curious episode from an earlier stage of the primary instead.
Back in September, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech in Washington Square Park to discuss the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. I’m not interested in rehashing its contents, but want to quickly highlight Senator Warren’s interesting choice of word (bolded below):
Continue reading One little suffix: suffragist vs. suffragette and reclaiming ‘Pocahontas’
Imagine living in a world where “ground zero” of New York’s coronavirus outbreak was a Jewish community right outside the city.
Imagine living in a world where, as of just last week, 5% of coronavirus victims in the United Kingdom were Jewish (even though they make up just .3% of the population).
Imagine living in a world where Boro Park and Williamsburg have been among the hardest-hit neighborhoods in New York.
Imagine a world where no Israeli has ever encountered a communal dish he wouldn’t dive into hands-first.
Imagine, if you will, a world in which the New York Times reported just yesterday that coronavirus cases are running rampant in Israel’s ultra-orthodox community.
Now imagine waking up in such a world and deciding that the way you’re going to spend your day is by publishing an article titled “Jews and coronavirus”, in which you argue that Jews are “relatively resilient to coronavirus” because, inter alia, they tend to live longer, they smoke less, and they don’t get drunk.
Continue reading Arguing that Jews are resilient to coronavirus is both wrong and dangerous
Back in June, Mr. Brexit celebrated the event from which he took his name during a visit to Scotland. No one summarized Trump’s take on the referendum better than John Oliver (link to full segment):
Continue reading What John Oliver got wrong about Donald Trump’s post-Brexit speech
A cafe in London intent on living up to a name that otherwise makes little sense for a coffee shop — Nin Com Soup — drew some attention last month when it introduced a new flavor of smoothie, decorated it with a swastika, and called it “Nutzy”.
Continue reading Trying to make sense of the Nin Com Soup Nutzy
Mike Huckabee is running for President, which will hopefully be almost as fun as the last time he decided to do that. And he certainly kicked things off with a bang. In the speech declaring his candidacy, Huckabee had this, inter alia, to say:
Continue reading What crazy universe is Mike Huckabee living in?
For some reason, the New York Times recently saw fit to profile British “microadventurer” Alastair Humphreys. To be clear: I am, generally speaking, supportive of Sir Humphreys’s message, which basically amounts to “Go outside even when you’re not on vacation.”
That said, he doesn’t seem to have a strong grasp of how America works. Here’s how the Times’ brief interview wrapped up:
Continue reading The New York Times’ “microadventurer” may be British, but he’s no Sherlock Holmes
You probably remember a few years (hunch)back when King Richard III of England was discovered in a grave underneath a parking lot in Leicester. After scientists forced him to give up whatever secrets his bones still kept, the saga will soon reach its final act when his remains are encrypted (i.e. placed in a crypt) for the very first time:
Continue reading Mormons aren’t the only religion to conduct posthumous conversions