What If We Held A State Of Emergency, And The State Of Nature Didn’t Care?

Hypothesis: neither the lockdown nor the re-opening really affected the course of the pandemic:

TrendMacro, my analytics firm, tallied the cumulative number of reported COVID-19 cases in each state and the District of Columbia as a percentage of population, based on data from state and local health departments aggregated by the Covid Tracking Project. We then compared that with the timing and intensity of the lockdown in each jurisdiction. That is measured not by the mandates put in place by government officials, but rather by observing what people in each jurisdiction actually did, along with their baseline behavior before the lockdowns. This is captured in highly detailed anonymized cellphone tracking data provided by Google and others and tabulated by the University of Maryland’s Transportation Institute into a “Social Distancing Index.”

Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown, which range from April 5 to April 18, it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns — DC, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — had the heaviest caseloads.

It could be that strict lockdowns were imposed as a response to already severe outbreaks. But the surprising negative correlation, while statistically weak, persists even when excluding states with the heaviest caseloads. And it makes no difference if the analysis includes other potential explanatory factors, such as population density, age, ethnicity, prevalence of nursing homes, general health or temperature. The only factor that seems to make a demonstrable difference is the intensity of mass-transit use.

The whole thing is worth a read and a critical evaluation.

But as this thing progresses, it seems more and more that the public health response was largely political posturing, and that the scientifically supported response was to promote responsible personal behavior (not just wearing masks and washing hands, either – losing weight, quitting smoking, managing diabetes and blood pressure all have outsized importance), aggressively protecting the extremely vulnerable, and investigate treatments (ideally free of politically-motivated interference).

We are in times in which the conservative approach (i.e., science) is pretty radical.

13 thoughts on “What If We Held A State Of Emergency, And The State Of Nature Didn’t Care?

  1. This is about the second, third time, I’ve read something about using cell phone tracking as a basis for making claims about the behavior of the Blue Flu. I sure hope these guys, TrendMacro have a pile of studies in tracking other disease outbreaks and/or other events that back this up because it seems like pseudo-statistical BS to me. And I don’t care if they come to a conclusion that I might favor.

    This all stinks like the supposed studies of Global Cooling, er, Warning, er Chaos that can’t even be used to validate already occurred climate changes. So yes, indeed, you’re right, very much so, we do live in times in which the conservative approach (i.e., science) is pretty radical.

  2. To your point, jdm, it’s funny how that to the “scientists” that support the memes on the virus, masks, quarantines and global warming, like to declare that those conclusions are “settled science”. In normal circumstances, the majority of scientists admit that science is never “settled”.

  3. They must have way better phones than I do. Mine isn’t accurate enough to measure whether I’m six feet from someone. And it lags – half the time the lady giving directions on the phone is telling me to turn at an intersection I’ve already passed.

  4. The fervent Kool Aid drinkers will counter with: “We didn’t lock down early enough and with enough coercion. Because Science!”

  5. Look at the metadata.
    Is science behind the lockdown?
    No, because it does not fit the description of an experiment. There is no result which would tell you whether the lockdowns work or that they fail to hinder the spread of the virus.
    Lockdown correlates with fewer cases? It’s working.
    Lockdown correlates with more cases? Lockdown was not strict enough.
    New Zealand had a very strict lockdown and quarantine. They had no cases for 110 days. Then they had an outbreak, and despite the quarantine and lockdown and contact tracing, they still don’t know how it began, they can’t trace it to an individual or group that had violated the lockdown rules.
    In the UK, 2/3 of hospitalized covid patients say that they were following all social distancing requirements.
    Hawaii makes an excellent American test case for the effectiveness of lockdown and quarantine. The state ended the interisland quarantine on June 19th, And by mid July they had a dramatic rise in covid positive tests, hospitalization, and deaths.
    So, open and shut, right?
    Wrong! The vast majority of new covid positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths were on Oahu, and did not spread to the less affected islands, that is, the hawaii state surge was intraisland, not interisland.
    On the Big Island, they have had over a a dozen deaths, all of them in a long term care facility where the county was in complete control of every aspect of the victims’ lives.
    The idea at the foundation of the lockdown craze is that you can control the spread of the disease by treating healthy people as if they are carriers of covid-19. This is incorrect. Garbage in, garbage out.

  6. Orange man bad in three… two… one…

    that can’t even be used to validate already occurred climate changes

    Very astute observation, jdm. Thank you. I never thought of it in these terms – more proof of the bogusness of the model™.

  7. . . . the scientifically supported response was to promote responsible personal behavior (not just wearing masks and washing hands, either – losing weight, quitting smoking, managing diabetes and blood pressure all have outsized importance)
    Not exactly. Death results when there are multiple comorbidities. Not just overweight, but morbidly overweight + diabetes + heart disease, for example.
    FYI, when you watch the MSM & they run a long story about a non-typical covid death, they are deceiving you by making you believe that healthy 20 or 30 year olds are just as likely to die from covid as elderly people in nursing homes.
    Surveys show that people vastly overestimate the numbers of people who have died from covid & their own chances of ding from covid.
    This is because our media is corrupt.

  8. Stole my thunder justplain, cue patsyboy with his manipulated stats any time now.

    And his ad hominem attacks on Mitch.

    Mitch?

  9. Let me launch a pre-emptive strike against our resident trolls.

    This is a quote from Ron Klain, Joey “This time, I’ll do something and do it better” Biden’s Chief of Staff when he was VP:

    “It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history,” Klain said of H1N1 in 2019. “It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck. If anyone thinks that this can’t happen again, they don’t have to go back to 1918, they just have to go back to 2009, 2010, and imagine a virus with a different lethality, and you can just do the math on that.”

  10. “Anonymized cellphone tracking data” was also used to “prove” that Sturgis resulted in eleventy-million new cases within two weeks of the rally.

    Anonymized cellphone tracking data is like a balloon that a talented clown can twist into whatever shaped animal you like.

  11. Anonymized cellphone tracking data is like a balloon that a talented clown can twist into whatever shaped animal you like.

    Nicely put. Leave it to NW to state cleverly, concisely, and humorously the very thing I tried to say.

  12. Do you ever wonder if would be in the pickle we are in if there were honest journalists out there who would report on facts? Do you think the public opinion would be different? That we would not have to talk about this any more?

    While the background story of data manipulation to intentionally inflict economic damage is stunning, the severity of the position of Nashville Democrat Mayor John Cooper is actually not a surprise. It must be remembered this is the same Nashville Mayor who created COVID-19 internment camps to forcibly detain people in a quarantine camp at a fairground. When one person jumped the fence to escape the police hunted him down and Nashville authorities charged him with “escaping a penal institution.” COVID-19 was criminalized.

  13. Doctor Jay Bhattacharya is interviewed on the ricochet podcast this week.
    He merely asks for a sane, rational, scientific response to the covid epidemic. https://ricochet.com/podcast/ricochet-podcast/the-covid-doc-and-tik-tok/
    As it is, the top-down, government rule by dictators in state houses and their coven of public health officials is destroying the greatest economy the world has ever known, and the US constitution, all the while delivering a per-capita covid death worse than Sweden’s.
    It is impossible to defend the lock downs using reason, so the American Left has done what it always does when their preferred policies cannot withstand a rational discussion: they ban rational discussions.

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